<![CDATA[NBC Southern California - Dining, shopping and nightlife]]> Copyright 2015 http://www.nbclosangeles.com/entertainment/the-scene http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/NBC4_40x125.png NBC Southern California http://www.nbclosangeles.com en-us Sun, 24 May 2015 18:41:55 -0700 Sun, 24 May 2015 18:41:55 -0700 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA["MAINopoly" on Main Street Santa Monica]]> Sat, 23 May 2015 15:35:02 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/mainopolysm12.jpg

It's a time-honored tradition to quibble with siblings and/or friends over which player gets which token at the start of a rousing game of Monopoly.

C'mon: Everyone wanted the dog, or the top hat, or the wheelbarrow, with a few fans coming in strong for the thimble or boot. It's a tribute to a long -- longlonglong -- running board game, that players get so passionate before the fake money and plastic hotels even begin trading hands.

But no thimble-based quibbling is required for you to take part in MAINopoly, the Sunday, May 24 fundraiser along Main Street in Santa Monica.

True, true, there is a Monopoly theme afoot, from the top hats and monocles you'll see on some of the participants. Burnishing your skills at acquiring the Reading Railroad or North Carolina Avenue, however, is not required. What is needed is a fun spirit, the desire to help out Heal the Bay and Summer SOULstice, and a want to nibble and quaff along Main Street.

And the nibbling and quaffing shall be fine: MAINopoly dollars will be handed out to everyone taking part, and that money will be exchanged for tasty specials like Areal Restaurant's tuna tartare, Pressed Juicery sips, and fresh fish ceviche from Enterprise Fish Co., to name but a few. Drink specials shall dot the thoroughfare as well.

Cost? It's thirty bucks to join the board-themed bash. And, yes, if you have a top hat or mustache you want to wear, by all means, slip into your old-school finery.

There is, if you're wondering, a "Go to Jail" lounge and other touches seen in everyone's favorite rainy day, pass-the-time pursuit. No word on whether a Community Chest'll be in the vicinity, but that might be a cute costume to don (if slightly unwieldy when walking around corners).

There shall be no flipping the board, of course, when you get frustrated or feel as though your opponent is winning. Everyone wins at MAINopoly, especially those organizations the fundraiser supports. 

Photo Credit: Mainopoly]]>
<![CDATA[LA Zoo: New Digs for the Jaguars]]> Fri, 22 May 2015 13:45:41 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/jaguarzoohabitat12345.jpg

Do you recall the last time you moved into a new apartment or house? Did you send out a lot of photos of your pad to friends, along with lavish descriptions and choice details and exclamation points?

We can only imagine what the trio of jaguars are brag-tweeting to the other cats in their coterie, now that the newest habitat at the Los Angeles Zoo has been officially unveiled.

The big reveal arrived, with a dramatic swish of its spotted tail, on Friday, May 22, just in time for summer visitors. "The 7,100-square-foot jaguar habitat features a waterfall and a pool in which the animals can swim, deadwood trees on which they can climb, and abundant landscaping through which they can wander, such as tall grasses, shrubs, ficus trees, and banana plants," says the zoo.

Sweet. You know those are just the sort of snazzy details you'd crow about, after you moved into a new place, if, of course, you happened to be a jaguar.

And if you happened to be jaguar, you'd see that your new living quarters had been designed for your "specific needs and natural behavior," as all of the animal habitats will be under the zoo's in-the-works Master Plan.

The opening of the jaguar habitat marks the close of Phase 1 of the $180-million-dollar project. The habitats are designed to be "superior living spaces for the animals, maximize safety and keeper management, and accommodate changes in zoo populations, including births."

Want a peek at the brand-new tree-laden, leafy, multilevel jaguar habitat? Go roaming now ...

Photo Credit: Los Angeles Zoo]]>
<![CDATA[Where to Observe Memorial Day in SoCal]]> Sat, 23 May 2015 08:32:51 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/AmericanFlag_Shutterstock.jpg

Remembrance is a central tenet of Memorial Day, which we observe on the final Monday of May each and every year.

But how people choose to honor those who served our country can be complex and private and ultimately of their own choosing. The Los Angeles National Cemetery will keep longer open hours on Monday, May 25, for those who want to spend some time in reflection or deliver a wreath in memory of a veteran.

There are public gatherings to join around Southern California, too, including a parade, a military appreciation day and the flower drop in the desert.

Canoga Park Memorial Day Parade: "Saluting the Price of Freedom" is the 2015 theme for this procession, one of the largest in California. Decorated floats, choral groups, a bevy of bands and civic groups all join in the big walk down Sherman Way. Want to be there at its starting point? Owensmouth and Sherman Way is the place to be, Monday, May 25, is the date, and the start time is at 11 a.m. 

Battleship Iowa: The San Pedro-based ship has made a tradition of hosting a day of memory each Memorial Day, and so it shall again on May 25. It's Military Appreciation Day on the World War II landmark, with a special Memorial Day program, a performance by the Lindy Sisters and an appearance by Bernie Kopell of "The Love Boat" on the schedule. (Mr. Kopell was the USS Iowa librarian back in the late '50s.)

Memorial Day Air Fair & Flower Drop: Many people travel from all points to see this stunning and moving tribute, an honor that arrives from the sky. Some 3,000 carnations will "drop" to the tarmac near the Palm Springs Air Museum, in addition to the several vintage planes scheduled to fly over the course of Memorial Day. The flower drop begins at 1 p.m., while the flight exhibitions begin earlier in the morning.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[Jellies: Aquarium of the Pacific Exhibits Debut]]> Fri, 22 May 2015 09:11:49 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/jellieslbc13.jpg Mysterious creatures float and bewitch in Long Beach.

Photo Credit: Aquarium of the Pacific]]>
<![CDATA[Weekend: SoCal Summer Starts Now]]> Thu, 21 May 2015 15:15:18 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/211*120/icecreamtwistedcolossus.jpg

Summer Begins: You can't quibble with the fact that June 21 is the sunniest season's official opener, but saying that the idea of summer kicks off with Memorial Day Weekend is not incorrect. Vacations get going, the school year is wrapping up, and the theme parks thrum. Look to Six Flags Magic Mountain, where the much-anticipated coaster Twisted Colossus debuts on May 23, and look to Disneyland, which kicks off its Diamond Anniversary celebration with a 24-hour day on May 22-23. The Annenberg Community Beach House will be open from May 23-25, and the beaches will bustle, too. And Fiesta Hermosa? It's a mondo Memorial Day Weekend tradition, with tunes, crafts, and ocean-close vibes.

Memorial Day Remembrances: Canoga Park's big Monday, May 25 parade marches along Sherman Way starting at 11 a.m. (the theme: "Saluting the Price of Freedom.") The U.S.S. IOWA holds a Military Appreciation Day in San Pedro on Monday, May 25 while the moving flower drop at the Palm Springs Air Museum happens at 1 p.m. on May 25. Several aircraft are scheduled to fly in honor of the holiday, and those we remember, as well.

Jellies: When we human beings consider those fellow travelers who share this home planet with us, we do, quite often, think of mammals first, the creatures who share many of our notable characteristics. Of course, jellyfish are earthlings, too, as sci-fi as they seem. The Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach is unveiling a whole new Jellies experience, one that celebrates these frilly, floaty earthlings that happen to lack "a heart, brain, or lungs." Wowza. We said "sci-fi" before and we're leaving it. (Open date: Friday, May 22.)

Fox Fullerton Theatre: Fans who adore historic movie palaces are fortunate to call Southern California home, as many a vintage venue is still around and still very much adored. This Orange County beauty is one such spot, and its supporters are throwing a two-day bash to celebrate recent refurbishments and the lighting of its iconic rooftop sign. Want to see that flicker on fully, for the first time in several years? Be there on Friday evening, May 22. Want a look-see around the theatre? Come back on Saturday, May 23. The charming theme of the weekend: '20s-style speakeasy.

Garden Grove Strawberry Festival: May 'round the Golden State is ye olde strawberry party time, in a major way, and we're not throwing the word "major" around, willy-nilly. The four-day carnival headed for Garden Grove has been around for well over half a century, and it starts out, on the first night, by serving free slices of one really huge strawberry shortcake. If you want a bite of that, and the sight of that, be there on Friday, May 22 at 6 p.m., but if you can't be there, the whole strawberry shebang keeps it sweet from May 22 through 25.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock/Six Flags Magic Mountain]]>
<![CDATA[PETA's "Lettuce Ladies" Visit Hollywood]]> Thu, 21 May 2015 13:21:42 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/202*120/petalettucebikiniafpgetty.jpg

Tinseltown is not known for going the low-key route on any matter, and of-the-moment road-close pop-ups, those brief promotions and events that happen along Hollywood's main thoroughfares, are part of that splashy tradition.

Consider the many movie-themed happenings along Hollywood and Sunset Boulevards, the premieres and the film shoots. Consider that director David Lynch showed up with a cow on Sunset during awards season. Consider all of the swanky red carpets we nearly take for granted 'round these parts.

Now pedestrians and drivers will encounter another hard-to-miss sight, at the corner of Sunset Boulevard and Ivar Avenue, at noon on Thursday, May 21.

The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals will make a cuisine-focused cameo at the intersection, with activists decked out in the lettuce bikinis that have now become famous (actors Pamela Anderson and Elizabeth Berkley have appeared as "Lettuce Ladies" for the organization).

The reason behind the eye-catching, middle-of-the-workday appearance? Well, here's a hint: The cuisine end of things isn't just about the unusual fashion choice of the volunteers.

They'll "pass out free boxes of tasty vegan burgers and hot dogs to help passersby get ready to grill with delicious meat-free food" over Memorial Day Weekend, one of the busiest grilling weekends on the calendar.

This is not the first public appearance of volunteers wearing "strategically placed" salad-makings; the PETA Lettuce Ladies have "served veggie dogs on Capitol Hill" and handed out vegan wings ahead of the NFL Draft.

Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Fullerton Fox Theatre: Happy 90th Birthday]]> Thu, 21 May 2015 12:55:15 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/219*120/foxfullertonhistorictheatrefoundation.jpg

When film fans talk about banner years for movies, they're usually referring to those multi-month stretches when a handful of instantly beloved classics -- romances, action flicks, sci-fi thrillers -- first made their thrilling big-screen debuts.

