Fourth Mondays @ The Steve Allen Theater, 4773 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles (323) 666-4268; cartoondump.com
Good business sense says it’s not the most gifted idea to make a name for yourself based on how poor the quality of your material is, but it works for Cartoon Dump. Starring Frank Conniff as Moodsy Owl and Erica Doering as Compost Brite, the formula behind Cartoon Dump is simple: Whatever would make a horrible children’s show would make a hilarious adult show.
Jokes about current events? Check. A dumpster-diving puppet with a mouth like a sailor? Check. An on-stage band that spoofs classic rock songs, a scantily clad brunette called “Cue Card Girl” and cartoons so horrible they were banned from television before the Soviets put a man in space? Check, check, check.
The show alternates between short monologues and songs sung by the characters and disturbingly bad cartoons from over 50 years ago. Song topics range from who’s in the news right now for being the biggest screw-up to making fun of the big joke behind Cartoon Dump – that somehow it would be OK for young children to be present.
Between songs, the cartoons shown are anything from the painfully cheesy to the shockingly non-PC. The animation is sloppy, the dialogue is painful and you’ll probably know the plotline better than you know the person sitting next to you, but the idea that your grandparents, that anyone, would have thought this was quality entertainment is enough to make it horribly good. And therein lies the secret to Cartoon Dump’s success. 8 p.m. $10.
La Brea Tar Pits
First Tuesdays, 5801 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles (323) 934-7243; tarpits.org
People say it all the time, but in this recession economy money can be tight; even the $7 to get into the La Brea Tar Pits is more than some people are willing to pay. Maybe that’s why admission is free on the first Tuesday of the month.
For those who have never been to the tar pits, it’s meant to be both fun and educational, which explains why you can get stuffed animals of extinct, tar pit-dwelling animals in the gift store. In a way, tar pits are extremely morbid. At the corner of La Brea (which is Spanish for tar, by the way) and Wilshire, tar has been oozing out of the earth for thousands of years. During that time, a hodgepodge of animals have fallen into the tar pits, preserved for today’s scientists and visitors.
Nighttime at Royal/T
Wednesday and Thursday nights @ Royal/T, 8910 Washington Blvd., Culver City; royal-t.org
Live entertainment, a new art cabaret space, tapas and other culinary treats! 6 p.m.-11 p.m. FREE-$20.
Summer Block Party
Third Wednesdays, Downtown Culver City; downtownculvercity.com
Having the world’s smallest Main Street doesn’t seem like something to boast about, but then how many cities can say they hold a Guinness World record? Culver City – home of NPR West, Sony Pictures, the Kirk Douglas Theatre and a number of other significant (though not record-holding) landmarks – can. This past June, Culver City added one more thing to its growing resume: the Downtown Summer Block Party, happening every third Wednesday of the month until October.
Participating shops in Culver City offer discounts and live music. Akasha, an organic restaurant and bakery, is offering 50 percent off all wines. The Culver Hotel on Culver Boulevard is extending its Happy Hour and giving out free appetizers. At Fraiche, you’ll get a free glass of their sangria at the bar. If there seems to be a trend of free and discounted drinks, maybe that’s just one more thing for Culver City to boast about. 5 p.m.-9 p.m.
Thursdays @ Zanzibar, 1301 5th St., Santa Monica (310) 451-2221; zanzibarlive.com
Zanzibar is a) a small region of the United Republic of Tanzania, b) a night club in Santa Monica, c) the home of Afro Funké Thursdays, a 21-and-over club night devoted to bringing in live bands and DJs that play African music and promote African culture and art or d) all of the above. The answer is “d,” and all of these details are relevant to this discussion.
Zanzibar, located on 5th Street, is an Afro-Indian inspired club that brings the music of the world to the usually geographically isolated music scene of Los Angeles. Afro Funké was founded by Cary Sullivan, Jeremy Sole and Rocky Dawuni. In Dawuni’s words, “Afro Funké seeks to create a sonic pipeline that will connect funky Africa and the African Diaspora and, at the same time, serve as a convergence point for progressive souls.”
The live bands and DJs play everything from instrumental versions of pop songs to reggae, modern African music and, of course, funk. The music changes, but one thing is for certain: This isn’t music you can sit idly by and enjoy. Bring your dancing shoes. 9 p.m.; $7 before 10 p.m.; $10 after.
