<![CDATA[NBC Southern California - Dining, shopping and nightlife]]>Copyright 2016http://www.nbclosangeles.com/entertainment/the-scene http://media.nbcnewyork.com/designimages/NBC4_40x125.png NBC Southern California http://www.nbclosangeles.comen-usWed, 24 Aug 2016 16:29:09 -0700Wed, 24 Aug 2016 16:29:09 -0700NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Opening: 'South Park' 20 Experience]]> Wed, 24 Aug 2016 11:50:35 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/southparkpaley.jpg

So you say you're super-duper into a TV series lately, the thriller/comedy/drama that you've binge-watched a few times. Could you name your top five most memorable moments from the show? How about fifteen? Twenty?

The task becomes a bit more challenging once you get into the realm of a series that's coming upon its 20th anniversary. And picking best moments becomes especially sticky when you're dealing with a phenom that's famed as an issue-tweaking convention-twister, one that's built around a gaggle of bundled-up wiseacres livin' life in a small but spectacularly eventful Colorado town.

It's "South Park," as if that needed to be said, but say it we shall, for it is now having a big-time, museum-style shebang, at The Paley Center for Media in Beverly Hills, no less.

The theme of the "South Park 20 Experience" is built around 20 iconic moments from the Comedy Central show, moments recreated in 3D form, the better to allow fans to "step into" the scene (and take a few snapshots, if they like).

Another reason for all the partying: All 20 seasons are now headed for The Paley Center's impressive archives.

The exhibit is on at the Beverly Drive-located television institution from Wednesday, Aug. 24 through Sunday, Sept. 25. And if you attend on opening day? You might detect the scent of Salisbury Steak in the air, as the first 100 visitors to the exhibit will be treated with Chef's trademark dish.

"Curated artwork" and oodles of screenings each day are also part of the celebration of the made-for-adults phenom, a classic that's easily accumulated a caboodle of Emmys and Peabodys in its time.

Could creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker have imagined long ago that Cartman, Kyle, Stan, Kenny, and everyone in their orbit would one day be museum'd in such colorful style? "South Park" did begin as a short in the early '90s, back when the internet was doing its whole still-in-its-infancy thing.

But its mouthy charms and iconoclastic themes proved to be magical, and it landed on Comedy Central in 1997. Which means, yes, the "20" in the name of the Paley Center exhibit pertains to both the moments on display and the show's sassy stamina (a stamina built around the show's fearless willingness to take on all topical issues, both serious and light-of-heart).

Have your knit cap and camera at the ready? Don it and head for Colorado, via Beverly Hills, through Sept. 25, Wednesday through Sunday. Admission is free.



Photo Credit: South Park 20 Experience]]>
<![CDATA[Beatles at Dodger Stadium: 50th Anniversary]]> Wed, 24 Aug 2016 10:13:43 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/219*120/Beatles_1603597.jpg

While many of us can't exactly pinpoint what we were doing a month ago, there are some lucky people who know just where they were, and what was happening, on Aug. 28, 1966.

That was the date The Beatles played Dodger Stadium, a concert that is still murmured about — strike that, sung and shouted about — by the Fab Four's legions of devotees. It was a Sunday, yes, and the price on the ticket? A whooping four bucks plus a pair of quarters.

That's right, it cost $4.50 to catch Paul McCartney crooning "Yesterday," live, on a soft summer's evening not long after the sun had set. Pair this with the fact that it was one of the group's last shows, and you have a memory that is both lovely and bittersweet one for all who were present.

But that memory will be revisited, with tributes, fireworks and plenty of yeah, yeah, yeahs, on Friday, Aug. 26. The Dodgers will celebrate The Beatles, and you can still book a 50th anniversary package to join in the mop-toppy merriment.

The Fab Four — The Ultimate Tribute begins the evening ahead of the game, with an on-the-field performance, a performance that will indeed include tunes from the Aug. 28, 1966 concert.

After the game? Beatles expert Chris Carter (of the ever-popular "Breakfast with the Beatles" radio program, yep) has created a fireworks-ready mix, so stay put, shimmy along to the songs you know so very well and ooh/ahh over the mondo sky show.

True, John, Paul, Ringo, and George also famously played the Hollywood Bowl, if you want to get deep into LA/Beatles trivia, but Dodger Stadium came a year after the band's final Bowl performance.

Fans who were at both the '64 and '65 Hollywood Bowl shows and the 1966 concert at Dodger Stadium likely have different takes on the vibes experienced at each. After all, The Beatles evolved from year-to-year, in the studio and on the stage, and the chance to see them juuust at the cusp of their magical Sgt. Pepper-tastic transformation had to have been the moment of a lifetime.

Need more Beatles? Of course you do. The Grammy Museum exhibit celebrating Beatlemania is on through Sept. 5, 2016.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Truman Capote's Ashes at Auction]]> Tue, 23 Aug 2016 17:28:48 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/truman-capote.jpg

Back in the day, if you were a big-name talk show host, and you knew Truman Capote was going to be your next guest, you could be certain that viewers would gather around the water cooler the following day to lengthily discuss the segment.

For the lauded author of "In Cold Blood" and "Breakfast at Tiffany's" was an ace at bon mots and wicked witticisms, and he could make a most unforgettable appearance both on the screen and off (such as at 1966's Black and White Ball in New York City, which he hosted, with aplomb, at The Plaza Hotel).

And in memorable Capote style, he is again making headlines, this time for an upcoming auction at Julien's in Beverly Hills. It isn't his iconic fedora that's on the block, nor glittery photographs from the parties he loved; rather, the writer's memorial ashes will be auctioned, along with the Japanese carved wooden box that holds them.

"The ashes were kept by Joanne Carson," reveals the auction house, "who was one of Capote's closest friends. She said the ashes brought her great comfort." (The house puts the estimate at $4,000 to $6,000).

Several articles belonging to Ms. Carson, who was married to iconic TV host Johnny Carson, are a part of the Icons & Idols: Hollywood auction including artworks, clothing, and her wedding ring.

Darren Julien, CEO and President of Julien's, shared that while the auction house "has sold some items associated" with the career of Mr. Capote, Julien's has never participated in an auction of the luminary's "personal belongings."

The memorial ashes, with box, is, of course, far from a usual item to see at a traditional auction. Mr. Julien revealed to NBC LA that "Truman loved the element of shock and to create publicity by doing things that no one else had ever done. This is exactly what he would have done and wanted done."

"He lived an adventurous and exciting life when he was alive," continued Mr. Julien, "and he continues this excitement in death."

The auction, scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 24, also includes a pair of high-heeled shoes belonging to Rita Hayworth, a movie poster of "The Kid" (it once was displayed in Charlie Chaplin's office), and a Western shirt seen in "Urban Cowboy."



Photo Credit: Getty Images/Photo Researchers R]]>
<![CDATA[Hot Dawg Eating Showdown: A Fido Fundraiser]]> Tue, 23 Aug 2016 12:38:31 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/barknborrow983823.jpg

If you've ever watched your dog enjoy his breakfast, you know that his experience is a multi-part, highly complex, and ongoing deal.

There's the eating of the breakfast, then the licking of the bowl (the dish must look as shiny as new before he's through), and, as a finale, there is the all-important return to the bowl, a few minutes later, to make sure all morsels have been properly consumed.

Whether or not the pups participating in the Hot Dawg Eating Competition on Friday, Aug. 26 will observe these long-established rituals of dog dining is unknown, but count on a lot of cuteness, and dog rescue big-heart-ability, to go down outside of Pink's.

Yes, we do mean Pink's Hot Dogs, but the dog-centered eating showdown isn't about wolfing dozens of franks. Rather, a quartet of Bark'N'Borrow dogs, each representing a regional rescue group, will be presented with a bowl of canine chow, the sort of Fido fare they know and love.

The first pup to finish nets "their represented shelter... a grand prize of $400!" Every competitor will earn an award for the rescue group they represent, be assured, with $200, $100, and $50 standing as the second through fourth prizes.

Beyond the whole affair being as squealable as fundraisers come, there are a few things to know.

1. Yes, you can arrive with your own furry companion, as the event is billed as "BYOD" (you got it, the "D" is dog).

2. There are raffle tickets to buy and help out rescues.

3. Why that's right, Friday, Aug. 26 is National Dog Day.

4. And indeed, Bark'N'Borrow is the service that matchmakes Lassie-loving humans without their own pups with pooches who may need a nice walk or an hour at the dog park. The Pink's fundraiser is also a launch party for Bark'N'Borrow's new iPhone app.

5. The rescue groups going for dog-bowl-y glory include NKLA, Wags and Walks, Best Friends Animal Society, and What's Up Dog!, so if you have your favorite, stop by and root their pup representative on.

Of course, you surely love all rescue groups, as animal fans do, so feel free to cheer for everyone, in equal measure. And admire the age-old joy a pup has at her bowl, multiplied by 4, and multiplied again by all the good the day will bring.



Photo Credit: Bark'N'Borrow]]>
<![CDATA[Roscoe's: New Spot to Open (and Pico to Close)]]> Tue, 23 Aug 2016 09:41:44 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/RoscoesChickenWaffles.jpg

It's frequently and correctly stated that Los Angeles can be a challenging town for a restaurant to grow and thrive in, what with the competition and trends and fickle tastes and such.

To become a local icon, and a legend well beyond LA, is a far rarer story in the business, but that's the tasty tale that Roscoe's House of Chicken and Waffles has been writing for over 40 years.

What started as a small and bustling eatery in Hollywood, founded by Herb Hudson of Harlem, has blossomed into a multi-restaurant mainstay, one that is beloved for its soul food cred, hearty portions, delicious comfort cuisine, and neighborhood-sweet vibe.

The neighborhood is changing, though, for one Roscoe's: The Pico Boulevard location is shuttering, per Eater LA, while a new spot at the corner of La Brea Avenue and Washington Boulevard is in the works (complete with "more room to sit" and "more room to cook," says Eater).

The restaurant group made the news earlier in 2016 with a bankruptcy filing by its parent company (and, yes, Snoop Dogg did famously tell TMZ at the time he might consider buying Roscoe's). 

But a fresh start on La Brea and Washington bodes well for the iconic chain, one that has its eye on the future: An "early 2017" date is the projected opening, and the established Roscoe's of the region continue to serve up one of the city's best-known, syrup-ready, crunchy-savory duos.



Photo Credit: Roscoe's House of Chicken and Waffles/Facebook]]>
<![CDATA[Lucille Ball's Former LA House for Sale]]> Mon, 22 Aug 2016 16:49:50 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/lucilleballogden1acmestudios.jpg The legend's Fairfax/Fountain-close bungalow is on the market.

Photo Credit: Acme Studios]]>
<![CDATA[Rescue Otter Finds a Home in Monterey]]> Mon, 22 Aug 2016 12:55:48 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Selka2AFriedlaender.jpg Selka, a "sea otter scientist," is now living at the Monterey Bay Aquarium's Sea Otter Exhibit.

