They show old movies, they show new movies, they show incredible movies, they show terrible movies that are still fun to watch…it’s probably my favorite place in L.A. I have a membership and I try to go there as much as I possibly can. They have this thing there where you pay a fee and you can get in free all year long with this pass. It’s great.
The first movie—really the only movie—that I was a producer on was a movie called Good Dick. My girlfriend at the time, Marianna Palka, wrote and directed it, and CineFile let us shoot there. They even let the actors do shift there to learn what it was like. I got to know that video store very well. It was incredible. It’s like, if you took a video store like Blockbuster and you mixed it with all of my weirdest dreams, that would be CineFile. They have an amazing selection, and they organize films into funny sections. They have this “Shade-Tipping” section with movies that have people looking over their sunglasses, so they have Look Who’s Talking right next to Lolita right next to License To Drive.
The Museum of Jurassic Technology is an incredible, strange experience, and probably the less I say about it the better. The only thing I will say is look up when it’s open, because I’ve had times where I’ve shown up and it’s closed in the middle of the day on a Thursday. So they have weird hours, but I would recommend going there. Don’t even look it up beforehand. Just go. It is one of the weirdest and greatest places in L.A. Even if you think about the name of it, The Museum of Jurassic Technology, there wasn’t any real technology in Jurassic times, you know? They always have really beautiful, fascinating stuff. It’s a wonderful place, and it’s a different experience than any other museum experience you’re ever going to have.
I go there sometimes before I go to Cinefamily. It’s a really delicious burger and beer joint. They also have a beer float, so it’s a scoop of vanilla ice cream and this one kind of beer. It sounds disgusting, I know, but they managed to find the one beer on earth that tastes insanely delicious with vanilla ice cream. And all of their burgers are amazing. They have this jalapeno slaw that’s spicy but not mayonnaise-y. I don’t even know what’s in it, but it’s refreshing and a little hot and delicious.
My elementary school is right around there, so we would wander over and hang out. It was totally different back then. It was creepier. But it’s a great spot to visit in Los Angeles because there aren’t a lot of places where you can just walk in the street. From there you can go down to the Santa Monica Pier, which is also one of my favorite places. Also, the old version of Third Street Promenade is where Pee-Wee’s bike gets stolen in Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure. It’s almost unrecognizable now, but that’s where they shot it, so you can go around and imagine you’re Pee-Wee.
There are these video games that have been around forever online called Escape The Room, where you’re [locked] in this room with everything you need to leave. You have to look under couch cushions and solve puzzles, and eventually you figure out how to leave. Now they’ve made live versions of it. The one I did was this excavation theme, where you have 60 minutes to try and figure out all the puzzles and get out of the room. It’s so much fun with friends; you split up and try to solve all the different puzzles. It’s really hard to get out in time. We were very close. The cool thing is that the puzzles are challenging but not impossible, and you realize that different friends have different skill sets. There were a couple puzzles where I was like, ‘Nope I’m not doing that one at all.’
It’s another beer and burger place. The thing I love about it is that it’s pretty small and low key. It’s all wood, and they have these pictures of dogs everywhere. The staff is super nice. It doesn’t feel like a Los Angeles bar, and I mean that in the best possible way. It’s homey, sort of like a little community. I really love their hot wings, even though I try to only eat them when I’m by myself. I love the hottest ones, but they definitely make my eyes water. Unless everybody at the table is eating them, too, it’s not something you want to eat in front of other people. It looks like I’m crying. It looks like I’m crying and eating a plate of wings. I guess it’s not so good when I’m by myself, either.
That whole street is great to walk down. It’s not very long, but it’s one of the final places in L.A. that has not been taken over by chains. I think a Pinkberry moved on Abbot Kinney once, and you’re like, everyone loves Pinkberry! But they really did not like it on Abbot Kinney. There were protests, and so they left. It’s really a point of pride there. That’s not to say that [just because] there are no chains the clothing stores aren’t expensive. But I’m not saying you have to buy anything. You can walk up and down, have a slice of pizza, go to Abbot’s Habit, and just go see what it’s like when it’s not all places that you recognize.
There have been so many movies that have taken place up and around there, and it’s fun to sort of see this place that’s iconic in movies. I love Rebel Without a Cause, and you’re like, Oh, wow, James Dean was right here! Walking around and having a knife fight! But also it’s just cool. It’s one of those places where you’re like, this is Los Angeles, I’m really here, I’m not anywhere else on earth. I think in high school I went to a laser show there where they darken the top of the observatory and they will play an album and they will do a sort of laser show on the curved ceiling. It’s very strange, and most of the people were probably high. But I watched it completely normal and I still really enjoyed it, so you don’t have to be in an altered state of consciousness.
Even if you’re not a big art fan, The Getty is just a beautiful location. You can go up there, wander around, get a bite to eat, and it feels like you’re sort of transported to another time period or something. It’s great, and that little monorail ride is pretty fun.
Photographs courtesy (in order): (3) wikipedia.org; (4) yelp.com/Liz F.; (7) yelp.com/Winnie L.; (10) getty.edu All other photographs courtesy facebook.com.