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FINDING LOVE IN WEST HOLLYWOOD JOSH STUART Love. They say it’s hard to find in urban environments. Yet, when I ditch the car and take a few hours to walk around different parts of West Hollywood, I find it everywhere: the fashion shoot taking place in an alcove behind the House of Blues, René Averseng’s eyes closing as he kisses wine from a bottle of Bordeaux at Du Vin - his West Hollywood shop of thirty-six years. Then there are the stylists staging a perfect window display at H. Lorenzo and the couple lost in each other on the patio of Bar Harlowe. You’ll find love in many forms in this issue of West Hollywood Magazine. For example, there’s our excerpt from “Decades of Design,” Gregory Firlotte’s expertly curated exhibit at the West Hollywood Library. Firlotte, who has been part of West Hollywood’s design world for 33 years, has put together a visual history of all things design in a true labor of love. Another view of West Hollywood is offered by Cassandra Plavoukos, whose love of the visual and performing arts is clear in her photographs of local dancers that provide a panoramic view of the city and the sky above it. Then there’s Gus Heully, an architect and writer who loves the city’s architectural history. He opens our eyes to the fading art of Googie architecture and sheds light on a few of those buildings you might wonder about while creeping down Santa Monica or La Cienega boulevards in rush hour. This issue looks at West Hollywood from many angles—in a parking lot, while strolling down a sidewalk, while crossing a city street or while leaping into the sky. What I love about West Hollywood is that no matter where you are, if you open your eyes you can always find something you will love.
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O U R C O N T R I B U TO R S RACHEL BROWN
Rachel is a full-time artist who lives and works in West Hollywood. She uses Sumi ink, watercolor and charcoal to capture the energy and life of her subjects. Her work can be viewed online at rachelbrownart.com.
Ryan studied interactive media design before earning a bachelor’s degree in graphic design in Switzerland. Today, with his team of stylists, beauty artists and production professionals, Jerome produces unique photo shoots for magazines and other clients around the world.
Lina, a writer, DJ and mother who follows nightlife, music and fashion, has written for publications such as LA Weekly, the Los Angeles Times, Rolling Stone and Paper magazine. She is the author of a book about dive bars and now is writing another about relationships (with a rock 'n' roll twist).
Bruno is a Los Angeles-based fashion stylist with a Master’s from the Fashion Institute of Technology in NY who has also a keen eye for design and art. His multifaceted background directly influences his styling work as well as his overall aesthetics.
Ian’s curiosity about photography piqued after high school in suburban Seattle. His passion is shooting portraits of people, be they models, neighborhood regulars or inhabitants of places he visits. Morrison lives in Los Angeles, where he regularly shoots for L.A.-based designer Thomas Wylde and Flaunt magazine.
Juliette is a Los Angeles-based interior designer who has been writing about design, art and electronic music for six years. Juliette finds inspiration in the bold colors and concepts of contemporary French designers and in the wild urban landscapes of her favorite destinations like Rio de Janeiro and Bangkok.
Cassandra is a Los Angeles- based photographer who has been deeply influenced by a lifelong passion for the visual and performing arts. Her study of the formal, athletic, and whimsical nature of movement is integral to her commercial work and portraiture.
Carrie, a Midwest native, received her Master of Architecture degree from the University of Michigan. After a successful commercial photography career in New York City, Carrie, who lives in Los Angeles, now combines her passion for space and portraiture into dynamic architectural imagery.
Joshua is a Los Angeles-based editorial photographer. He brings a photojournalistic approach to his editorial images by trying to catch the unconventional and unplanned moments of life.
Samantha was born and raised in NYC. After attending university in the UK, she returned to New York to pursue fashion and portraiture photography. Her work has been published and shown both nationally and internationally. Now based in LA, she looks forward to bringing her unique and intimate style of photography to the West Coast.
Steffanie says her suburban upbringing in Orange County left her with a hunger for culture and diversity and an obsession with shadows, shapes and a look that can stop you in your tracks. She creates in her studio or on sets and in her spare time captures live music and takes portraits of friends.
Naomi is a photographer and illustrator based in Los Angeles who has worked as an art historian at the Getty Museum. Her interest in photography and painting led her to build her own studio where her work emphasizes the natural beauty of life by using an analog approach or medium.
THEORY OF EVOLUTION The East End of Santa Monica Boulevard Has Gone from Scarily Grim to Delightfully Hip By Lina Lecaro Only a few years ago, it was viewed as the ugly stepchild of West Hollywood, a place where prostitutes strolled the streets, robberies were all too common, and tiny Russian delis and pawnshops were the primary businesses.
purses to books to candleholders, vases, furniture and dog beds. There’s also art, both public (check the installations in Plummer Park) and in galleries (such as Matthew Marks, which represents artists ranging from Ellsworth Kelly and Jasper Johns to Robert Gober and Nan Goldin).
Even then, however, some observers saw promise in West Hollywood’s Eastside. Among them was Anne McIntosh, the city’s former community development director, who, in an allusion to the hippest district in Venice, described the area as the city’s future Abbot Kinney.
There’s more to the Eastside than this story could possibly cover. To get you started, Lina Lecaro calls out some especially interesting restaurants and nightspots below. But ultimately, you really have to go explore for yourself by walking the thirteen blocks from Fairfax Avenue to La Brea Avenue.
Today West Hollywood residents and visitors can find a wide variety of nightlife, dining and shopping on that stretch of Santa Monica Boulevard from Fairfax Avenue to La Brea. And according to a recent report from the Sheriff ’s Department, the city’s Eastside has seen the biggest decline in crime in all of West Hollywood.
When it comes to nightlife, West Hollywood has quite a reputation. The west end of Santa Monica Boulevard is known for its hedonistic hustle, and on any given night its gay bars and restaurants pulsate with partiers and pumped-up pop and electronic music sounds.
The Eastside offers the city’s most eclectic mix of dining and shopping options. There’s Kashtan for a real Russian meal, and Salt’s Cure, noted for its weekend brunches and food that comes only from California (and the adjacent Pacific Ocean).