Photo Credit: ©Pinnipedlab, photo by Ari Fried]]>
<![CDATA[Lefty's Track Day: Fundraiser in Fontana]]> Mon, 22 Aug 2016 08:49:23 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/leftysfontana16.jpg

Observing the superstars of NASCAR from your spot up in the stands, and seeing what they see from the level of the track, in person, are two different experiences entirely.

But getting down to the track, and moreover driving it, can be a bit of a challenge for fans of auto racing.

That will change on Friday, Aug. 26 when the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana hosts Lefty's Track Day, a good-hearted, fast-pedaled push to get more reading-oriented grants, and books, to the schools of Southern California.

Participants won't be ferrying books to area schools, though. They'll be making donations to take on the famous track, donations will help fund library purchases via Lefty's Reading Challenge ("Lefty," of course, is the smiley, headlight-rocking, wheel-boasting mascot of the racetrack.)

If you'd like to take your own auto out on the oval blacktop, you can, for fifteen bucks. You won't be pushing the odometer to its upper limit, do note, but rather following an official Toyota Camry Pace Car for a memorable, enjoy-the-drive spin.

If you want to go faster, you can make an additional $20 donation and hop into a pace car for a ride that'll push past 100 mph.

And new this year for the annual fundraiser? A crack at the Autocross, the course that gives you a chance to put your at-the-wheel talents to the test. That's a ten-dollar donation, if you're game.

The Friday afternoon-into-evening benefit has a few rules to abide by, like keeping to "highway speeds" should you drive your own car on the track, and there are age considerations, too.

You'll want to make sure you're up on everything before making for Fontana, and this yearly book-loving event that lends support to SoCal school libraries.



Photo Credit: Lefty's Track Day]]>
<![CDATA[Pomona Prehistoric: 'Jurassic Planet']]> Sun, 21 Aug 2016 16:33:53 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/212*120/jurassicplanet12345.jpg

A person should expect to encounter all manner of critters upon entering a large-scale county fair.

There are the bunnies, from the wittle babies (and, yes, "wittle" is practically an official term in the realm of baby rabbits) to the Flemish giants, which are probably bigger than your dog back home, or at least as big.

There the wittle piglets, too — "wittle" 100% applies here, if you're curious — and the horses and the cows and the goats. And you'll even see stuffed animals along the midway, of the cartoony sort, but it is a rare, rare day when a dinosaur makes a cameo at a carnival.

That'll all change, with huge-claw'd, shiny-teeth'd spectacle, on Friday, Sept. 2 when "Jurassic Planet", a new dinosaur experience, debuts at the Los Angeles County Fair.

It's the perfect place for the behemoths of old, as the fair is often called "the largest county fair in the country." And, nope, these dinos haven't been stomping around Pomona on their own (having been extinct for several million years, and all). "Jurassic Planet" is a fresh addition to the annual extravaganza, one that includes "a walking tour" as well as "interactive activities."

Might you run into T. Rex there? Oh, you might, so rev up that courage, the kind of courage one doesn't typically need when cooing over a fair piglet or chick.

It turns out 2016 is truly the year of the dinosaur around Los Angeles. Not only has "Dinosaurs: Unextinct at the LA Zoo" been drawing fans of ancient reptiles, but the first-ever Dino Fest at the Natural History Museum is on stompy approach.

"Jurassic Planet" at the LA County Fair further feeds the need for modern-day people to commune safely with the colossal beasts of yore. Of course, if we'd met these beasts in person, eons ago, we might not linger before them as casually as we do nowadays.

Thank goodness for these delightful dino-flavored events, such as the one making for Pomona, and the ability to take in T. Rex and his gnashy pals with a cool, unhurried eye.

The LA County Fair sparkles (and snarls, saurus-style) from Friday, Sept. 2 through Saturday, Sept. 25, 2016.



Photo Credit: LA County Fair]]>
<![CDATA[17th Annual Eagle Rock Music Festival]]> Fri, 19 Aug 2016 17:37:28 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Jungle-Fire-eaglerock.jpg

Since its founding in 1998, the Center for the Arts Eagle Rock has become a community nexus for "innovative arts programming," the kind of classes and happenings that serve "a diverse audience of children and young adults in schools and community groups throughout Northeast Los Angeles."

Loving the center's important mission, and supporting that mission, happen in many ways for the area, but one of the most sonorous and sweet occurs along several blocks of Colorado Boulevard near the end of summer.

It's the Eagle Rock Music Festival, and the six-hour tune-filled spectacular is about to mark its 17th annual outing.

That 2016 fest flowers on Saturday, Aug. 20, from the mid-afternoon through 10 o'clock. And, as is tradition, the band line-up is plum full of wowza, from Orgone to Boogaloo Assassins to Dengue Fever and Jungle Fire. Noches de Trova, We the Folk, Paper Pilots, and Dhara World Music will serenade, uplift, and get the crowds moving throughout the big (big big) tune to-do. 

And, you're right: The artists on the roster do have connections with Northeast LA, so calling this a through-and-through community confab is 100% accurate.

So how do you make your way to The Center Stage, The Subtropical Stage, The Experimental Stage, The Americana Stage, The Locals Stage, or The Family Stage (find it at Eagle Rock City Hall)? Head for Colorado Boulevard between Argus Drive and Eagle Rock Boulevard.

There are a few donation-based admissions via Ticketfly, if you want to explore those, and both include digital downloads of the 2016 ERMF music mix.

Councilmember José Huizar, along with the Center for the Arts Eagle Rock, are the festival's co-presenters. Take in the line-up now, or arrive on Colorado Boulevard at 4 o'clock on Aug. 20 and see where the notes, lyrics, and flows lead you.



Photo Credit: Farah Sosa/Jungle Fire]]>
<![CDATA[General Tso's Chicken: A Chinatown Celebration]]> Fri, 19 Aug 2016 15:04:33 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/generaltsochickenpe.jpg

While every longstanding dish, be it a salad, casserole, dessert, or anything else, has a tantalizing tale to tell, few foodstuffs are as storied as General Tso's Chicken.

How it came by its noble moniker — a prominent Qing Dynasty figure is the inspiration, it is said — and how it came to be one of the spicy superstar suppers of Chinese restaurants across America has been detailed in articles, essays, and menu descriptions aplenty. "The Search for General Tso," a 2014 documentary, also delved into the delicious back story of this savory forever-favorite.

Now the legendary creation'll take the sample-filled centerstage in Chinatown's historic West Plaza on Saturday, Aug. 20. "Beyond the (Takeout) Box: The Culture, Community, and Comfort Behind American Chinese Food" begins the evening, with several panelists discussing "the influence food has on personal identity" as well as a host of fascinating foodly topics.

Jennifer 8. Lee, the producer of "The Search for General Tso," joins the Chinatown Summer Nights panel alongside other luminaries including journalist Lisa Ling, cartoonist Gene Luen Yang, producer Melvin Mar, Andrea Cherng of the Panda Restaurant Group, and architect and professor Alvin Huang.

A cooking demo begins after the panel wraps, and General Tso's Chicken is indeed the dish of honor. You know that the entree traditionally boasts dried red chilis, and garlic, and cornstarch, and, yes, chicken, but every chef seems to put a different and delectable spin on the venerable edible.

Samples of General Tso's Chicken from Panda Express, the panel and demo's host, will be available (so stick around after the demo wraps for a taste, if you wish).

It's a festive night for a festively flavored take-out staple, but the to-dos extend beyond the demo stage. Look for KCRW DJs, a ukulele presentation, a photo booth, calligraphy and fruit carving events, and more. 

But when the evening ends, will you long for some General Tso's take-out on the way home? It truly is one of the quintessential dishes of modern-day cookery, a meal that so distinctly itself that when you crave General Tso's, you need to find exactly that.

Of course, the "exactly that" with this hearty and piquant fare can mean a few different things depending on where you go, and that, too, is part of its amazing story.



Photo Credit: Panda Express]]>
<![CDATA[Cool Alfresco Films: Barnsdall + Cinefamily]]> Fri, 19 Aug 2016 09:30:27 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/214*120/barnsdallcinefamilyfall.jpg

Labor Day Weekend is on approach, as are the urgent articles advising us to take our final dips in the nearest pool, to lick our last frozen treats of the season, and to get in all of the summery pleasures we can before the chill winds of autumn arrive.

But those chill winds don't arrive in Southern California before the first day of November, generally, and it might be confidently said that the warmest time of year isn't nearly done here. Case in point: A new outdoor movie series, the sort of staple of early summer in most places, will kick off in September.

It's atop Olive Hill — that's the high-above-the-city home of the Hollyhock House, of course — and the Barnsdall Art Park Foundation is behind the fundraiser, as is The Cinefamily, those indie-alt-offbeat-everything movie mavens who typically hold court at the Silent Movie Theatre on Fairfax Avenue.

The dates: Five Sundays from Sept. 4 through Oct. 2.

San Antonio Winery will be on cork-popping hand, too, pouring "a curated selection of wines." The series is, in fact, dubbed Wine & a Movie, and tickets are twenty five dollars a pop. Picnicking is welcome, as is tradition on Olive Hill, and food trucks shall park it nearby, in case you ran out of sandwich bread and/or pickles 'n cheese at home.

The movies? "Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars" get is all going, "Fellini Satyricon" wraps it all up, with "Jules et Jim," "Black Orpheus," and "An Evening of EXPANDED Cinema on 16mm" rounding out the center of the series. Special guests and live musical treats will complement the flicks in mind-expanding, spirit-lifting ways.

Not ready to bid summer cinema events adieu, and all of their dine-outdoors-y delights? Find foreign and indie film wonders near the Hollyhock House every Sunday in September, plus the first Sunday in October, too.



Photo Credit: Barnsdall Art Park Foundation]]>
<![CDATA[Belcampo: SoCal + NorCal Burger]]> Thu, 18 Aug 2016 16:54:54 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/SOCALNORCALBURGER_01-horz.jpg

If you have swung by a local Belcampo Meat Co. for some succulent chops or that famous bone broth, you likely already know that the buzzed-about butchery has savory satellites far beyond Southern California.

You only need look to Northern California to find Belcampo in Marin County, where it was founded a few years back, and Palo Alto, and Russian Hill. It clearly is a company with a twinkle for both SoCal and NorCal, and a pair of limited-time burgers reflect some of the flavors found in both parts of the Golden State.

The primo patties, and their attending accoutrements, are available through the end of August 2016, for ten bucks (and that nets you fries, too). 

But what to try first? The SoCal or the NorCal? Or both in one fell (and fantastic) swoop?

The SoCal arrives with a pair of three-ounce patties (grass-fed, as is Belcampo's way), plus onion rings, some avocado, smoked ham, arugula, and hello there, kimchi aioli. It's a creamy-tangy combo that complements the smokiness of the ham and sheer heartiness of the double-down patty situation.

The NorCal is a larger patty at 5.5 ounces, and it is a "bacon beef grind." As appetite-stoking as that is, the fried egg atop the patty is the main eye-catcher, while Sriracha aioli adds some fuego to the enterprise. Lettuce and tomato are at the ready to cool the palate back down.

