I’ve had a craving for burlesque for quite some time. My instincts led me to google. As correct as they were, it wasn’t exactly an easy choice for an indecisive Saturday. So many, and in multiple locations.

Blind Tiger by Harlow Gold?

A quick glance at their Vimeo sealed my Saturday shenanigans.  My eyes widened voraciously as the clip unveiled dancers, reminiscent of Jazz Age times, armed with Tommy guns, and legs that are just as powerful, gliding across the ample performance space.

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The masterminds of Harlow Gold, and the keepers of my heart, are Tracy Phillips and Dominic Carbone. Starting out in a parking lot of a dance studio in their native Denver, they have choreographed numerous numbers for film, TV, and music videos, including the Victoria’s Secret fashion show, to various awards shows. Their low profile shows have been the whisper of L.A.

All that Jazz.

All that Jazz.

The general location was easy to spot, but once I parked my chariot, the realization struck that I may need a password to get in. A quick scan of the ticket assured me I stumbled onto the right spot. The show was in a vegan restaurant? I was pretty hungry. Sensing my apprehension, the doorman asked if I was looking for Harlow Gold.

Whew.

With no clue how this was going to go, I was escorted to Bar Fedora. Larger than expected, it was laden with art deco appeal, with a “smoky” seductive air.

The show began with a lovely emcee, who announced the rules of the show. Keep your cocktails off the table, and no video.

Wait, what?

Swinging on chandeliers.

Swinging on chandeliers.

The tables are used as mini stages. Everyone, and everything is a part of this interactive cabaret. The bars intact above allow the dancers to swing with more grace than I walk with above the audience, as they seduce and delight your inner Ginger Rogers. There was an intermission – just long enough to use the restroom, get in your 2nd drink for the requirement before Act 2 begins.

Bondage ballerina

Bondage ballerina

I could continue on how I fell in love that night, but I think you should go instead. Let your heart be awed by brilliance, and your cheeks bloom with multiple shades of pink.

 

Blind Tiger by Harlow Gold

Various locations, check the website for details.

Your gentleman suitor has duped you into another LAX pickup. At 6pm. On a Friday.

Do you:

A. Get your best sweatpants and plane pillow ready for a comfortable 2 hours in park on the 405?

B. Download as many new apps, music, and podcasts as your phone allows?

C. Plan ahead by checking out the area around the airport, so you can drive down a few hours before hand and do some much-needed exploring?

Instead of downloading Tinder, google “El Segundo museum of art”.

Yeah, that’s right. It’s not all volleyball, beer pong, and surfers in the South Bay. There’s a thriving art scene that’s been wondering why you haven’t visited.

The El Segundo Museum of Art is the creation of Eva and Brian Sweeney. They were looking for more space to house their expansive art collection, and it was suggested to them by the Mayor that they build a community gallery. The flip-flopped denizens of the beach cities have profited from their generosity. Not only is it free admission, the gallery also plays host to an ongoing artist in residence program. The intent of the museum is to encourage exchanges of culture and art dialogue within the community. The hope is, if we keep our hearts open to art, we can embrace change positively.

 

Your mom isn't here, you can draw all you want.

Your mom isn’t here, you can draw all you want.

 

During my first adventure here, the exhibition on view was “Home”. The exhibit features the rooms of a house, each with various items. From abstract paintings, to a well loved motorcycle. The installation explores how we perceive comfort in our dwellings. Whether we design our homes to be aligned with what is currently on the pages of Dwell, or, if our tastes dictate dominatrix dungeon, it is our sanctuary.

 

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Just the bare essentials.

 

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No, he isn’t part of the exhibit.

 

This art shack is also in the forefront of museum innovation: instead of placards next to each work, there are number cards. When you discover one that you become fond of, there is an iPad with numbers that correspond to each piece. If you wanted to research certain works intensively, you can even download the museum’s dossier onto your mobile device.

 

Are we playing four corners, or diagonals?

Are we playing four corners, or diagonals?

 

After indulging in art education, you realize there’s at least another hour to burn before you show off your best fist shake. You decide to head down to the beach. The thought of sipping on a warm, caffeinated beverage while sand castle construction seems appropriate. There’s quite a few bean slingers to choose from, but if you don’t mind driving a few more miles, you can stop by “Two Guns Espresso”, in Manhattan Beach. Opened up by New Zealanders Andrew “Stan” Stanisich and Craig Oram, they introduced much of the South Bay to the Flat White. If you’re not familiar, people often mistake it for a cappuccino or a latte. Hard to distinguish the differences, the foam is actually micro instead of dry, and the milk has a velvety, creamier texture that allows the sweetly, bitter espresso to shine. Totally different, right?

 

Clint gets testy when she takes too long.

Clint doesn’t like when they use soy milk by mistake.

 

Kiwis are also notorious for having high standards for their bean juice, don’t be surprised if this cup of joe is not the burnt, bitter brew you’re used to. Merchandise-wise, they sell “Keep Cup” containers, Two Guns T-shirts, and Cafe Vita beans. The “Keep Cup” is a barista standard cup made by an Australian duo. Initially sold only “Down Under”, they’ve been keeping the South Bay in the reusable cup loop.

If you’re feeling peckish, they have a breakfast/lunch menu available until 2pm. My favorite? The Stan-wich, lovingly named after one of the owners, Stan. A fried egg, arugala, pesto, tomato, asiago cheese, on a pretzel bun?

Oh my.

Besides breakfast, they offer salads and sandwiches for lunch, along with baked items that are made in-house.

 

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Caffeine and vitamin D found here.

 

Your adventure south of the airport has come to an end. Headed to LAX sand-laden, and grinning unabashedly by your cultural find, you don’t even mind that hotel shuttle cutting you off as you try to scoot into the innermost lanes. Instead of shaking your over-caffeinated fist at Terminal 2, you shrug it off, sneaking one more peek at the description of that painting you really liked. When your frustrated companion slides into the passenger seat MacGyver-style, they’ll be unconsciously happy that you didn’t download Tinder.

 

El Segundo Museum Of Art

208 Main Street, El Segundo, CA 90245

(424) 277-102

Hours: Friday, Saturday, Sunday, 10 am – 5pm

Monday – Thursday by appointment only

 

 

Two Guns Espresso

350 N Sepulveda Blvd. Ste 7

Manhattan Beach, CA 90266

Hours: Monday – Friday, 6am – 5pm, Saturday – Sunday, 7am – 5pm