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February 2009

"Intensidad" opening at Avenue 50 Studio on February 14

Intensidad an exhibit opening at Avenue 50 Studio on February 14

Featuring artists:

Barbara Carrasco
J. Michael Walker
Elizabeth Perez
John Valadez

With poetic responses from:

Gloria Enedina Alvarez
Abel Salas
Peter J. Harris
Rubén Funkahuatl Guevara

Opening Night Reception:  Saturday, February 14, 2009 from 7-10 pm

February 14 through March 8, 2009


Real Estate Market activity in zip codes 90031, 90032, 90041, 90042, 90065 for the previous week as reported in I-Tech MLS:

New listings entered

Price reductions

Reported pending

Reported sold and closed 

These zip codes include the Northeast Los Angeles communities of Eagle Rock, Highland Park, Mount Washington, Glassell Park, Sycamore Grove, Garvanza, Montecito Heights, Cypress Park, Lincoln Heights, El Sereno, Monterey Hills, and Hermon. 

Center for the Arts, Eagle Rock Presents Needle in a Haystack

Center for the Arts, Eagle Presents Needle in a Haystack

Where:  Center for the Arts, Eagle Rock 2225 COLORADO BLVD. LOS ANGELES CA 90041 323.226.1617

When:  January 24 - February 28, 2009
Opening Reception Saturday January 24, 2009 7pm-10pm
Closing Reception Saturday February 28, 2009 7pm-10pm

Curator: Nate Garcia
Participating Artists: Edgar Arceneaux, John Barlog, John Burtle, Harrell Fletcher, Allan Kaprow, Ari Kletzky, Erik Knutzen, Rick Lowe, Elana Mann, Linda Pollack, Sea and Space Explorations (Adam Overton, Asher Hartman/Haruko Tanaka), special collaborative project by Suzanne Lacy and the Otis Public Practice Program. Performance by DJ Nobody.

Needle in a Haystack is a multivalent exhibition of historical documentation, artifacts (photographs, video, ephemera) of socially-engaged performances that seek to expand traditional notions of how art can function in society. As a component of Needle in a Haystack, the Center for the Arts, Eagle Rock has organized a series of artist-led workshops, expeditions, and events that are open to all.

Rick Lowe's idea of revitalizing a neighborhood in Houston's Northern Third War (one of the city's oldest African-American communities) has culminated in the creation of a sustainable community known as Project Row House ( ). He successfully worked with artists and architects to renovate twenty-two abandoned shotgun style houses.

Edgar Arceneauxwill  exhibit documentation and photographs of his involvement with Watts House Project; an artist-driven urban revitalization project centered around the historic Watts Towers ( ).

Johns Barlog and Burtlewill facilitate excursions; exploring the local area and hosting events in the space for the duration of the exhibition. For the opening they will be inviting visitors of the Center and members of the surrounding neighborhood to each contribute an ingredient to make a communal soup.  The Eagle Rock Community Soup will be prepared and served for all to enjoy at the Center of the Arts, Eagle Rock on the day of the opening. To find out how to participate contact chickensofthepeople @

Elana Mannwill  show her recent project entitled "Exchange Rate: 2008," which was a performance exchange between 38 artists from 16 different countries in response to the 2008 US presidential elections. ( ).

Ari Kletzkywill lead an expedition in search of public space where participants can legally assemble at any time of day or night. Ari has begun the Islands of LA project ( ) in which he explores the use and availability of traffic islands as public space to foster discussion and community.

Erik Knutzen ( ) will  brew third place home brewed ale the night of the opening, which will ferment in the gallery, as a sculpture, for the duration of the show. The beer will be consumed on the night of the closing reception, February 28, 2009.

We will  screen archival footage of Allan Kaprow's Happenings courtesy of the Armory in Pasadena.

Harrell Fletcherwill exhibit documentation of his role assisting a young boy in the creation and installation of a bronze art piece in a sculpture park in Brittany, France.

We will  team up with local multiconceptual gallery, Sea and Space Explorations ( ) which will have artists Adam Overton leading a workshop on experimental do-it-yourself massage called artSpa and artists Asher Harman and Haruko Tanakawill be leading the workshop: Turning your Trash into Gold.

Linda Pollackis an artist whose work creates new, fluid spaces where communities can come together to discuss the challenges and possibilities of shared civic life. Audience will be able to listen to a recording and view photographs of her workshop, My Daily Constitution, which occurred in Indianapolis, Indiana. ( ).

The Otis Public Practice Program, led by Suzanne Lacy, will be using the Center for the Arts, Eagle Rock to exhibit images and video documentation of their current partnership with the city of Laton in the San Joaquin Valley.
(!_Bienvenidos!_Bem-vindo! )

Center for the Arts, Eagle Rock is a nonprofit 501(c) 3 arts programming organization.The mission of the Center is to provide innovative and multicultural arts programming to the communities of North East Los Angeles. We are housed in a historical 1914 Carnegie Library. It is a space that is both socially significant and satisfies both community and cultural needs of our diverse neighborhood.

Gallery Hours Monday- Friday 11am-6pm   Saturday 11am-2pm
Center for the Arts, Eagle Rock
2225 Colorado Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA  90041

It's none of my business, Mr. Gates, but....

A little earlier this morning I listened to a news story about Bill Gates pledging $250 million to fight polio. And that's a wonderful noble thing.  I applaud him.

Then, about an hour later, I heard a different news story about Microsoft cutting 5,000 jobs.

