This citizen Blog is dedicated to allowing the Los Feliz Community to voice their opinions regarding Saving one of Los Angeles Last Remaining Old Hollywod Landmarks. The historic "Derby" Building is the last of the remaining Brown Derby's and is set to be demolished!

Thursday, February 16, 2006




Through the LA Conservancy, we submitted a nomination to the Cultural Heritage Commission to make the Derby (4500 Los Feliz Blvd.) an official City Landmark. The Commission's Staff Report was just released and it recommends that the Commission not even take our nomination under consideration. THEY WON'T EVEN CONSIDER IT!!!




What: Meeting - Cultural Heritage Commission
When: February 16th, 10:00AM Where: City Hall, Room 1010 (10th Floor) 200 N. Spring Street - but use Main Street entrance bring ID to pass through security
For a map click here

Wednesday, November 30, 2005


Hi Folks,

For those keeping up to date on "The Derby" situation, below is an email from Rebecca Goodman from Save the Derby Coalition. It looks like the large turn out helped to sway the City Councils vote to turn down the current Derby plans!

Save the Derby Coalition – EMAIL UPDATE 11/29/05

Again, thank you to everyone for making the Town Hall Meeting (which took place earlier this month) a success. Based on the meeting, the neighborhood council voted to oppose the current development plans. Plus, councilman Tom LaBonge (4th District) also issued a wonderful written statement in support of saving the Derby and scaling back the proposed development. Remember, we are off to good start but we still have a long way to go!

Didn’t get to talk to Councilman Tom LaBonge or his staff at the Town Hall meeting?
Attend the 4th District Holiday Reception
Friday Dec. 2, 2005 6:00-9:00 p.m.
District 4 Field Office
10116 Riverside Drive, Suite 200 in Toluca Lake
Get Map
RSVP: (213) 978-2616
(bonus karma if you bring a new unwrapped toy for District's toy drive)

“What’s Next”? The landowner/developer promised to go back to the drawing board and come up with a new set of plans for discussion - - probably some time in January or February of 2006.


Continuing our petition drive. (Have you signed the online petition?)
Working on a nomination to register the site as a “Historic Cultural Monument” with the City of Los Angeles. (For more information about historic preservation click here)
Laying the grass roots infrastructure to oppose, as appropriate, radical changes in zoning or height restrictions that would permit massive oversize development. (For more information about “entitlement” processes click here … then choose “processes” from the menu on left.)

The word is getting out:
Last Sunday (11/27), the LA Times “LA – Then and Now” column was devoted to the Brown Derby and its history.

Upcoming Media Coverage:
This coming Wednesday night (11/30), a local jazz station will be broadcasting live from the Derby.

Wanna be on TV? Next Wednesday night (12/7), local news channel KCAL 9 is tentatively scheduled to stop by the Derby to film a short piece about why the Derby is special and should be saved. Plus, as always, it will be a great night of music and dancing. Come support the club you love!
Our Coalition is growing! Want to get involved? We’d love to have you onboard! Just send us note at

Thank you and Long Live the Derby!
The Save the Derby Coalition
Thank you and long live the Derby! Save the Derby Coalition

Sunday, November 13, 2005

GGPNC Meeting Video Podcasted!

Hello Los Feliz!

Last Thursday November 10th the Greater Griffith Park Neighborhood Council held a Public Forum on the development planned for 4500 Los Feliz Blvd, Aka "The Derby" and adjacent properites. For those that were not able to attend all i have to say is WOW! The gym was packed and overflowing with nearly 500 people, all crowded shoulder to shoulder spilling out on to the curb! Local news crews such as Channel 2 and KCAL 9 moved into position for the best spot. You could feel the tension and excitement in the air as longtime neighbors, store owners and preservationists waited to see Adler Realty's plan which would change their Neighborhood for either better or worse!


Looking up on stage it became apparent that Adler had brought out the big guns. Their team of give or take 8 people talked amongst themselves while across the stage 2 people Rebecca Goodman and the head of the LA Preservation society waited nervously for the meeting to begin. At first glance this appeared to be a simple case of a corporate plan wrapping up a few loose ends. However, what was soon to unfold was a story of David vs. Goliath proportions and a great example of community participation and democracy in action!

