The epicenter of LA's underground au courant is not, as might be expected, in some downtown warehouse or Echo Park enclave, but right on Hollywood Blvd, adjacent to the sidewalk star of Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis. Hidden in plain sight since late 2011, behind the fogged up windows of a former department store, is Freak City, a five-story subcultural wonderland helmed by the duo of Justin Time and Vally Girl. They deem Freak City a "fashion gallery" but that's an understatement. By day, it's a boutique selling a mix of Vally's original designs and a truckload of weird vintage finds, as well as a gallery space with revolving exhibits. The shop and the gallery occupy merely the ground floor; the rest of the space is a creative playground for homegrown art, music and video projects (veteran NY graffiti artist PHADE was busy at work on the second floor during our visit). Occasionally they also use the space for epic afterhours parties (in a MixMag interview, Diplo once famously crowned Freak City his favorite club), though currently they've put the parties on hold to focus on their artistic endeavors. They describe their aesthetic as "NU ghetto," essentially old-skool rap style viewed though the prism of the digital age. Below, a full-on photo tour of Freak City's guts and wares, from the sub-"BA$$ment" to the penthouse.
Inside Hollywood's Hottest Fashion Gallery
The entrance on Hollywood Blvd with vestigial signage from a previous tenant
Signed panties from 80s LA billboard queen Angelyne, alphabet necklaces, among some beanies and the first Freak City mixtape
Justin Time, in front of artist Kristofferson's Homer Dickson mural and figure 8 sculpture