Posts Tagged ‘los angeles

23
Apr
09

The Standard, downtown LA: life from the rooftop pool

While my esteemed colleague oohlola writes about the troubles and travails of dating on the East Coast, I’m on the West soaking up the sun (though today, in L.A., is overcast) and pondering life in the city of angels.

Not real life, mind you—not the hard-scrabble existence of the city’s millions of migrant workers, menial day-jobbers, and aspiring actors. But life from a fairly privileged perspective, here on the ninth floor of the Standard Hotel.

Painfully hip, the downtown L.A. Standard (there’s another on Sunset, and more throughout the world) has kind of minimalist decor with splashes of retro design, although I’m sure someone with a better eye than me for this stuff would disagree. The room—I’m bunking with a Master of the Universe, Vancouver division—features several small, cool touches, like a mini-bar stocked with items such as Crackerjack, Mr. Bubble and Tahitian beer, and some not-so-cool touches, like a sticker on the toilet paper roll of an International Symbol Person squatting and excreting. It’s almost as if the makers of American Pie were in here to do some touch-ups. Plus there are a couple of compilation CDs (for purchase, of course) of Standard-endorsed tracks (some interesting choices, including a bunch of stuff I’ve never heard of).

But the hotel’s main feature, at least for me, is the rooftop bar (the hotel is 12 stories). With groovy furniture, astro-turf, lounge chairs, and a pool, it’s a pretty sweet deal. I had a chance to catch some rays for a couple of hours yesterday afternoon: it was a very LA moment when about 20 people in work-clothes (long-sleeved shirts, pants) show up. Turns out they were location scouts.

Last night we hit the town, which consisted of high-proof bourbon at a dark little bar called Seven Grand (for its address, and probably the cost of its most expensive whiskey) and a meal at a place called Wok-ano. Not the best meal in the world, but I’m going to try making the asparagus and prawns in black bean sauce dish when I get home.

The previous night we’d spent at a townhouse in the neighbourhood of Los Feliz, but since the little caged birds belonging to the person in the other unit woke up my traveling companion, we headed for quieter climes. That didn’t stop me from waking up in the middle of the night last night though, with troubled thoughts of the future in mind, and a sour whiskey stomach.

Today, home.

08
Sep
08

The new ‘it’ accessory for LA men

For the longest time, it seemed like every cute/outdoorsy/vaguely eligible man in Los Angeles owned a couple Labrador retrievers. Invariably they’d adopt from shelters, and sometimes if they really wanted to wear the ‘nice guy’ badge bold and proud, their Labs would be blind, decrepit or like 416 years old. I always was bothered by this because it seemed drastically unfair to all the non-Labrador breeds in the kennel–I mean there just aren’t enough softhearted women or highly evolved couples to adopt every outcast terrier/pitbull/ridgeback/rottie in the 310. But anyway, it seems I no longer have to fret because the LA men have moved on, en sudden and well-coordinated masse.

Between 7-10 times over the past weekend, I spotted hot( ish) single (or at least solo) men out and about Hermosa Beach with fluffy white button-nosed dogs. (Actually according to the general fashion/lifestyle Stylewatch rule, 3 of the same thing makes a trend…so 7-10 sightings is actually more of a CRAZE.) These dogs come in all kinds of different breeds/mixes/mutt non-pedigrees, but generally they have bodies shaped like giant chubby sausages, and round little pink tongues that constantly stick out.  In case I do not make myself clear, here are a couple photos.

Damn, these dogs are cute. They’re like walking stuffed animals, and what’s especially awesome is that they come in size Small, Medium or Large. Because if there’s anything more ridiculous than a man with a handbag dog, it’s a man with a white fluffy handbag dog that can’t put its freakin’ tongue in its mouth. PLUS, I actually used to know a man who had one of these dogs (he was in San Francisco, which of course is always ahead of Los Angeles trend-wise), and that dog kicked my dog’s ass in a fight even though my dog was 5 years younger and 20 pounds heavier–so these dogs are clearly more macho than they look!   

