THE BEST THINGS TO DO IN LOS ANGELES - PART 8: Architecture - Kenzine, the Kenzo official blog

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Go Whale-watching on an L.A. Harbor Breeze Cruise.

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This season, KENZO heads out to California, Carol and Humberto’s home state. We asked Joy Yoon - author of the book 'The best things to do in Los Angeles – 1001 ideas' (Universe / Rizzoli International) - to select some surprising and unexpected addresses in Los Angeles. Our tenth and final installment of the series is about water activities!

 

Go Whale-watching on an L.A. Harbor Breeze Cruise
Just sit right back and I’ll tell you a tail- a whale’s tail that is, while you’re aboard this three-hour tour. Blue whales, the largest mammals on the planet, once hunted to brink of extinction, are thankfully still around, and can be found in record numbers off of Santa Monica Bay. Never seen one of the most amazing creatures on the planet in the flesh? Well now’s your chance to see them up close (safety for the animal and passengers will determine how close). And if you’re lucky, you’ll get to see it expel from its blowhole, which can sometimes reach 30 feet or more. Sheer beauty and sheer power, the blue whale is a definite sight to see on the L.A. Harbor Breeze Cruises.

 

100 Aquarium Way, Dock #2 in Long Beach. 562-432-4900 www.lawhalewatching.com 
 

Kayak through the Painted Cave on Santa Cruz Island.

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This season, KENZO heads out to California, Carol and Humberto’s home state. We asked Joy Yoon - author of the book 'The best things to do in Los Angeles – 1001 ideas' (Universe / Rizzoli International) - to select some surprising and unexpected addresses in Los Angeles. Our tenth and final installment of the series is about water activities!

 

Take a ferry from Santa Barbara and head to California’s biggest island, home to the largest and deepest sea cave in the world (nearly a quarter mile long and one hundred feet wide). At the Painted Cave, named for its colorful walls, explorers can paddle or float down into its deepest, darkest chambers. For those worried about getting “trapped”, visit in the spring when a waterfall flows over the entrance/exit. The cave can be difficult to access due to the Nature Conservancy, which owns and manages the northwest portion of the island where it’s located, so it’s best to go through a travel company.


Stand-up paddle boarding, snorkeling, and fishing are optional. 805-899-4925 www.channelislando/painted-cave-kayaking.php

Ride a dolphin at La Laguna de San Gabriel at Vincent Lugo Park.

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This season, KENZO heads out to California, Carol and Humberto’s home state. We asked Joy Yoon - author of the book 'The best things to do in Los Angeles – 1001 ideas' (Universe / Rizzoli International) - to select some surprising and unexpected addresses in Los Angeles. Our tenth and final installment of the series is about water activities!

 

Creatures of the sea come to life in this make-believe lagoon playground. Dozens of oversize ocean-themed concrete sculptures, designed by artist Benjamin Dominguez in the 1960s, are as fun as they are noteworthy. You can crawl over a sea serpent, climb and perch on top of a giant octopus, and even slide out of the mouth of a pink whale. If you’re looking to actually get wet, there’s a one-foot-deep gated pool for kids to splash around in.


Corner of Wells and Ramona Streets in San Gabriel 626-308-2875 www.friendsoflalaguna.org

Find your urban oasis downtown at the Kyoto Gardens.

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This season, KENZO heads out to CaliforniaCarol and Humberto’s home state. We asked Joy Yoon - author of the book 'The best things to do in Los Angeles – 1001 ideas' (Universe / Rizzoli International) - to select some surprising and unexpected addresses in Los Angeles. Our ninth installment of the series is gardens, little known but yet amazing!


You don’t find much green among the concrete and metal of downtown L.A., and the views are cluttered with buildings. If you’re looking to escape the hustle and bustle, head to the third-floor terrace of the Double Tree Hotel, where the Kyoto Gardens, a half-acre garden filled with greenery and reminiscent of Japan, is a nice and calming surprise. Smell the flowers, enjoy the waterfalls, and soon everything else will fade away, with only the skyline there to remind you where you really are.


120 South Los Angeles Street in downtown los angeles 213-629-1200.

Beware "the watchful eyes of Argus" at the Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden.

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This season, KENZO heads out to CaliforniaCarol and Humberto’s home state. We asked Joy Yoon - author of the book 'The best things to do in Los Angeles – 1001 ideas' (Universe / Rizzoli International) - to select some surprising and unexpected addresses in Los Angeles. Our ninth installment of the series is gardens, little known but yet amazing!


This 127-acre arboretum might be smaller than the Huntington Library’s Botanical Gardens, but that doesn’t mean you’ll find any less of an array of things to do and view. Opened in 1956 on land jointly purchased by California and Los Angeles around Lucky Baldwin’s original development site of the modern-day Arcadia, the arboretum is home to exotic towering trees, a turtle-filled lake, the Queen Anne House (an ornately decorated and reportedly haunted Victorian gem), a waterfall, a “house” made of interwined branches, and vegetation from all over the world.


