You can go to a free music concert every Monday from 5 to 9 down at the new Runway Playa Vista. That's the huge new complex off of Jefferson in Playa Vista. They have wonderful shops, restaurants and a huge new movie theater there, too. Music Mondays opened last Monday night and I was there for the Silent Disco. Next week and until further notice they plan to have a mixture of up and coming bands, DJ's, etc. for your enjoyment. Stop by and dine at one of their delicious restaurants and stay for a free music concert! For more information visit runwayplayavista.com.
The Game of Thrones Live Concert Experience is coming! Tickets are on sale now for this remarkable touring concert/live experience that looks to be just as addicting and mesmerizing as the HBO show it's based on. All the information, including a wonderful short video can be found here: www.gameofthronesconcert.com/. I love this music!
In this brave and candid documentary, young filmmaker Alden Peters documents his own coming out story by filming his family members, friends and contacts as he tells them, with his characteristic reserved thoughtfulness, but quite firmly, that he is gay.
Mr. Peters initially struggled with his sexual identity for many years. He was quite happy to keep up the façade of a handsome young man interested in sports, girls -- all the typical interests of a young white dude. Yet inside, he questioned himself every day. “If I like this, am I gay?” He struggled for years with it, and eventually decided to film his friends and family’s reactions to his coming out.
Fortunately, most of his friends and family are just fine with it. One particularly sensitive and supportive friend tells him as they look at each other in front of a mirror before going out, “As long as you like yourself, that’s all that matters.”
One year after his initial tentative steps into accepting his identity, he is proud and happy to be a member of the gay community. It doesn’t mean he is a typical cliché of a young gay man. It’s just Alden, a quietly handsome, serious, thoughtful and focused individual being himself, but now honest and authentic with his feelings and personality.
We should all be so brave in working through to self-acceptance and finally appreciating who we really are. There are still many young gay men and women who are abused, bullied, and suffer terribly just for being who they are. The rate of suicide among gay youth is still unacceptably high. So let Mr. Peters’ story provide the inspiration and clarity on just how important it is to be yourself in this world, with honesty, candor and courage.
No matter if you are gay or straight, black or white, a Lutheran or a card-carrying atheist, we could all use more of Mr. Peters' courage in being our true selves, and thereby living more realistic and happier lives. Bravo!
The film Coming Out is being released today, October 4, 2016 by the outstanding group Wolfe Video on DVD and VOD. In operation since 1985, Wolfe is the largest exclusive distributor of LGBT films. They also happen to offer some of the finest, most thought-provoking films anywhere.
Many thanks to Wolfe Videos for the opportunity to screen this fascinating, quietly moving documentary. Another excellent offering from Wolfe! For more information about the film, visit comingoutdoc.com. For more on Wolfe Video, visit wolfevideo.com.
Yesterday I had the wonderful opportunity to sample a float, compliments of Pause Float Studio, which was mentioned in my coverage of the Abbot Kinney Festival from September 26, 2016 (scroll down). Floating is a remarkable way to unwind, relax, recharge and offers therapeutic value to those who indulge. The Pause Float Studio is a top-notch spa for floating. Beautifully designed, they are very knowledgeable and provide state of the art facilities. I would highly recommend it for novices and experienced floaters alike. For more information, visit their website pausefloatstudio.com
Two little bits of advice, if you do float there or anywhere, be very careful getting up out of the float tank, as it can be a bit slippery and you will likely be very relaxed and you want to take extra care. Also, the wonderful Seaweed-based body wash, shampoo and conditioners that the studio provides for the obligatory post-float shower all need to be well shaken before using.
Check it out! My friend Harper, pictured above, who very capably manages the studio, will get you all set up. If you have any questions about floating, please feel free to drop me a line, not that I'm an expert, but I have been floating for many years.
My husband Richard introduced me to floating years ago, and I'm very grateful he did. You can make it your own experience too, by adding music (email the music to Harper well prior to your float), choosing a float pool or pod, etc. I highly recommend this as a way to unwind and detox from our hectic lifestyles.
One other follow-up item from the festival. I had originally mentioned the restaurant Plant Food + Wine as being a lovely spot, but with glacially slow service. The kind folks at the restaurant subsequently offered me a complimentary meal to make things right, so off I went on Saturday night to enjoy a gourmet vegan meal.
Of course the food, atmosphere, and service were all impeccable. I very much enjoyed this charming little restaurant, with a very pretty garden patio in the back where you can dine al fresco. The garden patio is beautiful enough to be booked for weddings and other special occasions. And it's so good to know that anything you enjoy at Plant Food + Wine is of the utmost freshness and quality, and is all very good for you.
