Go With Le Flo: Los Angeles World Theatrical Premiere at the Downtown Independent

Go With Le Flo

Go With Le Flo at the Downtown Independent Friday April 11th

I had the pleasure of being invited to a special screening to see “Go With Le Flo” at The Goethe Institute and was hosted by Stefan Biedermann of the German Consulate. There was a meet and greet before the screening where Harrison and I got to meet Stefan, Michael and Robyn. The evening event also had a special performance by Bright Blue Gorilla: Bright Blue Gorilla acoustic performance - © Billy Bennight for the LA Beatthe ensemble composed of Michael Glover and Robyn Rosenkrantz, who are also the director and producer of Go With Le Flo. Their short set of four songs, with Michael on the Tabla and Robyn on Harmonium, proved to be a fun warm up to getting the movie rooted and started that evening.

Go With Le Flo started with narration by Florian, played by Denis Aubert, the lead character and a sausage maker detailing the plights of his misguided attempts at love. From there we were introduced to talented international cast, many of whom hail from the Bertolt Brecht Theater, Berliner Ensemble. Marina Senckel’s Jenny, is a heart warming soul and plays well off of Florian’s awkward and romantically diluted character. The movie moves quickly establishing this slightly off-center Romantic Comedy set in Berlin: the feature is spoken in both French and German and subtitled in English. It has the charm and whimsy of The Gods Must Be Crazy meeting the romantic intrigues of Bridget Jones Diary, but not with the stuffy English sensibilities of the later and is decidedly a more European take on the Romantic Comedy genre. There are some fun cultural insights and jabs in this cleverly written script; light-heartedly aimed at both French and German audiences. The Goethe Institute’s audiences was as international as was the cast who were locked in this movie. On many occasions there were hearty spontaneous laughs shared by all in attendance. There are some clever twists in the plot and some great visual jokes, as well. I found it entertaining, uplifting and very funny. Well worth a second watch! After the feature we all gathered outside the theater to share our opinions on the movie and continued to get to know one another. The event was catered with some fantastic German cuisine and we savored it. The food was delicious and then we found time for photo opportunities with guest and talent. It was a fun well rounded evening.

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Offbeat L.A.Video : The Magical Folk Art of Tio’s Tacos in Riverside

Statues as tall as palm trees at Tio's Tacos (photo by Nikki Kreuzer)

Statues as tall as palm trees at Tio’s Tacos (photo by Nikki Kreuzer)

Join Offbeat L.A. host Nikki Kreuzer on a video adventure to an enchanted taco shop in Riverside, CA. Located down the street from the incredible Mission Inn, Tio’s Tacos is a folk art wonderland and a place to get in touch with your inner child. It is truly a restaurant that has soul and a whole lot of heart. Watch here…


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“Manicomio”: Not a MANicure, COMbover or Even a Play; Really More of an “Experience”

Poster Courtesy of Adam Neubauer

Poster Courtesy of Adam Neubauer

Manicomio:  A Manicure…?  A fancy Italian Combover (that makes the combover cool again before combovers were ever cool?)—A snazzy combination Manicure/Combover using one’s nail clippings to cover the offending bare scalp, like some drag queen’s all too cuteicle rhinestone skullcap?

I enter the black box theatre that is Zombie Joe’s Underground to a packed house.  Not only is the audience overflowing, but the stage is vibrantly alive with zombie-like circus performers, speaking, miming, muttering, mimicking various postures and mannerisms, playing with the men and women in the audience in the black, somewhat void-like abyss of the rectangular patch of floor that surrounds itself within the fortress of our seats.  The feel Continue reading

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Movies ‘Till Dawn: Your Early Morning Programming

Midnight Kiss Me, Kill Me – Crime Drama

61UfIix8seL._SL1000_(1976, Sony Choice Collection) Intended as a series pilot, this ABC Movie of the Week stars Stella Stevens as an investigator for the L.A. district attorney’s office whose latest case – the murder of disabled schoolteacher Tisha Sterling – uncovers some salacious truths about both the victim and her large coterie of admirers. The script, by Oscar nominee Robert E. Thompson (They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?) hews along standard issue cop/mystery lines, but injects an element of tawdry sex (all obliquely referenced, per network Standards and Practices) into the proceedings, most notably about Sterling’s proclivity for aggressive bedroom play and sniggering hints about chief suspect Robert Vaughn’s hush-hush dalliance with bisexual hustler Bruce Boxleitner (!). Depending on your tastes and tolerance, the subtext will either enhance or detract from the picture’s main appeal: as ‘70s-style crime story comfort food for midnight-to-dawn TV habitués. But the latter is strongly reinforced by straight-faced, no-nonsense turns from a supporting cast of familiar faces, including Dabney Coleman, Pat O’Brien and Claude Akins, and a few offbeat ringers like Bruce (father of Crispin) Glover and Steve Franken of Dobie Gillis fame. Not to be confused with Kiss Me Kill Me (1973), an American retitling for Baba Yaga, a hallucinatory live-action adaptation of the Guido Crepax comic.

