Archive for January, 2014

The Fit Expo Los Angeles returned for its 11th year running this past weekend at the Los Angeles Convention Center. Taking place over the course of two days in the South Hall, this massive expo showcases all forms of fitness and athletics with live competitions, demos, workshops, seminars, and more. Visitors could view various forms of fitness and non-arena sports, such as CrossFit, weightlifting, Zumba, Parkour, wrestling, (mixed) martial arts, and more. The massive expo hall contained enough vendors to fill multiple swap meets, but once visitors got past all the vendors, they found the various demo areas strewn about the expo hall. For example, on the far east side of the hall (left from entrance), an actual CrossFit competition took place:

Elsewhere near the entrance, a Zumba fitness demo went underway, allowing visitors to actually take part in this demo.

Near the back, visitors could spectate a Brazilian jiu-jitsu competition.

The MMA Pavilion featured a variety of demos, such as the “adult jungle gym” shown at the top of this post, as well as some bars pictured below.

On the west end of the hall (right from the entrance), a power-lifting competition took place.

The multitude of vendors varied in their goods or services offered. Some offered some sort of service, such as training or consulting. Most others offered merchandise, which included apparel, accessories, equipment, supplements, and more.

Unbeknownst to me, this expo also exhibited a handful of food & beverage vendors. None of these vendors offered stereotypical health foods – they focus on what matters, such as all-natural, non-GMO, gluten-free, low-carb, and full of nutrients, especially protein. In today’s culture, people slowly learn more and more about their food, and an expo like this would smoothly educate visitors about the right food to eat to stay fit.

The Fit Expo opens their doors to all demographics of all ages, not just those in the industry or those who work out frequently. Fit people love this expo because they can keep up with latest trends and news in the fitness industry. Casual visitors like this expo because they can learn the right ways to get fit, as well as feel motivated after seeing all the fit people around. The Fit Expo occurs semiannually in California – Los Angeles in January, and San José in July. When an expo like this comes your way, consider attending to see what it truly takes to stay fit, and gain first-hand experience from people who know how to stay fit.

Any punk rock fan living in Southern California would immediately recognize the significance of all the bands that played at Skate Punk Fest 2014. This all-ages concert took place at the Glass House in Downtown Pomona last Saturday night, and cost a paltry $15 to enter. Featuring a lineup of some of Southern California’s most popular independent (not on a major record label) punk rock bands, this show brought out fans from all over to rock out to the best Southern California has to offer, with some fans traveling from Europe as well. Many of the bands paid homage to the late Showcase Theatre, a nearby venue infamous for some of the craziest punk rock shows of its time. The enthusiasm in the crowd carried strong all night, even transferring well between sets, as a large portion of the pit continued their pit to house music between sets. This show also proved that if a venue does not staff enough security, the punks will play.

Kicking off the night, Destruction Made Simple arrived with a new 2014 set. A lot has changed since the last time I saw these guys, as they now played with only four band members, with Andy and Adrian switching off between guitar and bass throughout their set. Their set also changed with the songs they played, as they now mainly focused on new content from their latest release. During their set, vocalist Raul mentioned that by the end of the night, the circle pit would stretch from wall to wall within the venue, a vision that would come into fruition later on in the night. Normally a fan favorite, Destruction Made Simple strangely did not perform 21 Year Plan, one of their most recognizable songs. Their latest album does deviate away from their original hardcore punk sound, carrying some elements of ska and metal – a sign of the progression of Destruction Made Simple. What direction will the band head in from here? They play again next week, so perhaps you can obtain a (free) CD from them at that show!

The night progressed forward when Whitekaps took to the stage. I like to attribute Whitekaps as an acquired taste, as you have to attend some of their shows to get to know them. Upon first seeing them live, one may feel put off by their lewd & crude demeanor. Once you listen to their lyrics, everybody can relate to them. In a nutshell, Whitekaps would like everyone to respect the women in their life. Songs like American Dream and Girl In The Pit highlight respecting women and valuing their presence in men’s lives, not necessarily empowering them like Beyoncé does with her songs. In the end, everyone can all agree – a Whitekaps performance will lead to a fun time indeed.

With the next band, we wondered why they would play so early in the night. Narcoleptic Youth carries a huge following and often headlines their own shows, so to see them perform this early feels unknown. This meant little to the band, as they started their set strong without relinquishing any setbacks. They teased us during their sound check by covering We Are 138 by The Misfits, a move that turned Destruction Made Simple’s vocalist Raul’s declaration into a reality – a wall-to-wall circle pit. Once that got going, Narcoleptic Youth jumped right into their set with Is This Punk, a classic that they usually start with. Narcoleptic Youth wasted little time with their set, quickly transitioning from song to song with hits like McAnarchy, Classified, and Mini Van Soccer Mom, closing out their set as they always do with Bitch Needs A Muzzle. Of course the crowd wanted more by the end of the set, by the band adhered well to the schedule, leaving the crowd hungry for more as the crowd continued the circle pit even into the setup time for the next band.

