Coloring outside the lines

OTL615

In the same way that Tattly has made temporary tattoos more palatable for design-conscious parents, the new Outside the Lines coloring book will allow families to color in public without shame. So excited to announce that one of Keith’s drawings is in this book, alongside the work of over one hundred other amazing artists, including many of our friends and collaborators. And about half of those artists will be attending a party and book signing on Saturday, September 21 at MOCA from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. (all details here).

Big thanks to our dear friend Souris Hong-Poretta for her vision and professional-grade curation skills to make this book a reality. Can’t wait to bust out up some Crayolas on this bad boy…

Posted in creating, designing, partying | 1 Comment

Los Angeles Stories

Announcing-Your-L.A.S.-Storytellers...-21

As I’ve mentioned here before, one of the best blogs about our fair city is Los Angeles, I’m Yours, edited by the fabulous Kyle Fitzpatrick (who is also one of the most entertaining Instagrammers in town). It’s no surprise that they’re hosting awesome events now, including the new Los Angeles Stories (L.A.S.). I’m thrilled to be joining an excellent roster of folks who will be reading at the first one, where the theme will very appropriately be NEW.

L.A.S. is Thursday, September 26 at Bar Covell (one of my very favorite bars in the city) and all details are over at LA, I’m Yours. See you then!

Posted in partying, speaking | 1 Comment

Nine miles, 232 years

Founded 1771.
6:30 start timeThe walk begins
Alhambra
Palms at sunrise
Palm Mission
China Press
I found where they're assembling the robot army.
50 shades of blue
Gym sock colorsCorn starch
Walking into LA
DIY fence.
Signs
Pretty #bougainvilleaMassive fig
Nice butterflies
Looking back towards El Sereno
CocinaOrange gate
Fishing.
Buddhist center
Train heading out
The friendly giant of Automobile Alley.
LA in the distance
Celebrating at El PuebloEric likes to walk!
And we did.

As alluded to earlier on this very blog, this week was LA’s birthday. To celebrate, I joined the Los Pobladores walk from the San Gabriel Mission to El Pueblo to recreate the (perhaps largely symbolic) walk the city’s founders took 232 year ago.

The walk began at 6:00 a.m. at the still-dark mission, which predates the city’s founding by 10 years (1771!). As we headed west at sunrise, we walked parallel to the railroad tracks almost all the way to Union Station, which gave incredible insight about how the city grew up and out. Although much of the real estate along the way in San Gabriel, Alhambra, and El Sereno had given way to office parks, manufacturing, and warehouses, you could spot plenty of very old buildings which predated the arrival of industry and so many fruit trees from when the area was mostly orchards.

It was also an awesome peek into the urbanism and infrastructure of several neighborhoods I don’t get to spend nearly enough time in. With my fellow Los Angeles Walks crew we meandered slowly down the path, snapping shots of everything from hand-painted signage to missing sidewalks (never plan to walk anywhere on time with an architect, an urban planner and a journalist—they stop to take photos of everything). We ended up back in LA just in time to snap a photo of Mayor Eric Garcetti and have some of LA’s birthday cake.

People have lived in the LA basin for over 10,000 years and the route we took on the walk last Saturday was likely first blazed by the Gabrieleños (or migrating mammoths, NO JOKE), which means there are layers upon layers of history to be uncovered here. I can’t wait to research the route to find even more details and do it all again next year. Happy birthday, LA.

All my photos from LA’s birthday walk

Posted in partying, walking | 3 Comments

Another ride around the sun

The birthday biketacular begins! #awalkerinlabday

I’m back! Rested, restored, tanned, toned, snappy, happy, and ready to coast into my next year. Thanks to everyone for sticking around for the fun. The future’s so bright…

image

Posted in riding, walking | 1 Comment

Angels Landing

Made it!
1927 cabinsA man and his signs
Lodge
Valley
"Steps"
View from the top
Heading up to Angels Landing

While driving home from Colorado we veered slightly off the 15 and stumbled upon the adventure wonderland that is Zion National Park. I had driven through the area several times a decade before and thought for certain I’d been to Zion when I visited nearby Bryce Canyon, but once we descended into the roping waves of sandstone at the park’s eastern entrance, I realized I had never been to this magical place.

We booked a place to stay completely last-minute and were lucky enough to nab one of the adorable cabins built in 1927 at the Zion Lodge, which I highly recommend as it’s inside the park so you can start hikes right outside your front door (aided with the help of a free shuttle service up and down the canyon). One of those hikes, Angels Landing, was perhaps the most incredible five miles I’ve ever walked in my life.

The hike starts innocently enough, switchbacking up a canyon wall and through a notch in the pink-and-white checkerboard rock. After a few more switchbacks you start to realize that those are people you’re seeing scrambling up that orange monolith before you. Yep, you’re climbing that. The hike goes all the way to the top, on a trail that is often nothing more than chain ropes and abstract stairs carved into the sheer rock face.

There’s a virtual experience online but it really doesn’t compare to the dizzying sensation of ambling atop the summit and looking back at where you’ve just hike-climbed (not for anyone who is afraid of heights). The best part? We finished the hike at noon and were back in LA for dinner. Angels Landing is just a hop, skip, and a (very surefooted) jump from Los Angeles.

Posted in traveling, walking | 1 Comment

Fit to print

New York Times!

We get the New York Times delivered to our doorstep every Sunday, but it was not so easy to track down a copy in Crested Butte, Colorado earlier this week. Around 9:00 a.m. I went to the place where they sell it, only to learn that it hadn’t yet made its way up the Gunnison Valley. “It’s usually here by now,” said the woman at the grocery store. ”I haven’t seen the guy who brings it.” Which in a mountain town means there was a REALLY good party the night before.

Two hours later the stacks of papers rumbled up Elk Street, and you know what? All that waiting was totally worth it. When I finally had it in my hands, I got butterflies. I’ve seen my name in print plenty of times, of course, but nothing matches the feeling of seeing myself referred to as Ms. Walker.

I was so flattered to be interviewed as one of “Hollywood’s New Stars: Pedestrians” in this excellent story about walking in LA by David Hochman. As you know I’m just a TEENSY BIT sensitive to the way LA is portrayed by certain media outlets. But what I really appreciated about David’s article was the way that he was able to touch upon some fresh ideas with original reporting that didn’t just recant the same-old silly stereotypes. The people he picked to interview talk about walking in ways that move beyond the obvious health aspects; as a form of therapy, a creative outlet, a place to find new ideas and the fastest way to turn your life around when, inexplicably, you’ve found yourself feeling lonely in a city of millions. I’m proud to count myself in that group. And I’ve gotten so many great emails from people who have shared their stories about walking, from all around the world. We have a lot of work to do in LA, but seeing this article and the response from it locally has made me feel more optimistic than ever about the power of feet. Preferably wearing neon coral sandals. (David’s eye for detail is unmatched.)

IMG_8240

Enough excitement for one Sunday, right? Unbelievably, it got better. On the very next page, there was a story I wrote about the adorable Ellen Bennett, who makes stylish and durable aprons for chefs and other creatives like potters, barbers and tattoo artists right here in LA. That story was shot by the awesome Laure Joliet. I have a feeling someone in layout at the Style section has a great sense of humor. Or they just can’t resist all the sweet vibes from people making things happen out here in Los Angeles.

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Haterating T Magazine’s “Where the Wild Things Are”

wildthings1

I’m on vacation. I may be in town today, but believe me, my brain is not here. Much like the rest of the country during these final, fleeting days of summer. I thought—rather naively, I suppose—I could take a few days off from this animosity, this rancor that confronts our city. But as I’ve discovered, LA hate never takes a vacation, my friends. This week, we had some fresh repugnance plopped into our laps—amorphous, slippery, evil, much like the breast implants that we all have installed at age 18. And just when we thought they liked us.

Title: “On the Verge | Los Angeles, Where the Wild Things Are
Author: Aaron Gell (website, Twitter)
Publication: T Magazine
Date Published: August 20, 2013
Length: 2101 words

You might not realize it until you’re stuck in traffic on the 101, halfway through a whirlwind odyssey that spans a pop-up dance party in Westlake and a benefit in Bel-Air, all in an earnest attempt to understand Los Angeles’s emerging fashion scene, that there’s something very New York about the whole effort.

  • Traffic +2
  • First-sentence traffic reference bonus +2
  • Does anyone really call it “Westlake?” +5
  • “SOMETHING VERY NEW YORK” +20

The City That Sleeps Just Fine has undergone a style awakening.

  • We see what you did there +3

A vanguard of fashion types from points east are taking the reverse trip in droves, quietly making a home (or at least a second home) in Los Angeles, joining a cadre of beloved and critically respected designers.

