Is it a castle, a bordello, a movie set, or a schizophrenic funhouse?
It’s hard to tell just what you’re looking at when you approach the apartments of Tony Wells and Brittany Stevenson as it could be any of those things, or all of those things thrown together.
Demons leer and gargoyles crouch behind patina ironwork, framing murals of women in various stages of undress peeking through curtains. Another mural depicts a more medieval scene, a scantily clad warrior-woman rides a dragon into battle, and among the devil and nymph statues, a centaur rears up, bow and arrow in hand. This jumble of myths and fantasy artwork is not a haunted house or a film prop retailer, but simply the not-so-humble apartment building of two free spirits who rent to artists, musicians, and other like-minded folk that don’t mind their home being gawked at.
El Bordello Alexandra used to be just that – a rumored bordello and heroin den with a slumlord that had little interest in caring for the historical 2-story building. When Tony and Brittany purchased the apartments over a decade ago, they gutted the promising structure and started from scratch. After the initial repair work was done, the two started hiring local artists to make it a place worthy of the label “bizarre” in a city that flies its freak flag so high it’s barely visible. Worthy it is. With its contrasting themes all represented with bold-colored murals, life-sized statues and some of the busiest detail in town, El Bordello Alexandra has managed to stand out in a place where it’s practically impossible to earn a double-take.
Visit Los Angeles withAtlas Obscura Trips
L.A. Science Weekend: Natural History and Space
Join New York Times Journeys and Atlas Obscura for three days of scientific learning in Los Angeles, focused on natural history and zoology or space and aviation. This two-track program includes panels, exclusive visits and special access to scientists and venues to get up close to everything from telescopes and taxidermy to dinosaur skeletons and space artifacts.