<![CDATA[NBC Southern California - Dining, shopping and nightlife]]>Copyright 2016http://www.nbclosangeles.com/entertainment/the-scene http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/NBC4_40x125.png NBC Southern California http://www.nbclosangeles.comen-usSun, 29 May 2016 06:41:18 -0700Sun, 29 May 2016 06:41:18 -0700NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Paddle the LA River: Tickets Available Now]]> Fri, 27 May 2016 14:01:16 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/paddlethelariver91832982.jpeg

While many a traveler will splash about in a pool over Memorial Day Weekend, or the ocean, or perhaps a Sierra stream, there's one famous stretch of H2O which won't see the same kind of action: the Los Angeles River.

But let's pause a moment to daydream here. Perhaps one day, not too far down the road, the LA River will be the place vacationers say they're headed for the weekend, for some cycling, some picnicking, and some kayaking, too.

The long-view transformation for the urban waterway has already begun, with destinations like The Frog Spot keeping river life humming, and biking paths, and the annual fishing derby.

And, of course, the always-sold-out, mega-beloved Paddle the LA River program from the Los Angeles Conservation Corps.

The program, which gives people a chance to take to the river via a kayak, with a guide at the helm, has gone through a few twists over the years. Of course, the river itself has faced some bends and twists, having spent decades as a distinctly non-recreational entity. But advocates have long worked for the river to return to its wilder roots.

An essential thing to know for 2016 is this: Paddle the LA River is a go every Saturday from June 4 through Sept. 17, with limited spots.

Yes, the days are fewer, but the corps will devote the other days of the week to clean-up and river-enhancing projects.

And while fewer days mean fewer spots, you'll be paying fewer dollars for a day of kayaking: $30. That's in honor of the 30th anniversary of the corps, which has done much good over its three decades of serving both the community and the conservation cause.

Where will you meet, once you secure a ticket and date? Lake Balboa/Anthony C. Beilenson Park.

Is everything covered by your thirty bucks, including equipment and guide? Yep.

Will you spy an egret or heron or one of the many birds and/or beasties that live in and along the water? Most probably.

And when will Angelenos start saying, as a regular response to what their Memorial Day travel plans might be, "we're spending the weekend at the LA River?" With clean-ups, care, and growing recreational use, that date could be approaching faster than we think.



Photo Credit: Paddle the LA River]]>
<![CDATA[Words + Wookiees: 'Star Wars' Reads Day]]> Fri, 27 May 2016 10:47:20 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/215*120/starwarsreads123456789.jpg

The question isn't whether you'll attempt all the various "Star Wars" voices when you read a "Star Wars" book to your child at bedtime.

The question is whether your Yoda impression is superior to your breathy Darth Vader performance. And can you capture Han Solo's swagger in your tone and cadence? It ain't easy, kid, as Mr. Solo himself might say.

There is no question, however, that the universe of "Star Wars" has leaped off the screen and extended, in a robust and real way, to our bookshelves. Comics and chapter books and picture books and novellas are full of the Force, and growing ever stronger.

And that Force will be with Rancho Cucamonga on Saturday, May 28 and Sunday, May 29 when the library celebrates "Star Wars" Reads Day.

The annual day, which several libraries, bookstores, and community centers observe, is all about casting a light(saber) on the literary stories that swirl around the many moons, and moods, of the expansive, and ever-expanding, genre unto itself.

Victorian Gardens and the Ontario CVB are partners in the event, which is billed as "...the largest Star Wars event held by any library," per Melina Ferraez, director of marketing for Victoria Gardens.

How major will this be? Check it out: Billy Dee Williams, Mr. Lando Calrissian, will stop by on Sunday afternoon as the celebration's very special guest.

That's a ticketed portion of the weekend-long party, but the rest of the activities, and story times, and galactic doings are free.

Yes, Jedi Elvis will perform. For sure, there's a screening of "Star Wars: The Force Awakens." Dueling lightsabers will do what they do best (duel). And everyone is encouraged to show up in their best Leia buns or Wookiee fur.

So, what's better: Your Yoda reading voice or your Darth Vader reading voice? Since "Star Wars" is only ever on the up and up and up, as a cultural, obsessed-over touchstone, trust you'll have years to practice both. 

This is also assuming your child won't ever outgrow loving the Force-filled phenom, but time and evidence has proven that outgrowing "Star Wars" isn't actually a thing in reality. Growing into it further, however, is real.



Photo Credit: Star Wars Reads]]>
<![CDATA[LA Fair New: Deep-Fried Hot Sauce]]> Fri, 27 May 2016 07:36:54 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/chileGettyImages-491510368.jpg

Seems as though just about every group of friends boasts a show-offy member who'll drink hot sauce straight from a spoon, or, if the spicy stakes are upped, the nearest cup.

And not just any mild sauce, either, but the kind of stuff rife with habañero heat and enough burn to rock the Scoville scale to its very fiery foundation.

Those brave hot sauce sippers are about to bring their more tremulous pals on board, thanks to the newest buzzy food of the Los Angeles County Fair: deep-fried hot sauce.

True, the long-running Pomona spectacular, which is closing in upon its 100th birthday (in 2022), doesn't get going for another 100 days or so. It still opens on Sept. 2, 2016, and continues to carnival-it-up through Sept. 25.

But the offbeat bites of the LA County Fair get as much rapt attention as a person drinking hot sauce from a mug. In that spirit, the fair shared one of its big dishes for 2016, which will indeed by a chili-laden libation encased in some sort of doughy deliciousness.

Even your non-spoon-drinking, heat-iffy friends may have a go at that, if you dare them.

This isn't the first time the fair has offered up a deep-fried treat that stems from something liquid; deep-fried Starbucks made caffeinated waves a couple of years back, and the ever-popular deep-fried Kool-Aid will make a return in September.

Will the doughy batter cool down some of the hot sauce's heat? Should it? And will you need a carton of milk nearby, the better to douse an extreme after-reaction?

Questions to ponder over the summer as you prep for the LA County Fair's zesty new deep-fried offering.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Pacific Wheel Ready to Glow Again]]> Thu, 26 May 2016 16:36:52 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/pacificwheelferris_crSMPier.jpg

If you've ever glanced out a plane window just after sunset, and that plane just left Los Angeles International Airport, and you happened to be in a window seat, you may have done that whole neck-craning thing in order to find a few local landmarks below.

You might look for the lights of Avalon, out on Catalina Island. You might glance in the direction of downtown's skyscrapers. And you are probably, definitely, scanning for the glow of the Pacific Wheel, Santa Monica Pier's tall and turny symbol.

And while it did remain "turny" over the last few weeks, the Ferris wheel's lights were mostly out. Why? Because an upgrade was in the works, involving a new LED system, one that'll break out new colors and depend upon less energy.

So when can you again look out the window of a plane, or stand on the pier, and admire this fresh, straight-from-the-future illumination? The lights at the Pacific Wheel are set to sparkle, post-update, starting on the evening of Thursday, May 26.

It so happens to be Pacific Park's 20th birthday -- that's the game- and ride-laden area that the Pacific Wheel calls home -- and a few special doings will be happening over Memorial Day Weekend. 

One? Look for the park "...to showcase the Ferris wheel's new high-tech lighting capabilities each evening with a custom display of birthday patterns and designs."

Nice.

And two? Riders early in the day will nab a free Lappert's birthday cake-flavored ice cream cone at Scoops, if those riders happen to be the first 200 people to take a spin on the Ferris wheel.

True, day means lights off, but, you know, there's ice cream.

If you're a pier person, through and through, and you need more pier-tastic experiences, be back at the water's edge on Sunday, June 12 when The Looff Hippodrome marks its first century of carousel-housing awesomeness.

And as for being guaranteed a Pacific Wheel sighting, at night, from a plane? It might happen, or it might not -- depends on the plane.

But knowing that a famous, fabulously lit-up Ferris wheel is turning somewhere nearby is a local pleasure many Southern Californians keep close to their still-a-kid-at-heart hearts.



Photo Credit: Santa Monica Pier]]>
<![CDATA[Weekend: Memorial Day Observances]]> Thu, 26 May 2016 21:06:18 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/AmericanFlag_Shutterstock.jpg

Memorial Day: The three-day weekend that traditionally starts the summer season -- if not summer itself -- is full of meaning and memory for those seeking to honor those who have serve and have served. One of Southern California's biggest expressions of the day is Canoga Park's Memorial Day Parade, which tops off a weekend full of activities. The 2016 theme? "Saluting the Price of Freedom." The annual Flower Drop at the Palm Springs Air Museum is another major happening, and the Blue Star Museums program officially opens on Memorial Day.

Queen Mary's 80th: The big boat in Long Beach isn't marking the anniversary of when it first came together, bolt by frame; rather, the occasion is the ocean-liner's maiden voyage. Sir Winston Churchill's great-grandson is visiting the WWII icon for a special unveiling of the prime minister's paintings on May 26, and other to-dos are grandly afoot, including free admission from 1 p.m. to close on Friday, May 27.

A Jacaranda Celebration: Anyone who is a fan of the purple bloom that visits Southern California each May knows that the jacaranda tree is a pleasure to be enjoyed in the moment. But what if you could view the flowers in a fresh way, in an art-interesting, industrial setting? An anonymous collective of artists will be presenting the petals in an offbeat fashion, at a too-be-revealed site, on Sunday, May 29. Details on how to get the 411? Find them here.

Topanga Days: As strum-nice jamborees go, this Memorial Day Weekend treat is one of the most venerable and vibrant. The three-dayer is all about a bevy of bands -- think banjos, story-weaving tunes, and such -- and there are kidly activities and other small-town sweetnesses, too. Do you need a ticket? You do, so start here before heading into one of SoCal's come-together-iest villages.

Fiesta Hermosa: If starting off summer at the beach, with inexpensive eats and crafts to browse, is important to you, you've likely been calling up this free (and huge) festival for the last 44 years. It also bookends the summer on the other end -- Labor Day Weekend -- and it is, for many SoCalers, the easiest, breeziest way to get this warm-weather, ocean-lovely, no-worry-no-hurry party going. Dates? The easy-breezy reigns from May 28 through 30.



Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[Perceptual Cell Returns to LACMA]]> Wed, 25 May 2016 16:41:59 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/219*120/Turrell3perceptualcell.jpg

Snagging the hottest ticket in town often involves some detailed coordination with your friends. Who will get the tickets, who will line up at the box office, and who is in charge of planning the big night out are just some of the i's needing dotting, as you work the whole deal out.

But a few years ago our city's hottest ticket wasn't about gathering up your pals for the mondo event; rather, it focused solely on a single person, at any one time, for a singular journey created for a singular individual.

Artist James Turrell enjoyed a large and light-washed retrospective at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in 2013 and 2014, and one of the talked-about pieces in the talked-about experience was the globe-shaped Perceptual Cell. 

What's a Perceptual Cell? It's a small, round room, or "spherical chamber," that the participant is slid into, while on their back. After a moment of darkness an 11-minute light spectacular begins.

