Erected in 1923, the famous Hollywood Sign originally read “Hollywoodland” to advertise a new housing development in the hills above town. In the beginning the sign was lit up at night by thousands of light bulbs that were maintained by a man who lived in a cabin behind one of the L’s. The development didn’t survive the Great Depression with the “H” falling off due to neglect. In 1949 the city of Los Angeles bought the sign, repaired it and removed the “land” to represent the movie industry and it has become an international landmark ever since…
It’s rare when an artist can own a word or an image from popular culture so thoroughly. Andy Warhol may have shown his first Campbell’s Soup cans here in Los Angeles, but for me, much more powerful is the sway Ed Ruscha’s paintings hold over the Hollywood sign. “Hollywood”—a word, a picture, a fact of our city… It’s rare when an artist can own a word or an image from popular culture so thoroughly. Andy Warhol may have shown his first Campbell’s Soup cans here in Los Angeles, but for me, much more powerful is the sway Ed Ruscha’s paintings hold over the Hollywood sign. “Hollywood”—a word, a picture, a fact of our city… Ed Ruscha: “Back Of Hollywood” 1977
The Sunset Strip stretches 1.6 miles through the heart of the City of West Hollywood from Doheny Road to Crescent Heights – but it is more than just a mile-plus stretch of road. It is an iconic locale where fashion, music, architecture, and a unique history combine. It is also known for its trademark array of huge, colorful billboards. This one was taken by photographer, Larry Jandro in 1974.
Located on Wood and Vine (Who would’ve guessed), this restaurant/bar is a gem. I went there for some after hour drinks (A pink champange concotion) and was pleasantly surprised by their after hours menu. The patrons at the restaurant still present raved about the dinner menu. I will definitly be going back for dinner and drinks next time. Full report to come.
Amoeba is the world’s largest independent record store and the location in Hollywood is my favorite. Not only is it such a great time scouring through the rows and rows of records, but great performers hit the stage for low-key free performances all the time, such as Amos Lee and Local Natives.
The Drais Hollywood is a club in the W Hotel on the corner of Hollywood Blvd and Vine. The Drais has a nightclub, upstairs pool area (overlooking the heart of Hollywood) and a restaurant. I have been to the Drias nightclub for a birthday party and for a fashion show at the pool area. Although drinks are rather pricey, both nights didn’t fail to impress. I haven’t experienced the W Hotel myself, but I hear it is a great spot for a little R & R after a night on the town.
The Sunset Strip Whisky was founded by Elmer Valentine, Mario Maglieri, Phil Tanzini, Shelly Davis, and attorney Theodore Flier. Though the club was billed as a discothèque, suggesting that it offered only recorded music, the Whisky a Go Go opened with a live band led by Johnny Rivers and a short-skirted Joanie spinning records between sets from a suspended cage at the right of the stage. When, in July 1965, the DJ danced during Rivers’ set, the audience thought it was part of the act and the concept of go-go dancers dancing in cages was born.
The Pantages Theatre is by far my favorite place to catch a show in Los Angeles. My favorite aspect of this theater is the art deco decor, since the building was founded in the 1930s. It really represents old Hollywood to me. I have caught many critcially acclaimed shows from Wicked to The Producers to the Lion King there. Catching these off broadway productions at the Pantages is always a thrill and a break from the normally night out in Hollywood.
I recently went to the Lumineers Concert this fall at the Fonda Theatre. It was very similar to all of the old theatres in Hollywood with a slight goth twist (Art deco fixtures with vampires murals painted throughout). There really wasn’t a bad seat in the house and a fews bars throughout, including an adorable rooftop terrace overlooking Hollywood.
I love Umami Burger, particularly their manly burger with a side of sweet potato fries. Although there are quite a few locations, this one is my favorite. It is a little hard to spot, since it’s tucked between an Urban Outfitters and Free People (Hello Dinner and a shopping trip), but I have never had to wait at this location (something Umami locations are notorious for). Plus it is a cheaper and delicious alternative to a fancy dinner before the night activities Hollywood has to offer. Be sure to try one of their mixed cocktail creations if you’re craving a spirit on the side.
/Looking for a good day party? The DO OVER at Lure (Located behind Ameoba Records) has everything a summer party needs: good music, a killer taco trunk, sangria, and good vibes. Last time I went I enjoyed tunes spun by Jazzy Jeff (yes, the guy from Fresh Prince of Bel-Air) and had a grand Sunday. Although it is supposed to be a summer party, they seem to throw year round events and put on a weekend bash (the Sleep-Over) at the Ace Hotel in Palm Springs.
The Hollywood Bowl is one of my favorite venues to see a show. I normally hate big stadiums, but the sound at the Hollywood Bowl is amazing. I recently saw Mumford and Sons at the bowl and although I was far (see picture) I received a front row experience because of the brillant sound. Also the bowl is one of the only L.A. venues that allows you to bring food and drinks (booze too) into it. Just make sure it isn’t a contract event beforehand.
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