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PARTING SHOT | My Favorite Weekend: Kirsten Vangsness

A clear case of a liking for the arts

January 04, 2007|Mark Sachs

WHEN Kirsten Vangsness gets a chance, she knows how to run with it. She took a one-day guest spot on CBS' "Criminal Minds" and turned it into a recurring role, and then parlayed that into a regular slot on the hit series. A nifty career arc for the 30-year-old Hollywood resident.

"It's rather startling and wonderful," she says. "And the show's popularity means it's not just my family and friends watching." Fans can also see Vangsness (who is "single but occupied") at Hollywood's Theater of NOTE on Jan. 20 as part of its annual 24-hour performance marathon.

She listens well

Late Friday afternoon, I'll go to my Pilates class at Jennifer Evans' studio in Hollywood, because if I don't go then, I'm probably not going to do it later. It gets me all flexible and ready for the weekend. Afterward, I'll hang out for a while with my dog, Bastian, a rescue dog I got from the animal shelter. He's a big, puffy, white Alaskan-looking dog, and he needs a lot of attention.

I'll go to Amoeba for music and sometimes movies too. I take great, delicious pride in finding bands before anyone else, but I like all kinds of music. I'm a huge Duran Duran fan. I was on a Curtis Mayfield jag a couple of months ago; sometimes it's a Brahms thing. Then I'll stop at Groundworks, which I like because its coffee is strong without being acidic. I'll write in my journal, kind of like Harriet the Spy. I'll listen to people around me and write down what they say if it's interesting.

Smell that bacon

On Saturday there's a Hollywood spot called Grub, a fantastic, charming place. They cook up this bacon that I love to just smell and smell and smell. I don't eat it, though, because I'm a vegetarian. I'll order the After-School Special -- a grilled-cheese sandwich and tomato soup, and I also like their amazing pancakes. I'll meet friends there and hang out and plan out the day. We'd go to the L.A. County Museum of Art. I love to just wander and see the new installations, but I like just seeing the regular collection too. It's just as if I'm saying hello to all the familiar pieces and staring at the great big wonder of it all.

We'll then go sit in the park at the La Brea Tar Pits and have a snack, or go to Chan Dara in Hollywood on Cahuenga, where they have a tofu satay I love and an iced coffee to help me wake up for the evening. And right next door is Aklia's, where they have the coolest African things, incense and neat little presents for somebody -- "Happy Opening!" "Good Show!" or "You Did an Awesome Job" type of cards and gifts.

Later, I'd go see a show at the Theater of NOTE. I love theater in L.A. You can see something that's horrible, but all the times you see something great, it's just a breathtaking experience. I'll bring music to play in the theater after the show and we all dance, get tired and hot and go to Swingers on 3rd Street.

Writing and a walk

On Sunday I'll drive Bastian to my mom's house in Long Beach so he can play there. Then I'll go to the Coffee Cup Cafe on 4th Street, where they have a vegetarian chorizo that's quite delicious and black bean soup with a poached egg and tomatoes. But be forewarned -- it's cash and check only.

Just down the street is the Sneaky Tiki boutique. I always get compliments on the jewelry and things I get from there. Well, I get comments, maybe not actual compliments, but I think the stuff there is whimsical and cool and not super-duper expensive. I'd also go to Portfolio Coffeehouse and work on my journal. After that, I'd end the day with a walk at the El Dorado Nature Center in Long Beach. It's wonderful to be by yourself there, but it's incredibly romantic too.

-- Mark Sachs

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