But banner years for movies arrive in other ways, and 1925 surely stands tall, as high as a rooftop theatre sign, among them. For that was a good year for the building and opening of Southern California movie palaces, those all-important places in which to see a new cinematic artwork.

The Highland debuted on Figueroa Street in the springtime and, soon after, the Fox Fullerton in Orange County. In short, money was not only going into the making of films, but the beautiful and ornate spaces in which those films were to be enjoyed.

Like The Highland, The Fox Fullerton still stands, and, like The Highland, supporters of the vintage venue are throwing a party in honor of its 90th birthday. The two-dayer'll have a speakeasy theme, befitting the time period in which it came to be, on Friday, May 22 and Saturday, May 23. The shindig is free.

Dance-worthy sounds of the flapper-tastic era, old autos and sips/eats will be part of the Saturday fun times.

And the undisputed highlight? The Friday night lighting -- and unveiling, let us happily add -- of the dramatic Fox Theatre sign atop the building. Like The Highland, this theatre still boasts an old-school, seen-for-blocks-around rooftop signifier.

It's a charmer, for sure, and will be "completely lit up for the first time in decades."

Tours of the interior, which just underwent a year-plus gussy-up by the EverGreen Architectural Arts, are part of the event. (Look up at the ceiling and proscenium, which is still the same as 90 years ago. The same but better, of course.)

So cheers to banner film years, and cheers to years like 1925, which saw the openings of a few of Southern California's excellent movie palaces. Good to know some are still around and being loved upon, lavishly, by volunteers and locals and preservationists alike.

Photo Credit: Fox Fullerton Historic Theatre Foundation]]>
<![CDATA[NORMS: LA's Newest Historic-Cultural Monument]]> Wed, 20 May 2015 17:20:27 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/normslacienega1.jpg

There's probably no sweeter word beyond "unanimous" to the ears of a preservation-minded building buff who is looking to protect, and save, a storied local structure.

That was just the sweet-to-the-ears word that was emerged on Wednesday, May 20 from the Los Angeles City Council vote on the fate of NORMS La Cienega. The council voted, unanimously, to make the Armet & Davis-designed diner, a West Hollywood staple since 1957, a Historic-Cultural Monument.

This will "help protect the iconic Googie building from demolition and excessive alterations," says a Facebook post from the Los Angeles Conservancy, one of the preservation groups advocating for the orange-glass-and-rock restaurant.

The Conservancy also gave a special shout-out to Councilmember Paul Koretz and "his leadership in this effort."

NORMS' recent journey to monumenthood started at the beginning of 2015, when a demolition permit was ordered for the property. An impassioned rally, which included "Mad Men" creator Matt Weiner, followed in front of the diner in late March.

The eye-catching eatery will join a sizable score of regional buildings that have received similar protections since The City of Los Angeles Cultural Heritage Ordinance kicked off in 1962. There are "over 1,000 Historic-Cultural Monuments" on the roster, sites considered to be among the area's "most significant and cherished historic resources."

Other local Historic-Cultural Monuments from the general era of NORMS include the Cinerama Dome on Sunset Boulevard and Johnie's Coffee Shop at Wilshire Boulevard and Fairfax Avenue. A photo gallery provides a lively look at the gas stations, residences, and office buildings now receiving protections and considerations.

You're in good company, NORMS La Cienega. Welcome. 

Photo Credit: Hunter Kerhart]]>
<![CDATA[Rolling Stones: Not-So-Secret LA Show Shhh...]]> Wed, 20 May 2015 19:22:05 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/rollingstones722.jpg

Secrets shows, those unannounced or semi-announced or last-minute-announced gigs by mega-wattage acts, are the lifeblood of the true-blue, gotta-have-all-the-inside-info fan.

Landing in the right city, at the right club, on the exact night, takes some luck for a music maven, though, but so does catching a few whispers on the wind well ahead of time. And "well ahead of time," in the world of secret shows, is often just a few days, or even a few hours.

As is the case with a certain iconic band in LA on May 20. For while The Rolling Stones could probably pull off the easy surprise set back in the day, being one of the planet's foremost powerhouse storied rock bands makes a low-key mystery appearance headline news.

Mr. Jagger, Mr. Richards, Mr. Wood, and Mr. Watts will "Angie"-up and "Wild Horses"-out Petco Park in San Diego on May 24, but there's a big tantalizing TBA on the band's Los Angeles gig.

That show is set for Wednesday, May 20. And, yes, there is a "Sold Out" following the To Be Announced notice, so some very fortunate fans are going to have their Hump Day night made much, much more rocking. Tickets went on sale at noon on May 20, with a two-ticket limit per buyer.

The LA Weekly says the Fonda Theatre in Hollywood may be the lucky spot, but no confirmation has as of yet arrived from the band's people.

If you're there, and you get to enjoy the legends in what will be a highly intimate space, a nook far cozier than a stadium, well, cheers and high fives. That's major in any band's fandom, but especially one that has spent over a half century building cred, affection, and heat.

If you aren't there, but have to see your guys this summer, take heart: There are several more stops around the country on this tour, and tickets are available.

Photo Credit: Yui Mok/PA Wire ]]>
<![CDATA[LA Live Cool 'N Quirky: POPUP Marketplace]]> Wed, 20 May 2015 17:40:43 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/197*120/popupmarketplacelalive.jpg

As anyone the optimal time on the clock for a craft fair. If they're fast on the draw, and a little droll, they'll answer "any ol' time is the right time," which is the correct answer, for gatherings brimming with handmade goods are fab.

But craft fairs are fairly synonymous with the daytime, and with weekends, too, when people are apt to be out looking for that quirky tee, that elegant chapeau, or a painting for the kitchen.

LA Live, too, loves the artisanal extravaganza, but it is politely thumbing its nose at the notion that craft fairs have a set time (daylight) and a set date (Saturday/Sunday).

The POPUP Marketplace is an evening thing, which is no surprise, given that it is at LA Live and LA Live thrums after sundown. It's also happening on a Wednesday — May 20, to be specific — which upends the rule of fairs brimming with one-of-a-kind and/or unusual items adhering to a mostly weekend-only schedule.

Set to show? Regional independent makers like Panache Jewelry, Cactus Club Paper, Barney & Clyde Mercantile, Topanga Patina, Pop & Timber, and HollyWood & Twine. More than 60 artisans who make wearables and artables and I-didn't-even-know-you-could-make-this-ables shall line up among the booths.

And will there be DJing? Affirmative. There will be eat specials and drink specials at the adjacent eateries of LA Live? Yes. Will parking be discounted for the night, at Lot W — B Gate, to ten bucks? For sure — bring cash.

It is true that night markets are after-sundown staples the world over, and those food-centric spectaculars are making their way to Southern California. But indie craft fairs have stuck fairly closely to weekends, in the past.

Clearly they're ready to also own the sphere of night, a good thing for makers and shoppers, both.

Photo Credit: Susana Capra/LA Live]]>
<![CDATA[LA First: Bread Festival]]> Wed, 20 May 2015 13:40:43 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/192*120/bread123gettyimages.jpg

Few foodstuffs are as deeply ingrained in our imaginations, our ritual and our familial traditions as bread.

Look to words like "companion" which has bread squarely in the middle ("pan"), and look to the fact that bread is a carby cornerstone, in some form, of pretty much every culture on the planet.

It seems, then, that a bread festival, in a major city, would be as logical as butter on toast, and yet The Los Angeles Bread Festival, which gets baking at Grand Central Market over the first weekend in June, is billed as the city's first-ever.

If you've been shooing bread baskets away for most of your adult life, cease the shooing on Saturday, June 6 and Sunday, June 7. Commit to the crust, for an hour or two, as you bite into the creations made by the flour-covered leaders of the "Southern California artisan bread renaissance."

Honest, is there a dine-out item that is more controversial, and yet anticipated, than the humble bread basket? Theorize with your friends about why this is as you gnaw on the crusty, yeasty, zucchini- or olive-studded loaves from some of the region's top craft bakers.

Grand Central Market creative director Joseph Shuldiner is "curating" the carbestival — that's a carb festival, natch — which will consider "the many flavors of LA bread." There shall be workshops, there shall be panels, there shall be demos. Tortilla-making and sourdough-starting shall be on the table, literally, if you're keen to get inside those topics.

And, wait for it: Butter Aerobics, the churning of butter through exercise, will make a charming cameo. Better wear your stretchy terry cloth headband for this one.

Breads from various Market eateries, from hearth-baked loaves to flatbreads to cornbreads, will be what attendees'll nosh on, in addition to baguettes and more from Grist & Toll, Spread the Love, and other visiting outfits who will set up shop in the downtown public market during the weekend.

The aromatic event is free, but show with cash, because, yeah, you'll want Grand Central grub, we're guessing. 

And while you and your companions — you knew that word would come back around — are quibbling over why bread baskets engender such passion, on both sides of the issue, best figure out this: Is butter or oil better on a thick slab of country bread? 

Ohhh boy. That's really sticking the butter knife into the middle of a tetchy subject. It's almost like saying that classic spongy white bread isn't best for a bologna-and-mustard sandwich. Which everyone knows that it is, without argument, end of story, good day to you.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Al Fresco Foodism: Taste of the Eastside]]> Wed, 20 May 2015 10:09:13 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/eastsidetreattasteoftheeastside.jpg

Sashaying into the summer season, which honestly and definitely starts at some point over Memorial Day Weekend — sorry, June 21, we know you have the official papers on summer's start and all that — is an act not defined by the weather but rather whether or not you have your al fresco fests lined up.

Why would we look to the sky, or temperature, to tell us that summer's begun? May Gray and June Gloom are our local lot. But the foodie festivals tell us that summer celebrating is here, and one of the vanguards is Taste of the Eastside, which vanguards in the sunniest food fest season on the last day of May at the Los Angeles River Center & Gardens. 

It's a socialize, see-your-neighbors stalwart that's been around for a half decade and is firmly about the flavors of the area. Those flavors include suds from Angel City Brewery, refreshing sips from the Eagle Rock Juice Co., chilly scoops from Splendid Ice Cream, and kebabs from Spitz.

Other favorites from the Eagle Rock-Silver Lake-Echo Park-Atwater-and-beyond nexus include Silver Lake Wine, Little Dom's, Diablo Taco, The Greyhound Bar & Grill, Polka Restaurant, and Brandy's Sweet Temptations.

