If you’ve eaten at a comedy club, it was probably more about satiating hunger or making sure the two-drink minimum doesn’t inebriate you rather than any sort of foodie experience. Poultrygram, a new to-go chicken spot at the Hollywood Improv, subverts that notion with its take on the Nashville hot chicken sandwich.
Before Covid shut down live entertainment for who-knows-how-long, The Improv hired Executive Chef Geno Fontanoza (formerly with Katsuya, the L’Ermitage Hotel, and the Wynn Hotels in Las Vegas) to overhaul its menus. “Even before we shut down, we were trying to raise the bar for comedy club food,” Chef Geno told me. “We don’t want to be associated with places that let food fall by the wayside.”
With doors shuttered to comedy patrons (“We were brainstorming how we could use our kitchens”), Chef Geno and The Improv’s owners found a creative way to stay in business: offer food to go — and so, Poultrygram was born.
Welcome back to Mellotron Monday, our celebration of that wacky keyboard instrument that made rock music more colorful for a while.
King Crimson are practically synonymous with the instrument. Despite their early lineup having been shaken up completely every year or two, there was always at least one mellotron player in the group, and frequently more than that. Here on “Starless”, you can see the 1974 lineup in action, guitarist Robert Fripp on his mellotron playing the floating notes that hold the chords through the intro, as David Cross plays the melody on violin. Cross will return the favor on “Lament”, in which the band which drummer Bill Bruford once called “the only group that could play in 17/8 and stay in nice hotels” will bemoan the state of the record industry.
LA Times Festival of Books / Photo courtesy of LA Times Festival of Books
Happy Sunday, L.A.! This morning the Los Angeles Times and the University of Southern California will push forward with the LA Times Festival of Books. In honor of the festival’s 25th anniversary, organizers have arranged twenty-five virtual events featuring an assortment of writers, poets, artists, filmmakers, musicians and emerging storytellers to span the course of four weeks. We’ll be posting weekly previews and reviews of the festival and its participants. Keep reading for more information on Week 1!
Register HERE. All virtual events are free to the public.
“The Cold Light of Day” (1989, Arrow Video) Grisly, low-budget dramatization of real-life crimes conducted by Scottish serial killer Dennis Nilsen, who gruesomely murdered at least 12 men and boys in London during the late ’70s and early ’80s. The film’s grimy 16mm photography, ugly violence, and actor Bob Flag‘s portrayal of Nilsen – who’s also the subject of a new British miniseries starring David Tennant – as a negative space, unaware of his own motivations, underscore how an atmosphere of neglect, secrecy, and obsession can serve as a hothouse for aberrant behavior. Writer-director Fhiona-Louise, who contributes commentary on Arrow’s Blu-ray, occasionally strays into exploitative material, but this is otherwise one of the darkest and bleakest of true-crime films, and probably not for casual viewing; the Arrow disc features a second commentary by historians Dean Brandum and Andrew Nette, interviews with cast members, two shorts by Fhiona-Louise, and a promo version used to raise financing.
By now, you’ve probably heard that unauthorized ballot drop boxes have been sprouting up in Los Angeles, Orange and Fresno counties. The boxes are the work of CA Republican Party officials, who have made it clear that they have no intention of either apologizing for or removing the boxes, despite their illegality, and will continue to distribute them across the state. So if you’re bringing your ballot to a drop box before November 3, use only drop boxes authorized by the state – they are the ones with a California county seal (and yes, this is a Wikipedia link, but you can also find official seals on each county’s website). The unauthorized boxes appear to be found near churches, gun shops, and Republican party offices, and reportedly sport a piece of paper, if you can believe that, indicating that it’s an “Official Ballot Drop Box.” It’s not. You can find the location of authorized boxes on the state government’s election website – enter your county, city, and zip code, and you can find the box nearest to you (early voting locations can also be found here). – Paul Gaita
“The Deeper You Dig” (2019, Arrow Video) The deck is already stacked against loner Kurt (John Adams) – he’s accidentally killed teenager Echo (Zelda Adams), and despite many attempts, can’t seem to dispose of her body – when he discovers that the girl’s spirit has not only become an invasive presence in his bleak existence, but is also trying to contact her mother (Toby Poser), a faded psychic who, in desperation, has tapped into the occult to find her daughter. This micro-budgeted family project from co-writers/directors/partners John Adams and Poser and daughter/AD Zelda draws on a diverse range of sources – supernatural thriller, folk horror, noir – and delivers a visually impressive and frequently unsettling film that focuses on both the emotional underpinnings of a ghost story (fear, regret, loss) as well as its scare machinery. Arrow’s two-disc Blu-ray includes “Deeper” and the Adams’ 2018 Western-themed horror “The Hatred,” as well as commentary by and interviews with the unique family.
Want to buy a pumpkin to help celebrate the season? For a classic sort of experience, visit an iconic LA location — The Original Farmers Market — this Saturday and Sunday, October 17 and 18. Mr. Jack O’Lantern’s Pumpkin Patch returns to the Market Plaza with a variety of pumpkins, both large and small, to bring home for carving and decorating.
Donate $5 or more and you’ll receive a pumpkin-decorating kit with craft supplies, along with a mini pumpkin. Pumpkin patch proceeds go to The Salvation Army COVID-19 relief fund.
In addition, a pickle pop-up from gourmet pickle purveyors Kaylin & Hobbs will be at the Market Plaza’s East Side from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday. This Vancouver-based company offers unusual pickle flavors like jalapeno, horseradish, honey mustard, half sour, and more.
For this week’s Mellotron Monday, let’s go way, way out – cause that’s where the fun is – with the Stones and Satanic Madge. Keep soaking in that mellow, mellow tron and let the sound carry your spirit to a place where current events aren’t quite so bothersome.
Walter Manzke’s Jamon Beurre from Cochon 555 2015. Photo by Elise Thompson
We request a moment of silence as we mourn the festive Cochon555 events of the past. To support the use of heritage breed pigs, amazing chefs competed for the title of Prince du Porc, passing out countless exciting plates made with heritage pork. And since there was also a bourbon “Punch Bowl” competition, everyone would get uproariously drunk.
This year, they aren’t calling off Cochon555, but they are transforming it into an at-home dinner experience. Every night over the course of five nights, starting this Tuesday, Cochon555 will partner with a different chef to offer a delicious take-home pork-infused menu along with wine and cocktails. The chef will offer heating instructions via Zoom, starting at 7:00 PM PST. Delivery is available for an additional fee. $100 for one person, $185 for two people. Includes one cocktail per person and a bottle of your choice of red or white wine. Must be 21.