This Empowering Women’s Boxing Class Benefits the Downtown Women’s Center

Photo courtesy of The Hotel Figueroa.

Few things are as empowering as knowing how to physically defend yourself. Now, celebrate Women’s History Month while gaining confidence in both your inner and outer strength by attending a Women’s Self Defense Boxing Class on Wednesday, March 24 at the Hotel Figueroa.

This socially distanced class will take place at Terrazza, the historic hotel’s second-story event space. The capacious open-air setting offers impressive views of DTLA, along with the Hotel Fig’s swimming pool.

Hosted by renowned trainer Courtney Watts of Rumble Boxing, this educational, cardio-based class will teach some intense moves to help you stay safe by defending yourself. Each participant will receive a pair of Sanabul boxing gloves. The gloves are vegan-friendly and you are allowed to keep them.

All proceeds will go to a great local cause: the Downtown Women’s Center. The center brings essential services to homeless women, youth, and abuse victims.

The class takes place from 6-7:00 p.m. Tickets are $40 and can be bought here.

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watt’s picture of the week – friday, march 19, 2021

a tractor tug in the outer harbor near my pedro town this morning at the crack of dawn…

photo by mike watt

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mike watt’s hoot page

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Enjoy St. Patrick’s Day from Ireland

Enjoy 90 minutes of folk music, drumming, and Irish dancing from three of Ireland’s best-loved pubs. Performers include The Celtic Drummers, and a Riverdancer or two. Learn to play the spoons and pull a perfect draught!

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Movies Till Dawn: Chills in Springtime

The Bloodhound” (2020, Arrow Video) “The Fall of the House of Usher,” transposed to Middle America, where Liam Aiken accepts an invitation from oddball friend Joe Adler (the 2017 “Twin Peaks”) to visit his lonely midcentury modern home, where Adler’s sister (Annalise Basso) remains behind locked doors and something from a nearby river crawls into Aiken’s room at night. Writer/director Patrick Picard focuses less on overt horror (though that is present) than on more nebulous but still unsettling elements: how fear, disconnect and isolation can pry one loose from reality. The resulting chills – mixed with some off-century but amusing humor – come quietly but still leave a mark; Arrow’s Blu-ray features commentary by Picard, four of his short films, and a making-of doc.

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Michael Grecco’s “Punk, Post Punk, New Wave: Onstage, Backstage, In Your Face, 1978–1991”

Photo by Michael Grecco

“Every picture tells a story, don’t it?” as Rod Stewart would intone from the mic. There’s also the adage, “A picture is worth a thousand words” and it holds true. Rocker, author, director and photographer Michael Grecco started out his career as a photographer in the gritty clubs of Boston and New York, supported by his work for the AP and The Boston Globe, documenting a wave of musical artists and cultural innovators that eventually shook the world. Michael’s book “Punk, Post Punk, New Wave: Onstage, Backstage, In Your Face, 1978–1991” offers a vital and raw view of the early Punk and alternative music scene, drawn from a DIY point of view of that youth culture and its music in most dramatic black and white.

It’s not an understatement for me to say that Michael Grecco’s early Punk photographs are part of my psyche, my Punk ethos, and a part of my inner dialogue of what is and what Punk represents to me. It would also be accurate to say his photos defined and informed my early Punk Rock experiences as I perused East Coast publications like “New York Rocker,” seeking the real deal in Punk. I poured over those publications in the late ’70s and early ’80s which proved foundational to my view and experiences as a Punk Rocker. The energy and power that these performers delivered were caught in Grecco’s lens and defined a worldview different from the cultural elites’ of the time, delivering the urgency and honesty of the moment, and producing engaging visuals that have stood the test of time. Continue reading

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Irish Recipes that Aren’t Corned Beef and Cabbage

Once again, we will be celebrating St. Patrick’s Day with a quiet dinner at home. If corned beef and cabbage isn’t your style, here are a few of my favorite Irish dishes.

Beef Braised in Guinness

1 beef bouillon cube (OXO if you got ’em)
2/3 cup hot water
2 pounds chuck or round steak
2 heaping Tablespoons flour
Salt and pepper to taste
2-3 Tablespoons oil.
2 medium onions, chopped
1/2 pound carrots, peeled and cut into 1″ pieces
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
2/3 cup Guinness stout
1 teaspoon honey

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watt’s picture of the week – friday, march 12, 2021

this morning in my pedro town…

photo by mike watt

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mike watt’s hoot page

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Fortress Reflects on ’80s Rock In LA: Releasing ‘Waiting for the Night’ 31 Years After

Fortress Band Pic

Fortress formed as a band of friends—talented friends who had a vision of becoming one of the stars of the 80’s rock scene. Hard work brought them to a point where Fortress, consisting of Ted Heath, vocals; Chris Turbis, keyboards/vocals; Arthur Dominguez, bass/vocals; Chris Silva, drums; and Kevin Reyes, guitar); were regulars on the LA rock scene. They played all the Sunset Strip clubs including the Whisky A Go Go, The Roxy, The Troubadour and Gazzarri’s. Often times, they shared the bill with the top rockers of the day, including Poison, Warrant and Alcatrazz.

Fortress helped pack the clubs with fans and propel the popularity of ’80s style rock. Members of major groups such as Iron Maiden’s Adrian Smith and Motley Crue’s Tommy Lee often came to see them. Then, in the late ’80s, what they had worked for paid off—an imminent record deal. Fortress was ready to head to the top. Suddenly, though, rock changed—the blend of hard rock, progressive rock and a few catchy hooks thrown in that kept ’80s rock going changed practically overnight. Nirvana and other grunge bands pared down the music to its basics and virtually all the rock music world went with them. The clubs hired a different type of group to attract the new rock fans and the record execs tore up the contracts of every group that they were looking at that didn’t fit the new format. Radio stations changed and Fortress never got that chance at stardom. Continue reading

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The Cold Brew Coffee That Boosts Brain Function

Pivot Coldbrew. Images by Karin E. Baker for The LA Beat.

Cold brew coffee keeps gaining in popularity as people realize that the process — soaking coffee beans in cold water for hours, rather than a quick brew with hot H2o — results in a smoother cup of java. LA-based company Pivot Coldbrew improves on your basic cold brew with the addition of natural ingredients that enhance cognitive function.

The creation of LA entrepreneur David Stroud, Pivot Coldbrew is made from locally-roasted beans combined with nootropics and adaptogens that boost the brain while helping to fight stress. For people who don’t care to buy coffee making equipment, the fact that this tasty functional coffee comes ready to drink is a big plus.

“All energy isn’t created equal,” David told me. Though its caffeine level is similar to other coffees, Pivot was created “to extend the life of the energy we get from coffee,” thanks to enhancements like reishi mushroom and other adaptogens. Long used in Eastern medicine, reishi helps the immune system and boosts energy by lessening fatigue and reducing stress. “It brings us back to balance and lessens adrenal fatigue.” Galanga, meanwhile, is a nootropic known to sharpen focus and enhance brain function. “This coffee has an energy stack of quality ingredients.”

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Zappa Movie Chronicles A Musical Genius: Not Just Another Band From LA

“Zappa” (Magnolia Pictures, 2020) chronicles the life and music of Frank Zappa, self-taught musical genius who not only achieved tremendous musical success, but also threw himself into the political turmoil of record censorship when most artist only stuck their heads in the sand. Working with the Zappa Family Trust, the footage used is nothing short of amazing—home movies, practice sessions, concert footage and numerous interviews. Even for someone who professes to be a Zappa fan, there are enough surprises about his life in this movie that it becomes much more than a documentary, in fact an exciting story of a man who never failed to go the way he wanted.

Director and writer Alex Winter (Bill & Ted Face The Music) has compiled some wonderful interviews from those who knew Zappa best. His widow Gail Zappa presents not only a view into the rock days but also a view into his family life. Probably the most poignant line in the entire movie, and a telling look at the privacy of Zappa’s life, is when he was interviewed and asked about his friends. The reply was simple, “I have no friends, I have my wife and four children.” Even though he was utterly consumed with his music, his family was right there in terms of importance.

Pamela des Barres, Ian Underwood, Ruth Underwood, Steve Vai, Bunk Gardner and more band members and crew tell stories about life around the Mothers of Invention. Kudos is given though to everyone, they did not paint everything as rosy. Along with Frank Zappa’s creative genius came an often aloof, taskmaster who was a perfectionist but not full of praise. Zappa was hard to get to know, but none of those who worked with him would deny that it was an awe-inspiring experience. Continue reading

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