Round Up at L.A. LIVE – Country Street Party – Friday July 24th

Round Up
Grab your Western boots, put on your cowboy hats, and come party with me on FRI 7/24! Round Up at L.A. LIVE is an event that is part of the venue’s 2015 Summer in the City series.

FREE FUN FOR ALL AGES! Music Performances • Line Dancing Lessons • Beer Garden • Mechanical Bull • Horseshoe Toss • Cornhole Tournament & Free Play • Western Character Performers • Artisan Vendors • Saloon Fortune Teller • Live Western-Themed Mural Painting by Artists Sand One​ and Septerhed • $5 Food/Drink Menus • Discounted Parking in Lot C North Only

THE GETDOWN STAGE: Southern Caliber​Chris Johnson and The Hollywood Hillbillies​ • Paul Chesne Band​JT Ross The Harmonica Boss​ • Line Dancing Lessons by Cindi Massengale & Friends • Deejay Gregory Place of Gone Country Promotions

HONKY TONK HACIENDA: The Podunk Poets​ JD Bender​ • Elijah OceanMadam FierceAlice Wallace​

FOOTSTOMPING MUSIC: Deep Cut featuring former members of Triple Chicken Foot​ • The New Historians • Dueling Country Pianos by 2 Grand Entertainment • Dueling Banjo Duo featuring John David of Lewis Events

CONCERT TICKET GIVEAWAYS: Each hour, tickets to the Kenny Chesney concert at the Rose Bowl on SAT 7/25 will be given away! Here’s how to be automatically entered to win a pair of tickets => (1) Come to Round Up at L.A. LIVE on FRI 7/24; (2) Take a photo at the event using hashtag #DTLARoundUp; (3) Follow @mylalive on Instagram.

ARTISAN VENDORS: Anci Decor Jewelry​Anvil HandcraftedBottled Up LampsCandle Stash​ • Copra Soap​Cowpunk Leather Products​ Flower Gypsies​ • Freaky WalletiMakeTheCase​ • MyIntent ProjectPretty & PerkyRoots Revival Co.SoCal Etsy Guild​ • Swing-Dash BagsSucculent Heaven • Tabitha’s Creations • Unique Inspirations Jewelry

$5 FOOD/DRINK MENUS AT PARTICIPATING RESTAURANTS: Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar » Katsuya L.A. LIVE » Lawry’s Carvery » Live Basil Pizza » Red Mango » Rosa Mexicano » Rock’N Fish » Smashburger » The Farm of Beverly Hills » Tom’s Urban » Triple 8 » Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill

$10 PARKING: This discounted rate is ONLY valid for attendees who park in LOT C NORTH, which is located south of Chick Hearn Court at 1150 L.A. LIVE WAY, Los Angeles CA 90015.

Round Up at L.A. LIVE is a FREE community event featuring entertainment curated by Melissa Richardson Banks of Downtown Muse and South Bay Muse with Edgar Varela of We Are DTLA​.

Free Event: Friday June 12th, 6pm-Late, DARK NIGHTS at LA Live curated by WE ARE DTLA


L.A. LIVE’s most exciting night returns with Downtown Dark Nights on Friday, June 12 – featuring live musicians, performers, artists and indie craft vendors AND unbeatable $5 food & drink specials at participating L.A. LIVE restaurants! Don’t miss out on all of the fun in Downtown Los Angeles!

Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar – Ford’s Filling Station – Katsuya L.A. LIVE – Lawry’s Carvery – Live Basil Pizza – Red Mango – Rosa Mexicano – Rock’N Fish – Smashburger – The Farm of Beverly Hills – Tom’s Urban – Triple 8 – Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill

$10 PARKING (cash or credit, free for Preferred Members)


DEEJAYS: Anthony Valadez, Francesca Harding & Canyon “El Canyonaso” Cody

MUSIC: The Midnight Blues Band, Hedgehog Swing w/ Dancers, Ben Caron & The Joy Machine, Rachel Grace Electric Violin, Ryan & Liz Dueling Pianos

