The Weekender: Be Confident

Five things to do in Los Angeles this weekend, from seeing “Hairspray” to eating at Taco Madness 2023

Nina West in Hairspray Broadway national tour
Nina West as Edna in "Hairspray" (Credit: Jeremy Daniels)

Here in L.A., the appearance of confidence is mandatory. No one bothers to do fake modesty.

But it’s not enough to be confident, you have to be hyper-confident.

“How’s it going?” I asked a friend.

“Great!” She said (She looked depressed) “It’s going great! I’m great! Work is great! How are you?”

“Not great.”

The conversation ground to a halt.

If you’re in L.A. and you’re not doing great, you better keep it to yourself, leave town, or both. Nobody wants to be around you. Why? Because you’re too heavy. People like to be close to success and it’s better to big yourself up than to put yourself down.

When I was growing up in New York, I had a friend who lived on 86th street between Park Avenue and Lex. She lived precisely in the middle of the block, equidistant to both streets.

And yet, when anyone asked where she lived, she would say “86th and Park.”

This friend is now running a movie studio.

Maybe because self-deprecation is in my nature, I’ll sometimes refer to myself as a moron.

When I said it this out in public, my L.A. friend recoiled in horror.

“Why would you say that?” She screamed. “Don’t put yourself down! The more you put yourself down, the more you start to believe it.”

I noticed that as she said this, she took a step back. I think it’s important to state: being a moron is not contagious.

Even shopping for food, one has to be on their A game. I went into Whole Foods the other day to decompress and I was greeted with a giant sign that said: Feel confident about what goes in your cart!  That’s a lot of pressure. I stood there for about 20 minutes with a box of veggie flour pita crackers in my hand — not sure if I was confident enough for them to go into the cart.

I put them back on the shelf.

Here are five things to do this weekend that you can be confident about. 

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Go See


Broadway’s Tony Award-winning musical comedy phenomenon is back! When this musical was in New York, I think my friend, Liza, saw it a hundred times. A friend of hers was dating someone in the show so she’d “second act” it every week. “It’s like watching candy,” she says. “The whole thing. The music, the costumes, the fun. If you’re not up and dancing by the finale of “You Can’t Stop The Beat,” well, then, you must be….you.”

16-year-old Tracy Turnblad in 1960’s Baltimore sets out to dance her way onto TV’s most popular show. Can a girl with big dreams (and even bigger hair) change the world?

Hairspray is so universally beloved that when I was riding in the back of a bus in the Cebu jungle in the Philippines, the Filipino woman next to me said, “You’re from America? I love Hairspray!”

Photo by Jeremy Daniel

When: Until May 21st

Location: The Dolby Theatre 6801 Hollywood Blvd Hollywood, CA 90028

Parking: Instructions can be found here!


Check Out

L.A. TACO’s Taco Madness 2023

This is L.A.’s longest-running taco festival and taco aficionados take it very seriously. It reminds Los Angelenos that they live in the best taco city in the country. Don’t argue the facts.

At the festival this Saturday, the winner of the online tournament will be announced. Research for this led to me to discover that there’s been over a month of voting and after weeks of competition, there were four taqueros left in the MADNESS when I last checked in. Apparently the underdog is the San Fernando Valley’s Tacos El Vampiro. A family-owned operation that defied the odds. Will they have enough momentum to topple SELA’s fish taco OGs? I have no idea. There’s also Villa’s Tacos vs. Tacos Los Cholos. Will TLC have what it takes to beat the two-time champions?

The fifth round of voting will take place and you’ll have to be there in person to witness “Best in Taco” – or whatever it’s called. For one day only, you can have L.A’s best taquerías in one place. From 5 PM to midnight. Taco fanatics unite!

Photo by Shutterstock

When: Saturday May 6th | 5pm until Midnight

Location: LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes | 501 North Main Street Los Angeles, CA 90012


Go See

Ramona Pageant

The Ramona Bowl Amphitheater  is home to America’s longest running outdoor drama and California’s official outdoor play. Did you know California had an official play?

“Ramona” tells the tale of star-crossed lovers: Scottish-Native American Ramona and Native American Alessandro and addresses the racial prejudice against Native Americans in early California. Based on the 1884 novel by Helen Hunt Jackson, it was turned into a play in 1923.

It’s been running every year since. Now in it’s 100th year (A hundred year run is pretty good!), Ramona and Alessandro, will be played this year by Kayla Contreras and Eli Santana. Everybody else involved in the cast and helping out does it out of dedication to the pageant. It takes nearly 450 volunteers to pull it off – and the community works together so that every spring they can bring to life this story of early California. It’s a historic pageant and only and an hour and 45 minutes from L.A!  Less time than it takes to get home from Malibu on a Sunday.

I asked Liza (born and raised in L.A.) if she’d ever heard of this. “I have not. The only Ramona I’ve ever heard of is Ramona Singer.”  Not surprised.

Photo by Cindy Boeing

When: Saturday May 6 and Sunday May 7 

Time: Doors at 1:30 PM, Show at 3:30 PM

Where: Ramona Bowl Amphitheater | 27400 Ramona Bowl Road Hemet, CA

Parking: Instructions can be found here!


Immerse Yourself

World Of Barbie

This 20,000 square-foot hot pink attraction is an immersive experience dedicated to all things Barbie. Her careers and hobbies as well as an assortment of doll selections that celebrate diversity. Barbie is where it’s at. Greta Gerwig’s live-action film starring Margot Robbie will be coming out in July and this interactive exhibit gives people (kids and grown-ups) the chance to live out their Barbie dream. There’s a life size Barbie Dreamhouse that’s very Instagram friendly. There’s a fashion studio and a laboratory, a World of Barbie Museum and “content” at the Barbie theater.

I never had a Barbie – I had the Cher doll. And if there was a World of Cher experience, I’d be there in two seconds.

Images courtesy of Kilburn Live

When: Wed & Thurs 12pm – 6pm | Fri 12pm – 8pm | Sat & Sun 9am – 8pm (time slots available every 30 minutes)

Where: Santa Monica Place | 395 Santa Monica Place, Santa Monica, 9040


Get Out

The Labyrinth at Tuna Canyon Park

This trail in the Topanga/Malibu mountains is not widely known and therefore, not crowded. The park “entrance” is an unmarked fire road so look for cars lining the street as you approach. I went with some friends and there’s a winding road to get there, so as a bonus, here’s my tip for car sickness: stare straight ahead.

Even though the trail is steep, this is not a difficult hike and because it’s wide, it good for kids and dogs. People love kids and dogs. But it’s also a good to do alone. It’s around 2.5 miles roundtrip and when you get to the top, there’s a clearing with stunning views and a labyrinth made out of rocks and stones. I was told it was created by “locals”.

The idea is to walk the labyrinth, silently, meditating on whatever you want. I took my time, quietly strolling in silence, pondering all the bad choices I’ve made.

Photo by Mike Bonin

Location: Tuna Canyon Road & Hearst Tank Motorway Topanga Canyon, CA 90290

Entrance Information: Click here for details!

Parking: Park on the street and enter the park by walking around the gate on the fire road.