<![CDATA[NBC Southern California - Dining, shopping and nightlife]]> Copyright 2014 http://www.nbclosangeles.com/entertainment/the-scene http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/NBC4_40x125.png NBC Southern California http://www.nbclosangeles.com en-us Wed, 20 Aug 2014 05:48:37 -0700 Wed, 20 Aug 2014 05:48:37 -0700 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Tasty Exhibit: SoCal's Famous Menus]]> Tue, 19 Aug 2014 17:42:00 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/208*120/library_brown-derby-coffee-cover12.jpg

There are things that arrive on paper, often with illustrations, that are happy-making -- say, a favorite storybook from childhood -- and there are some things that arrive on paper, with prices, that tend to cause heartburn -- say, an unexpected bill for that car problem you believed was solved.

But what's the paper item that arrives bearing a bunch of prices and oftentimes illustrations that inspires the reader to be flush with good feeling? It is, indeed, a menu. And when you're holding one in your hands, dreaming of the club sandwich or steak you're about to enjoy, all feels pretty dang right in your world.

And if your world has been Los Angeles over the last 30 or 40 or 70 years, you've likely seen your fair share of colorful, wacky, and elegant menus, many for restaurants that have been gone for 30 or 40 or 70 years.

Many of those menus, perhaps even a menu you once held, are cataloged within the Los Angeles Public Library. It's a "vast collection," says the library, and numerous artifacts will go on display at the Central Library as part of the To Live and Dine in LA exhibit.

The exhibit, due in 2015, is as big as buffet: USC Annenberg professor Josh Kun and several of his students "combed the Library's roughly 9,000-piece menu collection, piecing together an unprecedented history of how, where, and what people ate in Los Angeles over the past century."

You'll see some famous hotspots in the mix -- hiya, Brown Derby -- and some locations that have completely slipped your memory, and probably our collective city memory, too.

Thank goodness something that can be as ephemeral as a menu is being looked after, and collected, by our library system. What are the menus we collect? Take-out places down the street? Perhaps, but we likely don't have 9,000 of them stuffed in a kitchen drawer.

A book and public programs will be tied with the large-scale menu-and-restaurant exhibit. To have a peek at what's to come, much in the way one might when scanning a menu ahead of an anticipated meal, tuck in your napkin and make for the official To Live and Dine in LA headquarters.

Photo Credit: The Brown Derby]]>
<![CDATA[Smell This: Stinky the Corpse Flower's Back, San Marino]]> Tue, 19 Aug 2014 17:49:50 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/corpseflowerstinky5.jpg

Another day, another rare Amorphophallus titanum ready to bloom and stinkify the air in its general vicinity, right? 

Well, not quite. The so-called Corpse Flower is not your garden variety carnation -- sorry, carnations, you actually rock and deserve a renaissance -- and it doesn't come along all that often.

Exhibit A? Our own world-class Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens, the ultimate cream of the unusual blossom-possessing crop in many flower fans' eyes, has only housed four Corpse Flowers, ever.

Make that five: Stinky 5 is currently holding court at the San Marino institution, and the flower's much-anticipated bloom is set to occur between Wednesday, Aug. 20 and Saturday, Aug. 23.

If you know the gargantuan and elegantly eerie Corpse Flower, you know this: It does not wear a wristwatch and it shall not be rushed into blooming before it is good and ready to do so. Also know this: When it finally does open it up, its foul whiff shall cause many a face to contort.

Prepare, noses of Southern California.

Stinky 5 -- or, if you prefer, Stinky the Fifth, which seems more suitable, given the royal subject matter of many of The Huntington's paintings -- is currently passing its pre-blooming, anticipation-building time in The Conservatory. Want to keep tabs? Instagram and Twitter are your tab-keeping go-tos. Look for frequent updates, fun photos, and such.

Amorphophallus titanum is "(n)ative to the equatorial rain forests of Sumatra" and "can reach more than 6 feet in height," says the institution. The plant "can also go many years without blooming," so the anticipation in the soon-to-be-stinky air is, yes, palpable.

A few other Corpse Flowers have called upon our neck of the woods over the last year or so, including specimens in Santa Barbara and Costa Mesa.

The Huntington is also posting a daily height watch here, so that's fun, if you like strange flowers with wicked odors that are rare as all get-out. And who doesn't?

And, seriously, flower people: Can't we give carnations a chance? Not ironically, either. None of us will ever wear a Corpse Flower corsage, meaning carnations deserve a little more respect.

Photo Credit: The Huntington]]>
<![CDATA[New Shrieks Afoot: LA Haunted Hayride]]> Tue, 19 Aug 2014 07:24:54 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/hauntedhayridepumpkins1.jpg

We're a town with screenplay jumpstarters on the brain. Thousands of SoCalers can instantly recommend the best time for a fictional first date, the best twist in a crime story, the best ending to a romcom.

And if those screenwriters had to pick a location for a hayride that's taken a turn for the very scary? Well, they'd put it someplace like the Old Zoo, in Griffith Park, which has a name, and look, which lend eerie atmosphere.

Los Angeles Haunted Hayride has lived up to -- or do we we mean died up to? -- its highly inventive Southern California setting for the past half decade, via creepy rides, theatrical shows of the foulest bent, near-total-darkness walk-throughs, and mirthfully macabre actors summoning the giggly screams out of visitors.

And the al fresco fright night is gearing up for its sixth outing, which debuts on Friday, Oct. 3. Three new attractions have been announced for the event, which is doning a rift-from-the-Underworld, seven-deadly-sins-y feel for this year, like a vampire might don his cape.


On tap among the trees of the Old Zoo? An "experience" introducing guests to the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, the Theatre Macabre, an In-Between Dark Maze (you're given a low-voltage lamp and sent into a very shadowy labyrinth), a 40-foot Leviathan, sway polers (an astounding sight), and lots more stuff aiming to tingle spines.

Meaning that the Haunted Hayride is way, way beyond the hayride perimeters, by this point, which any screenplay-smart SoCaler would tell you is exactly what a scary spot needs to do, to up the ante.

Consider the ante up as one of LA's premiere Halloween destinations clip-clops, horseman-style, into the autumn of 2014.

Photo Credit: Los Angeles Haunted Hayride]]>
<![CDATA[Gourmetzia: New Fancy Food Show Samples Up Downtown]]> Mon, 18 Aug 2014 07:45:28 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/237*120/gourmet2e41.jpg

Where do your thoughts turn come the first day of autumn?

Probably, if you call Southern California home, not to the purchasing of rakes and leaf bags. Fall 'round this slice of the Golden State is a tad sunnier -- and Santa-Ana-windier -- than most places, but we do experience some of the longings of the season.

Like? A wish for deeper, richer tastes, posher bites, fancier foodstuffs. Look to any magazine cover around September for a shift from summer-lite to swanker fare. Or look to Gourmetzia, a new fancy food show set to debut over the weekend ahead of fall at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

The big question, when it comes to events like this, though: Is it open to the public, or just people who own a toque, chef's knife, and a restaurant? The big answer? You betcha.

Tickets go on sale Aug. 20.

"(D)ozens of gourmet food and beverage companies will be arriving in Los Angeles," the better to bring chocolates and olive oils and tony toffees and breads and other richly flavored, deep-bodied edibles to people look for a few tidbits to posh up their plates.

Does that mean samples shall be handed out? Oh yes, and, for sure, attendees can buy, too.

Primizie Crispbreads, Olive Oil Boutique, Darby's English Toffee, Seven Angels Cellars, and Hangar 24 Craft Brewery are a few of the exhibitors lined up.

Tickets go on sale on Wednesday, Aug. 20 for the Saturday, Sept. 20 and Sunday, Sept. 21 happening. VIP and early admission choices are available. Need to know more before you prepare to poshly nosh? Click.

Photo Credit: Gourmetzia]]>
<![CDATA[World's Largest Duck Swimming for SoCal]]> Sun, 17 Aug 2014 15:51:21 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/rubberduck181118257.jpg

Many things can be (and have been) said about the great city of Los Angeles, but a completely factual assertion is this: We're wild for large objects appearing in unlikely situations.

"Levitated Mass," the giant "hovering" boulder at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art? Qualifies. How about when the Space Shuttle Endeavour squeezed through narrow streets on its roll to the California Science Center? Yes. And, heck, can we give it up for the ginormous pastry atop Randy's Donuts? Applause, applause.

Next up on SoCal's gargantuan-things-in-odd-spots calendar? A bright yellow ducky, the kind that might appear in a bathtub, but multiplied in general size by, like, 40,000, give or take. Artist Florentijn Hofman's Rubber Duck Project, which has unleashed whimsy and countless whirring cameras in China, Australia, and, indeed, Pittsburgh, is set for its first West Coast appearance at San Pedro's Tall Ships Festival.

The mondo masts'll sail into the Port of Los Angeles from Wednesday, Aug. 20 through Sunday, Aug. 24.

Along with what is undoubtedly going to be the star of the shiply spectacular, the mammoth rubber duck. Mr. Hofman created the out-sized toy-like fowl, an inflatable sculpture with "healing properties," to "relieve the world's tensions as well as define them," says the artist. "The Rubber Duck knows no frontiers, it doesn't discriminate people, and it doesn't have a political connotation."

The sunshine-hued, ship-big plaything has appeared against some interesting settings, skyscrapers among them, but the famous tall ships should provide a backdrop, and a complement, that'll draw photographers throughout the region.

The mega artwork's measurements, by the by, are listed as 10 x 11 x 13 meters. It involves a pontoon, too, as you might imagine.

Will you go to behold the lucky duck? We're only the second North American city to be visited, but the duck chose wisely. After all, we're pretty good with large things presented in offbeat ways.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Help NASA: Urban Tree Tracker Project]]> Fri, 15 Aug 2014 15:31:50 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/treetrackernhm.jpg

That oh-so-noticeable drop in temperature, when you turn the corner from a tree-less street onto an avenue lined with leafy branches? We've all experienced it, the shift from a warmer to cooler microclimate, in just a few steps.

It isn't just a random, pass-by experience, but a rather significant one. And NASA is intent on studying microclimates around our region with microclimate-minded fly-overs. The goal of the fly-overs? The agency is looking to "develop models" to "identify interacting relationships between climate, land cover, temperature, evaporation rates, and demographic patterns across LA."

"On the ground data will corroborate the NASA aerial imagery collected during flights at the end of August and September 2014," says the Natural History Museum, which is working with NASA on the Earthwatch Tree Tracker project, which considers "the cooling effect of urban trees."

So how can we help Earthwatch out? By lending a hand as part of a citizen science group set on "identifying trees and taking measurements" at the Natural History Museum's Nature Gardens and south lawn. "On the ground data will corroborate the NASA aerial imagery collected during flights at the end of August and September 2014."

The date is Saturday, Aug. 23. It's free to participate but you'll need to RSVP to nature@nhm.org, as space is limited. If you can't visit the Exposition Park institution, a number of organizations shall spread out at various green spaces to take measurements.

Tree Tracker comes with three initiatives that citizen scientists should keep in mind as they gather data. One question to ponder: "How do different tree species and configurations of trees cool both the parks they are growing in, as well as the neighborhoods the parks border?"

