about long-time Echo Park resident Roger Guenveur Smith’s new play Juan and John running at the Kirk Douglas Theater in Culver City through Sunday.
We’ve negotiated a special rate for Echo Park Patch readers that will let you see the show for just $15. Click here to reserve and use the code “Diamond.”
The piece goes through Sunday with shows at 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. Saturday, and one at 6:30 p.m. on Sunday.
Because we’re local, two is a charm. Roger made some extra time to join us on the patio at earlier this week, to talk more about Echo Park and life in the shadow of Dodger Stadium at another historic moment.
Here’s just a little bit of our conversation. We’ll post more of it tomorrow.
Echo Park Patch: You grew up in Baldwin Hills. But you moved to Echo Park in the 1980s. How’d you end up here?
Roger Guenveur Smith: It’s crazy because something just kept me coming this way and driving this way and there was something about it that attracted me. The combination of the green and the urban. I came here and found an amazing deal for a very small place but it was all windows and it looked west. I stayed there for seven years. And then I came up here.
Echo Park Patch: What are you favorite things about the area?
Smith: Elysian Park is a tremendous resource. It’s extraordinary experience to walk out of your door and be on a trail in the middle of 17 million people. I’m up there every day. Being able to walk to Dodger Stadium is definitely a plus. And to be able to drive down Echo Park Avenue, emerge and be able to pick a place to eat, I like that. I try to stay as close as possible. It’s a big venture for me to go to the westside…And we’re sequestered between five freeways but I don’t’ hear anything. That’s amazing.
Echo Park Patch: What do you think of the changes in the neighborhood that so many talk about?
Smith: I don’t think the changes in EP are any more or less grand than anywhere else in the city. And I think there are some things about Echo Park that won’t change cause of the housing stock and topography, the combination of multi-family dwellings and private homes. Echo Park will always be attractive to artists, hipsters. Where we are was called Red Hill because it was attractive to countercultural people and continues to be. Today’s counterculture people might have a bigger budget, but there are things about Echo Park that just won’t change.
Check back Saturday for Part Two of our conversation with Echo Park's Roger Guenveur Smith.