Things I Like (Stacey's Choice Awards!)
Back Stage just came out with their annual Readers Choice Awards Survey, which got me thinkin': what are my picks for awesome things to do/read/see/experience? But first things first, you can weigh in on your picks by filling out the Back Stage survey online here: http://www.backstage.com/bso/news-and-features-bulletins/vote-for-back-stage-s-readers-choice-awards-1004080691.story?imw=Y It even includes picks for Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia, Florida and Texas! I don't know about you, but I always look for the results issue (out in June) to stay hip and cool on what's happening around town. But why wait until then? Below, are some of my favorite things. Why not share yours in the comments section? Together, we can impress our friends with our mad online and city slicker knowledge.
Feel Good Blogs
Go Inspire Go
Hate the news? So do I! It's so fear-based and sensational and...depressing. Enter Go Inspire Go. Their mission is to provide a global platform where people can see and share stories of inspiration. Using social networking to foster change, the founders hope that every person who visits their site will be inspired to better someone's life or better their community.
TED (Ted Talks) - Ideas Worth Spreading
A little bit of something for everybody and you'll feel smarter just for tuning in! Ted Talks: riveting talks by remarkable people, free to the world.
Soul Pancake - Chew on Life's Big Questions
Co-created by actor Rainn Wilson, Soul Pancake is described as a "place to speak your mind, unload your questions, and figure out what it means to be human." Don't feel like discussing? No worries. Sometimes I like to read the responses as part of an acting "character study."
Unhappy Hipsters - It's Lonely in the Modern World
Need a belly laugh? Find hipsters ridiculous? This blog makes me giggle every day. Sometimes it even makes me snort.
You know, cuz failing is funny.
There was a time when I hated Twitter. Now, I find it marginally useful for career information, stuff to do and good ol' entertainment. Curious? I'd recommend following these acting related folks:
And many more!
Independent Shakespeare Company
Awesome productions set in the gorgeous Griffith Park every summer. Short on the dollar dollar bills? It's free! (Although appreciative patrons can--and should--throw a few bills in the hat after the show). Grab some friends and have a picnic on the lawn (wine encouraged) before and during the show. This summer features a production of Othello and Much Ado About Nothing.
The Magic Castle
An exclusive Los Angeles treat and an art form to be admired for sure. The Magic Castle is the world's most famous club for magicians and magic enthusiasts and home to The Academy of Magical Arts. Literally, it's a castle built in 1908 complete with a Houdini memorabilia room! Get in touch with your inner child and enjoy the magic of, well, magic. There's a slight catch--you do need to be invited by a magician to attend (no online ticket sales), so here's what I would do: check out the performance line-up online and google the magicians to find personal websites/contact information etc. Shoot them an email and say that you're a fan and that you want to catch their show. They'll get you in. They can't resist a true enthusiast!
Hollywood Forever Cemetery Screenings
Cinema in a cemetery? Yes please! Free screenings all summer long starting in May. Picnics and alcohol encouraged! DJs spin music before and after the movies. Summer schedule coming soon.
Mondays at Spaceland
The place to be in Silverlake for all you music enthusiasts and self-diagnosed hipsters. Since Spaceland's infamous first show in 1995 (Beck, Possum Dixon, Lutefisk, and a then brand new band, the Foo Fighters), they've been a tried and true place to catch the hip of the hip in an intimate venue. But I'm pitching you Monday nights, cuz it's freeeee! Mondays feature the best up and coming local and touring acts and some of the bands to break out of the Monday night line-up include Rilo Kiley, Giant and the Cold War Kids. Check it!
Accomplice The Show - LA, NY & London
Grab your detective coat and bring your A-Game, cuz this show will keep you on your toes and tickle your funny bone. Part game, part theater and part tour, audience members in groups of 10 or so super sleuth the streets of LA, NY and soon to be London to piece together clues of a meticulously crafted plot. Cast members emerge in various locations...you may even find yourself talking to a stranger. Who's part of the show? Who's just Hollyweird and messin' with ya? It's all part of the fun. Innovative and treasure hunt-y chic, Accomplice is a fab way to see your city or a city near you in new and surprising ways.
Upright Citizens Brigade
A hub of all things funny in Los Angeles and New York. Did you know tickets to their shows are only $5? Some of the shows are even free! Take a class, see a show, meet some funny people. Can't go wrong with frequent guest The Apple Sisters, Wednesday's Facebook Show & Friday's Garfunkel & Oates Hour.
Let me be clear that this is a show. I'm definitely not encouraging you to murder anybody! Although you gotta stay up until 11 pm on a Saturday night to experience the madness, it's totally worth it. For $7 and cheap drinks, you can join a raucous, high energy crowd at Sacred Fools Theater and experience five different mini-plays (er..."serials") and vote on your three favorites. Winners return the next Saturday with a continued storyline to compete against two new challengers. Want to write? Submit your serial to the producers and you've got a showcase for your material and your actor friends.
This organization is based in Santa Monica and is so super cool. With every pair of shoes you purchase, TOMS will give a pair of new shoes to a child in need. One for One. This business model allows TOMS to grow a sustainable business rather than depend on fundraising for support. Why not buy a pair, right?
PATH - People Assisting the Homeless
I've had the pleasure of working with PATH and know how important this organization is to the health of the Los Angeles Community, particularly during tough economic times when most people are one paycheck away from being homeless. PATH's mission is to break the cycle of homelessness by empowering individuals with the tools needed for self-sufficiency. This organizations helps them find work, save money, secure housing and empower their lives. Their motto: A Hand Up, Not a Hand Out.
If you think food served from a truck couldn't possibly be delicious and gourmet then you're behind on the food truck craze that has taken over Los Angeles. That's right foodie, no need to find a sit down restaurant for mouth-watering yumminess. Get on board with the food truck revolution!
This site will tell you all you need to know to track down your favorite truck and you can even request a truck near you! And it's not limited to Los Angeles. This site also provides searches for New York, San Francisco and Portland.
The Gift of Fear
Author: Gavin de Becker
This book was recently recommended to another blogger and had been recommended to me numerous times over the last year. I finally read it, and couldn't put it down. Learn how to tune into your intuition and listen to those gut feelings. Good for life. Good for acting.
Rebecca Gilman - Playwright
Ms. Gilman penned the plays Boy Gets Girl, Spinning Into Butter, The Glory of Living, Blue Surge and many others. She's unique. She writes fabulous roles for women. And if you haven't read any of her plays, I whole-heartedly encourage you to put one of them in your reading queue!
Hmmm...I'd better stop there before I get overly excited! I think the key to loving any city is getting involved, participating in new adventures and seeking information and experiences that keep your mind sharp. What about you? What gets a Two Thumbs Up Choice Award in your city? Please share!
Photo Above: Lookin' for new stuff to do!