Cherry Boom Boom
Last Thursdays @ King King, 6555 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles; cherryboomboom.me
Lindsley Allen isn’t a name that instantly rings bells, but her resumé is impressive. She’s a member of the Actor’s Gang, an L.A. theater troupe; she was a member of the original Pussy Cat Dolls; and she has helped choreograph Charlie’s Angels 2, the HBO series “Carnivale” and Carmen Electra’s Aerobic Striptease. What’s next? Since April, she’s spent the last Thursday of every month transforming King King in Hollywood into an old-time burlesque joint-meets-cabaret-meets-Broadway show. Allen and the rest of the girls in Cherry Boom Boom will be performing their show “Sex, Love and Rock ‘n’ Roll” until December of this year, so if you’re over 21 and willing to travel back to a time where dancers left a little more to the imagination, then get a ticket. 8 P.M. $20.
Downtown L.A. Art Walk
Second Thursdays; downtownartwalk.org
The Downtown Los Angeles Art Walk is more than just a great night to see art and taste the wares of the best food trucks in town, it's a success story of a big city’s attempt at urban renewal. Held every second Thursday of the month, the art walk brings thousands of art lovers to museum row, located at the heart of a larger area of 49 museums, art galleries and non-profit art venues.
Since its humble beginnings in 2004 with just a few galleries, it has grown into a staple of L.A. culture. As the number of visitors and galleries involved increased, so did residents desire to begin renovations in the area.
Nearly every well-known museum, gallery and venue is included in the art walk, along with dozens of others that have slipped through the cracks of common knowledge. The L.A. Center for Digital Art specializes in all forms of new media, digital video art and combinations of art and technology, while the FIDM Museum features exhibits with everything from a yearly motion picture design exhibit to regular showings of student work. The full list (and a map) is available on the event’s Web site or at the Art Walk Lounge (514 S. Spring St.). Noon-9.p.m. FREE.
First Thursdays @ Renaissance Hollywood Hotel & Spa Lobby Bar, 1755 N. Highland Ave., Hollywood (323) 856-1200; renaissancehollywood.com
Indie Thursday sounds like a radio station gimmick or costume day at work. It’s actually neither, but instead the Renaissance Hotel’s humble attempt to bring good music to L.A. residents for the accessible fee of absolutely nothing. Every first Thursday of the month, the Renaissance Hotel pits a number of independent bands against each other. Two hours are divided evenly among the groups, and at the end of the night fame, honor and glory is bestowed upon one group, the best of the best. In this case fame, honor and glory translates into being the band that performs every Thursday for the rest of the month, but for a band that hasn’t made it big yet that’s a pretty big deal. 7:30 P.M. FREE.
Oscar De La Hoya Fight Night Club
Fourth Thursdays @ Club Nokia, 800 W. Olympic Blvd., Los Angeles; goldenboypromotions.com
Generally speaking, when a fight breaks out in a club, it’s bad news. People have had too much to drink, and someone thought it would be a good idea to look at another guy the wrong way or hit on his girlfriend. Then again, the police don’t really care about motive when they’re writing you up.
Possibly the only time it’s OK, even encouraged, to get into a fistfight is if you’re one of the boxers during Club Nokia’s monthly boxing series. Each month, the club brings in competitive boxers to go at it in the center of the club. Afterwards, music, food and (for those who pay for it) all the joys of a VIP room are available to attendees. Doors open at 6 p.m and tickets range from just under $20 to over $200.
Thursdays @ Roosevelt Hotel, 7000 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles (323) 466-7000; hollywoodroosevelt.com
The Roosevelt looks like something out of a documentary on the Golden Age of Hollywood. It’s easy to imagine Marilyn Monroe walking the halls in a pair of stunning heels and a form-fitting dress, probably because she called the place home for two years. In fact, she’s said to haunt a room that looks out onto the pool where Nightswim is held.
Every Thursday from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m., Confederacy clothing (a classier version of American Apparel) opens up a pop-up shop, and things that go bump in the night come out in their bathing suits to swim and party. And seeing as swimming and partying present two very serious dangers to a camera, there’s a photo booth to prevent attempts to document what promises to be a great night. The party is free, just RSVP to email@example.com.
