Posts Tagged ‘Downtown’

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, the 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 Con, which costs less to attend and has not ever sold out.

The 2017 Long Beach Comic Con returned to the Long Beach Convention Center this past weekend to a massive crowd easily in the thousands. For as large a turnout that appeared, this expo consumed two of the convention center’s halls to hold that many fans. Taking place in both Halls B & C, hundreds of local comic book writers and artists traveled here to exhibit their merchandise, art, books, toys, and more. In addition to the expo on the show floor, various workshops and seminars took place in the nearby meeting rooms for those who registered ahead of time. Diehard fans will recognize the various celebrities sitting in for meet & greet and autograph sessions. For a large space, it took some time to walk through every single aisle to gaze at all the work on display.

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 donned their best gear for this expo. Watch in amazement the best of the best of this year’s Long Beach Comic Con.

Earlier I had mentioned that this event occurs semiannually. Just like earlier this year, the comic con took place across two days, while the Spring event operates as the Long Beach Comic Expo. The next expo will take place in the middle of February next year back at the Long Beach Convention Center. Although existing under a different name, the same organizer runs both events, so you can expect largely the same things at the Spring expo. You can check out what else they have in store on their Facebook page and Twitter feed. Until then, keep an eye out for other similar expos, such as Stan Lee’s Los Angeles Comic Con in late October, BlizzCon in early November, and Anime Los Angeles in late January. You have plenty of time to work up that unique and amazing DIY costume that everyone will want to take a picture of.

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The 2017 Long Beach Comic Con returns to the Long Beach Convention Center this upcoming weekend. This two-day all-ages expo of comics, video games, anime, manga, and toys brings together fans, artists, designers, and more from around the world to meet with like minds and share interests. With plenty of speakers and workshops, the expo ensures that any attendee would find something to stay occupied. The Long Beach Comic Con has plenty more information to share on their website, as well as all their social media, such as their Facebook and Twitter pages. For those posting about the event, use the hashtags #LBCC #LBCC17 or #LBCC2017 since all three will refer to the event.

The convention runs on both Saturday and Sunday this weekend: starting at 10am to 7pm on Saturday, and 10:30am to 5pm on Sunday. Purchase your admission by 5pm this Friday to gain access to the convention half an hour earlier. Presale admission costs $40 to attend on Saturday, $35 to attend on Sunday, or $60 for the entire weekend. Admission passes at the door will cost $5 extra. Parking at the convention center costs $10 per vehicle. Those looking for free parking will not find much in Downtown Long Beach, so either park in the neighborhood east of Alamitos Ave, or take public transportation from elsewhere. This expo takes place mainly indoors, so most visitors will not have to worry about sunlight or excess heat; however, anyone intending to remain outside for prolonged periods for photographs should apply sunscreen just in case.

What comic convention can rightfully call themselves a Comic Con without cosplay? Hundreds of attendees always display their creativity and craftsmanship with the various costumes donned to this expo. Sure the majority wear costumes less original than anticipated (such as Star Wars characters – sorry Slave Leia fans), but for those who put on something new or different, I salute them all. Check out some of the better costumes from last year:

The 9th Annual BuskerFest returned to the East Village Arts District of Downtown Long Beach this past Saturday night. Traditional busks consisted of various bands from all over performing on “stages” set up on flatbed trucks with minimal electrical equipment, busking for wooden nickels.  This primarily serves as a launching pad for musicians, gaining what usually represents their first major gig with a substantial crowd in the thousands. This gave a more traditional, old-time feel to the music, and provided guests a glimpse of how these types of bands used to “busk” many decades ago. Free to attend, fans of music enjoyed what they heard and supported in the form of wooden nickels that guests could purchase to “tip” the bands as they busk. The band with the most wooden nickels at the end of the night won a grand prize from the organizers. In addition to all the live music, guests found a beer garden and various food vendors, while volunteers staffed a bike valet at the eastern entrance. New this year, the organizers behind BuskerFest extended the area of BuskerFest to include a stretch of Linden Avenue. In previous years, the area had ended just prior to Linden Avenue to allow vehicles to pass. This year, they closed Linden Avenue from 1st Street to Broadway to make room for more stages and booths.

For as much as Los Angeles pushes their local culture and mom & pop shops, the majority of the locals still believe in mass media and prefer big brands. When it comes to beer selection, much of Los Angeles still prefer their Corona, Heineken, and Budweiser. Local microbreweries may do what they can, but businesses appear based on the preferences of the local community, which partially explains the lack of microbreweries in Los Angeles. Trends have changed recently, leading to the establishment of a handful of breweries in Downtown LA’s Arts District. Once you expand beyond Downtown, you go back to the trend of preferring macro beers, especially if you venture eastward. In order to reach out to new grounds, one much take one step at a time, which Dry River Brewing has done.

