New year, new experiences. And my North Hollywood neighborhood has lots of new and stand-out restaurants, shops, theatres and studios to try out this year. Here are ten I'm going to put on my list for 2014.
Bob's Espresso Bar, 5251 Lankershim Blvd (at Weddington)
Cute little coffee house with room for just about 20 people. Hosts open mic nights and you've got a fair chance of ordering your Americano from the owner, Robert Romanus aka Damone from "Fast Times at Ridgemont High."
Antaeus Company Theatre, 5112 Lankershim Blvd (at Otsego)
Critically-acclaimed classical theatre company proves LA art is more than movies. Last year's line up included David Ives' adaptation of "The Liar" and Arthur Miller's "The Crucible." Plus they did a hilarious naked fund-raising video on YouTube.
California Institute of Abnormal Arts, 11334 Burbank Blvd (at Lankershim)
I've simply got to see a show this year at CIA, which calls itself the ultimate FreakShow experience. The venue hosts the best of the underground featuring art, music, magic, puppetry and independent film.
The Road Theatre Company, two locations: 5108 Lankershim Blvd & 10747 Magnolia Blvd
One of the few theatres dedicated to plays you've never heard of by playwrights no one knows.
SC Fitness, 5101 Lankershim at World Fitness Center
I've heard great things about the Zumba and Cardio Body Sculpt classes taught by Sandy Campy at the World Fitness Center. High-energy, fun, good music and reasonably priced.
Yoga Noho, 5257 Vineland (at Weddington)
Yoga studio with the usual vinyasa flow classes plus Tai Chi, belly dancing and something called a sound healing offering cleansing vibrations from planetary gongs and crystal singing bowls.
Movement Lifestyle Studios, 11105 Weddington (at Blakeslee)
Hip hop dance studio offering drop-in classes for intermediate and advanced dancers. Would love to check out one of their exhibitions.
Besame Cosmetics, 3505 W. Magnolia (at Avon)
Technically in Burbank but a stone's throw from NoHo, this store features its modern reproductions of classic luxury makeup from the 1920s, 30s and 40s. It offers hand-crafted lipsticks in vintage packaging to die for.
Pinup Girl, 3606 W. Magnolia (at Cordova)
Not too far from Besame Cosmetics is the California rockabilly headquarters, Pinup Girl, a clothing store devoted to vintage-looking dresses and outfits from the glam days of Hollywood. Pick up wiggle dresses, thigh-high stockings, leopard car coats and more.
Skynny Kitchen, 5166 Lankershim Blvd Unit D (at Magnolia)
Boasting a menu where every option is under 500 calories, Skynny Kitchen offers bison burgers, protein shakes and tempeh bacon (whatever that is). I hope Skynny Kitchen has better luck than its location's previous tenants, the now-defunct Otis Jackson's Soul Dogs and Cefiore frozen yogurt.