But the east end of Santa Monica Boulevard offers a different West Hollywood after dark—a more chill but no less gregarious world. It might be straighter but it’s not, by any means, staid. In fact, the Eastside is a treasure trove for locals and visitors seeking less of a pick-up scene and more of a welcoming atmosphere and inventive libations. Whether you’re passing through on your way to see a show on the Strip, driving home from a day on the beach, or simply wanting to explore something new, it’s worth checking out. Here is a selection of Eastside establishments, old and new, that are likely to make you feel at home
There’s also Food Lab, which has morphed from a catering business into an actual restaurant owned by Austrian émigrés Esther and Nino Linsmayer. (She’s the mother. He describes himself as the “pup.”) Of course, it serves Viennese coffee, and its marketplace is the place to go for European foods such as Almdudler, the Austrian soft drink. Nearby they’ve opened Max & Moritz, which they call “a not-so-general store.” Its eclectic inventory includes everything from
Photographs by Joshua Spencer
Jones Restaurant When it comes to restaurants that also are rock 'n' roll landmarks, Jones deserves nearly as many props as the Rainbow Bar & Grill on the Sunset Strip. The Rainbow may have a more debauched past, but Jones has a similarly cool, if more laid back, atmosphere: dark, cozy booths, rockin’ music, potent drinks and a décor that pays homage to West Hollywood’s nightlife past. While the Rainbow has become a hair metal flashback, at Jones the walls are adorned with images that date even further back and are arguably more glamorous—rare shots of 70s rockstars and half-naked groupies from Rodney’s English Disco, the glam grotto hosted by KROQ DJ and local legend Rodney Bingenheimer. Owner Sean MacPherson obviously understands timeless cool; his other L.A. spots are Bar Marmont at the Chateau Marmont and Good Luck in Silver Lake, and he’s just as well known in New York for hip hotels such as the Marlton, the Bowery and the Ludlow. The drinks and the bartenders who serve them add to the allure of it all (many cocktails are named after famed rock stars such as “The Hendrix,” “The Joplin” and “The Keith Moon”). And don’t forget the pizza, salads and desserts, menu classics that still rock our world two decades since Jones opened its doors in 1994. 7205 SANTA MONICA BOULEVARD (323) 850-1726 joneshollywood.com
Bar Harlowe The vintage glam décor inside the 1933 Group’s Harlowe is gorgeous but unfussy, much like the crowd. Deco art, ornate lighting fixtures and sumptuous wood accents make for a rich feel that’s also relaxed. Like Sassafras (formerly Vine Bar), 1933’s other old-timey looking den, Bar Harlowe is an inviting mesh of past and present. It has a “cocktail program” ( i.e., a fancy, constantly-evolving drink list) created by mixologist Dushan Zaric of New York, and there’s a well-edited menu of light bites (oysters, flatbread pizzas, assorted cheeses, etc.) served late. Most evenings, a young, trendy crowd comes out for date-night dinners or drinks with friends, soaking up the scene and the choices of the stellar music selectors behind the decks. The best of these weekly gatherings? Bo Burroughs’ Wednesday night party, which typifies the unpretentious, effortless luxe atmosphere here. It kicks off with a “family-style” dinner followed by socializing and dancing 'til late. For Burroughs (who used to promote at Drais and DBA), Harlowe is the antithesis of velvet rope culture, a place where everyone’s a star, and you don’t have to be famous to shine. 7321 SANTA MONICA BOULEVARD (323) 876-5839 harlowebar.com
Bar Lubitsch With the enduring success of Jones, Sean MacPherson sought to expand his Eastside empire by joining forces with Jared Meisler to create Bar Lubitsch. In doing so, he proved that his gift for creating thematically seductive environments was no fluke. At Lubitsch, he and Meisler went for Commie-chic, with a Russian décor and a vodka menu that would make Putin proud. The rear “red room” is an opulent yet kitschy space, perfectly suited for lively dancing to local turntable talents and occasional bands, while the better-lit front room is where see-and-be-seen types tend to hang out and hell-raise. And then there are the classic burlesque nights. From marvelous Moscow Mules to flaming “Molotov Cocktails,” Lubitsch remains one of the best spots on Santa Monica Boulevard (east or west) to get a drink. 7702 SANTA MONICA BOULEVARD (323) 654-1234 barlubitsch.com
The Surly Goat Craft brews have become a trendy focus of many Los Angeles-area bars, but they were a relatively foreign concept in West Hollywood before The Surly Goat arrived in 2011. The Goat does them right, with a range of bottles and on-tap drafts varying in price, color and flavor. There are choices for every brew-loving palate: blondes and wheats for those who prefer lighter flavors and microbrew darks and rare artisanal concoctions for the hardcore guzzlers. Nightlife impresario Adolfo Suaya and bar man Ryan Sweeney have brought together a blend of rustic and hip inside the bar. It’s laid back enough for watching a game on TV and lively enough to attract dressed-up night clubbers for dancing to DJs on weekends. And then there’s the goat décor. The horned creature makes for a subversive, subtly metal theme that says this place doesn’t take itself too seriously…. even with its seriously massive tap selection. 7929 SANTA MONICA BOULEVARD (323) 650-4628 surlygoat.com
PHOTOS COURTESY ROBERT S. KATES
DECADES OF DESIGN By Gregory Firlotte
Never has there been a city whose history is so closely interwoven with the design trade as is that of West Hollywood. That history is the subject of an exhibit that opened in November at the West Hollywood Library curated by Gregory Firlotte for the West Hollywood Design District. Firlotte, who has been part of West Hollywood’s design community for 33 years is that unusual curator who actually knows most of the subjects of the exhibit he put together.
Open through February, the exhibit takes viewers on a journey spanning more than sixty-five years —from 1948 to the present—on the intersecting streets of Beverly Boulevard, Robertson Boulevard and Melrose Avenue. In the profiles that follow, Firlotte tells the stories of some of that area’s design pioneers, who have influenced design worldwide.
LEADER OF THE PACK: HERMAN MILLER, INC. The reason why 8806 Beverly Boulevard was selected in 1949 to be Herman Miller’s first West Coast showroom is unknown. What is clear is that its location at the intersection of Beverly and Roberston Boulevards made it the cornerstone of what was to become the West Hollywood Design District. By the late 1940s, the Zeeland, Michigan-based company was a powerhouse in the world of modern furniture manufacturing. Given the firm’s historic pedigree, its new West Hollywood locale became the most popular in the design district.
PHOTOS COURTESY HEMRAN MILLER INC.
The architecture and interiors were created by the husband and wife design team of Charles and Ray Eames, whose names would be forever synonymous with American Mid-Century furniture design. Herman Miller was collaborating with the Eamses in the late 1940s on the production of molded plywood chairs and the now-iconic Eames’ Lounge Chair, which is part of the permanent collection at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. With their design studio located in Santa Monica, the Eameses were familiar with the layout of Beverly Boulevard and were likely regular visitors to the nearby Jules Seltzer Associates showroom, which also sold Herman Miller products. The 8806 showroom was designed in classic Eames’ style, with industrial steel framing, patterned glass, opaque glass panels, standardized fixture components and an interior floor plan that was both open and flexible in how it could be used for furniture displays. The facade is still solid glass in Mondrianlike grids, which originally could be moved to change the exterior‘s appearance. Known primarily for their furniture design, Charles and Ray Eames designed only a handful of buildings, and this showroom represents the only fully-realized commercial structure designed by them that still exists today.
8806 BEVERLY BOULEVARD
RECREATING HISTORY: DENNIS AND LEEN
At first, Dennis and Leen sold only original items. But after a while they found that they often had more than one prospective buyer for each, so they began to reproduce pieces, six at a time. Then the number of copies grew to upward of sixty pieces. Their company found itself creating more and more reproductions that found even more buyers than did their one-of-a-kinds. As business increased, the two men expanded their roles to become interior designers, conjuring up interiors for valued clients to complement their furniture. When the number of antiques that Dennis
ONE OF A KIND: PHYLLIS MORRIS
COURTESY DENNIS AND LEEN
When 28-year-old Phyllis Morris made her first pink poodle lamp for a Los Angeles department store in 1953, little did this woman, who hailed from Chicago, know that she was making history in the interior design world by breaking into what, at that time, was a man’s world.
and Leen could find in London and Paris began to dwindle, they found themselves buying fragments of those pieces instead, such as the crystal baubles from grand old chandeliers that Dennis would use to create his own chandelier designs. Over the years, the collection of reproductions would grow to include a wide range of tables, seating, lighting, mantels, accessories and art. In the 1980s, the showroom was purchased by designers Barbara Wiseley, Daniel Cuevas and Richard Hallberg. In 1990, it moved to its current location at 8720 Melrose Avenue.
From her small shop on Melrose Place in 1953, Morris charted her own course and carved out her own space in this male-dominated realm of furniture design. Outspoken and determined, she did that by marketing herself as well as her lamps in ways that made local newspaper headlines. However, her vision was bigger than making lamps, which prompted her move from Melrose Place to 8770 Beverly Boulevard in the early 1960s, giving her more space to display her own line of lighting, tables and furniture. In 1964, she bought the former Knapps and Tubb showroom next door at 8772 Beverly Boulevard, which would be the headquarters of Phyllis Morris Originals until the company moved to 655 North Robertson Boulevard in 2004. Almost from the beginning, Morris cultivated a celebrity clientele and circle of friends that included the “who’s who” of Old Hollywood: Joan Crawford, Lucille Ball, Liberace, Rock Hudson and Joan Collins among them. Morris became known for her big, over-thetop beds, her bold and colorful advertisements, her celebrity-filled parties, her charity fundraisers and her never-ending promotion to the trade of the BeverlyRobertson design district—not to mention her support for West Hollywood cityhood long before it happened in 1984. Morris’s mix of Asian, African and Pop Art furnishings and modern and traditional furniture in lacquer and exotic finishes created a new look in home decor back in the early 1960s. In 1970, the furnishings she created for the Imperial Suite in Las Vegas for mega-developer Kirk Kerkorian were so large that they had to be air lifted by helicopters into the International Hotel’s penthouse (which was created for use by the likes of Frank Sinatra and Jackie and Aristotle Onassis). Morris passed away in 1988, and the company is headed by her daughter, Jamie Adler, who continues her mother’s colorful design legacy. 30
PHOTOS COURTESY PHYLLIS MORRIS
It was 1959 when Leo Dennis and Jerry Leen opened their first shop at 468 North Robertson Boulevard. Their love for travel and fine antiques was what brought them together, and over the course of three decades, they journeyed across Europe in search of just the right items to display. In the beginning, they simply bought things they liked in the hope that their clients would like them too. It was a time of exploration and fascination with pieces from the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries. For Dennis and Leen, to be able to find such treasures and bring them back to West Hollywood made their painstaking scouring of European countries worthwhile.
FORWARD THINKING: DECORATIVE CARPETS INC.
60’s COURTESY MAXFIELD/TOMMY PERSE
“I have taken a big step forward,” wrote Louis “Lou” Sugarman in a 1955 letter to “Betty” about the opening of his first carpet showroom at 144 North Robertson Boulevard. “Going into business for myself has been very exciting,” he continued, “and I’m hoping my friends will share the same enthusiasm.” It was his enthusiasm for owning his own business that inspired the launch of this showroom. Prior to this, Sugarman had supervised the carpet department of the Green & Hinkle furniture store on Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills. It was there that a man asked Sugarman if he was interested in starting a “to the trade” showroom for Spanish rugs. Sugarman was more than eager to take on that challenge. Though he had no startup money, he did have the confidence to ask his boss, Lou Green, to lend him the $3,000 he needed to go into business for himself. Green readily lent the money, and Sugarman made a deal with the Spanish importer that allowed him, after six months of business, to bring in other manufacturers’ rugs and carpets.
MAN IN BLACK: TOMMY PERSE It was 1969 in Los Angeles, and hippies and rock music still reigned on the Sunset Strip. Beads, flowers, incense and bold psychedelic colors were everywhere—everywhere, that is, except for a boutique oddly painted black on Santa Monica Boulevard in West Hollywood. It was one door west of the famed Troubadour nightclub where singers Joni Mitchell, James Taylor and Carole King performed regularly during that final year of the hippie Sixties.
Decorative Carpets Inc. was on its way. Robertson Boulevard was an obvious choice for the showroom because it was already well established as the design district of Los Angeles. Over the decades, the company has become known for its colorful hand-tufted rugs and carpets, which have been installed around the globe in corporate spaces such as those of IBM, Nike, Sony, Toyota and Warner Bros and in hotels including the Four Seasons, St. Regis, Hyatt and the Savoy in London. In 2011, Decorative Carpets collaborated with its neighbor, Commune Design, on a collection of eleven rugs handknotted in Nepal in wool, hemp and silk—all in completely natural tones. Lou Sugarman remained chairman of the company until his death in 2005. His son, George, who grew up in the business, took over as president in 1988. More recently, George’s daughter, Sara, joined the company as vice president of marketing and sales, making it a third-generation family business. COURTESY DCORATIVE CARPETS, INC.
Inside that clothing and accessory boutique, which owner Tommy Perse named Maxfield Bleu, it was evident that Perse was fascinated with one thing: the color black. Black clocks, blankets, toothbrushes, clothing—you name it, they were all in black. Even his promo mailers were called “black mail.” By the time the 1970s rolled around, the shop’s name was pared down to Maxfield (named after artist Maxfield Parrish), and Perse began to carry clothing and accessory brands never seen or heard of in L.A. By the 1980s, the shop was the only place in town to find hip lines such as Comme des Garçons, Giorgio Armani, Yohji Yamamoto and Chrome Hearts jewelry.
COURTESY MAXFIELD/TOMMY PERSE
When Maxfield moved to 8825 Melrose Avenue in 1985, the once street-friendly boutique’s facade now became an imposing concrete fortress with its back turned to the street and its entrance in the rear. Monolithic monkey statues added an artistic whimsy to the shop’s entranceway. The now-renowned Simon Doonan decorated the shop’s one street display window for eight years, and the seventhousand-square-foot gallery-like interior became a minimalist wonderland filled with the odd, rare and expensive—from bicycles to eye glasses, purses to furniture, taxidermied animals to art and, of course, lots of black clothing. Perse is a true rock star among retailers, a pioneer who changed the way L.A. dressed, and did it according to his own vision. Nowadays, wearing his long gray hair in a trademark bun, dressed in black and wearing Chrome Hearts jewelry, Perse continues to fill his shop with the most unusual and expensive items and clothing around.
PHOTOS COURTESY J. ROBERT SCOTT. SALLY KIRKIN LEWIS BY KARYN MILLET
SALLY SIRKIN LEWIS
MODERN CLASSIC: SALLY SIRKIN LEWIS “Every instinct in me said that this area was poised to become a focal point for our industry,” recalls designer Sally Sirkin Lewis, commenting on why she became a part of the West Hollywood design district in the early 1970s. She made that move when the Black Rabbit Inn, the hip music industry restaurant at 8727 Melrose Avenue, became available. Lewis leapt at the opportunity to transform what she called its “funky, dark interiors” into a “chic showroom whose luxury of space would allow the furnishings to breathe.” The J. Robert Scott showroom opened in 1972 with furniture upholstered in white Indian cotton, floors stained in ebony, batik throw pillows and rugs of zebra hides—not to mention walls covered in straw wrapping materials that she salvaged from shipping crates, which would eventually become Lewis’ popular “Madagascar” woven raffia wall covering.
“Our first year in business was a thrilling time,” says Lewis, “because some people said we wouldn’t last six months.” But time has been on Lewis’ side. A great lover of contemporary art, Lewis continually pared down the essence of classical furniture designs until she created what many consider her quintessential piece: the Art Deco Fauteuil. Its inspiration was 18th Century French fauteuils, but Lewis wanted a contemporary, unadorned version with an elegant natural wood veneer. First sketched in 1980, the chair debuted in 1982 to acclaim that included an article in the Hollywood Reporter hailing Lewis as “among the most stylish women in California.” Awarded more than one hundred and fifty U.S. design patents and named a member of the Interior Design Hall of Fame, Lewis has proved her early naysayers wrong— six months have turned into forty-two designfilled years. 32
“I chose the West Hollywood Design District to build my first showroom because of its energy and the creative environment,” says Robert Kuo, founder of Robert Kuo Ltd. The flow of energy and creativity has always been part of life for Kuo, who was raised in Taiwan after his family moved from Beijing in 1947. Kuo’s father, an art professor and watercolor painter, started a cloisonné atelier where Robert became an apprentice at age fifteen. It was here that Kuo got hands-on training in the very painstaking ancient art of applying enamel between raised metal designs. This basic training was to serve him throughout his artistic career, which included opening a cloisonné studio in Beverly Hills upon his immigration to the U.S. in 1973. Southern California offered an environment where Kuo could cultivate a clientele that appreciated the new ways in which he developed cloisonné to include influences from Art Nouveau and Art Deco. Those new ways also included new shapes and finishes as well as different objects to which he applied his craft and vision. In 1984, the Robert Kuo Ltd. showroom, designed by architect Larry Allen, opened at the corner of Melrose Avenue and San Vicente Boulevard, providing a striking modernist counterpoint to the blue-glass Pacific Design Center directly across the street. Inside the showroom, one finds furnishings that range from small tabletop items to large tables and cabinets as well as large landscaping elements. Of note is the fact that Kuo’s “Goldfish Bowl” was acquired by the Smithsonian’s Sackler Gallery in 1991 for its permanent collection. Today, Kuo’s repertoire also includes items done in repoussé (hammering decorative relief onto metal), which rounds out the cloisonné and lacquered items. He often travels to China to train craftsmen in creating new pieces that are later finished to perfection in Los Angeles.
