<![CDATA[NBC Southern California - Dining, shopping and nightlife]]> Copyright 2014 http://www.nbclosangeles.com/entertainment/the-scene http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/NBC4_40x125.png NBC Southern California http://www.nbclosangeles.com en-us Fri, 28 Nov 2014 12:41:44 -0800 Fri, 28 Nov 2014 12:41:44 -0800 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Santa Monica 'Stache: It's a Movember Blow-Out]]> Fri, 28 Nov 2014 08:07:38 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/madeinmovembersmpier1.jpg

What's on your to-do list after Thanksgiving weekend wraps?

Well, you probably should wash and stow the gravy boat, because, let's be honest: It'll be awhile before you call upon it again, unless you happen to live in an all-gravy, all-the-time kind of household.

You definitely have to wash the sheets, once the relatives catch their plane, because not changing the guest bed pronto means you may forget before your next guest, and that is terribly uncouth. (You're not uncouth, are you?)

And if you've been growing a mustache for a full month, to fundraise for the men's health initiatives supported by Movember, you'll need to start researching a barber to shave your face, or find that special razor that'll do the job.

Movember makes the post-Thanksgiving mustache-minded happenings easy, though, with a final-day-of-the-month, judge-that-mustache Gala Parté at Santa Monica Pier.

Date: Sunday, Nov. 30 (we weren't pulling legs over the final-day-of-the-month bit). Time: 1 p.m.  Cost: Twenty bucks. The judging? It'll go down from 1 to 2:30 p.m., so make sure what you've been carefully growing and brushing and tending to over the last few weeks is well-trimmed and nicely waxed and ready for deep ogling.

Costumes that coordinate with your style of 'stache -- maybe a barbershop-quartet-y striped shirt and boater hat for your 1900-type mustache? -- are welcome and encouraged.

Live tunes, a bar, and the other madcap-y merriments associated with the people who put on Movember, year after year, will be in the house. (Read: on the pier.)

Everything's over by 6 p.m., meaning you have time to get home, stow the gravy boat, and wash those guest bed sheets before heading back to work on Monday.

Seriously, wash those sheets, even before re-shelving the Thanksgiving tableware. 

Photo Credit: Movember]]>
<![CDATA[Weekend: LA Zoo Lights]]> Thu, 27 Nov 2014 06:25:18 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/lazoolightsmonkeysintro.jpg

LA ZOO LIGHTS: Remembering bundling up, or at least donning your lightest scarves and gloves -- this is Southern California, after all -- for an evening toodle around Griffith Park, to see the annual holiday bulbs aglow? That favorite ended a few years back, but call this a new spin, and not too far away. It's inside the zoo, yep, the animals are a-snooze, so don't look for any prancing beasties, and the trees and more will be much a-glitter. The first night of this season-long shebang? Friday, Nov. 28

HOLLYWOOD CHRISTMAS PARADE: We don't have too many traditions that start to nudge up against a century 'round these parts -- okay, yes, Rose Parade and Golden Dragon Parades, you're way over that milestone now -- but this Tinseltown charmer, which draw stars from all corners of the business, will hit its centennial in just 14 years. Santa still cameos -- spoiler alert -- and Hollywood and Sunset Boulevards are the routes. And cheers to you, Mr. Stevie Wonder, the 2014 Grand Marshal. It all starts at 5 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 30 and benefits Toys for Tots.

THREE STOOGES ON THE BIG SCREEN: There are fan conventions and buzzed-about screenings, but few days carrying the sheer pie-in-the-face merriment that this annual Alex Theatre farce-it-up carries. It's year seventeen for the all-Stooges afternoon movie-thon, and trust that the most serious -- and nyuk-happy -- of Larry, Moe, and Curly fans show, like clockwork. But do clocks really work in the Three Stooges universe, or does everything eventually break, comically? Discuss on Saturday, Nov. 29.

SMALL BUSINESS SATURDAY: There's something so easy about brick-and-mortaring your shopping list: The place you want to buy from is just a pop around the corner, you very likely know the owner's name or they know yours, and that owner may ask you how the purchase worked out when next they see you. Shopping local now has its two-days-after-Thanksgiving holiday -- it's Nov. 30 this year -- and Montana Avenue, Long Beach, and Eagle Rock are all doing it up with street-wide convivialities.

PATCHWORK SHOW: If you're inclined to go fully Handmade Holiday, as long as it is handmade by somebody else (we're not looking down at our nose at your weaving/baking/crochet techniques, by the by), this large, many-many-boothed extravaganza is a fine place to stock up on one-of-a-kinders in the jewelry, t-shirt, and paper goods categories (and more). It's in Santa Ana on Sunday, Nov. 30. And could you do a fully Handmade Holiday, gift-wise? You could. Never underestimate the power of the homespun.

Photo Credit: LA Zoo Lights]]>
<![CDATA[Californians Heart Green Bean Casserole]]> Wed, 26 Nov 2014 18:35:36 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/GreenBeanCasserole_DelMonte.jpg

Approach any person on any random street and launch into a laundry list of basic questions. Favorite animal, favorite TV show, a life goal are good ones. Then, tell them where they hail from, where they grew up.

Didn't quite hit it out of the proverbial ballpark? It's because you didn't ask about food. Food ties people to place like few things can, and even in our fly here-to-there age, we're loyal to the yummy stuff of our youth.

Like green bean casserole. It's a Thanksgiving table staple, and a pretty uncontroversial one at that. While many people will bicker over lumpy vs. unlumpy gravy, most of us are charmed, and charmingly perplexed, at why green beans, cream of mushroom soup, and fried onions work so well together.

But they do, and, according to the Del Monte Green Bean Index -- you totally knew there was such a thing, right? -- California ranks ninth on the lists of states that are casserole-crazy come Turkey Day.

Note this, however: California and Colorado are the only two Western states in the top 10, with the south, New England, and Midwest all making higher showings. Are casseroles more of a thing back easterly?

There's a smiley, noncontroversial topic to discuss with the relatives over Thanksgiving dinner.

The study, by the by, which surveyed 1,500 Americans on their general affection for this vintage dish, put Kentucky, Wisconsin, Missouri, Iowa, Maine, New Hampshire, Florida, and Colorado ahead of the Golden State.

As for variations? Bacon, cheese, and mushrooms placed in the top three spots. 

If you've been tasked with creating the oh-so-retro side for this year, the green-beanery has suggested some ways to change it up.

Ohhhh, Goat Cheese Green Bean Casserole? OK, we're listening.

Photo Credit: Del Monte]]>
<![CDATA[Santa Monica Snow: Winterlit's Flurry-Nice Nights]]> Fri, 28 Nov 2014 12:24:00 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/183*120/winterlitsantasnow123.jpg

Snow and the beach don't exist in two different universes, as much as advertising likes to portray the beach as the all-sunny, all-tan, all-toasty place all the time, and mountains as the only place where the snow goes.

We know that the fluffy white stuff falls on the sand in cooler climes. Santa Monica does not qualify in the "cooler climes" category, but it sees its own snowfall, come the holidays, and you don't need to check the weather to find out when: It's happening every night through Dec. 18 at Wilshire Boulevard and the Third Street Promenade at 6 o'clock on the dot.

If only all snowfall predictions were as intersection-specific and down to the minute.

It's part of Winterlit, Downtown Santa Monica's annual fa-la-la festivity which encompasses ICE (that's the sweet rink at Arizona and 5th), the evening snowfalls (as mentioned, be at Wilshire and the Promenade at 6 p.m., then look up), photos with Santa, a glittery tree, and, on special December days, pet pictures with Mr. Kringle.

It's like all the stuffing inside of a turkey or Christmas cracker, only not edible, nor poppable, but rather spread out along the promenade.

A place that is, yes, just a short walk from one of Southern California's most iconic sunny beaches. Even snow can fall near the Santa Monica Pier, with a little behind-the-scenes elbow grease and some happy suspension of disbelief.

But believe this: Snow is falling on Thanksgiving night, if you need a merry spot to take the relatives to, post-games, post-feasting, and post-nap.

Photo Credit: Winterlit]]>
<![CDATA[Reindeer Romp: Superstars of the Sky]]> Wed, 26 Nov 2014 08:24:20 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/reindeerrompzoola13.jpg

We'd never attempt to steal or lessen Rudolph's thunder, nor could we, given his leadership skills, willingness to take positive risks, and that particularly glow-bright facial feature that tends to get mentioned as often as his very name.

But Santa's other reindeer do deserve their day. What, for example, do we know of Vixen? Or Donner? Is Prancer fond of sunsets, naps, and does he consider himself a morning or night reindeer?

You see the quandary: Rudolph takes the lion's share -- er, reindeer's share -- of our reindeer-directed love. We can, however, spread some of our reindeer-based attentions around, at the LA Zoo, when it welcomes some of Kris Kringle's finest team members from Friday, Nov. 28 through Sunday, Jan. 4.

It's billed as "the only opportunity to see live reindeer in Los Angeles," which makes sense, since Santa probably needs most of his best players at his side come December.

As for this year's popular Reindeer Romp? Look for a quartet of beautiful animals -- Jingle, Belle, Noel and Velvet are their names -- both during the daytime as well as at the LA Zoo Lights after-sundown event.

The antler-riffic beasties shall also open "special behavioral enrichment gifts" on the weekends, so check in with zoo staff for more details if you want to see that action. Because watching a human open a gift? Pretty sweet, yes, but watching an animal get a good-for-him toy ups the awww factor by twelve, at least.

And after you learn more about Jingle, Velvet, Noel and Belle, perhaps you'll ponder what Prancer and Cupid are like. Do they like to be scratched behind the ears? Do they like to munch hay? All important questions for the reindeer enthusiast.

Again, we'd never try to out-shine Rudolph's big glow, but knowing our reindeer -- both of the Santa and here-among-us variety -- has a bit of magic to it, yes, but also straight-up care and interest in these fellow furry earthlings.

Photo Credit: LA Zoo]]>
<![CDATA[A Steady Rain of Yuks: Big Screen Three Stooges]]> Tue, 25 Nov 2014 12:12:59 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/198*120/threestoogesalexone1.jpg

There are committed fans out there, millions of 'em, people who can quote movie lines out the wazoo and know what sort of stitching Han Solo's vest boasts and will tell you the intricacies of a romcom, from the meet-cute to the final kiss.

And then, ladies and germs, we have devotees of the Three Stooges, a larkful lot so outrageously stand-alone in the realm of serious fandom that they practically deserve their own private island, a place where nyuks, yuks, and pratfalls of every sort may flourish freely.

Until that day, we have the annual Three Stooges on the Big Screen happening, a multi-hour, multi-laff happening that fills Glendale's Alex Theatre up to the stooge-y brim with people who KNOW their Stooge stuff.

No joke when it comes to these joke-knowers. Han Solo fans, and fans of everything else, try harder in your particular arenas.

The Saturday, Nov. 29 event -- it's always the Saturday after Thanksgiving -- is the 17th outing for this consortium of sheer Stoogery. "Three Slaps and Yer Out" -- the name of this go-around -- will feature, on the big screen, works that include "Ants in the Pantry," "Playing the Ponies," and a Shemp short called "Mr. Curly." Plus others from the heyday of Larry, Moe, and Curly, so prepare yourself for some '40s-flavored high-jinx-ery of the tallest order.

