Tuesday, April 8, 2014

IAD - LAX: Part Two

Hello! Hope all is well. Let me pick up where I left off with our DC visitors and bring you up to date.

On Monday, it was Amanda's birthday! I had grand plans to go out for breakfast, but then I realized I had left my purse (and my keys) in Simon's car the night before. Boo. So we made breakfast, hung out, and the girls went for a walk around the neighborhood until Simon got home from work. Then we went to an early dinner at Stout in Hollywood

and posed for some pictures while we waited for our burgers.

Dinner was delicious, and then we headed to The Virgil for a stand-up show.

I had read about the weekly stand-up show, Hot Tub, a bunch of times, but we'd never gone before. When I went to buy tickets, they were sold out, so we decided to get there early and try our luck with door tickets. We're thankful we got there when we did, because it was a small place with very few seats. We enjoyed some happy hour cocktails, and waited for the show to start.

Kristin Schaal and Kurt Braunohler were the hosts, and they each did a set as well.

The show was so funny. I am not nearly as enthusiastic about stand-up as I am about improv comedy, and I found it hilarious. We were all glad that we went, and Simon and I will probably return in the future. Amanda insisted that she had an enjoyable birthday, though we didn't manage time to get ice cream for her.

On Tuesday (April Fools' Day!) the girls and I got breakfast at Sycamore Kitchen, then drove over to West Hollywood.

We stopped at Meltdown Comics so the ladies could have a look around.

Then we went to check out Amoeba Music and the Arclight Cinerama Dome in Hollywood. And look, David Hasselhoff popped by!

After that, we went to a taping of the Comedy Central show @midnight. The funny part was that the real David Hasselhoff was there! Watch this clip for a better explanation:

They didn't allow cell phones at the taping at all, so we have no record of our time there. But we watched them tape an episode with three comedians from the HBO show Silicon Valley, and then a segment from another episode to air this week with one of my favorite ladies in show business, Karen Gillan. When we watched the aired episode the next day, we noticed they cut a ton of stuff out - the comedians are apparently too funny (or long-winded) for TV. The segment with Karen won't be airing until Thursday.

After the taping, we picked up Simon and dropped off Amanda and Abbey for dinner with friends. Simon and I grabbed dinner at Tender Greens, then came home to watch a bit of TV. Later that night, I met up with the girls at UCB for their final UCB show of the trip, Bangarang. First, Zach Woods and Tim Simons did 15 minutes of two man improv:

Next up was another fifteen minute set, this time from Joe Wengert, Colton Dunn, Jon Gabrus and a comedian whose name I never remember.

Finally, there was a half hour set from the eight-person improv group Bangarang.

It was a fun show, one that we don't usually attend because of its 11pm time slot, but I'm glad we had a chance on Tuesday.

Wednesday was Abbey's birthday and the girls' last day in LA, and we wanted to get in some beach time before they left.

We drove up to Malibu to get on the sand,

and then back down the Pacific Coast Highway to check out the Getty Villa.

Amanda and I had been there before with our mom, but she wanted Abbey to see it as well. It was a beautiful, crisp day, with fairly sparse museum attendance. Abbey and Amanda went through a lot of the indoor galleries, while I spent most of the time outside taking in the view.

We decided we'd settle for this as our summer home.

After the Villa excursion, we drove over to the Westside Pavilion mall for a free advance screening of Oculus, a horror movie starring the aforementioned Karen Gillan, at Landmark Theater.

Before the film, we ate dinner at the Westside Tavern, and got some cookies for dessert to celebrate Abbey's birthday. Then, we got in line for the screening, and eventually we got into the screening.

I'm pretty choosy about horror movies. I was interested in seeing this one because I like the lead actress, and because it's a psychologically scary film rather than a gruesome one. Though it definitely had some flaws, it was a pretty decent horror film - I don't think anyone hated it. Afterward, we came back to the apartment and chatted for a bit before going to sleep.

On Thursday morning, we summoned an Uber to take the girls to the airport, since they had to be at the airport during rush hour. It was so nice having them here! We fit a ton of stuff into their visit, and we had a great time with them - hopefully they did as well.

We spent the next couple days recovering from our unusually high level of activity, hanging out around the house and keeping it low-key. We did attend a couple of events - another edition of Bangarang at UCB, and our first show at Nerdmelt, the comedy stage at Meltdown Comics.

I'd been wanting to go there for a show for a while, and Ben Schwartz was supposed to be a guest star for Saturday night's Baby Talk, so I bought tickets. While we were waiting in line, we saw Matt Groening, the creator of The Simpsons and Futurama, signing stuff, drawing stuff, and taking pictures with fans. Nice guy!

The show itself was a bit of a disappointment, since Ben Schwartz cancelled, but it was still somewhat interesting. We got to see the replacement guest, magician Justin Willman,

Ingrid Haas, and child-actor-turned-adult-actor Jerry O'Connell talk about and to a child comedian.

We didn't like the show and won't be seeing it again, but I'm glad we had the experience in order to check out the space for future (and hopefully better) shows.

