Santa Monica Travel Guide
Volunteer Travel / Awards Shows / Jeremy Renner / Eva Mendes / Los Angeles Travel / California Travel / → All Tags
Yesterday, Jeremy Renner and Eva Mendes announced the nominees for the 2011 Film Independent Spirit Awards, at The London West Hollywood. The lucky ones include this year's indie favorites like 127 Hours, Black Swan, Greenberg, The Kids Are All Right and Winter’s Bone.
All of the 2011 Film Independent Spirit Award winners will be announced on Saturday, Feb. 26, 2011 at 2:00 p.m. on the beach in Santa Monica, CA. But Film Independent, the non-profit organization that sponsors the event, is still in need of volunteers to help with the ceremony (which also serves as their largest annual fundraiser). How you can help (and see celebs):
As promised, we have a whole new batch of photos from inside Santa Monica Place, the new mall that just opened at the end of Third Street Promenade, steps away from the iconic Santa Monica Pier. (C'mon, you've all seen it in "Forest Gump.")
While Third Street Promenade has provided most of the recreational and retail action for Santa Monica, it's going to have to take a backseat to this new mall. Aside from the designer brands (Louis Vuitton, Bloomies, Nordstroms, Burberry and Barneys Co-Op), Santa Monica Place is finally giving shoppers what they really want--a wide variety of food options.
The third-floor open-air Dining Deck has a mix of high-end restaurants (Sonoma Wine Garden, XINO and La Sandia) mixed in with somewhat upscale food court options like tacos, pizza, and Chinese food. Of course, you can still get a cinnamon sugar pretzel at Wetzel's Pretzels.
Are you still mourning the loss the of the tv show that made "Oceanic Flight 815" a household name? Even though LOST officially ended its six-season run back in May, the show is about to re-surface...too bad it's only in pieces.
On August 21-22, Santa Monica's Barker Airport Hanger will host an auction of over 1,000 items from the filming of LOST, including everything from the DHARMA Initiative's VW bus to complete outfits worn on screen by the cast. Whether or not you're interested in buying (the majority of the lots are valued in the $100s), the hanger will hold an exhibition of the itemslike pop-up LOST museumon the two days from 9am to 1pm, with entrance tickets costing $42. That also gets you in to watch or participate in the auction too, in case you're curious to see how much a 6-pack of DHARMA beer goes for.
Way back in January 2008, Santa Monica Place, the mall at the end of the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica, Calif.--near the world famous Santa Monica Pier--closed for an extensive renovation. And we mean, extensive.
Much of the old mall, designed by Frank Gehry in 1980, was demolished and in its place, a 500,000sq.ft. three-story, open air shopping "destination" was erected.
Today that mall reopens as a spectacular high-end retail experience anchored by a stunning new Bloomingdale's. And not only does this new shopping mecca look pretty and modern but it's also eco-friendly and hopes to earn a LEED Silver certification.
Shopping Travel / Travel Gear / Santa Monica Travel / Celeb Travel / Los Angeles Travel / Christmas Travel / → All Tags
If you've heard the name Fred Segal before, it's probably because US Weekly mainstays have often been photographed emerging from the store with a signature red, white and blue shopping bag in hand. The West Hollywood outpost may be better for star sighting, but we prefer the Santa Monica store, which is broken up into several idiosyncratic boutiques.
High prices and pretentious salespeople often deter shoppers from stopping by retailers of Fred Segal's ilk, but we've never had that problem in Santa Monica. We were there last night for a charity event last night co-hosted by Rachel Leigh Cook, to which guests brought unwrapped presents for donation to Toys For Tots, and did a little impromptu research into holiday gifts for travelers.
See what we found, with pictures, after the jump.
Los Angeles' reigning auteur of "weird," director David Lynch, doesn't limit his mode of creative expression to the screen. Though better known for helming films such as Mulholland Drive and hawking the benefits of transcendental meditation on college campuses, the fabulously-coiffed Lynch actually began his career as an artist. In 2007, a major retrospective of Lynch's multimedia art was featured at Paris' Fondation Cartier, and earlier this year, a selection of his photographs were on display at L.A.'s Michael Kohn Gallery.
We deemed the latter exhibition, a visual offshoot of the Danger Mouse/Sparklehorse album Dark Night of the Soul, a mediocre representation of Lynch's creative bounds. We've yet to see his paintings in person, but as dedicated Lynch-o-philes we'll be rushing off to see his first L.A. painting show in a decade at Santa Monica's Griffin Gallery.
While VegasChatter is all a-tizzy about the new Viva Elvis Cirque du Soleil show that is set to hit The Strip next month, the folks in Los Angeles are getting a chance to experience Kooza in their own backyard at the Santa Monica Pier.
