Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween from the BEAT of young los angeles!

Thank you, as always, for reading.

-- the BEAT

Photo credit:

Friday, October 29, 2010

Do It. LB's zombie walk.

This is an all-day annual event in Long Beach, that is taking place this Saturday. Stores on Retro Row are getting all decked out for the zombie event, with live performances, drinks, and food (not brains) for the undead.

The event is part of Retro Row's last Saturdays series. At 8:30 p.m. all zombies are meeting up at Portfolio to walk to the nearby historic Art Theatre to watch "Shaun of the Dead."

Long Beach's Retro Row is located on 4th Street between Junipero Street and Cherry Avenue.

-- Lauren Williams

Advance Notice. Elvis Costello's National Ransom.

Elvis Costello has a new album out Tuesday, and he says it's his best in years. National Ransom was recorded in Nashville, of which Costello says "one of the few addresses left in America where there are very fine recording studios and there’s also a high concentration of great musicians."

Tuesday November 2. And remember to vote!

-- Leslie Anne Wiggins

Photo credit: Hear Music

Do It. Judd Apatow at Skylight Books.

You know Judd Apatow as the filmmaker behind some of recent times' funniest movies and TV shows -- Knocked Up, The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Freaks and Geeks -- but he also now happens to be an author.

Well, sort of. He's the editor of a new book called I Found This Funny: My Favorite Pieces of Humor and Some That Might Not Be Funny At All, in which he compiles different works from authors like F. Scott Fitzgerald and Jonathan Franzen and some non-authors like Conan O'Brien. Considering what he does for a living, I think Apatow is a pretty good judge for what's funny, and I'm sure this book will have some great moments.

But if you want some real Apatow action, catch him as he promotes the book tomorrow afternoon at Skylight. It'll be a fun way to start off your Halloween, and maybe some of his famous comedic buddies will be stopping by.

Judd Apatow will be appearing Sat., Oct. 30th at noon at Skylight Books, located at 1818 N. Vermont Ave. in Los Feliz.

-- Chau Tu

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Drink In. Brew your own beer in a pumpkin [Thirsty Thursdays!].

All right, so the title is a little misleading, so I'll be upfront: yes, you can brew your own beer in a pumpkin. But you won't be drinking it this weekend at your Halloween party. Or even possibly this fall. Apparently, brewing beer takes a long time.

But it's still a fascinating process, as you can see by this video by the Working Class Foodies at And hey, with the right ingredients and supplies -- and a lot of patience -- brewing a legitimate pumpkin beer in your home might actually be worth it. Have a look for yourself.

In the meantime, you may as well enjoy these fall beers, just a supermarket and a bottle opener away.

-- Chau Tu

Check It. Laura Mercier Lip Glace.

I haven't been buying a ton of lip products lately, because I think I already have more than I could get through in a lifetime! I did however sign up for Birchbox, a monthly service that sends large samples of new products in a nice little giftbox through the mail. It's $10, and in the October (my first) a small Laura Mercier "Lip Glace" lip gloss arrived. It's my new favorite!

Long ago I had a Laura Mercier lipstick that had a bad taste, and I've pretty much avoided the line since (except for their great crème brûlée bath and body line). Something's changed since then, because this stuff tastes like cake batter! It's great. The color (Opal) is a modest pale shimmery pink (much less orangey than the photo above) and seems like it would be universally flattering. The gloss comes in 24 colors--including Bare Beige, Pink Tulle, and Brownberry--if Opal isn't for you.

Laura Mercier is available at Nordstrom and Sephora. A 0.12-ounce tube of Lip Glace is $22.

-- Leslie Anne Wiggins

Photo credit:

Do It. Abbott and Costello at the Hammer.

So I've been posting a lot on things to do for Halloween, but this seemed like another very cool alternative to handing out candy.

Abbott & Costello and "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" will be shown at the Hammer this Sunday for free.

The movie starts at 11 a.m.

The Hammer Museum is located at 10899 Wilshire Blvd.

-- Lauren Williams

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Do It. David Ulin at Skylight Books.

David Ulin will be at Skylight Books tonight discussing and signing his new book, "The Lost Art of Reading: Why Books Are So Important in a Distracted Time". The L.A. Times book critic (and former Book Review editor) is very smart and witty, so this event is sure to be really fun. He's also bound to have tons of great book suggestions, other than his own.

Wednesday October 27 at 7:30 p.m.

Skylight Books is located at 1818 N. Vermont Avenue in Los Feliz. Info:, (323) 660-1175

-- Leslie Anne Wiggins

Photo credit:

Advance Notice. Go to the AFI Fest for free.

The AFI Fest is already known for screening some of the most anticipated films of the year, unofficially kicking off the movie awards season in Hollywood. But this year, the fest is taking it up another notch by introducing the role of the guest artistic director, and giving that spot to none other than esteemed visionary filmmaker David Lynch.

For his role, Lynch designed the artwork for this year's event (above), and has selected six movies for a special sidebar program at the festival. His picks? They happen to be pretty amazing, naturally: Stanley Kubrick's Lolita, Hitchcock's Rear Window, Billy Wilder's Sunset Blvd., Ingmar Bergman's Hour of the Wolf, Tati's Mon Oncle, and his own unforgettable Eraserhead. Lynch will be presenting the double-header of Eraserhead and Sunset Blvd. in person on Nov. 6, and you can send him a question to answer that evening by tweeting @AFIFEST.

