Isle of Man

Isle of Man

We here at SoCal, love our home—we love the endless summers, the traffic congestion, the ubiquitous out-door-dining and of course the ability to get to the desert, the sea, the vineyards and Mexico quickly, if the electric car would only go that far…so we take to flight, travel, spend time in other cultures and countries. This time, we have sent our best writer Niki Smart,  to visit that small land between England and Ireland, the Isle of Man, for a summer travel report:

As kids, my sister and I spent a year living with our father in the Isle of Man, and to be frank, we both loathed it. We complained endlessly, or at least I did, and gave it unflattering names like the Isle of Bile, the Isle of Vile, the Isle of Just Shoot Me Please…and so on. You’d think then, that some 40 years later when my sister suggested we go back and reevaluate the Isle of Man, that I’d be reluctant, but I was curious and agreed. Maybe it was time to reassess the place.

Fist off, a 3-hour ferry ride from Liverpool to the Isle of Man’s capital, Douglas—and a quick side note; 40 years later, Liverpool has an amazing waterfront area laden with restaurants, cafés, history, art, culture and much visit-worthy coolness.

As a child, the ferry ride had always seemed pretty rough, but I thought maybe that was because I was a little. Surely it couldn’t be that bad? Oh. So. Wrong! The voyage was as grueling as I remembered, meaning, I came very close to losing my lunch. Arriving in pouring rain, three motion-sickly hours later, my sister and I struggled to figure out how to get to our seafront hotel because the entire promenade was seemingly being dug up, traffic was being rerouted without any clear signage, and parking was a messy bitch. To top it off, since it was a rainy, Monday night, not many restaurants were open, and as we trudged about in the grim cold searching for a place to eat, I thought, “Well, we just made a big bloody mistake.”

The Little Fish Café helped cheer us up with the British classic of fish and chips, plus a window seat looking onto the quayside of colorful sailboats. Strangely enough, there was also a brightly painted wallaby in our view. Intrigued, I looked up the significance because—hello—a wallaby in the Isle of Man? I discovered that in roughly 1985 several wallabies escaped Curraghs Wildlife Park (the Isle of Man’s only zoo,) and had since started breeding in the wild. Apparently, there were now nearly one hundred wallabies roaming the Isle of Man. I instantly felt a kinship to the wallabies who had been sent to the island against their will (just like us as kids), and I was certain those poor creatures longed for their Australian home the way I’d longed for mine during my year of no escape.

On day two, the sun came out, and after a warming, cheerful breakfast at Noa Bake House (a bicycle café in an old market warehouse), my sister and I drove to the opposite side of the island— a whole 10 miles away—to visit Peel. For part of this drive we were actually on the racecourse that the motorbikes use during the infamous TT races, complete with padded corners at the sharper turns.

Peel is a quaint seaside/fishing village nestled under the eye of the ruins of Peel Castle. Built in the 11th century by the Vikings, Peel Castle has a long history, and is rumored to be haunted by a ghostly black dog. We walked the circumference of the castle grounds along rugged coastline and landed up on the tiny, but charming, Fenella beach. My brave sister bought a “kipper bap” (a bun with a fried kipper wedged in it) from a food truck parked right by the beach/castle—salty, but delicious. Look at this menu! It’s not one you see everyday.

Driving 3 miles south of Peel, we stumbled upon Glen Maye, a fairytale place of fern-filled woodlands, 20 foot hanging ivy, a bridged gorge and waterfalls. It blew my mind a little bit because it was so ridiculously gorgeous. Why aren’t they filming movies here, I wondered? It would make a magical backdrop for Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings or GOT. I was what the British would call “gobsmacked” by nature. After some staring about in disbelief, a friendly passerby suggested our next stop: the Niarbyl Bay Café.

The Niarbyl Café is down a little country road that leads only to the café plus a few historical cottages. The view was impressive, the tea and scones were perfect, and the walk down to the historical cottages was well worth it. I can’t quite explain what was so incredible about this café, but it made me high on life just to be there. Heading back to Douglas, our chosen restaurant for the night was the Tandoor South Indian Restaurant, where both the service and food were first-rate. My perspective of the Isle of Man was improving.

Day three, the wind hit 45 mph and I started worrying a) about our rough ride back to Liverpool and b) that we might be stuck on the island as the ferry was cancelled for the day. Our day of hiking, however, was not cancelled because my sister insisted on going to see Cashtal yn ard—and yes, I spelled that correctly. The well-preserved Cashtal yn ard is one of three Neolithic tombs, dating from about 2000 BC, and I have to say, it’s pretty stirring to stand before such history. We drove along ever-narrowing lanes, splashed through a ford, and hiked in sideways-rain to see the place, and still it was worth it.

