Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Advance Notice. Hero Complex Film Festival.

Ah, summer: the season of the movie blockbuster. But forget your Green Lanterns and Transformers, let's talk about the classics.

Think Superman, Star Trek, Iron Man. Throw in some Dick Tracy, and now you've got a film festival -- as in the second annual Los Angeles Times Hero Complex film festival, happening June 9-12. The paper's own superhero-comic-specialist-columnist Geoff Boucher will be hosting all the events, which will comprise of the above mentioned screenings coupled with Q&As with some greats, including Warren Beatty, Jon Favreau, Richard Donner and more. There's even a reported extra special message coming about the DC Universe with the screenings of the Superman movies.

Get your tickets now (single and festival tickets still available) and enjoy the true classic superhero.

The Los Angeles Times Hero Complex Film Festival takes place June 9-12 at the Grauman's Chinese Theater, located at 6801 Hollywood Blvd. in Hollywood.

--Chau Tu

Monday, May 30, 2011

Etc. Happy Memorial Day.

Happy Memorial Day, readers!

Enjoy the day off, and remember all the men and women whose bravery has kept us safe and free.

A very American way to celebrate: a burger, a summer brew, and some Old-Fashioned Mixed-Apple Pie (can't go wrong with baked goods by Dorie Greenspan).

-- the BEAT

Photo credit:

Friday, May 27, 2011

The monthly BEAT: Pasadena. Make Music Pasadena.

All month in our new neighborhood series the monthly BEAT, we've been focusing on some spots special to Pasadena. Now I've got a reason for you to come back to the area later.

June 18th, to be specific. That's the date for Make Music Pasadena, a free music festival set right in the heart of the city. The festival is relatively new, but this year is already boasting a huge and awesome lineup, including Best Coast, Ra Ra Riot, The Morning Benders, Kisses, Zola Jesus, and much much more. And did I mention that it's all free??

Seriously too good to pass up. The bands will be spread out across different stages around the area, outside restaurants and stores, so this'll be the perfect chance to check out 21 Choices or the PMCAor all the other wonderful Pasadena wonders. Oh, and the great music on hand too. Happy Pasadena-ing!

Get more info onMake Music Pasadena here.

--Chau Tu

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Drink It. Stark Bar at LACMA [Thirsty Thursdays!].

Ever since Chris Burden's "Urban Light" piece was installed, LACMA's become a great spot to see and visit at night. But there's never been any other real reason to come at that time. Until recently, that is. The museum recently celebrated the opening of a new wing along with the opening of Ray's restaurant and the Stark Bar. Having found ourselves in the neighborhood for the night, D and I stopped in for a nightcap at the Stark Bar and were very pleasantly surprised.

Stark Bar is located right behind the light installation, which provided a nice backdrop to the outdoor space. And with fun comfortable seating at the bar and at tables just beyond, as well as a funky video piece repeating on the TV screens, you're always reminded that you're at a museum -- which I thought was pretty cool. Stark keeps the menu simple and easy (Ray's undertakes the fancier and bigger meals), with cocktails, wine and a small plates menu. We stuck with just the cheese plate, which had great flavors, but the flatbreads our neighbors were having looked quite delicious too. My highlight, though, was definitely the cocktail: the Ray's Swizzle (seen above, with a glass of red wine) was a mixture of rum, lime juice, pineapple syrup, blackberry and orange, and absolutely delightful. Just the right amount of sweetness and alcohol. Plus, the service -- the restaurant and bar are part of the well-respected Patina Group -- was great too.

So if you're ever in the mood for art and cocktails, you really can't beat Stark Bar. But I would go so far that it's worth visiting anytime. And you can't forgo a picture with the lights.

And on a special note: the bar is having a Taste of Stark Bar special going until May 31, where you can have wine for $5, cocktails for $6, and a flatbread and Copper Hook beer for $12, on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 4-6:30pm. And don't forget that the Tim Burton exhibit is set to open this weekend! Enjoy!

Stark Bar is located at LACMA, at 5905 Wilshire Blvd. in Miracle Mile.

--Chau Tu

Photo credit: the BEAT

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Do It. The Hangover Part II.

