My LA to Z: Alison Sudol

The 30-year-old singer is often behind a mic (she’s recorded three albums as A Fine Frenzy), but she’s in front of the cameras for this month’s <em>Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them</em>. Here she talks Japanophilia, magical architecture, and perfectly cooked pasta

Tortoise General Store

faison2It’s a Japanese store, and they sell all sorts of things from clothing to jewelry to furniture. The taste of the store is wonderful—every single piece is beautifully made and feels handpicked. Everything feels like art. A spoon feels like art! I love it.

OK the Store

faison2There are two locations, one on West Third and one on Silverlake Blvd. They’ve got an incredible selection of things and a huge selection of art books. And they also have amazing jewelry! It’s beautifully curated—I think they’re my favorite jewelry store in L.A. because it’s not glitzy; it’s very simple and it’s handmade and unique. Sometimes it’s fun to be really sparkly, but for the everyday stuff, they make things that you want to hand down, you know?

Mohawk General Store

faison3Also a general store, but it’s so good! They’re my go to for great clothing pieces. One of my favorite things I got there was this Wood Wood wool black jumper. It’s really simple, but I pair it with black jeans and heels and it looks so good. They have great designers: Dries Van Noten, Wood Wood, Black Crane, and A.P.C. And Mohawk has great jewelry, home goods and lifestyle pieces as well! Plus they have a men’s store, which I think is really cool. It’s hard sometimes for guys to find good pieces.


faison4I had one of the best meals of my life there. We had escolar crudo with this eggplant sort of whip and these crunchy little bits. The combination of the textures blew my mind. They also have handmade pastas there. I try not to eat pasta, but if I’m going to eat pasta I’m going to go to Alimento because it was perfectly cooked. What’s more, the atmosphere there is lovely, and every single person that works there seems like they love their job.

Neutra VDL House

faison5I have a huge love for architecture. I actually wanted to be an architect when I was a kid, but I did a solid geometry course where we had to build a geodesic dome out of toothpicks, and mine came out looking like an alien space station. I threw it against a wall and gave up. But Neutra is one of my favorite architects, and the VDL house is just the coolest, most incredible house on that you can tour on weekends. My architectural education is way, way incomplete, but if you’re in a beautifully designed space, it can change the way you see and the way you feel. The same way great movies and great music can immerse you, so can a space. But because it’s tangible, it’s an almost magical experience.

Temescal Canyon Hiking Trail

faison6There are two things I love about Temescal. One is the sense of space that you get when you get to the top. You can see for ages. You can see the ocean spread out before you, but you also feel like you’re in the mountains. And second is the smell of it, which I love most when I’ve been traveling a long time. It is that smell of coastal California, that sort of sage and sweet grass and warm golden dusty smell mixed with sea air. I think I’ve made myself dizzy more than a few times just by inhaling. It’s totally beautiful.

Los Angeles County Museum of Art

faison7I love being around art, and I think everything about LACMA is art. The buildings are art, the grounds are art, the art is art. I feel connected with culture there. L.A. isn’t like New York or London where you can just stumble upon museums, but coming here reminds me of that vibe. The Pavilion for Japanese Art is insane. That building is so beautiful. The color palette is so soothing. It feels like a completely different universe. I’m a Japanophile, and being in there feels like an L.A. nod to Japan.

Broome Street General Store

faison8The coffee there is so good. They have these little treats, these little bits of delicious, dangerous things that are super good. It’s also a good place to get gifts for people. They have a wonderful assortment of products and perfumes. They have MCMC fragrances and they have Sachajuan hair products, which are really hard to find. They also carry Steven Alan PJs, lots of knickknacks, and some cool jewelry. The patio area they have is a really nice place to sit and have a good, long coffee and a read. Although I haven’t had too much time to do that. I’m trying to think of the last time I read a book? Israel! I read [while we were filming] in Israel!

The Vista Theater

faison9The Vista Theater in Silver Lake is great. I love that its only one theater and that it’s old and ornate. It feels like an event when you go hang there.

Sundance Cinemas

faison9Which reminds me—the Sundance theatre is great, too! Their service is amazing. They have wine and nice food, and the popcorn is really good there. They play a lot of really interesting, independent films there. It’s an experience.

Huntington Gardens and Pasadena City College Flea Market

faison9It’s such a beautiful way to spend a Sunday afternoon. They have a museum there, but I love the way that they’ve done it; there are different sections line the Japanese gardens, the Chinese gardens, and oh! The cactus gardens are amazing! They have these beautiful big trees you can sit under and even climb. And the Pasadena City College flea market is nearby, too. The flea market and Huntington Gardens makes for such a good Pasadena day.

Photographs courtesy (in order): (5) flickr/noisecollusion; (8) All other photographs courtesy