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News

LAist Interview: Gabrielle Middaugh Pascoe

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Gabrielle Middaugh Pascoe is a journalist and webentrepreneur determined to enlighten Angelenos about every fascinating activity that our metropolis has to offer. She edits and distributes a daily email newsletter called Single Shot, which delivers tips and information on the very best people and places and things in the city of Los Angeles.

Age: 35
Occupation: Founder, Single Shot

How long have you lived in Los Angeles, and which neighborhood do you live in?:
Born and raised here. I live in Monterey Hills east of Downtown.

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What is Single Shot.net?
Single Shot (http://www.singleshot.net) is a daily email featuring one cool thing a day. One email. Once a day. One topic. It could be a restaurant, a gadget, an art opening, an emerging trend, a new hot car, a coffee table book, a new radio station – or anything that would be of interest to guys in L.A.

What are the demographics and business model for this endeavor?:
Demographics: It’s targeted toward guys in the L.A. area, but I get a lot of positive feedback from the women on our list as well.
Business Model: We never, never accept payment of any kind to write about the things we write about. We never, never share our subscriber list. But we do accept payment from advertisers who want to send a sponsored message. We try to make sponsored messages as cool as all our other shots by making them funny or by including a discount for mentioning single shot. But they are clearly marked “sponsored message.”

Why did you create it and why do you think it is needed in Los Angeles?:
Well, here's a little back-story. All I ever wanted to be career-wise was a TV reporter. But I could never get a job, so I moved to New York and worked in news production. Along the way I had a lot of mentors. One of these old news salts gave me this piece of advice: You have to find a way to follow your passion, even if you can't find someone to hire you. Like, if you want to be an actor, and you can't get a gig, then go build your own stage and get up on it and act. So I guess for a long time I had this burning need to get out there and report. And in Single Shot I finally found an outlet.

But why Single Shot in particular? It was simply a case of seeing a window of opportunity. Men in Los Angeles were being underserved in the lifestyle email space. When I was just starting up, I shopped the idea around to a lot of friends and pretty universally the response was "That's a great idea!"

What is the point of the "Single Shot Girl"?
Yeah, this feature has been somewhat controversial. The Single Shot Girl is a photograph of a beautiful, sexy Los Angeles area woman taken by local photographer Lindsey Walker and featuring the original writing of Jim Pascoe (an amazing L.A. writer who happens to be my husband). We actually call this feature the "Print Out Pin-Up." And I think it's funny that people so often ask "what's the point?" What's the point of any art? Do you have to know the point of something in order to enjoy it?

All Single Shot content is office-safe, so the girl isn't nude. She's a modern take on the pin-up girls of previous eras.

What does she say about Los Angeles?
L.A. is home to some of the most beautiful women in the world.

What is the criteria for being selected as the "Single Shot Girl"?:
Lindsey chooses her own women and I never even meet them. The only direction I've ever given her is to find girls who are hot. But what that means is really up to her.

Will there be a "Single Shot Guy"?:
No.

What inspired you to write it?
I created it, but I don't write it. I'm in touch with my inner guy, and all. But when I tried to write steamy prose about hot women, I quickly found myself in touch with my inner heterosexual. Thank god I live with a brilliant writer.

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What's your preferred mode of transportation?
What I wouldn't give to be able to walk to work. I'm going to burn in hell for commuting alone in my gas guzzler.

How often do you ride the MTA subway or light rail?
Never now, but when I lived in Hollywood, I'd take the red line down to Grand Central market. Go spend a day riding and looking at subway art on the red line. The city really invested in it, and it's an under-appreciated municipal treasure.

What's your favorite movie(s) or TV show(s) that are based in LA?

I got a sneak preview of a show coming out around January on ABC called "What About Brian" that I'm very excited about. It's like a 30-Something for gen-Xers and is based in L.A. I highly recommend it. As for movies, "Chinatown."

Best LA-themed book(s)?
I don't know if it's the best, but I was studying Day of the Locusts at UCLA when the riots broke out. Just as we got to the part of the book where the city goes up in flames, the city went up in flames.

Share your best celebrity sighting experience.

Over the course of my career, I've seen a lot of celebrities and I don't find them exciting any more. But when I was at the Festival of Books I happened upon Shepard Fairy (of OBEY fame) in a booth, sort of on his own signing books here and there. There was no line of people. He was just hanging out. I tried to talk to him but my tongue suddenly went all wool blanket. I think I said something dumb like "Hey! You're my biggest fan!"

In your opinion, what's the best alternate route to the 405?
The very best alternative can be found here: http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showpost.php?p=4404849&postcount=13%20target=

But for now I'd take Coldwater Canyon.

What's the best place to walk in LA?
I'm drawn to ethnic neighborhoods. I love to have dinner at an Indian restaurant on Pioneer Blvd. in Artesia, and then meander in and out of the shops looking at saris and inhaling the smell of Indian spices. Same goes for Chinese on Valley Blvd. in San Gabriel. Or Japanese on Sawtelle. Or Thai on Hollywood Blvd.

It's 9:30 pm on Thursday. Where are you coming from and where are you going?
Party night! But I'd call this my biggest research night. I might be on my way to a noteworthy strip club. Or maybe trying to infiltrate a nightclub with a strict door policy. Or seeing some show that guys would dig. I go out armed with a notepad and my little digital camera and I shoot whatever I can until they kick me out.

If you could live in LA during any era, when would it be?
My parents' photo albums are like windows onto L.A. in the 50s and 60s. Everyone looks so happy and relaxed. Here they are on ski boats. Here they are riding in dune buggies. Here they are on a road trip to Baja. They don't seem to be the overworked, over-stressed, downtime-deprived crew that we are today. If I could get back to that, I'd go.

What's your beach of choice?
There's this one strip of Malibu that a friend and I call "hedonism beach" because every time we go it's sort of a free for all. People going nude. People smoking dope in the sand. Cops tell them to stop, so they do - until the cop leaves. I have kind of a thing for vice.

What is the "center" of LA to you?
Hollywood. But ask me in five years and I might say Downtown.

If you were forced to live in a neighboring county, which would you choose? Ventura County is a wussy answer.
If you forced me to live in a neighboring county, I would spontaneously combust.

If you could live in any neighborhood or specific house in LA, where/which would you choose?
Hollywood Hills in a house with a view of city lights.

Los Angeles is often stereotyped as a hard place to find personal connections and make friends. Do you agree with that assessment? Do find it challenging to make new friends here?
The way to make friends here is to get involved in something. Go work for a charity. Join a swim team. Start a professional organization. Do something where you'll have repeated contact with the same group of people, and they will eventually become your friends.

What is the city's greatest secret?
There are so many. And all the ones I know I'm giving away over time through Single Shot. Sometimes I think "I hope nobody reads this because I don't want this place to get popular," but I write it anyway.

Drinking, driving. They mix poorly, and yet they're inexorably linked. How do you handle this conflict?
I handle it in the worst way, by taking it on the case-by-case. But the last person who should be making decisions about whether or not to drive is a drunk person. I think personal breathalyzers could help. Every person who gets a drivers license should be given a breathalyzer key chain. Even better, how about this (http://www.engadget.com/entry/8391853541896164/)?

Describe your best LA dining experience.
A friend of mine who worked at Spago invited us to dinner there. I was skeptical, because I figured the place is so famous for star sightings the food can't possibly be good. We spent six hours savoring courses off the tasting menu and the food blew my mind.

What do you have to say to East Coast supremacists?
I might be guilty of a little of that supremacist sentiment myself. I spent 6 ½ years in New York. When I arrived a cousin there told me "If you're from California, you've got to be bi-something. You'd best be bi-coastal." And I guess at heart I am. Sometimes I think the West reigns supreme, other times the East.

Do you find the threat of earthquakes preferable to the threat of hurricanes and long winters?
I enjoy earthquakes. I like that moment right after when everyone says "yeah, that felt like a 5." I'd take that over a February in New York any day.

Where do you want to be when the Big One hits?
I hope I'm here for it. I'd like to be at Griffith Park Observatory, looking out over the city as the buildings come tumbling down. And I'd like to have all the people I love there with me so I don't worry about them. If there's anything left, we can go about rebuilding the city. Starting with a new public transportation system.