Art Installation ‘Animal Soul’ at DTLA’s FIGat7th & Wells Fargo Center

photo credit: Mary Lou Guzman

Once again (remember the DTLA Bunnies?), Arts Brookfield brings us crazy blow up art in the form of latex balloon creatures by artist Jason Hackenwerth.

Marvel at three large-scale, internally lit, inflated sculptures at FIGat7th & Wells Fargo Center, ending tomorrow, July 21st at 10pm.  Hackenwerth has also created two wearable sculptures that double as costumes and come to life when worn by dancers. To close out the show tomorrow, the costumes will be at the Farmers Market at Bank of America Plaza from 12 noon to 2 pm, along with shaved ice for all to enjoy.

photo credit: Mary Lou Guzman

photo credit: Mary Lou Guzman


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Danny Trejo Plots to Take over the World One Taco at a Time

Photos by Elise Thompson for The LA Beat

The Trejo’s brand could easily seem like a novelty, just one more among so many other celebrity brands that have come and gone. But actor Danny Trejo and his partners, Ash Shah and Jeff Georgino, have carefully focused on the design of his restaurants and worked with talented chefs and bakers to produce food that stands on its own, machete or no machete. The company also controls every step of the process, including making the hot sauce, which you can buy by the bottle, and roasting the coffee beans, which (surprise) are also on sale. The merch game here is strong. The eateries plaster Trejo’s scowling mug anywhere they can, from placemats to windows, but in spite of the hype, these tacos and donuts are good enough to ride out the changing tastes of fickle diners.

The first project out of the gate was Trejo’s Tacos, which opened in March of 2016 on South La Brea. The slick and clean style of the restaurant would be echoed in all of Trejo’s coming projects. Next came Trejo’s Cantina on Cahuenga in the Fall of 2016, ready to battle it out with Stout and the Velvet Margarita. One wall of the Cantina opens up to take advantage of the LA weather, and one wall is filled with liquor bottles and a frozen daiquiri machine churning out margaritas. It’s a comfortable place to hang, and we just hope the Hollywood crowd doesn’t turn it into another Senor Frog’s.

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Savion Glover Plus the Reopening of the Ford Amphitheater Equals Perfection


Photo courtesy of the Ford Amphitheatre

After going through a 70 million dollar renovation, the Ford Amphitheater, which originally was built in 1920, reopened with an incredible show Saturday. The amazing Savion Glover tapped to the sounds of Dance Candy, a super tight jazz group, that included band leader, Mark Ingraham, Guitarist, Steven Boone, Keyboard player, Calvin Erasmus Brown, Bass player, Derrick Englert, Drummer, Josh McCormick and soulful singer Samantha Reed.

Savion is one of the most creative and talented dancers around. I’ve seen him before in the Broadway show “Bring in the Noise, Bring in the Funk,” and he never ceases to amaze me. Savion doesn’t just dance. He becomes an instrument, communicating and improvising with the other musicians sharing the stage with him. And that’s exactly what he did Saturday evening…and he was absolutely sensational.

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Alison Arngrim Talks About Frazier Park’s Fiesta Days, Little House on the Prairie and Nellie Oleson, Her Book and Stage Show and Much More

Alison Arngrim, and “Nellie Oleson” Courtesy of Loose Gravel Productions/Photo by Gor Megaera

Coming up on August 4th through 6th, Frazier Park is celebrating a milestone—-their 50th Annual Fiesta Days. To celebrate this, they have put together a three-day series of events that you won’t want to miss. The Grand Marshals for Fiesta Days are three of the cast members from the iconic TV series, Little House on the Prarie. Alison Arngrim (Nellie Oleson), Brian Part (Carl Edwards) and Rachael Lindsay Greenbush (Carrie Ingalls), along with the real town Mayor of Frazier Park, Tammy Goddard, will be not only doing the parade, but also a doing meet and greet for fans. The LA Beat sat down with Alison Arngrim to talk over Fiesta Days, Little House on the Prarie, Alison’s stage show Confessions of a Prarie Bitch, her popular book Confessions of a Prarie Bitch: How I Survived Nellie Oleson and Learned to Love Being Hated and many more things.

