Archive for June, 2014

I Love Poke Festival
6:00 pm – 9:00 pm, June 30
Hilton Waterfront Beach Resort, Huntington Beach

Sample the best in island cuisine at this tasting event tonight in Huntington Beach. Over 20 different chefs/restaurants will attend to serve food samples to attendees, while ten local chefs will compete in a poke competition, allowing attendees to sample their food too. Tickets to this all-ages tasting event cost $65, which includes unlimited food samples while supplies last. All attendees must take care of their own parking and transportation.

Monday Moonstomp – Free Ska Show
8:00 pm – 12:00 am, June 30
Old Towne Pub, Pasadena

Check out these three ska bands as they perform a FREE show tonight in Pasadena. No one under 21 may enter.

World Cup Viewing Party in Downtown Long Beach
9:00 am – 5:00 pm, July 1
Pine Avenue between 3rd & Broadway, Long Beach

Downtown Long Beach will close Pine Avenue between 3rd & Broadway this Tuesday for an outdoor World Cup viewing event. This free viewing will allow fans to watch both games televised live. Local businesses may also run specials during this time.

Dirty Little Secrets Rock Burlesque – First Wednesdays @ The Copper Door
8:00 pm – 11:00 pm, July 2
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.

2014 Anime Expo
8:00 am – 6:00 pm, July 3-5
8:00 am – 2:00 pm, July 6
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 $70, while one day costs $35. 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.

“Almost” First Fridays Long Beach
5:00 pm – 10:00 pm, July 3
Bixby Knolls, Long Beach

This monthly artwalk normally occurs on the first Friday of every month, but with a national holiday on Friday this month, this event will now take place a day prior.

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 Thursday night. Tickets to this all-ages show cost $17.76.

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

Party at the beach this Independence Day in Long Beach. Admission costs $20 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.

FEAR @ Whisky A Go Go
7:00 pm – 1:00 am, July 4
Whisky A Go Go, West Hollywood

Legendary punk band FEAR will headline an all-ages show at the Whisky A Go Go this Friday night. Tickets to this show cost $25.

Labyrinth of Jareth XVI – Masquerade Ball
8:00 pm – 2:00 am, July 4-5
The Legendary Park Plaza, Los Angeles

Experience a weekend of costumes and magic as you party with the beautiful people of Southern California. Dance and mingle with the Royal Court, and show off your creativity with your most extravagant costume as you lose yourself in the entrancing music and atmosphere of the Labyrinth of Jareth. In layman’s terms, check out this fantasy costume party in LA all weekend, and expect to see a LOT of skin. Admission prices vary, from as low as $49 to as high as $116. Early arrivals will find free street parking near the hotel. Otherwise, guests can park in a parking garage behind the venue, or park at the Biltmore Hotel and take a shuttle from there. All attendees must don a full costume – no half costumes or lazy costumes. Although they have not specified an age limit, I assume no one under 21 can attend.

The Secret Affair – 60’s Night
9:00 pm – 1:00 am, July 4
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.

Beachwood Brewing 3rd Anniversary Celebration
10:00 am – 2:00 am, July 5
Beachwood Brewing, Downtown Long Beach

Celebrate Beachwood Brewing’s 3rd 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.

Super Girls Car Wash
11:00 am – 7:00 pm, July 5
Comic Book Hideout, Fullerton

Cosplay meets fundraising at this femme fatale car wash this Saturday afternoon. Come get your car washed by these costumed ladies, and/or enjoy some BBQ at this comics shop in Fullerton.

2014 Kush Expo
12:00 pm – 9:00 pm, July 5
12:00 pm – 7:00 pm, July 6
Anaheim Convention Center, Anaheim

A medical marijuana expo comes to the Anaheim Convention Center this weekend. This expo does not require a medical card to enter, but no one under 18 may attend. Tickets cost $18 presale (contrary to the photo below) or $25 at the door.

Moon Crisis: A Sailor Moon Tribute Show – Opening Night
6:00 pm – 9:00 pm, July 5
Rothick Art Haus, Anaheim

Celebrate the 2014 reboot of the Sailor Moon franchise with this FREE all-ages art show this Saturday night in Anaheim.

Nekromantix & Guttermouth @ The Observatory
7:00 pm – 1:00 am, July 5
The Observatory, Santa Ana

Psychobilly and punk rock clash this Saturday night at this all-ages show in Orange County. Tickets to this show cost just $10.

