What Not to Miss at The Sunset Strip Music Festival

This year, with the imminent closing of the House of Blues, there is no better time to celebrate the musical legend of the Sunset Strip. The Sunset Strip Music Festival runs this weekend, 2pm-11pm on the 20th and 2pm to 10pm on the 21st. To accommodate the event, Sunset Boulevard will be closed between San Vicente Boulevard and Doheny Drive starting at 3 a.m. on Saturday, September 20 and will reopen by 6 a.m. on Monday, September 22. For those attending the festival, be forewarned — there are no ins and outs, but there will be food trucks and other vendors. We are offering up a few of our picks for the event, but it is not all-inclusive. The other bands might not suck, but this is who is on our radar.

Check out our picks after the break

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Movie Review: “Kelly & Cal”

KEL_63_M2.0V3.1Kelly & Cal, directed by Jen McGowan, is about the unlikely friendship between unhappy new mom Kelly (Juliette Lewis) and depressed, wheelchair using teen Cal (Jonny Weston) that takes a few turns in the wrong direction, even as it helps them both cope with their troubles.

Kelly has just had her first baby, in a new home in a suburban town, and at first it seems as if she exists in a vacuum. She’s home taking care of the baby while her husband Josh (Josh Hopkins) works late hours, and it isn’t explained for quite awhile what he does or what Kelly used to do. It’s obvious though that she’s an edgy, artsy type who doesn’t feel comfortable in her new role as mom – or her new location – and that she’s afraid of screwing it all up. She is also surprisingly passive, putting up with daily visits from her mother-in-law (Cybill Shepherd) and bitter sister-in-law (Lucy Owen) with whom she has nothing in common, as well as her husband’s lack of help and lack of interest in post-baby sex.

Kelly is sneaking a cigarette in her backyard when Cal pops up over the fence – a good-looking, cocky teenager who announces that he can see her change through her window. After she tells them off, she sees that he’s in a wheelchair, and after flagging him down later in the neighborhood, she starts to visit him whenever she walks the baby in the stroller. As Kelly tells Josh after their first meeting, Cal seems like the first normal person she’s met in the neighborhood, but it makes sense that she responds to him because she’s so youthful herself, and through their visits, we learn first that she used to play bass in a rock band and later, that she went to art school. She learns that Cal was an artist with a good chance at a scholarship before his accident, which cost him his fine motor skills, and that his girlfriend dumped him after he was injured.

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Kelly gives in way too easily to dying it back to brown for her mother-in-law.

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Actors & Others for Animals teams up with “Celebrity Autobiography” for a night of Fun-Fundraising and Celebratory Celebrity Sagas!

Promotional Poster Courtesy of Actors & Others for Animals

Promotional Poster Courtesy of Actors & Others for Animals

Adore animals?  Thrill to theatrics?  Swoon to stories of celebrity scandal?  Then ACTORS & OTHERS FOR ANIMALS’ “Celebrity Autobiography” is probably right up your alley (minus any alley cats of course), as this fundraiser aims at eliminating pet overpopulation and fostering the care and protection of domestic animals throughout the LA-nd!

“Celebrity Autobiography” has paired in support with ACTORS & OTHERS FOR ANIMALS to continue assisting in its cause by way of a stellar evening of celebrity storytelling as read by well…alternate celebrities—some similar and some polarly opposite– to hilarious, sometimes incongruous and otherworldly effect!  Monday, October 13th, “Celebrity Autobiography” will take over El Portal Theatre. The show starts at 8:00pm, with an exclusive VIP-only Reception and Silent Auction at 7pm.

Continually and currently playing to sold out houses in New York/nation-wide, “Celebrity Autobiography” is a comedic influence par excellence.  Crafted and developed by Emmy-nominated writer-performer Eugene Pack and co-developed by Dayle Reyfel, “Celebrity Autobiography” features the lives and autobiographies of such personalities as Justin Beiber, Elizabeth Taylor, Debbie Reynolds, and Eddie Fisher and their related love triangle.  The “poetry” of Suzanne Somers will also be featured minus any sort of beatnik , ironic beard or bongo drum related action (then again, who knows what surprises might unfold…?)

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Inaba: Japanese Oysters in Torrance

inaba teaInaba is noted for its handmade Soba which is difficult to make.  Buckwheat has very little gluten so that it doesn’t “stick” together easily.  Therefore, in order to facilate the making of Soba, about 20% is wheat flour to create a decent noodle that does not break apart at the slightest handling.

