ABOUT

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Take one step into my friend Su Wu's loft and you can see her blog, I'm Revolting, come to life. Each decorative element has her thumbprint, perfect in it's imperfections. At first, you don't think twice about the decor, only because everything from the copper flatware to the double-headed naked man sculpture sitting on the edge of her bathtub clearly just belongs. Every piece has a unique trip and a story attached. I've never seen anyone shop with such enthusiasm and confidence. I sometimes outwardly question her purchases only to eat my words later when I see them placed so carefully, yet effortlessly within her world.

A few months ago, I asked Su to collaborate on a personal guide to LA. Neither of us wanted to create a list of the best burgers in town, but rather a personal documentation of places in LA that have left an impression on Su's life. They have been carefully narrowed down to five places to experience. Brian and I will be eternally grateful to Su for sharing her secret spots, and for letting us use her words to share them.

-Mimi Jung, Brook&Lyn



I'm Revolting's Field Trip is part of the
"Brook&Lyn now in LA" collaboration series.
Click here to view them all.

I'M REVOLTING's


LA FIELD TRIP

SMOKING
DEATHS
BILLBOARD

Santa Monica Blvd and Veteran Ave

A decade ago, M. lived in an apartment overlooking this billboard, with its digital counter tallying the number of “Smoking Deaths This Year.” The numbers tick upward, of course, an argument for the reliability of human frailty, of never learning better, a marker of fatal mistakes. Except! For this once a year when at midnight the billboard resets to zero, and you can stand out on the balcony with M. in the warm Los Angeles winter and suck in the stuff that might kill you, and revel in a few too brief seconds of nothing you’ve done being nothing you shouldn’t have done, and the mistakes still ahead, still uncounted.

Snack Break: Herbal grass jelly, rice balls and a small drizzle
of caramel on Taiwanese-style fluffy shaved ice milk at Blockhead.
I like the basic plain or speckled black sesame, in a real bowl.

CLUES

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The house was rented and big: 28 rooms and two refrigerated fur closets, the former Canadian consulate.

Didion writes about watching her daughter Quintana Roo in the backyard of this house, weeding the clay tennis court.

That photograph of Didion, the one where she’s wearing a floor-length t-shirt dress and blowing a puff of smoke in front of her Corvette Stingray and a two-door garage.

From an interview: "The night they did the LaBianca murder, they were driving along Franklin Avenue looking for a place to hit, and that's where we lived, and we had French windows open, lights blazing all along on the street."

JOAN
DIDION's
HOUSE

Franklin ave west of La Brea

Finding Joan Didion’s house and standing in front of it will tell you nothing about yourself or about how to write sentences that will break the heart of a 15 year-old girl, who will never get over it. But a few weeks ago, when things were falling apart with far too much civility, A.R. and I decided to track down the house Joan Didion lived in when she wrote The White Album, during a period of time when Didion said she “began to doubt the premises of all the stories I had ever told myself.” The house ended up being the first one we saw, on Franklin Ave. west of La Brea, though we wouldn’t know it until later when we did a public record search. These are the clues we started with, and they’ll get you there if you’re looking

Snack Break: Seasonal produce from the Hollywood
farmer’s market: little plastic baggies of onion sprouts,
purple haricot vert, chioggia striped beets, whole bunches
of fresh garbanzo beans still in their shells.

THE
ROTATING
FOOT

W Sunset Blvd and N Benton Way

Jonathan Lethem wrote about this sign on Sunset Blvd. in Echo Park, and so did David Foster Wallace. On one side there’s a cartoon of a smiling foot, wearing sneakers on its own feet. On the other side the foot leans on crutches, its big toe bandaged. The sign rotates, and it has no stake in your life and it doesn’t care about your feelings, so if you have a decision to make, drive down the hill and wait for your first glimpse of the foot as you turn the bend. Happy foot? Sad foot? There’s your answer.

Snack Break: $3 bag of fruit chopped-to-order from
the guy at the car wash (pineapple, watermelon, cucumber
with chili and lime).

OBSERVATION
DECK

Los Angeles City Hall

It takes three elevators and a walk through a metal detector to get to the best view in Los Angeles. It’s a bit shabby behind the columns but with a sort of grand bureaucratic charm, like bird poop on marble and oil paintings of dead mayors and finding yourself completely alone on the top five floors of the city’s main government building at 3:30 in the afternoon. There’s a view from City Hall of county jail and my apartment, of parking structures where they make no sense and fountains and the river, and of the hills above Chinatown flowing into the city. In the corner of the 27th floor observation deck is a small locked door that is rumored to lead even higher, to the very top of the obelisk. They say there’s a room up there just large enough for one person, empty except for an old rotary telephone. Don’t pick it up. It’s a giveaway you were there.

Snack Break: $2.50 pork pate banh mi sandwiches
at Banh Mi My-Dung or a plate of simple small fried fish
and fresh warm tofu with ginger syrup at CBS Seafood.

DIRECTIONS

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Turn off PCH and head north, until you hit the town. Make a U-turn and look for a guard rail, with a small turnoff against the cliff edge just big enough for one car. Walk down behind the rail and look for signs that someone else has walked here before you, and then follow that for a minute or two. The tunnel entrance is pretty unmistakable.

TIME
TUNNELS

Topanga Canyon

I don’t know the lore of westside high schoolers, or why they’re called the Time Tunnels, but there is something timeless about teenagers needing someplace to spray paint and smoke weed and be brave, and to act like the world hasn’t already been discovered, every corner of it. This was A.K.’s spot, around the turn of the century. It’s not even a tunnel, really, just a storm drain behind a metal guard rail off Topanga Canyon Rd., surrounded by poison oak. If you are foolhardy enough and shimmy down the drain, you’ll emerge a few minutes later into wooded, dappled sunlight, and there’s a stream below the rocks. It’s the most romantic place I know of in Los Angeles, dotted with pieces of cars that flew over the side of the road.

Snack Break: Salad pizza—a sesame-seed flecked
bagel-crust pizza topped with lettuce, feta, tomatoes and
avocado in tart lemon vinaigrette—from Abbot’s Pizza.

THE END


CREDITS



Written by Su Wu of I'm Revolting

Website and photography by Mimi Jung and Brian Hurewitz of Brook&Lyn

View the complete Brook&Lyn: Now in LA collaboration series