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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Etc. Cold L.A.

Although it's not yet officially winter, it has been so cold and crisp in L.A. it feels more like London or D.C.!

All I want to do is cuddle up by a fire--or a heater--or wrapped in a down comforter.

Classic uggs and hot chocolate from the Coffee Bean help ...

-- Leslie Anne Wiggins

Photo credit: Southern Living

Check It. Jonathan Richman at Detroit Bar.

So it isn't exactly L.A., but Detroit Bar is an excellent adventure into the O.C.

Jonathan Richman from The Modern Lovers will be performing there next Thursday. The Detroit Bar is a great place to see a show and get a mixed drink. It's very loungy and parking is never a problem, which is refreshing change in Southern California.

Check out Richman's music in the video below. If it sounds familiar that's because it was in the 1990s classic "There's Something About Mary."

Detroit Bar is located at 843 W. 19th Street in Costa Mesa.

-- Lauren Williams




Do It. Craig Semetko signing Unposed.

This new book, Unposed, from photographer Craig Semetko, is a great Christmas gift idea for the photography lover in your life--or for your own coffee table.

To make it extra-special, get it signed on Saturday afternoon at Book Soup, where Semetko will be discussing and signing.

Saturday December 4 at 1:00 p.m.

Book Soup is located at 8818 Sunset Boulevard in West Hollywood. Info: booksoup.com, (310) 659-3110.

Unposed book is $49.95

-- Leslie Anne Wiggins

Photo credit: teneues.com

Do It. Guillermo del Toro and 'Cronos' at Amoeba.

I was mesmerized the first time I watched Pan's Labyrinth -- the imagination, the creepiness. And even though I'm not usually a fan of horror movies, I'm curious enough to want to look into Guillermo del Toro's past works, the horror films that, despite never reaching popularity like his later Hellboy films, are widely acclaimed by critics.

One such film is actually del Toro's feature debut Cronos. It's supposed to be a creepy tale following an antiques dealer who comes upon a sinister device shaped like a scarab. The film is getting the ultimate cult-lover treatment by getting released on Criterion next week, and to celebrate, Amoeba is hosting a meet-and-greet with the filmmaker, followed by a screening of Cronos and a never-before-released short film from del Toro. To get in on the festivities, be sure to buy a copy of the new Criterion release starting tomorrow at Amoeba, and then you'll get a ticket for the signing and screenings taking place on Dec. 7th at 5pm.

Check out a mini-scene from the movie here.

And while you're at Amoeba, take part in its annual holiday toy drive by bringing in a new, unwrapped toy for children aged 7 to teenagers, and you can get $2 off any purchase!

Amoeba Music is located at 6400 Sunset Blvd. in Hollywood.

-- Chau Tu

Monday, November 29, 2010

Eat In. Key Lime Pie.

After Thanksgiving in Key West (including several delicious slices of various pies), I have Key Lime pie on my mind.

While I haven't made one myself, Gourmet has a classic recipe, and Nellie & Joe's Famous Lime Juice is available quite widely (West Hollywood's BevMo! for example).

Or you can just go to Houston's - whose Key Lime pie, I can now say with experience, rivals the island's.

-- Leslie Anne Wiggins

Photo credit: Getty via rickbakas.com

Check It. National Geographic Photo Contest [The Monday Download].

Forgive me, but I actually can't recall ever actually reading an article or piece from National Geographic. But I have a good excuse! -- those photographs. Those strikingly gorgeous photographs of places and people that make you feel so grateful for living in this world. Sometimes it doesn't even feel like this world.

But Nat Geo photographers aren't the only ones who can work this magic, apparently. The magazine has been putting on a contest for anyone in the world to submit their photos, and they've been posting the best results on the website. And wow -- to say in the least. The photographs are simply breathtaking. And some of wonderful caption stories to go with them too, which are fun. So when you're ready to get distracted by pure beauty for a couple hours -- great way to get back on track after a holiday! -- click here and check them out.

And if you happen to think you've got the photographic chops to hang with the best here, you can still submit your work -- the deadline is tomorrow morning at 9 a.m. (presumably EST, so think 6 a.m., or earlier even). You could win $10,000 and get your photo in the mag! Good luck. And for us voyeurs out there, enjoy the world.

-- Chau Tu

Photo credit: Freddy Cerdeira/National Geographic

Check It. Katie the Pest.

A local group based in Long Beach, Katie the Pest is a recent find for me.

I love their soft, simple sound and they play tons of local, small, inexpensive shows at bars in Long Beach including Que Sera and Prospector. Their next show is scheduled to take place at the Prospector March 20 -- a ways away.

Check out their song Le Weekend below.

-- Lauren Williams


Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving, readers! We're so thankful for you.

-- the BEAT

Photo credit: home-and-garden.webshots.com

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Do It. Go to Mammoth Mountain and Bear Mountain.

For us sunny-weather-spoiled Angelenos, Thanksgiving weekend is what often marks the beginning of the 'cold' season. And what we've been blessed with this year is a round of rainstorms just prior to it. Why so fortunate? Because rain down here just happens to mean that a couple thousand feet up, in Big Bear and Mammoth Mountain, is fresh, fluffy snow -- and the perfect getaway for your long weekend.