And luckily for you, non-AFI members have to chance to see any of Lynch's picks -- as well as any other regular AFI Fest screening -- for free. Yes, free tickets will be available beginning tomorrow at noon on the AFI Fest website. The tickets will be limited, of course, so if you want to guarantee your way into the films, sign up to be an AFI member and get your tickets to the festival today.

The AFI Fest 2010 presented by Audi is taking place Nov. 6-10 at multiple locations in Hollywood. Check the festival website for a full schedule of films and events.

-- Chau Tu

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Check It. Cozy blanket.

As the weather gets colder, it's increasingly difficult to get out of bed in the morning! Other than a robe, sometimes a blanket you can wrap yourself in to decrease the initial chill is the perfect tool to make waking up less painful.

Brookstone sells a lightweight, versatile, incredibly comfortable microfleece blanket made especially for naps! It's perfect for a throw to leave on the couch and use when watching movies at night, or yes, even for naps--if you take them. It's so warm, yet so light. And it's machine washable (ok in the drier too).

I have a pale blue/gray version of this blanket that was a genius Christmas gift from reality TV company Endemol (complete with a logo patch in the corner) a couple years ago, and it's my favorite household item every winter now.

Two Los Angeles-area Brookstone stores: The Beverly Center in Los Angeles, and the 3rd Street Promenade in Santa Monica. Info:

-- Leslie Anne Wiggins

Photo credit:

Do It. Olvera Street Day of the Dead.

All this week, celebrations for Dia de los Muertos are scheduled to be held at Olvera Street, including various exhibit and entertainment at night, including alters for loved ones passed.

People put up marigolds for their dead relatives as a remembrance, and make pan muerto -- a special kind of sweet bread bigger then a basketball -- and put up pictures, notes and letters, and jewelry from their family members.
This is one of my favorite holidays, and comes right after Halloween. Celebrations will be going on through Nov. 2

Olvera Steet is located downtown, across from Union Station.

-- Lauren Williams

Photo credit:

Do It. The Nightmare Before Christmas at El Capitan.

Celebrating Halloween definitely changes as you get older, and I'm sure most adults will agree on missing out on the kid fun like trick-or-treating. You may not be able to go door-to-door in search of free candy anymore, but adults can still get in on the Halloween fun with the El Capitan's screenings of the Tim Burton classic, The Nightmare Before Christmas.

It's probably been a few years since you've last seen the musical, or even if it hasn't, this is a great excuse to see the still-awesome animation on the big screen -- and hey, it's even in 4D. 4D! I don't even know what that means! But my friends actually took me to one of these screenings for my birthday a few years ago (when it was just in 3D), and it was a fun experience and not even that filled with kids, surprisingly.

The theater is also offering a full Pumpkin King dinner for select screenings for $25, if you're looking for an easy dinner-and-movie date. Either way, be sure to stop by the Disney Soda Fountain shop next door too -- the ice cream desserts there are (huge and) amazing.

Time to embrace your inner child and get into the Halloween spirit!

The Nightmare Before Christmas has multiple screenings until Oct. 31 at the El Capitan Theatre, located at 6838 Hollywood Blvd. in Hollywood.

-- Chau Tu

Monday, October 25, 2010

Drink Out. Bar Lubitsch.

Bar Lubitsch is a Russian-themed bar in West Hollywood. I'd been a couple years ago and didn't find it that special, but returned this past weekend for a friend's birthday, and appreciated it much more this time 'round.

The Soviet Russia propaganda decor mixed with roomy booths and lots of deep reds makes one want to try the bar's many vodkas. A refreshing specialty cocktail featured on the chalkboard menu is a Moscow Mule, made with Russian Standard Vodka. They serve it in a tin mug, and it's adorned with a slice of candied ginger.

The bar is owned by the same Los Angeles group as Swingers, El Carmen, and Jones. It's actually quite a lot like El Carmen, just a Russian vodka bar rather than a Mexican tequila bar. The "red room" in the back is an added bonus, though. On Saturday night it was jam-packed with people dancing. There's a smaller bar back there, and I believe it can be rented for private parties (I've been to a play there).

Info:, (323) 654-1234

-- Leslie Anne Wiggins

Photo credit:

Eat Out. Upper West.

Football season is well underway, and hey, those Monday Night Football games just happen to be perfect for happy hour, no? But not everyone wants to head to a grimy sports bar every week for the same boring cheap beer.

That's why Upper West is great. It's usually a pretty nice bar and restaurant, with low lighting and dark ambiance, but the place also happens to offer happy hour each night from 5pm-7pm and from 5pm-10pm on Mondays. There's a nice big TV in the corner for watchers, or face toward the east wall and see the game projected onto the wall.

The happy hour prices don't apply to everything, but there are some good finds. Grab any of their blackboard cocktails like a watermelon mojito (with a yummy piece of watermelon in it!) or a lychee martini for $6, or house wine for $4. The jalapeno hummus comes with grapes and pickled vegetables and in a cute mason jar for $7, or the blue cheese or chipotle fries (in the picture above) are a good choice for $6 (my friend gave me a tip to get the chipotle sauce on the side, which makes the fries a bit less gooey).

If you're still hungry for more, the food is pretty delicious for its price (dinner is usually $12-$25). In the photo are the Upper West burger and the Half Bird, and both were juicy and well-prepared. The bar's always got interesting beers on tap too. Classy sports-watching, who knew?

Upper West is located at 3321 Pico Blvd. in Santa Monica. Reservations are recommended to grab a table for Monday nights.

-- Chau Tu
Photo credit: the BEAT

Make It. Taking the smoke out of clothes [A clean house on the cheap].

After a weekend of going out and being surrounded by smokers and all kinds of potentially foul smells, sometimes your clothes can reek. But leaving your clothes outdoors after a party will take nasty smells out of clothes.

Here in Chile people smoke everywhere, in bars, restaurants, parties, anywhere you can think. Combine that with the $4/load of laundry, and it seems like you either spend a fortune on constantly cleaning your clothes, and increase wear-and-tear on clothes, or have clothes that smell.

This extends the longevity of your clothes between cycles and works incredibly. I've done this numerous times and the next day my clothes are always free of the nasty smells of the night before.

-- Lauren Williams

Friday, October 22, 2010

Check It. Weekend To Dos.

Whether the weekend brings rain or shine, a trip to the movie theater is likely in the cards for me.

Out this weekend:

Hereafter (Oct. 22) -- Matt Damon, Bryce Dallas Howard, dir. Clint Eastwood

Matt Damon as a psychic with a website. Eastwood is a fantastic director, so as silly as this one looks based on the trailer, I'll give it a try.

Conviction (Oct. 15) -- Hilary Swank, Sam Rockwell, Melissa Leo, dir. Tony Goldwyn

Based on a true story of a woman who puts herself through law school to represent her imprisoned brother.

Stone (Oct. 7) -- Robert De Niro, Ed Norton, Milla Jovovich, dir. John Curran (We Don't Live Here Anymore, The Painted Veil, and upcoming The Beautiful and the Damned)

A messy love triangle between a convict, his wife, and his parole officer. Curran directed Norton beautifully in 2006's The Painted Veil, and I'm looking forward to seeing another of their collaborations.

The above three films are all playing at ArcLight Hollywood. Info:

If you're in the mood for some live entertainment, on Sunday night, Glendale's own Michael Runion will be at the Echo opening for Gold Motel. Runion has worked with Rilo Kiley among other L.A. bands, and was a onetime member of The Elected. All ages. $8 advance, $10 day of show, tickets available on Sunday October 24 6:00 p.m.

Vintage fun to stay in for on Sunday evening: Viva Las Vegas (1964, Elvis Presley, Ann-Margret) on TCM, October 24 7:00 p.m.

-- Leslie Anne Wiggins

Photo credit:

Eat In. Cream cheese and soy sauce spread.

This is the dip you would find at any Chilean "fancy party." It's simple, tasty, and always goes fast. A brick of cream cheese, with soy sauce drizzled over it, and toasted sesame seeds sprinkled over the top.
At first I didn't think soy sauce and cream cheese would compliment each other very well, but this dish so tasty we've had to start regulating how often we can buy cream cheese at our home -- it's that good. One of the easier things to put out if guests come over, just serve this up with crackers or baguette slices.
-- Lauren Williams

Advance Notice. Four Day Weekend in San Diego.

I still remember the first time I saw The Dodos. I was at the El Rey to see Les Savy Fav, and was frankly taken aback when this two-man band walked onstage to start playing an acoustic set. That was it -- two guys, one on drums and one on guitar, both singing and both totally on their game. The passion and care they took to their music was blatant and beautiful, and I instantly fell in love with their easygoing, simple yet intricate songs.

They're still not playing huge venues, but I can only imagine seeing them in small spaces anyway; I'm sure that's the best way to experience them. Which is why the Four Day Weekend in San Diego, hosted by Sezio at Sushi Art in the East Village seems like a worthy road trip. The four-day (duh) event is aimed at bringing music to its audience in an intimate and special setting (last year's event took place in a loft; Sushi Art is just a tad bigger), and highlight local bands. Besides the Dodos, you have a chance to check out LBC's own Avi Buffalo, as well as Dominant Legs and The Tree Ring.

The best part is each of the shows is only $10. But be sure to grab these tickets early -- the venue is small, after all. Start planning!

Four Day Weekend takes place Nov. 4-7 at Sushi Art in San Diego. Buy tickets here.

-- Chau Tu

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Drink In. Amaretto sour [Thirsty Thursday!].

On a recent dinner night, my roommates and I realized a bit too late we were out of just about everything except hard liqour. No where to buy wine or beer (or not wanting to leave the house) we decided to make amarretto sours, which are easy and tasty with only three ingredients: amaretto, sugar, and lemon.

I usually don't keep hard liqour on hand, but it is a more handy liqour to have on hand -- its almond taste going nicely in cookies and other sweets.

What you'll need:
-2 fresh lemons, juiced
-2 tablespoons of sugar
-2 1/2 cups of amaretto

What you'll do:
Blend all three together in the blender with some ice. That's it! You should have enough for three small glasses.


-- Lauren Williams

Eat Out. Sushi Roku 2.0.

The long-awaited remodel of Hollywood's Sushi Roku is finally finished, and the restaurant is re-opening (as Sushi Roku 2.0) this Friday night -- October 22.

They're advertising that guests can expect a "New Look", "New Menu", and "New Style". Fortunately, the menu isn't entirely new, as some favorites made sense to keep.

Sushi Roku is located at 8445 W Third Street in Los Angeles. (323) 655-6767,

-- Leslie Anne Wiggins

Photo credit:

Eat In. Red velvet brain cupcakes.

Now that just sounds delicious, doesn't it? Halloween sure is a great excuse to get creative, and the fun doesn't have to stop at your costume. Think about all the fun, creepy-crawly foods and desserts you can think of -- the bloody punch, the grape eyeballs.

But while getting creative, you want to make sure the food tastes good too! I nabbed this recipe from the Food Network's latest star, Anne Thorton of "Dessert First with Anne Thornton." Her show is set to premiere this Sunday, but if you want a taste of what's sure to come, here's her fun take on red velvet cupcakes. Brain-licking good?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Do It. UCLA vs. USC women's soccer.

College sports are always a lot of fun--from football to swimming, to basketball and soccer.

This Friday night, Los Angeles rivals UCLA Bruins and USC Trojans play each other in women's soccer at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. They're hoping to break an attendance record and get more than 7,804 people in the stands! Both Pac-10 teams have high ranks (19 for USC, 23 for USC), so this will definitely be a good game. The first 2,500 fans will receive a free commemorative scarf.

Friday October 22 at 7:00 p.m.

The Coliseum is located at 3939 South Figueroa Street in Los Angeles. Tickets are $5 for general admission, and are available online, and by calling (213) 740-GOSC.

-- Leslie Anne Wiggins

Photo credit:

Do It. Oktoberfest in Culver City.

The ever-festive downtown area of Culver City has been hosting fun block parties all summer long, but now that the weather's getting colder, it's time to say hello to fall. But that doesn't mean the festivities have to stop.

It is October, after all, or rather, the season for Oktoberfest (PDF), and so the city is signing off with a bang. Think cold autumn-themed brews matched with the appropriate grub -- Akasha and BottleRock are serving Hoptoberfest and Oktoberfest beers, Rush Street will feature a full-on beer garden with beer maids and authentic Schweinebraten roasted pork on pretzel rolls, Lunch and Le Saint Amour are offering sausages and bratwurst.

It might be a little chilly out, but it's autumn for goodness sakes, and hey, you might as well walk the shivers off with some more beer.

Culver City's Oktoberfest takes place from 5pm-9pm tonight in downtown Culver City. Click here for more details.

-- Chau Tu

Do It. Wear purple.

Today has been designated as the day when people around the world are remembering the six young men who took their own lives this year as a result of homophobic bullying. The Spirit Day event has been broadcast to people in Dallas, Oakland, among other cities around the world.

Even though I'm 5,500 miles away, I'll be wearing something purple this Wednesday to show my support for the fight against homophobia.

-- Lauren Williams

Photo credit: Oakland Press.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Etc. Hollywood/Vine Metro fall.

I happened upon some Tuesday morning chaos this morning on my drive to work. A man was rescued after falling onto the Metro tracks just after 7:30 a.m. at the Hollywood/Vine Station (recently re-vamped with the addition of the New W Hotel Hollywood). In a city where public transportation isn't the most popular way to travel, this is a good lesson to be really careful if and when one uses the Metro. My BlackBerry almost fell onto the T tracks in Boston last summer, and that was a close enough call for me. Standing far back from the edge of the platform (well behind the marked safety lines) is always smart.

Luckily (miraculously) the man was still breathing when pulled to safety, and he's now in the hospital. It's unclear if this fall was accidental or on purpose, but either way it's good to hear he survived it.

-- Leslie Anne Wiggins

Photo credit: KTLA

Do It. Help Belle and Sebastian write about love (and have them write about you!).

Scottish indie-twee-pop band Belle and Sebastian are pretty well-versed in the language of love. They even appropriately named their latest album Belle and Sebastian Write About Love. But now they're turning the tables on their fans.

In possibly the coolest idea for a contest in a while, the band is asking their fans to submit 300 words about love. It can be anything about love -- who, what, when, how, etc. Then, using a code found inside all physical copies of Write About Love, you can use those 300 words to enter a contest to have B&S frontman Stuart Murdoch (a love legend, as you may have it) come to your hometown, hang out with you for an afternoon, and then write a song about you to be released on a future B&S 7" to be released later in the year. You can have a song written about you! By a well-known rockstar! He'll hang out with you too!

So get on to writing those love words already! And trust me, getting the physical copy of the album is totally worth it too -- not only can you enter this awesome contest, but the music is pretty excellent as well (the title track just happens to feature the cutest cameo by Carey Mulligan...yes, that one).

Get more details on the contest here. Good luck!

-- Chau Tu

Check It. Bukowski at the Huntington Library.

The Huntington Library has to be one of the prettier places in LA County. Gorgeous botanical gardens, a copy of the Gutenberg Bible, and home to the rarely-blooming Indonesian corpse plant, the library merits a visit despite any of their special exhibits.

Theydo however have a recently-opened Bukowski exhibit, featuring typescripts and early newspaper printings of the poet's work.

I became a big Bukowski fan after reading the autobiographical "Ham on Rye," which will also be on exhibit.

The exhibit will be running through Feb. 14, 2011.

The Huntington Library is located at 1151 Oxford Rd. in San Marino.

-- Lauren Williams

Monday, October 18, 2010

Eat Out. Brazilian food at Angeli Caffe.

As part of their continued collaborating with Street Gourmet LA bloggers, Angeli Caffe will be continuing their Street Food Monday playing host to the Sabor de Bahia, a Brazilian cooking dou whose authentic cooking is straight from the city of Bahia in Brazil.

It's always interesting to see how other countries pair spices and vegetables in their dishes, and street food is almost always amazing, wherever it's from.

Street Food Monday will be held from 5:30-10 p.m. today, and remember to bring cash! No cards accepted for this event.

Angeli Caffe is located at 7274 Melrose Ave.

-- Lauren Williams

Photo credit: Angeli Caffe.

Eat Out. Starbucks Greek Yogurt Honey Parfait.

Most Starbucks breakfast food leaves quite a bit to be desired. This new yogurt parfait is an exception. The combination of reduced-fat yogurt with coconut-almond macaroon granola, pumpkin seeds, and dried cranberries is a delicious morning meal, or late afternoon snack.

