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Timothy Olyphant

Don’t get Timothy Olyphant wrong. Sure, the scene-stealing actor is best known for playing a tough-as-nails Old West lawman on HBO’s “Deadwood.” And granted, he seems to favor big-screen baddies: a deadly techno geek in “Live Free or Die Hard” and a shaven-headed assassin in the current “Hitman.” As well, he does a hilariously over-the-top job of dialing in the morning sports report on Indie 103.1 FM five days a week.

But Olyphant, 39, who has lived in Los Angeles for nine years, isn’t simply a dude’s dude. He’s also an arts appreciator who majored in fine art at USC and gives critical shout-outs to local art heroes like John Baldessari, Ed Ruscha and Chris Burden. And when he’s in L.A. (where he lives with his wife and three kids), it’s the physical and emotional aesthetic he’s drawn to.

If I’ve got a choice of canyons to drive over, I take Coldwater Canyon Avenue every time because of a little church at the bottom of the hill -- St. Michael’s Church, designed by A. Quincy Jones [not that Quincy Jones -- the guy who produced the Shrine Auditorium]. I always have the same two thoughts: 1) It looks great. 2) One day someone’s going to crash right into that thing. I’m also a fan of the Memorial Coliseum, which was built in the 1920s and is still awesome (yet we can’t get an NFL franchise in the city!), and the Pacific Design Center on Melrose. I like the blue building. I like the green building. Maybe the red one will suck.

I don’t go to openings but I do go to galleries. A favorite is Roberts & Tilton Gallery in the 6150 Wilshire Blvd. complex. It’s as good as most museums, but with better parking.

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I like flying into LAX and seeing the Encounter building by Paul Williams -- that spaceship-looking thing. If you had forgotten where you were headed -- which I often do -- that building is a nice reminder. Williams was an African American architect who designed houses for famous people like Lucille Ball.

L.A.'s not a city that comes at you when you walk out the door. You’ve got to make an effort. Go to the Natural History Museum, go to Griffith Park, go downtown -- you feel like you’ve gone on a mini vacation. That sense of discovery is really cool.

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Chris.Lee@latimes.com

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