<![CDATA[NBC Southern California - Dining, shopping and nightlife]]> Copyright 2015 http://www.nbclosangeles.com/entertainment/the-scene http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/NBC4_40x125.png NBC Southern California http://www.nbclosangeles.com en-us Wed, 29 Jul 2015 23:17:24 -0700 Wed, 29 Jul 2015 23:17:24 -0700 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Grumpy Dog Earl Challenges Grumpy Cat's Reign]]> Wed, 29 Jul 2015 21:58:56 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/AP_181860800019.jpg

The world’s grouchiest feline has some new competition. Meet “Grumpy Dog.”

Earl, a second-generation puggle with a permanent scowl and sulky expression, is challenging Grumpy Cat’s reign over sour-faced pets of the Internet. 

The 5-month-old beagle-pug quickly rose to fame on Reddit, amassing millions of fans across multiple social media platforms and becoming the subject of some hilarious Internet memes.

Earl’s owner Derek Bloomfield tells Yahoo! News that despite the pooches peeved appearance, he is ery friendly and the “most relaxed, content puppy.” 

“The vet said he’s as healthy as any other puppy,” Bloomfield said. “He just looks grumpy because of his underbite, wrinkles, and dark complexion.”

Photo Credit: AP Images for Friskies
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<![CDATA[OC Fair's Winning Food: The Bam Dog]]> Wed, 29 Jul 2015 18:09:51 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/bamdog9292932.jpg

Ask a county fair fan when exactly a fair's most important moment falls, regarding big food reveals, and they'll likely say that the weeks before the event are the most newsworthy.

After all, that's when the fair unveils its most creative concoctions to stir up excitement, concoctions that can range from deep-fried Starbucks to Twinkies covered in caviar.

And while the June run-up to the OC Fair's July start did stoke many taste buds, an appetizing announcement after the fair is tempting food fans, too. It's the pick for Top OC Fair Food Item, a selection made by a cadre of in-the-business pros.

The 2015 winner is The Bam Dog. Made by Pink's -- you might have guessed that -- with an inspiration in chef Emeril Lagasse -- you probably guessed that, too -- The Bam Dog beat out a number of culinary competitors, including fried treats, sweet goodies, and other hearty, main-meal-esque fare. 

The pros waded through 78 entries in all and the big announcement arrived just days after the fair's July 17 opening.

Waded deliciously and with an adventurous spirit, we imagine.

So what's found atop the nine-inch Bam Dog? Well, a little spice, as befits Mr. Lagasse's personal palate. A little cold 'n crunchy, for tone and depth. 

And bacon. Because always, bacon. To the ends of time, bacon. Bacon.

The actual, non-food-writer-y descriptions for what's on the dog include bacon, cole slaw, jalapenos, cheese, mustard, and onions. As for the food pros who crowned the hot dog with 2015's top honor? They include chefs, a food scribe, and a food educator. 

And can the public buy it and let their mouth be the judge? They can, all fair long, at the Pink's Hot Dogs booth, which can be found in the Centennial Farms area of the OC Fair & Events Center.

This isn't a dish that's been around at the fair for decades, if you're curious (though some have been, which is no surprise, since the OC Fair turned 125 this year). The Bam Dog only made its fair debut in 2014.

As for other on-a-stick, wrapped-in-foil, in-a-cone delicacies that got the pros' grateful nods? The Pineapple Spinach Agua Fresca at Backyard BBQ and the Fireball Whisky Caramel Donut at Texas Donuts were two other favorites among the 78 juicy/salty/doughy/delish participants.

Has Emeril Lagasse been to the original Pink's Hot Dogs, in Hollywood? Oh yeah he has. The Melrose and La Brea landmark also serves The Bam Dog, for seven bucks and a quarter. 

Photo Credit: OC Fair]]>
<![CDATA[SoCal Sizzle: Keep Cool in the Humid Heat]]> Wed, 29 Jul 2015 12:25:56 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/179*120/swimming-pool_550px.jpg

There's no truth to the rumor that if you repeat the words "El Niño" over and over an unusual weather occurrence appears outside your home, as if summoned there by mysterious forces.

But El Niño is in the headlines and Southern California has seen some unusual weather in the past few weeks, from the uncommon thunderstorm to humidity levels that have locals comparing LA to every other city known for moist air.

Saying "but it's a dry heat" has not been the SoCaler's standard go-to response this summer, in short.

So with early August on the way, and promised high temperatures paired with a mugginess not typically felt around this region, where will people retreat to to find needed relief? The indoor Rain Room headed for the Los Angeles County Museum of Art isn't open yet, but you can strap on your blades and make for...

THE OC FAIR: Nighttime ice skating -- and daytime ice skating, too -- is just one of the options at the Costa Mesa carnival, and for sure a popular one. Even the name of the attraction is cooling: Fairenheit 32°. You can rent your ice skates there if your own pair is stowed (or, being a SoCaler, you don't have ice skates). Whether mittens are required is up to you, but we'd let the cool scene wash over us, as much as possible.

THE PAGE MUSEUM: You've likely seen the banners around town for "Titans of the Ice Age," the new 3D experience at the bone-filled institution next to the La Brea Tar Pits. True, it is cool, temperature-wise, in the museum, but the stunner of a short film will whisk you back to the icy climes once ruled by mammoths. Think of it like visiting snow, thousands of years ago, with a fascinating educational component.

DISNEY CALIFORNIA ADVENTURE: Does your child know all the words to "Do You Wanna Build a Snowman?" Of course? So much so they correct you if you flub a line? Many a "Frozen"-loving family knows this experience. You can practice, alongside your wee "Frozen" fan, at Disneyland Resort, which has a several-times-a-day "Frozen" sing-along. Ice, snow, cold castles, and other imagery, along with Elsa and Anna sightings, reign.

LA COUNTY POOLS: If you simply want to hang out in the shallow end, in a giant hat, while weathering the weather, dozens of swimming holes 'round the county are keeping busy hours. Here's your list -- there's one surely not far from you.

Stay cool, SoCal, and as unsoggy, in the clothing department, as you can. Of course, high humidity generally has the last laugh in the sticky shirts and clinging tees department, however hard we might protest.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[New: The Tableside Cotton Candy Martini]]> Tue, 28 Jul 2015 16:20:51 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/bartoncotton1-horz2.jpg

The tableside dish is typically just that -- an actual food-filled dish assembled near a restaurant table.

Think of an appetizer or entree or salad made before the eager eyes of the patron who ordered it, typically with much flair and drama and some colorful commentary by the restaurant staffer. Think of The Famous Original Spinning Salad Bowl at Lawry's The Prime Rib in Beverly Hills or Cherries Jubilee at Pico Rivera's own Dal Rae.

Think of a cocktail made this way... Wait. You can't? Yeah, it's pretty darn uncommon.

Now SoCaler dine-outers should add a drink to the made-tableside list, one that comes with a hefty dose of carnival-style whimsy and pure pink-o-sity. It's the new Tableside Cotton Candy Martini at Barton G., and it has made its beverage-kapow bow just in time for the region's county fair season.

Which, of course, is the cotton-candy-est time of year. 

The cocktail is for the grown-ups, as the "martini" part of the name implies, and its table-close show involves a cloud of cotton candy sitting in a large martini glass. Nope, the sipper isn't required to try and sip the libation through the cotton candy. Rather a server pours a mixture of citrus vodka, ruby red grapefruit juice, orange juice, and Cointreau over the bubblegum-flavored candy floss.

Then fooooom: The cotton candy is magically gone, or, rather, is now liquified inside the drink itself.

Melting cotton candy and a bit of magical smoke are part of the show. A show, we should add, that is custom-made for two. The Tableside Cotton Candy Martini is described by the whimsical West Hollywood eatery as "shareable."

The price tag is twenty two dollars. And, true, while you can stroll up to most bars and watch your martini get shaken or margarita poured or cosmopolitan stirred, having a cocktail-cool show at the side of your table is the far rarer experience.

Though sipping a martini filled with melty cotton candy might even be rarer than that.

Photo Credit: Barton G.]]>
<![CDATA[Penguin Chick: An Aquarium Cutie's Debut]]> Tue, 28 Jul 2015 17:22:16 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/aquariumpenguin929392.jpg

The first question, upon arriving at the June Keyes Penguin Habitat at the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, isn't the sort of squeal you'll emit -- "squee" or "awww" is most likely -- or whether you'll want to take a penguin of your own home, an urge shared by most visitors.

It's where you'll stand along the water line, as seen through the habitat's clear walls. Stand below and you'll see penguin feet treading; stand above and you'll spy sweet beaks. And stand anywhere in the vicinity, on Tuesday, Aug. 18, and you'll behold the newest member of the aquarium's penguin group, a born-in-June chick.

Cue the heartfelt squees and awwws.

The wee Magellanic Penguin has no name; keepers aren't sure if Baby is a boy or girl quite yet. It's hatch day is of course known -- that was June 5 -- and that it is among the third generation of penguins to be born at the Long Beach aquatic institution.

If you know Roxy and Floyd, they're the chick's mum and dad, and Anderson, Skipper, and Heidi are the baby bird's siblings.

And if you possess deep penguin knowledge, and we're fairly confident you do, you know that a newborn penguin needs time to develop its "watertight juvenile feathers," feathers that take the place of the "downy layer of plumage" that is the penguin's very first coat.

Yep, this process is called fledgling, and, yep, you absolutely should squee and/or awww here, if you're so inclined.

So how will keepers determine if this newest nursery inhabitant is a girl or boy? A blood test. As for what's on the nursery menu, "hand-fed fish" is the special of the day, and every day, while the chick is in the house.

If you can't wait for Aug. 18 to get your in-person, stand-at-the-water-line coos on, you can start dreaming your baby penguin dreams now. Join the aquarium's Adopt an Animal program for fifty bucks and try for a possible chance for a penguin encounter and "a one-of-a-kind painting by a penguin chick."

There's no way to come back from the cuteness of that particular thought, nor should any person try. Just clear the third Thursday in August, if you need some up-close looks at this baby, and dream of how soft a "downy layer of plumage" on a new-to-this-world penguin must be. 

Maybe the softest substance in the Solar System? We'd go with that.

Photo Credit: Robin Riggs/Aquarium of the Pacific]]>
<![CDATA[Contest: Invent a Beer That Tastes Like LA]]> Mon, 27 Jul 2015 18:12:39 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/196*120/mexicancolabeer1.jpg

Depth and tone and acidity and body and fruitiness and mellowness are just some of the words that beer buffs regularly invoke to describe the pint in they hold in their hands.

But what if that same beer buff was challenged to come up with a new beer, from scratch, that represents the spirit of Los Angeles, one that would be made by one of Southern California's top brewhouses?

Would "depth" and "tone" take a backseat to a fresh SoCal-specific flavor or a zany ingredient?

This will be the question that brew lovers shall be asking themselves in the weeks ahead as "What Would You Brew?," Angel City Brewery's annual you-invent-a-beer contest, marches forward towards an end-of-September deadline.

"(H)undreds of incredible recipes and stories" have been submitted in years past, and winners have included Lori Newman's "Desert Dreams" (think sage, orange peels, and other ingredients that summon the Southern California desert) and Emily Finch's Mexican Cola Beer.

Two libations that definitely feel local, both in terms of ingredients and drawing in other LA and LA-close elements.

But Angel City won't simply whip up the inventive brew and sell it; the winner shall spend the day working with the Angel City team as they make the beer a reality. And the concoction'll go fairly wide, for a time, most notably at LA Beer Week 2016. Other goodies, like a custom kegerator, are part of the victor's take-home package.

Submit your foamy recipe by Sept. 30. The winner'll be notified in October.

So, IPA and ale aficionados, what would LA taste like, in a beer? "Glamour and grit, art and commerce, desert and sea, freeways and freedom..." suggests the Arts District brewhouse. 

That all sounds pretty easy to fold into a recipe, right? Best brainstorm over a brew.

Photo Credit: Angel City Brewery]]>
<![CDATA[Elvises Aplenty Jumpsuit-Up for OC Kingfab]]> Mon, 27 Jul 2015 12:38:48 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/ElvisFestCremedelaKingwinners.jpg

While humming or singing along with a beloved, know-it-by-heart tune is pretty standard for most fans of popular music, that's where the buck tends to stop: With the fan's mouth and vocal cords.

But there are a few icons in the annals of pop music-makery that require a true-blue buff to incorporate some physical action in addition to the singing-along. You may need to raise your fist, Freddie Mercury-style, when singing to Queen, and you may need to strum a guitar with The Beatles, and you always, always swivel your hips when Elvis Presley is on the radio.

Professional hip-swivelers, or at least those Elvis tribute artists who put the time and hunka hunka hours in, will converge upon the Orange County Market Place on the final Sunday of August to show us fans how achieving Elvis in song, look, and hip sway is fully done. 

It's the 16th annual Elvis Festival, and if you're wondering if the gold pinkie rings and big belt buckles and smoldering gazes and colorful leis will be out in fabulous force, wonder no longer: Elvis-o-sity is the theme and King-cool reigns.

Three full stages over a full long day will feature tribute artists paying heartfelt homage to The King in all of his eras, from just-starting-out Elvis to Hawaiian-movie-star Elvis to the beloved Elvis who rocked a mean white jumpsuit and slick pompadour circa the early 1970s.

It won't be all about eyeing the pompadour'd pros at work, though. A Cadillac car show, a King of the Sundaes ice cream-eating contest from Farrell's, and other retro, kitsch-fun happenings will summon the glitter of Graceland to the OC Fair & Event Center.

And fans can try their own lip-syncing prowess during the Hunk A Burnin' Love Lip Synch Contest.

Of course, it isn't just about the mouth action with The King's top hits, as has been determined. For while the bulk of musicians have made their mark solely through their songs, a few legends went beyond, incorporating famous moves or dances or gestures into their acts, gestures that fans continue to emulate years later.

So start stretching those hip flexors, Elvis aficionados: You'll need to go full King on Sunday, Aug. 30 in Costa Mesa. 

Photo Credit: Orange County Market Place]]>
<![CDATA[Guinness Record Attempt: Halloween Candy Unwrap]]> Mon, 27 Jul 2015 09:38:53 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/194*120/stickyrockmix1.jpg

If you had to guess what sort of Guinness World Record attempt would be made at a Halloween-themed convention, what would you alight upon first?

The most dancers doing the "Thriller" claw hands? The most people dressed like zombies? The loudest scream or the longest time for holding one's arms out stiffly, a la Frankenstein's monster?

Those should all probably be in the Big Book o' Guinness, and some in the spooky theme likely are. But the ghoulish revelers at ScareLA, the ever-growling -- er, ever-growing -- early-August Halloween convention, are going to go for something a little stickier and sweeter.

At 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 8, a whole heck of a lot of Halloweenies'll gather at the Pasadena Convention Center to go for this particularly quirky record: the most Halloween candy being unwrapped at the same time.

How much is "most" here? Well, organizers have put the call out for one thousand Scaries, the completely presh name for people who attend the everything-October-31st gathering.

Signs point to it happening, given that over 200 people have already signed up to participate as of the third week in July.

So picture it: One thousand people unwrapping candy at the same time. That number of people is probably slightly larger than the neighborhood crowd that used to dump their sweet-packed plastic pumpkins on the rug in your den, post-trick-or-treating. But maybe about the number of candy-unwrappers seen in the nut factory owned by Veruca Salt's father in "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory."

No word as to what will happen after the paper comes off the sugary goodies, but one imagines all or most of the 1000+ unwrappers will pop that stuff in their mouths, lickety split.

Candy purveyors Sticky and Sweet! in Hollywood are co-hosting the record-breaker, and participants will depart with some Sticky sweets.

How are your fingers? Nimble? Can they still unsheath a sucker or nougat bar in no time flat? If you plan on attending ScareLA, you may need to put this commendable talent to work. And you'll want to register, too.

Do note that you should be a convention attendee to participate, so plan on spending the afternoon at August's eeriest scene. 

Photo Credit: Sticky]]>
<![CDATA[New: Raptors Encounter at Universal]]> Fri, 24 Jul 2015 08:52:37 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/196*120/raptoruniversal12345.jpg

When one visits Universal Studios Hollywood, one knows that they'll A) get a bit of sun and B) probably enjoy an ice cream cone and C) potentially run into a few dinosaurs bent on showing their big teeth.

It's just a fact that if you venture into the theme park's Jurassic Park -- The Ride you'll spy ancient reptiles of the menacing, claw-bearing variety. What you don't expect is to cross paths with a fearsome, scale-covered monster outside of the ride, which has, until now, been traditionally a dinosaur-free zone.

That's changing thanks to Raptors Encounter, the new experience located next to Jurassic Park. The encounter "pits guests in a daring face-to-face standoff with these terrifying, now free-roaming carnivores."


Good thing these particular Velociraptors come with their own entourage. These "highly skill handlers... adeptly guide them to within feet of the guests," says the theme park. Guests may be on the receiving end of "intimidating eye contact" from the beasts, which also produce "ear-piercing screeches." The Raptors also show their 12-inch talons and 56 "razor sharp, bone-crushing teeth."

Eeps again.

Clearly, all of the dinosaurs at Universal Studios Hollywood are not ensconced inside Jurassic Park. Now you even have to be on your run-from-a-Raptor toes as you're milling outside the ride, getting a bit of sun and enjoying an ice cream cone.

The Raptors -- and they're totally and completely real, right? -- are some impressively rendered creatures, cool cousins to the Saber-toothed Cat at the Page Museum at the La Brea Tar Pits, at least in realistic spirit. If you've seen that puppet, you know how nifty -- and scary and realistic, too -- these new-to-Universal guys'll are.

Raptor Encounter

Unleash the Raptors!!

Posted by Universal Studios Hollywood on Thursday, 23 July 2015

Photo Credit: Universal Studios Hollywood]]>
<![CDATA[Christmas in July: 'Love, Actually' Screening]]> Fri, 24 Jul 2015 08:47:17 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/christmasinjulyeatseehear12345.jpg

The concept of Christmas in July has been around for decades, in the form of store sales and dining specials and quirky parades and kooky camp skits and birthday swimming themes.

Why the staying power? Perhaps the notion of pairing Noël with diving boards and tropical drinks continues to charm those who like mismatched pairings and adorable opposites.

Eat|See|Hear continues this tradition by hanging the holly each summer on one special, tinsel-twinkly night. That less-than-silent night fa-la-las for 2015 on Saturday, July 25 when "Love Actually" unspools at Santa Monica High School.

The Richard Curtis-penned tale of connecting/disconnecting lives around London, around the holidays, stars Hugh Grant, Bill Nighy, Emma Thompson, and a host of British and American headliners. 

Should you wear a red-and-green sweater? You should, if the weather isn't too sweat-inducing. Might you wear a Santa cap? People attending the Christmas in July screening have, in the past. Will Santa actually be in attendance? The word on the wind says that the famous North Pole denizen isn't especially frantic with the toy-making at the moment, so he just might make a Claus-y cameo.

Making the merriment all a little more heartwarming is the festive fact that the Christmas in July night doubles as a donation drive for Best Friends Animal Society LA, which supports No Kill LA. Have a blanket you're no longer using, or some towels? Throw 'em in the back seat and give them away to shelter dogs.

The Neighbors will provide the live tunes, there shall be food trucks for you to nosh at, and your own pup is welcome. If you know where her wearable reindeer antlers are, you might pack them, too, because a pooch in antlers has a way of delighting every biped within a 50-foot radius.

We mean, though, honestly: She doesn't have to wear the antlers for the whole film. Just for the necessary selfies. 

General admission is twelve bucks. Cash needed for the food trucks is up to your appetite.

And as for dressing cozy, in the Christmas in July theme? Well, we have been experiencing some June Gloom-like days recently, and you will be very close to the ocean, after dark. You don't need to wear your thickest snowman sweater, but maybe taping an ornament or two, to your T-shirt, is the summer-meets-winter compromise.

Photo Credit: George Abrego/Eat|See|Hear]]>
<![CDATA[Weekend: Special Olympics World Games]]> Thu, 23 Jul 2015 16:09:38 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/214*120/specialolympicsworldgames932932.jpg

Special Olympics World Games: Los Angeles 2015: Thousands of athletes hailing from 165 countries are ready to compete in over two dozen competitions, from swimming to soccer at spots around Southern California for a week-plus (it's being called "the single biggest event in Los Angeles since the 1984 Olympic Games"). Founded in 1962 by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, the Special Olympics celebrates "the power of 6,500 athletes with intellectual disabilities competing to be champions of their sports." Cheer on the competitors as they go for the gold, through Sunday, Aug. 2.

National Dance Day: Can a thousand people — or more — all perform the same routine they've just learned, and fully practiced, that morning? They can, and have, at this annual rite of summer, which is helmed by Nigel Lythgoe of "So You Think You Can Dance." You can preview the 2015 routine, and then make for Music Center Plaza, on Saturday, July 25, to learn it and do it along lots and lots of other dance-mad SoCalers. Cost to join. So free. As free as dancing makes you feel.

Steve McQueen with Kanye West Pop-Up Exhibition: A nine-minute film, all captured in one take, inspired by two Kanye West songs and directed by the lauded helmer of "12 Years a Slave"? The Los Angeles County Museum of Art has the video, filmed at a London dockyard. But the twist: It screens for four days only, beginning on Saturday, July 25. You can see "All Day/I Feel Like That" at BCAM and the price? The usual LACMA admission.

VidCon: "For people who love online video" is the thrumming vibe behind this annual Anaheim gathering, which hosts thousands of young content aficionados and the content makers who are, pretty much, total rock stars. This isn't just about YouTube phenomenons, though they figure largely; look for Vine favorites to also figure largely. John and Hank Green started this over a half decade ago, and, shall we say, the form has flowered since then. See Ze Frank, Jenna Marbles, and more, through July 26. 

So Cal Corgi Beach Day: So remember when around about 500 corgis romped at Huntington Beach in the spring? There may be an adorable encore of that on Saturday, July 25 in Long Beach as the mavens of the squatty sweethearts take to Rosie's Dog Beach. Word on the Facebook says that dogs (and their humans) are flying in from points beyond LA for this one, so plan on the pup contingent being on the plentiful side. 