While some might see these two special offerings going toe-to-toe for Californians' taste buds, we'll just bet that many a burger finds fans in both the Bay Area and LA (where you can find Belcampos downtown, on West Third, and in Santa Monica).

If you love both redwoods and palm trees, and you dig both Ghirardelli chocolates and desert-style date shakes, you just might find yourself rhapsodizing about both the SoCal and NorCal burgers at Belcampo, wherever you happen to call home.

The flavors of California rule the school, or, in this case, the patty and bun. Try both, or whatever one you like, for a tenner, before August wraps.



Photo Credit: Belcampo]]>
<![CDATA[Awww: Penguin Chicks Make Aquarium Debut]]> Thu, 18 Aug 2016 11:51:35 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/aquariumlbcIMG_4048.jpg The born-in-May birds waddled out to the June Keyes Penguin Habitat, to the delight of many.

Photo Credit: Aquarium of the Pacific]]>
<![CDATA[Wkd: Nisei Week]]> Thu, 18 Aug 2016 17:53:37 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/NiseiWeek2011.jpg

76th Nisei Week Japanese Festival: It's one of our city's most event-packed and historic festivals, and its final weekend will be a flurry of hallowed and happy happenings. A dance- and music-packed closing ceremony, the Rubik's Cube Open, a number of art-sweet, history-mindful demonstrations, and car show, and lots more fill up Little Tokyo, the Japanese American Cultural & Community Center, and the surrounding neighborhood through Sunday, Aug. 21.

Echo Park Rising: At the heart of this annual tunes-and-everything four-dayer is the neighborhood of Echo Park and its plentiful enjoyments. Think "music, creativity, diversity, and small businesses," all of which will lend the festival its oomph. Look for a bevy of showcases and shows at area venues, and quite possibly your next favorite band. Aug. 18 through 21

LA Taco Festival: Do you prefer your foldable, meat and cheese-laden foodstuffs with extra salsa? Sans salsa? With an extra squeeze of lime or additional helping of cotija? Get over to Grand Park on Saturday, Aug. 20 for a spicy swath of food-truckery, live tunes, and big-heartedness. Jovenes, Inc. is the 6th annual event's beneficiary, and while admission to the fest is free donations are most welcome.

Slurpee BYO Cup Day: So you say it is the morning of Friday, Aug. 19 or Saturday, Aug. 20, and you just washed your coffee pot, and suddenly you're in the mood for some frosty summer-style beverage action? Grab the carafe, or another large vessel, and make for a participating 7-Eleven. You can fill up any cup (within reason) for $1.50, and savor Slurpee-o-sity in honor of the drink's 50th anniversary. 

Art Deco Festival: The Queen Mary couldn't be more 1930s-ish in style if it was re-imagined by a set designer, thanks to its woodsy details, gleaming handrails, and other swirls and flourishes. Fans of this look gather each year on the Long Beach-based ship for tours, talks, and dressy parties. Have something a bit vintage to wear in the hat or suit or frock department? The good-time-having is happening through Sunday, Aug. 21.



Photo Credit: Nisei Week]]>
<![CDATA['Star Wars'-Inspired Pop-Up on the Way]]> Wed, 17 Aug 2016 17:54:03 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/scumandvillainycantina.jpg

If you found yourself turning your head calmly this week, with a gentle but quizzical look on your face, as though you sensed a change in the Force, your Yoda-esque instincts were as right as a Wookiee is furry: Something "Star War"-sian is alighting in Hollywood in only a matter of months.

It's the Scum & Villainy Cantina, a vivacious ode to the Mos Eisley venue where Luke Skywalker first got a taste of the rapscallion-filled, Stormtrooper-serious universe beyond his boyhood homestead.

Nerdist reveals that the spot "...is a temporary pop-up experience with an immersive environment," an experience that is due to debut for a limited time "this winter."

But that doesn't mean you can't polish your landspeeder now and send your Solo-style vest to the cleaners: The galactic must-visit will begin accepting reservations in a matter of days.

The hours are strictly in the evenings, save Saturdays which will see some afternoon action. You might be able to walk-in, too, but that's a whole "first come, first served" deal, so reserve if you definitely have to see this place.

But will any of the actors seen in the legendary Cantina Scene from "Episode IV: A New Hope" swing by? That's unknown, though you can don your best beehive, a la the Tonnika sisters, or simply rock your Chewie-inspired faux fur, in homage.

Whether an AT-AT will be able walk through the front door remains to be seen, of course.

It will be wintertime, after all, and while Tatooine wasn't the coldest of planets, Hollywood does have its occasional frosty nights. 

This may just be the cosmic pop-up you're looking for, it turns out.



Photo Credit: Scum & Villainy Cantina]]>
<![CDATA[GNR Photos at Canter's]]> Wed, 17 Aug 2016 16:49:06 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/cantersgnrGettyImages-523681284-horz.jpg

If you're up on your knowledge of the LA music scene, and you know your local restaurants and bars, you likely have a pretty firm grasp as to where and how those two worlds intersect.

You can talk about what artists hung out at what taverns, and who got their break rocking open mic night at which all-night diners.

And when you talk about Canter's Deli on Fairfax Avenue, you immediately follow with a super-group that's synonymous with the pastrami-perfecting, matzo-magical landmark: Guns N' Roses.

Many a snapshot depicts the formed-in-'85 outfit hanging out in the iconic booths of the eatery, photos so charming and vibrant that they brim with authentic rock cred. And some of those vibrant pictures are currently on display at the restaurant.

Do note that this is not the "unofficial exhibit" that was in the works a number of weeks back, reports LA Weekly, but a few "rare photos" for "fans to view and enjoy during regular business hours."

Those same fans may be heading to one or both of the Guns N' Roses concerts scheduled for Dodger Stadium on Aug. 18 and 19. Canter's seems like a natural dinner stop ahead of the shows, even if it sits a bit over seven miles due west of the Elysian Park stadium.

Perhaps you and your crew can discuss, over dinner, one of the definitive tomes on the band, 2008's "Reckless Road: Guns N' Roses and the Making of Appetite for Destruction."

The author, of course, is none other than Canter's owner and manager Marc Canter. Bassist Duff McKagan called Mr. Canter "like the sixth guy in the band," a man so versed in GNR-ness that his book has become a go-to for burnishing one's knowledge of the legendary act's rise-and-rise on the rock 'n roll scene.

As for the "unofficial exhibit" of the GNR, the one with photos by Mr. Canter, Jack Lue, and Gene Kirkland? LA Weekly says to stay tuned; "scheduling issues" may have delayed the show's Aug. 18 opening at Canter's, but a time and place should be revealed soon.



Photo Credit: Getty Images/Alysia Gray Painter]]>
<![CDATA[Grand Park Party: Taco Festival Time]]> Wed, 17 Aug 2016 21:43:49 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/national+taco+day.jpg

While one rarely approaches a large-scale taco-themed spectacular with the exact number of tacos they intend to consume fixed within their mind, there is a question as to what sort of taco will be the launch taco of the entire enterprise.

For example, when you make for Grand Park on Saturday, Aug. 20 to attend the annual LA Taco Festival, do you A) go for the calabacitas taco you love the best as your starter or do you B) try something completely new, perhaps something from the grilled shrimp category, before you truly jump into the full taco spectrum?

Decisions, et cetera, but they're good decisions, and ones you'll need to make should you show at the downtown-based fundraiser for Jovenes, Inc., an organization devoted to assisting the homeless youth of our region.

There's no admission to enter the festival, though do consider making a donation to Jovenes, Inc., and showing some love. Want to know more about all of the important programs the group supports? Start here.

And you'll want some cash on hand, the better to try the Al Pastor or piquant chicken selections from on-the-scene food trucks like Kogi, Oaxaca on Wheels, Taqueria El Pacifico, and Sabores de Mexico.

Start time is noon, goodbye time is 8 o'clock, and the eight hours that fill the festival consist of prime taco-devouring time. (Of course, if it is a time on a clock, it is time to eat tacos.)

It's the 6th annual party, by the by, and you don't even need to jump into the car to reach it: Metro's nearby, which saves you time searching for space, which means you'll be at your first taco of the day that much sooner. 

But will it be your most favorite taco type, your go-to, or something completely different from your usual yearnings? (Solution: Buy both as your first tacos, then alternate a few bites.)



Photo Credit: Tacos]]>
<![CDATA['American Horror Story' to Haunt HHN]]> Wed, 17 Aug 2016 09:51:18 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/ahshhn1.jpg

To say that horror films and scary television are exactly alike is not quite true.

After all, we frequently watch big-screen fright flicks alongside a crowd, while a night at home, in our den, before the glowing television, can be a solitary and spooky pursuit.

And few series in recent memory have done more to macabre-up our TV rooms than "American Horror Story." The FX, Ryan Murphy-helmed award-winner, which just wrapped its fifth season, has kept true to the aim to eek out TV viewers in a startling, spine-tingling fashion.

Now that eeking out is coming to real life via Halloween Horror Nights, which just revealed that it is making the "American Horror Story" universe a part of the 2016 walk-through experience at Universal Studios Hollywood.

A trio of stories taken from the series will take root and grow through the maze like so many terrifying tendrils growing up the wall of a haunted house. Past tales from the series will make cameos in the maze's storyline, as well as the home from season one, the not-so-peaceful abode that started it all.

Will you encounter a certain clown along the way? Mmm. The less said here the better, don't you think? Surprise is at the sinister heart of a successful scary series.

But definitely count on entering tableaux from the show, the scenes and rooms you might recognize (and long to recoil from, once you see where you are, but, alas, you'll already be inside).

Halloween Horror Nights has already revealed a number of its 2016 scream-loud experiences, from the holiday-themed "Krampus" to "The Exorcist" to "Freddy vs. Jason" to "Halloween" to "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre." 

Do you need a few weeks to prepare to face such fright icons in the flesh? Start revving up that courage pronto: Halloween Horror Nights debuts on Friday, Sept. 16.



Photo Credit: AHS/HHN]]>
<![CDATA[Infinity Mirror Rooms: Five More to Visit LA]]> Tue, 16 Aug 2016 20:58:00 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Kusama_Infinity+Mirrored+Room.jpg An exhibition devoted to Yayoi Kusama's remarkable walk-in artworks will sparkle at The Broad beginning in late 2017.

Photo Credit: EPW Studio]]>
<![CDATA[Surprise Return: BYO Cup Slurpee Day]]> Fri, 19 Aug 2016 04:05:49 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/DSC00217_EDITEDbyocup.jpg

While we know that some special events only happen but once a week, month, or year, we can't help but wishing, from time to time, that after-Christmas sales popped up more often and eclipses had a way of appearing with far more frequency.

But sometimes, if you wish extra hard, something that happens annually can make a seemingly sudden return way before you thought it possible.

Look to Slurpee's Bring Your Own Cup Day, a springtime to-do which invites fans of the frosty 7-Eleven beverage to show up with, you guessed it, whatever kind of cup they fancy, all with the aim of filling it with copious amounts of Slurpee goodness.

