Roaring Nights at the Los Angeles Zoo by Golda


Hi everyone, we’re back with another fun review of a new event in Los Angeles: Roaring Nights at the Los Angeles Zoo! I was really excited when I first heard about this event, after all it has some of my favorite things: animals, drinks, food and music! Sounds like a great night! Steven and I went to the first night on July 11th. We noticed quite a low turnout for the first night. This could be because it is a new event, but I do think there are some important issues that need to be addressed. We did have a good time, but we noticed that while the event was a great idea in theory, in execution there were several problems that need to be improved upon to ensure that more people attend in the future.

First of all, Roaring Nights at the Zoo only happens during a very limited time frame: 7pm to 10pm. So one only has three hours to see all the animals, the reptile house, eat food from the food trucks, have some drinks, play games and dance to music. Normally that would not be enough time, but there is also another complication: after 8pm it is too dark to see most of the exhibits, so many of them close early.

Roaring Nights was my first time at the Los Angeles Zoo, and I was excited to see all of the animals. Unfortunately, we arrived a bit late, and decided to eat and drink soon after arriving so when we walked around looking at the animals, many of the exhibits were already closed. We did get to see the elephants, the reptile house, the meerkats and seals, but not much else. I’d advise that if you are going to Roaring Nights to see the animals, get there early and save eating/enjoying music for later. There is simply not enough time to do everything at Roaring Nights in one night. We only got to see a bit of one band (So Many Wizards) and missed the comedy show completely.

With that in mind, one of the biggest issues of Roaring Nights is the price. The event cost $18 just to get in. The price of a admission to the Los Angeles Zoo during regular hours is $17.  My question is,why does it cost more to attend Roaring Nights when many of the exhibits are closed and you can only see a few animals? Sure there’s live music and a comedy show, but I believe that the event would be much more popular if it followed events like First Fridays at the Natural History Museum and Nightlife at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco. Nightlife is $12, while regular admission price is around $35. First Fridays is $12, the same price as regular admission. If these other popular venues can wrangle such prices, the Los Angeles Zoo should do the same if it expects to become a popular event. I propose an admission range of $10-$15, especially since it also costs money to purchase food and drinks. With drinks at $5-8, food truck concessions at $10-$20, it is very easy to spend over $40 at Roaring Nights…not quite a budget event. In addition, food at the Los Angeles Zoo itself is quite expensive – you can get two churros and two sodas for a grand total of $15!

I don’t want to be too negative, so I will close with some positive aspects of Roaring Nights. I loved exploring the reptile house; there are some really unique creatures there that I haven’t seen elsewhere, such as the dragon-like lizard above. The few animals I did see were pretty spectacular, especially the elephants and seals. I also really enjoyed the game section – you can play board games like Taboo, Apples to Apples, cards and much more. I feel as if most of the problems with Roaring Nights would be solved if the price were lower, and perhaps a few extra hours were added so that one has more time to see everything.

Roaring Nights still has one night left, July 25. I do hope the event continues in the future, but with a lower price and more animals if possible! Parking is not an issue for once as the zoo has plenty of free parking. Hope you do have a great time at the zoo if you decide to attend! Stay tuned for future posts on Free Shakespeare in Griffith Park and Movies at the Natural History Museum Don’t forget to follow @SurvivingLA for all the latest events in  Los Angeles and check out our Facebook page for more pictures from the event. 3D photos are available on our Phero page here. Finally, enjoy a few videos we took of the animals below.

Tuesday Night Cafe by Steven


Tuesday Night Cafe at Union Center for the ArtsWith events like Downtown Art Walk, Pancakes and Booze Art Show, and Autumn Lights Festival, Los Angeles is considered the perfect environment for aspiring artists. One of the longest running free public art showcases in Los Angeles is Tuesday Night Cafe.

Jason Chu and FriendsTuesday Night Cafe is an event hosted by Tuesday Night Project that provides an open exterior space for writers, musicians, painters, activists, and more to perform for free during the summer. The event is also broadcasted live on their website so it is a terrific way for new artists to promote themselves. When I attended the last showcase, I was treated to beautiful acoustic songs by Yuki A, an emotional recollection of one’s childhood by Taz Ahmed, and impactful poetry recitals by Asian American professor Allan Aquino. Even LA-based Asian American rapper Jason Chu showed up to Tuesday Night Cafe to get the crowd excited, which you can watch here!