Earlier we mentioned that Channel 2 and 9 were there to cover the event. Unfortnately again the Los Angeles news came up disapointingly short. After both news teams were there for over an hour channel 9 never mentioned the event in their evening newscast while Channel 2 showed a 10 sec misleading blurb. Just A wide shot of a bored looking crowd! Honestly we were shocked and apalled. What was probably the most exciting (yes we said exciting) public meeting this year with loud opinions, cheering, booing and shouting was reduced to a bored looking crowd as the news anchor stated "The Los Feliz Community Gathered tonight to hear the proposed plan of the...."


Well, we felt that was just an injustice to the Los Feliz community and almost pro Corporate. So, we decided that the Los Feliz community should be able to see exactly just what went down and decide for themselves.
So, for the next week we will be putting up video of the meeting for all to watch! Starting with each sides 20 minute argument, councilman Tom La Bonge's view and what the Manager of The Derby says is really going on behind the scenes! Infact for those so inclined the video can be podcasted on Itunes and on your Ipod hows that for cutting edge!


You can either click on each photo to view that specific video or click on the iTunes-1click to have them podcasted directly into your itunes.

We recommend using iTunes because they are relatively large files and microsoft explorer refuses to recognize quicktime 7. By subscribing you will be able to download future video segments as soon as we post them! If you choose to view each segment seperately please do so using Safari or mozilla firefox.




    Also here are the survey results from those that attended the meeting! = Survey Results


    Thursday, November 10, 2005

    Adler Realty Reeling from One, Two Punch!

    This just in.... beep..beeep

    Council meeting ... crammed to capacity! ... stop

    Tom Labonge .. voices his opinion ... stop

    Adler once again underprepared and outvoiced.. and ... stop

    More to come SOOON!

    Folks please stay tuned.. Video footage from the event as well as the meeting podcasted! We are working to get you the latest!

    to get the latest updates add our Rss feed (left) into your news aggregator or itunes.

    For video updates paste this link under subscribe in itunes.

    Wednesday, November 09, 2005

    Council Meeting Decides Tomorrow On Fate of The Derby!

    Time Is Running Out!

    Save the Derby Meeting ...

    On Thursday, November 10, 2005, the Greater Griffith Park Neighborhood Council (GGPNC) is sponsoring a public forum to discuss the proposed development of the historic Brown Derby Restaurant building at 4500 Los Feliz Boulevard in Hollywood. The structure, currently occupied by The Derby and Louise's Trattoria restaurant, is threatened with demolition to make room for the construction of 80 new condominium units and commercial retail space. The general public is invited to attend.

    When: Thursday, November 10, 2005 at 7 p.m.

    Where: Our Mother of Good Counsel Church, Multipurpose Building, at 2071 Dracena Drive (one block east of Vermont & Ambrose)

    The GGPNC has invited all sides to this forum, and invites participants to ask questions and voice concerns. Because of the importance of any development of this prominent site, the GGPNC has expressed that it is committed to involving the neighborhood at this early stage in the project and serving as a vehicle allowing the property's owner/developer and city officials to hear comments from the broadest spectrum of our community.
    For more information on the historic Brown Derby Restaurant, its demolition, and the proposed development project, be sure to visit the Save the Derby Blog at and the Save the Derby website at On the GGPNC website, one can also find links to a number of project related documents, including the developer's master land use permit application, environmental assessment form, and concept design drawings.
    See past coverage of this issue at in the PreserveLA Archives and at:

    Also this just in.... beep beep beep!

    The Save the Derby Coalition is looking for volunteers to meet @ 8pm 11/09/05 (tonight) in front of The Derby for a blitzkrieg flyer campaign to canvas the neighborhood! A great opportunity for those who have not been able to show their support yet. For questions email Rebecca Goodman at

    Thats it for now folks.. we will keep you up to date with the latest happenings!

    Saturday, November 05, 2005

    Royal Crown Revue - Teams up to Gather Petitions

    Hey All you Hepcats out there in Los Feliz!

    For those of you who missed it, last night Nov 4th the Royal Crown Revue teamed up with the Save the Derby Coalition at The Derby in Los Feliz for an evening of Swing music and community activism! As most of you know the Derby is set for Demolition by the property owners, Adler Realty. In it's place is a proposed 5 story, 81 luxury condo with retail development.

