<![CDATA[NBC Southern California - Dining, shopping and nightlife]]> Copyright 2015 http://www.nbclosangeles.com/entertainment/the-scene http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/NBC4_40x125.png NBC Southern California http://www.nbclosangeles.com en-us Sat, 18 Apr 2015 21:50:08 -0700 Sat, 18 Apr 2015 21:50:08 -0700 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Earth Week Sweet: "Monkey Kingdom" at El Capitan]]> Sat, 18 Apr 2015 08:02:55 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/monkeykingdomdisneynature1.jpg

El Capitan, the megalithic granite wonder of Yosemite National Park, is one of the stalwart symbols of the natural world, and definitely so for California.

El Capitan, the vintage 1926 movie palace, sits in the bustling, horn-tooting heart of Hollywood, not miles away from society but in the very busy heart of it.

And yet the latter of the two name-sharers frequently pauses, come Earth Day, to visit the wilder world and our animal brethren. A visit that typically raises a call and a question: How we humans can be considerate co-stewards of the planet we share with billions of other earthlings.

Look to "Monkey Kingdom," the newest Disneynature film, which is running at the historic theater through Thursday, April 30 (in addition to other cinemas around town). Like previous Disneynature releases -- think "Oceans" and "Bears" -- "Monkey Kingdom" delves deeply, and delightfully, into a specific corner of nature, this time visiting the South Asia and the monkeys who make their home among gloriously old ruins.

Maya is the monkey we follow on this lark, and her newborn baby Kip. The film is narrated by Tina Fey.

As with past Disneynature films -- there've been eight True Life Adventures, including "Monkey Kingdom" -- Disney will make a donation to Conservation International for every ticket sold during Earth Week. Want to help? See the film through April 23 (and find out more at the Conservation International HQ).

And there's a special treat for people seeing the monkey-sweet film at El Capitan: "Exotic animals from around the world" will pay a pre-show visit to the stage courtesy of the Wildlife Learning Center.

Photo Credit: Disneynature]]>
<![CDATA[Churro Ice Cream Sandwiches: Your Dream Is Now]]> Fri, 17 Apr 2015 17:23:01 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/churroboroughcookie.jpg

It's a fact of kitchen-based creativity that you can, if you're feeling a little wacky, take any food from your pantry or refrigerator or cupboards and put any other food on it or inside it.

No one's stopping you, though some pairings work better than others: pasta and sauce, fries and ketchup, ice cream between to flattened rounds of a churro.

Okay, chances are you've paired the first twosomes many times but never the last, because you never dared to dream that big. But chef Sylvia Yoo dreamed for all of us, creating crispy-cold churro + ice cream creations and selling them at various pop-ups and events around Southern California for the last several months.

Now Chef Yoo and her brother Paul Yoo have found a permanent place for their decadent delectables in Los Feliz. Churro Borough officially debuted on Friday, April 17 on Vermont Avenue, and just in time for summer, too.

Will a scoop of ice cream smooshed between two buttery-to-the-touch churro rounds be the edible accessory for summer along that fashionable stretch?

Well, obviously, because 1) churros and 2) churros paired with ice cream. It's like someone peeked at our dream journal. All of our collective dream journals. 

The ice cream is très small batch, so think quality offbeat flavors like berry panna cotta and Mexican hot chocolate. You can, of course, get your ice cream neat, but why would you? When churros shaped like traditional cookies are standing by, waiting to make your day, and ice cream scoop, just that much better?

Chef Yoo, by the by, cooked in the New York Kitchens of WD-50 and Jean-Georges and her brother worked with Mexicali Taco & Co.

Shall Churro Borough join the League of Interesting Tasty Holders of Various Foods? We're thinking of the funnel cake ice cream sandwiches of Alhambra's Ice Que and hamburger buns made out of ramen.

SoCal has really been winning on this foodie front. Maybe Charles Phoenix's infamous Cherpumple started it all?

Why shouldn't adventurous eaters push the pairings envelope just a bit further? Sure, sometimes in one's own kitchen, one teams up two things that should never, ever be paired again (sorry, dijon mustard and dark chocolate squares, you seemed like you'd work together).

But then just sometimes someone launches the churro ice cream sandwich far and wide. And we think "surely there's another pairing out there just waiting for culinary superstardom."

Though it may be a long time before anything challenges ice cream encased in either funnel cakes or churros for the quirky, gotta-have-one crown. That's pretty obvious.

Photo Credit: Churro Borough]]>
<![CDATA[Ben & Jerry's Unveils Ice Cream Burrito]]> Fri, 17 Apr 2015 12:38:21 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/ben-jerry-ice-cream-burrito.jpg

Cup, cone or burrito?

Ben & Jerry's is unveiling a new ice cream burrito, its new treat that splits the difference between a sundae and a waffle cone.

The Vermont-based ice cream company will now serve you any two flavors of ice cream tucked into a chewy waffle wrap and topped with fudge and cookie crumbs — just in time for April 20.

The company not-so-subtly timed the treats to the unofficial pothead holiday, promising it will cure "the ultimate case of the munchies."

Thursday, Ben & Jerry's unveiled another new concoction: A special release beer called Salted Caramel Brownie Brown Ale brewed in collaboration with New Belgium Brewing. It's described as a brown ale laden with chocolatey, salted caramel, vanilla goodness. 

Some of the proceeds from sales of the beer will go to an environmental group fighting the effect of climate change on mountains. More details will be released later this year.

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Ben & Jerry's
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<![CDATA[Toyota Grand Prix: To-Dos Beyond the Track]]> Fri, 17 Apr 2015 12:35:29 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/lbgp484232877.jpg

Getting caught up in the racing action at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach is exactly why hundreds of thousands of spectators turn out for this world-famous, on-the-streets, engine-powered extravaganza each spring.

But the Grand Prix scene is so out-sized, with so many moving components -- much like a car, really -- that there is a whole happening scene away from the bleachers and machines of speed.

That means that if you're there for race action but need a break, or you're attending with Grand Prix-loving pals but you're not quite at their level of involvement, you can still wile away your day while some of the world's most famous drivers go for record-breaking runs along Seaside Way.

The Lifestyle Expo is a major off-the-circuit stop for visitors. Sprawling over a goodly portion of the Long Beach Convention and Entertainment Center, the Expo features over 150 displays covering a wide, gamut-y look at Green Tech, home improvements, travel destinations, and beyond. And, yep, the Green Tech definitely includes what's going on with alt autos, from electric to hydrogen (hybrid and biodiesel are in the mix, too).

Have kids in tow? There's a Family Fun Zone that's also held at the center, as a part of the Expo. Look for "rock climbing walls, games, video games and racing simulators and action sports demonstrations." 

And the two nights of live music roll on Friday and Saturday nights, April 17 and 18. Friday gets moving with the Tecate Light Fiesta Friday Concert and Saturday's show features Vince Neil of Mötley Crüe. 

So, for sure, catch a race (or catch 'em all). But what's circuit-adjacent? Plenty. The Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach vrooms from Friday, April 17 through Sunday, April 19.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Pajamas on the Beach: Earth Day Clean-Up]]> Fri, 17 Apr 2015 09:49:04 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/219*120/pajamas-generic.jpg

Every beachgoer knows what it's like to find sand in one's sandals, or hair, or straw bag, or towel rolls, or everything.

But having sand stick to cold cream that's recently been applied to the face or curlers atop one's head may be a new sensation for intrepid, planet-loving merrymakers who take to the beach at Belmont Shore on Saturday, April 18.

It's Beach Clean-Up time at 1 Granada Avenue, as it is most Saturdays, but the April 18 volunteer effort comes with a photo-worthy, funny bone-ready twist: Participants are asked to dress in their pajamas while they spiffy-up the shoreline.

The touching, feel-good, pitch-in part of it all? This is the annual Earth Day edition of the 30-Minute Beach Clean-Up, which is overseen by local get-involver Justin Rudd (he of the Haute Dog parades and other charitable Long Beach to-dos).

Shall there be cash prizes for those who don the best nightwear? Oh, there shall be, which should be impetus enough to not just show in the raggy-but-comfy shorts and tee you usually slip on to go to sleep. Rather, think full flannel get-ups, the kind that have pig patterns or sheep, and think curlers in the hair and cold cream on the face, too.

Maybe an eye mask? Worn on the head? This is your chance to go Full Bedroom, fashion-wise, for the enjoyment of people you've never met and possible prize-winning, too.

Just make sure you can pick up trash on the beach while wearing what you choose to wear (so, yeah, maybe the super-shorty stuff can stay back home, in the bureau). As for slippers? Well, you'll get sand in 'em, for sure, so as long as they're the open-toed sort, you're probably not in for too much discomfort.

The Earth Day, Pajama Time edition of the 30-Minute Beach Clean-Up is on Saturday, April 18 at 10 a.m. at 1 Granada Avenue in Long Beach. 

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Runyon Canyon to (Maybe One Day) Host Zip-Lining]]> Thu, 16 Apr 2015 18:42:25 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/zip180498768.jpg

Most hike-nice areas, even those snug with densely urban megalopolises, tend to not see a lot of action beyond the happy puffing and huffing of those hikers heading up and down various trails.

However, Runyon Canyon does not fall under the header "most" in any way, shape, and, yes, form. We suppose if you can go from hiking to the heart of Hollywood, without breaking too much of a sweat, then your hiking spot is going to be rather unique.

Absolutely, famous people hike there (and other hikers pointedly ignore them, in the way non-famous SoCalers have perfected over the years).

For sure, random offbeat things show up at the Tinseltown-snug canyon from time to time, like the one-weekend-only valet stand in the fall of 2014. (Did you use it? If so, did it greatly impact your pedometer in the end, which is one of the ultimate Runyon Canyon accessories?)

Next up, possibly: a zip line. The notion that people could be zooming at impressive speeds high above the canyons scrubby brush (and celebrity hikers) caught LAist's eye, and the ear of the Hollywood Hills West Neighborhood Council.

The matter of a possible zip line at Runyon was an item on the Wednesday, April 15 agenda. "For discussion purposes only," were the four keywords accompanying the notice.

In California, over-the-vines wine country zip lines, and one near the water on Catalina Island, are vying for the attention of adventurous types, while the pursuit grows in places beyond our state. And the Association for Challenge Course Technology, which is involved in all things zip-line-ia, just hosted its annual conference in Indian Wells in February. 

Will in-roads -- or in-lines? -- be made within our city? Or is Runyon Canyon better as a hike-focused spot that keeps close to the ground? Stay tuned.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Weekend: LA Times Festival of Books]]> Thu, 16 Apr 2015 13:11:58 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/festivalofbookslatimesapril.jpg

Los Angeles Times Festival of Books: Calling this two-day authors 'n readers extravaganza the biggest bookly bash on the Southern California calendar isn't at all akin to revealing a favorite novel's main plot point; heck, everyone knows it is huge. It has been around for two decades, had a few locations — USC Campus is again the spot — and writers like Meghan Daum, Sarah Dessen, Malcolm Gladwell, and Ransom Riggs will all be in attendance. Panels are plentiful, booksellers are as numerous as the pages in a fat tome, and bibliophiles'll be toting tote bags in impressive numbers on Saturday, April 18 and Sunday, April 19.