First Thursdays @ The Mountain Bar, 473 Gin Ling Way, Los Angeles (213) 625-7500; themountainbar.com
The word “trastorno” brings to mind a couple of things. It could be the super cool alter ego of a four-eyed office worker who turns into a swashbuckling vigilante at night. It could be the name of a racecar so fast it goes zero to 60 faster than you can blink. Spanish speakers know trastorno translates to disorder or dysfunction, which brings to mind the whole list of disorders crazy clubbers suffer from. At first thought, Trastorno does not seem like the name of a dance party, but thank your lucky stars it is.
Every first Thursday of the month, the Mountain Bar in Chinatown hosts Trastorno, a 21+ Spanish international music event focused on playing Spanish alternative music and La Movida Madrileña, music from the 1980s music scene in Madrid, Spain. The event radiates a sort of cool reminiscent of the ’70s and ’80s punk bands. Posters for Trastorno feature artsy, hipsterish pictures of old school Spanish punkers. Past headliners have included La Muy Muy and Alaska y Los Pegamoides. Best of all, there are drink specials throughout the night and admission is free. 9 P.M.
Abbot Kinney First Fridays
Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice; abbotkinneyonline.com
Nearly every day of the week Abbot Kinney is your typical beach street - tourists and locals alike wander around, browse the shops and grab a bite to eat. On the first Friday of every month, though, the shops are open later, the crowds are there longer and all of the best food trucks Los Angeles can boast about park along the street from 6 p.m. on.
Let’s talk about the food trucks. Where else can you get a hot dog wrapped in bacon and topped with egg, fresh sushi, Korean barbecue and melted brie on cranberry walnut bread all within walking distance of one another? At times the food trucks seem more crowded than the stores, especially when all the tourists have left for the summer.
That’s not to say Abbot Kinney is a glorified food court. You can get in touch with your inner self at the Mystic Journey Bookstore or shop for flowing gypsy frocks at Zingara (where you can make s’mores on their back patio). This is still Venice, a safe haven for all things earthy, other worldly and slightly eccentric.
And starting last month, the Venice Art Crawl is every third Thursday.
The MAK Center, 835 N. Kings Road, West Hollywood (323) 651-1510; makcenter.org
Besides movies and music, nothing defines Los Angeles more than its architecture. There are an amazing array of homes and buildings in the city that satisfy any architectural aficionado’s tastes or novice’s exploration of this genre. The MAK Center in Los Angeles is the Mecca of Modernism in the city and offers a look into select homes of pioneering architect Rudolph Schindler through its monthly First Friday tours.
On the first Friday of each month, the MAK Center opens up three Schindler homes for public viewing between the hours of 11 a.m. and 6 p.m ($50; $42 for students with ID). This is a unique opportunity to explore an aspect of Los Angeles that not many people would take part in during the course of the week. Thus, if you are looking to cut classes on a Friday afternoon or leave work early, then this is the way to start your weekend.
The Schindler tour includes the Fitzpatrick-Leland House in Laurel Canyon. The home, built in 1936, was donated to the MAK Center in 2008 and is in the process of going through renovations. Schindler’s official residence, the Schindler House (1922), is also part of the tour. It is a single home tucked away on a street with several apartment buildings. The property is also the home of the MAK Center.
My favorite part of the tour is the renovated Mackey Apartments on Cochran. The building serves as temporary residency for artists and architects through a program funded by the Austrian Government. Besides viewing a couple of the various units, you might be fortunate enough to spend some time with one of the residents and talk about their latest work. —Sean Bello
Long Beach First Friday
Atlantic Avenue, Bixby Knolls, Long Beach; firstfridayslongbeach.com
If Venice is out of the way, Long Beach has its own version of First Fridays off Atlantic Avenue. From 6:30 p.m. to 10 p.m., stores stay open late and there’s an artist or musician at every corner.
Organized and promoted by the Bixby Knolls Business Improvement Association, the main goal of the event is to increase traffic to the stores. First Friday is geared towards people of all ages. There are special classes and crafts for kids as well as the “drink and draw” feature at Nino’s Italian Restaurant, where you’ll get a sketchpad along with your thirst quencher. There are workshops, galleries, free food and a Big Red Bus to shuttle people around.
