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5 Every Week: Echo Park Rising, Tofu & Noodles and the Frolic Room

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Here are five great things you should do in Southern California this week.

Here are five great things you should do in Southern California this week from the makers of the 5 Every Day app.  Get this as a new podcast in iTunes.  If you want five hand-picked things to do in Los Angeles every day, download the free 5 Every Day from the App Store.

Art: Peter Shire Sculpture

If you've ever caught yourself, while hiking in Elysian park, wondering about the very strange, very colorful, very out-of-place-looking construction on top of Angeles Point, wonder no more! It used to boggle us too, until we did our research. Turns out it’s a sculpture by longtime Echo Park resident Peter Shire, built to honor Frank Glass and Grace E. Simons, a couple who fought to save the park from development. Shire is a sculptor, potter, and the only American member of the iconic — and otherwise entirely Italian — Memphis design group. His sculpture is even better when you get up close. It’s like a giant surrealist teapot, and it’s built around a palm tree. The sweeping views of Dodger Stadium and downtown are also pretty surreal. To find Peter Shire’s Elysian Park sculpture, follow park signs past the Police Academy to Angel's Point. You can’t miss it.

City: Frolic Room

The Frolic Room is the last little bit of real noir on Hollywood Boulevard. Right in the thick of it, on Hollywood and Vine, the Frolic Room’s seedy neon sign sticks out like a sore thumb next to all the modern hotels and condos nearby. The bar is an L-shaped shoebox-sized dive with no booths, and red vinyl stools lining every available edge. This is a place designed for utility drinking. The bar’s manned by expert craftsmen in vests and open collars, the same way it’s been for 80-plus years. There’s a ton of history here. Opposite the bar is a wall-length mural by Al Hirschfeld; Bukowski drank here. So did the Black Dahlia, on the night she died. And it's also where John Cassevetes shot Gena Rowlands day-drinking in A Woman Under the Influence. But most importantly, it's still an easy place to drink in peace.

Food: Tofu & Noodles

Sometimes we just cruise Koreatown at night, looking for the telltale glow of fluorescent lighting from a mini-mall that might indicate — to our trained eyes — a late-night noodle place worth investigating. This method has rarely failed us. Case in point, we sniffed out Tofu & Noodles, a Korean diner on 8th and Vermont-ish, this way. We’re now totally converted to their regional take on kalgooksoo, the staple Korean noodle soup. Their kalgooksoo emerges from the province of Daejeon, or so a map on the wall told us. We can tell you their noodles are hand-chopped, springy and drowned in a red spicy broth that can cure all ailments. The soup comes topped with egg, pumpkin, sesame, seaweed and crown daisy leaves. Variants involve many proteins of land and sea, but their tofu is perfect, a sponge for  the dish's fiery flavors.

3068 W 8th St
Monday-Saturday 11 AM - 1 AM

Music: Echo Park Rising

If you live East of Alvarado, you don't need us to tell you about Echo Park Rising. For those of you who don’t: Echo Park Rising is a three-day free music festival that goes down yearly, in Echo Park. Spanning as it does a half-dozen outdoor stages and clubs, it’s pretty hard to avoid. And it starts tonight. It’s a parking nuisance, but it’s great, so leave your car where it is, get over to Echo Park however you can, and enjoy yourself. The lineup features a lot of worthy local bands — No Parents, Kera & The Lesbians, Hanni El Khatib — plus the exotic pleasures of hitting different venues in one night.

Wildcard: Power Violence Comedy

Power Violence is the L.A. comedy world’s closest analogue to a weird church basement punk show. If comedy can be punk, Power Violence is probably what that looks like: A group of skateboarder best friends from Alabama with complete disregard for the conventions of stand-up. They muck around on stage, knock microphone stands over, and generally carry on in a kind of demented improv version of "Jackass". Despite how it sounds, it’s just about the most charming thing you can imagine. They do a show weekly at The Satellite in Silverlake; the bill usually consists of the PV boys and a lean list of their friends, who we’d argue are the best and brightest young comics in LA. This Sunday it’s the very funny Alice Wetterlund, who you might know and love from the HBO show Silicon Valley, Ian Karmel, Anthony Jeselnik, and special guests—which, knowing this crew, could be anyone.

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