Tuesday, April 27, 2010

My Brief Guide to LA #3: Eastside Edition

I'm dedicating this installment of My Guide to LA to some Eastside joints I've checked out the past few months. So Westsiders, stop whining about traffic and gang activity circa 1998 and come on over! Or don't, our inferiority complex feeds our sense of superiority.
  • Footsie's: Highland Park. I guess this is a dive bar. I've put some time into some serious shitholes in NY and I don't conside upholstered banquettes and well-thought out lighting design to be "dive-y." Great outdoor space, pool table, cool bartenders, cheap beer options!
  • Verdugo Bar: Glassell Park. VerdugoBar has the same energy and vibe as Footsie's. The backyard is huge, and has beer hall style tables and benches. There's a BBQ the first Sunday of every month.
  • The Thirsty Crow: Silver Lake. This is a brand new bar that specializes in bourbon and bourbon cocktails. It has a cozy, speakeasy style and definitely pulled me out of my wine and beer comfort zone. There's usually a food truck parked outside which brings us to...
Need to hit this weekend:
  • Eagle Rock Brewery: Like the Brooklyn Brewery in NY, Eagle Rock's tap room is open to the public during the weekends.

Monday, April 26, 2010

If the Hollywood sign was in NYC

There's been a lot of news about possible land development west of the Hollywood sign. The latest new is Hugh Hefner decided to put buying another girlfriend on the back burner and donate money to prevent any development around the sign and the land will be turned over to Griffith Park. I'm shocked the land hasn't been developed already, at least into a giant parking lot. If you want to be a millionaire in this town, open up a parking lot. In New York, no one would let a chunk of land next a famous tourist attraction sit idle for a second. If the Hollywood sign was in New York, not only would the land around it be covered in "luxury" glass box condos, each letter of the sign would have it's own business:
  • W= Another Starbucks, in case the "H" Starbucks isn't convenient for you.
  • O= Thai restaurant
  • O= Nail Salon
  • D= The sign is very big and quite a walk. You'll need another Starbucks.
And of course a new sign would have to be mounted on top of the Hollywood sign to promote its new owner: Trump.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

LA Lessons #7: On time is early

When I first moved to LA I spent a lot of time before meetings sitting in my car on suburban streets in the middle of the day, waiting, like a pedophile. I had no idea how long it would take me to get anywhere so I erred on the side of caution or a potential three lane, 10-car fire on the 101, and left early for everything. I realized the time of arrival suggested on the GPS would only be accurate if everyone else in LA were eaten by zombies and it was only me and my trusty German Shepard in a fabulous townhouse. Speaking of GPS, never speak of a GPS to anyone who moved to LA at least ten years ago. They will all insist GPS is shit and it's Thomas Guide or nothing. Yes, my GPS has put me on some weird, inconvenient routes but I always got there and never rear-ended a car because my head was sunk into a giant book of maps instead of looking ahead. The aversion to GPS by LA vets is a middle-aged version of "when I was your age I walked uphill to school in snow with no shoes..." Now that I have a grasp of how long it'll take me to get to most places, I still find myself to be the first one there. I've sat at stand-up shows 15 minutes before they're supposed to start and it's just me and the busboy. I've walked into bars and restaurants five minutes past the time I'm supposed to meet someone, and still have to text the other person fifteen minutes later to see where they are. Traffic or not, lost or not, there's really no urgency to communicate an excuse or an ETA to the other person who is waiting for you. I think there's some general, unspoken rule that perfectly responsible, considerate people know and I haven't figured out yet: meeting times are only mark rough half hour windows of time and there's no need to apologize or acknowledge your tardiness as long as there's a chance of potential, unexpected traffic or parking restrictions.