The Weekender: Making an Impression

Here in L.A., making a first impression is important. There’s an unspoken rule: if you can’t remember who someone is, pretend you know.

A friend of mine has a strategy. Whenever someone approaches her to say hello and she can’t remember their name – she gives them a hug.

“Aren’t you afraid you’ll get a reputation as a hugger?” I asked.

This seems a lot worse than being caught not remembering who someone is.

Another friend, if she’s quick enough, tells whoever it is that she’s having a stroke and blanking on their name. Obviously, she does this with a winsome smile. Because at our age, it could be true.

My father was a pro when greeted by someone whose name he’d forgotten. We’d go out to eat and his trick never failed. Someone would approach him and say, “Hi Harvey!”

“Hey Pal,” he’d exclaim, “It’s been a while!”

He was polite and cordial, often having long conversations with what appeared to be an old friend.

Afterward, I’d ask, “Who was that?”

He’d shrug and respond: “I have no idea.”

But this is a charm few can master. And clearly, it’s not in the genes. My strategy for sidestepping these awkward situations has been to avoid people in general. But on occasion, when I’m out in the world, I’ve learned honesty is an enormous mistake.

The other day, as I was leaving Trader Joe’s. a woman enthusiastically stopped me.

“Ariel!” she screamed. “Good to see you!”

I should have simply said, “Good to see you too” but instead, I stared blankly.

“Do you remember me?” She asked

Now I’m on the spot. Do I lie?

“Not exactly,” I say.

I should have lied.

“It’s Kay,” she said, sounding injured.

“You look different!” I said, covering up.

Suddenly, the look on her face went from hurt to delight.

“Thanks,” she said, “I dyed my hair!”

Not only was I remembering her, I was paying her a compliment. And that’s the beauty of you look different. Because the one thing that takes the sting out of not making a first impression, is making a second impression where you’re confirming a stranger looks better.

Here are 5 things to do this weekend worth remembering…

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Check Out

The Infatuation’s EEEEEATSCON Los Angeles​​​​​​

Researching where to eat is one of my favorite pastimes. And invariably, whenever I do that, The Infatuation pops up. It’s a popular site full of suggestions and reviews of all the restaurants you’d want to eat at in L.A. and some you wouldn’t have thought of.

This is their very first food festival and I suspect it will feel more like a music festival, designed for people who want more from a food festival than just tasting-sized portions and cooking demonstrations.

Personally, what I’d like at a food festival is less people. But it’s probably not designed for that.

The event will feature a highly curated group of local restaurants (Simon in Silver Lake, Moo’s Craft Barbeque in Lincoln Heights) along with imports from across the country (Rowdy Rooster from the East Village in NY). The speakers lineup includes Ali Wong, Ayo Edebiri, Ramy Yousseff and the ubiquitous Tom Colicchio and Gail Simmons.

With live music performances throughout the day and panels from industry pioneers, EEEEEATSCON (not sure if I got the right amount of E’s) is sure to be entertaining and happening. Also, expect to see lots of photos tagged with #EEEEEATS.

Credit: Annie Lesser / The Infatuation
Credit: Annie Lesser / The Infatuation

When: May 20 at 12pm – May 21 at 6pm

Location: The Barker Hangar | 3021 Airport Avenue #Suite 203 Santa Monica, CA 90405

Parking: The Barker Hangar does not offer on-site parking. The closest parking is at 2231 Sawtelle Boulevard, Los Angeles


Go To

Regeneration: Black Cinema 1898–1971

There’s a powerful exhibit at the Academy Museum of Motion Picture called Regeneration: Black Cinema 1898–1971 which explores the rich history of Black participation in US cinema from its beginnings to just beyond the civil rights movement. You can see rare excerpts of films restored by the Academy Film Archive – a clip of Hattie McDaniel, the first Black woman to win an Academy Award, as she gives her 1940 acceptance speech. There’s Lena Horne’s gown and home movies of the Nicholas Brothers. One room shows a staircase painted with the word “colored,” referring to the segregated movie theaters. There are loads of movie clips with Cicely Tyson, Sidney Poitier – I was mesmerized in front of the 1920’s footage of Josephine Baker singing and dancing.

