“Kong: Skull Island,” Not Your Ideal Vacation Spot, But Visit It Anyway

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“Kong: Skull Island” a fantasy, adventure, directed by Jordan Vogt-Roberts is set in the 1970’s. For those of you too young to remember and not paying attention in history class, that was the time when people had to actually use language to communicate with one another.

Skull Island as imagined by screenwriters, Dan Gilroy, Max Borenstein and Derek Connolly from a story by John Gatins is an uncharted and undiscovered island that lies somewhere in the Pacific Ocean.

The Vietnam War has just ended and a secretive organization known as Monarch led by secret agent, Bill Randa (John Goodman) a major Bermuda Triangle conspiracy theorist convinces the government to fund an expedition to an island that may or may not exist, in the hopes of finding a new species. Since Washington no longer has to pay for  a war and apparently has extra money to spare, they give him the okay.

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“Married People: A Comedy” A Terrific New Play About Love and Acceptance.

MARRIED PEOPLE - 2.jpgEvery so often you go to the theatre and get really pleasantly surprised by what you are seeing on stage and that’s exactly what happened to me last night when I attended the opening of a brand new play entitled “Married People: A Comedy.”

“Married People” is not only a comedy, but it’s an extremely funny comedy, that not only will make you laugh out loud, but it will also touch your heart. Yes, it’s about marriage, but it’s also about friendship, parenthood, and realizing, that sometimes, you just have to let go of your beliefs in order to save what is most important to you in your life.

When the play opens we meet two married couples; Aviva (Michelle Bernard) and her husband, Jake (Andy Lauer) and their life long best friends, Henry (Paul Parducci) and his wife, Cookie (Kylie Delre). Both couples are simultaneously having a mid-life marriage crisis and things are going downhill fast for all four of them.

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Random L.A. – Melrose Angel

Street art by Colette Miller

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“Fun Home” Is So Much More Than Fun

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In fact, “Fun Home” based on the graphic novel by Alison Bechtel, with music by Jeanine Tesoro, and book and lyrics by Lisa Kron, is absolutely brilliant. Yes, it’s fun and funny, but it’s also a fascinating, original  and poignant character study about discovery, self acceptance and healing.

“Fun Home” was hailed as Broadway’s most original new musical in years, winning multi Tony awards. It started playing off Broadway at The Public Theatre in 2013 before it transferred to Broadway’s Circle in the Square Theatre and it became the year’s most atypical smash hit. After seeing it, I completely understand why.

This is the story of a woman, Alison, a writer,  who through her childhood memories of her very dysfunctional family,  comes to accept who she is and in the process, she is able to heal  from a very traumatic event in her life.

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Life Interrupted: A Groundbreaking New Sitcom Starring all Your Favorite Classic TV Icons, but With a Wonderfully Contemporary Avant-Garde Twist!

Photo Courtesy of Borgasmord Productions

Ever hanker for a taste of a show sporting that nostalgic sitcom feel, starring many of the actors and actresses you knew and loved growing up but playing near polar opposites of themselves?  Well then Borgasmord Productions’ Life Interrupted might just harbor such a continuation for you!  The brainchild and colorful creation of The brainchild and colorful creation of former OZ actor, who still acts but is also a writer, director and producer Steven Wishnoff, this show is sure to amuse your child of the 60s, 70s and 80s Nick at Nite sensibilities while simultaneously shocking you back into present day reality with a groundbreaking concept that is long overdue! Starring Alison Arngrim (aka bad girl Nellie Oleson of Little House on the Prairie fame), Erin Murphy (best known as Tabitha on the original black and white to color Bewitched), TV’s best known child actor Mason Reese, Dawn Wells (i.e. Mary Ann of Gilligan’s Island fame), Michael Learned (Olivia Walton of The Waltons), Robbie Rist (best known as the bespectacled, adorable, yet unassumingly obstreperous Oliver of Brady Bunch fame), Brandon Cruz (i.e. Eddie on The Courtship of Eddie’s Father), and another Robbie in his own right who probably wasn’t even born when most of the aforementioned actors were weaving all related tales once told: Robbie Allen. Allen, as fate would have it, looks uncannily like Arngrim herself if he were her son or smiling non-bad non-girl alter ego. Naturally, Allen plays the former.

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Movies Till Dawn: Excitement in Black and White!

The Three Musketeers” (1921, Undercrank Productions) is an appropriately energetic showcase for the physical skills and screen presence of its star and producer, Douglas Fairbanks. Though 38 at the time of filming, and somewhat past the sell-by date to play a juvenile lead, Fairbanks has the right degree of youthful carriage and attitude to play aspiring swordsman D’Artgnan, who aids the Musketeers (French actor Leon Bary, George Siegmann and a slim Eugene Pallette, decades away from playing portly, gravel-voiced grumps in “The Lady Eve” and “My Man Godfrey”) in defeating a scheme by Cardinal Richelieu (the cadaverous Nigel de Brulier, who played the role in three additional films) to unseat Queen Anne (Mary McLaren). Fred Niblo, who helmed Fairbanks’ previous action effort, “The Mask of Zorro” (1920), handles both the swashbuckling scenes and court intrigue elements with equal skill, and provides the actor with some terrific action set pieces, including one eye-popping sequence in which Fairbanks dispatches an opponent in mid-air while executing a backflip. Undercrank’s disc, billed as a 95th anniversary edition, reproduces the color tinting featured in the original release, as well as an appropriately heroic new score by DVD producer Ben Model.

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Upcoming Sabroso Craft Beer, Taco and Music Fest Offers Fun and Excellent Beers and Much More at Doheny Beach

The upcoming Sabroso Craft Beer, Taco and Music Festival on April 8, 2017 promises to be one of the top events of it’s type in Southern California. Taking place at Doheny State Beach in Dana Point, it will be a fun day for all who attend and especially those who are interested in trying some of the best craft beers that Southern California has to offer. Presented by radio station KLOS, Sabroso is produced by Brew Ha Ha Productions, California’s most successful and respected craft beer festival producer. Also helping to power the festival is Gringo Bandito, a hot sauce company established by Dexter Holland, lead singer for powerhouse multi-platinum Orange County punk rock group The Offspring, who will also be headlining the music portion of the festival.

The Los Angeles Beat recently sat down with Cameron Collins, co-founder of Brew Ha Ha Productions, to talk about the festival.

Q: Why are tacos and beer such a natural combination?

A: I think the fact that they’re both probably comfort food; tacos go together with beer like pizza and beer or burgers and beer. It seems that always when you order tacos that you need a beer to go with it. A big thing was that we wanted to try to create a Southern California culture based event. I was born in Mission Viejo Hospital and have lived in Southern California my entire life. We grew up eating tacos and going to the various taco shops around town and riding our skateboards around to go to lunch. As we grow up, the whole thing got really popular and we loved beer, loved tacos, so what we wanted to do was create a celebration of Southern California culture. That’s the idea behind the event that we started a couple of years ago. Continue reading

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Stephen Ray Lester: Hardcore Folk

Stephen Ray Lester is a traveling musician who is busking his way around the country. He hasn’t been back to his home of North Carolina for three years. He will be filling the air of Burbank with intense banjo and strumming and strong voice through April. You can find him on his Facebook page.

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Young Frankenstein Book Signing and Q&A Tonight!

Still compliments of Reverberation Media

It seems like everybody has a favorite quote from “Young Frankenstein,” which was possibly the funniest film Mel Books ever made. The all-star cast included Marty Feldman, Gene Wilder, Teri Garr, Peter Boyle, and Madeline Kahn. Oh, and we can’t forget Chloris Leachman’s unforgettable turn as Frau Blücher (cue horse whinny). Tonight, from 6pm – 9pm La Luz de Jesus will be hosting a book event for  “Young Frankenstein: A Mel Brooks Book – The Story of the Making of the Film.”

The night features a Q&A with film producer Michael Gruskoff, moderated by Daniel Pour. The 200-page hardcover includes hundreds of Brooks’ behind-the-scene stories and hundreds of photos captioned by the famous writer-director himself, including many that have never been seen before. The book also includes “interviews with gifted director of photography, Gerald Hirschfeld, Academy Award-winning actress Cloris Leachman, producer Michael Gruskoff, and the larger than life Gene Wilder.”

All books sold tonight have been pre-signed by Mel Brooks. Price: $29.95. There is still time for the online pre-sale in case the book sells out. Buy your book now!

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Visiting Lancaster Offers A Creative Art Scene, Theaters and Delicious Restaurants Along The BLVD

Museum of Art and History in Lancaster’s BLVD. Photo by Ed Simon for The Los Angeles Beat

Most Angelenos know that the southern border of Los Angeles County ends at the “Orange Curtain”. Many think that the northern border lies just past the San Fernando and Santa Clarita Valleys. Los Angeles County, however, is much more diverse then that. In fact, in the northeast section, Los Angeles County extends into the Mojave Desert, covering a vast expanse of scenic area. The jewel of this desert area is the city of Lancaster, now a thriving community that has both a heritage of ranching and aerospace as well as a present and future as a thriving artistic and creative community and a scenic travel destination.

The city of Lancaster and DestinationLancaster.org hosted an event for several journalists this past weekend to showcase some of the highlights of a 24 hour getaway to Lancaster. It was an interesting 24 hours and highlighted many of the reasons to make a weekend trip to this Los Angeles County outpost. The drive itself is relatively easy, usually taking I-5 to CA-14 for a smooth, under 2-hour trip from anywhere in Los Angles or Orange County. An alternative is MetroLink, whose Antelope Valley Line starts at Union Station and provides a fun and easy way to get to the Lancaster Station. Marriott’s TownePlace Suites in Lancaster provided comfortable accommodations for all the visiting journalists.

Mural by David Flores on side of MOAH. Photo by Ed Simon for The Los Angeles Beat

Art is a big deal in Lancaster’s thriving ‘BLVD’ downtown area. The ‘BLVD’ itself is Lancaster Blvd., whose central section has been turned into a popular area filled with museums, galleries, restaurants, shops, theaters and even some interesting fun venues. One of the interesting things to do when you walk through this area is to stop at the Museum of Art and History (MOAH) and pick up a map detailing the Pow Wow murals. A walking tour of these murals through downtown is a fascinating look at urban art. The murals are a part of the Pow WowHawaii movement, which takes the idea of a Native American celebration about music, culture and art around the world. Many cities, including Lancaster, have incorporated it into some wonderful large murals that brighten the downtown buildings. The walking map, which covers 12 major murals in the area, gives an easy guide to the locations of each mural as well as the name of the artist who created it. Some are abstract, while others honor persons or events that shaped the area.

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