Archive for November, 2016

The Fall 2016 Santa Ana Patchwork Indie Arts & Crafts Festival returned to Downtown Santa Ana this past Sunday afternoon. This semi-annual arts & crafts fair consists of a series of Sunday fairs in Long Beach, Oakland, and Santa Ana. To envision Patchwork Fest, imagine an arts & crafts fair, but catered to a modern trendy crowd. The many local vendors set up their booths here, selling their wares, merchandise, apparel, accessories, foods, desserts, music, and so on. Patchwork Fest emphasizes supporting the local community, a perfect follow-up to Small Business Saturday that took place the Saturday prior, a day prior to Patchwork Fest.

Completely free to attend to the public, Patchwork Fest openly welcomes pets, and boasts a free bike valet for visitors. Each branch of the streets featured over a hundred different local vendors all selling their various goods and/or services. Visitors who get hungry could enjoy fresh hot eats from the various food vendors throughout the event area, or can browse through the various food booths in the fest for portable eats. Although the rain arrived in waves throughout the day, a little wetness did not stop the vendors from going strong, nor did the rain stop the thousands of visitors from seeking out great gifts. As the day progressed, the rain started to thin out, and the day ended with the visible sun setting over the horizon.

As a FREE event open to all ages and all pets, Patchwork Fest presents a welcome opportunity to support the local community. If you did not make it to Patchwork Fest, fret not – Patchwork Fest will return to its full glory around May to June next year. Come experience what makes Patchwork Fest a repeat success, and support local businesses while having fun. For more information about this Sunday’s event and future events, make sure you keep up with Patchwork Fest by liking them on Facebook and following them on Twitter.

The 34th Annual Belmont Shore Christmas Parade returns this Saturday night. This wondrous treat for locals allows the community to recognize prominent individuals, groups, and organizations that help to shape what Long Beach represents. Although free, this parade draws in an enormous crowd every year, equating to immense traffic and insufficient parking, especially since police will close 2nd Street to traffic starting at 5pm. I always just park incredibly far away and just walk to Belmont Shore with friends, although I have seen groups bike there. Many people set up seats along the parade route, which encircles 2nd Street in both directions, quite early. Arrive too late and you may just barely catch the tail end of the parade with some visibility.

Returning to the parade this year, So Cal Corgi Nation will incorporate themselves into the parade as one of the marching participants. This organization normally hosts Corgi meet-ups at nearby dog beaches for Corgi owners and lovers to come and check out all the beloved companions. While they would normally have one of these meet-ups around this time of the year (following a quarterly schedule), due to the cold weather and other events taking place, it makes more sense to simply combine the meet-up into the parade, and thus the organization had combined into this parade.

Looking for something festive to do with friends and/or family this weekend? Bring them to Belmont Shore and check out the parade. It costs nothing to attend, just the agony of searching for parking or arriving early and waiting until then. But even if you do the latter, Belmont Shore has plenty of businesses and activities to keep you and your group occupied for quite some time. So if I do not see you at the parade this Saturday night, Happy Holidays to you and yours~

The Public House by Evans Brewing Co. – Grand Opening
5:00 pm – 7:00 pm, November 30
The Public House by Evans Brewing Co., Fullerton

Although they have already opened under a soft opening, Evans Brewing will officially open their doors to the public starting this Wednesday in Downtown Fullerton. They will have complimentary appetizers, beers, and wines for the first two hours.

The Inspired Market – Rancho Cucamonga
4:00 pm – 9:00 pm, December 1
Thomas Winery Plaza, Rancho Cucamonga

This free and all-ages arts & crafts fair takes place on the first and third Thursdays of each month in Rancho Cucamonga. Swing on by and check out the various vendors here selling accessories, apparel, and more.

Riviera Village Holiday Stroll
5:00 pm – 9:00 pm, December 1
Riviera Village, Redondo Beach

Explore Riviera Village in Redondo Beach this Thursday evening and enjoy holiday-themed festivities such as horse-drawn carriage rides, holiday music, a parade at 6pm, local shopping sales, food & drink specials, and more.

32nd Annual Pomona Harvest Festival
10:00 am – 6:00 pm, December 2-4
Fairplex, Pomona

Shop thousands of handmade American arts & crafts in hundreds of booths over the weekend. Find beautiful jewelry, clothing, specialty foods, photography, hand-turned wood, ceramics, and more. Admission costs $9 for Adults, $7 for Seniors, $4 for Youth, and 12 & under get in free.

Bibigo Torrance Grand Opening
12:00 pm – 3:00 pm, December 2
Bibigo, Del Amo Fashion Center, Torrance

A new Bibigo opens their doors to the public this Friday afternoon in Torrance. Visit from noon to 3pm to receive a FREE bowl while supplies last.

4th Annual Good Food Showcase
1:00 pm – 4:00 pm, December 2
Coastal Roots Farm, Encinitas

Check out local farms, chefs, and products this Friday afternoon in Encinitas. Admission costs $10 and gets you access to all the exhibitors on site.

20th Annual Pizza Port Carlsbad Strong Ale Festival
2:00 pm – 10:00 pm, December 2-3
Pizza Port Bottle Shop, Carlsbad

Submerge yourself in strong beers this weekend at Pizza Port in Carlsbad. General admission costs $45, starts at 5pm, and includes a souvenir glass and eight beer tasters. VIP sessions cost $70, start at 2pm, and also include complimentary food and access to purchase rare bottles.

