Imagine it is 3 a.m. in downtown Los Angeles. Just steps away from Skid Row, the parking is full, cars are flying in and out, people are trading. Amid a silent city, something grows. The ancient (95 years old) Original Los Angeles Flower Market comes to life when the rest of the city is sleeping. At 55,000 square feet, the flower market is the largest in the country. You'll find orchids, air plants, succulents, money trees, topiaries, gardenias and roses. Lots and lots of roses.
We visited the Flower Market and surrounding district to get the lowdown on the smelly truth.
Orchids: At the Orchid Affair you find not just living orchids but exquisite silk paper orchids, fairies and a couple of cats guarding the merchandise. The only vendor to grow their own orchids, at the farm located in Montclair, the Orchid Depot is on the higher end of price, but in exchange you get American-grown rare species that you can brag to your friends about.
Roses: Vincent at Wall Street Floral is right at the main entrance to the mall, displaying nice fresh buds. Two dozen roses can cost you anywhere from $5.75 to $18, depending on color and size, but most are in the $7.75 range.
Dried flowers and specialty: Villa Flowers, in the Southern California Flower Market, sells dried wreaths and wall art in addition to roses and baby's breath.
Plants: We couldn't choose between Rudy's Plants and HM Wholesale Plants. Both have healthy plants for a fraction of the cost at Home Depot. Both are in the Southern California Flower Market. Plus both have air plants, which are having a moment.
Something different: ZCallas has seasonal flowers, moss and wood, and honey shipped in from Oregon.
Arrangements: Go outside the OLAFM and the SCFM and you will find dozens of shops, spreading out in all directions, six blocks from San Pedro Street west to Maple Street and Seventh Street south to Ninth Street. These little businesses cater to any flower-arrangement needs: funerals, victory wreaths, weddings. Inside the California Flower Mall, we found one of our favorite arrangers at El Poblano Flowers.
Parking: Park in the structure off of San Julian for $4 for the day.
Restrooms: The only restrooms are inside the Original Los Angeles Flower market, and they are clean and free.
All photos by Star Foreman
The second time around, RuPaul's DragCon has become a massive, not-to-be-missed event, featuring signings with favorite drag superstars, panels for both the pro and the fan, and an exhibition floor that was twice the size of the first con.Billed as "the first drag convention in Herstory," the convention itself shows how the performers one would see in little clubs back in the late 1990s (shoutout to Menagerie in Riverside for introducing one of the first real professional drag shows in Southern CA) have become a worldwide phenomenon, due in no small part to the little show that could, RuPaul's Drag Race.We are now seeing the kids that grew up with drag culture being almost (gasp!) mainstream getting to meet their own heroes, men and women living "their own truth," as RuPaul said in his keynote address on Sunday, May 8.One high school girl went up to her heroine and just started to cry. It was obvious that for this girl, this was a defining moment of her life. The people of Drag Race represent hope and laughter, and promote a greater understanding of the LGBT community to the world around us, making this generation of almost superstars the most accepted in history. RuPaul's DragCon doesn't just prove it gets better, it shows that it is already better.Photos by Star Foreman
As RuPaul would put it: “RuPaul’s DragCon is the place to find your tribe. For all the super creative and super sensitive people out there who live in a world that says that you’re too much or that you don’t fit in, DragCon says, ‘Welcome home, baby.'”
GBK's 2016 Oscars gift and style lounge on Feb. 26-27 partnered with LifeCell to host an amazing party at the London West Hollywood. Guests received huge goodie bags including Alessi Institute's SculpSure, José Eber's (yes please!) travel-size infrared hair dryer, American Hat Makers (Have my child, you amazing owl hat you!), Jewelinx, Egard Watch Company, Loulou LOLLIPOP and (favorite!) Lula Mena , gifting a variety of their ethical fashion jewelry and handwoven textiles. Lula Mena helps women from third-world countries start their own business and escape poverty by not only teaching them marketable skills like weaving but also giving them ownership in their tools and fair wages.
Other participants included Swagway (favorite!) — called the "hottest gift on the planet" by Ellen DeGeneres on her show, it's the original manufacturer of the "hands-free smart board"; the Trtl Pillow; GuruNanda, an ultrasonic aromatherapy diffuser kit with essential oils; and the San Diego Zoo (tiny lion just for me). Guests ate and drank deliciousness with the help of Confetti Sweets, Baron Chocolatier, FulHum by EarthWater and Ike’s Place - Award-Winning Sandwiches.
The nonprofits benefiting from the suite were Face Forward, which provides pro bono reconstructive surgery and emotional support for victims of domestic violence, human trafficking and other cruel acts; and Lambda Legal, a national organization committed to achieving full recognition of the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people and those with HIV through impact litigation, education and public policy work. Photos by Star Foreman
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