[LA Love] The Last Bookstore is the Only Bookstore You Need

Photo by Daniel Leist Photography

Photo by Daniel Leist Photography

Though we haven’t yet fine tuned the ability to time travel, thanks to the power of the written word it’s possible to walk into a room and simultaneously transport yourself in a thousand different directions spanning the course of several millennium, in irrational, fantastical ways.  Where science boldly says no, literature proudly asks ‘Why Not’ in a thousand shades of possibility.  Over the past few weeks, I’ve proudly ebbed and flowed through my bookshelf with new eyes and an open mind – there’s no topic to small to ponder and no question to big to tackle; but often that leaves me holding seven books, wishing I had six extra sets of eyes so I could read all of them at once.

After seven years in Los Angeles, it’s easy to believe that you’ve seen it all – but let me tell you, in a city of bewilderment, wonder and constant creation – there’s always something hiding just around the corner, waiting to make your day; which is precisely the case with The Last Bookstore.   An exciting hodge podge of new and loved books and records that shop frequenters can buy, sell and trade – the Last Bookstore the largest independent bookstore in the world, and  simply the only bookstore you’ll ever need in your life.  Considering w shops like Borders and Barnes & Nobles falling by the wayside, this very well might be the last bookstore we have left in LA.

Located in the heart of downtown Los Angeles’ Financial District, The Last Bookstore is much more than home to thousand upon thousands of stories, dreams, diatribes, poems, whimsical words and resilient reads.  The first story is a beautiful open air bookstore, with loads of literature for every type of reader, and high vaulted ceilings with a view into the shops of the Springs Arts Collective, with their unique creations peaking out for the world to see.  As you walk up the steps into the second floor, you’re whisked away in the same sort of wanderlust I lose myself in while reading.  Instead of noticing things in a sequential order as I ascended into the Labyrinth, they were all thrust upon my brain in simultaneous artistic attack.  Books were suspended in mid-flight, exploding every which direction to the delight of everyone around. Incredible sculptures crafted from books adorned the walls and aisles, while the floor was lined with contemporary galleries and art shops.

Photos by Daniel Leist Photography

Photo by Daniel Leist Photography


Two of my personal favorites were from David LoveJoy  (above) – a contemporary designer who forges unique, otherworldly designs, gadgets and gizmos – and the FOLD Gallery (below), the niche boutique brainchild of Jena Priebe. The third Thursday of the month marks Downtown LA’s Art Walk, and The Last Bookstore and Labyrinth gallery are definitely a hipster hot spot; but would you expect any less?

Additional Pics: Daniel Leist Photography

For more on The Last Bookstore, David Lovejoy’s art or the FOLD Gallery, head to their socials –

The Last Bookstore: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

David Lovejoy | #LoveJoyArt: Website | Facebook

Jena Priebe | FOLD Gallery: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

[The Audiofiles] A Rambunctious Chinese New Year with ill.Gates and The Good Vibe

All creation myths and stories aside, the Chinese Zodiac has always been one of my favorites.  There are many tales, some taller than others, about its origins, and the order of the animals but first lets delve into the Chinese Calendar itself.  Unlike our current Gregorian Calendar, a calendar that revolves around the Julian Calendar and breaks up the approximate 365 day year into twelve, somewhat irregular, slivers –  the Chinese Zodiac is based around the LuniSolar Calendar, which treks from one Winter Solstice to the next. Unlike most calendars, she’s a wonderful marriage of Geography and Astronomy through exploration and astute observation.  Currently, the Chinese Calendar has over 100 versions and is a beautiful consequence of evolution with deep roots in both science and folk lore. More often than not, the Chinese Calendar encompasses 12, if not 13 Lunar Cycles, Moon-ths – or as we know them now – Months.

Using the Summer Solstice and Winter Solstice as celestial markers, the year is then divided into 24 equal partitions. The first lunar month is dictated by the month with its first day closest to the “Beginning of Spring”, which ends up being around February 4th – 6 weeks before the Vernal Spring Equinox. With ornate costumes, boisterous music and vibrant life the week long Spring Festival for the Chinese New Years celebrates the coming of the New Year with enchanting style, grace and community.  Three years ago, I had the wonderful fortune of spending it in Shanghai with one of my best friends and let me tell you – it’s one festival not to miss.

As the fables go, one day – the Jade Emperor assembled the animals together in Heaven…for a race, or a banquet of sorts (FYI – there are a LOT of fables).  The first twelve to show up were the Rat, Ox, Pig, Ram, Monkey, Dog, Rabbit, Snake, Chicken, Dragon, Horse and the Tiger – and the Jade Emperor determined they were a perfect fit for the twelve calendar years. Over the course of their quest,typical shenanigans, mayhem and hijinks ensue – including the original prank of the Rat not passing on the invitation to the Cat. A cat lady through and through, I’ve always found it personally hilarious that I was born the Year of the Rat and was slightly dismayed – but now, I own it.  Rushing to the finish line, the Rat came in first place – the Ox next, but the Rat only won because he rode in on the Ox and jumped off at the last second, etc, etc; the Chinese Zodiac as we know it now is dictated by the order of the animals arrived in. An additional attribute from the Wu Xing, otherwise known as the Five Elements, governs over the universe and like the years of the Zodiac – each have their own unique characteristics. In the wake of the 2015’s New Lunar Year, we moved from the Year of the Wood Horse to the Year of the Wood Ram – and thanks to the Good Vibe, we did it in style. 

