Favorites from Los Angeles Magazine’s Food Event 2014

Shrimp Aguachile from Petty Cash Taqueria

Sunday was as warm as any summer’s day for Los Angeles Magazine’s Food Event, but the flavors were definitely autumnal. Squash was everywhere, from Crossroads‘ sweet and savory Kabocha Squash with Pumpkin Seeds to Faith & Flower’s Pumpkin Panna Cotta to Farmshop’s Butternut Squash Canapes with Pomegranite. Root vegetables are coming into season as heralded by a surprisingly delicious Parsnip Poached in Duck Fat from Cliff’s Edge. Another homey dish that had us imagining cool nights with comfort food, albeit gourmet comfort food, was the Garganelli with Pork Sausage, Parmesan and Fennel Pollen from Drago Centro.

Red meats were popular, with the line for Michael’s Wagyu Steak with Soba Noodles stretching more than twice as far as any other line that day. A Meatball served in a Steamed Chinese Bun from Barbrix, Vietnamese Pork Belly from MB Post, and a Wild Boar Bacon BLT in a Gougere from Saddlepeak Lodge were standouts. Tar & Roses Oxtail Dumpling was rich without being too filling, and newcomer Front Yard made a great first impression with Korean Braised Shortrib Grilled Cheese. Rather than adding kimchi, the Korean flavor came from a galbi marinade.

On the lighter side, we could eat the Freshly Baked Sourdough Bread with Ricotta, Honey and Walnuts from Bucato for breakfast every day for the rest of our lives. Tar & Roses also served an addictive Popped Corn with Bacon, Brown Sugar and Chili.

Familiar restaurants that can always be counted on for something special were Animal, serving a light Honey Walnut Shrimp dish, and Jitlada, helmed by the ever friendly and ebullient Jazz. Jitlada’s Tamarind Dip Chicken wasn’t as spicy as many of their dishes, but we were grateful for the Turmeric Rice with Tofu, considerately prepared for vegetarians, that helped balance out the heat. Sotto mixed things up with a creative Pulled Pork Salad and Loteria Grill brought the always welcome chilaquiles, both verde and roja.

Photo essay after the jump

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Ragtime: The Musical Sings Its Way Through a Tumultuous Period in American History

Rufus Bonds Jr. Photo credit: Issac James Creative

Rufus Bonds Jr. Photo credit: Issac James Creative

3-D Theatrical’s production of Ragtime: The Musical, currently at the Plummer Theater in Fullerton and then followed by an engagement through November 9 at the  Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center, gives theatergoers a chance to see a lesser-known musical performed by an excellent company. The story revolves around three families, culturally and socially diverse, and shows their interaction, attitudes, struggles and conflicts with themselves, within themselves and with each other during a critical era in American history, the time between 1895 and the end of World War I, in 1918. This period of time was known as the Ragtime Era.

E. L. Doctorow has always been an author with a magnificent touch for Americana stories. Novels (and movies) like Billy Bathgate give an accurate, personal portayal of events in the early 1900′s. In the original book for Ragtime, he did the same thing, taking a serious look at America in the period just after the turn of the century and before World War I. By combining real historical personalities along with his own characters, the book makes an interesting portrait of the time.

Gary Patent, Christanna Rowader. Photo Credit: Issac James Creative

Gary Patent, Christanna Rowader. Photo Credit: Issac James Creative

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Glamour Ghoul: Halloween Makeup

PrivHalloween1Wondering how you can master your own spooky makeup, effects, or even body paint?

Or maybe you’re desperate to win the office costume contest but greasepaint and rent-a-costume won’t cut it?

Get it done in the comfort and privacy of your own home!

From October 29th to November 1st, Halloween makeup will be a special service offered by PRIV, an app that sends vetted beauty and wellness professionals straight to your door – in under an hour.

With face painting starting at $50 and body painting from $80, you don’t have to worry about mastering your look — because that could get scary. Relax and let the pros do it for you!

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Long Beach Zombie Walk Oct 24th-26th

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Billy’s Fish Fry and Community Social is Back This Thursday: Music, Art and Performance by Talented People in Our Community; and Free Too!


BillyHarpFishFry.  Photo courtesy of Reverberation Media.

Billy’s Fish Fry and Community Social is back and you’re invited! Back by popular demand, Billy’s Fish Fry and Community Social is now a quarterly event. Still held at the La Luz de Jesus Gallery In the Los Feliz neighborhood, you can be prepared to spend an evening of mixed-media art, spoken word, music, live art, comedy, unusual performance and much more. This event, starting at 8pm on Thursday, October 23, puts the spotlight on Los Angeles performers. The guest MC’s for the evening will be the Poubelle Twins.

Billy Shire. Photo courtesy of Reverberation Media.

Billy Shire. Photo courtesy of Reverberation Media.

The Fish Fry has a rather storied past. Billy Shire started the event with his friends, musician Michael Rozon, Seth Miller and musician Johnny Indovina as a way to show the breadth of talent in Los Angeles’ creative underground pop culture. As Seth described it, “”When I was a kid in the mid 80′s, Wacko/ Soap Plant/ La Luz was the place that you went to the day after going to Scream or Club Lingerie to see what cool artists might be on display and what cool toys or subversive books you might find. Without fail all of my local musician heroes would be there- working behind the counter, from El-Vez to Andy Prieboy”.

Seth continued, “When Johnny Indovina and I asked Billy if we could do a show or two at the gallery, to our surprise, he agreed. He loved having bands performing at the gallery so much that the week after the first event, we were put on the books once a month through the end of the year.”

Photo gallery after the jump

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Southland Tales: Metal Singer

Photo by: Michael Essington

Photo by: Michael Essington

In 1986, as I was sort of going into a post-punk Hanoi Rocks stage, I found myself years away from being in a punk band. Cold War, my old band, died back in 1983, maybe earlier, and after I graduated, in 1984, I lost touch with the other members of the band.

So, like I was saying, back in 1986, there was a band playing around Los Angeles that was packing huge crowds, called Voyeur. I was at a party, and a couple of girls came up to me and started asking me about the bands I was into, so I rattled off bands like ‘Bad Religion, TSOL and I just saw Cherry Bombz.’ They stared for a minute and said they had never heard of any of them, but I should check out this band called Voyeur. They packed every club they played. I said ‘sure, I’d check them out.’ As it turned out they were playing the Country Club in Reseda that next Friday, I went with my friend Chris who lived around the block from me.

We parked in back of the club in front of the Chinese restaurant The Great Wall, paid $7.00 and walked in. A couple of cheesy glam bands went on first then the whole place start moving towards the stage, it was about 70% women, which was a huge difference from the punk shows I was used to.

The band had cool songs like Kiss prior to 1976, and the stage presence of the 1970’s Van Halen. The singer, Paul Lancia had a vocal range similar to Steve Perry of Journey. The rest of the band had glam-trash names like Michael Hunt, and had a cool ‘don’t give a crap’ attitude. Anyway, once you went to one show, the chicks in the parking lot would tell you to come to the next show and want your phone number to call and remind you. It became a traveling party.

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Stuart Gordon’s Re-animator Musical Makes a Splash!

Photo by Thomas Hargis. Used with permission.

Photo by Thomas Hargis. Used with permission.

The Steve Allen Theater in Los Feliz has been home to some pretty incredible events. Trepany House may have outdone themselves this time by bringing Re-animator to life once again. The show has been touring the country to rave reviews, and has returned to LA with a number of the same cast members. The musical, directed by Stuart Gordon, with music by Mark Nutter (which kind of sounds like a fake name), is based on Stuart Gordon’s 1985 cult classic film, H.P. Lovecraft’s Re-animator, which in turn is based on H.P. Lovecraft’s “Herbert West–Reanimator.”