This year's Slurpee day occurred in late March, and fans turned up in drink-craving droves, all prepared to fill giant vessels for the price of $1.50.

Get ready, though, Slurpeens: Like an unlikely eclipse, or out-of-the-blue sale, BYO Cup Day is back on Friday, Aug. 19 and Saturday, Aug. 20 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. 

In honor of its 50th anniversary, Slurpee is bringing back Bring Your Own Cup Day, again. Show up at an 7-Eleven with an iced tea pitcher, a mondo margarita glass, coffee pot, or a jar that formerly held pickles, and fill'er up for $1.50.

There are some rules to the deal, like the fact that your cup "must fit upright through a 10-inch hole," so best leave your picnic cooler or inflatable swimming pool at home.

It should also be squeaky clean pre-Slurpee, so read all.

You're right: The snow-cold, brain-freezable sip did turn 50 this year, so the birthday celebrations continue.

And, yes, the flavors have gone well beyond the cherries and colas of long ago (though those make regular appearances, and thank goodness, because classics are classics for a reason).

Got a clean coffee pot handy? Best clear some time on your end-of-the-week calendar. After all, BYO Cup Day only happens once, or, um, twice a year.



Photo Credit: Slurpee]]>
<![CDATA[OC Fair: 350,000 Bacon Strips Sold]]> Mon, 15 Aug 2016 13:06:28 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/5957abdce7a146b09ff70438396603c6.jpg

If you're a fair fan, and you regularly attend the county spectaculars of Southern California, you probably have a pretty solid sense about what you've eaten over the years.

You may recall consuming a dozen turkey legs in your time, and 30 or so roasted corns, and maybe 50 treats of the fried and frozen variety.

Whatever your totals are in this arena, though, they won't best the numbers coming out of the 2016 OC Fair. The Costa Mesa extravaganza has wrapped for another year, and has again shared what exactly was sold, eaten, watched, won, and enjoyed.

Best cut straight to the bacon chase here, as the breakfast icon is a dominant delicacy at the 126-year-old county fair: Some 350,000 pieces were sold in 2016. The savory strip appeared in 10,000 French Toast Bacon Bombs, 6,000 bacon-wrapped Pork Belly on a Sticks, and a host of bacon dogs, chocolate-covered bacon strips, and more.

Chicken Charlie, a fair fried-food stalwart, served up 40,000 deep-fried Oreos, as well as 13,000 chicken-stuffed waffles. And Tasti Burger sold 3,000 Chile Relleno Pretzel Burgers, the buzzed-about edible awarded the 2016 Concessionaires' Cup.

As for the non-snack scene? The fair calls The One Ball — you're right, it's the toss game with the milk bottles — "the No. 1 game" of 2016. As for the "No. 1 ride"? Look up: It was the Sky Ride. And some 400,000 carnival prizes went home with people who called upon the midway attractions.

The ever-beloved Giant Horse and Giant Steer drank a total of 900 gallons of water during the run, while "293 animals were sold for more than $256,700," with 4-H and FFA youth as the beneficiaries. 

If you took part in the hands-on crafting area, creating a pom-pom or two, you may be impressed to learn that almost 250,000 feet of yarn became pom-poms in just a matter of 23 days.

Naturally, this big-of-number summary must conclude on that holdable, noshable classic of fair food, the turkey leg. Juicy's smoked some 75,000 of 'em in 2016.

Already dreaming of the turkey legs you'll hold at the next fair? You don't have to count the days before you'll learn the official dates: The Orange County Fair will return to Costa Mesa from July 14 through Aug. 13, 2017.



Photo Credit: Bacon]]>
<![CDATA[WeHo ShackBurger Giveaway]]> Mon, 15 Aug 2016 16:38:30 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/ShackBurger_Evan+Sung.jpg

There are just under 3,000 miles separating the Shake Shack in West Hollywood and the burger chain's newest shop, but you won't need to venture to Boston to be a part of the opening.

The company, which was founded in New York City's Madison Square Park in 2004, is fêting its 100th Shake Shack by going beyond the shop's Boston Seaport location. Well beyond, in fact, for every Shake Shack, except those located at stadiums, will be handing out one hundred free ShackBurgers on Tuesday, Aug. 16.

As in, the number 1 followed by two zeroes. As in, an impressive amount of meatage and bunage and the other goodies that make up the whole shebang. 

The deal is as follows: You'll need to be among the first 100 people at the West Hollywood Shake Shack on Aug. 16 to score your burger (and, yep, this is a one-burger-per-person deal, so tell your pals they'll need to queue up alongside you if they want their own). 

The hours are 10:30 a.m. to noon, which means that you very well could be eating the burger at an hour some people do breakfast, but burgers for breakfast are a long and hallowed tradition for many lovers of hearty, savory foodstuffs. 

What goes into a ShakeShack? There's the extra soft Martin's Potato Roll, the ShackSauce, the Angus beef burgers (antibiotic-free, by the by), cheese, lettuce, and tomato. 

Breakfast on a Tuesday, indeed.

Do note that "long lines" are expected at every ShakeShack in the nation, so arrive ready to make friends. Perhaps you can marvel, with your new pals, how what began as a hot dog cart at a NYC park flowered into 100 locations around the country.

Clearly it is good eating morning, noon, or night, or in the case of Tuesday, Aug. 16, 10:30 to noon, exactly.



Photo Credit: Evan Sung]]>
<![CDATA[One-Day-Only Fall Faves: Tickets on Sale]]> Mon, 15 Aug 2016 09:20:22 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/dayofthedeaddramaafterdark.jpg

One of the mostly true truisms of our Halloween-loving, autumn-mad region is this: If you miss an October event on a Thursday, you can count on it happening on Friday, and Saturday, too.

Many of the large-scale seasonal events around Southern California take up an impressive chunk of the calendar, from the maze events at our various theme parks to the effects-laden haunted houses. They're in it for a few nights, or weeks, and you'll probably get your chance to go.

But that's not so with some of our area's venerable one-night-only happenings. You'll not want to dilly-dally on securing a ticket, as there'll be just one day and/or night to experience the annual treat.

And it so happens that tickets for two elegant and ethereal events of the late-October/early-November season are available now.

First up on the calendar? Drama After Dark, the vignette-packed, Victorian-spooky evening at The Huntington Library, Art Collection, and Botanical Gardens. The San Marino landmark is rarely open after sundown, but it keeps nighttime hours for this one-night-only theatrical to-do, a velvety-eerie celebration of the works of Edgar Allan Poe and Edward Gorey.

The date? Saturday, Oct. 22. Best find a gown worthy of the House of Usher to wear (or simply something comfortable for walking the darkened grounds of The Huntington by night).

LA Day of the Dead dances merrily into its 17th annual outing on Saturday, Oct. 29. This heartfelt, tradition-rich festivity honors not Halloween but Día de los Muertos, with a host of exquisite altars, performances, and costumes. 

If you're hoping to attend the Hollywood Forever celebration, tickets are now on sale for the single day/night party (a party that typically lasts a full half day).

It's true that some of LA's greatest October gatherings only happen but once a year, but what gatherings they are. To make sure you can be there, in full Poe or calacas finery, best look into your Huntington or Hollywood Forever tickets now.



Photo Credit: LA Day of the Dead/Drama After Dark]]>
<![CDATA[Free: Cabrillo Marine Aquarium Public Tours]]> Sun, 14 Aug 2016 09:42:17 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/spanishshawlnudibranchcabrillo.jpg

If you've ever made a date with the grunion, those silvery wonders that wriggle from the ocean onto land each spring and summer (over a very select number of nights, depending on the moon and tides), you've likely visited the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium in San Pedro.

The Cabrillo, of course, is one of the longtime headquarters of prime Southern California grunion action, so much so that a grunion-themed gala is held at the institution each year. But getting to know more about the historic aquarium, which has roots in the 1930s, beyond its grunion-cool cred, requires a more in-depth visit.

You're in luck, if you've been wanting such an experience, and you're doubly in luck if you've been hoping it might be free: Cabrillo Marine Aquarium is hosting tours over the second half of August, tours led by "experienced high school docents" ready to talk about aquarium residents of the aquarium at length.

Those residents, from sea anemones to jellies, all reflect Southern California marine animals and environments specifically, so think of the tour as a way to get to know our beneath-the-waves neighbors. 

"The Aquarium's high school volunteers have dedicated their summer break to learning about local marine life and have been giving tours to summer camps and school groups," says the CMA. Tour participants will eye "the largest collection of Southern California marine life in the world."

Start time each day? It's 10 o'clock, but you'll want to arrive by 9:45 for the 90-minute (ish) tour. But don't dally: The tours will happen on select dates from Aug. 16 through 26, 2016.

You know you'll be back in the spring when those celebrated silvery spawners return to the sand near Cabrillo Marine Aquarium, to admire one of nature's most marvelous shows by moonlight.

But enjoying the aquarium itself by sunlight, on a comprehensive tour, is a way to fill out the fish-fun areas of your knowledge of one of California's quintessential aquariums, and one that focuses solely on SoCal marine life.



Photo Credit: Cabrillo Marine Aquarium]]>
<![CDATA[Free: 'The Bad News Bears' Screening]]> Sat, 13 Aug 2016 09:11:17 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/fmbadnewsbears.jpg

You can know all the tales about one of the most storied corners in Los Angeles, from the days back in the early '30s when farmers sold vegetables from their trucks to its annual Harvest Festival to the fact that it makes some of the most famous toffee in all of California (at Littlejohn's Candies, natch).

But if you don't talk about Gilmore Field when talking about the Original Farmers Market, well, you haven't quite knocked it out of the park. The Hollywood Stars once played baseball not too far from that fabled corner — Third & Fairfax, of course — making it the perfect subject for the market's first free outdoor movie screening.

That's right, Farmers Market, which started in 1934, is about to have a big "first-ever" on Saturday, Aug. 13 when it screens 1976's "The Bad News Bears" on its Market Plaza.

The free happening is courtesy of both the market and the Skirball Cultural Center, which currently has two sporting exhibitions on view at its Mulholland-close campus: "Chasing Dreams: Baseball and Becoming American" and "The Unauthorized History of Baseball in 100-Odd Paintings: The Art of Ben Sakoguchi."

While the movie must wait for the sun to dip below the market's iconic clocktower — meaning the reel rolls at 8 p.m. — there are other baseball-riffic to-dos happening ahead of the film, from "baseball-themed art projects" to music to treats for sale.

That portion of the night steps up to the mound from 5 to 8 o'clock.

You can't show with your own chair or snacks, but blankets and pillows are a home run, if that's your pleasure. There will be a few chairs there, but bet they'll fill up fast.

As you plunk down upon your blanket, will you chat about the history of Gilmore Field, which once sat near the street that's now The Grove Drive? And how the crack of balls connecting with bats was one of the prominent sounds of the area, even perhaps rivaling the chimes of the Original Farmers Market clocktower?

