Posts Tagged ‘May 2014’

Following on the heels of yesterday’s post, the 2014 Long Beach Comic Expo lasted an additional day this year. In the past few years, the expo only took place on a Saturday. Due to the surge in popularity of this event, the organizers decided to roll over to a second day to cater to the larger demand. This past Sunday, the 2014 Long Beach Comic Expo wrapped up its second day to a brilliant success. Albeit not as many attendees showed up compared to Saturday, a greater percentage of the attendees dressed up in costume for this occasion. Of all those that dressed up, about a quarter of the costumed attendees attended both days of the expo. The actual expo inside the Grand Ballroom remained largely unchanged from the previous day, while the various workshops and seminars saw a new itinerary of programs.

Since the actual expo remained similar to the previous day, this post about Day 2 revolves around the wonderful cosplay attendees that dressed up for the expo. A decent percentage of the attendees that dressed up had returned for their second day. Some of them remained in the same costume, such as Team Deadpool, Frozone, and Jesse (Team Rocket). Others donned a new costume, such as Miss Piratesavvy and Lonstermash (a variation of his previous outfit). Once again, I would like to thank the following individuals for allowing me to take a photo of them, and for sending me a link to their info.

Check out this collection of the great costumes from the Sunday of the 2014 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!

Which costume do you like the most? Leave a comment below mentioning which costumes stood out the most to you. Keep in mind that the 2014 Long Beach Comic Con returns on the last weekend of September, two month earlier than last year! Keep that weekend clear, for you will not want to miss out on all the great action seen only at a convention of this scale.

Like a flash, the 2014 Long Beach Comic Expo came and went this past weekend at the Long Beach Convention Center. This convention for all things comics underwent some upgrades since last year’s expo. For at least the past two years, the expo had taken place on just one day in Hall C on the main floor. This year, the expo expanded to TWO days, and occurred up in the Grand Ballroom on the second floor to the right. 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 on the second floor to the left, a number workshops and seminars occurred, ranging from speaker panels to art workshops to live activities. In the middle of the second floor, a small room housed the Cosplay Corner, a room dedicated to all those who dressed for the occasion. Aside from the location changes, nothing else drastic changed from the previous years of the Long Beach Comic Expo.

Of course, how can we have a comic expo without 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 The Joker 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. Overall, those who put the most effort into their costumes gets the most attention, and someone who simply buys a costume does not get as much attention. To those who did a good job on their costume, I would like to thank them, and properly credit them for their photo. As I discover the people I took photos of, I will add their info to each photo. For now, I would like to thank the following individuals for allowing me to take a photo of them, and for sending me a link to their info.

Check out this collection of the great costumes from the Saturday of the 2014 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!

Which costume do you like the most? Leave a comment below mentioning which costumes stood out the most to you. Stay tuned tomorrow for photos from Day 2 of the 2014 Long Beach Comic Expo!

The city of Anaheim has really stepped up their game the past few years in regards to introducing new businesses and catering more to local independent businesses. While Anaheim still has some of the poorest pockets of Orange County, and Disney still practically controls Anaheim, many new ventures have come up recently, breathing new life into an area not usually thought of as a destination. The grand opening of the Anaheim Packing House this past weekend certainly has sounded out a statement that Anaheim can now stand toe to toe with other hip cities in Orange County such as Costa Mesa or Newport Beach. Located at the south end of the Anaheim Packing District, the Anaheim Packing House serves as a mini mall of food, libations, and music. Reminiscent of The OC Mix and The Camp in Costa Mesa, the Anaheim Packing House consists of two floors of vastly different businesses that all serve different types of food and/or drinks. A stairway in the middle that connects the two floors houses a platform suitable for an entertainment act to perform, such as music, comedy, or spoken word. Read on to explore and learn about the businesses at the Anaheim Packing House.

Immediately to the right of the second floor entrance, we find the Black Sheep Grilled Cheese Bar. Though not open yet, I imagine them making fancy grilled cheese sandwiches with artisanal breads and cheeses, and may add other things such as vegetables and meats.

In the middle of the second floor’s right side lies the Hammer Bar that guests can approach from any side. The Hammer Bar currently does not have a website.

At the back right corner, we find Adya, a restaurant serving Indian cuisine with modern western plating.

Next to Adya lies Orange Tei, a sushi and ramen bar.

At the center of the second floor’s back wall, we find Dark180, a chocolate beverage bar. Think espresso bar, but with hot chocolate using fair trade chocolate.

Split into two sides, The Chippy serves as the packing house’s obligatory fish grill.

The Iron Press has opened a new location here at the packing house, following their huge success in Costa Mesa. They still serve their full menu of waffle sandwiches, as well as their big list of craft beers.