Ask yourself this: Have you tried every one of the places on the list? Eastsiders are known for knowing their eats and the people who make them, but, like everyone who has ever dined outside their own kitchen, patterns form and we stick to our favorite plates, like butter to a dish.

Taste of the Eastside is a breezy, late-afternoon-into-evening pattern breaker. It's a way to finally get to that one dessert place or cafe on Colorado or Figueroa, the one you drive by all the time. And it is a good way to help local nonprofits, like Rose Scharlin Cooperative Nursery School and Create LA. Tickets are fifty bucks ahead of May 31, sixty bucks on the date.

If you're wondering if "late-afternoon-into-evening" means linner, it does: 4 to 8 o'clock are the hours. 

Why hasn't linner become the new brunch? If ever there was a season for the lunch-dinner meal to make a run for the easy dining crown, it is this time of year, with its bright evenings and unfussy meals. 

Good luck, linner. And bon appétit, fans of Taste of the Eastside.

Photo Credit: Taste of the Eastside]]>
<![CDATA[Eeks Ahead: The Great Horror Campout]]> Tue, 19 May 2015 19:48:53 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/greathorrorcampout1.jpg

If you were the sort of teen who frequented the October fright houses of yore, you might remember such quaint touches as creepy crepe paper dangling from the ceiling, peeled grape "eyeballs" in bowls, and ketchup poured in various places to simulate blood.

Haunted attractions have come a long way since peeled grapes, and fright houses are no longer tied to October, either. Now the immersive, you're-part-of-it scare experience is king, and The Great Horror Campout is one of the new and flashy icons of the dread-and-dirt adventures.

Emphasis on "dirt": The outside happening takes place at the Old Zoo in Griffith Park, overnight, and it is indeed a campout of sorts, in the loosest sense. Nope, you won't bed down all snug in your sleeping bag, for eight hours of solid shut-eye, if you sign up for the Friday, June 5 or Saturday, June 6 campouts.

You will have a "choose your own adventure"-type experience straight out of a scary movie, the kind of movie that might involve a lake, a group of campers, jumps, spills, and eeks aplenty.

If living inside a vintage into-the-forest fright film isn't your thing, but you're still kind of curious about the whole immersive element, you can sign up for "a laid-back haunted experience"; think sing-alongs, ghost stories, and time spent at the arts-and-crafts table.

If you go whole hog, you'll be inside the movie, running from a villain or villains. This is called "High Octane" so best read all of the fine print and, moreover, be into it, fully signed on, inside the experience. The words "Hell Hunt" should strike a chill, though, take heart: There's a safe phrase for anyone who needs a time out. 

Again, this isn't the peeled grape eyeballs of a few decades back, so as you and your pals sign up for a tent, remember you will not be snoozing, dreaming of roasted marshmallows, the whole night through. Your tent really is just the starting point for scream-seekers wishing to safely, though very intensely, be in a macabre movie for a night.

Eek? Eek. Best don your down jacket and waterproof camp pants and check out the ghastly goods here.

Photo Credit: The Great Horror Campout]]>
<![CDATA[UFO Hotel in Baker: Concept Art Sneak Peek]]> Tue, 19 May 2015 19:27:19 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/ufohotel1b10.jpg Will you land your ship at the outer-space-meets-desert property?

Photo Credit: UFO Hotel]]>
<![CDATA[Paddle the LA River: Tickets Now on Sale]]> Mon, 18 May 2015 12:42:31 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/paddlethelariver98765.jpg

It's often said that Los Angeles is a mishmashy metropolis in proud possession of every architectural style ever invented. Want to see a witch's cottage? We've got 'em. Regal Art Deco buildings? They're plentiful. Houses that resemble spaceships? It would be ridiculous if we didn't have a few, being a town built on fantasy.

But we don't always extend that place-based imagination to our nature. All sorts of wild things sprout and flow here, and yet some might be dubious that our concrete colossus, the Los Angeles River, has some sections that have, wait for it, true honest-to-grit dirt bottoms.

You can glide over those dirt bottoms, the kind found in creeks and streams in the mountains and beyond, if you step into a kayak during Paddle the River, the summertime program overseen by The Los Angeles Conservation Corps.

It's not every day of the summer, meaning tickets fly like the cormorants and brown pelicans sometimes seen around the river. The dates are June 4 through Sept. 23, the guide-led kayak outings are Fridays through Sundays, tickets are fifty bucks a pop, and they went on sale on Monday, May 18.

And the section of the river you'll be paddling along? A 1.5-mile run in the San Fernando Valley. The meet spot is "the parking lot near the entrance of Lake Balboa/Anthony C. Beilenson Park off Balboa Blvd between Victory Blvd and Balboa Blvd," to give you an idea of where you'll be headed.

But best line up those tickets well in advance of showing up; Paddle the River has proven to be exceedingly popular. There are "(a)pproximately 3,000" spaces for the 2015 summer. The Corps helps "at-risk youth with opportunities for success through job skills training, education, work experience, and career readiness training," so your ticket price will lend support there.

If you've driven over our urban waterway, or seen photos, or paused along its edges to look down, and haven't yet engaged with it in its dirt-bottom, bird-drawing, flora-fantastic state, this could be your summer.

LA is home to many building styles, it is true, and we even have a river that is, in part, very much like rivers elsewhere, in all of their burbling, natural, non-concrete-y states.

Photo Credit: Paddle the LA River]]>
<![CDATA[Monthly Meatball Tasting: Michael's on Naples]]> Mon, 18 May 2015 09:05:38 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/187*120/michaelsmeatball12345.jpg

When it comes to restaurant- or tavern-hosted tastings, things that arrive in a glass, versus a plate or a bowl, tend to dominate.

"Wine" is the word we see most often before "tasting," with "beer" a fairly close second. But there are many who prefer bites over beverages, or at least like to mix up their tastings now and then, and, in response, there are those restaurants that present a single dish or element under the "try and a few" theme.

Michael's on Naples is one such place, and if the word "meatball" just popped into your head, knowing that the Italian classic ristorante has a knack for making 'em, well, you'd be 100% correct. And before you start doing the happy meatball dance — which is absolutely a thing among meatball mavens — best know this: Meatball Tastings are a monthly happening at the elegant eatery.

Which means no longer do you just have to get your savory fix alongside a bowl of pasta or in a sub at your favorite sandwich shop; you can pencil in "monthly meatball tasting" on your calendar, a note which will remind you that this is now a nosh-worthy thing at Michael's.

Question: Have you ever written "monthly meatball tasting" on your calendar, or anywhere, for that matter, before? We thought not.

It's a "night of nostalgia" on May 18, the next monthly meatball night. The evening is all about celebrating the "lost art of craft meatballs" (and there's a cheeky hashtag to go with it, too: #BetterThanYourMoms). Think Chianina meatballs — braised beef is the star — and traditional meatballs boasting a blend of pork, beef, and veal and arancinis, which include fried risotto. 

Serious stuff for the meatball scholar. And you can put the full spotlight on your round, orb-like food, if you choose, by ordering it a la carte. Atop pasta is an option, too, of course, but bet you'll see buffs just going for a plate of straight-up scoops of savory yum.

Want to eye a past monthly meatball night? Take a look. Want to see when future monthly meatball nights shall happen? Keep tabs on Michael's on Naples.

Photo Credit: Michael's on Naples]]>
<![CDATA[Mmm, Dessert Nachos: Strawberry Fest Opens]]> Fri, 15 May 2015 20:51:32 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/strawberrynachostrawberryfest.jpg

As much as we profess to like sweet milkshakes with a dash of heat and salsa with a hint of sweet, we probably still keep our pantries and our refrigerators organized by how hot or sugary we perceive a food to be.

The peppers go over here; the marshmallows over there; and the tasty twain shall not be meeting in any meals. 

Clearly big, bold food festivals do follow many of our pantry-organizing plans, and thank goodness. Look to the venerable California Strawberry Festival, which enjoys its 32nd annual seedy spectacular on Saturday, May 16 and Sunday, May 17 in Oxnard.

The snack opportunities are a major part of the two-day carnival -- well, beyond taking the chance to throw a whipped cream-laden tart at your BFF, of course -- and the snacking shows quite the knack for melding differing food concepts.

Strawberry nachos? Check, they're there (though, truly, they're really on the sweet side, with none of the typical savory ingredients to be found). Strawberry pizza and strawberry kabobs? They sound like dinner but trust: It's dessert wearing dinner's dress-up clothing. Strawberry beer? This is a thing in the world you can try, if you're over 21.

And deep-friend strawberries? Hoo boy. Deep-friend candy bars and pickles and olives, step aside, please.

Homespun contests, stop-and-sip wine tastings, a build-your-own strawberry shortcake tent, and other tart to-dos dot the juicy schedule. And, yes, there shall be many people in their best strawberry-red outfits, though we want to see someone sport a leafy green hat. (The part of the strawberry that so often goes unsung, but is so handy for hanging onto, right?)

The sweetest end of things, though? "(O)ver 20 Southland charities" win thanks to the money raised from this, one of the Golden State's best-known fruit-forward parties.

Helping people is far cheerier than any cheery strawberry illustration, and cheery strawberry illustrations are some of the cutest sights on the planet. This is a fact, right? 

Okay, the facts are a little soft, when it comes to strawberry festivals, but so are pies and tarts, of which there shall be many to enjoy. Wear a shirt that's maybe already gently stained, is what we're advising.

Photo Credit: California Strawberry Festival]]>
<![CDATA[Buzz Buzz: Bug Fair Scurries Into NHM]]> Fri, 15 May 2015 13:25:22 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/ryanmillernhmbugfair1.jpg

It is often said that growing older, and journeying through adulthood, is a process that will, fingers crossed, eventually return us to the curiosity and joy we knew when we were very young.

Kids, after all, don't recoil at seeing a bug skittering by; they want to know why it has so many legs, such strange eyes, and what it eats. If you've retained that wonder about our wing-rocking, limb-plentiful co-earthlings — or you share that wonder with your own child — then fly by the Natural History Museum for Bug Fair on Saturday, May 16 and Sunday, May 17. 

Bug Fair, beyond beyond way cool, is, in fact, "the biggest bug festival in North America" and the "most popular weekend" on the calendar for the Exposition Park institution. (And, yes, "way cool" is a proper and highbrow way to describe one's love for bugs.)

The "biggest bug festival" sounds ginormous, truly. But while there will be many (many many) moths and butterflies and tarantulas and millipedes and scorpions and centipedes in the house, and many (many many) insect aficionados who want to admire and pet and buy and taste, you know that the bugs present represent just a fraction of the bugs that live on this planet.

You'd need to break out a whole mess of zeros for that mile-long number, to make a number big enough. Insects are, of course, are some of the most common denizens of Planet Earth. So that they get their diligent due each spring at the Natural History Museum feels right.

Strolling by bug cases is one popular to-do during the weekend, but you can also join a Caterpillar Hunt, step up for a Live Insect Meet & Greet, hear a butterfly scholar discuss all things wings, and see what the Bug Chefs are cooking up.

Oh, did you notice we said "taste" before? Yep, we dropped that in a little slyly. The sampling of bugs is one of the most buzzed-about activities at Bug Fair. So arrive with your adventurous appetite well-whetted.

This flittable festival turns 30 in a year, and while that's impressive number, it is just a fraction of the time that many-legged creatures have called this hunk of rock home. 

Having a wide scope when it comes to our buggy friends, of how many there are and how long they've been here and the good they do, is a positive thing. It can even re-stoke that fire of wonder we may have lost as kids, back when we'd chase any moth through the yard, just to see it up-close.

Photo Credit: Ryan Miller/Capture Imaging]]>
<![CDATA[Long Beach Pride: Patti LaBelle, Parade, Dancing...]]> Fri, 15 May 2015 08:21:51 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/pridebluesky12345.jpg

When you expect a few people to attend your event, you don't fuss too much about offering too many choices in terms of to-dos and entertainment and go-here-nows -- it'll all likely be fine and low-key and that's that and no worries.

But knowing that over 80,000 people are headed to your front door, for what is one of the most famous pride celebrations in the country, is another matter: You want to go for the full and extravagant spectrum of sound and food and community spirit and kid activities and starry cameos.

And so Long Beach Gay & Lesbian Pride does. It has, after all, been around since 1983, long before a number of other pride festivals got their start (beginnings that were surely inspired by how well the big, big party along Shoreline Drive unfurls, year after year).

The 32nd annual pride party is ready to roll on Saturday, May 16, and Sunday, May 17, and before you get to the popular Sunday parade, there is, of course, the music, the dancing, the carnival-sweet family fun zone, and the community spirit.

As for the stages? Salt N Pepa are the headliners on Saturday, Patti LaBelle takes the mic on Sunday, and Siya, Fey, Tania Soto, and Horoscops de Durango are all on the bill, as well as a host of DJs. The dance areas, beyond the stages, include Fiesta Caliente, Urban, Country, and Dance.

As for that mondo and merry parade? It's a Sunday tradition, with a 10:30 a.m. step-off at the corner of Ocean Boulevard and Lindero Avenue. (Arrive early, though, to see a performance by Hamburger Mary's Brunchettes and LA Cheer.)

As for the theme? The 2015 message is Color Our World with Pride.

As for tickets? Admission is twenty bucks and available at the gate.

As for celebrating? Thirty two years along is major. Keep on being that big-hearted beacon for other fests beyond your shores, and Shoreline Drive, Long Beach.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[New Carl’s Jr., Hardee’s Burger Includes Hot Dog, Chips]]> Fri, 15 May 2015 07:25:10 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Carl%27s-Jr.jpg

Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s are cramming a summer cookout into one burger.

The upcoming menu item is made with a beef patty that is topped with a split hot dog. The meaty duo sits on a layer of Lay’s potato chips between hamburger buns. Ketchup, mustard, tomato, red onion, pickles and American cheese will be thrown in, too. The burger will have 1,030 calories and 64 grams of fat.

“The hot dog is like a smoked meat product, so it’s not unlike bacon,” said Brad Haley, chief marketing officer of CKE Restaurants, the owner of Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s.

Fast food chains have been trying to outdo each other with outrageous menu items to stand out. Wendy’s, for example, offered a cheeseburger topped with pulled pork last year.

Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s are calling their new burger the "Most American Thickburger." It goes on sale at both locations on May 20.

“We’ve had this idea, believe it or not, for a long time,” Haley said.

The Most American Thickburger will use kettle-cooked Lay’s chips, which are thicker than regular chips, to prevent them from getting soggy.

The burger will cost $5.79 alone or $8.29 for a combo, which comes with fries and a drink.

CKE Restaurants has experimented with meat-on-meat burgers before. It previously sold a burger topped with pastrami at Carl’s Jr., and sold a burger smothered with thinly sliced steak, called the Philly Cheesesteak Thickburger, at Hardee’s.

<![CDATA[Happy 80th, Griffith Observatory]]> Thu, 14 May 2015 16:57:06 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/gosunset72370593.jpg

We SoCalers may gently quibble about Very Important Matters from time to time, the not-so-pressing issues that ultimately serve to bond us in local love.

Is better to take Fountain or Oakwood into Hollywood on a Friday night? (Both have their pluses.) And should a famished eater simply squeezes the lime, or bite into it, extracting all the juice, when one digs into a plate of shrimp tacos?(The latter, obviously.)

But everyone, across the golden City of Dreams, is all-out goo goo over Griffith Observatory, the always-free, Foucault pendulum-rocking, skyward-dreaming, astronomical Art Deco-plus wonder that sits with an air of timeless majesty above Los Feliz.


Which should make the superstar structure's 80th birthday celebration a snap. City Councilman Tom LaBonge and author Arnold Schwartzman, an authority on the observatory's architecture, will fete the landmark on the evening of May 14, alongside officials and fans and building buffs and park people and visitors from other galaxies.

OK, maybe not that last one, but wouldn't otherworldly beings visit the ol' G.O. first in LA? They so would. They don't even need an intergalactic tourist app to know this is the place to go. 

The regal building opened on May 14, 1935, as part of the Works Progress Administration efforts, and the grand pile, if we may lovingly call it a "pile," in the affectionate and old-fashioned sense, has become a building Angelenos practically burst with pride over, and rightly so.

Griffith Observatory, by the by, is typically referred to as Art Deco, but with a sprinkling of other styles. We see you in there, Streamline Moderne and Beaux Arts, and you, too, high Hollywood fantasy. 

The observatory, beyond its outer beauty, serves as a source for serious study of the cosmos, and it regularly invites the curious out onto the vast front lawn to peer deep into the night through a host of telescopes. It's the home of the Leonard Nimoy Event Horizon Theater and the Samuel Oschin Planetarium and a nifty, kid-pleasing sundial. It's been in movies — hello, "Rebel Without a Cause" and "The Rocketeer" -- and it has the best views of the city.

That's an opinion not even worth quibbling over, shrimp taco- or Fountain Avenue-style. It just does and just about everyone says so.

And is there a more worthy neighbor for the Hollywood Sign? What other city puts its most beautiful and legend-heavy icons up high on the side of hills, for all to look up and be emboldened by?

Happy 80th, Griffith Observatory. We know that you're constantly looking at the sky from your Griffith Park perch, but consider that we're constantly looking at you, from all points of the city.

Does that make you, in a way, LA's nearest star?

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Descanso Delightful: Rose Festival]]> Thu, 14 May 2015 14:17:04 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/roseweekenddescanso123.jpg

New Year's Day has a mystique about it, for sure, but it tends to be decorated with snowflakes and icicles in many places around the globe, and not with rosy red petals, as it is here in Southern California.

January 1 and the power flower are inextricably entwined in many local minds, thanks to a certain famous parade. And while we'd never give a side eye to anything to do with the Tournament of Roses — only reverence is due — it is good, every so often, to remember that roses and the month of May have a long-standing relationship, too.

Descanso Gardens, which isn't too far from the Rose Parade route, driving-wise, pauses in mid-May to salute that queen of the garden. The La Cañada Flintridge public garden is associated with camellias, which go to town on the blooming front in the wintertime, but there are roses aplenty to be found around the expansive grounds.

So practice your sniffing and saunter for the 160 acres of garden on Saturday, May 16 and Sunday, May 17. A two-day Rose Festival shall bloom, not just in the flowers that are looking their fullest-of-head but in the activities, too.

Want to make a May-perfect flower crown? You can, at noon on Saturday. Want to join in rose-cute family activities? That's happening both days, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Want to watch the creation of a "human vase"? A person shall be covered in roses and other accouterments, combining art and the fluid human form at 11 a.m. on both Saturday and Sunday.

Want to take a rose walk? Be at the Rose Pavilion at 1:30 p.m. on either day to "learn what's new in the International Rosarium." (Which immediately should make every flower fan long for their own personal rosarium.)

Want to soak in the splendor of spring? There are few finer spots in the region, and few finer buds. Roses, you earn your top spot on New Year's Day and in May, too. No one's arguing that whatsoever. 

Photo Credit: Descanso Gardens]]>
<![CDATA[Weekend: Bikes, in Motion and on the Pier]]> Fri, 15 May 2015 13:34:52 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/amgentourdepier.jpg

Bikes, Fast and Fundraising and Fun: It's true that the Pasadena CicLAvia, which'll see tens of thousands of cyclists take to Colorado Boulevard, is still two weeks out, but the middle weekend of May shall be very bikey around SoCal, in several ways. Look to The AMGEN Tour of California, which rolls into LA and Pasadena on its final stage on May 17 (to spy some of the world's top riders, find your spot; festivals abound, too). Stationary bikers'll pedal at the 3rd Annual Tour de Pier in Manhattan Beach to raise funds for pancreatic cancer research on May 17. And LA Bike Week wraps with a Bike Night soiree at Union Station on May 15.

Long Beach Pride 2015: The headliners are always major at this celebration, which regularly draws some 80,000 people over two days (those days in 2015: Saturday, May 16 and Sunday, May 17). Patti LaBelle is bringing her superstar talents to the revelries, as are Salt N Pepa and several other acts ready to get people moving over five dance areas (think Main Stage, Fiesta Caliente, Dance, Urban Soul, and Country). A family fun zone, a Sunday parade and other happy additions make this one of the liveliest and long-running LGBT parties in all the land. 

