Archive for February, 2016

Dine Out Long Beach Restaurant Week 2.0
February 28 – March 5
Participating restaurants, Long Beach
http://dineoutlongbeach.com/

The city of Long Beach has so many fine restaurants that they will have an entire week to celebrate the bounty. During this 7-day period, participating restaurants will have various food & drink specials. Check the website linked above for a list of participating restaurants and their specials.

The Federal Bar’s 5th Anniversary Celebration
6:00 pm – 11:00 pm, February 29
The Federal Bar, North Hollywood
http://nh.thefederalbar.com/
http://www.facebook.com/events/975538795825139/

North Hollywood’s The Federal Bar turns five years old this week, and to celebrate, they will have a bunch of rare brews on tap this Monday night. This event has no admission fee – simply stop by and enjoy a cold one or two.

Get Happy – Old Pasadena Happy Hour Week
March 1-14
Participating locations, Old Pasadena
http://www.oldpasadena.org/happyhourweek/

Enjoy extended Happy Hour food & drink specials at participating locations in Old Pasadena during this two-week period.

San Diego Burger Week
March 3-12
Participating locations, San Diego County
http://www.sdcitybeat.com/sandiego/burgerweek

Enjoy select specialty burgers from participating locations all over San Diego County during this 10-day period for just $5 each!

Modern Times Night @ Select Beer Store
5:00 pm – 10:00 pm, March 3
Select Beer Store, Redondo Beach
http://www.selectbeerstore.com/
http://www.facebook.com/events/429888723876863/

Modern Times will stock five of their brews at Select Beer Store this Thursday evening. This event has no admission fee – simply show up, and enjoy a cold one or two.

9th Annual Musink Tattoo & Music Festival
3:00 pm – 11:00 pm, March 4
12:00 pm – 11:00 pm, March 5
12:00 pm – 10:00 pm, March 6
OC Fair & Events Center, Costa Mesa
http://musink.org/

Welcome to Musink, an all-ages music, tattoo, skateboarding, and pin-up festival that takes place at the OC Fairgrounds this weekend. Some of the largest names in punk rock will perform this weekend, such as Rancid and Bad Religion. Over 300 tattoo artists from around the world will fly in for the weekend. Tickets will remain on sale until the end of the fest on Sunday, so do not worry about not obtaining a ticket. Bring cash, as most of the vendors do not accept cards. Parking costs $10 per vehicle, so I highly recommend carpooling or getting dropped off.

First Fridays
5:00 pm – 10:00 pm, March 4
Various locations
Long Beach: http://firstfridayslongbeach.com/
Venice: http://www.abbotkinney1stfridays.com/

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 21+ only).

The Secret Affair – 60’s Night
9:00 pm – 1:00 am, March 4
Alex’s Bar, Long Beach
http://www.alexsbar.com/event/1090215-secret-affair-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.

Downtown Anaheim Community Yard Sale
8:00 am – 1:00 pm, March 5
Center Street Promenade, Anaheim
http://www.downtownanaheim.com/

Local Anaheim residents will join in on a large communal yard sale in Downtown Anaheim this Saturday morning. Visitors can explore this event for free, while residents wanting to set up a spot to sell things must register for $10 per spot.

Insane Inflatable 5K Long Beach
9:00 am – 3:00 pm, March 5
El Dorado Park, Long Beach
http://insaneinflatable5k.com/long-beach-ca/

It appears that people will do anything to break the mundane cycle of 5k runs. Introducing the Insane Inflatable 5K, a 5k obstacle course that takes you through inflatable obstacles. You remember these things as a kid. Now endure them as you challenge yourself and others to get through over three miles of this stuff. Registration costs $64 online or $75 on the day of the event, and comes with an event t-shirt.

The Original International Tiki Market Place
10:00 am – 3:00pm, March 5
Elks Lodge 1952, Garden Grove
http://www.facebook.com/events/1666514063566081/

For $10 admission gain access to a plethora of tiki-themed vendors in Garden Grove this Saturday afternoon. Admission comes with a $10 voucher for a drink.

