<![CDATA[NBC Southern California - Dining, shopping and nightlife]]>Copyright 2016http://www.nbclosangeles.com/entertainment/the-scene http://media.nbcnewyork.com/designimages/NBC4_40x125.png NBC Southern California http://www.nbclosangeles.comen-usFri, 21 Oct 2016 18:50:31 -0700Fri, 21 Oct 2016 18:50:31 -0700NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Free: Play Ping Pong at a Museum]]> Fri, 21 Oct 2016 17:36:12 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/214*120/pingpong2928922.jpg

If you know the work of Machine Project, the Echo Park-located art collective, you know that simply saying the group's artworks are "offbeat" doesn't quite encapsulate the surreal, sensory-cool experiences.

It might be more apt to say that the people behind the collective are constantly asking the viewer to engage with their senses in unusual ways. You may recall the recent program that pondered how a UFO might smell, or the Underwater Art Show in Santa Monica. (Yes, it was underwater.)

So your next question on the quirky sensory experience quiz is this: What does a Ping Pong ball sound like as it comes into contact with a table?

Parents may be putting that unusual question to their kids, and vice versa, on Sunday, Oct. 23 at the Hammer Museum when "Sound piece for the Hammer Museum by Machine Project," which includes a Ping Pong table, is made the fun focal point for a family-centered showdown.

The event is called "Game On: What Does Ping Pong Sound Like?," and visitors are invited to ponder exactly that (families, in fact, "are invited to engage with the sounds of the tournament through drawing and movement activities").

Ah yes, there's a tournament that'll go down, in addition to the art-focused listening afoot. It's the Hammer Kids Ping Pong Tournament, a "first-ever" for the Westwood institution, and families'll meet on either side of the net to spend late Sunday morning, and the noontime hour, showing off their skills. 

The free program is designed for kids who are 7 and up, and their grown-ups. (Parking under the museum is six dollars, do note.)

So, what exactly does Ping Pong ball connecting with a table or paddle sound like? Is it more of a thwack or a thump? Is hearing it an important part of enjoying the beloved game? And what other impressions might be gleaned from an offbeat outing like playing a time-honored pursuit inside a museum?

Question, questions. Play in the tourney, have a ball, and, on the ride home, discuss just what sound a ball makes, and see how many varied descriptions you get from your crew.

Photo Credit: Ping Pong]]>
<![CDATA[Doo Dah Parade: Queen Tryouts]]> Fri, 21 Oct 2016 17:56:10 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/IMG_710doodah.jpg

Heads that wear crowns have long been described as uneasy — we pause to tip our hat to William Shakespeare here — but a royal person isn't always shown rocking a sparkly tiara or other similarly bejeweled noggin-topper.

Sometimes, instead of a crown, a queen wears a top hat, or paper flowers, or twinkly lights, or a quirky combination of the three. That is, of course, if that queen is heading up an especially zany event like Pasadena's long-running, laffy-wacky, anything-goes-y Doo Dah Parade.

As is tradition with many other processions of note, the annual Crown City strut has a respected and admired queen at its helm, a royal personage whose mere presence brings many benedictions to the esteemed event.

But how she or he came to the role of queen is a tale that begins long before the Doo Dah Parade, and typically starts with a cast of colorfully attired contestants arriving at the American Legion Bar to show off their best stuff.

Such stuff might be a musical performance, or imitating bird calls, or some tap dancing, but show it they shall, with oomph, on the evening of Saturday, Oct. 22.

That's the 2016 date for Queen Tryouts, while the Doo Dah Parade will march, with not too much dignity but oodles of panache and humor, on Saturday, Nov. 20.

That means the new queen will have a full five weeks, or nearly, to enjoy her or his reign, though official appointments and ribbon-cutting photo ops may be few. Still, the queen will need to hold the Doo Dah's have-fun, be-creative tenets at heart and lead the whimsical way to the official event.

An event that started decades ago as an offbeat answer to the stately Tournament of Roses. An event that's hopped around the calendar over the years, with cheek and devil-may-care-a-tude. An event that has tweaked its location, and, yes, rarely starts on time (the 11 a.m. on the web site should be read as "11-a.m.-ish, probably closer to 11:15, so maybe bring a book").

That is not a complaint in the least. On the contrary, the Doo Dah's commitment to remaining light-hearted, unworried, and it's-all-goodly is commendable. ("Remember the rules: DOO DAH RULES!" is about the only firm instruction a potential participant will receive.)

As for participants? It still costs ten bucks to enter, and you can dress up how you want to dress up. That's been the way of the Doo Dah for about a thousand years (which is like 962 years longer than the Doo Dah has been around, but this is a parade that embraces exaggeration and hyperbole with glee).

As for the 39th annual Doo Dah Parade Queen? Judges will make that important determination after all the auditions conclude on Oct. 22.

Crock pot chili, hot dogs, and cold brews will keep contenders and judges fortified at the American Legion Bar, as hopeful after hopeful takes to the stage, in full, fabulous regalia, to play the harmonica or do a headstand or ably enact both at the same time.

Best of luck to the queens-in-waiting, the Doo Dah staff, and the whole quirky-chaotic, heart-huge happening to come. No crowns are required for this queen, just an approach to doing life the Doo Dah way. (See the rules above for further clarification.)

Photo Credit: Brian Biery]]>
<![CDATA[Gourds on the Go: Manhattan Beach Pumpkin Race]]> Fri, 21 Oct 2016 10:53:16 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/mbpumpkinrace2016.jpg

October is awash in quirky attributes, but one of the most prominent, if notably unsung, is the fact that we invite a certain foodstuff into our home for the better part of the month, an edible that we don't eat (at least not yet) but instead decorate and display.

Other fruits don't receive the cushy, month-long welcome of the pumpkin, but our devotion to the stem-topped icon goes well beyond lattes, jack o'lanterns, and centerpieces: Sometimes we put pumpkins on wheels and send 'em off to the races.

Well, one well-known race in particular: The World Famous Manhattan Beach Pumpkin Race, a long-runner of a fundraiser that puts an emphasis on joyful absurdity, creative can-do, and helping others.

The date? It's Sunday, Oct. 23. The time? The squashy shenanigans rev up at noon.

The beneficiary of the afternoon-long happening, which takes place at the pier? Make Autism Work. Funds from the day will "provide MBUSD Transition Program students with extra vocational training and local employment opportunities they need to succeed in their transition goals," including learning "to live and work in our community as neurodiverse young adults."

True story, then: Showing up to cheer on the turbocharged pumpkins isn't all about seeing which wheeled wonder crosses the finish line first. There are bigger, longer-lasting things at work in this venerable event.

True story, contd.: The tenets of the day include "creativity, ingenuity, diversity, and fair play," so, really, if you want to jump up and down for all the speedy seedy competitors, go for it. 

Also true? It's free to attend.

As for top honors? For sure, design and adorableness will be rewarded, but the "Worst Crash" will also be given due recognition. The guts-glorious orbs, as every pumpkin purchaser knows, can make a rather spectacular, stringy mess with very little provocation.

The World Famous Manhattan Beach Pumpkin Race passed its quarter-century mark in 2015, making the yearly event a true-blue — or true-orange, perhaps — community stalwart, a fun fundraiser that wears its giveback spirit, and seasonal zaniness, proudly.

Can't attend but want to donate? Start here. Thinking of putting your own pumpkin, the one sitting sedately upon the dining room table, on wheels? Vroom.

Photo Credit: Manhattan Beach Pumpkin Race]]>
<![CDATA[Free: ArtNight Pasadena]]> Fri, 21 Oct 2016 03:19:07 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/ArtNightPasadena_ArtCenter015.jpg

A rather obvious statement to make when the spooky season rolls around is about to follow: People like to be transported. And that transportive moment can arrive via a neighborhood haunted house, or a ghostly bit of symphonic music, or a classic horror film.

There are other avenues, though, to walking through the doors of one's mind. More than anything, art seems to have a knack for opening brain doors, and inviting the person seeking a fresh outlook with a new notion, an intriguing angle, or something to chew upon, contemplatively.

Imagine all of the new-notion-ing you'll do, without spending any money, in Pasadena on Friday, Oct. 21. ArtNight Pasadena is back, the keep-your-cash-stowed event, unless-you-want-a-nosh-from-a-food-truck to-do, the happening that includes a caboodle of stellar institutions.

Is it really a caboodle, though, or have we walked through some door in our own mind to a different, exaggeration-prone reality?

Nope, we stand by the word, firmly: Eighteen museums and galleries and art-cool destinations are on board, and if you can visit the entire caboodle from 6 to 10 o'clock in the evening, well, we do doff our cap. (Of course we're wearing a cap, because it is now fall, despite what the thermometer says.)

ArtCenter College of Design, the Armory Center for the Arts, the Jackie Robinson Community Center, Norton Simon Museum, the Pasadena Conservatory of Music, and several other crown jewels of the Crown City have a part to play in the popular must-do.

How popular? And how must-do-y? Check it out: Some 28,000 art aficionados and music mavens and fans of sauntering about the lovely historic city called upon ArtNight Pasadena in the fall of 2015.

That sounds like a lot of people (and it is), but don't be dissuaded. You can take the Metro Gold Line, and be semi-adjacent to the thick of the action, and plus? There's a sizable spread of goings-on, meaning you and your 27,999 BFFs won't all be calling upon the same location at the same time.

It's solid art appreciation, it is cockles-warming community-style sweetness, and it is a fall tradition around a town that does dearly love tradition. But expect works that aren't too traditional, at many places, in addition to classical paintings and such.

Will you walk through a new door in your mind and leave with a different way of thinking? Autumn has a way of transporting a person, whether via a scary flick or a host of fantastic pieces and sounds, savored on a fall night, without paying for the savoring.

Photo Credit: Jamie Pham/Visit Pasadena]]>
<![CDATA[P-22 Fest: Following in His Footsteps]]> Fri, 21 Oct 2016 08:58:53 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/184*120/p-22.jpg

Spying a celebrity standing regally before the Hollywood Sign is not an uncommon sight, especially in glossy magazine spreads, the kind of features that capture the star with the iconic hillside letters in the background.

Without argument, though, the most obsessed-over luminary to be seen in front of the sign in recent years is P-22. The mountain lion appeared in the December 2013 National Geographic, thanks to a stunner of a photograph by Steve Weber.

But fans of the roam-about feline also have followed his adventures via his Facebook page, which frequently shares snapshots and video of the big cat as he makes his moonlit way around Griffith Park. 

It's a devotion that's deep, so much so that P-22 has his own festival, a party that's part of the larger Urban Wildlife Week, which is on now through Saturday, Oct. 22.

Two major components of this cat-tastic happening? Mavens of Mr. P-22 are re-tracing his "historic 40-mile trek from the Santa Monica Mountains to his new home in Griffith Park." The multi-day hike's purpose? To, in part, "point out vital connections that are still needed for both wildlife and people along the way."

"Residents and businesses along the route are encouraged to come cheer on the hikers," reveals the National Wildlife Federation.

You can eye the route and follow along here.

Capping off the multi-day walk in a wonderful and celebratory fashion is P-22 Day in Griffith Park on Saturday, Oct. 22. Attendees are invited to hike the final half mile with those on the long hike, and then join a jamboree that has a love of nature at its heart.

Will you get a pic with P-22, or at least a handsome cut-out? You just might. Will there be drumming, mariachis, food trucks, animal yoga, and letters written to P-22 by students read aloud at the daytime gathering? There will be.

Entry is free, by the by. Free as a mountain lion or other city-living critter on a nocturnal ramble. Free as a crisp autumn breeze through a clutch of Griffith Park oaks.

The notion of living right alongside wildlife in our big ol' megacity might seem fanciful to some, or even something out of science fiction or the movies. But those Southern Californians who've watched a raccoon ramble down their street, or squirrels at play in their garden, know that for all of that asphalt and glass and steel we see, we make our home in a wild-lovely place.

