Happenings, Lifestyle

Creep LA’s ‘Awake’ Brings Your Worst Nightmares to Life

October 26, 2018 by Adam Sputh

Image via Creep LA

It’s October, which means another year of haunted houses in Los Angeles – which ultimately means another round of the people over at Creep LA trying their best to blow their competition out of the water. This year, those overseeing the nightmare decided that they will go ahead and make it just that – a dream-centric, subconscious, hazy trip into your worst fears while you are asleep. The show, entitled Awake takes you on a 75-minute journey from the bedroom, to the disturbing imagery locked deep in your mind.

If you have never been to Creep before, let us tell you now – this is something unlike anything you have experienced before. Most haunted experiences, in Los Angeles (or otherwise) specialize in disturbing imagery, so that in itself isn’t necessarily distinguishing. However, nothing quite thrusts you directly into the chaos of a horror film quite like Creep, which has you right in the passenger seat of a select story, where you must interact with the crew, complete tasks, and crawl through tunnels in order to advance the production.

This year, you begin ushered into a compact elevator, where you and a small, isolated group of several others are slowly taken up to the fifth floor of a Row DTLA warehouse. The moment the doors open, the madness begins, and in this world, they can touch you. And they do. A lot. The story takes place in what feels like an endlessly vast abandoned warehouse – though the space may not actually be that large, the way it is utilized is incredibly impressive. The story’s progression keeps you hectically navigating through a disorienting series of rooms, passages and scenarios, getting continuously more surreal as it evolves.

Not much can be said about the specifics without going into spoiler territory, but what they’ve got cooked up feels like it belongs on a grander scale than anything they have done in the past, and that includes last year’s likely well-funded collaboration with Amazon. Characters subtly tap and speak to you through the walls provoking a truly maddening feeling in your own head. You are often personally addressed by the crew of the production, making you feel responsible for what happens next. An atmospheric and wildly varied soundtrack throughout coupled with the incredibly well thought out imagery in makeup and special effects makes the $85 ticket feel worth every penny.

Creep is run by Just Fix It Productions, which is responsible for a variety of immersive theatrical productions throughout the Los Angeles area. Founded by Justin Fix, the organization is also known for The Willows, a similarly-atmospheric murder-mystery dinner show that places in a 10,000 square-foot Los Angeles mansion. This production typically takes place earlier in the year.

Creep LA: Awake runs every Wednesday to Sunday throuhg November 4. Row DTLA is located at 777 Alameda St, Los Angeles, CA 90021.

Shows begin at 6:45 p.m. and start every 45 minutes thereafter with the final showtime varying depending on the night, on occasion going as late as 11:15. You’ll meet up with a group of other participants at the plaza located straight across from Rappahannock Oyster Bar, which is showing support with a special Creep-themed happy hour dinner and show menu – all you have to do is show your confirmation. It is highly recommended that you arrive at least 15 minutes early. Once the tour begins, there are no late entrances, with no exceptions.

For more information, you can visit Creep’s website. Tickets are available here.

Food, Happenings

The Waterfront Revamps a Venice Classic

October 23, 2018 by Adam Sputh

Photo by Adam Sputh

There’s a new (old) spot to get an espresso on the Venice Boardwalk, and while you’re at it you might grab a taco or two. For the past 25 years, On The Waterfront served as a staple in the local community, offering a laid-back hang with plenty of open patio seating out front. That is, until it closed its doors in 2017. Since the closure, the location has found new ownership, and will be officially reopening  tomorrow with a new name: The Waterfront.

The Waterfront aims to keep the same feel for locals that supported the establishment’s previous iteration, while adding in a few key updates. Walking in, you will immediately notice a multitude of spaces to relax at. If you’re just looking for a drink you can be served in the front main room with plenty of standing table space, or take a seat in one of the many couches at the lounge house in the back.

Off to the right a beer garden stands with table tennis, shuffleboard, and additional seating space. To the left, a modern outdoor patio where food is served. Then there’s the outdoor patio space out front, a spot to enjoy your meal combined with an ocean breeze and a very lively Venice Boardwalk.

Photo by Adam Sputh

In terms of food, the menu has been thoroughly built out. Old favorites such as lighter sandwiches and a warm pretzel remain. Additionally, guests can now enjoy a full brunch menu including huevos rancheros, gluten free waffles, or eggs benedict. Once it hits lunchtime, the menu flips to offer burgers, fish and chips, tacos and more. Perhaps the largest addition to the cafe is the massive lineup of refreshments, which include a wide selection of wines, specially crafted cocktails, local beers (draft, canned and bottled), juices, espresso, smoothies, teas and much more.

Photo by Adam Sputh

Two of the biggest changes The Waterfront has made are right next to the main cafe. Firstly, there’s a to-go counter, which offers morning espresso, breakfast sandwiches, pastries, juices and other lighter fares, until the lunch menu arrives. You can order online, get a text when your request is ready, and go grab it to enjoy on the beach. Next to this counter is the addition of Boardwalk Tacos, a taqueria that serves Mexican fare from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily and makes its own handmade tortillas. This area has its own seating arrangement and also has its own beer selection, including canned Tecate and Dos Equis on tap.

