SWEET TALK—Happy Thanksgiving!

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Yes, it’s almost Thanksgiving, and hopefully you remembered to come home with a tin of candy behind your back and a live turkey under your arm.

So far, so good. But… what about Christmas? With every bite you savor and every story you share on Thanksgiving day, the jolly, wide shadow of Santa is cast over your shoulder. You might even feel the weight of his roly-poly hand as he looms over you to see if you have promptly begun your list of perfect remembrances slated to be purchased for family, friends, and business acquaintances in time for December 25th.

I know what you’re thinking: Please don’t ruin my Thanksgiving by reminding me of this!!!”

I am not trying to bother you, however. Instead, I’m looking to solve the problem. I think we can all agree that we have enough problems already, and finding clever ideas to bring joy to the faces of all we know should be a pleasure and not a problem, right? Right?

So, here’s the answer: what is the perfect gift? Continue reading

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Theatre West and Storybook Theatre’s “The Emperor’s New Clothes”: Has Them—and Some Gosh Darned Smashing Ones to Boot!

Photo Courtesy of David P. Johnson

Photo Courtesy of David P. Johnson

Imagine if you will, all the giddiness of Sesame Street, the didactic intent of Mister Rogers with a dash of imagined cartoonishness of The Electric Company’s Letterman (minus the voice of Gene Wilder, but replaced by the buoyant, lilting cadence of Matthew Hoffman), and you’ve got Theatre West  and Storybook theatre’s The Emperor’s New Clothes.

Set in a faraway land long before the hyped-out days of Abercrombie and Fitch (wherein nudity, or at the very least, all things sheer, are much more a fashion statement now than they’ve a right to be) and over a fortnight after the invention of the spinning wheel, this classic tale by Hans Christian Andersen is the perfect metaphor for the sale of many a bogus bill of goods via unscrupulous business moguls (and even bankers), shilled by shifty Continue reading

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Worst Holiday Films Ever: A Metaphorical Partner for Your Traditional Turkey

Ahhh, here come the Winter Holidays and it’s time to get happy, psycho or stuffed, in all senses of the word. Families have been gathering together for Thanksgiving and Christmas and other Winter holidays bringing tons of fancy booze and cholesterol and calorie-laden treats, but it’s only been in the last three decades that we have been able to truly plan our holiday viewing fare, unless it’s going out to see one of a hundred different versions of The Nutcracker. TV started the boom with annual showings of How The Grinch Stole Christmas and Irving Berlin’s White Christmas.

In the late 70’s TV began to creatively fill the long hours of cooking with something different, like The Twilight Zone Marathon, which many still wrap themselves into today eagerly awaiting their favorite tales of twist endings. A couple of years later, local competing channels would up the ante with nonstop showings of Christmas Story and The Godzilla Series from the 50’s through the 70’s. With the advent of home video you could bring home all kinds of things. My mom started insisting I bring anything but holiday movies, and I was eager to comply, even though I have soft spots for classics like Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer.

I liken bad and weird films to an offbeat and sometimes tipsy uncle. I would search for good seasonal offerings, but I also became aware of holiday films that were so off-kilter or so awful they earned a small place in the hall of fame of Le Bad Cinema. Some of these titles are so bad they are good, and I wonder if some of the others exist only so  friends could tie each other up and force each other to watch the film until one cried “Uncle!” Here are some of the films that made my list for the worst of the worst. Be forewarned that some of the trailers are NSFW, and many contain spoilers or a bit of nudity.

Continue reading

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Middle-Aged Rebel: The Most LA 30 Minutes of Punk Ever!

benefit for dez

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Occasionally, (A Photo Gallery of) The 2015 Doo Dah Parade!

Photos by Billy Bennight for The Los Angeles Beat

Photos by Billy Bennight for The Los Angeles Beat

Occasionally, the Doo Dah Parade occurs in Pasadena to thrill the throngs of iconoclasts and enthusiasts of camp! This year was no different as the parade officially brought festive mayhem on Colorado Boulevard, starting around 11am. A barrage of corn tortillas were thrown by the performers and floats as they passed by, with the occasional reciprocation that lent itself to good natured fights. The Doo Dah Parade anthem “More Beer” rings out across Colorado Blvd. by the famous or infamous Drunk In The Garage rocking the faithful! When the parade finishes, the party isn’t over as most head to one of two places. The Colorado Bar plays host to many with suds and an encore performance of Drunk In The Garage while many revelers join the official party of the Doo Dah Parade with Snotty Scotty and the Hankies at the American Legion Hall for cheap stiff drinks and dancing. Pranks and shenanigans are the result as people party into the Sunday evening, and here are the photos to prove it!

Photo Gallery after the Break Continue reading

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Legendary Actress, Film, Radio, Stage, and Television Star Rose Marie to be Honored Shirley Temple Award; Presented by the Illustrious Carl Reiner!

Photo Courtesy of "Just Hold the Roses by Rose Marie"

Photo Courtesy of “Just Hold the Roses by Rose Marie”

From the Vaudeville stage to the silver screen, to sitcoms to original entertainment in Bugsy Segal’s Flamingo hotel, to her best known household namesake down to the smallest of screens, actress/performer Rose Marie has had more than a career to be reckoned with!

Starting at the adorable age of 3, she endeared audiences the Vaudeville scene over. Then, at the seasoned age of 5, earned her first stint in the radio voiceover world; a talent for which she is still widely known and sought after to this day!

Billed at Baby Rose Marie, her Hollywood career commenced at the age of 3, right alongside her illustrious Vaudeville vocation, when she was cast in the starring role in a Continue reading

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Random LA: Carol

Carol costume exhibit Arclight

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Middle-Aged Rebel: A Positive Cartoon

positive cartoon

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Fry’s Manhattan Beach: Tiki Fry’s

All photos by Elise Thompson for The Los Angeles Beat

All photos by Elise Thompson for The Los Angeles Beat

OK, I will be the first one to admit that Tiki Fry’s is not as cool as Alice in Wonderland Fry’s. Tiki Fry’s is not even as cool as you would expect a Tiki Fry’s to be. In fact, it’s more like Polynesian Fry’s, which explains the coolest feature of the entire store — the monolithic Easter Island heads in the back. But it’s way better than no theme at all. I mean, Circuit City doesn’t even try. Next up: 50s Alien Monster Movie Fry’s and Roman Ruins Fry’s.

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Screening of Music Doc JACO with Live Concert Sunday Night at Ace Hotel

JACO, a documentary about the life and career of the legendary 70s jazz bassist Jaco Pastorius, premieres Sunday night at The Theatre at Ace Hotel DTLA. The film is produced by the Metallica bassist Robert Trujillo, and directed by Paul Marchand and Stephen Kijak.

The documentary chronicles his pioneering music on the electric bass as described by fellow musicians like Joni Mitchell, Sting, Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, and Geddy Lee. The filmmakers compiled “incredible unseen footage and photography from the Pastorius family archive” to take the audience “into the heart and soul of this hugely influential musician.” Due to Jaco’s battles with addiction and bipolar disorder, the film must ultimately confront “the fragility of great artistic genius.”

After the film, JACO executive producer and Metallica bassist Robert Trujillo with rock collective Mass Mental, special guests Billy Idol, Flea and Jerry Jemmott; and Hipster Assassins, with Felix Pastorius, Mike Bendy, John Bendy, Chris Ward and Kenny Grohowski will perform a live concert. More info and tickets available on Ace Hotel’s website. If you can’t make it to the screening, JACO will be available on DVD and Blu-Ray Nov. 27th. Order it here.

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