@Chrissy.Stardust" /> Christina Champlin, Author at


Cool Spots, Culture, Happenings, Lifestyle

16 Appointment-Only L.A. Art Galleries Open Right Now

September 22, 2020 by Christina Champlin
Ed Clark exhibit at Hauser & Wirth.

I think we can all agree that seeing art online doesn’t always convey the same feelings as viewing it in person. But for some time due to COVID-19, that’s been the only option––virtual galleries and digital exhibits. Fortunately, there’s now another socially distant way to see art in-person.

While none of our local museums have reopened, several galleries are currently available to visit as long as you make an appointment in advance. Although booking an appointment may seem like a hassle, it actually provides a private, more intimate, and safer experience. Plus, most of the following gallery spaces are free.

So, who’s ready to go art-hopping?

Regen Projects (Hollywood)

Operating in Los Angeles since 1989, Regen Projects has a reputation for showing works from acclaimed artists such as Matthew Barney, Catherine Opie, and Wolfgang Tillmans. Currently on view is Raymond Pettibon: Pacific Ocean Pop featuring drawings and collages of pop culture characters like Gumby and Batman alongside Hollywood actors, baseball players, and surfers. Appointments are available Tuesday through Saturday. One additional guest is allowed with each reservation.

William Turner Gallery (Santa Monica)

The latest exhibit at William Turner Gallery highlights new and recent work by Mark Steven Greenfield. Greenfield’s Black Madonna explores the Black experience in America, from the consequences of slavery to racial injustice. View the exhibit’s 17 works Tuesday through Saturday.

View this post on Instagram

David Kordansky Gallery is pleased to announce the opening of its new exhibition space with the gallery’s first show of new paintings and works on paper by Linda Stark. Titled 'Hearts,' this inaugural exhibition will be on view September 19 through October 24, 2020. We are currently open by appointment. Timed reservations and virtual visits are available at DavidKordanskyGallery.com. . The gallery’s new exhibition space forms part of its expanded Edgewood Place location in Mid-City, Los Angeles. Designed by the architecture practice wHY, the 12,800-square-foot expansion adds an intimate, skylit 2,000 square feet of indoor exhibition space, as well as areas for storage and operations, all located around a landscaped courtyard built for a range of programming, including performance, film, and outdoor sculpture. . Over the course of three decades, Los Angeles-based #LindaStark has produced a body of painting in which material experimentation and concentrated symbolic energy go hand in hand. The work is visionary, open, and suffused with an unlikely combination of humor and pathos; at the same time, it represents one of the most sustained investigations of the mutable potential of paint––as both a physical medium and a site of rich cultural discourse––in contemporary art. . As the show’s title suggests, the paintings in 'Hearts' frequently address iconographies associated with this most resonant of forms. Hearts occupy the literal and figurative centers of human and animal life, but they also appear in a wide range of social and narrative contexts. Emphasizing the physical, even sculptural, qualities of paint as much as its visual or color-based ones, Stark creates objects that reflect the multivalent potential of the heart as vessel and beacon, physical organ and mystical source. In so doing, she reveals a broad array of interests, notable for their historical depth and up-to-the-minute urgency alike. Often years in the making, they are meticulously planned and executed so that they engender intimacy, wonder, and surprise. . 'Cyclops Fountain,' 2020, oil on linen over panel, 20 5/8 x 20 5/8 x 2 1/2 inches (52.4 x 52.4 x 6.4 cm) . @whyheywhynot @why_site

A post shared by David Kordansky Gallery (@davidkordanskygallery) on

David Kordansky Gallery (Mid-Wilshire)

The David Kordansky Gallery just expanded to a brand new space and is currently exhibiting new paintings and works by Linda Stark. Stark’s Hearts explores the blood-pumping organ both literally and figuratively. It’s on view through October 24 by appointment only.

Hauser & Wirth (Downtown)

Hauser & Wirth is currently open for timed viewings of ‘Ed Clark. Expanding the Image’. Appointment slots tend to fill quickly, but limited tickets are released weekly on Eventbrite.

The Valley Relics Museum (Van Nuys)

Check out historical artifacts unique to the San Fernando Valley. This open-air museum is home to rare documents, photographs, awesome vintage neon signs, art, automobiles, and so much more. Tickets are $15 a person and support the nonprofit. Open every Friday and Saturday evening. Reserve tickets on the museum’s Eventbrite page.

