Meet Amy

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Hi, my name is Amy Korngiebel. I’m a freelance television producer and a native Angeleno. I live in Los Feliz, an eclectic and friendly neighborhood situated between Hollywood and Downtown. Some of the things I love about Los Angeles: 87 neighborhoods, each with a distinct personality; the ocean; 2 hours to Big Bear; 2 hours to Joshua Tree; a spectacular variety of movie theaters, music venues and art galleries; the best Mexican food you can find.

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Los Angeles

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MUSEUM OF JURASSIC TECHNOLOGY

A visit to the Museum of Jurassic Technology in Culver City is a trip inside a cabinet of curiosities. It is at once a museum and a work of conceptual art. To begin with, the name of the museum is puzzling. The Jurassic Period ended over one hundred million years before the appearance of humanoids or anything that could be considered technology.

Even the museum’s appearance is dubious. The two-story labyrinth interior is veiled behind an unassuming windowless façade. The front door is always locked and you have to ring a bell to enter. Once inside the museum, it is difficult to tell fact from fiction. Some of the museum’s permanent exhibits include: an exhibit on old wives’ tales; a series of halls dedicated to the relationship between an opera singer and a neurophysiologist; a collection of microscopic sculptures and paintings. On the second floor, next to a room devoted to the dogs of the Soviet Space program, is a charming tearoom serving free tea and cookies.

The brilliance of the museum can be summed up in a quote from the museum’s founder, David Wilson: “Confusion can be a very creative state of mind; in fact, confusion can act as a vehicle to open people’s minds. The hard shell of certainty can be shattered…”

9341 Venice Boulevard
Culver City, California 90232
310.836.6131

Suggested Donations:
Adults, $ 5.00
Children aged 12 to 21, $ 3.00
Students in full time education, $ 3.00
Persons 60 years or older, $ 3.00
Unemployed persons, $ 3.00
Disabled Persons $2.00
Active service personnel in uniform $ 2.00
Children under 12, Free

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GRIFFITH PARK

If the traffic, mini-malls and plastic surgery are getting to you, get back to nature in Griffith Park. One of my favorite ways to spend the morning is hiking up one of the park’s many and varied trails. (Trail maps available on the park’s website.) After your hike, head to Trails Café for potato and egg a la Spain and some fresh-squeezed lemonade.

If you have kids, I recommend taking them to Travel Town, an interactive outdoor museum dedicated to railway history. Travel Town is pure heaven for any train-loving kid since they are encouraged to climb around, up and in the old trains. For a romantic evening, Griffith Park offers sunset horseback rides through the park that end at a Mexican restaurant in Burbank. A day spent in Griffith Park is sure to calm even the most jaded traveler.

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Griffith Park
4730 Crystal Springs Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90027
323.913.4688

Travel Town
5200 Zoo Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90027
323.662.5874

Trails Café
2333 Fern Dell Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90068
323.871.2102

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Los Angeles, California

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SHUTTERS ON THE BEACH

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Shutters on the Beach sits directly on the sand, a block from the Santa Monica Pier. This luxury hotel has the feel of a 1920’s New England beach resort – sophisticated, yet comfortable.  For me, absolutely nothing beats falling asleep to the sound of the ocean. The rooms are spacious and stylish, some have fireplaces; all have a balcony. The hotel’s spa One, offers full spa services. Shutters has 2 restaurants, the upscale One Pico and the more casual Pedals – both offer great meals. One Pico has perhaps the best Mother’s Day Brunch in L.A. After a rejuvenating walk along the beach, head to nearby Main Street for some of L.A.’s best shopping.

One Pico Boulevard
Santa Monica, CA 90405
310.458.4589

Avalon Hotel

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There is certainly no shortage of hip hotels in Los Angeles, but some stand out above the rest. My pick is Avalon Hotel in Beverly Hills. The small boutique hotel is hard to find, tucked between tall buildings and trees on Olympic Boulevard.

Custom designed contemporary pieces mingle with vintage mid-20th century classics to create a comfortable and chic hideaway. The rooms are spacious and each includes a separate sitting area; many have private patios. The hotel’s restaurant Blue on Blue features modern American cuisine and was named one of Food & Wine’s “50 Best Hotel Restaurants.” Avalon’s most architecturally beautiful and striking feature it it’s figure eight shaped pool lined with restaurant tables and cozy cabanas. Whether you’re visiting for work or pleasure, ease into the night sipping on the bar’s signature drink, the Blue Avalon (Bacardi, Malibu, blue curacao, Sprite and pineapple juice), in a poolside cabana.

9400 West Olympic Boulevard
Beverly Hills, CA 90212
310.277.5221

Los Angeles, California

We are in sunny Los Angeles this week and we couldn’t be more excited. Thank you Amy Korngiebel!