Well, okay, you're right: Very few things can rival that quintessentially LA sound, it's true. Enjoy the film, the fun, the food at Farmers Market, and the baseball-sweet pleasures of late summer.



Photo Credit: Original Farmers Market/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Long Beach Sandcastle Weekend]]> Fri, 12 Aug 2016 17:40:07 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/lbcsandphotobywoody.jpg

When you're building a sandcastle with a friend, there are a lot of different directions your conversation can take.

You might guess how long your structure will stand before being swept out to sea. You could ponder if additions like shell or kelp pods enhance the design you have in mind. And you're always, always going to discuss the famous Carl Sagan quote, the one about there being more stars dotting the cosmos than grains of sands on our planet's beaches.

Put those topics to lively work on Saturday, Aug. 13 and Sunday, Aug. 14 at the 84th annual Long Beach Sand Sculpture Art & Music Festival.

Indeed, we did mean to type "84th" — this ocean-adjacent party has longevity, or, if you prefer, grit. (We know, that joke should be taken worth a grain of sand.)

It also has a schedule that breaks it down, pro-wise, amateur-wise, and community-wise. If you want to see what the people who regularly build wondrous structures made of beach are up to, be there on Aug. 13.

Of course, it need not be noted, but we'll note nonetheless, that the earlier in the day you arrive, the more unformed the sculptures will be. Get there at 3 or 4 o'clock to see the turrets and dragons and such really gelling.

Should you want to jump into the amateur competition, you'll need to sign up early on Saturday, and, you got it, you'll need to come with your tools in tow. 

Have a plastic bucket? Of course you do. What sand sculptor doesn't? Throw it in the trunk before you forget.

The Community Sand Sculpting Competition unfurls, like a tiny paper flag atop a newly shaped castle, on Sunday, Aug. 14.

There's a place for the youngsters to build sandcastles, too, there shall be beer and wine for the grown-ups, and arts and crafts vendors'll be out at the Granada Beach location. Alfredo's Beach Club is once again the weekend's host.

It's as SoCal-y a tradition as summer staples come, and that a heat wave is due means the beach will be one of the best spots to be. That you might score victory with a here-today-gone-soon-ish sculpture is the cherry on this sundae.

Or, er, the flag atop this sandcastle. 

Start chatting about stars in the cosmos vs. sand on the beach, and, seriously, throw that plastic bucket in your car, pronto.



Photo Credit: Photo by Woody]]>
<![CDATA[Revelry by the River: Frogtown Artwalk]]> Fri, 12 Aug 2016 15:35:07 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/frogtownartaug16.jpg

So many wits and wags adore cracking wise about Southern California's vast collection of suburbs, cities, and hamlets, but what is often left out of the conversation is how close these communities can be.

Look to Frogtown, which is about as LA River-adjacent as a place can get, and look to the neighborhood's decade-old summertime art night. The Frogtown Artwalk may be a once-a-year kind of thing, but it puts forth what those in the area, and those who don't live there but love it, know: This is a knit-close community that treasures expression, history, and a generous helping of funky do-your-own-thing-ness, art-wise.

That's why creative souls have long gravitated to the area, artists you can get to know on Saturday, Aug. 13. This is no hour-long, be-quick stroll-around; the Frogtown Artwalk fills up six free 'n festive hours, from late afternoon into evening.

Make for the Elysian Valley from 4 to 10 o'clock to visit art studios from the likes of sculptor Steve Graziani, drummaker Pat Bylard, painter Michael Todd, and painter Erin Hanson. Pieces from the Elysian Valley Arts Collective "will encourage visitors to explore river pathways" while a sound-filled installation from Carmina Escobar weaves in sounds of the immediate area.

Three stages of live music, one curated by none other than the beloved Spaceland of Echo Park, bring more sounds to the night, while local restaurants, like the still-new Salazar, will keep the vittles on the grills and artwalkers feeling sated.

A host of other visual delights, some made for younger visitors, some founded on sheer whimsy and surprise, await. As do the popular pedi-cabs, the take-it-easy rides that give visitors a chance to see a swath of Frogtownia in one fell (and fun) swoop.

As mentioned, this is a free thing, but cash'll be handy for anything you want to buy, like a plate of piquant barbecue or a painting. 

It's a party down by the river, one happening in the heart of one of Southern California's many communities.

But just because our region is a vast spread of towns doesn't mean that most of those places don't rock the close-knitted-ness. Look to Frogtown for that, and witness true community, in full flower, at the annual Artwalk.



Photo Credit: Bob Berg]]>
<![CDATA[Queen Mary Renovations Ahead]]> Fri, 12 Aug 2016 07:27:03 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/184*120/QueenMary_newedit_52464380.jpg

The RMS Queen Mary, during her days crisscrossing the Atlantic, spied many interesting things on the far horizon: glittery ports of call, sea life, rising moons and setting suns, and other ocean liners of notable grandeur and girth.

But a redo for the ship, as in a thorough renovation, is what might be currently spied through a looking glass if one were to point the telescope towards the immediate future. The LA Times has revealed that the ship, which has called Long Beach home since 1967, is "getting a bow to stern makeover," one that will change up the rooms in addition to some of the larger spaces around the hotel-events destination.

Like the boiler room, for one. If you've only seen the industrial, valves-and-pipes-laden space during the Queen Mary's annual Halloween maze happening, or on a ghost tour, it may look a mite different on your next visit, should it become "a music club or speak-easy," two possible plans.

Urban Commons, a real-estate and development firm (and the holder of the ship's lease), is working with the City of Long Beach to fund the updates and changes, which are expected to come in at $15 million, says the Times.

Other additions may include a wading pool at the rear deck, a movie area, and fresh carpeting in the hotel hallways. Shower upgrades, new mattresses, and other in-room updates are ahead (though the rooms will keep their woodsy-polished appearances, complete with portholes, of course).

Fans of the Queen Mary's vintage feel may be chuffed to learn that "preserving the feel of a 'bygone era,'" down to '30s-esque textile choices, is in the cards for the renovation.

As might be expected. The ocean-liner is hosting its popular Art Deco Weekend later in August, and its Halloween event has found much inspiration in the ship's 1930s beginnings (as well as the ye olde ghosts said to keep residence there). 

Of note: The land near the Queen Mary is also up for a rethink, with shops and eateries and more attractions possible.

Will the ocean-liner stay open during the renovations? That's the plan. Will Dark Harbor, the autumntime scare fest, take place in 2016? Count on it. In fact, it has a new-for-2016 character based upon the men who built the ship in Scotland in 1934.

Which again ties the landmark to its fabled past. Here's hoping that the vintage vibe will remain intact as newer comforts are put in place and the Queen Mary sails into a major renovation in the months ahead.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Weekend: CicLAvia Rolls Down Wilshire]]> Thu, 11 Aug 2016 12:37:49 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/ciclaviawilshireaug16.jpg

CicLAvia #18: If you've been visited the mid-city this summer, you know that weekends have meant traffic closures along parts of Wilshire, due to the Metro Purple Line Extension. The boulevard will see a different sort of closure, however, on Sunday, Aug. 14, when it is fully closed to auto traffic between Western and Grand. The event is free, you can cycle, rollerskate, walk, cartwheel, or do whatever people-powered thing you please, all while taking time to visit food trucks and community booths. 

Million Pin Challenge: Are you a strike-getting pro? Can you send a ball sailing down the lane with moxie and aplomb? Or are you all about the gutters? It matters not where your skills stand during this mega fundraising day at area Bowlmor AMF locations. Feeding America is the beneficiary, and you can nab a free game in the morning of Saturday, Aug. 13 to jumpstart the action. Whenever you bowl, though, during the day or night, know you're lending a hand with every pin you send clattering.

BrunchCon: It's not exactly accurate to claim that everything under the sun has its own convention these days, but comic books do, and monster movies, and now a weekend daytime staple that's known for fancy egg dishes and Bloody Marys. Several vendors are cooking up the savory/sweet stuff at The Reef, which will welcome brunching buffs on Sunday, Aug. 14. Will you find a fresh slice of toast to be ga-ga over? Or a new go-to spot for sausage links? This is a fine way to give new places a try.

The Brewer's Workout: The annual LA Craft Beer Crawl has been a popular happening for well over a half decade now, but the Saturday, Aug. 13 to-do is about to take on a new dimension: a fitness regimen. Sign up for a workout earlier in the day, one that finds inspiration from the day-to-day of making beer. The morningtime event is raising money for Alex's Lemonade stand, and all of the sweating done during the first hour is followed by a beer, and bites, in the second.

Avocado Fest: So you say you dig brews, but you also like a certain creamy, guac-a-licious fruit, the one that has a giant pit, er, seed, in the middle? Angel City Brewery can help you out. The Arts District brewhouse is ready to re-debut is piquant Avocado Ale, and they're throwing a party to do so on Sunday, Aug. 14. Food trucks, a michelada bar, some special cocktails, and other warm-weather delights await at the brewery's HQ.



Photo Credit: CicLAvia]]>
<![CDATA[Foamy Fundraiser: The Brewer's Workout]]> Thu, 11 Aug 2016 12:36:12 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/craftbrewer2939292.jpg

You may have never hoisted a bag groaning with malt grain onto a high shelf, but if you've seen someone else do so, perhaps on a brewery tour, you could instantly grok that moving bag of grain, all day long, might be akin to doing some very impressive weight lifts.

The LA Craft Beer Crawl is going to explore the meeting point between what a beermaker does and what goes into a quality exercise session at the Brewer's Workout, a fundraising event happening a few hours ahead of the annual downtown stroll-and-sip-suds festival.

The date is Saturday, Aug. 13, and you'll absolutely want to arrive in your comfies, as you may be engaging in some squats or stretches as you participate in a "fitness regimen designed around the day to day life of a brewer." 

Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation for Childhood Cancer is the beneficiary of the morningtime event, which costs ten dollars to join.

Will there be personal trainers on hand to guide you through the lifting of six-packs and squats that are made even more challenging by the presence of a malt grain bag? There shall be.

Will you get to revel in what might be the most unusual group exercise sesh you've ever participated in with something chilled and foamy at the end? You'll want to relive those malt grain squats, so yes. How better to do so than over a glass of craft beer?

The two-hour happening kicks off at 10 a.m. at 1201 S. Grand Avenue, Suite B, and you got it: You must be 21 to join. And nope, you won't be squatting/pumping for the full 120 minutes; the second hour is reserved for quaffing and noshing, the better to get some calories after a sweat-inducing hour of brewer-style strengthening.

As for the crawl itself, which is heading into its 7th annual go-around (with 7 bars and restaurants on the map)? That happens from 3 to 7 at various downtown venues, so you have time to head home for a shower first.

Goose Island Beer Co. and 213 Nightlife are the co-presenters of the Brewer's Workout — take a peek at what'll go down now...