The ending of "2001: A Space Odyssey" springs to mind for easy comparison, but there's no comparing the decades of work Mr. Turrell has done in the field of illumination, psychology, and how we interpret and react to different hues and saturations.

Light Reignfall, one of Mr. Turrell's Perceptual Cell, is about to start its yearlong stay at LACMA, beginning on Sunday, May 29.

Closing date? A year, exactly: May 29, 2017.

This is a ticketed experience, which shouldn't surprise, as it can only accommodate one person at a time. When the Perceptual Cell was here a few years ago, slots booked up months in advance.

How to tell if you'll like it? You are in a small space for just over 10 minutes, but loads of light and color seem to expand it, at least for some viewers.

Here's a test: If you're the sort of person who pauses to see sunlight dapple through trees, or how stained glass from a building changes the look of the sidewalk below, a journey inside Light Reignfall could be just your thing.



Photo Credit: Florian Holzherr]]>
<![CDATA['Largest Shadow Puppet Play' at The Freud]]> Wed, 25 May 2016 11:21:41 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/seamonsterandzaul123.jpg

While the art of puppetry covers many quadrants, from characters drawn on hands to string-controlled marionettes to massive puppets which are operated by multiple people, the most mysterious of all puppetry types may be shadow puppets.

They live behind a screen, and come to life with light, and they've been around since the time when candles were our own source of illumination. Small at first, shadow puppets have grown in size and stature, thanks to technology.

And the production headed for The Ralph Freud Playhouse at UCLA is an ultimate example of the form. "Feathers of Fire: A Persian Epic" is billed as "the largest shadow-puppet play ever performed," one that delves into a 10th-century story with a sense of huge scale (without losing that thrilling narrative flair).

It's on from Friday, May 27 through Sunday, May 29.

"Feathers of Fire" follows Rudabeh and Zaul, a pair of "star-crossed lovers of old Persia." Mythical beasties, grand adventure, and over 160 shadow puppets help the story to unfold in fabulous visual detail.

It's a story based on "Shahnameh (Book of Kings)," with a modern-day re-imagining from Guggenheim Fellow Hamid Rahmanian along with Shadowlight Productions and Mark Amin.

Hints of "Romeo & Juliet," "Jungle Book," and "Rapunzel" flow through the tale, say producers. If these old stories are among your favorites, and you've never experienced shadow puppets on a large scale, or any, sail your ship for UCLA over Memorial Day Weekend.



Photo Credit: Feathers of Fire]]>
<![CDATA[Happy 100th, Looff Hippodrome]]> Tue, 24 May 2016 18:52:52 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/hippodrome_smpierrestorationcorp.jpg

We may frequently reference the various structures in our lives -- the library or the coffeehouse or the car wash or our home -- but we don't, as a rule, break out the word "hippodrome" all that often, at least in day-to-day conversation.

There is an exception, of course, and it has sat grandly upon Santa Monica Pier for about 36,480 days, give or take, as of this typing. It's The Looff Hippodrome, the lavishly windowed building that houses the pier's beloved carousel, and it is about to celebrate its centennial on Sunday, June 12.

June 12 is one hundred years to the very day of the Looff's opening, and the pier, along with the Santa Monica Pier Restoration Corporation and the hippodrome's many devotees, will be there to shower it with attention, accolades, and the sort of affection reserved for a longtime landmark that's weathered the decades.

"Lavishly windowed," while accurate, doesn't go nearly far enough to describe the capacious and airy enclosure, which boasts elegant Moorish and Byzantine details in its design, as well as nods to the up-and-coming California architecture ("up-and-coming" back in 1916, of course).

You can admire its big-top-y top on June 12 while enjoying a limited edition Brass Ring Potato Chip Sundae or taking a ride on a carousel pony for the ye olden price of a cool nickel.

A wayback photobooth, actual pictures of the hippodrome's early days, and more historic treats await.

Possibly the most intriguing of these historic treats? There'll be tours of the building's second-floor apartments. That's right, there are apartments inside the carousel building at Santa Monica Pier, though they're now used as offices, so don't let your envy rise too high.

Which begs this question: How much jealousy might it invoke to tell someone you live above a carousel at the beach? It is no longer a possibility, of course, but it once was, back in the day.

Charles Looff was the builder of the Santa Monica Pier, and his name still stands on the building, which was seen in 1973's "The Sting" and many other on-the-pier productions. Even better than becoming a movie star, though? The Looff Hippodrome entered the National Register of Historic Places in 1987.

As for "hippodrome," the word? "Hippo" has ancient equine roots, and The Looff Hippodrome is indeed a place where the ponies run daily.

"Run" with the help of shiny poles and inner mechanisms, yes, but move the horses do, merrily, inside a Pacific-pretty structure that is nearly 100 years along in its story.



Photo Credit: Santa Monica Pier Restoration Corporation]]>
<![CDATA[Free: Friday Night Music at Farmers Market]]> Tue, 24 May 2016 20:59:30 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/fmsummermusicfree12345.jpg

If any form of go-out, dine-out, spend-money form of entertainment has an unfairly high barrier to entry, it is the concept of dinner and dancing.

For while many people enjoy a fancy meal, and the chance to spin with a partner to some swinging songs, the notion of getting overly gussied up and spending a pile of cash can dissuade those diners and dancers looking for a fine time on a budget.

The Original Farmers Market has an answer to that dilemma each summer, in the form of Friday Night Music, which opens on Friday, May 27.

It's free -- as in, don't pat your pockets looking for admission cash on your way in, because you won't need it -- and it offers a few dozen dining options that are definitely of the delicious but don't-pay-too-much variety.

As for the dance area? It isn't capacious, but you're right up there with the band, feeling the horns, the drums, the strings, and all of the rocking, jazzy, rhythm-infused flow from just feet away.

Friday Night Music is a longtime tradition at the Third & Fairfax landmark, one that's about delivering some warm-weather good-timing to locals and visitors without the usual good-timing price tag.

For sure, bring a tenner or a twenty for food and drink, if that's your pleasure, but if you just want to hear live tunes, and cut a proverbial rug, that's free.

The International Swingers open up the series on May 27, and Vibraphonist Otis Hayes III bids it adieu on Sept. 2. The Podunk Poets, Louie Cruz Beltran, and The California Feetwarmers fill out some of the Friday slots between the start and finish.

And as for dinner and dancing in a swanky setting? That's a-ok, too, of course, and perfect for marking a special event.

But if it is just a summer Friday, and you just want to have a glass of wine and maybe step up for a samba or two, that can be found in LA. Find it at one of our oldest, and neighborhoodiest, meeting places, a place with supreme hang-out-a-tude at the center of its very heart.



Photo Credit: The Original Farmers Market]]>
<![CDATA[Voodoo Doughnut: Portland Icon Goes LA]]> Tue, 24 May 2016 10:30:06 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/knbc-voodoo-doughnut.jpg

When you meet someone who hails from Portland, it is hard not to ask a few obvious, on-the-nose questions right from the get-go.

Like, does everyone adore Powell's Books? (That would be a yes.) Does it rain a lot? (Ditto.) Is "Portlandia" pretty real? (Some might argue that the TV series could even go further in its loving local parodying.) And have you ever eaten at Voodoo Doughnut? (It's a local icon, so probably definitely.)

It's difficult for a restaurant that's only located in a single city to break out, but break out Voodoo Doughnut did, and how. Cable shows regularly made pilgrimages, and the long-of-queue shop became a must-stop for anyone calling upon Stumpton.

The offbeat doughnutry now has an outpost in Eugene, and Denver, and Austin, too, and Los Angeles is up next on its pastry-powerful march.

Yep, that's right: Voodoo Doughnut is about to conquer California.

Where will all of those Bacon Maple Bars and Portland Creams and Tangfastic doughnuts land? At Universal CityWalk. When? This fall, which seems the most Portlandish of seasons, so nicely done, planning- and timing-wise, Voodoo Doughnuts bigwigs.

Lovers of frosting-thick treats can find the doughnut house near the 5 Towers end of the eating/shopping/entertainment destination.

As for the flavors and names? They're marching to the beat of their own doughnut drummer, that's for dang sure. Yes, the Tangfastic has Tang sprinkled on it, and several sweet choices are of the more PG-13 variety, at least when it comes to memorable monikers. 

And will Arnold Palmer fans go for the Arnold Palmer doughnut, which indeed boasts a dusting of lemonade and iced tea powder? It's rare to find a refreshing lunchtime beverage in doughnut form, so one must seize the opportunity, and the pastry, when it arrives.

There are classics, too, such as cruellers and old-fashioneds, if that's your traditional pleasure.

Next up at Universal Studios Hollywood, before the doughnut shop debuts? "The Walking Dead" permanent attraction on July 4. 

Will you need to down a few doughnuts before entering the world of the hit horror series? You'll have your chance, Portland-loving people, come autumn.



Photo Credit: Willian Avila/KNBC-TV]]>
<![CDATA[Free: LA Film Fest Outdoor Screenings]]> Mon, 23 May 2016 20:48:18 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/ghostbusters-bill-murray.jpg

Attempting to pin a person down to five favorite films is like trying to decide between the various chocolate bars at the cinema concession stand.

It's difficult, in short, and many people would wave their hands while claiming that choosing their top movies is an impossibility. (Though whether the chocolate bars would cause the same consternation is up for debate, but probably not, because people do resolve indecisiveness when it comes tempting snackfoods.)

No matter what flicks are on your top five, here's a probably true statement: One of your favorite films will play outdoors somewhere around Southern California over the summer of 2016. Why? We're spoiled with the number of alfresco cinema experiences, and the breadth of blockbusters they show. 

Even the Los Angeles Film Festival, which is known for its slate of lauded features and documentaries (all shown indoors), gets into the action with a few free movies each summer, including two to be screened outside.

"Ghostbusters" and "Independence Day" -- of 1984 and 1996, respectively -- will play at Figat7th during the June festival, and you won't need to pay a thing to see either.

The dates? The Stay Puft Marshmallow Man stomps into downtown LA on Friday, June 3, while alien spacecraft visit Figat7th, at least via the big screen, on Saturday, June 4.

The buttery bonus? Free popcorn.

There are a few other free treats, too, during the multi-day festival, which is centered around the ArcLight Cinemas in Culver City and Hollywood. "Shrek" will screen at ArcLight Culver City on June 4, and there are other films, too, to watch for free.

As for the dates of the full festival? It's ready to celebrate celluloid, and story, and acting, and our local hometown industry, from June 1 through 9.

So can you name your top five films? Bet one of them is playing outside around town over the summer. Or at least one you really, really like a whole bunch.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Sour Sweet: Dill Pickle Sorbet in LA]]> Mon, 23 May 2016 13:05:16 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/dillpicklesorbetsaltstraw.jpg

Mash-ups have become, if not mainstream, then an accepted and anticipated part of art-makery. Songs, films, books, and every other written and record work, pretty much, has now experienced the blending of two or more distinct themes, or vibes, or eras, or all of the above.

Thank the internet for much of the unexpected putting-togetherness we've all experienced in recent years, a quirky concept that's extended to all manner of cuisine.