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Eastern Hemisphere- Dia Beacon

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Only a little over an hour away by train, Dia: Beacon is the perfect day trip to escape the city and see not only amazing art, but see it in the most beautiful setting.  It’s located along the Hudson River in the little town of Beacon, NY, and is a very short walk from the Beacon Metro North stop.

The sprawling building was once a carton making and printing plant, but was renovated in 2003 to the gorgeous, loft-like space that it is now. Huge glass windows and skylights let sunlight pour in and show views of the nature around the building, exposed brick and pipes add to the loft-look. I have to admit that I could be looking at almost any art in the building and just be in awe of the space itself. But luckily you get to see modern art by the likes of Richard Serra, Louise Bourgeois, Donald Judd, Andy Warhol, Gerhard Richter and so many more.
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I recommend packing a lunch and eating at the picnic tables on the museum grounds, and breathe in that sweet, less-polluted air. If the farmers market outside the train station is open, you must stop in for a very small, but yummy selection of food.
A round trip ticket to Beacon + museum admission is $27.75 through the MTA.

Photos by William Steinman

Cleveland, Ohio – To Do List

MUST LISTEN

Cleveland is a much stronger music town. Consider:

Pere Ubu

Rocket From The Tombs

Dead Boys

The Mice

Bill Fox

And if you include Akron (which is 45 minutes south of Cleveland) you can add The Black Keys, Devo and Chrissie Hynde. Good stuff.

MUST EAT

Cleveland is a great place for food. It’s hard to pass up a bowl of pho noodle soup at either #1 Pho or Pho Hoa, a steamed barbecue bun from KoKo Bakery, the hash browns at the West Side Market Cafe, a pastrami sandwich from Superior Deli, a cup of soup and a hunk of fresh bread from The Souper Market, the chunky handmade chocolate bars from Lilly’s, the insanely good Lolita happy-hour burger or a chili cheese dog at 2 AM from Steve’s Lunch, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg…

It’s also mandatory to knock back a cold one at a neighborhood bar. My favorite one on the east side is Mitzi’s (a.k.a. Jermans). If I am on the west side, I hit Now That’s Class.

MUST PACK

Cleveland has all four seasons – a hot summer, a chilly winter, and a brief (but lovely) fall and spring. What you will need to pack will depend on when you visit, but I would make sure to bring tough boots (in case you want to climb around crumbling warehouses photographing the ugly beautiful urban decay – one of my favorite past-times) and a jacket that can withstand any weather. Layers are a good idea – a sweater for over air-conditioned places in summer or sudden winter freezes and a long scarf that can double as a shawl. Most of the more interesting places to eat, drink and visit in the Cleve are pretty casual, so you can get pretty far with a good pair of jeans and a cute pair of flats, but I always like to have something a little dressy on hand for shopping expeditions or just in case I feel like making my dinner an occasion.

I would also plan on renting a car – the public transit is adequate but not time-efficient, and taxis are hard to come by. Cleveland is not densely developed anymore – little pockets of cool things are scattered like an archipelago across the city, and even if you are a champion urban walker, you will be hard-pressed to get from place to place. It’s not a terribly difficult city to navigate by car, but you will want to get a good map. If you happen to visit in nicer weather, a bike is a good option – the Ohio City Bike Co-op rents some of their fleet.

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Cleveland, Ohio

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The Velvet Tango Room

This is the place to go if you want a proper cocktail. The Tango Room is one of a handful of bars in the country that makes honest, old-fashioned drinks – the juice is fresh-squeezed, the syrups, bitters and sodas are house-brewed, everything is shaken by hand, and even the ice is specially formulated. Don’t expect anything with sugar on the rim or -tini as a suffix. I like the Apple Brandy Sours in the fall, Manhattans in the winter, Sidecars in the spring, Moscow Mules in the summer, and the French 75 all year long.

Call ahead for reservations in the back room Friday and Saturday nights – you’ll get a password that lets you in through a trick door to the inner sanctuary. Trust me – it’s worth a visit.

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Prosperity Social Club
This is my neighborhood bar of choice. At the back of the bar, there are stacks of old board games you can play, or you can try your hand at the vintage duck-pin bowling machine. It’s like like the rec-room of my dreams, and it’s the only place in the city that I know of where you can sit with a beer and play Connect-Four all night long. The food is pretty good, too.

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Cleveland, Ohio

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Room Service
This store in the Gordon Square Arts District of the Detroit-Shoreway neighborhood has a little bit of everything – it’s like an extremely well-curated miniature general store with a  whimsical, modern aesthetic. In addition to a variety of unusual homegoods and stationary, I keep an eye out for photographs and prints by local artists and the beautiful pieces of vintage furniture that show up from time to time.