Open mic performerThis event not only provides a positive focus on the Asian American community but also attempts to strengthen the artist community in Los Angeles. Anyone can sign up for one of three spots for open mic at 7pm regardless of ethnicity. During the last showcase, they welcomed a guitarist from Australia to perform country music onstage. While a lottery will be performed if more than three participants sign up, there is one guaranteed spot for a female-identified, LGBTIQ-identified, or a 17 and under performer.

Tuesday Night Project also raises awareness of the less fortunates during Tuesday Night Cafe. For instance, they encouraged attendees to be marrow donors for A3M and to also donate to those affected by the Bangladesh garment factory collapse that claimed over 1000 lives. Furthermore because Tuesday Night Cafe is free, they are always looking for volunteers to move chairs and set up the stage. Those who come early to help also receive free dinner by their chef.

If you are an artist looking for a venue to perform or you are just interested in checking out new performers, be sure to go to Tuesday Night Cafe, which occurs on the 1st and 3rd Tuesday evenings of the month from April through October at 7:30pm. The next show will be held tonight!! Tuesday Night Cafe is located in the Aratani Courtyard in front of the Union Center for the Arts on 120 Judge John Aiso. Parking is available across the street at the Aiso Street Parking Lot for a $3 flat rate after 5pm. It is also a few blocks away from the Los Angeles Metro Union Station. Please visit our Facebook page for more photos, and follow us on Twitter @SurvivingLA for information on future events.

Until next time,


Melrose Trading Post by Golda


Hi everyone, sorry for the less frequent updates but we’ve been quite busy lately, perhaps because it’s summer? The good thing about summer is that there are plenty of ways to have fun in Los Angeles, so be sure to follow @SurvivingLA for all the latest events on a budget! 033113_melrose_trading_post_15

A few months ago, I visited the Melrose Trading Post, a flea market-type event held every Sunday in West Hollywood at Fairfax High School. It’s a great marketplace full of treasures. If you’re looking for some furniture, clothes, jewelry or perhaps even a unique gift, this is a great place to start. Vendors from all over the city sell everything from records to belts to tools. Most prices are quite affordable as well. There were some pretty awesome painted bulls and figurines when I visited in March. I also especially liked the lampshades with designs and photographs: they would make a great talking point in any home! I ended up purchasing a brown belt with rainbow finishings that I am quite pleased with for only $10!

033113_melrose_trading_post_16Quite often, there are accompanying food trucks and music in the marketplace so you can shop, eat and linger in the area all day. When I went, the famous ice cream truck Coolhaus was there and Steven and I got to sample some. Yum!

The market is open from 9am to 5pm, and parking is free on the streets nearby. Please not that there is a small $2 admission fee  The market is held every Sunday rain or shine, so there’s never an excuse to not go! Feel free to check out more of our pictures from The Melrose Trading Post on Facebook our Facebook page and don’t forget to like us! Also like I mentioned before, be sure to follow @SurvivingLA for all the latest cheap events in Los Angeles. Have a great month everyone!

The Social Bug Reviews Los Angeles Times Festival of Books


Los Angeles Times Festival of BooksThe “Surviving LA on a Budget” team recently attended the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books with our partner Holly Winn from “The Social Bug.” Check out her review of the event by going to her website here! You can also find additional photos by going to the album on our Facebook page!

The Los Angeles Times Festival of Books is located in the University of Southern California. There are metered street parking, and you can also take buses #40, 81, 200, 204, 442, 550, and the Metro.

We look forward to our continued collaboration with Holly and “The Social Bug.” We have many posts on exciting events lined up for both our blogs so stay tuned!


The Writing Staff

Long Beach Art Walk, Mixt Media Arts, and Tokyo Status by Steven


Long Beach Art WalkDespite how massive Los Angeles County can be, you can always find something eventful to attend from Venice Beach to Pasadena. Long Beach is no exception with monthly functions like the Long Beach Art Walk, Mixt Media Arts, and Tokyo Status to keep locals and visitors alike entertained.