38th Annual Balboa Park December Nights
3:00 pm – 11:00 pm, December 2
12:00 pm – 11:00 pm, December 3
Balboa Park, San Diego

This free and all-ages event allows visitors to check out the museums of Balboa Park free of charge, and enjoy the live holiday-themed entertainment.

53rd Annual Ski Dazzle Ski Show & Snowboard Expo
3:00 pm – 11:00 pm, December 2
11:00 am – 10:00 pm, December 3
12:00 pm – 6:00 pm, December 4
Los Angeles Convention Center, Downtown Los Angeles

Check out all things ski, snowboard, and other winter/snow sports this weekend in Downtown LA. Daily admission costs $20 for adults or $5 for children, and grants access to the full show floor filled with over a hundred different vendors. Bring cash for parking as well.

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

This monthly artwalk occurs on the first Friday of every month. Each location offers different activities, but most will contain food & drink specials, art exhibits & displays, street performers, and more. Venice and Long Beach have the two largest gatherings of all First Fridays. Other locations include Westchester, Fullerton, and City of Industry. Most First Fridays locations cost nothing to attend, while the local businesses uphold their standard rules (e.g. bars 21+ only).

Uptown Village Market
5:00 pm – 10:00 pm, December 2
11:00 am – 5:00 pm, December 3
Expo Arts Center, Bixby Knolls, Long Beach

Local artists and vendors will display and sell their wares at this FREE art fest. Guests can look at some interesting works of art, while browsing through all the merchandise available to purchase. The organizers will provide free refreshments, while live bands and singers will keep guests entertained.

Seal Beach Christmas Parade 2016
7:00 pm – 9:00 pm, December 2
Main Street, Seal Beach

Enjoy a free and all-ages holidays parade this Friday night in Old Town Seal Beach. Make sure you arrive early to secure parking and a good spot along the parade route.

LA Weekly Sips & Sweets 2016
7:00 pm – 11:00 pm, December 2
Petersen Automotive Museum, Mid-Wilshire

Indulge on desserts and alcohol this Friday night in Los Angeles. General admission costs $45 and starts at 8pm, while VIP admission costs $65 and starts at 7pm. All attendees receive unlimited food and drinks while supplies last. No one under 21 may attend.

Skacore Night in Corona
7:00 pm – 1:00 am, December 2
M15 Concert Bar & Grill, Corona

Get your skanking on at this skacore show in Corona this Friday night. The cover for this all-ages show costs $6.

Kat’s Birthday Bash!
8:00 pm – 2:00 am, December 2
Blacklight District Lounge, Long Beach

Get your weekly dose of local punk rock this Friday night in Long Beach. They have not specified a cover charge, so have cash available on hand for that. No one under 21 may enter.

Agent Orange: Live in Southern California
8:00 pm – 12:00 am, December 2, The Karman Bar, Laguna Niguel
8:30 pm – 12:30 am, December 3, The Casbah, Middletown, San Diego

Legendary surf punk band Agent Orange will headline shows in Southern California this weekend. The ticket price varies with each show, so click on a show’s link for details. No one under 21 may enter these shows.

Guttermouth: Live in San Diego
8:30 pm – 12:30 am, December 2
Soda Bar, Normal Heights, San Diego

Legendary punk rock band Guttermouth will headline a show in San Diego this Friday night. Tickets to this show cost $15 presale or $17 at the door. No one under 21 may enter.

Pulley: Live in Long Beach
9:00 pm – 2:00 am, December 2
Alex’s Bar, Long Beach

Punk rock band Pulley will headline a show in Long Beach this Friday night. Tickets to this show cost $10 presale or $12 at the door. No one under 21 may enter.

3rd Annual Run For A Claus
6:30 am – 11:00 am, December 3
University of California Irvine (turnaround at center of campus), Irvine

Participate in a 5K run this Saturday morning in Irvine. Kids may opt to participate in a 1-mile fun run instead. Registration for either run costs $40 for adults, with the price going down for younger participants.

3rd Annual Grand Central Market Holiday Marketplace
9:00 am – 6:00 pm, December 3-4
Grand Central Market, Downtown Los Angeles

This weekend at Grand Central Market in Downtown LA, retail popups will offer special holiday products, while market vendors will have holiday deals on their goods. Visitors will also find cookbook signings, live music, and arts & crafts for the little ones.

Foodie Con 2016
9:00 am – 6:00 pm, December 3
10:00 am – 5:00 pm, December 4
The Reef, South Central, Los Angeles

If you have gone to Artisanal LA, this will feel very familiar. Check out this event in Los Angeles this weekend filled with dozens of vendors selling and/or sampling various food & beverage products. The event will also have speakers, demos, activities, and miscellaneous vendors. Admission costs $30 for one day, $45 for both days, $55 for VIP admission (early entry plus other goodies), or $7 for children. Attendees can find free street parking in the nearby neighborhoods.

Holiday Vintage Pop Up at Ms. Vintage
10:00 am – 2:00 pm, December 3
Ms. Vintage Clothing, Grant Hill, San Diego

A special vintage pop-up will take place in San Diego this Saturday morning. Free to attend for all ages, check out dozens of vendors selling vintage apparel, accessories, and more.

The Original International Tiki Market Place
10:00 am – 3:00 pm, December 3
Elks Lodge 1952, Garden Grove

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.

46th Annual Candy Caneland & Craft Faire
10:00 am – 4:00 pm, December 3
Ehlers Event Center, Buena Park

Enjoy a free and all-ages holidays event this Saturday in Buena Park. Attendees can expect plenty of fun activities for the entire family. Bring cash for food and vendors.

San Diego STEAM Maker Festival
10:00 am – 4:00 pm, December 3
Del Mar Fairgrounds, Del Mar

An interactive educational event for all ages comes to Del Mar this Saturday. Admission costs $8 for adults or $6 for children, and provides access to all the vendors, exhibitors, demos, games, activities, and more.

2016 Holiday Craft Faire
10:00 am – 6:00 pm, December 3-4
Whimsic Alley, Los Angeles

Check out this FREE and all-ages event going on this weekend in Los Angeles. Visitors will find plenty of arts & crafts from local designers with a passion for pop culture and the holidays.

22nd Annual Nutcracker Christmas Tree Lighting & Holiday Village
10:00 am – 7:00 pm, December 3
Center Street Promenade, Downtown Anaheim

Completely FREE to attend for all ages, this Christmas tree-lighting celebration lasts all day. During the day, guests can partake in breakfast with Santa, kids’ crafts & activities, a food fair, live entertainment, train rides, snow play, and more. The actual tree lighting begins at 6pm. If you need something to do with family, bring them to Downtown Anaheim this Saturday night.

PlayStation Experience 2016
10:00 am – 10:00 pm, December 3
10:00 am – 6:00 pm, December 4
Anaheim Convention Center, Anaheim

Check out all things Sony and PlayStation, including the new PS VR and PS4 Pro, this weekend at the Anaheim Convention Center. Admission to this all-ages expo costs $45 for Saturday, $40 for Sunday, or $75 for both days.

2nd Annual Go Little Tokyo Holiday Marketplace
10:00 am – 10:00 pm, December 3-4
Little Tokyo, Downtown Los Angeles

Free to attend for all ages, visitors to Little Tokyo in Downtown LA this weekend will find lots of holiday festivities, activities, sales, specials, and more.

53rd Annual North Park Toyland Parade & Festival
11:00 am – 3:00 pm, December 3
North Park, San Diego

A free and all-ages festive parade takes place in North Park this Saturday morning. Following the parade, lots of holiday activities will take place in North Park on both 30th Street and University Avenue.

6th Annual Los Angeles International Tea Festival
11:00 am – 5:00 pm, December 3-4
Japanese American National Museum, Downtown Los Angeles

Sample teas from around the world, and sample Japanese cuisine at this tea festival. General admission to this all-ages festival costs $20. Guests can park for free on the street on Sunday. On Saturday, all lots and meters will operate normally.

9th Annual Unique LA Holiday Show
11:00 am – 6:00 pm, December 3-4
The California Market Center, Downtown Los Angeles

Their website describes this event best: “The largest independent design show in the country, attendees get the rare chance to meet and shop directly from over 350 hand-selected designers and artists. The exciting two-day shopping event makes it easy for you to buy local and support LA’s economy, discover great design and deals, join in community, and have a blast.” The $15 admission allows for unlimited reentry for both days, and anyone buying presale online will receive a free tote bag. Guests over 21 can receive free cocktails, while all guests may receive other free drinks, like teas and waters. The show will also feature some of LA’s most popular restaurants and food trucks serving their delicious food. Parking directly at the venue costs $6, while nearby parking lots will range from $3-5.

Artisanal LA Holiday City Market
11:00 am – 7:00 pm, December 3
1st & Huntington, Arcadia

Artisanal LA brings you this one-of-a-kind street fair this Saturday. At this free and all-ages event, visitors to this European market inspired local shopping experience will find food, drinks, treats, art, apparel, accessories, live entertainment, arts & crafts, and more. Have some cash available for parking, as free parking does not exist anywhere near this area.

Holidayfest on South Lake Avenue
12:00 pm – 5:00 pm, December 3
Corporate Center Pasadena, Pasadena

Free to attend for all ages, this holiday festival will surely keep you and your family entertained. Visitors will find holiday activities, in-store specials & deals, Santa Claus, horse-carriage rides, live music, arts & crafts, games, food, drinks, and more.

2016 Chula Vista Starlight Parade & Frosty’s Snow Hill
12:00 pm – 8:00 pm, December 3
Memorial Park, Chula Vista

Family-friendly festivities will take place in Chula Vista this Saturday. Starting at noon, visitors will find snow at Memorial Park, plus other activities. A Christmas parade will start at 6pm on 3rd Avenue.

Carols & Barrels – A Holiday Beer & Wine Festival
1:00 pm – 5:30 pm, December 3
Port Pavilion on Broadway Pier, San Diego

This looks like another big corporate beer festival, so stay wary. This one takes place in Downtown San Diego at the same place that the popular San Diego Brewers’ Guild Festival takes place. General admission costs $55 and starts at 2pm, while VIP admission costs $85 and starts at 1pm. All attendees receive a souvenir cup and unlimited drinks while supplies last. Bring extra cash for parking and food. No one under 21 may attend.

24th Annual Holiday Sonata in Uptown Whittier
4:00 pm – 9:00 pm, December 3
Streets of Uptown Whittier

Bring out the family to this free and all-ages event on the streets of Uptown Whittier. Visitors will experience Christmas Village, Santa Claus, horse-drawn carriage rides, live music, carolers, live entertainment, local shopping sales, food & drink specials, and lots more.

2017 Miss California USA Pageant
4:00 pm – 9:00 pm, December 3-4
Terrace Theater, Long Beach Convention Center, Downtown Long Beach

On Saturday, catch the Miss California USA & Miss California Teen USA Preliminary Competition. On Sunday, see the Final Show Dress Rehearsal and the Final Coronation Show. Ticket prices range from $60 to $80 for the competitions, while tickets to the dress rehearsal cost about $30.

2016 Encinitas Holiday Parade
5:00 pm – 7:30 pm, December 3
Coast Highway 101, Encinitas

Enjoy a free and all-ages Christmas tree lighting ceremony followed by a holiday parade this Saturday evening in Encinitas.

37th Annual Ocean Beach Holiday Parade
5:00 pm – 8:00 pm, December 3
Newport Avenue, Ocean Beach, San Diego

Bring the family out to this local holiday parade this Saturday evening in Ocean Beach. Arrive early to find parking and secure a spot to watch along the parade route.

1st Annual Riverside Wine & Beer Festival
5:00 pm – 9:00 pm, December 3
Riverside Municipal Auditorium, Riverside

A wine and beer festival will take place in Downtown Riverside this Saturday night. The website does not show ticket prices currently, but they will have general admission that starts at 6pm and VIP admission that starts at 5pm. No one under 21 may attend.

34th Annual Belmont Shore Christmas Parade
6:00 pm – 9:00 pm, December 3
2nd Street, Belmont Shore, Long Beach

Police will close 2nd Street beginning at 5pm from Livingston through Bay Shore. As one of Belmont Shore’s most popular annual events, parking fills up intensely within a mile radius. I recommend parking way away and either bike or walk to Belmont Shore.

54th Annual LA Harbor Holiday Afloat Boat Parade
6:00 pm – 9:00 pm, December 3
Ports O’ Call, San Pedro

Enjoy a free and all-ages holiday boat parade with thousands of sparkling lights this Saturday night in San Pedro. Visitors have plenty of spots along the river to view the parade from – check the website for the parade route and viewing spots.

OC Roller Derby – Winter Wonderslam
6:00 pm – 9:00 pm, December 3
The Rinks, Huntington Beach

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 $15.

South Park Winter Walkabout
6:00 pm – 10:00 pm, December 3
30th Street, South Park, San Diego

During this free and all-ages quarterly stroll through South Park, visitors can check out all the of the local businesses as they have specials and activities available.

Iron Triangle Brewing’s One-Year Anniversary
7:00 pm – 12:00 am, December 3
6:00 pm – 9:30 pm, December 4
Iron Triangle Brewing, Downtown Los Angeles

Downtown LA’s Iron Triangle Brewing celebrates a year in the SoCal craft beer industry this weekend with beer and live music. Tickets cost $20 presale or $25 at the door, and gets you in to Sunday night at the tasting room. No one under 21 may attend.

Pomona Swap Meet & Classic Car Show
5:00 am – 2:00 pm, December 4
Fairplex, Pomona

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.

Autism Speaks Walk – Orange County
9:00 am – 1:00 pm, December 4
Angel Stadium, Anaheim

Walk for charity this Sunday morning in Anaheim. Raise certain amounts of money to qualify for rewards, which you can find out about on their website.

10th Annual Home for the Holidays Pet Adoption Fair
10:00 am – 3:00 pm, December 4
Irvine Animal Care Center, Irvine

A pet adoption fair will take place in Irvine this Sunday, which will have hundreds of pets available for adoption, plus mobile food vendors, other pet accessory vendors, demos, a silent auction, and more. Although free to attend for all ages, they suggest a $2 donation per person to attend.

3rd Annual Mosaic Craft Fair
10:00 am – 4:00 pm, December 4
The Alhambra at Urban Community, Alhambra

Get crafty at this arts & crafts fair this Sunday afternoon in Alhambra. Free to attend for all ages, visitors will find dozens of independent designers selling their goods, a handful of mobile food vendors, a beer garden, live music, entertainment, and more.

4th Annual Winter Drive
10:00 am – 4:00 pm, December 4
Industry Hills Expo Center, City of Industry

See all things cars at this car show presented by AutoCon this Sunday in the City of Industry. Attendees will find hundreds of classic & customs cars, a huge vendor village, demos, food trucks, import models, and more. Although free to attend for all ages, they suggest donating an unwrapped toy worth $10 or more upon entering.

38th Annual Corona Del Mar Christmas Walk
11:00 am – 4:00 pm, December 4
Corona Del Mar’s Business District, Corona Del Mar

Free to attend for all ages, many businesses in Corona Del Mar will have specials and activities this Sunday afternoon.

7th Annual SoNo Fest & Chili Cookoff
11:00 am – 5:00 pm, December 4
32nd & Thorn, North Park, San Diego

Check out this free and all-ages event this Sunday afternoon in North Park that will have chili, a beer garden, a kids’ zone, vendors, live music, and more. Although free to attend, visitors can pay $20 to receive a handcrafted ceramic bowl and five restaurant chili tastings.

