As much glitz and glamor as it is rock & roll, Los Angeles consistently defies expectations. Sure, a lot of people dismiss it as a city of laid-back transients seeking fame and fortune, but its bustling art scene says otherwise, as seen in the recent debut of the Broad Museum, where visitors can get up close and personal with contemporary art stars like Cindy Sherman, Robert Mapplethorpe and Takashi Murakami. L.A. is also proud of its street art, so much so that the city’s new mural program is conserving old works while encouraging new ones, like last year’s “Vintage No Ho.”
Not to far down the road — less than 20 minutes, if you can believe it — Los Angelenos dive into spelt maccheroncini and grilled orata at Alimento in Silver Lake before working it off with a hike through Runyon Canyon or run up the legendary stairs in Culver City, the same place where Aesop, Magasin and Van Leeuwen ice cream just opened shops in the new Platform building, a building that gives the city’s ubiquitous strip malls a run for their money. Don’t miss the great Korean food either: Hanjip solidifies Culver City as a dining destination with chef Chris Oh serving up everything from tomahawk steaks to soju-spiked watermelon studded with Pop Rocks.
Meanwhile, L.A.’s nightlife continues to uphold the city’s punk roots: noisy, all-ages staple the Smell has been around for almost 20 years, though currently remains under threat of closure for a parking lot. The Airliner has been operating since 1915, this hot spot thrives on experimental hip-hop and electronic music, and their Wednesday night Low End Theory party is legendary. Others meanwhile prefer to eschew the club space for the unique experience of catching live music in the typically dead the Hollywood Forever Cemetery, just one of the many quirky, definitely not Hollywood-oriented hot spots in the City of Angeles.
Some claim no one walks in L.A., but for those who do, keep your sneaks clean by checking out Jason Markk’s detailing shop for the like-new sheen. And Japan-reared Tak Kato and Mike Toe’s store Blends has outfitted street-wise Angelenos since 2002, and their threads remain just as fresh as ever.