Friday, April 30, 2010

Cheap eats, great views, & spicy guacamole at the Yamashiro Garden Market.

Hidden right above the tourist-riddled streets of Hollywood is the Magic Castle. And hidden right behind that is Yamashiro Restaurant. (You should note that hidden just a bit further up the hill is free street parking.) And on Thursday evenings (at least for the summer), the sprawling Japanese Restaurant and gardens are home to an outdoor farmer's market which is spectacular--not for its produce offerings--it hosts less than some of its counterparts--but for its atmosphere and the sweeping views of the city. Not many other of LA's farmers markets can boast a hilltop perspective of miles and miles and miles of cityscape. Nor, lovely Japanese exteriors. Nor a wine bar (nice!). Nor a Japanese style taco booth, courtesy of a Yamashiro's chef where guests can enjoy $6 tacos (he hooked me up with a pretty nice vegetarian alternative) and wasabi-laced gaucamole.

Enjoy one night this summer. I highly recommend the experience. If I were the type that gave experiences stars, I'd give this one 3.7 gold ones (4 if I'd had a blanket to shield me from the wind up there).

See you at the Yamashiro Garden Market on a Thursday soon, I hope...

Thursday, April 29, 2010

This summer. Food, film and the great outdoors.

In case the Hollywood Forever cemetary screenings have gotten too crowded for you, you're tired of chasing down food trucks on the street, and/or you just need an excuse to gorge yourself on popcorn, there is a new outdoor screening/eating/lounging around fest in town.

The Outdoor Cinema Food Fest will launch this summer, with free weekly screenings at Exposition Park. That's that park near USC that you may have passed on your way to a nearby rave or the butterflies at the Natural History Museum at some point. But anyway, it's big, it's grassy, and it's about to be home to what the Fest's website is currently calling 'LA's Top Food Trucks.' Hmm.

Despite the shroud of vagueness concerning the food, the schedule of films is listed and it's a doozy. The fest opens with Avatar, includes other recent hits like The Hangover and Twilight and gets a little old school on us with classics like The Breakfast Club and Fight Club.

Sold. I will pack my extra salt for the popcorn now.

Drama, tans and guidettes on Little Jersey Shore.

They may be just 4 years old, but the drama, broken hearts and fake tans are no less real on Little Jersey Shore than on MTV's grown up version. Um, okay--the fake tans are a little less real on the Lil version.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Currently Listening To: Fitz & The Tantrums [Sounds]

Save the lead singer's very questionable blond streak, I'm loving Fitz & The Tantrums. Soulful and sexy--I've got this song on repeat.

Fitz & The Tantrums Performing LIVE! that's right LIVE!!! "Breakin' the Chains of Love" from Fitz&theTantrums on Vimeo.

And watch out for the LA-based six-piece on tour with Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings this Spring. No dates with Sharon in LA as of yet. But, ya know, us Angelenos can still support. Especially cause they'll be in residence at Spaceland every Thursday for a month, beginning June 10th. Um, yay.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

"Los Angeles, I'm Yours." Cause one man's trash equals our good fortune. [art in LA]

One man's trash is another man's treasure as the saying goes. For instance, I will gladly eat your leftover food (just a note for the future). And, in a less practical and more creative interpretation of the adage, Poketo and Kistune Noir have teamed up, recruiting their artist pals to recreate found items into fabulous pieces of new art. Amongst those participating in the project are an eclectic mix of visual and varied artists including Gary Baseman, Jason Schwartzman, Neil LaBute and over 30 other LA artists.

The show opens at Space 15Twenty this weekend and you won't want to miss the 1st night of the art market with sounds by Aquarium Drunkard and ice cream by Scoops.

Please also remember when you're there--I WILL eat your leftovers, so just drop your melting Scoops off at my place, mkay?

