Veggie Grill Has a New Location in Toluca Lake

Veggie Grill, Toluca Lake/Burbank. All images by Karin E. Baker

Continuing in its quest to make delicious vegan food more accessible, Veggie Grill recently opened its newest location on the border of Toluca Lake and Burbank.

Located across the street from Googie-style architectural icon Bob’s Big Boy, Veggie Grill still offers customers old favorites like the All Hail Kale salad and the Better-Than-Buffalo wings (that you’d swear were real chicken), in addition to a bunch of new items.

Even for an omnivore, it undoubtedly benefits the planet when we eat more plant-based meals. During my recent visit, I loved new options like the so-called Carne Asada Burrito (with seitan subbing for the steak) and the Luxe Burger. Made with a grilled Beyond Burger patty topped with arugula, roasted mushrooms and tomatoes, truffle “cheese” sauce and sriracha ketchup on a poppyseed bun, this is full-on comfort food.

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Favorites from LA Loves Alex’s Lemonade 2019

Susan Feniger and Mary Sue Milliken gave us a peek at Socalo, their new Mexican gastropub in Santa Monica. All photos by Elise Thompson for The LA Beat.

The 10th annual L.A. Loves Alex’s Lemonade Stand raised over $1.2 million for Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation. The fundraiser is in memory of a little girl named Alex, who started her own lemonade stand to raise money to fight cancer. People were so touched, they started holding bigger and bigger lemonade stands until they grew into the major events we enjoy today. The strolling food event last Saturday at UCLA’s Royce Quad attracted more than 2,500 people. Jay and Liz Scott, Alex’s parents, were in attendance, as were celebrities Eric Benét, Laura Dern and her mother Dianne Ladd, Joe Mantegna, Aisha Taylor, Johnny Knoxville and longtime supporter Jimmy Kimmel.

The serious moneymaker is perennially the live auction, which raised more than $415,000. Highly prized auction experiences included a dinner with Jimmy Kimmel and his wife Molly at their barn in the Hollywood Hills, featuring food prepared by star chefs, a weekend at the 5-star Rosewood Miramar Resort, with a dinner prepared by Michelin-starred chefs Michael Cimarusti and Josiah Citrin. Another big ticket item was a visit with Grammy-winning recording artist Pink while she pours the latest vintages from her local Two Wolves Estate Winery.

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Movies Till Dawn: A Slew of Saturday Morning Strange

Boom!” (1968, Shout! Select) Wealthy, pill-popping Sissy Goforth (Elizabeth Taylor) is interrupted in her task of writing her memoirs at her sprawling Italian villa by Christopher Flanders (Richard Burton), a struggling poet/artist who may or may not also be the Angel of Death. Hallucinatory high camp tricked out as an arthouse film, directed by Joseph Losey and penned by Tennessee Williams, who provides reams of impenetrable dialogue for Taylor to shriek and Burton to murmur between utterances of the film’s title. None of it makes a lick of sense, but watching the two leads and Noel Coward as the Witch of Capri bitch and bite (while appearing thoroughly and legitimately pickled) their way through the film is a kitsch lover’s dream come true; the Sardinia locations, astounding costumes by Tiziani (with designs by Karl Lagerfeld), Panavision photography by Douglas Slocombe, a moody, dulcimer-heavy score by John Barry and Richard MacDonald‘s lavish production design (Burton and Taylor apparently wanted to buy the villa seen in the film, unaware that it was a set) all lend gilt to this warped hothouse flower. Shout! Select’s Blu-ray includes dishy commentary by “Boom!” superfan John Waters, who famously wrote that he would never sleep with anyone who didn’t like the film, and a fun overview by critic Alonso Duralde.

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Memories of Cafe NELA from Hope Urban and The LA Beat Photographers

Hope Urban. Photo by Tequila Mockingbird.

For six long years, my Saturdays followed a quixotic routine: a 2-3 – ‘disco’ nap, only to awake from my peaceful cocoon to fancy up for a night bartending as some of the most relevant underground musical performers in Los Angeles, and occasionally, the world, raged and moaned on a tiny stage in a small bar built in 1946.

I often joked Cafe NELA was as if Raji’s and Al’s had a baby–I bartended at Al’s 1996-97, and had been sneaking into Raji’s since I was 18–and it was the same lovable mishmash of musical and aesthetic choices, which created a flashpoint that attracted various artists and miscreants, or as the boss Dave Travis referred to it, The Island of Misfit Toys.

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Douglas Tausik Ryder’s ‘Body Language’ On View at Jason Vass Gallery through October 19, 2019

Photo by Billy Bennight

Douglas Tausik Ryder‘s exhibition, “Body Language,” opened at Jason Vass Gallery on Saturday, September 7th, and the exhibition will continue through October 19th. Taisik Ryder‘s work is a conversation about fluid organic interpretations of form that evoke and integrate both biomorphic and geometric applications.