For everyone who laughed all through the misadventures of Phil, Stu, Alan, and Doug in the summer of 2009, the sequel is out tonight. This time they're in Thailand, and so far I'm hearing all good things.

The Hangover Part II is out at midnight.

As always, drinks (but not too many!) at the Hungry Cat Hollywood are recommended if you're going to the ArcLight.

ArcLight Hollywood has 12:01 a.m. and 12:05 a.m. screenings.

-- Leslie Anne Wiggins

Photo credit: Warner Bros.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Do It. Mandy Ingber at Whole Foods Pasadena.

Mandy Ingber will be at the Arroyo Parkway Whole Foods in Pasadena tonight for a lecture and Yogalosophy DVD signing. Even if you're not interested in purchasing a DVD, show up to listen to what the renowned fitness guru has to say, and bring questions!

Jennifer Aniston, widely admired for having one of Hollywood's hottest bodies, is a longtime devotee of Ingber's yoga practice.

Time & location: May 24 at 6:30 p.m., 465 South Arroyo Parkway in Pasadena.
RSVP to, subject line "RSVP for Mandy Ingber Event".

-- Leslie Anne Wiggins

Photo credit:

Monday, May 23, 2011

Do It. 'Back to the Future' at Big Bar.

We here at the BEAT are big fans of Alcove Cafe and its new sister bar, Big Bar. But if you somehow haven't gotten a chance to visit the beautiful outdoor restaurant and enjoyed some of the new fancy concoctions they're putting together there, you've now got a pretty great excuse.

That would be Big Bar's first-ever outdoor movie screening, featuring none other than Marty McFly and the Delorean in Back to the Future. Yep, they'll be draping a huge 12-foot screen over the garden patio and letting everyone enjoy the outdoors with special cocktails on the menu. And if you come dressed up as your favorite character, there's a chance for a huge prize.

Summer's officially getting kicked off this weekend, so why not celebrate early with this fun outdoor screening? Show up early (there are no reservations being made for movie seating), and you can enjoy some happy hour specials too.

Walk-In Theatre Night Under the Stars with Back to the Future is happening tonight at 8pm at Big Bar, located at 1927 Hillhurst Ave. in Los Feliz.

--Chau Tu

Saturday, May 21, 2011

The Monthly BEAT: Pasadena. 21 Choices.

A delicious frozen yogurt is a great afternoon treat, and/or perfect for a nighttime stroll. Old Pasadena's Colorado Boulevard is a beautiful street for a drink, dinner, and window shopping--especially with some fro yo in hand.

The options are endless at 21 Choices--it's like Cold Stone Creamery but with frozen yogurt, so any flavor can be combined with any toppings (and they have a TON) and it's all mixed together to make your own unique (or not so unique, just make it chocolate chip, if that's your style) dessert.


21 Choices is located at 85 West Colorado Boulevard in Pasadena. Info: (626) 304-9521

-- Leslie Anne Wiggins

Photo credit:

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Check It. Midnight in Paris.

If you like Woody Allen films, do yourself a favor and run to the nearest theater to see Midnight in Paris this weekend.

The opening is, like many Allen films, a love letter to a city--in this case, Paris. The Eiffel Tower, the Champs-Élysées, the Arc de Triomphe, sidewalk cafés, etc. His vision, captured by Cinematographer Darius Khondji, is truly beautiful. Allen says he would live in Paris if he didn't live in New York.

He first came up with the title, which he thought was "very romantic", and went from there, thinking, "What goes on at midnight in Paris?".

Owen Wilson is perfect as Gil, a Hollywood screenwriter who's thinking he might prefer a simpler life in Paris writing novels. While there with his fiancée, Inez (Rachel McAdams), and her parents, he has some magical adventures at the midnight hour. I don't want to reveal much more, because it will be much more fun to see for yourself.

Other stars in the film include Marion Cotillard, Kathy Bates, Adrien Brody, Michael Sheen, and France's First Lady, Carla Bruni.

This is a real Woody Allen gem, and I'm already looking forward to watching it over and over again.

Other favorites:

Annie Hall (of course)

Midnight in Paris opens tomorrow, Friday May 20, in Los Angeles and New York.

