Dave Koz's Los Angeles
Presented by Las Vegas
The acclaimed recording artist chats about a few of his favorite, local places, events and things.
Name: Dave Koz
Profession: saxophonist, recording artist, radio show host
City: Los Angeles
Relationship Status: Single
What are some of the things you love most about Los Angeles?
Being a native of Los Angeles I have a real appreciation for this city. But the thing that's underappreciated here is the diversity and variety -- how much there really is to do, and how many different cultures mesh in one city. You have to be willing to get in your car and just try a new area you've never been to... Korean BBQ in Koreatown, the best Chinese food in Monterey Park, a Sunday drive along PCH from Malibu to Manhattan Beach. There are fantastic parks, museums, great hiking trails... all just a short drive away from anywhere.
What are some of your least favorite things about Los Angeles?
Well, the fact that you have to drive everywhere (there's the catch 22). Traffic is a bitch, for sure, but you learn how to best circumvent it (Do everything late at night.)
What gym do you like most in Los Angeles? Why?
A gym dude, I'm not, but I just joined The Sports Club LA in Beverly Hills (got a free membership from playing on the Grammys this year)... but otherwise I have usually used the gym in my house.
What are some great restaurants for a night out with gay friends in Los Angeles?
CUT, Wolfgang Puck's steakhouse is a whole lot of fun and amazing food if you like meat. Yu&Mi sushi in Beverly Hills is as close to perfection as it gets this side of Tokyo for Japanese food. O-Bar in West Hollywood for the scene. Jar on Beverly has the best gourmet comfort food, and after a lot of time on the road, I like to venture there with friends to get a taste of home.
What are some great restaurants for a romantic gay date in Los Angeles? What about these restaurants appeals to you?
The patio at Orso is pretty tough to beat. Giorgio Baldi in Pacific Palisades is also very special... it's like a N.Y.C. restaurant... tons of energy, but it's also very romantic and moody. The food drives me nuts there, it's so good. And nothing is quite as romantic as a great Italian dinner with someone special.
What are your favorite gay bars and/or dance clubs in Los Angeles? What do you like about them?
I am not a big bar hopper -- and I rarely frequent dance clubs here. More often it's something I might do when I am traveling. But occasionally I will meet friends at The Abbey -- I remember going to that place when it was a tiny little dessert and coffee shop. It's massive now. I enjoy it most on a quieter night during the week.
Where is the best public place for a gay person to make out in Los Angeles?
I would say finding a quiet bench out of the way in the gardens at the Getty Center -- the view is unreal. It's a place you can literally spend hours and hours at -- looking at the exhibits, strolling, having a picnic on the grass at sunset.
What is the gay community like in Los Angeles? Do you consider yourself to be part of any particular "scene"?
I don't feel like I am part of the L.A. gay "scene," primarily because I travel so much -- but I have a great group of gay friends who live here and we spend a lot of time together -- and I am always open to meeting new folks at friend's get-togethers.
Are you involved with any LGBT community organizations in Los Angeles? Which ones? What do you like about those groups?
I am a big supporter of the Point Foundation. I love the work they do, giving LGBT youth the chance at a college education that they might've not been able to have, otherwise. I've worked a lot with GLAAD in L.A. and S.F. and A.P.L.A. L.A. has a fiercely committed group of people helping our community and the greater population... It makes me proud to be a native L.A. Gay.
What do you think of the annual LGBT pride celebration in Los Angeles? Do you usually attend? What are the highlights for you? What do you like least about it?
I haven't attended it in years due to being on tour, myself, every summer, but I used to love it. The highlight was going my first year -- I was barely out to friends and family... it was such a strange, yet wonderful feeling to be there, part of something large and significant.
Do you have a particular fashion style? Where do you shop for clothes?
Not sure what I'd call it... hodgepodge?! I love H Men on Sunset Blvd -- you always can find something unique there... and I like unique. Barney's and Saks Fifth Avenue Mens stores are great as well. Lately, I am really into J Lindeberg and John Varvatos.
Where do you go for other forms of entertainment -- live theater, concerts, movies, art exhibits? Are there any local gay performance groups, bands, or artists that you're a fan of?
I'm a huge movie buff (my last CD was "At The Movies," a tribute to the music of film) so I love going to the Arclight Hollywood... assigned seats, no ads. It's the most civilized movie-going experience. And it can be very gay there, too. I like going to see live music. I don't really pay much attention to whether the act has gay members or not... it's all about the music. Disney Hall in Downtown L.A. is a masterpiece and The Ahmanson Theatre for Broadway productions is wonderful.
If you had gay friends visiting from out of town for the first time, what are some "musts" that you'd recommend they see or do?
No brainer: The Hollywood Bowl -- the quintessential thing to do in L.A. Bringing supper and eating in your own box at the bowl... followed up by a wonderful concert (it really doesn't matter what's playing), is the one communal experience that young and old, gay and straight, in fact everyone can enjoy... and it can only be found in L.A.
What city (or cities) in America would you most like to visit next, and why? Are there any specific spots there (theaters, nightclubs, historic sites, etc.) that you'd really like to see?
I've had the opportunity to not only visit but perform in so many great cities in the U.S. with the work I do... I never take it for granted. I never tire of Washington, D.C., Minneapolis/St. Paul, New Orleans, Memphis, Boston, San Francisco, N.Y.C. and Sedona, AZ. Each of those cities is filled with its own unique energy that I love to feed off of.
Dave Koz is a number-one selling, six-time GRAMMY nominated jazz musician. Capitol Records will release "Dave Koz -- Greatest Hits," featuring four brand new compositions, including first single “Life In The Fast Lane,” already at No. 12 on the charts, on Sep. 16. Koz will be honored with a star in the sidewalk on Hollywood Boulevard’s Walk of Fame in 2009. For more information, check out: http://www.davekoz.com.
(Images courtesy Getty)