Archive for October, 2012

The 2012 Long Beach Comic & Horror Con returns this weekend to the Long Beach Convention Center. This semi-annual expo of comics, video games, anime, manga, and more features everything fans love about the respective genre, and this weekend’s expo ties in with Halloween to create a Comic & Horror Con. In addition to the typical cosplayers, expect to see more gore throughout the expo. Attendees get to experience interacting with other fans, merchandise, art exhibits, artist autographs, and so much more. Tickets cost $25 to attend Saturday, and $20 to attend Sunday. The convention center’s parking usually costs $10 for all-day parking – I suggest scanning the area for cheaper parking, taking public transportation, or parking in the neighborhoods east of Alamitos Ave and walking to the expo.

Planning to attend in costume? Take part in a Comic Con group photo on Saturday morning, complimentary with paid admission! Costumed attendees should meet at the top of the main stairs to the convention center at 8:30am to check in and register, and the photographing takes place between 8:45am and 9:15am. Participants will even obtain recognition during the expo’s opening ceremony! I will definitely try to make it to this group photo, so I hope to see you there.

The 12th Annual Haute Dog Howl’oween Parade marched down Belmont Shore this past Sunday afternoon. Over 500 costumed dogs and people joined in the parade as they marched down Belmont Shore, strutting their outfits, decorations, designs, and structures. Prior to the parade, the local park held a pet fair containing pet adoptions and numerous vendors selling pet food, toys, accessories, apparel, and more.

I also spotted these St. Bernards before the parade:

The parade lasted over an hour, with multiple lulls in between. I did not expect the parade to last that long, but the diversity of participants and costumes kept me interested the entire time. If this parade can catch the attention of the Kevin & Bean Show, no one should miss this free parade every year.

October 31

Happy Candy Day! Have fun, and stay safe on this night.

Trick or Treat on 2nd Street
4:00 pm – 6:00 pm, October 31
2nd Street, Belmont Shore, Long Beach

Trick or Treat with the family in Belmont Shore for free! Local businesses will participate by handing out samples and candy during the evening.

First Fridays
5:00 pm – 10:00 pm, November 2
Various locations
Long Beach:

This monthly artwalk occurs 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. Venice and Long Beach have the two largest gatherings of all First Fridays. Other locations include Westchester, Fullerton, and City of Industry. Most First Fridays locations cost nothing to attend, while the local businesses uphold their standard rules (e.g. bars are 21+ only).

2012 Designer Con
9:00 am – 6:00 pm, November 3
Pasadena Convention Center, Pasadena

This one-day event takes place this Saturday in Pasadena. What started as an expo for designer toys and collectables has evolved into including apparel and accessories. Designer Con now features toys, apparel, art, crafts, and more, ranging from fine, traditional, modern, urban, and contemporary. Presale tickets cost $5, tickets at the door cost $7, while arrivals after 3pm cost nothing.

Long Beach Comic & Horror Con
10:00 am, November 3-4
Long Beach Convention Center, Long Beach

Come to the Long Beach Comic Con this weekend at the Long Beach Convention Center. Fans of comic books, pop culture, cartoons, media, anime/manga, and more will find lots to do, see, and buy at this expo. Taking place the weekend after Halloween, expect to see tie-ins with Halloween, as this expo will feature a Horror theme. Saturday costs $25, while Sunday costs $20. Downtown Long Beach contains very few free parking, so either park in the neighborhood east of Alamitos Ave, or take public transportation from elsewhere.

Los Angeles Derby Dolls – Championship Battle
6:00 pm – 10:30 pm, November 3
The Doll Factory, Los Angeles

Watch some good old fashioned roller derby, as the Varsity Brawlers take on the Sirens for the 2012 Championship. Doors open at 6pm, and the match begins at 8pm. General admission costs $20 (standing room only), while VIP tickets cost $45 (unreserved bleacher seating). Always arrive early though, as space fills up fast, even if you purchase VIP.

Japanese Food Festival
11:00 am – 3:00 pm, November 4
Doubletree Hotel, Downtown Los Angeles

$60 nets you all-you-can-eat admission to this 4-hour Japanese food fest and a goodie bag. Guests will chow down on sushi, ramen, soba noodles, beef bowls, and more, while adults can sip sake, beer, shochu, wine, and more (alcohol not included with admission). During this time, a number of chefs will showcase cooking demos. The parking lot across the street normally costs $5 to park, but sometimes this price changes, so have cash ready.

