Bob Dorough @ The Echoplex 11/24

When first arriving at the Echoplex Monday evening it was surprising to discover that “Schoolhouse Rock” had such a cultish and enthusiastic following. But it soon became apparent that the excitement of the crowd was only partially because of the familiar songs.  Bob Dorough was the real draw. The singer and keyboard player elicited true affection from the audience with his friendly patter and slightly self-effacing humor.

Backed by Jennifer Leitham on bass, John Chiodini on guitar, and Herman Matthews on drums, Dorough ran through his Schoolhouse Rock favorites from “Three is a Magic Number” to “I’m Just a Bill.” Local musician and record mogul Skip Heller was on hand to play the part of the curious little boy from the animated shorts. Audience participation was highly encouraged and watching the crowd desperately trying to remember their multiplication tables to keep up was kind of adorable.

Dorough playing a short set of his own original songs was an unexpected treat. They ranged from goofy ditties read directly from the dictionary to complex jazz numbers like “Devil May Care” which was covered by Diana Krall and “The Winds of Heaven” played by the 5th Dimension. We may all have fond memories of “Schoolhouse Rock,” but anyone lucky enough to see him live will definitely have a soft spot in their heart for Bob Dorough.

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Chef Amar Santana Will Follow Up his Culinary Success In Laguna Beach When He Opens Vaca, a Spanish Restaurant in Costa Mesa

Ahmed and amar Toasting with Sangria. Photo by Edward simon for The Los Angeles Beat.

Chef Amar Santana and his partner, Ahmed Labbate, the team behind Orange County’s critically acclaimed Broadway by Amar Santana in Laguna Beach, have announced their newest project, ‘Vaca’. Destined for a June 2015 opening in Costa Mesa, ‘Vaca’ will showcase the Spanish side of the Atlantic Ocean, featuring not only tapas but many traditional Spanish-influenced dishes. When I sat down with Chef Amar and Ahmed yesterday, they discussed the concepts behind one of the most influential cuisines in the world. According to Ahmed, “Amar and I have been thinking about expanding, adding another restaurant, and we’ve been throwing around the idea of a different concept, we talked about it and Amar suggested a Spanish-style restaurant, so that’s how the idea came about”. Chef Amar added, “We also wanted to do something that we don’t have in Orange County yet”.

Over the years, the food of Spain has absorbed influences from surrounding areas and cultures. Portugal, France and Morocco have contributed, while the cultures of the Moors and the Basques have added their spices and flavors to the mix. Chef Amar had another big reason to base the restaurant on Spanish cuisine. He said, “I’ve always wanted to do something like Spanish tapas, I grew up eating that stuff. I’m also a big charcuterie guy also and with Spain having the best pork in the world, it was a no-brainer to include a charcuterie station in the restaurant”. Continue reading

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Movie Review: Clint Eastwood’s “American Sniper” Screening at AFI FEST Presented By Audi



The invitation to a secret screening at the Egyptian proved irresistible, especially after it was announced that Clint Eastwood‘s newest film, American Sniper, was the movie to given a special AFI Fest presented by Audi viewing to the public. It was an added bonus to have the AFI‘s President and CEO Bob Gazzal introduce the legendary Clint Eastwood to the house. Greeted by the mighty sound of applause Clint Eastwood took to the podium in a relaxed and unceremonious way to tell all who were in attendance about his new movie American Sniper. For the most part Clint Eastwood held the podium confidently, but for a couple of split seconds you could glimpse his trepidation of speaking about the film to this large group of people. It brought this artist’s humanity to the fores in an unexpected way and made the moment more meaningful, adding greater depth to the experience of such an unexpected and extraordinary public appearance of Clint Eastwood. Clint Eastwood exited in the same manner he entered as the applause rose and fell as the much-anticipated feature started to glimmer on the Egyptian Theatre’s silver screen.

Clint EastwoodAmerican Sniper introduces Chris Kyle, played by Bradley Cooper, as the most successful marksman in American history. The opening scene showing Kyle on duty in Iraq strategically and secretly resting on a Bagdad rooftop preparing to make a kill on 2 terrorists. The real discomfort for these kills comes from these targets, for Kyle and the audience, because these terrorist target are a mother and son, who are preparing to toss a bomb in front of a tank and military scouting party. This on-screen introduction of Kyle’s marksmanship focusing the kind of skill required of a marksman and the discipline it takes to make a split second decision in life and death situations. At this critical moment Eastwood introduces Kyle’s back story in a series of flashbacks sequences. These sequences of his childhood, family and young adulthood are presented to the viewer before Kyle’s the critical shots are to be made. This sequences acquaints us with Kyle’s ethics and values handed down by his father and family traditions long before his military career. Moving the story forward Kyle is shown as a young man involved in the Rodeo circuit. The Rodeo life is a desperate young man’s game that offers few perks and even less stability. Eventually, Kyle is made sympathetic by a betrayal by his then girlfriend’s betrayal. This initiates the sequence that leads him to becoming and Navy Seal. These essential scenes of him training and bonding with military mates. This all leads to him finding the woman he eventually marries, Taya played by Sienna Miller.

