LA Females: How to Meet Them

I’ve been single, married, in a relationship and experienced just about every combination in between. So I’m aware that meeting someone who turns you into a ‘hunka-hunka burning love’ can sometimes be an exercise in futility! But lately, lots of my male friends here in LA have been moaning and groaning that it’s impossible to meet a nice, smart, cool and okay, yes, we’re talking men, so she has to be a sexy-hot woman, here in LA.
Not true! This place is teeming with available women! So in my humble ode to public service this week, I’m gonna share some tips on getting to know the single ladies of our luscious Los Angeles. And just so you know, I polled a bunch of single women for their suggestions, so it’s not just my clues.

First, the thing I heard a lot from my girlfriends is that part of the problem is that men who seem attracted to you don’t initiate. If you see her, go talk to her. Believe me, you will eventually hit the jackpot. Women like attention. So if there is a flicker, go make contact! It’s how my honey Dan lassoed me in. (That and his dazzling smile).
Yes, you will be rejected a lot…. not necessarily because she doesn’t like you; she might be married, in a relationship, recovering from losing a parent, who knows! But if she’s free and has that tingle too… It could be magic! Continue reading LA Females: How to Meet Them

Photolog: Red Bull Soapbox Races 2011

This past weekend Downtown LA played host to the Red Bull Soapbox Race, a national race for amateur drivers fueled by creativity & of course speed.  Starting at the top of 5th & Grand, the course wound it’s way down the side of Pershing Square lined with hay-bales and spectators alike.  Some were victorious, others crashed & burned but in the most spectacular of fashion, and all shared a raw enthusiasm for competition.  Over 115,000 attendees came out to cheer on their favorite teams to fame & glory, but there can only be one winner… Team Lakers FanWagon who was coincidentally first off the starting gates, held onto their lead throughout the competition, taking home the gold.  For those of you who missed the event, check out the photos below!

Flickr photoset of Red Bull Soapbox Races 2011
Flickr photoset of the above thumbnails are viewable here.

 

Cinespia Jumps Shark. Again.

Cinespia Status
Cinespia Status: Destroying our brand.

Another big change for movie night at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery has created a WTF kinda backlash.

I should have known Cinespia’s days were numbered in 2009 when they screened Daze and Confused and it turned into amateur hour. You know the event to which I’m referring. One where the new new hipsters would appear in their ironic T-shirts and proceed to get hammered and search for burial plots to relieve themselves. Then came the news that this year’s screenings would be a retread of years previous.

Now this.

Cinespia, an event that has traditionally been “first come, first serve,” is now selling advance tickets online. Oh, they’ll still sell them at the door – if there’s enough left. The problem with this, is that the event is more than the movie. Half the fun is lining up early, meeting your neighbors, and experiencing something called “community.”

Not anymore.

Why ruin a perfectly good thing? From the looks of the comments on Cinespia’s Facebook page (to which they do not respond,) I am not the only one who thinks this was a terrible idea.

Tour of California Bike Race Finishes in L.A.’s Front Yard

Nice (bike) rack
2 bikes that weren't in the Tour of California

You’re pardoned if you didn’t know that a world-class sports competition, featuring many of its top athletes, wrapped up yesterday in Thousand Oaks. It was the Amgen Tour of California bike race, and is seen as a lead-in to the Tour de France in July.

The Tour of California covered 8 stages, beginning at Lake Tahoe. It included many of the world’s best cyclists, including California resident Levi Leipheimer, who placed second to fellow American Chris Horner. In Europe, where bike racing is as popular as soccer and Formula One auto racing, many racers are household names. In the U.S., bike racing has more of a cult status, even among the many commuter biking enthusiasts at blogging.la.

However, the Tour of California could change that. Cult members showed up along the route, or followed the action on the Versus cable channel or website. The weather was excellent, and the route showcased much of the beauty of Central and Southern California. In particular, on Saturday, the riders climbed more than 6,000 feet up Mt. Baldy (i.e., Mt. San Antonio), the 10,000+ foot highest peak in the San Gabriel Mountains that border the Los Angeles area, and the snow-capped biggie that many of us see outside our windows. The “Mt. Baldy” climb could become an iconic staple of the Tour of California the way the infamous Alpe D’Huez has for the Tour de France.

It was an exciting race, and a great chance to show off our neck of the woods to the world, and, hopefully, to some Americans too.