11th Annual San Diego Cherry Blossom Festival
10:00 am – 4:00 pm, March 5-6
Japanese Friendship Garden, San Diego
http://niwa.org/11th-annual-cherry-blossom-festival

The Cherry Blossom Festival at the Japanese Friendship Garden in San Diego celebrates spring and Japanese culture. Guests can marvel at the beauty of the iconic cherry blossoms as well as the koi pond and waterfall at San Diego’s Japanese Friendship Garden. Visitors will also find an assortment of cultural performances, authentic Japanese street food, one-of-a-kind crafts & gifts, and a beer & sake garden for attendees to enjoy. The kids’ area offers hands-on arts & crafts and engaging activities. Admission costs $8.

Holi Festival of Colors – Riverside
11:00 am – 2:00 pm, March 5
Martha Mclean Park, Riverside
http://www.festivalofcolorsusa.com/festival-of-colors/festival-colors-riverside-ca/

Want to get covered in color without the necessity of moving for five kilometers? Check out the Festival of Colors this Saturday. As simply a celebration of color, guests will enjoy live music the entire time, all while mingling and showing off colors. Color throwing occurs every hour. Admission costs $5, and guests can purchase colors at the festival.

Betty’s Birthday @ Hangar 24
11:00 am – 12:00 am, March 5
Hangar 24 Brewery, Redlands
http://www.hangar24brewery.com/
http://www.facebook.com/events/1687816934808364/

In celebration of the birthday of their popular Betty IPA, Hangar 24 will have multiple variations of the brew on tap this Saturday at their tasting room in Redlands. This event has no admission – simply show up and enjoy a cold one or two.

2016 Spring Busker Festival
12:00 pm – 6:00 pm, March 5-6
Seaport Village, San Diego
http://www.seaportvillage.com/entertainment/busker-festival

Basically, Circue du Soleil. This artful all-ages outdoor festival brings out performers of various entertainment trades (jugglers, contortionists, stilt-walkers, etc) to entertain visitors. Free to attend, guests should seek alternate methods of transportation to arrive here, such as carpooling or public transportation, as decent parking will likely take a long time to find.

15th Annual Lantern Festival
12:00 pm – 7:00 pm, March 5
Chinese American Museum, Los Angeles
http://www.camla.org/lanternfestival.html

This free and all-ages festival celebrates Chinese tradition with recreations of street fairs filled with illuminating lanterns, music, lion dance, interactive arts & crafts, and more, all culminating with a glow-in-the-dark dragon dance at the end of the day. Local food businesses will sell authentic Chinese food and drinks as well.

Absolution Brewing Company’s Hoppy 2nd Birthday
12:00 pm – 10:00 pm, March 5
Absolution Brewing, Torrance
http://www.absolutionbrewingcompany.com/
http://www.eventbrite.com/e/hoppy-2nd-birthday-tickets-21571131836

Absolution Brewing turns two years old this week, and to celebrate, they will have lots of beer on tap plus an anniversary ale and a cask tent, as well as gourmet food trucks present throughout the day. The event itself has no admission fee, but Absolution offers beer packages for those who want a festival experience. A general package costs $25 and comes with three full beer pours and one meal ticket for the food trucks. A VIP package costs $45 and includes an anniversary t-shirt, unlimited beer pours from 12pm to 1pm, and then four beer pours after 1pm.

Power Rangers Launch Party & Signing
2:00 pm – 5:00 pm, March 5
Phat Collectibles, Anaheim
http://www.phatcollectibles.com/
http://www.facebook.com/events/529253643911009/

A new Power Rangers comic series will launch, and some of the important people behind it will make an appearance at Phat Collectibles in Anaheim this Saturday afternoon. Stop on by for a meet & greet, autographs, and photographs.

OC Roller Girls – Get Lucky
6:00 pm – 10:00 pm, March 5
The Rinks, Huntington Beach
http://ocrollergirls.com/

Watch intense & brutal girl-on-girl action at this roller derby bout this Saturday night in Huntington Beach. Tickets to this roller derby bout cost $13.

