<![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 Fri, 30 Jan 2015 15:36:20 -0800 Fri, 30 Jan 2015 15:36:20 -0800 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[LA Zoo Giraffe Picks Super Bowl Winner]]> Fri, 30 Jan 2015 14:36:25 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/giraffezoosuperbowl.jpg

It's a simple fact of the natural world that giraffes can see further than we closer-to-the-ground humans. But does their nearer-to-the-sky stature give our long-necked friends more insight into what is down the road?

Like a few days down the road, even?

The Los Angeles Zoo asked Artimus, a resident Masai giraffe, to weigh in on Super Bowl XLIX. Nope, Artie wasn't quizzed about point spreads or big plays, but rather the simple question on all fans' minds: Who will win football's biggest showdown on Sunday, Feb. 1?

Keepers helped Artie out by filling two feeders with the same amount of feed. One feeder had the Seattle Seahawks logo attached to the front, the other the New England Patriots. For anyone worried about fairness, a note on the video states: "This process was recorded in its entirety to document an equal amount of the same food was placed in each receptacle."

Phew.

When both receptacles were presented to the giraffe, he immediately went for, drumroll please, avert your eyes if you want to be surprised, here it comes... the feeder bearing the symbol for the New England Patriots.

As Artimus the Masai giraffe looked a few days into the future? Can a tall animal living in Griffith Park see all the way to Arizona? Questions, questions.

The zoo does add rather cheeky disclaimer which says this: "Artimus the Masai giraffe is not responsible for your use or belief in his prediction. He's never played football, does not have a TV, and he's a giraffe."

People watching the winds? Here's another clue as to which team may or may not win. People who need a smile, because giraffes are smile-inducers, whatever they're up to? Here's video.



Photo Credit: Jamie Pham]]>
<![CDATA["Ugh! That Newsweek Cover": Silicon Valley Women Respond]]> Thu, 29 Jan 2015 20:22:14 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/newsweekmain.jpg

Newsweek's latest cover on "What Silicon Valley Thinks of Women" sparked a firestorm Thursday —  on Twitter and in Silicon Valley — with some accusing the magazine of taking on sexism with a sexist cover.

The clip-art cover shows a woman in red heels holding a laptop, while a cursor lifts up her red dress.

“It's going to take a revolution to change the sordid and systemic sexism in Silicon Valley,” was how Newsweek tweeted out its cover story, which delves into scandals and controversies that have rocked the valley — from tech entrepreneur Gurbaksh Chahal who was accused of attacking his girlfriend to the sexual harassment lawsuit against Kleiner Perkins to startup “bro culture.”

"Well, Newsweek, the revolution's not going to start like this," feminist site Jezebel fired off on Twitter.

"Clickbait, designed to piss off women while pretending to investigate sexism in tech. Fail--but you know it," tweeted Jennifer Pozner, executive director of Women in Media and News.

“It’s kind of like doing a story about rape and having the cover image be a cartoon with a victim handcuffed to a bed,” tweeted Carmel DeAmicis, a reporter for Gigaom.

But it wasn’t just social media pundits and journalists lashing out.

The cover also got a lot of buzz at the Tech Superwoman Summit in San Francisco Thursday.

"Yikes," "What the heck," "This is the actual cover?" ... "Well interesting" — female software engineers and excecutives chimed in.

“I don’t know if I would have gone with that graphic,” said Cathryn Posey, founder of Tech Superwoman.

“It’s unfortunate, parents will tell their girls ‘don’t go into the tech industry,' when that’s only part of the story,” said Julie Elberfeld, an MVP at Capital One.

The Newsweek article itself points out that despite running tech giants such as Yahoo and HP, women are still under-represented in tech, something conference attendees didn't disagree with. Google, Facebook and Apple recently released gender breakdowns for its employees, and the numbers don’t look too good for women.

“I also think it’s our biggest opportunity — with this data, now that we know what’s going on, we can all partner to solve it, so I think it’s a transcendental moment for the industry if we can come together on it,” Posey said.

“We are actively hiring and recruiting right now, and we are looking to bring in a good balance of men and women,” said Julie Giannini of New Relic.

Newsweek’s editor James Impoco responded to the backlash, telling The Daily Beast: “We came up with an image that we felt represented what that story said about Silicon Valley. If people get angry, they should be angry.”

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<![CDATA[Weekend: Museums Free-for-All Day]]> Thu, 29 Jan 2015 16:30:39 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/annenbergspace1234567.jpg

Museums Free-For-All: When a good stretch of time has been devoted to a single theme — think January's role as Art Month 'round Southern California — you want to cap it all in a big, everybody-party kind of way. And Museums Free-For-All fulfills that capper role very nicely, thank you very much. Just over two dozen art and culture and science institutions'll ditch admission (though not parking, where it applies) on Saturday, Jan. 31. Some museums will have their open date on Feb. 1 instead, note. Ready to see major stuff for zero dollars? Yeah, you totally are.

Night on Broadway: Oh, Jan. 31 — seriously, what is your story? The free large-scale happenings are plentiful, which makes one wonder if every month should end as nicely. Night on Broadway celebrates the theatre-plentiful thoroughfare's continuing revitalization with a full-on feast of live performances, films, and interesting, stop-and-watch goings-on. You don't need to pay a thing to party, but applauding LA City Councilmember Huizar's efforts to Bring Back Broadway.

Lunar New Year: It's another free happening, not far from downtown, and lo and behold it is unfurling, with festiveness, on Saturday, Jan. 31. The welcoming of the Year of the Sheep is a daytimer, though, and it will all dance, and make crafts, and practice calligraphy, and enjoy food trucks, starting at 11 a.m. in the parking lot of the USC Pacific Asia Museum. Best be there right when it begins, though, if you want to admire the always power-major, tradition-terrific lion dance. 

Find Where the Wind Goes: Many of us have stood next to Space Shuttle Endeavour, admiring it and pondering its journey into space, but only a legendary few have been aboard. Dr. Mae Jemison, the first African-American woman in space, will visit Forest Lawn to talk about her Endeavour flight, growing up on the south side of Chicago, and her lauded work as a scientist. Admission is free to the Sunday, Feb. 1 talk, which takes place at the Forest Lawn Hall of Liberty.

LA Art Book Fair: Finding a tome that's rife with meaningful and interesting images by a favorite, or soon-to-be-favorite, artist is not just a rare treat. It's an act that broadens ideas and makes minds, and emotions, wider. Come across many of those moments during this free-to-see, large-scale book extravaganza, which fills up the Geffen Contemporary at MOCA with images, fresh concepts, and artists pushing the envelope, redesigning the envelope, ditching the envelope. Dates? Jan. 30 through Feb. 1



Photo Credit: Annenberg Space for Photography]]>
<![CDATA[On Stage: Dame Edna's Glorious Goodbye]]> Fri, 30 Jan 2015 08:03:29 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/dameednaahmanson_mattjelonek.jpg

Live comedy boasts as many flavors as an ice cream shop, and, like an ice cream shop, some flavors of funny tend towards the trendy.

Comedy that's arch, and keeps an audience at an irony-clad distance, has had its recent day, and coarser comedy, too. But then there's that timeless and not-easy brand of humor that draws people in, with charm. The performer coos at the audience, purrs over them and pets them, only to deliver a zowie of a zinger or timely truth once everyone present is in a soft-hearted state. And kapow: comedy gold ensues.

Meet the ultimate mistress of the formidable form, Dame Edna. She's been glittering-up (and gladiola-ing-up) stages from Melbourne to everywhere for nearly six decades, flirting with audiences as she nimbly deconstructs celebrity culture, the cult of self, material wealth and the lust for fame. 

That nimble, not-always-nice-but-so-trenchant deconstruction is going on now, at The Ahmanson, through March 15, 2015. Simon Phillips is the director of the Farewell Tour show, there are dancers, a pianist, and flowers. Many, many flowers.

Which all means royalty is in town, live and on the stage. Though no tickertape parades are planned in LA at this time, let us pause to doff our hats, and sparkly eyeglasses, to Barry Humphries, the Dame's fearless and benevolent bringer-to-lifer.

Mr. Humphries might be her avatar, or she is, but whatever the magic, it has captivated everyone from actual royalty -- hello, Prince Charles -- to Robin Williams, Susan Sarandon, Nicole Kidman, and a full coterie of cinematic greats, legends that the Dame has never, ever let off the hook, just because they're famous. If anything, she reaches for the stove knob and turns it up when celebrity is near.

Oh, did we say "actual royalty" there? Dame Edna might tut-tut us for that unfortunate slip, if we were sitting in her front row. Be warned that the good lady likes to interact with her adoring fans during her one-dame show, and those interactions brim with a mix of merriment and malice, a mixture that causes both the audience member who has been singled out and the rest of the crowd to shift in their seats.

Be warned? Be intrigued.

Mr. Humphries, by the by, honed his chops back in the craft-focused, music-hall-humor days of the 1960s England, alongside icons like Dudley Moore and Peter Cook. It's a style of sweet heat comedy -- start gently, but keep the dropper of poison close -- that's as satirical and saucy as ever.

Oh yes: Dame Edna is indeed saucy, which may lead to some wink-wink comparison jokes to the gladiola stems handed out at the close of the show. But after so many years on the road, with only jewels, the adoring public, tasteful frocks, and many suitors to keep her company, the Dame can dish it however she likes.



Photo Credit: Matt Jelonek]]>
<![CDATA[Free Pastries at Santa Ana Bakery]]> Thu, 29 Jan 2015 08:24:16 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/doughexchangedoughnut.jpg

Whatever career you dreamed of going into as a kid, your parents and teachers and mentors likely all shared one wise chestnut of advice: "Grow some thick skin."

Feedback is crucial in practically any enterprise, as a person launching a new restaurant well knows. Your reviews can come later, on the web's busiest review sites, and be spectacular (or spectacularly bad). Or you can immediately see what customers think of what you're selling, via an unfinished meal left unceremoniously on a table.

Orange County baker (and inspiration to those people in search of thicker skin) Jason Quinn wanted to go straight to the heart of how his doughnuts and pastries were pleasing people at the Dough Exchange, the downtown Santa Ana sweeterie that Mr. Quinn opened in the fall.

This was in part because people were passing his pastry shop by (it's next to The Playground, Mr. Quinn's bustling gastropub). So he landed on a concept that's got the ear and eye of not only customers but the likes of the OC Register and prospective fans well beyond the borders of the county: Give away free treats while seeking feedback on those treats ASAP, as in the customer fills out a card there, on the spot, to share what they think of what you make.

Number of goodies you get for giving your opinion? Two. And, of course, you can leave some cash, if you wish (pay-what-you-wish restaurant concepts are nothing new, though rarely seen).

Mr. Quinn's impressive gumption and thickness-of-skin has already been on display in other ways: When one TV show posted about the bakery's Pizza Doughnut in the fall, the Dough Exchange's Facebook post revealed that the "best negative comment gets a permanent spot on our chalkboard wall."

And on an Instagram photo depicting the bakery's commitment to Research + Development are these cheeky hashtags: #hatersgonnahate and #bakersgonnabake.

It's the very approach your mother would have told you to take while approaching a new enterprise: Fearlessness, a bit of fun and a willing to share your product with the public in order to obtain some product-perfecting feedback.