It's a perfect small (6.1-oz.) size--satisfying but not too much, especially because it's quite creamy.

I first tried one last week, and I'm already craving another.

-- Leslie Anne Wiggins

Photo credit: Starbucks

Check It. Gorillaz's 45-minute Ed Sullivan concert [The Monday Download].

Gorillaz and its latest album Plastic Beach was a surprise favorite of mine this year. The album had just the right amount of grooves with the right amount of pop, and I believe it really shows Damon Albarn at his most comfortable -- and his best. Seeing them at Coachella this year, I loved seeing how happy he was to be on stage -- not hidden behind the cartoon forms for once -- and the music sounded more fresh and intricate than ever.

Which is why this following video is great. Gorillaz stopped by the Late Show with David Letterman recently, but ended up staying on to play a short concert. Watch some of the group's best songs (thanks CBS!), and look out for some special guests:

-- Chau Tu

Friday, October 15, 2010

Do It. 'Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.'

Sometimes it's hard to find a good alternative to Halloween that doesn't involve dressing up, wearing something slutty, or handing out candy if you're all grown up.

I love Halloween, but have no interest in any of the things listed above, so the annual events hosted at the L.A. Phil are perfectly crafted for the adult who likes Halloween but doesn't necessarily want to wear a costume (although I have seen plenty of adults in costume at this event, they're not mandatory).

This Halloween, they're hosting the black & white "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" along with an accompaniment by the Phil's gorgeous pipe organ.

Tickets start at about $38 and will probably sell out fast. If you've ever been to the Phil, you know there's really not a bad seat in the house.

The event will be held at the Los Angeles Philharmonic at 111 South Grand Avenue at 7:30 p.m. Halloween night.

-- Lauren Williams

Etc. Road trip essentials.

Going on a road trip can be a lot of fun if you're well-prepared. Aside from the obvious (a clean windshield and a full tank of gas), I've compiled a list of road trip essentials in anticipation of my trip down south tomorrow. Los Angeles is a great starting off point for drive-able getaways--Palm Springs, San Diego, San Francisco ...

Jack Nicholson had it right (of course he did) in As Good as It Gets when his character Melvin Udall has a bunch of different CDs made for their famous road trip in the convertible Saab. Music is key for a fun journey. This should be step one, as some research may be needed--mood, amount of songs you'll need to get you there and back, and subject (ex. The Mamas & the Papas if you're headed to San Francisco).

Map it out the day before. There's nothing worse than having all bags packed, front door open, and realizing you have no directions. This is even a good idea if you have a GPS, especially if you're going somewhere new. Using both Mapquest and Google Maps is fail-safe, to proof them against each other and check for any possible confusing parts or errors.

Choosing a good and clean stop along the way is best done before the trip begins--otherwise you may end up eating oatmeal for lunch in a Chinese-American diner where most of your fellow customers are surviving by oxygen tanks.

If the start time is early, coffee is a must. Either brew some of your favorite kind at home and thermos it, or make a pit stop at a reliable local place in the direction you're headed before the big trip really begins (for the Palm Springs to L.A. journey, Koffi is a great).

Bottles of water, granola bars, tissues, hand sanitizer (for post-gas pumping) are all great to have handy in the car, along with a fully charged cell phone of course.

Buckle up & enjoy the ride!

-- Leslie Anne Wiggins

Photo credit: Texaco / Jasperdo on flickr

Do It. Jonsi at Origami Vinyl.

If you've ever listened to Sigur Ros, you know how angelic and wondrous the voice of frontman Jonsi Birgisson is. And (obviously) he brings that same beautiful falsetto to this solo stuff -- released under his first name only -- but with an extra breath of carefreeness and happiness. It's definitely a wonder to see in person; I saw him at Coachella and his music soared into the open air.

So I can only wonder how amazing it would be in an intimate setting. But Jonsi is actually offering everyone that chance on his current tour, performing acoustic shows at small stores. In L.A., he's hitting up the uber-cozy Origami Vinyl on Sunday, Oct. 17. It's a not-to-be-missed performance, for sure, but remember, the space is tiny, so get there long before the 5:30pm start time.

Jonsi appears at 5:30pm on Oct. 17 at Origami Vinyl, located at 1816 W. Sunset Blvd. in Echo Park.

-- Chau Tu

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Drink Out. Red Lion Tavern [Thirsty Thursdays!].

If you haven't yet gotten your fill of Oktoberfest celebrations around the Los Angeles area or are looking for a Alpine Village alternative, there's always the Red Lion Tavern in the Silverlake area where everyday is Oktoberfest.

This place has all the makings of a traditional German "gasthaus" and is Oktoberfest-like all year 'round. It's also got a great location in Silverlake across from Cha Cha Lounge and down the street from the delicious Nicky D's.

Red Lion is located at 2366 Glendale Blvd. and is open from 11 a.m. - 2 a.m.

-- Lauren Williams

Do It. "The Merry Wives of Windsor" at the Broad Stage.

As far as Shakespeare goes, you can't do much better than seeing a show at the recreated Globe Theatre in London. But if you can't quite make it over to the Old Country any time soon, Santa Monica's Broad Stage is offering the next best thing: a run of "The Merry Wives of Windsor."

The production is put on by the Shakespeare's Globe Theatre group, which means that you'll basically be getting the same performers and show as London. It's the first time the group has done an international tour like this, and the Broad Stage is its first stop. And being at the Broad Stage has a major plus -- besides being a pretty nice venue -- you also don't have to worry about being a groundling.