Poketo x Kitsune Noir presents “Los Angeles, I’m Yours”

Space 15Twenty Gallery
1520 N. Cahuenga Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90028

Opening Reception
Saturday April 24th

Show runs until May 15th

Participating artists include:

Alex Krastev \ ASHKAHN \ Bijan Berahimi \ Brian Wade Scott \ Chris Bettig \ Cole Gerst \ David Browne \ Eamon Ore-Giron \ Eric Trine \ Erin Burrell \ Florencio Zavala \ Gary Baseman \ Geoff McFetridge \ Gina Osterloh \ Hannah K. Lee \ Ian O’Phelan \ Jared Andrew Schorr \ Jason Schwartzman \ John Pham \ Jordan Crane \ Leah Chun \ Marco Zamora \ Mark Todd \ Neil Doshi \ Neil LaBute for Significant Objects \ Portugal. The Man \ Saelee Oh \ Sarajo Frieden & Marci Boudreau \ Scott Barry \ Steven Harrington \ Tim Biskup \ Tom Vadakan \ Ye Rin Mok

Me & Coachella 2010.

We had a rocky love affair this past weekend--lots of traffic, little rest, sleeping accommodations that changed nightly, and 75,000 hot, high individuals to maneuver through on the field. But there was good music, great friends, fun parties, and concessions (we love concessions).

Some fond memories from three days in the sun...

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Hard core porn & George W. Bush. The common denominator.

Yesterday, I had the great pleasure of visiting the newly opened Soho House West Hollywood for a leisurely lunch on the garden patio. But before we even approached the stairs, I was struck by the walls of the reception space. Where most dining establishments have perhaps a landscape by an unknown artist behind the hostess stand, the walls of the exclusive Soho House’s entrance way comprise a small and impressive gallery. The pieces from the likes of Mark Ryden, Raymond Pettibon and other renowned artists are one-upped only by the giant glass chandelier which hovers above the stairway (one of several which were brought into the space via cranes).

Our tour guide led us over to one piece in particular--a portrait of former US President George W. Bush created by the collection’s curator and an artist himself, Jonathan Yeo. The portrait was lovely, sure. But what of it?

Here’s what.

British artist Jonathan Yeo taught himself to paint in his twenties (which should give aspiring later life artists hope) and began his career creating stunning portraits. Commissions followed--notable past clients include Tony Blair and Nicole Kidman.

But then he got subversive. And here’s where things get interesting. In the 2000s, Yeo began caricaturing politicians, flaunting nudity, and just generally poking fun at public figures through his ironic portraiture--busts riddled with hard core porn, nudes of prominent businessmen, and other artistic expressions which made the general public uncomfortable.

Spectacular news for those of who like when things are stirred up.

Should you be in LA, visit Yeo’s work at the Soho House (if you can find a way in). Must-sees include the wallpaper in the bathrooms--the flowery patterns are so much dirtier at second glance and, of course, the famous portrait of Bush. If you’re not seeing the naughty parts, here’s a clue--check out George W.’s right ear (his right, your left). Theeeere you go.

Jonathan Yeo is repped by the UK’s Lazarides Gallery (opening this month in LA!).

[This post originally appeared on]

Highlights from TEDxUSC.

This week marked the second annual TEDxUSC conference--a local offshoot of the famed (and occasionally infamous) TED conference. While the program had its ups and downs, it was, overall, an inspiring and uplifting day of speakers, performances, and screenings. (Which says a lot as I'm generally not easily moved. They don't call me Cruella for, they don't really call me that, you nincompoop.)

Here are some highlights.

* Raul Fernandez' short film/music video, 'The Woods: The Final Breaths of a Main Character.' The film is beautiful and creative and worth watching. The video is below for your viewing amazement.
* Paul Frommer spoke on creating the made up language, Na'vi, for communications on the land of Pandora (if you have no idea what I'm talking about, you were clearly out of the planet for the last Oscar season).
* Jazz musician Charlie Parker apparently invented bee bop because he suspected that white musicians would not be able to copy the style. This somehow related to Johanna Blakley's talk about the lack of copyright protection in the fashion industry (don't ask me to explain my notes 3 days later, please).
* Short film 'Amelie and Alchemy' portrayed a father's quest to have his four year old daughter pose and hold still for a photograph taken by a century old camera device. I wish I could find the short in full online to show you as it was fantastic.
* Navigenics is a company founded by speaker Dr. David Agus. You: spit in a vial. They: give you a full report on your chances for disease as compared to the average population. Fascinating. Advanced. Likely insanely expensive. But still fascinating!