Inside Hellada GalleryMuch like Downtown Art Walk, Venice Beach Art Crawl, and Wilshire Center Art and Architecture Walk, Long Beach Art Walk occurs once a month to promote artists and businesses within the community. Numerous vendors set up booths on Linden Ave between 1st Street and Broadway like Barry Rothstein, who sold 3D photographs, postcards, and albums of cats, dogs, flowers, and more that he personally shot. There are also museums, stores, and galleries scattered around like the Museum of Latin American Art, Village Treasures, and Hellada Gallery. Village Treasures sell African attire and decorative items, including masks, which were a personal favorite for Holly. When Holly and I attended Hellada Gallery, they showcased graphic design pieces by Bachelor of Art students from California State University, Long Beach that included colorful sushi menus and the like. Suffice to say, we became hungry afterwards so we settled down at a bar on 649 E Broadway called Rebel Bite that served a sweet, tangy Korean short ribs pizza called the Karl B. Marx Pie and some refreshing craft beer.

Artists and performers at Mixt Media ArtsThe day was constantly filled with surprises as we stumbled onto Mixt Media Arts on 322 Elm Ave, who were showcasing local artists and musicians in the East Village Arts District. They also occasionally collaborate with the Long Beach Depot for Creative Reuse next door, who sell various reused items like bottle caps that people can incorporate into their own mixed media projects.

Lolita DarkFor Tokyo Status at the Cultural Alliance of Long Beach, the party just begun after sunset. Tokyo Status is an artist showcase recently set up by Japanese J-rock band Lolita Dark that features energetic bands like Apocalipstick, films, DJs, karaoke contests, and more. While the name of the event does suggest that there’s a focus in promoting Japanese culture, Tokyo Status also celebrates diversity. For instance, we had Reuben Monastra perform together with Lolita Dark on acoustic guitar. He also sang fluent Japanese! What also makes Tokyo Status unique is how they transform the venue into an inflight experience minus the turbulence and air sickness. There are servers dressed up as flight attendants throughout the night, and the MCs are Flight Captain Anton Torres and Head Stewardess Erika Mariko Olsen, who is former Nisei Queen. It is $10 to attend, but if you pay $5 more, you get a free passport gift, access to the VIP Lounge in the back, and a complimentary drink!

Steven with Flight Captain Torres and Head Stewardess Olsen at Tokyo StatusLong Beach Art Walk is on the 2nd Saturday of the month from 4PM to 10PM with the next one on June 8th. Tokyo Status is a monthly night event at the Cultural Alliance of Long Beach on 737 Pine Ave from 7PM to 12AM with the next one on June 15th. Mixt Media Arts hold numerous events throughout the months on 322 Elm Ave so please check their website for further information. There is free parking from 3PM to 10PM at Lot #7 on the corner of Elm Ave and Broadway, courtesy of Long Beach Art Walk. There is also metered street parking available. You can view more photos of Long Beach Art Walk, Mixt Media Arts, and Tokyo Status on our Facebook page. Our Twitter page @SurvivingLA also provides information on all the latest inexpensive happenings in Los Angeles so don’t forget to follow us.

What is your favorite monthly event in Long Beach? Leave your response in our comments!

Until next time,


St. Patrick’s Day Street Festival by Golda


The team at Surviving LA has been rather busy this month! We apologize for the lack of posts! Luckily there is still plenty going on in Los Angeles to occupy your time. Last month, the Surviving LA team celebrated St. Patrick’s Day right with the street festival at Casey’s Irish Pub in Downtown! We had a great day eating, drinking and listening to tribute music in a sea of green.

Grand Avenue was closed around Wilshire Boulevard and the restaurant to make room for the Festival. You had to arrive before 1PM to get in for free. After 1PM, the admission fee was $8.  A VIP pass was also sold for $20, but that’s not very budget friendly! There was a long line so unfortunately we ended up having to pay. All day long there were games and giveaways supporting the Arthur Guinness Firefighter Foundation. We played toss the bean sack for a clover necklace and won! We also wrote our names on the large chalkboard and took pictures with costumed people and cut-outs.

In the morning, the restaurant served Lucky Charms, eggs, bacon and toast. We got there later in the day and sampled bratwurst, potatoes and corned beef sandwiches. Drink of choice was iced Irish coffee, green beer, or black Guinness! Over 500 kegs of beer was available to all guests, so there was no chance of it running out!

Sets from tribute bands The Potentials, Hollywood U2, Police Experience and Fan Halen played all day. We found the music a bit on the slow side and difficult to dance to. But overall we still had a great day at the street festival. Highly recommended for your St. Patrick’s Day shenanigans!

Be sure to take a look at all of our pictures from the festival on our Facebook page. Don’t forget to follow our Twitter account @SurvivingLA for all of the inexpensive events coming up each week. Next up we have a post on the Melrose Trading Post in West Hollywood! Stay tuned!

Special San Francisco Post: North Beach First Fridays by Steven


Thank you to all our loyal readers for supporting “Surviving LA on a Budget” and reading our previous 100 posts. While our other staff member Golda prepares her reviews on Casey’s St. Patrick’s Day Street Festival in Downtown Los Angeles and the Melrose Trading Post, this 101st post will be a special one-time post on an event that occurs outside of Los Angeles. Occasionally our staff visit our home in the Bay Area for the holidays. On one of these visits, I had the chance to attend an event in the heart of San Francisco. Since our first post for the blog was on First Fridays at Abbot Kinney near Venice Beach, I would like to dedicate our 101st post on First Fridays at North Beach in San Francisco.

Similar to Abbot Kinney First Fridays, North Beach First Fridays is an event that happens on the first Friday night of each month. It aims to promote local art galleries, restaurants, and various businesses in North Beach. One of the venues that is a part of North Beach First Fridays is Macchiarini Creative Design on 1544 Grant Avenue. This family-run neo-modernist jewelry store and gallery was founded by married couple Peter and Virginia Macchiarini in 1948. Their son Daniel Macchiarini and granddaughter Emma Macchiarini Mankin now continue on the family tradition. When I visited the studio, I was amazed by how inviting and passionate the owners were as they spent time explaining the history of their business and the story behind each particular sculpture and jewelry. Afterwards they led us to their workshop behind the store that they use to create their beautiful handcrafted jewelry and hold their workshops for anyone interested in learning metal arts. While Macchiarini Creative Design has been around for over sixty years, Art Attack SF opened last Winter.

Located on 2722A Hyde Street near the Hyde Street Cable Car terminal, Art Attack SF is a new art studio that exhibit and sell artworks from local artists. Some artwork to look for include Helen Keys’ ceramic fortune cookies, which together represent the Occupy Wall Street movement’s attempt to change fate, and Aguirre Amber’s ceramic skeletons on rotisserie skewers, which symbolize her status as the child of a Holocaust survivor. Some of the artworks on display are also interactive, allowing visitors to move individual pieces around. In addition, Art Attack SF occasionally hold parties and other engaging events for the public to get the community more involved in the art scene.

Another art gallery that opened recently is Modern Eden Gallery on 403 Francisco Street. Modern Eden Gallery is a venue I’m familiar with due to my involvement on an Academy of Arts film shoot that utilized this location two years ago. When I revisited this gallery during First Fridays, they were showcasing an Edgar Allan Poe themed gallery with paintings, statues, and of course, lots of ravens. They feature monthly exhibition so your experience at Modern Eden Gallery will always be a new one.

Of course, one can get really hungry visiting so many local businesses during North Beach First Fridays so make sure to visit HRD Smokin’ Grill on 532 Green Street. Featured on Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives,” HRD Smokin’ Grill specializes in delicious Asian fusion food. They offer a cheesesteak sandwich with Mongolian beef drizzled in sweet hoisin sauce and a side of french fries. My favorite is their featured dish, fried sweet chili pork chops. These tender pork chops are encased in a thin, crispy sweet chili crust. With fries and tangy wasabi coleslaw included, these pork chops are a meal good for two people.

These are just some of the various charming businesses you will find in North Beach First Fridays. Over time, I can only assume that more venues in the community will participate in this monthly event. The next North Beach First Fridays will be held tonight from 6 to 9pm so be sure to visit if you’re in San Francisco! You can take the 8BX, 8X, 30, 41, and 45 Muni buses. Be sure to visit our Facebook page for more photos, and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter @SurvivingLA.

