Have bike, will vamp....

Have bike, will vamp….

Staycationing?

Stay happy all weekend!

Read on for ways to make the city your personal playground….

BIKE NIGHT AT UNION STATION — If you thought Union Station was just a place to scurry through as quickly as possible, think again.  This Friday night, the architectural icon invites you to linger when it becomes an innovative fashion runway for  the designs of OTIS fashion students working under the guidance of Todd Oldham: legendary designer and OTIS alum.  The FREE evening includes live music by Jungle Fire, non-hosted food trucks, a bike valet, raffles and prizes (including a Public Bike) and an early peek at Metro Bikes: the DTLA bike share program debuting this summer.  Why:  Watching high-fashion models interact with bike chains and banana seats.

At Gronk's Theater of Paint, we are merely players....

At Gronk’s Theater of Paint, we are merely players….

GRONK’S THEATER OF PAINT: OPENING RECEPTION — Become part of the show at Gronk’s Theater of Paint, which opens with a reception this Saturday evening at the Craft and Folk Art Museum.  The legendary muralist and performance artist’s newest exhibit focuses on his 40 years of theater design; most recently, in operas for Peter Sellers.  The exhibit  is interactive: wander in, around and through the standing pieces while interacting with the props.  Why: Celebrate a legend by enacting an impromptu tribute to his life, in his art.

For the women and men who have served....

For the women and men who have served….

CLIFTON’S CANTEEN – 1940’s USO SHOW Clift,on’s Cafeteria rightly describes itself as “living history” — which makes it the perfect place to celebrate the women and men who were a part of history via their service to our country.  CAC Studios, the troupe that brought you the bawdy, hilarious Thenardier’s Inn, is bringing the full USO experience to the iconic eaterie for one night only.  Dress in your 1940’s finery for the Saturday night show, which includes hot jazz, Big Band music and songs performed by show biz icons of the era.  Why: Cocktails with patriotism and a giant redwood.

Playa Provisions: where to start your summer this Monday.

Playa Provisions: where to start your summer.

PLAYA PROVISIONS’ MEMORIAL DAY BEACH SIDE BASH — If your Memorial Monday plans include a day at the seashore set your beach towel sights on Playa Del Rey: specifically, the expanse of sand across from Playa Provisions: the four-in-one drinking and dining concept by Top Chef alum Brooke Williamson and her husband Nick Roberts.  On Memorial Day, Playa Provisions will be pulling out all the stops: celebrating Memorial Day and their 2nd anniversary with an afternoon, beach side/parking lot bash that has no admission fee and  includes grilled burgers and hot dogs, cocktails (from their fab Grain Whiskey bar) and a beer garden with The Stone Hop Wagon, featuring a variety of Stone Brewing’s craft beers on-tap. The Royal Rats plus a DJ provide the soundtrack to your perfect California summer kickoff.  Face painting and a bouncy obstacle course keep the small fry busy so you can enjoy the ocean breezes and the booze.  Why: A beach side sunset with great food, a perfect cocktail and preoccupied kids.

Ready?  U Know U Want to Go Go….

Be afraid..be very afraid.

Be afraid..be very afraid.

Did you think this weekend would be a “fun lull” before Memorial Day weekend?

Think again.

WITCHES BREW: ALL OF THEM WITCHES — Want to brush up on your incantations?  Pining for a chance to wear your Seventies pentacle?  Dust off your occult duds and head to Cinefamily for the late Friday night Opening Party of their May-into-June witch-centric film series featuring films like Practical Magic, Teen Witch and three separate screenings each of supernatural/horror classics The Devils and Rosemary’s Baby.  At the kick-off event, view rare and archival footage of all things mystical before heading to the Cinefamily patio where practitioners of the magickal arts will tell you everything you want to know and undoubtedly things you’d rather not hear.   Why:  The chance to see “eye of newt” in action and look haute-as-hell in black velvet in May.

Rock 'n Rioja.

Rock ‘n Rioja.

RIOJA WINE & TAPAS FEST — One of the most thematically immersive food and wine events around, this all-Saturday-afternoon fest at Los Angeles Union Station’s gorgeous, former ticket hall features Spanish sips and nibbles from 30 top Rioja wine makers and 25+ lauded chefs including Ray Garcia (Broken Spanish), Nikki Martin (My Haute Kitchen) and Daniel Rebelo (Union Pasadena).  The all-inclusive ticket gives you access to 200 wines, a Galleria of Jamon Iberico (i.e. Spain’s famous ham), an olive bar, reserve wine tastings, seminars and more while DJ Lord of Public Enemy (ATL) spins the most influential albums of Spain.  Bonus: you’ll be automatically entered into the contest to bring home a bottle of each Rioja wine served at the festival.  Why: Sipping vino while circling between the paella garden and the cheese cave. (The Cheese Cave!)