Before the opening scene, pom-poms are distributed, and the front rows are warned they are in the “splash zone” and offered rain coats. In reality, the splash zone is the first few rows and about 5 rows down the center, as the blood definitely flies, spurts, and gushes. The splash zone, rather than being bothered, laughs hysterically every time they are doused. Later I am to meet some of them and discover they are a large group all wearing bloodied lab coats and safety goggles, referring to themselves as the “med students.” Even later I discover their picture on Twitter identified as The Simpsons’ animators. Simpsons’ fans may recall that one of the “Treehouse of Horror” credits is for “Re-animator Raynis.” Could you ask for a better endorsement?

The story takes place at Miskatonic University’s med school. There is even a Miskatonic U fight song (which explains the pom-poms that the knowing audience shake left and right in perfectly choreographed unison). Herbert West (Graham Skipper) shows up in the classroom of Dr. Carl Hill (Jesse Merlin) fresh from a Swiss school where he had been taught by Dr. Hill’s rival. He soon moves in with fellow med student, Dan Cain, an all-American boy played earnestly by Darren Ritchie. Cain is dating Megan Halsey (Jessica Howell), the singular voice of reason and symbol of good in the story. Megan also happens to be the daughter of the Dean of the Medical School, Dr. Alan Halsey (Ken Hudson Campbell). Cain gets drawn into the experiments as West, determined to conquer death, turns their basement into a laboratory, and hijinks ensue.

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Obscura Society LA: Exploring DTLA’s Arts District

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Live in Los Angeles long enough and you’ll get the impression that you know all there is to know about the city. Wrong!   Cindy Schwarzstein, the founder of Cartwheel Art, an Arts District resident, a Los Angeles River Artists and Business (LARABA) Board Member, and a founding member of All City Mural Endeavor hosted what was billed as a “living history walking tour.”  Even Though I have worked downtown (#DTLA) for over 20 years and have seen it evolve from ghost town to vivant city, I learned things about graffiti art and architecture of which I had no idea.

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Soul Tasting: 9th Annual Taste of Soul

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Crenshaw district is jumping again for the 9th annual “Taste of Soul”. Along with the usual politicians, several Hollywood notables showed up: Queen Latifah, Cedric the Entertainer, and Fox’s Steve Edwards. Lots of food, music and information booths.


Photos by Paula Lauren Gibson/AfroPix

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“Fuzzy” Knight Brings Blowin’ Smoke Rhythm and Blues Band and the Fabulous Smokettes to Harvelle’s for Some Great Music

The Smokettes and 'Fuzzy" Knight on stage.

The Smokettes and ‘Fuzzy” Knight on stage.

Often times, the smaller intimate rooms bring out the best in a group. Such was the case Saturday night at Harvelle’s, once the only place west of LA’s Central Avenue where you could hear blues, soul and R&B. The Blowin’ Smoke Rhythm and Blues Band with the Fabulous Smokettes packed the place with a crowd that was there to enjoy great music played the way it should be. And in a place like Harvelle’s, dating back to 1931, where the horn section is practically on the dance floor, it is easy to see them playing the same club in the ’40s, with ‘Easy’ Rawlins coming in to enjoy the music.

Bandleader Larry “Fuzzy” Knight started in music in his hometown of St. Louis at the age of 15. His mother helped him buy his first bass, which, decades later, is still the only bass he has ever had. He learned to play and was soon working with some of the best blues and soul players in St. Louis. By the late ’60s he had moved to Los Angles where he took a musical detour, playing bass with the well-known psychedelic rock band, Spirit. In 1981 he called it quits with Spirit and went back to his first love, the blues. Seventeen years ago, he decided that he wanted a band of his own, playing the music he loved, so the Blowin’ Smoke Rhythm and Blues band featuring the Fabulous Smokettes was born and he’s never looked back. Continue reading

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