New Yorkers love to shit on LA but guess what, I just went there for my first time to curate the Vice 2008 Photo Show and it was awesome. I officially call bullshit on East Coast/West Coast wars. But I guess I had an advantage because I was staying with my kooky pals Mr. Hodgepodge and Miss Lizzi—who are both featured in this awesome new book, Vintage LA, so I basically got a whirlwind tour of all the fun and kitschy stuff that author Jennifer Brandt Taylor writes about in this handy guide for sightseeing weirdos.
And I got to stay in the cutest apartment in Silverlake:
I also stayed at the Culver Hotel for a few days, which is where the cast of the Wizard of Oz stayed when they were filming the movie. Local lore has it that the munchkins all had wild munchkin orgies in the rooms!
My favorite place that we visited was the Bob Baker Marionette Theater, where we went back in time to some warped fantasy version of childhoods past and saw a puppet show full of rollerskating teddybears and terrifying clowns being masterfully operated by deadly serious, stone-faced Mexican teenagers. Here is a little glimpse of it:
It was like being on acid except better because afterwards they take you into this room decorated like a dream birthday party and give you a tiny cookie and an ice cream cup with old-fashioned wooden stick-spoons in little pink-striped containers that said “Don’t Do Drugs!” on them. Even the ice cream tastes like it’s been frozen in time from the 1950s.
Then we went the weirdest museum ever, the Museum of Jurassic Technology, which has exhibits of dogs who went to outer space, a lady with a horn growing out of her head, stink ants, and a million inexplicable ancient oddities.
We also dined in the Valley at Casa Vega, the kitschiest Mexican restaurant ever, took a tram to the Getty which has the prettiest view (and Dan Deacon happened to be performing when we were there which was neat), saw the teeny church where Madge got married at the end of Foxes (and also where Ronald and Nancy Reagan got married), saw at least three Lita Ford lookalikes at the Rainbow, went to Venice Beach, which mostly reminded me of Xanadu, and paid homage at Olivia Newton-John’s Walk of Fame star. And like a million more things that are all elaborately described in loving detail in Vintage LA.
One thing I didn’t make it to was the Magic Castle, a private club for magicians that is haunted by a piano-playing ghost named Irma. They have magic shows there and a dining hall and you can only go there if you get invited by a magician and follow the strict dress code (Men “must be in coat and tie, standard or bow-tie. Exceptions to the ‘tie rule’ are: turtlenecks, bolo ties, ascots, jeweled collars, ruffled collars and banded collars.” Women must wear “a dress, cocktail dress, elegant skirt & blouse combination, pant suit with a matching jacket, or evening pant suit ensemble.”) I reeeeeally wanna go there. I am going to have to pull some magic strings next time I go to Tinsel Town.
Anyway, my main point is that this book made my trip to “Hell Gay” totally awesomefied and you should get it.