LA Through a Cracked Lens: Vasquez Canyon Rocks

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Movies Till Dawn: For the Long Haul

Star Trek: Short Treks” (2020, Paramount Home Video/CBS DVD) Nine shorts from CBS All Access, all focused on small but pivotal moments in the lives of characters from “Star Trek: Discovery” and the greater “Trek” universe. A working knowledge of both is helpful but not entirely necessary to enjoying the shorts, which hinge on what could be described as “character building”: Spock (Ethan Peck) learns to balance his human and Vulcan sides, the alien Saru (Doug Jones) breaks with his race’s destructive traditions, and Christopher Pike (Anson Mount) helps an cadet (Amrit Kaur) trust her instincts. The tone largely falls along the hard science/pulp adventure of the “Trek” franchise, though there’s also an appreciable amount of humor (Rainn Wilson plays con man Harry Mudd, and H. Jon Benjamin appears in a riff on “The Trouble with Tribbles“) and even two clever animated shorts. And in keeping with “Trek’s” history, the shorts are strong on inclusivity/diversity in front of the camera (leads include Sonequa Martin-Green‘s Michael Burnham, Michelle Yeoh‘s Philippa Georgiou, Rebecca Romijn‘s Number One), and behind it (writers/producers include Jenny Lumet, Olatunde Osunsanmi and Kalinda Vazquez). The disc includes making-of featurettes and commentary for each episode.

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watt’s picture of the week – wednesday, july 8, 2020

great blue heron in front of some crab/lobster pots at the crack of dawn this morning in my pedro town…

photo by mike watt

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LA Through a Cracked Lens: The Buddha

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If Mexicans Celebrated the 4th like Americans Celebrate Cinco de Mayo

This is still my favorite 4th of July video ever. Turnaround is fair play.

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BBQ Recipes for the Best 4th of July Ever!

Calico Corn Salad. Photo by Elise Thompson.

Yes, I understand it is a hyperbolic title, but just because we have to forgo the usual 4th of July traditions of partying and blowing shit up, it doesn’t mean you can’t have an awesome meal with your loved ones. Here are some of my favorite BBQ recipes to get you started. Here’s to the best 4th of July meal ever!!!

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Grand Park Invites You to Celebrate the 4th of July at Home with Rapper D Smoke, Chef Susan Feniger, Danny Trejo, and Shepard Fairey

Grand Park + The Music Center’s annual Block Parties have been Los Angeles’ go-to events for eight years. In spite of the Covid pandemic, they will continue to tradition with their “4th of July Block Party: Home Edition.” The first hour of the show will be broadcast live Saturday night from 7:00 p.m.–8:00 p.m. on ABC7/KABC-TV and streamed at abc7.com. The night will continue on Facebook Live (@GrandParkLosAngeles and @MusicCenterLA), Grandparkla.org and Musiccenter.org, where it will be streamed from 8:00 p.m.–10:00 p.m.

The event will be hosted by a team of ABC’s newscasters and journalists, and headlined by Rapper D Smoke, with performances and presentations from more than 25 of L.A’s finest, representing our diversity in the fields of music, comedy, food, fashion, photography, literature and the arts. Enjoy the music of San Cha, Amindi, Ginger Root, Cumbiatón and 143 Worldwide, plus sketches from comedy collective Filipino AF, and a plant-based cooking demo by Chef Jocelyn Ramirez of Todo Verde Restaurant.

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What Have You Been Smoking? A Guide to the Best Ribs Ever!

Home-smoked ribs. Photo by Elise Thompson.

It is officially barbeque season! If you’ve already mastered grilling, and are ready to move up to the next level, welcome to the world of smoking. Just remember, grilling is like a one-night stand and smoking is like a marriage. You should prep the ribs the night before and start smoking them six hours before serving. It requires a certain level of commitment. But the commitment is only one of time; there is not very much work involved. It is also not a big financial commitment. There is no need to shell out hundreds of dollars for a smoker. Any barbecue can be used to smoke meats. But if you are into shiny new toys, go for the Smoky Mountain.

Larger barbecues are the best ones for smoking, because the grill sits higher, further from the coals, plus you have more grill space to work with. You will only be able to use half of the available grill space when smoking meat using the “indirect method.” If you are currently in the market for a grill, no barbecue works better for this method than an old-fashioned oil drum. Historically, wherever the US military goes, it leaves behind a surplus of empty oil drums. People in the West Indes used them to make Calypso’s famous steel drums, but the GIs in Viet Nam turned them sideways, sliced them in half, and added a grill.

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You Can Still See Movies During the ‘Rona – at the Drive-In!

If you are of a certain age, you will certainly remember drive-in theaters. The drive-in, as in, “Let’s go to the drive-in!” and “What’s playing at the drive-in?” You and a buddy (and possibly 3 or 4 more in the back seat hidden under a blanket) would grab some home snacks, hop in your car, wait in the snaking line of other cars, and park in a stall to watch the latest blockbuster through the scratchy speaker attached to your window (and later, through a station on your car radio). Good times.

A few dedicated venues still exist and others are being created so that you can relive those good times – if there is a better way to entertain yourself safely while getting out of the house during a pandemic, I don’t know it. Here are a few opportunities to catch a flick at “the drive-in.”

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watt’s picture of the week – thursday, july 2, 2020

sparrow on the fence at the abandoned westway tank farm next to the main channel (berths 70 – 72) this morning in my pedro town…

photo by mike watt

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