<![CDATA[NBC Southern California - Dining, shopping and nightlife]]> Copyright 2014 http://www.nbclosangeles.com/entertainment/the-scene http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/NBC4_40x125.png NBC Southern California http://www.nbclosangeles.com en-us Sun, 21 Sep 2014 03:15:27 -0700 Sun, 21 Sep 2014 03:15:27 -0700 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Two Internet Animal Stars, One Heartwarming Weekend]]> Sat, 20 Sep 2014 15:14:01 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/186*120/lilbubwindowlentilsuit.jpg

You know how awards season, that December-February window of time, tends to increase the star-sightings 'round these parts? Suddenly you're seeing nominees and mondo-biggo-name-os at the grocery store, at the gym, at the everywhere?

Call the last weekend in summer exactly like that, only for internet animal stars.

Both Lil Bub, a cat who hails from Indiana, and Lentil Bean, a French bulldog who calls Pennsylvania home, jetted into Los Angeles this week to meet fans and raise funds and awareness for causes dear to them (and, of course, to their humans).

Lentil Bean's red-carpet turn happened on Friday, Sept. 19 when he walked into the Smile Gala at The Beverly Wilshire Hotel. Lentil, who was born in 2013 with a cleft palate, was named Ambassadog by Operation Smile, an organization dedicated to providing cleft lip and cleft palate surgeries at no-cost.

Photos of the wee wagger's turn before the cameras, complete in his small suit and necktie (which boasted the Operation Smile logo), can be found on his Facebook page. (Props to his person-mom Lindsay Condefer, too, for her work for the organization, too.)

And Lil Bub? She's in Southern California to appear at the LA Feline Film Festival on Sunday, Sept. 21, but the famous puss is spending the day before raising funds for No Kill Los Angeles via an appearance at Adopt & Shop Culver City.

Want to say hello to the wide-eyed, tongue-sticking-out kitty cat? That furry lass who pops up on your various feeds at least once a week, spreading cat-cute-a-bility -- a totally real thing -- and general cheer?

Be at Adopt & Shop at 4 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 20.

Tickets are fifty bucks and all the money goes to charity (with half helping out NKLA). Oh, and check it out: A ticket means "you get to pet her!"

Nice work, Lil Bub, and you, too, Lentil. Who says internet animal stardom is just about the awwing? Turns out there's some mighty muscle in the do-good-ing arena here, too.

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<![CDATA[Art, Crafts, Creative: Downtown Handmade Markets]]> Sat, 20 Sep 2014 09:15:23 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/201*120/artistsandfleasbeautifulthingsla.jpg

September is right about the time, if we are wise and on the ball and handling our lives with effortless efficiency, that we start to schedule the next few months. Because the holidays are always here before they are here, and we rarely have an extra iota of time to tinsel-it-up, merrily, or whatever one does to greet the season.

Enter the handcrafted, one-of-a-kind giftery, those local-loving, whimsy-supporting markets that love on craftspeople who call Southern California home and make the stuff that elicits genuinely warm responses when opened. (Or, of course, when one purchases for one's self, which is a-ok, too.)

And, so often these days, they land downtown, with its arts districts and its warehouse spaces and its historic buildings and skyscraper-y scene-setting.

Artists & Fleas, which kicked off the creative goodness in Brooklyn over a decade ago, alights in the Arts District at 647 Mateo on Saturday, Sept. 20 and Sunday, Sept. 21. It isn't all sweet earrings and purses with quirky decals; a Cutest Pup in the Pool contest shall adorably ensue, as will lawn games (yay, corn hole!) and a beer garden and a cameo by the so-much-loved Library Store.

Plus: Vendors shall sell goodies like "boho vintage" and fancy juices and interesting marquee signs. Nice. The market isn't every weekend, so catch now, lovers of interesting doodads, both big and small.

Not related, but not far, either in distance or spirit? The Odd Market, which launches on Sunday, Sept. 21. It's set to be a weekly thing at Casa Vertigo, "a marketplace for unique and handmade goods that come from the world of fashion, jewelry, and art." Some 88 crafters'll be in the house for this go-around, or, rather, the beautiful Odd Fellows Temple.

Bake Shop, Against the Grain Wood, and Two Hermanas will all say hello to the Odd Market.

Handmade wonders, where next shall you grow downtown? This is beyond a trend; rather, call it a way here to stay.



Photo Credit: Beautiful Things LA]]>
<![CDATA[Peek 'n Eek: Halloween Horror Nights Mazes]]> Sat, 20 Sep 2014 07:44:42 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/221*120/halloweenhorrornights12_1.jpg Roam among "The Walking Dead" at the mega theme park seasonal attraction.

Photo Credit: Halloween Horror Nights]]>
<![CDATA[Major Good: California Coastal Cleanup Day]]> Fri, 19 Sep 2014 11:32:04 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/191*120/coastalcleanupday13234.jpg

There's beach tidying, where you roll up your towels and return your empty chip bags to your backpack and stow your umbrella and glance around the sandy space you've occupied for any stray bottle caps or cups, and then there's California Coastal Cleanup Day. which is tidying up on the grandest and deepest level.

What do we mean by "grandest and deepest level"? Picture the pound or so of trash you haul out after a day by the waves and multiply that by about 750,000, give or take. That's how much garbage thousands of volunteers regularly pick up during the late summer effort.

And we're not messing around on the "thousands" part, either: "(O)ver 58,000 volunteers" joined the one-day push in 2013, making California Coastal Cleanup Day one of the largest lend-a-hand happenings around. (As part of International Coastal Cleanup, it is, in fact, "the largest volunteer event on the planet!")

Date: Saturday, Sept. 20. Place? Where there's shoreline, which means our beaches, yes, but other "lakes and waterways." The drought persists but we can still tend to our interior ponds and rivers by keeping them spiffy and free of tires and plastics and the detritus of our daily lives.

That detritus adds up, a bag here, some bottles there. People putting in a Saturday morning gathering a lot of that up are part of the solution.

Where will you land, SoCalers? There are several spots around Long Beach ready to help our H20 look and feel its best, so sign up for a shift at Alamitos Beach, Mother's Beach, or Bluff Park.

And Santa Barbara has a lengthy list of cleanup sites, from Carpinteria to Goleta and beyond.

Without question, we should only leave footprints at our beaches, which means packing out what we brought in after an afternoon spent at the ocean. But doing a deeper clean, to address the stuff others didn't pack out and all the random objects that end up in our waters, is just smart.

And don't deeper cleans feel good, both for the cleanee and what's being cleaned? You can almost hear the beach breath a sigh of relief.



Photo Credit: California Coastal Clean-Up Day]]>
<![CDATA[Stunning Spine-Tinglers: Spider Pavilion Debuts ]]> Fri, 19 Sep 2014 08:33:36 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/nhmspiderpavilionjumpingspider1.jpg

The power dynamic between an eensy Daddy longlegs up in the bedroom corner and a human being some 800 times the spider's size doesn't require much pondering, because the outcome is this: Spider wins, at least in the bravery showdown.

There are few things so small that stand as tall in our minds, but given the stories and Halloween decorations and films, we people can rightly get a mite fidgety around the 8-leggers who often share our home.

We needn't be, as the Natural History Museum will show us. The Exposition Park's annual Spider Pavilion spins its gossamer web on Sunday, Sept. 21, and the web's wee denizens will make their home there through Sunday, Nov. 2.

It isn't one web, of course; the walk-through enclosure next to the museum contains many webs and a beautiful bouquet of multi-eyed, spinnaret-rocking residents. Those residents include silk spiders of a large size, tarantulas, jumping spiders, and bug-eaters boasting impressive names like Nephilia maculata.

Spiders are amazing, period. Should we should act with caution when coming across an arachnid who has taken up residence in our cabinets? We should.

Should we scream and run into doors and call every neighbor on the street? Well, that's pretty theatrical.

Is there a way to appreciate the spider without nightmarish visions of the one from "The Lord of the Rings"? Oh, we had to go and bring Shelob up, didn't we? Remember when the mega spider wrapped Frodo and Sam up in web cocoons? 

Yeah. That's probably not going to happen to you, ever. Unless you go to Mordor. (Don't.)

Spiders, in short, do a world of good for we bigger beings, and the seasonal pavilion wants to share that knowledge with both serious spiderists and those tentatively taking their first fearless steps toward arachnid understanding.

Speaking of arachnid understanding, how dare we almost forget to mention that Nephilia maculata can grow to the size of a human palm and is able to "engineer webs up to six feet across"?

Sleep on that one tonight, spider obsessives. Nighty night.



Photo Credit: Natural History Museum]]>
<![CDATA[Drive-Thru Dunkin' Donuts: California's First Readies Downey Debut]]> Thu, 18 Sep 2014 11:48:43 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/199*120/dunkincoffee123.jpg

It's never been said before, and it is a theory fraught with dissenters and controversy, but we feel emboldened enough to say it here: Southern Californians love their automobiles.

Wait, did we get right? Oh, hold on: We mean it has been said fifteen billion million times as of today. Car culture flourished 'round these parts way back when, when cities like Downey became famed for drive-thru culture, thanks, in part, to the early fast food restaurants settting up hamburger-flavored shop in the city.

So prepare, Downey. That time-honored tradition is about to continue, but not with ketchup on top; rather, sprinkles and chocolate frosting are the name of this game.

Dunkin' Donuts, the much-adored Massachusetts baked goods empire, is rolling out free-standing Southern California locations, and its Downey outpost boasts a cruller-like twist: It's the first Dunkin' Donuts drive-thru in the Golden State.

The address? 9070 Firestone Boulevard in Downey. The opening date? Tuesday, Sept. 23. Opening time? You guessed it, morning birds: 5 a.m.

And you can guess there will be queues, too, to match the lengthy lines seen by the Santa Monica Dunkin' Donuts, which opened earlier this month.

As for the giveaways? The first person in line -- actually make that persons, plural, given that there'll be a walk-in line and a car line -- will get free coffee for a year. And the first 100 people in the walk-in line shall walk out with a tote bag full of Dunkin'-type delights.

And will Cuppy, the coffee-cute mascot for the chain, be around for photos? Please. You know Cuppy has the big day circled on his calendar. (Though Cuppy should have an assistant, maybe, given that he's so busy with openings. Maybe a helper named Creamy? Or Stir Stick? Dunkin' Donuts, what say you?)

This is the second SoCal opening but note: Modesto's Dunkin' Donuts has debuted, if you're up yonder. Whittier and Long Beach are still to come. (Again, Cuppy needs that assistant.)

Also: Do we say "drive-thru" or "drive-through" in Southern California? Can we all agree to go with "drive-thru," given that it is a little catchier, a little faster, a little more vroom-vroom? Like the car culture that's flowered here for, truly, a century or so now?

Happy donuting, Downey.



