Archive for May, 2014

The 12th Annual Taste of Alhambra returns to Downtown Alhambra this Sunday night at the Civic Center Library. Taking place at the same time and place as last year, this food fest contains more than enough food & drinks to satisfy all the attendees. As a 21 & over event, guests can find a handful of ways to get their drinking on, yet admission only includes unlimited drinks while the supplies last. Beyond the main stage where the tribute bands play, guests can receive samples of beer and take the glasses home too. Other than those, guests may not really take anything else away except for marketing material from individual booths.

Looking back at last year, Taste of Alhambra hosted lots of corporate businesses on board, which amounted to about half of the booths present. Any city aiming to throw a taste of their city event should bring on only local businesses, but instead end up inviting plenty of corporate businesses and claiming those as the local flavor. I hardly see how Little Caesar’s represents the local flavor of Alhambra. Historically speaking, Alhambra has not come up in people’s minds as far as trendy restaurants, bars, or pubs go. Alhambra holds many corporate businesses, and then many hole-in-the-wall businesses. In the past few years, a few trendy places opened up, such as 38 Degrees, Boteco, and Grill ‘Em All, bringing new life to a city dwelled by mostly Asian and Hispanic/Latino citizens. Other local businesses in Alhambra and surrounding cities have capitalized on the importance of social media, and use those tools to attract new customers as they revamp their product offerings and make other general improvements. Many local businesses in Alhambra have made an effort to improve the city’s economy by attracting a younger customer base, so why did the organizers of Taste of Alhambra not invite more local businesses over the corporates?

Many attendees still had a great time at last year’s Taste of Alhambra. The tribute bands that played entertained a gathering audience throughout the fest, and the unlimited food & drinks kept everyone happy with their stomachs, though not as much so with some of their livers. This year, I would love to see the Taste of Alhambra feature many more local businesses, and severely tone down the corporate business involvement. If you have a suggestion of a favorite local business to invite, contact them by visiting their website, lined above. Keep in mind that they do not mind inviting local businesses from surrounding areas; for example, they invited Fluff Ice from Monterey Park.

For Best of the Fest, I select the Kalua Pork Taco from Shakas Hawaiian Flavors.

The 12th Annual Taste of Alhambra starts this Sunday, June 1st, at 5pm and runs until 8pm at the civic center in Downtown Alhambra. Admission costs $50 presale or $60 at the door. Guests should park in any of the various parking structures in the area, such as the one on the corner of 1st Street and Main Street. The entrance to the festival lies on 1st Street – once you find the civic center’s library, the entrance awaits around the corner. Keep in mind that since no one under 21 may attend the festival, all guests must show a valid ID to enter. Dress for warm weather, as this event takes place outdoors with limited shade, and the temperature will reach the mid 80’s that day. Remember to stay hydrated too – the combination of warm weather, salty food, and alcohol can quickly dehydrate any attendee.

Which came first: the chicken or the egg? Since the beginning of time, civilization has always asked what came first. While the public can typically attribute tangible items with an origin, everything else requires documentation to pinpoint an origin, unless generally accepted. For example, today’s gourmet food truck trend started in early 2009 with Kogi BBQ, which everyone will say started it all. When you look at expos for comic books, all fans will tell you that the San Diego one started it all. But with the San Diego Comic Con selling out in seconds every year, what else can fans do? Sure they can shell out the cash for super inflated after-market passes, but why not travel up the coast two hours to Long Beach? After all, Long Beach plays home to the semiannual Long Beach Comic Expo, which costs less and never sells out.

The 2014 Long Beach Comic Expo returns to the Long Beach Convention Center this weekend, now serving both Saturday and Sunday. Returning to Hall C and the foyer on the southwest side, hundreds of local comic book writers and artists will travel here to exhibit their merchandise, art, books, toys, and more. Eager fans can gain access to the entire show floor for the low price of $15 per person for Saturday, or $10 on Sunday, with children 10 and under entering free with a paid adult admission. In addition to the expo on the show floor, various workshops and seminars will occur in the promenade meeting rooms for those who register ahead of time. Diehard fans will recognize the various celebrities sitting in for meet & greet and autograph sessions.