For example? Where once fermented foodstuffs occupied jars of the refrigerator door — pickles, miso, fish sauce, and sourdough starter — those same foodstuffs now, for a limited time, will be a part of the ice cream line-up at a trio of Southern California ice cream shops.

We speak of Salt & Straw, the began-on-Larchmont, landed-next-in-Venice ice-creamery that just opened its third icy outpost in Studio City. ("Began" meaning here in LA; yes, it hails from Portland.)

And beginning on Friday, May 27, all three shops will offer mash-ups on the "fermented foods + ice cream" theme.

Yep, that means a Dill Pickle Sorbet, complete with a touch of fennel. And Fish Sauce Caramel with Palm Sugar. And Sourdough with Chocolate & Strawberries. Cacao Nib & Red Miso is also a frosty, fermented choice, as is California Avocado & Cardamom with Fermented Carrot Custard.

That's right: These are ice creams with fermented-foodie flair. Not only can we call these surprise additions to the sweet, with can call them lickable mash-ups of the most unusual, "can they do that?" sort.

Turns out they can do that at Salt & Straw, one of the innovators on the offbeat ice cream scene. And if you needed a harbinger that fermented foods would be one of the trends of summer, you only need to gaze back upon the middle of May, when a full day of fermented-themed festivities unfurled at Grand Central Market downtown, including the group-making of 1,000 pounds of kraut.

Will kraut ice cream be next? Surely you didn't think fish sauce would appear as a cone topper.

Or did you?

In a mash-up world, expecting the unexpected — as movie trailers so often advise us to do — is really the right thing to do. Still, edibles like Dill Pickle Sorbet can surprise one, from time to time.

But like fermented things, the Salt & Straw fermented flavors won't last for long. Get your sour/sweet lick on before June wraps.



Photo Credit: Salt & Straw]]>
<![CDATA[Nathan's Famous Celebrates 100 Years in Coney Island]]> Mon, 23 May 2016 11:51:16 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/187*120/526115294.jpg The Original Nathan's hot dog stand was opened in 1916. 100 years later the famous hot dog establishment lives and thrives!

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Disney Art Legend: Eyvind Earle Exhibit]]> Mon, 23 May 2016 09:24:43 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/THREENOBLEHORSESgallery.jpg

Many movie buffs can easily recall specific sights and locations from animated Disney classics, places they can describe down to the teeniest, most florid detail.

The chandeliered library from Beast's castle is a place entrenched in many a fan's memory, and the grotto where Ariel keeps all of her underwater thingamabobs is easily summoned to mind.

But the look of a Disney film goes beyond the places that pop up along the way. It's in the lines and colors and shadows and overarching style, too, all elements that weave into the larger story mythos.

Artist Eyvind Earle was a mid-century master of the form, as evidenced by his iconic background paintings for 1959's "Sleeping Beauty." Often cited as some of the most striking backgrounds in all of animation, Mr. Earle's densely drawn woods were lushly medieval, yes, but they also boasted a touch mid-century panache.

Forest Lawn Museum is celebrating Mr. Earle's singular style, and the many artworks he created beyond his time at the Walt Disney Studios. "Eyvind Earle: An Exhibit of a Disney Legend" will run through New Year's Day, 2017.

It's a comprehensive overview of how the Southern California-raised painter created an aesthetic within the larger, thrumming world of Disney dream-making. So quintessential are Mr. Earle's color combos and not-quite-from-real-life settings that other creators have found inspiration in his catalog (directors Peter Jackson and Guillermo del Toro are both Earle collectors).

Born a century ago, the artist eventually settled in Carmel-by-the-Sea before passing away in 2000. His works can often be found in galleries around the village, but the change for Angelenos to view them, and just a short drive from the studio where he once painted for Walt Disney, is a rare treat.

Of course, as a Disney devotee, you likely know he worked on "Lady & the Tramp" and "Peter Pan," too, as well as the dioramas inside Sleeping Beauty Castle in Disneyland.

For a chance to enjoy the larger scope of his beyond-Disney pursuits, the hue-big paintings of natural subjects he became famed for, make for Forest Lawn Museum before the dawn of the new year.



Photo Credit: Eyvind Earle]]>
<![CDATA['Chewbacca Mom' Breaks Facebook Live Record]]> Sat, 21 May 2016 07:55:58 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/chewbacca-mom.jpg

Candace Payne donned a Chewbacca mask in her car while the Internet gaped.

Within hours, it rose to become the most viewed Facebook Live video of all time, with more than 105 million views as of Saturday morning.

The Texas mother's random purchase at her local Kohl's was not expected. In the video, recorded at the store's parking lot, Payne says she was returning some items when she found the mask.

In an phone interview with 'Today,' Payne said: "I feel like I really helped people, and that's all that matters. People reach out to me, and they say, you know, 'I battle depression,' or, 'I haven't laughed out loud since such-and-such event.' And that's been so great. I've only been seeing positive feedback."



Photo Credit: Candace Payne
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<![CDATA[Expo Line: New Station Artwork]]> Fri, 20 May 2016 18:24:47 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/expoMallinson_26th+st_722.jpg "Original, site-specific works" lend each just-unveiled stop its own vibrancy.

Photo Credit: Constance Mallison]]>
<![CDATA[Pasadena Pretty: Grand Butterfly Release]]> Fri, 20 May 2016 12:32:02 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/214*120/butterflyreleasekidspace123.jpg

Butterflies aren't unknown around the Rose Bowl, thanks the monthly flea market that boasts all manner of insect-bedecked items to the New Year's Day floats that frequently employ the winged wonders in various motifs.

But live butterflies, about 1,600 of 'em, will rule the Rose Bowl-close Kidspace Children's Museum on Saturday, May 21 and Sunday, May 22. 

Are they currently on their way to Pasadena at this typing, with an evening arrival at LAX? Nope, though a plane full of butterflies would certainly be a draw for some fliers. Rather, hundreds of young Southern Californians have been carrying for live caterpillars over the last few weeks, caterpillars that are now doing what they've done for eons: Shedding their chrysalis and unfolding their bright new wings.

The 20th Annual Grand Butterfly Release will happen at 2 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, with the larger happening rolling out from 10 a.m. to 3 in the afternoon. What does this happening include? Tots can fashion their own wings to wear, and learn to sip nectar in the manner of a butterfly, and listen to stories and songs.

One of the centerpieces of the day will be the new Arroyo Adventure, which was just unveiled at the start of the month.

Will the hundreds of Painted Lady Butterflies head to this recently debuted section of the museum first? Or will they head further afield, to the yards and trees of greater Pasadena and Highland Park?

Perhaps one or two will even flitter over the Rose Bowl, taking it all in from high above. Butterflies and the famous landmark are a longtime duo, both parade-wise and via the flea market, so it is right that some real, non-floral, non-antique butterflies call upon the area every now and then.



Photo Credit: Kidspace]]>
<![CDATA[Expo Line Welcome: Santa Monica Parties]]> Fri, 20 May 2016 10:44:53 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/smnightdowntown12345678.jpg

When fresh tracks arrived in a frontier town, back when the railroad was just beginning, it was, for local denizens, like a dozen holidays rolled into one.

Much celebration ensued, and grand speeches were made, and a few townsfolk wore their best frocks and top hats and boots and bustles.

Things aren't that much different, a couple of centuries on, when it comes to train-based excitement for a town. Look to Downtown Santa Monica, which plans to greet the debut of Metro's Expo Line with a touch of pomp and a side of circumstance.

Or, as we often interpret "pomp & circumstance" nowadays, dining deals and retail discounts. 

Downtown Santa Monica'll welcome riders, and anyone excited about getting from downtown LA to the beach in well under an hour (sans freeway traffic), with an assortment of money-saving offers on May 20 and 21.

Get 33% off at Sea of Silver, except for sale items, if that's your pleasure, then follow up at Charlie Kabob, where you can score 10% off your lunch.

Bloomingdale's, Sole Society, Cheryl Fudge, True Religion Jeans, and Peloton are all on board with the Expo-fun weekend, as well as other merchandisers. The full list of participants? Find it right here.

There are parties, too, at the Santa Monica stations, and a t-shirt giveaway, and other to-dos that all broadcast one message: The city is pretty dang glad that, for the first time in well over a half century, a train will reach the ocean, or nearly.

As are the riders, who'll get to score some free rides over its opening weekend, which officially begins on May 20.

Details on that and everything? Locate the nearest seat, or somewhere to hang on, and get riding now.



Photo Credit: Santa Monica]]>
<![CDATA[Petal Drop LA: The Jacaranda Edition]]> Thu, 19 May 2016 17:47:03 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/jacarandaGettyImages-50858036.jpg

When the middle of May arrives, Angelenos have quite the head-scratcher to ponder, and it is this: Is a tree lush with purple blossoms the most stunning sight ever? Or are fallen buds dotting an expanse of green grass even more spectacular, given the colorful contrast?

Questions, questions, but many Southern Californians would likely say that they'd gratefully take the annual jacaranda bloom however it arrives, up in the branches or down upon a lawn.

But jacarandans -- those are jacaranda fans, of course, which happen to be legion in our region -- will have a new way to experience the ephemeral bloom on the Sunday of Memorial Day Weekend: in an industrial setting.

The anonymous collective behind Petal Drop LA, the February 2016 event which saw showers of petals floating from a downtown building, is ready to stage Petal Drop LA (02). The location hasn't been revealed yet -- that will happen "at sunrise" on Sunday, May 29 via Twitter and Instagram -- but count on an "industrial site."

A site that will include "thousands of fallen blossoms from local jacaranda trees," blossoms that have been "collected, sorted, and processed."

To be clear, these purple gems will not be drifting down from some higher elevation location, as with Petal Drop LA (01). Rather, the collective describes the site of the May 29 happening as "a surreal factory" in which the blossoms are the star.

A factory that will vanish, like a strong wind clearing a tree full of soft petals, by noon.

Intriguing, yes. A fine way to marry nature to art to performance, for sure. And a fresh way to honor what is, without quibble, the most eye-popping symbol of LA come May.

And that's saying something, in a month when May Grey gives the jacaranda a run for its intoxicatingly beautiful money.

The head-scratchers continue, though. Where will this industrial site be? How will the jacaranda blossoms be displayed? And is there anything in nature that's more mind-swirlingly purple than the flowers that visit us every fifth month of the year?

If you're up at sunrise on May 29, and fancy a flowery adventure, watch for a detailed tweet or Instagram post from @petaldropLA.

Or you can ring 323-905-4574. The current recorded message reveals no information as of yet, but it charms, so much so one might wonder if this whole art-fun plot was devised by a particularly entrepreneurial group of charming jacarandas.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Weekend: 30th Annual Bug Fair]]> Thu, 19 May 2016 12:33:59 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/bugfair2016_nhm.jpg

30th Annual Bug Fair: Wings, lots of wee legs, antennae, multiple eyes? Check, check, check, and check. It's one of the most buzzed-about -- get it? -- insect extravaganzas anywhere, and it is at the Natural History Museum on Saturday, May 21 and Sunday, May 22. In fact, it is billed as "the biggest bug fair in North America," which is quite something to chitter about (or the bug-related noise of your choosing). Bug sales, bug experts, and, yes, the sampling of bug cuisine are just a few of the many scurry-worthy to-dos.