So all this is great; however I do have one reservation. As I was researching this whole craze, I learned that while a couple of the breeds are in the terrier division, they’re much more likely to be of Doodle-Poo extraction. You know. Goldendoodle (Golden retriever plus poodle). Scottiepoo (Scottish something-or-other plus poodle). Schnoodle (schnauzer plus poodle). Whoodle (Wheaton terrier plus poodle–the uber fluffy white dog hybrid of all time). Pookimo, Westiepoo, Jackapoo and there are tons more but to list them all would just be sheer baby-talk madness.

And the point is…how manly can a man possibly be when his DOG (AKA best friend, altar ego) is a Whoodle-Doodle-Schipper-Pinny-Poo? It’s complete emasculation in a single gibberish word.

Which is why the men NEVER admit it. When you ask them, as I did on Sunday:

‘Say, what kind of breed is this adorable sausage-bodied button-nosed creature?’(Thinking: that would look adorable on my living room sofa and by the way so would you.)

The man gives a macho shrug and is like, ‘dunno. a mutt.’

At which point I think, You lie!! It’s a fucking Whoodledoodle!  and giggle sweetly before going on my way.

Luckily not all girls are as compulsive about doing their research as me, so I think this trend–the fluffy white conversation piece of supposedly unknown origins–could be here to stay.

21
Apr
08

The Jaded Lady Brigade

I’ve been collecting comments from my girlfriends for a book proposal, and damn, they make me laugh, but I must say Cali and NYC girls are jaded.  And Vancouver. And Montreal. And…my gosh, is there anyone in the world who believes in, like, fairy tale romance anymore? Read below and weep. Or, of course, you might laugh. I did both. Next, I’m going to go rent a whole stack of intellectual European porn (does such a thing exist? In my head, it makes sense)…because clearly I’m among the more naive single women on the planet, and have a lot of catching up to do…

MARY, 26 Y.O. MONTREAL GIRL, ON DRESSING TO GO OUT
Two tips : Great looking shoes, and amazing bra and underwear 😉 

LESLIE, 25 Y.O. NYC GIRL, ON BAR PICKUPS 
Just do it.  It’s no fun to sit by and waste valuable time.  Let’s face it, you’re not getting any younger.

COREY, 26 Y.O. NYC GIRL, ON THE GIRLFRIEND JURY
Sometimes you don’t want to chat right off the bat about the guy you’re seeing because you need to figure things out in your head first. But your girlfriends know you better than anyone and can sometimes read between the lines of your descriptions/stories. You might not always want to hear what they have to say, but unfortunately, they’re usually right.

DARA, 31 Y.O. SAN DIEGO GIRL, ON THE LAWS OF ATTRACTION
Likation/Replusion.  You meet a guy.  He seems nice and you have a thing or two in common.  However, you are uncertain of the chemistry and level of attraction, hedge on accepting a second date or even remain unsure if you should have accepted the first.  At some point, despite earlier misgivings or in some cases because of them, you do decide that you like this guy.  At that very moment, a soundless, odorless, invisible signal is sent out across the cosmos.  You may not have laid eyes on or spoken to the guy in days.  No matter.  He just somehow knows that likation has descended.  Instantly, the tables have turned and this person is completely repulsed by you.  You never hear from him again.

26
Feb
08

Sheep thievery? Yes this is what we’ve come to.

Friday night I had a random walkabout w/some folks in my neighborhood, played piano duets and made out with a random guy. Saturday I met up with dear friends and tried–unsuccessfully–to steal a sheep. The sheep-thieving was way more entertaining.

Probably because the sheep was not alive, per se, nor had it ever been. It was, in fact, a miniature reproduction possessed of surprising authenticity and charm. Its wool was woolly, its legs were stocky, its eyelids were heavy in a way that suggested it was thinking deep thoughts and was perhaps a little world-weary.

 It was one of a family (a herd? a pod?) of many fake sheep that hung out in the lobby bar of the new Custom Hotel in Westchester, which may be the most surreal property I’ve ever seen. Think Berlin decor, random West LA clientele (not Venice, nor yet Santa Monica, and certainly not Hollywood) mixed with business dudes on layover and the occasional suspected “working girl.” Then add in a pretty bomb-ass DJ and a few live puppies, wandering amidst the sheep. There. Now you’re getting me. This place was weird. But you know, I like weird places much more than normal ones, so I had a good time.

