ChinaShop: Unique L.A. [REPRINT]

Geek Girl Traveler will no longer be a running feature over at ChinaShop Magazine. Awwww. BUT, that just means more time for this here blog! So, yay? 🙂 (and there’ll be a bit of a change in focus here at the blog. Stay tuned!) Anywho, check out my fabulous final travel feature over at ChinaShop – a piece on Unique L.A, a great marketplace at which you can check out the best local artisans L.A. (and the Pacific Northwest) has to offer!

EXCERPT:

These days, more and more people are looking to live more ethically and sustainably. From buying locally to figuring out how to DIYDS (Do It Your Damn Self – I invented an acronym, OK?), people are seeking alternatives to what can be purchased in stores. While this past weekend brought us Unique L.A’s 4th Annual Spring Show, it feels particularly necessary this year.

Unique L.A. is a marketplace where over 325 specially-curated vendors gather to bring you the best in locally-made goods. Everything from up-cycled clothing, to ethically made jewelry, to housewares, food, and bath products made from natural ingredients can be found at the two-day event. Unique L.A. is actually one of many shows run by Unique, which also has similar events in San Francisco and New York.

The next Unique L.A. event will take place July 14th and 15th in Santa Monica. Mayhaps I’ll see you there! 🙂 And don’t forget – there are also Unique shows in New York City and San Francisco! So, NYC and SF residents, get out there and support your local artisans, too!

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CHINASHOP: PACIFIC SCIENCE CENTER, SEATTLE [REPRINT]

Geek Girl Traveler brings you more of Geeky Seattle over at ChinaShop Magazine with a write-up of the fabulous the Seattle Center’s Pacific Science Center! The enormous Seattle science mecca is the home to myriad puzzles, lovely animals, and tons of hands-on sciencey goodness.

Excerpt:

Fun fact: when you touch a sea anemone’s tentacles, and it sticks to your finger, that’s actually the anemone trying to kill you, and the only reason its poison doesn’t work is because you’re so large. That kinda freaked me out when I learned that after I’d been touching it a while.

2012 is the Seattle Center’s 50th Anniversary year. To celebrate, ChinaShop and I are doing a giveaway for one complimentary pass to the Pacific Science Center, good through 2012! So, if you live in, or will be in Seattle this year, check out the ChinaShop post for details on how to win! Or, just check it out anyway, because you wanna know what I have to say about the place. 🙂

For the full write-up, CLICK HERE. Please leave any comments you have over at the post, and don’t forget to leave your mark by voting by clicking on the teacups at the bottom of the posts!

CHINASHOP: EMP Museum, Seattle [REPRINT]

My latest Geek Girl Traveler post is up over at China Shop Magazine! In it, I tell you all about one of Seattle’s greatest geek destinations, the EMP Museum, home of Battlestar Galactica: The Exhibition (until March 4th), Avatar: The Exhibition, and the largest collection of Nirvana memorabilia ever assembled.

Excerpt:

There’s nothing quite like standing in front of Caprica Six’s iconic red dress, or Starbuck’s flight suit. Or, the TWO FULL-SIZED VIPERS and the FULL-SIZED CYLON RAIDER on display. You might be tempted to jump into these awesome vehicles, but as the signs all over the exhibit say, “Don’t touch the frakking artifacts!”

For the full article, CLICK HERE. And if you’ve got any comments, leave them over at the post! Don’t forget to vote (click on the little teacups at the bottom of the article), and stay tuned for more Geek Girl Traveling!

GEEK GIRL TRAVELER: “Nobody” Walks in L.A. [REPRINT]

Do I look like “nobody” to YOU?

Traveling to Los Angeles? Worried about getting around without a car? Not looking forward to spending the cash to rent one? Fret not. Geek Girl Traveler offers weary wanderers words of hope (while providing a PSA to folks who live in Los Angeles)! Check out this video (notes and photos below):

Notes:

  • A downfall I forgot to mention in the video is that you have to pay every single time you ride a bus or train. There aren’t any free transfers (you might wanna take a cue from NYC on this one, L.A.). So, each ride is $1.00/$1.50, but you’ll have to pay that 2-3 times depending on where you’re going. Metro buses/trains are $1.50, DASH buses are 50 cents, The Big Blue Bus is $1.00, and the Culver City Bus is $1.00
  • Info on Metro/Metrolink.
  • Info on LADOT/DASH.
  • Info on The Big Blue Bus (Santa Monica).
  • Info on Culver City Bus.
  • To plan your trips, visit HopStop. You can also plan trips through Google Maps, obviously, but since HopStop’s specifically designed for public transportation, I find it works better and is easier to navigate/read. Just my humble Geek Girl Traveler opinion.

Entrance to the North Hollywood Red Line subway station.

Clearly, SOMEBODY Walks In L.A.

Woodman Bus Station, Van Nuys.

Metro Red Line.

Metro Red Line/Purple Line platform, Union Station.

Metro Red Line/Purple Line platform.

Union Station tunnel.

Metro Red Line, Union Station.

Union Station

Union Station

People exiting the North Hollywood Red Line Station.

**NOTE (10/14/12): The Geek Girl Traveler Twitter and Facebook page are no longer active. The ONLY place to find my Geek Girl Traveler articles now is here at the Teresa Jusino Experience, at my personal Twitter (@teresajusino), or at my Facebook page (facebook.com/TeresaJusinoExperience)! The email address for tips, however, IS STILL ACTIVE (geekgirltraveler[at]gmail[dot]com)! So, email away!**

GEEK GIRL TRAVELCAM: The Magic Castle [REPRINT]

Rough and tumble guerrilla travel videos are where it’s at! Though if I really wanted to be guerrilla about it, I would’ve sneaked a camera into The Magic Castle and gotten some footage. But that would have been wrong.

Besides, I respect the places I visit. While I do, in part, travel for you, to inform you of some fabulous geeky places to visit (and help you steer clear of the not-so-fabulous ones), I – more importantly – travel for me, and I’m not about to get kicked out of somewhere fun just to get you some video footage. So there.

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Magic must to be a West Coast thing. I remember when I used to watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer when it was on television back when I was living in New York, and one of the major locations for the Scoobies was, of course, Sunnydale’s The Magic Box, the magic shop eventually owned by Giles where the gang would meet up in Seasons 5 and 6. I remember watching and thinking, “Um, do magic shops actually exist anymore?” It seemed so old-timey. Then I became a fan of Neil Patrick Harris, and as I started reading interviews with him, he would talk about magic and magic shows and being a magician all the time. I was all, “Wha?” Magic certainly isn’t a New York thing at all. I mean, obviously big-name magicians play New York all the time. And, of course, there are children’s parties. Aaand, that’s it. It’s not a particularly popular hobby. Then I moved to California, and it seems like you can’t swing a cat without hitting a magic shop, or some kind of magic performance establishment. When I lived in Santa Monica for the first three weeks I was here, I would always pass by Magicopolis whenever I was walking around near the 3rd Street Promenade. I remember passing it and thinking, “Wait, so people actually do magic seriously here?”

Weird. 🙂

Well, last night, I had the opportunity to visit the Los Angeles mecca for the magical arts, The Magic Castle. It’s an exclusive, members-only club, and in order to get in you need to either be a member magician, or attend as the guest of a member magician. (In my case, I was the guest of a guest of a member magician) The dress code is strictly swank, and upon entering the Castle, it feels a bit like stepping back in time. Though it opened in 1963, The Magic Castle feels much older, seeming more like a Victorian-era social club than a modern magic school. Yet, that’s exactly what it is. In addition to being a world-renowned clubhouse for 5,000 member magicians, it’s also the home of the Academy of Magical Arts, a non-profit organization devoted to teaching and furthering the art of magic.

As I walked around the jovially jumbled Castle, photos and caricatures of magicians past and present graced the walls. Magical memorabilia (ventriloquist dummies, various magical props, a pool table used by W.C. Fields, etc) sat in glass cases, and dapper gentlemen at tables scattered throughout the establishment entertained those waiting for magic acts in one of the Castle’s four performance spaces with slights of hand. There’s a feeling of history there; a history I had never thought to explore before, but was fascinating once I was immersed in it.

Sadly, due to a fire at the Castle this past Halloween, most of the Castle was closed for renovations, so I only got to see a small portion of the place. While I didn’t get to see the large dining room, the library, the ballroom, or Irma, the Castle’s resident ghost who plays any song you request on piano, I did get to see a show in the intimate Parlour of Prestidigitation (where I also enjoyed a drink, thanks to waitress service!), enjoy a drink at the bar, and get scared by a skeleton in a phone booth. Yeah, that happened.

My group and I were there to see Dave Cox, who is not only an excellent magician, but a funny one! He’s so good, he can have random people do his magic for him with nothing but the help of an Evil Hypnotist (Stuffed) Monkey. Seriously, he threw his deck to a random person in the audience, chose another random person from the audience to come up on stage, and had the woman on stage guess the card that the guy in the audience randomly selected from the deck. No, they weren’t audience plants. I mean, obviously there’s a trick to it, but that wasn’t it. That would be too easy… 🙂 His whole act was pretty damned incredible.

So it was a treat for my group and I to sit with him at one of the tables out in the lobby and have him do card tricks just for us. For one, he had one of my party holding her hand over what she thought was the 6 of hearts through another trick entirely, only to come back to her and reveal that someone else’s card had found its way under her hand and it was now the 7 of diamonds. That one kind of blew our minds a little. The other was when he and my friend, Alex, split the deck and shuffled, shuffled, shuffled them only to have the cards Dave dealt come up all Kings and the cards Alex dealt come up all Aces. WHAT?! But….HUH?! 🙂

I can’t really do the tricks justice in print, so you’ll just have to go to Dave’s website for some quality video of his work.

If you find yourself in Los Angeles, and have any sort of an in to The Magic Castle, I highly recommend you take it. It’s an excuse to get gussied up, and it’s a truly unique, fun night out. I plan on trying to go back in January once the Castle is fully renovated. If I see Irma, I’ll tell her you say hello!

**NOTE (10/14/12): The Geek Girl Traveler Twitter and Facebook page are no longer active. The ONLY place to find my Geek Girl Traveler articles now is here at the Teresa Jusino Experience, at my personal Twitter (@teresajusino), or at my Facebook page (facebook.com/TeresaJusinoExperience)! The email address for tips, however, IS STILL ACTIVE (geekgirltraveler[at]gmail[dot]com)! So, email away!**

GEEK GIRL TRAVELCAM: Seattle Space Needle [REPRINT]

OK, so this isn’t a serious travel video or anything. I had just gotten my Flip Cam the day before, and had taken it with me when a friend took me to dinner at the Sky City Restaurant atop the Seattle Space Needle, so I decided to test it out. In this video, you’ll see a lovely view over Seattle just after sunset from the Space Needle’s observation deck, hear some fun fact tidbits from my friend, Lesli, who lives in the area, and learn why I am the BEST. TOUR GUIDE. EVER.

And by the way, the Sky City Restaurant, while pricey, is AMAZEBALLS if you ever get to go. The food is ridiculously good right down to the maple butter they give you for the bread on the table, and the fact that the restaurant spins and you get a 360-degree view of the city is wonderful. I would highly recommend going there for dinner, because watching the sunset from up there is pretty spectacular. Though trying to find my way back to my table when returning from the bathroom was pretty hilarious. I’d forgotten that the restaurant spins, and my table was now about 20 feet away from where it was when I left.

Photo by Moi. Sky City Restaurant is also a lovely place for a romantic dinner…that can be surreptitiously photographed by voyeuristic geek girls with blogs.

**NOTE (10/14/12): The Geek Girl Traveler Twitter and Facebook page are no longer active. The ONLY place to find my Geek Girl Traveler articles now is here at the Teresa Jusino Experience, at my personal Twitter (@teresajusino), or at my Facebook page (facebook.com/TeresaJusinoExperience)! The email address for tips, however, IS STILL ACTIVE (geekgirltraveler[at]gmail[dot]com)! So, email away!**

GEEK MUSIC: Marian Call in Redmond, WA [REPRINT]

When I was in Seattle, I had the pleasure of being able to see geek songstress, Marian Call, perform at an awesome coffee house/independent bookstore in Redmond called Soul Food Books!

The venue was really great – friendly staff, amazing organic coffee, tasty baked goods, and a bookstore I sadly couldn’t browse, because of the event going on – and it was fun to be able to see someone whose music I enjoy so much in such an intimate space. Soul Food Books is a warm, inviting place that hosts lots of great events like this, and I strongly urge anyone living in Redmond or visiting the Seattle area to stop in!

The concert itself was wonderful – and free! Call was in great voice, and she and her guitarist had an awesome rapport. I’m a new fan of hers, so I was glad to hear a great mix of both older and newer songs, so I got to become familiar with work of hers I hadn’t heard yet. Equally entertaining was the wonderful ASL interpreter that was signing the songs as they were performed. So expressive! I love watching signed performances for an entirely different take on what’s going on.

And of course, I took a video of Marian Call performing one of my favorite songs of hers, and one that should be near and dear to anyone reading this blog: I’ll Still be a Geek After Nobody Thinks It’s Chic (the Nerd Anthem). Yes, she’s playing a typewriter. Enjoy!

**NOTE (10/14/12): The Geek Girl Traveler Twitter and Facebook page are no longer active. The ONLY place to find my Geek Girl Traveler articles now is here at the Teresa Jusino Experience, at my personal Twitter (@teresajusino), or at my Facebook page (facebook.com/TeresaJusinoExperience)! The email address for tips, however, IS STILL ACTIVE (geekgirltraveler[at]gmail[dot]com)! So, email away!**