Thursday, July 28, 2011

L.A. Galaxy Ticket Giveaway!

*** WOW! WE'VE REACHED #200! ***

To celebrate, Barry's Tickets is generously giving away 2 sets of 2 tickets to the L.A. Galaxy Game next Saturday, August 6th at the Home Depot Center! Cheer on David Beckham and his teammates as they battle FC Dallas.

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 fees, 24 hour customer service, and a 200% guarantee, you'll be hard pressed to find a better ticket distributor. Katy Perry, the X-Games, Les Miserables, and Wicked are just a few of the events that look awesome coming up. Check out their site--you'll be impressed!

How to Enter:

  • Visit Barry's Tickets and tell me one other event that looks interesting to you. The entry form is below.

**** This giveaway is now closed. Thanks to all who participated! ****

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

#200: MOCA

As the city's only museum dedicated solely to contemporary art, MOCA is a must-see for anyone living in L.A., and a fitting #200. Founded in 1979, the Museum of Contemporary Art is home to over 5,000 works of art and has three locations around the city: The Geffen Contemporary, MOCA Grand Avenue, and the MOCA Pacific Design Center.

You have probably heard about their Art In The Streets exhibit which is running until August 8 at the Geffen Contemporary in Downtown. Thanks to Banksy (see #160: Street Art Scavenger Hunt), this exhibit is free on Mondays! Just be sure to come before 2 or 3 pm, because when we left at that time, there was a really long line to get in.

This was such a vibrant exhibit--it seemed like every nook and cranny of the museum was covered in street art. Even the bathroom stalls had graffiti!

While we were waiting in line for the bathroom, the guard scolded everyone for leaning on the art. Sure enough, on the wall outside the bathroom was graffiti. We were completely oblivious to it. When else will you be scolded for leaning on graffiti?

If you haven't checked it out, I highly recommend visiting Art in the Streets before it closes on August 8th. General admission is $10. Students and seniors are $5 and children under 12 are free.

Be sure to also visit MOCA's permanent collection, which takes you on a chronological journey through art's major movements of the 20th century. The permanent collection is located at MOCA Grand Avenue.

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

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

#199: The California Surf Museum

Just as Johnny Depp is a man of many faces, Brad is a man of many sighs. There's the "I just woke up from falling asleep on the couch while watching t.v." sigh, the "Why do our bunnies shed all over the house" sigh, and the "It sucks that I have to wait another week to see what happens in Breaking Bad" sigh. The loudest and longest one of the bunch, though, is the "There's no waves today" sigh. When I hear this sound, I know it's a sad day.

"No surf today?" I asked last Saturday after being awoken by his exaggerated exhale. "No. Man, this sucks. What are we going to do?" After some internet research, we found the next best thing to a morning surf session: a visit to the California Surf Museum in Oceanside.

The California Surf Museum was founded in 1986 and features vintage photos, videos and surfboards of all sizes and shapes. My favorite display was of Bethany Hamilton's surfboard, which has a chunk bitten off by the shark that attacked her. What an inspirational girl!

the gift shop

The museum is currently featuring a new exhibit called Transitional Thinking: A Short Story 1966-1972 which is a retrospective on the evolution of the surfboard. In addition, there is also a display on skateboarding, a gift shop, and a cool outdoor installation called the "Secret Spot." The $5 adult entry fee is a great deal for a fascinating history lesson on the sport of surfing.

The museum is open daily from 10 am-4 pm, and till 8 pm on Thursdays. No photography is allowed in the museum except at the Secret Spot.

More Surf Museums around L.A.

Surfers Walk of Fame in Redondo Beach (not a museum, but plaques along the beach honoring the pioneers of surfing)

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

Friday, July 22, 2011

#198: Topanga Lookout

High above Red Rock Canyon you'll find the site of an old fire tower which is now a graffiti covered concrete platform. This is the Topanga Lookout, a little known treasure in Malibu that starts at the intersection of Stunt and Schueren Road. Take a short 2 mile roundtrip hike to this amazing lookout.

There are no signs for the Lookout trail, but you'll see a gate near the intersection of Schueren and Stunt. Park for free on the side of the road anytime between 6 am and 9 pm.

The trailhead

Continue up the path and you'll come across this junction:

Take the trail on the left

Once you take the left trail, it's a straight shot to the lookout.

You'll pass this radio tower on your right

The hill to the lookout

As you can see, the hike is largely unshaded, so plan accordingly. There used to be a sofa on the platform--can't imagine how hard it must have been to get it there--but now it's gone.

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

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

#197: Camera Obscura

If James Bond were to retire in L.A., you'd find him at Santa Monica's Senior Recreation Center. Located in this unassuming building is the Camera Obscura, a neat contraption that brings the game Eye Spy to a whole new level.

