9th Annual Dog Day Afternoon at the Cathedral
6:00 pm – 9:00 pm, July 8
Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, Downtown Los Angeles

This FREE and all-ages event brings together dogs and dog lovers from around town to mingle and enjoy a night of fun and relaxation. In addition to meeting a bunch of other dogs, visitors will find live music, vendors, pet adoptions, and more.

Gam3rCon 2015
12:00 pm – 11:30 pm, July 9-12
10th Avenue Art Center, San Diego

Taking place during the San Diego Comic Con, Gam3rCon features four floors of gaming entertainment, including a Video Game Arena, Tabletop Gaming Lounge, gaming industry panels, live theater, gaming-themed artwork, and rooftop parties. Adult admission costs $20 for a single day or $60 for the entire weekend. Child admission costs $10 for a single day or $30 for the entire weekend.

Business & Beer @ Absolution Brewing
6:00 pm – 8:00 pm, July 9
Absolution Brewing, Torrance

This monthly networking event for small business owners visits a South Bay brewery every second Thursday of the month. This week, they will hit up Absolution Brewing in Torrance. If you have involvement with a small business, love craft beer, or both, then stop by this Thursday night.

Downtown Los Angeles Art Walk (Second Thursdays)
6:00 pm – 10:00 pm, July 9
Downtown Los Angeles

This free monthly event takes place over many blocks in Downtown Los Angeles. Many galleries will open late, and some parking lots will contain more art, vendors, food trucks, entertainment, and more. Unless you know business owners, free parking barely exists in Downtown LA, although some meters only operate until 8pm. First-time visitors should attend with someone who has gone here prior.

X – Album Show Weekend
7:00 pm – 12:00 am, July 9-12
The Observatory, Santa Ana

Legendary punk band X will headline four shows across four consecutive days this week in Southern California. Each show will also have great opening bands, so arrive early to check them out too. Tickets to these all-ages shows vary in price, so click on a link for pricing details.

Ten Foot Pole: Live in Southern California
8:00 pm – 1:00 am, July 9, The Observatory’s Constellation Room, Santa Ana http://www.observatoryoc.com/event/ten-foot-pole
7:30 pm – 12:30 am, July 10, Borderline Bar & Grill, Thousand Oaks http://www.ticketfly.com/purchase/event/884019

Enjoy a classic punk rock show this Thursday and Friday night. Ticket prices and age limits vary, so click on a show’s link for more information.

TWO YEAR Barrel-Aged Acurum – LIMITED Release
4:00 pm – 6:00 pm, July 10
Valiant Brewing, Orange

Valiant Brewing will release the ultra-rare Acurum bottles this Friday evening on a first-come, first-served basis. Craft beer enthusiasts will not want to miss out on this extremely limited brew.

Super Video Game Land at Mission Brewery
6:00 pm – 12:00 am, July 10
Mission Brewery, Downtown San Diego

Now for something REALLY different. Immerse yourself in video game art and culture at Mission Brewery in San Diego this Friday night. Enjoy a nostalgic night of art, music, games, and beer all in one spot.

Grilled Cheese & Beer Night
7:30 pm – 10:00 pm, July 10
Andrew’s Cheese Shop, Santa Monica

Enjoy a four-course dinner with beer pairings for $50 at this local cheese shop in Santa Monica this Friday night.

BeautyCon LA
10:00 am – 6:00 pm, July 11
The Reef, Los Angeles

See all things beauty, fashion, cosmetics, and more at this one-day event at The Reef in Los Angeles this Saturday. General admission costs $30 and grants you access to the entire show floor full of vendors, services, workshops, speakers, demos, and more.

1st Annual California Hot Sauce Expo
10:00 am – 6:00 pm, July 11-12
Rainbow Lagoon, Long Beach

Spice lovers rejoice! Torch your taste buds at this hot sauce tasting event this weekend at Rainbow Lagoon in Long Beach. General admission costs $10 and provides access to all the vendors sampling their hot sauces, but does not include food or drinks. A beer package costs $50 and includes five beverage tokens, a bottle of hot sauce, and a t-shirt. VIP admission costs $100 and provides access to a secluded VIP area.

Beachwood Brewing 4th Anniversary Celebration
10:30 am – 12:00 am, July 11
Beachwood Brewing, Downtown Long Beach

Celebrate Beachwood Brewing’s 4th anniversary at their restaurant/brewery in Downtown Long Beach this Saturday. Free to attend, expect to find rare beers on tap, as well as a handful of guest breweries and their brews. Beachwood BBQ will also serve up some food specials unique only for this glorious day. Guests can park for free for up to three hours with validation in the parking structure in the alley behind the restaurant.

