Smoke ’em if You’ve Got ’em: LA Times Food Bowl All-Star BBQ at Night Market

    Enjoying a rib bone from APL at LA Times Food Bowl All Star BBQ. All photos by Elise Thompson for The LA Beat.

Here in L.A., when we invite someone over for a barbecue, what we are really doing is grilling. There are some intrepid pit masters among us who smoke low and slow, but for the most part we don’t get as serious about our ‘que as some places do. And they get real serious. Last Sunday the back lot of Grand Park was full of giant smokers and cement block pits for the L.A. Times’ Night Market All-Star BBQ. Jenn Harris welcomed pit masters from all over the country as well as local favorites.

We were most excited about getting to try Franklin Barbecue from Austin, Texas. It is one of the most-loved Barbecue places in Texas, and people are known to pay kids to wait all morning in line for their brisket. We asked for a fatty slice on Sunday, and it was truly the best goddamned brisket I have ever had in my life. There was a restrained but delicious seasoning on moist and tender beef. An Austin transplant’s mind was blown when he saw James Beard award-winner Aaron Franklin there hand-slicing the brisket himself.

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Movies Till Dawn: The Wide World of Thrills and Chills Edition

Princess Mononoke Collector’s Edition” (1997, Shout! Factory/GKIDS) A tribal prince in feudal Japan is inflicted with a curse after an attack by a woodland god corrupted by an iron ball in its body. To lift the curse, he travels to the manufacturing town where it was made, and finds himself between the town’s imperious leader and her daughter, who’s determined to stop humankind from encroaching on the forest where she lives. Award-winning animated fantasy-adventure from writer/director Hayao Miyazaki (“Spirited Away”), who draws on Japan’s history to craft an epic that is both visually dazzling and thematically complex; the film’s humanistic messages, which suggest that average people, not superheroes or politicians, will be the ones to find common ground, despite their differences, through care for each other and their world, remain not only relevant but also crucial today as they were two decades ago. The Collector’s Edition Blu-ray from Studio Ghibli and GKIDS offers the Japanese language track and English dub (provided by Disney/Miramax, which distributed the film in the U.S.), which features Claire Danes, Minnie Driver and Billy Crudup among the voice actors; a look at the recording session for that track, feature-length storyboards and a documentary about Miyazaki’s 1997 promotional visit to the States fill out the disc, which is bundled in a hardcover slipcase with a CD of the film’s soundtrack and a lavishly illustrated booklet featuring essays by critic Glenn Kenny, statements from Miyazaki and producer Toshio Suzuki and poetry about the characters penned by Miyazaki himself.

GKIDS also has “Never-Ending Man: Hayao Miyazaki” (2016), an affectionate documentary about the director as he announces his retirement, only to return to work at Ghibli to launch a new project, his first effort with CGI. What starts on an elegiac note becomes instead a short but effective look at a creative vision unencumbered by age, industry whim and technology.

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Movie Review: The Dirt

After years of development and rumor, Mötley Crüe’s biopic “The Dirt” hit Netflix in late March in a retelling of the shared name 2001 biography directed by Jeff Tremaine.  Daniel Webber plays Vince Neil, Iwan Rheon as Mick Mars, Machine Gun Kelly as Tommy Lee and Douglas Booth as Nikki Sixx. The movie isn’t perfect leaving out several major historical bullet points such as Pamela Anderson and John Corabi’s involvement is left at barely a footnote while the US Festival is ignored. Though you can only cram in so much into two hours. Major events woven and sunken into Crue lore and legend are intact such as Neil’s car wreck with Nicholas “Razzle” Dingley, the tragic passing of Skylar, and Ozzy’s poolside ant and urine episode.

There’s plenty of fictional narrative stitched into the factual fabric and historical noir. With a non-stop supply of booze, broads, drugs and completely irresponsible bad boy bravado to the point of making any viewer question, how the fuck did they survive. In true ‘80s fashion, the party never stopped as the clock ticked from one forgotten all-nighter to the next with ample cocaine, boobs, sex and blowjobs starting 90 seconds in. The on screen depiction is blunt in its portrayal with the predicted critical disgust and fan praise.

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Million Kids on Livation Wednesday 5/15/19

Starting from a 4-track demo back in the late 90’s, Million Kids has played hundreds of west coast shows and have released 2 full length albums, and several EP’s. Still going strong, they are “smashing grime influenced garage rock with Stooges style punch.”

A band from L.A., Million Kids are BC Caldwell, Joe Dean, Josh Casper and Matt Irwin. Their influences run the gamut –  Sonic Youth, Queens of the Stone Age, Fugazi, Black Flag, Pixies, Velvet Underground, Nirvana, Boss Bog, and more!