Patchwork Indie Arts & Crafts Festival
11:00 am – 5:00 pm, November 4
Helms Bakery, Culver City

This semi-annual arts & crafts fair consists of a series of Sunday fests at four different locations: Culver City, Long Beach, Oakland, and Santa Ana. As with any typical arts & crafts fair, Patchwork will feature many traditional forms of art and merchandise, but also mixes in alternative art – thinking outside the box, or Rebel Art. Those who have attended Renegade Craft Fair will view Patchwork as a hybrid of that and a traditional art fair. Featuring clothing, accessories, home goods, jewelry, pet items, and more, this FREE fest caters to a wide & diverse crowd. Food trucks will serve guests during the fest. Always remember to carry cash, since not only do most vendors only accept cash, but you may need to pay for parking should free parking space runs out.

The Voodoo Glow Skulls headlined a show last night at the Juke Joint in Anaheim. The rest of the lineup consisted of Union 13, The Pegs, Sick Sense, and Soto St. Every band brought their own style of music to the show to create a mosh-up of punk rock and ska music, although only Voodoo Glow Skulls truly brought the ska. The majority of the night’s crowd did not arrive until before Union 13, although the crowd slowly thinned out through Union 13 and Voodoo Glow Skulls.

Soto St opened the night with their set. They lacked a bassist for the night, as the bassist recently underwent surgery and needed time off to recover. As a result, they sounded like a typical garage punk band. Perhaps once the band becomes complete again, they can regain their true sound. They made up for it by ending their set with a cover of Astro Zombies.

Up next, Sick Sense played their set. For a complete band, they sounded very similar to Soto St, like a skate punk band. Before their set, something happened to the bass guitar, causing one of the strings to snap off. Luckily, they had a spare, and could start the show as planned.

After Sick Sense came The Pegs. Their music style of fast relentless punk rock starkly contrasts their appearance as a classic rock band.

What I consider one of the headliners, Union 13 brought forth a crowd as they started their set. This East LA band has quickly created a name for themselves for their intense punk rock music. They recently acquired a new CUTE drummer – go to one of their shows and see for yourself.

Finally, Voodoo Glow Skulls closed the night, but without their usual dramatic entrances. Instead, they simply started playing right from the stage. With a setlist nearly identical to a show two months ago, I had an idea of what songs to expect and when. I got kicked in my shin at the beginning, so I ended up sitting for most of their set 😦

I strongly encourage you to check out a Voodoo Glow Skulls show. I have gone to their show at least five times within the past two years, and I cherish every single show I go to.

After a long day of work, nothing wraps up the day than an amazing dinner. No one should judge you on what you eat, so eat whatever you want, because your last meal of the day counts as far as affecting the start of your next day. Fitness folks will tell you to end the day with proteins and veggies to reduce fat build, but sometimes you cannot avoid that, so you must suggest to ingest! When feeling tired after a rough day at work, I prefer some type of comfort food for dinner, something familiar and not too extreme. Knowing how much I love pork, one of my awesome Twitter followers suggested a particular restaurant, and when I asked about the food, she responded “It’s pretty bomb and so are their drinks.” At that moment, I decided to seek out Bow & Truss for my dinner plans that night.

From the creative culinary giants behind The Federal Bar, Bow & Truss marks the next endeavor of the founder’s march to bring together food and entertainment. This dazzling bar & restaurant features a patio as large as the indoor dining area, a full bar in the patio, and a completely open kitchen, where diners can observe the kitchen staff hustling to prepare their delectable delights, such as their Pork Belly Tacos. This $8 plate nets you three hand-crafted tortillas loaded with pulled pork belly, pickled jicama & carrots, and avocado sauce. I love the mini portion of the tortilla compared to the filling – this allows diners to focus on the headlining pork belly rather than the tortilla, albeit the cooks create the tortilla to order. The pickled jicama and carrots nicely balance the savory taste of the pork belly, and the avocado sauce brings it all together. At first glance, the pork belly greatly outnumbers the tortilla, so diners may wonder how to eat and pick this up like a regular taco. I recommend eating these as you would a crostini – do not fold them, but eat them flat. Whereas a regular taco has all the meat on the bottom and veggies on top, eating these like a crostini allows you to savor each ingredient in every bite.

The folks at Fed Bar knew successful food & drinks prior to the moment they opened, and this venture into creating a full-service restaurant seems logical in their quest to expand. If you have eaten at Fed Bar, you must visit Bow & Truss very soon. If you have not visited either locations, then I implore you to visit both locations, walking-distance from each other. Planning to visit both in one night? Start at Bow & Truss, then make your way to Fed Bar for drinks and a possible show night.