2nd Annual Mac & Cheese Smackdown
12:00 pm – 7:00 pm, December 4
Bank of America Center, Downtown Los Angeles

Gorge yourself out on mac & cheese from seven of Los Angeles’ top chefs this Sunday afternoon in Glassell Park. $30 admission gets you two hours of all-you-can-eat mac & cheese while supplies last. Three two-hour sessions will take place: 12pm-2pm, 2:30-4:30, and 5pm-7pm.

65th Annual Downey Christmas Parade
1:00 pm – 4:00 pm, December 4
Downey & Florence, Downey

Enjoy a free all-ages holiday parade in Downey this Sunday afternoon.

City of Irvine’s Winter Wonderland
3:00 pm – 8:00 pm, December 4
Irvine Civic Center, Irvine

Irvine will have a free and all-ages holiday-themed event this Sunday evening. Visitors will find Christmas lights, a Christmas tree, arts & crafts, games, train rides, food & drinks, Santa Claus, and more.

22nd Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony & Candlelight Choir Procession
3:30 pm – 7:30 pm, December 4
Old Towne Plaza Area, Orange

Come to Orange this Sunday evening for holiday cheer and family fun with traditional carols and a tree lighting ceremony at 5:15pm.

The Fall 2016 Santa Ana Patchwork Indie Arts & Crafts Festival returns to W 2nd St & N Sycamore St in Downtown Santa Ana this coming Sunday. This semi-annual arts & crafts fair consists of a series of Sunday fairs in Long Beach, Oakland, and Santa Ana. To envision Patchwork Fest, imagine an arts & crafts fair, but catered to a modern trendy crowd. As I describe it to others, imagine an art fair full of hipsters, but in a non-offensive way. The many local vendors set up their booths here, selling their wares, merchandise, apparel, accessories, foods, desserts, music, and so on. Patchwork Fest emphasizes supporting the local community, a perfect follow-up to Small Business Saturday that takes place this Saturday, a day prior to Patchwork Fest.

Completely free to attend to the public, Patchwork Fest openly welcomes pets, and boasts a free bike valet for visitors. Each branch of the streets will feature dozens of different local vendors all selling their various goods and/or services. Check out the few music booths around the area, which will host local musicians. Visitors who get hungry can enjoy fresh hot eats from the various food vendors throughout the event area, or can browse through the various food booths in the fest for portable eats. As this event takes place in Downtown Santa Ana, visitors will walk by a handful of great local restaurants as well.

As a FREE event open to all ages and all pets, Patchwork Fest presents a welcome opportunity to support the local community. Commuting visitors should look for parking in the neighborhood to the south. Come experience what makes Patchwork Fest a repeat success, and support local businesses while having fun this Sunday. For more information about this Sunday’s event and future events, make sure you keep up with Patchwork Fest by liking them on Facebook and following them on Twitter.

The Vandals performing Anarchy Burger at Rob Zombie’s Great American Nightmare in Pomona, CA. Filmed on October 19, 2013.

Nothing can stop the big boom of craft beer in the country. Times have changed, and the people want quality over quantity. During the 20th century, mass production and the advent of media and advertising meant that the big corporations got word of their mass-produced products out to the public, overshadowing the local mom & pop shops. As time passed, preferences changed to the local goods, and the big corporations started to buy out the little guys. We now enter the 21st century, where the internet reigns supreme as far as advertising and information trading goes. As such, people want something different and unique, not the same things seen everywhere. So when a new local establishment pops up, people will surely flock to it, such as with Gunwhale Ales in Costa Mesa.

Saying hello to another microbrewery in Orange County, we arrive at Gunwhale Ales. Located in Costa Mesa just across the street from Barley Forge (another microbrewery), Gunwhale Ales has arrived to dish out their take on craft beers. They already have an expansive facility with a spacious brewing area and plenty of seating, including an enclosed patio. Upon taking a step into the building, we discover an entirely different world than the urban sprawl on the outside. Gunwhale Ales follows a hunting theme, complete with decorations that would remind one of the outdoors, woods, and woodsmen. Similarly, the brews follow a sort of trend with the saisons and farmhouse ales offered. To add on to the outdoors theme, instead of the typical brown glass growlers that most other breweries offer, Gunwhale Ales carries crowlers instead. They function just as well as traditional brown glass growlers, but will not break due to its aluminum build.

Check out Gunwhale Ales in Costa Mesa open Tuesdays through Sundays starting at 11am. In the meantime, check out Gunwhale Ales on Facebook and Twitter to see what else they have in store.

Success does not stack up on just one spectrum. When measuring levels of success, one cannot look at one line, or a ladder, so to speak. Success comes in many different directions. One can specialize in one thing and gain success due to that one particular aspect. For example, GoPro specializes in their action cameras, and while they have other products, the general public only recognizes GoPro for their action cameras. However, some paths have a certain ceiling to success, and when one reaches that ceiling, they must branch off to find success elsewhere. For example, musicians traditionally have such a ceiling of success that they can attain, with the occasional exception of musicians who truly transcend their time. Rock bands such as Reel Big Fish and The Offspring can only gain so much success, so when they have reached their cap on music fame, they turn to side projects. For example, Dan Regan left Reel Big Fish a few years ago to open a microbrewery. Just over a decade ago, The Offspring’s frontman Dexter Holland opened up a side project in his hometown to whip up hot sauces that he has named Gringo Bandito.

