By Hillel Aron
By Joseph Tsidulko
By Patrick Range McDonald
By David Futch
By Hillel Aron
By Dennis Romero
By Jill Stewart
By Dennis Romero
BEST SUBTERRANEAN MUSICAL HISTORY
The Les Paul guitar and the Fender Stratocaster are the most recognizable guitars in the world, (rock-band enthusiasts may have a Les Paul in their homes right now), but Paul’s contributions to studios revolutionized the process of making and recording music. Paul developed multitrack recording and built the legendary echo chambers at Capitol Studios in Hollywood. When Brian Wilson’s harmonies or Frank Sinatra’s voice were piped into these rooms below Capitol’s parking lot, echo produced by the 10-inch-thick concrete walls and 12-inch-thick ceilings was rich and warm. The Beatles reportedly would feed parts of their albums via a telephone hookup into these chambers to get that Capitol sound. 1750 N. Vine St., Hlywd. (323) 871-5001, capitolstudios.com.
BEST TIDE POOLS
Take Western Avenue all the way south until you can’t go any farther; the vast Pacific lays before you — more specifically, San Pedro’s Royal Palms State Beach. To your left is White Point Park and down below its bluffs you’ll find at low tide a shelf of tide pools full of hidden treasures: translucent shrimp, tiny spiny sea urchins, starfish clinging to rocks, sea anemones waving in the ebb and flow like bromeliads in a flooded garden. Crabs scuttle. Waves boom — all an interactive marine science lesson for young minds. For the older set, this is a garden of wonder that makes our minds young again. Park at the metered spots in White Point Park, or pay $6 to drive down the steep road to the tide pools themselves. Don’t be a hater and remove any of the little creatures from their homes. Stay away from the rocks where the waves are breaking; it only takes one rogue wave to ruin your whole day. Look for the low-tide times in the newspaper or online before you go. Or you’ll feel really stupid. 1799 W. Paseo del Mar, San Pedro. Beach open 7 a.m.-10 p.m.
BEST OTHER TIDE POOLS
Abalone Cove Shoreline Park in Rancho Palos Verdes isn’t the easiest spot to access, which makes it a rewarding beach experience. Even during the peak afternoon hours on a holiday weekend, the park is free of the hordes of people seeking an ocean breeze. The park itself sits on a bluff overlooking the Pacific. It’s a lovely spot to picnic. But checking out the tide pools is a workout. Don’t wear flip-flops. A short but very steep hiking trail leads you to the beach, where you will find a small playground, a lifeguard post and plenty of room to lie in the sun. Climb down a few more rocks to reach the shoreline. Amid the breathtaking rock formations are the tide pools. Since this is a State Ecological Preserve, you cannot touch the marine life. Parking is $5 for cars, $15 for buses. 5970 Palos Verdes Drive S., Rancho Palos Verdes. (310) 377-1222, palosverdes.com/rpv/recreationparks.
BEST PLACE TO RECYCLE KIDS’ BOOKS
While you won’t find a double latte or red velvet cupcake at Children’s Book World, readers will wander among its more than 80,000 titles, educational games and book title–emblazoned T-shirts and wonder why they ever shopped that chain megastore. This neighborhood book shop is a throwback to a time when expertise mattered more than a 10 percent discount. Owner Sharon Hearn insisted that two concepts define her shop. “We wanted the feel of library, which means depth of categories of books, so that no matter what topic a child is looking for, he could find something here. We wanted a knowledgeable staff, able to find the book you came in for and to offer suggestions for a complementary read.” Hearn has accomplished that and more. On a recent visit, when asked for a suitable book for an 8-year-old, dog-obsessed boy, staffer Nikki spent several minutes pulling titles about dog-centered stories. While a request for a roller coaster–themed work of fiction momentarily stumped her, she ultimately suggested Bedknobs and Broomsticks, “ ’cuz a flying carpet is like a carnival ride, right?” Satisfied, the 8-year-old left with five other books, including one featuring a dog detective. While it’s easy to steer a child to the day’s popular read, here, it isn’t only best-sellers that Hearn carries. “If we think a book is important but not widely read, we still stock it. For instance, the book Friends by Rosa Guy, for the Young Adult reader; we might sell one a year; but it has so much heart that I still keep it.” Perhaps, as important as it is to purchase a new title, when those gently or once-read volumes are not challenging enough for your child, Children’s Book World will take them off your hands to share with programs and centers where books are less plentiful. “It’s important for children to have their own books, and one they choose for themselves,” Hearn explains. The book-recycling program was started when Ann Martin, author of the Baby-sitters Club books, was doing an in-store reading. As part of her participation, she required that the shop incorporate a charitable aspect, so Hearn set up a donation bin. Today, low-income children visit the store’s adjacent storage facility to choose their special book. Books are also donated to teachers of low-income students, and to homeless and domestic-violence shelters. “We use the Golden Rule philosophy: Is the book in the condition you would accept for your child?” Hearn asks. So, no writing, no torn pages, no coffee-stained covers. Drop your books off on a selected Saturday and your child can enjoy an hour of storytelling! 10580 1/2 W. Pico Blvd., W.L.A. (310) 559-2665, childrensbookworld.com. Mon.–Fri., 10 a.m.–5:30 p.m.; Sat. 10 a.m.–5 p.m.