I’m obsessed with the Tam. I love the décor, I love English Tudor style, and I love sitting at the bar eating deviled eggs. I have a whole ’50s tartan plaid I usually break out around Christmas, but I discovered I can also wear it to the Tam.
On Tuesday they have the live organ, and the guy that plays it has been there forever. I think he owns the place. Organ music is so kitschy to roller skate to; it’s more fun than skating to disco. The people watching is great—you could cast a David Lynch movie there.
It reminds me of my house. It’s dark and well lit. I love the classic 1950s Chinese décor. I’m really obsessed with Chinoiserie style. I drink dirty vodka martinis. I wish you could get some Chinese appetizers—that would put it way over the top.
I don’t shop a lot in L.A. for vintage, but I love the Vintage Expo at The Reef. It’s the best place to shop for vintage with dealers from San Diego to San Francisco. There are really good rare things. You would think there would be more in Europe, but we were thriving so much in the ’40s. We were the greatest country in the world.
Whenever I need a strong vintage look in a pinch I know I will always find something here. Half my closet is from there. I get a lot of vintage pieces that inspire my lingerie collection. I make it more modern and wearable in everyday life. Sometimes I just go there and take pictures. A lot of designers book time to look at the archive.
The Long Beach Antique Market is my favorite. The Rose Bowl flea market is bananas, you have to go up and down every aisle, and it’s hard to find things. I usually get pretty lucky with furniture there. I found a chair from the ’50s that holds a bucket of champagne.
I love the Oviatt Penthouse. It’s one of the most beautiful L.A. jewels. They have different big bands that play, and my friend Maxwell DeMille, who has been in the swing scene for a long time, runs it. You can have dinner there and have a front row seat for the dancing.
When George [Holdcroft] is playing at the piano bar it becomes super glamorous. He can play any song. I like to sit inside next to the bar. Everyone wants to sit outside and see and be seen. They have a mini Art Deco bar. It used to be the place where you would sit if you couldn’t get a table outside, and now it’s become super glamorous.
I have a few vintage cars, so I like to drive them up in the wee hours when it’s real quiet. I have a 1940 La Salle convertible. It’s the kind of car you can’t drive around the city, but there are a few moments in the park where you can imagine what it was like back then.
It’s a nice little day trip. I used to perform at the Casino when I was very involved in the whole swing dance scene in the ’90s. I don’t think it will ever be like that again. You had these great teachers and amazing dancers, and now everyone claims to be a swing dance teacher. It’s like the blind leading the blind.
I haven’t stayed there, but I’m dying to. It overlooks Avalon from up on the hilltop. It seems to be the place to stay on Catalina. It’s so glamorous.
Photographs courtesy (in order): (2) flicker/Boston Public Library. All other photographs courtesy facebook.com