Facilitating the fan-delighting collision of comic-book universes and intergalactic heroes, Wizard World organizes Comic Cons and pop-culture conventions across the continent. At each event, stars from the silver screen set down roots in booths across the convention floor, wielding markers for autographs and their photo-op-ready smiles. Past guests have run the gamut from William Shatner, Patrick Stewart, and the cast of AMC?s The Walking Dead. Away from the crowds, stars also participate in talks and Q&A panels as part of the event?s programming. Along with beloved actors, Wizard World?s conventions grant guests a chance to interact with writers and artists as well as partake in activities such as gaming tournaments and costume contests.
Sandy Raulston and Ted Birbilis have lived in the world of art and antiques together for almost three decades. They've sold pieces in old farmhouses and and participated in The Los Angeles Modernism Show. They're particularly skilled with antiques, classifying and valuing entire collections in one easy sweep, and they now preside over the LA Living: Modern to Classic Antiques Show.
At that show, a range of aesthetic movements are represented, from industrialism to folk art. The designers themselves are just as varied, ranging from pop artists to Native American craftsmen. Oil paintings, of colorful landscapes and sepia country churches, hang above a tangle of art in every medium imaginable. There are carved canes, colorful instruments, vases, and furniture, glossy wooden masks and vintage-looking lamps, all curated by Sandy and Ted.
As mid-October approaches, the first-annual Couscous Festival is preparing to flood the earth with delicious fares from North Africa and the Mediterranean, spotlighting the fluffy spheres of steamed wheat known as couscous. Skilled chefs, including Farid Zadi and Susan Park, will offer food talks and cooking demonstrations to teach attendees how to release their inner Berber and craft fine foreign fares. On Saturday, Feast from the Mideast author Faye Levy will divulge the secret behind cooking up tasty North African–Jewish cuisine. Sunday promises guests the opportunity to hear cookbook author and culinary commentator Clifford Wright speak about the history of couscous, which began with an exhilarating, primordial escape from a wild field of semolina wheat.
The Tea Lovers Festival returns for its celebration of all things steeped on May 5 at the Armory Center for the Arts in Old Town Pasadena. At the event, the Tea Lovers marketplace showcases unique products from exhibitors such as Art of Tea, Numi, and Bird Pick Tea & Herb. As visitors stop by merchant booths, Darjeeling, Earl Grey, and green teas steep, filling the air with their subtle flavors while festivalgoers seek out new favorite brews. On the interactive side, tea studies target both novices and connoisseurs, and tea labs teach brewers the finer scientific points of brewing, such as how tea ware affects taste. A popular series from the 2011 festival called Everything You Wanted to Know About Tea, But Were Afraid to Ask also returns with new topics, covering teas from across the globe and how to read messages in tea leaves, such as “This water was too hot.”
At Seattle Chocolate Salon, chocoholics eagerly bounce from tables loaded up with gourmet chocolate bars and truffles to ones holding cocoa drinks and chocolate fountains. They're fueled by caffeine and the rush of endorphins that comes from tasting so many chocolates, watching chocolate-crafting demonstrations, and listening to talks given by chefs and confection experts.
Of course, chocolate isn't nearly as fun on its own as it is paired with wine, so the event also includes wine tastings. Those who haven't rubbed chocolate all over their wrists at this point can swing by the Artisan Fragrance Salon to spritz niche fragrances. Entry to the fragrance salon is included with admission to the chocolate salon.
Greek music reverberates into the open air as the rich smell of roasting lamb entices crowds walking into the annual Pasadena GreekFest in Santa Anita Park. Lined with stalls selling Greek wares and traditional Greek food, the fest celebrates Greek culture with three days of socializing, dancing, and lightening-bolt throwing. When not munching on honey-soaked bites of fried loukoumathes or shish kebabs, families can look at the goods for sale or scale the inflatable equipment in the kids’ fun zone.