Food (and Fashion) After the Sun Goes Down
The Vision of a Few Evolved Into a Reality of Art and Design
THE LOT STUDIOS Hollywood Still Hums Behind A Long Beige Wall
The YouTube Star Who is The Voice of West Hollywood
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TA B L E O F C O N T E N T S TRADE SECRETS
Married to Design, and One Another 24
PLAYING IN THE PARK West Hollywood Offers Eight of Them
THE EVOLUTION OF GALLERY ROW
How La Cienega and Melrose Place Became the Design Quarter
MARCO LORENZETTO The Artist Who Followed His Dream / 42 46
THE LOT STUDIOS Modern Hollywood Behind an Old Beige Wall
BULLWINKLE He’s Back! (Or Will Be Soon)/ 56
THE VOICE OF WEST HOLLYWOOD
Todrick Hall Conveys the City’s Message on YouTube
JONATHAN EPPERS Making the Apartment Hunt Digital (and Easy)
GLENN FOX Modern Primitive Art Inspired by a Cat 70
AFTER DARK / UP ALL NIGHT Where to Dine Under The Moon / Norm’s Gets Fashionable
A SPLASH OF STYLE CA-RIO-CA Brings Rio to West Hollywood’s Water Polo Team / 82
BIG BEAR Three Hours and (Light Years) Away
LOOKBOOK Street Style / 92 98
BEDTIME STORIES Art Consultant Merry Norris
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NIEMEYER ON SUNSET
The Eccentric History of the Building Mark Mothersbaugh Calls Home
Food (and Fashion) After the Sun Goes Down
Shaping the Cityâ€™s Form and Function
The Art of the Designer
Making Style With Sticks
LA CIENEGA DESIGN QUARTER
The Vision of a Few Evolved Into a Reality of Art and Design
THE LOT STUDIOS Hollywood Still Hums Behind A Long Beige Wall
The YouTube Star Who is The Voice of West Hollywood
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Publisher / Editor-In-Chief Henry E. Scott firstname.lastname@example.org Creative Director Matthew Morgan email@example.com Copy Editor Terry Randazzo Photo Editor/ Social Media Director Erick Stryker Contributing Design Editor Christos Prevezanos Editorial Assistant Danny Manjarrez Contributing Writers Nate Berg Greg Firlotte Jason Gibby Gus Heully Chris Lisotta Dan McKernan Tracy Pattin Contributing Photographers Mike Allen Aldo Carrera Paolo Fortades Nate Jensen Ryan Jerome Nico Marques Dan McKernan Sharon Mor Yosef Ian Morrison Contact Us firstname.lastname@example.org Advertising (323) 454-7707 email@example.com Advisory Board Chair Darren Gold (West Hollywood Design District) Advisory Board Members Amanda Browning Christopher DeMartino (Soho House) Alle Fister (Bollare) Thomas Lavin (Thomas Lavin Inc.) Merry Norris (Art Consultant) Jorg Wallrabe (BrandingIron Worldwide) Joshua Zad (Alfred)
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THE VOICE OF WEST HOLLYWOOD, TODRICK HALL / PG. 58
´ URTH CAFFE
TOP PICKS FOR AL FRESCO DINING IN THE DESIGN DISTRICT With the arrival of the summer season, there’s nothing better than enjoying the district’s booming culinary scene, outdoors. From casual cafes to fine dining, our al fresco restaurant options won’t disappoint.
Wehodesigndistrict.com | #WHDD
AU FUDGE Organic Eats aufudge.com
LE RELAIS DE L’ENTRECÔTE Upscale French relaisentrecote.us
CATCH Seafood (opening fall 2016) catchrestaurants.com
LEMONADE Casual Dining lemonadela.com
CECCONI’S Classic Italian cecconiswesthollywood.com
PETROSSIAN Upscale French petrossian.com
GRACIAS MADRE Plant-based Mexican graciasmadreweho.com
SUR RESTAURANT Eclectic Fare surrestaurantandbar.com
HEDLEY’S Homemade American hedleysrestaurant.com
TORTILLA REPUBLIC Inventive-Modern Mexican tortillarepublic.com
IL PICCOLINO Fine Italian ilpiccolinorestaurant.com
URTH CAFFÉ Casual Dining urthcaffe.com
LE PAIN QUOTIDIEN Casual Dining lepainquotidien.us
ZINQUE French Brasserie & Wine Bar lezinque.com
C O N T R I B U TO R S MIKE ALLEN
Mike Allen is a Los Angeles-based abstract artist and photographer specializing in shooting portraits. He draws inspiration from old cinema, analog processes and interior design. His work can be seen at mikeallenphoto.com. Instagram @artmarketstudio
Nate Berg is a Los Angeles journalist who writes about cities, architecture, urban planning, design and technology. His work has been published in publications such as the New York Times, the Guardian, Wired, Metropolis, Fast Company, Dwell and Foreign Policy. He is a former staff writer at TheAtlanticCities.com and was assistant editor at Planetizen. Twitter @nate_berg
Aldo Carrera is a Mexican-American fine art and fashion photographer. His work has a cool, impromptu style that creates a documentary-type feel. This allows the viewer to feel like they are part of the process more intimately. Influenced by the Renaissance painter Carvaggio, his style involves the use of dramatic lighting paired with observation of the natural state of mind.
Firlotte’s West Hollywood design career began in 1981 as an editor of Designers West magazine. He’s gone on to have his work featured in Architectural Digest, Veranda and West Hollywood magazines, interviewing such luminaries as Helmut Newton, Ed Ruscha and Richard Meier. Firlotte also served as marketing director for J. Robert Scott and Phyllis Morris, and has served on various local boards.
Paolo Fortades is a Los Angeles-based photographer with a passion for urban exploration and lifestyle photography. He thinks photography saved his life and is 100% obsessed with it. Instagram @paolo.fortades
Jason Gibby draws heavily from John Carpenter and the cyberpunk genre. Camp also informs his work, allowing him to playfully comment on the realities of urban life. As a native Angeleno, the perpetual motion of the Los Angeles landscape keeps his work on its toes.
Gus is a West Hollywood-based designer and writer with an interest in architecture and urbanism, both historic and contemporary. His writing and outlook have been shaped by a range of experiences: as a designer in L.A. architecture offices, as a local resident and as a teacher, researcher and curator in academia. Twitter @GusHeully
Born and raised in the Midwest, Nate Jensen was eager to explore the world from a young age. He studied in Rome before moving to L.A. where his photography career took off. Both his personal and collaborative work have international visibility spanning advertising campaigns for fashion labels and luxury hotels to Hollywood’s A-listers.
Ryan Jerome is a renowned celebrity and fashion photographer & co-founder of Eggy Production. After being based in some of the fashion capitals of the world, his recent move to L.A. has had a profound effect on his photography, bringing a film industry-influenced cinematic quality to his imagery.
Nico Marques’ background in architecture has given him an edge in drawing out subtleties of designs with his photography, and a deeper understanding and respect for what it takes to turn an initial sketch into a structure. He is a Portuguese transplant based in Los Angeles and more of his photographs can be seen at nicomarques.com.
SHARON MOR YOSEF
Sharon Mor Yosef is an artist & fashion photographer. Born and raised in Israel, he moved to Los Angeles two years ago from Amsterdam, after living there for 14 years. Sharon’s work is gentle mixture between art and photography, trying to capture strong genuine emotions in a sensitive way.
Tracy Pattin is a West Hollywood-based writer/ producer specializing in everything West Hollywood. From walking tours and promoting tourism to Old Hollywood projects like Hollywood and Crime and The Garden of Allah, she’s always looking for the next fascinating West Hollywood tale. Her motto: Live a Great Story.
Ian became interested in photography during 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 designer Thomas Wylde and Flaunt magazine.
Christos Prevezanos began his design career in the fashion industry, producing runway shows for avant-garde designers in New York. Translating creative direction to interiors, Prevezanos headed west and trained with influential designers Brad Dunning, Ruthie Sommers and Kelly Wearstler. He practices interior design at his L.A.-based Studio Preveza. Instagram @cpreveza
PUBLISHER’S LETTER HENRY E. SCOTT
The West Hollywood State of Mind
ince moving here almost five years ago from the East Coast, I have come to see West Hollywood more as a state of mind than as an incorporated area of 1.9 square miles populated by 36,000 people. That hit me several years ago when, shopping for Christmas presents, I stepped into Tweak, Tara gift shop on Beverly Boulevard at North Orlando Avenue, a few blocks south of West Hollywood’s official border. I fell into conversation with the very engaging Riceberg, who told me that she described her store’s location as “lower WeHo.” Now it no longer surprises me to hear people describe themselves or their businesses as being located in West Hollywood, even if technically they’re not. There’s even a trend for a new business to add West Hollywood to its name instead of choosing Beverly Hills, which seems to have lost its cachet since Beverly Hills 91210 went off the air in 2010. This is all by way of explaining why this Summer issue of West Hollywood Magazine is calling out the La Cienega Design Quarter. That collection of furniture, carpet, clothing and accessories shops sits, for the most part, outside the city’s border. But it epitomizes the passion for art, design and style that sets West Hollywood apart from its neighbors, a passion that is part of the West Hollywood state of mind, along with our acceptance of diversity and championing of progressive causes.
PHOTOGRAPH BY MIKE ALLEN
That diversity is reflected in the wide range of art, design and style in greater West Hollywood. In this issue, you will see that in the work of Glenn Fox and of Marco Lorenzetto, amazing young artists whose paintings and inspiration couldn’t be more different. And you will see it in the visual art of Todrick Hall, the “voice of West Hollywood,” whose YouTube videos promoting pedestrian safety, registering to vote and HIV prevention not only have engaged the local audience for which they are intended but also have attracted hundreds of thousands of views worldwide. We also have decided to take a peek at the creativity behind that long beige wall along Santa Monica Boulevard where the entertainment industry continues to thrive. It was opened by Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks as the PickfordFairbanks Studios in 1919. Over the years, films such as “The Count of Monte Cristo” and “West Side Story” were produced there. Nearly 100 years later, the creative process continues on the property, now known as The Lot, with the Oprah Winfrey Network and the Internet comedy network Funny or Die based there. Under production now is a series for Amazon starring Billy Bob Thornton, Maria Bello and William Hurt. So the diversity of West Hollywood extends beyond our acceptance of people of different sexual orientations. We are also a place that accepts and fosters a wide range of art and style, and welcomes the nearby neighborhoods that wish they were officially a part of us.
