Thursday, December 27, 2012

Favorite Flickr Pool Photos from 2012

ExperienceLA Flickr Pool Screenshot

We decided to end the year by looking back at our ExperienceLA Flickr Pool Photo submissions.  Over 1300 photos were shared to our pool this year!  We looked out for some favorite moments, some cool and interesting sights (and sites!), and some iconic places!  We look forward to seeing more amazing photos in 2013! - Charity Tran

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Short Order's New Menu Items Inspired by Hoof to Tail Movement

Ranchers Pie
Just over one year ago, Los Angeles chef legend, Nancy Silverton, in partnership with restauranteur, Bill Chait. opened Short Order at the Originals Farmers Market, just above Dupar's at Third and Fairfax.  At the time, much attention was focused on the burgers, as the Nancy Silverton burger blend had been featured for many years at one of the butcher stalls at the Original Farmers Market.  With increasing awareness in Los Angeles (for example Lindy and Grundy butchers just up the street) about hoof to tail use of an entire cow, Executive Chef Christine Page has set out to integrate the use of two steers per week, for a series of dishes that some would be featured just one day a week.  In discussion with Chef Page, his earlier training in supply chain economics while getting his MBA at USC in their entrepreneurship program was going to be really tested. 

One featured Short Order dish, of limited availability, is the Ruben, in which Chef Page is making his own corned beef: however, due to its popularity, the two entire steer order per week, are being augmented by additional brisket orders, and they still have been known to run out. Short Order is also making their own bacon for their BLT which they call a BPB-LTA for their inclusion of pork belly along with lettuce, tomato, and avocado. Another weekly dish on Tuesday is their Shepards pie, which makes use of leftover meats centered around a large marrow bone.  Probably a must try at Short Order is the deep frying of their renown pickles, probably better than any fried pickles that one might get at a County Fair.  The use of frying also comes into play, by frying the ordinary croissant and stuffing it with banana cardamon cream. This and other imaginative desserts are available to go from a separate take out section. For coffee lovers, you will find Short Order serving coffee from Verve of Santa Cruz. Plus a number of innovative cocktails making use of fresh farm to table ingredients. In addition to the upstairs dining, one can also eat and drink on the ground level portion of the restaurant that is set up as a bar.

Here are my Short Order pictures shared  from Flickr as a slideshow below, and for those with an Ipad, click here.

So if visiting the Grove or the Original Farmers Market, plan on a visit to Short Order for some very tasty menu items. If you go on a Thursday, then you can catch the Bacon wrapped filet.  My picture in the slide show is a mini-version using a quail egg that will eventually show up on a happy hour menu in a slider version. I have now been to Short Order several times, and I have added it to my other favorite Los Angeles food destinations with Nancy's imprint, Mozza, and Bill's ownership, Rivera, in partnership with Jon Sedlar.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

December 24 Free Holiday Celebration at the LA Music Center

DSC_3292 For the fifty-three year in a row, the LA County Arts Commission is bringing some of the finest performing arts groups to the Los Angeles Music Center for a free public performance during the afternoon of December 24, 2012 from 3 pm to 6 pm.  The LA County Holiday Celebration, includes free parking at the Music Center, and the performances take place inside the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion.  Festivities begin on the Music Center plaza at 12:30 pm, to help entertain those in line looking for the best seats.  Seating begins at 2:30 pm, continuing throughout the entire three hour performance period, as most people are there to see their friends and family members, so on average are in the audience for about an hour.  This year for the first time, the adjacent Grand Park will be open, so explore it before or after your visit to the Music Center, and there will even be food trucks. If you can't attend in person, then catch the performance live on KCET-TV, on the radio at KPFK 90.7, or streaming on a computer or mobile device at  You can also participate during the live performance in an interactive conversation on Twitter by following the hashtag of: #HCLA. The following 20 performance groups (not in performance order), chosen from among over 500 performing arts organizations throughout Los Angeles County will each perform for approximately six minutes each during the afternoon before Christmas Eve.