Down at the end of the left side, Hans’ Homemade Ice Cream always has a long line. Who says no to all-natural hand-churned ice cream?

In the middle of the second floor’s left side, we have Lemon Drop, the obligatory juice bar.

Speaking of obligatory, over on the left lies the packing house’s espresso bar, Cafecito Organico.

With as long of a line as Hans, Pop Bar places the ice cream bar in your hand by allowing you to select the ice cream bar flavor and the toppings to dip or roll your bar in.

Immediately to the left of the second floor’s entrance, I found this neat little spread of books and other merchandise, operated by Seed People’s Market of Costa Mesa.

Moving down to the first floor, nothing really existed to the right side. To the immediate left of the first floor entrance, a closed off space for Sawleaf Café awaited.

When walking to the left side, guests will first see Buy N’ Bulk. Visitors of certain grocery stores like Sprouts or Whole Foods will recognize this – guests can purchase dried goods like nuts, candy, fruit, and more in quantities that they want.

Over on the left wall, we find The Kroft, one of the packing house’s resident gastropubs. Although not officially open for a few more weeks, I foresee great things from this place.

Just past The Kroft, the butchery Wheat & Sons allows guests to take home organic meats, or enjoy the food cooked there.

Across from Wheat & Sons, Crêpe Coop has yet to officially open. When they do open, they will serve crêpes, coffee, and tea.

Across from the first floor entrance lies a shabu-shabu place, Rolling Boil.

To the left of Rolling Boil lies a closed space reserved for Urbana. Urbana currently does not have a website.

Against the left wall of Rolling Boil, you would think you see mere decorations of the restaurant. This panel actually hides a door to the packing house’s speakeasy, The Blind Rabbit. Originally meant to remain a secret, the secret quickly got out to the masses, and everyone wanted to come in here to see the fuss about a speakeasy. Other than its secret entrance, it acts like a normal bar and serves regular drinks.

Other businesses not pictured:

  • Ecco Restaurant – allegedly somewhere on the second floor
  • Georgia’s Restaurant – a soul food restaurant on the left side of the second floor between Cafecito and Hans
  • K-BBQ – a Korean BBQ restaurant somewhere on the second floor
  • Kettlebar – a cajun/creole restaurant at the furthest left of the first floor

With all these great places nestled in one building, the Anaheim Packing House has turned into a place suitable to visit at any time of the day. Stop by one day and see for yourself how Anaheim does trendy.

The popularity of craft beer has surged substantially over the past decade. The shift in the meta from mass-produced generic beers to quality small-batch beers has arisen from a broad spread of information and knowledge of the beer industry. Local microbreweries have done a fantastic job at not only producing full-flavored unique beers for the local community, but also at marketing their brand and creating their own identity that no one else can easily duplicate. It also helps that microbreweries almost always list the full set of ingredients that go into every brew, compared to the big companies that do not disclose the full list of ingredients until someone or some group snoops around. The ever-growing popularity of craft beer has reached many institutions and businesses of all sizes. From the smallest of dive bars to the major chain businesses found across the world, most places should now start to carry craft beers. To my surprise, I recently discovered a hefty selection of craft beer at the House of Blues in Anaheim.

Located in the heart of Downtown Disney, House of Blues represents a destination to many of Downtown Disney’s visitors, as opposed to simply a stop on the way to the amusement park. A combination of their restaurant, full bar, and concert hall makes them well-known to music lovers everywhere. As a major chain, most people would expect similarities in the food and drinks at every House of Blues location. For years, I never paid attention to the bar here, considering that they sell tall cans of PBR for $10. Until recently, I never expected to find craft beer here – fortunately, some of the local breweries that I visit regularly informed me of the craft beer selection at House of Blues. Doubtful, I decided to pay a visit to House of Blues to explore the beer selection, and to see if things had changed here since my last visit.

Last week, a regular event called Local Brews, Local Grooves took place at House of Blues in Anaheim. This event combines a show of local musicians with a small beer tasting. If I remember correctly, admission to the event costs $10, then once inside, attendees could either purchase a wristband for $15 that included five beer samples, or individual samples for $3 each. Only four breweries made an appearance to serve beer: Bootlegger’s, Valiant, Noble Ale, and Ballast Point. As I lingered around, I had a chance to speak with Thomas, one of the Food & Beverage Managers, about their new beer menu. Thomas informed me that they now carry an extensive bottle list full of craft beer, as well as a number of taps dedicated to craft beer. I did not actually see a beer menu, but this could potentially mean something to attendees of future shows here. Sadly, the House of Blues still carries a strict camera policy, and I got my photos just because I know people from the breweries.