Blogging (in) LA: The Eastsider LA

Eastsider LA screengrabI have a love-hate relationship with The Eastsider LA blog. I love it, unconditionally. I hate its name, conditionally. But the conditionals were reversed when veteran journalist Jesus Sanchez debuted his blog in July 2008, pretty much at the latest boil-over of many long-simmering battles in the never-ending Eastside vs. eastside border war waged between those adamant few of us who will over-zealously know and protect and defend the Real Eastside of Los Angeles calling bullshit against the legions who roll their eyes at our protestations, either ignorantly not knowing and not caring — or worse: ironically knowing and not caring.

Jumping into such a fray allied with a dismissive westside-influenced gentry to defiantly plant his flag several miles off-target in the city’s historic Westside was a bold move, and at first I huffed and puffed and blew it off off, vowing somewhat petulantly to ignore Sanchez and his online efforts.

But try as I might, I couldn’t. Because not only was The Eastsider LA a bold move, but it boldly went where few other blogs were going in the area. It covered crimes, schools, business, homes, history, and happenings, with a dedicated focus and professionalism that’s led to the creation of a vibrant, diverse online community that I’ve long wanted to see in my section of the city.

This? From a person who gaaah’d and grrrrr’d most recently over the previous weekend’s “Taste of the Eastside” event (more like L’eastside) that took place in Barnsdall Park, featuring eateries primarily from Silver Lake, Echo Park, Los Feliz and Atwater Village?

Yep. So how did I go from full-on rejection of The Eastsider LA to utmost respect? Well, by rationalizing a bit; by seeing the title of his blog not as representing any strict boundaries or an obstinate rejection what I consider with equal stubbornness to be The Eastside. Rather, the title has come to represent a broadened state of place and sense of citizenry, a bigger picture. Such a stance was aided by the fact that Sanchez was born in Boyle Heights, grew up in East Los Angeles, and attended East LA College. Though Echo Park has been his home for more than 20 years, he is a product of The Eastside — and a proud one. And he brings that history and that knowledge with him.

But before y’all go thinking that I’m humming “We are the World” in complete assimilation, I recognize The Eastsider LA’s wider reach is economically motivated, designed to tap not only more eyeballs on this side of the river, but more advertising dollars as well. There’s nothing wrong with that in my book. But even if there was, the bottom line is that Sanchez has worked hard cultivating The Eastsider LA into a dynamic, dependable and go-to resource for news and views on things that are happening in the historic Eastside and Westside, regardless of whether one thinks those places exist in the present or the past.

Blogging (in) LA: TOLA

TAKEOVER

As someone who rides bikes in Los Angeles, who is obsessed with subcultures, and who walks the line on cool kid wannabeness, it’s no surprise that Takeover LA is one of my daily reads. If you aren’t into bikes then it’s likely of no interest to you, but if you are this is a rabbit hole that runs very, very deep. TOLA (as it’s more commonly known) is an LA blog in that the authors live in LA, the post about LA events, post videos of LA stuff and LA is in the title of the site, though I’d argue it’s focus is really more about the fixed gear / track bike scene. They write about stuff they are into, and since they are in LA a lot of that stuff happens to be in LA as well. There is also no question these are the cool kids, which, not being one of the cool kids, is cool to be able to live vicariously through this blog. It’s a fun guilty pleasure at worst.

On the good side they posts all the time. Really several posts a day on any given day. These are pretty well balanced between videos, photos, events, reviews and profiles. I can’t say I’m totally down with some of the fashion they endorse but I’m old so that’s to be expected I think. If you wanted a good idea what is cool in the fixed gear scene right this very second, you could read TOLA for one day, and no other site, and have a very good idea. They are seriously all over this, and I really appreciate passion in a blog. There’s no question they are into the stuff they are writing about.

On the bad side, I’d challenge you to find a single review on the site that says anything negative about the product they are reviewing. I’d also challenge you to find a review that doesn’t causally mention that the product they are reviewing was given to them free. I’d also challenge you to find a review that didn’t say that said free products were awesome. Ethically, this is a little suspect. I don’t really trust their reviews because of this, are they giving this product a good review because they like it or because they got it free? It’s hard to tell. I wish they talked more about stuff they thought was lame or not awesome, or stuff they just bought for themselves because they wanted rather than only stuff given to them for free. That would add a ton of credibility in my book, but again, I’m old. So take that how ever you will.

Win Tickets To See Bruce Cockburn At The El Rey!

Photo by Burns! Image gets bigger with a click; the tiny guitar doesn't.

Bruce Cockburn is coming to the El Rey in Los Angeles next week in support of his 31st studio album, Small Source of Comfort. Thanks to our friends at Goldenvoice, Blogging.LA has your free tickets. Read on…

Cockburn is one of my favorite recording artists, but when I mention him friends are often unfamiliar. He has a pretty solid fan base here in the U.S., but north of the border, in his native Canada, Cockburn is a legend.  In a career spanning four decades he has received 13 Junos (Canadian Grammys,) seven honorary doctorates, he’s in the Canadian Music Hall Of Fame, and next month will be featured on a postage stamp issued by Canada Post.