Salvation Army Tabernacle Children’s Chorus
Invertigo Dance Theatre
Vox Femina Los Angeles
Elliot Deutsch Big Band
Jouyssance Early Music Ensemble
Las Cafeteras
Palmdale High School Choral Union
Mariachi Sol de Mexico (which can be watched here on YouTube)
Colburn Children’s Choir (not to be missed)
Shin Dance Company (with video embedded below)
South Bay Children's Choir
Vaud and the Villains (also not to be missed: possibly singing Christmas comes to New Orleans)
Immaculate Heart of Mary Children's Choir
Harmonic Bronze Handbell Ensemble
Family Life Sanctuary Choir
Pacifico Dance Company (with picture above)
Spirit Chorale of Los Angeles
Shakti Dance Company
Second Samoan Congregational Church Choir
Double G and Strings

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

White Arrows to Appear at Troubadour on December 15

Steve Vernet and JP Cabellero of the White Arrows The other day I had the chance to sit down with John Paul ("JP") Cabellero and Steven Vernet from the five member Los Angeles based White Arrows who in 2012 released their first LP ("Dry Land is Not a Myth"), including a vinyl version, and toured extensively throughout the United States, Europe, and Australia.  For those who saw the White Arrows open the 2012  Labor Day weekend FYF Fest at the Metro friendly, Chinatown adjacent, State Historic Park, you can see them up close and personal at the historic West Hollywood Troubadour for KCRW presents the Invisible Children Holiday Benefit Show on Saturday night, December 15, 2012.  White Arrows, who got their start almost three years ago, had a residency at the old Spaceland in Echo Park club, giving them a chance to refine their sound and live performance persona. They have already come a long way in such a short time, playing SXSW twice, and their USA/Europe/Australia tour, White Arrows, knock on wood, are hoping to get a Coachella 2013 invite.  Their sound is described as psyschotropic, but is a blend of driving rhythms and pop.

During 2012, White Arrows was on the road so much, that they were glad to have places in Los Angeles to rest and recover, since they were home no more than 3 weeks at the longest, before hitting the road again. They consider the "Eastside" of Silver Lake and Echo Park as their spiritual home, with band founders Mickey and Henry Church having grown up in Pacific Palisades, and JP having grown up in Hermosa Beach and Steven in the Montclair area.  JP described himself as a contrarian, and so as to not do PE, he joined the marching band at Mira Costa High school playing percussion instruments and bass. While Steven started playing the drums in elementary school, but when he couldn't convince his parents to invest in a drum set, he learned the bass guitar which he played in band while at Montclair Prep.

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Sophie B. Hawkins in Janis Joplin Musical is Must See at Macha Theater in West Hollywood

A Janis Joplin musical, currently playing through the end of December 2012 (unless extended again) is Room 105 The Highs and Lows of Janis Joplin at the Macha Theatre in West Hollywood.  Sophie B. Hawkins who has had her own independent rocker career brings Janis Joplin to life in this emotional performance, hitting all the right notes, in this small theatre setting, where there is not a bad seat in the house.  This musical play written and directed by Gigi Gaston is a self reflection on Janis' live as she interacts with past lovers, and even TV talk show host, Dick Cavitt, and how she was perceived by high school classmates (in a return to Port Arthur for a high school reunion).  Going to this show is like attending a Janis Joplin cover band show, as 9 cuts are interwoven into the script, complete with a backup band.  Of course you will find, Me and Bobby McGee, which is probably the musical highlight of the show, which as we all know was written by Kris Kristoferson.  There is an inside joke, as to why the production team was not able to license perhaps the most famous Janis song, Mercedes Benz, and I will not give it away here.

Monday, December 03, 2012

Touring SAINT MOTEL to Appear at Detroit Bar in Costa Mesa on December 15

I am always looking for the opportunity to help promote breaking bands on ExperienceLA, and Saint Motel in this post, when there is an emotional hook that gets my attention and gets me out to check out a band in a live performance, getting me exposed to different genres of live music. Thus I was intrigued to get out to Dim Mak Studios for the free fashion inspiration holiday party in Hollywood to see Saint Motel last month, and had a chance to briefly talk to A/J Jackson, lead singer and lead guitarist, of this foursome of independent pop/rockers who came out of the Chapman College film program. Below is my flickr slideshow from that night, and a direct link for those with an Ipad.

