Friday, December 27, 2013

A GRAND NEW NYE CELEBRATION IN LOS ANGELES




The new Grand Park downtown will host a free New Year’s Eve celebration with performances, art installations, and large-scale animated projections this year. The four block long park is located between City Hall and the Music Center. For families that don't want to stay up until midnight, there will be a live feed of the Times Square Ball Drop at 9pm. 
3-D PROJECTIONS (covering 22 floors on City Hall) / PHOTO BOOTH & PROJECTIONS (create a memory and share your wish for the New Year 100ft above Grand Park) / FACE PAINTING (join the tribe of LA with Tribal Markers) / ART INSTALLATIONS BY Charles Baker, Geoff McFetridge and Mike Murphy / HOSTED BY Azul 213* Amaral / Sisanie (KIIS – FM) / FOOD TRUCKS OPEN  (Street Kitchen, Lobos Truck, The Schmuck Truck, No Jodas Kitchen, Hurricane Kitchen, Mangia Ristorante on Wheels, India Jones, Grilled Cheese Truck, The Surfer Taco, Crepe’n Around, Berlin Famous Sausage, Kabob Express,Firehouse Chefs, Cousins Maine Lobster, Paradise Cookies, Ela Brew, Sweet E’s Bake Shop) / CASH BAR (no outside alcohol permitted in the Park, last call at 11:30PM) / STARBUCKS OPEN.
Go Metro - rides will be free 9pm - 2am and there will be service all night. Take the Red Line to the Grand Park/Civic Center station.
MORE INFORMATION: grandparkla.org

Friday, December 20, 2013

Eyestrology - By Cici Psy-Chic

Capricorn 12/22/13-01/20/14


Happy birthday to these celebrity December Capricorns: Jordin Sparks (12/22), Eddie Vedder (12/23), Ryan Seacrest (12/24), Annie Lennox (12/25), Jared Leto (12/26), Hayley Williams (12/27), Stan Lee (12/28), Jude Law (12/29), Tiger Woods (12/30), Anthony Hopkins (12/31)

Celebrity January Capricorns: Verne Mini-Me Troyer (1/1), Tia Carrere (1/2), Mel Gibson (1/3), Michael Stipe (1/4), Bradley Cooper (1/5), Rowan Atkinson (1/6), Nicolas Cage (1/7), R. Kelly (1/8), Kate Middleton (1/9), Pat Benatar (1/10), Mary J. Blige (1/11), Howard Stern (1/12), Orlando Bloom (1/13), LL Cool J (1/14), Armando Perez (1/15), Kate Moss (1/16), Betty White (1/17), Jason Segel (1/18), Dolly Parton (1/19), Edwin Buzz Aldrin (1/20)
This month will be extremely social for most signs but it also means our dealing with crowds, traffic and strangers during the holiday season. Remember everyone is trying to get somewhere too. We should exercise good manners and civility to keep things moving along merry and bright. It's a season for goodwill towards men so take this spirit out wherever you go. Engage but also be willing to acquiesce to others. New Year's brings a sense of unity and reflection. Instead of concentrating on what you want to do, consider just how much was done in 2013.

Read the full scope for Capricorn and other signs...

Richard Niederberg’s 54-Year Perfect Attendance to the L.A. Holiday Celebration

54 years is long enough to call anything a tradition. Just ask entertainment attorney Richard Niederberg, a longtime Studio City resident and Chair of Cultural Affairs for the Neighborhood Council on his spotless record of having attended every Holiday Celebration since the age of six. While he may not have set out to start a tradition when he first rode the bus by himself in 1959 to the LA Sports Arena (where the show was originally held), over time he simply kept going, witnessing the major changes along the way such as the move to the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, advances in technology and the show's original twelve hour duration brought down to three. 
A fixture at the Holiday Celebration, Niederberg is a sort of talisman for the producers. His familiar face can be seen sitting in the second row directly behind the stage manager...

Friday, December 13, 2013

INSIDE, OUTSIDE, UNDERGROUND ART ON THE EASTSIDE by Andrea Kirk



The Cypress Village Tunnel in Highland Park, one of many pedestrian underpasses throughout the L.A. area that were deemed dangerous decades ago by the city and so locked up for decades, has a new life thanks to some creative community effort. It has become an underground art gallery. I went to see this public art space as it was preparing for this Saturday's opening reception for a new exhibition featuring Shepard Fairey posters along with other art lining the walls of the 100 foot long tunnel and was greeted by Luna George (the project manager) and SEL(one of the artists) who were busy preparing the new exhibit.


Wednesday, December 11, 2013

'TIS THE SEASON TO TWINKLE


This time of the year is alight with all that is twinkly and bright. Here are a few of our favorite places to go and bask in all that glorious glow from Downtown L.A. to Orange County and from socal harbors and marinas to parks and other public spaces. 

DOWNTOWN L.A. - Union Station to South Park.