The entirety of our time in the bar was spent in huddle mode, trying to figure out how we could sneak out one of the fake sheep. We had become strangely enamored of it, and even took turns throwing our coats over it, tucking it underarmed like a large football (with legs), and doing dry runs around the bar. We even tried to stuff it inside Jenna’s oversize handbag. Sadly, it was not oversized enough. And there were security guards and cameras EVERYwhere. So we left the sheep behind, with promises to return.

“That sheep will haunt your dreams,” I told Alex, a scrappy young Jewish man who had even, for a moment, been ready to to use his wife’s bosom as a diversion while he sprinted out the door. (His wife, mind you, was at the bar at the time… the idea died on the vine once she returned.)

 Anyway. Fake sheep = fun. Random neighbors = not. Two of ’em saw me eating alone in a sushi bar…which is not too unusual on weeks when I’ve worked 80+ hours and gone out almost every night. They immediately took misguided pity on me and insisted that I come out drinking. So I did, to the lamest bar, where I met the lamest guy, proceeded to go back to the lamest house party, made out with him at some point just because I was bored, and then took a taxi back home vowing never to hang out with strangers again.

“I don’t like smart women. Actually, I don’t believe they exist,” he told me, mid-snog.

“Hmmm…” I said. “That’s…repulsive.”

“I was just kidding,” he said, looking wounded. “Don’t you know it’s a joke?”

Don’t you know I will never speak to you again? I wondered as we wandered back inside.

Apparently he didn’t know, for he texted me and asked me for a date the very next day.

Silly Neanderthal. When a woolly, football-shaped piece of wood with legs has more charm than you…well, that’s when you know you have a problem. Sadly, there is nothing I can see that you will ever be able to do about it.

Stay tuned for pics from the Custom Hotel.

06
Nov
07

Artsy Datesies — A few ideas for you

I had no idea November was such a fun and festive month. There’s literally stuff going on all over North America. Art installations, foodie fests, pop-up shopping–what happened? Didn’t November used to be kind of…lame?

Anyway, here are the fun things I’ve received in my inbox…hopefully at least one is in a city near you (or a city you’ll visit sometime soon):

Whistler: This is really late on the calendar for a harvest fest, but the Whistler Cornucopia is happening from November 8-12. The event schedule is fantastic, and includes everything from cooking demos to champagne after-parties. My faves are the House Party at Memphis Blues (BBQ ribs, beer, wine, DJs); the Artisans’ Market (showcasing farmers and producers of Slow Food Whistler ); and the Arti Gras Gala at the Hilton (Cajun music, psychics, comedians, turducken). Main event Crush! is such a crowd-pleaser, it takes place twice this year. Individual tickets for each event.

San Francisco: Always a ton of stuff in this city, but I’m most excited about the new Marie Antoinette and the Petit Trianon at the Versailles exhibit, opening November 17 at the Legion of Honor. Most of the featured artworks came straight over from the real Versailles, and have never been out of France before. If you wasted $9 to see Kirsten Dunst in that lame Marie Antoinette movie last year (which I did), then you owe it to yourself to get the real story now. Exclusively in SF–but staying through February 17.

Las Vegas:  LOVE this place. It is such an amusement park. In honor of the 2007 Beaujolais Nouveau release (happens annually, the third week in November), Paris Las Vegas is going to light up its fake Eiffel Tower in red neon. All 50 stories. At midnight on November 15th. Tasteful, classic…the French will be thrilled. Actually they won’t, but who cares? It’ll look fab!  Paris will hold wine dinners and tastings and so forth throughout the week.

Wilmington: Sure, why not? North Carolina isn’t usually a cultural hub, but with the 13th Annual Cucalorus Film Festival happening from November 7-10 at Cape Fear, it qualifies. This is a pretty big deal for the area–TIME Magazine wrote it up a couple years ago, and there are even celebs on the 2007 program. Morgan Freeman directed “Just Like the Sun,” and Ethan Hawke directed “The Hottest State”. (Note: I am not saying they will actually show up. But you can hope.)

Los Angeles: Paper Magazine is coming to the West Coast for the PAPERMAG: L.A. Project November 7-11. They’re hosting a Phyllis Diller art exhibit, a guitar shredding competition, and a “fashion outreach day” where they for once drop those East Coast pretensions that Angelenos have no style. But coolest of all, they’re putting together a 24-hour “shopping marathon” on Friday night. (In a perfect world, all shops would be open 24 hours. It just makes sense.) Apparently this is how Paper gets good material for their annual Los Angeles edition. Whatever works, kids.

