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After seminal Los Angeles-based punk magazine Slash folded in 1980, publisher and graphic designer Steve Samiof created Stuff. Hitting newsstands in 1979, the image-heavy, large-format publication was chock full of illustrators, artists, hip retail boutiques, creative typesetting, and avant-garde funky design.

Samiof and his crew operated the magazine from an office on Larchmont Boulevard (before moving to Wilshire) in Los Angeles which also doubled as Steve's House of Fine Arts - a gallery showcase when Samiof became an art dealer. The space later became the artsy furniture store, Cozmopole. Samiof also designed the logo for Susan Feniger and Mary Sue Milliken's City Restaurant on La Brea Avenue, which opened in 1985.

Long after the magazine folded, Samiof (along with Mick Haggerty) operated the Hope Springs Hotel in Desert Hot Springs.

The interior pages were full of faces and places that deserve a tip of the hat;


Cadillac Cafe
Nestled along a strip of North La Cienega in West Hollywood, the neo-50's Cadillac Cafe was opened by Susan Fine and Marc Keel in 1982. Described as an embellished coffee shop, the Cadillac Cafe offered everything from herbed meatloaf to an array of homemade desserts. Fine, a former food writer continued with other restaurants, namely the upscale Acme Grill in Beverly Hills and the Hollywood Hills Coffee Shop on Franklin Avenue (later the 101 Cafe). Situated inside a Best Western hotel, the 1960's-era Hollywood Hills Coffee Shop became home to celebrities and self-respecting swingers with chain wallets and a bowling shirt, pontificating over the latest Esquivel CD after a long night at the Three of Clubs.

China Club
Previously a place to buy Venetian blinds, the China Club restaurant/bar began around 1980 and was operated by Tong Fu Incorporated. In addition to the requisite artwork featured on the premises, the China Club was home to live music. Guests noshing on their new romantic menu could also enjoy the sounds of Tupelo Chain Sex. Hometown darlings The Red Hot Chilli Peppers played there in 1983.

The West Hollywood restaurant was known as Shui's China Club in 1985 but shuttered soon after. Over the years the location was Zucchero Ristorante, El Mocambo, Chit Chat, and Linq.

City Cafe
The cramped quarters located at 7407½ Melrose Avenue were owned by Gai Gherardi, Margo Willitis and Barbara McReynolds - founders of adjacent optical store Eye Works. Los Angeles Times journalist Rose Dosti described the City Cafe vibe in 1981, saying "Their clientele looks like the cast of a Hollywood movie called 'Relax'. Cool and blue. Lingering and lounging, as if tomorrow need never come."

Reviews were overwhelmingly positive, with critics praising the innovative menu. City Cafe soon became a hangout for the creative crowd. And while the hungry cognoscenti dined on ragout of scallops, they could also purchase original artwork adorning the high-chic pink walls. Among the artists featured were Tiffanie Morrow, and Kate Favreau.

The much-loved eatery without a liquor license (BYOB) offered an eclectic menu at reasonable prices. Running the kitchen were Susan Feniger (co-owner) and Mary Sue Milliken. The duo opened an expanded version on La Brea (City Restaurant) in July of 1985, as well as the Border Grill (replacing the shuttered City Cafe).

The cherished La Brea location was sold in 1994.

Located in West Los Angeles, Raydion kept the menu simple; burgers and ice cream. And beer. Despite the nostalgic decor (red leatherette booths and laminate tabletops), the L.A. Times in 1983 described Raydion as a punk/new wave malt shop and recommend adding a knuckle sandwich to one's order. Keeping hungry kids happy, the late-night spot operated from 8 PM until the outrageous hour of 4 AM (though hours later changed). While the crowd devoured unhealthy dollops of egg cream, phosphates and cherry Coke, they could listen to everything from Motown to Depeche Mode.

In the early 1970s, the corner spot was formerly the Cattlemen's Beef Outlet (porterhouse, sirloin, brisket... all USDA choice). Around 1980, this became Jekyll & Hyde (known for their spare ribs). For a short time, it was known as Charlie G's Cafe.

Seventh Street Bistro
Housed in downtown L.A.'s restored Fine Arts Building, the Seventh Street Bistro opened to rave reviews in 1983. While original chef Joachim Splichal (of Regency Club) departed soon after opening, young maestro Laurent Quenioux was on board to serve up chartreuse de pigeon. The renowned French eatery was managed by John Strobel who opened the successful Angeli on Melrose in 1984.

However, Seventh Street Bistro delivered the final Chocolate Marquise around 1993. The German-born Splichal continued his craftsmanship at Max au Triangle in Beverly Hills and opened Patina in 1989.


Lasting about two years, Azar-Woods opened in 1984 by Evonne and designer Wayne Woods. Formerly the K Gallery, toy store H. Frank Jones and then craft store Spilt Milk, the corner boutique on Melrose and Crescent Heights in West Hollywood stocked cocktail hats, brooches, leopard-print pants, hats from I Love Ricky (Michi and Ricky Castro), jewelry from Hillary Beane and metal robot-head pins, one of which was purchased by George Harrison's wife (must have been something in the way it moved).

