Randi Bergman Takes Downtown L.A.

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Toronto-based writer/editor Randi Bergman recounts a recent trip to Los Angeles, a day after fracturing her arm in a seriously ill-timed bike accident.

8AM: I wake up in my swanky suite (I’m staying at the just-opened Level, a hybrid of luxury hotel and furnished apartment) propped up by the pillow tower I had assembled the night before. Having just fractured my arm while riding my new bike, my sleep positions are limited and lame.

8:15AM: I am hell-bent on catching some rays before heading out for morning meetings, so I attempt to throw on my bikini with one arm. After a somewhat failed attempt, I go in for yet another challenge: sunscreen (here’s my brilliant solution).

9:00AM: After a few minutes spent poolside (with a perfect view of Los Angele’s iconic Orpheum Theatre), I head back to my suite, where my friend Tiyana is waiting to help me get dressed for a day of meetings.

9:30AM: We head down the block (even though it’s within walking distance, everyone drives in Los Angeles) and grab coffee at Urth Caffe, an old standard for amazing health food and snacks.

12PM: My meetings are done and I’ve got the rest of the day to myself! I’m starving, and I discover my long lost favourite burger joint, Umami Burger, which I hadn’t been to since its Miami location closed down a few years back. I order the tuna burger and, despite my better judgement, a whole plate of truffle fries.

1PM: I decide to roam around the downtown core despite it being over 33˚c. I walk along Broadway, which is a serious tour of Old Hollywood signage. The street is lined with mostly-defunct theatres, now transformed into new businesses (the most ironic of which is an Urban Outfitters).

2PM: Across the street, I spot the Acne Studios store I’ve been Insta-stalking for ages. The store is housed inside the Eastern Columbia Building, which is a stunning example of L.A.’s art deco history. I hit a few more spots in the area including the just-opened Australian boutique BNKR and The Ace Hotel, an ultra-hip hotspot.

3:30PM: I’m sweaty and dehydrated, so I opt for an Uber ride over to The Broad, a newly-opened contemporary museum hosting an amazing Cindy Sherman retrospective. I happen upon Yayoi Kusama’s epic “Infinity Mirrored Room” (pictured above) and despite the months long wait list I had no idea I was supposed to sign up for, the docent lets me in for my Instagram’s sake.

6PM: I walk over to Grand Central Market, a supped up marketplace full of neon signs and hip gourmet stands. It’s been a few hours since my last transgression, so I order a cone from McConnell’s Fine Ice Cream.

7:30PM: I pack up my stuff and head to Tiyana’s beautiful pad in Silver Lake, where I’ll be sleeping for the rest of my trip. She helps me get dressed again because I am pathetic and we head out to meet some more friends at El Condor in nearby Echo Park for tacos and too many margaritas.

10PM: Upon my request, we head over to Jumbo’s Clown Room, a famously gritty strip club with a reputation for playing hard rock and entertaining the likes of Father John Misty. It’s everything I hoped for and more.

12AM: We haven’t had enough fun yet, so we head over to Harvard & Stone in Los Feliz, where a bunch of rowdy hipsters in wide brim hats are ordering bourbon as the band plays. Midway through our time there, the bartenders break out in an impromptu cabaret performance, which is amazing.

2AM: I construct another pillow tower and lay my poor arm to sleep. She’s had quite the day.

 

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Randi Bergman is a Toronto-based writer, editor and digital expert. She currently works with publications such as the Globe and Mail, Flare Magazine, The Kit and Vogue.com. Previously, she was the executive digital editor at FASHION Magazine.