  • Not as much for this sentence but for the entire subsequent paragraph illustrating this sentence, where the author lists 14 people who either have homes here, are thinking about getting homes here, or are “regular visitors”—regular visitors, as if we were some kind of trendy timeshare on a remote Indonesian atoll +14 

Daft Punk is here.

  • Bonus for putting “Get Lucky” back into my head just when I had just replaced it with “Blurred Lines” THANKS A LOT +3

“East L.A. is all French now,” marvels Natalie Portman

  • Obviously we cannot award haterating points to the author for the words of Ms. Portman, but… QUOI? +2

“I had to move to New York to be taken seriously,” says Eva Chow, a former designer and social pillar on the West Coast. “There was a certain stigma when a person was working out of Los Angeles in those days.” But now, she adds, the city has “a real cool factor.”

  • Again, we can’t evaluate the quotes themselves, but MAN +5

So what if Los Angeles is still better known for implants than outerwear? Or if it still hasn’t apologized for popularizing spandex, man jewelry and the Ugg boot? Never mind. Rents are cheap! The light is amazing! The beach! The mountains! The avocados!

  • Implants +2
  • Spandex +1
  • Man jewelry (you’re welcome, by the way) +1
  • Uggs +2
  • The beach! +1
  • The mountains! +1
  • The avocados! +1
  • We get it! You’re totally mocking us! +5

Nobody goes out much — if they really wanted to go out, they’d be in New York

  • WE TOTALLY WOULD, YOU KNOW US SO WELL +5

This isn’t to say L.A. doesn’t have real style, which is something very different. Its signature style just happens to be a sort of antistyle. Southern California, after all, is the place that turned comfort into a spiritual doctrine, the place you went to discard your clothes and run barefoot into the surf. New York dresses up, L.A. dresses down. New York is tailored, L.A. is flowy. Its official uniform might as well be the supersoft T-shirt and jeans, followed closely by the maxi dress. Such apparel might come off as a tad low-key sashaying down a runway, but it’s a look.

  • Actually, this is all to say LA doesn’t have real style +10

Even in a young city like Los Angeles

  • We are sixteen going on seventeen, we know that we’re naive! +3

So great is the marketing power of modern celebrity that a Jessica Simpson, whose 2009 misadventure with a pair of high-waisted jeans still provokes gasps of horror in some circles, can helm a brand that now takes in an estimated $1 billion in annual revenue. And Kim Kardashian can go from sex-tape stardom to expanding a retail chain, a few fashion lines and a range of fragrances.

  • Jessica Simpson (that’s the best you’ve got?) +2
  • Kim Kardashian (yep, that’s best you’ve got) +2

It’s noteworthy that Ford wound up making his foray into another art form after becoming an Angeleno: you can do that here. It’s a more forgiving environment.

  • As forgiving as a pair of high-waisted jeans +1

And the cross-pollination between the worlds of fashion, music and art shows a promiscuity that more siloed New Yorkers rarely experience, perhaps as a result of a shared outsider status that haunts anyone in L.A. who is not in movies.

  • So now we’re sluts +3
  • And we’re losers +3

And then there’s Tommy Perse, the legendary retail impresario behind the haute cabinet of curiosities Maxfield, who recently erected a demountable vintage Jean Prouvé house in the parking lot, just for fun.

  • Because we’re SO WACKY like that, always erecting Prouvé houses in parking lots +1
  • Parking lot +1

Los Angeles is still the kind of place where you can stumble on an Art Deco building on a sketchy side street — perhaps a building that once served as the headquarters of Howard Hughes and still has the walk-in safes and mysterious passageways to prove it — and open a luxury boutique

  • It’s this store, which is on Romaine between Highland and La Brea, but sketchy side street sounds SO much better +2

But is the L.A. fashion scene actually having a moment, one that could allow it to compete on the international stage? Local fashionistas are loath to employ the term, perhaps because they know that moments are fleeting — yielding, in short order, to other moments — or perhaps because the land of the endless summer, lunchtime Botox and near-mandatory yoga tends to put one in the mind-set not of moments but of eternities.

  • Endless summer +1
  • Botox +1
  • Yoga +1

After years in which the city’s style was typically represented by a starlet in terry cloth track pants and a matching hoodie clutching a Starbucks cup, Los Angeles is finally starting to be taken seriously as a design capital in its own right. Which might well be the worst thing that could happen.

  • Starlet +1
  • Terry cloth track pants +1
  • Matching hoodie +1
  • Starbucks +1
  • Hater bonus for choosing a brand New Yorkers would know over the more authentic hometown company Coffee Bean +2
  • I love how throughout the piece the LA look he describes is Britney Spears circa 2007 +4

It’s nearly magic hour after all, and Palm Springs is just an easy convertible ride away.

