For Your Holiday Shopping – Sinatra Around The World

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Just in time for the holiday season comes a pair of classics (it’s actually a quad, two concerts on each DVD).  From Eagle Rock Entertainment, comes some classic Sinatra.  You may have seen some of these clips, like “The Main Event” but you have never seen them like this before.  Lovingly restored, the clarity and sound on these discs is wonderful, trust me you haven’t seen these before like this.  I’m speaking of “Frank Sinatra at The Royal Festival Hall/Sinatra in Japan”, and “Ol’ Blue Eyes is Back/The Main Event”.

The Main Event was one of the late, great Jerry Weintraub’s first promotions.  He had the brilliant idea to take Frank to Madison Square Garden and put on a show that was like a boxing event, complete with the ring, Howard Cosell announcing, and the walk through the crowd to the ring.  It was broadcast on October 13, 1974 and it was the show that made the career of Weintraub, and was one of the most famous shows ever put on by The Chairman of The Board.  It also brough Sinatra into millions of homes via the ABC Television network.

The other performance on the disc is “Ol’ Blue Eyes is Back”, a show that put an end to his first “retirement” in 1971.  It was done in front of a studio audience, but it still had a live feel to it.  No lip syncing, no overdubs, just the man at home in front of an audience, no matter the size.

The second disc, “Frank Sinatra at The Royal Festival Hall/Sinatra in Japan” showcases Frankie at two of the most celebrated venues in the world; The Royal Albert Hall in London, and The Budokan in Tokyo.  One sees just how hip and cool Frank is when he performs “Something” by George Harrison.  Not that there’s any question that Sinatra was the emobodiment of cool, and it’s displayed perfectly here.   The Budokan gig is wonderful even though it was nearer to the end of his storied career in 1985.  No matter, he still kicked ass!

Pick these up this holiday season for yourself or a luck recipient!

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Tickets On Sale Friday 12/9 for We Rock With Standing Rock

Tickets go on sale this Friday for “We Rock With Standing Rock”, a benefit concert in support of the water protectors at Standing Rock, to be held at the Henry Fonda Theater on Sunday, December 18.

Here’s the line-up announced so far: TV on the Radio, Fiona Apple, Devendra Banhart, Robby Romero, Sky Ferreira, Kimya Dawson, Benjamin Booker, Moses Sumney, Valerie June, Nahko, Holly Miranda, Laura Burhenn, Becky Stark, Chapin Sisters, Jolie Holland, and Bouquek. Tickets run an affordable $25 to $35.

If contemplative, post-millenial indie is your thing, this is sure to be a night to remember – I’d highly recommend it if only to see our local treasures Becky Stark, Jolie Holland and the Chapin Sisters on the same stage. Proceeds from the door will go support The Official Oceti Sakowin Camp (Seven Council Fires) Fund, Native Children’s Survival, The Seeding Sovereignty Project and GiveLove.

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Live Review: September Mourning Collect Souls In Newport

On Wednesday Nov 16 the Southgate House played host to the musical comic book, come to life of September Mourning as the Fall Soul Collection Tour came to Newport, Kentucky. Vocalist September and her fellow reapers Riven, Wraith and Stitch brought the L.A. born creation to the hallowed halls of Southgate, playing between stained glass windows and cathedral organ pipes. The human-reaper hybrid saving souls for a second chance in print while electrifying and enchanting audiences as the ghost-like vixen between realms performed in good spiritual company that night.

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Our Favorite Holiday Activities 2016

The Enchanted Forest at Descanso Gardens. Photo by Dan Clark. Used with permission.

The Enchanted Forest at Descanso Gardens. Photo by Dan Clark. Used with permission.

The sun may shine upon Los Angeles throughout the entire month of December, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have holiday fun just like everyone else. Heck, we even make our own snow! There are a million events in the city, but here is a selection of our favorites.