Blum & Poe (Mid-City)

One of L.A.’s most influential galleries, Blum & Poe represents local and international artists such as Yoshitomo Nara, Asuka Anastacia Ogawa, Lee Ufan, and San Durant. Currently, the gallery is showing 4 from 3 dancers, new works by Los Angeles-based artist Aaron Garber-Maikovska. On September 22, Blum & Poe will also present Sympathetic Magic, a group exhibition organized by Bill Powers with work from 26 artists. Private reservations for one to three people are available online.

View this post on Instagram

Under / Over, aka #thetpholdershow; West, North, and East Walls.

A post shared by Marta (@marta.losangeles) on

Marta (Echo Park)

Marta is offering timed, socially-distant viewings of Under / Over, an exhibition of 62 bathroom-focused works (mostly of T.P. holders) from 53 artists, designers, and studios. On view daily through November 1 by appointment only.

Tanya Bonakdar Gallery (Hollywood)

New York transplant Tanya Bonakdar features contemporary multimedia artists in its Hollywood gallery. Debuting September 26, Restless Index features six artists from a diverse range of media. The gallery is open Tuesday through Saturday. A maximum of three people or one household can reserve advance appointments in 30-minute increments.

View this post on Instagram

#thebeautywar @cakeland.la

A post shared by The Beauty War (@cakeland.la) on

Cakeland LA (Chinatown)

Artist Scott Hove’s larger than life cake mazes have found a long-term home at Cakeland LA. In his latest exhibit, Beauty War, guests will explore a labyrinth of cake. Some cakes look delicious, others may be frightening, and no guests leave with the same impression. The gallery is open Wednesday through Sunday by advance appointment. Unlike the other galleries listed in this article, there is an admission fee of $20. Beauty War is on view through December 31.

La Luz de Jesus Gallery (Hollywood)

This self-proclaimed “low-brow” art gallery specializes in pop and street counterculture art. Current exhibits include Come on In, featuring Benz & Chang, Septerhed, and Teresa Watson, and Harold Fox’s Working Days End. Timed 20-minute reservations are available online for Saturday and Sunday viewings.

Kohn Gallery (Hollywood)

This modern art gallery‘s latest exhibit is myselves, a group exhibition curated by Joshua Friedman that features over 25 contemporary artists examining the ways identity is structured or fabricated. Half-hour visits can be reserved online, Monday through Saturday. Prepare to social distance from other guests.

GR2Giant Robot 2 (Sawtelle)

Located on a stretch of Sawtelle dubbed Japantown or Little Osaka, Giant Robot is part-whimsical pop culture store and part-art gallery. Since it opened in the 90s, the storefront has hosted countless pop art shows and product drops. The store is still open during the pandemic, and the gallery is offering limited visits.

Fahey Klein Gallery (Hancock Park)

Fahey Klein Gallery specializes in contemporary and 20th-century photography. Opening September 24 is Lost Angeles, collection of works by legendary L.A. photographer Paul Jasmin. Open by appointment only Tuesday through Saturday.

Gavlak (Downtown)

Gavlak is a contemporary fine art gallery based in Los Angeles and Palm Beach. Currently on view are two exhibits: The Feminine Divine, a solo exhibition of drawings, sculptures, and video by multi-media artist Kathryn Garcia; and Wisdom Embedded in the Treads, a solo exhibition of recent work by Jamaican-American artist Kim Dacres. The gallery is open by appointment only Tuesday through Sunday.

Tierra Del Sol Gallery (Chinatown)

Featured artists at this gallery are from the Tierra Del Sol Studio program. Currently on view is artist Helen Rae’s first solo exhibition. Viewings are by appointment only Tuesday through Saturday.

Gabba Gallery (Westlake)

Gabba Gallery features emerging artists from across the world. Though it also hosts virtual exhibitions, it’s open by appointment only when hosting shows in the gallery. Email the gallery here for details on what’s on view and how to visit.


Delivery/Takeout Picks to Try This Weekend

September 18, 2020 by Christina Champlin
Lost Cove Photo by Jakob Layman

This is not an ideal weekend to dine outdoors as our air quality is still pretty bad. Instead, order some delicious takeout and give your kitchen a break. From tiki and Hawaiian BBQ to some of the best fried chicken & waffles in town, here are a few excellent delivery and takeout specials to try this weekend.

