Movies Till Dawn: Bless the Beavers and the Children

* 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.

“Hundreds of Beavers” (2022) The only things standing between the hapless yet durable Ryland Brickson Cole Tews, and the hand of a grumpy furrier’s bewitching daughter (Olivia Graves) are the (literal) hundreds of malicious beavers that ruined his apple farm and now view him as their personal punching bag. Said beavers are played by a host of actors in sports mascot-styled costumes (same goes for the raccoons, bunnies, and sled dogs in the film) which may suggest a 21st century take on Sid and Marty Krofft’s mind-bending kid TV, but “Beavers” hews a lot closer to the silent comedy of Buster Keaton and early Merrie Melodies cartoon shorts, with which it shares a wholehearted disregard for the constraints of gravity and reality. As with Tews’ previous feature, the equally delirious “Lake Michigan Monster” (the editor of which, Mike Cheslik, takes over here as director and co-writer with Tews), “Beavers” unfolds entirely in black-and-white and with no dialogue save for a symphony of grunts, thumps, and clangs, and employs a host of film techniques, including animation of puppetry, to allow Tews and his beaver foes to sail through the air, plunge through frozen rivers, and bash each other with Jackie Chan-like abandon. Mayhem for mayhem’s sake wears out its welcome quickly, but Cheslik and Tews have mined the gag potential in a man vs. nature scenario with a thoroughness and inventiveness that would undoubtedly please Chuck Jones, and the results are laugh-out-loud funny, even if you aren’t aware of its inspirations (and save for a few suggestive gags, it’s perfectly fine for kids). Available now on Prime Video, Apple TV, and Fandor, with other platforms to follow.
Continue reading

Posted in Movies | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Visit This Pasadena Hidden Gem for “Cocina Mexiquense”

Chef Pablo Salas. Image credit: Michael Kleinberg

Tucked away inside the Hotel Dena, an art-driven Pasadena hotel, you’ll find Agents Only, a restaurant and bar with a unique look thanks to its wall of speakers and vintage TVs. The space’s allure goes deeper than visuals, however, thanks to the addition of Chef Pablo Salas, who just started a partnership with this hidden gem. 

A native of Mexico who’s competed on “Iron Chef: Mexico,” Salas has two restaurants in the Mexico City area, as well as in Chicago and Florida. Located in Toluca, Mexico, Salas’ first restaurant, Amaranta, repeatedly appears on San Pellegrino’s list of  “Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants.”

Though classically trained in French techniques, Chef Salas decided he was more interested in perfecting “cocina Mexiquense,” the cuisine of where he grew up – the state of Mexico – that stresses simplicity, vibrance, and layers of flavor.

At Agents Only, Salas’ first project on the West Coast, you’ll encounter delicious, sharable dishes like mushroom-laden Queso Fundido, Guacamole Tuna with chipotle aioli, creamy Enchiladas El Huerto, a decadent quesadilla stuffed with butter-poached lobster, and Fajita Enchiladas packed with peppers, onions, and your choice of protein.

Continue reading

Posted in Cocktails, Beer, Wine & Weed, Food | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Tequila’s Punk Museum Comes to Joshua Tree

The Punk Museum at Taylor Junction, Joshua Tree, March 9, 2024. Photos by Monique A. LeBleu.

Last month, the LA Beat’s own Tequila Mockingbird joined forces with graphic artist, Rolo Castillo, and AI artist and inventor, Phil Bosua, to bring “the past, present, and future of Punk” through the art of AI and the Punk Museum to the Taylor Junction Gallery in Joshua Tree.

According to Mockingbird, she, Castillo and Bosua–the latter two as The AKA–, together provided the art for the exhibit that represents the past, present and future of Punk through the art of AI. Beginning the evening’s vibe was Punk Yoga by Sunshine in the outdoor space, and then later on stage People of Earth, Tequila Mockingbird and the Blond Moondust, and Atomik Kangaroo performed at the free event.

“There’s a lot of pop-up underground art energy going on, truly,” she said of Joshua Tree and its artists and venues. Continue reading

Posted in Art, Events, Miscellanious, Music | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

watt’s picture of the week – saturday, april 6, 2024

my prac pad here in my pedro town now has its own mural! thank you angels gate cultural center and the artists who brought this! thinking about it… I’ve been here thirtyseven years now – I’ve got the oldest lease! crimony.

photo by mike watt

– – – – –
mike watt’s hoot page

Posted in Photo Essays | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

LA Opera’s La Traviata Premieres This Weekend – Don’t Miss Rachel Willis-Sorenson

Rachel Willis-Sorenson in the LA Opera production of La Traviata. Photo by Cory Weaver for the LA Opera, used with permission.

This weekend sees the LA premiere of a new production of Verdi’s classic opera La Traviata. The miraculous Rachel Willis-Sorenson, who knocked us out at last fall’s Otello, returns to the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion take on the role of Violetta de Valery, with Liparit Avetisvan as Alfredo Germont.

While this piece is never far from an LA audience, Shawna Lucey’s direction promises a spectacular new look. The orchestra will be under the direction of James Conlon, who proved again at Otello, he does Verdi real purdy. (Louis Lohraseb will conduct the April 18 performance.)

Into the den of twisted fate we go, LA, and in these inflationary times, we can all use a poetically rendered warning to avoid too much consumption.

La Traviata at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, April 6 through 26. Tickets, $63-399, available at the LA Opera Website. 

Posted in Events, Music, Theater, Upcoming Events | Leave a comment

The Eleventh Annual Pasadena International Film Festival Returns to the NoHo 7

Photo courtesy of the Pasadena International Film Festival.