GLAMOUR GIRL: NANCY CORZINE
Nancy Corzine has been a fixture in the West Hollywood Design District since she opened C&C Imports, her first showroom, on North Robertson Boulevard in 1983. At first, C&C was a small business selling raw chair frames imported from Spain. But Corzine had a larger vision of selling finished and upholstered chairs and having her own factory in Los Angeles. She wanted to do everything with glamour, elegance and style as she saw it.
COURTESY ROBERT KUO
As her business and reputation grew, Corzine chose to keep West Hollywood as the base where she showcased new and classically inspired furnishings and conducted her own interior design practice. When she introduced her Napoleon Lounge Chair in 1984, it became not only one of the most successful pieces in her line, but also one of the most copied around the world. Corzine was passionate in protecting her valued designs, fighting tirelessly against counterfeiters. In a 2004 story in The New York Times about her battles, she recounted coming across a factory illegally copying her furniture. “...I climbed onto the roof of my Range Rover, jumped over the fence and went in,” The Times quoted Corzine as saying. Now that’s passion for one’s art.
In 2000, Corzine opened her first self-branded showroom at 8747 Melrose Avenue and later opened Corzine Fine Art, also on Melrose. In 2009, she published Glamour at Home, whose success led her to expand her furniture line globally to include Saudi Arabia, Russia and the Middle East. In 2013, she opened her first showroom abroad in Jakarta, Indonesia.
COURTESY NANCY CORZINE
MASTER ARTISAN: ROBERT KUO
THOMAS LAVIN BY FRANK ISHMAN, COURTESY OF THOMAS LAVIN
MARTYN LAWRENCE BULLARD, THOMAS LAVIN, NATHAN TURNER & CRAIG SUSSER These men are stylish, clever, handsome and successful. Confidence reigns in their courts, and they are all self-made. Collectively, they have seventyseven years of experience living and working in the West Hollywood Design District. Martyn Lawrence Bullard is the British-born interior designer, author and TV personality from Bravo’s Million Dollar Decorators who is sought after by friends and celebrities alike to decorate homes, hotels and villas around the globe. Bullard—who opened his first design shop in West Hollywood in 1996—up close is soft-spoken, articulate and always the proper English gent with a taste for the colorful and the exotic.
MARTIN LAWRENCE BULLARD BY DEBORAH ANDERSON
Over the past 19 years, showroom owner Thomas Lavin has demonstrated time and time again that true style is a process of continually expanding one’s knowledge of history, fine art, fashion and cultures, not just the decorative and applied arts. Lavin’s mind is akin to a laboratory, where ideas of what to mix and mingle for his showroom are always being formulated.
COURTESY NATHAN TURNER
COURTESY CRAIG SUSSER
By the time interior designer Nathan Turner opened his first showroom in West Hollywood in 2002, he had already cultivated his love of adventure and travel, as well as honed keen culinary skills. His 2012 book, Nathan Turner’s American Style: Design and Effortless Entertaining, combines these passions. Restaurateur Craig Susser is one of those success stories that people love to hear about: from waiting tables in 1988 to now owning Craig’s‑one of the hottest restaurants in West Hollywood. “If you do it right, you’re not just serving food,” Susser told The New York Times in 2011. And Susser is doing it right, for sure. After all, where else but at Craig’s will you find megastar George Clooney behind the bar shaking up his own cocktails?
MARTIN LAWRENCE BULLARD
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Celebrating West Hollywood’s Favorite Dancers Above Sunset Boulevard Photographs by Cassandra Plavoukos West Hollywood is known as home to many of the world’s top fashion designers, artists, actors and interior designers. But less well known is that the city is a playground for some of the world’s leading dancers. On any given night on the town, you may see some of these dancers performing with a headliner at one of Los Angeles’ many venues or living it up with buddies at West Hollywood’s hot spot du jour. Perhaps you’ll spot Kim Gingras, the beautiful, red-headed principal dancer for Beyoncé, or the handsome Taylor James, one of Los Angeles’ top male dancers and choreographers. Or maybe Melanie Mah (Dancing With the Stars), Vincent Noiseux (Jennifer Lopez), Michael Silas (Lady Gaga) and twins Jamie Rae and Jenny Dailey (Step Up 5). Great dancers such as these let their audiences see a song or understand a story from a different perspective. On the pages that follow, they also give us a different perspective of West Hollywood by taking breathtaking leaps upwards from the Andaz West Hollywood into the sky above Sunset Boulevard with a backdrop of the West Hollywood and Los Angeles skylines. The Andaz has the highest rooftop pool in Los Angeles. With views like these, it is our pick as the place to soak in the skyline any time of year.
Photographed on the roof of the Andaz Hotel Makeup & Grooming By Jen Hanching
TAYLOR JAMES @taylorjjames
MICHAEL SILAS @msilas23
KIM GINGRAS @KIMGINGRAS
MELANIE MAH @mellymah
VINCENT NOISEUX @vincentnoiseux
JAYME RAE AND JENNY DAILEY @jayme_rae / @jennydailey88
THE SEARCH FOR LOST ARCHITECTURE BY GUS HEULLY PHOTOGRAPHS BY CARRIE SHALTZ
L.A.’s boulevards are one of its most iconic and memorable experiences, evoked in film, story and song. They take you from the towers of downtown Los Angeles all the way to the beach. In so doing, they move you through West Hollywood. Sunset, Santa Monica, Melrose, Beverly—West Hollywood is a city navigated and organized by boulevards.
It was in the 1930s, when cars became affordable for the average Angeleno, that the boulevards became wider and busier. While there were railways, the car was the most convenient way to navigate long distances on the flat plains of L.A. The traffic flowed then and, instead of parking, one paused at drive-ups and drive-ins. Cars never were still for long. By the 1950s, most of the railways were gone. The car became the undeniable norm, and drivers moved fast, newly accustomed to freeway travel. The increasing speeds meant that buildings along the boulevards needed a new form of expression, a style that would be seen by drivers now travelling at more than thirtyfive miles an hour rather than walking or cruising at a pedestrian pace. That style was Googie. Googie is a distinctly modern style of commercial architecture, designed to be understood quickly and to draw the eye of a driver. In effect, Googie coffee shops were like signs, advertising turned into architecture. They were crass, but they had to be. No one ever hits the brakes for subtlety. Big signs, strong forms, flashing neon, clean chrome and a view inside through big glass walls were key. Googie was in on the Modernist mixing of inside and outside, but the outside for these buildings wasn’t green nature, it was asphalt streets.
“Googie was Modernism uninhibited, and its unusual name originated in West Hollywood.”
Commercial restaurant developers in the 1950s worked with architects Douglas Honnold, Amét and Davis, John Lautner and others who brought the roadside restaurant to a new height of formal experimentation and expression. Inspiration was found in the cars the restaurant design was meant to attract, in the planes and ships of World War II, and in the futuristic mindset spawned by the race to outer space—all while paying tribute to Frank Lloyd Wright’s expressive structural organism. Where Mid-Century Modern architecture praised the “honest” expression of materials and structure, Googie had no such sense of propriety. Manufactured stone, laminates of wood and plastic, neon lighting and nonstructural forms were all fair game. Googie was Modernism uninhibited, and its unusual name originated in West Hollywood. A red razzle-dazzled warship sat at the corner of Sunset and Crescent Heights boulevards, anti-gravitational planes floating apart at the seams and crashing pell mell from asphalt to sky, all stopped short by a squat Schwab’s pharmacy. “Stop the car!” shouted Douglas Haskell, who spotted this mashup of canted walls, shearing glass and red steel from the passenger seat of his friend’s car—it was a coffee shop named Googie’s. Designed by architect John Lautner for restaurateur Mort Burton in 1949, Googie’s had only one other location, but after Haskell wrote about it in 1952 for magazine House and Home, Googie’s would lend its name to an entire style. Haskell praised Googie’s for its experiments in structure, materials and form that pushed the ideas of Modernism into new territory. The Googie style though, was always commercial, rough and unabashedly populist—features that would banish it from consideration by high brow publications. But this did not stop Googie-style structures from continuing to be built. They were simply too successful. Restauranteur Norm Roybark began developing his “Norm’s” chain in 1955, and West Hollywood’s own Norm’s on La Cienega was built in 1957, designed by the firm of Armét and Davis.
