IMHO, Los Feliz is the funkiest, coolest hood in LA. Not just for the flocks of gorgeous, free-flying parrots squawking overhead. Not just for all the celebrity sightings -- Jon Hamm, Jack Black, Kiefer Sutherland, Mark Duplass, Flea, January Jones, Liv Tyler, Rooney Mara...Katy Perry and Russell Brand lived here when they were a couple. Not for the gorgeous residential homes, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright -- the Ennis House and the Hollyhock House -- and Richard Neutra's Lovell House. Not just because Walt Disney drew his first image of Mickey Mouse in his uncle's garage on Kingswell Avenue.
Los Feliz is so "tight" because...of all the upcoming musicians, painters, writers, and artists who frequent our cafes, restaurants, bars, boutiques, Trader Joe's, and all our gorgeous tree-lined streets. Yeah, you can actually walk around Los Feliz or up into Griffith Park or down by the LA River. Or check out the upcoming Our Mother of Good Counsel 2015 Festival (October 9-11). Our hood just rolls that way.
When I took a few strolls around my hood on a recent weekend, peeps with artistic stories appeared all over.
Southern belles and cousins Mary and Sarah Loveless just opened up their incredibly welcoming arts and events studio, Glaze Fire, in September on Hillhurst Avenue. Mary, who also recently appeared in the indie horror flick Excess Flesh, describes their paint-your-own pottery studio:
Glaze and fire are two of the words we most commonly use in the studio and they describe our process. Pop in, browse around, no worries, pick out a pottery piece, sit down and kick back, bring a snack or your kids or a date, paint the piece and glaze it, then we fire it for you. We just want you to create a great piece of folk art you're forever proud of and that you really had fun making.
I then popped in for a visit to my pal Solomon King, a Grammy entrant nominated musician, who's just released a new single, "shadow land" and is in pre-production in advance of his new record, doing a lot of groundwork at his Los Feliz home setup.
With the Logic Pro (recording studio software for Mac) as his main tool, Solomon says he's doing pre-production at home to get as much artistic control as possible before heading to a studio, explaining: "I'm sitting here, taking advantage of great technology, and really digging in, working out the arrangements and instruments I want, and not just relying on a producer's interpretation of what I want." Enjoying the process, he laughingly adds, "Another key 'tool' is my two thousand buck new leather chair, because when you're sitting all day, you do not want to be using an el cheapo chair and crippling yourself!"
Next up was Trader Joe's on Hyperion, where I chatted with another pal, painter Timothy Robert Smith, who was checking a utilities box on which he'd reproduced one of his eclectic paintings. Timothy was recently featured in September's "Juxtapoz" magazine, and provided a painting featuring a portrait of avid art collector Greg Escalante for the opening of his new gallery in Chinatown. Timothy says he also has an upcoming exhibition at Copro Gallery on November 7, so the lad is "busy, busy, painting, painting, painting."
I popped home for a bit and ran into my neighbor Adam Cude, a gifted musician who builds his own guitars and who's also a multi-talented artist, who works with YouTube celebrity Meghan Camarena/Strawburry17. Adam's designing the cover of my upcoming YA novel, "REJEX." The dude also rocks!
I visited another neighbor, fine cabinet maker and sculptor Juan Lares, and his ladyfriend Whitney Staeb, who along with her partner Brooke Smith, founded Roots & Honey Herbs, which produces a very cool and organic line of handcrafted plant medicines and bodycare products. I'm already a customer of their "Brain Bloom" a tincture made from essential ingredients and which has sharpened my memory.
I then met up with Phil Crippen who's just published a serialization of his novel "The Dewars" under his cool pen name, Pemberton Caulfield. Like me, he's been influenced by Poe and his short stories, and by Bradbury, Asimov, Clarke, Verne, and the classic The Twilight Zone. Phil also says growing up during the Apollo program, got him fascinated with science, discovery and mystery. So, he describes his haunting new work this way:
Two government agents are sent to investigate an abandoned funeral home in the middle of an Arizona desert... What they discover is the beginning of a conspiracy that may well cost them their lives. And this is only the tip of the iceberg as the two agents embark upon an investigation that involves global human reanimation.
Check it out!
Over the weekend, I also ran into: Robbie Crauder, a video syndication specialist at the very hip, fun social entertainment site Buzzfeed; photographer Amber Sterling who's always looking for unique subjects; and, musician Janine Ferguson who also makes her own superfood, gourmet chocolate called "Chocolat Ambrosia" which she describes as "only the best, made with love just for you!" Trust me, it's very "more-ish!"
It's fortuitous to be surrounded by brilliant creative peeps who inspire, and by those yellow-chevroned parakeets overhead in the date palms who provide their own morning wake-up call. Here's to another perfect day in Los Feliz, 90027, LA!