So hurry up and pack those skis, snowboards and big coats -- the mountain resorts are sure to be busy. Mammoth Mountain officially opened up just last week, but will also open the Canyon and Eagle Lodges beginning today. Buy your lift tickets here; they're likely to sell out. Same goes for Bear Mountain in Big Bear, which will be celebrating its opening day today. Get your tickets here.

Some notes: when buying your lift tickets, snoop around for deals -- like buying a hotel package, or Bear Mtn.'s deal for free ticket on your birthday. Travel with a big group: not only will it be more fun (and safe), but you'll save on carpooling and hotel stays. And this is a good time to start considering investing in your set of skis or your own snowboard, instead of opting to pay to rent each time.

Stay warm up there!

For Mammoth Mtn. directions, click here; for Bear Mtn., click here.

-- Chau Tu

Photo credit: Bear Mtn.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Check It. NYX 10 Color Eyeshadow Palette.

Makeup palettes are fun and convenient - especially when all the colors in one are appealing.

L.A.-based NYX Cosmetics has four new eyeshadow palettes in their Runway Collection - and Casting Call is just great for the holidays. Shimmery neutrals are my favorite kind of eyeshadow. These ones have an easy-to-apply powdery texture and look very pretty on the skin.

After watching Gwyneth Paltrow's performance of "Country Strong" at the CMA's a couple weeks ago, I remembered how good a gray eyeshadow with some sparkle can look.

The NYX shadow palettes are sleek and black and slim enough to fit in an evening clutch--great news as holiday party invites start rolling in.

$9.75 - available through nyxcosmetics.com, Urban Outfitters, and Ulta Beauty.

-- Leslie Anne Wiggins

Photo credit: the BEAT

Do It. Talib Kweli free concert at the Roxy.

Getting in the holiday spirit, rapper Talib Kweli is having a free record release show for his latest album "Gutter Rainbows" at The Roxy Theater this Wednesday.

Admittance is cheap: Just bring a blanket, scarf, or pair of gloves which will be distributed to those in need during this chilly season.

Everyone who brings an item for donation will get a ticket, although not all ticketed concertgoers will get a spot in the Roxy, so show up early. The show begins at 9 p.m.

The Roxy Theater is located at 9009 W. Sunset Blvd.

-- Lauren Williams

Do It. Go to the Hammer Museum for free.

Considering that the Hammer Museum in Westwood is still putting together hip and cool exhibits, and hosting fun nights like sleepovers and free concerts, it can be difficult to believe that it's already turning 20 years old this year. But it's keeping up with the fun by offering free admission for 20 days, starting this Friday, Nov. 26 until Dec. 18.

While you're there, be sure to check out its contemporary collection exhibition, and its new exhibit from L.A. artist Mark Flores, who uses photographs as inspirations for his paintings. You can also stop by on Dec. 14th for a free event on 75 years of DC comics, or on Dec. 15 for a free screening of The Deep, "in which metal objects of the past come to life in the depths of the sea."

This free admission will be a great way to kick-off your long weekend after the stress of Thanksgiving, especially if you want to avoid the crazy Black Friday crowds.

Happy birthday, Hammer Museum! Keep up the great work.

-- Chau Tu

Monday, November 22, 2010

Make It. Humitas.

If you want an alternative to the creamed corn dish at Thanksgiving, humitas are an amazing corn dish that is native to Argentina, Chile, Ecuador, and Peru.

Much like the familiar tamale, these are a bit softer and smaller, and rather than have a filling in the middle are made with minced onion and basil and don't use lard.

The process is about the same however. Shuck the corn kernels off the cob, and put in a food processor (or blender). Add 1 1/2 onion that has been sauteed in butter. Add one brand of basil (without the stems of course), a bit of salt, and 1/2 cup milk. Blend.

Save the best leaves from the corn, and spread the mixture into the middle, wrapping the corn into little packets. Boil for 30-40 minutes in salted water.

With a new dish like this, it's probably best to try it out during the week rather than wait until the day of and start cooking.

Humitas (in Chile at least) are usually served with tomato onion salad -- the tomato definitely brings something out in dish.

Enjoy!

-- Lauren Williams

Check It. See Harry Potter actors practice "American" [The Monday Download].

Who didn't see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1 this weekend? The film racked up a sweet $125 million in the U.S. alone, and I think it'd be safe to say that most came out of the theater quite pleased.

And if you're still in a Harry Potter haze, here's something to tide you over for a while. It's a fun little game of trying to get the HP actors to "speak American," if you will. Accents are funny!

I'm going to miss these actors once these movies are over.

-- Chau Tu

Eat Out. Deluca's Italian Deli.

During an afternoon of shopping at Glendale's Americana at Brand on Saturday afternoon while the boys were at The Los Angeles Gun Club, Mrs. Elizabeth Katz (Hank's lovely sister) and I popped into Deluca's for a bite to eat.

I've been really wishing L.A. had Dean & Deluca lately, so I was quite excited to see what I hoped (and expected) was some form of the famed gourmet grocer. Unfortunately it's just a case of the same name, but this little spot isn't bad! The front of the shop has a deli case with several tasty-looking salads, then there's hot food, drinks (including Veuve Clicquot and 1/2 and full bottles of Santa Margherita Pinot Grigio), Italian treats (like panettone), and panini galore.

