The Weekender: Don’t Make Me Stay Up Late

Five things to do in Los Angeles that don’t require eating dinner at 9 p.m.

Getty Images

I thought the one thing I’d be able to count on in L.A. would be that people like to eat dinner early. As usual, I was wrong. The other night, while making a reservation, a friend called me mid-booking and said, “I can only get us a table at 8:30. Is that okay with you?”

She knew the answer. There is no one I want to see badly enough to meet for dinner at 8:30 p.m. Immediately, I went online and looked up other times. “Hang on,” I said, “There’s a table at 5:15.”  Naturally, she hadn’t revealed that option.

“I’m not eating at 5:15,” She snapped. “Sorry, Grandma.”

People don’t realize that’s not an insult for me.

Also, my grandmother ate dinner at 8:00 p.m. In fact, I come from a long line of late eaters. When I moved to Bali, Indonesia to be closer to my father (in his 80’s), one of the greatest joys we had was sharing meals. But agreeing on a time to eat was always an issue. He’d prefer to eat dinner at 9:00 PM, just as I would be going to sleep. Dinner was not our meal. Instead, I’d bicycle over to his house every morning so that we could have breakfast and as soon as breakfast was over, the negotiations began as to what time to meet for lunch. “I’ll meet at the place you choose, if we eat at the time I want…”

“Let’s meet in the middle,” he’d say. “That way we’re both happy.”

“Or we’re both miserable,” I’d reply.

Here are five things to do that don’t require digesting at midnight…

Love The Weekender? Share it with a friend and spread the word!

Sign Up For The Weekender

Go See

The Tempest – An Immersive Experience

When you think of Los Angeles, who doesn’t think of Shakespeare? The Shakespeare Center LA and the After Hours Theatre Company joined forces and created The Tempest: An Immersive Experience, a fully reimagined immersive performance based on William Shakespeare’s “The Tempest.

The production takes place on the mysterious island featured in the play. Prospero, the rightful Duke of Milan, lives on this island with his daughter Miranda after being usurped by his brother Antonio and left to die at sea a decade earlier. There’s more to it, but you get the idea.

As you enter “the experience,” you board the deck of a ship with your boarding pass, explore the vessel, play some games, solve puzzles — while sipping on handcrafted cocktails — until suddenly, there’s a massive storm. People really get into it. One woman next to me gasped when the thunder occurred. As though we were literally on the ship and about to be lost at sea. All of the actors are very committed to staying in character. One of them called me: m’lady. That hasn’t happened in a while.

On the way in, you’ll encounter the magical spirit, Ariel, who does Prospero’s bidding, before being seated and rather than passively watching a play, the idea is that the audience feels they are joining the narrative.  This is a fun way to see “The Tempest” performed if you’ve never seen the play and/or if you’re a Shakespeare fanatic. No judgment if you’re not.

Photo by Brian Hashimoto

When: Through April 16

Location: Shakespeare Center LA | 1238 West First Street, Los Angeles CA 90026

Age requirement: 13+; must be 21+ with valid ID to consume alcohol

Hours: Tuesday–Saturday 12–6 by appointment

Parking: Available for $25


Get Out

Saturday Stairs at the Hollywood Bowl

The Hollywood Bowl is a public park which means it’s open during the days to anyone when there are no performances. Every Saturday morning at 8:00 a.m., a group of strangers gather to run up and down the stairs. Yes, they do this by choice! It’s a free fitness group for all levels. I keep telling myself I’m going to try it – but who am I kidding? I’m curious about the variety of people who turn up for this though so it’s something to aim for. So far the only place I seem to be able to get to at 8:00 a.m. on a Saturday is the spot in front of my coffee machine.

Photo by Jeff Palkevich

When: Saturday at 8:00 a.m.

Location: Hollywood Bowl | 2301 North Highland Avenue Los Angeles, CA 90068

Parking: On-site


Check Out

Marc Maron – stand-up show

In case you haven’t seen his insightful and hilarious HBO stand-up special “From Bleak to Dark” and in case you don’t listen to the landmark podcast “WTF with Marc Maron” which is now one of the most popular podcasts going  (which I’m not saying because I was on it but I was), here’s your chance to see Marc Maron perform in person. His always reflective and intelligent perspective will provoke you to think and he’s a storyteller whose punchlines are worth waiting for. Maybe he’ll cover the fear of death and the implications of that on multiple levels. Obviously, we’re kindred spirits

Note: this performance is for next weekend so you have time to get tickets.

Photo by Getty

When: Friday, April 14 at 8 p.m.

Location: Largo at the Coronet | 366 N La Cienega Blvd, Los Angeles, CA, 90048

Parking: Secure, attended parking is available next door at the Baker Building, 360 N La Cienega Blvd, for a cash fee. There is also street parking and valet options in the neighborhood



Grand Central Market

Housed in the open-air ground floor of the 1896 Homer Laughlin Building – a downtown landmark — this market with a variety of food stalls, feels particularly L.A. Maybe because it’s all under one roof, it reminds you that you’re in a multi-cultural city and it’s not as spread out as it seems. You can get cheese and produce and coffee and fresh meat but with 30 or more vendors selling ready-to-eat food, it’s best to dine in, sit on stools, and eat (breakfast, lunch or dinner) there. I met some friends for lunch before visiting The Broad Museum nearby. We all scattered to get our various meals and then reconvened. I had the vegan ramen, someone else had a burger, someone else had curryworst and we didn’t share.

Photo by Shutterstock

Location: 317 S Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90013

Hours: Monday – Sunday – 8 AM – 9 p.m.

Parking garage: 308 South Hill Street


Take A Chance

Veronica Swift​​​​​​​

Veronica Swift is a vibrant young jazz vocalist who according to the Wall Street Journal, “has a miraculous voice, musical ability and technique, as well as an innate gift for entertaining a crowd.”  Now a Los Angeles resident, she’ll be appearing for two nights at the iconic Catalina Jazz Club in Hollywood, where the vibe is a grown-up supper club with old world charm.

Past performers have included Dizzy Gillespie, Betty Carter, Ben Vereen and jazz legend….Tony Danza.

Photo by Getty

When: Friday, April 7 and Saturday, April 8 | 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. 

Location: Catalina Bar & Grill | 6725 W. Sunset Blvd. Hollywood, CA 90028

Parking: Secure & gated self-parking is available directly behind the club in the building’s parking structure. The parking garage entrance is on McCadden Ave (at Sunset Blvd). The Parking Attendant and Building Security help to keep the garage secure. Parking is $8.00 per car, payable via Credit Card. Street and Metered parking is available.

Price: $40.00 | All Ages


Suggestions? Thoughts? Write to me here:

Check out all our other newsletters here.