If anyone is interested in working on a “Surviving SF on a Budget” page, please e-mail us at

Until next time,

Bacon Social by Steven


Bacon SocialMove over Downtown Art Walk because we have a new monthly art event in town! Located on the eastern edge of the Art District, the Bacon Social boasts local art, live music, and tons of delicious bacon!

Bacon Social ArtWhile the Bacon Social was held inside a warehouse on the outskirts of Downtown Los Angeles, a bustling crowd guaranteed that the venue was anything but abandoned! Colorful, diverse artworks from over twenty local artists filled the walls. Some of my favorite pieces included an abstract brushwork by four-year-old Cash Sartorio, vibrant skulls painted by Lisa Betournay, and beautiful portrait photographs by first-time Bacon Social participant Jeremias Corona. Live music by Lyn Saga, The Furious Seasons, The Barrelhousers, and The Riverside kept attendees pumped up throughout the evening. However, art and music aren’t the only things available.

Playing arcade games at the Bacon SocialAn interesting aspect of the Bacon Social that sets it apart from other monthly art events is the inclusion of a retro arcade room on the left. For one to two quarters, you will be able to play classics like “Mortal Kombat,” “Street Fighter,” “Time Crisis,” “Galaga,” “Ms. Pac-Man,” and even “The Simpsons!”

Eating a BLTOf course, it wouldn’t be called the Bacon Social without bacon! Someone was apparently handing out 100 pounds of free bacon throughout the night, but we were unable to locate him. Their kitchen also offered food and drinks, including BLTs, bacon mac-n-cheese, bacon-wrapped hot dogs, bacon cupcakes, bacon caramel corn, bacon shots, and bacon Bloody Mary. Those who don’t eat meat, fret not! According to their website, the Bacon Social offers veggie bacon as well! The food were a bit expensive with the BLT costing $12 and the bacon mac-n-cheese costing $8, but that could be due to the price of the premium bacon strips used. Compared to other bacons I’ve eaten, the ones here were thick and chewy. Unfortunately, they ran out of BLTs early on so many patrons who purchased discounted BLT vouchers on their website were given the option to substitute their orders. The BLT that we ordered also came out burnt. On the other hand, the mac-n-cheese was delicious with four layers of cheese, bread crumbs, and bacon bits. My favorite item has to be the bacon caramel corn for $5. Unlike prepackaged caramel corn, these were smothered in fresh, thick flowing caramel. In addition, there were plenty of tables, chairs, and couches for people to relax with their food while they listen to their favorite bands performing onstage. Overall the food and drinks were popular with the crowd with the line to the kitchen twisting left and right through the art exhibit.

Bacon Social MusicWith only a $7 cover, the Bacon Social is a monthly event that keeps people entertained throughout the night with art, music, food, and games. I do hope that they end up expanding the size of the venue because it was packed, making it difficult for me to view the artworks without people blocking me. It also didn’t help that the line to the kitchen was in the same area as the art and music stage. Having a small venue also meant that the music was louder than usual. I also wish that they increase their supply of food in order to meet the demands of those who purchased BLT vouchers. The Bacon Social is held every month at The Factory on 654 S Myers St just east of the Los Angeles River with plenty of free street parking. You can also take bus #62. You will be able to see the beautiful Sixth Street Bridge lit up in the distance. For more photos of the Bacon Social, please go to our Facebook page. Be sure to follow us on Twitter @SurvivingLA for more updates! Join us next time as Golda reviews Casey’s St. Patrick’s Day Street Festival!

And that concludes our 100th post!! So what were some of your favorite posts?

Until next time,


Los Angeles Art Show by Steven


Inside the LA Art ShowDowntown Los Angeles is known for hosting many art events such as Art Walk, Pancakes and Booze Art Show, Autumn Lights Festival, and the upcoming Bacon Social. One of the largest annual events to be held in Downtown is the Los Angeles Art Show located in the LA Convention Center.

Peter Kellett's anographicsCreated in 1995 by the Fine Art Dealers Association, the LA Art Show takes place for four days in January as part of Los Angeles Arts Month. $20 ($15 online) allows you to attend the event for a day, but as Holly from “The Social Bug” and I found out, one day is simply not enough to view over 100 galleries. There are a large variety of artwork, including paintings, photographs, sculptures, and mixed media. Luckily those in charge of the LA Art Show do categorize the galleries into sections for the convenience of guests even though many galleries do not fit under certain themes. While the main purpose of attending the exhibition is to either look at art or to purchase them, there are other events for patrons to attend in the LA Art Show such as free sketching demonstrations.

