Lost in LA – Oddities!

6 Jun

While other cities are weird (yes, Austin. Keep Austin Weird. We get it.), LA is pretty darn out there without even trying. Maybe it’s all these people smashed into one place. Maybe it’s the film industry. Maybe it’s just all the sunshine. LA gets pretty weird, pretty fast.


1. A Crazy Homegrown Monument/Art Piece:

Watts Towers


You know how you look outside your window sometimes and think, “I really should build some crazy huge towers completely on my own out of cement and found objects?” Yeah. Neither have I, but I’m so glad that Simon Rodia did. Rodia was a construction worker without much art background who constructed this delicate but strong almost 100 feet towers over thirty years. He intricately decorated them with mosaics made out of ceramics and soda bottles…and then just walked away never to return. They went into a state of disrepair, and the city almost had it destroyed, but luckily a small group of people saw how amazing they were and saved the towers.

Fancy Entrance

It took me years of living in LA, before I finally made it to the Watts Towers, and I’m so glad I did. You really can’t understand just how spectacular and bizarre Rodia’s vision was until you see them in person.

2. If you’ve ever wanted to picnic in zoo exhibits:

Griffith Park Deserted Zoo

Griffith Park old zoo
The Old Zoo in Griffith Park is straight up one of my favorite things. If I knew you and liked you, I probably took you to this part of the park at least once. It’s just too cool!

The LA zoo was here for about fifty years before it was moved across the park. The zoo was plagued with problems – escaping animals, meat shortages during WWI, etc, so it’s probably a good thing that a new zoo was started from scratch. Also, it means that these ruins were left behind! A few picnic tables have been put in the large stone enclosures, but otherwise it’s mostly untouched. There’s nothing like spending a day pretending to be monkeys in cages, right?

Griffith Park - Old Zoo

3. If you feel like sitting in a room and staring for a while:

The Velaslavasay Panorama

Velaslavasay Panorama
I’m not exactly sure how to describe the Panorama. It’s weird. Really weird. Apparently, before movies, people would go to panoramas to be surrounded by unfamiliar settings. Tucked into an unassuming neighborhood street, The Velaslavasay Panorama continues this tradition. You walk into a building in a state of slight disrepair, go up a narrow staircase, and suddenly you’re surrounded by a painted arctic scene! Eerie sound effects accompany the  image…and it’s just weird. You can sit there as long as you want and just soak it in as the image slowly rotates around you.
Velaslavasay Panorama

The building is related to the Museum of Jurassic Technology (which would have totally been on this list if I hadn’t already mentioned it in the Museums post), and it hosts neighborhood events in their pleasant gardens. I mean, every neighborhood needs a Panorama, right?

4. If you feel like taking a very, very short trip:

 Angels Flight

Angels Flight

Do you really, really hate stairs? For fifty cents, you can just jump on Angel’s Flight and not have to use those calves at all! The funicular cars take you up about 100 feet of track to Angel’s Knoll, that park in 500 Days of Summer. You know…the one that’s all romantic in the movie, but can be slightly shady in real life? Anyway, although the track has been moved about a half block since Angel’s Flight opened, the cars are still the 1901 originals, and they’re pretty neat — all polished wood and orange paint. Sure, you don’t really need to use Angel’s Flight to get anywhere, but why wouldn’t you when they’re so flipping jaunty?

Angels Flight

5. If you want to meet a whole bunch of interesting folks:

The Venice Beach Boardwalk

venice beach boardwalk

And now to leave the weird places, and get with the weird folks…

The Venice Beach Boardwalk runs along Venice Beach, and it bursts with all sorts of vendors, buskers, rollerbladers who belong in the early 90’s, body builders, and tourists. You want your palm read on the beach? Head to Venice. Want to listen to one of the million drum circles? Venice. Want to see a bulldog riding a skateboard? Definitely Venice. It’s all a bit dirty, crazy and scattered, and so LA.

Plus you have the ocean right there! What more could you want? Oh, you might want to be able to find parking? Yeah. Good luck with that.

Venice  Beach Boardwalk


One Response to “Lost in LA – Oddities!”

  1. Laura Rowsell (@LauraRowsell) June 6, 2013 at 2:05 pm #

    Ok, allllll of these places literally look like the coolest- Venice Beach seems extra awesome, but whaaaat is that Panorama thing, OMG it looks so cool! I say this with complete sincerity!

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