HOLLYWOOD DAZE is a place to discover (and re-discover) the great City of Hollywood. We like cocktails, creativity, shopping, and little events that pop up spontaneously, art and all things culture, intense fitness but also cheeseburgers — we assume you do too.
Join us on our mission to unearth all the wonderful secrets that Hollywood keeps, as well as the pop songs it sings aloud.
El Centro’s Hollywood rentals do truly seem to be the center of everything. There’s first-class dining around every corner, hikes and parks with breathtaking views, and a full calendar of artistic and cultural events every weekend. Whether you’re an LA native or new to the scene, keeping up with all the amazing things to do can be a challenge. Enter Will Lemon, a longtime Los Angeles local and insider who has recently begun curating events and programs for El Centro residents, bringing the very best of Hollywood’s unique and authentic culture right to your front door.
We sat down with Will to talk about his life, career(s), and what he loves so much about living in Hollywood.
Please give a bit of history of your time in LA, specifically Hollywood. How did you come to know the area so well? What resources helped you become a “local resource”?
I’ve been a working artist in LA since 2010. I started in New York in 2001 as a fine artist and then moved to working in fashion doing makeup. This led me into doing all things creative, everything and anything I could get my hands on. Also, having also worked as a chef in the Bay area and New York for years, I was immediately drawn to Hollywood’s bustling restaurant scene and its amazing farmers’ market. What’s great about Hollywood is when people come here, they come from all over. You get a great mix of language, food, culture, and style.
You’re a photographer, chef, musician, and it sounds like much more. How do you combine all those skills to create unique experiences for yourself and others you work with?
I started out as someone who loves creativity in general, starting with cooking when I was little. I was drawn to how food and color relate to each other, and how I could impress friends and family as a child. It all led me to looking at art in a different way. From there, I became interested in the fine art process, and then music came into the picture in a natural way. I wrote a rock opera in 2006, and while doing this, I had to figure out how to do makeup for all these characters in the show and so learned how to become a makeup artist. I’m into using that same side of my brain but in diverse ways, taking ideas in cooking and applying them to art. I keep things fresh.
What are some of your favorite unknown treasures in Hollywood, away from the hustle and bustle and tourism?
I love walking to Yamashiro and watching the sun go down or walking the hills just east of the 101 at Barham. They caught fire a while ago, but now after the rain, they’re bursting with life.
What are your top-5 favorite places to visit or travel to?
Stoney Point, Angeles National Forest, Three Rivers at Sequoia National Forest, Cambria, and Big Bear Lake.
You recently planned an outing for El Centro to the Hollywood Farmers’ Market. What makes this place so special?
Some of my favorite farms/stands have everything to do with the people who work there. Some places might have great products, but the people aren’t as engaging. The stands I love are run by people who I’ve come to call friends. It’s a special experience and a perfect destination for El Centro. It’s exciting to introduce the community to this part of my life.
What are some tips for a Hollywood Farmers’ Market first-timer?
Most of the stands are organic and have specific things they specialize in—Korean food, Lamb, Sourdough bread. Finley Farm for instance is the best for produce. Aris Natural Food has great samples and always leaves you feeling stuffed and the y have a great Skordelia. One tip: go a little later in the day and ask for deals or what they need to get rid of, I got a whole flat of heirloom tomatoes for 10$. Gazpacho for days.
What are some activations you would like to do with El Centro?
We have a lot of ideas for things we’re going to try at El Centro. It would also be nice to extend a trip to the farmers’ market into a cooking demonstration, using all these great local ingredients. A Run club would be interesting—group runs and hikes in the local area etc. There are so many beautiful trails. I’d like to do something with green tea tastings—specialized green tea and tea ceremonies, how to properly brew, and the massive tradition behind it. Art classes, live model drawing for instance, screen printing etc. We have chess tables in the El Centro sunrooms, so it would be great to hold a tournament too. There are so many others I would love to do!
Anything else you want to say about Hollywood?
I feel so lucky and so blessed to have been able to see this place grow from the ground up. I really feel like I’m part of a growing community. It’s important to me to help it grow in the best way I can. I’m looking forward to the future.