29th Annual Bug Fair: If you've ever been out in the woods, or perhaps your own yard, and come across a roiling nest of creepy crawlies, you probably described it to your pals as being "a million billion bugs." Probably not, but this mondo Natural History Museum festival is in that impressively huge sphere. Bugs of all sort, those that have passed and those that still skitter, will make cameos at the Exposition Park institution on Saturday, May 16 and Sunday, May 17. A perennial highlight? "Squirmy Snacks," which is just what you think it is -- brave enough? Do it. We're rooting for you.

Yoga Day at Dodger Stadium: You may have enjoyed Child's Pose or Sun Salutations in a number of interesting studios over your time as a yoga practitioner, but have you ever rolled a mat out in a Major League Baseball park? Now's your chance, on Sunday, May 17. There are a few things to know, like leaving your own mat at home, but definitely arrive for the Dodgers-Rockies game in your stretch-out, tank-toppiest best. Tickets? They're fifty to seventy seven bucks, mat included.

Super Saturday Los Angeles: It's a huge fundraiser in a huge building and several businesses and organizations come out to raise money for The Ovarian Cancer Research Fund. Molly Sims and Rachel Zoe are the hosts of what's billed as "the Rolls Royce of garage sales." Trina Turk, Sprinkles, and a host of fashion and foodie purveyors will be on hand, too, at the May 16 happening. Want your pup to attend? He/she definitely can. For ticket info, click.

Photo Credit: Getty Images/Angela Daves Haley]]>
<![CDATA["Simpson's" Springfield Opens at Universal Studios]]> Thu, 14 May 2015 00:05:48 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/180*120/Springfield_Homer+and+Marge+at+MOES.jpg D'oh! The Simpsons town, complete with a Krusty Burger, makes its merry debut.

Photo Credit: Universal Studios Hollywood]]>
<![CDATA[Falconry in Palmdale Flies on Obscura Day]]> Wed, 13 May 2015 14:44:26 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/215*120/atlasobscurapalmdalefalconry.jpg

Do you consider yourself to be an explorer?

We know, yes, you most certainly are, every time you have to dig in the storage room for the holiday decorations or through a cabinet for last year's receipts. We all have to go adventuring, now and then, in our own homes, usually for the most humdrum, gotta-get-this-done reasons.

But the wide and wild world beyond our front door holds many rather more alluring and offbeat treats, finds that the people behind Atlas Obscura are keen to cultivate, appreciate, and share with other curious types. The group -- it isn't just in California -- hosts excursions to unusual and thought-provoking spots around the world on the regular, but there is an annual holiday that is observed in an eventful, and event-filled, way: Obscura Day.

That day falls on Saturday, May 30 in 2015, and the Southern California chapter has, count 'em up, 18 big happenings. They range from learning about falconry near Palmdale (yes, coo away, there shall be falcons) to a peek around Griffith Park's old zoo to a hop by of the Bunny Museum to a stroll-through of the Valley Relics Museum in Chatsworth.

The only sad face moment comes in deciding what to do, because completing all 18 go-outs on the roster, or even two or three, is just not going to happen. The visits are too in-depth and the geography is to sprawling-SoCal-ish.

But whatever you do land upon, trust that you may be delighted, or a little perturbed, or a little joyful, or a little intrigued, or left to mull over what you've learned and seen. Offbeat adventuring is never about pat 'n tidy experiences but rather surprises of all sorts.

Don't be taken by surprise by this, though: While events have ticketed admission, there is a free come-one/all party at the close of the day at Vista Hermosa Park. Hobnob with other explorers and share your accounts of the day.

Will you meet a new pal with a common interest? The sort of interest some unadventurous sorts find rather strange, rather perplexing? Be bold, explorer: Obscura Day is the day to find out.

Photo Credit: Atlas Obscura]]>
<![CDATA[McDonald's to Expand All-Day Breakfast Test]]> Wed, 13 May 2015 16:54:56 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/MCDonalds-Breakfast-SanDiego.jpg

McDonald’s will reportedly expand its test of an all-day breakfast menu.

The breakfast test will expand to Nashville this summer, the company announced during a webcast with franchisees, the Wall Street Journal reports. They also revealed plans to shorten drive-through menus and release new, mid-priced menu options.

McDonald’s had been testing the all-day breakfast option at select restaurants in its San Diego market, the company confirmed to NBCChicago in March

"We know our customers love McDonald’s breakfast and they tell us they’d like to enjoy it beyond the morning hours," the company said in an earlier statement. "We look forward to learning from this test, and it’s premature to speculate on any outcomes. We’re excited to serve our customers in this area some of McDonald’s great-tasting breakfast sandwiches, hash browns and other favorites all day long."

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

The reported move comes as CEO Steve Easterbrook revealed plans to turnaround the fast food chain’s struggling business. It also comes as the company works to maintain its slot at the top of the fast food breakfast chain.

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

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

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

McDonald's did not immediately return NBCChicago's request for comment. 

<![CDATA[Chris Burden: LACMA Displays New Work]]> Wed, 13 May 2015 06:54:49 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/223*120/chrisburdenlacma1234567890.jpg

Great world cities, and smaller creative hamlets, too, very frequently have a resident artist, or a few artists, who have represented the vision and character and esprit of place through their often monumental artworks.

For Los Angeles, Chris Burden was such a fearless forward-looker, a creator who captured our pulsating, bright, zippy, and complex nature in out-sized pieces such as Metropolis II (all of those tiny cars whizzing) and Urban Light (the lamp forest that's fast become the city's shimmery heart). Both installations can be found at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

Mr. Burden passed away on Sunday, May 10 at the age of 69, news that shocked many fans and friends according to reports. The Topanga-based artist had not discussed his melanoma diagnosis widely.

Tributes have been pouring in, and one of the most moving of all will be something that had already been in process: A new installation by Mr. Burden called Ode to Santos Dumont, a man "widely considered the father of aviation in France."

The "kinetic airship sculpture" opens to the public on Monday, May 18. 

As with so many of Mr. Burden's work, there shall be movement of some sort. Like the cars of Metropolis II begin to roll, to the thrill of onlookers, and the bulbs of Urban Light start to glow come sundown each night, Ode to Santos Dumont will engage in "indoor flight in 15-minute intervals throughout the day." 

Tethers, helium, and "a highly balanced and refined mechanism" will work in concert to compel the sculpture to move in a 60-foot circle.

A large sculpture that isn't bound to the ground? Ode to Santos Dumont makes a beautiful and thematic neighbor for Levitated Mass, the walk-under boulder that's just outside of its Resnick Pavilion home.

It's a home that the airship will keep for four weeks only. See sculpture fly at particular times throughout each day, save LACMA's closed day which is Wednesday, from May 18 through June 21.

And pause to give a thought of thanks to the airship's imaginative visionary, one of LA's big dreamers and great storytellers.

Photo Credit: LACMA]]>
<![CDATA[San Pedro's Sunken City: Open Hours Possible]]> Tue, 12 May 2015 17:31:00 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/186*120/sunkencityjkandel1.jpg

Ruins, those sometimes eerie, always storied, highly windswept places containing physical remnants of a past era, are sometimes thought of as places from the long, long past.

We here in California know, however, that modern-era ruins proliferate, even in places where real estate transactions bustle and property changes hands. The coastline seems to boast several of these such spots, from San Francisco's storied Sutro Baths to San Pedro's Sunken City.

But while the Bay Area ruins once was a pool-laden play palace for late 19th-century bathers, Sunken City reveals the remnants of long-ago houses that slid towards the Pacific Ocean in 1929.

Chunks of those bygone '20s-era bungalows remain in the Point Fermin Park-adjacent spot, and the curious come to explore, despite the fences and despite the fact that trespassing is not permitted.

That may change if a new proposal by City Councilman Joe Buscaino is found feasible and given the go-ahead. The proposal posits keeping Sunken City open during daylight hours.

"Before making a decision to open Sunken City to the public, it is important that we as a city perform our due diligence and consider all of the public safety issues associated with this area," reads a statement from the councilman. "That is why I am looking forward to receiving a feasibility report from the Department of Recreation and Parks which has jurisdiction over Sunken City."

Urban-offbeat exploring outfit Atlas Obscura has rounded up several close-up photos of the slabs and chunks that constitute the modern Sunken City. For a peek through the fence, click.

Photo Credit: jkandel1/Instagram]]>
<![CDATA[NORMS Goes Before the City Council]]> Wed, 20 May 2015 12:24:49 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/normslacienega1.jpg

When news broke in January that NORMS, the '50s-era coffee shop at 470 N. La Cienega Boulevard in West Hollywood, might face the wrecking ball, fans of the eggs-and-baconry stepped up to voice their passionate concern.

Now the Los Angeles City Council will take on that concern, and what's next for the Googie diner. A May 12th date for the council to decide on whether or not to give the famous eatery historical status was moved to May 20th. The 10 a.m. meeting will decide whether this, the oldest operating eatery in the NORMS chain, will be granted Historic-Cultural Landmark status. 

If status is given the demolition permit, which was ordered in January, can be halted, said a council release.

Supporters came together for a passionate rally, complete with memory-filled speeches, outside of the Armet & Davis-designed diner in late March.

March also brought the news that the Cultural Heritage Commission "backed an application" for NORMS to obtain historical status.

Even Jim Balis, CEO of Restaurant Management Group, the group that purchased NORMS in December, voiced the wish that the restaurant might be considered for historic protections. "We are thrilled with the recent decision to consider NORMS La Cienega a Historic-Cultural Landmark," said Mr. Balis in January.

The demolition permit had been filed by the Norman Cienega Property Group, the property's owners.

In a case of quirky timing, the May 12 city council decision on NORMS arrives just days ahead of the conclusion of the period television series that the diner is tied to in many minds.

"Mad Men," which concludes its seven-season run on May 17, evokes the time of NORMS, and style, it's true. But series creator Matthew Weiner is also a big fan of NORMS. The showrunner spoke at the March rally, revealing he spent many a day at its tables, back when he was a young, aspiring writer, working on ideas. 

So while the show's wrap-up is unavoidable, fans fervently hope the restaurant where the series has its roots will carry on well into the future, with no wrecking ball in sight.

Not simply weathering changing tides and trends, of course, but as an Historic-Cultural Landmark, jagged orange details and rock walls and big glass windows and all.

