The best meat art in Los Angeles isn't Lady Gaga's (by now) thoroughly rotted VMA dress, it's the mural adorning Harvey's Guss Meat Co. A gaggle of farm animals placidly stares out from a truck as it trundles toward the slaughterhouse. Anthropomorphized animals cheerfully exhorting you to eat them are always freaky.

You'd be forgiven for never noticing the place — the entrance is in an alley behind a locked iron gate; open to the public only four days a week, it closes by noon. It would be a shame if you didn't pay attention to the image.

Founded by Abe Gussman in the late 1930s and now run by his son, Harvey, the butcher shop has been at its present locale since 1947. The hand-painted mural has been on the building for almost as long. No one makes signs like this anymore. At the corner of Olympic and San Vicente, look to the north, where a humble butcher's sign has transmogrified into a vintage work of art.

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