8Kalacas – CD Release Show
8:00 pm – 1:00 am, July 5
The Observatory’s Constellation Room, Santa Ana

Get your skanking on at this skacore show this Saturday night in the Constellation Room at The Observatory in Orange County. Tickets to this all-ages show cost $12.

Mayfair – CD Release Show
7:00 pm – 12:00 am, July 6
Chain Reaction, Anaheim

Check out this post-hardcore show this Sunday night at the Chain Reaction. Tickets to this all-ages show cost $10.

As part of human nature, people want to have control. Control equates a sense of security to a person, so when a person has control over a situation, that person feels secure and more confident. For decades, when people go out to eat, they place good faith in those working in the kitchen to deliver the correct food. However, nobody ever truly sees the people preparing the food. How can people reliably eat food that they do not see actually prepared? This lack of control has come to light recently, especially with all the reported tampering of food in fast food joints. Certain businesses that prepare the food in the front so that customers can see the food places the control back in the hands of the customer. Subway already has a handle on that, allowing customers to see everything that goes into their food. But what about other types of food? Historically, people craving pizza order it but never actually see it prepared because they either show up to pick it up when it finishes baking, or the business prepares it all in the back. Until recently, nobody had control over the fate of their pizza pies, other than leaving it to good faith that the place will construct it correctly. Now in this era, we finally see a shift in the way we eat pizza.

Everybody loves pizza, and everybody loves different things on their pizza pie. Ordering a pizza where everyone wants the same toppings poses a real struggle. To circumvent that, some creative minds have started shop where customers get to build their own personal pizzas. Unlike chain pizza places, local entrepreneurs have opened up their own shops that allow customers to build pizzas with a vast array of gourmet toppings available. Each pizza typically has a flat price, ranging from $6 to $9, and allows unlimited topping choices on that pizza. The degree of customization varies between businesses; for example, some places allow the customer to select a crust type, while some places only have standard crust available. Ultimately, the major differences lie in the toppings offered. One place may carry a unique topping, such as balsamic vinaigrette, or another may carry a unique cheese, like goat cheese.

Many of these build-your-own pizza shops have appeared all over the world within the past year. In Southern California, a solid amount exist all around – check out these build-your-own pizza shops in the greater Los Angeles area.

Pizza Studio

With multiple locations across the country (and more to come), Pizza Studio seeks to expand this concept to turn into mainstream pizza. They have a great degree of customization, with different crusts available, including a gluten-free crust. They also carry a greater variety of toppings, including the aforementioned balsamic vinaigrette drizzle. Pizza Studio bakes their pizzas using a conveyor oven. Their custom pizzas cost $8, while their pre-designed pizzas, such as the Island pizza pictured above, cost just $6. Prices may vary based on the location. Pizza Studio also has their own mobile ordering website for customers to place their orders ahead of time.


Although strong in California, Pieology has locations in other states too, and plan to open more by the year’s end. Although they only have one type of crust available (gluten-free available upon request), they make up for it with a massive selection of fresh vegetables for toppings. Their meat also seems to pack a stronger savory flavor, partially due to their use of a brick oven. Pieology also utilizes “After Bakes,” or toppings that they can add after baking the pizza pie.

The Pizza Press

While The Pizza Press may only have one location, they picked a prime spot to position themselves in. Located across the street from Disneyland, this tiny shop (easy to miss) doles out pizza pies with the freshest ingredients available. Customers can build their own pizzas here, but The Pizza Press has a solid menu of toppings combinations that they can create, all named after newspapers such as The Times. The Pizza Press bakes their pizzas with a conveyor oven. The Pizza Press stand out from the rest by having craft beer on tap for those dining in. They do a good job serving up local beer from the likes of Bootlegger’s, Noble Ale, Hangar 24, and Anaheim Brewery, just to name a few.


PizzaRev definitely has expanded the quickest, and currently has the most locations open in the country out of all the places mentioned in this post. Just like Pieology, they only have a standard crust available, or a gluten-free crust upon request. Their crusts also feel a lot thinner than other places, most likely from their use of a brick oven. They do have some interesting toppings available, such as chorizo and fennel. Undoubtedly, no one else has a dessert pizza quite like PizzaRev’s, which basically tastes like a hot cinnamon roll with crumbled Oreos.

