Where to Celebrate the 4th Safely in 2022

Lancaster, Palmdale, Lynwood and La Puente won’t be having fireworks this weekend, because the pyrotechnics company they hired is under investigation! And this year, So Cal’s already dry conditions have been exacerbated by the drought, so it’s a tinderbox out there! Many public fireworks displays, like those in Claremont, have already been cancelled. Please don’t light illegal fireworks, instead check out where to party!!!


From Saturday, July 2, through Monday, July 4, Cinespia is offering a trio of screenings  including “Fast and the Furious” on Saturday, July 2; “Purple Rain” on Sunday, July 3; and “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” on Monday, July 4. After the movies, fireworks will light up the sky above the cemetery. So, bring a picnic and enjoy two of America’s favorite past-times.

HOLLYWOOD BOWL Fireworks Spectacular with Los Angeles Philharmonic, Steve Martin & Martin Short 2-4 / 7:30pm / $47-$204

Saturday, Sunday and Monday, July 2-4, 2022 the Hollywood Bowl will present two of the funniest, most influential, and most acclaimed talents of the past century: Steve Martin and Martin Short at 7:30 p.m. Following the performance, The Bowl’s famous fireworks will fill the Hollywood sky.

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Movies Till Dawn: The Bad Guy Variations

The Northman” (2021, Universal Pictures Home Entertainment) Human juggernaut Alexander Skarsgaard seeks to avenge the murder of his father (Ethan Hawke) by his uncle (Claes Bang) by single-handedly slaughtering much of medieval Scandinavia. Co-writer/director Robert Eggers (“The Witch,” “The Lighthouse“) delivers a gore-soaked, psychedelic/supernatural “Hamlet” fueled not by brooding (though Skarsgaard’s brow knits impressively throughout) but bloodlust; it is a tall order to stitch together unrelentingly savage combat, period detail so exact that you can smell and feel the grime, a one-two punch of acid witchery from Anya Taylor-Joy and Bjork, and Willem Dafoe as a capering caveman jester, but Eggers not only pulls it off but injects the material with the oddball humor of Dafoe and Robert Pattinson’s gassy shoutfests in “Lighthouse.” He also finds room for Nicole Kidman to etch some fine details in her turn as Skarsgaard’s mother, who is not all that she seems; elements like these keep the “Northman” from turning into a pure brawn-and-blood spectacle. Universal’s Collector’s Edition Blu-ray/DVD/digital combo pairs Eggars’ commentary with numerous making-of featurettes, as well as deleted and extended scenes.

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The 2022 Newport Beach Wine & Spirits Festival Was a Day to Remember

Newport Beach Wine & Spirits Festival. Photos by Karin E. Baker for The LA Beat.

Fresh ocean breezes, marina views, and an abundance of wine and drink vendors made the Newport Beach Wine & Spirits Festival a festive, memorable weekend.

The pandemic brought the festival to a two-year halt, making the luxurious festival’s 2022 return extra welcome.

Newport Beach’s elegant Balboa Bay Resort was home to the festival, which took place over Memorial Day Weekend. Perched just above the bay and marina, Balboa Bay Resort features waterfront views and lush landscaping.

I attended one of the festival’s Grand Tasting events. We savored four hours of water-adjacent relaxation while enjoying flowing wine pours and fresh cocktails made with premium spirits. A bounty of coastal-inspired bites, including platters of freshly prepared sushi, rice paper lobster rolls, sliders, beet panzanella, caprese salad spears, sandwiches, an array of desserts, and much more was served throughout.

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The Hollywood Museum, In Partnership with Mitch O’Farrell, Honors Fran Drescher, Geri Jewell and Michael Feinstein at 9th Annual Real to Reel Pride Celebration and Exhibit Unveiling

Photo by William Kidston, Courtesy of The Hollywood Museum; Honorees and Host, Fran Drescher, Donelle Dadigan, Michael Feinstein and Geri Jewell

It was a virtual Disco at the Hollywood Museum as the throbbing melodies of Madonna’s Vogue, We are Family and YMCA pulsated from the building’s top floor on the night of the first January 6th hearings (bereft any chunky, orange, tie clad dancers imaginarily towel drying the backs of their necks – natch). Yes, as the country attempted to get its groove back, the old Max Factor Building picked up right where it left off two years ago by ushering in the 2022 incarnation of Pride celebrations to beat all fab dances, parties and educational retrospectives in one fell swoop!