ONGOING ACTIVITIES

ENCHANTED FOREST OF AT DESCANSO GARDENS

When the sun goes down in Descanso Gardens, the park becomes a magical world of light. Stroll along the one-mile walk and enjoy lighting displays like the whimsical toadstools that change color as you hop on them. The trail is accessible for strollers, wheelchairs and mobility assistance devices. Enchanted: Forest of Light runs daily from 5 to 10 p.m. through Sunday, January 8, 2017. Maple, the exciting new pop-up at Descanso Gardens, will offer a dinner menu exclusively for Enchanted ticket holders. To make a reservation, call (818) 864-6435. Tickets are timed and must be purchased in advance. Tickets are $28 (general); $24 (seniors 65 and older and children 3 to 17); children 2 and younger enter free.

LA ZOO LIGHTS AT THE LA ZOO

Several years after the closing of Griffith Park’s Festival of Lights, the L.A. Zoo grabbed the reigns to continue the tradition with Zoo Lights At Night…From now until January 8th, the Zoo is emblazoned with phantasmagorical displays of optic sculptures, trippy looking animal animations, and a water and light show akin to Disney’s World Of Color…The park practically comes alive with electric radiance from the get go, with swarms of large globes in the bushes and a tree filled with about thirty disco balls. There [is] plenty of holiday cheer, but almost as many of the displays [are] just artistic and fantasy-like in nature, with no purpose in mind other than to dazzle the eye and cheer the soul. Your best bet is to buy your tickets online ($14.00) for the time you want, and bypass the ticket line. (Dukey Flyswatter)

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Facets of Felines Charity Art Show Dec 11th

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Live Review: Bootblacks at Complex

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Bootblacks wrapped up their tour with Liste Noire recently at Complex in Glendale, promoting their excellent album Veins (reviewed here). The performance was more stark than the lush record, and felt slightly more industrial, but it was intense and full of dark energy, complemented by the small, black-walled venue and lots of stage lights. Singer/keyboardist Panther MacDonald’s vocals were great, and guitarist Alli Gorman’s use of a trumpet to fill in some of the lead lines was both funny and effective.

Liste Noire is a French-Swedish trio from Berlin with a new album called Brace. Their synths-and-beats set was very danceable, which suits their self-described genre of “disco noir.” The two bands have a lot of fun photos from their tour together on Facebook; you can follow them here and here.

A few more pictures after the jump

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Movies Till Dawn: Character Actor Spotting in ’70s Crime Movies

738329206598The Laughing Policeman” (1973, Kino Lorber) A gunman opens fire on a San Francisco transit bus, killing everyone aboard, including an undercover cop (Dave Costello) working an unsolved murder case involving a businessman (Albert Paulsen) accused of dispatching his wife. The cop’s partner (Walter Matthau) – who has become obsessed with solving the businessman case – is given the grim task of sorting through the background of each victim to find any connection that could lead to the killer, which leads to some unsavory people and places on the fringes of the Bay Area; helping him sort through the mess is detective Bruce Dern, whose charm-based approach to police work clashes with Matthau’s by-the-books determination. Stuart Rosenberg (“Cool Hand Luke”) directed this adaptation of the crime novel by Swedish authors Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo with an eye towards grimy realism and a solid balance of strong violence (a nod to the then-recent “Dirty Harry”) and methodical police investigation. And if the motive for the murders leans on outdated stereotypes, the team-up of Matthau and Dern – both playing against their ’70s-era screen personas (funny/cranky and crazy) – is polished enough to get past those rough patches; they’re well abetted by such all-pro players as the great Anthony Zerbe (angry lieutenant), Louis Gossett, Jr. (cool detective) and Joanna Cassidy (cagey nurse). Character actor devotees will revel in the familiar faces dotting the supporting cast, including Val Avery, Paul Koslo (as a very creepy dealer), Gregory Sierra, Cathy Lee Crosby, Frances Lee McCain, Mario Gallo (who gets his head shoved in a urinal), Clifton James, Matt Clark and fist-faced Louis Guss. Kino’s Blu-ray includes appreciative and informative commentary by “Cinema Retro” editor Lee Pfeiffer and historians Eddy Friedfeld and Paul Scrabo, as well as a lively chat with Koslo, who discusses his career playing bad guys and working with Matthau and Dern; the original trailer, as well as previews for several of Kino ’70s cop titles, including the great Matthau starrer “The Taking of Pelham One Two Three,” “Busting” and “Report to the Commissioner,” round out the fine disc.

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watt’s picture of the week – friday, december 2, 2016

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you think this pelican in my pedro town this morning was telling me “you mean, let me understand this … cuz I … maybe it’s me, maybe I’m a little fucked up maybe. I’m funny how, I mean funny, like I’m a clown? I amuse you. I make you laugh? I’m here to fuckin’ amuse you? whattya you mean funny? funny how? how am I funny?” or what? maybe not but maybe…

photo by mike watt

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mike watt’s hoot page

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BD Review: The T.A.M.I. Show/ The Big T.N.T. Show

There’s no more natural double feature in the history of concert films than the pairing of these two beauties from 1964-65. The T.A.M.I. Show and The Big T.N.T. Show both follow the same format – get a huge number of popular groups and singers onto one LA stage for one massive live show, get a bunch of screaming teens to cream their jeans in front of the stage, and roll tape. The resulting films brought rock and roll to movie houses around the country, at a time when it wasn’t easy to see James Brown or Ike and Tina on television. Both of these films hold some of the best footage ever captured in that era, the solo singers backed by LA’s Wrecking Crew of studio musicians, everyone recorded and mixed beautifully; music on the latter film is produced by Phil Spector.

Much of the T.A.M.I. Show’s reputation rests on one set, a heart-stopping performance by James Brown. And yes, if you’ve never seen it, you simply must, as it is one of the most scorching pieces of concert footage ever shot. But it comes close to the end of an astounding series of sets that would have made this film a keeper even if Brown hadn’t shown up. Smokey Robinson and the Miracles’ group dancing take of “Micky’s Monkey” is a thing of pure joy, as is the powerhouse version of “Dance Dance Dance” by the Beach Boys. The Stones already have their patented loose-tight groove on stage, and what do you know, Keith Richards used to do dance moves when he was young! Chuck Berry is, more than anything, a good sport for inexplicably having his part of the show awkwardly intermingled with Gerry and the Pacemakers’, but even if the juxtaposition makes no sense, the music is happening, and the Pacemakers are much more lively here than on their records. Marvin Gaye, Lesley Gore and the Supremes are spot on, the height of cool professionalism, and the Barbarians provide a shot of garage-rock angst. And then there’s Brown, coming in and basically just killing everybody from the moment he glides onto the stage on one foot. Jan and Dean make affable hosts, and the attendant teenagers scream their heads off. It’s a gas, and belongs on your shelf.

This edition from Shout! Factory adds the first complete home video release of its obvious sequel, The Big T.N.T. Show, shot toward the end of 1965 by an almost entirely different production team. The lineup is similarly star-studded, but it’s not quite the bang-bang shoot-em-up that the T.A.M.I. Show was. In place of Jan & Dean, the host is actor David McCallum, who conducts the house band through a corny instrumental arrangement of “Satisfaction” that I’m told was a number-one hit – hey man, it was the sixties. And the emergence of folk rock as a major concern means a good deal of screen time given to acts more prone to quiet, lovely poetry than zazzed-up rock and roll. Continue reading

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Wrangling Balloons in the Hollywood Christmas Parade

Forward march!

Forward march!

Filled with celebrities, balloons and dozens of marching bands, the Hollywood Christmas Parade is one of the biggest Christmas parades in America.  2016 marked the 85th observation of this Southern California holiday tradition.

The Hollywood Hotel is among the many groups that partner with the parade to wrangle the balloons as the parade proceeds through the streets of Hollywood.  This year, they extended a special offer to their guests to join the parade team as a balloon wrangler.

I was invited to join the Hollywood Hotel balloon team to get a behind-the-scenes look at the parade.  Here’s a recollection of that experience!

3:24 PM – Arriving at the Hotel

An efficient check-in gets me up to the room quickly.  The bed looks totally comfy and plush.  I ponder a nap and wish I could stay longer but I need to get to the parade HQ to meet up with the hotel’s balloon team.

Arriving at the Hotel.

Arriving at the Hotel.

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