Saturday, March 30, 2013

The City Prolific: My Biggest Baddest Bucket List!

If you could make someone’s dreams come true, would you? You can! Click on this link  or the image above and vote as many ways as possible. By voting, you will be helping to SEND ME AROUND THE WORLD!

As a travel host for, I'd get six months, six continents, all expenses paid, my choice of destinations, and $50,000 cash when I return.

Travel is my greatest passion, along with uncovering the secrets of cities, living outdoors (camping, backpacking, hiking, these are the things I live for), eating and drinking everything. And I mean everything.

I believe I would be very, very good at this job. Vote. Like crazy. As many times as possible. For the next two days.  And then, get outside:


Food Truck Haven

Food Truck Haven, presented by Angel City Brewery in downtown, is a gathering of LA's best food trucks on the parking lot of the historic John A. Roebling Building.  Beginning today, the trucks will gather on the last Saturday of each month, from noon to 10 p.m.

Free (just bring cash for beer and food!)

12:00pm - 10:00pm

Angel City Brewery
216 S Alameda St
Los Angeles, CA

Punch Card II

Punch Card II is a group exhibition with works by six artists who merge technology and traditional textiles to create their own unique “digital stitch”. From weaving on loom to coding on a computer, it's all art.  Enjoy wine and snacks while wandering the galleries of the Santa Monica Art Studios, one of the loveliest places in our fine city.


6:00pm to 8:00pm

Santa Monica Art Studios

3026 Airport Avenue
Santa Monica, CA

The Vagina Monologues with the LA Derby Dolls

This is the kind of weird mash-up at which LA excels. Taking one iconic thing and squishing it together with another iconic thing. Though L.A.'s Derby Dolls are best known for their amazonian stature and kick-ass roller skills, tonight they present ‘The Vagina Monologues’ in a benefit for local charities. The Derby Dolls will perform alongside Emma Dumont, star of the ABC Family show "Bunheads" and Janice Kent, known best as Maryellen in "The New Leave It To Beaver."

$14 general; $10 students

Doors open at 6:30pm

The Doll Factory
1910 West Temple Street
Los Angeles, CA

Saturday, March 23, 2013

The City Prolific: Weekend Events March 23 & 24

I haven't been doing much lately, other than exploring my new 'hood, (and admiring its old facades like that above), doing homework, and training for a marathon.  But there's some fun stuff around town that you ought to go do.


Tolkien Reading Day

Tolkein Nerds Unite! Tonight at downtown's Last Bookstore, volunteers from Tolkein Forever, L.A.'s chapter of the Tolkein Society, will be reading selections aloud from "The Hobbit" and "The Lord of The Rings" trilogy.


2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

The Last Bookstore
453 S. Spring St, Ground Floor

Downtown LA

A Current Affair Vintage Pop-Up Shop

It's Spring! Time to go shopping! This vintage pop-up show features over 40 vendors including Spanish Moss, Scout, Adored Vintage, Just Say Native, Mercy Vintage, NEW/FOUND, Timeless Vixen, and The Guise Archives.  The show is hosted by musician Nicole Simone, who will style 10 head-to-toe vintage looks that will be on exhibit and available for purchase.  Music by KCRW DJ Marion Hodges; open bar sponsored by Key Club and VitaCoco; lite bites by The Ceviche Project. Street style photographer Histyley will be snapping pictures, so you can get proof that you attended this cool event.


3:00pm - 8:00pm

Cooper Design Space
860 S Los Angeles St, Ste 900
Los Angeles 90014

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

A Collection of Towns

It is colder in Culver City than Hollywood, and less sunny, generally. I take the bus and the train in the mornings, and as I travel, I feel the degrees falling away, see the fog hanging down.

Downtown Culver City bustles with pedestrians. People walking from work to lunch, people eating healthy lunches at sidewalk cafes, moms walking their pre-school aged children or their dogs. (There's one mom who walks around with her three year old girl who always carries a flower in each hand and does princess dances all down the street.)  It feels like a city, albeit a very small and quaint one, with groomed landscaping and social flow - like The Truman Show's Seahaven or Back to the Future's Hill Valley.

Los Angeles is a city of neighborhoods. Some call them pockets. Each little pocket has a strip. A strip is made up of five to seven shops, one or two bars, a restaurant and/or a cafe. When people ask, "Do you know Los Feliz?", they're usually referring to the two-block strip of Vermont Avenue.

Downtown Culver City has one major strip, and two off-shoot strips. There might be five cool restaurants in the area, and several good lunch spots. It also has two performing arts theatres, one movie theatre, an In'n'out, a Trader Joes, an Office Max, a Ross Dress for Less, some nail salons, and two studio lots.

It's only a city due to population, and through-traffic (all that east side to west side or vice-versa traffic that is either going to or trying to avoid the freeways). Otherwise, it more accurately resembles a large town.

This is Los Angeles, a collection of towns called cities that collectively make up one giant metropolis, if a metropolis can refer to something sprawling and incomprehensible.

Greetings from LA.  We're on our way.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

The City Prolific: Weekend Events March 16 - 17


Public Star Party

Join a bunch of other astronomical nerds, including the Los Angeles Astronomical Society and the Los Angeles Sidewalk Astronomers at the Griffith Observatory to look at the sun, moon, visible planets, and other objects, to try out a variety of telescopes, and to talk to knowledgeable amateur astronomers about the sky and their equipment. Bring a picnic dinner, and enjoy the gorgeous views.


2:00pm - 10:00pm

Griffith Observatory
2800 E Observatory Rd
Los Angeles 90027

Gluekit - Long Play | Scion A/V Installation

These Scion events are fun, the art is good, the crowd is cool, the wine is decent. Sometimes you just need a reason to hang out on Melrose, you know? This is it.


Reservations required.

Scion AV Installation
7667 Melrose Ave,
Los Angeles, CA 90046

Santa Monica Airport Artwalk 2013

Head out to Santa Monica to explore an incredible example of a city facility getting repurposed for the arts. You'll see a lot of wonderful art, and you'll probably see a celebrity or two (I saw Halle Berry there once - man, she's gorgeous).


12pm - 5pm

Airport Ave
Santa Monica, CA

Jackpot Improv and Sketch 

Full disclosure: I'm in this show, with my improv team, It Girl. As are tons of other great teams. It is certain to be fun. Or at least weird.


8:30pm - 10:30ishpm or longer

The Underground Annex
1308 N. Wilton Place, 90028

Sunday, March 17

It's St. Patrick's day, but I'm guessing everyone is planning to be hungover from celebrating the night before? Nothing going on. Am I wrong? Submit your event to me here.

Follow @LAhappenings for daily event updates.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Again About Transit

My old apartment was half a mile from the Hollywood/Western station. My new house is over one and a half miles from the Vermont/Beverly station. Too far to walk for a typical commute, but I will not be unfazed.  For my commute to Culver City, I have my husband drive me to the station, or I take a Metro Rapid bus down Western avenue to connect with the Expo Line.

The Vermont/Beverly station is landscaped with drought-resistant desert plants along a walkway that runs behind the escalators that descend to the subway. It's got steps and levels and foot traffic flows easily through.

1993 Artist's rendering depicting the entrance of the Red Line station at Vermont and Beverly

Vermont/Beverly entrance 2013. The landscaping is very close to the artist rendering above.

Now, let's look at Hollywood/Western:

1993 artist's rendering depicting the entrance of the Red Line station at Hollywood and Western.

Hollywood/Western 2013
Comparing the artist's renderings for Hollywood/Western to how it turned out, it is hard to imagine how things went so wrong. Tiles and stone beneath a terribly dated low-income housing project. Despite the attempt at color and design, the corner is bleak as compared to the life (as in, plants, actual, breathing life) at Vermont/BeverlyOf course, the artist's rendering shows no housing unit, which is a necessity for the area, but how on earth did the actual development turn out to be so, so ugly?

Back to the bus, Metro Rapid 757 stops at the south-west corner of Melrose and Western, in front of a gas station. It is not a pretty corner. It is trash littered and hot. The bus is always crowded, standing room only, but it's a core-strengthening, balance-challenging kind of standing. I can count it as part of my exercise routine.

Nearly five years ago, when I used to take the train downtown to my job at The Unusual Suspects Theatre Company on Olive Street, I was often the only business-class person on the train, and it was never crowded. The majority of riders were families (lots of non-car-owning moms with their babies) or workers of the non-office sort, judging by apparel. No suits and ties, I mean. Sprinkled lightly within the crowd would be one or two FIDM students in their artsy, stylist get-ups.

Today, the ridership has greatly increased, and there are often no available seats on the red line (the expo line is still gaining riders, and finding a seat is never a problem).  The most marked difference between now and five years ago are the number of suits on the train. Professionals are commuting downtown by Metro.

Five years ago, there were fewer companies operating out of downtown.  Many companies didn't think it was a desirable place to be. With the revitalization of Downtown, came a shifted perception, and it became a cool place to be. "You work Downtown? Bleh," became "Wow, you work Downtown? How hip."

Gas prices have driven people out of their cars and onto their feet, and has also driven them into neighborhoods near metro stations.  This shift was fairly predictable.  After a few decades of people wanting space and isolation as well as city salaries, rising gas prices and recessions turned their desires from the suburbs to city centers  - where to get groceries or go to the movies or get drinks with a friend, all you have to do is walk out your front door.

The Metro Rapid ridership is still comprised of the demographic on the train five years ago. I don't know why the business class isn't on the bus. I wonder if it's because the street atmosphere of my particular nook of East Hollywood (Western Avenue) just isn't pretty.  Urban design and aesthetics go a long way to get people of all sorts onto transit - those who need it because they don't have a car, as well as those who have the privilege to choose to not get in their cars. Maybe it's the jostling. A crowded bus does cause a person to jostle, especially when it's charging down Western Avenue.

I know I write about public transit a lot.  That's because I'm on it a lot. And I'm on it a lot because it's a far better way to get around a city, to plan a city, to design a city, than by car.

Friday, March 8, 2013

The City Prolific: Weekend Events March 9th - March 10th

It's been a quiet winter. There's always something going on around town, but it certainly isn't like summer. We stumbled upon another Space 15 Twenty event last weekend, sipped some free Pabst, posed with some giant hearts.

Here are a few events we might check out this weekend:


"What's Up?" An Artist Co-op 7 Exhibition

Everyone loves an art opening. And I always love a reason to go to Bergamot.  In this exhibition, five artists from Co-op 7 present a group art show of new work that uniquely demonstrates each artist’s individuality in various media including monotype, oil, and watercolor. Exhibiting Artist Co-op 7 members are: Adria Becker, Abira Breskal, Selina Cheng, Susan Gesundheit, and Eileen Hecht.


3:00pm - 7:00pm

Schomburg Gallery
Bergamot Station Arts Center
2525 Michigan Ave, Unit E3A
Santa Monica

Red Sky Journal Reading & Issue 3 Launch Party

Red Sky Journal celebrates the launch of its third issue with work by Henry Hoke, Jeremy High, Jamora Crawford, Lan Pham, Lisa Locascio, Ronald Metellus, and Jackson Burgess. There'll be snacks and other fun stuff, plus just the wonderful atmosphere of literary Echo Park.



Stories Books and Cafe
1716 Sunset Blvd
Los Angeles 90026


If you haven't yet been to the Mezz, go. It's a very strange, in-between kind of space, one of the many such spaces in the Alexandria Hotel.  Rare groove vocalist and emcee Stacy Epps will appear on stage. In the last decade she’s established a reputation for sonic excellence in the underground hip hop community. The event will also feature live art, artist exhibitions, vendors + visuals.

$10 Cover; Limited $6 Presale Tickets via

9:00pm - 2:00am; 21+ w/ ID

The Mezz @ the Alexandria Hotel
501 S. Spring Street – 2nd Floor
Los Angeles 90013

Lenny Kravitz "Looking Back on Love:  Making Black and White America"

I'd go just to see something at the Arena. I've always been curious about that place.  A Q&A with Director Mathieu Bitton moderated by KFWB's Leo Quinones will take place after the screenings. From the press release: "'Looking Back on Love (Making Black and White America)' brings viewers face to face with legendary rock musician Lenny Kravitz. The documentary features exclusive interviews recorded over two years.  The film also features an in-depth examination of the album's title song; Lenny's personal history about his upbringing in a mixed family; appearances by Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz; and the message of love that Lenny has been preaching for over 20 years."


Advanced Tickets available at

Two Showings: 7:30PM, 9:20PM

Arena Cinema in Hollywood
1625 N. Las Palmas Ave.
Hollywood, CA 90028.


39th Annual Festival of the Kite

The sky will crawl with magic in the form on kites!  Anyone can enter the festival of the kite at Redondo Pier.  Prizes will include Highest Flying Kite, Best Handmade Kite and Youngest Kiteflyer. Come help launch a 25 foot wide kite. 7th Annual Hot Dog On A Stick Eating Contest. $200 prize-3pm. 10th Annual Redondo Throw Down Yo-Yo Competition. So much fun! All Ages Welcome and live music by Tucker Booth.


12:00pm -5:00pm

Redondo Beach Pier
W Torrance Blvd
Redondo Beach 90277


Old Pasadena Happy Hour

Old Pasadena's finest restaurants, bars, and lounges offer extended food and drink specials all week long! Happy Hour Week runs March 1-15, 2013. From $1 martinis at Equator, $2 beers at Pita Jungle, and $3 gourmet sushi at Sushi Roku and Kabuki, among a whole bunch of other delicious deals. Check out the website for the full list:

Follow @LAhappenings for daily event updates.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Ya Voté por Los Angeles

Voting day is tomorrow! It's the primary nominating election, in which we'll choose who will be the next candidates for Mayor (I've never known LA without Villaraigosa, so that'll be weird), decide on a few new city council candidates, and sift through some ballot measures.

To get informed, check out the Arts & Culture Candidate Surveys for LA and Pasadena:

And take a look at the SmartVoter site from the League of Women Voters:

This city is yours if you want it!

Who or what are you voting for? And if you're not voting, how come?