<![CDATA[NBC Southern California - Dining, shopping and nightlife]]>Copyright 2017http://www.nbclosangeles.com/entertainment/the-scene http://media.nbcnewyork.com/designimages/NBC4_40x125.png NBC Southern California http://www.nbclosangeles.comen-usThu, 23 Feb 2017 08:12:33 -0800Thu, 23 Feb 2017 08:12:33 -0800NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Broke LA: 2017 Line-up Revealed]]> Thu, 23 Feb 2017 07:53:36 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/BrokeLA16_BlakeHodges-4832.jpg

Nine hours of music is a hefty run of tunes.

That particular length stands somewhere between a traditional evening-long concert and a weekend-big festival, time-wise, so you might expect to pay a ticket price that falls somewhere in the middle of those two types of experiences.

But alas, and au contraire, and hold your horses, and so forth: Broke LA Music & Arts Festival, which used to be called Brokechella, back in the day, with "back in the day" being a couple of years ago, still has a ticket price that ranges from $20 to $25.

We didn't forget an extra zero or two there, no sirree. The downtown, afternoon-to-midnight to-do is still one of the most inexpensive multi-act shows around, even after seven years, and it still is in April, serving as an in-city budget alternative to the mondo music festivals flowering in the deserts and other parts of the state.

Of course, Broke LA has gone beyond simply serving as an "alternative" in recent years to stand on its own, with its own character, vibe, and attributes, pet adoptions being one, but more on that in a moment.

The 2017 concert line-up was announced on Wednesday, Feb. 22. James Supercave is a headliner, and Fellow Bohemian is on the roster, and Ugly Sweaters, and dozens of other music-making outfits that'll take concert goers right from 3 in the afternoon to the wee smalls of the night (read: 12 a.m.).

The date? Saturday, April 8.

Comedy, eats, art installations, and the always humming/barking/happy Bark LA: Rescue Playground will be on the grounds of the festival's 4560 Worth Street location.

NKLA is a partner, and you could meet a cuddly new pal while there, so stop by and maybe/perhaps fall madly, dogly in love.

'Tis nearly the season for lighter nights and alfresco shows involving guitars and percussion and a number of stages. "Nearly" is the key, though, so best be on those Broke LA tickets if an in-city fest-type spectacle for the low-low price of $25-ish is more your bag than a three-dayer. 

Or, of course, if you're doing a three-day festival later in the month, but still want to see what's going on at this, one of the avant-garde-iest, tomorrow's-sounds-iest of the music festival circuit.



Photo Credit: Blake Hodges/Department 4]]>
<![CDATA[Danny Trejo: New Hollywood Doughnut Shop]]> Wed, 22 Feb 2017 17:51:29 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/doughnuts+.jpg

Everyone has that end-all, be-all food, a favorite treat or regular lunch that ranks far and above every edible out there.

Call these the "mic drop" eats, the snacks and suppers that basically say there is nothing more to be said: The ultimate eating experience has been enjoyed.

But are there mic drop eats we all share, or, at least, mostly, or that we feel the most fervently about? Let's start with tacos. And let's end with doughnuts. And let's not add anything else, because tacos, and doughnuts, symbolize savory, sugary perfection for many Southern Californians, who (correctly) consider both bites to have oodles of local culinary cred.

Which means this: When the people behind a popular taco shop open a new restaurant, and it is centered around those center-free morningtime pastries, it all makes beautiful, tortilla-tasty, dough-luscious sense.

Danny Trejo's Trejo's Tacos opened in 2016 on La Brea Boulevard, but it will have a partner in doughnut-makery on the corner of Santa Monica Boulevard and Highland Avenue in the coming weeks. While there is no specific date has been given for an official opening, "soon" is the word from a restaurant representative.

If you're picturing the shuttered Donut Time space, you're right: That's where the joe will be in the cups and the yummy crullers and such'll keep Hollywood locals and visitors happy in the tum.

Are tacos and doughnuts your mic drop foods? Are they high up on your list of loves? Do you call upon busy La Brea or Highland at least once a day or even weekly? Both your bite-oriented cravings shall soon be met.

But breakfast fans, note this: Trejo's Tacos recently began serving breakfast burritos, if you just can't wait on the doughnut shop to come and grabbing a morning nosh.



Photo Credit: Shuttershock ]]>
<![CDATA['A Particular Set of Skills': 'Taken' Prequel Set for Debut]]> Wed, 22 Feb 2017 12:31:35 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/cliveclive.jpg

A man with "a particular set of skills" is heading to a television near you. But it's not Liam Neeson.

“Taken,” a modern-day, nail-biting thriller, follows the story of Bryan Mills in a new television series that takes place 30 years before the movie of the same name. Viewers are introduced to the character before he becomes the world weary fighter made iconic on the silver screen by Neeson, as he just begins his career  as a deadly CIA operative.

The role is portrayed by Clive Standen, who is bringing his own fresh take --and stunts-- to the action-heavy role.

“He’s just an everyday guy with a ‘particular set of skills,’” Standen said. “He’s relentless. He just won’t give up.”

Standen, whose credits to date include runs on the History Channel's "Vikings" along with small roles in films "Everest" and "Hammer of the Gods," insisted on doing the majority of his own stunts for the show, including fight scenes, running and parkour. He believes when a stunt double takes over a scene, the audience loses engagement with the character, since they can only see the character’s back.

“If you can put a camera on an actor’s face, then you start to tell a story through the action and you start to engage an audience,” he said.

After accepting the role Standen spoke to Neeson, who told him the main thing to keep in mind about Bryan Mills is that “his heart is what keeps him going, it’s what gets him up.”

Standen pays homage to Neeson’s portrayal  through his intensity, but says the roles are quite different. He’s excited for “Taken” to debut as “an action show with no fluff,” because in his portrayal of Mills, Standen makes him a “real person.”

“When I watch a TV show, I want to connect with someone who has some kind of humanity,” he said. “I don’t want to do anything that looks larger than life; life is large enough. No one wants to go see ‘action man’ anymore, we want to see life.”

Alexander Cary serves as writer and executive producer, who Standen credited with finding an “amazing cast,” including Jennifer Beals, Gaius Charles, Brooklyn Sudano, Monique Gabriela Curnen, Michael Irby, James Landry Hébert and Jose Pablo Cantillo.

“Taken” premieres on Monday, Feb. 27 at 10 p.m. ET on NBC.



Photo Credit: NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Andy Warhol's Rolls-Royce: On Display]]> Wed, 22 Feb 2017 16:42:46 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Revolverwarholshow1.jpg

Andy Warhol, pop art titan, keen social observer, and a celebrated New York City on-the-town-er, passed away on Feb. 22, 1987.

Those who knew Mr. Warhol, either from his days helming The Factory studio, or while he was busily creating his soup-can-tacular, forever-iconic silkscreens, or while he was holding court at hot spots like Studio 54, will remember the artist in numerous ways, surely, on the 30th anniversary of his death.

And surely there are few places that are more filled with whimsical, socially trenchent Warholiana than Revolver Gallery at Bergamot Station.

For the Santa Monica space recently opened "Andy Warhol:Revisited," which the gallery describes as "... a wall-to-wall, salon-style exhibition featuring over 200 artworks by Warhol spanning from the 60s through the 80s."

These works include a plywood Campbell's Juice Box described as "rare," Mr. Warhol's acclaimed and hue-rich "Marilyn Monroe" suite, and "Dollar Sign" from 1981.

Centrally located within the show is a red carpet — quite apt for a tribute to Mr. Warhol, whose smart-take fascination with the concept of celebrity was nearly unparalled — and his 1974 Rolls-Royce.

Also look for "(s)taged photo-ops" around Revolver Gallery, which'll allow Andy aficionados to share the visual kapow they're experiencing far and wide. (One imagines Mr. Warhol would have also had quite the smart-take fascination with social media, too.)

Revolver Gallery, by the by, "...has a one-artist program exclusively dealing in Andy Warhol prints and paintings, making it the only one of its kind."

If you have been wanting to revisit the soup cans, the Mick Jagger series, or the particular provocative and innovative point of view Mr. Warhol brought to the art world of the 1960s, '70s, and '80s, don your favorite Studio 54-ready get-up and get to the Santa Monica gallery.



Photo Credit: Revolver Gallery]]>
<![CDATA['Dream Big' 3D: Engineering Wonders in IMAX]]> Wed, 22 Feb 2017 09:04:02 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/dreambigimax_03_solarcardriver.jpg

There are common experiences we all share throughout our day, even if we don't truly notice them as they happen.

But perhaps you're the sort of person who thinks, as they're driving over a bridge, "wow, a bridge!" or you can't quite get over how a roller coaster so smoothly sends riders upside down, and then rightside up again.

Engineering is the masterful force behind our everyday worlds, including our mammoth buildings and our sizable spans and, yes, our theme park favorites, the ones that have zazzy names and paint jobs but boast a lot of serious science at their cores.

A new IMAX film explores our skyscraper-major, underwater robotics-awesome world and the people who create it, STEM-style, with loads of imagination and creativity to boot. But there's only one place to see "Dream Big: Engineering Our World 3D" in Los Angeles, and that's at the California Science Center's IMAX.

Actor Jeff Bridges narrates the MacGillivray Freeman film, which has a partner in the American Society of Civil Engineers.

Viewers will sweep around the planet to visit the super-tall structures of Shanghai, The Great Wall of China, and those places where engineering goes beneath the waves, along the roads and rails, and up high, along the cables of celebrated bridges (we're looking at you, Golden Gate).

If you entered a building today, drove along a road, or used/visited/employed about a million other things that require an engineering mindset, a deeper dive into how science improves our world might be in order.

Engineering wonders, after all, weave through our day-to-days, both noticed and unnoticed. But always needed, amazing, inspiring, and there to help life flow in a smoother, more efficient, straight-from-tomorrow sort of fashion.



Photo Credit: Dream Big]]>
<![CDATA[Happening: 'LA's First-Ever Crowd-Sourced Beer']]> Tue, 21 Feb 2017 18:03:02 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/219*120/shutterstock_33030406.jpg

Angel City Brewery has grown quite the rep over the last two decades. It's a rep of going straight to its supporters for good times, for helpful feedback, and, on occasion, to find inspiration for the next limited-time, LA-loving beer the brewery'll create.

You may remember the avocado-flavored suds, or the grapefruit-y beer, or the beer that brought to mind the flavor and sweetness of Mexican Cola. Surely you do. 

Likewise, the Natural History Museum also connects with its fans in many vital ways. Currently? The call is out for snail photos from local citizen scientists. (That's you, if you see snails around and have a camera handy and like winning science-nifty prizes.)

Now these the Arts District and Exposition Park powerhouses are uniting on a Citizen Science + Suds discussion series, one that "...investigates the effects of community participation in civic projects..."

Cool beans, or, rather cool hops.

"LA's first-ever crowd-sourced beer" is the NHMLA-meets-Angel City project at hand, one that's involving SoCalers who dig science 'n suds. Ingredients for this LA-esque brew were decided in early February, while choosing a name is next up on March 9.

And those who participated will finally get a taste of the beer on April 13.

The brewery-based, free-to-attend evenings also include a host of speakers and scientists. Topics discussed will not only include talk of building a crowd-sourced beer, but how crowd-sourcing impacts marine conservation, as well as "...social and environmental justice across the state."

It's a large-scope project that goes well-beyond the bottle and brew, in short.

And it does, in fact, brim with ideas about community and sharing solid ideas and coming together on plans with a touch of whimsy (hello, fancy beer) and plans with historical and region-wide importance (everything that citizen science and community awareness involves).

