Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year! Cheers to 2011!

Thank you, as always, for reading.

-- the BEAT

Photo credit:

Drink It. Mumm Napa Brut Rosé.

Even if you don't normally drink sparking wine or champagne, it's kind of the drink of the evening on New Year's Eve. This Mumm Napa Brut Rosé is a delicious and affordable sparking wine. It's usually $20-22, but today it's on sale at BevMo! for $15.99 with ClubBev membership.

It received a 90 point rating from Wine Spectator.

-- Leslie Anne Wiggins

Photo credit:

Drink In. New Years punch.

This has to be one of the easiest recipes for a really tasty, alcoholic punch. Just one part 7-Up one part white rum. The results are great.

Adding too much white rum to this kind of ruins the flavor, so it's probably best to err on the side of too much 7-Up.

Happy New Year's Eve!

-- Lauren Williams

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Check It. Eggleston at LACMA.

I've been meaning to check out this LACMA exhibit for months.

William Eggleston: Democratic Camera--Photographs and Video, 1961-2008 ends January 16. Make it to the miracle mile before then if you haven't already.

LACMA is located at 5905 Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles. Info: (323) 857-6000

-- Leslie Anne Wiggins

Photo credit:

Advance Notice. First Fridays at the Natural History Museum.

With the new year comes another edition of the Natural History Museum's ever popular First Fridays series. Thanks to its intellectual hip factor, the program, which combines scientific lectures and discussions with performances up-and-coming musicians, has grown significantly in the past couple of years. And rightfully so -- the booking staff is always on top of good entertainment.

But take note: while it all used to be free, and it used to be easy to try and catch the musical performance by walking in the Mammal Hall that night, the event was causing lines out the door early on Friday nights this past year. Now they've set up a ticketing system, which will surely make it easier for everyone.

And with the first First Friday event coming up on next week (Jan. 7), it's time to get on buying those tickets. Keeping up with tradition, Little Dragon (which gained more exposure after guesting on Gorillaz's Plastic Beach this past year) and Sister Crayon will be performing, and the science discussion will be on "The Science of Creativity," which actually sounds quite interesting -- why do we get our best ideas in the shower? Admission for the night is $9, and you can get your tickets here.

And stay tuned to the First Fridays website for the rest of the series.

-- Chau Tu

Photo credit: Natural History Museum

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Check It. The Cosmopolitan Hotel.

You've probably already seen the Tarsem-directed Cosmopolitan Hotel ad on TV.

The hotel itself (which opened Dec. 15 and I visited these past couple days while staying next door at Las Vegas' Aria) is really cool and definitely lives up to the coolness portrayed. It's modern and sleek, yet wonderfully glitzy and Vegas-y (see above) at the same time.

-- Leslie Anne Wiggins

Photo credit: the BEAT

Check It. Radiohead's Haiti concert.

It's almost been a year since the tragic earthquake in Haiti, and here in Los Angeles, many will remember the outpouring of many celebrities and musicians who came forward to try and help. One of those was none other than Radiohead, who offered their services in the form of a fundraising exclusive concert at the Henry Fonda Music Box in January.

Some local filmmakers were able to capture some footage at the small show, and is now releasing it as a charitable effort. Those who download or buy the DVD will be donating to the Haiti cause, and to Oxfam, the non-profit organization which helps out all over the world. From what I can tell, the footage isn't exactly your normal expensive, stadium concert film stuff, but still offers the ambiance of the night, and it's not like we haven't lowered our standards for YouTube anyway. So give and get! Just because the earthquake happened a while ago doesn't mean Haiti still doesn't need help, and this is a great way to offer it (and don't forget about the tax write-off!). Check out more info here.

-- Chau Tu

Advance Notice. Spike Lee visits L.A.

Spike Lee will be in town this January presenting a new book filled with photos from his joint "Do the Right Thing."

The book is filled with behind-the-scenes shots. This was one of the very powerful (and controversial) movies that stayed with me after college, and had some really jarring moments. It'd be interesting see what Lee has to say about the book (and movie presumably) in person.

Lee will be appearing at the less-recognized EsoWon Bookstore (in Liemert Park) Jan. 8 at 7 p.m. and Book Soup (in West Hollywood) the next day, Jan. 9, at 3 p.m.

EsoWon Bookstore is located at 4331 Degnan Blvd.

Book Soup is located at 8818 W. Sunset Blvd.

-- Lauren Williams

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Check It. 'The Possessed.'

Among the things I found under the Christmas tree this year, was this book "The Possessed" by Elif Batuman.