-- Leslie Anne Wiggins

Photo credits: Sony Pictures Classics

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Do It. Mondrian Sessions at Skybar.

We've written about the excellent concert series put on by IAMSOUND Records at the Skybar at the Mondrian Hotel in the past. And if you missed such excellent acts like Jens Lekman and Lykke Li perform intimate sets at a location that is L.A. to its core (plus, can you beat that view?), you've got yet another chance.

The spring series of the Mondrian Sessions is about to begin. Light Asylum kicks it off tomorrow with a set at 8pm. Then look out for performances from buzzworthy acts like Cults and Dirty Beaches.

It's all free, but you have to RSVP, and you should do it early, as these events are rightfully popular and fill up. RSVP doesn't guarantee your entry, either, so make sure you show up early. Check the Mondrian's Facebook page for likely more band announcements soon.

Mondrian Sessions will be taking place at Skybar at the Mondrian Hotel, located at 8440 Sunset Blvd. in Hollywood.

-- Chau Tu

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Check It. Pabst Brewing Company moving to L.A.

Over the weekend, the Los Angeles Times reported that Pabst Brewing Company (since 1844) is moving their headquarters from the Chicago suburb of Woodridge, Ill. to Los Angeles this summer. Welcome to the neighborhood, and cheers!

A few favorite L.A. places to drink PBR:

The Hungry Cat (shown above), where the budget beer is served in a brown bag with ice, alongside fresh fancy cocktails like my favorite, their greyhound proper

Cha Cha Lounge (I love anyplace with a photo booth)

The White Horse Inn (just the kind of place where a PBR is the right order)

-- Leslie Anne Wiggins

Photo credit:

Monday, May 16, 2011

Check It. Byliner.

I read a really great piece this weekend in the L.A. Times, about the future of journalism. It seems, in fact, that it may be able to find new life in this digital age.

It will be greatly helped by the efforts of ambitious and passionate ventures such as Byliner. The digital-only publisher is devoted to bringing long-form pieces of journalism into the new age by enlisting well-respected writers and creating inventive, interactive packages to complement stories. Byliner's newest offering, for example, is a piece by William T. Vollmann on the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan. The piece is all the great writing one would expect from Vollmann, without any page or word limits, and with intense attention to aesthetic appeal.

It's exactly the sort of product that shows how great journalism can still be, and can be for the future. Check it out, it's sure to be an inspiring way to start your week.

William T. Vollmann's "Into the Forbidden Zone" is available on the Kindle and the iPad for $2.99.

-- Chau Tu

Friday, May 13, 2011

The monthly BEAT: Pasadena. Pasadena Museum of California Art.

Today, we continue our new end-of-the-week series, the monthly BEAT, where we focus on one specific area of Los Angeles for one month.

To me, there's just something so inherently Californian about Pasadena. Maybe it's the Rose Parade and Rose Bowl, or the carefully tended-to tree-lined streets, but the town just seems to embodies all the old-school perfection that California's supposed to be famous for.

And that's why it's perfect that it's home to a museum of California art. The Pasadena Museum of California Art doesn't quite have the name recognition or star power of LACMA or MOCA, but in staying true to its Californian roots, can often house some pretty great, underrated exhibits.

This month boasts a great example: PMCA will be reopening Sunday, May 15 with three new exhibits focused on local contemporary art. In coincidental timing with MOCA's Art in the Streets, PMCA's got Street Cred: Graffiti Art from Concrete to Canvas, which boasts its own street art stars and works like DASH 2000, REVOK and MAN ONE. (And hey, street art's all about real locality, right?) Then there's Getting Upper: Graphic Designers and Artists Reconsider the Alphabet, which "charged curator Amos Klausner charged 26 designers with re-imagining a letter from the alphabet, using the illegibility and deconstructive nature of graffiti as their starting point." The results already look like a lot of fun. And then there's the work of the Clayton Brothers, one of which is seen above, and will be their first major exhibit. Brothers Rob and Christian also take influence from graffiti, as well as California skateboard and surf culture, and punk rock, to create contemporary characters.

Who knew Pasadena could have so much edge? I should have known -- it's just acting like a true Californian.

The Pasadena Museum of California Art reopens this Sunday and is located at 490 East Union St. in Pasadena.

