Friday, December 16, 2011

#222: The Muzeo Museum

What do you get when you mix science fiction and fantasy in a Victorian setting? One word: Steampunk.  The Muzeo Museum in Anaheim is currently featuring a Steampunk exhibit. On display are artist models of futuristic technology as Victorians might have envisioned them back in the day.  

Ray guns

Bird mask

Ray guns, crazy corset costumes and mad scientist walking canes fill the rooms of this imaginative exhibit. Looking at all the crazy inventions, I couldn't help but be reminded of the prop store jAdis (#220).  

Walking canes

The exhibit also includes props and replicas from various science fiction films. Fans of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea will be delighted by a replica of The Nautilus and a full size Time Machine from the 1960 film.

General admission is a steep $13 for adults, but we got a Groupon 2-for-1 deal. Admission includes entry into both the Steampunk and the Victorian Art wings.  

Speaking of the Victorian Art wing, if you like walking canes and pipes, you are in luck. I've never seen such a large collection of the two. There are canes that turn into guns, canes that hide swords inside them, canes that act as compasses... It was fascinating, even for someone like me who is not so nuts for Victorian Art. 

While we were there, they were hosting some sort of festival where they were giving out free cocoa and popcorn. These people were having a jolly time dancing in the square:

Our friends Ron and Fran came with us to this event. Read Fran's post on the event here.  

Have you been to The Muzeo Museum? What did you think of it? Leave me a comment below!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Outdoor Ice Skating in L.A.

Ice skating in a t-shirt with the sun beating down... Yet another thing that Angelenos can brag about to their East Coast friends.

You don't have to go far to find an outdoor ice skating rink near you. Here are some of the best:

photo from laist

Go ice skating just steps from the beach! Admission includes unlimited time in the rink, and on Fridays and Saturdays you can skate until midnight. While you're there, take a stroll down the Promenade. $12 admission, including skate rental. 

photo from blogdowntown

Pershing Square: Downtown On Ice

Skate until 10 pm in this downtown winter wonderland. The square is right across the street from the Biltmore Hotel, so be sure to check out this historic hotel while you're there! $6 for an hour session, with $2 skate rental.

W Hotel Chill Ice Rink

Enjoy a 1600 square foot ice skating rink with cabanas, bar, and cocktails. Snow falls every hour, and between 11 AM and 1 PM there's a children's cookie decorating station. $10 for one hour of skating, including skate rental.

Irvine Spectrum Center: Holiday on Ice

Skate in this outdoor shopping center, with a ferris wheel as your backdrop. $12-14 for a 75 minute session, with $2 skate rental. Helmets are complimentary.

Woodland Hills Ice

This is the only outdoor skating rink in the San Fernando Valley. $12-15 for unlimited skating, including skate rentals. On Fridays and Saturdays, skate till midnight!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

#221: California Heritage Museum

"No waves today. Guess I'm not surfing," sighed Brad.  I couldn't stand the sad look in his eyes any longer, so I suggested we drive out to Santa Monica to check out the Shortboard Revolution exhibit at the California Heritage Museum.

If you've ever been to Santa Monica's Farmers Market on Main Street (#91), you've probably sat on the Heritage Museum's front lawn to scarf down your market munchies. The house-turned-museum was built in 1894 for Roy Jones, the son of Senator John Percival Jones who founded the city of Santa Monica. In 1979 the Roy Jones House was named a City Landmark. Now the museum is dedicated to presenting displays of American art and promoting the passion of collecting.

I really enjoyed seeing the vintage surfboards on display and reading about how they evolved over time. It was a small exhibit though--not as big as the Shortboard exhibit at The California Surf Museum (#199). I also love the location of the museum--right on bustling Main Street. While there, we also checked out jAdis (#220) and ate a wonderful brunch at Amelia's.

 I do have a few gripes about the museum. The first is the admission cost. $8 per person feels a bit too steep for such a small museum; we were in and out in about 20 minutes. I also felt stalked by the docent there. I noticed there were no security cameras in the rooms, so a docent followed us into each room, keeping an eye on us. We were the only ones in the museum, so it was really obvious that we were being watched the entire time. Lastly, I was a little disappointed by the Aloha Spirit: Hawaii's Influence on California Lifestyle exhibit. It was basically a living and dining room decorated in a Hawaiian style with tiki mugs and Hawaiian dinner ware. I was hoping for more reading material or signs explaining the significance of things in the room, but there wasn't much.

Overall, though, I think this museum is a worthy stop if you're in the Santa Monica area, especially if you're a surfer or enjoy vintage surfboards.

Have you been to the California Heritage Museum? What did you think of it? Leave me a comment below!

The California Heritage Museum

Monday, November 21, 2011

#220: jAdis

Entry fee $100. 99% Off with Cash, reads the sign on the door. Good thing I had cash on me! Next to that sign read another one that said "Knock First." Brad and I followed the directions, and a man greeted us at the door. Welcoming us in, he exclaimed that since we knocked, we got half off our entry price. We happily paid the dollar admission and were instantly transported into an inventor's wonderland.

If the interior of jAdis on Santa Monica's Main Street seems familiar, you've likely seen its props in many movies (eg. Superman, Wonder Woman, Wild West, The Prestige, The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus).  From the genuine Tesla generator sitting near the entryway to the large model rocket ship with a man moving inside, everything in jAdis brought out the wide eyed kid in me. If you're so inclined, you can even buy some of the items to take home.

jAdis is hard to define. It's part prop rental business, part museum, part curiosity shop. The owner of jAdis, Parke Meek, passed away in January 2010. His life story is one of the most unique and inspirational I have heard. Parke Meek left school with a 6th grade education, but his vision was way beyond anything that school could teach. He was always curious about how things worked, and by observing the world, he made mental connections that most people are blind to. Even at a young age, he was already thinking like an inventor. Meek wasn't afraid to speak his mind, yet he never made an enemy in his life. He became great friends with Charles and Ray Eames and worked at their firm for 25 years. He also befriended Frank Lloyd Wright, Howard Hughes, and other prominent figures of the time. 

To learn more about Parke Meek and see his collection for yourself, be sure to drop by jAdis on Friday-Sunday from noon to 5 pm.   Bring a dollar, and don't forget to knock ;)

Monday, November 7, 2011

L.A. King's Giveaway Winner

Congratulations to April A. for winning the Barry's Ticket's L.A. Kings Giveaway! April, an email has been sent to you with your tickets.  Thank you to everyone who entered. Stay tuned for more giveaways in the future :)

Friday, November 4, 2011

L.A. Kings Giveaway!

photo from wallpaperpimper

Woohoo! Time for another giveaway! Barry's Tickets is generously giving away a set of 2 tickets to the L.A. Kings hockey game this Tuesday, November 8 at the Staples Center! These are great seats too--I looked them up and they're selling for about $100 for the pair. Act fast because the winner will be chosen in less than 48 hours. 

Barry's Tickets is one of L.A.'s best resources, with tickets to sports, concert, theater and exclusive events around the city. With no service fees24 hour customer service, and a 200% guarantee, you'll be hard pressed to find a better ticket distributor. The Lakers, Katy Perry and Disney on Ice are just a few of the events that look awesome coming up. Check out their site--you'll be impressed!

*This giveaway is closed*

Thursday, November 3, 2011

#219: The Schindler House (aka Kings Road House)

Tall people better be prepared to duck because this house is made for shorties! The Schindler House is a must-see for fans of modern architecture. The house is tucked away on a quiet residential Kings Road in West Hollywood. Walking past it, you'd never guess that it houses the MAK Center for Art and Architecture.  

The house was designed by Rudolph Michael Schindler, who was friends with other architecture heavy weights such as Richard Neutra and Frank Lloyd Wright.  After overseeing the construction of Wright's Hollyhock House (#64), Schindler set out to build the Kings Road House, which became one of Schindler's most important works. Construction of the house completed in 1922.

There's currently a small exhibit running till January 8th titled Sympathetic Seeing: Esther McCoy and the Heart of American Modernist Architecture and Design.  It focuses on the architectural historian Esther McCoy through photographs, drawings, texts, videos and audio interviews.  Admission is $7.

Finally, a word of caution. The bathrooms in the house are for you to use, but beware! The toilet refused to flush, and as Brad fiddled with it, one of the tubes came loose and started whipping around, soaking our clothes and getting us both in the face a couple of times. It was like a scene from Three Stooges. Nyuk nyuk nyuk. Pretty embarrassing, especially when I had to inform the front desk about it, utterly drenched. :P

 Short doors for short people

The driveway

Have you been to the Schindler House? What did you think of it? Leave me a comment below!

Friday, October 21, 2011

#218: Travel Town

Kids everywhere! Travel Town, located in the northern part of Griffith Park, is just the place to bring out the rambunctious five year old in you. At Travel Town, old trains are like playground equipment waiting to be climbed on.  Hoist yourself aboard, play with the knobs and buttons, and perhaps even have a picnic on one of these vintage vehicles.

Travel Town is free, as is the parking. There's a gift shop, a small indoor photo gallery, and a warehouse with more old vehicles. There's also a cute miniature train that goes around the town. $2.50 buys you a ticket for twice around the track.

Travel Town is also a great place to host a birthday party. There were several going on when we went, and it doesn't cost much to rent a train car (I think it was a little over a hundred for a few hours).

Huge wheels
Vincent stopping the train

Have you been to Travel Town? What did you think of it? Leave me a comment below!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

#217: Take a Tour of the L.A Central Library

There's lots of crazies here. But don't worry, I don't let the crazies mess with the people on my tour, joked our tour guide. Brad and I were at the Central Public Library in Downtown for their 2 pm tour. It was our first time at the Central Library and we were in awe at all the library had to offer--there was a gift shop, a cafe, art galleries, and even a kids area for shows!  The 1.5 hour tour focused on the art and architecture of the library, while also introducing us to the library's layout. 

Our guide talked a lot about the strange people at the library. When we were about to go into the elevators, he told us we wouldn't go in the elevator if there was a sketchy person in it. We laughed, thinking it was another one of his jokes.

To our surprise, the door opened and there was a man scratching himself vigorously in the corner with a neurotic look in his eye. Our guide gave us the "I told you so" eye and we let the door close. The next door opened and there was another guy vigorously punching the buttons and talking to himself. We let that one go as well. Thankfully, the third one was empty and we hopped in.

If you ever get a chance to ride the elevator (sans sketchy people), check out the walls of the elevator--they're made of old library cards. In one part of the elevator wall, as you go from floor to floor, the topics of the library cards change to the floor you're on. So for example, if you're going to the floor which has all the history books, the library cards that show up will all be for history books!

 Beautiful ceiling

 Another gorgeous ceiling

Brad and I love our local public library, and we check books out there every week, but it's pretty small and sometimes we don't feel like waiting for their library-to-library transfer service. Before visiting the Central Library, I made a list of a bunch of books I wanted to borrow that were only available at the Central Library and I checked them out at the end of our tour. The great thing is that once I finish them, I can simply return them to my own library. Easy! 

I really enjoyed our tour of the library and felt that I had a good idea of where everything was at the end of the tour. Tours are given Tuesday to Friday at 12:30 pm, and Saturday at 11 am and 2 pm. On Saturdays there's also a garden tour at 12:30.  There is ample parking in the underground garage, and with validation from the library, parking is only $1.

 You can take the escalators if you don't want to take the elevator

Have you been to the L.A. Central Public Library? What did you think of it? Leave me a comment below!

L.A. Central Library Tours