I'm always looking for new and interesting books, scouring the (online) pages of the Los Angeles Times and The New York Times for new reads outside my usual repertoire.

This was something that totally slipped under my radar, but was hailed by the L.A. Times' David L. Ulin as one of his favorite reads of 2010. From Ulin: "Part memoir of the academic life, part engaging inquiry into the pleasures of Russian literature, Batuman's debut is a bravura performance, a collection of essays about books and reading unlike any I've encountered before."

I'm definitely excited to start this! "The Possessed" can be found in paperback and can be found on for as low as $10.20.

-- Lauren Williams

Do It. Spend NYE in downtown L.A.

Spending New Year's Eve right in the thick of it all -- right in the middle of downtown -- is always a reliable choice, and this year, you've even got the excuse of a great bar crawl to take you all the way to midnight and beyond.

213 Nightlife, the owners of the bars that have basically revived the downtown nightlife scene all by themselves -- Broadway Bar, Golden Gopher, Casey's, Seven Grand, Cole's, etc. -- are holding NYE Downtown L.A., where crawlers can experience open bars at all eight of their downtown properties. Yes, open bar. (Obviously mostly applies for well drinks/beers on tap...fancier stuff is sure to still cost you if you so desire it). Plus, there'll be entertainment at most of the places, including a live performance by Gram Rabbit at Casey's.

Just can't get any better, right? It's downtown, it's New Year's Eve, we all need a drink from this past year, it's a bar crawl featuring the best bars in downtown (and arguably the city!), and hell, even the Metro is free all night (which you should definitely take advantage of if you take part in this). The night might cost you a pretty penny at $119 (but rumor has it that if you enter the code "blogdowntown" you'll get $20 off!), but that's how NYE in L.A. usually goes. And it's open bar -- as if I needed to remind you. Buy your tickets here. And be safe out there while celebrating!

-- Chau Tu

Photo credit: 213 Nightlife

Monday, December 27, 2010

Check It. All 36 seasons of 'Saturday Night Live' on Netflix [The Monday Download].

If you're lucky enough to have some time off this holiday season, and looking for something to do to avoid the malls and chilly weather, you've probably been scanning the Netflix instant watch list for something good to watch. Well you're about to hit the jackpot: all 36 seasons (including this current one, and all the best of compilations) of Saturday Night Live are available to stream.

Now how to navigate the hundreds of episodes -- and avoid those lackluster ones that have become quite frequent especially as of late? Splitsider's conveniently got an obsessive guide for you, which will serve as a great starting point, if anything, for remembering all that could be great and absolutely crazy about the landmark show. You might even learn something -- I, for one, never knew that the 100th episode went without a host. I'll be curious to check that out and see how that show differed.

And one moment I won't soon forget seeing live on SNL? The above image -- Ashlee Simpson's outing as a lip-syncher. Ha! Got any other favorite SNL moments of note? Let us know! In the meantime, we'll be streaming and reminiscing.

-- Chau Tu

Photo credit: Comedy Central/NBC

Check It. Duotrope.

If you're starting out your Monday after the holiday a little ambitious and you're an aspiring or published author, Duotrope's Digest is a great site out there for writers looking to publish their work.

The site matches writers with appropriate genres, mediums, and themes, as well as keeps track of deadlines for submissions. They also record the percentage of submissions actually published in the magazine (Some of the big ones: The New Yorker has a submission acceptance of .51%; The Atlantic Monthly has a 96.40% rejection; Believer has a 97.20% rejection.)

Duotrope does keep track of nearly every literary journal out there, and seeing each mag's stats is totally fascinating (for me at least). So if you have a short story laying around that you'd like to see in published, check it out.

-- Lauren Williams

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas, dear readers!

Thank you for reading today and always.

-- the BEAT

Photo credit:

Friday, December 24, 2010

Check It. The Cat & Fiddle.

One of the best parts of the Christmas holidays is catching up with old friends.

Last night I caught up with one of my very best friends over drinks at The Cat & Fiddle, a Hollywood pub. Part of Casablanca was filmed there, so it was an appropriate place to go with Grant--who I met when he was in film school.

-- Leslie Anne Wiggins

Photo credit:

Do It. Ice skating.

Now that we've got this short break from the rain, get out there and enjoy this chilly holiday! Here's a look back at my post from last year on L.A.'s ice skating rinks.

And to warm up afterward, might I suggest a coffee or some spiked hot chocolate?

-- Chau Tu

Photo credit: Pershing Square

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Do It. 'Elf' and 'Bad Santa' at the Aero.