Spooky...

Spooky…

HEARSAY: ARTISTS REVEAL URBAN LEGENDS — WITH CARTWHEEL ART TOURS x ATLAS OBSCURA — That sleepaway camp creep-out that led to a childhood of gnawed nails and nightmares? It’s probably included in this 30+ artist show at LosJoCos Gallery in the DTLA Arts District.  This Sunday, dig deeper if you dare into urban legends with Cartwheel Art Tours and Atlas Obscura for a 12+ exploration of modern myths via the Hearsay artists’ interpretations; each artist chose an urban legend that she or he had a personal connection to.  Atlas Obscura Field Agent Hadley Meares will suggest other L.A. sites to explore more local lore.  Why: Learning about purple squirrels and the Goat Man from people with wilder imaginations than you.

Ready?  U Know U Want 2 Go Go….

Ms. Go Go regrets....

Ms. Go Go regrets….

…there will be no Weekend Go Go because of illness.

Fun tweets will ensue….

U Know U Want 2 Go Go…..

Check out Asphalt Rainbow by Charenton Macerations at the Aix Scent Fair at the Hammer

Check out Asphalt Rainbow by Charenton Macerations at the Aix Scent Fair at the Hammer Museum.

Go Go’ers, we’re in full on May mode.  The season of non-stop fun has begun!

Start your party engines….

AIX SCENT FAIR at THE HAMMER MUSEUM — What better way to celebrate the first full weekend of May than with a celebration of artisanal scent?  The weekend of olfactory delights  begins Friday night with a panel helmed by Saskia Wilson-Brown, founder and director of co-presenter (with LuckyScentInstitute for Art and Olfaction, and includes a scent scientist and a curator of  olfactory art.  Peruse the wares of fragrance artistes from near and far like local artisan Meike Kopp‘s scents-with-stories candles at Manifest Destiny or  the signature profumos by Italy’s Master Perfumer Maria Candida Gentile.  Then stay for the no-host awards gala Saturday night.  Saturday and Sunday’s adult perfume workshops are sold out but grown-ups can hang at the FREE scent workshop for children on Mother’s Day.  Why: Finding the perfect day-before-Mom-day prez and/or spending quality time with your child on Mother’s Day.

Get your read-on at the Downtown Bookfest at Grand Park

Get your read-on at the Downtown Bookfest at Grand Park

GRAND PARK’S SPRINGTIME READS — Artisanal means books, too.  This year, the round-up of all things bookish and beautiful at Grand Park is themed “Literary LA: Places, Spaces and Faces.”  Support and celebrate small and wonderful indie presses at the Pop-Up Bookshop curated by Writ Large Press.  The latter, one of the L.A. literary community’s gems, also curated the afternoon South Performance Lawn readings such as Coiled Serpent, the poetry anthology edited by Poet Laureate of Los Angeles Luis J. Rodriguez.  The David Kipen-curated panel discussions on the North Performance Lawn include the intriguingly titled “The Book Critics’ Pie-Throwing Gallery (An Unsafe Space)”.  The afternoon includes books and readings for budding bookworms and arts activities for everyone.  Why: The instant gratification of creating your own book via PUBLISH! in L.A.’s “Park for Everyone”.

Drink wine with Mom at Esters Wine Shop & Bar

Mother’s Day Wine Tasting at Esters Wine Shop & Bar

MOTHER’S DAY WINE TASTING at ESTERS’ WINE SHOP & BAR — If you’re the lucky sort who’s celebrating a vino-loving mama — or one who just likes to be spontaneous with her fun — stop by Esters Wine Shop in SaMo between 3:00 and 5:00 p.m. for a casual wine tasting: $25 for a wine and cheese tasting with no rez needed!  You can sip at your own pace and get 10% off retail prices of wines featured in the Mom Day tasting.  Esters debuted their Sunday Wine Tastings in April and they’re making the Mother’s Day event extra special: preorder a gorgeous bouquet from http://www.krystalchang.com to be picked up at Esters.  Less organized offspring can pick up a bouquet on site: presumably while supplies last.  Why: Celebrating a great mom while sipping great wine.

Ready?  U Know U Want 2 Go Go….

Eye-bending sounds at Peter Manning Robinson's Refractor Piano Concert.

Eye-bending sounds at Peter Manning Robinson’s Refractor Piano Concert. (Photo credit: Klaus Hoch)

May Day! May Day!

Fab weekend ahead!

Here’s your manual for fun….