What will that intriguing crowd-sourced brew be, anyway? Stay tuned for word from the newest hot friendship in town, the Natural History Museum and Angel City Brewery.



Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[SnailBlitz 2017: Citizen Scientists Wanted]]> Tue, 21 Feb 2017 12:46:47 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/160415_5O1A3638_Snail_DD.jpg

May flowers being successfully summoned by April showers is one of the most tried-and-truest of the old-timey sayings.

But where's that perfect phrase that summarizes how soggy February weather can invite bunches of sidewalk-crawly, garden-dwelling snails and slugs?

Some snappy writer needs to get to work on that saying, like, pronto. Because many Southern Californians have encountered a host of gastropods during all of these rainy January and February days of late.

Whether or not you call the shell-rocking wet-weather denizens of your yard "snails" or "gastropods" or some adorable pet name you invented, know this: The Natural History Museum wants to know about your snail- and slug-based sightings.

So we'll crawl no more, at a snail's pace, toward what this all means: SnailBlitz 2017! has begun. Your part, as a curious-about-the-world citizen scientist? Snap photos of your local snails and slugs and share them, either by emailing slime@nhm.org or uploading your pics at iNaturalist.

Tagging them on social media is cool, too. Just use the hashtag #SnailBlitz. "The goal is to reach 1,000 images by midnight on March 31!" says the Exposition Park science museum.

This isn't being done simply to cute-ify social media with snaps of wee slugs. Rather, the museum says that these photos help "...to accelarate our efforts to catalogue the biological diversity of terrestrial gastropods (land snails and slugs) around Southern California."

Also? There shall be prizes for some of the top photographs in different categories, including "Best snail/slug meme."

Best snail/slug meme. Welcome to 2017.

The Grand Prize is almost as awesome as traveling with your own personal shell: Lunch with Jann Vendetti, NHMLA Curator of Malacology, as well as one free annual family membership to the museum. (We mean, that's all extremely awesome, but, come on: Nothing beats your own personal back shell.)

There are other NHMLA-cool prizes, too.

Some "rare snails" were spotted by camera-wielding SoCalers in 2016, do note, and other nifty finds, too. Could you contribute the next photo that excites the snailologists of the world? 

Okay, malacologist is the more accurate term, granted. But, still. You might just have a rare snail happily sliming about under your hydrangea bush and not even be aware.

Time to celebrate that lil' guy, and all of our local gastropods, by assuming the important role of citizen scientist.

Details? Slime this way, as slowly as you like, but keep in mind that the deadline for photos is March 31.



Photo Credit: NHM]]>
<![CDATA[Descanso Cherry Blossom: New Reservations]]> Tue, 21 Feb 2017 08:53:14 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/descansocherry2017_123.jpg

Spying your very first cherry blossom of the season can involve a bit of lovely luck. You have to be sauntering down the right lane, on the right day, with the right weather (nothing too stormy, so the buds stay on the branches), and, for the most part, you'll need to look up.

But when you do happen to see that delicate flower, all pink and white and here-today-y and gone-tomorrow-y, well, it's a slice of spring's-a-comin' magic. It's a slice many spring lovers are looking for each year at our larger botanical and public gardens, which are some of the locations a flower fan can count on, as far as finding cherry blossoms.

That, however, has made these gardens way popular. As in, WAY, as in no fooling around here, meaning this: Descanso Gardens has not only extended its very well-attended Cherry Blossom Festival to two weekends, but there's a new reservation system for securing your entry.

These bookings "must be made in advance," so don't drive to the La Cañada Flintridge flowerland without having secured a slot on the day you want to enjoy the blossoms and numerous blossom-based activities.

The 2017 dates? Just keep the first two weekends in March in mind, which is a cinch to remember, if you know that's when cherry blossoms generally like to do their stuff around Southern California. In other words, March 4, 5, 11, and 12 are your dates.

Cherry tree sales, origami, special nature walks, and special music performances highlighting traditional Japanese instruments are on the delightful docket.

So, again, the new things to remember: The biggest festival on the Descanso Gardens calendar is now two weekends, and you'll need to make a reservation ahead of time. 

Do so soon, for like a cherry blossom has a rather beautiful predictability — it will fall from the branch eventually — we can also predict this, given the popularity of past years: The festival will be booked, booked, booked.

We say "WAY" before and we certainly we're joking or being dramatic. This is a beloved blossom bash, and your way in, right now, is to book, right now.



Photo Credit: Descanso Gardens]]>
<![CDATA[WB Tour: We Love Our Locals Deal]]> Mon, 20 Feb 2017 17:24:24 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/1WBTourHollywood_MidWest+Backlot+%281%29.jpg

If you regularly host out-of-towners, chances are as good as the Hollywood Sign is tall that they're checking out some of the area sites and attractions while you A) go to work and/or B) run errands and/or C) do the sorts of things you do every day, because you're not on vacation and have a long list of to-dos.

But, on occasion, a Southern Californian can get a mite jealous, and curious, when their guest returns from a day of sightseeing, full of trivia and tidbits to relay. Never fear, however, Hollywood mavens: There's often a Southern California resident ticket for that particular form of FOMO.

There shall be no fear of missing out, though, on the Warner Bros. Studio Tour. For over the next few months, the We Love Our Locals ticket deal will give cinema-loving, TV-watching SoCalers the chance to hop on the long-running tour at a discount.

A 20% discount, making a resident ticket $49.

As with so many resident deals at various destinations, the We Love Our Locals comes down to zip codes. If you write 90000 to 93599 as your return address on envelopes, you can nab that discount ticket. Just be sure to show identification, with your location, at will-call.

What's the tour cover? The backlot, yep. Costumes aplenty, like from the recent "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them." And stories of studio lore, movie stars, and how Warner Bros. has been a major silver-screen player for the better part of a century.

The end date of all of this local-focused lookie-loo-ing? The discount wraps the day before Memorial Day Weekend, so get to the sizable Burbank lot by Friday, May 26. Hold up, though: There are a number of block out dates, and the whole of April is included in that, and the latter part of March, so plan your visit accordingly.



Photo Credit: Warner Bros. Studio Tour]]>
<![CDATA[Free Monday: Los Angeles County Museum of Art]]> Mon, 20 Feb 2017 09:53:06 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/lacmabrogan1322312.jpg

Stroll through most any gallery inside most any well-known museum and it won't be long before you spy a particular theme: weather.

Whether or not it is an Impressionist painting of a boat in a squall, or a proper portrait of a lady holding an umbrella against a light rain shower, weather, especially the inclement sort, seems to be a staple of the art scene.

And, of course, of the outside-the-museum scene, too. So while it may be notably damp, and even a little chill, on Monday, Feb. 20, you can still steal away inside a major museum, out of the raindrops, and enjoy a host of paintings, sculptures, and installations, all for free.

For Feb. 20 is Presidents Day, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art will enjoy a Target Free Holiday Monday, all day long, beginning at 11 in the morning.

What's that mean? It means this: Courtesy of Target, admission is waived on the holiday, for everyone. Do note that if there's a special exhibition, which requires a separate ticket, that is not included in the free admission. But all of the permanent exhibitions and galleries are open for your pay-nothing, oh-so-gratis enjoyment.

Also: Make some time to listen to "free Bavarian music by Hammerstein Musik Bavaria." The shows are at 12:30 and again at 2:45.

There's always a fun family vibe to the Target Free Holiday Monday, and Feb. 20 will continue that tradition with some kid-ready sketching.

And will you and the tots seek out some stormy, downpour-depicting paintings while strolling through the LACMA? Well, "Rain Room," the popular walk-through installation by Random International, is currently closed, though it is now part of the LACMA collection forever. 

So your best bet, to connect with the cooler weather, is to find some rainy scenes inside the galleries. No galoshes required.



Photo Credit: Brant Brogan]]>
<![CDATA[Free Today: Yosemite, Joshua Tree, Death Valley...]]> Mon, 20 Feb 2017 08:59:23 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/dvsunset1GettyImages-450421924+%282%29.jpg

The presidential past is full of facts and legends, from the very first official speech given by Lincoln — some history buff out there surely knows how many words it contained — to how many doors the White House contains.

So here's another set of numbers, and while this set is California-specific, it does relate to Presidents Day in 2017, which is on Monday, Feb. 20.

Okay, trivia mavens, answer this riddler: How many national parks and sites found within the Golden State charge an entrance fee? 

We won't make you wait: It's nearly a dozen, 11 in all, from Yosemite National Park to San Francisco Maritime National Park to Whiskeytown National Recreation Area.

The trivia round isn't done, though. What happens at fee-charging national parks, traditionally, since Presidents Day has a lot of tradition woven through, on the third Monday in February?

Ding ding ding. That's right: These parks waive admission. Presidents Day, like Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and National Parks Week, is a fee-free day at all of the national monuments, parks, and recreation areas that typically charge an entrance fee at the gate.

There are well over 100 of those, but, out of a nationwide system of 400-plus, they are not the majority.

So, where will you have an adventure on Feb. 20? A snowshoe walk is on the Yosemite calendar, in addition to several other family-oriented outings, while the famous pupfish of Death Valley are starting to make their springtime showing.

If you can't get to your go-to nature wonderland on the 20th of February, take heart: A full four fee-free days are just ahead in April, though, note, they don't arrive in two sets of two days: April 15 and 16 and April 22 and 23.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Zima Poised for US Comeback]]> Sat, 18 Feb 2017 15:47:39 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/zima.jpg

Get ready to finally peel yourself off of that bar stool you’ve been stuck on since the ‘90s—Zima is making a comeback to coolers in the U.S.

Zima was discontinued in America in 2008, according to Crain’s, but its Chicago-based producer says it’s returning after the success of MillerCoor’s Henry’s Hard Soda line. 

"If you're one of the zillion fans who have missed Zima, the answer should be clear," MillerCoors said in a statement.

Murmurs of the fabled ‘90s-era malt liquor, with its quirky and memorable commercials, began last fall, Crain’s reports, compounded by a MillerCoors Michigan distributor posting a photo of the beverage on Instagram.

Zima is expected to be back in stores and watering holes sometime this year, according to Crain’s.

The company aims to compete with other malt beverage brands, like Smirnoff Ice and Mike's Hard Lemonade.



Photo Credit: Zima
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<![CDATA[The Great Backyard Bird Count: It's On]]> Fri, 17 Feb 2017 18:26:13 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/swallowsshutterstock1.jpg

If you've ever broken out the old-timey phrase "what a day for ducks!," you were likely referring to soggy or damp weather, the kind of weather we imagine waterfowl might be excited about.

Ducks, let it be said, haven't yet been interviewed on this particular topic, as far as we know, so a final determination is still outstanding.

Soggy weather has arrived in Southern California, though, on the very day when one of the biggest bird-focused events around officially begins. It's The Great Backyard Bird Count, and people around the world will head outside from Friday, Feb. 17 through Monday, Feb. 20.

Not only will they be enjoying some fresh air, but bird buffs will be taking a look up in the trees, the sky, and all around, all to assist scientists in knowing more about those feathery, on-the-wing wonders who flit about our homes.

You don't need a degree in ornithological research to participate, however. "You can count from any location, anywhere in the world, for as long as you wish!," says the online HQ for The Great Backyard Bird Count.

The count, which was started by National Audubon Society and the Cornell Lab for Ornithology, will turn 20 in 2018.

How to get your wings flapping on this project? Best register first — it is a brief set-up — and then commit to just 15 minutes of bird-counting. And that's not 15 minutes each day of The Great Backyard Bird Count, should that seem like a big time commitment.

