8/29/2012

The Ultimate Guide To Date Night At The Griffith Observatory

categories: Date Idea, Dates With Kids, Los Angeles Dates, Romantic Ideas

With the help of our trusty guide, you’ll enjoy an evening at the Griffith Observatory and end up being your date’s biggest star.

Step 1: Nail Down The Logistics –  We’ve done the research for you so you won’t hit any snags :)

  • Lowdown – Griffith Observatory is a L.A. landmark. It’s located on the southern slope of Mount Hollywood in Griffith Park, just above the Los Feliz neighborhood
  • Location - 2800 East Observatory Road; Los Angeles, CA 90027; (213) 473-0800
  • Hours - Closed Monday and Tuesday; Open Wednesday-Friday: Noon-10pm; Saturday-Sunday: 10am-10pm.
  • Parking – There is a parking lot, but on busy nights, be prepared to park on the road outside the lot and then walk up the hill to the observatory.  Note that traffic can be a nightmare on nights where there is an event at the Greek Theatre so make sure you check the Greek’s schedule here first and plan accordingly.
  • Cost – Admission to the grounds and the Observatory itself is FREE.  However, there is a $7 charge to see one of the 3 rotating shows in the recently-renovated Planetarium.  Tickets can be purchased only at the Observatory, and only for that day’s shows.
  • Other Questions? – For more information, check out the Griffith Observatory website here.

Step 2: Have a Blast! 

You’re at the Observatory.  Now it’s time to have some fun!  Here are some astronomy-related trivia and jokes you can bust out as you take your date on a tour of the Observatory.

Impress With Your Astronomical Knowledge

  • Home to the most trafficked telescope in the world! – Since the Observatory’s opening in 1935, more than 7 million people have put an eye to the Observatory’s original 12-inch Zeiss refracting telescope (which you’ll find if you take the elevators to the roof of the Observatory).
  • You’re in Hollywood, so drop some Hollywood Trivia.  On the west lawn as you approach the Observatory from the parking lot, you’ll see a bust of Hollywood icon James Dean.  Why, your date might ask?  You’ll explain that the Observatory was prominently featured in Rebel Without a Cause (1955), starring Dean (consider renting the movie before or after your date!).   The Observatory can also be seen in The Terminator, The People v Larry Flynt, Yes Man, Transformers, and countless other blockbusters and TV shows.
  • The origin of the saying “Once in a blue moon” — The saying “once in a blue moon” refers to the rare occurrence of two full moons during one calendar month.  The last time that occurred was in March 2010.  The next time is in August 2012.
  • Apps for Stargazing – In addition to the 1935 Zeiss telescope, the Observatory often has telescopes set up in the front lawn that you can glance through.   These telescopes are incredibly powerful and worth the wait even if there is a line.  There are also some incredible smart phone apps for stargazing (I use Star Walk on the iPhone).  If you haven’t already, download one of them before you go to the Observatory and then use it as an excuse to get cozy with your date and locate constellations :)

Crack some Astronomy Jokes – If you’re a cheeseball like me, then you might try your hand at one of these corny astronomy jokes.

  • Did you hear about the great new restaurant on the moon? The food is excellent, but there’s no atmosphere.
  • How do you know when the moon is going broke? When it’s down to its last quarter.
  • What is an astronomical unit? The biggest apartment you’ve ever seen.
  • An alien traveling around the universe calls up his travel agent to request a hotel room on the moon.  The travel agent sadly informs the alien that that there are no hotel rooms available because the moon is full.  [This joke is from Ali G’s interview of Buzz Aldrin.  If you haven’t seen it, check it out here.  Hilarious!]
  • Nicolaus Copernicus was a mischievous teenager.  One day his father got angry when Nicolaus was causing trouble, and screamed at him: “One of these days you’ll realize that the world does not revolve around you!”  [Note: If your date gives you a blank stare, you have an opportunity to wow her with those brains again....  Nicolas Copernicus is widely credited with the heliocentric model that displaced the earth as the center of the universe.]

Step 3: Keep Your Date Going 

If after the observatory, you’re not ready to call it a night quite yet, consider checking out one of these nearby joints in Los Feliz.

  • Covell for a glass of wine (or two) – Covell is one of the best wine bars in all of Los Angeles County, and it happens to be just down the street from the Observatory.  If you are not a wine connoisseur, the expert bartenders will help you find the perfect glass of wine for you and your date’s palette.  Their cheeses and food are fantastic too!

Bar Covell
4628 Hollywood Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90027

(323) 660-4400

  • Bru for coffee – if you are not in the mood for alcohol, stop by Bru Coffee Bar for artistan coffee, teas, and pastries.  The baristas are pros (and super friendly), and the atmosphere is modern and hip.  Note that Bru closes at 10pm so make sure to check the time before you head over.

Bru Coffee Bar
1866 N Vermont Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90027

(323) 664-7500

Thanks for reading.  I hope you have as much fun at the Griffith Observatory as we did!   Note that the Griffith Observatory is a featured venue in our ebook Epic Dates Los Angeles: A Complete Guide To 10 Epic Dates in Los Angeles.  You can claim your copy at the bottom of the this post, or for more information, visit http://epicdatesbook.com

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5/04/2012

Great art, unparalleled people watching and gourmet food trucks galore at the Downtown LA Art Walk

categories: Culture Dates, Date Idea, Los Angeles Dates

With the help of our video above and our 4-step trusty guide below, you’ll be able to experience the very best of what Downtwon Art Walk has to offer!

