Late last month, Angelenos had the rare opportunity to check out Peter Lai's Secret Japanese Cultural Village. The fashion designer and dancer hosted tours of his 5,000-square-foot masterwork, along with a sale of his original designs and selections from his vast collection of books, art and kimonos.
Peter Lai comes from a distinguished family of Chinese Opera, film and stage costumers, and until his retirement in 2013 ran a beloved boutique in San Marino. After retiring, Lai was able to fulfill his lifelong dream: the creation of a Japanese artist village. Lai spent more than a year creating the Cultural Village, a collection of themed vignettes, inside his massive loft in the Arts District. Lai gave L.A. Weekly a private tour.
Photos by Star Foreman.
High above the clouds at the very top of Laurel Canyon perches the fairytale castle of the Flying Morgans. For 20 years Gary, Susie, Molly and Bonnie have invited their closest friends to ring in the New Year with them and with two dancing stages, a New Year's Eve ball drop, free-flowing Champagne and a shuttle to take you back down to your real life at the bottom of the hill. This year, we captured photos of the few lucky thousand who, with golden tickets in hand, came to the castle in the sky.
All photos by Star Foreman
They made a list, they checked it twice — a list for the pub crawl and fun and games, of course. The revelers of L.A. SantaCon, who dressed as Santa, as poinsettia plants, as naughty elves — and then there was that posse of protesting clowns — followed @lasanta on Twitter to Barney's Beanery in Santa Monica, the Santa Monica Pier, a park to play some Santa games, then to the Gold Line to start the pub crawl. Later in the evening, the Santas made a quick stop before hitting up downtown Culver City and requesting some Santasy lap dances at Fantasy Island and Plan B (sorry, no photos allowed) before finishing the *burp* night at Grilliant, Janga and Pieology. Next year Santa will show up in another part of Los Angeles — watch the Twitter handle for information after Thanksgiving 2017.
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
Imagine Guillermo del Toro invited you over to his home, known as Bleak House, for a quick tour. He would show you all his "beautiful monsters," and you'd be able to flick through his notebooks and wind his automatons. Co-organized/co-curated by Britt Salvesen at LACMA, Jim Shedden at AGO, and Matthew Welch at the Minneapolis Institute of Art, "Guillermo del Toro: At Home With Monsters" runs through Nov. 27 in LACMA's Art of the Americas Building, plaza level. The exhibition has eight themed sections, including Death and the Afterlife, Victoriana, and Freaks and Monsters. Each room explores another facet of Del Toro and his work, with all of the artwork chosen from the private collection of the director of Pan's Labyrinth, Hellboy and Crimson Peak. Throughout the exhibition LACMA will offer screenings of Del Toro's work as well as films he has selected, as well as artist walkthroughs of the exhibit. The exhibit will travel to Minneapolis and Ontario, Canada, after its run in L.A. All photos by Star Foreman.
Death Valley National Park — the hottest, driest and lowest land area in North America — is experiencing a "super bloom" as a result of the recent El Niño weather. The rare event blankets the usually barren desert with swaths of colorful wildflowers, which attract tourists from around the world. These photographs were shot March 7 and 8. All photos by Brian Feinzimer.