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L.A. Story

by Sherise Dorf

Yes, Los Angeles gets a bad rap for being a one-industry town where no one actually works, eats or walks. But if you can get past that, and the fact that your 21-year-old neighbors wear hot pants and go-go boots, you can enjoy all that it does have to offer. And whether you’re solo or with significant other, be advised that none of the following activities require you to show up with brushed hair or closed-toed shoes.

How to spend a day in L.A.?

1. Caffeinate. Other cities boast coffee bars, sure, but L.A. offers a variety of places besides Starbuck’s to load up on caffeine or nonfat chai soy lattes while reading the trades or the latest draft of your – ahem – spec. In the morning (and pretty much all day long) Farmer's Market draws would-be actors and writers as well as the working ones, and it’s a good spot to remember that there do exist Angelenos over the age of 40.

2. Rid yourself of toxins. Yeah, I know, sweating in the smog doesn’t sound like the best way to get your exercise. But hey, when in L.A., do as the locals do. Take a hike up Runyon Canyon (at the end of Vista Street, past Hollywood Boulevard). If you want to make friends, bring a dog and be sure to lose track of it. That way, you can attract a lot of attention and sympathy by screaming your dog’s name really loudly in everyone’s ears, and if you’re lucky, someone cute will help you find your pet. If you’ve got any tattoos, you’ll want to expose them here. As a friend recently noted, "there sure are a lot of tattoos up here." This is a one-mile hike pretty much straight uphill, so don’t bring any would-be boyfriends up here unless you’re matched, uh, cardiovascularly. Look around once you get to the top (before you collapse on the solitary bench, muttering, "this is so weird, my trainer says I’m in really good shape") and see views of the Hollywood sign, downtown, and even Santa Monica. On a clear day, damn it, you can see forever.

3. People watch. But first, congratulate yourself on all you’ve accomplished so far. No slouch, you! Urth Caffé is the kind of place where everyone’s dressed like you in your fabulous workout wear… or otherwise, in much less. While watching various model-types park their Porsches and SUV’s out front, ask yourself this: If you’ve got a belly button, why wouldn’t you flaunt it? Most recent celeb spotted was Tori Spelling sans make-up. The best way to distract yourself when noting that a famous person is in the vicinity is to plunge enthusiastically into your mixed-leaf side salad.

4. Work. No deadline? See a movie. (Hey, it’s research for that next script!) Catch an independent flick at Laemmle’s Sunset 5 Theatre, and don’t think you’ll be sitting in the dark alone just because it’s 1:30 in the middle of the afternoon. Matinees in L.A. are more crowded than late shows (who can stay up past 10?) because everyone’s looking for ways to kill time on, say, a Wednesday. Get there early to buy tickets and while you wait for the show to start, you can hangout at Buzz (coffee again? Stop!), browse the Virgin Megastore, or check out Crunch Fitness (it’s everywhere!). Keep your eyes open and your teeth flossed: all of these are good spots for meeting potential dates.

5. Do something for yourself. In the Hollywood Reporter’s 50 Most Powerful Women in Hollywood issue, we learn that many of these powerhouse chicks take time to do one thing that’s just for them, and that one thing is… yoga, believe it or not. If that’s not reason enough to get your ass on a mat, I don’t know what is. (I’d have guessed a massage at Burke Williams (8000 Sunset Boulevard) or a nice nap on the sofa with my favorite pashmina, but that’s just how crazy I am.) Try Yogatime (324 South Beverly Drive) or Yogaworks (1426 Montana Avenue) and you might be lowering yourself into the dog position next to Meg Ryan or Heather Graham.

6. Drink. After the rough day you’ve had, treat yourself to a drink. Hollywood’s Frolic Room draws oldtimer barflies as well as people you actually want to hit on. If it’s a good strong margarita you’re after, head over to El Coyote and get in line.

7. Laugh. Monday night at Largo means you stand amidst pretty people and watch stand-up comics who’ve come to practice new material. When I went, Janeane Garofolo was kvetching about the bartender she brought home from a dive on Avenue B, confusing the girls (whoops, I mean young women) next to me who wondered, "Is that in Santa Monica or Venice or wh-a-a-t?" (New York, you ninnies!)

8. Get your eight hours of sleep. As you can see, you’ll need it.

Sherise Dorf is a Los Angeles-based writer with just enough time on her hands to know where to go.

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