Renegade Craft Fair
11:00 am – 6:00 pm, July 11-12
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.

Boulevard Brewing Tap Takeover
12:00 pm – 7:00 pm, July 11
Select Beer Store, Redondo Beach

Boulevard Brewing will take over the taps at Select Beer Store in Redondo Beach this Saturday afternoon. No admission required – simply show up and pay as you go.

New Belgium Brewing + The Do LaB Celebration
2:00 pm – 5:00 pm, July 11
Howl Event Space, Long Beach

At this FREE event, have fun with typical antics by The Do LaB, and enjoy some beer that New Belgium Brewing created exclusively for The Do LaB. In addition, catch live music, food, wine, and other activities. Food and wine come at a separate cost, so bring cash for those.

3rd Annual Heroes Brew Craft Beer Festival
2:00 pm – 6:00 pm, July 11
The Loma Club, Liberty Station, San Diego

Coinciding with Comic Con, this beer tasting event will take place at Liberty Station this Saturday afternoon. As the title suggests, this beer event will bear a costume element, encouraging attendees to arrive in some sort of cosplay outfit. Presale general admission costs $49 and starts at 3pm, while presale VIP admission costs $64 and starts at 2pm. All attendees receive unlimited beer tasters from the over 40 participating breweries while supplies last. No one under 21 may attend.

6th Annual Los Angeles Street Food Fest
3:00 pm – 8:00 pm, July 11
Rose Bowl, Pasadena

Experience the best of mobile eats in LA at the 4th annual LA Street Food Fest. This all-ages food fest features hundreds of chefs, restaurants, food carts, food trucks, food stands, pop-ups, bars, and more. The list of participating businesses includes more than enough food to cover your entire day, plus plenty of dessert, ice cream, coffee/teas, drinks, alcoholic drinks, mobile boutiques, and so much more. General admission costs $60, starts at 5pm, and includes parking and ALL food & drinks. VIP admission costs $90, starts at 3pm, and also includes access to a VIP lounge. Children 7 and under enter free with a paid adult admission. Attendees should bring a picnic blanket and/or chairs, as the venue cannot provide enough tables for the thousands of attendees.

Four Brewers 1st Anniversary Celebration
4:00 pm – 8:00 pm, July 11
Hamilton Family Brewery, Rancho Cucamonga

This craft beer podcast celebrates a year in the industry this Saturday at Hamilton Family Brewery in Rancho Cucamonga. Admission costs nothing to attend, while special anniversary glasses cost $12. The brewery will have an exclusive saison on tap brewed just for this occasion, and the podcast crew will have swag to give away, such as stickers and pins.

Night Nation Run – Los Angeles
6:00 pm – 12:00 am, July 11
Fairplex, Pomona

People always seem to want to find any way possible to make running less boring. Introducing Night Nation Run, a glow run that now involves EDM. Run a course complete with lights, glow sticks, lasers, EDM, and more. Registration costs $30 presale or $60 once presale registration runs out, and includes a t-shirt, a glow necklace, a goodie bag, and access to the after-party with more EDM.

German Heritage Day
2:00 pm – 6:30 pm, July 12
Old World Village, Huntington Beach

Do you love Oktoberfest? Show off your German pride at this FREE and all-ages celebration this Sunday afternoon at Old World Village in Huntington Beach. Enjoy German food, music, arts & crafts, and more. The first 500 guests receive a FREE meal, so act quick!

Afternoon Delight: A Sunday Funday of Bands and Burlesque
3:00 pm – 7:00 pm, July 12
Harvelle’s, Downtown Long Beach

Enjoy local music and burlesque this Sunday in Downtown Long Beach. The cover for this show costs $10

Destruction Made Simple performing 21 Year Plan at Los Globos in Silverlake, CA. Filmed on July 20, 2013.

Up to no good like always, pirates swarmed all over Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier in Long Beach this past weekend for the 2015 Pirate Invasion of Belmont Pier. This free and all-ages event caters to families and kids with the costumed pirates and activities mainly geared towards entertaining children. Many attendees dressed up as pirates, and many get into character for the entire duration of their visit. The fair zone included many vendors, pirate swag, a pirate stage, and ship battles. Down on the dunes, the actual kids area and performance stages made for a mini fun zone. The main fair zone consisted of the entire pier, from start to end. All the primary pirates (actors hired to portray pirates here) mingle throughout the area, occasionally stopping for photos and to pester the attendees with mindless pirate gibberish. The vendors ranged from selling actual pirate equipment & clothing to the typical commercial vendors like KROQ and Coors Light.