The Camera Obscura is indeed obscure; not many people know about this place. Even with its prime location on Ocean Avenue just a couple blocks from the Promenade, the Camera goes virtually unnoticed by all of the people walking past it. Little do they know that they're being watched!

Sitting high atop the building above is a 360 degree rotating turret. The turret has an opening in its side which observes the scenery outside. Inside the turret is a mirror which reflects the scenery down through a convex lens. The image is projected on a circular table screen below.

Aristotle first conceived of the idea of the Camera Obscura. Since the 1600's it has been used by artists and drafts people to sketch landscapes. In the 1800's, the technology of the Camera Obscura was used to produce the first photograph.

Brad and I checked out this place during lunch time. We got the key to the room at the Rec Center's front desk (to the right when you enter) and proceeded up the stairs to the viewing room. We rotated the viewing turret by turning a pirate ship wheel, and got to see everything from buses driving by on Ocean Avenue to people hanging out on the beach.

The Camera Obscura is located at 1450 Ocean Avenue and is open on Monday-Friday from 9 am to 2 pm and Saturdays from 11 am to 4 pm. It is free, but note that you must leave your ID at the office in exchange for the key. When you return the key, they give you back your ID.

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

Monday, July 18, 2011

#196: Rubio Canyon's Double Waterfall

What does this mean??

It's so beautiful! Double Waterfall all the way!

The Eastside has its share of stunning waterfalls (see Eaton Canyon Falls (#169) and Sturtevant Falls (#170)) but sometimes the throngs of people on these popular hikes can make you a little nuts. If you're hungry for a one-two punch of waterfall with few to no people, Altadena has a little secret; a spectacular double waterfall accessible via an unmarked trail.

the "trailhead"

This out-and-back hike is only 1.3 miles, and provides some fun rock hopping as you approach the waterfall. The hike is mostly unshaded and takes you past the foundations of the old Rubio Pavilion, which was operational from 1893 to 1936 as the starting point for a tram ride up to a resort on Mount Lowe.

Just past the concrete foundation you'll come across a junction in the trail. The trail on the left takes you up a steep incline while the one on the right continues along the stream. Take the right trail and keep going along the stream. Soon the trail will turn rocky and you'll rock hop across small streams until you reach the waterfalls. If you lose the trail, just keep following the water and you'll reach the waterfalls--it's not very far!

I came here on a weekday afternoon with my friend Charles and we saw only a couple of people on our way to the falls. The whole hike took us about an hour, including resting time at the falls. Wear good shoes since you will be walking on potentially slippery rocks.

Follow these tips for your visit:
  • The trailhead is located on Rubio Vista Drive in Altadena between houses numbered 1351 and 1342
  • Dogs are allowed
  • Park in the neighborhood for free. No passes needed.

Have you been to Rubio Canyon's Double Waterfalls? What did you think of it? Leave me a comment below!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

#195: The Gentle Barn

Vegan, a blind cow

The Gentle Barn. The name conjures a place where pot bellied pigs lounge contentedly in the sun, horses smile at you as you pass by, and cows lean in for a hug every now and then. The animals here are happy, no doubt about it. Check out the grin on this little guy:

At Santa Clarita's Gentle Barn, you'll interact with some of the sweetest and most inspiring animals you'll ever meet. It's hard to believe that all of these gentle natured creatures were rescued by the Barn from neglect, abuse and slaughter. These animals are living proof that you can bounce back from a lifetime of cruel treatment. Here's the heart wrenching story of how the smiling horse above named Bonsai found his way to the Barn:

Bonsai lived with an alcoholic woman for the first 6 years of his life. When she was sober all was good, but when she was drunk Bonsai would get punched in the face. At 6 years old, he decided he would never trust humans again. It took us two and half years to get him to change his mind. He now works with autistic kids and gives them all the gentleness and kindness he wishes he could have had when he was a baby. (~from the Gentle Barn's website)

Brad and I took the 35 minute trip out to Santa Clarita last weekend, and I can definitely say that my $5 entry fee was well spent. The place was surprisingly busy for a hot Sunday afternoon--families with their children, couples, young and old came out to nurture these lovely animals.


We started by paying a visit to Buddha, the gentlest cow you will ever meet. Buddha has arthritis, and she is the barn's therapy cow. When disabled kids come to visit, they gather around Buddha and hug her and pet her.

After giving Buddha a hug, we visited the horse area. For $2, you can buy a bag of carrots and feed the horses. The feeling of a horse's lips on your hands is pretty funny.

After petting the horses, we went to where the smaller animals were housed. Here we pet giant pot bellied pigs, docile goats, chickens, a couple of small cows, some shy llamas, a very vocal turkey, and a sweet emu.

photo from gentlebarn

On our way out we visited the gift shop and the Vegan food booths. The barn is open from 10 am - 2 pm every Sunday. This was such an inspiring place to visit. I highly recommend taking the drive to check it out!

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