Star Wars Celebration: Four days full of Force and things to do with The Force, like star sightings, big reveals, small reveals, J.J. Abrams, Kathleen Kennedy, Carrie Fisher, Peter Mayhew, group photos, and merch? Much merch? The cosmic magic is overflowing at the Anaheim Convention Center. Cosplaying, autograph obtaining, pin trading, and all of the quintessential -ings you find at a large pop culture convention will happen yes. Dates? Say it with us in your best Yodaese: Be there April 16 through 19, you will.

National Picnic Day: You can spread a blanket out anywhere, pretty much, on Saturday, April 18, to mark the holiday that celebrates outdoor, on-the-ground, easy-breezy bite-enjoying. But if you make for Grand Park, you'll find a park-big picnic, full of hundreds of SoCalers. Live tunes and food trucks — in case you forget your grub — shall be nearby, but the focus of the day is just enjoying friends and noshing. You supply the supping materials for your crew, blanket, sammies, and so forth, but that's it: It's free, apart from the food trucks. Oh: Recipes shall be shared, too, in case you want to improve upon future picnics.

Earth Day: National Park Week is juuuust kicking off and with it? Two free days at parks that normally charge get-in-the-gate fees. So go Yosemite, go Joshua Tree, just go go go on April 18 and 19. The LA Zoo is throwing a Party for the Planet on both of those days — regular admission gets you in — and Santa Barbara, one of the cities most associated with the start of the 45-year-old eco-nice holiday, throws its big weekend-long Alameda Park festival. Show on your bike, is you can.

Brokechella: Even if something starts as an alternative-style event, other alts will pop up in its ever-growing wake, if it continues to grow. Look to the Coachella Music and Arts Festival, which inspired several other -chellas including Brokechella, the downtown LA, cheapo — or more cheap, at least — music party. It's all day long on Saturday, April 18, it costs twenty bucks, and there's a side thing called Puppychella. Oh, and yes; Coachella continues into its second weekend from April 17-19.

Photo Credit: LA Times Festival of Books]]>
<![CDATA[ Ben & Jerry's, Craft Brewer Team Up for Ice Cream-Flavored Beer]]> Thu, 16 Apr 2015 11:51:39 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/193*120/benjerrybeer1.jpg

If you have a taste for beer and ice cream, you might like Ben & Jerry's latest offering.

This fall, Vermont's Ben & Jerry's and New Belgium Brewing out of Colorado will begin selling a special release beer called Salted Caramel Brownie Brown Ale. It's described as a brown ale laden with chocolatey, salted caramel, vanilla goodness. 

The brew will come in 22 ounce bottles and contain 6.3 percent alcohol.

"We’re big fans of New Belgium Brewery, their values, and their fun culture, and of course their beer," said Jay Curley, senior global marketing manager of Ben & Jerry’s. "We’re excited for the campaign we’ve developed together."

Some of the proceeds from sales of the beer will go to an environmental group fighting the effect of climate change on mountains. More details will be released later this year.

Photo Credit: New Belgium Brewing]]>
<![CDATA[World-Record Attempt: DC Costume-Wearing Fans]]> Thu, 16 Apr 2015 10:26:46 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/supermancostume87935079.jpg

We're fairly certain that the trusty dry-cleaning establishments of Gotham keep busy steaming and spiffying superhero outfits, what with all of the flying and rescuing and leaping and bounding superheroes tend to do.

But dry cleaners around Southern California are likely feeling the heat, too, what with Wondercon Anaheim in our rearview mirror and Comic-Con International coming up and all. Superhero togs donned by SoCalers are seeing some heavy usage these days, as sure as the Penguin and the Joker love to plot plotty plots.

That costume usage will grow, leaps/bounds-style, on Saturday, April 18, at Hollywood and Highland. There's a world-record attempt afoot -- you probably guessed that Guinness overseeing it -- and, like the best superhero capers, it involves the whole globe.

Warner Bros. and DC Entertainment are teaming up to stage the largest DC superhero costume happening ever, a happening that involves over a dozen cities, from Cardiff to Mexico City to Manila. Los Angeles will bring up the rear on April 18 when fans dressed as superheroes gather in Tinseltown to push the record attempt to the top.

There are a few things to know if you plan to join, like you'll need to dress as a DC superhero "from head to toe."

So no mere Batman t-shirts'll do here. And you can't just throw on your shiny Wonder Woman cuffs and call your look complete. You need the cape, the chestplate, the headwear, the everything. Which you already have, yes? This being the Land o' Pop Culture Conventions, and all. "(I)nteractive games and activities" built around the DC superhero adventures are part of the day's celebrations, as well as admiring the costumes of your co-fans.

The world-record attempt, by the by, is officially "the largest gathering of people" dressed as the DC dream team within a 24-hour period at points around the planet. That sounds appropriately big.

It all goes down from 10 a.m. to noon on the 18th. But our only question is this: Will the costumed characters of Hollywood Boulevard, specifically the DC characters, stop posing for photos and join in at Hollywood and Highland? 

If you don't see them on Saturday morning on the Walk of Fame, chances they're helping set a world record.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Yoga Day at Dodger Stadium]]> Thu, 16 Apr 2015 07:47:22 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/247*120/yogadodgers123.jpg

A baseball that descends from the sky pretty quickly can be correctly described as heading "downward," and there've been a few of those in Dodger Stadium, as in all stadiums.

And the ever-popular Pups at the Park Day has brought out many a dog, some rocking Dodger blue, to the ballpark over the years.

But downward dog, as in the elegant, back-opening yoga pose, has been seen far less through the decades at the Elysian Park landmark. Oh, some players might strike the much-praised, often-enacted pose backstage, to get the shoulders limber before the big game, and outfielder Andre Ethier led a yoga workshop for 100 or so people back in 2009.

That will change, however, when a thousand people hold mountain pose and savor Savasana on the field of Dodger Stadium on Sunday, May 17. Following the Rockies game, instructor Mia Togo of Yogaworks will lead baseball fans through bridge poses and beyond, covering a gamut of good-feeling moves for every level of yoga practitioner.

Translation: If you've been wanting to try yoga but never have, you are most welcome to join Yoga Day at Dodger Stadium.

A good-to-know tidbit: This is a separate ticket, at fifty to seventy seven bucks, and it includes a Dodger yoga mat and entry to the game as well. Also good to know: Personal mats "will not be allowed on the field or in the stadium." So you gotta roll without your roll just this once.

Tickets are described as limited, which is no surprise; this is only the second time in its history that the Dodger organization has hosted a yoga event, and one of this scale.

It makes sense, however, given the number of athletes turning to the practice as part of their pre-game, stretch-it-out, feel-good routines.

Photo Credit: Dodgers/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Going #Nochella: X Photos, Brokechella, Music Shop Fun...]]> Wed, 15 Apr 2015 19:52:11 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/242*120/xphotoexhibit1231.jpg

It's only slightly surprising that those annual baby name lists, the ones that report on the trendiness of certain infant names, haven't yet spotlight monikers ending in -chella for babies born in Southern California around the middle of April.

For many a happening has now been -chella'd, including the stance of no happening at all: #nochella. Call it the rise and rise of the "I'm not at Coachella" hashtag, a quippy wink for all the stay-in-towners.

But it isn't as if the #nochella crew is not enjoying music and music-related things. The middle portion of the fourth month blossoms, like so many geraniums, with great tune-listening, tune-seeing opportunities.

Well, like every week of every year around LA does, truly; there's never a dry run, but just because one of the world's most talked-about music festivals has pulled many a fan and artist to the desert doesn't mean a hush has fallen over the City of Angels. Need your music goodness, #nochella crowd? Then look to...

THE DARKROOM: The Melrose photog-central spot has been putting up some fine exhibits detailing big musicians, and one of the seminal bands of LA's music-making bigness is next up on the walls: X. True, the punk push-forwarders influenced artists the globe over, but the band was born here in LA. See Michael Hyatt's top-notch photos, drink drinks named after the band's songs, and soak in the scene on Thursday, April 16. And on Saturday, April 18? There's a punk-homaging "New Orleans-style memorial procession paying tribute to punk icons of times past." Be there at 4:30 p.m.

BROKECHELLA: We'd never say anything had gotten too big for its britches (because, truly, the size of anyone or anything's britches is their own business). Let's call this downtown alternative to the desert festival nicely sized and growing at a sensible speed. The live tunes are not all that sensible, and thank goodness -- artistic freedom and occasional outlandishness reign. Yay that. Also yay: It's twenty bucks. Also yay: It hosts something called #Puppychella. Saturday, April 18

RECORD STORE DAY: And Saturday, April 18 happens to be Record Store Day. Nope, there are no record stores out on the Empire Polo grounds, or at least brick-and-mortar stores, though the desert has a few most excellent shops. So if you want your vinyl you can stick around town, #nochella observers, and help out some mom-and-pop people, too. Special deals and such await.

Photo Credit: Michael Hyatt]]>
<![CDATA["Lincoln and the Jews": Exhibit Explores President's Push for Equality ]]> Wed, 15 Apr 2015 09:09:47 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/LincolnsLastHoursCROPPED.jpg

Books, museums and movies examining Abraham Lincoln's legacy have long focused on his role in emancipating American slaves in 1863.

But now, one new exhibit is highlighting the 16th president's commitment to fostering equality and acceptance for the nation's Jewish community. 

“Lincoln and the Jews," staged by The New York Historical Society to mark the 150th anniversary of the end of the Civil War and Lincoln’s assassination, documents Lincoln’s relationship with Jews and details the expansion of the Jewish population in America, which coincided with the famed leader's emergence onto the national political stage.

The number of Jews living in the U.S. grew from just 3,000 when Lincoln was born in 1809 to more than 150,000 at the time of his assassination in 1965, according to "Lincoln and the Jews: A History," the 2015 book that inspired the exhibit. While many in America treated the Jewish community as "second-class citizens and religious outsiders" in the face of the demographic shift, the book argues, Lincoln "exhibited precisely the opposite tendency." 

“When we think of Lincoln's embrace of humanity writ large we tend to think of his advocacy of freedom for African Americans, and his friendship with Frederick Douglass,” Dr. Louise Mirrer, president and CEO of the New-York Historical Society, said. “But this exhibition shows that Lincoln's embrace included American Jews in the face of extreme anti-Semitism."

The exhibit, a collaboration with The Shapell Manuscript Foundation, opens with a wall quote by Lincoln, who in a public letter dated May 17, 1855 protests restrictions on immigration.

“I have some little notoriety for commiserating with the oppressed condition of the negro; and I should be strangely inconsistent if I could favor curtailing the existing rights of white men, even though born in different lands, and speaking different languages from myself," he wrote.

Personal and signed letters, portraits, paintings and artifacts bring to life Lincoln's stories.

One such personal letter is from Lincoln to Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton, dated Nov. 4, 1862.

