Archives for October 9, 2018

Queen Mary’s Legendary Dark Harbor Unveils NEW Twists & Frights for DARKEST Season Yet

NEW Interactive Maze Paths, NEW Reimagined Event Footprint, Extreme

Aerial & Fire Shows, New Maze Designs, More Ultimate Scream Tours, More Secret Bars, More Private Lairs, More Twisted Spirits

23 Nights of Terror September 27 – November 2, 2018.

Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor, Southern California’s most authentically terrifying haunt, will once again rise from the depths on September 27, drenched in legend and oozing with a sordid past. Regarded as one of the most haunted places on Earth, the Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor is a thrill-seekers’ delight, blurring the lines of history and hysteria, and for the 2018 season, the event will disorient fans with an entirely NEW park footprint along with NEW maze designsINTERACTIVE alternate paths, and THRILLING live entertainment.

“This coming season attendees are invited to descend into Dark Harbor’s newly, Omni-immersive and hyper-enhanced mazes for its darkest season yet,” stated Charity Hill, Executive Producer of Dark Harbor. “With a myriad of voluntary experiences, alternate paths, secret bars, and hidden passages we are proud to deliver a choose-your-own-adventure mega haunt.”

Put on a detective’s hat and retrace the steps of Samuel the Savage to solve the gruesome murders in B340. Re-live childhood nightmares playing hide-and-seek with Scary Mary and her sinister teddy bear in Lullaby. Escape the Ringmaster’s big top before becoming a specimen in the oddities museum of Circus. Head to boot camp with Half Hatch Henry for a reimagined storyline of the fan-favorite maze, Deadrise, to experience Captain’s rigorous training camp. Feeling Intrepid? Traverse the John Brown Shipyard and try to hide from the lurking creatures in the Scottish Highlands aboard Iron Master’s express train to hell. Clock-in to a shift aboard the infamous Grey Ghost and avoid Chef’s chopping block while working up an appetite for flesh in the maze FEAST.

As Dark Harbor’s darkest and most sinister season approaches, those daring enough to set foot on property will navigate a bone-chilling 9-degree Ice Bar, dodge hundreds of devious entities, seek out hidden havens, indulge in devilish treats, imbibe intense concoctions, survive Michael Jackson’s Neverland Ranch Sinister Swings, brave thePanic 4D Experience, and white-knuckle death-defying aerial and fire stunts for the haunt’s most frighteningly immersive season yet.

Let the countdown begin: 6 blood-curdling mazes, 5 weeks of terror, 3 new secret bars, 2 electrifying stages, 1 way out…

The annual haunt returned to the Queen Mary on September 27 and continues to scare those who dare on select nights through November 2. General Admission ticket prices start at just $20 online with optional limited upgrades to Fast Fright, Evil Express, VIP, Ultimate Scream, Creepy Cabanas, and Private Patios (available while supplies last). For more information or to purchase tickets online, visit

Credit: The Queen Mary. Photo Credit: Courtesy of the Queen Mary.

Debut of LATEST Alternative Fuel Vehicles at 13th Annual City of Santa Monica AltCar Expo Oct. 12-13

Electra Meccanica’s SOLO, Single-Passenger EV, to debut at 13th Annual AltCar Expo.

Boasting the largest collection of hydrogen, electric and hybrid vehicles in the region, the 13th Annual City of Santa Monica AltCar Expo will return to Santa Monica on October 12-13, 2018 with brand new vehicles, speakers, and exhibitors to showcase the newest innovations of the alternative technology industry. This two-day event is free to attend and brings together in one place a variety of brands, technologies, and manufacturers specializing in alternative technology. An array of NEW vehicles will debut at the 2018 AltCar Expo including SOLO, Electra Mechannica’s new single-passenger EV.

“The goal of AltCar is to provide a very accessible and comprehensive setting where both the industry and general public can discover existing alternatives to the way they use energy and transportation,” stated Christine Dzilvelis, AltCar Expo. “We hope to motivate everyone to take action and continue California’s lead in alternative vehicles, incentives and fueling stations.”

AltCar provides consumers with access to the most extensive array of battery electric, fuel-cell electric, plug-in hybrid, and hybrid electric vehicles available. Debuting at this year’s event isElectrica Meccanica’s new all-electric, single-passenger vehicle, SOLO. In addition the company’s new dealership opening in Los Angeles with additional dealerships scheduled to debut in California and the Pacific Northwest in 2019, Electrica Meccanica will deliver U.S.’s first SOLO car to its purchaser at the AltCar Expo.

Attendees will flock Friday and Saturday to test the exciting showcase of alternative technology vehicles including cars, fleets, trucks, bicycles, and scooters during the event’s Ride & Driveexperience. The Ride & Drive experience will include the latest versions of the Honda Clarity, Nissan Leaf, Toyota Mirai, Toyota Prius Prime PHEV, Kia, Mitsubishi, scooters, and many more.

In addition to the exhibitors and Ride & Dive experience, Friday’s conference from 9am – 3pm offers fleets, municipalities, industry, sustainability & planning directors, architects, contractors, and agencies the opportunity enjoy an array of panels surrounding industry’s hottest topics. The conference will kick-off with remarks from Terry Tamminem, CEO of the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation followed by a networking breakfast. Friday’s discussions will include panelists’ Phillip Kobernick, Interim Logistics Services Manager for the County of Alameda, who is responsible for trailblazing Alameda’s environmental movement, and Ken Reichley, Southern California Edison, who will be joined by moderator Marco Anderson, Southern California Association of Governments, for a discussion on Alternative Technology Transportation – “No Turning Back”. To register for Friday’s conference please visit Saturday’s conference programing will include discussions and panels on Scooters and Alternative Modes of Transportation and Alternative Technology Updates. Saturday’s conference seats are first come, first available.

“AltCar is the premier venue for bringing together State policy makers, industry leaders, and the public in order to take the next steps towards a transportation system that does not involve petroleum, and I am honored to give the welcoming remarks at this year’s event,” stated Terry Tamminen, President and CEO of the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation. “For the past decade, AltCar has played a key role in the shift with alternative technology vehicles and infrastructure. We hope that soon, alternative cars will not be alternative, but rather the norm!”

The 13th Annual AltCar Expo in Santa Monica is a family-friendly, free event from 10am – 5pm on October 12-13 at the Santa Monica Civic Center, 1855 Main Street, Santa Monica, CA 90401. Parking for Friday is $14 per day at both indoor and outdoor Civic Center Lot. Saturday parking is $5 per day at both indoor and outdoor Civic Center Lot. For additional information or to register for the conference visit or call 310-390-2930.


AltCar Expo
AltCar is the only event in the United States that has gathered every single model of alternative technology light duty vehicle available for purchase or lease in one location for free test drives. Seeing the diversity of clean vehicles helps to make otherwise esoteric and remote climate policies much more tangible. AltCar doesn’t just host exhibits of clean cars, it has been responsible for more direct alternative technology vehicle sales to both fleets and the general public than any other event in the state. Given that 52 percent of all Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) purchases are happening in California, this event is critical to build upon the momentum for the emerging marketplace. For more information, visit

Haunted Little Tokyo Returns for a Spooktacular Second Year Oct. 1 – 31

Go Little Tokyo for a Spooktacular Second Year of
Haunted Little Tokyo October 1 – 31, 2018.
Culminating with a Frightfully-Fun Costume Party on October 27 on 2nd Street in DTLA.
Photo Courtesy of Haunted Little Tokyo 
The Little Tokyo community welcomes you back for a month full of frightful fun as the neighborhood transforms into Haunted Little Tokyo for a second year on select nights through October 1 – October 31, 2018. Ghouls, ghosts, and goblins of all ages are invited if they dare to experience Little Tokyo with pumpkin patches, trick-or-treating, spooky sounds, ghostly games, free Halloween movie screenings, ‘haunted’ walking tours, themed specials, and more ending with a frightfully-fun block party and costume contest on Saturday, October 27.