Craft beer has a huge market in Southern California that continually expands annually. This past weekend, MacLeod Ale Brewing Company opened their doors to the public with a grand opening complete with food trucks, bagpipe players, and of course, beer. Now you may think to yourself, “Oh great, another brewery.” Let me tell you that this brewery with a Scottish background sets themselves apart from the others by focusing on cask ales. Most breweries have their own niche with what they brew, and MacLeod chose cask beers. Out in the San Fernando Valley, breweries have not established themselves as part of the community, largely due to Anheuser Busch’s dominance in this territory. MacLeod hopes to break ground and start getting microbreweries out to this area.

At the grand opening this past Sunday, MacLeod celebrated it by hosting four two-hour tasting sessions starting at noon and running until 8pm. Each session cost $15 to attend, and included up to 50 ounces of beer in any combination of their four brews available. Guests wanting more beer could purchase more at $3 per 10oz. Hungry guests could munch on food from any of the available food trucks that rotated throughout the day. The four cask beers they had available:

  • Little Spree – 4.3% pale ale
  • King’s Taxes – 4.3% light Scottish ale
  • Session Gap – 3.5% ordinary bitter
  • Jackie Tar – 3.5% brown stout

MacLeod Ale plans to have seasonal brews throughout the year, so check them out in Van Nuys, or keep an eye out for them at your favorite beer store, restaurant, bar, or pub!

The more you miss something, the better you feel when you get it back. I certainly understood that feeling at the Dirty Little Secretssummer solstice show this past Saturday night at Cirivello’s in Long Beach. Heating things up on the stage just like the hot summer sun, these foxy ladies perform a vivacious burlesque routine to delight anyone lucky enough to attend their show. The audience enjoyed a sexy show, complete with sultry dance moves, raunchy naughtiness, and plenty of pasty-covered boobs. They certainly have had a solid run of shows, as they have performed very often the past few months. Check out their Facebook page for updates on upcoming shows, as they plan to dance all throughout summer. In the meantime, enjoy these photos from last Saturday night’s performance in Long Beach.

The first out of five days of the Nepenthia collective of events kicked off this past Saturday afternoon with the 2nd Annual Nepenthia Beer Garden. Taking place at Farmers Park right outside the Anaheim Packing House in Downtown Anaheim, this outdoor festival took the concept of a beer festival and added local artists and free food, essentially yielding a VIP experience. 15 Southern Californian microbreweries participated in this festival to serve their refreshing brews for this hot sunny day, accompanied by food from four of the local area’s beer-friendly restaurants. Around the venue, guests could stroll through the park, observing the garden and the various art on display, some of which guests could purchase to take home. Any guests searching for solace away from the heat could enter the Anaheim Packing House nearby to rest and browse the shops there. Although admission cost $55, more than the average beer fest price of $40, this festival did provide unlimited beer and food while supplies lasted. However, only four tables served food, and one ran out early, leaving for some long lines for food that eventually ran out before the festival ended.

The participating vendors included more than just art – available merchandise also included accessories and apparel.

Out of the original lineup of participating food businesses, two of them did not procure a booth within the festival. Instead, Hans’ Homemade Ice Cream and Buy N’ Bulk operated out of the Packing House. Neither of them featured any specials for Nepenthia’s attendees though, so they basically did not participate in the event at all. Fireside Tavern did participate in the festival, greeting guests as the first table visible upon entering. Their Pork Belly Sliders flew like hotcakes, so much so that they had ran out of food in less than two hours into the event. Further down the row, Hopscotch Tavern roasted their Al Pastor pork on a spit, attracting many of the alluring scent of the chiles, spices, and pineapple. They used the pork to make Al Pastor Street Tacos, a big hit with all guests. SlapFish made an appearance to serve their Lobster Grinder. Lastly, The Iron Press garnered a long line for their Chicken & Waffles samples. Unfortunately, they did not use fresh, crispy waffles. Instead, we received soggy waffles, so these samples did not accurately represent the food from The Iron Press.

15 microbreweries from Southern California participated in Nepenthia to serve their refreshing summer brews. Every brewery focused on flavor without going heavy for their beers served here, as this festival aims to celebrate the seasonal bounty of beers. From the front to the back, guests would have discovered great beers from:

  1. Beach City Brewing
  2. Karl Strauss Brewing
  3. Beachwood Brewing
  4. Bottle Logic Brewing
  5. Hangar 24 Craft Brewery
  6. Noble Ale Works
  7. Coronado Brewing
  8. Stone Brewing
  9. Smog City Brewing
  10. El Segundo Brewing
  11. Taps Brewery
  12. Ritual Brewing
  13. Valiant Brewing
  14. Cismontane Brewing
  15. Bootlegger’s Brewery

As of the date of this posting, only two days remain in the Nepenthia collective’s five days of events. Hopscotch Tavern has Taco Tuesday going on tonight, while The Iron Press at the Anaheim Packing House will host a Nepenthia closing party on Wednesday night. You can still obtain some Nepenthia beer at Noble Ale Works until it runs out. If you missed the beer at the festival, or completely missed the festival, check out the beer at Noble Ale Works, and check out the final event at The Iron Press.

Hess Brewing Tap Takeover
5:00 pm – 11:00 pm, June 24
The Factory, Long Beach

Hess Brewing will take over all eight taps at The Factory this Tuesday night. Head on over and check out what this San Diego brewery can concoct.

6th Annual Fountain Valley Summerfest
5:00 pm – 10:00 pm, June 26
5:00 pm – 11:00 pm, June 27
11:00 am – 11:00 pm, June 28
12:00 pm – 9:00 pm, June 29
Fountain Valley Recreation & Sports Park, Fountain Valley

This free and all-ages 4-day celebration will include rides, food, drinks, games, entertainment, vendors, live music, beer/wine garden, sports, a car show on Saturday, and a dog show on Sunday.

36th Annual Taste of Greece
5:00 pm – 10:00 pm, June 27
12:00 pm – 10:00 pm, June 28
12:00 pm – 9:00 pm, June 29
St. Paul’s Greek Orthodox Church, Irvine

This weekend-long all-ages festival celebrates Greek culture with food, drinks, desserts, live music, dancing, games, rides, and more. Admission to the fair costs $3, but print the flyer below to enter for free!

Slow Children @ Inkonsiderate Boardshop 2
7:00 pm – 1:00 am, June 27
Inkonsiderate Boardshop 2, Riverside

Rock out to some local punk rock at this FREE and all-ages show this Friday night in Riverside.

Strung Out & Death By Stereo @ The Observatory
7:00 pm – 1:00 am, June 27
The Observatory, Santa Ana

Catch this amazing all-ages show this Friday night at The Observatory in Santa Ana. Tickets for this show cost $17.

Superbowl of Motorska
8:00 pm – 1:00 am, June 27
House of Blues, Anaheim

Get your skanking on this Friday night at this all-ages show featuring a stellar lineup of local ska bands. Tickets cost $10 presale, but contact any of the participating bands for FREE tickets!

Punk Show @ Cafe NELA
8:00 pm – 2:00 am, June 27
Cafe NELA, Los Angeles

Local punk bands hit up Cafe NELA in northeast Los Angeles this Friday night. The event page does not mention the cover charge price, so have cash available for that. No one under 21 may enter. Guests can find plenty of free street parking around.

Lowbrow @ The World Famous Doll Hut
8:00 pm – 2:00 am, June 27
The World Famous Doll Hut, Anaheim

Get your weekly fill of punk rock this Friday night at the World Famous Doll Hut in Anaheim. The cover for this show costs $5. No one under 21 may enter.

Psycho Punk Show in Long Beach
8:00 pm – 2:00 am, June 27
Blacklight District Lounge, Long Beach

Psychobilly and punk rock team up to deliver this brutal show this Friday night in Long Beach. The cover for this show costs $5. No one under 21 may enter.

4th Annual RCP Pow Wow
10:00 am – 6:00 pm, June 28
Plummer Park, West Hollywood

Free for all ages, a traditional pow wow will take place in West Hollywood this Saturday afternoon.

Riviera Village Summer Fest
10:00 am – 7:00 pm, June 28-29
Riviera Village, Redondo Beach

This FREE and all-ages annual street fair occurs in the Riviera Village neighborhood of Redondo Beach. Numerous vendors, arts & crafts, food & drinks, carnival rides, entertainment, and more will take over the streets, as visitors stroll through all the roads gazing at all the wonderful booths. Do not attempt to park nearby – instead, park at South High, right off of Calle Mayor and Pacific Coast Highway, and take the free shuttle. The festival takes place entirely outdoors, so keep sunscreen handy.

