Like Paris in the '20s, Los Angeles has little pockets of expatriate artists:
Little Stockholm forms at lunchtime in the store-lined alley known as the Hollywood Passage (6752 Hollywood Blvd.). Many of its denizens are students at the nearby Musicians Institute of Technology. They lounge at the outdoor tables of the Back Alley Cafe, bottom left, and get their tresses blow-dried at the Blue Velvet salon ("Your Hairslaves"), where the two Swedish hairdressers speak their language.
FRENCH FILM & FASHION TYPES
At the Cafe des Artistes (1534 N. McCadden Place), center, the soft murmur of French is all you hear from table to table. The food makes bistro habitues, stranded in the land of the Big Mac, feel right at home. Fashion-flash Michele Lamy can be seen mere tables away from rock-video maestro Jean-Baptiste Mondino.
Folded origami-like into an innocuous shopping mall on the northeast corner of Santa Monica Boulevard and Highland Avenue next to an adult bookstore, Ita-Cho (6779 Santa Monica) draws the coolest Zodiac-shod, blue-jeaned crowd east of Tokyo. Not a sushi joint, it is the place to sit on tree-stump seats amid Japanese rustic decor and drink connoisseur-quality sake--iced or hot, in 15 varieties.
The venerable Dan Tana's (9071 Santa Monica), below, has always had an Adriatic flavor because Dan Tana himself is from Yugoslavia. But if you want to catch up on the latest news from that troubled land, you'll find Serbs, Croats and Montenegrins sitting together at the north end of the bar. Peacefully imbibing vodka martinis served by bartender Michael (a native of the ancient coastal city of Split), they hatch plots to get their films financed despite the turmoil at home.