Pedestrians walking along Eagle Rock Boulevard Monday night likely noticed the smell of frying oil, warm cheese and curry wafting from the parking lot of All Star Lanes bowling alley. The band of aromas came from about eight food trucks ringing the lot. In the middle, vendors sold wares including jewelry, cake pops and clothing. A DJ set the tone with songs ranging from modern rock to Cajun blues. By 6:30 p.m., one hour after the event opened, families chatted around every one of the plastic tables and parents carried out a subtle battle over extra chairs.
The Odd Market is an upgraded take on a block party, sponsored by the LA Weekly. After years of organizing events for the LA Weekly, creator Phillip Dane convinced the magazine to fund his latest iteration of the Odd Market. The market became a regular Monday night event for the residents of Eagle Rock when it opened March 2. So far it has managed to attract families, young locals and others from beyond Eagle Rock who believe cubanos sandwiches and stringy mac-and-cheese are worth finding parking on Eagle Rock Boulevard.
His company, LA Event Company, has been holding events and flea markets since 1991. Dane originally held the market at Casa Vertigo downtown, until he decided to move it to his own community. He lives in Eagle Rock with his wife and young son, who he brings to Occidental to play on the front lawn. He wants to bring together the Eagle Rock community, which includes Occidental students.
“I want to have Occidental students come to this,” Dane said. “They’re part of the community.”
Working the event like a host at a dinner party, Dane barely stops to catch his breath as he shakes hands and makes sure everyone knows about his partnership with the bowling alley. According to Dane, he knows the owner of All Star Lanes personally and collaborates with the bowling alley to offer discounts on its bowling and drinks to Odd Market customers.
To host the market, Dane also teams up with artists and vendors from around Los Angeles, like Lisa Mills, owner of the business Love and Moxie, who sells metal jewelry imported from countries like Indonesia and Italy. She has participated in all of the Odd Market events since they arrived in Eagle Rock.
After hosting an event he called the “Odd Market” many years ago, Dane began giving many of his events the same name. Currently, he is planning a one-time, macro-scale version of the Odd Market in Eagle Rock that will be held at the Autry National Center of the American West in Griffith Park. He is also opening an Odd Market in Sherman Oaks May 7. He hopes to continue bringing events that encourage community gathering to the area around Eagle Rock, and has plans to open a farmer’s market in Highland Park.
For the moment, Dane is enthusiastic about keeping the Odd Market in Eagle Rock indefinitely.