Photo Credit: P-22
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<![CDATA[Weekend: Vintage Halloween Thrills]]> Thu, 20 Oct 2016 11:12:31 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/elcapGettyImages-703414-horz.jpg

Vintage Halloween Thrills: While the eeriest of occasions is known for cool tech, reveling in the charms of days gone by can give the ghouly time of year atmospheric oomph. Look to Old Town Music Hall, which is screening "The Wolf Man" on Oct. 21-22 and "Bride of Frankenstein" on Oct. 22-23, or the historic El Capitan Theatre, which is offering a "spooktacular" backstage tour. Nearby, Paramount Pictures has a After Dark Tour on (complete with "exclusive access to Hollywood Forever Cemetery"), and Heritage Square's Victorian Mourning Tours are haunting the storied spread on Oct. 22 and 23.

AIDS Walk Los Angeles: Have your team together? Walking with your cousins or best friends? Or maybe going on your own? It's all good, and all a part of this long-running heart-big happening, one that's headed to Grand Park in 2016. That's the beginning of the 10K, and that's where it'll all wrap up, too. Can you give your time, or donate, to assist APLA Health? Awesome. Start here, and, if you can, join the important downtown walk on Sunday, Oct. 23. 

Brand Boulevard Block Party: Don't believe for a second that easy-breezy block parties solely belong to summertime. This ticketed to-do has a lot of that alfresco spirit, and a bunch of local restaurants providing tastes and samples (as part of the entry price). On the stage? That's Wayward Sons. The beneficiary? Careers through Culinary Arts Program. The price? It's $50 early, $60 there, and the "there," of course is Glendale (and the "when" is Oct. 22).

Strut Your Mutt LA: It's a mega, shaggy, tail-waggy, arf-happy fundraiser that's found in cities across the country, and it is an event that invites humans to include their pooch pals. So leash up your lovebug and make for Exposition Park on Saturday, Oct. 22 for a short or longer walk, all to help out a host of organizations devoted to assisting animals in numerous ways. No Halloween costume is necessary, just a desire to do right by dogs everywhere.

Vegan Taco Competition: You've loved the recent vegan-esque outings around town, from the chili-themed showdowns to the oompah-fun Oktoberfest. Now make for Café Gratitude, the Larchmont location, for some of the tastiest, lime-loveliest, tofu-rockingest tacos around, from a cadre of chefs ready to show off their most sublime and spicy creations. A ticket is twenty bucks, which covers a few libations, too. Chow down details? Here. Date? It's Oct. 22.

Photo Credit: Getty Images/AP/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Happy Howl-oween: Pet Costumes Rule!]]> Thu, 20 Oct 2016 07:54:53 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/PetCostumes-147696710644900001.jpg Halloween is just around the corner, and this year Americans are getting the whole family involved...including their pets.]]> <![CDATA['Dark Shadows': 50th Anniversary Fest]]> Thu, 20 Oct 2016 09:41:11 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/darkshadowslaoct.jpg

Much has been written about a vampire's ability to live on (and on and on and on), but that knack for riding eternity's waves also can extend to television series that feature the famous gothic figures.

Gaze, if you will, as if into an old oil portrait or hazy mirror, at the phenomenon of "Dark Shadows," the alluring weekday drama that ran from 1966 through 1971 on ABC. Definitely, a multitude of movies and TV shows had taken on all forms of monsters and Gothic tales before the mid-1960s, but the daily tales emerging from the Collins family, and a certain Mr. Barnabas Collins, stoked an ongoing interest that lives on to this day.

If "lives on" is the right way to describe a delectable series inspired by vampiric, beyond-the-veil deeds. Those drama-filled deeds will be much discussed by a host of fans come the Saturday before Halloween, when actors from "Dark Shadows," and those who've loved it through the decades, gather at the Women's Club of Hollywood for a twelve-hour celebration.

Lara Parker, the amazing Angelique, will be in attendance at the Saturday, Oct. 29 event, celebrating her new novel "Dark Shadows — The Heiress of Collinwood." John Karlen, who played "vampire caretaker Willie Loomis" will also make an appearance, as will a number of other performers seen on the series over its impressive run.

Composer Robert Cobert will also be at the eerie affair, signing CDs of the memorable music. Can you hear the opening strains to the theme now? It's truly a macabre melody, one that inspired many supernatural series to come.

A Q&A, live music presentations, "rare video screenings," a flea market full of delightfully frightful finds, 50th anniversary-themed merchandise, and more ghoulish goodness is on the spooky schedule. 

A schedule that runs right up to, you guessed it, midnight. As if there should be any other hour of the day that would conclude a "Dark Shadows" celebration (and a half-century anniversary celebration, at that).

For tickets, information, and to start planning the type of cloak you might don for such a Gothic-grand affair, swirl down your staircase and gravely ponder all that you need to know, must know, now. <cue "Dark Shadows" theme>

Photo Credit: Dark Shadows]]>
<![CDATA[Meet Popeye, the Foodie Rescue Pup]]> Wed, 19 Oct 2016 13:33:58 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/popeyetherescuedog123.jpg

Poll any avowed user of social media on whether animal snapshots or food pics carry more coo-over cachet, and instantly come to realize you've introduced a hot potato of a topic with vocal proponents on either end.

But both categories do incredibly well, in terms of shares and likes, so it stands to reason that a new superstar would rise from the juncture where eating out and loving a pup meet.

That luminary is named Popeye, and that he's a rescue dog only sweetens a story that's already sweeter than a pumpkin spice latte.

That was a clear October reference, made on purpose, for Popeye's extreme ascent on social media has happened in October 2016, a time when many an internet-roving eye is looking for some happy headlines. 

They've found that joy in the small, cream-of-coat pooch.

Restaurateur Ivy Diep of Dip's Grill in Alhambra is Popeye's person, and she's ably promoting the notion of discovering "pet-friendly dining options" via her little guy's Instagram page.

A page that now has over 100,000 followers, let it be known.

Perhaps scrollers love to see sup-worthy SoCal dishes. Perhaps people are in love with cute pups. And perhaps seeing both together is almost too much to take.


Part of Popeye's appeal, beyond sharing the love of dining out at places where dogs may dine (outdoors, natch), is his rescue status, which is also a heart-warmer.

And, of course, the photography remains consistently on theme, with the majority of snapshots capturing Popeye in a singular pose: Sitting charmingly, and handsomely, before a few dishes of good local grub. 

That's right: charmingly and handsomely. To pick one over the other is to undersell Popeye's many attributes.

Yes, Popeye is wearing the iconic In-N-Out hat in one photograph. Adding any further commentary, like a "squee" or "♥♥♥" to an already perfect picture, would only be excessive. We all know that an adorable dog wearing a paper chapeau before a tray of animal style Double-Doubles is pretty much the zenith in terms of great photo-takery.


Of course, Popeye's beloved Instagram page is now over a year old, and some viral heat began a few months ago. But the little scruffable pumpkin has been the toast of October, popping up hither and yon across the internet.

Need some smiles? We won't put an exact number on the smiles Popeye's Instagram will deliver, but as there are literally dozens upon dozens of snaps of this sweetheart posing next to hundreds of regional dishes, you may grin several times, at least.

Photo Credit: Popeye the Foodie Dog]]>
<![CDATA['World's Tallest Live-Cut Tree' Arrives in LA]]> Wed, 19 Oct 2016 11:01:53 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/11citadel16.jpg

A big, glittery bow can serve as the holiday-happy harbinger for a multitude of still-to-come things.

A bow may indicate that the package beneath it holds a hoped-for item, the one at the top of your wish list. A bow might also sit atop unwrapped gifts, such as bikes, adding color and pizzazz to the present you wanted most.

And sometimes a bow, if it is very, very ginormous — the most ginormous bow on the planet, in fact — can accurately foretell that an equally jumbo Christmas tree, the "World's Tallest Live-Cut Tree," is on its way and ready join the huge ribbon in a symphony of seasonal wonder.

Such a decoration did tell the pine-scented future, quite recently. It was the behemoth of a bow that was carefully placed, by heavy machinery, on the roof of the Citadel Outlets on Tuesday, Oct. 11.

It's the "World's Largest Bow", don't you know, and it can be seen, all a-sparkle and a-twinkle, from a good piece down the 5 Freeway, where the historic building is located.

Joining the gargantuan gift-topper as of Tuesday, Oct. 18? A tree straight from the Shasta-Trinity National Forest.

Again, major machinery helped erect the towering plant, which stands at 115 feet tall.

Next up? The branches will be securely re-placed up the tree ("the branches are removed so the tree can travel safely on streets and freeways," is the reason behind that).

Victor's Custom Christmas Trees did the sourcing on the superstar shrub, a tree that "spans longer than an NBA basketball court." And is it as tall as the Hollywood Sign? Actually, it is "more than twice" the height of one of the iconic hillside letters.

The shopping center reveals that the tree "was near the end of its lifespan," and its removal from the woods "frees up forest space for smaller trees and keeps the forest healthy."

Additionally, a dozen trees will be planted in the area where the titan once stood.

As for its big lights-on moment? That arrives on Saturday, Nov. 5, along with a flurry of fa-la-la-ing and various entertainment presentations.

Note that while the bow is easily seeable from the interstate, only the top of the tree may be discerned from the 5. Head inside to see the whole branch-laden fir, an early harbinger of the holidays to come (much in the way that the bow was the harbinger of the tree).

The yuletide? It's on the way, say the huge symbols of the SoCal season.

Photo Credit: Citadel Outlets]]>
<![CDATA[LA Zoo Lights: Seven-Week Glow Show]]> Tue, 18 Oct 2016 18:54:24 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/GL-LAZooLights15-4jamiepham.jpg

The holidays arrive with wintertime, and yet so many of our seasonal staples, in terms of go-outs and must-dos, happen when the sun has gone night-night.

Caroling tops many an evening activity list, and ice skating, too (all of those twinkling lights surrounding a rink provide a picturesque backdrop to our twirls).

But if singing isn't your strong suit, and triple axels aren't in your skill set, there is another outdoorsy option that comes with plenty of twinkle and yuletide cheer: LA Zoo Lights at the Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens.

The lots-of-lights lark is entering its third year in 2016, and it has a dual purpose: To both put on a sparkly, glow-forward, camera-ready show, and to launch the 50th anniversary of the Griffth Park-based zoo.

That anniversary, called "ZooLAbration," will really take flight (or leap or swing or bark or whatever animal action you prefer) in 2017.

On the Zoo Lights ends of things, look for seven weeks of nearly nightly wonderment ("nearly nightly" means only Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, and Christmas are closed).

"More lights" is the promise for the 2016 displays, which will include "a fanciful menagerie of animal characters brought to 'life'" plus "a disco ball forest," "glittering twinkle tunnels," and a laser show that incorporates water.

Wait. A disco ball forest? This seems like a melding of two entirely distinct ideas that is far, far overdue.

Matters move from enchanted to slightly eerie at LAIR, where the zoo's Living Amphibians, Invertebrates, and Reptiles hang out. Not only is there a "giant illuminated snake" perched over the LAIR entrance during Zoo Lights, but black light within creates a subterranean world (you may just spy insects "scurrying" around walls).

Call it a drop of eek in the sweet drink that is Zoo Lights.

Speaking of real, actual sweet drinks, and not the proverbial ones: Hot chocolate is for sale, as are churros and other treats, so plan on wearing the mittens that help you clutch a warm beverage best.

And speaking of real, actual adults beverages: A special Holiday Happy Hours event for 21+ guests is on the schedule on Dec. 8 and 15.

And speaking of New Year's Eve: There's a family-fun party happening at the zoo, in case you're looking for a different sort of celebration. (Okay, we weren't actually speaking of New Year's Eve, but given that LA Zoo Lights runs from Nov. 18 through Jan. 8, it seemed worth noting.

And "thousands" of the "giant illuminated snowflakes" shall return, too, lending some traditional winterscapes to our mild Los Angeles nights.

There's more to come on the ZooLAbration, and the park's 50th anniversary, but, for now, best look into tickets, and your go-to scarf and mittens. You're headed outside this holiday season, the better to encounter, mega LED beasties glittering at points around the LA Zoo.