Also, while you’re there, as part of the education program, there is a Drop-In for Families program on Saturday at 12:30. Families join museum educators to inspired by the museum’s exhibitions to create movie poster designs.

Chances are, whatever the kids come up with is better than what’s out there. (*Not including Almodovar in this statement).

The Nicholas Brothers in a scene from Stormy Weather (1943), from left, Fayard Nicholas and Harold Nicholas. Photographic print, gelatin silver. Courtesy Margaret Herrick Library, © Twentieth Century Fox
The Nicholas Brothers in a scene from Stormy Weather (1943), from left, Fayard Nicholas and Harold Nicholas. Photographic print, gelatin silver. Courtesy Margaret Herrick Library, © Twentieth Century Fox

Museum Hours: Sunday to Thursday: 10am–6pm | Friday to Saturday: 10am–8pm

Location: 6067 Wilshire Boulevard Los Angeles, CA 90036

Parking: Public parking for the Academy Museum is available nearby at LACMA’s Pritzker Parking Garage (off 6th Street), at the Petersen Automotive Museum (just south of Wilshire Boulevard), and at other parking garages in the area. There’s also Valet.


Go See


Here’s the pitch: it’s Verdi meets Shakespeare! There’s jealousy, downward spirals, possessiveness – dramatic intensity and emotional complexity! And singing.

This production of Verdi’s “Otello,” stars Russell Thomas in the title role and according to the Los Angeles Times, he is “an Otello for our time.”

The story is…timeless. Otello and Desdemona are a happily married until rumors of her being unfaithful turn him into a tyrant. Fun fact: this was Verdi’s penultimate opera, first performed at the Teatro alla Scala, Milan in February 1887.

I’m not an opera buff but my father was, and this opera was one of his favorites. Also, with a running time of approximately three hours and 20 minutes (including two intermissions) you might want to bring snacks. Is that allowed at the opera?

 Photo Credit: Corey Weaver / LA Opera
Photo Credit: Corey Weaver / LA Opera

When: Saturday May 20th 7:30PM

Where: The Dorothy Chandler Pavilion |135 N Grand Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90012

Parking: Click here for details!



Queer Prom

Possibly more dramatic than the L.A. Opera is the Queer Barbie Prom. Although, both are probably pretty dramatic.

Junior High Los Angeles (a non-profit organization and community arts space that prioritizes the safety and expression of female, queer, nonbinary and POC artists) is putting on a Barbie-themed prom so you can reclaim your prom experience.

I can barely recall my prom experience but it wasn’t exactly traditional. I went with 3 girlfriends, it took place at a banquet hall in midtown Manhattan, and I danced with my history teacher who smoked pot in the bathroom.

At any rate, this prom sounds like a blast. There will be a photobooth. There will be a DJ. There will be a massive amount of pink. It says Barbie attire is required – so there’s likely to be a hearty dose of outfit envy. Which kind of sounds like every prom.

Comments on Instagram for this event range from “I’M THERE” to “STOPPPPPPPP”

ALL caps says it all.

Photo by Junior High
Photo by Junior High

When: Saturday May 20th 7 – 10pm

Where: 603 S. Brand Boulevard Glendale, CA 91204


Get Out

Outdoor Goat Yoga

Laughing Frog Yoga is the only yoga studio in LA that offers Goat Yoga. I’ve never actually done Goat Yoga, but a friend of mine who tried it says “You’re smiling the whole time.”

I guess this means doing regular yoga, you’re not smiling? I wouldn’t know because I don’t do yoga but the few times I’ve tried it, I definitely wasn’t smiling so this sounds about right.

In case you’re wondering what Goat yoga is, it’s a yoga class – this one is at an outdoor location – and while you’re doing yoga, goats climb all over you. The idea is that it’s therapeutic and calming to be around animals.

To me, it seems like it would create more anxiety. I’d be afraid to step on the goat’s toe.

But people love it! And this event sells out quickly, which is why I’m listing it two weeks in advance. These goats are IN HIGH DEMAND. Way more than me.

Photo by Shutterstock
Photo by Shutterstock

When: Sunday, June 4th — 9 – 10:30am

Where: Marine Park (Next to the Tennis Courts) 1406 Marine St Santa Monica, CA 90405

Parking: There is a large free parking lot at the park.  If the lot is full there is plenty of free street parking on all nearby streets.