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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Check It. ReALIze at L.A. Live.

This very cool architectural art piece of Muhammad Ali is currently just outside the Staples Center at L.A. Live. It is an aluminum structure, with 1,300 custom boxing speed bags making up Ali's image, and miles of stainless steel cables. After two years and hundreds of thousands of dollars spent, it's finished--and on display to the public first in Los Angeles, then onto New York, Miami, Asia, and Europe.

After reading about it in American Airlines' AmericanWay magazine last month, we made our way downtown on a blustery Saturday afternoon to see it. The human eye doesn't quite piece it all together the way a camera lens does, which is pretty interesting.

It was such a smart and appropriate idea for artist Michael Kalish to use speed bags. I imagine Yolanda Ali (who commissioned the piece along with her husband, "The Greatest") was impressed too.

reALIze is on display until April 9. Free to the public. Nokia Plaza, L.A. Live.

-- Leslie Anne Wiggins

Photo credit: the BEAT

Eat Out. SteingartenLA [Thirsty Thursdays!].

As far as sausage places go, you really can't beat downtown's Wurstkuche, a hands-down favorite of us BEATs. But as the L.A. Times most recently pointed out, Los Angeles is undergoing a sort of sausage craze right now, and other places are, too, warranting a visit.

Daren and I headed over West L.A.'s SteingartenLA a few weeks ago, and were met by a large, thriving crowd at the dinner hour. To our surprise, the waitress told us that the restaurant hadn't even had its grand opening yet -- that's actually happening tomorrow, April 1st. But the large restaurant and bar was definitely bustling, with a mix of just-out-of-college twentysomethings and older middle-aged groups of friends meeting for drinks.

If anything, the beers are definitely worth the crowds and visit. SteingartenLA's got two happy hours: 4pm-7pm and 10:30pm to close, $5 house beer, $10 for your choice of one of 5 tap beers and any sausage. And the beer selection, as is expected for a sausage place, is pretty fantastic, with all sorts of craft beers on tap.

While the menu offers some more exotic choices like Venison Blueberry and Alligator and Pork, probably to rival Wurstkuche's niche, the restaurant does try to stick to German and Belgian traditionalism, so Daren got the Polish and I tried out the Lamb Spicy Sausage (seen above), with a side of sweet potato fries. The fries were great and came with an amazing side of aioli, and Daren liked his Polish a lot. I thought my sausage was pretty dry, though, as was the bun it came on -- it was too small for the thick sausage, and ended up falling apart by the end. Still, I had some great citrus-flavored beer to wash it down with.

Surely, the restaurant will have its stumbles in its first months, so I'm definitely willing to return. There's also an outdoors patio with an interesting fire pit that would be great to sit at with friends. Time will tell how well SteingartenLA will do in the sausage battle, but if they stick to good beer and perfecting that sausage, it'll become a great neighborhood favorite.

SteingartenLA
is located at 10542 W. Pico Blvd. in West L.A. The official grand opening is tomorrow.

-- Chau Tu

Photo credit: the BEAT

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Advance Notice. Janet Jackson at Book Soup.

Janet Jackson's book, True You: A Journey to Finding and Loving Yourself, was released in February, and next month the five-time Grammy winner will be at Book Soup signing it.

The book covers fame, food, depression, and struggles and successes with self-esteem, as well as fitness secrets from her trainer and wholesome recipes from her nutritionist, David Allen.

Friday April 15 at 3:00 p.m.

Book Soup is located at 8818 Sunset Boulevard in West Hollywood. Info: booksoup.com, (310) 659-3110

-- Leslie Anne Wiggins

Photo credit: Harper's Bazaar


Do It. Dodgers baseball.


Batter up! It's time for Dodgers baseball! Opening day is finally here, and as we told you earlier, the boys in blue are set to match up with longtime rivals, the San Francisco Giants, starting tomorrow night. There'll be a lot of fun promotions going on for the opening series, including a Dodgers snuggie(!). Plus, it's set to be a warm, beautiful weekend, just to match up with the excitement of a new season, so don't miss out.

Buy your single game tickets here. Go Dodgers!

-- Chau Tu

Do It. Pick good produce.

With the changes in season, I was reminded this morning of a post I did last year about the new produce selection coming out in the coming spring and summer.

Here are a few tips on picking up good produce. From our archives:

With the changing of seasons comes the changing of produce. But how to choose a good apple, citrus, melon versus a not-so-fresh one? Here are a few pointers in picking out the freshest, ripest fruits and veggies.

For citrus, you always want small pores, shiny skin, vibrant color (true of all produce really), and you want to be able to smell the fruit. A heavy citrus also means it's juicy on the inside, but you should eat it soon after purchasing it.

Shininess and brightness in color are pretty important in all produce selection. Never get anything with dull or wrinkled skin -- that means it's on the way out the door. Firm skin means it will last a few days in the fridge.

Melons too should be heavy and make a kind of hollow sound. I believe if a melon doesn't have a "bouncing" or hollow sound when you knock softly on it, it means the flesh inside is a bit sandy and too soft in texture.

-- Lauren Williams

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Advance Notice. Global Street Food Fest.

