Photo Essay: Simi Valley Cajun and Blues Festival Sunday

Terrance Simien


All photos by Rachel McKnight for The Los Angeles Beat

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Spring Fling in Venice May 30, 2015

spring fling

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Voyage to the Iron Reef Opens at Knott’s Berry Farm

Knotts-Berry-Farm-Iron-ReefFull steam ahead mateys! Memorial Day weekend is the official start of the amusement park industry’s cash grabbing Spring/Summer season. Midwest and East Coast parks will finally be open, and many of the California parks will have the refurbished classics, added amenities and most importantly — new rides. After a thirteen year absence of original dark rides that started in 2002 when Kingdom of the Dinosaurs once stomped (and frequently broke down), Knott’s Berry Farm has just opened its first new dark ride.

It’s with great pleasure that I say Knott’s and Cedar Fair Entertainment wisely took notice of 3D technology and new school attitudes toward dark rides. It is giving the park a much needed boost in that direction, instead of their usual thrill rides only policy. Their first venture into this realm was Guardian Of The Mountain at Canada’s Wonderland, a 3D shooter ride (designed and manufactured by Triotech Industries and project directors from Cedar Fair), featuring Dragons and other cave dwellers. It was so successful that plans went to the table immediately to fill a long empty space at the West Coast park.

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Negroni Week Kicks Off with Three Events to Benefit ‘Inspire Artistic Minds’


Inspire Artistic Minds was started as a local organization but has blossomed into one of the most important charitable organizations for the restaurant and bar industry in the country. The purpose of IAM is to offer educational grants for those involved in bars and restaurants to better their knowledge of the industry and especially to obtain advanced education in areas such as mixology, sommelier and cicerone certification. IAM encourages the growth with both scholarships and educational experiences to advance the culinary arts in areas of taste, sight and sound, Their aim is to stimulate the growth of the local economy, strengthen small business and support passionate individuals in many creative industries.

Negroni's Loss from 320 Main. Photo courtesy of Inspire Artistic Minds.orgBobby Navarro, founder of Inspire Artistic Minds, believes Negroni Week is a great opportunity to support IAM. Bobby said today, June 1 that “I believe that our organizations offers an incredible synergetic property for events dealing with spirits. Bartenders are incentivized to partner with us because we are one of the only organizations in the country offering opportunity scholarships for hard working, artistic individuals like bartenders”. Enabling bartenders to attend events such as the Portland Cocktail Week, where they can not only network with their peers but attend seminars from the top mixologists and bartenders in the business is just one way that IAM helps further the careers of bartenders throughout the country. Continue reading

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Canned Heat Headlined a Great Day of Music in the Hi Desert at the Inaugural Adelanto New Blues Festival

Canned Heat onstage. Photo by Ed Simon for The Los Angeles Beat.

On a sunny afternoon in the high desert town of Adelanto, an enthusiastic crowd gathered for a full day of music and fun at Mavericks Heritage Field at the inaugural Adelanto New Blues Festival. The event, featuring as the headliner the classic blues band Canned Heat, and backed up by eight other blues bands, presented some great music from start to finish. From the George Foster Band doing a blistering version of Spoonful, Victor Crain went on to give a great performance of the blues, followed by DJ Parker and his guitar.

The Blue Henry’s were a big hit with their combination of traditional blues songs plus some stunning original tunes, followed by DJ Parker’s rocking version of some blues and rock tunes. The Mighty Mojo Prophet’s fans were in attendance for their favorite band while, the 44’s went full speed ahead with some excellent original blues tunes. New Blues Revolution warmed up the crowd with their exciting combination of rock, blues and soul tunes.

As evening came on, Canned Heat performed an excellent show, with a mix of their classic tunes started with On the Road Again and included such well-known songs as Going Up the Country, Let’s Work Together and a dynamite version of Rollin’ and Tumblin‘. By the time they finished with a great boogie that only Canned Heat can do so well, the crowd was dancing in the aisles. Boxcar 7 closed out the evening with a good mix of blues, soul and event big band tunes.

Photo Essay follows the jump

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Offbeat L.A.: Come Fly With Me… Vintage Aviation History at The Flight Path Museum near LAX

Vintage uniforms and model planes on display at the Flight Path Museum (photo by Nikki Kreuzer)

Vintage uniforms and model planes on display at the Flight Path Museum (photo by Nikki Kreuzer)

Aviation history with a window to LAX air strips (photo by Nikki Kreuzer)

Aviation history with a window to LAX air strips (photo by Nikki Kreuzer)

Ever since our dusty town, Los Angeles, was barely newborn, we have had our hands in bigger and better things- including the history of aviation. In 1910, seven years after the Wright Brothers made their first famous flight in North Carolina, a field located halfway between L.A. and San Pedro, in Dominguez Hills, was chosen for America’s first ever International Air Meet. This was quite a big deal at the time, featuring early “aeroplanes” and famous aviators. At that point our whole area from San Fernando to Palos Verdes to Glendora hardly had 400,000 people (319,000 in L.A. alone), and some conclude that having the eyes of the world upon us helped our area transform from an agricultural center to a major industrial metropolis.

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Movie Review: Zombeavers

zombeaver posterI’ll try to be PC for the sake of my alternative lifestyle and queer community friends by not saying I’m totally gay for this film. Instead I will declare that I have a complete “BroMo” hard on for this lively Horror spoof directed by Jordan Rubin, who is primarily known for his writing on The Man Show, The MTV Movie Awards and Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson. Zombeavers is his first film behind the lens and it goes brilliantly retro to the Roger Corman/Stuart Grodon zone from the late seventies and early 80’s when horror comedies like Piranha and Reanimator were gracing the grindhouses and drive-ins across the nation, where playing up to tastelessness and exploitation were the norm. Despite some overtly sexist frat house humor, the writing is very clever and the finished product contains everything you might expect or want from an enticing piece of folderol  titled Zombeavers. There is gore, nudity, action, slapstick, a few pokes at the genre in general, and oh yes, the “beaver” innuendos come flying fast and furry-ous (Sorry I couldn’t resist).

The movie starts out with comic gold from Bill Burr as a trucker musing about metrosexuality right before he starts to text while driving, which leads to him plowing into a deer and unknowingly knocking a barrel of toxic waste off the truck and into the river where it eventually comes to rest on a beaver dam. Cue spooky music and the funniest animated title sequence I have seen since maybe the Pink Panther.

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solita in Huntington Beach introduces new Baja-inspired brunch dishes for Memorial Day weekend

SolitaBrunch_14. Photo courtesy of Moxxe PR.Executive Chef Deborah Schneider of solita Tacos & Margaritas in Huntington Beach will be introducing some delicious new menu items to solita’s weekend brunch menu. Brunch at solita is offered every Saturday and Sunday from 11am until 3pm. In addition, solita will also serve their brunch on Memorial Day, Monday May 25th. “The success of our weekend brunches here at solita has inspired us to dig deeper into Baja cuisine,” explained Chef Deborah, who recently published her sixth cookbook, Salsas and Moles. “We’re excited to introduce Machaca to our brunch menu. What makes our machaca unique is that it is oak-smoked, cooked in a rich sauce, and then shredded”.

SolitaBrunch_04. Photo courtesy of Moxxe PR.Machaca, of course, is shredded beef and it makes an appearance in several of the new dishes. The mad scramble comes with either machaca, grilled chicken or chorizo, scvrambled with eggs, spinach, onions and cheese and then topped with crema and salsa fresca. The mad scramble is served with one side dish and warm tortillas. The namesake machaca and eggs uses the same slow-cooked and oak smoked beef, sautéeing it along with onions, scrambled eggs and fresh tomatoes. It is then topped with melted Mexican cheeses, cilantro and avocado and served with one side and warm tortillas.

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Memorial Day is All-Day Happy Hour at Del Frisco’s Grille in Irvine

Ahi tuna Tacos CU. Photo by Ed Simon for The Los Angeles Beat.Memorial Day weekend is almost upon us. On this holiday, when we pay tribute by honoring our brave men and women who have served and often died to protect our liberty, often times we raise a glass to them in their memory. To start off the summer season right, this weekend there is no better place to raise a glass then Del Frisco’s Grille in the Irvine Spectrum. Memorial Day weekend also serves as the official beginning to the summer season, a time of barbeques, icy cold cocktails and plenty of fun weekends. To celebrate, Del Frisco’s will be having an all-day Happy Hour on their patio and in the bar on Memorial Day.

Del Frisco's Grille Sangria 2. Photo courtesy of Del Frisco's Grille/Elizabeth Borsting PR.In honor of Memorial Day, three new cocktails are being unveiled including The Dutch Mule, made with Nolet’s Silver Gin and ginger beer with slices of red grapefruit and mint sprigs as garnish. The Youth Serum is for the young at heart with Ketel One, Lemon Sour, simple syrup, diced cucumber and mint leaves all shaken together then garnished with a mint sprig. Sangria Pops gets a whimsical touch with a sangria-infused popsicle garnish and features Pinot Grigio, DeKuper Peachtree Schnapps, white peach puree and sprite.  The cocktails will be offered for $7 on Memorial Day (regularly $12).

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Simi Valley Cajun & Blues Festival has a Lineup of Pure Classics on their Blues Stage this Weekend

Canned Heat. Photo courtesy of cannedheatmusic

Canned Heat. Photo courtesy of cannedheatmusic

The Simi Valley Cajun and Blues Music Festival is always a good time, if just for the crawfish and the dancing. This year the festival has pulled in some big names and truly historical performers. The event features a Blues Stage and a Cajun and Zydeco stage.

Saturday the Blues Stage will go up the country with Canned Heat, veterans of both Woodstock and the Monterey Pop Festival. As The Beat’s Ed Simon recently explained, “The current lineup of Canned Heat features drummer/bandleader “Adolfo “Fito” de la Parra, a 45 year veteran of the band; Larry “The Mole” Taylor, the original bass player; and Dale Spaulding, who provides lead vocals, harmonica and guitar for Canned Heat. Also on guitar is John “JP” Paulus.” Read Ed’s interview with Fito de la Parra here.

Also on the bill Saturday are Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, the band that helped usher in the return of swing in the 90s, and the guitar-heavy Royal Southern Brotherhood, who truly are music royalty with representatives from famous Southern families the Nevilles and the Allmans.  Be sure to arrive by noon to catch opening act Leo “Bud” Welch, a proverbial diamond in the rough. Playing blues and gospel for a select group of friends and family in Mississippi, Welch was a logger by trade. He was discovered by Fat Possum Records and released his first album, Sabougla Voices at the age of 81.

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