Photo Credit: Dunkin' Donuts]]>
<![CDATA[Weekend: Halloween Begins Now]]> Thu, 18 Sep 2014 09:48:25 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/hhn_2013_photo.jpg

Halloween Horror Nights Open: You know that moment in the scary movie when the crouching monster stands and you can see it is actually ten times the size you thought it was? That's an apt and eerie analogy for this Universal Studios Hollywood treat. It gets bigger -- bigger bigger -- each year, with fresh mazes, the classic Terror Tram, and streets packed with undead 17th-century French aristocracy. "The Walking Dead" is back, with some gnarly new nods to plot twists, "From Dusk Til Dawn" vampires-up the proceedings, and "Clowns 3D with Music by Slash" is just a freak-out frightfest. There's more macabre madness, children of the night. Dare it? Yeah, you do. Opens Sept. 19

California Coastal Cleanup: It's one of the biggest volunteer efforts around, with thousands joining, but that makes sense: The Golden State has a few miles of shoreline, you might have heard. Beach buffs and nature supporters will head out to where water meets land -- that includes some inland lake-y locations -- to pick up bottles and tires and plastic and such. Find your location and time and clear your morning on Saturday, Sept. 20. The Pacific and your fellow Californians both thank you.

LA Beer Week: We know, we know -- San Francisco and San Diego regularly top "Best Beer Town" lists while our own city hangs back somewhere at #8 or #9. Two things here: We should be excited for our sibling cities, and two? SoCal's sudsy scene is on the up and up. Exhibit A: LA Beer Week, which pulls at the taps from Sept. 20 through 28. Special tastings and pairings'll flourish with foamy fabulousness at brewhouses and bars across the region. San Francisco and San Diego? Save a spot for us at the top of that list.

Gamble House Naps: If you've called up Pasadena's grandest house landmark, you know it is a serious space, full of beauty and inlaid wood and definitely all about the looking, not the touching. Echo Park innovators Machine Project want to get a little lively inside the Gamble, over two weeks, for art's sake, and science, too. Two-story-tall puppets and ghost visits and poetry read in closets and naps on the sleeping porch fill up a two-week calendar. It's part of the larger AxS Festival, and it runs through Oct. 5. Naps! At the Gamble House! We want in. We all do.

TARFEST: Art and science have a date at the Gamble, it is true, but they'll also be co-mingling with music at a certain Ice Age fossil site on the Miracle Mile. It's TARFEST, a free day of tunes and general culture-nice vibes. The science bit? The La Brea Tar Pits burbling away. The art bit? There'll be live painting and sculpting around Hancock Park. And the tunes? A bevy of bands'll rock out all afternoon and into the early evening.



Photo Credit: Halloween Horror Nights]]>
<![CDATA[1,679 Stairs: Climbers Take on the U.S. Bank Tower]]> Wed, 17 Sep 2014 12:55:30 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/tower12_56812357.jpg

When word arrived over the summer that the downtown LA's U.S. Bank Tower, that fabled "tallest building west of the Mississippi," would get its own observation deck, locals who receive a lot of out-of-town visitors must have breathed a sigh.

"Phew, something new to show the relatives," was one likely thought. But a thought left unthunk? That anyone would need to climb the tower's 1,679 steps to reach the top of the sentinel-like skyscraper.

Still, people do that, each and every September, as they will again on Friday, Sept. 19. But they're not in the colossal building to reach any observation deck (which is not yet built, let's note); rather, intrepid climbers hike up the 75-story building to raise money for the Ketchum-Downtown YMCA.

Did we just type "hike" there? It's a true word, but let's asterisk that: Many participants do hoof it up the 75 floors at a steady pace, and bravo that, but some people run. Up 1,679 steps. Inside the tallest building on this side of the Mississippi River.

R. U. N.

That's major, but what is more major are the impressive times; the 2013 elite runner results reveal that Tommy Coleman of San Diego completed the up, up, up, up, up course in well under ten minutes. And many other gifted athletes posted how'd-they-do-that? times in the 11-minute, 12-minute, and 13-minute windows.

Heck, they're all applause-worthy. Whatever your time is. Let's clap for the climbers.

Because you've seen the U.S. Bank Tower? Sometimes still locally and lovingly called the Library Tower? Yeah. It's the biggest thing to be found on postcards of LA, just about, save the ocean and mountains, which are bigger than the tower by virtue of being the ocean and mountains.

Want to help the Y's many community-nice programs, cheer on a climber, or simply marvel at one of the most unusual and quickly finished races, well, west of the Mississippi? Grab a bannister and climb this way.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Disneyland Fashionable: Fabulous Dapper Day]]> Thu, 18 Sep 2014 07:51:35 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/stepheniedappercarsland.jpg Park goers in gussied-up outfits strolled the Magic Kingdom.

Photo Credit: DapperDay.com]]>
<![CDATA[Take a Nap at the Gamble House]]> Tue, 16 Sep 2014 23:35:04 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/194*120/gamble-house-front123.jpg

While your spirit is prone to soaring upon entering Pasadena's The Gamble House, one of the most exquisitely imagined houses to be found anywhere, it can make your heart sink, just a pinch, to realize you'll never participate in any normal, everyday tasks while politely calling upon the grand Arts & Crafts jewel.

The homey stuff is the stuff you kind of miss, is what we're saying. You'll never write letters, enjoy a snack, or take a nap at The Gamble, all of which docents might frown upon (and rightly so). But that's changing, with a wink and a twinkle, during the Machine Project's two-week residency at one of California's finest estates.

The art-minded, science-loving, poetry-spouting innovators -- they built the cavern behind their Echo Park storefront last autumn, remember -- are gently taking over the multi-roomed, lawn-lavish gem, with its blessing, from Friday, Sept. 19 through Sunday, Oct. 5, in conjunction with the AxS Festival 2014, a Pasadena-big science-and-art love-in.

As for what shall go down at the eave-iest wonder in all of Southern California? Group naps on the Gamble House's sleeping porch (for which you'll need a ticket) (yes, this is a ticketed nap). 

Look also for the drawing of ghosts and artificial sunlight demonstrations and embroidery lessons and the building of cat dwellings and poetry readings that take place just between the poet and a single listener, inside a Gamble House closet.

Oh, and a tableaux vivant -- or living painting, if you prefer -- brought to vivid life by cat-women.

For sure, a deep streak of the surreal and scientific whimsy threads through the Machine Project's mirthful but meaningful mission: Open minds, tickle our fancies, recall past pleasures of oration and the handcraft arts, elevate scientific inquiry, and take us a bit out of our screen-focused, now-focused lives.

The to-dos are plentiful and there's a bunch of 'em, too. Some are ticketed, some are free, and a lot of doings are happening on the vast lawn, like the two-story puppet that will be periodically animated on a few special days during the fest.

Call it a new way to interact with the Gamble House. Especially if you nod off there, something we're almost never invited to do inside the hallowed spaces of our most treasured landmarks.



Photo Credit: Gamble House]]>
<![CDATA[TARFEST: Art and Tunes Burble, for Free, at the Tar Pits]]> Wed, 17 Sep 2014 05:40:42 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/tarfestpainting2345.jpg

There may be locations in the world where art and science co-mingle more effortlessly than Hancock Park, but we're pretty sure that the stretch of museums, green spaces, and Ice Age fossil sites along LA's Miracle Mile qualifies as something rather exceptional.

You could watch the La Brea Tar Pits bubble and then, some 90 seconds later, if you walk at a good clip, be gazing at a Picasso at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

TARFEST Music and Art Festival, the yearly tunes-social-creative-sculpture-nature festival brings its FREE goodness to the park on Saturday, Sept. 20. (We figured we'd type "FREE" in all caps since it is such a lovely word and since TARFEST goes the full-on caps route, too.)

As for the sounds on stage? Hunter Hunted, The Moth & The Flame, Dwntwn, Tapioca and the Flea, and The Dead Ships'll play to the mammoth statues, and human audience members, from 1 to 8 p.m.

Nearby? The art, but not just any art: TARFEST is all about the live painting and live sculpture creation, so you'll be able to linger as a trio of artists put brushes and hands to blank canvases. It's pretty exciting stuff to see something provocative and/or beautiful come together over the course of an afternoon and evening.

Shall there be a Lagunitas Biergarten? Oh goodness but it has been a swelter. You better believe there'll be a garten of bier. Will there be food trucks doing their milling nearby and making of yummy edibles? You better believe that, too: Food and beer are said to go well together.

A poem store, happy happenings for TARFEST tots in attendance, and other Miracle Mile-worthy stuff'll be afoot, too.

And we don't just mean "afoot" -- picture something as large as a tar pits mammoth's foot. The KCSN-Launch LA has been bringing the mind-growing plentitude to Hancock Park since 2011, which further proves our totally correct, shared-by-many theorem: Few places can match the art-science mojo of that small stretch of Wilshire Boulevard.

Isn't it a little magic? We mean, mammoths and guitars and paint and ales? TARFEST, we raise a toast to you. Sorry, we mean a TOAST. You're all caps to us.



Photo Credit: TARFEST]]>
<![CDATA[Salt & Straw: Portland Ice-Creamery Goes SoCal]]> Tue, 16 Sep 2014 08:49:29 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/196*120/saltstrawportland.jpg

September? It's a scorcher in Southern California, especially around the middle of the month, when even the beach cities can see a "9" in their daily high temperatures. (Spoiler: It's the first number in the temperature.)

That's when we dream of cool, rainy places and cool, moist treats. And when those treats and places dovetail -- say, like Portland's famous Salt & Straw ice cream -- and when they pop up, almost magically, in our hot city during the hottest weekend of the year, well... It can feel as if we Angelenos, as a collective populace, possess the power to summon the very stuff of our chilly-cold fantasies.

The fantasy was made real on Sept. 13 when the first Salt & Straw location bowed on Larchmont Boulevard. True, one of the Northwest's most famous dessert has shown its creamy face around our city in smaller cameos -- Joan's on Third carries the sweet stuff -- but the Larchmont scoopery is the Oregon favorite's first full-on LA outpost.

It's debut did not go unnoticed, to the tune of lines on the lengthy side. But should we put the wait down to the fact that weekend #1 timed well with the roastiest heat wave of the year? Let's.

And let's give some sugar to the flavors, which think local and fresh and rich and decadent. California Peaches with Lemon Crumble, Cinnamon Apple Donuts, Summer Sweet Corn Buttermilk, GRAND POPPY Sherbet, and Chocolate Almond & Caramel Cheesecake.

True, Cinnamon Apple Donuts is a pretty autumnal flavor, but it is also true that fall is just days away. And surely those Portland ice cream makers know that we still eat ice cream in the fall 'round about Los Angeles?

Welcome, Salt & Straw, and may sweet fans continue to queue long after these toasty temps have settled back down into autumn's-coming weather.



Photo Credit: Salt & Straw]]>
<![CDATA[PARK(ing) Day: People Park in Parking Spaces]]> Mon, 15 Sep 2014 12:28:51 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/parkingdayrebar1.jpg

If you spy a person standing in a metered parking space, chances are they're exiting their car, crossing the street, digging in their pockets for change, or are simply passing through, with no intentions of remaining in the auto-sized space for more than a few seconds.

Rare is the day that humans flock together and settle in a parking space, complete with lawn chairs, potted plants, umbrellas, and picnic-ready items. So rare, in fact, that it only happens once a year, on the third Friday in September.

It's PARK(ing) Day, and if you're noting the all caps calling out the "PARK" and wondering if that corresponds to people lending a touch of leafy green and human conviviality to the asphalt spots, you'd be correct. Described as "an open-source global event where citizens, artists, and activists collaborate to temporarily transform metered spaces into 'PARK(ing) spaces: temporary public places," the widespread event draws people looking to dip in for an hour or commit to a full day.

