Monday, December 10, 2018

Florence and the Machine, Chvrches, Death Cab for Cutie and More: Highlights From KROQ's Almost Acoustic Christmas

Thanks to KROQ — specifically Dave "The King of Mexico" Sanchez — for allowing me to partake in another fun Almost Acoustic Christmas concert. Night two of the annual event took place on Sunday night at the Forum, highlighted by headliners Florence and the Machine (above) and others. Besides her powerful voice and a set list with plenty of KROQ favorites, Florence also brought down the house by asking the crowd to put down their phones. And the Forum crowd obliged!

The real highlight for me was earlier in the evening, however, when Chvrches performed. From its synthpop sounds to Lauren Mayberry's voice, they're phenomenal live. And yes, I followed up their performance by embarrasing myself in front of them later in the Forum club. Turns out blurting "Hey Chvrches!" and then waiting for them to respond wasn't the best way to get them to talk, but it was a great way to get them to look at me weird.

Mike Posner, who ended his set... with beat poetry.

Young the Giant.

Bastille played the hits, ending with "Pompeii."

Death Cab for Cutie's Ben Gibbard.

More from Florence and the Machine.

The Kevin & Bean crew, minus Bean.

KROQ's Beer Mug, in character as "Mugos."

Sunday, December 9, 2018

After The Storm: Is This The Trashiest That The Los Angeles River Has Ever Been?

Every year, the Blogger Kids and I participate in the L.A. River Cleanup: La Gran Limpieza, as sponsored by the Friends of the LA River (FOLAR).  The Cleanup takes place over three weekends, focusing on three different parts of the river, in the spring.

I hate to say it, but FOLAR may want to consider adding several more weekends this time around. Following last week's rains, the river is a mess. It's almost nothing but trash.

The Blogger Kid 2.0 and I noticed this while riding our bikes along the LA River bike path on Saturday. Not only is the river filled with garbage, but there's even a ring of garbage along the cement walls — marking, apparently, how high the water got. The water level has subsided, leaving behind all the trash it brought along.

I almost want to go out there right now and pick up trash, but with more rains likely in the coming month, it would be a bit futile. A few more pics:

Saturday, December 8, 2018

L.A. Zoo Lights Returns for 2018 With an Expanded Twinkle Tunnel, a New Elephant Circle Display, and More

The L.A. Zoo Lights is always a reliable way to get into the holiday cheer, and although it's a relatively new tradition — this is its fifth year — it has become an annual staple for the Franklin Avenue family. (Check out last year's post here.) We returned for this year's visit on Friday night, and can report that it's perhaps more photo-friendly (and Instagrammable, natch) than ever.

The L.A. Zoo Lights has received several accolades since its launch; this year it's nominated in the USA TODAY’s 10Best Readers' Choice travel awards. Voting ends on Monday, December 10, so vote here to help our zoo out!

Entrance to the L.A. Zoo lights. More pics below.

A silhouette screen is a popular spot for pics. 

Most of the animals are tucked away for bed during L.A. zoo lights, but the reindeer are out for Santa.

The lighted and tumbling meerkats.

The illuminated elephants came with an L.A. theme this year.

Disco! It doesn't appear that KCRW is sponsoring this year's music, however, unlike past years. 

The Lair is the only animal area open during the L.A. Zoo Lights, and it's a chance to see snakes, turtles, fish, and more after hours.

The baby snakes creeped and delighted.

The water fountain show takes place every few minutes.

New this year: The Elephant Circle is transformed into a kaleidoscopic savanna with stained-glass animals – including the endangered California condor, Masai giraffe, Asian elephant, and more.

The popular twinkle tunnel has also been lengthened, although it comes with a wait when the zoo is crowded.

Performers at the end of the twinkle tunnel.

There are plenty of festive food and drinks (including cocktails!) available for purchase. L.A. Zoo Lights takes place through Sunday, January 6, 2019 (except December 24 and 25) from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Admission to L.A. Zoo Lights ranges from $14.95 to $21.95 for adults (13+) and $11.95 to $16.95 for children (2-12). Children under age 2 are free. Tickets for members of the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association are $11 during the entire run, which is up to 50 percent off.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

FREE L.A.: 'The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel' Serves Up Free Pastrami Sandwiches at Canter's Deli

Amazon Prime Video's "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel" is back for a second season, and to promote the Emmy-winning show's return, Amazon is passing out free sandwiches at Canter's Deli. From December 9 through 15, 50 free "The Maisel" sandwiches will be passed out every day starting at 11 a.m. ("and while supplies last").

"The Maisel" is made with pastrami, salami, coleslaw, and special sauce on rye bread. I can't imagine it quite matches Langer's pastrami sandwich over in MacArthur Park... but hey, free sandwich!
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