Even to those not interested in comics, everyone should attend a comic expo/con just to see everyone dressing up in costume. At any expo involving comics, video games, anime, manga, and more, any attendee cannot avoid seeing another guest participating in the inevitable cosplay for the duration of the event. Cosplay has turned into a staple for any sort of expo in this industry, and the fans proudly don their best gear for this expo. Watch in amazement the best of the best of last year’s Long Beach Comic Expo.

As shown above, I reused my Dilbert costume that I had used since 2009. I had used this costume enough times, and decided to retire the costume for good. I currently do not have any plans to create anymore costumes, but if an opportunity swings my way, I shall rethink my stance.

Earlier I had mentioned that this expo occurs semiannually. The Fall expo coincides with Halloween, where this expo operates as the Long Beach Comic & Horror Con. The Fall event will take place at the end of September, much earlier than the first or second weekend of November that this expo occurred on in the previous years. The Fall event generally takes place in Hall B, a larger space than the Expo, and also includes the horror theme, such as zombies and monsters. Until then, keep an eye out for other similar expos, such as Anime Expo in early July or Anime California in August. You have plenty of time to work up that unique and amazing DIY costume that everyone will want to take a picture of.

The Long Beach edition of the Spring 2014 Patchwork Indie Arts & Crafts Festival wrapped up this past Sunday at Marine Stadium. This semi-annual arts & crafts fair consists of a series of Sunday fests at four different locations: Long Beach, Oakland, Phoenix, and Santa Ana. Patchwork Fest emphasizes supporting the local community, and does so by not allowing anything corporate within the boundaries. To envision Patchwork Fest, imagine an arts & crafts fair, but catered to a modern trendy crowd that features local independent designers. Many locals set up their booths here, selling their wares, merchandise, apparel, accessories, foods, desserts, music, and so on. Twice a year, thousands of visitors descend upon Patchwork Fest to discover and revisit the hundreds of vendors present. Some vendors return each time, such as Bad Pickle Tees or Pop Candy. Many vendors make an appearance for the first time, such as Brown Box Bakery or Teddy Bear Republic. No matter who shows up, all visitors will definitely find something that will please their interests.

The Patchwork Fest series happens twice a year: in Spring and Fall. With each series, it runs weekend after weekend at different locations. The next Patchwork Fest will occur in Santa Ana on Father’s Day in a few weeks. In addition to new foods to try, the lineup of vendors changes, so you may find some great new gifts for your friends & family. For a free fest, what have you got to lose?

Bottle Share @ The Rookery
7:00 pm – 10:00 pm, May 28
The Rookery, Pomona
http://www.facebook.com/events/617375358358545/

Share your favorite craft beer with other craft beer enthusiasts at this bottle share this Wednesday night in Downtown Pomona. Bring in a 750ml bottle of craft beer and order at least $10 of food in order to participate. Guests can find plenty of free parking in the area, and can avoid paying for parking entirely.

Beer Punks Show in Huntington Beach
8:30 pm – 12:30 am, May 29
Fitzgerald’s Irish Pub, Huntington Beach
http://www.facebook.com/events/784414561592648/

Catch local bands Lowbrow, Eken is Dead, and The Final Upset performing this Thursday night in Huntington Beach for just $5. No one under 21 may attend.

Brea SummerFest 2014
5:00 pm – 11:00 pm, May 30
12:00 pm – 11:00 pm, May 31
12:00 pm – 10:00 pm, June 1
St. Angela Merici School, Brea
http://www.summerfestbrea.org/

Brea brings all of the elements of a state fair into one weekend with their annual SummerFest. Find food, rides, live entertainment, games, vendors, and more at this weekend-long fair for the entire family. Guests may enter and park for free – please adhere all signs for parking and entering the fest.