For sure, themes of greening our urban landscape and connecting with each other on a non-mechanized level are threaded through the Friday, Sept. 19 happening, which will mark its first decade next year.

Not every space around Southern California will become a pop-up park, but you'll see some action 'round Pasadena, when the Pasadena Playhouse sets up a Shakespeare in the PARK(let) on Colorado Boulevard between El Molino and Madison. Union Station'll be in on the action, or at least the parking lot that is adjacent to Alameda, and pop-up participants shall head for Fourth Street in Long Beach.

The full globe-wide map of meet-ups and to-dos is parked right here.

Want to plan your own? The PARK(ing) Day planners have tips on DIY-ing your own space. Just don't forget to feed that meter on your temporary garden.
 



Photo Credit: Rebar]]>
<![CDATA[Free Fun: Smithsonian Magazine's Museum Day Live!]]> Mon, 15 Sep 2014 08:19:26 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/203*120/paintshutterstock23.jpg

If a friend were to tell you she was off to visit our nation's capital for a week, what do you guess will be the seventh or eighth word she says, after her revelation? Or, for that matter, one of the next words you say?

We're pretty confident that word will be "Smithsonian." It's rare to hear of a Washington D.C. jaunt without the traveler speaking of the hallowed clutch of lofty 'n lively institutions that line the Mall like so many building-shaped beacons of history and art and culture. 

But must the Smithsonian always stay put on the Mall?

Not during Museum Day Live! from Smithsonian Magazine. The annual go-gratis event observes its big decade anniversary this year, and while not every museum around the country will jump into the free fun on Saturday, Sept. 27, a number of spots around Santa Barbara, Los Angeles, and Orange County are participating.

Like? The Grammy Museum, in downtown LA. The Los Angeles Maritime Museum, which is based in San Pedro. Santa Paula's own California Oil Museum and the Orange County Museum of Art in Costa Mesa.

Those exhibit-packed places will not ask you for an entry fee, but you will be required to show a ticket, which you can procure through the Museum Day Live! site. Choosing one museum to visit, and a friend to visit with -- they get in free, too, through the downloaded ticket -- is key to the day.

Nope, the Mall in D.C. isn't up-and-going on a national tour; it's staying right where it is, thank you very much, as it has for a couple of stellar centuries now.

But the spirit of the Smithsonian, and Smithsonian Magazine, isn't tied to a single place. It's about culture and doing and seeing. And that we can stow our cash to do so makes it a mite sweeter.



Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[Hollywood Hoorays for Nutella Truck]]> Sun, 14 Sep 2014 17:06:04 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/1521631_706013212780629_6264488272866935729_nutella.jpg

Is Nutella to dessert eaters what Sriracha is to spicy condiment fans?

Consider that few things that arrive in a jar or squeezie bottle are as routinely lavished in praise, slathered atop every manner of foodstuff, and even eaten straight. (You consume Nutella and/or Sriracha in their naked, purest forme, dear foodies; don't fib now, we know.)

So when one or the other show up on their own -- say a Sriracha festival in San Diego or a full-on Nutella truck in LA -- fans turn out in devoted droves.

Those hazelnut-happy droves shall turn on Hollywood on Monday, Sept. 15 and Tuesday, Sept. 16. Nutella has sent a truck out on a 50th anniversary tour, a vehicle that has, inside, "delicious samples" of the thick-on-the-knife spreadable plus "cool giveaways" such as t-shirts and stickers. The LA Times has given the love, so, for sure, the queues for the sweet-stuff may be as thick as Nutella itself.

The dessert-rollin' wheels have been to Boston and Chicago and more big cities, with stops in Dallas and New Orleans ahead.

Yep, there's a hashtag -- #spreadthehappy -- and, indeed, there shall be activities surrounding the truck. Does one of those activities include how to scrape up the very last goopy plop of Nutella from the bottom of the jar with just the tippy-top of your pinky finger? Because that knowledge could come in handy for many. (Also, please tell us how to not get Nutella all over our palm and wrist when engaging in pinky-dipping. Thank you.)

Look for the crepe-ready good stuff at 923 Broxton and Le Conte on the 15th and 16th.

And, no, you don't need to consume Nutella in a crepe, or atop a piece of toast, or swirled on ice cream. Like its spiritual condiment cousin Sriracha, it's just one of those foodly phenoms that works on everything and evey alone.

Nope, we're not even qualifying "everything" or adding an asterisk; it's just the honest truth.

Raise your Nutella-slathered hands out there: Who has eaten Nutella atop some Nutella? Yeah. Thought so. We raise our empty jars in your honor, co-Nutella passionists. May your pinky fingers always find the last little bits, every time.



Photo Credit: Nutella]]>
<![CDATA[Pizza Fundraiser: Mohawk Bend + Homeboy Industries ]]> Fri, 12 Sep 2014 18:15:30 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/goldenpizza23345.jpg

There's a reason most everyone -- and we stand by that "most everyone" most firmly -- names pizza as a favorite food: It's more satisfying, and cheesier, and easier to hold, and easier to eat another piece than pretty much every other foodstuff out there.

Which is to say this: We'll all eat it, any ol' time, for any reason, but when it is made by up-and-coming chefs with a fine local cause in mind? It's deliciousness and do-good heart exceeds all other edibles everywhere.

Fact.

Such is the case with The G-Dog Pie, which is currently available at Mohawk Bend in Echo Park all during the month of September. The creators of the pie? The creative rising chefs at the nonprofit Homeboy Industries.

Homeboy Industries, which began in 1992, "serves high-risk, formerly gang-involved men and women with a continuum of free services and programs." It also "operates several social enterprises that serve as job-training sites."

The Industries regularly train chefs, and a few of those food-minded innovators developed The G-Dog, named after Father Greg Boyle, the founder of the organization. In the Homeboy pizza? Think goat cheese, kalamata olives, prosciutto, spinach, and bit of olive oil. Oh, and chives, too, for a bit of zest.

And four dollars from every $14 pie sold? Yep, you bet: The funds go to help Homeboy programs.

Mohawk Bend's pizza-licious participation is part of the restaurant's larger "Piece of the Pie" program, which pairs up the eatery with groups around town, to raise money and awareness.

And, of course, appreciation for delicious food. Pizza lovers -- and that's all of us, yes, as has been confirmed -- make for Echo Park before September wraps for some beneficent bites and beneficient community support.



Photo Credit: Mohawk Bend]]>
<![CDATA[Enchanting Bargains at a Magical Swap Meet]]> Fri, 12 Sep 2014 21:46:53 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/218*120/magiccastleevening.jpg

Pick a card, any card, look at it, memorize it, show it to the audience, slide it back into the middle of the deck.

Now, if all goes well, some fizzy fantastical magical waving of the hands will summon your card to the top of the deck. That is, of course, if the deck is in good shape, and not missing any queens or aces, and is ready to dazzle.

Having good props and enchant-ready items is key to every magician's kit, and it is essential to making magic at the most famous abracadabra club on the planet, the Magic Castle in Hollywood.

But where to find a whole marvelous mess of linking rings and scarfs and books and other doodads, many of which have been pressed into the service of predigitation in the past? We tipped our hand on that one: It's the Magic Castle, again.

The mysterious landmark throws an every-so-often swap meet open to magicians of every stripe. Want to peek inside the proverbial top hat, to see if there is really a rabbit at the bottom? The Magic Castle Swap Meet presto-change-os on Saturday, Sept. 13.

Oh, and, hurrah, non-members are welcome, too. The club, which keeps a famously tight wrap around enchanters and their guests, opens its doors during the swap meet to people who don't carry the Magic Castle member card.

Admission? Eight bucks.

Attendees shall stroll the castle and check out the antiques, collectibles, and yes, magic tricks. Is your "nothing up my sleeve" routine rather rusty? Probably time to talk shop and pick up some new, or gently used, props.

This is a daytime deal, by the by, which makes it a little unusual, too, for the nighttime-loving mansion. Oh, and did we say that the Magic Castle is merely *in* Hollywood? Our mistake. It perches above the heart of Hollywood, raven-like, like a gloomy fictional bird up in a dramatically limbed tree.

There. Glad we corrected that. The Magic Castle is actually magic and thus must get its proper due, description-wise.

Abracadabra!



Photo Credit: Magic Castle]]>
<![CDATA[A Taste of Old Pasadena: Dozens of Local Bites]]> Fri, 12 Sep 2014 09:23:39 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/brotherspiesnfriespasadena.jpg

Road-trippers know that certain pit of the stomach-y feeling that dawns as you drive into a new town and stare out the passenger window, then the driver's side, looking for any sign of a place that might sell a hamburger or a bowl of pasta or something.

Old Town Pasadena has never presented the newcomer with such a challenge, or the long-timer, been-around-the-Crown-City-forever local. Why? Because that stretch of Colorado Boulevard -- and the surrounding streets and alleys -- is absolutely flush with foodie places and hot dog joints and posh trattorias and Spanish taverns and bakeries and desserteries and every other place you might want to get a nosh.

The Ol' Town P though does take this veritable garden of good eating lightly; it sets the scene for A Tastes of Old Pasadena each and every year. The date for this year is Tuesday, Sept. 16, and the sampling of savory tidbits from over two dozen Old-Pasian places starts at that perfect just-after-work time of 5:30 p.m.

The meal-heartier spots? Think Brothers Pies 'n Fries, hot dog purveyor Jake's and Italian fave Sorriso and tapas-nice Bar Celona and piquant Wokcano. The sweeter end of things? Yogurt from 21 Choices, plus goodies from The Pie Hole and Sugar Fix.

Cost is thirty bucks. And the host? It's the Pasadena Foothills Association of Realtors Charitable Foundation, and 100% of the proceeds will help out charities around the Crown City.

Wouldn't it be nice if every town we toodled through had such choice? Yes. As nice, though, is to get acquainted with the towns in the region where we live, the better to know what local eateries offer up.

Doing so in one fell swoop, and supporting local organizations, is even nicer.



Photo Credit: Brothers' Pies n' Fries]]>
<![CDATA["Tangled" in Tinseltown]]> Fri, 12 Sep 2014 10:37:34 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/214*120/tangledelcap1.jpg

There is probably a boulder, and maybe a plant or two, and possibly a few leaves left on earth that haven't yet heard "Let It Go," but let's be straight here: Everything animate and inanimate knows the joyful juggernaut that is "Frozen."

And hooray that: In an increasingly splintered, long-tail'd world, it can be a pleasure when everyone can sing along to the same soaring song.

"Tangled" came before "Frozen," a few years, in fact, and that winsome Disney flick about a take-charge young woman also caught countless fancies, unleashed some beauteous songs (including the sung-under-the-sky-lanterns duet "I See the Light"), and introduced the world to the best worst bar in film history, The Snuggly Duckling.

Rapunzel, Pascal her trusty steed -- er, chameleon, rather -- and Flynn Rider (swoon) are swinging back into the El Capitan Theatre in Tinseltown for a limited run. Dates? Sept. 12 through Oct. 8, which is about how long one sings the words to "I've Got a Dream" -- the Snuggly Duckling anthem -- once they hear it.

As for the on-stage surprises this go-around? Rapunzel will appear after the screenings and Sofia of "Sofia the First" will wave hello to the audience before each show.