Experience Little Tokyo like never-before as the heart of Downtown LA oozes with spooky themed-activities and evenings full of frightening-fun. Pick your pumpkin during the weekend pumpkin patches and dust off your cauldron for a cooking workshop presented by the Japanese American Cultural & Community Center (JACCC). Disguise your little monsters for ghoulish games, trick-or-treating and FREE family-friendly movie screenings including Mary and the Witches Flower (Friday, October 19 at 6 p.m. @ The Japanese Village Plaza) or face your fears and sleep with one eye open after watching classic Japanese horror flicks including the 1987 supernatural film Prince of Darkness (Friday, October 5 at 7 p.m. @ Union Center for the Arts). Those daring enough to hear the sinister stories of Little Tokyo’s ghostly friends and the city’s history should tag along for the Little Tokyo haunted walking tours with the Little Tokyo Historical Society (LTHS). Indulge in bone-chilling drinks and devilish desserts as the month-long celebration wraps up on Saturday, October 27 for the Haunted Night in Little Tokyo: The Block Party, brought to you in partnership with Councilmember Jose Huizar CD 14. Come for the costume parade, live entertainment, beer garden, exclusive food and drink discounts, and more.

Select nights October 1-31, 2018
Haunted Night in Little Tokyo: The Block Party is on Saturday, October 27, 2018 from 5 p.m. – 12 a.m.
Trick-or-treating is on Tuesday, October 31, 2018
For a full calendar of events visit:

Little Tokyo – Downtown Los Angeles
Haunted Night in Little Tokyo: The Block Party will be on 2nd Street in between Central & San Pedro Street

Free, depending on the activity. For more information please visit


Go Little Tokyo is a community-led effort aimed at highlighting the unique cultural programs, community events, and dining and shopping experiences found in Little Tokyo. As one of Los Angeles’ most vibrant cultural hubs, there is an abundance of destinations and landmarks in and around this historic walkable neighborhood and Go Little Tokyo will help you uncover them. Go Little Tokyo is a Little Tokyo Community Council (LTCC) project developed and produced by Community Arts Resources (CARS) and made possible with support from Metro. For more information, visit:

Looking for Halloween Candy? R.M. Palmer has you covered!


R.M. Palmer has some new tasty treats for Halloween 2018!  These confections offer great taste, vibrant packaging, and frighteningly excellent value. Included in this year’s Halloween line are these spooktacular products:

I think my ultimate favorite may be the Yummie Mummies! Imagine white chocolate flavored candy with peanut butter! Yum! A white chocolate shell filled with creamy homestyle peanut butter. 5 ounces. Also available in bulk.

Gravestone Greetings will be a hit with the older kids! Smooth and creamy filled Gravestone Greetings are tombstone-shaped chocolaty treats, wrapped in brightly colored Halloween foils, labeled with zany names like “Bea A. Fraid,” “Ina Boxx” and “Al B. Bach”. 5 ounces. Also available in bulk.

Another favorite of mine is the Pumpkin Spice Cups! Chocolate and pumpkin spice combined…now how good does that sound?

The Chocolaty Balls are also a hit with my family! But, then all of R.M. Palmer chocolates are a big hit with me! Look for them at a store near you!

We have teamed up for a Halloween Giveaway! To enter, leave a comment below telling us which bag of candy you would like to try the most! (Did I say how much I love those Yummie Mummies?!) Deadline to enter is October 13th, 2018 at noon PST. U.S. Residents only, please. 

Check them out on Facebook too!


R.M. Palmer Company has been crafting fun, seasonal chocolate novelties since 1948. Today, the R.M. Palmer Company is the 25th largest confectioner in North America and the 82nd largest confectioner in the world. ( From its headquarters in West Reading, PA, Palmer’s 850 dedicated employees design, produce, package and ship more than 500 unique items to retail locations throughout North America – making Palmer one of America’s largest and most innovative confectioners.

Self Disclosure: I received free delicious samples to facilitate this post and giveaway. Images were also provided. 

Steely Dan, Oct. 12th Pet of the Week!

Steely Dan has a steely look made even more piercing by his mesmerizing, deep-blue eyes that seem to follow you wherever you go. He’s a male lynx point, about 5 years old who’s both beautiful to look at and a charming fellow. Wanna be a Steely Dan groupie? Meet him on the shelter side of the Companion Animal Village at 7700 East Spring St., (562) 570-PETS. Ask for ID#A612703—and Rikki, don’t lose that number.

(This rescue encouraged by the usual suspects.)

Credit: Courtesy of the Companion Animal Village.