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Where can you go to find the very best that Southern California has to offer? Follow your dreams to a city unlike any other. Where the legendary Sunset Strip meets the stylish West Hollywood Design District. Where eclectic dining meets electric nightlife. Leave everything thatâ€™s conventional, expected and mundane at home, and go big, go bold, go WeHo. visitwesthollywood.com
EMPOWER YOURSELF I AM WEST HOLLYWOOD is an interactive program designed to encourage and empower West Hollywood businesses and their employees to become better informed about West Hollywood and all it has to offer. West Hollywood has over 3 million visitors a year – from all over the world. They often ask for advice and recommendations of where to shop, eat, and play. Empower yourself. Learn about West Hollywood, and become a WEST HOLLYWOOD AMBASSADOR. REMEMBER The more helpful you are to visitors during their stay, the happier they will be. Happy customers spend more money!
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Here’s why: FUN! 2.5-hour course with tour of West Hollywood on the “Pickup Line” Be informed about West Hollywood Connect with the community you work in Attend local mixers with other ambassadors Chance to become Ambassador of the Quarter
FOR DETAILS AND REGISTRATION VISIT iamwesthollywood.com 310.289.2525 firstname.lastname@example.org
Jason and Katie Maine, Maine Design’s husband-and-wife duo, share a passion for interiors, a love of West Hollywood and an aversion to karate-chopped pillows
INTERVIEW BY CHRISTOS PREVEZANOS PHOTOGRAPH BY MIKE ALLEN
Trade Secrets is West Hollywood Magazine’s look at prominent local designers and what inspires them about life here.
Where are you from? JM: England originally. KM: Actually, Los Angeles. What brought you to Los Angeles and what has kept you here? JM: A job with Michael Smith brought me here. I wanted to work in design so that was a huge motivator. KM: I was living in New York after college, and I decided to move back to L.A. and go to grad school for design. My whole family is here so it was a really easy decision. What era in L.A. would you like to have lived in? JM: The ’30s. What was your first job? JM: A skate shop on Long Island. KM: Mine was a clothing store in Calabasas. Why did you decide to open your shop/studio on La Cienega? JM: It’s really convenient for us and our clients because we can walk out from the office and be able to shop for projects. KM: There is also so much foot traffic. It’s ground zero for design, so that’s huge with us opening the shop. What was the first design object/experience you bought with your own money? JM: We bought an IB Kofod-Larsen rosewood cabinet from JF Chen. That was a big deal for us at the time. You incorporate a lot of texture and soft materials into your furnishings and designs. Is touch important to your design process? JM: Yeah it’s incredibly important to us. KM: We use prints and bright color sparingly, and focus on woven fabrics that feel warm and luxurious in a quiet way, to make our projects feel layered and have depth. What textures do you gravitate towards? What is one of the more unusual ones? JM: We love to use baby alpaca, bouclé, cashmere, Belgian linen—even horsehair. There are a lot of plaster pieces in your shop, both classical and contemporary. What draws you to the material? How do you incorporate it into your design? KM: Plaster is such a classic material, but it also really lends itself to modernity. We love the dryness of its finish as well as how it’s slightly mottled although tonal. We use it on walls and light fixtures as it has a light-reflecting quality to it and really makes a room glow.
What are the pros and cons of being partners in work and in life? JM: We get to share our passion, which is pretty cool. KM: And we met working together so it’s all we know! Everyone we tell thinks we are crazy. Maybe we are, but it works for us! What is the most valuable lesson you learned the hard way? KM: Measure twice, cut once. The more thorough you are, the fewer mistakes you will have to pay for. Sage advice for a small business. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? JM: I’d try acting. KM: Maybe a potter. What is West Hollywood’s best-kept secret? Both: Le Relais de l’Entrecôte. We’ve gone every time we’ve been in Paris, including our honeymoon, so we have a soft spot for it. What is the one thing you would keep in West Hollywood? KM: I love how there are pockets of shops that relate to each other like furniture shops on La Cienega and ready-to-wear clothing on Melrose Place. It makes each area feel special. Is there any style you wish would go away forever? KM: Karate chopping pillows to make that hard “V” in the center. A gentle fluff will do. What do you think this neighborhood can teach other neighborhoods? KM: I think inclusion. There are so many different industries and personalities, and it seems really peaceful. Everyone is accepting of everyone else. What comes to mind when you hear West Hollywood? JM: Interior and fashion design Where would you take your visiting family members? KM: We have three sons, so probably Shake Shack. What can we look out for in the near future from Maine design? JM: We love to keep our heads down and stay creative and focus on our projects. It’s our passion and we get to do it together, so probably really just more of focusing on and fostering that so we can keep doing work we love.
WALKING WEST HOLLYWOOD
PARKS & POCKETS Where to Park Yourself Without a Car
West Hollywood is known as the 16th mostdensely populated city in the United States. But within its 1.89 square miles, there are eight parks, ranging in size from the eight-acre West Hollywood Park that offers everything from basketball courts to a swimming pool, to pocket parks that give a visitor a place to sit and reflect on the day. With summer almost here, itâ€™s time
to explore the cityâ€™s parks and take advantage of activities ranging from off-leash dog play to live music, or even an evening tennis match, a pickup game of basketball or an afternoon dip in the public pool. Take in several of the parks at once with a relaxing 2.5 mile city stroll from West Hollywood Park to Plummer Park. Visit weho.org for a walking map.
BY TRACY PATTIN PHOTOGRAPHS BY RYAN JEROME
Enjoy a little Eastside green space and take in some of the city’s culture at the same time. When you are strolling through the park, you can hear older residents from Russian-speaking countries of the former Soviet Union talking in their native language as they sit outside and play a game of chess or cards. There is a constant flurry of activity from tennis games to basketball, dog walking and sunbathing. The park also is steeped in history with WPA-era buildings—notably Great Hall/ Long Hall and the Holocaust memorials—a constant reminder of those who died during World War ll. The park is also a gathering spot for events at the community center, and every Monday in the parking lot, locals shop for organic and farm-fresh fruits and vegetables, baked goods, fresh fish and flowers at the farmer’s market, open from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
7377 Santa Monica Boulevard Park Hours: 6 a.m. - 10 p.m.
William S. Hart
A quiet oasis next to the Sunset Tower hotel, this multi-faceted park is popular with dog owners who can let their pooches run free among the mulch and wood chips, as a place for couples to marry and as a memorial with the park’s AIDS Memorial Garden. It’s also the home of the famed Actors Studio West. But the most prominent feature of the park is a two-story shingled house, built in 1920 and originally the home of silentfilm star William S. Hart. In 1944, Hart donated his estate to the City of Los Angeles with a provision that it would create a park, a plaque and a fountain in his name. “I would like to say in all the sincerity of which I am capable that in donating this beautiful spot, my former home, I am only trying to do an act of justice.” Hart said at the dedication ceremony, “I am only trying to give back to the American public some part of what the American public has already given to me.” Perhaps because the property was then in what was county territory, Los Angeles never got around to creating the park. Then, in 1968, the Actors Studio West renovated the house, created a rehearsal space and turned the garage into a 70seat theatre. After West Hollywood was incorporated as a city in 1984, it leased the property, made improvements and today maintains the space. If that isn’t enough, Hart’s former house holds the honor of being the oldest building on the Sunset Strip, according to Jon Ponder, editor of the local history website, PlaygroundToTheStars.com.
8341 De Longpre Avenue Park Hours: 6 a.m.- Midnight
One of the newest parks in the city, Laurel Park may be small in size but it is big in history—it is essentially the front and side yard of a mansion that was built in the 1920s. It’s a popular gathering spot on one of West Hollywood’s most picturesque streets—neighbors connect and walk their dogs along curving dirt paths surrounded by a grove of vibrant ferns and shrubs under giant shady trees, like the Italian Stone Pine in the center. Like William S. Hart Park, this property was donated with the stipulation that it be preserved as a park. The donor was Elsie Weisman, who grew up in the house, and who died in 2000 at the age of 101. Over the years, the house has been given the nickname “Tara” because of its vague resemblance to the Scarlett O’Hara’s home in “Gone with the Wind.” In 2011, the city converted the front of the property into Laurel Park. Sit at one of the picnic tables and gaze through the windows of the two-story Colonial Revival style two-story house and imagine luminaries like Albert Einstein, Mahatma Gandhi, Buckminster Fuller and Eleanor Roosevelt who visited Elsie’s salon, a think tank she called the Modern Forum.
1343 North Laurel Avenue Park Hours: Mon. - Fri., 9 a.m. - 7 p.m. Sat. - Sun., 10 a.m. - 7 p.m.
Kings Road Park
Entering this quintessential neighborhood park takes one into a grove of trees and landscaping with a playground, picnic area, dog park and community center. Kings Road Park also is a favorite for weddings and other celebrations. It was once the garden area of the famed Dodge House estate, considered one of the most important houses in the country. The Dodge House was designed by Irving J. Gill, described as a â€œpioneer of modern architecture.â€? Instead of building a housing project, the city created Kings Road Park and dedicated it to the estate to keep the Dodge House memory alive. (The Dodge House was demolished in 1970 to make way for condominiums)
1000 N. Kings Road Park Hours: Mon. - Fri., 9 a.m. - Dusk Sat. - Sun., 10 a.m. - Dusk
West Hollywood Park
In the center of West Hollywood, next to the library, is the cityâ€™s largest park. It offers amenities ranging from a swimming pool (offering recreational swimming, laps and water fitness classes) to rooftop tennis courts with expansive views of the city and downtown Los Angeles, equipped with lights for evening tennis games. The sweeping lawns are a perfect green getaway to sunbathe or people watch. There are big plans for renovations to the park, which will begin later this year. Stay tuned. The park also offers a quiet and green way to move from San Vicente Boulevard to Robertson Boulevard, which frame its eastern and western sides.
647 N. San Vicente Boulevard Park Hours: 10 am. - 10 p.m. Pool Hours: 8 a.m. - 7 p.m. Tennis Court Hours: 7 a.m. - 9 p.m.
Crescent Heights Triangle (Matthew Shepard
Human Rights Memorial) In the midst of this bustling intersection, a plaque sits amongst a grove of palm trees to honor Matthew Shepard and other gay men and women who lost their lives because they were true to themselves. The park is also a tribute to those who are living with or have died from HIV disease.