Lost Cove (Fairfax)

This weekend, escape to Island Time with the help of Lost Cove. The new tiki and Hawaiian BBQ pop-up delivers tiki drinks, tiki-themed mugs with all the funky garnishes, and Big Island-style barbecue straight to your door. They even have a tiki Spotify playlist to help set the mood.

Behind the pop-up is Kevin Faerkin, the operations manager of Bludso’s Bar-&-Que. Faerkin tapped Justin Oliver (Smuggler’s Cove, Lono, and Bamboo Club) and Sam Spoehr (Bludso’s Bar-&-Que) to create Lost Cove’s tropical cocktails.

The classic tiki menu includes drinks like mai tais, banana daiquiris, and macadamia nut chi chis. Cocktails are premixed in a glass bottle using fresh organic juices, house-made syrups, and top-shelf rums and spirits. All you need to do is add ice, which is also included with your order.

Tiki drinks can be pretty strong, but you can balance out your island adventure with some food. On the menu are slow-smoked spare ribs, pulled pork sliders, and Huli Huli BBQ chicken. They come a la carte, in combo plates, and as family meals. For dessert, they offer Haupia coconut pudding with guava sauce, double chocolate brownies, and banana pudding. 

Order on Tock, Postmates, Ubereats, DoorDash or Grubhub for pickup at Bludso’s Bar-&-Que or delivery if you’re within an eight-mile radius.

Fried Chicken & Waffles from Poppy + Rose. Photo by Christina Champlin.

Poppy + Rose (Downtown)

Sink your teeth into an exceptional plate of fried chicken & waffles this weekend at chef Michael Reed’s American eatery Poppy + Rose. Reed is a fried chicken whisperer who brines his chicken in buttermilk and coats it with a salty, spicy, lip-smacking seasoning. Once fried, the skin retains its crunch while holding tender melt-in-your-mouth meat inside. Available on the breakfast and lunch menu, the dish comes with a Belgian-style waffle, a bone-in thigh piece, and a boneless breast. Available for takeout through ChowNow.

Azay (Little Tokyo)

Start the morning off with a Japanese breakfast prepared by Chef Akira Hirose, formerly of the critically-acclaimed Maison Akira in Pasadena. Azay is Hirose’s French and Japanese brasserie offering classics like kakuni omurice next to Boeuf Bourguignon. The hearty $15 Japanese Breakfast is served Tuesday through Sunday. It’s a traditional meal made up of broiled fish, Japanese rolled omelette, tofu with bonito flakes, pickled vegetables, miso soup, rice, and tea. Order on their webpage for pickup or GrubHub or DoorDash for delivery.


Salazar (Elysian Valley a.k.a. Frogtown)

Salazar recently opened for dine-in, takeout, and delivery. The entire food menu is available to be enjoyed at home, including their signature fire-grilled tacos and refreshing mezcal cocktails. Order on Postmates.


Randy’s Donuts to Hand Out Free Donuts on Halloween

September 15, 2020 by Christina Champlin
Randy’s Donuts

Halloween might not be the same this year as trick-or-treating is “not recommended,” according to Halloween guidelines the L.A. County Department of Public Health put out last week. If you’re a parent looking for ways to still treat your kids this Halloween, Randy’s Donuts will be handing out free donuts to anyone 15 and under on October 31.

All Randy’s locations will participate in this festive freebie, including shops in Pasadena, Inglewood, Century City, Downey, and El Segundo. Kids do not need to be in costume to redeem a free treat. They’ll all receive a free Randy’s Round, the shop’s take on the donut hole, while supplies last. Randy’s Rounds are sizable, two-to-three-bite yeast donuts topped with glaze and decorated with candy. Adults can join in on the fun and order some full-size Halloween donuts to enjoy as a family.

Food, Fun Stuff

A Halloween Food Festival Comes to Knott’s Berry Farm

September 14, 2020 by Christina Champlin

Knott’s Berry Farm will host a family-friendly Halloween-themed food festival inside a portion of the amusement park this fall. “Taste of Fall-O-Ween” will feature fall harvest and Halloween décor, themed food, an all-new “Into the Fog” art show, and a Camp Snoopy Trick-or-Treat Trail for junior guests loaded with treat stations and spooky decorations. Don’t forget to bring your trick-or-treating bag!