To make progress, you have to roll with the best. Having the right connections not only nabs you freebies, but also grants you information and resources that you would not normally have access to. Using my expansive network, I discover the greatest hidden gems everywhere I travel, and I thank each and every person for their suggestions. No other contact leads me to the greatest fests in my journeys than the organizers of the Los Angeles Oktoberfest.

The 2012 Los Angeles Oktoberfest took place at The Vanguard in Hollywood this past weekend. An upscale spin to the common Oktoberfests that Southern Californians regularly attend, any attendee would feel assured that they truly received their money’s worth. With beautiful fräuleins at every turn of the head and 34oz stein pours at every flick of the wrist, why would anyone want do anything else during this illustrious time?

The entrance led to the indoors portion of the fest, which contained the main bar, VIP section, food, main stage, and more beer.

Walking behind the stage led to the outdoors portion of the fest, containing another bar, cigars, various vendors, and more beer.

On Saturday, I had the pleasure of working the inside bar for most of the fest with all the lovely ladies. Pouring beers kept me busy for most of the day, but I still had lots of fun. Closer to the end, I finally could venture around, drink, and mingle with the drunk masses.

But before I left, I had to snap a quick photo with the lovely Caitlin:

Sunday allowed me to explore much more, as I did not receive an assigned station. After helping out wherever I could, I set out to take photos.

Later on, I caught up with one of the photographers taking photos from the second floor, who allowed me to come up to the otherwise closed second floor so I could take photos too:

Once the live band ended their set, the DJ started blasting the typical club music, prompting the ladies to get up on the bar to start dancing:

I would like to thank Morandell Imports for supplying essentially 95% of all beers present at Oktoberfest. Their large selection of German and Austrian imports perfectly serve the crowd of Oktoberfest, since these session beers drink much more smoothly than beers at the other Oktoberfests, and carry a higher alcohol percentage, albeit you can barely taste the strength, which the flavors mask.

Want to drink these beers and visit these ladies again before Oktoberfest next year? You will have another chance as early as January! Keep your eyes glued to my blog for hints about this upcoming beer fest. Until then, drink up, and stay safe~

The 56th Annual Silverado Days returned to William Peak Park in Buena Park this past weekend. Free to park and attend, this fair for all ages represented a local version of a typical state fair. From the carnival rides to the prize games to the petting zoo to the food court, fans of state fairs would love the throwback feel of this classic annual city fair. Unlike previous years, guests could no longer purchase wristbands allowing unlimited rides. This year, all rides operated on a ticket basis, each costing less the more guests purchase at one time – a minor setback in keeping up with the times. The food court layout remained the same – a local organization or charity ran each booth, serving different styles of foods, such as a burger booth, ice cream booth, Mexican food booth, Chinese food booth, and so on. Vendors rotate every year, but the location of the vendors remained in the same location too this year.

For a FREE fair, why waste this opportunity to bring your friends and family here? Silverado Days happens at the same place every year on the third weekend of October. However, that means Halloween Haunt always causes congested traffic around this area, less than a mile away from Knott’s Berry Farm. For this reason, I always encourage visitors to either arrive early, or park in the neighborhood west of the park and walk from there. This year, Halloween Haunt did not stop me from revisiting a childhood tradition. Although I may have outgrown what this fair has to offer, I maintain tradition by visiting at least once every year, and you should too.

Voodoo Glow Skulls, Union 13, The Pegs, Sick Sense, Soto St @ The Juke Joint
8:00 pm – 1:00 am, October 25
The Juke Joint, Anaheim

$10 cover, ages 21 and up only – amazing show for all punk rock fans. Trust me.

Punk Rock Picnic Battle of the Bands
8:00 pm – 1:00 am, October 26-27
Subcult Productions, Irvine – October 26 – October 27

$7 cover charge for all ages – see many punk rock bands play for a spot for next year’s Punk Rock Picnic.

Blackmarket Bakery’s Fall Open House
11:00 am – 2:00 pm, October 27
Blackmarket Bakery, Irvine

This Saturday, Blackmarket Bakery in Irvine will sample numerous new concoctions from their kitchen for food lovers to try. The first 30 guests receive a free gift, so go check it out!

2nd Annual Los Angeles International Tea Festival
11:00 am – 5:00 pm, October 27-28
Japanese American National Museum, Los Angeles

For $20, guests get treated to an educational and entertaining festival showcasing the many worldly wonders of tea. Sample various teas, speak with retailers, listen to seminars, and take home some goodies from this Tea Festival.

