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The Venice Boardwalk is ideal for seeing bearded women, two-headed turtles and "Treeman."
Photograph: Michael JulianoThe Venice Boardwalk is ideal for seeing bearded women, two-headed turtles and "Treeman."

5 places to find freaky people in LA

Written by
Naomi Lane

People love LA for a number of reasons: our perfect weather, outstanding restaurants, unparalleled nightlife and celebrity lifestyle to name a few.

But one of the main reasons I adore Los Angeles is that it is home to a spectacular array of weirdos. Now, I use the term “weirdo” in the very fondest of connotations. I salute individuals who shun ideas of what mainstream society may expect of them and feel uninhibited enough to be their crazy, quixotic selves.

In other parts of the country, these freaky peeps may elicit whispers and scowls, but here in the City of Angels we embrace them with fist bumps and cheers. We know these misfits are part of what make LA, well, LA, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.

1. The Metro. The Metro is not only a convenient, affordable ride that frees you from worries about traffic, parking and drunk driving, it’s also a magical place to find citizens of the most peculiar kind. I recently encountered a buzz-cutted lady sporting a bonnet, cape and booty shorts; an impassioned woman shouting undying praise for Tupac Shakur; and this colorful compatriot, waiting for the red line:

Photograph: Naomi Lane

2. Bar Sinister. If you’re looking for some naughty fun after dark, Bar Sinister is LA’s celebrated goth and fetish club, where freak flags fly freely. Dance to goth and industrial tracks downstairs before heading up to Purgatory — a BDSM playground where you can get spanked by professional doms who likely chortle at 50 Shades of Grey. Be warned...staff may turn you away unless you are in alternative, goth or fetish attire, or at the very least, head-to-toe black.

3. Venice Beach. Ahh, good old Venice Beach, aka “Freak Central.” Stroll down the boardwalk and you’ll find an ensemble of eccentrics, including the body builder sporting a Captain America speedo, a tattooed bikini babe shouldering a live boa constrictor, the 10-foot shrub-covered Tree Man and even a bona fide freak show complete with a bearded lady, sword swallower and two-headed turtle.

4. Boulet Brothers Parties. Every month, the gender-bending Boulet Brothers host some of LA’s most outrageous parties at clubs throughout the city, most notably Dragula, a “depraved dance party and celebration of drag, filth, leather and glamour.” Whether you dress up or not, the folks are most welcoming, and you’ll find far less judgment here than at a velvet-rope club attended by the likes of Harry Styles or a Kardashian.

5. Hollywood Boulevard. They don’t call it Hollyweird for nothin’. Here you’ll find a variety of Supermen, Marilyns and authentically drunk Captain Jack Sparrows. Every Angeleno wonders if these individuals actually make a living hanging out on the boulevard, but they keep showing up. Try to catch them out of character: headless Elmo smoking a cigarette, Princess Jasmine flipping off a bad tipper or that time Spiderman got arrested. You’ll also encounter garden-variety drifters and crackpots and the strangest folks of all: tourists.

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