Los Angeles, of course, is never short of global food options. But with the rise in popularity of the food truck came the arrival one thing we may have been missing out on: street food. Obviously, we've all been exposed (/tortured) by those wonderful-smelling carts on street corners selling bacon-wrapped hot dogs and other sizzling goodies late at night, but what is honest-to-goodness street food exactly? And why should we care?

That'll surely be some of the questions posed by Evan Kleiman, L.A. chef and KCRW host, as she heads up the Good FoodGlobal Street Food fest on May 1st. There, she'll be conversing with a few foodie experts, including OC Weekly's Gustavo "Ask a Mexican" Arellano and food writer Robyn Eckhardt, about street food and how it can shape a culture or city (the subject of Los Angeles, I'm sure, will be touched upon). And then, after that intellectual enlightenment, guests will get to savor that street food firsthand, with tastings available from five food trucks: India Jones Chow Truck, Mariscos Jalisco, Piaggio Gourmet on Wheels, Let's Be Frank and the Nom Nom Truck.

Get to understand the food, and indulge afterward. For better or for worse, you may never look at a bacon-wrapped hot dog in the same way again.

The Global Street Food Fest
is taking place May 1st at the Broad Stage, located at 1310 11th St. in Santa Monica. Tickets are on sale now for $40-$42.50.

-- Chau Tu

Monday, March 28, 2011

Drink It. Big Bar at Alcove.

It was big news in Los Feliz when Big Bar at Alcove opened last fall. This past weekend was the first time I made it there, and it was so delicious, I'll definitely be back.

After a late dinner at Speranza, my boyfriend, our friend, and I were looking for a well-crafted cocktail. After considering Cole's Red Car Bar and The Hungry Cat, we thought of Big Bar and headed up Hillhurst.

The bar itself is actually quite small (about ten leather stools surrounding a light gray marble bar, and some small tables in the room as well), with attractive decor like vintage light fixtures and plenty of silver.

I started out with one of their specialty drinks, The New Brunswick: Famous Grouse Scotch, maple syrup, and lemon (pictured above). It reminded me slightly of a sidecar, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Everything on the menu sounded so good, when it came time for round two, I switched to the Bourbon Milk Punch, which disappeared in record time. I held off on ordering another, but it could have easily gone that way. It was crisp, cold, refreshing, and totally delicious, topped with freshly ground nutmeg.

Hank stuck with the citrusy margarita-like tequila-based option, The Lily. I had a sip and found it quite tart, but if you're not one for sweet concoctions, you'd love it.

Also good to know: the bartenders are happy to chat about what liquors/flavors you generally like, and create an off-the-menu mixed drink just for you.

-- Leslie Anne Wiggins

Photo credit: the BEAT

Do It. Local Natives at UCLA.

I admit it -- it's a bit difficult for me, a Trojan, to try and convince anyone to venture to UCLA for any reason. But this will be worth it.

The ever-amazing Local Natives will be playing a free show on the campus (guitarist Taylor Rice is an alum) this Thursday at noon. Having seen the hometown heroes play a few shows -- and this is not something I usually do for a band that only has one album out -- I can attest to their amazing live performances. As my boyfriend once best described, 'no one loves playing their own songs more than Local Natives.' And it's true, and often even breathtaking.

Check out what the hype is all about, and you won't regret it.

Local Natives will perform at noon at the Bruin Plaza at UCLA, located at 308 Westwood Plaza in Westwood.

-- Chau Tu

Friday, March 25, 2011

Check It. François Ozon's Potiche.

If you're not up for seeing The Lincoln Lawyer, Sucker Punch, or Battle: Los Angeles this weekend, Potiche (translation: trophy wife) may be more your speed.

Director François Ozon is perhaps best known for his 2003 film Swimming Pool. His latest release, an adaptation of the hit play with the same name, stars Catherine Deneuve and Gérard Depardieu in a 103-minute comedy set in 1977 bourgeois France. That red Adidas track suit is great, and there's a breakfast table (complete with French press, naturally) I wouldn't mind having a seat at. The costumes and set design are bound to be captivating throughout--not to mention the acting.

Potiche is playing at West L.A.'s Landmark Theatre.

Info and showtimes: landmarktheatres.com, (310) 281-8233

-- Leslie Anne Wiggins

Photo credit: movieever.com

Check It. David Sedaris archives.

"Liking" something on Facebook can be a mixed bag. You can be inundated with updates, or totally forget that you "liked" something and never get good updates.

David Sedaris' Facebook page, however, is excellent. It both posts his book tour dates and, more interestingly, posts archived Sedaris readings from live performances and appearances on This American Life from the 1990s, when I at least was not yet a Sedaris fanatic.

Today's gem was a show on wackiness. Enjoy!

-- Lauren Williams

Check It. Cheap Monday sunglasses.

It may be raining outside, but that hasn't stopped me from dreaming about sunglasses. It is springtime, after all! And after seeing these Cheap Monday sunnies, I can't help but hope for some sunshine. The best part? These are only $35 each.

The catch: for now the only place I know that sells these unisex gems is in New York -- but they do ship anywhere in the U.S. So set your orders now, and get ready to show these off once the rays shine through.

-- Chau Tu

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Do It. Moveable Feast 2: Old Hollywood at the Roosevelt Hotel.

If you're looking for something to fun to do this weekend, make your way to the Roosevelt on Sunday night for Chef Meg Hall's Moveable Feast 2: Old Hollywood at the Roosevelt, with mixologist Matthew Biancaniello.

The event, "an unpredictable culinary experience", will consist of six hearty appetizers, each paired with an innovative cocktail--all inspired by old Hollywood glamour. In a most appropriate setting.

Sunday March 27, 7:00 p.m. till 10:00 p.m. Tickets are $65 and available at moveablefeasthollywood.eventbrite.com.

The Beverly Hills Cab Company can be reached at (800) 273-6611.

-- Leslie Anne Wiggins

Photo credit: la.eater.com

Eat In. Garage Pizza.

Despite being the full-fledged party city that we are, Los Angeles actually closes shop pretty early. Once bars have their last calls for the night, you're reduced to only a handful of places to hang out, especially if you try and stick to nicer 'hoods.

Here's your new favorite option: Garage Pizza. All right, it's a pizza joint, which doesn't make anything super special, but the pies are huge and the place is open until 4am -- the perfect way to truly end your night (because it's basically morning). It's a little pricier than usual pizza places, but the food really is worth it -- pizzas are loaded with yummy, fresh ingredients, and surprisingly not that greasy. The crust is right there above thin. The above there is the Game Pie.

Best time to check out the goods is on Mondays, when all pizzas are $15 from open to close -- noon til 4am.

Garage Pizza is located at 4339 Sunset Blvd. in Silverlake. And they do deliver!

-- Chau Tu

Photo credit: the BEAT

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Rest in Peace, Dame Elizabeth.

Elizabeth Taylor passed away this morning at Los Angeles' Cedars-Sinai hospital.

My very favorite of her roles was in 1958's Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, as Maggie "the Cat" Pollitt, starring opposite Paul Newman as Brick. Two true movie stars. If you haven't seen it, rent or buy it immediately.

Other rental ideas - 1963's Cleopatra, and 1966's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

-- Leslie Anne Wiggins

Photo credit: ladycentre.com

Advance Notice. The Cinefamily's "Made in Austin" film fest.

Everyone's just come back from Austin and SXSW, so now it's time for Austin to come to us. The Cinefamily at the Silent Movie Theater is set to host a whole weekend celebrating Austin's cinematic bests, and it's definitely worth a look.

Although it is known as a cultural jewel in the South, Austin, Texas, doesn't usually come to mind in terms of film. But The Cinefamily's first night of "Made in Austin" reminds us -- with some super-rare short films -- that Austin is the original home to filmmakers like Wes Anderson, Robert Rodriguez and Richard Linklater, among others. The "Texas Legends, Before They Were Legends" program will screen first films from those mentioned, including Bottle Rocket -- the short that the later Anderson film was based on -- and a student film from Rodriguez. Stick around later that night and you'll actually get to meet an Austin filmmaker -- Richard Linklater himself. The filmmaker will be on hand for the screenings of his Slackers and SubUrbia.

Day Two of "Made in Austin"
will feature some BBQ (of course) alongside screenings of Last Day at the Alamo and Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Time to get your Texas on!

"Made In Austin" will be taking place April 9-10 at the Silent Movie Theater, located at 611 Fairfax Ave. in Mid-City. Tickets are $10 for each program, see more details here.

-- Chau Tu

Photo credit: Owen Wilson in Bottle Rocket; courtesy of The Cinefamily

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Check It. Historical Post Offices.

I took a different route home than usual from the Glendale Galleria this afternoon after a quick exchange at the Gap. A pleasant discovery along the way was this awesome post office on East Broadway. According to the Glendale Historical Society, it was constructed between 1932 and 1934, and is listed on the National Register of Historical Places. It was a collaboration between architects George M. Lindsey (who designed Los Feliz's Marshall High School--the most gorgeous public high school I've ever seen) and James A. Wetmore.

I paid the Hollywood Post Office (1615 Wilcox Avenue) a visit a few weeks ago, and while it wasn't an entirely pleasant experience, I did appreciate my art deco surroundings.

When you're doing necessary chores (or mailing love letters), may as well do it someplace beautiful.

The Glendale Post office is located at 313 East Broadway in Glendale, Calif.

-- Leslie Anne Wiggins

Photo credit: you-are-here.com

Advance Notice. Silver Lake Jubilee.

It's back. The arts, music, food and neighborhood festival known as the Silver Lake Jubilee will be returning to its spot under the bridge at Sunset Blvd. and Santa Monica Blvd. for a second year of fun festivities. Most of the special info -- the 50+ bands/artists and 60+ vendors and food trucks -- have yet to be announced, but the $5 (!!) tickets are already a steal, so you have no excuse to miss out. Get them here now, and mark your calendars for May 21-22.

The Silver Lake Jubilee is taking place the weekend of May 21-22 at 1070 Myra Ave. in Silver Lake.

-- Chau Tu

Monday, March 21, 2011

Check It. Middle Brother.

Taylor Goldsmith of Dawes is one of the best young musicians out there. He's joined forces with John McCauley of Deer Tick and Delta Spirit's Matthew Vasquez to form Middle Brother. Time Out Chicago calls them an "Americana Supergroup" and that sounds about right to me.

They made a splash at SXSW this year after debuting at the annual Austin, Texas film and music festival last year. Their self-titled debut album was released March 1.

You can listen to their song "Me Me Me" on the band's MySpace page.

