Joan's LA: Theatre, Restaurants, and Flea Market Tips For This Weekend

Joan Alperin

Writer, Registered Critic

Hi everyone...Well looks like summer isn't over and it's going to be a very hot weekend. I intend to spend as many days as I can at the beach. I recommend Zuma in Malibu. It may be a bit of a drive but it's never crowded and the water is beautiful. Plus you may get a visitor or two.
This Friday I'll be at one of my favorite plant based Mexican Gracias Madre. Now for those out there that aren't vegan or vegetarian I promise you will absolutely love this restaurant and you won't miss meat at all. They serve cuisine that is inspired by the kitchens of Mexico. Everything is organic, farm fresh and it's all locally sourced food. The chef Chandra Gilbert is definitely an artist. This is a great place to take your girlfriend, your wife, or someone you just met online and want to impress. The prices are quite reasonable. Be sure to order the guacamole and chips. Gracias Madre is located at 8905 Melrose Avenue in West Hollywood. To check out their menu go to
Saturday night I'm off to the Skylight Theatre located at 1816 1/2 North Vermont for the opening of a play entitled Swansong. The play is being put on by the Australian Theatre Company. I've seen several of their productions and every one of them has been excellent. This is a very unique play about a man, Austin 'Occi' Byrne that has been abused and has lived a very isolated life filled with violence. He is now searching for redemption. Swansong has played all over the world and from the reviews it's gotten, I can guarantee you it will be a powerful theatre experience. Plus the play is written by the Irish playwright Conor McDermottroe and no one knows how to express suffering more poetically than the Irish. You can purchase tickets through their show page or you can also do it the old fashion way by calling 866-811-4111.
After the play, you'll probably want to go somewhere to discuss it and walking down Vermont is the perfect place to do this. This is a very cool street filled with book stores, outdoor cafes, ecclectic shops and the historic Vista Movie Theatre built in 1921 that still shows movies. Oh and my favorite part of Vermont are the dogs. Everyone seems to have one and being a crazy dog person, I have to stop and pet every single one that I see, which for some reason gets whoever I'm with slightly annoyed.
Finally this Sunday you will find me at the world famous Rose Bowl Flea Market. I'm obssessed with anything vintage and this is the one place where you can find anything and everything from your great grandmother's era. My passion is depression glass and dishes. I have around a thousand pieces (no I'm not a horder) and I found them all there. The Flea Market also has old albums (remember albums) rows and rows of furniture, jewelry, clothes just to name a few of the things you'll find from the 2500 plus vendors that are there every month.. To learn more go to
After shopping I recommend checking out Old Pasadena where you will find find many historic buildings and some really cool cafes. One of my favorites is Amara Cafe and Restaurant (Chocolate and coffee). What could be better.? Check out their menu at
Whatever you choose to do this weekend have a great one.

Joan was born in Brooklyn and spent many years working as an actress in New York City. Even though she traveled extensively, Joan couldn't imagine living anywhere else.. Well one day, she met someone at a party who regaled her with stories about living in L. A. specifically Topanga Canyon. A few weeks later she found herself on an airplane bound for Los Angeles. Joan immediately fell in love with the town and has been living here for the last twenty years and yes, she even made it to Topanga Canyon, where she now resides, surrounded by nature, deer, owls and all kinds of extraordinary alien creatures.. Joan continued acting, but for the last several years (besides reviewing plays and film) she has been writing screenplays. Joan was married to a filmmaker who created the cult classic films, (way before she knew him) Faces of Death.