The Bixby Knolls First Friday in Long Beach proves that necessity really is the mother of creation. The idea came about when a business owner (Krista Leaders of Chroma Glass Design) needed a brilliant, cheap way to get people to her store. Meanwhile, artists in Long Beach – like most artists – were looking for a way to showcase their work. Leaders told her customers about the art shows and artists told the customers about the store. Basically, it was a fiscal version of you scratch my back, I scratch yours.
First Fridays @ Museum of Neon Art, 136 W. 4th St., Los Angeles (213) 489-9918; neonmona.org
It would seem that there’s a connection between museums and late-night music performances. Every first Friday of the month, the Museum of Neon Art graces its visitors with an avant-garde jazz performance. Electric violinist Jeff Gauthier and pianist David Witham bring in different musicians every month to jam against the backdrop of neon lights.
Started in 1981, MONA’s mission statement is to “encourage learning and curiosity through the preservation, collection and interpretation on neon art.” The museum’s exhibits include old neon signs and other pieces of kinetic and electric art.
When MONA isn’t a late-night experimental jazz club, it offers a number of workshop series on restoring old signs (complete with discussions with experts) and how to create your own neon art. Or try the Neon Cruise. On Saturday nights from June to November, the museum guides a double-decker red bus through Los Angeles to point out neon signs still in use.
Old Blues Eyes
First Fridays @ Life on Wilshire, 6311 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles (323) 651-5433; lifeonwilshire.com
Fans of the early ’90s game show “Studs” will definitely want to check out the monthly show at Life on Wilshire. The show’s host, Mark DeCarlo, known as Tornado Johnson, is now the frontman for Old Blues Eyes, the jazzy headliner at Life on Wilshire’s monthly live music concert. Then again, for those of use where weren’t old enough to care about “Studs,” a rendition of “Love Connection,” there are still a ton of reasons to enjoy a free jazz show, cheap drinks and good barbecue.
For starters, each month there are surprise A-list musicians and comedians. The food – mainly American and burgers – is better than most meals and probably cheaper, too. And if you can’t make it on the first Friday, all hope is not lost. Life on Wilshire has an event for nearly every day of the week. On Tuesday Trivia Nights, the club turns into a battle ground for bragging rights: Which team of five knows the most useless information? On Wednesdays, you can try your hand at building your own burger, on Thursday, there’s more free live jazz and the weekends are a great time to book a private event. All in all, the main theme of Life on Wilshire is that life is too short to waste, so they’ll help you spend it right. 9 P.M. – Midnight. FREE.
Bootie Los Angeles
First and Third Saturdays @ Echoplex, 1154 Glendale Blvd., Echo Park; bootiemashup.com
What do Jay-Z and John Lennon have in common? Nothing that comes to mind, but at Bootie, a club event devoted to this legally gray brand of music, there might be a mash-up between the two of them.
Bootie began in San Francisco in 2003 and has since found an audience all over the world. The L.A. party has upgraded to two Saturdays a month, and there are regular parties throughout America’s cooler cities, Europe and Asia. Yes, there’s a Bootie party in Singapore.
At Bootie there’s no such thing as music that doesn’t mesh well. On their Best of Bootie 2009 CD, Lady Gaga and Journey come together in “Just Stop Believing,” David Bowie meets MGMT in “Stardust Kids” and tracks from Kelly Clarkson, Ozzy Osbourne, Pink and Daft Punk form a little ditty called “My Life on the Crazy Train Sucks (So What?).” If the idea of thrashing around in a packed club full of strangers isn’t appealing, then fret not. The real treasure is on the Web site, where they have dozens and dozens of Bootie’s best songs available for download. 21+. $5 before 10 p.m.; $10 after.
The Hive Gallery
729 S. Spring St., Los Angeles (213) 955-9051; thehivegallery.com
Compared to some of its neighboring art galleries, the Hive Gallery tends to attract a younger audience. Why is anyone’s guess. Maybe it’s the nature of the art, the constant presence of music or the fact that they begin every monthly show series with a giant party.
On the first Saturday of every month, from 8 p.m. to 12:30 a.m., the Hive Gallery features a number of artists as well as presents the work of some of its in-house artists. For $8 ($5 if you dress for the theme), visitors can experience the exhibits, along with music groups, live DJs and anything else they can think of. Past shows have included performances by the burlesque group Feminine Oddities. There’s even a tarot deck reader whose very name, Seraphime Rhyianir, hints at the mysteries of the universe explored by medium-astrologer-card reader-poets such as herself.
