For answers to more of your burning questions, visit the Ask Chris archive.
Q: Are there any Lesbian bars left in the city?
A: L.A. has been home to dozens of sapphic-watering holes, but in the past decade almost all of them have evaporated due to gentrification and economic hardship. The Palm in West Hollywood, once the city’s most famous lesbian landmark, was shuttered in 2013, replaced by a Sprouts. The last lesbian bar in L.A. County, the Valley’s Oxwood Inn, shut down in 2017. A handful of bars still host lesbian nights, including the Abbey in WeHo and Executive Suite in Long Beach. But while the pandemic claimed umpteen gay bars, one lesbian bar recently made a miraculous comeback. Redz Angelz, formerly the Redhead Tavern, which first opened in Boyle Heights in 1953, was resurrected earlier this year.
Q: Why are L.A.’s Metro seats cloth instead of plastic like those in San Francisco and New York?
A: Public transport accommodations in L.A. have cycled through wood planks, wicker, leather, and zebra-striped mohair before settling into a long vinyl era. In the ’90s, Metro decided that the plasticized inserts on fiberglass seats looked too industrial, so bus riders were instead treated to decades of easily vandalized, moisture-retaining cloth seats. But vinyl is now back. Earlier this year, new orange, purple, and blue vinyl seats debuted on the city’s buses. A Metro executive compared the bright new pattern to the green digital rainfall in The Matrix. As a bonus, the new seats are equipped with a discreet hole in the bottom to drain out any fluids that passengers may leave behind.
Q: What happened to the bird sanctuary at the Westwood VA?
A: In 2005, a VA psychologist named Lorin Lindner convinced her bosses that caring for birds could be therapeutic for veterans struggling with PTSD and other disorders. Soon after, she brought a huge flock of abused and abandoned parrots, macaws, and cockatoos to the VA’s sprawling Westwood campus, naming her menagerie Serenity Park. But the project took an unpleasant turn. Three years ago, after a dispute over finances, the VA evicted Lindner and her boyfriend, Matt Simmons, a troubled vet she met through the program. The couple relocated their aviaries to a wolf rescue they run in a forest north of L.A., where they’ve since encountered more turbulence. A few months ago, Simmons was arrested at the compound with a decidedly unserene array of sawed-off shotguns and semi-automatic weapons. He flew the coop and is now facing gun-trafficking charges. But we hear the birds are doing just fine.