In the letter, Lincoln notes to Stanton, “I believe we have not yet appointed a Hebrew" and informs him that he is appointing C.M. Levy – the son-in-law of Rabbi Morris Raphall of Congregation B’nai Jeshurun, a well-known Orthodox Jew in New York – “Assistant Quarter Master, with the rank of Captain." Lincoln describes the candidate as “a capable and faithful man.”

Lincoln’s Jewish friends, including Julius Hammerslough, Henry Greenbaum and Abraham Jonas, are also profiled as patrons throughout the exhibit. In one letter, the president calls Jonas, a Jewish lawyer whom Lincoln met in 1843, "one of my most valued friends.”

Grace Oh, a junior at Roslyn High School who was exploring the exhibit as an extra credit assignment," said she found the relationships highlighted in the exhibit enlightening.

“It’s not talked about as much,” she said. "I never knew that Lincoln was [as] supportive of Jews."

While Civil-War savvy visitors may be familiar with Lincoln’s Jewish friendships, Mirrer said, she’s not surprised to hear those reactions. In fact, that's part of the exhibit's goal. 

“I would also hope that by recalling, as this exhibition does, Lincoln—whose assassination shattered the nation's spirit at the very moment it began to taste victory and the return of peace—visitors will be reminded of the causes for which Lincoln lived and died, and by which his countrymen should live henceforth,” she said.

The exhibit runs in New York through June 7 before traveling to the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum in Springfield, Illinois.

Photo Credit: Chicago History Museum, ICHI-524]]>
<![CDATA[Vinyl Vibes: Record Store Day]]> Wed, 15 Apr 2015 07:40:00 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/gettyvinyl123.jpg

It can feel trickier, nowadays, to link up place and sound, at least in our minds. For the place where we get a lot of our music is from our computer, or smartphone, meaning many people no longer associate the first time a song is heard with where they were.

But fans who repeatedly visit record stores remember just where they were when they bought Paul's Boutique or Abbey Road or Blondie's Plastic Letters. They were in the aisle near the poster bin or previewing the platter via a pair of bulky headphones at the shop's counter.

Record Store Day, which spins again on Saturday, April 18, is as much about the importance of place and regular visits and knowing your music purveyors as your favorite bands and great deals. Nostalgic? Maybe a bit, but consider that our record stores are not long gone, nor are they relics of a different decade: They thrive thanks to strong community and a funky, welcoming spirit.

So if you like classical, psychedelic rock, trip-hop, family sing-along albums, or the kind of music that isn't readily explained -- "it's kind of singer-songwriter-y, with a dash of disco and Big Band -- then find your local shop and say hello on April 18.

Special releases are in store during the day, which covers a swath of stores across the United States. As for shops in Southern California? Look for Third Eye in Long Beach, Vacation Vinyl in Los Angeles, and Burger Records in Fullerton to be in the giveaways-fun timez-let's party swing of things.

Dave Grohl, by the by, is Record Store Day Ambassador. Do you need to even know more? This, as the kids say, is everything.

And, nope, you don't need an old-school phonograph or even a love of vinyl to stop by the shop on your local Main Street. The beauty of record store devotion is that bumper stickers, pins, posters, and the random this-and-that of music fandom can be found in plenitude.

Alongside, of course, the camaraderie of the staff, their smarts and willingness to make recommendations. It's the location aspect, the remembering where you first purchased a favorite album, that's pretty meaningful here. How many physical spots can we tie happy memories to in our day-to-day? The record shop ranks pretty high, for many, in this category.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Tax Day Freebies and Discounts]]> Wed, 15 Apr 2015 13:28:27 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/AP0910251102942.jpg

Wednesday is the deadline for filing income tax returns, a day long associated with the dread of rushing to fill out complicated forms and, perhaps, making a payment to Uncle Sam.

But don't let Tax Day get your down. There are a number of freebies you can cash in on.

The most practical of all tax season freebies is the IRS' Free File program, which allows those who have an adjusted gross income of $58,000 or less to file for free through the agency's website.

Once you have Uncle Sam squared away, you can reward yourself with some Tax Day freebies:

Office Depot is offering two pounds of free document shredding. Staples will do the same for up to five pounds of documents.

Meanwhile, the stressed and the overworked can claim a free massage at participating Hydromassage locations.

Now that you have worked up an appetite, you can enjoy one -- or all -- of the following food freebies:

Boston Market: Buy One Individual Meal and Get One Individual Meal FREE

Bruegger’s Bagels: Big Bagel Bundles are just $10.40 – a $3.50 deduction.

California Tortilla: Free Chips and Quesos.

Great American Cookie: Free Regular Sugar Cookie.

Hard Rock Cafe: Free meal for tax paying singers.

KFC: FREE red velvet cake with the purchase of a 10-piece (or larger) family meal.

McDonald’s: Buy one Big Mac or Quarter Pounder with Cheese and get one for a penny.

Pizza Hut: Visit pizzareturn.com for a chance to win Pizza Hut gift cards.

Schlotzsky’s: One free small The Original sandwich with the purchase of a 32 oz. drink and a bag of chips.

If you want to use your refund to get away from it all (well, maybe just away from your house if you live in D.C.), some area hotels are offering discounts and freebies for Tax Day.

Marriott: Anyone who books a room on marriott.com can get 25 percent off the chain's best weekend rate for hotels in Washington, D.C. and Arlington from May 2 until Sept. 8.

Kimpton: You will get "The Procrastinator" cocktail for free at Kimpton's 12 hotels in D.C., Alexandria and Baltimore if you can show that you've sent in your taxes.

Photo Credit: AP
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<![CDATA[Puppets and Participation: A "Muppet Movie" Sing-Along]]> Tue, 14 Apr 2015 21:29:29 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/211*120/kermit_11.jpg

Maybe we'll never know why there are so many songs about rainbows. Sigh.

But we no longer have to wonder when somebody will develop a "Rocky Horror Picture Show"-style participatory screening for "The Muppet Movie," an equally colorful also-from-the-'70s flick that deserves the talk-back treatment.

Leave it to puppet artist Heather Henson to right that oversight and create the involved sort of screening her father, Jim Henson, would have likely been tickled by, being a man who was famously tickled by much (and who so easily tickled millions of funny bones in return).

Ms. Henson'll screen "The Muppet Movie" at the Arcadia Performing Arts Center on Saturday, May 16, and if you want to sing with Kermit, call out lines, dress as Sweetums or Dr. Teeth, you 100% can.

The "Rocky Horror" comparison is no stretch; Ms. Henson uses the campy cult favorite as a giddy guideline for how audiences are invited to act at her puppet-y screenings.

Oh yes, the puppets: "(P)uppetry, kiting, and shadow acting" will also play a part at the matinee screening, so not only will you see amazing puppet action on the screen, but you'll see it live, in the theater, as well.

We mean... Isn't this really how you wanted to see it, when you saw it as a kid? You wanted to be inside the film, road-tripping with Fozzie and Gonzo and Piggy? The Muppet-themed birthday party your parents threw you afterward was amazing, but probably didn't quite scratch that singing-along, puppets-in-the-house, dancing vibe you sought.

Ms. Henson, who also stages "Labyrinth" Sing-Alongs — oh please, let's have one of those around SoCal soon — says this: "Sing Alongs allow me to connect with the work of my father. I can work with my Dad's material. I can put a new spin on it but it's still his stuff, intact. And it gives me the opportunity to watch them over and over again!"

Connecting with a legendary and lovely man's work in a fresh and family-sweet way is connection of the rainbowiest variety. Inviting a bunch of people, bigs and smalls, to spend an afternoon singing and acting along is the whipped cream and cherry on top.

Photo Credit: Jim Henson Legacy]]>
<![CDATA[Ben & Jerry's: It's Free Cone Day, People]]> Tue, 14 Apr 2015 12:16:17 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/160*120/benandjerrys+ice+cream.jpg

Every SoCaler welcomes May Gray and June Gloom, for both times of the year deliver a cooler, foggier respite, a respite that is welcome ahead of the sun-blastier days of July through October.

We even like the morning murk when it arrives early, in April, now and then, just to show it is on the way. Except for a particular day, April 14, which is known throughout ice cream circles as Free Cone Day.

Nope, that certainly does not mean one can get a free ice cream cone wherever they ask for one, but if you strut into a participating Ben & Jerry's on Tuesday, April 14, you'll walk out with a gratis, lickable, Vermont-style cold treat.

Well, "strut into" is a little optimistic. Free Cone Day inspires the queues, so bring a friend to chat with, a book, or a crossword puzzle. Or maybe your phone? You'll probably have that on you, we imagine. Not a controversial guess.

It starts at noon and wraps at 8 p.m. and it is thrown by the longtime ice cream makers as a way of telling fans thanks and "spreading the peace, love & ice cream around the globe!"

Is there a hashtag? There is, and it is neither too complicated nor baroque: #FreeConeDay is what you'll want to 'gram, 'book, 'witter, and so forth. (Again, you'll probably have your phone with you as you wait in line.)

As for the top flavor choice, as listed on the Ben & Jerry's site, for Free Cone Day? Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, which has a very strong showing at 47 percent. But moan not, Cherry Garcia enthusiasts: Your go-to flavor is a favorite, too.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Absinthe Night at the Culver Hotel]]> Tue, 14 Apr 2015 08:14:05 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/180*120/Absinthe_78605954.jpg

'Tis the season for greeny grub and greeny drinks and greeny spices and greeny herbs. Chefs turn to leafier foods, the ones that lend a dish that bright, earthy flavor of the season, and bartenders study their shelves for the greenest of potions.

For sure, certain melon liqueurs are green, and Chartreuse, too, but only one fabled libation has its own colorful spokesperson. Er, make that a spokesfairy: The Green Fairy, the longtime, winged, slightly wicked representative for absinthe, seen on labels, in books, and poems aplenty.

But absinthe isn't just the heady, fairy-endorsed stuff of centuries gone by, a long-past sip once enjoyed by the writers and painters of Paris: It is still enjoyed and pondered and ode'ed, as it will be again on Thursday, April 16 in Culver City.

At the Culver Hotel, of course, if you're wondering where. Sipping a mysterious green drink calls for a storied setting, and let us not forget that the Culver Hotel is where all of those actors stayed, back in 1938, when they were making a fantasy movie all about reaching The Emerald City.

Emerald City, absinthe... No wonder the April 16 party is called The Green Hour.

Pernod will be on hand, pouring the spring-hued sips. Look for a cocktail called The Green Beast as well as the absinthe drip (the rather elaborate way absinthe reaches a glass, beautiful to watch and always involving a few steps, but never a straight pour).

Live tunes, magical happenings, giveaways, and a possible Green Fairy sighting could go down, or up -- fairies go up, yes? -- from 6 to 9 p.m. that night.

And, nope, you don't need to wear your Emerald City garb to get in. Those MGM costumes for "The Wizard of Oz" were elaborate, and many of us don't have time, nor the energy, to Wizard-up after work. 