The Panino Vegetariano (pictured above), which we shared, was quite tasty and satisfying. It was warm, on grilled wheat bread, and the olive spread was especially delicious. My lemonade however was nothing special.

The bar-height wooden tables and stools were perfect for a casual lunch, and the atmosphere was pleasant. Also worth noting: they sell packages of sometimes-difficult-to-find garganelli pasta.

Deluca's Italian Deli is located at 781 Americana Way in Glendale, Calif. Info: delucasdeli.com, (877) 701-DELI.

-- Leslie Anne Wiggins

Photo credit: the BEAT

Friday, November 19, 2010

Eat Out. Bar Marmont.

Bar Marmont is one of the quintessential L.A. bars. I have friends/family in town from New York this weekend and am looking forward to taking them out to one of my favorite spots from my old neighborhood.

Of course part of Bar Marmont's coolness is that it's part of the legendary Chateau Marmont hotel, but the bar itself stands alone as a great spot. It has a difficult-to-maintain combination of being chic while cozy, and trendy yet classic.

The drinks (aperol spritz, fresh peach bellini, pisco sour, havana style mojito - you get the idea) menu is fantastic, and the food (three cheese board with fig and date jam and buckwheat honey, crispy calamari, grilled rosemary prawns, etc.) is delicious too.

Bar Marmont is located at 8171 Sunset Blvd. in West Hollywood. Info: (323) 650-0575, chateaumarmont.com/barmarmont.php

-- Leslie Anne Wiggins

Photo credit: fashionmagazine.com

Do It. Silverlake arts, crafts, and vintage market.

I don't think it's jumping the gun to say that it's time to seriously start considering what to get people for Christmas.

I think just after Thanksgiving is the perfect time to start your shopping and the Silverlake arts, crafts, and vintage market seems like a very cool place to pick up one-of-a-kind unique items, both handmade and vintage -- both something the person you're gifting presents to would be hard to come by and are often of a higher quality than cheap, store bought goods.

The Silverlake fair is held the last weekend of every month (the weekend after Thanksgiving this month!).

The Silverlake fair art, craft, and vintage market is held at the intersection of Sunset and Micheltorena Boulevards at the Micheltorena Elementary School.

-- Lauren Williams

Do It. Tron at Royal/T.

Time to get your fanboy on, because it is officially time to get excited for Tron: Legacy. And that's thanks to the fact that the Tron pop-up shop opens at Royal/T today.

It's the first ever official Disney Tron pop-up shop and restaurant, so get ready for super cool exclusives. For the shop part, think official logo tees and merchandise on top of designer collaborations like Hurley jackets, Oakley sunglasses and these crazy heels. For the restaurant part, get ready to dig into awesome-sounding dishes like the “Reco” Burger with buffalo sauce, chipotle aioli and fried onion rings or an “Identity Disk” white chocolate lava cake and blueberry sauce. There's even something called a Tron: Legacy High Tea, which costs $25?

But even if you don't indulge, seeing all the limited-edition wares will be fun enough, and will surely get you into the right Tron mood. End of line!

The Tron: Legacy pop-up shop will be open until Dec. 23 at Royal/T, located at 8910 Washington Blvd. in Culver City. Tron: Legacy opens on Dec. 17.

-- Chau Tu

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Advance Notice. Beach House.

Not only is tomorrow Friday, it's also the day presale tickets for Beach House at the Music Box in Hollywood go on sale. Starting at 10:00 a.m. (until 10:00 p.m.) tomorrow, you can go to ticketmaster.com and use the password "ZEBRA" to get tickets before they go on sale to the general public.

I saw Beach House at the Echoplex a couple years ago and can tell you they are a band that's great to see live.

The show is Thursday February 17 at 8:00 p.m. The Music Box is located at 6126 Hollywood Blvd. in Hollywood. Info: themusicbox.la, (323) 464-0808

-- Leslie Anne Wiggins

Photo credit: Goldenvoice

Do It. Celebrate Hello Kitty's 50th anniversary.

Can you believe it -- that little white cartoon kitty is turning 50! And you know she has to celebrate in style.

Sanrio is hosting Small Gift Los Angeles, a full-on huge event with games, prizes, an art show, pop-up store, food trucks and more to celebrate all that is Hello Kitty. It's just one of two major stops of Sanrio's 50th anniversary tour, which popped up all over the U.S. But for this week, they've touched down in Santa Monica, complete with a ferris wheel.

Check out the schedule of events here (the event officially started last weekend, so by now the crowds have probably died down) -- don't miss that "Kitty in Pink" 80s prom! You'll be sure to see some interesting stuff there -- and get ready to dive into some nostalgia.

Small Gift Los Angeles is taking place until Sunday at the Barker Hangar, located at 3021 Airport Ave. in Santa Monica.

-- Chau Tu

Advance Notice. Portfolio and Fingerprints combine forces.

Two of the coolest places in Long Beach, Portfolio Coffeehouse and Fingerprints Music are opening a combined location set to open at the beginning of December.

This will be the third location for The Port, and Fingerprints is making the move for bigger digs to house their very cool selection of music, fan gear, and in-store shows -- all the makes of a perfect marriage.

Portfolio has some excellent seasonal coffees, and Fingerprints is a great place to pick up a present for the music lover for the holidays.

The new location is set to be in the East Village at 420 E. 4th.

