Shakespeare By The Sea

Okay. Despite my hatred of summer, there are quite a few things that I enjoy about it; one of them being Shakespeare By the Sea!  The past two Friday nights I've gone to Point Fermin Park in my hometown of San Pedro to catch the opening weekends of their selections this year, Taming of the Shrew and Macbeth. 

The Los Angeles version of Shakespeare in the Park is always an event, and this year is no exception. I'm always struck by the simplicity of the sets, and how with just few flats and amazing acting the company is able to transport you to a completely different world; Italy in Taming of the Shrew and the Scottish moors in Macbeth. The acting is phenomenal. I have to give particular kudos to Morgan Hill, who plays Kate and Witch #1, Bryson Jones Allman (Petrucchio and Macduff), and Olivia Schlueter-Corey who bends gender in her turns as both Banquo and Tranio. All three are impossible to take your eyes off of. Morgan and Bryson are perfection playing off of each other as Kate and Petrucchio. Morgan really shines as a witch, though. She's both creepy and captivating. I felt like I was taking a master class just watching her. Bryson's grief as Macduff? I cried. I cry at everything, BUT STILL. I had chills, and not just because the temperature had dropped down to the 50s out by the ocean bluffs of Point Fermin. And Olivio as Tranio? I totally forgot Tranio is originally a man in Taming of the Shrew. She sells it. As someone who once gender bent and played Bottom, I'm all about women taking traditionally male roles in Shakespeare (even though all roles were traditionally male, but whatever). 

If you're unfamiliar with the stories, don't be worried. Even though I'm a Shakespeare buff (I majored in theater and took at least 4 classes on the bard), the Shakespeare by the Sea performances are acted in such a way that anyone can follow along; there were even kids at the performances I went to who were enjoying them. Jordan notes on both plots: Taming by the Shrew is about a girl like me who can't get married and by extension her younger sister can't until she meets her match. Watch 10 Things I Hate About You, it's the same story. Macbeth? His wife convinces him to do a really grimy thing, then that have to do more grimy stuff to cover up the first grimy thing. 

Check out where SbtS will be this summer! I promise it's worth it. Just remember to pack a picnic and bundle up; these summer nights in LA get pretty cool by the water.

Until next time.




Beetlehouse LA

So, I went to Beetlehouse LA for my birthday, and I feel like we need to talk about it. Beetlehouse is a Tim Burton themed restaurant and bar; first done as a pop-up in NYC and then brought to Los Angeles. My honest thoughts? Go to the bar, skip the dinner reservation. 

I was stoked when I first heard about Beetlehouse NYC. I've been a lover of Tim Burton's work as far back as I can remember. The Burton exhibit done at LACMA was one of my favorite exhibits there. However, after that bullshit Tim was talking about black people during the press cycle for "Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children"; it's been a little bit harder for me to think of him fondly. That said, I wanted to separate art from artist and enjoy an evening out. Beetlehouse LA's opening was announced a few months ago, and the timing coincided with my birthday, so I decided to make dinner reservations and celebrate in a style that felt true to my aesthetic and interests.

And I did! It's a very cute restaurant. The door is basically a hole in the wall; you're let in by a bouncer and ascend up a thin staircase to a macabre world lit by blacklight. There's fog being pumped through the whole bar, and the walls that house various pieces of artwork based on Burton's filmography have been made to look crumbling and decrepit. There's a host of different entertainers mingling with the guest; from a Mad Hatter, to a Jack Skellington, to a Willy Wonka, to an Edward Scissorhands. There are also freak performers! One approached me and nailed a nail into her nose while my friend watched (there's no fucking way I looked at her doing that. No way). The drink menu features a ton of different Burton themed cocktails. There's a great assortment of "goth" rock playing on the stereo. If it were just the bar; I'd recommend without hesitation. Dinner is a different story. 

(Menu and Decor picture above. Everything is bathed in blacklight; 90% of your pictures will probably turn out like shit.) 

Now, the service I received from the greeter and the host was great. I had a rather large party of seven and a baby, every last one of us was almost 45 minutes late, and they still sat us immediately without any hesitation. The restaurant area is more of the same as far as decor is concerned. It's all very cute. There's a stage where clips from Burton movies are played on loop, and a freak show happens every hour or so. It was a lot of fun. The service we received from our server was mediocre at best. He was a nice person. He really was. But, the food took forever to come out to us, and considering it's a set menu with few options it was rather upsetting. He also copped attitude because my friend and I wanted to split our three course entré. Uh, we're rather petite ladies; we weren't going to finish all of the offered food by ourselves. He also didn't want to let one of my friends order their alcoholic beverages on a separate check, in order to make our splitting the bill easier at the end of the night. I've worked in food service - these are all rather standard requests. That's not where my big gripe is though. My biggest gripe is the food itself. It wasn't really that great. The food is themed as well; but the presentation is lackluster and the food itself leaves something to be desired. For $40 - $45 per plate, plus tax and tip; I wanted the full experience and I've had food at Chili's that tasted better. 

So, all in all, have dinner somewhere else, go to the bar, enjoy the spooky vibe, and try not to think about how Johnny Depp is basically the same caricature in every movie now. 

Phantom Carriage

Alright y'all. I'm about to talk about one of my favorite things: BRUNCH. If you don't like brunch get the fuck out; because how could you hate sleeping in and still getting to enjoy breakfast food, the best kind of food of them all (after Mexican food)? I was recently introduced to a great new brunch spot; Phantom Carriage Brewery in Carson, California! 

Phantom Carriage Brewery is a horror themed brewery that's just over two years old. I was told about it recently by my friend, Melissa, a fellow horror fan, and we both decided we had to go there as soon as possible. The decor is everything you'd expect from a horror themed brewery; vintage horror movie posters, skeletons, specimen jars, etc. It's dimly lit, they blast metal over the speakers, there's a theater room off of the entrance hall where they screen horror movies, and of course barrels and barrels and bottles and bottles of beer. 

I was in heaven the second I stepped inside. Before I talk about anything else; I'd really like to mention the exceptional service. My friend Melissa uses a wheelchair, and I was nervous when I got there before she did, because despite their wheelchair accessible blue signs posted, I didn't see anywhere she'd be comfortable - every table was a high bar table with bar stools. However, the second I mentioned I was being met by a friend who needed to be accommodated; they immediately made sure we had somewhere comfortable for her to sit and brought me a chair the same height, so I wouldn't be towering over in a bar stool. Every member of the staff I met that day was ridiculously nice; made sure we had everything we needed, and were generally just great people. 

The beer selection and the brunch menu were on point. I was a little skeptical, most bars have shit food. However, Phantom Carriage does not disappoint. 

So many great looking choices! I went for the seasonal Ancient Horror, the Breakfast sandwich, and finished off with an Obsidian Stout. Everything was impeccable. The Ancient Horror had citrusy and floral notes and was just sweet enough to really compliment my savory breakfast sandwich that had the most delicious runny egg and an especially sour pickle on the side. Their stout is great; really deep and chocolatey. The don't play around when it comes to the ABV either; I didn't finish my Stout, because I drove.

All in all, Phantom Carriage was a great time. 10/10 would recommend. Got any great brunch spots in the LA area I should know about? Let me know in the comments!

Until next time. xo.