Photo Credit: Hunter Kerhart]]>
<![CDATA[75th Anniversary: "Fantasia" at TCL Chinese Theatre]]> Tue, 12 May 2015 09:24:15 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Fantasia2mickeywaltdisneystudios.jpg

When early animation sprung from the short-style of "Silly Symphonies" and the other quick and jaunty clips that reigned in the late 1920s and '30s, it did so in a rather spectacular way.

The first full-length feature cel animation film premiered in 1937, a movie you've perhaps heard about: Walt Disney's "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs." While the film is still considered a masterwork, a feat realized thanks in large part to the recent invention of the multiplane camera, it still told a conventionally structured story, built around a heroine, with a beginning, middle, and end.

"Pinocchio" followed for Disney, also telling a more traditional tale and then? The dancing brooms arrived. And the swirls of pastels and the ballerina hippos and the flying horses and the landscapes straight from a deep, deep dream.

"Fantasia" was the film, and its form -- a series of vignettes and tone poems set to classical pieces -- was wholly different from its two predecessors. Add to that a more adult feel, with folded-in bits of real musicians, and you have a movie that made a mark not just on animation but on cinema history.

TCL Chinese Theatre will screen the 1940 film, and its fantastical follow-up "Fantasia 2000," on Sunday, June 7. It's a Cinespia-produced benefit for the Los Angeles Historic Theatre Foundation, which keeps a watchful eye on Southern California's remaining movie palaces. More than a watchful eye, though: Twenty one theatres have received Historic-Cultural Landmark status due to the group's dogged efforts.

The screening is in large part a celebration of the 75th anniversary of "Fantasia" and the 15th anniversary of "Fantasia 2000," a film that boasts cameos from Steve Martin to Angela Lansbury.

It's the "the first ever back-to-back screening" of the two films in Los Angeles, by the by.

But will Mickey Mouse, as "The Sorcerer's Apprentice," ever find a way to control the watery mess he's made? Even with those bucket-carrying brooms? He's over his mouse-eared head for sure.

One final question, speaking of "The Sorcerer's Apprentice," the vignette that is surely the most famous in "Fantasia": Is there a larger hat in all of Los Angeles than giant "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" wizard hat that sits outside the Walt Disney Animation Building in Burbank? 

It's so tall and point it can be spied from the 134 Freeway (though eyes on the road, of course). In previous years the Brown Derby might have won for largest local chapeau, but Mickey's magical cap has to be, these days, one of the hugest hats in all the land.

Time to peek in again on the cartoon that started it all.

Photo Credit: Walt Disney Studios]]>
<![CDATA[Tamale Ice Cream: Salt & Straw Salutes LA]]> Tue, 12 May 2015 14:49:44 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/saltstrawsummerflavors3928203982.jpg

Gone are the days when vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry were our sole choices at the ice cream counter. 

Gone, too, is the time when bubblegum, fudge ripple, and peach added some variety. Gone even is the era when a dash of salt with caramel was considered something novel in your frozen treat.

Today's scoopable treats have not only run the gamut, they've broken down the gamut's various fences and run beyond the perimeter, and thank goodness for that, for adventurous eating continues to be on the rise in the dessert space.

Think of strolling down a summer lane while licking Green Corn Tamale Ice Cream, Garam Masala and Cinnamon Cauliflower Ice Cream, Green Fennel and Maple Ice Cream, or Peking Duck Buns Ice Cream.

Oh, let us not forget Bratwursts and Mustard Ice Cream, too.

Salt & Straw, that Portland-born, now-on-Larchmont-Boulevard purveyor of homespun-style, farm-to-scoop ice cream, is reaching beyond the jug of olive oil and lavender sprigs for a fresh spin for the summer of '15: The bright, savory, and often spicy flavors of the LA street food scene.

The three-month menu wasn't selected at happy random; rather accoladed area chefs Roy Choi, Mary Sue Milliken, and Susan Feniger all contributed to the inventive ice cream roster as did "a community of Southern California farmers." 

The licks, in short, are way, way local.

And, yes, tastes from the sweeter side of the spectrum shall also make cold-temp cameos so fret not if you need your fun eats to stay unsavory. Molé Rojo Flan, Papi's Korean Fluffernutter, and California Raspberry Sorbet are all coming up.

So what's to know? The flavors listed above aren't available all summer long, but by the month, so saunter over to the Salt & Straw site to make sure that you time your visit when Bratwursts and Mustard Ice Cream is available. (Because you're totally trying that.)

Also, Salt & Straw offers a tasting flight if you can't decide between the Green Corn Tamale and the Green Fennel and Maple. They both can belong to you and your spoon.

Also, will you ever approach your favorite street food vendor in the same way again? We can only imagine that a scoop of something iconic, served dessert-style, will enhance your later experience of a tamale or bratwurst.

For certain it will give you plenty to gab about, with your disbelieving but delighted companions, as you nosh curbside.

Photo Credit: Salt & Straw]]>
<![CDATA[Happy 1st Birthday, Culver City Adopt & Shop]]> Tue, 12 May 2015 14:37:22 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/208*120/kittenshoweradoptculver.jpg

When Adopt & Shop debuted in Culver City in May 2014, it brought with it a few barks, some sweet meows, and an uncommon approach to pairing people with animals in need of a home.

That fresh philosophy encompassed a "retail meets philanthropy" focus.

The center helps place local pets but it also does some not-seen-so-often fundraising in the form of its store: Culver City Adopt & Shop is in fact billed as "the only nonprofit pet retailer in California, where ALL proceeds goes back to helping shelter animals."

So if you adopt a pup there, and proceed stock up on his needs — bowl, leash, bed and such — you'll know that your money travels forward to felines and other barkers down the road.

It is an idea worth celebrating, and celebrate Adopt & Shop shall, on Saturday, May 16, in happy honor of its first birthday.

Will there be paw-scrappy sweethearts on the grounds of the center, to meet and cuddle and potentially take home? There will be. Will there be giveaways and special doings? Woof.

Will there be food trucks? It hardly seems like a Southern California springtime pet-nice to-do without a few nearby. But here's something extra: "treats for pets" will be given out, too. Nope, dogs and cats don't yet have the full array of mobile meal-makers that we humans do, but we'll just be they like their treats as much as we like our fast-served burgers and tacos.

Party's on from noon to 4 p.m. 

If you need some more feline sweetness, and more time at the Adopt & Shop, return on Saturday, May 30 for a Kitten Shower. The center says that the "goal is to give as many kittens as possible a second chance by placing them in foster care until they are old enough for adoption." 

Even if you cannot foster a wee feline at this time, you can swing by to drop off donated goods. Because that's swell.

Another swell thought? In its first year, Culver City Adopt & Shop has placed almost 900 animals in homes. The number of funds raised by the retail end of the shop can by tallied, of course, but how to add up that kind of love?

We're sure it is a huge number, with a lot of zeros on the end.

Photo Credit: Culver City Adopt & Shop]]>
<![CDATA[Make Music Pasadena: Schedule Reveal]]> Mon, 11 May 2015 10:16:48 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/mmpschedule1234.jpg

It's practically some kind of rule — not an unspoken one but rather a rule much loved and trumpeted about — that free summer season shindigs should be as easy and as breezy as easy breezy things come.

There are some asterisks here, and here's a biggie: If more than 50,000 revelers are expected at the free summer season shindig in question, then both ease and breeze are off the books.

At least ahead of time, that is.

You need to plan, form ideas, and get your pals on board for such a happening. And such a happening is due, on Saturday, June 6, in Old Town Pasadena, when "the West Coast's largest free music festival" arrives smack dab in the middle of Colorado Boulevard, and surrounding streets and venues.

It's Make Music Pasadena, and while we'd never condone you not being easy and breezy once you arrive — that's kind of the point, to listen to music, catch the requisite rays, and chillax, if you're inclined to do so — you best get your ducks (read: friends) in a row now: The schedule was just revealed for the 12-hour tunetacular.

An April announcement drew the curtain back on the 2015 acts; the May news tells attendees where to find the performers at what times. 

Handy grids do not come handier, given that there are over 30 venues dotting Pasadena and over 150 performances on the docket. If you've got to see Kishi Bashi or Hundred Waters or Nick Waterhouse or Autumn in June, here's where you and your co-planning comrades begin.

The truth of it? Simply showing up, along with thousands of other music mavens, may induce a fast case of sad face.

But then festival regulars know that mastering the grid is mastering the game. That you have a few weeks to do so should only stoke anticipation, leaving your best energy for getting to, and from, Old Town Pas come the first Saturday in June.

<![CDATA[Mother's Day: Make a Kid Chair at the Hammer]]> Sat, 09 May 2015 08:07:57 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/203*120/carsonwalltubes.jpg

While table-bound go-outs are a staple of Mother's Day, after brunch, families start asking "what to do now?"

There are walks in the park, the flying of kites, the admiring of flowers or you can, of course, build furniture, if that's more in line with the handy, roll-up-the-sleeves sorts of things that get your family jazzed.

Of course, the furniture that shall be built on Sunday, May 10, at the Hammer Museum won't require heavy sawing or 2-by-4s or gauges. The free-to-join happening is all about building a kid's chair out of recycled materials.

"Colorful and sturdy heavy-duty cardboard tubes will serve as legs for stools" and yarn weavings and neon tape will accessorize, if the chair designers so wish. You've never accessorized a piece of furniture? There's always time to start.

Designer Tanya Aguiñiga will lead the two-hour build, which is being held in conjunction with the exhibit "Provocations: The Architecture and Design of Heatherwick Studio" (which includes "surprising chair designs").

Hours: The post-brunch (or pre-lunch) time of 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The hefty tubes, by the by, are "recycled spools from fabric factories" so count on them doing the job. If what your family makes turns out to be a chair that your kid really uses for a year or two, what a fine memento from a Mother's Day spent working as a team.

The gifts of Mother's Day have a way of being enjoyed in the moment (chocolates and flowers and such). But a sturdy little child's chair in the middle of the den is a colorful reminder of one happy, hands-busy holiday spent at the Hammer.

Photo Credit: Hammer Museum]]>
<![CDATA[Movies, Exercise, Pals: Bike Week Pasadena]]> Fri, 08 May 2015 08:43:06 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/223*120/bikeweekpasadena123456.jpg

Just about everyone knows that one person who, in anticipation of a huge event on the horizon with many guests throws a bit of a practice party a few weeks in advance, the better to get the cake-baking down, the party favors just so and the placement of the hi-fi in the den.