Armed with the success of their music career, frontman of the multi-platinum group The Offspring’s Dexter Holland founded Gringo Bandito hot sauces in 2004. Many of the mainstream brands of hot sauces do not contain the proper proportion of peppers in the sauces, so those who consume mainstream hot sauces have turned complacent to how spicy a hot sauce should taste. With Gringo Bandito hot sauces, you only get vinegar and peppers, simply natural ingredients with nothing hidden. Gringo Bandito hot sauces come in three primary varieties: traditional red, salsa verde (green sauce), and super hot. Quite frankly, albeit I cannot take foods beyond medium spiciness, the super hot sauce contained plenty of upfront flavor that the spiciness really does not affect me until the very end. Despite the generous percent of peppers in these sauces, the heat does not torture your palate, so you can have your heat and eat it too.

As an annual treat, Gringo Bandito releases Private Reserve hot sauces created in small batches. TODAY starting at 9am Pacific time, Gringo Bandito will have three Private Reserve flavors available: Yellow Bhut, Yellow Moruga and Yellow Carolina Reaper. Interested patrons can order within three package tiers:

  • Super Duper: Signed & numbered Private Reserve bottle with foil label, custom pine box, two guitar picks, certificate of authenticity, t-shirt, and a cheapskate bottle to taste
  • Just Super: Private Reserve bottle with foil label, custom pine box, two guitar picks, certificate of authenticity, and a cheapskate bottle to taste
  • Cheapskate: Single bottle of Private Reserve with circle label

One lucky customer who buys the Super Duper will win a signed guitar. Gringo Bandito will offer 350 Super Duper’s, 100 Just Super’s, and 200 Cheapskate Editions. They will not sell any more than that, so once they sell out, you will have to wait until next year to taste these extra hot sauces.

I concocted a live taste taste of these hot sauces, so if you would like to watch as I taste them, click here to check out my live stream! This link will expire on the night of Saturday, December 3rd.

2016 Los Angeles Auto Show
9:00 am – 9:00 pm, November 18-27
Los Angeles Convention Center, Los Angeles

Check out the newest and latest cars, trucks, exotics, and more. General admission costs $12 on weekdays or $15 on weekends.

37th Annual San Diego Jazz Festival
7:00 pm – 11:00 pm, November 23
6:00 pm – 11:00 pm, November 24
10:30 am – 12:00 am, November 25
9:30 am – 12:00 am, November 26
8:00 am – 6:00 pm, November 27
Town & Country Resort Hotel, Mission Valley, San Diego

Enjoy a weekend filled with jazz this week in San Diego. Admission varies depending on when you want to attend, which you can buy at the gate.

4th Annual Turkey Bowl
9:00 pm – 2:00 am, November 23
Character’s Sports Bar, Pomona

As they do every year, Characters Sports Bar will host a pre-Thanksgiving show in Pomona this Wednesday. The cover charge for this show costs $15. No one under 21 may enter. Guests can find plenty of free street parking nearby.

November 24
United States

Happy Turkey Day! Take a breather and relax on this national holiday.

Long Beach Turkey Trot 5k/10k Run/Walk
6:00 am – 11:00 am, November 24
Belmont Olympic Pool, Long Beach

This fun run takes place on Thanksgiving morning. Four different runs start at 7am, 8am, 9am, and 10am. The registration fee now costs $40 per person for any run. Participants may park in nearby beach parking lots for free until the end of the event, upon which officials will enforce the parking meters.

39th Annual Dana Point Turkey Trot
6:00 am – 11:00 am, November 24
Dana Point Harbor, Dana Point

Another Thanksgiving fun run takes place in Dana Point. Registration costs $40 per person. As with any fun run, participants do not receive prizes for winning.

Turkey Trot Los Angeles
6:30 am – 11:00 am, November 24
Grand Park, Downtown Los Angeles

Moving from Santa Monica to Los Angeles, the Turkey Trot will combine a fair with a race, with a costume contest, turkey calling contest, potato sack races, and other fair-themed activities. Registration currently costs $35, but will increase to $40 starting Thursday.

Thanksgiving Extra-Noodle Challenge 2016
11:00 am – 10:00 pm, November 24
Shin-Sen-Gumi Hakata Ramen, all five locations

Looking for a feast this Thanksgiving without doing the cooking? Head to any of Shin Sen Gumi’s five ramen locations throughout Southern California this Thursday for their noodle challenge. For $10, get all-you-can-eat ramen for 30 minutes. This fee includes one bowl of ramen, one bowl of soup, then unlimited “EXTRA” noodles until time runs out. A free t-shirt goes to men who eat six EXTRA noodles or women who eat four EXTRA noodles. The men’s and women’s champion of each store will receive a $50 gift certificate after the day’s end.

LosCon 43
9:00 am – 8:00 pm, November 25-26
9:00 am – 2:00 pm, November 27
LAX Mariott Hotel, Los Angeles

This annual convention has something to do with science fiction/fantasy. Registration for this weekend-long fandom event costs $60.

The Interrupters: Live in Southern California
7:00 pm – 11:00 pm, November 25, Glass House, Pomona
7:00 pm – 11:00 pm, November 26, The Irenic, North Park, San Diego

Ska band The Interrupters currently tour across the continent, and that tour will conclude in Southern California this weekend.Each show has a different ticket price and age limit, so check on their website for full details for each show.