Hiroko TsuchidaFor this year’s LA Art Show, there were a few pieces that made a long-lasting impression on me. Yu Nancheng’s abstract oil canvases and brush strokes showcase hundreds of Chinese soldiers and dancers dancing brilliantly in unison. Dorian Vallejo’s realistic painting, “Dream Freefall No. 1,” portray a different type of movement with a girl’s white gown flowing gracefully as she falls underwater. Seth Casteel’s series of photos also occur underwater but with adorable canines diving in. His photos are intriguing because they have initially gained a lot of Internet exposure, therefore showing the importance of social media in marketing today’s art. Artist Li Guanglin captures the presence of his subjects (i.e. children, elders, monks) so perfectly in his oil paintings that they seem to pop out of the canvas. Peter Kellett also captures the same feeling with his anographics of landscapes. His usage of anographics (a type of aluminum) help capture the color and brilliance of sunsets in his works. However, art inside the LA Art Show aren’t just limited to materials as Hiroko Tsuchida turns herself into a performance art about identity by sitting idly in front of bystanders, chained to a large mirror.

Looking at Seth Casteel's dog photoWhatever your preference may be, there is something for everyone at the Los Angeles Art Show. The LA Art Show is held at the Los Angeles Convention Center at 1201 S Figueroa St. off the 110 and 10 freeway. There are numerous parking lots inside and outside, but they tend to be over $15. There are also metered street parking (which are free on Sundays) on Flower St, Hope St, and Venice Blvd and some free street parking west of the 110 freeway. You can also take buses #33 and #733. Daily tickets are $20 with $5 discount when purchased online here. The next show dates are from January 16, 2014 to January 19, 2014.

For more photos, be sure to go to our Facebook page. Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter @SurvivingLA for future updates like the Bacon Social. Also be sure to check out The Social Bug’s post on our visit to the Indiana Jones Exhibition in the Discovery Science Center in Santa Ana.

Until next time,


Trivia in Los Angeles by Golda


Many bars host a trivia night weekly to challenge LA locals like you and me with food, drinks, and friends. In Los Angeles, there are two specific overall brands: Action and King Trivia. The process is simple, you form a team and play for a few hours weekly to see who knows the most! Trivia bar nights are a great way to get out, discover a new bar, meet new people and drink!

Most of the trivia nights I’ve been to last 5-7 rounds. The round themes vary, but some common ones are handouts with pictures, matching, answers with a common word/theme and guess that famous person/fictional character based on clues. Trivia is usually free, food and drinks are not unless you’re a winner!

I’ve been to several different trivia nights so far, so I’ll list the venues and some of my observations about each one. You can find a full list of trivia locations at the links above.

1) 1793 Public House: Probably the best trivia venue I’ve been to so far. Located in Los Feliz, this restaurant was recently renovated to include a pool area upstairs with a lot of tables for trivia. The space is huge, but unfortunately that also means there is a lot of competition. Last time I went there were over 20 teams. Trivia starts at 8pm on Wednesday nights.

2) Ye Olde Rustic Inn: This is a small pub in Los Feliz. It’s rather dark inside so I found it very hard to write answers down. There are not too many teams competing since the place is so small, but I also found the trivia more challenging than other venues I’ve been to. Trivia starts at 9pm on Sunday nights.

3) Barney’s Beanery: I’ve been to the Burbank location but I’m sure the other locations have their own trivia nights. The food is all right and can be pricey, but the trivia is not all that difficult.Trivia here starts at 9pm on Wednesdays and I believe there is also a different one on Mondays.

4)  Backstage Bar and Grill: This is an interesting dive bar in Culver City. It’s the most unique one I’ve been to so far, with social media integration (at times), matching shapes/logos and much more. Most of the bar food I’ve had here is also quite amazing, especially the mac and cheese. If you live on the Westside, this is definitely a good place to try! Trivia starts at 9pm on Sundays.

Why not go out and try your own hand at trivia? Let me know some other cool places in Los Angeles in the comments below!