Rather, you can choose your day, any part of the day, and count for just half of a half hour. (Though organizers do note you can, of course, spend more time observing during the long weekend.)

Just know that you'll be joining scores of sky watchers doing the very same thing you're doing. Some 160,000 people participate in the count, share the organizers.

Many people around our region have volunteered with "citizen scientist" programs through the Natural History Museum and other organizations. If you've wanted to participate in something that connects you with the natural world just beyond your front door, this birdly celebration is a good start.

What will you see, Southern California? A spotted sandpiper, dashing along the sand outside your window? A cactus wren perched upon the prickly pear near your kitchen? A crow holding court on the lightpost down the street?

One good thing to know, among many good things to know: Despite the catchy name, you don't have to stick to your home's immediate environs. A park is okay, or your favorite stretch of beach. Chirp your way over the FAQ so you can stick your beak into all of the helpful must-knows.

Ready to join avian enthusiasts the world over, all during the Presidents Weekend? Give 15 minutes and help science know more about those cherished sky soarers, our bird friends.

Yes, and lake- and stream-dwellers, too. It may be a day, or weekend, for ducks, but finding a few feather-rocking wonders around SoCal may be as easy as looking out your front window.



Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[Vintage NoHo Depot Now a Coffee House]]> Fri, 17 Feb 2017 12:26:50 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/depotnohogroundworkmetro.jpg

Waiting for your train while sipping a cup of joe? It's as traditional as searching out a window seat for your rail ride or asking for an extra hit of milk for your coffee.

It's pretty standard, in short, to find a beverage kiosk or cart, the kind of place readymade for fueling up pre-trip, near your platform. But to find it in a building that's existed within three centuries, one that had clearly seen brighter days in the past, is rather more unusual.

There's a happy ending, or, rather, beginning, for the Lankershim Depot in North Hollywood, which now houses Groundwork Coffee, the Venice Beach-started beans-and-more business.

Commuters and neighbors and travelers know this building, which didn't weather the years too well. There've been quite a few years to weather, too, as the structure was constructed just a few years before the dawn of the 20th century.

As for the modern reconstruction, which can only be described as major? Metro "completed the $3.6 restoration of the Lankershim Depot, a registered State Historic Landmark Building, in 2014." 

That was a few years back, yes, but due to work on a pedestrian tunnel connecting two lines — the Red and the Orange — the depot had to wait on the beginning of its next chapter.

That chapter officially starts on Friday, Feb. 17 when Groundwork Coffee opens inside the handsome building. It's open 12 hours a day, from 6 in the morning through to 6 at night, and if you've already grabbed a latte there, well, you enjoyed the coffee house's soft opening.

There's more to come in terms of development for the site, a bustling 15.6-acre expanse which sees plenty of foot traffic each day, as people dash for their train, or head home, or, as of Feb. 17, stop to sip a macchiato in a landmark depot, a North Hollywood landmark that's endured the decades and emerged with a fresh, piping-hot future.



Photo Credit: LA Metro]]>
<![CDATA[Trejo's Tacos: Now Serving Breakfast]]> Fri, 17 Feb 2017 07:46:25 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Trejosbreakfastburritos1.jpg

There are many notable noshes that are enjoyed in the hour or two following the rising-and-shining ritual we humans do, each and every day.

A donut is a delight, whether you spell it traditionally — doughnut — or go for the catchier, faster path to procuring the circular sweet. Cereal? Solid, as choices go, and fruit may easily be added to lend your bowl some lively kapow.

But everyone knows that the breakfast burrito rules the school, and office, and restaurant counter, and food truck, and anywhere else The World's Most Perfect Food (tm) might appear. It's that savory, cheesy, salsa-fied combo of eggs plus tortilla and perhaps a meat that sends its lifelong fans into realms of early-in-the-day ecstasy.

Which all leads to this: If you're a popular taco joint, the kind of place where people are buzzing about your luscious line-up of lunch- and dinner-type eats, you're probably going to go the breakfast burrito route, and your fans will, no doubt, cheer.

Trejo's Tacos of La Brea Avenue announced on Wednesday, Feb. 16 that the restaurant will do just that. It opened in March 2016 to impressive queues, and there's a food truck scene, too, and actor Danny Trejo is at the helm of all of this comida sabrosa.

The comida, though, is now starting at 7 a.m. each day, via a hearty breakfast burrito that features "slow cooked shredded beef, housemade tofu chorizo or Jidori chicken chorizo." Trejo's own salsa, Mexican cheese, a pair of fried eggs, some avocado, some cotija cheese, and home-fried papas round out all of the dig-in deliciousness.

It's a supreme day-starter, all right, a well-made, fill-the-tum breakfast burrito, especially if there's some protein packed in, and some zingy spice, too.

We know: Chilaquiles can also deliver on this front, and a host of other flavorful morning-menu choices, wherever you happen to dine on the regular.

But what else arrives with peel-back foil, revealing a first glimpse of tortilla? It's that foil-peeling act, and burrito-based anticipation, that can set the positive tone for the day.

Trejo's Tacos is located at 1048 S. La Brea Ave.



Photo Credit: Trejo's Tacos]]>
<![CDATA[Restaurant Owner Gives Discount for Polite Kids]]> Fri, 17 Feb 2017 06:25:48 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/restaurant4.jpg

Antonio Ferrari, the owner of a wine bar in Italy, has picked up a practice that he first noticed while visiting a restaurant in Miami.

His group was given a discount because his friends' children were well behaved. Ferrari has since embraced the move and recently posted on Facebook a photograph of a receipt from his restaurant, Today.com reported.

The caption reads: “It happens so seldom!”



Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Weekend: Travel & Adventure Show]]> Thu, 16 Feb 2017 17:21:13 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/AMBI2028travelshow12.jpg

Travel & Adventure Show: Perhaps you've got a few maps spread out on the coffee table, or a postcard on the fridge, or a dream in your heart. It all leads to this: You'd love to take a trip, to an island, to a mountain peak, to the city down the highway. This mega convention gathers together a host of hotel companies, on-the-go experts, visitors' bureaus, and hospitality smarties for two days of tips, suggestions, ideas, and on-site activities. Feeling the itch to explore the world? Start at the Los Angeles Convention Center on Saturday, Feb. 18 and Sunday, Feb. 19.

LA Cookie Con: Also going down at the Los Angeles Convention Center over the very same dates? Follow your nose, and the scent of cinnamon and chocolate and sugar: It's a whole convention devoted to the yummy, palm-sized treats we love dipping in milk or eating just out of the oven. Cookie-making chefs, snickerdoodle-rocking bakeries, and a whole plethora of sweet-loving smarties'll be handing out zingy, melty goodies and giving bakers tips on how to make the most memorable snacks ever. Feb. 18 and 19

Queen Mary ScotsFest: If you know your River Clyde history, and you have some facts about the early 1930s in your knowledge well, you'll recall that the big ship that's at home in Long Beach, permanently, was built then and there. And each February the ship and its fans take a weekend to pay tribute to the ocean-liner's Scottish heritage through heavy athletics, whisky tastings, bagpipes, and more. Feb. 18 and 19 is that weekend, so don your kilt and jig for LBC.

Free National Park Day: The calendar only boasts a few days when the national parks that charge fees totally go fee-free, and Presidents Day happens to be one of them. There are more to come — April has four, in honor of National Parks Week — but if you want to commune with the trees, and wave at a stream, and hug a rock, and you want to do it in a park that normally has an entrance fee (not all do, do note), Monday, Feb. 20 is your date to do so. (Seriously. Hug a rock. Why not?)

TCL Chinese Theatre's 90th: Okay, granted, yes, we know: The famous landmark cinema on Hollywood Boulevard will actually celebrate its big 9-0 in May. But the party is starting early, as all birthdays should, with a special film series that features, wait for it, films that feature the theater on screen. Got it? It's pretty dang meta, and very charming. "Singin' in the Rain" is up first, for $5, on Sunday, Feb. 19. Surely you remember that the theater is at the start of the movie and at its heart-thrilling close? Surely you do.



Photo Credit: LA Travel & Adventure Show]]>
<![CDATA[Salt & Straw WeHo + The Trevor Project]]> Thu, 16 Feb 2017 18:06:02 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/SaltStrawWeHoWonhoFrankLee.jpg

Update: The $1 scoops have wrapped as of Feb. 15, but those who want to help support The Trevor Project should stop by Guisados on Feb. 16 and purchase a full-priced scoop. Part of the proceeds will benefit the organization.

***

It's an opening worthy of Hollywood, or, in this case, West Hollywood: A Portland-started artisanal ice cream company's newest Southern California outpost will debut on a day when a downpour is expected.

A real wallop of weather, in short, which isn't exactly cold treat-eatin' weather. But it might be reminiscent of Oregon's dampness, to which we say this: well-timed, Salt & Straw, very well-timed.

The boutique treatery already has a quartet of regional locations, with Larchmont the first in the batch, and Venice, the Arts District, and Studio City making up the rest of the four. But the fifth? That'll open on Friday, Feb. 17, the aforementioned Portland-like day, at 8949 Santa Monica Boulevard.

But the good feelings are starting ahead of the weekend, thanks to some pop-up fundraising on behalf of The Trevor Project. Make for Guisados starting at 6 o'clock on Thursday, Feb. 16 and buy a scoop of flavors that might include Sea Salt with Caramel Ribbons, Freckled Woodblock Chocolate, or Stumptown Coffee & Compartes Loves Nuts for just a buck.

Partial proceeds will help out the non-profit, which supports "crisis intervention and suicide prevention services for LGBTQ young people ages 13-24."

The event wraps by 9 p.m. on Feb. 16, so be sure to get to Guisados in West Hollywood, which isn't too far from the new Salt & Straw.

Help out an important organization's important goals at the pop-up, then pop by Salt & Straw West Hollywood during its admittedly soggy, but charmingly Portland-esque, opening weekend.

The rain won't last forever, but the 17 fancy flavors the company is known for will be on rotation at the new shop right into the toasty 'n dry days of summer, and beyond.



Photo Credit: Wonho Frank Lee]]>
<![CDATA['Guardians' Ride: Opening Date]]> Thu, 16 Feb 2017 07:40:20 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/GOTGShow610.jpg

Summer debuts and summer releases and summer reveals, at least in terms of pop culture offerings, don't, as a rule, happen in the summertime at all. Rather, the blockbuster-type stuff we've come to expect makes its initial foray into fans' lives during that last full month of spring.

But movies and books and attractions don't just pop up whenever during May. The bigger stuff tends to show around Memorial Day Weekend, the traditional kick-off to the summer season (if not, officially, summer itself).

Which means that when a theme park announces a ride nearly a year in advance, you can almost predict that the ride'll make its showing before or over Memorial Day Weekend.

Such is the case with Guardians of the Galaxy — Mission: BREAKOUT!, a new Disney California Adventure attraction that's taking over the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror at the Anaheim park.

The ride was first revealed at Comic-Con International in July 2016, with a "summer 2017" tag. Now that tag arrives with an opening date, which is Saturday, May 27, the start of Memorial Day Weekend 2017.

Few other reveals have been made about the "randomized" drop ride, except that characters from the "Guardians of the Galaxy" film will be along for the story, a story that will include the soundtrack from the movies. (The second "Guardians" opens on earlier than the ride, on May 5, 2017.)

Also? Disneyland Resort also announced that "Summer of Heroes" will run from May 27 through Sept. 4, 2017.