Photo Credit: Goose Island Beer Co.]]>
<![CDATA[Rialto Theatre: A Cinematic Yard Sale]]> Thu, 11 Aug 2016 08:57:40 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/184*120/rialtohistoric.jpg

True story: There's no shortage of offbeat yard sales around the Golden State. Whole towns have staged citywide events centered on gently used goods (think Morro Bay) while classic inns, like the Hotel Figueroa in downtown LA, have sold off light fixtures, furniture, and more.

In short? Placing some no-longer-needed stuff on a curb, with a price tag affixed, is not just the province of individuals. In fact, drive by the alley behind the Rialto Theatre in South Pasadena on Sunday, Aug. 14 and you're bound to see numerous items set up for lookie-loo-ing and buying, too, from old-school chairs to concession supplies.

Yep, even a vintage cinema like the Rialto can host a yard sale. And yep, this is the notorious alley from 1992's "The Player," so you likely won't shop a more reel-ready location any time soon. And yep, we mean nope, those aren't chairs from the Rialto you'll be browsing, but rather seats from another venue (the Rialto has been storing them).

They're from the '40s and 1950s, so the seats have seen, or more accurately been sat upon, a few movies in their time.

Note that the sale, which is being overseen by the Friends of the Rialto, is described as "informal" and won't mirror the large-scale sell-offs seen at some SoCal hotels in recent years. Still, if you're looking for a piece from a projector room, or something else that's quintessentially "old-timey movie house," you could have a bit of luck.

The Rialto's architectural flourishes and famous marquee won't be up for sale, for there remains a passionate push to see it again open, one day, as a vibrant multi-use space.

The 1925, TLC-needing landmark was sold in 2015, and the owners "are looking for the right tenant to take on the lease," per the Friends of the Rialto.

The preservation-minded group is hoping to be that tenant, and is working toward raising money to complete "the required initial restoration work" and line up some other necessary ducks. A video posted in June 2016 details those goals, with a fundraising page in the mix.

There's a way to jump into fund-raising at the cinema itself, via the Caravan of Fantasy evening on Saturday, Aug. 27. The "unique live fundraiser" is in support of the place it is being staged, natch, and tickets start at twenty bucks.

Another charming and cinema-unique way the Friends of the Rialto raising money to give the theater a bright future? Putting people's names up on the marquee, for a donation. Find your name in lights or all the info on this particular perk here.

It's a special place for many, and one that'll mark its 100th before we know it. Might you own a slice of its history, or at least a seat it has housed for awhile? A yard sale awaits your perusing in lovely South Pasadena.



Photo Credit: Friends of the Rialto]]>
<![CDATA[Pasadena Alligator Moves to LA Zoo]]> Wed, 10 Aug 2016 15:05:54 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/tinapasadenahumane.jpg

Pasadena is one of Southern California's most storied and historic burgs, no doubt about it. And the city has had the necessary time to develop some charming quirks over the years, including many that have become treasured local fixtures.

It's home to the annual Doo Dah Parade, one of the most outlandish struts in this state or any other. And on New Year's Day some truly whimsical vehicles, all covered in flowers, roll down Colorado Boulevard to the delight of people around the planet.

And over at the Crown City's local Humane Society & SPCA? Why that's where Tina has resided for quite a long stretch.

Tina is not a cuddly pooch nor a purring feline; she's all alligator. She just happens to be an alligator who has called the Raymond Avenue pet shelter home for the better part of two decades.

Pet shelters, of course, don't typically house alligators, but Tina has been a special resident, indeed. But her Humane Society residency is now completed: The 7-footer has a new address as of Wednesday, Aug. 10: the Los Angeles Zoo.

Her story, detailed on the Pasadena Humane Society & SPCA web site, intrigues. The American Alligator "was one of the many wild and exotic animals that came to PHS in 1998 when a traveling wildlife education program closed due to permitting issues."

The 100-pound reptile lived in an enclosed pond area on the property, soon becoming a "beloved local icon," per the society. People arriving to adopt a new puppy or cat often knew to make a minute or two to visit the center's most singular tenant.

But Tina's "singular" days are done. She was never meant to live forever and always at Pasadena Humane, and a dream of a roomier habitat is a reality: She's settling in at the LA Zoo, alongside enclosure mate Reggie, another rescue.

"Tina and Reggie will be sharing an enclosure," says the society on Facebook. "Reggie has lived with a female alligator before, and LA Zoo staff will closely monitor and take care of the pair."

"(S)afe placement outside of the shelter may have been difficult to obtain," says the shelter, but that goal is now a happy reality.

As is the fact that the alligator hasn't gone too far. Staffers and volunteers of the Pasadena Humane Society & SPCA, as well as visitors who came to expect a Tina sighting, can now make for the Griffith Park destination to admire the reptile in her more spacious home.

As for finding your next furry friend or lending support to the Pasadena-based animal agency, which marked its first centennial in 2003? Tails are a-waggin' this way.



Photo Credit: Pasadena Humane Society]]>
<![CDATA[17th-Century Chinese Paintings at LACMA]]> Wed, 10 Aug 2016 11:49:58 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Tsao_DongQichang_1-Access.jpg

Of art's many subjective roles, purposes, and functions, one truism is that each piece, even those hailing from centuries ago, possesses a thread, one that runs through the present day (whenever the present day happens to be).

These subtle yet strong threads connecting we modern viewers to the long-ago past are a pronounced feature in the nature-filled artworks currently on exhibition in the Los Angeles County Museum of Art's Resnick Pavilion.

"Alternative Dreams: 17th-Century Chinese Paintings from the Tsao Family Collection," which includes dozens of stately scrolls, as well as painted fans and album leaves, features pieces by masters such as Dong Qichang, Bada Shanren, Luo Mu, and Wu Weiye.

Jung Ying Tsao was both an art dealer and a passionate collector and connoisseur of the period, compiling the many works on view over a number of decades.

Mr. Tsao passed away in 2011, but his dedication to saving and sharing the pieces created in "one of the most turbulent and creative eras in the history of Chinese art" finds a powerful legacy in "Alternative Dreams." (Disclosure: This writer is a friend to the Tsao family.)

That turmoil arose from the abutting of two dynasties, the Ming (which came to a dramatic end in 1644) and the Qing (China's final imperial dynasty, which reigned into the early 20th century). The artists witnessing these major shifts found inspiration in the ripples, and often huge waves, caused by the changes in power and ultimately society as a whole, as so often happens in times of upheaval.

The answer to that change, for the many masters featured in the show, was nature and its enduring elements, the mountains and rivers that ably weather human affairs. Birds, berries, blossoms, and towering trees are also seen throughout the scrolls and fans, while people, too, make appearances in the wondrous settings.

Above all, the landscape dominates, offering serenity and light. Poetry further enriches many of the works, as does calligraphy (the museum offers a helpful primer on the five types of Chinese calligraphy near the entrance).

Monks and scholars are among the artists featured in the exhibit, which brings a reflective, inner-looking/inner-knowing quality to the collection as a whole.

Perhaps the strongest thread of all, in an artwork fashioned centuries back, is that of nature, something that's intimately known by both artist and contemporary viewer. Trees and mountains and birds are a connective thread, as is our current knowledge of what the artists were encountering, and finding inspiration in, during their lifetimes.

"Alternative Dreams: 17th-Century Chinese Paintings from the Tsao Family Collection" is on view at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art through Dec. 4, 2016.

Pictured: Dong Qichang 1555-1636, "Winter Landscape in the style of Li Cheng & Calligraphy, Ming Dynasty, Wanli reign, 1613. Handscroll; ink on silk. 26.4 x 257.8 cm (10 3/8 x 101 1/2 in.) The Tsao Family Collection, photo by Michael Tropea



Photo Credit: Tsao Family Collection]]>
<![CDATA[BrunchCon: A Foodie Festival of Brunchery]]> Tue, 09 Aug 2016 20:39:15 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/brunch+bloodies.jpg

Brunch, it made be stated with some confidence, is one of the more unconstructed, easy-breezy, go-with-the-flow events on a person's calendar.

One of the participants might sleep in and arrive comically late. Bacon might travel to another plate, in exchange for a cranberry muffin. Bedhead is often the style statement for many if not most of the people gathered. And if a mimosa glass gets a bit sticky over the course of the morning, so be it.

It is rather charming, then, to see something as opposite-of-brunch-y as a convention embrace the weekend-esque meal and all of its signature components. And yet brunch is indeed getting its booth-laden, multiple-vendor happening, and on the brunch-iest day of the week, too: a Sunday.

Make that Sunday, Aug. 14, to be precise. BrunchCon'll take over a chunk of The Reef downtown, welcoming both general admission ticket holders and designated drivers to a wonderland of eggs Benedict deliciousness, fancy jam jubilation, and, yes, Bloody Marys and mimosas, the twin titans of the brunchtime beverage pitcher.

The designated driver ticket does, of course, skip the spirited sips but gives the holder 10 food tickets. There are a few other tickets to ponder, those that do include Bloody Marys and more food tastings, so best eye all, in the way you thoroughly peruse the brunch menu when you take your seat at the table.

Local food purveyors doing up the brunchery include Poppy + Rose, Green Grotto Juice Bar, Gigi's Bakery & Cafe, and several other toast-making, egg-scrambling, hash brown-perfecting shops. Jumpstart your hollandaise-creamy dreams here.

If you're curious about the hours, just ponder the most brunch-famous span of a weekend day. What's that? Your guess is 9 a.m. to 3 o'clock? You're correct: That is prime brunching time, and also the hours of BrunchCon.

Will you still have a yawn or two in you when you arrive? Will you wish you could find something to top your devotion to omelets or French toast? Will you ever think there's a greater invention than a relaxed morning meal on a weekend day?

Complex thoughts as you sip your carrot juice and stroll by some of LA's brunchy businesses.



Photo Credit: Brunch]]>
<![CDATA[Rawr: NHM's First-Ever Dino Fest]]> Tue, 09 Aug 2016 17:08:41 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/dinofestfirstnhm1.jpg

Let's get real here: If you were starring in a blockbuster set in some misty prehistoric era, and you and your party learned that dozens of dinosaurs awaited you over the next ridge, what would you do?

In reality you might head quickly in the opposite direction, but in a film you're dashing straight to the center of the chompy, stompy action. Think of that truism when the weekend of Saturday, Sept. 24 and Sunday, Sept. 25 rawrs into view and you're pondering whether to run headlong into the Natural History Museum, which will be staging its first-ever Dino Fest.

You've been forewarned: There are dinosaurs at Dino Fest, which is called Dino Fest, though they're of the bone-beautiful, puppet-cool types (no real T. Rexes are as of yet on the museum's schedule). In fact, there are a trio of categories to consider when approaching your time at the fest: In the Field, In the Lab, and In Pop Culture.

The ancient, real dinosaur bones part of the weekend come from NHM's many displays of beasties of all sizes, and scientist talks and tours. A bevy of paleontologists will be in the house, discussing nifty things like dinosaur digs.

The puppet, not-real dinosaurs will come courtesy of "Dinosaur Encounters," which unleashes sizable creatures into the museum's gallerys, creatures that can walk and turn their heads and gently glower at a delighted, giggling public.

Giggling with delight, we'll add, though when a moving Triceratops glances your way some nervous laughter can understandably make a cameo, too.

A host of activities, a meet-and-greet with Buddy the Dino of PBS, a dino-themed game show, a workshop devoted to drawing dinosaurs, nifty dig pits that you can take a crack at, and in-depth looks at paleo imaging are on the big-as-a-sauropod slate.

And if you haven't checked out the Pterosaurs: Flight in the Age of Dinosaurs exhibit, swing by and study the epic flying reptiles before they wing out of the Exposition Park institution on Oct. 2.

Tickets to Dino Fest? Quite the bargain, especially when compared to building a time machine back to the Jurassic era (plus, you're never really sure where your time machine will land, exactly, which could be dicey if it lands in a clutch of over-sized eggs ready to hatch).

An adult entry is twelve bucks, and that includes general museum admission, too. And you don't even need to run into a nest of dinosaurs to buy it: Stay put, stay far out of T. Rex's way, and start right here.



Photo Credit: Mario de Lopez/NHM]]>
<![CDATA[LA River Fishing Derby: Sign Up Now]]> Tue, 09 Aug 2016 11:38:31 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/karinriverderby123.JPG

When the first Off Tha' Hook Fish Derby landed on the banks of the Los Angeles River a couple of years back, some locals surely took pause at the notion.

After all, fishing derbies tend to happen in more pastoral places, locations far out of the city limits, the kind of spots flush with trees and meadows and grazing woodland animals.

But our famous urban waterway is also home to nature, too, and lots of it. And biologists are eager to study what's happening beneath the river's waves, and they've partnered with Friends of the LA River and local fishing buffs to make a lively, cast-a-line day of it.

The 3rd annual Off Tha' Hook Fish Derby is again set for Labor Day Weekend, so put your tacklebox in order and clear the morning of Saturday, Sept. 3. You can register now, and while both kids and grown-ups are invited to take part, the adults have a sign-up fee of thirty five bucks. 

Kids ages 6 to 17 fish for free. And a nice bonus: Experienced line-casters'll be out helping the younger participants with tips and such, to assist the aspiring anglers.

Where to meet? The California State Parks Bowtie Parcel. What to aim for? Reeling in the rarest species or the biggest. All critters are returned to the river after being weighed and measured by on-site scientists, where they'll swim on. So best have a camera handy, or some pals, to remember your big "the fish was this big" moment.

If you dig that twisting, wending, sun-glinty bit of aquatic city goodness — perhaps you've experienced the new VR film, or participated in a springtime clean-up, or kayaked down the river — think of the annual fishing derby as a new way to connect with its plentiful offerings.

We don't have to drive out of town to jump into an old-timey derby. Nature is here in LA, and the fishing on Labor Day Saturday is just fine.



Photo Credit: Karin Flores]]>
<![CDATA[Fish Bowl Glass]]> Mon, 08 Aug 2016 23:00:42 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/salazarfishbowl.jpg

Beverages don't always have to arrive in pint glasses or cups.

Sometimes something rummy'll make a dramatic showing in a volcano-shaped vessel, one that boasts a real flame in the middle. And sometimes you can fill a small plastic swimming pool with Slurpee, if the day is right.

In short? The tumbler needn't be traditional. And tradition is definitely taking the day off on Tuesday, Aug. 9 at Salazar, the recently debuted, oh-so-buzzy restaurant in Frogtown.

Agua fresca is the refreshing theme of the evening, and fish bowls are what will hold all of that fruit-fun, sugar-yummy, flowery deliciousness. But note: While agua frescas, a beloved libation throughout Mexico and points dotting the Southwest, doesn't typically contain alcohol, the Salazar version may be accurately described as spirited.

Where does the kick in the Savila y Coco sip come from? BULLDOG Gin and La Niña del Mezcal, and there's a gummy shark, too, to lend the fish bowl theme a bit more aquatic oomph.

The restaurant's beverage director, Aaron Melendrez, is the man overseeing this offbeat approach to both the classic summertime favorite and its photo-ready glass, while bartenders Alex Strauss and Kylie Van Dillen are performing the creative mix-it-up honors.

Best line up your ride, and then plan a later-in-the-evening visit to the river-close eatery: The agua fresco festivity kicks off at 9 o'clock on Aug. 9 (a cinch to remember).

Already pondering what you'll nosh upon? Think fish tacos, a raw bar, and other complementary cuisine-cool tidbits from Chef Esdras Ochoa.

Raise your fish bowl for a toast to nontraditional drinkware, and the "spritely" sips that often fill all of those funky glasses.



Photo Credit: Salazar]]>
<![CDATA[Furball Fun: International Cat Day]]> Mon, 08 Aug 2016 16:41:07 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-99192954_high-cropped.jpg

Don't fret or stew over this one: There are actually multiple occasions on the annual calendar spotlighting felines in all of their whiskery and wondrous ways, including National Cat Day, which falls a couple of days ahead of Halloween.

But International Cat Day is its own entity, and has a distinct vibe and reason for being. Begun by the International Fund for Animal Welfare, International Cat Day invites we humans to not simply coo over our cats (though, of course, that's always encouraged) but to ponder how we can work to make their catly worlds better, safer, healthier, and loved.

Think of it as quite proactive, if you like, and pause to ponder how you can help cat rescue, animal organizations, or even your own at-home cuddler on Aug. 8 and every day of the year. 

One such day is on the horizon, and tickets are available now. It's Kitten Rescue's 8th annual Furball at the Skirball, an eveningtime event with a plant-based dinner at its center.

Black Sabbath's Geezer Butler is an honoree, as is Mr. Butler's wife Gloria. Both are devoted cat aficionados, and both Butlers gladly lend a helpful hand to groups who assist felines in a multitude of ways, from health concerns to home placement.

Furball at the Skirball is on Saturday, Sept. 10 and tickets? They're here.

Perhaps securing your seat at the sweet soiree is how you approach World Cat Day, or perhaps a play session, on the floor, with your own kitty is how you mark the occasion. 

However you celebrate our constant, tumbling, meowing, snoozing, kneading, loving companions is your choice. But, of course, if your choice arrives with a bit of yarn, and a toy, or a check for a rescue, well... that is meow-worthy, too.



Photo Credit: Brenda Carson/Getty Images/Hemera]]>
<![CDATA[Million Pin Challenge]]> Mon, 08 Aug 2016 10:44:49 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/bowlingpinsgetty123.jpg

The distinctive clatter made by a bowling ball carving a path through a cluster of pins is not a sound that's easily replicated. It belongs solely to your local bowling alley, and to hear it the moment you walk in the front door is to know you're about tie on the two-toned shoes and strike a bowl-ready pose.

Now picture, with your ears if you will, the clatter of a million pins falling, if not all at once, then over several hours and across this great, bowl-happy country.

That's exactly what happens during the Million Pin Challenge, an annual Bowlmor AMF happening that'll again take to the lanes of bevies of bowling alleys for another round of giving back. Feeding America is the beneficiary of the event, a have-fun fundraiser that includes a free game for all participants on Saturday, Aug. 13.

Say what? That's National Bowling Day, you say? Well right you are. It is, and our alleys'll see throngs of big-hearted bowlers looking to mark the holiday and help Bowlmor AMF in its quest to "donate half a million meals to Feeding America."

That free game is available from 10 a.m. to noon on Aug. 13, so be sure to arrive in a timely manner at your local Bowlero, Bowlmor, AMF, Brunswick Zone XL, Brunswick's. Contests will go down, and lively giveaways, so don't be surprised if you walk out with a little reminder of the big day.

If you can't make the morningtime free game, pay for a regular game later in the day, if you want to help the fundraiser reach its goal.

There's also a party on later that night, from 8 to 10 o'clock, and while games won't be free, look for more giveaways, plus food specials and other National Bowling Day doings.

Can you knock down a million pins on the morning of Aug. 13? Well... no. But working together with other bowlers across this lane-lovely, pinsetter-sweet, pin deck-delightful, gutter-fun land, you can. 

Just remember to give your ball a dose of spin upon release, and to not overthink your approach to the foul line.

Good? You got this, as do all the other bowlers pitching in to help Feeding America on a summertime Saturday.



Photo Credit: Getty Images for DAGOC]]>
<![CDATA[Aqualillies Live Show]]> Tue, 09 Aug 2016 07:39:47 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/aqualilliesannualshow16.jpg

Southern California boasts a number of locales where one may revisit the films of the 1940s and '50s, from one-screen movie houses to glittery tributes hosted by some of Hollywood's biggest guilds and organizations.

But finding a slice of long-ago Tinseltown in a swimming pool, as compared to a cinema, is rather rarer. You can, though, at least once a year, when the Aqualillies stage their annual tribute to silver screen legend Esther Williams.

"Stage," though, might erroneously suggests an actual traditional stage of some sort, but the synchronized swimming troupe performs in a more fluid, aquatic setting. That setting in 2016 will be the pool at The Rooftop at The Rooftop at The  Standard, Downtown LA, and the date is one that fans of Esther Williams will know well: Monday, Aug. 8.

The swimmer and movie star was indeed born on Aug. 8, 1921, and after the 1940 Olympics were canceled due to WWII, the exceptional athlete went on to rise (and rise and rise) in the fabulous field of cinematic swim-taculars. Soon, Esther Williams became synonymous with intricately choreographed pool scenes and elegance in the waves, a mantle worn by no other star.

That elegance will be on delightful display on Aug. 8 courtesy of the popular group, which has performed in music videos, special events, and splashy affairs around the world.

The annual tribute to Esther Williams, on her birthday, is free, and early arrival is strongly suggested (you may also want to RSVP on Facebook, to give the Aqualillies a heads-up you'll be there).

This is "the only public event we host all year," says the troupe, so if you've longed to see the swimmers perform live, this is your moment.

It definitely is a happening twinkly with Hollywood heart, and the memory of a performer who raised the art of pool-based performance to something truly memorable, and even a little magical.



Photo Credit: a]]>
<![CDATA[Building LACMA: New Site Details Future]]> Fri, 05 Aug 2016 16:14:26 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/bldglacma123.jpg

Drive down the Miracle Mile on any weekend and you're bound to... Wait. Strike that. Maybe don't drive in that particular area, right now, which is observing weekend closures, thanks to extensive construction on Metro's Purple Line Extension.

Walking into the area to support local businesses, which remain open, is encouraged, of course. Also encouraged? Imagining, while there, a fresh look for the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

It's easy to do amid all of the current change, change that foretells an interesting future for the stretch of Wilshire Boulevard that runs from the La Brea Tar Pits to Fairfax Avenue. And now it has become even easier: A new website called Building LACMA details the plans for the future LACMA campus, complete with a host of detailed renderings.

The large art museum, which recently marked its first half century on the Miracle Mile, has been considering major updates to its expansive Hancock Park campus for some time. Updates, it should be noted, that go beyond the additions of The Broad Contemporary Art Museum and the Resnick Pavilion and Chris Burden's "Urban Light" lampposts. Think a from-the-ground-up building, one that boasts a sinuous "bridge" across Wilshire Boulevard and a form that elegantly echoes the shape of the neighboring tar pit.

Architect Peter Zumthor shared early renderings in the early summer of 2014; the 2016 images give different perspectives on the Wilshire-bridging span and the airily amorphous form of the building on both sides of the boulevard.

"With a horizontal layout and no back or front, every culture is given equal focus," says a message on the new site. True: The renderings do not include a traditional grand entrance or foyer of any kind.

The current quartet of buildings that would make way for the Zumthor design are described as having "serious structural problems." Eighty percent of the cost of the project will hail from private donations and the county, "which will own the building," will cover the rest.

As for a timeline? Look to 2018 for the start and 2023 as the completion year. That's a year that'll be a mighty big one on the Miracle Mile: The Purple Line Extension will also make its debut.

A FAQ on the 368,000-square-foot building is live on the new site, as is some deeper background on the project. 

A walk in that area also reveals that the Academy Museum is undergoing major construction at the historic May Company building. That will be finished well ahead of the new LACMA building, with 2018 being named as a potential open date.



Photo Credit: LACMA]]>
<![CDATA[Wildlife Waystation Fundraiser]]> Fri, 05 Aug 2016 12:34:44 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/tommychongww122122.jpg

Animal fans near and far watched, with worried eyes, as flames from the recent Sand Fire drew close to the world-famous Wildlife Waystation.

The 160-acre Sylmar animal preserve, which celebrated its first half century of caring for exotic animals as well as a host of beasties in 2015, took action in the face of the fire. On July 23, 2016 volunteers began transporting tigers and lions and other furry residents to safer ground, a replay of the rescue efforts that went down during the 2009 Station Fire.

Comedian and activist Tommy Chong, a supporter of the Wildlife Waystation and of founder Martine Colette's longtime dedication to saving animals of all stripes, is now lending a hand to the roariest spot in Sylmar via a rare nighttime fundraiser.

The upshot? Purchase a raffle ticket — the donation is $10 for one — and see if you win a spot on the Saturday, Aug. 27 tour of the preserve. It's an evening event, do note, which is an unusual happening for the Wildlife Waystation, and "dinner under the stars & a private VIP tour" are included.

Eight grand prize winners of "A Wild Night Out with Tommy Chong" will be selected at an Aug. 20 drawing, and, for sure, each winner may invite a guest along (just make sure they're age 18 or older).

You'll get a chance to meet Mr. Chong, if you're selected, but even if you don't get the grand prize call, there's a second prize category that includes an afternoon meet-and-greet with the comedy legend.

"All proceeds benefit the animals and mission of the Wildlife Waystation," says a representative, so know that your tenner, or fifty bucks (which nets you six raffle tickets), will aid the big cats and pretty birds and the hundreds of other denizens in their day-to-day lives.

And cheers to Mr. Chong for standing tall for the critters of the Sylmar rescue haven, and just a few weeks after their dramatic exit, and return. It's a positive note to end the summer on, a fundraiser, and one that will help the animals for years to come.



Photo Credit: Wildlife Waystation]]>
<![CDATA[Cardboard Yacht Regatta]]> Fri, 05 Aug 2016 08:06:13 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/cardboardIMG_3739+%281%29.jpg

California is nestled by a rather impressive body of water along one its western edge. (Saying "spoiler alert" here, about the Pacific Ocean, would only be an exercise in cheek, so we shan't.)

Add that famous expanse of water to all of our state's lakes and streams and, yes, pools, and you have a region that's ripe for boatly competition, of both the everyday and outlandish sorts.

The outlandish showdowns can and do include creative kinetic vessels, the sorts of boats that sail each year in Ventura and Humboldt County, as well as the build-it-fast wooden boat competition of Bodega Bay.

But the cardboard yachts of the Annenberg Community Beach House are some of the quirkiest of the entire batch, and they happen right here in Southern California.

"Only corrugated cardboard and duct tape" are permitted in the boats' construction, and whether they can stay afloat, and indeed weather the (pool) waves, will be seen on Saturday evening, Aug. 27.

Indeed, we said "pool" there. The keep-your-camera-out competition happens not in the nearby ocean but rather at the Santa Monica landmark's popular outdoor pool. And there are three Cardboard Yacht Regatta categories to consider entering, including one for adults, one for kids, and one that includes both a kid and an adult.

Don't fret if duct tape and cardboard don't go the decorative distance in your boat-building imagination. You're allowed to festoon your yacht, and give it some personality, so keep the pens and pennants handy, and ponder a name with marine-inspired moxie.

If your cardboard creation should go down midway across the pool, with you in it, well, hey — you're in a pool. Gather together your sopping ship and smile to the applauding onlookers as you wade over to the side.

Want to join in this joyful end-of-summer ritual? RSVP now, and start scaring up some corrugated cardboard, and bravado, pronto.



Photo Credit: Annenberg Community Beach House]]>
<![CDATA[Announced: Penguin Chicks' Debut Date]]> Fri, 05 Aug 2016 10:41:58 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/juneaquariumchicksRobinRiggs.jpg

Back-to-school shopping is a longtime August tradition, one that involves the purchasing of fresh togs, the sort of clothes that'll see a young student into the fall months and beyond.

WATCH: Penguin Chick Cam

Something not too dissimilar has been happening at the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach. Nope, the sharks aren't browsing for new shirts, nor are the jellies looking for fashionable jumpers. But a pair of baby chicks has been awaiting the growth of watertight feathers, the kind of feathers that replace the ultra-soft down they possess at birth.

Those watertight feathers have arrived for the as-of-yet unnamed pair, and they're ready to head to school — er, rather, out onto the June Keyes Penguin Habitat, the splashy, swimmy home to the aquatic institution's Magellenic Penguin colony.

The feathery duo will make their anticipated debut on Thursday, Aug. 18.

As for their backstory? Both were born in May, though one chick arrived a week before the other (and to a different set of parents). The chick belonging to Kate and Avery said hello on May 18, while the bambino birthed by Patsy — dad is Robbie — got here on May 25.

"The parents take turns incubating the eggs and feeding the chicks after they hatch," reveals an aquarium representative. "It takes between 38 and 43 days of incubation before a Magellenic Penguin egg will hatch."

The downy babies moved into the aquarium's nursery in late June, and into the spotlight, thanks to a webcam trained on their every cute move, or at least a lot of them.

Now those cute moves will be presented in person, or in penguin, rather, before a ready-to-coo public. A public, by the by, that could get a crack at naming one of the chicks via the aquarium's Adopt an Animal program.

Be sure to stop by after Aug. 18 to admire the chicks' recently acquired watertight feathers, their waddling ways, and their first days frolicking with the other penguins who call the habitat home. 

It isn't back to school time for these sweet birds, of course. But getting a new outfit, or, rather, trading their down for swim-ready feathers, is pretty exciting for a penguin, whether it is August or any other month of the year.



Photo Credit: Robin Riggs
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<![CDATA[Weekend: Olympics Go Big Screen]]> Thu, 04 Aug 2016 12:37:44 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/rio2016GettyImages-585818684.jpg

NBC Rio Olympics Coverage: Cheering on the divers, or the cyclists, or the gymnasts, or the wrestlers, or the weightlifters is a summertime tradition. Being able to do so while seeing all the action played large on a big screen is a rarer chance. The Paley Center for Media is the place to catch daytime events during the 2016 Olympics. Start time? It's noon, the admission is free, and you don't need to book your spot ahead of time. NBC is a partner with The Paley on this mondo event, one that opens on Saturday, Aug. 6 at noon.

ScareLA: October is the month after next, which means one thing, basically: If you're not already planning the foam tombstones you'll put in your yard, and glow-eyed skeletons, you best hop to it. Halloween draws near, in short, and this large-scale convention celebrates the holiday in all of this haunted dimensions. Elvira will make a cameo, and several local haunted houses, too. Vendors, experts, and general eerieness are part of the scene on Aug. 6 and 7 in Pasadena.

Long Beach Crawfish Festival: Swinging your stuff to some zydeco, joining a Mardi Gras masquerade, then downing a bucket of crawfish-y goodness, complete with red potatoes and corn? It's a tradition at Rainbow Lagoon, one that stretches back nearly a quarter century. Make for the lively time and be sure to decide if you want the feast or bucket when choosing how you'll sup. Aug. 5 through 7 are the dates.

Newport Beach Lobsterfest: The Port of LA already celebrated its lobster-themed lark for 2016, and Redondo Beach and Long Beach are still to come. Next up? Newport Beach, which hosts this flavorful fundraiser for Make-a-Wish Orange County and Inland Empire (as well as Leadership Tomorrow). Ready to bib it up and butter it up, too? The foodie favorite happens on Sunday, Aug. 7.

Brew at the LA Zoo: Temperatures are on the somewhat cool side, at least in terms of what early August can often deliver. The time is ripe, then, to hold onto a sudsy beverage and stroll the expansive animal park inside Griffith Park over a lovely Friday evening. Zookeeper talks, up-close moments with small critters, and live music are all apart of this yearly whoop-di-doo, as are craft beers from near and far. Follow the squawks and roars on Friday, Aug. 5.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Crawfish Festival]]> Thu, 04 Aug 2016 10:07:58 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/180*120/lbcfepic1.jpg

While a traditional crawfish dinner can't be found at every corner restaurant, the ways to enjoy the crustacean, once you locate it, are impressively varied.

There's a traditional boil, with its red potatoes, corn cobs, and big spice. There's an etoufee, which relies on a rich rice-y broth. And there's straight-up crawfish supping, with a little lemon slice on the side.

However you favor your crawfish dish, there's an annual party to keep in mind, the one that has danced at Rainbow Lagoon for the last quarter century (or nearly). It's the Long Beach Crawfish Festival, and it is zydeco-stomping into the ocean-close setting for its 23rd annual bash on Friday, Aug. 5 through Sunday, Aug. 7.

First up, and quite important for people looking to sup on the savory favorite: What's on the plate. There's a 2-pounder Crawfish Feast and a 3-pounder Crawfish Bucket, and both include those classic accompaniments, corn and red potatoes (as well as dipping sauce, too). 

Chef John Perret of Lafayette, Lousiana will helm the cooking side of the soiree, so count on authenticity and Cajun-delish flavorfulness.

As for what's happening beyond the buckets? There's live music, and a lot of it, and it comes with accordions and fiddles and the beautiful instruments that put the zest in zydeco.

A Mardi Gras masquerade means the beads and masks will be out in outlandish, fabulous force, too.

Tickets? You'll want to get one, but note that you'll need to purchase your crawfish package separately (and decide if you're going bucket or feast).

It's a Bourbon Street off Shoreline Drive, and the spirit of NOLA in LBC. That is has some Fat-Tuesday-ish cred, and right at the start of August, is another reason the Crawfish Festival is a longtime summer foodie (and dancie) favorite.



Photo Credit: Long Beach Crawfish Festival]]>