35th Annual Ocean Beach Street Fair & Chili Cook-off
10:00 am – 8:00 pm, June 28
Newport Avenue, Ocean Beach, San Diego

Have some fun in the sun in Ocean Beach this Saturday at their annual street fair and chili cookoff. At this free and all-ages street fair, tens of thousands of people will stroll through Ocean Beach to check out all the art, live entertainment, vendors, and of course, the chili. Attendees may purchase chili tastings on the day of the event. This area gets extremely crowded with traffic, so plan alternate routes on arriving, and prepare to walk long distances to reach the street fair.

Pirate Invasion of Belmont Pier
10:00 am – 9:00 pm, June 28
10:00 am – 6:00 pm, June 29
Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier, Long Beach

Come see and act like pirates at the beach! Visitors may choose to dress as a pirate or arrive in normal clothes. Many others will fully dress up to play their parts. Expect to see pirate shows, vendors, music, a (mock) ship fight, and cannon blank shots fired at the pier. This FREE and all-ages event runs on Saturday & Sunday starting at 10am both days. If you plan to stay for a while, note that this takes place entirely outdoors, so have sunscreen available. Guests can find free street parking in the neighborhood across Ocean Blvd.

38 Degrees Ale House 5th Anniversary Celebration
12:00 pm – 12:00 am, June 28
38 Degrees Ale House, Alhambra

To celebrate turning five, 38 Degrees will tap some limited releases, archived beers, barrel aged beers, sours, local brews, and more. This event requires no admission or reservations – simply show up and order what you like. You can park for free in the parking lot behind the restaurant, or in the structure across from 1st Street.

High Desert Music Festival & BBQ Showdown
12:00 pm – 9:00 pm, June 28-29
San Bernardino County Fair, Victorville

This two-day festival out in the desert combines a music festival with a BBQ festival. In addition to the 20+ music acts that will perform all weekend, a car show will take place, allowing attendees to check out all the sweet rides. A kids’ area will keep the young ones entertained while the adults booze up at the beer & wine gardens. Admission costs $20 presale or $25 at the door, or $35 presale for the weekend pass or $45 at the door.

Hops For Health
2:00 pm – 6:00 pm, June 28
Absolution Brewing, Torrance

Visit Absolution Brewing this Saturday afternoon for games, giveaways, food trucks, and of course, beer. All purchases benefit a local charity.

2nd Annual Tacolandia
3:00 pm – 7:00 pm, June 28
Olvera Street, Los Angeles

Gorge out on tacos from over 30 chefs from around Southern California and some from Baja at this taco fest in a parking lot. General admission costs $35 presale or $40 at the door, and includes unlimited food until it runs out, while VIP admission costs $55 and also includes a hosted bar. Guests of all ages may attend, but adults must have ID to drink.

El Sereno’s 7th Annual Fireworks & Concert Show
3:00 pm – 9:00 pm, June 28
El Sereno Park, East Los Angeles

Party it up in East LA this Saturday afternoon with music and fireworks at the park. Free for all ages, music will start at 3pm and go all the way into the night, and the fireworks will start at 8:45.

5th Annual Los Angeles Street Food Fest
4:00 pm – 10:00 pm, June 28
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 $55, starts at 6pm, and includes parking and ALL food & drinks. VIP admission costs $80, starts at 4pm, 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.

5th Annual Claremont Village Blues & Brews Craft Beer Walk
4:00 pm – 8:00 pm, June 28
Streets of Claremont Village, Claremont

Exhibit the local businesses of Claremont while sipping on craft beers and local food at this annual music and beer fest on the streets of Claremont Village. Over 30 of the local businesses will serve as sites where attendees to this fest can pick up some food or beer as they continue to stroll through Claremont Village to enjoy the live music and the goods & services offered by the local businesses. Admission costs $45 presale and $50 at the gate, and includes free parking and 12 beer tasting tickets. The site does not mention if admission includes food, so if you plan to eat, have some cash available. No one under 21 may attend.

Sals’ Photos Benefit Show
6:00 pm – 2:00 am, June 28
Blacklight District Lounge, Long Beach

Support local music and their photographer this Saturday night in Long Beach. The cover for this show costs $5. No one under 21 may enter.

Dancin’ In The Streets
7:00 pm – 11:00 pm, June 28
The Promenade, Downtown Long Beach

Enjoy some nightlife music for free at this all-ages outdoor concert this Saturday night in Downtown Long Beach.

