Sunset Boulevard and Mohawk Avenue in Echo Park may be the hippest corner in all of Los Angeles. To the east, it gets genuinely gritty. Any farther west, and you're into bourgeois Silver Lake. For now, Mohawk is the point of equilibrium, and at that point sits Vlad the Retailer. Here you'll find clothing by independent designers, records, tapes, art, leather goods and assorted oddities. Vlad is both a store and a person. He's been at this a while — this is the store's fifth incarnation. He says he started it up “to keep my head out of the noose.” He also hosts comedy shows, at least until the fire department puts a stop to that. 2153 W. Sunset Blvd., Echo Park. —Gene Maddaus

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