4th Annual Rock Star Beer Festival San Diego
6:00 pm – 10:00 pm, March 5
SILO in Makers Quarter, San Diego
http://www.rockstarbeerfestivalsd.com/

A corporate beer festival comes to San Diego this Saturday night. General admission costs $35 and starts at 7pm while VIP admission costs $50 and starts at 6pm. All attendees receive unlimited beer samples while supplies last. No one under 21 may attend.

Blacklight Run – San Diego
6:00 pm – 12:00 am, March 5
Sleep Train Amphitheatre, Chula Vista
http://www.blacklightrun.com/san-diego/

The fun run madness continues with this nightly run through the Sleep Train Amphitheatre in Chula Vista. This run takes place at night, and requires participants to wear all white while getting splattered with neon powder throughout the blacklight-filled course. By the end of the run, all participants will glow with many different colors and enjoy seeing a sea of glowing runners at the afterparty. Registration costs $20 by Wednesday and $45 afterwards, and comes with an event t-shirt, a glow pack to throw at other runners AFTER you have crossed the finish line, and a goodie bag full of items from the event sponsors.

Agent Orange: Live in Corona
8:00 pm – 1:00 am, March 5
Bar 1650, Corona
http://www.facebook.com/events/1639790366283453/

Rock out to some local punk rock bands this Saturday night in Corona. The cover for this show costs $15. No one under 21 may enter.

Dirty Little Secrets Rock Burlesque – St. Patrick’s Show
8:30 pm – 12:00 am, March 5
TRiP, Santa Monica
http://www.dirtylittlesecretsburlesque.com/

Get your fill of burlesque at TRiP in Santa Monica this Saturday night. No one under 21 may enter.

Orange County Restaurant Week
March 6-12
Various restaurants in Orange County
http://www.orangecountyrestaurantweek.com/

For one week, numerous restaurants in Orange County will offer prix-fixe multi-course meals, ranging from $10-20 for lunch and $20-40 for dinner.

Pomona Swap Meet & Classic Car Show
5:00 am – 2:00 pm, March 6
Fairplex, Pomona
http://www.pomonaswapmeet.com/

See thousands of original and restored classic cars at the Fairplex this Sunday morning. Many of the vendors will also sell automotive accessories, parts, and more as well. This all-ages show cost $10 to enter, while children 10 and under get in free with a paid adult admission. Parking costs $10 per vehicle – guests must enter via gate 17 on Fairplex Drive, directly off the 10 freeway.

The Coaster Run 5K/10K/Kids Run
6:00 am – 10:00 am, March 6
Knott’s Berry Farm, Buena Park
http://www.thecoasterrun.com/

Participate in a charity run through an amusement park this Sunday morning with the Coaster Run. Choose between a 5K or a 10K, or a Kids Run for the little ones. As a charity run, no participant can win – all participants will receive a commemorative medal for finishing the run, plus a complimentary slice of Boysenberry Pie. All participants also receive a coupon for half off an adult’s admission to the amusement park good for up to a month following the run. Registration varies in price depending on the course, so refer to the website for details.

San Diego Vintage Flea Market
9:00 am – 3:00 pm, March 6
The Observatory Parking Lot, North Park, San Diego
http://sdvintagefleamarket.com/

At this free all-ages outdoor market, visitors will find modern to vintage inspired clothing, housewares, furniture, smalls, and more for sale from the various local vendors.

CicLAvia
9:00 am – 4:00 pm, March 6
Van Nuys Blvd, Pacoima
http://www.ciclavia.org/

Much of Van Nuys Blvd in the San Fernando Valley will close to bikers this Sunday afternoon. Cars may not enter the designated areas during this time – only bikers and pedestrians may roam the streets.

5th Annual LA Zine Fest
11:00 am – 6:00 pm, March 6
The Majestic, Downtown Los Angeles
http://lazinefest.com/

This free and all-ages expo will feature hundreds of local and/or independent authors and publishers sharing their magazines, comics, and other DIY material. Workshops and speakers will engage attendees with more material.