6505 Detroit Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44102
phone: 216.281.4221
fax: 216.281.4228
email: info@roomservicecleveland.com

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Loganberry Books
It’s best to give yourself at least an hour when you visit Loganberry. Room after room is lined floor to ceiling with beautifully organized used books. Comfortable, squashy chairs and sofas beckon from the corners.

   You can browse through everything from gilt-backed first editions from the 1800s to small-press rarities to vintage magazines in plastic sleeves. The children’s section is especially wonderful – it’s an amazing resource for anyone interested in illustration or design.

The staff is extremely friendly and knowledgeable, and they can help you find just about anything. In addition to all the books, the store houses a bindery and a small gallery, and hosts readings and concerts on a regular basis.

13015 Larchmere Boulevard, Shaker Heights, Ohio 44120  
phone: 216.795.9800

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Murray Hill Schoolhouse
The Murray Hill Schoolhouse, located in Little Italy, has a small but wonderful collection of shops:
* Juma Gallery: This spot specializes in hand-crafted pieces by North American artisans.
* Sobella Paper Boutique: In addition to a generous selection of lovely cards, I like their sheets of specialty wrapping papers.
* Anne Van H.: This boutique is curated by local designer Anne Van Hauwaert, and in addition to her own creations features beautiful and unusual accessories, like printed featherweight cashmere scarves edged with pom-poms and shoes by Faryl Robin.
* Industrie: One of my favorites. It’s two wee spaces with an ever-changing mix of casual, luxurious things – everything from Frye boots to Conroy + Wilcox jewelry mixed in with Hudson Bay blankets and double-faced cashmere coats to woven rag rugs and custom floral arrangements and small waxed bags of Swedish Fish.

Murray Hill Schoolhouse
2026 Murray Hill Rd
Cleveland, OH 44106

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Cleveland, Ohio – Must Read

American Splendor – by Harvey Pekar.

This series is incredibly well known, and well worth reading (if you haven’t already). Harvey Pekar is the probably the most famous file clerk/jazz conniusseur/comic book writer in the world, and he is Cleveland’s curmudgeon laureate.

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d.a.levy & the mimeograph revolution – Ingrid Swanberg & Larry Smith.

d.a. levy was born and lived in Cleveland, and he is considered by some to be the grandfather of the zine. He self-published his own works and the works of others in mimeographed leaflets and pamphlets that were distributed throughout the city, and this book carefully compiles that ephemera.

Babbitt – Sinclair Lewis.

Many cities have claimed to be the basis of Lewis’s fictional city of Zenith, but he meant it to stand for any growing midwestern city. The passages detailing Zenith’s growth dovetail nicely with Cleveland’s history, and it’s a fascinating look back to the days when the rustbelt cities of the Midwest were growing things with no limit in sight and few worries about the future.

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Cleveland, Ohio

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Lolita
Michael Symon is a local hero. He runs two restaurants in the city – Lola and Lolita –  and while both are stellar, Lolita is my favorite. It has a cozy, neighborhood vibe and the kind of dark, dusky light that makes everyone look glamorous. I’m lucky enough to live right around the corner, so I like to duck in as often as I can for a glass of wine and a snack. Everything I have ever eaten there has been absolutely delicious, and they have the best happy hour in the city. If you are going for dinner, make reservations.
 
900 Literary Road, Cleveland, Ohio 44113
Tuesday – Thursday, 5 – 11; Friday + Saturday, 5 – 1; Sunday, 4 – 9

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Sokolowski’s University Inn
This is a 73 year old Cleveland institution run by the third generation of the Sokolowski family. Everyone from Bill Clinton to Martha Stewart has eaten there, and with good reason – it’s the closet you can get to having an old-school Clevelander make you a stick-to-your ribs lunch. Everything is served cafeteria style, so be prepared to grab a tray and dive in. While you eat your pierogies, you can marvel at the dizzying array of autographed photos covering the walls.

1201 University Rd. Cleveland, OH 44113
LUNCH: Monday-Friday, 11:00 – 3:00; DINNER: Friday, 5:00 – 9:00;  Saturday, 4:00 – 9:00

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FIRE

This is my favorite place in town for Sunday brunch – you can’t beat the $6 steel cut oatmeal “brulee” with poached apricots and candied almonds, although sometimes I succumb to the siren song of the cured salmon plate or the brioche french toast, and we usually have to get at least one order of the cinnamon sugar clay oven bread for the table.

Don’t even get me started on the Bloody Marys (served with house-made pickles). Afterwards, it’s a very short walk to the Shake Square Cinema to catch a Sunday matinee.

13220 shaker square, cleveland, ohio 44120
(216) 921-3473
monday closed, tuesday–thursday 5pm-10pm, friday–saturday 5pm-11pm, sunday 10am-2pm (brunch); 5pm-10pm

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