Now, I have no idea what kind of severance package these Microsoft employees will receive, and what Mr. Gates does with his money is none of my business...

But, the thought occurs to me, that wouldn't it be great if Mr. Gates would commit some of his money to helping these newly unemployed former Microsoft workers through what is undoubtedly going to be a difficult time for them?

Los Angeles Mortgage Rates Report: January 21, 2009

Shopping for mortgage rates might have become easier but shopping for a mortgage is still quite difficult. Did you know that half of the loan applications taken last month did NOT result in a funded loan?  The long desired 4.5% mortgage rate is hard to get.  We’ve been there twice and you received a 4.5% mortgage if you:

1- Have impeccable credit

2- Have lots of equity (many borrowers were surprised at how foreclosures stole their equity)

3- Have plenty of documented income and were prudent in your use of debt.

4- Only refinanced the loan amount you used to purchase the property (you didn’t extract any cash out from a previous refinance)

5- Dealt with an originator who understood that mortgage rates were VERY volatile, gathered your information, picked a lender who wasn’t swamped with loans, and executed a rate lock at the appropriate time.

Have you seen what happened to mortgage rates this past week? They shot up from the mid 4’s to over 5%; that’s a half-percentage point rise in eight days.  The mortgage bonds market is skittish about our new President.  His Economic Recovery Plan relies on huge government borrowing and that is inflationary.

I have no comment about his plan; that’s far above my paygrade.  I do, however, think this massive government borrowing will drive rates into the 6’s within 12 months.  Still, there should be a pinprick of light through this dark cloud (in the form of a low mortgage rate)

Listen to this 3 minute podcast to find out when we should see that light.


Real Estate Market activity in zip codes 90031, 90032, 90041, 90042, 90065 for the previous week as reported in I-Tech MLS:

New listings entered

Price reductions

Reported pending

Reported sold and closed 

These zip codes include the Northeast Los Angeles communities of Eagle Rock, Highland Park, Mount Washington, Glassell Park, Sycamore Grove, Garvanza, Montecito Heights, Cypress Park, Lincoln Heights, El Sereno, Monterey Hills, and Hermon.

Are your Christmas lights still up?

Are your Christmas lights still up? 

Seems to me that lighting up the Christmas lights on Inauguration Day could be seen as a display of hope and support for the new incoming President.   (Just the lights, tho... hold the Santas, the reindeers and camels. )

I suppose that's an unconventional thought,  does anyone else feel that way?

Los Angeles Mortgage Rates Report: January 14, 2009

atlasThe US Treasury Department has been supporting the mortgage bonds market, in order to keep mortgage rates under 5%.  I cited two reasons why sub-5% rates might not happen:

1- Capacity: Lenders don’t have the horses to ride since they laid off so many workers in 2008.

2- Greed:  Lenders typically made a loan at a rate and sold it for about a half a point profit.  The improvement in mortgage bonds allowed lenders to fatten up their margins and make as much as 3% of the loan when they sold it.

I think the real reason was more in line with my first guess; capacity.  What I didn’t realize was that the mortgage lenders were out of money.  Well, sort of.  To understand this concept you have to understand the “flow” of mortgage loans.  The big banks, like B of A, Citi, and Wells, loan direct or buy loans from other lenders and brokers.  We “commit” those loans to them and they sell the loans off to Wall Street.  If my company loans you $300,000, we’ll sell it to a bigger bank for $303,000, and they sell it to Wall Street for $306,000…except…

They don’t really get paid but once a quarter.  Loans made back in October have been COMMITTED to Wall Street, by those big lenders, but the transaction (sale of the loan) only happens every three months.  While they wait for that transaction day, their funding line gets filled up.  Imagine a funding line (sometimes called a warehouse line of credit) like a big credit card,  Normally, a big bank needs, say $100 Billion for its line.  The unexpected refinance volume filled up that line quickly.

Those big lenders were “at their credit limit”…until today.

Today was this past quarter’s settlement day, which means, the big lenders sold off all of the loans to Wall Street and paid off their “super-sized credit card”. From Mortgage News Daily:

Tomorrow brings us the final day of Class A settlement, in which sellers of MBS deliver the loans in pools to satisfy the executed sale trades made over the last 3 months.  When this occurs, sellers will finally receive payment for the most action-packed month of originations in recent memory.  Up until now, the cost to originate these loans has been borne by MBS sellers, aka originators.  We have surmised that one of the several components that is causing a much-larger-than-welcome margin of MBS prices to lenders’ rate sheets is the funding constraint created by the gradual exhaustion of money to satisfy a rapidly increasing originationd demand.  As this money has dried up, it stands to reason that lenders must artificially raise rates to deter incoming business in order to avoid exceeding their funding sources.

Lenders have lots of cash to lend again. NOW is when we should see the lenders start pricing in line with the mortgage bonds market.  Mortgage rates should drop to 4.5% …IF the mortgage-backed securities market remains strong.

This is what the Treasury Department was waiting for.  Expect the Government to support mortgage bonds, so that lenders can lend out all this cheap money they have and still make a healthy profit.  It might take a radiofew days and I don’t expect mortgage rates to stay this low for too long.

Listen to how this phenomenon might get you a mortgage rate as low as 4.5% on Radio Mortgage.

At the risk of sounding alarmist, you should be getting your ducks lined up and talking to a mortgage adviser….NOW…not later.  I’m not selling you, I’m TELLING you to…

take action now.