Reel Big Fish performing Sell Out at the 4th Annual OC Brew Ha Ha in Silverado, CA. Filmed on September 7, 2013.

Despite the big corporation essentially declaring war on the little guys, the local mom & pop shops continue to rise. The big guys can step on as many ants as they would like, but they will never truly get rid of all of them, as more will eventually surface. As Manifest Destiny dictates, the local populace will eventually outgrow their current locale and will start to expand & migrate outwards. The apple must fall from the tree sooner or later, and that apple can either stay near its parent tree or move on to branch out elsewhere. So just how far can one branch out? Southern California has its massive metropolitan area of the greater Los Angeles area, and from there you have the surrounding areas such as San Diego, Ventura, and the inland empire. The harsh desert environment of the inland empire forgives no one, so anyone currently heading inland basically paves the way for future generations. Leave it to some crafty folks to establish an inland craft beer foothold in the form of Brew Rebellion.

Out in the desert area of the inland empire, breweries exist few and far between beyond Redlands. Brew Rebellion hopes to represent the bridge between civilization and the desert cities as a “last stop” prior to the open desert. Located behind a liquor store in Yucaipa, Brew Rebellion still lacks the size and popularity of other nearby microbreweries, namely those in Redlands. Craft beer currently does not fare too well past Redlands, as the cities from Yucaipa all the way out to Indio mostly stick to macro beers, while craft beer still represents a small minority. As such, Brew Rebellion has a lot of room and potential to grow in popularity – they simply need the correct outlets to do so. Local beer festivals help in that regard, but given Brew Rebellion’s current small facility, they can only produce so much. Thankfully, with their small production facility, they churn out amazing beers in small batches, since small batches allow them to fine-tune their brews much more precisely.

Show some support for the local guys by liking them on Facebook and following them on Twitter (note they do not use their Twitter much). Keep an eye out for them at local beer festivals, such as the many that take place in Riverside annually.

Newport Beach Brewing Company celebrates their 21st anniversary with their 8th Annual Brewfest this Sunday at their restaurant in Newport Beach. Unlike many other Southern Californian beer festivals, this fest takes place all indoors at their restaurant, which allows attendees to order food should they get hungry. Admission to this beer tasting event costs $35 and provides unlimited beer pours from 1pm to 5pm. Multiple local breweries will line the perimeter of the restaurant, bringing out some rather strong beers for such a small fest. Because of the small size of this fest, unlike a large-scale beer fest, this little fest caters mainly to the locals that frequent this restaurant. Granted, true beer lovers would travel great distances for beer opportunities like this. Unlimited pours coupled with strong beers makes for a successful beer fest, despite the limited seating available for guests. The restaurant has limited free parking available – expect to bring coins to park at meters.

Like a flash, the 2016 Long Beach Comic Expo came and went this past weekend at the Long Beach Convention Center. This convention for all things comics returned to the same setup as last year. The expo returned to Hall C just like in 2012-2013, and visitors had to enter from the east side instead of the usual west side due to another convention taking place along the western rooms. The main operations of the expo had not changed – hundreds of local comic book writers and artists exhibited their merchandise, art, books, toys, and more, either for sale or for show. Elsewhere in other rooms across from Hall C, a number workshops and seminars occurred, ranging from speaker panels to art workshops to live activities. Cosplay Corner returned to the expo as a part of the show floor instead of a separate room like last year. Aside from the location changes, nothing else drastic changed from the previous years of the Long Beach Comic Expo.

As a comic expo, we cannot forget about the diehard fans dressing up as their favorite fictional character. 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 an art of fans sporting outfits and accessories to appear like another usually recognizable character. Mainstream characters such as Harley Quinn and Deadpool often get selected as the costume of choice due to the fast recognition by many fans, while lesser known characters tend to receive more praise by the fans who recognize the outfit. Check out this collection of the great costumes from the Saturday of the 2016 Long Beach Comic Expo. If you recognize any of these awesome people, please leave a comment with a URL to the person’s website or Facebook page, as well as the reference costume & photo! If the image links go down, click here for the album.

Interested in more of my cosplay photos? Check out some of my albums below:

The Fall expo, the Long Beach Comic Con, returns in September. The Fall event generally takes place in Hall B, a larger space than the Expo, and generally has a greater turnout due to more famous people in attendance. 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.

Coronado Brewing Tap Takeover
7:00 pm – 11:00 pm, February 23
Far Bar, Little Tokyo, Downtown Los Angeles
http://www.farbarla.com/
http://www.facebook.com/events/188212041546455/

Coronado Brewing will take over the taps at Far Bar in Little Tokyo in Downtown LA this Tuesday night. This event has no cover charge – simply show up, and enjoy a cold one or two.

Reagan Youth: Live in Southern California
8:00 pm – 12:00 am, February 23, The Garage, Ventura http://www.facebook.com/events/414284385431935/
8:00 pm – 12:00 am, February 24, Brick By Brick, San Diego http://www.facebook.com/events/1539697942988909/
8:00 pm – 1:00 am, February 25, Alex’s Bar, Long Beach http://www.alexsbar.com/event/1025429-reagan-youth-long-beach/
7:00 pm – 1:00 am, February 26, Yost Theater, Santa Ana http://www.yosttheater.com/calendar/2015/jfa-reagan-youth/
12:00 pm – 8:00 pm, February 27, All Star Lanes, Eagle Rock http://www.facebook.com/events/199035447104357/
8:00 pm – 1:00 am, February 27, Viper Room, West Hollywood http://www.facebook.com/events/1642776489313206/
http://www.reagan-youth.com/

Legendary punk band Reagan Youth will headline a bunch of shows in Southern California this week. Check each show’s link for ticket prices and age limits.

Knee Deep Brewing Tap Takeover
11:00 am – 10:00 pm, February 25
Brew Kitchen Ale House, Los Alamitos
http://www.brewkitchenalehouse.com/
http://www.facebook.com/events/1736631856567601/

Knee Deep Brewing will take over the taps at Brew Kitchen Ale House in Los Alamitos this Thursday. This event has no cover charge – simply show up, and enjoy a cold one or two.

Celebrate Downtown 2016
5:00 pm – 9:00 pm, February 25
The Pike, Long Beach
http://www.downtownlongbeach.org/Event-Detail-Page/Signature-Event-Celebrate-Downtown
http://www.facebook.com/events/1685468468367375/

Long Beach will honor esteemed individuals of the community this Thursday evening at The Pike in Downtown Long Beach. While free to attend, this event requires a reservation, so click on the Facebook event link above for reservation details.

Legends Craft Brewery Pint Nite
5:00 pm – 10:00 pm, February 25
Meat Up BBQ, Placentia
http://www.meatupbbq.com/
http://www.facebook.com/events/475200436006119/

One of Orange County’s newer breweries will stock their beers at Meat Up BBQ in Placentia this Thursday night as well as dozens of their pint glasses. Order a pint of Legends beer, and keep the glass to take home.

King Harbor Beer Dinner
6:30 pm – 9:30 pm, February 25
King Harbor Brewing, Redondo Beach
http://kingharborbrewing.com/event/beer-dinner-w-chef-jen-story/

Enjoy a four-course dinner complete with beer pairings this Thursday night at King Harbor Brewing in Redondo Beach. Admission for each person costs $55. No one under 21 may participate.

Punk Night in HB
9:00 pm – 1:00 am, February 25
The Standing Room, Huntington Beach
http://www.facebook.com/events/727949463971356/

Jam out to some local punk rock this Thursday night in Huntington Beach.

Strung Out @ The Glass House
8:00 pm – 12:00 am, February 26
The Glass House, Pomona
http://www.strungout.com/
http://www.theglasshouse.us/event/1036037-strung-out-pomona/

Punk band Strung Out will headline an all-ages show at the Glass House in Downtown Pomona this Friday night. Tickets to this show cost $16 presale or $18 at the door.

