watt’s picture of the week – sunday, may 9, 2021

yesterday at the crack of dawn here in my pedro town…

photo by mike watt

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A New Photography Exhibit Focused on Mid-Century African-American Life in the South is Coming to LA in June

Lionel Hampton by Ernest Withers, courtesy of Fahey/Klein Gallery.

A new exhibition of the work of pioneering African American photojournalist Ernest C. Withers is coming to Fahey/Klein Gallery on June 24.

Focusing on the lives of African Americans in the South during the mid-20th century, the photos depict the rise of rock ‘n’ roll and R&B, family life in Memphis, the Civil Rights Movement, life on Beale Street, and more.

After high school, Withers joined the military, where he attended the Army School of Photography. Upon leaving the army, he opened a photography studio in Memphis. This became his home base for recording history during a time of great upheaval and change. Continue reading

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14 Ways to Celebrate Cinco de Mayo 2021

Tacos & cocktails at Lanea. Photo credit: Muse Media.

Cinco de Mayo is back. Thought the holiday is far more celebrated in the U.S. than in Mexico, hey, we’re here, so let’s raise a glass. Whether you’d like to watch a live stream of East LA’s own Los Lobos, make an amazing Mexican-inspired cocktail at home, or venture to a restaurant or bar, see below for information on 14 ways to enjoy this celebration of Mexican-American culture.

Food & Drink Deals

Lanea, the Santa Monica cocktail bar known for great Mexican food from Barba Kush in Boyle Heights, has an amazing Cinco de Mayo offer: $20 for all-you-can-eat street tacos, plus two Cazadores cocktails (margarita or SOCALienta margarita (with Thai chili, serrano pepper, habanero honey, pineapple,and citrus). There are limited tickets left so buy now!

Solita Tacos is offering live music at both locations — Huntington Beach and Valencia — from 3 p.m. to close on Cinco de Mayo. Standouts on the limited dine-in-only menu include Ceviche Tropicale, spicy shrimp tacos, and watermelon margaritas. More info here.

Hugo’s Tacos, located in Studio City, West Hollywood, and Atwater Village, has a couple of great Cinco de Mayo offers: margaritas are $5 all day, plus, get free chips and guacamole when you tag Hugo’s on your social media account (@Hugosrestaurant) and show it to your server. More info here.

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watt’s picture of the week – sunday, may 2, 2021

this morning at the crack of dawn in my pedro town…

photo by mike watt

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mike watt’s hoot page

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Review: Trouble in Tahiti by Pacific Opera Project

Pacific Opera Project’s Trouble in Taiti (photo by Martha Benedict

Pacific Opera Project made a triumphant return to Los Angeles last weekend with four performances of Leonard Bernstein’s one act opera Trouble in Tahiti. While the company kept busy during the pandemic, staging a handful of drive-in productions in Ventura, you could feel the shared sense of both excitement and relief between the company and the socially distanced crowd. We attended the penultimate performance, staged Sunday, April 25th on the beautiful grounds of the Heritage Square Museum in Montecito Heights. Though the wind huffed and puffed that day, occasionally imperiling the scenery, it did not bring the show down.

Trouble in Tahiti tells the story of Dinah and Sam (Megan and Andrew Potter), a couple whose marriage and suburban lifestyle have become stale and unsatisfying. While the conflict plays as a drama, Bernstein’s libretto is filled with moments of sardonic humor and satirical elements. Mezzo soprano Megan Potter portrayed Dinah sympathetically both vocally and as an actor. Her actual and stage husband Andrew, playing Sam, displayed the kind of physical presence and strong bass voice that makes you want to hear him take on the repertoire’s great villains.