This was followed by a quick stop at the iconic Great Laxey Wheel; the largest working waterwheel in the world. We’d planned to visit the wheel by hopping on the vintage electric tram but the heavy rain made the ride sound less appealing. Having had enough weather for one day, we sought refuge in the Manx Museum where the Island’s 10,000-year history is presented through film, galleries and interactive displays. It’s free and quite delightful.

On our last day, the weather turned kinder, helping us have another “off the charts” day exploring. We visited Castle Town’s medieval, 25-foot high Castle Rushen—a stronghold that served as a home to kings in the late 12th century and later as a prison during the 18th century. If you’ve ever wanted a truly medieval experience, this may be the place to go visit. We skipped from castle life to rural life at Cregneash—a folk village that depicts the typical way of life that a small Manx village in the 19th century would have had. Here we got to see a Manx cat (a cat with no tail) as well as several brown haired, four-horned Manx Loaghtan sheep. Other than the biting wind, I imagine the folks living in the village must have been a happy bunch as Cregneash lies on a rolling hillside with stunning panoramas to all sides.

From Cregneash we drove to the very southwest tip of the island to see the Calf of Man— a tiny island that is a Nature Reserve and Bird Observatory. This was our last and favorite stop because the views were simply spectacular.

Our final meal was at Barbary Coast Grill and Bar, a fun place with tasty burgers that let’s you “spin the wheel” —and if your table number hits, your food is free (not your drinks though, but a very generous offer none-the-less).

Dreading our ferry trip home, we bought “Travel Calm”, and thankfully at least our stomachs traveled calmly over yet another seriously rough Irish Sea voyage. To sum up our trip, other than the jarring ferry ride, the Isle of Man was outstanding. I wish I could go back in time and show my young-self all the magical amazingness the island has to offer. And please allow me finish by saying I believe the wallabies have found themselves a rather wonderful place to call home.

https://www.littlefishcafe.com/

https://manxnationalheritage.im/our-sites/manx-museum/

http://www.niarbylbaycafe.com/

https://www.facebook.com/NoaBakehouse/

https://www.transceltic.com/isle-of-man/cashtal-yn-ard

https://manxnationalheritage.im/our-sites/castle-rushen/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cregneash

http://www.curraghswildlifepark.im/

https://barbarycoast.im/

Second Home comes to Hollywood

Second Home comes to Hollywood

The area of East Hollywood where the current Target is being built, very slowly, has a new neighbor. At night, driving by St. Andrews Place, one imagines a new mid-century modern hotel has moved in, what with the amber lighting and modern hanging lamps, its look like something that might be found in Palm Springs, not between Western Avenue and St. Andrews Place. It is so new that Google maps has not registered it. It opened last Monday, and it’s called Second Home. No, it is not for senior citizens, thought they are certainly welcome. Second Home is the newest “workspace” to slip into the vast SoCal terrain. Like Soho House, Neuehouse, Second Home caters to a sophisticated clientele in search of space, light, and working conditions that bring creative types together. Created by London-based co-founders and co-CEOs Sam Aldenton and Rohan Silva, Second Home is the new campus was designed by Madrid-based architecture firm Selgascano, with Downtown LA-based Omgivning acting as executive architect for the project. A lush landscape of light, 60 circular acrylic pods and foliage, it is simply, surprising that this somewhat off-beat neighborhood should house anything so glamourous. Second home hollywood will be home to 250 organizations and will feature: a branch of second home’s bookshop libreria, a 200-person auditorium, post-production facilities, a restaurant, outdoor terraces, and meeting and event spaces.

For memberships, a tour, information visit https://secondhome.io/hollywood

Address: 1370 N St Andrew’s Place, Los Angeles, CA 90028

 

AND ON THURSDAY, SPETEMBER 19TH

Antoni is the food and wine guru on Netflix’s Emmy Award-winning sensation Queer Eye, and his passion for food is completely irresistible. A television personality, chef, model, and now cookbook author, Antoni is a man of many talents and even more fascinating stories.

During this evening event, guests will get to meet Antoni and taste recipes from his new cookbook, Antoni in the Kitchen (published by HMH Books, on sale September 9).

Antoni in the Kitchen brings together Antoni’s trademark inclusive and accessible attitude to food with one hundred of his all-time favorite recipes.

This cookbook celebrates Antoni’s love for fresh, casual, and healthy cooking, and the occasional indulgent feast, and inspires both newbies and knowledgeable cooks to get back into the kitchen.

The ticket price includes a copy of the cookbook Antoni in the Kitchen and food inspired by his recipes.

NEW TO SOCAL MAG! L.A. DEE DA 2.0!

NEW TO SOCAL MAG! L.A. DEE DA 2.0!