Crescent Heights Boulevard at Santa Monica Boulevard
Sal Guarriello Veterans’ Memorial
A monumental fountain sits at the entrance to this special memorial green space with four flagpoles, a row of shields carved from stone and a plaque of dedication. It honors veterans in the five branches of the armed forces. Walk along the path to an olive tree and a wreath of jasmine bushes surrounded by a stone circle and read the etched memorial quotes such as William Collins’s “How Sleep The Brave Who Sink To Rest By All Their Country’s Wishes Best.” Santa Monica Boulevard and Holloway Drive
This cozy park is located on one of West Hollywood’s most idyllic streets just below the Sunset Strip. It has a “demonstration garden” of drought-tolerant California plants, with photos and descriptions of plants and trees, their benefits and the importance of conserving resources. Stroll through the park, sit on one of the benches near the two water features and enjoy the peaceful sounds of the outdoors in the midst of the city. 1351 Havenhurst Drive Park Hours: Mon. - Fri., 9:00 am to Dusk Sat. - Sun., 10:00 am to Dusk
Just north of Santa Monica Boulevard on the east side of town, Formosa Park is a treasure tucked away next to a modern, brightly colored condo complex. Relax on a bench, listen to the babbling brook water feature and enjoy a peaceful experience in this Zen-like park. Karl Saliter’s “Tree Form” sculpture at the entrance makes for a perfect balance of art and nature, contributing to the city’s public art collection. 1140 North Formosa Avenue Park Hours: Mon. - Fri., 9:00 am - Dusk Sat. - Sun., 10:00 am - Dusk
THE HISTORY OF
LA CIENEGA DESIGN QUARTER The Slow but Steady Evolution of a Destination for Design
It may very well be the most chic four-tenths of a mile in all of Los Angeles, packed from one end to the other with a plethora of design and art history and vintage architecture, interwoven with foodie, fashion and cultural hotspots. Decades ago, city planners had no idea that the stretch of La Cienega Boulevard from Melrose Avenue and running north to Santa Monica Boulevard, along with the short, smart block of Melrose Place at its eastern flank, would become the core of what is now known as the La Cienega Design Quarter. It was designated in 2008 by an organization of the same name, which now represents 57 merchants along Melrose Place and La Cienega as far south as Beverly Boulevard, as well as a western and eastern stretch of Melrose Avenue. If one could wave a magic wand and bring back such iconic designers as Elsie de Wolfe, Billy Haines, Frances Elkins or Tony Duquette, who frequented this area starting in the 1950s, they would no doubt feel right at home again among the shops, showrooms and galleries. Little has changed visually here. And even though the previous designations of “Gallery Row” and “La Cienega Center” have been replaced by today’s LCDQ, the feel and the
ambience have never left. The main offerings are still the same: antiques, contemporary furniture, textiles, lighting, art, rugs and design services, and the cognoscenti of taste from around the globe still turn to the LDCQ in search of the best of the best. Paul Ferrante opened his antique lighting store on La Cienega in 1958, but moved to Melrose Place in 1960 when a storefront became available. According to the Ferrante company’s general manager, Grace Saroya, “Back then, when my brother Tommy, who later became a business partner, worked for Paul, the now-glamorous Melrose Place block was a hodgepodge of machinist shops and houses.” Melrose Place was not refined, and it was without a clear plan of development in those early days. But a handful of merchants there had a vision—a small one, but a vision nonetheless. “We loved the idea of what was going on at Maiden Lane in San Francisco, which was the height of boutique shopping in the early ’60s,” Saroya said, “and we wanted that appeal here as well.” During this same time, around the corner on La Cienega, art galleries tucked in and amongst the design shops were taking the art
BY GREG FIRLOTTE PHOTOGRAPHS BY NICO MARQUES & MIKE ALLEN
world by surprise, leading Los Angeles into the modern age with a slew of groundbreaking exhibits and transforming the area by bringing in thousands for the weekly Monday night art walks. Andy Warhol’s first-ever exhibit in Los Angeles was in 1962 at Ferus Gallery at 723 North La Cienega Boulevard and only five Campbell soup can canvases sold during that exhibit—for a mere $100 each. Imagine…. European antiques dealer John Nelson was ready for a change in those days. His shop, which opened in 1962 on Melrose Avenue several blocks west of La Cienega, was okay but a bit too quiet for his liking. “Gallery Row was alive and beautiful,” Nelson recalled, using the term that described the area of La Cienega between Melrose Avenue and Santa Monica Boulevard in the 1960s. “It was full of charm and, most of all, there was activity happening there.” So in 1965, Nelson pulled up stakes and moved to Melrose Place—just doors from Paul Ferrante. “It was an exciting time,” says Nelson, “because it was the first time that so many design showrooms and shops came together—and that is what excited our clients to shop here.”
ALEX MENEGAZ, ELIZABETH KAPLAN, GRACE SAROYAN (SITTING), TOMMY RAYNOR, JULIE URBANEK, PAUL FERRANTE ANTIQUES
By the time the 1980s rolled around, a new group of players in the design industry were beginning to get noticed. Richard Shapiro, Gina Berschneider and Dimitri Agraphiotis were among those eventually opening new shops on La Cienega. And later in the 1990s, movers and shakers like Patrick Dragonette, Robert Wilson and David Serrano would open their doors there Shapiro has become the “new kid on the block”—having just opened his corner showroom at 800 North La Cienega this past January. But he is by no means a newcomer. It was in 1981 that Richard Shapiro began collecting iconic post-war contemporary art, which eventually led to a stint on the Museum of Contemporary Art board of trustees. All the while, he was expanding his reach into the worlds of antique Italian and twentieth century Moderne furniture. Like John Nelson before him, Shapiro had a shop filled with fine furnishings for many years on the western edge of Melrose Avenue. He closed the doors in 2013, but not long afterward a space on La Cienega became available. “Location!” proclaims the always-enthusiastic Shapiro as the impetus for his move. “I wanted to be in the heart of the district, and this corner storefront provided exactly that. I wanted my next move within the greater L.A. design community to make a positive addition to the neighborhood.” And that cannot be denied, given the bold and colorful layout of the showroom set in the virtual center of the Melrose-to-Santa Monica Boulevard stretch. As for Gina Berschneider, the journey to La Cienega began in 1968
when this Swiss-born designer started to become known for providing impeccably upholstered goods for some of the biggest names in the industry. Eventually, it became apparent that she needed a newer space to showcase this growth. “We opened our La Cienega space in 2012,” Berschneider said, “because we always wanted to be in a destinationoriented shopping district. And this location fit the bill.” Just one door south of Berschneider is Compas, a shop specializing in antique marbles and limestone—most of it reclaimed from ancient European and Middle Eastern sources. Owner Dimitri Agraphiotis has spent the majority of his business life roaming his native France and all parts of the Mediterranean in search of the perfect stone goods to bring back to L.A. It was in 1982 that he opened his first business, La France Imports, on the city’s Westside. Of his current location, Agraphiotis said, “La Cienega has always been the heartbeat of Los Angeles.” Robert Wilson and David Serrano created a buzz on La Cienega in 1996, but they thought at the time that they were on the wrong side of the street with their shop Downtown. “The big antique dealers and design firms were on the east side of the street, and we were concerned that being on the west side wasn’t the preferred location,” Wilson recalled. But that all changed quickly when people noticed that Downtown was actually open to the public—not just “to the trade,” as had been the custom. Visitors didn’t have to be buzzed in through locked doors. But it was Wilson’s and Serrano’s adroit mix of antique and contemporary furnishings that really upped the design ante on the boulevard.
La Cienega has always been the heartbeat of Los Angeles.
Dimitri Agraphiotis, Compas
GINA BERSCHNEIDER SUMMER 2016
ROBERT WILSON, DOWNTOWN
A year later in 1997—and literally next door to Downtown—Patrick Dragonette set up Dragonette Ltd in the hope that one day he would be as successful as his antique dealer friends with shops already on La Cienega. But the other reason was more personal: “I loved knowing that so many design icons of mine had walked this street and frequented the showrooms,”
he said. In fact, Dragonette has become one of the country’s leading sources for mid-twentieth century design—including vintage pieces by the late William Haines, the actor-turned-designer who created furnishings for such luminaries as actress Joan Crawford and Ronald and Nancy Reagan. By all measures, Dragonette has exceeded his initial hopes with his now-international success.
KATIE LABARGE, MARGE CARSON SHOWROOM
What the formation of LCDQ has done is to create a design destination that has put this area on the map once again with its world-class shops and events.
Antiques dealer Lee Stanton was already a solid fixture in the L.A. design scene long before he opened his eponymous shop on La Cienega in 2005. But it was his contributions above and beyond offering fine antiques that has brought this area global attention. In 2008, Stanton, along with Philip Stites of Therien & Co. (now Dessin Fournir) and other showroom leaders not only established the La Cienega Design District as a nonprofit business organization, but also launched the first-ever, multi-day event Legends of La Cienega, offering panel discussions, book signings, parties and the biggest kick-off celebration of all: The Legends Gala. “Both the names La Cienega Design Quarter and Legends Gala were inspired by our legendary heritage here,” Stanton said, “and we created both during tough economic times to pull our community together.” Stites added, “What the formation of LCDQ has done is to create a design
destination that has put this area on the map once again with its worldclass shops and events.” Katie LaBarge of the Marge Carson showroom, itself a sixty-yearstrong resource to the design community, opened her La Cienega space in 2008 after years of contemplation on where to move the company and update its connection to the design community. “What drew me here was the camaraderie,” she said. “I found that there was less competition among the merchants and more of a neighborhood feeling here, which was exactly what I wanted. We often send clients to each other’s showrooms.” In fact, the Marge Carson showroom hosts a much-anticipated annual luncheon at the Legends of La Cienega event; such is LaBarge’s dedication to the LCDQ community.
LA CIENEGA DESIGN QUARTER
Both the names La Cienega Design Quarter and Legends Gala were inspired by our legendary heritage here, and we created both during tough economic times to pull our community together.
| L CDQ |
I loved knowing that so many design icons of mine had walked this street and frequented the showrooms.
Peter Dunham, who was raised in France, spent his summers in Spain and was educated in England, opened his Hollywood at Home shop on the east side of La Cienega in 2007, but quickly found that he needed more space, which prompted his move across the street to even larger quarters to showcase his acclaimed hand-printed textiles and vintage furniture collections. “I’ve lived in L.A. since 1998, and I’ve always loved the vintage architecture of this area,” Dunham said. With a wide range of celebrity clients including Johnny Depp, Sharon Stone and Drew Barrymore calling on his shop regularly, Dunham is among those merchants bringing back the excitement and energy that John Nelson experienced in the area in the early 1960s. With so many resources to be found here—Baker Furniture, Barclay Butera, Farrow & Ball, Harbinger, Suzanne Rheinstein’s Hollyhock, Nathan Turner, Rose Tarlow Melrose House, Sherle Wagner and Tufenkian Carpets and many more—the district has been transformed above and beyond its Gallery Row beginnings into its own creation. That vision put forth by a handful of merchants back in the day has been surpassed in size and scope. LCDQ co-founder Stanton said, “I believe this is all due to the heart and soul of businesses past and present in our district who have always shared the same goals—to enrich, inspire and celebrate great design.”