MURALISTS: Evol, Germs, MDMN, Phobik. SART, Septerhed, Michael Pukac, Vyal One, Zoueh

EASEL PAINTERS: Nicholas Bonamy, Bert Hewener-Esenherz, Dan Gonzales Milnor, and over 10 featured members of RAW Artists

—Mural installation by The Container Yard
—Digi-Graff Digital Spray Paint by HearSee
—P.O.P. Unplugged Drumming Troupe
—Stilt walking costumed performances by Nomadik’s Antonio G-R and Rebecca “Fireplug” Levis + Friends
—Aerial Performances by The Furies!
—SpinFX Hula Hoop performances
—Break dancing by Hollywood Hotshots and Versa-Style
—Tarot card reading Jesselynn Desmond
—Body painting by Robert Yancy and Nicolette Spear
—Chalk art by Markus Walker
—MAPJACKS Projections

ARTISANS: A Blonde & Her Bag, Black Brain, Bottled Up Lamps, Candle Stash, Copper Mug Co., Copra Soap, Cowpunk Leather, Curmudgeon Cards, Downtown Muse, Freaky Wallet, Goat & Kettle, Handcrafted Honey Bee, Haven Studio & Gallery Publishing, HumanTreeRobot, Ichiban Bath Co., In The Deep Hue Sea, JDN73, KANI Arts, London Manori, Mabuhay Collection, MacBeanie, Micha Design, Nicolina Royale, Objects with Purpose, Panache Jewelry, Phraseology, Pileus Chaotic Art, Pocket Square Clothing ,Pop & Timber, Queens Banners, Roots Revival Co., Salty Language, Shay Candles, Sour Girls / Fox Force Three, The Container Yard, UPCYCLED ARTE by Micha Design, UI Jewelry by Stephanie Payan


CONGA ROOM AFTER-PARTY with All NEW #CRLA Fridays at L.A. LIVE with amazing House Music, DJs, Dancers and four HOT Performers Eric Sharp, Story Of The Running Wolf, Liquor Box, and HART. Get on Conga Room Guest List here =>

INTERESTED PERFORMERS & ARTISTS: Are you an artist, musician or other type of performer? Do you want to be a part of one of our upcoming Dark Nights at L.A. LIVE? Submit your application!

Entertainment curated by Melissa Richardson Banks of Downtown Muse and Edgar Varela of We Are DTLA


PICNIC DTLA – Free Picnic at Grand Park – Saturday April 18th, Free Music and Activities. #DTLA




PicnicDTLA launches picnic season with togetherness and deliciousness in the most magical of LA’s spaces. Spend the day with DJs, food trucks, best friends, best kids, best recipes and your favorite Angelenos. **Please note this is an alcohol-free family friendly event**


LETTUCE ENTERTAIN YOU: Motown On Mondays – Los Angeles “MOM LA” DJs (with special guest Jeremy Sole of KCRW) spinning sweet soulful sounds / Foodie theatrics from COLD TOFU Improv

BREAD N’ BUTTER N’ KIMCHI: Bake bread with MOMO – a mobile, wood fired oven / Feel the churn with BUTTER AEROBICS (“say wha?” KCRW’s blog explains) / FERMENTATION STATION with make-your-own kimchi

RECIPES TO THE PEOPLE: Hummus Tacos? Vegan Kimpap? Goat-Cheese-with-Dried-Date Things? Jot down favorite snack inventions for trading / Leave a cookbook, take a cookbook at the COOKBOOK SWAP / Get crafty with POP-UP RECIPE BOOK STATION

WHEN PICNICS WIN: Fun and wacky picnic spreads encouraged! Everyone will get a chance to to win cool stuff including: HOLLYWOOD BOWL PICNIC SURVIVAL KIT (performance tickets + the essential picnic basket) y màs prizes!

