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The LAist Interview: Xeni Jardin

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Whether writing in Wired and numerous publications, reporting on NPR, blogging at Boing Boing, or giving her own LA-centric perspective at, Xeni Jardin continually mines the vast marvels of technology, the Internet, and popular culture. Xeni’s career has brought her to Los Angeles, yet she maintains a busy travel schedule that includes appearing at and hosting conferences in places far and wide.

So who says the best tech pundits are in San Francisco and New York? Xeni regularly scoops LAist on the best in weird and interesting local tech meets hip news (like the SRL show this past weekend) and we're psyched to have local dynamic thinkers like Ms. Jardin. See what she has to say about living in LA, and read more about Xeni on her site.


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Technology/pop culture journalist, blogger, internet bon vivant

How long have you lived in Los Angeles?

For a little over ten years, but I've lived in a few cities at once sometimes.

Which neighborhood do you live in?


Where are you from?

Before LA, San Francisco.

Lived all over.

You’ve worked in just about every medium. Which do you like best?


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What are some advantages and disadvantages of each?

Film is the most whole art form that exists now. It's the most complete medium of concrete human expression we have. It's about to become even more interesting as digital replaces photochemical throughout the lifeline of movies -- from creation, to production, to distribution, to exhibition.

How is living in Los Angeles particularly advantageous vis-à-vis being connected to the tech media world.

Everything I need is here.

In this age of telecommuting and such, does geography even matter much anymore? Or does it matter more, given that some people’s choice of residence is no longer tied to their place of work?

Geography, community, and proximity do matter. They define us as much as we rely on them. I can't imagine doing what I do in any other city. Technology, art, and pop culture meet here in a way that isn't possible anywhere else in the world.

Every new medium emulates the old while in its infancy. Radio was theater, TV adapted radio, and the internet/ web has always been, at its best, TV.

I don't agree with those assessments.

So what will the internet become when it grows up?

Something I will not recognize.

Why now radio, given its old school nature?

It's free for the audience, it's ubiquitous, and it's a mature technology. Lends itself to evocative and intimate storytelling in a way no other medium does.

What's the most exciting technological development to come along in the past year?

There were many, both great and mundane. SpaceShipOne's successful flights; the popularization of BitTorrent, the blogging boom, podcasting as a common noun, discoveries on Mars, new understanding about the workings of the human brain.

Where are your favorite places in LA to shop for non-tech gear (i.e. shoes and clothes)?

Santee Alley. Zentropa. Y-Que. Bejon and Deheg. Diavolina. The Gucci and Prada boutiques on Rodeo. Eduardo Lucero.

What's your preferred mode of transportation?

Vomit comet, of course.

What's the best place to walk in LA?

Hidden trails behind the Griffith Observatory that lead to the Hollywood sign.

It's 9:30 pm on a Thursday. Where are you coming from and where are you going?

If I told you, I'll have to encrypt you.

If you could live in LA during any era, when would it be?

I am content with now.

What is the "center" of LA to you?

The corner of La Cienega and Beverly. Not because it's important or attractive or even a place I frequent. But because the first time I spent time in this city, that intersection felt like LA's default home page.

If you could live in any neighborhood or specific house in LA, where/which would you choose?

I'd evict Hugh Hefner, set up a wireless LAN in the grotto, teach the bunnies how to write software, and 0wn his mansion.

Seriously: it's a beautiful property. One time his peacocks ate seeds from the palm of my hand, and I fell in love with that joint.

What is the city's greatest secret?

It is possible to live a normal life in Los Angeles.

Please describe your best LA dining experience.

The first time I bit into a rose petal crème brulee, when Vittorio Lucariello was head chef at il Cielo in Beverly Hills. He's since moved on to a gig in Hong Kong, and il Cielo suffers without him. But that first bite was a moment of unsurpassed, unrepeated clarity and euphoria. Like sinking your teeth into an angel's ass.

It's a tie between that and the taste of a fresh, hot, handmade corn tortilla from a Guatemalan loncheria perched on the outskirts of K-town. There is no more perfect taste on earth than a hot, fat, corn tortilla brought to life between someone's hands.

Do you find the threat of earthquakes preferable to the threat of hurricanes and long winters?

If the climate changes get any more interesting around here, we won't have to choose.

Where do you want to be when the Big One hits?

Somewhere other than whatever place the Big One decides to hit.

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