ABOVE & RIGHT: HOLLYWOOD AT HOME
WINDOWS OF LEGEND L CDQ’S SHOP WINDOWS, FROM THE ANNUAL LEGENDS OF DESIGN EVENTS
LEGENDS 2016 “One of a Kind” - Left: Designer Jamie Bush for Richard Shapiro, Studiolo; Right: Designer Melinda Ritz for Hollywood at Home LEGENDS 2015 “Where Muses Dwell” - Left: Designer Jeff Andrews “Proportion” for Fuller & Roberts; Right: Designer Ken Fulk “The Movie Inside My Mind” for Therien LEGENDS 2014 “Novel Interiors” - Left: Designer Christian May “1001 Nights” for Woven Accents; Right: Designer Clements Design for Lee Stanton Antiques SUMMER 2016
ART & DESIGN
MARCO LORENZETTO An Italian Artist Who Yielded to His Dream in West Hollywood
read, the tiny panini café in New York City’s SoHo where Marco Lorenzetto worked as a waiter, was the first place that displayed his art. Today Lorenzetto’s paintings are among the most prominent pieces of art on display at Jean de Merry, the gallery cum shop that displays the French deco-inspired furniture line of Jean de Merry and his partner, Christian Darnaud-Maroselli, along with the work of other noted furniture designers. In not-quite 10 years, Lorenzetto’s career as an artist focused on interior design has blossomed to the point that he is booked with projects through September. Many of his projects have been very large. There was the Australian food distribution company owner who asked him to help decorate a house outside of Sydney that had been built by another artist years ago. “They had me do the entire art work in the house like it was in the old days,” Lorenzetto said. And then there was the Miami home of the founder of Pandora, one of the world’s largest jewelry companies. The twelve works created by Lorenzetto are the only art in that home.
Lorenzetto, 31, grew up in Faenza, the manufacturing capital of Maiolica, the Italian tin-glazed pottery dating from the Renaissance. There he was surrounded by art in various manifestations—his home was a beautiful former monastery, his uncle had a painting by Rembrandt in his home. As a child, Lorenzetto’s obsession was paper and color. But given that Faenza was his birthplace, his first fine art was ceramic. His parents, however, didn’t see how he could make a living as an artist. Lorenzetto himself had doubts. “It was pretty hard for someone of my mindset to think I could become an artist,” he said. Lorenzetto decided to pursue his other passion—politics. He left home for Sapienza, the university in Rome, where he studied politics and economics. But then in 2007, he flew to Boston for a visit and decided to stay for three years. Then he fell for New York City, where he also lived for three years before moving to California, where he now lives just north of West Hollywood’s Sunset Plaza. When he wasn’t working at random jobs like waiting tables, Lorenzetto worked on his art.
BY HENRY SCOTT PHOTOGRAPHS BY IAN MORRISON
you “Sometimes think you have
a dream, but the dream has you. It’s a call that you need to recognize.
THIS PAGE: DREAMCODE PAINTINGS & DRAWINGS OPPOSITE PAGE, BELOW: PAINTINGS ON DISPLAY AT JEAN DE MERRY SHOWROOM
Slowly, steadily, Lorenzetto’s career as an artist grew. He was able to get into a gallery in Paris. Then, one day he noticed the Jean de Merry shop on Melrose Place and walked in and introduced himself. The owners were happy to display his work, which got it in front of many major interior designers. Now there are galleries that approach Lorenzetto asking to represent him. Lorenzetto has exhibited his work in galleries in Paris, New York City, Berlin and Bologna. One testament to his talent is the fact that he was granted a difficult-to-acquire special skills visa with the sponsorship of Karole Vail, a curator at the Guggenheim Museum and the granddaughter of Peggy Guggenheim. Some in the art world look down on those who produce art for people who pay for it, assuming they sacrifice their vision and creativity for money. But Lorenzetto doesn’t work that way or see it that way. “This is a work of art, not design,” he said of his work. “I like this because I create my own world with my own rules.” Lorenzetto said he is engaged by interior designers who like his work and trust his judgment. “I love the trust that is given to you by a stranger.” Yet Lorenzetto also notes that the act of commissioning art extends to the Middle Ages. Caravaggio created works commissioned by the Vatican in the 1600s, as did Michelangelo in the 1500s. Lorenzetto’s favorite artists include Franz Klein and Cy Twombly. That said, he also has a passion for the classical, influenced perhaps by his childhood in Faenza. “It’s a big part of my world now,” he said. “It’s very Italian.” Lorenzetto has looked back at the evolution of his career as an artist and realized it was inevitable. “It just happened,” he said. “Sometimes you think you have a dream,” he said, “but the dream has you. It’s a call that you need to recognize.
MARCO LORENZETTO POP-UP GALLERY FOR LUPUS LA’S FUNDRAISER AT FOX STUDIOS
THE LOT STUDIOS
CLOCKWISE FROM BACK - CHARLES CHAPLIN, DARRYL ZANUCK, SAMUEL GOLDWYN, DOUGLAS FAIRBANKS, JOSEPH SCHENCK AND MARY PICKFORD
The Fantasy of Film Carries on Behind a Beige Wall BY NATE BERG PHOTOGRAPHS BY PAOLO FORTADES
single building fills an entire block along Santa Monica Boulevard. It might seem like a row of offices or maybe an old low-rise apartment building, but for most passersby, it is basically a block-long, inaccessible beige wall. At one point though, an ornamental arch appears, crowning an entryway that looks to have been sealed over for decades. At the peak of the arch is a small, wreathed crest featuring the silhouettes of a woman and a man, she in front, he behind. This odd vestige is actually quite revealing: the man and woman in this crest are Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford, the most famous movie star couple of the early 20th century silent film era. The strange building behind their silhouettes is the edge of the sprawling movie studio they once owned, and one that, despite being nearly 100 years old, is still in active use today. It’s no longer the Pickford-Fairbanks Studios, nor the United Artists Studio, nor the Samuel Goldwyn Studios nor any of the other names it would have over the course of its century hosting the production of landmark films like “The Count of Monte Cristo,” “Some Like it Hot,” “West Side Story,” “Apocalypse Now,” “The Green Mile” and “Hail, Caesar!”. Today it’s known as The Lot, and it has managed to mix historic soundstages and 1930s-era
writers’ offices with brand new buildings and production facilities able to handle the hightech needs of 21st century multimedia production. TV shows are filmed on The Lot’s stages every day, and recording studios and screening rooms are engaged in postproduction on movies. The Oprah Winfrey Network occupies most of a newly built building and shares space with the Internet comedy studio Funny or Die. The mix of old buildings and new forms of media production is surprisingly symbiotic. Though many of its buildings date back to the 1920s and ’30s, The Lot is a modern movie-making facility, but one firmly rooted in Hollywood history. *** The studio was originally opened around 1918 by Jesse D. Hampton, a producer and director of silent films. Located near the corner of Santa Monica Boulevard and Formosa Avenue, the studio was a relatively modest complex of a few buildings. Early films produced at the studio include 1920’s “Pollyanna,” starring Mary Pickford. In 1922, Pickford and Fairbanks would buy the studio from Hampton and expand. A studio backlot was created, where large-scale sets could be created for temporary use during filming. For the 1922 film “Robin Hood,” a ten-story castle
was built on the site. It would later be replaced by an even more elaborate Arabian fortress of gold-plated domes and towering minarets for “The Thief of Bagdad,” released in 1924. Aerial photography from around this time shows a cluster of warehouse-like soundstages at the north end of the property and a busy backlot at the south. Beyond its borders to the south and east, the land is virtually undeveloped. In 1927, the studio evolved into the United Artists Studio, named after the artistled organization Pickford and Fairbanks had formed with fellow Hollywood actor Charlie Chaplin and the director D.W. Griffith. It would be used to produce dozens of silent films, featuring such stars of the day as Holbrook Blinn and Irene Rich, and, of course, the likes of Pickford, Fairbanks and Chaplin. In what would become a recurring theme, the studio nimbly adapted to the changing technology of these early days of filmmaking. With the advent of “talkies,” the United Artists Studio began recording audio, transforming its stage sets into soundstages in the late 1920s and early 1930s. A writer’s building, that blocklong wall along Santa Monica Boulevard, was built in the mid-’30s. It included a secluded patio area that, rumors suggest, was equipped with a long trench in which Fairbanks would regularly run in the nude.
ABOVE: SOUND STAGE 7; BELOW: AERIAL VIEW LOOKING TOWARD SANTA MONICA BLVD.
OWN BUILDING: OFFICES OF OPRAH WINFREY NETWORK AND FUNNY OR DIE
NEW BUILDING CONSTRUCTION
The gradually expanding studio spaces were opened up to independent filmmakers looking for room to film. Writers, directors and producers like Howard Hughes and Samuel Goldwyn would use the facility for their productions. Hughes had his own private garage, accessed off of Santa Monica Boulevard and connected directly to his office. George and Ira Gershwin had offices right next door to each other. Goldwyn, already one of Hollywood’s most successful producers, would soon become a dominant figure at the studio. After a series of personnel disputes and the death of Fairbanks in 1939, Goldwyn and Pickford locked into a multi-year dispute over ownership of the studio. After years without a resolution, a judge ruled that the studio be auctioned off to the highest bidder. Goldwyn, along with well-funded partners, won the bidding, and in 1955 the studio was renamed the Samuel Goldwyn Studios. But because Pickford owned the deed to the land, she retained ownership of the backlot area, which was technically not included in the studio’s holdings because of the temporary nature of the sets. She then donated the land to the city of Los Angeles, which later turned it into the electric power distribution facility that still stands today. The border between the cities of Los Angeles and West Hollywood would eventually be drawn right between the facility and the studio, and a few of the studio’s buildings actually straddle the line. Despite the tumultuous changes in ownership and operations, the studio would continue to thrive in the following years. Its soundstages remained busy, hosting productions big and small—the dance/fight scenes from “West Side Story,” the pilot episode of the television series “Lassie,” the recording of Frank Sinatra’s “Concert Sinatra” album and “Fiddler on the Roof.” A few massive fires would claim a number of stages over the years, but the studio always managed to rebuild and stay afloat. And as the film and television business evolved, the studio evolved right along with it.
ABOVE: MARY PICKFORD AND DOUGLAS FAIRBANKS HANGING ENTRANCE SIGN; BELOW: COURTYARD AND THE OWN BUILDING
ABOVE AND BELOW RIGHT: SET BUILDING WORKSHOP; BELOW, LEFT: BRANDO PEEKS OUT A PRODUCTION WINDOW OFFICE SUMMER 2016
ABOVE: BONNER SCREENING ROOM; BELOW: ADR SOUND BOOTH
like a hotel “We’re for filmmakers.
They can show up with an idea and take it all the way though to completion. The Lot continues to fill that need.
DOUGLAS FAIRBANKS, MARY PICKFORD, CHARLIE CHAPLIN, D.W. GRIFFITH
After the deaths of Goldwyn, Pickford and Chaplin in the 1970s, the studio was sold to Warner Brothers, which used it to film TV shows and movies throughout the ’80s and ’90s. In the 2000s, the entire facility was sold to private investors, who converted it into a fully independent production facility, where production houses could shoot and produce films or TV series without the need for their own large-scale facilities. Big studios like Paramount and Warner Brothers might be able to afford huge campuses of filming and production facilities, but an increasing amount of smaller players had a distinct need for professionalgrade facilities and equipment, office spaces, rentals and editing spaces on an as-needed basis. “We’re like a hotel” for filmmakers, said Greg Harless, who manages The Lot. “They can show up with an idea and take it all the way though to completion.” The Lot continues to fill that need. And the film industry continues to evolve. One of The Lot’s current tenants is a relatively new type of production, a trial-focused drama series produced for Amazon, starring Billy Bob Thornton and William Hurt. A lawyer’s office fills one of The Lot’s seven soundstages, and another holds a remarkably accurate recreation of a Santa Monica dive bar. Outside, production
assistants drive by in golf carts, and extras dressed like lawyers and cops kill time between scenes. Nearby stands one of the original buildings from the studio’s early days, now housing the wood shop and set building workshop under a beautiful wooden bow truss roof. Workers are building a section of an office hallway, while others put the finishing touches on a Catholic church confessional booth. Outside, the front half of a fake deep sea fishing boat sits next to a soundstage, seemingly abandoned and forgotten after its brief turn in some detective show or vacation scene. Like much of what’s scattered around The Lot, it will likely be used again by some other production for an entirely different purpose. Another building holds wide audio mixing boards in front of small theaters where actors can re-record lines or dub over animated films. A case down the hallway holds a few Academy Award statuettes from past productions. In the back corner of The Lot sits a new parking structure, with extra high ceilings on its ground floor offering plenty of space to park the “star trailers” productions use to house actors on shoots outside of the facility. Near the center of the site is Global Cuisine, a restaurant serving some of the roughly 1,000 people working at the facility on any given day, which is also open
to the public. It may not have the same cachet as the Paramount commissary, but when Oprah Winfrey’s offices are a stone’s throw away and Billy Bob Thornton is shooting scenes around the corner, the star-obsessed may consider visiting for lunch and a potential sighting. Tellingly, one large section of The Lot is currently a hole in the ground. Construction workers are currently laying the foundation for another new building, expected to open next summer and draw in more of the 21st century companies that are changing the way entertainment is made and shared. Just on the other side of the construction fence, the 1930s-era writers’ offices are becoming an increasingly quaint part of The Lot’s campus. Though some of the buildings here are protected by historic preservation designations, much of the complex has gradually been replaced by more modern facilities. This evolution is about keeping up with the changing demands of the entertainment industry, but it’s also chipping away at the physical remnants of one of the places where Hollywood was born. How many of those remnants will survive and for how long remains to be seen. But for those running and using The Lot, keeping it operational has as much to do with developing Hollywood’s future as honoring its past.
THE MISSING MOOSE LOST. AND FOUND. AND BACK AGAIN (SOON) 7... 6... 5... The crowd is a mix of Jay Ward Productions staff and clients, Hollywood insiders and a healthy dose of stars of radio and screen. Even the head of the Los Angeles County Sheriff ’s Department, Peter Pitchess, is in attendance. Walt Disney, martini in hand, kneels down to press his elbow in a circle of wet concrete, finishing the imprint with his signature, and is helped to his feet. “So much better than using your hands, eh Walt? You don’t even have to put down the martini!” Ward yells across the crowd. Ward’s studio has been here on Sunset across from the Chateau Marmont since 1948, and within it his team has produced some incredibly memorable characters. His famous Moose and Squirrel of course, but also Dudley Do-Right, Peabody and Sherman, George of the Jungle, Cap’n Crunch and many others.
4... 3... 2... 1...
10... 9... 8... Jay Ward stands in front of his animation studio on Sunset Boulevard dressed as Napoleon. It’s early evening, September 24, 1961, and he surveys the smiling, inebriated crowd of close to 5,000 blocking the street and notes the glares of the drivers, bumper to bumper in the single open lane of traffic. Their horns sound and profanities fly. A junior animator runs past Ward from inside the studio with a large painted sign, which he props on an easel near the road. “Don’t complain or we’ll block this lane too!” in big Comic Sans serif letters. Ward nods his approval. A tall shrouded mass stands at the center of the festivities, and a thick gold rope hangs from the top of the lumpy obscured form, ready to be pulled to drop the curtain. Ward soaks in the energy of the crowd. He loves these big publicity events and checks the speech he has prepared on small cards—a silly Statue of Liberty reference, “your huddled mooses yearning to breathe free.” Perfect. The reason for the celebration? His best-known characters, Rocky and Bullwinkle, have had their show—now known as The Bullwinkle Show—moved from the ABC network to NBC and would now be broadcast in color.
Jayne Mansfield, looking particularly chesty, half a nipple visible at the bust line of her clingy dress, flashes a smile and grasps the golden rope. Ward gives her a wink, and after a brisk tug, the covering drops to a barrage of exploding flash bulbs. Half the cameras look to catch the mystery under the cover, the others hope for the rest of the nip to slip—a Mansfield trademark. Finally revealed, twenty feet tall atop an Egyptianesque pedestal, stands Jay Ward’s most famous character, Bullwinkle Moose, midpirouette, with his friend Rocky Squirrel balanced in his open hand. After a second, the moose monument (dressed in a red striped swimsuit) begins to spin atop its stand. The crowd roars with laughter and applause, whipping their heads around in a double take at Ward’s inspiration. In front of the Chateau Marmont, spinning endlessly on a huge silver dollar, is a fetching fiberglass cowgirl, leg up in a skin tight red, white and blue outfit, hat in hand, before a shimmering mirage-like backdrop and the word SAHARA. The Sahara girl billboard was famous for her decades on the strip and the incredible number of complaints she drew from residents of the Chateau Marmont (in whose windows her dance never ceased) and for her place on the cover of writer Gore Vidal’s controversial 1968 novel “Myra Breckinridge.” Bullwinkle has borrowed her pose and spin perfectly.
BY GUS HEULLY PHOTOS COURTESY ALISON MARTINO / VINTAGE LA
BANG!! The reveal has been made and a band strikes up as Ward approaches the podium to address the mob. It is a stupendous occasion. Ward thanks his family and fellow animators, actors, clients (but only those that pay their bills), and the citizens of Moosylvania. The reveal of the Moose Monument marked not only a big event for Ward and his production studio, but was the perfect way to expand on their brand of humor. Unlike most animators, Jay Ward does not treat his characters like 2D puppets on the screen with which he can tell stories. Instead, they are thought of as actual people in the world, ready to interact and make comments. On Ward’s show, characters break the fourth wall constantly, speaking directly to the audience, aware that they are part of a television program. Even the variety program formatting of The Bullwinkle Show implied that the characters had more to do with the direction of the show, as its hosts, than just mere cartoons. These types of gags and stunts that attempt to break his characters into the “real world” are a Ward trademark. Even during the initial run of the show in 1959, the Bullwinkle character introducing the program would make jokes at the expense of programs in neighboring time slots, current events and celebrities. In one notorious instance, Bullwinkle once asked children to pull the knobs off their TV sets so that they would be sure to be tuned in next time. It was a joke that drew numerous complaints as nearly 20,000 kids promptly followed Bullwinkle’s advice. With the Moose Monument right in front of his studio on Sunset Boulevard, Rocky and Bullwinkle had pushed right through the screen and into Los Angeles urban life to pull off a street scale contextual joke. A basic billboard would not have been enough for them; they needed to exist in the flesh or the next best thing, fiberglass.
The Jay Ward Productions studio moved not long after his death in 1989 and had not created much new animation since the mid-1980s. The Bullwinkle Moose Monument remained in place, no longer spinning and slowly disintegrating as new tenants came and left. Then on July 22, 2013, a crane arrived and lifted the moose off his stand and away. Many locals were concerned that he was gone for good, on the way to the dump. Alison Martino, who chronicles the history of Los Angeles and Old Hollywood on her Facebook page, Vintage Los Angeles, drummed up concern for the sudden disappearance of the statue. It turned out that, at the direction of Ward’s daughter Tiffany, the Moose Monument was taken in by DreamW orks Animation, who were then working on Mr. Peabody and Sherman and Rocky and Bullwinkle animated films. DreamWorks Studios and 20th Century Fox footed the bill for a full restoration of the monument by artist Ricardo Scozzari. After restoration, the Moose Monument was put on display in the Paley Center for Media in Beverly Hills, where it was again revealed to the public in dramatic fashion on October 9, 2014. Then, after a bit more cosmetic work, it stood, until recently, in the lobby of West Hollywood City Hall, a gift to the city from the studios and Ward’s family. The City of West Hollywood worked closely with Jay Ward’s family to choose an appropriate site for the Moose Monument. They agreed it needed to be very public and on Sunset Boulevard. A city-owned parking lot on the north side of Sunset Boulevard, near its intersection with Holloway Drive, is the future site of what the city calls the “Creative Billboard Project,” part of the city’s initiative to encourage more creative designs and elaborate installations from advertisers, bringing the creative energy back.