El Pueblo & Olvera Street are always colorful and festive places to go. At this time of the year you'll find Las Posadas and fun shopping on Olvera Street. Go Metro to Union Station and walk across the street to El Pueblo...

THE HOLIDAYS GLITTER AT LOCAL MARINAS AND HARBORS

From Ventura to Orange County the coastal waters are glowing with holiday spirit during the month of December. Most harbors and marinas have a decked out holiday boat parade on one of the weekends during the month. Newport Beach takes the parade to another level that lasts for 5 nights. Many of the harbors also offer boat tours of the decorated homes and boats throughout the month or you can go there and hoof it around the area. On parade nights you'll want to go early to find a good spot to view from the shore. 

Details and dates...

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

CAN BAKING CURE DEPRESSION?

Local bakers and artists will donate baked goods and holiday gifts to raise money and awareness about mental health. Proceeds go to the St. Joseph Center in Venice, CA and NAMI Westside, the Los Angeles chapter. 

Bakers – many who use baking to manage their own mental illness and joy – find creative ways to visually represent what it means to them.


The Depressed Cake Shop is a pop-up bakery selling gray-color themed cakes and baked goods that powerfully demonstrate the effects of depression. Pops of color remind us that mental illness is a cloud that can lift with the proper treatment, increased conversation and understanding. 

Proceeds from each shop directly benefit a mental health charity. The phenomenon swept England and made its Los Angles debut in August. It has also popped up in Houston, Seattle, Glasgow, Bangalore, India and Montreal.

The Holiday Edition will sell cupcakes, cake pops, cookies, whole cakes, macaroons and other surprises.

6 to 9 PM – Friday, December 13
10 AM until the last cake is sold – Saturday, December 14

The Depressed Cake Shop Los Angeles at the St. Joseph Center:
204 Hampton Drive Venice, CA 90291 - Corner of Hampton and Ashland / One block east of Main Street

For more information, please visit: www.depressedcakeshop.com.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Annual Venice Boat Parade Saturday Dec. 7th

The parade starts at 6pm just north of the Albee Rd Bridge, there are public areas at the start and down the parade route for a ways and across the water are restaurants.

The parade continues down the Intracoastal waterway and out the jetty as far as land on the south side. There is viewing on both sides of the jetties in this area.There is also a restaurant to the east on the Venice side, and if you come by boat there are plenty of spots along the way to drop anchor.

As it goes down the Intracoastal the next large area for public viewing is on both sides of the Intracoastal which is known as the Venetian Waterway Trail.

www.venicechristmasboatparade.com

Four Clowns Jr. Proves Clowning Around is Cool - by M.R. Hunter

There's been an explosion of children's theater in Los Angeles the last couple of years. Live shows geared for younger audiences, costume-encouraged fairy hunts and theater productions labeled "family-friendly" are proving to be as successful if not more as the avant-garde scene. Kids are now being tapped as the new demographic in an art form that is reinventing itself. The challenge then is to create children's theater that doesn't play down to its knee high audience member, but to inspire, inform, entertain and provide a safe and imaginative environment.
Artistic director of Four Clowns, Jeremy Aluma, is intent on clowning around and playing up to younger audiences with his company's children's theater branch, Four Clowns Jr.. It's already been a fantastic journey for Aluma as he studied Clown first at Cal State University in Long Beach and later with David Bridel. It was in Bridel's class, Aluma found the inspiration to create the hit show "Four Clowns" which premiered at the Hollywood Fringe Festival and went on to play at Sacred Fools and other venues. Being a clown is no funny business for Aluma who takes clowning seriously and has created a vital new company with a variety of adult shows receiving critical and popular acclaim both locally and across the country.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

The Velaslavasay Panorama in December: Les Soviets Plus L’Électricité & Bread + Puppet



Sunday 8 December 2013, 6:30pm, The Velaslavasay Panorama

FilmForum LA Presents Nicolas Rey's 15mm 1999 Film Les Soviets Plus l'Électricité

Wandering through Russia as if through someone else's house. A cintetrip from Russia to Magadan, a city of deportation. Based on excerpts from Rey's acoustic diary, documentary footage, and autobiographical insights, the roving reporter searches for imaginary roots and their historical implications.

This presentation is part of a touring exhibition of critically acclaimed French experimental filmmaker Nicolas Rey, with 10 other universities and media centers in the United States, supported in part by a grant from Cine2000, a program of FACE.
Nicolas Rey will appear in person for this Los Angeles premiere.

To Reserve Tickets
For More Information
    

Universal CityWalk Tree Lighting/Tamar Braxton Concert--12/5


Singer, songwriter, producer and star of the hit TV show "Braxton Family Values" and "Tamar & Vince," Tamar Braxton will join with Santa Clause and kids from L.A .Family Housing to illuminate Universal CityWalk's towering Christmas tree to mark the start of the spirited holiday season.
 
Ms. Braxton will kick off the festivities with a free performance of songs from her album "Love and War" and her holiday album, "Winter Loversland."
 
Following the tree lighting and performance, Tamar Braxton will meet fans and signs copies of CDs at "5 Tower." (Open to first 200 guests who purchase a CD.)
 
Throughout CityWalk's holiday festivities, "5 Towers" will have free concerts, and hourly snowfall at Santa's Snow Zone, where guests can take photos with Kris Kringle aboard his giant sleigh. Event dates are Nov. 29 to Dec. 31, 2013. More info. at www.CityWalkHollywood.com.
 
"5 Towers" on CityWalk is located in front of the Cinemas.
100 Universal City Plaza, Universal City, CA 91608
 
Thursday, December 5, 2013 at 5:30 p.m.

Free Winter Concert Series for the holidays at Pershing Square. New deejays Friday nights


It's time for "glide in" music at the Downtown on Ice holiday skating rink.  The stage is adjacent to the ice rink that is now open everyday through January 20th at Pershing Square.

"Spinning" without skates, deejays Cody Nadeau and Cameron Trowbridge of BRKLYN will host Club Nights every Friday in December from 8:00pm to 11:00pm with an electronica groove. (http://soundcloud.com/brklynmusic)

Framed by towering skyscrapers and  historic landmarks, this spacious rink is certainly the most beautiful in the city. This season there is no doubt a rink close to wherever you live, but this is worth going to just to absorb the atmosphere. You can get there easily without the traffic and parking  hassels - go Metro to the Pershing Square Red Line Station.

Friday, November 29, 2013

"¡Ser!" Kicky & Charming at LATC - review by M.R. Hunter


Karen Anzoategui's kicky solo piece about a childhood shuttled between Los Angeles and Buenos Aires is a journey well worth taking largely due to such a charming and joyful guide. Brimming with oodles of personality, Anzoategui infuses her zeal for soccer while providing social commentary on being (the Spanish definition for the verb ser) an Other-Other-Other as a queer Latina caught in two cultures and a divided home while reappropriating labels in both Americas.

Set to live music by the outstanding vocals of CAVA and saucy numbers provided by Walter Miranda in collaboration with Louie Pérez of Los Lobos, Shaunte Palmer and Clinton Cameron, this one-woman show captivates and sizzles...

Free Skating Showcase with Snoopy and World Champs at Downtown on Ice TUESDAY DEC. 3RD


Snoopy has a new skating partner. The world famous beagle and his friends are teaming up with World Champion and two time Olympian Tai Babilonia for a special FREE holiday ice skating showcase of "It's Christmas, Snoopy!," direct from Knott's Berry Farm. 500 kids from local non-profit groups will skate for free immediately following the showcase presentation.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013                        
4:00pm performance                  
4:20pm Youths skate for free

Downtown on Ice at Pershing Square (open now through January 20, 2014)
532 South Olive Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012

For more holiday events and activites visit the Eye Spy LA HOLIDAY GUIDE.

82nd Hollywood Christmas Parade Benefiting Marine Toys For Tots SUNDAY DEC 1ST

Sunday's parade kicks off at 5:00 p.m. with a star-studded concert prior to the start of the parade at 6:00 p.m.

Buzz Aldrin is this year's Grand Marshal.

The pre-parade concert will feature performances by Stevie Wonder, LeAnn Rimes, Billy Ray Cyrus, William Shatner, Kenny Loggins, Daughtery, Goo Goo Dolls, Richie Sambora, The McLain Sisters, Ace Young and Diane DeGarmo, Olate Dogs and Glee Club Australia, hailing from the Australian Institute for Performing Arts.


Curbside parade view is FREE and ticketed Grandstand seating is also available.

For the latest updates, please call the 24/7 Parade Hotline toll free at 1-866-PARADE1 (866-727-2331) and visit the parade's official website at www.thehollywoodchristmasparade.org.   


The 82nd Hollywood Christmas Parade Benefits Marine Toys For Tots.  

Associated Television International is producing a nationally televised two-hour special which will air on the Hallmark Channel at 2:00 p.m. on Wednesday, December 11th, and on Friday, December 20th on both the Hallmark Movie Channel at 5:00 p.m. and locally in the Southland on KTLA Channel 5 The CW from 8:00 – 10:00 p.m.

Find more things to do in Hollywood this weekend.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

YMCA LA is Giving Away A 2014 Kia at the LA Auto Show


Car culture is a part of LA and even if you aren't in the market for a new one, it can be lots of fun to look.  The Los Angeles Auto Show runs through this long holiday weekend at the LA Convention Center.  One more reason to go - the YMCA of Metropolitan Los Angeles has partnered with Kia Motors to give away a two-year lease on a 2014 Kia Soul at the Los Angeles Auto Show.  

For the first time, the Y is directly reaching out to car enthusiasts by giving away free YMCA 7-day Membership Passes and various prizes.  In between checking out the newest Kia models, guests can learn about their LA County neighborhood YMCA branches and the Y's unique programs and services while playing trivia games, visiting the kid's craft corner and entering to win a 2014 Kia Soul.    
 
Now through Sunday, December 1, 2013

Friday, November 29: 9:00am – 10:00pm
Saturday: 9:00am – 10:00pm
Sunday: 9:00am – 8:00pm

Los Angeles Convention Center, Aftermarket Hall (Lower Level of Kentia/South Hall 1201 South Figueroa Street, Los Angeles, CA 90015
 
There are more things to do and places to go in Downtown L.A. this weekend:
on the Eye Spy LA Downtown LA calendar.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Thanksgivukkah Celebration at L.A. LIVE Tomorrow


Break out the Menorah and the pumpkin pie because this Wednesday Thanksgiving Eve and Hanukkah are colliding in an event that could only be known as Thanksgivukkah.
 
To commemorate the first time that Thanksgiving Eve has coincided with the first day of Hanukkah since 1888, the Salvation Army's fifth annual Feast of Sharing Holiday Dinner will have a dual meaning and purpose when it takes place on Wednesday, Nov. 27. The celebration also marks the first event in AEG's Season of Giving, the company's annual initiative designed to raise funds and generate awareness for non-profit organizations that serve youth and families residing in low income households in Los Angeles County.
 
A lighting ceremony will take place at approximately 7 p.m. outside of STAPLES Center's Figueroa St. entry.

    Lighting of the 9 ft. (outdoor) Menorah at  Figueroa Street and 12th Street (7 p.m. 
      This holiday collision was not possible prior to President Abraham Lincoln establishing Thanksgiving in 1863 and will not overlap again for another 77,798 years (although Hanukkah will fall on actual Thanksgiving day in 2070 and 2165)! Encompassing the traditions of people from various backgrounds, this event will truly bring the spirit of the season to the people of Los Angeles.

      Friday, November 22, 2013

      Playwriting Pointers: Live! From the Last Night of My Life by M.R. Hunter

      As a theater critic, I see a lot of promising productions crash and burn primarily from the hubris of the script. It all starts and ends with the play. There are variables in this truism but I've rarely seen a lousy script shine due to an outstanding cast and/or director. Hopefully, it can be made better than what is writ on the page but even so, one ends up feeling sorry for talents wasted. Conversely, a strong script can suffer from a weak cast and/or director but as in the case of Pacific Resident Theatre's "A View From the Bridge" the late Arthur Miller held up, unfortunately the production did not. Miller's words, his play still resonates and I believe it is this reason alone why PRT enjoyed an extended run. This is rare but not unheard of, but worse than either of the aforementioned polarities is a weak script + weak acting = weak results. Period. End of.


      More astonishing is the same reasons for why a play fails each and every time I see it happen. Rarely is it truly a matter of taste but rather a neglect of common sense. Is it arrogance? Are playwrights intent on "breaking the rules" to prove they are so talented they don't need to abide with good rules of thumb? If this is the case, I'd like to break some thumbs. Instead, I'm going to offer Ten Playwriting Pointers using Wayne Rawley's play as an example of what NOT to do.

      Eyestrology - By Cici Psy-Chic

       
      Sagittarius 11/22/13-12/22/13

      Happy birthday to these celebrity November Sagittarians: Scarlett Johansson (11/22), Robin Rene Roberts (11/23), Katherine Heigl (11/24), Christina Applegate (11/25), Tina Turner (11/26), Jaleel White (11/27), Karen Gillan (11/28), Howie Mandel (11/29), Ben Stiller (11/30)

      Celebrity December Sagittarians: Bette Midler (12/1), Lucy Liu (12/2), Amanda Seyfried (12/3), Marisa Tomei (12/4), Little Richard (12/5), JoBeth Williams (12/6), Larry Bird (12/7), Nicki Minaj (12/8), Simon Helberg (12/9), Raven Symone (12/10), Nikki Sixx (12/11), Bob Barker (12/12), Jamie Foxx (12/13), Vanessa Hudgens (12/14), Adam Brody (12/15), Benjamin Bratt (12/16), Milla Jovovich (12/17), Steven Spielberg (12/18), Alyssa Milano (12/19), Jonah Hill (12/20), Samuel L. Jackson (12/21), Jordin Sparks (12/22), Eddie Vedder (12/23)

      With the holidays right around the corner, most signs will be feeling very sociable and animated. This is a good time to reconnect with old friends or distant family. We may experience the usual stress that comes with gatherings and get-togethers but we should try to roll with the season. Instead of doing the same ole routine, shake up the traditional by doing something new or going somewhere different. We'll be rushing around but leave enough time to reach your destination. Let's keep a cool head and be patient in the midst of the holiday rush and not act like turkeys.

      Get the full scope for Sagittarius and all the signs...

      Die Laughing - "Play Dead" resurrected at the Geffen - review by Mark Share


      What do you get when you cross a mentalist act with a horror show and throw in some laughs and nudity? I can't say exactly what genre Play Dead fits in, but it's a wickedly wild ninety minutes, and you'll get your spine tingled, funny bone tickled, and stomach turned.


      Monday, November 11, 2013

      Veterans Find an Outlet to the Arts with USVAA



      Veteran's Day comes once a year but there is much more we can do as a country for our veterans all the other days out of the year. Keith Jeffreys is making a difference by spearheading the non-profit arts organization United States Veterans Artist Alliance (USVAA). His primary goal is to assist veterans as they reintegrate into civilian life by giving them an outlet to pursue the arts.

      A veteran himself, Jeffreys saw a rising number of soldiers who were interested in pursuing the arts but lacked the resources or connections to further their goals. In 2004, Jeffreys set out to create a non-profit arts organization supported by fellow veterans on his advisory board which now includes Rogue Machine's artistic director John Perrin Flynn, John Densmore and Ron Kovic (author of Born on the Fourth of July). Located in Culver City at the AMVETS Post II Building, USVAA continues to expand with a recently new chapter in San Francisco.

      Rallying support is part of the challenge and Jeffreys is committed to getting the word out. With more awareness and outreach on the part of the arts community, USVAA is expanding its influence. There's a crucial need now for artists and established companies to work with veterans and help establish connections and networks to further the aims and provide opportunities for our returning servicemen and women.    

      There is no limit on the type of art a veteran is interested in developing. All forms are given the same consideration and thorough support through funding and collaborating with other non-profit arts organizations. The result has seen a ripple effect in just the last couple of years with an increasing number of artists and former veterans coming together as in the recent critically acclaimed production of John DiFusco's all-star veteran cast of 'Tracers' and his reflections on the 'Tracers' journey in his 'The Long Way Home.' A stage in the AMVETS building allows actors, directors, playwrights to mount pieces in its intimate space. Visual artists have also recently had their work shown professionally through a partnering with The Soldiers Project. Fine artists have enjoyed several exhibitions. Film and writing programs are available and as more veterans and artists discover USVAA, the effect is widespread and immediate.

      Benefits are immeasurable for soldiers and the arts community in general as many veterans utilize their experience, discipline and training in both the creative and the application of their interests. Although USVAA does not offer onsite psychological treatment for those struggling with PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder), Jeffreys can see the positive effects of veterans channeling their personal experiences into the arts, both aesthetically and therapeutically. Giving former soldiers, now turned artists, the ability to nurture, hone and apply their craft for the public validates their patriotism as well as their talents by providing an outlet to show their trade.

      There is no exclusionary restriction for those interested in becoming a part of USVAA other than being a veteran, but arts organizations, agencies and venues such as galleries are becoming more aware of the need to include our servicemen and women into the creative dialogue. For those returning home, USVAA provides a safe haven to ensure the further development of artists while recognizing the specific needs and care for veterans.

      Veteran's Day comes once a year, but USVAA is making a concerted effort recognizing veterans year round through the arts. There are those who think of artists as unsung heroes and in the case of our veterans and USVAA, they are true heroes who are lifting their voices and it is our responsibility to make sure our veterans/artists are heard.

      For more information please visit USVAA website: 

      Know a veteran interested in the arts? Contact: USVAA
      Keith Jeffreys
      Executive Director
      10858 Culver Blvd.
      Culver City, CA 90230
      (310) 559-2116


       

      Saturday, November 2, 2013

      GRAND PARK DIA DE LOS MUERTOS

      Celebrate the Day of the Dead at Grand Park in Downtown Los Angeles today from 3pm to 11pm.  Yes there will be food trucks, alters and other activities.  There will be a full bar and entertainment too. Go Metro to the Red Line Grand Park Civic Center station.


      For other events currently going on nearby check the 
      Eye Spy LA Downtown calendar CLICK HERE



      THE BRADBURY BUILDING

      This is one of the major landmarks in the historic core of Downtown LA.  The exterior is basic brick, but the interior is very elaborate.  Behind the building you will find Biddy Mason park, a cool oasis where you might enjoy some food you purchase at the nearby Grand Central Market. there's always something going on in downtown LA check the EyespyLA downtown calendar for what's going on now click here

      Friday, November 1, 2013

      'Falling' Rises to the Challenge at the Rogue Machine by M.R. Hunter


      Playwright Deanna Jent's West Coast premiere tackles the subject of autism with emotional verve and reveals the splintering effect it has on family dynamics. Unlike the lighter approach taken in the West Coast premiere of 'On the Spectrum' at the Fountain Theatre earlier this year, Jent's stormy drama paints a devastating but heartening portrait of daily life turned askew.

      Post-Modern Classic Evita Returns to Pantages in High-Flying Style - by Mark Share



      It's been more than 30 years since Evita won the Tony for best musical with its mash-up of Cinderella and Machiavelli. The rags-to-riches heroine marries her prince/dictator and demands of her servants, "Christian Dior me" and "Machiavelli me." The musical never makes up its mind about Eva Peron, the first wife of Argentina's fascist dictator Juan Peron. The show portrays her at different times as naïve or scheming, victor or victim, sweet or psychotic ("She'll simply take control as you [political opponents] disappear"). But all the messiness makes it a highly-entertaining diva performance, like a deranged Scarlett O'Hara.

      Wednesday, October 30, 2013

      Halloween Meatloaf of Rat - slide of the week by Charles Phoenix




      Every holiday time party should have an edible meatloaf sculpture to serve as centerpiece, theme setter and conversation starter. In the tradition of the Tiki Turkey Meatloaf, Easter Meatloaf of Lamb and the Meativity Scene, I am proud to present to you... the Halloween Meatloaf of Rat!

      Tuesday, October 29, 2013

      NEW TYPE OF WATCHDOG?

      I spotted this Spot near Pershing Square keeping an eye on the street at a construction site. You just never know what you'll find in Downtown L.A. these days so much is going on.

      Check the Eye Spy LA calendar to find out what's going on there now.

      THAR SHE BLOWS: A WHALE OF A TALE IN NEWPORT BEACH



      Southern California beach towns are great places to visit anytime. Scenic Newport Beach is no exception. The main attraction here is the harbor and the best way to enjoy it is to get out on the water. Kayak or paddleboard in the back bay, take a harbor cruise, or do like we did recently and go whale watching. On the way out of the harbor we saw some beautiful beaches, homes and yachts.

      Friday, October 25, 2013

      'THE PURGE: FEAR THE NIGHT' GOES ALL OUT by M.R. Hunter

      The standard haunted house has a new breed of competition: immersive theater. Instead of walking through a labyrinth corridor where actors jump out from corners and say "Boo!," now audiences can become part of the action and storyline. This isn't for the faint of heart though.





      For those who've seen enough haunted house attractions to not bother flinching anymore, 'The Purge: Fear the Night' does get your adrenaline pumping and your feet running in an entirely new way, but there are challenges with the interactive demands and questions concerning taste and the physical requirements for undertaking the roles immersive houses foist on its patrons.

      EYESTROLOGY LA by Cici Psy-Chic


      SCORPIO the month of 10/23/13-11/22/13

      Happy birthday to these celebrity October Scorpions: Weird Al Yankovic (10/23), Kevin Kline (10/24), Katy Perry (10/25), Keith Urban (10/26), Ruby Dee (10/27), Julia Roberts (10/28), Gabrielle Union (10/29), Diego Armando Maradona (10/30), Vanilla Ice (10/31)

      Celebrity November Scorpions: Anthony Kiedis (11/1), Stevie J. (11/2), Roseanne (11/3), Matthew McConaughey (11/4), Kris Jenner (11/5), Sally Field (11/6), Joni Mitchell (11/7), Gordon Ramsay (11/8), Eric Dane (11/9), Tracy Morgan (11/10), Leonardo DiCaprio (11/11), Anne Hathaway (11/12), Jimmy Kimmel (11/13), Josh Duhamel (11/14), Ed Asner (11/15), Lisa Bonet (11/16), Rachel McAdams (11/17), Owen Wilson (11/18), Jodi Foster (11/19), Joe Biden (11/20), Goldie Hawn (11/21), Scarlett Johansson (11/22), Robin Rene Roberts (11/23)

      Trick or treat? There will be more treats than tricks for most signs this month. Although there will be bursts of energy and fun activities, we should also be mindful of our thoughts and feelings. Find time for meditation or yoga before the holidays make it so easy to procrastinate. We would do well to balance the whirlwind with deliberate moments of respite in between. The more we get lost in the constant doing is where we may lose sight of our responsibilities. Don't forget to attend to the small stuff too. This is a good period for charity and giving to worthwhile causes. 

      Details for all of the signs...

      'WAIT UNTIL DARK' AT THE GEFFEN A THEATRICAL THRILLER by Mark Share

      Geffen's new production of the thriller Wait Until Dark is a great play for young people because they'll be scared--and that's not something they expect a live show to be able to do. Without giving much away, this play has about the best cat-and-mouse climax of any thriller, and Matt Shakman's direction worked, we know, because of the gasps and shrieks in the audience. Even if you've seen the Audrey Hepburn film or a prior production of the play, this tense production will make you feel the thrills all over again.
      What makes this play rise above the usual thriller fare is the multiple conflicts the writer Frederick Knott invents. At the center is a blind woman terrorized in her basement apartment by three criminals. And Knott writes fights among the criminals too. There's doubt and mistrust between the blind woman and her husband. And then there is that unpredictable teen neighbor girl.

      Wednesday, October 23, 2013

      URBAN OASIS: ECHO PARK LAKE by Leena Deneroff

      First I want to make it perfectly clear. I am NOT pretending I am still living in NY and tooling around Central Park. I totally own and take responsibility for being and living in Los Angeles.


      So like you, I have to drive to a lot of places. And one of those places happens to be the newly restored ECHO PARK LAKE. After being closed for about 2 years, the Park reopened in August 2013, and I for one have taken refuge and full advantage of this urban oasis.