Saint Motel, who appear to have a loyal following of young women, is currently on tour along the west coast and is returning to Southern California with an appearance at the Detroit Bar in Costa Mesa on Saturday evening December 15, 2012. Tickets can be bought online for $12, or at the door for $15. You will see lots of energy on stage, catchy tunes, and a band having fun. They have previously played in a number of Los Angeles venues, including the El Rey, and could be found in Austin, Texas for the world renown SXSW Music Festival.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Homeboy Industries 5K Run/Walk: Win Registration!

As a carless Angeleno, one of the best ways I've experienced Los Angeles is to hit the ground running.  Literally.  Running and walking races around town have a number of benefits:
  • You get some exercise in!
  • You get to see new sights through Los Angeles.  A number of races close off specific areas or let you walk around in areas pedestrians don't generally access.
  • Races are true experiences - there's the achievement of finishing, the cheer of the crowd, running with friends, and meeting new people
And while I fully advocate for all the above, one of the best things is that when you run a race, you are often helping out a cause!

I am happy to report that next month, on December 15th, I will be a participant in the Homeboy Industries 5K Run/Walk at Los Angeles State Historic Park - and two lucky winners will win two free registrations to the race!  More details below!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Taste of Mexico at Vibiana on Friday Night November 30, 2012

I have been reading Gustavo Arellano's Taco USA: How Mexican Food Conquered America, and thus this second annual Taste of Mexico is very timely to have a chance to better understand the wide range of upscale Mexican cuisine available in Los Angeles.  Thus for $50 on Friday night November 30 from 6  pm to 11 pm, you can graze on some of the best regional Mexican cuisine all  in one place at Vibiana in Downtown Los Angeles at Second and Main Streets.  I had a chance to preview some of the food several weeks ago at the Mexican Consulate, as you can see from the slide show below (not seen from an Ipad)
or my Taste Of Mexico Press Preview picture set on Flickr here.  The preview featured around half of the food vendors, but did not include superstars Jon Sedlar from Rivera who will be showcasing his food from Playa, nor Rick Bayless or his executive chef from Red O.  Both of whom are discussed in Gustavo's book.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Arts & Culture for Black Friday on 11/23

LACMA in Yellow  by intellichick
While Black Friday is often marked as the day to head to the mall and the major shopping centers, it can also be the perfect day to experience Los Angeles and spend time with your loved ones!  Here are some event ideas for those looking for some non-shopping Black Friday adventures. Oh, and some of these events are FREE!

-Charity Tran

Thursday, November 15, 2012

A Letter to the Los Angeles Autumn

Pumpkins and a "Leaf" by intellichick
I wrote a Letter to Summer, so it was just as well that I wrote a letter to Fall. -Charity Tran

Dear Autumn,

I know the Autumn Equinox this year was September 22nd, but let's be honest - it kind of took you awhile to show up and cool things down a bit.  Even now, I'm not sure how long this will last.

No worries, we Angelenos continued on - packing away those hot pumpkin spice lattes and champurrado anyway while enjoying the warm weather for our Halloween shenanigans and Dia de Los Muertos festivities - but we did miss you.  Maybe it's the fact that Thanksgiving is almost near that I realize how much I am thankful for you.

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Hurricane Sandy Relief: 10 Hip Ways to Help in LA

Courtesy of NY Daily News
The one good thing about natural disasters is the sense of togetherness it seems to create.  And Hurricane Sandy is no different.  With huge donations from every major corporation nationwide, telethons, music benefits and retailers donating a percentage of their profits, it's as if the holidays have come early this year.  Of course, beyond just texting "RED CROSS" to 90999 to donate $10 (still an amazingly easy way to contribute), it has left many of us West Coast-ers feeling helpless so far away. Fortunately, we are an innovative bunch.  Here's the good stuff:

Friday, October 26, 2012

Six Degrees of Treme

Eric Overmyer and Kandi Alexander from Treme at Los Angeles Central Library on June 6, 2011 Ironically, the last wedding anniversary I celebrated with my late wife Karen was at a Los Angeles Central Library ALOUD program on June 6, 2011 that featured Eric Overmyer, co-producer of HBO's Treme, that celebrates New Orleans culture post-Katrina, with the Treme neighborhood being a symbol of the rebirth of New Orleans, available as a podcast here.  Karen and I had visited Louisiana and New Orleans, eleven times all post Katrina, and we ourselves had been witnessing the rebirth of New Orleans. We first heard about Treme at the very beginning of filming in New Orleans, when David Mills, the other creative partner from HBOs The Wire unexpectly passed away. We were having a fabulous Friday lunch at Uptown's  Patois in early 2010 discussing HBO's filming of Treme with our server and at  an adjacent table, Robert D. Peyton, the restaurant critic of New Orleans Magazine.  The server told us that the production team from Treme had very recently eaten at this nationally recognized New Orleans restaurant and she was stunned to learn of his sudden passing.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

"Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" Ballet Is Magic Brought to Life

The National Ballet of Canada (NBC) production of Christopher Wheeldon's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland is a reflection of the famous Alice stories themselves - fun, completely imaginative and filled with unexpected moments of awe.  Like many, Alice in Wonderland is one of my favorite stories.  With the countless interpretations of the books through film and other mediums, it's hard not to think that perhaps the tale has been stretched in every which way possible.  If that is your mindset, watching this production of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland will change it completely.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Gallant Suits: Doing Good Made Fashionable.

If there were such a thing as a politically-correct suit for men, Gallant Suits would be it. Constructed completely of 100% Italian wool, this is your chance to do right in the eyes of fashion.  And look good doing it, of course.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Event Ideas: The Halloween Variety of Los Angeles

amigos muertos
amigos muertos by Karol Franks
from our Flickr Pool
There's that first Fall chill in the air and before we know it one of my favorite holidays will be upon us - Halloween! But the season is more than just costumes and sweets, it's the perfect reason to head out on a new Los Angeles experience. Here's some suggestions from our calendar that cover a wide range of what LA has to offer!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Amanda Shaw to Play Ventura Oysterfest on October 13

DSC_7063 In late August 2012 right before Hurricane Isaac hit Louisiana, I discovered Amanda Shaw and The Cute Guys at the New Orleans Slobsterfest.  Amanda Shaw who can be described as a Cajun rocker was in the middle of a national tour, and made a detour to play before a home crowd at the Slobsterfest in Metairie, just north of New Orleans near Louis Armstrong airport.  Amanda who recently turned 21 has been performing for over ten years, and is well known locally in New Orleans.  In fact, if one is in New Orleans and Louisiana in October, you can catch her at several Lousiana festivals, and then in San Francisco on October 7 at the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival.  But for Southern California, her only appearance this Fall is up in Ventura on Saturday October 13, 2012 at the first annual Ventura Oysterfest, although she has played in the Los Angeles area earlier this year.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Whitney Lives On: Grammy Museum Style

Whitney Houstonthe pop icon, I knew, but Whitney at church choir practice and on the cover of Seventeen Magazine?  This was part of the lifelong star's life I knew nothing about.  And I have the Whitney! Celebrating the Musical Legacy of Whitney Houston exhibit to thank for that.
Presented by the GRAMMY Museum at LA Live, the opening was timed strategically a week before the late Houston's last movie release, Sparkle.
"The idea of the exhibit came from the fans," said Executive Director of the GRAMMY Museum, Bob Santelli.  

Partnered with son (and newest member to the GRAMMY Museum team), Jake Santelli and the Houston family put together not just an exhibit of Whitney's music career accomplishments, but rather, the story of a spectacular life lived... as seen through the eyes of those who knew her best.  


Thursday, September 20, 2012

Silverlake Contemporary Ballet: The Swan Lake You've Always Wanted To See


Swan Lake.  A million ballerinas have danced a version of it, the hauntingly grand Tchaikovsky music is unmistakeable aaaaand who can forget 2010's The Black Swan? Seriously.  Well, that's all about to change.

The Silverlake Contemporary Ballet (SCB) is re-inventing the story once again and just to make it that much more LA, each act will be played by local stage. Yep, you heard that right.  Awesome sounds by Races, The Young Romans and Holly Conlan will each play a rock rendition of the centuries-old ballet score.  In addition, a collection of large scale paintings curated by Edgar Varela Fine Arts will set the scene, American Apparel will donate the costumes and, together, all tell their depiction of a love story 'tested by Hollywood morality'.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

New Orleans Based The Revivalists at Club Nokia Tonight

Tonight at L.A. Live's Club Nokia at 7 pm  are The Revivalists, a New Orleans based band, that is on a national tour, opening for Gov't Mule (who are doing two sets at 8:30 pm and 10:00 pm). I happened to catch a performance of The Revivalists at a recent New Orleans music and food festival - Slobsterfest.  Originally I was not planning on staying for the Saturday night closing act, but in talking to the fans of The Revivalists, I was intrigued.  Many of them were seeing David Shaw and his band for the tenth time, several having even traveled to Florida to see them again.  The band has been around for five years.

