Monday, May 21, 2012

Cleopatra at California Science Center

Yet another perk of working at the Skirball is invites to sneak previews at our collegial museums. Cleopatra: The Exhibition at California Science Center is the latest flash-the-badge benefit.

My takeaway from Cleo?! Jerry Springer could focus a whole season on her. She married her brother, then later her son. (I'll admit, that would be a shocker even for Springer!) She had affairs and children with the two most powerful men of the time: Julius Caesar and Mark Antony. Both were married to other women, by the way. Her children with Antony were cared for by his widow after Cleo and Antony committed suicide.

The artifacts displayed were all recovered from water or buried in sand, so there's a submerged feel to the exhibition. View jewelry, helmets, figurines and statues all brought back to life. Excavating some of the massive pieces must have been an unimaginable challenge, which only adds to the appeal of seeing them for yourself. Cleopatra runs through the end of the year.

Click here to go to Cleopatra at CSC's Web site.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Canoe House

I was bummed to see Wild Thyme on Fair Oaks boarded up and closed for business, as I was expecting a chain to move into the space and ruin the South Pas vibe. But, Wild Thyme's metamorphosis to Canoe House is a very good thing, indeed.

Canoe House works the Hawaiian theme with surfboards and beach/ocean images - think Island's decor but less booth-y. They use an innovative removable divider on the long tables, making the space adaptable for small and larger groupings. There is also a fire pit on the outdoor patio for another seating option.

Here you see my Kalua Pork Tacos (slow roasted pork with onions, tomatoes and cabbage drizzled with a cilantro lime cream sauce) that were absolutely delish! The crab cake appies with mango salsa really got the tastebud party started. I couldn't help but stare at the pork nachos and spare ribs on other patrons' plates, and those plates virtually licked clean. The burgers sound fabulous, but I'll have to be patient for the rest of this month. Aloha, Canoe House, I'll be seeing you again!

Click here to go to Canoe House's Web site.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Young Dubliners

More wild music tonight! Two years ago, I posted on the crazy variety of music at the South Pasadena Eclectic Music Festival & Art Walk. This year, I only went to see one band, a long-time fave of mine, the raucous Celtic rock band Young Dubliners.

The Dubs are great, both fun and funny. The packed parking lot - remember, this is tiny South Pasadena where space is a commodity - was bouncing, tapping and clapping to their screaming guitars, pounding drums and fabulous fiddle. The front of the stage was jammed with South Pas-ers dancing and jigging to the Dubs' music and merriment. It was a bummer that they only got to play for 30 minutes (I KNOW!), but those 30 minutes were a hoot and a half! Then the sidewalks were rolled up, and South Pas called it a night. An awesome night!

Click here to go to the Dubs' Web site for a little taste of the magic.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Sayon Bamba at the Skirball

I know, MORE pipes!

One of the great perks of working at the Skirball Cultural Center is the wild variety of world music I get to experience on a regular basis. This piper from Sayon Bamba's band came as a total surprise when you consider singer, songwriter and dancer Bamba is from Guinea, West Africa before she relocated to Marseille, France to gather this band of musicians.

Here you see Dominique Beven with his Breton bagpipe. You may notice his one drone versus the three on my Great Highlands. When I asked him "what is that?" and pointed toward his pipes, he finally got from my feeble attempt at French and gestures that I was a fellow piper and not a stalker. It also may have helped that I was toting my practice chanter with me. (Don't mock, I was actually heading home before I spotted the pipes and knew I had to stay.) Surprise number two came from Dominique playing a little Scottish jig on his tin whistle for me. Too cool!!

So that's three extracurricular piping activities in the last three weeks. How long can the streak continue?!

Click here to go to Sayon Bamba's Web site.

Click here to go to the Skirball's Web site.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Blue Dog Beer Tavern

I've mentioned my burger-a-month plan here and to my work chums, two of whom have taken me under their wings to make that one burger totally worth it.

This month's burger is Blue Dog Beer Tavern's awesome Fire Starter. It looks like a mess, the lava-esque pepper jack cheese, crispy onion strings, deep fried jalapeƱos and honey chipotle dressing surrounding the 1/3 lb. burger (their house blend of brisket and chuck roll) and the caramelized potato bun(!) keeping all the intense flavors together. I actually commented how the bun stood up to the bounty of the burger!

The sports bar and beer themes at the Blue Dog are lost on me, so I'll stick with the burger choices and work my way through that list, one month at a time.

Click here to go to Blue Dog's Web site.