Photo Credit: Jamie Pham]]>
<![CDATA[M&M's Are Getting a New Filling]]> Tue, 18 Oct 2016 12:09:11 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-452614600mandm.jpg

Your sweet tooth is in for a treat. Mars Chocolate has announced that M&M’s are getting a new filling — caramel.

A video on the M&M's Twitter account said caramel M&M's, with a deep blue package, will be available in May. 

CNN Money reported that it’s the first time the company is using caramel as a permanent filling. M&M has a history of trying out different flavors, and occasionally a new filling, such as peanuts, or pretzels. But a caramel center is very different.

"Caramel is extremely trendy," Vice-President of Research and Development of Mars Chocolate Hank Izzo told CNN. "It's a $2.2 billion flavor segment and the fastest growing segment in food right now. We want to be part of this category."

Izzo also told the news agency it's still getting the manufacturing process ready — hence the monthslong wait.

Photo Credit: Getty Images, File
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<![CDATA[Masterworks on View at Sotheby's]]> Tue, 18 Oct 2016 13:45:10 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/9601RobertWomendrawingwater.jpg

While exhibits and special gallery shows frequently give art aficionados the exciting chance to stand before highly celebrated paintings, the kind of works that pass through a town before venturing onto the next place, seeing superstar works ahead of an auction is a wholly different sort of treat.

Consider that once a piece is sold, and the gavel drop seals the highest bid, the masterpiece may go into a private collection, meaning that seeing it again, in person, may never come to pass for an art lover.

It's a rare, admire-it-now kind of thrill, then, to spy great art ahead of auction, and it's a thrill one that's on in Century City through Wednesday, Oct. 19 at the Sotheby's LA gallery. A preview of the Master Paintings Evening Sale, set for New York City at the start of 2017, is currently open and free to the public, giving those who adore centuries-old works a chance to stand before such treasures in person.

"Flora" by Willem Drost is included in the on-view collection, as is Jean-Honoré Fragonard's "The Fountain of Love" and a Madonna and Child painting by Sandro Botticelli and workshop.

The pieces all have different expected price points, with "The Fountain of Love" given a $1,500,000-$2,500,000 range.

You don't have to be the person who ultimately raises the bidder card on that artwork to enjoy it now, in LA, before it journeys east this winter. See it, for free, in Century City, alongside several other painterly, bucolic, iconography-filled gems.

Consider this your art-laden sweep through Europe, an impromptu trip to the Continent. No need to head for LAX, though; you only need to get to Century City, and Sotheby's, to experience exquisite art from long ago.

Sotheby's Los Angeles is located at 2029 Century Park East, Los Angeles, CA 90067.

Pictured:  detail, Hubert Robert Paris 1733 - 1808 A woman fishing and other figures by Roman ruins; Women drawing water from a basin while a man contemplates a classical statue the first signed and dated lower center.

Photo Credit: Sotheby's]]>
<![CDATA[Rare Peek: Heritage Square After Sundown]]> Wed, 19 Oct 2016 13:55:12 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/heritagesquareevening9283232232.jpg

Tell a person not from Southern California that each of our freeways possess its own distinctive personality and that not-from-here other-placer just might scoff, with disdain.

Let them scoff, we say, for we all know the truth: Freeways have feelings. Or at least they can give us feelings, and we're not just talking about when we're stuck in traffic. The 405 feels like the future (planes overhead), the 101 has Old Hollywood cred, and the 110 is downright historic, thanks in large part to Heritage Square.

But the clutch of Victorian buildings sitting off to one side of the Arroyo Seco Parkway, as atmospheric as they are, aren't always accessible, and almost never after sundown. Visit them in the daytime, sure, but by night? That time is for the ghosts, real or otherwise, who call the historic spread home (and those driving-by daydreamers who find Heritage Square a bit spooky).

After-sundowners shall be welcome, however, on Saturday, Dec. 11 when the Los Angeles Obscura Society calls upon the structure-filled museum. It's the Heritage Square Twilight Tour, a rare peek that is sure to book up far ahead of the twelfth month.

Thus if you're a frequent driver along the 110, and you've longed for a peek inside the turreted abodes by nighttime, this is your chance. A ticket is $30, and you're correct when you say that not all of the saved-from-the-wrecking-ball buildings were homes a century or more ago. There's a train depot at Heritage Square, and a church, too.

Oh, and that eight-sided structure which is so quirky, and such a favorite of visitors and filmmakers, that one might rightly call it a local star.

Do freeways have feelings? Quibble about that with out-of-towners, but it can't be denied that Heritage Square has given many a car's passenger some daydream-like reveries, especially when the passenger is staring out the window at the darkened windows of the Victorian homes after sunset.

Photo Credit: Los Angeles Obscura Society]]>
<![CDATA[Garage Door's Toothy Halloween Get-Up Goes Viral]]> Mon, 17 Oct 2016 17:46:50 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-5612846171.jpg

This year, people and pets aren't the only ones getting dressed up for Halloween.

An Ohio woman's video showing her "monster house" decoration has gone mega-viral, with at least 23 million people in under a week watching a garage door adorned with teeth open and close. Complete with eyes on top, the effect is of a massive, fanged, car-eating monster — surely the most fearsome garage on the block.

The video was posted by Facebook user Amanda Destro Pierson, who says in the video's description she's a face painter. In a different video, also posted in Cleveland, she says she works as a product designer at a craft company and that she's hard at work getting a "monster house" kit ready for sales for next Halloween.

The idea appears to be a hit already, at least judging by some of the thousands of comments on Pierson's video that say "let's do this" or "I need this!"

In the meantime, the sudden popularity seems to have caught Pierson by surprise.

"Thank you guys so much for the overwhelming response," Pierson says in one of the videos. "Who would have known that my garage would be so popular?"

Photo Credit: Getty Images/EyeEm
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<![CDATA[Halloween Treat: A Night in Dracula's Castle]]> Mon, 17 Oct 2016 10:52:26 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/180*120/AP_16291141063733.jpg Dracula's castle will have overnight guests on Halloween, marking the first time since 1948 that anyone has slept in the Transylvanian fortress. The site's actual name in Bran Castle, and two people will get to sleep there Oct. 31 thanks to a promotion by Airbnb. The guests will be wined and dined, then left alone to lie down in red velvet-trimmed coffins just as Dracula did in the Bram Stoker horror novel that popularized the legend.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Now Open: The Science Behind Pixar]]> Mon, 17 Oct 2016 20:01:44 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/pixarcsc16.jpg Make for the California Science Center and discover the techniques, like lighting and modeling, that bring the beloved films to life.

Photo Credit: Kristina Kurasz]]>
<![CDATA[Leashes 'n Love: Strut Your Mutt LA]]> Mon, 17 Oct 2016 17:06:09 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/214*120/strutyourmuttoct16.jpg

It's that time of year, when the most frightful of holidays is but a fortnight away, that animal aficionados turn their gaze to their treasured companions and think "should you be a pumpkin, or a dragon, or a princess, or some zany combination of the three?"

Truly, in some households this question is far more urgent than what type of candy will go in the bowl next to the front door, for dressing up one's pet is a time-honored way to bring the furry residents of a home into the spooky swing of Halloween.

But best put this all-important question aside, at least for the moment, and ponder what sort of athletic wear you yourself shall don to saunter alongside your dog at Exposition Park on Saturday, Oct. 22.

That's the date for the Los Angeles Strut Your Mutt, a large-scale fundraiser that helps home-needing pups in a host of ways. You're right, NKLA and Best Friends Animal Society is behind this annual assist-animals-in-need event, one that's mirrored in robustly attended community walks across the country.

And, you're right again, it isn't just about the walks, but all of the extra on-site activities, too, that happen during the morningtime to-do.

And, bingo, there are two walks to choose from, one that's "Long" (it's 2.26 miles) and one that's billed as "Short" (it's half that, at 1.13 miles).

The canine-centered activities include a bean bag toss, a race that's all about seeing what hounds excel at balancing a bone, and the thrilling Frisbee-based Tic-Tac-Toe.

A pet communicator, trainers, and vets will be there to answer questions and/or chitchat, while Metro Pets wil have the soothing paw pad treatments at the ready (and mini massages, too, with "(s)kin/coat conditioning.")

The lengthy roster of exhibitors and participants is a who's who, or an arf's arf, if you prefer dog-ese, of people and organizations involved with helping our poochly pals.

To register? That's $35 if you're an adult, $18 for kids between the ages of 6 to 12, and entry is free for those kids under the age of 5. 

Does your dog need to wear anything special? Not at all. Their joyful, shaggy, tongue-licky presence is all that's required at the walk. You can save the pumpkin costume, or the dragon outfit, or the princess dress for Oct. 31.

In the meantime, focus on a gathering that's not at all frightful, but very much about assisting some true-hearted organizations as they joyfully assist those who can't advocate for themselves.

Photo Credit: Strut Your Mutt]]>
<![CDATA[Vegan Taco Competition at Café Gratitude]]> Mon, 17 Oct 2016 20:07:39 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/vegantacocafegratitude.jpg

Finding a tangy, zesty, hearty dish that's 100% vegan isn't too difficult in Los Angeles, but locating a festival that's fully devoted to plant-based deliciousness is another not-so-meaty matter.

Or, it was, at least, in the past. Nowadays vegan-focused festivities can cover everything from chili (there's an annual face-off at Tony's Darts Away) to a traditional Oktoberfest (look to LA Center Studios, which just hosted another plant-tastic autumnal affair).

With singular vegan celebrations popping up, surely there's a whole food-packed party devoted to that greatest of foldable foodstuffs, the lime-lovely, salsa-laden, I'll-have-two-more-please taco?

Why there is, and it is going to take place at that positive-minded stalwart of vegan gourmet cookery, Café Gratitude, on Saturday, Oct. 22.

Which Café Gratitude, in particular? The one on Larchmont. Is it a day-long dealie? Nope, you'll want to arrive at noon-ish (the wrap time is 3 o'clock). And are there multiple chefs providing the wide breadth of taco-centered bites?

There are, with nine chefs in all cooking, all to raise money for the Humane Society of Los Angeles. Ernesto Moreno of Café Gratitude will be part of the taco team, a group of culinary pros that include Chandra Gilbert of Gracias Madre and Summer Phoenix of Phoenix Family Foods.

A ticket to LA's Best Vegan Taco Competition is $20, which covers your "Tacos, GT's Kombucha, Beer & Cold Brew." There's music to nosh by, and, we'll surmise, socializing to be done, as that's the usual mood at the vibe-vivacious eatery.

What vegan-focused festivals and competitions are still to come? Clearly single foodstuff showdowns are on the rise, so, fingers crossed, pizza, and subs, and other cuisines are on the way.

Photo Credit: Café Gratitude]]>
<![CDATA[27th Annual LA Zoo Photo Day]]> Fri, 14 Oct 2016 12:58:25 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/otterpiczoo12346.jpg

Scroll you might, and scroll and scroll and scroll, paging through your various social media feeds, but the one sight that will make you stop, every single time, is a snoozing, up-on-a-branch baby koala.

Or a lion in mighty mid-roar. Or a leaping gazelle. Or another other animal photograph that stirs, cheers, and fills a viewer with wonder.

Visual records of our non-human co-earthlings do have a wonderful way of captivating we people like almost nothing else.

The long-running LA Zoo Photo Day is based on this principle, that capturing a bongo in the morning light, on film, and then sharing it, is an uplifting act for us all, and definitely the photographer who was there to witness it, and, via her art and technique, deftly record it for eternity.

It's also a day devoted to the nuts/bolts of sublime snapshots. So while the early entry is a major element of Photo Day, which is presented by the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association and Paul's Photos, so are the "inspirational and instructional talks" that are part of the popular yearly event.

That event is scheduled for Sunday, Nov. 6, and, as is tradition, you'll want to line up your ticket in advance of the weekend, for sure.

Both digital and the film route are a-ok, too, and if you're new to photography? You are welcome, as are those camera-toting pros who've been covering nature for decades.

There's instruction available for beginners, or for anyone looking to pick up a few tips on taking pics of beings who can quite literally be perpetually on the move (even if that movement is the swishing of a tail).