The eleventh edition of the Pasadena International Film Festival (PIFF) returns to the NoHo Arts District, presenting more than 130 films from 10 countries during its eight-day run at Laemmle NoHo 7 theater, Thursday, April 4, 2024, through Thursday, April 11, 2024.

The Opening Night Party is Thursday, April 4, at 7:00 p.m., at the Brews Brothers in North Hollywood, and the speakeasy-style venue, Der Wolf Restobar in Old Pasadena, will once again host the Great Gatsby Gala & Award Ceremony following the festival’s full week of events on April 11, 2024. To fit the theme, 1920’s attire is suggested and black-tie is optional.

Currently, an All Access Pass provides entry to the Opening Night Party, admittance to all screenings with guaranteed and priority seating for the entire festival, the Q&As, and panels, access to the Passholders Lounge at the Brews Brothers NoHo, a PIFF “made to order” commemorative T-Shirt, and a ticket to the Great Gatsby Gala & Award Ceremony. Individual tickets are also available, as well as tickets to the Gala. Continue reading

Posted in Miscellanious | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Movies Till Dawn: Worldly Matters, Pt. 1

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

Special Silencers” (1982 (?), Mondo Macabro) Career Indonesian heel W.D. Mochtar is again up to no good in this delirious Indonesia action/horror hybrid. Here, Mochtar’s ends are relatively modest (take over a small village), but the means by which he chooses to accomplish it are, to put it mildly, outlandish: he dispatches the current village headman (Darussalam) with tiny red pills – the “special silencers” of the title – which, when consumed, cause a full-grown tree to erupt from the victim’s body, with the expected showers of gore. Indonesian action star Barry Prima and one-time off-screen spouse Eva Arnaz are the high-kicking heroes who oppose him. Cult movie-minded viewers looking for a deeper, weirder flex are advised to explore Indonesian exploitation titles like “Special Silencers” and others carried by Mondo Macabro; their unique cinematic space – a world where black magic co-exists with dudes in feather cuts and flare jeans, where stinky shoes are a lethal weapon, and where the threadbare and the exotic combine to create something wholly alien and familiar at the same time – provides the sort of intoxicating disorientation available from only the most outre movie experiences. Mondo’s Blu-ray for “Special Silencers” – the first ever legal Western video release – features both the Indonesian theatrical cut and a longer version with deleted scenes culled from a Dutch VHS source; commentary by Filipino exploitation expert Andrew Leavold and a 25-minute featurette on Indonesian fantasy/horror films rounds out this mind-expanding disc. Continue reading

Posted in Movies | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

How to Get a Legendary Italian Sandwich Free on Friday, March 29

Image courtesy of All’Antico Vinaio.

All’Antico Vinaio has been praised as “the home of the world’s best sandwiches” by no less an authority than Saveur. Started in Florence, Italy in 1991, All’Antico Vinaio has earned accolades by locals and tourists alike for its superior merging of high-quality ingredients with freshly baked Tuscan bread.

After a huge success with its three New York City locations, All’Antico Vinaio is now focusing on bringing its panini to Los Angeles. All’Antico Vinaio will preview its second location in LA, this one in Koreatown, on Friday, March 29, and is celebrating by giving out 1,000 sandwiches to the first thousand people in line!

Starting at noon, you can get a sandwich of your choosing at the new location at 6th Street and Western Avenue. You’re also welcome to purchase a second sandwich while you’re there.

You’ll find celebrated sandwiches constructed from authentic Tuscan ingredients, from Pecorino to truffles, with options such as the La Schiacciata del Boss, made with Prosciutto Toscano, Pecorino Toscano and truffle cream; and La Summer, made with Prosciutto Toscano, mozzarella, tomato and basil.

Continue reading

Posted in Food, Upcoming Events | Tagged , | Leave a comment

watt’s picture of the week – tuesday, march 26, 2024

back on sunday raul morales, tom watson and myself started recording the next missingmen album at casa hanzo in my pedro town w/peetzo on the knobs. “static” is its name and also the title of the first tune, written special for me by john devries – we played it live for the first time ever tonight at the ‘dine.

photo by mike watt

– – – – –
mike watt’s hoot page

Posted in Photo Essays | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Masters of Taste Returns to the Rose Bowl on April 7

Photo courtesy of Masters of Taste.

Regarded by many as one of LA’s best food events, Masters of Taste returns to the field at Pasadena’s Rose Bowl on Sunday, April 7. 

Attend Masters of Taste and you’ll help raise major funds for Union Station Homeless Services as you stroll along the iconic stadium’s 50-yard line savoring food, drinks, and sweets from over 100 of LA’s best creators of culinary and beverage experiences. 

Now celebrating its 7th year, Masters of Taste has already raised nearly $3 million to help homeless people find housing and dignity. The event offers food from dozens of culinary masters and restaurants. This year’s participants include Pez Coastal Kitchen, Saucy Chick Goat Mafia, Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken, Santa Monica Seafood, Pez Cantina, Yuca’s, Casa Cordoba, Rice Balls of Fire, Cerda Vega Tacos, Celestino’s Ristorante, Yardbird, Lunasia, Alexander’s Steakhouse, and many more.

Sip exquisitely crafted cocktails, along with wine, sake, and beer, from the likes of The Raymond 1886, Mezcal 33, Knox & Dobson, CRU Winery, Native Son, Empress 1908, Arts District Brewing Company, Hitching Post, Que Padre, Sake High, Dulce Vida Tequila, Sake Akagisan, and more. You’ll also find plenty of non-alcoholic choices from PH Alkaline Water, Sunright Tea Studio, Koe Kombucha, and more.

Continue reading

Posted in Food, Upcoming Events | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment