Top Seven Culver City Stories of 2012

7. The Expo Line Opens

On June 7, the Expo Line connecting Culver City to downtown Los Angeles (and points in between) opened, the first step in a new era of public transportation on the West side. I've been (happily) taking the line to and from work since the end of July, and I've seen the ridership rise steadily. Culver City Councilman Jim Clarke also takes the train a couple of times a week to his day job in Los Angeles City Hall. Work has already begun in earnest on the extension of the line to Santa Monica in the next couple of years. That means that Culver City needs to act fast to take advantage of its current status as a terminal. 

6. Maker Studios Captures Some of YouTube's $100 million

I have two daughters, 13 and 15, and they have a completely different approach to media to mine when I was their age. Instead of plunking themselves in front of a television for entertainment, they both head right to YouTube. If you've never heard of (YouTube sensation) Tobuscus, you have some learning to do about the new media landscape. This year, YouTube made a $100 investment in additional programming for this new generation -- and sought to expand its audience through channels aimed at Moms and Latinos. As I reported back in February, Culver City's own Maker Studio received some of that investment, and today is at the forefront of the new media revolution.You can read the whole story HERE.

5. Death Star 7-Eleven is Coming

Thanks to a lively comments section, Culver City Times readers had a front-row seat for the debate as to whether the Culver City Council should approve plans to bring a 7-Eleven to the corner of Braddock and Sepulveda. In early September, the Council voted 4-to-1 to reject an appeal that would have prevented the building of the convenience store. It was a bit of an ordeal, and somewhere along the line the Culver City Planning Commission decided that a traditionally designed 7-Eleven wouldn't do, so what we're going to get is something approximating the futuristic design shown above. Interesting.

4. Tony Tasset's Rainbow Erected on the Sony Lot

It was a story that Culver City Times first broke in May of 2011, and the idea of a giant rainbow towering over the city captured the imagination of people all over Los Angeles and beyond. In the end, Tony Tasset's 94-foot-tall "Rainbow" was a bit underwhelming -- it's not as prominent as one might imagine -- but it's still fun to spot as you drive down Culver Boulevard. Here's the STORY on the unveiling in October.

3. Ice Skating in Downtown Culver City

The first I heard that there might be an outdoor ice skating rink in downtown Culver City this winter was in an email that Councilman Jeff Cooper wrote me. He verified that construction Parcel B on had been delayed as the state sorted the fallout from disbanding all redevelopment agencies. But he added that he hoped that Parcel B could benefit the community while it was in its current state, saying "There is a proposal that would turn Parcel B into an outdoor ice rink during the holiday season. I look forward to deciding on this with my colleagues, as I feel this would be a great temporary reuse of property with a positive impact on the downtown area."  The idea was indeed approved, and soon after Thanksgiving, Parcel B was transformed into a Winter Wonderland.

2. The Branded Arts Building Celebrates its Demise

The Branded Arts Building is a beautiful symbol of not only of the vitality of Culver City and its Arts District -- but also of a city in transition. After all, these extraordinary murals at the corner of Washington and National only exist because the buildings were scheduled to be torn down to make way for Metro-adjacent retail/restaurant space. Hearing this, Warren Brand made a deal with the owner -- he would attract some of the world's foremost muralists to decorate the buildings' walls while they stood. Thus, derelict buildings were transformed into the mural capital of Los Angeles -- and a colorful and fun "Welcome!" to the people coming Culver City on the Expo Line. With the buildings' demolition imminent (supposedly in March of 2013), Warren Brand threw a bash this November to celebrate the achievements of Branded Arts Building.

1. The Jazz Bakery Finds a New Home in Downtown Culver City

Last January the Culver City Council took an extraordinary measure to assure that the Jazz Bakery -- long one of city's crown jewels -- would continue to have a home in downtown Culver City. It gave the property at 9814 Washington Boulevard (right next to the Culver Theater) to the Jazz Bakery for free -- with the understanding that they will develop on the site a state-of-the-art jazz venue with 250 seats. With legendary architect Frank Gehry set to design the building, the Jazz Bakery will be a treasure for decades to come.

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