As far as the local music went, all the music acts played mainly mellow music, like blues, jazz, or R&B.

The local punk rock scene may heavily criticize the House of Blues for their rules and general malice towards punk rock kids, but the House of Blues brings on music of all genres, and treats people based on the music, which explains the lack of punk rock shows there in the past few months. With this new change, we may start to see improvements in not only this House of Blues, but other locations across the nation.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bottle Share @ The Rookery
7:00 pm – 10:00 pm, May 28
The Rookery, Pomona

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

Beer Punks Show in Huntington Beach
8:30 pm – 12:30 am, May 29
Fitzgerald’s Irish Pub, Huntington Beach

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

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

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

Bacon & Barrels – San Diego
5:30 pm – 8:30 pm, May 30, Bassmnt, San Diego
12:00 pm – 5:00 pm, May 31, Embarcadero Marina Park South, San Diego

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

Tartar Control, Not A Chance, Argyle Street, Tanzler @ The Doll Hut
8:00 pm – 1:00 am, May 30
The World Famous Doll Hut, Anaheim

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

D.I. @ The Garage in Ventura
8:00 pm – 2:00 am, May 30
The Garage, Ventura

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

Punk Rock Karaoke
9:00 pm – 1:30 am, May 30
Alex’s Bar, Long Beach

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

13th Annual Walk for the Animals
9:00 am – 3:00 pm, May 31
Marina Vista Park, Long Beach

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

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

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

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

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

Anaheim Packing District’s Grand Opening + Farmers Park Market Opening
12:00 pm – 10:00 pm, May 31
10:00 am – 2:00 pm, June 1
Anaheim Packing House, Anaheim

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

Punk Rock Luau #1
2:00 pm – 8:00 pm, May 31
The World Famous Doll Hut, Anaheim

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

9th Annual Los Angeles Wine Fest
2:00 pm – 6:00 pm, May 31
12:00 pm – 5:00 pm, June 1
Raleigh Studios, Hollywood

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

Ska Punk Night @ The Glass House
5:00 pm – 12:00 am, May 31
The Glass House, Pomona

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

D.I. @ Granada Theater Ontario
6:00 pm – 12:00 am, May 31
Granada Theater, Ontario

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

Decry @ The Tower Bar
9:00 pm – 2:00 am, May 31
The Tower Bar, San Diego

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

17th Annual SoRo Community Festival
11:00 am – 4:00 pm, June 1
Robertson & Cattaraugus, Los Angeles

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

30th Annual Tustin Street Fair & Chili Cook-Off
11:00 am – 5:30 pm, June 1
Old Town Tustin

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

9th Annual Lummis Day Festival
11:00 am – 7:00 pm, June 1
Heritage Square Museum, Northeast Los Angeles

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

Taste of the Nation – Los Angeles
12:30 pm – 4:00 pm, June 1
Media Park, Culver City

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

The Gears @ Alex’s Bar
3:00 pm – 8:00 pm, June 1
Alex’s Bar, Long Beach

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

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

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

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

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

Reverend Horton Heat @ Stingers Bar
6:00 pm – 1:00 am, June 1
Stingers Bar, San Bernardino

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Coincidentally landing at the end of American Craft Beer Week, Hangar 24 Brewery celebrated their 6th anniversary with a two-day AirFest and beer festival at Redlands Airport this past weekend. This anniversary celebration took place just across the street from the Hangar 24 tasting room, allowing guests to roam much of the airport grounds to view all the airplanes on exhibit, and check out all the food and beer available. All around the festival area, all of the attractions evenly spread out, from the food vendors to the beer tents to the airplanes on display and more. Throughout the day, live music would occur on the main stage, and various aerial acrobatics would occur overhead, demonstrating cool stunts performed in airplanes.

New this year (or not marketed much last year), AirFest lasted two days, starting on Friday afternoon, and running for most of the day Saturday. Naturally, admission for Saturday cost more than Friday. This year, I attended on the Friday of the celebration; however, I could tell that most of the fun would occur on Saturday. Some of the main attractions that occurred on Saturday for AirFest included the 30+ varieties of beer that they advertised, more varieties of aerial acrobatics, a fireworks show at night, longer hours, and more well-known music acts. On Friday, we only got ten varieties of beer, and besides the anniversary beer, anyone could obtain any of these beers at any time at the tasting room. Although I enjoyed the air shows, they started to get stale halfway through the runs. The night also did not feature any illuminating acts – just a staged airplane stunt. The beers also stopped way earlier than I recall, as beers kept going until after 9pm last year. Everclear also headlined the music on Saturday, whereas JT Hodges headlined the music on Friday. Lastly, Friday just did not have that many people there. Last year, the festival contained tons of people everywhere. Friday felt dead, as if Hangar 24 did not advertise the Friday event. At least Hangar 24 stepped it up with the food and merchandise vendors, now adding 400% more vendors than last year.