RF7 Record Release Show
8:00 pm – 2:00 am, June 28
Cafe NELA, Los Angeles

Enjoy some fun punk rock at this show in northeast Los Angeles this Saturday night. The cover for this show costs only $5. No one under 21 may enter.

The Stitches @ The World Famous Doll Hut
8:00 pm – 2:00 am, June 28
The World Famous Doll Hut, Anaheim

Get a night of punk rock at the Doll Hut this Saturday night. The cover for this show costs $10. No one under 21 may enter.

SKR Night
8:00 pm – 2:00 am, June 28
Loaded Hollywood, Hollywood

See some hardcore punk bands rock out Hollywood this Saturday night for just $5. No one under 21 may enter.

Vintage Clothing & Textile Show
9:00 am – 3:00 pm, June 29
The Pickwick Gardens, Burbank

This expo features over 65 vendors selling their antique textiles, vintage clothes, accessories, and more for attendees to exhibit and purchase. Admission costs $7 per person and comes with free parking.

14th Annual Taste of Adams Avenue
11:00 am – 3:00 pm, June 29
Adams Avenue, Normal Heights, San Diego

30 restaurants, 30 tastes. Taste the local flavor of Adams Avenue this Sunday afternoon, as you stroll up and down Adams Avenue checking out all the local restaurants in the area. A ticket bundle costs $35 presale and $40 on the day of the event, and provides guests with 30 taster tickets. Park in the neighborhood, and pick up your tickets from Smitty’s Auto on the day of the event if you purchased presale.

3rd Annual Dog Day Afternoon
10:00 am – 3:00 pm, June 29
Fountain Valley Recreation & Sports Park, Fountain Valley

This FREE dog event takes place at Mile Square Park in Fountain Valley. Open to guests of all ages and all breeds, guests will find lots of dogs and dog activities, with athletic demos, vendors, adoption information, merchandise, and more. As part of Fountain Valley’s 6th Annual Summerfest, guests will also find rides, games, live music, beer/wine gardens, food, and more. Guests can park for free in any of the park’s parking lots. If those fill up, guests can park on the street, or in the neighborhood across the street.

The Maxies @ Redwood Bar
3:00 pm – 9:00 pm, June 29
Redwood Bar, Downtown Los Angeles

Enjoy a punk & ska show this Sunday afternoon in Downtown Los Angeles. The cover for this all-ages show costs $4.

Hidden gems can exist in the most unlikely of places. A Little Known Shop in Anaheim perfectly represents that, creating a artful hidden oasis on a road with uneven pavement just outside. This small arts & crafts shop often hosts local art events in this small Community, catering to the locals with a passion for art and nostalgia. This past Saturday evening, A Little Known Shop hosted Fan Alley, an arts & crafts meetup for sci-fi and comics fans. Local artists gathered to exhibit their work, all themed towards sci-fi, comics, video games, anime, and other cartoonish themes. Nostalgia best describes the visuals present, with all the vendors bringing work that allows visitors to remember their childhood. Throughout the night, shop staff would call out raffle tickets for visitors to win prizes of items from the shop.

Additionally, A Little Known Shop also hosted a cosplay contest during the night. Approximately 15 participants strutted their stuff for all other visitors to vote on throughout the event. I would say that some of them did not put much effort into their costumes, with one simply wearing a hat with a character’s face on it. Of the participants that put effort into their costumes, the following exhibited the most craftsmanship:

This hidden gem feels like a sanctuary in an otherwise divey neighborhood. Outside the shop, old dive bars crowd up the front of the strip mall, but when you step into the realm of A Little Known Shop, you find yourself in a peaceful place. Check out A Little Known Shop for their amazing art selection, or if you missed the event and want to check it out what else they can do, head on down this Saturday from 6-9pm for their monthly art walk, complete with food trucks and an artist signing.

