Pantages Theater - Hollywood, CA

All the glamor of Hollywood’s golden age.

Yakitori Koshiji - Little Tokyo branch

A great, quaint little place on the 2nd floor of the Weller Court mall in Little Tokyo specializing in yakitori (chicken skewers) but also grilled skewers of all kinds.

Best deals are the various lunch sets (served on weekdays only). Also home to my favorite green tea ice cream in Los Angeles.

Heroes In a Half Shell: A TMNT Art Tribute at Gallery Nucleus

Opening Night - 07.12.2014. Show runs through Aug. 3.

So much awesome. Great art, appearances from costumed characters, staff signings, free face masks (courtesy of Nickelodeon), green lemonade behind a very classy “New York sewer” bar set-up, unlimited free plays from the classic arcade game, and a lot of production material from the shows, movies, and comics. Great curated show and fantastic set-up as always, Nucleus.

Not pictured: I got a fist bump from Mike Sinterniklaas (voice of 2003 Leo)!!! ヽ(*゜∀゜*)ノ

Independent Shakespeare Co.: Griffith Park Free Shakespeare Festival presents Twelfth Night

A summer favorite tradition, free Shakespeare in the park. It’s great to just pack up a picnic and cool off in the shady hills of the Old Zoo at Griffith Park.

The Independent Shakespeare Co. always puts on a great show, and this year was no exception. I don’t think I’ve seen Twelfth Night put on very often, so I don’t have many other performances to compare this one to. Lots of titillating, bawdy humor with some modern sensibilities. I think it’s great that the players acknowledge how quickly affections seem to transfer over to another after pursuing one love interest for so long lol.

Performances run through the end of August, and they’re doing Taming of the Shrew soon. Definitely check it out if you can make it out there.

ISC2014Summer from MikeDitz on Vimeo.

Candylebrity: sweet mosaic art of Jason Mecier at Sweet! Hollywood

A show for pop artist Mecier, who makes celebrity art out of candy, at a candy store—can it be more perfect?

I’ve written about Sweet! Hollywood before, though this is the first art show I’ve been to at the space. Such an obvious and fun partnership. More than anything, it’s cool to see Sweet! branding itself with original candy bars and partnerships. Really puts it out as an event destination than just a really cool candy store.

My friend bought one of the Candylebrity bars, so I’ll get back to you on the verdict.

Netflix’s Orange is the New Black truck! Caught their stop when they were at Hollywood & Highland. They were giving out posters of all the characters and soft-serve swirls (*snerk*) and berry pies to promote season 2.

The Academy’s First-look Series at LACMA: Bong Joon-ho’s Snowpiercer

I’ve heard a lot of word of mouth for this movie since I guess the rest of the world got it way earlier. I also know it opened for the LA Film Fest last week, but didn’t get to make it out there. The Academy showings are great, as there’s usually special guests and it’s so affordable.

Korean cinema has come a loooong way since I was a kid. The quality and storytelling is really world-class. But I went into this film pretty much without knowing anything about the director. I know of Bong Joon-ho’s famous works, including The Host and Mother, and my impression is that his hardcore fans might be disappointed with this one as the tone and narrative plays out as a conventional Hollywood blockbuster.

The story’s great, though, based on a French graphic novel and thought provoking in the way that most dystopian fantasies are. And there’s some pretty intense acting from Chris Evans and Song Kang-ho, though Tilda Swinton pretty much steals the show in every scene she’s in.

Out of all the slew of summer offerings, it’s a great yarn and an interesting story. I hope it does really well.

Congratulations, LA Kings, on your second Stanley Cup in three years!

Also to the orderliness of the fans, wow. You do this city proud.

Since 626 Night Market is tomorrow, I thought I’d blog about my visit last month.

If you’ve ever been to Asia, you know that one of the best things about visiting is the street food. I don’t mean like food trucks here. In Korea, street food usually comes from vendors setting up in arbitrary do-you-even-have-a-permit-to-operate-here random street corners, in eyesores of stalls covered in garish tarps, with overturned buckets for seats. But that’s the quick and easy way to get comfort food/hangover cures on the cheap. Their peak hours of operation tends to be from 10 pm to 6 am. You know, drinking time. Sometimes these stalls will conglomerate, creating a veritable market of po-jahng-mah-cha.

626 wants to try to bring that kind of experience to the US, though it’s kind of hard to emulate that same night food experience. For one, it doesn’t happen every night—just once a month during the summer. For another, the hours start way earlier and end way earlier. Which makes sense. Americans don’t have quite the same concept of nightlife. In Asia, there’s malls where the peak shopping hours are dedicated to the early AMs.

Because they lease out the Santa Anita racetrack, there’s an entrance fee of roughly $2. It’s certainly affordable, but I admit the Asian in me chafed at the idea of paying an entrance fee—it kinda takes away from the organic, spur of the moment feel of actual night markets, and instead makes it feel like a really big food festival instead. Which it is.

There is, however, a lot offered. There are event stages with singers and fashion shows, exhibitors and vendors for non-food shopping, and art on display. The racetrack is also open for viewing and offers some pretty spectacular architecture.

The main star is, of course, the food. And there were a lot of vendors that came. Because it’s in the San Gabriel Valley, there’s a big emphasis on Chinese/Taiwanese offerings, but some Malaysian, Korean, Japanese, Hawaiian options, too. The best LA foodtrucks also showed up, which could be a big draw for a lot of people, too. Generally, the food is cheap and delicious, the way street food is meant to be, but be sure to have plenty of cash on hand. Just be prepared for the smell of stinky tofu (which my friend insists is an acquired taste. Like durians).