Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Pat It and Prick It and Mark It

Ugly mural, no?

No?

Someone thought so, and now Altadena's Patticakes Dessert Company is having to defend itself--albeit with a legion of fans to support it.

Patticakes is a good place to buy baked goods for an event, as well as nice little spot to have a cup of coffee and a piece of cake. Perfectly innocent. Yet the art on the exterior wall is apparently in violation of a county code.

Seriously.

Yep.

That's what I thought, too.

Is this art or is it advertising? The discussion on Altadena Patch got some saliva glands going; if the complainers ever get caught they might just get baked in a pie.

I once had a brick wall for a fence. I speak from experience when I suggest the following: if the County paints over this mural, the County--or whoever lodged the complaint--gets to take on the cost and responsibility of painting over the graffiti that will appear on this wall--guaranteed--at least three times a week.

You don't have to be from Altadena to stop by Patticakes at 1900 N. Allen Avenue and sign the petition to keep the mural. (I did, and I bought a chocolate tartlet thingy while I was there just, you know, to show 'em I mean what I say.) I wanted to get a picture of the mural without cars parked in front of it, but every time one car left another two arrived and I didn't have all day. Apparently the County's done Patticakes a favor, at least in the short term: right now, business is sweet.


Update:
The mural stays.

See
Altadenablog
Pasadena Weekly

31 comments:

HearkenCreative said...

Grrrr...

Janet M Kincaid said...

Sometimes, city governments are so obtuse in their thinking. Rather than an artful mural filling the space and cutting down on delinquency, crime, and loitering, the city opts for a blank wall and wasting tax dollars on policing and cleaning up the space. Oh, the stupidity. If I was in Altadena, I'd sign the petition to keep the mural.

dive said...

That's a fun mural. I love your suggestion.

Susan Campisi said...

I got so mad when I read about this on altadenablog, I went right over and signed the petition. The line was too long so I left without buying anything, but I know the pastries are out of this world. The apple tarts are the best I've ever tasted.

The antics of LA County are infuriating.

Vanda said...

I like the mural!

Colleen Bates said...

This is about the 5th ridiculous such action recently in Altadena. It's like the county wants Altadena to fail. The attempt to shut down Food Truck Friday, hassling Coffee Gallery about open-mic night, chasing away Danny's Farm.... it's just nutty.

TheChieftess said...

Will someone please sign my name to the petition???

Sometimes, I really think that we should bring back putting stupid people in stocks in public squares...I'd put the complainers in stocks, go get some extra pastries and throw a few at them...

Ah!!! I feel better...now I just want to visit and have a chocolate tartlet thingy and a cup of good java!!!

Genie -- Paris and Beyond said...

I would love to go there! Certainly cities are trying to present an image, but this is not Colonial Williamsburg! What a joyous mural and how ridiculous to suggest that it be painted so you can have graffiti...

Let's meet there for a café and a pastry!

Bises,
Genie

Bellis said...

As murals go, this is one of the prettiest. Better than a blank wall for sure. My first thought was that a competitor reported it to LA County, but the owner told me they have very good relations with all the shops around them.

The problem for LA County is how to let this mural stay while banning gigantic commercial ads elsewhere. Doubtless some smart lawyer for a wealthy corporation like Coca Cola will point to this mural and demand the same exemption.

None of this would be happening if someone hadn't reported this as a violation. Grrrr Grrrrr.

Bellis said...

The Pasadena Star-News has a good article about this:

http://tinyurl.com/4ys8x98

Petrea Burchard said...

Thanks, everyone. Here's the Altadenablog post I missed, with comments.

Colleen--don't forget the County tried to shut down the monthly Urban Farmers' Market at the Zane Grey Estate.

J+P said...

It's not much of a painting (though the draftsmanship on that strawberry is distinctly Thiebaudian), but it's also not much of an ad. I'd argue that its nonspecificity (commercially) plus its value to the community (as decoration) tips it over the line into art, rather than eyesore. That makes it seem as though the county wants to penalize personal expression, so I'll sign the petition.

TheChieftess said...

I agree J+P...without text promoting the business, it tips the scale towards art...

But I don't think this is about individual expression for the county...it is bureaucracy at it's worst. it's like car manufacturers putting those imprinted warnings on the sun visor of a new car stating that there is an air bag in the glove compartment. Or the imprinted warning at the bottom of levelor blinds warning of the hazards of the cord, wrapping around your neck...how many people do these stupid warnings address...and yet the rest of us have to "suffer" the consequences...ie: the warnings plastered everywhere...

In this case, one person complains and it sets a precedence...or it gets the ball rolling for other infractions...squelch the person and situation by eliminating the issue...

Whatever...it stinks!!!

Anonymous said...

Altadena needs to INCORPORATE.

Gina said...

I will go sign it tomorrow. Doesn't the county have real problems to deal with? So glad my tax dollars are working hard to squelch small business and creativity.

