Johnny Ramone Tribute At Hollywood Cemetary – Review And Photo Gallery


Rob Zombie and guitarist John 5 at the Ramones tribute. All photos by Brian Michaels for the LA Beat.

Hey ho, they’re all gone. But Ramones fans and horror buffs gathered at Hollywood Forever Cemetary last weekend for the 10th annual Johnny Ramone Tribute, an event made extra poignant with the recent death of Tommy Erdelyi, the last man standing from the group’s original lineup.

This year’s tribute was the first to feature live music, with Ramones cover sets inside the Masonic Temple by Rob Zombie and his band, followed by Steve Jones with Duff McKagan and Zombie’s drummer backing assorted front-persons including Duff’s daughter Drace, and another young female singer named Jessie Jo. Fred Armisen, thankfully NOT in character as Ian Rubbish, appeared instead to be channeling Elvis Costello as he accompanied himself on guitar through two highly credible covers from End Of The Century. Billy Idol turned up to sing the last two songs of the night, “I Wanna Be Sedated” and “California Sun,” which he did with great gusto.

And what a trip to hear the Pistols guitarist playing Ramones covers! But he did a fine job, as did all concerned. It was so good, in fact, that I was all ready to pogo but it turns out to be very hard to in a modern audience where everyone has their cell phone out. I could easily knock into someone, and they would drop their phone and break it, and the episode would caught on someone else’s camera phone, and go viral on youtube with the title “RAMONES TRIBUTE RUINED BY POGOING ASSHOLE.” And you wouldn’t want THAT. Continue reading

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LAFW 2015 – Grand Tasting Sunday


All photos by Bob Lee for the Los Angeles Beat.

LA Food & Wine’s 2015 edition came to a close on Sunday afternoon with a stellar display of talent from chefs both local and imported. This tradition of getting out-of-town headliners to join the regulars at these festivals is a good thing, making it possible to appreciate these nationally known chefs and try their stuff at least once, for the price of a ticket. And maybe it’s coincidence, but it seems to keep the locals on their toes – virtually everything I sampled was first-rate, well-conceived and executed for a big crowd with great precision. The relatively few lines that were long moved quickly, and gave us a chance to recover in between plates.

Patrons of the closing day’s festivities got to experience the work of out-of-towners like Michael Ginor and Iron Chef Masuharu Morimoto from New York City, Miami Beach’s Andre Bienvenu, whose crab-filled waffle cones inspired some of the longest lines and most satisfied diners of the day, and Los Olivos’ Robbie Wilson, whose pork belly with chili and melon proved to be a festival highlight. Top Chef finalist and San Francisco restaurateur Casey Thompson enthusiastically greeted fans and fellow chefs at her stand, which offered a trio of tantalizing bar bites. John Cox, visiting from Big Sur, gave his guests a sea cucumber “touch and taste” experience with the chance to meet live specimens before sampling his chicharrone-style treatment of same, the most adventurous, interesting-in-a-good-way thing I ate all afternoon.

Among the local luminaries, Alvin Cailan’s Eggslut was a clear fan favorite, dishing up little mason jars filled with coddled quail egg and caviar over a little potato puree, salty and satisfying. And the quartet of confections from Craftsmen And Wolves was the thing that made me say “Fuck!” loud enough for someone to hear, and inquire where they could get some of whatever that was. Mette Williams’ (Culina) produced an open-face meatball sandwich with burrata that had my entire table proclaiming their approval: creamy, deftly-seasoned and balanced perfectly against the crostini at its base. Michael’s Santa Monica impressed with pork loin with chili and onion and a decadent chocolate/ caramel pudding. Continue reading

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Marineland’s 60 Year Anniversary

Photo by Barry Thompson

In August of 1954, Marineland of the Pacific opened to the public for the first time.  Located at the current site of the Terranea Resort on the Palos Verdes Peninsula, the park overlooked coves that had once been used by whalers. Marineland was a revolutionary concept in marine zoos, costing 5 million dollars to build.

