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Arts & Entertainment

5 Every Week: neon museum, virtual reality theme park, secret food window, Japanese skincare!

A player uses Sony's virtual reality headset, Project Morpheus, along with Playstation Move controllers at E3 on Tuesday, June 16, 2015.
A player uses Sony's virtual reality headset, Project Morpheus, along with Playstation Move controllers at E3 on Tuesday, June 16, 2015.
Natalie Given/KPCC

Behold: Five great things you should do in Southern California this week, from art to food to music to an adventure we'll call "the Wild Card," from the makers of the 5 Every Day app. You can also get this as a new podcast in iTunes. If you want five hand-picked things to do in Los Angeles every day, download the free 5 Every Day from the App Store.

ART: Virtual reality theme park

Coaxial is a creative space-slash-weirdo factory near University Park. It’s dedicated to experimental television production and media art. Think of it as a brick and mortar home for the sort of lo-fi alien transmissions public access channels used to air.

Coaxial specializes in obscure screenings and interactive performances from Angelenos in the televisual vanguard, like this Saturday’s “Virtual Reality Theme Park.” Yeah, it’s what it sounds like — we think: a “simulated amusement park” featuring rides from around the world.

We’re told the attractions will be presented in “Low-Tech VR.” Instead of using electronic headsets, the space will manipulate sound, temperature and the environment to create an immersive simulated experience.

The classic thrills include rides from Coney Island, Busch Gardens, Ferrari World and other, famously litigious theme parks that we probably shouldn’t mention.

To round out the experience, the event will also feature souvenirs, costumed characters and actors posing as park employees . What does that all mean? I don’t know. I guess we just have to go to find out.

Plus, it’s $7, only a tiny fraction of that park-hopper pass.

CITY: Museum of Neon Art

"Go North" by Randy Noborikawa, 2012
Kevin Ferguson/KPCC

For the last year or so, a building across the street from the Americana Mall in Glendale has been taunting us. It’s an impressive Streamline Moderne-looking thing with a magnificent neon sign of an old-timey bathing beauty perched on the roof. And another massive neon sign of a giant faucet in a sleek neighboring courtyard.

For what feels like an eternity, the building has sported the same maddening sign: Museum of Neon Art—opening soon.

It’s been torture. Opening soon? When is soon? How much longer must we wait to visit what is clearly going to be the strangest and most wonderful museum in LA?

Guess what. They’ve actually been open for a while now, without much hoopla. But now The Museum of Neon Art — MONA, for short — is finally holding its grand opening. Thank God.

They’re hosting a special party Saturday, February 6, where patrons willing to part with $50 get to see the exhibitions. Those include "It's About Time," a collection of neon clocks, photos of '40s and '50s neon art in Glendale by photographer Glenn B. Ward, and a group exhibit called Illuminations, with neon and kinetic art from over 30 different artists.

Winter hours are Friday and Saturday from noon to 7 p.m., and Sundays from noon to 5 p.m.

FOOD: Blue Window


Six months ago, the industrious chefs at Hollywood’s gourmet gastropub Mud Hen Tavern popped up a sneaky little sideline: a takeaway place they call Blue Window.

The takeout window — it’s blue, obviously — has a couple of stools and a small menu. But here’s the interesting thing: The menu changes entirely every six months.

They’ve been shilling marvelous Asian-inspired small plates since they opened, but it’s February now, which means Blue Window has just reinvented itself, and started a totally glorious new menu. It’s called: JUNK.

Yep, junk. It's all junk-food-themed platters: Artichoke po'boys, falafel onion rings, Nacho baked potatoes, and our personal favorite: "spaghetti-yos" a haute-cuisine kid noodle with smoked chili, roasted garlic, meatballs and almond ricotta. We’re crazy about those spaghetti-yos. They’re instant nostalgia generators, like a wonderful memory tasted through an elevated foodie filter.

The kicker is that everything is under $10.

The second kicker is that everything on the menu can be made vegan. And not by exclusion. There are superlative vegan versions of each dish, each just as flavorful and considered as the dairy-and-meat menu.

You’ve got six months. Get it while the getting’s good.

MUSIC: Fat Tuesday at Amoeba

Amoeba Music in Hollywood
Amoeba Music in Hollywood
Thomas Hawk/Flickr

Amoeba Records celebrates Fat Tuesday like few other institutions in Los Angeles. Which makes sense. Mardi Gras is so much about music.

In full N’awlins splendor, Amoeba throws a yearly bacchanal, a daylight parade that spills out onto Sunset with all the stuff you'd expect: confetti, beads, makeshift floats and a bring-your-own-brass orchestra blaring a proud, tuneless rendition of "When The Saints Go Marching In."

Claire: Be a part of something big and loud and ridiculous. It feels good.

Zac: Or just go lurch through the maze of aisles, in a human ocean of gold and purple and green, to buy something—a portion of all sales Tuesday go to New Orleans music charities.

Claire: Laissez les bon temps rouler!

WILDCARD: Make Asobi


Japan knows skincare. At least, that's what we can infer from the countless hours and dollars we have spent at Make Asobi, a Japanese cosmetics boutique in the Little Tokyo Plaza shopping mall, where the shelves are lined with products you never knew you needed.

An enterprising narcissist can find anything here. Extreme foot exfoliants. Semi-permanent mascara. Pseudo-surgical zit-popping tools. Massage objects to roll on your face and neck — to do what, we're not sure.

And our favorite: prepackaged facial sheet masks imbued with charcoal, snail mucus or green tea.

Much on the shelves at Make Asobi remains mysterious to non-Japanese speakers but Google translate and some assistance from the friendly clerks goes a long way.

For those with the patience for it, an eternity can be spent examining each precious package of lotion, shampoo and high-definition makeup.

Westsiders: there's one on Sawtelle, too!