California Strawberry Festival: The Golden State is home to oodles of food fests focused on fruity goodness, but this Oxnard affair wears a berry-lined crown. It's out-sized, it's juicy, it features everything from tarts to pies to strawberry nachos -- pause for exclamation points: !!! -- and it has a whole carnival scene to boot. Tickets, shuttles, and what you can eat/do there can be found by peeking under the crust. Dates? May 21 and 22

Moroccan Artisan Festival: If you've been dreaming of an across-the-globe trip, but can't quite do it this summer, get down to Pershing Square through Saturday, May 21 for flavorful cuisine, authentic tunes, and a host of handmade items created by artists from the North African nation. The first-ever happening is a joint partnership between the Kingdom of Morroco and LA.

Temecula Balloon & Wine Festival: Whether you like chard, pinot, or cabernet, there's no debating the fact that this springtime wine country bash is just about its most famous. The three-day schedule bears that out -- May 20 through 22 -- as do the multiple concerts (Phil Vassar, Neon Trees) and the multiple chances to taste regional vinos and bites created by a caboodle of award-boasting chefs. Finding your parking, or a room, is key, so sail your balloon in this direction.

Rain Room Returns: Just when you thought you could stow your galoshes, one of the headline-makingest installations to ever grace the Los Angeles County Museum of Art is back. It's the artwork that rains inside a room, that's inside, yes, but when you step into it? A sensor senses you and the rain stops. It's been so popular that LACMA has extended its stay more than once; the next extension opens on May 19. Tickets? They're a must (though galoshes/umbrellas are not).



Photo Credit: Natural History Museum]]>
<![CDATA[Guillermo del Toro Retrospective at LACMA]]> Thu, 19 May 2016 09:33:19 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/gdtGettyImages-473128908.jpg

The sunshine-sweet and lemonade-lovely days of summertime are not a time for beasties and baddies and things that go thumpity just after midnight. 

We count on Count Dracula to stay away during these bright days, and ghosts to go, and villains to vamoose.

Which all goes into making the July 31 debut of the monster-iest retrospective in town all the more devious and delicious.

"At Home with Monsters," a large-scale Los Angeles County Museum of Art exhibit, will look at director Guillermo del Toro's whimsical work on movies like "Pan's Labyrinth" and "Cronos" and "Pacific Rim."

Drawings, paintings, maquettes, and "objects from his vast personal collections" will fill the cinema-cool show, which will boast over 500 items in all (including a few dozen objects from the permanent collection at the Miracle Mile museum).

Mr. del Toro is famed not only for his movie work but for his devotion to the genre of elegant horror. The Guadalajara-born helmer has been hailed for his incredible affection for the many directors, writers, actors, and artists who've worked in the fright film field for the last several decades. 

His knowledge of horror is impressive, in short, something sure to be reflected in the skin-prickling, spine-tingling show.

A show that will be "the filmmaker's first museum retrospective," let's add. Mr. del Toro has a home in Los Angeles -- it's the macabrely monikered "Bleak House" -- and a LACMA exhibit feels like the perfect, and perfectly terrifying, tribute to someone who tells eeky stories even while living in our sunbeam-filled city.

And while the last day of July seems an offbeat day to launch such a spooky show, consider these two things. One? That's the weekend of Midsummer Scream, the huge Halloween convention in Long Beach. 

Scares'll be everywhere, in short.

And two? "At Home with Monsters" wraps on Nov. 27, 2016, making it a perfect Halloween season exhibit to see -- if you so dare.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Downtown Delight: Moroccan Artisan Festival]]> Wed, 18 May 2016 23:35:05 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/moroccanartisansfestival123.jpg

Hopping onto a jet and making for Marrakech is a dream of many people, but not always in the cards. There are usual duties to perform, and endless errands, and the day-to-day doings to abide.

So it is wonderful, and appreciated, and a surprise as bright as a mosaic-lovely lamp, that a stunning slice of Morocco has come to visit our city, and for several days, too. It's the Moroccan Artisan Festival, "a cross-cultural experience" focused on the "music, art, fashion, food, and design of Morocco's most authentic entrepreneurs."

The location? Pershing Square downtown. The dates? Be there on any day through Saturday, May 21. Is this the first time such a festival has happened? Indeed.

The Kingdom of Morocco is LA's partner in the "week-long cultural exchange," a visual, sound-filled, and foodie spectacular that's all about connecting Angelenos with what's happening in the art-making hubs and music-creating centers of the North African nation.

Will you a trip downtown give you the flavor of the Atlas Mountains? Or the famous souks of Marrakech? Shall you leave the re-created Moroccan Village feeling as though you've just had a mind-filling, heart-emboldening holiday, but all within Southern California?

Three questions, all with a "yes" on the end.

The multi-day festival, which gives the spotlight to both traditional handicrafts as well as the contemporary creations of Moroccan artists, is very much about the glorious gamut of cultural offerings found within the country, and about connecting with the glorious cultural hub that is Los Angeles. 

Cost? It's free to attend. Finding that scarf or painting or tile-laden vase or all of the above? It's all there for the perusing at Pershing Square.



Photo Credit: Moroccan Artisans Festival]]>
<![CDATA['Walking Dead' Attraction: Universal Date Reveal]]> Wed, 18 May 2016 15:29:41 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/universalhandswd123.jpg

Fourth of July, as a rule, is all about sparklers, and bright yellow mustard on hot dogs, and potato salad, and pool noodles, and plopping down upon a towel while staring off into the distance waiting on fireworks.

But the art of staring off into the distance is also something often practiced on the hit AMC series "The Walking Dead." After all, the TV show's characters are forever scanning the horizon, and dark corridors, to see if walkers -- those shambling, not-so-alive superstars of both the comic books and television series -- are headed their way.

They definitely will be, on Independence Day, when the brand-new, all-year-long attraction based on "The Walking Dead" makes its dastardly debut at Universal Studios Hollywood. 

Yep, the much-anticipated opening date has been revealed. The theme park, which recently hosted over a thousand prospective walkers at early-May auditions, will unveil the shadowy, screamy, clutch-a-friend experience on Monday, July 4.

Will there be techno whizbangery? For sure: Greg Nicotero, Executive Producer for the long-running phenom, has headed up the make-up, costuming, and effects for the attraction, along with his team from KNB EFX.

Will there be macabre molds, shreddy costumes, some impressive animatronics, and oodles of details that bring the dystopian world to life? Er... not-life? There will be, and throughout the year, too.

As in 365 days of walker-y thrill-making. As in you won't need to wait for Halloween to enter a living horror show. As in walkers, as a rule, don't own calendars, so these stumbling moaners don't know if it is October or, indeed, July's most celebrated and festive holiday.

Can you face the darkness in the toasty heat of summer? Will you escape the walkers' outstretched arms? Will knowing that these famous TV monsters roam a place in Los Angeles, each day of the year, give you the slightest of willies?

Stay tuned: "The Walking Dead" debuts on July 4 at Universal Studios Hollywood, but not on the screen. It's real life, or a very scary approximation.

What's that off in the distance? Why, it's a making-of video...



Photo Credit: Universal Studios Hollywood]]>
<![CDATA[Ben & Jerry's Debuts Empower Mint]]> Wed, 18 May 2016 08:50:14 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/238*120/BenJerrysMint1.gif

Ben & Jerry's wants you to know that democracy is in your hands and the Vermont-based company has launched a new flavor of creamy, chunky goodness churned for the cause.

Empower Mint was introduced in North Carolina Tuesday in conjunction with the launch of the "Democracy Is in Your Hands" campaign to support the NAACP’s get out the vote efforts, protest voter suppression laws, and draw attention to dark money in politics.

Ben & Jerry's co-founders Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield attended the event in Raleigh along with Reverend Dr. William J. Barber II, president of the North Carolina NAACP.

Cohen and Greenfield said in a press release it chose North Carolina to launch the new flavor — mint ice cream with brownie chunks and a fudge swirl— because the state is at the epicenter of the fight for voting rights in the U.S.

"Almost immediately following the 2013 Supreme Court decision invalidating a critical section of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, North Carolina passed a package restrictive voting policies that disproportionately impact black, Hispanic, and younger voters," the founders wrote.

The limited edition ice cream is going to be part of the company’s year-long effort to register at least 30,000 voters. Participating Ben & Jerry's scoop shops across the country will install kiosks to register voters.

It is also urging customers to demand that Congress reauthorize the landmark civil rights legislation, the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Trucks offering free scoops of Ben & Jerry's will tour North Carolina this summer with information about the campaign and voter registration.

Click here to read more about the campaign.

Click here to find out where you can buy Empower Mint.



Photo Credit: Ben and Jerry's ]]>
<![CDATA[Hollywood Alfresco: New Pop-Up Park]]> Wed, 18 May 2016 07:35:02 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/hollywoodpopuppark.jpg

Plug the words "bustling" and "rushing" and "thronged" into a dictionary and you will not see a photograph of Hollywood.

But the city, with its auto-packed streets and eatery-lined thoroughfares, definitely represents one of denser, go-go-go-ier sections of our region.

There are ways, however, that Hollywood catches a breath, from street performance and rooftop cinema to a brand-new pop-up park headed for the corner of Selma and Ivar.

Hollywood Pop!, a mini oasis in the structure-laden zone, will make its official debut on Friday, May 20. "Activating a previously vacant space surrounded by secondary schools, residences, retail and restaurants, the park will serve residents and visitors through 2016."

Pop-ups are typically associated with merchandise and sales -- think fashion, travel, and music -- but Hollywood Pop! is all about getting out and savoring some sunshine in one of SoCal's busiest areas.

Is it on private property? It is. Is the Sunset & Vine Business Improvement District involved? For sure; the organization is, in fact, funding it. Shall there be seats and tables and art-forward design by the firm LA-Más? Tinseltown does dote on style, so plan on a pop-up that leans towards the eye-popping.

No doubt it'll catch some pedestrians by surprise, to see a wee slice of do-nothing-ness in the heart of Hollywood's try-everything-ness. Call it an ideal complement to the town's rep for always being on, 24/7, with loads of activities at hand.

Spending a few minutes in the park simply sitting, or conversing with a pal, will be a fine foil to the neighborhood's high bustle-o-sity. 

Though Hollywood Pop! isn't 100% relaxed, of course. How many parks, pop-up or otherwise, rock an exclamation point in their name? 



Photo Credit: Hollywood Pop!]]>
<![CDATA[Happy 89th, TCL Chinese Theatre]]> Tue, 17 May 2016 13:11:17 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/hollywoodchinesetheatre89.jpg

It isn't all that uncommon for the kids living along a particular suburban street to all be about the same age, give or take a few years.

But this age-same theory can extend to some of the most famous landmarks in California, too, thanks to a spate of ambitious construction springing up in certain promising places around certain times.

