Susan Kistler on Offbeat Southern California for Those at Evaluation 2011

My name is Susan Kistler. I am the American Evaluation Association’s Executive Director and contributor of each Saturday’s aea365 post. I grew up on an island, spent months in a car touring Mexico, lived in a nurse’s dormitory while teaching statistics in Hong Kong, and have visited what certainly must be the most unique sculpture park in the world off the tip of South Korea. My travel interests run from the mundane to the extraordinary, and everything in between. I also briefly lived in Southern California and am looking forward to returning for this year’s AEA annual conference.

Today, I wanted to suggest a few options that might not yet be on your travel list, and to encourage you to arrive early or stay late and enjoy all that SoCal has to offer before and after Evaluation 2011.

Hot Tip – Pacific Standard Time: Pacific Standard Time is “an unprecedented collaboration of cultural institutions across Southern California coming together to celebrate the birth of the L.A. art scene.” Starting in October, over 60 museums, parks, and other exhibition spaces will explore art in LA from 1945 to 1980 through installations, performances, lectures, and more. Rent a car, expand your mind, and learn about printmaking, queer art, architecture, Mexican modernisn, and more. See

Hot Tip – OC Custom Wine: Put on your evaluator hat and take a short 5 mile cab ride to OC Custom Wine. Recommended by a friend in the area, I can’t wait to give this a try – wine tasting flights at $5 to $10 (determine your criteria, consider contextual factors, assign value to each, re-sample to ensure reliability of your data), acoustic music on most Friday and Saturday nights, and great nibbles to boot. Learn a bit about wine, and you can have a vintage bottled on the spot with a custom label to remember the evening.

Hot Tip – Hike to the Hollywood Sign: You’ve committed to the rental car, so take a drive up to the Hollyridge Trail and an enjoyable walk to take in views of the city and the iconic sign you’ve seen on TV and in movies. It’s huge! Experience this little piece of Americana, but be forewarned: (a) you can get lost – use the instructions here, and (b) you can’t touch the sign – it’s gated off and there are lots of cameras.

I hope to see you all at AEA’s annual conference in Anaheim the first week in November. What suggestions do you have for enjoying the area and doing something a little out of the ordinary?

The above opinions are my own and do not necessarily represent those of AEA. aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

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