The folks that work there are all devoted aficionados of the healthy food and eating lifestyle, and will patiently explain everything to you as you savor their fare. The restaurant, and several others like it, are all the brainchild of master chef Matthew Kenney. He is a top-notch, classically trained chef who brings his expertise in French cooking to the organic foods/locally sourced food movement. The results are quite spectacular.
Visit their website at matthewkenneycuisine.com to read up more about his various restaurants, the background and philosophy of Chef Kenney, and to find out more about his culinary endeavors. I'll be back again soon. Many thanks to the staff of Plant Food + Wine for a wonderful, healthful meal!
Yesterday I was very happy to attend the unique, wonderful and free Abbot Kinney Festival 2016 in Venice, CA. This festival, which has been running for 32 years, is an amazing collection of eclectic and original food, music, arts and crafts vendors, clothing and jewelry vendors, and all things uniquely Venice. Stroll down Abbot Kinney Blvd. any time of year and you will find wonderful shops, restaurants and things to enjoy. When the festival is going on, the boulevard is on steroids -- the variety and number of places to see, eat, visit and enjoy are almost overwhelming.
The festival is a wonderful non-profit and is Southern California’s largest free community festival. It’s a fundraiser produced by the Abbot Kinney Festival Association that supports organizations in Venice that help the community’s youth, population and the arts. Staffed by armies of dedicated volunteers, they do an excellent job representing the unique wonder of their community while giving back and supporting it at the same time.
There are almost too many special things to list from my adventure yesterday. Some highlights, in no particular order are:
The gourmet donuts lovingly created at Blue Star Coffee and Donuts, 1142 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice, website bluestardonuts.com. Outstanding, lovingly created original donuts fresh out of the oven. I imagine the coffee is excellent as well, although regrettably I didn’t have a chance to try it.
The unique and super comfortable sofas of Dumbo Lounge Sacks (website www.dumboloungesacks.com/). I actually bought one of these on the spot after trying them. These clever blow up sofas do not require a pump. You simply catch the air in them several times and roll up the end to create a go anywhere, very comfortable sofa so comfy you could sleep on it! Great for camping, the beach, your living room, extra household guests, rec rooms, etc. This is a wonderful, clever invention, and not as hard to get in and out of that you might think. I tried it before I bought one just to make sure.
The cauliflower and curry yummy tacos served from a tent near one of the music stages from Plant Food + Wine, a restaurant nearby at 1009 Abbot Kinney Blvd. Delicious, original tacos that were simply mouth-watering. I wandered into the nearby restaurant afterwards for a much needed iced coffee. While the coffee was outstanding, the service was quite slow. Hopefully this was only due to the business of the festival, and I trust their service is usually much better. Beautiful little restaurant though, strictly vegan with a lovely garden in the back you can enjoy. Very tasty food in an elegant restaurant, but perhaps to be avoided if you’re in a rush.
Pause Float Studio. The friendly folks from Pause Float Studio were there at the festival. In case you don’t know what a float tank is, that is an immersion tank where you float in salt-infused water so gravity virtually disappears. You float for a good 15 minutes or more and the effects are very calming and health inducing. For more information, visit pausefloatstudio.com. I have floated several times before, it’s wonderful and very soothing. They are on 13353 West Washington Blvd., in Culver City. Looks like a beautiful spa from the photos I saw, I’ll have to stop in soon.
The festival also offered a wonderful KidsQuad for the little ones with their own stage, music, games and picnic area. The festival also has tons of food trucks, several beer gardens for the adults, five music stages, many beautiful original jewelry vendors, artists and craftspeople selling their wares, etc. This festival is huge, and runs from 10 am to 6 pm. I highly recommend it, but get there early as the crowds as I was leaving around 3 were getting quite intimidating.
Many thanks to all the volunteers, staff and community of Venice for bringing us this festival every year. It's as unique and original as your lovely community is all year ‘round. For more information on the festival, visit abbotkinneyfestival.org. For more information about the unique community of Venice, visit venicechamber.net. See you there next year!
On another item, I would like to mention the new shop Frozen Fruit Co. in nearby Santa Monica, CA located at 729 Montana Avenue. Frozen Fruit Co. is a delicious soft serve frozen treat that is made entirely from fruit. It is dairy, white sugar and gluten free, and also vegan. Run by two ex-lawyers from London, England, a husband and wife pair, they just opened this pretty little shop this past July. It’s a lovely spot run by friendly proprietors where you can enjoy a delicious, healthy snack much better for you than the typical ice cream cone. Website frozenfruitco.com.
There are more photos from both the festival and Frozen Fruit Co. now posted on my Flickr page here: flickr.com/joybennett.