Could the Dough Exchange have struck the new model in our modern #hatersgonnahate -- #butthatsok -- business world? Ponder that, trend watchers, while you chew on the pay-nothing piece of doughnut. 



Photo Credit: Dough Exchange]]>
<![CDATA[Royal Rendezvous: Two Historic Ships Say Hello]]> Wed, 28 Jan 2015 18:05:01 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/royalrendezvousqmqe.jpg

Finding another realm as lively with lore as the ship world is almost an impossibility. The myriad rules of the ocean, and the hallowed myths, and how ships greet one another, and how the crew conducts itself, and the many (many many) legends surrounding the waters of the world can, and do, fill books.

This isn't the stuff of legend, either. Modern vessels perform age-old rites, as the public will see on Thursday, Feb. 5 when the Queen Mary's "niece" -- Cunard's Queen Elizabeth -- pops by Long Beach for a visit.

Well "pops by" in shiply terms isn't quite right; "glides in, in a stately manner" is more accurate. The event is being hailed as "The Royal Rendezvous" and it has only happened a few times before, including in 2013.

But this time has a twist, lovers of oceanic facts and fables: The Queen Elizabeth will "berth adjacent to the Queen Mary," a first in the company's history. What won't be a first, and is now tradition when a modern Cunard comes to call upon the Queen Mary, is the whistle salute between the ships and fireworks celebrating the duo's reunion.

This is the fourth time that the Queen Mary has "crossed paths" with a family ship since making a home in Long Beach in 1967. The first Queen Elizabeth "was the sister-ship to the Queen Mary." The pair "made over 2,000 trans-Atlantic voyages when in active service for Cunard."

While visitors won't be able to board the Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mary will offer free admission starting at 10 a.m. (do note that parking is $15). Jazz, bagpipes, speeches, and the opening of the Ship Model Gallery are all part of the day's festive to-dos.

As for actually seeing the Queen Elizabeth arrive? Well, that'll be an early one, boat buffs: The vessel'll pull into Long Beach well ahead of the sun, at around 5 a.m., and the ship shall push off between 6 and 7 p.m. (just listen for the bagpipes, which will bid the Queen Elizabeth farewell).

Count the meeting between two floating cities, and the first-ever berthing of a visiting Cunard ship, as another page in the big book of Southern California ship-specific lore. 



Photo Credit: Queen Mary]]>
<![CDATA[Free Lunar New Year Fun at USC Pacific Asia Museum]]> Wed, 28 Jan 2015 16:43:01 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/craigstubingphotolunarusc.jpg

Greeting the lunar new year is an act brimming with power and joy and movement and merriment, and few things symbolize all of those qualities better than the traditional lion dance.

It is fitting, then, festively so, when a lion dance opens a ceremony that's all about welcoming the year to come and all of its promise. And this traditional and powerful performance will open the USC Pacific Asia Museum's fifth annual Lunar New Year celebration, and it shall set the tone for a day filled with art and opera and acrobatics.

The undulating opener isn't the only centerpiece of the free festivity, which shall unfurl, like a colorful mythic lion, on Saturday, Jan. 31. The museum shall welcome "a delegation of 42 performers and traditional artisans from the Guangdong Province in China, and will also showcase the cultures of Korea, Cambodia, and Vietnam."

The setting? A very capacious tent in the parking lot of the museum, which will also say hello to a number of food trucks.

The performances? Taekwondo, Vietnamese dances, Korean dances, and acrobatic and opera showcase from the visitors from Guangdong are all on the schedule. 

The making of crafts and more? You'll learn how to construct a lantern, and how to embroider, and calligraphy, and ceramics. And, for sure, there shall be sheep-oriented crafts, as we head into the Year of the Sheep.

If this is your first visit to the USC Pacific Asia Museum, hop onto a tour of the museum after taking in a dance performance or two. But be there by 11 a.m., if you can, to catch the always epic, feel-inside-your-chest lion dance. It is an auspicious way to say hello to the Lunar New Year and the good things to come.



Photo Credit: Craig Stubing]]>
<![CDATA[Joystick Joy: Pasadena's New Neon Retro Arcade]]> Wed, 28 Jan 2015 10:58:29 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/neonarcadepasadena.jpg

If you were 11 years old in 1981, you had a few important dreams. Own a jacket like Fonzie's was probably on your list, and get your haircut like Lady Di, and you wanted to one day possess a stand-up Pac-Man arcade game, right there in your own den, meaning you'd never have to change a dollar bill for four quarters again.

And then you'd be the coolest, awesomest, baddest kid on the block.

You're still the coolest kid, even if you never got that longed-for stand-up Pac-Man. But you can get that stand-up Pac-Man experience, and jump back into a number of other 8-bit classics, when Neon Retro Arcade debuts on Pasadena's Raymond Avenue.

Opening date? Friday, Jan. 30, 2015, which, to a kid's ears back in 1981, sounded like a bajillion years in the future. Surely we'd all wearing glowing spacesuits by now?

Well, no, but you can feel revel in that future-past nostalgia while taking on one of the Neon Retro Arcade's 40-plus games. Is Pac-Man on of the machines? You jest, surely? Opening an '80s-tastic arcade lacking in Pac-Man is like serving a hamburger with no patty. 

Frogger, Space Invaders, Centipede, and other gems your 1981 self excelled at are all in the house. And if you weren't yet alive in 1981, but boast old-school joystick prowess and a passion for the DayGlo-iest of decades, you are most certainly welcome, too.

As for the stack o' quarters situation at the Neon Retro Arcade? The arcade vows that gamers'll pay "one great price" for all-day play. Pretty sweet, especially because a stack o' quarters can run low pretty quickly, as 1981 kids remember. And you always had to save one quarter to call your mom or dad to come pick you up.

Oh, pay phones.

Want to be at the Neon Retro on opening night? Pay ten bucks per hour and play all the games you want from 7 p.m. to midnight on Jan. 30. That's a lot of games per hour — if you're super good.

And you were totally super good back in '81, right? Sorry you never got your stand-up Pac-Man for the den, but we're just betting you have a Fonzie jacket somewhere in your closet, because you were, and likely are, the coolest kid ever.



Photo Credit: Neon Arcade]]>
<![CDATA[Baby Zebra Sharks Make Groundbreaking Aquarium Debut]]> Tue, 27 Jan 2015 18:02:00 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/ZebrasharkGetsAddedtoSharkLagoon1.jpg

Aquarium denizens making their exhibit debuts are nothing new, but a debut is always an exciting moment for a public ready to fawn, admire, and learn from aquatic animals.

But Tuesday, Jan. 27 brought two very special debuts at the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, which announced a major first: It's "the first to be able to successfully reproduce zebra sharks through artificial insemination."

Fern, a 20-year-old zebra shark who has called the institution home since 1997, gave birth to two females last spring. And after care and watchfulness by staffers in the shark nursery, the duo made their debut on Jan. 27.

"The zebra shark pups are now about 2-and-a-half to 3 feet long" says the aquarium, and thus are ready for Shark Lagoon, an area that contains shallow pools where the pups can acclimate well.

Mother Fern is not far from her young pair. She's in the Shark Lagoon, too, with the larger sharks (zebra sharks are quite impressive, with Fern weighing in at 140 pounds and measuring 7-and-a-half-feet long).

The process, from artificial insemination to delivery, took from September 2013 to March 2014. Zebra shark pups "can swim and hunt on their own" upon hatching, says the Aquarium.

Want to know more about Fern, the delivery of the female pups, and how the aquarium hopes to aid "dwindling shark populations" and research worldwide, in the battle to head off "threats in the wild" to zebra sharks, which are listed as "vulnerable to extinction on the International Union of Nature (IUCN) Red List mainly because of human activities"?

Chat with the on-site keepers, who are ready to answer questions about all things shark, and the newest young superstars of the Aquarium of the Pacific.



Photo Credit: Aquarium of the Pacific]]>
<![CDATA[New: Oscar-Themed Tours at TCL Chinese Theatre]]> Tue, 27 Jan 2015 13:52:39 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/chinesetheatreoscartours12345.jpg

Bone up, and study hard, and you might arrive at TCL Chinese Theatre knowing every actor who has left hand- and footprints in the cement of the landmark cinema's forecourt.

Because being obsessed with Tinseltown isn't just enjoying the entertainment; fans get up inside the numbers, numbers that include how many performers have multiple Oscar nominations and what venues the Academy Awards ceremonies have taken place inside and stats, stats, stats of the starriest kind.

If this is you, then hang onto your Hollywood-loving self: The movie palace that out-movie palaces all other movie palaces everywhere is adding an Oscar-historical dimension to its current VIP Theatre Tour, a walk-around that runs multiple times each hour most every day of the week.

Why the Oscar-focused additions to the tour, beyond that it is That Time of the Year? The stately venue at 6925 Hollywood Boulevard served as the home of the Academy Awards for three years running. (And, of course dear movie buff, you know that they were consecutive years. Say it with us now: 1944, 1945, and 1946.)

By the by, the 1927 theater was the first theater to host the Oscars. And yes, you're right — its neighbor the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel had already performed the honors.

Other Oscar tidbits will fill the tour, include those Best Picture winners that had their premieres at the TCL Chinese. What's that? Did you just blurt out "Titanic" and "The Artist"? You smartie, you're totally correct, but there are others.

And to round it all out: ballots, of course. That Time of the Year here in LA is positively ballot-brimful, with everyone wanting to weigh in, so you'll get your chance to guess/pick what might win. The ballots will be available to forecourt visitors and tour goers alike, and there shall be a drawing for movie passes and such, after the ballot results are announced on Feb. 17.

But will you be the ultimate winner when you arrive at your friend's Oscar-viewing party on Feb. 22 full of recently acquired knowledge about the ceremony and its ties to the TCL Chinese Theatre? C'mon, that's part of the party: Who knows the most about movies. Better up your game at a certain lore-filled landmark at 6925 Hollywood Boulevard.



Photo Credit: TCL Chinese Theatre]]>
<![CDATA[7¢ Mini Martinis for Little Dom's 7th Anniversary]]> Wed, 28 Jan 2015 11:56:45 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/185*120/domsminimartinis7.jpg

When an eatery decides to celebrate an anniversary or big occasion by pricing one of their best-known dishes or drinks, or at petite version of those favorites, to match the year being observed, diners can guess that the deal will be pretty dang good.

At least around Los Angeles, which does have some older joints -- Musso & Frank, we see your centennial on the horizon -- but a bevy of new classics, too. "New classics" sounds like a word from an ad, but if a place has been around for under a decade and yet stays fairly full and nicely neighborhoody, it qualifies.

As Little Dom's does, in Los Feliz. The Italian-and-more, straight-out-of-Brooklyn-Heights (at least in spirit) hangout has gotten the not-too-scenester bistro thing down flat, a vibe it has had seven years to hone to a sheen. A sheen that matches its woodsy, Big Apple-style interior.

The Hillhurst go-to's big 7th is on Wednesday, Jan. 28, and to mark the lucky year Little Dom's will pour Mini Russian Standard Vodka Martinis for 7¢. That's all evening long or through the moment they run out. (Update: Those bargain mini martinis are available from 5:30 p.m. onward.)