Agression – Live in Los Angeles
8:30 pm – 12:30 am, February 26
Cafe NELA, Los Angeles
http://www.facebook.com/events/1504475546524370/

Rock out to hardcore punk at this small show this Friday night in Los Angeles headlined by legendary nardcore band Agression. The cover for this show costs $10. No one under 21 may enter.

Tsunami Bomb: Live in Southern California
8:30 pm – 12:30 am, February 26, Brick By Brick, San Diego http://brickbybrick.ticketfly.com/event/1063063-sprung-monkey-tsunami-bomb-san-diego/
9:00 pm – 1:00 am, February 28, Alex’s Bar, Long Beach http://www.alexsbar.com/event/1082699-tsunami-bomb-long-beach/
http://www.tsunamibomblives.com/

Punk band Tsunami Bomb will headline shows this weekend in Southern California. Click on a show’s link for ticket prices. No one under 21 may enter any of these shows.

San Luis Obispo Craft Beer Fest
5:30 pm – 9:00 pm, February 26
1:00 pm – 5:00 pm, February 27
Alex Madonna Expo Center, San Luis Obispo
http://www.slo-beer-fest.com/

Get sudsy in San Luis Obispo this weekend and enjoy dozens of beers from dozens of breweries. Friday night consists of a pre-party with beer and blues music. Saturday will contain the full brewery lineup. Saturday-only tickets have sold out, but Friday’s event costs $45 while a two-day pass costs $90.

Insane Inflatable 5K Los Angeles
9:00 am – 3:00 pm, February 27
Fairplex, Pomona
http://insaneinflatable5k.com/pomona-ca/

It appears that people will do anything to break the mundane cycle of 5k runs. Introducing the Insane Inflatable 5K, a 5k obstacle course that takes you through inflatable obstacles. You remember these things as a kid. Now endure them as you challenge yourself and others to get through over three miles of this stuff. Registration costs $64 online or $75 on the day of the event, and comes with an event t-shirt.

13th Annual Los Angeles Golf Show
9:00 am – 5:00 pm, February 27
9:00 am – 4:00 pm, February 28
Los Angeles Convention Center, Los Angeles
http://lagolfshow.com/

Check out all things golf at this golf expo this weekend at the Los Angeles Convention Center. Admission costs $13 for adults, $11 for seniors, and children 12 and under enter free with a paid adult’s admission.

11th Annual Los Angeles Travel & Adventure Show
10:00 am – 5:00 pm, February 27-28
Long Beach Convention Center, Long Beach
http://travelshows.com/losangeles

Interested in traveling and getting out to explore? Find all the information and resources you need and more this weekend at the Travel & Adventure Show. Presale admission costs $12 for one day, or $18 for both days.

39th Annual Orange County Home & Garden Show
10:00 am – 7:00 pm, February 27
10:00 am – 5:00 pm, February 28
OC Fair & Event Center, Costa Mesa
http://www.thebesthomeshow.com/

This all-ages expo will showcase the latest in home improvement, remodeling, interior-design, decorating, landscaping, and more. Admission costs $6 for adults, while children 12 and under enter for free with a paid adult admission. Parking at the OC Fair costs $7 per vehicle.

Santa Anita Winners’ Circle Chili Cook Off
10:30 am – 6:00 pm, February 27
Santa Anita Park, Arcadia
http://santaanitabbq.com/ics-chili-2016/

Enjoy chili tastings from local cooks as they enter their prized chili recipes in hopes of taking home the grand prize. General admission costs $31 and includes eight 2oz chili tastings, one 12oz craft beer or wine, an 8oz bowl of the Santa Anita Park chili, and access to the racetrack and betting.

Brouwerij West Grand Opening
12:00 pm – 9:00 pm, February 27
Brouwerij West, San Pedro
http://www.brouwerijwest.com/

One of the most anticipated breweries to set foot in Southern California finally opens their doors to the public this Saturday in San Pedro. Free to attend, Brouwerij West will have at least eight beers on tap, plus gourmet food trucks all day and live music starting at 5pm.