We'll keep you all posted on when it officially opens.

-- Lauren Williams




Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Eat In. Bittersweet Chocolate Pecan Pie.

With Thanksgiving around the corner, I think everyone is getting excited about the feasts full of roast turkey and sweet potatoes on the horizon. One thing about Thanksgiving desserts is, there's usually not a lot of chocolate involved. If the chocolate lover in you wants to change that, try this Bittersweet Chocolate Pecan Pie from the November 2007 issue of Gourmet Magazine.

Full recipe here.

-- Leslie Anne Wiggins

Photo credit: gourmet.com

Check It. Warby Parker.

Eyeglasses shopping can be pretty stressful -- not only do you want a pair that looks good on you, but you want something you can actually afford too, and glasses aren't really something you can or want to go cheap on. You need something reliable, and you need something nice-looking, and it honestly feels like a victory when you can find one that works.

Which is why Warby Parker excites me. It's an eyeglass brand that I found out about through the L.A. Times, and they caught my eye simply for looking great and stylish. But then I found out that all the pairs are an affordable $95 -- such a steal -- with free shipping. And on top of that, they've got the TOMS-ideal in that if you buy a pair of glasses, they'll give a pair to someone in need.

Obviously, because Warby Parker is currently online only here in L.A., it might seem risky not to be able to try a pair on before buying. But they've got it all figured out. You can pick up to 5 pairs to try on at home, and shipping both ways (as well as returns) is free. And they've also got this nifty virtual try-on feature where you can take a picture using your webcam and 'try on' any pair (not fail-safe but pretty fun).

Can't go wrong -- who thought eyeglass shopping could be stress-free?

**Other notable notes: the company is named after Jack Kerouac characters, and oh, they also sell a monocle. Yes.

-- Chau Tu

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Check It. Nalgene water bottle.

I saw these Nalgene water bottles at Target last night and they reminded me of Lauren and our L.A. Times days. She was so good about carrying it around the newsroom, and refilling it throughout the day--drinking plenty of water, something most people struggle to do. Then I saw a label that said something along the lines of "drink more water, feel better". What an easy way to feel better! I was sold. Aside from just daily sipping, the simple bottles would also be great for any kind of outdoor activity.

A large bottle (that can be refilled) is a great reminder of how much water one should drink throughout a day. This morning when I filled mine to the 32 ounce mark, I had a few sips and it was already down to 28 ounces before I was out the door.

BPA-free wide mouth Nalgenes are available at Target in West Hollywood for $9.99. Also on the Target website, and at www.nalgene-outdoor.com.

-- Leslie Anne Wiggins

Photo credit: nalgene-outdoor.com

Do It. Save the Colorado Lagoon.

Tonight the Long Beach City Council will be deciding the fate of the Colorado Lagoon by voting on measures that will affect the restoration of this part of the greater Los Cerritos Wetlands.

The lagoon stretches to Cal State Long Beach and totals 2,400 acres of nature -- something that is hard to come by in Long Beach.

If you live in Long Beach and will be around at 5:30 p.m. tonight, join the Friends of the Colorado Lagoon by going to the Long Beach City Hall.

The Long Beach City Hall is located at 333 W. Ocean Blvd.

-- Lauren Williams

Photo credit: Friends of the Colorado Lagoon.

Do It. Comedy is Dead at Hollywood Forever.

By now, most everyone in L.A. knows about the Cinespia screenings at Hollywood Forever Cemetery. Sadly, the movie screening season is over, but the cemetery is still alive -- ha!

But really. Tomorrow night is the 13th (spooky!) edition of Comedy is Dead, a semi-regular comedy night featuring a rotating cast of very well-known and pretty well-known performers at the Masonic Lodge. The line-up this time around features Michael Ian Black, Todd Barry, Chelsea Peretti, and more. Even the opener is supposed to be downright hilarious -- Duncan Trussell apparently knows how to do a puppet joke -- so that should be an indication of the fun you'll have. Tickets are $20 (parking is free), and you can buy them here.

Comedy is Dead takes place Wednesday, Nov. 17, at 8pm at the Masonic Lodge at Hollywood Forever Cemetery, located at 5970 Santa Monica Blvd. in Hollywood.

-- Chau Tu

Monday, November 15, 2010

Eat Out. Lotería Grill.

I was halfway through my Sunday brunch when I realized I should blog about it.

Huevos rancheros at Lotería Grill in Hollywood are a great morning or mid-day meal, especially after a late Sidecar-filled night. The dish is on the menu with fried eggs, but our waiter was more than happy to adjust the egg preparation to scrambled at my request. The melon agua fresca was delicious, and the salsa that came with the chips was one of the tastiest spicy salsas I've ever had. The mashed potatoes (Papa con Rajas) were also notably scrumptious.

The Hollywood location is clean and bright, with large Lotería-style cards as decorations, so learning a few new Spanish words is an added bonus while you're there.

Lotería Grill is located at 6627 Hollywood Blvd. in Hollywood. Info: loteriagrill.com, (323) 465-2500. There's also a popular Farmers Market location, and one in Studio City.

-- Leslie Anne Wiggins

Photo credit: the BEAT

Check It. 'Sterling's Gold.'

It's been about a month since Mad Men's shocking season finale, which means..you're probably going through Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce withdrawals right now. But not to fear -- as always, Roger Sterling has got your back.

As you might have recalled this season, Sterling had been in the process of writing his autobiography. It was an amusing mini-storyline for the simple fact that any such autobiography has to be amazing. And now -- strangely, wonderfully -- it's real.

Sterling's Gold isn't particularly an autobiography like it was in the show (no juicy Ms. Blankenship stories), but more a collection of Sterling's infamous advice and snarky comments. He says it himself in the introduction: "Here it is... a few things overheard, a few things to live by, and hell, a few things I've apparently said and had repeated to me the morning after a party when I called to make amends."

Definitely would make for a great gift for any Mad Men fan, or just to hold you over until next season.

And while you're at it, you can take this fun 'job interview' and see where you might fit in at SCDP.

-- Chau Tu

Check It. Facebook mail.

So according to Gizmodo, Facebook is launching a new email feature, premiering today, that will blow Gmail, Hotmail, and Yahoo!'s email system out of the water.

Gizmodo points out that the sheer size of FB makes it a more viable webmail service, and it will allow external webmail service for those who don't have accounts (whoever that may be).

Either way, it'll be interesting to check out what the folks at Facebook have come up with.

-- Lauren Williams

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Do It. Jonathan Gold and Bret Easton Ellis at the Hammer.

I'm so excited about this event, I'm blogging on the weekend.

On Tuesday evening, Bret Easton Ellis (author) and Jonathan Gold (food critic) will be at the Hammer Museum for a "Hammer Conversations" event. They share a fascination for L.A., pop culture, and eating.

Free. Tuesday November 16 at 7:00 p.m. The Hammer is located at 10899 Wilshire Blvd. in Westwood, Calif. Info: hammer.ucla.edu, (310) 443-7000

-- Leslie Anne Wiggins

Photo credit: hammer.ucla.edu

Friday, November 12, 2010

Etc. Dry cleaning at home.

So after Wednesday's post, I went ReadyMade crazy, and found a DIY solution to having your clothes dry cleaned. Dry cleaners are expensive in various ways both a.) financially and b.) the cost on the environment is ridiculous.

A ReadyMade blogger found how to dry clean all kinds of materials, including wool and silk using baby wash. In addition to saving money and the environment, the smell of baby wash beats that bad chemical smell of the dry cleaners any day.

Now you can buy clothes that have the "dry clean only" label guilt free, knowning that there's a cheap and safer alternative.

-- Lauren Williams

Photo credit: ReadyMade.

Eat Out. BodyFactory.

I admit, I've had my fair share of Jamba Juice. But we all know there are better smoothies in town. BodyFactory is one of them. And they're open late (till 11:00 p.m. Monday - Saturday and 10:00 p.m. Sunday)! A perfect spot for after an evening workout.

They really showcase their celebrity fans (a la Millions of Milkshakes) which is a little odd - but I suppose if I made a health product that Kim Kardashian and Halle Berry consumed, I'd be telling the world too.

Their smoothies are really delicious and real-tasting. They only come in one size (24 ounce), but one smoothie can be split into two smaller cups for no additional charge.

Locations: in the ArcLight structure in Hollywood - 6366 Sunset Blvd., in the Sunset 5 structure in West Hollywood - 8000 Sunset Blvd., and another in West Hollywood at 8591 Santa Monica Blvd. Info: bodyfactory.com, (888) 263-9322 ext. 3

-- Leslie Anne Wiggins

Photo credit: lasplash.com

Advance Notice. The FYF LA Scavenger Hunt.

What could be more fun than the prospect of a scavenger hunt? Add in the fact that it'll take place in this wonderful city of Los Angeles and you'll be helping out some local charities, and you really can't go wrong.

This will be the third edition of FYFest's Scavenger Hunt, which launches teams into the jungle of L.A. for one whole day to accomplish crazy feats and find hidden treasures which will all help to support Union Rescue Mission and L.A. Food Bank. Round up a group of friends for a team, and on December 4th you could be parading around this city trying to get pictures of brides on your shoulders and getting cornrows in your hair. Awesome, right? And for the grand prize, it'll surely be worth it: a trip to Barcelona for next year's Primavera Sound music festival, flight and hotel paid for. Barcelona's one of my favorite cities ever, and this trip would truly be amazing.

And even if you don't win the grand prize, there are still a ton of mini-prizes to be won, like concert tickets or gift cards. Plus, it'll all be in good fun, and you'll be doing a mighty charitable act. Sign up your team now for $10 a person ($5 if you're super early!) and get ready to get huntin'!

The LA Scavenger Hunt takes place on Dec. 4th at 2pm beginning at Dodger Stadium. Sign up your team here for (currently) $5 a person, and stay tuned for more details on the FYF website.

-- Chau Tu

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Drink Out. Golden State [Thirsty Thursdays!].

When Golden State first opened, they were definitely trying to ride the L.A. burger-hype wave. And while those burgers -- and all the other food on the menu, from the fries to sandwiches to potato salad to the Scoops ice cream! -- are absolutely delectable and fresh-tasting, I've come to realize that what the restaurant really needs to be known for is its booze.

Golden State has, from the start, always championed craft beers, and that doesn't just mean they offer the seasonal ale from Blue Moon. The blackboard menu of tap choices is always changing, and offer really fun varieties from all over. And if you don't know what you want, the owners will be more than happy to guide you with their expertise. But really, with each of the beers specifically picked out, you can't go wrong.

And if you're feeling adventurous, go all-out with a beer float, coupling Old Rasputin with one of the Scoops flavors on hand. Great food, beer and dessert -- what more could you ask for?

Golden State is located at 426 N. Fairfax Ave. in Mid-City.

-- Chau Tu

Photo credit: LA Weekly

Check It. Ryan Adams and Mandy Moore for 826LA.



Ryan Adams, who's probably my favorite musician, was a last minute addition to the recent 826LA charity event hosted by Judd Apatow and Dave Eggers. Adams and Mandy Moore (his wife) sang one of his best songs, Oh My Sweet Carolina, from his Heartbreaker album.

Here's an iPhone video someone took at rehearsal (and I found on Ryan Adams' facebook page). Enjoy!

-- Leslie Anne Wiggins

Check It. Groupon goes to the IE.

The money-saving site Groupon announced yesterday that it started covering the Inland Empire, so folks who live there or visit can save their money, too.

Today's daily deal for the IE: $20 for three boot camp sessions. A steal!

Check back in, or subscribe to their daily newsletters online.

-- Lauren Williams

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Advance Notice. The Fighter.

David O. Russell's The Fighter screened at the AFI Fest 2010 last night at Grauman's Chinese Theatre, and it was fantastic.

I'm not only saying this because my boyfriend worked on the film--it's really a great movie. Mark Wahlberg, the star and one of the producers, introduced it. The crowd loved it. The L.A. Times posted an extremely positive article this morning online, calling it "a contender in both the commercial and awards departments" and noting the strong acting of Melissa Leo and Amy Adams in addition to Wahlberg's and Christian Bale's. And Robert Duvall, who was sitting in front of me, seemed to thoroughly enjoy it too.

Out December 10 in L.A. and New York, and December 17 nationwide.

-- Leslie Anne Wiggins

Photo credit: filmofilia.com

Eat In. Momofuku Milk Bar (in your home!).

Every one in New York is crazy about David Chang and his Momofuku empire of restaurants, and after hitting up the Milk Bar in July, I can understand the hype. But you won't have to buy a plane ticket anymore to get a taste -- Momofuku Milk Bar is coming to your house.

The eatery just launched its shipping website, which means you can order that Crack Pie (named so because it's apparently that addicting) and those delicious cookies and enjoy them right in your own home. Couldn't get more simpler than that. And with the holidays coming up, it could make for the perfect gift for your foodie friend.

Notes: sure, the prices look expensive but they're the same as they would be in-store, and this is some name brand foods here. And if you do want to see how addicting that Crack Pie is, you'll have to pay for an overnight shipping fee -- the pies are "time and temperature sensitive" and should (would) be consumed immediately.

Or, if you don't want to dole up the cash, try the L.A. Times' recipe for crack pie.

-- Chau Tu

Photo credit: Momofuku

Check it. 'Week Without Stuff.'

If you're ever yearning for a simpler life without all the clutter (and if it's too early in the morning to get any real productive work done) ReadyMade Magazine, the DIY mag, has some really interesting blog posts including the recent Week Without Stuff.

Starting with one woman's move to a new place in New York, the week-long blog chronicled her experiments with simple living. She put away the superfluous kitchenware, limited her wardrobe to only the essentials, and tried to make a go of a life with fewer things.

ReadyMade publishes all kinds of interesting blog post series, including a no plastic challenge and a post on bartering.

-- Lauren Williams

Photo credit: A picture from Week Without Stuff, the authors old neighborhood.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Check It. Polanski at Cinefamily.

Before he did Rosemary's Baby and Chinatown, Roman Polanski created tons of short films that will be shown tonight at Cinefamily, presented by the Polish Cultural Institute and accompanied by a live score.

Originally shot with a Polish jazz accompaniment, tonight the films will be played along with the "electroacoustic" duo of Sza/Za. Below is one of Sza/Za's videos, very jazzy and surreal.

Cinefamily is located at 611 N. Fairfax Ave. The show starts at 8 p.m. and tickets cost $12.

-- Lauren Williams


Sza/Za Penne God from Maciej Puczyński on Vimeo.

Etc. Aaron Shannon Jr.

Every once in awhile, you read a news story that absolutely breaks your heart. I had this experience yesterday, reading Scott Gold's Los Angeles Times piece about Aaron Shannon Jr., a 5-year-old who was shot and killed in South L.A. on Halloween, while wearing his brand new Spider-Man costume, a gift from his grandfather who didn't want his grandson to have to be a bumblebee two years in a row although money for a new costume was tight.

You can, and should, read the full story here.

-- Leslie Anne Wiggins

Photo credit: Marvel

Check It. LCD Soundsystem's "The London Sessions."

Anyone who's ever seen LCD Soundsystem live knows what an incredible experience it is. There's an added energy and fervor that come from James Murphy and Co. that just can't be felt through their recordings (lthough of course, those recordings are already amazing as they are). But there's just something raw and fierce and undeniably fun when the band gets out from behind the computers to embark on their instruments and get into it.

So now, in just another effort to completely blow our minds, the group's recorded a live session. Tracked in one day back on June 29, 2010, "The London Sessions" is a 9-song set featuring what could be called the band's greatest hits, from "Daft Punk is Playing in My House" to "All My Friends" and "Pow Pow."

Ever since Murphy mused that This is Happening will probably be the last official LCD Soundsystem album, everyone's been wondering if we'll see much of the group in the future. Make this your keepsake; you won't want to forget how much fun you had dancing to it.

"The London Sessions" is available on iTunes beginning today until Dec. 6.

Also, check out LCD Soundsystem's newest video for "Pow Pow" featuring Up in the Air's Anna Kendrick.

-- Chau Tu

Monday, November 8, 2010

Etc. End of Daylight Saving Time.

Clocks "falling back" is such a luxury just when it's appreciated, in mid-fall. What did you do with your extra hour on Sunday? I slept!

All day Sunday, with various clocks in my apartment telling mixed times (BlackBerry and laptop had auto updates, and bedside and wall clock were waiting on me to do it) I kept remembering the new time, and appreciating the extra hour. Out and about, everywhere seemed bustling, with people making the most of their extended days, at the mall (which maybe had to do with it being the last day of Nordstrom's Half-Yearly Sale) and at the grocery store.

On early dark evenings, there's plenty of time to make a good casserole or Texas Beef Brisket Chili.

-- Leslie Anne Wiggins

Photo credit: orangebeautiful.com

Check It. Coconut Records' "West Coast" video [The Monday Download].

An oldie, but oh such a goodie. I was reminded of this song -- one of my absolute favorites -- this past weekend, and was more than happy to revisit the just-as-good video companion. Coconut Records, of course, is the solo music project for actor Jason Schwartzman, and this particular song was featured on the debut album, Nighttiming. The video doesn't feature Schwartzman, but instead follows well-known skateboarder Mark Gonzales as he whizzes through Germany in 1998. It sounds non sequitur, but it's actually strangely hypnotic and beautiful. Perfect way to start off the week.

-- Chau Tu

Make It. Paper curtains.

I recently went to this nice coffee, pastry shop with my roommates who loved the curtain pictured above. When we got home they went to work quickly recreating this giant curtain for our apartment.

It's a fairly easy project for the crafting novice and creates a really nice stained-glass effect in the house. You can also make small ones (like stained glass panels) if you're not interested in doing the floor-to-ceiling curtain.

What you'll need are basically just two things: colored tissue paper and mod podge or something like it to bind the pieces of paper together. Cut or tear the pieces of paper to create small squares and bind the edges together with the mod podge.

This is a good after work, weekend project. Within about three weeks, if you consistently work on it, you can have unique, homemade curtains without having to get out the sewing machine or even use fabric.

-- Lauren Williams

Friday, November 5, 2010

Do It. Blonde Redhead at the Music Box.

A Blonde Redhead show I went to years ago at the Music Box (then most often called "the Henry Fonda") was one of the best concert experiences I've had. Beck and his wife were fellow audience members if that helps to put things in perspective. I was so fantastic in fact that my friend Christina and I then listened to their Misery is a Butterfly CD in my car the whole way home--after the show!

They're very unique and cool and I highly recommend checking them out live if you haven't had a chance yet. Blonde Redhead will be at Pomona's the Glass House on Monday November 15, and at Hollywood's Music Box on November 16 and November 17. Tickets are $25 - $33.

Other notable upcoming L.A.-area shows:

Tonight (November 5) - Cold War Kids @ the Glass House

Tomorrow (November 6) - Kisses @ Spaceland

Next Thursday (November 11) - The Soft Pack @ the Echoplex

The following Saturday (November 20) - Moving Units @ the Glass House

... and the next Friday (November 26) - Dawes @ El Rey

Venue information:

The Music Box Hollywood is located at 6126 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, Calif. Info: themusicbox.la, (323) 464-0808

The Glass House is located at 200 W. Second Street in Pomona, Calif. Info: theglasshouse.us, (714) 740-2000

Spaceland is located at 1717 Silver Lake Boulevard in Silver Lake, Calif. Info: clubspaceland.com, (323) 661-4380

The Echoplex is located at 1154 Glendale Boulevard in Echo Park, Calif. Info: attheecho.com, (213) 413-8200

The El Rey is located at 5515 Wilshire Boulevard on Los Angeles' Miracle Mile. Info: theelrey.com, (323) 936-4790

-- Leslie Anne Wiggins

Photo credit: papermag.com

Make It. Christmas presents.

I definitely am of the opinion that making Christmas presents beats buying them hands down. It takes patience and quite a bit more time than perusing the isles of a store, but homemade goodies are personal and thoughtful. And, if you're one of about 12% of Californians who are registered as unemployed, or painfully underemployed, making your presents for the holidays can save you a bit of crucial cash.

Making presents also doesn't have to mean cutting faces out of paper plates like you did when you were five. With the right materials, you can make a very impressive, thoughtful gift. Over the weekend is the perfect time to start projects too, since there is ample free time to get supplies, try things out, and go back to the store if you run out of something.

Yesterday, Amy Sedaris went on The Wendy Williams Show and showed off some of her cooler DIY designs and gave me some ideas of how to modify her projects to fit my own crafting abilities. Follow the link to see Amy Sedaris in action and get your own crafting ideas. She's also got a new DIY book out called "Simple Times" which features more of her projects (pictured above).

Another inspiration (for me at least) is Etsy.com -- which has some really impressive stuff.

-- Lauren Williams

Advance Notice. Cupcake Camp LA.

Some say the cupcake craze in L.A. is over, but all that means is that you probably haven't had enough cupcakes lately. So get prepared, because you'll get more than your share on Nov. 20th.

That's the date of Cupcake Camp LA, a huge cupcake party celebrating professional and amateur bakers from all over the world. These cupcake events always offer a ton of creativity and fun, and because they're just cupcakes, you can pick and choose among several flavors and (hopefully) not get too sugared-up.

And if you're a baker yourself, you can even participate in the fun. Sign up here, and get to that oven!

But for our tasters, general admission tickets are $15 each for two separate tasting times. Buy your tickets here, and happy dessert-ing!

Cupcake Camp LA takes place on Nov. 20, at the Music Box Theater at 6126 Hollywood Blvd. in Hollywood.

-- Chau Tu

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Do It. Upcoming book discussions and signings.

Reminder: The Red Hot Chili Peppers book signing event at the Grove's Barnes & Noble today at noon.

Other notable upcoming L.A. book events:

Mad Men costume designer Janie Bryant discusses and signs her new book The Fashion File (written with Monica Corcoran Harel) at Book Soup - November 10 at 7:00 p.m.

L.A. Ink's Kat Von D with her new book, The Tattoo Chronicles, at the Grove's Barnes & Noble November 18 at 6:00 p.m.

Stan Lee at the Grove's Barnes & Noble on November 20 at 2:00 p.m. with Stan Lee's How to Draw Comics

A new book from the always amusing "Stuff White People Like" crew - Whiter Shades of Pale will be discussed and signed at Book Soup November 29 at 7:00 p.m.

Check back often for more!

-- Leslie Anne Wiggins

Photo credit: youritlist.com

Do It. Buy a raffle ticket to win Ron Artest's chamionship ring.

When the Lakers won the NBA Championship last season, it seemed like no one was more thrilled than Ron Artest. The quirky forward has become infamous for his strange but endearing acceptance speech, and that all makes his next move even cooler.

Artest has set up a "Win My Bling" raffle, where he will be giving away his actual championship ring, along with an all-expenses-paid trip to meet him and sit at premium seats at a Laker game. You read that right -- he's giving away his ring, you can meet him, and you'll be sitting at awesome seats at a Laker game. (And you'll also receive a cash prize of $13,000 to balance the tax liabilities that come with the prize. All the bases are covered!)

So what do you have to do to enter the raffle? Tickets are only $2 each. Two bucks. It's a minimum purchase of 5 tickets, but that only comes up to $10. You'll be entering this raffle for $10, and have 5 chances to win this amazing prize! And yep, the money in the raffle all goes to XCel University, which supports mental health awareness, so it'll all be charitable.

Is there a downside to this? Buy your raffle tickets now! The drawing will take place on Dec. 25, 2010, so you still have a lot of time to enter (as often as you want!). Good luck!

-- Chau Tu

Check It. L.A. kitsch.

L.A.'s definitely got some funky parts, but amongst all the crazy places there's a lot of character. From Circus Liquor, Dear John's, some crazy topiary, and murals this video encompasses everything about the stranger side of Los Angeles.

Check it out as artist Allee Willis takes a tour around the more quirky places in our fair city.

-- Lauren Williams

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Check It. J. Crew ballet flats.

How cute are these? I love J. Crew ballet flats, and the preppy retailer always seem to come out with new styles even though they are all so classic. They're made in Italy, and reasonably priced for the level of style and quality you're getting.

Ballet flats are great shoes for Los Angeles, where simple dainty shoes can be worn year-round.

J. Crew is located at 189 Grove Drive in Los Angeles. Basic styles are $98 - $118.

-- Leslie Anne Wiggins

Photo credit: jcrew.com

Do It. NaNoWriMo.


'NaNoWriMo' sounds like some weird anime character or computer virus or something, but in actuality it's short for "National Novel Writing Month." And that month just happens to be November.

During NaNoWriMo, writers get together to help encourage other writers to complete a 50,000-word novel within a month's time. It definitely seems like a lofty goal, but with the right sort of support and motivation, it has the potential to be done.

So log on onto the NaNoWriMo website and register to get writing. You'll get tips and access to forums filled with other writers, who'll be there struggling and hustling along next to you, and it's all free. It's a great way to get motivated to do something amazing like write a novel, and think about it -- in a month's time, you could be an author of your own novel! Now that's a feat.

Get to writing! And keep us updated on your efforts!

-- Chau Tu

Advance Notice. Alkaline Trio at Alex's.

The hardcore band Alkaline Trio will be making a stop at Long Beach's best dive bar next week, and those interested should get their tickets pronto.

Alex's Bar will be hosting Alkaline Trio Nov. 13 for $20. If you're not into hardcore at all, Alex's has other surprisingly big-name bands stop by. The Bronx and The Donnas have been known to play there.

Some highlights this month include Mr. Mister Miyagi, a karaoke back-up band, which is always fun. Mr. Mister Miyagi goes on stage Dec. 4. It's worth checking back in to Alex's calendar because they often have very good bands last minute or with little announcement.

Alex's Bar is located at 2913 E. Anaheim Street in Long Beach.

-- Lauren Williams