"The Merry Wives of Windsor" runs starting tonight until Oct. 24 at the Broad Stage, located at 1310 11th St. in Santa Monica. Buy your tickets here.

-- Chau Tu

Photo credit: Broad Stage

Do It. BevMo!'s five cent wine sale.

You can count on the BEAT of young los angeles to let you know when BevMo! is having their periodic five cent wine sale. Yesterday, after a long Wednesday at the office, I thought a crisp glass of good rosé sounded perfect. I stopped by BevMo! to find their famous five cent wine sale going on. On certain (plenty good options) bottles of wine, when you buy one, a second is yours for just a nickel.

Needless to say (pictured above) I snagged two bottles for essentially the price of one. While I was there, I also got some pumpkin ale after Lauren's recent post about pumpkin products had me thinking about it.

I ended up having a Blue Moon/Harvest Moon Pumpkin Ale instead of that glass of rosé after all, so I'm hoping when I do open my 2008 Turkey Flat Vineyards it will live up to the 94 points it got from James Halliday.

BevMo! is located at 7100 Santa Monica Boulevard in West Hollywood. The 5 cent wine sale ends November 8. Info: (323) 882-6971

-- Leslie Anne Wiggins

Photo credit: the BEAT

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Do It. Autumn at Scent Bar.

I'll be out of town this weekend celebrating the birthday of one of my very best friends, who now lives in San Diego. If I were going to be in Los Angeles, this perfume party would be a tempting event to attend.

Serge Lutens (who is maybe best known for his art direction/product and image development work with Shiseido during the 1980's) makes a great soft-scented perfume called Louve, among many others. I'm curious to see what's new from his classic and not-too-overpowering line.

Scent Bar is Lucky Scent's brick-and-mortar shop. I've been able to find seemingly impossible to find favorite perfumes on, but have actually never stepped foot in Scent Bar--yet.

Saturday October 16 at 1:00 p.m. Scent Bar is located at 8327 Beverly Boulevard in Los Angeles. Info: (323) 782-8300

-- Leslie Anne Wiggins

Photo credit: Lucky Scent / Scent Bar

Check It. Ben Folds and Nick Hornby's "Lonely Avenue."

People are always complaining that performers/celebrities should stick to what they know -- musicians shouldn't become actors, actors shouldn't become filmmakers, and so on and on. And sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.

But what if someone stuck to what they knew, but were still able to dip their toes into another genre pool? That's pretty much what happened when Nick Hornby, the writer (High Fidelity, An Education, About a Boy), teamed up with Ben Folds, the musician (Ben Folds Five). Together, using Hornby's words as lyrics, and Fold's musical composition, they've created a new, fun album called Lonely Avenue. It's definitely unconventional, but also a case of "Why hasn't this been done before?"

And for the most part, it works. The lyrics aren't really in any normal format, per se -- they're still like mini-stories -- but Folds adds in the pop touch that only he could. It's worth checking out, if not out of curiosity for a creative collaboration, then for pure pop fun. (And be sure to check out their solo stuff too -- Hornby is one of my favorite writers.)

Stream the entire album here, and then you can purchase the album plus an accompanying book of stories and images here.

-- Chau Tu

Eat In. Mom's broccoli cheese casserole [Guest Post].

We've done quite a few casserole posts here on the BEAT. But their easy, filled with veggies, and all kinds of goodness. For me, no casserole can compare to my mom's broccoli cheese casserole, so here it is, in her own words. -- Lauren

Broccoli Cheese Casserole


1 box of Uncle Bens long grain and wild rice (the one that take 25 minutes to cook)

1 pkg of frozen broccoli

1 can cream of mushroom soup

1 jar of Cheez Whiz or a jar of cheese sauce that is for nachos

1 cup chopped celery

1 cup chopped onion

1 cup sliced mushrooms

1 can jalapeno peppers (can be omitted for a milder version)

What you'll do:

Sauté celery, onions, mushrooms until firmly tender, and set aside

Cook Uncle Bens rice according to pkg directions. During the last 10 minutes of

cooking, add the frozen broccoli. When done cooking, if there is extra water, drain it off.

Mix in celery/onion/mushroom mixture, and all of the remaining ingredients.

If desired sprinkle cracker crumbs, or bread crumbs on the top of the casserole before baking.

Bake at 350 for 30 minutes—longer if you double the recipe.

NOTE: as with any casserole, ingredients can be added, substituted or omitted. …that is part of the fun in making casseroles.)

-- Rhonda Williams

Photo credit: Stephen Williams for the BEAT.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Advance Notice. Red Hot Chili Peppers at the Grove.

The Red Hot Chili Peppers are a legendary Los Angeles band. Their debut album was released before I was born, and they are still undeniably cool over twenty-five years later.

On Thursday November 4, they'll be at the Grove's Barnes and Noble to present their new book, The Red Hot Chili Peppers: An Oral/Visual History. The book has to be packed with amazing stories--as the band has had many ups and downs in their years together, including drug addictions and various band members coming and going. A true "behind the music" for fans who want to better know the sources of favorite songs.

Thursday November 4 at 12:00 p.m. at 189 The Grove Drive, Suite K 30, in Los Angeles. Info:, (323) 525-0270.

-- Leslie Anne Wiggins

Photo credit: It Books

Eat In. Peruvian fried rice.

Peruvian food is really unique, and sometimes can be hard to find affordably in the Los Angeles area. Peruvian food is a blend of Chinese and Spanish food since there is a large population of both groups in the South American country. This recipe is a combination of Chinese fried rice with Peruvian flavors, a really good fusion of two very tasty foods.