Cut to clip from Less Than Zero, and SCENE +3

TOTAL SCORE: 122

LA Haters Leaderboard
Meghan O’Rourke629
Martin Filler549
Aaron Gell
: 122
The Californians57
Hillel Aron: 38

In its own perverse way, this article is actually a kind of love letter to LA, this place that no one really is ready to admit might maybe possibly someday have something going on with fashion. Yet the condescending tone, dissolving argument, and the sheer ridiculousness of the stereotypes within transform what could be a critical exploration of a changing design scene into a superficial story—like Botox injected into a desperate, withering narrative. I’d write more, but the light is so amazing right now, and I just cracked open a fresh avocado.

Want more hate? Read all my #LAHaters Haterating articles.

Posted in writing | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

LA’s birthday party is always held on foot

Although we’ve got quite the reputation as a young city, Los Angeles is no civic spring chicken. El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Ángeles del Río de Porciúncula was founded in 1781, making her 232 this year—older than the Constitution of the United States of America and only a few years younger than our big sister San Francisco. Still, LA looks pretty good, right? I’d swear she doesn’t seem a day over 185.

Here’s something else you might know: LA was founded by walkers. On September 4, 1781 a group of 44 settlers arrived in what is now LA, having walked all the way from Sonora and Sinaloa, Mexico. There’s a plaque tracing their route in our new Grand Park. Those original founding families (an extremely diverse group, in fact) are known as Los Pobladores, and every year their descendants recreate the final leg of that journey, walking the nine miles from the San Gabriel Mission to El Pueblo in downtown LA.

For the first time in the 12 years I’ve lived here, I’ll be out there walking to celebrate LA’s 232nd. In fact, my birthday is September 3, so I feel a special kinship with my city (I always knew LA was a Virgo). Now what to get a 232-year-old for her birthday…

The walk is Saturday, August 31, starting at 6:30 a.m. All details, a route map and some transit tips are available over at Los Angeles Walks. And yes, there will be cake at the end. And free fruit trees. Whatever motivates you more. See you bright and early!

Posted in partying, walking | 6 Comments

Rolling out

Bike on the beach

I’m heading off on a few adventures—judging the Sappi Ideas That Matter awards, catching up with family, and road-tripping through the western third of the country—so posting will be slow or nonexistent for a spell. Enjoy your summer!

Posted in riding, speaking, traveling | 2 Comments

Haterating the “Most/Least Overrated Things in Los Angeles”

smog-driver

Now this, as George Bailey might say, is a very interesting situation. Here we have a pair of articles, one featuring the typical LA smack talk, and another with a point-by-point rebuttal—together they’re the ultimate Tastes Great-Less Filling for civic pride. In one corner, we have a story from the LA Weekly, which has previously brought us sappy love letters like ”Top Ten Reasons to Love Los Angeles and Never, Ever Leave.” And in the other, a story from Vice, which gave us what is perhaps the most legendary of all #LAHaters propaganda, “Reasons Why Los Angeles is the Worst Place Ever.”

The twist? The hatery article I’m posting about today was written by the LA Weekly. The pro-LA one is written by Vice! And what could be weirder than that? The LA Weekly’s new hatery article, and LA Weekly’s older lovey-dovey article I reference above, are written by the SAME PERSON.

It’s not typical for one of our #LAHaters to also be one of our #LALovers but hey, hating is hating is hating. So we’ll examine “The 12 Most Overrated Things in Los Angeles” but you should also read the response, “The 12 Least Overrated Things in Los Angeles,” and you can decide for yourself how much damage has been done. BY ONE OF OUR OWN.

Title: “The 12 Most Overrated Things in Los Angeles
Author: Hillel Aron (website, Twitter)
Publication: The LA Weekly
Date Published: August 5, 2013
Length: 643 words

  • First of all, can we talk about that photo he chose (which inspired the photo I chose to illustrate this post). Smog? Really? Smog is not overrated, but he’s missed a wonderful opportunity here. Because what’s really overrated is some people’s insistence on calling smog the “marine layer.” +10

12) Living downtown
Just ’cause your neighborhood has tall buildings doesn’t make it the Lower East Side of Manhattan, and just ’cause your apartment building has a rooftop pool doesn’t mean your life is just like Entourage.