As far as the music went, Friday mainly revolved around country music. Country bands like Redneck Rodeo and HER played that beer-drinking music that everyone loves.

Aerial stunts took place throughout the day, giving everyone a reason to not slouch and look up. These pilots always amaze everyone viewing, and serve as great interruptions to groups of people. After a few hours though, most of the stunts start to look the same. Allegedly, Saturday’s stunts featured a lot more danger and variety.

Once all that ended, we got to see some parachuters, and one of them deployed a flag during the national anthem playing on the ground floor.

Some more aerial acrobatics occurred while waiting for the next music act to set up.

Country singer JT Hodges headlined the night with two sets. His sets contained a mix of his own original songs and cover songs. While he performed, little activity occurred elsewhere around the festival, as he captured the attention of nearly everyone present.

As I suggested to everyone I encountered, the sunset out here looks beautiful, and everyone should always seek to capture a great photo of this moment.

Between JT Hodges’ two sets, one final air show took place. Unfortunately, the fireworks show only occurred on Saturday.

I remember having the time of my life at last year’s AirFest. This time, my choice of attending on Friday may have soured my perception of this event, though I cannot say the same for anyone else that attended on Friday only. Perhaps the lack of true content compared to a previous year may have lowered my perception. Perhaps last year’s event went so well that it spoiled me from future events. Since the weekend, I have heard mixed reviews of this and last year’s AirFest. As best as I can say, just like the president, you cannot please everyone. Just do the best you can to inflict the greatest good for the greatest amount of people. Hangar 24 always does their best, but I think at least for the Friday event, it should wither away and leave everything to Saturday.

The first of this year’s summer series of Belmont Shore’s Stroll & Savor of Long Beach wrapped up last week. This “Taste of Belmont Shore” occurs every year from May through August on the third Wednesday, and the Thursday immediately following. Free to attend for all ages, guests participate by paying $10 for a booklet containing 12 tickets that get redeemed at participating businesses along 2nd Street in Belmont Shore. The products offered by participating businesses range from appetizers to drinks to desserts to even full plates of food. Ticket costs vary based on the location, with some offering more than the value of the tickets, and many offering less than the value of the tickets. Although most of the participating businesses served the same things that they serve yearly, sometimes things will stand out from the crowd. I took just one booklet last week, and went on a nice stroll through Belmont Shore.

Domenico’s always makes for a local favorite stop on Stroll & Savor, largely due in part to their signature pizzas with toppings like ground pepperoni and ground sausage. This time, they took one ticket off the regular Stroll & Savor price, so visitors could savor their signature pizza for less!

Known for their Danish-style ice cream, Paradis always delights visitors, especially on hot days. They always have a cooler outside where they serve four of their popular flavors during Stroll & Savor.

Due to the extreme heat last week, I had to hydrate myself with an iced tea from the local Starbucks, who also participates in Stroll & Savor.

Sweet Jill’s remains a favorite during Stroll & Savor because of their full-sized items that cost just three tickets.

La Creperie Café served one of their standard items from previous Stroll & Savor years – their chicken carbonara crepe.

Nick’s On 2nd always serves up something new with every Stroll & Savor. For this event, they served their heaviest item yet – their hickory burger. Take a western-style bacon cheeseburger, then place that on a biscuit rather than a bun. I regretfully started with this, and it ended up making me full after the serving. Still, for only three tickets, Nick’s delivered a standout tasting.

Within the last year or two, Aroma di Roma closed their former location and moved down the street. They still serve wonderful espresso, paninis, and gelato, of which they served a collection of the latter during Stroll & Savor.

Newcomer Gallo’s Italian Deli participated in their first-ever Stroll & Savor last week.

With their new chef, Tavern On 2 finally strayed away from their classic Pulled Chicken Sliders, and opted to serve Pulled Pork Tacos.

Eat Shabu whipped out something new this time: ice cream freshly churned on the spot with liquid nitrogen. I seem to see a lot of this around lately. Perhaps this will turn into some sort of hipster trend?

Last but not least, Powell’s Sweet Shoppe served their classic mini cones that only cost one ticket. Flavors vary each time, and range from ice cream to sorbet to gelato.

If you missed Stroll & Savor last week, fret not! Stroll & Savor returns four more times this year: June 18-19, July 16-17, August 20-21, and September 17-18. Do not miss out your chance to taste the best of local flavor in Long Beach!