The other night, I went out for Peruvian food, and found a very delicious fried Peruvian rice, that itself is nutritious and filling enough for an entire meal. This is easy to make, and if you soak the beans overnight this is pretty easy to cook up.

For seasonings you can use salt, pepper, and the amazing El Pato red liquid salsa in a can which may be the best salsa for making Mexican-style rice (the yellow one with the duck on the can).

What you'll need:

-- One stalk of green onions
-- Two tomatoes, diced
-- beans, white, just not black
-- peas, if you want
-- corn if you want
-- really any vegetable you chose
-- white rice
-- One can El Pato salsa
-- One or two cloves of garlic

What you'll do:

1. Soak the beans overnight, or if you want to do this the same day "flash boil" them (where they are in simmering water for about 30 minutes. This is a lot of work though, you have to be constantly refilling the water in pan -- kind of a pain).

2. For the rice, put a bit of vegetable oil or butter (NOT olive oil) in a pan with garlic and toast the rice totally dry. Then prepare as usual with just a bit less water -- as much as a can of El Pato salsa.

3. Cook vegetables separately as usual, with peas, onions, corn, carrots, whatever you've selected together. The add the egg to the medley and scramble. Season with salt and pepper.

4. Add the veggie/egg combination to the rice and take off the heat.

5. Mash the beans so they are chunky but have a somewhat smooth consistency.

6. Mix the bean mash into the rice/egg/veggie blend. This will make the meal more hearty and satisfying.

-- Lauren Williams

Do It. MOCA's Counter Culture, Avant-Garde film fest.

Los Angeles is never short of entertainment options, much less available films -- both old and new -- to watch. But if you've already gone to popular Rocky Horror or The Room screenings, and all the Tarantino films over at the New Beverly, MOCA's Counter Culture film fest might be for you.

"Counter Culture, Counter Cinema: An Avant-Garde Film Festival" begins this Thursday at the MOCA Pacific Design Center. The two-day event will feature 40 various avant-garde films, by filmmakers like Jonas Mekas and Carolee Schneemann. Expect some really crazy antics, but also some surely creative ideas.

Festival passes are $40 and on sale until Thursday morning. Individual program tickets are $10 each.

The festival runs from Oct. 14-16 at the Pacific Design Center, located at 8687 Melrose Ave. in West Hollywood.

-- Chau Tu

Monday, October 11, 2010

Eat Out. 24/7 Restaurant.

Los Angeles isn't the best place to find good late night dining. The Standard hotel's coffee shop, 24/7 Restaurant, is one of the bright stars in a sea of dark "closed" signs. Don't let the velvet rope at the front door deter you, just tell the door person that you're headed to the restaurant and you'll be welcomed right in.

Centrally located in the heart of the Sunset strip, this round-the-clock diner-style restaurant is really great for a late night meal, snack, or even a well-mixed nightcap. But, drink quickly if you're going to (and if you're not driving!), alcoholic beverages must be consumed (and empty glasses will be swiped from the table) by 2:00 a.m.

Standout items on the 'Overnight' (12:00 a.m. to 6:00 a.m.) menu include guacamole with plantain chips, and mac 'n cheese. Or, if you're disciplined even at the midnight hour, an Italian chopped salad that's split-able.

The Standard - Hollywood - is located at 8300 Sunset Boulevard in West Hollywood. Info:, (323) 650-9090.

-- Leslie Anne Wiggins

Photo credit:

Check It. Phoenix makes "Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix" [The Monday Download].

Phoenix's Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix was a classic pop album in the making. And hey, look at that -- we can actually see how it was all made.

The French rock stars recently took to their blog to release a series of documentary videos showing the band working on the album. It's nice insight to see how a band works while recording, and how those almost-too-perfect pop gems were created. Check out the making of "Lisztomania" below:

And see the rest of the videos here (each episode covers one track on the album). Sure feels like summer again.

-- Chau Tu

Do It. 'House on Haunted Hill' in Heritage Square.

October is an excellent month, filled with very cool Halloween-themed events like this one.

Hidden Los Angeles is putting on the classic "House on Haunted Hill" in Heritage Square this Wednesday. I liked the book a lot, and the idea of watching a movie about a haunted house surrounded by old, Victorian-style houses sounds pretty promising.

Tickets to the event are $15. The movie screening starts at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 13.

Heritage Square is located at 3800 Homer Street.

-- Lauren Williams

Friday, October 8, 2010

Do It. Whale watching with the Aquarium of the Pacific.

Now that it's whale spotting season, take a tour with the Aquarium of the Pacific on their Blue Whale and Sea Life Cruise.

Riders take a three and a half hour cruise and spot blue whales, sea lions, dolphins, and seals.

Trips take off at 11:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. on the weekends.

Tickets are bought at the aquarium's ticket window and cost about $63 for adults.

The Aquarium of the Pacific is located at 100 Aquarium Way in Long Beach.

-- Lauren Williams

Do It. Celebrate John Lennon's 70th birthday.

If John Lennon were still around, he'd be turning 70 years old this Saturday. What would he think of the world? Would he still be making music? Would he and Paul have ever made up, officially?

It'd be weird to imagine him in this world, but it'd be even harder to imagine this world without him, or his music and influence. And so to celebrate the unforgettable singer-songwriter are a few events going on around town. First up is the Grammy Museum's new exhibit called "John Lennon, Songwriter," and which just opened this week and features artifacts like handwritten lyrics, his infamous wire-rimmed round glasses, his uniform from the cover of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, and rare film footage. There are also plans for a candlelight vigil for fans on Saturday at noon at Lennon's star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Furthermore, this week marked the release of a slew of rare and previously unreleased Lennon recordings, including remastered versions of all his post-Beatles songs, a compilation of his greatest hits paired with a DVD of music videos, and remixed versions of his work with Yoko Ono. And beyond that, look forward to the new biopic, Nowhere Boy, being released later this month that'll follow the beginnings of Lennon's musical career.