Color Fun Fest 5K San Diego
2:00 pm – 10:00 pm, February 27
Sleep Train Amphitheatre, Chula Vista
http://colorfunfest5k.com/san-diego/

Subject yourself to another color run at this color 5k this Saturday in Chula Vista. This event features two running events: one during the day, and one at night. Registration for this run costs $60 presale or $75 on the day of the event, if any tickets remain.

The Dickies: Live in Ventura
8:00 pm – 1:00 am, February 27
The Garage, Ventura
http://www.facebook.com/events/1079532798725720/

Legendary punk band The Dickies will headline a small show in Ventura this Saturday night. Tickets for this show cost $12. No one under 21 may enter.

Dine Out Long Beach Restaurant Week 2.0
February 28 – March 5
Participating restaurants, Long Beach
http://dineoutlongbeach.com/

The city of Long Beach has so many fine restaurants that they will have an entire week to celebrate the bounty. During this 7-day period, participating restaurants will have various food & drink specials. Check the website linked above for a list of participating restaurants and their specials.

Nuke the Fridge Con (Stan Lee Special Edition)
9:00 am – 5:00 pm, February 28
Frank & Son’s, Rowland Heights
http://nukethefridge.com/

While it normally occurs in November each year, Nuke the Fridge Con returns to Rowland Heights this weekend for a special event featuring Stan Lee of Marvel fame. This FREE event features dozens of pop culture vendors all selling various goods of video games, sports memorabilia, comics, and other collectibles. Anyone will surely find something here to satisfy their inner collector.

Pasadena Comic Con & Toy Show
9:00 am – 5:00 pm, February 28
Pasadena Convention Center, Pasadena
http://www.pasadenacomicandtoyshow.com/

Pasadena gets their own all-ages convention dedicated to comics and toys this Sunday. General admission costs $7 and starts at 10am, while early admission costs $12 and starts at 9am.

Los Angeles Comic Book & Science Fiction Convention
9:00 am – 5:00 pm, February 28
The Reef, Los Angeles
http://www.comicbookscifi.com/

Comic book and sci-fi fans will not want to miss this one-day expo taking place in Los Angeles this Sunday. This event will feature the original cast of Star Trek, many other celebrities, hundreds of merchandise vendors, and lots more. General admission costs $12 and starts at 10am, while early admission costs $14 and starts at 9am.

Newport Beach Brewing Company’s 21st Anniversary Brewfest 8
1:00 pm – 5:00 pm, February 28
Newport Beach Brewing Company, Newport Beach
http://www.newportbeachbrewingcompany.com/
http://brewfest8.bpt.me/

Newport Beach Brewing Co. will host their annual Brewfest this Sunday at their brewery. $35 gets you unlimited beer tasters for the duration of the event. The brewery’s restaurant will remain open for anyone wanting to eat.

Reel Big Fish performing Beer at the 4th Annual OC Brew Ha Ha in Silverado, CA. Filmed on September 7, 2013.

The Haute Dogs Bulldog Beauty Contest returned for its 12th annual iteration this past Sunday at Marine Stadium in Long Beach. Organized by Justin Rudd and operated by the Community Action Team, this beauty pageant for bulldogs celebrates the charm and cuteness of these precious pets. Completely free to attend, guests could see and play with over 500 bulldogs, some even from out of state. Pet owners wanting to enter their dog had to pay a one-time participation fee of $10, which allowed the pooches to enter any of over 20 categories of competitions. These competitions more resembled sweepstakes than anything, as the dogs did not have to do anything physically tough other than walk around the runway once. In addition to bulldogs, a few of the contests allowed other breeds to participate, such as pugs, chihuahuas, and pit bulls. Other generic categories included cutest, ugliest, senior dogs, best in show, mutts, small dogs, and large dogs. Albeit not everyone who brought their dog actually entered a contest, everybody surely enjoyed the company of the pups, especially kids, whom bulldogs love to play with. Any pet lover should have made an effort to attend this free gathering of pets.

