Leisure Year In Review

2015 has been a great year for the Leisure section of Crescenta Valley Weekly. From Disneyland’s 60th anniversary to Town opening in Montrose, and from Mythbusters to Avengers, so much has happened this year that it can’t possibly all  be recapped. Here are some of the highlights of 2015 in Leisure. Each of the snippets below is taken directly from the article. To read the full article on each, visit CVWeekly.com.


Frozen in the Park
Frozen in the Park

Frozen in the Parks
If there is one thing Disney’s “Frozen” hasn’t mastered, it’s subtlety. It has taken the world by storm, both overseas and here at home, in film and video and toys and costumes and you name it. The newest “Frozen” venture is theme parks. I, for one, am surprised it took them this long to get the ball rolling. Disney’s California Adventure Park in Anaheim is now playing host to “Frozen Fun,” a section of the Hollywood Pictures Backlot that caters to the shrieking little girl in all of us when we hear “Let It Go.”

Bourbon Steak Still the Best
When Bourbon Steak opened its doors in May at the Americana at Brand, it was met with high praise, and rightfully so. The steaks and signature dishes, like lobster pot pie and truffle mac and cheese, provide guests with a truly satisfying experience that, although pricey and not available to most as a regular night out, remain cherished in the hearts and minds of those who dine there once, twice or a hundred times.


FIDM Showcases Oscar Nominated Costumes
The Los Angeles Fashion Institute of Design and Marketing celebrates the Oscars with its 23rd annual Oscar Costume Design Exhibition. Free to the public, the exhibition features over 100 costumes from 23 outstanding 2014 films including the five costume design Oscar nominees – “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” “Inherent Vice,” “Into the Woods,” “Maleficent” and “Mr. Turner.”

Leonard Nimoy Passes Away
On Friday came the news that Trekkers knew was coming eventually, but still it hit them like a photon torpedo. Mr. Spock, Leonard Nimoy, passed away at the age of 83. He died in his Bel Air home from end-stage chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, according to reports.







Dead SeaDead Sea Scrolls Come  to L.A.
The Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit is now open at the California Science Center in Los Angeles. Recovered between 1946 and 1956 from a cave two kilometers from the northwest edge of the Dead Sea, these texts on parchment, copper and papyrus are the second oldest known record of the writings that would become the Tanakh, the Hebrew Bible. The California Science Center displayed the traveling exhibit until Sept. 7 and it was definitely something to see.

Town Opens in Montrose
The news was out – there’s a new restaurant in town. Since it opened, there have been hour-long waits for tables and reservations held every night. Many diners have tried out the new, more upscale fare in the Montrose Shopping Park and have reported back with wildly positive reviews. The restaurant? Town Kitchen and Grill in the 2200 block of Honolulu Avenue.


Avengers Age of Ultron
As this Avengers sequel begins, we see the Avengers in action doing just that –   invading a HYDRA base to recover the scepter from Baron Strucker, an old enemy of Captain America. The opening shot is really something to see – one long shot encompassing everything to set up the scene. From there, intrigue and mystery combine with action and heroics as a new enemy surfaces – a computer program that thinks like a human, bent on saving the world from itself – Ultron.

Mad Max: Fury Road
Australian writer-director George Miller, best known over the last decade as the producer of “Happy Feet” and “Babe,” has left the feel-good animal kingdom to revisit the dystopian world of human animals he helped create nearly 40 years ago. Those years have not been good to Miller’s vision.


Disneyland’s 60th Anniversary Celebration
It’s finally summer! Time for relaxing, hanging out with friends and sleeping in. With all this free time, activities need to be planned. And one activity that is always sure to bring delight is a trip to Disneyland! Now celebrating its 60th anniversary, it’s time for a diamond celebration full of new sweets, new lands and new takes on old favorites. And even some old takes on new favorites. But one thing is for sure – Disneyland looks great for its age.

SimpsonsSpringfield at Universal Studios Hollywood
Welcome to Springfield, home of the Simpsons, at Universal Studios Hollywood. Ever wanted to eat at Krusty Burger? Have a Duff beer at Moe’s Tavern? Eat a Homer-sized doughnut with pink frosting and sprinkles? Then this is the place for you. Located near The Simpsons Ride, Springfield has come alive in a really neat town and eatery locations. Be sure to grab a Krusty Burger – they are incredible!

Jurassic World
They’re back, they’re bad and they’re bigger than ever.  ‘Jurassic World’, Universal Studio’s new excursion into the wonderful world of dinosaurs, is fast and furious, with a body count courtesy of rampaging lizards the size of skyscrapers.  Director Colin Trevorrow offers a screen full of CGI thrills and spills that are exciting to watch but contain little in the way of clever plotting or captivating characters.







July Ant ManAnt Man
Nerds across the world rejoiced when Wright leaked an image on his Twitter account promoting “Ant-Man.” And then, just as quickly, he dropped from the project and Marvel was having trouble filling the director’s chair. The script went through several drafts and changes with Adam McKay and Paul Rudd taking over as writers and then Peyton Reed, director of “Bring It On” and “Yes Man,” finally signed on to direct. What we are left with is an amalgam piece that works, but we aren’t sure why.

Maddy Pumilia Pens First Novel
Maddy Pumilia loves to write. It’s what led her to study journalism at Cal State Northridge, and it’s given her a career she loves as an assignment editor at a news station. Her job is also what led the 24-year-old to write her first published novel, “Bad News,” a suspense thriller that Library Tales Publishing debuted this summer and is available on Amazon.com.