Friday, September 14, 2012

L.A. Loves Alex's Lemonade September 29 Food Event

Culver studios backdrop
Chefs Suzanne Goin and David Lentz, along with Suzanne's business partner Caroline Styne, for the third year are assembling some of the best celebrity chefs and mixologists from Los Angeles, San Francisco, New Orleans, Miami, Chicago, Seattle, Cleveland, Philadelphia, and New York City to raise funds for pediatric cancer research on behalf of Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation (ALSF).  L.A. Loves Alex's Lemonade event on Saturday, September 29, 2012 at the Culver Studios from noon to 4 pm will again be among the best food events occurring  in Los Angeles.  A general admission ticket is $175 with a significant portion ($100) of that amount tax deductible.  The story of the creation of ALSF by Liz and Jay Scott is heartbreaking, as they watched in amazement how their very young daughter Alex raised over a million dollars to find a cure for pediatric cancer, such that they captured her passion by creating ALSF after her passing.  Having the opportunity to talk with Liz and Jay in 2010 was a cherished moment, and I was fighting back tears.

Just like Suzanne, David, and Caroline masterminded this Los Angeles foodie event, my late wife Karen Gibbs and I also became enchanted with the mission of ALSF and we volunteered four shifts (working all day and into the night doing cleanup) during the initial 2010 event in which over $300,000 was raised.  Unfortunately, Karen was battling for her own life during November 2011 for the second one that cleared $400,000.  I so much wanted to make a token volunteer appearance,. but with the stormy weather, I could not afford to be sick, and thus be kept out of the ICU.  When Karen lost her own battle, I encouraged our friends to donate to ALSF along with several other non-profit organizations close to our hearts.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Photos: Friday Farmers Market at Wilshire/Vermont Metro Station

Women and children sampling strawberries. 

Farmers Markets in Los Angeles are year-round adventures.  With their colorful piles of fruits and vegetables from local farmers to delectable treats and baked goods, they are places that evoke the senses and call to people to stop on by.  Wilshire/Vermont Metro Station is home to a Farmers Market on Friday morning.  These photos were taken just as I was about to hop on a train. 

Photos and Text by Charity Tran

Go Local For Carmageddon II

During last year's closure of the I-405 (aka Carmageddon!) we were promoting "good carma" and how to Experience LA in new ways. With this year's I-405 closure on September 29-30, 2012, our mission statement is the same, but simplified: Go Local!

Thursday, September 06, 2012

A Look at Central Library

Central Library in Focus
Central Library in Focus
I have a confession: sometimes I go to libraries without a book borrowing purpose.  Maybe this stems from a childhood where the library was like my second home, where I could wander through book stacks for hours finding my next literary adventure.  But in my book seeking efforts, I learned an important lesson a long time ago about libraries.  Libraries are places where you can always learn something new and it doesn't always have to be in a book.

One of my favorite libraries is Central Library in Downtown LA.  It is home to some of my favorite  LA experiences and here is why:

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Photos: Music at the Bootleg Bar

Last weekend my friends and I headed out to the Bootleg Bar for an evening of great music.  Bootleg is housed in a 1930's warehouse space and also offers theatre, dance, and film events - so it is very likely that I will be there more often!  I'm a long time fan of both the band Rooney and its lead singer Robert Schwartzman, who released his solo album Double Capricorn last year.  Schwartzman was headlining the evening with opening acts Patrick Park and Jamestown Revival.  David Pack (of Ambrosia) also stopped by to play a few songs with Schwartzman and his band including Ambrosia hit "The Biggest Part of Me".

-Photos & Text by Charity Tran

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Art of Fashion in Television: FIDM's Annual Gala

Downton Abbey
Saturday, July 28th Emmy-nominated designers from such primetime hits as American Horror Story, Downton Abbey and Boardwalk Empire came together to celebrate and talk costumes at the 6th Annual Outstanding Art in Television Costume Design gala.