Look to Hollywood Boulevard, where many a prominent building and business is turning 90, or will quite soon. The Egyptian Theatre marked its 90th in 2012, and Musso and Frank Grill, a block further east, became a nonagenarian in 2009. 

The Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel will celebrate nine decades in 2017, as will its handprint-y, premiere-laden, kitty-corner neighbor, the TCL Chinese Theatre.

But the world's best-known cinema isn't waiting another year to start the party; the Sid Grauman-made, star-in-its-own-right structure plans to give a warm nod to its 89th birthday, which will fall on Wednesday, May 18.

What's a "warm nod" in movie lingo? Think cheapo bags of popcorn. If you're at the 7 p.m. screening of "Captain America: Civil War" you can score the quintessential film food at its 1927 price: 10 cents.

It's hard to find anything for a dime these days, much less a bag of buttery kernel goodness. Snack upon your ten-center, enjoy your Cap, Iron Man, and the gang as they scuffle, and ponder how many pieces of popcorn have been consumed over 89 years inside the vast, IMAX'd theater.

By the by, did you know the TCL Chinese Theatre has another "world's only" to brag about? Beyond all those handprints/footprints out front, of course. It's the world's only IMAX screen with a curtain, which is pretty nifty indeed. Like the future -- IMAX, natch -- meeting the past -- a screen curtain -- halfway.

Cool stuff for an landmark-lovely 89th birthday.



Photo Credit: TCL Chinese Theatre]]>
<![CDATA[Beatles Artifacts to Rock Grammy Museum]]> Mon, 16 May 2016 23:22:49 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/219*120/beatles-lead.jpg

Seven thousand years in the future, when our holograms are beamed to concerts in distant cities, and a private jam session with a favorite guitarist is as simple as plugging in the right cable from our virtual reality amp, scholars will still be seriously studying Beatlemania.

The scream-worthy, all-encompassing moment revved up, marvelously and mop-top-ishly, in 1964, when Paul McCartney, John Lennon, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr arrived on our fair American shores for a history-changing appearance on "The Ed Sullivan Show." 

What followed? Millions of posters, buttons, toys, and t-shirts, the sort of collectible doodads that had already popped up in England where the Liverpudlians got their star.

The Grammy Museum will soon ponder the phenomenon starting on July 1, 2016 when "Ladies and Gentlemen... The Beatles!" opens at the LA Live-based music history institution.

True, true, the museum has already given individual shows to all the Beatles, save Paul. And true, true, The Beatles already have a presence in the museum, in various pockets and displays, because, well, they're The Beatles.

But this traveling, stuff-packed show, which has been compiled by the Grammy Museum and Fab Four Exhibits, "explores and celebrates The Beatles' impact on pop culture from the perspective of their fans."

So, you betcha, there shall be memorabilia, over 400 pieces worth, as well as "articles of clothing" and "tour artifacts" and "rare photographs."

Will you see a Paul doll, the one you loaned to your cousin Margie, there in the museum? Our childhood playthings do have a rather impressive way getting a bit priceless as we age (at least the ones we no longer own).

The exhibit is a continuing 50th anniversary celebration of when the band first arrived in the United States back in 1964, and the huge impact it had on both the fans then and the fans now.

And, yes, on the concept of fandom in general. 

Which means that, in seven thousand years, when we'll all be holograms, or living inside a glowing VR world, we'll still be studying the lasting impact of Beatlemania, a force so Fab that neither time, nor your Paul doll disappearing inside your cousin's toy chest, can stop it.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Cheesesteaks to Tacos: National Barbecue Day]]> Mon, 16 May 2016 12:18:54 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/ktowncheesesteak.jpg

National food holidays, as a charming rule, can land rather nilly-willy-ly on random dates, dates that bear little relation to whether the foodstuff in question is popular at the moment.

There are exceptions, like Eat a Cranberry Day landing right around Thanksgiving and Egg Nog Day falling on the 24th of December. Those feel right on the timely money, as does the May 16th holiday observed by savory sandwich lovers: National Barbecue Day.

It's an observance that couldn't be better placed, falling, as it does, about two weeks before Memorial Day. This is the exact time when grillers are starting to plot their coal-smoked menus, and looking for some inspiration in local restaurants.

Need a flavorful jolt in the whole rub/sauce department? Then consider trying one of these protein-packed, spice-laden SoCal favorites in honor of the meat-centered holiday...

The K-Town Philly Cheesesteak: Galbi Grill recently debuted in West Covina, and this tummy-filling concoction pairs Beef Bulgogi, a centerpiece of Korean BBQ, with the tried-and-true elements of a straight-from Philadelphia cheesesteak. Sauteed mushrooms and crazy cheese sauce have cameos, as does what holds it all together: A classic hoagie roll.

Maple Block Meat Co.: If your two go-to elements in a perfect plate of barbecue are A) quality wood and B) quality beef or pork, this Culver City joint can help you out on both accounts. The brisket has made rave-making waves around the region, as has the Old-School Chopped Pork Shoulder. Brisket Chili is one choice side, as is the tangy Vinegar Slaw.

Max City BBQ: Finding a really solid St. Louis-style rib plate is the gourmand-y goal of many a living-in-LA Missourian, as well as the goal of those barbecue buffs who favor this world-famous sauce-forward style. You can find it at this Eagle Rock Boulevard joint, as well as cooldown sides like cucumber salad.

The Short Rib Taco: While the Kogi BBQ truck offers many toothsome temptations -- the Sriracha Bar, with its Sriracha ganache, lights up about four different taste buds just by thinking of it -- the Short Rib Taco is a newer LA instant classic. (Yes, "new" and "instant classic" can live well together on competitive food scene.) "Double caramelized" are two key words here, when it comes to how this beauty is prepped. Mmm.

Horse Thief BBQ: Does the bread make/break a barbecue dinner for you? Should it be chewy, a bit soft, a touch fancy, but not full of airs? Consider brioche as the complement to your pulled pork, and consider having it at this Grand Central Market alfresco eatery. Bonus: You can admire the beautiful Angels Flight gate as you brioche-up your pulled pork or brisket. 



Photo Credit: Jimmy Tang/Galbi Grill]]>
<![CDATA[Magical Moves: Dance Film Festival]]> Mon, 16 May 2016 08:09:47 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/dance123Bandaloopdff.jpg

If the tango takes your mind to magical places, and ballet captivates your soul, and modern jazz embues you with a joyful outlook, you clearly need an excess of dance-based beauty in your world.

But how to keep those vivacious vibes in tip-top form between International Dance Day, at the end of April, and National Dance Day, which boogies at the close of July?

Why by going out dancing, of course, or shaking your stuff at home, for dance is always the answer to most any question (always).

Another route, however, to getting your samba-sweet, hip-hop-ian fill of move-based performance? Attend the 15th Annual Dance Camera West Dance Media Film Festival.

Yep, these are all dance films, and they're centered around interesting interpretations and traditional steps and nontraditional takes and flows that feel ultra-fresh. The five-day festival -- June 11 is day one, and June 16 through 18 follow -- is all about "(f)ostering and promoting the vibrant art of dance and dance on film from around the globe with over 35 films."

"A History of Cuban Dance" is on the 2016 roster, as is "Shift" by Bandaloop, which is a mountain-based short celebrating vertical dance. Avant garde presentations, cool choreography, and story told through physical expression are all on the dance-tastic docket.

If you've taken a dance class, and you've heard other students raving about a dance film or two, this could very likely be the festival they speak about. The cinema series, at a decade and a half along, has become one of the ultimate places to see global troupes and artists leap/spin/strut on the big screen.

In what direction do you need to leap to see such stunning performances? UCLA's Royce Hall, MOCA, and the Fowler Museum. 



Photo Credit: "Shift" by Bandaloop]]>
<![CDATA[Historic Dinner: Queen Mary's Maiden Voyage Menu]]> Sat, 14 May 2016 15:08:47 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/180*120/QueenMary_52464388.jpg

Transatlantic travel, back in the golden age of kitted-out, wood-and-brass ocean-liners, is celebrated for many reasons, including the power of the ships, the elegance of design, and the speed at which the big boats hummed along.

Those big boats also housed incredibly elegant eateries, complete with starched tablecloths, gleaming flatware, and lavishly gourmet menus that would rival any multi-star restaurant found on dry land.

The Queen Mary's maiden voyage menu is a testament to this time, when seven- and eight-course meals rich in fancy foodstuffs were de rigueur aboard the world's luxury liners. And the Long Beach-based queen will again revisit her very first menu, on Thursday, May 26, in honor of the 80th anniversary of the ship's maiden voyage.

True, history-inspired entrees have been served aboard the permanently docked ship before, but the May 26 menu is rather special, in that it "ranks as the maiden voyage of any multi-course meal served on the ship."

How gastronomic will the glam'd-up grub get? Prepare your palate for Croute-au-Pot au Pomme Perles and Cotes Courtes Braisée Belle Mère, which should summon tasty memories of the ship's first foray, along with several other swanky dishes.

"While the Queen Mary has previously re-created historic menus to mark important events, the creation of this particular menu was difficult as no records of the meal are present in our archives," reveals Todd Henderson, the Queen Mary's chef.

Staffers went back to the history books detailing the ship's maiden voyage to glean the information needed to build the celebratory menu. Deep research, and a bit of imagination, helped the Chef Henderson and the culinary team concoct the long-ago feast (a feast that will, of course, include modern-day ingredients and techniques).

The special supper isn't the only 80th-themed party on the famous boat; Randolph Churchill, Winston Churchill's great-grandson, will visit the ship to unveil a gallery show of his great-grandfather's paintings.

The Queen Mary served as Sir Churchill's "office at sea" during World War II, when it was better known as "The Grey Ghost," a troopship that had temporarily left passenger service.

Mr. Churchill will speak after the dinner, which will take place in the Grand Salon.

If you know your Queen Mary stuff, then you know the airy Art-Deco'd space was once the First Class Dining Room. So you'll be sitting right where '30s-era eaters once sat, clinking their crystal and gesturing with shiny spoons as they talked about the matters of the day, somewhere in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.

For all of the 80th anniversary doings at the storied ship, cast your line this way.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Rose Festival at Descanso Gardens]]> Fri, 13 May 2016 11:18:37 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/219*120/Valentine-Roses.jpg

How does a flower know when it has reached the zenith, the tip-top, the absolute peak of popularity, the ultimate apex of general belovedness?

There's no scent-sweet scale to measure such things, but let us ponder the signs. If you're a flower, but you're also known as a color, and a well-known perfume type, and a first name, well, congratulations: You are unequivocally, indubitably famous.

And there isn't a flower more widely known than the rose, flat-out, no ifs, ands, thorns, or petals about it. Shakespeare, Valentine's Day, and a certain Pasadena parade have helped make this so, and thank goodness: This bud's a beaut.

Descanso Gardens certainly thinks so, and it will pause on Saturday, May 14 and Sunday, May 15 to shower this showy specimen in affection and attention. (Two things we do believe a rose very much enjoys.)

The Rose Festival, which is included with admission to the La Cañada Flintridge nature destination, is all about honoring "America's favorite flower" through a veritable blooming bush brimming with buds. (Less poetically, a busy schedule full of events.)