THE REFRACTOR PIANO CONCERT — This is not your grandma’s piano concert.  Or your grandma’s piano for that matter.  This Thursday, Emmy Award-winning pianist/composer Peter Manning Robinson debuts his new invention — The Refractor Piano™ — with a FREE, World Premiere performance at Bergamot Station.  Robinson has pioneered an innovative new sound — “refracted music” — that eschews  prerecorded tracks, triggered samples, external sounds and MIDI instruments.  Instead, Robinson uses the keyboard, fingers, mallets, and other implements to generate never-before-heard sounds. “Refracting” the raw acoustic sounds makes each performance a unique, one of a kind event.  Working with Robinson and his creative collaborator Klaus Hoch,  Hana Kim, an award-winning set and projection designer for theater (Fallujah for the Long Beach Opera), has created an immersive,  visual landscape to heighten the visceral experience of Robinson’s music.  Tickets are going fast so RSVP ASAP!  Can’t make Thursday?  A second concert is in the works; keep an eye Robinson’s website!  Why:  A transplendent musical and visual treat…for FREE!

Indoor spaces in the great outdoors at A Street (Af)fair in WeHo

Indoor spaces in the great outdoors at A Street Affair in the West Hollywood Design District.

A STREET AFFAIR — Whether you’re an avid design junkie or just a garden variety looky lou, you’ll want to wend your way to the West Hollywood Design District, which is co-producing a FREE street fair with Parachute Market. Saturday’s  one-day-only event brings Eastside and Westside designers together in WeHo to celebrate two historic and influential design movements: European-inspired Hollywood Glamour and California Modernism. Get to the fest early to avoid the lines for the hotter-than-hot Shake Shack; enjoy the East Coast transplant’s iconic “concretes” (frozen custard blended with mix-ins) while checking out makers, artists and environmental designers under a floating “roof” of translucent panels.  Why: The great indoors meets the great outdoors.

Bon Vivant Market & Cafe at Taste of the Eastside. Food almost too pretty to eat. Almost.

Bon Vivant Market & Cafe at Taste of the Eastside. Food almost too pretty to eat.  Almost. (Photo courtesy of Bon Vivant Market & Cafe.)

TASTE OF THE EASTSIDE — What better way to welcome the month of May than with a premier food and drink festival in a gorgeous outdoor setting?  Mosey over to the gorgeous, mission-style L.A. River Center & Gardens on Sunday to taste your way through more than two dozen of the best eating and drinking establishments in Silver Lake, Echo Park, Eagle Rock, Highland Park, Los Feliz, Atwater and beyond.  Sip oh-so-refreshing cocktails made with organic, locally sourced ingredients from DTLA’s Greenbar Craft Distillery: L.A.’s first distillery since Prohibition.  Sample early bites from RBTA: a Robata-style den opening in June  on Figueroa in Highland Park.  Sample the sweet stuff from Choctal Single Origin Ice Cream. Garth Trinidad, Anthony Valadez and DJ Aire will provide the perfect  soundtrack to your first Sunday in May.  Why: Getting hot and sweaty to Charlie Overbey & the Broken Arrows then cooling down with a sour, salty, spicy Silverlake Diable Pop.

Ready?  U Know U Want 2 Go Go….

All that glitters is Broke L.A.

All that glitters is Broke L.A.

Sad you’re not experiencing gusty winds and near-100-degree weather in Coachella?

Drown your sorrows with a music & arts fest, food on the cheap and a socially aware film series.

Bonus: save a fortune on sunscreen.

BROKE L.A. – The festival formerly known as Brokechella has changed its name and with the mission statement of “The Next Big Thing”, claimed its territory as the premier local showcase for I-saw-them-when bragging rights.  On Saturday only, 50 up-and-coming indie, hip-hop, DJ, and comedy acts will tear it up on five stages.   Also check out Broke Film, a No Budget pop-up film festival, plus  nom nom from food trucks and restos like CoolHaus and Guelgagetza.  Bark L.A. (formerly “Puppychella” — insert happy face here) will provide festival dog-sitting (pre-registration only) in addition to adoption opportunities.  Why:  Musical bragging rights for the price of a snack in a desert dust storm.

Finance-challenged foodie alter!

Finance-challenged foodie alter!

PASADENA RESTAURANT WEEK — Craving a meal out but feeling the financial pinch post-Tax Day?  Already received your tax return and want to celebrate? Head to Rose City for the inaugural (and strategically timed!) Pasadena Restaurant Week.   Starting Sunday and extending through Friday, April 29, Pasadena eateries will offer special prix fixe meals including (usually) two-course lunches from $15 to $25 and (usually) three-course dinners from $27 to $45.  Special occasion diners will want to check out the iconic Parkway Grill, which sources from its on-site garden: dinner offerings include Thai shrimp corn dogs, pan-roasted Scottish salmon and a Butterscotch and Chocolate Brownie Trifle.  Vegans and the veggie-curious will want to venture in to Real Food Daily where plant-based lunch choices include Cardini Salad, a Portobello Mushroom Risotto and beverages such as Iced Lime Matte.  Carnivores can chow down for less at Arroyo Chop House, which offers Oysters on the Half Shell, Petit Filet Mignon and a Grand Marnier Souffle (add $7). Why:  Indulging your food fetish without breaking the bank.