    However, Rebecca Goodman and her volunteer team of merry men and women feverishly worked to set up impressive historic posters, give out T-shirts and gather signatures to stop the Derby's Demise! The news must be getting out because even Channel 2 CbS and Kcal9 News was there to cover the event!~

    (click to view video)

    Now, let me just say first of all it was great to see the local news covering The Derby story. However, the story was cut off for a breaking news CAR CHASE! Seriously CBS a car chase? Well that's LA for ya and a fine example too! Well luckily "Save The Derby the Blog" was there for ya to catch some of the behind the scenes action!

    Click on the photos below to see video of the news crew in Action as well as Volunteers working the crowds.

    Now, The news segment portrays The Derby as an old dancing hall that has seen it's last days using slow jazz music and couples nuzzling in the corners! For those of you who have ever been to The Derby know that is far from the case. Infact 15 minutes after the reporters left. The legendary swing band the " Royal Crown Revue " took to the stage and with the sound of whistling and applause the audience promptly turned into a sea of dancers, twisting and twirling to RCR's music!

    (Click to view video)
    MC Introduces the Royal Crown Revue

    Well thats it for now from The Derby the Blog Also don't forget to attend the November 1oth meeting for the city council, this effects everyone and they need to see you there!

    As always We will do our best to keep you up to date on the Newest Events!

    Friday, November 04, 2005



    The Royal Crown Revue will be playing at the Derby while rumor has it that they will make a statement from the stage about the threat to the Derby and the importance of the Town Hall meeting on Nov 10th and why the Derby should stick around for a little while longer, bub!

    Speaking of swing bands where is Big Bad Voodo Daddy, they used to play the Derby every wednesday night to sold out crowds. Not to mention the film Swingers rocketed them from playing small clubs to playing the halftime show at the Superbowl! It would be nice to hear how they feel about the Derby's future?

    While I'm on the Swingers tip, sources close to "This Blog" say that actor Vince Vaughn is being notified about the Derby's possible demise. Stay tuned folks should be interesting to see how Mr. Vaughn responds. After all The Derby was a main location for the film Swingers where had his break out role as Trent (your so money!) Walker

    Some additional info from the "Save the Derby Coalition"

    Help Needed!

    The save the Derby coalitoins is still looking for a few good people in Save the Derby T-shirts to come early and catch people on the way in and ask them to sign the petition. They have the T-shirts, clipboards, pens, petitions ... everything except a "few good men" or women to volunteer). Also, they could use some help with setting up the table and hanging banners, posters etc.

    If you volunteer, they will pay your way into the show! How's that?

    To volunteer contact Rebecca Goodman at

    Thursday, October 27, 2005

    Oct 26th Adler Realty development meeting !

    For those that did not know or were not able to attend the Adler Realty development meeting was last night Oct 26th. Needless to say I was overwhelmed as was Adler to the turn out of the Los Feliz community!

    From the beginning of the meeting it was apparent that the property owners severly underestimated the local residents opposition to building an 81 luxury condo development with retail stores. Concerns were "loudly "voiced regarding Traffic congestion and by local building owners afraid of loosing their tenants during the construction process. Others not able to hold their frustration yelled out calling the plan Crazy and Insane. While others watched on. I have to say I actually felt a little bad for the Adler Reps who were visably shaken and at times appearing to shrink behind their displays and into the back corner of the room.

    Adler Reps look on

    From a spectator point of view the Adler reps came off looking very unprepared forcing them into a very defensive instead of clarifying position. There were blueprints for the building development but I was told they were only preliminary and the drawing of the development on display was in fact not the updated current model because of changes from a meeting with the city earlier that day.
    Rebecca Goodman "save the derby"

    In contrast the "Save the derby coalition" -spearheaded by Rebecca Goodman ran a very slick and organized effort posting volunteers at the doors to get signatures and pass out flyers for the next meeting on November 10th.

    Meanwhile Renee a rep from Tom Labonge's office worked to keep the peace but did state that their position is to "Save the Derby", resulting in a thunderous applause.

    The one good thing to come out of the so called "Ruckus" was that the Adler Realty came face to face with the people they will be effecting and stated that as of right now they have scrapped the idea of a grocery store and may look into the preservation of the "structure" of the derby building. If the building development is approved construction is estimated to take 12 months, 6 days a week from 7am-7pm.

    It was refreshing to see actual democracy in action and a pleasure to see the Los Feliz community bonding together to get their voice heard. Below We have posted some video clips from the meeting as well as a number of photos. we apologize in advance of the shakiness of the video.

    Los Feliz is amazing -guest blogger Melissa W.

    Hello Los Feliz. This post is a special one. Guest Blogger, and los feliz resident Melissa W. Expresses her views on why she loves los Feliz, the Adler Realty meeting on Oct 26th and why we need to gather together as a community.

    Los Feliz is amazing.

    When I moved here five years ago, I described it to my parents as one of the last true neighborhoods left in Los Angeles. It has the perfect combination of people – from the table full of Hollywood hopefuls talking about their next screenplay – to the young family building their new life in their first house – to the two elderly women walking down the street rehashing old times in the old country. Even on a weekday, the streets bustle with neighbors meeting up for yoga, coffee or the best carne asada burrito in town.

    It is a quiet, friendly community. We walk everywhere -- to the small mom & pop shops…to church…to bars…to the natural food store… It is our version of Grover’s Corners in the middle of a maddening, commercial megatropolis.

    Last night’s neighborhood meeting regarding the proposed “Hillhurst Square” brought out a side of my community I had never seen before. We were angry. We were worried. We had the fight in us.

    Many people were concerned about traffic, zoning, safety and the demolition of our cherished Derby. One small, older woman stood with an impassioned plea, “Find somewhere else to build this. Not here! Not in my town!” But one stately man put it the best when he said, “This is a bastardization of our village.”

    No one who has ever lived and loved this area wants a five-story eyesore full of overpriced, cheaply made condos and mega-chain retail stores to clog the streets with traffic and put our beloved neighborhood businesses out to pasture. It does not and will never be something that fits in with our village – faux Spanish-style architecture or not.

    Even worse, because of zoning, approval of this project opens the door to other developers who will tear down other historic buildings in the area and replace them with a TGI Fridays or a Walmart. Where will they draw the line?

    Of course, the corporatization of land is what makes this country the prosperous nation it is, but the abuse of it quickly destroys it. The truth is, the new owners of this space must make a profit. They must exploit the land. They will cram as many money-making possibilities in one space as possible.

    However, what they didn’t count on is the spirit of Los Feliz. The representative from Adler Reality even admitted he didn’t expect this kind of response from this community, from so many people. The developers didn’t expect we would be this… educated, informed, involved and united. They didn’t count on us caring this much about where we lived. Perhaps they need to live here, just for a few weeks, to realize that what we have always cherished is the quaintness and the heart of this village.

    We do have the fight in us, and we will not roll over and forget what we are fighting for. I love the Derby, but it is so much more than just this great landmark. It’s our community that is slowly being whittled away, and as long as we stand firm and together, they will not get the better of us. They have yet to see how strong the fight can be.

    See you at the next meeting.

    (Special thanks goes to Melissa W. Local Los Feliz Resident/writer who took the time to write and submit this article.)


    Monday, October 24, 2005

    Going way back to 1928!

    Everyday, thousands of motorists drive by The Derby on the corner of Hillhurst and Los Feliz. they are just trying to connect to the 5 freeway, head up to Griffith Park or just fill up their tank at the Gas Station across the way. They are busy each with their own set of lives, errands and agendas.

    All the while The Derby sits there watching it all go down as it has for nearly 77 years! It's hard for us to imagine what was going on back in 1928 the year the Derby was built by legendary filmaker Cecil B. Demille the man to create one of the first hollywood motion pictures the Squawman and to become part of pop culture thru aka (Sunset Blvd, Gloria Swanson "I'm ready for my close up Mr. Demille!).

    You see, back then Los Feliz was called "East Hollywood" and when "The Derby building" was built it was not for 3 more years before anyone even heard of "The Empire State Building" which was not completed till 1931!

    It's hard to envision, Model T's and flappers moving up and down Hillhurst with movie stars, musicians, and other assorted members of the glitterati, which Prior to the 1930s, was Los Angeles' most exclusive and expensive area. But they did! and the Derby building was there too!

    I know it's hard to look at the derby today and really get a feel for the culture and times of when it was built so here are a few clips that might help you out! They were all made back in 1928. Check them out!

    1. Hollywood tour 2.Buster Keaton 3. Social Scene.

    As you can see these clips are a testament to the past and a record of Hollywood history. The same goes for "The Los Feliz Derby" Please sign the petition , Please protest to Save it and if you have some time stop on by say hello and dance a little.

    Sunday, October 23, 2005

    THIS JUST IN! There are 2 meetings

    This just in from Rebecca Goodman of the Derby Coalition!

    Calling all Derby Fans:

    Thank you all for your support!

    Don't forget that there are actually TWO meetings:

    The first is on Oct 26th and sponsored by the developer Adler Realty. It will be at the Citibank Building on Hillhurst.

    The second is on Nov 10th in the auditorium of a local church at 2071 Dracena Ave. This second meeting is sponsored by the neighborhood council (
    The neighborhood council will be making recommendations to the city based on what they hear on Nov 10th. Let's be sure to have a strong showing on Nov 10th ... don't let Adler "still the thunder" and undermine the meeting that may influence whether city planning approves Adlers' plans.

    Also, please please write to Tom LaBonge. If you do, the cc function is really helpful. Sometimes politicians "forget" that the community has written to them. If you cc us at "" or "" there is back-up proof to present at important city meetings.

    Again, thanks for your support and Long live the Derby

    Friday, October 21, 2005



    Send us video of you and your friends on camera stating why the derby should be saved! Please state your name and the city you live in. Let los Angeles hear your voice!

    • To Upload video: Send us your video by CLICKING HERE!
      "Acceptable video formats MPG4, AVI, Quicktime"

    • For questions: We can now be contacted at / AIM: savethederby

    • * Note that video must be "G"Rated we are all for open public viewpoints however lets keep it clean! Also, please allow for some time for your video to appear. This is a volunteer effort but we will work to get your video up ASAP!

    Wednesday, October 19, 2005

    Save the Derby! Lets hear your voice at the Town Meeting!

    Attention Everyone!

    The Neighborhood Meeting for the proposed Development of "Hillhurst Square" / Demolition of "The Derby" is set.

    Date: October 26th

    Time 7pm

    Location: The Los Feliz Community Police Center,
    1965 Hillhurst Ave., 2nd Floor of Citibank Building

    ''I'm not sure how we would incorporate the Derby. That would be a challenge we would have to look at. That wasn't our original plan.''
    Adler Vice President Richard Gable
    Published: August 30, 2005

    As some of you might know by now the property for The Derby has some new owers and they are planning to build a 5 story, 80 condominum complex with retail stores! There are no plans to integrate the Derby, instead the plan is to Bulldoze over one of the few remaining landmarks of Los Angeles!
    Its a shame that Expensive "Luxury" condos and generic chain stores will replace one of the few historic Los Angles landmarks. Not only will it take away the Los Feliz's charm that we love but this "Monster Building" could add to the already congested traffic, tear down Majestic Pine trees (a rare find in LA), and turn the area into a generic strip mall! If you love the Derby and the surrounding area show up and make your voice heard this effects you!

    Let them know what you think ! Ask if they can at the very least incorporate The Derby into their plans.

    They can be emailed at Adler Realty

    Contact Your local friendly Council Man !

    For decades, the Brown Derby restaurants, a favorite of the stars, dished up Hollywood cachet to the world. Now the last of the five Brown Derbys, which included the famous "hat" on Wilshire Boulevard, is headed for the final curtain call — unless a loose coalition of nostalgia fans and residents in Los Feliz can rescue the building in that neighborhood. Owned in its heyday by producer Cecil B. DeMille, "the building truly recalls another era," said Jay Platt, a preservation specialist with the nonprofit Los Angeles Conservancy. "It's one of the few remaining examples of buildings that were deeply associated with the city's nightlife and glamour." - By Wendy Thermos LA Times August 31st 2005

    Mobilize to Save The Derby!
    Contact City Council Member Tom Labonge. We need his help to keep this historic Landmark from being destroyed. But he needs to know that you care!

    Address your letters to: Tom Labonge
    Councilmember, District 4 for The City of Los Angeles 200 North Spring Street, Room 480, City Hall, Los Angeles 90012

    Call him at: Tel: (213) 485-3337 / Fax: (213) 624-7810