Yesterday I was afforded the opportunity to speak with the sometimes irascible and always venerated David Crosby, filmmaker Cameron Crowe, and Director A.J. Eaton to discuss their documentary, Remember My Name. Opened today in select theaters in Los Angeles and New York, the film is a brilliantly honest documentary on the storied life of music icon David Crosby. If you think this is yet another rose-colored, nostalgic look back at the sixties or the Sunset Strip, you’re in for either a huge surprise or a shock to the system. The film is a self-eviscerating look at Crosby’s life.
The annals of Rock and Roll are full of unsung heroes and tragic figures; when the game is to fly high and fast, casualties are inevitable. Even so, Peter Laughner stands out as an artist who far died too young at age 24 having released no recordings–indeed, having never really been properly recorded. Laughner is best known as a member of Rocket From the Tombs, the Cleveland pre-punk group that eventually splintered into Pere Ubu and the Dead Boys (taking Laughner songs like “Life Stinks” and “Ain’t It Fun” with them). Various home and radio recordings have appeared over the years by Laughner with and without RFTT. On August 2nd, Smog Veil Records–whose 2002 release The Day the Earth Met the Rocket From the Tombs remains the essential document of that band–is releasing the most comprehensive collection yet, an eponymous five LP/CD set recorded between 1972 and 1977.
Peter Laughner includes solo performances as well as recordings with his various groups like The Original Woverines, Fins, Friction, and other collaborators including the legendary critic Lester Bangs. A live version of “Ain’t It Fun” is the lone track featuring RFTT. The set includes numerous recordings that have come to light over the last decade, along with much better sounding versions of tracks that appeared on earlier compilations like Take The Guitar Player For A Ride, which this release has supplanted as definitive. Though, even with that, there are differences–the version of “Amphetamine” on the current release is musically richer and features different verses than the one on Guitar Player, but both are valid and worthwhile. Continue reading →
Blues guitarist/singer Diana Rein comes to the House of Blues in Anaheim as part of her Queen of My Castle Tour. The new album, which dropped April 30, was produced for Gulf Coast Records by Michael Leasure, who also plays drums on the album. Michael is also the drummer for blues-rock giant Walter Trout and has been a longtime fixture in the music business. The album was mixed by Lincoln Clapp, who is known for mixing the blockbuster album Texas Flood with Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble. Queen of My Castle includes includes 15 original songs, with one being a tribute to one of her biggest influences, Stevie Ray Vaughan. The House of Blues Anaheim show also serves as a CD release party, so it will be a very special night.
The Los Angeles Beat, who last talked to Diana about her role in the recent Divas of the Blues Festival, as well as some nuggets about Queen of My Castle, caught up with Diana to get a few questions answered about the upcoming show as well as the new album.
Q: Diana, how’s the response to your new Queen of My Castle album?
A: The response has been amazing and I have gotten a lot of support from the Blues community. People have been calling it my breakthrough album and that is so thrilling to get that recognition since a lot of energy, time and creativity was put into this album.
Long Beach’s hot new food hall and shopping center, Long Beach Exchange(LBX), has gained a valuable new addition in Georgia’s, which serves–by their description–”Southern-inspired comfort food.” By our description, it’s simply delicious.
The LBX location is actually their second outpost; for the last five years, the flagship restaurant has enjoyed a loyal following in the Anaheim Packing District as a fast-casual restaurant. The Long Beach spot is a sit-down restaurant in an airy, comfortable corner space directly across from the LBX food hall. It is the first full-service restaurant in a center otherwise occupied by stores and grocery.
The businesses have been a labor of love for Gretchen “The Hugger” Shoemaker and her family, whom everyone calls Nana Gretchen. Named after her late husband George, who played sous chef for years while she ran a successful Orange County catering business, Georgia’s exudes the joy Nana Gretchen readily admits she feels in sharing her food with people. She and her family warmly welcome guests as they enter and work to ensure their experience is a good one. Continue reading →
Elizabeth Trillo posing with the “Nothing Cheezy” art of Bakersson at Think Tank Gallery in DTLA photo by Billy Bennight for The Los Angeles Beat
On Tuesday I joined Lowbrow artist Anthony Ausgang, his wife, Dr. Liz Koskenmaki, Liz Trillo and a number of the featured artists at the “Nothing Cheezy” media night preview. The exhibit is an interactive, light-hearted mockery of pop-ups that is popping up in DTLA starting July 20th and running through Aug. 25th. It’s a young, funky and playful exhibition. Every room has a different theme, and all of the 13 installations offer fun selfie opportunities.
