Cheap Thrills: Scoping Out Eighths For $30 And Under In The SFV

The things I go through for you, dear readers… Photo by Mr. Ubetchakoff for the Los Angeles Beat.

Happy 2020, dear readers. We are another year into legal weed, and it’s been fascinating to watch our options as consumers constrict and expand. Raise your hand if a favorite shop turned out to be janky, your preferred brand of edible turned out to be running a black-market op, or God forbid, you took a hit off the very brand of weed vape that’s made the news for being potentially straight up poisonous. I don’t know about y’all, but for this old stoner, the honeymoon is over.

I have gone off the vapes entirely, and given up the waxy/ saucy/ dabby concentrates, mostly. I’ll do some for a special occasion, but they’re no longer part of my routine. CO2 based or otherwise, it’s just a sensory burnout to do that stuff habitually. I would actually like to see the return of black and gold hash, concentrates that are fun and not quite so intense, but apparently it’s hard to get that stuff to pass modern testing protocols. I’ve heard of some promising bubble hash products but not found any in my local shops yet.

In the meantime, there sure has been a proliferation of super-fancy weed companies who produce only grass in the 30% THC range, raising the top-shelf price back up to $70 or $80 an eighth-ounce, where it was at the height of prohibition. I’ve had some of this stuff and frankly, like fancy old Scotch or wine that goes for a hundred bucks a slurp, it’s nice but not that nice. I wouldn’t turn it down if it was passed to me, and I appreciate the commitment to growing the finest plant that can possibly be grown, but I can’t say it’s worth it at the price point. I think some people want an eighty dollar eighth just so they can say, “I’m an eighty-dollar eighth kind of guy.” This is for the person who spends hundreds on table service for a bottle of Grey Goose and some oranges.

As for me, I roll the other way. I want the biggest bang for the smallest buck that can possibly be found. I just read on Leafly – who, as the links above demonstrate, provided my favorite cannabis industry news coverage of the past year- that California eighths were averaging just over $34, pre-tax, in 2019. So let’s see how we can do in the local shops, keeping our purchase price below that average every time. Continue reading

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Beachlife Festival Returns to Redondo, May 1-3

The lineup for the 2nd Beachlife Festival, May 1-3, 2020 in Redondo Beach

Beachlife Festival is returning to Redondo Beach May 1-3, 2020. As with last year’s inaugural event, the lineup features an eclectic mix of classic and alternative rock, reggae and other genres. Headliners include the Steve Miller Band, Counting Crows, and a 75th Anniversary Celebration of Bob Marley’s birth led by sons Stephen and Ziggy Marley, the latter of whom played in 2019. Another artist returning is Chevy Metal, led by Foo Fighter Taylor Hawkins; their set last year was a tribute to Van Halen, this year they set their sights on the crown with a set of Queen covers. Notable acts include UB40, War, Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes, Lukas Nelson and the Promise of the Real (Nelson’s father Willie closed last year’s event) and singer-songwriter Chuck Prophet, among many others, with a few artists still to be named in the coming weeks. Yacht rock fans–you know who you are–will have a special Yacht Rock Brunch to geek out over featuring Ambrosia with special guests John Ford Coley, Stephen Bishop and Elliot Lurie (of Looking Glass).

Alongside the musical component is a food program that will be curated by local restauranteur David LeFevre (Manhattan Beach Post, etc.). Other attractions will include local arts and crafts and a biergarten highlighting brews from the South Bay and nearby regions. Tickets for the entire festival are on sale from $299 at the festival’s website; individual days are not yet on sale. The BeachLife Festival takes place on the beach at 137 N. Harbor Drive, Redondo Beach, CA 90277.

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‘Pacific Opera Project’ Opens Its 10th Season With A Double Header of ‘Puccini’ and ‘Ravel’

The cast of Pacific Opera Project’s Gianni Schicci (photo courtesy Pacific Opera Project)

Pacific Opera Project begins its 2020 season with a unique double-header of Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi and Ravel’s L’Enfant et les Sortilège at Occidental College from January 25, 2020, through February 2, 2020.

The brisk farce Schicci, depicting the increasingly desperate and slapstick machinations of an intra-family fight over the estate of a recently-deceased rich relative, seems a perfect fit for the comic sensibilities of POP. Traditionally staged with other Puccini pieces to form a production called Il Tritico, the company is pairing it instead with Ravel’s L’Enfant et les Sortilège. In the French composer’s self-described “Lyric Fantasy” a naughty boy is sent to his room for misbehaving, where his pets, toys and furniture all come to life to teach him a lesson and get him to act right. In a conceit unique to POP, the child of the Ravel work is the youngest member of the Schicci plan, linking the two pieces.

