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Quirky side of Los Angeles explored

Royal/T and Typhoon are two quirky L.A. eateries that will certainly leave a lasting impression with its patrons.
January 22, 2012 12:00:00 AM PST
For those who may think they've seen it all, we bet you haven't! Eye on L.A. pulls you away from the typical L.A. tourist traps and takes you on a wild ride through the quirky side of L.A.Eye on L.A. teamed up with the popular website HiddenLA.com to explore the strangest, oddest, most interesting spots you may have never even heard of.

Hidden Los Angeles

Created by former tour guide, Lynn Garrett, whose family first settled in Los Angeles in 1905, Hidden L.A. has become the go-to website to find answers related to our city. Want to find someplace new to go, something cool to do, or an L.A. bakery that makes those German cookies you loved as a child? With a fan base of over 230,000 active members on their Facebook page, posted questions will usually get you about 100 interesting suggestions, most of which you've probably never heard of before [Watch video].

Charlie Brown Farms

In looking for a "quirky" location to present this week's show, Eye on L.A. definitely discovered one of the quirkiest! Located off the 14 Freeway in Littlerock, Calif., Charlie Brown Farms is the Antelope Valley's largest and most unique gift shop. They've got everything from candies of every decade dating back to the early 1900s and unusual food items like Ostrich and Emu eggs, alligator sausage and chocolate covered bacon, to giant dinosaurs, the House of Dolls and much, much more. Charlie Brown Farms has a little something for everyone and a lot of eye candy!

Quirky things to do in Los Angeles

Quirky comes in many forms in Los Angeles! Whether you're 77 or seven or anywhere in between, Eye on L.A. found some quirky things that folks of all ages can get out and do.

Cirque du Soleil - Ovo

Cirque du Soleil returned to Santa Monica with a new big top production, OVO. The show premiered Jan. 20 under the trademark blue-and-yellow Grand Chapiteau (Big Top) at the Santa Monica Pier

OVO, meaning "egg" in Portuguese, is a headlong rush into a colorful ecosystem teeming with life, where insects work, eat, crawl, flutter, play, fight and look for love in a non-stop riot of energy and movement.

The cast of OVO is comprised of 55 performing artists from 14 countries specializing in many acrobatic acts. One highlight of OVO is the stunning flying trapeze act, in which six flyers soar 40 feet in the air, making this the biggest act of its kind to ever be presented under a big top by Cirque du Soleil. It combines many circus disciplines, including banquine, Russian swing and swinging chair. The finale features 20 artists running, jumping and leaping up a 24-foot vertical wall [Watch video].

Tickets are available at cirquedusoleil.com/ovo.

Accomplice: Hollywood

Co-produced by actor Neil Patrick Harris, Accomplice: Hollywood is a theatrical experience unlike any found in a theater. Part game, part theater, part tour, Accomplice takes its audience on a mysterious journey through the city. Using the sprawling backdrop of Hollywood as its stage, utilizing elements of improv theater and scavenger hunt, Accomplice will make you laugh, think and experience the city in a whole new way [Watch video].

The Accomplice sites, naturally, are kept secret - the fun is in the surprises! Accomplice: Hollywood is a 2-1/2 hour show which takes place entirely on foot throughout Hollywood Boulevard and neighboring streets. Tickets are $65 and include a few drinks and light appetizers. Groups of 10 are encouraged, but smaller groups and solo sleuths are welcome. Parking recommendations are provided after tickets are purchased. Accomplice: Hollywood shows with groups of 10 people begin every half hour from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., Saturdays and Sundays.

EYE DEAL:
Accomplice is offering Eye on L.A. viewers discounted $50 tickets to Accomplice: Hollywood, Accomplice: New York (Downtown Manhattan), and Accomplice: The Village (Greenwich Village, NY) - a $15 savings off the regular price.

Just go to www.accomplicetheshow.com and enter discount code EYEONLA.

Richard Simmons - Slimmons Studio

There are few things in life, let alone in L.A., quirkier than Richard Simmons. But who knew you could actually take classes from the fitness guru himself and for only $12? Eye on L.A. discovered if you want a serious workout that's also fun, Slimmons Studio is the place to go.