Taste of Summer: The Victorian in Santa Monica is one of the most beautiful and mysterious structures along that stretch. So getting the chance to step inside, enjoy a tasty dinner, and support the Fulfillment Fund Leadership Council, which helps "make college a reality for students in educationally and economically under-resourced communities," is a lovely thing all around. The date of the fundraiser? Saturday, July 25. Information? This way.

Photo Credit: Special Olympics]]>
<![CDATA[Selfie Sticks Banned at Six Flags Parks Nationwide]]> Mon, 27 Jul 2015 04:06:18 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Six+Flags+sign+generic.jpg

Six Flags has joined the growing list of amusement parks across the nation that have banned selfie sticks.

The company implemented the ban Monday at all of its parks across America, according to Katy Enrique, communications manager for Six Flags Great America in Gurnee, Illinois.

“We strive to provide the safest possible environment in our parks and these devices pose a safety risk to guests and employees,” Enrique told NBC Chicago in statement.

Enrique did not specify if any incidents involving selfie sticks had taken place, but said the goal is “to prevent such an occurrence.”

“The safety of our guests and employees is our top priority,” she said.

The move comes after news that Disney planned to ban selfie sticks at all four of its theme parks in Orlando along with its water parks and Disney Quest. The company also planned to ban them at Disneyland Resort in California and Disney’s parks in Paris and Hong Kong.

Officials warned that the sticks have become a “growing safety concern.”

The device has already been put on a list of “prohibited items” on Six Flags’ website, alongside monopods and similar devices.

The sticks have been banned at a number of museums, music festivals and sports venues, including Lollapalooza, Comic-Con and the Art Institute of Chicago.  

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Steve McQueen + Kanye West Go LACMA]]> Wed, 22 Jul 2015 19:03:23 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/212*120/lacmawestmcqueen.jpg

One of the hearts of art is its ability to surprise, to present a fresh idea or concept quite suddenly, when only days before the concept in question had not been there.

The short of it: A long run-up isn't required to introduce fresh work, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, in this spirit, is presenting a pop-up, just-announced, screening-almost-immediately short film from director Steve McQueen with performer Kanye West.

"All Day/I Feel Like That" is a nine-minute movie based on a pair of Mr. West's own tunes by those titles.

The pop-up exhibition is the film's U.S. premiere.

The film bows at the Miracle Mile art institution on Saturday, July 25 with a duration totaling less than a week: Run time is over four days, through Tuesday, July 28. Weekend hours for the film are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and the Monday and Tuesday hours are 11 to 5 o'clock.

The ground floor of the Broad Contemporary Art Museum serves as the film's screening venue and the cost to get in is included with LACMA admission (so seeing the work is free for members).

Mr. McQueen, whose "12 Years a Slave" from 2013 won the Academy Award for Best Picture, has a taken an interesting approach to the film: It's all one take, so the full nine minutes are a flow comprising a single shot.

More revelations are to come with the debut of the film, but how it reflects Mr. West's songs, and interprets the lyrics, will likely be a lively conversation among fans.

Also, the stark setting may capture audience fancies and later discussion: "All Day/I Feel Like That" was made at "a historic dockyard outside of London." 

LACMA does make a note that "the video includes strong language that may not be suitable for younger audiences."

For more information on LACMA, admission, the film, and ongoing exhibits, click.

Photo Credit: Los Angeles County Museum of Art]]>
<![CDATA[National Dance Day: 1000+ People Groove Together]]> Thu, 23 Jul 2015 06:43:11 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/natldancedaygrand.jpg

When people are potentially interested in attending a major event, it is rare that they receive the recommendation that they study up on the specifics of the event ahead of time.

True? True. You usually arrive at a theater or concert or festival with no pre-planning required, just your ticket, a light sweater, and some curiosity.

National Dance Day, though, doesn't go in for that. The 1000+ dancer-strong downtown gathering does come with a bit of in-advance homework, a bit of pre-study that involves you A) shaking your groove thing.

There is no B) on that list, actually. All the organizers are recommending ahead of the Saturday, July 25 shake-it spectacular is that people watch a video to get a sense of what this year's dance routine will be.

Oh, should we have mentioned that from the get-go? Perhaps, but here's the exciting reveal, if you're not familiar with this Julytime jubilee: You'll join hundreds of other SoCalers at The Music Center Plaza downtown to learn, and polish, a short routine, which everyone will then perform in unison.

Time: 11 a.m. to 3 o'clock in the afternoon.

This isn't a "dance like you're alone in your room" situation; you'll want to be mostly in step with the people on either side of you.

Nigel Lythgoe, of "So You Think You Can Dance," is the co-creator of the country-big groove-off, and several hoofers from the show will put in an appearance at the event (and event that partners with the Dizzy Feet Foundation, which works to "support, improve, and increase dance access to dance education in the United States").

LA's take on National Dance Day, by the by, is considered the flagship among all of the related events around the country. That's a little brag-worthy, right, dancers? Pretty much.

Cost to join National Dance Day? Zero dollars. 

Dress to join National Dance Day? Whatever makes you feel comfy, cool, and free to move.

Reason to join National Dance Day? Because you love dancing, plain and simple. Because dancing among friends and strangers is freeing. Because you're a fan of "So You Think You Can Dance" and find it a gas to participate in a fun, no-money happening with some of the stars. 

Because? Because. That's good enough.

Here are the videos, National Dance Day dancers. One's beginner, one's advance. Step, step, ball, change, heel, step...

Photo Credit: National Dance Day]]>
<![CDATA[New Date Announced: The Popular Glendale Cruise]]> Wed, 22 Jul 2015 17:00:45 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/vintagewheels12.jpg

Call it a classic case of Murphy's Law or the Rule of the Driveway Car Wash or the Ancient Vow of the Vehicle Buff-Up: If you shine and polish your vehicle to its chrome-brightest, storm clouds will immediately gather overhead. Then: whoosh. Then: wetness. Then: Your car clean up was all for naught.

This all-too-common scenario arrived with a soggy and disappointing twist on Saturday, July 18 when the oh-so-well-attended, thousands-go Glendale Cruise met a whole bucketful of rain, as did most of the Southland.

The mega moist upshot? Lightening-and-thunder-filled skies meant there'd be no strolling-and-looking for car-loving lookie-loos. And all of the washing and buffing on behalf of the retro autos' owners was ultimately not needed.

Those first rain speckles speckling a newly shiny hood always elicit a sigh, don't they?

But keep those rags and buckets and special foaming cleaners handy, car people: The Glendale Cruise has been rescheduled, for the last Saturday in August, says the city.

That's Saturday, Aug. 29, which is not Labor Day Weekend but the weekend before. You'll be in town, right? Good.

For many, many fans will still turn out in fender-loving force to admire the nearly "400 Pre-1980 cars" that go on impressive display along Brand Boulevard. The happening lasts five hours, into the deep evening, so yes, you can see them all, or a lot of them, if you commit yourself to the full night.

Fireworks and live tunes will round out the 22 annual Glendale Cruise, one of the biggest car shows in all the land.

But will the lightening take the night off? Here's hoping the morning buff-ups of all those pretty autos last at least into the late Saturday twilight.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[Special Olympics Torch Heads for the Sky]]> Thu, 23 Jul 2015 09:07:51 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/specialolympicstorchbank922-horz.jpg

The U.S. Bank Tower, sometimes called the Library Tower, still, with affection, is a structure with oodles of story and symbolism 'round Southern California. 

Not only is the downtown skyscraper frequently described as "the tallest building west of the Mississippi" but it's often seen in movies centered around Los Angeles. The colorful lights at its apex pay tribute to various holidays, runners dash up its 72 stories each fall to support the Ketchum-Downtown YMCA, and a fancy new outdoor deck called the OUE Skyspace LA is due 2016.

Prepare to put another memorable feather in the tower's cloud-reaching cap: Participants in the final leg of the Law Enforcement Torch Run, the flame-traveling fundraiser and awareness-building campaign for the Special Olympics, will head up the iconic building, to its very rooftop and helipad, but they will not be empty-handed.

The Flame of Hope, the burning bright torch that's been handed off, person to person, in towns around the country, will pay a visit to the tippy-top of our city's highest height. The torch's visit to the top of the U.S. Bank Tower symbolizes "the athletes' incredible achievements and physical manifestation of the #ReachUpLA Special Olympics World Games message.

The flame has traveled some 4,648 miles in all, so 72 stories straight up should be a cinch. Many of those miles have been covered in California, where the torch passed through 127 cities and the State Capitol Building in Sacramento.

If you can't join the cheer section outside the U.S. Bank Tower on the morning of Friday, July 24, when the Flame of Hope is expected, count on some stellar shots taken from the air.

Or you can keep an eye out for it when it makes its anticipated debut at the LA Coliseum on Saturday, July 25, during the opening ceremony for the Special Olympics World Games.

Photo Credit: Special Olympics/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[McDonald's All-Day Breakfast May Go National: Report ]]> Thu, 23 Jul 2015 09:03:13 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/4707047541.jpg

McDonald’s could soon dish out all-day breakfast nationwide.

The Wall Street Journal, citing an internal memo sent to U.S. franchisees and employees Tuesday, reports that the fast food giant could begin offering breakfast all day later this year.

The Oak Brook, Illinois-based company began testing all-day breakfast in March in its San Diego market. The test was expected to expand to Nashville this summer.

The memo, sent by LeAnn Richards, a franchisee from Arizona who heads a task force studying all-day breakfast, told franchisees to be ready for the potential launch of all-day breakfast as soon as October, WSJ reports.

McDonald’s, however, would only confirm that the company is testing the possibility of all-day breakfast.

“Serving all-day breakfast is likely the number one request we hear from McDonald’s customers,” the company told NBC Chicago in a statement. “We’re testing it out in a few markets to learn more about this possibility. We know your mouth is watering, but there’s no news on this yet.”

McDonald’s breakfast currently ends at 10:30 a.m. in most markets.

McDonald's has long been the fast-food leader in the mornings, with its popular Sausage Biscuits, Hotcakes and other items pulling in roughly 20 percent of the company's U.S. sales. But the chain has faced stiffer competition in recent years, with competitors such as Starbucks and Subway rolling out breakfast sandwiches as well.

McDonald's, which has more than 14,000 U.S. locations, has also said it plans to step up its marketing of breakfast as it faces intensifying competition.

As for extending its breakfast hours, the world's largest hamburger chain is known for treading extremely carefully when discussing any tests or potential changes. Such matters are considered sensitive in large part because they would require the support of the company's network of franchisees.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Special Olympics: 10 Interesting Facts]]> Wed, 22 Jul 2015 11:07:15 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/specialolympicsGettyImages-450685194.jpg

The Special Olympics and the Special Olympics World Games are a widely known, much followed, much loved show of sportsmanship and skill and camaraderie and commitment.

And while Southern California is hosting the 2015 summer World Games, where spectators will see "the power of 6,500 athletes with intellectual disabilities competing to be champions of their sports," some spectators new to the Special Olympics might not know the full story behind the games, or at least some of the details of its epic, decades-long unfolding.

Here are ten tidbits about the joyous show of athletic prowess that's set to captivate Los Angeles for a week and the larger world as well...

1. While the World Games gain much deserved attention, Special Olympics oversees "over 90,000 events a year worldwide," from golf tourneys to soccer games.

2. A summer day camp was the start of what would grow to be a globe-spanning phenomenon. Founded by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, the camp took place in Mrs. Shriver's own backyard where morning calisthenics were the first order of the day.