The Rack Pack: Enjoyable watch for anyone looking for that nostalgic 80s goodness

A children’s storybook author reminisces about his childhood adventures with his brothers and friends. In a time before kids spent hours watching television, on the computer, playing video games and texting, they went to the park to play with their friends. As military brats, these kids lived their own adventures. They lived a different sort of childhood that challenged their imaginations to soar to a different level. Following in their parents footsteps, they pretended to be soldiers as they played army in the woods. Life seemed simpler back then, until danger came to town. In our story, a cynical man comes across a Civil War General’s old map that may lead to long lost treasure buried deep in a mining tunnel. The kids come across the man and his team and learn about the treasure. Our heroes come up with a plan to try to find it first. Things take a serious turn when the kids are discovered. The thieves up their status and become kidnappers as they take one of the children’s fathers hostage. The kids, in full army gear, set out for a rescue mission. As they learn more about each other they form a bond of brotherhood and friendship called …THE RACK PACK. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Arjun N. comments, “This is sure to be a enjoyable watch for anyone looking for that nostalgic 80s goodness.”  Elle S., KIDS FIRST! Juror adds, “The Rack Pack is a funny film that pays respect to our military, all while expressing independence for the youth. I appreciate the diversity and persistence of these school-aged children.” See their full reviews below.

The Rack Pack
By Arjun N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 16

The Rack Pack makes fun of its goofy 80s vibe, but ultimately falls a bit flat with its underdeveloped plot. However, the acting and cohesive script provide vibrant energy. This is sure to be an enjoyable watch for anyone looking for that nostalgic 80s goodness.

The story follows the adventures of military nerd brothers Darrell (Nico Ford), Gerald (Hunter Lee Manning), and Loren (Wyatt Walter). Their escapades take a dangerous turn when they come under the contact of a Civil War treasure map. To compete, the cynical duo Ted (C. Thomas Howell) and DJ (Nick Vernon) race to obtain the map and sell it to criminals. However, the boys slip themselves to the thieves leading to their own dad (David Schifter) getting involved and kidnapped. In a race against time, the boys must save both their dad and map all while earning the legendary name The Rack Pack.

Nico Ford, as Darrell, excels with his sharp, yet reckless thinking. His banter with Tammy also adds one of the movie’s funniest dynamics as she continuously dupes him. Hunter Lee Manning, as Gerald, sells the eldest brother dynamic with his wise mentorship even if he can come across as disloyal. As well as Wyatt Walter, as Loren, who wonderfully presents his cute youngest brother self always following his elders into trouble. David Schfiter, as Mr. Rackley, excels with his fatherly presence as he holds the family together through tough times and is always willing to take risks to save lives.  C. Thomas Howell and Nick Vernon, as Ted and DJ, allow for a charismatic villainous presence, with DJ being my favorite character as his comedic timing was perfectly handled. Last but not least, Cece Kelly, as Tammy, accelerates a fun side-plot as her biting remarks never got old.

Thomas J. Churchill talentedly directs the movie with great 80s gags and adventure with the Goonies being a big influence. My favorite scene is when the boys attempt to stop the duo’s perilous plans which result in some truly hilarious scenes as they rely on outsmarting than violent means. However, my problems with this movie stem from the plot of the movie in general which feels devoid of any emotional appeal or development. At times, it feels like there is zero plot. Thankfully, the movie’s quirky characters are able to hold attention as their wise cracks always bring something new to the table.

The message of the movie to always trust in your team as the Rack Pack always powers through and fights for what is right. I give this film 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 7 to 10 as some scenes can come across as intense. The movie is available on DVD, so check it out.

The Rack Pack
By Elle S., KIDS FIRST! Juror

The Rack Pack is a funny film that pays respect to our military, all while expressing independence for the youth. I appreciate the diversity and persistence of these school-aged children. Yes, some rules are broken, pranks occur and sometimes a skunk just needs to let one rip. But, overall this movie makes your inner child smile. One of the most appealing things is finding out who the pack includes and why they were given this name. I like that there’s a bit of rebellious behavior, taking charge of adults and how the humor is all kid-friendly.