Simmons also has other fantastic instructors at his studio, but you should call ahead or check out his website to see when Richard himself is in town teaching classes. Wearing a different costume to every class but bringing the same love and compassion to every student, a Richard Simmons class at Slimmons Studio in Beverly Hills is a quirky L.A. experience not to be missed [Watch video].

Bob Baker Marionettes

A Los Angeles landmark for over 51 years, the marionettes theatre is a must-see for kids of all ages. Owner and master puppeteer Bob Baker has pulled the strings for over 500 movies and worked with Hollywood greats Elvis Presley and Judy Garland among others. Bob Baker Marionettes is an L.A. landmark in great need of local support. Be sure to experience this magical place while you still can. Each show lasts over an hour and can feature 100 puppets. Tickets are $10 each. Show themes and times change, so check the website or call the box office [Watch video].

Altadena Gravity Hill

It's the stuff legends are made of - a spooky hill where your car rolls upwards! Some say it's a haunted hill, others say it's just an optical illusion. Eye on L.A. says, whatever it is, it really does work! It's definitely a fun little spot to show your friends or kids. Put your car in neutral and watch as your car appears to roll uphill [Watch video].

Directions:

  • From Highway 210 in Pasadena, head north on Lake Avenue.
  • Turn right onto Altadena Drive.
  • Turn left onto Porter and go until it ends at E. Loma Alta Dr.
  • Turn left on Loma Alta.
  • Go over a few dips and around a couple of corners.
  • Go up the hill and right around the second sign for Sunny Oaks.
  • You will be facing "downhill," evergreen trees to your left with something that resembles a flood control channel past that, a wall of rock and dirt to your right.
  • If you go over a bridge after curving to the left you've gone too far.

Quirky Shopping

Eye on L.A. discovered a few, one-of-a-kind quirky shopping spots that you can find only in L.A.

Time Travel Mart

If you're a time traveler from the past or future in need of a few hard-to-find shopping items like spare robot parts, food for your wooley mammoth or some leeches to cure what ails you, the Time Travel Mart is just what you're looking for. This "convenience store" and novelty gift shop is actually a fundraising store with all the proceeds benefiting 826LA, a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting students ages 6 to 18 with their creative and expository writing skills. The organization also helps teachers inspire their students to write.

826LA provides after-school tutoring, evening and weekend workshops, in-school tutoring, help for English language learners and assistance with student publications [Watch video].

Galco's Soda Pop Stop

Galco's Soda Pop Stop is a nostalgic store stocked with over 500 kinds of soda pops - some from the past and some unusual new flavors like cucumber, rose petal or mint julep, anyone? All sodas are bottled in glass from small, family-run companies. Located in Highland Park, orders can also be shipped from their website. The store also carries nostalgic candies [Watch video].

Quirky Homes and Gardens

Eye on L.A. found some quirky homes with oddly shaped architecture and locations with unexpected surprises and some downright weird art gardens. If these places are next door, you know you have some quirky neighbors!

Beverly Hills Witch's House

Originally built in 1921 as an office and set for silent films at Willat Studios in Culver City, the Witch's House was moved to the corner of Walden and Carmelita in Beverly Hills and became a private residence in 1926. Its second owner named the home the Spadena House and it carried that moniker until 1998 when it was purchased by real estate agent Michael Libow.

Libow started what he thought would be an easy kitchen and bathroom remodel on the house and ended up doing a full renovation, removing just about every right angle inside and replacing them with curves and details truly fit for a proper witch's house, including the incredible gardens designed by renowned landscape artist Jane Marshall.

After almost a 12-year renovation, Eye on L.A. was given an exclusive, first look inside the iconic home which draws over 3,500 trick-or-treaters every Halloween. Libow has also teamed with the Green Halloween organization to promote non-toxic costumes and healthier treats [Watch video].

Old Trapper's Lodge

The Old Trapper's Lodge is a sculpture garden hidden in an agricultural area of Pierce College in Woodland Hills. It is the brainchild of John Ehn, whose early life as a trapper in Michigan's Upper Peninsula is depicted in the sculptures and headstones that dot the park.

