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When Tara Met Blog
Sunday, August 19, 2007

A new club--Elevate Lounge, and restaurant--Takami Sushi & Robata Restaurant officially opened this weekend.  In downtown L.A. 21 floors up, with panorama-heavy wraparound balconies, this lounge is offering competition for the nearby Standard. 

I went this Friday night with my guy and four of his friends, so I was the only girl there with five guys, not bad, and from here on out let's call them my "male entourage" ;)

The place had a cool dance floor, great views and chic atmosphere that reminded me of The Gansevoort in NYC. There's glass along the initial part of the balconies and at first I thought it continued all the way up, but was delighted to see that it didn't and instead an open-air lounge. The martinis were lethal but not the best tasting, they had a flirtini on the menu at least, but not a key lime one, ah well no place is perfect. There was a line to get in later on, but when we got there at 9:30 there wasn't a problem at least not as a girl though. 

Here are some of the photos of the place and my male entourage ;)

Elevate Lounge Los Angeles

News: Downtown Entertainment Scene Hits New Heights With $5 Million Takami

Posted by Tara at 5:38 PM PDT
Updated: Monday, August 20, 2007 9:24 AM PDT
Thursday, August 16, 2007
Magic Numbers

el rey theaterI won two tickets to hear Magic Numbers in concert on Tuesday night. How? I entered my name in a raffle at the Citysearch event that I blogged about two posts down. For a second I thought I won tickets to Justin Timberlake's concert which was also in the raffle, but instead I won tix to Magic Numbers. My response was "Magic what?" I had no idea who they were and I was pretty tired that day since I was up at five a.m. that morning flying to San Fran on a seven o'clock flight just to return at three later that day--all for a business meeting. The concert wasn't until eight and my eyes were already drifting asleep on the plane's flight to L.A., but who turns down free tickets, right?

The show was held at the El Rey Theatre near LACMA and La Brea Tar Pitts. The outside marquee was very retro and I learned by the sign that the event was being presented by KCRW (the local LA NPR channel). I groaned after seeing that since I figured I was now in store for some classical music that would surely put me to sleep. I had never been to the El Rey and expected it to be a sit down assigned seating theater but there was a good size line outside and inside was more like a club with a fancy bar, a cafe upstairs and a dance floor and stage in the center. It was really pretty actually with red carpet floors, fun nightclub lights and fancy crystal chandeliers.

The crowd was pretty young and very hipster: guys in artistic shirts with Scottish paper boy caps on, girls with handkerchiefs tying back their hair and quirky framed glasses. A bunch were wearing shirts with the band's South Park-like logo. It was weird seeing fans of the music group, yet we were there not knowing anything about them. 

We ordered some wine and later champagne ($8) in plastic cups and snagged chairs along the left wall. There were two opening acts and intermissions in between. First up were two girls, Ingrid Michaelson with indie-pop songs similar to Lilly Allen's style. I thought I recognized their last song "Keep Breathing," but I figured it just reminded me of something else. Turns out, via some research on their site, the song was featured on the recent season finale of Grey's Anatomy. Bingo! Next came The Little Ones which were very energetic and were like a cross between the Beatles and Modest Mouse. magic numbers in LAThe Magic Numbers meanwhile, are from England (I gathered from their accents) and are comprised of two girls and two guys.  Their music reminded me of The White Stripes and the 60s melody blend of The Mammas and the Pappas. In the end, I was actually really pleased with all the acts and the songs were all stuff that I'd like to listen to again. So, considering we had no idea what we were in for, it was a lot of fun as was the not knowing. 

Posted by Tara at 12:01 AM PDT
Updated: Wednesday, August 15, 2007 11:24 PM PDT
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
Remember where you came from

was the theme to Amber birthday party this weekend. Pretty original, no? I wore a leather jacket with an I Heart New York shirt with rhinestones underneath, jean skirt and black heeled shoes. I also put on a gold bling necklace to also represent being an Italian New Yorker. Raphael wore a shirt with a rodeo picture on it and a cowboy hat since he's from Texas. Others wore Chinese robes, Vietnamese hats, Ohio farmer looking overalls and so on.

costume party

Dressing up was not just encouraged but guests were threatened that they definitely had to wear some sort of costume and those who didn't were warned that they would be given one. Their given costumes came in the form of large signs that said things like "I'm too cool to wear a costume," "I'm from Lamesville, U.S.A." "0% Creative," etc. They were so funny that I kept looking forward to the next costume-less sap that walked through the door. Check out this group shot of the name tags, I mean "lame tags."  

The place was also decorated with corn stalks and leaves in tribute to the state of Indiana where Amber is from.

Oh and lastly here's a picture of Amber's yummy strawberry cupcake cake (I need to get that pan).

Posted by Tara at 12:01 AM PDT
Updated: Monday, August 13, 2007 9:20 PM PDT
Saturday, August 11, 2007
Martinis Massages and Pink Tacos

Oh my!

W Los AngelesI was recently invited to a night of martinis and massages with Citysearch and bliss spa at the W Los Angeles in Westwood. The event was in the hotel's "the backyard" by their pool and cabanaarea, similar to Hotel Roosevelt in Hollywood. I had never been to this W and I'm always up for free drinks and massages, but it turns out the "massages" were only hand massages and the line was too long to bother. Oh well, bliss spa did give out some sample products like a travel size lotion and coupons. The cabanas were cute and my coworker and I were able to snag one and drink in two martinis each, they had cucumber mint flavored ones that were refreshing. The appetizers were $5 each so we ordered some coconut shrimp and hanger steak, both of which were very yum. As for swag they had a gift bag with a Citysearch pen and t-shirt (XL).

Pink TacoAs for the Pink Tacos part of my headline, I also tried out the newly opened Mexican restaurant/bar Pink Taco in Century City. We sat outside on their patio overlooking Santa Monica Boulevard in a nice big booth with orange umbrella overhead. The food was yummy, my salad  huge, but a bit too spicy for me. For drinks they had a pomegranate margarita, which I almost ordered but went with a glass of pink champagne to keep with the pink theme. Why is the place called Pink Taco though? Well they actually have pink colored tacos on the menu and the interior is very girly punk with pink and black colors and gothic print.

PS: My latest Film School Rejects post is up. "Are you tired of being single? Do you wish you had some one to snuggle up to each night, to dedicate your whole life to? Someone who will be with you ’til death do you part? Well, if you are thinking about tying the knot, we can help you resist temptation with our list of the Five Films that Make You Glad You’re Not Married, which contradict Meg Ryan's flicks."

PPS: My list above just got picked up by a paper in Minnesota, The Hutchinson Leader.

Posted by Tara at 6:16 PM PDT
Updated: Monday, August 13, 2007 8:58 PM PDT
Friday, August 10, 2007
A room without a view

Tuesday night I took the Amtrak train from downtown LA to San Diego to attend a big technology and visual effects conference (SIGGRAPH) the next morning. My client was exhibiting and I had booked them five media appointments that I needed to staff. As a result, even I appeared on a SIGGRAPH blog along with my client, check out the fourth photo down on this post at Thinking Animation Blog.

Anyway I digress, I was excited by the chance to get out of the office and glad I wasn't driving there. Budget was limited so I selected the cheapest hotel on the conference list, 500 West, which was only $59 a night. The catch though is that it is "European style" as the website uses to describe the shared bathrooms. The hotel site though looked artsy and charming, it also claimed a cafe and free wireless internet, so I was down. 

Turns out it was a former YMCA and originally housed the U.S. Armed Services, so despite the cute entrance way and awnings, the cement block rooms felt like a drug rehab center and the song Hotel California drifted into my mind, but oddly enough not YMCA.

When I exited the elevator at 11:00 that night, I felt transported back to my undergrad. I expected a Frisbee to go flying over my head and one of my friends exiting their room talking passionately into their phones. The only thing missing was flyers on the walls and name tags on the doors. 

When I entered my room, it looked like an army barrack with two cot-like twin beds, a simple bureau and desk all crowded in the same place. Nothing was on the walls, just hospital beige everywhere, not even a cheesy motel painting up. The lack of color gave the place the feeling of sleeping in your door room for the first night of the new school year or the last day when all your stuff is in boxes and you're waiting for your parents to come pick you up in the morning. It barely resembled the photos on their site (see below). I didn't even have comforters on the bed, not that I needed one though. To be fair though it did have a new age hanging light fixture--white too.



The room was also stuffy and there were no fans or AC and I couldn't open the heavy school-like window more than a few inches. So in order to stay cool I decided to brave the communal bathrooms to take a cold shower, despite the late hour. I had coed bathrooms (toilets and showers) in college so I wasn't intimidated by shared floor bathrooms, and unlike my college at least these were private once you shut the door. Just as I was about to enter the bathroom though, a younger man exited in nothing but a towel. He laughed when he saw me and as he walked by me he said with a smile "nice shirt" (it was pink and gold and tied in a bow at the back), I smiled back, "yours too." He looked down at his bare chest and chuckled. He began to say more with a wicked grin on his face and because I knew it was going to be crossing the line, I quickly entered the bathroom and locked the door.  

All in all it wasn't bad tho, just not the most luxurious place. It was more like the hostels that I stayed at abroad, but instead of being in Ireland or Italy, I was in San Diego. If money is sparse though this is a good alternative and I'm sure it wouldn't have felt as creepy if I was with a friend. 

As for the conference, it was held at the convention center and was HUGE. Note: if you ever need a confidence boost, just wear a black dress at a practically all male tech show. The event though meant a lot of standing and walking, which was a bit tiring due to my recovering and all, but not bad. I got a cool Google shirt and some trade magazines that I'll be researching for work. Plus, the interviews all went well.  So, alls well that ends well.

Posted by Tara at 12:01 AM PDT
Updated: Monday, August 13, 2007 9:26 AM PDT

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