Do This Today: Trucks + Beats

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Work has been non-stop, which is why I had to skip a few posts this week. It’s been a lot of work-work-work, lay face down on my bed, work work work, repeat. Tonight if you’re up at 10p head over to North Hollywood for food trucks, dj’s and fun!

Event: Trucks + Beats (link)
Location: 4923 Lankershim Blvd, North Hollywood, CA 91601
Time: Thursday June 12, 2014 10pm
Cost: Free!  The food will cost you, but the fun is free.

The LA Times Festival of Books

I must preface this post by saying that I am sipping on delicious homemade sangria made by my gracious roommate. I will blame all typos on the sangria. Am I drunk blogging? No. Am I happy blogging? Oh yeeeeeah. Well, lets get to it!

I must begin by dedicating this post to my Librarian friend Carrie. On Saturday I attended the LA Times Festival of Books down at USC. I LOVED it. I had many errands to run in the morning, so I didn’t get there until 1:30 (also due to heavy traffic and scrambling for a free parking spot).

I got a parking spot (far away, but it was FREE!) and made my way into campus. I followed the giant crowds until I came upon the food truck line in the photo above. They had Cool Haus Ice Cream and the Fry Smith… two of my favorites. Yet as you can see, the lines were crazy long and I just arrived. Despite my hunger, I passed on the food trucks and wanted to explore the whole event.

Across from the insane food truck lines was the cookbook area. “Talking With My Mouth Full” author Gail Simmons was giving a lecture about her book and answering questions about pans when I walked through. There were vendors/publishers in tents all around the peremeter selling cookbooks. My roommate attended the event and bought the new Trader Joes Skinny Cookbook here.

As much as I like cookbooks, I wanted to attend the 1pm show of “Fresh From Figment” and thought I had missed it. When I saw the stage at the cooking event I realized that all the events were on outdoor stages. I figured I should go check out the Figment show out encase it was still happening, and it was! I got to see the end of the show which included from left to right in the image below: Martin Starr, Michael Ian Black, Michaela Watkins (behind Michael), Andrea Savage, Wendi McLendon-Covy, and Michael Hitchcock. What a line-up on the ETC. stage?! The last 15 minutes (which was all I got to see) was really great and funny. I got to see Michael Ian Black read funny poems that had been submited for the event.

After visiting the ETC stage, I still had SO much more to see. Everywhere I went there were tents with authors signing autographs and crazy lines leading up to them. Who knew LA had so many people interested in books?! It made me smile for humanity.

While exploring I passed this lovely golf cart. Yup, that’s Scooby Doo!

I love that this event encompassed all types of books. Even comic books! There was a section for everyone. Mystery, religion, travel, independent, cooking, children.. I could go on and on. And it’s not like these each had one tent. There were all different courtyards filled with tents on these topics. I can’t stress how massive the Festival of Books was.

Remember when I saw the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle van at work? Well now I’ve seen the Scooby-Doo van! It’s the Mystery Machine! If you know me well, you know I love (to solve) a good mystery. They even had a whole section of tents dedicated to Scooby and other Warner Bros. characters.

I was listening to bands play, when I crossed a courtyard just as John Cusack came up on stage. This was a cool thing to stumble upon. I also have to say, that since it was sponsored by the LA Times, there were LA Times crossword puzzle whiteboards all over USC. I had a lot of fun with this, as I love crosswords.

To sum up the Festival of Books, don’t miss it in 2013! I can’t wait for next years event. I only wish I arrived earlier to have more time there. After I thoroughly explored the event I decided to move across the street to see more of USC.. come back tomorrow for a post about that.

The Brickyard Pub in NoHo

This past Saturday night (after my walks) I made my way over to North Hollywood to visit the new bar Brickyard Pub. This billiards hall was recently re-done and opened under new ownership (I’m pretty sure). This bar has nothing on tap, it’s all beer bottles.. but it’s a zillion bottles. It looks like a Bevmo.

They don’t serve food, but they have visiting food trucks chilling out front so get some yummy nosh and bring it inside to enjoy at one of their long tables. Did I mention this place is pretty giant? The front room has a giant bar in the center and the back room is another giant room filled with billiards tables, and some beer pong tables.

You have to pay to play, but the first 30 minutes of table shuffleboard is free. They have 2 shuffleboard tables, 3 dart boards (it’s like a quarter to play), and zillions of pool tables ($10 per hour, I think).

Last Saturday I was there for a friends birthday gathering. It worked out perfectly with the long picnic tables they have set-up. They don’t serve food, so we were able to bring our own cupcakes to share. It was pretty great. I also ran into a few friends who live in the neighborhood. In fact, I have another birthday gathering there next weekend. I’m excited to go back.

I took the above photo playing shuffleboard. It was awesome. My only negative with this bar is that there isn’t a parking lot, and expect scramble to park in the neighborhoods around North Hollywood or many blocks north at the metro station. Plan accordingly (bring a rape whistle) and carpool.

Follow them on Facebook HERE!

Weekend Guide March 9 + 10 + 11

Hi All! I’ll be hitting the road this weekend for a much needed getaway in the mountains. Expect some wilderness themed posts next week. In the meantime here are the details on things happening around LA this weekend. I’m SUPER jealous I won’t get to partake in these activities, but hopefully you will enjoy them. Lets get into it!

FRIDAY March 9th:

Stop by Art Night Pasadena from 6-9pm on Friday. Expect art, live music, great people watching, and a long list of food trucks. This FREE event involves institutions all over Pasadena and has a FREE shuttle connecting them all. There is even an art night bicycle tour. Follow them on facebook HERE to learn more about this event and their upcoming events.

If you’re not near Pasadena and closer to the West Side, check out Gallery 1988 for a show that combines 2 of my favorite things: art and comedy. Weird Al is hosting the opening of Is This Thing On? which is sponsored by Funny Or Die. I’ve been to this gallery space before and it isn’t huge, so expect a line, but it’s totally worth it. HERE they are on Facebook. Friend them!

SATURDAY March 10th:

Now once you’ve left Gallery 1988.. maybe linger on Melrose and head to the LACMA where anywhere form 2-6am, Michael Heizer’s Levitated Mass will be delivered to the LACMA after it’s road trip around LA. The museum will be closed, but their parking lot will be open and FREE. There will be bathrooms available to vistors waiting to see the rock. There will be a coffee cart and food trucks parked along Wilshire. Check the LACMA’s blog HERE for updates and tweets telling you exactly where the rock is at any moment of the night. It might sound like a waste of time, but if you get a couple friends together and make a night/morning of it, it’ll be a night you never forget.

Once you go home and rest up after a night of rock waiting/watching, hit up Silver Lake Art, Craft and Vintage. It’s the second Saturday of every month, so if you miss this one it will be back. Expect a bunch of food trucks and support local. Why not walk around and explore the neighborhood? Silver Lake is awesome, so buy some unique art and hit up an indie coffee shop. Then find a street that’s new to you and explore.

If you aren’t sick of the LACMA from the night before, come back at 7:30p for their Young Directors Night. This is a chance to watch films from directors around LA, as well as learn from a panel discussion about filmmaking. Tickets for the general public are $30. It’s a bit steep, but if you’re in the production world this event is a great place to meet people and network. Once you’re inside there’s free food, drinks and music. Check out images from past events HERE.

Since it’s the 2nd Saturday of the month, check out the NELA Art Gallery Night in Eagle Rock/ Highland Park. If I weren’t going out of town I would for sure be here. You know what bar/ restaurant is in the neighborhood? The York! Check it out while you pop in and out of art galleries. When I was in the York last week, I swear I saw a flyer advertising The John Corbett Band playing there this weekend. I can’t find ANYTHING online to confirm this, but I know what that flyer said. So go to the York, and if they aren’t there then sit, stay and enjoy the food. If they are there, repeat steps 1 through 3 and add “have an awesome listening experience” as step 4. Plus John Corbett is a hottie, so your eyes will have a great experience too 😉

At 7:30p on Saturday night, Devil’s Night Drive-In is screening Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. There are car-hops delivering food, new astroturf, and walk-in’s and bike in’s welcome. DJ Morgan will be dropping beats before the movie. Tickets are $10 in advance, $12 at the gate. Add this EVENT on facebook.

