Annette Conlon’s Folk U Series Brings Local Folk Music to the Vampire Lounge in Beverly Hills

Folk singer/songwriter and musician Annette Conlon is as principled about her music as she is about veganism and Americana. Now she is allowing others to experience her musical feelings as well as that of other folk artists at her new residency, Folk U, a monthly series that she will be hosting at the Vampire Lounge and Tasting Room in Beverly Hills. “I’ll be bringing in my favorite folk artists to perform in one of Beverly’s Hill’s most unique venues…a Vampire Bar,” says Conlon, who is set to embark on her second Compassionette U.S. Tour beginning September 1. “Where better to play traditional and rural music passed through the ages in oral tradition? From contemporary to roots revival and American folk music, we hope to explore it all,” concludes Conlon. Continue reading

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PB&J LA Opens at the Grand Central Market

All Photo by Billy Bennight for The Los Angeles Beat

Bonnie and I had a chance to be a part of a special preview and presser for the hottest new ticket in LA for the opening of “PB&J.LA” in DTLA’s Grand Central Market. On Friday a good size crowd had gathered at PB&J.LA to experience the adventure in a unique concept of peanut butter and jam as cuisine. As Adam Fleischman puts it, “PB&J LA is not you mom’s peanut butter and jelly.” The exterior of the space is clean and modern in design and open where you can see you sandwich being made to order. Bonnie and I spoke with Jimmy Franklin, who explained his original concept and the hurdles him and his partners had to jump to bring PB&J.LA into reality, landing this game changing concept into the Grand Central Market. It was Jimmy’s pitch to Adam at Sky Sport & Spa that got the ball rolling with the idea exotic mash-ups with untraditional nut butters and great new takes on jams and jellies for these gourmet and tasty new takes of the traditional peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

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Annenberg Space for Photography Presents: Cuba Is

Leysis Quesada Vera (Courtesy Annenberg Space for Photography)

Saturday, September 9th, Annenberg Space for Photography will open “Cuba Is,” a “photography exhibition that goes beyond the folklore and offers new insight into Cuba’s current reality.” At this time in history, when Cuba is opening up once again to Americans, it is an opportunity to see the hidden side of Cuba, captured in over 120 photos with subjects including defiant youth known as “Los Frikis, and Miami’s “Chonga girls” before tourism and development change the face of Cuba forever.

The multimedia exhibition also includes archival images, film and a virtual reality experience that will bring you into Cuba’s vibrant music scene. The archival work of four photographers: Elliot Erwitt, Leysis Quesada, Raúl Cañibano, and Tria Giovan will be on display along with “an original documentary, produced by the Annenberg Foundation, highlighting these photographers at work.” The exhibit will be on display until March 4, 2018 (Closed Mondays and Tuesdays)

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‘Logan Lucky’ An Hilarious Comedy from Academy Award Winning Director Steven Soderbergh

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Photo by Claudette Barius

Divorced and desperate for money, unemployed West Virginia coal miner Jimmy Logan (the wonderful Channing Tatum) hatches a wildly elaborate scheme to rob the Charlotte Motor Speedway in neighboring North Carolina during a NASCAR race. He convinces his one-armed bartender brother, Clyde (the super funny, Adam Driver) awn Iraq War vet and car obsessed hairdresser sister, Mellie (Riley Keogh) to join him in the daring heist.

Logan realizes he’s going to need some outside help to pull off this job. This leads him to an eccentric demolition expert Joe Bang (the fantastic Daniel Craig) who he knows is the perfect man for the job.  Only problem is Mister Bang is in prison.

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‘Honky Tonk Laundry’ is Definitely a Place You Don’t Want To Leave

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Photo by Michael Lamont

‘Honkey Tonk Laundry’ is a wonderful new musical written and directed by Roger Bean (‘The Marvelous Wonderettes’, ‘Life Could Be A Dream’, ‘The Andrew Brothers’) with choreography by James Vasquez. There are many reasons why you should see this musical, two of them being the ultra talented  Bets Malone and Misty Cotton. Not only do these two women sing beautifully, but they have killer comic chops and they can dance.

The story is pure country. Girl meets Boy,  Girl falls head over heels with Boy.
Boy does the girl dirty and breaks her heart.  Girl gets pissed off and sings some all time classic country songs. Continue reading

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A “Killer” Show At The Greek

Last night was one of those rare occasions for me when I decided to just show up at a show on my own dime, enjoy it (which for me consists of watching the entire concert through the camera’s viewfinder), and take in the whole scene.  What a scene this was, before the performers even took the stage.  It seemed like there was some sort of convention going on, almost a competition between people in black shirts and people in purple shirts.  This was the night where they teamed up Deep Purple, Alice Cooper, and Edgar Winter.  It sounded promising, and I decided to pick up a seat on the open market.  Luckily, there was a ticket drop the day of, and I picked up some “killer” seats right down front.

I figured this was going to be a promising night as I lined up for entrance when I spied a couple ahead of me dressed as…?  One guy seemingly was trying to do his best to turn himself into a kind of human roadkill, naked save for a thong covered by a giant squirrel-tail and covered by tire-tracks.  I guess he was acting out “Under My Wheels”.  Either that or he just ran out of meds.  His partner in the line was dressed as some kind of Mad Hatter meets Gene Simmons.  I know, Alice Cooper wears a top hat as part of his performance.  Still, I wasn’t quite sure what the box of “Tricks” affixed to his head represented, I’m sure someone will fill me in here.

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ScareLA at The Los Angeles Convention Center

John Kassir, the voice of The Crypt Keeper from the T.V. show, Tales From the Crypt, at ScareLA.

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Theatre Review: ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time’ at The Ahmanson

Adam Langdon as Christopher Boone (top center) with the cast of the touring production of “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time,. Photo by Joan Marcus.

I had read the bestselling novel by Mark Haddon long before I saw the theatrical adaptation of “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time,” and I didn’t remember being particularly upset by the book. I knew the story involved a young teenage boy, Christopher, who was possibly on the spectrum, and his attempt to solve the mystery of a neighbor’s dead dog. I wondered if the play would be more visceral than the book, especially in regards t0 the murder of the dog.

The answer did not take long to reveal itself. When you enter the Ahmanson Theater, the curtain is up and you are immediately confronted with the sight of a dead prop dog with a pitchfork sticking out of it. The rest of the set is just a large grid, a chair, and several white boxes off to the side. So depending on how early you arrive, you have a good amount of time to come to grips with the dog.

The stage that is so bare at first represents a whole new direction in set design. It is as if the entire set is the inside of Christopher’s brain. The mathematical precision of the grid reflects his obsession with order. However, the spareness also allows for infinite possibilities. Using drawings, projections, lights and computer effects, set designer Bunny Christie not only creates backgrounds, but gives insight into Christopher’s intense emotional states.

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Movie Review: ‘The Resilient Heart’ at the 2017 Los Angeles Film Festival

Dr. Valentín Fuster

The Resilient Heart is a documentary focusing on Valentin Fuster, MD, and his interest in heart health. He has spent his entire career dedicated to solving the mystery of heart disease and heart health. Dr. Fuster is the Director of Mount Sinai Heart Institute, and Physician-in-Chief at Mount Sinai Hospital. “The Resilient Heart” is directed by Oscar®-nominee and Grammy® winning director, Susan Froemke.

This is a straight-up documentary, offering lots of information, clear objectives, and a clean story arch. The film is successful in communicating Dr. Valentín Fuster’s intent — to demonstrate how pivotal diet and lifestyle is to good heart health. Dr. Valentín Fuster knew if he started with a tainted pool of adults already set in their dietary ways, it would be hard to prove the role diet and lifestyle choices play in good heart health and longevity. Dr. Fuster knew it was essential to catch children at a very early age to teach them a healthier perspective on diet and exercise in order to prove his point. His first study group was in Bogota, Columbia. From here, Dr. Fuster finds other ways of expending his experiment around the globe, in some cases he piggy-backs on other projects. Eldoret, Kenya was one of those circumstances where he utilized the area’s AIDS prevention and education to introduce his study.

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Local Musicians Rally to Help Greg “The Pope” Romero

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