Bacon & Barrels – San Diego
5:30 pm – 8:30 pm, May 30, Bassmnt, San Diego
12:00 pm – 5:00 pm, May 31, Embarcadero Marina Park South, San Diego
http://www.baconandbarrels.com/the-event-1/

Pig out on bacon eats and barrel sips this weekend in Downtown San Diego. On Friday evening, participate in a VIP 4-course dinner complete with beer and wine pairings at Bassmnt in Downtown San Diego for $100. On Saturday, head down to the waterside park in Downtown San Diego for a day in the sun with bacon and booze. General admission costs $75 and starts at 1pm, while early admission costs $95 and starts at 12pm. Admission includes access to all food and drink stations until last call at about 4:45. No one under 21 may attend any of these events.

Tartar Control, Not A Chance, Argyle Street, Tanzler @ The Doll Hut
8:00 pm – 1:00 am, May 30
The World Famous Doll Hut, Anaheim
http://www.facebook.com/events/1416464591956677/

Get your weekly fill of punk rock at this show featuring some great local bands this Friday night at the Doll Hut. The cover for this show costs only $5. No one under 21 may enter.

D.I. @ The Garage in Ventura
8:00 pm – 2:00 am, May 30
The Garage, Ventura
http://www.badsampresents.com/event/171692

Orange County punk pioneers D.I. headline a small show in Ventura this Friday night. Tickets to this show cost $10 presale or $12 at the door. No one under 21 may enter.

Punk Rock Karaoke
9:00 pm – 1:30 am, May 30
Alex’s Bar, Long Beach
http://www.alexsbar.com/event/169880

Think you have what it takes to front a punk rock band? Prove it this Friday night at Alex’s Bar, where you get to sing your favorite punk rock song backed by an all-star band! In addition, catch music from other great local bands as well between sets. Tickets to this show cost $8 presale or $10 at the door. No one under 21 may enter.

13th Annual Walk for the Animals
9:00 am – 3:00 pm, May 31
Marina Vista Park, Long Beach
http://www.friendsoflongbeachanimals.org/walk.htm

Go on a walk with pets to raise money for charity this Saturday in Long Beach. At the park, find vendors, games, food, raffle prizes, and more.

2014 Long Beach Comic Expo
10:00 am – 6:00 pm, May 31
10:00 am – 5:00 pm, June 1
Long Beach Convention Center, Downtown Long Beach
http://longbeachcomicexpo.com/

Comic fans rejoice! The Long Beach Comic Expo returns for its annual installment at the Long Beach Convention Center this Saturday. For just $15 general admission, guests receive all-day entry to the all-ages expo, where they can find plenty of merchandise, vendors, workshops, seminars, comic book signings/autographs, and more. Expect hundreds of cosplayers, as both exhibitors and attendees will dress up as their favorite fictional character. The convention center will sell food to hungry guests, but you can also check out the other great restaurants nearby if you get hungry, plus the bike fest going on across the street. Convention Center parking costs $10, so I suggest taking carpooling, taking public transportation, or parking in the neighborhoods east of Alamitos Ave and walking to the Convention Center.

6th Annual Santee Street Fair & Craft Beer Festival
10:00 am – 7:00 pm, May 31
10:00 am – 6:00 pm, June 1
Riverview Pkwy & Town Center Pkwy, Santee
http://santeestreetfair.com/

Tens of thousands of visitors will roam the streets of Santee this weekend during their annual street fair, now combined with a craft beer garden. Free for all-ages to attend, the fair will contain live music, entertainment, food, drinks, games, arts & crafts, rides, vendors, and so much more. Pricing for the beer festival varies depending on how many tasters a person wants, ranging from $10 to $30.

Anaheim Packing District’s Grand Opening + Farmers Park Market Opening
12:00 pm – 10:00 pm, May 31
10:00 am – 2:00 pm, June 1
Anaheim Packing House, Anaheim
http://anaheimpackingdistrict.com/packing-house

On Saturday, this free and all-ages event will have live music, a ribbon cutting ceremony, landmark tours, games, arts & crafts, line dancing lessons, hayrides, giveaways, and more. The building now contains a world-class food hall complete with a butcher, fresh juicery, baker, tea house, and others. On Sunday, the new Farmers Market will debut right here at the Packing House, so stop on by and check out the best in local produce, as well as local music.