I feel Jon Favreau's Elf went a little underrated when it was first released. Sure, it simply features Will Ferrell (most overpaid actor) jumping around in an elf suit, and it's your general feel-good story of the season, but the film does it all quite well, in my opinion. The jokes are good-hearted and not overly cheesy, and the acting/characters aren't trying too hard and are surprisingly believable. Plus, Zooey Deschanel (a blonde!) sings! The film's definitely become one of my holiday classics.

If you need a refresher on the greatness of the film, head on over to the Aero tonight. It'll be featured in a double feature with Bad Santa (the director's cut), the naughty adaptation of Miracle of 34th Street starring Billy Bob Thorton. It wasn't exactly my cup of tea when I watched it in theaters, but I can definitely understand how the dark humor works alongside the usual merry seasonal stuff. Whichever way you feel like celebrating the holidays -- cheery or dark -- this double feature is a great way to start.

Elf and Bad Santa screen beginning at 7:30 tonight at the Aero, located at 1328 Montana Ave. in Santa Monica.

-- Chau Tu

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Check It. True Grit.

I'm going to see True Grit tonight and am so excited. The original (with John Wayne) is fantastic, but I have faith that Jeff Bridges will be a great Rooster Cogburn too. And the actress who plays Mattie Ross is supposed to be outstanding.

If you haven't ever seen the 1969 version (for which Wayne won his lone Oscar), rent it before seeing the new Coen brothers'.

-- Leslie Anne Wiggins

Photo credit:

Check It. KCRW merch.

You've only got about eight more days until the end of the year, and your last chance to get that tax write-off for the next year. Don't know where to offer your extra dollars?

KCRW, arguably L.A.'s best public radio station, is always a great choice. They're set to kick off their latest membership drive in late January (and you should sign up to volunteer!), but in the meantime, you can still become a KCRW member and enjoy the benefits. There are a multitude of packages you could choose to both donate and get rewards, but my pick right now would have to be the new T-shirts and mugs. If you happened to watch the awesome documentary Exit Through the Gift Shop earlier this year, you're sure to recognize the name of the artist: Mr. Brainwash. The street artist has offered his services to make for some fun KCRW merch, and a quick and easy donation to the station. (On a related note, the Kleen Kanteen was designed by Shepard Fairey’s Studio Number One.)

You could always make a donation in the name of someone else too -- a perfect last minute Christmas gift! Check out all your options here. Happy giving!

-- Chau Tu

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Drink It. Library Alehouse Holiday Beer Fest.

We're all about seasonal beers here at the BEAT, and the Christmas season just happens to provide its own flavors of beers out to join the fun. It's not always so easy trying to find all the varieties, though, especially on a budget.

But that's where the Library Alehouse Holiday Beer Fest comes in. The Santa Monica restaurant is celebrating holiday ales by hosting this 2-week event where you can sample over 20 different seasonal ales on tap. Start the fest off with $10, which will get you your own tasting glass and your first beer. Then enjoy the rest of the two weeks with beers like Jolly Pumpkin Noel de Calabaza, Dogfish Head Chicory Stout, Sierra Nevada Celebration, and Anchor Brewing’s Merry Christmas Happy New Year Ale at $2.50-$5 a glass, plus 10% off all food. The beers will be rotating with 10 at a time, so be sure to check back to try them all!

Happy holidays and happy seasonal drinking! Remember to be safe out there.

The Library Alehouse Holiday Beer Fest takes place until Jan. 1 at Library Alehouse, located at 2911 Main St. in Santa Monica.

-- Chau Tu

Eat In. An Indian holiday dinner.

Christmas dinner is on my mind, and today I'm thinking it may be fun to go a non-traditional route and have Indian food. This may be due to the recent addition of a new jar of Patak's Sweet Mango Chutney to the cupboard. And Trader Joe's has a great frozen tandoori naan. Jamie Oliver has some good curry recipes. With all this rain in L.A., eating London (or India) style is appealing. Fish and chips could be good too--but more difficult to make at home.

-- Leslie Anne Wiggins

Photo credit:

Eat Out. Whole Foods tapas night.

Whole Foods has some great specialty foods and beers, and some excellent on-the-go foods, but last night I discovered the wonders of the restaurant they have in their store.

Tonight is tapas night, with snacks, wine, and beers all costing about $5 each. Yesterday they had a panini/beer deal with each costing about $5. They have some other excellent in-store tastings going on almost every night, including a night devoted to effervescent wines.

-- Lauren Williams

Monday, December 20, 2010

Eat In. Vegetarian chili.