Pick up the essentials at nearby Grand Central Market (RED/PURPLE LINE PERSHING SQUARE or 10 MIN WALK TO HILL+3rd) or The Springs (Arts District) / Food trucks will be onsite: STREET KITCHEN LA / THE SURFER TACO / ROUNDS PREMIUM BURGERS




This event is located on the Event Lawn, nearest City Hall on Spring St. Between First and Temple. Grand Park’s playground and dog run located in this area will be open for play. Other amenities including the splash pad, Little Libraries and Grand Park’s Walking Paths are available for use.

THANK YOU! County of Los Angeles / The Music Center: Performing Arts Center of Los Angeles / The James Irvine Foundation / FUSICOLOGY /Metro Los Angeles / Alta Dena

Go Metro: METRO RED/PURPLE LINES TO CIVIC CENTER/GRAND PARK STATION, GOLD LINE TO LITTLE TOKYO/ARTS DISTRICT STATION. Show your valid TAP card, Metro employee ID, or LA County employee ID at the info table and receive a special Hollywood Bowl Picnic Gift while supplies last.


More Info:




MOPLA Event: INSTAGRAM JAM – Saturday April 11- DTLA Arts District. Free

Instagram Jam

2015 marks the third iteration of the Lucie Foundation‘s Instagram Jam, originally conceived by Shaughn Crawford. This year will feature 20+ Instagram sensations including Tasya van Ree ARTIST, Downtown Muse and many more. A portion of the print sales will benefit SNAPSHOP!, Lucie Foundation’s at-risk youth workshop program. This event is produced in partnership with Edgar Varela and Melissa Richardson Banks of We Are DTLA.

Admission is FREE, but RSVP on Eventbrite ( is recommended (plus your name gets entered for a drawing to win a FREE Arts District print!).

Cash bar and food for sale during event. Photo by Tasya van Ree.

Featuring an all-star ladies line-up of DJs from The Real Roxanne featuring Suzie Asmar Strong (Legends DJ’s, Sparkletrot), Dot (Team Supreme, Unspeakable Records), DJ Syrena (Mastro’s Penthouse) and more…!

PPSST! Want to go on a FREE guided tour of the DTLA Arts District BEFORE the opening of Instagram Jam? First 30 people can sign up for the Downtown Muse Photo Walk. Meet at LOT 613. The guided walking tour starts promptly at 6:00 PM and ends at 7:30 PM. RSVP for FREE tickets onEventbriteLA here =>

LA Weekly’s Artopia is April 30 in DTLA Arts District … Get you earlybird tickets NOW!


The third annual LA Weekly‘s Artopia will be held on Thursday, April 30, 8-11 PM in the Arts District at The Container Yard, featuring live art, live music, performance-based fashion, and more. This year’s immersive art experience is curated by none other than renowned art critic and writer Shana Nys Dambrot. With more to come, she’s gathered an amazing array of artists to participate, including Victor Wilde and his Bohemian Society, Mud Baron,Debi Cable and her 3D Art Gallery, Mikael B. Design, interdisciplinary artist Amy Kaps,Marcus Kuiland-Nazario, and KCRW deejay Jeremy Sole.

In addition to the immersive art experience, Artopia will offer guests hand-crafted cocktails, shaken and stirred by the city’s most respected bartenders. A curated selection of Los Angeles’ hottest food trucks will on hand to enhance the evening by selling their signature dishes to hungry art aficionados. Last, but not least, new to Artopia this year is a special area devoted to vendors and artists who are showcasing and selling unique and handcrafted art and gift items. Produced by WeAreDLTA (a collaboration between Edgar Varela andMelissa Richardson Banks), the event’s first Artisan Village features an invited group of only 20 vendors.

Admission is limited to only 1,500 guests so buy your tickets NOW while they are still available and still only $30 (prices go up weekly until the event is sold out!)