Beer, food, music, and art collide in a colossal mashup at the 2014 Nepenthia Beer Garden this Saturday afternoon from 3pm to 7pm at Farmers Park in Downtown Anaheim. This all-in-one festival will feature 15 Southern Californian breweries all pouring their refreshing beers, five restaurants serving beer-friendly food, and art & music from local talent. Attendees can stroll along Farmers Park, exhibiting all of the amazing works of art on display, all while enjoying the live music playing throughout the day. Attendees can also roam into the newly opened Anaheim Packing House and browse the shops there, in addition to escaping the hot sun. The ticket price of $55* comes with unlimited food and beer tastings until it all runs out, as well as a souvenir beer glass. Keep these tips in mind if you plan to attend the beer garden this Saturday:

  • REMEMBER to bring PHOTO ID! Amazingly, many guests think they can enter without showing it to the front security.
  • Absolutely nobody under 21 may enter the festival. Do not even think about bringing your kids or pets.
  • Guests may park for free. Plenty of street parking exists, as well as a free parking structure on 42nd Street on the northeast corner of Anaheim Blvd and Broadway. Guests may even ride their bikes to Farmers Park.
  • Basic directions to the aforementioned parking structure:
    • From Los Angeles/South Bay: take the (91 Fwy East to) 5 Fwy South, exit Lincoln Ave, turn left, immediately turn right on Manchester Ave, turn left on Broadway, turn left on Claudina St after Anaheim Blvd, parking structure on left
    • From Pomona/Inland Empire: take the (91 Fwy West to) 57 Fwy South, exit Lincoln Ave, turn right, turn left on East St, turn right on Broadway, turn right on Philadelphia St, parking structure on right
    • From South Orange County: take the (55 Fwy North to) 5 Fwy North, exit Harbor Blvd, turn right, turn right on Broadway, turn left on Claudina St after Anaheim Blvd, parking structure on left
  • Guests may buy some of the art on display. Bring cash if interested.
  • Though the park contains some shaded areas, consider applying sunscreen, and have extra sunscreen available. Security will not confiscate sunscreen from you.
  • Stay hydrated throughout the festival. Guests can enter the Packing House not only to cool off, but to obtain non-alcoholic beverages.
  • Dress appropriately for hot weather. Southern California will get hot this weekend, and the combination of heat, salty food, and alcohol will quickly lead to dehydration.
  • Try to hold on to your beer glass – guests receive no replacement for lost or broken glasses.

Unable to attend the beer garden this Saturday? The beer garden marks the first day out of five days of the Nepenthia collective, which will continue all the way up to June 25th with events everyday around Orange County. Such events will include:

  • June 21, 7pm: Beer Garden After Party at The Iron Press at the Packing House
  • June 22, 11am: Beer Brunch at SideDoor in Corona Del Mar
  • June 23, 7pm: Ballast Point Beer Pairing Dinner at C4 Deli in Santa Ana
  • June 24, 4pm: Taco Tuesday at Hopscotch Tavern in Fullerton
  • June 25, 5pm: Closing Party at The Iron Press at the Packing House
  • All week: Nepenthia Beer Pouring at Noble Ale Works in Anaheim

All ticket sales benefit Inspire Artistic Minds, a nonprofit offering scholarships to those in the craft beer, food, and beverage industries.

* = Use promo code BEERME to save $20 off the ticket price!

Orange County’s largest Irish cultural festival moved to Long Beach for its 39th annual run this past Father’s Day weekend at El Dorado Park. This festival celebrates Irish culture by throwing together thousands of traditional Irish step dancers, a handful of Celtic bands, lots of characters, and more vendors than you can shake a clover at. First-time visitors to this fair may feel overwhelmed at all the activities available – after all, they call it the BIG Irish Fair for a good reason. Luckily, this fair takes place on two consecutive days, allowing guests to select which day they want to explore this fair. The event staff provides a map of the fair, as long as guests can read it and get past the immediate wave of vendors upon walking in through the front gate.

Immediately upon entering, guests walked through two aisles of various vendors selling all sorts of stuff. Some of these booths contained information, such as the booth about the Rose of Tralee, which resembles an honoring title, like a Miss America for the Irish.

The Irish love cars, and they proudly display their automobiles that have any Irish background, including real DeLoreans.

Unlike last year where the animals, such as herding border collies, the sheep herd, and Irish wolfhounds, all situated around one area, this year separated the two different packs. The sheep herding demonstration took place at the south end of the festival, while visitors could find the Irish wolfhounds at the north end of the festival.

Once past the vendors at the entrance, visitors walking to the left would find three shaded stages housing the Irish step dancing competitions, where girls and boys display their precision and grace with their fluid and bouncing movements.

Right in front of the step dancing tents, visitors could walk by various Irish art on display.