Crocodile GennadiySIMA IMPACT CINEMA: 2016 WINNERS SERIES — Starting Tuesday , make the Skirball Cultural Center your destination for thought-provoking documentaries: all winners of the 2016 Social Impact Media Awards (SIMA) for documentary feature films.   Taking place on the foruth Tuesday of the month through August, watch compelling films like April’s inaugural offering: Crocodile Gennadiy (Almost Holy) about a vigilante Ukrainian pastor who kidnaps young drug addicts off the streets and rehabilitates them;  Terrence Malick is one of the Executive Producers.  Additional films include: The True Cost (about the dark side of the fashion industry); Omo Child: The River and The Bush (about ritual killing of Ethiopian children believed “cursed”); Dreamcatcher (about teenage prostitutes on the streets of Chicago); and Tell Spring Not To Come This Year (about an Afghan National Army unit in their first year of no NATO support). There’s a post-screening discussion after each of the five films with: filmmakers, humanitarian aid workers, government officials, NGO representatives, cultural anthropologists, and development, education, and human rights experts.  Why:  Expanding your cultural horizons and your empathy while supporting storytellers who make a difference.

Ready?  U Know U Want 2 Go Go….

The Art of Darkness: Noir City Hollywood

The Art of Darkness…and murder.

Couldn’t get tix to a certain desert music fest?

Read on.

You’ll be glad you stayed in town.

NOIR CITY HOLLYWOOD: The Art of Darkness — It may be sunny in L.A. but it’s always dark in Noir City.  Presented by the American Cinematheque and Film Noir Foundation,The 18th Annual Los Angeles Festival of Film Noir kicks off tonight with a Latin-themed reception and a double bill of double dealings and deception starting with The Bitter Stems (Los Tallos Amargos):  a critically acclaimed (and critically under-screened), award-winning film out of Argentina. Your ticket admits you to the Opening Night reception for beer, wine, empanadas and dulce de leche delish with vintage cop cars and a thematic soundtrack courtesy of DJ Wyatt Magnum.  The second feature RiffRaff deliver shadows and subterfuge in Panama City by way of the RKO lot.  Can’t make it tonight?  There are nine nights (through April 24) and 19 more films of betrayal, banter and bitterness still to come.  Why: Watching Argentina’s Best Film of 1956, one of American Cinematographer’s “100 Best Photographed Films of All Time” (DP Ricardo Younis), with a score by Astor Piazzolla, the greatest Argentine musician of the 20th century — all in the same movie! Plus, empanadas.

recordstoreday

RECORD STORE DAY – For fans of vinyl, April 16 is a hallowed day. Not sure what the fuss is about?  Today’s a great day to find out.  Now in its ninth year, participating RSD indie shops all over the world will feature exclusive, limited quality (Get ’em while you can!) releases/collectibles including: picture discs; classic reissues (Creedence Clearwater Revival 1969 Box Set from Concord (UMG); and exclusive tracks by Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, Shawn Colvin & Steve Earle, Jason Molina, Brandi Carlile, Florence + The Machine, Regina Spektor, John Grant, New Barbarians, and hundreds more.  Not all record stores will be participating and not all participating shops will have all of the above.  And that’s what makes it exciting.  Why: the thrill of the hunt.

Dark Progressivism at World Art Day 2016

Dark Progressivism at World Art Day 2016

WORLD ART DAY IN DTLA ARTS DISTRICT —  World Arts Day/IAA — Los Angeles 2016 kicked off Thursday, is officially Friday and continues through the weekend.  Some of the best, most cohesive programming is happening in conjunction with Cartwheel Art Tours this Sunday, April 17 with the first L.A. pre-screening of Dark Progressivism: On Rupture and Rebellion: a documentary about the social/historical influences on L.A.’s urban, graffiti and tattoo art scene.  Linger at The Container Yard for the post-screening Q & A with host Greg Escalante, co-founder of Juxtapoz Magazine then head out into the L.A. River-adjacent Arts District for a mural and neighborhood walking tour with Steve Grody’s Graffiti L.A.  Your ticket includes a stop at oh-so-cool Art Share-LA and a private tour and tasting at neighborhood treasure Angel City Brewery. Why: One stop arts programming/urban adventure.  Also, beer.

U Know U Want 2 Go Go….

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