  • Comparison to New York (yawn) +2
  • Entourage reference (double yawn) +3
  • Yawn bonus +1
  • Pool +1

11) Bike lanes
Hey L.A., if you really care about cyclists, maybe pave the fucking roads once in a while?

  • Both myself and Vice are confused about this one. Does he like bikes? Hate bikes? Can our bike lanes really be overrated if so many people don’t use them or know they exist? But zero points awarded, because he acknowledges bike lanes, not freeways. +0

10) Tupac
He’s no Biggie.

  • Truth. So much for California Love. +0

9) The Magic Castle
Oh, what, you’ve never been? Yeah, you have to know a magician to get in. Or a friend of a magician. It’s basically a country club for nerds. It costs 20 bucks to go in and you have to wait in line for 45 minutes to see anything more magical than a baked potato.

  • Okay, but country club for nerds actually sounds awesome +1
  • Pretty sure you have to buy an exorbitantly priced dinner, not pay $20 +1

8) Hating on Scientologists
Along with whatever celebrity has fallen out of favor recently (it’s still Bieber, right?), Scientologists are the favorite whipping boys of Angelenos, always good for a cheap laugh. But are they really that much worse than other cult members, like Christians, Jews and Mormons? Last I checked, Scientologists hadn’t started any major wars, genocides or mass slaughters. Yet.

  • Scientology bonus +3
  • Bieber/Celebrity Name Check +2
  • Um, yeah, Vice and I agree: They’re pretty bad +1
  • Not reading Going Clear +1

7) “Froyo”
Yogurt is delicious. Ice cream is delicious. Did we really need the twain to meet? Is something being gained here?

  • Don’t think LA lays any real claim to inventing/perpetuating froyo, actually +1
  • This may have been relevant in 2004 +1

6) Pour-over coffee
Paying six dollars for a cup of coffee? Sounds like income redistribution to me. Thank you very much, President Obama.

  • Again, not specifically an LA thing +1

5) Outdoor movie screenings
We’ll admit, the hipsters make this look real good, with their picnic baskets and vintage blankets and general physical attractiveness. But even they can’t change the fact that lying on the lawn is a fundamentally uncomfortable thing to do. Chairs were invented for a reason. So was shelter.

  • Hipsters +1
  • As Vice and I note, you can bring chairs to these things, so… +2

4) Improv comedy
Bad enough that these things aren’t that funny, but they pack the audiences with friends and other improv comedians, who choke on their own laughter at the slightest provocation. Not sure if they’re being supportive or caught up by some mass delusion.

  • Improv comedians are kind of annoying +1

3) Malibu Beach
Malibu remains the go-to beach for nearly anyone living over the poverty line, despite the fact that it is in a different time zone and is no better (or less crowded) than any number of beaches within a reasonable driving distance, including Santa Monica and Manhattan Beach. Even the fine folks at Heal the Bay rate Malibu Pier one of the dirtiest beaches in the state.

  • Malibu +1
  • Beaches +1
  • (Off topic question here: What is the go-to beach for anyone living under the poverty line?)

2) Vin Scully
The L.A. Times channeled what many Angelenos truly believe when it called Vin Scully “the Voice of L.A.” I don’t care if he is the best in the business, or if he’s been doing it since the Crimean War. The man talks. During a sporting event. That lasts for three and a half hours and includes only 18 minutes of action.

  • This is also perplexing, and Vice agrees. He’s really going to call a 85-year-old civic treasure overrated? That’s not even hating. That’s just evil. +1

1) Pink’s
One of the great mysteries of Los Angeles is how the line at Pink’s remains 20, 30 people deep, all hours of the day. Who eats at Pink’s? It can’t be all tourists, can it? Their hot dogs taste like boiled shoe leather.

  • Pink’s +1
  • Tourists +1
  • What is this, BuzzFeed? +0

TOTAL SCORE: 38

LA Haters Leaderboard
Meghan O’Rourke629
Martin Filler549
The Californians57
Hillel Aron: 38

Although I appreciate Aron’s native troll attempt, the references and writing here are lazy. Plus he attacks too many elements of general “hipster” culture and not enough actual LA-endemic things that are actually overrated, like Runyon Canyon, driving, Umami Burger, the LA Kings, weed dispensaries, The Grove, palm trees, and the Hollywood Bowl. His traffic-baiting intentions are far too transparent. It’s obvious that he just doesn’t hate LA enough.

Read all my #LAHaters Haterating articles.

Posted in reading, writing | Tagged , , | 5 Comments