The night kicked off with a preview of the costumes at the FIDM Museum & Galleries in DTLA.  Having never been to the FIDM Museum, I was more than excited to find a substantial array of amazing designs with no plexiglass in between. Love this night already.  

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Adventures at Comic-Con: Part 3 - A Buffy Grand Finale

Nicholas Brendon signing autographs at Comic-Con 2012.
My last day at Comic-Con unintentionally celebrated my favorite show Buffy the Vampire Slayer (Confession: I am listening to the movie soundtrack as I write this).  I stopped by a booth where actors Nicholas Brendon (Xander Harris, Buffy the Vampire Slayer) and J. August Richards (Charles Gunn, Angel) were taking pictures and signing autographs.  Also at the booth was Eddie McClintock who plays Peter Lattimer on Warehouse 13 - also one of my favorite shows!

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Adventures at Comic-Con: Part 2 - Unlikely Advenures

The beauty of spending extra days at Comic-Con this year was being able to feel free to spend time on unexpected adventures. I did not know at the start of my trip that I would be:
  • figure drawing at bar;
  • cosplaying, and  
  • learning about Mass Effect and its voice actor fan base
While much of the focus of San Diego Comic-Con is on the events and panels in the San Diego Convention Center there are many events and activities going on outside the Convention Center's walls. 

Friday, July 27, 2012

Discount: 10% off the Los Angeles Food & Wine Festival

Los Angeles Food & Wine Festival
Attention all foodies and wine connoisseurs, we have a 10% discount off event tickets* to the 2nd Annual Los Angeles Food &Wine Festival occurring August 9-12, 2012!  Events include lunch, brunch, dinner, and cooking demonstration events featuring famous chefs and many of Los Angeles' best restaurants and venues.  This year's festival has events in Santa Monica, Downtown/L.A. Live, Beverly Hills, and Hollywood.

More information about the events and flyer below:

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Photos: Grand Park Civic Dedication Ceremony

Today Los Angeles County's newest park held its Opening Celebration and Civic Dedication Ceremony with a dazzling show of dances, costumes, and acrobats. The event also included speeches by Los Angeles County Supervisors Gloria Molina, Mark Ridley-Thomas, Zev Yaroslavsky, Don Knabe, and Michael D. Antonovich.  County Supervisor Molina helmed the project as chair of the Grand Avenue Authority.  City of Los Angeles Councilwoman Jan Perry, Eli Broad (as co-chair of the Grand Avenue Committee) and California Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera were also event speakers.  The park was made possible by a $50 million dollar donation from The Related Companies and designed by Rios Clementi Hale Studios.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Ricardo Zarate and Mike Brown Among Featured Chefs of LA Street Food Fest

Over the past week, I have had the opportunity to engage Los Angeles based chefs Ricardo Zarate and Mike Brown in coversation. Both are featured chefs at the LA Street Food Fest on Saturday, July 21, 2012 at the Rose Bowl. A $45general admission  fee which must be purchased in advance covers all one can eat from the food trucks and other food vendors that will be participating in this 3rd annual food event occurrring in the late afternoon and into the evening. Ricardo Zarate from Mo-Chica will be in the sponsored booth from Los Angeles Food and Wine, while Mike Brown will be at the helm of the newest Los Angeles food truck Peking Duck making its debut. Here are my pictures from the press preview for the LA Street Food Fest event that might make you want to attend this great food event and meet these and other featured chefs.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Free Family Fun: J.A.M. Sessions

This week our Facebook has featured fun daily photos of experiencing Los Angeles through FREE J.A.M. Sessions.  Not only do these events get you "Jazzed and Motivated" through music, movement, and drumming, they are available at six locations this summer throughout the Los Angeles area.  Thanks Ford Theatre Foundation and Metabolic Studio!

If it's not enough that these free family friendly events are in Hollywood, East LA, Willowbrook, San Fernando, Whittier, and Santa Clarita, here's some more reasons to be "Jazzed and Motivated":

Monday, July 16, 2012

Bloomfest 2012: The Best of the Best in the DTLA Arts District

Saturday, July 21st.  If you have any plans - cancel 'em.  Out of town trip?  Reschedule. Bloomfest 2012 is going to be THAT good.