We know. It's rare to see the cents sign these days, and even rarer to find it on a keyboard. The dollar sign has presence, but you'll need to go to your alt key and number pad to summon cents. 

"Shaken or stirred," by the way, is how these seven-cent sips shall be served, lest you think you don't have much choice in the matter, because you're only spending seven cents. (Well, and whatever nice tip you give your server, which should not be less than seven cents but, of course, far more.)

So cheers to Little Dom's and all restaurants pricing dishes and drinks to match their anniversary year. When, one day far in the future, LA has eateries that are 500 years old, then the deals might not be so impressive. But as long as eateries are turning 7 or 20 or 50, and marking down a meal or beverage for a day to match, in pennies, well... we shall raise a miniature martini to that.

And cents sign? You're due for a comeback.



Photo Credit: Little Dom's]]>
<![CDATA[Night on Broadway: Free Fete for a Star Street]]> Tue, 27 Jan 2015 08:01:02 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/nightonbroadway12345678.jpg

Take any out-of-towner for a four- or five-block drive down Broadway and they're apt to say "it looks like Broadway!" meaning, of course, the Broadway in New York.

Quibble whether that's true or not, but it is hard to not see our Broadway's bustle and big buildings and not make a Big Apple comparison.

But our Broadway, the LA Broadway, belongs to itself and its own story: It's a street of vibrant shops and the Bradbury Building (shades of "Blade Runner") and a "redwood"-filled cafeteria currently undergoing renovations (open soon, Clifton's) and a clutch of famous movie palaces.

LA City Councilmember José Huizar launched a plan to "provide economic development and business assistance" and "encourage historic preservation" while revitalizing transit and "long-underutilized commercial buildings" along the stretch. That plan is now 7 years old, and the councilmember and Broadway buffs will mark the occasion on Saturday, Jan. 31 with Night on Broadway, an evening of free to-dos along the big B. 

Like? A Million Dollar Theatre appearance by accordionist Jessica Fichot, "reality-altering experiences" from Nova Han Presents Wilderbe at the Los Angeles Theatre, Chessboxing at the Tower Theatre, and the enormous instruments, and instrumental stylings, of String Theory at the Orpheum.

"Metropolis" will screen at The Theatre at Ace Hotel while a festival area will be the sight of numerous doings, including the admiring of neon, a performance by the Mariachi Academy of Carson, and the Sexy Sax Man. Downtown Art Walk'll be popping up and performing throughout the evening, too.

Councilmember Huizar's Bringing Back Broadway plan has a few years to go -- it was envisioned as a decade-long push to assist and bolster and support the street in myriad ways -- so year 7 is no resting or stopping point.

But a night of free entertainment along what is a great West Coast thoroughfare, a street that sometimes gets comparisons but is truly its own, is a fine place to pause before returning to the business of strengthening our civic story, one epic street at a time.



Photo Credit: Nova Han Presents Wilderbe]]>
<![CDATA[Classic Burger Made Anew: Cassell's New Digs]]> Mon, 26 Jan 2015 20:07:33 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/cassellsRyanTanaka2014.jpg

There was a day, a few decades ago, when haute cuisine -- picture Lobster Thermidor or those pheasant dishes served under silver domes -- was the only type of food to merit substantial mention among food reviewers.

But Jane and Michael Stern were instrumental in changing that. The duo began to highlight "Roadfood" in their Gourmet magazine columns, those humbler eats that were unhaute as all get-out and arrived at a lower price point. And one of their favorite places in all of America? Cassell's Burgers in Koreatown.

The patty joint's reputation grew and grew, and though it closed shop in 2012, fans of the oh-so-'40s diner kept their fingers crossed for a possible revival.

The revival arrived at the end of last year via a soft opening for the classic burger joint, which is no longer in its longtime 6th Street location but not too far away: It's now inside The Hotel Normandie at 605 S. Normandie Avenue.

And the burgers are still royalty, but they've been joined by a few fresh touches, like an American banchan service that pays tribute to the restaurant's Koreatown setting. (If you've done Korean barbecue, you know the beauty of ordering plentiful tasty sides.) The Cassell's banchan means you "get all sides when you order" -- potato salad, cole slaw, et cetera -- and you can get more of whatever you fancy.

The cross-fire broiler is still in place, lending the patties the flavor they've made famous since 1948, and breakfast choices are available for the non-hamburgians out there. Oh, and something you may have not enjoyed at Cassell's back in the day, too: tony, made-for-a-chic-hotel cocktails.

When's the grand opening? That's TBD, says a restaurant rep. But if you've had the taste for the burger made famous by Jane and Michael Stern and dozens of other writers who favor hamburgers over haute cuisine, or perhaps in addition to it -- it's a big food universe, after all -- you can visit Cassell's before the red ribbon is officially cut: It's open for business.



Photo Credit: Ryan Tanaka]]>
<![CDATA[Eight Oscar Cocktails: The Loews Hollywood Libations]]> Mon, 26 Jan 2015 11:45:43 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/180*120/Cocktail2_Getty3177940.jpg

Oscar Night isn't just about the three (er, three-and-a-half-ish) hours that the movie show unfolds upon our televisions.

Oscar Night is, in fact, Oscar Two Months, which doesn't have quite the catchy ring but is truer, nonetheless.

The flurry of filmic doings start way in advance, with For Your Consideration ads popping up hither and yon, and end long after, as the final box office is tallied. And in the middle? We fans have our photocopied ballots, our themed cupcakes, and the all-important cocktails, cocktails that are, at least for an evening, symbolically tied to the cinema.

Loews Hollywood Hotel is helping film fans get a jump on the traditional beverage-meets-movie scene by presenting an octet of icy libations, each with a tie to a Best Picture nominee. Indeed, this is the very hotel that is abuzz with stars and press and managers and producers and everybody come Oscar night, given its cheek-by-jowl proximity to the Dolby Theatre.

Starting on Sunday, Feb. 1, and wrapping upon Sunday, Feb. 22 -- the day of the Academy Awards -- the hotel's H² Kitchen & Bar will feature eight drinks that salute, via a mixture of high-end spirits, this year's top class of flicks.

The beverage created in honor of "Birdman," the Michael Keaton-starrer which just spread its wings (i.e. won big) at the Jan. 25 Screen Actors Guild Awards? A beverage called The Flight of Fancy, which contains Bulleit Rye, Ruffino Proseco, agave, and cherry.

And the Lobby Boy salutes "The Grand Budapest Hotel" (picture, via your palate, a drink containing Hennessey, St. Germain, lemon, and agave).

Want to, for luck and for fun, raise a glass to the film you want to win? It's tradition around Southern California, the edible/drinkable themed treat come Oscar time. And while at-home libations'll be plentiful, sipping cinematic spirits at the hotel tied mostly closely to the awards adds a dimension to the drink. 

Will the cocktail that's ordered the most predict the winner? Oscar fans, discuss now.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[New: Huntington Store and Visitor Center ]]> Fri, 23 Jan 2015 18:04:08 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/198*120/huntingtoncenter123.jpg

If you've ever watched a plant that promises to bloom, you know that it can take weeks, or even months, before the smallest petal sighting is made.

Fans of the Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens have been doing a bit of that sort of intense staring in recent years, though it was not a plant, and a possibility of a bloom, that drew their attention: It was the new Steven S. Koblik Education and Visitor Center, the airy and capacious structure set to replace the longtime entrance to the San Marino landmark.

The bloom on this particular construction project -- er, plant -- was finally sighted on Jan. 14 when the "front, northernmost section" made its grand debut. The debut included a first peek at "a substantially larger Huntington Store, a new specialty coffee shop, and a new full-service admissions and membership area -- all surrounded by a shady grove."

The store, by the by, is described as being "twice as large as its predecessor" so count on your floral-fronted cards and scarves and umbrella needs to be fully met. (Cheers to the Huntington, too, for its very fine art and history book selection, as well as a whimsical selection of kids' books.)

The Huntington's former entryway and gift shop were introduced in 1980, if you feel like it has been a good three and a half decades. (It has.)

Still to come? Well, this plant has more blossoms to show: A 400-seat auditorium will open at the center in April, plus a quartet of classrooms and a garden cafe. "Six and a half acres of new gardens" are part of the area as well.

Private donations fully funded the center, says the Huntington, "with a lead gift from Charles T. Munger."

As with the natural world, timing is everything, dear Huntington: Your center reveals are rolling out just ahead of spring, which is just about the part of the year when flowers around Southern California begin to pop with buds and color and life.

And if you're wondering about the Beaux Arts buildings on the property, and the incredibly grand estate of Mr. Henry Huntington, wonder no longer: Those particular plants -- er, structures -- stand as they always have, though the new visitor center "harmonizes" with their early 20th-century appearance and feel.



Photo Credit: The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens]]>
<![CDATA[Wilshire Meets Yorkshire: "Downton Abbey" High Tea]]> Fri, 23 Jan 2015 16:20:55 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/tea-generic-teapot-teacup.jpg

The whimsical joys of living in Southern California are positively plentiful if occasionally daft.

Our Bird of Paradise plants look like honest-to-goodness birds, our theme parks hire thousands of monster'd-up actors each fall, and it can be difficult to discern whether the person you just passed on the street is in costume for a role or if that is indeed how they actually dress.

But adoring "Downton Abbey" and the 1920s styles the public television powerhouse is known for can send an old-fashioned SoCaler into a tizzy. You could swan about like Lady Mary while walking The Grove or Third Street Promenade, but the posher look is rather formal for sunnier LA days.

Whimsic Alley is here to lend a gloved hand. The Wilshire Boulevard one-stop-genre-shop, known for its bevy of Harry Potter and Doctor Who items, caters to a large "Downton Abbey" fandom looking for products summoning the show's velvety vibe. And that fandom will gather at the store on Sunday, Feb. 15 for a proper high tea that's rife with a Downton-esque demeanor. 

Among the highbrow happenings? "Tea & Food" and "Games & Prizes" and "Entertainment." Price: Forty dollars (that's dollars, not pounds, do note).

We imagine that the day may hold some gentle gossiping (like Cora might participate in), some spirited back-and-forth (think Lord Grantham and pretty much any of his disagreeing guests), and a few hilarious, pointed asides (if The Dowager Countess can sling 'em, so can you).

Naturally, you will want to wear an outfit that is drop-waisted or big-hatted or evening-gloved or sparkly-of-necklace. Gentlemen, think seriously about borrowing a formal suit, complete with white tie and vest.

As for wearing that look out onto the streets of Los Angeles? Whimsy is rife here, for sure, though a lady's arms might perspire a bit much on an 80-degree day should they be encased in sateen evening gloves. Just keep that in mind, '20s-loving SoCalers.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[On-Stage Memories of Gene and Jack]]> Fri, 23 Jan 2015 21:57:07 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/272*120/genejack1234567.jpg

Films may be about 90 minutes long, or the occasional two-plus hours, but a movie maven can name an iconic work, and iconic performance, in a few frames.

Let Gene Kelly and his umbrella flicker before your mind's eye, or Jack Lemmon using a tennis racquet as a spaghetti strainer, and the words "Singin' in the Rain" and "The Apartment" are out of your mouth in an instant.

How a performance for the ages is achieved starts with a masterful performer, which, of course, has much to do with who the performer is when the cameras stop rolling. Both Gene Kelly and Jack Lemmon have been pondered by historians at length, and written about, but hearing memories from those who loved the great movie men only deepens the fan's appreciation of performer and person.

Patricia Ward Kelly, Mr. Kelly's widow, will spend Valentine's Day evening at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts paying tribute to the quintuple-threat legend. (Gene Kelly danced, acted, sung, directed, sparkled, witticized, and did about a hundred other amazing things no mere mortal ever could hope to achieve.) Photos, music, and behind-the-scenes-y tidbits pepper Ms. Kelly's colorful from-the-stage stories, anecdotes that should fill out any "Singin'" aficionado's well of Kelly knowledge.

Those who love Jack Lemmon do not have to wait for Feb. 14 to learn more about the winning everymanness that the comedic actor perfected so very well: His son Chris Lemmon is at the Broad Stage in Santa Monica from Friday, Jan. 23 through Sunday, Feb. 1 chatting about this father and his father's long and lively cinema run. 

"The Apartment" was clearly a game-changer for moviedom, but so was "Some Like It Hot" and "Days of Wine and Roses" and a half dozen other films starring Mr. Lemmon. How many actors hope to be in just one work that alters the course of the art form? Answer: Every actor wants that.

And every person who has ever donned a polo-style shirt has likely looked in the mirror and thought "I'll never be Gene Kelly in 'An American in Paris.'" And that's OK. Thank the powers of cinema, and the charming family members of these men, that we get to revisit not just their best movies, whenever we want, but who they were off the set, too.



Photo Credit: Wallis/Broad]]>
<![CDATA[White Suiters Wanted: Volunteer for the Rose Parade]]> Fri, 23 Jan 2015 09:43:15 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/roseparadevolunteersfloats12345.jpg

If you've ever been involved in a parade, you know that there is the organization side of things and the appearing-in-the-parade side. Most marches follow those two lines, with a major exception, which just happens to be a parade that's a major exception in almost every memorable way.

We speak of the Rose Parade, our 126-year-old bud-bedecked New Year's Day spectacle. The annual Pasadena roll has plenty of interesting quirks, like never happening on a Sunday, but one of its best-known features is that interesting volunteering opportunities are pretty plentiful.

For sure, many people pitch in to decorate the massive floats with petal after petal come the final days of December, but there are also the volunteers appearing along the route, helping out, answering questions, escorting those guests, and fulfilling a hundred other important roles.

They're the Tournament of Roses White Suiters. Few events can claim that their volunteer brigade is as iconic as the event itself, but the Rose Parade's white-suited team is as recognizable as the giant rose on the side of the Norton Simon Museum.

Ever wanted to join the White Suiter brigade, which typically numbers in the high hundreds come parade time? There's a Prospective Member Reception at the Tournament House in Pasadena on Wednesday, Jan. 28.

But becoming a fabled White Suiter just isn't about being available to volunteer on New Year's Day: You'll "be assigned to one of 31 committees, with responsibilities ranging from selecting parade participants to directing visitors on New Year's Day, to serving food to band members at the end of the parade route."

The committees fill up the rosy gamut, from Equestrian to Formation Area to Heritage to Queen and Court. So, nope, it isn't all about looking stylish in your fedora come Jan. 1 (though certainly that is part of the mystique of the White Suiter).

Want to know more about the long-running tradition, a decades-old staple for the Rose Parade, and how committees, volunteering, and New Year's Day works for Tournament volunteers? As with so many things to do with the enormous undertaking, everything starts nearly a year in advance. Be at the Tournament House on Jan. 28, and check out your White Suiter to-knows here.



Photo Credit: Tournament of Roses]]>
<![CDATA[Pump Up the Nostalgia: 80's Prom Party]]> Thu, 22 Jan 2015 20:34:12 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/80sprom9283212.jpg

Music mavens may argue about the meaning behind lyrics, and who was the better frontman for a long-running band and whether a particular cover of a song is better than the original. But few wickets are stickier, at least in the song world, than Who Gets the '80s More.

In this corner? People who lived through the ostentatious era. In this other corner? People who did not but have adopted the synth-y sounds and over-the-top looks as their own. And in the middle? Fierce feelings over who "owns" fingerless gloves, keytar hooks and neon-bright skinny ties. 

Our suggestion? Come together and breakdance it out at the Fonda Theatre on Friday, Feb. 13. That means you, teens of the 1980s who've never, ever been able to get "Safety Dance" fully out of your brain space. And that means you, people born later on who think of '80s pop culture as something you discovered.

It's the 80's Prom Party, an annual fete that's all about raising the sassy spirit of the DayGlo-iest decade and dressing garishly in the process. "Garishly" is said with total love, of course; what's 1980s-style costuming if strangers who encounter you don't flinch a little from the sheer brightness?

But saying that the prom is "all about" just having nostalgic fun isn't quite right. Animal love is the beneficiary, and "all of the event's proceeds will go to Noah's Bark Animal Rescue and other animal rescues to make sure rescued pets have proper veterinary services, food, and shelter."

Your ticket? It's thirty bucks. Your wardrobe? That's your own deal, but we know you have a flouncy tulle skirt and bow-topped headband in the back of your closet.

Or maybe the front? Young 1980s fans of today have adopted much of the decade's fearless fashion, which means that those who lived it should definitely be rocking those skinny ties, even outside of any events themed specifically to the era.

C'mon: You know they look hot.



Photo Credit: 80's Prom Party]]>
<![CDATA[Target Launches New Plus-Size Line]]> Thu, 22 Jan 2015 13:51:24 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/240*120/AVA+VIV+Header.jpg

Target has announced plans to unveil a new clothing line designed specifically for plus-size women.

The line, expected to arrive in mid-February, was designed by Target's in-house design team and features "stylish basics along with trend-driven statement pieces that fashionistas will love," the company said in a release Wednesday.

Similar to Target’s other apparel line, the new AVA & VIV clothing will be updated monthly, with prices ranging from $10 to $79.99.

“Target is synonymous with great design, and with the launch of AVA & VIV, we’re stepping up our fashion game for our Plus-size guests,” Stacia Andersen, senior vice president of merchandising, apparel and accessories at Target said in a statement. “From stylish original prints to the attention to detail and fit, this line is meant to impress and we can’t wait to share it with our guests.”

As part of their latest line launch, the Minneapolis-based retailer enlisted the help of a blogger who once called for a boycott of the company. Chastity Garner, along with fellow plus-size bloggers Gabi Gregg and Nicolette Mason, were hired to help promote the line and give feedback on the newest collection.

Last August, Garner announced she was boycotting Target after the company released their Altuzarra for Target collection.

"Year after year, season after season, you put out these gorgeous designer collections and you almost never include a plus range. Every time each of these collections is about to be released it feels like a slap in the face," Garner wrote. “You may ask, ‘Is there any way I will take you back?’ I will take you back, when and only when, you include true plus sizes in your designer range collaborations. Until then, I will take my money elsewhere."

The line will be available on Target.com on Feb. 22 and will arrive in stores mid-February through March, the company said.



Photo Credit: Target
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<![CDATA[Sad Monkey Consoled by Pal]]> Fri, 23 Jan 2015 07:08:30 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/012215+comforting+monkeys.jpg

Think you had a bad day? Try trading places with this sad little monkey.

In this adorable clip from Miami's Zoological Wildlife Foundation, Angelica, a capuchin monkey, lands herself in timeout. And clearly, she is heartbroken over it.

Jessica Soto, an assistant with ZWF Miami, tells NBC 6 that Angelica is a 2-year-old capuchin monkey, and Toby is almost 4. Together, the pair were both playing with a Yorkie puppy when Toby pulled on the pup's leg. The two were scolded, and Angelica took off running to hide. As a result, Soto says both monkeys were put in timeout.

In the clip, we can see Angelica inconsolably rest her head in her hands, looking truly heartbroken over her predicament.

Thankfully, her good friend Toby was there to make their time in timeout more bearable. 

In the adorable clip, Toby can be seen putting a caring arm around his pal, offering some friendly chatter, and even giving her a few sweet scratches to the head.

The caption on the @zwfmiami Instagram page says,"Toby consoling Angelica, who's on timeout," along with the hashtag "#almosthuman."

Soto says capuchin monkeys are highly intelligent and are often used as service animals, as is the case with Angelica and Toby who are the service animals of a ZWF guest.

Thankfully, Soto says Angelica was not kept in timeout very long, but just long enough to capture the sweet moment between two friends on video.



Photo Credit: ZWF Miami/Instagram
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<![CDATA[Weekend: Dog Cafe Pup-Up]]> Thu, 22 Jan 2015 10:34:13 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/pupsshutterstock234563.jpg

Dog Cafe Pup-Up: Swinging by a local hangout to grab a sip and then finding the furry companion of your dreams? It could happen one day in LA, if the dream of the Dog Cafe is met (oh, and fundraising online, too). Want a sneak peek of what founder Sarah Wolfgang has in mind? Trot downtown from Jan. 22 through 25 to play with some woofers and get a feel for what a four-footed coffeehouse might be. (And, yep, if you're picturing the cat cafes popular in Japan, you're on the right track.)

LA Ballet Dancers Teach Ballet: If you're going to learn a new skill or technique or artform, you daydream about going to the very best for your instruction. And if tutus and pirouettes are part of your daydream, long no longer: The Los Angeles Ballet hosts a day of free classes led by performers from our acclaimed troupe. Nope, you don't have to be a pro, or even close to pro, to attend: Beginning classes are part of the scene. Adults are welcome, tots are welcome, everyone who has ever wanted to "Nutcracker" is welcome at the Los Angeles Ballet Dance Center on Sunday, Jan. 25.

LA Cookie Con: Are you a snacker who stays true to your one must-have treat, say, a chocolate chip snickerdoodle with walnuts? Or can you go further afield and well beyond the cookie jar as you know it? The Pasadena Convention Center welcomes a bevy of bakers and a whole caboodle of cake pops, caramel drops, and other cookie-iana on Sunday, Jan. 25. You can mostly keep to your New Year's resolutions and find a few new favorites, too.

Irish Coffee Day: Or if you like your sweet treats a bit stronger -- and far more 21+ -- then make for Tom Bergin's on Sunday, Jan 25, which will be observing National Irish Coffee Day with a special gingerbread version (as well as the longtime classic recipe). It's a cream-coffee-whiskey concoction that can be found in pubs through Southern California, but, the neon shamrock outside the Fairfax tavern has proclaimed "House of Irish Coffee" for decades. And we tend to believe neon shamrocks.

Jim Henson Company Book Party: When the company behind the Muppets throws a bash in honor of a kids' book series, they'll go the delightful distance, as will be the case at Vroman's in Pasadena on Saturday, Jan. 24. The series? "Enchanted Sisters" which is about, you guessed it, some sparkly siblings. The Vroman's to-do will also feature crafts, surprises, and "animal guests." Kermit is probably busy, we imagine, but the non-Muppet visitors will surely be popular with the young readers in attendance.



Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[Snow Day at Angel City Brrrr-ewery]]> Wed, 21 Jan 2015 17:42:51 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/tlmd_tlmd_100912_invierno.jpg

Oh, beautiful and balmy January days, when our scarves stay in the closet and our sunglasses are worn for both style and protection. It can make one long for snowy climes, big drifts and frozen lakes...

We kid, of course. This gorgeous weather actually does not inspire such feelings, at least for many SoCalers, people who are not dabbing away sad tears as they don shorts and a tee to run errands on a winter's morning. Not at all. We Angelenos know how to bask when the basking's good.

But a little snow that's brief and solely for enjoyment? That would be welcome. And a little local beer? Well, that sounds mighty acceptable, too.

Put those two together and you have Angel City Brewery & Public House's first-ever Snow Day. There shall be "real SNOW" in an outdoor snow garden adjacent to the Arts District brewhouse, and "hot toddies made with Greenbar Organic Distillery's Bourbon" and food, too. 

Snow food, so think hot dogs, chili, and cupcakes. You want comfort when you're playing in the cold stuff, right? Righto.

As for what is going on indoors? Look for a "simulated fireplace" and a "Goonies" screening.

Kind of sort of best of all? This isn't happening on a weekend day, but a Friday. Friday January the 23rd to be exact, starting in early afternoon, so if you took a late lunch and played in some snow, and sipped a fancy IPA, and then returned to your office and told your cubicle mates what you'd been up to, well, the jealousy might be rampant.

But we're sort of used to the whole jealousy thing, where snow is concerned. People not living in Southern California can envy our plentiful sunbeams in January and we can envy the picturesque snow days found in frostier climates.

Well. "Envy" is a strong word, perhaps, but we do have a longing for a bit of snowplay, now and then. So thank you, Angel City, for giving SoCalers a chance to mitten up when they grow tired of tees, shorts, and sunglasses. 



Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[Small Glass Full of Heat: Irish Coffee Day]]> Wed, 21 Jan 2015 17:12:21 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/201*120/tomberginsjakobnlayman.jpg

Anyone who would dare stoke the cooling embers of the "What California City Reigns Supreme: Los Angeles or San Francisco?" debate has clearly not been updated.

So here's the update: Playing the Golden State behemoths against each other was fresh back when it took a week to journey between the two.

With one exception: It's never been decided who makes a better cup of Irish coffee. On the one hand you have the Buena Vista, the City by the Bay's beloved, water-close tavern.The cable cars outside, and the Buena Vista's Victorian setting, do up, up, up the overall charm.

And down south there's Tom Bergin's, a Fairfax Avenue institution that's long been Irish-coffee-ing up Angelenos (Angelenos that keep adding to the watering hole's impressive collection of wall shamrocks).

How to decide between two greats? Let's not, for the moment, and instead raise small, heated glass, complete with fluted bottom, to National Irish Coffee Day, which is actually not on March 17, though St. Patrick's revelers do often toast the holiday with a cup of the robust brew.

Jan. 25 is its day, which happens to be a Sunday in 2015, and a Sunday is a fine and proper day to sip from a dainty glass that's full of coffee and cream and that one other powerful ingredient that out-kicks the coffee for sheer kickiness: whiskey.

By the by, here's some info that may further mend any San Francisco-Los Angeles Irish coffee competition: The Tom Bergin's recipe was suggested by San Francisco columnist Stanton Delaplane, a gentleman who'd learned of the recipe in Ireland. (Tullamore DEW Irish Whiskey is key to the Tom Bergin's concoction, let it be known.)

Yep, LA: San Francisco did have a hand in our Irish coffee beginnings. And that's okay.

As for National Irish Coffee Day? Tom Bergin's starts the party at 11 a.m. (time updated) on the 25th. Making it a little more special? A gingerbread flavor will be in the mix.

Maybe one day representatives of both Los Angeles and San Francisco will meet mid-state to clink glasses and get over this tasty competition. Maybe? Say, Paso Robles: Are you game to host the Irish Coffee Summit?

Call it a coming together of two California cities and the celebration of the beverage they're both best at making.



Photo Credit: Jakob N. Layman]]>
<![CDATA[Resolution Pause Button: LA Cookie Con]]> Wed, 21 Jan 2015 09:23:58 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/AP320569885803.jpg

The concept of counter-programming runs many a life around Southern California. It's a rule of the entertainment industry -- if reality shows are big, start working on that drama scrip -- and it's a rule that's clearly observed when it comes to scheduling LA Cookie Con, which shall sweeten the Pasadena Convention Center on Sunday, Jan. 25.

How is this counter-programming, exactly? Look to November and December, which tend to be crowded with sugar-themed outings, while January stays pretty treat-free. It's the ideally empty month to schedule a dessert show, a show that puts the emphasis on quality cookies (just in case your get-healthy resolution has a sensible asterisk that says "enjoy high-end snacking now and then.") 

As for the cookies? They'll go way beyond chocolate chip and oatmeal (though full props to both stalwarts of the cookie jar). Think macaroons, cake pops, frosting-topped goodies, and full complement of cookies covering the gluten-free and vegan spectrum.

Big bakers shall be on hand, the kind of people who spend their days dreaming about new ways to make a cookie (versus the rest of us, who spend much of our time dreaming about where to find a cookie). And the beneficiary? LA Children's Hospital.

Oh... and shall there be sampling? Every attendee is looking to get their fingertips a bit buttery and their shirts covered in crumbs, so yes: Sampling is the name of the gooey game.

And shouldn't more sweet-flavored festivals happen just after New Year's Day? When we're all a bit slumpy, feeling that post-holiday fun hangover? We're just saying, entrepreneurs with pronounced sweet tooths: January could be your wide-open month, save that powerhouse known as LA Cookie Con.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Haggis Proud: A Poet's Party at Tam O'Shanter]]> Tue, 20 Jan 2015 18:59:02 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/haggisburnstamoshanter123.jpg

If you're currently busy at work on your career as a much-revered future poet, the kind of scribe who will be toasted and tributed for centuries down the line, what do you hope your legacy will be?

An epic ode? A statue in the town square? Or that farflung fans around the globe might gather each year to raise a glass to your greatness, and in that glass will be a libation that's of local import to where you lived and wrote?

Oh, and that there will be haggis? Do you hope for haggis, too?

The lofty legacy of the eminent Robert Burns offers as many facets as a gemstone, but let us salute the fact that Angelenos, some 256 years after the writer's birth, don kilts and tartans and make for a colorful and historic restaurant to sup upon a traditional dish and sip one of the dozens of single malt scotches displayed within, all in his notable name.

It's an august gathering with oodles of pomp, and it pomps-and-circumstances-up the Tam O'Shanter each January. The 2015 nights? Wednesday, Jan. 21 and Thursday, Jan. 22. The Atwater Village landmark stages two rather huge seatings each night (further evidence that the modern devotion to the Scottish bard's work is deep).

By the by, "rather huge" here means over a thousand people regularly attend. Huzzah.

A few of the doings during each dinner? Those include bag pipers, Scottish sword dancers, the lively reading of poetry (Mr. Burns, of course, introduced Tam O'Shanter in a 1790 work), and the much (much much) anticipated arrival of the oatmeal-savory haggis.

Or Haggis, with a capital H, which it deserves, seeing as how much it is discussed by diners ahead of its grand appearance. 

One doesn't simply see swords in the sword dancing, by the by; a sword also slices the meat. And will there be goblets on the table? Tables will be well-gobletted, for high-spirited Burns buffs wouldn't have it any other way.

Why not build some pomp around an esteemed, for-the-ages poet? Here's hoping that poets of 2015 will one day have such large parties held in their honor, centuries from now, where old words will stir those present to raise goblets in tribute.



Photo Credit: Tam O'Shanter]]>
<![CDATA[Avant Garde Dance and Custom-Made Furnishings]]> Tue, 20 Jan 2015 12:55:24 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/queengeorgethinktank1.jpg

Like a performer who writhes and then turns and then somersaults and then leaps, the nature of dance, and what dance can be, is ever evolving, and growing more beautiful, and getting deeply weird, and whimsical, and memorable.

Which any art form should, should its participants wish for it to remain relevant and urgent and real. Look to the Think Tank Gallery and "Queen George," a site-specific dance performance that is 100% not about audience members lined up in rows of chairs all looking in the same direction but rather multiple happenings in multiple rooms, rooms that may only hold a single audience member at a time.

Oh, and custom-made furnishings. The avant garde, envelope-testing, boundary-ditching, surprise-surprise dancers of "Queen George" won't simply be moving about in empty space; there shall be couches and chairs and such in the scene, furnishings that are very much at the center of the contemporary action. 

The word "playground" has been used to describe the furniture-filled environment, so let that tiptoe across your craw for a bit. And if your craw has any more room after that for tantalizing ideas, the dancers here are described as "visual art."

And those dancers? They're from the Ate9 Dance Company. The designer is Amir Raveh and abstract expressionist artist Avi Roth is imbuing the space with mysterious energy.

Best of all, this avant-garde-y, craw-challenging, whimsy-summoning spectacle can be enjoyed in the middle of the week, when many of us need our minds and hearts to be goosed in a surprising, craw-testing way. The dates? Wednesday, Jan. 21 through Saturday, Jan. 25 (in case you like your craw-goosing to extend into the weekend). 

The Think Tank Gallery is downtown and tickets are twenty dollars. How dancers interact with the furniture, and how you think about furniture from here on out, may not have a price tag, though. Nor do mind-expanding fancies and thoughts.

Those are yours to keep when the night is done -- no leaving those at the gallery door.



Photo Credit: Queen George]]>
<![CDATA[Oreo Dresses Up for Valentine's Day With New Flavor]]> Tue, 20 Jan 2015 10:00:44 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/222*120/oreo+red+velvet+1200.jpg

Oreos are dressing up for Valentine’s Day.

The treat dubbed “milk’s favorite cookie” has a new look and flavor, one that is popular among foodies—Red Velvet. The chocolate cookies are now red and have a creme cheese spread between them.

They will hit stores on February 2 and be around for only six to eight weeks.

Eager Oreo lovers can enter for a chance to win free samples before they hit shelves — 20, 250 people will be selected to try the cake-like treats.

According to a taste test by Today.com, the Red Velvet cookies have garnered mixed reviews. Some call it too sweet while others think they are simply delish. 

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<![CDATA[PaleyFest: Full Line-Up Announced]]> Tue, 20 Jan 2015 12:55:47 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/jane-virgin.jpg

Think of the Paley Center for Media's early January announcement regarding PaleyFest as the compelling teaser at the end of an episode that promises what's ahead for your favorite TV characters.

But the reveal, which comes soon after the new year starts, doesn't tell the whole story; instead, television fans learn of a few shows ready for their Dolby Theatre centerstage spotlight. It gets people jazzed, and talking, and by the time the full curtain is pulled back two weeks later, buzz has built.

And the Paley Center pulled the proverbial curtain back on Tuesday, Jan. 20, revealing a flurry of new to new-ish series. Joining "Scandal" and "The Good Wife" during the mid-March multi-night run are "Jane the Virgin," "Outlander," "Key & Peele," and "Broad City," just to name a few.

A few more: "American Horror Story: Freak Show" and "Workaholics." Plus? "Teen Wolf." Plus? "Glee."

If you're rubbing your chin right now and acquiring a thinky face as you attempt to recall what the deal is regarding the 32-year-old PaleyFest is, it is just this: Cast members sit in chairs next to tables holding little bottles of water on a stage and answer questions from a moderator and the audience.