LA Weekly’s Artopia on Thursday April 30, 2015 @ 8pm -11pm
The Container Yard @ 800 E. 4th St, Los Angeles 90013

Participating artisans include the following:

The-Tin-Man-logo-250pxThe-Fenix-250px RootsRevivalCo-Logo-250px Mayu Silk Art logo 250px HumanTreeRobot-logo-250px Downtown Muse logo 250px Detroit-Trash-250px DejaVita logo 250px Cowpunk Leather logo 250px Church-of-Type-250px ADPC iconBSG Logo square


DARK NIGHTS at L.A. Live > Friday Feb. 6th from 6-10pm (FREE) Art, Music & Performance.

LA_Dark Nights Feb6

Celebrate the ups of being Downtown at L.A. LIVE’s most exciting night – Dark Nights – featuring live musicians, performers, artists and indie craft vendors AND unbeatable $5 food & drink specials at participating L.A. LIVE restaurants! Don’t miss out on Downtown’s best night of the month!


Lawry’s Carvery   » menu
Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar » menu
Ford’s Filling Station   » menu
Katsuya L.A. LIVE   » menu
Live Basil Pizza   » menu
Red Mango   » menu
Rosa Mexicano   » menu
ROCK’N FISH   » menu
Smashburger   » menu
The Farm of Beverly Hills   » menu
Tom’s Urban  » menu
Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill   » menu

$5 PARKING (Free for Preferred Members)* » Parking Map 



Stonefeather l Ben Caron & The Joy Machine l Trio Ellas l Midnight Blues BandWaterparx l DJ Panamami l Anthony Valadez l Hendy & Thee Rockafarians l The Gajillionaires l


John Kilduff l James P. Scott l Patricia R. Mitchell l Dan Milnor Gonzales l Tamboura the Violinist l Mear One l Ted Meyer and Anna Stump l Man One lLEBA l Sand One l Danger Beez l Blosm l Nora Ann-Francis Martin-Hall l Blacklight King l Armando Rosete l 3D Art Gallery by Debi Cable l Drew Merritt l


Hula Hoop LED-Lit Dancers l Live Body Painting by Michael Buntyn l Live Body Painting by Robert Yancy l Microsoft Interactive Piano l

Indie Craft Vendors

HumanTreeRobot l A Blonde & Her Bag l Anvil Handcrafted l Blackbrain LA l Downtown Muse l Arts District Co-Op l Mayu Silk Art l London Manori lMacbeanie l Church of Type l Pocket Square Clothing l Btwn Wind & Water l Goat & Kettle l Objects with PurposeRoots Revival l Pop & Timber l Late Sunday Afternoon l

*Cash only. Lot W, Gate G. For Dark Nights parking map, click here.

Here’s a sneak peak of what Dark Nights is all about!

Are you an artist, musician or other type of performer? Do you want to be a part of one of our upcoming Dark Nights at L.A. LIVE? Submit your application here!

Entertainment curated by Melissa Richardson Banks of Downtown Muse and Edgar Varela of WeAreDTLA.



DTLA Dark Nights

L.A. LIVE presents DARK NIGHTS bringing you the best nights in town, the “dark nights”. Dark Nights are historically “dark” for L.A. LIVE with no other major events happening at L.A. LIVE which means these are the BEST nights to hit up L.A. LIVE for a night out in DTLA. No traffic, inexpensive parking and simply a great time.

DARK NIGHTS is a celebration at L.A. LIVE representing the Downtown community, local beats and culture.

More Details:

$5 Parking All Night* (Free for Downtown Preferred members)

$5 Food & Drink Menus All Night at the following restaurants:

Free Bike Valet 

Live music and performances throughout L.A. LIVE

*Parking for Dark Nights is only in the West Garage, Gate B. Only cash accepted.

Yes, this is happening. See you there.

Artopia 2014 – May 15 2014 – Grand Central Market

ArtopiaGet tickets:

L.A. Weekly is excited to confirm the artist lineup for this year’s Artopia! Taking place Thursday, May 15 from 7 to 11 p.m. at Grand Central Market, this year’s Artopia will focus on L.A.’s vibrant arts and culture scene, with a special focus on downtown, as well as celebrate the L.A. Weekly’s People Issue.

