I Heart LA: Five Steps to Knowing Your City Better Than Your Friends Do

By Kimberly Faith Waid

Kimberly, a writer for Metromix, gave us her top picks for things to do in Los Angeles before she moved to NYC.

Outdoor Movies
One of the biggest perks to being an Angelino is LA’s temperate climate. It comes as no surprise that a few good folks decided to screen movies outdoors. Cinespia hosts movies from The Exorcist to McCabe and Mrs. Miller at the legendary Hollywood Forever Cemetery. After donating ten bucks (parking is five) lug your picnic gear along the gothic scenic trail. Recommendation: get there early.

If cemeteries wig you out, then go downtown for Devil’s Night Drive In which mostly screens films of the eighties from Big to Goonies. You can party from your car (I suggest backing in and sitting in the back) or you can park on the Astroturf up front. It may not be like our parents knew it, but you still get sound on an FM transmitter, and girls on roller-skates will serve you nachos if you flash your lights.

Free Wine, Art & Eye Candy
The second Thursday of every month is the Downtown Art Walk, where a myriad of art galleries and museums show their finest artwork whilst offering patrons free wine and cheese. Maps and a full participating gallery listing are all online. They even have a shuttle named The Hippodrome so the ladies can wear heels and hide their inability to walk a straight line. You’ll get your cultural fix, and you’ll also get an excuse to end the night with nachos from Pete’s and a cold beer from Bar 107.

A Bus Ride Not Suitable for Grandma (unless she carries a flask)
The last time I rode a bus it was a Greyhound, and it was snowing heavily. The bus driver claimed he was too sleepy so he wouldn’t turn the heat on. There I was: shaking in my shoes while my smelly neighbor’s head crashed on my shoulder. I thought that I’d never want to ride a bus again. But then I found Esotouric. Their drivers are funny, brainy, and eager to show you the old stomping grounds of Charles Bukowski or John Fante. Murder mystery aficionados will get their fix in The Black Dahlia bus tour. These tours are sure to satisfy both your inner nerd and rebel.

Trannies, Burlesque & Wrestling
Lucha Va Voom is one of my favorite LA insider events. Lucha is the only place where in one night, you can spend time with a masked man of superhero strength, a pasties adorned burlesque dancer, a midget dressed as a chicken, and an ambisexual hula hooper. Come in good spirits or the ear splitting, pants ripping, bodice busting action won’t be as exciting as it’s intended to be. Housed in the Mayan, Lucha is so thrilling that it will be painful when it’s your turn to get beers and you have to miss a mere five minutes of the show. Don’t be surprised if on the way out, you see patrons collapsed in a ball of sweat from hollering.


Listening to a Stranger’s Middle School Journal
No matter where you’re from, you probably spent your middle school years passing notes, signing yearbooks, and staying up late with friends dishing on your latest burning love. Mortified, a monthly show, allows the very brave to dig out their old journals and read them to an audience who is laughing with them and AT them. Highlighted in the This American Life series on NPR (listen on the Best of This American Life – 2006), Mortified will make you laugh and cringe as you relate to and gasp at others’ romantic catastrophes.

Here are a few other places Kimberly enjoys with giddy fanfare:

All Star Lanes
http://losangeles.metromix.com/bars-and-clubs/karaoke_bar/all-star-lanes-eagle-rock/38433/content

Melrose Trading Post http://losangeles.metromix.com/style/accessories/melrose-trading-post-hollywood/101884/content

Barnsdall Art Park
http://losangeles.metromix.com/events/recreation_facilities/barnsdall-art-park-hollyhock-east-hollywood/95273/content