I am a dance fan. I am proud to say it. It is exciting to see that dance is making its way West, coming into its own long-awaited time here in Los Angeles. I am pleased to introduce guest author, Ashley Fauset, one of the founders of Move LifeStyle and writer of the Los Angeles blog Silver Lake Mom, whose relationship with dance stretches to childhood. Naturally, she was the perfect person to introduce the LA Dance Project to you Way of the Wong readers.
Dance is alive and well in NYC. Manhattanites seem to be well-versed in dance. Last night after attending dress rehearsal for LA Dance Project, I met a former NY-based bartender who asked me about the dance company. I used the word "contemporary" to describe the choreography. He said, "Is that different than modern?" I explained that contemporary dance is work being composed currently, and he immediately interrupted to confidently confirm, "So modern would be Martha Graham and Merce Cunningham." "Exactly." I was impressed. I don't know many Angelenos who might know the difference off-hand.
It's always troubled me that Los Angeles doesn't have a proper dance company, not even a strong ballet presence to speak of. I've always waited for the companies to come to town. A vast imbalance lies between the coasts: New York alone has NYCB, ABT, Cunningham, Graham, Mark Morris, Alvin Ailey, Pina Bausch, Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane, Paul Taylor, Twyla Tharp. And those are just the heavy-hitters with large endowments--the list is long and goes on and on. Wikipedia shows one Los Angeles-based troupe on the List of Dance Companies page. That's just plain sad. Enter LA Dance Project.
LA's newest dance company, gaining much attention from Angelenos is LA Dance Project. Commissioned by dance philanthropist Glorya Kaufman, and founded by French choreographer, Benjamin Millepied, (most famous for his choreography and role in the film Black Swan, starring his now wife, Natalie Portman), LA Dance Project made it's much-anticipated premiere at the Walt Disney Concert Hall in September 2012, with an inaugural performance of Merce Cunningham's Winterbranch. The company has given performances at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, as well as in several countries across Europe. This past Janurary, LA Dance Project announced it would take up residency in the recently renovated and reopened Theater at the Ace Hotel. I couldn't be more excited.
I am that girl who attends opening night of the ballet at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in a full-length gown. I believe in demonstrating my appreciation for the great art by treating ballet performances as the grand events that I believe them to be. It may sound pretentious, but let me go on to say that I know that I am in the minority. More often than not I see theater-goers donning blue jeans, and while that might make me cringe slightly, I immediately forgive them. What matters is that they're supporting the arts by purchasing tickets and attending performances. Who cares what they're wearing.
So, LA Dance Project is setting up shop in the kitschy Ace Hotel, reviving the 1927-built Spanish gothic theater that was formerly a United Artists movie house. The Ace Hotel notoriously draws a young, hipster party kind of crowd that will surely take note of the brightly-lit marquee hanging above the hotel entrance. It's the perfect venue for the company. The historic theater doesn't hold the kind of grandeur that the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion does, and that's the point. It has a personality all its own. It's not stuffy or pretentious, giving off an air of elite exclusivity as the Dorothy Chandler may seem to do. This unique venue makes dance more accessible to the people. There's something truly beautiful of the juxtoposition of old and new. The choreography is innovative and current. Millepied and his company are breathing new life into the old theater. They're reviving what's been forgotten in Los Angeles, and are a vital part of the arts revolution that seems to be imminent downtown.
I had the great pleasure of attending dress rehearsal this week as LA Dance Project prepared to christen their new stage this weekend. If you're in LA, you'll want to see this show. Trust me. You won't be disappointed. The highly skilled dancers move with grace and ferocity, the choreography is evocative and thoughtful. Dancer Julia Eichten is captivating, moving with precise intention and palpable emotion. (Read my interview with Julia here .)
The star of the program was Hiroaki Umeda's Peripheral Stream. Scored and choreographed by Umeda, the piece is a smattering of high-frequency static-like audio coupled with white-noise-like snow and graphic striations video projection splashed across the the stage, casting an unsettling glow on the silhouetted dancers whose movements are both frenetic and frantic. It's unlike any work I've seen and it alone is well worth the price of admission. The full piece will premiere in Paris next month at the Théâtre du Châtelet. Now if only airfare to Paris were on sale.
LA Dance Project will give three performances at the Theatre at Ace Hotel from February 20th-22nd. The program includes U.S. premieres of Reflections (choreographed by Benjamin Millepied with music by David Lang and visual concepts by Barbara Kruger); Murder Ballads (by Justin Peck with music by Bryce Dessner of The National and visual concepts by Sterling Ruby), and an exclusive sneak-peek of Peripheral Stream by Hiroaki Umeda in preparation for its upcoming premiere in Paris in March 2014.
Love is in the air. Whether you are committed, undecided, or going stag, here are 2 Proms, 1 Wrestling Match, & 1 Rebel Dinner to Celebrate this Day of Love.
Big Bar Prom
Big Bar is back with the annual Valentines Day Prom. Proms past include horse drawn carriages, an Eiffel Tower, and a giant elephant. This year's theme is Carnival Cabaret. I am told a magician will be in attendance and a Royal Couple will be crowned. Don't forget to nominate your favorite pair for that honor. For pictures from Proms Past - check out their Facebook Page.
Fake Prom by the Unique Space
Irony abounds at Fake Prom 2 where $40 gets you kombucha, an awkward photo booth photo, a Cool Haus Sundae Bar, and so much more. Get a group together, bring a date, or go alone - paper hearts are given to singles in attendance to pin on your sleeve, so someone can steal it.
Looking for some excitement on Valentines Day? The Sexo is abundant and they'll even throw in a side of violence for good measure. It's the annual Valentine's themed Lucha Libre Mexican Wrestling paired with saucy burlesque to even out the spectrum. Feb 12 & 13, so you can still celebrate with one of these other options on Valentine's Day if you are so inclined. If you've never been to a show, you can see my pictures here or visit their website for details.
Need a prix fixe meal to make Valentine's Day feel authentic? Here is a decadent Underground Dinner from Amy's Culinary Adventures.
Home Sweet Home
You who run to the beat of your own drum and would rather skip the fray to create the romantic evening of your dreams - here are some options for you from Move LifeStyle. To start the evening right, there are 4 Valentine's Day Cocktail Recipe's to Melt your Heart & to fill your tummy are some Heart Healthy Recipes for your candlelight dinner.
Happy Valentine's Day! Let us know if you try any of the above or... if you have a fun evening planned of your own!
New Orleans has Tales of the Cocktail & Portland has Portland Cocktail Week, so it is about time that Los Angeles had a few days to showcase the fine art of bartending and continue to put LA on the map as a destination for fine imbibing. With Golden State of Cocktails, Skyler Reeves, Director of Operations at 213 Nightlife, and Allison Levine of Please the Palate have put together a trade convention for the bar community. For those in the bar industry, there will be seminars to educate and celebrate California's cocktail culture.
Lucky for you who enjoy warming a stool on the other other side of the bar, the good times will roll right out of the convention and into the streets. Follow Golden State of Cocktails on Twitter for the most up-to-date information and here are few events that the public is encouraged to attend!
If you're excited about seeing the new Ace Hotel Downtown, there will be a kickoff Happy Hour for the Golden State of Cocktails tonight with drink specials and specially created cocktails. 4p - 6p at the new rooftop bar at the Ace (929 South Broadway, LA 90015)
Imbibe Magazine and Select Liquor Brands will be sponsoring 2 pub crawls featuring $4 cocktails, each highlighting a different brand.
Tuesday - Downtown LA Pub Crawl
The Downtown L.A. Bar Crawl on Tuesday, January 28th includes visits to a varied range of bars: 6:30pm – 8:30pm Villain’s Tavern, 8:30pm – 10:30pm Las Perlas, 10:30pm – 12am King Eddy Saloon, and 12am – 2am Honeycut.
Wednesday - Hollywood Bar Crawl
Stops on the Hollywood Bar Crawl on Wednesday, January 29th include: 6:30pm – 8:30pm Spare Room, 8:30pm – 10:30pm Sadie, 10:30pm – 12am No Vacancy, and 12am – 2am Sassafrass.
If you need a lift to all the bars, there will be a shuttle available.
Downtown Pub Crawl: Shuttle departs at 6p from the LA Times Building - (202 W 1st St, Los Angeles, CA 90012)
Hollywood Pub Crawl: Shuttle departs at 6p from the Millenium Biltmore Hotel - (506 S Grand Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90071)
Happy Imbibing Everyone!
UPDATE: If you want to join in the bar crawls, you need to register (for free) with Event Brite for a wrist band: www.gscbarcrawl2014.eventb
Grand Park Downtown has a fun afternoon planned, gratis. As soon as the sun goes down, the outdoor space will be filled with food trucks, DJs, art installations, and large-scale animated projections, ringing in 2014 like DTLA knows how to do! Take the Metro - all metro bus and rail lines will be providing free service for NYE from 9PM-2AM See the whole lineup on the Grand Park Countdown to 2014 Facebook Event page.
Around the World Countdown
Starting at 3pm, Big Bar Alcove will be celebrating 10 timezones in a series of 10 mini NYE parties starting at 3p! Every hour, they will celebrate the countries and cultures who will be ringing in the New Year. Pick up the Big Bar Cocktail Passport with adorable illustrations by Mr. Dave Stolte, depicting the cocktails and recipes represented for each timezone, so you can show off your worldliness as you drink! I love the idea of drinking around the world without leaving my spot at the bar! Collect them all!
Live Band Karaoke NYE
If you're feeling less than motivated to get all dolled up this new years, try this decidedly dress down affair up in the valley. If low key isn't low key enough for you, get yourself out to a little dive bar in the Valley called The Cork Lounge. Sing your heart out with the live band, grab a glass of free bubbly, and call it a night.
Be safe this New Years
If you don't have a DD set up, check out these options for getting around town while you're celebrating:
Metro is free to ride from December 31 at 9pm – January 1, 2am.
Lyft has an app if you need a lift; the pink mustachio’ed cars have background checked/insured drivers and who doesn't love a moustache on a car!
Uber also has an app to provide an on-demand car with the choice of a budget-to-luxury vehicle.
Tipsy Tow: This AAA service offers a complimentary ride and vehicle tow of up to seven miles for over-imbibers; call 1-800-400-4222
Check out some of the event pages, as they might have some discount codes for first time users.
It's no surprise that I love Los Angeles and all that it has to offer. What better time to #shoplocal than the holidays. You can stop by the Renegade Craft Fair this weekend which will be filled with local artisans (clothing, food, jewelry & more) pimping their wares just in time for you to stuff some stockings, or you can check out some of my local favorites below.
Too pretty to eat? or so delectable, you can't help but devour these decadent morsels, despite their dapper dress. The truffles that Jonathan Grahm creates are to-die-for. Just ask Oprah, who picked his chocolates as one of her favorite things, over whiskers on kittens. The bars and truffles are my favorite chocolates in Los Angeles, and I could have chocolate with every meal.
I love this bauble as a triumphant medal conquering your daily commute. These charms are the quintessential representation of life in Los Angeles, in the form of delicate freeway signs in precious metals. Whether as a symbol of your road trip through life or a way to proudly represent your Southland neighborhood, L. Makai's Commuter Collection necklace can be customized for anyone on your wish list. You can find the Commuter Collection this weekend at the Renegade Craft Fair Dec 14 & 15.
Finally marrying two of my favorite things: smoke and olives, Orgasmo de la boca smoked olives are true to their namesake: an orgasm in your mouth. In Bloody Mary's, on a cheese plate, or just to snack on while binge watching Homeland, Chef Alessandra's smoked olives are best enjoyed with company, or you may find yourself finishing off every last bite yourself.
Jazz Guitarist Chris Standring pairs up with singer songwriter Kathrin Shorr for an album of new holiday classics. These two are fixtures in the LA music scene and have succeeded in creating an album of original Christmas songs that warms your hearth and decks your halls with jazz & joy. This is a simple way to support local artists by purchasing some festive music for the holidays.
If you're not sure you're in the Christmas Sprit, you just need to step foot in Aldik's store during the holidays, and you will find every manner of tree, trimming, ornament, and tinsel. This is a wonderland of epic proportions with trees and decor in every style from traditional to whimsical to modern to handmade. If you didn't have enough holiday cheer, stop in here.
Curating the finest in vintage barware & an impeccable liquor selection, Joe Keeper also has the best gift basket for your cocktail curious cubicle buddy. All the ingredients you need to craft your own craft cocktail at home are conveniently curated into a gift box, along with the recipe from a classic cocktail or if you're adventurous, the secret ingredients to one of LA's finest bartender's signature cocktails. Shaken or stirred, the secrets will be revealed to you when you open your box.
What are some of your local favorites? I'd love to hear them in the comments below!
I remember as a kid taking the bridge from Samar to Leyte and how the bridge looked like an S on the way to Samar and like an L on the way to Leyte. Now that area is completely devastated and looks nothing like it looked when I traveled there as a child. With the Phillipines being my mother's homeland, I count myself among the Southland's vibrant Filipino community community and have been so warmed by the efforts of the LA community to raise money for the victims of Typhoon Haiyan. If you have been wanting to donate, here is one more chance to give to the relief efforts this holiday season.
The foodie community is once again pooling its talents to be a force of good. #LALovesPI will bring together noted chefs at The Church Key (8730 Sunset Blvd), to raise money for Gawad Kalinga, a Philippine-based grassroots organization and non-profit who is currently assisting relief efforts on the front lines of Typhoon Haiyan disaster sites.
The array of celebrated chefs and mixologists will include:
- Eric Greenspan (The Foundry)
- Kris Morningstar (Rays + Stark Bar)
- Ray Garcia (Fig)
- Anthony Carron (800 Degrees, Top Round)
- Steven Fretz (The Church Key, Top Round)
- Steve Samson (Sotto)
- Perry Cheung (Phorage)
- Sally Camacho (The Jonathan Club)
- Kevin Luzande (Acabar)
- Devon Espinosa (The Church Key)
- Nick Meyer (Bestia, Sotto)
- Joey Bernardo (Harvard & Stone)
Each will create a special dish or cocktail exclusively for the benefit event. Keep an eye on the Facebook page as more participants are announced!
General Admission tickets are $100 + service fees and include:
- an all-inclusive dinner
- cocktail reception
- silent auction
VIP tickets are $150 + service fees:
- all-inclusive dinner
- cocktail reception
- silent auction
- private champagne reception from 5-6pm
- exclusive dish tastings
- gift bags courtesy of Sherry Yard (Helms Bakery)
Tickets are on sale now—get them at https://lalovespi.nightout.com/.
Looking for the perfect punch to serve your guests this Thanksgiving? Look no further. I have the perfect fall punch for entertaining right here! I took a trip to one of my favorite Los Angeles Bars to speak with Naomi Schimek, the beverage director at The Spare Room in Hollywood. Located in the hip (and haunted) Roosevelt Hotel, this gamer's paradise serves up bowls of punches to hipsters playing Uno or the Hollywood king pins who come to bowl on their classic double alley.
You can find the recipe for this delightful punch on Move LifeStyle. It is filled with fall flavors of cognac, persimmon, cinnamon and darjeeling tea. Naomi chose a beautiful fruity bright cognac with a luminous honey color. You can find Cognac Park from Distillerie Tessendier et Fils, here in Los Angeles at K&L Wine Merchants on Sunset and Vine. And lucky for you Angelenos, if you don't feel like making a bowl for yourself, you can always go to The Spare Room in the Hollywood Roosevelt and have them mix something up for you while you live out your Big Lebowski dreams.
If you're looking for some cocktail ideas for Halloween, I have put together a few options on MoveLifeStyle that don't involve fake sugary flavors. If you know me, my personal hell is laced with candy corn and a chaser of Skittles-flavored vodka. So, here are a few ideas for your ghoulish celebrations that won't turn your tongue into an un-natural shade of blue.
Break out some cash for charity!
at The Famous Bar on Thursday, August 15th from 8pm-11pm.
The Famous Bar
154 S. Brand Blvd, Glendale, CA 91205
The donation is $20 for both cocktails and a chance to vote for your favorite. CASH is best so they can make sure 100% of it goes right into the kitty for the winning charity. A healthy competition with a 60/40 split so no one walks away empty handed. Everybody wins!
I have a new way for you to get wild this summer. Starting on July 11, The LA Zoo is hosting some summer night parties for the 18 and over set. Every Thursday Night in July, there will be food trucks, DJs spinning at the carousel & standup comedy at the petting zoo. Impress a date or bring your sweetheart to Wild Summer Nights at the LA Zoo. There's full bar service for those of legal drinking age, so you can also bring your buddies and just party with the animals.
WHEN: Thursdays, July 11, 18, and 25, 7:00 – 10:00 p.m.
- July 11: Live band So Many Wizards; Comedians Rob Gleeson and Jonny Loquasto
- July 18: Live band CHIEF; Comedians Francisco Ramos and Helen Hong
- July 25: Live band NO; Improv comedy troupe
WHERE: The Los Angles Zoo, 5333 Zoo Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90027
The Los Angeles Zoo is located at the northeast corner of Griffith Park at the junction of the I-5 (Golden State)
and the 134 (Ventura) freeways. The Zoo is directly across from the Autry Museum of Western Heritage.
COST: The event is $18 for general admission, and $15 for GLAZA and KCRW members.
INFO: For more informationonline, or to purchase tickets, please visit www.lazoo.org/roaringnights or call (323) 644-6042.
All events are 18+ and up. No outside food or drink is permitted.