Curated by art critic (and L.A. Weekly contributor) Shana Nys Dambrot, this year’s Artopia features live mural painting by artists HUEMAN, Jim Mahfood and Jason Shawn Alexander, sculptural installations by Ramiro Gomez, a 3D Blacklight Experience from Debi Cable as well as a high-fashion peep show from the Bohemian Society featuring special guests Alexey Steele, Mika Mae Jones, Tyson Lee Smyer, Cielo Garcia, Kaylani Lei and Annie Cruz. Creative collective dublab will be curating a music installation including multiple DJ stations and performances. The Peach Kings and The Record Company will be performing live.

Curator Shana Nys Dambrot describes the vision of Artopia as experiential, saying: “We are entranced by the allure of experience. Art is a visual language, of course; but art, like life, is much more than pictures. Artopia is a place where art is everything and everything is art — painting, yes of course, and fashion (especially fashion), architecture, bustling crowds, film, food, open bars and dance music. Society is a fantastic spectacle of simultaneity, immersion, transgression, beauty, history, surprise, decadence, and most importantly, other people. And since we gather to celebrate the new People Issue, for Artopia we’ve assembled a family of performers, models, painters, designers, technicians, and deejays to weave a multi-sensory experience of after-hours culture in an historic location, with freehand mural-making, interactive projections, peep shows, body-printing, sculptural installations, and living dolls — all with a particular nod to the seduction of the handmade and the extravagances of the people who make downtown L.A. a haven for the urban avant-garde.”

General admission tickets are $30 and include entrance to the event as well as wine and beer. For more information and updates on Artopia and more information on the participating artists, check out

See you there!

Exhibition and Book Launch, Jan.18th – “MUSE-ings: Snapshots of the Arts District”

“MUSE-ings: Snapshots of the Arts District”

Book Launch Event  – Jan. 18th – 7-11pm

MUSEings FB Event Image 714x264-title-01
Photos & Artwork
Inspired by the Images

Jan. 18 – Feb. 8
 Art Share LA, 801 E. 4th Pl
Downtown LA, 90013

Richardson Banks, Melissa-Rooftop Sunset Blaze of Glory pg 96 (3in)Rodriguez, Sandy-Downtown Muse I-Rooftop Sunset pg 96 (3in)

One of Los Angeles’ most popular neighborhoods, the Downtown Arts District, is revealed and celebrated in a new book of photographs by Melissa Richardson Banks, “MUSE-ings:  Snapshots of the Arts District,” and in an exhibition featuring the photographs with artworks by over 40 artists inspired by the images.

A book launch event and exhibit opening will be held Saturday, January 18 @ 7 p.m. to 11 p.m., at the Warehouse Gallery of Art Share L.A., 801 E. 4th Place, Los Angeles. The exhibit will be on view through February 8. A closing reception and book signing will be held Saturday, February 8 @ 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. Admission is free. Gallery hours are 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesdays through Fridays and 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays. Proceeds from artwork and book sales benefit Art Share L.A., a nonprofit community center (

Captured and shared daily through her “Downtown Muse” blog and social media postings, the photographs by Richardson Banks reveal an insider’s view of the Arts District, which was transformed in the 1980s by artists who created studios in former industrial warehouses and is now in the midst of yet another major renaissance.
As characterized by, “Color spills from every surface among one of the city’s favorite neighborhood canvases, Los Angeles’ Arts District. Insatiable creative energy and unstoppable trendiness emanate from the walls of its swiftly repurposing warehouse spaces and industrial-inspired artists’ lofts. Galleries, studios, and connoisseurs of coffee, cocktails, and challenging concepts crowd into this unmistakably painted bastion for incoming artists and fresh-faced visionaries.”
Richardson Banks’ point of view in her photos chronicling this extraordinary community is more like someone admiring a loved one, rather than documenting a neighborhood. Images include a pile of colorfully painted bricks covered in graffiti from a demolished industrial building, luscious blossoms against stark concrete, bold skies crisscrossed by power lines, serpentine wire caressing iron fences, and sunlight washing over historic bridges. These are among the many images that evoke the sense of a place more pastoral or exotic than what one expects to find in the center of the nation’s second largest metropolis.