Here's why:

  • All your fave LA food trucks in one place, at one time, including the Cousins Maine Lobster Truck.
  • There is something for everyone including your mini-indies & pooch pals: Kool Kid Zone & Doggie Lounge.
  • One of the newest and coolest on the LA music market, this is your chance to see The Neighbourhood before everyone else in the world. Check out (& download) their entire debut EP for FREEHERE.   You know, just for fun.
  • There is a bike valet.  Plus, be the first of 50 and receive a reusable tote compliments of the Friends of the Los Angeles River.
  • All 20,000 of your closest friends will be there.
  • BEER, the "local support-the-arts so you don't feel guilty ponying up for the 3rd round" kind.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Adventures at Comic-Con 2012: Part I

Keep Calm and Comic-Con!
BBC America Booth.
For the next few days I'll be writing about my time at San Diego Comic-Con.  Usually my adventures here are condensed to Saturday and Sunday, but this year I decided to change things up a bit and take in all the days at the convention.  Let the adventures begin!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Win Tickets to RED at the Mark Taper Forum!

We have tickets to the RED at the Mark Taper Forum!  Learn more about this 2010 Tony Award winner for Best Play and enter to win tickets!

Mary Poppins Ticket Giveaway! Enter our Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious Word Competition!

Everyone’s favorite nanny is headed back into town for four weeks only! The hit Broadway musical Mary Poppins will be at the Ahmanson Theatre from August 9th-September 2nd, 2012. What a better way to celebrate – and offer you a chance to get a spoonful of sugar – then a Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious word contest! What does that mean? Read on for the rules!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Beyond Summer Reading: Free July Literary Events

Upstairs in the The Last Bookstore
"Upstairs in the Last Bookstore" by intellichick
From our ExperienceLA Flickr Pool
In the ExperienceLA office, one of the best things about summer is that it's time to start some summer reading.  But here at ExperienceLA, we like to make book adventures jump out of pages.  Here are some summer highlights to add to your literary life.  Oh, and they're all FREE:

Thursday, June 21, 2012

A Letter to the Los Angeles Summer

"Getty Garden Green" by intellichick,
from our ExperienecLA Flickr Pool
I decided today that I should write to Summer, my favorite season - letting it know why I appreciate what it brings to Los Angeles. -Charity Tran

Dear Summer,
Yesterday marked your 2012 beginning, but I'm sure you already knew that.   There's a bit of June gloom today, but it's still bright and warm and I really appreciate it (Thanks!).  You might be wondering why I'm writing to you when really I should be planning all my summer adventures, but I thought I'd drop you a note to tell you how much I appreciate you.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Parade Photos: LA Kings 2012 Stanley Cup Champions

LA Kings - 2012 Stanley Cup Champions

A victory parade was held for the LA Kings first Stanley cup win in Downtown today. The parade closed down Figueroa Blvd. from 5th/Figueroa to the Staples Center before noon.  Many fans took advantage of the Metro subway system to get through parade traffic.  These photos were taken at the start of the parade route.  -Charity Tran

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Thoughts on Appreciating Los Angeles

For the last couple of weeks, this Angeleno has been wandering West Texas.  While I had a great time with friends and colleagues outside of Los Angeles and really enjoyed what that area had to offer, it was nice to arrive back home.  Absence really does make the heart grow fonder.  I thought I'd compile a list of the things I was happy to come home to -  

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Hot Hollywood Nights Comes to Los Angeles

With summer just around the bend, Cirque du Soleil and the Hollywood Bowl have teamed up to heat things up for Los Angeles. HOT HOLLYWOOD NIGHTS offers Los Angelinos two unforgettable experiences at one unbelievable price! Packages include tickets to both a concert at the Hollywood Bowl and performance of IRIS from Cirque du Soleil live at the Dolby Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center. A coupon from The Redbury hotel is included with all orders, featuring a $199 room rate and $25 Cleo2Go Hollywood Bowl Dinner.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Review: Follies is Fabulous

Follies is a song and dance with time.  Perhaps this is fitting in its wild success as a musical revival.  It has, after all, just received 25 Tony Award®  nominations.  But it is this layering of the past into the present, the heart of the show itself, that makes this show so wildly entertaining and relatable. 

