The Unofficial Guide to Valentine’s Day In LA

According to The Daily Beast, Los Angeles is rated the twelfth best city for love in America. So while both singles and couples may want to DirecTV their nights in and be OK with that, romance abound, Angelenos! Valentine’s Day is sorta lame-o if you do lame-o things, so here’s a round-up of awesomeness that’s happening in and around the city, specifically for the big love day. There’s something for everyone – from the fundamentally socially awkward single to the hip-hop loving fist thrusters – so let love rule in the city of Angels!

All the Single Ladies (and Gents)
Singles should head straight to the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre for the Valentine’s Day Singles Mixer. It’s a show where the improv group uses the audience’s (your) own terrible love stories as performance fodder. This “mixer” actually takes place tonight, February 12th, at 11pm – perfectly timed to snag a date for the real V-Day.

Boozy, Fancy, and Romancy
Impress your blind date with a table at Pour Vous, one of the swankiest drinking dens in Hollywood. It’s dimly-lit and moody, with a Victorian-themed interior, and lots of candles that amp up the romance. For Valentine’s Day, Pour Vous is offering a package for two that includes a two-hour reservation (8 pm-10pm), four oysters paired with a glass of champers, a cheese plate paired with cocktails, and chocolate paired with Cherie for $100. Oh, and there’s a special Valentine’s Show. It might include a scantily clad girl in a cage. Show up with a reservation to find out.

Foodies Paradise
The just-recently-reopened A.O.C is offering a four-course prix-fixe dinner with a bunch of tastings you might love more than your date. Executive chef is Suzanne Goin, who’s been named "Best New Chef" by Food and Wine magazine and is a James Beard Best California Chef award winner. Don’t bring a date that doesn’t understand good food. The night will end bad.

Fist-Thrusting, Power 106 Date
Love is in the Nokia Theater, thanks to Power 106’s Valentine’s Day Crush concert featuring Ne-Yo, T.I., and RaVaughn. We’re pretty sure Ne-Yo will perform his hit single “Let Me Love You.” If the concert strikes you as a little too urban, you can follow the huge wave of old white people heading to Costa Mesa for Kenny G.

Celebrity-Stalking, Fish-Obsessed
Get your Smartphone cameras ready! There’s no red carpet, but those familiar with one (George Clooney, Jessica Simpson, etc.) shack up at Koi Restaurant for some of the best sushi in L.A. (baked lobster roll, anyone?). Considering the high-profile diners, you’ll feel like a VIP yourself. The restaurant has some dishes specifically designed for Valentine’s Day, like Cupid’s Arrow (spicy albacore dish with strawberries and more good-times fixtures). You should probably make a reservation.

Next-Level Seriousness
Because you might propose, make it West Hollywood memorable. Mondrian Los Angeles whipped up a crazy-cool Dream Proposal package that includes three nights in a penthouse suite, private five-course dinner prepared by Asia De Cuba’s executive chef Chang Sivilay, bottle of Dom Perignon, styling and glam sesh from Drybar/Blushington/Stylehaus, four-carot Tacori engagement ring, and engagement party at SkyBar for up to 50 guests. The package is estimated at $105,000 and available until February 19th. Don’t forget to invite us to your wedding.

[Related: BlackBook’s Exclusive Valentine’s Day 2013 Playlist; BlackBook Los Angeles Guide]

Follow Jimmy Im on Twitter here.

Julie Klausner Went To A Cat Fashion Show and It Was Great

You’re probably still recovering from Labor Day weekend, still trying to gather your bearings and wondering how long you can half-ass it until all your responsibilities come crashing down in the worst way. So before all the stress and anxiety starts to pile on, let’s all gather round for one last act of frivolity, in the form of watching a video about a cat fashion show. 

Earlier this month, author and comedian Julie Klausner visited the Algonquin Hotel for its annual Cat Fashion Show for The Daily Beast, and interviewed the various designers and participants (but sadly, few actual cats) about their sartorial choices.Among the highlights is an interview with a woman dressing a cat descended from the African serval in what appears to be a futuristic Hugh Hefner robe. "If he ever went back to the African plains wearing that, they’d probably pick on him." The dapper feline’s owner agreed without hesitation. Watch the rest below. 

Jodie Foster: “Lay Off Kristen Stewart, You Guys”

Jodie Foster, Patron Saint of Child Actors Who Grew Up and Didn’t Fuck Up Their Lives, worked with actress and tabloid-star Kristen Stewart eleven years ago in David Fincher’s claustrophobic thriller Panic Room. It was the bond the two stars shared while stuck in a closet (um, pun not intended) that inspired Foster to speak out about the public ridicule of Stewart following the news that she cheated on boyfriend and co-star Robert Pattinson.

In a terrific op-ed on The Daily Beast, Foster writes a very heartfelt piece about what it’s like to grow up in front of the cameras, and how, if she could do things differently, she would not have become an actor at all. In a particularly poignant anecdote, Foster recollects a conversation with Stewart’s mother on the set of Panic Room:

She turned 11 during our shoot and on her birthday I organized a mariachi band to serenade her at the taco bar while she blew out her candles. She begrudgingly danced around a sombrero with me but soon rushed off to a basketball game with the grip and electric departments. Her mother and I watched her jump around after the ball, hooting with every team basket. “She doesn’t want to be an actor when she grows up, does she?” I asked. Her mom sighed. “Yes … unfortunately.” We both smiled and shrugged with an ambivalence born from experience. “Can’t you talk her out of it?” I offered. “Oh, I’ve tried. She loves it. She just loves it.” More sighs. We watched her run around the court for a while, both of us silent, each thinking our own thoughts. I was pregnant at the time and found myself daydreaming of the child I might have soon. Would she be just like Kristen? All that beautiful talent and fearlessness … would she jump and dunk and make me so proud?

She goes on to defend Stewart, not for her behavior (which, despite happening in front of a paparazzo’s camera, was indeed part of her private life), but of the way she has handled the attention:

Cut to: Today … A beautiful young woman strides down the sidewalk alone, head down, hands drawn into fists. She’s walking fast, darting around huge men with black cameras thrusting at her mouth and chest. “Kristen, how do you feel?” “Smile Kris!” “Hey, hey, did you get her?” “I got her. I got her!” The young woman doesn’t cry. Fuck no. She doesn’t look up. She’s learned. She keeps her head down, her shades on, fists in her pockets. Don’t speak. Don’t look. Don’t cry.

My mother had a saying that she doled out after every small injustice, every heartbreak, every moment of abject suffering. “This too shall pass.” God, I hated that phrase. It always seemed so banal and out of touch, like she was telling me my pain was irrelevant. Now it just seems quaint, but oddly true … Eventually this all passes. The public horrors of today eventually blow away. And, yes, you are changed by the awful wake of reckoning they leave behind. You trust less. You calculate your steps. You survive. Hopefully in the process you don’t lose your ability to throw your arms in the air again and spin in wild abandon. That is the ultimate F.U. and—finally—the most beautiful survival tool of all. Don’t let them take that away from you.

It’s a pretty powerful message from a strong, accomplished woman who has learned how to keep distance between her personal and professional lives.