Offbeat L.A.: Get on Your Pony and Ride – Sunset Ranch in Griffith Park

Entrance to Sunset Ranch (photo by Nikki Kreuzer)

Entrance to Sunset Ranch (photo by Nikki Kreuzer)

The author at Sunset Ranch, fresh out of Buffalo, half her life ago (photo by Amy Faber)

The author at Sunset Ranch, fresh out of Buffalo, half her life ago (photo by Amy Faber)

One of my very first adventures in sunny Los Angeles after I arrived, half a lifetime ago, from grey-skied Buffalo, NY was a horse ride up in Griffith Park at Sunset Ranch. It was the first time I said the words Los Feliz out loud, and I botched the pronunciation, enunciating it the Spanish way on the phone to the guy at the ranch. The guy said he had never heard of “Lows Fee-lease.” I clearly showed that I was a newcomer to the town that would eventually possess my heart and soul. Although I was green, I reasoned it was much better than my pronunciation of La Cienega or Cahuenga. I fell in love with the craggy Griffith Park hills on the hour-long ride and the expansive views of the entire Los Angeles basin. Continue reading

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Cross Town Capades: UCLA v USC in Ice Hockey

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Hockey USCSince I grew up with brothers who played ice hockey, I am pretty sure that UCLA did not have a hockey team when I went there, or if it did, I never heard about it.

So when I received an alumni invite to a UCLA v. USC ice hockey game, I jumped at purchasing a $10.00 ticket.

Unfortunately, my home team UCLA Bruins were defeated by the USC Trojans with a score of 3-2. The Trojans thereby secured a 3rd consecutive Crosstown Cup title.

The regular season is over and the next time these teams will play will be at the PAC-8 HOCKEY CONFERENCE in South Lake Tahoe starting on February 4. 2016.

Photography by Paula Lauren Gibson/AfroPix

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Malcolm Mooney At the Echo 1/24/16 – Live Review

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L-R Andre Barretto (facing away), Eric Potter, Malcolm Mooney, Marc Weinstein (seated at drum set), Bill Tutton, at the Echo. Photo by Bob Lee for the LA Beat.

For a certain type of music explorer, going through a Can phase is an established rite of passage. The German improvisational collective produced music between 1968 and 1977 that shifted a lot of peoples’ imagination when it came to the true potential of a five-piece rock band. And while they made a lot of great records during those years with different lead singers, the earliest ones, which feature American singer Malcolm Mooney, tend to be the gateway.

A visual artist with no experience singing or writing lyrics, Mooney turned out to be a perfect fit in a band made up of guys with serious classical and jazz chops who wanted to play like the Velvet Underground. After two years of near-constant recording, Mooney quit the band and left Germany in 1970, and has only performed a handful of times since. As the Can cult has only grown in the decades following their prime, Mooney’s appearance at the Echo last Sunday, his first LA concert in eighteen years and second or third in history, had the feel of a big-deal event.

“I can’t believe this is even HAPPENING!,” one guy behind me blurted out as the set opened with “Little Star Of Bethlehem.” Mooney took a deep breath, consulted the lyric sheet on his music stand, and that familiar, ecstatic flow of sing-song poetry began to drip out of the speakers. The ensuing tale of Froggy, Toady and the tub of water lilies behind the shed became the most important thing in the world for a few minutes. Mooney was back, and was on point. Continue reading

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The Music Center After Hours February 5th

Photo courtesy of The Music Center.

Photo courtesy of The Music Center.

Calling all night owls! On February 5, 2016, check out Sleepless: The Music Center After Hours. From 11:30 p.m. until 3am, you can wander through the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion “as the theatre is transformed, sonically, visually and spatially.” Enjoy DJs, light baths, projections, art and sound installations, and hands-on projects.

You can “create a personalized city-scape of Los Angeles at an oversized shadow puppet gallery; relax on bean bags and pillows to enjoy large-scale projections and listen to a curated roster of DJs playing ambient sounds; dance to electronic music from the top Los Angeles dance labels amid the elegant 18th century design in the Pavilion’s exclusive Founders Room; and bask in the lower levels of the building with a unique sound installation.”

The event will feature a creative video installation designed by Garson Yu, whose design studio was responsible for the 3D animated light projections that appeared on three downtown Los Angeles buildings on New Year’s Eve. Other art installations will be presented by Touch sound artists Chris Watson, Jana Winderen, Bethan Parkes, Hildur Gudnadottir, The Eternal Chord, Philip Jeck, Simon Scott, and BNilsen & drøne; and Alexandra Pelly with Jon-Kyle Mohr. Hands-on experiences will be offered by Daniel Gonzalez of Self-Help Graphics and Art; Diva Dompe; and The Valley Sound. Sleepless is a collaboration with non-profit web radio collective dublab. Music provided by: Artists from Mas Exitos, ESP Institute, and Leaving Records.

This is a free event, and space is limited. Online reservations are booked, but walk-ups are highly encouraged. Parking is available in The Music Center lot, under the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, for $5.00 after 8:00 p.m. Cocktails and small bites available for purchase, we also suggest hitting the Original Pantry after the event closes.

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Movies Till Dawn: A Month of Monsters – Week 4

Midnight – “Nightmares” – Horror

product_images_modal_NightmaresCover72dpi__7Bc106a72c-93fb-4b56-8424-8499f8a32fef_7D(1983, Scream Factory) Universal developed this anthology feature as a pilot for NBC, but instead released it to theaters in the fall of 1983. The stories, penned by TV vets Jeffrey Bloom and co-producer Christopher Crowe, aim to deliver a modern take on “Twilight Zone’s” patented shock endings: “Terror in Topanga” draws on the “killer in the backseat” urban legend, with Cristina Raines terrorizes by an escaped psychopath (Fear’s Lee Ving), while “The Bishop of Battle” pits Emilio Estevez’s arcade skills against a sinister video game. “The Benediction” is a sort of short-form version of “The Car,” with a malevolent Chevy 4×4 pursuing a priest (Lance Henriksen), while Richard Masur and Veronica Cartwright find that their new home has a supernatural tenant in “The Night of the Rat.” Though director Joseph Sargent lends polish to the segments, the four stories’ small-screen origins are immediately evident by their derivative plots and low-wattage payoffs. But the cast, which includes an uncredited William Sanderson, Moon Unit Zappa and James Tolkan as the voice of the Bishop of Battle, does their best to sell the material, and the occasional flashes of humor – Raines risking her neck to satisfy her cigarette craving, and Albert Hague as the world’s only exterminator/folktale expert – help span the less inspired moments. Longtime L.A. residents may also appreciate filming locations at the now-defunct Sassony Arcade on South Broadway and the Fox Hills (now Westfield Culver City) mall. Scream Factory’s Blu-ray offers “Nightmares” in both widescreen and fullframe presentations, and includes a commentary track with Raines and executive producer Andrew Mirisch, who clears up a rumor about the stories and ABC’s short-lived “Darkroom” anthology series. The theatrical trailer and radio spots round out the disc. Continue reading

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Freeze Frame Premieres February 5th – 7th at the Wallis Center for the Performing Arts

Emmy Award-winning choreographer Debbie Allan’s multimedia show, “Freeze Frame” uses a fusion of dance, music, film and theater to start a dialogue about violence in America. Art allows us to see things we tend to look away from, and the show doesn’t pull punches as it portrays Institutions like the Church and the Police juxtaposed with the raw reality of gangs, poverty, violence, and drugs.

Original music by Stevie Wonder, James Ingram, Ricky Minor, Arturo Sandoval, and Thump provides the rhythm for the “dance-driven narrative that will reframe the conversation about violence in America.” Debbie Allen wrote, directed and choreographed the show. She also appears onstage in several roles. There will only be four performances at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts.

There will also be a gala benefit performance on Thursday, February 4th, followed by a panel as part of Maria Schriver’s Architects of Change series. For tickets to the $500 gala, call 310-202-1711. All monies raised will go to Debbie Allen’s nonprofit Dance Academy. Gala performance on the 4th starts at 5:30.

Tickets for Freeze Frame run between $39 and $99. Buy tickets here. Showtimes: Friday 5th at 8pm. Saturday February 6th at 3pm & 8pm. Sunday, February 7th 12 noon.

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Fabrik Expo Kick Off Starts Friday And Goes All Weekend Long!

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The inaugural kick off party of Fabrik Expo opens Friday with a gala celebrating an evening of creativity and philanthropy. Fabrik is a new multi-disciplinary art fair focused on the convergence of art, design and architecture. The Opening Night proceeds will benefit Inner-City Arts, a nonprofit arts organization based in Downtown Los Angeles that provides professional art instruction to under-served youth. Fabrick Expo will add that little extra buzz to a fun DTLA arty weekend.

Fabrik Expo’s artists this weekend will be ffrom Japan, Mexico, Spain and all over the US.  These artists rarely have the opportunity to participate in a gallery setting or art fairs with exposure like this weekend at Fabrik. Some of the participating artists will be: Performance art by celebrated Cuban artist Angel Delgado, Live mural painting by Art at Gen Art featured artist, Cassian Lau from Hong Kong, Neon art installation by Cleon Peterson and Lisa Schulte, Performance art and installation by Japanese artist Nobuho and Skyscape, a site-specific installation by design collective Open for Humans.  

Continue reading

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watt’s picture of the week – wednesday, january 27, 2016

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sunrise in my pedro town this morning, I snapped this by the cabrillo beach pier, right near a part of the los angeles harbor breakwater.

photo by mike watt

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mike watt’s hoot page

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OFF! Celebrates the 16th Anniversary of Alex’s Bar

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Album Review: Betty Petty’s “Desperately Seeking Satan”

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Here’s another local band to watch: Betty Petty is singer/guitarist Caitlin Danenhauer with drummer Austin Ash, bassist Toast Artisan Bourgeoisie (nice), and lead guitarist JJ James Van Lieshout. The upbeat, edgy power-pop group has a new EP out entitled Desperately Seeking Satan, which I’ve managed to misread twice, first as Susan and then Santa.  Calling themselves “mad pop”, the band mixes a little surf rock with some Giant Drag-style grunginess – Danenhauer occasionally sounds like Annie Hardy too – and ties it together with great lead guitar.

The EP opens with my favorite track, “Lions”, which contrasts buzzy guitar and sweet vocals. The melody is catchy and it ends well with the repeated, dreamy line, “I’m on fire”. “Rockets” reminds me of Ex Hex just a bit; there’s a crunchy guitar riff in the verses and shriller vocals, backed by soft “oooh’s”.  The verses on the next song, “Sweet”, have that Giant Drag touch, but the chorus morphs into something like a 60s girl-group melody, and again it’s a nice contrast.

The dreamier, shimmering “Wheels” segues into the final two songs, which feel more straight-ahead rock n’ roll with lots of lead guitar. “Smoke” might be my second favorite, due to a lazy-sounding vocal and high-energy guitar combination that makes you want to dance. “Black n Blue” is short and fun, matching cutesy, talking verses with guitar solos.

The band played The Lost Room last weekend, but unfortunately I missed it. I’ll have to catch them live soon!

Image by Alex Elizabeth @adiosambrose via Betty Petty’s Facebook

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