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Photo Essay: Bag Theory, Rubber Snake Charmers, Landfill, Spot, Symbol Six and Santa Sabbath @ Liquid Kitty’s Punk Rock BBQ 11/23/14

Rubber Snake Charmers  (Jordan Schwartz)

 Photos by Jordan Schwartz and Stella KXLU

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Lazer Lloyd Plays Tonight at The Mint in LA: Electric Blues from Israel’s ‘King of Blues Rock’

Lazer Lloyd Acoustic. Photo by Edward simon for the Los Angeles Beat.

Lazer Lloyd, coming off of a dynamic performance in an all-acoustic show in Long Beach, plugs back in again tonight at The Mint in Los Angeles to show why he is known as Israel’s ‘King of the Blues Rock Guitar’. Growing up in Connecticut, “My father was an avid jazz musician, who played a lot of jazz and blues records around the house. Count Basie, Joe Williams, a lot of Kenny Burrell and BB. King, I must have heard that live ‘BB King Live from the Jail’ I don’t know how many times. It just blew me away. Together with that, I was really loving Bad Company, Lynyrd Skynrd—–rockin’ and rolling in those days’, he said. “I saw Stevie Ray Vaughan when I was 15. I saw him three times. After that, there was no going back”.

Twenty years ago, he was living in Manhattan fronting a popular band called ‘The Last Mavericks’. He wound up working a lot with A&R people in NY on demos and showcases, but what changed his life was an invitation to come play a concert in Israel with the grear Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach. “I was playing the blues to his Jewish music, I didn’t know what else to do, and he liked that idea so he told me I had to come play in Israel. I fell in love with the place and I’ve been there ever since”. These days, Lazer is known for his original electric and acoustic blues, both original songs and renditions of the great blues masters, plus the ability to do both acoustic as well as blazing electric guitar solos.

bio_page_rc_image_Fotor_Collage. Photos courtesy of Doug Deutsch PR. Collage by Edward Simon.

Tonight, Monday, November 24, Lazer Lloyd plays one of the premiere concert clubs in Los Angeles, The Mint. Fot this show, he will be bringing out his electric band for a dynamite session of blues and rock tunes. The Mint is located at 6010 West Pico Blvd, L. A. 90035. Phone is 323-954-9400. Tickets can be purchased online at The Mint’s ticket site. Opening the show are Jerry Riopelle also The Motion. The show starts at 7:45.

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Southland Tales: Tex Cobb

Photo by Lucas Essington

Photo by Lucas Essington

In 1993, I went to a weird little club with a friend of mine, Ed, who was managing a local band at the time, called 13th Love. Ed is a six foot five black guy, who on first meeting seems intimidating, but was always the coolest guy to hang with. They had just released a CD that was financed and produced by former Vivid Girl, Torri Wells, cousin of the singer, Joe.

Anyway, Ed calls me up and tells me to meet him and the band in front of The Roxy, on Sunset, as the band, except for Joe and Ed, lived together in Hollywood. And from there we’d see where we would end up going. I got there around 9:00 pm in my black and silver smoking Thunderbird; smoking because of the horrible oil leak, not because it was a cool car.

Ed was standing in front of the Roxy on his cell phone, he looks up and asks if I have ever heard of a club called the Sunset Social Club, I shook my head and said no. Ed says it’s a new jazzy-type club that Mickey Rourke has been hanging out at lately, interested in going? I was game.

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Movie Review: “Buzzard” Screening at AFI FEST Presented by Audi


Joel Potrykus’ Buzzard is unquestionably “Loser Friendly” fare and may be perfectly suited for “Millennials” cultural disenfranchisement with its budget conscious cinematography and equally financially conscious mise en scene.

The story revolves around Joshue Byrge‘s character, Marty Jackitansky, an immature and angry temp worker serving time in a bank office cubicle. Marty occupies his time with in-house petty crimes, horror films, gaming and Speed Metal. The over style of the film is riffing off of movies like SFW and Clerks. Marty is liked by his co-workers and has a relatively tight bromance with Derek, played Helmer Potrykus, a fellow temp and corporate slave. The early part establishes Marty’s character with snippets of home life, shenanigans and minor criminal activity. He’s then given a task by his supervisor who supplies him with the task of finding a bunch of small amounts of undeliverable checks by the banks clients. Marty frustrated by the banality and difficulty of the task decides it’s better and easier to cash them in his own bank account. He later discovers his supervisor has the ability to track these checks and where they have been cashed.

Because of this Marty fear of getting caught puts him “On the lam” and for a while to finds himself “Hold Up” in Derek’s “Party Room”. The motto of Derek’s party room is, “Don’t stay in the party room unless you are prepared to party!” This part of the movie explores their bromance or geeky and awkward mildly homo-erotic exploits that ends days later in a bit of boy on boy rough housing. This sequence ends with Marty running off into the cold cruel world! To clarify the term “Exploits”, I mean, setting on the sofa gaming and eating for the most part, with the added tension of making a “lame” Freddy Kruger styled bladed gaming glove in the quiet times.

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Adding Hot Sauce to Beer – it’s a Thing

TonysTony’s Darts Away in Burbank has always been on the cutting edge with their vegan sausages and exclusively Californian craft beers. When Pliny the Younger gets to town, there is a line around the block. If you hang out long enough, you may spot some of the regulars spiking their beers with hot sauce using tiny eyedroppers.

In the past, there have been some beers brewed with a hot pepper, but local entrepreneur Hot “Sauce” Rod found them “quite lacking,” and began to come up with hot sauces specifically created to pair with beer. Rod’s Balsamic Reduction Hot Sauce was created with desserts and beers in mind. Rod explains the process, “…the chillies go through a long, about a week to ten day, steep in white balsamic vinegar in a solar cooker then a 12 hr slow smoke and another steep before the blender and mixing.” The formula was so successful, Golden Road Brewing, Tony’s Darts Away Anniversary IPA, and Heal the Bay IPA have all incorporated the sauce into a few special casks. When Alexandra Nowell, now with Three Weavers Brewing, was at Kinetic Brewing in Lancaster, they created a brew with the Serrano Habanero and Key Lime.

We spoke with Rod about his favorite pairings. “The Prickly Pear Habanero Hot Sauce is my latest formulation and adds a nice fruity heat to an otherwise aggressive IPA and has become my recent favorite. The Red Fire Hot Sauce is also good in an IPA, but this season was not good for ghost peppers and I am about out of that and the others with those peppers. New habanero alternatives are being formulated, e.g. The Prickly Pear Habanero Hot Sauce, Habanero and POM (pomegranate) Hot Sauce, and Habanero and Ginger Hot Sauce.”

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Late Night Dining at L’Assiette Steak Frites

Steak Frites West Hollywood room  (Te-Ericka Patterson By Te-Erika Patterson of Moving to Los Angeles

When I received the invitation to sample the cuisine at  L’Assiette Steak Frites for dinner as a guest of the LA Beat, I was intrigued by the offer. Nestled in West Hollywood,  the neighborhood is known for its eclectic mix of restaurants, bars and entertainment venues. In fact, just up the street on nearby Fairfax, the neighborhood is going through a vibrant revitalization as even more businesses, shops and restaurants are clamoring for the steady stream of residents who live, love and enjoy the night life in West Hollywood.

What can a restaurant do to stand out from the crowd of fresh new businesses emerging up and down Melrose Avenue? L’Assiette Steak Frites may have the answer.

It turns out that  L’Assiette Steak Frites, which opened up just this past March, is the new kid on the block serving up an old time favorite from France. Its owner, Jacques Fiorentino, brought his favorite treat from France to West Hollywood where his restaurant serves only one dish. The Steak Frites is a platter of steak prepared sous vide and served with a heaping portion of french fries.

What is so special about steak and french fries? Well, for this non chef, who accidentally placed my carton of eggs in the freezer last week and still tried to boil them for lunch, I couldn’t have enough. Smothered in a special family recipe sauce that was gravy-like in consistency yet didn’t overpower the flavor of the steak, each bite literally melted in my mouth. Even my toothless grandma would enjoy the steak here. The fries reminded me of the fries at In & Out Burger, freshly made and delicious. The coolest part of the meal was the fact that you receive two servings at separate intervals so that the food will not ever get cold on your plate.

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In the past month alone, my hair’s experienced deep Southern humidity, beaches, airplane cabins, train cars, and now, 25-degree New England coastal ice. I had nearly settled into a bun routine until I arrived at my next destination to find a package from Sexy Hair.  I was thrilled. Their newest line, Smooth Sexy Hair, is coconut oil-based (one of my beauty staples – I always travel with a small container.) Before I started to unpack, I slathered on Smooth Extender Nourishing Smoothing Mask and left it on all night, washing the next morning with Sulfate Free Smoothing Shampoo and Conditioner.  SMOOTH_Retail_SmoothExtender

The entire Smooth Sexy Hair line (which also includes Blow Dry Extender Creme, Frizz Eliminator Serum, and Anti-Frizz Seal and Shine Spray) is sulfate-free, making it not only nourishing, smoothing, and de-frizzing, but color-safe – as they are sulfate-free.   And it smells luscious! When I returned this morning’s jaunt in the woods in the cold, wintry air and took off my hat voila! No flyaway, no frizz.

Thank you again, Sexy Hair, for making these travel-weary locks look fresh and replenished.

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