Archive for July, 2012

Renegade LA took place this past weekend at LA State Historic Park. This completely FREE (parking & entry) event featured numerous artists and vendors not just from California, but out of state, and some out of the country. Some food trucks also were available to serve food: Front Porch Pops, Brasil Kiss, Crispy Truck, Los Lobos Truck, Ludo Truck, and India Jones.

Unlike a typical arts & crafts fair, Renegade focuses on the alternative side of creativity – art that is not typical or does not follow norms. If you have been to Patchwork Fest, Renegade will feel very similar. Where Patchwork mixes traditional with alternative, Renegade highlights those who not just think outside of the box, but rip & smash that box into pieces.

This one is from a vendor called Drywell:

The first vendor that caught my eye was Robu Roku. I appreciate their quirky style using puns and modern lingo. I do hope to see them again, as I will likely become a customer of theirs soon.

The next vendor to hook my attention was Sebastien Millon. His use of cartoony drawings with ironic yet funny statements is something I recommend everyone take a look at. The jokes do not poke fun at any individual group, so these jokes are tasteful for everyone. Some of these were so funny that I had to purchase some of his material.

For anyone into arts & crafts, I highly recommend you check out Renegade, which will return to Los Angeles in December. If you want a grander experience, many vendors informed me that Renegade San Francisco is the largest of its kind. That one occurred last week – to stay updated with the next series of fairs that should occur around November and December, follow Renegade on Twitter.

US Open of Surfing
Now through August 5
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. There will also be 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. Parking is available in the neighborhoods, but be prepared to walk a long distance if choosing to park in neighborhoods, since the neighborhoods closer to the beach will be full all week.

Big D & The Kids Table and The Maxies @ Aladdin Jr.
6:00 pm – 10:00 pm, July 30
Aladdin Jr. 2, Pomona

Ska bands Big D & The Kids Table and The Maxies play this post-tour secret show at Aladdin Jr. 2 in Pomona. The show is all-ages and costs $10 to get in. For as big as these two bands are, expect this show to sell out quick. For those unfamiliar with Big D & The Kids Table:

59th Annual Kids’ Fishing Rodeo
8:00 am – 12:00 pm, August 3
Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier, Long Beach

A free event for kids 16 and under, this is a fishing contest for kids. Entrants must provide their own fishing gear & tackle, while bait is provided by the organizers. No experience is necessary, as there will be instructors present.

First Fridays
5:00 pm – 10:00 pm, August 3
Various locations
Long Beach:

First Fridays is a monthly artwalk on the first Friday of every month. Each location offers different activities, but most will contain food & drink specials, art exhibits & displays, street performers, and more. The two largest gatherings are Venice and Long Beach. Other locations include Westchester, Fullerton, and City of Industry. Most First Fridays locations are free to attend, while the local businesses uphold their standard rules (e.g. bars are 21+ only).

International Surf Festival
August 3-5
Manhattan Beach & Hermosa Beach

This festival actually begins on July 31st, but the surfing does not begin until August 3rd. All day on Saturday and Sunday, there will be surfing and beach sports competitions.

OC Fair Fun Run 5K
6:00 am – 9:00 am, August 5
OC Fair & Events Center, Costa Mesa

The OC Fair is holding a 5K at the fairgrounds this Sunday morning. Online registration closes this Thursday. All participants receive a goodie bag, which includes a T-shirt, a medal for participating, and one admission into the OC Fair, which can be used any day the fair is open until August 12th.

Some people cannot eat a particular food because of dietary restrictions or allergies. Most others cannot eat a particular food pureply because of preference. Everybody has a list of foods that they either cannot eat or do not like to eat. As far as I know, I do not have any food allergies (thankfully), which is why I will try anything once. However, there are a handful of ingredients that I can do without. These are the Top 5 foods that I really do not want to eat when faced with options.

