10/19/2012 02:09 pm ET Updated Dec 19, 2012

BGG Weekender: Giant Robots, Haunted Hayrides and a Masquerade Ball

Between yet another debate (town hall style's rather exhausting, n'est-ce pas?) and the flurry of internet/television/radio/IRL commentary, we're feeling a little three-hole punched (in the gut). Meanwhile, November 6th seems an eternity away. So, we've decided to ditch the binder and have ourselves a weekend to remember. Here's what we're up to:


Relentless heat in mid-October seems like a great reason to enjoy FIG & OLIVE's new French Riviera-inspired menu. Get there tonight for a $28 three-course prix fixe which may include things like Provençal Heirloom Carrots, Short Ribs and Pumpkin Sage Ravioli.
Then, head to the Hotel Café to see up-and-comers Jason Karaban and Garrison Starr perform songs from Karaban's new record, Shift. One lucky broke girl (and her "plus one" of choice) can even grab a free ticket to the show by emailing It's first come, first served, so hurry, hurry! Later, check out Private Label, a new party from our friends at MFG Productions and DubFrequency, for DJ sets by Washed Out and Nosaj Thing.


Start your day at La Varenne in Santa Monica for a cooking class with KCRW's Evan Kleiman. She'll be dishing out tips, tricks and recipes for creating some of her favorite Italian-inspired, rustic California cuisine. After, head downtown to feed your artistic side. Start by checking out the Brewery ArtWalk, in which the world's largest arts complex opens its studio doors to the public. Next, celebrate Asian and Asian American art and pop culture with legendary magazine-cum-storefront Giant Robot's third-ever Biennale, which is being held at the Japanese American National Museum.

If independent film is your preferred form of artistic expression, instead head to the Hollywood Film Festival for a 5 p.m. screening of The Silent Thief, a psychological thriller directed by our dear friend and all-around talented lady Jennifer Clary. You may also want to swing by the opening reception of Camera Night at the Ivar for a peek at all of the gritty photos -- and an in on all of the dirty details -- from the venue's storied past. After, celebrate the Egyptian's 90th anniversary with a masquerade ball and 1922-style entertainment. Ticket prices vary, but for $20 you can grab a Speakeasy General Admission pass, which suits us just fine.

Cap off your evening by proving all your country-loving friends back home wrong because yes, there are Halloween hayrides in L.A., too. This one's in Griffith Park and runs until midnight. Beforehand, make sure to stop for a quick burger at the newly-opened Storefront (from the guys behind Salt's Cure) because -- in our opinion -- the only thing scarier than a Halloween hayride is the thought of missing out on one of L.A.'s best burgers.


Walk off the ill effects of all the moonshine imbibed at last night's speakeasy by participating in the Westside Food Bank's Hunger Walk in Santa Monica. It starts at the leisurely time of 11:30 a.m., so you can sleep in a little, too. After, try the new brunch at Stella Rossa on Main St. before indulging in a facial massage (intriguing, no?) at Space NK.

Now that your legs and facial muscles are nice and limber, head to the Santa Monica Auditorium for the Original Vintage Fashion Expo. Admission to the event is $10 ($20 for early birds, which we are not), but those with a student ID get in for free on Sunday. Then, head east to see Nick Waterhouse and the Allah Lahs at the El Rey, or check out the Film Festival for Nonprofits downtown. You'll need to get to bed early, though, as Monday brings yet another debate. A rested mind is required not just to keep up with the respective foreign policies of Romney and Obama, after all, but also to be the first to spot the next election meme. Good luck!