Chinese New Year(s Eve)!

Get ready for a ton of pictures, because the best way to describe the celebration is with images. Although, due to the religious nature of the event, and it taking place in a temple, I couldn’t get the best angles or close ups I would have liked (as I didn’t want to be obnoxious). But lets start at the beginning, where my good friends, Lindsey and Michelle, and I had Tibetan food at the Tibet Nepal House in Pasadena. It was my first time having Tibetan food and it was pretty good. They had several veggie options and we ended up getting several plates and serving ourselves family style.

You can tell by all our empty plates that we loved it. Plus the plates weren’t huge so we could order several and try several different things. I liked the shrimp in coconut milk… yum.

After dinner, Lindsey and I continued on to Chinatown to visit the Chuan Thien Hau Temple as their festivities were beginning.

There was tons of incense burning and tables full of offerings of oranges and cabbage. The smokey air made for great ambiance, but Ill admit I reeked by the end of end of the night and my allergies were going nuts.

The temple was so beautiful. I’ve walked around the area before, but never really saw the inside all lit up. It was all so ornate.

I just wish I knew the significance of it all! While people watching, I could pick-up on certain repeated activities that people were doing, but couldn’t understand why.

Even their exterior columns are ornate.

Around 10:30 festivities were beginning in the street in front of the temple. We got a spot out front and waited while they were setting up for the fire crackers to go off. In the meantime the performers were warming up and these adorable little boys were warming themselves with a heat lamp.

Once the pyrotechnics were set-up, important members of the community came out to light the long strings of fire crackers. The actual blowing up of the fire crackers was cool in person, but lame in photos. All the photos I have just show a blur of smoke and the photos don’t sell that sound that you are hearing when 100’s of fire crackers go off at a steady pace for 5 minutes.

Once the firecrackers were done, the performers came out and begin doing their dragon dance. Two people made up each dragon (a head and a tail) and there were 4 dragons as part of this dance. They were full of energy with their giant dragon heads.

At one point they all ran up a trail into the temple where they continued their dance. People were saying it’s good luck to touch the dragon as it runs around the temple. So as soon as the dragons ran in the temple, everyone chased after them.

Here you can see everyone trying to touch the dragon.

Once the dragons ran back out in front of the temple, the rest of the performers joined in showing off their skills. It was at this point that Lindsey and I needed to hit the road, as we both had to get up early for work in a few hours.

As we walked away I got this last shot, which I really liked. Other friends at the event told us that after we left there was more dragon dancing and another round of firecrackers. I highly recommend this event, and you better not miss their 2013 New Years Eve.

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.