Ever since reading about the wonders of the sweet potato in the New York Times I've been trying to incorporate more of them into my day-to-day diet outside of Thanksgiving dishes.

This Real Simple recipe for vegetarian chile is absolutely delicious and incorporates the sweet potato and has some unusual spices for chili, including cocoa powder and cinnamon. The recipe doesn't call for it, but I definitely think corn works well in this recipe. Also, the recipe calls for a slow cooker (or Crock-Pot), but can be recreated on a stove over low heat.

This is just the thing for a cozy, rainy L.A. day.

-- Lauren Williams

Photo credit: Real Simple.

Check It. 2010 movie mash-up [The Monday Download].

It's coming to end of 2010, a time to reflect over the past year. And for us culture junkies out there, that means thinking about your favorite films, music, moments, etc. Can't think back far enough to consider all the movies that came out this year? Here's a fun cheat sheet, the ultimate 2010 mash-up:

And now the rain and holiday vacation make for the perfect excuses to catch up on all those films you missed. Let us know what your must-sees are!

-- Chau Tu

Check It. The Kind Life.

I've been semi-interested in this book by Alicia Silverstone since its fall 2009 release. Since I'm not vegetarian, let alone vegan, I've never actually made the purchase, but after discovering her blog,, I'm impressed and more interested in taking a second look at the book.

Having even just one vegan meal each day would certainly be a healthy way to start the new year. The site also has a whole section just on Los Angeles (including where to find Alicia's favorite veggie burger).

-- Leslie Anne Wiggins

Photo credit:

Friday, December 17, 2010

Eat In. Trader Joe's candy cane / cookie ice cream.

So, apparently (according to a radio ad I heard this morning), there's an ice cream that has these in it. At Trader Joe's. A quart for $3.99.

Definitely on my Christmas grocery list. Or maybe even a 'this weekend' grocery list.

-- Leslie Anne Wiggins

Photo credit:

Check It. Gorillaz Advent Calendar.

I've already mentioned how much I enjoyed Gorillaz's Plastic Beach album from this past year, and right now, Damon Albarn and Co. are just continuing the awesomeness. Earlier this month they unveiled a Gorillaz Advent Calendar on their website, releasing goodies day-by-day in traditional holiday fashion.

Among the treats already revealed? A behind-the-scenes video of a Gorillaz soundcheck (it's fun to see what goes on behind their great live show!), Jamie Hewlett desktop wallpaper, a music video featuring Plastic Beach guest star Snoop Dogg, and even a Gorillaz-themed online game called Submatronic.

But alas, the best reason to keep opening the little doors will be final days of calendar, when the band is set to release a music video for a new song on the 24th, and on Christmas, the entire new album from which that song comes from. A brand spanking new Gorillaz album (recorded entirely on an iPad, by the way. Get the whole story here) -- oh and for free too! Happy Christmas to us!

-- Chau Tu

Check It. Randall Michelson auction.

While visiting some friends recently, I noticed there was some really stunning photography of live music on their walls, taken by photographer Randall Michelson.

Today Michelson is having an auction of his work at Raleigh Studios in Hollywood, selling large portraits of famous musicians in action. To attend RSVP email

Raleigh Studios is located at 650 N. Bronson, suite 142.

-- Lauren Williams

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Etc. The Kids Are Alright.

Finally watching this tonight! Have already spotted some gorgeous L.A. locations.

-- Leslie Anne Wiggins

Photo credit: Focus Features

Drink It. Hot chocolate with peppermint schnapps [Thirsty Thursdays!].

Sure we had a heatwave earlier this week, but there's no doubt it's about to get chilly again. A good excuse to get your throat warm with some alcohol, right?

Here's my favorite -- and super easy -- drink for the season: hot chocolate with peppermint schnapps. It's about as easy as you can get:

Hot chocolate mix/chocolate syrup
Peppermint schnapps

Heat up milk in a mug or over a stovetop. Mix hot chocolate mix in. Pour in approximately one shot of peppermint schnapps (more or less according to taste). And enjoy!

For extra festiveness, top off with some whipped cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon, or add in a peppermint candy cane as a stirrer.

-- Chau Tu

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Check It. Pendleton pillows.

When we had our fun visitors in from New York the week before Thanksgiving, they got me interested in Pendleton while we were at Urban Outfitters on Cahuenga. I've since discovered the company has a rich history and makes just about everything!

What I really love are their decorative pillows, like this 'Chimayo' one.

100% pure wool, with feather pillow insert and faux suede back and trim. $48.

-- Leslie Anne Wiggins

Photo credit:

Advance Notice. Julieta Venegas at Nokia Theater.