THIS WEEK: DANCES WITH FILMS FESTIVAL, WONDERWORLD LA

DANCES WITH FILMS

The opening night green-carpet event for the Dancing With Films indie film festival took place in the gorgeous and historic lobby of the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, directly across from the TCL Chinese Theatres where the short and full-length works were set to screen over the next couple of weeks in multiple theaters. As directors, producers and on-screen talent made their way down the carpet, each group shepherded by a protective publicist, such as seasoned L.A. flacks Henry Eshelman and Diane Brown, cameras flashed and interviewers held up mics under the glaring lights. For many of these indie filmmakers from around the world and around the U.S., this was their very first brush with Hollywood glamour!

Now that the Los Angeles Film Festival has ceased hosting an annual event, Dances With Films — so named in its debut year by co-founders Leslee Scallon and Michael Trent to support a feature film they had made called Indemnity, in the wake of Sundance hosting a plethora of “dance” monikered film festivals — i.e., Slamdance, Digidance, No Dance, and several more with similar monikers.

Twenty-two years later, Leslee and Michaels’s Dances With Films is going stronger than ever while still sticking to their motto of “No politics, no stars, no sh*t.”

DWF has risen to fill the breach left by the L.A. Film Festival in supporting and featuring primarily indie film projects of all kinds, some of which this year included the heartbreakingly excellent The Land, which features a terrific star turn by actor Herman Johansen; the girl-centered video-gaming short Would You Like To Try Again?; Wowsers, produced by and starring the party’s most fabulously dressed guest Sam Fox, about a club where the BDSM isn’t always safe, sane and consensual; and the surprisingly witty horror-comedy Driven, starring the film’s writer, Casey Dillard, along with Richard Speight Jr. of HBO’s Band of Brothers and the CW series Supernatural.

WONDERWORLD LA

Just down the street from where DWF was hosting their opening night festivities, the fabulous magical interactive pop-up museum that is Wonderworld LA was throwing their own soiree to introduce the Wonderworld brand of visual genius to celebrities and local media influencers, sweetening the pot with drinks, donuts, a cotton candy station, complimentary nail art, and swag bags for attendees. Even Fox 11 news showed up to cover it!

Co-founded by venture capitalist Hua Wang and businessmen Jay Yue and Jie Wang, Wonderworld first popped-up in New York’s Soho district where the threesome gathered a cabal of creative designers who were seeking a platform for their work. Wonderworld Soho ran for a year before coming to Hollywood’s Walk of Fame just this month, where local artists such as Josh Wong collaborated in customizing the build-out to be unique to L.A.

Pop-up museums may be a new concept in Los Angeles, but they’re a big — and lucrative! — trend in NYC, where the trio behind the original and L.A Wonderworlds is set to launch Wonderworld Brooklyn any day now.

In NYC, Wonderworld is something of a fashion brand, but here in L.A., they’re not targeting the nightlife set. Rather, Wonderworld is open only during daylight hours and is bracing for a steady stream of both the legitimately young as well as the so-called young at heart, who will no doubt be completely entranced by the Alice-in-Wonderland-esque rabbit-warren of 11 differently themed interconnecting rooms, all housing art installations in various crazy-wonderful themes, all of which are meant for extreme posing and photographic shenanigans. Memory-making shots of patrons climbing in, on, and around the various oversized and decorative props, and Instagram-worthy photo ops with your posse are highly encouraged. We can’t help thinking that kids, both little and big, will take to Wonderworld LA as if it were a more sophisticated version of a Disney theme park!

Wonderworld LA is set to pop at least through the second week of August. For tickets and information call (747) 284-9616.

 

 

 

Wisdome: an immersive art park

Wisdome: an immersive art park

Left: Leon Hendrix, Jimmy Hendrix’s younger brother and Randy Hanson

Legendary writer/photographer Belissa Cohen goes psychedelic to experience L.A.’s hidden gem of an “immersive art park,” Downtown L.A.’s Wisdome

If you haven’t yet been to downtown L.A.’s Wisdome, we suggest putting it on your nightlife bucket list, and maybe stock up on your favorite psychedelics beforehand.

Called an “immersive art park,” this enormous 35,000 sqare foot space houses a collection of five huge interconnecting domes, one of which hosts nearly continuous showings of a 360 degree short film called Samskara by innovative experimental artist Android Jones. The other domes host other immersive art installations, live music events in 10.1 surround sound, and are surrounded by a commodius grassy outdoor area for hanging out on glorious summer nights with bars, ethnic food and drink purveyors, and trinket vendors selling wares of a vaguely spiritual nature —  it’s the whole enchilada in one place, with enchiladas. It’s both comfortable and hella trippy!

We experienced the Wisdome when Randy Hanson, who is considered arguably the best of the Jimi Hendrix tribute performers among those in the know about such things, did the first of his spot-on two-night performances in the largest of the Wisdomes, while psychedelic art in the form of constantly morphing mandala images were projected on the walls and ceiling of the dome, and many audience members took in the multimedia show from reclining seats. Like them, we found ourselves gazing ceiling-ward during the show, mesmerized, as the images changed organically, all the while absorbed in the expertly executed music.Randy, who is in demand all over the world for his Jimi Hendrix realness, and is, like Jimi, a Seattle native, played and sang all the hits note for note, from “Foxy Lady” to “Purple Haze” to the Bob Dylan-penned “All Along the Watchtower,” on what just so happened to be Dylan’s birthday.

As happens in L.A., we found ourselves Ubering to the Wisdome with the famous-adjacent:  Leon Hendrix, Jimi’s younger brother and an edgy blues musician in his own right, who sang with Randy and his band very appropriately  on “Castles Made of Sand,” a song Jimi had penned back in the day about his family’s dysfunction. Leon’s own show the very next weekend at The Mint in West L.A. was a sold out success.


The world-renowned Randy Hanson brings his Jimi extravaganza back to the Wisdome at the end of June. For all of us who missed Jimi’s legendary L.A. performance at the Hollywood Bowl in 1968, we now have a second chance to Be Experienced!

5 Best Westside Spas for Mother’s Day

5 Best Westside Spas for Mother’s Day

What do Mothers want for Mother’s Day? Short answer: Relaxation and me time… Or, as we like to call it, a spa day. If you’ve been scrolling through Yelp wondering which is the best Westside spa for Mother’s Day, or if you’re simply scratching your scalp trying to find the perfect gift for your Mom, then you are in the right place.

This year we got together a group of Moms and asked them “which are the 5 best Westside spas for Mother’s Day?”. Below we’ve listed them.

Burke Williams

Mom will feel: Serene, peaceful
Perfect if she loves: Quiet, nurturing, European style spas
Price Range: $$$
Treatment time: All day

Burke Williams Spa is the classic Day-Spa choice for many women in the Westside. This European, dimly-lit space has various baths (both silent and social), private massage rooms, and a reading nook with coffee and fruit too. You can enjoy just a massage, or indulge in the the all-day Spa facilities too. Though this place is on the more expensive end of the Spa spectrum, it is absolutely worth it for the many hours of luxury and relaxation that is on offer here.

Learn more about Burke Williams here.

Hideko Spa

Mom will feel: elegant, pampered
Perfect if she loves: Japanese hospitality, luxury, grace, Japanese tea
Price Range: $$
Treatment time: Typically 1.5 hours

A Japanese luxury spa, Hideko is a modest yet elegant space that offers unparalleled hospitality and grace. With a deluxe Japanese massage experience, the spa uses only organic products and materials, including oils, woods, scrubs, wraps, and refreshments. After your massage you can enjoy your own private bath in a luxury tub adjacent to your massage room, as well as warm cup of herbal tea and a selection of Japanese cakes.

Learn more about Hideko Spa here.

Cryo Healthcare

Mom will feel: Energized
Perfect if she loves: Fitness, Biohacking, a less traditional wellness experience
Price: $
Treatment time: Typically 1 hour

Notoriously loved by Mom of three, Demi Moore and Mom of five, Tori Spelling, the Cryo Healthcare facility provides a uniquely elegant Cryotherapy experience on the Westside. Originating from Japan, Cryotherapy has quickly gained popularity with the ever-expanding biohacking community. Known for its immediate energizing effects Cryotherapy is the perfect gift for any Mom who likes keeping up with trends, and trying new things.

Before booking make sure you check out the list of medical conditions that determine your Mom’s suitability to the treatment.

Find out more about Cryo Healthcare here.

Raven Spa

Mom will feel: Healed and opened up
Perfect if she loves: Thai Massage, acupuncture
Price Range: $$
Treatment time: 1.5 hours

The Raven Spa is a sweet oceanside spa that is nestled in the side streets of Santa Monica. It specializes in Thai massage yet also offers an impressive menu of alternative treatments like acupuncture, infrared saunas, and Reiki. If your Mom prefers deep tissue massages with a focus on relieving tension and muscle soreness then this is the place for her!

Learn more about The Raven Spa here.

Willow Spa

Mom will feel: Grounded
Perfect if she loves: Soft touch, energy healing, Asian-inspired spaces
Price Range: $$
Treatment time: Typically 2 hours

Willow Spa offers a tropical Spa experience for any Mom who wants to indulge in soft healing. Nestled in a renovated home, WIllow Spa is the perfect haven-away-from-home for any Mom who wants to experience massage with a spiritual focus. There are a number of specialized treatments at Willow Spa–from their Blooming Lotus Massage (a treatment specifically designed for pregnant women), to their Reiki practice (an ancient healing technique used by the Tibetans to enhance the flow of life-energy), to Shiatsu (a Japanese method of unlocking energy in your body by using the meridians of your body).

Learn more about Willow Spa here.

We are looking for talent—photographic talent—portfolios with great stories, great images.
To submit please email: [email protected]