If you missed this pirate invasion, Alfredo’s Beach Club, the company that organizes the pirate fest, holds TWO pirate fests annually. This one at Belmont Pier always takes place at the beginning of summer and costs nothing to attend. The second one at the end of September at Marina Green by Shoreline Village has a fee to enter.

One of the bigger punk rock events of this calendar year, the 2015 Punk Rock Picnic returned this past Saturday to Marina Green in Long Beach. Featuring over 50 bands across six stages and extreme sports athletes, this all-day all-ages concert showed that punk rock never died, and lives stronger than ever. Most of the bands hailed from Southern California, such as Agent Orange, Angry Samoans, Yeastie Boys, Ill Repute, The Gears, and many more. This concert also brought a lot of bands out of a hiatus, such as Amerikan Made, Agression, One Less Zero, and some others. Despite an outdoor concert lasting all day at the start of summer, the overcast prevented the day from getting too hot, and made for the perfect outdoor setting. Attendees who arrived early enough got to enjoy a great amount of bands while getting a good amount of exercising due to the two main stages situated at opposite ends of the park, the four side stages in between, and the various vendors plus skate ramp along the center.

Perhaps what lingers on the minds of most of the people revolve around how the Punk Rock Picnic ended. Certainly if anyone left prior to approximately 8:30pm, they would have had the time of their lives. Unfortunately, the city police shut down the event at 8:50pm due to 1) complaints from people living on the yachts nearby, 2) rowdy & violent attendees, and 3) people loitering in the parking lots doing drugs, making noise, and causing trouble. Not surprising, the people got violent due to this news of losing their headliners of Cockney Rejects and Discharge; however, this event’s history only amplified the people’s rage. Punk Rock Picnic got unexpectedly shut down in 2013 because the Queen Mary embodies the absolute worst corporate archetype when it comes to hosting events, exemplifying their level of greed on inconceivable levels. But of course, as punks do, they point a finger at the nearest living object: the organizers of Punk Rock Picnic. This led to bad press and carried over to 2014, preventing the return of Punk Rock Picnic that year. Fast forward to 2015 where the organizers valiantly tried to resurrect Punk Rock Picnic, another unfortunate circumstance had befallen them again with the untimely shutdown of the event. As punks do, they point a finger at the nearest living object, blaming the organizers for the loss of the headliners.

In hindsight, for $45, the value of this concert will vary with each individual. People who arrived early enough to catch the early bands certainly would have gotten their money’s worth. Does the loss of the two headliners merit the people’s rage? After all, the 2013 Punk Rock Picnic never even happened! At least the 2015 Punk Rock Picnic almost completed a 100% run. Heck, I would consider this all a successful event if not for punks acting like punks. Think about the cost to get in, and the value brought forward by this concert. Bands like these normally play local shows for less than $10, and you get like four or five bands. Here, you get over 50 bands all in one venue in one day for one cost. If a 4-band show costs $5, that already amounts to over $60. The caveat revolves around the value of seeing Cockney Rejects and Discharge, as most of the attendees place a greater value of seeing those two bands. If we place an artificial value of $10 for each of them, that makes all the other 50+ bands value at about $40, which still represents a great deal.

Do punks ever truly think about numbers like this? No. Their linear thought process only allows them to see as far as you can on a dense foggy morning. If a corporate or professional entity put on this event, then it would not carry the same underground punk rock feel. Since a handful of locals built this from the ground up, one can only expect so much. To everyone complaining about the loss of the headliners, how about YOU try to set up an all-day punk rock concert without relying on corporate backing? Concerts like Warped Tour and FYF run without a hitch, but those have sold out to corporate a long time ago, and no longer carry the traditional punk rock environment of the old days. As for the Punk Rock Picnic, I have greatly enjoyed them the past few times that I have attended, and I do not foresee this returning ever again under the same name. To the organizers: stick with small shows – find a venue, and just do shows with four or five bands. This has worked for many organizers everywhere, and should allow you to stay in the game.

Anyways, enough of my ranting – I captured over a hundred photos at the Punk Rock Picnic, so take a look at how it all went down. If the photo links die, you can view them all in my Facebook album.

Following the mishap of losing the headliners, I do not foresee the Punk Rock Picnic returning any time soon, at least not under the same organizers. If Southern California will ever get another punk rock concert like this again not aligned with a corporate entity, it will have different organizers or a different name. Sayonara Punk Rock Picnic – I will forever have fond memories of all the Punk Rock Picnics that I have attended and all the awesome bands that I have met.

The 2015 Anime Expo returns to the Los Angeles Convention Center starting this Thursday and running through Sunday. This annual 4-day expo for all things Anime & Manga attracts exhibitors and fans from across the globe for the largest gathering of its kind in the world. What started as a simple expo for those in the Anime industry has grown to encompass anything remotely related to the art of Japanese art & animation. Today, this large expo now hosts artists, designers, vendors, video game companies, technicians, actors/actresses, voice actors, models, musicians, singers, cosplayers, and much more to spread their work out to the public as well as interact with the fans. With so much to do, so many people to see, and so many people wanting to get in (tens of thousands of visitors on the first day!), naturally the organizers had to make this expo cover a span of four days every year.

As the current world’s largest expo of its kind, one can expect sheer overflow of people in the area for miles. Road traffic does not face as much of a problem, save for the exuberant parking prices that reaches upwards of $40 per vehicle. Pedestrian traffic causes the most headaches, from the uncontrolled crosswalks to the endless line of jaywalkers. If anything definitely terrorizes attendees, the line to enter the expo causes the most grief. From getting in line to getting into the building, the wait on the morning of the 4th of July usually takes hours to enter. Strangely, very few attendees complain about this, as if they accept this year after year. For a first-time attendee like myself, I speak for many other first-time attendees when I say that this expo NEEDS an attendance limit. Comic Con follows an attendance limit, yet still sells out in under a minute every year. Upon questioning some attendees from previous years, they mention that at least a hundred attendees camp overnight, and that entering the line at 8am when the expo opens still takes over an hour to get in. They also mention that the first day always sees the most amount of attendees, which sounds reasonable. Lesson learned: if attending Anime Expo, either attend extremely early on the first day, or attend on the second and/or third day.

The actual expo covers the entire span on the convention center, both the South Hall and the West Hall. The main expo occurs in the South Hall, while the West Hall houses the miscellaneous activities, such as workshops, video game competitions, cosplay contests, and more. The expo simply has too much going on, so I understand why most attendees purchase either the two or four day pass rather than just a single day. The expo contains different sections based on the content; for example, attendees would find the artist booths at the back, the autographs at the right, the merchandise in the middle, and celebrity/actor appearances at the front.

For any type of expo or convention of this nature, sure we may want to pay attention to the exhibitors, but at the heart of any gathering of this kind, our attention instantly turns to the cosplayers. Attendees love to dress up as their favorite character to show their pride and/or craftsmanship, while some simply slap together a lazy costume just to blend in somehow, such as the hundreds of attendees with a Teemo hat. For Anime Expo, the world’s largest expo of its kind, attendees either go all in or go nothing. Observe some of the fun costumes from the 2013 Anime Expo:

As an added bonus, my cousin also took a handful of photos, and you may now observe Anime Expo from his point of view too:

If you feel that you cannot attend Anime Expo this year, fear not – Anime California comes to Orange County on the weekend of August 28-30. At $45 for the entire weekend, expect to see nearly the same things at Anime Expo. If you desire the massive crowds and content that Anime Expo offers, keep this weekend open for the 2014 Anime Expo at the Los Angeles Convention Center. If you have a costume, wear it proudly and show it off to everyone!

Dirty Little Secrets Rock Burlesque – First Wednesdays @ The Copper Door
9:00 pm – 11:00 pm, July 1
The Copper Door, Downtown Santa Ana

Get your fill of burlesque every first Wednesday of the month at The Copper Door in Downtown Santa Ana, for free! Guests can park on the street for free after 8pm. No one under 21 may enter.

2015 Anime Expo
8:00 am – 6:00 pm, July 2-4
8:00 am – 2:00 pm, July 5
Los Angeles Convention Center, Downtown Los Angeles

The nation’s largest expo & convention for anime & manga returns to Downtown LA this 4th of July weekend. Complete with hundreds of artist & vendor booths, this convention allows attendees to get interactive via the masquerade ball, music videos, concerts, battle of the bands, fashion shows, dancing, video games, karaoke, cosplay gatherings & contests, and much more. Admission varies by the number of days attending – 4 days cost $80, while one day costs $39. Children 6-12 get in for a flat rate of $25, while children 5 and under get in free with a paid adult admission. Some of the special events, such as concerts and maid cafés, requires an additional ticket to get into. Parking at the convention center costs $15, so bring cash for that plus any of the vendors and food inside the convention center. Optionally, park in outdoor third party lots in the surrounding blocks for a lower rate, or take public transportation.