E. Scott Levin brings his bass-baritone voice and comedic timing to the roles of Gianni Schicchi and the Black Cat in the respective operas; mezzo-soprano Kimberly Sogioka plays Gherardino/L’enfant; the large cast includes several other singers who will be familiar to patrons of POP and other local opera companies, including Tiffany Ho, Danielle Bond, Robert Norman, and Michelle Drever; other notable singers include contralto Sharmay Musacchio, a veteran of productions at the Met and LA Opera, and soprano Sonja Krenek, who makes her local debut as Nella/the mother off a recent appearance as Mimi in New York City Opera’s La Bohème. Joshua Horsch conducts; full details at Pacific Opera Project.
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Movies Till Dawn: Hell Comes to the Saturday Morning Strange

House By the Cemetery” (Blue Underground, 1981) Despite constant admonitions from a young girl that only he can see, towheaded Bob (Giovanni Frezza) and his parents (Catriona MacColl and Paolo Malco) not only remain in the Creepy Old New England House formerly occupied by Malco’s colleague – whom, it should be mentioned, was one-half of a murder-suicide in the house – but also decide to find out for themselves who, or what, is making those unsettling noises in the basement. Italian-made blend of haunted house chills and the full-bore splatter on which director Lucio Fulci earned his cult following; the plot is largely nonsensical, with parts culled from “The Shining,” “The Amityville Horror” and other supernatural thrillers, but Fulci’s gift for crafting a disquieting atmosphere through sound, location (lonely stretches of Massachusetts) and pacing, as well as some exceptionally grisly set pieces (a gonzo bat attack on the family, the fate of sinister housekeeper Ania Pieroni and real estate agent Dagmar Lassander), make this a worthy creepshow companion to Fulci’s “Zombie” and “The Beyond.” Blue Underground’s three-disc Limited Edition is a Fulci fanatic’s dream, loaded with new material – including commentary by and an interview with Fulci scholars Troy Howarth and Stephen Thrower, respectively – and vintage extras: interviews with the primary cast, screenwriters Dardano Sacchetti and Elisa Briganti, cinematographer Sergio Stivaletti, the f/x crew, and even a full CD of Walter Rizzatti’s icy electronic score. Continue reading

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Where to Celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day 2020 in L.A.

Photo by NoHo Damon via Flickr

This year Martin Luther King Jr, Day will be celebrating King’s 91st birthday. You can choose to observe the holiday as solemnly or as joyfully as you choose. There are a variety of events happening all across Los Angeles this weekend.

Saturday, January 18, 2020

Peace & Unity Parade and Celebration in Long Beach

This year’s theme is “Walk the Talk.” The 32nd annual Long Beach Parade starts at Anaheim St. and MLK Jr. Avenue at 10:00 , rain or shine, and culminates with a festival at King Park 1950 Lemon Ave., Long Beach from 11:30 a.m. until 5 p.m. Saturday’s festival includes food, games, music, and other festivities in honor of the park’s namesake. All ages. There will be free parking at Long Beach City College’s Pacific Coast Campus on the corner of Orange Avenue and 19th Street with a free shuttle to the event. Continue reading

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Würm Reunites for Save Music in Chinatown 20

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The Intown Report’s Gig Picks of the Week 1/16/20 – 1/22/19

Streetwalkin’ Cheetahs photo by Hilary Russell

Looking for cool live music this week? Here’s some show recommendation

Thursday 1/16

LEM HQ (835 N.La Brea) – Jagged Baptist Club, JUGGs + guest DJ Annette Zilinskas

The Observatory – Dimebash

Redwood Bar – Mark & the Tiger, Vanilla Suga, + Caitlin Edwards

Friday 1/17

5 Star Bar – Naked Aggression, Informal Society, The Complicators, 390 + Bad Bruno

Gallagher’s Huntington Beach – Big Rig Dollhouse, Cornfed Project + Streetwalkin Cheetahs

The Glass House – Joyce Manor, Drab Majesty, Automatic, VOWWS, Entry, Full of Hell, Gitterer + Nice

The Observatory – Reverend Horton Heat, Deke Dickerson, The Buttertones,+ The Paladins (also Sat.)

Old Town Pub – The Rocketz, The Hellflowers, The Lungs + Baron Bandini

Redwood Bar -Generation Suicida, Foza Comlin + Situations Continue reading

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The Complete Robert Williams at The Last Bookstore

Robert Williams at “The Last Bookstore, Downtown Los Angeles, January 12, 2020. Photo by Tequila Mockingbird.

The signing of “Robert Williams: The Father of Exponential Imagination” on January 11, 2020, at The Last Bookstore, was packed.

There was an art talk with one of our favorite folks, Mat Gleason, of Coagula Magazine, and the room was transformed into the church of art. But Williams doesn’t believe art should be treated that way–he believes that “Art should be treated like the dirty whore she is–everyone gets a turn.”

Robert Williams is credited with creating the Lowbrow art scene. He worked for Zap Comics, created Juxtapoz Magazine, and spent many nights hawking art at the Zero Gallery, which was an after-hours drinking establishment where I was a curator in the 80s. Continue reading

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Movies Till Dawn: Big Trouble

Big Trouble in Little China” (1988, Shout! Factory) Trucker Kurt Russell discovers that his big-mouth-and-big-gun approach might not help pal Dennis Dun reclaim his fiancée (Suzee Pai) from an ancient Chinese sorcerer (James Hong) living under the streets of San Francisco’s Chinatown. Popcorn thrill-ride from John Carpenter (and a script rewrite by W.D. Richter) mixes ’80s-style action with Shaw Brothers-influenced fantasy-adventure (veteran Hong Kong star Carter Wong plays one of the magician’s super-charged enforcers); though it failed to find an audience until years after its release, “Big Trouble” is far more entertaining and imaginative than many of the decade’s crash-bang efforts, including the first two “Raiders” sequels, which earned better returns with more leaden takes on international-flavored action. Shout! Factory’s two-disc Blu-ray bundles vintage extras – a rollicking commentary track with Carpenter and Russell, deleted scenes, interviews and a making-of featurette – with new material, including commentaries by producer Larry J. Franco and special effects artist Steve Johnson and new interviews with Hong, Dun and others.

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