You may not know Landis Smithers, but he knows you. He’s what you might call an “old school” influencer, and he’s probably persuaded you try things you didn’t even know you wanted to try.
Although Smithers started out as a junior copywriter in a Chicago ad agency, his career took off from there with blazing speed. Since then, he has been the creative mind behind campaigns for everything from Old Navy and Dove to Playboy and Pepsi. Most recently he was Grindr’s head of marketing and, now, he has taken over as the Chief Creative Officer of Standard International, the company in charge of the hotel chain of the same name.
Oh, and he’s a photographer/director who you’ll want to follow on Instagram since his page is currently filled with beauties like this:
For anyone planning to visit Los Angeles—one of the places Smithers calls home—here’s his take on where to go and what to do:
1. What is the best thing about Los Angeles?
The creative community. I’ve never been anywhere where people are so ready to lend their own talents to others who are trying to make things. There is a true “say yes to everything” attitude among the creators here.
2. What is your favorite tourist attraction?
MedMen. The “Barneys of weed.” Beautiful interior design, great staff, and now, open to everyone.
3. And, the most overrated?
The damn Sprinkles cupcake ATM. Although it’s a smart stop after MedMen.
4. What one thing should every LGBTQ tourist make a point to see/do/experience in LA?
HIGHBROW: The Broad Museum. Amazing design, killer art. LOWBROW: Adonis Lounge on Wednesday night at Fubar.’Cuz lap dances. STAY: The Standard, Hollywood. The rooms are basic, but the pool parties are legend. Plus, you can stumble home safely after a night out.
5. Where is the best place to meet sexy locals?
Any night that Billy Francesca (above) hosts seems to drive the best crowds…primarily because you have to have a healthy sense of humor to survive. And that’s always sexy.
6. Where is the best place to grab brunch?
I don’t believe in brunch. Go have dinner at Lucques, the finest, most intimate restaurant in the city. Suzanne Goin is a master of California cuisine. Beyond delicious, simple farm to table ingredients, all in a space I want to move into. And you don’t ever feel out of place. Even when Tom Ford is sitting in the booth next to you. In sunglasses.
7. Where is the best place to get a cocktail?
Avoid the Abbey (sorry, tourist trap), and head to Laurel Hardware. Great cocktails, mixed crowd, insane food, all hidden behind the original hardware store frontage. Then you are short stroll down Santa Monica Boulevard from the strip.
8. Which museum is worth spending an afternoon?
The Broad, downtown. Book in advance. I know i mentioned it above. I’m not drunk. Yet.
9. And the best neighborhood to spend a Saturday?
I find Venice boring. Silver Lake is now the Brooklyn of the west coast (not a compliment per se). Take the time to wander Rodeo Drive. It’s cheesy. It’s touristy. And in many ways it is everything you want Los Angeles to be.
10. Who or what is everyone in LA talking about right now?
Oly Innes is the new darling of queer nightlife in Los Angeles, for good reason. Look him up, and try to make it to one of his signature “Daddy Issues” parties.