Norm’s elongated diamond roof trusses down the length of the building and the glass walls that butt up to their underside create the classic anti-gravitational Googie illusion. Repeated upward on the sign, the flashing fluorescent diamonds flag cars down. So identifiable was the profile of Norm’s roof that artist Ed Ruscha, well known for his deadpan photographs such as Twenty Six Gasoline Stations (1963) or Every Building on the Sunset Strip (1966), used Norm’s imageable profile in a series of paintings of buildings on fire. One, appropriately titled Norm’s, La Cienega, On Fire (1964), today is in the collection of The Broad Museum. Appropriated by pop art, Googie architecture clearly had high stock in an increasingly image-centric culture. While Googie restaurants have slowly disappeared from Los Angeles’s boulevards, the style is still an integral part of the Los Angeles landscape and imagination. Buildings like Mel’s diner, with its broken backed A-frame roof, remain, along with a number of colonaded car washes. Or one can count the number of scenes in Tarentino’s Pulp Fiction that were set in a Googie-styled diner. It was cars that shaped the architecture of the 1950’s boulevard, but people don’t cruise today, they know where they are going. Google suggests what is around, Yelp confirms that the choice matches the desired experience, and the GPS gives the route, anywhere in the world. But some new commercial structures continue to use the Googie style. An example is Connie and Ted’s, the restaurant on Santa Monica Boulevard in West Hollywood, with its anti-gravitational sculptural roof, unapologetic use of faux materials and big glass walls attempting to catch the eye of a car more than that of a pedestrian. Or is the design really meant to catch another kind of eye, that of the cell phone camera? We may no longer roam the streets in our cars to see what’s available, but our eyes cruise while our fingers flick across our phones. Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest produce a form of high speed travel faster than that of any car. It’s a speed that imageable architecture, sometimes a restaurant, but today more often a concert hall or museum, capitalizes on with the proper promotion. It is in these buildings, their images yelling out from around the world to screens everywhere, that Googie’s legacy continues today, ironically returning as the vessel for the highest venues of art and culture.
LE MONDE DU VIN BY LINA LECARO
In a celebrity-driven world where everything and everyone seems obvious, if not in your face, it’s a bit unusual that Southern California’s leading vendor of European wines is hidden behind vines on a corner of San Vicente Boulevard.
Du Vin’s popularity. It’s not just that the wine he’s chosen is appealing, but the help he offers you in selecting it. Averseng was born in Grasse in the south of France and raised in Avignon near the vineyards of the famous Châteauneuf-du-Pape.
Du Vin Wine & Spirits has been there for 36 years, way before West Hollywood was incorporated as a city. Tucked inside that small shop is a trove of bottled treasures for every budget, with prices ranging from $7 to upwards of $7,000. Owner René Averseng is a major reason for
Experience as a wine steward and consultant to top restaurants and hotels in Europe makes him a bona fide master of European wines, which make up about eighty-five percent of his stock.
PHOTOGRAPHS BY NAOMI YAMADA
“It’s gratifying to help a customer choose something new and have them come back and say, you were right, I love it.”
“I’ve been a vegan for over 30 years and that is a challenge, but being in the restaurant business I know what goes with everything,” he says. “It’s gratifying to help a customer choose something new and have them come back and say, you were right, I love it.”
will depend upon mood and bank account, though Du Vin caters heavily to the entertainment industry and nearby Bel Air residents for whom money is often no object. The most expensive bottle Averseng ever sold out of the shop? “Somewhere in the neighborhood of $8000,” he says.
While the cozy shop specializes in European wines, their selection of California wines is equally impressive. In the contest of Cali vs. Euro vineyards, both are hailed for producing the best wines around, but they are markedly different. Averseng explains it this way: Californians tend to be fruitier and less acidic while European wines (particularly French) tend to have higher alcohol content, more acid and be less sweet.
Entering Du Vin and perusing the selection can be a pleasurable little adventure for those who have the time, but many of their customers, particularly executives, simply don’t. For them and for you, the shops’s personalized approach is essential. “The personal stuff is what people really appreciate,” say Averseng. “People love to give the gift of wine. We write the notes and wrap the bottles for them so they don’t need to worry about it.”
Indeed, the flavor profiles of wines from these far reaching origins are significant, but each brand and vineyard has its own distinct attributes. Some popular brands according to Averseng, include Screaming Eagle and Scare Crow (both Californians) or Vérité and Château Croix du Trale (French). Deciding factors on what to buy
Whether ordering by phone, on their website or by visiting the store, one thing is clear: Du Vin is all about the fine art of wine drinking and wine selection. Which makes shopping, sampling and of course sipping it just a little bit more special.
ADDRESS 540 N San Vicente Boulevard West Hollywood, CA 90048 (310) 855-1161
HOURS Monday-Saturday 10am to 7pm (Sundays in December, 11am to 6pm) du-vin.net
PHOTOGRAPHED BY IAN MORRISON FOR OPUS REPS MODEL ASHLEY SCOTT@ PHOTOGENICS MODEL NATE MITCHEL @ PHOTOGENICS STYLING BY BRUNO LIMA FOR EXCLUSIVE ARTISTS MANAGEMENT HAIR BY PAUL DESMARRE FOR OPUS BEAUTY MAKE-UP BY PAUL BLANCH FOR OPUS BEAUTY USING MAC FEATURING BENTLEY BEVERLY HILLS ON LOCATION IN WEST HOLLYWOOD
THE GETAWAY ON HER: FUR COAT BY MAJE AT BLOOMINGDALE’S BEVERLY CENTER ON HIM: SWEATER BY SANDRO AT BLOOMINGDALE’S BEVERLY CENTER
DRESS BY VIVIENNE WESTWOOD EARRINGS BY LUXURY BRAND`GROUP
SHOES BY CHELSEA PARIS DRESS BY VIVIENNE WESTWOOD BRACELET BY DEEPA GURNANI
ON HER: DRESS BY DVF FOR 100% AT BLOOMINGDALE’S AT BEVERLY CENTER BRACELET BY LUXURY BRAND GROUP ON HIM: JACKET AND HENLEY BY SANDRO AT BLOOMINGDALE’S BEVERLY CENTER
ON HER: HEELS BY INC. ON HIM : SUEDE JACKET AND TURTLENECK SWEATER BY REISS BOOTS BY VIVIENNE WESTWOOD
DRESS BY MICHAEL COSTELLO HEELS BY GIUSEPPE ZANOTTI EARRINGS BY LUXURY BRAND GROUP
ON HER: DRESS BY MICHAEL COSTELLO EARRINGS BY LUXURY BRAND GROUP
ON HIM: JACKET AND PANTS BY REISS T-SHIRT BY MCQ AT BLOOMINGDALE’S BEVERLY CENTER SHOES BY THE LEFT SHOE COMPANY
The Best Local Places for Presents Title Art by Erin Miller Williams / Illustrations by Rachel Brown Photographs by Ryan Jerome
For the Domestic-Minded Described as a â€œnot so general storeâ€? by its three owners, this just over a year-old emporium is a treasure trove of unique and eye-catching home decorative items and vintage European furniture. Shoppers here will find it easy to cross off hard-to-please, interior-obsessed names on their holiday lists thanks to the storeâ€™s lovingly chosen assortment that includes kitchenware, tableware, one-of-a-kind ceramics, bags, books, apothecary items and gifts for children and pets. Max & Moritz 7209 Santa Monica Boulevard (323) 851-2200 maxandmoritz-la.com
For the Urban Pro This New York-based men’s and women’s made-to-measure and ready-to-wear label stresses fine tailoring and quality fabrics for a youthful yet professional clientele. With a focus on men’s (no surprise in West Hollywood), the shop also stocks the brand’s sharp shoes and accessories. This is the spot to find the perfect gift for the man in your life whose smart buttoned-up shirts and slim-fit tailored slacks transition easily from work to play. Seize Sur Vingt 8618 Melrose Avenue (310) 657-1620 16sur20.com
