Best Reuse of a Military Stronghold - Pasadena Armory
When artist Richard Jackson crashed a 15-foot-wide model war plane filled with paint into a 20-foot wall outside of the Rose Bowl, the brightly splattered remains were relocated to Pasadena's Armory Center for the Arts. But that's about as militaristic as things get in the former National Guard housing in Old Town Pasadena. These days the 25,000-square-foot space is used primarily for events like the Monster Drawing Rally, which features 100 artists creating masterworks in timed sessions before an audience, as well as classes on silk-screening and stop-motion animation. And you don't have to be wearing fatigues to visit. 145 N. Raymond Ave., Pasadena, 91103. (626) 792-5101, armoryarts.org.
Best Wednesday Night Movie Bargain - Academy 6
For some people, dinner and a movie in the 21st century can cost more than a day's pay. But for the frugal seducer, Pasadena's Academy 6 can treat a couple to a second-run film for $3 ($2 if the sun is still shining). It doesn't have any leather couches or 3-D capability, but it does offer a wide selection of movies, from summer blockbusters to indie sleepers, and the staff is as informed as any at those $14 cinemas. If the regular prices aren't a great enough deal, the Wednesday-night special can't be missed: Two tickets, two popcorns and two sodas for $10. Even if the movie isn't that great, your date will fall in love with your impeccable way with finances. 1003 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena, 91106. (626) 229-9400, regencymovies.com.
Best Safeplace to Eat An Omlettte - Los Angeles Police Academy Diner
They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day — but is it also the most dangerous? While the statistics regarding the mortal threat of a morning meal are still being calculated, no doubt the safest way to enjoy a hearty breakfast in Los Angeles is in a booth at the Los Angeles Police Revolver & Athletic Club Cafe, located on the police academy campus. On any given weekday, half the patrons are armed. Legally. New recruits and grizzled veterans sit side by side at this classic diner counter, while a few cadets whet their appetites at the rifle range next door. The bubbling grotto and curious architecture offer a nice counterbalance to the bang-bang — but most importantly, the service is friendly, the portions are large and the cooks do not skimp on the butter. In fact, the biggest danger patrons face here is probably high cholesterol. 1880 Academy Drive, Elysian Park. (323) 221-5222, lapraac.com/cafe.php.
Best Jazz Room That's Also a Frame Shop - Curve Line Space
Curve Line Space hosts one of the best jazz series in Los Angeles, and it isn't even a club. Run by Tim Yalda, the venue is actually an art gallery and frame shop on a hip strip of Colorado Boulevard in Eagle Rock; it also happens to host an intimate Thursday music series for only $10. Wooden frame samples hang in the back, while the artists bring some pizzazz to the premises. Swinging vibraphonist Nick Mancini helps book tremendous local jazz talent like Bruce Forman, Vardan Ovsepian and Steve Cotter in the acoustically radiant space, while a bucket of cold drinks awaits anyone with a thirst. Why not drop off your John Coltrane posters for framing while you're there? 1577 Colorado Blvd., Eagle Rock. (323) 478-9874, curvelinespace.com.
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