-- Chau Tu

Photo credit:
Patient-Girl (from the series Patient), 2007, mixed media on canvas, 40 x 30 inches, Collection of Gary Baseman.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Advance Notice. Paul Theroux at Book Soup.

Renowned travel writer and novelist Paul Theroux is going to be at Book Soup next Tuesday night to discuss and sign The Tao of Travel: Enlightenments from Lives on the Road.

Also well worth checking out, perhaps his most famous work--The Great Railway Bazaar, which I'm going to buy for a long train ride I have coming up!

Tuesday May 17 at 7:00 p.m.

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

-- Leslie Anne Wiggins

Photo credit:

Advance Notice. Savor Los Angeles: Pairings.

Peanut butter and jelly. Chocolate and strawberries. Wine and cheese. There's nothing quite like a good food pairing. And that is the BFF theme of next month's Savor Los Angeles event, where chefs from favorite L.A. restaurants will be presenting their own bites and versions of all those beloved pairings. And hey, you get the chance to taste them!

It's all taking place on Thursday, June 2nd at Siren Studios Orange in West Hollywood. Savor Los Angeles, Pairings! is celebrating Best Friends Foods (get it??) edition will feature goodies from restaurants like Malo/Mas Malo, Starry Kitchen, Reservoir, The Farm of Beverly Hills and more, with beverages provided by Veev acai and Duvel Belgian beer. The special event isn't free, but proceeds from your $55 will go to CoachArt, which provides free and personal lessons in arts and athletics to children and adolescents with life-threatening illnesses. So not only will you be eating amazing, probably once-in-a-lifetime cuisine, you'll be doing some good at the same time. It's early, but buy your tickets now because the intimate event will surely sell out.

Savor Los Angeles: Pairings! takes place on June 2nd at Siren Studios Orange, located at 1050 N. Orange Dr. in West Hollywood.

-- Chau Tu

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Check It. Tazo Zen tea.

Green tea is often touted as a healthy alternative to coffee--but I find it difficult to choose green tea over coffee.

After a long and emotional weekend, I found myself at LAX early Monday morning about to board a cross-country flight. And in a long line at the airport Starbucks. I was majorly sleep-deprived and needed revitalization, but somehow didn't see relief coming from a strong and steamy Americano. I opted for a Venti Iced Green Tea (they use Tazo's "Zen" green tea). Wow. It was so refreshing and delicious, I made involuntarily "yum" noises. Slight hints of lemon, and the use of spearmint leaves, make all the difference in this outstanding green tea.

-- Leslie Anne Wiggins

Photo credit:

Monday, May 9, 2011

Do It. The Elemental Cinema of Terrence Malick at LACMA.

One of my most anticipated films of this year has got to be Tree of Life, the new film starring Brad Pitt and Sean Penn and directed by Terrence Malick. It already looks to be just another classic Malick film -- gorgeously crafted, beautifully acted and just a masterful film to experience. Malick's become infamous for his long breaks between films, and it's been six years now, but it's pretty evident that the wait will be worth it.

Tree of Life
will be released on May 27th, but in great anticipation, LACMA will be celebrating Malick's work up until then with screenings of all his major past films. Yep, all of them: Badlands, Days of Heaven, The Thin Red Line and The New World. These films, vivid and scenic and atmospheric, were made for the big screen. Do them the justice and see these movies, and get excited about the return of Terrence Malick.

The Elemental Cinema of Terrence Malick takes place from May 12 to May 20 at LACMA, located at 5905 Wilshire Blvd. in Mid-City. Tickets are $10 for each film. Check out the schedule here and buy your tickets now -- they will sell out.

-- Chau Tu

Photo credit: DVD Beaver

Saturday, May 7, 2011

The monthly BEAT: Pasadena. Rose Bowl Flea Market.

Starting this weekend, the BEAT will focus on a specific area around Los Angeles for end-of-week posts through the month.

We're starting the series with Pasadena for May, and recommending the Rose Bowl Flea Market as a Sunday morning activity tomorrow. Bring your mother, or pick up a last-minute one-of-a-kind thoughtful gift for her there (tomorrow is Mother's Day!).


