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The Bizarre Side of Los Angeles

Every place has its own eccentricities, and that makes it more interesting and worthwhile to visit (and re-visit). Los Angeles is no exception; in fact, many may say that the word “weird” is relative to L.A., which has its large share of off-beatness.

If you are tired of doing the same old stuff in Los Angeles and you think you have tried all what the city (and the rest of the county) offers, it still has got a lot more tricks up its sleeve. Here are the following examples of the more bizarre (but way cooler) side of Los Angeles:

1) Alpine Village
Somewhere in the sunny L.A. you’ll find a little slice of Bavaria. Yes, you’re right, and you can find it at the Alpine Village located in the city of Torrance in Los Angeles’ South Bay.

You don’t even have to fly to Germany to celebrate Oktoberfest, because you can celebrate it right here at Alpine Village. In fact, this place holds the biggest Oktoberfest in the whole of Southern California. This shopping complex also houses a beer hall which offers a vast selection of imported and craft beers on tap. If you also crave for some entertainment, come to the village every Wednesday and Sunday for their broad and diversified selection of music and events. Don’t expect to find malls, though.

2) California Institute of Abnormalarts
A notorious sideshow museum and nightclub in North Hollywood which opened in 2001, the California Institute of Abnormalarts really stands true to its word. It is out-of-this-world, freakish, kinky — and there’s nothing else quite like it. Dimly lit and rather sleazy that’s deviating from the standard museum look and ambiance, the California Institute of Abnormalarts chiefly hosts music shows, performance art, underground movies, puppetry, burlesque, freak shows and more. Highly recommended for people who are into this kind of thing.

 

3) Velveteria
Bored with seeing conventional paintings and other blah artwork? Then check out Velveteria, located in Los Angeles’ Chinatown area. Its main attraction is the paintings which are done in black velvet, and that alone would keep you intrigued and engaged. Run and curated by a couple, Carl Baldwin and Caren Anderson, Velveteria features 450-odd black velvet paintings of classic and modern portraits of many known personalities.

A particular favorite of the visitors is the cool black-light room, where these spooky-looking artworks actually do seem to come to life as they glow in the dark.

4) Clifton’s Cafeteria
If you are a passionate foodie and you want to go to other places to eat other than those swanky five-star restaurants or conventional cafes, the absurdly big and iconic Clifton Cafeteria is the best way to learn a little more about American food and restaurant history. It is the one of the oldest surviving cafeteria-style eatery in Los Angeles and the world’s biggest public cafeteria. It used to be one of the eight restaurants run by a wealthy owner named Clifford Clinton (the name “Clifton” is a combination of his first and last names). Clinton was a devout Christian and his Christian philosophy was also applied to the restaurant’s policy – that no customer should be turned away hungry. Ray Bradbury, during his days as a struggling writer, used to eat there often because he had no money to buy food.

Now it doesn’t sound quite bizarre, right? But that’s not just about it. Nightclub operator Andrew Meieran bought Clifton’s in 2010, and had it renovated before reopening it in 2015. The new Clifton’s is now some sort of an exhibit as you will be dining in the company of several taxidermied wild animals which include a lion, a bison, a deer, a brown bear and many others, some of them encased in glass.

5) Devil’s Playground
If you want to see the best contemporary burlesque, you should check out Devil’s Playground, located on 901 E. 1st Street in downtown L.A.. It is best known for incorporating nerdy or geeky elements to their standard burlesque routines. This combination may seem inconceivable, but in reality, the formula proves to be a success for Devil’s Playground. One of their famous shows is their Star Wars-inspired “Star Girls,” which they perform frequently. Other bizarre and cleverly themed performances include “Comic Book Vixens,” “Video Game Girls,” “Tales from the Crypt,” the Harry Potter-inspired “Cherry Potter and the Wizards of Burlesque” and even a strange tribute to the ex-The Smiths frontman Morrissey.

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