Yea! On the eve of what would have been Judy Garland’s 100th Birthday, and just a few weeks shy of Norman Lear’s, the Hollywood Museum commemorated its 7th annual (in pandemic-sick-as-a-dog years) and 9th annual (real-to-reel time) Real to Reel: Portrayals and Perceptions of LGBTQ+ in Hollywood exhibit unveiling. Presented in partnership with Los Angeles Council Member of City District 13, Mitch O’Farrell, the newly installed and highly colorful exhibit featured costumes, props, and photos from some of the most memorable moments in recent Hollywood history encompassing everything from Cinema to television — both Network and digital/independent.

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The Residents’ God In 3 Persons at the Alex Theatre – Live Review

Photo by Elise Thompson, with permission from the Residents and Alex Theatre.

One thing the Residents don’t do for their audience: make it easy. By design, this officially anonymous collective of artists has to be engaged on its own terms, unwilling as they are to concede to any comfortable expectation. This visit to LA saw the third and final live performance of their opera God In 3 Persons, an elaborate act of staging incorporating the visual projections of John Sanborn, the added vocals and instrumental stylings of Sivan Lioncub and several dancers on stage with “the singing Resident” as he tells the story of Mr. X, a travelling salesman and con artist, and his relationship with a pair of genderfluid conjoined twins.

When we spoke to Cryptic Corp. representative Homer Flynn before this show, he noted that this work, originally recorded in 1988, was the result of one of the members going through a period of “personal crisis,” taking a tremendous amount of negative energy and pouring it into the creation of this work. The result is certainly true to operatic tradition in tone, if not in structure. The text retains the same poetic cadence through its entire length (AAB CCB, etc), and unfolds through a series of songs. In Residents tradition, some of this music is beautiful, but kind of oddly beautiful with a sinister undercurrent. And when the sinister side comes to the fore, the Residents can be unnerving and upsetting like few other bands.  Continue reading

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Gusto Green Enlivens Downtown Dining

Gusto Green images by Karin E. Baker for The LA Beat.

One of Los Angeles’ most anticipated restaurants of 2022 was Gusto Green.  That’s no big surprise when you find out it’s the creation of restaurateur Janet Zuccarini, the hospitality visionary behind Felix. Located in Venice, Felix topped Esquire’s list of “The Best New Restaurants in America.”

Though largely plant-centric, Gusto Green’s menu also caters to omnivores. It’s located in DTLA’s Green Street building, a 1913 structure housing numerous cannabis-related businesses. Like other Green Street building tenants, Gusto Green is cannabis-minded. The eatery has an exclusive partnership with Ziese Farms, the only company with federal approval to sell hemp leaf as food. Said hemp leaves are used in several of Gusto Green’s dishes, including salads, chocolate chunk cookies, gazpacho, and atop pizza and french fries. 

Buying from responsible food purveyors is something taken seriously here. The palm hearts are sustainably sourced from Hawaii. The hominy is a variety passed down from a Cherokee tribe to an indigenous farmer. The sea urchins are conscientiously fished by Santa Barbara divers, while much of the produce hails from the Santa Monica Farmers Market.

Standouts dishes at Gusto Green include spiced cauliflower with aquafaba garlic sauce, mint chutney, sunflower seeds, and golden raisins; pizza topped with squash blossoms, cherry tomatoes, cashew bechamel, and fresh garlic; and gnocchetti with beet greens, goat cheese, cultured butter, and hazelnut. 

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Punk Rock BBQ Returns to Harvelle’s July 10th!

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Three Outstanding LA Bars Offering Superior (and Well-Priced) Whisky Tastings This Week

Aberfeldy 12 at Mister O’s. Photos by Karin E. Baker for The LA Beat.

In honor of Father’s Day, but extending though Sunday, June 26, you can enjoy an Aberfeldy whisky tasting for just $25 at three of LA’s best bars.