For the Foxy Lady Recently opened at Sunset Plaza, this first flagship of the vintage-inspired, so very SoCal casual women’s apparel and lifestyle line is a one-stop shop (with a pink exterior yet!) to discover gifts for the fashionable, naughty-but-nice California Girls on your list. From holiday-suitable sequin and velour tops to sexy denim jeans, intimates and accessories, Wildfox offers a wide assortment of gifting options. And for those clueless, shopping-phobic boyfriends and husbands, gift cards are also available. Wildfox 8710 Sunset Boulevard (310) 855-9030 wildfox.com
For the Natty Nipper LA’s long-running retail mecca of all things stylish and currently fashionable goes Lilliputian at this location with a full assortment of clothing and shoes for trendy tykes and toddlers from a wide assortment of different brands. (Because heaven forbid your bib, onesie and hat should all be the same label!) There’s also jewelry, toys, books, strollers, car seats and more for the pint-sized set and/or kid whose clothes closet is already bursting at the seams. Kitson Kids 8590 Melrose Avenue (310) 855-9635 shopkitson.com
For the Frazzled Few It’s well known that the season to be jolly can also be one where the thoughts of partridges in pear trees and lords-a-leaping–not to mention holiday traffic on Santa Monica Boulevard—can cause one to break out in hives. Whether you are shopping for a stressed loved one or yourself, the Ole Henriksen spa and attached retail area are the place to alleviate seasonal strain. The brand’s full line of natural skin care and anti-aging products are sold there, including treatments, cleansers and moisturizers. Ole Henrikson 8622 Sunset Boulevard #A (310) 854-7700 olehenriksen.com
Photo: Patrick McMullan
THE CHEF, THE DESIGNER
Michael Voltaggio, The Chef (@MVoltaggio, 254,000 Twitter followers), is both owner and chef at Ink on Melrose Avenue at North Kings Road. And no, Ink isn’t a reference to his tattoos. Voltaggio says the name “alludes to an idea of permanence and a creation of a memory. It also refers to the term ‘incorporation,’ defined by a collaboration with others and by bringing people together.” Voltaggio’s fame grew in 2009 when he beat sixteen other contestants, including his brother Bryan, to win the sixth season of Bravo’s “Top Chef ” television series. Voltaggio’s Ink serves what he calls “modern Los Angeles cuisine,” using sophisticated culinary techniques and tools such as liquid nitrogen, sous vide, and hydrocolloids. And Ink.Sack? It serves sandwiches to go.
Kelly Wearstler, The Designer (114,600 Instagram followers and 54,993 Facebook “likes”) has her flagship store on Melrose Avenue near North Croft. Wearstler was named “the presiding grande dame of West Coast interior design” by the New Yorker, which also noted that her flamboyant style has been labeled by some as “anti-taste.” Wearstler is known both for her work on hotels (the Avalon and Maison 140 in Beverly Hills and the Viceroy hotels in Miami, Palm Springs and Santa Monica) and the homes of people such as Gwen Stefani and Gavin Rossdale and Stacey Snider, co-chairman of 20th Century Fox’s film studio. In 2011, Wearstler launched a fashion line that has received kudos from critics. And while she doesn’t bring it up, she says she’s not embarrassed to have been “Playmate of the Month” in September 1994. After all, Wearstler explains, the money she got from Playboy helped her open her interior design business.
Four of West Hollywood’s 70
THE WRITER AND THE STYLIST
Dominic Riccitello, The Writer (325,005 Twitter followers, 3,230 Instagram followers and 1,356 Facebook “likes”), describes his website, words.bydominic.com, as a “collection of conversations between friends, flings, acquaintances, lost souls and people of my past. I write to understand why things happened the way they did.”
Guy Tang, The Stylist (384,000 Instagram followers, 156,829 Facebook “likes” for GuyTangHairArtist and 185,515 views of his YouTube video “Ombre hair color on Asian hair,” and 16,402 followers on Pinterest), has what might be the biggest digital following among West Hollywood hair stylists. Tang works from Salon Republic on Sunset Boulevard near North Crescent Heights. Tang specializes in a coloring style called Balayage Ombre, which matters with those know how it differs from treatments such as flamboyage, ombre, sombre and foiling. Tang is more than a hair stylist. He’s also an activist who chronicles on DestinAsia, his other Facebook page (149,292 “likes”) his work to build his body to fight the stereotypes about wimpy Asian men that he suffered from while growing up in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
In 2005, Riccitello started posting on MySpace, using various names. Then, he says, “I moved over to Twitter. I still didn’t realize what I was doing. I realized no one knew anything about me ... People become fascinated about the new kid in school that they don’t know anything about. I figured it (Twitter) was kind of dying eventually. So last year I started words.bydominic.com.”
Digitally Famous Creatives 71
The rebellious and inspired creativity of the people who live and work here has put West Hollywood at the cutting edge of culture, entertainment and design. This is where rock â€˜nâ€™ roll meets high fashion, where eclectic dining meets electric nightlife, and where everyone is free to be bold, creative and different. This is West Hollywood. Welcome to the heart of LA. visitwesthollywood.com
HOME OWNERS MICHELLE NELSON AND BETTINA TERRAMANI
FRIENDS MAKE FANTASY REAL By Juliette Mutzke-Felippelli
It was an unusual grey Monday afternoon when I sat down with the Chimera design team at the condo of their longtime friends and clients Michelle Nelson and Bettina Terramani. It felt, however, like a get together for cocktails before a night out on the town, with Fleetwood Mac on blast and bouquets upon bouquets of peonies being delivered for the photo shoot. Nelson, handing me a glass of champagne, told me that when she worked in the art world she thought the creative, collaborative vibe championed by Andy Warhol would end when he passed away. But in fact, she said, it has been quite the opposite. She feels there’s a resurrection of the Studio 54 era, and thinks that West Hollywood, her town, is its new hub.
Brea Avenue, Bourgeois Boheme on Beverly Boulevard and Blackman and Cruz on Highland Avenue. Chavez, who has a background in fashion and photography, and Mizruh, with a background in European art, agree that for every project one has to look at the big picture. It’s not just about having one standout piece. It’s about creating a fully developed space that people want to live in. As is evident with Nelson’s apartment, they strive for a sense of eclecticism without calling out one specific accessory or piece of furniture. From Nelson’s personal photography and art collection to the Moroccan textiles and mid-centuryinspired luminaires, it all comes together in sophisticated harmony.
Nelson & Terramani have worked in the Los Angeles real estate market for the past fifteen years. In 2002, she and Terramani purchased a three-level condo with two bedrooms and two and a half baths. About that time she met with Chimera founders Sarah Chavez and Marina Mizruh, and she and Terramani engaged them to remodel their home.
“You have to let it cook,” Mizruh said in reference to how they like to let their designs naturally meld together. Designing Nelson and Terramani’s condo was just the beginning of their working relationship. Chimera regularly stages Bettina and Michelle’s real-estate projects as well as takes over the interior design for the residences once they are sold. It’s all part of the general sense of collaboration between friends, designers, artists and business owners in West Hollywood. Chimera recently expanded its design team to include Milan-raised and -educated associate Andrea Russo, who brings a discriminating eye for exceptional pieces that fit within the Chimera aesthetic.