Adding something a little bit different to the Downtown Los Angeles’ craft beer scene, Dry River Brewing officially opened their doors to the public at the beginning of July with their own approach to brewing. Located just off the 101 freeway in Boyle Heights just past the Arts District, over at Dry River Brewing, they believe in slow beer, something that traditionalists frown upon. The folks at Dry River Brewing like to experiment with allowing beer to sit and allow nature to take its course. As such, visitors can expect to find primarily wild ales and sour ales on tap at Dry River Brewing. Due to the nature of how they produce their brews, Dry River Brewing’s selection may cost more than the typical brewery, so keep that in mind if you intend to visit the tasting room. Speaking of the tasting room, Dry River Brewing only opens their doors on the first and third Saturdays of each month, so do not think you can just waltz over there any random day!

For more information and future updates, check out Dry River Brewing on Facebook and Twitter.

Not one to shy away from anything food-related (and free), I decided to visit the 2nd Annual Vegan Faire at Center Street Promenade in Downtown Anaheim this past Saturday afternoon. Hosted by The Healthy Junk, this free and all-ages outdoor event brought the vegan community together for a day of vegan eats, vegan drinks, music, activities, and more. Visitors could snag samples of various things, especially drinks. Visitors could also view demos of crossfit, karate, and zumba. Other than that, this fair mainly set out to spread the vegan propaganda, what with the signs attempting to dispel myths about veganism. Non-vegan visitors would likely not find much to do here, other than try all the samples around. While a Vegan Faire has all the right tools to end up a successful hit, it falls short with lack of content.

The popularity of craft beer continues to remain ever strong. The current times feel like the peak of the trend, with third parties attempting to capitalize on the popularity. Take the gourmet food truck trend for example. In the first year or two, we saw lots of great food trucks with actual good food. Afterwards, event organizers started to try to take advantage of this by charging exorbitant amounts to get into to food truck festivals. As the trend started to fade away, we saw a lot of gimmicky food trucks with less than stellar food. All of that appears to happen right now to microbreweries, as lots of bad beer festivals exist to take advantage of the fact that people will pay lots of money for a few hours of drinking. Throughout all of this, local entrepreneurs still desire to enter the microbrewery business to deliver a quality experience, as opposed to the ones just looking to turn a quick profit. It takes some careful searching to discover hidden gems, such as a fresh young microbrewery in Los Angeles County, Angry Horse Brewing.

Located in Downtown Montebello, Angry Horse Brewing opened just a few months ago sometime in March. They have not even had an official grand opening yet. Regardless, Angry Horse Brewing has managed to gain quite a solid following in such a little time. Like most of Southern California’s breweries, Angry Horse Brewing does not specialize in a particular style of beer – they brew it all. I did not spot any fermenters in the back – only a handful of brite tanks. This allows them to carry a lot of different beers, from IPA’s to Belgian beers to stouts and more. All of the beers that I tried have an approachable feel to them – not too strong in any particular note, and with familiar flavors that anyone can enjoy.

Despite still operating in a “soft opening” phase, Angry Horse Brewing already has a lot of fans, evident by having a full house late on a Saturday afternoon. Support this local microbrewery and stay updated with what goes on here by liking them on Facebook and following them on Twitter.

The 8th Annual Los Angeles Renegade Craft Fair returned for its semi-annual Summer Market this past weekend at its original home of the LA State Historic Park outside of Downtown Los Angeles. This free and all-ages event sees thousands of visitors all coming to see over 250 select independent artists, crafters, and vendors all exhibiting and selling their wares. Among all the possible merchandise, visitors could purchase anything from clothing, accessories, home goods (candles, soap, wind chimes, etc), kitchen supplies, artisanal eats (candy, preserves, etc), music records, pet supplies, and so much more. What makes Renegade Craft appealing revolves around every single vendor, all independently crafting their own handmade goods as opposed to manufacturing them in a factory. In addition to the multitude of aisles filled with vendors, Renegade Craft also offers various hands-on workshops, art installations, live DJ’s, a photo booth, gourmet food trucks, and more.

With the change in location came a change in the lineup of vendors. This past weekend’s event appeared to have fewer amount of vendors compared to the past couple of years at Grand Park. This does not denote a bad thing, as the organizers had to deal with a smaller area this time, despite returning to its original location. Renegade Craft exists to introduce the locals to new vendors that they would have never heard of, and this past weekend’s event certainly did that for me.

