Have you seen this place?

Every business traveler outside of Los Angeles tries to get their company to spring for the SLS Hotel. Sure, it's pricy. But the girls in the bar are to weary travelers what Samantha Fox was to men in the 80's. The place is chic and situated right on Restaurant Row. But I don't see people venturing out of the hotel to eat. Not with the addition of The Bazaar. The lobby, bar and restaurant are on a sprawling first floor, with mismatched furniture and conversation pieces pushed together to make intimate little spaces. This is also one of those places where everyone is checking out everyone to see if they're someone.

Myself and some friends gathered for cocktails at the bar, and I ordered a smoking concoction made with dry ice. I ordered it for the name; Smoke on the Water. And did it smoke! I looked like an evil chemist. 

This place is fun!


Guiseppe the Albino Praying Mantis!

When I first moved to Los Angeles, I marveled at the oddities of nature. Those gigantic swan-type plants that bore bananas, the endless varieties of succulents and glamorous palm trees. One thing I thought we were short on, was insect life. And I was fine with that! L.A. is too dry for mosquito infestations, and as an East Coaster, I was thankful for it.

popping out to greet me after a long day
Then I realized something - the nicer the neighborhood, the more nature takes over. I was so used to living in the concrete flatlands of Hollywood, that wildlife was an afterthought. I didn't even see bees. Then we moved to Studio City, at the foot of Laurel Canyon. Holy coyotes in the driveway on summer nights. Black widows under patio rocks. Moths smothering our porch lights and a wasp nest in the lemon tree.

making his way to his nightly perch; my shoulder
All of this was fairly unnerving, until we met Giuseppe. He's the albino praying mantis that used to hang out on our front porch. Grayish and papery, my husband and I thought it was the shell of a praying mantis. I said, "I didn't know they shed their skin like snakes." As we inched closer to the specimen, it suddenly turned his head towards us. We jumped. 

He even started popping out during the day
But a new friendship was born, and Giuseppe would pop out from behind the porch light when I came home. He liked to jump on my hand and crawl up my arm. He'd rest on my shoulder as I walked around the yard. To him, it must have felt like flying. He preferred the top of my head when we walked, but he was so big, that when he moved it felt like someone was brushing my hair. It gave me the creepy crawlies. He'd come into the house and stare at the glow in the fireplace. So mesmerized he was, that he didn't move his shiny triangle face from it for a second. 

Evening stroll
Then one day he was gone. We looked around the porch light but only saw the corpses of the moths he sucked dry. No trace of his easy-to-spot body anywhere. His color made him an easy target, and Lord knows he was too trusting. It's been months, we was always keep an eye out, just in case. He's a reminder that nature is a joy, and not a nuisance. Readers, since there's a chance you think I'm a bit loopy because of this, rest assured that I have no intention of trying this with coyotes. 



Burbank Airport, CA

If you want a creative way to write the word "cheese," fine - but rules are rules. Phonetically it still has to sound like the word "cheese."


the entity house

Martin Scorsese has a list of the 11 scariest movies he's seen, and The Entity is on it. The fact that it's based on a true story makes it scarier. The fact that it happened in L.A. makes it awesome. At least for me, since I can drive by and gawk. Not so much for Doris Bither, who claimed to have been brutally raped by the house's ghosts. According to her, she was gang-banged, bitten and beaten by four Asian male spirits.

Unlike the Amityville House, where the owners claiming supernatural activity have long been suspected of sensationalism and general attention-whoring, Doris Bither wanted answers. She held her ground and refused to move. She invited paranormal specialists to come in and film, photograph, and use every measurement tool in between, per below.

The paranormal team claims to have encountered some activity. Was Doris Bither crazy? Chances are she was. Even if she was telling the truth, the ghosts surely bought her a first class ticket to Bonkerville. The events were significant enough to make a Hollywood film about it, starring Barbara Hershey and Ron Silver. And it scared the bejesus out of Scorsese. This was enough of a reason to do a drive-by with a couple of friends. The home did have a dark quality, but that's because it was painted a dark mustard color. And the lumpy stucco job was inlaid with dirt and dust, nestled into all the cracks from years of dry winds and little water. Not to mention the big unidentifiable thing nailed to the door. The only object that humanized the place  was a monster of a truck, freshly washed and gleaming out front. 

We weren't scared and there was no Asian Rapist Vibe, if there can be such a vibe. But it's right off the 405 in Culver City, which makes it a go-see, if you're on the Westside.

The Entity House: 11547 Braddock Dr. Culver City CA.