“I’m not longing for the past as much as I am appreciating the present and hoping for the future,” says Richardson Banks. “Since rapid changes are in the making, I feel compelled to capture what moments I can so I don’t forget a thing.”

Together with 50 photographs from the book, the MUSE-ings exhibition features over 45 works of art inspired by Richardson Banks’ images and created by artists, many of who follow the photographer’s blog online. “I’m especially inspired by art and artists because of my surroundings,” she says, “so it was natural for me to involve people whose work I love and admire by sharing their creativity through this exhibition.”

Using one or more photographs as inspiration, the artists created their own interpretation and incorporated their artistic license to create unique works of art.  The exhibit features narrative and representational art utilizing a variety of styles including impressionism, surrealism, abstract and outsider.  The work represents a wide range of media including paintings using oil, spray paint, watercolor and/or acrylic, mixed-media prints and drawings, as well as sculptural installations, neon, and more.

Artists include Jari “Werc” Alvarez, A.S. Ashley, Qathryn Brehm, Jesse Burgos, Gary Callahan, Diego Cardoso, Susie Chang, Jaime Colindres, Kikki Eder, Margaret Garcia, Clemente Garcia Lassaulx, Tom Garner, Kristopher Gee, Yolanda Gonzalez, Jacinto Guevara, Christian Hernandez, Javi Herrera, Miriam Jackson, Jeremy Thomas Kunkel, George Labrada, Bonnie Lambert, Lauren Langford, Leba, Lili Lakich, Tod Lychkoff, Ted Meyer, Colette Miller, Patricia R. Mitchell, Alberto Miyares, J.W. Pippen, Wenceslao Quiroz, Patti Lou Richardson, Rick Robinson, Sandy Rodriguez, Alex Schaefer, SEK, ShadowMonsterBear, Roderick Smith, Anna Stump, Bob Ujszaszi, and Jaime “Germs” Zacarias.

For more information about “MUSE-ings,” Art Share L.A. is a community art center that is a sanctuary for the arts and their creators, providing 30 live/work units and 14,000 sq. ft of creative space in Downtown Los Angeles. Stay tuned on Facebook/ArtShareLA.  For questions, please email

Richardson Banks, Melissa-Lavender tree and street art near Challenge Creamery

BOOK: Signed copies of “MUSE-ings” are locally available at The Pie Hole, 714 Traction Ave., Los Angeles. The book is also available nationally through at Signed copies of the book and photographic prints can also be purchased through the photographer’s website

EXHIBIT: “MUSE-ings:  Snapshots of the Arts District,” featuring 50 photographs from the book, as well as work by 41 L.A. artists inspired by the images, is on view January 18 through February 8 at the Warehouse Gallery of Art Share L.A., 801 E. 4th Place, Los Angeles. Free. Info at
Saturday, January 18 @ 7 p.m. to 11 p.m.  Launch party for the book and opening reception for the exhibit. Free.
Saturday, February 8 @ 7 p.m. to 11 p.m.  Closing reception and book signing. Free.

EVENTS: Thursday, February 13, Melissa Richardson Banks is the featured artist in the Downtown Art Walk’s Art Walk Lounge at 634 S. Spring Street, Los Angeles.  Books and prints will be available for sale.

Praise for “MUSE-ings: Snapshots of the Arts District, Downtown Los Angeles” by Melissa Richardson Banks:

Melissa Richardson Banks is our secret eyes, finding the secret light that illuminates the secrets of an ever-changing neighborhood and bringing them out into plain sight so that they are secrets no more. ~ Cheech Marin, collector, art advocate and entertainer