3. Some 50 volunteers worked at the 1962 summer camp at the Shriver residence.

4. That number has grown exponentially over the years. Today "we have more than 1 million coaches and volunteers..." reveals the organization.

5. And they work around the planet. There are over 226 host sites to the Special Olympics encompassing over 170 countries in all.

6. How old should you be to participate in the Special Olympics? The start age is 8, though there is a Special Olympics Young Athletes program, where tots as young as 2 join in.

7. The competitions have a moving oath, and it is this: "Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt."

8. That oath is far-reaching: "Over 4.4 million athletes with intellectual disabilities are involved in Special Olympics programs around the world."

9. What are the most popular sports in the Special Olympics? The organization says athletics, football (soccer), basketball, bocce, and bowling top the roster.

10. With millions of athletes and over a million volunteers and coaches, fans of the Special Olympics have many competitions to look forward to cheering on over the course of a year. In 2013 there were, around the globe, over 81,000 competitions in all.

Support these fantastic athletes as they take to the fields, courts, and pools during the Special Olympics World Games: Los Angeles 2015. The games are on from July 25 through Aug. 2 at points around Southern California.

Need a handy Spectator Guide? There's one full of helpful tips for where to go, what to bring, and more.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Monsters Wanted: Knott's and Universal Auditions]]> Tue, 21 Jul 2015 17:12:20 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Knotts2011.jpg

Auditioning can be a truly tricky thing around Southern California.

Either you have to be fully agented and managered and represented in order to visit a casting office for a chance at a role or you have to have none of the above, only a really, really good snarl.

You're in luck, snarlers: The annual autumn-eerie tryouts for the Halloween spectaculars at various theme parks around the region aren't about headshots or who-you-knows. Rather, they're all about whether you'll make a wicked werewolf or ghost over several nights in September and October.

September and October are not a long ways away, which can only mean that both Knott's Scary Farm and Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios Hollywood are sending out their yearly yowl in the hopes that monster wannabes and canbes show up to potentially get picked.

"Yearly yowl," of course, is the less official but more Halloween-appropriate way of saying both major theme parks have posted the audition information for their scare events.

Universal Studios Hollywood's t-t-terrifying tryout is up first, on Wednesday, July 29 at the Universal Hilton Ballrooms (a space which should give a clue as to how popular these auditions can be). Aspiring scareactors going to be asked to "demonstrate 'scare-abilities'" and perhaps engage in some improv. A headshot is requested, but not required, as is a resumé, but if you don't have either, you can still give it a whirl.

And, yes, performers are called "scareactors" at the high-on-the-hill theme park come Halloween Horror Nights time. It's local nomenclature that's both chilling and, yet, somehow adorable, too.

Knott's Scary Farm is up just days later, with a July 31 "Maze Rehire Event" (meaning returnees are invited back) and an Open Hire Event on Monday, Aug. 3. Because this is also a popular gathering, best read all the to-knows before going Buena Park. 

If you want to refresh yourself as to past looks and costumes and ghoulies and such, the seasonal extravaganza's Facebook page has more pictures than an old attic has cobwebs. Well, maybe not that many, but plenty to get up to speed from.

The weather forecast says August might arrive with its traditional heat blast here in the Southland, so best start summoning foggy nights and chilly thoughts ahead of showing Universal and Knott's your most magnificent monster face.

Photo Credit: Knott's Berry Farm]]>
<![CDATA[McDonald's' 'Secret Menu' Not So Secret Anymore]]> Tue, 21 Jul 2015 11:02:16 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/167*120/51122973.jpg

The mythical “secret menu” at McDonald’s may not be a myth at all.

According to a McDonald’s manager who conducted a recent Reddit AMA, customers can in fact order secret menu items, but the items really aren’t that secret.

Reddit user OrchidHibiscus, who claims to be a manager at a McDonald’s in Glasgow, Scotland, said McDonald’s didn’t specifically develop a secret menu, but menu items can be customized into “grill orders.”

Customers can add or take out ingredients from current menu items to make them into what they want—including something off a so-called “secret menu.”

"Order one and the workers might not know it by name ... but if you explain what it is, and are willing to pay for all the ingredients, it's just another 'grill order' that we can make up," OrchidHibiscus wrote.

The user referred to rumored secret menu items like the Land, Sea and Air Burger, which is a combination of a Big Mac, Filet-O-Fish and McChicken.

A website called #HackTheMenu claims to have a list of “secret menu items” from McDonald's, including an “All American,” a “Big McChicken,” “Biscuits and Gravy,” and a “Chicken McGriddle.”

McDonald’s addresses the possibility of a secret menu on its website saying, “We have no secret menu – or do we?”

“Actually, our customers are pretty clever when it comes to customizing their orders with our menu items, so you may have seen some of their creations online,” the company wrote. “But we have no official secret menu of our own.”

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Session Players Get the Grammy Museum Love]]> Tue, 21 Jul 2015 15:12:10 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/212*120/sessiongrammy12345.jpg

So how are you able to discern a true music fan's true music cred, as far as their favorite bands and artists are concerned?

Hoo boy. That's a loaded question, as prickly as innocently asked queries come, and a subject often bickered over as music mavens settle in for a pitcher at the local pub. But a good starting place, and one that holds a lot of heart, is this: Can you name the session players who rocked out on the album you love best or the concert tour you can't forget?

You can? Yeah, you can, because session players are amazing, talented, and the "unsung musicians" of the music-making biz. They often bring the grit and gravitas for a brand-new artist and they lend seasoned performers extra spice and depth.

With all of that bow-down worthiness in mind, the Grammy Museum is paying tribute to some of the greats. On Thursday, July 23, Tony "Cisco" Marsico -- he's backed up Roger Daltrey, Bob Dylan, and Neil Young -- will join some of his fellow tunesmiths for a night of conversation about the cool calling of session musicianship.

It's a different path to rock stardom, one that's still filled with industry accolades, fearless flexibility, and much hard work. Session player Pete Anderson (he's played with Dwight Yoakam and Buck Owens), Gary Mallaber (who has backed up The Boss and Van Morrison), and Darran "Dewey" Falcone (if you love Gerry Goffin you definitely know his work) will also join the Q&A, info-rich chat.

And after? The session players take the spotlight for a live show. 

A ticket? It's ten bucks, which, we'll wager, is within shouting distance of the price you paid for your very first record, the one you wore out after 500 listens, the one that very likely had some stellar session players of the day.

Perhaps, even, one of the gentlemen who will be on the Grammy Museum stage.

Your ticket, by the by, also nets you an "exclusive high-quality audio recording" of the performance, so you'll see it live and then can listen later.

Listen and pay due to the greatness that a session player brings to every tune. Consider also how these musicians can flow with styles and changes and a particular artist's particular tastes, all while keeping the sound and vibe seamless and consistent for that show or that song.

Session music-makery is definitely not a "jack of all trades" situation as much as a " confident master of all." See the masterfulness live, downtown.  

Photo Credit: Grammy Museum]]>
<![CDATA["Girlfriend": A (Matthew) Sweet Romance]]> Tue, 21 Jul 2015 09:00:09 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/girlfriendphotocraigschwartz.jpg

Dramatic works set on a stage for a live audience can, at times, be encumbered by music that's gorgeous, pretty, and fitting, but bears zero contemporary connection to the audience.

And contemporary connection to music makes for powerful emotions, an experience that happened, for many people, around the time of their teens. A song heard three decades later can instantly transport them back to a first crush.

That joyful idea, and the very joyful music of sunshine-summoning pop maestro Matthew Sweet, is at the thrumming heart of "Girlfriend," which is now on at the Kirk Douglas Theatre in Culver City through Sunday, Aug. 9.

You may remember "Girlfriend" as being your favorite ditty of the '90s, and the play is set in that very decade, in 1993, in Nebraska, where "(t)wo teenage boys -- one a social outcast, the other the quintessential jock -- explore a relationship during a summer of self-discovery between high school graduation and the rest of their lives."

New crushes and general awkwardness and discovering if the person who makes your heart pitter-patter is all way, way intense when you're an adolescent, as Will and Mike discover, but that aforementioned contemporary connection, via music of the time, the music on the radio, only ups the pitter-patter factor.

The show's songs, all penned by Matthew Sweet, are played live on stage by a rockin' quartet. It's not too unusual to see electric guitars in the theatre nowadays, but to pair a timely soundtrack with a very specific year, a year many in the audience will also remember, adds a further flush of feeling to the young love-laden show.

While music and lyrics are by Mr. Sweet, Todd Almond helmed the book and Les Water directs. Ryder Bach is Will and Curt Hansen is Mike. 

Were you a teen around '93? Did you connect with an album or set of songs from a particular musician, perhaps even Mr. Sweet himself? We're not saying that sitting in the Kirk Douglas will spiral you, time machine-like, back to the time of lockers and notebooks and passed loved letters, but the music-acting-'90s combo may deliver a jolt or two to your heart center.

Or, as the kids today say, deliver a hardcore case of the feels.

Photo Credit: Craig Schwartz]]>
<![CDATA[Opening: Free Television Costume Exhibit]]> Mon, 20 Jul 2015 20:18:08 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/fidmcostumesummer2015.jpg "Salem," "The Affair," and other recent series are represented in the FIDM gallery exhibit.

Photo Credit: FIDM]]>
<![CDATA[Tunes 'n Tails: Roaring Nights at LA Zoo]]> Mon, 20 Jul 2015 11:26:17 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/GL-RoaringNightsFun-JamiePham.jpg

A sudden Saturday downpour in July has a way of thwarting the many (many many) outdoorsy, alfresco plans SoCalers count on come the middle of summertime.

Because summer in LA is about generally clear skies, nice sunsets, and no event cancellations. The soggy weekend of July 18 and 19 tested that theory, and while the rain is welcome -- thank you much-needed moisture, please don't be a stranger -- people who had to ditch canceled stuff like outdoor Shakespeare or the Glendale Cruise are ready to really outdoors-it-up in the days ahead.

Stop one, on Friday, July 24, if the local weather returns to its typical dry-sky July norms: Roaring Nights at the LA Zoo. It only happens three times a summer, and this is numero dos, so getting your growly-good grown-up time in, under the night sky, with a craft beer and food truck taco and live tunes, is now on the clock.

The "growly-good" part is from the animals you'll meet at the happening thanks to "pop-up zookeeper talks and animal encounters." Will you see a wee reptile? A new be-claw'd friend from Down Under? Count on being charmed and educated and wanting one of your own. (Nope, you can't take it with you.)

The "grown-up time" refers to the fact that Roaring Nights is 18+ so, yep, the tots stay home with a babysitter and you get to go to the zoo. Whether you tell them that or not is up to you, but perhaps make a vow that you'll return later in the weekend for their special visit.

The "live tunes" shall be courtesy of Springtime Carnivore and DJ Johnny Hawkes. The adult beverages and food trucks can be found at the full bars and the on-site food trucks. Urban Oven, Border Grill, and others of a dinner/desserty nature will be on the grounds.

Cost to get in? Twenty bucks. Showing with some cash for noshing/drinking? Do that.

And enjoying the outdoors by night, and our animal world, too? It may actually happen on the 24th, if passing showers don't make a revisit. Rain, come back soon, please, and bring lots and lots of droplets, but a few more summertime alfresco nighttime to-dos on the drier side sounds pretty good, too.