Interesting stuff, and worthy ideas to ponder. Leafy trees acting as cooling agents in our urban spaces is a hot topic, and one sure to grow in prominence. Playing a part today can positively impact a time far down the road, citizen scientists of Southern California. Here's how to get involved.

Photo Credit: MARIO de LOPEZ]]>
<![CDATA[Wiltern Tour: Peek Behind the Scenes]]> Fri, 15 Aug 2014 12:20:36 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/wilterntourtheatre1.jpg

It's sometimes called the greeniest building in all of Los Angeles -- yep, even over the Easter Columbia building, which leans more turquoise -- and it definitely reigns as just about the Art-Deco-iest, which is saying something in our Art Deco-bedecked city.

We speak of the Wiltern Theatre, the landmark entertainment venue that has to be one of the easiest places in town to find. Not only is it the greeniest building around, but, yep, it has its location in its very name: Wilshire Boulevard and Western Avenue.

Been to a concert at the historic gem, which is connected to the Pellissier Building? Maybe twenty concerts? Get to know the 1931 building better, with a behind-the-scenes, fact-fun tour led by LA Historic Theatre Foundation members on Sunday, Aug. 17.

Tickets are $15.

The informative walk, which will contain four ongoing loops in various parts of the capacious venue, will cover the Wiltern's full story, including how it was nearly demolished at the end of 1970s.

On the agenda? Talks about its early vaudeville days, and the bridge that was built across the street to handle its splashy opening, and how the seats that were removed to create the tiered platforms are in storage. (Yep, current steward Live Nation did not throw those chairs out.)

Chairs, of course, still exist in the Wiltern's balcony, which is the perfect spot to admire the Art Deco "skyscrapers" on the theater's ceiling.

A peek at the dressing rooms, too, is on the tour.

So, the last time you went to a concert there: Did you rush through the lobby? Into a darkened theater? With nary a look-around?

Go deeper. And start here:

photo: LAHTF/Hunter Kerhart

Photo Credit: Los Angeles Historic Theatre Foundation]]>
<![CDATA[Volleyball Mojo: AVP Manhattan Beach Open]]> Thu, 14 Aug 2014 14:11:17 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/mb89091804.jpg

Beach recreation is the epitome of easy-breezy, no-worry-no-hurry, fun in the sun in most people's minds. Stick your feet in some waves, catch rays, draw a heart in the sand.

Beach volleyball? It's the awesomely muscled, pure-power other end of the spectrum. It's the opposite of chillaxing, and while "fun in the sun" is certainly part of the equation for both the athletes and the spectators, head-first dives into the sand, superhero-like leaps at the net, and spikes of pure power are the order of the day.

Witness this, in person, during one of the biggest tourneys to hit the shores of Southern California. It's the AVP Manhattan Beach Open, and it's at the nets through Sunday, Aug. 17.

The Association of Volleyball Professionals has been bringing top-notch v-ballery to cities around the country for over 30 years, but watching it Pacific-side, with the likes of players like Kerri Walsh Jennings, Whitney Pavlik, and a host of forearm-fierce athletes is a very specific SoCal pleasure.

It's year 55 for the Manhattan Beach Open, which makes it "the longest, continuous tournament in the sport of beach volleyball." A Manhattan Beach Open Walk of Fame Pier ceremony is part of the weekend program, too.

As for tickets? Check it out: It's free to see. Now that's pretty easy-breezy and very fun in the sun.

Play kicks off each day, Friday through Sunday, at 9 a.m. Ready for the best of the best in that classic, sandy-footed, multi-netted SoCal setting? 'Tis the season for world-class beach volleyball.

And if you can't get enough of the AVP action, hold tight: It's in Huntington Beach in the middle of September.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[SoCal Beach Volleyball: Mighty Matches Through the Years]]> Thu, 14 Aug 2014 12:47:38 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/452756836.jpg Look back at tourneys from LBC, Hermosa, and Manhattan Beach.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Weekend: The Great Sand Sculpture Contest]]> Thu, 14 Aug 2014 07:37:10 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/214*120/LBCSandSculptureBeach.jpg

THE GREAT SAND SCULPTURE CONTEST: If you've ever watched a small, moist structure come together, grainily, on a beach, you must have an opinion or two. What makes the perfect sand castle? Is it in the detail and little touches? The height of the towers? How quickly the build goes? You can ponder these debate-spurring topics at 1 Granada Avenue in Long Beach. Saturday, Aug. 16 the professional sculptors'll be out with their tools, and on Sunday the 17th? It's the community team sculpting day. And, for sure, these artworks go way beyond the classic castle (though you might see a cameo or two).

FRIED CHICKEN FESTIVAL: The known fact about one of summertime's perennial supper favorites is this: It is versatile. Very versatile. There are probably as many ways to coat fried chicken as there are chefs who make the dish, and there are various manners of serving it up, too (tenders, patties, and more). Want to get to know a few different tastes with some haute sides to complement the chicken's zing? Head for Chinatown on Sunday, Aug. 17. Beers and treats and more savory doings await, but, really: It's about the fried chicken, right?

LOS ANGELES INTERNATIONAL TEA FESTIVAL: The Nisei Week Japanese Festival activities continue around Little Tokyo through the weekend, including a steam-sweet, liquid-lovely happening at the Japanese-American National Museum. Want to learn about the health benefits of tea? Need to know more of oolong? Wanting to plan a traditional tea ceremony? There is much to see, and sip, on Saturday, Aug. 16 and Sunday, Aug. 17.

ALL ABOUT THE WILTERN: So you've seen five -- or ten -- or thirty shows at the Wiltern Theatre over the years? High fives. Now is the moment to bone up on the Art Deco landmark's history, quirks, and characters via a dig-deeper tour. Can you name the design on the ceiling? That's right -- it's skyscrapers. Truly a gem, that Wiltern. Big word, and we mean it. Sunday, Aug. 17

AWESOME '80S RUN 5K: So all of your pastel blazers, the ones with the sleeves you can roll up, and the neon green t-shirts with the mega shoulder pads, are in the front of your closet, pressed and ready for wearing? You're in luck. A whole bunch of people are going to side ponytail it and make for the Rose Bowl, where people in the fashion-y costume of a certain decade will proceed to run five kilometers. Tunes of the era? Other quirky additions? Yes and yes. Be there on Sunday, Aug. 17.

Photo Credit: The Great Sand Sculpture Contest]]>
<![CDATA[Neon On: Pasadena Awesome '80s Run]]> Wed, 13 Aug 2014 16:44:00 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/199*120/awesomepasadena80srun.jpg

While every decade of the past century has had a pretty distinctive fashion vibe -- though, seriously, aughts, we're still kind of waiting to see what you'll be, nearly a half decade later -- it is hard to beat the 1980s for sheer brightness.

All of that neon and plaid and pastel will out-bright, out-kapow, and out-glimmer the flapper dresses of the '20s and go-go boots of the 1960s. No wonder "Sunglasses at Night" became a standard of the era; '80s people required 'em in the face of all of that eye-testing clothing.

Thus any event that involves the wearing of '80s parachute pants and leg warmers and stretchy sweatbands that takes place in the bright morning may have the approximate power of a dozen suns. Or, more likely, oodles of charm.

Charm-oodling up the Rose Bowl on Sunday, Aug. 17 is the Awesome '80s Run 5K. Yep, there's a costume contest. Indeed, you'll nab a "circa 1980s style t-shirt" for finishing. And, for sure, there are medals.

As for what to wear? We'd think comfort first, neon-amazingness second. You don't want that skinny piano tie flapping in your face, and your mother said to never run in your jellies. Best wear sneakers of some sort, vintage if you like, if you don't mind hoofing it for five kilometers in 30-year-old shoes.

Other '80s stuff'll festoon the event, like games, props, and an '80s cover band. And there are team nods, too, for Largest Team and Best Group Costume. Who is going as Pac-Man and the Ghosts? The characters from "The Princess Bride"? You can do it, '80s enthusiasts.

Just remember, when picking out that shiny-wear apparel, that it is morning, and it has been decades since people have been accustomed to the bright-a-tude that was '80s wear. Tread carefully, dig out the parachute pants, and save those jellies to rock after the run, not during.

Photo Credit: Awesome '80s Run 5K]]>
<![CDATA[Universal Mazes Announced: "Dracula Untold" ]]> Wed, 13 Aug 2014 11:40:41 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/hhndraculauntold.jpg

Ever stopped by a shop and spied something that pays tribute to the business's beginnings? Perhaps in a frame on the wall, near the counter? It might be the first dollar bill earned, or the first shoelace made, or a meaningful early object tied to how the shop got successful.

Universal Studios has its meaningful early earners and business-growers, though they wouldn't dare be framed on a wall. Vampires and werewolves and monsters and invisible men helped lay the bricks of one of Hollywood's most robust movie factories, and every chiller that's come later owes an amount of dastardly debt.

But Universal remembers its roots, and will again, during Halloween Horror Nights, the annual autumn spectacular that brims with mazes and other macabre to-dos. A vampire is set to show, not in the form of the traditional 1930s Universal Count Dracula but a new take: "Dracula Untold," the new film set for an October release, shall get the "foreboding maze" treatment.

It's an unusual twist: How often does one get to venture into the world of a film before the film's release? Vampire fans, you're in luck.

As are fans of 1981's "An American Werewolf in London." The John Landis-directed film is also getting its own snarly Halloween Horror Nights maze, complete with the pub from the flick (The Slaughtered Lamb -- good memory). Shall there be moors inside the maze? You bet. Hold a friend close before wandering by moonlight.

The shapeshifting werewolf and newly re-imagined vampire join "The Walking Dead: End of the Line," "The Purge: Anarchy," "From Dusk Till Dawn," "Face Off: In the Flesh," "AVP: Alien vs. Predator," and the Terror Tram on the 2014 Halloween Horror Nights roster.

The screamy spectacle opens on Friday, Sept. 19 and runs on select nights through Halloween.

Cue baying at the moon and/or evil vampiric chuckling...

Photo Credit: Halloween Horror Nights]]>
<![CDATA[OC Fair Wrap-Up by the Numbers]]> Wed, 13 Aug 2014 08:19:14 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/219*120/bacon10.jpg

Eat two or three of anything at a county fair -- two cotton candy cones, two turkey legs, two milkshakes, three cookies -- and you're bound to garner comment from your friends.

But chances are incredibly good you've never downed 1,350 Banana Chocolate Cream Donuts or 1,400 pounds of sweet cream cheese frosting. Fair goers, however, did, as an adventurously eat-happy group during the 2014 OC Fair. The Costa Mesa spectacular is technically over -- it closed on Sunday, Aug. 10 -- but it isn't truly over before the big, big, gargantuan numbers regarding how many people attended and what they dined on have been released.

Let the eye-popping and no-way-ing commence.

Always a popular place to start? Bacon. Bacon-A-Fair, the culinary wizards behind this year's Deep-Fried, Bacon-Wrapped Jack Daniels Churro, went through 20,000 pounds of bacon over the course of the extravaganza, which ran for 23 days. Yep, we meant all four zeroes in that number. 20,000 pounds of bacon, 23 days.

On the topic of that now known-far-and-wide churro, the booth also went through 99 1.75-liter bottles of Jack Daniels.

