Almost, Almost Famous at The Morrison Hotel Gallery

Just in case you think I stopped attending events at the Morrison Hotel Gallery at Sunset Marquis, here you go!  Last night I was in attendance at the gallery for none other than the man who inspired me to pick up a camera and shoot rock stars; Neal Preston.

If you’re into rock music (and I’m assuming you are if you read my posts), then you have to know the name Neal Preston.  If you’re a fan of Led Zeppelin, then you really have to know Neal.  He’s the photographer most commonly associated with the band, having traveled with them on their plane, hung backstage with them, and shot the iconic image of Jimmy Page swigging from a bottle of Jack Daniel’s. I’ve often wondered if that picture was something that Page staged, or if he was really just doing that and it happened to get captured by Preston.  Well, last night I got that answer and it was in fact real.

Preston was at the gallery last night signing copies of his recently released coffee-table book, Neal Preston: Exhilarated and Exhausted for those lucky enough to be in attendance.

I got the chance to chat with him and like all great artists, the man is all humility and grace; “I can’t believe that people even know my work” he said to me.  I was floored!  The man has shot so many awesome photos and has doubtless inspired many a photographer.  Not only has he shot what are arguably the best photos of Led Zeppelin, he’s shot just about every major act you can think of, Live Aid, sporting events, and was closely associated with the movie Almost Famous.  Preston has been on the scene for almost 50 years and is still active to this day.

Continue reading

Posted in Art, Books, Events, Interviews, Music | Leave a comment

watt’s picture of the week – friday, december 8, 2017

my pedro town’s been invaded by limebike and I think it’s a good thing! yeah, our councilman made a deal w/a company from up north to provide us (wilmas and watts too) w/a bike you can pedal for one dollar/half hour and you don’t have to return it to any kind of dock, you can leave it when you’re done wherever. you do need a smartleash though and watt ain’t gonna one of those. damn. anyway, it’s a three month pilot program and I hope it goes good, I really do. nothing more dangerous than a good idea.

photo by mike watt

– – – – –
mike watt’s hoot page

Posted in Photo Essays | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Beat Recommends: Stevie Wonder’s House Full of Toys This Sunday

Stevie Wonder is a national treasure, and any time spent in presence is likely to leave you feeling a little better about the state of the world than you did before. This December, that soothing presence feels utterly necessary, a tonic to counteract the forces of greed and dysfunction that hang over current events like a bad smell. For this edition of his nearly-annual House Full Of Toys concert benefiting people with disabilities and families in need, Wonder will be performing his classic albums Talking Book and Innervisions in their entirety,  and bringing along a host of special guests including Tony Bennett, Pharrell Williams, Savion Glover, Dave Matthews and Andra Day. For a musician with a fifty-year career, Wonder is still performing at a very high level; his appearance a few Christmases ago playing the complete Songs In The Key Of Life was a glorious, highly emotional triumph. Treat yourself and someone you love to what is sure to be the holiday concert of the year.

Stevie Wonder’s House Full Of Toys at the Staples Center, Sunday, December 10 at 8:00 pm. Tickets, $29.50 to $159.50 available here.

Posted in Events, Music, Upcoming Events | 1 Comment

“Kedi” Signing & spcaLA Benefit at Amoeba Music

Posted in Events, Miscellanious, Movies, Upcoming Events | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

In Remembrance of a Lucky Man, Greg Lake: 1947-2016

“The greatest music is made for love, not for money.”-Greg Lake

And let me assure you that Greg meant every word of it, too. Every word. Greg Lake lived to make music; music that he truly loved. Quality music. He was always striving for perfection in every aspect, every facet of what he was creating: music.  He loved to create it, loved to share it. Simply loved it, period. It was the air he breathed. In 2015, a year before he left us, Greg told the now defunct, online publication Examiner: “As long as people want to hear me play and as long as I’m able to play, then I will. I enjoy playing and performing. If I wasn’t doing that, what else would I do?”

In the almost twenty years that I have been a music journalist, I have never met another artist whose love for music appeared to be so absolute. It was more than love, more than a passion. It was a reverence for music.  In regard to its affect on the human soul, Greg Lake said, “Music is an emotional experience, and that is what imprints itself on the soul.” Music was both sacred and magical to the man I was lucky enough to have known in the early 1990s.  A very special man and artist who left us exactly one year ago tomorrow on Wednesday, December 7th, 2016 at 8 pm UK time in his beloved London, England. Greg was 69.

Continue reading

Posted in Books, Events, Music | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

“Dynamic Dames Film” Series Kicks off Inimitable Opening Night at Hollywood’s New Arena Cinelounge, with “Don’t Bother to Knock”; Marilyn’s First Starring Film!

(L-R) Camilla Jackson, Juliet Hyde-White and Harrison Held; Photo Courtesy of Michele Marotta

Marilyn Monroe:  Ever hearken back to her primary starring role and what it might have been?  A Queen, a High Society Girl, A Rich Heiress?  Well guess again, then again 18 times over; If you had been at this past Saturday’s Opening Night of the Dynamic Dames Film Series at Hollywood’s latest, greatest film lair by way of Arena Cinelounge, you would have divined the answer straight away and much, much more!  For christening said singular retrospective in film history was that of Ms. Monroe’s, first launch in a litany of leading lady portrayals via the screening of noir thriller extraordinaire, Don’t Bother to Knock!  Starring Marilyn Monroe as a psychotic babysitter, of all things, this low budget 1952 flick, was written by none other than Daniel Taradash; wordsmith of the Oscar winning classic, From Here to Eternity. Cast in said role by 20th Century Fox Studio Head Daryl Zanuck, it was said that he had great faith in Monroe’s star power and skill set in order to tackle said role (and perhaps anything averse to her character’s psychotic mind)!

Continue reading

Posted in Movies | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Interview: Scream Queen Danielle Harris Goes Mental in Inoperable

Danielle Harris has established her presence in the horror genre with many beloved roles over the span of her career. Whether being stalked by Michael Myers in the original “Halloween” series, or returning under the direction of Rob Zombie, Harris has earned respect and notoriety as a scream queen in a genre filled with stalkers, slashers and splatter.

Best known for “Halloween,” “Hatchet” and “Stake Land” her career goes back to earlier TV roles in “Spenser For Hire,” “One Life to Live,” “Roseanne” and “The Commish” with non-horror roles in “Daylight” and “The Last Boy Scout.” Fans also watched her in “Chromeskull: Laid to Rest 2” and “See No Evil 2,” even playing a self-parody role in two episodes of “Holliston.”

In “Inoperable,” directed by Christopher Lawrence Chapman, she takes a break from the gory slaughter trading sharp blades for psychological storylines and alternate timelines. Adding more hospital time to her resume she runs down endless hallways searching for answers, chased by orderlies and staff with deadly intentions.

Continue reading

Posted in Interviews | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

From the Archives, In Memory of John Fleck: Larry Tamblyn Talks About The Standells

Larry Tamblyn and John Fleck onstage with the StandellsNote: I’m republishing this interview I did in 2014 with Larry Tamblyn, one of the original founders of the Standells. John Fleck, one of the key members of the Standells for many years, has died of AML Leukemia this past October 18. You can read the Standell’s announcement of it here. It is in tribute to him that I share this with you. 

Tiki Oasis, held in San Diego earlier this month, featured lots of great entertainment along with great rum, parties and seminars. The capper to the event was the performance of the Standells, one of the most iconic of the 1960’s groups. Their influence has been felt by many in the music industry, earning them acclaim as a key influence on the garage and punk band genres. Not just playing concerts but still actively recording new songs, the Standells are still thrilling crowds with their music. Dirty Water, their hit from the ’60s, is just as well-known today as when it was a new hit song.

Indeed, over the years, groups as varied as the Dave Matthews Band, Aerosmith, Bruce Springsteen and U2 have covered some of the Standell’s songs. Dirty Water is in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as one of 500 Songs that Shaped Rock. Their influence on many of the seminal punk groups cannot be measured. Songs like Riot on Sunset Strip set the stage for hard-hitting film music. However, along with new fans picking up their new album BUMP and enjoying the Standells on their recent tour, the Standells, with original founder Larry Tamblyn and original bassist John Fleck are not resting on their laurels but instead writing and producing some really good new songs. At the Tiki Oasis, these guys proved they can still rock the crowd.

I had a chance to sit down with Larry Tamblyn before the Standell’s performance and talk about music, the Standells, Dirty Water and life on the road.

Continue reading

Posted in Interviews, Music, News & Sports | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Rodney on the Rock’s ‘GTO’ Vol. 2 Skids in After 20 Years

Sirius XM DJ Rodney Bingenheimer, a.k.a. the Mayor of the Sunset Strip, has once again put together a collection of Christmas tunes for the holidays with “Rodney On The Rock Presents: Santa’s Got a GTO Vol. 2,” being released by Gearhead® Records this week.

The album’s release party, including the release of Gearhead® Magazine’s annual issue #20, is at La Luz de Jesus Gallery on Thursday, December 7th, at Wacko in Hollywood, and features performances by The Woolly Bandits (as the Glitter Critters) with Clem Burke (Blondie) and Christa Collins (The Seeds, Disney), Kat Meoz, ColorTV with actress Tipper Newton (The Mindy Project)., and The Tearaways, which are just a few of the bands featured on the record. There also will be some surprise guests, as well as prestidigitation by Fantastic Fig (America’s Got Talent).

Fantastic Fig, lawyer-turned-magician Paul Fegen, debuted David Bowie in the states at his home parties in the 70’s, along with bands like DEVO and L.A. Guns, according to Gearhead Productions, Inc. CEO and President Michelle Haunold.

Continue reading

Posted in Music, Upcoming Events | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The LA Zoo Celebrates the Holiday Season with Zoo Lights

Zoo Lights 2017 (All photos by Elise Thompson for The LA Beat)

One of our favorite spectacles, the L.A. Zoo Lights, returns for its fourth year to “shimmer for seven weeks of wonder, awe and “wow!” The lights are on display from 6pm until 10pm through Sunday, January 7, 2018. Thousands of lights fill the zoo, creating immersive displays including a fun, glittering twinkle tunnel and a magical disco ball forest which quickly fills with dancing kids every night. For the nostalgic Angelenos among us, the zoo also maintains a number of original light displays from the former DWP Light Festival, which was a tradition in Griffith Park up until 2009. Exciting new features include a reimagined water show, “Northern Lights” and a “Wild Wonderland” finale.

It’s a romantic holiday date, warming your hands with hot chocolate and taking cute selfies. as well as a great family tradition. The walk up the hill is a little steep, but it is wheelchair accessible. Some areas between displays are not well-lit, so if you have small children, make sure to buy one of the zillions of flashing, blinking, glowing toys available to make the dark fun. The carousel is also open for an additional fee.

Continue reading

Posted in Attractions, Upcoming Events | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment