Every Friday, we pick one of our favorite past write-ups to re-feature. This week, it was our August 2010 column on L.A. mainstay Michelle Marini (focusing on her history, turning her first bar The Lava Lounge into The Woods in PART I and the opening of her now established downtown nightlife hotspot, The Woods in this Part II)
(photo by Jessy Plume for TRAFFIK)
“If you’re going Downtown, I may as well be on your way“
– “Downtown” by Tegan and Sara
In Part One of our feature on nightlife proprietor Michelle Marini, we discussed a little bit of her personal history with “tinseltown” and the City of Angels (if you missed it you can click here to read it). In Part Two, we will be learning a little more about her influences, current project, and what she hopes to accomplish with this new venture.
In January of 2009 we asked Michelle Marini, what she would like to tackle next. She responded with, “I’m angling to open a small bar in Gallery Row Downtown. It’s a super artsy, fashion-minded community that’s in the making.”
Intrigued, our conversation continued.
Why Downtown? What made the idea of opening something up Downtown first pop into your head?
Marini enthusiastically replied, “During Artwalk. Fall ‘08 I believe. I felt like I was in Manhattan, and loved it!”
Ultimately, this decision and idea eventually (more…)
(photos of Michelle Marini inside of the Woods by Jessy Plume for TRAffIK- click on images to enlarge)
Fresh from the grand opening of her new Downtown Los Angeles lounge, The Falls (626 S. Spring St. L.A, CA 90014), eternally youthful and fashion savvy Michelle Marini (co-owner of the Woods 1533 N. La Brea Blvd. Hollywood, CA 90028) has demonstrated time and time again to the “City of Angels” that she has staying power.
In a city where good-looking people can be found on every corner, it’s just as easy to write them off as it is to notice them. Why should we? They’ll be replaced by at least dozens more in just a few months or even weeks. San Francisco Bay area native Marini, is an exception to that rule. Possessing both good looks along with business savvy and an inclination towards the arts and creative expression (which she’s incorporated in some form or another into all of her ventures), Marini is anything but dismissible and has demonstrated that she can hang with the big boys without giving up her high-heeled shoes.
Fashion is a “manifestation of my mood, changing every day, likely three times a day.”–Michelle Marini
On the surface, Marini may appear as just another typical Hollywood socialite type as she could rival many of those that appear on the covers, pages, and segments of “those” magazines and shows that plague the city with paparazzi. One of the first things you’ll notice about her is her fashion-forward attire. Although we would definitely agree that Marini, hands down has a much better fashion sense than most of those socialites (who more often than not count on the aide of stylists). Citing Rachel Zoe as someone whose style she admires, “I’d watch her show, Rachel Zoe Project, over and over, just drooling. Her vintage pieces captivated me the most.” Marini describes her fashion style as, “seeing fashion as a manifestation of my mood, changing every day, likely three times a day. I love the 60’s and 70’s eras most.”
Her love for those eras was further exemplified after revealing that she would love it if moustaches (which she describes as so “70’s cheesy/sexy”) on men and big huge top hat sized bee hive fall type wigs (“60’s glam at it’s height”) made a comeback.
When asked if she felt there was anything lacking in the world of fashion this day in age, Marini stated, “The only thing I miss is that it’s impossible to make a defining statement with fashion. I was a teenage punker, really put some people off, which is exactly what I set out to do. You can’t accomplish that easily now, everything is accepted by the mainstream.”
Although a trendsetter from the womb and yet despite that “young punker” desire to be an individual, even her “How I Got to L.A.” story is actually quite relatable and typical of many of those that make up this city’s population. “[I] was at UCB [as] a Biology major, changed to Art and transferred to UCLA. Plus, I was dating the guitar player from SoCal Punk band TSOL, so that was a bit of the draw,” states Marini.
It was the following that solidified Marini as a rare individual, who walked the walk and not just talked the talk.
“I used to hang out at Three Clubs Bar an inordinate amount of time. Then, in 1992, there was hardly anywhere else to go. I figured Hollywood needed another bar and I’d be the gal to do it. And, no, I did not have an inch of experience at the time.”
A short time later the Lava Lounge was born (which a few years ago she turned into the Woods, but we’ll get to that), the friendly little tiki bar, which most Angelenos and visitors to the city will know this unassuming blonde from best.
Initially, the Lava Lounge was to be a haven for Marini’s expansive circle of friends, or as Marini describes “an intimate clubhouse,” however, due to it’s prime location in Hollywood (located off of Sunset Blvd. and La Brea Blvd.) “later, when it caught on, we had to have Gold Cards made with people’s names on them to make sure they could get in front of the throng,” Marini revealed.
Lava Lounge was an oddity among the surrounding establishments that made up the pretentious Hollywood nightlife, which inadvertently at times did become a “haven” to Hollywood celebrities who wanted to go somewhere where they could fly under the radar and have a drink. (more…)
What’s So Funny’s Featured Comic:
WSF: What has brought you to Los Angeles?
You havent heard about the shortage of actors in LA? Didn’t want it to be a a dying breed. Ok, this is how we’re gonna start this interview off? By answering every question like an 85 year old grandmother?
WSF: How did you become involved in the industry?
I’ve always been a sucker for attention. I was a dancer when i was younger, and used to compete nationally. I actually watched some of the tapes the other day and it’s funny because we were so awful. But, I guess for 9 year olds we were awesome, it would make a kick ass reality show now. I went to one of those “Performing Arts High Schools,” so I was a total musical theater kid, but I cant sing. So because i could dance, i basically played a prostitute in every play. By my second year of college, i was done. I knew I had to move out to LA, and so I packed up and left.
WSF: What is the best and worst part of being a comedian?
The hard thing for me, I cant speak for everyone, is being able to turn “off.” Once people know youre a comic they want everything you do to be entertaining, and I always feel like i gotta give it to them. So there are times I catch myself wondering if I just said what i wanted to, or what i think they wanted me to. Weird, huh?
That, and for me –’cause i’m so new in this game– it’s trying not to compare your successes with those around you. If i see that someone is doing a show i haven’t or something that I think is better than what i’m doing. I’ll start to panic. So, I think it’s important to remember that we all have our own path in this and not to compare journeys. Sounds so “namaste” but it’s SO freakin’ hard! (more…)
It’s always important for us here at TRAffIK to support our friends in whatever they do just as they support us. It’s only right that we give them some props on this site from time to time. Espree Devora and her company ZexSports have been big supporters of who we are and what we do on a personal and professional level.
If you aren’t familiar with ZexSports, it is the “most comprehensive database of quality action sports events.” So, if you’re looking to find out what’s going on in the worlds of BMX, MOTO, Skate, Skim, Snow, Surf, or Wake then http://zexsports.com is where you need to head. They get the info direct from the source–the action sports companies, the pro athletes–because those are their friends.
Here is a sneak peek into that world via their video “A Day in the Life” with Rick Thorne, who stresses the importance of hard work (which we couldn’t agree with more). Also making cameos in the video are the Von Zipper crew as well as our friends of Draven/Select Distribution (found on Part 2 – which if you’ve never been to their offices/warehouse you should make the trek down to the OC as they’ve got a lot of cool stuff)
You wanna go to a place where everybody knows your name?
Jay and Nikomi Arroyo take their customers on a Phlight for some wine, dine, and a place you’ll always find your friends or make new ones.
This power couple brings Whittier peeps big city ambiance to LA’s historical suburb. The friendly couple know just about every face that walks thru the door and the staff is responsible for providing the remarkable service that is prompt yet easy going. The Victorian-style buildings and brick paved streets have taken a twist and co-exist with the newer restaurants and entertainment that have come around. The Arroyo’s have paved the way for this traditional community to mix up the old school with the new school giving non-Whittier residents a reason to visit the Quaker Village and current Whittier residents a reason to stay and keep coming back.