Monday, June 23, 2014

Nintendo Kids Corner at E3 2014: Feels like she's livin' a Teenage Dream

We were lucky enough to attend E3 this year as guests of Nintendo, and even though the event was called Kids Corner my 15-year-old was crazy excited to attend. She'd been wanting to check out this mythical gaming mecca for years (attendees have to be at least 17 and affiliated with the industry) so just getting to set foot inside was a dream come true.

Also, she's been a gamer for years and the only system we've owned is Nintendo, so it was sort of like the mothership calling her home (cue the five-note sequence from 'Close Encounters Of The Third Kind'!

Talk about standing out in a crowd
With the majority of marketing aimed at young kids and their parents, it's great to see brands paying attention to the teen market who – hello – make many buying decisions on their own, have their own money to spend, and maniacally share information with their friends via social media. Know any five-year-olds who have a Tumblr, Twitter, Vine, SnapChat, Instagram and Facebook account? I DIDN'T THINK SO.

Plus, teens do things like this without your help:

And who would've thought that with an entire convention center filled with teen boys and costumed video characters, the people she was most excited to see were these guys:

Reggie Fils-Aimé, President and CEO of Nintendo (who knew he was like a rockstar for hipster gamers?)

Tsunekazu Ishihara, CEO of the Pokémon company (standing here with his faithful employee.)

And then there was this holy-grail, meta moment - when she got to play Mario Maker with the creator of Mario (as well as Donkey Kong and Zelda), Shigeru Miyamoto! For us older folks who have a hard time grasping the enormity of this, imagine playing Operation with Milton Bradley himself.

Okay, Mr. Miyamoto – I'mma let you win.
Along with meeting all these gaming celebs, all the kids (and parents) got a chance to play a bunch of the newest Nintendo games that are about to be released. One of my daughter's favorites: Pokémon Art Academy, that teaches you how to draw all of your favorite Pokémon. Brilliant new video game, or genius method of scoping out future Nintendo employees? My kid's on board either way.

Then there was probably the highlight of her day - getting the chance to play the new Super Smash Bros. on the humongous screen at the Nintendo booth - and then winning a medal! She said, and I quote, "Best thing that's ever happened to me, and totally going on my college resumé."

Crushing you.
And if you doubt how seriously people take this game, check out this guy's attire:

Another game that we both loved: Splatoon, that lets you use giant water guns to mark your turf and do battle. I liked that there was an aggressive way to play the game (taking down your opponents) and a passive way (marking your territory with your paint color.) I chose the passive way, because I'm a lover not a fighter (and because I have terrible aim and suck at shooting games.)

Not to take away its street cred, but this game is mom-approved.
I could go on, but I don't want to spoil the excitement for when these games hit the streets and you get to experience them for yourself. Here are the upcoming games, and their release dates. Get your satin robes ready, people.

Splatoon – 2015
Mario Maker – 2015
Pokémon Art Academy – October 2014
New Super Smash Bros. – October 2014
Mario Party 10 – 2015
Fossil Fighters Frontier – 2015
Mario vs Donkey Kong – 2015
Kirby and the Rainbow Curse – 2015
Captain Toad Treasure Tracker – 2014
Yoshi’s Woolly World – 2015
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I participated in the Nintendo Kids Corner event at E3 2014 as an invited guest of Nintendo. I received free product and access to the event, but was not otherwise compensated. All opinions, blurry photography and corny captions are my own.
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Monday, June 16, 2014

The Ford Theatre: The other theater under the stars

I've lived in Los Angeles my entire life (that's a lot of years) and drive past the Ford Theatre at least every other day, usually with a twinge of guilt because I've never set foot inside the venue. A few weeks ago I was invited to join them as they kicked off their Summer Season and I finally got to check out the grounds – it was like hearing my mom say, "Oh, so you finally decided to stop by and visit?" Suddenly I wish I'd brought some pie.

I admit I've been many, many times to the Hollywood Bowl (the other outdoor amphitheater that's located right across the freeway), but have never had the opportunity to attend a single show at the smaller, more intimate Ford. But after I saw how it offers so many of the same features that makes the Bowl so enticing (diverse artist lineup, open outdoor setting, picnic areas) I was eager to check out the summer schedule and see my first show at the theater.

And hey look! I saw that my cousin's band, Minyo Station is playing there for the Japanese Folk Dance event (tonight!), part of their free JAM Sessions at the Ford series. These are interactive shows that allow audience members (of all skill levels) to participate with ondo, samba, tap dance, ukulele, Bollywood, son jarocho and other artists and take place on stage on Monday evenings at 7:00 pm. (Did I mention they're FREE?) (And speaking of my mom, I'm taking her to this show!)
Minyo Station

Take a look at the Ford Theatre Summer Season – everything from film to dance to classical music to rock – and stop by for a relaxing evening under the stars! And don't forget to visit your mother.

Click HERE to see the Ford Theatre 2014 Season 

2580 Cahuenga Blvd, East, Hollywood, CA 90068
Click HERE to purchase tickets
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Friday, June 06, 2014

5 Reasons to see 'MALEFICENT' at the El Capitan Theatre

This is not a post to try and convince you to see 'MALEFICENT,' because I know you'll be seeing it anyway. The combination of Angelina Jolie, Angelina Jolie's cheekbones, a feminist plot twist and stunning visuals is impossible for anyone to resist. No, this is to convince you to make sure you see 'Maleficent' on the gorgeous screen at the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood. Angelina Jolie's cheekbones will thank you.

The 5 Reasons to see 'Maleficent' at the El Capitan Theatre

1) The pre-movie magic show by acclaimed magician Greg Wilson. This isn't just your average magic show where you get to see a rabbit being pulled out of a hat (although he does that, too.) Prepare to see Wilson's dazzling assistants get shot out of a cannon (well, not really but how did she end up in that box in the corner of the theater?) sawed in half and in half again (seriously, I still don't know how that works) and levitated with the help of a magic rope. Hurry – this live stage show is only running until July 6.

2) An exhibit featuring props and costumes from 'Maleficent.' This is your chance to get up close and personal with Maleficent’s gown and horns and peek into an intricate model of Sleeping Beauty Castle. Getting tired? You can also check out Aurora's bedroom.

3) A live performance by the El Capitan's house organist, Rob Richards. I've seen this many, many times and it never gets old. How often do you get to see an almost 100-year-old Wurlitzer played live? Kudos to the El Capitan for realizing the importance and impact of live music and for bringing it to young audiences.

4) It's not in a mall. Sure, there's something to be said for your theater being steps away from Forever 21 and Panda Express, but do you really want to see a fight between Maleficent and King Stefan on a screen the size of a postage stamp? Once you've seen a film in the plush, gorgeous, ornate El Capitan you may never want to see a movie anywhere else again. Besides, there's a Forever 21 right across the street in the Hollywood/Highland center (which also provides validated parking for the theater.)

5) You can reserve your seats, buy your tickets online and print them out at home. Avoid the lines at the box office and cruise right into the theater. This gives you more time to ponder your popcorn and drink selection. Even easier - select the VIP ticket option and your refreshments are included in the price of your ticket!

MALEFICENT is playing at the El Capitan Theatre through July 17. To buy tickets call 1-800-DISNEY6

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