Photo Credit: Jamie Pham]]>
<![CDATA[Two Historic Victorians to Move Locations]]> Tue, 21 Jul 2015 15:27:32 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/westadamshousemove1.JPG

***See updates to move dates below.***

We seen-it-all SoCalers are never too surprised when we encounter something incredibly large and highly unlikely rolling down the center of a city thoroughfare.

Not after the Space Shuttle Endeavour wended its way from Los Angeles International Airport to the California Science Center a couple of autumns back, and not after the boulder that's now part of Levitated Mass, the alfresco artwork behind the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, made its way to the mid-city from the Inland Empire in the spring of 2012.

So that two Victorian cottages will be taking to the streets around the University of Southern California over two long July overnights fits well with our local "let's move giant things around and save/display them" ethos.

"SAVED FROM THE WRECKING BALL" is the message on the West Adams Heritage Association's Facebook page. The cottages, which are described as endangered, are located at 3018 Royal Street in University Park. 

"The historic houses are being relocated by the University of Southern California in order to accommodate a day care facility and will be situated and restored on a vacant lot within the University Park Historic Preservation Overlay Zone," reveals the association. (Update: A day care center is now out of the works but the cottages "will be renovated to become student housing in their new location.)

Both early 20th-century abodes -- one was built in 1900, the other in 1905 -- will find a new permanent address on nearby Portland Street. Though their respective journeys will add up to just a pinch under ten blocks, including a few sure-to-be-interesting turns, each Victorian will take a full overnight to move.

The first ventures out on Tuesday, July 21 and the second on Thursday, July 23. "We are all invited to watch (and cheer).." the roll, says the West Adams history organization. (Update: Due to "some technical difficulties the NEW dates for both the moves are Wednesday, July 22 and Thursday, July 23.)

As for the start and stop times of each epic roll? Midnight is go time, 6 a.m. is the wrap-up, if all stays on schedule. And as whimsical as it is to picture large wheels being attached to the bases of the houses, that won't be the case; trailers will do the heavy lifting and driving.

If you saw Endeavour make its way through our city streets, and the boulder of Levitated Mass, too, perhaps you should add an on-wheels house to your "seen it, no bigs" resume.

But whether you turn out to watch or not, be heartened to see two historic structures given new life. In a summer that brought the news of one of Marilyn Monroe's early homes being razed, and other storied buildings lingering on the watch list, the saving of two Victorians feels like a true victory for those who treasure our shared civic memory.

For more houses that have been relocated with much effort and not a little emotion, look no further than Heritage Square, off the 110 Freeway. The charming spread of grand Victorians proves that houses can find new homes.

Photo Credit: West Adams Heritage]]>
<![CDATA[PHOTOS: Adorable Pets From Around the U.S. ]]> Tue, 21 Jul 2015 06:19:31 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/160*120/MurphyBoxerWVIT.jpg Pet owners coast to coast have one thing in common: they love sharing pictures of their furry friends. Here's a look at some cute pets photos shared by NBC Owned TV Station viewers across the country. Help us "Clear the Shelters" on Aug. 15 by adopting a pet of your own to love (and photograph)! ]]> <![CDATA[Music Center Offbeat: Performances Go Alfresco]]> Sun, 19 Jul 2015 09:02:51 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/195*120/movesafterdarkmusiccenter2121.jpg

It's not all that unusual, or even remarkable, to spy a theater or opera or ballet attendee engaging in a few twirls at intermission in the middle of The Music Center Plaza.

After all, the spirit of the performance can capture an audience member's heart, and some impromptu dancing outside the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion or Walt Disney Concert Hall charmingly ensues.

But seeing the actual, made-for-the-stage performances leave the building and head out into the open air is rather more surprising, and not a sight often seen at downtown's main hub for all things cultural.

"Moves After Dark" takes dance and drama out of the stately structures surrounding the fountain at the Music Center Plaza and sets the performance, and performers, free, free to run around the lampposts and exterior steps and concrete stretches.

As for we audience members? We follow the dancers to four different sites around the area to watch four different Southern California troupes engage in works both modern and marvelous.

So, no: There is no plush chair here, nor sedentary sitting down for you, nor scooting down the aisle at intermission, or even a roof above. You'll be walking outside and pausing and observing and standing and sipping a beverage, which is part of the twenty five dollar ticket.

All while you admire the leaps and pirouettes and poses and flow and technique of Ana María Alvarez, ATE9, BODYTRAFFIC, and the Lula Washington Dance Theatre. Each troupe performs throughout the evening, as "rotating groups" of audience members proceed to the next stop-and-watch site.

Then, the big finish: All four companies join together at the close of the two-hour evening for a final presentation.

Dates? Monday, July 20 and Tuesday, July 21, which, coincidentally, come just days ahead of National Dance Day, on July 25, when bunches of everyone will be grooving it up in that very location, whether they are a professional dancer or not.

The thesis, then, is that dance doesn't simply belong indoors, in lofty buildings, at least not where The Music Center is concerned. Turns out the exteriors of those buildings make rather nice backdrops for performances, too.

You've noticed that as well? That Walt Disney Concert Hall and the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion and the long view of Grand Park and City Hall are pretty spectacular? Truly, this stunning slice of downtown is backdrop-worthy, so dance on, outdoors-frolicking dancers.

Photo Credit: Music Center]]>
<![CDATA[Happy 60th Anniversary, Disneyland!]]> Fri, 17 Jul 2015 13:32:05 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/MickeyandMinnie60thDL.jpg

When we gaze back upon an especially auspicious moment of a bygone era, we often voice the unfulfillable wish that we owned a time machine, the better to return and see, with our own eyes, the history-making day.

Good news: There is a time machine in existence, one that brims with nostalgia and memory and cheer, and going there on any day of the year is much like traveling back to the first day of its existence: July 17, 1955.

Location? Anaheim, California, at 1313 Disneyland Drive.

This famous time-traveling device, which goes by the name of Disneyland, is marking its 60th anniversary throughout summer 2015, but many Magic Kingdom mavens, those pin-collecting, trivia-memorizing, history-happy fans who want to be a part of something extra special, have made the journey to be there on Friday, July 17.

Be there in dressy vintage wear, yes, as if it is still 1955, and be there for a complimentary cupcake, a sweet that comes complete with the diamond D, the insignia for the anniversary (as well as plenty of blue and silver accents of the edible sort).

And be there to eye the updates to various attractions completed just in time for the Diamond Celebration.

Fresh additions have been made to Peter Pan's Flight, one of the original rides that whisked the park's first guests to Neverland on July 17, 1955, and the Matterhorn's resident Abominable Snowman has been enhanced, and made even more abominable, if such a thing's possible, by some growly, state-of-the-art special effects.

Anniversary banners and signs and other blue-and-silver touches can be found throughout the world's most famous theme park, and its affable ambassadors are rocking some special outfits, too, just for the 60th. (You look fabulous, Minnie and Mickey.)

For those fans who can't be at the park, "live historic" tweets straight from Disneyland circa 1955 will pop up on Twitter throughout the day. So if you want to relive -- or live for the first time -- day #1, follow the hashtag #Livefrom55.

And, yes, Walt Disney, the beloved builder of this time machine, is present at the 60th anniversary, in both the much-photographed "Partners" statue, seen where Main Street meets Sleeping Beauty's Castle, and in every window and detail and attraction and the lamp that burns brightly in his former apartment, above the Fire Station.

For few legacy-makers have created a walk-in world that happily hums on, long after their passing, with whimsy, wit, and the ability to touch hearts across all spectrum. Students study how Mr. Disney did it, but capturing this particular lightening in a bottle -- or fireworks over a castle, if you prefer -- remains one of Disneyland's elusive charms.

Time travelers know that the park was called "Walt's Folly" back in the day, as the animator's detractors, and even some supporters, feared for the still-gelling park's future. And opening day, with its oppressive heat and considerable crowds and soft, heel-catching asphalt, hinted predictions might come to pass.

But time machines take, well, time. And few time-traveling devices have possessed the staying power shown by the theme park, a place that remains the bellwether, the crown jewel, and the True North, all wrapped into one, for all other vacation destinations seeking to capture people's imaginations and loyalty.

The nostalgia aspect of this time machine -- and all time machines depend on nostalgia and memory, to some extent -- doesn't mean Disneyland never changes; it does, as several rides have come and gone. It just means that the secret to its longevity isn't stuff but story. Fans adore the attractions, but they're there for the experience. 

And in the spirit of story and experience, we raise a Dole whip float to you, Disneyland, on your big 60th anniversary. 

Photo Credit: Paul Hiffmeyer]]>
<![CDATA[Zoo New: Endangered Giant River Otter Pups]]> Thu, 16 Jul 2015 17:10:41 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/BabyGiantOttersbyTadMotoyama.jpg

If you want to pause here and take a moment to figure out the best friend to call, the one who can hold your hand to ensure you don't pass out from sheer cuteness, we'll wait, because we're fairly sure that if you're a fan of aquatic mammals and baby animals, you'll need a helpful, handholding pal at your side as you proceed.

For a trio of Giant River Otter pups have just made their Los Angeles Zoo debut at the park's Rainforest of the Americas habitat.

Born in March, the two boys and one girl weren't yet ready to go fully public, so they remained behind the scenes as keepers kept a watchful eye on both babies and mom.

July 15, though, proved to be the big day when the youngsters finally joined "their juvenile siblings born in September 2014, one male and one female." Those two pups were "the first to be born at the new, state-of-the-art Rainforest of the Americas habitat since it opened in April 2014." 

Family reunions are the sweetest.

The zoo says "the habitat was designed to house a large family group of these social, curious animals, and Animal Care staff is pleased that the family has grown so fast."

As for hallmarks of this endangered South American animal, besides the obvious ability to melt hearts? Their fur is described as "exceptionally dark" as well as "dense," and their tail is "oar-like." And are their tootsies webbed, as is the otter way? You bet. (And, yes, we feel okay calling the pups' feet "tootsies," since they are still, for the moment, young'uns and demand to be cooed over.)

No, they do not have names yet, which will surely be the first question of many otter enthusiasts. Yes, if the weather is good, they may be out splashing in their habitat, where you can see them. And yes, this is a rare sight at any zoo, seeing a Giant River Otter. So we're quite sure you'll keep the magical moment in your heart always should you be fortunate enough to encounter a playful pup.

If you want to see them, they're at the animal park located in Griffith Park. If you want to see them right away please now yes need asap want, they're in this video from the LA Zoo.

photo: Tad Motoyama 

Photo Credit: Tad Motoyama]]>
<![CDATA[Disneyland's 60th: Big Crowds for Limited Pin]]> Thu, 16 Jul 2015 12:28:56 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/60thbannercastle123456.jpg

We're all a little shocked, and even dismayed, when we turn a corner outside a movie theater or a sports event and see lines/crowds/throngs of a rather remarkable size.

There are a few asterisks to this generally widespread opinion, though, and they involve A) Comic-Con International and B) any event to do with Disneyland's ever-popular, oh-so-trade-fun pins. Fans of both properties expect major queues and some wait time, and they weather it in a relaxed way that should serve as an inspiration to all people who must stand in a line for something they like.