Alex Film Society presents, the time is 2 p.m., the ticket price is $15, and the prints? They're 35MM and top-notch, per the society.

Which makes every scowl Larry gives Moe or every fall Curly take that much crisper. And, we know, we so know, you've seen the Stooges, again and again, but studying their every movement, aside, and facial gesture is key for the hardcore, nyukity-nyuk fanbase.

Has physical comedy reached quite the ballet-meets-ballast proportions since the trio's reign? Discuss away, Stoogeans, as you wait for the next classic flick to begin.

Photo Credit: The Three Stooges]]>
<![CDATA[Find the Perfect Present: Gift Guide 2014]]> Thu, 27 Nov 2014 07:22:24 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/gift-guide-promo2.jpg
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<![CDATA[Table-Ready Togs Jog: Long Beach Turkey Trot]]> Mon, 24 Nov 2014 14:55:49 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/188*120/lbcturkeytrotleiwang123.jpg

There was a mystical day, lo around the 1960s and '70s, when Thanksgiving morning was all about the wearing of the pajamas, possibly through noon or whenever the expected relatives pulled into the driveway, ready to eat.

Some Thanksgiving revelers even kept their pajamas on into the following night, legend says.

In fact one could call the holiday, quite accurately, the Pajama-iest Day of the Year, though New Year's Day might fight for that crown (and lose, since large numbers of people still are in their nighttime fancy wear come the morning). 

But the PJs are off and the jogging togs are on when the modern Thanksgiving clucks into view. The fast, decade-long rise in Turkey Trots, including the large one in Long Beach, have had holiday relaxers pulling out of bed early, sticking the bird or faux-fowl in the oven, and then heading off to run and raise funds for a rainbow of causes.

The LBC trot, which is helmed by Justin Rudd, the honcho of the Haute Dogs parades, includes both a 5K and a 10K, and the first starting time is early, like, workday-early: 7 a.m.  But you're going to be sacked out later in the day, right? Post-mashed potatoes?

You'll get your nap in at some point. Worry not.

Many runners do dress as canned cranberries, silverware, and, yes, a certain gobble-gobbler, so if you can hoof it while costumed, feel free to do so.

The Community Action Team, which lends support to a host of causes around the town (beach clean-ups, spelling bees), is the beneficiary of the Thursday, Nov. 27 fundraiser.

Note that online registration locks it all up on Tuesday evening, Nov. 25, but you can register in person, with cash, at the packet pick-up on Wednesday or at the morning of the race.

As for bidding goodbye to the Pajama-iest Day of the Year? We absolutely do not expect you to do that. Instead, head home after the Turkey Trot, shower, check on the sides, and then slip back into your favorite stripey flannels. 

You want a stretchy waistband when you sit down to feast, right? Pajamas win here, always.

Photo Credit: Lei Wang]]>
<![CDATA[Georgian Charm: Holiday Vinyl Records Night]]> Tue, 25 Nov 2014 13:05:06 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/georgianfrontdoor1.jpg

If you pull out the vintage slides, especially those that rock a rockin'-around-the-Christmas-tree theme, you're bound to find a slide showing your parents, or grandparents, gathered around the hi-fi, with dozens of holiday albums strewn about the avocado-hued shag rug they're sitting upon.

Please. It was always an avocado-hued shag rug. Every family had one. Own it.

But vinyl listening gatherings waned as a charming pastime as digital distractions grew. Santa Monica's historic Georgian Hotel, which is itself very acquainted with decades gone by, wants to reverse that trend, or at least pay the hi-fi a visit for a pair of December nights.

The ocean-adjacent landmark is hosting Holidays on Vinyl, a trio of parties that puts the focus on engaged listening, sparkly socializing, and, you bet, libations of the most seasonal sort. (Read: Rummy Hot Chocolate, Spiced Brandy Apple, and more merry sips.)

The dates? Think three Thursdays: Dec. 4, 11, and 18.

And while we said "hi-fi" earlier, it gets better than even that: The Georgian shall break out a very vintage horn trumpet phonograph for the proceedings, the better to obtain that richer, of-yore sound.

As for the sounds themselves, the ones flowing out of that horn trumpet? Several classic albums'll be in the house -- or lobby, rather -- like Vince Guaraldi's "A Charlie Brown Christmas" and some serious Carpenter song stylings. But attendees are also invited to show up with their favorite yuletide vinyl selections, so starting dragging the boxes out of the storage room, pronto.

Someone better show with some Eartha Kitt and Perry Como and John Denver, too. And Muppets warbling carols? That. We want that inside our ears, thank you.

If you want to stay over, The Georgian Hotel has a Vinyl Stay Package on, and, hello, a Bing Crosby CD set is in the mix, and parking, and drink tickets. 

Our spirit is rising, yep yep.

And, avocado shag rug enthusiasts, don't be miffed when we rib your favorite kind of carpet. It had flair, that's for sure, though a certain tendency to swallow lost buttons, jewelry, and candies. Few modern floor coverings can match its furry audacity, nor should they try.

Photo Credit: The Georgian]]>
<![CDATA[LA: Very Facial Hair Friendly, Say Surveys]]> Sat, 22 Nov 2014 08:11:25 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/movembersdnov.jpg

If you were to look, in an informal and fun sense, at what pieces of apparel, fashion styles, or haircuts are most popular where, you could probably make some excellent guesses based on the good ol' weather.

Portland? It has a thriving kneesock economy. Chicago? Everybody but everybody can knot a wool scarf eight different ways. Bathing suits? Hello, Miami.

What would you say of facial hair, though? If you were to let meteorological facts be your guide, you might put a generally warmer city like Los Angeles, or San Diego, further down on the beard-laden list (or higher on the list of "clean-shaven cities").

Au contraire. Make that a big au contraire, people who do not connect SoCal and whiskery upper lips: It turns out, according to both Wahl Home Products and Tripping.com, that Southern California ranks high on the list for lushly grown-out, hair-rich faces.

The city lists are lately gaining attention thanks to Movember, the grow-a-mustache push that happens all November long in support of men's health programs and research.

Wahl, which makes clippers, trimmers, and more, cited Boston as the top facial hair friendly burg, with LA in the still-impressive number two slot. Tripping.com gave LA the third spot on its list due to its many robust Movember-related events.

So, what's the reason for all of this facial hair in what is, unarguably, one of the country's toastier climes? Some might say it is our higher level of hipsterdom here, and the penchant of the trendy to make what was old new again. 

Some might say it is our slew of actors all preparing for roles that push us to the near-top of friendly facial hair cities. After all, many a mustache has been grown to play a part in a movie. (Nope, and not just parts involving lumberjacks, bartenders, or '70s-era anchormen, either.)

Or you could say LA is at the cutting edge -- or clipping edge? -- of every great fashion, be it one that makes our facial region a little warmer than it should be in our warmer clime.

Why is facial hair a thing here in LA and kneesocks aren't? Discuss away, observers of style and trends, and then figure out how we can bring back the mutton chop for good. 

Because mutton chops are major. Maybe Mutton Chop March could be a thing?

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[One Weekend Only: Valet Parking for Runyon Hikers]]> Fri, 21 Nov 2014 13:53:35 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/210*120/11-21-2014-runyon-canyon.jpg

There are few more grumble-worthy subjects among SoCalers than parking -- okay, traffic is up there, too -- and there are few places, and activities, that have not yet gone the valet route, as a matter of course, when it comes to people finding a sought-after spot for their car.

Hiking springs to mind as a major exception here, if only, in large part, our wilder places tend to be slightly outside of urban-style congestion. 

That's about to change, at least for a weekend, on Saturday, Nov. 22 and Sunday, Nov. 23, when CurbStand, a recently launched app that helps people locate valets (and pay and tip them as well), shows up at Runyon Canyon to park hikers' cars.

So is Runyon Canyon in the middle of congestion or not? That might be up for some debate -- and many a debate goes down, or up, as hikers take to the much-traversed path -- but Runyon is a rustic spot just a short walk from Hollywood's bustling heart. 

CurbStand's aiming to give Los Angeles a "concierge-valet style experience," and, yep, there's a hashtag to go with the promotion: #soLAvalet.

KPCC's Kristen Lepore pondered if it was a hoax. It's a very solid question, given Angelenos' propensity for splashy happenings, but it is not: The CurbStand stand shall be at Fuller and Hillside Avenues from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on both Nov. 22 and 23. The price? Five bucks, but the company'll shave off a dollar if you do some hashtagging and tweeting about your experience.

And, truly, this should surprise no one, what with our frequent, and frequently offbeat, valet-related happenings. We are a metropolis that has hosted a number of events featuring bike valets, and The Luxe Hotel Sunset Boulevard bestowed gratis valet parking for voters who cast their ballot at the posh location on Nov. 4. 

Plus? There's a PowerBar in it for every person dropping their keys off at Fuller and Hillside. Does this mean that the Runyon Canyon power conversations, hiker-based gossip sessions that famously center around the entertainment industry, will now be about matters of cars, parking, and energy bars?

For the weekend ahead of Thanksgiving, a certain Tinseltown trail will be about wheels as much as workouts.

Photo Credit: Jonathan Lloyd, KNBC-TV]]>
<![CDATA[Offbeat Thanksgiving Feasts: Find Your Grateful Go-Out]]> Fri, 21 Nov 2014 08:04:29 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/202*120/bartongthanksgiving12.jpg

You can barely speak the word "Thanksgiving" without its sibling word "tradition" appearing somewhere in the general vicinity, and with fine reason: It's among the most nostalgia-laden of holidays. 

Christmas trees can boast different ornaments each year, and our Easter brunch can be ham or eggs, but, come November, many people want the same mashed potatoes served in the same dish that's been on the Thanksgiving table since 1973.

Still, there are spins on the seasaonal supping, and leave it our creative and whimsical Southern California chefs to do the job. For sure, several of the more offbeats spots'll honor traditional ways, but call this step one into branching out, dinner-wise, on the fourth Thursday of the year.

BARTON G.: The La Cienega Boulevard surrealerie -- that's like an eatery with a surreal bent -- is staging a whimsical three-courser for Thanksgiving. Cost? It's sixty five bucks, and spiced calabaza pumpkin soup, pumpkin donuts, and herb-roasted turkey confit are part of the feasting. Or order The Mother Clucker, the presented-on-a-small-crate meal that's all about roasted chicken and autumnal veges. It serves two, for $68.

BADMAASH: If you've ever noshed on a samosa and thought "this would be a most excellent vehicle for the savory ingredients of Thanksgiving," you're in luck, daydreamer. Downtown's "only Indian gastropub" is serving the Thanksgiving Samosa, complete with rosemary-roasted turkey and other holiday table staples inside. It's a "Bombay-inspired Thanksgiving" from Chef Pawan and his son Nakul Mehendro.

OLIVERIO: So Italian food is your very favorite, and Thanksgiving day is the only day of the year you'll take a break from it? The Avalon Hotel's restaurant says you don't have to forsake your go-to food. It's Thanksgiving feast has an Italian flavor, so think porchetta-style roasted turkey and lasagna. Hmm, lasagna on Thanksgiving. Yeah, that should probably become a straight-up rule, as in it should always be served, year in and year out.

