Closing out our LA interview series is Moscow-born, New York City-raised Stacy Gueraseva, a vegan writer of non-fiction and author of the book Def Jam, Inc. We got her take on her new home and the wealth of vegan options the city has to offer. Read on!
What do you do in LA?
Freelance write, edit and partake in creative endeavors; go exploring with my boyfriend Travis (who is also vegan) for food, adventure, and fun.
How long have you lived there?
We miss you in Brooklyn. What do you like most about LA?
The voluminous, ubiquitous hills that hug this city, dotted at night with the lights of all the homes that have been carved into them. Gives everything a real storybook look, which as a creative person inspires me and makes me feel like I’m in that old HBO promo. Also, the insane amount of vegan options, the fact that I can live in a detached house with a backyard for the price of a NYC studio, the views from Mulholland Drive, and the general (sometimes unintentional) kitschiness of it all. And KCRW.
AGH! I’m still kicking myself—I literally forgot about KCRW until we were driving the rental back. I spent the whole week playing music on my iPhone. What do you think is most lacking in LA?
Decent places to eat after 10PM.
Although, truth be told, our part of Brooklyn isn’t stellar in that category. Now then, former Brooklynite, does it suck to have to drive EVERYWHERE‽
I’ll tell you a secret: It’s possible to get places in LA without driving.
Get out. Most memorable, life-altering, fucked up, or just funny experience to date in LA?
Getting into a fender-bender was pretty fucked-up. Life-altering was meeting my boyfriend here, falling in love, and now being together here in LA.
Awwwww. Best celebrity sighting you’ve had?
Harry Hamlin’s leathery skin and Lisa Rinna’s giant lips strolling together at the Studio City Farmer’s Market.
Not totally vegan restaurant?
Mohawk Bend in Echo Park. Get the Buffalo Cauliflower
We did! Devine. Vegan/veg restaurant?
Ugh, how can I possibly boil it down to just ONE? I’ll name 3: Seed in Venice for the burgers; Shojin in Downtown for their dragon rolls; Flore Vegan for their tuna melts.
Oh, nice—all three of those are new to us. Best place for tacos in town?
Sage Organic in Silver Lake makes amazing root vegetable tacos.
I don’t drink, but Bar Lubitsch in West Hollywood is great at making non-alcoholic versions of their mixed drinks. And they have free comedy on Friday nights.
Beachwood Cafe in Beachwood Canyon is full of atmosphere, random celebs and tasty soy lattes.
Oh, it looks so cute. Museum/gallery?
Museum of Jurassic Technology in Culver City. Just about the most magical, otherworldly museum experience you will have. Unexpectedly romantic too. Don’t miss the rooftop with their bird menagerie.
People keep bringing that place up. We’ll have to check it out. It sounds nuts. Movie theater?
The Vista in Echo Park. Leg room longer than your legs, great sound and screen, fun old school LA vibe, and tickets are only $9.50!
I don’t know, man. My legs are pretty long. Shop?
The Grove is fun for that upscaley outdoor mall experience, while Abbott Kiney is fun for unique smaller labels, and Magnolia Ave in Burbank has the best vintage shopping.
Fryman Canyon—no lions there.
Huntington Dog Beach.
Oh, shit. Owen would love that. Song, movie, or show that best captures LA?
“Free Fallin” by Tom Petty.
Spot on. Tourist trap that’s worth the trappings?
The revolving bar at the top of the Westin hotel in Downtown LA.
Advice to those considering making the move?
Research the neighborhood thoroughly in terms of proximity to major highways and walkability, because driving will sometimes inhibit your desire to travel far, so you better really love where you live.
Seems to be the LA mantra. 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?
What’s to hate, people? We got amazing food, culture, city and nature co-existing, tons of great music, the mysticism of the desert and the ocean, sick views, and a city that pumps with constant ambition while being buffered by a certain mellowness that makes people generally less jaded and cynical.
Well-said! What are you, a writer or something?
Keep up with Stacy’s writings on her site + be sure to check out her book, Def Jam Inc., a book that traces the rise of Def Jam Records from a college dorm room to a multi-million dollar business.