Book Review: “The Bone Clocks”

boneclocks“The Bone Clocks”, by David Mitchell, is a massive, well-constructed world, in which the story unfolds through the voices of several fascinating characters. Far from a regular historical or family saga, however, these characters are all either knowingly or unknowingly involved in a secret war taking place between two groups of immortals, one of which kills humans that have psychic abilities in order to maintain their immortality. Like Michel Faber’s “Under The Skin”, it’s wonderfully literary sci-fi, and I found myself dog-earing pages with well-turned phrases and great dialogue. There are many choice quotes collected on Goodreads, including, “There’s a link between bigotry and bad spelling.”

“The Bone Clocks” opens in 1980s England with the highly likeable (and latent psychic) Holly Sykes, running away after her good-for-nothing boyfriend dumps her for her best friend. I’m not normally a fan of books that leap from one character’s POV to many others, and I really didn’t want to leave Holly behind, but luckily she plays a major role throughout the story, even if we don’t get her own voice again for quite awhile. Holly’s runaway attempt is cut short by her little brother Jacko’s sudden disappearance, but not before she meets an odd woman named Esther Little, who makes a mysterious request for asylum.

Next we meet Hugo Lamb, a sociopathic rich kid at Cambridge in the ‘90s, who falls uncharacteristically in love with Holly (now a bartender), only to give her up when he is contacted by a seductive group of individuals who offer him immortality, at a price. Fast forward again to the future, the mid 2000s, and we meet arrogant Crispin Hershey, former bestselling author, who takes devastating revenge on a harsh critic – meanwhile befriending Holly, whose psychic abilities are now in full swing, and the subject of her own successful book. Somewhere in there, we also get Ed Brubeck, Holly’s war journalist boyfriend; he and Crispin really don’t play huge roles in moving the story forward, so it is a little odd that Mitchell spends as much time on them as he does, but luckily, they are very absorbing characters.

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Movie Review: “The Clan” Screening at AFI FEST Presented By Audi

The Clan

The Clan is Argentina’s submission to Best Foreign Language Film at the 88th Academy Awards and The Clan did great box office on its home turf in Argentina. The Clan is based on a true story in the early 80’s after Argentinians had been abandoned the dictatorship for democracy. The action starts pretty early in the film with the first and surprising abduction juxtaposed by the playing The Kinks “Sunny Afternoon”. as part of the soundtrack Alex Puccio played by, Peter Lanzani, hops a ride with a rugby friend of some means only to be stopped when a car full of hooded men diagonally cut off their progress. But young men were hooded and Alex’s friend is placed in the truck. It’s a few moments later when Alex is place in the car and removes his hood that him and all the occupants of the car are in collusion in this kidnapping. From here on out a series of kidnapping take place with their own topography plays out with varying ugly results. 

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Second Annual Bowling with Bunnies Charity Concert With Playboy Bunnies: What Did It Look Like!


All Photos by Billy Bennight for The Los Angeles Beat

Lucky Strike Live hosted a night Bowling with Bunnies to benefit the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank. Of course, there where Playboy Bunnies, some in traditional costumes and others wearing black shorty shorts and tops so they could bowl with ease. Live music rang throughout the venue as all enjoyed the festive atmosphere. I got the unlikely pleasure of seeing Deryck Whibley of Sum 41 play with his band Deryck Whibley and the Happiness Machines. I later cavorted with Bunnies and Rock stars in the VIP area I discovered. The VIP area filled with Rock Stars and bunnies all having a lively time! It was a great night for fun and a wonderful opportunity to give back as well to help with the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank for feeding people for the holidays! Here’s the photo set. Enjoy the views!

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Cat Café Primed to Launch in Los Angeles: To Feline-Fabulous Red Carpet Treatment and Catffeinated Contentment via Crowdfunding!

Photo Courtesy of Stray Angel Films

Photo Courtesy of Stray Angel Films

As a cat parent, have you ever waxed resentful of dog owners and how they just so catvalierly bring their canines out to coffee houses in conjunction with their friend, friends or an additional man’s best friend or two wherever they go? Swiftly after musing upon such a paradigm, as a relatively sane citizen rather than a crazy cat lady, you can only remind yourself that cats-straining against undesired leashes or not- would render any human establishment animalistically Armageddonish the likes of which would put any trashed out rock n’ roll musician’s hotel room to shame!

All the same, and in light of said aforementioned musings, Catfe may be the balance and answer for which we have all been searching! Due to unsparing celebrity support by way of Catfe’s current crowdfunding campaign, Catfe LA is well on its way!

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Movies Till Dawn: Sights and Sounds Beyond Belief!

12 a.m. “The Mask” – Horror

2900(1961, Kino Lorber) At first blush, Canada’s first feature-length horror film – and its first film in 3-D – plays like an extended episode from one of the many suspense anthology series of the period, some of which employed director Julian Roffman during his brief stay in the States. The premise finds a psychiatrist (American actor Paul Stevens) visited by an agitated young man (Martin Lavut) who claims a tribal mask he found has driven him to kill. Sensing the doctor’s disbelief, the young man flees his office and commits suicide, but not before sending the mask – a huge, tiled, Aztec-like skull with apparently real human teeth – to the doctor. Upon opening the package, he is immediately compelled to put on the mask, which trigger an incredible barrage of hallucinatory images, which soon give rise to his own murderous impulses. Audiences would don special anaglyphic viewers to witness these setpieces, designed by Serbian filmmaker and montage specialist Slavko Vorkapich and filled with vivid, nightmarish imagery – hooded figures carrying out human sacrifices in mist-shrouded landscapes, gouts of flame, snakes bursting from skull eye sockets and a colossal mask leering above it all, while avant-garde composer Myron Schaeffer’s electronic soundscapes wail ominously. These scenes, which suggest an unholy union between Maya Deren, Carl Dreyer and Big Daddy Roth, are unquestionably the highlight of the picture and place “The Mask” in the same orbit as “Spider Baby,” “Carnival of Souls” or Leslie Stevens’ Esperanto-language film “Incubus”: black-and-white creature features with artistic aspirations that transcend (intentionally or not) the limitations of their genre and budget. Some of the performances and special effects are sub-par – Lavut’s stentorian, disembodied voice commanding the psychiatrist (and the audience) to “PUT ON THE MASK NOW” may produce a few giggles, and lot of rubbery snakes are thrust at the viewer – but Roffman’s professional direction of the 2-D scenes and the outrageous visual assault of the 3-D sequences make “The Mask” a truly unique viewing experience. Continue reading

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Halsey at the Fonda – Photo Gallery

Halsey at the Fonda Theatre. Photo by Genesia Ting for the Los Angeles Beat.

Halsey at the Fonda Theatre. Photo by Genesia Ting for the Los Angeles Beat.

Welcome to the Badlands.

With the first installment of Halsey’s #BadlandsTour over, it seems like the perfect time to recap the Los Angeles, Night One at the Fonda Theatre.  The show, which had sold out in the blink of an eye, was completely filled with multicolor-haired, enthusiastic fans.  Flor, an indiepop band, kicked off the show with a couple of their songs.  The intermission between Flor and Halsey had fans restless.

The setting – picture yourself: Several seconds before Halsey’s set.  The elevator-type venue music shuts off, the stage is set, and the lights are low.  Each fan hurries to take out her phone, struggling to get as close to the stage as possible.  Fifteen photographers, all strapped together in the photo pit waiting.  Harp-like sounds begin to play.  Fans emit deafening screams in anticipation.  The harp-like sounds are familiar to fans as the beginning of Halsey’s “Gasoline.”  Seemingly out in thin air, Halsey appears on stage!  “Welcome to the Badlands,” she says.  As Halsey powered through a multitude of songs, each fan belted out the lyrics along with her.

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Movie Review: “Rams” Screening at AFI FEST Presented By Audi


Rams (Icelandic:Hrútar) was an unexpected pleasure at AFI FEST. This is Grimur Hakonarson‘s second dramatic film and is Iceland’s entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 88th Academy Awards. The movie is set in rural Iceland and centered around two brothers who haven’t spoken to one another in 40 years. Their vocation, livelihood and common interest is raising and tending their highly regarded ancestral sheep-stock. The brothers, live right next to one another by a familial agreement at the passing away of their father. Gummi’s played by Sigurður Sigurjónsson and Kiddi’s played by Theodór Júlíusson, who have a tenuous relationship at best. These two brothers, both gruff, bearded and seasoned bachelors, square off in a community competition for who has raised the best rams. Gummi takes second place in the community competition, where Kiddi’s ram takes top honors: thus, reawakening old rivalries between the two. The movie kicks off at this point to stir the pot of maturing brooding aggression, resentment, suspicion and competitiveness between the two.

This is a sparse, disciplined film dwelling on details and inner life of the characters. Kiddi wins the competition by the narrowest of margins, so Gummi finds time to slip away from the festivities to more closely examine Kiddi’s prize ram. Gummi discovers that Kiddi’s ram is infected with scrapie disease. Scrapie disease is a deadly and incurable disease that affects sheep’s brain and spinal cord. This proves to be a devastating blow to both sheep men and the community at large. The only solution is the complete extermination of all the sheep in the valley. Everyone’s lifestyle and livelihood will be affected by his discovery.

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The Otium Opens at The Broad

Pozole at The Otium (All photos by Christy Kane for The LA Beat)

Pozole at The Otium (All photos by Christy Kane for The LA Beat)

DTLA denizens, rejoice. The Otium is now open for lunch with dinner service to start soon. With big names like Bill Chait and Chef Timothy Hollingsworth at the helm, we expected great things, and it does not disappoint. From the room to the service, to more importantly, the food, our experience was stellar all the way. The dining room was very quiet when we arrived, but we heard from the server that at the soft opening the day before they served 150 people, and that was with no announcement!

The lunch menu has something for everyone – salads, pasta (made in-house), heartier entrees, and desserts, at reasonable prices for a sit down restaurant in DTLA. Because I can’t resist pozole on any menu, that’s what I ordered. This isn’t your abuelita’s pozole – think deconstructed, upscale pozole with enough flavor to rival your grandma’s. Thin-sliced pork shoulder (like the kind you find in most pho dishes), pressure-cooked heirloom hominy with just the right texture and bite, cabbage, carrots, cilantro and zesty bites of chile, all in a tasty broth topped with chicharrones.  My lunch partner had the rigatoni with basil pesto, and for such a simple dish, it was very impressive. A super-creamy blend of basil and parmesan in the pesto, and the homemade rigatoni was nicely done.

The Otium is now welcoming reservations for holiday events (although until the open-air terrace opens on the 2nd floor, you will share the space with the main dining room). The restaurant is also partnering with the also newly-opened Broad Museum for priority entrance for your party.  FYI – 18% gratuity is added to all bills, as is the custom these days. I’d say it was more than deserved – the host recognized us from Pez, the manager and event planner came by to chat, and service itself was a breeze. I am already planning my next lunch visit.

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The Hollywood Museum’s 67th Annual Primetime Emmy Display: An Enthralling Exploration in the Ever Evolving Face of Television and Entertainment!

(L-R) Judy Tenuta, Hollywood Museum Founder Donelle Dadigan, and Richard Herd, Photo Courtesy of Bill Dow

(L-R) Judy Tenuta, Hollywood Museum Founder Donelle Dadigan, and Richard Herd, Photo Courtesy of Bill Dow

The contemporary texture of American TV: As nubby, grainy and ticklish as one of Don Draper’s Tweed suits, yet more delicious, quite possibly, even than what’s under it…?  (Reoowwrr reowrr reworr!)  Some say today’s television programming is as succulent as a bag of marinated Bullion and about as valuable as one of its shiny metallic bars,  but this writer is beginning to think it might have surpassed any and all turn of the century gold rushes and pulsed right past to platinum in the realm of programming.  Pertaining to prime time Network shows from the likes of The Big Bang Theory to The Good Wife to the latest cable break outs and benefiters, such as Mad Men and Ray Donovan, then further afield to some much lesser known programs up-and-coming from a source you might not Continue reading

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Cat Hair vs. The World: Why this Hoover Sucks

Do not hand-vac the kitty, even if you've seen it on youtube

Mia, source of unending joy and an infinite number of white (and some calico) cat-hairs. Everywhere.

Disclosure: The product which is discussed in this post was sent to me at no charge as a Press Preview Sample by the Hoover company. I did not buy the product. Also please note that Hoover did not pay me to write what follows; they simply sent me the product, free of charge, to test and evaluate.

And…gotta say it: the new Hoover Air Cordless 2-in-1 is the best Christmas gift I’ve ever given myself. So ironic, since I’ve never been one for appliances. Early in our marriage, my thoughtful husband gave me a microwave oven as a birthday gift. Although I was born in mid-July, hand to God you could instantaneously hear the crackling sound of glacial ice forming, although the summer sun blazed that day in Burbank. The girl was not happy.

But, this super lightweight sucker, the Hoover Air Cordless 2 – in – 1 (there’s a handheld unit sort of like a dust-buster that snaps out of the main body frame), is a different story.

Last Christmas season, my eyes were watering and my skin was itching whenever I sat on our very rock n’roll purple velvet couch.  Although I was slow to admit it, the source was clear: Mia. In all fairness, Mia had shared the couch for about five years with her erstwhile companion, the now-departed Nigella. Nigella was a feral-ish Norwegian Forest Cat-ish stray with long, white and gray fur.  Between the two of them, although I brushed and combed them as frequently as I do my own luxuriance, I could have stuffed dozens of comforters with the mounds of airy, feathery-soft wisps and tufts they left everywhere.

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