This story is over 5 years old.


Kevin 'Spanky' Long Loves the Diversity of West Hollywood

He loves to walk around the neighborhood at night because he knows there's always something going down, even when it's quiet.
Photo courtesy of Kevin Long

In honor of our new VICE Guide to Los Angeles, we asked some LA-based musicians and artists to act as our virtual tour guides and fill us in on their favorite spots in the city. This time, we hit up pro skater Kevin "Spanky" Long to tell us where to find the fascinating weirdos of West Hollywood.

VICE: What are your favorite places to eat?
Kevin Long: Part of what I like about this neighborhood is that for Hollywood, it is a neighborhood where you can walk around a lot.


I go often to the Silent Movie Theater. They play a lot of weird art house movies and have a lot of special events, and a really well-curated selection of strange films you wouldn't get in other places. Inaka is a sort of fancy Japanese place. And Little Ethiopia is not too far down and I like to go there a lot.

I go to Barney's Beanery occasionally, even though the food's really shitty. I grew up in LA, so a lot of the places in this neighborhood my dad would take me to when I was young. They have a lot of nostalgia for me.

What are some of the things you like about LA now?
When I was younger I preferred cities where everything was just happening and you could step outside and it would just hit you in the face, like New York. You know, where the fun is just everywhere.

I think LA is a city where you have to be a little bit more intentional. You have to get in your car, just seek out certain things, and sometimes you have to make a plan, but I kind of like that now. I've just found a rhythm in it. The lack of convenience is made up for in the space and what you can actually find.

What neighborhood spot do you recommend to first time visitors?
An old classic staple is Canters. That's the place where you'll find a lot of those old timers who have been here, and the bar next to it Kibitz Room is one of the last dive-y sort of places in this neighborhood.

Where do you go when you want to clear your head?
I honestly like just walking around this neighborhood at night. It's really quiet, but then there's still always something jacked going on. There are certain little streets where you're definitely going to find some weirdos. Not that I'm out looking for that, but it's this weird dynamic where it's really quiet but then there's also some shit stirring.


I do really like down by LACMA. They have that big Chris Burden sculpture with all the lights. I like the way that looks, and that's a staple now for this neighborhood.

Also a big part of this neighborhood, which has been sort of the hub, is Supreme, which is right down the street. When I've got nothing to do and I'm in between going on tour, I come back and go over there and check in with all of my pals. You could just kill a day there in the back of Supreme. You just know you're going to run into a bunch of your homies. It's been the connector in a way.

Do you have a go-to coffee or breakfast spot?
Commissary. That's right behind my place and I usually go there in the mornings. They make super great coffee and they're nice people.

Describe the vibe of the people you'll meet in West Hollywood.
There's kind of every sort of person here. I've been here for so long that I have blinders on to that stuff these days. I've actually been conditioned to not notice all the actor types and things like that on a day-to-day basis. You have to be intentional around here. You have to just go and see your friends, or go and seek out what you're looking for cause you're not really going to step outside and be inspired straight away.

What do you think is the most distinctive characteristic of WeHo?
The diversity. Because there are those really strong cultural pockets that are just a couple of blocks away. On Santa Monica, west of Fairfax is the gay area. East of Fairfax, it'll be more of a Russian neighborhood. Down below Beverly, is the more Jewish area—although that's not as strong as it used to be because it's a little bit more gentrified in-between. I like that there are still those zones. Not because they're separated, but because they're hanging on to their hood. I've been here for so long, and I dig that about it.


Whenever I'm on Fairfax and it's so streetwear-ed out, it's really kind of sad. But there are still a couple of places where it's a little shoe store that's been there forever, and you just wonder how they still have that spot. I basically walk down and try and just hold on to the fact that that one store is still there. You know, like a weird decrepit tailor and they just have to have their super loyal customers that keep them going. It's a dying breed, but they're still around for now.

What's the best thing you can do in WeHo for free?
Go to a damn dinner party. Like BBQs and dinners—maybe that sounds old—but I think LA's good for that. Because people have to get together and then there's not always somewhere radical to go. People find ways to get together and utilize the space that you can still sometimes find around here, for not too expensive.

Do you have a favorite neighborhood character?
There's this guy who walks up and down Melrose, and I've seen him for so many years. He's this homeless guy, and he's always screaming really loud. So if you're not paying attention and you're walking past him, he might scream so loud in your face. But one day I saw him on a skateboard and he was ripping. He could actually fucking skate—and ever since then I've been so fascinated by this guy.

What's the weirdest thing that's ever happened to you in WeHo?
In the first apartment I was living in here, I just heard these people screaming having the most intense marital blowout. My roommate at the time and me were just sitting there in the living room in the afternoon like, "WTF man, what are we witnessing?" And then the argument repeated, and suddenly we realized, "Oh yeah, we live in Hollywood. They're rehearsing a goddamn scene."

This interview has been edited and condensed.

Check out more from the VICE Guide to Los Angeles.