Look up, Angelenos… it’s not a bird or a plane, but the sun finally emerging from this bizarre cold front. This only means you have no excuse to check out the awesomeness abound this weekend.
Friday Chocolate and Mario Lopez-lovers need to make a beeline to See’s Candies Grand Opening party at The Grove, where the candy company is opening shop. Locals may know this iconic chocolatier for producing handmade candies for more than 90 years now. Owner Charles See actually opened his first See’s Candies Shop here in L.A., using his mother Mary See’s recipes, and now everyone can get a taste of what the buzz is all about. The grand opening festivities will include complimentary candy samples and a prize wheel. You know you love those things. Best of all, Mario Lopez will be present to make all this fun for adults, too. It’s an all-day affair starting at 11am for those who truly have a sweet tooth (for the candy, people!).
Saturday The L.A. Times Travel Show is going on all day, which means you can get a bunch of information and free shizzle at booths from all over the world. It’s kind of like visiting dozens of exotic countries under one roof. Some booths to look out for is the emerging country of Ecuador and all the fun stuff AirBerlinis doing. Rat pack actor-turned-travel-writer Andrew McCarthy is going to be present if you’re into that.
Sunday While it’s no Comic-Con, the LA Comic Book and Science Fiction Convention is still guaranteed to wet the pants of comic book and sci-fi fans. Geek out the entire afternoon with comic book dealers and a bunch of other nerds meandering the booths while looking for dates or, more realistically, getting all the scoop of what’s new and relevant in the industry. Bonus: The Walking Dead‘s Danai "Michonne" Gurira and Laurie "Andrea" Holden will be making appearances. Oh, and Edward Furlong, if you need to see what a person looks like post-heroin abuse.
Because you’re going to avoid the general Hollywood area, shack up at Hotel Bel Air. Not only did they whip up some creative, Oscar’s themed cocktails (like The Red Carpet with Ketel One Citron, Cointreau, lemon juice, simple syrup and splash of raspberry puree) but special bar bites are part of the occasion. Wolfgang Puck is creating dishes he served at the Oscar’s after-party for the past 19 years, so you’ll get to eat up like a celebrity. Live Academy Award viewing is at the bar.
Would you be excited to see Mario Lopez running around in his underwear? Are you a high school freshman in 1996 who is discovering his or her own budding sexuality and think, thanks to TBS reruns of Saved by the Bell, that Mario Lopez is the ultimate example of physical perfection? If the second question is true, I imagine the first one is also true. Here’s another fact: the people on Extra assume that “streaking” involves running around in underwear in public. Streaking, as the rest of us know, involves nudity. So when Extra promises me that Mario Lopez was streaking through The Grove in Los Angeles, you can imagine my disappointment that he was wearing tiny purple underwear. And then imagine my disappointment in myself for being disappointed at all.
Anyway, here’s video of Mario Lopez in his underwear:
I’m buying two Greyhound tickets to Atlantic City to check out The Water Club at AC’s famous Borgata Hotel, Casino and Spa. As we exit the city, the last billboard catches my eye: an advertisement for a nightclub at Caesar’s in AC called Dusk, with a headline that reads “DJ AM presents Dusk” Sort of a glum way to kick off a trip, though part of the motivation for the pilgrimage is to catch the Blink 182 reunion tour at the Borgata. As we all know, Travis Barker and DJ AM were the survivors of a plane crash in 2008. Point is … might be time to update the billboard.
The Accommodations The Water Club was damn fine. Not a Bellagio kind of fine, but like a Bellagio in AC kind of fine. It’s a boutique hotel and spa that hosts what is probably the only gorgeous view of the Atlantic Ocean and nearby marina. Perks ● The rooms are sexy, with a shower the size of Tyra Banks’ ass. ● Guests sporting a Sopranos jersey was the first thing witnessed coming off the escalator. Dining First stop, dinner at the Japanese “pub” Izakaya. I don’t know how they do things in Japan, but at the Water Club a pub means delicious food, sleek design, and no local drunks to be seen (besides myself of course). The Food ● Wasabi dumplings, which was something you’d expect from a contestant on Top Chef, and not one that gets cut in the first round. ● Edamame dumplings, a Disney-fied take on modern Japanese cuisine.
After we scoped the scene and had our food and drink, we were off to the see Travis Barker hit things, along with his bandmates. The concert space at the Borgata reminded me more of a conference hall than a concert hall. I was half expecting Tony Robbins to come out on stage to help me take back my life. The kids didn’t seem to notice, or were too drunk to care about the drab carpeting, so I guess the room was a success. At this point I am sufficiently intoxicated, and I’m thinking that Travis Barker is probably one of the best drummers in the world, and in sobriety I would still agree. I know there are two other guys in the band, but it’s really the Travis Barker show. The after-party happens to be Mario Lopez’s birthday at mur.mur, a quintessential Jerz club, but its state-of-the-art sound system sets it apart from most and attracts top DJs like Samantha Ronson, who happens to be spinning for Lopez’s special occasion. While I sat wondering what Ronson and Lopez had in common, the girl laid down some tracks … or something that makes me sound like I know what I’m talking about. She seemed rather robotic up there and not like she was having too much fun. The hopeless romantic in me hoped it was because a pain-kied out Lindsay Lohan was missing in action. Between vodka drinks we played a few hands of blackjack and pulled some slots, entertained by the huge faction of Philly folks with a dash of Staten Islanders … who knew they could travel this far? In the end, we did not get to give Mario’s chest a raspberry; we didn’t even get a bite of Mario’s cake adorned with a photo of his bulging chest. We did, however, get some Just Cavalli swag, which means the mission of total AC cultural immersion was successful.