watt’s picture of the week – sunday, july 21, 2024

whale-watcher boat “la espada” making for the angles gate from my pedro town this morning!

photo by mike watt

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Two Great Gigs Next Week: Stephen Merritt and Chaka Khan

Next week will bring two special events to our summer venues of the Hollywood Hills, you should get tickets now to avoid being left out in the heat.

On Wednesday July 24, Stephin Merritt of the Magnetic Fields will perform what is described as a “deconstruction” of his most popular album, 1999’s 69 Love Songs at the Ford. Part of the show involves a collaboration with podcaster Hrishikesh Hirway, of the show Song Exploder, followed by an “intimate solo performance”. Hirway is renowned for giving interviews that truly dissect pieces of music in the presence of their creators, but unlike many of his interviews, this one is not being recorded or broadcast, so the opportunity to hear Merritt expound in this way will be limited to those in attendance.

Friday the 26th, legendary singer Chaka Khan will perform with the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra directed by Thomas Wilkins. This is probably this author’s most anticipated event of the Bowl season, a chance to see a phenomenal voice that has been with me my whole life, paired with a live orchestra, to produce the kind of complex backing heard on her recordings. Chaka was killer with her regular band on the NPR Tiny Desk stage earlier this year, the even more grandiose presentation with the orchestra is sure to get the Bowl ringing.

Tickets for Chaka Khan with special guest Masego at the Hollywood Bowl, and Stephin Merritt at the Ford, are available on the venue website.

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Surf Guitar 101 Returns to the Home of Surf Music!

It’s that time of year again!!! The Surf Guitar 101 Convention, founded in 2008 by Jeff “BigTikiDude” Hanson, will be happening in Long Beach at the Golden Sails Hotel July 26-28 2024. The lineup includes everything from classic stalwarts to modern instrumental surf music.

This year’s bands will include the amazing Mermen, outtasite Nebulas and a special anniversary celebration for the incomparable INSECT SURFERS. It’s not really surf without friend of The Beat (and Iggy Pop impersonator) Dave Arnson, is it?

And don’t miss the first “spooky” surf band, The Ghastly Ones, started by movie monster makers, “Dr. Lehos” and “Baron Shivers.” If you are into Halloween, monster movies and Screaming Lord Sutch, you are going to dig this band.

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Movies Till Dawn: This is Not a Dream

* indicates that this title is also available to rent, stream, or purchase on various platforms. Please note that streaming options may differ from these home video presentations in terms of visuals, supplemental features, etc.

Crocodile” (1979, Synapse Films) Atomic testing causes a saltwater crocodile to grow to colossal size and lay waste to coastal Thailand, prompting overworked doctors Nard Poowani and Chan-il Sin – both of whom lose their respective spouses to the monster – to team with tough guy hunter Manop Aussawathep to destroy it. Like its titular croc, this Asian horror title mutated repeatedly before assuming the form seen on Synapse’s Blu-ray. Notorious Thai producer Sompote Sands took a 1977 Korean film, “Crocodile Fangs,” and added his own signature inept effects (most notably, a huge, stiff croc puppet) while also assuming the mantle of director; American exploitation producers Dick Randall (“Pieces) and Herman Cohen (“I Was a Teenage Werewolf”) added additional scenes and their own unpleasant touches, including footage of real animal slaughter, before unleashing “Crocodile” on unsuspecting international audiences in 1979. This Legion of Doom approach resulted in a dizzying patchwork of mismatched special effects (the croc is both average-sized and Godzilla-scaled in the same scene), astonishing bad taste (employing real-life disabled actors to play mutilated victims), and a meandering story loosely styled after (what else?) “Jaws.” As such, “Crocodile” is a sumptuous banquet for badfilm devotees, and Synapse presents it with five-star service: restored image from the original 35mm English-language print, commentary by the late Lee Gambin (who details the various iterations), an interview with Korean director Won-se Lee, who directed “Crocodile Fangs,” and footage from alternate versions, including different title sequences and the aforementioned animal ugliness.