And while Comic-Con just wrapped in San Diego, and, with it, those incredible queue-ups, mavens of the Magic Kingdom's famous pins, and their equally as famous releases, started gathering in Anaheim.

The park's Diamond Celebration pins have been rolling out for awhile now, depicting everything from the Jungle Cruise to Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln, with each design getting their own special 60th diamond insignia in one corner. 

But there was one more pin to go, and the grand release was timed to the week of the opening day anniversary (the world's most famous theme park had its celebrated debut on July 17, 1955, you'll recall).  

The OC Register caught the crowds in full line-up, saying that 2,000-plus fans had begun to wait near Downtown Disney over a day ahead of time for a chance to buy that much-desired final pin. 

July 16, the Big Release Day for the Last Pin, was noted on the official Disneyland blog: "Also being offered on July 16 is the final pin in the Countdown series -- a limited release birthday collection logo pin, and a jumbo pin (edition size1000)."

Social media reactions reflected the hugeness of the occasion, both in spirit and crowd size, with one fan quipping "There should be an 'I survived the Disneyland 60th diamond pin series' T-shirt!" (A charming idea, Chelsea Schwartz; maybe for the park's 70th?)

As all pin people know, releases happen at certain purveyors, and the Disneyland blog had those listed for all who wanted to show: Little Green Men Store Command in Disneyland, Julius Katz & Sons at Disney California Adventure Park, and Disney's Pin Traders at Downtown Disney.

And pin fans were at the ready, line-up chairs and paperbacks and all.

If you've ever seen a Disneyland guest trading a pin with a cast member -- a time-honored park tradition -- and you've wondered if that's the extent of the pin fandom world, know this: It is a serious and beloved pursuit for thousands of collectors and events surrounding pin admiring and trading dot fans' year-round calendar, with events happening both at the resort and elsewhere.

Okay with queues, in the way that Disneyland people can be? Then dress up in your 1955 best and make for the park on Friday, July 17, which marks 60 years to the day since Disneyland's opening. There are sure to be lots of fans there, if the line for the last of the Countdown pins is a clue. Not to mention all the people who showed for the May 22, 2015 event, where the parks stayed open for 24 hours.

Some lines in this world are long but some are lively; ask any Mouseketeer intent on getting that sure-to-be-prized pin.

Photo Credit: Paul Hiffmeyer]]>
<![CDATA[Weekend: OC Fair Opens]]> Thu, 16 Jul 2015 10:01:10 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/ocfairnightride92382.jpg

125TH ORANGE COUNTY FAIR: When this animals-music-foods-carnival wonder first debuted in the 1800s, it unveiled marvels aplenty, and neato things to be all agog over, too. The neato things continue, in Costa Mesa, when the giganto-scale party opens for its month-long run. A cattle drive, big-name concerts, deep-fried Starbucks, midway games, an ice rink that runs into the late nights, wine tastings, and all of those jam/quilt/bread competitions fill out the OC Fair's full-to-bursting dance card, nearly every day, through Sunday, Aug. 16.

CATALINA SKI RACE: If you happen to be around the Queen Mary on Saturday, July 18, very early in the morning, you're likely to see a bunch of water skiers gearing up, for one of the most unusual trips around. They're going to Avalon, several miles across the ocean, and back, in the annual summer rite known as the Catalina Ski Race. It's been around for decades, but if you can't fathom the idea of this pretty epic effort, you can always have a mimosa from the deck of the ol' ocean-liner, and ogle the action.

LA, GROW! The fruitful concept of urban agriculture continues to sprout like a beautiful stalk of corn, and a special day at The Wiltern turns the watering can on the many local growers who are making this happen right within our city limits. A farm-to-table dinner on Sunday, July 19, made by Jennie Cook's Catering, will support RootDown LA, which helps high school students "build stronger communities" via healthy food. The dinner is vegan, there's a cocktail hour, and plenty of LA-local green-grown love. 

GALCO'S SUMMER SODA TASTING: The pop stop on York Boulevard in the Highland Park-Eagle Rock nexus is beyond beloved, as is this yearly summer fundraiser for the Southwest Museum. The theme this year? "International Sodas," so count on sipping a carbonated drink you've likely never tried before. Live tunes and lots of fizz-fun doings shall be afoot inside the historic grocery store and in the parking lot, too, on the afternoon of Sunday, July 19.

ON THE TRACK(S): Del Mar Thoroughbred Club is so Hollywood-history-full that one wonders if the actual Tinseltown is ever jealous. All of that past lore leads up to a big opening weekend for the ocean-close track, and that weekend is now (plus, Triple Crown winner American Pharoah is on the grounds, not competing but training). Like your animals a wee bit, well, wee-er? Dachshunds shall dash at the Wiener Nationals, in Los Alamitos, on July 18. And wine country shall land not too far from the train tracks of Union Station, when East LA Meets Napa serves up a flavorful fusion-fun fundraiser for AltaMed on Friday, July 17.

Photo Credit: OC Fair]]>
<![CDATA[Gamble House: Peek Deeper Into the Landmark]]> Wed, 15 Jul 2015 17:19:16 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/ghalexandervertikoff1234.jpg

Most people who adore legendary houses aren't given to foot-stomping episodes. So gauche.

Fans of architectural treasures, in fact, tend to step quite lightly through the doors, to preserve the heritage, majesty, and, perhaps most pressing of all, the home's original flooring.

But Gamble House mavens can be forgiven for engaging in some foot-stomping of the mental kind, at least when the height of summer arrives. The Greene & Greene masterpiece, located in Pasadena, is a woodsy wonder, and it possesses an upstairs sleeping porch, perfect for a roasting July night.

You won't be able to snooze on the outside deck -- no foot-stomping, please, or whining -- but you will be allowed to tread more thoroughly about the various nooks/crannies of The Gamble House, at least from July 30 through Aug. 16, Thursdays through Sundays.

The short-running, very popular "Upstairs Downstairs" walk-through takes in off-the-usual-tour spots like the laundry room, some basement areas, and the servants' bedrooms, described as "surprisingly light and accommodating." 

Was the impressive Craftsman structure a sort of Pasadena version of "Downton Abbey," back in the early 20th century? Docents will be on hand to talk about the day-to-day running of the not-overly-large but oh-so-stately household, which was built for the family of David B. Gamble of Procter & Gamble.

Tickets, though, will be as popular as the idea of spending a warm night dreaming on that sleeping porch. Best book ahead of the July 30 opener, as this is a two-week-only happening. 

The landmark's usual one-hour tours run throughout the week, and will continue after this deeper look wraps in mid-August.

Surely we can't be alone in our sleeping porch obsessions? True, true, many Gamble enthusiasts rhapsodize over the "Tree of Life" stained glass entrance, the hand-hewn joinery of the staircase, and the tile-exquisite fireplace.

We SoCalers can all have our own "we'd love to live in the Gamble House" daydreams, and our dreams are all allowed to be different and reflect our interests. But supporting the house, via tours, is our common show of gratitude, as well as an excellent way to gather more material for our flights of house-happy fancies.

Tickets are $20 to the "Upstairs Downstairs" tour.

Photo Credit: Alexander Vertikoff]]>
<![CDATA[Observation Deck at US Bank Tower in DTLA]]> Wed, 15 Jul 2015 10:10:23 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/oueskyspacela1.jpg

It was just about a year ago -- in fact, it was exactly a year ago -- when rumors of skyscrapers and observation decks and new vistas seen from downtown began to flood the local headlines.

The rumors were founded and the wait began: The U.S. Bank Tower, sometimes still called the Library Tower by longtimers around the region, indeed had a major change on the horizon. The skyscraper that's the huff-and-puff setting for the fall's famous YMCA-fundraising stair run, the very building seen in films like "Independence Day," would be getting an alfresco area made for view-enjoyment, party-having, and the thrill of being outside at 69 stories above downtown. 

Overseas United Enterprise Ltd. is the Singapore-based company behind the big build, which is due for its big debut in 2016. But we can enjoy the observation deck now, without the elevator ride, via the just-released renderings of how the new space, which will include a restaurant, will look.

Some sizable public areas, lots of tony artworks, and vast vista-filling windows are hallmarks of the first peek into the OUE Skyspace LA.

Gold and warmer metal tones lend the interiors, which include a staircase between floors, their eye-popping looks. 

The LA Times writes that a ticket up to the sixty ninth and seventieth floors will be twenty five dollars.

What that price will snag the elevation-seeking viewer: "360-degree views of Los Angeles" from the tallest building in Los Angeles and what is frequently described as the tallest structure on this side of the Mississippi River.

OUE Skyspace LA is also billed as "California's tallest open-air observation deck."

Need a tour before the middle-of-next-year reveal? The deck's Facebook page is live and the renderings give a gold-in-the-sky first feel.

 Images: OUE

Photo Credit: OUE Skyspace LA]]>
<![CDATA[Galco's Summer Soda Tasting]]> Thu, 16 Jul 2015 10:01:36 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/galcos2015_12345.jpg

If you were lucky enough to go abroad when you were just a pipsqueak, you likely share a charming first experience with many other people who traveled as kids.

Sure, you wanted to see the big landmarks you'd heard about, the towers and castles, but you really, really wanted to taste the sodas and candies of another land, those mystical flavors that seemed so foreign, and so fabulous, in your imagination.

Wanted? Neeeeeded. Right?

Galco's Soda Pop Stop can help you live your early dreams on the international soda front, if you never globe-trotted as a tot. The Highland Park fizz-filled shop is readying its annual Summer Soda Tasting, a queue-up, sip-up fundraiser for the Friends of the Southwest Museum Coalition, and the 2015 theme is planet-big: International Sodas.

That means that on Sunday, July 19 you can, if you wish, lift to your lips the fruity flavors of Italy, France, and beyond during Around the World in 80 Sips. Tickets are $12 for adults, a little less for kids, and it is almost guaranteed you'll try something you A) haven't before and/or B) had no idea even existed in the pop universe.

Because pop/soda/carbonated beverage? It's a vast category, even though partakers tend to stick to their favorite one or two brands.

As for the bands? Live entertainment will jam on in the parking lot, with a number of guests, including Don Preston, a former member of Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention.

And, yes, lest you were worried, the soda-tasting action shall spill into the historic store's parking lot. Galco's is of good size, as any fan knows, but it bursts a bit when the well-attended Summer Soda Tasting rolls around. (And it bursts already, any day of the year, what with the 500+ sodas inside.)

Will you taste something with rose in it? Cinnamon? A cola that's kind of like a sarsaparilla? That's what makes the Summer Soda Tasting kind of a gas. A great gas, of course, since your ticket money goes to efforts to re-open the Southwest Museum.

We raise our fizzy international soda to that.

Photo Credit: Galco's Soda Pop Stop]]>
<![CDATA[Squee: Dachshunds Dash at Wiener Nationals]]> Tue, 14 Jul 2015 22:55:13 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/wienerdognatl1.jpg

What is it that the kids say on the social media nowadays, to spotlight something particularly sweet?

"Squee" or "I can't even" or "adorbs" are all au courant ways of conveying "I'm looking at something incredibly cute," but if you can't remember to summon any of those particular words upon seeing the short-of-leg, long-of-tail participants of the upcoming Wienerschnitzel Wiener Nationals, you are welcome to coo or gurgle at will.

