This is the indoor plumbing contractor that my landlord has engaged. Because I live in an apartment with ancient pipes, it seems like they're around an awful lot. They come very quickly when called, and I don't think I've ever known them to come more than 20 minutes late. The two employees that I've had contact with are friendly and respectful, and they have saved me a lost security deposit more than once. Since I don't actually pay them, I can't speak about price, but they do a reliable job.
This is the roto-service that my landlord uses at my apartment when things go awry in the drain systems/septic tank. They show up when they say they will, and their work is quick, efficient, and effective. Since I don't own the property I live on, I can't really speak about their price, but they are pleasant and well-mannered, and whatever problems we called them for stay fixed.
This small Oaxacan butcher shop and grocery store carries both raw and prepared meats. Since it serves the Oaxacan immigrant community, prices are more than reasonable. They do carry other groceries and supplies, but the canned and dry goods seem like they've been around for a while. Unlike some Mexican/Spanish-speaking businesses, I didn't have to embarrass myself with my poor grasp of the language.
The LA Gender Center bills itself as the place of choice to go for transgendered counseling, hormone, and related services. Don't believe it. They subscribe to a very rigid set of definitions and rules for "proper" gender behavior, and their motivations seem to be at least as much mercenary as they are therapeutic. I have known some female-to-male transsexuals who got good service here, but all of my male-to-female friends agreed that this was a place to stay far far away from.
A Different Light is one of the best-known and oldest gay/lesbian bookstores in the country. The definition of what makes a book "lesbian" or "gay" seems flexible and inconsistent--stuff you would expect to find here is often curiously missing, while mainstream titles by heterosexuals sometimes make it to the shelves. Although there is quite a large selection (including a small but well-stocked adult section), lesbians might find themselves feeling a bit shortchanged. So, for that matter, will people of color and transgendered people. Their online offerings are far more diverse, so if you're feeling disappointed, take a look at their website.
However, for a wide-ranging sample of mainstream gay americana, this can't be beat.
Located in the middle of West Hollywood, 665 Leather is a BDSM shop that caters mostly to the gay male leather community. All of the products that I have purchased from them have been of superior quality. Their staff is helpful but not intrusive, and they'll custom-make anything that you don't find there for a very reasonable price. Watch, also, for their frequent sales and markdowns.
Oh, and if you're not into the bedroom gear, their leather clothing is really cool too.
When Floyd's Barbershop moved in, I was excited. Getting a good old-fashioned men's haircut was much more difficult in this city than I had anticipated. Floyd's wasn't too metrosexual, it was cheap, and it advertised "old-school" cuts. Sure, the atmosphere was a bit pretentious and uber-hip, but I decided to try it.
The first time I went in, my stylist did eventually get my haircut right, although he had to be convinced out of just using a #4 guard all over my head. The second stylist was...not so successful, which was hard to believe since I don't have a particularly difficult haircut. If you do go here, be aware that not all of the stylists are licensed barbers, and most are not familiar with the more obscure old-fashioned short men's cuts.
PROS: Cheap, often decent
Party supplies--streamers, pinatas, even confetti--are cheap in this tiny, overcrowded, almost inaccessible storefront. The cashier was incredibly patient with me when I went in there even though my Spanish was not really up to the task of finding and buying the paper napkins I was looking for. Perhaps I'll try again when my language skills are better.
PROS: Very friendly, family-owned, good prices
CONS: Not really bilingual
On Sawtelle Boulevard south of Santa Monica, there's a tiny and somewhat unexpected Japanese neighborhood (by tiny I mean like a few blocks). Nestled in with the sushi restaurants and ramen houses is this little toy/gift/novelty shop perfect for people who like the brightly colored and somewhat nonsensical Kawai aesthetic. Have you finally run out of ideas for gifts? Stop by here. Toys whose names I can barely pronounce, T-Shirts, magazines, you name it.
Los Angeles is definitely a city that takes film and its history very seriously, which probably explains the existence of the Silent Movie Theatre. This place does exactly what its name implies--shows silent movies (including Chaplin movies and other famous films) for modern-day audiences. Admission prices are quite reasonable, and the films themselves are often surprisingly engaging.