301 North Baldwin Avenue à Arcadia 626-821-3222

Did you know? : According to Greek Mythology, the eyes on a peacick's tail come from Argus, Hera's watchful servant. With one hundred eyes that were always on alert, he was in charge of guarding Zeus' lover Io. In order to free Io, Zeus ordered Hermes to kill Argus. He put his eyes to sleep and then slew him with a rock. Hera took, Argus's eyes and placed them upon the peacock's feather in his memory.

Make like Tarzan in the Jungle Garden at the Huntington Library’s Botanical Gardens.

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This season, KENZO heads out to CaliforniaCarol and Humberto’s home state. We asked Joy Yoon - author of the book 'The best things to do in Los Angeles – 1001 ideas' (Universe / Rizzoli International) - to select some surprising and unexpected addresses in Los Angeles. Our ninth installment of the series is gardens, little known but yet amazing!

 

The high forest canopy alone signals the drastic change in the environment. As you walk among the understory filled with shrubs, bromeliads, ferns, and leaves so big they could double as umbrellas, you feel as if you should be wearing khakis and a pith helmet while cutting back the dense foliage with machete. If swinging from the vines seems tempting, just think of George of the Jungle to fight off the urge.

 

1151 Oxford Road in San Marino 626-405-2100

Skate culture and Los Angeles go hand in hand. For Spring/Summer 2014, KENZO drew inspirations from both. 

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Our collaborations with Vans and our emblematic skate board “Era”, with multicolor prints fresh from our different collections, have all paid tribute to the deep connection between skateboarding and the city of angels.


Last November, we launched our new Kalifornia bag in “The Berrics” - the legendary L.A. indoor skate park. On that occasion, a crew of female skaters put on an impressive show by performing choreographed skate sets up and down the dinner table, turning it into a rail or a funbox in a heartbeat. One of them, Vanessa Torres, has shared her favorite spots with us in her recent interview with Kenzine. 

 

This summer, KENZINE takes you on a virtual road trip of California, Carol and Humberto’s home state, taking in all aspects of West Coast Culture. We asked Jethro Turner of literary arts journal A Tale of Three Cities to compile his list of essential California fiction. 

 

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Back in 1945, Los Angeles literary group the Zamorano Club (named after California’s first printer), created the ‘Zamorano Eighty’, a list of indispensable reading on the West coast state. We think it’s well overdue an update, so here’s the ‘KENZINE Eight’, our selection of books to transport you to the sunshine state this summer. 

 

Pulp - Charles Bukowski

 

Born in Germany, Bukowski moved with his family to South Central, Los Angeles, aged 10. Working in a pickle factory and then as a filing clerk at the post office and writing on the side, he became one of the biggest names in 20th century American letters (excuse the pun), and a landmark on California’s literary landscape. A piece of meta-Pulp fiction which provides an ironic twist to the LA crime novel genre, Bukowski’s last novel, ‘Pulp’ was published in 1994 and provides more of the author’s withering world-view: “It wasn’t my day. My week. My month. My year. My life. God damn it”. Hey, the sun can’t always shine.
 

On the Road – Jack Kerouac

 

Where would a discussion of California literature be without a book written by the father of the Beat generation?  Typed up in three weeks on one continuous scroll of paper, ‘On the Road’ is an homage to the automobile and an ode to the asphalt veins running through the United States. While it races from coast to coast, the Sunshine State is at the heart of the book, from the shipyards of Sausalito and the wild jazz clubs of San Francisco, to the dusty white plants and copper-coloured soils of Southern California’s cotton fields, all the way to the madness of Los Angeles. “LA is a jungle”, says the narrator Sal Paradise. No one can deny Kerouac knew how to coin a phrase.
 

The Big Sleep – Raymond Chandler

 

The first Chandler book to feature detective Philip Marlowe, ‘The Big Sleep’ is set in a brooding, boozy, undercover Los Angeles. This is a book overflowing with West Coast Cool, a steely mix of razor sharp one-liners (“It seemed like a nice neighborhood to have bad habits in”) and a plot tighter than the screw-down lid on a hip flask. Most importantly, in-and-amongst the intrigues are passages and passages of stunning writing: “Under the thinning fog the surf curled and creamed, almost without sound, like a thought trying to form itself on the edge of consciousness”.
 

Blonde – Joyce Carol Oates

 

Question: How do you find a new angle on Marilyn Monroe? Answer: make it up.
A semi-fictionalised retelling of the actress’s life story, Joyce Carol Oates brings her laser vision to the tinsel-town tale of Norma Jean Mortenson, who lived, loved, and died in Los Angeles, the original home of the peroxide heroine. As the book puts it: “Her problem wasn't she was a dumb blonde, it was she wasn't a blonde and she wasn't dumb.” Mixing Hollywood kitsch with penetrating insight, the book’s celebrity cameos include Monroe’s husbands Joe DiMaggio and Arthur Miller, referred to as “the ex-Athlete” and “the Playwright”, and of course, President Kennedy.
 

