Tonight! Los Angeles Krampus Run/Krampuslauf 2017

Tonight, from 8pm until 9pm, dozens of European-inspired Krampuses will run through the streets of downtown LA for the 5th year in a row, dispatching spankings to the deserving. “While naughty hipsters can expect playful yet much-deserved swattings, children and more timid grown-ups will be protected by the benevolent St. Nicholas, overseeing festivities from a 19th-century-style steam car built and transported every to LA year by artist-engineer Kimric Smythe of Beast Bay Krampus.” The Krampus Run, or Krampuslauf, will take place during the DTLA Art Walk on Winston Street, which will be closed to traffic between Main and Los Angeles.

Since the mid-1800s, Krampus, the horned beast of Alpine legend, has been carrying on the tradition of St. Nicholas’ dark companions who punish the naughty children as a counterpart to his benevolent rewards of gifts and sweets. Costumed in animal pelts and horns, villagers playfully chase children around with switches. Although the rugged topography of the Alps kept the folklore of Krampus regional for many years, it was just too much fun to be ignored and spread to America in the 21st century. In Los Angeles, the Krampus group was spearheaded in 2013 by Al Ridenour and Al Guerrero, veterans of The Cacophony Society and Santacon.

There will be an afterparty from 9pm until 10pm at the appropriately named nightclub, The Lash. Entertainment for the evening will include cabaret artist Christina Linhardt “interpreting Bertolt Brecht, Marlene Dietrich, and other Weimar-style favorites. Accompanying her will be musician and former clown/singing ringmaster for Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus Michael “TUBA” Heatherton.

Both events are free. The afterparty is 21+ Facebook page.
The Lash 117 Winston St, Los Angeles, CA 90013.

(Photo by Billy Bennight for The LA Beat)

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Malcolm Mooney at The Echoplex

Photo Credit: Deb Frazin

Last Sunday, Part Time Punks had their annual “Krautrock Nite” at The Echoplex with special guests Savage Republic and the legendary Malcolm Mooney of Can. This was Malcolm Mooney’s first Los Angeles appearance in almost 20 years, and it was even more remarkable than I had anticipated.

Savage Republic started things off with a loud, powerful set. They opened with “1938”, included “Seige” and “Trek”, then they finished with “Procession”. The band was bathed in beautiful orange lights throughout the entire set.

Next up was Malcom Mooney. He opened with some poetry, went into “Believer”, performed Can classics such as “She Brings the Rain” (which drove the woman standing behind me to tears), and “Thief”. It was a very moving performance. At the end of the set, they all took a bow. Malcolm introduced the band, then as a member of the band introduced Malcolm and gave him his credit for writing all of the Can songs from the classic early albums, the crowd gave him a long, loud applause, and I saw tears flow from Malcolm’s eyes. When I saw that, tears started flowing from mine. This was one of the best shows of 2017.

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‘The Shape of Water’ Guillermo del Toro’s Magical Fairy Tale About True Love

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Photo courtesy of Fox Searchlight

This is truly one of the most unique love stories you will ever see. It’s also one that is absolutely beautiful and mesmerizing, and once again shows us the genius of  Guillermo del Toro (Pans Labyrith).

Sally Hawkins brilliantly plays Ella, a mousy, curious, gentle woman who has been mute since childhood  She works the night shift as a janitor at the Occam Aerospace Research Center. The year is 1960. The place is Baltimore.

At first glance, Ella seems to be very lonely. Her only close friend is her neighbor, Giles (Richard Jenkins), and her co-worker, Zelda (Octavia Spencer). But at the same time, she never feels sorry for herself. This is a woman who loves life and takes pleasure in even the smallest of things.

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Gingerdead House and Krampus Maze Holiday Haunt: Oh, The Ho Ho Horror!

Photo by @stewie.vitae via Instagram

I’m not the kind of guy that winces when people say “Happy Holidays” over Merry Christmas. I’m a more inclusive type of guy anyway, and will gladly shout out Merry Christmas, Happy Hannukkah, Happy Kwanzaa, Have a cool yule and Happy Halloween…WHAT? Yes, for some people, the scares just never stop.