So much mayhem had already transpired in the pit, and the night had only reached the halfway point! Naked Aggression would test the energy of the pit, and inject some life back into anyone who stepped out. If you ever wanted to see an angry band, look no further than Naked Aggression. With songs like Why Do They Fuck Up My World, Lies, and Bitter Youth, teenage angst wafted all over the venue. Everything came into place when they played their When Life Gives Me Shit I Fuck Shit Up song (whose title slips out of my mind at the moment), and some guys in the crowd attempted to jump onto the stage. At least for now, the few security staff present could wrangle the rowdy punks, but the staff would greatly underestimate the crowd during the next band.

At last, the big moment of the night arrived when JFA appeared on stage. In fact, albeit JFA did not play last in the night, the majority of the audience attended primarily to see JFA. They started with We Know You Suck, and from there, chaos ensued as the venue’s security could not maintain the crowd any longer. One by one, fans jumped over the railing, onto the stage, then jumped back into the crowd, kicking any unaware fans in the front, including me. Other songs in their set included Lowrider, Johnny D, Skateboard Anarchy, Walk Don’t Run, and Beach Blanket Bongout. After about half an hour of getting pressed into the front railing and getting kicked by crowd surfers, I stepped out to the side, so I missed most of the remaining action. I remained put for the next band, but pondered how the rest of the crowd still had anything in them.

After a slow setup, the Angry Samoans finally started their set to close the night. Playing the exact same set that they play at all of their shows, the Angry Samoans did not pull off any tricks or anything different – they just performed like they know how to. Prior to their set, some of the audience members mentioned having a copy of their set list, indicating that they have the set list saved and that they print it for every show they perform at. The long set included fan favorites like Right Side Of My Mind, Steak Knife, and Lights Out, which many fans yelled out during the set. I always enjoy seeing the Angry Samoans, but sometimes a little variety would go a long way.

Remember to LIKE all of the bands’ individual Facebook pages to stay updated on the news of the bands and where they will perform next. You do not get an epic lineup like this often, so check back weekly for news on upcoming shows! In the meantime, check out this awesome preview video for Skate Punk Fest 2014 released a few weeks prior:

This Saturday, the 2014 Bock Fest arrives at The Olympic Collection in West Los Angeles. A unique beer fest of its kind, this winter fest celebrates the tasty brews of wintertime in a premiere setting. Primarily brewed in cold seasons, bocks originate in Germany, where they love to brew beer full of flavor and alcohol while minimizing the alcoholic taste. These strong lagers appear darker than most beers, ranging from pale yellow like a pilsner to dark brown like a brown ale. Although this fest focuses on bocks and other German beers, many other microbrews will serve their amazing craft beers as well, such as Lagunitas, Fireman’s Brew, Weihenstephan, Affligem, and more. Local food businesses, such as Pink’s Hot Dogs, will serve food to those wanting to eat between or during beers.

For just $29 admission, attendees receive three hours of UNLIMITED beer pours starting at 1pm, plus a souvenir glass to take home. Upgrading to the $85 VIP admission allows entry an hour earlier, plus access to the return of Sugar Lounge for more entertainment and drinks. Did I mention that Sugar Lounge returns as well?

Perhaps you seek some additional forms of entertainment to enjoy with your beer. Bock Fest provides that in the form of Sugar Lounge, an adult playground where your inner child meets the grown you. VIP attendees receive access to this seductive lounge complete with more beer, wine, spirits, ice luge, treats, sexy ladies, and more. Who could resist a burlesque show from the Dirty Little Secrets? Your heart will melt as you keep your eyes on the sultry moves of these ladies with no urge to turn away.

Itching to attend Bock Fest? Tickets sell out fast every year. If you want to drink productively while saving some money, Bock Fest needs volunteers. Volunteers should work at least three hours between 12pm-6pm, either to help set up, work the fest, or clean up. Volunteer duties include:

  • Assist booths with bottles: opening bottles, putting empty bottles back in boxes, helping pour beers, etc
  • Removing boxes of bottles: taking boxes of bottles to the back area (I will show where they go), bringing empty boxes back to booths
  • Transporting ice: bringing bags of ice to booths, emptying water buckets
  • Assist servers with pouring drinks: I recommend bar experience for this
  • Guest service: answering questions guests may have
  • Fulfillment: generally assisting staff with their needs

In exchange for working, volunteers enter the fest for free, and receive one meal & unlimited drinks during breaks or downtime. The facility runs the parking lot, so unfortunately you still would have to pay for parking. Located off the 405 and 10 freeways, free street parking rarely exists here. If you would like to volunteer or have any questions, please leave your contact info in a comment below, or tweet me (fastest way to reach me) at @OnePunkArmy.

Many businesses tend to open during the first quarter of the year, meaning that many businesses also throw anniversary celebrations or specials around this time. This past weekend, Blackmarket Bakery celebrated their first anniversary at their current home in The Camp in Costa Mesa. Having moved from their old location in an industrial building across the 405 freeway from John Wayne Airport, Blackmarket Bakery has substantially grown as a business and in popularity ever since moving to The Camp. Now in an easily-accessible area, customers visit Blackmarket Bakery and find delicious baked goods using a short list of all-natural ingredients without anything fancy. You will not find fancy words or complex ingredients here – you will only find ingredients that we all grew up to love, such as flour, eggs, milk, sugar, and more.

For this first anniversary celebration, Blackmarket Bakery rolled out a handful of specials. As customers walked in, High Tide Derby greeted and passed out various samples or both old and new products.

Once inside, customers could purchase t-shirts on sale for $10. For all other breads, pastries, and other baked goods, customers would receive 15% off.

As a special treat for attending customers, Blackmarket Bakery hosted a cakewalk. This event combines musical chairs with a lottery, where participants would walk a path with numbered papers on the ground to the music. When the music stops, each participant occupies a number, and awaits a Blackmarket Bakery staff to call out a number they randomly drew prior to the walk. The participant occupying the corresponding drawn number then receives a free small cake from the bakery.

Although appearing minor, this celebration follows the model that Blackmarket Bakery adheres by – do a lot with a little. They follow simple ingredient lists with their products, using just all-natural ingredients without the need to continually add more ingredients. As a result, you get tasty items with a familiar taste presented in a contemporary fashion. This event did not require bells and whistles to proclaim their excitement over their anniversary, and all the attendees appreciated the simple things put forth on this day. Experience for yourself how delicious that simple can taste by visiting Blackmarket Bakery soon, and do not forget a loyalty card! Buy 12 items, and receive one free!

Los Angeles Restaurant Week
January 20-31
Various locations

This dining event showcases the best in food Los Angeles has to offer. All participating restaurants will feature prix-fixe menus for locals and visitors alike. Lunches range from $15-25, while dinners range from $25-45.

2014 OC Music Awards Showcase Series Night 4
7:30 pm – 11:30 pm, January 28
Slide Bar, Fullerton

This free and all-ages show will feature some of the nominated musicians for the OC Music Awards. Each night features five different local artists performing and competing for the title of Best Live Band awarded at the OC Music Awards in March. This series of free shows occurs every Tuesday night all the way through the finals on February 25.

Avery Brewing – Tap Takeover @ The Factory
5:00 pm – 10:00 pm, January 29
The Factory, Bixby Knolls, Long Beach

Come try some Maharaja or any other of Avery’s beers as they take over the taps at The Factory this Wednesday night.

Chili-Infused Beer Dinner
6:30 pm – 10:30 pm, January 29
The Grill at Torrey Pines, San Diego

Five San Diego breweries will pair their beers with various chili dishes from The Grill at Torrey Pines this Wednesday night. The $80 admission includes food, beer pairings, valet parking, tax, and gratuity. No one under 21 may attend.

Dirty Little Secrets Rock Burlesque – Last Thursdays @ One Eyed Gypsy
9:00 pm – 11:30 pm, January 30
One Eyed Gypsy, Downtown Los Angeles

Get your fill of burlesque every last Thursday of the month at One Eyed Gypsy in Downtown Los Angeles, for free! Guests can park on the street for free after 8pm. No one under 21 may enter.

World’s Worst Ska Competition
8:00 pm – 1:00 am January 31
House of Blues, Anaheim

Come see some local and not local ska bands as they perform this ska-tastic show this Friday night. Tickets to this all-ages show cost $10 presale and $12.50 at the door. Contact one of the bands, such as The Maxies, and they may give you a discount, or even give you tickets for free!

Guttermouth & Authority Zero @ The Observatory
8:00 pm – 1:00 am, January 31
The Observatory, Santa Ana

Two heavy-hitters in punk rock play a show this Friday night, as Guttermouth and Authority Zero co-headline this value of an all-ages show. At $5 per ticket, this show will likely sell out by Friday night, so go get your tickets fast!

Southern California Pet Expo
10:00 am – 6:00 pm, February 1
Long Beach Convention Center, Long Beach

This FREE all-ages expo for all things pet-related takes place this Saturday at the Long Beach Convention Center. Open to all types of pets (with proof of vaccination), visitors can experience agility demos, prize giveaways, pet adoptions, free grooming, training sessions, and more.

Hangar 24 California Spring Beer Release Celebration
11:00 am – 12:00 am, February 1
Hangar 24 Brewery, Redlands

Hangar 24 will celebrate an early Spring this year with an extra early release of their spring seasonal beer this weekend. Visitors can fill up growlers of this seasonal beer starting this Saturday, and can also enjoy live music starting in the afternoon.

