Random LA: “Jittery” Hollywood Halloween Warning at Sunset and Vine

Hollywood Halloween  Gets Jittery about Silly String!  (photo by Judy Ornelas Sisineros)

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Actors & Others for Animals and Celebrity Autobiography Join Forces for Best in Show Extravaganza!

Photo Courtesy of Matthew Fried

Photo Courtesy of Matthew Fried

It is a balmy and electric night in NOHO, curbside of North Hollywood’s venerable and prestigious El Portal Theatre! Men, women, and dogs (including a most adorable bulldog named Bubbles) take their evening walks but mostly linger (loiter really) along the starry sidewalk and I arrive just as Florence Henderson and Fred Willard hit the red carpet, soon to be followed by Bruce Vilanch and Lily Tomlin.  So commences Actors & Others for Animals and Celebrity Autobiography’s festive and fur inspired October 13th fundraiser to raise money and awareness for Actors & Others for Animals’ rescue/spay and neuter foundation!

The lobby is a bustle with animal supporters and celebrities alike including Mindy Cohn, Continue reading

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Movie Review: “Housebound”

HouseBound_Poster_11_Alt2“Housebound” is a very clever thriller/comedy from New Zealand written and directed by Gerard Johnstone. It stars Morgana O’Reilly as sour-faced Kylie, a thief and former addict who is sentenced to house arrest in her mother’s home, only to discover that the place is apparently haunted. The movie moves deftly from dark comedy to slapstick to suspense, with several unexpected twists. In the opening scene, Kylie and a friend are trying to break into an atm, and the lighting and music are dark and serious, [Spoiler] but then the friend suddenly knocks himself out with his own weapon. It was so unexpected that I burst out laughing, and Kylie’s expression is priceless. This sets the tone for the film’s fun unpredictability.

The first half makes good use of moments where ominous music leads to something comical, such as when the mom Miriam (Rima Te Wiata) suddenly appears at the car window while Kylie and the probation officers sit staring at the gloomy house. Wiata is note-perfect as the oblivious, silly, blabbermouth mom, telling Kylie she’s lucky and “quite spoiled” to have an ankle monitor, just because it’s fancy technology. (Her heavy accent à la “Flight of The Conchords” adds to the humor.) Kylie sulks, makes a mess in the house, and insults the counselor (Cameron Rhodes) who comes to see her, until a terrifying experience in the basement sets off her monitor and brings bumbling probation officer Amos to the house (Glen-Paul Waru).

When no one can be found in the basement, Miriam re-asserts her previous claim that the house is haunted and, unfazed, Amos whips out a tape recorder as if he’s on “Ghosthunters”. He launches a paranormal investigation full of cliches – “Does it feel colder to you right here?” – and meanwhile Kylie is tormented by a deranged Teddy Ruxpin-type doll, creeped out by a suspicious neighbor and tipped off by her dormouse of a stepdad that the house was not exactly what Miriam claimed it was before her parents bought it (at a major discount).

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Album Review: HellBat! Puts the Fright in Fright Night

Yay Freedom! by HellBat!

Yay Freedom! by HellBat!

Yay Freedom!, the debut release by Los Angeles rock quartet HellBat!, is an ambitious convergence of punk, classic rock and jazz.  Transcending the dry ice, leather studded outfits and heavy metal imagery that the band’s name might imply, HellBat! challenges listeners with a frightening blend of influences, dynamics and exceptional musicianship.  Founded by Los Angeles underground music luminary Vince Meghrouni (Atomic Sherpas, Bazooka, El Grupo Sexo, Mike Watt, Fatso Jetson), HellBat! builds upon the Southern California punk/jazz genre that melds post-Bitches Brew Miles Davis with 1970s King Crimson and early 1980s South Bay punk.  Reflecting a dizzying array of influences that include the Minutemen, Black Flag, Edgar and Johnny Winter, early Rush, and Rocks-era Aerosmith, Yay Freedom! is a fun, white-knuckled, genre-defying, roller coaster ride.

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Dia de los Muertos Events 2014

"Walking Altar" at Olvera Street (Elise Thompson)

“Walking Altar” at Olvera Street (Elise Thompson)

Olvera Street Merchants Association Now through Nov. 2, 2014 FREE

The Olvera Street Merchants and El Pueblo Historical Monument 125 Paseo de la Plaza in downtown Los Angeles (across from Union Station.) (213) 625-7074.

Blessings and Novenaria Processions take place along Olvera Street through November 2nd. The candlelit Novenaria procession starts at 7pm. The participants in the procession wearing calaca masks and facepaint dress as the same characters every year. A bride and groom flirt and dance, occasionally batting their eyes at someone in the crowd. Other than the dancing newlyweds, the shrieking ghost is the only calaca figure to interact with the crowd, suddenly jumping into people’s faces and screaming in a way that is simultaneously terrifying and hilarious.

Before the procession, ceremonial cleansings and blessings will be offered. Note: It is appreciated if you do not photograph the blessings, but you may photograph the procession. Champurrado and Pan de Muertos will be served.  The Dia de los Muertos community altars (las ofrendas) and Merchant family altars will be on display outdoors in the Plaza area and in the various shops on Olvera Street from now until November 3, 2014. It is probably the best event for learning about the history and traditions of the holiday. Weekend festivities include face painting, mariachis, Aztec dancers, and ballet folklorico.

Self Help Graphics  Sunday November 2, 2014 5pm – 11pm FREE

Felicitas and Gonzalo Mendez High School 1200 Plaza Del Sol, Boyle Heights, CA 90033

Self Help Graphics, the first to celebrate Dia de los Muertos in LA, mixes tradition with an artier take on the holiday. This year marks their 41st annual celebration. Expect a Traditional Ceremonial Blessing, Food and Craft Vendors, Face Painting and Children’s Workshops. Live music by Las Cafeteras, Raul y Mexia, Metralleta de Oro, The Stone Soul Echoes. All of the cool kids go to this one. It is always a fantastic party. Use the Goldline Metro (Pico/Aliso Stop) – Limited Paid Parking On Site.

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Crappy Classics: The Bat

Corny as Hell but Price and Agnes Moorehead give it some snap crackle pop. The young female is Darla Hood from the Little Rascals all grown up.

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BBQ for Equality!

bludsoesbbqcropSunday from 2:00pm – 5:00pm the Human Rights Campaign LA will host another Dining for Diversity event, this time at Bludso’s BBQ in Compton. Human Rights Campaign (HRC) “represents a grassroots force of more than a million members and supporters nationwide. As the largest national LGBT civil rights organization, HRC envisions an America where LGBT people are ensured of basic equality.”

Bludso’s Barbecue Restaurant shows up on just about every list of “Best Barbecue in LA.” Kevin Bludso, “a fourth generation pitmaster, utilizes techniques and skills developed by his great-grandfather, and recipes passed onto him from his grandmother to bring Texas style BBQ to Compton.” Kevin Bludso will be speaking at the event so you can grill him for BBQ secrets.

Your ticket includes a massive buffet of Beef Ribs, Pork Ribs, Beef Brisket, Pork Shoulder, Chicken, Mixed Links (Beef, Chicken), Rib Tips, BBQ Beans, Potato Salad, Cole Slaw, Macaroni & Cheese, Collard Greens, Corn Bread, Peach Cobbler, and Banana Pudding. Canned Soft Drinks and Bottled Water will be provided as well. All for only $38!

There will be an update as to what has happened since the initiation of HRC’s Project One America, which focuses on expanding equality in the South. In addition, the price of the ticket will include a 1 year membership to HRC. If you are already a member, it includes a 1 year renewal. There will also be a drawing for prizes!

The deadline to sign up for this BBQ extravaganza is Friday at noon. Buy your ticket today! Tickets are transferable, but non-refundable. Please contact sklar@hrcla.net with any questions. Bludso’s Barbecue 811 S Long Beach Blvd, Compton, California 90221 (310) 637-1342

Photo courtesy of HRCLA. Used with permission.

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GWAR the Exhibit!

GWAR Photos (Photo by Judy Ornelas Sisneros)

“Don’t Talk about it, DO IT!” A tribute exhibit to David Brockie aka Oderus Urungus (R.I.P.) and the artists who created GWAR, the extreme performance thrash metal band, opened on Saturday, October 25 at Keystone Art Space Gallery. The exhibit will continue until November 6.  Mark Harvey, Danielle Stampe (of GWAR!), Chuck Varga, Bob Gorman, Matt Maguire, Colette Miller, Mike Bonner, Katherine Leatherwood and Melanie Mandl are among artists included in the exhibition.

When most people refer to GWAR they tend to think of blood, gore, elaborate costuming, audacious sexuality and the bizarre that goes along with the presentation of their loud, aggressive brand of metal.  But I think of my then-little daughter who, at seven years-old, attended her first show in 1990. The line-up of bands included The Fluid, a grouchy Henry Rollins, Green Jello and GWAR…and we had VIP passes. She was overjoyed at seeing Fred and Barney slamming in the pit during Green Jello  and was a bit weary by the time GWAR came on, partially because she accidentally got a rum and coke before I noticed. She was a good little trooper, trying to stay awake, dozing off and jumping up to see what was going on. The fire dancing had her enthralled and her delight at the Gor Gor was a wonderful experience. Having been around Haunted Garage, the band I performed in, she was not frightened by the other antics on stage and wanted to go backstage to meet everyone. That wasn’t possible at the time but it is a cute memory.

At last Saturday night’s opening, Hunter Jackson aka Techno-Destructo, one of GWAR’s founding members, showed up to both torment and entertain us before his wrestling match at Zombiefest in Long Beach the next day.  Also, in attendance was Danielle Stampe aka GWAR’s Slymenstra Hymen chatting with fans and basking in GWAR stories and Liz Fairbairn, GWAR’s ex-manager and current producer of LA’s Mexican wrestling+burlesque Lucha VaVOOM shows.

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Beat Recommends: Xylouris White at Jewel’s Catch One October 29

Xylouris White pr

Tonight at Jewel’s Catch One, don’t miss the only LA show by Xylouris White, a collaboration between iconic Cretan folk musician George Xylouris and Australian drummer Jim White, who has played for the Dirty Three, Cat Power and PJ Harvey (I witnessed his LA debut with the obscure but sorely missed Oz punk band Venom P. Stinger.)

Their debut album Goats, recently issued on Other Music Recording Co., is a hypnotic and beautiful thing, a series of instrumentals in which Xylouris plays simultaneous, overlapping lines which wrap around White’s effortlessly natural percussion. White is particularly skilled at making complex rhythms flow like water, and proves a perfect foil for Xylouris’ stringed virtuosity. It feels like a conversation between two master players, and I’d expect their live show will steer into entirely new topics of discussion.

Xylouris White at Jewel’s Catch One, 4067 W. Pico. Wednesday October 29, 9pm. Advance tickets $13 at venue website.

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Upcoming: Le Reverie Opens Hellion’s Halloween Show with 5 Great Bands this Friday

Allie JorgenLe Reverie, coming off of a smash performance at the 3rd Annual Rockers Against Cancer Benefit Show held last weekend with ’70s Glam-rockers the Sweet, again lights up the stage with their unique blend of Gothic, heavy metal, progressive and symphonic rock at Paladino’s.

This Friday, October 31st, Paladino’s will be the place for a “Hellion Halloween”. Le Reverie has been chosen to open the show at 8pm sharp. Singer/songwriter Allie Jorgen of Le Reverie has just the right touch of sweet and wicked for this special Halloween event. New songs from Le Reverie that will be featured include the theme song “The Dream” from the upcoming Gothic Horror movie “Lake Eerie” and their latest release, just in time for Halloween, “Hounds From Hell”.

Along with Le Reverie, Ann Boleyn and Hellion will, make this the Halloween show you won’t want to miss. Slick ‘n’ Wicked and 5 Kill Ace will also fill out the bill for this special “Hellion Halloween.” With everyone’s frighteningly favorite holiday coming on Friday night this year, this show will be a frightfully awesome way to spend Halloween.

Paladino’s is located at 6101 Reseda Blvd., Tarzana, CA 91335. for phone info call (818) 342-1563.

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