The upcoming year of 2015 will be rich in positive emotions and intoxicating amorous affairs; after all, its patron – the Wooden Ram – is exactly this way: it is kind, adventurous, easy to get carried away with something new and exciting, but similarly easy to lose interest…. Life is good and it is nice to have nice people around – this is the motto of this period’s patron; we should always keep this in mind. “

Living in Los Angeles, we don’t necessarily need an additional reason to celebrate – a Friday, Wednesday – or even a Sunday will suffice; but toss in an excellent festivity thrown by an impeccably run company, and the OG party people will come out to play.  Located in the heart of downtown Los Angeles, 333 Live was a new venue for my party pants and dancing feet – be it the amazing company, variety of vendors, wonderful vibe or the fact that there was ample space to move and groove to some sick beats, but I’m already excited for the next event thrown there, whatever and whenever it it might be.  From start to finish, the human species was on prime display as the evening was engulfed in delightful sets from two different rooms on separate levels of the club, which also boasted a tightly packed outside area fully equipped with delicious Dim Sum eats for anyone with an empty stomach. The Solid Gold room upstairs got rowdy to the sounds of Oh Diggz, Paragon, Lou E. Bagels, Mihkal and the Smasheltooth Pirate, while the Main Stage partied to Winnebago, The Good Vibe’s own J*Labs, and Ruffhauser before the midnight Lion Parade, fully equipped with a mobile, larger than life Ram that seductive dancers and an intoxicating cast of characters, including dance troupes, Bijoulette, the GoGo Stars and the Vibe Tribe.

The crowd got straight rambunctious when ill.Gates took control of the decks, wooing partygoers with epic drops and freshly improvised productions.  We managed to capture a couple on video, in case you want to relive the moment like we do –

Up next was Colorado native VibeSquaD, a favorite of ours from the Gem & Jam festival – I appreciated that he brought a new feel to his set for the night, throwing in more industrial bass than the first time I saw him.  And oh man, when he dropped “Chocolates” – the floor lit up.

As Friday the 13th evolved into Valentine’s Day morning, our night ended in the most perfect way – a wonderful set from Pumpkin that left us dancing until we were ushered out venue at 4AM. 

Photos shot by Daniel Leist Photography | For the full photo album head to The DJ List.

For more on The Good Vibe and the night’s headliners, head to their socials:

ill.Gates: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Soundcloud

VibeSquaD: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Soundcloud

Pumpkin: Facebook | Twitter | Soundcloud

The Good Vibe: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Soundcloud

[The Audiofiles] Wake and Shake Your Morning Blues Away with Daybreaker

Black. Deep Navy Blue speckled with grey, releasing into streaks of pink, orange and blue.  The moon was setting as the sun rose last Tuesday all the while, the morning sky faded from a delightful shade of dark to daylight. In my thirty years on the planet, I’ve never once considered myself a “morning person” by any sort of standards; the early bird might get the worm, but I’ve always considered myself more of a cat.

However, last Tuesday, I was up and at’em at 6:30 in the morning for the first time since I’ve moved to Los Angeles and not for a flight at LAX. Bright eyed and bushy tailed, with my party pants and my dancing shoes on, I was jumping around the living room jubilantly annoying my fiance.  “We’re heading to Daybreaker; get your game face on!”  The look that stabbed me back in the face was one of equal disgust and disrespect; didn’t I know what time it was and how much traffic there’d be, and I was crazy for wanting to drive into downtown LA..and then come back and work?  Yes, yes and oh, yes.  All of the above; but, I implored – that’s the point!

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Daybreaker is for the party girl, or boy, inside you that traded a 9pm rally time for a 9am call time; a night of partying for a night in the office.  And Daybreaker gets it, you deserve – well, a day-break! One thing I’ve learned about getting older, is that maturity is simply knowing when to be immature.

Of the lot of ‘Young Professionals’ I know, almost all of us come from a music, and party, fueled past – even if we don’t still partake in the same ol’ shenanigans.  We inherited 9 AM to 5 PM jobs after navigating a 9PM to 5AM party schedule, and we did it well – we have our own pads, we’ve manifested these real world jobs with regal responsibilities, our closets have suits, ties and fancy shoes, our lives are governed by to do lists…..and somewhere along the way, we became adults. Thankfully, Displaying IMG_0401DJLDJL.jpgDaybreaker does a fabulous job of reminding us that we can get down and get it together at the same time.

Whether you’re on your third wind and didn’t exactly sleep after an excellent night out, or you’re a sun chaser and enjoy the early morning hours – Daybreaker has a dancefloor for you. Out of the corners of Los Angeles, young professionals arose from their slumber to presumably extra funky ringtones with an effervescently bubbly disposition, hopped into their hybrids or carpooled with their cube-mates and like a well dressed and incredibly limber zombie apocalypse, descended on downtown LA. For the first time since it’s inception last year, Daybreaker was heading to the East Side of town instead of their usual haunt on the West Side and this kitten was excited. By the time we reached  The Springs Wellness Center,  the sun was shining and energy in the morning air was palpable – the city was up and at’em, eager to attack the day.

Displaying IMG_0384DJLDJL.jpgEither everyone got the memo, or we’re just that in sync – neon colors, tank tops, hipster chick and yoga pants of each and every amazing textile pattern you could think of were shimmering around the building, while KIND Energy Bars, Stumptown Coffee and tasty antioxidant drinks adorned the tables.   With the booty shakin’ beats of DivaDanielle, Daybreaker got LA goin’ up on a Tuesday – Morning, and thanks to the soulful and inspired slam poetry, we got our brains engaged and ready to tackle the day.  The event rounded up with a lovely morning mantra being passed around the room, for all of us to read together; it was truly an inspiring way to start the day.


Daybreaker Started out in NYC and has been waking and shaking across the US ever since, starting with dates in San Francisco, Los Angeles and London.  Keep your eyes on their socials, because the team could be bringing Daybreaker to a city near you! Next on the list are Amsterdam, Atlanta and Seattle.

Facebook Album:

Find out more –

DivaDanielle: Website | Facebook

Daybreaker: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram


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