D.I. @ The World Famous Doll Hut
8:00 pm – 1:00 am, November 25
The World Famous Doll Hut, Anaheim

Get your weekly dose of punk rock this Friday night at the Doll Hut in Anaheim. Tickets to this local punk rock show cost $10 presale or $12 at the door. No one under 21 may enter.

Matamoska’s 15th Anniversary Show
8:00 pm – 1:00 am, November 25
The Observatory’s Constellation Room, Santa Ana

Get your skanking on this Friday night at this skacore show in Santa Ana. Tickets to this all-ages show cost $8. Arrive early to park at the venue’s parking lot for free. Arrive too late, and end up parking in a parking lot down the street for $10 per vehicle.

10th Annual Rockabilly Extravaganza & Cavalcade of Beauty Pin Up Contest
9:00 am – 6:00 pm, November 26
Riverside Municipal Airport, Riverside

An all-ages rockabilly show takes over the Riverside Airport this Saturday. For $10 admission, visitors will find live music, classic cars, live entertainment, a pin up contest, arts & crafts, food, drinks, and more.

Zine Queens Vol. 2: The Library Is Open
11:00 am – 5:00 pm, November 26
Long Beach Main Library, Downtown Long Beach

Art lovers rejoice – Long Beach gets their own Zine Fest this Saturday afternoon. This free and all-ages event will feature dozens 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.

6th Annual We Heart Eagle Rock Block Party
11:00 am – 6:00 pm, November 26
Eagle Rock Blvd & Colorado Blvd, Eagle Rock

Several shops in Eagle Rock will participate in this local Small Business Saturday celebration with sidewalk sales and other specials. Every shop will host their own specials, and some will have public activities, such as bounce houses or arts & crafts.

2nd Annual Adams Avenue Spirit Stroll
2:00 pm – 5:00 pm, November 25
Smitty’s Service, Normal Heights, San Diego

For $24, guests will get to sample holiday cocktails from 14 different locations along Adams Avenue this Saturday afternoon. No one under 21 may participate.

Radioactive Chicken Heads: Live in Tarzana
9:00 pm – 1:00 am, November 26
Maui Sugar Hill Saloon, Tarzana

The Radioactive Chicken Heads will headline a FREE show this Saturday night in Tarzana. No one under 21 may enter.

Death By Stereo Plays “Into The Valley of Death”
9:00 pm – 2:00 am, November 26
Alex’s Bar, Long Beach

Hardcore punk band Death By Stereo will headline a show in Long Beach this Sunday night. Tickets to this show cost $13 presale or $15 at the door. No one under 21 may enter.

Patchwork Indie Arts & Crafts Festival
11:00 am – 5:00 pm, November 27
2nd & Sycamore, Downtown Santa Ana

This semi-annual arts & crafts fair consists of a series of Sunday fests at different locations: Long Beach, Oakland, and Santa Ana. As with any typical arts & crafts fair, Patchwork will feature many traditional forms of art and merchandise, but also mixes in alternative art – thinking outside the box, or Rebel Art. Featuring clothing, accessories, home goods, jewelry, pet items, and more, this FREE fest caters to a wide & diverse crowd. Food trucks will serve guests during the fest. Always remember to carry cash, since most vendors only accept cash. The surrounding neighborhood contains plenty of free street parking.

3rd Annual La Habra Tamale Festival
11:00 am – 6:00 pm, November 27
La Habra Community Center, La Habra

Free to attend for all ages, this event will have various food vendors, arts & crafts, merchandise vendors, live music, live entertainment, a churro-eating contest, Santa Claus, and more.

Craft beer has remained popular for quite some time now, and will continue to remain popular. With all of the experimentation done by brewers across the world, craft beer fans start to see many different styles, as well as meet old styles reinvented to today’s craft standards. Experimenting with ales has introduced many people to other styles such as the saison, gosé, wild ale, mead, and cider. Corporations have dulled our perceptions of ciders with all the mass-produced stuff on the market, so it comes down to local craft cideries to bring ciders back up to par along with craft beer. Ciders have a lot of popularity in the Pacific Northwest due to the climate and availability of ingredients, but craft cider has not made a huge impact on Southern California yet. Many cideries from the Pacific Northwest have reps down in SoCal, but so far the area had lacked a standing presence. That all changed with Honest Abe Cidery, Los Angeles County’s first and currently only microcidery.

Hidden in an industrial complex on the edge of Gardena bordering Carson, Honest Abe Cidery delivers craft cider out of a very small space. With the slow yet steady rise of the popularity of craft cider, it only made sense to start a cidery in Southern California, and the folks at Honest Abe Cidery did just that. Everyone has to start somewhere, and Honest Abe Cidery started small with just one simple fermentation system, smaller than a lot of other production facilities. As such, they can dedicate much of their space as a tasting room. While some smaller microbreweries may have a cramped tasting room, Honest Abe Cidery’s tasting room has plenty of space to kick back or move about. As far as the actual ciders go, Honest Abe Cidery has a standard lineup of ciders that they always carry, plus seasonal ciders based on the season’s fruits. Standard ciders here range between 6% to 8% abv, while Honest Abe Cidery also carries a handful of stronger ciders, including some aged ciders.

Curious to know where you can locate some of this amazing local cider? Visit their Facebook and Twitter pages to see what they have going on and for updates about their beverages.