Look for a number of to-dos, from "Heroic Encounter: Black Widow," and "Avengers Training Initiative," and "Super Hero Encounters," which will include cameos from Spider-Man and Captain America.



Photo Credit: Disney/Marvel via Disney Parks Blog]]>
<![CDATA[Aquarium Smile: Sea Lion Selfie Stick]]> Wed, 15 Feb 2017 18:13:53 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/214*120/miloselfielbcaquarium.jpg

If you have a friend who recently overhauled her bathroom, well, who better to ask for a tour of its fresh pluses and perks than the friend herself?

Likewise, if your co-worker has added a vegetable garden to his yard, you'll likely ask him for a behind-the-scenes peek, the better to get a sense of the layout, space, and general vibe.

The Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach had just this sort of goal in mind when keepers handed a very special aquarium denizen a selfie stick a few days back.

And who better to go to for an in-depth look of the recently remodeled Sea Lion and Seal Exhibit than one of the whiskery, flipper-boasting residents? (Answer: No one is better.)

That resident, Milo, gamely accepted his mission, and the selfie stick, and headed out for a romp-sweet, splash-laden look at the exhibit, giving pinniped fans an interesting take as to what the sea lions are seeing. (Yep, Milo is a sea lion, and not a seal.)

Some cute pics came out of the day, but so did on-the-move glimpses of the exhibit's fresh mural and the upper deck, the window-wide spot where sea lion lovers and seal aficionados can watch the antics of their favorite beasties.

What did Milo think mastering technology? He didn't say, but he did hold the selfie stick in his mouth with skill and aplomb. Perhaps he thought of it as a new toy? Well, humans often think of their new selfie sticks as toys, in a sense, so we want to believe Milo thought the same.

Video? It's as cute as the photos, with the added benefit of a dip below the waveline. 

Our on-land selfie sticks aren't often submerged in water, but, then again, we don't usually hand our equipment over to sea lions, to do with what they will.



Photo Credit: Aquarium of the Pacific]]>
<![CDATA[OC Tribute: Heroes Hall Opens]]> Wed, 15 Feb 2017 12:17:54 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/heroeshallorangecounty12345.jpg

We honor our veterans each year on the eleventh day of November, and at special ceremonies, and via parades, dinners, and numerous occasions that recall important events and those who have served.

There is a new way to pay mindful, heartfelt tribute, and it has been years in the making: the Heroes Hall, located at the OC Fair & Event Center in Costa Mesa.

The venue, a "...permanent, year-round museum with exhibitions, performances and educational programs..." was constructed to "...celebrate the legacy of Orange County veterans and those who have served our nation."

The Heroes Hall opened on Wednesday, Feb. 15 with an exhibit called "The Things They Carried," a display inspired by Tim O'Brien's book about American soldiers in Vietnam.

In addition to welcoming visitors to the new museum, the grand opening also commemorated the Santa Ana Army Air Base, which opened 75 years ago in the spot now occupied by the museum.

Joe DiMaggio, Gene Autry, and numerous people lived and served at the expansive base, and the Heroes Hall details many stories from the past on the second floor, including exhibits spotlighting the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps and the Tuskegee Airmen.

Admission to the Heroes Hall, which was under planning and construction for four years, is free, as is parking. Be sure to make time to visit the Medal of Honor Courtyard and Walk of Honor on the hall's grounds, and the 36,000-pound cement star, a tribute to the Congressional Medal of Honor.



Photo Credit: OC Fair & Event Center]]>
<![CDATA['Downton' Costumes: Orange County Exhibit]]> Wed, 15 Feb 2017 08:53:20 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/downton-abbey1.jpg

While devotees of "Downton Abbey," the quaint corker of a period series that first aired on ITV in Britain, then on PBS in the United States, regularly cited favorite storylines and twists, it was the show's clothing that attracted much viewer attention.

All of those sumptuous beaded gowns, and tiaras, and gloves, and hats that represented the high fashion of the time, giving modern-day fans a chance to see what an upper crust family might have worn from 1912 through 1925. Those were tumultuous times, with change coming for the well-heeled families of England, and the sartorial splendor reflected how society, rules, and mores were evolving.

Some of that sartorial splendor has been touring the U.S. in recent months, and the tour's most recent stop, Orange County, means Southern Californian mavens of "Downton Abbey" can now take an up-close peek at nearly 40 costumes.

"Dressing Downton: Changing Fashion for Changing Times" debuted at Muzeo in Anaheim on Sunday, Feb. 12, and will run through Sunday, May 7.

It's "the only West Coast appearance" for the elegant exhibition, so turn your carriage in the direction of the museum if you'd like to eye the fancy frocks donned by Lady Mary Crawley, her sister, Lady Edith, their mother Cora, and a host of other "Downton" denizens known to millions of fans.

You'd never simply stop by the regal house seen in the series without a prior announcement or handwritten letter, surely. So surely you'll purchase a timed ticket for the popular exhibition, which will give smaller groups the chance to eye the clothes in a more sedate, leisurely fashion. 

Muzeo is closed on Mondays, the day when many U.S. fans discussed the Sunday-night-airing series. So do note that.

"Downton Abbey" may have ended, at least in the States in 2016, but its legacy lives on through repeat viewings, tours of Highclere Castle (the Hampshire-based location of the show's main setting), and this, a fashion feast that's now on view in Anaheim.



Photo Credit: Downton Abbey]]>
<![CDATA[For Sale: Bethenny Frankel's $5.25M SoHo Apartment ]]> Wed, 15 Feb 2017 08:30:00 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/180*120/frankel-apt2.jpg Bethenny Frankel is parting with her luxurious SoHo apartment in New York. The "Real Housewives" star's residence was posted on Tuesday at a whopping $5.25 million.

Photo Credit: Evan Joseph]]>
<![CDATA[TCL Chinese Theatre Turns 90]]> Wed, 15 Feb 2017 09:18:11 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/chineseeveningGettyImages-756077.jpg

Southern California is rife with quirky local traditions, but one of our quirkiest has to be the one built around movies, an audience, and the theater hosting the screening in question.

And it goes like this: When a group of local movie goers spies a Los Angeles restaurant or attraction on screen, there's bound to be an audible ripple, or laugh, from the crowd.

But if the movie prominently features the actual theater that the crowd is sitting inside? Clapping may ensue, or some hooting, or at least a knowing murmur.

Few local cinemas can live up to the most celebrated cinema of all in this particular regard. It's the TCL Chinese Theatre we quite obviously refer to here, and it has cameoed in a host of well-known films over its nine decades.

That's right: The TCL Chinese Theatre is 90, or nearly, and to anticipate its May birthday, the TCL Chinese 6 Theatres, located upstairs, will screen a number of films that feature the main theatrical venue.

It's movie-style meta, yep.

First up in the series? It's "Singin' in the Rain," from 1952, which will actually screen in the historic main theater. The splashy musical's lip-synch-tastic finale takes place in the theater, you'll remember, and part of the start, too.

But prepare for more heart-tugs: The TCL Chinese Theatre is giving away special commemorative postcards featuring star Debbie Reynolds to audience members at the Sunday, Feb. 19 screening.

That's Kathy Selden-style sweetness, no doubt.

A ticket is five dollars, which may make you warble "Good Morning" out of sheer happiness.

Other films featuring the red-and-glimmer cinema will soon screen, ahead of the theater's big May 18 birthday party, so keep a watch as to what will roll out next. Some may screen upstairs, in the newer cinemas, or some in the main theater, so be sure to check ahead.

Of course, you'll also want to pay a visit to the forecourt, where recent hand prints and foot prints from Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling may be found. And, yes, their recent film, "La La Land," also has a TCL Chinese Theatre shout-out in it, too.

The place has long been a glamorous go-to over the years for filmmakers, in short. So take a couple of hours and see a few of those landmark-loving flicks in the weeks ahead of the venue's 90th birthday in May.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[It's a Boy: American Girl Announces 1st Male Doll]]> Tue, 14 Feb 2017 12:21:06 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/prnewswire2-a.akamaihd.jpg

American Girl is getting its first boy character this season, Today.com reports.

Logan Everett, a gray-eyed, brown-haired boy who plays the drums, is an 18-inch doll being released Thursday with Tenney, a female singer-songwriter.

They are part of American Girl's plans to launch dolls with diverse backgrounds, experiences and personalities in 2017, according to a press release. 

"A boy character has been a top request from our fans for decades," Julie Parks, a representative for American Girl, told Today.com.

Some moms have already been changing their 18-inch girl dolls into boys for their sons.



Photo Credit: Handout]]>
<![CDATA[Hollywood Bowl: Summer 2017 Line-up]]> Tue, 14 Feb 2017 13:26:39 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/215*120/hbevening02932.jpg

The Hollywood Bowl has staged oodles of successful shows from some of the splashiest bands and accolade-iest artists over its decades-long run. So it is no surprise, really, that the shell-famous landmark would stage the perfect summer day, in February, for the big reveal about its upcoming schedule.

Truly, how do you do it, Hollywood Bowl? The middle of February should be far frostier than this fine, June-like weather we're experiencing. But, perhaps, you deftly arranged the sunshine and warm breezes just to add further oomph to your already oomph-filled announcement about the summer 2017 schedule.

Well, that's right: A person doesn't actually have to say "summer" before talking about the Hollywood Bowl's annual line-up, because the venue only runs for a few warm-weather months. In short? It's a given. Also a given, though? That the glittery acts'll be out in rockin' splendor.

That'll hold true beginning on Saturday, June 17 when The Moody Blues headline the opening night spectacle. Other major players (and, basically, they're all major at the Bowl) include a Seu Jorge "Life Aquatic" tribute to David Bowie, some "Harry Potter" films in concert, Tony Bennett, Kool & The Gang, Jack Johnson, Gipsy Kings, Bryan Ferry, "Mamma Mia!" (complete with to-be-announced celeb cast), The Muppets, and Solange.

You're feeling those warm breezes now, in your heart, aren't you? They're all around.

Now: tickets. That's always the question, and there are a few ways to go here, from signing up ASAP as a subscriber (and having an earlier crack at seats and series) to awaiting the on-sale date for individual tickets, which typically lands around the beginning of May.

Whether you jump at your seat pronto — a good idea, despite the fact that there are over 17,000 of 'em at the Bowl — or you wait on that solo ticket, you can take heart in the fact that A) summer days are on the way and B) the Hollywood Bowl not only can stage a spectacle, but even, seemingly, the perfect summery weather when an annual line-up is revealed in mid-February.



Photo Credit: LA Phil Association]]>
<![CDATA[Cupid in LA: How to Find Him]]> Tue, 14 Feb 2017 09:35:55 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/cupidgetty02932232.jpg

There are a number of famous figures who rightly nab the spotlight when it comes to our major holidays, from the leprechauns of St. Patrick's Day to Santa Claus on the 25th of December to the Easter Bunny come the spring.

But few holiday-related superstars boast the will-we-see-him/will-we-not mystery that a certain wing-rocking, bow-holding, emotion-engendering figure so famously possesses.

Cupid, after all, may or may not appear, or so general legend has it, and, even if he should show, he may or may not choose to bring two lovebirds together in a swirl of sweet love.

There is one way to locate the elusive Valentine's Day icon in Southern California, however: He's currently holding court at The Getty Center, at least in the form of a celebrated sculpture by artist Edme Bouchardon.

The sizable artwork, which stands alone in its own dramatically lit nook, is on display, along with the rest of the sculpture- and drawing-filled exhibition, through Sunday, April 2. 

The artist's striking Cupid has traveled a great distance, over an ocean, in fact, to instill amour in we Angelenos: "Bouchardon: Royal Artist of Enlightenment" was previously shown at Musée du Louvre in Paris in 2016.