Million Kids go on between 12:15 -12:30 a.m. early Thursday morning, with an on-air interview with the band to follow. Listen live at 88.9fm or stream it live at

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Don’t Pretend That You’re Dead! L7 Embarks on Cross-Country Tour for New Album

L7 Record Release Party. Photo by PJ Letopsky

L7 is back on the road spreading the fun of being girls across the tundra. They have just released their first album in 20 years, called Scatter the Rats. The record was released on Joan Jett’s Blackhearts records. A video of their featured song, “Burn Baby” is up on YouTube, or you can watch it here.

On Friday, May 3rd, we were treated to a taste of their quirky and feisty finery at their invitation-only record release party. It was just like old times at the Monty Bar. The door girl was Stephanie Mata, who helms the Viper Room, and there were lots of local underground peeps milling about. Bryan Rabin of Cherry, Ginger Coyote of Punk Globe , Keith Morris of the Circle Jerks and Off, Artist Shepard Fairy, Singer Josie Cotton and many more local luminaries were packed in to watch them rock out without their cocks out on a tiny stage. They killed with songs from their greatest hits like “Pretend that You’re Dead” and “Andre” in an amazing full-hour set.

The girls are on tour for 6 weeks as part of The Bash Music & Craft Beer Festival with Rancid. Catch them in your town. Tour dates and album info.

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Hollywood Vampires at The Greek Theater

Photo Credit: Deb Frazin

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Movie Review: The Curse of La Llorona

Most Angelenos know the Mexican legend of La Llorona, “The Weeping Woman,” that has been resurrected for this movie. If you are not familiar with it, La Llorona drowned her two children to punish her cheating husband. Instantly remorseful, she threw herself in the water and is now cursed to wander for eternity searching for her lost children–or suitable replacements. Like the boogey man, she is used to threaten mischevious children into behaving.

In “The Curse of La Llorona,” well-meaning but bumbling social worker Anna Tate-Garcia and her two overly curious children attract the attention of the cursed spirit. The rest of the film is a fun series of jump-scares. No matter where you look, La Llorona will manage to be right behind you.

Since this movie is directed by Michael Chaves, who also has a background in Visual Effects, it’s no surprise that the CGI is realistic and adds to the believability and creepiness. Linda Cardellini, a favorite of ours who is seemingly everywhere right now, slips into the role of confused nonbeliever turned fierce tiger mom like a second skin.

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Photoville LA: Many Stories, Many Worlds Displayed

main photo of the Joseph Rodriguez photo essay as displayed on a banner at Photoville LA

Last weekend I went to Photoville LA, a large free outdoor exhibition that originated in Brooklyn (as Photoville) in 2009, created by United Photo Industries, with mini galleries installed in step-in containers and kiosks, photos presented in cubes and triangles, on banners and in lightboxes, all situated within the grassy grounds of Century City. The Annenberg Space for Photography brought this photo fest to Los Angeles to help celebrate their own 10th year anniversary.

Community organizations such as the Las Fotos Project and Venice Arts were included as were works from major media outlets such the LA Times, New York Times and National Geographic. The many outstanding photo essays from photographers included Pit Bull Flower Power by Sophie Gamand, East Side Stories 1992 – 2017 by Joseph Rodriguez, Lluvia Higuera’s Shaping a Dialogue for Change – A Look Towards the Future in the PresentUnderground Chefs of South Central by Oriana Koren, Naomi Harris’ EUSA and so, so many more! Also, over this two-weekend festival there were events, talks, workshops and photo walks.

Due to time constraints, I didn’t get to view the ASP’s current big exhibit “Contact High: A Visual History of Hip-Hop”, but word of mouth is that it’s a great exhibit and I intend to check it out before it ends on August 18.

Annenberg Space for Photography, 2000 Avenue of the Stars, Los Angeles, 90067

©Photo by Judy Ornelas Sisneros. All rights reserved.

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L.A. Through a Cracked Lens: Godzilla – King of the Monsters – Coming Soon!

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Hollywood Museum Founder and President Donelle Dadigan Opens up Lobby of Historic Max Factor Building to Honor Lucille Ball on 30 Year Anniversary of Passing

(L-R) Barry Livingston, Donelle Dadigan, Kate Luckinbill-Conner, Bob Bergen; Photo Courtesy of Bob Bergen Photography

On the elegantly festive evening of April 24th Nobody had any splainin’ to do as roughly 200 Los Angeles denizens in the form of fans, journalists, colleagues, and caterers alike, descended upon the Hollywood Museum to celebrate the life, and 30 year anniversary of the passing, of one of America’s primary stand-out comediennes: Lucille Ball.  In honor of her memory, Hollywood Museum president and founder Donelle Dadigan unveiled “costumes, props, photos, posters and more, from [Balls’] 1930s and 40s films, radio career, I Love Lucy and The Lucy Show: All the great shows we grew up watching…still on TV today.” — now all strategically placed right in the lobby of the Hollywood Museum for all the world to see!

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