Don't have the gear you'd like? Your admission covers loaner equipment "from major manufacturers." Looking for the ideal spot to snap your favorite critter? Telephoto stations will allow photographers to "attach their cameras at various exhibits throughout the morning."

A catered lunch, a photo contest, and a number of other lens-tastic doings, all built around the photo-theme of the gathering, are also on the slate.

Whether you take the perfect flamingo photograph for your Christmas cards, or for a 2017 calendar you hand out to friends, or for the wider ocean of social media, remains to be seen.

But animal photography is an adventure, one that many enjoy being a part of, and sharing later on, with other people who adore the many beautiful beasties who also call our diverse and delightful planet home.

Photo Credit: LA Zoo]]>
<![CDATA[LBC Sweet: Blessing of the Animals]]> Sat, 15 Oct 2016 21:38:57 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/justinruddblessinglbcoct16.jpg

Sundays and sunsets are a natural pairing for many people looking to wind down the weekend in a reflective way, and being at the beach your BFF is another peace-bringing tradition that many a local honors, whether it is at sunset or a Sunday.

But to draw those four things together — sunset, Sunday, the ocean, and a beloved pup or rabbit or iguana — and make a meaningful moment out of it, alongside other people who love the idea of a peaceful place to celebrate a pet, is a rarer thing.

It does happen each fall, though, at the Interfaith Blessing of the Animals in Long Beach.

Like the blessing that happens at Olvera Street the Saturday before Easter each year, beasties of every stripe and whisker are invited to the Sunday, Oct. 16 gathering (just make sure they're "well-behaved," of course, and feel at ease being near other animals and people).

"More than 300 animals are expected" at 1 Granada Avenue including "horses, dogs, cats, birds, lizards, rabbits, pot-bellied pigs, fish, tortoises, and turtles," shares Justin Rudd, the founder of the event, which is celebrating its 15th year in 2016. 

Mr. Rudd, who is known around town for both his Haute Dog events and regular beach clean-ups (in addition to running every public street in Long Beach over a year), says of the blessing that "(i)t's important to recognize and honor the great relationship between pets and their people."

He's also the organizer of the annual Bulldog Beauty Pageant, and visitors to the Oct. 16 blessing can expect to see "a battalion of bulldogs" in attendance. Also look for a 100-foot red carpet, a signature design element seen at many of Mr. Rudd's community-focused events. (Yep, that's for the animals to walk down, alongside their humans.)

A number of farm animals will begin the red carpet walk at 5:45, and the 30-minute ceremony follows. 

If your pet is ill and can't make it, or can't join for any reason, or you want to pay homage to the memory of animal, feel free to bring a memento, such as a collar.

For the list of all attendees, the on-site vet, a bit more about the moment of silence, and where to park, look over here.

And look forward to a Sunday sunset at the beach, with your hedgehog or your Golden Retriever or your parakeet, complete with some kind and connecting words to tie the moment all together in tender fashion.

Photo Credit: Justin Rudd]]>
<![CDATA[Explore LA's Attic: Archives Bazaar]]> Fri, 14 Oct 2016 09:41:51 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/LAarchiveshistoric.jpg

While it might not be a unique-to-LA thing, to suddenly see a building or fountain or alley that you've never noticed before, it is an experience many locals have had, at least once.

Because our city? It's absolutely massive, on a physical scale, and millions of people have contributed to its story, the long tale that boasts seemingly countless plots, twists, and certainly memorable characters.

There's no true way to wrap one's Los Angeles-loving mind around all of this, but there might be a way to find out about that one building you just noticed, or dig, with delight, into a particular neighborhood topic that's been nagging at your craw for years. It's the the Los Angeles Archives Bazaar, and it returns to welcome Southern Californians into the region's attic.

Think of the Saturday, Oct. 15 event, which will set out the papers and photographs and documents and maps in grand display at USC Doheny Memorial Library, as akin to going through some old family boxes with a relative, the boxes that are stuffed-to-overflowing with finds.

You're going to come across old ticket stubs and wedding invitations in those family files, probably. Now ponder how that might work on a metropolis-large scale, and consider all of the histories and snapshots you'll encounter, the essential ephemera that captures our region at every moment in time.

It isn't all digging into one street or one neighborhood, though; the "day-long programming will feature workshops and demonstrations on archiving and preservation of photographs and scrapbooks," so if cataloging the past is your jam, join in and gain fresh knowledge.

And like going through your family's mementos, and finding that several relatives have contributed, the Los Angeles Archives Bazaar, while centered in one spot, will include items from several local institutions (think Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences for one) as well as "private collectors whose materials fill the gaps left in the region's history."

Do you love LA? Are you eager to explore its proverbial attic, which isn't physically the Doheny Memorial Library, of course, but rather the documents and photos that will be on display there on Oct. 15?

Be curious, and even a tad nosy, in the best neighborly sense. It's our city, and knowing its stories only fills out our local-pride affections even further.

Photo Credit: LA Archives Bazaar]]>
<![CDATA[Opening: RISE of the Jack O'Lanterns]]> Thu, 13 Oct 2016 19:05:48 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/214*120/risedinojackolantern.jpg

Peaches, strawberries, cherries, and melons may dominate the summer months, in terms of the sorts of fruits we crave, and apples are a popular pick in September, but October belongs to one seedy, stringy, spectacularly cookable, carve-able superstar: the pumpkin.

The pumpkin, though, is not an easily grokkable food, however. The globular icons of fall change form at just the right moment, when conditions are right and the eeriest holiday grows near. Spoiler alert: They transform into jack o'lanterns, at least in many households, those grinning, candle-flickery porch-protectors of Halloween.

RISE of the Jack O'Lanterns, an annual event with New York roots, understands that pumpkin lovers long to get the gourdly jump on the whole cool faces-and-more thing but we're hesitant to start our carving quite yet, with Oct. 31 still in the distance.

So they've done it for us, and 5,000 times over, too. The come-stroll-about to-do is all about spying hand-carved pumpkins, pumpkins that rock oodles of different faces and figures. Many of the pumpkins are composed in groups which create forms far larger than an average squash, from tall dinosaurs to giraffes, while others sit alone while giving off that classic spooky glow.

If you've called upon this collection of squash-surreal scenery in the past 'round LA, you went to Descanso Gardens or Santa Anita Park. But the company has two new locations in 2016, with Los Angeles Convention Center serving as the spot for the first part of the run (Oct. 13 through 16) and Fairplex in Pomona doing the end-of-the-month wrap-up (Oct. 27 through 30, so note that it is closed on Halloween).

Will you find inspiration when it comes time to dream up a work of art for the pumpkin currently sitting on the kitchen counter? You just might, given that RISE of the Jack O'Lantern works with a number of skillful artists who have a knack for infusing gourds with gleeful humor and occasional gravitas.

There's no need, though, to set up 5,000 pumpkins on your own front porch, back at home. One or two usually do, and all of those trick-or-treaters want to reach your front door, and doorbell, and too many pumpkins may prove too tricky.

Still, to see so many stem-topped wonders in one place is an unusual sight, but then again, October is an unusual month. The other times of year may rock the berries and apples, but a giant orb of seed-mazing goodness is the tasty titan of mid-fall, and that's just the way whimsy-loving Halloween lovers like it. 

Photo Credit: RISE of the Jack O'Lanterns]]>
<![CDATA[Pasadena Octoberfest: Rose Bowl Bash]]> Thu, 13 Oct 2016 16:08:23 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/214*120/pasoctfest1.jpg

Dearest Rose Bowl,

We, like you, are keeping a close eye on the calendar, and we know your big day is just a couple of months away. (True story: We also know you have lots of big days, being the entertainment and sports landmark that you so awesomely are, but we're talking about the day, New Year's Day, which is actually the day after New Year's Day in 2017, so, Monday, Jan. 2.)


Our direction here? You still have time to do some celebrating, before a certain tournament revs up, and Saturday, Oct. 15 will be a mighty fine day for a fall party, seeing as how the thermometer will genuinely reflect traditional autumn temperatures (and not the fiery heat we so often see around this time of year).

That fall party is the Pasadena Octoberfest, and that is with a c, not a k, and it is a one-day thing, so people should not hem, nor haw, believing that they can swing by on Sunday and still find some sort of festivity afoot.

The Saturday-only to-do will welcome more than 50 breweries, including Saint Archer Brewing Company, Left Coast Brewing Co., and Ballast Point Brewing & Spirits.

There shall be food vendors, too, and a VIP dining experience, and live tunes to chow down along to, if you like some music with your meals.

Above all, there will be a Raise the Stein contest, which is an Oktoberfest-specific showdown, which is all about holding a notably heavy beer vessel, with a straight-elbowed arm, for a good length of time. Five winners will go onto Vegas, for another competition, all with the hopeful eye on maybe heading to Munich for Oktoberfest in 2017. 

Tickets, including designated drivers? Look here. And, an update: Your ticket will raise support for Cancer for College, which "helps cancer survivors realize their dreams of attending college through providing college scholarships."

Savoring a semi-crisp, light-sweater-almost-required fall day with something sparkly and sippable in hand? That doesn't happen too often 'round LA, and the heat shall return for a brief cameo in a week.

So fall fans best jump into an autumn to-do on an autumn-like day, like one might jump into a pile of leaves.

And while there likely won't be any leaf piles to be seen near the Rose Bowl, let us say that the trees of Brookside Park are so lovely come the fall. Brookside, you're so darn bucolic, and we wanted to give you the spotlight, too, along with your beloved neighbor.

May beer buffs and fall fans enjoy these seasonal sights, and some seasonal sips at a SoCal landmark, the Rose Bowl, a few months ahead of the landmark's world-famous occasion.

Photo Credit: Pasadena Octoberfest]]>
<![CDATA[Weekend: CicLAvia's Heart of LA]]> Thu, 13 Oct 2016 10:16:48 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/28809245960_242647527e_bciclavia.jpg

CicLAvia: Every day is a beautiful day to bike, if that's your bag, but the ultimate perfect day is an October afternoon, when the air is crisp and the temperature is on the cool side (seriously, verify that claim in the nearest "Perfect Days Defined" manual). Bicyclists and people strolling on foot will get exactly that on Sunday, Oct. 16 when this mega, close-the-streets-to-cars event returns to downtown. Community booths, local flavor, and be-together-y good times await, for free, as thousands of riders roll out to enjoy an ideal fall day.

Farmers Market Fall Festival: Look, you don't need to wear your denim overalls, or a straw hat, to get your hoedown on at this longtime Third & Fairfax country fair, but if you like petting goats, and listening to banjos, and cheering on pie-eating contests, and talking to living scarecrows, and all for free, well... maybe the overalls and hat are in order. It's the 82nd annual festival, a true LA tradition, and it ginghams-up the clocktower'd landmark on Oct. 15 and 16.

Oktoberfest Time: The ongoing weekend Oktoberfests, from Old World in Huntington Beach to Big Bear, Anaheim, and Lake Arrowhead, keep oompah-pah-ing along, but there are a couple of one-day-only biggies just ahead: The Pasadena Octoberfest (yep, Octoberfest) at the Rose Bowl and the Vegan Oktoberfest at LA Center Studios. Both roll out the steins and sup-worthy choices on Saturday, Oct. 15, but note: You'll need to buy your ticket to Vegan Oktoberfest ahead of time. Carry on, Chicken Dancers and accordion enthusiasts.

Underwater Art Show: If you swam as a kid, chances are you put on a few performances while playing in the shallow end ("watch me do a handstand!" is a frequent request). But rarely has anyone staged a full-on art show in a full-of-water swimming pool, an exhibit with sculptures, underwater video, and more. Machine Project will do so, at the Annenberg Community Beach House Pool, from Oct. 14 through 16. Reserve a spot, and remember your suit.

Zombie Walks: Should you show up at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art or Rainbow Lagoon in Long Beach in the coming days, chances are fairly good you might encounter a few undead types sauntering by. LACMA is doing a special Local event on Oct. 15 that'll teach participants how to zombie, while the Long Beach to-do is out-sized, with three days of groan-y haps (Oct. 14 through 16). Happy moaning and meandering, dear monsters of mid-October.

Photo Credit: CicLAvia]]>
<![CDATA[Happy 82nd, Farmers Market Fall Festival]]> Wed, 12 Oct 2016 18:09:15 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/fmfallpieeat123.jpg

Los Angeles has become widely known over the last century as the ultimate dream factory, a magical place where fully realized environments, from Santa's Village to a medieval castle, can be created within a soundstage over a matter of days.

But if you were to say to someone "no way can the authentic feel of a country fair, the kind found an hour or two outside the city, pop up in the city's busy heart," well, that someone wouldn't buy what you're selling, no way, no how.

And yet? That's just what happens each autumn, though, at Third & Fairfax, when the Original Farmers Market hosts another Fall Festival.

We said "another" there, and we should clarify there've been a whole bunch of "anothers" where this particular festival is concerned: It is marking its 82nd go-around in 2016, which is some mighty impressive longevity for any sort of celebration.

That this celebration is as free as a country breeze adds to its overall-wearing, piggy-cute cachet, and that it does deliver the aforementioned "fully realized environment," without the benefit of a soundstage or a Hollywood designer, is a tribute to the big heart and skilled craftsmanship the Farmers Market crew bring to the bash.

A bash that has all of the homey hallmarks of an in-the-farmland hoedown, from pie-eating to the playing of banjos and washboards to wool spinning to pig races to a trick roping cowboy-slash-humorist.

We mean, c'mon, wool spinning. In the middle of LA? Is this a beautiful dream? It's not: Be there on Saturday, Oct. 15 and Sunday, Oct. 16 to get your wheel action on.

Well, Farmers Market can't fully dispatch the city bustle that's found outside its awning-shady entrances, but it can momentarily transport a person, in yeehaw-esque spirit, to a patch of countryside, complete with all of the things that lend a patch of countryside so much flavor, particularly come the fall.

The leaves are juuust starting to seriously consider doing their turning thing around Southern California, but the spirit of autumn is out in a full, jamboree-joyful, wear-your-gingham display smack in the middle of the city.

Call it another enchanting element of LA's larger dream factory, the Original Farmers Market and its historic Fall Festival. And you don't even need a drive-on pass to visit the studio lot to gain entrance: A fully realized environment of the most pleasing variety is right there, at Third & Fairfax, as it has been for over eight decades.

Photo Credit: The Original Farmers Market Festival]]>
<![CDATA[World's Largest Bow: Now Atop Citadel Outlets]]> Wed, 12 Oct 2016 11:07:28 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/bowcitadel19321921.jpg

The holiday season has an amazing knack for popping up in cities weeks ahead of time while wearing a variety of different glittery guises.

An early snowfall might indicate to a town that Christmas is on the wind, while a pre-Thanksgiving Santa sighting, at a mall, tells another place to ready the tree and gift wrap.

Here in Los Angeles, though, one of our first indicators comes in the form of something sparkly, something well above our heads, something that's near our cars (of course), and something that is stupendously mega-sized.

It's the "World's Largest Bow," an annual sight at the Citadel Outlets, where it sits grandly atop the 5 Freeway-close building throughout the holiday season.

That grand run began in 2016 on Tuesday, Oct. 11, which means this: If you're driving the stretch of freeway south of downtown Los Angeles, you'll likely spy a surprising slice of yuletide decor out your windshield.

But the mega ribbon, which is an impressive 36 feet tall by 21 feet wide, won't be alone in its eye-catching whimsy for long: The "World's Tallest Live-Cut Tree," another staple of the Citadel Outlets, is slated to arrive at the shopping center on Tuesday, Oct. 18.

The fir, which hails from the Shasta-Trinity National Forest, is not quite as see-able from the interstate as the big bow, which tops the center's 5-facing Assyrian wall, but you should be able to detect the tree's tippy-top out your passenger window (and, of course, see it in its full lit-up glory if you walk inside the Citadel Outlets).

You say you can't get enough of the factoids surrounding the World's Largest Bow? Okay, a few more: "Over 4,000 cans of paint and primer and one half-ton glitter were used in its construction." Also, it boasts 18 loops in all, but those loops are rather larger than the loops you'd find on any gift you've ever wrapped, as they measure 10 to 12 feet tall.

The holidays are not here — hold your horses, everyone, and enjoy Halloween— but like that first snowfall elsewhere, or the first mall Santa appearance, the mega decoration atop the historic 5-adjacent building tells Southern Californians that the winter celebrations are well on their way.

Photo Credit: Citadel Outlets]]>
<![CDATA[Japanese Garden Celebrates 50th]]> Wed, 12 Oct 2016 10:20:06 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Japanese+Garden13232323125.jpg

A Golden Jubilee arrives with a number of hallmarks, depending upon just who or what is marking the 50th anniversary.

It might include a special dinner, or concert, or vacation, or in the case of a famous natural spread, a weekend full of music and art and eats and the joy of being outdoors in a peaceful, tree-rich setting.

That famous natural spread of note happens to be inside another famous natural spread, Descanso Gardens, an oak-filled oasis that fills a sizable 150 acres of prime La Cañada Flintridge land. And the area celebrating its big 50th? The bridge-beautiful, koi-lovely, cherry tree-terrific Japanese Garden.

The annual Japanese Garden Festival, then, will also be an anniversary party, one that will include the touchstones of the weekend-long festivity as well as a special exhibition of "art and artifacts" chosen for the auspicious occasion.

The dates? Pay regular admission and be a part of the party on Saturday, Oct. 15 and Sunday, Oct. 16.

The Kishin Daiko taiko drummers will make a percussively thrilling return in 2016, but there is a new sound element that shall be included in the entertainment: Japanese Imperial Court music. Dancer Kinnara Gagaku is slated to perform to this stirring set.

A gallery tour, a garden walk, and ikebana flower displays complete the schedule, one that includes both excitement (drums, of course) as well as the chance to interact with the garden as so many visitors do, in a reflective, contemplative fashion.

It's a treasure, the Japanese Garden at Descanso Gardens, as is its not-too-far-off neighbor, the Japanese Garden at the Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botantical Gardens, which marked a major anniversary a few years back: It's 100th, back in 2012.

To enjoy such venerable spots of greenery, design, history, and importance is a treat, and one that truly makes Southern California one of the vibrant centers for traditional Japanese gardens on this continent.

Photo Credit: Descanso Gardens]]>
<![CDATA[Dessert Week LA: Sample Top Sweets]]> Tue, 11 Oct 2016 19:10:23 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Our-Story-1-2dessert.jpg

If our sweet tooth is tempted by February and Valentine's Day, and if the year-ending holidays tickle our sugar-based fantasies with all sorts of frosting-laden fancies, it is October where the whole confection-craving thing really kicks in.

Exhibit A? The huge shelf — make that shelves — inside every single market, the ones groaning with all manner of miniature candy bars and lollipops and wafers and such.

Our tastebuds are revving up for the final day of the month, but we needn't wait for the delightful dining thrill that a sweet treat can deliver: Dessert Week LA is on, through Saturday, Oct. 15, at spots around the city.

If you've never heard of this wondrous happening, well, that could be because you've never heard of it. This is its first outing, and one that comes with all sorts of "deals & discounts" at "your favorite dessert spots all over town."

But say you haven't a spare moment to swing by your go-to desserterie on a weekday — golly, you haven't even had the time to purchase Halloween candy yet — but you still want to be a part of this bright-of-spirit bon bon of a bash.

You can, if you carve out an hour or two on Saturday, Oct. 15 and make for Pershing Square, the place where over two dozen top dessert-making restaurants will gather to give icing aficionados and macaroon mavens several tastes all at once, for a single price.

That price is fifteen bucks ahead of time, or $20 there, which gets you in the proverbial door, and nets you ten tastes. You can also purchase full servings of additional desserts as you go, as well as beverages, if you feel like you need more frosting-luscious goodness.

On board with this treat-nice week? Ridges Churro Bar, The Pie Hole, Diddy Riese, Porto's Bakery, and several other sweet-perfecting places around the region.

So you just go and tell all of those mini candy bars and edible necklaces to hold on for another week or two; Halloween is on the way, and all of those visits to the candy bucket by the front door.

For now, though, it is Dessert Week LA, when the focus is on the baked, decorated, chewy, pudding-in-the-middle jewels that are expertly turned out by some of our city's top treat-making toques.

And the finest focus of all? Food Forward, which works "to feed people in need," is receiving part of the proceeds from Dessert Week LA. Join in, support local eateries, and help out this mission.

Photo Credit: Dessert Week LA]]>
<![CDATA[Zombies to Roam LACMA]]> Tue, 11 Oct 2016 20:11:36 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/zombielacmaGettyImages-187541076+%281%29-horz.jpg

Any connoisseur of a classic zombie film can tell you that while the make-up often impresses, and the costumes, and the groan-tastic acting, and the all-important social themes, and the subtle satire, it is often the setting that keeps the audience in a thrall.

Whether that setting is an echo-filled shopping mall or a gloomy cemetery, where exactly the zombies shuffle can capture a lot of cinematic flavor. And while they seem to shuffle in many places these days, it is rare to see the undead call upon something as singular as a world-famous museum.

That will change on Saturday, Oct. 15 when the Los Angeles County Museum of Art hosts a thrilling, chilling, and dream-fulfilling LACMA Local event themed to zombies.

First thing's first: The "Local" part in the name signifies that the to-do is part of a series focused on creating quality, quirky experiences outside the art-viewing traditions. It's a join-up deal, and you can add it to your current LACMA membership for $25 "or join a la carte for $40." So square what you need to do here away, joining-wise, before finding your most zombie-ish duds, the ones you'll make extra zombie-ish at the "Intro to Zombie" Workshop.

That workshop will happen after a visit to "Guillermo del Toro: At Home with Monsters," which starts the morning off. Then you'll gather with other aspiring undeaders to go through "the monster transformation process" with Zombie Joe's Underground Theater lending the instruction (this is indeed the outfit out of North Hollywood).

After you've discovered "how to act, dress, and walk" like you just woke up from a long, not-quite-eternal nap, you and your freshly monster'd-up acquaintances "will haunt LACMA in a short zombie walk through campus." 

Do note that you'll want to arrive with your "own clothes for distressing" and there's a $15 workshop fee, too.

Also of note? This is a morning-time gathering. True, very true, zombies are often viewed on the silver screen through the mists of deepest night, but consider that checking one's wristwatch isn't something an undead person typically does.

In short? It matters not that you'll be groaning by the light of the sun. Consider that this means your facial expressions will need to be even more ghastly and on point, and your slow-but-persistent gait that much more convincing, with no night mists to add cover.

And consider how nifty it is to spy this nefarious cinema staple, the zombie strut, in such a swanky, culture-rich setting, one that isn't at all stuffy but is rather wickedly fun.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Bunny Museum Move: Help Pack It Up]]> Wed, 12 Oct 2016 12:54:02 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/bunnymuseumpackup.jpg

The word "institution" is often used in place of "museum," which instantly lends a repository of interesting or priceless objects an even deeper level of gravitas and permanence.

But sometimes institutions mail out the "change of address" postcards, too, for various reasons. And while fans might wonder when the opening date might be, and revisit photos of past visits, they almost never, ever swing by to help the museum pack its boxes.

Of course, The Bunny Museum of Pasadena is not your typical institution, and, yes, if you adore this offbeat institution, you can indeed join other volunteers as they fill up the bins ahead of the museum's jump to a new location.

Often classified as one of California's quirkiest destinations, the home-based museum at 1933 Jefferson Drive has been welcoming visitors since 1998. That's when Candace Frazee and her husband Steve Lubanski decided to share a peek at their ever-growing rabbit collection, an astounding assemblage that began when Mr. Lubanski first presented Ms. Frazee with a plushie bunny on Valentine's Day in 1993.

The massive collection hopped into history from there: There are now over 33,000 rabbit-related items in the home, a collection that has the historic cottage bursting at its proverbial seams.

So a fresh locale is due for The Bunny Museum, at 2605 N. Lake Avenue in Altadena, and the proprietors have sounded a call for all paws that can to pitch in — er, hands, rather.