Soba may be the most “Japanese” according to purist Japanese food addicts.  The term “Shisso”  connotes simplicity, modesty, frugality, and Soba has those characteristics.  It is earthy, unadorned, satisfying in a downhome manner.  The perfect accompaniment is usually a light, ethereal, crunchy Tempura tasting of fresh sweet oil based Umami.

inobiToday though, and all through September, Inaba is featuring different variations of the family Ostreidae better known as the True Oyster.

Kaki no Sappari Sho-yu Yaki:  Refreshing Soy Sauce Baked Oysters seemed to be given a bit of a flour dusting then baked with an addition of a lightly sweetened soy sauce and possibly a touch of lemon.  The three extra large oysters under this treatment were meaty in texture, firm yet softly yielding with a slight pastiness from the flour coating. However, I felt that the sweetened soy sauce may not have been the best match to pair with the more sea minerality infused oyster which usually does better with sauces that are more tart, slightly acidic.

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I’m Comin’ Over – A September-October To-Do List For Old Punk Rockers

The Buzzcocks at Ink N Iron 2014. Photo by Elise Thompson for the LA Beat.

The Buzzcocks at Ink N Iron 2014. Photo by Elise Thompson for the LA Beat.

This has already been a pretty spectacular month for gigs of a particular vintage – I deeply regret missing the re-ignited Swans, Mission of Burma, COC and Stiff Little Fingers in the last few weeks alone (Yet I somehow found time to see Peter Frampton? I hereby surrender all credibility.) But the coming weeks have several more favorite acts on the way. Here are a handful of retro-revolutionary events worth knowing about in the days ahead.

Neutral Milk Hotel, The Breeders, Daniel Johnston Thursday September 18 at Hollywood Bowl.

The vibe at NMH bandleader Jeff Mangum’s first solo shows a few years ago, as well as a round by the band itself following soon after, was described by some who attended as nearly religious in nature, with tickets hard to come by and people travelling great distances for the experience, probably not far from what Kate Bush fans are experiencing in London right now. For this LA show, finally playing a hall so big they haven’t yet sold it out, there’s a chance for casual fans to check them out too. And we should do it, because NMH is a genuinely unique and pleasurable band, something most of the world didn’t realize until long after they’d split up. Also appearing are the Breeders, who have always been superb live, and celebrated songwriter Daniel Johnston.

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SIP LBC September 21-27 Will Be a Week of Great Cocktails, Wine, Beer and Delicious Food

Denise pouring Bulleit Bourbon Sunrise. Photo by Edward Simon for The Los Angeles Beat.

Long Beach has always been a great place to go and enjoy a good cocktail and dinner. This coming week there is even more reason to take a trip to Long Beach. September 21 through 27, Long Beach will be home to SIP LBC, the Long Beach Wine and Spirits Week. Many of the local venues are offering a “562” cocktail for $5.62, and several are also doing a food and drink pairing for $18.88. This will be a great place to try some new food and sip some cocktails crafted by Long Beach’s best mixologists, enjoy some wines picked out by LBC sommeliers and try a wide selection of local and imported craft beers chosen by Long Beach’s cicerones, the beer equivalent of a sommelier.

Long Beach has a wide range of bars and restaurants, many brand new but some as old as the antique buildings that house them. Iguana Kelley’s has been around in the same building since 1960 and is one of the iconic bars of Long Beach. The building dates to 1913 and was the ‘Rose Room’ until new owners renamed it ‘Iguana Kelley’s’ in 1960. Steve Guillen and his wife bought Iguana Kelley’s in June 2013 and brought many years of bar and restaurant experience with him. One look at the original neon sign on the building and you can tell that this is a bar with a storied history. Continue reading

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MOCA’s Step and Repeat Performance Series Continues this Saturday at The Geffen

Dynasty Handbag by Josh White

Dynasty Handbag by Josh White

Step and Repeat, a multi-disciplinary program of performance art, music, comedy, and poetry, opened last Saturday night at the Geffen Contemporary at MOCA. The series continues for three additional and consecutive Saturdays (September 20th, 27th, closing October 4th).

The line-up for this Saturday, September 20th, includes artists Rod Smith, Will Alexander, Barbara T. Smith, Yung Jake, Power Violence, Le1f, Isla Jones Cheadle, Reach La, Kingdom, Nguzunguzu, and Prince Will.

Opening night of Step and Repeat brought a series of performances on numbered stage/performance areas inside the spacious Geffen. It was interesting to see a diversity of performances from spoken word, dance, poetry, music, comedy and a cross section of all them.

According to MOCA,“Step and Repeat announces MOCA’s return to live arts programming, a crucial part of the museum’s historical identity. In the spirit of the upcoming series, we’re looking back at performances at The Geffen.”

Performance art can be a bit polarizing. Some champion it, while others dismiss it. Not all performance art is defined by rolling an American flag into a burrito then smashing a few mirrors in mime make-up. (Huh? Wow! vs. Wow! Huh?) However, a live performance (art, music, dance, poetry, etc.,) unfolds within the moment and creates an interaction between performer and audience.

It’s encouraging to see MOCA’s programming include the experience of performance art with Step and Repeat. Don’t miss out on the next Step and Repeat this Saturday!

For tickets and more information on the series, visit the Step and Repeat site.

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The Buzzcocks Hit Los Angeles with New Songs From Their Forthcoming Album “The Way”

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Tonight The Buzzcocks will be playing the historic Fonda for their only gig in LA proper before hitting Solana Beach at the Belly Up Tavern and for their final SoCal appearance at Bang Fest at The Observatory (3503 S. Harbor Blvd., Santa Ana, 92704) on Saturday. The Buzzcocks will be playing the festival along with artists like: X, Los Lobos, Dave Alvin & Phil Alvin, Wanda Jackson, The Knitters and Junior Brown. Afterwards they will embark on their European Tour to support the new album The Way. Yesterday, Sept. 16th, the first song from The WayIt’s Not You” can be heard by everyone via Sound Cloud.

The Pledge Music funded The Way will be officially released to the general public on Nov. 18th, and if you attend any of the SoCal shows you’ll get a taste of this new material long before the release date. “It’s Not You” is clearly a return to the smart and cleverly written material we all have come to love from The Buzzcocks. It’s clear from the way this song is being released that it’s not intended to be a nostalgia or vanity release. It’s clearly intended to continue the legacy of artist-driven written material that’s as culturally impactful as The Buzzcocks’ initial releases from their eight earlier offerings.

Be prepared to be entertained at any of their upcoming shows. The group will offer a consummate performance that is tight, as they are on target with the best from The Buzzcocks’ back catalogue. You’ll get Pete’s steady, meticulous drive and riveting vocals. Then there’s Steve Diggle’s blazing guitar work while he prowls the stage, which keeps the energy high and the experience equally intense. The Buzzcocks deliver a powerful stage show burning up the legendary hits. No matter which LA area show you attend this week, prepare to get your socks knocked off!

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Review: “A Penny for the Parking Fairy”

penny (Custom)Janet Housden hates a lot of things. She hates parking. She hates pop culture. She probably hates you. But what she hates most of all are the pretentious, entitled fucks that accompany gentrification. “A Penny for the Parking Fairy” is a modern fairy tale and urban legend that lingers somewhere between the Eastside and The Twilight Zone. Here all of Janet’s hatred converges in one place – a Mini Cooper driven by her two main characters, Kyle Butler and Tuffy Hork. The events that follow will change their shallow, self-absorbed lives forever.

It is a quick read that will leave you thinking. Janet Housden uses expressive language with a lot of action to move the story along. She is able to capture the nuances of conversation that enable the reader to ultimately believe in the characters, as outlandish as they may be. “A Penny for the Parking Fairy” captures the zeitgeist of a little neighborhood in L.A. on the cusp of the 21st century.

Al Guerrero is Ralph Steadman to Janet Housden’s Hunter S. Thompson. His illustrations, which are often drawn against the backdrop of real photographs, are sometimes reminiscent of Dan Clowes. Guerrero’s lines are sharp and uncluttered. He is a master at capturing facial expressions that get directly to the heart of a character.

In true DIY fashion, “A Penny for the Parking Fairy” is self-published with a limited run. Pick up this 24-page novelette at Stories, Skylight, The Brat Store, and Beyond Baroque. Or order online here. Seriously. You don’t want to piss Janet off.

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On the Road Beauty: Repêchage

In the past month my skin has gone from high desert to humid New England, which is not exactly the kind of testing anyone wants (not to mention airplanes, the ultimate dehydrator.) So when Repêchage sent me three of their newest products to test-run, I was thrilled. For the past week I’ve been using the Algo Mist Hydrating Spray which has been reformulated (I try and keep it in whatever fridge is handy, but it need not be – it’s just been so hot wherever I am! My Los Angeles fridge looks like a skin care counter.)

algomist

This is going to be one of my next flight staples as it includes seaweed concentrates, Vitamin C, Orange Water, Aloe Vera and Gingko Biloba extract – all of which help reduce those horrible fine lines due that dryness, air travel, sun,  or cold weather can give you. Spraying it on about three times a day, this – in combination with the reformulated C-Serum  – has helped my parched California skin bounce back.

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