2014 Bock Fest
12:00 pm – 4:00 pm, February 1
The Olympic Collection, West Los Angeles

A unique beer fest of its kind, this winter fest celebrates the tasty brews of wintertime in a premiere setting. Primarily brewed in cold seasons, bocks originate in Germany, where the Germans love to brew beer full of flavor and alcohol while minimizing the alcoholic taste. These strong lagers appear darker than most beers, ranging from pale yellow like a pilsner to dark brown like a brown ale. Although this fest focuses on bocks and other German beers, many other microbrews will serve their amazing craft beers as well, such as Lagunitas, Fireman’s Brew, Weihenstephan, Affligem, and more. Local food businesses, such as Pink’s Hot Dogs, will serve food to those wanting to eat between or during beers. For just $29 admission, attendees receive three hours of UNLIMITED beer pours, plus a souvenir glass to take home. Upgrading to the $85 VIP admission allows entry an hour earlier, plus access to the return of Sugar Lounge for more entertainment and drinks.

115th Golden Dragon Parade & Chinese New Year Festival
12:00 pm – 8:00 pm, February 1
12:00 pm – 5:00 pm, February 2
Chinatown, Downtown Los Angeles

Celebrate the Lunar New Year this weekend in Downtown LA’s historic Chinatown at this free all-ages festival. All weekend, visitors will find arts & crafts, cultural merchandise, food trucks, live entertainment, a beer garden, and more. On Saturday early afternoon, a parade will roll through the area, closing off most streets around Chinatown to through-traffic. Guests can find plenty of free street parking up Spring Street or anywhere eastward.

The Menzingers @ The Constellation Room
8:00 pm – 1:00 am, February 1
The Observatory’s Constellation Room, Santa Ana

The Menzingers currently tour across the country, and that tour stop by Southern California this weekend. Tickets to the all-ages show at The Observatory this Saturday night cost $13.

Guttermouth @ Brick By Brick
8:00 pm – 2:00 am, February 1
Brick By Brick, San Diego

Guttermouth headlines a show in San Diego this Saturday night, complete with other great local bands. Tickets to this show cost $17 presale and $20 at the door. No one under 21 may attend.

Reel Big Fish performing Take On Me at House of Blues in Anaheim, CA. Filmed on January 5, 2013.

The 2014 AVN Adult Entertainment Expo returned to the Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas this past weekend. Now in its 16th year running, this trade show for the adult entertainment industry brings together tens of thousands of people from around the world, including those in the industry and all the fans. Traditionally, only those in the industry could attend the first day or two, designated as trade days. Fans could attend the latter of the days of the expo, with the AVN Awards taking place on Saturday, which required a separate ticket to attend. The entirety of the expo covered three ballrooms. The first room, called The Joint, contained the Fan Fest, which featured a large portion of meet & greets for fans to obtain autographs, photos, and other memorabilia. This room also featured the stage for occasional interviews and other performances, such as an aerialist act. The second room, called The Muse Hall, contained the general expo, where most of the companies and exhibitors set up. The third room, called The Artist Hall, contained the Novelty Expo, open only to industry attendees.

Anyways, plenty of information exists on the official website and countless other third-party sites. Although I did not take as many photos as I had hoped to take, I still took my fair share. I had arrived late on Friday, so I missed the expo, but I still made it on time to a meet & greet with Violet and Jenn (not pictured). Lucy also hung out for a while for these photos:

Starting from The Joint, this hall contained the most amount of people, making for slow navigation of the narrow walkways.

Many of the stars made an appearance for fans to meet. Although not as many showed up as on Friday, this room remained busy the entire time.

At one point, an aerialist act started in the middle of the room.

Moving on to The Muse Hall, fans could find some of the stars here as well. As the room that contained exhibitors, plenty of other action occurred here as opposed to The Joint. Nothing explicit ever occurred, but some of the action definitely turned heads without thought.

The friskiest action occurred at the MyFreeCams section. These girls let everything loose and did not adhere to any professional standards. If any of the fans wanted to see action up close, they would find themselves here at the MyFreeCams section.

And of course, I could not help but take a few photos for myself.

No one can predict the future of the industry. While the Adult Entertainment Expo will not leave Las Vegas any time soon, other similar expos may not face the same outcome. While Exxxotica has found its place away from the west coast, Adultcon appears to struggle on the west coast. The industry has seen a slow decline in the greater Los Angeles area over the past few years, and the passing of Measure B has only steepened that decline. The advent of new technology may also shift the face of the industry in an entirely new direction, much like how social media does for anybody and anything. What can we expect to see occur in the adult entertainment industry this year? With this much volatility, no one can truly predict an outcome.

As a wise man once said, “In volatile market, only stable investment is porn!”