Tonight, See the Shocking Destruction of City Hall!

What does the world need now? Love? Ha, that’s rich! How about a good old-fashioned ass-kicking by alien invaders a la War of the Worlds?

Yeah, that would shake us out of our complacency! Or would it?

See, not only were we attacked by H.G. Wells’ little green men in 1898 in a pre-iPad medium, but also in 1938 courtesy of Mercury Theatre on the Air. Then our fair city was attacked in 1953, in Technicolor no less. Most recently we were attacked in 2005, no thanks to the heroics of Thomas Cruise Mapother IV.

And what have we learned as a society? Not much.

But don’t let that stop you from heading to Santa Monica’s Aero Theatre tonight to see the 1953 filmed version of War of the Worlds, part of the American Cinematheque’s Gene Barry memorial double feature.

Los Angeles’ comeuppance begins at 7:30 p.m., Sam Fuller’s China Gate (1957) follows.

Dear internet, you’ve won tickets to a free show at the Troubadour tonight!

Congratulations! You and all your friends have been awarded free passes to see an exclusive show by Dios 8pm tonight at arguably the best live music venue in all of Los Angeles, West Hollywood’s legendary Troubadour.

Also on the bill are  Signals (ex Mae Shi), The Henry Clay People and Brandon Intelligator and the Sheriffs. Spinning rock n’ roll between live sets will be DJ Jimi Hey (All Night RadioBeachwood Sparks).

And that’s not all! Right now, at this very moment, you’ve also win a free hi-fi mp3 off Dios’ new album, “We Are Dios.” The song is called “Stare at Wheel.” Download it by clicking here.

RSVP here if you dig the Facebook, otherwise just show up at the door – they’ll recognize you as a winner the moment you show up (although they may flatter you by asking for your id to “prove you’re 21”).

Blogherding in the SGV…

Its time for that random recap of the blogosphere such as it exists in the SGV…

At the McQueen store on Melrose

Skulls coming down at the McQueen store on Melrose

I’ve been kinda sad about Alexander McQueen’s death last week, so I swung by the McQueen store on Melrose this afternoon to see if there was any sort of memorial set up.  I don’t pretend to be any sort of haute couture expert, and it’s not like I could ever afford any McQueen (in my next life, I’ll come back as something other than an impoverished graduate student), but I’m really interested in fashion and follow it pretty closely, and McQueen was far and away my most favorite designer.  I hold his work in high regard not just as clothing, but really, truly, as art.  It just always seemed like he was up there, staking out a spot on the runway for the freaks and weirdos of the world, you know?

Anyhow – there’s not much to see at the store, really – there’s a very understated sign in each window with a short message from the McQueen family, and that’s about it.  When I walked past, they were in the process of taking down the window graphics from the latest collection – huge pictures of grinning, technicolor skulls, probably not the kind of thing you want on your window under the circumstances.

A few blocks east, the shop window at Madison had “Long Live McQueen” emblazoned on it, and a display of mannequin mourners gathered around a casket draped in a Union Jack.  I’m torn between thinking that it’s hopelessly tacky and inappropriate or that it’s perfect and exactly the kind of ridiculous gesture that is completely appropriate.  Except for it to really work, it needs more rhinestones, and the mannequins should be dressed as Lady Gaga, obviously.

How the Internet is Spoiling My Olympics

I suppose it was inevitable.  This past year, social networking shot through the roof, with everyone and her grandmother (literally) on Facebook.  That is in addition to the explosive popularity of Twitter, as well as websites pumping out up-to-the-minute news 24/7.  At the same time, the old media NBC television network decided to tape delay its Winter Olympics broadcast on the West Coast, apparently three hours behind the East Coast, even though the events are taking place in our time zone.  And finally, as do many others I’m sure, I multitask when watching television, laptop in front of me, news headlines and social networks (and Vancouver Metblogs) never more than a click away.  All of these phenomena have come crashing together this month like a perfect storm, threatening to spoil my Olympics.

The problem is, I keep learning the results from these Internet sources hours before seeing them for myself.  I learned of Hannah Kearney’s mogul skiing gold medal, Apolo Ohno’s record-tying silver medal in speed skating, and the generous figure skating judges doling out high scores to skaters who fell during their short program, all before seeing it on tv.  I tried appealing to my Twitter peeps who aren’t located on the West Coast not to post Olympics results, but they seem to need to do so, as if their reactions won’t count unless shared electronically and immediately.

I’m sure some of you are more computer-advanced than I, and can tell us how to get a great webcast of the Games on our computer in real time, even on our big-screen hdtv.  If so, I would love to hear the solutions.  I investigated this briefly, and did not find a satisfactory solution — for example, the online ads I saw were even more annoying than those on NBC.

I’m afraid the only solution I have found to watch the Winter Games unspoiled by spoilers is the most radical solution of staying off the Internet altogether.

SPCALA’s Friends For Life Spring Camp is enrolling now

Occasionally — not as often as I’d like — I do some volunteering with the SPCALA, southern California’s very own Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. I’m a humane education volunteer, which means that I don’t spend as much time cleaning up dog poo as I do interacting with kids. Your feelings on this may vary depending on your tolerance for animal scat and other people’s children.

This spring the SPCALA is running Friends for Life, a week-long camp where kids can learn the basics of pet care, interacting with animals, and even a bit of dog training. When I volunteered at Friends for Life a couple of years ago, the kids were sorted into smallish teams; each team was paired with a dog, and under the supervision of camp staff, the kids taught the dog a variety of obedience commands (sit, heel, come, et cetera) and agility tricks like running through a tunnel.

The benefit to the kids is obvious; they learn the basics of a valuable skill set, but they’re also able to develop traits like patience and responsibility. For the dogs, the benefits might be even better: A well-trained dog that’s proven to be good with kids is more likely to be adopted. (Parents experiencing any trepidation at this point should note that the dogs themselves undergo a strict screening process before being allowed to take part in the camp.)

The kids, of course, may also be asked to help clean up after their dogs. Trust me: Picking up dog poop is a valuable skill. I wish more people in my neighborhood had it.

Camp runs from March 29 to April 2, then again from April 5 to April 9. More details are at the SPCALA website.

Inside the Ludo Truck and Other Pics from the Street Food Festival

I went to Disneyland the summer that the Indiana Jones ride opened.  This required extensive strategy: do we go for Indy first, knowing that everyone else will too; go to Space Mountain while everyone rushes to Indy; or just put off Indy until the night?  Ultimately, we decided that Indy was the most important ride, the raison d’etre for our jaunt to Disneyland that day.  And so it was Indiana Jones, then everything else.

I say that so that you know what I mean when I say: Chef Ludo Lefebvre‘s fried chicken truck was the Indiana Jones at the downtown LA Street Food Fest on Saturday.  It was the raison d’etre for going to the festival for many; everyone, it seems, was strategizing their entire day around Ludo’s fried chicken.  And for those lucky enough to get their eager hands on the crispy, succulent, juicy, delicious chicken, it was a near revelation, like having KyoChon for the first time.

I say “lucky enough,” because, as the day wore on, an unmanageable amount of people poured into the festival.  Determining what line belonged to which truck was just as impossible as trying to find which one of the wires behind my television belongs to my Wii.   My sister stood in line for an hour before finally scoring at Dogzilla – Japanese-styled hot dogs reminiscent of Vancouver’s JapaDogs.  Her friends waited at other trucks to bring back other foods for their group to sample.  This divide and conquer strategy was the only way to go, but turned out to be a bit like shooting oneself in the collective foot: as people ordered enough food for their respective parties, the already lengthy wait times increased considerably.

On the flip side, it was not easy to be in the trucks serving to the impatient masses, either.  A few truck owners were kind – oh, so very kind – to let me into their already cramped trucks to snap a few photos of their hard work. These are hot quarters with barely any room for elbows.  It’s a wonder that they got the food out as relatively fast as they did.  Inside a few trucks, including Ludo’s, after the jump.

Continue reading Inside the Ludo Truck and Other Pics from the Street Food Festival

Doo Dah Parade names a new Queen…its a DOOD!

Yup, the full story can be found in the Pasadena Star News but the upshot is that a guy named Erica Valentine has been crowned the new “Doo Dah Parade Queen”.

I’m working with Pasadena PIO to see if she can help with setting up an interview with the new reigning queen.  With luck last years queen, Julie Klima aka  “Queen Skittles” will have already set up a portrait setting with the new Queen so we can get an up close and personal look at the new dood queen.

The Occasional Doo Dah Parade is set for the morning of May 1, 2010.  I’ll get you more details closer to the date along with mass transit recommendations.

Lucent L’Amour Tonight

If you’re not too exhausted from joining Will’s 8 Presidents Ride or too obese from the LA Street Food Fest, I’d suggest throwing on a silly hat & heading down to the Shrine Auditorium tonight for Lucent L’Amour, a wild art party combining the considerable forces of the DoLab (Coachella, Burning Man, Detour Festival, Lightning In A Bottle) and Lucent Dossier (the cirque troupe that’s truly hit the big time, with performances all the way from Black Rock Desert to the Grammy Awards fete).

Highlights in my book are N.AS.A.–the beat chopshop of DJ Squeak E. Clean & DJ Zegon–and “Not Just Another Roadside Attraction,” a new collaboration between superstar aerialists and fire dancers from Mutaytor and Cirque Berserk. It’ll be a wild party. And as my boyfriend has said, “It’ll be something cool to tweet about.” Post a twitpic from here and all your friends will think you live a wild bohemian merry-go-round nonstop party existence.

The lineup is huge, so for the full event info go here.

Classic Eats #9: Keep Voting!

Classic Eats #9 is Saturday, February 27 and the polls are still open. Click here to vote!

The options are:

Hot Hollywood Night: Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles and Boardner’s
Burbank Bonanza: The Smokehouse
Westside Alka-Seltzer Fest: Tito’s Tacos and Johnnie’s Pastrami

Currently Hot Hollywood Night is in the lead with 40% of the vote. Clearly people want their Roscoe’s!

As ever, we’ll start around 5pm so you can stop in then move on to the rest of your Saturday evening events. Or stay all night!

Clicky past the jump to read more about each.

Continue reading Classic Eats #9: Keep Voting!