“All For The Love Animal Rescue” Charity Cabaret Event Brings A Splash of Broadway to NoHo

All Photos by Billy Bennight for The Los Angeles Beat

All Photos by Billy Bennight for The Los Angeles Beat

All For The Love Animal Rescue” put one a special Musical Theater “Broadway” flavored event at Sterling’s Upstairs at The Federal Bar that echoes one of my favorite annual events, The Actors Fund Tony Awards® Viewing Party. The All For The Love Animal Rescue (AFLAR) performance has the added benefit of funding pet rescue from endangered pets from animal shelters. AFLAR focuses mostly on rescuing of Pit Bulls and Chihuahuas because they are the most commonly abandoned of family pets, but they address other rescue opportunities too. AFLAR has been responsible for saving over 325 dogs from euthanasia in just the past 14 months. So the evening performances served as a unique way of bringing pet rescue to a public forum that directly benefits the pets themselves.

Kat Kramer

Kat Kramer

The evening event started with a bang as Maripat Davis and Richard Osborn took the stage with a medley of S’Wonderful/Let’s Fall in Love and followed it with another medley of I Wish I Were in Love Again/I’ll Never Fall in Love Again. The musical director Shelly Markham led the 3 piece ensemble offering the Jazzy foundation to all of the evening’s performances. The lively energy continued with Mark Winkler’s zingy take on the song Like Young, a Jazzy Bebop number that was delivered in a fun and “Beat Era” hip manner. He followed it with a touching ballad called Dog Passages. Maripat Davis introduced Kat Kramer, who performed two songs, a medley of As Tears  Go By (A classic Rolling Stones song) and Neverland from (Peter Pan.)   Kat’s second song came a little later and paid homage to her Father, Stanley Kramer, with theme song from the movie Bless The Beasts And Children.  Maripat brought the room to a more serious moment when she sat down to sing Feels Like Home while presenting a heart-felt slide show of many of the dogs rescued over the previous year. Maripat’s performance seamlessly moved to Andrea Marcovicci impassioned performance of At the Pound. At this point Maripat and Richard took a moment to honor Kat Kramer’s special guest and animal activist, her Mother, Golden Globe winner Karen Kramer, Academy Award winner George Chakiris and Actress Beverly Todd: who were spotlighted for their efforts and contributions to Animal Rights activism. The acknowledgment were humbly and graciously accepted by them as the audience gave a hardy round of applause.

Andrea Marcovicci

Andrea Marcovicci

The show returned to its earlier pace, moving to the event’s show closer duets of Here’s to Love and The Sweetest of Nights and The Finest of Days by Maripat and Richard. The hour and a half show provided a varied, dynamic and evocative approach to the musical theater, with the purpose of focusing their talents on the ever presences need of rescuing needy and forgotten pets. For further information about All For the Love Animal Rescue (AFLAR) follow this link.

Photo Gallery at the Break  Continue reading

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Celebrity Chefs, delicious cuisine and craft cocktails will be featured at the Taste of the Nation Laguna Beach’s charity event

Taste of the Nation Laguna Beach will be held on the bluffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Picture courtesy of Christine Sosa Photography with permission of Taste of the Nation Laguna Beach

Taste of the Nation Laguna Beach will be held on the bluffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Picture courtesy of Christine Sosa Photography with permission of Taste of the Nation Laguna Beach

Celebrity Chefs such as Duff Goldman and Alan Wong, great ocean views, craft cocktails and much more take center stage on June 8, 2014 when the Taste of the Nation Laguna Beach takes place at the Montage in Laguna Beach. The event is under the auspices of the national Share Our Strength organization, whose chief goal is to end childhood hunger, both in Orange County and across the nation through it’s No Child Hungry program. The Montage Laguna Beach, set on the oceanfront bluffs with a panoramic view of the Pacific Ocean, will be the site of this delicious, fun event to benefit the No Child Hungry program.

Chef Craig Strong of Montage Laguna Beach with his Seared Scallops. Picture courtesy of Christine Sosa Photography with permission of Taste of the Nation Laguna Beach

Chef Craig Strong of Montage Laguna Beach with his Seared Scallops. Picture courtesy of Christine Sosa Photography with permission of Taste of the Nation Laguna Beach

Headlining the culinary side of this charitable event will be the Executive Chef of Studio, the Montage’s Signature Restaurant, Craig Strong. Creating succulent farm-to-table delicacies along with Chef Strong will be several noted celebrity chefs. California Chefs coming to the event include Chef Alan Greeley of The Golden Truffle in Costa Mesa; TV Chef and owner of Charm City Cakes in Los Angeles, Chef Duff Goldman; Top Chef contestant Chef Brian Huskey, of Paiche, Picca and Mo-Chica in Los Angeles; and the Montage Laguna Beach’s own Executive Pastry Chef, Lee Smith. Flying in from Miami Beach, Florida will be former Top Chef contestant and acclaimed Chef de Cuisine at the Fountainbleau’s Scarpetta Restaurant, Chef Nina Compton. Hawaii’s own Chef Alan Wong, a James Beard Award winner, will represent his own Alan Wong Restaurants in Oahu. Continue reading

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The Binks Family, America's favorite candy family of the 50s.