CAFE GRATITUDE: A full-flowered vegan Thanksgiving isn't all that offbeat these days -- many a restaurant chef and home cook have developed dishes that are now front-and-centered, year after year, on many a Thanksgiving sideboard. But waiving the fee and making it totally free, in the spirit of gratitude, is not commonly seen. The Venice eatery is serving a free vegan Thanksgiving meal to all, from 11 a.m to 3 p.m. on the holiday "or until the food runs out." Do note that this is the Cafe Gratitude in Venice. 

Grateful on, gourmands.

Photo Credit: Barton G.]]>
<![CDATA[Flicks Made on the Fly: No Budget Film Festival]]> Sat, 22 Nov 2014 21:47:39 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/nbff_123345.jpg

When film fans envision writers and directors and producers getting together over that first cup of coffee, where they'll map out a production, some might think that those early conversations are about finding the perfect setting, about incorporating a fun dance number, and what if two characters should really get together or not.

Money, however, is the main topic of conversation, and, after that, money, and then money, and then casting ideas, and then money. Finance can run, rule, or ruin a fledgling film, a fact of the business that the people involved with the No Budget Film Festival have rather blithely overlooked.

Oh, well, maybe not blithely: There are some bucks in the flicks chosen to screen in this annual cineparty, a bash that pays homage to artworks made on a shoestring, or, rather, the aglet, that little bit of plastic at the end of a shoestring.

The No Budget Film Festival charms the Mack Sennett Studios with its thrifty 'n nifty ways from Friday, Nov. 21 through Sunday, Nov. 23.

What's doing for 2014? Some "5 film programs, 4 workshops, 3 fireside chats, and 3 parties" will festoon the fest roster. A class project focusing on a relationship and a haunted house eeker made on phone are two of the scrappy cinetastic treats, as are cameos from an "Adventure Time" scribe, a workshop with 5 Second Films, and art gallery with works that complement what's up on the screen.

You could discover a movie that moves you, despite being made for peanut ("peanuts" seems too plural for a festival honoring a lack of budget). Or you could be inspired by filmmakers who are out there doing their interesting, wild, and, yep, polished things, despite having a few hundred bucks to pull it all together.

Because while finance should play a part in the initial conversations of any enterprise, when it comes to art, ideas and vision should be the first topic on the table.

Photo Credit: Justin Baker]]>
<![CDATA[Great LA Walk Goes Valley]]> Thu, 20 Nov 2014 13:18:57 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/greatlawalkfranklin12345.jpg

It's very likely written in some city charter, a piece of paper that may exist deep in archives of City Hall, that whenever two Angelenos park their car and cover a few blocks on foot one person must turn to the other, half-amazed and exclaim "the city secrets you do miss when you only ever stare through the windshield!"

Because just about every denizen of Southern California has enacted some variation on this scenario. It's not shocking, given our auto-devoted city, but what is a little surprising is how many SoCalers have gone out there, in recent years, and put sole-to-pavement while exploring Los Angeles.

Michael Schneider, of the venerable and vivacious Franklin Avenue blog, is a pioneer here. Not only has he been an advocate of getting to know our megalopolis from its plentiful, not-too-crowded sidewalks, but he launched The Great Los Angeles Walk nine years back.

The upshot of the event? Invite all urban explorers to cover one street, or mostly one street, over the course of a day. That day? The Saturday before Thanksgiving. The cost to join? Free. The sweet and interesting tidbits discovered, in terms of shops, murals, street signs, parks, and general LA affluvia? Countless.

The 2014 Great Los Angeles Walk takes to the Valley via Ventura Boulevard on Saturday, Nov. 22. The route is 17.1 miles -- for sure, we weren't pulling legs with the "over the course of a day part." But it is a leisurely day, not too hurried.

Mr. Schneider calls it a "casual pace."

Meet place? Warner Center Park on Topanga Canyon Boulevard. End spot? The Art Institute of California-Hollywood in North Hollywood. Spots to keep a keen 'n curious eye out for along the way? Several are listed, from architectural wonders like Casa de Cadillac to a host of Valley-classic restaurants.

Oh yeah. Ventura Boulevard and stand-out eateries are a totally tight twosome, so do bring the bucks to grab some lunch along the way.

Time on the 22nd is 9 a.m. Sneakers, an appetite for quirky streetscape details, and an affinity with making chitchat with co-explorers are all recommended (though, really, only easy-to-walk-in shoes are compulsory).

May other local adventurers with an appetite for breaking our vast city into knowable bite-size pieces continue to step forward to helm more from-the-sidewalk strolls. Joining Mr. Schneider and a host of his friends, some known to him, some not, on the Great LA Walk is a great start.

Photo Credit: Franklin Avenue]]>
<![CDATA[Weekend: LA Auto Show]]> Thu, 20 Nov 2014 09:57:06 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/mazdaauto459215920.jpg

LOS ANGELES AUTO SHOW: The debut vehicles run the super-unveiling gamut -- look for a Ford Mustang Shelby GT350, a Lexus LF-C2 Concept, and a Porsche Cayenne GTS -- and the Ride & Drives, where fans get to sit in the driver's seat of "the latest models," are perennial favorites. Still many a maven of car culture looks forward to simply strolling the vast floor and peeking in windows and talking with the people schooled in particular makes and models. It's one of the world's biggest car shows, and it'll vroom for an appropriately out-sized ten days, from Nov. 21 through 30, at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

BEVERLY HILLS HOLIDAY LIGHTING: Are the out-of-towners starting to arrive for their SoCal Thanksgiving? Lucky you -- you've got another add to your get-'em-out-of-the-house driving tour. Beverly Hills is ready to start its sparkly season, and we do mean sparkly: Sixteen Baccarat chandeliers, totaling a million bucks, will glow above Rodeo Drive starting on Sunday, Nov. 23 (a night that comes with fireworks and more). But will the relatives believe you? You better show them that SoCal really lives up to its SoCally rep, sometimes.

CHILL OPENS: Ever been inside the big dome that's next to the Queen Mary, the one that used to house the Spruce Goose? Each holiday season it goes full winter wonderland, complete with ice slides, cold 'n' cute sculptures, and a frozen Queen Mary (that, you can guess, is not to scale, though it is rather large). An impressive ice rink is outside the dome, with the Long Beach ocean-liner in the background. And Santa? He makes cameos. The ship's seasonal treat debuts on Nov. 21, running on select days into the early new year.

THE GREAT LOS ANGELES WALK: The free, come-join-us-and-explore strut down some of our city's most storied thoroughfares started almost a decade ago, when Mike Schneider, the man behind the Franklin Avenue blog, organized the Saturday-before-Thanksgiving walk. This year the daylong stroll makes for the Valley and Ventura Boulevard on Saturday, Nov. 22. Want to meet people interested in de-car-ing for a day and getting to know the street by foot? Look no further (but do look further whilst on the boulevard -- that's the point.)

THE MUSTACHE DACHE: If you're growing some facial hair in the upper lip region in support of Movember, which backs a host of men's health initiatives, and you're game to run a 5K, then trot for CBS Radford on Sunday, Nov. 23. Mustache-sporting participants -- and non-mustache-sporting participants -- shall complete the course then receive a medal that's shaped like a mustache. (It's also a bottle opener.) And is there a beer garden at the end of the run? (Here's where we nod and give an affirmative thumbs up.)

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Hairy Hurry: The Mustache Dache]]> Thu, 20 Nov 2014 07:42:54 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/mustachedache345.jpg

When you've started a 5K, and you're jogging along, finding your groove, rhythm, and the feel of the ground beneath your favorite sneakers, do you often find yourself casting glances at your fellow participants, the better to admire their shiny running shoes or oh-so-petite music players?

It helps pass the time, as every runner knows.

And while admiring what's happening along someone's general upper lip area isn't a typical get-in-the-run-groove thing, mustaches have been noticed in the past. But they're more than noticed at The Mustache Dache, where participants' facial hair is applauded and given shout-outs.

The yearly 5K, which staches-up a bevy of cities across the nation, is in support of the Movember foundation, which lends a hand, and bucks, to men's health concerns, programs, and research.

If you're wondering if the Mustache Dache always happens in November, right when the faces of participating gentlemen are growing particularly hairy due to the month-long grow period, put your wondering hat away: It does.

Sunday, Nov. 23 is the date for the Los Angeles trot, which takes place at CBS Studios on Radford. Men sporting fabulous fuzz shall be in the running crowd, of course, and men without fuzz, and women wearing mustache stickers or drawn-on examples in a variety of hues.

There's a kid run, too, and every kid gets a cape. Sold.

As for the medal for completing the 5K? It boasts an old-timey, barbershop-quartet-esque shape, but check it out: It's also a bottle opener. So one isn't at all surprised to find out that there is a post-race beer garden "Bache," a bash that comes with complimentary brew courtesy of Lagunitas Brewery.

How's your Movember fundraising upper lip fur coming along? Best get out to CBS on Nov. 23 to show off your helping-a-guy out spirit, and, yes, your wax-that-stache prowess. You're going full barbershop on this one, right? Or 1970s crime fighter? Ye olde poet? 

Keep growing, dudes, whatever your 'stache-y style.

Photo Credit: Mustache Dache]]>
<![CDATA[New: Discovery Cube LA Debuts in Sylmar]]> Wed, 19 Nov 2014 17:49:14 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/dclanewroom123.jpg A sibling to the popular Orange County institution opens its doors in the LA area.

Photo Credit: DCLA]]>
<![CDATA[Yuletide Flicks Fa La La Downtown in December]]> Wed, 19 Nov 2014 12:37:19 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/189*120/elf_NewLineHomeEntertainment.jpg

Raise your hand: Do you watch Christmas films say, in May?

Most movie mavens have at one point or another. Just because a film features a reindeer or talking snowman doesn't mean it is restricted a particular month on the calendar.

Of course, when that particular month rolls around, and the large-scale, big-screen happenings begin to flower, like so many poinsettias, we like our Christmas flick to arrive with all the trimmings. And a quartet of quality movies shall, when they land downtown (land with all the grace of that aforementioned reindeer).

Street Food Cinema, that summertime alfresco series, heads indoors for its Dec. 6 and 13 run. That "indoors" is no mere indoors, we should add, but the gloriously ornate Palace Theatre downtown.

We hope Buddy the Elf likes ornate -- we suspect he sort of does -- because "Elf" is one of the two-fer pack on Saturday, Dec. 6, along with "A Christmas Story."

DO NOT get inspired and attempt to stick your tongue against any Palace Theatre surface. Please.

"The Princess Bride" rounds out the run on Saturday, Dec. 13, and Carey Elwes -- Westley himself -- shall appear. It's Christmas magic, and, nope, "The Princess Bride" is not strictly a seasonal flick, but you can bet its cheer, cheek, and general sparkle put it on many a must-watch December list.

Extras for the Street Food Cinema series, by the by, include photos with Santa, holiday- and movie-themed sausages, gourmet popcorn, wine, beer, or egg nog for sale, a candy cane with purchase, and other festive baubles.

