LA's Best Live-Performance Venues, According to Common
By Lesley McKenzie
CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Hollywood Bowl, House of Blues Sunset Strip, The Wiltern, Greek Theatre, Geffen Playhouse
1. The Hollywood Bowl (2301 N. Highland Ave., Hollywood; hollywoodbowl.com) is one of the top venues in the world to experience a show, both architecturally and acoustically. I saw Radiohead there and consider it to be one of the best live music events I’ve ever seen.
2. I love the intimacy of the House of Blues Sunset Strip (8430 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood; houseofblues.com). The music is loud, and the audience is always ready for a good time. Once when I performed there Dave Chappelle and Chris Rock were in the audience and brought me back on stage for an encore. I felt like I was on top of the world.
3. I’ve had a lot of fun at The Wiltern (3790 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles; myspace.com/thewiltern). It’s one of those theaters that’s been around so long, it just has that rock ’n’ roll vibe. That place has seen things. I like to think the hip-hop shows I’ve done there help continue the venue’s rock legacy.
4. The first artist I saw perform at the Greek Theatre (2700 N. Vermont Ave., Los Angeles; greektheatrela.com) was Erykah Badu. The Greek is similar to the Bowl in that it’s an outdoor venue, but it has a more intimate setting, which served as the perfect backdrop for her incredible performance.
5. Watching plays at the Geffen Playhouse (10886 Le Conte Ave., Los Angeles; geffenplayhouse.com) is a truly cool experience. After discovering my passion for acting, I’ve learned to really love live theater. Nothing beats a quality play, and the Geffen consistently presents impressive shows featuring stellar casts and playwrights.
PHOTOGRAPH BY MARC BAPTISTE