One of my favorite latina pop singers is making her way to Southern California March 5.

Julieta Venegas is scheduled to play at the Nokia Theater for a performance next year. Venegas is a very talented singer, with excellent lyrics (in Spanish) and great videos (see below).

Tickets for the show start at $25.

The Nokia Theater is located at 777 Chick Hearn Court in downtown Los Angeles.

-- Lauren Williams

Check It. Danny Elfman & Tim Burton 25th Anniversary Music Box.

Could you ever imagine at Tim Burton film without that wonderful, wistful score? It's all the work of composer Danny Elfman, and now the two are set to celebrate 25 years of working together. And only a collaboration like theirs could deserve a celebration like this.

The Danny Elfman and Tim Burton 25th anniversary music box is a collection of all the composer's and filmmaker's works together, featuring artwork by Burton and exclusive musical clips from Elfman. The set is filled with everything you could ever really imagine, from a special collectible zoetrope box designed by Burton and Elfman, to a 16-soundtrack set covering Pee Wee's Big Adventure to Alice in Wonderland, and a 250+ page hardcover book covering their collaboration in pictures and words (with a foreword by Johnny Depp).

The box set, with all of its treats, isn't cheap at $500, but if you're a devoted fan of either Burton or Elfman, it really provides all you could ever need. And if you need a primer on the history between the two, KCRW recently had a great interview with Elfman.

The Danny Elfman and Tim Burton 25th anniversary music box isn't technically available until Feb. 2011, but can be pre-ordered here, for the sake of making a fantastic Christmas gift.

-- Chau Tu

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Eat In. Cottage cheese.

Still avoiding hard food post-dental surgery, I'm enjoying the simple goodness of cottage cheese. It's so versatile--you can literally have it at any time of the day. It goes well with everything from pineapple or strawberries in the morning, to lightly toasted sourdough with cracked pepper and sea salt in the evening, or just on its own for a mid-day snack.

Gelson's sells a convenient four-pack of California-made Knudsen brand 'On the Go!' cottage cheese, which are about the size of small yogurts (4 ounces).

-- Leslie Anne Wiggins

Photo credit:

Check It. Jonathan Safran Foer's "Tree of Codes."

I've always been a big fan of Jonathan Safran Foer's work, and also of the art direction of his books -- the free-form text style found on Everything Is Illuminated and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close is, in my opinion, very fitting of Foer's own writing style. Now apparently, for his new book Tree of Codes, Foer's combined that art direction right into the book itself.

As explained by Foer in the video above, the book is actually comprised of manuscripts of a different book written by a different person: The Street of Crocodiles by Bruno Schulz. Foer used a system of die-cutting -- basically cutting out words or sentences here and there -- to create another story within Schulz's own words. And the cutting is literal within the pages of Tree of Codes.

It's an ambitious but definitely fascinating project, and the perfect gift for any Foer fan or fan of literature, really. Let's see an e-book do this!

Tree of Codes is currently only available to purchase online at Visual Editions (it's technically a little late now to get this ordered and sent for Christmas, but it'll surely be worth the wait!).

-- Chau Tu

Check It. L.A. Records Christmas party.

If you like live music and live beats (and who doesn't?) you can't beat L.A. Record's annual Christmas party, which is scheduled for this Saturday at Bedrock Rehearsal in Echo Park.

With the donation of a toy for the Toys for Tots program, music lovers can get into the shows free of charge. Just RSVP at Each room of the rehearsal studio is filled with bands, DJs mixing, classic vinyl, screen printing, and a Santa's Village.

For me, the highlight would probably be the Driftwood Singers live. I went to this last year and loved how you could walk into any of the rehearsal rooms and hear something totally different from what was being played in other rooms. Definitely a great experience.

Bedrock Rehearsal is located at 1623 Allesandro St. The L.A. Record show is scheduled for this Saturday, starting at 8 p.m.

-- Lauren Williams

Monday, December 13, 2010

Eat It. Macaroni and Cheese.

I had a root canal today, which means I'm eating soft foods. I considered having cream of wheat for dinner, then realized many macaroni and cheeses are soft enough that they don't require too much chewing, and it's a much more satisfying dinner than a hot breakfast cereal. Homemade macaroni and cheese is always best, but if you're functioning on little sleep and had a long day at the office, you'll want to buy pre-made.

And so, a few of the best macaroni and cheeses in L.A. --

Swingers diner (pictured above)

O-Bar (lobster mac and cheese)

The Edison (truffle mac and cheese)

Trader Joe's (frozen)

Gelson's (from hot bar at deli)

One of the best homemade mac and cheeses I've had was an Ina Garten a.k.a. Barefoot Contessa recipe--breadcrumbs on top, Swingers-style.

-- Leslie Anne Wiggins

Photo credit:

Check It. She & Him on Conan [The Monday Download].

Although She & Him is one of those bands that's widely accepted as an exception to the actor-shouldn't-be-a-musician rule, I believe they're still pretty underrated for the most part. Yes, they do make great cute pop songs with a touch of vintage soul, but M. Ward does happen to be quite the amazing guitarist, and holy cow, Zooey Deschanel has an incredible voice that definitely doesn't get shown off enough, even in She & Him's music.

Need proof? The twosome's simple performance of Screamin Jay Hawkins' "I Put a Spell on You" on Conan last week is just breathtaking. Do yourself a favor and witness it below:

Told you.

And for some holiday fun, check out this behind-the-scenes video of She & Him playing with Conan himself.

-- Chau Tu

Check it. 'Bad Writing.'

In his movie, "Bad Writing" Vernon Lott gets authors like Margaret Atwood, David Sedaris, George Saunders, and Aimee Bender to comment on his poetry and -- more broadly -- what makes bad writing just so bad.

"Bad Writing" opened to select theaters last Friday and is playing at Lammele's Sunset 5.

Lammele's is located at 8000 Sunset Blvd.

-- Lauren Williams

Friday, December 10, 2010

Do It. The Fighter at the ArcLight.

The Fighter, in L.A. exclusively at the ArcLight this weekend. Opens wide December 17.

Check out today's Los Angeles Times review by Kenneth Turan here. for showtimes

-- Leslie Anne Wiggins

Photo credit: Paramount via

Do It. Artisanal LA and Unique LA.

Ah, it's gift-giving time. And for those who are already stressing out about what to get for your loved ones, but still want to avoid the mall and the general boring gifts, then this weekend is for you. All you'll have to do is head on over to downtown and you'll be able to hit up two of the best craft and artisanal fairs this city has to offer.First up is Artisanal LA, located at the Cooper Design Space and offering samples and delicious, delectable goodies from more than 30 local artisans. Think special treats like chocolates, fruits, pies, spices, meats, ice creams, breads, etc. Basically anything your inner foodie could desire.

Cooper Design Center is located at 851 Santee St. in downtown. Admission is $6 (cash at the door), which includes a free beverage, roasted chestnuts (really!), and donation-based gift wrap.

Then there's Unique LA at the California Market Center. They've got all your crafty gift dreams in order, from T-shirts and scarves and apparel to jewelry, home decor, posters, and pet things. And this ain't your Grandma's crafts (no offense); the selection, like from Artisanal LA, comes from great and accomplished vendors. There'll even be an Amoeba pop-up shop!

The California Market Center is located at 110 E. 9th St. in downtown. Admission is $10, which includes free beverages, DIY workshops and photo booth fun.

Best part about this all? They're right down the street from each other, and you can go to both at a discounted price if you keep your wristband for at least one (Get $1 off Artisanal with a Unique wristband/Get 2-for-1 admission at Unique with an Artisanal wristband). It'll definitely be good for shopping for unique and personable gifts, and you'll be helping out local artists too. Don't pass up this super easy way to get all your holiday shopping done!

Both events are taking place both Saturday and Sunday, from 11am-6pm.

-- Chau Tu

Do It. Free Cool Haus tomorrow.

Even though it's winter, it's an L.A. winter and this weekend is supposed to be in the mid-80's -- a perfect time for ice cream. Especially free ice cream from Cool Haus.

Tomorrow between the hours of 11 a.m. - 5 p.m. the Cool Haus truck is scheduled to make stops at The Grove, Santa Monica Place, Westwood Village, and Trina Turk Store giving out free treats. To find their exact location tomorrow check in on their Twitter.

-- Lauren Williams

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Do It. West Third Street holiday party tonight.

West Third Street is one of the best eating and shopping streets in L.A. Tonight is their annual holiday party, from 6:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.

Participants include Magnolia Bakery, Joan's on Third, Trina Turk, Alexis Bittar, and Benefit Cosmetics, among others.

Stop by for some discounts (20% off at Benefit between 7:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m., 25% off and nail polish gift with purchase at Trina Turk) and fun (chocolate and wine at Alexis Bittar)!

Thursday December 9, 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. West Third Street between La Cienega and Fairfax

-- Leslie Anne Wiggins

Photo credit:

Do It. Build a beard for a good cause.