      Just the walk around the lake could be enough. The Italians call it a passeggiata. Think about it folks. No need to power walk. Take it all in.


      Blow off your cardio workout, break your routines and get right down here and rent a PEDAL BOAT for some good old fashion FUN. But be forewarned don’t paddle too close to the fountain lest you dig being wet and wild!

      Did I forget to talk about FOOD? Me really???? Go inside the boathouse and there you will find the FOOD concession run by Square One. The price points are really good and fair here and Intelligentsia coffee is served.


      There is an Organic Beef Hot Dog on a Whole Wheat Bun for $3.25 or $4.25 with Kraut and a Grass Fed Beef Burger on a brioche bun for $6.50. Swinging the other direction is a Kale Salad for 7 Bucks.

      I spent a beautiful Sunday morning here scarfing away a yummy Egg Sandwich on Brioche Toast with Frisee, Heirloom Tomato and Aioli for $4.50 and parked my butt on a lake view bench.  I'm still watching those cals so I passed on the Brioche French Toast Bites with Maple Infused Cream. Next time I’ll run around the Lake first.

      We’ve come a long way since the 1880’s and the City’s amazing restoration of Echo Park Lake is NOT to be missed. Seriously folks, get in your car and drive, if you are not an Eastside Hipster. And don’t be intimated by this hood. It works for EVERYBODY.

      Echo Park Pedal Boats Concession

      751 N Echo Park Ave Los Angeles 90026

      Monday- Sunday 9AM-1/2 hour before Sunset

      $10.00 per person/hour $5.00 per child/hour


      Food Concession: Square One at the Boathouse

      Open Mon-Sun 9-6

      MORE INFORMATION





      Tuesday, October 22, 2013

      Tasty Pastry at Les Noces du Figaro by Andrea Kirk

      This expansive French Bistro seems like it was just dropped from the sky into the middle of the 600 block of  Broadway in Downtown L.A.  I spotted this place early on a Sunday morning and decided to stop in for breakfast (they open at 8am). The pastries were as good as they looked. It is next door to the Palace Theatre and a couple of doors up from Clifton's Cafeteria (still being renovated).  They are open for breakfast, lunch and dinner and have a full bar, lounge and outside dining area.  Plus the walk up counter where you can order pastries and other items to go.

      DAMN IS THIS GOOD! SINGLE ORIGIN COFFEE AND SHORT CAKE AT THE ORIGINAL FARMERS MARKET by Leena Deneroff

      Award winning pastry chef Nancy Silverton has done it again. YES this IS the woman who created and brought us the ORIGINAL La Brea Bakery and the concept of sourdough artisan breads! This time she has opened SINGLE ORIGIN and SHORT CAKE in one stall at the Original Farmers Market at 3rd and Fairfax.

      Damn is this good! Everything about this place works. It is an open bar in the old Farmers Market setting. Pastries and baked goods are being made right in front of your eyes and each VERVE coffee is pulled to perfection…smooth, rich, and bold without being bitter.


      Coffee choice is a no brainer for me. I am a cappuccino girl and I only sit at the bar and drink from the real and beautifully designed ceramic cups. 

      The challenge is what to EAT or dare I say what NOT to EAT. Often I come for a coffee and force myself to walk away as I am working diligently to knock off a few pounds. But as we all know, all work and no play makes Jill a dull girl. Soooo here we go.

      My two all time favorite things here are:
       

      Tuesday, August 13, 2013

      Lunch at Bear Pit BBQ by Andrea Kirk

      Lamb sandwich on garlic toast
      The Bear Pit has been around forever and draws a big crowd for their wood smoked meats with tangy "Missouri" style sauce. They even have lamb and duck in addition to typical bbq pork and beef.

      Their sandwiches on garlic toast are very tasty - my favorite is the lamb. The chicken is my favorite for dinner - it is crispy and smoky and they don't sauce it up - you can add the sauce yourself. Use their regular sauce though, I like it better than the sweet sauce they serve with the chicken.

      Sawdust on the floor, wooden tables and an outdoor patio provide the old school bbq joint ambiance
      .


      
      The crispy quarter chicken makes a great light lunch.  The half chicken dinner is my favorite thing on the menu here.  It is basically wood smoked chicken that is finished in the fryer. I don't know any place making anything like this.


      The Bear Pit
      10825 Sepulveda Boulevard,
      Mission Hills, CA 91345
      (818) 365-2509
      Website

      What's to do Nearby:
      San Fernando Valley CALENDAR
      Mission San Fernando Rey De Espana
      Nethercutt Museums

      Thursday, August 1, 2013

      A MIDSUMMER EVENING - PRESHOW AT THE THEATRICUM BOTANICUM

      A summer evening at the Theatricum Botanicum is a delightfully bucolic theatrical experience in the woods of Topanga Canyon.  But sometimes you doo need to watch your step.

      video


      THE SECOND MOUNTING OF ‘JUDAS ISCARIOT’ IS A GODSEND Review by M.R. Hunter

       
      There is a god in the L.A. theater community and his name is Josh T. Ryan. A founding member of Zombie Joe’s Underground, Ryan brings an ambitiously fresh, determined sensibility as the newly appointed director to Breedlove Productions’ second staging of “The Last Days of Judas Iscariot” and raises an otherwise would-be Lazarus from the dead.
       