If you don’t like art, good food, live music, classic films, and appreciate roughhousing (which my blog never provides for you), then you need to pay a visit to the LA Derby Dolls. On Saturday night the LA Derby Dolls and playing the Sand Deigo Durby Dolls in a March Radness Exhibition Bout. Get your tickets HERE. It’s quite an experience. PArking is tricky, so expect to neighborhood surf for a spot (and bring your rape whistle). Derby Doll events are always a good time. I had one bad visit where the spinning, loud noises, and packed crowd made me really nauseous, but in general this is a fun event. Now you can’t say I never blog about sports 🙂

SUNDAY March 11th:

This weekend is the Los Angeles Animation Festival. There are events happening all weekend (see the full schedule HERE). On Sunday at 2pm there is a Shrek Gala Event. At 4pm there’s a screening of A Cat In Paris, which was a 2012 Oscar nominee. At 6pm Sean Lennon is presenting Grave of the Fireflies. At 8pm Tom Kenny (aka the voice of Sponge Bob and an awesome comedian) will host The Tune and an Awards Ceremony. Is that not a day full of fun events? This is all happening at the Regent Showcase on La Brea and you can get tickets online in advance.

Golden Road Brewing is hosting a Beer Festival from 2-5p for $20. I took the above image at Tony’s the other night. Get your tickets HERE! They do brewery tours… just say’in.

I’m pretty sure your weekend just went from empty to jammed packed, because that was a lot of good stuff. Also, if you want Comedy Bang Bang tickets for next Tuesday, click HERE at noon, so any minute now!

The Santa Anita Park (Horse Racing!)

Saddle-in, because the post is a doozie. Get it? Saddle-in, because it’s about horses! At least I make myself laugh.

Last Saturday I joined my friends at the Santa Anita Park (aka horse race track). It was my friend Tom’s 35th birthday gathering and it was a great place to celebrate (if you’re looking for a good adult birthday spot).

The birthday gathering began at noon, although I was delayed because I was trying to find the perfect hat (come’on, it’s horse racing! You HAVE to) and matching my nail polish to my dress (girly, yes but that’s rare for me so Ill allow it). I didn’t have any cash on me, but Im about to go to a gambling free-for-all, so Im sure they have atm’s up the ying-yang.

I finally got out to Santa Anita around 12:45p and was about to make my way in when I realized it was $4 cash up-front to park. I have no cash. I get out of the parking car line, and head into the town of Santa Anita. It’s pretty busy around town so I find a parking spot, I take it, and then use google maps to find my bank. Knowing how bustling it was, I figured I’d walk to the bank as it’s only a few (giant) blocks away. Well, google maps failed me that day as I’m in front of my “bank”, which is a rundown building. Unless I was planning on making a $4 deal with a loan shark in this “bank”, I needed to find another atm. So I walk several (giant) blocks in the other direction, leaving my car where it was parked because I was worried about finding another parking spot. I get to the bank, which really is a bank, to see that’s it’s surrounded by empty parking lots. Great. And the bank also has several drive-through atms, but no regular atms. Double-great. I almost stood in the drive-up atm line when I decided to go inside and found the one walk-up atm buried in the building. I wait in a line, finally get $4 (and a little extra gambling money) and make the long walk back to my car. On the way a homeless guy asked me to marry him because he “loves my Viking blood”. I like a man who knows what he’s looking for, but I had to decline. Off to the races (finally)!

I tell you the above story with one moral in mind: bring $4 with you to the Santa Anita Park. I finally arrived at the park around 2pm, 2 hours late. FRUSTRATION. The other thing that didn’t occur to me is that on a gorgeous Saturday, this place is packed. It’s an adult Disneyland. I park on what must have been the outskirts of LA County, and make the 3 hour journey to the entrance. I’m only exaggerating a little.

Once I get to the entrance gates, they have different levels of tickets. I buy the cheapest one, obviously, for $5 and enter the park. A few minutes later I get a text saying “get the $8 ticket so you can sit with us”. Once you’re past the gates, there’s nowhere to upgrade. This would be my second fail of the day.

I make my way to the race track stands and convince an adorable 80+ year old VIP section bouncer that I’m willing to pay to upgrade my ticket, but I don’t know where to do it. He says “whatever, go in”. I’m IN!! My group finds me and we have great seats right along the track. I highly recommend the $8 seats, if you can afford the three extra dollars. We had plenty of space to spread out and could stand along the fence to get the best view if we wanted. This is when my friend Michelle handed me a beer for all my troubles, I put my feet up, and took some photos. I hope you enjoy:

As a vegetarian and animal lover, I thought the horse racetrack would be depressing, but I was really impressed with it all. The jockeys weren’t beating the horses. The races were really quick and they didn’t have the horses run in multiple races (from what I could tell). They even bring all the horses around a loop near the entrance to the race so that people can see what they’re betting on. Although it was mostly for kids to pet the horses and take pictures with them. I was shocked at how nonviolent it was and the horses even looked prideful (yes, I am a horse-whisperer now).

I thought the above dog was the dog in The Artist. I’m also an idiot. He was just your run-of-the-mill rich dog.

Here’s how it all worked. They would bring the horses for the next race out for a walk around the entrance loop (which I described above). This would take some time and allow people time to make bets. There must have been 30+ minutes between races so people could make their bets. When you arrive you have to buy a $2 (?) book which is your guide to the races of the day. Without this guide, you can’t really make bets. The book tells you all the stats, names of the horses, info about the Jockeys, and any info you need to understand what you are gambling on. Once you read up about the next race, then go see the horses, you should have enough info to place your bets. There are all sorts of types of bets (that I won’t get into because I don’t understand them). Then you take your seats and wait for the race to start, while everyone discuses who they want to win. Or you are like me, don’t bet, pick the horse with the coolest name and root for that one. Then the race happens, you collect your money if you’re lucky and then the cycle starts all over again. It probably sounds like a lot of waiting for a 30 second race, which it is, but if the weather is nice it’s so relaxing to layout with friends and join in the anticipation of the races.

The people who where outside were there to relax, place some bets and enjoy the day. On the inside of the building that surrounds the stands, there were big windowless rooms where the “hardcore” gamblers were stationed. This was like being on the floor of Wall Street, with people yelling at tvs. They were inside to be close to where they could bet, but it was dark, dank and a little smelly. This room was the definition of a gambling problem. This was the dark side of the racetrack.

On the weekends they have food trucks on the other side of the track. You take an underground tunnel and come out to a zillion food trucks. I got some fish tacos and truffle fries (omg so good).

When we made our way back to our seats, I decided that I needed to make one bet. A $2 bet to be exact (the lowest they let you bet). I picked Cat Talk to win, so I was instructed by the birthday boy to say “$2 on 2” at the betting station. I got my ticket and waited in anticipation.

As you can imagine, Cat Talk didn’t win. And if he had won, I probably would have won ten cents and a wish because I placed such a low bet. I’m glad I participated though, because it was fun to join in the cheering as I had $2 on the line.

The rhythm of the races made the day fly by, and before I knew it, it was time to go. The above picture shows a part of the loop where they show off the horses. These horses are all next up to run. We said goodbye to some of our friends and started the three-day journey to our cars. The birthday celebration continued as we made our way to Highland Park’s, York bar and restaurant. A post about The York is up next!

Weekend Guide March 2 + 3 + 4

ACK! Another crazy work day. Okay, fastest weekend guide ever. I’m sorry, but if it’s any consolation, next weekend there are a TON of cool things going on and I can’t wait to tell you about those next Friday. Any who, this weekend comes first. Here it is!

FRIDAY March 2nd:

Today is First Friday’s in Venice, which means Abbot Kinney is going to be CRAZY. Go check it out and get something small from every food truck (there will be tons of them). This is one of those very LA events, so if you have guests in town you should go.

My only other Friday night activity, is a new show added to the Upright Citizens Brigade line-up called Set List. Paul F. Tompins, Kumail Nanjiani, Matt Besser and Jake Johannsen are in this improv show. It says online that the show is sold out, but I know they let people in from an extensive waiting list. It should be worth the wait! It’s $10 and starts at 8pm.

SUNDAY MArch 3rd:

From 12-4pm, the Pasadena Museum of Art is having their Art as an Appetizer event (part of Pacific Standard Time event). The food truck roster is Border Grill, Casablanca Truck, Flat Iron Truck, Gourmet Genie, and GO CHEW.

This weekend (and next weekend) Dana Point is celebrating the 41st Annual Dana Point Festival of Whales. There are all sorts of events where you learn about animals, whale watch, even a parade. The video below talks about all that this has to offer. It sounds awesome, and if the weather is beautiful (per usual) you should make a day of it and hit the beach.