So, you bet: It's the Super Bowl for TV fans, or the Comic-Con International for lovers of the small screen, or some other big thing that compares nicely to the very big thing PaleyFest has become. The venue bears it out: While the Paley Center for Media, which is in Beverly Hills, couldn't hold the crowds that show, the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, home to the Oscars, can.

Tickets, you can guess, go as fast as "The Flash" (another show on the 2015 PaleyFest line-up). And there's a lot to know about pre-sales, passes, members-first dealies, and such. If your show is in the line-up, and you must, must, mustmustmust see it, this is the moment to think about membershiping-up with the Paley Center.

It's pretty nifty and nostalgic beyond its biggest, flashiest event, so consider that.

And consider this: Stars do show up, in droves, or drove-y type bunches, if they can and they're not on a set somewhere, and series creators appear, too. No-shows are fairly rare or at least well-explained. You'll see big people from your big show, and you won't even need to be holding your remote.



Photo Credit: Jane the Virgin]]>
<![CDATA[Free Ballet Classes Taught by LA Ballet Dancers ]]> Mon, 19 Jan 2015 18:23:36 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/balletreedhutchinson.jpg

What do your feet and legs and ankles do while you're sitting at the Alex Theatre, or Royce Hall, or one of Southern California's grand venues, watching the Los Angeles Ballet?

We like to think we keep perfectly still in our seats, so our neighbors stay happy, but many of us curl our toes when a ballerina goes en pointe. And our knees wiggle, just a bit, when a pirouette is deftly completed. Maybe we see ourselves on stage, in a daydream, even as we understand we'd never get the chance to dance with such talented artists.

Except when we can. Dancers from the Los Angeles Ballet will lead a free day of classes at the Los Angeles Ballet Dance Center on Sunday, Jan. 25. That's right, you and your curling, en pointe-dreaming toes can stand with other ballet buffs and learn some polished moves from the greats.

David Block, a dancer with the company, will teach Adult Beginning/Intermediate Ballet at 11 a.m. on the 25th, and dancer Chris McDaniel will lead an Introduction to Ballet.

There are kid-focused classes, too, like Creative Movement for wee performers ages 3 to 6 (dancer Ashley Millar will be the instructor). But not everything is about leaps and poses; a seminar on stage make-up, with guest instructor Abigail Brand discussing technique, is on the roster.

The name of the day is A Chance to Dance, which is exactly what it is (how lovely a beautifully clear and en pointe name can be). All ages are welcome -- "babies to a Master Class!" are covered -- and you'll get to meet artists from our city's acclaimed troupe.

There are more dates to come during 2015, which the company has proclaimed "is the year to dance!" We're behind that, especially for those fans who've sat at the Alex or Royce Hall bending their feet, quietly, or shifting their ankles, daydreaming while they watch magnificent dancers on stage.

You'll need to complete the registration form first, so get that, and your en pointe info, here.



Photo Credit: Credit: Reed Hutchinson]]>
<![CDATA[Free "Selma" Screenings for Middle Schoolers]]> Mon, 19 Jan 2015 20:15:01 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/%27Selma%27-Best-Drama.jpg

Cinema is one of the few art forms that can bring a viewer into the moment, into a past day and a larger idea, fully and completely, for the better part of two hours.

"Selma" is transporting audiences back to the historic 1965 marches led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his epic leadership regarding the matter of votes, voices heard, and all civil rights. The issue at hand in the Oscar-nominated film: The denial of voting rights for African-American citizens, and the stand taken by many to right that injustice. A stand that led directly to the White House and the signing of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

It's a deep, compelling, and incredibly contemporary slice of history that feels urgent 50 years on, and one that students can delve into beyond their textbooks. And here's how: Selma for Students is a campaign -- or movement, really -- that is all about middle-schoolers seeing "Selma" in theaters, for free.

Los Angeles is one of the cities on the list, and a number of local theaters are welcoming 7th, 8th and 9th graders with a school ID or report card. There's also an asterisk welcoming 10th and 11th graders as well, but check with your local theater first and see what grades are covered.

The countrywide event has seen more cities join the list, after "27 African-American business leaders created a fund for 27,000 of the city's 7th, 8th and 9th grade students to see the film for free."

The result? Weekend one was sold out. Soon other civic and business leaders joined in, in a number of cities around America.

The theaters on the Southern California list include AMC Burbank 16, Cinemark Baldwin Hills Crenshaw and Regal LA Live Stadium 14.

This is definitely a "while tickets last" happening, and a major one, too, so be sure that the young people in your life experience a historic and just moment in civil rights brought to cinematic life.



Photo Credit: Selma]]>
<![CDATA[CicLAvia Goes Valley: Eye the New Map]]> Mon, 19 Jan 2015 10:07:22 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/ciclavialucycastro1.jpg

In a city teeming with iconic places with iconic names heard and seen in iconic pieces of pop culture, it is fairly hard to top Ventura Boulevard as The Street of Sunshine and Dreams.

Yep, the Everly Brothers sang about the Big V, and Moon Unit Zappa, too, and Tom Petty namechecks it in "Free Fallin'" (it's where the vampires move west along). 

Now the east-west giant will gain a new entry in its capacious catalog of firsts and foremosts: Thousands of cyclists will pedal down the wide way on March 22, as part of the first CicLAvia to visit the Valley.

The giant closed-streets free-to-all bike ride recently hit outing #10, with a visit to South LA, but the started-in-2010 event had never gone over the hills to the San Fernando Valley.

It announced it would in the fall of 2014, and now there's a fresh map to back it up.

So where does the just-released map say the March 22 ride'll go? If you guessed "Ventura Boulevard," well, you read the top of this post. If you added on "Lankershim" then you truly know your NoHo.

It's six miles in all, the early spring ride, and it contains no apparent off-shoot streets or re-routes like some past CicLAvia rides: You're on Lankershim and you're on Ventura. Done and done. Easy and peasy.

Even easier? There's a Metro station at the NoHo spur and one in the middle, at Universal City. Don't say that getting there will be a drag, because the Metro is de-dragging this event. (Though best read Metro's rules on riding with your wheels.)

So who'll have their boombox out, attached to their handlebars, with a little "Free Fallin'" rocking the scene? When you ride an icon, it is best to pay homage.

And, nope, Randy Newman does not namecheck Ventura Boulevard in "I Love LA" -- that's actually Victory Boulevard. But in the annals of misheard lyrics, it isn't a bad one when "Ventura" is sung instead. Why? It's just a great street as great streets go, storied and sushi'd and historic and oh-so-mom-and-pop'd, still

Afterparty at Casa Vega?
 



Photo Credit: Lucy Castro]]>
<![CDATA[Free: LEGO Monument Tour Headed for Glendale]]> Tue, 20 Jan 2015 14:33:54 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/legoglendale1012.jpg Admire brick-by-brick American landmarks (just in time for Presidents Day).

Photo Credit: The LEGO Group]]>
<![CDATA[Romping This Way: A Cafe of Adoptable Dogs]]> Fri, 16 Jan 2015 19:19:13 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/dogcafe1234567.jpg

If you're a Brussels Griffon buff or an Akita enthusiast or you are wild for every canine of every breed, muttly or pedigreed, there is no situation you're in where you don't think "this could be bettered by the presence of a dog."

Right? Having your taxes done, having your hair done, having your tires rotated. Dogs delight dog-loving humans in all situations, but there remain some places where our furry ones are verboten.

The interior of cafes would fall under this header. Sure, you can be with your pooch on the patio, but going inside, for some java and some book-reading time? Sorry, pooch.

But The Dog Cafe is on the path to change this, and add a very big-hearted, giveback, happy home spin to the sipping of the coffee, too. LAist reports that Sarah Wolfgang, who has volunteered extensively in dog rescue, is crowdfunding in hopes of opening a Southern California coffeehouse where patrons can cuddle with and visit pups and possibly adopt a pup that catches their heart.

There's a way to enjoy happy waggers ahead of the canine coffeehouse dream being realized, though: Look for a "Pup-Up event" downtown from Jan. 22 through 25.

Yes, Pup-up.

The Indiegogo page where Ms. Wolfgang is attempting to raise $200,000 says that LA-based The Dog Cafe would be the first in the United States. (True, there are cat cafes, here and there, like the one that meowed in Chinatown in the fall of 2014.)

And the dogs of The Dog Cafe wouldn't curl up under your table, it should be noted; the coffee enjoyment space and the canine cooing space would be separate. There are other considerations and codes to follow, but Ms. Wolfgang delineates how she's responding to the hound-related hurdles on the fundraising site.

So, lovers of Lassies: Could you swing by The Dog Cafe, if it becomes a reality, order a cup of Grounds and Hounds Fair Trade Organic coffee, and nuzzle a Chiweenie for a bit or perhaps a Bulldog-Pug-Maltese? And maybe, just maybe, take that little guy home with you?

Ms. Wolfgang would like to see 104 dogs go to homes during the cafe's first year in business. If dogs really do improve every situation, ponder that 104 households could be improved by accepting a tail-wagger into their lives, all because a cup of coffee at The Dog Cafe started it.



Photo Credit: The Dog Cafe]]>
<![CDATA[Grown-Up Field Trip: Sex and the City Zoo]]> Fri, 16 Jan 2015 16:19:12 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/giantriverotterscharliemorey.jpg

It is common to see "21 and over" on signs above tavern doors and at concert venues, but one does not expect it at a place that's commonly a family destination. 

Unless it is February, and within shouting distance of Valentine's Day, and it is time to teach, in delightful detail, a little bit about the birds and the bees and the koalas and the chimpanzees and the reptiles and the otters. Sex-themed talks at metropolitan zoos across the country have become popular for the 21+ set, and our own animal park is very much in the swing of things, once again, with Sex and the City Zoo.

The Saturday, Feb. 7 affair is definitely for the grown-ups, in part because it won't be a normal trip to the zoo. Expect a frank and funny learning presentation at the zoo's Witherbee Auditorium, followed by an optional dinner. The presentation will be led by actress Joleen Lutz, who happens to be an interpretive naturalist of zoology. "(A)nimal mating, dating, and cohabitating" will be examined during the seriously informative but not-too-serious night.

And if you're worried that you won't get to see any actual animals during your zoo visit, a few small beasties will call upon the auditorium for a chance at some up-close interaction with visitors. 

You're welcome to just purchase a ticket for the presentation, or you can throw dinner at the zoo's Reggie's Bistro into the mix as well. The meal follows the talk, meaning you and any friend you go with should have much to discuss. So very much. Who will blush the most? Neither of you, right? Now you'll have the facts of animal amour, and facts shouldn't cause giggling.

Well. We won't judge.

The dinner menu includes goodies like tea-brined chicken, Parisienne gnocchi, and prime beef hangar steak (you'll choose among a few options).

How much is it to broaden your knowledge of furry/feathering flirting (and all that naturally follows)? The presentation is $40, and adding on dinner is another $75.

You said you wanted to change things up this Valentine's Day, right? This'll about do it, all righty. Hoo boy. Goodness gracious. Look at the time.



Photo Credit: Charlie Morey]]>
<![CDATA[100 Cases of Beer at Your Door? There's an App for That]]> Fri, 16 Jan 2015 13:54:01 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Bud+Light+App.jpg

Some Bud Light lovers can now get beer delivered to their door with the tap of a smartphone screen.

