E3 is opening to the public for the first time

After a brief public tease last year that amounted to nothing more than some branded tents and a Doritos stage, the country’s premier video game convention will let the public go hands-on with its overwhelming congregation of upcoming video games and virtual reality headsets.

The Electronic Entertainment Expo, or E3, will open up a limited number of passes to this June’s convention at the Los Angeles Convention Center. Consumer passes will go on sale next Monday, February 13, at noon according to the announcement video below.

Tickets will cost $250, with special $150 early bird passes available on Monday, and provide access to the show floor, panel discussions and other events, according to Gamespot. A total of 15,000 passes will be made available to the public—a sizable chunk considering last year’s attendance number topped out at 50,300. It should also be noted that those consumer passes are considerably cheaper than last year’s $995 professional tickets; additional pricing for 2017 has yet to be announced.

E3 has historically only been for industry professionals—from game journalists to software developers—but last year the convention let 20,000 fans into its first free public-facing event, E3 Live. We found the L.A. Live spinoff’s pint-sized tents were a sideshow compared to the Convention Center’s multisensory overload. This year’s consumer pass, though, should give the general public the same hands-on, trade show experience as industry professionals—swag bags, soul-crushing lines and all.

Conversations swirled around the convention’s relevance last year as major publishers like Electronic Arts, Activision, Sega and Disney all decided to vacate their costly spaces on the L.A. Convention Center show floor. This year’s show floor roster has yet to be released.

E3 2017 takes place June 13 through 15 at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

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One of L.A.’s biggest historic monuments is getting a new lease on life

One of L.A.’s biggest historical monuments is about to come out of hiding after 40 years. The Fort Moore Pioneer Memorial recognizes a battalion of U.S. Army volunteers who marched from Iowa to protect the city during the Mexican-American War. The monument itself is giant—400 feet of brick and sculpture—and includes a 77-foot water feature that was turned off in 1977. You’ve probably driven by it, even if you didn’t notice it. It’s on Hill Street, where Chinatown meets the rest of DTLA. Now, L.A. County has allocated the funds to restore the marker, switch the fountain on and bring the monument back to life.

The Mexican-American war started in 1846 when the U.S. decided it wanted to call Texas its own. From there, two years of fighting broke out across the southwest. Local “Californios” were fighting with American forces in Los Angeles when the Mormon Battalion—the only religious battalion in U.S. Army history—was sent to L.A. to build a fort and protect the city. By the time they arrived, fighting was largely over, but the fort was still constructed to maintain order. An American flag was raised at the fort on July 4, 1847. That ceremony is the subject matter of the memorial that still stands on the site.

If that historical incident seems slightly obscure for such a massive monument, it might be explained by the fact that many of the soldiers—along with the women and children they brought along on the march—decided to settle around Southern California and, generations later, several of their descendants had gone on to be prominent figures in mid-20th Century Los Angeles, including one Dorothy Chandler, according to the L.A. Times. In 1958, their ancestors got their monument. 

The same conservationist who oversaw the recent restorations of the Hall of Justice and Frank Lloyd Wright’s Hollyhock House, Donna Williams, will manage the Fort Moore project. Some updates to the original design will be made, including refashioning the water feature to just a modest layer of water rather than a full-on waterfall.

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outdoor adventure: San Gabriel River bike trail

Cruising’ down the L.A. river without a care in the world.

San Gabriel river bike trail

The beginning of the path near Santa Fe Dam

No doubt you’ve driven down the 605 & seen the familiar scene from your car – bicyclists looking like they are suspended above, cruising by on a concrete path. That path you see – which extends for 28 miles from the canyons to the beach – is the San Gabriel river bike trail.

Starting near the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains, & cutting  south through Whittier Narrows, Pico Rivera, Downey – & eventually ending at Seal Beach – the path starts east of the L.A river on the north-end, and then stays right alongside it after Whittier Narrows.

We truly can’t think of a better way to get a unique perspective of all that makes L.A. what it is. Along the stretch of trail, you undoubtedly encounter various encampments of people, as well as great parks you can pull into to get some water, take a break, or lay in the grass. One thing that urbanites like ourselves found incredible, was the extent of ranch & rural zoning alongside the river. Throughout much of the first half of the northern stretch, you’ll see horse trails, barns, small-scale farms, & always make sure you say hi to the dudes riding horses along the river bank – who we are always totally jealous of because they usually have a beer in their hand & seem content-as-can-be.

San Gabriel river bike trail

Santa Fe Dam Recreation area

The San Gabriel river bike trail begins (on the north end) right off the 39 in Azusa, but a great spot to catch the trail & begin your journey is the Santa Fe Dam Recreation AreaThe Santa Fe Dam is a great park with open fields, a lake that you can swim in during the summer – but is open all year to fish & rent paddle boats on. Food is limited to concessions, so pack a lunch – & make sure to rent pedal bike if you are with your family, so you can cruise around the path bordering the lake.

San Gabriel river bike trail

View from the bike trail in Pico Rivera

Going south from Santa Fe, you cross through Whittier Narrows park, which is 1500 acres of pure park. With lakes, activities, & tons of amenities – it’s easily one of the best parks, if not the best – in Los Angeles County.

South of Whittier Narrows, the river trail continues along the L.A. river, through a mishmash of rural & urban settings, where you are bound to see a concrete structure – most likely hydroelectric, or a full-on horse stable, all within a few minutes of each other. The juxtaposition of different things to see is what makes this trail amazing overall.

San Gabriel river bike trail

Looking beautiful after a little rain

Depending on which stretch of the San Gabriel river bike trail you’re on, it’s inevitable you’ll see swaths of water occupied by birds, ducks, & other wildlife. Depending on the water levels, sometimes you can cross a ton of animal activity – & you can see that the L.A. river is more than just a concrete bed stretching between the freeways. The pathways are mostly level, with no huge grades – so from a “bike experience level”, it’s totally doable for most levels of expertise. We’re not in the best shape right now, & doing about 10 miles on the trail was easy-peasy. As is the case with any adventure, always keep your wits about you & try to time it so you’re not on the trail too late or once it gets dark. We’re not saying it’s unsafe, but you are separated on all sides for much of the ride, so emergency access isn’t necessarily as good as it would be on the streets or in neighborhoods.

San Gabriel river bike trail

A stretch of the trail near Downey

Whether an avid bicycle enthusiast, or someone who just dusted off the old Schwinn in the garage & you’re ready to take it for a spin – the San Gabriel river bike trail is fun for all ages, & a great way to spend a weekend morning or afternoon. If you plan to do the full stretch from the mountains to the beach, please plan accordingly – as that’s a long stretch & DOES require a bit more experience (or endurance!)

Enjoy! – & feel free to comment below with questions or ideas about this blog.

what is barrio.la?

we remind Angelenos of what “living locally” has to offer.

barrio.la finds local companies making high quality, eco-friendly goods right here in Southern California.

Los Angeles has so much going on & is alive with eclectic neighborhoods, places to see & things to do – so while we’re at it – we keep you in the know about cool things going on in your own ‘hood & the cool people making it all happen.

feel like wandering with us?

cool… ’cause that’s what we do here.

ETURN TO BARRIO.LA

Desert X has announced its artist lineup and schedule of events

Desert X, the hotly-anticipated superstar art event opening in the Coachella Valley this month, has announced its lineup of participating artists and a schedule of opening and preview events.

The collection of site-specific art pieces installed in the desert landscape will be on public view from February 25 to April 30 and features pieces by huge names in contemporary art including Doug Aitken, Lita Albuquerque, Jennifer Bolande, Will Boone, Claudia Comte, Jeffrey Gibson, Sherin Guirguis, Norma Jeane, Glenn Kaino, Gabriel Kuri, Armando Lerma, Richard Prince, Rob Pruitt, Julião Sarmento, Phillip K. Smith III and Tavares Strachan.

Desert X will open to the public in late February, but if you’re already heading out to Palm Springs for Modernism Week, you’ll be among the lucky few to get an advance preview. Pre-opening events kick off on February 17 with an artist panel at the Palm Springs Art Museum starting at 4pm moderated by Steven Biller, the art editor of Palm Springs Life magazine. After the panel, stop by artist Rob Pruitt’s “Flea Market” which will be at the museum through the 26th and opens with a reception from 5 to 8pm. Another panel with artists will be held the following day at the Palm Springs Convention Center.

If you want to support the non-profit art project—while also attending what’s sure to be one of the coolest parties of the season—consider snapping up tickets to the pre-opening gala on February 24 in Rancho Mirage, featuring surprise musical guests and other entertainment. Tickets are $50 to $150; if that seems at all steep, just remember that most of the other events associated with Desert X are free for the public to attend.

While you’ll find art installed in locations spread out across the Coachella Valley, the central hub to start your experience will be the Ace Hotel and Swim Club in Palm Springs. For the duration of the multi-month event they will offer maps, books from several of the presenting artists, and play host to a number of the public events, such as an opening night presentation by artist Julião Sarmento on February 25.

If you’re not going to be able to make it out to the desert this month but want to get a sneak peek at what will be out there (perhaps for a side-trip when you head out to the Coachella music festival?), make your way to the Hammer Museum on February 21 for a lecture by Jeffrey Gibson, bringing a little bit of Desert X back to the city.     

Desert X 2017 runs February 25 to April 30, 2017 at various locations around the Coachella Valley. Check the event website for complete details and event schedule.  

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Black Rabbit Rose opens in Hollywood with magic shows and craft cocktails

Is there any world the Houston Brothers can’t create? For the past few years, the nightlife moguls have transported us to Paris, Cuba, the ’70s, the ’80s and what feels like countless house parties in the middle of Hollywood. Each bar incorporates an element of magic, whether it’s a hidden door or a secret room. But their latest bar, Black Rabbit Rose, takes the magic up a notch—literally.

Black Rabbit Rose is both a bar and a magic theater, though unlike the neighboring Magic Castle, it doesn’t require connections to get in. It might require some patience, though—the space is small, comprised of just two cozy rooms. In the bar section, craft cocktails are whipped up, like the refreshing Zig Zag Woman or the sultry Dark Arts made with lemongrass vodka, lime, aloe and activated charcoal. In the theater, ticketed shows ($40 per person) run Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 and 9pm, and feature magicians, illusionists, burlesque dancers and other performers. The talent is curated by Rob Zabrecky, an entertainer who has worked in magic, music, film and TV.

If dinner and a show is on the agenda, Crying Tiger is located adjacent to Black Rabbit Rose, offering Thai and Chinese food at the bar (during the day, the restaurant offers lunch through a take-out window). You won’t be able to bring food into the theater, but pork buns and lettuce wraps can be enjoyed before or after the show. 

Tickets can be purchased here, though you don’t need to buy a magic show ticket to enjoy the bar. 

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