Tag Archives: festival

Vulture Festival (or TV Writers and A Sing-A-Long)

This past weekend was the Vulture Festival in LA. This was the first year that the event was held in LA and I was invited to come check it out! Vulture Festival is a weekend-long pop-culture event with panels featuring actors, writers, directors, and other people involved in film and TV. I was super excited to check this out and even more excited that I was invited to be press coverage there!

It still makes me a bit giddy to get a press pass for something and this time it allowed me to attend different panels. There weren’t reserved seats for press, so I tried to get there early for the panels I was attending. But because this happened on what ended up being a crazy busy weekend for me, I could only attend 2 panels (one on each day).

The panel I attended on Saturday was with Damon Lindelof (the creator/writer of Lost, The Leftovers, and lots of other amazing shows) and Mike Schur (the creator/writer of The Good Place, Parks and Recreation, and other hit shows).

This panel ended up being pretty incredible. While they both talked about their shows and they had a really great working relationship together, I really appreciated how they discussed the state of the industry. They discussed all the various sexual harassment issues happening now and they both acknowledged that they were a part of the problem. It takes a really good person to admit that you have done things that now looking back could be sexual harassment and that the other person involved might have felt like they couldn’t say anything because the person saying it was someone in power.

They also discussed how one way to stop the power issues that cause sexual harassment is to have more diversity in the writers room and in powerful positions. If it is a boys’ club, there is a risk of that mentality becoming something that isn’t positive. But if women are viewed as equals in the industry, this problem hopefully will decrease.

But there was a lot of funny stuff discussed too. Mike Schur talked about how Damon Lindelof helped him when he was creating The Good Place. And they both talked about how series finales of shows can cause lots of debate. While I haven’t watched a lot of their shows, I was inspired leaving this panel to watch more of them because I want to support creators/writers who really are good people and want to make this industry a more accepting and supportive environment.

And on Sunday, I got to go to the Crazy Ex-Girlfriend Sing-A-Long panel.

I knew this one was going to be packed, so I got there early to get a good seat. I lucked out by getting a seat on the end of the second row. This panel included actors, writers, choreographers, producers, and creators of the show. They talked about a lot of things about having a musical comedy on tv like how sometimes the songs are finished the night before the actor has to record them. They also discussed how the show has taken a more serious turn but that there is still comedy in those darker moments.

And throughout the entire panel, they had sing-a-longs with different songs of the show. Most of the time, the actor that sang it in the show sang it at the panel too. But a lot of people in the audience sang too (I didn’t since my singing voice is horrible). But to me, I loved watching how much everyone who wasn’t singing loved seeing their co-stars and co-workers singing their hearts out and having fun.

It’s so clear that everyone on this show has a blast working on it and they know how lucky they are to be a part of something so special. I can only hope to get to be a part of something like this one day.

And one of the coolest things that happened at the panel was that they premiered a song that will be coming up on the show. It was the first time it had been shown and most of the actors hadn’t seen the final cut either. Everyone on stage and in the audience was laughing so hard and I can’t wait for this episode to air (I believe it is the next episode).

I really wish that I had been able to attend more panels over the weekend. I heard amazing things about so many other panels but the schedule just wasn’t going to work for me. But now I know to be on the lookout for when the Vulture Festival will be back in LA because I want to save the entire weekend for it! It was held at the Hollywood Roosevelt and I wish I had more time to explore there. I had only been there once or twice before and I wanted to check out more. There was also an event after each panel at the pool that I had to skip out on because of needing to get back home.

But even though my time at the Vulture Festival was limited, I had a great time and left feeling very inspired and creative. That’s exactly how I want to feel every day!


Books and Roses (or A Day By USC)

When I thought I would be having surgery last week, I was trying to figure out fun things for my parents to do. I knew they wouldn’t want to be in the hospital with me all day long, so I was looking up what events were happening in LA while they were here. And the one that stuck out to me was the LA Times Festival of Books.