The Hive Gallery was opened in 2005 by Nathan Cartwright, the self proclaimed Queen Bee of the Hive. It celebrated its five-year anniversary in April with the “Love in Hiveland” series.
Public Star Parties
Sept. 18, Oct. 16, Nov. 13 & Dec. 11 @ Griffith Observatory, 2800 E. Observatory Ave, Los Angeles; griffithobservatory.org
Griffith Observatory is great for a lot of things – extra credit for an astronomy class, a playground for amateur astronomers or a great place for a first date. For those of us without money to spare, there’s good news: Every month they throw a free public star party.
If stargazing isn’t your thing, check out the new Leonard Nimoy (as in the original Captain Spock Leonard Nimoy) Event Horizon theater. On the First Friday of each month, the observatory hosts “All Space Considered,” a 90-minute presentation on what’s big in the fields of astronomy, space science and the future of space exploration. The talk is also free to the public and held at 7:30 p.m. and 9:45 p.m.
Saturdays Off the 405
The Getty Center, 1200 Getty Center Drive, Los Angeles (310) 440-7300; getty.edu
If you’ve ever been in bumper to bumper traffic on the 405, then you know this is a joke. Any day off the 405 is a good day, but spending it romping around the gorgeous grounds of the Getty Center is even better. On various Saturdays throughout the summer, the Getty holds concerts featuring up-and-coming bands.
Recently the Afro-Columbian duo Bomba Estéreo played a set of electronica. A month later brought the power pop trio the Antlers along with a couple of others acts and DJ Frosty. The next dates are Sept. 18 and Oct. 9.
Admission to get the Getty is always free, but the steep $15 fee for parking is what gets people. If you want to come before 5 p.m. to check out the museum, watch the sunset or just stare at the gorgeous architecture of the museum, then be prepared; otherwise, parking is free after 5 p.m. At 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. there are Spotlight After Dark tours, 20-minute discussions on art led by a museum educator. Between seeing the museum and watching the bands, you might even find time to get a Getty-tini from the cash bar.
Sundays @ Cranes Hollywood Tavern, 1611 El Centro Ave., Hollywood; thedoover.net
Everyone’s different, so much so that it’s almost pointless to ask what the perfect summer Sunday afternoon would entail. Breakfast in bed? Chillin’ poolside with the homies? Sleeping in and reading the paper in your pajamas? Maybe. But for a good chunk of people it includes the great DJs, great drinks and great company of the Do-Over, a weekly summer party that happens between May and October.
Basically, Do-Over is a DJ fest. It was founded by DJs in 2005, it’s hosted by DJs now (and Haycock, Strong, Blacc and weekly special guests), and people go to see the DJs in action and listen to what they’re playing, which is everything from old disco favorites to brass band renditions of “Another One Bites the Dust.” If the music itself isn’t enough to draw you in, then the idea of partying from 2 p.m. until 10 p.m. (it is, after all, a school night) might. Do-Over gives off the vibe of the party-person’s party powered by youth and enthusiasm, where the drinks are always cold and the music’s always good. 21+. FREE with RSVP.
Adam Shenkman Special: Children’s Breakfast Show
First Sundays @ The Strange, 4316 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles; adamshenkman.com
In a world where people take breakfast very seriously – it’s the most important meal of the day, after all – Adam Shenkman may be the first to tap the unexplored well of songs and jokes that is breakfast humor. Every first Sunday of the month, Shenkman performs at the Strange on the corner of Melrose and Heliotrope. This latest version of the Adam Shenkman Special is called the Children’s Breakfast Show. And unlike the Cartoon Dump, you really can take a child to watch without being visited by Child Protective Services.
The show has sing-alongs, audience participation, face painting and balloons. It’s educational as well as fun in a PG sort of way. If that sounds like something you’d drop your nephew off at but not actually sit through, then keep reading. The 4 p.m. show is for all ages, but the 8 p.m. show is for adults.
As an added bonus, at each show Shenkman brings in special guests. Past guests include comedians Sarah Silverman and Tom Green (ex-husband to Drew Barrymore), Ari Gold (not to be confused with the “Entourage” character) and Ron Jeremy. $5 suggested donation.