Elsewhere? The Pop Rocks Cherry Donut -- a donut, yes, crusted in Pop Rocks -- was ordered by 1,800 curious attendees over at Texas Donuts. Some, 3,300 feet of cinnamon rolls was coiled into edible buns at Old West Cinnamon Rolls. And the Orange County Wine Society poured 34,800 glasses of wine.

And those accolade-garnering Chile Relleno Burgers? Grantburgers reports selling 1,290 of 'em.

It isn't all about the food at the fair, contrary to popular belief. Over 1,300,000 people attended, some 42 tons of canned food was donated on We Care Wednesdays, and over 10,000 ribbons were handed out in categories like baking, quilting, photography, and art. And for those plushies won on the midway? People hauled 435,000 of the soft prizes home.

It's a production that's as big and bright as a Ferris wheel, any which way you look at it, that OC Fair. But 20,000 pounds of bacon? We're going to have to let that one sink in.

Bacon buffs, you always astound with your commitment to anything that comes in contact with the superstar strip.

Photo Credit: bacon]]>
<![CDATA[5 Avant Garde Abodes: Sunset Magazine Beach Cities Tour]]> Tue, 12 Aug 2014 17:53:26 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/greenonmainsunsettour1.jpg

When the news fluttered south that Sunset Magazine was going to lift its famous Idea House straight out of Menlo Park and deposit it in Los Angeles, aficionados of the venerable Western living publication felt as sunny as the pages of the sunshine-laden magazine itself.

Of course, Sunset didn't actually transport its HQ-close Idea House to LA -- that's an annual fixture, in the Bay Area, and choppering houses great distances isn't wise. But Southern California got its very own, in Manhattan Beach, and design and architecture fans have been wandering its stylish spaces since it debuted on Friday, Aug. 1.

But the magazine is looking beyond its first-ever LA Idea House, to LA-based houses full of ideas. With that in mind, the inaugural Sunset LA Beach Cities Home & Garden Tour will set out on Saturday, Aug. 16 to survey a quintet of Westside abodes, including, of course, the Idea House.

Where will the tour wander? Well, Green on Main, for one. It's the "only building in Southern California made entirely of shipping containers," 14 in all, and it is plunk in the middle of thrumming Venice Beach. It's a mixed-use property, and airy as all get-out, lest you're thinking container=closed.

In this case container=quirky, cool, and bright as a lightbulb.

Three more homes, one more in Venice, one in Los Angeles, and one in Manhattan Beach, are also on the visit-and-lust-after list. If you've ever desired to enter the pages of Sunset, and you wanted those pages to be lush with that Los Angeles coastal aesthetic, here's your doorway.

And, indeed, you'll walk through the doorway to the Idea House, as mentioned. There's a wine and cheese reception at the house, and representatives from DISC Interiors, the firm behind the house's contemporary details, will be ready for chatting all things design.

Tickets are $60 each.

It's a rather big day packed with plans, concepts, quirky design touches, and broad family needs, plus a few cool stoves and windows and staircases along the way.

Does Sunset Magazine set you to daydreaming of domestic fancies? Here are those very domestic, daydream-worthy fancies, if, not in the flesh, then in the glass and metal and wood and stone.

Photo Credit: Green on Main]]>
<![CDATA[Chinese Theatre to Dim Lights for Robin Williams]]> Tue, 12 Aug 2014 15:19:09 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Chinese_756077.jpg

The TCL Chinese Theatre is one of the lit-up landmarks of Tinseltown, but the famous movie palace will lower its forecourt lights for only the eighth time in its 87-year history on Tuesday, Aug. 12.

The one-minute dimming of the always bright forecourt is in honor of Robin Williams. "Williams, 63, was found dead Monday in what the Marin County Sheriff Department described as an apparent suicide by asphyxiation. His publicist said he suffered from depression," NBC Bay Area reported.

Photos, videos, and written remembrances are filling social media feeds while fans are leaving flowers at both his Tiburon home and the actor's Walk of Fame star in Hollywood. And the TCL Chinese Theatre is up next to pay homage, with a one minute dimming of its forecourt lights at 8:30 p.m. on Aug. 12.

Calling it the "ultimate Hollywood send-off," the Chinese Theatre remembers the actor and his career, which is much associated with the Tinseltown theater. "Popeye" had its 1980 premiere at the venue, as did several more of his films, including "Good Morning, Vietnam" and "Mrs. Doubtfire."

And Mr. Williams left his handprints and footprints in the forecourt cement in celebration of 1998's "Patch Adams."

The landmark has only lowered its lights on seven other occasions during its venerable run. Shirley Temple, Peter O'Toole, and Mickey Rooney were all honored with the dimming of the forecourt.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Burritobox Buffs, Prepare: Pizzabox Is on the Way]]> Tue, 12 Aug 2014 12:23:14 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/199*120/Generic-Pizza.jpg

A SoCaler secrets many an opinion, including but not limited to the following: How one might efficiently make it from Hollywood Boulevard and Gower Street to LAX on a Friday at 5:15 p.m. without using a freeway, where to park when the Third Street Promenade is hosting a big event, and the best burrito in town.

That last category is far too broad, of course, because many a local has a favorite breakfast burrito, a favorite vegetarian, and one involving carne asada. We know, we know; tip of the iceburg.

Then along came the Burritobox, in early 2014, to expedite all of our burrito-based needs. Need something spicy, with beans, fast? The orange kiosk, which debuted in a pair of West Hollywood gas stations, could deliver.

But Burritobox? You're getting a new savory sibling, one that'll address the pizza needs of those on the go. Pizzabox is ready for its melty, cheesy bow at the start of 2015.

How it works? Order a 10" pie, mill near the kiosk for 90 seconds while it bakes, and presto: You've been pizza'd in a lickety-split amount of time.

Yep, this one is again from Box Brands, the company behind Burritobox, and, again, it'll make a gas station appearance to kick things off (the company is "eyeing West Hollywood for the first location").

Want an early look at Pizzabox? The company shared a first photograph on Instagram.

The only argument not to start, among your friends, is which is superior: pizza or burritos. Sure, pit margherita pizza against a pepper-and-bean burrito, is you want to get specific in your foodly battles.

But titan-to-titan? Pizza vs. burrito? Pizzabox vs. Burritobox? We do believe that we can all get along, and love both, when it comes to the two belly-filling stalwarts of quick cuisine.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[LA River First: Fly-Fishing Derby]]> Mon, 11 Aug 2014 17:39:39 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/230*120/lariverflyfishing1.jpg

Picture, in your mind, which is the very best place to picture things, a peaceful angler casting a fly-fishing line. Are there fat bumblebees in the foreground? Maybe a forest near the river? A few skyscrapers, some jets overhead, and a freeway, too?

Those last few items don't fold into our angling daydreams as neatly as plump buzzing insects and swaying grasses, but they may soon: The Los Angeles River will soon see its very first fly-fishing derby. Name? Off Tha' Hook.

A folksy fly-fishing derby, in the heart of one of the world's bustlingest metropolises, along the bank of its most famous and too-oft-maligned waterways?

Yes. Can't get much more affirmative than "yes," either.

Call it the natural unfolding of the rise-and-rise of the river, which the EPA deemed "navigable" a few years back. The LA River now sees recreational kayaking along certain portions and a weekend hangout called the Frog Spot for cyclists. The derby, which lines up the poles on Saturday, Sept. 6, feels like the next step in making the H2O a homier, easier-to-enjoy spot.

One? It's a catch-and-release kind of deal, as derbies often are. Two? Anglers of every stripe, be they newbies or know-all-bies can jump in. And three? Participants will be lending a hand, as "catches (will be) cataloged in search for signs of steelhead trout." The steelhead once called the river home, but has not been spied in its waves since the late 1940s.

Indeed, the Friends of the LA River, and all of the waterway's supporters, put an emphasis on the health of its wildlife, and derbyists will help science and conservation by casting those lines and maybe making a catch.

You'll make for the Glendale Narrows early on Sept. 6 -- "early" being 9 a.m. -- and you'll fish for $35 bucks (if you have a child with you, she or he fishes for free). 

Maybe minds'll even be swayed that a traditionally folksy scene can have buildings in the background. We sometimes wear fisherman's vests and flannel around LA, and whistle happy tunes; why can't we go line-to-line in a fly-fishing fun-for-all?

Photo Credit: LA River]]>
<![CDATA[U.S. Taco Co.: Taco Bell Enters the Fast-Casual Scene]]> Mon, 11 Aug 2014 12:57:35 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/ustacoco1.jpg

Slip into any restaurant convention nowadays and you're bound to hear one thing, repeated over and over (beyond the attendees commenting on the convention food): fast-casual.

The fast-casual concept, which hovers somewhere between fast food and full-on traditional sit-down service, has exceeded the grasps of buzzword greatness in recent years and now fully consumed an industry eager to fill in a profitable space. And people who eat out are eager to give this sector money, time, and patronage.

Meaning that even established stalwarts like Starbucks are exploring tonier tastes, longer meal times, and the world of upscale-easy eats (see: La Boulange, which debuted on La Brea Avenue in June).

Next up? Taco Bell. The powerhouse fast-foodery is launching U.S. Taco Co., a take on tacos that boasts a slightly foodier edge.

What's a "foodier edge"? Think "wild-caught seafood." Think hormone-free leche shakes. And picture tacos brimming with pulled pork, Polynesian sauce slaw, peach jalapeno BBQ sauce, and cotija, cheesing things up in its artful way.

But don't look for names that might be familiar at Taco Bell, like Quesarito and Gordita, to grace the short but punchy menu. Big Stud Spud, Not My First Rodeo, and Brotherly Love, a piquant take on the cheesesteak, are three of the quirkily monikered choices.

Prices? Like all fast-casual choices that have a fast food sibling, they come in a few dollars higher.

Place? Huntington Beach has the first U.S. Taco Co., which made its debut on Monday, Aug. 11 a block from the pier.

Philosophy? U.S. Taco Co. has an "Our Soul" page on its website, where it reveals it is backing the Best Day Foundation, "an organization that helps kids with special needs build confidence and self-esteem through safe, fun-filled adventure activities, like surfing." Meaning that "a portion of our net profit goes to support this great cause."

So where will U.S. Taco Co. show next? With the continued ascendancy of fast-casual foodie love in the restaurant world, the answer could be literally down the street from where you live.

Photo Credit: U.S. Taco Co.]]>
<![CDATA[Back to School Tech Gear: 10 Hot Gadgets for Students]]> Fri, 15 Aug 2014 10:12:08 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/thumb-tech.jpg From tablet convertibles to smart watches and battery charging phone cases, here's a list of top back to school electronics for the season. ]]> <![CDATA[Back to School Tech: Hot Electronic Gear for Students]]> Tue, 19 Aug 2014 07:31:31 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/thumb-tech.jpg

From smart watches to tablet convertibles and a Kindle to download your textbooks, here's what you should know about back to school gear now on the market.

For students going off to college, a laptop computer is a necessity, according to Jordan Crook, a reporter at TechCrunch.

"The best possible computer for a student would be a MacBook Air," Crook said. "It's just the most portable, light-weight thing you can carry around and it's powerful."