The Chimera partners, who are based in West Hollywood, went to work on the master bath and kitchen, updating the original tile flooring with a rich chocolate glaze. Inspired by 1970’s Yves Saint Laurent Moroccan style and Nelson and Terramani’s boho rocker vibe, Chavez and Mizruh outfitted the condo with furniture from B&B Italia and Flexform as well as with Arteriors light fixtures. They explained that they like to mix Mid-Century Modern classics with contemporary high-end furnishings, which is why they gravitate to Arteriors, which earlier this year opened its flagship store on the corner of Melrose Avenue and Huntley Drive. Chimera also regularly works with Amadi Carpets, Maxalto, Cappellini and Camerich LA as well as vintage shops such as Adesso on La
“We are living in the golden age of West Hollywood,” Nelson said. “As a designer, you have everything at your fingertips.” And that’s in addition to the city’s best restaurants, shopping and hotels, along with a close-knit community where people enjoy walking to each other’s homes and bumping into each other at the local farmer’s market.
Photographs by Steffanie Walk
ARIEL @arielwexx “Casual, but still put together”
BLAKE @blakesteven “Casual British street style”
NICOLE @nicoleskitchen “Mix & match, gold bangles, ripped jeans, loafers, plaid”
ERICK @erickstryker “Comfy, simple, casual, edgy, fun”
KATY @katylobel “Sexy tomboy chic”
ELODIE @elodiekofficial “A mix of bo glam and chic”
JUNG “Chic & cute”
DAVID @davidgschreiner “Simple and easy with an edge”
CHRISTIANE “Anything vintage – colorful – California weather wearing”
Their own style described in ten words or less. 84
CASPER @chergyboys “Jazz barista”
PETER @peterbrowne2014 “Vintage 70s movie icon shabby chic meets retro disco”
KRISTINA @krisviva “Classic, fun and comfort with some sexy as well”
DAVID @davidpierre “Rock ‘n’ Roll chic, bohemian jewelry”
ERIN @e_lang22 “Edgy, goth/hippie child”
LENA @projectlena “Causal, effortless, sporty, easy, quick, mixed, high-low”
KEVIN @MisterKMH “Soft, comfortable with a hint of lumbersexual”
MADELAINE @madelame “Sassy, confident, bold, alternative”
KIAN @kianvalam “Raw, high quality, edgy, aggressive but stealthy”
JUDITH @judyfromtheblock “Simple, nostalgic, authentic, pragmatic, effortless”
PHOTOGRAPHS BY RYAN JEROME
SIDNEY “Natty x Ten”
THE INSIDE STORY ROOM 32, ALTA CIENEGA MOTEL PHOTOGRAPHS BY JOSHUA SPENCER
“There are things known and things unknown, and in between are the doors.” — Jim Morrison Morrison, the lead singer for The Doors, had a fascination with doors. The Doors took their name from “The Doors of Perception,” a book by Aldous Huxley about his experience with mescaline. To Huxley and Morrison, drugs were a way to open “the doors of perception” that left man seeing only a finite world.
Room 32 was a convenient location for Morrison. Around the corner on 8505 Santa Monica Boulevard, a place now occupied by the florist LA Premier, was the Phone Booth, a strip club that Morrison frequented. Where the Ramada Inn now stands was Duke’s Coffee Shop, where Morrison and friends had breakfast. And at 8512 Santa Monica Boulevard, now the location of L’Scorpion, was the Doors Workshop, where Morrison and the band recorded “LA Woman.”
At the Alta Cienega Motel on the corner of La Cienega and Santa Monica boulevards, there’s one door behind which the rock icon escaped from time to time. That’s the door to Room 32. In the late Sixties and into 1971, Morrison lived in Venice Beach and in West Hollywood with his girlfriend, Pamela Courson.
Morrison died in Paris in the summer of 1971 of an apparent drug overdose at the age of 27. His body remains buried at Pere LaChaise cemetery, leaving Room 32 as West Hollywood’s primary memorial to Morrison. The room, painted green in Morrison’s day, is covered with graffiti by the fans who stay there. The motel management occasionally paints over it all, but within weeks the walls and ceiling again are covered with written tributes to Morrison and the music and drug culture for which he’ll always be known.
While here, he wrote music and performed with The Doors on the Sunset Strip and lived with Courson in an apartment on Norton Avenue. But after a major drug binge or a fight with Courson, Morrison would head to Room 32 for a night by himself.
We Are More Than 100 Top-Producing Realtors We are a collaborative team with a wide array of experiences. In past lives we were Talent Agents, Producers, entertainment attorneys, architectural specialists and more. Many of us are LA natives. Many were born and lived abroad. It’s all a reservoir of additional expertise that every client benefits from. And, along with our culture of collaboration, it’s a big reason why The Agency has become one of the top luxury brokerages in the world.
THEAGENCYRE.COM/WESTHOLLYWOOD BEVERLY HILLS | BRENTWOOD | VENICE / MARINA DEL REY LAS VEGAS | LOS CABOS | PALM SPRINGS | PARK CITY 424.230.3700
An international associate of Savills
2161 SUNSET PLAZA DR
1302 COLLINGWOOD PL
SUNSET STRIP | $6,495,000
SUNSET STRIP | PRICE ON REQUEST
JAMES HARRIS, DAVID PARNES | 424 230 3700
BRENDAN FITZPATRICK, MAURICIO UMANSKY, BLAIR CHANG 424 230 3703
1642 LINDACREST DR
9133 ORIOLE WAY
BEVERLY HILLS POST OFFICE | $3,700,000
SUNSET STRIP | $38,000,000
MAURICIO UMANSKY, FARRAH ALDJUFRIE | 424 230 3700
ALEJANDRO ALDRETE, BLAIR CHANG, MAURICIO UMANSKY 424 230 3703
An international associate of Savills
901 N. SPAULDING AVE
2201 SUNSET PLAZA DR
WEST HOLLYWOOD | $1,575,000
SUNSET STRIP | $5,150,000
MAURICIO UMANSKY, FARRAH ALDJUFRIE | 424 230 3700
JAMES HARRIS, DAVID PARNES | 424 230 3700
1892 RISING GLEN
8291 PRESSON PLACE
SUNSET PLAZA | $17,000,000
SUNSET PLAZA | $3,295,000
MICHAEL SUTTON | 424 285 1944
PAUL LESTER, AILEEN COMORA, ALEX LOBEL 424 230 3700
TheAgencyRE.com/WestHollywood | 424 230 3700
REAL ESTATE PROFILE
ERIC LAVEY As the Director of Estates Division of the luxury real estate brokerage The Agency, Eric Lavey is accustomed to handling transactions of any size and remains deeply involved in every aspect of his transactions. He is also committed to staying on top of the ever-changing industry and the latest market conditions in order to best serve his clients. He joined The Agency in March 2014, after establishing himself as a young talent at UTA, one of the world’s leading talent agencies. Why did you join The Agency? I wanted to be surrounded by an energy and culture that reminded me of my time in the ‘Talent Agency Universe’. A place where the entire collective of top-flight professionals would work to meet the needs and ultimate goals of every one of our clients. Replacing the word “me” with “we” was not only something that was truly missing in our industry, but also a foundation and principle required to be the best in our global marketplace today. What's your secret to success? Being honest, pragmatic and efficient in everything I do. I don't shy away from directness and I'm known in the industry as a professional who gets to the truth as a way of getting things done. I also reject the onesize-fits-all approach when working with everyone one of my clients.
1616 Blue Jay Way
Sold off-market: $12,000,000, record Doheny/Bird Street sale at $3,000+/sqft.F-MARKET
What advice do you have for somebody getting into real estate today? Truthfully, there isn’t enough room to give all of my advice. However, something that can never be forgotten and always a top priority – integrity is #1. At the end of the day, you are remembered for your body of work that is continually changing everyday. (Let’s be honest, you are only as good as your last deal in this town, anyway.)