Melissa Richardson Banks offers a poignant long-form photo-essay chronicling the changing contours of a singular place and time. Her taste for saturated color is met by the neighborhood’s organic proliferation of street art and industrial palimpsests. Her instinct for painterly detail appreciates the way rail tracks or light posts recede just so, the way the sun paints the sky and myriad reflections paint each other, and the peculiar architectural romance of the moribund manufacturing sector. In the tradition of classic street-photographers like Eugène Atget and Henri Cartier-Bresson, her images capture a specific sense of place that looks like poetry, but does the job of documentary. Her unerring eye for the rhythms of her environment approaches the power of, if not nature exactly, then the thing that people like us chooses instead of nature. ~ Shana Nys Dambrot – art critic, Whitehot Magazine

Great artists have flocked to Tumblr to share their work for the digital world to see. Unfortunately, those creative minds usually forget about Tumblr within a few weeks after creating it. That’s why Melissa Richardson Banks’ online anthology of downtown Los Angeles’ Art District, Downtown Muse, is such a treat. Richardson Banks shares her “fly-on-the-wall” view of street scenes and local stories a couple times a day. Every day. And if you want to get the offline experience of her Tumblr, she offers free neighborhood tours weekly. ~ Judge, 2013 LA Weekly Web Award.

New Gastropub in DTLA (Chinatown) with great drinks!

643 North is Downtown’s latest gastropub with an Italian twist. Like similar establishments, the focus is on featuring great drinks paired with sophisticated small and larger bites. In this case, the food is comforting (and reasonably priced!) while keeping somewhat of an edge to satisfy most L.A. diners. The challenge is its location: its building is off the beaten path in Chinatown on North Spring Street near Cesar Chavez Avenue.

Let’s get down to the important stuff … the well-stocked and carefully crafted drink menu! Many of the cocktails were designed by bartender Adam Acuff (Far Bar) and the full bar has 12 beers on tap, a menu for patrons to craft their own martinis and Manhattans, specialty cocktails, artisanal wine, aperitifs, digestifs, and alcoholic coffee drinks made with beans from Little Tokyo’s Demitasse Roasters.

Luckily, Melissa Richardson Banks of Downtown Muse joined me for my first visit to 643 North, which allowed us to sample a greater variety of drinks. We started off by sipping from the restaurant’s signature menu. Our first drink was the “Red Hot Cherry Pepper,” which is a spicy mix of Del Maguey Mezcal Vida, Cocchi Vermouth di Torino, and Cherry Heering liqueur accented with a sliced red bell pepper and chopped jalapeno pepper. It had a nice kick in the mouth with a balanced spicy, yet gentle flavor.

Our next drink was “Smokey the Pear,” a light mix of High West Whiskey Campfire®, St. Germain elderflower liqueur, spiced pear syrup, lemon juice, and Fee’s Whiskey Barrel-Aged Bitters. This refreshing cocktail is just right and is not overpowered with sweetness.

“Go Figure Yourself” – perhaps 643 North’s most complex and best signature cocktail – offers a perfect mix of Avion Reposado tequila, Bénédictine liqueur, Carpano Antica sweet vermouth, fig thyme syrup, lime juice and fig bitters topped with a splash of Pinot Noir. The drink evolves the longer it sits – the first sip gives you a nice wine flavor followed by a nice second layer of reposado with a fig finish. After 10 minutes, the flavors mature (wine breathing!) and the flavor solidifies into a complex rich flavor that pleases the palate and does not overpower … potent, rich and downright delicious.

Regarding beer, 643 North has done a great job in selecting seasonal craft beers. From the current menu, I love the Smoked Porter from Stone Brewing Co. and the Great Divide’s Yeti Imperial Stout by Great Divide Brewing Company. There are also selections from Black Market Brewing and Ninkasi Brewing. You can get a flight of four for a reasonable $12.

Last, but not least, 643 North offers a hefty selection of aperitifs and digestifs.  After tasting several small bites and sampling pizza, we opted to share a flight of digestifs (four for $16). I recommend the Fernet Jelinek (Czech) if you like strong, explosive flavors and the Rhubarbo Zucca Amaro if you prefer velvety smooth complex flavors. Either one will pacify you into a well-earned food coma destined to come.