As for "Home Alone"? That's the LA Conservancy holiday movie for 2014. The outwit-the-baddies laugher is on at The Orpheum on Sunday, Dec. 7 so, yeah, you could do three ho-ho-ho flicks, all in one weekend, all on the big screen, all downtown. And return the following Saturday for some "Princess" goodness.

We'll still watch our Christmas movies in May, but when they go big screen, in vintage movie palaces, and egg nog and Carey Elwes are involved, we'll own up: December is best for this particular delight.

Photo Credit: New Line Home Entertainment]]>
<![CDATA[Chandeliers Over Rodeo: A Beverly Hills Kind of Holiday]]> Wed, 19 Nov 2014 08:53:47 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/bhxmas56312908%281%29.jpg

Stroll down most any street and you're apt to come across a few parking signs, a flier or two stapled to a pole, and some shops, restaurants, and trees, in no particular order.

But there's one famous thoroughfare that skips all of that typical stuff in favor of 15,000-slice city-shaped cakes, Learjets parked in the middle of the lane, and, yes, incredibly valuable Baccarat chandeliers hanging above it all.

Oh, Rodeo Drive. You are something. Never, ever change.

The unusual lighting implements, the sort of bauble-beautiful pieces you might see in a hotel ballroom or palace foyer, make their grand Beverly Hills debut, with the help of Gearys Beverly Hills, on Sunday, Nov. 23. There are 16 chandeliers in all, all of impressive size, and, for sure, they boast their own protective, clear boxes.

Call the Beverly Hills holiday chandeliers the only Christmas lighting in the world that comes with its own detail, or at least a handy method for keeping all of that Baccarat crystal clean, sparkly, and safe.

The worth of the display, if you're curious? You're curious: It's a million cool ones.

The grand holiday lighting ceremony starts at 6 p.m. on Nov. 23. While the chandeliers will certainly be the talked-about feature of the night, fireworks, a snowfall, musical performances, celebrity cameos, and the flipping of the switch on some 150,000 lights will also go down.

Or up, since most visitors will be gazing skyward, at the chandeliers. If you want to get a closer view of the night's doings, the Luxe Hotel has a stay-over package on called "First Row on Rodeo Drive." The hotel is plum in the middle of the party, so this could be an ideal place to plant if you want to be in the thick of it, with prime views.

But everyone'll have a great view of the 42 lit-up palm trees, dotting the all-aglow area. This is Southern California after all, and we must have our gussied-up palms, an iconic symbol of the season around here if there ever was one.

Chandeliers work too, of course, as posh icons of the Golden Triangle. The presentation of the Baccarat pieces, by the by, is in celebration of the company's 250th anniversary.

Let it never be said that Rodeo Drive doesn't go all out in all matters of over-the-top-ness, Learjets, massive cakes, and million-dollar crystal-glow installations.

The Beverly Hills Holiday Lighting is free to attend.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[USC vs. UCLA: Winner "Predicted" Via Cocktails]]> Tue, 18 Nov 2014 13:17:54 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/gamedrinkmesshall1.jpg

Game day, as every true-blue (or blue-and-gold or cardinal-and-gold) fan knows, doesn't start on game day.

The action starts way, wayyy beforehand and way off the football field, when pundits start punditing and tailgate parties are concocted and the prediction rituals begin in ridiculous, if delightful, earnest. (Which food will your dog eat, the kibble sitting on the poster with Team A's insignia or Team B's?)

And when the Bruins and Trojans squads square off, as they will for the 82nd time on Saturday, Nov. 22, the "who'll win?" showdowns often flower in the most interesting, and flavorful, of spots around Southern California. Look to Messhall Kitchen, in Los Feliz, for a prime example. The restaurant is staging a 21-and-over guessing event happening right up to game time.

The upshot? Whether more Messhall patrons order USC's Red Rush -- a drink made with bourbon, raspberries, honey, and lemon -- or UCLA's Bees Knees, which has gin, honey, lemon, and blueberries.

Love the color coordination, Messhall. Keeping this rivalry thematic, through-and-through.

Bartenders are keeping a tally of which cocktail is higher on the request list, so look for who is winning the cocktail contest on a board near the bar.

Is this board a crystal ball, one that looks straight into the heart of the heated contest, which'll draw the devoted to the Rose Bowl on Nov. 22? Time, as they say, will tell, as it does with all sports-focused prediction games. But we raise our glass to such funny face-offs, as they give the fans a way to work out some of that game-day anticipation in whimsical and strange ways.

Also, the dog eating the kibble from the bowl placed on the team's logo? Let's be honest: Fido is typically right more often than he is not.

Photo Credit: Messhall Kitchen]]>
<![CDATA[Movie Star Exhibit: Tyrone Power]]> Sat, 22 Nov 2014 07:49:53 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/tyronepowerannabella.jpg

When you ponder all of the adjectives regularly applied to modern movie stars, or, more specifically, the characters they play, you might suggest "handsome" or "mysterious" or "funny" as top contenders.

But rarely does one hear of a thespian being all that swashbuckling nowadays. It was a term very much applied to a certain strata of actor back in the 1930s, an age when films featuring grander-than-grand swordsmen and swaggerers captured the fancy of a public looking for cinematic escape. And it was a starry sphere very much occupied by Tyrone Power.

The celebrity and cinema swashbucklery were pretty much synonymous, thanks to his gallant turn in "The Mask of Zorro" and a number of the box office favorites that unspooled from the 1930s through '50s. The Hollywood Museum is looking back on the actor's adventurous roles, with an exhibit called "Tyrone Power: Man, Myth & Movie Idol."

It's on the second floor of the landmark Max Factor building near Hollywood & Highland through Jan. 11, 2015.

Look for goodies from his "Zorro" role, including embroidered trousers, as well as his "suit of lights" matador suit from "Blood and Sand" and a hat from "Captain from Castile."

Script's from "The Razor's Edge," "Love Is News," and "In Old Chicago" are also part of the comprehensive look-back. Private mementos and photographs are also in the cases, and gowns worn by some of the actor's co-stars.

The retrospective, which is in honor of the centennial of the swashbuckler's birth year, came together with the help of Tyrone Power, Jr., the star's son. (Update: The Movie Memories Foundation also gave great assist with the exhibit.)

If you're a film fan of that golden era, bet you'll find a favorite flick or two heralded in the display. If you're an actor looking to take on a more adventurous, even swashbucklean manner, when it comes to the parts you'd love to get, perhaps studying Mr. Power's easy bravery on screen is step one in this particular handbook.

Photo Credit: Tyrone Power]]>
<![CDATA[Mountain View Cemetery: An In-Depth Evening Stroll]]> Mon, 17 Nov 2014 15:24:41 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/altadenadouglaskeister.jpg

Sometimes you wouldn't know it, but cemeteries do exist, quite beautifully and elegantly, from November 1st through September 30th.

October, though, dominates the calendar when it comes to final resting places across the country, and while tours and special events unfurl with a vaguely macabre or Halloween-esque theme, a cemetery is a fine thing to know more about on its own terms, without the spooky holiday adding an eerie layer.

Mountain View Cemetery in Altadena is one such place of peace that is worth getting better acquainted with outside of October. It's an old plot of land, definitely old for our relatively newer region, with wayback histories told on the tombstones.

Douglas Keister is one of our country's foremost tombstonests, an understander and interpreter of funerary architecture and traditions. He'll lead an early evening walk around the historic plot on Tuesday, Nov. 18, with stops to talk about Mountain View's "unique hollow tombstone" and the final resting place of "Superman" George Reeves.

The walk around the atmospheric copse will be by candlelight, so prepare to have your cemetery knowledge deepened as flames flicker about in your general vicinity.

Cost? It's $80, and there's a lecture ahead of the tour itself (which you can attend, without the tour, for a lower admission fee).

We'd never suggest pulling October away from its cemetery-loving ways, but it is also nice to peacefully pause, among the cherub statues and script-laden headstones, to ponder the history of a place and how the marble and stone fill out its character.

Photo Credit: Douglas Keister]]>
<![CDATA[Giving Back: Tourism Cares and Universal Studios Hollywood]]> Mon, 17 Nov 2014 12:23:30 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/tourismcarescatalina1.jpg

It's true what is said time and again: One person can and does make a difference when it comes to volunteering, whether the volunteer plays board games at a senior center, paints a school mural, or plants a tree in a park.

But when major public-facing industries and giant Tinseltown businesses come to the volunteering table, the one-person rule expands in glorious and gratitude-filled ways. That's just what happened over the second week of November, when both Tourism Cares and Universal Studios Hollywood hosted large-scale volunteer happenings, proving that good multiplied equals everyone winning.

"Hundreds of Universal Studios Hollywood volunteers" participated in six charitable projects around Southern California on Thursday, Nov. 13. The studio's annual "Day of Giving" put the focus on AIDS Project LA, the Pacific Lodge Boys' Home, the M.E.N.D.s (Meet Each Need with Dignity) Educational Training Center, Shane's Inspiration, and the LA Downtown Women's Center.

A clothing and uniform drive for kids from LAUSD via Operation School Bell was also on the The Day of Giving's altruistic outlook, a plan that is overseen by Universal's philanthropic foundation, Discover a Star.

Starting up on that same Thursday, but centered around San Pedro, Wilmington, and Catalina Island? Tourism Cares, the widespread push to keep our historic landmarks and tourist-ready attractions looking their very best. Part of the U.S.S. Iowa received a new coat of paint, and conservation projects on Catalina Island kept volunteers who ferried over in the brisk air and working in nature.

What other companies around town are ready to lend multiple hands, either via employees or outside volunteers or a winning combination of both? Many do, on a regular basis, but these two November nice-nice-nice happenings should inspire both individuals who are considering volunteering as well as organizations with many ready-to-help-out staffers.

Both NBC4 and Universal Studios are owned by Comcast.

Photo Credit: Tourism Cares]]>
<![CDATA[Happy 125th, California State Beekeepers Association]]> Mon, 17 Nov 2014 07:24:27 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/192*120/092708+Bees+P1.jpg

It's hard to think of an insect that's more mythologized than the bee. Nope, dear spiders, you don't qualify -- you're arachnids -- so it is that fuzzy, stinger-carting maker of honey that forever holds our human fascination, a little dread on occasion, but ultimately our care and respect.

Respect and fascination course through the California State Beekeepers Association like worker bees shimmying through the narrow passages of a tightly knit hive. The organization is marking its 125th year, and its annual convention, which will buzz through Valencia from Nov. 18 through 20, covers not only professional and ecological matters of beedom -- oh so important -- but the questions and concerns of the home and urban beekeepers, as well.

You've heard beekeeping in the city has been gaining air, like a fat bumble on the wind, in recent years? It's gone beyond a trend piece into a here-to-stay kind of thing.

The three-day gathering will discuss everything beekeeping, from "colony collapse research to bee foraging to making mead," while the exhibit hall will "be filled with resources, supplies, and equipment for any type of beekeeper."

And, of course, the 125th anniversary will be acknowledged, and those Golden State families that have been in the beekeeping business over multiple generations.

If you've been considering taking the veil -- and the rest of the clothing one must don to handle insects that come with pointy behinds -- and creating an apiary in your own yard, the association is a fine place to start seeking information and know-how.

And as for dreading, a little, those tiny creatures? We don't, really, though everyone has likely fled a bee at a picnic (it's nearly a rite of eating outdoors). Bees are often in the news, for their important role in the natural cycle of life on this planet, so, yeah, we don't mind dashing away from one now and then.

We might even consider that urban apiary. We hear they are quite the thing, and also? Mead.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Rare Show: "Schoolhouse Rock!" Bard to Perform Live]]> Fri, 14 Nov 2014 19:02:35 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/225*120/bobdoroughschoolhouse.jpg

If you were a 1970s kind of kid, and you, on occasion, grabbed a donut and plunked in front of the television set on a Saturday morning -- too close, probably, because you wanted to be inside that candy-colored world -- then you absolutely, 1000%, have "Schoolhouse Rock!" in your very DNA (and probably a bit of that donut still, too).

ABC launched the animated interstitial spots in 1973, music-heavy shorts that were in turns psychedelic, hilarious, incredibly odd, and brain-building.

You remember how a conjunction works, right?

Thank Bob Dorough, in large and lovely part, for having such a positive impact on your kidhood. The jazz legend is the voice behind "Three Is a Magic Number" and several other tunes that are embedded in millions of now grown-up minds.

So prepare yourself, '70s kids: Mr. Dorough, who also wrote several "Schoolhouse Rock!" classics, will perform some of them live, in Echo Park, on Monday, Nov. 24.

The nonagenarian -- he'll celebrate his 100th birthday in 2023, with, we hope, a rendition of "100 Is the Magic Number" -- is appearing at The Echoplex that evening, as part of The Cinefamily's Animation Breakdown festival.

What "Schoolhouse" gems will Mr. Dorough sing and reminisce about? George Newhall, the co-creator of the landmark educational series, will also appear, and tales of working with the great Blossom Dearie -- a talent who also voiced several of the shorts -- and artists like Randy Newman sure to arise.

Tickets? They're twenty bucks in advance, $25 there.

The crowd? Well, to be fair, "Schoolhouse Rock!" ran well past its early 1970s beginnings, with a new iteration in the 1990s, so adults who were kids in two or three or four different decades -- or maybe were adults in the 1970s but just loved the spots -- will be there, ready to celebrate Mr. Dorough and how he made us all smarter people, with a love of singing along.

And, fact: Everyone there will all know all the words. Could you sing "I'm Just a Bill" from start to finish, this second? That's totally in your head now, for the rest of the day, isn't it?

It's a long, long journey to the capitol city...

Photo Credit: Bob Dorough]]>
<![CDATA[Holiday on a Bun: Turducken Hot Dog]]> Fri, 14 Nov 2014 16:31:07 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/turduckendoghaus1.jpg

Futurists of the past promised that we denizens of the 21st century would consume our meals strictly in tablet or shake form.

Consume these tablets and shakes, that is, as we lounged on the decks of our modern space ports. Want a steak? That's the blue lozenge. Want a Christmas goose with all the trimmings? You can get that in a hot drink.

This prediction is coming to pass, in a way, but far more flavorfully, more humorously, and more Thanksgivingly, than those long ago soothsayers said. Turns out that contemporary chefs don't try and squish whole meals into small lozenges; rather, they are now taking their meal of choice, Thanksgiving dinner, and putting it into a single scoop of ice cream or on a hot dog bun.

The Dog Haus, which has its main HQ in Pasadena, is doing just that via its take on the Turducken. The Plymouth Rockwürst, the frankfurter-focused chain's holiday offering, features "a turducken sausage (turkey, chicken and duck smoked sausage with fresh sage, rosemary, thyme, whiskey-soaked cranberries and yams), topped with apples cranberry mostarda, sweet potato tots, and sage gravy served on grilled King's Hawaiian rolls."

Whoa. Futurists, you were right: Tried-and-true meals can and shall take on new character and form in the future.

Cost? It's $6.99, which is rather less than what it costs to stage a full Thanksgiving meal. Sweet potato tots, on the side, are $1.99.

Would you ever want to give up the full, glorious, gravy-laden, marshmallow-melted Thanksgiving spectacle? Of course not: tradition of the foodly sort is the best.

But trying Thanksgiving on a bun or in an ice cream cup is what edible-loving adventurers do nowadays, and the offerings of SoCal are pretty plentiful in this regard.

We don't even need that shiny space port and its meal shakes and tablets. We live in a region that has it all.

Sorry, shiny space port.

Photo Credit: Christopher J. Ramirez]]>
<![CDATA[Happy Zany 37th, Doo Dah Parade]]> Fri, 14 Nov 2014 10:37:01 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/doodahchandelier1234.png

We live in a streamlined, LED-shiny, clock-tick-tock world where apps measure our heart rate, how long before our next meeting, and the calories in our morning quinoa.

But somehow, happily, Pasadena's famous -- and at times nicely notorious -- Doo Dah Parade didn't get the memo that modern life is a highly managed, highly vetted affair. And thank goodness, too, because the slap-dashy delight has been doing its own thing, marvelously and messily, since 1978.

And it will again, on an eastern stretch of Colorado Boulevard in the Crown City, on Saturday, Nov. 15.

What was a long-ago poke in the side of the regal Rose Parade -- a gentle and loving poke, we imagine -- has flowered into one of the state's, and possibly the nation's, nuttiest outings.

Anyone is free to join, for a small fee, and anyone does, sometimes marching in formation armed with baguettes, sometimes pausing to "nap" in the middle of the street, and sometimes disco dancing in a unitard in platform heels.

Lest you think all of this outlandishness has been a-okayed beforehand, by a committee of stern-eyed naysayers, trust, it has not. You'll for sure see a number of themes, costumes, and entries that make you go "huh?"

But in a world bent on de-"huh"-ing the strangeness out of our day-to-days, even the head-scratchers are a welcome change of pace.

The fact of it is that the Doo Dah's perennial favorites, the laugh-out-louders, and the sheer magnitude of merry silliness are all off the charts. No app could measure 'em, so no app should try. It's just SoCal's long-running, really weird, sometimes starts late, sometimes doesn't, always-free-to-see, anything goes parade.

Oh, but paraders? NO marshmallows are allowed, take note. Things get sticky. That's another thing you should know, if you haven't been to a Doo Dah, as an observer: Food has a way of flying into the crowd, sometimes by hand, sometimes by slingshot or homemade launching devices.

Yeah, your cold-numbered, modern-day measuring app probably wants to be nowhere near this kind of unpredictable kookiness. But many, many fans do, and shall be again, on Nov. 15.

And did we mention the Doo Dah Parade is the only parade known to go in two directions at once?

We mean, really Doo Dah. Really.

Photo Credit: Doo Dah Parade]]>
<![CDATA[SoCal Skates: Find Your Seasonal Ice Rink]]> Fri, 14 Nov 2014 00:44:51 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/qmchillrinknight.jpg Twirl in Woodland Hills, Riverside, or next to the big boat in Long Beach.

Photo Credit: Queen Mary]]>
<![CDATA[Whimsical Walls and All: The Palm Beverly Hills Debuts]]> Thu, 13 Nov 2014 10:46:55 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/palmbhills.jpg

Longtime patrons of a classic steakery that opens in a new location typically ask whether the cuts of meat are the same, and the size of the lobster tails, and if their favorite potatoes are still available as a side.

Customers, however, rarely ask after the walls of the new restaurant, except in one prominent case: The Palm.

The famous boutique chain of swanky steakhouses has become famed over the decades for its colorful caricatures of celebrities, and when The Palm in West Hollywood shuttered at the end of September, fans wondered if the new Palm, set for its November bow in Beverly Hills, would be as charmingly illustrated, booth-to-ceiling-style.

Fear no more, filet mignon-seekers of Southern California: Your porterhouse still arrives with a side of powerhouse, in the form of caricatures depicting movie stars and industry players.

Nope, the new Beverly Hills Palm, which opened earlier in November, isn't nearly as laden with lively portraits as West Hollywood Palm was -- that location boasted well over 2,000 sketches, most of which were returned to the subject or their families -- but the city scene running along one wall, the portraits of Natalie Wood and Robert Wagner, and other local tributes are lending The Beverly Hills Palm that Palm-y flavor.

A flavor that's been simmering since 1926, when Pio Bozzi and John Ganzi opened their first restaurant in New York City.

As for the latest iteration of the successful steak-and-cocktails chain? It's at 267 N. Canon. And, indeed, the Three Cheese Potatoes Au Gratin is absolutely available. Paired with the caricatures, strong sips, and an array of meats and seafood dishes, it's got the makings of a quintessential Palm for a new era and that toniest of zip codes.

Photo Credit: The Palm Beverly Hills]]>
<![CDATA[Weekend: The Grove Lights the Big Tree]]> Fri, 14 Nov 2014 08:06:46 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/grovetreelightglitter.jpg

The Grove Tree Lighting: It's a tall, tall tree top you can see from different points of the mid-city -- stand atop a parking garage or peek north from LACMA -- but the sheer size of The Grove's holiday shrub matches the sheer size of its mega merry tree-lighting bash. Earth, Wind, and Fire and Darlene Love are set to perform and there shall be snow, much snow, not-real snow, but still charming snow, to boot. Date? Sunday, Nov. 16, and you know to arrive early (though the shops at the outdoor center shutter at 4 p.m.).

Doo Dah Parade: As always, with this anything-goes procession down Colorado Boulevard in East Pasadena, you can only really share the date, place, and time -- well, time-ish -- and let things be. Why? Because the 37-year-old parade, which is famed for its "irreverent playfulness," kind of does its own thing. It might start a little late, or early (probably not, let's be honest), groups may stop to fix costumes/vehicles, and hot dogs frequently get shot out of hand-held cannon devices. Saturday, Nov. 15, 11 a.m. (ish).

Yarn-O-Polis: Yarn bombings have been whimsical sights around our city over the last several years -- picture a bit of crochet around a lamp post -- but what is happening at Grand Central Market is on a large scale: Over 100 knitters and crocheters have bedecked the historic market's pillars in yarn-pretty designs. It's the first weekend the project's been fully on display, and you can catch it through the middle of January.

Holiday Ice Rink Opening Weekend: It's not every day you see Snoopy downtown, but if you do, you can bet he's wearing ice skates at the opening day of the Pershing Square ice rink. Numerous rinks around SoCal are set to debut over the coming days, but if you like pirouetting adjacent to tall buildings, this is your spot. Free happenings like the Winter Festival are ahead, it'll be open on Thanksgiving and Christmas, and it runs right through the middle of January.

Disneyland Holidays Begin: The Haunted Mansion is still in its Jack Skellington garb from Halloween, but the happy snowmen and toy soldiers are now dancing down the Main Street parade route, the festive tire wreaths are dotting Cars Land and Mickey and Minnie are wearing their best yuletide outfits. The treats, like those famous candy canes made at the Candy Palace, are going the green-and-red route, too. Elsa and Anna, of course, are in the house, or Fantasyland, but with winter on the way, bet the "Frozen" fans will be paying the famous sisters many a visit.

Photo Credit: The Grove
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<![CDATA[Grand Central Market: Now a Yarn-O-Polis]]> Wed, 12 Nov 2014 21:21:22 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/grandcentralyarnmarthabenedict.jpg

Finding a bit of whimsical crochet work twined along the handlebar of a bicycle parked on the street or around a lamppost isn't all that unusual around Southern California; yarn-bombers have been spreading their happy handiwork, in anonymous and art-cool ways, for years now.