Two families in the effects business have extended their love of all things scary, and invite you into their backyard at a private residence for a night of candy canes and good old-fashioned jump scares. When we arrived, everyone was parked on the porch, sipping on cocoa and listening to a groovy but somber version of “We Wish You A Merry Christmas.” But the kids scampered inside the maze to get into position while the adults asked how we heard about the house and if we were ready to get scared?

As we enter, the tall Krampus guy leads into the first scene of evil elves crawling out of a chimney through the twists and curves of a chain link fence covered with white sheets and black plastic. This is strictly DIY stuff done mostly by the kids, but it’s real cute and has lots of heart. More importantly, everyone has learned the usefulness of a leftover Halloween mask and a bean shaker. It did get a bit dark at one point, and then we were pelted with sudsy fake snow. We jumped and laughed a lot.nR and J Haunt Props and Vandal Image Productions put on the holiday haunt as a way to get toy donations and money for the needy, but technically it’s free.

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It’s Tamale Time at Casa Vega!

Sweet Corn Tamales at Casa Vega. All photos by Elise Thompson for The LA Beat.

Casa Vega on Ventura Boulevard is as old-school as it gets, serving Southern California-style Mexican Food in LA for 61 years. The Vega family opened their first restaurant on Olvera Street in the 1930s. The next generation opened Casa Vega in Studio City in 1956. The restaurant is now run by Christina Vega, the third generation of restaurateurs in the family. Her cousin is Tijuana superchef Javier Plascencia, so they have one heck of a pedigree.

The restaurant is one of those classic, steakhouse-style places where you can sip margaritas in a dark, cozy booth all day with the ghosts of Carey Grant and Marlon Brando, only to be shocked by the sunshine when you finally push the heavy wooden door open. Besides the usual burritos and enchiladas, they serve an excellent chile relleno and rich chile colorado. The tableside made-to-order guacamole that is part of their special winter menu is outstanding and should be added to their permanent roster. Their holiday cocktail, the Pomegranite-Ginger Paloma, made with 1800 Silver Tequila, should also stay in rotation, but beware, it can knock you on your ass.

We spent a recent Saturday morning in the kitchen with the charming “Christy” Vega, who was teaching a private class on tamale-making. Casa Vega grinds their own corn and uses butter in lieu of the usual manteca to keep everything kosher. The sweet and buttery homemade masa doesn’t really need a filling, but a strip of chiles and stick of cheddar cheese make the tamales a familiar treat to anyone who grew up in Los Angeles.

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‘The Post’ Stephen Spielberg’s Brilliant, Thrilling Film About the Fight To Protect The First Amendment

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Photo courtesy of 20th Century Film

When I saw the film ‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri” I left the theatre saying, “This is definitely the best film of 2017,” but now that I’ve seen Spielberg’s “The Post” I think it’s definitely a tie.

The year is 1971. The Vietnam War is raging and we are losing.  When the film opens, a man named Daniel Ellsberg (Michael Rhys) who works at the Rand Corporation smuggles out secret government documents which became known as The Pentagon Papers. These documents exposed the government’s true involvement in the Vietnam War, dating back to the Truman era. They revealed that members of our government had always known that we could not win in Vietnam, but in order to save face, they sacrificed millions of boys.

This brings us to Katharine Graham (another extraordinary performance by Meryl Streep) who was the first female publisher of a major newspaper. Graham’s father left The Washington Post to her husband, but when he died, she took control.  This was definitely a big deal at the time. Don’t forget this was the early 70’s when women were still treated like second-class citizens.

The executive editor of the paper was Ben Bradlee (the excellent Tom Hanks), and even though both Bradlee and Graham wanted The Post to be great and not just a local newspaper, they had very different views on how to accomplish this. Their battles and struggles are some of the most powerful moments in the film (as well as the most entertaining).

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‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ Takes Us On A Fantastic Trip Proving The Force is Definitely Still With Us

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Photo courtesy of Disney Studios Motion Pictures

I saw this film yesterday at the Disney Studios where the audience consisted of press and guests. It was more than obvious that expectations were high, very high, and from the loud applause as the credit rolled, no one was disappointed. This is definitely one of the best films in the ‘Star Wars’ saga.

Directed by Rian Johnson, who also wrote the film based on George Lucas’s characters, ‘Star Wars: ‘The Last Jedi’ takes us on a thrilling, emotional and extraordinary journey starting where the previous film, ‘The Force Awakens’ left off.

This is a brief recap, hopefully without any spoilers. When we first see our rebels they are not in good shape. Their broken down fleet led by Princess Leia, the late Carrie Fisher, is running away from the First Order.

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watt’s picture of the week – monday, december 11, 2017

some harbor seals trying to get some konk on a rock right by the cliffs near point fermin in my pedro town. I always imagine them on land being like you were trapped inside a konksack w/only your head sticking out but damn if they ain’t the most graceful ever in water. trippy.

photo by mike watt

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mike watt’s hoot page

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Weed Review: Mega Cookies Sugar Leaf Terp Sauce by Nameless Genetics

Photo from Nameless Genetics’ Instagram page,

One of the unexpected side effects of the retail weed industry and the subsequent explosion of concentrate options, is what you might call a fear of change among us older stoners. It’s not like we’re opposed to change of all kinds – we certainly all cheered the evolution of pot from something we once knew as a pile of dust, studded with stems and seeds at the bottom of a shoebox, into these sticky botanical masterpiece buds that are now commonplace. Many of my generation have embraced vaporizer technology, as we’re getting get more health conscious in our advancing years. We’ve known about hash and hash oil for decades, and by now, we’ve probably tried some type of dab.

But the world of concentrates has evolved so quickly in the last few years, that I can’t possibly keep pace. I look at the dabbable options on the shelf today, and a big question mark clouds my face. What do I think about melts, resin, live resin, rosin, terp sauce of the sugar leaf variety vs. the nug run variety, and what is my preference for one over the other? Some of these things seem to have been invented since the last time I was in there a few weeks ago.

Then I try to ask the internet about it, and see all these kids on the Youtube with their fancy glass dab rigs that look like they cost a thousand dollars and would be great for smoking crack, and I think, get off my lawn. I don’t NEED to spend a thousand dollars and fire up a welding torch to get high, you should be able to do it with a lighter, a piece of foil, a Swiss Army knife and any household object.  Derrick Bostrom, who used to be in the the very, very stoned Arizona band the Meat Puppets observed recently, “(nowadays) pot is more like a designer drug than the sacrament it was in my day,” and I immediately knew what he was talking about. Continue reading

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Movies Till Dawn: What You Could Be Watching This Weekend (Short and Sweet Tough Guys Edition)

Animal Factory” (2000, Arrow Video) Intent on surviving behind bars, new prison inmate Edward Furlong forges an alliance with flinty fellow con Willem Dafoe, which will have a lasting impact on the future – and freedom – of both men. Second feature directorial effort by actor Steve Buscemi, co-scripted by real-life ex-con turned actor/writer Edward Bunker, is an unvarnished look at prison life, minus the grandiosity or exploitative elements common to such pictures. Like Buscemi’s first film, “Trees Lounge,” “Factory” is focused more on character that plot, and works best as a showcase for its ensemble cast, which includes excellent support from Danny Trejo, Mark Boone, Jr. and Seymour Cassel, and two surprisingly fine turns by Tom Arnold as a predatory heavy and Mickey Rourke as Furlong’s cross-dressing cellmate. Arrow’s Special Edition Blu-ray focuses on Bunker’s career as author and actor (he played Mr. Blue in “Reservoir Dogs”) through an interview with critic Barry Forshaw and the commentary, which pairs Bunker with fellow former inmate-turned-actor/entrepreneur Trejo.

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