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watt’s picture of the week – sunday, july 14, 2024

“you lookin at me?”

photo by mike watt

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Liquid Kitty Summer BBQ with Mike Watt, Lawndale, Carnage Asada

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Dine LA Restaurant Week is Back!

DineLA Restaurant Week is back! This two-week event showcases Los Angeles dining with well-priced lunch and dinner menus served daily at hundreds of LA restaurants.

Try some new restaurants or return to old favorites, with meals priced from as little as $15 to $65 plus. The current edition of dineLA starts on  Friday, July 12 and continues through Friday, July 26. See below for a few of our dineLA recommendations.

A 2023 Michelin Guide recommendation, DTLA’s outpost of renowned chef Stephanie Izard’s famous Chicago restaurant Girl & the Goat is offering three-course dinners for $65 per person. Options include king salmon poke, tadka crunch chicken, and brownie sundae topped with caramel cream and maca straciatella. See Girl & the Goat’s entire Dine LA menu and make a reservation here.

One of LA’s most esteemed seafood restaurants, Connie & Ted’s is headed by Michelin-starred and James Beard award-winning chef-owner, Michael Cimarusti. For Dine LA, the West Hollywood seafood stalwart offers 3-course lunches for $35 and 3-course dinners for $55. Lunch options include chowder (New England, Manhattan, or Rhode Island style), ½ dozen oysters, the Hook Burger, deep-fried cod sandwich, and more. Dinner highlights include Connie & Ted’s famed lobster roll, Alaskan cod & chips, crudo of the day, Portuguese fish stew, and other options. You can find more info here.

A Thai fixture in LA for 48 years, woman-owned eatery Chao Krung is renowned for serving excellent dishes made with recipes that their grandmother cooked for the King of Thailand. For Dine LA, Chao Krung is serving a four-course dinner that includes Larb Salmon with Salmon Roe, Pad Thai with Grilled Prawns, Massaman Short Ribs, and deep-fried coconut and banana rolls for dessert. You can find more info here.  

Savor a multi-course meal on Rodeo Drive for as little as $25 during Dine LA! The Hideaway, a Mexican steakhouse at the Rodeo Collection, offers a three-course lunch, plus amuse bouche, for just $25. Lunch options include Short Rib Enchiladas, Wagyu Flautas, Fajitas, Roasted Corn Empanadas, and much more. Dinner is $55 and features an amuse bouche, along with choices including an 8 oz. Margaret River Wagyu Picanha, Chilean Sea Bass Tacos, Hamachi Sashimi, Shrimp Empanadas, and more. You can find more info here.

An unorthodox Italian restaurant that was awarded the prestigious 2-fork award by Italy’s Gambero Rosso, Da Barbara is the first LA eatery from Chef Barbara Pollastrini, who hails from Rome. It’s tucked away inside a two-story Hollywood apartment Chef Barbara converted into a restaurant. There, she alone concocts her culinary creations in a small kitchen in front of her guests. For her Dine LA debut, Chef Barbara is offering a three-course lunch for $35 (a seasonal starter based on her farmers market finds, followed by Tagliolini al Pomodo & Basil or Tagliolini with Zucchini, Basil, and House-Cured Giancale, then Coffee Semifreddo). Dinner is Tuna Tartare or Fried King Oyster Mushroom, your choice of two decadent pasta dishes, and Fresh Strawberry Semifreddo for $45. Find more info here

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Concern Foundation’s Culinary Extravaganza Returns to Paramount’s Back Lot!

Image courtesy of Concern Foundation.

One of the summer’s best food events is coming to the historic backlot at Hollywood’s Paramount Studios on Saturday, July 13. The Concern Foundation’s 49th Annual Block Party is a five-hour culinary journey that will raise much-needed funds for cancer research.

This extravaganza of deliciousness will feature gourmet tastings, high-quality beverages, and scrumptious desserts. With the theme “Mission Concern – Conquering Cancer the Final Frontier, the Stanley and Joyce Black Family Foundation will be honored for their outstanding community contributions and celebrate “3 Generations – A Legacy of Community Leadership.”

