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Jewish Journal

The Fall Season: VideoJew’s VideoGuide to Los Angeles

by Jay Firestone

September 25, 2008 | 1:48 am

VideoJew Jay Firestone hunts down the news

VideoJew Jay Firestone hunts down the news

In the past year, under my online video persona, VideoJew, I've explored much of the Los Angeles Jewish community and shared it with the YouTube-viewing nation.

You've seen me eating at a kosher Subway, playing mah-jongg and conducting a blind matzah taste test. But after a successful year of VideoJudaism, I decided to devote my next season to my experience as a Los Angeles newcomer.


When I first moved here after graduating from the University of Wisconsin two years ago, I felt completely overwhelmed. Busy people, heavy traffic, distant neighborhoods all contributed to my troubled adjustment to post-academic life.

Burdened by difficulty finding a job, buying a car and meeting other young Jews, I soon realized that life in the real world was very real. And with my mother a full 2,500 miles away, for the first time in my life I had no one to tell me what to do or where to go.

Thankfully, after two years in Los Angeles, I've finally adjusted to the lifestyle and culture that West Coast living affords. I found a job, bought a car and even met several Jews who are happy to tolerate me (most of these without the help of my mother). Looking back, I now recognize that my transition to West Coast living would have been much smoother if I'd had a mentor -- or even a manual.

So I've decided to offer help to others who feel as lost as I once did ... with my VideoGuide to Los Angeles, launching online today.

In this five-episode handbook, revealed over the next several weeks, I'll walk you -- the newcomer (or your memory of yourself as one) -- through everything you need to know to make the most of your Los Angeles experience. Each episode is guaranteed to mentally and physically (though, not legally) naturalize the new West Coast immigrant.

It doesn't really matter if you're new to the city, just visiting or have lived here all your life, anyone can benefit from this guide.

Follow along each week for an all-new installment.

Introduction -- Online Sept. 26
Like any manual, VideoJew's VideoGuide to Los Angeles begins with a short but concise introduction, sure to prepare you for the upcoming schedule and give you a sneak peek at some of the exciting scenes to come.]]

Volume I: Looking the Part -- Online Oct. 3
In this how-to style segment, I reveal the most important aspects of visiting Los Angeles: fitting in. Because nobody wants to look like an outsider or worse -- a tourist -- I'll teach you the secrets of blending into the L.A. scene. And in no time, you'll be wearing a T-shirt and flip-flops as you sip on a tall caffeinated beverage.

Volume II: Driving in L.A. -- Online Oct. 10
The other key to enjoying this city is, of course, your car. When I moved out West, I was a timid, passive driver. Now I'm aggressive, confident and, most importantly, mostly safe. Follow my tips and you'll feel confident behind the wheel ... and you won't even have to lift a finger, let alone "the finger."

Volume III: Jewish L.A. -- Online Oct. 17
With one of the largest Jewish populations in the country, Angelenos don't hesitate to flaunt the city's Jewish culture. Discover the exciting opportunities of the Jewish neighborhoods -- from the butcher shop to a great place to buy a yarmulke. But more importantly, beyond kosher food, Judaica and synagogues, Jewish Los Angeles exists in its own realm. All you really need is a little Jew in you, and you can turn any place into a Jewish place.

Volume IV: Hollywood -- Online Oct. 24
This segment could arguably fit into Volume III, but given its significance to the L.A. community, it seemed worthy of special attention. Not just limited to the physical Hollywood, Los Angeles' entertainment industry is extremely widespread. And trust me, as someone who's been a background extra for several no-name television shows and a few low-grossing feature films, I know Hollywood. I'll take you to some of the typical tourist sites and a drive the celebrity star maps. And who knows, maybe I'll catch a celebrity on tape.

Volume V: Outdoors L.A. -- Online Oct. 31
One of the main reasons I moved to Los Angeles was for the weather. After college in Wisconsin, where the average winter day sees a windchill of minus 30 degrees, moving out West was not only an option but a necessity. Unfortunately, it took me a few months before I really started taking advantage of the climate and outdoor activities, like hiking, fishing, swimming, sailing, sunbathing, people watching, breathing, etc. The possibilities are endless!

My hope is that I can help you get ready to unearth the extreme sensation of Los Angeles. And while each episode is bursting with useful hints, like any encyclopedia or handbook, there's plenty of room for improvement in future editions.

Stay tuned throughout the year for more updates, and you too will be able to experience the greatness that Angelenos experience every day.


VideoJew VideoGuide trailer

VideoJew's VideoGuide to Los Angeles will be available each week through October at jewishlournal.com and VideoJew's blog page. E-mail your own L.A. tips to videojew@jewishjournal.com.

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