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Five Miles Up with ... Janina Gavankar

Five Miles Up with ... Janina GavankarA mouse. A mosquito. A homosexual, evangelist vampire. As shape-shifter Luna Garza on HBO’s "True Blood,"  these roles are all in a day’s work for Janina Gavankar. Getting a call from "American Idol's" Randy Jackson proclaiming, “You’re weird! I like it!” could very well have sounded like praise for her acting. Instead, he was referring to Gavankar’s music, a blend of experimental, quirky, electro-pop styles. The result of that phone call is an EP coming out later this year through Jackson’s Friendship Collective label. Those chomping at the bit for a preview can get a taste via Gavankar’s debut single, "Waiting for Godot," released on Aug. 28.

What’s something you never fail to pack in your suitcase?
Headphones. As an audiophile, it's a priority. Also, they keep your ears warm, and a too-chatty seatmate at bay.

Carry-on or check-in?
Always a carry-on. I'll pack a 100-pound carry on, just so I don't have to check in.

Window or aisle?

Window. I've perfected the lean-n-snooze.

Do you bring food with you on plane? If so, what do you typically pack?
I always throw a few Kind Bars in my bag in an attempt to thwart the itch for airplane snacks.

What’s your idea of the perfect vacation?
A bed. On a beach. Where they bring you everything you need.

Tell us about a vacation you’ve taken that’s come close thus far.
Camping on the Greek island Antiparos. 

Ever had a disastrous vacation?
A disastrous vacation is a vacation I have to cancel. I've had disastrous vacations for the last three years!

What's the most unusual souvenir you ever came back with?
In Jaipur (India), my mother and I bought a two-story-high, ancient doorway with four unfolding doors. It came to us in pieces on a boat ... It's still in pieces.

Ever try a food that you wished you hadn't?

Beignets in New Orleans. Famous for a reason:  It's hard to stay on a shape-shifter's diet and know those exist!

Favorite hotel, resort, yurt, train, boat you've ever stayed in?

Necker Island (in the British Virgin Islands).

Biggest regret you've ever had while on vacation.
When I was little, my mother insisted we walk across the Kapellbrücke Bridge (in Lucerne, Switzerland). I was being a grumpy child, and refused. The next week it burned down.

The one thing you're willing to splurge on above all else.
Chocolate. If I see a fancy chocolate shop, I'm going in and asking about dark chocolate-covered marzipan.

Three songs (or artists) on your travel playlist?
Rachmaninoff, Muse and, if I have WiFi, I'm catching up on KCRW's "Morning Becomes Eclectic" playlist.

You only get one more trip in your lifetime. Where will it be?
So about that beach with the bed ...

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