An expo featuring the expansive world of Eastern culture took place this past weekend, as the 2016 Pacific Media Expo returned to the Pasadena Convention Center. As its name suggests, this expo featured just about everything revolving around Asian pop culture, from the fashion to the fiction to the food to the art to the music and so much more. Attendees would encounter art, music, dance, entertainment, cosplay, fashion, anime, manga, comics, video games, merchandise, accessories, food, drinks, treats, and tons of other things that could keep one occupied for more than just a weekend. Many attendees went all out and dressed for the occasion, while other fans simply attended to check out the latest in Asian pop culture.

Due to the excess amount of photos in this blog post, photos will appear in reduced resolution. Please visit the Facebook album to view all of the photos in a larger resolution.

I attended two out of the three days, so I will do my best to chronicle my adventures at the 2016 Pacific Media Expo. With so much to do, I often found myself bouncing back and forth between rooms, programs, and seminars. Upon my arrival on Friday afternoon, I immediately started to scout out the area to get a feel for the layout of this expo. At one point, I did end up in a section of the convention center dedicated to an entirely different event. Roaming around revealed to me that the expo took place on both sides of the convention center: the ballrooms and the conference rooms on the other side of the theater. Starting with the conference rooms, these rooms held mainly the fashion rooms, with markets, shops, and fashion-based programs in the back room. This side also had the gaming room for those attendees wanting to relax a bit between programs.

After checking out the conference rooms, I roamed over to the ballrooms. The front two ballrooms contained a variety of seminars and programs. The next three ballrooms would contain the Artists’ Market (display), the Main Stage (entertainment), and the Exhibit Hall (vendors). As the Exhibit Hall also contained food vendors in an enclosed space, the scent of food wafted all throughout the room plus a small section of the foyer in front of that ballroom.

Now that I had scouted out the entire expo area, I started to explore the rooms individually to discover the programs. One ballroom had a lip-sync dance show, while another had a panel discussing retro video games. Wandering back to the conference rooms, I discovered a fashion panel presented by a butler café.

As the sun set, the expo’s Opening Ceremonies started to take place. This mainly involved the expo’s special guests introducing themselves, talking about their experience traveling here in Southern California, and previewing what they will do that weekend at the expo. Also around this time, the Swap Meet started to set up in the ballroom foyer, which attracted dozens of attendees to come check out the goods. Typically the items found at the Swap Meet cost less than the items in the Exhibit Hall. Attendees would likely find rare goods as well. Following the Opening Ceremonies, a few more programs took place involving cosplay and martial arts.

Capping off the night, a concert took place featuring Hitomi from a maid café in Akihabara, Japan. Essentially a one-woman show, Hitomi danced and sang in her cutesy style. Since she speaks exclusively Japanese, Hitomi had a translator with her between songs when she spoke to the audience. She also got the audience involved in some sort of Rock-Paper-Scissors game that the maids do regularly at their café in Japan. She gave out autographed posters to those who bested her in that game. After this concert, I called it a night so that I could return the next day with energy to make it through the night.

On Saturday, I arrived at the expo at about the same time as I had on Friday, meaning that I arrived in the middle of another concert, this one featuring Stephanie Yanez. Unlike Hitomi, Stephanie can speak English, so she had no issues communicating with the audience.

Following the concert, I got to check out many more programs and activities of the expo. These activities included a business fashion panel, yoga room, DDR-like game, panel discussing idol culture, meet & greet with Hitomi, live art session, and indie fashion panel.

Just like the previous night, the Swap Meet opened after sunset, attracting dozens of people the come check out the goods. Also at this time, the Fashion Swap Meet took place in the conference rooms area, focused more on apparel and accessories rather than fandom goods.

Saturday’s main event involved the Masquerade Cosplay Contest. Over a dozen attendees participated in this contest to exhibit their outfit and character, since the contest required participants to do something to act in character. Some of the participants merely posed, while others performed some dance routine. After the participants strutted their stuff, an intermission show took place that featured a professional group of women performing their act for the audience. Finally, awards of varying categories went out to the participants.

With the main event over, night had fallen, indicating the start of the more mature programs of the expo. A few Truth Or Dare programs took place, both of which got very dirty as time progressed. After that, the ballrooms converted to a dance hall and a singalong room. The final event in the conference rooms involved speed dating. According to some of the returning attendees, last year’s speed dating delivered a lot of success in terms of matching people up. I had never attended Pacific Media Expo before, and this year’s speed dating broke the expectation of how speed dating should look. Basically, only about seven women showed up, some of which did not have any interest in dating or already had a partner – they participated simply to participate, but not to find romance. Compare that with the 20+ guys that showed up, most of which appeared as the stereotypical hikikomori.

Alas, I did not return to the expo on Sunday, as the first two days had greatly drained all of my energy. Fret not, for I still managed to capture many of the cosplays of the 2016 Pacific Media Expo. Even to those not interested in anime or manga, everyone should attend an expo/con of this nature 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 donned their best gear for this expo. Watch in amazement the best of the best of this year’s Pacific Media Expo.

With the Pacific Media Expo having drawn to a close, it paves the way for additional similar expos in Southern California, one of the world’s largest communities of Asian pop culture outside of Japan. With connections to Anime Impulse, Anime Los Angeles, and Ninja Con, Southern California’s anime & manga industry coexist in a vast community of connected fans & friends. Stay in touch with the Pacific Media Expo to learn about future events and opportunities by liking them on Facebook and following them on Twitter.