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Experience Hollywood at the Hollywood Block Party

This Saturday, May 19 from 10AM-1PM, Hollywood is taking it to the streets with a block party. The event offers local residents* a rare opportunity to experience Hollywood like never before. Staff from L.A.'s own permanent Cirque du Soleil show, IRIS, will be on hand to demonstrate the magic of make-up. Visitors will have a chance to tour the iconic Grauman's Chinese Theatre for free. Madame Tussaud's Hollywood is offering free admission. There will also be opportunities to enter to win, with prizes including a one-night stay at the  Renaissance Hollywood Hotel.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Visit Pantages Theatre and ExperienceLA at National Train Day, Saturday May 12

This Saturday, May 12 from 11AM-4PM, join us and our partners at Broadway/L.A. - Pantages Theatre, along with many other vendors, at Union Station in celebration of National Train Day. Stop by our booth to have your photo taken with the Addams Family standee and submit it to enter our ADDAMS FAMILY photo contest.

Win tickets to see Los Otros – send us your “Only In L.A.” photo

On May 23 the world premiere of the musical, Los Otros, makes its debut at the Mark Taper Forum. The show celebrates those experiences that are unique to Southern California. In honor of this, we are giving away one (1) pair of tickets* to see the show on June 1st at 8PM, and what better way to do this giveaway than to host a photo contest?! Send us your best “Only in L.A.” photo, capturing that moment or experience that makes us say, “Oh yeah, that’s definitely L.A.” Because – you know – we are all about Los Angeles experiences after all J

Friday, May 04, 2012

Happy Star Wars Day & Free Comic Book Day Eve

May the Fourth Be With You.

The universe (or maybe some PR people) has decided that the next few days should be a concentrated amount of nerd celebrations.  Today is Star Wars Day (known also this year as Avengers U.S. Release Day) and tomorrow is Free Comic Book Day.  What's not to love?

Thursday, May 03, 2012

The Coals: Street Pianos & Pop-Up Show (Video)

IMG_3260Have you noticed the decorated street pianos throughout Los Angeles?  These thirty pianos are available for outside play as part of a project entitled "Play Me, I'm Yours", brought to you by the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra.

Bluegress band The Coals took over the pianos at CalPlaza and Wells Fargo Center for a little midday pop-up concert on Wednesday, May 2nd. 

Pirate Festival to benefit Children's Tumor Foundation

Arrrrrrrr, matey! Avast! Ahoy! And let's throw in a shiver me timbers for good measure. The 2012 Pirate Festival to benefit the Children's Tumor Foundation takes place Saturday, May 19 from 2:00-5:00 PM (1:00-5:00 PM for VIP) at 1010 Wilshire in Downtown. For our readers who have an affinity for the life of a pirate, here's yet another opportunity (Talk Like A Pirate Day and Halloween are much too far away) to dress up and live our fantasies! This event offers plenty of entertainment, grub, wenches and libations.

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

ExperienceLA Weekend: Fans Recap

One of our staff members
headed out to LACMA!
We asked our Facebook fans to tell us what they did this past weekend.  Here's the awesome response we received:
  • "I saw Reanimator the Musical at Hayworth!  Hilarious!" -Marian L.
    Learn more about Reanimator the Musical.
  • "Went rock climbing in Malibu Creek State Park." -Miriam P.
    See a photo of Malibu Canyon from our Flickr Pool.
  • "Went to the AMAZING Israel Festival @ Rancho Park!" -Robin S.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Elizabeth Cook and Sara Watkins Get Early Set Times at 2012 Stagecoach

DSC_2214 With the release of the  2012 Stagecoach set times, those lucky ones with tickets can begin to plan their time for the 3 day Country festival that sold out for the first time in its six year history. As those who have caught my ExperienceLA Stagecoach blog posts in prior years, you will know that I am a big fan of women alt-country stars.  Thus, high on my list of musicians to see are Elizabeth Cook and Sara Watkins.  Last December I saw Elizabeth Cook at the Mint and I have seen Sara Watkins perform both as a solo artist and with Nickel Creek who played at Stagecoach back in 2007.  Both artists get the early 1 pm  time slots, so to see either of them means one has got to get to Stagecoach when the gates are opened. This is my picture of Elizabeth Cook that AI took at the Mint, and I look forward to getting some pictures of her and her band at Stagecoach 2012.