Ping Pong Playa opens tonight in LA… free afterparty tonight with ticket stub

I was lucky enough to catch a private screening of Jessica Yu’s Ping Pong Playa a few weeks ago and I absolutely loved it.

The film follows the antics of Christopher C-Dub Wang, who thinks he could have been an NBA star if genetics hadn’t conspired against him. Instead, he’s got to defend his family’s ping pong legacy and see if he can rise to the challenge of being the ping pong star he never wanted to be.

It’s been reviewed a lot of different places already, including on 8Asians by Lily, so I’m not going to repeat anything that’s already been said.

But I wanted to give you a heads up that Ping Pong Playa is opening tonight in L.A. (see the Ping Pong Playa website, click Screenings for details) and that there is an afterparty you can attend for free with your ticket stub!

Los Angeles: Friday, September 5. 10pm
Central Hollywood
1710 Las Palmas Ave, Los Angeles
Free with movie ticket stubs before 11pm ($10 cover after)

Even if you don’t catch the party this weekend, I highly recommend check out Ping Pong Playa while you can on the big screen… it’s a fun, funny movie.

For those of you who understand Mandarin, I think they did a great job of inserting Mandarin conversations into the film. And I especially enjoyed Roger Fan’s “chinglish” conversations with his parents… sounds a lot like me when insert English into my conversations when I can’t think of the Chinese words.

Consume LA

Belt: Gypsy knife buckle and belt, available on Etsy from Hurtcouture, a Downtown Los Angeles-based design company. With “plans to expand the line of weaponized items,” the buckle knives are so real the company reports two wearers recently had them confiscated by airport security. How long before we see Angelina Jolie kicking ass with one of these on the big screen?

Re-read: Please Kill Me, The Uncensored Oral History of Punk by Legs McNeil and Gillian McCain, Grove Press. I scored a fresh copy (my first copy didn’t make the cut for my move west) at the new Skylight Books 1814, recently opened next door to the original store, doubling the size of the shop

A deluge of eyewitness accounts of the ticking cultural time bomb and explosive emergence of punk on to the world stage and my current nightstand reading. Continue reading Consume LA

Biking to Work 101

Not on the 101, Gosh! What could have given you that crazy idea? I mean lessons! In previous posts here about biking around Los Angeles some folks have said they’d ride more often if they knew where to ride or routes that they were comfortable with. Well, now is your chance, check out this craigslist posting:

I am an experienced rider in Los Angeles and I would love to get you started on your way to a car free commute! I cover all of Los Angeles from Burbank to Inglewood from Santa Monica to North East Los Angeles. I will meet you at your desired starting point and ride w/ you to a final destination. I will equip you with the confidence you need to be a daily bike commuter! We will discuss a combination of bicycle and public transit, to work towards a car free lifestyle! Save money on gas! Get some exercise! Start your day w/ F.U.N! I will also provide you a printed or emailed copy of the route and (1) alt. route for when you’re ready to mix things up! Please e-mail for rates and to make an appointment!

Sounds like a perfect introduction to me. If you are interested drop a line to [email protected]

Win Tix to Balkan Beat Box!

Look! They can fly too!
Look! They can fly too!

Founded by ex-Gogol Bordello member Ori Kaplan and Tamir Muskat of Firewater, Balkan Beat Box is one of those irresistible can’t-stop-dancing bands that brings together disparate types of music from across the globe to create a polyglot sound that activates every dormant aural-receptor in your brain. Plus they bring hot bellydancing chicks to their shows! Woo! They play with Deleon at the El Rey on the 9th.

And we’ve got tix! Just tell me your favorite “world” or “fusion” artist in the comments, along with your email address so I can reach you when you win. See? Easy peasy.

Or if you’re just not clever enough to comment, you can buy tix here.

Realpolitik Reigns as Congresswoman Jane Harman Rallies Democrats in Santa Monica

Yesterday evening, my Congresswoman, Democrat Jane Harman of California’s 36th District, showed up in  Santa Monica for an event at the new West L.A. Democratic Club headquarters on Wilshire Boulevard. I’m pretty sure this is the first time that I have ever met my Congressional representative face to face. Harman, whose district extends from Venice down through the South Bay communities to the Port of Los Angeles, officially came to kick off her 2008 re-election campaign.  Her most important message, however, was that area Democrats need to gird themselves for a very close, very tough national election, and they need to do everything they can to elect Barack Obama President, with a larger Democratic majority in both houses of Congress.

Jane Harman, firebrand, after the jump

Robots & Donuts: The Art of Eric Joyner

Got some free time this Saturday night?  Like robots and/or donuts?  Ever read The Sneeze?

If you answered yes to any of these questions then you need to head over to The Corey Helford Gallery in Culver City this Saturday night between 7 and 10 because Eric Joyner is having a brand new gallery show that is doubling as a book release party.  Eric Joyner creates fantastic paintings of tin robots, frequently involving donuts that are about the greatest things I’ve ever seen.  He’ll be signing his new book, the appropriately named “Robots and Donuts“, which features some of his best work.

If you can’t make the show I recommend checking out the book because it has not one, but TWO forewords written by my favorite LA blogger, Steve from The Sneeze.   The Sneeze also has written about the show here.

The Corey Helford Gallery is located at 8522 Washington Blvd in Culver City.

A ‘Scion’ Of The Community

I approached this one all wrong. Totally got off on the wrong foot. Put the dickhead on the defensive from the get-go. As diplomatic and reasoning and calm as I was with the asshat in the Mustang August 21, I wasn’t with this bald-headed jackass who barreled by me around 40 mph with hardly a foot clearance between my left elbow and his peppy little dark blue Scion hatchback. Way to use all 78 108 horsepower there El Douchey. And was that really Britney Spears blasting on your stereo as you went by? Oddly fitting.

Certainly there are some out there in the Metblogosphere who, either for the sake of argument or simply because of their unwavering “cyclists suck” bias, will find it too easy to hold me entirely at fault in this matter because of the stop sign I didn’t full observe a couple miles back, or maybe… let’s see: because I was illegally traveling slower than the flow of the four-wheeled traffic. Yeah, that’s the ticket. Literally! With such a legit citable offense they will claim the moral high ground and trumpet: “You are none to judge when you yourself are legally no better than the poor motorist who crowded you and your stoopid bike!” Then there are others who will offer paternal counsel, urging me to calm the hell down, quit trying to change things that can’t be (even though I’m not trying to), and instead be even more diligent and cautious (because apparently I am not enough already). But all that rebop is just bucketseat sanctimony and choir preaching.

Like I said at the top. I blew this one right out of the gate. My bad. Instead of rolling up and attempting to respectfully engage the driver in a constructive dialogue as I’d done so well a couple weeks ago, I pulled alongside his ride after catching him at the red he got stuck racing up to at Pico on La Brea and I said over the blaring four-speaker soundtrack to his life “Did you get some kinda thrill passing by me so fast and so close!?”

Continue reading A ‘Scion’ Of The Community

LA Has It All

Just got back from a mind-blowing trip to Northern California, Big Sur and up the coast of California. Unfortunately, on my first night in Berkeley, I parked in a sketchy area and my bag got stolen out of my car with my computer in it.  Soooooo, the whole trip was one without access and losing a lot of the work I’ve done in the last three months.  (I know, I know, I should back-up every day…..)

To make matters worse, I found out the hard way that car insurance covers very little when it comes to contents.   So yeah, a nasty financial hit.

However, back in Los Angeles, I am surprisingly super thankful.  One of the gifts of living in Los Angeles is the easy access we have to so many things.  And relatively cheaply.  Within a day, I’m typing on a brand-new never been out of the box Macbook Pro, which I bought on Craigslist, saving about $800 in the process.  I’m betting you can’t do that in so easily in Des Moines.  

The clothes, well they can be replaced over time… and the suitcase, well, there’s a slew of luggage stores here.  Visiting other cities, towns, even in California, you really get a hit on how much wealth we have here in LA, and much of it is free.  Yes, it’s harder to drive, park and buy property, just to name a few of the inconveniences of living in this wonderful city.  But in exchange, we get a huge pipeline to ideas, products, services and art that just don’t exist anywhere else.  

So even though I lost everything I had with me, I gained a new appreciation for my sweet home-town and all it’s inhabitants.  The loss wasn’t the eye opener, but it magnified the ease with which we operate with here in Los Angeles.

Getty Center’s Hours Shrinking, Parking Cost Increasing

click to embiggen

Is the Getty Center hurting for money or something? Given the huge amount of funding they throw around in research fields, acquisitions and grants, seems like cutting their open hours back and increasing the cost of parking isn’t exactly the most effective area to be making cuts. But what do I know, I was only a hack assistant at LACMA for a year or so and I don’t know much ’bout the business of running a museum.

I’m just bummed because the best part of visiting the Getty, for me, wasn’t the art, but that thing that art always strives to capture but never fully can: the sunset. And while with autumn on its way sunset will, eventually, fall within that 5:30 cutoff, I still am sad to see the late hours go. But hey, if that’s what’ll let them keep paying for those fancy climate-controls in the galleries so the paintings don’t disintegrate, well, then I guess it’s ok.

The new hours posted here…the old hours show up here and here, although I suspect the times on those sites may be corrected in a day or two.

LA Times: Vulgarities commonplace on Internet!

The paper moves quickly to squelch offensive language on its web site.

In a startling revelation today, the Los Angeles Times has learned that a wide range of vulgarities are in abundant use on the Internet. LA times officials also acknowledged that filthy words are being used “elsewhere” but had no further comment as to exactly where the foul language has been spotted.

The shocking word usage, or “cussing,” as the Times refers to it, first surfaced in a Dec. 11th column by Matea Gold during last year’s writers strike. In her Show Tracker online column, she quoted a writer for talk show host David Letterman referring to his boss as being “p***** off.”

The Times’ standards and practices department, with the added assistance of their newly formed Taste and Obscenity Security Detail, swung into quick action, neutralizing and eradicating the offensive language from the paper’s hugely successful web site.

According to a source who did not want to be identified discussing the paper’s internal matters for fear of, as he put it, “having my mouth washed out with soap,” writers have been warned to not use the offensive words. A request to the Times from LA Metblogs for a list of the swear words so far has gone unanswered.

Whole Foods Opens Superstore in Venice, Upsets Delicate Balance Between Yuppies and Bums

When I first began visiting Los Angeles via LAX, I was saddened by the unsightly welcome that greeted me along Lincoln Boulevard.  I dreamed of a future that included a high-class, tree-lined Lincoln thoroughfare, complete with fancy stores and unobtrusive billboards.  My dream could be one step closer today, as Whole Foods held a Grand Opening of its latest “superstore” (my term) in Venice, along Lincoln just north of Rose Avenue.

Your chocolate-dipped Whole Foods dreams come true, after the jump

“Swag On Beverly” Event Tomorrow Night

Tomorrow night, September 4, walking will be encouraged in Los Angeles.

A group of businesses has gotten together to create an evening of “Shopping, Walking And Giving” (SWAG) to benefit the Saban Clinic (formerly the LA Free Clinic).  All along Beverly, between La Cienega and Crescent Heights, from 6 – 9 pm businesses will be open with prize giveaways, discounts, raffles and some yummy free tastings from UV Vodka, Pane e Vino, Mandarette and other restaurants.  10% of money spent that night will got to the clinic.  The more you shop, the more they get!

For more info, please click into the SWAG site.

(Found this tip via Thrillist.)

“Reality exists so we can speculate about it”: Zizek at the Central Library

One of the singular pleasures of living in Los Angeles is the sense that you have front row seats to the apocalypse. And who better to keep us company than Slavoj Zizek. Next Wednesday 10 September he “takes on the signal issue of violence and inverts our pre-conceived and popular notions about its causes” at the Central Library in conversation with Jack Miles.

To get you warmed up, a sample from The Guardian’s  amazing interview with Zizek from last month awaits you after the jump. Continue reading “Reality exists so we can speculate about it”: Zizek at the Central Library

“Explosion” at LAX = Oops.

Something blew up at LAX just now, the ever-indispensable LAFD Blog is reporting via Twitter.

CBS says it was an errant fire extinguisher on board a Flyaway bus.

The Press-Telegram fingers a “clumsy bus traveler” who bumped the extinguisher with his bag.

And KTLA reports the incident has backed up traffic for “miles.”

Return to your homes, folks. Nothing to see here. You may resume ruminating over whether McCain/Palin or Obama/Biden would have handled such an incident with the appropriate gravitas.