There's the Rose Garden Walk and Talk, Floral Art Activities, and a station where one might get acquainted with rarer roses.

No word if rarer roses are a bit formal when you first meet them, but we sense they might be.

The quirkiest happening of the weekend? The "Human Vase" Living Art. Two artists, one a floral pro and one a make-up maven, will "create a living work of floral art" by "(u)sing the body as a canvas."

Intriguing.

All the rosy to-dos are happening on both days, so if you can only make Sunday, or Saturday, you're in lovely luck.

And if you haven't properly welcomed spring yet, in a lush and leafy setting, here's your make-good before summer arrives, in, whoa, just over a month.

Spending an hour with the queen of the flower kingdom is kind of the quintessential spring thing to do, even as the rose also ably rules Feb. 14, and New Year's Day, and Mother's Day, and birthdays...

Yep. This flower has power.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Shivers: It's Friday the 13th]]> Fri, 13 May 2016 05:55:31 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/214*120/scaryfilmshutterstock.jpg

Whatever your deep, personal feelings are about Friday the 13th, there is one fact that can't be quibbled with: There is only one in 2016.

It didn't arrive in chilly, dark-afternoon'd January, and it won't show up in spooky October, which is kind of what Friday the 13th would be if Friday the 13th was a month.

You guessed it: The merry, flowery, sunshiny month of May is where the lore-filled, superstition-packed, slightly creepy day is making its single entry for the year.

So how to October-up this spritely, light-of-heart Friday the 13th?

Take heart that Los Angeles is already revving up its Halloween-oriented engines, with the recent auditions for "The Walking Dead" attraction at Universal Studios Hollywood, and tickets on sale for the two mondo/macabre Halloween conventions this summer (Midsummer Scream and ScareLA, eek).

But as for the date itself? There are terrifying to-dos, like...

The Great Horror Campout's movie night on Friday, May 13, and the date and the screening's location -- the Old Zoo at Griffith Park -- should clue you into what the film will be. (Hint: It's "Friday the 13th," but perhaps the group's very name, what with the "campout" part, gave that away.)

If you're into that Camp Crystal Lake feel, but without the whole heading into the outdoors, L'Affaire Musicale & Ouija Entertainment are concocting a "Friday the 13th" treat at the Lyric Theatre on La Brea Avenue. Oh yeah: "Camp Attire Suggested."

Hmm. Rarely has a dress code seemed so dastardly.

And if you wend your way to San Jose on this Friday the 13th, or any Friday the 13th, you likely know what's afoot: an evening flashlight tour through the Winchester Mystery House. It's tradition, with a historic and atmospheric twist.

However you spend this fine May Friday, whether on the watch for superstitious doings or happily traipsing along, ponder this: 2017 will have two Friday the 13ths, and, indeed, one will happen in that most Friday-the-13th-ish of months, October.



Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[Stationary Ride: Tour de Pier]]> Thu, 12 May 2016 16:03:25 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/TourdePiercrowd2angela_Daves_Haley.JPG

Many a cyclist has pedaled by Manhattan Beach Pier on a sun-washed afternoon, pausing briefly to savor the sight of the waves and beach lovers enjoying the sand.

That cycle-based pause grows considerably longer each year, on one special spring day, and for some excellent causes. It's Skechers Tour de Pier we speak of, and while the Sunday, May 15 event doesn't involve bikes that can roll down The Strand, it does include 350 stationary bikes, all placed upon the pier, and some 1,500 cyclists.

"Ride in Place, Move Charity Forward" is the memorable tagline of the to-do.

What will all of those bikes, and the riders upon them, and their friends cheering them on, and the people donating from afar be doing, in addition to the hardworking organizers? Supporting cancer research through a day of awareness and fundraising and, of course, stationary pedaling.

Riders and their supporters are giving the love, and money, to the Hirshberg Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research, the Cancer Support Community Redondo Beach, and the Uncle Kory Foundation. 

Two 4-themed things to note: This is the fourth outing for the pedal-centered philanthropic fundraiser, and 2015 attendance hit about 4,000 people. (A third "for" thing is this, of course: This is all for a very important cause.)

All 4,000 people in attendance aren't all on the stationary bikes, of course. They're there to root for a friend, hear some live tunes, attend the Health & Fitness Expo, or visit the Cardio Kids Fun Zone with their tots.

It's a sunshiny day, in more ways than the beams that Manhattan Beach Pier'll bask in, once any May Gray burns off. To support the riders, get involved, or find out the details on heading to the beach for a special give-back gathering, pedal this way.



Photo Credit: Angela Daves Haley]]>
<![CDATA[Weekend: CicLAvia Southeast Cities]]> Thu, 12 May 2016 07:14:06 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/ciclaviasouthlaleroyhamilton.jpg

CicLAvia Southeast Cities: Six towns -- Huntington Park, Walnut Park, South Gate, Florence-Firestone, Lynwood, and Watts -- "will host the country's largest open streets event." That means you can roam on your bike, or skates, or on foot, with no vehicle traffic to intercept your stride. As with all CicLAvias, it is free, there's lots to enjoy along the way (local businesses, community booths), and the sweet spirit of LA-o-sity is strong. Want to join the good times? Cycle on, SoCalers, on Sunday, May 15.

Grand Central Market Pickle Party: If sour, fermented, and flavorful foodstuffs are your jam, get downtown on Sunday, May 15 and A) learn from experts and B) buy and snack upon panache-packed pickles possessing global flair and C) participate in the making of kraut, a lot of kraut, like a thousand pounds of kraut. The fest/info is free, but bring money for noshing at the Pickle Pop-Up and/or at various market vendors.

Rose Festival: The big-of-bloom flowers, the ones that symbolize Pasadena each New Year's Day? They're pretty much a part of our local DNA. In the spirit of honoring "America's favorite flower," Descanso Gardens in La Cañada Flintridge will stage two showy days of rose walks, rare roses, and a "human vase" display (sounds like a merry mash-up between the Rose Parade and Pageant of the Masters). Cool stuff with a nature twist. May 14 and 15

Skechers Tour de Pier: Visit Manhattan Beach Pier any day of the week and you'll spy cyclists rolling hither and yon. Visit on Sunday, May 15 and you'll behold some 1,500 cyclists pedaling away on hundreds of stationary bikes. What's the reason? They're supporting a trio of cancer research charities, as are many of the onlookers. Want to cheer 'em on? Visit the health expo? Donate from afar? Start here.

Cinespia Opens: A veritable movie-packed waterfall of alfresco films is headed for Southern California in the days ahead. This lore-laden favorite is notable for its eclectic flicks, its tunes, its vibe, and its iconic setting: Hollywood Forever Cemetery. Ready for "Fast Times at Ridgemont High," "Singin' in the Rain," "E.T. the Extraterrestrial" and more? They're all ahead, beginning on Saturday, May 14.



Photo Credit: Leroy Hamilton]]>
<![CDATA[Pickle Party at Grand Central Market]]> Thu, 12 May 2016 05:52:50 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/180*120/pickle2.jpg

The pickle is pretty darn quirky, and we're not just talking about its fun-to-say, oh-so-charming name.

It's a specific foodstuff -- everyone knows what you mean when you say "I want a pickle" -- and yet oodles of other edibles can be pickled. Which makes the pickle much like salt, and a roast, and toast, in that what they are, and what they can do to other foods, are two deliciously distinct things.

This is solid information to possess before your mosey over to the Pickle Party at Grand Central Market. The downtown landmark is hosting the tart-to-the-taste-buds bash on Sunday, May 15, but know that you won't just be noshing upon the green-hued classic, the one sitting in a jar inside your fridge door at this very moment. 

There shall be pickling knowledge, helpful tips shared by "fermentation guru" Sandor Ellix Katz. And Mr. Katz will oversee the rather amazing main draw of the event, the "1,000 Pounds of Kraut" project.

What is this? It's "a crowd-sourced communal sauerkraut-making session" involving a "day-long 'Kraut Mob'" that'll be behind the ongoing creation of, you guessed it, one thousand pounds of flavorful kraut goodness.

If you take a break from all the kraut-makery, be sure to check out the chefly demos dotting Grand Central Market, like those involving "Asian and Latino pickles and condiments."

There's also a pop-up Pickle Marketplace to peruse, too, and various vendors will sell "special pickle menu items" in honor of the happening.

Are you already sensing that your summertime barbecues, regardless of the main meat or veg, are about to step it up in terms of divine pickled delectables?

We wouldn't dare suggest that pickle people ever forsake the green bumpily spear, the one we love on the side of our sandwich plate, for other, er, less greener horizons. 

But the pickling planet is large, and it is welcoming of all sorts of cuisine-cool comers.

Really, what can't be pickled (or salted or roasted or toasted)?

It's an old kitchen calling with major implications for our contemporary entertaining. May pickled bites continue to lend tang wherever tang is needed.



Photo Credit: Getty Images/Glowimages]]>
<![CDATA[LA Zoo: Wild for the Planet Weekends]]> Wed, 11 May 2016 07:54:58 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/zooendangeredGL-Tasmanianjpham.jpg

Earth Month might have officially wrapped on April 30, but bestowing that title upon each and every month of the calendar seems fitting, as we do all exist upon the Earth during the full length of the year. (No spoiler alert required, surely.)

Wild for the Planet at the Los Angeles Zoo is keeping the tenets of Earth Month alive each weekend through Sunday, May 22, with a bevy of beast-beautiful to-dos. The multi-activity happening puts the focus on our furry and scaly and feather-laden co-earthlings, many of which are endangered (and all deserving of our concern and respect).

Endangered Species Day, in fact, arrives just days ahead of the final Wild for the Planet weekend. Perhaps, during your zoo visit, you'll learn more endangered and vulnerable species, including the Tasmanian devil, and snow leopards, Komodo dragons, and the colorful cassowary, and what conservation efforts are currently afoot to make sure these majestic animals thrive.

"Special animal feedings and zoo keeper talks underscoring conservation" are some centerpieces to the Earth-affectionate happenings, so be at the Griffith Park animal park at 1 o'clock or at 2 on a Saturday or Sunday through May 22.

An interactive puppet show, which will happen thrice daily on weekends through that date, stars a "brave raccoon leading a quest to save an endangered species." One extra treat from the puppet realm? You'll see a condor puppet, too, "inspired by" the California Condor Recovery Program. 

A Worm Composting Demo on May 21'll get wriggly, and Upcycling Inspiration Lab puts the focus on what we can make with our recyclables.

Feeling the planetary love? And connection to all living things? Of course, we don't need to wait for spring, or Earth Month, or Endangered Species Day to gain knowledge; it can be a year-round pursuit.

But Wild for the Planet at the Zoo is a roar-y, recycle-tastic, help-one-another event that serves as an important reminder in this realm.

And if important reminders can arrive with adorable raccoon puppets, and real-world giraffes and lions, so much the better.