With two weeks to go until Super Bowl Sunday, Anheuser-Busch has introduced a new app offering home delivery of Bud Light in less than an hour.

The free app "Bud Light Button" made its debut in Washington, D.C., this week. It provides Bud Light during the legal hours that alcohol is allowed to be sold in the city. The company said a "nominal" delivery fee will be charged, but did not specify the amount.

As of Thursday, D.C. residents of legal drinking age were able to order between one and 100 cases of beer with just the touch of a button.

The app is part of Bud Light’s "Up for Whatever" campaign to encourage customers to have spontaneous fun.

David J. Hanson, professor emeritus of sociology at the State University of New York at Potsdam, said the app follows a broader trend of dry counties becoming wet and blue law prohibitions against Sunday sales of alcohol declining.

"I think a lot of people will be willing to pay the extra fee for home delivery. Hopefully it will decrease the number of drinking and driving injuries as well," said Hanson, who has researched alcohol and drinking for more than 40 years.

He hopes to see the app spreading to all 50 states, predicting that it will do well if the company sees people vote with their dollars... or with their pointer fingers. 

The app is currently only available on Android-powered smart phones; an IOS version is coming soon.

For more information on how to download the app, click here.  

]]>
<![CDATA[Fire Eaters, Fiery Foods at Hot Sauce Soiree ]]> Fri, 16 Jan 2015 11:26:46 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/205*120/hotsauceevent12345.jpg

A squinched-up face, complete with puckered mouth and shut eyes, may be the look we take on after eating a wedge of lemon, and a wrinkled nose is the product of devouring particularly fragrant cheese.

But a flat hand waved quickly before the mouth belongs to one product and one product only: hot sauce. If ever a condiment was able to summon tears and euphoria in one fell (and flavorful) swoop, it's the red-to-dark-red stuff that's stuffed with chilis and arrives in a pourable bottle.

And yes, sometimes it is green, too. And yellow. And mustard-hued (hoo, that's dang hot).

What? Is there a day devoted to hot sauce? Why yes, and it arrives in the coolest time of year: January. It's Jan. 22, though any SoCaler might claim that every day is National Hot Sauce Day 'round these parts, where bottles on tables are as standard a sight as salt and pepper shakers.

How will you spend the day, beyond waving your hand before your over-heated mouth? Well, by finding more ways to keep it the piquancy high. There's the all-hot sauce store at the Original Farmers Market at Third and Fairfax to peruse. If you don't leave Light My Fire with with something so searingly hot that it promises to blow the actual lid off whatever dish you're making, you haven't gone the distance, hot sauce fan.

And The Parlor on Melrose is devoting the night to Tabañero, and several capaiscin-centered doings, including fire eaters, a Red Hot Chili Peppers cover band, year's supply-oriented giveaways, and, yep, a trade-in program.

Trade-in programs have become popular among beer enthusiasts but is this the first hot sauce-themed trade-in? Will you dig out that bottle from the back of the pantry that contains the most Boring Hot Sauce You Ever Purchased?

Because look: If you're not doing a bit of hand-waving in front of your mouth, your hot sauce probably doesn't deserve the word "hot" on the front. And if it is simply "sauce" it doesn't have a chili pepper to stand on.



Photo Credit: Tabañero]]>
<![CDATA[Weekend: Art Weekend LA]]> Thu, 15 Jan 2015 21:50:38 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/211*120/laartshowabove1.jpg

Art Weekend LA: If you've ever gazed across the couch at your friend and said "should we take in some art this weekend? As part of our resolutions?" then you are in some kind of luck. January happens to be Art Month 'round this here metropolis, and the visual amazements are as plentiful as lookie-loos at a popular art walk. LA Art Show and photo la are two of the look-and-think goings-on around SoCal. And while the glitterati and makerati — those who make the art, of course — will be out in full force, people who just enjoy art are most welcome. Through Sunday, Jan. 18 at various locations.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day: While the day honoring the civil rights leader is the Monday following the weekend — a day that will see the traditional Kingdom Day Parade — the weekend ahead of the day offers several ways to pay homage to the man who inspired so many. Both Gardena and Long Beach will host parades on Saturday, Jan. 17. And if you happen to be further afield on the actual day, all national parks with fees are waiving entrance admission in honor of Dr. King on Jan. 19.

Polar Splash: It's a nice thing to gather together with members of your community and clean up a stretch of beach together. It's a wacky thing to then strip down to your swimsuit and run into the Pacific Ocean on a January Saturday. Oh, it'll be chilly, even though high temperatures are expected to top out in the low '70s. The beach clean-up and Polar Splash are in Long Beach, at Granada Avenue. We can't recommend enough that you should have a friend there to take your picture as you're running into the waves (or out, fully drenched and teeth a-chatter). Saturday, Jan. 17

dineLA: Our biannual Restaurant Week, which is actually and factually a Restaurant Fortnight, can overwhelm, delightfully, like a large menu with Everything Under the Sun (or In the Pantry) can overwhelm. So zeroing in on what eateries appeal — there are over 300 of them, in just about every SoCal nook — is important, as is eyeing what dishes shall be offered at lunch and dinner and the price. Think "prix fixe" here and think a few courses, too. Good? Yay: It opens on Jan. 19.

Vintage Cartoon Dress-Up: It might be impossible to enter a cartoon world, outside of "Who Framed Roger Rabbit?" of course, but you can make a good go of it at the Steve Allen Theatre on Saturday, Jan. 17. That's when the 'toons of Max Fleischer will unspool, and Janet Klein and Her Parlor Boys will play, and the audience, fingers crossed, will be attired in black-and-white clothing (think polka dots, stripes, checks, chevrons, and such). Pretty droll, yes? Maybe we can step into an animated universe, just for an evening.



Photo Credit: LA Art Show]]>
<![CDATA[NORMS La Cienega Update: Landmark Vote]]> Thu, 15 Jan 2015 20:40:42 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/normslacienega1.jpg

The Los Angeles Cultural Heritage Commission "voted unanimously to consider the nomination of NORMS La Cienega as a local landmark (Historic Cultural Monument or HCM)," reports the Los Angeles Conservancy, which had applied for the building's monument designation in December.

The vote took place on Thursday, Jan. 15.

A demolition permit was filed by the new property owner on Jan. 5, and not the restaurant owner, says the Conservancy (the restaurant leases the property).

The Conservancy also stated that "(r)epresentatives of the new property owner stated that the owner had no plans to demolish the building" and that the organization looks forward to working with the owner on issues revolving around the "long-term preservation" of NORMS.

The preservation organization, which works to save Southern California's architectural legacy, says that while the "overwhelming outpouring" of support is appreciated, there are more steps to take before the 1950s diner receives landmark designation.

Writing City Councilman Paul Koretz to "thank him for supporting the nomination" is one action item suggested by the Conservancy. A Change.org petition has also been posted to encourage the new property owner to "vacate the active demotion permit."

And staying abreast of all news pertaining to NORMS La Cienega via the LA Conservancy's alerts is advised as well.

Jim Balis, the CEO of Restaurant Management Group, confirms that the property owner filed the demolition and that the restaurant owners "are thrilled with the recent decision to consider NORMS La Cienega a Historic Cultural Landmark."

Mr. Balis continues that the NORMS staff appreciates "the immense outpouring of support from our loyal customers and communities" and that they're "dedicated to maintaining the success and legacy of the iconic NORMS restaurants for many years to come."



Photo Credit: Hunter Kerhart]]>
<![CDATA[Parades and Remembrances: Martin Luther King, Jr. Day]]> Mon, 19 Jan 2015 05:51:38 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/011809-mlk-p2.jpg

Taking the third Monday in January to remember a man who served as a beacon for the civil rights movement is something anyone can do wherever they might be. But paying homage to Martin Luther King, Jr. with others who wish to do the same is part of the true-hearted tradition of the day held in his honor, an annual remembrance that's about memory, purpose, and, of course, the future.

A number of organizations and places around Southern California will remember Dr. King over the weekend preceding Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, which is on Monday, Jan. 19 this year. Want to join in and reflect? You can head for...

The Kingdom Day Parade: It's the 30th annual parade, which carries a 2015 theme of "Love and Respect: Let It Begin With Me." The parade begins at Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard and Vermont Avenue at 10:45 a.m. on Monday, Jan. 19, and heads west with a turn south onto Crenshaw. (NBC4 is a parade sponsor.)

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 42nd Annual Celebration: The city of Gardena's venerable parade includes "bands," "celebrities," "drill teams," and cool old-school autos. The date? Saturday, Jan. 17. Make for Marine Avenue and Van Ness for the 10 a.m. kick-off.

Day of Service: This always well-attended volunteer happening bustles, and this year won't be any different. CityYear has closed registration on signing up for pitch-in projects scheduled for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, but there is a wait list. Or you can keep your eye to getting involved next year, or, better yet, well ahead of next year, all in the name of the man who inspired the giveback gatherings.

Peace & Unity Parade and Celebration: The City of Long Beach also hosts its own parade on Saturday, Jan. 17. And following the parade? A party at Martin Luther King, Jr. Park. The "free celebratory afternoon of music" will include performers "whose vision coincides with King's voice for justice, peace, and civil rights. The pre-party parade opens at 10:30 a.m. at Martin Luther King, Jr. Avenue and Anaheim Street. 

Free National Park Day: The National Park Service honors Dr. King each year by waiving gate admission at the 133 parks that charge a fee. In California that includes Joshua Tree and Yosemite, but start your journey to find a peaceful, ready-to-reflect spot here.



Photo Credit: Time & Life Pictures]]>
<![CDATA[Innovative Ice Creameries on the Rise]]> Thu, 15 Jan 2015 11:50:33 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/universesaltstraw1.jpg

Let other places everywhere have their winter and their frozen ponds and their chilly-faced ice skating expeditions and daily errands that take on an arctic bent.

We here in Southern California understand that it is never too early for ice cream, and never the wrong time for ice cream innovation, even if it is the middle of January. (Because truth: Regardless of how wintry weather gets around LA, you will absolutely see someone out in shorts.)

Ice cream shops with a science and/or high-minded bent are dotting our city's dessert map these days, with new openings, new creations and fresh reasons for grabbing a cone when much of the country is encountering more snowballs than hot fudge sundaes.

Put on your more elegant dessert-eating pants for a trip into tony Ice Cream Ville with a visit to...

The Ice Cream Lab: The "lab" in the name is no wink-wink joke; ultra-cool (literally) liquid nitrogen is used in the creation of the mondo flavors put out by this science-meets-sweets purveyor. Make that purveyors, plural; the Ice Cream Lab in Beverly Hills has a new sibling in Pasadena. Made-to-order, fresh ingredient flavors like Beary Cinnful Horchata. Hello, horchata in ice cream, we'd like to get to know you whole lot better.

Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream: If you've gone out for a creamy concoction while in Columbus, Ohio, you've likely enjoyed a scoop from the local-legendary Jeni Britton Bauer. Now the forward-thinking chef is heading for the West Coast and LA is to be her first outpost. Where will you find Jeni's good stuff? Try Urban Radish on Jan. 28 and a host of more places to come.

