Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Writers Block

Haven't had much inspiration to write lately, sorry! Maybe it's part of this whole 2009 New Years resolution of saving money, eating less, working out more, going out less to pursue my non-entertainment-related-goals thing :P Plus, none of the places I've been hitting up have really struck my fancy or inspired me.

But if you have any requests, I'd be glad to oblige :D

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Hot Dogs and Blow Outs - SATURDAY

Since I'll be meeting my friend Carleen for who-knows-what on Saturday, I've been keeping an eye out for things that are going on over the weekend. So here's my uber-ambitious rundown of things going on for Saturday. If you can attend all of these events, I'll give you a special prize ;)

Barker Block's Pre-Super Bowl BBQ

You could start out your day at Barker Block which is a new loft development in the arts district of downtown LA for some free grubbing on Wurstkuche's signature rattlesnake, buffalo, or alligator dogs. Pair that up with some real estate developer-funded beer, music, and condo tours and you'll be getting your Saturday off to a right start :) Maybe in this depressed economy, you might actually be able to afford one of these condos they'll try to sell you!

Saturday, 12pm
Cost: FREE
513 Molino Street
Los Angeles, CA 90013
Cross Street: Palmetto Street
Don't forget to RSVP!

First Annual Montgomery Burns Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Excellence BACON BBQ EVENT!
I just had to give this event a shout out for two reasons:
1. Its Simpsons reference
2. Its incorporation of BACON!
I love bacon. I love The Simpsons. But what I love even more is the incorporation of a Simpsons theme into an event about wrapping things in bacon, then eating it. Just wrap anything in bacon and I guarantee it will become 1000 times more delicious! mmmm..... bacon.... arrrrggggllllhhhh......

While this is an UYE (unofficial yelp event), all are welcome. Just make sure to click "I'm in" on the event's page.

Saturday, 12pm
Cost: Potluck or pay what you wish
Griffith Park
4730 Crystal Springs Dr
Los Angeles, CA 90027

Scout's Moving to Hollywood Sale
Once you've stuffed yourself with rattlesnake dogs, beer, and bacon wrapped goodness, it's time to go shopping! I've never been to this place, but sounds like there may be some good deals to be had in this hipster shopping haven.

From DailyCandy: Everything in the shop is $100 and under. Take 60-90 percent off Endovanera, Henrik Vibskov, and the rest of the designer collections; vintage is going for $25 or less.

Fri-Sun 11am-7pm
Scout LA
7920 W. Third St.,
b/t Fairfax & S. Edinburgh Aves.

15 Years of New Image Art
After your shopping fix and sausage orgy, day will slowly turn into night which can only mean - more hipster-viewing and more boozing. This particular art show was written in up flavorpill which I suppose gives it a bit of legitimacy and not your usual "let's get a bunch of art school rejects together and host a gallery show" type event. There will be visual, audio, and video installation pieces... and arty party drinks (usually beer and wine) so none of your senses get bored.

Sat 7pm-10pm
Cost: FREE
New Image Art
7908 Santa Monica Blvd
West Hollywood, CA

Blow Up LA Blow Out
Although this is an 18+ party (ugh), I do have a soft spot for the seemingly "secret warehouse party".... must be that suppressed wannabe raver in me or something. Anyhoo... this party will have the highest concentration of hipster sightings of any of the events I've listed. It has a "Winter Formal" theme so I'm guessing that dressing up in some hideous 80s prom getup is encouraged. You can even stumble in here after all the "normal" bars close at 1:45am.

Saturday 10pm-4am
Cost: $6 before 11pm with RSVP/ $12 after 11 and-or without RSVP
Downtown LA
263 S Main St @ 3rd
Los Angeles, CA

Happy Hour Listing by CarolineonCrack
My good friend carolineoncrack just wrote a post about happy hours in downtown culver city. I know it doesn't have to do much with what I wrote above, but I think it's a great list and reference and wanted to share with you all!