Fast and FuriousFast and Furious Supercharged
For many years, visitors to local theme parks have enjoyed the attractions, eateries and shows offered by the entertainment giants. If only the experiences weren’t so “slow and even-tempered.” Well fret no longer. The multi-billion dollar “Fast and Furious” franchise finally found a permanent home in a theme park. Universal Studios Hollywood welcomed “Fast and Furious Supercharged” into the studio tour as the grand finale and it has been met with critical and public acclaim.









Comic ConComic Con International
Well another Comic Con has come and gone, and boy was it intense. Around 150,000 people gathered in San Diego last weekend to see all the new movies, TV shows, costumes, celebrities and video games coming out in the next few years. I heard there were even comic books at this convention. Imagine that.


Mission Impossible Rogue Nation
Greetings, Agent. We are glad to see you made it out of Kraztovia in one piece. Well done on your last mission. We have received intel on a new assignment that has been passed down to you from the Impossible Mission Force. Keeping the world safe is our directive, and we will do what many will say is impossible to make sure our directive is met. We now have reason to believe that a new threat to global security has arisen from a foe who was believed dead.

Cool Carmel
It’s hot outside – really hot. What better way of staying cool than getting out of the L.A. basin and taking in some refreshing sea air at Carmel-by-the-Sea?
As I sit writing this, it is 102° in the Crescenta Valley area and it is 70° in Carmel. Its high next week will get up to 72°. That alone is enough to make me want to go north right now, but there is so much more than cool weather to discover.





Walk in WoodsA Walk in the Woods
The Appalachian Trail runs from Georgia to Maine across 14 states. The length is cited at various measurements – the U.S. National Parks Services cites it, in one pamphlet, as both 2,155 and 2,200 miles. The Official Appalachian Trail Guides, a set of 11 books covering the trail in sections, gives the lengths of 2,144 miles, 2,147 miles, 2,159 miles and the more vague “more than 2,150 miles” – the list goes on with no exact consensus. Suffice it to say, it’s really, really long. So when two guys in their 60s decide to hike from Georgia to Maine one spring, they are met with sideways glances, raised eyebrows and patronizing tones by those who learn of their plans. This is the subject of the new film starring Robert Redford and Nick Nolte.

Catfish and Heartbreak
It’s Saturday, and I’ve just stumbled onto the 1st Annual Southern California MADCatfish Blues Festival. What’s going to happen? Smells of fried yummy goodness enter my nostrils. There is catfish here, and it’s making me mad with hunger.





NO 1 Dave Grohl BWLove Ride and Foo Fighters
The Foos are leaving town. The rockers ended the North American portion of their Sonic Highways world tour at Lake Castaic on Sunday as part of the Love Ride 32 – Grand Finale. Thousands packed the grounds surrounding the temporary stage that served not only the Foo Fighters but also Social Distortion and American Hitmen.

















HHNHalloween Horror Nights at Universal
As Halloween draws near, theme parks are preparing “spooktacular” events for visitors. This week, we venture over to Universal Studios Hollywood for their annual Halloween Horror Nights. We’ll see six terrifying mazes, four scare zones and a terror tram walk through the infested sets on the backlot. Let’s go.










KnottsKnott’s Scary Farm
This week, Knott’s Scary Farm is our destination. With new mazes, returning favorites and all new attractions added into the mix, this is a new Halloween experience for everyone. Knott’s Scary Farm is the granddaddy of all haunts. For 43 years running, Knott’s has held a haunted attraction for Halloween and it gets bigger and better every year. This year, returning favorite mazes Black Magic, Forevermore, Voodoo, Trick or Treat and The Tooth Fairy join new mazes My Bloody Clementine, The Dead of Winter and Paranormal Inc. These create a blow-out haunt that is set in the midst of the theme park with all the rides that make Knott’s great.

Steve Jobs
Director Danny Boyle’s new film “Steve Jobs” is a surprisingly engrossing plunge into the chaotic world of a man who created the future but was unable to deal with the present. The larger-than-life career of computer visionary Steve Jobs (Michael Fassbender) is one of dysfunctional relationships that lasted decades, taking a terrible toll on those involved. Working from a challenging and cerebral script by Aaron Sorkin, Boyle has crafted a riveting contemplation on the personal cost of genius.












SupernaturalSupernatural Convention
If there is one definition that can define last weekend’s  “Supernatural” Convention in Pasadena it would be “family.”
“You feel a closeness with the people in the [Supernatural] fandom,” said Kristin, a fan at the convention. “It doesn’t matter if I have had a [bad] day…”
“It is the best therapy for a [bad] day,” added Kathryn, another fan.

Lemonade Opens in Glendale
There are many places in Glendale where hungry guests can stop and grab a quick bite. Seldom fancy, most are just quick counter service places to grab a sandwich or something similar. But what if you could have the delicious foods expected from a sit-down restaurant in a counter service format? This is the idea behind Lemonade, a new cafeteria-style eatery located in the Americana at Brand.




Star-Wars-7-Character-Guide-Kylo-RenStar Wars Episode VII
Finally. After years of waiting and hoping, a decent “Star Wars” film has awakened. Last weekend was filled with hype and rushing to try and get the last tickets available in each showing just to see JJ Abrams lend his hand to directing the second biggest franchise of all time (second only to Marvel movies). If you haven’t seen it yet, don’t read any further. I will try to limit how many spoilers I give, but some are unavoidable.