Alex’s Lemonade Raised Nearly $1.5 Million Dollars with its Annual Cookout and Auction

Chefs Timothy Hollingsworth and Michael Kahikina at Alex’s Lemonade. All photos by Elise Thompson for The LA Beat.

Now in its 9th year, LA Loves Alex’s Lemonade threw the cookout to end all Cookouts on the grassy Royce Quad of UCLA last Saturday, breaking last year’s record for most funds raised for the cancer charity. More than 2,500 attendees enjoyed bites from some of the nation’s best chefs, as well as sips and pours from numerous mixologists and vintners. The auctions alone raised over $650,000, with an impromptu dinner at Jimmy Kimmel’s with chefs like Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo, raising 300,000 alone. The dinner was so popular, they auctioned it off three times at $100,000 each.

One of the things that sets LA Loves Alex’s apart from the numerous food events happening in LA is their solid lineup of chefs that return year after year. Other events have rotating participants, with some heavy hitters, some new and “happening” restaurants, and some talented local neighborhood spots. At Alex’s, the chefs are all heavy hitters. You know when you attend Alex’s you are going to see Suzanne Goin, Jonathan Waxman and Giada De Laurentiss–at the very least. Chefs Marc Vetri from Philadelphia, Redbird’s Neal Fraser, Phoenix’s Chris Bianco, Michael Cimarusti, Nancy Silverton of Mozza, New Orlean’s Donald Link and Zoe Nathan of Huckleberry have been volunteering every year since the very first cookout in 2010.

There was a lot of seafood happening on the quad, with co-chair David Lentz of Hungry Cat wowing the crowd with a fried oyster roll and fresh uni, straight out of the sea urchin’s shell. Diver Stephanie Muntz of Sea Stephanie Fish in Santa Barbara was on hand to help serve the urchins she had caught herself.

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The Brent Shapiro Foundation For Drug Prevention’s Summer Spectacular Honored Joe Manganiello

Robert Shapiro giving award

Robert Shapiro giving The Spirit of Sobriety award to Joe Manganiello (All photos by Rachel Ganz)

Robert and Linell Shapiro created this foundation after the tragic death of their son Brent, at age 24 on October 11, 2005, due to drug overdose. The Shapiros have established a “living legacy” of their son by starting Brent’s Club in partnership with the Boys and Girls Clubs of America.  There are more than 2,000 children enrolled in the program, which is dedicated to helping children at and at-risk communities avoid drug and alcohol abuse. These clubs reward the sober children with prizes like laptops, iPads and college scholarships, as well as getting them involved in activities out in the community like surfing, basketball, art and music.

I was fortunate enough to interview Robert and Linell briefly on the red carpet,and I could still see the tears and the pain in their faces. Linell told me that there is never a day that Brent is ever forgotten, and she misses him dearly.

I briefly chatted with Larry King, who told me that he told his 19-year-old son at the age of ten not to do any drugs or drink. He said it’s important to start when your children are young. Larry King’s tall and beautiful wife, Shawn, told me she was wearing some vintage 1970s outfit she pulled out of her closet.

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Tina Preston at Zombie Joe’s for a 3 Weekend Run!

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Movies Till Dawn: Hired, Wired and Inspired Edition

First Reformed” (2017, Lionsgate) Locked into an emotional and spiritual spiral by the loss of parishioners, the death of his son and declining health, a small-town Protestant minister (Ethan Hawke) finds something like purpose in the apocalyptic visions of a local man. Intense, intimate drama dives deep into the recurring themes of writer-director Paul Schrader‘s work – the loner, adrift in his faith, that finds salvation through violence that will consume him (see “Taxi Driver,” “Affliction”) – though that path to redemption is eked out here in theological debate between Hawke (and himself), Amanda Seyfried as the man’s wife and Cedric the Entertainer as a megachurch’s sympathetic pastor. Such a method might be trying, were it not for Schrader’s finely calibrated direction and exceptional work by Hawke, whose now-craggy visage and ability to plumb his character’s moral complexities suggests a kinship with the great Robert Ryan, who also knew how to suffer silently but cinematically. Lionsgate’s Blu-ray includes commentary by Schrader and a making-of featurette.

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Sunday: Haunted by History at Los Angeles Public Library

This Sunday, September 16, 2018 from 2 PM – 4 PM, there will be a guest lecture by author/researcher Craig Owens (of Bizarre Los Angeles) at the Mark Taper Auditorium in the LA Central Library. Over the course of three years, Owen and his crew researched the history of eight historic (and reputably haunted) Southern California hotels to prove or disprove the urban legends and rumors of hauntings. He also staged photo shoots recreating the rumored appearances of ghostly apparitions.

He will discuss his book, “Haunted by History,” and his experiences during his research and photo shoots, including local legends, stories of unusual deaths on the properties, and whether or not he and his crew experienced any paranormal phenomena. Hotels he investigated include  Julian Gold Rush Hotel, Mission Inn Hotel & Spa, Alexandria Hotel, Pierpont Inn, Banning House Lodge, and of course the infamous Hotel del Coronado.