Fraiche, Gyenari, Rush Street
Downtown Culver City

Hopefully Carleen and I can find something fun to do on Saturday! :D

Thursday, January 15, 2009

February shows - cuz hipsters crave music

February has some really neat sounding shows coming up. If you're interested in checking any of them out with me, let me know! :)

DeVotchka at The Viper Room
I was actually surprised to see this band headlining a venue as intimate as The Viper Room since I'm pretty sure they can easily fill up something the size of The Fonda or maybe even The Wiltern. But lucky me, they are playing Viper Room. Their stuff is a bit more "calm and ambient" than my usual choices, but I'm willing to take a chance to see them live since they've been getting lots of great press for years...

Mon Feb 2, 2009
The Viper Room
8852 W Sunset Blvd
West Hollywood, CA 90069
(310) 652-7869

Airborne Toxic Event at The Fonda
This one isn't happening for a while, but.... wow, these guys are really blowing up! I remember seeing them opening for the Fratellis just a few months ago, but now they are headlining their own show at the same theater! See one of LA's best local bands at this semi-small venue before they become the next Interpol. Of course, you could've also caught them performing live at Knotts Berry Farm over the December holidays :)

Thurs Feb 12, 2009
Henry Fonda Theater
6126 Hollywood Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90028
(323) 464-0808

Andrew Bird at The Orpheum Theater
My first exposure to Andrew Bird was at the Hollywood Bowl in the summer of 07 when he opened for the Decemberists. This guy is a total nut job. And I love him for it. Expect a one-man brass ensemble, cosmic instrumentation.... well, don't expect anything, and you will be pleasantly surprised, if not quite entertained!

Wed Feb 18, 2009
$30 balc/$35 orch & mezz
Orpheum Theater
842 S. Broadway
Los Angeles, CA 90014
(877) 677-4386

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

For the professional weekday warriors

This is what's on my radar so far for fun stuff going on this week. I will periodically update this list if I hear of anything else for this week....

Thurs Jan 15

Scion House Party
Scion usually throws pretty good parties. Live music, interesting DJs, eclectic crowd... And if you're lucky, an open bar and goodie bags. The Roxy is a Hollywood nightlife institution, which alone makes it worth checking out in my opinion. This is an 18+ party, so make sure you ask for ID before you get too friendly with anyone :P

Price: FREE
10pm - 2am
The Roxy
9009 W Sunset Blvd
West Hollywood, CA 90069
Don't forget to RSVP!

Sat Jan 17
Scion Installation LA Opening
Besides cute and witty boys, I'm also a total sucker for an open bar. If this place can sport both, I may never want to leave. Scion is hosting lots of events this week. Maybe they've decided to funnel more money into marketing with the shitty economy we're having. This will be a group show depicting "Fairytales of Berlin". Berlin only reminds me of Hitler and schizer movies. So this ought to be interesting...

Price: FREE
Scion Installation L.A.
3521 Helms Avenue (at National)
Culver City, CA. 90232
Free valet parking and OPEN BAR!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Good places to host birthday parties

For some reason, I feel like everyone has a birthday in January or February. So I've been getting lots of inquiries from friends on what would be a good spot to host a casual yet upscale and FUN birthday party for groups of 6-20. These are some not-so-mainstream restaurants and bars that have little rooms in which you could host events whose prices won't blow a hole through your wallet. Because obviously, a hipster would never dream of hosting anything at Dave n Busters or Buca di Beppo.

See links for venue details. Listed in order from lowbrow (ain't nothing wrong with lowbrow) to highbrow (you gots some money to burn baby):

Papa Cristos
Boy oh boy, do I freakin love this place!! It's an awesomely authentic Greek restaurant just south of Koreatown serving gyros, lamb, spanikopita (did I spell that right?), and all other things deliciously Greek. It's definitely more on the casual side with the blue and white tablecloths and paper napkins. But that's part of the charm of this place. They have an outdoor patio that's probably good in the warmer months for events, but the indoor restaurant also would be good for a casual sit-down group dinner. Thursday nights offer a prix fixe special and "live entertainment" whatever that means ;) You can always finish off the night with a nightcap at one of the many ktown watering holes...hehe

Location: Koreatown adjacent

Cafe Surfas
Surfas the store claims to be "Chef's Paradise" as it's a chef and restaurant supply store. So judging by that and the constant crowds eating here, you know the food at it's adjoining restaurant is going to be chef-quality good. It's only open during the daytime, so it would have to be a brunch/lunch type party. But on a warm day, surrounded by good food and kitchen stuff is definitely my idea of a fun time :)

Location: Culver City

I've loved this place since my first visit when Caroline on Crack and I decided to pop in on a warm fall afternoon. It's a cross between a casual tea parlor, Giant Robot (the little shop on Sawtelle selling random cutesy Japanese tchotchkes), an anime art gallery, and restaurant. And it was deemed cool enough to host Yelp's 2008 Elite Holiday Party. But what makes it a great spot to host a party is that there's a couple of different rooms. The one in the middle can probably fit 5-10 comfortably and has a projection screen and neato funky furniture to lounge on. The rear area can probably accommodate a lot of people... like 50+. The first time I went, Mercedes Benz was doing some Fashion Week after party there. As an added bonus, the lady who owns this place is super sweet. Not sure how the food is , but the ambiance is pretty awesome.

Location: Culver City

The Abbey
For girls that wanna ogle at hot guys, but feel guilty about doing so because you're married, have a bf, etc, then the Abbey is perfect. It's a West Hollywood gay institution filled with an eclectic mix of people from all walks of life, ethnicity, and ages. I always have a great time here whether I go with my gay friends or not and even had a celeb sighting (Perez Hilton) on one random Sunday night. The atmosphere is non-pretentious and friendly which is a commodity in Hollywood. Food and drinks are both quite yummy and they have lots of little random rooms, so it could easily be turned into a bday party spot.

Location: West Hollywood

Casa Cocina Y Cantina
This is a brand new upscale-ish Mexican-Latin restaurant that opened last week in downtown LA. The thing that really appeals to me are the little "casitas" which look like little pods so you can get some privacy for your group, but also enjoy the larger restaurant should you choose. I haven't been here yet, but if you have, let me know what you think of it :)

Location: Downtown LA

The Edison
Although this place is pretty mainstream and often becomes a B&T destination on weekends, I still do appreciate it because of the beautifully designed interior and innovative drink selections. For people who have never been, it definitely will leave a lasting impression. It's in an old electricity factory so the motif is depression-era industrial chic. There are lots of little rooms of varying sizes that can host events. And if you go a bit earlier (like before midnight I think), they have a kitchen churning out some yummy food as well.

Location: Downtown LA

Cafe Was
Stones throw from the Arclight Cinemas on Sunset and Vine is this little semi-hidden restaurant. Inside is what I can only call "neo-classical-French" with lots of red lighting and ornate furniture and that rotating piano in the center of the restaurant. Upstairs has a little bar that's perfect for hosting a "non-dinner hangout and drink" type party. It'll probably hold 20+ people and when I accidentally stumbled up there once, everyone looked to be having a great time. If you want it to be a dinner thing, this place has some yummy albeit a bit pricey French-European inspired fare.

Location: Hollywood proper

I actually have more ideas that I didn't include on this list. So if you're still at a loss, just hit me up and let me know :)

Friday, January 9, 2009

Me encanta El Carmen

She drew me in with her seductive perfume.

well, not really....

But after nearly missing, but passing by many times, I finally got a chance to check out El Carmen.

I love how LA has such a large variety of Mexican eating/drinking joints. You get your ghetto yet delicious taco trucks, your highbrow cantinas (like Ciudad or Casa). Then you have these nifty little bar/restaurants like El Carmen.

Walking in, it's like you've stepped into a world of mariachis mashed up with your favorite luchadores mashed up with your favorite tequila library. It's lit up in multi-reddish christmas lights, but it's not in a tacky way. The walls are adorned with portraits of mexican masked wrestlers (luchadores), but it's not brusque or intimidating.

After seeing the big old jar at the bar filled with pineapple chunks and finding out from the bartenderess that this was indeed pineapple-infused tequila, it's flavor quite surprised me. It wasn't sweet like I expected. Rather, it had the pungent tequila aroma I expected, laced with a hint of the pineapply spice. It's hard to explain, you'll just have to order it yourself ($8) :P Add a dash of salt to your hand before gulping that tequila and it'll enhace everything even more...

This place is literally a tequila library - there were pages upon pages of tequilas on the menu. I wouldn't be surprised if it numbered over 100! So if you want to graduate from "let's get drunk with tequila shots!" and elevate yourself to a true tequila connoisseur, this just might be your place.

They also have a yummy sounding food menu with the standard taco/enchilada/tamale fare for under $10. I also recall a tomatillo glazed rib entree that sounded interesting.

I came to this place on a Wednesday night and it wasn't too crazy, but I've been told it can be a real clusterf*ck on weekends. But then again, if you wanted to be in an empty room with a bunch of booze, why would you even leave your house in the first place, right?

El Carmen
8138 W 3rd St
Los Angeles, CA 90048
(323) 852-1552

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Fun-ish things coming up in the next few days

First Fridays at the Natural History Museum
The first Friday of each month from Jan - June features live music and DJs at the Natural History Museum at Exposition Park near USC. It's sponsored by Indie 103.1 which should give you an idea of the music and crowd this will cater to. And the first one is coming up THIS FRIDAY!!! I always love parties, especially when they're inside museums :) Rock out to live music while surrounded by dinosaur bones. cool!

Fri Jan 9 2009
5:30p Tour
6:30p Discussion
7-10p Music
Natural History Museum
900 Exposition Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90007
(213) 763-DINO

Art show/popup store close for apt 3
Not sure how good this thing will be, but it promises djs, artwork on display, designer/vintage-y clothing for sale and free colt45 (I happen to enjoy malt liquor, thank you very much!) And hey, free booze on a Saturday is never a bad thing, right?

Sat Jan 10 2009
1855 Industrial St #103
Los Angeles, CA 90021

Free tickets to shows at the Knitting Factory in Hollywood
I've always been a bit averse to going to things that I felt were a blatant knockoff of things created in other cities (like KF in NYC), but hey it's free, right? If you can swing by on Monday night b/t 6pm and 8pm, you can score a pair of free tix to most over their shows from now through April. Not bad... so hop to it!

Mon Jan 12, 2009
Knitting Factory
7021 Hollywood Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90028

Map of sales on Melrose Ave
Don't you hate when you get that sale listing from your favorite e-newsletter, but you have to drive all over town to take advantage of it? Well, Thrillist has addressed that issue by publishing a list of sales going down on Melrose Ave and even provided a link to map the walk! I love this! The article makes it seem like the sales are mostly for men, but I know for a fact that most of these stores carry cool stuff for women too. Check it out!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Snowboarding at Mammoth Mountain - advice and observations

Thanks to my buddy Pierre, I was able to have a nice little getaway to Mammoth this past weekend so that I can end my holiday break in style :) Being that I was staying in a condo full of Mammoth veterans and snowboarding pros, I was able to pick up some nifty tips that I think are worth sharing.

1. Happy hour at Whiskey Creek
From 4-5:30pm, all their food is half off plus $1 off pints and $4 off pitchers. They have a great selection of Mammoth Mountain Brewery beers so you can try them all! :D And the food is pretty decent stuff too... think one step above TGIFridays (coconut crusted shrimp, teriyaki glazed chicken wings, spinach salad with goat cheese and candied walnuts, etc). We had a ton of food, 2 pitchers of beer, and it all came out to less than $20 per person after tax+tip. SWEET! Granted it's a bit early, but just come after the mountain closes at 4pm... you'll be starving and exhausted by then anyways!

2. How to save on locker storage
Once I rented all my overpriced gear, I was still left with a pair of tennies that I needed to store somewhere. At first, I used a locker which seems like a waste at $2 per use. I mean, I already dropped $83 for a 1-day lift ticket and $34 for the equipment rental. But if all you have are a pair of shoes, you can just throw it on top of any locker and chances are, it'll still be there when you return in the afternoon. Of course, there's always the risk that your shoes won't be there, but I guess that's the chance you gotta take if you wanna save $2! Or if you want to be a real deviant, you can have a friend give your shoes to the Lost and Found counter. Then pick it up yourself at the end of the day! (thanks to deviant Pierre for this idea).

3. Restroom lines at Canyon Lodge
I've never not seen a line for the ladies room on the main level of Canyon Lodge where all the eateries and the crepe guy hangs. But if you go to the first floor, the lines seem either non-existent or short. FYI - the lockers at Canyon Lodge are not manned, so trick #2 would work best here :)

4. Achy knees from lift riding
Being the geriatric senior citizen I am, my knees are not the greatest and dangling that snowboard off one foot all day can wreak havoc on my knee (which it did). You have two options here. One is to cross your free foot across bound foot for support (so if you ride regular, cross your right foot behind your left). The other option is to simply alternate the foot that you dangle that snowboard from. So even if you ride goofy, don't always suspend the board from your right. This technique requires that you can dismount the lift with either foot leading which was a bit challenging for me. But totally worth it at the end of the day when your knees aren't killing you. Besides, if any part of your body hurts, it should be from your crazy falls or riding like a madman/woman. Not from riding the stupid lift.

5. Other safety concerns - especially for snowboarders
Kneepads - an absolute must for beginner ~ intermediate riders. I learned without them and paid a hefty price in purple knees for 2 weeks. Even as an intermediate rider now, they've saved me a bunch of times.
Helmet - I didn't think I really rode fast enough to necessitate a helmet, but I was averaging about 1 bad head fall per day that would have been less concussion inducing if I had a helmet on. (don't worry, no concussions here, just a few lost brain cells :) )

6. Replenish those fluids
A small hot cocoa on the slopes will only set you back $1.75 (no tax like inside the lodges) and is definitely the fastest and cheapest way to address the loss of fluids and sugars while riding. Dunking Twix bars (or other candy bar of choice) into said hot cocoa in its creamy chocolatey goodness is also delicious.

7. Beef jerky
Anyone who doesn't love beef jerky is guilty of sacrilege against the Lord. With that said, there are two main beef jerky joints along the highway that most Mammoth visitors are familiar with. The larger one in the town of Bishop closer to Mammoth and a smaller one further south in the town of Olancha. In the name of research, I went to both of them yesterday. My pick is definitely the one in Bishop. It's larger, has a larger selection of jerky as well as other meat items like sausages and bacons made out of funky elk meat and such. Also, you can buy as much or as little jerky as you want by weight ($35 per pound). The stuff ain't cheap. A piece of jerky about the size of your palm will be around $3. But it is really really gooooood. The jerky shack in Olancha has a smaller selection of decent looking jerkey, but they are pre-packed so you can't pick and choose by weight. The smallest pack runs around $9 for 4oz, so I think the prices are similar. And the sample of the Olancha jerky I tried tasted saltier than the Bishop jerky. Don't be afraid (like me) to ask for samples at either location... they are pretty generous with it and you wanna make sure you try the stuff before plonking down $10+ for overpriced dried meat (well, it's not really overpriced IMHO I think they're quite delicious and worth it :d).

Some other personal analogies/observations of note:

How is snowboarding like childbirth? (Note - I've never given birth, but I've heard many anecdotes of it)
Well, childbirth is one of those things that are excruciatingly painful during, but once it's done you apparently somehow magically forget about how flesh-rippingly painful it was and think "wow, it's so great to have a kid... maybe i can go thru this experience again." I feel that snowboarding is similar in that during the process of waking up at the crack of dawn, falling more times than you want to admit, and dealing with your achy body afterwards, I always think "I am never gonna do this again." But later as the soreness of body and shock to my wallet passes, I think "hey, that was kinda fun. maybe I could do it again". A sucker is indeed born every minute.

How is snowboarding like marijuana?
Everyone seems to love it. So I tried it and thought I might love it. I tried it, it was ok. I didn't love it. I still don't love it. If all my friends were doing it, I'd probably do it again. But I wouldn't initiate a snowboarding trip. Some people say you have to try it multiple times to really get the hang of it and appreciate it. I've gone enough times to ride a blue/black run in semi-comfort. But I still don't love it. It's fun and ok, but I'm not exactly counting down the days til I'm back on the mountain again.