Survive that MWC (Mid Week Crisis) with Some Hump Day Happiness

There is beyond enough to do on the weekends in Los Angeles, but for those who are looking to get in some hump day action to hold them over until the weekend, consider squeezing in a laugh at one of the many comedy clubs that LA has to offer. It’s the perfect concoction of goofiness, greasy bar food and cocktails, all topped with an early curfew. It’s basically like sitting on your couch watching “live” tv (so no excuses for you lazies). Next time you are having a “Mid Week Crisis” because you can’t TGIF, check out one of the following comedy clubs.

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HAHA Cafe- North Hollywood

WORK OUT WEDNESDAYS

4712 Lankershim Blvd, North Hollywood, CA 91601
(818) 508-4995

The HaHa has recently moved locations down the street to 4712 Lankershim Blvd. I have been going here for years, and I have NEVER had a bad experience. That saying, you get what you expect; it is a small venue with bar food and a small stage, but every now and then every single member of the Wayans bros family will get up on stage and put on a 3 hour set for the 15 person audience. At the Haha you get anyone from movie writers, to TV personas, and lots of comedians from Last Comic Standing. Wednesdays are “Work Out Wednesdays”, where there are usually 5 comedians, and 3 out of those 5 are fabulous, the other 2 aren’t horrible enough to make you cringe from embarrassment (most of the time).  Ask to get on their email or text list and you will be frequently contacted with great ticket deals.

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Westside Comedy

THE BEAR SUPPLY @8PM & LIP SERVICE @10PM

1323-A 3rd St Promenade (A stands for Alley)
Santa Monica, CA 90401
(310) 451-0850

Located in the alley adjacent to the third street promenade (I am sure most patrons get lost just trying to figure out where 1323 “A” is located), is a small comedy theater opened by a group of UMASS grads in 2009. With a long list of celebrity drop ins, this comedy theater is special for hosting a wide variety of comedy related events from stand up classes, to open mic nights, and critically acclaimed solo comedian shows (Dana Carvey will be performing July 26th).  On Wednesdays they offer more improv based sets called The Bear Supply (which begins at 8PM) and Lip Service (which begins at 10PM). With 30 beers on tap and a “no drink limit”, this theater gets some pretty big names for being located in an alley way behind a Johnny Rockets.

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The Comedy Store

8433 Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90069

If you love Whitney Cummings and Bobby Lee (which I do), then this is your spot. They are regulars, and when I say regulars, I mean that they are there performing or hanging out on any given  night. Sammy Shore was the original owner, and the his wife Mitzi took over the joint, and she recognized that female comedians don’t get the same stage time and respect as male comedians, so she opened up a special room called “The Belly Room” for the women to perform. The spot is now run by Mitzi’s children, and this is where you find the A-list stand ups. I am always a little star struck when I go here. Every Wednesday is a different show, so be sure to check the calendar.

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Flappers

102 E Magnolia Blvd
Burbank, CA 91502
(818) 845-9721

Though this one is a little off the grid for us Valley or West Side peeps, it is definitely something to make a night of. They alternate their Wednesday shows with Whacked Out Wednesday and Hump Day Nasty Show (always featuring a different host). There are plenty of restaurants in the area to get dinner and see a show, in fact Barney’s Beanery is right next door. Grab a drink at Barney’s and then head over to Flappers. Flappers is very active with the NACA (National Association of Campus Activities) and college community, and is continually on tour across the US at different campuses. They even have special family, all ages welcomed events called Two Milk Minimum, so if you are looking for a comedy show appropriate for all ages, then this is your spot!

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Upright Citizens Brigade

5919 Franklin Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90028

(323) 908-8702

It all began here for some of your favorite TV personas and comedians like Amy Poehler, Aziz Ansari, Nick Kroll, Ed Helms… the list goes on and on.  This theater has been rolling out our generations top comics for years now. Setting the bar in terms of what is culturally relevant, one of my personal fave shows is their Wednesday Facebook night, where 2 random people in the audience are selected to display their Facebook page on screen where the comics of the night riff off of the person’s posts and photos (show starts at 9:30). The line is long to get in, but tickets are cheap and so worth it. I recommend Sushi Stop next door for dinner, as it is cheap and good quality (and by cheap I mean like $3 for spicy tuna rolls). There is also a few very nice bars next door to grab a drink after (or before- get there early to make sure you get good seats and tix).

Like I said, anytime I am in one of those  mid-week, what-am-I-doing-with-my-life, who-am-I, moods, I like to go to a comedy show, and I always leave re-calibrated and ready to roll the following day!

Hidden Philly: The Non-Touristy Guide to the OG Forefathers City

Philadelphia is one of the best kept secrets and underrated cities the US has to offer. Usually when people are going on vacation from the Best Coast, they go to NY, or Hawaii, or Florida. No one goes to Philadelphia. Why? My family is from Philadelphia, and I have been going since I was a child. I have converted many a friend into Philly Lovers, and you will be converted too if you follow my list.

Of course there are the basic touristy things to do, you have to go to the Liberty Bell, and see where the Declaration of Independence was signed. You have to run up the Rocky Steps to the Art Museum. You must go to the Franklin Institute and do a walk through of the human heart and catch an IMAX…. but Blah Blah Blah, after you do that the first day you get there, there is so much more that is kept under wraps that the normal tourist wouldn’t even give a second thought to. Here are the best things to do in Philly that the average tourist would ignore:

 Mutter Museum

Mutter

American Horror much? The new season Freak Show is based off of this oddities museum. The old antiquated display cases contain some of the freakiest and disturbing abnormalities from conjoined twins to the worlds biggest tumor. Also, part of Einstein’s brain is there as well as a wall of about 200 skulls. If you are not easily disturbed and like getting creepy vibes, go here. This is one of the best hidden gems the city has to offer. It is also where they performed separative surgery on the famous conjoined twins, Chang and Eng.

Barnes Museum

Barnes

This is not your average museum. The beautiful architecture contains an EXACT replica of Albert C. Barnes personal collection (down to the millimeter). He collected the pieces of work done by famous artists like Van Gogh, Picasso, and Monet (among many others), that were not well received, and now they are on display in this beautiful modern building.

Tip: Check out the documentary about Barnes called The Art of the Steal  to give you an appreciation before visiting!

Reading Terminal

Reading Terminal

If you can navigate this without going around and around in circles, props to you. On a busy day, the lanes and avenues of food shops located inside the giant old train terminal can get overwhelmingly confusing if not claustrophobic. Some cities have one signature food or good, but Philly is famous not only for Cheesesteaks, but also Italian Ice, Soft Pretzels, Water Toffee, and Italian Food. Check out Thrillists Best Terminal Food to get the idea…

Tip: Most places offer samples, you can fill up on these and get a taste of everything!

Eastern State Penitentiary 

Eastern State

Definitely one of the creepiest spots, this old dilapidated prison that was operational from 1829-1971, housed famous inmates such as Al Capone. Styled like a fortress or a castle, the dark, cold prison was built to be inescapable yet over the years people found peculiar ways to flee.

Tip: Visit during Halloween, they turn it into a haunted prison!

Magic Gardens

Magic Gardens

I stumbled upon this when I was walking down Southstreet during one of my visits. Throughout the entire city of Philadelphia you might catch a sparkling glimpse of mosaic street art installation. It is done all by the same man, Isaiah Zagar who uses all different materials from glass ware and mirrors, to urban findings like wood and bike wheels. The mothership of mosaics is brought to life with a giant walk through mosaic maze like garden that is probably one of the most mind blowing pieces of art  I have ever seen.

Tip: The artist is usually on site and you can meet and greet (he’s awesome).

Church

Church

Step inside ANY Church- there are hundreds and they are the oldest buildings in the city… Almost always open, and the architecture is awe inspiring.

NIGHTLIFE

Nightlife

Speakeasies/ Underground Clubs/ Dive Bars-

Philly has some great nightlife (but only if you know where to go)

Franklin Mortgage & Investment Co. 

FM

Hidden underground speakeasy that is very small and exclusive but serves awesome drinks and “Punches” (giant bowls of alcohol) that originate in the 1920s-40s.

G Lounge

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Lingerie clad dancers and a 50 Shades of Grey vibe, more of the guys club, but if you get a table you are sure to have a good time.

Mac’s Tavern

macstavern

Opened by It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia’s own Mac (RobMcElhenney), the bar has references to the show and might even be considered a mock of  Paddy’s Pub. Located on Market street, there are plenty of bars to walk to if you do want to do some more touristy style bar crawling.

Tip: The door when you walk in says “Pirate” just like on the TV show

Dirty Franks

Dirty Franks

More of a locals bar if you want to see what that is like, cheap drinks and a version of the the city special is offered here for like $2.50 (7 oz. beer & Kamikaze shot). The City Special is a shot of Jim Beam and a PBR for $3, here is a list of the city’s bars that offer it.

Pulse (open til 4am)

Pulse

One of the late night clubs that is open til 4am, the intimate two story dance club is always fun for after hours.

Voyeur (open til 4am)

voyeur-nightclub

3 Story dance club, arena style on the top floors and pub style on the second floor. Lots of strobes, & lots of stages, smoking friendly.. Just a good time.

Tip: They usually have free hot dog stand on the lower level- a nod to their very gay friendly vibe (it is pretty much a gay dance club).

The best thing about this city, is it is a museum in itself. The whole city is populated with signs that will tell you what historical noteworthy place you are standing near. I recommend popping on some sneakers with a backpack and just follow the signs, and follow your instincts. You will understand why it is really the best city to mAdventure.

 

[This list represents not even 5% of activities there is to do- check out these other sites for more helpful info on where to go!]

Discover Philadelphia

Visit Philly

 Philly Fun Guide

Boyhood: Patricia Arquette keeps getting fatter while serial marrying a bunch of drunks, and everyone yells at a nice boy his whole life…

SPOILER ALERT….

 I think?

I know its a little late, but I just watched Boyhood directed by Richard Linklater. I guess it was so hyped up, I was expecting to be moved with tears and have a whole life realization after watching. To tell you the truth, if you don’t have 166 minutes to watch the movie, just read my title of the article and you will pretty much get the idea.

It got 99% on Rotten Tomatoes- I do agree the whole idea behind the movie, the 12 year commitment by the actors, and the cinematography were amazing, but maybe I am just too basic in that I kept waiting for something to actually happen. They really know how to dangle you on a thread- Spoiler alert, nothing happens (I guess that is the point though).

One day in my life has more of a plot line than Boyhood…

… End rant…

Butchers and Barbers

I had the pleasure of dining at the Houston brothers newest venture in Hollywood last night. Their first restaurant and 8th venue, Butchers and Barbers is everything you would expect it to be and more. The one room, candlelit, Speakeasy style (of course, why would it be anything else), mahogany and tiled throwback, exudes luxury and time lost.  Reservations seem rare, and only booked online, lending to the exclusivity factor for which the Houston Brothers are known [a la No Vacancy– which is right next door].

The menu is divided into three main sections; The Garden, The Ranch, and The Sea. Everything was to die for, and the attention to detail on each plate was extraordinary. It truly felt like the dish was made specifically for you, and that the chef had gone out of his way to make it perfect.

B&B really makes you aware of what fine American dining consists, by incorporating all elements from other cultures and cuisine but still basing it in American style ingredients. Fresh market carrots and radishes in a Tahini sauce that was like none I have ever tasted. Steak tartar that seemed to melt in your mouth, on a huge toasted crostini that  complimented the juicy steak with a smokey flavor. The cauliflower with sheep cheese was so rich and light, while also being crispy, how do they do it? No flavor was too overpowering, and I usually find there is a tendency to overkill with garlic in many of these types of dishes which would give it a clear Italian nod, but these plates were so well prepared, each was literally a breath of fresh air. The drinks were amazing and  unusual as well, and the host and servers were sweeter than your grandma at Christmas.

Houston Hospitality is real. Check it out for yourself.

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cauliflower
Roasted Cauliflower, brown butter and sheep cheese
harrow
Farro, Egg, Broccolini, Radishes, and Parsley

 

The Tripel- Libations in Playa Del Rey

I went to grab some fine food and libations at The Tripel in Playa Del Rey tonight. Heard about the place through the grapevine. It is a one room gastropub, that was pretty packed for a Tuesday night. We tried a beer sampler, all of which was very crisp and light since we got the East Coast Belgian flight. They have an alternating selection of at least 40 beers on tap all the time. The ambience was relaxing, and the service was fast. I tried the cauliflower tomato soup, and since the waitress told us their number one seller was the sweet potato tots and dijon aioli, we had to try those as well (maybe so hyped up they didn’t blow my mind). We ordered the clams and mussels in pesto sauce which were delicious. My soup was so creamy, but almost TOO heavy. The gruyere toast that came with it must have been soaked in oil, on top of the melted cheese. If I had known this I would have kept away from the tots! Overall, the tavern pub vibes, guilt ridden food, and  wide beer selection provided for a good escape from LA. If you are looking to find some extreme munchies that you might regret later, head to The Tripel. Let’s be honest, we all need a meal like that once in a while.

You can start that diet tomorrow.

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Cmd+C Cmd+V= Shortcut City

The Copy and Paste Generation

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I am 24. Do you guys remember Type to Learn? We were the first waves of computer students. We had computer class when we were 9 years old which sounds past due according to today’s standards. Do schools even have that anymore or are kids just naturally engrained with computers skills from playing with their iPads and iPhones starting at age 2?

What I am getting at is that we have grown up with a mindset that is prone to shortcuts. Do you remember hand writing your essays? That shit took forever… on another note, do schools even teach cursive nowadays?  Along with learning to type, meant learning to Cut and Paste-

Ctrl+C and Ctrl+V

= the easy way out

Don’t lie, we have all done it despite our vast MLA education that they pound into our heads every year starting in 4th grade. Every single one of us has either used a friends old essay, or copied and pasted at least a sentence or two from some online source. We have all even heard of those people who have directly copied a full Wikipedia page to use as an essay (we heard of these people because they were caught). I thought that was an urban legend but apparently people did it.

What this has created fifteen years later is a generation of laziness. We forget what hard work is because we have always had it so easy. The most difficult problem for us now is when our technology fails us. It is supposed to help us but lets be honest- its a big technical headache when your computers don’t do what you tell them to do.  Since we grew up with a generation of “hmm lets type this” or “let’s copy and paste this just to save a few minutes”- we now have the mentality of instant gratification and the use of shortcuts to shave off a couple of minutes that could be now be used to check Instagram or watch TV.

Just like everything there are Pros and Cons. Even though I sound very pessimistic about my generation, there are also great innovations that have been made because of our robot like minds. Many of my friends have launched different Startup companies, or developed well known apps. And of course computers and technology have brought us a long way, in terms of health, science, medicine, and general knowledge. I often wonder if we have limited ourselves socially in exchange for easy access to vast information. What do you think, are we better off now?

Going back to 4th grade, do you remember D.E.A.R?  Drop Everything and Read- for 15 minutes. Well I want to employ D.E.A.L- DROP EVERYTHING AND LIVE. And just to make it relevant I will make it a hashtag.

#DEAL

It means you are going off line and off technology.  Maybe we could all pledge for 2 hours a day to just get off the tech train and get back to the basics. Anyone with me?

Find Your Inner Child

I have lots of kids in my family, and being around them so much gives me a new lease on life and a perspective that most of us have lost as we get older. Being around the youngin’s gives me a new appreciation for people who work a lot with children- maybe they are on their own quest to rekindle that magic and wonder that is childhood. We now get that same suspension of disbelief  from watching movies- we yearn it and we seek it elsewhere because we have lost the capacity to find it in ourselves.

I encourage everyone to do something for your inner child every day!

Heres a WikiHow on embracing your inner child…

 


 

The Rise and Fall of the Valley Bar Scene

I have been super happy about the new generation of lounges, bars and cool hang outs that have started to repopulate the boulevard- mainly in Sherman Oaks. Murphs, The One Up, The Woodman, Tipple and Brine, Tunnel Bar, Bow & Truss, to name a few. Actually all of these places are WONDERFUL, but as gastropubs only.

The Problem

What happened to the grungy, out all night, meeting fun people, going to a house after party, valley scene? For the most parts, these bars close down by 1am, sometimes even midnight. I talked to a manager at one of the spots who said that as soon as they have hit their goal profit for a night, or have had a good night- they close.

I get it, it eliminates the late night drunks and shenanigans that come with that (cops, puke, fights, yelling), but come one guys, what about the people?? Who remembers Smiles? That place was as close to Anything Goes as you could get… no wonder it got shut down.

The Pros

– A more mature crowd- less drunk idiots and creepers

– Delicious and well made food and drinks

-Parking that is more convenient than over the hill

-A slew of bars near each other for hopping

-GAMES! Most places feature games, either board games like at Bow & Truss, actual arcade games like at The One Up, or pool tables at Brickyard in North Hollywood

The Cons

-These places are catered to already formed groups, it seems harder to meet new people. Most bars are not set up for cross mingling and feature secluded tables or couches

-Early closing time- Most people don’t leave their house until 10 or 11 so that doesn’t give much time.

-Every bar is the same- same hipster look and same vibe (the majority)

-No dancing… forget about it- head to Skinnys for that

So boo hoo… now we have to settle for good drinks, and good food- and an early night. These hipster bars and speak easy’s that used to be a dime a dozen a few years ago now seem to be the norm. I guess we will have to get our kicks elsewhere- but I am also not 21 any more, so maybe I should just accept a more mature atmosphere and good conversation over a Moscow Mule and a Grass Fed Beef Slider Trio.

[PS This does not put an end my continual quest to find the best night adventures LA and the valley have to offer]