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Southland Tales: Ridin’ The Metro

Photo by Michael Essington

I’ve written on this site before about my lovely experiences while riding the bus to and from work.

In my younger years it seemed like more of an adventure. I would, occasionally, meet new people, have some interesting conversations and just generally pass the time. Nowadays—and maybe it’s me that’s changed—but I see some people that I recognize, and we politely nod, but conversation is non-existent.

For the most part, it seems like everyone is packed into a cattle-car en route to the slaughterhouse. No eye contact, no talking, the same four or five upper-middle aged Hispanic men crammed into the back briskly drinking their 40-ouncers and trying to forget what transpired on that very day.

When I was a younger, slimmer guy, a bunch of us would take the bus to a friend’s house and it was fun. We’d be laughing, talking, probably bugging the shit out of the older people on the bus. Now, twenty-five plus years later, I watch and I listen to the death rattles of ninety percent of the people on the bus. I almost welcome the tough-guy “gangsta” threats of the young Cholos. It breaks up the monotony of the ride.

This is why I have to tell you about an episode that happened about a week ago. I was off of work and I hopped onto the second of two buses that get me home every night. It was about 5:30 or so and I was playing with my “smart” phone, plugging in my ear buds, listening to music, texting, returning calls—all the while maintaining an all-star game of solitaire. (Impressed yet?)

I do all of that to block out the above-mentioned malnourished, dying bovine herd. The texting, music and game help me zone out. Anyway, that particular weeknight, I was in my own little world when, over my music, I just barely heard a rustling of someone getting out of his or her seat and moving around. I ignored it (like living near a freeway: after a while you don’t hear the cars anymore) but couldn’t ignore what felt like a rock in my back—I’d been punched from behind.

I jumped up.

“What the fuck?” was all I could muster.

I saw a scraggly homeless guy run down the aisle of the bus. As I started towards him, he spun around, and pointed at me.

“You’re gonna die!” he yelled at me.

Now, if he’d been a “normal” person, I would have had no problem whupping his ass, but I guarantee that 30 seconds after he ran off of that bus, he forgot what happened. Hell, for all I know, he thought he’d punched Godzilla.

The rest of the bus ride home the bus was dead quiet. Even the fattest of cattle are unnerved by insanity.

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Middle-Aged Rebel: Dating


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Eureka! American Craft Grill opens in Huntington Beach with great food, craft beers and artisan whiskeys

The Bar at Eureka! features craft beers and small batch whiskeys to enjoy

The Bar at Eureka! features craft beers and small batch whiskeys to enjoy

The new kid on the block in Huntington Beach’s Bella Terra is Eureka! American Craft Grill. Nestled in the base of one of the residential buildings in the plaza of Bella Terra, with a stunning patio and waterfall to enjoy on those nice SoCal days, the location makes for a nice plate to meet friends for lunch, dinner or their new Happy Hour. Eureka! combines several concepts that work especially well for the Bella Terra mixed-residential development, making it not only a great destination for an afternoon or evening out but also a place where the residents can just come down the elevator to and have a quality place to enjoy a meal and drinks. It is only 11 minutes to the beach, making it a great choice for enjoying drinks and dinner before heading back to Los Angeles. The emphasis at Eureka! is on locally sourced foods with most items like breads, dressings and sauces made in-house.

Eureka!'s Old Fashioned, a drink that has never gone out of style. Photo by Edward Simon foir the Los Angeles Beat

Eureka!’s Old Fashioned, a drink that has never gone out of style. Photo by Edward Simon foir the Los Angeles Beat

Eureka! already has some dishes which are well on their way to being ‘must get’ items. Eureka! prides itself on obtaining craft beers and whiskeys, preferably from local sources, for use in their bar. A good way to evaluate a new bar or bartender is to order a standard cocktail and see what they do with it. With the emphasis on whiskey as a preferred beverage for their bar, the Old Fashioned seemed like a very good choice. When it came the cocktail was attractively garnished. An interesting touch was that it only had one large ice cube in the glass. The logic makes sense; when you have a single cube there is much less surface area and therefore much less melting of the ice. Continue reading

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Beat Recommends: Cheetah Chrome and Streetwalkin’ Cheetahs Tonight

cheetahFolks with a taste for eardrum-damaging rock and roll guitar of a particular mid-seventies vintage will want to venture out to the Whisky A Go Go tonight – probably for the first time in a long time – for a rare LA appearance by the legendary Cheetah Chrome. Chrome was a founding member of Rocket From The Tombs, which split up in late 1975 before it could make a record, with its members moving into Pere Ubu (taking singer David Thomas and guitarist Peter Laughner) and the Dead Boys (Chrome and drummer Johnny Madansky), effectively becoming the yin and yang of American punk rock in 1976. I’ll never forget walking into the Music Machine during the summer of 1989 to see Chrome guesting with the Jeff Dahl Group and seeing Dahl careening around the stage, arm in arm with Stiv Bator in the closest thing to a Dead Boys reunion LA would ever see. Rocket’s LA debut in 2003 was even more momentous, a real rock and roll riot from a bygone era, with the original practitioners (minus Laughner, whose songs were voiced by Chrome) still raging against the stink of life.

Do check out his new EP Solo, on Playboy Records, and the Batusis album he made with Sylvain Sylvain a few years ago. But don’t miss the opportunity to see one of the true cultural heroes of the last century up close and in person. He’s backed by the Streetwalkin’ Cheetahs, another blast from the (considerably more recent) past that should give your weekend the jolt it needs.

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A Clockwork Orange with Malcolm McDowell

Photo by Roy Rogers Oldenkamp. Used with permission.

Photo by Roy Rogers Oldenkamp. Used with permission.

April 1st there was a screening of A Clockwork Orange followed by a Q&A at the Alex Theater in Glendale as part of their “In Person” series. The theater has history; they screened Gone with the Wind at the Alex, before its Big Hollywood premiere. Glendale is a sleepy town that rolls up its sidewalks around 10 pm. Last night it was a different story, with all of us together in a dark theater hanging on to our hosts’ every word. They had actors dressed up as droogies and violins playing Beethoven on each floor. It bought back memories of how much I love the old Movie houses. We saw a Lurvey 35 Millimeter print, then Gary Oldman interviewed Malcolm McDowell. Those two go back, as Malcolm Mcdowell was Gary’s inspiration as a kid and the reason why he got into acting.  I liked all the rough and tumble talk about working with Kubrick, he was a tough customer. Malcolm once asked Kubrick about his directing style, and Kubrick answered, “I don’t know what I want. I only know what I don’t want” The Malcolm Mc Dowell series continues with Time after Time on April 8th and Star Trek Generation on April 15th, moderated by Micheal Dorn.

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Test Drive and Dine: The Lincoln Motor Company hooks up with Post and Beam!!

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2014 Lincoln MKZ
Photo by Paula Lauren Gibson

Back when I was in high school my dad had a Lincoln Continental. I have memories of flying in that car down the highway to Las Vegas. And fly we did, my Dad a former Air Force pilot drove fast. But bumpy roads and all, that Continental was seriously comfortable. Thus, not a bump in the road was felt by the passengers. But my Dad moved on to Mercedes-Benz and I could never afford to drive a big boat car – except for the brief time – while I was in law school – that I drove a friend’s 1955 Buick Delta 88.

The Lincoln is no longer a boat car.  The wheel bases are now much smaller.  They had the following Lincoln models for test drive: Navigator, MKX, MKZ, and MKS.

The drive: We could have let them chauffeur us or drive ourselves. Of course, I said give me the keys, but there were no keys, just a push button starter!! Adjusted the windows, fastened the seat belts and off we went. The ride was still as smooth as I remembered. The various features, very nice! Ones that stuck out were the blind spot warning light in the side windows that warned of a car in your blind spot; the rear view camera that not only showed you what was behind you, but also guided you to line up in the parking spot; and the turn by turn navigation control. Simon, our Lincoln guide, told us about the parallel parking assistant, but we did not test that out. All said, it was a great car, but the $60,000 price tag for the MKZ we drove (I understand the base price is cheaper), probably still more than I want to spend for a car, at least at this point in my life.

All Photographs by Paula Lauren Gibson/AfroPix

The meal: I’ve been a patron fan of Post and Beam since they opened. Lincoln stepped up the game and sponsored a special menu. What I had was the following: #1 Vegan Gumbo with Pickled Okra and Jalapeno Cornbread: delicious with just the right amount of kick. The more I eat vegan, I must admit, the more I like it. #2 Smoked Bistro Fillet with Heirloom Carrots, Mustard Greens and Rye Dumplings: Love the vegetables, but I am still a meat eater at heart. #3 Pecan crusted sweet potato pie: Melt in your mouth delicious.

It was a wonderful evening, and I must admit getting into my Honda after dinner left me yearning for the luxury of the MKZ. Checking my twitter hashtag #lincolndriven2dine, I discovered that there were other restaurants around town that were also offering the test drive and dine experience.

The Lincoln Motor Company: www.lincoln.com

Post and Beam: 3767 Santa Rosalia Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90008

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