World’s Favorite Game

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Hidden in between the 5 and 134 freeways sits a little known soccer field. Most of the individual fields have dead grass or dirt, but this fenced-off field with grand stands still gets the care and love that’s needed. The grass is mowed regularly and the goals actually have nets. Due to the World Cup and the world’s favorite game (the final game of which is today between Germany and Argentina), this hidden field is finally getting the use it deserves!

Watts Towers

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There’s definitely a handful of areas in LA that don’t have the best reputation. Watts is one of those areas. While some people may immediately think of riots and violence, I think of a local landmark that calls this neighborhood home. Watts Towers, which consists of 17 interconnected structures, were created by Sam Rodia over a 33 year period (1921-1954) and today serve as a park and public arts center. While admittedly still not in the best of neighborhoods, these amazing structures are worth a visit. At certain times during the day they are open for tours in which you meander throughout walking paths under the metal and tiles. Even when the park is closed, these 100 foot tall towers can be seen from all over.

Alleys and Hallways

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Venice Beach’s famed boardwalk is paralleled by one of the best kept secrets that usually only the locals know about. The Speedway is a one-way, sometimes extremely narrow, alleyway that cuts along the beach and can take you from north of Rose all the way to Marina del Rey. While on the journey you’ll spot some of the best graffiti in the city, some scary and some friendly beach bums, lost tourists that are desperately trying to find a parking lot, and all the hidden parking spots for the residents. If you find the right spot, the hallways in the buildings offer views directly onto the boardwalk!

Forrest Gump

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With the increasing amount of garbage the film studios have been pushing in the faces of viewers, I’ve finally had enough. New technology is allowing the special effects and explosions to be played up, and the story line and plot to be played down. Thankfully, plenty of amazing movies have been made in the past that have stood the test of time. I’ll be slowly checking off the greatest movies of all-time from my “to watch” list. I figured there’s no better place to start than the AFI Top 100!

#76 — Forrest Gump (1994)

El Royale

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When one thinks of hotels in LA the names that will most likely pop up are the Chateau, The London, and all the other swanky ones on the Strip or in Downtown. These are usually big, tall, and extravagant. El Royale Hotel in Studio City is a gem that subtly sits on Ventura Blvd. Instead of having long hallways of identical doors, these rooms are small bungalows circled around an even smaller courtyard!

Happy Independence Day 2014

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Here’s wishing everyone a happy and safe 4th of July! This southern style house down in old town Orange is showing their subtle support for this national holiday and the birthday of our great country!

Moving America Forward

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This Throwback Thursday takes me back to what I can describe as one of the most exciting days I’ve experienced so far. Back in October of 2010, I showed up around 3am at the University of Southern California to get in line with the hopes of seeing President Barack Obama give his speech on campus. After going through numerous security screenings, pat downs, and searches I finally arrived at my final standing spot (roughly 20 feet in front of the podium)! At the opening of the event, speeches were given by Kal Penn, Jamie Foxx, Jerry Brown, and Barbara Boxer. Then, to uproarious cheers and applause, out came the 44th president himself!

Charlie Brown Farms

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The desert located just north of Los Angeles is one of my favorite areas to explore. You might be driving in a perfectly straight line for miles on end, but eventually you’ll stumble across something amazing. Charlie Brown Farms is one of those things. Playing up the vintage Route 66 lifestyle, this roadside attraction is the perfect tourist trap. Their selection of indie label sodas and array of fried junk food adds up to nothing less than a great time. And yes, it does say deep fried Oreos in the window. You can also choose between tons of beef jerky, hot dogs, burgers, funnel cake, and obviously fried Twinkies as well (I visited before the infamous Twinkie drought so these American classics may no longer be available). In case you were wondering, no, I didn’t try one. After you’re done stuffing your face, the souvenir/gift shop is jaw dropping. Wander through the aisles aimlessly and you’ll transition seamlessly from stoner tie dye to Betty Boop, to Christmas decorations, to dinosaurs and dolls. Surprisingly, I didn’t see and Peanuts or Charles Shultz stuff. The property consists of three buildings and two patios, so expect to spend a lot of time there!

No Donkeys Please

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It’s no secret that a lot of “important” people are always visiting this fine city. With that comes lots of extremely upscale and pricey hotels. One of the most historic hotels in the city, not to mention one of the longest resume of filming and special events (including The Beatles landing on the roof in a helicopter and staying in the Presidential Suite in 1964). I’ve been lucky enough to explore the hallways and ballrooms a couple times and I’m always left speechless with the over-the-top, yet amazingly beautiful, architecture found in every room of the building. You might recognize this hallway from one of my personal favorites… Bachelor Party!

As seen on screen inBachelor Party (1984)

Warner Grand Theater

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Long Beach’s sleepy little sister, also known as San Pedro, has some great gems for those willing to look for them. This classic movie palace for example sits just four blocks from the Main Channel and is subtly positioned near the beginning of the main drag of Sixth Street. Originally opened in 1931 the theater has undergone some renovations and is still open today. They feature a mixture of classic and foreign films on the screen and many live performances on the stage. Be sure to stop and enjoy some time on the piano before going inside (I’ll post about that at a later time)!

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

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With the increasing amount of garbage the film studios have been pushing in the faces of viewers, I’ve finally had enough. New technology is allowing the special effects and explosions to be played up, and the story line and plot to be played down. Thankfully, plenty of amazing movies have been made in the past that have stood the test of time. I’ll be slowly checking off the greatest movies of all-time from my “to watch” list. I figured there’s no better place to start than the AFI Top 100!

#34 — Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)

Happy Memorial Day 2014

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I hope everyone has a fun and safe Memorial Day today! Put those summer diets on hold and partake in some dee-lish BBQ with your friends and family. Luckily the family members of mine that served our country came back alive. Let’s all be thankful and pay our respects to those that didn’t.

Desolate Desert

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One of my favorite places to explore easily has to be Lancaster, located in the desert about an hour and a half north of LA. It’s easy to spend all day wandering down the never-ending roads while coming across these long-abandoned yet once-used houses, shacks, and other buildings. A lot of them have been repurposed into filming locations, while others have been left to rot and fade away back into nature. This house, down a looong dirt road, is complete with a gorgeous joshua tree in front. All the windows have been boarded up and the door is sealed shut. The front door even has a sign on it that reads something like “Notice! There are no valuables, pipes, or wires inside this property.”

Os Gemeos’ Strip

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World famous graffiti team Os Gemeos (Portuguese for “The Twins”) has left their mark all over the world. They’ve been to the LA area a handful of times and, sure enough, they left marks around our town as well. This amazing piece was left in the private parking garage of Prism, a gallery right on the Sunset Strip. If you’re lucky enough to catch the lift gate open, be sure to sneak back for a great photo!

Pink Cheeks Salon

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One of the… funniest discoveries I’ve come across so far has to be Pink Cheeks Salon. While nowadays the salon specializes in skin care while offering many services like waxing, laser hair removal, and shaving. But the reason this place is so well-known in the valley is because of one service they offer… anal bleaching! This goes without saying, but keep an eye out for porn stars that are “preparing” for their big scene!