All posts by Mark Italia


It was Monday night and like most Monday nights, most of my friends weren’t quite up to heading deeper into downtown for some nightlife. Fraternity Row was quiet; the registered party fiascos were over and one house was silently dealing with a sexual assault case (they still are). So, with nothing better to do and some time to kill, a couple of my friends and I head over to The 901 Bar & Grill, better known as “The 9-0.” Or as I like to call it, “The Plan B.”

 The Plan B…sorry…The 9-0 is never anyone’s first choice in ways to spend an evening. And if it is, you must be one of the following: Continue reading AN EVENING AT THE 9-0

The Rumble in Vegas

Foreword by Stan Lerner: Reading Mark’s post I could not help but to think back to my first college trip to Las Vegas, which was so good I actually can’t remember it. Subsequently, Vegas became the place of some of my most illicit behavior and “Night Tribe” one of my best live shows. I hope Mark and friends keep going back because, like a fine bottle of wine, Vegas really does get better with age!

Nearly everyone in Los Angeles has had his or her Vegas experience. Every time we go back, each one of us tries desperately to live up to, or rather, relive that one experience that stands above the rest. Well, I just had mine last weekend, and part of me knows that reliving this one would be iniquitous.

I packed my bags Friday morning and left about three hours later than I wanted to. Twenty of my closest friends and I caravanned up the 15, stopped at the In-N-Out in Barstow, and checked in at The Venetian roughly four hours later. Continue reading The Rumble in Vegas

Death of USC Student – L.A. Reality

Foreword by Stan Lerner: Sometimes I wonder why I got myself into all of this. My life was simple I only cared about my next indulgence. Then I get a blog like the one below from a college kid that I wanted to give a chance to be heard — and it makes me wish that everyone in the country was reading downtownster. 

Last Saturday arrived with so much promise for my school, and more importantly, my city. Earth Hour, 4-Party Frat Row, and a blossoming downtown.  That promise spoiled with the blood of my schoolmates stained on its streets.

Last Saturday was Earth Hour, a global event hosted by Hollywood elite to attract awareness to the current climate crisis by turning off all non-essential lighting for an hour.  Downtown skyscrapers turned off their lights, but below Pico, local Angelinos didn’t bother.  Chano’s beamed its fluorescent lights so brightly, I thought Christ was re-birthing himself in their tiny taco shack. Continue reading Death of USC Student – L.A. Reality

THE LAB Gastropub – An Actual COLLEGE HANGOUT?!


If you’ve lived in downtown for the past five years, you’ve noticed what the rest of us have been noticing…sweatshops have turned into American Apparel factories. Dilapidated theatres are remodeled into hipster hangouts. And Sizzlers are converted into gastropubs. FINALLY, on Figueroa and McCarthy Way, or right next door to the Galen Center, USC Hospitality has opened a holy trinity of college hangouts. Hopefully the kids will bite.

For years, USC students have been lacking a college hangout. Continue reading THE LAB Gastropub – An Actual COLLEGE HANGOUT?!

USC Spring Break–Mammoth Mountain. You ain’t got nothin’ on Cabo

Foreword by Stan Lerner:

 downtownster is for all downtownsters, so it’s with great pleasure that I post this first blog by Mark Italia who is currently a student at USC. His Spring Break reminds me a bit of my own before I got kicked out of school. Welcome aboard my boy!

SPRING BREAK! WHOOO! Where did you go? Cancun? TJ? Cabo? Did you get shot? Maybe you got mugged? How much were plane tickets?…sucks for you. It is ten o’clock in the morning and I’m still recovering from my Spring Break trip to Mammoth Mountain. That’s right, I spent Spring Break on skis. And I bet you I had a better time spending less money than your sorry ass did for going to Mexico and possibly getting raped. Continue reading USC Spring Break–Mammoth Mountain. You ain’t got nothin’ on Cabo