LA Man: Jonathan Anastas

I’ve been after Jonathan Anastas for ages to be my LA Man. I knew he’d be perfect for it-he’s got great taste-but he’s also that LA Man in the sense that he’s a workaholic so I can never pin him down to more than a few text responses. I knew, however, that once I got him to reply, I’d get the ultimate LA Man response yet. Because that’s Jonathan.

My LA Girl and LA Man column are about busting stereotypes: meaning, what non-locals think we do out here (lazing on the beach, getting stoned, doing nothing.) Jonathan and I are both Bostonians who cut our teeth in the 1980s hardcore scene, so don’t expect any pot dispensary recommendations. Although you never would in any of my columns! Take it away:

My daily routine starts like this: run the Wahl Pro Basic model clipper over my head, then jump in a very hot shower.  The shower has a huge glass pane and looks into the green hillside behind the house, I keep the window open whenever possible.  Essential shower tip: always be sure you’ve pulled the water restrictors out of all shower heads in the house.  If you don’t know, it’s a small plastic or brass washer than cuts the natural water flow from about 5 gallons per minute to 2.5 gallons per minute.  Yes, your water bill will go up.  However, your shower experience will so dramatically improve that your mood will improve far more than your DWP invoice un-improves.  An additional piece of advice would be to install Speakman Anystream Icon 64 shower heads.  It’s called the Icon for a reason.  One Christmas I gave them as gifts to all my close male friends.

Post shower, I apply two spays of Le Lebo Vetiver 46, bought from their 3rd Street store front.  From there, it’s Baxter of California for shaving cream, deodorant, mint toner and oil free moisturizer.  Baxter Finley was a New York Ad Man who moved to LA in the 60s; failing to find the right products for men’s grooming (unheard of at the time) , he created his own in 1965.  By the 70s, Baxter was the de facto LA chic man’s line, something you’d use before going to the Playboy Mansion for movie night with Hef and Jimmy Caan.  The line was re-born in the early 2000s, and I’ve been a fan – and a brand advocate – since then.

Morning vitamins are Men’s Daily and Wholemega fish oil and Zyflammend  (for gym soreness) by New Chapter, a D3 and a Bayer aspirin.

Like many men, I have a “uniform.”  For workdays, the uniform is APC Petite Standard Selvage Leg slim jeans in a dark indigo wash, a Black Fleece shirt (I’ve been transitioning into small spread collars) and a Black Fleece jacket. Being born in Boston, I went through a period where I strongly rejected the blue blazer.  In the last couple years, I’ve leaned back in hard.  I now own them in light tropical wool, old-school winter weight wool and linen.  Yes, gold buttons, with surgeon’s cuffs being mandatory.  The trick to keeping them modern is fit.  I do two rounds of tailoring so they hug me like custom made and finish them on the snug and short side.  Leather goods are almost exclusively Gucci, rotating between oxfords, wing tips and loafers, adding Paul Smith socks and pocket squares (sometime Hermes).  My wife picks them out for me from the pink flagship store on Melrose.  I’m a watch guy and have way too many to get into here.  The brief is “classic, performance-based and Swiss” a mix of vintage and current models.  Most have them have come from Wanna’ Buy a Watch, also on Melrose.  There is a lot of swapping things in and out of the collection.  They taught me everything I know and I take great pride now in dropping the occasional nugget that informs them.

I’ve never solved the “briefcase” conundrum properly.  A hard case seems ancient and in-efficient and I’m a bit old for a backpack or a messenger bag. I’ve got a leather and bright striped canvas Paul Smith, shaped like a fishing bag, but more mornings than not everything is dumped into a basic canvas tote. I’ve got one from a work offsite and several others including a Colony Palms Hotel tote with a hummingbird on it the owner brought a dinner party gift in. I keep searching for the perfect luxe solution, but it’s not yet happened.

The morning drive is calls to the east coast or Europe and button punching between KCRW and Howard Stern on Satellite.  Yes, I break the law and use the Smartphone to check e-mail. My commuter weapon of choice is a 2012 Jaguar XJ Supersport.  Beats an AMG in passing power, far less common in the LA car wars, valets love it and it was designed by the biggest design talent in the auto business today, Ian Callum.