5. Jalapeños

I do not mind spicy foods, as long as they have other flavors to them. For example, I will eat foods with cayenne, serrano, or even ghost chili, all because those have other flavors other than spice. The problem with jalapeños is that spice is all it is. Jalapeños have no other distinct flavor to them – they are just spicy. Every time I order something that has jalapeños in it, I will either ask them for no jalapeños, or pick them out as I eat. For example, the House Special Scallops from Capital Seafood is one of my all-time favorite dishes. The problem is that there are sliced jalapeños mixed in with the scallops. In this case, I will eat everything, but move the jalapeños to the side. If they could use a different pepper, or spice it differently, I would consume it entirely.

4. Pickles

The pickle, most commonly found on hamburgers, one of my favorite foods, makes its way onto this list because of its strangely sour flavor and its slimy texture. There is nothing wrong with adding some tartness to your food, but I prefer a vinegar-based flavor rather than something pickled. Granted, the right pickled food in the right setting can be tasty. The pickled vegetables on the Wood-fired Banh Mi from Tiger! Tiger! balance the rest of the dish very well by adding a sour & slightly sweet kick to the savory pork belly and the spiciness of the chili aioli. But pickles are just needlessly sour, and even when sweetened to make relish, it always tastes like food that has gone bad or rotten. There is also that weird slimy yet crisp texture, like a potato chip that absorbed too much liquid, so it becomes a limp chip. I do not want to eat limp chips.

3. Olives

This may be attributed to my childhood when I witnessed a stranger biting into an olive and subsequently breaking his teeth. For the longest time, I did not understand how an olive can break teeth, so I avoided them. I eventually learned that olive pits are extremely tough, and a hard bite can inflict massive damage on your teeth or jaw. Steadfast, I once ordered a salad just to try the olives. The olives reminded me of pickles because of the sour taste and the chewy texture. I never understood why olives and martinis go together. I cannot imagine drinking a vodka cocktail with two balls of sour in the glass. Tapenade may be the exception to olives, but that is a spread made with other ingredients than just olives, including capers, which I love, and olive oil, which means more fat!

2. Tofu

I am not alone when I say this, but I refuse to eat tofu. Yes, I know that tofu is undeniably good for you with its low calories and high protein, but the taste is just so vile… And the way it jiggles makes it appear alive. One bite will leave you with an icky feeling, as it strangely melts into a thick, white substance in your mouth. Tofu is commonly referred to as the meat of vegetarians and vegans. I feel sorry for any non-meat eaters in the world if this is what you have to resort to to get your daily protein. On a side note, do vegans spit or swallow…?

1. Bean Sprouts

Ask anybody and they will tell you – bean sprouts have no nutritional value to them. Celery also has no nutritional value; however, celery has negative net calories, which bean sprouts have positive net calories. There is no point in ever including bean sprouts in anything, other than adding that bitter vegetable taste, or by adding visuals. I hope that bean sprouts are never used for visuals, because looking at bean sprouts makes me nauseous. It must be those funky-looking yellow curly things at the ends, because they remind me of little worm parasites. In fact, looking at multiple bean sprouts reminds me of parasitic worms as they try to search for their next prey/host. In any event, if something has bean sprouts in it, I am not even gonna order it – I will just have to choose something else.

Yes, I used to be a Biology major.

The Vandals performing I’ve Got An Ape Drape at the 2012 Ink-N-Iron Fest at The Queen Mary. Filmed on June 9, 2012.

Pennywise performing Bro Hymn Tribute at the 2012 Ink-N-Iron Fest at The Queen Mary. Filmed on June 10, 2012.

Christian Dasilva was not only the sound man for The Chain Reaction, but he has also toured with many bands, including The Aquabats. The Aquabats, along with Starpool and The Makeup Sex, played a show at Chain last night as a benefit concert to his family following Dasilva’s death. Thanks to OC Weekly Music for posting about this show.

The Makeup Sex opened the night with their grunge set. Although musically talented, Twitter people in the audience did not think so. Inside Chain is a screen that shows what people are tweeting when they include the hashtag #chainchat in their tweet. Most of the tweets showed disdain towards The Makeup Sex, comparing them to the likes of Nickelback and Creed. I did not believe the sound to be that bad, but this was not what I came here for.

Up next was Starpool. I had heard of Starpool prior, and knew they are a ska band. I must say that for a band I had never heard of, they put on quite a show. Their set was entertaining from the beginning to the end. I especially enjoyed watching the brass players, as they utilized the entire stage instead of simply staying in place the entire time.