Punk Rock Luau #1
2:00 pm – 8:00 pm, May 31
The World Famous Doll Hut, Anaheim
http://www.facebook.com/events/613802385355570/

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

9th Annual Los Angeles Wine Fest
2:00 pm – 6:00 pm, May 31
12:00 pm – 5:00 pm, June 1
Raleigh Studios, Hollywood
http://www.lawinefest.com/

Want to sample up to over 500 wines, brews, and spirits from around the world? Head to LA Wine Fest this weekend, where you will find plenty of good drinks, cooking demos, live entertainment, seminars, food trucks, boutiques, merchandise, and more. Ticket prices vary depending on how you choose to attend, with a general admission ticket starting at $70. This fest takes place outdoors with limited shade, so prepare for a day in the sun. Bring cash for the parking lot across the street, unless you get lucky and find street parking.

Ska Punk Night @ The Glass House
5:00 pm – 12:00 am, May 31
The Glass House, Pomona
http://www.theglasshouse.us/event/544955-b-sharps-pomona/

Get your skanking on this Saturday night at the Glass House in Pomona. Tickets to this all-ages show cost just $10. Guests can find plenty of free parking in the area.

D.I. @ Granada Theater Ontario
6:00 pm – 12:00 am, May 31
Granada Theater, Ontario
http://www.facebook.com/events/1386525728292213/

Orange County punk pioneers D.I. headline a small show in Ontario this Saturday night. The cover for this all-ages show costs $10.

Decry @ The Tower Bar
9:00 pm – 2:00 am, May 31
The Tower Bar, San Diego
http://www.facebook.com/events/1420800291510549/

Catch some good local punk rock in the Mid City this Saturday night. The cover for this show costs only $6.

17th Annual SoRo Community Festival
11:00 am – 4:00 pm, June 1
Robertson & Cattaraugus, Los Angeles
http://www.soronc.org/events/sorofest2014

This FREE and all-ages street fair takes place in West LA between Culver City and Beverly Hills. Attendees will find live music, a kids’ zone including rock-climbing, arts & crafts, food trucks, and more. Guests can park for free in the neighborhoods surrounding the fest.

30th Annual Tustin Street Fair & Chili Cook-Off
11:00 am – 5:30 pm, June 1
Old Town Tustin
http://www.tustinchilicookoff.com/

Once again taking over the streets of Old Town Tustin, this FREE street fair contains lots of activities to keep the entire family busy and full the entire day. Attendees will find arts & crafts, live entertainment, merchandise vendors, kids’ area, the multitude of chili teams, and much more. This event gets highly crowded each year, and w3hile it requires no admission to enter, guests will end up parking on city streets a few blocks away. To sample chili, guests must purchase tickets for $2 each, and redeem these tickets at the chili teams for samples.

9th Annual Lummis Day Festival
11:00 am – 7:00 pm, June 1
Heritage Square Museum, Northeast Los Angeles
http://www.lummisday.org/

Catch music, dance, poetry, art, and more at this free multicultural festival this Sunday afternoon in Northeast LA. Guests may park for free at the venue.

Taste of the Nation – Los Angeles
12:30 pm – 4:00 pm, June 1
Media Park, Culver City
http://ce.strength.org/losangeles

Sample culinary creations from over 30 of Los Angeles’ greatest chefs and restaurants, while quenching your thirst from various wineries, breweries, and other non-alcoholic drink producers. General admission costs $110, while VIP costs $160, which the website does not indicate what benefits the VIP admission comes with. Attendees can find nearby parking structures designated for this event, though the website does not specify any parking fee.

The Gears @ Alex’s Bar
3:00 pm – 8:00 pm, June 1
Alex’s Bar, Long Beach
http://www.alexsbar.com/event/171788

Local punk bands The Gears, Dime Runner, and more will play a daytime show this Sunday at Alex’s Bar in Long Beach. Tickets to this show cost just $5. No one under 21 may attend.