Some 700 boxes have been packed so far, but there are many more to go. If you can give four hours of your time, and perhaps arrive with bubble wrap, tape, and other packing materials to donate, you'll nab a free ticket to either the Empty Museum Party on Saturday, Oct. 22 (at the Lake Avenue location) or the Grand Opening that's slated for the spring of 2017.

Pack hare-cute artifacts for eight hours and you'll see two tickets hippity-hopping into your pocket.

Think of volunteering as an especially neighborly way to help out a quirky museum that's been in "The Guinness Book of World Records" and on dozens of TV shows around the world, as well as travel magazines galore.

And consider this: Four hours of packing bunny doodads may put your next house move in perspective. We'll wager that you do not own 33,000 rabbit artifacts, or items that even fall within one theme (cheers if you do, of course — that's impressive).

Surely seeing all of those long-eared figurines and toys and such go into box after box may provide a fresh point of view of all that's gone into this small and sweet-hearted museum over the last 18 years.

Photo Credit: Bunny Museum]]>
<![CDATA[Women Who Whiskey: Join Now]]> Thu, 13 Oct 2016 07:29:12 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/WomenWhoWhiskeyLosAngelesGreenbarJuneSchreiner.jpg

Whether whiskey has gotten a fair shake on the silver screen, as compared to wine and beer, might be best left to movie-obsessed cineastes to quibble over.

That the spirit is often portrayed as something only quaffed via shots, and not via more complex cocktails, cannot be quibbled over. Nor can a film fan argue that it is oftentimes a film's male characters drinking whiskey, while women on screen typically reach for the wine glass.

But whiskey's off-screen profile has been on the rise-and-rise in recent decades, moving from unnamed chaser in a beer back to the deep-toned star of star libations featured above the popular martinis on a menu. Libations, it should be added, which are regularly ordered by women in the real world, despite what popular culture has long told us.

Look to Women Who Whiskey, a multi-chapter outfit that's appeared in the pages of the LA Weekly and other publications since its local kick-off in March 2016.

The group has a longer history, though, with roots in New York City in 2011. "We were tired of hearing, 'Whoa, that's a strong drink for a little lady! Sure you can handle it?" writes founder Julia Ritz Toffoli on the Women Who Whiskey web site. That oft-repeated query led to a movement that now boasts thousands of members in cities across the country.

Member events range from dinners complemented by the amber-hued liquid to no-host meet-ups. Picture the sort of get-togethers that encourage wide-ranging conversation topics, from the best Old Fashioned/Sazerac/Julep the participants ever had to matters that range far and wide beyond what's on sombody's spirits shelf back at home.

Joining a chapter is a snap, and the "Gentlemen Join Here" button, which appears alongside the "Ladies Join Here" option, spreads the inclusive, celebratory feeling even wider.

And finding a local event? Check out the LA chapter's Facebook page for all the up-to-date doings.

Will popular culture soon change to reflect reality? That characters can quaff whatever they please on-screen, be they female or male, without their choices being dictated by the mores of the past? 

Soon long-gone patterns may languish in the fictional world, while here on this side of the screen Women Who Whiskey members gather down at the local watering hole for a crisply made cocktail and some positive, community-cool connection.

Photo Credit: June Schreiner]]>
<![CDATA[Vegan Oktoberfest: Plant-Based Fall Fun]]> Tue, 11 Oct 2016 10:42:50 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/214*120/veganoktoberfest14.jpg

While a rollicking Oktoberfest is often remembered for how much let-loose dancing was done, and how many steins were held high during various contests, and how close a partier got to sit next to the musician wielding the accordion, the centerpiece is, let's be frank(furter), the food.

And that food, as often, is all about the meat, through and through, from schnitzel, that classic veal dish, to the brats served in buns, the edible typically seen alongside a pint of beer.

Of course, there are devoted Oktoberfestians who pass on the bratwursts and the brisket and the veal and the meatballs, but who do not want to pass at the chance to take part in a falltime ritual. But where to find such a meat-free festivity, one that includes opportunities to spread one's wings in the annual Chicken Dance without encountering chicken or beef?

It's Vegan Oktoberfest Los Angeles, and it twirls into Los Angeles Center Studios on Saturday, Oct. 15. And while several elements will be essential to the rhythm of the day, this seems to be the most important: Tickets will not be sold there, so you'll need to secure your admission before shopping for that dirndl you want to wear.

On the fill-up-the-tum front? Prepare to nosh at Millie's Vegan Gelato, The Green Truck, Mandoline Grill, and more. The beer brigade includes Eel River Brewing Co., Pacific Plate Brewing Company, Wandering Aengus Cider, and several other libation creators who shall support the fall feeling via a host of refreshments.

Keep something refreshing close, for you may need to quench that thirst after linking arms with someone and swinging to The Munich Boomsteiners and the other acts slated to play the day.

October is nearly half over, and the chance to 'fest it up, in the "roll out the barrels"-esque style of the season is drifting away on the wind, like so many freshly fallen leaves.

To do so sans the schnitzel, but with a host of vegan bites, is a rare chance, so postpone the dirndl shopping for the briefest moment and buy your ticket now.

Photo Credit: Vegan Oktoberfest]]>
<![CDATA['Star Wars'-Inspired Pop-Up: Ticket Pre-Sale]]> Mon, 10 Oct 2016 21:39:59 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/scumandvillainycantina.jpg

It may be said, without a hint of drollness or a even knowing wink, that getting from one planet to another planet in the "Star Wars" universe can have its unusual challenges, from zig-zagging through asteroid fields to avoiding TIE fighters to menacing moons that aren't moons at all no sirree Wookiee.

Likewise, hearing about a hangout inspired by the massive movie-and-beyond phenomenon, and getting to hang out at said hangout, also has a challenge or two, and the main challenge is this: It takes a little while for tickets to become available. 

So "Star Wars" fans discovered when Scum & Villainy Cantina, a pop-up experience based on the Cantina Scene from "Episode IV: A New Hope," was announced in August 2016.

But waiting, it may be accurately stated, is easier than outrunning a TIE Fighter, and far more delicious, as you get to plan what you'll wear, and what droids you'll invite, and so on. (Nothing is delicious about leaving a TIE Fighter in the dust, save the sweet taste of victory.)

Start trying on your vests and doing up your side buns, for the people behind the Hollywood-based "intergalactic pop-up experience" have revealed that spring 2017 is the opening. And the buzzed-about ticket on-sale date, the topic that's boasted more glow than a light-saber in recent weeks?

The pre-sale launches on Wednesday, Oct. 12 via "the NightOut ticketing site" while the traditional ticket period is "anticipated" to begin in January 2017, just a couple of months ahead of the anticipated official debut.

The pre-sale price per ticket? It's $50, plus a NightOut service fee, which'll net you two hours inside the pop-up. (We're not sure what $50 is on Endor, or the exchange rate for Coruscant cash, but we'll let you work that out on your end.)

Other packages, priced a bit higher, include a t-shirt or t-shirt and hat.

Food, it should be noted, is a "separate cost," and there will be afternoon hours on Saturdays, if being out while the suns are shining is your bag.

Whoops, darn it, we meant "sun," of course, singular; sometimes it is difficult to remember we're on Earth and not Tatooine.

But this a nighttime thing, mostly, and walk-ins will be hello'd (first come, first served) after 11 p.m. each evening, if there is room.

For all the bleeps/bloops and other droid-y details behind the buzzed-about pop-up, best read all, the better to secure your spot at what is sure to be this arm of the galaxy's hottest hangout, one that's bigger than a Bantha and more bustling than an Ewok on a important errand.

Photo Credit: Scum & Villainy Cantina]]>
<![CDATA['Nimbus': Clouds Inside Walt Disney Concert Hall]]> Mon, 10 Oct 2016 17:06:58 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/GH6A7042nimbusCraigTMathewMathewImaging.jpg

Weather, as a rule, generally stays outdoors, except around Southern California, a place where meteorological phenomena is regularly invited inside, at least in the artistic sense.

Look to "Rain Room" at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, a wetly whimsical installation that recently gave Angelenos the chance to stroll semi-drily through an indoor downpour.

And look to "Nimbus," a just-unveiled installation at the Walt Disney Concert Hall, an artwork that won't rain on those below but will provide them a cloud-beautiful, gently ethereal experience of music and visual wonder.

Artist Yuval Sharon's seemingly lighter-than-air piece, which includes several puffy forms above the hall's stairways and escalators, rose to being in partnership with artist Patrick Shearn and composer Rand Stieger.

Yes, that's the same Patrick Shearn who created "Liquid Shard," the undulating metalic work that rippled over nearby Pershing Square in early August 2016.

Various hues fill the clouds during the days, while music is "spatially distributed over 32 speakers," sounds that "alternate with periods of silence interrupted by brief related sounds triggered by motion sensors."

Mr. Steiger's "commissioned music changes over the course of the day, alternating between computer generated musical atmospheres and compositions built from material recorded by soloists from the LA Philharmonic." 

That means that one could linger nearby and witness several scintillating turns of sound and sight within an hour or two.

And is "Nimbus" set to be the next great Los Angeles-based Instagram star, as far as iconic artworks go? As evidenced by the striking photographs on the LA Phil page, the sky-inside sight is already generating a lot of social media love.

Long to see live performers enhance the overhead show? Visit the hall during Grand Avenue Arts: All Access on Saturday, Oct. 29 for a performance by singers from The Industry.

Photo Credit: Craig T. Mathew/Mathew Imaging]]>
<![CDATA[Underwater Art Show in Santa Monica]]> Fri, 07 Oct 2016 21:32:13 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/machineprojectannenbergpool.jpg

The weather is turning a bit toastier 'round Southern California, as it is wont to do in the middle of October, even as many people are readying to move onto true fall and sweather weather.

And the question so many of us ask on an unexpectedly hot day is this: Do we find a pool somewhere to cool down or do we seek out a museum that possesses plum A/C, the better to enjoy artworks in a pleasantly chilly space?

If you make for the Annenberg Community Beach House from Friday, Oct. 14 through Sunday, Oct. 16, you won't need to make that challenging choice: You can take a dip in a swimming pool while simultaneously enjoying a bevy of interesting pieces by 18 LA-based artists.

We speak of "Snorkel Dreams: A Machine Project Guide to Art Underwater," an imaginative, H2O-based collaboration between the historic Santa Monica landmark and Machine Project, the Echo Park-headquartered artist collective behind several surreal happenings (including a recent inquiry into what a UFO smells like).

"Snorkel Dreams" will feature "ceramics, paintings, underwater video, ice sculpture, photography, latex sea-horse, and a sunken mannequin," lest you were curious as to the impressive variety of pieces that will be placed at the bottom of the well-known pool.

"The show is free," says Machine Project, but due to limited space in the pool a time and day should be (read: absolutely definitely must be) reserved in advance. Really, do not dally if it piques your pool-loving interest.

And unlike most museum and gallery shows, you'll probably want to arrive with your swimsuit for this one, at least if you want to get closer to the artworks. As in, view them from a close-up vantage point underwater.

You can admire the artworks from above, of course, while standing or sitting outside of the pool. This is also a fine and whimsical way to experience the show if you do not swim or prefer to stay upon terra firma or you can't find your trunks, the one you wore to the beach only last August, darn it.

Snorkels and goggles are also recommended, but if you forget yours, or need to borrow, there shall be a few at the pool's edge (also, yes, remember a towel).

Artists include Jessica Cowley, Paul Pescador, and a host of convention-ignoring big thinkers who've embraced the idea of this most unusual, and highly soggy, of galleries.

True, some museums do have skylights, the better to illuminate rare masterworks, but "Snorkel Dreams" will have a lot of sun, with no skylight to diffuse its beams, so arrive not only with your wonder and curiosity in tow but with a bottle of sunscreen, too.

Photo Credit: Machine Project]]>
<![CDATA[Covina Bowl: Landmark Nomination]]> Sun, 09 Oct 2016 09:09:05 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/1957courtesyCharlesPhoenixCollection.jpg

Take a long-ago peek at historic registries of the past, the kind of registries that cover architecture and our urban landscapes, and you'll see that there was a day when mid-century businesses had a rather scant showing.