Happy birthday, John!

**UPDATE: look at this super cool Google doodle of the day!

-- Chau Tu

Eat Out. New Chipotle Locations in L.A.

In college, I frequented the Marina del Rey Chipotle--it's in a nice convenient shopping center, and they gave LMU students free fountain drinks. Recently, I've returned a couple times after a new location opened on Sunset and Vine in Hollywood. Soon after, one opened on Wilshire's Miracle Mile.

An item on the menu that's new since my LMU days (when I would most often get the vegetarian burrito bowl with onions and peppers) is the barbacoa--"spicy, shredded beef, slowly braised for hours in a blend of chipotle pepper abodo, cumin, cloves, garlic and oregano until tender and moist." Tender and moist (and delicious!) it is.

Their tortilla chips and guacamole are also great. The chips are tossed with lime juice and salt, and the guacamole has a nice spice to it.

Perfect with an icy Coke, or a Corona.

Two recently opened Chipotle locations in L.A. are at 1460 Vine Street in Hollywood, and 5550 Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles. Info:

-- Leslie Anne Wiggins

Photo credit: the BEAT

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Drink In. The Bruery seasonal beers. [Thirsty Thursdays!]

Here at the BEAT we loove seasonal beers, and fall is one of the best times to see some creative brews. The Bruery in nearby Orange County has been coming out with some pretty creative flavors.

For the autumn season The Bruery has made a creative brew with a very intriguing Autumn Maple made with yams. A very unique flavor and a nice combination of fall's better flavors, this beer is widely available across Southern California, at various BevMo!s and craft brew distributors.

-- Lauren Williams

Do It. Lorin Stein and David Ulin at Book Soup.

This Saturday evening, Lorin Stein of the Paris Review will be in conversation with David Ulin of the Los Angeles Times at Book Soup.

They'll discuss the present tense of the Review, and the role of print journalism in today's world.

As many of you readers know, we BEAT girls met at the Los Angeles Times, so we can tell you first-hand that David Ulin is fabulous and definitely worth seeing at an event such as this.

A couple interviews from the journal worth reading even if you can't attend: Hunter S. Thompson, The Art of Journalism No. 1 (Fall 2000), and R. Crumb, The Art of Comics No. 1 (Summer 2010).

Book Soup is located at 8818 Sunset Boulevard in West Hollywood. Saturday October 9 at 5:00 p.m. Event is free, and the current issue of the Paris Review is $12.

-- Leslie Anne Wiggins

Photo credit:

Check It. I Found Your Camera.

Losing your camera is the worst -- not only is it a pretty expensive item, but it's probably full of memories that you can ever quite get back. What's sort of weird, though, is thinking about what happens to your camera after it gets separated from you: where do those pictures go? Does the thief/person who picked it up look at them? Or back in the old days, develop them? It's a little bit creepy thinking about that, I guess.

But one site tries to bring some goodwill into coming upon another person's camera. I Found Your Camera is a simple blog with a simple purpose: to publish lost photos in hopes of reuniting the camera or at least the photos with its rightful owner. It's random, a little melancholy, but optimistic and hopeful in just the right sense. If you actually happen to recognize anyone in these photos, this is your chance to reunite someone with their lost camera! And apparently, the site's already forged connections like that dozens of times.

In the meantime, even if you don't happen to recognize anyone, it's still a nice look into random people's lives. How different we all are, how similar we are.

-- Chau Tu

Photo credit: courtesy of PostSecret and I Found Your Camera

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Eat Out. Starry Kitchen.

You know people really love food when they start accidentally start a business selling food out of their apartment to their friends and friends of friends, and then get popular enough to get shut down because it's all illegal. I guess that also means the food must have been really good.

And it still is. That was the story of the beginning of Starry Kitchen, headed up by self-professed foodies Nguyen and Thi Tran. It all started from their apartment in North Hollywood, but now they're legally and officially set up right in downtown in the Grand Performances Plaza, mostly serving up for lucky businesspeople in the area for lunch. But due to even more popular buzz, the restaurant started opening up for dinner on Thursdays and Fridays.

So with great hype comes great expectations, but I'd have to say Starry Kitchen passes the test. It's Asian (Vietnamese) soul food at its simplest -- it's mainly a lunch joint and you shouldn't expect more. But the attention to the food is admirable, and the flavors work in all the right places. Get ready for a great comfort meal here.

The menu, the staff warned us, changes every week, so stay tuned to the website for the latest dishes. But overall, the process is the same: pick a protein, a vessel (banh mi sandwich, salad, or wrap) and a side, and you end up with a boatload of food. My date and I were able to enjoy what seemed like regular favorites, including the lemongrass chicken and pork belly, both in banh mis and with pineapple fried rice and glass noodles. I don't even like lemongrass chicken that much, but the Trans totally hit the right spot with it, and the pork belly was super flavorful.

Simple, friendly, and full of good food. Just like home.

Starry Kitchen is located at 350 S. Grand Ave. in the Grand Performances Plaza in downtown. Open for lunch every weekday 11am-3pm, and for dinner on Thursdays and Fridays 6pm-9:30pm.

-- Chau Tu

Photo credit: the BEAT