The outdoor festival will offer over 80 food options from 28 participating locations. Dessert highlights include a “Graveyard Funnel Cake” topped with chocolate ice cream and gummi worms and “The Great Pumpkin Bun”—a deep-fried cinnamon roll topped with pumpkin icing. On the savory side, choose among Butternut Squash Soup in a Bread Bowl, Creepy Cheeseburger Sliders, Pastrami Tater Tots, and more. Adults 21+ can also use their tasting tickets for Boysenberry Sangria, Full Moon Mint Juleps, and other alcoholic beverages.

To enjoy Fall-O-Ween, guests must purchase date-specific tasting cards online in advance. Regular tasting cards (ages 12+) cost $35 and include five food tastings. Junior tasting cards (ages 3-11) cost $20 and include three tastings and access to the Camp Snoopy Trick-or-Treat Trail. Parking for the event is free.

Due to COVID-19, all activities will be spaced according to social distancing rules. There will be a limited number of tickets sold each day to control crowding. Guests are allowed to show up in costume, but costume masks aren’t allowed. Face masks, however, are required.

Taste of Fall-O-Ween runs September 25 through November 1. Hours are Fridays and Saturdays from noon to 9 p.m. and Sundays from noon to 8 p.m. Buy your tasting cards at knotts.com or through the Knott’s Berry Farm mobile app.

Fun Stuff, Happenings, Lifestyle, Uncategorized

Drive-In Dinner and a Movie Pop-Up Comes to Chinatown

September 9, 2020 by Christina Champlin
Chinatown Central Plaza. Photo by Christina Champlin.

Cinemauto cruises into Chinatown for a monthly series of culturally distinct on-screen entertainment and local eats. Each ticket includes entry, dinner, and a movie for a full night of fun focused on inclusivity and highlighting diverse voices.

A typical night might include a feature film, plus a variety of short films, short documentaries, music videos, and art videos that play beforehand. There will also be in-car, multi-sensory exhibitions and DJ sets by NTS Radio. In support of local businesses, artists, and non-profit organizations, the series will also feature a curated community market alongside local Chinatown restaurants.

Cinemauto kicks off September 18 and 19 with a celebration of Hispanic filmmakers. Programming includes the 1997 film Selena, plus short films and music videos curated by the Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival.

When you purchase your ticket, you’ll select a “takeout” meal box (vegan options available) prepared by a featured local restaurant partner. Meals are delivered via carhop service and eaten inside of the vehicle.

The culinary partner for the September launch is Far East Plaza’s Taiwanese street food purveyor Lao Tao. On the menu are all their greatest hits, including bowls with popcorn chicken, pork belly, braised chicken, or tofu. 

So far, only programming for the first weekend has been announced, but keep an eye out for the schedule here. Cinemauto’s scheduled dates include:

  • September 18 & 19, 6-10 p.m.
  • October 16 & 17, 6-10 p.m.
  • November 13 & 14, 6-10 p.m.
  • December 11 & 12, 6-10 p.m.

Proceeds from ticket and merchandise sales for the entire series will benefit LALIFFHomeboy IndustriesJunior HighLas Fotos ProjectFood Forward, and #XMAP: In Plain Sight. VIP & GA tickets both include entry, dinner, and movie:

  • Double GA (2 tickets): $115 for two people.
  • Double VIP (2 tickets): Starting at $160 (limited availability) for two people. Includes curated goodies and snacks from the Community Market, premier “seating”/parking, early entry and exit, and a dedicated server.
  • Tickets only come in pairs, but you can add an additional single ticket for $60 (includes dinner).

Cinemauto is located at 713 N. Hill Street in Chinatown. Tickets are available here.


6 Delivery/Takeout Picks to Try Over Labor Day Weekend

September 4, 2020 by Christina Champlin
Seafood rolls from The Albright. Photo: The Albright

Don’t feel like firing up the grill this weekend? Understandable, because it’s going to be well over 100 degrees on Saturday and Sunday. From lobster rolls to grill kits and cocktail packages, here are some excellent delivery and takeout specials to try.

The Albright (Santa Monica)

The Albright is delivering special boxes filled with fresh seafood rolls such as lobster, crab, and shrimp. Available only for the month of September, guests can add one to three rolls per box ($20.50-$22.50 a roll). Each roll comes with house-made Old Bay seasoned potato chips. The Albright Roll Boxes are available for delivery via GrubHub, ChowNow, Postmates, DoorDash, and through The Albright’s app.

Big Bar (Los Feliz)

Bars might not be open at this time, but Big Bar is making sure that Angelenos can still enjoy top-notch cocktails at home all summer long. Through the Big Bar To-Go cocktail program, guests can choose from 17 evolving libations, some of which come with digital guides or printed instructions detailing any prep. Kits include St-Germain Spritzes, Mai Tais, and seasonal creations like the Honey Pooh made with wild local honey, Aberfeldy 12year scotch, nixta elote liqueur, lemon, rosemary, and sea salt, delivered in an adorable glass bear. Order on Chow Now.

Korean menu at Bacari West 3rd.

Bacari West 3rd (Beverly Grove)

Mediterranean eatery Bacari West 3rd and Korea Agro-Fisheries and Food Trade Corporation have teamed up on a limited-time menu from Chef Lior Hillel. Dishes include Kimchi Pasta, Korean Pear Pizza, and Korean Spicy Garlic Wings. Add-ons include red ginseng-infused ice cream or a refreshing omiberry cocktail. Available for dine-in or takeout now through September 17. To order, open Toast and select the Korean Menu tab.

Porridge + Puffs & n/naka (Westlake & Plams)

n/naka chefs Niki Nakayama and Carole Iida-Nakayama recently announced and sold out their latest ekiben collaboration this week with Minh Phan of Porridge + Puffs. But you can try your luck another time on n/naka’s Tock page, where reservations drop every Saturday at 10 a.m. all September long. For $48, the bento box features eight seasonal dishes designed by both restaurants. For those who just can’t wait, Phan also has a $50 five-course dinner menu this Friday and Saturday at her Westlake restaurant featuring ingredients created in collaboration with n/naka.

Rossoblu (Downtown)

Rossoblu’s Labor Day weekend grill kit is available for pickup Saturday and Sunday. For $49/person, enjoy a customizable multi-course meal that includes watermelon salad and marinated heirloom tomatoes with burrata; a main like Bolo burgers with all the fixings (Bolognese ragu, bechamel, and fontina) or brick-pressed chicken; sides like creamed corn and fingerling potatoes; and chocolate chip cookies. Substitutions include a 28-day dry-aged, bone-in Holstein New York steak ($40) and Peach Crumble Crostata ($20). Order on Tock.

Kirsh Baking Company (Delivery Only)

Uyen Kirshenbaum has taken her time away as the Executive Pastry Chef of Simms Restaurant Group to turn her passion for cookies into a booming mail-order treats service. Kirsh Baking Company offers hand-baked and individually wrapped cookies in both classic and seasonal combinations. Kirsh also offers dairy and gluten-free cookies. Recently, the company launched a limited edition I ❤️ California collection with six Lemon Poppy cookies and six Orange Double Chocolate cookies. 10% of proceeds will go to Baby2Baby with an additional matched donation by Kirsh Baking Company.


4 L.A. Spots You Gotta Eat at in September

September 1, 2020 by Christina Champlin
Uni Chirashi by 715 Sushi. Photo by Christina Champlin.

Every month, I explore different corners of L.A. County to curate a shortlist of favorites I believe ought to be on your radar. For September, I’m recommending covert Chirashi, some cooling halo-halo, a new Thai spot in DTLA, and a vegan cinnamon roll in Frogtown. Enjoy!

1. 715 Sushi (Little Tokyo & Koreatown)

When Chef Seigo Tamura met me in Little Tokyo to drop off an Uni Chirashi ($50) I had ordered via Instagram, it almost felt illegal—like I was buying drugs or something. But it was really just delicious slivers of marinated bluefin tuna, belt fish, striped jack, sea eel, and Hokkaido uni scattered across Koshihikari rice tinted brown with red vinegar. Cubes of sweet tamago and a splattering of bright red ikura finished off the dish. When I got home and took my first bite, I’m not going to lie… I felt a little buzz. Available Wednesdays through Sundays. Instagram orders only, pay via Venmo. –> More information.

2. Petite Peso (DTLA)

Halo-halo at Petite Peso. Photo by Christina Champlin.

I stopped by Petite Peso in DTLA specifically for the halo-halo ($7) and I have no regrets. Halo-halo is a popular Filipino dessert that consists of layers of crushed ice and sweet ingredients, usually various beans, jellies, and ice cream. At Petite Peso, it’s layered with fresh-cut stone fruits like peaches and plums, slivers of jackfruit, ice, and whipped cream, then topped with toasted coconut chips. My spoon dove to the bottom of the cup lifting all the layers up into a sizable bite. More bites quickly followed. Light, but not overly sweet, it was a good summer cooldown, though the concoction did melt faster than I thought it would. Eat quickly, and you won’t be disappointed. Open Tuesdays through Sundays from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. –> More information.

3. Holy Basil (DTLA)

Holy Basil. Photo by Christina Champlin.

Holy Basil is a self-described “Neighborhood Bangkok street food window” that recently popped up at the Santee Passage complex in DTLA. Right now, they’re open only on Sundays, catering to pre-orders. Walk-up orders might experience a lag, but it’s worth it.

Two standouts are the Pad Thai Goong ($13) and the Ka Nah Moo Krob ($13). The Pad Thai Goong puts a heavy emphasis on the Goong (the shrimp) with excellent results. Ecuadorian white shrimps lay across noodles dressed with a tamarind sauce that’s mixed with tiny dried shrimps. Finally, a fried egg is smashed into the noodles. Frankly, this was one of the best Pad Thais I’ve eaten in a minute. Writing about it days later, I still feel like I have remnants of shrimp flavor in my mouth.

Then there’s the Ka Nah Moo Krob, a Bangkok-style crispy pork belly dish where the sun-dried pork is chopped into cubes and wok-fired with Chinese broccoli and XO sauce. The pork belly at Holy Basil is a flavorful marriage of crunch and air without a trace of grease. To order, DM Holy Basil on Instagram and pay via Venmo. –> More information.

4. Just What I Kneaded (Elysian Valley)

Vegan Cinnamon Roll from Just What I Kneaded. Photo by: Christina Champlin

Just What I Kneaded’s Justine Hernandez previously sold her pastries at Little Ripper and Kindness & Mischief. After starting a GoFundMe, she opened her own space in Elysian Valley (a.k.a. Frogtown) on Blake Ave., a stone’s throw from the L.A. River. Here you’ll find 100% vegan sweets including fruit pies, giant cookies, fluffy fruit scones, and galettes. Hernandez’s signature offering is a giant cinnamon roll ($6) about as big as your face. The vegan cream cheese frosting has hints of lemon zest, and it’s definitely on the gooier side (you might need several napkins). There is a small patio out front and a menu board with the day’s baked goods. I suggest a grab-and-go and a walk along the nearby river path. Open Wednesdays through Sundays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. or until sold out. Pre-order on Toast. –> More information.

News, Travel

Metrolink’s ‘Kids Ride Free Weekends’ Program Starts August 29

August 28, 2020 by Christina Champlin

Metrolink’s new six-month “Kids Ride Free Weekends” program provides an affordable option for family travel. Beginning Saturday, August 29, the promotion allows up to three children 17 and under to ride for free on Saturdays and Sundays when accompanied by a fare-paying adult.

Several Southern California destinations are on this route, including areas in Antelope Valley, Orange County, San Bernardino, Inland Empire-Orange County, and 91-Perris Valley Lines.

“After being cooped up, we know folks are ready to change their routines with fun, yet safe, activities for the entire family,” said Metrolink Board Chair Brian Humphrey via a statement. “When you ride the train, the journey is a part of the experience and we want families to enjoy a special and affordable train experience as they explore the many outdoor activities we all love about Southern California.”

Passengers can buy an adult Weekend Pass for $10 at ticket machines or through the Metrolink mobile app. The pass can be used multiple times, giving families the opportunity to visit several SoCal areas in a single weekend. Children don’t need their own tickets to board the train with their parents. Keep in mind, kids ages 6 and under always ride free on Metrolink every day.

While road trips have become popular for people who want to safely travel during the pandemic, Metrolink costs less than a tank of gas and doesn’t involve sitting in traffic, making it a comfortable choice for families. The double-decker trains and windows allow families to sightsee while traveling and on-board amenities include a variety of seating configurations perfect for groups. There are also restrooms and two hand sanitizer stations on each train car. Also, bike cars on the train can accommodate bicycles, surfboards, strollers, picnic baskets, and other large items families need for the day.

Face masks are required aboard Metrolink trains and on station platforms, with the exception of kids under 2. Deep cleaning protocols have been implemented on all trains, including a daily electrostatic spray that mists each train car with hospital-grade disinfectants and a cleaning crew that wipes down and disinfects trains throughout the day. Families can also use the online tool “How Full is My Train?” to track the train’s recent ridership levels and prepare for social distancing.

For more information on Kids Ride Free Weekends or to learn about area destinations, please visit metrolinktrains.com/kidsridefree.

Related: L.A. Metro explores a fare-free system.

Culture, Lifestyle, News, Volunteer Opportunities

Start a Free Sharing Program with the Whittier Free Store

August 27, 2020 by Christina Champlin
Little Free Library in a front yard. Photo by: Christina Champlin

For the last decade, the nonprofit Catalyst has impacted the way people connect, collaborate, and share resources. Through its Whittier Free Store and Artisan Work Lab, the organization provided education and free resources to communities. Sadly, this September, Whittier Free Store and Artisan Work Lab will close their doors because the property has been leased to a new owner. Although Catalyst will no longer provide a physical space for its Free Sharing Operations (FSO), the team is now turning its attention to the public, empowering folks to start their own versions.

In a time of economic uncertainty, free services like the kind Catalyst offers are essential. For example, LA Community Fridges recently made headlines with pop-up fridges filled with food donated by the community.

Catalyst’s programs include free stores, free artisan work labs, little free libraries found in front yards, free creative arts spaces, and toy and clothing swaps. The FSO Network is intended to encourage people to participate in the sharing economy. 

Now, Catalyst will help people or groups interested in starting their own FSOs. Participants can request support through an online form. Certain programs will receive complimentary starter kits with items like tables, shelves, and inventory from the closing Whittier Free Store, plus training and workshops. Find more information on getting started here.

For those not interested in joining a network, one-time giveaway events are also encouraged. Catalyst can facilitate with inventory from its closing free store.

On Sunday, September 13 from 1-5 p.m., the Whittier Free Store will also host an unlimited everything-must-go free shopping day for members and non-members to help redistribute everything back into the community.


HomeState’s Margarita Showdown Moves Online With At-Home Flights

August 21, 2020 by Christina Champlin

HomeState’s annual Margarita Showdown goes virtual this year with margarita flights and a huge musical lineup you can enjoy safely at home. On September 5, the tasty showdown will pit expert margarita makers against one another to answer one very important question: “Who makes the best margarita in town?”

Bars and restaurants participating this year include El Carmen, El Compadre, El Condor, Gold Line, Gracias Madre, HomeState, Las Perlas, and Petty Cash. Attendees who want to partake in the drinking and voting can pre-order a margarita flight package for $50. The package includes eight individually bottled 4oz margaritas, two limes, garnishing salt, a HomeState metal straw, and a keepsake Margarita Showdown glass. All proceeds from ticket sales will go to No Us Without You! and Watts Empowerment Center with ChowNow matching every dollar raised up to $10,000.

Comedian Cristela Alonzo will host the livestream on www.MargaritaShowdown.com while margarita makers share their drinks and stories. Musical guests include Spoon, Chicano Batman, Questlove, Local Natives, Fred Armisen, and more to be announced. Voting will take place during the program and the winner will be announced at the end. The public is welcome to livestream the event with or without a margarita flight. 

View this post on Instagram

HomeState’s 2nd Annual Margarita Showdown is happening via livestream on Sat, Sept 5th at 2pm!⁣ ⁣ Hosted by comedian @cristela9, all Showdown profits will be donated to our charitable partners: No Us Without You! and Watts Empowerment Center. Our friends at @chownow are matching every dollar raised up to $10,000.⁣ ⁣ The Showdown livestream is FREE and OPEN TO ALL at margaritashowdown.com. As for the margs, we are offering Showdown Margarita Packages featuring some of the best Marg Makers in LA. Packages are $50 each, available for pre-order and include:⁣ ⁣ • (8) Glass bottles of 4oz margaritas curated from Marg Markers around the city⁣ • (2) Limes⁣ • Garnishing salt⁣ • HomeState reusable metal straw ⁣ • Keepsake Margarita Showdown glass⁣ ⁣ Here’s how the Showdown works:⁣ ⁣ • Pre-order your Showdown Margarita Package (link in bio)⁣ • Pick up your Package from HomeState Highland Park on Sat, Sept 5th ⁣ • Stream the show live at 2pm while drinking your margs⁣ • Vote for your favorite local Marg Maker as they share their drinks and stories between performances by @chicanobatman @spoontheband @Questlove @localnatives @bigcatmotherfunk @sordociego and more!⁣ ⁣ Pre-order your margs, mark your calendar and head to margaritashowdown.com for more details on the event!⁣ ⁣ Cheers & Love,⁣ HomeState ⁣ ⁣ #margaritashowdown⁣

A post shared by A Texas Kitchen in Los Angeles (@homestate) on

You can pick up margarita flight packages at HomeState Highland Park on the day of the event. Attendees who purchase a flight must be 21+ with proof of I.D. We highly suggest ordering some tacos, chips, and queso from HomeState to go with the drinks. Cheers!


Get $23 of Bludso’s Bar & Que for Free on Tuesday

August 17, 2020 by Christina Champlin
Bludso’s Bar & Que

When Angelenos talk about barbecue, Kevin Bludso’s revered BBQ stand in Compton is often top of mind. The Texas-style recipes passed down from Bludso’s grandmother have delighted Angelenos for over a decade. When the original Bludso location closed in 2016, Bludso’s Bar & Que sprung up on La Brea in the Fairfax District.

If you haven’t had a chance to try it, there is no better time than Tuesday, August 18 when the world’s biggest charcoal company, Kingsford Charcoal, will apply a $23 credit to anyone ordering food from Bludso’s Bar & Que through the ChowNow platform. That’s right. You get to spend $23 on whatever you like. We highly suggest the 14-hour slow-smoked brisket or the ribs.

This sweet deal is thanks to Kingsford Charcoal’s latest “Famous Bites” initiative, which aims to celebrate some of the best pit-masters across the country by dropping $5,000 tabs at each location for locals to take advantage of on select dates.  

For Angelenos, the Bludso’s Bar & Que Kingsford tab will open on Tuesday, August 18 on a first-come, first-served basis from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. and again from 5 to 9 p.m. or until the $5,000 tab is maxed out. That means around 217 people can receive this promotion. The only catch is that guests must order at least $23.50 worth of food for the promo code “Kingsford” to activate. Meaning you still have to pay just a little for a lot of tasty barbecue.


Happy Ice Hits the Road With a Summer Happiness Tour

August 13, 2020 by Christina Champlin
Happy Ice

Happy Ice, the psychedelic, highly Instagrammed vegan treat, is hitting the road this summer to provide a sweet cooldown for Californians and beyond.

Happy Ice is inspired by a Philadelphia creation called “ice water,” which is a mix between a slushy and sorbet. Happy Ice owner Lemeir Mitchell took this 40-year-old recipe and gave guests the ability to mix and match a variety of brightly-colored flavored ices, which he swirls together into unique works of art. What started as a roaming truck quickly drew lines of fans. It’s become so successful that Happy Ice now has its own storefront on Melrose Avenue.

While the pandemic has slowed most businesses down, the shop has received countless messages to expand. To meet this demand, Mitchell is gearing up to put the Happy Ice truck back on the road for a special Happiness Tour, offering its signature creations to select Los Angeles County neighborhoods and roaming as far as Riverside County, San Diego, and even Las Vegas.

“The amount of success and positive feedback we received from our Melrose opening was overwhelming and such a blessing. I’ve had the idea for a kind of road tour with the trucks for a while now. But since opening the shop, so many people started messaging me on social media to see if Happy Ice could open more locations or stop by their cities,” Mitchell said. “I felt the timing was perfect, so I knew we had to get this idea in motion, literally. My goal with the Happiness Tour is to bring the smiles and joy we see in L.A. to other areas from all across SoCal to Vegas and back. During times like this, I figure everyone could use a little happiness in their life.”

The tour kicks off this weekend on the westside at Santa Monica Place August 14 & 15 and makes a stop in Long Beach on Sunday, August 16. From August 14 through September 20, the public will find the Happy Ice truck Fridays through Sundays at the designated schedule below.

Find more information about Happy Ice here.