Family Friendly

*Almost* FREEEEE! – Ride the L.A. Red Car!

[youtube width=”590″ height=”420″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sMwYftnUk14[/youtube] redcarWe’ve already flashed back to the daily operations of the old P&E streetcars a few times. The Red Cars famously transported Angelenos through their lives for sixty years (the story behind why they disappeared is kinda similar to what they told you in Roger Rabbit)… but little did I know one could still be ridden! A big thanks to reader Pedrogirl for bringing it to my attention that every Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday from 10am until 6pm, a replica streetcar runs a 1.5 mile route from the Port of Los Angeles’ cruise ship terminal to other attractions along the San Pedro waterfront. Since it seems I’m not the only local who doesn’t know about this, it’s mostly ridden by visitors. But if you’re looking for something fun and cheap to do some weekend, the fare is only one dollar (children 6 and under free). The fare is collected on board the cars and not only is your ticket good all day for unlimited rides, it’s also valid for the bus shuttle connecting to Cabrillo Beach. (more…)


WINTER FUN! – Outdoor Skating Rinks in LA

W Hotel rinkCHILL, your new boozy skating rink @ W Hotel Westwood, 930 Hilgard Avenue (310-208-8765), 21 and up.
Hours: Starting Sunday, ongoing through the winter. Mon-Fri, 3-10pm; Sat-Sun 10am -10pm
Cost: Bring your own skates and your figure eights will be FREE. Skate rental isn’t, it’s $10. The alcoholic drinks won’t be free either.
Details: “The W Hotel Westwood has created the winter wonderland our town sorely lacks, transforming its grounds into a simulated snow extravaganza complete with hybrid-ice skating rink and holiday-styled cabanas.” Woo hoo! I can’t skate, but I can definitely drink spiked pumpkin lattes with the best of ’em.

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EVENT – They Might Be Giants Family Show

WHAT: They Might Be Giants Family Show
WHEN: Saturday, November 14th, 3pm
WHERE: Royce Hall, UCLA, 340 Royce Drive
PRICE: $28 adults, $18 kids
[youtube width=”590″ height=”420″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ca_5BnBB170[/youtube]


FOCUS – Galco’s Soda Pop Stop

**SUPPORT SMALL, LOCAL BUSINESSES!!!** 

WHAT: Galco’s Old World Grocery 
WHERE: 5702 York Blvd, Highland Park (323) 255-7115 
DETAILS: Galco’s purveyance of vintage sodas and candies is clearly a labor of love for owner John Nese. He took over the business from his father, who originally ran the Highland Park market as a grocery store. With 174 rave reviews on Yelp, John’s enthusiasm is definitely contagious… so go there and drink up the fun! Literally.  :)
[youtube width=”590″ height=”420″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gPbh6Ru7VVM[/youtube]


GAME – The LA Phil? There’s an app for that!

laphilIn an effort to bring some lighthearted fun to the symphony’s image, The LA Philharmonic has taken a cue from the popularity of Guitar Hero and Rock Band… and created their own simple online game and iphone application! Bravo!

TEST OUT YOUR CONDUCTING SKILLS HERE.


JAVA – What Coffeehouse Would Jesus Go To?

The other day I spent my lunch hour at Centinela Feed buying dog food. I knew I needed coffee to get through the rest of the day and spotted a really interesting looking place called The Coffee Connection that I’d never noticed before. I pulled over immediately to check it out. It just had to be done.

coffee connectionI opened the thick wooden door and was shocked. The beautiful patio and warm wood interior and stained glass windows reminded me a bit of one of my very favorite coffeehouses in town, 18th Street in Santa Monica. But there was a huge difference between The Coffee Connection and any coffee house I’ve ever been in before. IT WAS FREAKISHLY SILENT. There were eight occupied tables, but no sound whatsoever… I had an immediate flashback of the dark ages when I was regularly shushed in libraries (and I’ll admit, that memory made me a bit uncomfortable at first). I whispered my order to the girl at the counter and asked her how long they’d been in business. She said 7 years. I asked if it was always this quiet and she replied that it usually was, and that there’s ample parking lots and no line in the morning “so that’s really good.” (Although it’s probably not good if a coffeehouse wants to make a profit and stay in business.) As I walked to my car, eager to return to the crazy loudness of my desk, I sipped my latte. Gotta say, it was very tasty.

Once I turned the street corner, I realized why the vibe of this coffeehouse was a little different. The Coffee Connection on Centinela (no relation to Jennifer’s Coffee Connection in Studio City, btw), is affiliated with the Vineyard Christian Church next door. As the late, great, Michael Jackson might’ve called it… I was drinking some Jesus Java.

And it was good.

THE COFFEE CONNECTION View Google Map
HOURS: Monday – Friday:  6:30am – 9pm, Saturday:  7am – 5pm, Sunday: Closed
PROS: Ample church parking. Reasonably priced/tasty organic and fair trade coffee. Free Wifi and access to electric outlets. Friendly service. Clean bathrooms. Open early and late. Daily newspapers free to read, some food, great selection of teas, and I’ve heard they offer a free computer if you don’t have your own. Great place to focus on work, reading the Bible or to just hang out, especially if you’re antisocial and don’t like chitchat much.
CONS: Well, there’s the uncomfortable silence. And apparently there were Prop 8 posters in the window during election time which cut down a lot of their customer base. But I can’t deny it’s a great room and good coffee… so that’s all the negative I can say (which might be enough for some).


FINALLY! – The FREEEEE Museum Days Calendar!

[youtube width=”350″ height=”295″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NSaGrXPvSYE[/youtube]A while ago I did a post listing all of the free museum days in Los Angeles. Once I started using google calendars more, I knew the listing would be far more useful if it had a calendar as well… but there was a lot of information to input so it just took time to get through. I finally finished it last night, although I’m sure it will be updated regularly as museums come and go.

So behold… below is what *should* be the most definitive calendar listing of FREEEEE! museum days in Los Angeles that exists online. So the next time you’re sitting at home in front of the television complaining that you have no money to do anything… this list proves you wrong.

These museums are all cheaper entertainment than renting a movie on Netflix!

I sincerely hope this resource is one you’ll feel comfortable turning to for inspiration to spend more of your future free time exploring, seeing and learning all sorts of incredible new things and less of it whining on the couch while watching Law & Order repeats. Yep, I’m talking to myself… :)

Please feel free to e-mail us with additions, corrections or alterations to the list so we can keep it up to date. Thanks.
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EVENT – Thriller Practice

Picture 1What: Open rehearsal of Michael Jackson’s Thriller dance in preparation for LA’s Thrill the World performance on October 25th (You can also learn the moves online)
When: Saturday, August 29. According to their Facebook page, Thriller practice will be from 10am – noon and 4-7pm. A “Beat It” event will be taking place from noon-3:30pm and 7-9pm.
Where: Weddington Park South, 10719 Valleyheart Drive, Toluca Lake, CA 91604
Cost: FREEEEE!
Details: Go to the LA Zombies Facebook page for more details.

[youtube width=”590″ height=”420″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hMnk7lh9M3o[/youtube]


FLASHBACK – Why do people work?

I’m baaaack! As mentioned, I’ve been working a lot this week… provided the economy’s treating you all right, perhaps you’ve been working hard too! Aren’t we all glad it’s Friday? Yay Friday! As a tribute to our hard work this week, below is a groovy little glimpse into the lives of hardworking Angelenos back in glamorous 1973. People in the 1970s liked Fridays too, I’ll bet.

After the jump, a special little treat to accompany this film. 

[veoh width=”590″ height=”430″]http://www.veoh.com/collection/ephemeralfilms/watch/v6407079gR4c6zQ4[/veoh] (more…)


EVENT – Downtown LA Film Festival 8/12-22

*CHECK OUR DAILY EVENT LISTINGS FOR THIS & LOTS OF OTHER COOL STUFF!*

[youtube ]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x_4PU2e3NhA[/youtube]The Downtown Film Festival starts this week with a cool lineup to check out. Film highlights for the week include Spike Lee’s Passing Strange The Movie, LeVar Burton’s Reach For Me, The Immaculate Conception of Little Dizzie, In the DrinkMy Suicide, and Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison.

On the 20th, the Festival will encourage you to get your Green on by presenting the 4th Annual SUSTAINABLE L.A. event. Oh, and as a special treat… because we all know you can’t get your fill of pre-freaky MJ, you can tag along with the cute and funky Jackson brothers during their first tour of Africa in 1974 via Jackson 5 in Africa on the closing night of the event. We never can say goodbye!

Personally, I’ll probably go just for the free double feature tribute to Paul Newman… cuz… sigh. I miss his blue eyes something fierce.

If you’d like to go to the festival but are low on funds, VOLUNTEER!!!

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HANDSHAKE – We love you, North Dakota!

North DakotaAccording to Google Analytics, the only state in all of America that has yet to visit HiddenLA even *once* is North Dakota. Seriously! Even though we did a nice big feature on one of their native sons! Sigh.

Feeling a bit sad and rejected with this news, naturally the only solution was to turn to the internet for possible answers. It was tough admitting that all I really knew about North Dakota was to stay away from wood chippers. It seemed a good time to learn a bit about the commonalities we share so that perhaps we might have a better chance of forging a bond of web friendship. (I mean, how tough could it be… the word Dakota MEANS “allies” in the Sioux language, for Christ’s sake, so they’ve gotta be super friendly people. Right?)

After a bit of research it’s easy to see why North Dakota might be a bit intimidated by Los Angeles, though… the entire state contains nearly ONE THIRD the population of the San Fernando Valley alone. Wow.

Well, we may be big city folk, but that doesn’t mean we don’t care about stuff that’s important to our fellow Americans, though. We do! So after a bit of research, here are a few things I’ve come up with… an olive leaf of sorts. An itemized list with links after the jump.

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EVENT – As Michael Jackson once said… “Jam On!”

SUNDAY, AUGUST 2nd
jam What:  4th ANNUAL PUBLIC FRUIT JAM
Where: Machine Project, 1200 N Alvarado Street
When: 10:00am-1:00pm
Price: FREEEEE!
Details: “Yesiree, it’s that ripe time of year again! Making jam and getting into sticky situations with Fallen Fruit collective is one of our favorite summertime traditions! Bring along your home-grown or public fruit and any clean, empty glass jars you have. At the end everyone will leave with a jar of communal jam. If enough people bring surplus, even the empty handed will leave with jam. Vats of fun for all!

The kinds of jam we make will improvise on the fruit that people provide. The fruit can be fresh or frozen. Fallen Fruit will bring public fruit. We are looking for radical and experimental jams as well, like basil guava or lemon pepper jelly. We’ll discuss the basics of jam and jelly making, pectin and bindings, as well as the communal power of shared fruit and the liberation of public fruit… Thanks very much to Slow Food LA for their help in funding this event!”
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iM6nasmkg7A[/youtube]


EVENT – Suckin’ up mudbugs at the Long Beach Crawfish Festival

SATURDAY, AUGUST 1st
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OsmJN6UTZ84[/youtube] What: 16th Annual Long Beach Crawfish Festival (Note: The Newport Beach Lobsterfest is on Sunday as well, but it appears to be sold out.)
Where: Rainbow Lagoon Park, Long Beach (562) 495-5959
When: Noon-11pm
Price: Various tickets available. For $2 off door admission, go to their web site and click on the crawdad.

Details: After scathing reviews for running out of beignets, beer and crawfish last year, the promoters of the Long Beach Crawfish Festival are determined to prove themselves on Saturday. Not only is Yelp now their official sponsor, but the promoter used the site to say the following to potential attendees: “Last year attendance 3X (tripled) in number 4 hours prior to the festival. This was not anticipated and we do acknowledge that there were longer lines, we did run out of beer, and we were low on Live Crawfish. The Crawfish are flown in Live the day of the festival and adjustments could not be made within hours based on the influx of sales… We have accommodated for the additional Live Crawfish to be flown in. We have extensive beer reserves stationed onsite for immediate use. There are two entrances. Bars have been expanded with extensive signage in place. Overall the festival has been expanded to accommodate last year’s attendance and more giving a fun festival experience to all that attend. We thank all those that make Long Beach Crawfish Festival the largest Crawfish Festival outside of Louisiana —  right here in Southern California. “

Their official promotional blurb: “The 16th Annual Long Beach Crawfish Festival serves mouth-watering Cajun Crawfish dinners! Delicious Louisiana-style crawfish prepared to spicy perfection by chefs from Bristol Farms. Crawfish feasts include succulent red baby potatoes, buttery corn on the cob and a special remoulade dipping sauce. Dance to live Cajun, Zydeco and New Orleans bands. Also, giant food court, beach bars and a children’s area.”


RESOURCE – Movie Locations Galore

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ynuOQvVaFMo[/youtube] After the jump are links to some of the best web resources identifying movie locations.

As I’ve mentioned before, my first inspiration to explore L.A. was an old film. Love it or hate it, the entertainment business is what Los Angeles is famous for worldwide. Residents here are surrounded by familiar, comfortable* images whenever we drive down the street, whether we recognize them or not. You may easily be surprised to find that you’ve been driving past iconic buildings on your way to the grocery store without even realizing it. Funny thing is… there are people who will travel across the world just to see these buildings that we pass by without a thought. Most movie locations are free to discover, so instead of sitting home & watching stuff on tv this weekend why not have an adventure and explore the sights in person?

“It’s only a matter of time before local film and TV buffs experience a sense of déjà vu around Los Angeles. That place looks familiar. Did you see it on the way home from work, or when you checked in with your favorite characters? Could be both. Most productions not filmed on studio lots are shot within the 30-mile zone from Beverly and La Cienega boulevards, with some locations more popular than others. (more…)


GO OUTSIDE! – The Big LA Parade

paradeTwo Days – 40 Miles – 100+ Stairways. Who says nobody walks in LA?

What: Big Parade LA 2009 – Walk a little, walk a lot… it’s up to you.
Where: First meets at Angel’s Flight Stairway, Downtown. Then moves… as parades are wont to do (they have an itinerary and will be twittering their progress so you can meet them along the way)
When: July 18 and July 19All you need to know can be found here.
Price: FREEEEE!

Details: There is absulutely NO better way to get to know Los Angeles than to get out of your car and hit the pavement. I’ve been doing that a lot lately and it’s shocking all of the things you can discover. Rather walk in a group? Well, here’s your chance… join a big walking community this weekend for all or just a part of THE BIG PARADE, a 2-day, 40-mile, 135-stairway walk. You’re invited!

Kind of like The Great Los Angeles Walk on steroids, THE BIG PARADE is a group effort, and the brain-child of of local stair explorer, Dan Koeppel. Dan undertook a five-year Los Angeles stair mapping/walking project that began in 2003 with a 47-stairway route through Silver Lake and now he’s mapped out a grand two-day walking even through Los Angeles. “The parade will start at the famous Angel’s Flight Stairway Downtown, and finish with six stairways leading up from Beachwood Canyon to the Hollywood Sign. The walk will cover approximately 40 miles and 135 stairways, and will include a camp-out at the mid-point (legalities permitting), the famous Music Box Stairs – site of the Oscar-winning Laurel & Hardy film of the same name – in Silver Lake. It will take place July 18 and 19th, 2009.”

“A core group of five to eight walkers will be doing the entire event. But – as the name “Big Parade” implies – the true nature of the journey is community-based. In addition to passing dozens of landmarks, we will be joined by community members, both individuals and in groups, as we pass through the city’s most diverse neighborhoods. The walk is broken into specific segments so that walkers of all ages and levels of fitness can join us at specific times (of course, anyone is welcome to meet us at any point along the way – and all are invited to join us at the end to celebrate the walk.)”

Think it’s a dumb idea? Well, their FAQ has an answer for that:

Q – The Big Parade is stupid.
A –
You might be right. But not having one would be even stupider.


ONGOING – The Punum of Superman

supermanFILM, EXHIBIT AND DOCENT TOUR

ZAP! POW! BAM! The Superhero: The Golden Age of Comic Books, 1938–1950
Where: The Skirball Cultural Center, 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd. (310) 440-4500

What: Rare Superman Films
When:
Sat., July 18, 2pm
Price:
$6 Gen, $5 Members/Students

Details: “Fans of the Man of Steel won’t want to miss this afternoon of rare Superman footage. At this matinee screening, view episodes from the famed Kryptonian’s big-screen debut in the 1948 Hollywood serial. Also see The Adventures of Superpup and The Adventures of Superboy, two never-broadcast pilots meant to replace the Superman television series after lead actor George Reeves’s untimely death.

What: Exhibit
ZAP! POW! BAM! The Superhero: The Golden Age of Comic Books, 1938–1950
When: Ongoing through August 9, 2009
Price: Included in admission (tickets at the door): $10; $7 seniors/students; $5 kids 2–12; Free to members/kids under 2; FREEEEE TO ALL ON THURSDAYS

Details: “Through never-before exhibited art and objects culled from private and institutional collections, ZAP! POW! BAM! The Superhero: The Golden Age of Comic Books, 1938-1950 explores the genesis of cultural icons such as Superman, Batman, Captain Marvel, and Wonder Woman. (more…)


TIP – Museums Are FREEEEE! And Fun!

To the best of my knowledge, the following listing should be the most thorough and recent compilation of free LA museum days that’s currently on the web. Please feel free to e-mail us with additions, corrections or alterations to the list so we can keep it up to date. Thanks.

Finances are tight for everyone right now. The bad news is one in ten Americans is unemployed. The good news is… you live in Los Angeles where, contrary to how it may seem, there are some incredible, world-class resources that can be enjoyed for little to no money. Case in point… did you know that almost every museum in town – large and small – can be visited for free at least once a month? It’s true. Whether you’re interested in anthopology or art history or aeronautics or stuffed bunnies… you can learn more about them at the places listed below without giving up your rent money. So get out there and explore!
[youtube width=”590″ height=”420″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NSaGrXPvSYE[/youtube]

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EVENTS – The Close Up 7/6-12

Note: Event listings are updated during the week as we see fit.

Now through 8/31/09 – Photography: The Billboard Show
7/9/09 – Downtown LA Artwalk
7/10-12/09 – Echo Park Community Festival
7/11/09 – Historic North Hollywood Walking Tour, 80’s Prom
Party
7/12/09
– Bastille Day Los Angeles; Art and Poetry with Exene Cervenka

billboard showONGOING THROUGH AUGUST 31st
What: THE BILLBOARD SHOW
Selling the California Lifestyle – Photographic Landscapes of the 1950s & 1960s
Where:
Take My Picture Gary Leonard 860 South Broadway, Downtown (213) 622-2256
When:
Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays 10am–2pm & 3–6pm; Tuesdays and Thursdays 10am–2pm; Saturdays 12–6pm; Sundays 12–3pm
Price: FREEEEE!

Details: “Ever since taking a photograph of the Dodgers as a little boy in 1959, Gary Leonard has documented the mercurial landscape of Los Angeles, from the political to the cultural and economic. A former employee of billboard advertising company Pacific Outdoor recently gave Leonard thousands of billboard slides, a hundred of which are now on view at Leonard’s gallery, Take My Picture (named after his column in various regional publications). Advertising everything from funeral services and early fax machines to civic defense and entertainment, the images provide a rare historical survey of mid-century American commercial design, proving that, much like one of his influences, Weegee, Gary Leonard has an excellent sense of timing.” (SOURCE)

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