Start your morning with great coffee

Arrive early (before 8:oo a.m.) General admission begins at 9:00, but for just $2 more ($10 vs. $8), there is express admission from 8:00 a.m. till 9:00 a.m.--well worth it when 15,000 to 20,000 people are involved.

Bring cash (not only for the $10 express admission, but for the goods!)

Be selective (so you don't end up with a house full of junk)

Have fun!

Sunday May 8 from 5:30 a.m. (special preview VIP admission for $20) till 4:30 p.m.


-- Leslie Anne Wiggins

Photo credit:

Friday, May 6, 2011

Do It. Manhattan at the New Beverly.

Woody Allen Friday and Saturday night at Quentin Tarantino's New Beverly Cinema!

Manhattan (1979) at 9:25 tonight, and 5:35 and 9:25 tomorrow (Saturday) night. Great date movie.

Annie Hall (1977, also fantastic) is playing at the New Beverly this weekend as well.

-- Leslie Anne Wiggins

Photo credit:

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Etc. Celebrate Cinco de Mayo.

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

Some celebration suggestions:

Chilaquiles for breakfast

El Carmen, your home bar, or just pick up a bottle of Skinnygirl for a margarita

El Cholo (Western Avenue or Santa Monica locations) or Lares for dinner

-- Leslie Anne Wiggins

Photo credit: USPS

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Do It. Elizabeth Taylor tribute at the Egyptian.

It was truly sad to hear of the passing of Hollywood legend Elizabeth Taylor just a few weeks back. But now it's time to honor her in the best way we could: rewatching her magic on the big screen.

Beginning tomorrow, the American Cinematheque will be holding "Lovely Tumult: A Tribute to Elizabeth Taylor" at the Egyptian. Watch for screenings of all of Taylor's best works, from A Place in the Sun to Cat on a Hot Tin Roof to, of course, Cleopatra.

Additionally, ticket buyers will be eligible to enter a drawing for a free DVD box set of Elizabeth Taylor classics, and all will receive $2 off admission to the nearby Hollywood Museum, where a current exhibition houses Taylor’s gold throne and palace ornaments from Cleopatra, and her blue one-shoulder gown and cape and her hat from National Velvet, among other treasures.

Relive your favorite, or watch them all for the first time -- and honor a true legend.

"Lovely Tumult: A Tribute to Elizabeth Taylor" takes place beginning Thursday, May 5 until Saturday, May 15 at the Egyptian Theatre, located at 6712 Hollywood Blvd. in Hollywood. Each screening is $11 each. Check showtimes here.

-- Chau Tu

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Do It. "Pretty in Pink" at L.A. Live.

Former Two and a Half Men star Jon Cryer may be out of a job these days, but let's not forget where he first got his start -- and one of my favorite film characters of all time -- Duckie in the '80s classic Pretty in Pink.

Did you forget about Duckie's awesome style and amazing dance moves? I'll forgive you, but only because it's been 25 years. And don't you know it -- in honor of that 25th anniversary, the always-great Los Angeles Film Festival is screening Pretty in Pink for free tonight at L.A. Live. So time to refresh your memory -- and hey, Jon Cryer is even going to show up with a Q&A with director Howard Deutch. And if you show up in '80s attire, you'll even get two vouchers for the L.A. Film Fest! Just, uh, try to avoid remaking Annie's diasater of a dress?

I'm off like a dirty shirt!

Pretty in Pink screens tonight at 7pm at Nokia Plaza at L.A. Live, located at 777 Chick Hearn Court in downtown. There'll also be a pink beer and wine garden opening at 5pm.

-- Chau Tu

Monday, May 2, 2011

Check It. Southern Biscuits.

Nathalie Dupree and Cynthia Graubart's new cookbook, Southern Biscuits, is out just in time for strawberry season. Strawberry shortcake is definitely a favorite spring/summer dessert, and fluffy fresh biscuits make all the difference.

In this gorgeous southern cookbook, chapters include Easy Biscuits, Traditional Biscuits, Embellished Biscuits, and even a condiment chapter, "Gilding the Lily", that has recipes for citrus butter, fig jam filling, and sausage-bacon gravy, among others.

-- Leslie Anne Wiggins

Photo credit: