In the heart of old Los Angeles, just above Downtown in the area known as “Mid-Wilshire” lies a place. A neighborhood once referred to as “La Brea,” and still, to this day, called by that same name. A dreamy enclave bubbling beneath sun-drenched mists like some kind of new-west Avalon. Wait… that’s just the smog. And those are the tar pits. I think the weed is kicking in…
Tasked with bringing the hard truth out of an even harder city, our press team had to match a razor’s edge, on top of being sharp. They were: our producer Norma. Schott Toplin, action photographer and Victorian costume designer extraordinaire. Dmitiri Flavian, film photog and lithographer. A college intern, and myself, Steav Z Rikers.
LA BREA COLLECTIVE
Our journey began in one of the better known corners of town. If not better known, then better loved. The La Brea Collective–a city staple in tokier circles–met us with open arms, waving a metal detector stick and asking us to place all possible weapons into a plastic bin as we passed through the gate.
Once inside, we discovered the Trader Joe’s of dispensaries. Cannabinoid pixie goddess manager Amber helped us through the national forest’s worth of green, eventually landing on Yoda’s Breath, The Incredible Hulk and Real Deal Gorilla Glue. As well, the newest shipment of concentrates had crept in the backdoor just before we, so Amber gave us the full queue, with the help of resident dab queen Lauren and Cameron the rockstar. After a gram of the Jupiter OG butter and Master Kush hash, we had donated enough to have a spin of the “Dank Wheel,” or “Wheel of Danktune” as we like to type it. Our prize: a sexy little form-fitting La Brea Collective t-shirt that shows off our figure beautifully.
HAROLD A. HENRY PARK
From the Collective, earmarked next, whisper told, was a magical alcove nestled out of the way of foot and fin. The Harold A Henry park. What we found was a 50 yard perimeter of fence, enclosing a construction site that ran the entire length and width of the park. Men at work grunted, and sweated, and labored through the muck. And our team holed up at one of the least esbesthosed corners of fence for our research.
About halfway through our spliff, we noticed something suspect. Two broad-shouldered Armenians getting mouthy with the foreman led us to understand that the whole site was a front. Sending Schott in for a closer shot, we were remiss when his bumbling ass crunched one leaf too many. The goons noticed, and sicked their cronies on us with a snap and gargle.
We were off in a tizzy. Camera gear and smoking heads tore ass through exposed pipe and soil to the Honda Civic press van, hot at the tip of about seven Armenian drug runners. After a few silky moves, our producer Norma pointed out a little corner joint that looked perfect for housing a few journos on the lam.
TOP ROUND ROAST BEEF & THE PITS
Top Round, a roast beef sandwich shop with killer shakes and frozen custard was just what the don’t-get-caught-by-killer-drug-dealers doctor ordered. And since we could still hear the Armenians sniffing around the block, we made a quiet exit for the tar pits to lay low as the sun went down.
The twelve dollar charge to get into the tar pits exploratorium was a bit much for the five minutes of entry we’d be allowed, but the LACMA outdoor galleries and sculpture gardens were more than enough to feast our hungry press on. Excavations of the tar pits are underway, and as members of the press, we knew that it’s a cover-up, so we sent the college intern into the restricted areas to do a little digging. Literal digging through the tar, as the rest of us had photo opps with the statues of Rodin and men’s asses. Her investigation was in the end, an utter failure, as she was forcibly removed from the premises. But nothing more was expected, in truth. So we took her to the bar to drown any possible feelings of anything.
And Little Bar was where we landed. Boasting a Happy Hour of $5 on all drafts, well and wine from 5PM to 8, the team had a lot to choose from. So rather than choose, we bought the lot. And 8’o clock quickly came to closing, even with a jukebox light on Bowie. The lovely barkeep Erin asked us kindly to leave after Dmitri and the intern buried an olive spike through Schott’s naval. We decided she was right in doing so, and left accordingly.
All in all, our time spent in La Brea was a rich one. Not in funds, but in spirit. And thankfully so. One can only hope those who follow will see similar dividends.
supplies: La Brea Collective–
- hash- Master Kush, ½ gram -$12
- wax- Jupiter OG Butter, 1 gram -$50
- flowers- Yoda’s Breath, 8th ounce -$25
- The Incredible Hulk, 1 gram -$15
- Real Deal Gorilla Glue, 8th ounce -$45
grub: Top Round–
- sandwich- “Black & Bleu” -$7.95
- shake- “Chocolate” -$4.95
- fries- “Curly” -$2.95
hydration: Little Bar–
- beer- Shipyard Monkey Fist IPA -$5 (happy hour) $7 (rich people time)
- Humboldt County Hemp Ale -$5 (happy hour) $6 (boring hour)
- Allagash Black -$5 (happy hour) $7 (repo time)
- cocktail- Miracle Mule (dry gin, lime juice, splash of grapefruit, St. Germain, ginger beer) -$12
Little Bar Old Fashioned -$12
- special- Shot of Whiskey & High Life -$9
Red Eye (Kahlua shot in a Downtown Brown) -$10
Words by Steav Z Rikers
Pictures by Schott Toplin and Dmitri Flavian