Sunday was CicLaVia, an event that Los Angeles puts on once every few months. They close down a prominent road to allow people to cycle on it for several hours.

This edition was held along Wilshire Blvd, just like it was when Jakki and Matt came to visit in June. We walked along our end of the route, checking out the bikers and food trucks and enjoying the weather. It's a slight inconvenience, but I feel like it's worth it to see so many people out and about in the sunshine.

Sunday night, we went to UCB for the monthly show Gravid Water.

All of the actors and improvisers were familiar to us, and it was a good show.

The last Gravid Water we went to was with Simon's mom, Mary Jo, when she came to visit in March. Time flies! Can't believe it's been a month already.

Monday night and this evening have both been pretty relaxed thus far. Simon's been tinkering with his computer, and we've been playing video games and catching up on TV. Hopefully you've all been able to enjoy the weather a little more since spring has sprung in the Northeast. Love you guys, and talk to you soon!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

IAD - LAX: Part One

Hey! It's been a crazy busy week with my sister Amanda and her girlfriend Abbey in town. I always think that Simon and I do a lot of stuff... until we have guests. This week, we were basically just home to sleep. The rest of the time was spent gallivanting about the city, seeing comedy shows, checking out famous sites, and eating delicious food. We saw them off this morning, so I spent the day running errands and the evening relaxing.

But let's talk about our visitors from DC! We'll start where I left off last entry. On Friday, after the girls woke up, we went to Doughboys to get some breakfast.

The weather was gorgeous, so the girls were eager to sit outdoors and soak up the sunshine. Guess it has been pretty chilly in DC? Anyway, after our meal and a stop at Fonuts, we headed over to the Silver Lake Reservoir to take a walk.

It was such a nice day that someone actually decided to go fly a kite. He was very skilled. The girls have other skills, like modeling with palm trees.

After our walk, we stopped at Mendocino Farms to pick up some sandwiches to take with us to the Dodgers game that night. Abbey was interested in checking out Dodger Stadium for the first time, so once Simon got home from work, we went to see the Dodgers take on the Angels.

Abbey got us some pretty excellent seats along the first base line, where we sat and watched the game until the top of the ninth. Since it was an exhibition game, it was chilly and we drove there, we decided to cut out a bit early, and that proved to be a wise decision as the game went into extra innings.

The next day, we made breakfast and then set out for some more adventures. Our first stop was my favorite building in Los Angeles, the Griffith Observatory.

We walked around and checked out the view, which was somewhat foggy but still nice.

We took in the fresh air,

snapped some photos,

and spent an hour or so looking around at the various features of the Observatory.

They both went Hollywood on us, so we had to leave.

After the observatory, we drove to Larchmont Village to grab lunch at Village Pizzeria, and picked up some macarons from 'Lette.

Then we drove by two famous TV houses: the home/workplace of the Fisher family from Six Feet Under, and the house from the first season of American Horror Story.

That night, we split up. Abbey went to an Angels game with her friend Dan, while Amanda, Simon and I went to a couple of shows at UCB. Amanda likes improv as much as we do, so she was eager to see as many shows as possible while she was here.

First up was ASSSSCAT, with a pretty great cast.

The monologist was Marcelle Karp, the founder of Bust magazine. Improvising were Sean Conroy, Ben Schwartz, Katie Dippold, Charlie Sanders, Colton Dunn, Danielle Schneider, Lauren Lapkus and Horatio Sanz.

Marcelle had some interesting stories, and the cast had a lot of fun with them.

From Amanda's enthusiastic laughter, I could tell she was loving the show just like I was.

Afterward, we got back in line for the next show, Practice Scaring a Bear with Silicon Valley, which featured the cast of the upcoming HBO show Silicon Valley.

Appearing were Martin Starr, Kumail Nanjiani, Zach Woods, and Thomas Middleditch. They talked about the television show a bit, and invited a couple of their costars onstage with them - Amanda Crew and Josh Brener

After talking with them a bit, they took audience questions, and then invited the creator of the show onstage: Mike Judge.

He is known for creating Office Space, Beavis & Butthead, King of the Hill and Idiocracy, and Silicon Valley is his newest venture. He took some questions, and then we watched a short film that he put together. Since the show hasn't aired yet, it wasn't the most informative panel ever, but it was very funny. Afterward, we went to In-N-Out to get a very late dinner, and then headed home to get some sleep.

The next day, the ladies slept in late, so we went to get lunch before checking out Olvera Street downtown.

Afterward, we went back to UCB. Amanda and Abbey got in line for the free ASSSSCAT, while Simon and I went to get a couple of drinks. We wanted good seats for Hot Sauce, which was right after ASSSSCAT, so we decided to wait in line while they were in the show. Abbey and Amanda joined us after their show let out, and we all went in to see Hot Sauce.

Adam Pally wasn't available, so Horatio Sanz and Paul Scheer filled out the cast. It was a hysterical show.

Once the show was over, we drove back to the apartment to get some sleep. 

I'll recap our next few days in the next blog post - they were just as busy as the first few, so it's a lot to write! Time for me to chill out and watch some tv with Simon. Talk to you soon!