In the final photo, the lead singer comes into the audience to sing from there.

Before The Aquabats took to the stage, I got a chance to see their set list.

The last song is Burger Rain.

As soon as the lights darkened, everyone in the audience threw up the Aquabats symbol.

And then in typical cartoon superhero style, The Aquabats stormed onto the stage. After this, there is nothing else that can be said – The Aquabats blew the roof off the place. With relentless energy and sound, The Aquabats not only just performed their music, but had some cartoonish antics between songs.

Right before getting to Super Rad, some former band members appeared onto the stage: Doctor Rock, Prince Adam, and Chainsaw the Prince of Karate. They had their moment to shine, but really this was meant to be a break for the band, as they spent a lot of time talking.

Once they got to Pool Party, perhaps the most unexpected scene (to me) occurred on stage. The band called up kids to come onto the stage. Each kid was introduced to the audience, then was informed that if they go crowd-surfing, they would be treated to free candy (Chain is an all-ages venue; thus there is no alcohol, just candy and soda available). A few of the kids declined the offer, while the rest took to the sea of crazy punks. During each kid’s surfing, The Aquabats would play snippets of other known punk songs, such as Minor Threat and Suburban Home.

The little boy in green was the most apprehensive, but was eventually coaxed into trying the pit when his dad came to the front of the stage and assured him that he would be fine.

After wrapping up Pool Party, The Aquabats briefly exited the stage, but I knew that they would come back to play a couple more songs. The audience knew too, as they continuously chanted “Where Was The Captain?” until they returned for their final two songs. At the end of the night, the band auctioned off their neoprene outfits, with all the proceeds going towards Dasilva’s family.

There will be more benefit shows for Dasilva’s family. Check the Chain Reaction website for further dates. Knowing his music history, any benefit show is something that neither I nor you should not miss.

At my current rate, I attend a beer fest roughly once every two weeks. After last week’s fiasco, I needed a successful one for a change of pace. I had already known that Hangar 24 Brewery was holding a Belgian Fest, which I had planned to attend, so I did not expect to do anything else that day. Eventually, I found out about The San Diego Brew Fest going on the same day, put on by the same folks who run LA Beer Fest and OC Beer Fest. Nonchalantly, I posted on a friend’s Facebook that this event was coming up. I initially did not expect her to actually want to go, but because she expressed interest in attending, I caved in and bought tickets. She also mentioned that she had never been to one, so I decided to purchase VIP tickets so she could enjoy the full experience. This only backfired on me because I did not expect traffic to be as bad as it was that afternoon, so I ended up arriving an hour after I had wanted to arrive. We eventually entered the fest at 2:30.

This beer fest at Liberty Station had lots of space to work with, not to mention being 90% on grass, which is very convenient to guests. The fest covered the entire grassy area west of Slater’s 50/50 in a large park of sorts. A beer fest on grass is a good thing, because guests that currently have beer that they 1) do not like, or 2) need to pour out to try something else, can easily dispose of their beer, as opposed to searching for a dump bucket, and trust me – for as necessary as they are, dump buckets are horrible things. Plenty of breweries were present, and the sectioning of breweries must have been carefully crafted and not just randomly thrown together. For example, all of the Orange County breweries were in one section, all the Northern California breweries were in a section, and European beers were all in their section. On hand to feed the guests were eight food trucks from San Diego (I did not recognize food truck any expect Devilicious).

After such a positive experience (sans my own prior fault of arriving late), I believe the San Diego Brew Fest is the flagship of solo beer fests in San Diego. I say solo because Beer-Con takes place in San Diego annually, covering an entire weekend. Almost everything went right… too right. Sure I can be nit-picky about improvements, such as more restrooms or more local brick & mortar restaurants serving food instead of just food trucks, but the organizers covered all grounds as to what makes a beer fest run smoothly. Perhaps those Manhattan Beach people can learn a lesson from these organizers. I should not praise or shame anyone else, lest I end up on someone’s bad side. Just know that this is the type of beer fest you want to go to if you want an unforgettable experience.

LA Restaurant Week
Now through July 27
Greater Los Angeles Area

Hundreds of restaurants in the Greater Los Angeles Area are participating in this feast. All participating restaurants will be offering either discounts on select items, or prix-fixe menus.

The Aquabats To Play Christian Dasilva Benefit Concert
7:00 pm – 11:00 pm, July 23
Chain Reaction, Anaheim

The Aquabats and Starpool will be playing this benefit show at The Chain Reaction. Tickets are already sold out, though you may luck out and find scalpers at the venue.

Authority Zero, Versus The World, Raptors, and DC Fallout at Slide Bar
7:30 pm – 12:30 am, July 25
Slide Bar, Fullerton

This FREE show featuring Authority Zero and more is at The Slide Bar. In order to get in, you must pick up a wristband, which will be distributed starting at 7:30. You must be 21 or over to enter.

My Birthday!
July 25

Just thought I would throw that out there. I will try to get into the Authority Zero show. Come hang out!

International Quilt Festival
10:00 am – 7:00 pm, July 27-29
Long Beach Convention Center, Long Beach

This expo will feature workshops, vendors, exhibits, and more at the Long Beach Convention Center. As I did not attend last year, I do not have much more info.

Adult Con
July 27-29
Los Angeles Convention Center, Los Angeles

This is an adult entertainment expo, thus you must be over 18 to enter. Having been to one prior, you will see everything you never expected to see. Despite the age limit, there is no actually nudity or other acts seen – the only way to see it is in the print and merchandise, which is all over the convention. But you never know who you will meet there!

Long Beach Dragonboat Fest
9:00 am – 6:00 pm, July 28-29
Marine Stadium, Long Beach

Come watch numerous teams race Dragonboats in Marine Stadium – The Finals are on Sunday. There will be Chinese traditional art demonstrations, Chinese Acrobats, traditional dance, hip hop, music and martial arts performances. Completely free to attend and spectate, though registration to participate is already closed.

2012 American Filipino Festival
9:00 am – 9:00 pm, July 28-29
Cerritos College Falcon Stadium, Cerritos

Check out this Filipino Festival, where there will be a car show, food trucks, live music, models, vendors, and more. Tickets are $20 per person. I am unsure about parking, though if they do charge to park, there are plenty of surrounding neighborhoods that allow free parking, though those streets will surely become congested.

Venice Beach Summer Fest
11:00 am – 7:00 pm, July 28-29
Venice Beach

This weekend at Venice Beach, there will be arts, crafts, music, food, drinks, and more. The event is free to attend – keep in mind that traffic will be very heavy this weekend. Expect to park somewhere near Abbot Kinney and walk to the beach from there.

Renegade Craft Fair
11:00 am – 7:00 pm, July 28-29
LA State Historic Park, Los Angeles

This fair at LA State Historic Park will have crafts, music, foodtrucks, drinks, and more. Come see the alternative side of arts & crafts this weekend. Think Patchwork Fest, but catering more to people who think beyond the darker side of the box.

Long Beach Crawfish Festival
12:00 pm, July 28-29
Rainbow Lagoon Park, Long Beach

Make sure you buy presale, as tickets are $15 less that way. Various crawfish will be served here along with drinks. Live music will be on all weekend too.

Swiss Fair
11:00 am – 7:00 pm, July 29
Swiss Park, Whittier

The Annual Swiss Fair returns to Swiss Park in Whittier this Sunday. There will be food, drinks, desserts, vendors, dance, music, cheese tastings, games, and more. The cost is $5 to enter, parking is free.

More or less a last-minute decision, I had heard of a show at the VLHS Warehouse in Pomona. I searched online for music by the listed bands, and found some music from the headliner, Night Birds. I liked what I heard, so I decided to go to this venue to check it out.

The venue itself is quite hidden, and one would have to know what to look for to find its location. VLHS (Vince Lombardi High School) is literally a garage in an industrial block. The venue is VERY small and intimate, since it is meant to hold one vehicle. I knew approaching the building that I had found the right place because of all the people standing outside. Based on this first impression, I could tell this was a locals’ hangout spot. Throughout the night, many patrons seemed to know each other, which made me wonder if it truly is a locals’ spot or if they just roll as one large group. But anyways, let us go over the bands performing.