Landmark protections seemed to be reserved for far older structures, not the kind of places that dotted city streets in the 1950s and '60s, only to fall out of fashionable favor, briefly, in the decades that followed.

That favor returned with full force in recent years, and attractions like the Covina Bowl have come under the consideration of preservation groups like the Los Angeles Conservancy.

The organization, which has worked for protections on behalf of hundreds of Southern California buildings, reveals that the 1955 bowling alley, with its much-photographed pyramid-style, dramatic rock-walled entrance, has now "officially been added to the National Register of Historic Places" per the conservancy.

This is "a determination of eligibility" for the classic Googie destination, and that determination arrives with an "important protection for the site."

The Modern Committee, a division of the LA Conservancy focused on issues surrounding mid-century buildings and the issues they face, nomitated the Covina Bowl in the spring of 2016, along with the support of the conservancy, "citing its significance as the original prototype for for the hundreds of entertainment/bowling centers that followed in Southern California and across the United States."

As for what's to come? If an addition or change to the building is proposed, it must "comply under the California Environmental Quality Act."

Did you have a birthday party there back in '63? Have you been meaning to visit but haven't had the chance?

It's a distinctive slice of SoCaliana, one that weathered the years even as other businesses of its alley-filled ilk met with various wrecking balls. For more on the Covina Bowl's story, check out the LA Conservancy's page devoted to the San Bernardino Road landmark.

And if you can't get enough of all things mid-century, the multi-event Modernism Week Preview is just ahead in Palm Springs, from Oct. 21 through 23.

Photo Credit: Courtesy of the Charles Phoenix Collection]]>
<![CDATA[Menchie's: Smile It Forward Month]]> Fri, 07 Oct 2016 10:58:38 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/FS_yogurtsetting.jpg

If you've ever departed a Menchie's clutching a tasty cup of frozen yogurt, you likely noticed the upbeat message emblazoned upon the cup: We make you smile.

The Encino-headquartered company has prompted many a grin from yogurt-craving dessert buffs since its founding just over a half decade ago, but October 2016 is a bit special in the beam-sharing department.

Why in particular? It's Smile It Forward Month, which Menchie's describes as being akin to the Pay It Forward movement.

How does it work? One thousand "Smile It Forward" cards will be handed out at Menchie's shops during October, with the hope that the new holder of the card will do something nice for someone in their community and then pass the card on so the good feeling will ripple forward via more "random acts of kindness."

What good can a little card do? The company is crossing its proverbial fingers that over 400,000 kind gestures will spring from 1,000 cards, cards that should look a bit tattered, in a few weeks, due to changing hands so often.

The yogurt-tasty dimension of it all? If you share a good-hearted happening related to your card on social media along with #spreadingsmiles, free frozen yogurt could be yours for an entire year.

That isn't the only free yogurt that's involved in Smile It Forward Month. Friday, Oct. 7 is World Smile Day, and if you swing by your local Menchie's from 4 to 7 p.m. and buy a frozen yogurt you'll nab a free one for your BFF.

That's sure to encourage a grin. For all of the Smile It Forward plans, and to find your closest Menchie's for your buy-one-get-one deal on the afternoon of Oct. 7, point your spoon in this direction.

Photo Credit: Menchie's Frozen Yogurt]]>
<![CDATA[Korean Friendship Bell: 40th Anniversary Celebration]]> Thu, 06 Oct 2016 15:25:38 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/160*120/knbc-korean-friendship-bell-willian-avila-4.jpg

While Southern California flowers with prominent and meaningful structures filled with stories and symbolism, the Korean Bell of Friendship, and the astounding pavilion housing it, possesses a presence that extends far beyond our region's borders.

A gift from the Republic of Korea in 1976, the San Pedro-based Friendship Bell has become a place of peace for many locals, a spot to enjoy both some ocean breezes and spend a few minutes in silent contemplation (though not fully silent if you're at the bell on the Fourth of July, Korean Independence Day, New Year's Eve, and Constitution Week, the only times on the calendar it is rung).

Melodic sounds will flow at Angels Gate Park, though, on Saturday, Oct. 8 when the Young Artists Orchestra, led by conductor Daniel Suk, visits the the Friendship Bell to sing in honor of its 40th anniversary.

The alfresco celebration will also include a Samulnori performance, the traditional percussive art form.

And while sunset is a popular time for calling upon the recently refurbished 17-ton bell, the concert takes place a few hours before, at 4 in the afternoon.

Lingering beyond the festivity's conclusion, though, to watch our nearest star take its slow evening dip in the Pacific, might further enhance a day infused with memory and import.

The vignette-adorned bell, and the stunning, design-laden pavilion that surrounds it, is very much about international accord, which was one of the intended meanings behind the gift to the United States. The other? Well, it has very much to do with 1976, the bicentennial year the bell arrived on our shores.

If you were at the dedication 40 years ago, or if you regularly call upon the Friendship Bell to enjoy its beauty and purpose, or if you simply crave a moment of needed reflection, consider taking your spot in Angel's Gate Park on the afternoon of Oct. 8 to enjoy voices raised in song, powerful drumming, and a bell that's based here but regularly crosses oceans, proverbially, with its rare and wonderful peals.

Photo Credit: Willian Avila]]>
<![CDATA[Weekend: Desert Trip, the Mega Concert]]> Thu, 06 Oct 2016 18:28:12 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/pmmjbdGettyImages.jpg

Desert Trip: Heated rumors boomeranged around for months regarding this Indio-based icon-packed spectacular, and it turns out they were as solid as a #1 hit single: Paul McCartney, the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Roger Waters, Neil Young, and The Who are all calling upon the Coachella Valley for two weekends of major hits, all played live and from the big stage. Palm Springs and its environs'll bustle, hotel-wise, while the Empire Polo Club will ring with rockdom's most stratospheric songs. The dates? The guitar picks are out from Oct. 7-9 and Oct. 14-16.

Feria de los Moles: All sorts of sublime cookery boasts all sorts of fandom, but mole mavens are truly exceptional, employing, as they do, so many rich words (including "rich") to describe one of their favorite foodstuffs. Mole, after all, combines sweet and heat, and oodles of other subtle details, making it one of the king cuisines. Celebrate it, in its varied, vivaciously spiced forms, at Placita Olvera de Los Angeles on Sunday, Oct. 9.

Korean Friendship Bell 40th Anniversary Concert: If you were by the ocean in San Pedro on Oct. 3, 1976, chances are good you were there to witness the dedication of this powerful-of-message bell, a symbol of international understanding as well as the city it has called home for four decades. Be at the bell on Saturday evening, Oct. 8 for live music from the Young Artists Orchestra of Los Angeles, and more memorable doings.

Highland Park Independent Film Festival: Make for the historic Highland Theatre and lend love to a neighborhood-strong cinema gathering that keeps both a lively localness at its heart as well as a devotion to filmmakers' distinctive visions. An American Latino Shorts Program, a Bravery and Spirits Shorts Program, a work spotlighting Charles Lummis, and other movie goodness awaits from Oct. 6 through 8.

Western Exterminator Pop-Up Pestaurant: If you heard that the longtime exterminator company behind Little Man was co-hosting a one-day-only food event, would you guess that grasshoppers and beetles were among the ingredients? You chose correctly. If this intrigues, make for Mondo Taco in Santa Monica on Saturday, Oct. 8, around lunch, and order up some crunchy, bug-vorful dishes ("bug-vorful" is, of course, a snappier way to say tasty insect cuisine).

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Free: Watch 'Union Station' at Union Station]]> Thu, 06 Oct 2016 12:26:43 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/usUnion-Station-Exterior-6.jpg

While Southern Californians are a varied lot, which makes beautiful and accurate sense, given the fact that there are millions upon millions of us, there are a few shared traits that tickle those who do not hail from this hallowed region.

1) We always always say "the" before the freeway number (a not-to-be-quibbled-with tradition that's been dissected in the loftiest journals). 2) We desire an array of delicious hot sauces within arm's reach at most restaurants we frequent (even if you're not particularly a hot sauce fan, it just feels right to have all of that capsaicin close by and at the ready).

And 3)? We like watching movies in places that used the place where we are as a location. It's a fairly easy thing to do, here in Movieville, and it is about to happen again at a destination that's doesn't often screen films but does star in them.

It's Union Station, that dramatic-of-tower, lofty-of-ticketing-hall Art Deco-Spanish Mission wonder that's been greeting travelers at Alameda Street for nearly 80 years. 

You know how to reach the iconic hub, whether by rail or road, so get there on Friday, Oct. 7 for the kick-off night of a free-to-see three-movie film series, a series that features noir flicks all were shot at Union Station long ago, back in the day, in the wayback of yore.

A bonus: The pay-not-a-thing event happens in the Historic Ticketing Hall, which rumor has it is one of our city's most splendid spaces. (Okay, it's no rumor, but 100% factual, as anyone who has visited this airy room knows.) (And it hardly does to call the elegant and enormous hall a "room" as it feels like 30 standard rooms in one colossal concourse.)

"Union Station" is definitely on the bill — of course — and it is the series opener, too, on Oct. 7. "Criss Cross" with Burt Lancaster is the Nov. 4 treat, while "Too Late for Tears" rounds it all out on Dec. 2. Keep your peepers peeled for Union Station sightings in each movie, which should be plentiful, and perhaps particularly in the final film (where the station "figures prominently in the story").

After seeing how the vaulted ceiling, tile-laden landmark looked some 75 years ago or so, will you determine if it has changed much or not? (Spoiler: It really has not.)

Metro Art and the Film Noir Foundation are the co-presenters of this atmospheric event. 

Photo Credit: Union Station]]>
<![CDATA[Casa Vega: 60th Anniversary Lunch Special]]> Thu, 06 Oct 2016 10:21:07 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/CaliRetroSigncasavega.jpg

If you dined out quite a bit back in 1956, what sort of prices did you pay for your meal?

That depends, of course, on whether you ordered a porterhouse steak with all the fixings or cup of celery soup, true. But it is also true to say that the dollar bills you left with the check, and the coins you dropped in the tray, were far fewer in number than what dine-outers pay nowadays.

Casa Vega, that neon-sign'd, low-lit, salsa-spicy landmark at the corner of Ventura Boulevard and Fulton Avenue, invites you to enjoy the pleasure of paying a whole lot less for a classic lunch, whether or not you were around back in '56.

The landmark Mexican eatery turned 60 in 2016, with a Thursdays-only "Taco & Tequila" promotion that was on the money-saving end of things, too (guests at the Valley restaurant nabbed a grilled chicken taco for six dimes during the springtime run).

But the keep-your-cash savings are back, for one day only, on Thursday, Oct. 6. Swing by for lunch, order the sizable House Combo #1, and pay two dollars and fifteen cents.

Let's just put that out there, once more, with a strong spotlight upon it: $2.15, which was the price in 1956 for this quintessential combination. If you're thinking you'll chow down on Spanish rice and refried beans, as well as two items (a beef taco or chicken taco or chile relleno or beef enchilada are your choices), you're on the right path.

The 2016 House Combo price, which will go back in effect after the 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. lunchtime on Oct. 6? Why that's $18.95.

It's like your own taco-delicious time machine, for a couple of hours, with a side of hearty beans and Casa Vega's famous dimmed-illumination interior, with design touches ranging from wrought iron to romantic paintings to those '50s-iconic deep booths.

Of course, keep in mind that you'll want to leave a tip that reflects the House Combo's 2016 price, so stow some extra cash for that. And, of course, for a margarita, if you like margaritas, for Casa Vega has become as synonymous with the libation as salt-lined rims are to cut limes.

Photo Credit: Casa Vega]]>
<![CDATA[Rudy's Barbershop Fundraiser]]> Wed, 05 Oct 2016 18:31:15 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/RUDYSpacificcity.jpg

Plunk down in a barber's chair, and lean forward as your stylist snaps on the plastic cape, and let a few thoughts roam through your noggin.

You're likely weighing how much of a trim you'd like (an inch or the whole shebang). You're pondering shorter fringer or longer sideburns. And you're eager, in general, for an overall, on-the-top freshening up.

Sit in a chair at the new Rudy's Barbershop in Pacific City on the evening of Thursday, Oct. 6 and thoughts of the nearby ocean, and the good we can do for it, may dance in your head in addition to the traditional hair-centric ponderings. For that's the opening night of the locks-n-more location, and opening nights are special things, indeed.

So this is the deal: All haircuts at the Rudy's in Pacific City will be free as an ocean breeze from 6 to 9 p.m. on Oct. 6, with bites and beverages enhancing the celebratory mood. 

So this is the other deal: You'll want to RSVP, as pay-nothing haircuts are rather popular. Do so by dropping a line to alennington@konnectagency.com.

Give a tip after your cut, as you surely will, and know that that money will make its way to the Surfrider Foundation, a 90 chapters-strong organization that is dedicated to "the protection and enjoyment of the world's oceans, waves and beaches through a powerful activist network." (The Huntington Beach-Seal Beach chapter is the beneficiary of the night.) 

Other sales from the evening will also go directly to the group.

It's another shearly unique and auspicious opening for a barbershop outfit that has made its own waves over the last 23 years, and not just waves found within an artfully coiffed head of hair (though applause for that, surely).

Rudy's has become known for being individual-forward, for encouraging its clients to embrace their own inner/outer vibe, and for fostering appreciation for the work of local artists and musicians, wherever a shop should open. 

And there are now nearly as many shops as the years Rudy's has been in business, from Seattle to LA. After Pacific City's opening, more will come in 2016, including Nashville and Tacoma in Washington (the state where it all started).

Ready for a little off the back while you give back? RSVP now.

Photo Credit: Rudy's]]>
<![CDATA['Harry Potter' IMAX Week: All Eight Films]]> Wed, 05 Oct 2016 18:14:05 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/220*120/071409harrypotter002.jpg

When deciding upon whether to cast or spell or not, a wizard needs to carefully turn over a few matters in her noggin.

What sort of spell should be chosen, for one, and whether to grip the wand with ease or intensity, and if there are any follow-up spells to undue the first one, if it comes to that.

Wizards and Muggles alike will have some choices to make come the middle of October, but they're all pretty delightful (though casting a spell can be just as delightful, too, especially if it involves toads and/or newts).

Fans of the epic, eight-part "Harry Potter" film series will face this choice: How to take in the whole series over its one-week-only engagement at IMAX theatres, an engagement that opens on the atmospherically dated day of Oct. 13.

Yes, this is a special, get-excited event, one that anticipates the upcoming movie "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them" (those attending a "global fan event" on Oct. 13 will be treated to a "never-before-seen reel" of the whimsical adventure). This is happening at "select IMAX theatres," so if your heart is set on seeing this cinematic sorcery, peer into this scrying glass now.

As for the all-eight-Potter-films-by-golly element? There it is: IMAX screens'll show the flicks in 2D for one week, but how you watch them depends on the sort of ticket you purchase.

There's a quartet of admission packages, and they cover those fans who want to just dip into a single movie (that's the easy-to-recall Single Ticket option) to those fans who want Festival Access throughout (that means unlimited viewing, so you basically can get your fantastical fill, and then some, of all the movies).

Taking in three films a day, or four, also are options, if you go that package route.

And don't let your wand droop if you don't make the opening fan event on Oct. 13; there will be clips from the happening, as well as other "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them" on-the-screen goodies, throughout the week-long Potter franchise run.

IMAX advises checking in with your local big-screen spot to purchase your package, but single-ticket buys can be made here, now, no spell-casting or friendly owls or toads required.

Photo Credit: Warner Bros.]]>
<![CDATA[Pinkest of Drinks: Hello Kitty Wine]]> Thu, 06 Oct 2016 20:22:20 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/217*120/hkGettyImages-458202006-horz.jpg

What's ultra-sparkly, rosy of hue, light in spirit, and a fun, longtime interest that's often best shared among friends?

If you answered "wine," you'd be correct, and if you answered the world of "Hello Kitty," you'd be correct again.

True, wine goes back a few more years, but the Sanrio bow-topped phenomenon, who looks like a cat but is not, in fact, a cat, has been a beloved pop culture fixture for well over four decades.

Still, they do have a few things in common, which means wine with the Hello Kitty imprimatur makes sparkly, rosy sense. The LA Times reveals that Torti, a winery in northern Italy, has created a line of libations in partnership with Sanrio, the Tokyo-headquartered company behind the creation of Hello Kitty and a host of other beloved icons.

The Sweet Pink Hello Kitty Wine is available in Asia and Europe, per the Torti site, while Sparkling Rosé is debuting in Canada and the United States.

Of course, some fans may still have a bottle of the California-made Hello Kitty red wine 2010 on the pantry shelf, the vino created with Syrah grapes hailing from Lodi and Paso Robles.

As for drinking the Torti wine? The Times says that Antonello, in Santa Ana, is the place to find it here in SoCal.

If wine, at first blush, seems a quirky addition to the superstar's portfolio, consider that her fandom includes a passionate 21-and-over contingent; look to the many Hello Kitty buffs who traveled to Los Angeles for the superlative "Hello! Exploring the Supercute World of Hello Kitty" exhibit, the one that ran at the Japanese American National Museum from late 2014 into the spring of 2015.

The wines are a further flowering of the immense and kaleidoscopic product universe occupied by the bow-wearing, positive-of-heart little girl (not cat) and her friends.

But the beverages aren't the only sippable dimension to the Hello Kitty. The sweet-filled Hello Kitty Cafe food truck make frequent showings around Southern California, so best follow the beloved figure's bows-on, on-the-road adventures here.

Photo Credit: Getty Images/Hello Kitty]]>
<![CDATA[Queen Mary's CHILL: Tickets on Sale]]> Wed, 05 Oct 2016 09:07:52 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/CHILL+2015+Press132.jpg

What words do people utter the most around Southern California come early October? Perhaps "boo" or "Happy Halloween" or "eek" or any of the declarations associated with the spookiest of months?

Or do they say "hoo boy it is too warm for autumn" while mopping up the beads of sweat on the nape of their neck? True story: They do.

There's another scorchy stretch ahead for our area, with temperatures flirting with the high 90s, but consider this: You can already begin to dream frosty dreams by turning your overheated attention to the Queen Mary and its annual holiday time treat, CHILL.

Is this the multi-week extravaganza with all of the ice sculptures and vignettes under the big dome next door to the Long Beach-based ocean-liner? It is. Does it have the massive ice rink out front, with the iconic ship in the background? That's the one.

Will there be a fresh look for some of the icy artworks in 2016? Ponder this, literature mavens: "Alice in Winterland" is the theme to come, a theme that will include an "adventure with RIFD technology" and "larger than life lanterns" that are sure to up the general air of whimsy.

Does the world's largest rocking horse make a cameo at CHILL each year, the better to bring old-fashioned charm to the mitten-up event? 

Neigh! (Which sounds like "no" but is actually "yes" in the language of rocking horses.)

This is all to say, before our sweat-inducing days return, that CHILL tickets are now available, and you can score a deal that's as sweet as gingerbread on the Nov. 23 through Jan. 8 experience if you purchase your ticket through Friday, Oct. 7. (Spoiler: The discount is 50% before that date.)

Santa visits, warm cocoa-yummy beverages, and other straight-from-a-Christmas-card goings-on fill out the ship-close happenings throughout the lengthy run. 

Our summery, sun-hot afternoons aren't quite done for the year 'round the region, but knowing that a mega rocking horse, and Alice-y art made from ice, is on the way, might make those toasty temperatures a little more bearable.

Or teddy-bearable, if you want to get into the whole cuddly cuteness of the holiday season's charming go-outs. No? A bit too far? Okay then.

Photo Credit: CHILL]]>
<![CDATA[CATbaret: Kitty Fundraiser]]> Tue, 04 Oct 2016 14:24:49 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/kittybungalowfundraiser29382232.jpg

If you have a particularly talkative cat in your house, the kind of family member who meows when he desires a treat or chatters when he wants to go outside or greowls when he immediately wants to come back inside, then you know that felines are incredibly vocal creatures. (And, yes, a "greowl" is the point where a growl meets a meow.)

But a lot of cats, those without homes, and those needing some true TLC in all the ways, can't hop onto your coffeetable or lap and tell you all their woes. They require a larger megaphone, one that that comes with a few stars and some splash, and they find it each year at CATbaret.

The feline fundraiser will gracefully land, paws-side down, at the Avalon Theatre in Hollywood on Saturday, Oct. 15. 

Kitty Bungalow Charm School for Wayward Cats is the organizer, and the celebrities set to show are more plentiful than clowder of cats gathering near a human proffering treats. Funny people like Elaine Hendrix, and Fred Willard, and Nicole Sullivan will be in the house, with more cat-loving luminaries set to show.

A goal of the evening? Help cats. Consider that "100% of the proceeds will benefit the homeless cats of Los Angeles," and the organizers hope to continue working toward making our city fully "no kill" on the sweet kitty front.

Comedy skits, Broadway tunes, rocking tunes, dancers from "So You Think You Can Dance," and other hallmarks of a classic, multi-treat cabaret evening are in store.

Should you bring your own poppet? She best stay at home, cozy in her bed with her favorite feather-mouse-jingle-thingamabob (every cat house has such a treasured, semi-shapeless toy, one that defies adequate description).

But you can tell her, upon arriving home after the CATbaret, what you saw and how you helped other purrers of her ilk. 

Surely she'll talk back, with a meow or a greowl? Could it be a word of thanks? Felinests — or cat lovers, if you prefer — can often read the intent in what their cat's meows mean. 

If you detect a hint of gratitude, don't be surprised. Helping out animals is greowl-able, indeed.

Tickets, more stars, and general CATbaret purr-a-bility? Swish your tail in this direction.

Photo Credit: Kitty Bungalow Charm School for Wayward Cats]]>
<![CDATA['Gilmore Girls': Pop-Up Coffeehouses in LA]]> Tue, 04 Oct 2016 10:20:35 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/214*120/ggcw192283.jpg

Pop-ups arrive in all sorts of quirky guises, from the popular restaurant- or food-themed event to the shopping-focused happening to the occasional pop-up, one-night-only museum.

There've been pop-up parks around Southern California, and there's a pop-up insect cuisine to-do still to come.

But for fans of the "Gilmore Girls," the still-obsessed-over, oh-so-beloved series that aired from 2000-2007 (first on The WB, then The CW), a pop-up that transports visitors to Luke's Diner would be an on-the-screen dream come to life.

That dream is happening at points around the country on Wednesday, Oct. 5 when select local coffeehouses are paying homage to the series, and Luke's, with free coffee.

Of course, you have to be one of the first people in the door to score your cup of java, and the event starts at 7 a.m. (so rise, shine, et cetera). Other thematic goodies relating to the show, which depicted Lorelai Gilmore, her daughter Rory, and their hilarious but homey adventures around the fictional burg of Stars Hollow (and beyond), are in store at the pop-ups. 

Will fans be discussing the Nov. 25, 2016 Netflix reunion, "Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life"? You bet. After all, this coffee-scented promotion is very much tied to the show's anticipated return.

Can you find a pop-up in Long Beach, Studio City, and Beverly Hills on Oct. 5, as well as others around California? That's the plan, fans, so check and see what spot is closest to you.

True, the coffeeshops playing a part in the event will still look like themselves, but you can see Luke's Diner, or at least the exterior, by hopping on a Warner Bros. Studio Tour in Burbank.

The caveat: If there's filming on the back lot, your tram will have to avoid the area, but if you pick the right day, you'll toodle by Luke's, Stars Hollow, and perhaps some of the houses seen on the series.

Could you have a coffee at the pop-up and then hop on a tour in Burbank later in the day, making it a full-on Gilmore-themed extravaganza?

If you're in Southern California, that's a possibility, as here's the secret: Stars Hollow, or at least its locations, can be found right here in LA.

Photo Credit: CW]]>