In a Facebook post, Craig Owens states, “It is a big honor for Photo Friends to choose me as a guest lecturer. My presentations are always a little different because I never use a script nor do I read from my book. This always makes my presentations more fun…not just for me but for those who come out, too.”

The event is hosted by the Photo Collection – Los Angeles Public Library.  Parking info. The library website warns, “Seating is first come, first serve. Doors open approximately 15 minutes before the start of the program.” Also, Shhhhhhhhh!

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89.9 KCRW Presents Music Tastes Good, Vol. 3

Saturday, September 29 & Sunday, September 30

The lineup for 2018’s Music Tastes Good has been revealed!  The incredible two-day music, food, and arts festival returns to Marina Green Park this year at the Downtown Long Beach shoreline. on September 29 and 30th. The show will be headlined by iconic British New Wave legends New Order (Saturday) making their only west coast appearance this year, new star Janelle Monáe, and Grammy-nominated and Mercury Prize-winning English singer-songwriter James Blake (Sunday).

Also on the bill for Saturday is Broken Social Scene, as well as Joey Bada$$SantigoldLil BPrincess NokiaBlake MillsBig ThiefCherry GlazerrOliver TreeShameLos Master PlusQuintron & Miss PussycatNO BS! Brass BandRadiolistener: Tribute to Isaiah “Ikey” OwensFeelsForest of TongueNeighbor LadyBLCKNOISEHaunted Summer and Manuel The BandContinue reading

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Victor Wainwright & The Train Steam Into Laguna Beach With Boogie Woogie Blues At Mozambique

Victor Wainwright & The Train

Victor Wainwright, photo by Austin Britt

After winning the Pinetop Perkins 2018 Piano Award at the Blues Music Awards, Victor Wainwright brings his piano to Mozambique in Laguna Beach. The tour, in support of his new album Victor Wainwright & the Train, features Victor’s new band doing blues and boogie-woogie tunes that will have you up dancing, laughing at his stories, marveling at his piano playing and just really enjoying oner of the top boogie-woogie blues piano players in the world. Victor, who hails from Savannah, Georgia, has been compared to Dr. John with his playing and writing talent.

Following up on a very successful show this last weekend at the Big Blues Bender in Las Vegas alongside other top blues performers such as Kenny Wayne Shepard, Curtis Salgado, , John Nemeth and Tab Benoit, Victor will bring the new tunes off his new band’s album Victor Wainwright & the Train to the stage for their only West Coast appearance. Performing songs like the title track Train, Victor gives a live performance that is hard to beat. As he sings in Train, “If you wanna boogie get aboard this train/Get yourself a ticket or get out of the way…” Continue reading

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Harold Fox and Lonesome Town

Photo by Elise Thompson

You have probably spotted a piece of abandoned furniture, a chair, a couch, a TV, with a sad cartoon face and sometimes a party hat. These Sad Clown Public Installations are part of a project known as Lonesome Town. Last weekend, the artist, Harold Fox held his last exhibition in Los Angeles at La Luz de Jesus.

Sadly, this means there will no longer be the thrill of finding any of his abandoned “affable hobos and menacing clowns,” as La Luz described them. I should have taken them home, but I wanted everyone to be able to enjoy them. You can enjoy these photos taken by Mike Guerena at the show plus a bonus street find.

“These poor little things…it’s just a dream, go back to sleep :'( ”

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Favorites from The Taste 2018: Saturday Night

The Borlongan sisters of Wanderlust Creamery offers samples of their demo’d gelato during the Taste’s Saturday Night program. All photos by Bob Lee for the Los Angeles Beat.

The Taste has become a favorite LA food tradition for Labor Day Weekend. Having spent so many holiday afternoons and evenings experiencing sensory overload in the artificial streets of Paramount Studios, I can now spot them in commercials and TV shows as if they were actual LA streets. “Look honey, that insurance guy is standing right where the Bulleit Bourbon tent goes!”

More is usually more when considering the bang-for-buck value of different events, but this year’s edition of The Taste saw a couple of edits that were actually beneficial. The last few events in the space have featured a separate grassy square off to the side that was easy to either miss or to get stuck in. That section of the lot was fenced off this year, with all vendors set up in the main area, which stretched out a little past its former boundaries. The change of layout allowed us to circle the grounds more easily, a blessing if you are the type of person who likes to eat strategically, like walking around eating nothing but seafood and salads for half an hour before getting into the red meat, or poking around to find the perfect salad to pair with the plate of meat you just got from another stand.

And unlike prior years, this weekend had no daytime events scheduled, sparing attendees from having to stuff themselves amid triple-digit temperatures. Night-time food events have their own vibe to them–generally looser, drinkier, wilder than those held in the glare of daylight–which suits this particular crowd quite well.

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Random LA: The Blab Show at Copro Gallery

Random LA: The Blab Show at Copro Gallery. Photo by Jordan Schwartz

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