However, the latest gear hitting stores this season is an alternative to the everyday laptop — a tablet convertible.

"They call them convertible because they can either be a laptop or a tablet," said Sy Paulson, the general manager of a Manhattan Best Buy.

Tablet convertibles flip to let you "type as comfortably as you would on a traditional laptop."

Paulson recommends the Microsoft Surface, "because it is one of the most powerful and lightweight, and the battery lasts for a very long time."

When it comes to reading for either long-term or nightly assignments, Crook says you can't go wrong with a Kindle Paperwhite.

"It's a great thing for a student to get if you're going be doing a lot of reading. A lot of textbooks can download onto that,"she said. "It'll keep [them] all in one place."

The Kindle Paperwhite is the newest of the Kindle devices and is designed just for reading. The Kindle Fire also allows for using apps and watching TV shows.

For the tech-savvy student who might want to receive social media notifications without pulling out a smartphone in class, Crook recommends the Pebble Steel Smart Watch. The originator of the smart watch trend, Pebble's newest model, the Pebble Steel, beats out competitors with its iOs and Android compatibility, according to Crook.

Another tech-accessory-turned-fashion-statement is a good pair of noise-canceling headphones.

"If you want a home run back to school purchase idea for any student, you're going to go a long way if you pick up a pair of Beats or Bose noise canceling headphones," Paulson said.

But if a student wants their music to fill the room, Paulson recommends portable audio speakers that are battery powered and play through any device with a bluetooth interface.

Good speakers for a student on a study break could include GV Pulse speakers. "As you play it, it lights up, and if you turn the lights off in your dorm room you can make it look like a night club," Paulson explained.

Bluetooth has also allowed printers to go wireless. "You can stick the printer under the bed or in the closet on top of the mini fridge and print from your tablet or your phone or your computer," he said.


<![CDATA[Savory Soiree: Fried Chicken Festival ]]> Mon, 11 Aug 2014 08:06:31 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/180*120/friedchicken_list.jpg

If you pride yourself on your fried chicken, how does it start? After, that is, you have a chicken?

Perhaps you go with some basic bread crumbs, in a pan. Or in a bag. Or in a pan with some paprika. Or in a bowl with grown almonds, a hint of garlic, lemon, and flour. Or a secret spice you stash at the back of the pantry, the one that lends tangy zip.

It's a comfort food staple that can arrive in many ways, and several of those variations will get the chefly love in Chinatown on Sunday, Aug. 17. It's the Food GPS Fried Chicken Festival, and, like the rib festival from the same group a few weeks back, a rainbow of one particular dish will be on full and vibrant display.

Well, not just display. People will be snacking on the fried-chickenage, too, majorly, so picture yourself sampling the Crispy Honey Sriracha Tender with Vinegar Chile Coleslaw from Jesse Furman of Free Range LA or the Fried Chicken with Pimento Cheese Grits with Maple and Scallions from James Beard "Rising Star Award" nominee Kris Morningstar.

With maple and scallions. If ever two disparate ingredients trumpted fried chicken's sweet-to-hot versality, it would be those two. Or honey and onions. Or sugar and hot sauce. The different duos are plentiful.

And, of course, the day will yield some twists, like tenders and patties. It won't be all straight-up traditional fried chicken. It won't also all be fried chicken: McConnell's Fine Ice Creams and Valerie Confections (which is showing with the perfect sweet complement: Stone Fruit Crisp) are two of the desserteries that'll be nearby. Cocktails, beer, and other goodies await.

Price? It's $65 general. Time of year for fried chicken and stone fruit crisp and ice cream? Just about perfect, right? The middle of August is all about comfort food classics that evoke summery times and warm weather and a dish that everyone does a little bit differently (and thank goodness for that).

Photo Credit: Fried Chicken]]>
<![CDATA[Celebrate S'mores Day (No Campfire Required)]]> Sun, 10 Aug 2014 14:16:45 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/smorescupcake.jpg

While the oven or stove top is the route we traditionally go to make colder foods hotter, there've been other heat-it-up candidates through the modern age: hot plates, microwave ovens, the fireplace, even running a packet of something under the hot water tap. (We've all tried it.)

But the small, outdoor fire preceded all of these by eons. And that there's only one contemporary dish associated with the original stove seems unlikely, and yet it stands: the s'more.

Yep yep: Hot dogs and beans and coffee in a vintage pot all have their campfire roles, but a marshmallow and square of chocolate squished between two graham crackers tends to be what we think of first, when we think cooking next to a campfire.

There is a National S'mores Day, and it crackles at the height of warmest summer, right when lots of people are out camping and trucking along all of the makings for the al fresco, sticky-finger'd edible: Aug. 10.

Not sitting in the woods, in your long johns, with a bar of chocolate and bag of 'mallows at your side? There are city-based choices to get your s'more on. The S'mores Cupcake is the cupcake of the month at Magnolia Bakery on West Third, and it is a mite fancier than any s'more ever attempted over a campfire: Think chocolate ganache, meringue buttercream, and a honey graham cake.

Luna Park also does a straight-up s'mores dish for dessert, complete with "molten marshmallow" and graham crackers baked in-house, and the Grilled Cheese Truck offers a s'mores-themed dessert involving Nutella.

"Involving Nutella" often bodes well, for what it is worth.

Could you employ the stove or oven to go the s'mores route on Aug. 10? Of course. Just because the campfire came first doesn't mean that the stickiest dish of summer has to always be made under the stars (though it does seem to possess a little something special, when it is).

Photo Credit: Magnolia Bakery]]>
<![CDATA[Nisei Week: Dance, Gyoza, Rubik's Cubes]]> Fri, 08 Aug 2014 15:51:05 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/NiseiWeek2011.jpg

If you've called Southern California home for some time -- oh, let's say a few decades, long enough to really know the lay of this lovely, lively land -- you can probably name at least one or two of the festivals and large-scale parties that have been around for over three-quarters of a century.

For sure, Chinatown's Golden Dragon Parade is well over a century along, as is the Tournament of Roses. You may have also named Nisei Week Japanese Festival, which started in 1934 "as a way to lift the cloud of the Great Depression." World War II stopped the festivities for several years, but Nisei Week soon returned as robust and dance-laden and beautiful as ever.

And brimming with happenings. The Little Tokyo celebration runs from Saturday, Aug. 9 through Sunday, Aug. 17, and what you do or watch or participate in is a real sky's-the-limit kind of thing.

Or gyoza's-the-limit, rather. The oh-so-popular and highly watched Day-Lee Foods World Gyoza-Eating Championships are set for Saturday, Aug. 16, meaning a hearty crew of gourmands'll be downing a whole bunch of dumplings, for glory. A Rubik's Cube open is scheduled for the Saturday before that -- Aug. 9 -- meaning a bunch of fast thinkers'll be putting colorful squares back in the right order.

Car shows, ramen enjoyment, beer gardens, balls, taiko gatherings, ondo dances, and martial arts displays are also on the roster.

As for the famous tanabata, which flutter all streamer-like next to the Japanese American National Museum? If you want to behold this visual spectacle, get to Little Tokyo on Saturday, Aug. 9. There are over 240 tanabata to admire, works of ephemeral art created by "more than 3,000 community members of all ages."

That's absolutely the stuff that Nisei Week is made of, and why it remains one of Southern California's longest-lasting and neighborhood-nicest festivals. Here's to several more decades of tanabata, ondo, taiko, and gyoza.

Photo Credit: Nisei Week]]>
<![CDATA[Morton's Meaty Special: The $1 Filet Sandwich]]> Fri, 08 Aug 2014 13:59:35 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/192*120/mortonfiletsandwichdeal.jpg

Eating in the bar side of a restaurant tends to make a splashy comeback in the trend pages every two or three years. Food writers recommend how one might cobble together a meal out of appetizers and save a bit of money doing so.

Plus? You're frequently eating while perched atop a stool, and there's nothing not to like about that.

But sometimes there is no debate about whether to head for the bar for your meal vs. the more staid, napkin-proper restaurant. Take Morton's, the mondo steakery, which has Wednesday, Aug. 13 circled in thick red ink on the big Morton's calendar.

What's Aug. 13? It happens to be National Filet Mignon Day, and the restaurant is observing the holiday by offering filet sandwiches, for a buck, in the bar, all day, at every Morton's The Steakhouse throughout Southern California (and everywhere else, too).

That was quite a few commas there, separating what's going down. The filet sandwiches? Yep, it is a steak sandwich served on a tasty roll. A buck? That's a catchy way to say a dollar, but you'll probably want to bring in a few extra bucks, for a beverage or side. Those parmesan truffle matchstick fries? Yeah, they'd be a pretty perfect complement to that hearty bread-and-meat deal.

And the all day part of the equation? Check your local Morton's, find out when they're open, and bingo! You can get your dollar sandwich, regardless of what the clock says.

Yep, bar eating can be fun eating, but especially when a national food holiday rolls around, and a pricier foodstuff is marked down to (almost) mere pennies. Stow those dollars, mignon mavens, and mark Aug. 13.

Photo Credit: Morton's]]>
<![CDATA[Movie Treats: Sundance in Summer (and in LA)]]> Thu, 07 Aug 2014 17:24:24 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/212*120/nd51120735.jpg

When one hears the "Sundance" and "film" in a single sentence, one is often inclined to repair to one's personal mitten drawer and commence preparation for a jaunt over to Park City, Utah, where there may be a good amount of snow. (When one loves mittens one also goes on jaunts -- it's practically a rule.)

But the Sundance Film Festival, which is unarguably and for-sure-ably the world's most famous independent film festival, has a way of picking up and leaving Park City whenever it dang well feels like it. And though it is associated with the heart of winter, the fest has been known to go a-travelin' in the heat of summer.

Take, for example, Thursday, Aug. 7 through Sunday, Aug. 10. We'd call that the unmitteniest time of year 'round about Los Angeles, but that's not stopping Sundance NEXT FEST from screening a caboodle of fresh cinema in our fair city.

Fresh cinema and a vintage favorite, too. "Napoleon Dynamite" gets the Hollywood Forever Cemetery treatment on Thursday, Aug. 7 -- how many "Vote Pedro" shirts shall be rocked, we wonder? -- but plan on making for The Theatre at Ace Hotel for the remainder of the weekend's cinema-rich program.

Aubrey Plaza's "Life After Beth" and "Listen Up, Phillip" with Jason Schwartzman and Elisabeth Moss are two more movies set for the film-fest-y love, but there are more excellent choices to ponder, so ponder.

And have you had a chance to marvel at the recently restored former UA Theatre? The vintage Broadway film palace is a Spanish gothic rhapsody full of nooks and cubbies and lobby overlooks.

Meaning we totally meant "marvel" earlier and stand by the use of that pretty sizable word.

For sure, keep the mitten drawer stocked: The Sundance Film Festival returns to its snowy Utah stomping grounds from Jan. 22 through Feb. 1, 2015.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Happy 45th, Haunted Mansion]]> Thu, 07 Aug 2014 13:52:25 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/hm136027045.jpg

If you're a devoted Disneyland fan, you likely have a favorite treat, a favorite time of day, and a favorite ride or attraction.