If you and your paramour are looking for an art-lovely outing on Tuesday, Feb. 14, the Brentwood bastion of high art and gorgeous grounds is open, and free, as always, but note: Parking is $15.

There is no price, however, on a traditional and tender visit from Cupid. Legend tells us, as well as those stories of old, that he and his infatuation-encouraging ways may be visited upon us out of the seeming blue, if the time, setting, and prospects are right.

So we shall visit him, instead, because we know where he is: At the Bouchardon exhibit, at The Getty Center, and there he shall remain through the day after April Fools.

Which seems like the perfect day for Cupid to finally leave us, we oh-so-mortal fools for love.

Pictured: "Cupid Carving a Bow from Hercules Club (detail)," 1750, Edme Bouchardon, Marble. Musée du Louvre, Département des Sculptures, Paris. 



Photo Credit: Alysia Gray Painter]]>
<![CDATA[Free: Valentine's at Two Downtown Landmarks]]> Mon, 13 Feb 2017 11:58:31 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/gcmvaldayswing.jpg

The evening of the fourteenth day of February shares much in common with its spiritual, or perhaps holidaytual, cousin, the final night of December.

The long, short, and whole truth of it? We stack a lot of expectations onto Valentine's Day, in the way that we can ask New Year's Eve to be the sparkliest, glitteriest, most memorable night of the year.

What's the answer, then, to finding a festive time, one that's slightly dressy and a touch swank, without stacking a whole load of tangly emotions onto the fraught-with-expectations occasion?

And all for free, too?

For Angelenos in 2017, that may be as simple as heading downtown. Both Grand Central Market and Union Station will feature heartsy happenings of the dance-filled sort, and they're pay-nothing deals, unless, of course, you want to buy some bites or sips.

The themes? Swing and tango, respectively.

Grand Central Market is the scene for straight-up swing dance, courtesy of Jonathan Stout and His Campus Five featuring Hilary Alexander, while live orchestra Tangótico will play at Union Station (and tango pros Carlos Barrionuevo and Mayte Valdes will perform).

There's a free tango lesson, too, to enjoy, at 8 p.m. on Feb. 14 at Union Station. And as for Grand Central Market? It brims with bites, and several local eateries will features special Valentine's treats. (So show with cash.)

Call both events full of promise but devoid of those expectations that can cloud our most fancy holidays. That they're free, too, helps out on that end, so swan away, in Union Station's famous Ticketing Hall, or near Hill Street at Grand Central Market, on Valentine's night.



Photo Credit: Campus Five]]>
<![CDATA[Mammoth Mountain: July 4 Skiing]]> Mon, 13 Feb 2017 17:02:45 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/mammothpetermorningjuly4.jpg

Whether you use the term "heaps" or "bunches" or "mounds" when it comes to the snow in the upper reaches of the Sierra Nevada this winter, well, know that your description likely fits.

For we've read the reports, the ones naming January 2017 as "the snowiest month on record" at Mammoth Mountain, and we've seen the astounding photographs, the ones that only show the rooflines of various buildings and the lifts where no chairs may be seen.

The lift chairs and buildings haven't disappeared, of course; we just can't discern them due to the prodigious amounts of cold, white stuff.

Here's what alllll of that snowfall brings, and, nope, it isn't a "May flowers" kind of rhyme: The mountain ski resort announced that it will stay open through Tuesday, July 4.

Stay open, mind you, for skiing, and not biking or hiking or the other higher elevation pleasures of summertime (though, of course, those can also be pursued around the Sierra in July, just not on the slopes).

This isn't the first Independence Day that Mammoth Mountain has vowed to remain open, but stating it will do so months ahead of time, in February, is notable.

But when a resort has already experienced 430 inches of snow, thus far, in a single season, well, yeah: Summer skiing is a given.

Will more snow be added to that 430 inches in the days ahead? Don't laugh too hard into your fleece scarf; of course more snow is due, as that's the tale of the 2016-2017 winter at Mammoth Mountain.

In fact, a mix of snow and snow showers are set to begin on the Thursday ahead of Presidents Day Weekend at the poles-and-parties play place and last for, wait for it, are you ready, eleven days, per early forecasts.

Be careful on your trip up, of course, and expect to find a prodigious amount of snow on the mountain, the kind of accumulation that will be spoken of, and possibly sung about, in ballad form, for years to come.

And while you may be able to ski while rocking a t-shirt and shorts on July 4, that isn't the case in February at Mammoth Mountain. Pack warmly, very warmly, for another epic frost-and-brrr kind of storm.



Photo Credit: Peter Morning]]>
<![CDATA['Extreme Mammals' Stomp for NHM]]> Tue, 14 Feb 2017 11:26:03 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/nhmIndricotherium_DF.jpg

Mammals? We're a varied lot. Some of us get dressed every day and head to the office, picking up a large latte on the way, while some of us climb trees in order to find a comfy branch, a perfect spot to wile away the morning.

But whether you're a human or a sloth or a cheetah or a canine, one thing is true: The history of mammalia is as fascinating as all get-out. And as for the ancient mammals we'll never meet, or those mammals who live in far corners?

Well, they're fascinating, too, as the human end of the mammal spectrum will find out in the middle of May.

For that's when Extreme Mammals: Odd Creatures, Unusual Features debuts at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County. Organized by the American Museum of Natural History, in New York, the exhibit has a host of partners among several esteemed science institutions located near and far.

Neato.

And, true true, you're very likely an extreme mammal, because you're cool and you live life to the fullest. Or maybe we mean X-treme, a label that makes one feel just a tad cooler.

But other extreme mammals do and have existed, too, and that's what this exhibit will spotlight. Pause and picture mammals like the mega Columbian mammoths of yore and land whales. 

Land whales!

Those mammals, as well as the extreme beasties who occupy our planet nowadays (think super-fast cats as well as take-it-slooooow sloths), will be featured in the four-month exhibition.

True, NHM will not put an honest-to-blowhole land whale on display, but the extreme mammals of yore will be present through "rare fossils" and "vivid reconstructions," as well as "animated computer interactive" activities.

So what makes a mammal extreme (or X-treme, if you prefer)? The science-loving museum cites "over-sized claws, ferocious fangs, trunk-like snouts, and huge, complicated horns."

Granted, we latte-sipping, office-working mammals don't possess any of those amazing features. And, honestly, that's a little sad, that we'll never grow trunk-like snouts or big claws.

But we can make a date at NHM from May 14 through Sept. 10 to admire other mammals and all of their various those-can't-be-real traits and attributes.

They are real, and were, depending on whether the mammal roamed our planet millions of years ago, or thousands, or crawl/climb/dash even as we go about our latte-buying, computer-typing lives today.

Mammals are major, whether they're human beings, mammoths, felines, or the giants of the seas. Check 'em out, at the Exposition Park museum, over the summer of 2017.



Photo Credit: NHM/Denis Finnin]]>
<![CDATA[Daft Punk Pop-up: WeHo Happening]]> Sun, 12 Feb 2017 09:33:02 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/dpGettyImages-57499913.jpg

When Angelenos hear the term "pop-up," they can count on a few things. The shop or space in question won't last forever, or even more than a week, most likely.

Two? They'll be able try a new cookie, or find a raved-about shoe, or buy the trendiest lipstick.

And three? There shall be a queue in front of the pop-up, of some sort, though what's currently happening on Melrose Avenue, near Robertson, has little to do with cookies or lipsticks.

Rather, the fans lining up outside Maxfield Gallery have everything to do with iconic electronic music, an accomplished, genre-changing artistic duo, and some very shiny, very celebrated helmets.

Helmets that are on display, let's add, and not for sale. It's the inaugural Daft Punk Pop-up Shop we speak of, a week-long event that is coinciding with the Feb. 12 Grammy Awards.

The shop, a collaboration with Maxfield on Melrose, is open through Saturday, Feb. 19 and features a wealth of wonders associated with the French synth-strong twosome.

Like? Fans'll spy "a retrospective of archival set pieces, wardrobes & helmets, rare photography, films and more." The "shop" end of the pop-up comes from "Limited Edition apparel" from the likes of Gosha Rubchinskiy, Off White c/o Virgil Abloh, and other top designers.

Behind those helmets are Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo, two true titans of electronic music. The musicians are set to again play the Grammy Awards on Sunday, Feb. 12, after a memorable, buzzed-about appearance in 2014.

But the Melrose queue to indulge in Daft-Punk-iana is starting earlier in the day, and will likely keep up throughout the week. After all, Daft Punk has been making great songs, often with great collaborators (Pharrell, Paul Williams), for nearly a quarter century.

And their California connections go beyond the West Hollywood pop-up: "Electroma," the duo's 2006 movie, was heavily filmed around the Eastern Sierra and Highway 395.

Whether in California or beyond, the Daft Punk fandom boasts intensity, and loyalty, and will be out in fabulous force, in an impressive, helmet-happy WeHo queue, through Feb. 19.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Grammy Museum: Jim Marshall's 1967]]> Sat, 11 Feb 2017 08:13:44 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Jimi+Hendrix_Jim+Marshall.jpg

If it is the weekend, and it is your house, and there's a sweet hi-fi nearby, or an audio dock, or an 8-track player, or a radio dial permanently set to the station you've loved for decades, chances are the melodies, harmonies, and beats are flowing fiercely.

Grammy Weekend, of course, is no different from other weekends in music-loving households, though it should give every music maven a bit more to hum to, in terms of the history of popular entertainment, the titans of the industry, and how we've reached now, in terms of the tunes that reign.

It just so happens there's a local rockin' repository that contains a loving and lively look at the last several decades of popular music, in all of its incandescent incarnations, from new wave to soul to country to pop.

That's the Grammy Museum, of course, which is open to the public in the days ahead of the Sunday, Feb. 12 awards show.

Look to current exhibitions like "Hey! Ho! Let's Go: Ramones and the Birth of Punk" to find your tale-packed fill of interesting music history, and anticipate future exhibits, shows just on the horizon, like "Jim Marshall's 1967."

The exhibit, which celebrates the photographer's lens-iconic take on that year-iconic time, is being "(o)rganized by The San Francisco Arts Commission in conjunction with the 50th anniversary of San Francisco's Summer of Love." 

That's right: A half century has passed since those music-changing, everything-changing historic few months. But modern fans of the era's sounds and styles and messages can re-visit all the vibes going down around Golden Gate Park and beyond through Mr. Marshall's iconic photographs; some 60 will go on display.

"Jim Marshall's 1967" debuts on March 10, 2017, and unplugs the proverbial amp just ahead of summer, on May 14, 2017.

To eye all of the current exhibits at the Grammy Museum this Grammy Weekend, as well as permanent exhibits, and to find more on the upcoming Jim Marshall show, following the cheering stadium crowds to the L.A. Live-based music institution.

Photo: Jimi Hendrix performs a free concert in the Panhandle. Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, June 1967, © Jim Marshall Photography LLC



Photo Credit: © Jim Marshall Photography LLC]]>
<![CDATA[Romance Films at the Norton Simon]]> Sat, 11 Feb 2017 22:33:47 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/212*120/haroldandmaude2.jpg

Art that surprises? Well, certainly, that is all art, to some extent, though some creators will juxtapose interesting textures and additions to lend a piece further surprising pizzazz. Think of bright blue neon tube wrapped around a classic marble statue or advertising graphics against an Impressionistic landscape.

