Fitness
How to buy dance shoes in Chinatown

How to buy dance shoes in Chinatown

Salsa dancing can get expensive, what with the lessons, the club covers, and the new dance-friendly outfits. A good pair of salsa shoes alone will generally run you at least $100, if you get them at a dance store. So when I heard a rumor that you could buy dance shoes in Chinatown at less than half the cost, my interest was piqued! The place to go is apparently the 800 block of North Broadway, variously known as Chinatown Plaza, Dynasty Shopping Center, or some other permutation of those words. This block houses a big collection of small booths that offer everything from jewelry to housewares to clothes to shoes. I hear this place can get really crowded on weekends, but when I rolled in early afternoon on a weekday, I had the place practically to myself. All the businesses were open but the salespeople — Asian one and all — were really just hanging out on their own, eating lunch from tupperware containers, chatting on the phone, humming pleasantly to Chinese music while sweeping straightening things out. Mostly, the booths sell cheap clothes, ranging from polyester kimonos to polyester prom dresses. Because of this, I found the place a […]

How to start salsa dancing in Los Angeles

How to start salsa dancing in Los Angeles

Once upon a time, as in a few years ago, a friend dragged me to her beginner’s salsa dancing class. I learned how to do the basic step and right turn — and instantly developed a semi-addiction to salsa — For writers especially, salsa dancing is in many ways an ideal hobby. Writing is solitary and sedentary. Salsa — being social and active — balances that out. It’s also one of those social night time activities that women can do alone — no need to try and talk a girlfriend into coming with you if you decide you want to go dancing last minute. Many women arrive at salsa dance clubs solo. If you just decide to drop by a salsa club at midnight tonight though, without ever having danced before, you might get a bit intimidated by all the confident strangers shimmying across the floor like semi-professionals. Thus, some tips for easing into it: 1. Take a lesson or two. Let me save you some time. If you really want to learn salsa, take lessons with Danella Dutton. Danella’s a dancer, actor, and choreographer — and IMHO, the best salsa teacher in the L.A. area. Her always energetic and […]

Los Liones Trail: Best place to hike with your state senator

Los Liones Trail: Best place to hike with your state senator

I’d made a vague New Year’s resolution to hike more often — and done nothing about it — when an email popped into my inbox with this subject: Santa Monica Mountains Hike with Senators Allen and Stern! Post-elections, I’d signed up for all my elected officials’ email lists, vowing to be more politically engaged. And now, my state senator Ben Allen was inviting me to go hiking: The Santa Monica Mountains offer exceptional outdoor recreation, with beautiful views and wildlife sightings right in our backyard. Please join Senator Henry Stern and I on Sunday, April 2, for a morning hike in the Santa Monica Mountains. We will be discussing our efforts to preserve state parks, protect open space, and other environmental policy priorities. I RSVP’d right away — then showed up Sunday morning at the base of Los Leones Trail. I got there a little late but luckily, Senator Henry Stern got there even later, so really I was right on time! It was a nice pleasant hike up and a gorgeous view from the overlook, where we hung out for a while. The senators (above; Ben left, Henry right) talked about their efforts to protect California’s environment — especially […]