Wearing something green and fresh and springlike? And maybe a pair of glittery wings? That's the way to get your poet on, for that most poetic of storied spirits.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Sips and Savings: Tax Day Tavern Deals]]> Mon, 13 Apr 2015 22:33:39 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/219*120/coins5.jpg

People who eat out or drink out on the regular are known to do many things while at a table or perched upon a bar-stool: Check their team's stats, text their best buds, doodle on cocktail napkins, play with the sugar packets.

But doing our taxes? Nope. That's a home thing, requiring files of receipts and boxes of paperwork. And we don't want to get ketchup on any official forms.

Going out for some grub, or a beverage, following your official annual filing, though, is a time-honored, time-specific tradition. A tradition that can score you a discount, depending on where you go, as you head home, by way of a place for dinner, from the post office.

Follow your tax filing to these Southern California tax-day-deal spots, and, of course, line up your ride home ahead of time, too. Like planning for Tax Day, planning your lift later in the evening makes sense.

The Bars of the 1933 Group: Make for Bigfoot Lodge, Sassafras, The Thirsty Crow, and more of the group's vintage-styled taverns for one-buck beverages on April 15. The specially designated drinks are available for a few hours around happy hour and include, depending on the bar a Pisco Punch, some Old Fashioneds, and other elegant libations.

The District by Hannah An: Ever sipped a 1040EZ? The West Third restaurant'll be serving them up for ten cents -- that is, when they're bought alongside a regularly priced cocktail. So invite a friend. If you post on social media about your visit to the eatery, you'll get a "complimentary small bite," too -- think "flavors of Vietnam."

Bacaro LA and Bacari PDR: If you're going out to eat on the Westside or near USC, and would like your restaurant to pick up the tax, look over here: Both spots shall be doing just that on April 15 during happy hour and the serving of supper. 

The Bar at Culina: If you're roundabout Beverly Hills way on Tax Night, swing by the Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills for the All-Night Crudo Hour. The recently launched Crudo Hour will see a few additional hours added on in honor of April 15, including six-buck crudo (think small plates featuring salmon and halibut) and seven-dollar cocktails and carafes.

Dog Haus: Ever wanted a Dog Haus Koozie? And a Tall Boy PBR to go inside it? The fancy frankfurter boutique chain is offering just that for a buck for April 15 diners (note: Only at the Dog Haus locations that serve brew). Purchase a regularly priced corn dog or bacon-y Downtown Dog to wash it all down -- er, we think that goes the other way, rather -- and you can call your Tax Day concluded.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[New Walkable Itinerary: No Car, All Culver]]> Mon, 13 Apr 2015 13:10:29 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/214*120/culverhotelbynightcarfree.jpg

SoCalers are a famously centered people, or so pop culture tells us, what with our alleged navel-gazery and looking-within ways. 

Which means we'd never guffaw in anyone's face -- we're too holistically minded for such snarky behavior -- if anyone were to claim that A) LA will always be a car city and B) our megalopolis possesses zero-zilcho small-town charm.

A) Not correct and B) wrongo. Look to Discover Los Angeles and the many car-free itineraries the organization has developed since unveiling the free, everybody-use-this program called Car Free LA in 2013.

It was Earth Day 2013, in fact, when the hey-everybody-please-walk-Metro-bike itinerary program was first revealed, and there've been multiple reveals since. Car-free day-outs in San Pedro, Hollywood, and Marina del Rey dot the program's nicely robust HQ page.

The next reveal? It's Culver City, and just in time for Earth Day 2015. The newest of the no-auto-required itineraries gives the local love to such time-tested stalwarts as The Culver Hotel, Honey's Kettle, the Helms Bakery District, and Sony Pictures Studios, as well as newer gems like The Wallace and Cognoscenti Coffee. 

Oh, and hello, Museum of Jurassic Technology. You and your mysterious, merry ways made the cut, too. May everyone get to know the Deprong Mori, an example we won't fully explain so the curious will seek it out behind your heavy and slightly foreboding front door.

You don't need to do everything on the list, dear urban explorers. Picking and choosing is fine. And while the itinerary is gratis, you'll need cash if you want coffee, fried chicken, a tour at Sony, and such. And a Metro card or coinage, if you go Metro.

We're still not guffawing, in anyone's face, but, really, when will people get off the whole "you guys drive a lot ha ha?" thing? Yes, LA has quite the car culture, and a pretty extraordinary one at that, but claiming that the city's many cultural gifts cannot be accessed in ways beyond the automotive is to admit you don't know LA from a hill of skyscrapers.

Okay, maybe we will guffaw, a little. A centered society does have a funny bone, right? Of course.

Also, props to you, Discover Los Angeles. Don't let anyone very say you're but a bureau reserved solely for visitors. What would adventuresome locals do without you and your make-our-lives-easier ways?

Photo Credit: Culver Hotel]]>
<![CDATA[Party for the Planet at LA Zoo]]> Mon, 13 Apr 2015 10:09:45 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/GL-Bearzoola.jpg

Do we greet every prowl-about neighborhood cat and every flitting-by butterfly with the knowledge that there, before us, goes a co-earthling?

Not always. We can be running to our car or looking at our phone or living way up in our head. But the creatures around us share our main address, the one that comes after the street and city and zip code: Planet Earth.

The Los Angeles Zoo pauses to both celebrate our home base's yearly bash -- hello, Earth Day -- and remind everyone that all chirping, mewling, chittering, squawking creatures share our air, our land, our water and our ultimate destiny.

The two-day party, which flaps its wings over the Griffith Park destination, raises the environment-sweet call on Saturday, April 18, and Sunday, April 19. The focuses of the weekend-long happening are "animal conservation and preservation, sustainable living for humans, recycling and how to make the Earth a better place to live."

While all earthlings are included in the spirit of those goals, a few feathery, furry superstars'll get the Earth Day spotlight during this globe-celebrating go-around: The California condor gets its own station, a station "that illustrates the Zoo's critical efforts to bring the largest bird in North America back from the brink of extinction and how we can help by cleaning up microtrash." 

Desert tortoises, native vegetation, bats, the survival adaptions of animals and what we put in the ground, liquid-wise, will also get attention from keepers and visitors during the Earth Weekend.

Zoo admission covers you on this planet-loving adventure.

But will you, upon leaving the animal park, greet all cats and butterflies you see in the days to come as your co-passengers on this planetary ship? Well, we're pretty sure cats are cool whether we physically tip our hats to them or not, but keeping our other earthlings in mind, large and eensy, is right and good, whether it is Earth Day or any of the other days.

Photo Credit: Jamie Pham]]>
<![CDATA["Star Wars: Invasion Los Angeles" Goes Viral]]> Sun, 12 Apr 2015 13:07:56 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/starwarskaipojones.jpg

Any true fan of an iconic pop culture property is bound to get stoked over a small bit of information, a new photo or some casting news. 

This is right and good and one of the tenets of the fandom universe: If something to do with your most favorite thing ever pops up, and it's fun and interesting, your fan fires are stoked.

With this in mind, we're sure the legions of "Star Wars" devotees heading into Anaheim this week for the four-day-big Star Wars Celebration are feeling the Force, fully, over the new, going-everywhere video from filmmaking merrymakers Kaipotainment.

What is "Star Wars: Invasion Los Angeles," exactly? Oh, just a fleet of different vehicles originating from deep within the cosmos calling upon Santa Monica Pier, Walt Disney Concert Hall and the Queen Mary.

Sunbathers enjoying the beach don't normally want to see a TIE Fighter zooming past -- we mean, like, Darth Vader could be piloting it -- but exceptions can be made for this well-made short video.

If you have to know how cineStarWars fan Kaipo Jones put the rather spectacular work together, there's a Behind the Scenes video, too. If you want to know where to see an AT-AT, well, we're fairly sure they've moved on from our shores. And thank goodness, too. A stunning sight, surely, but not one we want to tackle while we're trying to read our magazines on the beach.

Photo Credit: Kaipo Jones]]>
<![CDATA[Opening: Butterfly Pavilion at NHM]]> Fri, 10 Apr 2015 18:09:55 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/butterflyclose86196004.jpg

"Stop and smell the roses" is good, time-honored advice, but we'd also add "pause and admire the butterflies" to the all-important "seize life's moment" list as well.

For while a rose is absolutely lovely, it is sure to still be there when you stroll home from your walk. But a butterfly? It'll flit, it'll flap, and it'll likely be gone, having moved on to inspect a flower a street away.

The Natural History Museum's annual spring-into-summer treat, however, helps the whole "pause and admire the butterflies" plan so very much. There's a whole netted-in pavilion devoted to the insects -- a Butterfly Pavilion, in fact -- and visitors are welcome to linger and look up one of the wild world's most flittable, flyable, off-we-go creatures.

Butterfly Pavilion debuts on Sunday, April 12, and it is open daily through Sept. 7. "More than 30 native North American butterfly species and an array of plants" are on view, a view that can be enjoyed with a special general museum admission + Butterfly Pavilion admission ticket. "(T)he Butterfly Pavilion sells out daily," says NHM, so plotting your pause -- the all-important pause of standing still and watching the butterflies -- is essential in advance.

As for the beauties making the Pavilion their warm-weather pad for 2015? Look for Monarchs, Buckeyes, and the mysteriously monikered Mourning Cloaks. Two thirds of the Butterfly Pavilion residents are Golden State natives, while ten of the wing-pretty insects hail from sub-tropical areas.

Staffers are on-hand -- or on-wing? -- to explain all and make your moment with the zig-zaggiest of airborne beasties interesting and educational, both. The plants, by the by, will grow a lot over the season, and caterpillars will be presented and accounted for.

Caterpillars! Fuzzy amazingness right there.

For more backstory on butterflyana, flutter this way. And while the Butterfly Pavilion does make it easier to pause and admire, one should never pass up eyeing a Monarch as it passes through a backyard. True, it's probably only there for a blip, but what a very beautiful blip it is, indeed.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Anaheim Con Preps for Biggest Star Wars Photo]]> Sat, 11 Apr 2015 13:25:04 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Star-Wars-Celebration-Death-Star.jpg

Remember when you were just a tot and some other kid at the school Halloween party wore the exact same plastic superhero costume as you? Which made you two twinsies? And you were beyond thrilled?

That twinsies excitement passes as we grow older -- no one likes to arrive at a party wearing the same mint green taffeta gown as someone else -- but then, suddenly, one day, you really want to see several other people rocking the exact same Han Solo outfit as you.

Like twenty Han Solos, all together, if such a wonderful thing were possible.

The twinsie feeling shall be high at the mega Star Wars Celebration, which lands its Alderaan Cruiser at the Anaheim Convention Center from Thursday, April 16 through Sunday, April 19. 

The huge fan convention will boast plentiful panels, star sightings, and such, but costume lovers will want to prepare, hard, for The All-Star Wars Costume Group Photo. Prepare as intensely as Luke honed his Force-attracting capabilities under Yoda's tutelage.

You can see what a giant Star Wars group photo looks like from photos snapped at past Star Wars Celebrations.

Take a look at the example above. Are there many Stormtroopers in attendance? Many. How about Red Guards? Yup, they're there. And is that a Wampa in that back? Oh wow, it really, really is. Cheers to you, unseen person who took that furry challenge on.