But walking into Grand Central Market, one of California's oldest stalwarts on the food-and-goods scene, and spying whole pillars covered in exquisitely knitted squares and fantastic crocheted designs is another matter. This isn't just the work of a single creator looking to leave a little something behind; dozens of talented needle-wielders were clearly involved in Yarn-O-Polis.

A "Greek-inspired public art installation," Yarn-O-Polis examines "Grand Central Market as an agora in Downtown Los Angeles that brings together DTLA's different histories, neighborhoods, and MAKERS."

Did we say dozens of people were involved? Make that over 100, from spots around the world, though Yarn Bombing Los Angeles had a big role in pulling the whole shebang off. The multi-month large-scale yarn-bombing of the historic Broadway market is now complete, and both the people who lent a hand -- and their yarn -- and art lovers'll make for Yarn-o-Polis during the monthly DTLA Artwork.

Opening date? It's Thursday, Nov. 13 from 7 to 9 p.m., and a photobooth, "food, fun" and a make-your-own-bag-from-an-old-shirt demo from Sewing Rebellion shall be part of the yarn-adjacent festivities.

If the bag part of the night is your bag, be sure to RSVP for the demo.

If not, just swing by and admire the colorful pillars. The yarnworks shall stay up through the middle of January, so if you have any knit-mad out-of-towners coming to visit over the holidays, you can do lunch and see some amazing urban art all at once.

It's free to see any time Grand Central Market is open. Where will such wide-spread, hard-to-miss-it whimsy land next around town? Yarn Bombing Los Angeles, perhaps you can cover one of the letters of the Hollywood Sign? Too big, or not big enough?

Photo Credit: Martha Benedict]]>
<![CDATA[Thanksgiving Treat: A Huell Howser Documentary]]> Thu, 13 Nov 2014 08:19:54 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/211*120/howser-huell-poppies.jpg

Ask a travel-loving SoCaler "what person would you like to have dinner with, from the present or no longer among us, and why?" and prepare, time and again, to hear a single name: Huell Howser.

Could there be a more enthusiastic dinner guest than the congenial travelogue host, a man many people around the Golden State looked upon as a kindly, always enthusiastic uncle? You just know he'd compliment your sweet potatoes, have a second helping of stuffing, and praise the turkey multiple times.

Yes, we did just set your dream dinner with the affable host at Thanksgiving, and here's why: KCET, Mr. Howser's longtime home before he passed away in January 2013, is premiering a documentary that celebrates the life, work, and small-town adventuring of Huell Howser, a man just about everyone around Southern California felt like they knew personally.

And, yes, could impersonate, in charmingly convincing ways. (All together now, Huell fans: "That's aaaaamazing!")

"A Golden State of Mind: The Storytelling Genius of Huell Howser" airs on the public television station on Thursday, Nov. 27 at 8 p.m.

Call it the perfect post-feast entertainment for people in a gratitude-rich state of mind. Because, truly, this was a man who emanated gratitude and graciousness wherever he traveled, regardless of the place or attraction or roadside stop he was calling upon. Everything was on an even playing field for the host, in terms of importance and respect, whether the topic of his show was big, small, or very small in size.

If you can't wait for Thanksgiving for a happy dose of Huellism, you can make for Chapman University, which is home to a "California's Gold" exhibit -- named after one of Mr. Howser's many travel series -- and the Huell Howser Archives.

Photo Credit: California's Gold]]>
<![CDATA[Black Friday 2014 Details]]> Fri, 28 Nov 2014 06:36:13 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Macy%27s_Holiday35345.jpg

Get that turkey and stuffing to go, because Black Friday doorbusters are no longer confined to Black Friday. Retailers like Target and Best Buy are starting their Thanksgiving sales even earlier than they did last year—and in many cases, those sales will keep going for days afterward. Here’s how the biggest stores are trying to lure customers away from Thanksgiving dinner and into the checkout line:

Walmart: After years of ever-earlier sales on Thanksgiving Day, the world’s largest retailer has transformed Black Friday into a five-day event. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. announced Wednesday that sales will begin at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving. Walmart will roll out sales in stores and online on different categories of merchandise like home goods, toys, and electronics. “This year, we're blowing it out with five days of deals in store and online,” said Duncan Mac Naughton, the company’s chief merchandising officer.

Target: Target is launching its “biggest, most digital Black Friday ever” at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving, with a range of deals over the weeks leading up to Black Friday. Target, which opened its doors last year at 8 p.m., is also offering free shipping up to Dec. 20. The biggest steal? Target is selling the Samsung Galaxy S5, regularly $200, for one whopping cent each (with a two-year contract).

Best Buy: In an attempt to one-up its retail competitors, Best Buy will kick off its sales at 5 p.m. on Thanksgiving, an hour earlier than the store opened last year. (Best Buy is even handing out tickets up to two hours before the doors open.) As to be expected for an electronics giant, Best Buy’s flagship deal is a 50-inch Panasonic TV for $199.99.

Macy’s: Macy's will kick off its Black Friday sales at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving afternoon, two hours earlier than its opening time last year. The department store's big deals, which last until Nov. 30, are focused on clothes, shoes, jewelry and homewares.

The Holdouts: Many retailers are bucking the Black-Friday-on-Thanksgiving trend. Costco, for one, is giving shoppers a chance to digest their Thanksgiving dinner, saying that its employees “deserve the opportunity to spend Thanksgiving with their families." Nordstrom, Dillard's, Barnes & Noble and GameStop are also closed on Thanksgiving, but are planning Black Friday sales.

Photo Credit: AP Images for Macy�s Inc.]]>
<![CDATA[Happening on Larchmont: Turkey in Ice Cream]]> Wed, 12 Nov 2014 09:58:07 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/thanksgivingturkey1.jpg

Bacon's reign as the stick-it-in-everything, including-desserts meat hasn't nearly ended, and may never end, given its indefatigable popularity among eat-outers everywhere.

But try and put another meaty product, say turkey, in a dessert, and people pause, scratch their head, and attempt to elucidate their complicated feelings about the unusual matter.

Those meat-meets-dessert feelings are currently being explored, deliciously, at Salt & Straw on Larchmont Boulevard. The from-Portland ice-creamery, which is still regularly boasting a queue out the door despite being opened for a few months now, has gone the seasonal flavors route, complete with Salted Caramel Thanksgiving Turkey ice cream.

From the ice cream's description: "All the flavors of a roasted turkey, its juices and the caramelized onions underneath, are packed into turkey fat caramel ice cream, then speckled with handmade fried turkey skin brittle."

Turkey skin brittle. Those are three words we'll bet have rarely been said in a row.

If you're not feeling too adventurous -- and many eaters are -- Salt & Straw has a slate of other only-in-November ice cream flavors, from Sweet Potato Casserole with Maple Pecans, Cranberry Walnut Stuffing (which indeed has bits of bready chunks in it), Spiced Chevre Pumpkin Pie, and Honey Bourbon Corn Pudding (think egg-nog-y elegance with a hint of corny pizzazz).

Want to have a full Thanksgiving meal, via ice cream? Purchase a four-scoop flight for ten bucks.

And of course you'll add the Salted Caramel Thanksgiving Turkey to the line-up, right? If bacon can dominate the dessert market, there's no telling what other savory superstars can do when they combine with a dose of sugar and cream.

Will gravy ever replace hot fudge as a popular topper, though?

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Win Dinner: Angel City Wants Your Best Family Holiday Tale]]> Tue, 11 Nov 2014 21:00:27 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/angelcityfriendfamilydinner.jpg

Friendsgiving -- and likewise, Friendsmas -- have become common catchwords to describe groups of pals and acquaintances who gather together over the holidays, sans the relatives, to break bread and celebrate togetherness.

And as that bread is broken, stories of past family celebrations are often told, funny and touching tales involving the dog running off with the turkey, the burning of the cornbread (twice; the first batch and the make-up batch), and uninvited cousins who showed up and drank all the bubbly.

Angel City Brewery wants to hear those seasonal-sweet -- or sour -- yarns, and there's something very fa-la-la in it for four story-sharing SoCalers: a holiday dinner at the brewery courtesy of Poppy + Rose, tunes, and, you got it, beer tastings.

But in the spirit of Friendsgiving or Friendsmas, the dinner is themed to friendship, so the four winners will be invited to invite three of their closest buds to the bread-breaking, beer-sipping celebration.

Date? Saturday, Dec. 13.

Nope, the night doesn't fall on during Hanukkah or on Thanksgiving or Christmas, but it is a holiday season weekend evening, which is absolutely the time when cheerful convivialities, and dog-stealing-the-turkey stories, should flow freely among friends.

Do you have such a story? We all probably have one or two, tucked in the back pocket. If you're keen to win this thing, you'll need to submit your "best family dinner story" to Angel City Brewery by Nov. 30.

Good luck, yarn-spinners of Southern California.

Need inspiration? Some Angel City Brewery staffers got to talking about their own family summer memories...

Photo Credit: Angel CIty Brewery]]>
<![CDATA[U.S.S. IOWA: Volunteers Lend a Spiffy-Up Hand]]> Tue, 11 Nov 2014 13:06:01 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/207*120/iowavolunteer1234.jpg

If you were asked what locations and places help a city put its best foot forward to both the world and the surrounding area, would you name some local landmarks and destinations that encapsulate history, beauty, and a certain spirit that transcends day-to-day life?

We probably all would, which is why Tourism Cares regularly hosts large-scale volunteer efforts that lend landmarks some TLC. The charity looks to preserve "the travel experience for future generations" in multiple ways, which includes on-the-ground, paintbrushes-in-hand spiffy-up days at some of our best-known attractions and places of prominence.

One such place, the U.S.S. IOWA, will be visited by dozens of Tourism Cares for LA volunteers on Thursday, Nov. 13 and Friday, Nov. 14 as they take to the massive battleship's 2nd deck with a single aim in mind: Give it a new coat of paint. If you know the size of the ship, you know that it is a task requiring the efforts of many, many dedicated pitch-inners.

But other gems and well-known sites in the San Pedro and San Pedro-close region will get spiffy-ups on Nov. 13 and 14, including the S.S. Lane Victory, the Banning Museum, the Korean Friendship Bell Memorial, and the White Point Nature Preserve. Over 300 volunteers are expected.

The Korean Friendship Bell will receive a fresh coat of wax, by the by.

If you're a fan of Southern California putting its best foot -- which, we imagine, is a very, very large foot -- forward, and you wield a paintbrush or other tools well, consider jumping in to future Tourism Cares projects. You don't need to work for the industry; you just need to love and care about our region's historic and art-nice destinations.

And as for the U.S.S. IOWA? It's much in the headlines this week, with the Veterans Day ceremonies, so it is a lovely and timely thing to see citizens making for the World War II ship to preserve its history for both tourists and locals alike.

Photo Credit: U.S. Navy]]>
<![CDATA[Delish Fundraising: Vegan Hot Dogs and a Posh Cocktail]]> Tue, 11 Nov 2014 08:32:41 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/tonysvegandogs11.jpg

When food historians look back upon this era, from a few centuries down the road, we fully expect that the hot dog will get an entire chapter in the big food tome of the future, if not its own book.

Why? It's one of those dishes that's transcended its already popular origins, in many creative ways, and vegan versions of the bun-and-meatstuff -- or, rather, bun-and-notmeatstuff -- have been some of the most interesting and worthy of note.

Tony's Darts Away is going the interesting vegan hot dog route this November, all with an eye to donating proceeds to the Beagle Freedom Project. There's a new vegan hot dog on the Burbank hangout's menu each week of the month, and Vegansaurus, The Sexy Vegan, vegan writer Quarry Girl, and Demolicious, the founder of the Derby Girls, are behind the quirky (and flavorful) creations.

If you're more of a cocktailist than a vegan-doggian, and want to raise money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma LA Chapter, then head for Mohawk Bend which is spotlighting a special sip during the autumntime. It's called The Warrior, and a dollar from each drink sold zips its way to the chapter.

In the glass? Ixa Silver Tequila, ginger, grapefruit, pink peppercorn, black peppercorn, and lime.

And beyond that buck that goes to the chapter, you'll be paying homage to someone special connected with the Echo Park eatery: Mohawk Bend's own barkeep Thom created the libation in honor of the memory of a friend who passed away.

Photo Credit: Ithyle]]>
<![CDATA[Sloan Summit: Celebrating Science in the Movies]]> Tue, 11 Nov 2014 11:27:59 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/215*120/robotfranksloan.jpg

Science and cinema is not an uncommon coupling, as far as seminar or think-piece topics go. How moving pictures are made, and the mechanics of a camera and a projector, formed some of the biggest topics of 20th-century technology.

But science on the screen? That counts as major, too.

Fictional stories celebrating the life of the mind have changed how we view physics and astronomy and tech in our real-world. Enter the Sloan Summit, an every-three-years gathering of filmmakers that supports science cinema. The three-day cinéaste confab that'll give a $50,000 distribution grant "to films that bridge the gap between science and popular culture and further public understanding of science and technology."

The weekend-long smarties-on-screen scene runs from Nov. 14 through 16 at the Downtown Independent, and the centerpiece happenings are solid. "The Theory of Everything" -- the film detailing the journey of Stephen Hawking -- screens on Friday, Nov. 14, complete with Q&A, and showcases of shorts and features that have received Sloan support'll roll on Saturday, Nov. 15.

It's hard to visualize a major summer blockbuster of the last several years that didn't feature some zazzy tech inventiveness or a somber person in a lab coat talking about the impact an asteroid or a pathogen or sunspots might have on the earth.

From realistic to outlandish, science has always had a place in our cinema.

Look to "A Trip to the Moon" by Georges Méliès. Not only is the 1902 gem possibly the most famous of the early films, but, you bet, it's a science film, at its core. (True, the moon doesn't have a face, that we know of, but rockets are real.)

Science, keep burnishing and deepening cinema in all the fantastic and real-life-enhancing ways that you do. And Sloan Summit, keep furthering that important cause.

Photo Credit: Robot & Frank]]>
<![CDATA[Ice Rinks, Ahoy: Pershing Square on Cold Approach]]> Mon, 10 Nov 2014 18:21:53 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/downtownicebuildingsrink.jpg

The Holiday Ice Rink at Pershing Square always seems to debut the very week that chilly maps of the U.S. start popping up on our screens, maps laden with snowflakes as big as a state and words like "vortex" and "polar" written in icicle-type font.

But the funny and obvious thing is "polar" isn't meant for LA and there are no state-big snowflakes hanging over our hot heads. Southern California remains warm, or warm by comparison, but that doesn't deter ice skaters at Pershing Square: We want rink fun, we want cocoa, we want holiday merriment, even if it is 78 degrees out.

Or warmer. The 17-year-running ice rink, which makes its debut on Thursday, Nov. 13, weathers our sometimes brisk, sometimes balmy holiday season with mirth, scarves, and the typical touches of an outdoor winter play place.

Is there skate rental? For sure, since most SoCalers don't have a pair hanging by the back door. Are there brrr-worthy to-dos, like the Polar Bear Skate and free Winter Holiday Festival?

You bet. Just because we don't have giant snowflake icons covering our states on the U.S. weather map doesn't mean we don't like a frosty fun, even if we need to wear sunblock to have it.

Admission is nine bucks, skate rental is three dollars, and if you're there on opening day, you'll see Snoopy himself take to the ice, as is tradition at the downtown rink (Olympic silver medalist Peter Carruthers joins the talented dog).

As for closing day? Look way, way down the calendar: It's Jan. 19.

There'll be toastier days between now and 2015, but will those mittens we wear out on the rink actually be warranted a few times? You bet they will, giant weather map snowflakes or not.

Photo Credit: Downtown on Ice]]>
<![CDATA[Pay Tribute to Veterans Across SoCal]]> Mon, 10 Nov 2014 13:22:03 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/221*120/navyussiowaveterans.jpg

Reflection, memory, and words of hope and honor play a focal point in each Veterans Day, and while the speeches and stirring remembrances might alter from year to year, the message does not: thank you.

We pause to share our gratitude for those who served each November, and several locations around Southern California will host ceremonies, tours, and quiet moments, for veterans, their loved ones, and those who want to also take time to reflect.

The reflection can happen this Tuesday, Nov. 11 aboard...

THE U.S.S. IOWA: The "battleship of presidents" just wrapped a full weekend of Veteran's Appreciation activities, from a vintage military auto show to a 5K, but Nov. 11 will be very much about a morning memorial. Be on the fantail of the San Pedro-based battleship at 9 a.m. for the memorial, and stay for a tour. "All Active Duty, Retired, and Military reservists (with ID) will receive FREE tours of the historic ship all day," says the IOWA's Facebook page, and there are ticket discounts for friends and family joining the veterans. Information? It's here.

THE SAN FERNANDO VALLEY VETERANS DAY PARADE: The start time for this annual procession is easy to remember -- 11:11 a.m. -- and the motto, "Honoring Those Who Serve Past and Present" is hard to forget. "(M)ore than 120 veterans groups" plus the San Diego Navy Band Southwest will walk Laurel Canyon Boulevard starting at San Fernando Mission Boulevard.

LOS ANGELES NATIONAL CEMETERY: While no ceremony is scheduled for Nov. 11, family will be visiting the grounds throughout the day to remember their loved ones. There are a number of national cemeteries throughout the state, and the Golden Gate National Cemetery and Riverside National Cemetery will both hold morning ceremonies.

CALIFORNIA STATE PARKS: If you're a veteran and desire to spend Nov. 11 in a natural setting, from a park at the beach to a park on a mountaintop, you'll receive a free day-use pass on Veterans Day. This benefit extends to active duty military and to Memorial Day state park visits as well.

SPACE SHUTTLE ENDEAVOUR: While there are no ceremonies scheduled alongside the space shuttle inside the California Science Center, there are specially timed tickets available for Nov. 11, which suggests that many people looking to observe Veterans Day in a place that lauds our country's space program will be making for the Exposition Park institution. Want to see the shuttle on Veterans Day? Secure your free (with a small fee) ticket.

Photo Credit: US Navy]]>
<![CDATA[Spooky On-Sale: Giant Glendale Haunted House Facade]]> Mon, 10 Nov 2014 17:20:42 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/199*120/glendalehollywoodhaunter1.jpg

The first part of November is not only famous for the encroaching fa-la-la-ment of Christmas -- it's hard to open a newspaper or turn on the television without seeing toys/candy canes/reindeer -- but it is also known as the time when Halloween leftovers are dumped into the "everything must go" bin.

Blinky skull masks, wiggling ghost lights, foam tombstones all make the sale bin, and, on occasion, a 25-foot-tall haunted house facade that had a lot of its neighborhood buzzing ahead of the scariest of holidays.

Indeed, Halloween-loving people of Glendale, we are referencing the Hollywood Haunter house at 1547 Garden Street. The home haunt, which is owned and overseen by Chris Leslie and Jeana Docter, has gained a reputation over the last few years as going as eeriely all-out as all-out gets, but the couple topped their past efforts in 2014 with a giant, detail-perfect haunted house facade.

Now that rather amazing facade is up on Craigslist, and the creative duo is searching for a buyer for the "Free Standing Haunted House Facade," which is indeed 25-feet-tall and 24-feet-wide. Plexi glass and plywood are very much in the mix, but note, prospective buyers, that props and lighting are not included.

Could the movie studios soon start purchasing sets from private citizens? This house looked as if it hailed straight from a cobweb-laden, drearily dressed backlot. Even if a film company doesn't snatch it up, another local home haunter might, meaning that Glendale's gloomiest -- er, buzziest -- sight from the 2014 scary season may live on in another part of the city.

And the Hollywood Haunter house further proves what Scare LA, the ghoulishly gleeful theme parks, and other Halloween-mad locals know: Southern California is the ultimate capital of the home haunt.

But we have to be, right? When you live in the dreamland, home of celebrated horror movies and special effects, simply erecting a foam tombstone or two isn't going to get gawkers to queue up at your driveway.

Movie-makers of Tinseltown, the public's skills are on the rise.

Photo Credit: Hollywood Haunter]]>
<![CDATA[Happy Grilled Cheesegiving]]> Sun, 09 Nov 2014 15:59:34 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/grilledcheesegiving1.JPG

It was just a decade or two ago when a Thanksgiving meal was, well... a Thanksgiving meal.

There was the large platter holding the roasted bird. Next to it, the bowl of mashed potatoes or yams dotted with marshmallows. And over there, the gravy boat and can-shaped cranberry.

Nowadays, though, you're apt to see the flavors of Thanksgiving in ice cream, atop posh hot dogs, and, yes, even inside a standard grilled cheese.

And if you're eating a Thanksgiving-y meal inside a grilled cheese, there's only one thing to call it: Grilled Cheesegiving. And there's just one place to enjoy it, at least around Southern California: Greenspan's Grilled Cheese.

The holiday creation will be available at Chef Greenspan's Melrose Avenue eatery from Nov. 20 through 26 and will include turkey, natch, plus gravy dip, green beans, crispy shallots, cranberry sage chutney, and Tillamook medium cheddar. This is all atop rye bread and "Tillamook and Greenspan's will donate a pack and a portion of the proceeds to the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank" for every sandwich sold.

Make that "every specialty item" sold: sweet potato latkes and Throwback Apple Pie will also be part of the giving-back-a-tude that week.

Where next will Thanksgiving pop up? In a milkshake? A cocktail? Could you do an entire meal stuffed inside a turkey or sprinkled atop mashed potatoes, for a meta feel? The sky, or, rather, the dining room sideboard is clearly the limit for Southern California's foodie innovators.

Photo Credit: Greenspan's Grilled Cheese]]>
<![CDATA[LACMA's "Largest Gift of Art" Ever Boasts Picasso, Degas]]> Fri, 07 Nov 2014 16:47:11 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/CHANSONDUCHIENdetail1.jpg

How museums became known as whispery places full of soft stringed instruments and slowly ticking clocks is a question best left to those who watch the changing forces of popular opinion, but that's a generalization that definitely does not apply to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art these days.

It's been a busy week of big news on the Miracle Mile, led in large part by LACMA announcing on Nov. 6 its "largest gift of art" in its history, a bequest from philanthropist A. Jerrold Perenchio.

Forty-seven artworks will now find a forever home at the museum, including a water-lilies painting by Claude Monet, a Pablo Picasso drawing, and "the first painting by Edouard Manet to enter the LACMA collection," a work called "M. Gauthier-Lathuille fils" from 1879.

The pieces have "rarely been seen in public," says the museum, which will mark its 50th anniversary in 2015.

But there's no laurel-resting 'round LACMA, as the institution makes another newsy leap forward, this one involving its campus. The museum's prospective design for an amorphous new building from the future -- complete with a bridge over Wilshire Boulevard -- was given a go-ahead by the LA County Board of Supervisors this week via unanimous vote.

The architecturally ambitious overhaul scotches a number of existing buildings on the campus while bringing in a structure that mimics the neighboring tar pits in soft, fluid shape. (The LA Times says the board gave the go-ahead on $7.5 million to start.)

Adding to 47 artworks and architectural approval? Metro joined Mayor Garcetti and other civic officials on Friday, Nov. 7 in front of the museum to officially breaking ground on the Metro Purple Line extension, which is expected to see completion, complete with a station at Wilshire and Fairfax, in 2023.

Big x 3.

No cobwebs or soft murmurs at the county art museum; rather, muscular momentum is what it is all about along the historic, art-plentiful, Metro-ready Miracle Mile.

Image: "Au Cafe Concert: La Chanson du Chien," 1875, by Edgar Degas, courtesy of LACMA

Photo Credit: LACMA]]>
<![CDATA[Veteran Appreciation Weekend Aboard the U.S.S. Iowa]]> Fri, 07 Nov 2014 13:44:06 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/221*120/iowajeremybonelleveterans.jpg

Finding a place steeped in solemnity and history in which to mark a day full of memory and honor can sometimes be a bit of a challenge, depending upon where you live.

Of course, places of remembrance and gratitude can be created anywhere, by any group of citizens who want to do so, but a destination that's tied to stories of the people being honored is a rarer thing.

Except in San Pedro, where the U.S.S. Iowa can be found. The World War II-era battleship is history taken ship form, and its decks and bridge and hull speak, at just a glance, of time spent in the Pacific circa the mid-1940s and its involvement in later campaigns.

The U.S.S. Iowa honors history -- and those who were part of it -- each Veterans Day by thanking those who served and activity duty military. In fact, the "Battleship of Presidents" goes beyond the day itself to create a full Veteran's Appreciation Weekend, which will be observed in 2014 on Saturday, Nov. 8 and Sunday, Nov. 9.

Ship admission will be waived for veterans and military personnel on those days.

As for on-the-decks doings? An opening ceremony begins the weekend at 9 a.m. on Nov. 8, and other happenings follow, from an inflatable obstacle course to a 5K to a display of vintage military cars. Food trucks and vendor booths are also part of the proceedings.

If you want to continue the observances on Veterans Day, which is Tuesday, Nov. 11, the battleship will be open. Other happenings around the state, including a ceremony on the Bay Area's U.S.S. Hornet and free day-use passes to California state parks for veterans, will also be hallmarks of this year's Veterans Day.

Photo Credit: Jeremy Bonelle]]>
<![CDATA[Public Peek: LA Aqueduct Cascades Mark 101st]]> Fri, 07 Nov 2014 12:59:02 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/ladwpaqueduct123.jpg

There aren't enough synonyms for the word "byzantine" to aptly describe our heavily populated and frequently dry region's relationship to water.

Tomes of the weightiest sort have been written on the tangled topic. William Mulholland's role in our city's first heavy-duty water procurement has been microscoped numerous times. And modern documentaries frequently revisit how our early aqueducts laid the hydro-powerful groundwork for turning Southern California into a boom-opolis.

Subjects all worthy of our consideration, especially in this time of drought, and the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power want to deepen the broader knowledge with a day spent at the Aqueduct Cascades in Sylmar.

Make that days, rather. In honor of the aqueduct's 101st anniversary, the LADWP is opening the historic site to the public on Saturday, Nov. 8 and Sunday, Nov. 9. There's no admission to attend, and department staffers will be on hand to talk about how the engineering marvel works, its history, its significance, its future as LA continues to grow, and any other questions people might arrive with.

And water questions? All up-to-speed SoCalers tend to have a few.

The water from the Eastern Sierra "accounts for 20-50% of the Los Angeles water supply," reads the site, "depending on snowpack." And this year? You guessed it: "Los Angeles will receive the lowest amount in its history."

Best bone up on the role the aqueduct plays in delivering the H20 and how it shaped the region a century ago. The hours both days are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Photo Credit: LA DWP]]>
<![CDATA[Zoo New: Holiday Lights]]> Fri, 07 Nov 2014 09:49:00 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/GL-LAZooLights234.jpg

Angelenos don't get many chances to say that they need to "bundle up" for something. Oh, we might bundle up some magazines or newspapers, to donate, or bundle cable services, but as far as traditional bundling, as in putting on a coat, scarf, and hat?

Yeah. This isn't a city that's ever going to be inside the Polar Vortex lines on the U.S. map. Ever.

LA is, in fact, the original Non-Bundle-Up Zone (tm), except when our large-scale outdoor events arrive in December. And SoCalers have a new place to sport those rarely donned scarves this holiday season: The Los Angeles Zoo, which is introducing its new LA Zoo Lights on Friday, Nov. 28.

Nope, the hippos won't suddenly be awash in a red-and-green-glow from a couple of light bulbs. Rather, the elaborate after-dark event includes lasers, 3D projections, and "spectacular sets."

And while many of the resident animals may be asnooze, a group of animated LED monkeys will entertain visitors throughout the zoo, with stops by musical pink flamingos and an origami rhino.

Animated. LED. Monkeys. Surely that's just what our previous yuletide celebrations have been missing, but we aim to correct that oversight this year.

Other merriments will fill out the bundle-up-and-stroll to-do, which may bring to mind past walks through Griffith Park, when the Department of Water and Power put on its holiday Christmas light displays.

The zoo's new spectacle, though, is quite different from that longtime-gone event, though it isn't too far from the old DWP path. Think story, think fictional beasties, think lasers -- we know, we mentioned the lasers already, but lasers! -- and think of a chance to hat-and-glove-up for a nighttime, slightly chilly seasonal to-do.

Okay, the gloves might be a bit much, but we SoCalers'll take our bundling where we can get it. And if LED animated monkeys are involved? Score.

LA Zoo Lights is on at the LA Zoo from Nov. 28 through Jan. 4 (note: The event is closed on Dec. 24 and 25).

Photo Credit: Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association]]>
<![CDATA[Weekend: Huge NKLA Adoption]]> Fri, 07 Nov 2014 08:12:22 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/bfanimalla1234345.jpg

No-Kill LA ADOPTION WEEKEND: Southern California brims with barker- and kitty-placing rescue events, but this mega happening at the La Brea Tar Pits is one of the largest. How "largest"? Over 1,000 cats and dogs -- and puppies and kittens -- make for the Wilshire-close park to meow/woof their way into a new family member's heart. Fees to adopt start at fifty bucks, and that includes spay/neuter, shots, and more. Informational and product booths cluster around the Miracle Mile green space, too. Saturday, Nov. 8, and Sunday, Nov. 9.

AFI FEST: If you're in the heart of Hollywood, you're in the heart of AFI FEST presented by Audi, and how. Several theaters, including The Dolby and The Egyptian, will be welcoming movie stars and audience members who nabbed those free, free, free tickets to see the up-and-coming big films. Q&As and special presentations 'round out the fine film-glam time. And will you spy special honoree Sophia Loren? The fest rolls on through Nov. 13.

CITADEL OUTLETS TREE LIGHTING: There are a few "biggests" when it comes to kicking off the yuletide just off the 5 Freeway: The Citadel possesses "the world's biggest bow" -- it's the ginormous red topper you can see from way far up the 5 -- and "the world's tallest live cut Christmas tree." Eye that 115-foot wonder, catch a whole caboodle of musical acts, and get the ho-ho-ho-ing going on Saturday, Nov. 8.

STILL FALL, THOUGH: The middle of November is one of the most charmingly controversial times of the year. On the one hand you do get a bevy of tree-lightings, but there is still corn to shuck and pies to eat. Old Pasadena is going the autumnal route with a free-to-attend daytime bash that has some twangy bluegrass and egg tossing and square dancing. Square dancing! Yep, we may want to hug the changing-of-leaves season a little closer. Sunday, Nov. 9.

LOS ANGELES AQUEDUCTS CASCADES: History mavens and followers of LA's fascinating water stories will make for Sylmar on Saturday, Nov. 8 and Sunday, Nov. 9. That's when the Department of Water and Power open up the Aqueducts Cascades to visitors, in honor of its 101st anniversary. Staffers'll be on site to talk William Mulholland, the Eastern Sierra, the drought, and all pertinent matters, so arrive full of questions.

Photo Credit: Best Friends Animal Society Los Angeles]]>
<![CDATA[Theatre Meets Tech: "Noir" Vignettes Streamed Live]]> Thu, 06 Nov 2014 13:29:00 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/noirheretick.jpg

Many things we associate with Southern California, products and sights that seem to be homegrown and as LA as LA gets, have stronger ties elsewhere.

Palm trees are not native to the area (save the Washingtonia filifera) and freeways? We weren't the first to have those, either.

But we do have a serious stake in noir, that connivingest of juicy genres, a form that our sun-stroked city shaped and sold to an appreciative larger audience far outside of our tough-talkin', double-dealin' realm. And we do have a stake in the televised, broadcast-wide arts, which, even if they weren't invented here, were perfected.

Both of those LA-owns-'em things dovetail deliciously in The Heretick Theatre Lab's "The Noir Series," a one-weekend-only "theatrical experience" that features a handful of "thematically linked short pieces" digging into matters of crime, passion, and characters on the brink. And while it is theatre, it shall be live-streamed, too, for lovers of noir do not only live in Los Angeles but, rather, everywhere.

"The Noir Series" fedoras-up at Schkapf on Santa Monica Boulevard for four performances, Nov. 7 through 9.

If ticketed live-streamed theatre sounds familiar, it should, because The National Theatre in London has been experimenting it in recent years, perhaps most famously with "Frankenstein," which starred Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller back in 2011.

The brain power behind "The Noir Series" is also big: Stephen McFeely, co-writer of the Captain America films (and, disclaimer, a pal to this writer) is the scribe behind "Malfeasance," one of the night's vignettes. Ed Brubaker, another acclaimed writer who has been a part of the Captain America franchise, penned "Air-Conditioned Rooms." And the much-loved impsters the Burglars of Hamm have had a merrily malevolent hand in the proceedings.

Noir and our city go together like a scheming dame and up-to-no-good guy bent on nabbing themselves some below-board money. And televised theatre and LA seem like twosome with a real chance at success, since we've got something of a rep for broadcasting images out to the wider, entertainment-craving world.

When those two things meet? Why it is as LA as seeking out shade, or a shady story, on an overly sunny day.

Photo Credit: Heretick Theatre Lab]]>