The 2-storey building was completely renovated in 2017.

An offshoot of Repeat Performance, the vintage clothing store located further east at 5730 Melrose Avenue stocked lower-priced clothing than its' counterpart. The former Rosa Antiques store later became Pompidou cafe (try the lemon Mousse Torte) and went on to become Seafood Village. Currently operates as a family-run trattoria (I've enjoyed the tagliatelle al pomodoro).

Clacton & Frinton
Opened in 1980 by British designers Hilary and Michael Anderson, Clacton & Frinton provided fussy shoppers with silk boxers and bow ties, pocket handkerchiefs, and their staple of exquisitely tailored suits; think broad shoulders and full-pleated pants. After the store closed in the 1990s, the husband and wife team launched an outdoorsy-oriented store in Santa Barbara.

In the words of owner Michael Anderson, "We made all the clothes we sold and in Stuff days we were known for our late 1940s, early 1950s Robert Mitcham style suits. We also made women's clothes, specializing in full pleated trousers. Our women customers all wanted to look like a 1940s Katherine Hepburn. Before anyone else made them we made full pleated trousers for both men and women along with our own line of shirts, often based on vintage models (March 2020).

A direct link to Stuff Magazine was that our customer base was very much people in visual arts, particularly around the movie business, so art directors, production designers, directors, illustrators, etc. We had a few actor customers but not that many."

Cowboys & Poodles
Affectionately referred to by scenesters as 'Cowpoo', the Melrose Avenue store opened in 1979 by Roger Vega, Paul Glynn (and later on Phil Heath). Cowboys & Poodles was the first to sell unused, perfect-condition 50's clothing and became an instant hit with bands looking for their vintage duds. The store would later supplement its in-demand vintage stock with lines from new designers such as Goodman Fashion Parts, Mary Adams, Kalinka, and Nasty Habits.

By 1985, the store expanded by selling furniture and tableware but shuttered within a year (supposedly the IRS paid a visit). The space was occupied by another vintage boutique 'Two-Timer'. Owner Paul Glynn segued into interior design and worked on a home by fellow designer and store owner Claudia Gräu.

The corner store on Melrose offered customers an array of fashionable duds from Parisian designers such as Bill Tornade, Charles Chevignon, and Cachuete. Later became furniture store The Blue House (they were on a break).

A graduate of L.A.'s Fashion Institute, Claudia Gräu described her designs as "wacky playwear for adults" and targeted her designs to the creative professional woman. Her successful Melrose boutique carried everything from parachute cloth sportswear, and houndstooth pedal pushers to mohair hand-knit sweaters and metallic skirts - many of which were infused with hand-loomed Guatemalan fabric.

It wasn't unusual to see Gräu's well-cut designs all over town, on TV shows such as 'Moonlighting' and adorned by celebrities. The Los Angeles Times reported that Cher herself walked in and opened her purse to the tune of $1,200. And no less than actress Rae Dawn Chong was seen sporting Gräu's sarong skirt and bolero jacket for her appearance on the Late Show.

In 1990, Gräu's 'Contemporary Collection' made its way to the high-end department store I.Magnin, which featured sport separates of patchworked antique Japanese kimono silks. Claudia also ventured into napkins and placemats which were available at Freehand on West 3rd Street (owned by Carol Sauvion and still in business).

After the store closed around 1990, Claudia opened The Gräu Haus in Hollywood.

Industrial Revolution
Opened in 1979, the proprietors of Industrial Revolution were Nancy and Claude Kent - both artists. The unique store carried a variety of industrial-inspired goods, high-tech gifts, accessories, and housewares. They moved to a larger location adjacent to the defunct Drake Theatre (later the Mint Theatre) where they remained until around 1990.

Junk for Joy
Located a stone's throw from The Pleasure Chest in West Hollywood, the well-liked treasure outlet opened around 1978 and was owned by Australian-born Ron Ede. The store eventually went wholesale, although it opened to the public but closed around 1982. The spot later became Good Old Times American Clothing. Ede moved the store in 1986 to Sunset and then settled in Burbank, where he killed it selling OJ Simpson masks in the mid-1990s.

Just William
Formerly a spot known as The Ashram and then Suedan Gallery, Just William on Melrose Avenue opened in 1979 and sold 'English punk'. By all accounts, that included oversized sweatshirts, silk-screened t-shirts, hot pink spandex pants, and black leather jackets with lots of zippers. It was said that Just William was the only store in L.A. selling a full line of Biba cosmetics.

But the stock wasn't entirely imported from the land of zebra crossings and biscuits, the Hollywood store sold hats from local milliner 'I Love Ricky', lingerie from Susan Kyle, and the 'Darling I Love Your Dress' line (Julie Hewitt and Diana Espaillat).

The diminutive spot on Melrose sold a variety of Japanese, Italian, and Danish household gifts from the likes of Arne Jacobson, Artemide, Alessi, and Filofax. The former antique store lost its lease in 1985 but lived on as a leather goods store and continued as a number of restaurants.