Following a clockwise route from the step dancing tents, the Royal Tara Village allowed visitors to observe and participate in reenactments of traditional Irish life, including demos on playing with Irish musical instruments. Back here, visitors could also interact with Irish wolfhounds.

Down the center of the festival lie all the food and drink vendors. Sadly they did not offer much in the line of Irish food. I eventually settled for some Shepherd’s Pie, which could not measure up to the quality of actual Irish pubs.

At the far back of the festival, we end up at the Shamrock Bowl, where the traditional Celtic bands played to large crowds all weekend.

Continuing clockwise around the festival, we close the circle back to the entrance with the Emerald Bowl. Not only did this stage feature the bagpipe players, but this stage’s lineup included more of the younger, modern Celtic bands that carried more modern rock sounds, such as a Celtic reggae band, and a handful of Irish punk bands.

The Big Irish Fair has now completed its 39th year running, operating very similarly to how they did many years ago. Of note, they use traditional means of marketing and advertising the fair. Today, the new generation uses a lot of internet and social media to get word of events out to the public, as well as publications like local newspapers or magazines. In the past few years I have attended the Irish Fair, I barely discovered any form of marketing – I personally originally discovered it through word of mouth. Speaking of the past few years, very little has changed as far as structure and activities. If you attended the Irish Fair many years ago, you would not miss a lot in the recent years of the fair. Also, for an Irish Fair, the fair did not emphasize Irish food, or at least American Irish food. One booth sold Fish & Chips, but at a quality like a county or state fair, meaning mostly fried with little regard to the quality of the fish and chips. Another booth posted a Corned Beer & Cabbage sign; however, that booth lied with the sign because they sold corned beef sandwiches that contained so little meat. For a true corned beef sandwich, head to Roscoe’s Deli in Fullerton, where they pile on over a pound of meat on your sandwich. In the end, first or second time visitors to the fair will enjoy it, especially if you attend with friends and/or family. But as the fair barely changes year after year, attending more than two years in the row yields less excitement. If you have not gone, then I certainly recommend attending next year. If you already have attended, spread the word out to your friends and family. For such a low price to enter, any new attendee will easily get his or her money’s worth.

Coincidentally occurring on the night that the LA Kings won the Stanley Cup, a free ska show took place at Centerfield Sports Bar in Huntington Beach last Friday night. Although this show had an original lineup of three bands, one of the bands announced earlier in the week that they could not make it to the show. Luckily, another band stepped in to play the show, completing the night for all the fans that showed up.

Once the Kings had scored their game-winning goal, Not A Chance had already set up their equipment on stage. They jumped right into their set hard and proud, a set that consisted of a blend of new and classic songs. They did not play with their full band on this night – specifically, I noticed that they lacked their keyboard, trumpet, and trombone players. Regardless, these guys always deliver audio explosions at any show they perform in, and perfectly depict the “skacore” genre, a genre rarely represented. Fans of Voodoo Glow Skulls and/or Against All Authority will absolutely love Not A Chance.

A lot of hype surrounds the next band, either for the name or their music. In any case, I finally got to see Stupid Flanders for the first time. This ska band from Orange County often receives more attention for their name rather than their music. Stupid Flanders deserves more credit than just their name, as they perform to entertain the masses. Playing a set of both original songs and cover songs, Stupid Flanders reaches out to all generations with their varying degrees of instrumentals. As a ska band, they perform ska covers of classic songs, some more recognizable than others. Sure many people may recognize Pretty Fly (For A White Guy), but the band also covered Scotty Doesn’t Know, a song from the movie Eurotrip. Because their songs speak to a broad audience, Stupid Flanders has fans from all backgrounds, whether they listen to ska or not.

The originally scheduled third band, Failed To Victory, announced earlier in the week that they could not perform at this show. Luckily, The Longshots could step in to perform as the night’s third band. This band from Oregon plays ska/reggae music, thus closing the night with a more mellow set, as opposed to the fast set of Not A Chance and bouncy set of Stupid Flanders. I think after all the ruckus of Kings fans celebrating, a smooth band like this proved just the right remedy to calm everyone back down and bring them back to a relaxed state.

While The Longshots have not announced any concrete plans for upcoming shows, both Not A Chance and Stupid Flanders have a show in less than two weeks at the House of Blues in Anaheim. Contact any of the performing bands for discounted tickets!