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Mike & Maria's Ten LA Disappearing Acts in 2006

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If one were to name an LA blogging power-couple, LAist would look no further than Franklin Avenue's Mike and Maria.

Just over the last few months the pair led a 15+ mile walk down the entirety of Wilshire Blvd., Maria was nominated for a Grammy, they've continued their food blog Rate a Restaurant, as well as kept us up-to-date on the very sad demise of the Ambassador Hotel.

This morning we join them in bidding adieu to ten LA things that were ripped from our collective hearts...

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Ten Los Angeles Disappearing Acts in 2006

1. The Ambassador Hotel: My heart still sinks every time I pass by the mostly-empty site on Wilshire. To add insult to injury, it now appears that the LAUSD’s one token nod to preservation – incorporating the shell of the Cocoanut Grove into the new high school being built there – won’t be happening either.

2. Aron’s Records and Rhino Records: Both independent record stores announced their shutdowns within a month of each other. My CD collection is stocked with countless gems I managed to find at Aron’s and Rhino’s parking lot sales through the years. Big box retail stores, the Internet and indie powerhouse Amoeba were too much for both institutions, and after decades serving music lovers, both called it quits.

more after the jump...

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3. Robinsons-May: Once upon a time, L.A. boasted several home-grown department stores: J.W. Robinson’s, Bullock’s and The Broadway, just to name a few. Gradually, Macy’s took them all over. With Macy's parent Federated's acquisition of May Co., Robinson’s-May – the result of a 1993 merger of the J.W. Robinson and May Co. brands – officially ceased to exist in September. And so ended the last of the L.A.-born department store nameplates.

4. 76 balls: ConocoPhillips continues its campaign to rid all 76 gas stations of their iconic meatball-shaped signs. The 1947project’s Kim and Nathan have been fighting to save the balls… but so far ConocoPhillips is choosing to ignore the uproar. You can still regularly find 76 balls… but not for much longer.

5. KZLA 93.9 FM: Country music fans are still fuming over owner Emmis Communications’ sudden decision to flip its longtime L.A. country music outpost, KZLA, to a rhythmic adult contemporary format (complete with Rick Dees). KZLA claimed to be “America’s most listened-to country radio station,” but that wasn’t enough to save it.

6. Phil Hendrie: Speaking of radio, the longtime local AM personality – lauded for his theatre-of-the-mind use of voices and characters – threw in the towel to focus on his acting career.

7. The sellers’ housing market: The bubble didn’t burst… but that was about the only good news coming out of the housing market this year. The astronomical build-up in local home prices had to stop at some point… and sellers lost the advantage they’d held over buyers for the past several years.

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8. L.A. Alternative: The scrappy independent weekly, originally known as the Silver Lake Press (and later, the L.A. Alternative Press) decided it could no longer compete for ad dollars against the powerful L.A. Weekly (and the smaller L.A. City Beat). It folded in October.

9. Dutton’s North Hollywood: Owner Davis Dutton decided to close the shop – which Los Angeles mag called the finest in Southern California -- after 45 years in the business. Dutton and his wife moved to Washington state.

10. Authentic Café and Daddy’s: The stand-bys were just two of the restaurants and bars that shut down in 2006.

Photo by J. Eric Freedner, savethe76ball.com