I don’t do many breakfast meetings, they throw my pacing.  I like to be in the office early and tear into what’s in front of me.  If I stop for a breakfast, I just feel behind all morning.  On the rare occasion I do one, it’s Cecconis in West Hollywood, the Larder at the Tavern or Farm Shop at the Brentwood Countrymart.

My favorite lunch meeting spots are La Scala in Beverly Hills (as that’s pretty central for people who work on the east side, Hollywood, Century City as well as the west side) for Chopped Salad (original, no substitutions) or The Tavern in Brentwood.  If I don’t go out, my in-office dining is generally an “eat every four hours” strategy, strong on protein shakes and bars.  I’ve gone organic recently in this area, preferring Orgain.

Dinners for business are the patio at the Chateau Marmont, Tower Bar (I could rave about Dimitri forever) or Sushi Park across the street from Equinox in West Hollywood.

I stop at an Equinox post-work three to four days a week, at whatever location is closest to where my schedule leaves me.  WEHO is the best, by far, but I use Westwood, Santa Monica and Beverly Hills.  The SOHO location in NYC is my second favorite in the national chain and my second most visited spot.  It’s impossible to use WEHO or SOHO without seeing someone I’ve done business with, past or present.  Those chance meetings are always of value.  If there is no business dinner post gym, I finish with a Flaxmaster shake from EarthBar with double protein.

On weekends, the uniform changes to James Perse cotton t-shirts and thermals, Velva Sheen Henleys, Band of Outsider button downs, Fred Perry retro polos (Opening Ceremony rolls deep in Band of Outsiders and Fred Perry), Martin Margiela sweaters (great selection at Douglas Fir on 3rd) and the APC jeans that have worn or faded too much for the office.  Footwear is some sort of classic sneaker they have sold since the 70s, like Adidas Stan Smiths, Rod Lavers; leathers in a Band of Outsiders/Topsider or Duckie Brown/Florsheim.  I also live in my Cherokee classic steel toes motorcycle boots, broken in over the last 20 years plus.   Jackets include a Pea Coat by Band of Outsiders with gold buttons, a waxed cotton classic Belstaff and a Margiela 60s inspired motocross leather.  I have a few Trilby and Newsboy caps by Paul Smith.  My style icons are Steve McQueen and Paul Simonon from the Clash, so I try to mix that classic 60s American Man with some punk retro eccentricities.

Bio: Jonathan Anastas
Vice President, Global Head of Digital and Social Marketing

At Activision, Jonathan leads Global Social and Digital Marketing across the company’s many brands. In 2011, Anastas helped Call of Duty, Modern Warfare 3 (MW3) reach one billion dollars in sales over only 16 days, making it the world’s largest entertainment property for the third year running. In addition, MW3 was the 8th largest meme on Facebook for the year, and was the only product or brand represented on the Top 10 list. 

Before joining Activision, Jonathan most recently served as Vice President, Head of Global Marketing for Atari, the legendary video game publisher. Anastas spent 18 years in the advertising business, including a tenure as President of Tribal DDB’s Redurban division, where he oversaw US launch offices in New York and Dallas. Before joining Tribal DDB, Jonathan held a number of management and account service roles at agencies including Mullen, Saatchi & Saatchi and Omnicom digital agency THINK New Ideas, rising to the level of Executive Vice President and Managing Director.

In addition to his career in advertising and marketing, Jonathan is the co-founder and bass player for legendary 1980s hardcore punk bands DYS and Slapshot. Both bands recorded multiple records and continue to tour the US and Europe.

Photo: Josh Rose

Donna Lethal

About Donna Lethal

Donna Lethal is the author of "Milk of Amnesia" and writes for her own blog (Lethal Dose), Hair Hall of Fame, Dowager Quarterly, Find A Death, & the Valhalla Cemetery chapter in "Weird Hollywood." A native of Lowell, Mass., she's lived in Boston, NY and London before settling here. When not writing, she's hiking, soaking in a Korean salt room or in the high desert with her pit bull.
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One Response to LA Man: Jonathan Anastas

  1. Mike Mascott says:

    go Jonathan!@

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