JASON GIBBY PHOTOGRAPHS BY RYAN JEROME
n emerald wizard projects in a fiery hologram. Before him stands a metallic man and a gangly-limbed scarecrow. On the floor lies a lion, out cold in terror, and at his side, in ruby red slippers, a young girl longs for home. But in this Oz, one man—in slippers and tin and straw—is there behind the curtain, playing the whole thing: Todrick Hall.. At only 31, Hall’s résumé is almost as eclectic as Oz itself. From Broadway to American Idol, from YouTube to MTV, he has become, in just a few short years in the business, a beloved multimedia personality. And now, with his new album, “Straight Out of Oz,” Hall breathes a much needed urban upgrade into the Emerald City. “That’s kind of what I try to do,” says Hall, “take classic fairytales and make them a little more hip, a little more urban, a little more pop culture.” Soon, on tour, the entertainer will bring his bubbly theatrics to the Land of Oz. “I play Dorothy, the Scarecrow, the Tin Man, and the Lion. And since I’ve always paralleled my life with Dorothy’s, it’s the most personal thing I’ve ever done.” Born in Arlington, Texas, Hall developed an early interest in dance and theater—activities, said some in the area, not meant for little boys. But, like Dorothy, who had the good witch, Glinda, Hall had his mother. “I started taking dance when I was eight years old at a small studio called ‘Tip Tap Toes.’ I remember my mom telling people, ‘I don’t care if my kid is doing ballet.’ And listen, back then, it was unheard of, especially in Texas, to say something like that.” For years, Hall danced in the studio—tap and ballet, jazz, hip-hop, and cheer. Then, upon graduating high school, he opted for Disney World instead of college. There, as a first time visitor, he made good on a pact with his mother. The deal? If you get the part in “Beauty and the Beast,” you don’t have to go to college. Hall made sure to get the part. And his Disney “education,” rides and all, soon became the building blocks of an even bigger opportunity—this one on Broadway in Oprah Winfrey’s “The Color Purple” alongside Fantasia Barrino “I saw Fantasia singing on Oprah. And I found out they were having auditions for one dancer in the show. All I needed was a way to New York.” But without money for a plane ticket, Broadway, says Hall, might as well have been in Oz. Ever hopeful, he phoned his dad, who had been absent since childhood, to ask for a ticket to the audition. But his father’s answer, like the wizard’s, came loud and clear, a not-so-wonderful “no.” It was then, dream crushed and trip denied, that Hall handed the phone to his mother. “She grabbed the phone, and gave the Viola Davis, snot-coming-
out-of-your-nose speech. I’ve never heard my mom say a cuss word, but anything she could say that the good Lord would approve of, she said it in that call. And then she came outside, and as I was standing there, she was like, ‘Pack your bags. You’re going to that audition.’” “I still have no idea how my mom got that plane ticket, or what she said, but I flew my black ass there, honey, and I did what I had to do and I booked the show.” Just as he had dreamed, Hall at last hit Broadway, and in “The Color Purple,” he brought the Lone Star to the Big Apple. There, on stage with Fantasia, Hall acquired the experience that would, in the years to come, put him, like her, in the semifinals of American Idol. “I went to Idol genuinely thinking there was a chance I could win,” Hall says. “And when I was getting such negative criticism, I was like, ‘okay, maybe I’m one of those people who’s looking at the world through rose-colored glasses and not seeing things the way they really are, but as I want to see them’.” After Idol, Hall again performed on Broadway—this time in the Tony-award winning “Memphis.” By all accounts, artistic or otherwise, Hall was in “Kansas” no longer. Still, even in New York, in his Oz, with idols and rock stars, with actors, dancers and singers, an unshakeable thought took hold: what if, instead of this, he tried YouTube? “I just felt like there was something more out there for me,” he says. “And to most people, YouTube seemed like a step down, but I really believed in it. I felt like it was the only way I could express my thoughts the way I wanted to.” Hall put the thought into action in 2011 with a move from New York to Los Angeles. And at first, he kept things simple: each song, each dance was a courtship for a view. But, in a new city with few friends, far away from Broadway, those views counted for Hall as more than just digital fodder. In flash mobs and dance videos, in comedic forays at drive-thrus and supermarkets, Hall brought a new and more personal brand of entertainment to YouTube . Yet, even as his numbers grew into the millions, Hall still questioned at times whether this path, on an entirely new medium, was the right one. But then, in 2011, after making a flash mob video in a Target store, in which he and several others danced in choreography to Beyoncé’s song, “End of Time,” Hall got a very special shout-out. It was from his idol, the song’s source—Beyoncé. “Listen, if Beyoncé giving you a personal shout-out and uploading a video entitled ‘Thanks, Todrick Hall’ doesn’t give you confidence, then I don’t know what will. It was a life-changing thing.”
ABOVE: TODRICK HALL AT HOME SUMMER 2016
ABOVE: TODRICK HALL AND HIS BACKYARD PIRATES
So impressed was Beyoncé, in fact, that after Hall made another video tribute to her, this one called “Cinderoncé,” she hired him as a choreographer for her video, “Blow.” “I told the story of Cinderella by using only Beyoncé songs,” says Hall, “And when she saw it, she offered me the choreographer job.” Now, on Hall’s YouTube channel, over 2.1 million subscribers tune in to watch as he sets his own stage—still, just like at the start, one view at a time. Even more buzz came for Hall in 2013 when he made a safety video for Virgin America Airlines. Fully choreographed and staged in a hangar, the video gives step-by-step instructions for passengers in a pop reimagining of the classic pre-flight safety speech. And in 2015, Hall brought the Emerald City, along with his millions of viewers, to the city of rainbows, our very own West Hollywood, California, in a video entitled “Pretty Boys–A Public Service Announcement.” In the video, Hall struts West Hollywood in ruby boots and sings— alongside the Tin Man, the Lion, and the Scarecrow—about all the pretty boys on the yellow brick road. Fun as the video is, like most of Hall’s uploads, this one, even with pretty boys galore, comes packing a very important message: get out and vote. Part of a series, the video comes on the heels of another fairytale remake, “Alice In WeHoLand,” in which Hall serenades the city—with his trademark whimsy in tow—to spread awareness of crosswalk safety. With the video came the installation of several new landmarks: in one, Alice sends a text message from the depths of a roadside crater, and in another, Hall, dressed like the White Rabbit, cautions would-be selfie takers. That positioned Hall, in that moment, as the voice of West Hollywood. And in his latest West Hollywood video, Hall promotes the use of the drug Truvada as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PReP)—a measure to prevent HIV infection. The video, part of the city’s HIV prevention campaign, is dubbed “Hakuna Truvada,” a play on Hakuna Matata, a Swahili term for “no worries” made famous by “The Lion King.” “I love West Hollywood. It’s my chosen city,” Hall said. “So to do the videos and the campaign, especially when it mixed so many from the gay community with the city’s community, it was really special. And doing “Wizard of Oz” for one of the videos was obviously right up my alley.” Now, with “Straight Out of Oz,” his most personal endeavor to date, Hall hopes to once again take that voice back to Broadway. “I think that it would speak volumes that I went from Broadway to YouTube, and then this thing that I created on YouTube might end up back on Broadway. It’s just such a full circle moment with an obvious parallel to Oz itself.” In Oz, Hall lays bare the man behind the curtain. There, in him, we find at last that what we want lies not in Kansas, nor even over the rainbow, but on the inside. And to see it, Hall reminds us, we must only look.
2015 WOWIE AWARD FOR BEST YOUTUBER
Beyoncé giving you a personal “Ifshout-out and uploading a video
entitled ‘Thanks, Todrick Hall’ doesn’t give you confidence, then I don’t know what will.
A LOCAL ENTREPRENEUR CREATES A FUTURISTIC APARTMENT HUNTING APP
BY JASON GIBBY PHOTOGRAPHS BY ALDO CARRERA
JONATHAN EPPERS, FOUNDER RADPAD GROOMING BY SARAH TINTARI
“RadPad might not exist today if I had lived in another city. ”
In an unassuming office building in sunny California’s Culver City, frenzied engineers fixed titanium legs to the crew compartment of a brand new spacecraft. With the landing pads installed and the aluminized blankets, fuel tanks and oxidizers ready, the lunar lander that would later touch down on the moon was finally okay to go. And now, in that very same building over five decades later, another ‘explorer’ is busy at work. At the helm, Jonathan Eppers, 33, founder of RadPad, is revolutionizing the way we rent. Eppers founded RadPad, a wildly innovative, photo-based mobile app for the rental market while searching for a new place in West Hollywood—a task that can feel, at times, like putting a man on the moon. But now, with RadPad, Eppers explained, you can find an apartment,
sign your lease, and (soon) pay your rent without ever leaving the app’s interface. With co-founders Tyler Galpin and Tim Watson, Eppers wanted to create, as he put it, an Instagram for renting. In its stylish, open office, RadPad’s conference rooms pay homage to NASA, with “Voyager,” “Curiosity,” and “Endeavor” inscribed on their doors. And on the wall, in a mural painted by artist Michael Kagan, Apollo 15 astronaut James Irwin goes for a spacewalk on the moon—a nod to the building’s history and a reminder of how far RadPad intends to go. The connection isn’t lost on Eppers, either. The rental market, said the rising rental star, often seems like a place where no one has gone before: an unregulated, yet magnificently open terrain, a frontier the young entrepreneur continues to map out.
JASON GIBBY: So what gave you the idea for RadPad? JONATHAN EPPERS: I was working as product manager at eHarmony before I started RadPad, and I wasn’t really feeling it anymore. So I was thinking about moving to San Francisco to take another job. But the thought of starting out in a new city and making new friends made me hesitant. Instead, I thought, maybe to get out of this funk, I should just move. So I started looking for an apartment using other services that existed at the time, and I got kind of pissed, because I felt like there was nothing that was actually there helping me. It was kind of like, “Here are a bunch of listings. Good luck getting it.” So that’s how RadPad got started, at least initially. It was from my own experience looking for an apartment. GIBBY: How much growth have you seen since 2014 (10,000 active users at the time)? EPPERS: So, there’s now over a half-a-million renters using RadPad every month. We’ve also expanded to many more cities. L.A. is one of our biggest markets. In fact, West Hollywood is one of our busiest cities within the L.A. area. With Chicago, we like to say, ‘we own Chicago.’ We’re getting bigger in San Francisco. We’re big in D.C. We’re big in Miami and Houston. Last year, we did about $41 million in rent payments. This year we’ll do about $120 million in rent payments through the system. It’s growing really quickly. We’re thinking that by 2018, we’ll be doing over a billion dollars in rent payments. GIBBY: In 2014, you said, “My goal is that in two years you’ll be able to use your mobile phone to complete the entire real estate transaction.” What progress have you made toward achieving that goal? EPPERS: That happens this month. So, if I said that in 2014, well, it’s 2016, and we’re launching it this month. With the new service, once a landlord wants to rent to you, you can sign on
RadPad and actually pay through our platform. You can pay your move-in costs on your debit or credit card. And then once you move in, you can start paying your rent on RadPad, and we actually store that information on your profile. We want to make it one-click renting, where you actually come to RadPad, you’re like, “I want this place,” you’re qualified and you move in. And this month, we’ll have the ability to do this. GIBBY: Why “Rad”? EPPERS: To me, Rad is when you come to RadPad and it feels like magic. Rad is when you use RadPad and you can’t imagine ever not using it again to do the same thing you’re already doing. So you come in, you feel good, the data is valid, then you find the place, you push a button, you get the apartment and then a couple days, or a couple of weeks, later, you move in. And you’re like, “wow that was so easy. That was so much easier than it’s ever been done before.” That was “Rad.” GIBBY: How easy or hard has it been to secure funding for your business? What have you learned from that process? EPPERS: We’ve been pretty lucky. We built something that a lot of people love and also need, which is always very helpful when it comes to raising money. There are a lot of people behind the scenes who are very involved in helping secure financing for RadPad, including my co-founders and our board. One thing I’ve learned from raising money is surround yourself with people who believe in your vision and who are willing to be patient while you execute on the vision. Empires aren’t built in days or weeks, and neither are great companies. Everyone, from our employees to our investors, knows that we’re in this to build something big, and we’re all enjoying the ride. GIBBY: What makes West Hollywood a great place to live?