James Franco – Palo Alto

 

California is the polymath state: a postmodern mix of movies, music, books, politics, poetry, fashion campaigns, and ‘General Hospital’. It’s the only place you could dream up a character like James Franco. Published in 2010 and taking its name from the multitalented actor’s hometown, Franco’s debut collection of short stories shifts from teenage narrator to teenage narrator, in a soft slide of juddering adolescent misadventure. “This was the way the night had cashed in. Choices had been made and things happened, and here we were. It was sad, and funny. My life was made of this. Stuff like this.”

 

(Ed.) James Franco's Palo Alto is now a feature film, directed by Gia Coppola. Read more here
 

A Single Man - Christopher Isherwood

 

Published in 1964 and set in Southern California, the book zooms in on one day in the life of George, an English college professor who has recently lost his lover (loosely based on Isherwood’s own partner, painter Don Bachardy). Stylishly written, and packed with moments of playful yet never arch meditation, ‘A Single Man’ is Isherwood’s undeniable Cali classic. “A few times in my life I’ve had moments of absolute clarity. When for a few brief seconds the silence drowns out the noise and I can feel rather than think, and things seem so sharp and the world seems so fresh. It’s as though it had all just come into existence”, says George.
 

Bret Easton Ellis – Less Than Zero

 

Aged just 21 when it was published, the Los Angeleno novelist and screenwriter hit gold with his debut work, which was named in turn after a song on Elvis Costello’s first album. Let’s pitch it like Hollywood would: When 18-year-old Clay comes home for Christmas from his college on the East coast, Things Get Wild. Get ready for disconnected dialogues in place of conversations, and wry riffs on the automobile and advertising culture of ‘80s Los Angeles, all summed up in the repeated motifs: “People are afraid to merge” and a billboard reading “Disappear Here”. The classic California elements are all racked up, including the holiday season pool parties, Valley girls on Valium (and more), and exotic sexual escapades told through a detached stream of consciousness: “You're a beautiful boy, Clay, but that's about it”.
 

The White Album - Joan Didion

 

“A place belongs forever to whoever claims it hardest, remembers it most obsessively, wrenches it from itself, shapes it, renders it, loves it so radically that he remakes it in his image” writes Joan Didion in ‘The White Album’, a book in which the Sacramento-born and Berkley-educated writer indirectly stakes her own claim to ownership of her home state. Published in 1979 as a volume of essays weaving high-literary style into a blend of cultural tourism and journalism, ‘The White Album’ skips from the Manson family, to a Black Panther Party press conference, to the story of the John Paul Getty museum. It’s a book punctured with California glamour, which punctures glamour itself (like the “rats in the avocado tree” in her garden). “We tell ourselves stories in order to live”, says Didion, sounding every inch the California girl.
 

This season, KENZO heads out to California, Carol and Humberto’s home state. We asked Joy Yoon - author of the book 'The best things to do in Los Angeles – 1001 ideas' (Universe / Rizzoli International) - to select some surprising and unexpected addresses in Los Angeles. Our eighth installment of the series is architecture. Let's finish this tour in Hollywood at The Chemosphere!

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Credit goes to the American Architect John Lautner for this innovative California Modern house built in 1960. The Chemosphere, a single-story octagon-shaped living space, is perched atop of 30-ft concrete pole in the Hollywood Hills. Faced with a site on a 45-degree angled slope, Lautner came up with this space-aged solution to build on the unbuildable, creating what Encyclopedia Britannica once called “the most modern home built in the world.” To the untrained eye it looks like a spaceship landed here –which Lautner simply welded down and called home- but it remains to this day one of the most renowned Modernist buildings in America.


7776 Torreyson Drive in Los Angeles.

 

From the book 'The best things to do in Los Angeles – 1001 ideas', by Joy Yoon (Universe / Rizzoli International).

See our map on Pinterest!

This season, KENZO heads out to CaliforniaCarol and Humberto’s home state. We asked Joy Yoon - author of the book 'The best things to do in Los Angeles – 1001 ideas' (Universe / Rizzoli International) - to select some surprising and unexpected addresses in Los Angeles. Our eighth installment of the series is architecture. Now, off to the incredible Hollyhock House.

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Yes, a visit to this house is a must. Architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s work has been loved, admired, and studied the world over. And of the 500+ buildings he completed within his lifetime, the Hollyhock House is one of the earliest examples of his work. Built in 1923 for Aline Barnsdall, it was soon given to the city in 1927. Visitors can purchase tickets at the Municipal Art Gallery to tour the heritage home, now located within Barnsdall Park, of the man the American Institute of Architects refers to as “the greatest American architect of all time”.

 

From the book 'The best things to do in Los Angeles – 1001 ideas', by Joy Yoon (Universe / Rizzoli International).

See our map on Pinterest!