-- Leslie Anne Wiggins

Photo credit: blogs.kcrw.com

Check It. This Is Not Porn.

Really, it's not, at least in the usual sense. Instead, This is Not Porn collects gorgeous and rare photographs from times past of well-known figures. Sometimes you'll catch photos of a few people whom you would have never even imagined knowing each other or being together in the first place. Other times, it's just a great photograph capturing a specific historic moment. The site altogether is a simple concept, but can keep you clicking through the pages for hours at a time.

Reminding you of simple, beautiful times, this is a great way to start your week (procrastinating).

-- Chau Tu

Photo credits: Courtesy of This is Not Porn

Friday, March 18, 2011

Advance Notice. The Grilled Cheese Invitational.

It's back! Celebrate Grilled Cheese Month this April with the ever-indulgent and ever-wonderful 2nd 8th (??) Annual Grilled Cheese Invitational happening April 23rd.

Gorge on that perfection which is known as the grilled cheese, in all kinds of versions, nicely split up into four categories: the classic Love, American Style; the any bread-butter-cheese Missionary; the anything goes Kama Sutra, and the all-dessert Honey Pot. And in between those sumptuous cheesy bites, check out costume contests, cheese-calling competitions and other shenanigans. And just like last year, you can even sign up to be a judge (just $5 more on the admission price).

Set the date now: Tickets are only $12 ($15 at the door), which includes free samples from the sponsors. Happy cheesin'!

The Grilled Cheese Invitational is occurring April 23rd on April 23rd at the at Los Angeles Center Studios, located at 1201 W. Fifth St. in downtown.

-- Chau Tu

Check It. Gap coupon for 30%.



If you're looking to make your wardrobe more springy, or need some excellent professional clothes, this weekend is the time to head to Banana Republic, Old Navy, or the Gap.

Through March 20, the retailers will be offering 30% off in-store check out with this coupon.

So get shopping!

-- Lauren Williams

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Drink It. Free green milkshakes at The Counter [Thirsty Thursdays!].

Happy St. Patrick's Day! If you're not indulging in the green beer tonight -- DDs, that means you! -- here's a special holiday treat you can still enjoy. The Counter, of the build-your-own-burger variety, is offering free green milkshakes to those who "like" them on Facebook. Otherwise, it'll be $3 each (and for those who are indulging, The Counter's green beers are also $3). Happy drinking, be safe out there!

Check out more info on The Counter by visiting their website.

-- Chau Tu

Eat In. Potato tacos.

Some of my favorite tacos in town are made with potatoes. El Carmen makes really delicious ones with a slice of avocado and salsa on top. Lotería's are great too. I've even seen potato tacos pop up at the Whole Foods hot food bar recently. I thought it was time I tried to make them at home.

At Gelson's I found some homemade-style corn tortillas which are chewy, like the ones I love at Poquito Más and The Spanish Kitchen. I boiled and mashed Yukon Gold potatoes, and added ripe avocado slices and a little spicy salsa. Pretty good!

-- Leslie Anne Wiggins

Photo credit: the BEAT

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Eat Out. Donuts in Los Angeles.

Sometimes you just have to have a donut.

Randy's Donuts is a Los Angeles landmark, with the giant donut atop the tiny building being more famous than the treats themselves. Although Randy does make a delicious coconut donut, as well as nice jelly donuts.

Bob's Coffee & Doughnuts at the Original Farmers Market is the go-to donut shop for mid-city Angelinos. Their soft donuts are delicious, but the dense fried cakey ones can be a bit too hard and not sweet enough. I do however love their packaging.

Krispy Kreme Doughnuts are relatively new to Los Angeles. They--like some bagel shops--have a fantastic "hot" sign that illuminates the window when fresh donuts are being made. Even for non-donut fans, having a hot glazed Krispy Kreme is an incredible experience. Some Krispy Kremes serve Coffee Bean coffee, which is an added bonus. Avoid the locations that don't actually make the donuts in-house, like Santa Monica. The Burbank location is what I'd recommend--they even have a drive-through.

If you're a Dunkin' Donuts fan, you are out of luck in L.A., although Target and supermarkets do sell Dunkin' coffee now--you'll just have to find your own cream and sugar.

-- Leslie Anne Wiggins

Photo credit: conventionvendor.com

Advance Notice. Rainn Wilson and "SoulPancake" at USC.

Rainn Wilson is best known as Dwight from "The Office," but you shouldn't dismiss Wilson as the heartless dork he plays on TV. It turns out that Wilson's actually written a book, and this ain't no Al Roker mystery novel.

No no, instead, Wilson implores readers of SoulPancake to ponder the big questions: "Have you ever wondered how your thoughts affect reality? Or if you only had one hour left to live, how you’d spend it? Would you want to know the exact moment you die? What does art have to do with the soul?" The book, thought great illustration and design, pushes readers to examine these thoughts while providing quotes and ideas from others that have circulated throughout history. "How do you determine truth?" for example, is seen above, accompanied by a quote from Harry Truman: "Intense feeling too often obscures the truth." The page also asks "What is truth?" and "What's one thing you know for sure?"

It's digging deep, but that's the point. And you can even get the choice to dig into Wilson's own mind, when he and his SoulPancake co-authors makes an appearance at USC on April 25th. The event is free, and there's a book signing to follow. Check out more info on the event here, and on the book here.

An Evening with the SoulPancake authors takes place on April 25th at 7:30pm at USC's Bovard Auditorium, located at 3551 Trousdale Pkwy. near downtown.

-- Chau Tu

Photo credit: SoulPancake

Check It. Stream SXSW.


Last year, I was thrilled to find out NPR was streaming SXSW. There was no way I could head out there, and this year was equally impossible.

I will however, be streaming as many of the shows I can from March 16-19 when NPR will be there, and be sure to check out NPR's 100-song best of mix.

-- Lauren Williams

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Check It. The Fighter on DVD, and The Kind Diet in paperback.

The Fighter is out on Blu-ray and DVD today. It did very well all through awards season, scoring seven Oscar noms, and two wins--for Christian Bale (Best Supporting Actor) and Melissa Leo (Best Supporting Actress).

Also out today--Alicia Silverstone's The Kind Diet in paperback, made with soy ink and recycled paper. She will be signing at the Grove's Barnes & Noble tonight at 7:30 p.m.

-- Leslie Anne Wiggins

Photo credit: thegeekgeneration.com

Check It. Odd Future.

While browsing the SXSW lineup, I saw that one of the most anticipated groups among the approximately 2,000 (!!!) that are set to perform, was an up-and-coming hip hop group Odd Future.

Someone who's always in the market for good hip hop, I was intrigued. Although the group doesn't appear in a cursory iTunes search, they do blog! And regularly!

So read up before they hit the stage this week, and if you like what you hear, they'll be performing at the Glass House next month.

-- Lauren Williams

Do It. Help Japan.

The aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan last Friday is getting more dire everyday. Although the country was probably the most prepared it could be for an earthquake, the scale of an 8.9 quake was still something which could not be fully imagined. There are still tens of thousands of people missing. Gas and food shortages are beginning to reach far south to Tokyo. And the continuing problems concerning the Fukushima nuclear plant is making everything worse.

We here in California are hyper-aware of what natural disasters like earthquakes can do, and how unexpected they are. So it's time to do your part. Here are Mashable's seven ways to help out, and the Huffington Post's list -- they're simple and fast, but most importantly, can do a whole lot of good.

-- Chau Tu

Photo credit: Signalnoise Store -- This poster was previously sold to help raise funds for relief in Japan, but has since sold out. Check back here to see if any more pop up.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Do It. Bethenny Frankel's Skinnygirl Margarita signing.

You may know Bethenny Frankel from The Real Housewives of New York City, or her spinoff show also on Bravo now in its second season, Bethenny Ever After. She's also the inventor of the insanely popular Skinnygirl Margarita, and the author of several books, including New York Times bestseller Naturally Thin.

Tomorrow evening Frankel will be in Huntington Beach to sign bottles of her pre-mixed margarita product. I've made (and ordered) a fair share of Skinnygirl Margaritas, but not yet tried the actual bottled product. It's made with premium blue agave tequila, and sweetened with agave nectar, is all natural, and has just 100 calories for a four ounce serving. I imagine it's quite good, and I usually wouldn't have any interest in "ready to drink" cocktails.

March 15, 5:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. at Stater Bros., 10114 Adams Avenue in Huntington Beach, Calif. Info: (714) 963-0949, bethenny.com

-- Leslie Anne Wiggins

Photo credit: bethenny.com




Check It. JR's TED Talk [The Monday Download].

We've mentioned TED Talks here on the BEAT before, and now I've got another great example of how inspiring these sessions can be. The latest conference just occurred in Long Beach, and presented the "TED Prize" to French street artist JR. The TED Prize awards one person $10,000 to help fulfill "One Wish to Change the World" -- past winners have included Bill Clinton, Bono and Dave Eggers.

And JR's wish is pretty unique, but truly inspiring and beautiful nonetheless. Check it out below, and make sure to make your contribution to changing the world.


-- Chau Tu

Etc. Happy Pi Day!

Today is March 14 (or 3.14), a major holiday for nerds, math geeks, and people who love any excuse to celebrate something.

Listen to this NPR broadcast about the holiday and celebrate with pie!

-- Lauren Williams

Photo credit: NPR

Friday, March 11, 2011

Check It. L.A. Phil Live in movie theaters.

It's been about two years since Gustavo Dudamel premiered as the L.A. Philharmonic's newest musical director, and he's since brought vibrancy to the city's classical music scene. I caught a wonderful performance from him and the Phil last summer at the Hollywood Bowl, and Dudamel surely lived up to the hype.

If you haven't gotten a chance to hit up the Walt Disney Concert Hall or the Bowl to catch a performance, or can't afford fancy seats, here's your chance to see Dudamel in action. He will be conducting an all-Tchaikovsky program this Sunday as part of L.A. Phil Live, which will broadcast the performance in movie theaters across the country. Even just across L.A. County, you'll have a plethora of options among movie theaters (AMC and Rave theaters, mostly). The music this weekend will also be supplemented with performances from Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet and The Tempest by some well-known actors, like Orlando Bloom and Malcolm McDowell. And on top of all that, you'll see some great behind-the-scenes stuff and get to know Dudamel better through a Q&A.

So really, there's no excuse. Time to check out one of L.A.'s great new music forces, in a fun, interactive way.

L.A. Phil Live is taking place this Sunday, March 13, at 2pm at participating theaters around Los Angeles County. Check here for more info.

-- Chau Tu

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Eat In. Fresh fruit salad with yogurt and coconut.

Whenever I'm trying to be healthy, yogurt and fruit are my first thoughts. Earlier this week, I got a small container of strawberries, blueberries, and mango at Whole Foods. I figured I'd split this between three mornings for breakfast, with yogurt.

I used Stonyfield Farm organic low fat french vanilla, but any favorite yogurt would work here. To make things a bit more delicious and interesting (and admittedly less healthy), I topped it off with some sweetened shredded coconut I had in the cupboard. This was a move inspired by the Fresh Fruit Salad at Malibu's John's Garden--one of my all-time favorite lunch spots. They also use chopped roasted almonds, which I may include tomorrow.

This is a great quick and easy breakfast, or a good sandwich alternative for lunch on a summery day--like the ones we've been having this week.

-- Leslie Anne Wiggins

Photo credit: the BEAT

Check It. Girl Scout Cookie app.

There's an app for almost everything. Directions, banking, translations, currency conversion. Nearly every news organization has created an app, and now Girl Scout cookies are joining the ranks of apped items.

From the Kellogg Company, you can now located a Girl Scout cookie location wherever you are. Just enter city, state, or ZIP. I can see this being quite a handy app, because when you want a Girl Scout cookie, nothing else will do.

-- Lauren Williams

Advance Notice. Tina Fey in conversation with Steve Martin at Nokia Theatre.

Get this: two of the entertainment world's most arguably funny (and quite strange) people are getting into one room together. And having a conversation. Together. In front of an audience. And you could be part of that audience!

Indeed, you have the chance to catch the ever-wonderful Tina Fey converse on stage with the ever-humbling Steve Martin as part of Live Talks Los Angeles. It's a rare occasion, to say in the least, and sure to be a complete ruckus -- my mind can't even wrap around what may happen at this appearance. Oh, the possibilities.

But here's the raw info: besides being hilarious comedians, the two also happen to be winners of the Kennedy Center’s Mark Twain Prize for American humor, a pretty amazing honor. So they're promoting their latest books, of which you may also purchase pre-signed copies along with your tickets to the event. The event is taking place Tuesday, April 19, but tickets are going on sale tomorrow at 10am. It's $29 for regular seating; $49 for premier seating plus Fey's Bossypants, or $119 for prime seating plus Bossypants and Martin's An Object of Beauty. You may also buy Bossypants there and get it signed by Fey in person that night.

So many choices! So many possibilities! Don't miss out on the fun night.

An Evening with Tina Fey in conversation with Steve Martin
will be taking place April 19 at 8pm at Nokia Theatre, located at LA Live at 777 Chick Hearn Court in downtown. Tickets go on sale tomorrow at 10am here.

-- Chau Tu

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Advance Notice. Arctic Monkeys at the Palladium.

I really love the Arctic Monkeys' "Whatever People Say I am, That's What I'm Not (2006)" album. I wasn't the only one--it was (and still is) the fastest selling debut in UK chart history. Since then, they've released "Favourite Worst Nightmare (2007)" (Fluorescent Adolescent is a great song), and "Humbug" (2009). Clearly they're due for a new release, and it's coming--with one new song "Brick by Brick" already up on their website.

In September 2007 I saw them play the Hollywood Palladium (pre-renovation), and it was a lot of fun. On Friday June 3, they'll be back. Order your presale tickets tomorrow starting at 10:00 a.m. (till 10:00 p.m.) through Live Nation with the password "pedicure". Onsale to general public Friday March 11 at 10:00 a.m.

Also noteworthy--Arctic Monkeys frontman Alex Turner has been dating English "It girl"/modern day fashion icon Alexa Chung since 2007.

-- Leslie Anne Wiggins

Photo credit: starpulse.com


Eat Out. Food + Lab.

Silverlake surely isn't lacking another great brunch spot, but that doesn't mean they don't stop popping up. And I'm definitely not complaining -- especially when it brings us places like Food + Lab.

Food + Lab already has a location in West Hollywood, but opened up its Eastside branch just a few months ago out on Sunset, down a storefront from Dusty's. And it already fits in perfectly -- a casual joint that's friendly and has stellar cuisine. All the menu choices are scrawled on blackboards against the back wall, and filled with organic and vegan choices. But you also have your usual indulgences, and an overall balanced menu featuring delicious ingredients.

Above, you'll see potato, onion, gruyere and bacon omelette, which packed with goodness and the perfect sort of accent from the cheese. The sandwich was the organic chicken with gouda, sundried tomato aioli, and arugula on cibatta bread, of which the aioli was quite amazing. And I couldn't even fit our massive bowls of coffee into the picture. But overall, the food had rich flavors thanks to fresh ingredients, and portions were perfect -- filling but not overwhelming. I'm dying to try the sunny-side eggs and Australian speck featured on the website.

Yep, just another great brunch spot in Los Angeles. Us spoiled folk we are.
Food + Lab is located at 3206 West Sunset Blvd. in Silverlake.

-- Chau Tu

Photo credit: the BEAT

Check It. NPR Books.