Ehn moved to California in the 50s and hired a sculptor who also worked on the sculptures at Knott's Berry Farm to make a sculpture of him. After watching the sculptor work, Ehn decided he could do that too, and for the next 30 years, using his family as models, he did just that.

The giant sculptures originally lived at his motel in Sun Valley called the Old Trapper's Lodge. When that was razed to make way for Burbank Airport, a preservation society called SPACES convinced Pierce College to give the sculptures a second home.

You will have to search to find it, (hint: it's off El Rancho Drive, behind the red henhouse near the Equestrian area) but like a treasure hunt, it's well worth the effort [Watch video].

Jail House Inn

Owned and operated by a former criminal prosecutor, Sierra Madre's Jailhouse Inn is literally the "old jail" which is located in the historic City Hall, in the quaint village of Sierra Madre. Deemed the smallest hotel in the U.S., the quirky, single unit, bed and breakfast measures a cozy 200 square feet.

But don't expect bunk beds and tin cups at this jail house retreat. The inn features a comfy queen size bed, plush towels, fine linens, bathrobes, an LCD TV/DVD player combo (with a selection of complimentary DVDs), CD player, small refrigerator, coffee maker and complimentary beverages and munchies.

Rates are $195 (without breakfast) for a one night stay, or $155 per night for two or more nights. An additional $5.00 per person per day gets you a full breakfast at Corfi Restaurant right across the street.

Check in time is 4 p.m. and check out time is 12 p.m. The inn accepts personal or business checks and cash only. Credit cards are not accepted [Watch video].

Quirky Dining

L.A. boasts thousands of restaurants, but Eye on L.A. found a few that take dining to a whole new level.

Royal/T

Royal/T is a combination tea cafe, art gallery and gift shop in Culver City that spans 10,000 square feet. The cafe is modeled after the "maid" cafes in Japan, where servers dress as maids, a nod to "cosplay," short for "costume play," which has its origins in Japanese animation, games and anime.

The art installation is behind Plexiglas following Japanese custom. There are special events monthly, some private and some free to the public. Artists exhibit their work, and there are quirky items for sale at the gift shop. Royal/T is open for an eclectic lunch and brunch on weekends featuring bottomless mimosas. They close at 6 p.m., except Wednesdays when they're open for dinner. Check their website for free exhibits and events [Watch video].

Typhoon Restaurant

Located at the Santa Monica Airport, Typhoon offers delicious dining with a fantastic view of planes taking off and landing on the runway right outside the window. Eye on L.A.'s Tina Malave found that in addition to serving some of her favorite Pan Asian dishes, Typhoon also has an amphibian and insect menu which includes frog legs, Taiwanese crickets and Singapore Style scorpions [Watch video].

Josh Gates

Check out Josh Gates' new book, "Destination Truth: Memoirs of a Monster Hunter." World adventurer and international monster hunter Josh Gates has careened through nearly 100 countries, investigating frightening myths, chilling cryptozoological legends, and terrifying paranormal phenomena.

He invites fans to get a behind-the-scenes look at these breathtaking expeditions. Follow Gates from the inception of the groundbreaking hit show (at the summit of Kilimanjaro) to his hair-raising encounters with dangerous creatures in the most treacherous locations on Earth. Among his many adventures, he unearths the flesh-crawling reality of the Mongolian Death Worm, challenges an ancient curse by spending the night in King Tut's tomb, descends into a centuries-old mine to search for an alien entity in subterranean darkness, pursues ghosts in the radioactive shadow of Chernobyl and explores sightings of Bigfoot from the leech-infested rainforests of Malaysia to the dizzying heights of the Himalayas.

Part journey into the unexplained, part hilarious travelogue, part fascinating look at the making of a reality-based TV show and featuring never-before-published photographs, Destination Truth takes readers on the supernatural expedition of a lifetime.

See the complete list of all of the places featured on this week's episode.

[Original air date: Oct. 30, 2011]


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