Taste of the Eastside 2014
2:30 pm – 8:00 pm, June 1
Los Angeles River Center & Gardens
http://tasteoftheeastside.com/

Sample the best of East LA’s restaurants this Sunday evening. At this all-ages tasting, guests can receive unlimited food samples from all of the 20+ participating vendors. General admission costs $40 and starts at 4pm, while VIP admission costs $70, starts at 2:30pm, and includes a VIP gift, front-row seating for the cooking demos, preferred parking, and three bar tastes.

12th Annual Taste of Alhambra
5:00 pm – 8:00 pm, June 1
2nd & Main, Downtown Alhambra
http://www.downtownalhambra.com/component/option,com_eventlist/Itemid,49/func,details/did,46/

Savor the local flavor of Alhambra at this annual all-you-can-eat food fest on the streets of Downtown Alhambra this Sunday evening. For $50 presale and $60 at the gate, guests 21 and over will receive unlimited food samples from various Alhambra restaurants and unlimited drinks from local establishments. Guests may park for free in nearby parking structures.

Reverend Horton Heat @ Stingers Bar
6:00 pm – 1:00 am, June 1
Stingers Bar, San Bernardino
http://www.ticketweb.com/t3/sale/SaleEventDetail?dispatch=loadSelectionData&eventId=4077534

Catch the Reverend Horton Heat, The Dwarves, Piñata Protest, and more this Sunday night in San Bernardino. Tickets to this show cost $20. No one under 18 may attend.

JFA performing Beach Blanket Bongout at The Observatory in Santa Ana, CA. Filmed on February 22, 2013.

JFA performing Johnny D at The Observatory in Santa Ana, CA. Filmed on February 22, 2013.

Although I had known about the 13th Frame Lounge since over a year ago, I had never actually gone to the venue until this past weekend, when Whitekaps headlined a small show there. The venue makes a huge difference in the quality of the audio, and acoustically, small bars such as this one rarely have great sound quality. Larger venues designed for big music shows have better sound quality, so when I went to the 13th Frame Lounge for the first time, the setup of the room lent very poorly to the sounds of the bands. I say this because I have heard Whitekaps in a larger venue before, and they sounded much better there than in small venues. As such, I cannot accurately review the music for this show due to the loss of audio quality in a small venue. Despite allowing all ages to attend, I may have only seen no more than two others under 21 in attendance. Everyone present appeared to know each other, so this show felt like a hangout for the friends and families of the bands. For a punk rock show, seeing everyone act so friendly with each other certainly felt refreshing, as opposed to big shows with circle pits and aggression.

Starting off the night, TRHINOCEROS opened with their set. Their mellow rock reminds me of the Black Keys.

Up next, Bear Fight played their set. They look so young, and it makes me wonder if they can play at any other venue that does not allow minors.

Chuy Poluka & the Barroom Junkies played third in the night. Not surprisingly, most of their songs involve drinking. Maybe they had a song or two about drugs.

Locally famous hardcore punk band Sorry State came up next. For as long as I have heard of them, I had never seen them live in the past. I cannot wait to see these guys perform in a larger venue.

Aptly abbreviated as V.D., Visual Discrimination served as the night’s sub-headliner. They appear to perform only a few times per month, based on their Facebook history. Their set went over by about ten minutes since the sound guy stepped out of the room for a while. I doubt anyone cared about that though.

Closing out the night, we have the Whitekaps. Whitekaps always entertains at their show, and come off as sort of a comedy/punk band. Due to the small nature of this show, a lot more heckling occurred, much to the humor of the band, but in both directions. For example, when two women left for the restroom, vocalist KC stopped the music to ask why they left in the middle of the song. At the end, when they tried to hold a sing-along with two sides of the room on mics, it almost turned into an open-mic session. Luckily things got under control when the band started playing music.

Check out all of these bands on Facebook, and check out their future shows. Always support your local music scene, because local musicians play not just for money, but for the love of the music.