So what's to know? You need to be a convention attendee to participate, so just don't show up in your Tauntaun costume outside, wanting to join, without registering first.

If you are attending the convention, you'll need to be there on Thursday, April 16 for the 1 p.m. photo. That said, arriving at 12:45 is key, what with organizing all of the rebel faction and royalty, which, we imagine, is more challenging than lining up a family holiday photo. Because Wampas, right?

The place? The Grand Plaza area. Find it in front of the Anaheim Convention Center.

Your costume? Think "...Mandalorian Mercs, Saber Guilds, Dark Empire," and so forth. But who will go as the oboist for the Cantina Band? Someone should. Wait, though... was that an oboe that alien was playing? Or some odd intergalactic instrument? Either way, fans looking for costume ideas, please consider that guy.

Also, Jawas. Also, C-3PO, which truly seems the hardest of looks to pull off (with all respect, dear Wampas of the world). 

As Yoda would say, "you choose be it, whatever Star Wars character." 

Photo Credit: Star Wars Celebration]]>
<![CDATA[Opening: Bowlero Mar Vista]]> Fri, 10 Apr 2015 09:13:50 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/bowleromarvista.jpg

Looking to our recreational pursuits to be more than recreational pursuits puts a lot of pressure on said recreational pursuits, but bowling, above all pleasant pastimes, delivers on several fronts.

To prove our point, let's look to the brand-new Bowlero Mar Vista, which makes its grand debut on Friday, April 10. Bowlero is indeed inside that beloved rock-covered building that once housed AMF Mar Vista Lanes and, yes, the place got gussied up with a retro renovation.

So how is bowling more than a straight-up recreational pursuit? 

1. You feel like you're having a full-on night out, thanks to Bowlero's deep banquettes, lanes lit in glow-blue, and all of the mid-century-esque touches one longs for in a bowling alley but doesn't always get. 

2. The food goes beyond the mini chip bag, venturing into updated takes on comfort eats and apps aplenty. Are there fancy-pants cocktails? There are. Will you wish to use the bumpers along your lane after sipping one? That's up to you. Think portions as sizable as the Lone Star State (which also serves as a fine segue to reveal that Bowlero has three outposts in Texas, with its first outside-of-Texas location being Mar Vista). Oh, there's a five-pound burger situation going on, too. We'd be remiss not to mention it.

3. You can feel like you're in a movie, specifically the "The Big Lebowski," a cult favorite that must always be referenced when one is inside any bowling alley anywhere. A side note, though: Some fans of the film have believed that the AMF Mar Vista Lanes served as a setting in the Coen Brothers' 1997 crime-comedy, but it was actually Hollywood Star Lanes in Santa Monica, which is now gone. #themoreyouknow #butyouknewthatalready

4. You can pretend you're at a pool: The lanes not only look like the swim lanes, but there are pool-type loungers on the wall to up the effect.

5. You can thrill to being inside a building that's weathered some years. The AMF Mar Vista opened in 1960, and many a local wished to see the structure live on as a vibrant, people-drawing place while some fretted over its future (the bowling alley, which shuttered in 2014 for the full-scale overhaul, sent out a note to its fans on the topic). Armet & Davis, the firm behind many iconic SoCal places, had given the bowling alley its look, but a lack of renovations over the years meant a rethink, a redo and, ultimately, a renovation.

So Bowlero, you've got history on your side, and local lore, too. It's a bowling alley where so many Angelenos spent so many summers over so many decades. Just keep the vibes flowing and the strikes coming.

Photo Credit: Bowlero]]>
<![CDATA[Slurpee BYO Day: You Bring the Cup]]> Thu, 09 Apr 2015 23:12:54 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/slurpeeEDIT.jpg

Don't even fib or tell tales or change the subject: We know that you, like everyone ever, owns a favorite cup or glass that is the best drinking/milkshake/milk-and-cookies cup in the world but has, let's be honest, seen better days.

Maybe it has cartoon characters on it, maybe the dishwasher partially ate it, but no matter: It's the most supreme liquid holder ever. 

You'll want to polish that thing up, if preparing it for public view is even possible, and head for a 7-Eleven on Saturday, April 11. The convenience store supercompany is throwing its very first BYO Cup Day on that date, and if you ponder for half a second, we bet you can figure out what sort of liquid refreshment shall be going in those cups at area 7-Eleven stores.

Did you guess "Slurpees"? You are for sure right. The frozen fruitastic brain-cooling sweltering-summer-day-bettering beverage is the 88-year-old chain's most well-known product, a drink that's seen a rainbow of flavors over the decades and the increasing of cup sizes, too.

But if you want to go bigger -- much bigger -- than the available cups sizes for your BYOCup Slurpee on April 11? That's your choice. If you want to go far smaller, and put a dainty ounce or two in the flowery teacup your grandmother gave you? Do it. 

Either way, the price'll roll in at a buck forty nine, which is the "average cost of a medium Slurpee drink."

Just be there with your dollar and change between 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. at a participating 7-Eleven on April 11. And remember your favorite cup or mug or the lumpy vase you made for your mom in the third grade. 

For sure, some cups will be on the very very VERY large size, if they can be deemed to be "cups" at all. We will raise an eyebrow, though, if some jokester shows up carrying a kid-sized plastic backyard pool.

Like the Death Star was no moon, a giant plastic kid pool is no cup, people. 

Ultimately, though, there's no judging what cups we love in this life, be they slightly mangled or time-tested or faded. But let's just put this out there right now: We can all agree that any Slurpee that is cherry-flavored, in any combination with any other fruit, is the best Slurpee.

Ohhh, fighting words, we know. Slurpeople -- which are Slurpee fans, of course -- have their must-have flavors and that is that. Understood.

Variety keeps the world interesting, and a beloved mug or cup is a choice way to enjoy an iconic, straight-from-childhood drink on a nice spring afternoon.

Photo Credit: 7-Eleven]]>
<![CDATA[Marina del Rey at 50: Tunes, Tall Ships, Fireworks]]> Thu, 09 Apr 2015 15:58:42 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/marinadelreywater12345.jpg

It's a true fact of life that we all have those terrific friends who deserve some celebrating when their big life events roll around, but they're too humble and busy doing their thing. So we step in to plan the party.

Great towns are like those great friends. A city isn't going to throw itself a party, but city fans can, and should, if the place has meant a lot to them over the years.

Marina del Rey is one such burg. It's marking its 50th Anniversary in 2015, and the people who call its mid-century-esque buildings and photo-ready boats home are ready to live it up in honor of their Pacific-pretty municipality.

One day just won't do for MdR's big half-century bash, so activities'll roll out from Friday, April 10, through Sunday, April 12. Look for tall ships to be paying tribute to the town all three days (with tours, cannon battles and other showy doings), and look for deals at local businesses like Marty the Pelican and Foghorn Harbor Inn all weekend long. The recently redone Marina del Rey Hotel is in on the birthday fun, as is The Ritz-Carlton, Marina del Rey.

And starting it all off? A Three Dog Night concert on Friday, April 10, followed by fireworks. This is how friends fete a friend on their 50th: Bright lights and good tunes. 

Food trucks? They'll be around. A special 50th Anniversary cake? Look for the official ceremonious cake-cutting to happen at 6 p.m. on April 10.

And if you're anywhere in the vicinity of the beach communities 'round about 8:30 on April 10, you'll see some pyrotechnics over the Pacific, a sight normally reserved for Independence Day.

But a half-century birthday is a huge deal, especially for a town that was once eyed as a potential commercial harbor. Need to know more of Marina del Rey's fascinating backstory? Point your schooners in this direction, Marina mavens. 

Photo Credit: Marina del Rey]]>
<![CDATA[Weekend: Coachella Festival Opens]]> Thu, 09 Apr 2015 11:43:39 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/coachellainfrared485888677.jpg

Coachella Music and Arts Festival: Thousands of SoCalers'll make for the desert for three days -- scratch that, six days -- of huge bands and up-and-coming artists and glowing sculptures and trashcans that are artworks and a whole outlandish sound scene that is so well-documented on social media that even those Angelenos not in attendance feel as though they might have been there. First weekend? It's April 10 through 12, with a let's-do-it-all-again (with some different twists) second go from April 17 through 19. AC/DC, Jack White and Drake headline. You? You wear some sunblock and stay hydrated, okay? Okay.

The Great LA River CleanUp: Speaking of multiple weekend-y type happenings (segue alert), La Gran Limpieza, or large-scale river spiffy-up, is an annual springtime rite that right our urban waterway's wrongs in the form of a massive litter haul-out. Volunteer on one or all of three Saturdays -- April 11, 18, 25 -- and head for a different part of the LA River to remove bottles, tires and the weird random items that find their way downstream. It's good for the wildlife and it's good for us and it's good for the river, too. Win/win/win.

Marina del Rey's First Half Century: Just about every municipality does something for its centennial, be it a plaque, some stirring speeches, or a wreath hung at City Hall. But we like Marina del Rey's panache: The ocean-swank, boat-y beautiful burg is marking its first 50 years with fireworks and other convivial happenings. The date? Friday, April 10 through Sunday, April 12. Happy 50th, MdR!

Animals All Around: We're not quite sure what over 500 corgis on a single dog beach might look like, but we suspect it is a sight filled with bounding, barking, feet a-flyin' and much joy. Join the Corgi Nation at Huntington Dog Beach on Saturday, April 11 if you yourself are a lifelong corgist (your corgi is invited as well). If you need to do some shopping/learning/enjoying in the pet realm, you're in luck, animal aficionados: America's Family Pet Expo, which is just about one of the biggest pet conventions to be found anywhere, woofs/meows/chirps it up in Costa Mesa from April 10 through 12.

BYO Cup Day: If you're a Slurpee maven, you know the little tiny sadness behind that final slurp (and you know the final slurp makes just about the best sound, too, sluuuuuurp). But that final slurp may be delayed on Saturday, April 11, which happens to be 7-Eleven's first-ever Bring Your Own Cup Day. Pay a buck forty nine and show with whatever cup you want to put Slurpee into, and voila! You've got a superdupermondo Slurpee. Or you could bring a tiny teacup, too? It's up to you.

Photo Credit: a]]>
<![CDATA[On Sale: Last Remaining Seats Tickets]]> Thu, 09 Apr 2015 07:05:58 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/250*120/LRSSubcommitteeDouglasHill.jpg

The fact remains that that there is no law in this country that says that one must twirl, hands in the air and shining face raised high, as one enters a glorious old movie palace.

But, we mean, if you don't twirl like you're in some MGM musical circa 1952, then you really are denying the full experience of being in a glorious old movie palace, aren't you? Law or no law.

You can get your twirl on, six times in succession, via the LA Conservancy's Last Remaining Seats series. The annual early-summertime cinefeast does one thing and does it with panache: Lines up six great movies, vintage and less-vintage, in several of Southern California's most stunning historic cinemas, all with the point of raising funds for the preservation advocacy organization.

Tickets for the 2015 Last Remaining Seats series went on sale to the general public on Wednesday, April 8.

