Issue #116: A Local's Guide to L.A. and My Weekend Recap
Plus every single item I packed.
Morning Person is a weekly newsletter packed with obsessively-curated recommendations and ideas—let’s get to it!
💿 ‘Cat Power Sings Dylan’: Welcome to your fall soundtrack. Cat Power’s new collection of old covers lends a fresh interpretation to Dylan’s legendary 1960s performance at the Royal Albert Hall. For something a bit more upbeat, try PinkPantheress’s album, ‘Heaven knows’ or Troye Sivan’s ‘Something To Give Each Other,” both of which were perfect for blasting while driving this weekend.
📺 “The Buccaneers” on Apple TV+: Edith Wharton famously documented 1920s New York from the inside, with the same wit and cutting insight of a Golden Age Gossip Girl (with a Pulitzer, no less). This new adaptation of her unfinished novel, The Buccaneers, travels across the pond, as five young Americans are invited to London for a debutante ball. A cross between HBO’s “Gilded Age” and Coppola’s ‘Marie Antoinette,’ the result is a delightful/CW-esque period drama that plays up the cultural clash between old traditions and new money.
📚 Day by Michael Cunningham: I know I said I’m limiting my consumption of pandemic novels… but I hope you’ll excuse this most recent rec, out today. Told in three parts separated by exactly one year, Isabel and Dan’s marriage is on the brink of ending when we first see them April 5, 2019. Flash-forward a year to April 5, 2020, and they’re stuck, isolated with their family in a Brooklyn brownstone, until we see them again in 2021. It’s a clever story-telling technique (remember One Day by David Nicholls?) that allows for both an intimate and birds’ eye telling of a marriage and home.
A few more recs… As a Willa Cather fan (Edith Wharton’s contemporary!), I’m making a note to buy the new biography, 'Chasing Bright Medusa.' Also curious to watch the HBO documentary, ‘David Holmes: The Boy Who Lived,’ about Daniel Radcliff’s ‘Harry Potter’ stunt double, who was tragically injured while filming a movie, out tomorrow. Finally, “The Curse” on Showtime, stars Emma Stone and Nathan Fielder is a dark satire seemingly ripped from a certain Magnolia playbook.
Though it’s been years since I lived there, L.A. will always feel like home. I was born and grew up in Laurel Canyon, rented an apartment in Santa Monica during a summer in college, and spent most of my twenties in Echo Park. In sum, I’ve spent over half my life in the sprawling, smoggy, sunny city. Yet, when people ask me where I’m from, I often respond with the city I attended high school in: Reno, Nevada.
There’s something about Los Angeles that feels unclaimable, at least as a hometown. Even conceptualizing L.A. feels slippery. I’ve noticed that people who have never spent time there gravitate toward its shiny exterior when trying to make sense of it: Instagram, Hollywood, Melrose Place, Erewohn. The decades-long joke is that when New Yorkers head to Los Angeles, they stop eating gluten, swap black coffee for pistachio matcha, and claim enlightenment after dropping acid in Joshua Tree.
The truth is that Los Angeles is more wild and interesting than outsiders give it credit for. It’s constantly changing, with neighborhoods so varied you can walk one block and feel like you’re in a different country, thanks to its thousands of micro-cultures where Scientologists, Beverly Hills housewives, Frogtown baristas, Boyle Heights taco chefs, and Hollywood celebrities coexist. It’s my favorite city I can’t imagine living in again (lack of water and an abundance of traffic are real concerns), but love to visit. Read on for highlights from my recent trip, a local’s guide to L.A., every single item I packed, and photos from our Morning Person event!
I met Jess Kane, a born-and-raised Angeleno, when we both worked at an L.A.-based lifestyle brand together. A friend and trusted work wife, she also quickly became my go-to for dinner recommendations, which makes sense: I’ve never met anyone so generous, engaged, and curious about other people or genuinely delighted by a perfectly chewy sourdough pizza crust. Jess turned her innate love of gathering with people over meals and experiences into a website of meticulously curated travel guides on her site, à la carte. Before heading on my trip, I asked Jess for her top L.A. food recs, and she delivered with 37 (!) unmissable spots across the city…
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