I’ll be at the Paper thing, and will give you a full report on 24-hour shopping. If you hit up any of the others (or anything else fun), send me pictures.

05
Nov
07

Love Boat? Well, sort of.

I just got the seasonal schedule from Singles Travel International, and there are like a zillion cruises on it.

Okay, exaggeration. There are five, departing from now through the end of February. But still, that’s rather a lot.

Cruises have traditionally been the favored lazy vacation option for families or couples. My friend Nadia just went on a Carnival cruise with eight friends, and hated it. (In fact, her exact description was, “boring, full of Mid-Westerners, and the best thing about it was the 24-hour buffet.”) I couldn’t agree more. The only agenda on value cruise lines, in my opinion,  is to eat and eat, buy souvenirs, and then eat some more.

Singles Travel International cruises are a different story–mostly for the obvious reason that not everyone on the ship is married with kids. The way they work, to the best of my knowledge, is that the company reserves their singles a certain number of cabins aboard a Royal Caribbean ship, and also organizes a bunch of special singles’ events. The cruises are usually organized by age bracket, which is awesome unless you’re a dirty old perv looking to score with someone 20 years younger. Guests can share a cabin or book their own for slightly more $$.

 I can  kinda-sorta understand the appeal of this. The only downside is, if you decide early on that you don’t like anyone on the ship, then you’re out of luck for the duration. It’s back to the originally scheduled programming: food, food, sunbathing, souvenirs, self-hatred, more food…

Then there are the booze cruises that depart from Cabo, the Bahamas and every other touristy port in the Northern Hemisphere. These hardly count as cruises; they’re really just two- to six-hour forays into ocean-tossed madness. The whole point is to get really wasted, which makes no sense because there’s nothing worse than being really wasted and stuck on a freaking boat. I would know. I’ve done it twice–the first time I passed out on a speaker, and the second, my sister stripped down to a thong in the breakfast room at 8AM.

I absolutely despise booze cruises, but would never try to stop you from discovering their glory for yourself. It’s a rite of passage. And Dramamine will not help.

Because I receive about 30 nightlife emails every day, I recently discovered the next evolution in singles cruising–something I might actually want to attend, although it’s three days long and therefore a MAJOR commitment in Lena-cruise terms. It’s called the Kandy Kruise, and it offers 10 times more eye candy than Singles Travel and 10 times better entertainment than the average booze cruise. It’s brought to us by the Los Angeles promoters who throw the Kandyland parties at the Playboy Mansion.

These boys not only understand the importance of an amazing sound system and really plushy soft furnishings, they also have a truly winning formula for drawing beautiful women to a party: Let them in for free. They apply this very same theory to the Kandy Kruise, God bless ’em. Girls who want to try to hook up a free room send in their hottest photos, and a select number (approximately 10%) get free berth (two to a cabin) in exchange for dressing up in little outfits and parading around the ship, promo model-style. Apparently cabin size is irrelevant, since you only use them to pass out for an hour or two in between club-hopping, suntanning, massages, etc.

I got all these details from Michael Fuller, who runs marketing for the Palms in Las Vegas, and also helped promote the first-ever Kandy Kruise.

“”It was crazy,” he told me. “Really fun.” Coming from the guy who runs events at the Palms, this means a lot. Mike reports a 3:1 girl-to-guy ratio, great food, “clubs going every minute of the day” and all kinds of delights that I don’t want to mention because you’ll get all over-excited and the next cruise isn’t till March, 2008.

So start saving your money. Because boys, boys, boys have to pay, pay, pay. Not as much as for the Playboy Mansion parties, but still a hefty chunk of change for the average Joe–probably $800 minimum per person. Not sure whether girls have the option of paying their way in and not parading around in little outfits–I will check.

Disclaimer: Yes, I realize this scene isn’t for everyone. It typifies all things shallow and hateful about Los Angeles and Las Vegas. Unless you can go–in which case it’s really rather fun. So I’m just putting it out there.

In the meantime, go here to look at pictures from past Kandyland parties including the Kandy Kruise…because it’s Monday and you need a treat.




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