Wednesday, December 30, 2009

#92: Amoeba In Store Concerts

In a time when record stores are a dying breed, Amoeba Music in Hollywood is a last bastion for those still longing for the good old days of music (and who curse the day auto-tune was invented!).

In addition to buying and selling used CDs, DVDs and records, Amoeba also offers in store concerts. I saw The Shins perform there a while back. At these in store concerts, you stand wedged between the rows and rows of CDs (me on tippy toes). The shows are wonderfully intimate, and free!

Check out this link for the next set of live shows. Be sure to get there early because the place fills to capacity pretty quickly.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

#91: Santa Monica Farmer's Market (Main Street)

Photo from seasonalchef

On Sundays, it seems that the whole city is at the Santa Monica Farmer's Market on Main Street. Horsie rides, local produce tents, a raw food vendor, oysters on the 1/2 shell, corn on the cob, tamales, make your own omelet station, kettle corn, hippie clothing... Somehow they manage to cram all of this into a space the size of a small parking lot.

The lawn out front is covered with people happily munching away and listening to the live jazz band. It's beautiful seeing families and friends converge in one place. If you're an early riser, grab your kid, your dog, your significant other, and get ready for a one of a kind experience!

#90: Santa Monica Farmer's Market (Arizona and 2nd/3rd Street)

Santa Monica has two farmers markets that I frequent. On Wednesdays and Saturdays it is on Arizona and 2nd/3rd street, and on Sundays it is on Main Street. On a trip to the Arizona farmer's market one Saturday, I recorded all that $60 got me:

-2 heirloom tomatoes
-2 avocados
-2 bunches of kale
-1 bag of mixed greens
-1 bag of collard greens
-3 frozen buffalo patties
-1 frozen buffalo sirloin
-1 whole chicken
-2 bunches parsley
-1 bunch cilantro
-3 peaches
-1 onion
-2 lemon cucumbers

All organic, and all so much tastier than you can ever get at the grocery store (yes, even you, Whole Foods!). Deserving special mention is the
chicken; you haven't tried a chicken until you've tried this one--free range, not fed corn or soy, just a chicken like nature intended.

Santa Monica Farmer's Market

Sunday, December 13, 2009

#89: Super Sized Whole Foods

Photo from

I've found the Mother Ship!
Stepping into the Venice Whole Foods, the first thing that hits you is that this store is humongous; an SUV could navigate the aisles (hybrid of course). And then there's the deli section... I could eat here every day for a year and not eat the same thing twice. I also must have seen four or five security guards walking around; it's nice to know that I'm safe when perusing the vegetable aisle.

Travel 15 minutes south, and you'll find another monster of a Whole Foods in El Segundo. There are dining areas within this Whole Foods! Sectioned off areas designated as "The Grill" and "Wine/Tapas Bar" have nice tables and cushy seating in the middle of the store. The hot foods/salad/deli section is as gargantuan as the Lincoln Blvd store, and they carry items that I have not seen in other W.F.s.
Whole Foods

#88: Museum of Jurassic Technology

Photo from metropolismag

If you are one of those people who has been living in LA for several years and find yourself getting a little bored with the usual stuff to do, visit The Museum of Jurassic Technology in Culver City. The suggested donation is $3 for students and $5 for us working folk.

This "museum" pushes the boundary between museum and Ripley's Believe It Or Not. What's real? What's fake? You don't really know. Of course, there are some things that are definitely real because they are right in front of your eyes. Take for example the
pope in the eye of the needle. Crazy.

The Museum of Jurassic Technology is a great place to kill time and get transported into a weird world for a couple of hours.

Friday, December 4, 2009

#87: Self Realization Fellowship's Lake Shrine Temple

Photos from laplaces

The Self Realization Fellowship is a place where anyone can go and find some peace from big city life. It was founded by Paramahansa Yogananda and boasts a huge tranquil spring fed lake that houses swans, koi and ducks. I just discovered that the lake is available for weddings--perfect for a non-denominational ceremony.

Parking is free, but fills up quickly. If it does, you can find parking on side streets or on Sunset.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

#86: Eames House

After we stopped by the Eames Office in Santa Monica, the friendly woman working there pointed us towards the iconic Eames House, aka Case Study No. 8 House just off of Chautauqua Ave in the Pacific Palisades.

Once there, we were treated to a short tour of the grounds. You can't exactly step into the house itself, but all the doors are open so you can see inside. The Eames had such vision; it's amazing how a house built in 1949 can still look so modern fifty years later. The house was built as Charles and Ray Eames' home and studio. The level of detail they put into it is remarkable.

Visitation is free, although a donation is recommended. There's no parking on site, so just park on Corona Del Mar and walk a couple minutes. Also, fyi, although the address is 203 N Chautauqua Blvd, it's actually on a tiny side street off of Chautauqua.

from the original Santa Monica Pier

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

#85: Eames Office

Some people go crazy over sports, some over politics.. I flip out over chairs.

Stepping into the nondescript Eames office in Santa Monica, I spotted what would be my dream waiting-room: an entire collection of Eames chairs--all empty, all calling out to me to be sat in. Oh, and I sat. And sat. And sat. I felt like Goldilocks, except every chair I tried was "just right".

The Eames Office is really an office, gallery, museum and gift shop in one. You can peruse the displays and learn about the history of the Eames family, sit in original Eames chairs (not the plastic ones...), and purchase some cute holiday gifts... We were helped by a really friendly woman who gave us a lot of additional information and even pointed us towards the historic Eames house in the Palisades.

The Gift Shop Area of the the office. Yes, that's an Ikea bookcase.

So I didn't leave with a $3700 lounge, but I did pick up the Eames House Of Cards which is just about the coolest deck of cards I'd ever laid eyes on. It comes in small, medium and large sizes (mediums are shown in the pic at the top), and would make the perfect present for the architect and design lover in your circle. Buy the cards (or even better, a lounge chair) here.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

#84: Aquarium Of The Pacific

Garden of Eels

Well it's the first day of December and we're gonna kick it off in the LBC. A couple of weeks ago Brad had a weekday off and we decided to take a trip down to the Aquarium Of The Pacific. Luckily, we had two friends who were off of work too, so we all headed down in one car for some r+r (rays and reef sharks).

The aquarium is deceptively large. We spent over two hours looking at the displays. My favorites were the shark lagoon where you can pet rays and small sharks, the sea lions, the giant sea slug, garden of eels, and the jelly fish.

Brad and sea slug having a moment

There was also an outdoor section called the Lorikeet Bird Forest, which was thrilling.. Yes, I think that's the best word to describe it. The birds were so pretty to look at, and it was fascinating getting close to them. However, when one of the birds landed on Arthur's finger, it started to bite him (and it wouldn't stop!).

the bird plotting its attack

Arthur wasn't the only victim. As I stood at the exit to the forest, every little kid rushed out with a look of fear in his or her eyes. There was even one teary eyed boy sobbing that a bird flew into his eye. Yeah, birds are crazy.

Brad petting the sea creatures

Petting ray