On tap for this year? "Psycho" eee-eee-eees at the Million Dollar Theatre on June 10 (eee-eee-eee being a vague approximation of Bernard Hermann's iconic score for the Hitchcock masterwork). "Raiders of the Lost Ark" closes out the series on Saturday, June 27, at The Theatre at Ace Hotel.

Wait, hold on. The Indiana Jones-fronted blockbuster actually da-da-da-daaaas at The Theatre at Ace Hotel (da-da-da-daaaa being a vague approximation of how the most famous bit of the film's John Williams-penned score sounds).

Between these two gems? Charlie Chaplin's "City Lights," "Dios se lo pague" (God Bless You), "How to Marry a Millionaire, and "Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory" unspool to the delight and wonder of people who've seen these films a dozen times or never even once.

Tickets? Oh, they go. They go faster than a filmstrip passes through a hot projector. "Nearly sold out" are the get-movin'-already watchwords for this series, believe it. Don't think the LA Conservancy says such stuff for the fun of it. They're out saving our civic architectural history and don't have the time nor will to toy with us in this manner.

By the by, "Willy Wonka" is at The Orpheum. Talk about the perfect film-theater match-up.

Whimsy, ahoy.

We're just saying if you don't twirl when entering The Orpheum while on your way to watch the most famous film ever made about a mischievous candymaker, you should take a moment and ponder why.

Movie palaces, movie magic and the thrill of enjoying both are instantly twirl-worthy. If you're not living in an MGM-style musical from time to time, your horizons may be due for a broadening.

Last Remaining Seats is a fine place to jumpstart horizon-broadening and, by extension, the art of lobby-twirling.

Photo Credit: Douglas Hill]]>
<![CDATA[Selena to Perform as a Hologram?]]> Thu, 09 Apr 2015 08:15:26 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Selena_Cantando.jpg

You may be able to see Selena perform in the 21st century – as a hologram.

That’s part of a new plan by a San Diego-based company to create a digital embodiment of the late singer. She will dance, perform new songs and collaborate with other artists.

The project is being spearheaded by Acrovirt LLC., which is working with Selena’s family and the University of California San Diego to launch the hologram.

"Selena is a Latin American icon who was taken before her time. Acrovirt and the Quintanilla family are excited to announce that Selena will continue to share her creative talents with the world in a new innovative way," Acrovirt co-founder Terry Kennedy said in an online statement.

You could see the hologram in 2018 if a $500,000 crowdfunding campaign is successful. The campaign starts on April 16.

Selena’s dad, Abraham Quintanilla, told BuzzFeed News that he wouldn’t describe it as a hologram.

“It’s a newer technology – more advanced than hologram,” he said in an email to BuzzFeed.

The superstar was killed in 1995 at the hands of her fan club president, Yolanda Saldivar, who is serving a life sentence in Selena's death.

Fans marked the 20th anniversary of her death last week by celebrating her life, holding festivals, concerts, exhibitions and even lookalike contests in her honor across the country.

<![CDATA[Disney, Dali on Focus in New Museum Exhibit]]> Wed, 08 Apr 2015 08:29:56 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/205*120/disneyfamilymuseum.jpg

The work of famous imagineers Walt Disney and Salvador Dali will be exhibited together in San Francisco's Presidio this summer.

Mounted by The Walt Disney Family Museum, "Disney and Dalí: Architects of the Imagination" reveals that the two were actually mutual admirers who collaborated; Dalí worked on an animated short called "Destino" at Walt Disney Studio in 1946 that was finished after their deaths.

According to a press statement, the exhibit will display original paintings, sketches, film, photos, audio and even a series of written correspondence between Disney and Dalí.

The exhibit will run at the Diane Disney Miller Exhibition Hall from July 10 to January 3, 2016.

Photo Credit: The Walt Disney Family Museum]]>
<![CDATA[Ice Cream Tour: Behind the Scenes at Sweet Rose]]> Wed, 08 Apr 2015 10:50:06 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/SweetRoseCreameryCidaFukushima.jpg

Ask any kid what they'd like to be when they grow up and the answers might include astronaut or firefighter or movie star or President of the United States or some charming combination of the four careers.

Add "ice cream maker" to the roster and you have many a child's dream adulthood. Heck, you have an adult's dream adulthood, too, as people who happen to be 37 or 52 might just say they'd like to make ice cream all day long when they, too, eventually grow up.

"One day" starts on April 11, SoCal-based dessert-devoted daydreamers. That's when Sweet Rose Creamery, the small-batch boutique ice cream company with outposts in Brentwood, Mid-City, and Santa Monica, opens up its Santa Monica kitchen to ice cream-loving lookie-loos.

The free tour is part of the ice-creamery's fifth anniversary, which it will celebrate in May, and there are more tours to come at the Santa Monica Sweet Rose Creamery, every month, on the second Saturday. Time: 10 a.m. to 11 a.m.

You'll see how Sweet Rose "makes their signature ice creams and sweets," perhaps with a look at the shop's staple almond milk, a creamy delectable created by Sweet Rose co-owner and executive chef Shiho Yoshikawa. The flavors that emerge from the company kitchens are as bespoke as all get-out: Basil and Olive Oil and Lavender Honey and such.

Prepare to see how "ice creams are made, start to finish." You won't merely be staring at the final product but watching it all come together.

Nope, you don't have to want to make ice cream for a living, or even a hobby, to sign up for a tour. You can be but a fan, which, truly, encompasses most people. (Ever met someone who doesn't like ice cream? Yeah, it is eclipse-rare, and then it comes with caveats, like they like sundaes and such.)

Drop a line to catering@sweetrosecreamery.com to make your reservation. You'll want to secure your spot in advance and everyone ages 5 and up may join.

And, if you're wondering (hoping) if a complimentary treat is served to tour participants, wonder (hope) no longer: You'll have something frozen and fabulous and free in your hand at some point during the tour. 

Photo Credit: Cida Fukushima]]>
<![CDATA[11 Weird Beers For National Beer Day]]> Fri, 10 Apr 2015 18:49:42 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/rerwerr4534534.jpg

What better day to defer from your usual drink order than on National Beer Day? Here are 11 crazy craft brew concoctions that are so strange you'll be dying to try them out for yourself:


1. Pizza Beer by Mamma Mia! Pizza Beer


A photo posted by Chad Irvin (@shwirv11) on


 2. Popcorn Pilsner by Sun King Brewing


3. Voodoo Doughnut Bacon Maple Ale by Rogue Ales & Spirits


A photo posted by Rogue Ales (@rogueales) on


 4. Banana Bread Beer by Charles Wells Brewery


5. Avocado Ale by Angel City Brewery


6. Key Lime Pie Beer by Short's Brewing Company


7. Sriracha Hot Stout by Rogue Ales & Spirits


A photo posted by Rogue Ales (@rogueales) on


8. Peanut Butter Cup Coffee Porter by Willoughby Brewing Company


A photo posted by ohiohophead (@ohiohophead) on


 9. Wostyntje Mustard Ale by Smisje Brewery


10. Rocky Mountain Oyster Stout (Brewed With Bull Testicles) by Wynkoop Brewing Company


11. Smore's Stout by Base Camp Brewing Company

Photo Credit: Rogue Ales]]>
<![CDATA[Free: Space Age Cars Roll for Downey]]> Tue, 07 Apr 2015 21:46:00 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/spaceagecars450145879.jpg

It's hard to have a truly passionate discussion about automobiles that were built in the time of the Apollo missions without making ginormous hand gestures.

You have to raise your hand way, way up to show how big a tail fin is, and you have to round your fingers to mimic the pointy, conical lights synonymous with many a boat-sized car of the era.

And, of course, you have to open your arms and embrace, proverbially, any large event that loves on the road-worthy dream machines created during a time when everyone gazed at the moon, dreaming of rockets, thrust, and lift-off.

Columbia Memorial Space Center in Downey is a fan of both space travel and the earthbound cars it inspired. With that in mind, the center hosting, along with that Downey classic Bob's Big Boy Broiler, a night of stylish car lookie-loo-ing on Wednesday, April 8 at Bob's (which is about a ten-minute toodle, give or take, from the center).

The name of the engine-strong gathering? The Cosmic Car Classic. The reason for the gathering? It is part of the City of STEM Science Festival, which is raging, brainily and with bravado, at the center through April 11. 

The cost of the gassed-up gathering? Zero, nada, nothing, just show up and look at vintage cars that have mondo presence. 

"Cars of the Apollo Era" is the evening's subtitle, so, yeah: You're going to see some sloped glass and rocket-like lighting and details that summon the idea of capsule drifting high above the earth.

Alternative fuels and tech are also themes, this being a STEM-focused event. So basically if you're a car buff, in all the ways, of yesterday's machines and what tomorrow and the magnificent future may bring, doing Downey on April 8.

Is it far out? In theory and spirit, yes, but thank goodness Downey is not too far, nor out, time-wise or distance-wise, at all. Plus: Bob's. Plus: Burgers and fries. Plus: Machines that look like they just might go galactic, given half a chance, with those giant rear fins and curves and all.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[America's National Parks Visit El Pueblo]]> Tue, 07 Apr 2015 17:05:49 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/joshua57060436.jpg

When one is traveling through wilder terrain, one is always keeping watch for the next nexus, or where roads meet or fork, or where several paths spool off into new territory.

Early April is such a spot where the National Park Service is concerned. Not only is summertime the biggest season for national park sightseeing, and springtime is when many of those plans are put in place, but National Park Week is just ahead. And, yes, as is tradition, admission will be waived at fee-charging national parks on April 18 and 19, which is the week's opener.

But there's something even bigger just down the road: The organization governing our national parks turns 100 in 2016. True, true: Yosemite and Yellowstone and a few other dozen parks were given national park status well before 1916, but the NPS took its place as the steward for our wild and magnificent places in that year.

You can see all of those wild and magnificent places at El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument on Thursday, April 9 and Friday, April 10. Nope, the NPS is not hauling Glacier National Park and the Everglades into Los Angeles (there isn't a thoroughfare nearly large enough). But the Find Your Park Virtual View Tour can fit the spirit of each park just fine, and so it shall.

What is it, exactly? It's a kiosk that allows visitors a glimpse at a wide swath of "America's Natural, Historical, and Cultural Treasures," from proverbial sea to shining sea. The interactive installation will also invite all viewers to share a story about their favorite park and what it means to them.

The Find Your Park promotion, which celebrates the park service's centennial, also has a robust online presence, courtesy of the National Park Service and National Park Foundation.

"While we never want a virtual experience to replace a genuine connection, we are hopeful that the display will provide a gateway that inspires people to visit their parks and fall in love with the beauty, history, and culture that make up our national parks and public lands," says Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell.

Want to take a trip to all of the parks right off of Alameda Street? Visit El Pueblo on April 9 and 10. LA is the second stop for the installation, following New York City. Next stop? Washington D.C., and then onward into the National Park Service's centennial year, which will assuredly bring more parties for the parks.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Opera Gothic: Hercules vs. Vampires]]> Tue, 07 Apr 2015 13:13:14 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/234*120/GlobalLAOGalleryHerculesVsVampires2015.jpg

Sassing back to movie screens, over what was being said and done, was raised to a high art form by the comic crew at "Mystery Science Theatre 3000," and later via Cinematic Titanic and Rifftrax, two merry offshoots of MST3K.

Acting out scenes in front of a slapdash screen placed at one end of a bar or pub had its pop culture moment, too, via movie karaoke. It was the ultimate way to prove to your friends, once and for all, you can quote every movie line ever (if you didn't beef it up).

But sitting inside one of the world's great performance halls, while a luridly lavish Technicolor flick, one laden with shiny muscles and supernatural elements, unspools while live singers sing?

Call it a more highbrow and definitely droller spin on the phenomenon of film participation.

And it is one that the LA Opera is jumping into, both feet — er, sandals — first. The company, along with American Cinematheque, is set to screen "Hercules in the Haunted World," the 1961 visual feast from lauded Italian cinéaste Mario Bava, on April 23, 25, and 26 at Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. 

As for the movie end of things? Bodybuilder Reg Park is Hercules and his adventures, vampiric and otherwise, are a lusty swirl of candy-colored intensity.

Co-starring with Hercules? Swords, flames, myth, magic, demons, adventure, royalty, and all-out strangeness. Oh, and Christopher Lee!

As for the performance end of things? Every line in the film will be sung, live, by performers from the Domingo-Colburn-Stein Young Artist Program. An orchestra will join in (some 26 chairs in all, making for a sound as big as the images on the screen). Listen for a new score by LA's own Patrick Morganelli.

What if every film had its lines sung, live, right before our eyes? We mean ears? It's a fresh way to approach cinema. And consider that while the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion was once the home of the Oscars, it doesn't screen films all that often.

Call it a return of an old form, and old friend, for the venue, albeit a friend that's getting a modern update through live performance and fizzy new orchestration.

Vampires! At the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion! Seriously, it kind of fits in a wonderfully gothic, elegantly arch way. We're donning our cape now. 

Photo Credit: Hercules in the Haunted World]]>
<![CDATA[One Beach, Hundreds of Corgis]]> Tue, 07 Apr 2015 13:34:15 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/204*120/corgibeachdaysocal123.jpg

True talk: The internet has bestowed many a gift we didn't expect even ten or fifteen years ago.

You can find your 4th grade square dance partner in under twenty minutes, if you so choose (though your conversation may fizzle after sharing remembrances of do-si-do-ing). You can clarify a plot point on a 1993 episode of "Full House" should you and your pal be in a heated argument.

And you can, while online, find many, many slow-motion videos of corgis. Like cats playing the piano, a corgi running in full-on slo-mo, be it in a park, yard, or the beach, is a modern viral staple of life on the internet.

But you don't need to be online on Saturday, April 11 to see corgis hightailing it down a beach en furry masse. It's So Cal Corgi Beach Day, and while witnessing their antics in slow-motion will not be possible in person -- unless you have some sort of cool slo-mo mechanism inside your brain -- being among hundreds of the squatty superstars is very possible. 

Dreams happen.

Attendance numbers for the picturesque event have been leaps-and-bounding over the last few years, with over 300 corgis showing up in 2013 and more in 2014. So let's just take a look at the number of people who have RSVP'd this year and determine if that number is about to grow: Some 5.5K people say on Facebook they're going to the 2015 gathering.

Does that mean over 5,000 boisterous pups at Huntington Dog Beach? Well, no, unless an event of epic, movie-worthy proportions suddenly happens. But you can count on seeing several hundred corgis, from Pembroke Welsh to Cardigan. Over 500 pooches of diminutive size are expected to attend.

Like all dog breed buffs, corgists are serious SERIOUS serious, as in, like, serious. They love their hounds fiercely, and 'round Southern California they live under the banner "Corgi Nation." Oh yeah -- you'll be among some of the biggest aficionados around. There shall be merch, too.

Beyond just romping around the beach, you'll have a chance to meet corgis who've made it big on Instagram -- okay awwww -- and dress your dog in a costume. There's a group photo, too.

Trust that all of those slo-mo running corgi videos will still be online when you return from Huntington Beach with your tired happy little man or lady. But seeing all the corgi-riffic madness IRL?

We mean, internet, you've brought us good stuff and all, but corgis in real life are totally ♥♥♥.

Photo Credit: So Cal Corgi Nation]]>
<![CDATA[Announced: Make Music Pasadena Line-Up]]> Mon, 06 Apr 2015 18:14:36 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/189*120/makemusicpasadena12.jpg

How many seconds pass between the announcement for a major concert's line-up and you texting your pal -- or vice versa -- about who will pony up the dough for tickets? Forty seconds? Ten seconds?

Such a conversation does not need to take place around Make Music Pasadena. Yes, it is a huge concert, with some 50,000-plus people attending, and the talked-about bands are all on the up-and-coming-and-tomorrowing-and-sooning.

But the twist? It's free. The Junetime show, which closes down a large chunk of Old Pasadena and its streets, is, in fact, billed as "the West Coast's largest free music festival." This isn't simply measured in the many, many attendees, though the size of the audience makes the size of other audiences for other things look wee by comparison. 

There are also the 30-plus venues to consider, from the mega-sized stage on Colorado Boulevard to Levitt Pavilion to local pubs and coffeehouses.

Yep, 50,000-plus attendees, 30-plus venues. There's a lot of "-plus" when it comes to the sound spectacular.

As for the line-up for the Saturday, June 6 show, which was zinged around the internet on Monday, April 6? Kishi Bashi, How to Dress Well, Sir Sly, Lydia Ainsworth, Nick Waterhouse, Hundred Waters, and other acts shall stage it up, from pub to pavilion to the heart of Old Pasadena's biggest thoroughfare.

Other to-knows? Make Music Pasadena is twelve hours long. That feels worthy of a "-plus," too. It's just big, is all.

Now, just because you and your pal don't need to figure out the money sitch, and who needs to actually do the buying of the tickets, doesn't mean you don't need to decide a dozen other things about the day, with transportation to and from the Crown City way, way up on the list.

But the Gold Line goes there, and from there, too, so that seems like a good choice. Otherwise you'll be looking for a parking spot among your 50,000-plus nearest-and-dearest. Best put all of your emotions, thoughts, and enthusiasm into enjoying all of that gratis music.

Full line-up? It's here.

Photo Credit: Make Music Pasadena]]>
<![CDATA[$1 Tax Day Cocktail Specials]]> Mon, 06 Apr 2015 15:47:49 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/BigfootWestTaxOldFashioned111.JPG Toast getting your envelope off to Uncle Sam at a 1933 Group bar.

Photo Credit: Bigfoot West]]>
<![CDATA[Free Cupcake: Sprinkles Turns 10]]> Mon, 06 Apr 2015 09:49:01 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/186*120/sprinklesturns10.jpg

Dessert devotees can usually describe their first experience with the all-important, life-transforming power of the cupcake.

That early memory usually involves a Tupperware container, a classroom, and a parent delivering (fingers crossed) enough heavily frosted goodies for all of the kids in the class to enjoy, all in honor of the birthday child.

In short? It was, at one time, difficult to imagine that the humble, schooldays-era treat could be elevated to a swanky snack that adults would readily queue for, with no worry paid to the eventual Frosting Face that would ensue. (Cupcakes, of course, are beautifully messy, if eaten right.)

But queue adults have for Sprinkles, which made its debut in Beverly Hills in 2005. The posh small-cake emporium, which was founded by Candace and Charles Nelson, rode the early part of the wider gourmet wave that was all about pairing the comfort tastes of childhood with intriguing flavors, quality ingredients, and a little splashy showmanship.

It's now 2015, you might have heard, and Sprinkles is turning 10. The date is Monday, April 13 and a free cupcake'll be given to anyone who visits any Sprinkles shop wherever a Sprinkles shop might be found. (The company took its frosting and iconic edible dots, the ones that signify the cupcake's flavor, on the road for a current total of 19 locations in California and further afield.)

Also part of the party spirit? Look for ten new flavors to roll out in 2015, including "a cheery birthday cake loaded with rainbow sprinkles." 

Also on board to birthday it up? Founder Candace Nelson, who will swing by the Sprinkles at The Grove on April 13, from 4 to 5 p.m., to chat with fans.

And if you're wondering if we were referring to the famous Beverly Hills Cupcake ATM when we said "splashy showmanship," well, yes. It was an offbeat idea that worked and surely caused, among other dessert makers, a hefty dose of "why didn't I think of that?"

And if you're wondering if red velvet, a flavor that's synonymous with Sprinkles, continues to do well, consider this: The cupcakery says over 25 million red velvets have been sold over the first decade.

We can only imagine one might want to order a lot of milk with that. A few gallons, at least.

Happy birthday, Sprinkles. We'll see you in the queue.

Photo Credit: Sprinkles]]>
<![CDATA[New Plates Spotlight LA Neighborhoods]]> Fri, 03 Apr 2015 20:19:47 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/222*120/platesaeriallemonade.jpg

How does a growing boutique restaurant chain honor the neighborhoods in which it lands?

There are, of course, many solid ways to connect on a tightly local level, from naming dishes after interesting neighbors to remembering the orders of regulars the moment they walk in the door.

Lemonade, the cafeteria-style eateries that serve up SoCally comfort eats -- think Truffle Short Rib Sliders and Buttermilk Baked Chicken -- is showing the regional pride by revealing a new dish for each LA neighborhood that's home to one of its restaurants.

And we don't mean "new dish" as in a recently introduced entree or appetizer; we mean the dish itself. LA-based designer Ilan Dei, who gave the Lemonades their distinctively citrus-cheery appearances, developed a series of high-fired stoneware plates for the company.

Each plate bears an iconic or distinctive sight or symbol which represents Lemonade's LA neighborhood.

Can you buy them? Yes: The plates will be officially unveiled when the newest Lemonade opens on Sawtelle Boulevard on April 8 and then available in the various neighborhood Lemonades to which they're tied, thematically.

How much are they? Twenty six bucks each or a collector's set -- that contains two plates -- for forty four dollars.

What places and buildings do they depict? The Rose Bowl gets a plate, as does Griffith Observatory. Where can you get the Walt Disney Concert Hall plate? At the Downtown Lemonade location, of course; the Griffith Observatory will be for sale at the Toluca Lake restaurant, and the Rose Bowl in Pasadena.

There are twenty four limited edition plates in all. 

Chef Alan Jackson founded the quirky cafeteria chainery in 2008. "When we open a new Lemonade location we are aware of how the restaurant will fit in with the character and nuances of that specific community," he says. The high-style plates are "a way to celebrate the neighborhood."

So, Lemonadeans and/or lovers of LA-inspired dishware: Will you use these to eat with? Or will they go on a wall? And why are plates more rarely hung on walls nowadays, compared to a few decades back? Perhaps this local-nice line can help bring that elegant decorative choice back to the dens and living rooms of Los Angeles.

Photo Credit: Lemonade]]>
<![CDATA[Matzo Crunch and More: Your Passover Treats]]> Fri, 03 Apr 2015 12:58:32 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/matzocrunchmagnolia.jpg

It's a common and courteous question one often asks when invited to a seder at a friend's house: "What might I bring?"

The choices are both pretty and palate-worthy, from a helpful item for the host's kitchen to a beautiful bottle of kosher vino. A number of restaurants, shops and bakeries around Southern California honor Passover, too, with a full complement of foodstuffs, both for the sweet tooth and for guests who prefer savory.

Magnolia Bakery's Matzo Crunch includes "matzo cracker, chocolate, white chocolate and toffee." Will it be crunchy? You bet, as the name implies, but delightfully "sticky" (hello, toffee) and "decadent," too, says Magnolia. Find it at the West Third location (or peek at the main Magnolia Bakery website, which has a recipe for the hard-to-stop-eating stuff).

Eilat Bakery has been a Los Angeles Passover foods staple for "over 35 years." The sweets shop, which has locations on both Pico Boulevard and Fairfax Avenue, offers several cakes on its Passover menu, from 7-layer Vanilla to Honey Cake. Rolladas (think apricot, chocolate, raspberry, and vanilla) and almond horn cookies are dessert-nice favorites.

Macaroons are a centerpiece of many seders and Passover gatherings, but the soft and squishy coconut treats go beyond the traditional flavors. Look to Schwartz Bakery for a number of different macaroons, including sugar-free macaroons, as well as black-and-white cookies, mini pastries and many, many cakes. There are a few Schwartz locations, including one in the Valley.

For more savory-inclined eaters, though, there is the Matzah Pizza at Fresh Brothers, a crispy-crusted temptation getting love in the news and from fans of the Calabasas to Hollywood to Marina del Rey (and beyond) pie shop. There's a hashtag -- #MatzahMadness -- and good news for  people who want to continue enjoying this Passover-season treat after the holiday: It's available through April 11.

Photo Credit: Magnolia Bakery]]>
<![CDATA[Eat|See|Hear: Movie Schedule Announced]]> Fri, 03 Apr 2015 11:14:14 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/eatseehear1234567.jpg

Inflatables and backyards go together like mustard and hot dogs, but the size of the inflatable is determined by how much inflatable our yard can handle.

Spoiler alert? Nah. Your yard might be able to accommodate a beach ball or pool lounger, but maybe, just maybe, would find that an inflatable movie screen that measures 52 feet, side to side, will test the fences.

Thank goodness we have Eat|See|Hear in town, to meet our mega mondo inflatable movie screen needs. The outdoor summertime cinema series arrives at various locations around Southern California -- think the area adjacent to the Autry National Center as well as Santa Monica High School and Centennial Square at Pasadena -- and shows a host of classic film treats, both of the vintage and made-very-recently variety.

From the made-very-recently annals comes the 2015 opener: "Pitch Perfect," which mi-mi-mis at Santa Monica High School on Saturday, May 9. (There's a contest for all attendees that night to nab two tickets to the "Pitch Perfect 2" premiere.)

As for other films on the list? "The Grand Budapest Hotel," "Zoolander," "Fight Club," and "Back to the Future" will zoom cineastes right through the summer, over 19 movie-riffic nights. "The Princess Bride" closes it all out, magically/romantically, on Saturday, Sept. 12 at Pasadena's Centennial Square.

As for the "Hear" part of the name? The tuneage of "emerging bands" from the local scene will fill people's heads with notes, rhythms, and lyrics of all sorts. As for the "Eat" end of the equation? You'll be food-trucking it from "over 110 food trucks throughout the season."

That's as mondo a truck turnout as a super humongous inflatable movie screen is huge. One cannot argue otherwise.

An Air New Zealand contest, a very pup-nice atmosphere (a free biscuit to every tail-wagger), and other goodies, like the annual "Christmas in July" screening ("Love Actually" along with "dozens of Santas") are ready to unspool, like credits unspool after the words "The End" pop up at the close of a film.

So, in short: There's absolutely no need to squeeze that screen into the backyard. Eat|See|Hear once again has you covered, lovers of starlight and cinema and picnic blankets and truck tacos and pooches and new bands.  

Surely we can all raise our hands as proponents of several of those things? If not all? (We vote all.)

Photo Credit: Eat|See|Hear]]>
<![CDATA[Alhambra Offbeat: Funnel Cake Ice Cream Sandwich]]> Thu, 02 Apr 2015 22:55:38 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/funnelcakeicecreamsammie.jpg

Unusual edible holding implements -- you might correctly call them "buns" or "cookies" or "tortillas" or "lettuce leaves" or the like -- are not so unusual around Southern California.

Swanky sweets purveyor Coolhaus has gained followers from its offbeat ice cream flavors (hello, beer and pretzels) housed between two nontraditionally flavored cookies. Chef Keizo Shimamoto introduced the Ramen Burger, which is indeed a patty between two savory ramen discs, a couple of years back. 

And every health-minded SoCaler knows the Protein Style from In-N-Out's secret menu. (It's a classic In-N-Out burger encased in a crisp lettuce holder, minus the gooey add-ons if you wish.)

Now Southern California has a fresh tasty and totally unrunofthemill-y food holder on the horizon. Make that the Alhambra horizon, at Ice Que, a shaved ice eatery currently serving up its own spin on an ice cream sandwich. The ice cream? It's good, well-made ice cream. The sandwich part? It's funnel cake formed into a bun-like shape.

Oh yes it is, lovers of the county fair classic. You no longer have to wait for summer, for the Ferris wheel to be erected or the games of the midway to open; you can get your funnel cake fix every Thursday night from 5 to 8 p.m. at the posh new dessertery from pastry chef John Park.

It's a taste that has set tongues a-waggin' around town (LAist summons the imagery of summers gone by from its unique crispy-chilly-powdered-sugar punch). After all, funnel cake is not seen on every menu, or even any menu, really, given its unique fry-it-up time considerations.

Ice Que says the treat is a Thursday-evening-only deal for now, but the funnel cake ice cream sandwich's window could grow, as ques -- er, queues -- grow at Ice Que and word spreads. 

For now, county and state fairs may carry on, midwaying and Ferris-wheeling and frying those funnel cakes. But given the fact that deep-fried pickles and deep-fried candy bars have popped up in more restaurants, could a full-spread funnel cake trend take hold?

And, if so, is any dessert lover truly safe from a shirt doused in powdered sugar and shiny fingertips? (Answers: no and no. But that's a-ok, because, hey, funnel cake!)

Photo Credit: Ice Que]]>
<![CDATA[Weekend: Ren Faire Opens]]> Thu, 02 Apr 2015 14:58:57 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/rengregautry1.jpg

ORIGINAL RENAISSANCE PLEASURE FAIRE: You don't need to saddle up your steed, while wearing a suit of clankiest armor, and engage in some heated jousting before a royal court at this annual springtime weekends-only affair. You just have to arrive at Irwindale's Santa Fe Dam Recreation Area, pay the admission fee, and make merry. There are plenty of ways: Entertainment, jesting, booths selling crafts, costume accessories, and more, all up the medieval-meets-modern vibe. Dates? Weekends from April 4 through May 17. (That's in the year 2015, not 515, do note.)

EASTER OUTINGS: If the Easter Bunny knows to stop at your place on Sunday, April 5, but will have likely departed before your kids get a chance to say hello, take heart: A number of vintage trains up and down the Golden State are welcoming the Big Bunny aboard the tracks (or nearby). In Southern California both the Irvine Park Railroad and the Fillmore & Western have Easter weekend plans (just check times and dates, with it being a holiday and all). Will the famous rabbit wear a conductor's hat, though? And could the Easter Bunny actually out-hop a train, if he tried? Important questions. 

BLESSING OF THE ANIMALS: It's a beautiful, and occasionally barky, Easter weekend tradition around El Pueblo de Los Angeles, and it isn't just for the dogs. Animal aficionados show with their geckos, hamsters, and occasional horses and the archbishop bestows a benediction. Are many of the beasties in Easter-type bonnets and flowery wreaths? They are. Do you need to dress your Dachshund to join? Not at all. It's free, frequently comical, frequently moving, and it happens on Saturday, April 4. 

WONDERCON ANAHEIM: Anything that's huge and comic-book-y and movie-y and TV-y and involves people dressing up as villains and superheroes and beyond and has "Con" in its name is probably very, very large, attendance-wise, and very, very known, among-the-fans-wise. WonderCon Anaheim, which has its roots in San Francisco, is, for sure. Oh, and, for sure, it's a part of the Comic-Con International family, too. Ready those Princess Leia side buns and head for the OC from Aug. 3 through 5. 

THE HUNTINGTON'S NEW VISITOR CENTER: The elegant, re-imagined entrance to one of California's most storied historic gardens (and library and art collection) has been in the works for over two years. Part of the new complex, which includes new drought-resistant gardens and auditorium, debuted in January, and now the rest is set to show, splashily, on Saturday, April 4. You might have seen the new gift store already, but a cafe and more will be revealed. 

Photo Credit: Greg Autry]]>
<![CDATA[Pop Culture Spectacular: WonderCon Anaheim]]> Mon, 06 Apr 2015 06:35:17 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/w485692291.jpg The comics-and-more convention summons costume-ready fans and the properties they love.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[The Fashion of Film Noir Fatales]]> Thu, 02 Apr 2015 08:20:52 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/gildanoiregyptiantheatre.jpg

Clothing conveys much about a movie character's intent. Chaps and ten gallons reveal that a cowboy is ready to hit the trail in a western, while tutus and tuxes hint that dancers are about to shake it in a musical.

As for a slinky, big-shouldered gown seen on a character lingering in a shadowy corner? You can bet a femme fatale is about to stir the plot in a film noir. The black-and-white hard-boiled gems of the '30s and 1940s relied heavily on frocks and stockings to trumpet a person's status, wealth and potentially unsavory intent.

Those frocks, stockings, and saucy anklets -- hello, Barbara Stanwyck in "Double Indemnity" -- will get the full treatment at the Egyptian Theatre on Saturday, April 25. Historian Kimberly Truhler will stop by the historic venue to talk noir and the glamourous get-ups film characters wore when they got up to no good.

The afternoon of fashion and intrigue follows the Film Noir Festival, which runs at the Egyptian from April 3 through 19.

For sure, film noir had its heroines and goodhearts, too. But it was a movie movement that gave both women and men equal footing in the planning, conniving and brilliant scheming department. The dudes held no more power than the dames.

"Gilda" with Rita Hayworth will screen after the 2 p.m. fashion talk (the film's at 3:15 p.m.). Ms. Hayworth's stunning evening gown is one of the sartorial symbols of film noir, and few on-screen dresses have matched it for allure and visual kapow.

Whether you wear your own anklet, feathery mules or huge-shouldered suit to the event is up to you. If you call Southern California home, though, film noir should be one of your fashion inspirations, from time to time. It's a homegrown genre, a style that simmers with iconic accessories and silhouettes.

Look to a later noir, 1982's "Blade Runner," and Rachael, as played by Sean Young. The lines of Rachael's suit, and her Victory Roll hairstyle, are as iconically LA, with a dash of future-past sci-fi flair, as LA looks get.

Photo Credit: Gilda]]>