The Binks Family, America’s favorite candy family of the 50s.

Easter Sunday arrives this weekend, thus heralding the last chance to enjoy fresh holiday candy for the year until we manage to make it to October and the extended candy holiday season resumes.

Like all holiday candy these days, Easter candy runs the gamut from the traditional (marshmallow eggs, hollow chocolate bunnies) to the baffling (Spiderman and Star Wars Easter candy). Sometimes it seems as if all tradition is rapidly becoming lost, but what meets the eye doesn’t necessarily provide the big picture. To help provide perspective, I’ve provided a tour of some Easter candy from 1950s Luden’s and Palmer catalogs.

Perhaps the best place to begin is with Palmer’s Binks family—as pictured above, we have Grandaddy Binks, Daddy Binks, Bunny Binks, and Baby Binks. You can still find Baby Binks in the stores, but, otherwise, the whole family has vanished over time. I can’t state this as a fact, but I suspect that sharp-dressed Grandaddy Binks was the first to go. Continue reading

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Farewell to AC/DC Premature? Band Site Announces They Are Taking a Break

The Curse of Angus Young Brian FortnerRumors have flown all week that AC/DC is breaking up after Malcolm Young returned home to Australia to be with his family due to illness. Yesterday the band’s site announced:

“After forty years of life dedicated to AC/DC, guitarist and founding member Malcolm Young is taking a break from the band due to ill health. Malcolm would like to thank the group’s diehard legions of fans worldwide for their never-ending love and support.

In light of this news, AC/DC asks that Malcolm and his family’s privacy be respected during this time. The band will continue to make music.”

In tribute to AC/DC, I humbly offer my review of their show at The Forum, 12/6/08

It’s no big revelation that high school kids bond in cliques. The cheerleaders never cross paths with the trenchcoat mafia. My high school was small, so the punkers and the metal kids banded together over a shared love of vandalism and recreational drugs. I hated most of the metal bands the Beavis and Butthead-type kids wrote on their Peechee folders, but one band stood out – AC/DC. Mainly because of Angus Young. With his schoolboy attire and Chuck Berry duck walk, he was just so fucking punk.

I attended the AC/DC concert at the Forum Saturday with a combination of curiosity and trepidation about the cheeseball factor. And admittedly, some genuine excitement. In spite of oneself, the songs are catchy in a TV commercial kind of way. Even the most sexist lyrics are carried along by anthemic melodies that are irresistible. I dare you to play “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap” and not start singing along and pumping your fist in the air without even realizing you are doing it.

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An Evening with George Schlatter: April 22nd at Cinefamily

What’s that you say? What does this have to do with beauty? The answer is: more than you think! If you’ve ever seen the Diana Ross “Afro Vogue” clip then you know what I mean:

please install flash

From the blurb:

He made stars out of Goldie Hawn and Lily Tomlin.
He gave Lorne Michaels and Robin Williams their first gigs.
He reunited the Rat Pack.
He booked Vegas until the Mafia made it too dangerous.
He completed an Al Hirt special with a dead body in the background.
He tried to get Fidel Castro on Laugh-In.
He worked with George Carlin, Groucho Marx, Richard Pryor, Peter Sellers, Jacques Tati, Fred Astaire, Bette Davis, Orson Welles, Richard Nixon and so many, many more…

Before Lorne Michaels or Judd Apatow, there was George Schlatter: the most powerful comedy mogul in Hollywood, a larger-than-life figure and raconteur extraordinare. Best known for creating Laugh-In, this legendary veteran’s CV is sky-high: longtime producer of Grammy telecasts and Presidential inaugurals, the creative force behind a million awesome variety specials, and a civil rights groundbreaker (he hired the first African-American director in T.V. history.) Join writer/comedy expert Kliph Nesteroff (WFMU, Grove Atlantic) as he moderates an evening of incredible showbiz stories, followed by a cliptastic celebration of George’s groundbreaking T.V. work. In the Sixties, Mr. Schlatter brought more African-American faces to the small screen than anyone else — and tonight, we screen extremely rare footage unseen in over forty years, including clips from Soul (an all-Black ‘68 Laugh-In spin-off co-starring Redd Foxx, Nipsey Russell, the Chambers Brothers and a young Gregory Hines), The New Bill Cosby Show (featuring Groucho Marx and the Quincy Jones Orchestra), and TCB (an incredible ’68 Motown special starring Diana Ross and the Temptations.)

As part of Cinemfamily’s “TV Tuesdays” series.

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Archway Theatre’s “Salome”: Biting and HEADstrong!

The Poster--Yo!  Courtesy of Steven Sabel

The Poster–Yo! Courtesy of Steven Sabel

The drive to downtown LA is enchanted on this April 11th of a Friday night.  The city lights appear like a mirage of metropolitan magnificence and the sky is just slightly overcast.  The prime reason I have time to appreciate this now, more than ever, is that we are sitting in a relatively hugely gridlocked area of traffic the scope and scansion of Duluth for the balance of our journey.  But never mind, it is a good night to be out and we just barely make it to the venue on time.

The theatre is located at 305 South Hewitt street right in the heart of downtown L.A.’s Arts District.  With its warehouse lofts, brewery/art galleries and its multitudinous murals, one can almost lose oneself locating the correct cavernously creative venue. But we do and it is Continue reading

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Redwood Bar Tomorrow: Slay The Phoenix, The Vigils


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India Sweets and Pizza?

India Sweets and Spices PizzaSome fusion food is simply not meant to be, and I am the first to admit that tikka masala pizza does not immediately beckon. But sometimes when food is cooked using the ingredients from a different culture, something wonderful happens. India Sweets and Spices on Los Feliz in the Atwater area started a pioneering pizza kitchen last month.

They do serve Italian pizza, but why go to an Indian grocery for that? We chose a tikka masala base, then built the pizza as if layering curries and chutneys. Eggplant and artichokes for substance, pineapple, yellow bell pepper, garlic, mint and cilantro. It was delicious layered on a naan-like crust. The sauce was flavorful with a slight afterburn. Other base sauces are Curry and Mango/Coconut. Toppings include your usual vegetables and a wide variety of hot peppers. The vegetarian-only pizzas can be made vegan by omitting the cheese.

Founder Kumar Jawa started the India Sweets and Spices in 1984 and there are now ten of the grocery delis throughout California and Oregon. The Los Feliz site is the flagship and the only one offering pizza. Jawa said that he is willing to help the other delis set up their pizza kitchens if they are interested. Like the rest of us, they are probably waiting with great interest to see what happens.

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Rare Chance to See “The Decline of Western Civilization” at LACMA if You Want to Gamble

This Friday, April 18 at 7:30pm LACMA will be screening Penelope Spheeris’ 1981 documentary, “The Decline of Western Civilization.” Spheeris’s “groundbreaking documentary captures some of the scene’s seminal bands at their sweaty, ferocious peak, onstage and off. From OC hardcore progenitors Black Flag and Circle Jerks to Hollywood heavyweights Germs, X, and the intensely provocative Fear…”

The film has not been made available on DVD and is rarely screened, so the tickets are already sold out. If you are hardcore, there are seats available on standby only. The line-up will begin 2 hours beforehand, and seats will be offered on a first-come, first-serve basis IF any seats become available. Spheeris, Lee Ving, and other guests “to be announced” will be in attendance.

LACMA, Bing Theater
$3 Academy members, LACMA Film Club members and students with a valid ID; $5 general admission
Plan Your Visit

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Mike Kelley at The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA


After traveling from Amsterdam to Paris and New York, “Mike Kelley” has finally come home to MOCA’s Geffen Contemporary and MOCA Grand Avenue. Perhaps best known for the cover of the Sonic Youth album, Dirty, Mike Kelley could be described as LA’s quintessential post-punk artist. Until his recent death in 2012, he created a huge body of work exploring such diverse topics as politics, class, gender, pop culture, and the traumas of childhood, with a special interest in recovered memories.

If you can name a medium, Kelley worked in it, from watercolor to wood, from mosaic to installations, from photography to video. He was particularly entranced with texture, creating dioramas with anything from plastic sprinkles to quartz. Although his performances can never truly be recreated, there are videos of some of the pieces. One of Mike Kelley’s favorite mediums was found objects, particularly soft sculpture using crochet and stuffed animals. Although his work is often whimsical, there is a dark underbelly. What are the mysterious lumps beneath the large, seemingly cozy afghan? The artist’s collection of discarded stuffed animals certainly lean towards the creepy, with leering eyes and ominous smiles.

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