Friday, January 28, 2011

It's Finally Here! The K-On! DVD Trailer!

It's been so long since I watched K-On!, though I listen to the soundtrack a lot...



I was actually thinking Stephanie Sheh's Yui would be more like Barkhorn from Strike Witches, but I do like how the characters actually sound like high school students in the dub. Oh how I missed my chance to meet her, but I had to skip Pacific Media Expo 2010...Please come to Anime Expo...Please?

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Quickpics...My Non-Anime L.A. Anime Day (Possible NSFW)

Okay, I didn't plan on attending Anime L.A., but I did have a full anime-related day yesterday...

After taking part in my regular volunteering activity, I headed up to Anaheim to the SPJA office where they were holding their first Anime Expo/SPJA open house of the year so those who were interested can ask questions about volunteering and staffing. In addition to enjoying my new favorite from the Kogi truck parked outside (Pacman Burger), I got to learn more about the ins and outs of convention operations, and I was even able to get a sneak peek of I guess the new webshow Toybox hosted by the girl from How a Girl Figures blog...

After the open house, I drove down the street to Disneyland so I could get my first look of the new construction walls covering up the concrete California letters at the entrance in front of Disney's California Adventure as it is being removed to make way for a new entrance area. Pics of the before and after will be in a separate post.

Now the big event of the day was meeting up with friends in L.A. to catch the Anime Babes Burlesque & Cabaret show presented by Devil's Playground Burlesque...the event was held at Bordello Bar near Little Tokyo. The venue had no signs outside indicating that it was indeed Bordello Bar, so I drove around this industrial section of downtown L.A. in circles until I started seeing people lining up outside, indicating that it was indeed the place. While I was wandering, I was able to get a neat pic of the skyline at night...



Once I figured out the location, I still had to wait for my friends who were arriving from Anime L.A...in the meantime, I was able to make friends with some people who were waiting in line next to me and passed the time chatting about undergraduate education, anime, and video games.

My friends didn't show up when my new acquaintances and I got in...it quickly got crowded, so I could only text my friend even though we were probably 15 feet away...

Now I was expecting a show that went with the burlesque surroundings, but the band that played before the main event was not playing jazz or anything close to anything you would expect to hear at a burlesque venue. However, I liked Sassafrass for the big sound they got from two musicians...



After a little bit of a wait, the show started...It should be noted that yesterday would have been the 100th birthday of legendary burlesque performer Gypsy Rose Lee. However, I didn't expect an anime themed burlesque show to be more like an adult version of a masquerade you would want to see at an anime convention...I was expecting more sensuality, and the announcer sounded more like a cheesy strip club DJ...I was hoping for something like Joel Grey's Oscar winning performance in the film Cabaret. Hopefully, the announcements were done in jest and each performance would be classier...

First up was a girl doing Pikachu...



None of the pics from her performance to "Eye of the Tiger" are suitable for what I want to be a family-friendly blog, but let's just say it was so crowded, a tall guy who stood behind me said, "all I saw was a ****** on fire"...

Next was a cute cosplay, and it looked like it was getting progressively better...



I liked this one a lot more than the next one, which was my friend's favorite, Lust from Fullmetal Alchemist...from my reading of elements of burlesque on Wikipedia, there should be an element of satire on it, not a bloody mess...



Because we got tired of the crowd, my friend and I only stayed for one more performance, Sailor Moon...



Overall, I thought it was an interesting show, but, considering that I grew up in Las Vegas, I would've expected more theatrics and more adult versions of anime costumes (I saw an audience member in this cute yellow race queen outfit, another audience member in a Sailor Moon outfit but without the anime eyes, and a guy doing Phoenix Wright, but I doubt anyone, including myself, would've noticed). I also would've put a cap on the number of people in the venue to maybe half as many and bump up the cover charge. I wonder how Gypsy would've reacted to this show...

My Holiday Vacation 2010/2011, Part 3: New Year's Day in Little Tokyo (aka Story of An Hour 2)



I guess a holiday vacation's last day is the last full day you get to spend with family, so New Year's Day 2011 would be it...I heard about a festival in Little Tokyo, so we headed up to downtown L.A. I finally took advantage of the route to finally take a picture of the downtown L.A. skyline from a bridge that crosses the L.A. River...

The Oshogatsu festival in Little Tokyo was split between Weller Court and Japanese Village Plaza. A stage was set up inside Weller Court on the first floor. Upon arrival, it was quickly realized that they were running behind schedule as I was expecting to see a magic show. Instead, we found a musical performance.



Outside of Weller Court, there were food stalls and tables for various community groups like the L.A. Kimono Club. As being my family's first visit to Little Tokyo, there was a desire to try some of the food items like taiyaki...



For lunch, I wanted to try the buffet at Oiwake inside Japanese Village Plaza as it seemed really inexpensive (those who have been to Vegas know that you can't find many buffets that are cheaper than $12 on the Strip anymore). It was neat that they also had New Year's ozoni soup in the buffet.



For dessert, I went to an old standby, mochi ice cream from Mikawaya. You can find these in many stores' ice cream sections.



Outside the shop, on the Japanese Village Plaza stage, there was a minyo and odori performance.



I wonder how many people in the audience could understand the writing on the sign for the song they were teaching us...

During the performance, I was amazed at how focused one girl in the audience was at the singers and musicians.



Although my relatives had to go back to work, I still had some vacation time, which I spent catching up on paperwork, seeing Disney's California Adventure entrance sign for the last time, and applying for Anime Expo staff...Those stories will be part of later posts, but my holiday vacation story 2010/11 has come to a close...

Friday, January 7, 2011

My Holiday Vacation 2010, Part 2: NYE in the OC



I was concerned about traffic returning home from Vegas during New Year's, so I decided to cut my time in Vegas short and wanted to check out the new OC Fair New Year's Eve Block Party...

I'm not sure why, but there was wandering entertainment...



There were stages divided by decades from the 1960's to the 1990's with appropriate tribute bands...all my pics from those performances came out blurry, but here is a rundown of what I saw:

1960s Stage:
Surfin' Safari (The Beach Boys)
Magical Mystery Tour (The Beatles)

1970s Stage:
"Led Zeppelin Live" starring Heartbreaker
Journey Unauthorized (Journey)...they led the countdown to midnight

1980s Stage:
wasn't a fan of Oingo Boingo, Depeche Mode, nor Morrisey so I skipped this

1990s Stage:
Stepping Feet (Dave Matthews Band)
The Joshua Tree (U2)...last band I saw that night, or first band I saw in 2011 depending on how you look at it

There was also a Millennium Club with DJs and Karaoke...skipped the former, but enjoyed watching middle aged people do karaoke...really fun seeing a father embarrass his teenage son by singing Fat Bottomed Girls by Queen. There was also a demolition derby sponsored by a taxi company, but that cost extra, so I didn't attend...

In addition to tribute bands, there was a comedy hypnotist that I saw a little bit of while eating dinner, which came from one of my favorite places...




Food trucks galore! But I was interested in this event because of one particular truck...



Yes, the Ragin Cajun truck that appeared on Food Network's Great Food Truck Race...I got a gumbolaya (gumbo on top of jambalaya) that I shared, but the shrimp po-boy was for me...



For dessert, I discovered the bacon MANia truck, which had a treat I've been wanting to try for a long time, bacon candy!



While wandering around, I got more bacon goodness in the form of a free sample of a bacon spring roll from the Yummy One truck...



I like spring rolls, but I think you need a softer protein than bacon...

While Times Square has a giant ball of crystals, the Orange County Fairgrounds has a Super Shot ride for midnight...



Some people won a contest to be on the ride when it drops at midnight....oddly enough, my 12th pic for this post is one of what happened at midnight...



So that was my first New Year's at the fairgrounds...I hope it gets bigger.

Up next, New Year's Day in Little Tokyo...

Monday, January 3, 2011

My Holiday Vacation 2010, Part 1: Las Vegas

Well my original vacation plan was to spend over two weeks back in the town where I grew up, Las Vegas, Nevada...I was also hoping I'd be taking more pics of Yui for my vacation. However, I realize after a busy year spent working late and going back to school, I just needed some rest. I did take a few pics during my Vegas holiday, though.

While some people like taking pictures when engaging in Christmas traditions, I don't, and I don't feel like explaining why here. I guess it's the same way that I haven't taken any pictures during Thanksgiving or Easter...it just doesn't occur to me to take pics during those holidays.

However, after Christmas, I get into a picture taking mood. I met up with a friend of mine who wanted to show off his 3D television. I also wanted to introduce him to more anime by showing him Strike Witches season 1 (didn't make it to episode 7). Then we got hungry and headed off to CityCenter in hopes of checking out The Cosmopolitan that just opened nearby.

For dinner, we headed off to Crystals in hopes of finding cheaper food than at Bellagio where we parked. We had two choices, Wolfgang Puck's new place or Todd English's new place...Well, I find Wolfgang Puck everywhere, and I only know Todd English from Olives which has a location at Bellagio, but his new place looked interesting...



Definitely a better sports bar vibe than the ESPN Zone that no longer has a Las Vegas location...the back walls were painted like giant dartboards, and you can get magnetic darts to throw at it. In addition, there was a gumball machine that vended beer pong balls. Instead of breadsticks or tortilla chips, we got popcorn to nosh on before ordering...



For $16.95 (if I remember right), you can get the Brown Bag Lunch, which actually comes in a paper bag...



The meal consisted of a grilled bologna and cheese sandwich, kettle chips, and a chocolate chip cookie. Despite the description, the sandwich is really tasty and gooey...



Now our evening was cut short as it turned out this night was the night of the annual midnight game for the Las Vegas Wranglers ECHL hockey team.



If the background looks dark, it's because the themed dress for the night is Black Out...I hear the team hosts other themed dress nights like prison night. It was also neat because Mini Kiss (as seen on the Dr. Pepper ads) provided the pre-game and between-period entertainment. Unfortunately, they were a man short (pardon the pun) because one of them was stuck in New York because of the blizzard. The Wranglers lost to the Utah Grizzlies 5-3.

The next day, I took my mom to a movie, but she wanted to try something different for lunch...When I think of fast food, I think it starts in the U.S. and expands overseas, not the other way around...



Yes, the Filipino chain Jollibee has been in Vegas for a while now, but my mom has not tried it. I'm just happy they have a $5 menu...now this beats a $5 footlong from Subway...



Dessert was convenient because of what was next door...



I've never had ube cake until last year, but I really like the taste and the color...



Now for my last day in Vegas, I couldn't miss trying a new buffet, and it couldn't be just any regular buffet, it had to be a...



Feeling nostalgic, I wanted to check out a place on Spring Mountain Rd. I enjoyed growing up. As the years passed, this street has become to Las Vegas to what I guess Sawtelle Blvd. is to Los Angeles, with a wide variety of Asian shops and restaurants all on this street. However, I don't remember Spring Mountain Rd. for those places...I remember it for donuts...



As I enjoyed my glazed donut with milk, two girls who appeared to have just arrived in Vegas for New Years seemed to be talking about how neat the place was...I guess tourists do read the Best of Las Vegas issue of the Review-Journal as this place actually was voted Best Donuts in the past. However, some of the readers' picks over the years were not that great...For example, I recall Taco Bell was voted Best Taco.



It's not complete without milk from Anderson Dairy...

Before leaving Las Vegas, I met up with friends for a birthday dinner at Don Vito's at South Point casino/resort at the southern end of the Strip. I remember sharing in appetizers that included stuffed mushrooms, an antipasto platter, and fried calamari. My dinner was chicken copa, sliced chicken breast topped with prosciutto, provolone and mushroom marinara along with a side of penne pasta.



My dessert was a cappuccino cheesecake, yum.



Next up, New Year's in the OC...some drop a giant crystal ball to ring in the new year, but we drop people...