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Movies Till Dawn: Skull-Busters’ Union (International Chapter)

Graveyards of Honor” (1975/2002, Arrow Video) Two takes on crime, ego, and self-destruction in Japan, courtesy of cult directors Kinji Fukusaku and Takashi Miike. Both features are based on the life of gangster Rikio Ishikawa, whose almost supernatural anger (and lack of self-control) landed him on the wrong side of various gangs, including his own, and the law. Fukusaku’s version follows the tenets of his previous jitsuroku eiga (“actual record films”), with heavy emphasis on a documentary aesthetic and layers of production grime; Miike’s “Honor” moves the story from post-WWII Japan to the then-present, and doubles down on the consequences of Ishikawa’s out-of-control behavior. The violence here has a layer of ruefulness that stands apart from the splatter-by-numbers approach in Miike’s other films (“Ichi the Killer,” etc.). Arrow’s two-disc Blu-ray set offer hi-def presentations of both films, commentary by historians Mark Schilling and Tom Mes, and multiple featurettes and visual essays covering Fukusaku’s career, Miike’s damaged anti-heroes, and interviews with Miike and Fukusaku’s collaborators and admirers.

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watt’s picture of the week – sunday, april 25, 2021

on the waterfront at the crack of dawn this morning in my pedro town…

photo by mike watt

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mike watt’s hoot page

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CD Review: The Who Sell Out – Super Deluxe Box Set

The Who Sell Out, the band’s third studio album from that heady conceptual year of 1967, has received yet another expansion! Packed with five CDs, two vinyl singles, and pound after pound of printed matter, it’s almost more Sell Out than you can buy into!

But buy into it anyway! You’ll get 112 tracks, lots of them repeated in a different mix or three or five!

Can you count how many versions of “I Can See For Miles” appear on this box set? Send your answer in today, the person with the guess closest to the correct number will win YET ANOTHER VERSION OF “I CAN SEE FOR MILES”! This one will have, I dunno, too much echo on the bass drum, but it will be different and labeled as such!

Now, how much would you pay???

We will return to this commercial in a moment after the following content.  Continue reading

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This Tijuana-Born Salsa Maker is All About Integrity & Authenticity

Photo of Gaby Acosta courtesy of El Novato.

El Novato is a line of unique, locally made salsas crafted with integrity. This new company is the creation of film costumer Gaby Acosta. Born in Tijuana, where she lived until she was three, Gaby has spent her life divided between Mexico and the LA/Orange County area. 

Gaby was motivated by the difficulty she had finding salsas she loved that were not made by her family. “Growing up so much in Mexico really influenced my tastebuds. I’m very connected to Mexico. In Los Angeles, there’s amazing food and in Santa Ana, where I grew up, but there were never salsas like at my house. It’s hard to find the salsas I like — so many things get watered down. If a salsa was designed to be spicy, I want it to be spicy! Either you like it or you don’t. I don’t want to compromise.

Gaby found success in entertainment — working in wardrobe for the 2019 blockbuster “Captain Marvel” is her biggest credit so far. But when Covid shut down filming last year, Gaby decided to finally focus on the project she’d thought about for years but never had time for: creating a line of salsas that taste as good as the ones made by her family. She told me, “When the pandemic hit, I thought, “Now I can actually fill out the paperwork and do the things I couldn’t find time for before. It helped me get organized and finalize the recipes. This pandemic has been a blessing in disguise for me and my family. It’s been difficult but we’re happy. I always complained I didn’t have enough time. Now I finally did.”

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WWOZ’s Jazz Festing in Place This Weekend and Next

As they did last year, venerable New Orleans radio station WWOZ is bringing Jazz Fest over the airwaves for those who are jonesing for it in person.

Tune in to WWOZ April 22-25 and April 29-May 2 as they, along with the Archive of the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation, bring you Jazz Festing In Place 2021,  featuring rare and historic sets from Jazz Fest’s past, on the traditional spring weekends of the festival.

In addition to the music, the broadcasts will include interviews highlighting the food, crafts, and heritage of New Orleans and Louisiana.

For calendar and live link, go to: WWOZ

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