If you attended Renegade LA this past weekend, I would love to know what you purchased. Please share your items by commenting on this post, or by posting on my Facebook page. Keep in mind that Renegade runs twice a year in Los Angeles – the holiday show will occur on the weekend of December 9-10 later this year. As a free event open to the public that lasts two days, Renegade Craft Fair can easily fit into anyone’s schedule. Shop local, and support local business – doing so drives the local economy and greatly benefits your local community. Support Renegade Craft Fair by liking them on Facebook and following them on Twitter.

The 2nd Annual Latin Salsa Festival took place this past weekend in Pershing Square in Downtown Los Angeles. Free to attend for all ages, this event contained dozens of food vendors all selling their Latin-inspired foods to visitors. In addition, a music stage housed a handful of bands and musicians all playing Latin dance music. Nothing else out of the ordinary occurred – you just have a weekend of food vendors and live music. Southern California has gone through a heat wave recently, and on this weekend, the weather went well over 100 degrees, making for a hot event in more ways than one. Despite that, this event still managed to attract hundreds of visitors over the weekend. I anticipate that this event will return again next year, so keep an eye out for it in early July next year when it will return.

The 2017 Anime Expo returns to the Los Angeles Convention Center starting this Saturday and running through Tuesday. This annual 4-day expo for all things Anime & Manga attracts exhibitors and fans from across the globe for the largest gathering of its kind in the world. What started as a simple expo for those in the Anime industry has grown to encompass anything remotely related to the art of Japanese art & animation. Today, this large expo now hosts artists, designers, vendors, video game companies, technicians, actors/actresses, voice actors, models, musicians, singers, cosplayers, and much more to spread their work out to the public as well as interact with the fans. With so much to do, so many people to see, and so many people wanting to get in (tens of thousands of visitors on the first day!), naturally the organizers had to make this expo cover a span of four days every year.

As the current world’s largest expo of its kind, one can expect sheer overflow of people in the area for miles. Road traffic does not face as much of a problem, save for the exuberant parking prices that reaches upwards of $40 per vehicle. Pedestrian traffic causes the most headaches, from the uncontrolled crosswalks to the endless line of jaywalkers. If anything definitely terrorizes attendees, the line to enter the expo causes the most grief. From getting in line to getting into the building, the wait in the mornings usually takes hours to enter. Strangely, very few attendees complain about this, as if they accept this year after year. Upon questioning some attendees from previous years, they mention that at least a hundred attendees camp overnight, and that entering the line at 8am when the expo opens still takes over an hour to get in. They also mention that the first day always sees the most amount of attendees, which sounds reasonable. Lesson learned: if attending Anime Expo, either attend extremely early on the first day, or attend on the second and/or third day.

The actual expo covers the entire span on the convention center, both the South Hall and the West Hall. The main expo occurs in the South Hall, while the West Hall houses the miscellaneous activities, such as workshops, video game competitions, cosplay contests, and more. The expo simply has too much going on, so I understand why most attendees purchase either the two or four day pass rather than just a single day. The expo contains different sections based on the content; for example, attendees would find the artist booths at the back, the autographs at the right, the merchandise in the middle, and celebrity/actor appearances at the front.

For any type of expo or convention of this nature, sure we may want to pay attention to the exhibitors, but at the heart of any gathering of this kind, our attention instantly turns to the cosplayers. Attendees love to dress up as their favorite character to show their pride and/or craftsmanship, while some simply slap together a lazy costume just to blend in somehow, such as the hundreds of attendees with a Teemo hat. For Anime Expo, the world’s largest expo of its kind, attendees either go all in or go nothing.

The 9th Annual Global Reddit Meetup Day took place this past Saturday. The Los Angeles region met up at Grand Park in Downtown LA, with an afternoon filled with food and games. This free and all-ages event invited Reddit users to come mix and mingle to meet new friends and share ideas and fun. Operating like a potluck, many of the attendees brought snacks and treats, while some others brought things to do, such as games, piñatas, and sporting goods such as balls and frisbees. While stereotypes of Reddit users revolve around shut-ins who stay on their computers and/or smartphones, this event proved otherwise. In fact, no one ever truly witnessed anyone else buried away on their smartphone. Virtually all of the attendees had a good time meeting others and chatting the day away. Many others felt the same way – during my walk towards the location, I encountered a few others looking for the event, and they too had their skepticism about the types of people that we would encounter. Fortunately, everyone exhibited a friendly vibe, and I felt sad to leave so soon because I had 2-hour parking only and wanted to stay longer.

For more information about this meetup event, check out the Los Angeles section of Reddit for recent posts. Check out that page from time to time for updates from around LA County, as well as information about future events and meetups.