When we decided earlier this year to make a trip over to LA, one of the first things we did was enlist the opinions of our friends out there as to what we should do, see, eat, drink, hike, fist-fight, et cetera. Over the years, we’ve noticed a lot of back-and-forth migration between New York + Los Angeles, but, of late, we’ve been seeing a lot more westward than eastward movement among our various circles of friends. Read into that what you will, but we wanted to find out what drew so many people we know—both from NYC and not—to LA. So we asked.
We were inspired by a piece a friend of ours—Lara—sent us from the French blog, Garance Doré, in which her friend who lives in Silverlake was interviewed in the same manner. Never ones to let a good idea fall by the wayside, we thought we’d do the same with our friends. First up: Comedian, Eliza Skinner.
We’ve known Eliza since our early college days, having lived with her through somewhat wince-worthy bands, not-so-well-kept group houses, and the ever-present diverse pains of being young and trying to figure out what the fuck is going on. Eliza’s always been wildly talented and equally determined + motivated, so it’s no surprise that, since moving from New York, she’s continued to make a name for herself in the comedy world. Here’s why Eliza thinks Los Angeles is awesome.
raven + crow: What do you do in LA?
Eliza Skinner: I’m a comedian, which means a lot of different things, but all in all, a comedian.
How long have you lived there?
What do you like most about LA?
What do you think is most lacking in LA?
Does it suck to have to drive EVERYWHERE‽
The traffic totally sucks, but I actually don’t drive everywhere. I always have a couple of days a week where everything I need is in walking distance. I think what you’re feeling is the difficulty of having to drive LONG distances—I could take the subway to the beach in NYC, here that’s not an option. But to say we drive EVERYWHERE isn’t really accurate.
What does suck (besides the traffic) is not reading as much as I did when I had a subway ride. But that has been replaced by books on tape and carpooling to work with friends I’d happily spend that time with anyway. So it’s kind of a wash for me.
Where do you live in LA?
How would you describe the neighborhood?
It’s right by Franklin Village, which is cute and fun. Beachwood is a big, not-too-busy street with a lot of beautiful houses and fun hidden hikes. There is a cafe + market that have a very neighborhoody feel – right by the old Hollywoodland development.
Not totally vegan restaurant?
I go to the same five places. I’m listing a couple in other places, so I’ll say Cafe 101 or Brite Spot are great late night diners with vegan options. And Cheebo in West Hollywood makes a great chopped salad.
Cafe Gratitude is RIDICULOUS…but I like it. Everything on the menu is named shit like “I am THOUGHTFUL” or “I am FORTIFIED” and when they give it to you they say “You are THOUGHTFUL” or “You are FORTIFIED”. But it’s good!
Taco place in town?
Arclight—see whatever is in the Dome (it’s Jurassic Park now). I used to go there every time I visited, and see whatever was showing. LA is GREAT for movies—Disney’s El Capitan is an adorable show—dancing girls + magicians. Cinefamily (at The Silent Movie Theater) shows all kinds of great stuff. Sundance Movie Theater is great for indie movies—they are always showing at least one thing I want to see. The Vista in Los Feliz is a cool old movie theater where they removed every other row of seats so it has tons of leg room. And of course, Grauman’s Chinese Theatre is a great tourist spot…and an actual beautiful movie palace inside.
I like Abbot Kinney in Venice.
My neighborhood has tons of hidden stairs that make hiking fun.
This time of year it’s too cold for me, but you’ll see people out there (especially surfers in wet suits). I’m not a big beach relaxer, so I like Venice for all of it’s craziness.
Tourist trap that’s worth the trappings?
Thoughts on the whole inescapable retro, mid-century aesthetic in LA?
I love it. It’s like dutch design with a little more fun thrown in. Love it.
Advice to those considering making the move?
Do it. You never know until you try. Not everyone loves it here, but if you’re considering it you may as well just try it. Eventually life gets in the way and you can’t make those types of big decisions. And get rid of your shit before you do. It’s easier than moving it.
Finally—not that this is a bi-coastal battle of the metropolises…but, kinda, it is—what would you say to all the LA-haters in NYC?
We don’t care. I think some New Yorkers feel there is some kind of rivalry, but there isn’t really. People in LA don’t hate New York. We don’t care about it. We’re too busy enjoying our city and being happy; and when we visit New York we like it.
One of the biggest complaints I have heard is that people in LA are so fake and nice. I personally would rather have some stranger being fake nice to me than some one being unnecessarily mean to me just because someone on the subway was an asshole to them – it’s just as fake.
Eliza hosts Big Money Comedy—a weekly event—this Thursday night at The Virgil, 4519 Santa Monica Blvd. It’s free, so you have no excuse as to why not to go if you live in the LA area. She’ll also be performing Friday night at UCB LA as part of the musical improv group, Diamond Lion. That’s like, $5, so, again, no excuse.