His wooden sculptures are products of his interest in the form, but are mastered through a digital process using a very specific industrial technology. All of these pieces are manufactured utilizing digital technology known as geometric code. “G-code” is a CAD/CAM language, and this fabrication process utilizing G-Code drives the industrial CNC (computer numerical control) machine/tool that makes his art.

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Earth, Wind & Fireworks at the Hollywood Bowl

Earth, Wind & Fire (courtesy Los Angeles Philharmonic)

Earth, Wind & Fire are one of the longest running and most successful groups in R&B history, and their performance last Friday, September 13th, at the Hollywood Bowl showed that their musical powers remain elemental. Now in their fiftieth year, the band delivered two sets full of hits with the added power of the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra conducted by Thomas Wilkins. Bassist and charter member Verdine White moved the crowd all night, especially on irresistible dance numbers like “Boogie Wonderland” and “Shining Star,” while vocalist/percussionists Ralph Johnson and Philip Bailey demonstrated their still prodigious vocal ranges; Bailey’s falsetto on “After the Love Has Gone” and “That’s the Way of the World” was remarkable, as was his melodic playing of the title instrument in “Kalimba Story.”

On the surface, a rhythm and blues group and a classical orchestra may seem like opposing sorts of bands. But Earth, Wind & Fire have always combined complex melodies and harmonies with their at times insistent rhythms. Just as Funkadelic proved a funk band could play rock, Wilkins showed that a symphony Orchestra can swing and even groove. He knew when to lay out and where his ensemble could add musical color, and the players kept pace all night with no matter how fast the beats got. The force of the orchestra was never more apparent than during a rousing version of “Fantasy” towards the end of the second set.
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Rude Boy: A Conversation with Ray Gange

Ray Gange, star of Rude Boy. Photo by Tequila Mockingbird.

Ray Gange starred in a movie called Rude Boy. It is a grand film following the Clash that humanized the London punk scene. Ray played himself–a tough punk who called a cunt a cunt and fought like a hooligan.

In the early 80s, I was hanging out with him at Cash, a contemporary art space in Hollywood next door to the Zero Zero club. Cash was run by extras casting agent Janet Cunningham. Ray and I decided to get to know each other, and to go to a party down the street under the bridge.

Ray and I stepped into the party and we were only there for a moment when he started fighting. I turned around and slugged him for fighting with my friends. He got drunk and passed out. We carried him out of the party and he woke up under the bridge. Then he asked me out. Although he was the best-looking guy in Hollywood, I never took him up on it, but we became lifelong friends.

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LA Through a Cracked Lens: Not so Super Man

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The Intown Report’s Gig Picks of the Week 9/19/19 – 9/25/19

Rikk and Axxel of The Gears photo by Hilary Russell

Looking for cool live music this week? Here’s some show recommendations:

Thursday 9/19

Cafe Nela – Mormons, Exploding Pintos + Turds of Misery

House of Machines – Veneer, Dancing Tongues + Exploding Flowers

PhotoLab (835 N.La Brea Ave) – Jagged Baptist Club, Rearranged Face + DJ Tony Knox & special guest (hosted by KXLU’s No More Heroes)

Sun Space (Sunland) – Garretson & Gorodetsky with Vince Meghrouni, Michael Alvidez, & Brian Christiansoneing As An Ocean, Holding Absence + De’Wayne Jackson

Friday 9/20

Cafe Nela – Motorcycle Boy, Brainspoon, Crazy Squeeze, Rosemary Reyes Band, Hot Licks + Dante HH, 7:30pm

The Mint – Arthur Alexander Band, Nate Hancock & the Declaration, Cody & the Blackouts, Orange Mayfield + Captain’s Son

The Regent – Tijuana Panthers, No Age, The Hurricanes + Musty Boyz

Saint Rocke – The Selector (40th anniversary)

Surf Dog’s Sports Grill (Huntington Beach) – Informal Society, 390, Enemy Proof + Rocket’s Dead Glare, 7PM, all ages, free!

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Hollie Cook: The Young Queen of Reggae and Lovers Rock Takes Over the Santa Monica Pier

Hollie Cook is a Phenomenon. She is unaffected and unflinchingly natural. She sings love songs. Here’s the secret–her father is the coolest Sex Pistol–Paul Cook. Why the coolest ? Well, he’s a drummer for fucks sake! Never a breath of scandal about him. Happily married to a women of color, and this daughter of his is a jewel of integrity.

The evening started with dinner at Rustys Surf Ranch. I think I’ll become a regular there. Dinner was great, and the opening bands wafted reggae vibes to our table before the magnificent reggae chill factor set from Holly. She calls her music “tropical pop,” and the sounds were perfect for a concert on the Santa Monica Pier. The ocean breeze and carnival sounds, the smell of the ocean air, and the waves licking the shore were intoxicating. I am to attend Hollie’s shows forevermore.

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