Gastronomy 101, a blog about food and Los Angeles restaurants

LOS ANGELES: Hidden Los Angeles Part 7b - Tracy's Picks

Part b of Tracy's picks take us into the realm of culture. Many people believe LA doesn't have any, and it's true that in such a spread out city, it can be easy to overlook the pockets of culture that in truth surround us, every which way we turn. It's not really L.A.'s fault if the rest of the world is more interested in the glitz of the city than the substance. Los Angeles is an entertainment city and as such, it is accustomed to giving the public what it wants. And what the public wants seems to be scandalous starlets crashing and burning in a big way. Of course, once they gorge their lurid curiosity on it, they turn around and talk about how vapid and shallow L.A. is. But if they didn't want to see it so badly, we wouldn't have to show it to them.

In any case, anyone who has lived here long enough, and has the slightest interest knows that there is plenty of culture in Los Angeles if you really want it. Exhibits A through E:


Harvelle's: Harvelle's is a jazz club, established in 1931, making it the oldest live venue on the westside. It's a dark, intimate space, where you can watch the scene from a table or work it on the dance floor. There's very little attitude, everyone is just here to have a good time. So you're not going to see any legends here, but you will get a good blues/jazz show for $3-$8, which means the price is right. They've got a tapas menu if you are hungry.

I am not really a jazz aficionado, but there is one thing there I can vouch for and that's the Toledo Show, every Sunday night. It's a jazz/funk/cabaret in the old school style that is too cool. Toledo Diamond has been around forever, performing with suave dance moves, excellent hats, and sexy ladies in fishnet tights.

Harvelle's Blues Club
1432 4th St.
Santa Monica, CA 90401
(310) 395-1676

L.A. Conservancy Walking Tours: The L.A. Conservancy is a historic preservation organization in Los Angeles that began with the movement to prevent the demolition of the Central Library in 1978. The Conservancy works to preserve historical architecture both through advocacy and public education.

As a part of that public education, the Conservancy offers historical walking tours through different parts of Los Angeles. Tours available include the Victorian architecture of Carroll Avenue in Angeleno Heights, 1920s and '30s Art Deco buildings in downtown Los Angeles, teh Biltmore Hotel, City Hall, downtown development, Highland Park, the Historic Core (learn some history and scope out a loft for yourself!), Little Tokyo, San Pedro, Spring Street, Union Station (including one just for kids), and USC.

Tracy particularly recommends the Broadway Theaters tour, every Saturday at 10 a.m. Which takes you through Broadway's National Register Historic Theater District, where you will find the largest concentration of pre-WWII movie theaters in the U.S.

L.A. Conservancy
For information, go to their website, or:
(213) 623-2489

Aero Theater: The Aero Theater is the Westside outpost of the American Cinematheque, reference earlier in J's picks. The Aero theater is a historic theater dating from the 1940s, and the American Cinematheque has done a great thing in keeping it running. Here you can see a variety of older and classic films that you may have missed in the theater, or may be much too young to have seen in the theater.

The rest of January features all the Mel Brooks films you could ever want, including the Producers, Blazing Saddles, and Spaceballs, among others. February starts with a run of Studio Ghibli movies, and a Julie Christie double feature and then gradually moves out into the experimental and obscure with Louise Lawler's "A Movie Without a Picture" (an art exhibition); a sneak preview of a new movie, Charlie Bartlett; and Trade, presented by Crossroads Student Activists, and concluding with a panel of short films.

Aero Theater
1328 Montana Avenue
Santa Monica, CA 90403

Electric Lodge: The Electric Lodge is a performance and visual arts space in Venice where the goal is to simultaneously provide a space for artists to present their works to the public and to be an example of sustainable, environmentally friendly business. The place is solar powered and provides a space for almost any type of performance art, visual art, seminar, class, or function you would like to put on.

Tracy would like to also feature the performers that led her to the Electric Lodge, blue13, a Bollywood/modern dance group which puts on dance events and performances such as last year's Paheliyan, a Bollywood Alice in Wonderland, or the upcoming Bollywood Cabaret, a peformance of contemporary Bollywood dance.

Electric Lodge
1416 Electric Avenue
Venice, CA 90291
(310) 306-1854

Upright Citizen's Brigade: The Upright Citizen's Brigade is one of the top comedy troupe's in the country. It started in New York, whe founding members Matt Besser, Amy Poehler, Ian Roberts, and Matt Walsh decided to start a Chicago-style improv. They now have a location in Los Angeles where they continue their tradition of training young comedians and performing long form improv that is actually funny.

Upcoming shows in January include Comedy Death Ray, a mix of stand-up and sketch comedy. On the 25th, for you intellectuals, is the Great Debate wherein Ilyse Mimoun and Matt Price explore the morality of young scientists Gary and Wyatt as they create a woman for themselves in Weird Science. Was it right or wrong what they did? Hopefully the question will be answered through presentations of slides, music, and postmodern theory. At the end there will be a question and answer session where you may pose your most puzzling Gary, Wyatt, and Chet-related questions. On the 26 is Seth and Ed's Puppet Talk Show, wherein Seth Morris and Ed Helms host a live puppet talk show. January's guests are Patton Oswalt and Mike Walsh.

Upright Citizen's Brigade
5919 Franklin Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90004
(323) 908-8702


Hello KT,

In the last few months, you may remember receiving an email invitation to become a part of the Foodbuzz Featured Publisher Program. With all the recipe-writing and food photography to be completed, we know emails can easily get lost in the shuffle, so Foodbuzz would like to re-extend our offer of inviting you to be a part of our food blogger network. I would love to send you more details about the program, so if you are interested, please email me at


Shannon Eliot
Editorial Assistant,

said by Shannon at 2:43 PM Delete

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