The film flows well. I like seeing the diversity in both race and genders, when it comes to forming a team – on both the child and adult side. I was drawn in from the beginning to the end. There are various characters and scenes that involve bullying. Some of that goes unresolved or are dealt with retaliation. There are moments when kids get revenge on adult thieves, but it is handled in a more imaginary and comedic way.

As a viewer, I wanted to see how the kids would find the villain and recover the treasure. The way the kids handle the situation lines up with what a tween or young teen would do if they were trying to confront a thief. I found the production value of this film above average for a lower budget film. I watched an online screener which included bonus footage showing bloopers and behind the scenes content on which was enjoyable.

The message of this film is that children can join forces and fight for not only their community, but for being respectful human beings. Children of all types can be their own advocates and fight for what they believe in. I think those are compelling messages to learn.

I love action films. There’s something about being covered in dirt and playing outdoors or “members only” zone where you can just let loose and be yourself. Self-evaluation, action and adventures are a big part of this film. I give this movie 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 14. I do suggest parental guidance since there are some mild examples of fighting and weapons. Reviewed by Elle S., KIDS FIRST! Juror.


Venom: Fans of Superhero Movies May Want to Check This Out

Journalist Eddie Brock is trying to take down Carlton Drake, the notorious and brilliant founder of the Life Foundation. While investigating one of Drake’s experiments, Eddie’s body merges with the alien Venom — leaving him with superhuman strength and power. Twisted, dark and fueled by rage, Venom tries to control the new and dangerous abilities that Eddie finds so intoxicating. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Arjun N. comments, “Venom is a somewhat entertaining comic book-based movie watch… Fans of superhero movies may want to check it out.” See his complete review below.


By Arjun Nair, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 16

Venom is a somewhat entertaining comic book-based movie watch. The acting and directing provide for serviceable entertainment amid some of the movie’s ill-fated attempts. Fans of superhero movies may want to check it out.

The story follows former investigative and maverick journalist Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy) after he attempts a comeback following a scandal that left him jobless, despite good intentions. Eddie’s life furthermore takes on more complications, after accidentally becoming the host of an alien symbiote, giving him the carnivorous alter ego, Venom.  Soon, he must rely on and master his newfound powers to protect the world from the shadowy organization he so sought to destroy, because of their involvement in experimenting with other symbiotes, before it’s too late.

Tom Hardy, as Eddie Brock, is my favorite character and absolutely lives up to the hype surrounding his performance, even if a few of his deliveries come across as random,  due to an inconsistent script. Also, he further sells the voice of Venom, delivering numerous nuances underneath the carnivorous savage. Michelle Williams, as Anne Weying, does the best she can with an uninspired script, that doesn’t do her character justice, as Anne comes across as a stereotypical love interest. Despite this, she adds nuances to her characters’ emotions and occasional comedic remarks.  Once again, Riz Ahmed, as Carlton Drake, suffers from the same issue, but presents just enough threat to make his foe a formidable one. Still, his plotline involving the main lab corporation, remains one of the movie’s stalling points as it remains nothing more than a disinteresting evil lair. Jenny Slate, as Dora Skirth, fares better as the script provides more material to go around. Her vibrant expressions and remarks make her one of the movie’s most memorable assets.

Ruben Fleischer aptly directs the movie with an effective grasp on understanding the Venom character, which is the movie’s saving grace. The mix of horror, adrenaline-fueled action and black comedy provides for a unique experience, unlike any other superhero movie, despite not being as polished as most. My favorite scene is the SWAT action scene, as it is a great showcase of special effects and unique sound design. The choreography further sells the excellent pace towards Venom’s attacks. The other main flaw stems from the sub-par script, as it doesn’t compliment the all-star cast’s talents well. Aside from Eddie, every character is stereotypical and not as interesting to watch, with stilted dialogue further adding unintentional awkwardness to the characters’ relationships. At times, the movie’s plot progression becomes littered with holes and doesn’t match the brisk pace that the many action scenes provide. In fact, any of the movie’s plot, not involving the Venom symbiote, is met with a gruelingly slow pace, leaving us waiting for Venom to show up.

The message of this movie to always stand up for what’s right and be careful about it, in spite of anyone in your way. Eddie’s brutally honest responses to evil and the Venom alter-ego support this with a positive example. I give this film 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18, because of intense action and language. The movie releases in theaters October 5, 2018, so check it out.