Slash to Headline this Year’s Beastly Ball

Photo courtesy of GLAZA

The Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association’s (GLAZA) biggest annual fundraiser, the Beastly Ball, will take place this year on Saturday, May 20, 2017, at 6 pm. It is always an exciting event as you get to wander the zoo after hours enjoying up-close and personal interactions with the residents while you enjoy cocktails and small plates from some of the best restaurants in LA. Guests are encouraged to wear invited to dress in “safari casual” attire.

This year we will be celebrating the L.A. Zoo’s 50th Anniversary. Legendary guitarist and noted wildlife (snake) advocate, Slash, will perform an exclusive live concert. Special guests Jack Black of Tenacious D, Grace Potter, leader of Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, current bass player for the Rolling Stones, Bernard Fowler, will be joining the band on stage as they play a mix of blues and R&B.

There will also be a live auction and an online mobile-bidding silent auction – open to the public — comprised of hundreds of remarkable items and one-of-a-kind opportunities, Previous years’ auction items included a ride in the Goodyear blimp, courtside seats for Lakers games, a tour of the zoo with Betty White, and being drawn into the cartoon, “Family Guy.”

Some of our favorite restaurants donating their services for dinner are Celestino Ristorante, El Cholo, El Coyote Mexican Café, The Federal Bar, Little Sister, Red O, Salt’s Cure, Taix French Restaurant, and Yummy Cupcakes.

Beastly Ball tickets are $1,500 per person.  Free parking is available.  For Beastly Ball tickets and additional information, call (323) 644-4753.

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Meat Street Meat Festival Gave Everyone A Chance to Enjoy Meat, Meat and More Meat

Last Sunday’s Meat Street Meat Festival was a resounding event. The Festival, which took place in Santa Ana’s Main Place Mall, brought thousands of foodies together to eat meat, meat and more meat. Items such as Bruxie’s Angry Mac and Cheese topped with a fried chicken drumstick and applewood bacon, the Mad Dumpling’s Loganisa Sausage Dumpling topped with Grilled Marinated Pork Belly and Fresh Jalapeno; and the DogHaus’ delicious Italian Stallion Sausage Sandwich tempted guests to try many excellent food treats.

The Dog Haus’ Chef and sausage expert as well as Food Network TV personality, Chef Adam Gertler, was there to greet the crowds. Over at the Mess Hall Canteen Truck, Chef Jake McPeck filled hungry gues’ts stomachs with the food that won him the Food Network’s Food Truck Face-Off. On stage, chefs were working on the world’s largest SPAM Musabi, the popular Hawaiian delicacy. Overall, the event, put on by Hormel Foods and Foodbeast, the popular Orange County food publication was a major success. Foodbeast’s many shows such as Oozefest have become popular fixtures of the local food scene. A portion of every ticket sale went to support Inspire Artistic Minds. This is a 501(c)3 charitable organization that provides scholarships to people in the hospitality industry, to attend events or experiences that will inspire them.

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Bill Bergman from Jack Mack and The Heart Attack Talks About The Blues, The Band and the Upcoming Beer BBQ and Blues Festival in Santa Clarita

The Blues, Brews & BBQ Festival returns to Central Park in Santa Clarita on May 5 through 7. The Craft Beer Festival, with over 40 beers on tap is on Friday and the BBQ Festival Saturday. On Sunday, the Blues Festival will bring some excellent blues music to the Park. Headlining the day’s musical lineup is Jack Mack and the Heart Attack Horns. Formed in L.A., they are one of the most popular and dynamic groups to come out of LA., bringing blues, soul and R&B with a reverence towards authenticity mixed with awesome energy. Bill Bergman, sax plaver, co-founder and co-producer of Jack Mack and the Heart Attack Horns, sat down with the L.A. Beat to talk about the upcoming show, Jack Mack’s history, their newest album Back to the Shack and his own musical story.

Q: Jack Mack and the Heart Attack brought blues, soul and R&B to L.A., a city that had not had much exposure to this kind of music. How did the band come about?

A: We’ve been together for 37 years. We started in 1980, formed by a group of guys that wanted to put a big band together to play soul and blues music, R&B music, the kind of music we grew up listening to. We were 10 pieces when we started, had a big 5-man horn section. We played our first gig in a place called the Blue Lagoon in Venice, California in 1980. And we’ve been doing it ever since!

Q: Are you excited to be headlining the Santa Clarita Craft Beer, BBQ and Blues Festival?

A: We’re excited because it’s a local Sunday afternoon gig and all of our friends and family and my grandkids and everyone gets to come out to a nice afternoon and hang. Not all of our gigs can all the family and friends come see, out of town or too late or whatever it is, so it’s fun for us. There’s nothing better then playing in front of your friends and family. Continue reading

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We Can’t Wait for the Taste of the Eastside Next Sunday!

The Gang at Spitz Doner

Sunday, April 30th, the 7th annual Taste of the Eastside (TOTE) will take place on the verdant grounds of the Los Angeles River Center and Gardens. From 4pm until 8pm, guests can wander beneath the shade trees and sample unlimited tastes from over 30 of the best restaurants in Silver Lake, Echo Park, Eagle Rock, Highland Park, Los Feliz, Atwater and beyond. Alcohol is not included in the ticket, which allows them to offer affordable tickets and create a family-friendly atmosphere.

Favorite participants include Little Dom’s, Mare, Hache LA,  Lemon Poppy Kitchen, Momed, Diablo Taco, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams, Malo, Eagle Rock Brewery Public House and McConnell’s Fine Ice Creams. This event also gives you the opportunity to try out some of the new places in the neighborhood. For those who enjoy tippling, wine flights curated by Silver Lake Wines, cocktails from Mohawk Bend and local craft beers will be available for purchase. KCRW DJs Anthony Valadez, Travis Holcombe and Garth Trinidad, plus DJ duo Playground will provide tunes, as well as live music from the Sasha Smith Trio.

100% of the proceeds from Taste of the Eastside will be donated to local nonprofit organizations. Tickets are only $45 online and score you a spot in the special presale line. VIP tickets at $75 presale will allow you one hour early entry at 3pm, which is worth its weight in gold, plus three drink tickets. GA tickets will be $55 at the door, VIP will be $85. We have to warn you, though, last year they sold out two days for the event, so get your tickets now!

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From Mudwimin to Intention Painting: The Abstract Artistry of S. Lee Robinson

Lee Robinson has taken quite a turn from San Francisco post-punk musician to Los Angeles-based abstract artist who has developed a style of painting she has dubbed “Intention Painting”. Robinson’s intention painting involves the writing or drawing of positive words and/or images on the canvas prior to her application of oil-based paint in the creative process. Those words and/or images’ intent provides a positive permanent spiritual connection in the completed painting.

On the eve of her public open studio night at the Keystone Art Space next Saturday, April 29, Robinson recently answered a few questions about her background, her metamorphosis into a more spiritually-inclined artist and her creative process.

What is “Intention Painting” and how did you transition from a broader style of abstract painting to develop this more specific style?

Intention painting is a process I’ve developed where I write, in words and sketches/doodles, on the canvas what I am wanting to attract into my life.  Then I create a painting on top of the intentions, obscuring them in the paint.  In the end, I have a work of art that acts as a talisman for my home. It’s a process that I’ve been practicing only since early 2016.  It can be a more intensely focused beginning to a painting or it can be very loose, but I now always make an intention for the piece before I begin. I realize that sounds like something that artists always do anyway, but this approach has an important spiritual element to it that is very satisfying for me and my patrons seem to resonate with these new paintings.

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‘Robert Shaw: Man of Many Voices’ to Screen at Newport Beach Film Festival April 25 and 27

In 1994, at the 65th Annual Academy Awards presentation, upon receiving the Oscar for the Best Song, ‘Streets of Philadelphia’, Bruce Springsteen delivered the finest acceptance speech that event has ever experienced: ‘You do your best work, and you hope that it pulls out the best in your audience and some of the pieces of it spill over into the real world, and into peoples everyday lives; that it takes the edge off of fear, and allows us to recognize each other through the veil of our differences.’

I don’t know if Springsteen ever met Robert Shaw but in those 56 words he summarized the life of that brilliant artist and human being shown so eloquently and beautifully in the 71 minute film ‘Robert Shaw: Man of Many Voices’ screening twice next week at the Newport Beach Film Festival, taking place at various venues around that city and at the Segerstrom Center in Costa Mesa.  Continue reading

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Sidney and The Detours Rock The Rose in Pasadena

Sidney and the Detours

Sidney and the Detours hit the stage as old blues souls in a new musical alliance.

Last night at The Rose, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy drew an SRO crowd of inked rockabillies, stingy-brim fedoras and the usual Eastside hipster crowd, but Pasadena is still vibrating from the power of opening acts “The Sound of Ghosts” followed by “Sidney and the Detours.”

Both starting bands draw from roots music, jump blues, and a thousand heritage sources in the great American songbook of the past century. “The Sound of Ghosts” are about to launch a national tour titled “Come Home”. Even if you’re from the NYC boroughs, as I am, the sound rings true. Thumping-fast stand-up bass with searing fiddle and tenor banjo overlays are just the beginning for this LA-based indie band with an Americana vibe. Download from, enter “”mttstkKe”, and click “GET YOUR MUSIC.”

Next up, “Sidney and the Detours”, a fusion of soulful players who formed this new band after years of casually gigging together. A recent community blues challenge got them together onstage less than a year ago. Sidney’s vocal Friday night was by turns scorchy, smoky, salty, spicy, swampy and sultry against the driving backup of percussion and galloping rhythm guitar.

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Live Review: Second Still at The Echoplex

Second Still’s Suki San by Isabel Maya Photography

L.A. band Second Still played The Echoplex last Sunday, after releasing their self-titled debut this month on Manic Depression Records. The three-piece band offers a stylish, minimal “coldwave” sound with haunting vocals, strong bass lines and straightforward machine drums. The album is good, but the songs were pleasantly fuller and richer live, with singer Suki San proving to be an intense, interesting presence onstage. The band gave off an electric energy, despite saying very little to the crowd. At a pause between songs, San announced solemnly, “A string has been broken,” which got some cheers.

The band, which includes Ryan Walker on guitar and Alex Hartman on bass, are originally from Brooklyn, but relocated to Los Angeles just after recording Second Still. The album apparently deals with themes like depression, anxiety and frustration, but there’s a beauty to its darkness and it’s not a downer to listen to it. San’s vocals occasionally sound like a subdued Siouxie Sioux, who is probably a big influence, or like Jessicka Addams of former local band Scarling. In the music, there are more nods to Joy Division and The Cure in the bass lines and cold, clear guitar. “Try Not To Hide,” which was particularly fun live, might be the strongest track, with its head-bobbing bass and energetic chorus. There is also an excellent bridge/outro where San sings the title lyric over and over, culminating in scifi-spiraling sounds.

More pics by Isabel Maya Photography after the jump

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Deborah Silver: A Night of Classic Jazz at The Catalina Jazz Club!

All Photos by Billy Bennight for The Los Angeles Beat

The doors opened at 7 p.m. and by the time Deborah Silver took the stage at 8:30 p.m., The Catalina Jazz Club in Hollywood was completely full, with every table filled with expectant faces. With a full band to back her, she opened with “I Can’t Give Anything But Love” from her “#1 Billboard Traditional Jazz” hit album “The Gold Standards” that hovered in the top ten for 3 consecutive weeks running. The band was tight and full as Deborah delivered an accomplished set with power and ease. The audience was transfixed and responded to every song with revelrous applause for this showcase and celebration of Jazz classics and a great voice.

Deborah deviated a bit from her versions of Jazz standards when she covered Patsy Cline’s “Crazy” and Hank Williams’ “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry” near mid-set. It was a tribute to her Mississippi roots and some really great songs. She followed those with a story of her parents’ musical influences. Deborah’s dad was more of a Blues and Dixie guy, where her mother was a trained Opera singer. Deborah offered a special piece of music that utilized both, using folk overtones and opera to great effect. Deborah put it this way, “It has special material that I wrote in connection with an old blues tune. It’s not really the entire song since I wrote some of the material to go with it.” It was this mid-point outing that gave everyone in the room an idea of Deborah’s chops as she swung between some pretty diverse styles of singing. Then Deborah took a moment to introduce some very special friends that occupied the center table of The Catalina Jazz Club with Glen Campbell’s wife, Kim Campbell, Mary Wilson and Jane Seymour.

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What to Check Out at the LA Times’ Festival of Books this Weekend

We’re getting geared up for the LA Times’ Festival of Books, the largest literary and cultural festival in America. Saturday, April 22nd and Sunday, April 23rd the literati will invade the University of Southern California. There are so many panels, conversations, and demos scheduled it can be difficult to navigate the 2-day event. But no need to fret. We are here to help you out with our recommendations. Some conversations require a ticket. They are free with a $1 handling charge. Reserve spots here.

SATURDAY 10:00am – 10:20am Luis J. Rodriguez, Reading from ‘Borrowed Bones’ Poetry Stage, Signing Area 5 

Luis J. Rodriguez is a former Los Angeles Poet Laureate, known for his “Always Running, La Vida Loca, Gang Days in L.A” and the poem, “Concrete River,” the most beautiful and illuminating sentiment you will ever read about huffing paint. He will be reading from his latest book of poems, “Borrowed Bones.”

SATURDAY 11:00am – 11:40am Tippi Hedren, Author of ‘Tippi: A Memoir,’ in Conversation with Mark Olsen  Los Angeles Times Main Stage, Signing Area 8 

Tippi Hedren will be discussing her memoir. From being terrorized by Hitchcock in “The Birds” to founding Shambala, a wild animal preserve, her life has been anything but boring. We are enthralled by her stories and expect you will be too.

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