Thursday morning we rolled off the couches early and hitched a ride with Hayley into Santa Monica. Most mornings she drives down Laurel Canyon and through Beverly Hills to get to work. It’s a gorgeous, winding drive with views of the city over pot hole laden streets. She kindly dropped us off on Montana and we set off in search of a coffee shop.
We found a cute place (whose name escapes me) around Montana and 20th and enjoyed coffees and coffeecake muffins while catching up on emails and staring at Bryan Callen (Bilson from How I Met Your Mother). After a few hours we walked back to Hayley’s work, dropped off our laptops, and hopped on a bus to Venice.
For those of you who haven’t been, Venice Beach is a really cool place. At the foot of the beach is a long pavement walkway littered on one side with sunglass shops, 99 cent pizza slices, and marijuana dispensaries and on the other, various musicians and artists with their eyes wide open for tourist dollars; (but this is still America – unlike many other traveler hotspots across the world, visitors aren’t haggled to their breaking points; the vendors are all polite and relatively mellow.*)
The day was still fairly young and the Venice pavement promenade still stirring, so we decided to wander over to the canals and then Abbott Kinney before walking the beach. I’m not sure which came first, the canals or the name Venice, but either way, it’s a beautiful sight (and more or less authentic with the water being just as dirty as Venice, Italy — actually that’s probably not fair to Italy). Despite the shallow, murky waterways, the Venice canals are by far (IMO) one of the most beautiful places to live in Los Angeles. We spotted a couple places for sale — one at the extremely affordable price of 4 million dollars. (Which for the location and size really isn’t that bad; or have I been living in Vancouver too long?)
* Maybe it has something to do with all that California green?
Nisha, me, and the mildly terrifying, territorial ducks with crossed paths with.
All the houses are very unique and have beautiful, eclectic adornments inside (from what we could see) and out; just my style. Although, if we’re talking dream homes here, I’d definitely rather be on the open ocean. After we were sated with enough aspirational eye candy, we walked a couple blocks over onto Abbot Kinney. Abbot Kinney is a hip little street complete with boutique t-shirt stores and coffee shops with no advertised names. There are also a ton of back alleyways and hidden shops to get lost in; but after a small feast of tacos and guac, we headed back to Venice Beach.
As we padded down the infamous walkway we spotted a “Palm Reading” sign and decided to give it a go. I bet the palm/tarot card woman makes a killing (at least enough to pay for her Venice Beach apartment) as we paid $10 and it only lasted a few minutes. It was, however, totally worth it. She even reiterated a few of the things the last person who read my palm (6+ years ago) told me. For example, she claimed that I’ll only have one marriage and it will take place “later” in life; (to which the question must be asked, what exactly does “later” mean?) She also said that I’m meant to work in a creative field in conjunction with people. As well, I need to learn to be more patient, more aggressive, and go easier on myself. (All good/important things to hear.) I think with wishy-washy (fun) things like palm reading, you just have to take what you want from it and already I feel like what she said has helped me out. (But, seriously, later in life… like, 30?)
Nisha also had her palm read (if you want her insights, you’ll have to ask her yourself) and we carried on. One of the attractions of Venice Beach is the Freakshow. That day they were filming for an episode of AMC’s Freakshow, so we signed the release forms and watched. It felt a little odd cheering and clapping but they all seemed pretty happy to be there. They had brought in a guy from Australia who is apparently a world leader in freaky stuff/things, I don’t know, but he stuck a heavily weighted sword down his throat and it was mildly uncomfortable to watch. Well, mildly uncomfortable for me and borderline traumatizing for Nisha. So we carried on without watching the rest of the show.
And thankfully we did because I checked my email and discovered that we’d scored tickets to Jimmy Kimmel Live! Even with two hours to get there we cut it super close. (Yay, L.A. transit!) But we made it and were probably the forth or fifth last people to be let in. It was a super neat experience but a little bit different than I expected. The studio is WAY smaller than it appears on TV, like, a third of the size you’d expect it to be.
The guests were lovely, (Chris Pine, Kevin O’Leary, Gregory Porter) but they really don’t interact with the audience much. I don’t know why, but I expected them to engage more. (I’m probably just bitter because Chris Pine didn’t wave to the back row.) Jimmy didn’t chat with the audience until after the second commercial break — I imagine he was using all his concentration to nail his monologue — but once he did he was engaging and charming, (particularly with a slightly eccentric French woman).
The whole experience was about two and a half hours. (Check-in, watch Jimmy Kimmel videos, warm up comic, more warm up comic/get to know the audience aka hear about the French woman’s familial problems, actual show, file over to the music room, sway, chat with nice interns – Hi, Nick! – leave.)
We decided to keep the tourist day going and hiked up to the Cabo Wabo above Mann’s Chinese Theatre for, you guessed it, more Mexican food! There was a photo wall for some sort of event (comedy night?) so naturally we took advantage. We had some interesting conversations with some interesting characters aka a young racist white guy and some lovely older black men (America!) and imbibed $2 pints of Strongbow (America!). From there we traipsed back down to Hollywood Blvd and took trashy tourist shots before heading home to bed.