7th Annual Cars & Stripes Forever! Car Show
5:00 pm – 10:00 pm, July 2
World Cruise Center, San Pedro

At this free and all-ages event this Thursday night, check out cars, local bands, and fireworks.

Viernes 13 @ The Whisky A Go Go
7:00 pm – 1:00 am, July 2
The Whisky A Go Go, West Hollywood

Rock out to some local skacore this Thursday night in West Hollywood. Tickets to this all-ages show cost $12.

111th Huntington Beach 4th of July Celebration
10:00 am – 9:00 pm, July 3
7:00 am – 10:00 pm, July 4
10:00 am – 6:00 pm, July 5
Huntington Beach Pier, Huntington Beach

Celebrate Independence Day with a plethora of things to see and do in Huntington Beach this weekend. Activities include a pancake breakfast, 5k run, fitness expo, a parade, fireworks, live music, exhibitors, food vendors, family activities, and much more. See the website for a full list and schedule of what to expect.

626 Night Market
4:00 pm – 1:00 am, July 3-5
Santa Anita Park, Arcadia

The largest Asian night market in America returns to Santa Anita Park this weekend. For just $3 to enter, this flea market of sorts will host tons of vendors selling Asian wares, merchandise, apparel, appliances, food, drinks, and more.

3rd Annual Ballast Point Independence Party
5:00 pm – 10:00 pm, July 3
Select Beer Store, Redondo Beach

Ballast Point will take over the taps at Select Beer Store in Redondo Beach this Friday night. No admission required – simply show up, and pay for beer as you go.

America Stands For Freedom – Independence Eve Show & Revue
7:00 pm – 1:00 am, July 3
Glass House, Pomona

Legendary punk band The Vandals will headline this show at the Glass House in Pomona this Friday night. Tickets to this all-ages show cost $17.76.

The Secret Affair – 60’s Night
9:00 pm – 1:00 am, July 3
Alex’s Bar, Long Beach

Occurring on every month’s first Friday, this 60’s night at Alex’s Bar will play all vinyl music of motown, northern soul, boogaloo, 60’s pop, and more. Feel free to dress up too, as the bar staff will hold costume contests and dance contests. No one under 21 may enter.

Independence Day
July 4
United States

Plenty of holiday events will take place this weekend, so check with your local favorite hangout spot to see if they have anything going on. Have a FUN and SAFE holiday weekend.

4th of July Party on the Pier
11:00 am – 10:00 pm, July 4
12:00 pm – 10:00 pm, July 5
Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier, Long Beach

Party at the beach this Independence Day in Long Beach. Admission costs $10 for adults and free for kids, and includes all-day reentry, one BBQ plate plus a soft drink, and access to the kids’ play area. Plenty of live bands, a beer garden, boat rides, and more will keep guests entertained all day. Metered parking lots remain enforced in the lots nearby; for long-term parking, I recommend parking in the neighborhoods beyond Ocean Blvd.

OC Block Party July 4th Fireworks Spectacular
3:00 pm – 11:00 pm, July 4
Angel Stadium, Anaheim

From the organizers behind Ktown Night Market comes the OC Block Party, a 4th of July extravaganza taking place at Angel Stadium this Saturday. It costs $7 to attend this all-ages celebration, complete with fireworks, live music, food, drinks, vendors, a car show, and more. Bring lots of extra cash with you for parking and other things you may purchase in the event area.

Up to no good like always, pirates will swarm all over Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier in Long Beach this weekend for the 2015 Pirate Invasion of Belmont Pier. This free and all-ages event caters to families and kids with the costumed pirates and activities mainly geared towards entertaining children. Many attendees dress up as pirates, and many get into character for the entire duration of their visit. The fair zone includes many vendors, pirate swag, a pirate stage, and ship battles. Down on the dunes, the actual kids area and performance stages makes for a mini fun zone. The main fair zone consists of the entire pier, from start to end. All the primary pirates (actors hired to portray pirates here) mingle throughout the area, occasionally stopping for photos and to pester the attendees with mindless pirate gibberish. The vendors range from selling actual pirate equipment & clothing to the typical commercial vendors like KROQ and Coors Light. Festivities begin at 10am on Saturday and Sunday, and run until 9pm on Saturday and 6pm on Sunday. The beach parking lots all have paid meters, but street parking costs nothing, so you may opt to search for neighborhood parking to alleviate parking costs.

If you cannot make it out to the pier this weekend, Alfredo’s Beach Club, the company that organizes the pirate fest, holds TWO pirate fests annually. This one at Belmont Pier always takes place at the beginning of summer and costs nothing to attend. The second one at the end of September at Marina Green by Shoreline Village has a fee to enter.