Latino Heritage said...

Well it's not the grandest art ever, but it does add some color to a particularly non-desrcript interection. On the other corners are a small parking lot, and very bland exteriors of a travel agency, laundromat, and a cultural center. They may all be lovely indoors, but their exteriors are another matter.
Good to see so many folks that are signing the petition. Bellis so right. There are more folks that enjoy a little a little artistic expression than there are curmudgeons who are willing to call code enforcement on a place like Patticakes.

altadenahiker said...

I love the fact, though, that the publicity has been a boon for their business. Poetic justice.

Margaret said...

Patticakes has really good sugar cookies with sprinkles on top. Isn't that all that really matters?

Anonymous said...

I suggest we begin a petition to place
TERM LIMITS
on the Los Angeles County
Supervisors


Take note:

MR. MICHAEL D. ANTONOVITCH!!!

5th District Emperor

Laura said...

The County pretty much leaves us alone up here unless someone complains. The rash of County actions lately leads me to believe that there are a few people who have recently moved to our little burg and don't like (or understand) the bohemian-tinged nature of Altadena.

I say, move back where you came from!

Anonymous said...

gb:

Stupid people got no reason to live

Anonymous said...

ginab:

BTW, SoCal friends, IN-N-OUT Burger opened in 2 Dallas area cities today. People have been camped out since Monday.

10 more stores are planned for the area

Virginia said...

I"m going with art and delectable art at that! YUM
V

And another thing.... with all the awful tagging going on all over the world that makes my head spin, this makes me smile. SO THERE!

Trish said...

am gonna apologize for what I'm going to say....

what the PHUCK is someone thinking, complaining about this mural?

Seriously?

I understand the concept that if they let one mural in, they might have to let others in or block others and then lawsuits ensue because one is "art" another is "an ad".

But, truthfully, even if it were a huge Coke sign, that'd be better than graffiti or a blank wall.

I miss being able to drive around and see business signs painted on the side of buildings, I miss the actual art, as this mural is (ok, not a perfect still life or something to make you question if there is a REAL cupcake on the wall, but it is pretty).

Someone had to have complained and whomever that is needs to have their head examined. I'd second The Chieftess' suggestion of stockades. I'd sit there and have a picnic in front of them in the stocks, licking BBQ sauce off my fingers with a slurp (ok, I'll have to pretend I didn't attend Westridge) and enjoying every last bit of pastry---even tho I'm allergic to them, I'd MAKE the sacrifice! ;-P

sheesh...gone and riled me up, moronic imbeciles, taking DOWN a mural?!?! wtf?

wv: crist...holy father, lord our crist, what on earth hath possessed you to prod whomever instigated this investigation? were it a more worthy effort, we'd have included the "h" here, but we've used it for the "WTH?"

Ms M said...

I like murals like these. I hope they are allowed to keep it.

Katie said...

So if Patticakes redid this mural to instead feature a huge frothy mug of beer, massive garlic fries and a 10-foot long chili dog that would be ok right, since they don't sell those items? I'm sure the 2 complaining neighbors would be fine with that. Uh-huh. Unbelievably ridiculous controversy over this "sure the heck beats graffiti" mural. But now I'm looking forward to getting a 5-foot high piece of strawberry cake from Patticakes next time I'm in the area so I guess the subtle advertising is working.

Petrea Burchard said...

I haven't had to say much today, have I?

It looks like most of us are in agreement, though I suppose those who don't agree might feel intimidated to comment here.

You make a good point, Katie (you all do)--I should say, two good points: one, a mural of other, uglier food is okay under this ridiculous law and two, when I was there the other day there was not a strawberry to be found of any size.

So then is this art? Or false advertising?

Ginab, you made us eat at In N Out burger tonight. It'll be on your head.

J.J. in L.A. said...

Yep. Everytime someone complains about something, business picks up.

Look at MySpace. It was booming for awhile with the news reports about how "bad" it was. They stopped reporting it and now Facebook is taking up the slack. lol!

Petrea Burchard said...

Good or bad, when the publicity dies down the business will have to maintain the new customers it gained, by being of the quality they desire. Maybe Myspace wasn't it. I think Patticakes will keep most of their new customers. It's a nice little discovery for those who haven't been there before.

Paula L. Johnson said...

You'd think the county would have more pressing priorities than targeting a colorful mural or the open mic nights at The Coffee Gallery. Jeesh.

Petrea Burchard said...

I drove through downtown LA today. You know that mural for the LA Chamber Orchestra that's been alongside the freeway for...what? 20 years? If this is advertising, how is that not advertising? It even says "Los Angeles Chanber Orchestra" on the mural, whereas there's no lettering on Patticakes' mural.

If Patticakes' mural has to come down I say all such murals have to come down. mostly because I'm really tired of that mural.