Photo Credit: Jamie Pham]]>
<![CDATA[BBQ Cookout: Sundays at Idle Hour]]> Tue, 10 May 2016 18:14:10 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/may13idlehoursundays.jpg

Friday and Saturday, it almost need not be said, do a lot of load-carrying when it comes to our expectations of having a good time.

But Sunday has stepped up in recent years on the whole extending-the-weekend front. Look to the popular "Sunday Fundays" at various restaurants and attractions, those food and music-filled jamborees that keep the Friday/Saturday sparkle strong, but with a slightly more laid-back, "Monday's coming" vibe.

Idle Hour in North Hollywood, the historic barrel-shaped landmark that first opened in 1941, understands the impulse to keep the weekend's easygoing atmosphere going. In fact, the restaurant's very name suggests as much, and few things tap into easygoing weekend-o-sity like a patio cookout and old-school tunes.

It's the Sunday BBQ, a new happening that'll complement the restaurant's established brunch. (Make that recently established, of course; Idle Hour re-debuted in early 2015, after a major redo/reopening, courtesy of The 1933 Group.)

What's on tap for the Sunday BBQ scene, which kicks off at 1 o'clock? Live tunes on the bulldog-adjacent patio, for starters, and some saucy eats for twelve bucks (think a choice of ribs or pulled pork with a couple traditional sides).

A weekly rotating list of craft beers will shore up the libation end of things.

Mike Bray, who's rocked as a Tenacious D support act — hello, Sasquatch — shall be at the mic and taking requests as well as jamming out with area musicians.

Will the general sound of many of the songs hail from the 1960s, '70s, '80s, and '90s? C'mon. Those were some primo decades for get-happy music, decades that have produced more than a few tunes we've all likely grooved to at various barbecue cookouts at one time or another.

But you don't need to wait for your next neighborhood cookout invite to tap into this song 'n sup spirit. Idle Hour has it going on, every Sunday. And that special neighborhood cookout feel is what the restaurant is plugging into, no worries, no hurries, it's all good.

Sunday Funday's now got a side of smoky sauce and hit songs, in NoHo.

And as for the aforementioned bulldog? That's the restaurant's ode to the street-close stands of yore, when quirky architecture — like the beloved barrel on Vineland Avenue — ruled the roads of Southern California.



Photo Credit: Idle Hour]]>
<![CDATA[Opening: Cinespia at Hollywood Forever]]> Tue, 10 May 2016 14:14:19 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/cinespiaGettyImages-478832798.jpg

Hearken back to the close of the 19th century, right around the time the first short films were beginning to flicker and bewitch. Have you hearkened? Then ponder this widely known fact of the time, one that still intrigues today: People of the era rather liked picnicking in cemeteries.

It's a tradition that's far older than the Victorian age, of course, and yet quite contemporary, too. Look to the film series Cinespia, which is about to pull the curtain back on its 15th summer season at Hollywood Forever Cemetery.

The dining, and sipping, and socializing happens upon the cemetery's Fairbanks Lawn, and the outdoor films come to life on the side of the iconic mausoleum. Movie lovers arrive early, with picnics in tow, the better to raise a toast or two and watch the sun settle behind the mysterious, super-tall palms that have become towering symbols for the historic spread.

Opening night? It's Saturday, May 14, and the flick is quintessentially of this region: It's "Fast Times at Ridgemont High." "Purple Rain" is also on the 2016 schedule, in tender tribute to the memory of Prince, and "Singin' in the Rain," an ideal film for the movie studio-adjacent setting, will unspool.

Yes, true, the studio over Hollywood Forever's southern wall is Paramount, and the 1952 musical was pure MGM, but you get the Tinseltown-y tone we speak of here.

DJs send sound waves out into the assembling crowd ahead of the first swell of film music, just about the time you're setting up your blankets, pillows, and low chairs. (That's low, as in not tall, and as everyone is polite, surely these clear rules will be a snap to stick with.)

Tickets? They're $12 to $16.

Basking in a beautiful bucolic spot, much like the Victorians did, coincidentally just around the dawn of filmmaking? It's now very much a warm-weather, warm-of-heart tradition at Hollywood Forever.

Flicker on, atmospheric Tinseltown tradition. Flicker on.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Painting Class: The Art of the Tar Pits]]> Tue, 10 May 2016 06:51:48 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/160322_painting-3naturalhistory.jpg

That ol' burbling pit sitting at the northwest corner of Wilshire Boulevard and Curson Avenue, the one with the iconic family of mammoths, has been known to attract a brush or two in its time.

After all, delicate brushes are among the tools used to carefully remove dirt from the tiniest of fossils, those wee bones and bits of natural matter regularly removed from famous Ice Age site (and, yes, current excavation efforts are centered around Project 23 and other spots deeper within Hancock Park, and not the mammoth-laden "Lake Pit").

But different brushes will come into play on Saturday, May 14 at "Paints and Pleistocene." The day-long make-art activity, which will offer time slots for both beginning painters as well as intermediate and advanced artists, is all about capturing the beauty, mystery, and fossil-fabulousness of one of LA's best-loved natural landmarks.

The art-cool event'll rev up at the La Brea Tar Pits and Museum, which sits adjacent to the Lake Pit. Reserving your space is key, and note that both kids and adults are welcome. Prices and such? Find 'em here.

So, what will you summon via your paints and canvas? A giant sloth? A dire wolf? Perhaps a mastodon eating his lunch? Or one of the most storied long-ago denizens of the area, the beautiful saber-toothed cat?

And where will you hang your finished work of art at home? Important stuff to consider.

It's always fantastic when science and art dovetail, but this isn't the tar pits' first foray into the creative field: TARFEST is an annual music and art to-do that happens right around the beginning of autumn, and, of course, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art sits next door to the Lake Pit (and the Craft and Folk Art Museum across the street).

Really, though: How big and shiny will you make your saber-toothed cat's teeth? These are the essential questions to ponder as you head out for a pleasant, painterly day at the famous fossil site, the one located on the always marvelous Miracle Mile.



Photo Credit: Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County]]>
<![CDATA[Silent DJ Yoga at The Garland]]> Mon, 09 May 2016 08:14:48 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/SoundOffYogaJasonKornerer.jpg

When silent discos rose in quirky/cool prominence a few years back, observers had to think A) um, wow and B) that's probably an idea that needed to happen and C) no, really, wow and D) what other headphone-sporting soirees will come along next?

The silent disco, where attendees don tune-filled headphones and shimmy in seeming silence (at least from the viewpoint of any headphones-less onlookers), is still a happening thing at hip hotels. But The Garland in North Hollywood may have upped the awesome ante in this space.

How? On Thursday, May 12 the recently refurbished property will host Sound Off Deep Flow Yoga, which is indeed yoga, yes, but yoga like you've likely never done before.

Why do we make this assertion with such confidence? You'll be wearing headphones as you perform your planks and chair poses.

And glowing, wireless, noise-isolating headphones at that. A DJ will be on site at the alfresco class, spinning tunes, while an instructor takes headphone-sporting attendees through several vinyasa movements.

The class will run an hour -- it kicks off promptly at 7:30 p.m. on May 12 -- but there shall be several complementary cool things orbiting the main event, including a station focusing on tasty vegetable crudité, a taco cart, and agua frescas to help cool you down after some of the more vigorous poses.

Speciality cocktails will help in this cooling down regard, too.

A ticket to class? It's a pinch over twenty seven bucks. And if you can't make it, but want to know how this yoga-meets-DJing-meets-silent-disco experience is, stay tuned: The Garland will do it again in September.



Photo Credit: Jason Koerner]]>
<![CDATA[Budget-Friendly Gifts for Mom]]> Fri, 06 May 2016 14:23:00 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-520997194.jpg Buying a Mother's Day gift doesn't have to be stressful or expensive. This year, show mom you care with these fun and affordable gifts.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Car Wash Dance Performance]]> Sat, 07 May 2016 07:39:05 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/CMYK_Duckler_Parts_and_Labor123.jpg

If you've ever scanned a list of suggestions on how to live a happier, fuller life, you likely encountered tips like "smile more" and "listen to music" and "dance in public, like no one is watching."

Many of us do actually tap a toe while at the market or the doctor, depending upon what's playing on the sound system, but we've never leaped onto the hood of a car at a car wash, or twirled around the folding shelf at a laundromat, or shimmied upon the upper reaches of a building's fire escape.

Performers from the LA-based Heidi Duckler Dance Theatre have, however, with joy and carefree-o-sity and skill and theatricality. The troupe, which recently told a whole love story, via dance, at various points around town, is returning to one of its favorite works, a piece first staged at 1993.

The Saturday, May 7 performance is at a car wash -- the Santa Palm in West Hollywood -- and it takes place on top and around a car -- a Cadillac Coupe de Ville, vintage, direct from the 1970s.

"Parts & Labor" ponders our auto-obsessed love affair and the ways we weave our lives around our beloved vehicles.

In addition to the dancers, the band Antenna Repairman "will mic the car and play it."

It's provocative, visual, and oh-so-SoCal-y stuff, for sure, and all at a car wash to boot.

You've probably hummed along to some Top 40 or rock while waiting for your truck to get a soapy scrub-down, and you may have even swung a hip to the song, too.

But this is full-on dance at a place that doesn't normally double as a stage. Pirouette in public? The Heidi Duckler Dance Theatre does it often, with aplomb, in the sorts of unlikely locations one wouldn't expect it. 

The result? A fabulous dance presentation with a sprinkling of surprise on top.



Photo Credit: Heidi Duckler Dance Theatre]]>
<![CDATA[Free: Scent Weekend at the Hammer]]> Sat, 07 May 2016 07:40:20 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/olfactoryhammermuseum123.jpg

When we visit a museum, we expect to connect with the experience via our eyes, our ears, and, yes, our hearts and minds.

It's a rare instance, however, when the nose is pressed into sniff-big service during a day at an art institution. But the nose shall indeed lead at a special, weeklong spectacular that's all about scent.

The AIX Scent Fair is setting up the fragrant bottles, sniff-lovely panels, smell-cool talks, and a Mother's Day, kid-nice Scent Lab at the Hammer Museum through Sunday, May 8.

There are some special doings on each day -- a Friday night kick-off panel that'll include smell scientists and olfactory experts -- and, as mentioned, the children-ready Scent Lab is on Mother's Day.

As for the full-on, free-to-attend Scent Fair, which will boast a bevy of olfacto-avenues for connecting with fragrances of all sorts? Prepare for a Saturday and/or Sunday afternoon spent strolling, stopping, and sniffing, and, of course, chatting up the makers of the fragrances you're getting to know.

Is that a dash of cinnamon you smell? Or lilac? Or coffee? How the nose interprets an invisible-to-the-eye whiff of poetry has long been a rich area of study and art.

While the Westwood art museum is the host location, also keep an eye out for The Institute for Art and Olfaction, as well as Luckyscent/Scent Bar, the two co-presenters of the redolent weekend. (And do note that if you have allergies or sensitivities, this might not be your jam, advises the museum.)

Have you ever had the experience of smelling a flower from when you were very young, and being instantly transported back? How about the moment when you sniff something intriguing but can't quite place it? And do you know every food you love from scent alone?

Then you've experienced the astoundingness of the perfectly amazing protuberance in the middle of our faces. To spend a museum-major weekend celebrating it, via a host of esoteric and everyday fragrances, is an honor the nose is due.



Photo Credit: The Institute for Art and Olfaction]]>
<![CDATA[Weekend: Happy Mother's Day]]> Thu, 05 May 2016 17:48:47 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/tlmd_tlmd_050712_mothersday.jpg

Mother's Day: Showering your mama with attention, brunches, flowers, and sweet words is the order of the day, as is planning an outing on May 8 she'd love and remember. A Mother's Day Walk downtown will honor "the famous and not-so-famous women of Los Angeles, and the places on which they left their mark." The Huntington has a bouquet of celebratory doings, and the whole fam can get a free caricature done at Union Station (there's a tour of the landmark, too). The Hammer Museum hosts a kid-cool, Mother's Day-ready Scent Lab while a geranium show will bloom at The Arboretum.

Downtown Bookfest: A May afternoon spent paging through a book? It's a simple pleasure that's full of significance, learning, fantasy, and joy. A free gathering at Grand Park on Saturday, May 7 will throw confetti at the written word via live storytelling, writerly panel talks, and a host of local bookstores and organizations showing up and doing their thing. The theme for the day? "Literary LA: Places, Space, and Faces."

Free Comic Book Day: There's no use hemming or hawing about it, or denying it, either. If you've visited a pal, only to see she has the latest hot comic book, you likely feel a twinge of jealousy. Ditch the envy, text your pal, and make for your favorite local mom 'n pop shop on Saturday, May 7. You'll get a free comic book, like the day's name says (a book of the store owner's choosing). Loads of special events, too, will fill our indies. Capes on, SoCal.

Car Wash Dance Performance: If you know the Heidi Duckler Dance Theatre, you know that the troupe tends to leap off the traditional stage and dance in spots like laundromats and abandoned hospitals. On Saturday, May 7 the dancers will call upon Santa Palm Car Wash to stage a 1993 piece, one that takes place on and around a '70s-era Cadillac Coupe de Ville. It's eye-popping, idea-stoking stuff, and definitely an alfresco, auto-offbeat twist on traditional dance.

Animal Adoration: Do you swoon over the sweet small apes? Then best make for Saugus and Breakfast with the Gibbons, an annual fundraiser that's all about helping the preserve's smart 'n song-filled residents. Date? May 7. Also on May 7, but to the south, in Rancho Santa Fe, is another furry gathering: Puppy Prom. It's all about loving upon adopted/adoptable pooches. And, yes, the pups in attendance really do gussy up, tuxedo-style.



Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[Häagen-Dazs Free Cone Day]]> Mon, 09 May 2016 16:35:29 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/freeconedayhd.jpg

When people proclaim that they're a "night owl" or a "morning bird," what they may or may not be saying, between the lines, is that 4 o'clock in the afternoon really isn't their cup of tea.

So cups of tea are made -- one or two or five -- just to get through the dreaded afternoon slump. (Which, by the way, no one ever boasts they're an "afternoon slumper," ever, when asked about their best stretch of the day.)

There shall be get-through-the-afternoon help, however, on Tuesday, May 10. That's Free Cone Day at Häagen-Dazs, and while the annual event is a brisk and tasty four hours, it lands right where it needs to in terms of where the clock tests most of us the most: 4 p.m., not lunchtime, not dinner, but rather the exact the time of day when a pick-me-up hits the spot.

Your personal 4 to 8 p.m. pick-me-up might be a free scoop of mint chip, cherry vanilla, or classic chocolate. Free Cone Day is all about enjoying a single kiddie scoop, whether that scoop arrives on a cake cone, a sugar cone, or in a cup.

As for where to find your local shop? Burbank, Anaheim, Orange, Glendale, Newport Beach, and The Grove are your spot for your free Häagen-Dazs sweet.

Just recall the hours on May 10: It's on 4 in the afternoon right through to 8 in the evening. Is that the treat-needing-est time of the day? Many an early bird and night owl would say this is so.

For all the flavors and umlaut-tastic doings behind the 10th anniversary of Free Cone Day, point your spoon in this direction.



Photo Credit: Häagen-Dazs]]>
<![CDATA[Pacific Wheel: Lights Out (Temporarily)]]> Thu, 05 May 2016 18:48:19 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/smfwGettyImages-81275533.jpg

The real question isn't how cool the Pacific Wheel at Santa Monica Pier will be once its full-scale lighting update is complete, because the answer to that is "lavishly, hue-tastically cool."

Rather, the question is whether our city's large-scale attractions secretly plan to lend each other moral support during times of change, or if it is just coincidence.

Ponder the fact that Santa Monica Pier's famous Ferris wheel, seen in "Iron Man," "Hancock," and oodles of other films, is going lights-out for the rest of May, starting on May 5. That's a very similar window to the refurbishment of "Urban Light," the beloved lamps in front of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

But while "Urban Light" will remain half-lit through the end of June, Curbed LA reports that the Pacific Wheel will go fully dark as a "$1 million lighting upgrade" is installed.

The work should take about month, with the close of May as the expected finish. And when the switch is again flipped, the spinning classic will include "smoother animations, new effects, and a lot more colors," per Curbed. 

Indeed, a sophisticated new LED system means more "energy efficiency" for the solar-powered wheel, which arrived at the pier in 2008. Santa Monica Pier is a bit older than that, of course, having officially opened in September of 1909.

Nighttime pier partiers might wonder if this means that the ocean-adjacent wheel'll stop turning during the illumination renovation? Nope, it'll keep on keepin' on, meaning if you hold your honey's hand while riding it, the only true glow will be the glow from your hearts. (Please awww here, if you deem it an appropriate reaction.)

Truly, it is kind of nice that both the Santa Monica Pier Ferris wheel and LACMA's "Urban Light" are doing the whole #springhousework thing in unison.

Call it a coincidence, but our city has seen similar moments before. Remember how the Space Shuttle Endeavour and "Levitated Mass," LACMA's "floating" boulder, both rolled through our streets, in huge, photo-worthy fashion, in 2012? 

It's sweet to see local landmarks unknowingly fist bumping each other as they undergo updates and changes, all to shine on better than ever.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Vans Custom Culture: Vote Now]]> Thu, 05 May 2016 07:19:12 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/ocvans_universityhighschool.jpg The high school design contest has its 50 semi-finalists, including several from LA and Orange County.

Photo Credit: Vans Custom Culture]]>
<![CDATA[Cinco de Mayo: Find Your Celebration]]> Wed, 04 May 2016 21:22:43 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/cincodemayo98765.jpg

The Battle of Puebla happened long before any of us arrived here, but the celebrations surrounding Mexico's victory over France are a considerable contemporary event. 

It's Cinco de Mayo we speak of, and while a few years have passed since that 1862 showdown, revelers still pause each 5th of May to raise a margarita or cerveza and enjoy some tunes, some dancing, and an hour or two (or five) of convivial socializing.

Many a bar around Southern Cailfornia will be hanging the Cinco-hued banners, so check with your local watering hole if you're seeking out specials or a party. Or look to ...

Olvera Street: The 2016 Cinco de Mayo merriment began on the last day of April, with a weekend-long schedule of strolling mariachis, folklorico dancers, and eats galore. That merriment will rev up again on Thursday, May 5, Cinco de Mayo proper, when the historic thoroughfare with "(s)pecial entertainment." 

FIGAT7TH: Just a hop/skip away — well, a drive of a few blocks — is another alfresco-type holiday observance, this one at the shopping center at Figueroa and 7th Street. ¡Fiesta at Fig! has a "Free & Open to the Public" shindig in the courtyard, a DJ, mariachi strumming, and a piñata-making craft workshop. Want to purchase a margarita, craft beer, or good eats? You can, right there.

Citadel Outlets: Move the fiesta a bit later? That's just the plan at the 5 Freeway-close shopping center. Stop by on Saturday, May 7 and Sunday, May 8 for delicious street tacos and shows from Ballet Folklorico de Los Angeles. Piano tunes, mariachis, and more festive fun times shall unfurl, holiday-style, at the castle-like landmark.

Segerstrom Center for the Arts: Mariachi Sol de México de José Hernández will bring their brass-beautiful melodies and ballads to Costa Mesa. Will you hear "Te Amo" or "Poeta y Campesino" or other canciones de corazón? Make for the arts center for a mondo stage spectacular with Jalisco soul on Thursday, May 5.

Restaurants Galore: Feel like some tamales or guacamole or calabacitas or chile rellenos as your holiday dinner? A number of eateries around SoCal will do up the dishes, and atmosphere, on May 5, including Gracias Madre (think chimis and mariachis and free cotton candy), Border Grill (the downtown location is doing a whole pig roast), El Chavo (hello, yummy street corn and top-notch mezcals), Hollywood Burger (where Mario Lopez's Mario-rita will be $5.95), and Loteria Grill (which will have mariachis at several of its locations).



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[SPACE Cider: 'Star Wars' Actress Tribute]]> Wed, 04 May 2016 22:21:03 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/216*120/aceciderspacestarwars.jpg

Mention any physical room-like space, from a den to a bar to a kitchen to a bathroom, and see if a specific movie scene springs to mind.

No? Well, how about this: Meditate upon the word "cantina" for a minute.

Did you just think of the Cantina Scene from "Star Wars"? A movie moment so famous that describing it as the Cantina Scene — complete with a capital C and S — is now standard form in the fandom?

It's a legendary few minutes of film, thanks to the upbeat music, the first sightings of Han Solo and Chewbacca, the array of cosmic creatures, the scruffy Mos Eisley scoundrels, and the mysterious, beehive-rocking Tonnika sisters.

Actress Angela House, who played one of the sisters in the 1977 blockbuster, was recently honored, with wit and flavor, by her husband Jeffrey, who founded ACE Craft Premium Cider in Sebastopol in 1983.

Mr. House introduced SPACE Bloody Orange in the fall of 2015 as a tribute to his wife's brief but memorable "Star Wars" cameo. True, many characters have been immortalized in action figures, but not every performer can say they had a beverage created in their honor, and by the "largest and oldest craft cider-maker on the West Coast," no less.

So to ask the eternal question: What is SPACE made from? Think hard apple cider, yes, with "a puree of fresh blood orange," lending the libation the brightness of an orange star.

Call it the perfect adult sip to raise on "Star Wars" Day — that's May 4, natch — or any time you're sitting down to another viewing of "Episode IV: A New Hope."

And, you're correct, that is Angela's photograph on the neck of the SPACE bottle, in her Tonnika-trendy garb. She did rock a beehive, as did her sister, you'll remember, though it was a beehive made of braids. Blue eye shadow, a unitard, and shiny boots completed the galactic garb.

This cinematic spin on hard cider is a tender spousal tribute, it's got Cantina Scene roots, and it's a true California-based entry in the huge "Star Wars"-inspired universe.

That ACE Craft Premium Cider's Sebastopol HQ sits not all that far from Skywalker Ranch only ups its general cosmic cool.



Photo Credit: Ace Cider]]>