Step 1: Nail Down the Logistics

  • Lowdown – Art Walk is a free, self-guided, public art phenomenon that brings together art lovers and community friends to Downtown Los Angeles.
  • When – The 2nd Thursday of every month, year around! Refer to your calendar for specific dates. Hours vary by gallery, but can typically range from Noon – 10PM. We recommend arriving between 6-7pm. After the galleries close, the atmosphere remains festive as people stick around to enjoy the food trucks and many bars in the area.
  • Where – The heart of Art Walk is on Spring and Main streets between 4th and 8th streets. If you want to plug an address into your navigation app, you can use the following: 634 S Spring St LA, CA 90014.
  • Straight from the Source – Joe Moller, the executive director of the Art Walk, was kind enough to hook us up with the inside scoop for this Thursday’s May 10 Art Walk:  ”Start your Art Walk evening at the Official Art Walk Lounge located at 634 S Spring St. This month’s exhibition features photography by Jaimee Itagaki and robotic sculptures by Scrap Sculptures. DJ Joelskee will be keeping the lounge groovy all night. The Art Walk  staff can make recommendations on galleries, places to eat & bars to suit you taste.”   Thanks Joe!
  • Parking – There are a number of paid parking lots available on Spring and Main streets. We ended up parking at the lot on the corner of Hill and 5th for $6, which is just a couple of blocks west of Spring.
  • Want more information? – Check out the Art Walk’s informative new website at http://downtownartwalk.org
Step 2: Invite Your Date To the Art Walk With Our FREE Custom e-Date - We have prepared a custom e-Date just for the Art Walk, which you can use to invite your date to this great event.  You can insert your names and customize the accompanying text to your liking.  Our figures our gender-neutral (you select the pairings), so it’s a great way to invite your love interests or friends to enjoy the evening at the Art Walk.  We typically charge $12 per year for our e-Date membership, but this e-date is FREE of charge so please enjoy!

LA Date idea

Step 3 – Get There & Have a Blast – So you’ve parked and you’re walking around enjoying the galleries and food trucks. Impress your date with a few interesting nuggets about Downtown LA history, and if you dare, give one of the corny art jokes below a shot :)

Downtown LA History - Spring Street can claim credit as the birthplace of the motion picture business in Los Angeles. In 1898, Thomas Edison filmed a 60-second film titled “South Spring Street Los Angeles California”, mounting a giant camera on a wagon to film the bustling action along South Spring Street. You can view the film on Youtube here.  Many of the buildings that line the Art Walk have been designated Historic Cultural Landmarks. Here are some interesting tidbits to share with your date:

  • Hotel Stowell (now the El Dorado lofts)- 416 S. Spring Street – Shortly after the hotel opened in 1913, Charlie Chaplin lived here. Chaplin later told a story about a $25,000 appearance offer he received on the telephone at the Hotel. Chaplin recalled: “My bedroom window opened out on the well of the hotel, so that the voice of anyone talking resounded through the rooms. The telephone connection was bad, ‘I don’t intend to pass up twenty-five thousand dollars for two weeks’ work!’ I had to shout several times. A window opened above and a voice shouted back: ‘Cut out that bull and go to sleep, you big dope!’”
  • Stock Exchange Building – 618 S. Spring Street – Ground was broken in October 1929, just as the Great Depression hit.  Be sure to point out the 3 panels carved by Salvatore Cartaino Scarpitta into the granite above the building’s entrance. The large central panel, “Finance”, displays capitalists. The “Production” panel shows an aircraft engine, a steel worker pouring molten metal and a worker stirring it. The “Research and Discovery” panel shows oil derricks, factories, a chemist conducting an experiment and a man kneeling in a library reading a book.
  • I.N. Van Nuys Building – 210 W. 7th Street – When built in 1911 by Isaac Newton Van Nuys (a noted banker and owner of much of the San Fernando Valley), the LA Times reported that it was “the city’s most expensive office building” at $1,250,000. Property values have gone up just a tad bit since then!

 Art Jokes –  Again, these are CORNY.  Use at your own risk :)

  • Vincent van Gough walks into a bar, and the bartender offers him a drink. Vincent’s response: “No thanks. I’ve got one ‘ere.”
  • Mona Lisa was brought up in court on charges of murder, but the authorities eventually determined she had been framed!
  • At the last art walk, some lowlife decided to steal a painting from one of the art galleries. He snatched a painting from the wall, ran out the front door, jumped into his van, and sped away. He wasn’t the smartest fellow and had an empty tank, so ran out of gas a few blocks away. When the police caught him and asked how he could do something so stupid, he replied “I had no Monet to buy Degas to make the Van Gogh.”

Step 4: Keep Your Date Going – Once the galleries shut down, stick around and enjoy the festive atmosphere. Downtown will be swarming with people until the bars shut down at 2:00am. A few suggestions:

  • The Edison 108 W 2nd St - Undoubtedly one of the most impressive venues in Los Angeles, and always a classy crowd that is dressed to impress. The Edison is an old power plant complete with generators and turbines that has been masterfully transformed into a 1920s art deco speakeasy. Note: If you show up too late, you may have to wait to get in.
  • La Cita –  336 S. Hill St. – La Cita is what happens when you mix a Mexican bar and hipster joint. Great atmosphere, hip crowd, funky music, and a large patio to boot.

Thanks for reading. And I’m sure you and your date will have a blast at the Art Walk.

Have fun. Together!

Alex

11/02/2011

How To Have An Amazing Date At A Concert (Coldplay concert at UCLA)

categories: Date Idea, How To:, Los Angeles Dates, Romantic Ideas

Olga and I had the pleasure of watching Coldplay perform live at UCLA in July. Coldplay is one of my favorite bands, and we were in the front of the pit for the whole concert (thanks to the greatest guy ever, Ryan Williams). It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience and I am afraid I’ll never be able to see live music again, as it can only go down from here. Here’s a highlight video of our evening. Watch it, and you’ll never be the same for the following reasons:

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