EPPERS: When I moved to L.A. nine years ago, I first lived in Santa Monica, but what pulled me away from the beach vibes over here to West Hollywood was the community and values of this little city. West Hollywood is smack dab in the center of Los Angeles, which makes it incredibly easy to get to anywhere in the city in under thirty minutes. It’s a city with a strong personality, which makes it attractive to live when food, art and culture are all within a fiveminute walk in either direction. Unlike a lot of other neighborhoods in L.A., West Hollywood has a strong sense of community, and it’s not uncommon to run into friends when you’re out and about. I love this place and don’t anticipate moving out anytime soon. Getting to live in a city like West Hollywood, which is so culturally diverse and has such a strong point of view on what’s normal, you experience so many different things I’d never experienced growing up in Indiana. L.A. really helped me develop into who I am today because the city forced me to find myself. L.A. challenged my morals and values, exposing me to situations I hadn’t experienced growing up in the Midwest. It opened my eyes so I could gain a much greater perspective on what’s really important to me. I’m much more open minded today and I think more empathetic to people who share a different outlook on life. I actually love living in a city where there are so many different types of people. GIBBY: How did West Hollywood influence RadPad? EPPERS: RadPad might not exist today if I had lived in another city. It started because I lived in West Hollywood, and I wanted to stay in West Hollywood. I think it’s about eighty percent of the people who live in West Hollywood who rent. So it’s really a renter’s city. It was the perfect incubator. And about five or six months after we launched RadPad, I started looking for apartments on it, and I actually found a house in West Hollywood that I moved into using RadPad. So, in the end, I built a product that solved my own problem.
A WILD TOUCH
The Dreamscapes of Glenn Fox
GLENN FOX IN THE DINING ROOM OF DONNIE AND DONNA GRAVES
An asphalt road snakes into the setting sun. Piano keys adorn the winding blacktop, and up front, in an amber zoot suit, a green-faced man with a wicked grin serenades floating martini glasses and wacky roadside creatures. To most people it would be a weird dream, but for Glenn Fox, it’s just another painting. Much of Fox’s work features the surreal portraits of zany, bugeyed critters with Cheshire Cat smiles. On doors and walls, on ceilings, furniture, and even, if they’ll allow it, on people, Fox paints in jazz strokes, in pulsing, psychedelic waves—tributes to light and color. But painting, says the largely self-taught outsider artist, came, at least professionally, as a surprise. “It was a completely accidental career,” Fox said. “With my first paintings, I used glow-in-the-dark paint to make these fish skeletons that I called ‘Kitchen Fossils.’
And before the paintings could even dry, a friend bought them. I remember thinking, ‘I can do this for fun and make a living?’” That first sale, struck fortuitously between friends, soon led to spots in Modern Primitive, one the hottest galleries in Atlanta, Fox’s home town. And before long, while showing his work in that gallery for outsider and folk art, Fox encountered someone who would become, in the years to follow, one of his most loyal patrons: Isaac Tigrett, co-founder of the House of Blues and Hard Rock Cafe. “He liked my stuff a lot,” Fox said. “He was first introduced to it around 1990 or ’91 before the opening of the first House of Blues in Cambridge in 1992. When he saw it, he purchased pretty much everything Modern Primitive had of mine in their catalogs.”
BY JASON GIBBY PHOTOGRAPHS BY NATE JENSEN
“And then in 1998, I started selling directly to his corporation’s retail department instead. They gave me a licensing deal for plush toys and clothing, too.” Here in West Hollywood, and in Chicago, New York and locations across the country, Fox’s crazy cats and howling coyotes still hang, over two decades later, on the walls of the House of Blues. “In the beginning, they would buy large pieces for the venue,” Fox said. “Now they usually buy in bulk three times a year. I sell wholesale. And they don’t even pick anymore. I just take it to them, whatever I have, and they buy it.” Before the gallery scene, however, Fox got a motley education—from painters, from the mentally ill and even, he said, from animals. “As far as artists go, Max Ernst was the first painter I fell in love with at eight or nine. And, of course, Heinz Edelmann and Dalí, too.” “But my cat, Charlie, is probably my main influence. I found him sleeping on a cheeseburger wrapper near Pismo Beach. He had been hit, so he had a broken fang and a z-shaped tail. He hangs out while I paint. And sometimes, if he’s not careful, he gets paint on his paws.” Also in Fox’s aesthetic bedrock is artist and schizophrenic Louis Wain, who is perhaps best known for a series of cat drawings that he made as his illness progressed—drawings that sparked a wild curiosity within young Fox.
“I didn’t know what schizophrenia was at the time, since I was only six or seven, but I remember seeing the cat he drew at a late stage in his illness, and I was like, ‘I wanna draw this!’” In our spring issue, we visited the West Hollywood offices of NCompass International and saw firsthand Fox’s ingenuity when given carte blanche. From the hand-touched details on the doors, to the glowing, 3D smirks in the bathrooms, Fox exhales a wily panorama of color within the office. But for NCompass’s CEO, Donna Graves, the office wasn’t enough. So, with her husband Donnie, she commissioned Fox, the couple’s longtime friend, to let loose at their home in Nichols Canyon. There, in the dining room, on a cool blue wall, hangs a two-faced, winged beast, drifting above a picnic basket in a bright-striped wormhole. At the room’s center, on the table, suns and planets float in a cosmic ether set behind the North Star. And on the chairs—electrified, like the table, in a corrugated technicolor—Fox packs in each notch a universe of complexity. With a tour of the dining room or a viewing at the House of Blues, at NCompass or in a West Hollywood gallery, we see into the mind of Glenn Fox. And there, in each Cheshire smile, in each bug-eyed stare, what might to us seem like just another painting is to Fox the dreams of a self-taught man.
Charlie, is probably “Mymycat,main influence. I found him sleeping on a cheeseburger wrapper near Pismo Beach.
By 2 a.m., the bars and nightclubs have closed and West Hollywood’s streets are near empty. Not everyone is ready for bed, though. The night owls flock to the city’s few 24-hour restaurants, where the conversations never really end. There’s Norms, one of the two Googie-style diners that West Hollywood can lay claim to (although technically, its La Cienega Boulevard site sits just outside the city limits). It has been designated a cultural landmark by the City of Los Angeles. Then there’s Mel’s, the other Googie icon, which shines a beacon of light onto Sunset Boulevard that fades only when the sun rises. The customers are a fascinating mix of young partiers, early-to- rise East Coast tourists and workers ending a late shift. Sometimes you’ll see fancy fashion. Sometimes you’ll see street style. Sometimes you’ll see both. You’ll find more street style at the IHOP which has more of a Sixties diner decor. And then there’s Kitchen 24, on the edge of West Hollywood’s Boystown, which attracts a late-night mix of gay party boys and a lot of Aussie tourists. It has a patio that lets one keep an eye on ever-changing foot traffic on Santa Monica Boulevard as the moon falls and the sun rises.
dining AFTER HOURS PHOTOGRAPHS BY PAOLO FORTADES THIS PAGE: NORM’S RESTAURANT, 470 N. LA CIENEGA BLVD. OPPOSITE PAGE, ABOVE LEFT: IHOP, 8461 SANTA MONICA BLVD. ABOVE RIGHT: KITCHEN 24, 8575 SANTA MONICA BLVD. BELOW: MEL’S DINER, 8585 SUNSET BLVD.
UP ALL NIGHT
BOMBER JACKET: 3.1 PHILLIP LIM TOP + SKIRT: MARC JACOBS SHOES: TOM FORD
PHOTOGRAPHS BY SHARON MOR YOSEF STYLING BY APUJE KALU HAIR AND MAKEUP BY CLAYTON LESLIE MODELS: MATT YOUNG, DT MODEL MGMT AND THERESE TABBERT PHOTOGENICS ON LOCATION AT NORMS RESTAURANT, LA CIENEGA
MOTO JACKET + SHIRT + PANTS: BEAUTIFUL FÜL
MOTO JACKET: BURBERRY
BOMBER JACKET + PANTS: 3.1 PHILLIP LIM SHIRT: G-STAR RAW SHOES: STELLA MCCARTNEY BAG: OLD GRINGO
SUEDE JACKET: MARC JACOBS SHIRT: GIVENCHY PANTS: MAISON MARGIELA SHOES: CONVERSE JACK PURCELL
STUDDED LEATHER JACKET & BOOTS: OLD GRINGO SKIRT: BOWENERO
PHOTOGRAPHER'S ASSISTANTS:: CHARLES TORREALBA, KELLY NYLAND, LEE FATONE STYLIST ASSISTANT: TIFFANY BATTLE ARTPOST: IRIS MARKEVITCH
SHIRT: MOODS OF NORWAY PANTS: 3.1 PHILLIP LIM SHOES: MEZLAN
WATER POLO After Dark
PHOTOGRAPHS BY NATE JENSEN SWIMWEAR BY CA-RIO-CA SUNGA CO.
West Hollywood’s water polo team started in 1986. Its members were recruited by Tom Martinez and Rafael Montijo from West Hollywood Aquatics, which got its start in 1982 when a group of gay swimmers gathered at Venice Beach to begin training for the first Gay Games. Over the past 30 years, it has competed regularly at the Gay Games and San Francisco’s Tsunami de Mayo in San Francisco. It is one of the founding water polo teams registered with International Gay and Lesbian Aquatics, and it holds the most IGLA Championship titles of any team. The team is the current gold medalist from the 2014 Cleveland Gay Games. The team, which includes men and women, held its first workouts at the West Hollywood Park pool. “We have players with international and college experience. We have players with high school experience. And we have players who are beginners,” the team says. “All are welcome.”
Here, team members are featured in swimwear from Ca-Rio-Ca Sunga Co., on Santa Monica Boulevard in West Hollywood. It was founded by Gil Even in 2010. Evenâ€™s goal was to give Southern Californiaâ€™s men something stylish to wear while they surf, play soccer, enjoy the sun, go for a run or party on the streets. His sungas (the Brazilian word for swimsuits) are made in Ipanema Beach and designed to reflect the spirit of Rio de Janeiro.