Eric Lavey, Director of Estates Division | 310 908 6800 | ELavey@TheAgencyRE.com
812 N. CROFT #102 WEST HOLLYWOOD | $1,449,000
10556 FONTENELLE WAY BEL AIR | $6,500,000
7136 HOCKEY TRAIL HOLLYWOOD HILLS | $1,199,000
SOLD SOLD 1660 QUEENS RD
SUNSET STRIP | $2,495,000
WEST HOLLYWOOD | $849,000
SOLD 7950 ELECTRA DR
SUNSET STRIP | $3,349,000
2794 LA CASTANA DR SUNSET STRIP | $1,360,000 An international associate of Savills
STONE CANYON RD BEL AIR An international associate of Savills
PAUL LESTER 424.230.3747
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THE POPULIST ARTIST MARTIN GANTMAN EXPLORES EQUITY IN ART By Henry E. (Hank) Scott Photographs by Samantha West
It can be pretty. It can be disturbing if not shocking. It can be funny. It can be downright perplexing. But on some level, all art, at least all art that deserves to be called art, is about the artist. That’s very much the case with the work of Martin Gantman, a conceptual artist whose work features everything from photos of people crossing West Hollywood streets to altered images of classical odalisques to postcards sent aloft on helium-filled balloons. If there is an overriding theme to Gantman’s work, it is the inequity in our world. In 1926, his father was taken to Mexico, at the age of 13, by Gantman’s grandfather. They left behind Gantman’s five siblings and his mother in the Ukrainian region of Russia. His grandfather’s quest for equity was less about economic disparity than about a more fundamental inequity. He was spiriting his son away from a nation where the birth of the Soviet Union had led to massive pogroms that took the lives of tens of thousands of Jews. That experience made his father a fervent anti-Communist. But, Gantman said, “he also was a populist, and that’s embedded in me. I have a concern about fairness to a fault.”
works exhibited in the “Davos” installation. The works included pictures of the CEOs of those twenty-five corporations, photos of the world’s twenty-five largest cities, of twenty-five natural environments, of twenty-five urban environments and of twenty-five cities. Together the images, mounted on the walls of the former Kristi Engle Gallery in Los Angeles in an exhibition in 2011, offer a sharp contrast between lives of wealth (represented by those attending Davos) and poverty (represented by photos of the slums of cities where some of the Davos corporations are headquartered and of prostitutes who work there). Gantman’s “Democraczy Album” project, exhibited in 2012 at WerkStadt Kulturverein in Berlin, was another work extracted from online images, with screen shots of dozens of images and texts about democracy taken from Gantman’s smart phone.
“I grew up in the U.S. and I was educated in public schools,” Gantman said. “Eventually I realized that there was a disparity between what I was taught and the reality.”
Another characteristic of Gantman’s work—engagement—is evident in his Davos work. Using an Amazon outsourcing application called Mechanical Turk, Gantman sought comments from people around the world about the impact of globalization. The forty-eight comments exhibited by Gantman range from praise for it from some in the United States and Macedonia to criticism from people in India and the United Kingdom, who complained about the impact of globalization on their businesses and personal lives.
Gantman’s populist leanings are evident in much of his work. For example, there is “31 Days in Davos: Capital of the Global Economic Empire.” In that work Gantman focuses on the twenty-five largest corporations whose CEOs attended that annual world economic forum. Using his computer, which for Gantman is a tool like the brush is to other artists, he appropriated images for several different
Not all of Gantman’s work is so weighty or political. Another interactive piece, “Atmospheric Tracking Resources Incorporated,” involved releasing one hundred helium-filled balloons during a ninemonth period in 2004. Each balloon had attached to it, like a tail on a kite, a post card with a series of questions asking the finder of the balloon to explain when and where he found it.
Gantman got fourteen responses and set out to photograph the various places in Southern California, some as far away as Santa Monica, where the balloons landed. He altered photos of the sky in each location to include an image of a balloon. And he altered photos of the ground in each location to include a rough sketch of a collapsed balloon with a card attached. More dramatically, he created faux images of pages from the Los Angeles Times for each day on which a card was found. A story he created on each of those pages showed his altered images, and one described him being arrested and jailed on charges of vandalism, something some of his friends actually believed was true. Another work involves photos from the inside of apartments and houses of windows that offer their residents a view of the world outside. Details, such as the placement and design of blinds, curtains and shutters and the view the windows offer, tell a lot about the occupants of each home and how they choose to see the world. Gantmanâ€™s work also is influenced by West Hollywood, where he lives with his wife, Abbe Land, a long-time member of the West Hollywood City Council and the president of the Trevor Project, a non-profit organization that works to prevent suicide among LGBT young people. Land, known for her striking sense of personal style, credits Gantman for that, although itâ€™s a credit Gantman refuses to take.
It was in West Hollywood, a city where forty percent of the population consists of gay men and five percent are lesbians, that Gantman began thinking of sexuality as what he calls a “whole line of gray.” In the 1970s he began a project that involved taking photos of 350 men in public places, many obviously gay and all unaware they were being photographed. If there is anything consistent about the photographs besides the gender of the subjects, it is the fact that most of them seem to be reflecting on something while standing in a public place.
I am and where I come from to get into a project. I realized that the whole issue about why an artist does this work about odalisques is that it reflects their thinking, how they see the woman... The image is more about the artist than it is about the model.” It was in the early 1990s that Gantman gave up a career as an architect and engineer to focus solely on his art. His work has been displayed in exhibitions in Europe and across the United States and is in a number of private collections. Yet, he says, “I don’t sell a lot. I exhibit primarily in alternative galleries and small museums. “
Another project that involves perceptions of sexuality is the “Odalisque Suite,” produced between 1994 and 1997, shortly after Gantman moved to West Hollywood. It consists of a few dozen photomontages, each an odalisque by artists such as Gaugin and Schiele and Milton Avery, and each altered by replacing the face of the sensuous female figure with an image of the artist who created it.
Today, unlike some artists with a more commercial bent, Gantman’s goal isn’t making money. For him, his career as an artist is about helping himself and those who view his work reflect and see in new ways the world we live in.
“I went to the Beverly Hills Library at that time and photocopied about fifty copies of odalisques,” Gantman said. “I pinned them up on the wall for about three months. A lot of times I have to go back to who
“Art is about the artist’s interpretation of the world and the viewer’s interpretation of the art, which sometimes don’t coincide,” he said. “It is about challenging people to reflect on the world we live in.”
BEDTIME STORIES DICHEN LACHMAN AND MAX OSINSKI
“Sex at Dawn”? “Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power”? Some say that in life, it’s the similarities that bring a couple together, and the differences that keep them together. Their different tastes in books might be one of the reasons that Dichen Lachman and Max Osinski are together. Then there’s the difference in their backgrounds. Lachman was born in Katmandu to a Tibetan mother and an Australian father. In 1989 she moved with her family to Australia, where she grew up. Osinski was born in a refugee camp in Eisenstadt, Austria, after his parents escaped from Communist Poland and grew up in Chicago. Today they live together in an apartment in West Hollywood, engaged to be married. Both are pursuing careers in film and indulging in somewhat different literary genres. “I’m a big fan of nonfiction, history and biographies,” Osinski said. “Truth can be stranger than fiction.” “I’m in the middle of several books, but right now it’s ‘Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power’ by Jon Meacham. Reading about the cutthroat politics of that time and the kind of man Jefferson was, and how he operated, is fascinating. Jefferson’s thirst for knowledge puts modern politicians to shame.” Osinski also recommends Erik Larson’s “Devil in the White City” and “In the Garden of the Beasts,” “nonfiction histories but they read like a movie.” Lachman’s passion is books about human nature. She’s finding “Sex at Dawn” an interesting read. But she admits she can’t resist the fiction of Dan Brown (“The Da Vinci Code,” “Angels and Demons”). And then there are books like Jerome Jerome’s “Three Men in a Boat” and Norman Lindsay’s “The Magic Pudding” that make her recall her childhood. While they sometimes read together in bed, Lachman prefers to read on the plane and when she’s alone. “I don’t feel like I can give a book my full attention when there are people around,” she said. “I like to play music, make tea and enjoy every moment.”
A couple as opposite and complementary as a pair of bookends.
And Osinski? He prefers to read a book made of oldfashioned paper and ink while sitting in his rocking chair.
PHOTOGRAPH BY SAMANTHA WEST MAKEUP BY MELINDA STEELE
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