At first, I was so sad because I thought I would end up missing the Festival of Books. But of course, there was nothing I could do about that. But then when the surgery got cancelled, I was so happy because that meant that going to the festival was something I could do! So this past Sunday, we decided to go spend the afternoon there.

Both my mom and dad went with me and we had the dog with us as well. And since parking is so expensive near USC, we took the light rail (where it turns out my parents are senior citizens and the ride only costs $0.35!). Tucker is very good with traveling, but this was his first light rail experience. He didn’t love it, but he was really well-behaved and just sat on the floor by our feet. I don’t think a lot of people on the train even knew we had him with us. But the Metro employees loved him!

I told my parents that the festival was pretty big, but I don’t think they understood how huge it is! The last time they were at USC was when my brother graduated college there and I don’t know how much of the campus they had explored before. So I think they were a bit overwhelmed by the crowd there (so was the dog). But we just tried to go up and down the various sections and casually checked out the booths. We didn’t go into too many booths, but we did make a stop at the LA Public Library booth.

I’m a huge book nerd and was spending so much on books until I rediscovered my love for the library. And now I’m getting so many library books for my Kindle. I’m saving hundreds of dollars a month on books and I love that I can support the public library system. It’s so important and I don’t think enough people take advantage of what they can get there.

After being at the festival for a while, the crowds were getting to be a bit too much. So we headed across the street to the Rose Garden to see how all the roses were looking.

Since we had so much rain this past winter, everything was in bloom! The past few times I had been at the Rose Garden it wasn’t looking so great, but this time it was pretty full with flowers. The fountain in the center wasn’t going (maybe to still conserve a bit of water), but it was still so nice walking around checking out all the flowers.

My dad knows so much about roses and plants so he could almost name all of the types of roses in the garden without looking at the sign saying the name of the variety of roses. But there were some that we didn’t know and the names were a bit crazy. It was nice getting to just relax and walk around. It’s so pretty there and of course Tucker was loving all the smells all over.

It was a pretty warm and sunny day so after walking around a bit it was time for us to go back to the light rail station and take the train back. Tucker was much more comfortable on the train this time and he looked like he might fall asleep on the ride. And again, I don’t think a lot of people realized that he was with us so that’s a sign of a pretty obedient dog.

I’m so glad that I was able to make it to the LA Times Festival of Books. It really is a great event and I wish I could have spent more time there. Maybe next year I can go on both Saturday and Sunday so I can see even more of what there is there and hopefully learn about a ton of new books that I want to add to my reading list.

A Full Disney Day! (or Character Photos, Ride Photos, And Only Being A Group Of 2)

Even though I was just at Disneyland last week, I was back there on Monday! This was the day that was my friend June and I originally scheduled for a Disneyland adventure, and I’m glad we went. When we went last week, it was pretty crowded and very hot. We didn’t do a ton of rides, and the rides we did do were on the calmer side. So this trip was much more of an adventure!

We got to Disneyland at lunchtime and started things off with some awesome character photos! As soon as we got inside the gates, we saw Belle with no line for photos! So of course we had to take advantage of that and we both got our photos with her.


Then as soon as we went under the train tracks, we saw Goofy (in his 60th anniversary finest) with almost no line as well. Since people lined up behind us, we took our photo together.


After that photo, we looked around and saw so many characters out doing photos. We saw Mickey, Minnie, Daisy Duck, and Pluto all out at once. It was crazy! We started lining up for each one, but every time we got in line we were told the line was closed. So that was it for character photos for us.

Our next stop was something we didn’t do last time (and we probably should have): getting Dole Whips!

Dole Whip

It doesn’t feel like a Disney day to me without a Dole Whip, and it made a great treat since we were going to do a later lunch. It was too crowded to eat them by the Tiki Room, but we found a table nearby to sit at and enjoy them.

Our first ride of the day was Space Mountain. It’s still in the Hyperspace Mountain overlay and I still think this overlay is the best one and I wouldn’t mind it staying this way forever. June and I both said that somehow (even though we know it’s not possible) the ride felt faster to us and we were both smiling so much after the ride. We didn’t do that crazy of a ride photo, but it’s still a good one.

HyperSpace Mountain

After that, we headed over to Star Tours. When we were in line close to the front (but not that close) we heard the cast member asking if there were any groups of 2 in line. I joked to June that we were a group of 2, and somehow that made it up the chain and we were told to go in front of maybe 40 people since we were the first group of 2 to speak up! It felt weird to go in front of that many people, but if nobody else was in a group of 2 I’m glad we got to get on the ride!

After those 2 rides we were ready to head over to California Adventure, but we made a quick stop at the Disneyland train station. The trains are running now because of the Star Wars Land construction, but they have some of the trains out at the stations and you can get up close to them to check them out (and the conductors are out there too). At the Main Street Station, not only did the have the engine to check out but they had the Lilly Belle too!

Lilly Belle

The Lilly Belle was originally designed to be a train car for Walt’s VIPs. More recently, you’ve been allowed to try to sign up for a time to ride in the car. They had to stop doing that because some people would get there early and sign up for all the spaces before anyone else could. So they stopped allowing guests in the cars.

Since none of the train cars are running right now, they have the Lilly Belle out and while you can’t go inside, you can peek through the windows and through the open door to see the inside.

Inside Lilly Belle

This was the closest that either June or I had ever been to the Lilly Belle, and this was such an awesome moment. Also, the conductor who was out there was very informed on the Disneyland railroad (and the park in general) and he was talking to us about what the future plans for the railroad seem to be and that hopefully the trains will be up and running again by next summer! I was so happy to hear that since I love the trains and I do miss being able to ride them as a way to relax between rides.

After admiring the Lilly Belle for a while, June and I headed over to California Adventure. Even though the presentations for the Food and Wine Festival are on the weekends only, the food booths are open during the weekdays and we were able to try some more of the other foods that we didn’t get to try last time.

Food and Wine Fest

This time we each got a shrimp taco and beef slider and we split a lemon macaroon and a blueberry tart. These are all really good, but I think that the pork taco that I had the week before was my absolute favorite thing. But both the shrimp taco and slider were delicious and they were the perfect lunch that day!

After lunch, we headed over to the Animation Academy to see what character they were drawing then. Turned out to be Baymax and I figured that he couldn’t be too tough to draw. Of course, again I couldn’t properly draw circles and ovals and my Baymax looked close but not quite right.


Our next stop was California Screamin’. This is always one of my favorite roller coasters and I loved when my mom and I went on it a couple of years ago because it was the first time she had gone without her wig in public (it would be horrible to lose a wig on that ride). June and I were able to ride in the front of the ride and I loved getting a great view from the top of the big hills without anyone in front of us.

CA Screamin

We continued with the fast rides by riding Radiator Springs Racers next. The car we were in won, and somehow there was an empty seat in our row so June and I both got to take the side seats.

Radiator Springs Racers

Our final ride of the day was the Tower Of Terror. And we had a similar experience there as we did at Star Tours. We were in line with maybe 20 people in front of us when the cast member asked if there was a group of 3 that wouldn’t mind sitting one behind the other in a row (instead of next to each other in a row). Nobody volunteered so he asked if there was a group of two and June and I raised our hands so fast! We got to go in front of the other groups and I think that our ride photo looked pretty cool with me behind her (I was trying to be an evil witch and she was pretending to be scared of me).

Tower of Terror

After the rides, we made one more stop at the Animation Academy to see what they were drawing then. It was Scrooge McDuck, and that sounded pretty fun so we went back to draw again. This time, my drawing really looks off but I had fun trying.

Animation Academy

One of the last stops of the day was Food and Wine food booths again to get the cheddar bacon soup in a bread bowl (I forgot to take a picture but it was really good and perfect because I was feeling cold). After getting our soups we headed over to watch World Of Color. We ended up being allowed to sit on some steps to wait for the show which ended up being pretty great since we were trying to eat while waiting. We had about an hour to wait from when we got to the steps until the show started, but even though we had a slightly obstructed view it was still pretty.

World Of Color

After World Of Color was done, the park was closed so we all headed out and June and I headed back to the car to drive back to LA. We have a little bit of time before our passes are blacked out for the summer and a couple of things will be opening before we are blacked out. So I’m sure we’ll have at least one more Disney adventure before a few months where we can’t go to the parks.

We ended up being at Disneyland this time for about 9 hours and I think we got so much done! It was the perfect day to have after we were there the week before because it filled in the gaps of things we didn’t get to do before.

A Sunday At Disneyland (or Pin-ups And Food and Wine)

I’ve had a Disneyland day planned with my friend June for next week in my calendar for a while. It’s been a long time since we had gone together because our work schedules weren’t matching up, but we have been really excited to go at the end of the month. But while I was in Santa Barbara last weekend, June texted me to see if I wanted to go this past Sunday to check out the Food and Wine Festival happening at California Adventure. Since the festival was really only on the weekends, when we were planning on going soon wouldn’t have the cool food and drink options.  I checked my calendar and since it was free I decided to go (we’ve still got our original Disneyland adventure scheduled soon too).

This past Sunday was not only during the Food and Wine Festival, it was also the Pin-up day at the parks. June and her friend Kris (who joined us) both have amazing pin-up clothes. I have one fancy dress that is sort of pin-up (I wore it to the SAG-AFTRA gala), but that’s not really appropriate to wear to a theme park. So I decided to wear cropped jeans, a t-shirt, and cute sneakers and claim I was doing a casual pin-up style. But next to June and Kris I looked a bit sloppy.

Pin Up Day

Since it was a Sunday and not a Monday like I’m normally at Disneyland, the parks seemed really crowded to me. It wasn’t unbearable like I’ve seen it before, but between the crowds and the really hot day none of us were feeling like we needed to rush around and try to do a lot of stuff. But we did get in a couple of fun rides.

Our first stop of the day was Peter Pan. It’s still one of my favorite rides and I haven’t ridden it too much since it was redone. So going on it made me pretty happy (plus we were out of the sun on the ride). Our next ride was Winnie The Pooh, which I’ve only ridden maybe 3 or 4 times ever.

Winnie The Pooh

I had forgotten how cute the ride was and how cool the effects are inside (my favorite is the rainstorm). But the thing that made us all so happy in that ride was that it was air-conditioned and we got to cool down a bit!

On our way to the next ride, we saw one of the photo set ups that they have around the park. I don’t remember if I had ever noticed the Haunted Mansion one before, but since there was no line we went up to get our picture taken.

Haunted Mansion Heads

Between the sun in our faces and the fact that we are all pretty pale, I think we all agreed that we looked pretty ghost-like in the photo.

Our final ride before heading over to California Adventure was Indiana Jones. Again, we all loved the air conditioning and how cool and shady it was waiting in line. But the ride is super fun and even thought the boulder at the end was acting a bit glitchy, it was still a good ride.

After walking over the California Adventure, our first stop was to get food since it was way past lunchtime. June and Kris had been to the Food and Wine Festival another weekend so they shared with me some of their favorite things they ate. They all sounded good to me so June and I waited in one line and Kris waited in another so we could get all the things we wanted to try.

Food and Wine Festival

We shared some artichoke chips that had a pesto type dipping sauce to them. Then we each had a pork belly bao taco (which I think was my favorite!) and some chicken mac and cheese. And for dessert we shared a milk chocolate caramel tart and a bacon maple whoopie pie. The servings were a nice size, but it wasn’t so much food that we felt crazy full or sick afterward. I think all the things we ate were pretty amazing and I wish that some of them would be offered year-round at the park!

After eating all that good food, we decided to try to do a ride that wouldn’t be too crazy. I hadn’t checked out the new Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters yet (this replaced the flying tires that used to be there) so we headed over to Cars Land for our next ride.

Cars Land

We had watched the ride before it was our turn so we had an idea of what we were in for. It’s a trackless ride that has a bunch of little cars doing a synchronized dance. Some cars get to be in the middle at times and sometimes all the cars are moving together. But it’s pretty random so you never know what your car is going to do.

I thought it was a pretty good ride! The motions were a bit jerky at times, but even though I know it wasn’t going that fast it felt like it was! At at the end of the dance the cars all spun around and it felt faster than you go on the teacups!

I was feeling pretty exhausted after that (the sun was really taking it out of me), but I decided to join June and Kris for one more ride. This time, it was Soarin’ Over California which has been one of my favorites since it opened! The ride will be changing eventually to a new film (Soarin’ Around The World), so we want to get as many rides in before this version is gone forever. We had a nice ride as always, but the biggest disappointment for us was all the scents that are normally sprayed during the ride weren’t there! No pine trees, oranges, or salt waters smells at all! The movie still looked great, but the scents really do make it special and it didn’t really feel like the same ride without them.

After the final ride, I headed home and June and Kris went to a movie and then were planning on going back into the park for fireworks. But I’m glad I went home when I did because the next day was going to be another full adventure! I’ll tell you all about it in tomorrow’s post!

LA Times Festival Of Books (or Realizing I’m Only A Minor Book Nerd)

This past weekend was the LA Times Festival of Books at USC. I’ve always wanted to go to it each year, but I always seem to be working. A month or so ago, I saw something online about media passes for the festival and I decided to apply for it.

I had totally forgotten about applying for the media pass until last week when I got an email saying that I had been approved for one! I was already scheduled to work on Saturday, but I decided that I would go on Sunday and finally check it out.

I took the light rail there because parking was expensive (and I’m sure not too close to the event). When I sat down, I saw the perfect ad for my trip to the festival.


The light rail stop was right across the street from the entrance to the festival, so that was very nice. I was able to find the media check in pretty easily and got my fancy media pass.


I met up with a friend after getting my pass and she showed me around the festival. It was a little overwhelming, so I’m glad I had a friend guide me around. We checked out a bunch of the booths and the books for sale.

My media pass got me into any of the lectures that I wanted to go to, but I ended up not making it to any of them (plus all the ones I wanted to go to were on Saturday). There were also various stages with authors speaking that I didn’t need my pass to get in to.

I went to the young adult stage to see one of my favorite authors, Marissa Meyer, speak along with some other authors who specialize in young adult science fiction/fantasy.


That was pretty awesome. I didn’t know the other authors but they were all amazing to listen to. I’m not usually a science fiction/fantasy fan, but Marissa Meyer’s series The Lunar Chronicles really got me. The books are science fiction retellings of classic fairy tales in a dystopian society.

After the authors were done speaking, they were all signing books. I got in line so I could meet Marissa Meyer and I noticed how unprepared I was for the signing. Almost everyone in front of me in line had suitcases full of books to be signed. Multiple copies of each book from every author. Since all my books are pretty much on my Kindle, I didn’t have a physical book to have signed (and I didn’t want to get my Kindle signed like some people in front of me in line did). I realized that I was a pretty poor book nerd not having anything to get signed.

But I did have my media pass so when I got to the front of the line I asked Marissa to sign the back of my pass.


The line for the signing took a little over an hour. And once I got my pass signed I was feeling pretty tired from being out in the sun for so long (and it turns out I got pretty badly sunburnt as well). So I headed back onto the light rail and headed home again.

I had a really good time at the festival even though I wasn’t there for too long. But I will totally be returning next year (and making sure that I don’t have to work that weekend)!