I had lively chats with Cho of UtopiaUS and A.J. of Balloonski about their art and the creative process involved in making it. It was an evening of fun, art and pizza as we nested in the back of the gallery where the people, art and food mixed. “Nothing Cheezy” should be an enjoyable romp for LA natives to dig into some art-fun-craziness. Check out the photo gallery for the full story.
Jazz and the Jitlada family serve up Kanom Jeen Namya, (Thai Southern Curry Noodles with Fishballs) at Stu and the Kids. All photos by Elise Thompson for The LA Beat.
Once again “Stu and the Kids,” now dubbed the “Flavors of Asia Food Fest” will be bringing its Thai-inspired food festival to the gorgeous Vibiana event space downtown. Sunday, August 4, 2019 from 3 PM until 7:30 PM guests will be dazzled by beautiful Thai dancers, Muay Thai boxers, live music, auctions, and a feast of Thai-inspired dishes from some of the best chefs in LA. The fundraiser benefits Stuart Skversky’s school in Chiang Mai, Thailand and provides scholarships for the students to get a University education.
“In 2009, Stuart Skversky, a Los Angeles rising star chef, moved to Chiang Mai to become a full-time volunteer at the Wat Don Chan (the local Buddhist temple), teaching local children English, cooking, and baking. Recognizing a need to help prepare these high-risk Hill Tribe kids following their graduation, he founded Stu and the Kids to better prepare them for adulthood,” according to the event release.
An spcaLA pet shelter which first opened in 1949 (when well-known animal lover Doris Day cut the ceremonial opening ribbon – RIP Doris!) is reopening shelter operations after ceasing in the early 2000’s to serve as a spay/neuter center, emergency animal housing and training center. After an exhaustive rehab, it will be the only shelter servicing West Adams, Mid-City, Baldwin Hills, and outlying neighborhoods of Culver City and Downtown Los Angeles.
Says spcaLA President, Madeline Bernstein, “They don’t make them like this anymore. The ‘bones’ of the facility, no pun intended, are in excellent condition and the craftsmanship is unparalleled. We are excited to share this new adoption resource with the community.”
The spcaLA Pet Adoption Center will have a Grand Opening on Saturday, July 20th, featuring $25 pet adoption fees for qualified adopters, Hijo De Su Madre plant based food truck, Quality Mutt Coffee Cart, music, giveaways, and more. The Center is located at 5026 W. Jefferson Blvd. The hours of operation will be 10am-5pm Wednesday – Sunday. For more information, visit spcaLA.
Last year, the 6-String Showdown showcased many great up-and-coming blues guitarists from Southern California and even out of state. This year, the special 6 String Showdown 21 and Under Cavalcade on August 3 highlights nine young guitarists. With an age range that runs from 12 to 21, these young guitarists play with a skill and style we beyond their years. Having competed in regional 6 String Showdowns, these guitarist are the best of the crop and are ready to take the stage at the PCH Blues Club in Long Beach on August 3.
Promoter/Social Media Maven and devoted blues fan Rick Snyder described the event as “If you picture what it would be like to have Jimi at 16, Eric when he was 14 and a 12 year old SRV sharing the same stage, on the same bill.. and you’ll have some idea what 6SS 21 and under is all about…6SS 21 & Under is nine of the baaaaaddest guitar slingers age 21 and under on the So Cal Blues scene. Fan favorite 12 year old Austin Thomason. Megawatt talent 13 y/o Justin Walter. Killer 14 y/o’s hard chargin’ Kyle Taylor and bundle of unrestrained energy Xander Marsden. Season One heroes 15 y/o Rahul Nedunuri and 16 y/o Andrew Ryan. And the grand daddies of the group, 21 y/o Steve Taylor (whose new release Moving On is available on iTunes), LA County regional winner Johnny Agundez and Nor Cal Bluesman of the Year Ryder Green. Each battle tested in 6 String Showdown regional competitions, each having performed on venerated stages up and down the Coast and come through with flying colors. This is not a showdown, this is a concert. This is the show in ten years, you will still be bragging about to your friends.”
This year, as part of the Platinum section (the wilder, experimental zone within the greater festival), Molly Hewett’s “Holy Trinity” will have its world premiere. I knew Molly from my Chicago underground scene days, and I’m looking forward to this film with great anticipation. “Holy Trinity” is about a Dominatrix (played by Hewett) who discovers through huffing a magic aerosol, that she can speak to the dead. It is sure to be a visual feast and a raucous good time. If you want to see an example of thriving Queer Underground Culture, Chicago is sure to bring it with this picture. Featuring a plethora of local artists and performers including Heather Lynn, Darling Shear and Imp Queen, the film will screen at Moca Grand on July 19th at 9:30pm. Register to purchase tickets. Tickets are also available for purchase in the stand-by line which is open one hour prior to the show.