The Varnish (Downtown), Mister O’s (Studio City) and Birdie G’s (Santa Monica) are all offering this special “Golden Hour” tasting. You and your dad, or perhaps another father figure in your life, can savor two whiskey-forward cocktails and a shot of Aberfeldy, or two shots of Aberfeldy and a cocktail, during this one-hour experience.

I previewed the Golden Hour tasting at Mister O’s, where I got to savor their fabulous take on the Penicillin (Aberfeldy, Amaro, lemon juice, ginger syrup, and salted honey syrup). Then, we enjoyed the Juniper Rose (Aberfeldy 12, Applejack, Junipero, rosewater, grenadine, and lime). Our tasting finished with a shot of Aberfeldy 12. You’ll find notes of vanilla and peat, along with subtle oakiness, in this single-malt scotch.

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Music! Lights! Acrobats! Amazing Food! “Revive” at Vibiana

Vibiana is perhaps the most beautiful event space in Los Angeles. The former church was revamped by husband-and-wife team Chef Neal Fraser and restaurateur Amy Knoll Fraser, as an adjunct to their downtown restaurant, Redbird. We have been to numerous benefits there, and last October they got creative with an immersive Halloween experience.

The Frasers are taking it a step or ten further this summer with a new multisensory show, “Revive.” Collaborating with the acrobats and dancers of San Francisco’s Vau de Vire Society, cutting-edge visual effects magicians Sigma-1, and Fishbone-alum Angelo Moore and his band the Missing Links, the space will present a 1920s-inspired circus-themed dinner show starting this weekend.

The LA Beat was invited to a press preview this week where we enjoyed a run-through of the performance, with fantastic Prohibition-style music, acrobats spinning on aerial hoops, and dancers performing 20s-style choreography worthy of a Broadway production of “Cabaret” while we savored delicious hors d’oeuvres and themed cocktails. Vau de Vire co-founder and creative director Mike Gaines hopes that “Revive” will do exactly that, bringing people back to life after lockdown: “It really is a revival, and Angelo is the perfect person to lead that revival. This show is about joy and celebration.”

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10 Last-Minute Father’s Day Food & Drink Experiences Around LA

Image courtesy of ABERFELDY.

Father’s Day is back. Why not show Dad how much you appreciate him this Sunday with a special meal by the water, a whisky tasting, or a burger special, vegan or otherwise? See below for a few of our favorite options..

Share a Whisky Tasting Experience at a Top LA Bar
Three of LA’s best bars – The Varnish, Studio City’s Mister O’s, and Birdie G’s in Santa Monica – are hosting special Father’s Day whiskey tastings from June 16-26. For just $25 per person, you and Dad can savor two cocktails (Mister O’s Penicillin is an excellent choice) and a shot of Aberfeldy, or two shots of Aberfeldy and a cocktail. You can find more info here. Make your reservation for these “Golden Hours’ via TOCK

Blooms, Brats & Beer in a Botanical Garden
You and Dad can enjoy blooms, brats, and beer at Palos Verdes Peninsula’s stunning South Coast Botanic Garden all weekend long. The 87-acre garden’s Father’s Day celebration features a Pop-up Refreshment Station in the Dorothy and Allen Lay Staghorn Fern Collection area from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. A variety of food and drink choices will be available in addition to bratwursts and beer. The day will also include yard games, including a bean bag toss.

Celebrate Tam O’Shanter’s 100th Birthday with a 100-Day Dry-Aged Rib Eye
A favorite of Walt Disney’s, this century-old Scottish restaurant is famous for its charming Storybook architecture, steaks, and Yorkshire pudding. On Father’s Day (and thru June 23, or until they run out), Atwater Village’s Tam O’Shanter is offering a special dry-aged rib eye, aged for 100 days, along with a twice-baked potato and salad, for $100.

Savor Vegan Burgers & Fries at nomoo
Located on Melrose (in a classic  location once home to Johnny Rockets), nomoo new american burgers is offering a great Father’s Day special. For $20, get a BBQ “Facon” burger, house fries and dip, and an Oreo Shake for $20. Continue reading

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