The extensive list of participating restaurants include 1212 Santa Monica, A.O.C. Wine Bar, Arth Bar + Kitchen, Brique French Toastery, Café Dulce, California Sushi Academy, Casablanca Restaurant, Champion’s Curry, Chubby Foods by Chubby Group, Churn, Dulan’s on Crenshaw, Emporium Thai, Factor’s Famous Deli, Farm Fresh To You, Fogo de Chão, Fresh Brothers, Gyu-Kaku, Hayama, Herb Alpert’s Vibrato Grill & Jazz, La Boheme, Leona’s Sushi House & The Village, Mama M Sushi, Maria’s Italian Kitchen, Miracle Noodle, Nobu Malibu, Ocean Prime Beverly Hills, Pink Taco, Pink’s Famous Hot Dogs, Porta Via, Portillo’s, Ratatouille Catering, Room Service Neighborhood, Settecento DTLA, SITK – Someone’s In The Kitchen, STK Los Angeles, The Grill on the Alley, Tokyo Kitchen, and Uchi West Hollywood.

Savor pirits and specialty cocktails from esteemed brands like BUZZBAR®, maker of alcohol-infused ice cream and sorbet bars for adults, along with City Vodka, Good Money Whisky, Dulce Vida Tequila, Empress Gin, Flor de Caña RumKnox & Dobson, Last Shot, Lodestar Whiskey, Melograno, Mezcal 33, Mezcal Rosaluna, Milagro Tequila, Mission Cocktails, Nuda Tequila, and Veranda Cocktails.

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Movies Till Dawn: Complicated Individuals

* indicates that this title is also available to rent, stream, or purchase on various platforms. Please note that streaming options may differ from these home video presentations in terms of visuals, supplemental features, etc.

Narc” * (2002, Arrow Video) After gruesomely bungling a drug arrest, hyper-intensive Detroit narcotics officer Jason Patric is given a shot at professional redemption by investigating the murder of a fellow undercover cop with the help of Ray Liotta, an old-school detective whose preferred method of crime prevention (brutality) complicates matters. Cop drama from Joe Carnahan travels along well-worn territory from a script perspective but benefits greatly from Carnahan’s skill with violent and intense setpieces and downbeat atmosphere; he’s helped immeasurably by his two leads, who navigate the razor’s edge on which their characters live without resorting to caricature. Arrow’s Limited Edition 4K/Blu-ray presentation lends considerable polish to DP Alex Nepomiaschy’s already crisp, funereal imagery, and adds new interviews with him, Carnahan, costume designer Gersha Phillips and co-star Krista Bridges; also included are archival interviews and EPK footage, many extended from previous release versions, with Carnahan, Patric, Liotta, and a lengthy appreciation of “Narc” by William Friedkin, as well as vintage making-of featurettes.

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Where to Celebrate 4th of July 2024 in Los Angeles

Photo by mike watt

Are you ready to rock Independence Day? Some events took place last weekend, but we are still spoiled for choice in LA. Please don’t light illegal fireworks, instead check out everywhere else you can party this week!


Aquarium of the Pacific

The Aquarium will be hosting their annual BBQ. Unfortunately, it won’t be taking place at night this year, so you can’t watch the fireworks. But you can see them from nearly every single corner of Long Beach, so don’t fret. Reservations for the buffet meal will be available from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., including BBQ Chicken, Pulled Pork and Jackfruit Sliders, Avocado, Bean, and Corn Salad, Potato Salad, Mac N Cheese, Baked Beans, Watermelon Wedges, Assorted Cookies and Cherry and Peach Cobblers Water and Lemonade are included. A cash bar will be available.

BBQ Tickets include all-day Aquarium admission. 11:00 am–2:00 pm PT $79 per adult, $55 per child (3-11), Members: Adult $54, $30 per child (3-11). Reservations required. R.S.V.P. (562) 590-3100, ext. 0.

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