Matrix Theater
The 1979 experimental improv show 'Heartland' was staged at the Matrix Theater. Built in 1945 and briefly operating as a paper goods store, the building at 7657 Melrose Avenue was later known as the Fulfillment Center during the early 1970s, and offered lectures on "Finding Your Past Lives Through Hypnosis" and "Dreams are Your Magic Mirror."

Finding its soul, the Matrix Theater began as a performance space around 1975 and was soon purchased by Joseph Stern and actor William Devane.

Neo 80
If you were in the market for a strapless Lycra dress or an off-the-shoulder crop top, then Neo 80 would not disappoint. Operated since 1979 by designer Lisa Elliott and husband Klaus Wille, the new-wave Melrose Avenue boutique made a name for itself with rock stars, MTV stylists, and video performers. In fact Elliott's holiday dresses -- referred to as "naughty party frocks" -- made their way to the big screen in Less than Zero and Teen Wolf Too.

Among the employees was a jewelry designer and stylist Stephanie Mata. The noted thrift shopper went on to open her own unique store just off Melrose.

First located at 7825 Melrose (formerly Last Mango), Neo 80 moved to their second location a few blocks away in 1981 and remained there until 1998. Sadly, Elliott passed away in 2009, although Wille continued the legacy as late as 2015 with a pop-up near his hometown of Yucca Valley.

Repeat Performance
As its clever name implied, this Melrose Avenue shop was another go-to for vintage apparel; bowling shirts, white sportcoats, mens smoking jackets, tweed suits from the 1940s and Gibson Girl blouses for women. Located in the former Selective Eye art gallery, the space later became the health-conscious hangout I Love Juicy ("Super Natural, Not Superficial!"), and then Bakery on Melrose.

Square One LA
Reclining comfortably on Beverly Boulevard, Square One LA was, appropriately enough located in the former showroom for Herman Miller, designed by Charles and Ray Eames in 1949. The stylish strip in West Hollywood was home to many high-end interior designers and showrooms including Knoll Associates, Directional, Jens Risom (on nearby Robertson), and Dunbar Furniture.

Square One LA survived until around 1985 and became City Design.

Tiger Rose
This short-lived store located across from Paramount Studios on Melrose was owned by Mike Sagara and his wife Yoko (not that one). Known as a punk shrine, Tiger Rose carried studded belts, wristbands, chokers, glitter spandex t-shirts, and shorts with gold trim. In addition to Nestle 'Touch of Glitter' hair spray, the tiny store sold Japanese toys and original artworks. Tiger Rose moved down the street in 1984 but returned to the original location under the new name Universal American.

Not to be confused with a downtown Los Angeles club of the same name or a movie about a detective searching for a woman with a past. The new-wave store Vertigo was started by Lynda Weinman, who went on to form a successful and lucrative online learning platform. The hip boutique began on Melrose before heading West to the Sunset Plaza. Vertigo was known for carrying cultural artifacts with an L.A. aesthetic; Gregory Poe's vinyl neckties, parachute-cloth bags, sunglasses, and accessories.

In the late 1960s, the Sunset space was occupied by bridal store Sylvi's, which sold 'doll-size' gowns, presumably for the smaller bride. After Vertigo moved out, the location became Chantilly.


Bar DeLuxe
Club kids over 21 headed to this Thursday night hotspot in West Hollywood. Located inside the Imperial Gardens Restaurant on Sunset, music was provided by DJ Henry of Vinyl Fetish, who deftly operated the turntables.

The venue formerly belonged to actor and producer Preston Sturges when it was Players Restaurant in 1944. By the mid-1950s, it appears the location comprised two restaurants in one; Versailles and Quo Vadis. In 1957, the place was remodeled to the tune of $100,000 and renamed Imperial Gardens Sukiyaki Restaurant. The architect was Kazumi Adachi.

By 1990, sushi was replaced by fried chicken with mashed potatoes and the venue was now the Roxbury. The owners were film producer Eli Samaha (Battlefield Earth) and then-wife, Tia Carrere.

Opera Loco
Entertainment industry heavyweights and fidgety clubber's searching for bacchanalian pleasures headed to Opera Loco on Friday nights. Held at the Grandia Room on Melrose, the decor was described as 'Post-Modern Ancient Greece'. The requisite array of video screens flickered to the beat of 60s and 70s funk and disco classics. After a slew of other club nights came and went, the venue became the all-new Martini Lounge a decade later.

Originally built around 1918 as a garage, the corner spot on Melrose and El Centro became a cocktail lounge in the 1940s. In the 1960s it was named the Melrose Cavern before settling on the Grandia Club. The building was razed around 2010, making way for condos.

Some of the usual suspects are still active:
Steve Samiof
Barbara DeZonia
Gary Panter
Lynda Weinman
Gai Gherardi/L.A. Eyeworks
Bill Rieser
Mike Fink
Dennis Keeley
Victor Acevedo
Claudia Gräu
Clacton & Frinton


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