It’s me Quentin, Ariel is off spear-fishing in Bali. (Not really.) I’m still here, in LA, where the vastness leads to a good amount of inertia among its residents. It doesn’t matter how revolutionary a new art show Downtown is, a resident of Playa Vista might say, it’s just not worth the trek. This makes people stick around their little area, going to the same few places over and over again, creating the feeling of a series of little towns dropped into the big city.
Even I, the intrepid explorer, fall victim to this geographic cloistering. My favorite haunt is a coffee shop near my apartment south of Sunset in Silver Lake that is, magically, within walking distance. It’s the sort of place where everybody looks like a musician; I heard that the Obama girls had been there. The proximity is great, yes, and the food and coffee even better, but what has really drawn me back again and again is the friendliness and familiarity by all the people who work there. The people working at this cafe seemed to genuinely want to know how I was doing and what was going on in my life. As a newcomer to this wild and sprawling city, I enjoyed having even one little slice of terrain where I could feel that thing I’d had to let go of: home.
Eventually I even earned a “Friends and Family” discount, which always came up on the Clover POS display with a little heart emoji. I had finally made it.
Over time, however, I noticed that workers cycled in and out with some regularity. This meant that some people started to work there who didn’t know that I was a FandF. I had no idea who had made that decision in the first place, but word seemed not to have been given to the newcomers. Did this mean I was no longer a member of their community? Was this no longer my home away from home?
I keep returning though, undaunted. I’m not a total stranger to the staff who’s still there, and the only way to get to know the new people is to show up. And while the passage of time may have taken from me my Friends and Family discount, it has also given me the stamp of endurance. I have lived here for long enough now that I have loved, and also lost, so to speak. I am not new here. This place may never truly be my home, but for as long as I work to feel settled into this city that’s a town that’s a county that’s its whole own little world, it’ll do.
What to See
An exhibit worth venturing all the way to the Arts District from Playa Vista! British sculptor Tom Price’s show is a series of larger-than-life sculptures of figures drawn from everyday life, allowing us to wander among them and look up close at the forms of our contemporary existence. The gallery website explains further: “Ranging from 9 to 12 ft in height, the multi-layered works are emblematic of boundless and unfixed identities that are leaning away from social or racial profiling.” This is the show’s final weekend on display, and a visit, which is free to the public, can be paired perfectly with a stop at Manuela, the gallery’s in-house restaurant.
Where: 901 E 3rd St, Los Angeles, CA 90013
When: Gallery weekend hours: 11am-6pm. Manuela weekend hours: 10am-2:30, 5:30-10pm (Saturday); 10am-2:30, 5:30-12am (Sunday).
Parking: Street parking as available
See the first episode of the Audible Original audio drama, The Big Lie, come to life, performed by live shadow actors from Little Cinema. Inspired by real events, this historical fiction centers on the making of the controversial pro-union film Salt of the Earth (1952).
A Q&A with creator John Mankiewicz, director Aaron Lipstadt, and actors from the original podcast, including Bradly Whitford, follows the performance.
Tickets also include admission to the Skirball’s current exhibition, Blacklist: The Hollywood Red Scare, which features several artifacts related to Salt of the Earth and explores the history and impact of the Hollywood Red Scare.
FREE to WGA and SAG-AFTRA members.
When: Thursday, August 31, 8:00 pm
Where: Skirball Cultural Center | 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90059
Parking: FREE on-site parking; street parking strictly prohibited
Where to Go
The Independent Shakespeare Company has returned for another season of performances against the beautiful backdrop of Griffith Park. Earlier in the summer they put on a run of Julius Caesar, and their second and final show is A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Performances and parking are free, and the audience can either sit on a blanket in the front, or bring a chair and sit in the back. You can also donate $60 to reserve a “Thank You Seat” near the front of the stage. As the show’s website suggests, a warm Los Angeles summer night is the right time to “join us in the park for a wild and joyous night that features live music, and more than a few surprises.”
Where: Old Zoo, Griffith Park
When: Wednesday-Sunday, 7pm
Parking: Parking available at the Merry-Go-Round lot
Where to Visit
My pediatrician growing up had a real thing for frogs. In his office he had a collection of all manner of frog stuffed animals, figurines, art, and even one of those wooden instruments that you run a stick over and it sounds like it’s croaking. So maybe that’s why Frogtown, the little neighborhood tucked up against the 5 and the LA River is one of my faves in the whole city.
This weekend, five fine establishments are banding together to offer an afternoon of vintage thrifting, food, music, tattoos and live music. The five stops along the crawl are Zebulon, Frogtown Bazaar, Frogtown Brewery, Happier Camper (with a natural wine pop-up from women-owned Silver Lake wine sellers Vinovore) and Spoke Bicycle Cafe, which is right along the walking/biking path on the river. All the spots are within walking distance of one another, and are also adjacent to two of my top two places in the whole city, Wax Paper, for sandwiches, and Salazar, for tacos. It’s a destination not to miss for anybody who loves seeing off-the-beaten-path parts of the city, good food, wine, and music, flash tattoos, or being the one in the friend group with the coolest clothing finds!
Where: Zebulon, 2478 Fletcher Dr.; Frogtown Bazaar, 3001 Gilroy St.; Frogtown Brewery, 2931 Gilroy St.; Happier Camper, 2960 Marsh St.; Spoke Bicycle Cafe, 3050 N Coolidge Ave.
When: Saturday, August 19, 12pm-8pm
Parking: Street parking as available
Hands down my favorite hike in Los Angeles. Situated in the Pacific Palisades, you don’t have to travel too far out, or get stuck in monster traffic on the PCH, in order to get some stunning ocean views. The hike to the main rest area with views isn’t too strenuously vertical, and can be accomplished in about an hour. It can then be extended as far as you like, as the trail continues on for several miles further, looping around along the hills and ridges, all overlooking stunning cliffside homes to the east (Kawhi Leonard’s among them), and ocean to the west.
Where: 510 Los Liones Dr, Pacific Palisades, CA 90272
Parking: Parking available on the street leading up to trailhead (restrooms and water fountain also available)
Party With the Stars
It’s a well known fact that international pop star and sex icon Harry Styles once gave me a thumbs up in passing.
So I’d like to return the gesture by giving the nod to the Harry’s House dining experience going on this weekend at Celia’s Rancho Restaurante in Burbank. Guests can attend for either brunch or dinner, and they’ll be playing nonstop Harry Styles and encourage diners to “get ready to be on a WATERMELON SUGAR high as you enjoy our great burgers, delicious drinks and some themed fun!” They promise to “TREAT PEOPLE WITH KINDNESS and give away some prizes to the best-dressed attendees, as well as some fun games to be played throughout the night.” Tickets required, which can be purchased for $55, and include a meal and an alcoholic beverage or soft drink, with further food and drinks available for purchase.
Where: Celia’s Rancho Restaurante, 900 W Riverside Dr., Los Angeles, California, United States, 91506
When: Saturday: 1pm-3pm, 4pm-6pm, 0r 7pm-9pm; Sunday: 1pm-3pm
Parking: Available on site