Because the dachshunds that will run the track — not all of the track, mind you, but a good stretch — at Los Alamitos Race Course on Saturday, July 18 automatically bring out our babying instincts. We want to cuddle these lil' runners, and kiss their snouts, but we shan't.

After all, there's an important title to go for, and anyone who has ever been acquainted with a dachshund knows that these committed canines be impressively single-minded.

The popular, photographed-aplenty happening is marking its big 20th in 2015, and we do mean big: There was a 2013 kids' movie all about the Wiener Nationals. It's a heart-tugger, on the silver screen and IRL.

The "in real life" part starts on July 18 at 4:30 p.m. when the "Race for the Underdog" returns to the course. That's when the doors open, with the first race barking out of the gate at 6:30. The championship? Stick around for 9:15 that night.

It's three bucks to watch, if you're over 17, and if you're under 17, you get in free. And if you're a dog, you have to stay home, and wait for your humans to return and tell you all about it, in detail. 

The beneficiary? It's the Seal Beach Animal Care Center. So squee-worthy, helping other beasties by cheering on beasties.

If you can't get enough? The Wiener Dog Races at Old World in Huntington Beach are not affiliated with the Wiener Nationals, but if you have to see more squatties in full sprint, there are several chances to do so during Oktoberfest, which is just ahead.

Doxies easily bring out the squeeing and I-can't-even-ing in all of us, regardless of how exactly we express how cute we find something. And cuddle-sized pups in full run top everyone's official adorbs list, paws down.

Photo Credit: Wiener Dog Nationals]]>
<![CDATA[First Maze Reveal: Halloween Horror Nights]]> Tue, 14 Jul 2015 13:44:46 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/221*120/halloweenhorrornights12_1.jpg

The middle of July is all peach pie and fresh tomato salads and lemonade in pitchers and glorious sunshine and creepy mansions and lurid tales and family secrets filled with mystery and cobwebs.

Of course, the "creepy mansions" and "cobwebs" fit into the summery equation if you're Universal Studios Hollywood and you're ramping up to Halloween Horror Nights, your annual maze-macabre event that regularly draws thousands of atmosphere-loving autumn aficionados.

For July is just about the time when the monster-famous theme park begins to reveal its upcoming fall-fearsome attractions. And the first reveal was just made at Comic-Con International in San Diego: "Crimson Peak," a maze based on the new Guillermo del Toro film, will be included in the 2015 Halloween Horror Nights spectacular.

It makes sense to not only make a reveal at Comic-Con, which is flush with horror fans, but the moment is right time-wise, too. It may be summertime by the calendar, but the yearly maze-tastic happening's opening night is only two months away, and the hammers are already humming away at various on-the-rise mazes around the Universal City-based park.

"Guillermo del Toro Presents Crimson Peak: Maze of Madness" will be "a three-dimensional living representation of the film," a movie that stars Tom Hiddleston, Jessica Chastain, Mia Wasikowska, and Charlie Hunnam. A maze of Allerdale Hall, a rambling country manse, will include "a labyrinth of paranormal tortured souls" and "vengeful, ghostly forms."

Best take another sip of cooling lemonade, if this spooky summer reveal has given you a few willies.

There are more maze reveals to come in the coming weeks, but consider this: The Guillermo del Toro-helmed film has an Oct. 16 release date in theaters, but Halloween Horror Nights attendees can enter the world four weeks ahead of when movie goers everywhere else will experience it.

Such are the pleasures of calling Southern California home; we can so often get to connect with a film first.

And such are the pleasures of a Southern California summer. Lemonade and ice cream and sunshine are part of it, yes, but so are the spirited, scary announcements rolling out from our Halloween-prepping theme parks.

Photo Credit: Halloween Horror Nights]]>
<![CDATA[Free Programs: Griffith Observatory Fetes Pluto Flyby]]> Tue, 14 Jul 2015 20:18:38 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/griffith1234GettyImages-72370591+%281%29.jpg

Extreme patience while on approach to something great takes on fresh meaning when you're New Horizons. But when you're a sophisticated spacecraft designed for long flight, a near-decade of cosmic travel is pretty much akin to a human hour spent driving along a road.

The NASA craft has had a few "stops" -- er, flybys — on its travels along the Solar System highway since leaving our planet in 2006, but one of the most major is happening on Tuesday, July 14.

It's Pluto, where it is neither July nor a Tuesday nor the 14th of any month. And Griffith Observatory — that's located on Earth, in the fairly recently founded city of Los Angeles, as far as events go on the arc of time — will celebrate on July 14 with a day of free programs all about the Big P.

Pluto's very big, as things go, and yet the quibbling about what some think of as our Solar System's pinkie finger perks up, now and again, when we tire of conjecturing about how the sun's corona gets so dang hot or whether the Horsehead Nebula looks more like a dragon.

In fact, it is hard to think of a dwarf planet or sub-planet or large distant orb that engenders more conversation or affection among the inhabitants of Earth. Sorry, Uranus and Neptune, but it's true; we're Pluto-mad here on the Watery Blue Marble.

Since its 1930 discovery by astronomer Clyde Tombaugh, curious Earthlings have discussed it, reclassified it, and peered ardently into the Great Vast, trying to know this far-off speck.

Far-off speck to us, that is, all things being relative. New Horizons is rather closer to Pluto than we are as of July 14, and likely has a very different tale to tell about its size.

The Griffith Observatory's July 14 programs will fully cover the flyby, what New Horizons is looking at on Pluto, its geography and features and what NASA terms its "bright, mysterious heart."

An evening program on July 17 at the Griffith Park landmark will further delve into the mission and "Pluto's impact on culture."

Even the famously stately space agency is excited. "Pluto Palooza" is write large, in zany, retro font, on its homepage.

If you need to be part of the excitement, live, with other Pluto people, go Griffith Observatory, and prepare to learn a whole lot more, all at once, about the dwarf planet that has held Earthlings in its thrall for nearly a century.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Major Auction: The Art of Movie Posters]]> Tue, 14 Jul 2015 09:40:30 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/bonhamtophat1.jpg

Film students are often instructed to gaze deeply within a movie to discover themes and patterns and those crucial hidden knots that tie the bigger picture together.

But one of the best clues about a film's era, feel, and direction isn't even in the frame; it's out in the lobby, next to the concession counter.

A movie's poster has long been its initial foray into the world, a way to let the public know, initially, "this story is coming your way, get ready." Even before an exciting trailer arrives, a poster is out there, working on a film's behalf.

Now many posters designed for works that have become legendary are now legends unto themselves.

TCM and Bonhams are set to auction off several of these two-dimensional, color-pop, illustration-lovely promotionals on Monday, July 20 at the auction house's Sunset Boulevard headquarters.

TCM, of course, knows its vintage flicks and stars, and Bonhams has been a go-to for starry auction items for decades.

On the block at TCM Presents... Picture Perfect: The Art of the Movie Poster? A few different versions of the "Gone With the Wind" poster. A poster for "Jailhouse Rock" which features Elvis Presley's portrait occupying the full upper half (a real-estate rarity, space-wise, even for the most famous of movie stars). A stark, blocky-cut gem of a "North by Northwest" promotional (hues: red, black, white) is on the block. And also up for auction: The ultra-dramatic "Sunset Boulevard" poster, where the orange-red of Norma Desmond's hair becomes the electric background.

That poster's listed amount is $12,000 to $18,000, but "The Palm Beach Story" starts in the high hundreds. Poster collectors are an enthusiastic bunch -- some focusing on particular decades, some on certain stars, some only on one film -- so it'll be fascinating to see which film fetches top dollar.

Or dollars, plural. Many, many dollars, one imagines.

As for how poster styles have changed, allowing film fans to ferret out clues about the time of the film, the emotion, the meaning, and such? That's an entire seminar, for sure.

Consider how, decades ago, listing the name of a dozen actors, in large font, was the norm. Nowadays a large photo of the main star, or main two stars, is more common, with a lot of fine print below.

But that may be changing; vintage-style illustrations are making a comeback in today's film posters, from the upcoming horror film "Krampus" (which boasts a poster straight out of 1983, completely with faux fold lines) to the recently debuted "The New Girlfriend," which feels like a French New Wave poster.

Are promotional movie posters the most fluid of all film-related artforms? Discuss at Bonhams, cineastes, as you make your July 20 bids.

Pictured: The poster for "Top Hat" (RKO 1935)

Photo Credit: Top Hat/RKO]]>
<![CDATA[Movie Poster Auction: Peek at Treasures Up for Bid]]> Tue, 14 Jul 2015 09:53:07 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/164*120/bonhamforbiddenplanet1.jpg Bonhams and TCM serve up some cinematic icons.

Photo Credit: Forbidden Planet/MGM]]>
<![CDATA[Opening: dineLA's Summer Deals]]> Mon, 13 Jul 2015 13:43:28 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/193*120/dinelajulyshutter192912.jpg

Are we cozy-minded creatures of habit or bold explorers of unknown territories?

When it comes to dineLA Restaurant Week -- and, let's be honest, most things in life -- the answer is a big ol' uncomplicated both. For while the concept of a Restaurant Week, that growing-ever-more-popular-everywhere event that introduces a slew of discounts and deals at a heap of local restaurants, is very much about "newness," well... comfort and familiarity still reign, too.

And thank goodness. For people who dine out during dineLA want to enjoy both the hot new spot and score a deal at a longtime favorite.

As we said, bothness reigns. There's so much both here, in short.

And there shall be plenty of both happening, from Monday, July 13 through Sunday, July 26. After all, over 340 restaurants are participating, so chances to sample the new and support your own personal classics are plentiful.

The menus, as is tradition, are prix fixe and begin at $20 for lunch and top out around $50 for dinner, with a few price points in the middle. BLD is doing up Niman Ranch Pork Chops, The Langham's The Royce Wood-Fired Steakhouse has Korean BBQ Skirt Steak on the menu, and Wild King Salmon appears on both the lunch and dinner dineLA menus at Water Grill.

Prix fixe makes the eating-out experience beautifully streamlined, like an arrow pointing directly at elegant edibles and a nice meal out. No fuss, no muss, no wading through too many choices.

What is less streamlined here falls squarely in your lap, dear diner: The choosing. Out of the 340+ eateries, and the two weeks of deals, adding up to 28 chances to dine out in all, just... How ever will you do it?

Do you try the aforementioned hot new spot or do you squeal at spying the tavern down the block from your office, the one you always haunt, on the list? 

If you can budget for two meals, well, why not both? Hot/new and favorite/old shouldn't be a battle when dining discounts are at hand and the clock is ticking. Get deciding, though; dineLA Restaurant Week bids farewell on July 26.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[Costa Mesa Cold Blast: OC Fair Ice Rink]]> Mon, 13 Jul 2015 10:07:45 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/200*120/skatesiceocshutterstock.jpg

Ah, summer in Orange County. You have your bathing suits and your ice cream and tank tops and those hats with the miniature fans whirring on the front and your mittens and your flannel scarves and your knit hats and your down jackets.

Wait. You don't actually wear any of those last few items around the beachy playground in July, unless, of course, you're visiting Fairenheit 32°, the OC Fair's ice-nice wonderland.

The chillsome playground will run the length of the annual midway-and-more extravaganza, which is on, most days, from Friday, July 17 through Aug. 16.

