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BEST SUBSTITUTE FOR DAIGON ALLEY Los Angeles 2009 

Whimsic Alley

So the New Moon is about to rise. But if you prefer spells to sucking blood, amble into Whimsic Alley, where you'll find Muggles excitedly tricking themselves into Potterland. At the Alley, you'll find the magic supplies you'll need if you decide to board the Hogwarts Express. In here, a cluster of make-believe shops sell different magic wares from robes, wands and spell books to action figures, candies and keychains. Spend hours slipping into the house robes — Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, or picking up the right wand to cast your spell. There's also wizard rock for the "music-alley" inclined, plus witches who offer to perform magic shows, for a price of course! However don't pay in gold, as this will only stretch the recession curse. Visit the store to find a charming escape from the dark times that have engulfed us Muggles. You'll be surprised how your budget will magically fit in a lot, even if you're cash-strapped in the real world. 2717 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica. (310) 453-2370, whimsicalley.com.

—Ipsita Basu Dasgupta

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Slideshows

  • The Tasting Menu Trend
    In Los Angeles especially, but increasingly across the country, restaurants are either switching to tasting menus, putting a greater focus on a tasting-menu option (while offering à la carte items as well), or opening as tasting-menu operations from day one. The format that used to be the calling card of only the fanciest of restaurants is becoming ubiquitous, even at places where the waiter calls you “dude” and there isn’t a white tablecloth in sight.
  • KISS @ The Forum
    KISS performed to a sold out house at The Forum on Tuesday night. Def Leppard opened up the night and KISS fans of all ages arrived decked in their best make-up. All photos by Timothy Norris.
  • Cher and Cyndi Lauper @ Staples Center
    Cher performed to a packed house at Staples Center on Monday night with her D2K Tour. Cyndi Lauper opened the night sounding as fresh as ever. All photos by Timothy Norris.

Best Of Award Graphics 2009

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