We might, in a charming and light-hearted way, think of Pasadena as such a person, and the 100,000-person-strong CicLAvia as the huge celebration on approach.

But to call Bike Week Pasadena a practice run for CicLAvia would do a serious disservice to this fizzy 'n fun event, one that could well serve as a well-planned, bike-knowledgable beacon to other cities looking to start up their own Bike Weeks.

This year's Bike Week gets into gear on Sunday, May 10; picks up speed, like one does zooming down a big hill, throughout the week and wraps on Saturday, May 16. In the wicker basket on the front of this bicycle? A Taste of Pasadena Restaurant Bicycle Tour, Women's Bike Night, Bike to Work Day, a Bike-In Movie Night, and a Pedal Party to bid all of the bike-y good times adieu.

By the by, three guesses as to what the movie might be at Bike-In Movie Night, which happens on Friday, May 15? Okay, one guess shall suffice: It's "E.T.: The Extraterrestrial," one of the few films where the flying spaceship is out-wowed by a flying bicycle earlier in the movie.

C.I.C.L.E. -- Cyclists Inciting Change thru Live Exchange -- is the organizer of this get-to-know-your-fellow-cyclists week, a week that is also about bike safety and the benefits of rolling by two wheels to your next destination.

As for CicLAvia Pasadena? That sets out on the final day of May. And we'll say it again: Bike Week Pasadena is not the early-in-the-month prep for the sure-to-be-ginormous bicycle bash at the close of the month.

They're both distinct, with Bike Week boasting happenings over several days while CicLAvia pedals on one. But that Pasadena is the relaxed host for both further reminds us that the Crown City's transportation icons are more than just the New Year's Day floats.

Photo Credit: Bike Week Pasadena]]>
<![CDATA["Back to the Future" to Screen at Doc Brown's House]]> Thu, 07 May 2015 18:55:56 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/206*120/backtothefuturegamble123456.jpg

Every trivia lover is half-shy, half-bold when it comes to raising a hand and shouting out answers to a guide's questions while touring a famous location.

But that shyness drops away when "Back to the Future" fans visit the Gamble House, the Greene & Greene-designed masterpiece that's been adding an air of Craftsman stateliness to stately Pasadena since 1908. 

The house, with its woodsy vibe, dramatic eaves, and straight-from-nature details, seems like it should be a cinema staple, but nope, it has been in exactly one film: The 1985 time travel comedy starring a plucky, puffy-vested Michael J. Fox.

It was, of course, Doc Brown's house — the film only used exteriors, but then you know that, trivia lover — and when a docent at the Gamble House poses questions about the movie, tour guests raise their hands, eagerly.

It's one of the most well-known locations in cinema history, is why. Hyperbole, you say? Don't make us glower at you, Biff Tannen-style.

Now the spectacular home, or at least its spectacular lawn, and the beloved film shall unite, for one night only, when "Back to the Future" screens at the property on Saturday, July 25.

Tickets are fifty bucks.

Pasadena stalwart Pie 'N Burger'll send a food truck out, there shall be a DeLorean exhibit, there shall be tours of the Gamble House, and there shall be a photo booth. Just don't fade to nothing inside your photograph, like the McFly siblings started to after Marty McFly messed his parents' past up.

Will the crowds erupt in a cheer upon seeing The Gamble House come on screen for the first time? Surely. It's a moment too meta, and too "I'm right here, at the very location!," to pass up.

Will there be free popcorn? The Gamble House graciously says yes. And, c'mon: This is among the popcorniest of movies.

Will you drive by where the location of the house purportedly was, in the movie, on your way there? Well, you will if you drive down Victory Boulevard in Burbank. That Burger King, the one not far from Magnolia and Victory, is the one that Marty McFly rolls by, on his skateboard, at the start of the movie, as he is leaving Doc Brown's garage.

The garage was never really there — that's the Gamble House garage — but Burger King, and the general vibe of Victory Boulevard, remain intact 30+ years after the film was shot.

Is that too geeky to know? And annoying to share? One thing is for certain: When you're dealing with a popular '80s sci-fi comedy, you cannot be up enough on your trivia, because someone is always ready to out-trivia you. To this, we humbly bow.

So polish up on your movie facts as you prime your flux capacitor and drive for Pasadena's Gamble House, Futurists.

Pictured: A DeLorean from Back to the Future Time Machine (www.bttftimemachine). photo: Whitney Padgett at www.whitpadgett.com

Photo Credit: Whitney Padgett]]>
<![CDATA[Weekend: Mother's Day Love]]> Thu, 07 May 2015 13:30:22 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/shutterstockmothersday1.jpg

Happy Mother's Day: A flower in a vase on a tray, some handmade gifts, brunch at a neighborhood spot... The traditions of the May holiday are plentiful and sweet, but there are ways to celebrate your #1 lady that go beyond the omelet. Momentum Place leaps into Theatricum Botanicum in Topanga Canyon on Mother's Day -- think aerialists and dancers performing, all in a rustic outdoor setting (plus brunch) -- or catch the Phylicia Rashad-directed comedy "Immediate Family" at the Mark Taper Forum (the accolade-winning play has two performances on Mother's Day, early afternoon and evening). And at the Irvine Park Railroad in Orange? Moms ride free in honor of their special day.

Queen Mary West Coast BBQ Classic: We're tra-la-la-ing into the season of al fresco food enjoyment, and our larger, cook-outside cuisine events are starting up in earnest as well. Look to this rib-tastic annual party next to the Big Boat, the one in Long Beach, for all of your summer savory needs. The tastings are two bucks a pop and you'll chow down on a gamut of styles (rubs, sauces, Kansas City, Memphis...). Is your mom a barbecue buff? Call this May 9 outing her Mother's Day Eve party.

Santa Monica Festival: It's a culture-awesome, dance-delightful, Westside-wonderful tradition that's landed in Clover Park year after year with a flourish, a swirl and a hearty "everyone join in"! Sustainability and a focus on being kind to the earth is at the 24th annual fest's happy heart as are arts, crafts, bikes, local communities and a general vibe of being-with-neighbors-ness. The cost to get into the Saturday, May 9 shindig? It's totally free.

Eat|See|Hear: Beyond the bites-oriented bashes opening for the summer season, there are more signs afoot. Look to our region's well-attended outdoor movie screenings, the kind that draw live tunes and occasional theme nights and food trucks, too. And look to Eat|See|Hear, which debuts in Santa Monica with "Pitch Perfect" -- the first one, just to clarify -- on Saturday, May 9. One fun bonus? Fidos are invited to these screenings (just make sure he's on a leash).

Bottle Rocket Launch: As far as educational, "wow"-inducing, laughter-garnering traditions go, the 22-year-long match-up between Boeing and the Discovery Cube is a truly choice one. Lots of people come out to see two-liter plastic bottles take to the skies, and that it all happens at the Boeing Huntington Beach location is pretty cool. Want to see imaginative science at work? Get to Boeing and look up on Saturday, May 9.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[Wild Wonderful: National Public Gardens Day]]> Fri, 08 May 2015 09:26:05 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/descansopoppynationalpublicgardensday.jpg

It is often said that a city's health depends much on its ample and well-tended outdoor spaces. Those spaces include parks, yes, and plant-packed plots around civic buildings, and state parks and national parks, and, of course, what might be in our own yard, and how it contributes to the wilder whole.

Add to that, of course, the public gardens, those stunning spreads that have a strong botanical background and the staff and docents who can explain each flower and shoot and blade of grass, its history, and why it has been included in the garden. 

Southern California's public gardens are also notable for their efforts with water conservation and the inclusion of local, drought-resistant flora. Look to The Huntington's dramatic new entryway and its California-ready shrubs and buds.

This is all worth considering, and admiring, during National Public Gardens Day. It falls on Friday, May 8 this year, which is quite handy if you're looking for an early outing to lead into Mother's Day Weekend.

There are deals to be enjoyed during the special day, including 10% off at the Descanso Gardens gift shop in La Cañada Flintridge and free admission at Sherman Library and Gardens in Newport Beach. 

You're bound to be within blooming distance (which seems rather more lovely than the traditional shouting distance) of one of the gardens. The Los Angeles Arboretum in Arcadia, Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden, and the Earl Burns Miller Japanese Garden in Long Beach are all on the National Public Gardens Day roster.

It's a moment when many people are rethinking their own yards and gardens and windowboxes and slices of sun-dappled goodness, in terms of water use and sustainability. Looking to what our public gardens do in this important arena could be quite the inspirational and idea-providing first step.

Photo Credit: Descanso Gardens]]>
<![CDATA["The Simpsons" in Real Life: Visit Moe's Tavern]]> Thu, 07 May 2015 06:26:10 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/moesuniversaldavidsprague.jpg

One of the coolest things ever, for perpetually engrossed pop culture people, is to visit a place they've seen on television.

Maybe they head for Boston and snap a picture outside the exterior used for the "Cheers" bar or they make for Studio City to spy the "Brady Bunch" house.

But strolling into Moe's Tavern? The bar overseen by grumbly, cuddly barkeep Moe Szylak? That's a bit trickier given that the series it appears on, "The Simpsons,"is animated.

Spoiler alert? Nah -- this is a show that's now fully part of our television DNA, having been around since the decade before the decade before the decade before this one. But while spoiler alerts aren't necessary, prepare for a d'oh-lightful surprise: You can visit Moe's Tavern at Universal Studios Hollywood.

Springfield, the street-long themed environment that's been rising for several months between The Simpsons Ride and the future home of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, makes its official debut on Wednesday, May 13.

Moe's Tavern is in the cityscape-meets-candy-color-wow line-up -- yep, you can sip a non-alcoholic Flaming Moe within -- as is Duff Brewery, which will be serving three kinds of Duff Beer. As for where Homer goes when he's hungry? Krusty Burger is selling a "genuine clown-endorsed meal," there are walk-and-chow noshables at Bumblebee Man's Taco Truck and Cletus' Chicken Shack has Chicken Thumbs on the menu.

As for the all-important Simpsons-style donuts? Find your doughy treats at Lard Lad. As for more meal-ready places? They're there, from Suds McDuff Hot Dog Stand to Phineas Q. Butterfat's Ice Cream Parlour.