Likewise, our human lives can also yield surprises, too, and often in the realm of love. The notion of "Unexpected Romance," then, is a perfect and fitting topic for a hallowed art museum to take on, though the Norton Simon Museum of Pasadena isn't pursuing the topic on its gallery walls and garden walkways.

Rather, the museum is presenting a love-themed movie every Friday in February, with "Unexpected Romance" as the theme. On Feb. 10 the snappy "Ball of Fire" from director Howard Hawks'll screen in the museum's theater, while "Barefoot in the Park" plays on Feb. 17 and "Harold & Maude" on Friday, Feb. 24.

If you know these cinematic favorites, you know what the not-predictable, only-delightful relationship is at the center of each tale. With no spoilers, if you want to not know, be jazzed that none take the tried-and-true romcom/romdram route in pairing up its lovebirds (or, if the lovebirds are already paired, in playing out how their relationship goes).

Also jazzy and full of panache? Attending is free with your paid Norton Simon admission; no extra fee is required. Equally as jazzy? You won't need to make a reservation. 

The films roll at 5:30 on each of the Friday nights, meaning you'll be at dinner by 8, ready to discuss the "unexpected" elements of each romance. And how nice surprise can enhance a work of art, like it can make falling in love, and being love, all the more marvelous.



Photo Credit: Harold and Maude]]>
<![CDATA[Patrick Swayze: Estate Auction Ahead]]> Fri, 10 Feb 2017 16:10:22 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/patrickswayzeGettyImages-71126255.jpg

Create a single song or film or show or book or performance and see it connect deeply with an audience? It's a sublime feeling of satisfaction for an artist to know that they've made a difference to a fan while impacting the arc of popular culture in a positive way.

But some performers, over the course of their life, come to fill out so many memorable roles, in so many iconic or beloved works, that five different people are bound to each have a different favorite, at least where the icon is concerned.

Such is the sweet legacy of Patrick Swayze. The actor, dancer, and animal advocate passed away in 2009 of pancreative cancer, and fans around the world have continued to re-watch his films while carrying a candle for his causes.

The movie star left a wealth of movie moments, and major on-screen memories, and, of course, the forever sing-along-able "She's Like the Wind," that we can still connect with his great turns in "The Outsiders" and "Ghost" and "Point Break" and "Road House" and, of course, "Dirty Dancing."

A leather jacket worn by Mr. Swayze in the 1987 shake-your-hips hit is going to auction near the end of April 2017, along with a host of other pieces of memorabilia from the artist's estate.

Julien's Auctions of Beverly Hills will oversee the Property from the Estate of Patrick Swayze auction, which will include a public exhibition from April 24 through 28, followed by a live and online auction on April 28 and 29, a Friday and Saturday.

Joining the leather jacket are several starry lots. Look for a surfboard that was employed during the filming of "Point Break," a wine-hued shirt worn by the actor in "Ghost," a signed "To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar" script, and Mr. Swayze's DeLorean.

The Golden Globe nominee, and People Magazine's "Sexiest Man Alive" for 1991, remains in the hearts and minds, and on the screens, of legions of fans. Fans who loved the fact that Mr. Swayze championed horses, and helped bring dance to the cinematic forefront again in the '80s, and created an air of accessible cool over so many solid films.

To eye the estate auction, online or in person, and maybe bid on our dream Johnny Castle item, start here.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Weekend: Happy Valentine's, SoCal]]> Fri, 10 Feb 2017 08:48:40 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/214*120/shutterstockheartscandy13292312.jpg

Valentine's Day: Whether you're down with all the lovey-dovey doings that flower in the middle of February, or you'd rather attend a Broken Hearts Circus, your gooey/not-gooey go-out is just ahead. The Huntington has a few holiday details for nature-loving strollers, while Downtown Anaheim has a (He)Art Crawl Experience on Saturday, Feb. 11. The Mission Inn in Riverside has its red, pink, and lights up, while Angel City Brewery in the Arts District has a music-packed day for those who don't want to celebrate (that's on Sunday, Feb. 12). And (briefly) returning to theaters? Tearsome classic "An Affair to Remember."

LA Chinatown Firecracker: How do 100,000 firecrackers sound — and look — all going off at once? Find out at this Lunar New Year lark, one that'll last the whole weekend. The firecrackery fun times are in the mornings on Feb. 11 and 12, and early, too (think 7:30 a.m.). That's because there's a bike ride on Saturday, and various run/walks on Sunday, so plan accordingly. Also? A festival, plus a new night fest on Saturday, Feb. 11, round out the celebratory schedule.

Bulldog Beauty Contest: Your pup might not be competing in the upcoming Westminster Kennel Show in New York, but you can both journey to Marine Stadium in Long Beach for a day full of light-of-spirit competition. Other categories, beyond the beautiful Bulldogs, are afoot, like Best Senior Dog and Best Tail. Your entry fee? It helps spaying and neutering programs, as well as other pet-focused efforts. The date? Find your pup's tutu and strut the red carpet on Sunday, Feb. 12.

Opening Weekend: If the outfit end of a film is your favorite part, there is one place to see a whole spread of movie get-ups, all at once, and for free, too. The Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising is the place for the Annual Art of Motion Picture Costume Design exhibition, which is open Tuesdays through Saturdays (through April 22, 2017). What's to see? Costumes from 22 films released in 2016, plus the winner of the Oscar for Best Costume Design last year, "Mad Max: Fury Road."

Camellia Festival: How do flowers grow in the wintertime, as least around Southern California? Very well, at least in the camellia corner of the garden. Descanso Gardens, in La Cañada Flintridge, spotlights this petal-pretty icon with a weekend full of tea tastings, music, and strolls through the breathe-deeply spread. Need a hefty slice of nature? Find it, with the price of garden admission, on Feb. 11 and 12, 2017.



Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[Aquarium Otter Calendar: Download It Now]]> Wed, 08 Feb 2017 18:26:13 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/ottercalendarrobinriggs12.jpg

Name any hot travel trend, or current foodie passion, or a style that's taking the runways by storm.

And otters will still hold more affection-grabbing sway in popular culture, over absolutely everything, and that's absolutely everything ever, to infinity, no argument, that's all, thank you. 

We've all accepted this furry fact, but you don't have to look far for evidence to back-up what we're saying. From holiday ice treats made just for aquarium otters, to the giant ancient otters making headlines in early 2017, to Otter Bowl, to the birth of a brand-new otter in the Monterey Bay Aquarium's Great Tidepool in 2016, these aquatic acrobats rule our attention spans, and, of course, our hearts.

And now our 2017 calendars. For the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach recently announced that a special downloadable otter calendar, long a members-only perk, has now been made available to everyone.

Well, everyone who loves an otter, which, we'll go out on a pier and firmly state includes everyone everywhere.

As for each month? Well, February is squealable, March is full of coos, and if you don't awww over April, you probably aren't an awww-er by nature. The photographs include the otters at play, otters pondering a line-up of holiday treats, and otters just taking it easy after a full day of roly-poly antics.

Robin Riggs, a longtime aquarium volunteer, is the photographer behind the fabulous photos.

The calendar is free to download, so if all of this watery whimsy is your personal jam, splash over to the otter calendar page and download it at once.

It's already February, and you don't want to waste another moment being otter-calendar-free, which, in these otter-obsessed days, is not advisable. So bring more ottery awesomeness into your life, pronto.



Photo Credit: Robin Riggs]]>
<![CDATA[LA Chinatown Firecracker Fun]]> Thu, 09 Feb 2017 19:11:59 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/LA+Chinatown+Firecracker_132323.JPG

Lunar New Year is an occasion rife with happy, solemn, traditional, and oh-so-lively traditions, but something that also wonderful about it? Unlike most other holidays, the celebrations continue for a few weeks.

Which means that if you missed the Golden Dragon Parade, or the mega festival in Monterey Park, you still have time to gather with other Southern Californians and welcome, with joy and hope, The Year of the Rooster. Of course, even if you did attend either to-do, or one of the many other merry-making happenings around the region, the Lunar New Year continues.

Look to Chinatown over the second weekend of February, and look to the annual LA Chinatown Firecracker. That's right, it does start with a bike ride, on day #1, which is Saturday, Feb. 11, while the famous run heads out on Sunday, Feb. 12. (A 5K, a 10K, and a Kiddie Run are all on the schedule, and participants will walk as well as dash.)

As for the festival? It's big, as big as rippling, colorful dragon flying down a street. It kicks off on both Feb. 11 and 12 with a memorable, gotta-see-it opening at 7:30 in the morning (on each day).

For "firecracker" is not simply in the name; you'll see and hear the pop-pop-pop action when 100,000 firecrackers are lit on Sunday morning, with a bit fewer on Saturday (though it will still certainly be a spectacular show).

Need to see that large number again? You got it: 100,000 firecrackers.

A lion dance, Korean drums, and a host of movement-oriented performances will follow throughout the day.

And new for 2017? There's a Firecracker Night Fest, beginning at 4 and wrapping at 10 o'clock. That's on Saturday, Feb. 11, and come famished, for a host of food trucks'll line up near "the heart of Chinatown." (Loads of live entertainment is on the docket, too, so watch/enjoy while you nosh.)

So even if you're not running, or biking, you can still revel, Rooster-style, at this long-running, 39th annual weekend-long party, one that draws thousands of revel-ready Lunar New Year observers.



Photo Credit: LA Firecracker Run]]>
<![CDATA[Spring-Predicting Tortoise Emerges]]> Wed, 08 Feb 2017 07:10:11 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/livingdesertmojavemaxine.jpg

If we can count on the time of the sun's rise to be consistent, day by day, and the orbits of the planets, and the tick-tock of the clock, here is another element we can depend on, each and every year: Mojave Maxine will leave her burrow within a pretty tight window.

Or so it seems. The beloved desert tortoise, the Punxsutawney Phil of the California desert, has gained fame in recent years for predicting the start of springtime. And she made her professional prognostication for 2017 on Tuesday, Feb. 7, just a day (plus a few minutes) ahead of her prediction in 2016, which arrived midday on Feb. 8 last year.

How does shell-spectacular denizen of The Living Desert, the Palm Desert-based animal park, do it? Mojave Maxine's technique is pretty straightforward: The moment that she emerges from her burrow, at the end of her wintertime brumation — that's hibernation, for cold-blooded reptiles — we humans might accurately say, with some confidence, that spring is truly on its way.

At least 'round the desert, where the weather has been mighty temperate.

Of course, unlike Punxsutawney Phil, the beloved Pennsylvania-based groundhog, Mojave Maxine does not need to see her shadow to make her seasonal forecast.

Rather, all that is required of the desert tortoise is that she exit her burrow, a sure sign that her wintertime rest has wrapped. Which she did promptly at 12:06 p.m. on Feb. 7, 2017.

The only question now is this: Which students correctly guessed when the tortoise would leave her burrow? It's an annual contest held throughout nine regional counties.

Maxine, by the way, has another big moment ahead this spring: She turns 40 in April, and The Living Desert plans on throwing her a real wingding, one fit for a famous tortoise.

If you want to see the instant she peeked out of her cozy subterranean sleep space, check out The Living Desert's Facebook page, which features Maxine's 2017 hello-spring debut.

That the tortoise gives a thorough glance around, after emerging, just ups the charm of this charming warm-climate tradition.



Photo Credit: The Living Desert]]>
<![CDATA[Bulldog Beauty Contest: Enter Now]]> Thu, 09 Feb 2017 13:48:19 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/bulldogbeautycontest16_justinrudd.jpg

The Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show will trot into Madison Square Garden, and, simultaneously, into our hearts, in just a matter of days.

