Like the rest of his year, Tavis Smiley's summers are busy. In addition to hosting the L.A.-based NPR public affairs program "The Tavis Smiley Show," which will soon be heard locally on KPCC-FM (89.3), he's a writer, reporter and commentator for CNN and ABC News. So when it comes time to unwind in the summer, he starts close to his offices, in Leimert Park:
Lucy Florence Coffee House: It's a great place right in Leimert Park, which is ... in a sort of renaissance phase. Weeknights, when I'm working late, I can walk a few blocks down the street from my office, hear great jazz. They also have comedy several nights a week, so depending on your mood you can get some jazz and be very chilled out, or walk across the hallway and get your laugh on.
Earle's Grill: The best hot dogs in the city can be found at Earle's, right on Crenshaw. They're grilled, not boiled. It's run by a couple of folks from New York, though they've been here for many years. But they do it the old-fashioned grilled way.
Magic Johnson Theatres: Most theaters don't look to serve a particular cultural group. But at Magic Johnson Theatres, you can see any big release, and they also reserve a couple of screens for smaller films--sometimes documentaries--that have a cultural relevance and that are important to people of color. Whether it's a big blockbuster or a smaller budget film, I appreciate not having to drive miles. It's right in the middle of the 'hood--with all the amenities.