The opening band was Vultures United. A nice hard punk sound similar to The Adolescents, Vultures United delivered a solid performance. If any of them look familiar, it is probably because their drummer plays for another local band.

Up next was Aukerman. This YOUNG band plays exactly as they would if they were rehearsing in a garage. Imagine a band of young punks playing in a garage – that is exactly how they sounded like. Not bad for a young band, but they have a long way to go.

Following Aukerman, the room started getting fuller, as The Shrine took the little stage. Picture a hair metal band from the 80’s, then mix it with modern-day bands like The Black Keys. I did not quite understand it, as this band felt more metal to me than punk rock, but they got the crowd going.

The precursor to the headliner was Toys That Kill. Again, I did not understand this band, as there was too much head-bopping and bouncing going on in the crowd. Their sound reminds me of Interpol, but faster.

At last, the moment we had all been waiting for, the headliner, Night Birds, took the stage. They did literally fly in from New Jersey just to play shows here in Southern California, and I am amazed they chose this tiny venue. I had first heard their song The Other Side Of Darkness, and it was this song alone that sold me into going to this show. Strange that I had never heard of them, because they drew a large crowd, despite going on after 1 AM.

For its lack of size, VLHS can draw big crowds and bigger bands. This show was only $6 and open to all ages. They also did not restrict patrons from bringing their own drinks inside. You can almost consider this going to a show at someone’s garage because of the lack of rules. If this is something that appeals to you, check out their schedule, linked above. I saw that Joey Briggs of The Briggs will be playing here on Friday, August 10, so that is something to look into.

LBC Tweet Up Brunch

The first event of my weekend was the #LBCTweetUp brunch at Tavern On 2 on Saturday morning. I did not get an official head count, but it was nice to see Long Beach tweeps again, especially since it had been about a year since I attended one of these tweet ups.

USC Alumni Club of Long Beach’s Baywatch Brunch at Panama Joe’s

This occurred at the same time as the Tweet Up and was next door, so I decided to visit following the brunch. I did not stay too long, only long enough to say Hi to those I knew. Eventually, a random woman unrelated to the group passed out in the corner near us, and paramedics and a firetruck had to stop in front of the venue. At that point, I made a hasty exit.

Manhattan Beach Beer Fest

This beer fest was my next destination. I have already reviewed this event – please click the above link to view it.

Bixby Knolls Dragster Expo & Car Show and The Factory’s Beer Garden

Immediately after the last beer fest, I hightailed it to this car show and beer fest. You can view my pictures and review by clicking the above link.

Revisiting Tavern On 2

My original plan was to go see Avenue Q, as highlighted in last week’s Upcoming Events post. However, I finished my business at The Factory too late, so I decided to return to Tavern On 2 to cap off my night.

Las Vegas: One-Night Stay

On Sunday morning, I drove out to Las Vegas to stay a night, as I had business to take care of Monday morning there. Las Vegas was going through some funky thunderstorms and cloudiness that day, so that limited my time at the pool at Rio. However, I still had time to lay out by the pool for a bit.

Afterwards, we decided to walk through Chinatown for a bit, just to see how different it is from Southern California.

Next, we went to some Asian Buffet restaurant that was way far away from The Strip. If not for the long line to get in, the buffet itself was only $15 per person, quite a steal.

Needing to go on a walk after that buffet, we drove to Downtown Las Vegas to check out the Fremont Street Experience.

I did not remember the flightlines being there last time I came to Las Vegas, so that was something neat to see. At $20 per ride, I felt that my money was better off at the casino. Speaking of which, after a good half-hour walk, we drove down to The Strip to see the sights before heading back to the hotel to crash for the night.

Monday morning, we took care of our work, and left Vegas around 1pm. Driving back after the state line, I was slightly surprised to see water on both sides of the freeway following the storms of the previous days.

So that is the extent of this weekend. I hope to make next weekend crazier than this one, since the only direction to go from here is up.