But there is a place, right here in Southern California, where you yourself can trot, should you want to encounter a wide assortment of snarfly, sweet-faced, wiggly-of-rear-end tail-waggers.

It might not fully possess the pomp and circumstance of the 140-year-old New York City-based competition, but it will rock plenty of pup and circumstance, and, sometimes, that's all a Lassie lover requires.

It's the National Bulldog Beauty Contest, a light-of-heart happening that actually includes multiple canine contests. On the prize table? Gift certificates and blue ribbons (plus "bragging rights" and certificates for the winners). Your $10 entry fee? It helps out dog adoption, spaying and neutering efforts, and community-minded projects.

Organizer Justin Rudd, of the Haute Dog Howl'oween Parade and other dogly to-dos, has long been a locally famous bulldog buff, so the wrinkly-snouted sweethearts get a spotlight, but so do a host of other hounds.

And you can enter yours, now, ahead of the Sunday, Feb. 12.

The spot for the Spots and their annual showdown? Marine Stadium in Long Beach. The categories, and these go for all sorts of pups, and not just bulldogs? Best ears, best tail, best small dog, best large dog, and best smile (just to name a few).

Mutts and corgis also get some specific attention, too, if you're a mutt maven or a supporter of the rompy, wee-leg'd loves.

If you're looking for a playful new pal, and don't have a friend to enter, consider stopping by the adoption fair, which will cover dogs and cats alike.

For sure: Costumes are a thing, as they are at many of the Haute Dog gatherings. They aren't a requirement, but if you have a photo-fun outfit for your furry one, feel free to bring it along, or dress him up before your get to the Long Beach barker bash.



Photo Credit: Justin Rudd]]>
<![CDATA[Valentine's Weekend at The Huntington]]> Thu, 09 Feb 2017 07:17:10 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/ShakespeareGarden2huntington.jpg

Flowers and Feb. 14 have a few things in common.

Yes, very true, they both start with the letter F, which counts for something, so we'll make mention of it.

Petals are frequently red, yes, and the 14th day of the second month is often associated with the hue.

And if you find your way to The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens, you'll discover the spirit of Valentine's Day in its restaurants, galleries, and out among the blossoms and buds.

For flowers don't simply arrive by vase or bouquet when the Love Holiday draws near; we can also go to the flowers, and find them in plentiful profusion, along with our paramour.

You won't, of course, have to call your honeybun by any fancy terms, such as "paramour," while you stroll around the San Marino landmark on Friday, Feb. 10, Saturday, Feb. 11, or Sunday, Feb. 12, though you may want to do so.

After all, a day spent at The Huntington, among the romantic statues and winding pathways, can make a person feel as though they've stepped into a passionate 19th-century novel.

So before you find your parasol and Jane Austen-ready clothing, what's there to know about the three-day happening?

Well, a few things, but we'll begin with The Huntington's eateries. There shall be Cupid-"inspired" eats at 1919, and chocolate-dipped strawberries at Red Car, and sparkling wine, plus truffles, at the Rose Garden Tea Room.

The Camellia Show and Sale is also happening, which means there shall be plenty of petals for you and your paramour to admire together. (We went and used "paramour" again, but, you know, the 19th-century-esque feel of gardens can sweep a person away.)

And is there a special dinner on Feb. 10, 11, and 12? There is, dear lovebirds. And while your Huntington admission will give you access to the plants and petals during the daytime on those dates, you'll want to look into separate reservations if you're interested in the three-course Dîner Saint Valentin Pour Deux.

Two important asterisks to note before flying for San Marino on Cupid-like wings? The Huntington is traditionally closed on Tuesdays, every Tuesday, and Valentine's Day in 2017 is a Tuesday so... Don't arrive there on Feb. 14. Which is a Tuesday.

For not even Cupid will have access to the gardens that day. Because. It's a Tuesday.

Best start your Valentine's Day celebrations early, is what we're saying, which is a nice thing, because earlier means more loving feelings, more hugs, and so forth.

It's good.

The second good thing to know? The rain is expected to wrap up for the weekend, at least by Saturday and Sunday, meaning all of those succulents and shrubs and trees will be as fresh and as hydrated and as glistening as possible.

And you and your honeybun, more than likely, will not require an umbrella for your pre-Valentine's Day garden stroll.

We mean, it is always a fine idea to keep an umbrella handy; a sensible character from a 19th-century novel likely would. But the weather, if still slightly brisk, will smile upon lovers, and lovers of lovely places, over the weekend before Valentine's Day at The Huntington.



Photo Credit: The Huntington]]>
<![CDATA[Mega Burbank IKEA to Open (with Giveaways)]]> Tue, 07 Feb 2017 18:04:49 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/ikeasigngetty123.jpg

Typically, when people queue early in the morning ahead of the official ribbon-cutting of a new restaurant or shop, they can expect a few things.

One? A sizable line, if the venue has been on approach for awhile and the anticipation has built. And two? If they're located near the start of the queue, people know that they just might score a free cup of coffee or free muffin, in honor of being one of the first customers to show up.

But very rarely, and by "very rarely" we mean "practically never," do the first people in a store line walk away with a couch. But then again, it is a rare and unusual day when what is billed as "the largest IKEA in the United States" finally opens its doors.

That's happening on Wednesday, Feb. 8, and Burbank's the spot. If you're picturing the longtime IKEA Burbank, in its former location, well, you're quite close, but hold up one second. You'll find the new bigger furniture-and-more store at I-5 at Olive Avenue/Verdugo Avenue, just a hop away.

As for the couch giveaway? A pay-nothing, it-is-all-for-free LANDSKRONA sofa will be awarded to the first 26 people in the queue, "in honor of the 26 years IKEA Burbank has been serving customers."

True, a couch is larger than a cup of coffee and a muffin, even when those two things are put together. But, consider this: You can enjoy a coffee and a muffin while sitting on a couch. Food for thought? (Also food for thought: Whether you prefer to say "couch" or "sofa." Maybe polling people around you in line will pass the time.)

Other giveaways at the Feb. 8 opening include free POANG armchairs — the curvy-backed seats'll go to the next 100 people waiting, after the sofas are given out — and free FAMNING HJARTA heart cushions shall be awarded to the "first 200 kids (ages 12 and under)" who've arrived to line up.

If your birthday is Feb. 8? You'll score a $52 IKEA gift card. Will the first 2,500 be handed gold envelopes containing other goodies, like food vouchers? IKEA Burbank says this is so.

IKEA aficionados? Know this before you make for the Media Capital of the World's new mega store: There are important rules about the giveaways, so bone up on all.

Opening time is 9 in the morning. Feb. 8. Wednesday.

So you were a buff of the former IKEA Burbank, and you used to frequent the restaurant for meatballs and pastries? Prepare to enter an enormously vast eat space at the debuting location, one that can seat 600 diners.

As for the shopping end of this epically sized arrival? There's "...space for nearly 10,000 products," so get ready to encounter a bevy of end tables, dishes, planters, rugs, and everything else that can fill a home or office or yard or all of the above.

IKEA, the company, has deep roots in Sweden but many branches around the planet. It'll soon mark its 75th, at least from the date it began serving customers via mail-order (that was 1943, history buffs).

And, as mentioned, the IKEA Burbank already has passed its first quarter-century, making it a true stalwart of the downtown area.

In fact, if you were to line up a row of meatballs, or delicious lingonberries, one after the other, for every day that the IKEA Burbank has been open, or for every couch or chair or table sold there, well... that would be a notable amount of meatballs or lingonberries.

No doubt about it.

Even if you don't arrive in the line early enough, and you do not nab a couch or food voucher, you'll still get to eye a gargantuan new store that's been in the works for a good long while.

The only thing left to do, then, as you get your bearings in Burbank's newest yet longtime neighbor, is to follow those famous floor arrows as you learn your way around a store you've frequented for years, and yet are seeing for the first time.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Free: FIDM Movie Costume Exhibit Opens]]> Tue, 07 Feb 2017 13:10:44 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/loveandfriendship270515--H020317A-0408.jpg

While we may never flaunt something as amazing as Superman's cape while strolling down the street, or a glittery crown fit for a storybook queen, or weighted shoes, the kind that keep us from flying into the air, we can easily explore these sartorial fantasies down at our local cinema.

For while we go to the movies to meet new characters (and some old friends), and to investigate unusual worlds, and to dive into a superb story for 90 or so minutes, let's be honest: We also frequent the theater in order to check out some dang cool clothes.

The Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising will once again bring those dang cool clothes down from the screen and onto display for several free-to-see-'em weeks. For the 25th Annual Art of Motion Picture Costume Design opens on Tuesday, Feb. 7, and, once again, film fans can eye the iconic outfits they saw at the movies last year in up-close fashion.

Ah yes, that's one good-to-know specific about this popular exhibit: All the films represented, and there are costumes hailing from 22 films at the 2017 display, were released the previous year. Save one: The previous year's Oscar winner always returns to go on exhibition, which means mavens of "Mad Max: Fury Road" can once again admire Furiosa's and Max's desert-ready duds.

As for the released-in-2016 films, the 22 movies chosen to play a panache-filled part in the new costume display? "Hidden Figures," "Zoolander 2," "Suicide Squad," "La La Land," "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them," "Fences," "Doctor Strange," "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice," "Hail, Caesar!," and "Love & Friendship" are in the 2017 costume-laden class.

Oh, and "Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children," too. That display includes the whimsical "weighted" shoes that kept one of the film's characters from floating into the air.

Before you float downtown, to FIDM, to enjoy all of this cloth-based artistry, take note: The gallery is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 to 5 o'clock. And the exhibit? It's on through April 22, 2017.

As mentioned, while movies require admission tickets, spying these sartorial showstoppers but from a few feet away is totally free, as is parking underneath the gallery.

What movie costume would you wear, while you sashayed down the street, if you had your druthers? A full spectrum of contemporary wearable creations is at FIDM, ready to enhance those movie-fan daydreams.



Photo Credit: Alex J. Berliner]]>
<![CDATA['An Affair to Remember': Back in Theaters]]> Wed, 08 Feb 2017 12:37:53 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/AnAffairtoRemember3.jpg

There's no firm formula or tried-and-true route a screenwriter must take when sitting down to pen a romantic film.

For sure, there should be a spark between the lovebirds, probably near the film's start, and, at some point, the lovebirds should part due to a host of thorny circumstances. Thorny circumstances that will later, of course, make the sweethearts' embraceful reunion all the more satisfying.

And while love-filled flicks run the gooey gamut, many still draw from a titan of the form, a feeling-lush movie that is, in fact, turning 60 in 2017. But a romdram/romcom buff is more likely to find a newer romantic film on the big screen, and not the iconic film that's inspired filmmakers over the last six decades.

That will change when "An Affair to Remember" returns to the silver screen for two days only: Sunday, Feb. 12 and Wednesday, Feb. 15. Fathom Events, Turner Classic Movies and 20th Century Fox are behind the brief re-release, which arrives just in time for Valentine's Day.

Host Ben Mankiewicz will offer some thoughts on the story, too, in a pre-recorded clip. (Indeed, this is part of the same classics-on-the-big-screen re-release series that brought "Singin' in the Rain" back to cinemas in January 2017.)

If you haven't revisited the tender tale in a bit, well, you probably remember it involves Deborah Kerr, and Cary Grant, and a ship, and the observation deck of the Empire State Building, and... Well. Ahem.

Suffice it to say that Important and Emotional Things Occur, which may or may not bring our paramours together before the final credits.

"Sleepless in Seattle" heavily referenced the bring-a-hankie film, but plenty of other works, beyond the 1993 Tom Hanks-Meg Ryan romance, have paid homage to it over the years.