And if that attraction happens to be the Haunted Mansion, we'll guess these things about you, if we may:

A) You know the entire "Welcome, Foolish Mortals" spiel by heart (and can do a convincing Paul Frees impression, too).

B) You've got a "changing portrait" you especially like in that first gallery. (Medusa all the way, right? No? Okay, the ghost ship?)

C) You always correctly guess which hitchhiking ghost will land in your Doom Buggy near the ride's close.

Oh, and D)? You know the New Orleans Square landmark, with its grand columns and mossy details, debuted on Aug. 9, 1969. (True, just after the moon landing but just before Woodstock in that very busy summer of '69.)

Which means this: The Mansion's turning 45, and a few fans around town are breaking out the dead wreaths and grim top hats to mark the macabre occasion.

ScareLA, LA's mondo Halloween convention, has a couple of tributes scheduled during the Aug. 9-10 weekend. "When Hinges Creak" will include "a fantastic assortment of images, historical insight, and many more ghoulish delights." Disney innovator Bob Gurr will be there to talk '60s-era rides and animatronics and such. That's at 11 a.m. And later that day, and on Sunday? "Chilling Tales of the Haunted Mansion -- LIVE!"

That's a presentation by the Captured Aural Phantasy Theater, which will also do a spine-tingling presentation feting the phantom-packed attraction on Wednesday, Aug. 13, in North Hollywood. "The original (unused) script" is one treat of the night, and the Ghost Hunters of Urban Los Angeles are the (ghost) hosts.

As for the dates when the Haunted Mansion dresses up in its "Nightmare Before Christmas" finery? Sept. 12 is the opening date of Disneyland's Halloween Time, and the frightful manse stays in its Skellington fashion right through the winter holidays.

It's been quite the big run for the 45-year-old gem, the most famous of all theme park spooky houses. Surely Madame Leota, though, saw the adulation coming? The lady inside the crystal ball knows all.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Weekend: Mondo K-Pop Fan Convention]]> Thu, 07 Aug 2014 10:29:06 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/kpopwkd2.jpg

KCON 2014: Are you an aficionado of all things Hallyu? Or, as it is also known, the Korean Wave? You're in luck: "the largest fan celebration of Korean entertainment" will fill up the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena on Saturday, Aug. 9 and Sunday, Aug. 10. Cosplay 101 is a highlight, as is K-Pop fashion and make-up, instruction in K-Pop dance moves, a fan activity tent, a bevy of stars from Korea's hit TV and online shows, and a concert that'll include four acts performing for the first time in the States. Tickets and schedules? Here.

DISNEY FANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION: There's no D23 Expo this year in Anaheim -- that's an every-other-year kind of deal -- but there is this traveling party which is making for Burbank, San Diego, San Francisco, and other cities around the country. Artifacts -- look for the Mary Poppins hat -- and other goodies will go on display to mark the major milestone anniversaries of a bevy of big properties. Wait, "The Little Mermaid" is turning 25 this year? Really? Make merry, Mickey-style, in Burbank on Saturday, Aug. 9.

SCARELA CONVENTION: Are you already plotting where in your front yard you'll stick all of those cool, creepy-eeky foam tombstones you made last year? Then you best make for LA Mart-The Reef to chat with experts and passionate amateurs about all things Halloween. Panels and presentations and walk-through Terror Trucks -- scream -- and other ghouly goodies await. Halloween's less than three months away, don'tcha know. Saturday, Aug. 9 and Sunday, Aug. 10

THE SPIRIT OF '45: It's pretty hard to miss the Queen Mary if you're anywhere near the ocean 'round about Long Beach, and it is pretty hard to miss the ocean-liner's major role in World War II. And each year people, many in historic costume, gather to remember the Grey Ghost, which was, of course, the ship's nickname during the war years. Ready for big band music, costumed re-enactments, and tours? Make for the water on Saturday, Aug. 9 and Sunday, Aug. 10.

BREW AT THE ZOO: There aren't too many days of the year where the zoo is open just to animal fans of the adult persuasion. But this summertime soiree is all about the 21+ set, given the top-notch craft brews on the pour. Need some soft evening air, some beastie cools and calls, and to know way more than you do now about amphibians, orangutans, and koalas? Go LA Zoo on Friday, Aug. 8.

Photo Credit: CJ E&M]]>
<![CDATA[New on Wilshire: Shepard Fairey's Peace Tree Mural]]> Fri, 08 Aug 2014 07:29:46 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/208*120/peacemuraldowntown1.jpg

Adding a fanciful castle to our child's bedroom wall or a simple sun to the back patio can be a project of nearly overwhelming proportions for many of us. How many spires? Should the sun smile? Will this take the better part of my summer?

But we do it, because art is good and the enjoyment of it life-enhancing. Simplistic? Maybe, but there are other ideas in this world that are far easier to dismantle. "Art is good" is one we generally abide by, and thank goodness.

As for public art, which thousands of people can see, admire, and ponder over the course of a day? Consider that its reach is broad, especially when it is almost 10 stories high and on the near one of the most famous boulevards in the west.

We speak of Wilshire Boulevard and artist Shepard Fairey's new "Peace Tree" mural. It went up on the facade of the Line Hotel in Koreatown in the middle of July and it is set to remain in all of its 10-story-high, important-message-sharing glory "for the foreseeable future."

Nice. Especially nice, because the Line is home to a bevy of other artworks, including a D*Face mural.

Have you seen the Peace Tree, which is dominated by shades of crimson, cream, and black? Make for the corner of Wilshire Boulevard and Normandie Avenue, or take a quick sneak peek at the mammoth (but smooth) task of deftly apply an artwork to the side of a tall building.

Other cities around the state, from Lompoc to Exeter, have been called "The City of Murals." True true, but, surely, that label very much applies to mural-tastic Los Angeles, too?

Art is good.

Want to see the full time-lapse of the mural going up? Click click.

Photo Credit: Shepard Fairey]]>
<![CDATA[CicLAvia Growing Beyond the Big Bike Events]]> Wed, 06 Aug 2014 13:53:18 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/ciclaviademonica1.jpg

When a giant event rolls along and connects with thousands of people in a real and meaningful way, those people can desire more of it, naturally.

But giant events are major undertakings to plan, stage, and manage. Take CicLAvia, for example. The free-to-join closed-streets bicycle ride, which regularly draws 100,000 riders and pedestrians, has three dates scheduled in 2014 (one has passed, but two are still to come, in October and December). The space between rides can make devotees crave more CicLAvia-like experiences, which aren't simply about the bike ride but about community, too.

Those devotees are in luck: The organization behind the thrice-yearly happenings are launching CicLAvia Explores, "a new program designed to connect Angelenos with communities in Los Angeles County through a range of engaging activities held separately from CicLAvia car-free days."

The first CicLAvia Explores is straight ahead, on Thursday, Aug. 7 at Levi's Commuter Workspace downtown. The evening will explore "The New Streets of LA" with "a panel discussion followed by music, food, and drinks. Transportation experts, local activists, and involved citizens will come together to talk about keeping the city's streets "vibrant, safe, and open."

More CicLAvia Explores nights are to come, including a couple in September (the first, on Sept. 7, will be all about Broadway downtown, which will feature free walking tours).

Cyclists who want to take on great stretches of SoCal streets, sans cars, must be patient for the Oct. 5 ride covering the Heart of LA. But those who want to engage in the spirit of CicLAvia more frequently, and keep the come-together feel of the rides robust, can hop into a CicLAvia Explores much sooner.

Photo Credit: Monica Orozco deMonica]]>
<![CDATA[Goodbye House of Blues Sunset, Hello Hotel]]> Wed, 06 Aug 2014 09:51:22 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/hob2428446.jpg

When one hears that a music venue or concert hall has a date with a bulldozer, the immediate reaction is to rhapsodize about a show seen there, the perfect night, the perfect cocktail, a great first date.

And many an Angeleno is now recalling the night they rocked out to Warren Zevon, Chris Isaak, the Go-Go's, and a thousand other acts at the House of Blues on the Sunset Strip. The roadhouse-style venue, one of the most recognizable buildings on the Strip thanks to its front porch, roof-topped tower and fiery heart symbol, is said to be set for demolishment.

What's ahead for that corner of Sunset Boulevard and Sanborn Avenue, should the speculated demolishment go through? Bloomberg reports that a "record number of developments" are headed for one of Southern California's most legendary thoroughfares, with an emphasis on sleek stayover spots. AECOM and Combine Properties Inc. are behind the complex set for the House of Blues corner, which will feature a hotel, condos, and rentals.

And, yep, "an entertainment venue," in case you're worried that music on that fabled corner will fall totally silent.

Regular and big-scale change in a happening location can produce bittersweet feelings, like locals in Las Vegas feel as they watch their own Strip evolve, change, tear down, and build. Perhaps places on that front edge of show business and culture must naturally face that flow, but it can still make music fans experience a heart-tug over all the concerts they saw at a venue, and the fact that the venue will be no more.

Well, not exactly. The Sunset-located House of Blues is not the only HOB, of course -- there's still one in Anaheim that's within driving distance for most SoCalers -- nor was it the first (that distinction goes to the Cambridge, Massachusetts venue). Yep, Dan Aykyroyd is a name much associated with the chain -- he's a co-founder -- but the Hard Rock Cafe's own Isaac Tigrett was also at the helm.

As for HOB Sunset? It marks twenty years in 2014. What shows did you see back in the '90s? Any bands that went on to make it very, very big? 

Get to reminiscing, Angelenos.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Garlic Rules August at Chaya Venice]]> Tue, 05 Aug 2014 21:03:17 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/garlic+cloves.jpg

Flip through any weighty tome that says "dictionary" on the front cover and head directly for the book's G section. You'll find lots of fine words within, including garrulous, gorilla, goatee, and gargoyle, but you probably won't see Gilenvy, which is really too bad.

What's Gilenvy? It's that particular jealousy a foodie feels come the end of July when they're not in Gilroy eating garlic to their heated heart's hot content at the annual Gilroy Garlic Festival.

Oh, there's another great G for ya: garlic. It's so great, in fact, that Chaya Venice will be celebrating the scorchy stuff all August with a dedicated garlic menu, in addition to its regular plates. Could the timing be better? The eighth month is the hottest of months, making it a fine collaborator with a certain clove, and Chaya's Garlic Fair follows just days after the world-famous garlic fest.

We're ready to bulb it up, for sure, Chaya. You read our minds.

On the special menu? There are several items, but keep a watch for the Bacon Clove Cocktail, Chicken Gyoza with Garlic Ponzu Sauce, Escargot with Garlic Herb Butter, The Garlic Fair Fruits de Mer (think half a sauteed Maine lobster tail, jumbo shrimp, scallops, chili shishito, and garlic), and the 40-Clove Garlic Rib-Eye.

Garlic au jus and garlic mashed potatoes are complements to that last entree, just in case you were concerned that 40 cloves wouldn't be nearly enough.

Again, this is just an August dealie, and just at the Venice outpost of Chaya. You're wild for garlic, you say? And you've been experiencing Gilenvy, ever since the yummy photos started coming out of Gilroy? You know where to go and what to do: Head straight for that special pungent-pretty menu.

Photo Credit: garlic]]>
<![CDATA[Fall TV Peeks (and Panels) at the Paley Center]]> Tue, 05 Aug 2014 13:45:54 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/marrymeshow1.jpg

A true fact about PaleyFest, the springtime gathering of television casts and showrunners and fans who want to know more, more, more, is this: The properties are established.

The world of the series being spotlighted is not strange to viewers, in short. The characters' names are familiar. Heck, pretty much everyone in the audience can remember the show's romances, fights, and most minor of plot points.

The PaleyFest Fall TV Preview is not only halfway across the year from PaleyFest, it's the other side of this entertainment coin. Nope, viewers who attend the fall events don't yet know the stories or the people or the setting of the as-of-yet unaired pilots, but a few screenings, a few panels, and a few hellos from the stars help jumpstart the acquaintanceship period.

Those get-to-know-us panels and hellos will unfurl in Beverly Hills from Saturday, Sept. 6 through Friday, Sept. 12. The CW, CBS, Fox, NBC, ABC, and MTV all get their own night on stage, and each night will consist of either a couple of screenings, or a screening and a panel, or similar.

Fox will screen "Red Band Society" on Monday, Sept. 8 with a cast and creatives panel. NBC will give "Marry Me" the same screening-plus-panel outing on Wednesday, Sept. 10.

Call it a fine way to bone up on what's to come on the TV ahead of all the watercooler chatter down the road. And if you get to love a new show, won't you be the cool person for having seen it ahead of its premiere? With, perhaps, the cast there, in person?

Yeah. You'll be the cool one.

Are you a bit of a prognosticator? You might even be able to predict what series will become mondo hits. Get your ticket info here.

But the week isn't all looking forward: The Paley Center will pay fond tribute to the 35th anniversary of "The Facts of Life" on Monday, Sept. 15.

Photo Credit: Marry Me]]>
<![CDATA[The Creamsicle, Updated]]> Tue, 05 Aug 2014 11:41:20 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/196*120/creamsicle234.jpg

While all foodstuffs have some amount of memory and nostalgia attached to them -- at least, if you've eaten them once -- there are some flavors and scents that rule the "remember when?" brain pathways more than others.

The smell and flavor of a stew cooked in a crockpot? That probably zaps a lot of people right back to childhood. How about a particular candy bar that regularly landed in your Halloween bucket? That, too.

And we'll wager the Creamsicle has a big place on the nostalgia roster for many of us.

Like Kleenex and Xerox, Creamsicle rocks a trademark and a capital letter. It's part of the Popsicle family and, nope, it doesn't always arrive with its quintessential orange-tart coating (grape and cherry are just two more types). But it is that vanilla-orange combo that's spawned perfumes, candles, and countless memories of enjoying the treat on a treat-melty day of a wayback August.

Which makes August the ideal time to decorate the on-a-stick dessert with National Day honors. August 14 is that date, and while all food nostalgists may plunk down on the front patio with a fresh-from-the-freezer box, there are other choices.

Creamsicle-flavored cupcakes pop up, with delightful regularity, at SoCal's cupcakeries, and Nest at WP24 downtown is serving up the icy sweet in two ways.

One? An on-the-stick dealie, but with lime as the theme. It's called the Kalamansi Creamsicle, and is it tangy? Please. It's practically law that all takes on the Creamsicle have to be a little tangy.

And a strictly grown-up treat? It's the restaurant's Creamsicle Cocktail, which is stirred up with Absolut Vanilla vodka, orange juice, housemade simple syrup, and a dollop of whipped cream. Will you talk of days gone by while sipping it?

Truly, few cold goodies evoke the days gone by like a certain white-and-orange icebox-found rectangle on a stick.

Photo Credit: Nest at WP24]]>
<![CDATA[Marilyn Monroe: Fans Gather in Westwood to Remember]]> Tue, 05 Aug 2014 17:43:31 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/marilynmonroe923.jpg

There are cinephiles in this world, yes, and there are Hollywoodphiles.

Many people are both. One is about pure film love while the other casts a fascinated and affectionate spotlight on the tribulations and triumphs of Tinseltown.

People who count themselves in both categories typically boast a lifelong passion for one performer in particular. We speak of Marilyn Monroe, an all-in actress who worked with directors like Billy Wilder and John Huston and blazed a hard-to-forget, talent-plus trail through every project she touched.

And we speak of Marilyn Monroe, a star among stars who tried to keep her private life private even as legions of fans could describe every photo she was in and every appearance she made.

She remains that rarest of luminaries some 52 years after her untimely passing. Tuesday, Aug. 5 is that anniversary, and, as is tradition, Monroe mavens will gather at Pierce Brothers Westwood Village Memorial Park and Mortuary, the burial site for the icon, to pay fond tribute.

Hollywood Museum founder Donelle Dadigan will speak at the 11 a.m. event.

The museum is currently featuring an exhibit dedicated to the actress, but, please note: It's closed Tuesdays.

If you can't make the remembrance you can still remember, as there are myriad ways around Southern California to honor the legend, all year long. The much-discussed 26-foot-tall Marilyn sculpture has now left Palm Springs, but you can find Ms. Monroe's films playing in vintage cinemas around town (and frequently on Coronado Island, where "Some Like It Hot" was filmed, in part).

The Westwood Village Memorial Park is open to visitors 8 a.m. to dusk and flowers are very often left by fans for the actress.

And a trip through Hollywood? It's hard to walk a block down the boulevard and not see Ms. Monroe's sunny visage on posters and postcards.

Actors do graduate to icon status from time to time but, thus far, in all of movie history, there's only been one Marilyn Monroe.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[More Shark, Less Money]]> Mon, 04 Aug 2014 13:41:10 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/SndTigeraquarium.jpg

What's on your family's gotta-get-it-done list before the first bell of the school year rings?

1. Buy spiral notebooks, preferably with a kitten and ball of yarn on the front, and pencils that smell like fruit. (Seriously, these should be the supplies in everyone's backpack.)

2. Catch the last blockbuster movies you meant to catch, preferably on a weekday morning.

3. Touch a shark.

Say what? "Touch a shark" isn't on the family list posted to your refrigerator? Surely you josh. Summertime, kids, and nature are a trio as old as trios get, and while the sky and grass and backyards can and should be enjoyed during the summer, there are ocean dwellers to enjoy, too.

And not every child everywhere lives within shouting distance of touch-ready sharks. But SoCal kids? Lucky you: You do.

The Aquarium of the Pacific has over 150 sharks ready for some human contact, as well as a few to be admired without petting (hello, Mr. Sand Shark). It's one of those great achievements of youth, the chance to bravely skim one's fingertips across the smooth back of a small, elegant, pointy-mouthed denizen of the ocean.

("Pointy-mouthed" is said with all love and respect, dear sharks. We know your particular triangle-y heads lend you some major aerodynamic swimming prowess.)

So, is it time to touch a shark before summer is over? Then do it, and save cash: The Aquarium of the Pacific's Special Extended Hours are on through Labor Day, and admission is just $14.95 after 5 p.m. That's most days of the week, except Saturdays, but check the schedule.

Closing time is 8:30 p.m. meaning you could spend over three hours with the sharks. The only area that's closed in the evenings? The Lorikeet Forest.

So, have you touched a shark this summer? Hugged a tree? Daydreamed while stretched out on a lawn? The school year is on approach so get that summertime nature love on, soon.

Photo Credit: Aquarium of the Pacific]]>
<![CDATA[Halloween's Early: ScareLA Convention]]> Mon, 04 Aug 2014 12:11:16 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/magicboxscarela.jpg

What's at the top of your must-do list for the first week of August?

Some people are addressing back-to-school shopping. Some are planning one more quick weekend away, before classes kick off. And a few of us are building eight-foot-tall smoke-breathing monsters with LED lights for eyes and moving arms and legs.

True, Halloween is still nearly three months away, but not for the many SoCalers who are full-on enamored with the eeriest of annual occasions. ScareLA, "the first Los Angeles convention dedicated to celebrating Halloween" is back on Saturday, Aug. 9 and Sunday, Aug. 10 to serve those fans, fans who boast an obsessiveness with Halloween that borders on Gomez and Morticia's love (to use an "Addams Family" reference) or a certain vampire's quest for a certain libation (to go all "Dracula" on you).

So does one simply trick-or-treat and bob for apples at the con, which'll take over a good chunk of LA Mart-The Reef downtown? That's a big nope: ScareLA is very much about helping its attendees learn the best way to construct a yard haunt, create realistic make-up, build complex costumes, and learn terrifying techniques from professionals and incredibly involved amateur haunters.

Vendors'll be vending various goopy, eeky, screamy products for your Halloween needs, Terror Trucks'll give a dose of that walk-through horror house fun, experts shall Q&A on all matters monsterly, and Disneyland's Haunted Mansion gets a few different tributes on the occasion of its 45th anniversary.

Who out there knows the elevator spiel inside the Mansion? Yeah, it's a SoCal thing.

Are all of these happenings just the tip of the iceburg -- or the castle, rather -- for ScareLA? Truly. In just its second year, the convention brings all manner of Halloween expertise and all-out entertainment to the locals who live the holiday for much of the year.

But October is just the month after next and giant smoke-breathing figures must be built. Are you ready to haunt, scary souls of Southern California? Better step up your ghoulish game fast, as fast as a werewolf runs through the forest. (Read: Pretty dang fast.)

Photo Credit: (c) http://magicboxla.com/]]>
<![CDATA[The Magical Light Photographs of 2wenty]]> Tue, 05 Aug 2014 13:05:11 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/180*120/2wentyinsearchofonesself2014digital.jpg The artist creates "light men" (without any post manipulation involved).

Photo Credit: 2wenty]]>
<![CDATA[Spirit of '45: The Queen Mary Remembers WWII]]> Fri, 01 Aug 2014 16:49:53 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/lindysistersspiritof45.jpg

Whenever someone enters a building or boards a ship or visits a town they've been to before, the recollections of what they did there the first time around tend to pop into their minds straight away.

The brunch they ate, a honeymoon suite, the time they got lost on the third floor? Instantly recalled. We're made of memories, we humans.

But for many veterans a visit to the Queen Mary doesn't summon a vacation or a tour; it brings back the time they left for World War II, aboard the Grey Ghost. That was the ocean-liner's handle at the time, and some rather astounding photographs inside the Long Beach landmark show thousands of people in uniform shoulder-to-shoulder on the ship's deck.

The big boat remembers her World War II heritage each year with a Spirit of '45 weekend. The Saturday and Sunday gathering summons the songs and fancies of the Greatest Generation, and the history and memories, too.

Dates? Saturday, Aug. 9 and Sunday, Aug. 10. The entertainment? A USO Dance will fill out the Capstan Room while The Stardust Trio, The Lindy Sisters, and The Sentimental Singers shall all make music at different points of the weekend and sing some nightingale tunes.

Are you thinking shoulder pads? Snoods? Suits? Hats? They'll be there, on the performers and many visitors alike.

Vehicles of the time will be on display and uniformed re-enactors will call upon the ship. And the tours looking back at the Queen Mary's role in World War II? They'll happen throughout the weekend.

As The Spirit of '45 draws to a close, vintage planes will take to the skies over the ship in a memorable flyover. That's on Sunday at 4:30 p.m.

Want to summon that spirit? You just need to purchase a Queen Mary Passport for the day you want to attend. The USO Dance is a separate ticket, too. 

Photo Credit: The Lindy Sisters]]>
<![CDATA[It's Back: Avocado Ale from Angel City]]> Fri, 01 Aug 2014 12:25:12 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/angelcitybreweryavocado12.jpg

Fruit and beer isn't an unlikely, offbeat duo. Foams laden with hints of cherry or apricot are pretty standard nowadays, thanks to the craft beer world's inventive pursuit for the next pow-packing sip.

And that a brewery would pay homage to its state's official fruit is rather nice, and not all that weird, unless, of course, that state happens to be California and the fruit is the creamy, pit-luscious, bumpily of skin avocado.

Cherries? Apricots? Easy. But pairing the creamy alligator pear with an ale is a bigger challenge, one that Angel City Brewery & Public House has risen to in the past, with aplomb, creativity, and deep flavor.

Now the Arts District beermaker is bringing back its buzzed-about beverage, and they are doing so in grand, gulpable style, with an all-day party at the downtown brewhouse.

Date? Sunday, Aug. 17. The theme? Green goodness in liquid form. The ingredients? Well, avocados (no surprise there). Plus cilantro, crushed red pepper, and lime, beer's ol' buddy.

Lime + beer 4evr, in fact. Right?

Lime Truck and Son of a Bun will be on hand to oversee the food pairings. Avocado games -- !!! -- shall ensue, avocados shall be sold, there's an "Avocado Vendor Bazaar" (yes, please), live music, brewery tours with a focus on the Avocado Ale, and avocado paletas.

Avocado. Paletas. True, the middle of August is not the start of summer, but we'll make the claim that summer can't officially kick into higher gear until an icy avocado treat is consumed.

So: Would you try the Avocado Ale? Of course. Think how the richness of the fruit marries well to the full body of a really well-made beer. No wrinkly of noses or calling it "too unusual" before trying it.

It's the state fruit, after all. Do it for California.

Photo Credit: Angel City Brewery]]>
<![CDATA[DJs and Science: Summer Nights in the Garden]]> Fri, 01 Aug 2014 07:49:49 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/partyinthegardensnhm123.jpg

DJs and the art of sultry-sound spinnage have been long associated with clubs and dance halls and discos and bars. But science halls filled with dioramas of animals from around the globe? And butterfly-flitty gardens?

The DJ is a rare, rare breed in such spaces. Almost unseen, in fact.

But the Natural History Museum has been drawing DJs out of their natural habitat and into surprising and lively venues. Summer Nights in the Garden, a party outside the museum, does not boast a string quartet or the typical lilting musical touches of a garden party but rather cool 'n vibrant tunes spun by KCRW DJs.

The dates through summer? Aug. 1, 15, and 29.

Like First Fridays, the museum's first-half-of-the-year, culture-cool parties inside the big halls, Summer Nights in the Garden will have a highbrow touch. A Citizen Science table is in the garden and your help with "local projects," like LA mapping, is requested.

Or you can enjoy tunes, visit a food truck -- Peaches Smokehouse and S'Cream Truck are two that have parked in the past -- take a botantical tour, sip a botanical cocktail, and get involved in a hands-on project.

The projects? Aug. 1 is all about birdhouse building, Aug. 15 spotlights miniature gourd vessels, and worm composting is the theme on Aug. 29.

DJs and worm composting? All outside? We do love when elements one expects to see in a particular location pop up elsewhere. Mixing things up is how scientists land on fresh discoveries, after all.

Summer Nights in the Garden is free, but you'll need to RSVP. That's easy and can be done here.

Photo Credit: Mario de Lopez]]>
<![CDATA[Bread-Cradled Bliss: 14 Lobster Rolls in One Place]]> Thu, 31 Jul 2014 17:15:04 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/lobsterroll_lx_576x324.jpg

Most summer-style eats can be enjoyed while wearing your favorite cut-offs, while sitting at an old picnic table, while someone blasts an AM station from a nearby car.

It's chillaxed cuisine, in short, and that doyenne dish of the Maine summer table, the lobster roll, is no different. Except, perhaps, in price: It's not going to run you what a standard hot dog and mustard might cost, because, well: lobster. But is it an easy-breezy warm-weather staple? Absolutely. Could you eat it in cut-offs, grooving to golden oldies? Yes.

Though the AM radio and old picnic table will be replaced by 14 lobster roll stations when the Tasting Table Lobster Roll Rumble unfolds, like paper around a fresh bun, at the Cooper Design Space downtown on Friday, Aug. 1.

We're tempted to just type "14 lobster roll stations" about a dozen more times, over and over, but that may wear down our keyboard (and your patience).

It's a notable number, though, because lobster rolls? There was a day when finding a lobster-chunky sandwich west of the Mississippi took some research. Now though local spots from BP Oysterette to Cousins Maine Lobster to Santa Monica Seafood have their own creamy, piquant take on that delightfully messy, get-it-all-over-your-cut-offs New England classic.

As for the insinuation that lobster rolls cost more than your average hot dog? Well, they do, and that's that. A ticket is $100, but, again... 14 lobster roll stations. Plus "savory sides and Cape Cod potato chips." Open bars shall be doing the beer thing, too, because lobster rolls? They go together like the Atlantic and a craggy coastline.

By the by, the "rumble" part in the event's handle is no joke: These restaurants, and their rolls, are going head-to-head (or, um, bun-to-bun). You'll get a say, too, if your mouth isn't full the whole night.

Chances are good, though, it will mostly be. Because 14 lobster roll stations. See? We definitely weren't done typing that. Must. Not. Type it again. But the urge is strong.

Photo Credit: Lobster Roll]]>
<![CDATA[Zoo Gets Fruit From Flipped Truck]]> Thu, 31 Jul 2014 08:55:51 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/180*120/elephant8.jpg

Talk about not letting roadkill go to waste.

The elephants, giraffes and bears at the Oakland Zoo got to nosh on African jackfruit and bananas Wednesday thanks to a overturned big rig that dumped 60,000 pounds of fruit in Livermore near the Altamont Pass earlier in the week.

"The elephants loved it," Brian Deering, president of the nonprofit F.A.I.R. Foundation, told NBC Bay Area. He masterminded the transfer – taking the lightly squished fruit from the side of Interstate Highway 580 and getting about 15,000 pounds of it to the animals at the zoo.

About 35,000 pounds fed humans at the Alameda County Food Bank, and the rest was too badly bruised to be eaten.

The truck is owned by All Seasons Produce in Oakland, which grows fruit in Mexico. Deering knows the owners, who contacted him after the truck tipped early Monday morning to say they didn't want the food to go to waste. He also knows the owners of Save Tow, who schlepped the tropical fruit to the zoo.

Deering's agency, which has roots in Sunnyvale but now is headquarted in Elk Grove, is a nonprofit that connects families in custody battles with material goods, such as cars, dishwashers, computers and food.

Zoo spokeswoman Nicky Mora said there is enough donated fruit for the elephants and bears to dine on all week.

Photo Credit: Erin Harrison/Oakland Zoo]]>
<![CDATA[Fur and Foam: Brew at the LA Zoo]]> Thu, 31 Jul 2014 12:50:03 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/brewzooTadMotoyama.jpg

The Los Angeles Zoo? Tots are all about it, and school groups, and young friends who are there to wave at the gazelles and monkey around before the orangutans.

It's far less common, however, to see the Griffith Park destination filled with solely the 21-and-over set, except on some special nights of the year. A major one is Brew at the LA Zoo, and it is ready to pour again, multiplied by thirty, on Friday, Aug. 8.

The "multiplied by thirty" bit has to do with the thirty microbreweries and craft breweries set to show. Lagunitas Brewing Co. will be there, and Coronado Brewing Company, and Port Town Brewing Co., and some local favorites like San Pedro Brewing Co.

The food to wash it all down? Er, that's how it works, right, or is the other way around? Whatever order you choose to imbibe and dine in, there are cuisine-easy choices, including "artisan salads, Italian sausages & bratwursts, Philly cheesesteaks" and lotsa lotsa more. ("Lotsa lotsa" pretty much means you'll find something to chow on.)

As for the animals? They won't be quite tucked up in their beds/nests/hammocks/trees when the party starts. LAIR, the Living Amphibians, Invertebrates, and Reptiles area, will be open to visitors, as will the new Rainforest of the Americas and other sections. The Campo Gorilla Reserve is on the list, too. And consider that evening is an especially pretty, soft-air'd time of day to take in the beasty beauty of the animal park.

Live music? It's there. Hobnobbing? How could you not? Taking in a spot in a strolly, no-worry-no-hurry manner, with a smooth, locally made ale in hand? Yep, that should happen, too.

Tickets? They're $45 ahead of time but they could sell out, is the word.

But note: There are a number of kidly to-dos ahead for the zoo, including a "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle" mask giveaway on Friday, Aug. 1.

Photo Credit: Tad Motoyama]]>
<![CDATA[Weekend: Big Bite Bacon Fest]]> Thu, 31 Jul 2014 12:46:28 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/bigbiteburgerbacon1.jpg

STRIPS DONE SEVERAL WAYS: Are you a bacon classicist? Do you take it straight, next to some eggs? Or are you someone who gets jazzed over seeing the salty-savory foodstuff show up in myriad forms, from a burger topper to a salad addition to an ingredient in milkshakes and cupcakes? The Saturday, Aug. 2 party on the Queen Mary is for you. "40+ bacon- and pork-infused dishes" will be at the Big Bite Bacon Fest for the sampling, and there shall be fancy beer, too. Where will bacon end up next? If you can think it, some chef's already tinkering.

LONG BEACH CRAWFISH FESTIVAL: It's an annual to-do that's going down fairly close to the bacon-y doings at the Queen Mary. (Question: How many strips laid end-to-end would stretch from the ocean-liner to Rainbow Lagoon? Maybe 300,000? Just a guess.) You purchase your crawfish meal by the pound and in a bucket, so, yep, that's true summertime weekend eating. Shall there be zydeco tuneage for moving to and silly, crawfish-cute pictures to take? You betcha. Best keep that shirt clean for the photos, what with all the bucket-eating. Saturday, Aug. 2 and Sunday, Aug. 3

OLD SPANISH DAYS: Santa Barbara's multi-day, mercado-rich, parade-tastic fiesta stretches for five days, landing at various points around the American Riviera. Some highlights? The Children's Parade on Saturday, Aug. 2 has been around nearly as long as Old Spanish Days (which marks its 90th this year). And those horse stock shows, too, are much-attended. One song-filled heart of the party? Flor y Canto on Friday, Aug. 1 at the Santa Barbara Courthouse.

VENTURA COUNTY FAIR: True, the OC Fair has another week to go, but a little overlap never stopped the warm weather rollout of all the area county fairs. Ventura's nestled next to the ocean, so you'll keep on the cool side while eating popcorn, doing the Ferris wheel, catching concerts from The Spinners and Little Big Town, and visiting all the cutie patootie farm animals. Ready for the snuggest, sweetest fair in the region? Be there before the closing date of Sunday, Aug. 10.

