LA is popularly defined by its most recognizable landmarks: the stateliness of the Hollywood sign, the dignity of the TCL Chinese Theatre, the grace of the Santa Monica Pier, etc. But spend an extended period of time here, and the sights that were once wonders begin to fade into the background, allowing some of the city’s less obvious architectural curiosities to take the spotlight.
In light of that, it’s high time we acclaim the roadside attractions, buildings, and sculptures that demonstrate that there’s more to this beautiful city than meets the eye. Ready? Take a look at what people have to say about these great landmarks!
216 N. Brand Blvd., Glendale
“It feels special, like Christmas, when you go see a show there. It’s elegant and Art Deco and feels like it’s haunted. I saw a production of Scheherazade, and I’d love to see a pre-Hays Code film there—something like The Blue Angel with Marlene Dietrich.” – Margaret Cho, comedian and actress.
Donut King II
15032 S. Western Ave., Gardena
“I imagine I have to feed my billboard because at night she walks around when nobody is looking. She eats that giant donut. There’s also a giant hot dog in a museum, and that big beer barrel in North Hollywood is adorable, although I would maybe paint them all pink.” – Angelyne, entrepreneur.
1122 W. 24th St., University Park
“One can’t help but be impressed by the panoramic viewing hall as well as their
amazing garden, complete with gazebo, located in the back. You can be filled with knowledge, wonder, and beauty all in one afternoon. As a wise man once said, ‘It’s awesome!’” – DJ Lance Rock, actor.
Chase Bank, Hollywood
1500 N. Vine St., Hollywood
“I first came to L.A. to do reviews on Entertainment Tonight, and we filmed across the street. I suspect that not one in a hundred people who walk by take note of this wonderful artwork that pays tribute to Mary Pickford, Charlie Chaplin, and the famous and forgotten of Hollywood.” – Leonard Maltin, film critic.
2560 N. Beachwood Dr., Beachwood Canyon
“It smells like aged wood and has beautiful stained-glass windows. It was home to Orson Welles’ theater group and is now a center for the Theosophical Society. It’s a perfect little time capsule from when L.A. was even more rustic and utopian than it is today.” – Moby, DJ and musician.
Sunset Foot Clinic
2711 W. Sunset Blvd., Silver Lake
“Legend has it that if you pass the rotating sign and you see the happy foot, you’re gonna have a good day. But if you see the sad foot, well—you’re fucked. I don’t believe in superstitions, but the foot has either been incredibly accurate or very good at psychologically influencing me.” – Charlene Yi, actress.
6710 La Tijera Blvd., Los Angeles
“Consistency is key to our success. I preach it every day. The public needs to be able to depend on us. The cooks are here rolling out biscuits hours before we open. The gravies are on the stove being made from scratch. We’re slicing ham; we’re breading chicken; we’re preparing our waffle batter.
First, my dad opened Pepy’s. Then he opened up Holly’s—that was where they filmed parts of Pulp Fiction. A year later came Pann’s, and my dad thought Pann’s was a jewel. ‘The Ultra of the Southwest,’ that was his term. He was so proud. Mom worked the floor with a sparkle in her eye until she was 95 years old. There’s a resin storyboard near the entrance that traces their lives from Massachusetts to Greece to Nashville with little airplanes and chef’s hats and champagne glasses embedded inside. There’s a little blue foot and a pink foot. I’m the blue foot.
My dad was infatuated with the luxury of Las Vegas and the elegance he saw in the plush booths and the cork ceilings. He was introduced to architects Armet & Davis and Helen Fong, who had the design abilities to satisfy his infatuation with the futuristic components of the Space Age.
We have this elaborate neon sign and rock-covered roof that reaches close to the ground, with floor-to-ceiling glass so diners can enjoy the tropical landscape. It was California casual living with open spaces and sunshine.
Pann’s was ahead of its time. It was part of the future, and it was as exciting as Disneyland. People would come just because of the architecture, and that excitement is still here.” – Jim Poulos, owner.
All of these amazing landmarks make Los Angeles the amazingly unique city that we love, and it’s important to appreciate all of the wondrous architecture in our great city: not just the touristy things!