If this is how you best know "An Affair to Remember," through TV shows and tribute-paying flicks, consider the film's return to the cinemas as a way to re-connect with the source. 

For the New York City-set classic continues to be a font for other flirtation-filled films. And cinematic art delving into missed connections, and true love, still draws upon some of the 60-year-old movie's twists and themes.

Find the heart-tugger at a Southern California cinema on Feb. 12 and 15; there are plenty to choose from. Just don't be late for your date, or miss it all together.



Photo Credit: Courtesy Twentieth Century Fox & Fathom Events]]>
<![CDATA[Valentine's Violinist to Play for Ferris Wheel]]> Tue, 07 Feb 2017 09:40:30 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/ferrispacificvalGettyImages-81275533+%281%29.jpg

Hearken back, if you so kindly will, to the last time your boarded a Ferris wheel and went around (and around and around).

For sure, you likely saw the bright lights of the old-school attraction, or at least its colorful paint job. But what sounds did you hear?

If the wheel was ocean-adjacent, you likely heard waves crashing or seagulls. If an amusement area was below the ride, you might have recognized the sound of Skee balls on the roll or a pinball machine's ding ding ding.

But a real violin, played by a real violinist? That's an admittedly unusual aural experience for an attraction-filled destination, which relies more on recorded calliope-style music.

Pacific Park, and the world-famous solar-powered Pacific Wheel, are rather unusual, however. And on the evening of Tuesday, Feb. 14 — yes, Valentine's Day — violinist Daniel Morris will "serenade" riders of the Santa Monica Pier symbol from 6 to 10 o'clock.

A sizable symbol which will be done up in heart-shaped patterns as well as a host of shapes in shades of red, white, and pink. So if you're standing several blocks away from the Pacific Wheel, and you think you just saw a giant "kiss" on the side, well, you're not dreaming: That's one of the promised pictures of the night.

Will a proposal go down, or, rather, up, during the Ferris wheel's violin serenade? The ride has become known in pop culture as highly poppable, as in a place to pop the question. Perhaps the live music, and the glowing LED hearts on the Ferris wheel's side, and the briny scent of the water below, will inspire a lovebird or two to suggest the idea of marriage.

Cost to ride on Valentine's night? Ten dollars.

By the by, the Pacific Wheel's full-scale tech update will mark its first anniversary in May. Call it incredibly charming, and even moving, then, that with all of those LED lights it now sports — 174,000 — the Ferris wheel will feature the stringful sweet vibes of that classic romantic instrument, the violin.

Violins, Ferris wheels, heart-shaped light patterns, the stars above, the Pacific Ocean below, cheeky gulls, Skee ball, and Valentine's Day. It's no movie set, but, rather, the real-life Pacific Park, at least for a few hours, on the 14th day of February, 2017.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Ren Faire: Valentine's Sweetheart Sale]]> Mon, 06 Feb 2017 18:21:23 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/214*120/renfairerlowe.jpg

The notion of romance is woven through medieval tales and adventures. From the rules of courtly love, to the ribald songs of olde, the art of infatuation found firm yet fanciful grounding in both the historical and fictional days of centuries long gone.

Those days rise again in Southern California each spring, at least around Irwindale. For that's when The Original Renaissance Pleasure Faire — or Ren Faire, if you prefer — spreads out, with pomp and panache, at the Santa Fe Dam Recreation Area.

It won't be long before royalty, jesters, and knights are again strolling the faire's grounds, but you can step up your anticipation through the day after Valentine's. How? There's a Sweetheart Sale afoot, and it shaves several dollars off the usual adult entry price of $29.95. 

The discounted price, at least through Feb. 15, 2017? Secure your entry to the springtime lark $22.50. That's for a day, of course, but if you plan on visiting the festival more often, consider a pass for $150.

You could attend over a number of days, beginning on Saturday, April 8. Ren Faire is a weekends-only extravaganza, but those weekends do stretch beyond the middle of May.

Which means, with a pass, or even a day ticket, you'll encounter all sorts of pirates and faeries and queens and the vibrant marketplace, which is full of floral and scentful and leatherful goods, and all sorts of bards and song-makers, too.

By the by, if you want to play a part on the entertainment end of Ren Faire, auditions will be held at the Elks Lodge in Duarte on Saturday, Feb. 11 and Sunday, Feb. 12. Might you be tapped to play the understudy to Queen Elizabeth I, or a Fantastikal, or a dancer? Read more here.

And give a resounding "huzzah!," at least in your own mind, that spring-sweet days, and this popular Southern California jest-tacular, is merrily moving in our direction, with banners flying brightly.



Photo Credit: Richard Lowe]]>
<![CDATA[Winter Star: Camellia Fest at Descanso Gardens]]> Mon, 06 Feb 2017 17:31:11 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/camelliadescanso123456789.jpg

A lot of blossom-lovin' eyes are watching our regional deserts nowadays, and with excellent reason, too: Recent rainfall has been impressive, and heavy, and just the sort of (literally) splashy event that coaxes colorful flowers from the arid ground when winter melts into spring.

And while the desert wildflower show hasn't fully revved up — and we'll include the Antelope Valley poppies in that, since they're still another month or so out — you don't have to look far to find the astonishing and seemingly unlikely flowers of wintertime.

We have plenty of those, here in Southern California, and while a few different varieties reign during the colder months, there's one flower that gets a gorgeous, weekend-long party each year.

It's the camellia, a hue-happy bud that's much associated with our larger, stroll-about gardens, including Descanso Gardens in La Cañada Flintridge. 

In fact, the historic 160-acre spread is home to the Descanso Camellia Collection. And the middle of winter, just about February, is when the floral fireworks truly shine brightly.

See the camellias, in all of their soft-of-petal loveliness, on Saturday, Feb. 11 and Sunday, Feb. 12, at the Descanso Gardens Camellia & Tea Festival.

A tea tasting is part of the day, as the name reveals, and Camellia sinensis will give the brew its kick. Camellia stroll-abouts, camellia crafts, live dance, and a chance get up-close with the cold-weather icons are all on the schedule.

Two things are true: Roses rule our Valentine's-focused attentions, and we'll definitely see the pretty buds around in the coming days.

But, here in Southern California, the camellia could also make a claim to be a Valentine's favorite, in large part because it grows so very well when the middle of February arrives.

The other true thing? The desert petals are definitely on the way, and hopes are high that 2017 will bring a spectacular show. Still, if you need some flower action prior to your drive out to the scrub and chaparral, you can find delight, and an unlikely but prominent flower of wintertime, at Descanso Gardens.



Photo Credit: Descanso Gardens]]>
<![CDATA[Zoo Canoodle: Grown-up Valentine's Fun]]> Mon, 06 Feb 2017 08:45:52 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/GL-Giraffes-JamiePham.jpg

While we humans have a host of words for makin' romance — "hanky-panky" is used in some quarters, and "canoodling" in others, and "dalliance" has its devotees — our friends in the animal world don't get caught up in our definitions.

Rather, they just live and let... love. Animal parks and preserves and zoo frequently spend part of February spotlighting the facts of furry (and scaly and feathery) flirtation, and they almost always invite their adult fans along for the fact-filled, learn-something-cool ride.

The Los Angeles Zoo has a tradition of exploring critter courtship, and it will again, on Saturday, Feb. 11, during "Sex and the City Zoo." It's for the 21-and-over set, and is described as a "lighthearted affair" complete with vinos, snacks, and frank, here's-how-it-all-works chitchat.

So, no, you won't have to dig out your biology textbooks from way back, but you'll want to arrive with a heart, and mind, that's open to science-scintillating stories of how are beastie friends... make more of our beastie friends.

It's an evening, right-around-sunset soiree — 5 to 7 p.m. is the time — and there's an add-on dinner after the fun, should you want to stay, sup, and go over all of the fabulous, no-need-to-blush-about-it info with your date.

If you stick solely with "Sex and the City Zoo," here's what to expect: A wine-and-bites reception for the first hour, with some keeper talks and cute cameos by small animals. Then the "Fool for Love" presentation begins at 6. Sandy Masao of the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association will look at "...animal dating, mating, and cohabitating..." and there shall be a Q&A element, too. So don't be shy, and say goodbye to the giggles: Just ask.

Tickets are $40 each. If you want to do both "Sex and the City Zoo" and the five-course dinner (complete with wine pairings), the whole ticket comes to $140. 

And if you want to know how our hoof-rocking, fur-bearing buds approach what we humans have about a thousand different words for (or seemingly so), here's your moment to brush up on everything animal amour.



Photo Credit: Jamie Pham]]>
<![CDATA['Wayne's World' at 25: Special Screenings]]> Sun, 05 Feb 2017 20:18:36 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/212*120/wwstillmovie0193232.jpg

A film character rises to lofty legendary status when the movie-going public can recall, many years later, a distinctive trait or a catchphrase that made the character stand out.

Bet, when it comes to Wayne Campbell of "Wayne's World," and his best bud Garth Algar, you have a slew of references at the ready, from Wayne's easygoing catchphrases ("party time, excellent" and "we're not worthy") to the songs he dug (Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody," natch) to his hometown (Aurora, Illinois) to where he recorded his public-access show (his parents' charmingly cluttered basement).

And has any duo done more for ripped-knee jeans, heavy-rimmed eyeglasses, or basic black t-shirts? Talk about some suhhh-weet sartorial stylin', fer sure.

What started as a well-received "Saturday Night Live" sketch bloomed into a full-on funny movie phenomenon, with comedians Mike Myers and Dana Carvey front-and-centered while wielding their electric guitar and drumsticks, respectively. 

That movie — which kept it, like, mega real with the title of "Wayne's World" — was released in February 1992, which means it is turning 25 in 2017.

Schwing, indeed. But also, 25 years have passed? Like. Whoa.

So turn off the public-access channel for a moment, and don your favorite hockey jersey, for the Penelope Spheeris-helmed hit is returning to cinemas across the land for two nights only, all in honor of this bad (meaning "good") birthday.

Those nights are Tuesday, Feb. 7 and Wednesday, Feb. 8. And while Wayne and Garth might find a weekend night more prime for all-out rocking, you also have to believe that the generally optimistic duo never turned down an opportunity to fully embrace an epic time.

Even on a Tuesday and Wednesday.

Tia Carrere, Rob Lowe, and a slew of stars cameo'd in the movie, which involves a record contract, an Alice Cooper concert, high jinks, tender moments, and, for sure, that ultra-memorable, head-bangin', five-guys-in-a-car "Bohemian Rhapsody" singalong.

So where's it rockin' 'round SoCal? The Regal LA Live Stadium 14, Cinemark 18 & XD, and Edwards Long Beach Stadium 26 & IMAX are just a few of the spots cranking up the proverbial amp — read: screening the hit film — on Feb. 7 and 8.

And would the screenings dare roll without "a pre-taped Q&A" with the stars, as well as a discussion featuring Penelope Spheeris?

As if. 

The faux public-access show hosted by Wayne and Garth delighted in delving into all matters of pop culture, life's sticky questions, and other joyful curiosities.

That, 25 years later, the notion that the hit movie inspired by the SNL sketch featuring the public-access show — quick moment for a breath here — would dare screen without some charming in-depth-a-tude by the dudes is unthinkable.

So party on. Find your favorite hockey jersey. Pull up to your best bud's pad in your rad 1976 AMC Pacer. Then drive to the nearest cinema celebrating the 25th birthday of "Wayne's World" on Feb. 7 and 8. And turn up the FM dial.

Wayne would.



Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures]]>