Visiting Lancaster Offers A Creative Art Scene, Theaters and Delicious Restaurants Along The BLVD

Museum of Art and History in Lancaster’s BLVD. Photo by Ed Simon for The Los Angeles Beat

Most Angelenos know that the southern border of Los Angeles County ends at the “Orange Curtain”. Many think that the northern border lies just past the San Fernando and Santa Clarita Valleys. Los Angeles County, however, is much more diverse then that. In fact, in the northeast section, Los Angeles County extends into the Mojave Desert, covering a vast expanse of scenic area. The jewel of this desert area is the city of Lancaster, now a thriving community that has both a heritage of ranching and aerospace as well as a present and future as a thriving artistic and creative community and a scenic travel destination.

The city of Lancaster and DestinationLancaster.org hosted an event for several journalists this past weekend to showcase some of the highlights of a 24 hour getaway to Lancaster. It was an interesting 24 hours and highlighted many of the reasons to make a weekend trip to this Los Angeles County outpost. The drive itself is relatively easy, usually taking I-5 to CA-14 for a smooth, under 2-hour trip from anywhere in Los Angles or Orange County. An alternative is MetroLink, whose Antelope Valley Line starts at Union Station and provides a fun and easy way to get to the Lancaster Station. Marriott’s TownePlace Suites in Lancaster provided comfortable accommodations for all the visiting journalists.

Mural by David Flores on side of MOAH. Photo by Ed Simon for The Los Angeles Beat

Art is a big deal in Lancaster’s thriving ‘BLVD’ downtown area. The ‘BLVD’ itself is Lancaster Blvd., whose central section has been turned into a popular area filled with museums, galleries, restaurants, shops, theaters and even some interesting fun venues. One of the interesting things to do when you walk through this area is to stop at the Museum of Art and History (MOAH) and pick up a map detailing the Pow Wow murals. A walking tour of these murals through downtown is a fascinating look at urban art. The murals are a part of the Pow WowHawaii movement, which takes the idea of a Native American celebration about music, culture and art around the world. Many cities, including Lancaster, have incorporated it into some wonderful large murals that brighten the downtown buildings. The walking map, which covers 12 major murals in the area, gives an easy guide to the locations of each mural as well as the name of the artist who created it. Some are abstract, while others honor persons or events that shaped the area.

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‘Forever Plaid’ A Musical Journey Down Memory Lane

Forever-Plaid_2.jpg‘Forever Plaid’ premiered in New York City in 1989 and ran for five years. Since then it has been produced across the country and internationally. Having seen it twice before, I can honestly say that it has not lost its charm.

This is the story of four young singers killed in a car crash who find themselves miraculously revived from the dead. Since the accident happened while on the way to their first-ever big concert, they’re thrilled that they get to fulfill their dream and perform the show after all.  Of course it’s been more than fifty years since their demise so the group is more than a little nervous.. But no worries, they’re still at the top of their game.

Co=directed by Scott Dreier, a former ‘Plaids’ member,  and Kurtis Simmons, with musical direction by Bill Wolfe, this excellent ICT production stars, Jackson Hinden as Sparky, Travis Leland as Frankie, Robert Petrarca as Smudge and Nick Tubbs as Jinx.

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‘Logan’ aka Wolverine, Still Tormented After All These Years

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Logan (Hugh Jackman) is not the same superhero that he once was. He’s tired. He’s old, he may be dying and he drives a limo.

That’s right, our super hero mutant is a limo driver. If that’s not bad enough, Logan’s BFF/mentor, Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart) now 90 years old,  is suffering from brain seizures that paralyze everyone around him, making  him a major danger to  mutants and non mutants alike.

When the film opens the year is 2029 and for Logan is  living in El Paso under his original name, James Howlett. He has not aged well and his powers are failing. His deadly razor  claws no longer pop out of his hand easily and his ability to regenerate are waning.

When Logan’s not driving inebriated teens to the  prom in a beat up limo, he spends his time taking care of Charles, who he has hidden away in an old farm near the Mexican border. Charles only other companion is the albino telepath, Caliban (Stephan Merchant) who plays nursemaid to him.

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Noname at the Regent Theatre – Photo Gallery

Chicago natives Noname and Ravyn Lenae performed for a sold-out show of 1000 at the Regent Theatre in Los Angeles while on the Telefone Tour – her first (and highly anticipated) tour ever.  You may not have heard of either, but Lenae’s sultry sounds and Noname’s melancholic poetry are sure to enter your realm of music soon. Continue reading

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Women Line Up for Empowering Tattoos to Support Planned Parenthood

The line at Dolorosa, Studio City. Photo by LC Stapleton

Flash for Dolorosa

Five Los Angeles Tattoo Parlors are offering $60 flash (non-custom) tattoos to benefit Planned Parenthood today. Kiss my Angeles organized the fundraiser after Sarah Bhorntus was inspired by her own interest in getting tattooed to commemorate the Women’s march (Hello Giggles). Although appointments are all booked up, a few of the tattoo parlors are tattooing on a first-come-first-serve basis. Cash only!

You can still get tattooed at:

BOARTOOTH TATTOO 10420 National Blvd Los Angeles CA 90034 (until 9PM)

INK’D CHRONICLES TATTOO STUDIO 264 W 2nd St, Pomona, CA 91766 (Until 10pm)

WEST END GALLERY AND TATTOO STUDIO 35 S Ventura Ave, Ventura, California 93001 (Until 6pm)

DOLOROSA TATTOO PARLOR  11930 Ventura Blvd Studio City, CA 91604 Studio City (May be booked up)

Drawings by Artist Christa Ritchie and apprentice Nyra Cruz

 

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Los Angeles Magazine Hosts its Second Annual Whiskey Festival Wednesday, February 22nd

Whiskey Fest 2016. Photo by Bob Lee for the LA Beat

Los Angeles magazine will return to the La Brea Tar Pits Museum for its second annual Whiskey Festival on Wednesday, February 22 from 7:30pm to 10:00pm. Not only can you enjoy both timeless classics and tastes from modern craft distilleries, but you are able to meet the master distillers. Experts will be attending from “distinguished and celebrated brands” such as Buffalo Trace, Four Roses Distillery, Kikori, Rebel Yell, WhistlePig, Woodford Reserve and Bruichladdich. If you are able to pronounce the last one, you are an honorary Scot. Also keep your eye out for one of our favorites, Macallan/Highland Park.

Inspired by an editorial by Ed Leibowitz, “Whiskey A Go Go: A 100-Proof Guide to the City’s Favorite Spirit,” the first Whiskey Festival impressed us last year with high quality drams and cocktails. This year we expect more of the same, along with a menu provided by Tres LA while The Aaron Durr Band entertains the room. In addition, guests will enjoy complimentary shoe shines and cigars.

Proceeds will benefit Para Los Niños, a local charity dedicated to breaking the cycle of poverty for low-income children. Tickets are $95, all-inclusive. 21 years or older. Free parking is available after 7pm in the LACMA lot at Wilshire and Spaulding. Get your tickets now!

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Movies Till Dawn: Man Movies

The Man Who Skied Down Everest” (1975, The Film Detective) Japanese alpinist Yuichiro Miura, who set a world speed skiing record in 1964, sets his sights on conquering Mount Everest, albeit in a very different way: with the assistant of his expedition team, numerous sherpas and a parachute, Miura climbs the colossal mountain with the intent of becoming the first person to ski down the steep and treacherous South Col pass between Everest and Lhotse. Oscar-winning documentary plays more like an extended meditation on a seemingly impossible dream than any sports documentary; entries from Miura’s diary (read by actor Douglas Rain, the voice of HAL 9000 in “2001”), which become Zen koans over the avant-garde score by Canadian percussion ensemble Nexus and Larry Crosley, hone the focus on the emotional and spiritual challenges of the journey, including his guilt over the death of six sherpas in a cave-in, which fuel his doubts about the whole expedition. The result is a glacially paced but frequently insightful and moving look at the mind of an athlete, with the actual descent down Everest, which takes up a fraction of the movie, more or less an afterthought (albeit a harrowing one). The Film Detective’s Blu-ray gives a sparkling presentation to Mitsuji Kanau’s cinematography.

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Live Review – Adam Ant at the Fonda Theater

Photo by Jennifer Schwartz, used by permission.

Adam And The Ants were a whole lot of fun when they showed up in the early eighties.  Big thumping drums, spaghetti western guitars, and a flash dancing dandy up front, yodelling his masochistic desires. Kind of like the Rocky Horror Picture Show, they became a focal point for those kids who were just finding out about weird art and sex stuff and wanted to turn toward it and away from their Foreigner-listening peers. It really was one of the most un-Foreigner-like things you could experience on MTV at the moment everyone started watching it. They were a willfully odd pop band, Glam Rock revivalists at heart with more modern outfits, and a post-punk sensibility underlying these catchy hit songs. Adam Ant’s return to the Fonda last week, following a roughly twenty year absence from LA, surpassed any reasonable expectations.

It helped that the material chosen for this show was pulled mainly from the Ants’ three albums and related singles, with Kings Of The Wild Frontier played in full for the show’s first half, as well as some well chosen nuggets from his solo career and a joyful cover of “Bang A Gong”. It also helped that the band he’s put together is reverent to the spirit of the original and plays the songs flawlessly with a lot of power. Most crucial of all, the man at he center of it all has lost none of his power to command a stage and yodel about the thrill of a good beating.

While the Kings-in-full performance hit all the expected notes, the second set contained a few surprises; in addition to the expected solo hits and Prince Charming=era songs, was a healthy slice of the Dirk Wears White Sox album, songs American audiences never got to see live. Their versions of the ancient b-sides “Red Scab” and “Physical” sounded like the Melvins, noisy and unhinged. But even their take on “Desperate (But Not Serious)” was menacing. As a fan of the raw, old stuff, it was a joy to see him celebrating that part of his history, and pulling it off so well.

LA locals the Glam Skanks have been supporting the entire tour, and received a warm shout-out from the headliner: “they have a future.” And why not? They look and sound like a party, and partying is going to be in style for a long, long time to come.

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Peach Talks About Her New Live CD, Peach and the Almost Blues Band: A Night In Copenhagen

Peach in Copenhagen, photo courtesy of Doug Deutsch PR

In 2014, Peach Reasoner gave a concert in Venice that the LA Beat wrote about. Two years later, Peach has brought the same energy and purity of voice to a new live CD, Peach and the Almost Blues Band: A Night in Copenhagen. Voted the Blues Artist of the Year by the L.A. Music Awards, along with receiving other music awards, Peach is known for her dynamic, powerful singing and excellent guitar work. Peach recently sat down with The Los Angeles Beat to discuss the album, her experiences in Denmark and some of the songs.

Q: How did the audiences in Copenhagen treat you? Did they love your music?

A: I’ve been very well received in Denmark from the onset. It probably helped initially that I’m an American guitar-slinging blues woman (because there are few of us out there). But the Danes just like good music! So if the band rocks, the audiences will love you. It’s pretty simple. Continue reading

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Random LA: Sad Furniture

A street artist has been using discarded furniture as his canvas around the Echo Park and Silver Lake areas lately, much to our amusement.

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