SUMMER NIGHTS IN THE GARDEN: The first half of the year, at the Natural History Museum, is all about those First Fridays, where nighttime partying is concerned. But it is summer -- spoiler alert -- and thoughts have turned to the outdoors. Botanical-type cocktails, garden tours, and nature mapping shall reign. Nature mapping! You? You just need to RSVP. Aug. 1, 8, and 29.

Photo Credit: Big Bite Bacon Fest]]>
<![CDATA[Manet's "The Railway": Famous Painting to Visit SoCal]]> Wed, 30 Jul 2014 19:37:02 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/manet2344detail.jpg

Travel a great distance to stand before a celebrated work of art? That's happened once or twice in history, right?

Or a million times. Look no further than the Mona Lisa or The Last Supper or hundreds of paintings and sculptures that are known and beloved worldwide.

The common factor, though? Fans go to the painting, and not the other way around. Paintings, after all, don't come with tiny wheels on their frames, nor personal passports, usually.

But they do, on occasion, go on the move, at least temporarily. Édouard Manet's "The Railway," a masterwork from 1873, will soon make its way west from The National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C. Its destination? The Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena.

The three-month loan, which will last from Dec. 5 through March 2, will hang in the Norton Simon's Impressionist Art Wing. "A series of special events will be presented in conjunction with the loan, including an opening weekend lecture presented by Mary Morton, the National Gallery of Art's curator of French paintings.

The exchange program, which has seen art journey across the nation between the Norton Simon and The National Gallery of Art, as well as The Frick Collection, kicked off in 2007.

As for "The Railway"? The woman's gaze, the puppy in her lap, the young girl turned away from the viewer and towards the puff-and-huff of the trains of Gare Saint-Lazare are some of the most iconic figures found in all of 19th-century art.

It's imagery that's synonymous with Impressionism, of course, but also of the moment when genteel life collided with the Industrial Age. Let us also admire "The Railway" for including a person directly engaging real-world onlookers in the steadiest, through-the-looking-glass-iest of ways.

Not all that commonplace, that sort of intimacy and immediacy, back in the day.

Southern California art buffs? You will need to travel to see this gem, come December, but only to Colorado Boulevard in the Crown City. It's rather nice, too, that such a lauded masterwork will be in town in time for all of our rosy visitors, too.

Édouard Manet, French, 1832–1883 The Railway, 1873 Oil on canvas Lent by the National Gallery of Art Gift of Horace Havemeyer in memory of his mother, Louisine W. Havemeyer 1956.10.1

Photo Credit: National Gallery of Art]]>
<![CDATA[Jingle Bells July: Christmas Shows Announced]]> Wed, 30 Jul 2014 13:47:49 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/segerstromPaparazziByAppointment.com_5.JPG

If you've ever watched cable, you've likely come across those ever-popular shows that follow people with an offbeat passion. A common one, at least according to the television dial, is celebrating, or at least observing, a particular holiday throughout the year, and not just during that holiday's typical season or month.

The people with the year-round Thanksgiving decorations? Or Halloween lights? Yep. They love it, and we love them for loving it.

And while most of us don't keep Christmas trees up past New Year's Day, we don't mind being reminded that a chillier time is ahead filled with, if not snowflakes and ice, then cooler temperatures and far more frippery than summer provides.

Tickets went on sale this week for a certain famous holiday ballet. Nope, this is not a "Christmas in July" one-offs but rather stage shows actually scheduled for December. You can plan six months down the road, right? Will seeing those tickets on the front of your fridge cool you down?

The Los Angeles Ballet Presents "The Nutcracker" is now on sale. The venues? The Alex in Glendale, The Dolby in Hollywood, UCLA's Royce Hall, and the Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center. Date one is Dec. 6, the final show is Dec. 28, and if you know when your visitors are due (and thus need something fun to do), best book 'em now.

And at The Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa? The holiday treats are ready for you to peruse, though on-sale dates are yet to be announced. Judy Collins: Holidays and the Hits, "Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas," Celtic Woman: Home for Christmas -- The Symphony Tour, and Fiesta Navidad with Mariachi Los Camperos de Nati Cano are all on the tinsel-bedecked roster.

We're all warned against making our holidays too hectic. Maybe buying tickets ahead of time -- even a half year ahead of time -- is the solution?

Or perhaps we should just observe the yuletide year-round? Either we, we now have the songs of the Grinch in our head. You, too? Merry Christmas, in July.

Photo Credit: Paparazzi by Appointment]]>
<![CDATA[31st of the Month, $1.31 Baskin-Robbins Scoops]]> Wed, 30 Jul 2014 10:05:48 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/baskenrobbins31st.jpg

There are numerous nostalgia prompts in our grown-up lives: front lawn sprinklers, bells on bikes, roller skates, and a thousand more.

But perhaps the biggest prompt of all is ice cream, and how we daydreamed about it when we were kids, and how we dug around the couch or our piggy bank to find the change needed for a scoop down at the corner shop.

Are your digging-for-change skills still in order? Because it is about to feel like a summer day from your childhood. That day is Thursday, July 31, and the "31" should be a clue to where we're headed with this (though "Baskin-Robbins" up above is another pretty obvious hint). 

On July 31 -- and Aug. 31 and Oct. 31 and Dec. 31 -- the "world's biggest ice cream chain" will offer regular scoops for four quarters, three dimes, and a penny (or whatever combo of coins or coins plus a bill you bring in). Yep: Get a scoop for $1.31.

You know that Baskin-Robbins began in Glendale, yes? Surely you've unleashed your 31 Flavors knowledge over a cone or two, in your time.

The chain is opening its "Celebrate 31" program, a promotion that'll run at Los Angeles-area Baskin-Robbins stores through the remainder of the year, but, note, only on days that happen to be the 31st of the month.

July 31st should be toasty, and Aug. 31, too, but are you ready for a 4-ounce scoop of S'more the Merrier on Halloween and New Year's Eve? Of course you are: Holidays and fun-eating are ol' pals.

Summery flavors are ruling at the moment -- the s'mores one is indeed a seasonal treat -- so look for State Fair Fried Dough and Peanut Butter and Jelly, too.

Yep, those definitely are nostalgia-makers, like finding some coins for a scoop of ice cream. Have you had your dose of old-school summer sweetness yet? Want it, without spending a bundle, or even two bucks? Circle the 31st on your calendars, mavens of cold, sweet treats.

Are September and November a little blue they're not included? Being only thirty days each?

Photo Credit: Baskin-Robbins]]>
<![CDATA[Heat on the Horizon: Roasted Chile Pepper Time]]> Thu, 31 Jul 2014 07:32:15 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/chile183701354.jpg

Leaves on the trees going crimson? Maybe they do, around early December, but not in great numbers.

People in turtleneck sweaters? Not so much, at least around Los Angeles, where a lighter cardigan trumps a bulkier pullover most days of the year.

Other traditional signs of autumn? Yeah, SoCal skips most of 'em, but there are a few telling hallmarks that speak of a new season on the way. And a major one, and majorly spicy one, is when the green chile shipments begin to arrive in the region.

That begins, in general, around early August, when the famous Hatch chile is ready for delivery and heat fans across the Southwest start their lookout for the chile-laden trucks.

They'll be arriving, via El Rey Farms, in La Puente starting on Saturday, Aug. 9. Several Saturdays are set to follow: Aug. 16 and 23, Sept. 6 and 13. The last load after that? The one expected on Sept. 15? That depends on Mother Nature, say the people behind El Rey.

C'mon, Mother Nature. Bring it.

Want to order a sack or two? You can, now, but best make some room in the freezer: They've got girth. But you'll totally be through with them by mid-October, right? After you make all of those enchiladas and chilaquiles and tamales and stews? The fiery gems go faster than we think they will, every dang year.

And we do indeed mean "fiery": mild, medium, hot, extra hot, and extra, extra hot. Oh yeah. Is this the year you go "extra, extra"?

El Rey Farms, which has land in the Hatch area, has been trucking the good stuff into Southern California since 1970. Can't get to the Land of Enchantment for your autumn heat? They'll bring it to you, or to La Puente High School, rather, come August.

So is this when autumn truly kicks off 'round these parts? Chile, that tasty harbinger of a Southern California fall.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Gibbons and Glasses: A Fundraiser at San Antonio Winery]]> Tue, 29 Jul 2014 12:14:43 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/gibbonwinefundraiser.jpg

Though gibbons themselves probably take what they do and who they are quite seriously, we humans are very often tickled and definitely charmed by their famous "songs" -- they're incredibly vocal -- and their playtime and antics.

Thus the Gibbon Conservation Center of Santa Clarita gets it exactly right in the planning of its every-so-often fundraisers. Rather than doing something oh-so-serious and staid to raise awareness and money for the animal sanctuary, the center takes a lighthearted approach with its events.

Bingo? Yep, they've done it. Bowling for Gibbons? That was another lively way to give money to the small apes of the Santa Clarita Valley.

Wine-tasting? That's up next, and it has a very local twist: The Gibbon Conservation Center is taking it on the road to the San Antonio Winery downtown, LA's venerable and storied spot for sipping, tasting, and vino-rich history.

Nope, the gibbons won't be joining the wine party -- they'll chillax at home that day, back at the center -- but you can make for the winery on Sunday, Aug. 24 and lend a hand while trying wine. Music'll sound and appetizers shall be served and tours will be had and the cost? It's $48 plus a few bucks extra for a service fee.

Gibbon goodness, indeed, and there's a little more goodness to give: "15 percent of your purchase" at the winery goes to the Gibbon Conservation Center as well.

Call is a creative and satisfying way to help a beautiful animal. The gibbon's almost comical nature means its fundraisers almost require a little pizzazz, right? The bashes and the beasties are pretty simpatico here.

And you know you can tour the Santa Clarita sanctuary on the weekends? To hear that famous gibbon warbling? It's beyond memorable, so go. (No earplugs required.)

Photo Credit: Gibbon Conservation Center]]>
<![CDATA[Buzz-Making Video: Downtown by Drone]]> Tue, 29 Jul 2014 06:43:41 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/downtowndrone123.jpg

In which direction would you say people mostly gaze, when they're engaging in gazing, around Southern California?

If they're in Hollywood looking at the cement handprints in front of the TCL Chinese Theatre, or at the Walk of Fame stars, that direction is distinctly down.

If they're at the beach? Gazes ares even and very forward, given that the horizon is best admired in a straight-ahead manner.

But downtown? We're all looking up at every chance we get. There are all of those magnificent murals and tile tops -- Los Angeles is a city of art and don't let anyone ever tell you otherwise -- and the noir-cool rooftop signage that's weathered the better part of a century.

Orpheum sign, we're looking at you and your wee theatrical mask detail on this one. Or at least it is wee when seen from the ground.

But how about straight on?

A new video that lifts views up to those signs and murals and building tip-tops is making the viral rounds, and it is quite the stunner: Ian Wood, "a professional technologist" and "amateur aerial videographer," secured a GoPro camera to a drone and sent it up the Orpheum and above Walt Disney Concert Hall and, yes, by the Orpheum's rooftop marquee.

Is this what a superhero sees as she flies around the city?

Downtown Los Angeles from Ian Wood on Vimeo.

Photo Credit: Ian Wood]]>