Claire Evans and Jona Bechtolt collective output is prolific as it is artful- spanning worlds from science-fiction to sunglasses. Together, they form the band YACHT, have toured the world with friends (like LCD Soundsystem, Dirty Projectors) and have inhabited what they’ve aptly dubbed the Western American Utopian Triangle: Portland, OR, Marfa, TX and Los Angeles, CA. It’s their most recent Socal landing pad that they’re mining for 5 Every Day, which features five things to do in LA, every day. Hand picked, as it happens, no archives. They enlighten and inspire below.
Q & A: 5 EVERY DAY
WHAT DO YOU LOOK FOR IN A LISTING? COVERING EVERYTHING FROM THE HAPPY FOOT / SAD FOOT TO LIVE SHOWS LEAVES IT SUPER OPEN, BUT ARE THERE SPECIFIC BOXES THAT MUST BE CHECKED FOR THE CURATORS?
We are quite open to what might qualify as an event listing. Some of our events are temporal, of course, like art openings and shows, but others are harder to pin down: architectural landmarks, neighborhoods, small instances of poetry in the world. The goal of 5 Every Day is to encourage exploration and offline engagement with this magnificent, and magnificently weird, city.
We want to point people to places that they might otherwise overlook.
Los Angeles is full of secrets—in a way, that’s one of this city’s most defining qualities.
It’s partially because we don’t walk enough here, and so we don’t discover things in an aleatoric, natural way, like we might in other cities. We can drive past a Hollywood mini-mall ten thousand times before we learn that it contains, say, the most authentic Thai restaurant in the country.
5 Every Day is about unlocking those secrets, and sharing a context for enjoying them—a little history, a suggestion, a mindset.
DOES ANYONE ELSE OUTSIDE OF YOU TWO CONTRIBUTE TO THE CONTENT?
We have a brain trust of friends and collaborators who feed us suggestions, but ultimately we make all the final decisions. It’s a lot of work, but the reward is impossible to quantify: supporting small businesses and worthy creative projects, making connections between people, and knowing that we can help people live in Los Angeles a little better.
IF YOU HAD TO PICK JUST 5 LA SPOTS, WHAT WOULD THEY BE?
The LA River
is a really important place for us—it’s sort of the cipher for understanding Los Angeles.
It’s a failure in many ways, it represents of our long and difficult relationship with water, it’s ugly and beautiful at once, and it’s a site of transformation.
We love the unpaved sections of the River in Atwater Village and in the Glendale narrows, where birds and plant life are reclaiming an industrial wasteland.
, a cinematheque on Fairfax, is definitely our favorite cultural site in the city. Their programming is consistently compelling, a great mix of high art and pulp. They bring people together in a huge way, and they make movies into collective experiences. They’re archivists of the celluloid weird, and they always go above and beyond expectations, bringing in everyone from Mel Brooks to cult stars of public-access television to talk about their work. We are devotees of their cult.
For food, a regular pilgrimage to the San Gabriel Valley to mow on psychedelically spicy Szechuan Chinese food at Chung King or Chengdu Taste is a must. People who aren’t from Los Angeles underestimate how vast this city is, and how much it contains.
is pretty magic, if only because it seems to contain an infinite amount of diversions: a zoo, three mini-train rides, a 100 year-old carousel, a pool, tennis courts, hikes for miles, the Griffith Observatory.
We feel like we’ll never run out of ways to enjoy it.
And a survey of Los Angeles favorites wouldn’t be complete without some mention of the Pacific Ocean.
We’re partial to hiking Point Dume in Malibu, because it’s like a straight shot of California right into your carotid artery.
From the peak, you can see dolphins, surfers, and the golden sunlight fragmenting across the water for a hundred miles. Sometimes we can’t believe we even deserve it.
YOU’VE SPENT EXTENDED PERIODS OF TIME IN A FEW US SPOTS THAT WE ALSO LOVE–CAN YOU OFFER SOME OF YOUR 5 EVERY DAY-STYLE HIGHLIGHTS FROM MARFA, TX AND PORTLAND AS WELL?
Both Marfa and Portland change so fast, but these things are timeless.
, a natural spring-fed swimming pool built in the middle of the desert an hour from Marfa, where you can snorkel and look at turtles, Moonlight Gemstones,
where you can get custom turquoise jewelry handmade for a song by an extremely thoughtful silversmith, and the Marfa Book Company,
a surreally on-point gallery and bookshop run by our buddy, the gentleman prince of West Texas, Tim Johnson.
Milepost 7 on Sauvie Island, an Audubon preserve on an island, where you can pick blackberries barefoot in the forest and run through lavender fields before you go swimming.
The tofu scramble at Junior’s Café
, and Windows
, the coolest uncool bar in town, on the top floor of a Red Lion hotel, where the drink pours are stiff and the view is killer.
YOU BOTH WORK ON PROJECTS THAT ARE VAST AND VARIOUS- WHAT KEEPS YOU FOCUSED AND DRIVEN?
The fact that we don’t operate in a vacuum. We tend to build out our projects to include other people. In a sense, it’s a framework of built-in accountability. We can’t wander away from 5 Every Day, because it’s a tool that people use every day, and we’re constantly in dialogue with a whole extended community of cultural producers, institutions, and people in the city. We built it that way. Same goes for YACHT, which we’ve always framed as a two-way conversation between us and our audience.
We make things that we want to be responsible for, that we want to raise up right.