Sunday, December 30, 2007

USC Pep Rally @ Universal Citywalk

Live blogging. USC fans and alumni join the USC band in rallying for
the upcoming Rose Bowl game!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Skating Around

Christmas might be over, but it feels like winter's finally kicking in. I can finally appreciate my steaming cup of tea for the way it warms my stiff, carpal tunnel syndrome pending fingers!! Call me a Southern Californian anomaly, but I love it... the biting cold, bright pink cheeks, and having all the more reason to burrow under my jacket like a cozy mole.

Last week, I took the Gold Line to the Memorial Park stop and ventured over to Pasadena's Paseo Colorado, an outdoor shopping and entertainment "center" that spans three city blocks and boasts a 14-screen movie theater, a gourmet supermarket, retail stores, restaurants, and even luxury apartments. Southern California's especially great at providing "centers" like this (the Grove, Third Street Promenade, Hollywood & Highland, etc.)... and while the idea of driving to a designated space just to walk around and be entertained can feel a little too contrived at times, it's nice to have places where people can congregate and feel a little more connected. It's a good thing, because frankly, we can all be a little too isolated in our individual cars...

After grabbing some dinner with my friends at the packed Yard House, we headed over to the Pasadena Ice Skating Center, ready to make a fool of ourselves in an attempt to hobble among the little kids whizzing past us all. Christmas music blaring over the speakers while skating around in worn out rented skates, ankles burning from using muscles in areas we never knew we had, and some crepes and hot coffee at IHOP to warm ourselves up in the aftermath... I hope that I'll never get too old for moments like those.

*On a related note, for some outdoor skating, check out Pershing Square's Downtown on Ice, open seven days a week until January 21st. And the 119th Rose Parade (which runs along Colorado Boulevard) also passes in front of Paseo Colorado. Last year's Rose Parade featured George Lucas and Star Wars characters!

-Sarah Koo, ExperienceLA Arts/Cultural Marketing Assistant

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Disney on Ice: Princess Wishes

I'm writing this post about Disney on Ice's "Princess Wishes" while appropriately watching holiday ice skating on television. My last (and first!) venture into ice shows was at High School Musical: The Ice Tour.

While HSM appears to be a recent new favorite for kids (and probably some adults who get "Getcha Head in the Game" in their heads), reminding everyone at the modern Disney magic that keeps people smiling and singing, this latest venture of "Princess Wishes" is a romp - or skate? - down memory lane for everyone...

Last week I was at the Staples Center to watch Disney on Ice's "Princess Wishes". Mickey and Minnie Mouse as narrators and Tinker Bell as magical tour guide, the audience of "Princess Wishes" is taken through the world of wishes and princesses. Don't let the title fool the Disney fans into thinking this is a strictly girl-only princess trip, the boys (and girls and parents) will enjoy the show on ice as Aladdin darts from harm's way, Sleeping Beauty's Prince Phillip fights off the dragon, and Ursula gets her karma's due. Not to mention - there's fireworks...yes - fireworks.

Disney on Ice: Princess Wishes is fun for the whole family, highlighting snippets of Disney favorites. You'll leave wanting to watch a Disney favorite when you get home...and hopefully believing that wishes can come true.

Disney on Ice's "Princess Wishes" is being presented at the Anaheim Honda Center, Long Beach Arena, and the Los Angeles Sports Arena. Check for locations and times. The show runs in the Southern California area until January 13th.

-Charity Tran, ExperienceLA Web Coordinator

Monday, December 24, 2007

Real-time blogging at the Aquarium of the Pacific

Taking advantage of iPhone technology. Sharing an image while
experiencing LA in Long Beach!

-Charity Tran, ExperienceLA Web Coordinator

Interview: Julie Swayze - The Metropolis Bookstore

Daood interviews Julie Swayze, the owner of the Metropolis Bookstore in the Historic Core of Downtown LA.

Daood: Welcome to, Ms. Swayze.

Julie Swayze: Thank you

Daood: How did you come to the creative title of Metropolis for the bookstore?

Julie Swayze: I love the 1922 Fritz Lang movie, and I have always thought of New York as Gotham, and L.A. as Metropolis, and since the store is located in the Historic Core of Los Angeles it seemed fitting.

Daood: Could you share with us the thoughts and ideas that brought forth Metropolis bookstore?

Julie Swayze: I wanted to open my own business, and I wanted it to be a bookstore. Downtown is a very underserved market for so many things, and I liked the idea of opening a bookstore in an historic area that has been featured in print, film and articles for years.

Daood: Provide for us a pictorial of the bookstore?

Julie Swayze: I would say that Metropolis is probably the most unusual bookstore. We have 15 foot walls, because we are located in the old Canadian Consulate which was built in 1909. The walls are a warm terracotta - there are lots of plants nad fountains - and all the walls are lined with bookcases. We have a "living room" area which comes in handy for author events. The best feature would be the very large train station looking wall clock hanging on the back wall.

Daood: Since the grand opening ceremony of December 15 of 2006, who are some of the authors who have graced Metropolis?

Julie Swayze: Let's see - Edgar Award winner Naomi Hirahara, Gene Cartwright, Jeffery Lewis, Andre Coleman, Laura Levine, Paula Samuels-Young, Linda O'Johnston, David K. Lynch, Joan Del Monte, Bridget Morrow, Diana Wagman, Gary Phillips, Jim Pascoe, eight authors/historians from the Arcadia Publishing company. Our next event June 30th will feature Antoine Wilson, signing his new book, The Interloper. The L.A. Times just gave it a great review.

Daood: Are there as well book club events, poetry readings, and writing classes?

Julie Swayze: We do have a book club with about 12 members right now [and events such as poetry readings that started this past summer].

Daood: Currently is there any book/s that you are reading that you would highly recommend?

Julie Swayze: My favorite as of late is The Traveler By John Twelve Hawks, the second book in the series comes out in July. Also Deep Storm By Lincoln Child, and Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See.

Daood: What are the keys to your success?

Julie Swayze: Provide excellent customer service, have the books in the store people want to read, always be up on the next great writer and have interesting events.

Daood: Is there a website for Metropolis Bookstore and where exactly downtown Los Angeles is the bookstore located?

Julie Swayze: Our website is and we are located at 440 S. Main St. between 4th. & 5th street.

Daood: Thanks for taking the time out of your day, for this beautiful experience!

Julie Swayze: Thank you.

-Daood, ExperienceLA Blog Contributor

This interview was conducted in May 2007.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Last Chance: Downtown Guidebook Photo Contest + LA Phil Tickets!

It's the last week of our Downtown LA guidebook photo contest! Do you have what it takes to capture the feel of Downtown LA? Enter for a chance to have your image featured as the cover photo for our upcoming ExperienceLA Downtown LA guidebook, specially produced by Lonely Planet. And if your photo gets chosen as the cover photo, you'll also win a pair of tickets to LA Phil's Concrete Frequency I: Copland, Zappa, Crumb, Varese.

CONCRETE FREQUENCY examine and celebrate the elements is a series of events designed to that define a city... and how they are affected by, and reflected in, music. Anchored by three orchestral programs, this unique exploration will be enhanced by a film series, an art exhibition, and a thought provoking symposium. Check out how you can get up to 58% off of seats for the January 4th kick-off concert!

Contest ends this Friday, so hurry and submit your photos!

-ExperienceLA Staff