Long Beach Zombie Walk Music & Arts Festival
2:00 pm – 11:00 pm, October 27
Marina Green Park, Long Beach

This all-day zombie festival takes place over the spacious greens of Marina Green Park in Long Beach this Saturday. This fest breaks all norms of standard fests and opts to follow “zombie rules” in operations. Unlike last year, the zombie walk now requires a $15 entry fee, but now includes so much more to see and do. The many activities this year include a Shaun of the Dead viewing, beer gardens, costume contests, Thriller flash mob, live music, food trucks, artists, games, the zombie walk, Halloween mazes, and more. Arrive early, as parking will fill quickly – have patience when searching the neighborhoods east of Alamitos Ave.

15th Annual Trick or Treat Festival & Halloween Hearse Show
10:00 am – 4:00 pm, October 28
OC Fair & Event Center, Costa Mesa

This festival combines Halloween with Dia De Los Muertos for an all-inclusive celebration at OC Fair. As a part of the weekly OC Fair Marketplace, admission costs $2, and allows guests access to the entire marketplace plus the festival. Activities include dancers, live music, costume contests, an ice cream eating contest, face painting, and more.

12th Annual Haute Dog Howl’oween Parade
12:30 pm – 4:30 pm, October 28
Livingston Park, Long Beach

Expect to see over 500 costumed dogs at this annual parade through Belmont Shore, as featured on the Kevin & Bean Show last year! Kids and adults may also enter a costume contest to win cash prizes. Presale entries cost $10 per dog, with prices rising on the day of the event.

Welcome to the wonderful world of delicious craft beers dominated by a market filled with fizzy yellow beers. In a day & age where mass-produced watered-down beers sell the most, the typical consumer tends to carry a sour taste about beers, unbeknownst to the wide array of craft beers. For anyone wanting to explore the finer side of beer, they most likely have to travel off the beaten path to locate craft beers. Some craft breweries have succeeded in a market dominated by big corporate businesses; these craft breweries include Sam Adams, Sierra Nevada, and New Belgium. Over the past few years, the popularity of craft beers has risen so much that 2012 has seen the largest percentage in consumers in the preference of craft beers of all time. With this momentum, many craft breweries that laid low since opening now want to get the ball rolling faster. A Californian craft brewery has had the ball rolling the entire time, but never struck anything… until now. For this particular craft brewery, we turn our attentions to Firestone Walker.

Considered a Gen X brewery, Firestone Walker definitely earns their spot as one of America’s leading craft breweries. Even to those that do not regularly consume craft beer, the name Firestone still rings a bell. Their flagship pale ale, the Double Barrel Ale (DBA), currently reigns as their top-selling beer. However, nearly everyone who has tried DBA has no idea about the variations of it, namely the double-strength version of it. Firestone’s Double DBA represents their standard DBA brewed at double strength. What does this mean to the typical drinker? First off, unlike the regular DBA’s 5.0% ABV that drinks as an amber ale, Double DBA clocks in at 12.0% as a barley wine. DBA flies well with many drinkers, so Double DBA simply means twice as much DBA, right? Well to those not accustomed with this style and strength of beer, one does not simply chug this beer down. At 12%, Double DBA contains the same potency as wine, yet tastes very much like liquor. Although labeled as a barrel-aged imperial special bitter, the first sip tastes like sipping on a fine whiskey. Trust me my friend – you want to take your time with this beer. You want to coat your entire palate with the notes of caramel malts and toffee brewed into the beer in oak barrels. If you can help it, allow the beer to sit in your mouth for a few seconds as you savor the rich, sweet, earthy flavors swishing around. If you can only request one drink at a sitting, make it Double DBA – one bottle will leave you feeling good all night.

I obtained my bottle of Double DBA from California Heights Market on Orange & Bixby in Long Beach. You can find it in the cooler there for $15.99 per bottle.

Remember the last time I spoke about the Dirty Little Secrets? If so, I hope you have visited them at any of their various shows all over Southern California since then. If not, at least you have another chance to spectate this Saturday night at the Whisky A Go Go in Hollywood. Come enjoy a raunchy yet tasteful night of sexy dancing, acting, and performing – the perfect way to end a Saturday night. Remember – audience members may end up participating in the show whether they want to or not! Tickets cost $15 at the door, but you can e-mail them for $10 presale tickets.

Not sure what to look forward to? View a (NSFW) small sample of photos from their previous performances: