Book Review – “Party Like A Mock Star!” Have a Booze-Free Blast with No-Regrets Mocktails!

Last weekend at the launch party for “Party Like A Mock Star,” I watched all the beautiful people with cocktails hanging near the bar, and I started to wonder — were they faking it or were they drinking the hard stuff? So after attending the party on the Sunset Strip and sampling a few Mocktails, I could no longer take the fake; I downed a couple of potent Grey Gooses and started reading.

Zoe Robinette has published “Mockstar,” her first book, but I’m sure it won’t be her last. Robinette first came to my attention back in 2015 when she photo-bombed the red carpet at the Bill Shatner event, and I’ve been following her antics ever since, both on-line and in-person.

The book is a combination of a self-help/lifestyle/mixology manual, all while the author shares with us some of her frustrated love experiences, most of which she’s managed to turn into something that helps better her life. The main gist of the book is “the Mocktail”, a drink concocted to mimic the most fashionable drinks of the day right down to the little umbrella, except they are non-alcoholic. A Mocktail allows someone to look as though they are keeping up, fitting in, being wild, and many of the other results of this urban ritual, without actually losing control of one’s senses and faculties. And here’s where the book gets a little scary, as the reader finds himself doing a small bit of self-examination, and then starts to wonder how many “Mockers” there are out there.

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Upcoming Meat Street Meat Festival Allows You to Unleash Your Inner Carnivore

Everyone is invited to ‘meat up’ at the Meat Street Meat Festival at the Marketplace this Saturday, April 22, from 11am to 11pm at Santa Ana’s Main Place Mall. Food trucks and restaurant chefs will showcase their meatiest creations for guests to try. Smoked, grilled, braised, fried, on a stick, in a sandwich, on a plate, in a taco, even in desserts—-a cornucopia of meat-based delicacies will be available to pique your taste buds. Beef, pork, ham, chicken, lamb, SPAM and more meats will be featured at the Meat Street Meat Fest. Special events will also be the order of the day, with the Halal Guys creating the world’s largest Halal Guys combo platter and also staging a hot sauce challenge. Live on stage, SPAM® will construct the world’s largest SPAM Musabi, the famous Hawaiian delicacy.

Nearly 30 vendors will be trotting out exclusive items for the Meat Street Meat Fest. Slater’s 50/50 will collaborate with the Vulgar Chef to create the Totcho Burger; Bruxie will serve their Angry Mac and Cheese topped with a fried chicken drumstick and applewood bacon; Meat Up BBQ will serve a Texas Chop Sandwich with chopped brisket, pulled pork, smoked bratwurst, scratch-made pickles and house BBQ sauce on a lobster bun; Ninjas With Appetite is making SPAM® Fries out of thick slices of SPAM rolled in panko, deep fried and topped with NWA’s Teriyaki aioli. Continue reading

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‘Sister Act’ Broadway is Coming to the Cabrillo Music Theatre

SISTER ACT is the feel-amazing musical comedy smash based on the hit 1992 film that has audiences jumping to their feet! Featuring original music by Tony and 8-time Oscar winner Alan Menken (Newsies, Beauty and The Beast, Little Shop of Horrors), this uplifting musical was nominated for 5 Tony Awards including Best Musical.

It’s Las Vegas in the 1970s, and when disco diva Deloris Van Cartier witnesses a murder, she is put in protective custody in one place the cops are sure she won’t be a found: a convent! Disguised as a nun, she finds herself at odds with both the rigid lifestyle and the uptight Mother Superior.

Using her unique disco moves and singing talent to inspire the choir, Deloris breathes new life into the church and community but in doing so, blows her cover.  Soon, the gang is giving chase only to find themselves up against Deloris and the power of her newly-found sisterhood.

Filled with uplifting gospel music, outrageous dancing and a truly moving story, SISTER ACT will leave audiences breathless. A sparkling tribute to the universal power of friendship, Cabrillo Music Theatre’s SISTER ACT is reason to rejoice!

SISTER ACT directed by Misti B. Wills with Choreography by Michelle Elkin opens on Friday April 21st 8pm and plays: April 22nd 2:00pm & 8:00 pm; April 23rd at 2:00pm; April 27th at 7:30pm; April 28th at 8:00pm; April 29th at 2:00pm & 8:00 pm and April 30th at 1:00pm.

The Cabrillo Music Theatre is located at 2100 Thousand Oaks Blvd, Thousand Oaks CA 91362  To purchase tickets call 1-800-745-3000 or go to

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The Complete History of Comedy (abridged) A Total Laugh Fest

The Complete History of Comedy (abridged) written by Reed Martin and Austin Tichenor and directed by Jerry Kernion takes you on a fast paced ride through the high and lows of comedy.

From Aristophanes to Shakespeare, Moliere to Vaudeville, Charlie Chaplin to The Daily Show, this production will have you laughing in your seats. If not laughing, then definitely chuckling.

The extremely talented cast, which includes Zehra Fazal, Marc Ginsburg and Mark Jacobson, play off of each other beautifully. Their quick costume changes are amazing and their comic timing dead on.

They play different characters nailing each one of them and they can sing, especially Zehra.  In fact, one of my favorite moments came when Zehra sang a song which included  the names of all the great comics throughout the ages. The song was very poignant as well as humorous. She not only has a beautiful voice but she can play the ukulele.

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The First Ever SlowMo Marathon is Happening at LA Live Saturday

The creators of the new Baywatch movie have thought up one of the best promotional stunts ever. This Saturday, April 22nd, LA Live will be the site of the Slow Mo Marathon, a 0.3km that must be run entirely in slow motion.  The person who demonstrates the most allover style, including hair and outfit as well as slowmo style, will win a 3-day/2-night trip for two to Miami for the Baywatch premiere in May. Must be 18 or older. Check-In time is 9:00 am. will commence at 11:00 am. Official rules.

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LA Weekly’s Burgers and Beer is Back!!!

It’s time for the LA Weekly’s third annual Burgers & Beer, one of their liveliest annual events. Saturday, April 29 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., downtown’s Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum will be filled with barbecue smoke as 23 of LA’s best burger restaurants sling sliders alongside pulls from 41 of the state’s best craft breweries. The Coliseum is a great event space with lots of shade and benches for lounging, and the lines for both entry and refreshments aren’t too long.

Some of our favorite participants include Belcampo Meat Co, Grill ‘Em All, Venice Whaler, Starry Kitchen/Button Mash, The Pikey, Macheen, Hinoki and the Bird, Pono Burger, and Chef Marcel Vigneron’s WOLF. Craft beers to enjoy with the sliders come from the likes of Angel City Brewery, Wolf Creek Brewery, Fireman’s Brew, Inc., Golden Road Brewing, Santa Monica Brew Works, Strand Brewing Co. and MacLeod Ale Brewing Co. Entertainment will be provided by Sam Morrow, a sober troubadour whose music has been described as veering between a joyful exploration of life and haunting melancholia, along with the Country/Outlaw Soul of guitarist AJ Hobbs.

General admission tickets include entry to the event, unlimited food samples, craft beer tasting, entertainment and more! They are a total bargain at only $55. VIP tickets include all of the above plus hour early entry at 3pm and exclusive gift bag, all for $70. 21+ and you will be carded! Burgers & Beer benefits Food Forward, an organization that rescues fresh local produce that would otherwise go to waste and donate it to hunger relief agencies across 8 counties in Southern California. Get your tickets before they sell out!

Photo: Button Mash’s classic burger from 2016 Burgers & Beer (Photo by Elise Thompson).

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The Phantom Blues Band Talks About Their Music and Headlining the 12th Annual Ventura County Blues Festival

The 12th Annual Ventura County Blues Festival is coming up on Saturday, April 29. The headliner of this year’s event, the Phantom Blues Band, consists of some of the top musicians in the music industry. Playing individually on many top records by artists such as the Rolling Stones, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Bonnie Raitt, Joe Cocker, Jimi Hendrix, Etta James, Elton John, Leon Russell, Little Feat and B.B. King, they coalesced into a working band to back Taj Mahal for several tours and four extremely successful albums. On their own these days, they have continued to play to audiences around the world. The Beat sat down to talk with trumpet player Darrell Leonard, who has been featured as a solo artist on albums by Bruce Springsteen, Randy Newman and Buddy Guy, and with drummer Tony Braunagel, who has played with Eric Burdon, Bette Midler and Rickie Lee Jones among others.

Q: The Ventura County Blues Festival has been going for over 10 years. What do you think about headlining it?

A: (Tony) It’s great, because we’ve been around here, living in these neighborhoods, the confines of the San Fernando Valley and Los Angeles—-I’ve lived where I am now for 30 years, been here since like 1979, Darrell has been here even longer than I and was working even before I got to this area—-and we’ve honed our crafts as studio musicians and come home to our wives and families and such from the road and made our living doing this for so many years. Nobody really notices a band from the neighborhood like this, I mean here we are, getting a chance to go to Ventura, which I consider extended now out beyond the Valley but still our neighborhood, we get a chance to play for all these people who know us from the area, who know us from the blues community in California and they know us from the worldwide blues community as well. It’s a great opportunity. Continue reading

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Sidney and the Detours Opening at The Rose in Pasadena

I Can't Quit You, Baby

Blueswoman Sidney Iverson, of Sidney and the Detours, will rock the house at the Rose in Pasadena on April 21

Opening for Big Bad Voodoo Daddy on Friday, April 21 at The Rose in Pasadena, Sidney and the Detours (FB @sidneyandthedetours) will give you the summertime blues— so deep that you’ll never get out alive

Sidney Iverson, (BTW a chick), has been singing as her craft and art since her childhood in Tulsa. Today, her powerful alto can melt Milwaukee steel into Tupelo honey with just a few notes of the Willie Dixon classic, “I Can’t Quit You, Baby.”

With typical understatement, Sidney says, “Although this band is new, it just fell together because we are so familiar with one another.”

She’s not a shouter, but her well-honed pipes were destined for the blues and hot buttered soul. Although the band in its current formation is less than a year old, these veteran players got their musical groove on together a while back.  They’ve jammed in various configurations for years, in venues around the world.

On the keyboards: Sidney’s husband, Emmy-nominated composer Scott Page-Pagter, an OC-born producer who has toured the world with name bands since his misspent youth, and served as a session player for many rock and blues notables.

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The 3rd Annual Malibu Guitar Festival: Mick Fleetwood and Steve Vai Headline!

The 3rd Annual Malibu Guitar Festival  runs May 18th – May 21 and should be no exception to the high-caliber performances and amazing examples of musicianship I became familiar with at last year’s festival. Day after day, band after band, the festival delivered on a grand scale!

Malibu Guitar Fest is the jewel of Southern California boutique music festivals with non-stop homage to the musicians and their musicianship! And as with last year, the festival will feature 4 days of legendary performances, including the launch event: the Opening Night fundraiser benefiting Emily Shane Foundation, TheraSurf and Karl LaDue Wodakota Foundation.

Like last year, opening night will kick-off with special live performances and an All-Star Jam on May 18 at Casa Escobar. This will be followed with the Hot Licks Night there on May 19 with headliner Steve Vai featuring a female-heavy line-up of stellar musicians including Nik West, Lari Basilio, Gretchen Menn and Zepparella. Hollis Brown, The Band Steele, Dankrupt, Carothers Brothers and Karma Dealers are also on the bill.

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Sabroso Craft Beer, Taco and Music Festival A Fun Day In The Sun At Dana Point

On a beautiful, sunny day at Doheny State Beach in Dana Point, a sellout crowd walked around the Sabroso Craft Beer, Taco and Music Festival, enjoying food and beer while listening to music from groups like Metalachi, Rival Son and Orange County favorite Lit. Guests, with sampling cup in hand, queued up at the beer tents on the beach, enjoying samples of pale ales, ciders, lagers, stouts, mead and many more types of delicious craft beers. Brewers such as Lagunitas Brewery, 2 Towns Ciderhouse, Belching Beaver Brewery, Breakwater Brewing Company, Pizza Port, Hangar 24, Noble Ale Works, Taps Brewery, Acoustic Ales, and over 30 others kept the crowd happy with plenty of the delicious nectar.

Over in the food section, food trucks and booths provided a multitude of tacos, chili fries and other things to eat. Local trucks such as the Meat Up Truck, Piaggio, Pink Taco, Ninjas With Attitude and Chunky Monkee were in attendance, along with booths from restaurants such as Haven Gastropub, Provisions, Pour Vida and many others. $3.00 tacos from the vendors gave everyone a chance to try a delicious variety of tacos, some traditional, and others wildly creative.

Chronic Tacos was there with not only a booth, but as the sponsor of the Gringo Bandito Chronic Tacos Taco Eating Challenge, along with Gringo Bandito Hot Sauce. Takeru Kobayashi, winner of the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Challange six times and holder of many world competitive eating records, was again crowned champion at the Sabroso Chronic Tacos Taco Eating Challenge (a title he has won several times before). He not only defended his previous title, but went on to eat 159 tacos in 10 minutes for the win and new record.

Photo Essay Follows Continue reading

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