Mammals were housed in something they dubbed an “Oceanarium.” According to the architect, William Pereira, the Oceanarium “consistes [sic] of two huge steel salt-water tanks, one round (80′ in diameter), the other, oval (50′ x 100′).  Continuous, double-glazed viewing windows of heat-tempered polished plate glass occur around the sides of the tanks…” Nowadays it would be shocking to keep sea mammals in such small tanks (or any tanks at all, really), but at the time, Marineland was the largest and most animal-friendly aquarium that existed. Fresh salt water was pumped in directly from the sea with an elaborate filtering system.

Marineland’s main attractions were two orcas, dubbed “Orky” and “Corky.” The popular tourist attraction was also home to “Bubbles,” the first pilot whale in captivity. The park was a pioneer in swim-through aquariums, allowing people to snorkel amongst sharks in its Baja Reef. They were pioneers in researching formula for baby marine animals and dolphin echolocation. They used to have a rescue unit and animal hospital. When injured animals were found on the beach, Marineland’s clinic was ready to rehabilitate it.

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Liquid Kitty Punk Rock BBQ Labor Day Weekend


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LAFW Lexus Live on Grand

Chef John Cox of Sierra Mar Wagyu

Saturday night’s Lexus Live on Grand was the climax of LAFW’s four days filled with food, wine and fun. Sunday had a number of excellent events coming up, but this was the big blowout. On Saturday night everyone went for broke.

The best bite of the night was a decadent Slow Roasted Uni Glazed King Crab Leg by Chef Gregorio Stephenson of Nobu Malibu. He also presented shima-aji (a Japanese fish often called Skipjack and compared to hamachi) with a rhubarb salsa. Chef John Cox from the city of Carmel wowed with a Lone Mountain Wagyu Ribeye cooked on a custom made Hibachi. Another favorite was the meaty Lamb Lollipop from Adrian Giese of Mastro’s Steak House, made with Pistachio Pesto and Harissa, with a Frisee-Arugala Salad and Heirloom Tomato. A big draw was the charcuterie and antipasto table set up by several chefs, including Chad Colby of Chi SPACCA and Nancy Silverton, who had a tribute dinner held in her honor the night before.

We were curious to check out Viet Pham, the new chef at Ray’s & Stark Bar at LACMA. He really impressed with Lobster Agnolotti, Smoked Corn, Marscapone with Dashi, Trout Roe and Buckwheat. He also presented Hamachi with Melon, Serrano Chile and Cilantro. Chef Kaleo Adams of The Polo Lounge was also in the mood for stuffed pasta with Corn Tortellini with Jidori Cracklings, Chantarelle Mushrooms and Parmesan. Chef William Bradley of the Addison Restaurant at the Grand Del Mar served a very light and refreshing clear tomato soup with tiny tomatoes and a single raspberry.

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Upcoming: The LA Times Taste of LA 2014 is Here! Labor Day Weekend!

Welcome to the TasteIf you have been looking at all of our pictures of delicious food events with envy, fear not. You have not missed out. This weekend, the LA Times’ “Taste of LA” once again takes over the Paramount lot with three days of food, cocktails, cooking demos and panels. If you are an LA Times member, you save $25 off of each event. Become a member here. There are also special perks for Citi members including skipping the line, which is a seriously major perk. Check out the special Citi pass here.

Friday night’s opening event has already sold out, unfortunately. There are, however, four amazing strolling tasting events to choose from. Who am I fooling? It’s impossible to choose! Buy the weekend pass!

“Field to Fork” Saturday August 30 11am-3pm

Saturday afternoon’s “Field to Fork” is aimed not only at foodies, but at home cooks as well. The theme revolves around fresh, locally sourced ingredients. Expect participating restaurants to make use of the last of summer’s bounty like fresh tomatoes, corn and stone fruits. Hosting the event is Russ Parsons, The Times’ Food Editor, with co-host, Nancy Silverton. Some of the restaurants offering up tastes are Eveleigh, BOA Steakhouse, Loteria Grill, Coni’Seafood and Canelé. 21+

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Q&A with Gipsy Kings, who Love LA!

Photo: 186  Left to right: Patchai Reyes, Andre Reyes, Tonino Baliardo, Diego Baliardo, Nicolas Reyes, Pablo Reyes, Paco Baliardo.  Credit: Pascal Ito - copyright Gipsy Kings

Photo: 186 Left to right: Patchai Reyes, Andre Reyes, Tonino Baliardo, Diego Baliardo, Nicolas Reyes, Pablo Reyes, Paco Baliardo. Credit: Pascal Ito – copyright Gipsy Kings

It’s been 25 years since the Gipsy Kings came out with their distinctive blend of traditional Flamenco, Latin, Rock, Jazz and other genres. The band members are truly master musicians who create a sonic fabric that has helped them win platinum and gold recordings and world-wide recognition.

The Los Angeles Beat caught up with Tonino Baliardo, lead guitarist, co-producer and writer of the band, to get some insights on their 25 year plus journey and their new album “Sabor Flamenco.”

Congrats on the new album and 25th anniversary tour! What’s the secret of the band’s longevity?

Thank you. Our longevity is that we enjoy what we do. We do not know much else, but the joy and great feeling we get [from] writing, playing, and performing our music is such a great [way to] appreciate what we have.

Our fans make us realize that every time we step out in front of them.

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SMASH Fashion Rocks Big Cat Love at South Bay Customs Saturday, August 30

Screen Shot 2014-02-12 at 5_26_33 PMSMASH Fashion: (Left to right) Reijo Kauppila, Lloyd Stuart Casson, Tony Kinman and Roger Deering.

Los Angeles rockers SMASH Fashion have been enjoying significant press attention and receiving solid accolades on both sides of the Atlantic with the release of their third LP Big Cat Love last March.  Gleaning the finest instincts and expressions from 70’s glam, punk and power pop, Big Cat Love is a contemporary rock masterpiece sprinkled with sonic confections that stimulate serotonin and exclaim that ROCK and ROLL is alive and well.  This group of music heavyweights will be playing a rare show at South Bay Customs this Saturday evening at 10:00 p.m.  Sharing the bill are The Crazy Squeeze, featuring current and former members of The Stitches, and Los Angeles blues rock veterans The Hangmen.

South Bay Customs is located at 115 Penn St., El Segundo, CA  90245.  Admission is $10.  Doors open at 8:00 p.m.  For more information visit the SMASH Fashion and South Bay Customs websites.

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LAFW Grand Tasting Saturday 2014

Vartan Abgaryan of Cliff’s Edge. But he sealed the deal by whipping out the uni. Corn Panna Cotta Vadouvan with a hint of curry toped with uniSaturday afternoon’s Lexus Grand Tasting was all about elegance and luxury. Held on two soundstages at LA Center Studios, the ambiance was that of a chi chi wedding reception. Chefs brought out high end ingredients, and a greater variety of champagnes were poured compared to the other LAFW events we attended. The crowd was much smaller than at the evening events on Grand Avenue, but not as exclusive as some of the lunches and demos.

Church Key highlighted the perfection of simplicity with Chef Steven Frett’s hamachi with liquid nitrogen-frozen watermelon. And as long as they had the nitrogen, why not make tequila Otter Pops? Why not indeed! Greg Hozinsky of The Strand House in the culinary upstart that is Manhattan Beach presented a lovely Spanish Octopus with Fairytale Eggplant, Cranberry Beans, and Heirloom Tomato in a Patron Vinaigrette which also emphasized quality ingredients treated simply. Chef Peter Haller of The Gorbals knew mussels are always a welcome indulgence.

Richard Blaise presented a Carne Crudo Asada and quail egg with a perfect, runny yolk. A precious deviled quail egg with puff pastry, smoked salmon roe, Caramelized Radish Salad, Frisee and Horseradish was intricately plated by Chef Joe Vasiloff of Cafe Pinot. Brad Farmerie of Public and The Thomas had the most dramatic presentation of the day, with a salmon head and tail bookending slices of sumptuous Ora King Salmon crudo. But there was stiff competition from Alimento’s Scallop Crudo with lemon and calabrian chile by Chef Zach Pollack.

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Random LA: Nothing but Class

maidsA daily eyesore on my commute.

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