I think the Last Bookstore is one of the most unique places in L.A. It’s a used and new book store/art gallery of books, so not only can you go buy books and go to readings, but there are art galleries upstairs where you can find all sorts of amazing art and sculptures. The sci-fi and fantasy books are in an actual vault, so the whole experience is amazing. I bought some used, sort of sci-fi porno books with very scantily clad ladies and men on the cover. I think I’ll like the cover more than the interior I anticipate.
Bäco Mercat is actually right around the corner from the Last Bookstore. It has the best sandwich, the Bäco, you’ll ever eat on the planet. There are a couple of variations; I love the oxtail version. It’s incredibly simple but amazing. The cocktails are my favorite in town as well. They always have very inventive and odd cocktails with elderberry and a lot of avant garde things in them, but it doesn’t feel like it’s trying too hard.
It’s this huge indoor area where they have trampolines, and you can bounce from one end of the room to another. Kids have parties there, but as adults, you just go in and bounce as high as you want. There are trampolines on the wall, so you can bounce from the floor onto the wall, too. It’s one of the funnest things ever, for kids or adults.
Gallery 1988 is an art gallery that specializes in culture, so if you love Pulp Fiction or Zelda, they’re always having amazing exhibits based on certain kinds of pop art. They did a Ghostbusters one, so it’s kind of like nerd art couture. Every single time I go there I find something for a friend or something I love myself. They’re the kind of things you have to look at twice and maybe even know inside things about the movie to know that the piece of art is based on the movie.
It’s an art and jewelry gallery in my favorite walking area. This is a place where I like to go to get a gift, especially jewelry. It’s the type of shop you would find in Paris. They have adorable little sculptures and anything from $2 to $200 to $1000. They have handmade bags and things, but I think it’s the jewelry that’s really the stand out. You can find something really special at this gallery that you can’t find anywhere else.
Bike the boardwalk from Santa Monica to Venice. I don’t really do outdoors things—I’m not really athletic and I don’t like the sun—but whenever somebody comes to L.A., I tell them they have to rent a bike and go all the way up and down the boardwalk because it’s really amazing. I don’t think people realize it’s a nice beach. You can go as far as you want, as far as Malibu. You can see the boardwalk or stop at the pier. It’s kind of a great survey and the best way to enjoy the beach if you don’t like sand.
It probably shouldn’t be on a best of L.A. list because it’s a Tex-Mex restaurant. I’m from Texas, and the hardest thing to get in L.A. with all the amazing Mexican food is queso and flour tortillas. HomeState is the one place in town that really represents Tex-Mex that I know is authentic. They have queso, they have amazing tacos, and they hand-make their own tortillas themselves.
I’m a huge coffee drinker—I could go off on my own list of my favorite coffee places in L.A.—but if I’m ever in Mid City there’s a weird place called Paper or Plastik. It’s a converted dance studio, and they serve the best coffee in town. They don’t allow laptops on most tables, so you have to go there and converse, which is really nice. They’re always renting it out to shoot in it because the design is so distinctive architecturally.
It’s the best place to get anything fun, especially costume-wise. I do a lot of videos, and whenever I need a clown wig or a Scream mask or a Marie Antoinette costume, I go to Hollywood Toys and Costumes. It really is the best place to go and let your inner kid out, especially around Halloween, but anytime to just go and dress up. We’re always going there for something weird because I do this show where I dress up a lot. I think I got a grey mustache and old woman wig the other day for a video, so that was weird.
Photographs courtesy (in order): (1) yelp.com/Kristel Y.; (2) yelp.com/Ami P.; (3) yelp.com/Roger S.; (4) yelp.com/Gallery 1988; (6) flickr.com/Nathan Bakan; (7) yelp.com/T S.; (8) yelp.com/Lea N.; (9) yelp.com/Walter P. All other photographs courtesy facebook.com.