CLOSE TO HOME, LIGHT YEARS AWAY
If you live in West Hollywood, Big Bear Lake is close to home, yet light years away. The two-and-a-half hour drive east from West Hollywood takes you deep into the San Bernardino National Forest to the shores of a snow-fed lake that is seven miles long. The grizzly bears that gave the lake its name are no longer there, but there is a lot more to discover. Big Bear is an outdoor playground that offers a variety of aquatic sports and more than 100 miles of trails in the San Bernardino Forest. As I drove east on Highway 330 with my girlfriend, Marti, I realized the route to Big Bear is an expedition in itself with enough curves and S-turns cut into the mountainside to keep any driver on his toes. When I reached the crest at 7,000 feet above sea level, I let out a sigh of relief, breathing in the pine-scented
air and scoping out the expansive lake that stretched beyond my sight. Big Bear is the place for mountain biking. I had researched top single-track trails in the area and planned to rent bikes for my girlfriend and I at Bear Valley Bikes. However, that plan changed when we stopped by Amangela’s Sandwich and Bagel House. Not only did we unearth an amazing find with Amangela’s homemade focaccia stacked five inches high with Boar’s Head meats and cheeses, but we also met a friendly local named Grayson who told us about a local ski and snowboard shop that now rents electric bikes in the summer. The bikes, he said, made it a cinch to climb to the top of a mountain. I figured this meant more opportunity for downhill descents. I was sold.
BY DANIEL P. MCKERNAN
THE GETAWAY: BIG BEAR Goldsmith’s Boardhouse at 42071 Big Bear Boulevard is about one mile east of Big Bear Village. Its Pedego electric bikes, offered for rent or sale, come with a powerful motor, rechargeable battery, disc brakes, seven gears, throttle control and pedal assist. Their staff demonstrated the bikes’ features and offered tips on handling them. Best of all, they showed us great choices for trail rides, as well as points of interest on an area map that included shopping districts that piqued Marti’s interest. We chose to ride the Towne Trail, which started just west of Snow Summit Mountain Resort and eventually left us in Big Bear Village. There we stopped at The Copper Q at 645 Pine Knot Avenue for fresh-brewed coffee and sugary treats that gave us a quick energy boost. Marti insisted on stopping by some of the boutiques that line the village streets, hoping she would find a treasure not found at metropolis malls. Our return route offered some climbs to test the power of the bikes’ autopilot ability. That saved us energy and helped us smile as we descended down the trail. For electric bike rentals call ahead to (909) 866-2728. Ziplining, which had always been on both of our bucket lists, was next on our agenda. I always thought I’d have to travel to a faraway place to get this adrenaline rush, but Action Zipline Tours at 41693 Big Bear Boulevard delivers that thrill right here in California. One of three activities offered by Action Tours Big Bear, the three-hour zipline tour includes a two-mile off-road ride to the site and a trip over a suspension bridge (between the first and second run). A little fear rattled us, but our zipline guides calmed us and showed us a good time. Once we got past the initial “bunny hill” run for novices, we had the confidence to soar through towering pines at speeds of up to 45 miles per hour. Action Tours also offers Action Segway Tours, which allows riders to navigate over varied terrain on a Segway x2 model. And there’s Action Tree Rope Climbing, the only tree rope-climbing tour authorized in Southern California, which lets you reach branches up to 50 feet off the ground. Action offers a “triple pass” that gives a twelve percent discount on all three activities. Call (909) 866-0390 to make a reservation. The following day, we stopped by Baldwin Lake Stables, located on the east end of Big Bear Valley at 46475 Pioneer Town Road. Here we were introduced to four-legged companions named Dante and Oscar,
spot-on pros with distinctive personalities. It only took a few minutes to get comfortable controlling and navigatiing these well-trained horses. As we moseyed from the stables onto national forest land, enjoying the beautiful panorama of Big Bear, the sway of the horse put me in a Zen-like trance. Baldwin Lake Stables offers dozens of ways to enjoy the forest, including the world-famous Pacific Crest Trail, with hourly and half-day rides, sunset rides and guided tours. To book a horseback ride, call (909) 585-6482. Big Bear ranks high when it come to recreation, but this mountain resort is also becoming known as a culinary destination. Marti and I spotted a restaurant in the heart of the village decorated with splashes of art deco style and an outdoor seating area complete with fire pits, a performance stage and a hipster-style bar, perfect for a martini hour. The menu at 572 Social Kitchen and Lounge at 572 Pine Knot Avenue has entrées ranging from ahi tuna tartare to fettuccine alla carbonara to ribeye steak. The creamy portabella risotto is prepared with roasted tomato, Parmesan cheese, basil and truffle oil. Owner Carlos Gonzalez specializes in innovative drinks, such as his recent 572 Red Submarine (there’s also a 572 Blue Submarine). It’s a margarita blend that includes a Coronita beer suspended upside down in a large-rimmed glass. For reservations call (909) 878-0307. Our second night in town, we discovered Big Bear Lake Brewing Company at 40827 Stone Road, which offers draft and bottled craft beer, including those brewed there by Ron VandenBroeke, a seasoned brewer with 28 years experience. Their gourmet pubstyle fare includes the Avocado Bomb, a honey ale tempura-battered avocado, spicy sashimi ahi, crab and shrimp cake, ponzu, chipotle aioli and wonton crisps. Their phone number is (909) 878-0283. Our choice for lunch was Himalayan Restaurant at 672 Pine Knot Avenue, which serves the best Indian and Nepalese food in the San Bernardino Mountains. The owner created all of the recipes himself. Try the lamb makhni, a creamy tomato-based dish with a tease of saffron. Call (909) 878-3068 for a reservation. Big Bear lodging—on the lakefront, in the village or at the base of the slopes—ranges from full-service hotels to bed-and-breakfast inns to rustic cabins to luxury vacation homes.
ABOVE LEFT: BIG BEAR LAKE BREWING COMPANY; RIGHT: 572 SOCIAL KITCHEN; BELOW: CASTLEWOOD COTTAGES
With the night sky filled with thousands of stars unspoiled by city lights, we found a romantic place and settled into Castlewood Cottages with a glass of sparkling wine. Castlewood Cottages at 547 Main Street offers eleven “couples-only” cottages with individual themes such as “Captain’s Quarters,” “Woodland Tree House” and “Enchanted Forest.” We briefly “lived” the theme of our “Castle Garden,” with Marti realizing her dream of being a princess for the day by wearing the royal costumes in its closet. To book a room, call (909) 866-2720. Traditional hotel services can be found at The Lodge at Big Bear Lake at 40650 Village Drive. This Holiday Inn hotel has a rustic décor reminiscent of a mountain sporting lodge, complete with local artisan-
crafted furnishings. There is a swimming pool, a spa and Stillwells Restaurant on site. The phone number for reservations is (909) 8663121. Gold Rush Resort Rentals at 40016 Big Bear Boulevard is a private management company that rents everything from cozy cabins to luxury homes. And its rental office is an on-site adventure area that offers treasures such as gemstones, minerals, geodes, fossils, shark teeth, and even real gold. This activity is called Gold Mining Adventures and it’s open year round. It can be reached at (800) 363-8303. Big Bear is the place to transport family, friends or a significant other to a completely different world.
@marielaacarpio “Open-minded to any style, love bohemian.”
@chadrogerstv “Urban chic.”
@madddyys “Casual/whatever/man clothes.”
@michaelmceach “Simple, edgy, clean.”
@mollynolan8 “Easy going, casual.”
@hxndo_ “Minimalist high-end streetwear.”
@zkanoo “Colors and excitement.”
@markymarc6 “Renaissance rebel.”
@roy.collections “Simplicity is the key.”
LOOK BOOK Style Described in Ten Words or Less
@belloda “Free, streetstyle, urban, edgy.”
@nickjonace “Lit AF.”
@lsaa00 “Comfortable, girly.”
@yayo “Snob and a half.”
@thatredheadalio “Funny, fun, epic!”
@morgandemeola “Dress for the vibe.”
@desankaj “Casual and relaxed.”
@cameronla “I love a great short-sleeve buttondown.”
@kenrickvrolijk “Stylish chic.”
@_ _ _fffooo_ _ _ “Pink/stickers.”
WEST HOLLYWOOD Outside Rachel Comey, Melrose Place | Photographs by Ryan Jerome
May 22, 3pm, screening of ‘Milk’ June 4, 11am, Stuart Timmons History Tour June 8, 7:30pm, Zócalo/Getty Event
June 12, 11am, Signs of the Times art project at LA Pride Parade June 25, 4pm, REACH LA, Dancing in the Streets June 30, 7pm, WeHo Reads event with Natalie Goldberg
and many more events! Presented by the City of West Hollywood through WeHo Arts
** This concert is sponsored by Los Angeles County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl.
First come, first served seating is provided for all concerts. For parking info and to hear music samples, please visit www.weho.org/arts
HUGO BOSS PRADA
DOLCE & GABBANA •
. LOS ANGELES CA
TIFFANY & CO.
BEVERLY BOULEVARD & LA CIENEGA
BEDT I ME S TOR IE S Merry Norris
Merry Norris has made her mark on West Hollywood in very visual ways. As a noted (if not the most notable) art consultant in Los Angeles, she worked with the architect for the West Hollywood Library to commission Shepard Fairey’s “Peace, Freedom and Creativity” mural at the adjacent City Council Chambers building and to install “Platanus Bibliotechalis,” a sculpture by David Wiseman that scales two stories of the library’s stairwell. Norris also has participated in the city’s “Art on the Outside” program. She organized the temporary installation of painted steel sculptures by Peter Shire on the median of Santa Monica Boulevard Hills and coordinated a photo exhibit at the Pacific Design Center entitled “The Japanese Contemporary Architecture.” Norris also has worked with the Andaz hotel, and in 2008, helped commission and oversee the installation of “The Departure,” Jacob Hashimoto’s first exterior public art work. The multi-layered tapestry of 700 painted aluminum tiles was strung on nautical cables and suspended in front of the hotel’s restaurant/lounge. Currently she is working with the Center for Early Education, whose expansion includes the installation of public art. And that’s just West Hollywood.
Norris collects art herself as well as advising collectors. Her house just north of Sunset Boulevard is a museum of its own. There, surrounded by paintings and a stunning new piece of sculpture by Livio DeMarchi, she gets her start each morning reading newspapers—in print! “A typical morning: I go downstairs, make a Keurig coffee, and grab the newspapers that have been thrown near ‘nightymonster’ by Peter Shelton (the Venice-based sculptor) near my front door,” Norris said “I read newspapers in bed,” she said, calling out a list that includes the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and Los Angeles Business Journal. “And I love tossing them on the floor as I am finishing them.” Also on her in-bed reading list are magazines such as Artforum, Artillery, Vanity Fair, Form, Angeleno and our own West Hollywood Magazine, on whose advisory board Norris sits. “I am an avid art collector who became an art consultant many years ago,” Norris said. “I love to share my enthusiasms with new collectors for their homes and especially their bedrooms.”
PHOTOGRAPH BY MIKE ALLEN
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