Every year, various parks around Orange County host FREE and all-ages concerts in the summer. Two years ago, they set the bar high with a free Aquabats show. Last night, OC Parks returned again with a free show featuring Orange County natives Suburban Legends. Looking at the list of bands playing in this series, Suburban Legends may have the greatest following, so this year’s concert series may live up to 2012′s Aquabats show. At all of this summer’s concerts at Orange County Parks, expect the show to last about two hours, and expect a few food trucks and maybe a vendor or two. Since these shows tend to take place on a weekday, they will remain light on content, focusing on the headlining band and the bountiful parks in Orange County.

Opening the evening, Papafish from Los Angeles shifted away from their meta to play a two-person acoustic set. This band that normally rolls with five members plays ska rock music. Without any explanation, these two members of the band played a half-hour acoustic set instead. The crowd still enjoyed it, as the kids all danced away during the songs. If you would like to see Papafish in their full glory, they will perform at House of Blues Anaheim next Friday night with tons of other local ska bands. You can get tickets to this show for free – simply contact any of the performing bands directly via their Facebook page, and request tickets.

Once Suburban Legends got onto the stage, all the ska kids got up from their seats and crowded the front area. With an energizing and triumphant set, Suburban Legends got everyone up on their feet dancing and grooving to the music. In addition to the fun peppy music, the band members do not simply stand there and play their music – they entertain by dancing, acting, and moving around to put on a true show. By adding these elements to the show, they add value to the performance, leaving the audience wanting more. Suburban Legends definitely delivered more, especially when they played ska covers of the Duck Tales Theme Song and I Just Can’t Wait To Be King. Their set lasted a good hour, a solid hour of nonstop energy with plenty of antics to keep the audience alert and on their feet. The songs they played:

  • Just Be Happy
  • My Friend
  • You Got A Friend In Me
  • Bright Spring Morning
  • Arigato
  • Autumn In The Park
  • Hey, DJ
  • Beauty And The Beast
  • Kiss The Girl
  • Sweet Caroline
  • Duck Tales
  • Just Can’t Wait To Be King
  • Whoa
  • High Fives

They returned for an encore, but I cannot remember the name of the song, unfortunately :(

Want more of Suburban Legends? They will go on a brief tour in the Southwest starting on Saturday, August 9th. Until then, pay close attention to their Facebook page, as they may still play some shows at Disneyland! Come back to Irvine Regional Park next Thursday evening to see another local ska band, GOGO13, perform a FREE and all-ages show, same place and time!

As part of the annual Long Beach Sea Festival, a series of events taking place during the summer in Long Beach, the 1st Annual Love Long Beach Festival took place at the Granada Launch Ramp near Belmont Shore this past weekend. This FREE and all-ages event featured a plethora of family-fun things to do at the beach, such as sports competitions, a kids zone, arts & crafts, food, drinks, a beer & wine garden, art displays, vendors, and more. Plenty of activities occurred over the weekend to give visitors something to see, from a skating demo to communal yoga to sporting tournaments to live music and more. A handful of the vendors call Long Beach their home, so this festival gave back to the locals in multiple ways. Some of the vendors even gave away free samples over the weekend, such as Chia Pod. For the visitors looking for meals, Chef Paul Buchanan handled the majority of the food court area. Over at the music stage, many art exhibitors set up over to the side, providing a somewhat large open area in front of the stage for a makeshift dance floor. Between bands, a DJ would play dance hits, which eventually turned into EDM once the sun started setting.

Many more events will occur in Long Beach through October, so check out the Long Beach Sea Festival page linked above. Also check out the Facebook page for Alfredo’s Beach Club, as they host a handful of events on the beach too.

Underneath their tough exteriors, bikers have a sense of family and pride. This past Saturday at Harley Davidson of Huntington Beach, the charity Bikers Against Child Abuse International arrived to help host a fundraising event called All For The Kids. At this free and (sort of) all-ages event, visitors would find a massive display of motorcycles in the parking lot, motorcycle-themed vendors all around, live music in the afternoon, and a beer tent serving Hangar 24 and Einstök beer. Although advertised as no age restrictions, kids would not find much to do here, considering the amount of smokers and beer drinkers. Speaking of beer, all visitors could receive beer for FREE. The beer tent simply had a tip/donation box that allowed visitors to essentially pay their price for the beer. All of the money in this box went towards the Bikers Against Child Abuse charity, so visitors did not hesitate to donate towards the cause.

Huntington Beach Harley Davidson routinely holds varying events at their location in Westminster. Check out their website above for a full list of upcoming events. Also, give them a Like on Facebook to get updates about their event pages.

Much of the United States has this fixation about their local fair, whether the city or the state fair. From a narrow perspective, nothing changes year after year at the fair – if you attended previously, you would receive the same experience again the next time. This largely remains true persistently, but the experience generally changes based on who you attend the fair with, not which fair you attend. If you visit various fairs within the same region, you would see most of the same things: fair food, carnival rides, animals, and tons of vendors. For example, the San Diego, Orange County, and Los Angeles fairs all have the same basic outline of the aforementioned features. Once you have gone to one fair, you have basically experienced it all. So what can you do to continue to enjoy fair life without wading through the hoards of people in the hot sun? If you enjoy fair food, you would have wanted to go to Beachwood BBQ last week for their rendition of fair foods with a twist.

Nestled in a small space in historic old-town Seal Beach, Beachwood BBQ has garnered an outstanding reputation not only among the locals, but across the nation for their influence on the craft beer industry. Sure they revolutionized the idea of rotating taps, but Beachwood BBQ churns out some stellar eats above and beyond standard bar food quality. For the most part, one can see Beachwood BBQ’s menu as mostly bar food, since most, if not all, of the menu pairs really well with whatever beer they have on tap. Folks in the area last Thursday evening could truly immerse themselves in the bar food experience when Beachwood BBQ hosted a dinner night aptly entitled Beachwood On A Stick. On this night, Beachwood BBQ took a good look at common fair foods, and re-envisioned a more gourmet version of each of their ideas. In addition, each food item received its own beer pairing to go with it. Some of the pairings matched well, while a few lost me in the mix. You can peek at the menu above, or scroll down to read the descriptions plus my review.

  • Lamb Kofta, $5: smoked lamb, mint BBQ sauce | Pairs w/ Duvel Single Belgian Pale Ale

I will call this my favorite out of all of the menu. This looks small, but the sheer meatiness of it plus the unique minty BBQ sauce makes for a divine bite.

  • Poutine, $4: mashed potato, mozzarella, sage gravy | Pairs w/ Avery Samael’s Oak Aged Ale, an English Barleywine
  • Chicken Gumbo, $4: diced chicken, onions, bell peppers, okra, sassafras cream, fried rice | Pairs w/ Brouwerij Malheur 12° Belgian Strong Dark Ale

The Poutine basically represents a mozzarella stick, but with mashed potatoes in it as well. The gravy made it soggy, so it crumbled right off the stick. This did not contain meat, which made me sad :( Also this beer pairing sorely did not work out for me. On its own, this barleywine would taste great as a sipper. However, due to its strength, it badly damaged my palate.
The Chicken Gumbo basically represents a shish kabob, with no fancy tricks other than the fried (literally) rice.

  • Funnel Cake Dog, $4: smoked andouille sausage, powdered sugar | Pairs w/ Firestone Walker Easy Jack IPA

Take a really spicy sausage, batter it with funnel cake batter, dust some powdered sugar on it, and you have this… Emphasis on really spicy. The beer pairing, for as much IBU’s as it contains, could not douse the fire raging in my mouth.

  • Liver & Onions, $4: grilled chicken livers, roasted pearl onions, red wine demi glace | Pairs w/ Tahoe Mountain Bright Moments Pale Ale

Once you get over the fact that you have liver on a plate in front of you, the flavor comes up remarkably well. The texture of the liver may make some people queasy, so turn off your mind when you eat liver.

  • Chocolate Dipped Frozen Banana, $3: rolled in pork rinds | Pairs w/ Almanac Biere de Chocolat Porter

My favorite dessert, since it does not taste that sweet, and it also has pork rinds to give it a salty taste. Imagine a frozen chocolate banana with sea salt, and you have this amazing dessert seemingly easy to make at home.

  • Twinkie, $4: sorrel marshmallow filling, funnel cake fried | Pairs w/ New Belgium Wild² Dubbel

If they could tone down the sweetness, this would have turned out as the most demanded item. The funnel cake batter and the filling’s overbearing sweetness makes this large enough to split with another person.

Miss out on Beachwood On A Stick? Pay attention to their Facebook page, as they always announce events like this in advance there. Even if you cannot make it to a special dinner night, head on over to check out their ever-changing beer selection, plus their menu of great eats.

LA Restaurant Week
July 14-27
Greater Los Angeles Area

Hundreds of restaurants in the Greater Los Angeles Area will participate in this 12-day feast. All participating restaurants will offer either discounts on select items, or prix-fixe menus.

World Series of Beach Volleyball
July 22-27
Alamitos Beach, Long Beach

This unprecedented event brings the world’s greatest beach volleyball players and their fans together for a week-long celebration of the summer. Festivities will include including sports, music, local culture, food, drinks, activities, and more. Visitors may attend any of the events for free, while premium seating for the broadcast events comes with a price.

Suburban Legends @ Irvine Regional Park
6:00 pm – 10:00 pm, July 24
Irvine Regional Park, Orange

Various parks around Orange County will host FREE and all-ages concerts this summer. This Thursday night, see local ska band Suburban Legends perform an unforgettable set. Food trucks will arrive to keep guests fed too.

The Aquabats: 20th Anniversary Tour
7:00 pm – 12:00 am, July 24
House of Blues, San Diego

The Aquabats continue their 29th Anniversary Tour, which sweeps through San Diego this week. Tickets to this all-ages show cost $22.

Naked Aggression @ Dipiazzas
7:00 pm – 1:00 am, July 24
Dipiazzas, Long Beach

Local hardcore punk bands invade Dipiazzas this Thursday night for an all-ages show. Nobody has posted the cover charge, so have some cash available for that. Guests can find plenty of free parking in the neighborhood behind Dipiazzas.

Sarah’s Birthday Extravaganza
8:00 pm – 2:00 am, July 24
Blacklight District Lounge, Long Beach

Local punk bands will tear it up this Thursday night in Long Beach. The cover for this show costs $8. No one under 21 may attend.

US Open of Surfing
July 25 – August 3
Huntington Beach, south of the pier

This week-long competition takes place on the shore south of Huntington Beach Pier. Come see professional and amateur surfers compete to take a spot for the ASP World Tour. Visitors will also find skateboarding demos and live music all week. Completely free to attend, this weekend will see thousands of spectators on the beach for the US Open. Expect heavy traffic all week. Try to find parking in the neighborhoods, but prepare to walk a long distance if choosing to park in neighborhoods, since the neighborhoods closer to the beach will remain full all week.

2014 Body Art Expo
2:00 pm – 11:00 pm, July 25
11:00 am – 11:00 pm, July 26
11:00 am – 8:00 pm, July 27
Fairplex, Pomona

Check out this all-ages tattoo expo running all weekend at the Fairplex in Pomona. Hundreds of tattoo artists from across the nation will fly in this weekend to deliver their works of art onto willing bodies. The expo will also feature live tribute bands, freak shows, a beer garden, hot body contests, tattoo contests, plenty of merchandise vendors, and more. Attendees interested in receiving ink should book an appointment with an artist – walking up to the artist may result in nothing if the artist fills up his or her schedule early. One-day admission costs $20, while a 3-day admission costs $45. Children under 10 enter for free with a paid adult admission, but note that no vendor will provide a tattoo or piercing to children. Please bring cash for parking, which may range from $5 to $10.

Summer Take Over
4:00 pm – 12:00 am, July 25
Toxic Youth Productions, Hemet

Tons of great Southern California punk bands will play a show this Friday evening in Hemet. Tickets to this all-ages show cost $12 presale or $15 at the door.

Monterey Park Night Market
5:00 pm – 10:30 pm, July 25
Barnes Park, Monterey Park

The popularity of night markets has surged within the past year. This Friday, Monterey Park gets their very own night market, complete with free admission. Come to this all-ages outdoor fair this Friday night, and check out all the food, drinks, desserts, merchandise, live entertainment, and more. Expect heavy traffic approaching this area, especially for a Friday night, so plan your commute accordingly.

24th Annual Taste of Yorba Linda
6:00 pm – 10:30 pm, July 25
Yorba Linda Community Center, Yorba Linda

Sample the best of food & drinks in Yorba Linda this Friday evening. For $45 presale or $55 at the door, guests get treated to a night of unlimited food tastings plus two drink tickets good for beer or wine. Guests may reserve a table for ten for $100.

A Little Bit of Chemical X – Chicks That Rock
8:00 pm – 2:00 am, July 25
The World Famous Doll Hut, Anaheim

See some great local female-fronted bands at The World Famous Doll Hut this Friday night. The cover for this show costs $5. No one under 21 may attend.

33rd Annual Cypress 5K & 10K Run + 34th Annual Cypress Community Festival
6:00 am – 5:00 pm, July 26
Oak Knoll Park, Cypress

Two events occur back-to-back this Saturday in Cypress. Starting early in the morning, participate in a 5K or 10K run through the streets of Cypress. Following the run, a FREE all-ages & all-day festival will take place at the nearby park. Bring the family out to enjoy this fair with a car show, food, drinks, games, rides, arts & crafts, live entertainment, vendors, and more.

9th Annual Dog Days of Summer
9:00 am – 4:00 pm, July 26
The Park, La Habra Heights

Want a little exercise, socialization, and bonding with your dog? Come enjoy dog contests, custom pet products and animal adoptions. Completely free to attend for all ages, vendors will display the latest dog products and much more. Expect to see over 50 vendors, dog contests, live music, food, an agility course, a doggie photo booth, doggie crafts and more.

Long Beach Dragonboat Fest
9:00 am – 6:00 pm, July 26-27
Marine Stadium, Long Beach

Come watch numerous teams race Dragonboats in Marine Stadium, with the finals on Sunday. Expect to see Chinese traditional art demonstrations, Chinese Acrobats, traditional dance, hip hop, music and martial arts performances. Spectators may attend and watch for free.

Belmont Shore Summer Sidewalk Sale
10:00 am – 6:00 pm, July 26-27
Along 2nd Street, Long Beach

Various shops in Belmont Shore will offer sales on their items. Many shops will also place their items out on the sidewalk for people to browse as they walk by.

6th Annual Venice Beach Summer Fest
10:00 am – 7:00 pm, July 26-27
Venice Beach

See arts, crafts, music, food, drinks, and more at Venice Beach this weekend, free admission. Keep in mind the heavy traffic near this area this weekend. Expect to park somewhere near Abbot Kinney and walk to the beach from there.

Renegade Craft Fair
11:00 am – 6:00 pm, July 26-27
Grand Park, Los Angeles

This free and all-ages fair at Grand Park will have arts, crafts, music, foodtrucks, drinks, and more. Come see the alternative side of arts & crafts this weekend.

Polycot Release Day
11:00 am – 12:00 am, July 26
Hangar 24 Brewery, Redlands

Hangar 24 Brewery will release their annual local summer brew this Saturday at their tasting room in Redlands. Visitors to the tasting room can enjoy this apricot beer at the tasting room, or they can take home bottles or growlers of it. Visitors will get treated to live music throughout the day, as well as food from a local vendor (at a separate cost). Those who cannot make it out to the tasting room can find Polycot at local grocery stores after this weekend.

1st Annual Vegan Faire
12:00 pm – 6:00 pm, July 26
Healthy Junk, Anaheim

This Saturday, check out this FREE and all-ages all-day festival showcasing the full spectrum of healthy lifestyle goods & services with booths & workshops focusing on food, environment, clothing and fitness. Catch live music on the promenade all day too.

Bottle Share #14
1:00 pm – 5:00 pm, July 26
38 Degrees Ale House, Alhambra

Brew your own beer? Got an interesting craft beer to share? Bring it to 38 Degrees’ monthly bottle share event, taking place this Saturday afternoon, and discover other great beers too. Free to attend, guests should bring approximately 40-50 ounce’s worth of beer. The restaurant has its own free parking lot.

Punk Rock Luau #3
1:00 pm – 9:00 pm, June 21
The World Famous Doll Hut, Anaheim

Don your flip-flops and Hawaiian shirts to this daytime punk rock show at the World Famous Doll Hut this Saturday. The cover for this show costs $7, or $5 if you wear a Hawaiian shirt. No one under 21 may enter.

Taps Summer Luau
3:00 pm – 6:00 pm, July 26
Taps Fish House, Brea

Enjoy five Polynesian craft cocktails, hula dancers, shave ice, and Polynesian food all for one price. Taps will even have a banana leaf-wrapped whole-roasted pig on site! Tickets to this tasting event costs $60. No one under 21 may attend.

Taps & Tapas: Craft Beer & Food Festival
4:00 pm – 8:00 pm, July 26
Whittier Community Center, Whittier

Come enjoy food from 18 restaurants and beer from 22 breweries at this local food & beer festival this Saturday evening in Whittier. General admission costs $45 at starts at 5pm, while VIP admission costs $60 and starts at 4pm.

The Crowd @ Alex’s Bar
9:00 pm – 2:00 am, July 26
Alex’s Bar, Long Beach

Local punk bands will hit up Long Beach this Saturday night. Tickets to this show cost $8 presale or $10 at the door. No one under 21 may attend.

Swiss Fair
11:00 am – 7:00 pm, July 27
Swiss Park, Whittier

The Annual Swiss Fair returns to Swiss Park in Whittier this Sunday. Guests of all ages will find Swiss food, drinks, desserts, vendors, dance, music, cheese tastings, games, and more. Entry costs $5, which includes parking.

Just Like Before performing Las Payasas Me Quieren Cojer at Dipiazzas in Long Beach, CA. Filmed on February 28, 2013.

All over the world, food and music go together quite nicely. Different genres may pair better with certain cuisines than other pairings, but for the most part, anyone can associate food with music. Even heavy metal can have its own special pairing that works out well. However, most can agree that punk rock typically has no business dealing with food. The stereotypical punk rock fan cares little for food quality, and eats whatever food they can find, especially fast food. Very rarely does one find punk rock themes in a rather hipster food place. After all, hip food places will generally have people that listen to popular music. However, I discovered one place that embraces punk rock, yet operates a food business highly tailored towards today’s hipsters. Punk rock fans and hipsters alike refer to this place as Donut Friend.

Located smack dab in the middle of Highland Park, Donut Friend has combined two unlikely worlds to fuse something so unusual that the general populace cannot get enough of this place. As the business name suggests, this place specializes in donuts, but not like any old donut shop – nothing old about Donut Friend. The Donut Artists at Donut Friend handcraft all donuts to order. Like at a Subway, customers can fully customize what goes in and on their donuts, or they can simply order with all the stated ingredients on the menu. Because they care about the local/sustainable movement, Donut Friend utilizes local ingredients in their donuts and their homemade toppings. To avoid alienating those with dietary restrictions, everything at Donut Friend does not contain dairy or eggs, so vegans can rejoice!

So how does Donut Friend tie in with punk rock? Simple – they name all of their donuts after punk rock bands or songs. All of their donuts have some sort of donut pun on an existing name. Some examples include:

  • Jets to Basil = Jets to Brazil
  • Rites of Sprinkles = Rites of Spring
  • Cherry 3 = CH3
  • Dag Nutty = Dag Nasty
  • Cro-Magnut = Cro-Mags
  • Jimmy Eat Swirl = Jimmy Eat World
  • Minus the Bear Claw = Minus the Bear
  • Drive Like Jelly = Drive Like Jehu
  • Gorilla Biscuit = Gorilla Biscuits
  • Fudgegazi = Fugazi
  • GG Almond = GG Allin
  • Chocolate From The Crypt = Rocket From The Crypt
  • Jane Dough = Converge’s album “Jane Doe”

The list of donut puns goes on and on, especially with their seasonal items. I could think of a few names they could potentially use, such as At The Jive-In for a coffee-inspired donut (At The Drive-In), Tropical-ducer for a citrus donut (Sonic Reducer), Narcoleptic Rhub for a rhubarb donut (Narcoleptic Youth), or Minor Treat if they decide of make donut holes (Minor Threat). If they want to go into milkshakes, they can even call one a Nervous Milkshake-down (Nervous Breakdown by Black Flag)! Local punk bands: takes notes.

People always say to never judge a book by its cover. Even the scariest neighborhoods can hide diamonds in the rough. When a friend recommended to me to explore her neighborhood of Highland Park, at first I felt skeptical about visiting what I perceived as a desolate and dangerous city. Undaunted, I sought out those recommendations, and one of them landed me at Donut Friend. The discovery of Donut Friend has altered the shape of my punk life to come. If you love donuts and feel tired of the same old donuts you find at a local donut shop, trek on up to Highland Park and locate Donut Friend, and immerse yourself in the wonderful world of punk rock donuts.