Events like these help to remind us of the joys these wonderful animals bring to our lives. If you currently do not have a pet, considering adding one to your life. They make great companions, and do not cost as much as a child. Stay on the lookout for pet events in your area for opportunities to learn about pets, and possibly acquire one.

The 23rd Annual Queen Mary ScotsFest returned this past weekend to Long Beach. This Scottish cultural festival celebrated everything that makes Scotland so memorable today. From the bagpipes to the kilts to the haggis to the highland games, anyone who has not experienced Scottish culture surely needed to check out this festival. The Scots built the Queen Mary many decades ago, so naturally they get to host this festival. Largely remaining unchanged from previous years, visitors attending for the first time will enjoy everything this festival has to offer. Guests attending again following previous years will not see much in the way of new things, besides new people and new tangible goods. The shepherding demo moved to the front of the venue area, providing more room for the highland games to take place at. The vendor village also expanded, albeit the expansion only made more room for weapons. Those Scots sure do love their weapons. Within the Queen Mary, the main banquet room hosted piping contests and dancing contests. Eventually, all the piping moved outside to give room for the girls to dance in the competitions. Just below that, a dart tournament took place, allowing anyone who registered online to test their skill at this pub game.

The way the Queen Mary handles pricing irritated me the most, and represents one of the main reasons why I originally boycotted events at the Queen Mary for many years. Simply put, the Queen Mary will always try to nickel & dime you as hard as possible in any fashion. For example, take a gander at the admission fee. Presale tickets cost $19 plus $3.63 in service and transaction fees. The website also mentioned that tickets at the gate would cost $22. In this case, people would think to buy tickets at the gate to save money. Unfortunately, the Queen Mary decided to pull a fast one and raise ticket prices at the gate. Visitors buying tickets at the gate had to pay $23 per ticket plus a $2.74 service fee. I understand the online fee because of the third party ticketing broker (Flavorus), but why a service fee at the front gate? Why not incorporate that into the ticket fee? Once you get past the admission shenanigans, you have to deal with exorbitantly priced products inside the festival. Things like bottled waters cost at least $5 while Bud Lights cost $10 or more. The vendors did not relent either, charging $10 for something as simple as a hot dog or slice of pizza. Coming back to the ScotsFest after many years of purposely avoiding events at the Queen Mary (except for Bacon Fest, which I got into for free) reminded me of why I originally boycotted all events at the Queen Mary.

The Highland Games took center stage as the main event of the fest, drawing in the largest crowds. Something about burly men in kilts tends to attract many people, men and women, old and young. I suppose in ancient Scotland times, someone picked up a heavy object, threw it, and his comrades decided to turn that into a competition, thus giving birth to the highland games. Purely speculating, all games involved throwing some object, usually with no technology involved; thus, the Highland Games.

For a two-day fest, the Queen Mary can pack a lot into ScotsFest. Both days followed a very similar schedule, which happens to follow similar schedules of previous years. Sad to say, to anyone who has attended ScotsFest in the past, you did not miss much. Everyone else who has not attended should consider attending next year. Consider donning a kilt and the rest of a Scottish outfit if attending. Getting into the Scottish spirit not only amps your enthusiasm up, but will likely make guests treat you more jovially.

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 2016 Long Beach Comic Expo returns to the Long Beach Convention Center this weekend, taking place over two days in all its glory. 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 $30 per person for Saturday, $25 for Sunday, or $50 for both days, 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.

I have hundreds of photos from a previous year’s expo, which you can find at http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.298093063688353.1073741947.132847846879543
Yes, I just went full lazy-mode here. View a teaser photo here, selected as a top favorite from my album:

Earlier I had mentioned that this expo occurs semiannually. The Fall expo, the Long Beach Comic Con, returns in September. The Fall event generally takes place in Hall B, a larger space than the Expo, and generally has a greater turnout due to more famous people in attendance. 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.