Q: Congratulations for being one of the Grand Marshals for the 50th Annual Fiesta Days in Frazier Park. What do you think of the Frazier Park area and all its mountains?

A: Well, it looks gorgeous. I’ve never been so I’m looking forward to this. It’s really cool; what happened is that Brian Part, who was on Little House on the Prarie with us for many years playing Carl. When the episode aired with Patricia Neal who was dying and her children John Jr. and Carl get adopted by Mr. Edwards, that was Brian Part. He’s been living in the gorgeous Frazier Park area for some time now and he contacted me and Rachael Greenbush and said “Hey guys, they have Fiesta Days now—it’s the fiftieth anniversary and they’re having a parade. If you guys will do it, we’ll have three people from Little House”. So myself and Rachael Greenbush, who was Baby Carrie, are going up there with her husband and my husband for the weekend and we get to be in the Parade and hang out. They’ve got like twenty bands playing! Continue reading

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Movies Till Dawn: The Saturday Morning Strange – “Last Stop on 13th Street” (1978)

(1978, Frolic Pictures) Stranded in a strange, rain-soaked neighborhood by an errant taxi, philandering businessman John Ericson (“Bad Day at Black Rock“) is taken in by a mortician (Ivor Francis), who tells him about how some of his recent clients met their ends. Four stories follow in anthology fashion: a child-hating teacher gets her comeuppance, a serial killer films his victims’ deaths, a pair of criminologists (Charles Aidman and Bernard Fox) vie to identify a murderer, and a heartless office drone is abused by unseen tormentors. Produced by Arthur H. Leonard, who directed several Depression Era black cast films (“The Devil’s Daughter”) and helmed by future TV vet Sharron Miller (a rare instance of a female filmmaker working in ’70s horror), “Last Stop” – which late night TV and VHS devotees may also know as “Alien Zone” or “House of the Dead” – is saddled with the usual low-budget pitfalls, like glacial pacing and dead-end plotting (we know the fate of the killer in the second episode before we see his crimes). But the established actors in the cast lend some polish – Ericson and Francis in the wraparounds, and Aidman and Fox (“Titanic,” “Bewitched”), who enliven their segment with some amusingly catty verbal jousts – and for some viewers, the inky image quality of Frolic’s DVD will lend a sort of narcotized mind’s-eye quality to the already disjointed viewing experience. For others, it’s probably your only chance to see a horror movie filmed in Stillwater, Oklahoma and featuring a theme song performed by Steve (son of Mel Torme) March. Be advised that this sort of opportunity doesn’t come along every day.

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Carol Marie’s “Magic Castle: Beyond the Smoke and Mirrors” Clears Miasma of Mystery Surrounding Milt Larsen’s Magic Castle!

Photo Courtesy of BHBPR

Conjure, if you will, divining all the secrets to the History of Hogwarts before Hogwarts (minus the nightly spectacles and dinner service) was even a speck in some imaginative Muggle’s eye!  Then, take these secrets, set them in the heart of Hollywood, not to be confused with Hogwartswood (the compromised parallel dimension between the two), insert them into a paperbound book along with historical pictures of the most revealing kind and you’ve got Carol Marie’s latest archived account: Magic Castle: Beyond the Smoke and Mirrors.

Fueled via a love of magic and the performing arts, this will be Marie’s umpteenth book penned in conjunction with input from none other than founder of the world-famous Magic Castle, Milt Larsen himself. With other hits like Hollywood Illusion, Hockman the Great, Peterkin, My Magical Journey (Larsen’s autobiography), and The 60th Year Anniversary of It’s Magic, Magic Castle: Beyond the Smoke and Mirrors is sure the be the perfect ongoing companion to all aforementioned, heretofore mentioned and yet to be mentioned books from this enchanted duo. And considering the colorful history of both the thrilling Hollywood establishment and the man behind it, you’d better believe said new publication will do the mighty disappearing act right off store shelves (both virtual and brick and mortar) as soon as the proverbial maestro of magic taps his trusty wand on the top hat that doubles as the podium of astonishing impermanence!

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Belle, Book & Candle: Bewitching Burlesque & Psychics 7/19

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Upcoming: Buddy Guy At The Saban Theater

What do you get when you cross a guitar legend with a theater that’s on the National Register of Historic Places?  You get a show that is a must-see, that’s what!  That’s right, if you haven’t seen Buddy before, or you just love the hell out of him, you will have another chance later this month. The guitar virtuoso is playing The Saban Theater on Thursday July 27th, and I can’t think of too many venues that would be a better place to catch this show. There are still some tickets left and I’d suggest you grab one or two while you can.

I last saw this show in 2015 at Royce Hall at UCLA, and let me tell you…actually I won’t tell you, because if you’ve seen him you already know, and if you haven’t, you’re in for a treat.

The historical Saban Theatre (originally named the Fox Wilshire) first opened its doors in September, 1930.  Designed by renowned theatre architect S. Charles Lee, the building serves as a dazzling example of the Art Deco style of that era.  This beautiful Beverly Hills landmark has been recently restored to its original splendor, but updated with a spectacular digital marquee and state of the art sound and lighting, making this charming and intimate 1893 seat venue a prime concert destination for both artists and concert-goers alike.

In addition to concerts by a variety of nationally acclaimed artists, from Styx and Smokey Robinson, to Boyz II Men, Zappa Plays Zappa, and Michael McDonald, the Saban is also home to theatrical productions, television shoots, and special events.

Tickets can be ordered through the Saban or various other sites.  Get ’em while you can folks!

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Movies Till Dawn: Un Uomo, Una Cavallo, Una Pistola – Italian Westerns and American Contorno

Djang0 Prepare a Coffin” (1968, Arrow Video) Though relatively unknown in the United States until its release on DVD, Sergio Corbucci’s doom-laden Euro Western “Django” (1966) was a global hit during its release, spawning tributes on film (it’s the movie Jimmy Cliff is watching in “The Harder They Come”) and in music (Lee Perry’s “Return of Django” and dozens more reggae tracks from Trojan Records). In typical Italian genre fashion, it also spawned dozens of imitations on screen, some featuring characters based on character played by Franco Nero, some renamed to cash in on the success. Ferdinando (“Get Mean“) Baldi’s “Django Prepare a Coffin” is only one of two with any connection to the Nero/Corbucci film, though here, it’s Terence Hill – a dead ringer for Nero who went on to stardom in cinematographer Enzo Barboni‘s lighter-hearted “Trinity” series – as Django, who recruits a team of condemned men to avenge the murder of his wife by a political boss (Horst Frank) and his thugs. Co-written by Baldi and Franco Rossetti – who penned the Corbucci “Django” – “Prepare a Coffin” serves as both prequel and tribute to its predecessor, borrowing its high points – including the Gatling-gun-in-the-coffin conclusion – and Barboni, who echoes own his color-steeped compositions, while also providing a thumbnail background for the character’s single-minded trail of vengeance. The end result doesn’t match the intense violence (and political undertones) of the original “Django,” but certainly delivers its own stylish shoot-out excitement. Arrow’s Blu-ray includes an informative overview of the “Django” films by author Kevin Grant and a European trailer.

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Lilly Hiatt’s “Trinity Lane”

Nashville artist Lilly Hiatt has released an endearing video for her uplifting new single “Trinity Lane.” Set in her comfortable-looking, messy apartment, and featuring several shots of her cute cat, the video and song are about being content on one’s own, without resorting to alcohol or other dependencies. “Trinity Lane” is the title track on her new album, due out August 25th on New West Records. Like the single, the album deals with learning to love oneself, moving on from break-ups and maintaining sobriety. While writing the songs, Hiatt “stayed away from men, and danced alone in the evenings, looking out my window observing my humble and lively neighborhood. I found power in being by myself. I found peace in the people I was surrounded with – we didn’t really know one another, but we smiled when passed on the street” (press release).  The daughter of John Hiatt, Lilly’s music is a mix of ’90s rock, twangy folk and Americana, with strong melodies helmed by her distinctive, sweet/tough voice.

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