Photography by Trevor Smith

Kenneth Cappello


| Laurel Canyon

When we meet Kenneth Cappello— a man who has toured with The Kills, who calls tattoo legend, Dr. Woo a good “friend,” and who’s photographed cultural icons as major as A$AP Rocky and Kanye— he’s walking around in a pair of stark white hotel slippers, his blonde Chihuahua in hand. Granted, Cicciolina “Chichy” is no ordinary pooch— Cappello inherited the dog from supermodel May Andersen whose erratic schedule turned out to be unfit for a pet— but still, we were pleasantly surprised by the photographer’s no-frills-just-chill personality. “Have you ever thought about how weird it really is— what we do?,” he asks us. “People just posing for us all day… what an odd job.” For him, those “people” include the likes of Justin Bieber, Jennifer Lawrence and Alexander Skarsgaard, but despite decades in the business, he remains un-phased. Born in Houston, Cappello was raised on skateboarding and punk rock; he moved to New York City in the late ‘90s where he assisted celebrated photographer, David Lachappelle; and by 2001, one of his own images was on the cover of Dazed & Confused. He’s directed music videos for The Kills and Riff Raff, shot campaigns for mega-brands from Givenchy to Supreme, and published a book, too (aptly named Dream and Drive, it chronicles a decade of his aforementioned rock band touring). But, the coolest part about Cappello? Kick it with him at home and he’s just a nonchalant dude with some kick-ass party stories. Here, he sits down with CITIPHILE to reveal his little black book on LA.

NEIGHBORHOOD STANDBY: Katsu-ya on Ventura in North Hollywood (MAP IT, x). I get the crispy spinach with albacore— it’s so good.

COFFEE OR TEA: I hear [the best coffee is] at Alfred (MAP IT, x), but maybe that’s just the place to be seen. I drink butter coffee that I make at home so it’s hard for me to drink regular coffee now. I use an upgraded coffee bean from either Bullet Proof or Caveman Coffee (they’re processed so that they decrease the mold in the bean), then I mix it with ghee or grass-fed butter in a blender. You won’t feel the negative effects that you feel from drinking regular coffee.

ALL-TIME FAVORITE RESTAURANT: Hard question, but I would have to say Pinches Tacos (MAP IT, x) and Night + Market on Sunset (MAP IT, x).

COCKTAIL DE LA NUIT: Something spicy with tequila. Connie and Ted’s Seafood Restaurant (MAP IT, BOOK IT, x) has a great drink called “Born in East LA” (Tequila, tamarind, lime, Mexican mole bitters, hellfire bitters and soda).

AFTER-WORK HAPPY HOUR: Rainbow Bar (MAP IT, x) or SoHo House (MAP IT, x)— two very opposite places.

POWER LUNCH: SoHo House, probably.

BEST BRUNCH: Blu Jam Café on Melrose (MAP IT, x)— the food is amazing and it’s only open for breakfast and lunch.

BEST PEOPLE WATCHING: Hollywood Boulevard, late on a Friday night.

HEALTHY STAPLE: Erewhon (MAP IT, x) for something from the hot bar counter.

GUILTY PLEASURE: Pizza at Pace in Laurel Canyon (MAP IT, BOOK IT, x).

LA’S BEST-KEPT SECRET: Any of the amazing Korean BBQ spots in K-Town.


REGULAR AT: Necromance (MAP IT, x) is a great shop; LA Confidential Caregivers (MAP IT, x) keeps the weed coming; Earthbar (MAP IT, x) has great smoothies.

TO ESCAPE AND UNWIND: Hiking through any of the canyons.

DREAM LA SHOOT LOCATION: Glenn Danzig’s house.

CLOSET CHECK: I don’t know what my personal style is. Stay under-dressed and make sure your shoes are cool… I shop at Slauson Super Mall (MAP IT).

BEST HOME DÉCOR: I’m basically an interior designer— I love decorating and I go antiquing all the time. The Rose Bowl (MAP IT, x) can be great sometimes, and so can Long Beach Flea (MAP ITx). My home is a mishmash; it’s definitely not modern. I love vintage wallpaper and ceramics, but I also have a decent taxidermy collection (I love animals and they need to be with me).

BEST HOST/HOSTESS GIFTS: Home Depot (MAP IT)’s plant department.

GROOMING BLACK BOOK: Sunset Foot Spa on Sunset (MAP IT, x).

FIT PICK: Right now, my routine is made up of pilates, circuit workouts and jui jitsu. I go to the Santa Monica Stairs a lot and my garage has been turned into a dojo so we train in there 3-times a week (you can see it on Instagram, @xlaurelxcanyonx). I did crossfit for five years and Brick Crossfit (MAP IT, x) has some amazing classes (and not just crossfit-focused ones either).

ULTIMATE LA MOMENT: Well, everywhere you go, no matter were you are, some asshole is talking about a script or a pilot or whatever else you talk about in “Hollywood” and it’s always at a very high volume. Turn the volume down. CP

Kenneth’s LA

From L to R: First Row: Cocktail from Connie and Ted's Seafood Restaurant; Lunch at Soho House; Hollywood; Korean Barbeque: Alfred's Coffee; Horns from Necromance; Grand Canyon; Bulletproof Coffee with Butter.

From L to R: First Row: Cocktail from Connie and Ted’s Seafood Restaurant; Lunch at SoHo House; The Hollywood Hills; Korean barbecue: Alfred’s Coffee; Horns from Necromance; The Grand Canyon; Bulletproof coffee with butter.


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