Photo by Adam Sputh

After The Waterfront opens, it will continue to offer a wide variety of regular activities including raffles and surfing boot camp, which enables participants to be provided with soft-top surfboards, head out to the water at 6 a.m., surf shore to shore, and return for a warm shower and espresso. For parking, you can take advantage of their valet in the back of the building with 20 spots – otherwise, you’ll have to use one of the parking lots at the beach (which there is one directly in front of the restaurant), or try a lucky roll of the dice in the streets nearby. A bicycle parking lot will also be available out back.

The Waterfront is located at  205 Ocean Front Walk, Los Angeles, CA. The official opening date is October 24. Regular hours are from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and 8 a.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday. For more information check out their official website here.


Spectacular Light Installation Will Cover Disney Concert Hall Starting This Friday

September 27, 2018 by Adam Sputh

Rendering by Refik Anadol Studio

A Los Angeles icon is getting a bold new look – at least for the next week or so. This Friday a massive light installation will cover the Walt Disney Concert Hall as part of the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s centennial kickoff celebration.

WDCH Dreams is a collaboration between artist Refki Anadol and the LA Phil. To create the display Anadol dug through the orchestra’s digital archives (including video, audio, and images), then processed the data through Google Arts and Culture’s machine intelligence, which then turned the submittals into millions of data points that appear as colorful textures and patterns. This output is what will be projected on to the surface of the Concert Hall’s exterior.

45 terabytes of data are being used for the process, shown through 42 projectors placed carefully to cover the building’s surface. Anadol is using the dream-like installation to metaphorically display the collective consciousness of The LA Phil and The Walt Disney Concert Hall.

Visitors can catch the projections from September 28 to October 6. The display will restart every half hour beginning at 7:30, with the last 12 minute display beginning at 11:30 p.m.

The projections serve as a companion piece to an immersive installation inside the concert hall at the Ira Gershwin Gallery. The gallery space, which was also spearheaded by Anadol and his studio, will allow guests to interact with the archives and memories of the LA Phil dating back to 1919 – traveling across the music and history of the orchestra. The translated archives look extremely similar to the colorful and varied patterns projected outside the building, but attendees will be able to manipulate the data themselves.

WDCH Dreams leads into the LA Phil’s grand “Celebrate LA!” event this Sunday. The event will shut down eight miles of road from The Walt Disney Concert Hall all the way to The Hollywood Bowl for a massive street party featuring over 1800 dancers, musicians and artists performing along with food and vendors. There will also be a celebratory event at The Hollywood Bowl including a free concert featuring Katy Perry and Kali Uchis.

Refki Anadol has a career filled with similar beautiful installations inside (and outside) buildings across Los Angeles, New York, Istanbul, Berlin and San Francisco. It’s only fitting that Anadol comes into the picture in this way, as Frank Gehry designed The Walt Disney Concert Hall with the hope that one day concerts going on inside the building could be displayed on its exterior for outside visitors.

Cool Spots, Happenings

‘Two Bit Circus’ is a New Micro Amusement Park Now Open in DTLA

September 20, 2018 by Adam Sputh
Two Bit Circus

Photo by Christina Champlin / We Like L.A.

Offering a spot where games and drinks mix isn’t a particularly new idea. Chains like Dave & Buster’s have been doing it for a long time, and there are even a fair amount of local bars such as the The One Up in Sherman Oaks or EightyOne in the Arts District that offer cabinet games to pair with their libations. However, Two Bit Circus, which saw its doors open to the public in Downtown earlier this month, takes things to an entirely new level.

Billing itself as a “Micro Amusement Park,” the renovated 50,000-square-foot warehouse in the Arts District has a wide range of gaming activities to check out, including VR experiences, classic arcade games, and Story Rooms, which take guests into a themed-location where they must interact with their surroundings and their team in order to solve puzzles or unfold a narrative.

Virtual reality stations are abundant, offering the chance to immerse yourself in a world where you can fight dragons, drive tanks, explore crafted sci-fi terrain, and much more. One experience, called ‘The Raft’,  has you defend a swamp against an infestation of supernatural creeps. Other offerings range from pinball to four-player air hockey to arcade staples like Street Fighter II, to more immersive experiences like Two Bit’s ‘Story Rooms’, which create what are essentially mini escape rooms that require a group to play through. There are even ‘VR Cabanas’, karaoke-style rooms that can be rented on an hourly basis and allow you and up to five friends to play a variety of Virtual Reality games together.

Food and drink wise, a circular bar dominates the center of the space while a concession window off to one side offers a moderate range of bar food (fries, corn dogs, sliders, tots, etc…) at somewhat immoderate prices ($15-ish per dish). But let’s be real, you’re coming here for the gaming.

In order to play the arcade games you can pre-load a card you swipe at the various consoles (no quarters, yay!) and the Story Rooms and VR experiences require reservations, with costs typically ranging from $15 to $35. Experiences generally run from 15 to 30 minutes, though at least one will push an hour (The Lost City).

Two Bit Circus is located at 634 Mateo St. Los Angeles, CA 90021. Operating hours are Monday to Thursday: from 4 to 11 p.m., Friday from 4 p.m. to 1 a.m., Saturday from 11 to 1 a.m., and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Admission is free, and games are purchase on a per-play basis. Occasionally the park will be closed for a private event, so calling ahead is always recommended. Parking is limited, so street parking is likely.

For reservations and more information, you can visit their website.