When I was little my mom used to say that I should read the first page of any book I was considering buying. Doing so gave me a taste of the authors style, storytelling abilities, and diction and I'm sure it saved me many a dollar.

Now, with NPR Books, you can both read a short book review along with the first chapter of the book, which is totally genius. I've gotten exposure to so many books I previously wouldn't have considered, like the recently-reviewed Pym, the eye-opening if not slightly horrifying Tiger Tiger, The Company We Keep, and Let the Great World Spin.

And if you're a FB fan, you get these little book excerpts once a day or so. Truthfully these make my day. Fan them!

-- Lauren William

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Check It. 'Moonwalking with Einstein'.


While perusing the New York Times this morning, I found an excellent book review of Joshua Foer's (brother of Jonathan Safran Foer) latest: a reflection on our collective loss of memory.

Foer's "Moonwalking with Einstein" stems from a 2006 article he wrote for Slate.com. According to NYT, in this book Foer like Malcolm Gladwell makes scientific concepts tangible and easy to read, which I definitely believe.

With his smart, but conversational tone and powerful storytelling I can only imagine this is going to be another hit.

-- Lauren Williams

*An earlier version of this post mistakenly attributed the "Einstein" to Jonathan Safran Foer. Thanks for the heads up, readers!

Eat Out. Free Golden Treasure Shrimp at Panda Express.

If you've already given in to eating at Panda Express, you really can't beat the orange chicken. But Chinese fast food place has still got to try and entice you with new flavors and choices.

Hence, the new Golden Treasure Shrimp. It's tempura shrimp and bell peppers doused in a citrus sauce -- basically just another indulgent Chinese food dish. But here's the real incentive: you can try it out for free! Hit up the Panda Express Facebook page and click through to get your coupon for the one-day only special tomorrow. Happy free eating!

-- Chau Tu

Advance Notice. Railroad Revival Tour.

If you're not going to make it to Coachella 2011 but you're itching for a fun concert experience, check out the Railroad Revival Tour when it stops in San Pedro, Calif. on April 22.

Mumford & Sons (a recent radio favorite), Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, and Old Crow Medicine Show (who are fantastic live) will tour the American Southwest over the course of a week, playing six outdoor shows, and traveling exclusively in vintage railcars.

Presale begins today at 9:00 a.m., and tickets are officially on sale March 9 at 9:00 a.m. through Front Gate Tickets.

April 22. Tickets $55-150. Ports O'Call Village, Berth 76 - Nagoya Way, San Pedro, Calif.

-- Leslie Anne Wiggins

Photo credit: clashmusic.com


Monday, March 7, 2011

Advance Notice. Andre Dubus III to present Townie at Book Soup.

"Townie” is a better, harder book than anything the younger Mr. Dubus has yet written; it pays off on every bet that’s been placed on him. It’s a sleek muscle car of a memoir that — until it loses traction in clichés about redemption at its very end — growls like an amalgam of the best work by Richard Price, Stephen King, Ron Kovic, Breece D’J Pancake and Dennis Lehane, set to the desolate thumping of Bruce Springsteen’s “Darkness on the Edge of Town.” It could become, and I mean this fondly, one hell of a Ben Affleck movie." How's that for an endorsement? Dwight Garner's words from the New York Times.

Between my Irish heritage, my college visits to BU to see my best friend, and my two trips to Lowell, Mass. in the summer of 2009 to see my boyfriend when he was working on The Fighter, I have a major soft spot for Beantown (and its surroundings). I also love a good memoir.

Author Andre Dubus III will be at Book Soup next week to present and sign Townie. I'd order it on Amazon right now if I wasn't so interested in what he'll have to say (and I really want a signed copy).

March 14 at 7:00 p.m. event free. book is $25.95.

Book Soup is located at 8818 Sunset Boulevard in West Hollywood. Info: booksoup.com, (310) 659-3110.

-- Leslie Anne Wiggins

Photo credit: Jake Guevara / The New York Times







Check It. Treme.

If you were one of the many obsessed fans of The Wire, then you have to check out Treme the latest socially-conscious show created by the same genius minds who made The Wire.

Set in New Orleans one month after the hurricane, the show follows the stories of fictitious characters as they try to rebuild their lives and city.

Not nearly all dark and gloomy, the show is filled with some excellent and funny moments, as well as a few cheesy lines. The show was filmed in New Orleans nearly four years after the Hurricane Katrina/FEMA disaster, and it's amazing to see how unchanged New Orleans is; it certainly makes for a believable backdrop.

There are also some All Star actors on the show including John Goodman, Steve Zahn, Wendell Pierce, Khandi Alexander, and Melissa Leo. They had me at John Goodman.

Treme's second season is coming back on HBO in April, so it's time to catch up or refresh on Season 1.

-- Lauren Williams

Do It. Lykke Li at Amoeba.

Lykke Li's L.A. shows this week at the Wiltern and El Rey went on sale sometime last year and sold out quickly. And this was way before her latest, powerful and beautiful album Wounded Rhymes was even close to leaking (it was officially released last week). But the Swedish beauty is still giving you another chance to see her live.

We told you about the Mondrian Sessions a while back -- and hey! Guess who the special guest this Thursday is (you are probably still be able to RSVP to this, by the way)! -- but if you just can't wait, head on over to Amoeba tonight at 6pm (but you should get there way earlier) and see Lykke do her thing. The new record is darker, more sultry than her debut pop effort, but Lykke says that this is definitely more her style. So get ready to see her rock.

Lykke Li will be performing today at 6pm at Amoeba Music, located at 6400 Sunset Blvd. in Hollywood.

-- Chau Tu

Friday, March 4, 2011

Eat Out. Breakfast burrito at Oaks Gourmet.

This is my new favorite vegetarian breakfast burrito. It is so delicious that after trying it for the first time, I couldn't stop thinking about it, and returned to The Oaks Gourmet less than a week later for another.

Ingredients: three scrambled eggs, artichoke hearts, fontina cheese, roasted peppers, red onion, and cherry tomatoes. Yum!

Whether you're eating there (they have a nice communal table inside, and some counter stools outside), or getting take away, Oaks Gourmet is a really pleasant experience. While waiting for my order, I browsed the shelves of gourmet mustards and jams, as well as their refrigerator section full of specialty beers (including Allagash White).

The Oaks Gourmet is located at 1915 North Bronson Avenue in the Franklin (Avenue) Village area of Hollywood. Info: theoaksgourmet.com, (323) 871-8894

-- Leslie Anne Wiggins

Photo credit: the BEAT

Do It. "Rodarte: States of Matter" at MOCA's Pacific Design Center.

If you caught the Oscars last weekend, you might have heard Best Actress winner Natalie Portman sneak in a thank you to Rodarte. Rodarte, consisting to the two sisters Laura and Kate Mulleavy, designed the gorgeous ballet costumes seen throughout Black Swan (and also Portman's mahogany dress for the night), and are widely considered a great new force in the fashion world. Their designs are often conceptual, sensual and just downright beautiful. It's no wonder that the art world would soon seek them out.

It seems MOCA has gotten to the two first. The museum's Pacific Design Center is presenting Rodarte: States of Matter beginning today, featuring Rodarte's artful works from past runway shows to Black Swan's memorable costumes. It'll be a fascinating sight for those interested in costume design, fashion, and just simple conceptual beauty as a whole.

The official public opening happens tonight at 7pm. You're sure to see some famous faces, especially among the art and fashion worlds (but also probably some film celebs too), and maybe the Rodarte sisters as well. Check out more info here.

Rodarte: States of Matter will be showing until June 5th at the Pacific Design Center, located at 8687 Melrose Ave. in West Hollywood.

-- Chau Tu

Photo credit: AP Photo/Chris Pizzello

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Do It. Quentin Tarantino's March programming at the New Beverly.

A little over a year ago Quentin Tarantino made headlines when he purchased the New Beverly Cinema. A true film aficionado in addition to being a brilliant filmmaker, this move made perfect sense. This month, in celebration of Tarantino's March birthday, he's taken on the theater's programming duties.

The New Beverly is a gem of a revival theater, where I've had the pleasure of seeing everything from The Last Picture Show, to The Killing of a Chinese Bookie, to Brazil on the big screen. It's also just a short walk from Milk.

Some highlights: March 15 is Grindhouse Night (Grindhouse at 7:30 p.m., Machete at 11:00 p.m.), Dazed and Confused on March 18 and 19, and Five Minutes to Live (starring Johnny Cash) on March 24. View the full calendar here.

March 27 (which is his birthday) through the 31st, Kill Bill: The Whole Bloody Affair (a combination of volumes 1 and 2, with some differences from the released volume 1) is on the schedule. It's already sold out, any tickets that become available will be sold standby on a first come, first served basis the night of each show. This is the same print that screened at Cannes in 2006. Its running time is 247 minutes.

In other exciting news: On April 1 and 2, there will be midnight screenings of Pulp Fiction.

Happy Birthday, Q.T.!

The New Beverly is located at 7165 Beverly Boulevard in Los Angeles. General admission $7. Info: newbevcinema.com, (323) 938-4038

-- Leslie Anne Wiggins

Photo credit: fusedfilm.com

Drink It. Old Pasadena Happy Hour Week [Thirsty Thursdays!]

It's a new month -- March, already! Celebrate by heading up to Old Pasadena and partaking in their Happy Hour Week, which includes discounts and specials from up to 20 restaurants and bars around the area.

Think $10 cheese or chocolate fondues with $5 well cocktails at The Melting Pot; $20 pitchers of sangria and $4 Spanish chili cheese fries at Bar Celona; $5 cut rolls at Sushi Roku; $4 mimosas and 20% off all appetizers at POP Champagne and Dessert Bar. And of course, many many more specials. Check them all out here, and enjoy!

Old Pasadena Happy Hour Week lasts until next Tuesday, March 8.

-- Chau Tu

Check It. USB typewriter.



This strange Brazil-like contraption combines the best of both worlds: a vintage typewriter for a keyboard, and modern Mac, PC, iPad screen for a screen. Imagine the beauty of punching away to the click of typewriter keys, but also being able to omit the painful Wite-Out, and careful sentence-by-sentence, word-by-word writing that was synonymous with typewriter writing.

The USB Typewriter came about when inventor Jack Zylkin saw a vintage typewriter on a friend's mantel, and decided to put it to use, according to Nerdist.

They're now available on Etsy.com (I want the Underwood), or you can get fall in love with the typewriter of your choosing and buy the DIY kit.

-- Lauren Williams