Cockburn often tours solo, but this time out his deep, soulful lyrics and virtuoso guitar playing will be backed up by a full band. Opening the show will be violinist Jenny Scheinman, also featured on Small Source of Comfort. (Samples of the new album can be heard at that link, by the way.)

It seems Bruce Cockburn only passes through Los Angeles every few years, so don’t miss this rare opportunity to see a truly fantastic performance.

Want to join me at the El Rey next Tuesday night? I’ve got a few pairs of tickets for lucky B.LA readers. Just leave a note in the comments section below telling me why you want to see this show. Winners will be chosen at my whim and notified via email.

What: Bruce Cockburn live
Where: The El Rey Theater
When: Tuesday, 31 May 2011. 8:00pm.
Win: Leave a comment below

Don’t want to wait for tickets? There are still some available for purchase here.

Blogging (in) LA: Green LA Girl

This post is part of the Blogging (in) LA Series.Green LA Girl logo

Los Angeles, with its vast geography, smog, traffic, and challenging mass transit options, might not be the place one would most expect to find an eco-blogger living and thriving. But Green LA Girl is someone who does just that – lives and thrives in Los Angeles seeking to incorporate eco-friendly principles in her day-to-day life and keeping record of her experiences doing so on a blog that offers a variety of insights and solutions both for Angelenos and for those not fortunate enough to live here in our great city. Covering a wide range of topics–from consumables (fair-trade organic coffee or chocolate) to fashion (eco-friendly panties) to eco-friendly item giveaways (yoga mats, coffee mugs, etc.) to reducing home energy use–Green LA Girl provides a wealth of knowledge of information that can help us strive to live in better harmony with our environment.

Green LA Girl was kind enough to take some time out of her Sunday afternoon to answer some questions for us, and here is what she had to say: Continue reading Blogging (in) LA: Green LA Girl

Spend your Monday evening listening to robot pianos!

Yes, admitedly, “robot pianos” is a slightly hyperbolic description. Tomorrow night, Monday May 23, some friends of mine in the Ethnomusicology Archive at UCLA are hosting “Ethnickelodeon,” a really neat concert of vintage pianola music. The pianola is a player piano, the old-timey kind that play music off of paper rolls. Apparently, operating the controls of the pianola is a bit of an art-form: so Monday night’s event won’t just consist of a ghostly piano playing by itself on an empty stage, but will feature Bob Berkman, a master of the pianola genre and an expert on automated instruments,

operating the controls. Berkman recently donated a huge collection of folksongs on piano rolls to the Ethnomusicology Archive, and is coming down from Buffalo, NY to play some of those rolls.  You can see him in action, playing a Lithuanian tune, here .  Apparently there was a huge market for culturally-specific folk tune piano rolls during the early 20th century, as immigrants from abroad were moving to the US, so you can expect to hear Finnish, Jewish, Russian, Hungarian, Croatian, Ukrainian, Italian, Syrian, Greek, West Indian, Mexican, Argentinean, and Cuban music, as well as jazz, bluegrass, and classical. The concert is 7pm in Popper Theatre in Schoenberg Hall at UCLA, and admission is free.

 

After hearing about the concert, I was wondering if, given LA’s longstanding history as a center of the entertainment world, there was ever much of a pianola industry here. The all-knowing Wikipedia tells me that the Los Angeles Art Organ Company attempted to manufacture a pianola-like device, but was sued for copyright infringement by the Aeolian Company of New York. (The image of their factory, at left, is from the LA Public Library Photo Collection – I can’t track down an address for the building, unfortunately!) The Southern California Music Company, which is now based out of Glendale, and is one of the oldest operating stores in California (they opened in 1880), sold piano rolls and other related equipment – the ad above, from a 1911 edition of the California Outlook is for a pianola attachment that turns regular grand pianos into player pianos.

There are more details about Monday’s concert here, and you can find out more about the UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive on their blog, the EAR.

 

Found On The Road* Alive: Vixen RV

Vixen RV

Looking either custom-built and/or a bit like a stripped-down refugee from some back-in-the-day Saturday morning sci-fi kids show, I’d never heard of Vixen after spying the nameplate on the front of the unique vehicle, so of course I googled that shit at first opportunity.