And, on certain dates, there's a breakfast before the 10 a.m. showing, and, you betcha: A certain princess with copious amounts of lovely hair will make a charming cameo.

A special aside to fans of "The Little Mermaid": You totally know that Glen Keane, animator who envisioned Ariel, brought his twinkly magic to Rapunzel and "Tangled"? Yep, this is known.

It's the first time "Tangled" as been back at the El Cap since its 2010 release. If it has been four years since you've seen the lantern scene, or Rapunzel's taste of freedom, or that Snuggly Duckling sing-along -- complete with the origami unicorn and winged, bearded cherub -- the big screen awaits.

You're still singing "I've Got a Dream," right? You bet you are.



Photo Credit: Disney]]>
<![CDATA[Weekend: Port of Los Angeles Lobster Festival]]> Thu, 11 Sep 2014 14:32:02 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/portoflalobsterfestivalsept121411.jpg

"THE WORLD'S LARGEST LOBSTER FESTIVAL": For sure, the Guinness Book of World Records has spotlighted this Port of Los Angeles butter-dipped bash on a few different counts, but, by anybody's count, the party is ocean-big. Well, not quite, but in spirit: Bunches of bands will play over the three-day bib-it-up, including Berlin featuring Terri Nunn, the parking is free, there are pirates rocking tri-cornered hats and "arrrrs," and crafts and dancing and marine mojo fills out the fun. Oh, and the crustacean at centerstage? They're flown in daily, straight from the Atlantic. Lobster dinners are twenty bucks each. Did we mention this thing is ocean-big? We're starting to regret that we took that assertion back. Friday, Sept. 12 through Sunday, Sept. 14.

OKTOBERFEST TIME: The roll-out of September stein-raisers will happen over the next couple of weeks around Southern California, but it is hard not to tip our Tyrolean hat to Old World Huntington Beach, which is out the gate as fast as a dashing Dachshund. We said that on purpose, because, wait for it: The weiner-shaped cuties'll run like the happy dickens on Sunday, Sept. 14 and every Sunday during Oktoberfest. That's the opening day for the party, too, in case you need to up your schnitzel quotient, speedily.

VOICES OF LA: It's a "cross-cultural art series showcasing Los Angeles's varied art practices," so think spoken word, live music, and dance. Several events have led up to the big celebratory party at the Wilshire Boulevard Temple on Sunday, Sept. 14, which will put the spotlight on a "mash-up of Jewish, Korean, Persian, Filipino, Japanese, and African-American Artists." La Santa Cecilia will rock on stage, and KCRW's Evan Kleinman? She'll be cooking/demo-ing. Call it a full feast of a local love-in kind of day.

HALLOWEEN TIME AT DISNEYLAND: Oh good Goofy but Friday, Sept. 12 is a major day at the Magic Kingdom. The world's most famous theme park kicks off its spookiest season with villain meet-and-greets in Frontierland, the Haunted Mansion's "Tim Burton's Nightmare Before Christmas" look, and Mickey's Halloween Party, which starts later in the month. And get this: It's also Dapper Day, meaning a ton of fancy-pantsed park goers shall stroll in their old-school finery. Halloween and pretty frocks, all at once? Tinkerbell's been sprinkling the sparkles, for sure.

FROGTOWN ART WALK: The area along the LA River has been getting lavished with more and more love -- hello, LA River Fishing Derby and the bike-lounge-y Frog Spot -- but this stroll-and-eye-art event has been around for most of a decade. And there's fine reason why: Many artists and musicians call the river-snug neighborhood home. Peek inside local artists' studios, listen to bands, enjoy poetry, and zip by the river on a pedi-cab. Oh, and the walk itself? It's free. Fist pump. Saturday, Sept. 13

ORIGINAL FARMERS MARKET FASHION SHOW: How would you dress if someone told you to don clothing reminiscent of the landmark public market at Third Street and Fairfax Avenue? Would you gussy up like the iconic clocktower? Would you dress like a bag of salted almonds or a burger or a milkshake or the green awnings? It's a challenge local designers are taking on. The results? Models shall sashay outside the market on Friday, Sept. 12 at 6 p.m.



Photo Credit: Michael Justice]]>
<![CDATA[Hatch Chile Meets Santa Monica]]> Thu, 11 Sep 2014 08:52:27 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/hatchchileshutters.jpg

There are numerous vegetables and fruits that are associated with specific locations around the country, but only a handful of edibles that attract fans simply because of that certain smell they exude.

For sure, orange blossoms around Santa Paula smell like nothing else, though that's the flower, not the fruit. And Oak Glen apples? Yep, they count, when they're baking in pies.

Chile, however, rules the roost on the smells-extraordinary-when-roasting part. It's the scent of fall around Hatch, New Mexico, the famous HQ for the famous peppers. And if you fretted that you weren't going to make the Land of Enchantment for your piquant pod fix this autumn, fret not, fiery fans: Shutters on the Beach is devoted four dishes, including dessert, to the seasonal delicacy.

The Hatch Chile Festival menu is available at the Santa Monica eatery through Wednesday, Oct. 8.

The starter? It's a chile-luscious quesadilla. The entree? Think BBQ Pork Chop. Dessert includes cornbread, creme fraiche, a roasted Hatch chile, and candy bacon. (!!! is what we say to that.) And, indeed, there's an adult beverage involving the chile, ginger beer, pineapple ice, and mescal.

There should be some pleasant burn to that one, what with the ginger and the chile forming a palate-awakening pairing.

The dishes come as a trio for $34, and the drink is another $6 when ordered alongside.

Too much chile? Nah. Certainly a Hatch fan, someone who dreams of visiting New Mexico solely to eat a fresh roaster right in the town where it was grown, will be game for all four.

Because every chile fan knows two things: One? You always spell chile, as in the pepper, with an "e" on the end, rather than an "i," at least when talking about Hatch's famous crop.

And two? If you find three dishes and a drink that include Hatch chiles, all in one place, you typically eat all three dishes, and a drink, if possible. That heat-building-on-heat thing is one of the sweet treats of a Southwest fall.



Photo Credit: Shutters on the Beach]]>
<![CDATA[Pie Maestros Go Crust-to-Crust in Creative Cook-Off]]> Wed, 10 Sep 2014 14:39:32 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/tlmd_tlmd_072612_apple.jpg

For sure, mid-September brings days to LA that are just about a million degrees Fahrenheit, give or take a few degrees, but the cooler, autumn's-coming mornings? They're not in the triple digits and they do put us in a very fall frame of mind.

So much so that we can find ourselves touching pie plates with longing, or gazing upon rolling pins, or entering our loved-by-many family recipe pies in the KCRW Good Food Pie Contest, which will have its sixth go-around on Sunday, Oct. 5.

Yep, our big ol' megalopolis has an esteemed pie-making contest. And, yep, Angelenos do wear gingham aprons and get flour in our hair and we even, on occasion, use our windowsills to cool oven-hot pastry.

Take that, naysayers who call us traffic-riddled and asphalt-laden and obsessed with frou-frou foodstuffs. We do homespun here, too, and pretty dang well.

Your role in the Oct. 5 showdown, home cooks of SoCal? Make a pie in one of several categories -- fruit, nut, savory, cooked custard, vegan, and world pie -- more on that in a moment -- and make for the Fowler Museum at UCLA. Oh, cream/chiffon/silk is all summed up in one category, if that's handy for you.

Then have judges take bites, and the pie-loving public, too, and voila! You might head home with a Blue Ribbon. (See, there's that "homespun" thing again, naysayers. Have you come over to our side of things yet? Good.)

As for the "world pie" slate? Cooks in this field will make pies that draw upon the Fowler's art-amazing collection for inspiration. Neato? Totes. Mind-challenging? Absolutes.

Pie is sometimes said to grow waistlines -- and that can definitely be true, depending on how much we consume -- but it can also, when paired with art ideas, grow our minds as well.

There are some contest things to bone up on, like your entry fee, that you'll be slicing pie for the public, and such. So bone up.

And get ready to get your fall on, both in the rolling of the dough and the making of your competitive treat to the sampling of other cooks' submissions. It's a lively and crust-happy day that's museum-adjacent and fueled by fruit, creativity, art, and, fingers crossed, those early autumn breezes.

Seriously, September. Finish up with the fiery temperatures already: We're ready to get our apple pie and our autumn on, stat.



Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[Disneyland Halloween: It's a Small (Spooky) World]]> Tue, 16 Sep 2014 06:49:36 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/smallworldhalloween1.jpg

Ask ten people to name ten fantastic fictional baddies -- or even to name five -- and you'll find one pretty prominent theme: Captain Hook and Maleficent and Ursula and other memorable Disney villains have a way of charming their way onto those lists, again and again.

Disneyland, after all, isn't all singing princesses and glowing balloons and mouse ear-shaped marshmallow treats.

And the Magic Kingdom's creepier side is on full display come Halloween Time, which begins at the Anaheim resort not in October but, rather, the first half of September. Friday, September 12, to be specific, which is when the thousands of pumpkins, including a giant Mickey Mouse one, and orange-toned decorations make their seasonal debut at the world's most famous theme park.

Oh yes: And Mr. Jack Skellington, too. The Haunted Mansion appears in its full "A Nightmare Before Christmas" garb starting on Sept. 12, which means fans of Tim Burton's iconic stop-motion movie will hop a Doom Buggy to see Sally, Jack, and all the characters of Halloween Town. (They'll hold court inside the New Orleans Square attraction through the holidays.)

Will Space Mountain once again transmogrify into Ghost Galaxy? Boo. (Boo=you bet.)

Will Mickey's Halloween Party summon trick-or-treating kids over a few special nights in September and October? For sure -- it's a whole thing, wandering Main Street in costume. It's also a special ticket, so check it out before costuming up the tots.

Will other places in the parks, like ...it's a small world, have a bit of Halloween flair? Boo.

Plus a bevy of baddies -- think Captain Hook or others -- shall haunt Big Thunder Ranch, from time to time, during September and October.

As for spooky food treats, Dia de los Muertos displays, the Mad T Party in Disney California Adventure, and other goblin-like goodies? They're all in the macabre mix.

For sure, the Magic Kingdom does have its princess thing going on, and how. But how less textured the Disney catalog would be without its cadre of cads, yes?

Thank goodness they get to come out to play each autumn. Cue villainous cackling and pipe organ music...



Photo Credit: Paul Hiffmeyer]]>
<![CDATA[Neon and Sky: Chinatown Moon Festival]]> Tue, 09 Sep 2014 18:25:49 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/chinatown73831353.jpg

The moon, it may not surprise you to learn, has kept our home planet company for some time now. A few years, give or take? We'll leave it at that, but you might want to throw a lengthy string of zeroes on the end of that summary, in your own mind, for accuracy's sake.

And we've seen the moon framed by cliffs, by trees, by mountains, and, very recently, light, and even more recently than that, neon light. It's a startling contrast, but one only a handful of places do rather well. We're lucky enough to have such a place in Southern Cal, and that it has been hosting a Mid-Autumn Moon Festival for 76 years? Nice. Chinatown has long admired that neon-meets-moon pairing.

The Historic Plaza off Broadway shall again on Saturday, Sept. 13 during the Moon Festival. Music played before your eyes -- or ears, rather -- and food trucks shall festoon the parts lacking in neon or moon, and artists shall be engaging in calligraphy demos, dough sculpting, and fruit carving. A culinary stage will be in full pan-and-pot swing, with a mooncake sampling and mooncake-eating competitions taking centerstage.

Magicians and storytellers shall be plying their craft. Truly, if the moon has any human emissaries on earth, wouldn't magicians and storytellers be among our lunar satellite's special favorites? 

And lest everything grows too terrestrial, Anthony Cook of Griffith Observatory will have telescopes on hand for moon-peeping. What's your favorite sea up there? The Sea of Tranquility? Yep.

Cost for all of this? Free, at least the getting-in-and-telescope-ing part (and the listening and the watching-of-demos, too). Want a brew or something of sustenance? Bring dough. That's cash, not the kind of dough that's set to be sculpted during the event.

Just be sure to find the perfect juxtaposition of moon and neon somewhere around the plaza. That's a comparison that has only been around for, well, a few decades. And, nope, you don't need to add a bunch of zeroes onto the end of that one: Neon is still new, at least compared to that other bright object above our heads.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Oktoberfests on Tap: Old World, Anaheim...]]> Tue, 09 Sep 2014 13:14:03 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/oktoberfest-shutterstock_153895010.jpg

Even if you know, well and truly, that Oktoberfest is actually a September thing, or at least is a begins-in-September thing, and even though you can recall attending for your first stein-raiser a week or two after Labor Day, the boisterous, schnitzel-scented, fall-time frolic can really sneak up on an old-school party person.

And perhaps nowhere more so than Southern California, thanks in part to our warmer September. For while parts of our region flirt with three-digit, very unautumnlike temperatures, the first lederhosen shall be donned at Old World Huntington Beach.

Traditionally SoCal's first out-the-door, let's-start-this-thing party, the Old World Oktoberfest kicks into high, Chicken-Dancing form on Sunday, Sept. 14.

Shall there be oompah? It's not really Oktoberfest, here or in its home of Munich or anywhere, without the sonorous, chest-filling music. Shall there be contests, like heavy stein-holding? Oof. Yes. That just looks difficult. And fun, too, we're sure? Shall there be Dachshund Races on Sundays during Old World's Oktoberfest run? Oh goodness, count on it. That's one of the crowd-pleasers of the several-week affair. ("Several-week affair"=Nov. 2 end date, but check the fest's days of the week before lederhosening-up.)

What else is to come on the regional Oktoberfests horizon? Anaheim's festive Phoenix Club gets it going, beer hall-style, on Friday, Sept. 19, Lake Arrowhead's lake-close party starts the last weekend in September and raises the Tyrolian roofs, every weekend, right through the end of October, and Big Bear Lake's multi-event celebrations kick off on Saturday, Sept. 13. Yep, there shall be log-sawing on the roster.

Log. Sawing. The sawing of logs.

Do you need to wear traditional costume to attend any of these? Nope. Do you need to drink beer? Nope. Do you need to dance? Nope, but, please, think about it: The everyone-on-the-dance-floor spirit is at the heart of oompah's oomph.

Will there be plenty of one-day-only Oktoberfests popping up around SoCal, complementing those out-sized, month-plus festivals?

We only have one thing to say to that? Does a Dachshund dash fast? (Answer: yes.)



Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[Huell Howser Movie Night]]> Tue, 09 Sep 2014 09:32:09 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/huellhowserlighthouse1.jpg

Truth? You absolutely do not want to go toe-to-toe with a true-blue, episode-memorizing Huell Howser fan.

They will out-"That's Amazing!" you at every turn. They remember every Golden State nook that the affable public television travelogue host visited, every quirky and kind local resident he smiled at, every player piano or candy conveyor belt he stood alongside, marveling at its efficiency or charm.

The much-loved small-town, roadside-attraction champion passed away in January 2013, but fans still watch his multiple travel series again and again, picking up new tips and favorite bits with each viewing. And four of those episodes, all from "California's Gold," will screen at the historic Center for the Arts, Eagle Rock on Thursday, Sept. 11.

"Petroglyphs" is on the bill, and "Pet Cemetery," too. "Mammoths" will be one of the night's episodes as well as Mr. Howser's visit to colorful Salvation Mountain in Niland. All choice half hours, all well-remembered by his legion of devotees.

Angel Diaz, the archivist for "California's Gold," will also chat during the evening, a special treat.

Cost? Fifteen dollars. The organizer? Obscura Society LA. Snacks and drinks? They'll be available at the nearly-hundred-year-old building "for a small donation."

Memories of the man who brought all corners of our state into our living rooms, and did so with oomph, cheer, and a connection that resonated with viewers? They'll be plentiful. We're only hoping that the "That's Amazing"s will flow all evening among audience members, and a few people will unleash that most quintessential and heartfelt of all of Mr. Howser's trademark catchphrases: "It just doesn't get any better than this."

It really doesn't, when you're spending a night with four classic "California's Gold" episodes and other lifelong Huell Howser buffs.



Photo Credit: Huell Howser Archives, Chapman University]]>
<![CDATA[Big Carp, Fun Day: LA River Fishing Derby]]> Mon, 08 Sep 2014 19:26:42 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/laflyfishingsept6.jpg

At first glance, the notion of the first-ever LA River Fishing Derby -- name: Off Tha' Hook -- sounded like a set-up for a joke. Would an old boot be caught? Would a disappointed fisherman reel in a hubcap?

And aren't forests, not freeways, supposed to serve as the backdrop to relaxing fly-fishing expeditions?

It's not a joke now: The Saturday, Sept. 6 derby was a success, and the most sizable, much-photographed catch of the day? It was a carp pulled in by Matus Sobolic. The Altadena fisherman, who was outfitted for the day in grand fishing gear and togs, held the plump 6-pounder, 3-ouncer before returning the 23-inch fish to the waters from which it sprang.

That's because the derby was not only catch-and-release but a serious study, too: Friends of the LA River and researchers who keep a keen eye on our urban waterway want to watch for steelhead trout, which haven't been spied within its shallow waves since the 1940s.

Just over two dozen pole-carrying people -- kids and grown-ups alike -- turned out to participate. Both bass and carp were caught, but the steelhead? It remained elusive during the mid-morning line-drop.

A scale sat nearby so everyone who caught a fish could get weight verification before the river denizen was promptly returned to the waves. Biologists Rosi Dagit and Sabrina Drill were on the banks to catalog the catches, adding their findings to the 2008 Fish Study, while Jim Burns of LA River Flyfishing -- the blog that keeps tabs on all urban line-casting -- served as the day's consultant.

"This was a fantastic derby," said Mr. Burns. "The number of people who came out to fish, the rise in bass compared to carp, and the overall recreational and scientific importance made it clear that fishing the Los Angeles River is here to stay."

Will the derby grow in size or frequency? Once people get past the idea that only hubcaps and old boots'll be on the hooks, you bet. The recreational character of the LA River is on the rise, and it boasts a bucolic, come-fish feel, even with the busy 5 Freeway buzzing in the distance.



Photo Credit: Jim Burns/LA River Flyfishing]]>
<![CDATA[LA River Fishing Derby: Carp, Poles, Sunshine]]> Mon, 08 Sep 2014 13:04:30 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/lariverkarinlariverderby.JPG The catch-and-release day brought out a bevy of Angeleno anglers.

Photo Credit: Karin Flores]]>
<![CDATA[Famous Blue Moon Diamond to Go on Display in LA]]> Mon, 08 Sep 2014 09:19:46 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/206*120/bluediamondnhm1.jpg

While dinosaurs can often attract the lion's share, or, er, dinosaur's share of attention for the Natural History Museum -- including the baby T. Rex who recently took the day off from the popular stage show "Walking with Dinosaurs" to visit the Exposition Park institution -- other things inhabit those hallowed halls which also have a few years on them.

A few years? Make that millenia.

Take the Gem Vault, which is home to some sparklers of notable fame and age. It's about to get a visitor of some note, an internally flawless diamond so unusual and rare that it wears the memorable handle of Blue Moon Diamond.

The cushion-cut Blue Moon goes on display in the museum's gem hall on Saturday, Sept. 13. There it shall stay, and mystify, through Jan. 6.

Well, "mystify" is pure poetry, given that visitors will learn an awful lot about the treasure. The Gemological Society of America "has made a monograph of the Blue Moon Diamond" which reveals "a holistic perspective of its character and significance." It's a 12-carat Fancy Blue Diamond cut from 29.6-carat rough.

As its known history? It was discovered in 1905 in a mine near Pretoria, South Africa.

The Blue Moon Diamond is so named for its flawless hue, but also the highly unlikely, headlines-making chance of finding such a gem.

"This special exhibit fits within the Museum's mission to enhance discovery of the natural world through furthering the future of diamond research. Blue diamonds are among the rarest of all natural colored diamonds," says Eloise Gaillou, the museum's curator and diamond expert.

"The exhibit will provide a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for visitors to see one of the world's most exquisite diamonds in person."

The Blue Moon Diamond can be viewed by purchasing museum admission.



Photo Credit: Natural History Museum]]>
<![CDATA[Catalina Crossing: Outrigger Race to the Island]]> Fri, 05 Sep 2014 09:31:51 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/outriggercatalinasocal12.jpg

When we adventure-craving SoCalers cross those fabled 26 miles of open ocean to Santa Catalina Island, how do we do it?

Most of us probably hop the Catalina Express, though some might know a friend of a friend with a boat. Helicopter trips to the hilly, wave-surrounded burg west of Orange County are also quite stunning, too, and a fine way to get out there.

And, yep. Some people waterski the whole way. They do.

But let us pause now and admire the beauty and swift speed of the outrigger canoe. It's a vessel that will be cutting through Pacific waters in the powerful way it has for centuries Saturday, Sept. 6 and Sunday, Sept. 7. The reason? For the prestigious Catalina Crossing.

The U.S. Outrigger Championships will send teams and their all-important paddles between Newport Beach and Santa Catalina Island over the first weekend in September. The women's teams and coed team's head out on Saturday, Sept. 6 for a 26-mile route; the men are in the outriggers on Sunday with 30 miles to face.

Call it a thrilling experience for the participants, of course, but also for anyone standing on shore or out on a boat who happens to witness it. Outriggers have a long and storied history with strong ties to Polynesia and Hawaii; call it a beautiful and rarer sight to see the streamlined vessels skimming waves off Southern California shores.

The Southern California Outrigger Association is the organization behind the push-go-to-the-island weekend. For more information on the divisions, times, and the tales of outriggers and how Californians have embraced the athletically elegant ocean-based pursuit, click.



Photo Credit: Southern California Outrigger Association]]>
<![CDATA[Animal Cameos at the Aquarium's 5K]]> Fri, 05 Sep 2014 15:13:06 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/aquariumbirdrun.JPG

When it comes to any sort of run or walk, we tend to, at least at first, visualize the runners and the walkers, those participants rocking the bibs and moving along the streets or thoroughfare on the way to finish line.

What we talk about less? What the runners see out in the crowds. Sometimes they spy friends, sometimes encouraging signs, and sometimes cockatoos, too. Oh, well, not in every race, of course, at least on the cockatoo front; but people who take part in the Aquarium of the Pacific's Molina 5K Run/Walk will be "greeted on the course by Aquarium mascots and live animals."

The date? Saturday, Sept. 6.

You probably were handed a few orange slices on your last competitive run, but you likely didn't pause to learn more about the ocean's health or mammals in the water or such. Call the Aquarium of the Pacific run a traditional healthful 5K with a nature-focused twist.

And some glorious oceanfront running, too. The course kicks off at Rainbow Harbor and wends near Shoreline Village, so, in addition to visiting with animals, you'll take in a few classic Pacific vistas as you reach your peak.

And after? There shall be an awards ceremony, yes, but stay longer: You'll get into the Long Beach institution, gratis. It's part of your registration fee.

So what if you're a bit sweaty? The jellies and crabs don't care and moisture reigns supreme 'round the aquarium. Plus, seeing all of those sweet animals along the run will likely inspire several participants to want to spend more time with the beasties, post-runner's high.



Photo Credit: Aquarium of the Pacific]]>
<![CDATA[Cameras Out, Long Beach: 24-Hour Photo Contest]]> Fri, 05 Sep 2014 07:56:50 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/saycheeselbcjustinr.jpg

There was a day, perhaps a decade or two ago, when pulling out a camera and staging a photo took a few minutes, some arranging of people, and plenty of mulling.

Now? Not so much. Walk down any sunny, shop-lined street on a Saturday and you'll see more small rectangles catching sunlight than store windows. This means when a community-loving photo contest rolls along -- say, like the Say Cheese, Long Beach competition -- that participation will be wide and jumping into the snapshots-made-easy swing of things'll be a cinch.

It's lucky year 7 for the fun-spirited photo showdown, which is organized by Justin Rudd of the Haute Dog parades (yes, the same Justin Rudd who jogged every public street in Long Beach over much of last year and the beginning of 2014).

The prize money? It's a grand overall. The time span? That noon start time on Sept. 6 says you can snap, snap, snap away through noon on Sunday, Sept. 7. The topics you should focus on? Well... anything Long Beach, basically. "...home life, work, religious events, secular happenings, nature/landscape, indoor life, outdoor decorations, pets, humor, drama, action, friends, family, city life, beach life, or a historical place" are all on the suggestion list.

Phew. Pausing for breath. And those are "not limited to" themes, note, so go hog wild on La Vida LBC, basically, in all of its magnificent Long-Beach-i-ness.

Do you need to be a resident of Long Beach to participate? That's a big nope. You simply need to take your snapshots within the city within that window of time.

Winning photos'll be displayed later in October at the Belmont Shore Sidewalk Chalk Art Contest and Art Walk. Last year over 600 pics from 159 photographers went up, so, for sure, you'll be snapping alongside some excellent co-photogs.

Happy LBC-ing, wielders of photography devices with a love of community, beauty, and pups. We mean, this is Long Beach, a famous dog-loving city. Surely four-footers will be a major theme? Woof.



Photo Credit: Justin Rudd]]>
<![CDATA["Forrest Gump," in IMAX, at the TCL Chinese Theatre]]> Thu, 04 Sep 2014 17:14:41 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/forrest+gump.jpg

When movie buffs visualize watching something in IMAX, they're inclined to see asteroids zipping across the vast screen, and robots as tall as skyscrapers stomping on robots as tall as buildings slightly shorter than skyscrapers, and monsters of every stripe.

But gentle philosophizing? Family bonds? The sharing of homespun wisdom? A crackerjack spin back through major moments dotting a few history-vibrant decades?

Not IMAX-ready stuff, typically, but "Forrest Gump" may change our thoughts on this front. The '90s weepie-cheerie -- it's a bit of both, yes? -- is marking its 20th anniversary with a rather notable return: It's screening in select IMAX theaters around the nation, including our own TCL Chinese Theatre from Sept. 4 through 11.

Nope, no asteroids to shriek over in this flick, a film that regularly lands on lists listing quintessential '90s stories. No city-devouring robots, either. There will, however, be one of the most famous benches in the annals of benchdom up on the gargantuan screen, and what has to be the most-referenced box of chocolates of all time.

Well. Wasn't Forrest's momma pretty much right on the "you'll never know what you're gonna get" front? Hard to argue against that.

Tom Hanks spoke that oft-repeated line, his momma is Sally Fields, and a host of other greats fill out the cast. Are you getting a little damp-eyed, thinking of Jenny? Make sure the sleeves of whatever shirt you wear to Chinese Theatre are super-absorbent.

Forrest Gump was known as a man who ended up in some extraordinary situations. Could this rather unusual situation -- a movie lacking robots but containing a whole bunch of hugs and history -- predict the IMAX of tomorrow? Where dramas might regularly show on the jumbo screen?

And do you cry more when the screen is bigger? "Forrest" fans, you're about to find out.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Farewell, WeHo Palm: Famous Caricature Eatery to Shutter]]> Thu, 04 Sep 2014 12:55:31 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/PALM-223.JPG Many of the celebrity drawings will be taken from the walls and given to the celebrities they honor.

Photo Credit: The Palm]]>
<![CDATA[Weekend: LA River's First Fishing Derby]]> Thu, 04 Sep 2014 07:51:53 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/larivervista_folar.jpg

OFF THA' HOOK: It's a sight seen on a thousand oil paintings: A lone angler, in waders, fishing in the middle of a vast forest. That'll play out, sort of, when the LA River stages its first-ever Fishing Derby on Saturday, Sept. 6. Nope, the angler won't be "lone," nope, hip-deep waders aren't required, and there will not be a vast forest in the background but rather the buildings of busy Los Angeles. One of the goals of the day, beyond pairing some rustic fun with our metropolis's major waterway? To keep an eye out for steelhead trout, which once swam freely in the river. Oh, and yep: It's catch-and-release. You can still dress the part of the oil painting angler, though (we would).

LA GREEK FESTIVAL: We know, and we try, and we heed the call: When attending a party full of interesting foods, one is expected to try most everything. But what if we wanted to sit off to one side, enjoying spanokopites all day? That's a-ok, too. Of course, this fest, which joins hand and dances at Saint Sophia Cathedral from Friday, Sept. 5 through Sunday, Sept. 7, has such a wide array of scrumptious foodstuffs -- souvlaki, lamb, and melomakarona (mmm, honey cookies) -- that even the most serious spanokopita maven'll likely cast a wider eating net.

WALKING WITH DINOSAURS: Arena-style entertainment has seen a plenty of rock 'n roll heavyweights and circus spectaculars, but T. Rex rarely clomps through for a roar-filled cameo. That'll change at the Honda Center from Sept. 3 through 7 when ancient beasties -- or some very impressive puppet-y equivalents -- take the stage for a show that's part entertainment but all educational goodness. The touring dinos are inspired by the BBC series, so, yeah: You'll learn lots. Can't spread your pterodactyl wings and fly to Anaheim? Hang tight: Staples Center is up next.

LONG BEACH LOBSTER FESTIVAL: You, a shirt you don't mind getting dripped-all-over, and a fresh lobster, three weekends in a row? Could happen, if you make for Rainbow Lagoon in the LBC from Sept. 5 through 7, then for the Port of Los Angeles from Sept. 12 through 14, and finally Redondo Beach the weekend after that. It is, without quibble, SoCal's claw-and-butter show, September, with Long Beach leading the proceedings. Music, kidly happenings, and sides for your lobster meat? Yes, and yes, and more yes.

REDONDO BEACH PIER CHALK FESTIVAL: The sunshine should boast some of that late-summer soft-a-tude, the waves shall be doing that picturesque crashing/receding thing, and you? You're using one of Southern California's best-known over-water walkways as a look-down canvas. It's free to join in, young artists are welcome, too, and the first 150 people? You nab gratis chalk, ohhhh yeah. Who is drawing the pier *atop* the pier? Too meta? We think the pier would enjoy hosting its own portrait, at least as long as the chalk lasts. Saturday, Sept. 6



Photo Credit: FOLAR]]>
<![CDATA[Meow: LA Feline Film Festival]]> Wed, 03 Sep 2014 21:10:41 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/219*120/shutterstock_340373771.jpg

Places you can go with your dog around Southern California? Whole guidebooks address this topic, and restaurants trumpet their pup-ready patios.

But cats? They're not really invited anywhere, right? And, in their defense, they've likely got better things to do than watch us type our screenplay at a coffee shop (though they would dearly love to walk across the keyboard at an inopportune moment).

Your cat is very much welcome, however, at one of the whiskeriest wingdings on the annual calendar 'round these parts: The LA Feline Film Festival. It's a nine-hour party -- perhaps to pay homage to kitties' nine lives -- that'll land, softly, on all four feet, at Exposition Park's Christmas Tree Lane on Sunday, Sept. 21.

"Real cats, cat videos, and even some famous cats!" are set to join. Does "famous cats" mean Lil Bub, one of the internet's feline favorites, will be there? You better -- Bubber? -- believe it. Other cat celebs and cat-loving humans'll be in attendance, too.

Plus a load of exhibitors, many selling meow-worthy wares and products and services. And food trucks? Of course. We're pretty sure LA doesn't yet have a full-on cat nip truck, but that can't be too long down the road. Some entrepreneur is plotting.

As with all large-scale animal happenings, there are to-knows (like your kit should be in a carrier or on a leash). Cat rescues and shelters will get some of the fund love from the day, so yay that. And, beyond the videos, will more catly adoration abound? Adoptions, talks, arts, music, and other happenings are all fully feline-focused. Tickets? They start at fifteen bucks, but you can leap upwards, like a cat onto a kitchen counter, to the Crazy Cat Pack.

Should we all be taking our cats out more? Well, maybe just for these special events where they're the centers of attention (which is good and right in the Catverse, which is like the universe, but with more treats).

The LA Feline Film Festival is presented by Walker Art Center and Organikat.



Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[Stroll Frogtown: Al Fresco Art Enjoyment]]> Wed, 03 Sep 2014 12:29:34 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/frogtownartwalklagattuta.jpg

Just about every neighborhood hosts a summertime picnic or spring block party or some other neighbor-nice bash that gets people out and strolling and conversing and moving beyond the usual small talk they might make when they run into each other at the grocery store.

And while each picnic or baseball game or pool day has its own character, a vibe that represents its local charms, Frogtown, the art-fizzy community next to the LA River, has so much character and such a strong vibe that one almost wonders if the neighborhood has a vibe factory somewhere nearby.

The Elysian Valley, though, makes its vibe-i-ness out of its devotion to the arts, to music-making, and to each other. That character is on display every Art Walk, an evening that's all about Frogtowners and those beyond its borders sauntering about, seeing art, and soaking in that good flow, a flow that reflects the river at Frogtown's edge.

The Ninth Annual Frogtown Art Walk ribbits on Saturday, Sept. 13 from 4 to 10 p.m.

What's on the schedule? A bouquet of studios open for touring, including artist Bill Lagattuta's place. Oh, and Mary-Austin Klein, too. (You've seen her epic desertscapes, yes? See them.)

Six stages of live music will be live-music-ing the proceedings right up. I See Hawks in LA will play, yep yep.

And poetry, live typing, performance, and more cultural goodness shall reign, too. Also? River-themed to-dos, including one involving a weather balloon, maps, and a pedi-cab (ferrying people alongside the river).

For sure, this is very vibe-filled. If you're wishing you're own area had a slice of this spirited action, go soak some in and deliver it home.

If you're a Frogtowner, lucky you.



Photo Credit: Frogtown Art Walk]]>
<![CDATA[Flapper Party: Happy 90th, Culver Hotel]]> Tue, 02 Sep 2014 15:34:34 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/221*120/CulverHotel_.jpg

Many of our modern fantasy references stem from "The Wizard of Oz,"  from famous lines ("I'll get you, my pretty") to ruby slippers to flying monkeys to the whimsical names and titles of the characters.

And if someone mentioned "Nonagintennial" in relation to the story we might, at first glance, believe it to be a witch or fairyland. But it is, of course, a 90th anniversary, which is what one of the most famous landmarks associated with Dorothy and friends is marking this year.

Make that Saturday, Sept. 6, in fact. The Culver Hotel, that studio-adjacent, triangle-shaped, fable-and-lore-filled '20s pile that sits grandly along Washington Boulevard is throwing a Prohibition Ball to mark its 1924 beginnings. Sept. 4, 1924 was that exact beginning, to be pinpoint specific, so call it a 90th birthday party, plus two days, for the Culver City gem.

An open bar, hor d'oeuvres, blackjack, stogies, and burlesque round out the flapper-fantastic evening. And should you dress for the era? Well the invite says 1920s fashion is "a must." That sounds pretty firm to us. Find your flapper fringe or feathered sparkly headband at once.

And the cost? This is an easy one: It's $90 a ticket, with 10 percent of each ticket helping out the Culver City Historical Society.

Which fits, as historical societies are so often the organizations that assist landmark structures in reaching their nonagintennial. Without these past-protective societies, fewer beautiful buildings would even see a half century.

As for "The Wizard of Oz" connections? Those came, for the Culver Hotel, more than a decade after its opening. Many actors from the film, including the thespians who portrayed the Munchkins, called the Culver home during the making of the movie at nearby MGM Studios.

So, yes, you should dress in your flapper-y best for the Prohibition Ball, but, look: If you show up as the Mayor of Munchkin City, or the Scarecrow, or Toto, aren't you bringing a little history back to the hotel?

And did the red brick road, the one intertwined with the yellow brick road, actually lead to the Culver Hotel?



Photo Credit: Culver Hotel]]>
<![CDATA[Queue the Excitement: Fans Line Up for First Dunkin' Donuts ]]> Tue, 02 Sep 2014 11:53:18 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/214*120/dunkinlinesm.jpg

Remember way back, lo about 1999, when fans formed a campsite queue outside the Chinese Theatre in anticipation of "The Phantom Menace"? And those "Star Wars" diehards proceeded to live in the line for over a month, solely to buy a ticket to the first screening?

Dunkin' Donuts devotees just gave those lightsaber lovers a run for their fan-style commitment. The "first full expression" of the Massachusetts-based breakfast titan debuted in Santa Monica on Tuesday, Sept. 2, and throngs of people hopped into the queue well before the store's 5 a.m. opening.

We're not horsing around in the "well before" department, either: The first gentleman to line up on the proverbial red carpet arrived a full 37 hours before the Dunkin' Donuts employee slipped the key into the deadbolt and welcomed Munchkin mavens inside the store.

Oh yeah: That guy will be getting free coffee for a year, as was foretold by Dunkin' Donuts HQ.

But the red carpet leading to the door at 1132 Wilshire Boulevard wasn't actually red at all: It was that classic Dunkin' Donuts pink. And were fans jumping, skipping, and high-fiving as they first entered the restaurant?

Seriously. You have to ask?

Transplanted New Englanders and lifelong donut connoisseurs have been pleading for the chain to make a full-scale return to California, in the form of those so-named "full expression" shops (rather than a kiosk or stand, which have made Golden State cameos in the past).

Dreams come true, buffs of breakfast sandwiches and Boston Kremes. And Modesto, Whittier, Long Beach, and Downey? You now know that the first guy in line in Santa Monica capped off at 37 hours.

The gauntlet -- or, rather, a napkin boasting the company's pink-and-orange logo -- has been thrown.

Who is set to break those records as those four still-to-come stores roll out in the coming months?



Photo Credit: Dunkin' Donuts]]>
<![CDATA[Grand Central Market, Draped in Yarn]]> Tue, 02 Sep 2014 09:14:27 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/grandcentral23456.jpg

If you're strolling down most any street, you're likely to see parking meters, some cars, a few storefronts, a fire hydrant, and a whimsical bit of colorful knitted yarn twirled around a lamppost.

Well, that last sight is rarer, but yarn bombing, or the act of adding crochet or knitting to an object where yarnwork typically does not appear, grows ever more common since its initial appearances in the flash-mob-y days of the early aughts.

Yep. Even The Smithsonian was recently yarn-bombed.

Now a downtown LA landmark is up next for the crafty honor. Yarn Bombing LA has its gaze, and knitting needles, set upon Grand Central Market, but, nope, there won't be some single strands of colorful fiber twirled around a couple of chairs. "(A) Greek-inspired 'yarn-opolis'" is on the way this November, with "an installation that looks at the coming together of crafters, pedestrians, and downtown Los Angeles districts in the space of the open-air market."

What does this mean, exactly? A "floor-to-ceiling artwork" will be installed later this fall.

If you know Grand Central, you know those ceilings are high. Which means a lot of needles need to click-clack to make this slice of community-minded whimsy happen. 

Want to jump into the yarn-bombery, knitters of Southern California? Join a session on Saturday, Sept. 27 and Saturday, Oct. 11. You'll "knit, crochet, or sew portions of the hundreds of individual fabric pieces" that will soon comprise the whole.

And comprising the whole, theme-wise, is absolutely what this all-together-now artwork is considering. Plus, figure that if you participate you're only steps away from Olio and Horse Thief Barbecue and other foodie stands inside the ye-olde-LA public market.

It will, in fact, mark its centennial in a few years. Why not participate in a large-scale art piece as a way to highlight its ability to draw downtowners, and everyone, together?



Photo Credit: Jakob N. Layman]]>
<![CDATA[Getty Villa: Greek Tragedy in a Classic Open-Air Setting]]> Wed, 03 Sep 2014 12:43:53 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/199*120/web_persians_large223.jpg

It's as close to a fact as you can get when you unequivacably state these true words: Los Angeles has darn near everything.

A space shuttle? Yep, got one, near downtown. A giant boulder you can walk beneath? It's just off Wilshire and Fairfax. Every version of type of performance venue, from ten-seaters to arenas? Those, too.

That lengthy list includes an especially notable player: a perfectly realized outdoor theater very much in the style of ancient Greece. It's at the Getty Villa in Malibu, and while visitors to the statue- and artifact-packed museum can sit and enjoy the al fresco space all year long, it comes to vibrant life each September when the Getty presents a play by a long-ago master.

"Persians" by Aeschylus is the 2014 presentation, and SITI Company from New York takes on the work, "an emotional story of war, victory, and loss experienced by an imagined Persian court." What's often noted about "The Persians" is this: It addresses a real happening of the era. It's the "sole surviving Greek tragedy about a historical event," the "battle of Salamis in 480 B.C."

Even a few millenia later, audience members sense the urgency of an actual event unfolding. And they do so in a very convincing homage to the outdoor theaters of Greece. By moonlight, with the lights low, can you almost picture yourself on some hillside outside Athens, watching drama and headlines of the day -- such as they were -- co-mingle in thrilling form?

"Persians" make a stand in Malibu Thursdays through Saturdays from Sept. 4 through 27.



Photo Credit: © 2014 Craig Schwartz Photography]]>
<![CDATA[Offbeat Fashion Show: Dress Like the Original Farmers Market]]> Mon, 01 Sep 2014 12:33:00 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/200*120/fmfashionfruitstand1.jpg

If you were called up on to dress in the style of a famous Southern California destination, say, a Universal Studios or the beach, would you first think to grab a pair of shorts or a bikini?

Good thinking. But what if you were asked to dress in homage to the place itself? How would such an outfit look if, say, it had to represent Universal's Tram Tour or Santa Monica Pier?

The Original Farmers Market at Third & Fairfax is stepping up to this sartorial challenge with its typical homespun flair and apple-sweet aplomb. Fashion Week is strutting up the runway at a clip 'round LA, and the Grove-close landmark will celebrate with a Farmers Market-themed fashion show on Friday evening, Sept. 12.

Nope, the models won't be dressed in the casual wear oft seen among the market's historic stalls. Rather, local designers will cast an eye on the clocktowered structure for clothing inspiration.

So, for sure, you might see a skirt that summons the pastry-sweet hues of Bob's Donuts or the coleslaw at Bryan's Pit Barbecue or perhaps a pair of slacks covered in walnut shells (we imagine they'd pay tribute to Magee's House of Nuts).

"Inventive, creative Farmers Market"-cool outfits are the order of the day, and the designers? They all hail from SoCal. Viewers of the show can vote and the winning designer? They'll pocket a hundred-buck gift certificate to the market.

As with all Farmers Market to-dos, this one is free, so be by the trolley tracks at 6 p.m. on Sept. 12. But the models, in full glorious fashion, will strut about the market starting a couple of hours early, so arrive for a coffee and see if you can guess what their dress or suit is echoing.

And, please. Someone is going as the famous Farmers Market clocktower, right? Complete with a weather vane atop their head? Maybe even a cassette playing chimes? We can't wait to see the agog-making togs that come out of this one.



Photo Credit: Original Farmers Market]]>
<![CDATA[Salty Air, Chalky Ground: Draw on Redondo Beach Pier]]> Tue, 02 Sep 2014 05:10:26 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/chalk+festival+agp.jpg

When you learned to write the first few letters of the alphabet, where did you first try them out, outside of a book of lined paper?

Maybe the dining room wall, sure, with permanent markers. But if you live in Southern California you likely participated in the time-honored tradition of writing letters in the sand. Using wet beach as a blackboard is a-ok, as is moving to the sidewalk with chalk.

Those two whimsical favorites of youth merge at Redondo Beach Pier every late summer when the pieces of chalk -- many, many pieces -- are shaken from boxes for the annual Back-to-School Chalk Festival on the Pier.

It's free, it's colorful, and, yep, a lot of the pictures summon the spirit of the sea. And while it isn't sand writing, you're not far from the sand, meaning you can walk down to the water's edge and create a "rough draft" of your illustration, of sorts, in the sand, before you try it, for realsies, up on the pier in chalk.

And if you don't love your first try, on the beach canvas? The Pacific'll erase it in minutes.

Date? Saturday, Sept. 6. Time? Noon to 4 p.m. For families? For sure. Shall there be prizes? There shall be. And get there early: The first 150 artists nab free chalk.

But call the biggest prize hanging out on a pier drawing whales on the concrete. Redondo Beach has gotten a rep for supporting some of the most vibrant pay-nothing events around -- hello, gigantico Festival of the Kite -- and the September chalk-it-up taps into that breezy, sunny spirit.

Seriously: Why not use the sand to plot out what you'll draw on the pier? There's a reason beaches have served as temporary canvases throughout time.



Photo Credit: Redondo Beach Pier Chalk Festival]]>
<![CDATA[Last-Minute Labor Day: Clambake for Heal the Bay]]> Mon, 01 Sep 2014 08:25:16 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/214*120/wrhealthebay.jpg

Memorial Day Weekend may prove a bit June-Gloom-y, and Fourth of July is all about the pyrotechnics.

But Labor Day? It's typically the most mellow of the summer season holidays, and one that sets us into a nostalgic mood (maybe it is the coming of fall and school starting).

So going beyond the usual barbecue to a supper that's briny with atmosphere and old-time-y charms suits the early September party, and even more so when there's an important something to help out.

That important something, on Monday, Sept. 1, is our own oceanic waters, and the place to do it? Whiskey Red's in Marina del Rey. The restaurant is hosting an all-the-trimmings clambake with a good goal in mind: Help out Heal the Bay, which will receive a portion of the proceeds.

On tap? An "all-you-can-eat clams and seafood buffet, BBQ, drink specials, whiskey tastings, live music, DJ and more." Hours are 1 to 8 p.m., so that's a lot clammage.

Which means if you haven't engaged in a round of briny-scented shucking in awhile, that will all change on the Whiskey Red's patio, which is, in fact, billed as "the largest waterfront patio in the Marina."

Yeah, eating clams, on a waterside patio, is pretty much Labor Day (tm).

Though, true, we're not the clambakers that other parts of the country are. Meaning this: The barbecue can wait, but clambakes don't roll around as often as they should here in the SoCal.

Forty five bucks gets you entry and a clambake ticket, but if you want to show just to enjoy the sunshine and scene, a tenner'll get you in.

Can't make it? You can still love on Heal the Bay, donation- and volunteering-wise.



Photo Credit: Whiskey Red's]]>
<![CDATA[Music Ends, Cleanup Begins at Grand Park]]> Mon, 01 Sep 2014 09:15:19 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/grand+park+made+in+america+cleanup+monday.jpg

Cleanup crews moved into Grand Park early Monday after tens of thousands of music fans packed the downtown Los Angeles venue over the weekend during a two-day concert that featured John Mayer, Kanye West, Weezer, Iggy Azalea, Kendrick Lamar and Cypress Hill.

The Budweiser Made in America event, which featured about 30 solo  performers and bands, was touted by Mayor Eric Garcetti as a way to show it's  possible to throw a "great party right here in the heart of the city." Sunday's crowd of ticket holders was placed at 37,419, up from 34,374  Saturday, said Los Angeles police Officer J. Kim.

A total of 80 arrests or citations were reported Sunday, the concert's  second day, Kim said. There were three felony arrests, 10 involving misdemeanors and 67 citations that included 35 alcohol and traffic violations. Also Sunday, several people were treated for illness or injuries as temperatures climbed into the 90s.

Twenty-nine arrests were reported on Saturday, the first day of the  concert. In all, six people were arrested on Saturday for alleged felonies that were narcotics-related, according to Los Angeles Police Department Lt. Andy  Neiman. The other 23 were arrested for misdemeanors, primarily alcohol  offenses, according to Neiman.

Grand Park, the venue for the Made in America music festival, will  remain closed to the public until Tuesday while it is cleaned, authorities  said. Workers were taking down stages and equipment early Monday.

Philadelphia was the site of a sister festival that featured some of the  same performers. revious Made in America events held in Philadelphia generated about $10 million in local spending, according to event organizers, and would likely be  a $12 million boon to the Los Angeles economy, Garcetti said.

"We showed L.A. can do big things for our economy and people's  enjoyment," Garcetti said in a statement. "We want leading companies and event organizers to  know we're changing LA so it's not longer a place where red tape is allowed  to stand in the way of jobs, innovation and entertainment."

To reimburse costs to taxpayers, Live Nation agreed to pay $500,000 to  the city to cover policing and related services for the concert. Live Nation  also agreed to pay for any damage to public property. Live Nation also will pay $600,000 for the use of the county-owned Grand  Park, which is run by The Music Center.



Photo Credit: KNBC-TV]]>
<![CDATA[LA County Fair: Outlandish Eats Aplenty]]> Sun, 31 Aug 2014 16:50:03 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/chickencharliesfair1.JPG

Make no bones about it, when it comes to headline-making county fair foods: Fried is tried-and-true.

If something edible is rolled in batter then thrown in hot oil, it is a fancy-capturer, but there's another trend at work on the county fair scene, a tasty one if not an especially outlandish-freaky-foodie one: Gourmet bites, posh sips, and bites that are unfried, unsugared, unstuffed with another food product.

The Los Angeles County Fair, being a biggin' -- that's totally an official term, by the way -- covers all parts of the supping spectrum over its month-long run (which, by the by, runs through Sunday, Sept. 28.

Let's not lead with the fried stuff, as lusciously moist though it is, and instead begin with the wine and beer tasting scene. It's robust at the Pomona party, and the crafty brews run the refreshing gamut from Icelandic white ales to Wisconsin rieslings. Plus? Plenty of regional libations to feel local pride over.

As for the non-stand-y eats? Farm Fresh Flat Bread is the grilled specialty at The Farm, Asian cuisine is on the menu at the lantern-lovely Luminasia, and the Top of the Park Restaurant & Bar has that sit-down inside dining experience.

Okay okay okay: All that booth-blissful crackly-fried goodness is in full fried-fun blossom at the fair, of course.

Want funnel cake? You got it (aside: funnel cake is more old-school than the term "old-school). Deep-fried bacon-wrapped pickles? They're around. The Krispy Kreme Burger of yore has gone full-on triple decker, and the fried Doritos from the San Diego County Fair? Yeah. They're at Chicken Charlie's. Prepare to get orange-tipped fingertips.

If you're someone who feels overwhelmed among the bite-laden booths, best take a peek ahead of time. You can start right here, fair foodie.



Photo Credit: Greg Andersen/LA County Fair]]>
<![CDATA[UberCHOPPER Takes Flight in LA]]> Tue, 02 Sep 2014 14:27:51 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/229*120/uberchopper123.jpg

There may be a day, not too far in the future, when we pull out our iPhone 127C and call for the nearest spaceship in our neck of the galaxy, because we really, really need to hit that new plasma restaurant on Centauri 6.

But until then? The rideshare boom is very much terrestrial-based. Summon an automobile, get in, get out, all without defying gravity or sailing over traffic.

That all changed in a rather dramatic and visual way on Sunday, Aug. 31 when a helicopter began to transport riders to Malibu with the sole purpose of quaffing wine. Well, quaffing wine and hashtagging the heck out of their experience, socia media-style, because, yeah, they just took a helicopter to their next glass of wine.

It was no mere helicopter, though: It was UberCHOPPER, as in Uber, the car company that picks people up and drops them off, quickity-like, a titan in the new (newish?) share economy.

"For a while it said no chopper available, and then all of a sudden it said 11 minutes, so I clicked it and it said 'en route,' and I said, 'No, way!'" said one user.

Will there be UberCHOPPERs on every corner now, hovering while awaiting passengers? Well, no. It was a promotion, just on the final day in August.

UberCHOPPER wasn't, however, strictly like any other scenic helicopter ride. The experience required that you use an Uber app, which calls an UberBLACK -- a posher set of wheels, yep yep -- to wherever you happen to be standing while staring at your phone. "If an UberCHOPPER is available, we'll give you a call to confirm the details." The UberBLACK will eventually deliver you to a helipad.

And then? You're in a helicopter, headed for Malibu, to drink wine, eat cheese, pet animals, and go on a safari tour of the property.

Are you hearing a soft-rock '70s soundtrack over that visualization? The soaring-over-the-city part? A few bow-chickas thrown in, to lend your jaunt a touch of extravagance? Yeah, you're so visualizing this.

The cost: $1,500 (or $500 if you "split the fare," as Uber breaks it down).

The demand was high, Uber said.

No doubt about it: We'll be summoning spaceships soon. Mere months? Maybe.



Photo Credit: Uber]]>
<![CDATA[Whimsical Cat Shelters, as Imagined by Architects]]> Fri, 29 Aug 2014 17:22:35 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/catFXFOWLE__photo_credit_LucioSantos12.jpeg An exhibit spotlights elegant and contemporary feline-ready structures, with an important goal in mind.

Photo Credit: Lucio Santos]]>
<![CDATA[This Weekend: Made in America Festival]]> Sat, 30 Aug 2014 08:40:53 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/id452083488.jpg

Grand Park, our downtown park, has been the subject of every comparison possible since debuting just over two years ago. How is it like other urban parks, how is it not, and will the 12-acre expanse become LA's primary meeting, picnicking, hangout place?

It's been trucking along on several fronts, save one: It hasn't yet hosted a major, major concert, like many other metro-ensconced green spaces around the country have. That changes over Labor Day Weekend with the Budweiser Made in America Festival, which is the first time the park has been the location for a pay-to-get-in happening.

The mondo, multi-genre gathering, which will see upwards of 50,000 attendees ready to see live performances from Imagine Dragons, Afrojack, Kanye West, John Mayer, Iggy Azalea, Kendrick Lamar, Juanes, and Weezer, was announced in the springtime. Founded by artist Jay-Z, the fest has Philadelphia roots and is "expected to inject millions of dollars into the LA economy," says Mayor Eric Garcetti.

United Way is a beneficiary.

The two-day party is also being "met with resistance by a group who fears alcohol will lead to dangerous behavior, while officials say security and the city are ready."

Headed to the park along with those 50,000 concert goers? Best check out the festival guide, which includes information on street closures, area hotels, ticket specifics, and how to get there (Metro is suggested).

The large-scale outdoor music festivals continue for Los Angeles, with the Sunset Strip Music Festival scheduled for the final weekend of summer (Sept. 20 and Sept. 21).



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Long Beach Kicks Off SoCal's Lobster-iest Month]]> Sat, 30 Aug 2014 09:38:53 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/lobsterlbcphoto123.jpg

Some seafoodians might glance at the calendar around Labor Day, making a note to change it from August to September, and then bingo-bango: They remember that Southern California's every-week-for-three-weeks run of lobster-filled festivals is just ahead, and they better text their lobster-lovin' relatives and chums at once.

But other seafoodians? They know, already. Boy howdy, do they; they're so serious they've been practically sleeping in their plastic bib for much of the summer, in eat-happy anticipation.

They know that Long Beach is up first, then Port of Los Angeles follows, and Redondo rounds it out, one, two, three weekends in a row.

Ready to enter the crustacean zone, People of the Claw?

LBC is your place to be -- take that slogan, Long Beach, if you like it -- from Friday, Sept. 5 through Sunday, Sept. 7. This is the one with allllll the festival goers in the lobster hats and beads. Due this year? A Queen tribute band, zydeco-flavored dance, blues, country, get-up-and-move music.

Plus: the food. Fresh Maine lobster is the star, along with coleslaw, watermelon, lemons, and butter dipping sauce. Oh, and a roll, which you'll completely soak in the butter dipping sauce, once you've made short work of your lobster.

We know that's how it goes.

There's also a lobster knick knack store, in addition to other vendors. Our thought? You should buy a crustacean statuette for your shelf, so you remember that September is LA's lobster-iest month of the year. No surprises when Labor Day Weekend rolls around: You've made your plans.

Then, soon, you too will keep the bib handy, maybe even donning it for special occasions outside of the late-summer lobster festivals.



Photo Credit: The Original Long Beach Lobster Festival]]>