      It’s rare for a show to experience a transfiguration after its initial reception received less than stellar reviews, (*earning a tepid 66% Bittersweet on the Los Angeles theater review aggregate website Bitter-Lemons.com). Aided by a clearer vision unrestrained by moodier nuances, Ryan reframes a courtroom set in an urban barrio of Purgatory into a timely, poignant, sardonic discourse on matters of faith, forgiveness, brotherhood, and self-persecution.


      Friday, April 26, 2013

      PENGUINS, SEAHORSES, JELLYFISH OH MY! AT MONTEREY BAY AQUARIUM by M.R. Hunter

      An easy weekend getaway is heading up the 101 North and stopping along the way at beach towns like Pismo, wineries in Paso Robles, or John Steinbeck’s stomping grounds in Salinas. Those who wish to push further but stay just shy of San Francisco won’t be disappointed by visiting Monterey. This area is concentrated with sightseeing excursions from the comfort of your own vehicle like the 17-Mile Drive in Pebble Beach, to winding around the quaint beachfront villas in Carmel and is half an hour away from Santa Cruz.

      Monterey is a perfect place to park, get out and stretch while taking in the charm of this historic town known in large part to writer Steinbeck for its Cannery Row. The narrow streets and warehouses aren’t filled with sardines anymore (although you can still smell a whiff of brine) but are loaded up with gift shops, restaurants and hotels. 

      On the west end of Cannery Row is the world famous Monterey Bay Aquarium. 

      With an emphasis on conservation this state of the art facility offers guests an opportunity to get up close and personal with sea life ranging from exotic seahorses, penguins and sea otters to sharks. The spacious exhibits accommodate large groups and tours with several aquariums for visitors to peer into within each room.

      Monday, April 1, 2013

      GEE WHIZ! RIDING THE AERIAL TRAM IN PALM SPRINGS By Andrea Kirk


      One of the things I've always wanted to do is ride the tram from Palm Springs to the snow covered peaks above. The idea of sitting around a pool in the hot desert until baked well done (about 5 minutes) and then heading up a mountain in a matter of minutes and throwing a snowball to cool off was quite compelling. 

      But when planning the occasional trip to Palm Springs I'd always forget about including the tram in the schedule. I always remembered of course as I passed the road leading up to it at the Palm Springs Visitor's Center on the way into town. By then it was too late to mush the schedule around to accommodate. 

      Finally I took a trip with a friend and we had nothing in particular scheduled except fun and relaxation. On the way into town we saw the sign and off we went.
      We were so excited. We bought the tickets, got on board, waited for take off admiring all the granite and the views at the bottom. The tram starts going up, we are on our way. We both looked at each other: OMG we forgot we are AFRAID of heights. What were we thinking! What are we doing! We ran to the door... too late. We didn't just leave our fingerprints on the steel handrail, we left impressions.

      Then we started to calm down. The gondola is completely enclosed. There is plenty to cling to (for sissies like us) and plenty of windows for people who want to actually see the view they're paying for. Did I mention the tram car rotates? Sigh of relief, we could hide and not look. To further enhance our illusion, the gondola seemed to be hardly moving, in fact it really felt almost like standing still (smooth, silky, stillness). A standard elevator seems like a herky jerky rocket to Mars in comparison. We felt less doomed. 

      We continued up the mountain. Gee it doesn't look very high up. We relaxed and started enjoying the view. We were almost half way up at this point and it was FANTASTIC!

      When we were almost at the midpoint we spotted the downward tram. Cool, we'll wave as they go by!

      The downward craft passed us before we could raise a hand. It was zip lining to hell! We tried to remain calm.




      At the top we stepped off and went immediately to the bar. Drinks in hand we spoke the unspeakable. We had to go down. Did you see how fast that thing was going!!! 
      So we did the only thing we could do. We walked around on some of the trails, had a snack, took in the views and finally set our jaws, squared our shoulders and boarded the down tram. It felt just as slow going down as it had going up - until that blasted rocket to Mars zipped by!

      Hot or cold, warm or cool, this is a very fun thing to do if you are in the Palm Springs area. Don't miss it.

      Story & photos - Andrea Kirk

      MORE INFORMATION:
      Palm Springs elev approx 500'
      Mountain Station elev 8516'
      The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway
      WARNING! No matter how hot the desert is, it will be much cooler or even cold at the top! 
      San Jacinto peak is more than 10,000 ft above sea level
      Mount San Jacinto State Park and MORE about the park and the tram
      Santa Rosa and San Jacinto National Monument .