Yes, we typed Fairenheit 32°, and, nope, it wasn't a typo -- the 125-year-old county fair can't resisting "fair"-ing stuff up, when it can. And while "playground" suggestion might denote swings and slides, you can find those out in the midway. The cold center of the Plaza Pacifica-based party boasts two distinct halves: ice skating and ice carving.

As for the ice skating? It's actual honest "real ice," just in case you suspected fair-style magic might be at work. You don't need mittens or a knit cap but consider that you might feel chilly after a few spins.

And evening skating -- "After Dark Skate Party" -- twirls from 9:30 to 11:30 p.m. each day the fair is open. If you shut your eyes real tight, come night, you can almost pretend, without the warm sun, it is winter.

But don't shut your eyes: You'll want to see the pro ice carving that's adjacent to the rink. You can see maestros of the chilliest chainsaws to ever slice through frozen water do their whimsical work, and you can see recent examples of sculptures carved right on the grounds of the OC Fair & Event Center.

All we can say is this: Southern California's creative county fairs are so often on the forefront of every culinary wave -- Caviar Twinkies, anyone? -- we can only suspect that, with this whole ice-fun-cold thing, they got the memo ahead of time that El Niño was on approach for the first time in years.

A little frosty time on the OC Fair rink may well prepare we sunshine-soaked SoCalers for cooler, wetter days to come.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[LA, Through the Local (and Visitor) Lens]]> Fri, 10 Jul 2015 18:15:38 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/195*120/trevortrayner-getty1.jpg The @discoverLA #LAstory Virtual Gallery, selected from thousands of photos, goes on display at The Getty Center.

Photo Credit: Trevor Trayner]]>
<![CDATA[Elinor the Rescue Bear to Make OC Zoo Debut]]> Fri, 10 Jul 2015 12:51:23 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/elinoroczoo.jpg

To say that the Californian identity is solely a stew of gold rushes and big dreams and ocean sunsets and Hollywood movies and starting anew is all pretty true, but it leaves out an important symbol: The one found on our state flag.

We're a proud bear bastion here in the 31st state, and even if our ursine neighbors are fewer nowadays, they still roam freely around California's wild hollows and peaks. And they deserve our care and consideration when our ways encroach upon or conflict with their existence.

Such is the moving story of Elinor, a black bear who, at under a year of age, was hit by a car (or so the people who've tended to her in recent months believe). The cub was transported from Humboldt County to Orange and the Orange County Zoo, where specialists could address her needs and bring her back to health.

The prognosis is positive: A robust-looking Elinor will make her official OC Zoo debut  during a special keeper appreciation event on Saturday, July 25, though she may be seen as early as July 13 at the zoo, depending on whether keepers feel the still-growing bear is ready.

The Irvine Regional Park zoo "cares for animals native to the desert southwest that cannot be released to the wild due to health or socialization issues." That tugs the heart strings, as does the fact that the unwell cub was found "wandering alone" prior finding a new residence in Orange County.

Elinor can be seen every other day at the Orange-based zoo starting later in July; Yo-Yo, the animal park's other bear, will alternate with her as far as public viewing goes. Elinor's days of the week are Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, at least for the time being.

To find out more about the OC Zoo's care of such animals, pad your paws this way.

To find your own Golden State-style inner bear, well, that's up to you, dear Californian. Not every state flag includes a picture of a beautiful beastie, but we're lucky enough to call a place home that bears one of the best.

Photo Credit: OC Zoo]]>
<![CDATA[Storm Indoors: "Rain Room" to Pour at LACMA]]> Fri, 10 Jul 2015 11:49:39 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/rainroom12345678.jpg

Timing, with weather events, can be everything.

Flurries on Christmas Eve or a sunny Fourth of July or the perfectly clear graduation weekend; how things dovetail meteorologically can delight and astound.

Take the second week of July 2015, which has already seen an impressive snowfall near Yosemite National Park and word that El Niño may be on its powerful way. Now would be a good time to learn that a near-constant rainfall, at least most days during the daylight hours, will be happening on the Miracle Mile in Los Angeles from the first of November through early March, save Wednesdays.

Worth mentioning? The rain will be indoors.

"Rain Room," the dramatic, much-attended, much-buzzed-over installation that bewitched visitors at The Museum of Modern Art in New York in 2013, will make a Nov. 1 debut at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. 

Random International, a London art-and-idea-making creative collective, is behind the surreal space and The Hyundai Project is a partner in the major presentation.

Are you a bit agog? Searching for words? There are many questions. Do you have questions? Yes.

Like, will I get wet if I walk into the rain? (Nope, sensors know you're there and the water stops for you.) Is this wasting H2O? (There's a recycling system so the same water loops through again and again, after filtering.) Can I live in the "Rain Room"? (Sadly, no; like the hue-changing James Turrell Ganzfeld, which is also on view at LACMA, it is a timed experience for small groups.)

"A field of falling water that pauses wherever a human body is detected, Rain Room offers visitors the experience of controlling the rain," says The Museum of Modern Art.

Neato. Flat. Out. Cool. 

Nope, we can't predict if snow will be heavy near Yosemite this winter, nor if El Niño will deliver a wallop. But bet your favorite umbrella that "Rain Room" will be incredibly popular, start to finish, and those timed tickets will become as scarce as sunshine in a downpour.

Want your chance to see this monsoon-meets-museum wonder? Keep an eye on LACMA for ticket announcements.

Photo Credit: Random International]]>
<![CDATA[7/11=Free Slurpee Day]]> Fri, 10 Jul 2015 10:43:29 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/slurpeeEDIT.jpg

There's no official "Slurpee Day Eve" holiday, on July 10, but you can bet aficionados of a certain very cold, highly slushy, intensely flavored convenience store classic are readying their next-day schedules when the 10th of July rolls around.

Because July 11 — that's 7/11, if you are OK with writing dates a few different ways — is 7-Eleven Day, also known as Slurpee Day, at participating 7-Eleven stores. Make that free Slurpee Day, when a small version of the cherry-cola-watermelon-Sour Patch sip will be yours, yours, yours, no cash required.

If this is putting the recent BYOC -- "bring your own cup" -- Slurpee spectacle in your mind, well, it should; some truly wacky vessels showed up in the hands of Slurpee fans on April 11. Wacky and impressively oversized.

Leave that giant hollow coconut or football helmet at home this time around; free Slurpee Day is about the smalls only.

Good? Doable? Yes, good and doable.

But a small drink'll do the trick, delivered a kapow of cherryness and coldness and that certain icy-crispness that seems to be the birthright of the Slurpee brand.

What else is there to know? Just this: The Saturday, July 11 event kicks off seven days of Slurpee-themed giveaways at 7-Elevens across this great land. Particular food and drinks shall be free, if you have the 7-Eleven app and get your 7-SELECT FREEBIE each day during 7Rewards Week. Details are here.

Important to know: There are certain hours involved for your freebie Slurpee on 7/11. You cannot have a free Slurpee at 8:14 in the morning, nor 9:53 at night. But you can get your Slurpee, for no dollar bills or coins, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday, July 11.

And we're definitely not saying July 10 can't be Free Slurpee Day Eve. Do what you will, in anticipation, but a solid night's rest, ahead of July 11, is probably in order.

Photo Credit: 7-Eleven]]>
<![CDATA[Swearing 'Minion' Toys? McDonald's Says No]]> Tue, 14 Jul 2015 06:23:43 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/212*120/HappyMeal.png

A minion toy in a McDonald’s Happy Meal has some parents, well, a little unhappy.

The toy, based on the little yellow rascals that first appeared in “Despicable Me,” says three phrases - all of which are a bit hard to decipher. But some parents hear “what the f---" for one of them, and one angry parent posted a video of it to YouTube.

Footage of the allegedly potty-mouthed minion was posted to the video-sharing site Wednesday and some parents think the gibberish sounds a little too similar to a swear word.

“Originally we didn’t think anything of it until my wife was moving it out of the car seat and heard something didn’t quite sound right,” YouTube user Paul Butts said in the video.

“Seriously? Out of a McDonald’s toy?” he asks after tapping the toy and hearing the phrase. 

Butts isn’t the only one whose ears perked up.

Several parents told NBC affiliate WSFA that they could make out a “cuss word” when they heard the toy speak. 

Not every parent heard the word, though, with some saying they could only hear the word after they were told to listen for it. 

Several commenters on YouTube also said they couldn't hear the word. 

McDonald's said in a statement that the sound is a coincidence.

"We’re aware of a very small number of customers who have been in touch regarding this toy, and we regret any confusion or offense to those who may have misinterpreted its sounds. The allegation that this toy is saying anything offensive or profane is not true,” the Oak Brook-based company's spokesperson Lisa McComb told NBC Chicago.

"The Minion Caveman Happy Meal toy includes 3 sounds: ‘para la bukay,’ ‘hahaha,’ and ‘eh eh,'" McComb added. "Our goal at McDonald’s is to serve up food and fun for our valued customers, and we’re glad to have the Minions on board."

"Minions" stars Sandra Bullock and Jon Hamm, and follows the evolution of the small, yellow creatures since the beginning of time and the numerous despicable masters they've served. The film hits theaters July 10.

The parent company of Universal Pictures also owns this site.

Photo Credit: YouTube/PaulB
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<![CDATA[Krispy Kreme Celebrates Birthday With 78-Cent Doughnuts]]> Fri, 10 Jul 2015 14:24:02 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/krispykremedonuts.jpg

Food lovers will be able to take advantage of discount prices this coming weekend. 

On Friday, Krispy Kreme doughnuts will be offering a dozen of its famed glazed doughnuts for $.78 cents when customers buy any other dozen doughnuts at the full price. The promotion is in celebration of the company's 78th birthday. The North Carolina chain was founded in 1937 and now has stores internationally. 

If that doesn't leave sweet tooths satisfied heading into the weekend, 7/11 convenience stores will be holding their annual "Free Slurpee Day" Saturday to mark July 11. 

Chick-fil-A is also joining in on the giveaways, but the chain's offer comes with a catch. Customers can get a free meal on Tuesday, July 14, but only if they dress up as a cow. The 11th annual event will celebrate the company's 20th anniversary of the "Eat Mor Chikin" cow campaign. 

Photo Credit: Bloomberg via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Iron Chef Zakarian Also Chops Trump]]> Fri, 10 Jul 2015 06:31:50 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/20150709+Geoffrey+Zakarian.jpg

Another celebrity chef has decided not to open a restaurant in Donald Trump's planned Trump International Hotel, which the real estate magnate is developing in Washington, D.C.'s Old Post Office Pavilion building. 

Geoffrey Zakarian, a restaurateur known for his Food Network appearances, announced late Thursday that he would not open a restaurant planned for the project following the Republican presidential candidate's anti-immigration comments.

"The recent statements surrounding Mexican immigrants by Donald Trump do not in any way align with my personal core values," Zakarian said in a statement. "In light of this, I am unable to move forward with a restaurant in the Trump International Hotel."

The move comes a day after chef José Andrés announced he would not open a restaurant planned for the forthcoming luxury hotel, citing Trump's remarks demeaning illegal Mexican immigrants.

The Iron Chef, who comes from a family of Armenian immigrants, echoed Andres' concerns, noting that his company, Zakarian Hospitality, "employs many immigrants from nations all over the world, and I look forward to continuing this business culture in my future restaurants."

"We are a nation built from immigrants, my family included," Zakarian said.