Creamistry: Liquid nitrogen is the name of the gourmet game for this multi-branch ice-creamery, which is set to open a shop in Rowland Heights in February. You build your treat from a base that can taste like caramel or matcha green tea, fruit toppings and other add-ins up the general lush-a-tude of the creamy proceedings. Need to know where to find? Find here.

Salt & Straw: The Portland, Ore.-born flavor maestros landed on Larchmont Boulevard here in little ol' LA for store #2. For sure, the names and ingredients feel as bespoke as all get-out, but there's humor to be found, too (Elvis Presley's birthday was honored with an ice cream full of The King's favorite things). What's the extra super special January flavor? It pays homage to the universe, which is quite a long way from old-school mint chip. (All props, of course, to mint chip, a flavor that science will surely show trumps all other flavors in every test yet invented.)



Photo Credit: Salt & Straw]]>
<![CDATA[Step Inside an Old-Time Cartoon]]> Wed, 14 Jan 2015 21:42:16 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/janetkleinmaxfleischernight.jpg

If you were tasked with, for whatever outlandish reason, dressing cartoon-style, would you dash right out to the Big Bow Tie Store, which is conveniently located next to the Colorful Suspenders Outlet, which happens to be right behind the Comical Over-Sized Shoes Boutique?

It isn't the easiest of tasks, unless you're dressing in theme for an old-time black-and-white '30s-era cartoon aesthetic. You just need to go with those two tones, in stripes, polka dots, chevrons, checker patterns or the like and boing! You're there. ("Boing" is, of course, a Very Serious and Official Cartoon Term.)

Such will be the look at the Trepany House at the Steve Allen Theatre on Saturday, Jan. 17. Janet Klein and Her Parlor Boys will be decked out in stark sartorial fashion, ready to play brassy tunes from the '20s, '30s, and 1940s. ("Brassy" is, of course, a Term That We Mean in Two Ways Here — actual horns and the occasional saucy lyric.)

The local favorites'll be singing from a full-on Toon Set that pays homage to the feel of a Max Fleischer cartoon. Fleischer 'toons will, in fact, be the order of the night, so expect entertainments of both the animated and musicale variety.

What will a theater full of people gussied up in full black-and-white shirts and pants and dresses and bowler hats and frippery look like? Themed parties, with a specific dress-in-this-hue request, are not unknown, but attendees should really do their best to think "vintage cartoon" when combing their closets.

Tickets are $20.

Will you help achieve the feel that the entire crowd in attendance has stepped into a monochromatic cartoon? Probably not quite, but that's okay; real-world logic and rules are hard enough to get a handle on most nights, so living inside a cartoon, and with cartoon logic, is probably a bit more challenging than it looks. Boing!



Photo Credit: Thom Foolery]]>
<![CDATA[NORMS La Cienega: Demolition Permit Ordered]]> Wed, 14 Jan 2015 14:02:01 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/normslacienega1.jpg

When many people outside of Southern California talk about preservation issues, of protecting older structures from the dreaded brick-spraying wrecking ball, they think of stately, gray-facade buildings where stained-glass windows and heavy doors are the typical ornamentations.

But we walk a jazzier path here in Los Angeles regarding those buildings that are important to our civic story. Midcentury moxie is a major thing for lovers of old-school architecture, and styles like Googie, that roof-swooped diner look that reigned in the '50s and 1960s, steal hearts.

So the news that the owners of NORMS La Cienega "have a demolition permit" is likely to make a quite a few lovers of quirky buildings quake. The Los Angeles Conservancy posted on Wednesday, Jan. 14 that the Googie icon is up for local landmark consideration with the Cultural Heritage Commission.

The dialogue under the image? Well, it's lively, and passions are intense, as one might expect of those who hold an allegiance to an eatery that's egg-and-bacon'd up La Cienega Boulevard since 1957. 

Adrian Scott Fine, the Conservancy's Director of Advocacy, learned of the demolition permit being posted at the Building and Safety site and spread word.

Tiffany Narváez, the PR and marketing coordinator for the preservation organization, confirmed that the Conservancy is currently working on the issue. City Councilman Paul Koretz's office also confirmed a permit has been acquired.

And, yes, your art recall is solid: Artist Ed Ruscha did paint an iconic work called "Norms, La Cienega on Fire" in 1964.

The Conservancy reports that it is business as usual at the diner as of now, and the Cultural Heritage Commission will hear the landmark request on Thursday.

As for other recent stories involving the tearing down of SoCal structures of note? The 1937 Cheviot Hills home of author Ray Bradbury, which sold for south of 1.8 million last year, has been mostly demolished. Photos and further info can be found at File 770.



Photo Credit: Hunter Kerhart]]>
<![CDATA[Bacon Festival Sizzles at Paramount Studios]]> Wed, 14 Jan 2015 07:29:48 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/bacon16.jpg

You'd never walk into anyone else's kitchen and begin listing all the ways various foodstuffs were being underutilized, and you wouldn't want anyone to stomp into your own space saying the same.

But, truly, it can be said of everyone making bacon at home: We're all doing it wrong. Well, "wrong" is strong -- clearly bacon buffs know how to sizzle up a strip to desire crunch-i-tude. Beyond that, though, bacon has taken off, way off, up into the stratosphere off, and every cook can learn a thing or two or 47 things at the third annual Bacon Festival, which takes over a chunk of Paramount Studios on Saturday, Feb. 7.

Nope, we're not trying to pick any fights or throw salt in wounds, but the salty meat left the frying pan years ago and now shows up in everything from scones to milkshakes to Bloody Marys to more offbeat cocktails that are not Bloody Marys.

How many years ago? About a decade, right? Social media and photo-sharing have been friends to dear ol' bacon.

The Bacon Festival isn't just for bacon-obsessed home cooks looking to pick up tips, of course; it is for eaters. Those eaters will snack up an array of bites from dozens of vendors over the course of the day, and sip brews from over 20 microbreweries.

Remember when the big drink that showed up alongside bacon was orange juice? Bacon for breakfast seems so very quaint, now.

Bling Bling Dumpling, Komodo, and Tart are three of the eateries expected, and as for the dishes? Past years have seen bacon-wrapped pineapple chunks with milk chocolate, bacon s'mores, and bacon-topped brownies (just to name three sweets).

The organization behind the baconing? Drink|Eat|Play. Tickets? They're $65. And they're notorious for selling out ahead of the day. As notorious as that one cousin of yours who walks into your kitchen and informs you that you're not cooking something quite right or your under-using bacon.

Though if he says "you're under-using bacon" maybe he has a point. If the superstar meat of the moment is still only lining up alongside eggs and toast in your house, feast your eyes on a whole crispy caboodle of new baconesque ways of cooking/eating on the first Saturday in February.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Hammer Museum: (Untitled) All-Day Film Marathon]]> Tue, 13 Jan 2015 16:43:07 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/myvieenrose234.jpg

Oftentimes, when you've enjoyed an art exhibit from a single artist, you leave sensing you know a lot more about how the artist thinks, about his or her impressions of the world, and how they connect with humanity at large.

But having that tale told through what they've created is a large part of a larger story. Having the artist curate outside works of some sort, say, of admired films or movies that explore important issues, adds further dimension.

That's just what's happening at Westwood's Hammer Museum on Wednesday, Jan. 14, and it is happening in a rather out-sized way: A 12-hour midweek film marathon.

Curated by artist Jim Hodges, the films are "about power, gender, desire, repression, art, culture, and identity." The chosen works include Alain Berliner's "Ma Vie En Rose," Shirin Neshat's "Women Without Men," Chantal Akerman's "One Day Pina Asked," and Jack Smith's "Flaming Creatures."

The day is part of the final wrap-up week of the artist's "Give More Than You Take" exhibit, which closes on Sunday, Jan. 18.

As with all Hammer public programs, the marathon -- titled "(Untitled)" -- is free, though parking below the institution carries a fee. Tickets, however, are required for assigned seats within the Billy Wilder Theater.

See one film, or experience a half day of storytelling, and consider if the artist's viewpoint becomes fuller still, beyond those works displayed elsewhere in the Hammer. And beyond that, consider each movie a starting point for dialogue, perhaps with other film goers or further afield.



Photo Credit: Ma Vie En Rose]]>
<![CDATA[Delta Makes Flight With 2 Passenger]]> Wed, 14 Jan 2015 13:26:27 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Empty-Plane.jpg

Legroom wasn't an issue for one Brooklyn man who was lucky enough to be one of two passengers on a flight from Cleveland to New York City Monday morning.

Chris O'Leary, editor of beer blog Brew York, tweeted a photo of himself on the otherwise empty plane before the jet turned back to the gate to pick up a second passenger, according to his Twitter feed.

"They rebooked everyone but me on another flight to LGA, so I am literally the only person on this plane," O'Leary said in one tweet.

In another tweet, O'Leary said that a second passenger got on the plane just as his plane was about to push back from the gate. The two passengers then departed for New York City.

Several other Twitter users expressed envy at O'Leary's presumably peaceful flight.

"Talk about leg room. No babies crying. And, no fighting over the arm rest. Play the lottery, you're sure to win," tweeted Kesha B.



Photo Credit: Chris O'Leary via Twitter @ohhleary
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<![CDATA[photo LA: The Mega Snapshot Celebration]]> Tue, 13 Jan 2015 12:21:17 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/181*120/Becker_Endless-Sunset.jpg The major exhibition, which opens downtown on Jan. 15, highlights great works from points all over.

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Shulamit Gallery]]>
<![CDATA[Pacific Dip: Make the Polar Splash, in Long Beach]]> Thu, 15 Jan 2015 09:10:16 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/polarsplash1234JustinRudd.jpg

When one is about to head out to a fun or lighthearted excursion, there are certain websites and apps and information sources that are consulted. 

You might look at weather first; will it rain on your picnic? And traffic is commonly checked, to make sure your go-to route isn't gridlocked.

But what of scrolling through number-laden tables at the National Oceanographic Data Center? It's not a common last-stop before heading out the door, unless you're headed for a happening that's all about running into the Pacific Ocean on a January day. Meaning the pondering of average oceanic temperatures -- or just how many goosebumps you'll get -- begins before you leave the house.

The Long Beach Polar Splash!, however, should only induce a whole bunch of goosebumps vs. a carpet of goosebumps (as was the case at the Huntington Beach Surf Splash on a very chilly New Year's Day). The expected high on Saturday, Jan. 17 is that quintessential SoCal temperature of 72 degrees, though the Pacific will be notably cooler.

And you'll be running, in your skivvies (skivvies=bikini or trunks but not a wetsuit) into the waves at 11 a.m., not 3 p.m, if you're counting on the afternoon sun to provide some afternoon-style toastiness. 

Not. Happening.

But you'll do this, of course, because it is a challenge and because you'll get some great pictures and because you want to stay and participate in a beach clean-up beforehand. (Just 30 minutes -- you can do it.) 

Where to meet? Granada Avenue. Should your pal accompany you and snap photos? How will you tell the world if he doesn't? Is this the final polar plunge of the season, at least 'round the Golden State?

Nope: South Lake Tahoe has one coming up in March. Lake Tahoe in March is likely very, very goosebump-inducing, if you find that your Long Beach plunge only gave you a few temporary and honorary bumps.

Because goosebumps in a polar plunge are like shiny ribbons or trophies in other activities, right?



Photo Credit: Justin Rudd]]>