Weekend Guide October 12 + 13 + 14

Due to a bad/spotty internet and a rushed day at work, I’m going to have to give you the abbreviated version of the Weekend Guide. Sorry bout that, but there are some gems!

The weekend is the LA Podcasting Festival downtown. If you are like me and love podcasts (specifically the comedy ‘casts) come check out this event and meet the faces behind the voices. It’s all weekend, so check the schedule to see your favs.

Tonight there is an outdoor Grand Park movie screening of The Goonies with festivities starting at 5:30p. Pack up a picnic, hop on the metro and head downtown to watch this classic film. Over on the west side? Check out the Santa Monica’s Pier screening of Exit Through The Gift Shop.

Jesse Miller’s Talk Show is tonight at the Improv Lab, with special guest Martin Starr (Freaks and Geeks) and lots more. You’ll have fun and it’s only $5.

Do you have Space Shuttle fever? If you missed it flying across LA, don’t miss your chance to see it driven to it’s final resting spot at the California Science Center.

The OohLaLa Festival is happening this weekend around Los Angeles. This festival is a showcase of French bands playing all around LA. Check HERE for the schdule. At least if you can’t make any of the shows you can find them on itunes and get cultured. Oui Oui!

If you’ve never been to the Walt Disney Music Hall (like me), then their “Where The Wild Things” event this weekend might be the perfect opportunity to experience the LA Philharmonic. Tickets range for $18-$180, and check here for availability.

On Sunday from 11a -5pm the LA Antiques, Art and Design Show is happening at the Santa Monica Hangar. It’s a bit pricy ($20) but you’re supporting the arts and hopefully getting inspired.

Sunday night at El Cid is a new comedy show called “El Show!”. It’s a $10 suggested donation (it goes to the Livestrong Foundation), tons of comedians including the NYC based Dan Mintz, Trevor Moore, Eric Andrea, Kyle Mooney, Jon Dore… basically, you need to be there.

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.

Sushi Taiyo, The InstaGrammys and The Dresden

Can you tell by the title that my Friday night was pretty sweet? In fact, my whole weekend was pretty amazing, but you’ll hear more about that later. Baby steps. Lets start with Friday.

I had a crazy busy day at work, as you know, but was releaved to get out of work and head just a few blocks north to the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre to see their InstaGrammys show. I met my sister early to grab a bite of sushi at Sushi Taiyo, which is right next the the theater.

We ended up ordering two premium rolls and one salmon roll, which was a great amount for 2. The food was yummy and quickly prepared which meant we didn’t need to rush to eat (as we had to get in line for our UCB show by 7:30). It’s a tad pricier than our usual sushi joint (Octopus), but the food was good and it was the first time my sister has ever been. The ambiance is cool, and they have some booths that have doors that slide shut for the ultimate in private dining.

After dinner we jumped into line and got great seats at UCB for their 8pm show, the InstaGrammys. One thing about the line at UCB is that you get to see all the comedians showing up for the show, since they all enter the same door the guests do. We stood there for about 30 minutes and I saw a ton of comedians, some of which were apart of the show and others who came just to hang out with their friends. As a comedy nerd, I thoroughly enjoy people/comedian watching along the sidewalk while waiting. Derek Waters hosted the hour long event, which featured many special guests, live music, tons of funny videos, awards and even a lifetime achievement award all centered around the photo-sharing site, Instagram.

John Daly and Brett Gelman gave out the first award, to photographer Robin Van Swank (who is living my dream life by the way). She is a photographer who is in on the indie comedy scene and often does photography for all their parties, events, TV Shows, book covers, posters, cd covers, etc. Basically, if a comedian wants a photo they come to her and therefore she hangs out with some seriously funny people.

After the first award, Martin Starr and Kulap Vilaysack came out to introduce an award that would be given to an audience member. The challenge was that the audience needed to take a cell photo of the band Islands (which performed live on stage, see pic) and post it to Instagram. The person with the most “likes” after 20 minutes won the award. The comedians all came out and took pictures too.

Between all the awards were these awesome clips by “normies” (as I call them), comedians playing normal people. They were all hilarious and people talking about why they posted certain photos to Instragram. For example, “why I think the public wants to see the piece of pie I just ate.. because Im so amazing”. The whole event was mocking the narcissism of Instragram.

Natasha Leggero gave an award to Morgan Murphy (MadTV). Unfortunately my cell phone was having serious issues so I don’t have too many pictures from the night but here is the best I can offer.

Nick Thune came out and did a serious (yet hysterical) “In Memory” bit off all the Instagrammers we lost in the past year.

Chelsea Peretti gave out the Ansel Adams award (to a person who Im forgetting).

The night ended with Stephen Merchant coming out to announce the Lifetime Achievemnent Award which was given to Mike Rosenstein. For those of you who don’t know who he is, click the link on his name. He is a British comedian who collaborates with Ricky Gervais a lot and co-created the British Office, as well as starred in as the “Dwight” character as Americans would know him. He is a legend and this was my first time seeing him in person. He was a surprise guest and everyone was in awe.

After the amazing show at UCB, my sister and I headed over to The Dresden to have a farwell gathering for our friend Karen. As I’ve talked about before, she is leaving LA soon and has been completing her LA bucket list before she moves away for good. Friday was “Los Feliz bar night”. This was my first time at the Dreden and I can’t wait to go back. If I wasn’t having phone issues, I could’ve gotten some great shots, but I know Ill be back. They had an older couple playing music in the bar. We got to see the dining area as well as the bar and I was super impressed. From the outside it looks like a windowless dive bar and inside it’s super classy with a speakeasy vibe.

The bar was packed, as it was 10pm on a Friday night. I need to go back for a quiet happy hour, where I could sit on the bar side noshing on food in the round booths while listening to the musical stylings of Marty and Elayne. Since we had such a large group, we took over the front private room of the bar which worked well for us, although we missed out on the ambiance of the main bar. Either way, I had a great night and I also intend to go back to The Dresden.