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When it comes to content creation, Tony Pierce has just about done it all. He’s an experienced social media manager and writer who worked for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences; a respected journalist, editor and blogger formerly of The Los Angeles Times, LAist and SoCal public radio station KPCC; and the author of the books Blook, How To Blog and Stiff (based on his writing for the legendary Busblog). These days Pierce is the host of Hear In LA, an ambitious podcast exploring Los Angeles one neighborhood at a time (when he isn’t prowling LA streets as an Uber/Lyft driver). Pierce is a Chicago native (and a die-hard Cubs fan) who has called the City of Angels home since the 1980s when he moved here the day after his high school graduation. I asked him to share a few of his favorite LA neighborhoods.
There are over 250 neighborhoods in LA. For the next 19 years I will be going to each of them and talking with at least five people per ‘hood and posting our conversations.
Of the 70+ episodes we’ve done so far, here are five where I learned the most.
I had little love for Chinatown. It seemed shabby and uninteresting. Then Joey Ng, a friend of mine from the blogosphere with incredible and discerning taste, moved there and explained how wrong I was. As the former right hand woman to American Apparel’s Dov Charney, she was not afraid to keep it real. She went on in great detail about some of the newer restaurants she often orders from (she’s a mother of two small kids). Then she educated me on why I should stop buying fast fashion just to save a few bucks.
3. Granada Hills
The smartest Uber driver in America is named Sergio Avedian and he lives in Granada Hills. In the 1980s, he and his two buddies moved from Turkey to Los Feliz after graduating college. None of them knew how to speak English. Sergio immediately bought a Smokey and the Bandit Trans Am with the T-tops. He quickly learned English, worked on Wall Street, made enough to retire early and began driving Uber after hearing his friend go on and on about it. Sergio became obsessed and has been studying the ride-share platforms with the intensity he had in the stock market. He now co-hosts the most in-depth YouTube show about Uber and Lyft on the Rideshare Guy channel.
2. Carthay Circle
After I complete an interview I often say to the subject, “See, that’s it. Do you know anyone in the neighborhood who I should feature next?” In this case photographer Michael Rababy said, “Yes, my neighbor across the street used to play bass with Bob Dylan and was best friends with Andy Kaufman.” And then he called his neighbor who said, “Come on over.” Gregg Sutton was all of those things, and also a chain-smoking marvel who had way more rock n roll stories than I was expecting.
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