Be sure to ask bartender Adam Acuff for suggestions as he is well versed in his craft and can  help guide you in your adventure. Cheers to the newest – and most welcomed – addition to the DTLA culinary family!

For a full story on the space and food check out my friend Downtown Muse‘s story at All images below by Downtown Muse

"Smokey the Pear" photo by Downtown Muse
“Smokey the Pear” photo by Downtown Muse
"Red Hot Cherry Pepper" photo by Downtown Muse
“Red Hot Cherry Pepper” photo by Downtown Muse
"Go Figure Yourself" photo by Downtown Muse
“Go Figure Yourself” photo by Downtown Muse

“We Were In Sicily” (Revisited), Photographs by Rachel Roze

“We Were In Sicily” (Revisited)

Photographs by Rachel Roze

Opening Reception
Saturday Oct. 20th (7-10pm)

October 20th – November 11th

Edgar Varela Fine Arts (EVFA)
727 S. Spring Street
Los Angeles, CA 90014

EVFA is pleased to present a revisiting of Rachel Roze’s solo show, We Were In Sicily, a selection of work from Il Pesce Pazzo. Here are a couple statements about this collection of works.

+The collection of photographs taken in the summer of 2011 and shot entirely in film showcases her 40-day trip in Sicily, Italy. An enticing invitation to her Italian peregrination, her works offer stills flooded with sexuality, nationality, and the naked truth of seductive youth. Voluntarily, the viewer joins Roze in exploring the female body, men, and a culture of lust and the content. Playfully pushing the boundaries between personal and shared, Il Pesce Pazzo infiltrates the viewer into a sea of curiosity while the heat of the city, the men, and the markets, shower the voyeuristic onlooker. Layers of affection and admiration meet a hot and sticky meat-market, and with religion on every wall and the nude on every floor, Roze beautifully appropriates the rediscovery and documentation of the illicit. The onlooker can’t help but join Roze in her escapades into the grainy crevices of sex, and Sicily.
– Elena Parasco

+Photographer Rachel Roze’s “We Were in Sicily” is not subtle at first glance, but take a longer look, because you are going to want to, and you will find layers upon layers in a singular composition. The work was all done on film, not Instagram, and has a quality that feels vintage, although it was made during a 40-day trip to Sicily, Italy, in the summer of 2011. The work has sexually charged overtones, while the muted tones give an old-world romance quality. However, I urge you to not only focus on the obvious ones. Roze views the city and her perspective offers a sense of familiarity and complete immersion that is unlike anything a tourist could accomplish.
– Kathy M.Y. Pyon, LA Times

About Rachel Roze:
“I have a lot of chameleon qualities, I get very absorbed in my surroundings”
River Phoenix

I grew up in an untraditional family in a traditional suburb outside of New York City; a place where artists were not appreciated and the norm was. Craving change, I packed my bags at nineteen and decided to move myself to California; I wanted to live “over the rainbow,” something about California was calling me. I arrived in California for the first time and quickly realized I had accidentally rented a room in a trailer park, not in an apartment, in a strange area known as Ojai. Living in that trailer park for almost a year, before later moving to LA, flipped my whole world around. I needed to capture everything, the vividness, the chaos; I needed to capture my surroundings. This is where I picked up photography. It was my way of holding on to the newness of this strange place, like keeping a visual journal. I spent the following years in LA developing my hobby into a profession, working with a handful of well-known photographers and artists, who helped guide my craft, and along the way graduated from Brooks Institute Of Photography with a Bachelors degree in Visual Communication. My work is a look into my life, capturing moments, people, and myself on a daily basis; I capture my surroundings.

Edgar Varela Fine Arts is dedicated to exhibiting compelling work from exciting emerging and mid-career artists as well as providing a platform for interaction and conversation about the contemporary art world. EVFA also curates and produces relevant cultural happenings that impact the perception on traditional art roles in society. The gallery space is open from Wednesday to Saturday from 12pm to 6pm and by appointment. For more information call Edgar Varela at 213-604-3634, e-mail at or visit