Kooza is the story of a little boy who's trying to find his place in the world. Called The Innocent, he's guided by The Trickster who shows him all sorts of things in the world of Kooza from a bumbling king and his clown sycophants to a loudmouth pickpocket, pretty female contortionists, jugglers, dancers, tightrope walkers (and cyclists) and tumblers extraordinaire.
It's hard to find a quality slice of pizza in Los Angeles and in fact, most shops here just try to emulate a New York or Chicago-style pizza. The attempts are appreciated by East Coasters like ourselves but of course, it's just never the same. The biggest stand-out so far has been Joe's Pizza, just off the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica, which is an outpost of the famous Joe's Pizza on Bleeker Street.
However, a new pizza joint has opened, also in Santa Monica, on Wilshire Boulevard and it's decided to split its offerings between New York and Chicago style pizza. NY & C even splits its physical space between Chicago and New York. One wall is devoted to NYC photos and memorabilia and the other is for Chicago.
There's deep dish Chicago-style pizza and specialty pizzas like the Navy Pier (green peppers, tomatoes, garlic and mushrooms) and the Windy City with four types of meat (sausage, pepperoni, salami, sliced beef), mushrooms and extra cheese. There's another pizza with meatballs, mushrooms, tomatoes and green peppers that's called The Sears Tower. Um. Do you mean the Willis Tower.
A while back our favorite quick Chinese place, Pick-Up Styx, closed down in Santa Monica on bustling Wilshire Boulevard. But what eventually replaced the joint was a cute little cafe that serves cute little pastries and desserts and cute little cafe specialty items like soups and gourmet sandwiches. The place even has a cute backstory as the two chefs behind the cafe actually met and fell in love while working at the Rustic Canyon restaurant just a few blocks away. All of this of course means the place has a cute name too--Huckleberry Cafe.
The space is appropriately cafe-sized--not too big, not too small--with plenty of indoor seating and a few tables outside as well. Cutesy names and pastries aside, the restaurant's interior space is done up in modern simplicity--blond wood counters and tables and white ceramic dishware and blackboards high on the wall are filled up with the menu options.
The (lobster) claws come out at the tenth anniversary of a Santa Monica Pier institution
Santa Monica Pier is the heart of the oceanside city's kinetic life force. Amid a flurry of tourists milling toward the neon-lit ferris wheel, shirtless muscle men on bikes, and street performers competing for spare change, The Lobster offers some refuge, not to mention amazing seafood and 180 degree views of the Pacific Ocean.
The pier institution celebrated the tenth anniversary of its reopening on Monday evening with a private VIP reception, drawing a mixed crowd of older locals and young, energetic foodies who clamored straight for the surf 'n' turf spread. Tables overflowed with an assortment of the menu's best: fresh oysters, mini crab cakes, filet mignon, lobster (natch) and seared tuna.
Complimentary wine and cocktails were also circulating as guests toasted ten years of business at the historic locale. If you're in the area and in search of a more upscale—but still relaxed—alternative to other grab-and-go eateries lining the shore, The Lobster is a good bet.
Nearly a year ago we spoke of our love for Fred Segal Santa Monica, a posh, celeb-frequented, overpriced boutique with cutesy department names like Flair, Fun and Emphatic.
Back then, we mentioned that we preferred this boutique over its West Hollywood counterpart largely because it was close to the beach, free of D-list celebrities holding their appointments with the paparazzi and with more manageable parking. We'd like to take all of that back now that we've learned the store has just announced its own reality show on Bravo.
The show will focus on the oft-stressed and competitive sales team as they cater to well-to-do customers who demand the latest in clothes, shoes, accessories and beauty products.
Sneak Previews / Seth Rogen / Anna Faris / Jody Hill / Movies / Movie Theaters / Hollywood Travel / → All Tags
One of the obvious perks of visiting Los Angeles, aside from breathing the same smoggy air as your fave celebrities, is taking advantage of Hollywood industry events like sneak previews of films. We're not talking red carpet movie premieres. We're talking about movie screenings for real movie buffs, not reporters from Us Weekly.
The Aero Theater on Montana Avenue in Santa Monica is a small, one-screen theater that's a far cry from the glitzy, high-tech ArcLight Cinemas in Hollywood but yet every week you will find big name directors and actors attending screenings of both new and old movies.
Best of all, these events are usually so low-pro that you can almost always score tickets. Unless someone like Seth Rogen is involved. We bought our tickets nearly two weeks ago to this special Q and A session with the funnyman, as well as Anna Faris and writer/director Jody Hill about their upcoming movie, Observe and Report. (It opens Friday.) But soon after that, the show was sold-out.