SUNDAY March 4th:

If you don’t want to check out the Dana Point Festival of Whales on Sunday, visit the Hammer Museum at 11am for their showing of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. This black and white film was made in 1972 and still holds up over time.

From 11am-2pm, join the Silver Lake community for the opening of Sunset Triangle Plaza. Come check out this new outdoor space and get some vitamin d. While you’re there, stop by the independent shops and support locals!

Check out the opening of Umamicatessen this weekend downtown. If you like Umami Burger (which most people do), youll love their new deli/bar experience. It’s garunteed to be packed and delicious.

Okay I’m off. Enjoy!

The Weekend Guide Jan. 20 + 21 + 22 (+23)

Are you ready for the weekend? Rumor has it it’s going to be rainy on Saturday so check out the events below for some indoor fun. And because I love you, I’ve included some cool Monday night events too.

Friday 1/20:

From 5-8p tonight there is a food truck event, NoHo Dine Friday Night Out. This event includes 8-10 gourmet food trucks, 8-10 booth vendors, and street musicians. Why not check it out and then walk over to The Federal and enjoy the night out on the patio? The Federal has the Rebels of Comedy stand up show at 7:30p (get tickets HERE) and DJ Trinidad is mixing on the turntables at 9pm.

The Pacific Standard Time Festival is happening from Jan 19-29th, so if you can’t make it tonight, you have a few more chances. HERE is a guide to all the events and what the festival is about. Tonight at 7pm Hirokazu Kosaka’s installation at the Getty Center’s Arrival Plaza is being unveiled as well as a sculptural performance. This is sure to be a cool event as The Getty Center also has a “LA Free Music Society” event. From 8pm-2am tonight, Liz Glynn is having a (free!) Black Box reception at 830 North Highland Ave. This event will go on each night of the festival (Jan 19-29) and will feature different surprise performances each night.

If you find yourself bored on the west side, visit Santa Monica for their Art Los Angeles Contemporary exhibit/event happening all weekend. Tonight at 6pm Superdeluxe is happening at the ALAC Music Space, Barker Hangar at the Santa Monica Airport. Superdeluxe is an experimental hip-hop group featuring Michah James and Frohawk Two-Feathers.

Saturday 1/21:

The Independent Shakespeare Company has resurrected their past summer performance of Hamlet (due to it’s success) and adapted it for their Atwater studio space. It opens this Saturday with a 5pm performace. Tickets are $20, although I’m sure if you “like” them on facebook you can get discounts to upcoming performances.

Does none of this appeal to you and you need some indoor fun on this rainy Saturday? Why not check out the newly opened Punk Rock Museum and eat at the Homegirls Cafe? Or hit up the Moonlight Rollerway on San Fernando and then stop by the neighboring Golden Road Brewing Pub for some of those yummy risotto fritters?

Sunday 1/22:

This weekend MOCA is having their Affordable Art Fair on the event deck of LA Live, downtown. Art ranges in price from $100- $10,000. Tickets are $20 each (and you can get them HERE), but this is a steal if you end up leaving with an $100 piece of art that is worth much more. On Sunday it will be open 11am-6pm, and as it is the last day of the event so maybe they’ll be a little more desperate and prices with be on clearance? Who knows, but if you’re in the market for some new art, check it out.

Chinatown is having their Year of the Dragon celebration with a Midnight Temple Ceremony (10p-12am) at the Chuan Thien Hau Temple in Chinatown. The event is free and in celebration of the Chinese New Year’s Day (1/23/12). There are a ton of fun restaurants and bars in Chinatown and I’m sure Sunday night will be hopping. Try a new restaurant and then head over to the Temple for a great photo taking opportunity, as fire crackers are lit in celebration.

And now, because I love you….
SPECIAL EDITION Monday 1/23:

From 2-5:30p on Monday, Whole Foods Market in Beverly Hills will be having their Health and Beauty Day. Vendors and specialists will be in the store to answer questions and FABIO (!!!) will be there selling his protein powder. Buy a jar of his powder and get a picture with him. This is FABIO people?!

For you comedy nerds (like myself), Chris Harwick (of the Nerdist podcast) will be having his Book Release Event: A Celebration of The Nerdist Way. It starts at 7:30p with a signing and party at 8:15 at Meltdown Comics on Sunset. The event will be moderated by Wil Wheaton and should be awesome. RSVP on the link above and GO TO THIS.