If you want to get into the holiday spirit by giving back, this is a fun easy way to contribute to Kiva, an organization that works in micro-lending.

Capitalizing on the popularity of bead/stache craze, Build a Beard is donating $1 for every person who takes a picture of themselves with a printout of a beard attached to their face. Not too hard.

I think this could even be an excellent holiday season party game, and an even easier way to raise money. You could even make a photo booth kind of activity out of it.

Just print off the beard/stache of your choice, cut it out, take a picture with your beard on, and send it to the email on the site (instructions above). Some of the best looks are the rapper, Poseidon, handlebars, Lincoln, and of course Santa.

-- Lauren Williams

Eat Out. Malaysia Kitchen Night Market.

For all the various cuisines we're able to enjoy in Los Angeles, somehow Malaysian food seems to get forgotten in it all. I'm sure most, even those who like to think of themselves as foodies, probably are not be getting as much great Malaysian cuisine as they might like.

But fear not, BEATs. Tomorrow night Third Street Promenade will be turning into a bona fide street market, thanks to Malaysian Kitchen, a global initiative aimed at getting the world out about Malaysian cuisine, sponsored by the Malaysian government itself. From 5:30pm to 8:30pm (hope you can beat that traffic!), the promenade will be transformed with colorful tents and lanterns to get the feel of a real Malaysian market, and vendors from local restaurants like Monsoon Cafe and Belacan Grill will be offering free tastings of Malaysian cuisine. Think street grub like chicken satay in peanut sauce or beef rendang (like beef curry).

And it's all free! Get into the cultural spirit. Plus, the weather's supposed to be pretty nice out, so it'll be perfect for taking a walk and enjoying some great Malaysian food.

The Malaysian Kitchen Night Market is taking place tomorrow from 5:30pm to 8:30pm at the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica.

And if anyone knows of some great Malaysian food spots, comment below!

-- Chau Tu

Photo credit: Malaysian Kitchen NYC

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Check It. Ballet style.

After seeing The Black Swan on Sunday, I was itching to find my Kookaï ballet-style wrap sweater. Ballet flats are my favorite style shoe anyway, but the elegant look of Natalie Portman's character is something I think many viewers will want to emulate.

Where to shop in L.A. for this look:

London Sole in Santa Monica

Most beauty supply stores (like Ball Beauty Supply on Fairfax) for Smoothies hair ties (to create a bun) and bobby pins

-- Leslie Anne Wiggins

Photo credit:

Eat Out. Bottega Louie.

This is one place I can't wait to try when I get back to L.A. next week.

I recently found out about the reasonably-priced downtown Bottega Louie, which serves breakfast, weekend brunches (BEAT meeting place Leslie and Chau ?), and has some pretty impressive cocktails on the menu for dinner time.

Starting at $2.50 for a bagel with cream cheese, some menu highlights include the breakfast asparagus frittata sandwich ($5) and macchiato ($2.50), lunch/dinner cauliflower volute ($8) and a variety of pizzas, pastas, salads, and sandwiches. Cocktails include sweet tea and a Peruvian sour for $12.

Bottega Louie is located at 700 S. Grand Ave.

-- Lauren Williams

Do It. "This is Your Library."

Sure, everyone's always preaching about how we should save our public libraries, and obviously there's really no reason not to want to save your local library -- free books, entertainment, childhood memories, those poor librarians. But admittedly, it can be difficult to think of something that you could do that would actually help out the public spaces.

But now there's this: the Library Foundation of Los Angeles is taking steps to make the library cool again by hosting "This is Your Library." It's supposed to be the beginning of a new series of "late-night talk show-like events," featuring discussions with prominent people from and about the wonderful city of Los Angeles. There'll also be live music, DJs, food trucks and a bar, and overall just a good time hanging out at the library at night, appreciating L.A. Supporting the library can be pretty easy, right?

The kickoff of the series is Thursday (tomorrow) night at 7:30pm at the Central Library downtown, and it's going off with a bang: among the featured guests for the night is LA Weekly's own food critic guru Jonathan Gold, Stuff White People Like's Christian Lander, Black Flag/Circle Jerks' Keith Morris, Latin musician and up-and-comer Ceci Bastida and the band The Holloys. It's a pretty eclectic group, which should make for an interesting night. Tickets are $15 each, and remember, this is going to the Library Foundation, so it's all in goodness.

"This is Your Library" is taking place at the Central Library's Mark Taper Auditorium located at 630 W. Fifth St. in downtown.

And if you're still jonsing for a drink afterwards, head on over to my favorite Library Bar!

-- Chau Tu

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Do It. Aimee Mann's Christmas Show.

Aimee Mann's annual Christmas show, now in its fifth year, is happening this weekend.

It's at Largo--a favorite venue for L.A.-based Mann--and is already completely sold out. I recommend checking out Craigslist for tickets, because it's a really good show. She always has great special guests. This year they include Michael Penn, Zooey Deschanel, and Ben Gibbard, as well as Paul F. Tompkins (pictured above with Mann) and others. Aimee Mann herself is one of my favorite musicians and always puts on a great show, but the Christmas show is quite special--something all Angelinos should experience at least once.

December 9, 10, 11 & 12 at 8:00 p.m. Info: (310) 855-0350,, tickets $40

-- Leslie Anne Wiggins

Photo credit: New York Times

Check It. Feist's documentary "Look at What the Light Did Now."

One of my favorite albums from 2007 was Feist's The Reminder, a fun and wonderful collection of melodies, pop and folk that I believe really exposed some of the best in the former Broken Social Scene-ster. It's been a while since I've revisited the album, though, but thankfully, I now have an excuse to.

Look at What the Light Did Now
is a documentary that followed Leslie Feist during the making and subsequent tour of The Reminder. It's an intricate look into the modern classic, and also sheds light on her many collaborators -- from acclaimed music video director Patrick Daughters, who of course directed the beautiful "1234" and "I Feel It All," to shadow puppet artist Clea Minaker, who worked on the graphics and stage settings for the tour. The doc features a lot of behind the scenes looks at what goes into making an album and a worldwide tour, and gives you an excuse to get lost in Feist's voice all over again. Here's a peek of the film's namesake song:

The doc played earlier this year in very limited release, but today it's available as a DVD-CD set, complete with live performances and rare tracks heard from the film. A great gift for the Feist fan, or someone who should be introduced to Feist (which, of course, is everyone). Click to buy here.

-- Chau Tu

Do It. Ice Cream Man at Prospector.

This Thursday is Long Beach's Ice Cream Man's annual holiday event where he and his crew hand out free ice cream and hot chocolate at the Prospector.

There are also three local bands playing at Prospector that night, including Still Flyin', Crystal Antlers, Hasselhoff Curtainrod for $5 admittance.

Prospector is an excellent steakhouse-by-day-bar-by-night kind of place and in a good location in Long Beach, at the intersection of 7th Street and Junipero Boulevard, close to some excellent bars, cafes, and wine bars on Long Beach's 4th Street.

Prospector is located at 2400 E. 7th St. The show starts at 10 p.m.

-- Lauren Williams

Monday, December 6, 2010

Check It. Community's holiday episode [The Monday Download].

Admittedly, when NBC's Thursday night sitcom Community premiered last year, I wasn't much of a fan -- it was definitely struggling to find its way, and the characters weren't all that interesting to me. But somehow, in the past year, it's soared beyond any prior expectations and become a must-see TV show for me, thanks to wonderful quirky storylines, incredibly genius Easter eggs, great acting and commitment to characters, and just a whole lot of ridiculous fun.

Take, for example, this week's holiday-themed episode -- which also happens to be done completely in claymation, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer-style. So awesome! Here's a fun clip preview:

If you haven't jumped on yet, it's time to! Witnessing the beautiful interaction between Abed and Troy is worth it.

-- Chau Tu

Check It. Pirelli Calendar 2011.

It's about to be 2011, and as futuristic as that sounds, we can take comfort in classics like the Pirelli Calendar.

Since 1964 the exclusive calendar/collector's item has featured glamourous photos of beautiful women, sometimes nude. Julianne Moore was photographed by Karl Lagerfeld for 2011's, and now men are part of the calendar, although I hear they're covered up.

Past models have included Kate Moss, Gisele, Cindy Crawford, Sienna Miller, Heidi Klum, and Penelope Cruz.


-- Leslie Anne Wiggins

Photo credit: Karl Lagerfeld

Check It. Cowls.

In my search for appropriate clothes for Los Angeles' unseasonably cold winter, I came across the cowl -- a very cute loop scarf that can be wrapped around the neck several times and wore a variety of ways.

Above is the Amelia XXL cowl found on, where vendors can sell their homemade goods. I love this scarf's chunky knit and color and it looks perfectly cozy for cold winter mornings.
Cowl's can wrap around to create a hood to protect your ears from any biting wind.

I recently found a finely knit embroidered pea green cowl which I'm very excited about. Check out more designs on Etsy, and if you're have any talent with crocheting, you can buy cowl knitting patterns on Etsy, too.

-- Lauren Williams