View talks from the 'real' (okay, okay-original) TED conference online. You will be so glad you traded in that hour of Real Housewives for something more inspired.

Friday, April 09, 2010

Fighting & Art Converge at Artillery Art Debates

I have no more information than what's below. And am too tired for commentary. But this looks like a fantastic event coming up this Sunday at the Standard Downtown. Too good not to share though I'm more tired than a narcoleptic on high doses of ambien. I hope to see you there!

Artillery Art Debates

The Artillery live art debates are back by popular demand...the program was so successful last year that their debaters are ready to put the gloves back on! This year, the issues that really matter are Lowbrow and Highbrow Art with Robert Williams vs Ezrha Jean Black, Ecomony and Creativity with Robert Berman vs Shana Nys Dambrot, Pornography in Art with Zak Smith vs Betty Ann Brown and Project Deitch with Mat Gleason vs Margaret Lazzari.

The line up of debaters are important and active members of the Los Angeles art community: critics, professors and artists. Come see these controversial topics discussed, dissected, sparred and skewered while enjoying an afternoon of good hearted deliberation. This event is open to the public and will feature DJ Patrick Icon and refreshments.

Join us in The Big Loft at 2 p.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Summer time & the living's easy (and wet).

I have been working like a mad woman--a woman so mad she is working more hours than most spend awake in any given week. But I have noticed, during brief strolls outside for lunch, that the weather is turning in Los Angeles. And though I may not have a free hour before summer's over, temperatures have reached bikini highs. So, in honor of the leisure hours I wish I had, here are some pools to get your summer started right. Which is warm. And wet.

Annenberg Community Beach House

This community center opened last year and features a pool, splash pad, volleyball and more. The pool is open for a 'Spring Break Splash on select days this month and will then reopen in June. No membership is required but be sure to arrive early to purchase your day pass ($10 for adults with a break for families of 4 at $24).

Interesting factoid: the Annenberg Community Beach House was established at the former site of actress Marion Davies' mansion, built for her by William Randolph Hearst. Oh, how it pays to be the mistress of a wealthy man.

The Standard Hotel Hollywood

If you actually want to get in the water, I recommend stopping by on a weekday or calling ahead to make sure there's not a rowdy party going on. There's nothing quite like water, ping pong and The Standard's 'Mimosa for Two' (for only $20!!) served poolside.

Hotel Erwin

Hotel Erwin may not actually have a pool. But it's right atop the ocean and last I checked that's pretty much the biggest pool you can get down with. Start with drinks at the High Rooftop Lounge and when you've had your fill of mojitos, [safely] take your dip in the great wide open Venice beach. Just be sure not to trip over tourists or needles on the way down to the water.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Inspiration for my financial diet from Seth Godin.

As each day of my spending freeze passes, it's getting easier to walk by stores promising delightful new Spring looks and to delete the emails from Nordstrom touting flats for under $50. When you simply don't allow yourself something--when the option is removed completely from the table--the temptation seems to wane. It's living life in moderation that gets tricky--the constant question of how much is too much and what's really moderate after all. The lines blur, boundaries get stretched, and next thing you know you've ordered a Dior purse online because it was, after all 27% off original retail value.

Though life as an acetic is going fairly well, it's always nice to receive affirmation of your intentions. So it was great to get Seth Godin's daily email today that spoke to our society's wastefulness and misguided focus on material goods. It spoke directly to my plight and has inspired me for the next round of my spending free journey...
The reason you have a front lawn? It's a tradition. Lawns were invented as a way for the landed gentry to demonstrate that they could afford to waste land. By taking the land away from the grazing sheep, they were sending a message to their neighbors. We're rich, we can happily waste the opportunity to make a few bucks from our front lawn....
Rich people will always indulge the desire to stand out, but I wonder if there's a new version:
Spending on and investing in time, not stuff.

Friday, April 02, 2010

Fitting into my financial jeans for summer.

I have probably bought about 4 dresses in the last month. Then there was the pair of Louboutins that I ordered on that great sale online. The shoes, mind you, don't actually go with any of the dresses. They don't really go with much in fact. They were just sort of fantastic, you know? I'll need to get additional pumps to match my new dresses. In time for the weddings for which I'm still in need of gifts. And hotel rooms. And airfare. There have also been the dinners. The dinners and the lunches and the brunches out. Out at nice restaurants because I just can't be bothered to cook.

Which is all to say that I've gone a bit over budget in recent weeks. I know this first because one couldn't possibly buy that many dresses and stay under budget, second because I came daringly close to a scarcity of funds come rent time, and lastly because I have an account with which emails me regularly to let me know I've gone over my budget for shopping and dining out or rental cars and all sorts of other categories of my financial life in which I'd love to spend frivolously.

And while I've miraculously not hit rock bottom yet (there's only so far down you can go when you don't possess a credit card), I decided I'd better put a stop to all this tossing around of money I've got no business spending so long as I still live in a cruddy studio apartment in Koreatown. So I've declared a spending freeze for myself. Well, more like a spending diet as there are some things a girl can't live without. In fact, I've listed just these things that I can't live without and these are the only things I'm permitting myself to buy between the diet's start date (this past Monday) and its completion on April 16th (that is 19 long days away).

Things I'm allowed:

* Groceries (not of the overpriced Whole Foods variety--just normal, staple items which should prevent one from achieving malnutrition)
* Toilet Paper
* Gasoline (not for long road trips, but for the necessary rides to work and other places sprawling Los Angeles demands one travel to)
* Rent & Bills (I am not trying to get evicted during this experiment)

What this means for me...

* Finding a suitable dress out of my own closet should yet another wedding, function or excuse for new clothing crop up between now and the 16th.
* Deleting each of the 10+ shopping newsletters and alerts which appear in my inbox each day. Even if the sale seems too good to pass on. Even if the sale is so unbelievably wonderful that it seems completely irrational and crazy and stupid not to buy and buy now.
* Packing my lunch. Which seems unnecessarily cruel to myself (you would agree if you knew what a poor cook I was).
* Resisting the desire to go to Target to 'see if there's anything I need.' (As it turns out, there is always something I need when I walk into a shop with more than 1 aisle. And usually 'something' costs upwards of $100.)

What my goals are...

* I'm hoping to successfully resist the desire to jump on this season's trend bandwagons until the season has passed. No one really needs a platform wedge for Spring.
* To come out of this experimental diet both alive and with the funds to purchase a new Mac Book Pro and DSLR camera--items with which I can get both practical work done and begin on creative projects I've been stalling on.
* To pad my savings account by at least $500 more than was in there previously.

It all seems pretty simple, yes? Well, let me tell you that this frugality business is hard. And I will also, in the name of full disclosure, tell you that I had a moment of weakness last night. Yes, it was only day 4. And no, it wasn't for toilet paper. I was cold. I needed an extra layer. I didn't have time to stop home to grab something. And yes, I stopped into the nearest American Apparel and I came face to face with this season's nautical trend which I'd promised myself I wouldn't succumb to (nautical was so 2004 after all). And I bought that red and blue striped sweater, damn me. And next thing you know I'm thinking of that one floral accent piece I could really use to finish my Spring wardrobe and the sandals I should really pick up before they're sold out of stores before Summer. But...I will return that sweater tonight. And I will [try not to] think twice about it. It will be a wash and one I can live with.

And thus begins my financial dietary journey. Check back with me in the coming weeks to see how I'm doing, share your budgeting tips, and possibly offer to buy me a drink.