Thursday, December 13, 2012

A Food Tour of New York

After my too-brief weekend in NYC, I have compiled a list of a few of my favorite city eats. Despite common belief, New York ought not be experienced solely inside the Michelin rated restaurants of Wolfgang Puck and Mario Batali. No, the real New York lives in the holes in the wall, where the floors crumble under their age, and the aromas of authentic cuisines from around the world mingle in the street.

Go to these places, and you will have experienced New York at its best.

Soup Dumplings at Shanghai Cafe

Dumplings with soup inside. Delectable dim sum and delicious tea.  In the heart of my favorite NYC neighborhood.  Chinatown is a world of wonder.

Pierogis and Borscht at B & H Dairy

A hole of all holes in the wall, this place makes the best pierogis in Manhattan. Greenpoint, well, that's a different matter.  This place has been around forever, and I hope it remains forever. I don't know why it has 'dairy' in the name. Maybe because they serve sour cream with everything.

Cafe con Leche and Chicken Soup at El Castillo De Jagua

This chicken soup embodies comfort food. Hearty, salty, thick. The cafe con leche is perfect, a better day in a cup.

Halva and Turkish Delight from Economy Candy

Directly across the street from El Castillo de Jagua. It's an overwhelmingly well-stocked candy store, like the kind you envision from the 1940's. In fact, this place has been in business since 1937, and it's like stepping into a sweet, sweet time warp. I like to order freshly cut halvah and turkish delight by the pound.

Pelmeni at Uncle Vanya Cafe

Can you tell that I like dumplings? Chinese dumplings, Polish dumplings, Russian dumplings, I love them all.  I also love Russia, and being at Uncle Vanya Cafe feels like being in Russia. It's authentic; it's yummy.

An Egg and Cheese Sandwich at any Deli

No one in California knows how to make a decent egg and cheese sandwich, and those who try, charge way too much and are skimpy with the cheese. In NYC, an egg and cheese on a roll with salt and pepper costs between $2.50 and $3.50, and is huge and oozes with American cheese.  The more hole-in-the-wall the deli, the better the sandwich. It's a thing about NY that I miss very much.

These are all things that I miss about New York. Inexpensive foods from around the world, available in such quantities that you can grab a bite of heaven-on-earth as you go about your every day.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Don't Go, Huell Howser.

The LA Times reports that Huell Howser is retiring.  If don't believe I've ever heard sadder news for local California television.

Huell Howser, with his exuberant, Southern, every-man accent, easily wondered over California's unique natural, historical, and entertainment/tourism sites.  He traveled all over the state with a small film crew, exclaiming in his odd way over every thing imaginable.  His enthusiasm for otherwise fairly ordinary things, "A HOT DOG on a STICK!" always caused me to smile so big my cheeks would hurt.

There are rumors that he is ill, and as he is only 67 years old, I certainly hope the rumors are false.  Huell Howser goes hand in hand with California's sunny skies, bright horizons, and colorful characters. Please never stop doing the work you're doing Huell. And if you're ill, please, I beg you, get better.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Holiday Travelers

Back in August, my husband and I missed a flight from LAX to SLC, due to no fault of our own. The fault laid squarely on the airport and it's Soviet-era security lines. Just last week, L.A. Business Journal reported that LAX is the second-most stressful airport in the country.  The emotional meltdown I experienced after the Delta Airlines gate attendants refused to let us on the flight would be a perfect illustration of the truth behind this report.

I am headed to the airport tonight, to catch the red-eye to Boston. I will be taking the 6:01pm metro red line to the Union Station Flyaway shuttle. When I touch ground in Boston just before 6:00am eastern time, I will have been traveling for nine hours.  My in-laws will pick me up, and when we arrive in New Hampshire, my travel time will have expanded to eleven hours.

I am anxious about the flight, anxious about how uncomfortable and tired I will be early tomorrow morning.  Each year, I wonder why - why do we put ourselves through such stress? Wouldn't it be nice to stay local, relax, keep our clothes in our closet, the luggage in storage, and cook our own turkey dinner? Well, the answer is family. We moved to Los Angeles for career pursuits. Our family does not live here. We so often feel isolated from the comfort and security that comes with being close to family. Throwing a party? Need some extra chairs or tables? Call your dad, he might have some you can borrow. Cooking a large casserole, need a bigger pan? Call your mom, you can borrow hers. Husband out of town? Tire blown on the freeway? Call your sister, she'll pick you up.  This is a network of security, of love, of I'll do anything for you.  Friends can help, but their support will never match the strength of that which comes from family.

We are and always will be the travelers, coming from the city where no one else lives, entering into the world of our parents, our siblings. We travel to bridge the distance. Yet, with each return to our current city, it seems that the distance grows, inches with each journey.  L.A. now seems further away than it did in the beginning.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

The City Prolific: Weekend Events Nov. 15 - 18


LACMA Liveread of Manhattan, Directed by Jason Reitman

This is the second installment of Jason Reitman’s  2012–2013 Live Read series.  Jason chooses a surprise celebrity cast to read Woody Allen and Marshall Brickman's script of Manhattan on the Bing Theater stage. What a magical event. Go.

STANDBY ONLY: A stand-by line will form at 6:30 pm at the Hammer Building Ticket Office. Seating not guaranteed; guests will be accommodated on a first-come, first-served basis.


5905 Wilshire Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90036


Scion A/V Presents Dust La Rock and Cody Hudson: A Lovely Sort of Death

"A Lovely Sort of Death" marks the collaboration between Jokers of the Scene and visual artists Dust La Rock and Cody Hudson to accompany their exhibition of the same name. Opening reception Friday night.

Free with RSVP.

Opening Reception 6:00–9:00pm

661 N. Spaulding Ave
Los Angeles CA 90036


The Great Los Angeles Walk

Get out of your car, and on your feet!  Every Saturday before Thanksgiving, Angelenos meet up on the street, and WALK ACROSS LOS ANGELES. But nobody walks in LA, right? Wrong!

This year, meet other walkers on the front steps of downtown’s Walt Disney Concert Hall (at 1st and Grand). There will be a speaker or two to kick things off, at around 8:45, so get there early. The Walk leaves PROMPTLY at 9.  They're expecting over 250 hikers this year!

From the Walt Disney Concert Hall, you'll walk west on 1st, which turns into Beverly Blvd. And then north on Virgil, west on Melrose Avenue, to the end -- when you'll then make a left on to Santa Monica Boulevard, which you'll take to the ocean.


Start point: Walt Disney Concert Hall
111 South Grand Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90012
(but you can join up anywhere along the route)

Friday, November 2, 2012

The City Prolific: Weekend Events Nov 2 - 4

Halloween is over. Hopefully we have recovered from our sugar crashes and hangovers.  Just in time, because this weekend is all about sugar skulls and tequila.  This weekends events encompass two things: Dia de los Muertos and Downtown L.A.  It will be colorful.  It will be fun.  It will be very L.A.


Downtown Dia de los Muertos at Grand Park

Have you been to Grand Park yet? Have you been to an LA Dia de los Muertos event yet? Both are necessities. And tonight, you have a great reason to do both.

¡Spectacular altars, food trucks, bands and full bar en el centro de Los Ángeles.

Performances by Mariachi el Bronx, El Conjunto Nueva Ola, Upground, Buyeongo, Trio Ellas, and more. Plus mucho DJs spinning all night!  Altars curated by Victor Payan and Pocha Pena.

Free / Gratis


Check the full lineup here.

East Side Luv's 7th Annual Night of the LUVing DEAD

Have you ever been to Mariachi Plaza in Boyle Heights? It is one of L.A.'s exquisite community gems, and this is sure to be a quintessential Angeleno block party.  Come out and celebrate Life & Death.  Feel free to bring something to contribute to the ALTAR in memory of a loved one.   It is highly recommended that you take the Metro Goldline Train in & out because parking is limited. There will be 2 Parking Lots, but they may go quickly as they are expecting thousands of attendees!

Hosted by Richard Montoya of Culture Clash and Alexis De La Rocha of Beatmo & MorrisseyOke

¡¡¡ Day of the Dead Face Painting Highly Encouraged !!!


2pm till 2am

Outdoors till 12am
Inside till 2am

At the MTA Goldline Mariachi Plaza Stage
Pleasant Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90033

Check the full lineup here.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Ready, Set, Run!

Remember when I wrote about my Free Run Days?  The product of that endeavor is now realized.  Watch it here:

Friday, October 26, 2012

The City Prolific: Weekend Events October 26 - 28

It's Halloween in LA. That means it's 80 degrees, the Santa Anas are relentless, and your jack-o-lanterns are moldy and rotting.  Get out and get your spook on.


NewFilmmakers Los Angeles holds its October screening tonight of a dozen new short films at Sunset Gower Studios. There are pre- and post-receptions for each program, a filmmakers’ lounge, and audience Q&A sessions.  It's a fun way to see the studio campus, and support and network with new filmmakers.


Three programs: 6:30 pm, 8:00 pm and the third at 11:00 pm

Sunset Gower Studios
1438 N. Gower St. Box 83
Hollywood CA 90028

A group of close female friends on a yearly adventure vacation find themselves trapped and hunted in a series of caves. The expedition takes a turn for the worse after a rock fall leaves them stranded in an uncharted cave with no map and only a handful of supplies. As tensions arise in the group, they are faced with another danger—one whose love of the dark is as strong as its lust for blood.  Pack a picnic basket, lawn seating.



Pershing Square
532 S Olive St
Los Angeles 90189

Tuesday, October 16, 2012


Photo by Jeff Gritchen, Associated Press

Endeavour started at NASA.  It went to space several times over several years. Then it went back to NASA, before it was shipped to LAX and did some fly-overs over landmarks across the nation including Griffith Park and Hollywood, and then it went back to LAX, before it was carted across town to the California Science Museum.

I missed every step of the journey.  I received a text from my husband, "Endeavour over Hollywood right now!" and made it out to my office parking lot just a few minutes too late.  During the cross-town, pilgrimage-like (past meets present, wheels and handcarts) phase of its trek, I didn't have a chance to drive to Culver City where its route seemed to be mapped.  I missed seeing it carted along boulevards throughout Los Angeles, missed watching its wheels turn a corner while its wings nearly brushed lookers-on standing on their balconies, missed observing the careful engineering of the tow, the workers calling halt and reversing the track by two feet to get the turn right.

It flew all about my mind, though. Why is it here, how many people are working on getting it from point A to point B, how long ago did they map the route, will they feel any pride after it reaches its final destination, how did the California Science Museum get it (there must have been an RFP), are the men in the orange suits LAX employees or NASA employees, were the people on the balcony scared?

The LA Times posted a time lapse video of the entire local journey. It helps satiate the disappointment I felt in not having been a witness. It also fills me with pride that so many others got to see it, particularly  those who live in the lower-middle class areas that this astounding thing crawled through.  What a privilege.

Click here to watch the time-lapse. (Tip: watch it full screen.)

Friday, October 12, 2012

The City Prolific: Weekend Events October 12 - 14

It is officially Autumn in LA, as evidenced by these refreshing temperatures and tumbling skies.  Last weekend, we went to one of our favorite events of the year, the Eagle Rock Music Festival. We've lived in LA for four years now, and each year the Eagle Rock Music Festival has served as a portal into the autumn season.  I love observing the repurposing of property at the festival. Tire shops become rock venues, parking lots become dance halls, gas stations become garden bars.

Still a whole bunch of outdoor activities this weekend! Screenings, art festivals, food. Never a dull moment around here.


ArtNight Pasadena

The City of Pasadena is celebrating a full weekend of art events.  Tonight, enjoy a free city-wide evening of art, music and entertainment as Pasadena’s most prominent arts and cultural institutions swing open their doors.


6 - 10pm

All over Pasadena

Free shuttles will loop throughout the evening with stops at each venue. Park at any one venue and ride to the others.  Visit the website for a venue map.

As part of Nightmare City, its month-long festival of ghoulish cinema, Cinefamily is transforms its upstairs office into a temporary art gallery to showcase horror-themed blacklight posters. Check out the radiant popular artform once relegated to smoke-filled suburban basements. Comic artist Sammy Harkham does the curating. The opening night party features DJs picked by Mount Analog's Mahssa Taghinia and a cauldron of psychedelic programming from Cinefamily’s band of basement dwellers.


611 North Fairfax Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90036

Thursday, October 4, 2012

The City Prolific: Weekend Events October 4 - 7

Last weekend was one of my favorite events of the year: the West Hollywood Book Fair. I scored two great reads, and sat around on the lawn of park, under a hot, hot sun.

There's finally been a break in the weather. It's no longer scorching, but it is still beautiful. Get out and enjoy it.


Culture Collide Festival

FILTER Magazine’s Culture Collide is a four-day international festival welcoming artists from 25 countries and counting, bringing their unique perspectives on music and culture to LA’s East Side for a musical melting pot of live performances, film screenings, and happy hours featuring food and drink from around the world. The festival will once again end with the Block Party, a free all-day event in Echo Park on Sunday, October 7th.

Wristbands $20

Thursday - Sunday

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

How to Love Los Angeles

Take the train to Union Station.
Yes, LA has a metro.  Ride it, take note of its uncanny timeliness (trains arrive on schedule to-the-minute). Observe the diversity of the ridership. Check out the neighborhood-centric art at the stations. Walk around Union Station, gawk and its beauty, and realize that there is both history and architecture in LA.

Bar-hop in Downtown LA.
Go to the dives like the Down and Out, Bar 107 and King Eddy's Saloon (John Fante drank there). Then, go to the swanky spots like Seven Grand, Varnish and The Edison.
Tip: Do this on a Wednesday or Thursday for maximum enjoyment, and minimum crowds. 

Get a steak and a martini at Musso and Frank.
Musso and Frank is not only in the heart of old Hollywood, but also embodies the heart of Hollywood. It's been there forever, and so have its waiters. Charlie Chaplin was a regular.
Tip: Take the train, wander the area. Do not drive into Hollywood. Seriously, don't do it.

See a movie at The Vista.
Screw the Arclight. The Vista is king.  It's an old-style movie theatre with a grand, gilded ceiling, red velvet curtains, and a gem of a manager.

Ride your bike from Santa Monica to Hermosa Beach and back.
You can rent bikes for $20/day at any of the major beaches. This activity will leave you dripping with gratitude for life and its wonders. I do not exaggerate. You'll see dolphins and surfers and the weirdos of Venice, and you'll feel like you're in paradise.  Because you are.

How to Love Los Angeles will be a monthly post.  I'll list five different things to do every month. Do these things and you're guaranteed to uncover LA's unique charm, and fall irreversibly in love with this city.  No looking back.

This list was for beginners - those new to LA, or those only here for a day or two. I'll get into things like art, culture, theatre and entertainment in later lists. 

Friday, September 28, 2012

The City Prolific: Weekend Events Sep 28 - 30

This weekend is about art. Art art art. As was last weekend. Did you see The Clock? Incredible.


Still need to get in your workout for the day? Clim nearly 1,700 stairs to the top of the West Coast's tallest building and be a part of the 19th Annual Stair Climb for Los Angeles. Each step you take benefits the impactful work of the Ketchum-Downtown YMCA.  From 1-9pm Hope St will be shut down to make room for food trucks, music stages, a beer garden, a rock-climbing wall, and more.


1 - 9pm

YMCA of Metropolitan Los Angeles
401 S Hope St
Los Angeles 90071

“The Wizard of Oz” Presented by Front Porch Cinema

The Santa Monica Pier is LA's front porch. Front Porch Cinema, co-produced by Eat|See|Hear, LA’s premier outdoor movie event series, will feature an eclectic line-up of movies, pre-show DJ, interactive booths, refreshing drinks and delicious snacks under the stars, complimented by a cool, ocean breeze. The series kicks off tonight with the 75th anniversary celebration of “The Wizard of OZ.” Moviegoers are encouraged to walk the yellow brick road and dress as their favorite character.


6 -11pm

Santa Monica Pier
100 Santa Monica Pier
Santa Monica 90401

Friday, September 21, 2012

The City Prolific: Weekend Events Sept 21 - 23

Autumn ought to be the time of Pumpkin Spice Lattes and knitted scarves. But no, not so in LA. It's hot. Iced coffee hot.

There's SO MUCH happening this weekend, all crammed into Friday and Saturday. Get out!


NewFilmMakers September Screening

NewFilmmakers Los Angeles holds its September screening tonight of a dozen new short films at Sunset Gower Studios. There are pre- and post-receptions for each program, a filmmakers’ lounge, and audience Q&A sessions.  It's a fun way to see the studio campus, and support and network with new filmmakers.


Three programs: 6:30 pm, 8:00 pm and the third at 9:30 pm

Sunset Gower Studios
1438 N. Gower St. Box 83
Hollywood CA 90028

Chocolate and Art Show Experience

This art experience is currently one of the largest underground art shows in the Los Angeles area! Free chocolate fondue, live music, art, nude body painting, and more.  KGB Studio is an ever-evolving creative space, a hidden gem located east of Chinatown. The Crispy Food Truck will be on hand.


*free parking 7pm-2am,

KGB Gallery
1640 North Spring Street
Los Angeles 90012 – be sure to use this zip code so you don’t get lost!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Busy in Paradise

I've registered for the Malibu International Half Marathon.  Look at this course.


I imagine that the running will be a breeze alongside the paradisical views of the PCH.  And then I remember that I currently struggle to run more than four miles straight through.  My last half marathon was nearly a year ago.  And these days, balancing writing, acting, and work, I'm finding that I have no time to run. Truly, no time. Unless, of course, I were to utilize the early mornings.  I've set my alarm for 6:15 am every morning this week, and every morning I've slammed my zombie paw on the ringing button, shutting it down.

I've been doing a lot of walking, though.  That counts for training, right?

Friday, September 14, 2012

The City Obscure: Weekend Events Sept. 14 - 16

Last weekend one was one of working followed by winding down. One of my favorite places in the world to wind down is Canter's Deli. If you eat in the dining room, you can order cocktails from the bar in the Kibbitz Room. How much will a classic Manhattan with a side car run you? Six dollars. Yes, you can still get a cheap drink in LA.

This weekend's events consist primarily of, once again, outdoor screenings. Perfect, since it's hot as hell outside!


Rod Serling: Other Dimensions

UCLA’s Film and Television Archive continues the Rod Serling: Other Dimensions series with a double feature tonight at 7:30 pm. In addition to creating The Twilight Zone (can you imagine a world without it?), Serling also amassed an impressive list of other credits, including screenwriter for The Yellow Canary (1963), a mystery starring Barbara Eden and Pat Boone as a n’er do well singing idol who must man up when his son is kidnapped. The screening will be followed by Assault on a Queen (1966), a caper movie with Frank Sinatra. Pat Boone will appear in person at tonight’s screening! Hollywood royalty! Man, LA is so great.


Billy Wilder Theater

Courtyard Level, Hammer Museum
10899 Wilshire Boulevard (intersection of Wilshire and Westwood Boulevards)
Los Angeles, CA 90024

Friday, September 7, 2012

The City Prolific: Weekend Events Sept 7 - 9

Summer might be winding down, but thank goodness the outdoor screenings aren't!


First Friday on Abbot Kinney

Clothing stores, galleries and restaurants stay open late on this lovely stretch of Venice. Lots of live music, plenty of food trucks. Hardly any parking.

Primitivo will feature a happy hour with $5 wines and $4 sangria, from 4-7pm and 10-11pm



Abbot Kinney Boulevard
Venice, CA 90291


Swimming with Sharks Closing Party

Boo. I'm sad this is ending, because I didn't get to go to one this year, and I can't go to this one. But you should! Splash in the rooftop pool, swallow a few free jello shots.  KCRW DJ's Mario Cotto, Mathieu Schreyer and Travis Holcombe spin.  Bring waterguns and your A-game. Get there early!

Free for first 100 with RSVP

1pm to Sundown

The Standard Downtown
550 South Flower at 6th Street

Friday, August 31, 2012

The City Prolific: Weekend Events Aug 31 - Sep 2

Labor Day weekend in many cities is often pretty quiet, as everyone hits the road. Not so in LA.  There is tons to do. This list is just a smattering.


LA is drawing a blank tonight. Nothing going on. Am I wrong? Did I miss something? Submit your event here.


FYF Pre-Party Party

It's FYF Weekend, but if you want to avoid the ticket cost, just go to the free events.  I mean, I love seeing bands and I love festivals, but I don't love the price tag.  No need to miss the party, though.  Join DJs Lexinterior and Funzo Verated for music and cheap drinks at Footsies in Lincoln Heights/Cypress Park.


Happy Hour Prices from 1pm - 8pm
$2 PBRS, $3 Wells, $3 Domestics
$5 Marys and Margs

DJ Funzo Verated [Sharif Dumani] will be spinning party tunes from 3-6

DJ Lexinterior [KOOLRANCH]will be spinning ragers from 6-9

2640 N. Figuerroa
Los Angeles

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Mapping a Life in LA

It's a vastly different life, this one, and I've lived a lot of them.  Possessing, as I do, a devotion to creativity, as well as a pre-occupation with steady paychecks, I've traversed a lot of ground, mapped many routes.

My legs are sore from all the walking, both literally and figuratively speaking.  I'd like to think that the miles I've walked in life, observing cities from the inside out, have helped form my physical and mental shape. I'm not speaking about fitness, but about being, about the shape I embody in actual space.  So, there are the aggregate miles.  But there's also now.  In the last three days, I've shed the cocoon of my car, and have put my feet to pavement.  See, the thing is, I've gone back to school.  I'm getting a master's degree in writing at USC, and, conveniently enough, the Expo Line has been up and running since spring.  When I was acting in USC student films a few years ago, the Expo line did not yet exist, and getting down there was a pain. Now, it's a real breeze, filtering between buildings, through tunnels, down avenues.

Hence, the new map of my existence: walk 1.7 miles to work, walk 0.7 miles to the train, commute to school, commute back to Hollywood, walk 0.5 miles home.

There are auditions and things that will break up this experience a bit, and require me to, once again, shut myself in a car, but, for the time being, I'm feeling the soreness in my legs as proof of my dedication to this city.

Friday, August 24, 2012

The City Prolific: Weekend Events August 24 - 26

I didn't post for the last two weeks because I was away. Far away. In the High Uintas, the only East-West mountain range in the lower 48 states. I spent six days living in a tent, alongside a creek that provided a far more soothing nighttime soundtrack than the Hollywood traffic to which I usually fall asleep.

Back now in LA, I'm once again amazed at all there is to do. The list below is just a drop in the bucket of free or cheap events this weekend. I've chosen the ones that  seemed the most fun.



A celebration of Los Angeles's rich history, "Fiesta La Ballona Days" offers live music, food and festivities in the heart of culver city.  From the website:  Fiesta La Ballona Days" began in 1951 as a week-long celebration of the region's early settlers. People went to events and even to work dressed up as Native American Indians, rancheros, señoritas, cowboys and cowgirls. The early fiestas evoked pride among the descendants of the "first families" and offered the entire community a playful opportunity to connect with its history.  In 1985, the fiesta was reinvented as a "Festival of the People" and the one-day event took on an international flavor. Five or six years later it became a weekend fair in May. In 2003, the Fiesta was once again revived by offering events during the entire week with a culminating festival in Veteran's Park. In 2004 amusement rides were added to attract families to the event. In 2005 the Culver City Lion's Club opened the first Beer and Wine Garden. The Fiesta La Ballona continues to be a celebration of the past, present and future of Culver City showcasing both its warmth and its sophistication. It continues to offer people a place for food and fun and sharing. 

Free Friday-Sunday

Veteran’s Park
4117 Overland Ave
Culver City


Echo Park Rising

Just as yellow is the new black, Echo Park Rising is the new Sunset Junction Festival.  Revel among live music, great shopping and eating deals on Sunset Blvd, Echo Park Ave, and Alvarado. Over 60 bands, performers, comedians, and DJ’s will perform along the streets of Echo park, with the main stage setup on the parking lot of TAIX French Restaurant, a movie screening of a classic horror film on the roof of the citibank building, and a fair of sorts solely dedicated to those who press and print their own zines, books, albums, t-shirts, etc that will take over the entire Echoplex.

Friday, August 10, 2012

The City Prolific: Weekend Events August 10 - 12

Raphael Saadiq took the stage at KCRW's Who Shot Rock Summer Series last Saturday night. It was an evening spent drinking wine in the plaza behind CAA, people-watching the very KCRWesque crowd, and strolling the incredible Who Shot Rock and Roll exhibit at the Annenberg Space for Photography.  Then, Mr. Saadiq took the stage, and blew everyone away. He was really something.


H+ The Digital Series Screening at USC School of Cinematic Arts

One of my dear friends, and master acting coach, Marjo-Riikka Makela appears in this Bryan Singer-produced apocalyptic web series.  USC offers a free screening open to the public, followed by a Q&A with Stewart Hendler, Jason Taylor and John Cabrera.

H+: The Digital Series takes viewers on a journey into an apocalyptic future where technology has begun to spiral out of control.... a future where 33% of the world’s population has retired its cell phones and laptops in favor of a stunning new device – an implanted computer system called H+. This tiny tool allows the user's own mind and nervous system to be connected to the Internet 24 hours a day.

But something else is coming... something dark and vicious... and within seconds, billions of people will be dead... opening the door to radical changes in the political and social landscape of the planet -- prompting survivors to make sense of what went wrong.

7:00 P.M.

The Ray Stark Family Theatre
SCA 108, 900 W. 34th Street
Los Angeles, CA

Friday, August 3, 2012

The City Prolific: Weekend Events August 2 - 4

Sand, sun, and stars: I saw a lot of each last weekend.  Went to the Nick Waterhouse show at the Getty, and spent a good portion of the time looking up.  The sky is so big over those Santa Monica hills.  I also got a lot of sun. Went to Huntington Beach with my SoCal cousins, and played in the sand with the littlest one, as seen below.

It's August now, my favorite month. Its days cast a wash of deep yellow, my favorite color, 3:00pm yellow, hottest time of the day yellow. Again this weekend, everyone in LA is outside, absorbing the late summer sun at screenings and festivals.


First Friday At The Refine House (Art Show)

Refine Mixers is hosting a specialty “First Friday” where they will serve complimentary Refine specialty low-calorie cocktails for guests to enjoy while mingling amongst the artwork of Renowned artists Louie Ferrigno Jr. and Kelcey Fisher.


Refine Mixers House
619 San Juan Ave
Los Angeles 90291

Oscars Outdoors Presents "North by Northwest"

Oscars Outdoors is a summer screening series at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science’s new open-air theater, located on the Academy Hollywood campus. The series features a permanent 40’ x 20’ screen, a 10,000 square-foot plaza, and lawn seating (blanket or low chair). Food trucks are curated by Roaming Hunger and tailored to the movie showing whenever possible.

For sold out films, a standby line will form on the day of the event, and standby numbers will be distributed at 6pm; available tickets will be sold at approximately 7:45pm (grab happy hour at Wolfslair Biergarten while you wait). Ticketholders should plan to arrive at least 15 minutes before the start of the event to ensure a seat at the venue.

Gates open at 6:30pm, screenings begin at sunset.

Oscars Outdoors
1313 Vine St
Los Angeles 90028

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The Exercise of Meandering

I wrote about walking recently, and it's been on my mind a lot. On my mind, because it isn't in my life as much as is necessary to not think about it.

Some years ago, I would alter my after-work journey home with the errands I wanted to run.  I'd zing down the 6 to hit up The Strand Book Store, and then wile away the last hour of dusk in Union Square Park or window shop along 5th Avenue before hopping on the L train home. I'd walk over to Central Park to pick up a new read at the used book stand on Central Park South, and then take the F to 42nd Street and wander over to Grand Central Market to pick up a little gourmet something for dinner.  Or I'd take the F to West 4th and grab a cocktail at Do Hwa and then indulge in a cupcake at Magnolia ($1.25 at the time seemed extravagant), before moseying around the West Village until I was ready to go home.

I guess it's both walking and public transit I'm talking about: the foot-to-ground, visceral connection to a city, literally mapping your community with the soles of your feet, public transit serving as a means to speed up the journey while keeping you contained in an area only as big as yourself (you get in a car and you're twenty times your regular size, requiring a lot more space and energy).

I got tired of being underground so much, though, especially when I lived in Brooklyn. In Manhattan, I could walk or bike everywhere, the train simply being the quicker option.  In Brooklyn, the train was my only option (I'm not a gung-ho bicyclist, and was never prone to riding over bridges, nor was I near enough any of the bridges for this to be an efficient mode of transit).

In LA, I am above ground, and I see a lot of sunlight and trees, which is an improvement over the dripping concrete ceilings and rusted pipes of NYC subway stations.  However, I'm always just where I am, or going there, usually in my car.  I'm never meandering. Oh, to meander. I miss it so.  I regularly attempt it, often spending my lunch breaks wandering around the Hollywood and Vine area. It's a fascinating stroll of opposites - urban and suburban, industrial and corporate - but it has no parks. Nowhere to sit, reflect, absorb. When I get back to my office, my legs are very tired, my shoulders browned by the sun, my forehead flecked with sweat.

Walking in LA. It's an exercise, in more ways than one.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Save Bob Baker's Marionette Theater

The Bob Baker Marionette Theater | Photo: Ariel Carpenter.

"For more than five decades, The Bob Baker Marionette Theater has served up laughter from a non-descript building tucked under a bridge adjacent to downtown L.A.
Today it hangs on by a string, pinning its future on a gala fundraiser, hosted by comedian Charles Phoenix, planned for July 29, 2012 where its supporters hope to raise a $1 million to save the theater, as well as build a school and museum of puppetry."
Read the article on KCET's Artbound here, and donate by clicking here.

Bob Baker: The Man Behind the Puppets

Friday, July 27, 2012

The City Prolific: Weekend Events July 27 - 29

I don't mind crowds. In fact, I enjoy being in the thick of festive revelry. But there is a point in which a crowd can become too crowded, and New York City has reached that point everywhere. Los Angeles crowds still contain space, the kind of space that makes you feel like you're really discovering something. Last week's third annual Bloomfest was a good example of this. It is an art and music festival that takes place in the Arts District. It is very well attended, by exceptionally diverse demographics, but there is still space - to stand, to watch, to sit with your beer, to dance to the dj, to whistle at the band. Uniquely Angeleno street art peers out over the industrial landscape - a city of angels, truly.

This weekend's events include pool parties, the requisite outdoor screenings, and dancing in the street.


Renegade Craft Fair

The Renegade Craft Fair (RCF) is a large scale marketplace event, showcasing the work of contemporary indie-craft artists. Featuring hundreds of artists at a time, vendors travel from all over to sell their handmade goods and original artwork. RCF is held in urban epicenters of creative indie-entrepreneurship throughout the US and abroad – including Brooklyn, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Austin, and London (UK). Enjoy hundreds of today’s best indie crafters, hands-on workshops, music, food trucks, booze + oh so much more. Get crafty with all kinds of awesome workshops from the likes of the Urban Craft Center, L.A. Zine Fest, and SideStreet Projects (details on workshops to come!).

Saturday & Sunday, 11am-7pm

Renegade Craft Fair
Los Angeles State Historic Park
1245 N Spring St
Los Angeles 90012

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Grand Park (One Step Closer to a City for Wandering)

Walking in Los Angeles. Some say it's an oxymoron. Others say it's an impossible daydream. Some have never even heard the phrase.

We, myself and my husband, walk an awful lot. We're lucky. We live in Central Hollywood. We bar-hop around Hollywood and Vine, all along the Walk of Fame, as far as Sunset and Highland. We walk into Los Feliz, to see movies, to go out to dinner, to shop.  We take the Red Line downtown to hit up pool parties and festivals and dine in Little Tokyo or the multiple of restaurants in the Old Bank District.

Our walking is different here than in other cities, though. It's more of a destination-driven mobility.  We know exactly where we're going, and we walk to that specific place. When we've decided to leave that place, we determine what our next stop will be.  In other cities, New York, Paris, Madrid, even San Francisco, there is no need for a destination before our legs begin to carry us, our feet treading great ground.  When we are ready to leave Max Fish, we may say, "where do you want to go next?" and our answer very well may be, indeed, usually is, "I don't know." We wander. Up Avenue A. Passing East 5th, we may say, let's see what's going on at Ace Bar.  Or not. We keep going. Grabbing an Italian Soda on East 7th, we sit in Tompkins for a bit. Maybe head over to Cooper Square, maybe sit in Washington Square for a bit, maybe down to SoHo, there is no end in sight.  "What are you guys doing tonight?" "Nothing. Wandering." It's a way of life.

A major aspect of this life, perhaps the very most significant one, is the abundance of parks. City parks. Big or small, size doesn't matter. It's about landscaping, with places to sit.  Los Angeles is terribly lacking in parks (no shortage of empty lots and parking lots, though).  Our open space exists in the form of foothills and mountains, which, though great for hiking, don't offer the urban respite of city parks. Wandering, strolling, experiencing a city on foot, forming a visceral connection to a city in both body and soul, requires the existence of parks - open, landscaped space to sit and rest and reflect upon the city around you.

This weekend, the city opened the initial phase of Downtown LA's first major central park.  Grand Park sits on twelve blocks that connect the Music Center and City Hall.  Previously, those twelve blocks contained the old County Mall, a concrete plaza, and a parking lot.  Now, they contain a new wade-able membrane pool, a small intimate performance lawn, a community terrace planted with drought tolerant specimen plants, a grand event lawn, the re-designed fountain of the old mall, now made interactive for adults and children to play in, and ample avenues for strolling, via a series of stairs, accessible ramps and sloped walks.

The first phase of Grand Park's opening took place just today, and already the twitterverse as well as local blog comments sections are a-heat with criticism about whether this is the 'right' spot for a central park, about the price tag ($56 million), and whether or not such funds could have been put to better use by building multiple smaller parks in poorer areas.

I wonder, though, what could possibly be wrong with building a park Downtown. Downtown is not a rich nor a poor area. Every type of person from every social strata finds themselves in this area of Downtown, near the Courthouse (jury duty), the Music Center (opera and theatre), and Grand Central Market (cheap groceries).  We need a park there. And now there is one - a grand one.

Yes, we need more parks, in more areas, but at least we now have one more than we had before. Let's celebrate by grabbing a horchata from Grand Central Market, meandering on over to Grand Park, and taking a seat on one of its magenta lawn chairs. Maybe one day we'll be able to say it is possible to be a flaneur in LA.

Read more about Grand Park here:,0,6792713.story