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My LA to Z: Nora Kirkpatrick
L.A. strikes a chord with the accordionist for Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros, who’ll be performing with the band this week at their concert-cum-circus experience “Big Top.” Here she tells us where to find “hypocritical” pie, a good body scrub, and antique organs (the musical kind)
I’m an avid vintage shopper, and Shareen keeps her prices very reasonable. I’m not much for modern cuts in dresses; I have a budding collection of dresses from the ’40s. And the environment at Shareen is just so fun. There are no boys allowed! It feels like a clubhouse. I always feel likea kid in a candy store when I go there.
Society of Saint Vincent de Paul
It’s a sprawling thrift store right next to Shareen that I spotted while riding my bike. You see so many more things on a bike! I have a collection of vintage organs like the ones people used to have in their houses, and this place keeps getting donations of these enormous organs. I can get them for $100. The store is just everything.
After we come home from tour, I have six months of sweat and airplane on me. It’s a good place to go and rejuvenate. Plus, they’re open 24-hours. The place is separated by gender, but there’s also a co-ed floor. They scrub the heck out of you, which is great. But I don’t know if I’d want to run into anyone I know there because you have to be naked, so that’d be awkward.
The Last Bookstore
It’s a good date place! The top floor is a meandering labyrinth of books, so if you’re looking for an ice breaker, it’s a great place to go. They also have wonderful readings and poetry nights and music. It’s a nice place to go find something new. The last book I got there was a book of short stories by Aimee Bender and some plays.
Dave’s Accordion School
It’s the only accordion store I have found in L.A., and I go there all the time to have mine tuned. Dave is passionate about the instrument, and a great teacher. There’s got to be thousands of accordions strewn on the floor and on the walls. It’s just a time capsule into an era when accordions were as popular as the electric guitar. When my parents were kids there would be ads in magazines for accordion lessons, and you just don’t see that any more.
The Fabric District
My mom introduced me to the area because she’s written a series of articles on it for various things. It’s right near Santee Alley. Everyone puts their reels out in the street so you can hardly walk. I’ll find a pattern for something I like and then I’ll go downtown, buy fabric, and have it made. It’s fun to get involved in the making of things in your life! The Fabric District doesn’t even feel like L.A.; it’s like you’re in a different country for a second.
The Wat Thai Temple
It’s used for meditation and prayer, but outside they have these amazing Thai markets that have foods you’ve never seen before. It’s a fun thing to do on a weekend. I tried some mystery meat that I probably shouldn’t have eaten, but it was really, really good. The desserts there are amazing, too.
Upright Citizens Brigade
I go on the regular. I’m a huge patron of that place—there’s something about UCB that makes it special. The Facebook show is really fun. They pull up the profile of someone in the audience and do scenes based off that.
Hollywood Forever Cemetery
I think the programming at that cemetery is awesome. I’ve only been to a couple of screenings, and the concerts there are amazing. We did one where we played with The Flaming Lips at sunrise. I’m not sure why we did that, but at 4 a.m. or 5 a.m. we played a little show for around 100 people. They’ve turned a prime area in Los Angeles into something alive even though it’s—well, dead.
It’s a pie and coffee shop by the Griffith Observatory trail. It’s hypocritical and fun. They have these sprawling, humongous pies, and they’re always doing things with fruit that is in season and fresh. It’s a nice respite from your ominipresent Starbucks.
Photograph (2) courtesy Yelp.com; all other photographs courtesy facebook.com