The environment does echo a walk through a town just like Springfield, but it isn't all about the food and drink. Watch-for-'em details abound, from the Springfield sign hanging high above everything (it pays tribute, style-wise, to our own Hollywood Sign) to Krusty the Clown's cherished memorabilia collection to the very special prank-call-y telephone inside Moe's.

A number of three-dimensional sculptures abound, too. And, yes, a few new strolling characters'll be haunting the street, including Sideshow Bob. Eek. (Don't tell him we said "eek" because, as all fans know, Bob gets ruffled pretty darn quick.)

And, yes, those twin icons of the series, the smokestacks topping Homer Simpson's workplace, are part of the merry milieu, as are the Springfield Police Station, Burns Manor and Krustylu Studios.

Who says you can't enter an animated world in real life? Who says you can't say "d'oh-lightful" when it pertains to something pleasing about "The Simpsons"? 

And who says you can't obsess over Chicken Thumbs, in your mind, just a little, for the remainder of the day, after you learn such a curiosity exists in this world?

Photo Credit: DAVID SPRAGUE]]>
<![CDATA[Brew Fundraiser: Crawl 4 Nepal]]> Thu, 07 May 2015 06:50:45 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/180*120/beer_Edit.jpg

When the powerful Nepal earthquake struck on the 25th of April, many people across the planet asked what they could do, what they could give, how they could help.

Several fundraisers and drives and benefits sprung up in all corners in the days that followed, all with one clear end-point in mind: Send relief to those people stricken by the quake and send it fast.

That includes the brewers of Southern California, and the tavern and pub owners, too, and so they shall, on Saturday, May 9. The Crawl 4 Nepal encompasses a number of locations, from Little Tokyo to Echo Park to Burbank.

Organized by Kelly Erickson and Nicholas Gingold, of Girls Who Like Beer and California Brewmasters respectively, Crawl 4 Nepal works like this: Visit any one of the places on the roster, order the special draught beer -- the bartender will tell you which one is the fundraising foam -- and watch all of the proceeds from your pint benefit Global Giving.

If you can't attend, you can still help out at the Crawl 4 Nepal Global Giving site right now.

If you plan on attending, there are over 25 places in both LA and Orange County, so you can find someplace, surely, nearby. Girls Who Like Beer says "They're are a lot of local places, so don't drink and drive!"

As for the Day of Action participants? The now-over-two-dozen-strong spots include King Harbor Brewing Company, Mohawk Bend, Cismontane Brewing, Phantom Carriage Brewery, Bread & Barley, Blue Palms Brewhouse... 

"Long-term recovery" for the region is one of the goals of Global Giving, in addition to immediate response. You can get to know the organization here.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Vintage Meows: Adorable Cat Videos 1.0]]> Wed, 06 May 2015 09:59:21 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/201*120/intercat69.jpg

The internet, with its newness and wowness and meme-tastic ways and trendy flavor-of-the-days can often give the impression that it invented everything, ever, no discussion, the web is #1.

Incorrect, of course. Exhibit A? Cat videos. Roly-poly kittens walking across piano keys are just about the most famous and beloved sight associated with this not-so-newfangled invention. But know this: The internet did not invent the cat video.

For once upon a time, in a long ago era, there was the cat film. Felines on celluloid proceeded URLs and social media by decades, and early audiences, people that recognized a hashtag as being the bottom right-hand button on a telephone, loved their cinematic kitties just the same as we modern screen-starers do.

The Cinefamily, that mirthful group of movie lovers stationed at the Silent Movie Theatre on Fairfax Avenue, has a soft spot for all things whiskery. So the big proverbial ball o' yarn shall be rolled out on Wednesday, May 6 for cat films of the past.

Intercat '69 is "10 fantastic flights of feline fancy guaranteed to out-fascinate the laser pointer, a scratching post, and a year's supply of catnip combined!" Cute. Look for cat-tastic films created around the "advent of 16mm," films created by a host of independent filmmakers back in the day.

Are they black & white? They are. Will you see your own cat's great-great-grandma up on screen? Possibly. Will there be kittens? THERE WILL BE KITTENS.

Typically we'd apologize for going the all-caps route, but where kittens are concerned, one must.

The feline festivities kick off at 10 p.m., so this is for the late-night cat aficionado. Will seeing a host of films made decades back give you a fresh perspective on the many meowable videos that come down the internet pike, daily? Hourly?

That's up to you, of course. But we can see that cats of any era love to play, clean their faces, nap, and tug at our human heartstrings.

Lost & Found Film Club: INTERCAT '69 from Lost & Found Film Club on Vimeo.

Photo Credit: Intercat '69]]>
<![CDATA[Airport Restaurant Month: LAX Eats]]> Tue, 05 May 2015 17:36:43 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/laxlightsgetty1.jpg

Some food-themed trends lollygag along, barely catching enough wind, and interested palates, to stay afloat. But others zoom ahead, taking on so many twists and tasty turns that we can hardly keep up with what's next.

Bacon-flavored desserts? We're speaking to you here, quite pointedly, with a slightly cocked eyebrow.

But Restaurant Weeks, those every-so-often sup-for-a-song happenings, are at the front of the fast trend pack. Once upon a time a group of restaurants in a city joined together for a week of prix fixe-type deals, and that was that.

Wash the dishes, dry the forks, turn out the lights.

Now Restaurant Weeks come in all flavors -- hello, Happy Hour Weeks -- and happen more frequently than once a year -- hello, dineLA's bi-annual cameos -- and land at very, very specific places.

Like LAX. Even our airport has its own distinct Restaurant Week now, which is actually a Restaurant Month, and that month is May. Nope, Airport Restaurant Month doesn't encompass all of the eateries at one of the planet's busiest plane ports, but the HMSHost-helmed event does spotlight a trio of the biggies: Border Grill, Campanile and Gladstone's.

So what's the special thing here? Each of these airport-placed restaurants -- which do have LA-based siblings beyond One World Way -- will feature a special chef's tasting menu in honor of Airport Restaurant Month. 

There are choices to be made. Gladstone's three entrees include Pan-Roasted Atlantic Salmon, Marinated Grilled Chicken Breast, and Chimichurri Skirt Steak, and there are sides, too, like a wedge salad and roasted asparagus.

Fine dining at the airport is another not-so-recent trend that still has plenty of oomph, but location-specific Restaurant Weeks are still on the new side, for the most part.

But not for long, surely? With Burger Month and Appetizer Week and dine events focusing on a single type of cuisine in the mix, it isn't all that offbeat to see an airport go the Restaurant Week route. By the by, if you're traveling during May, Airport Restaurant Month is happening at just over 50 airports, with almost 100 eateries in the mix.

A chef's menu is a lovely thing, but best arrive early if you're going to enjoy. No one likes to break into a dash for their gate following a sit-down, slowly enjoyed meal of salmon and salad.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Mother's Day DIY Gift Ideas]]> Tue, 05 May 2015 13:29:32 -0700 A Pumpkin and a Princess has an easy-to-follow guide on how to make Lavender Chamomile Tea Soaps.]]> A Pumpkin and a Princess has an easy-to-follow guide on how to make Lavender Chamomile Tea Soaps.]]> http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/DIY-Lavender-Chamomile-Tea-Soap1.jpg Your mom will appreciate these creative, easy-to-make gifts.

Photo Credit: A Pumpkin and a Princess]]>
<![CDATA[99 Cents: Cassell's Marks a Burger Down (for One Day)]]> Tue, 05 May 2015 14:56:03 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/199*120/cassellsmay8burger.jpg

Many an honorary food month has no business being paired with particular edibles, but the odd pairings persist.

National Popcorn Poppin' Month? We adore you, we do, but might you make the move from October to July, the height of movie blockbuster season? You could probably own it, especially if you bring National Butter Month and National Salt Month along for the ride.

Burger Month, however, is right on the ketchup-laden, mustard-slathered money. It falls in May, the very time of year people start to roll out the ol' grill and finally, finally, scrape off the remnants of last year's parties from a favorite pair of tongs. 

Best of all, it is a food month that is truly acknowledged by a wide swath of burger-a-teriums and posh places that go the swanky slider route. Land in any joint that adds apple-smoked bacon to their burgers and you're bound to find a special patty for May, or, even better, a discount or two.

Cassell's Hamburgers is taking the discount to its hamburger heart with a notable, crowd-bringing deal: 99-cent burgers, for one day only, until they're gone, gone, gone.

That day? Friday, May 8. "Customers should arrive for the lunch hour in a timely manner, as the frenzy will sustain itself only while patties last."

Wise words. This, by the by, is and isn't your old Cassell's, the patty shop your parents took you to on Sixth Street. It is still in Koreatown, yes, but an updated spin on the decades-old eatery was recently completed, giving it a more cocktail-y, fancier-fry feel. 

Oh, and it moved, too, into the refurbished Hotel Normandie.

Is this your Burger Month celebration, burger buffs? Paying 99 cents for a Cassell's between-the-buns patty? Are you OK with jostling among your co-burger buffs for the chance to score one? 

Questions abound, as they should. Why? Because burgers aren't just built on sesame seed-studded buns or ciabatta or your favorite bread. They're built on loyalty, passion, and slightly argumentative friendships, friendships that weather best toppings, best restaurants, bun-or-no-bun controversies.

And friendships built around burger love should be a bit sassy. Have you ever met a truly opinion-free hamburger lover? Thank you and case closed.

Photo Credit: Cassell's]]>
<![CDATA[Fast-Food Cinco de Mayo: Free Biscuit Tacos, DIY Guac]]> Tue, 05 May 2015 04:45:44 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/biscuit-taco-bell.jpg

Free breakfast tacos and a coveted guacamole recipe could bode for a festive Cinco de Mayo.

Taco Bell is giving away free biscuit tacos from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. Tuesday in honor of the holiday celebrating Mexican cultural pride.

They'll give one sausage or bacon biscuit taco to each person between those hours, as the fast-food chain tries to boost its new breakfast menu.

But if it's something closer to authentic Mexican you're craving, and if you want to get DIY about making it, Chipotle has you covered.

The chain has shared its recipe for its beloved guacamole, adapted for normal home cooks. What you'll need: avocados, a lime, some cilantro, a red onion, a jalapeno and some salt — that's it.