A Spelling Bee For Cheaters

I’ve mentioned numerous times that my favorite non-profit in Los Angeles is 826LA. They do great work there, but as I’ve discussed it previously, I’ll let you research all the good stuff they do on your own. Suffice to say, I think you should support them and get involved with helping, too.

Toward that end, I’d like to tell you about your opportunity to support, get involved, and have a good deal of fun while you’re doing it. Get in on the action at A Spelling Bee For Cheaters.

For participants, A Spelling Bee For Cheaters is exactly what it purports to be. Teams raise money for 826LA. The more they raise, the more “cheats” they can earn for use in the bee. If you’re looking for a lower level of involvement, you can donate to a team that has already been established and purchase a spectator ticket to see the bee live. This year’s featured cheaters will include (among others): Dave Eggers, Spike Jonze, Jimmy Kimmel, Laraine Newman, and Dianna Agron.

What: 826LA’s A Spelling Bee For Cheaters.
When: Saturday, August 14, 2010. 2:00pm.
Where: Lincoln Middle School, 1501 California Ave., Santa Monica.
Why: It’s a ton of fun, and supports a great cause.

If you’re a word nerd (like me,) a good cheater (like me,) or just looking for a fun, unusual way to spend your Saturday afternoon (like me,) get your tickets now for 826LA’s A Spelling Bee For Cheaters.

Let’s Go To The Hop

Echo ParkThere are so many holiday activities going on this weekend. How does one choose? I recommend going where you find the highest concentration of holiday fun, and on Saturday that is going to be in Echo Park.

Saturday at noon you’ll find Grand Marshall Bob Baker leading the annual Echo Park Holiday Parade down Sunset Boulevard. The parade will also feature local high school marching bands, dance troupes, and other surprises. I have it on good authority that the L.A. Derby Dolls will be skating in the parade. I’d bet there will be an appearance by a certain white bearded man in a festive red holiday suit, as well.

The parade is only part of what’s happening, though. Local businesses have decided to stretch the fun all day long with the Echo Park Holiday Shop Hop. The parade may begin at noon, but other festivities start as early as 10:00am and will go on until 2:00am. Many businesses will be offering specials throughout the day, as well as various performances and workshops.

My favorite Echo Park business, 826LA, will have things going on all day long. There will be free gifts with purchase at the Echo Park Time Travel Mart. They will also be accepting donations to support the great programs they offer; if you donate $5 (or more,) you’ll get a book written by Echo Park kids. I’ve read their work, and it’s really good.

At 3pm 826LA will present “A Guy Walks Into an 826LA…,” a stand-up comedy performance by 826LA students. At 8pm, it’s “Dead Author Readings with Charles Dickens.”

This is only the beginning. Get complete details of special offers from local merchants, activities, performances and donations for local charities at the Echo Park Holiday Shop Hop page.

This Saturday, December 12, get yourself to Echo Park and get all of your holiday fun and shopping in one place.

826LA Brings The Funny

Eddie Izzard by Nick J. Webb, used under Creative Commons.
Eddie Izzard by Nick J. Webb, used under Creative Commons.

As I’ve mentioned previously, 826LA is my favorite non-profit organization. There may not be any profit, but it still takes a lot of money to do all the great work they do. Thus, there are occasional fund-raisers and benefits. 826 benefits are always win-win situations, though, because while they get the money, you get top-notch entertainment for a relative bargain price.

There are a couple of great 826LA benefits happening this week, starting with a very special show tonight at the EchoPlex featuring the spectacularly funny Eddie Izzard! This show was just announced, and as of this writing some tickets are still available for only $20 (plus a reasonable, non-TicketBastard service charge.) Race to get them at TicketWeb HERE. Izzard’s L.A. shows have historically sold out very quickly (with higher ticket prices,) so don’t wait.

On Friday night, M Bar Supper Club in Hollywood is the place to be for “Behind the Smoggy Veil: Tinseltown Tales.” This evening of comedy features (among others) Taylor Negron, and is hosted by my old friend, the very funny Sarah Taylor. Given the title, I’m going to guess it will be an evening of funny stories about life in Hollywood. This promises to be a great show as well, so call the number at the link above and make a table reservation now.

One week. Two benefits for 826LA. Two evenings full of laughter. You’re welcome.

Learn Screenwriting From The Pros

Photo by Twylo, used under Creative Commons.
Photo by Twylo, used under Creative Commons.

Last week I wrote about the 826LA Echo Park Lake Paddle Boat Regatta. Thanks to LA MetBlogs readers, authors, and other friends my team (Team Flotsam & Jetsam) finished in the upper third in funds raised among all 43 teams. More importantly, 826LA raised over $25,000 to be used in continuing to offer FREE tutoring programs to L.A. kids ages 6-18. It’s not too late to get involved. Contact 826LA to make a donation or to volunteer to tutor.

826 also offers an adult writing seminar series, and next week there is one that is perfect for nearly every adult resident of Los Angeles. Everyone in L.A. is working on their screenplay, right? This seminar is going to take you to the next level.

The 826LA Adult Screenwriting Seminar will feature a panel of award winning and Oscar nominated screenwriters, discussing how they got started, going from story to screenplay, as well as the business side of “the Business.” All the details you need are here.

Tickets are only $35, and proceeds benefit 826LA. Space is limited and going fast, so reserve your seat now.

What: 826LA Adult Writing Seminar – Screenwriting
When: Thursday, 6 August 2009, 7:30-9:00pm
Where: 826LA West, 685 Venice Blvd., Venice, CA

Help Burns! Win…for the kids.

Breakaway by Elizabeth Herndon, used under Creative Commons.
Breakaway by Elizabeth Herndon, used under Creative Commons.

Yesterday Queequeg wrote about the 2009 Echo Park Lake Paddle Boat Regatta. I’d like to expand upon that a bit, including how you can get involved from the cool comfort your own internet connection.

I have entered a team in the regatta, and I would like to encourage everyone to join me in supporting Team Flotsam & Jetsam (so named for the floating debris after a shipwreck.) Follow that link to the sponsor page and make a donation to help my team raise the most money for 826LA. Any amount is greatly appreciated and will help 826LA provide free services for local kids. I know the economy is tough for everyone right now, but non-profits and charitable organizations have been hit particularly hard. They need our help now more than ever.

Follow me past the jump to learn why 826LA is my favorite non-profit. Continue reading “Help Burns! Win…for the kids.”

Workshop: Writing About Food

Photo by flickr's Geoff604, used under Creative Commons.
Photo by flickr's Geoff604, used under Creative Commons.

Do you like to write about food? Fancy yourself a budding restaurant critic? (C’mon, I’ve seen the 284 reviews you’ve posted to Yelp.) Do you dream of one day taking Jonathan Gold’s job? Would you simply like to learn more about food writing and improve your skills?

Thursday evening 826LA will host the latest in their Writing Series for Adults: Food Writing. The panel will discuss writing about food in various media (blogs, newspaper, and books,) as well as the business side of food writing such as composing a recipe, how to review a restaurant (I’m lookin’ at you, Yelpers,) and how to get published.

The panel will feature award-winning L.A. food blogger Pat Sapperstein and Pulitzer Prize winning food journalist Jonathan Gold, among other L.A. food luminaries.

For more information and to purchase tickets go to 826LA’s event page.

What: 826LA’s Adult Writing Seminar Series: Writing About Food.
When: Thursday, May 14, 2009, from 7:30-9:00pm.
Where: 826LA East, 1714 W. Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, 90026

If food writing holds any interest for you at all, you better jump on this. You won’t find this much knowledge on the subject anywhere else.

Zines Grow Up: re:Active’s latest re:magazine launch

reimage1.jpgQ: What do flier-making, zine-creating punks do when they grow up? A: They go to art school and form nonprofits dedictated to student arts education. At least, that’s what my friend Michael did. His nonprofit organization, re:Active, uses the production of a theme-based magazine to inspire students to pursue their creativity and jobs in design-related fields. This Sunday from 4:30 to 6:30 at Family bookstore (436 N. Fairfax) they are launching the latest magazine issue, “Dead-end door, re:vealed,” a collaborative effort with 826LA and created by the students of LA High. Both re:Active and 826LA are pretty damn cool organizations, and coming out for the launch is a great way to support youth voices. If you can’t make it, you can still buy a magazine online after the launch. Also, re:Active is expanding to the Portland area and is looking for volunteers so spread the word.