Turns out, via the Vixen’s wiki page and the Vixen Owners Association website the RVs were made by Vixen Motor Company in good old Motor City, USA from 1986-1989 — and waaaay ahead of their time. This is one of only 578 of the 21-footers to come off the assembly line before the company folded. With an exterior completely encased in fiberglass, a comparatively light 5,100-pound curb weight, its low center of gravity and a windtunnel-honed drag coefficient of a low .29 (better than many sedans and sports cars of that day), the turbodiesel-powered model could top 100 mph and get 30 mpgs (gas-powered versions got 20 mpgs).

* Or in this case in the parking lot across the street from the Regal Cinemas
downtown where a matinee of
Bridesmaids was soon after ripsnortingly enjoyed.

The Wide Angle

Well… it’s one of my least best efforts at panoramatizing, but if nothing else this poorly stitched-together 37 images can give you a complete if uneven sense of the scope of the most recent collaborative mural by Caché, Pin, Duem, Dsrup and K4P that went up a month or so ago on the Sunset Boulevard wall just east of Coronado Terrace (click it for incremental bigness, but probably not its 80-inch-wide wall-to-wallness; for that you’ll need to visit this page on Flickr):

 

Life as Art: The Brothers Behind Lightning in A Bottle and The DoLaB

The Flemming Bros.One of the crazy joys of living in LA is the amazing characters you run into on a regular basis.  Case in point:  The Flemming Brothers: Jesse, Jason and DeDe.  They are the creative genius behind The Do LaB, which hosts a myriad of events around our fair city and Southern California.  They’re probably most famous for Lightning in a Bottle, which will be rocking for three days next weekend in Santiago at Oak Canyon Ranch.  You can groove to some really great and truly eclectic music, see some amazing art and installations and in general have a crazy fun time.
I recently got the chance to talk to the three brothers together at their place in Venice. To say I was inspired, is an understatement. They give new meaning to living their dream: Creating rad art, finding amazing music and sharing it with the world. They’ve even created an art foundation called, The Do Art Foundation to help foster new artists and to turn kids on to art.

It all started 10 years ago when Jesse moved out West from small town Pennslyvania. His brothers Josh and Dede soon followed.
Lightning in a Bottle has it’s roots in a small birthday party they used to throw for themselves (Jesse and Josh are twins). Every year the party got bigger and bigger until in 2004 it was a one night event that 700 people showed up for.
After 2004, they made it into a bona fide music festival and in 2006, held it in Live Oak Park near Santa Ynez, where it became a 3 day event with 4500 or so participants.
Last year they moved it to Oak Canyon Ranch and by then, their numbers grew to around 7000 art seekers.
I’ve been to at least five of their events and all I can say is…it’s a really fabulous time. They all have a great eye for art and create really cool structures (if you’ve been to Coachella, you know some of their tents and areas).
Every year I camp with my friends and end up meeting lots of new ones. Every year I dance to some old faves in the music department and discover someone new who blows my mind. Every year I hear a lecture that really enlightens me.
And it all came about because these three groovy guys living in Venice combined their familial talent to create The Do LaB. They brainstormed to make cool art installations with their friends (and now legions of crafty volunteers) and to discover great beats and in general make their life as an on going art piece.
It works. And the LA is a cooler place because of them!

Blogging (in) LA: The LAFD Blog

Generally, I’m a pretty skeptical person, but for some reason I always thoroughly enjoy in-house blogs. Maybe it’s because the best of them aren’t simply shills for the parent organization, but providers of interesting or valuable information. I always cite the Google Blog as Exhibit A.

In Los Angeles, one of my favorite in-house blogs is the Los Angeles Fire Department’s. Aside from providing a pretty comprehensive list of brush fires in the area — useful for those of us who enjoy hiking — it also features occasional heartwarming gems like last week’s hawk rescue in Woodland Hills, or the most recent post detailing the rescue of nine pets from a Hollywood Hills home.

Lest you think the LAFD blog is full of self-congratulatory posts about cuddly animals, wonder no more; the blog doesn’t shy away from mentioning deaths from fire, both animal and human. It reports firefighter injuries as well. A strong part of the blog’s mission is encouraging public safety, as evidenced by this post featuring images of a suspected arsonist.

If I’m being completely honest, not every post is a winner; the post congratulating Seal Team Six for killing Osama bin Laden was a nice gesture, but is more press release-y than truly informational. But who am I to judge? On my own blog I once wrote a 300-word post on oatmeal. And that was after writing a separate 200-word post that also featured oatmeal.

Overall: Great blog, and thanks to the LAFD for maintaining such a friendly and positive presence on the web. Oh, and also for making sure we don’t all die in fires. That probably also deserves some thanks.