Living in the Bay Area, I regularly cross paths with many a Los Angeles hater. Everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion, but look at the photo of Venice Beach to the right. How on earth could you hate that?
Okay, in all fairness, I know very few people who hate the beach. Most of the Los Angeles disdain I encounter focuses on traffic, pollution and the people. While I strongly disagree with the gross generalizations heaped upon millions of individuals who call themselves Los Angelenos, I do understand a lack of interest in smog and clogged freeways.
Regardless, I happen to quite like L.A. and just returned from another mini-vacation there. I took that Venice Beach photograph on Saturday evening as the sun was setting, and I must say, looking at it makes me very happy. But I'm getting a little ahead of myself here. My mini-vacation began on Wednesday afternoon, and a few hours after my arrival, my sister Fabulous Patti and I met my friends Kristie and Gabriella for dinner at Blair's in Silver Lake. I had salad, french fries and beer. Yummy.
On Thursday, I treated myself to Valentine's Day chocolates and a mid-day nap, after which I headed to Pasadena to see my nephew Mikey Jet. Oh, and his parents, of course. We read books and played cars, and I learned that Mikey Jet is awfully strong for a 20-month old. That fact became apparent when I wanted him to relinquish his grip on my purse at the end of the visit. Later that night, Emily and I (pictured above) went to the Backstage Bar and Grill in Culver City for a little karaoke. After being hit on by a very sketchy dude who initially enlisted his friend's sister to act as his wing man (what?), we met 22-year old Dennis, who became our karaoke fan and friend. It was a little unnerving for Emily and me to realize that we are closer in age to Dennis' parents than we are to him, but he was very nice. If rather young.
On Friday, I enjoyed a delicious lunch with Assaf at Lulu's on Beverly Boulevard. We talked all things L.A., including entertainment industry strikes, over big salads and sparkling water. After lunch, Assaf lead me to Melrose Avenue so I could shop for vintage clothes. I insisted on a pit stop at the Melrose Pinkberry, but after that I found the coolest vintage coat at a little place called The Way We Wore. It's red with (fake) brown fur trim, and I absolutely love it. I have a lot of nice coats, but this one might be my most glamorous. Assaf and I snapped this photo right before we parted ways for the day.
That night, Fabulous Patti and I went to Tiki Ti, which may be my favorite bar ever. I had been to Tiki Ti before, but my love for it was solidified on this trip. This tiny watering hole is only open a few days a week and serves a myriad of tropical drinks but no beer. So don't be like the clueless guy who asked for beer on Friday night. I had a brief conversation about basketball with another man at Tiki Ti who actually used the term "bitchin" without irony. Before you judge, however, I'll tell you that he was really cute and honestly didn't seem at all moronic. Unlike that guy who ordered the beer. After Tiki Ti, we went to the Good Luck Bar, which was also fun. There we met a musician who tends bar at The Echo. He and I talked music for a little while until he had to go meet another friend.
On Saturday, I dragged Fabulous Patti to Venice (okay, she was very willing to go), where we met my college friends Brent and Joanna at the On the Waterfront Cafe. I haven't seen Brent and Joanna in almost six years, and the last time was just a brief encounter at my ten-year reunion at Brown. They have a young son now who looks just like both of them and is an extremely well-mannered little boy. We spent the late afternoon catching up over many glasses of Erdinger on the Waterfront's back patio, which is where Joanna and I posed for this photo. Over all those beers, I recruited Joanna for the Los Angeles line up of my band. Whatever band that may be. Joanna sings really well; so I have to maintain my voice lessons to keep up with her. Now, given that I live up here, the Los Angeles line up of whatever band I have in mind may only exist at karaoke bars or in Joanna's living room, but whatever. Every band has to start somewhere.
All of this brings us to today, and after brunch at Fred 62 late this morning, I returned to the City by the Bay. I have no plans to visit L.A. again until May, but I think I can hold on until then. Especially since I intend to go to Hawaii in April. Los Angeles will be there when I return, and if I stay in touch with that Echo bartender guy, I should be well-informed of upcoming live music and 60's dance parties at The Echo, The Echoplex and Spaceland.
And you know I'll like that.