The Ford Amphitheatre Comes Alive

A crowd attends a show at the John Anson Ford Amphitheatre

The John Anson Ford Amphitheatre (photo courtesy LA Philharmonic)

The John Anson Ford Amphitheatre is a wonderful, intimate, 1,200 seat outdoor venue located in the Hollywood Hills. Founded in 1920, the Ford stage has been graced legends from all corners of the performing arts–from the Ramones to Pharoah Sanders to John Houseman, to name just a few. That said, it can both geographically and figuratively be said to operate in the shadow of the Hollywood Bowl. Up until now, anyway; the 2021 season is the most ambitious in recent memory. Now being programmed by the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Ford’s calendar in every way rivals the Bowl’s.

Shows for the first two weeks of the season are free, beginning on July 30th with a pairing of indie band the Marías and a collaboration between the dance company Contra-Tiempo and the Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles. A chamber ensemble from the Philharmonic performs an outstanding program of 20h century music a few nights later on August 3. Father John Misty will perform two concerts with the LA Phil, September 23 & 24 and also free. For a few dollars more, Mexican acoustic guitar virtuosos Rodrigo y Gabriela, traditional Bowl favorites, play September 17 & 18. And how does an evening of spoken word and music with Patti Smith on September 3 sound? I think I might have buried the lede there.
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12 Fun Things to Eat & Do This Memorial Day Weekend

ROCA Pizzas. Photo courtesy of ROCA.

Angelenos are emerging from their Covid-induced cocoons and Memorial Day Weekend is upon us. Whether you’d like to marvel at nature, try a new food pop-up,  listen to live music, or savor vegan Mexican dishes or some BBQ, we have a few ideas to bring some fun to this long weekend.

Spotting butterflies always feels a little magical. Now see a plethora of butterflies at two Los Angeles butterfly pavilions. SOAR is a tropical butterfly pavilion at South Coast Botanic Garden in Palos Verdes Peninsula, while the Butterfly Pavilion at the Natural History Museum in DTLA features hundreds of butterflies, native plants, and lots of natural light to help ensure excellent views of these delicate creatures. Entrance to the Natural History Museum’s Butterfly Pavilion is $6, while SOAR is $22 (price also includes garden admission). Info on SOAR and on NHM’s Butterfly Pavilion

Enjoy a daycation or staycation at Downtown’s Hotel Figueroa. The beautifully restored Downtown hotel, first opened in 1926, has a new ‘Summer is Not Dead’ package that includes two complimentary cocktails, late checkout at 2 p.m., and a coffin-shaped pool float to take home (inspired by the hotel’s famed coffin-shaped pool). While you’re there, lounge by the historic pool, and savor ceviche, tacos, and margaritas at Veranda Al Fresco. Conversely, you can buy a day pass for the Hotel Figueroa through ResortPass.  Day passes begin at $35 a day and include a reserved poolside lounge chair, pool access, high-speed Wifi, towels, and $5 valet parking with validation. More information

The Hotel Figueroa’s coffin-shaped pool. Photo courtesy of Hotel Figueroa.

Feast on BBQ and cocktails from Messhall Kitchen. Los Feliz favorite Messhall Kitchen, known for its Carolina-style BBQ and cocktails crafted with house-infused spirits, is offering two special BBQ platters for Memorial Day Weekend. The Biggie Platter offers a pound of pulled pork, a whole kitchen dry rub wings, and a smoked ribeye for $99, while the Smalls Platter features a 1/2 pound pulled pork, 1/2 a rack of baby back ribs, 1/2 chicken, dry rub wings, and a smoked ribeye for $69. Each platter also comes with house pickles, sweet rolls, pit-baked beans, cheddar mash, brussels sprouts, and coleslaw. Both are available for eating in or to-go. In addition, a new cocktail, the Bob Hope, is available to go on Memorial Day. This 16 oz. serving makes four cocktails, comes with a bag of ice, and is $45. Four other cocktails (Negroni, Boulevardier, Brown Derby, and house special The Amanda) are also available to go for $22 (two cocktails) or $40 (four cocktails). More information

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POP to Stage Bizet’s Don Procopio

A scene from Pacific Opera Project's Don Procopio

A scene from Pacific Opera Project’s Don Procopio, courtesy POP

Following the success of last month’s Trouble in Tahiti, the Pacific Opera Project is returning to Heritage Square Park the weekend of June 4-6. The company will be staging the first known west coast production of Don Procopio, an comic opera by Georges Bizet of Carmen. While the piece may be unfamiliar to most opera goers, the cast includes many singers who have excelled in previous POP productions, including soprano Rachel Policar and company stalwart bass-baritone E. Scott Levin, who will be sure to leave his comedic imprint on the piece. The title role will be filled by Ben Lowe, making his company debut.

Don Procopio. 8PM, June 4, 5, 6, 2021. Heritage Square Museum, 3800 Homer Street, Los Angeles, CA 90031. Patrons are encouraged to arrive at 7:00 to picnic. Tickets start at $15. Be advised that as of this writing, Saturday, June 5th, is sold out. For more information and to buy tickets, visit Pacific Opera Project online.</a

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SB805 the “Save the Performing Arts Act of 2021” Will be Coming to a Vote Soon

Danny Glover, Edward James Olmos, Fabrizio Guido, French Stewart, Susan Rubio, Vanessa Claire Stewart, Michelle Krusiec, Josefina Lopez, Kate Linder, and Joe Spano supporting Senate Bill 805 (SB 805) “Save The Performing Arts Act Of 2021” Press Conference. All Photos by Billy Bennight for The Los Angeles Beat

On Wednesday, May 19th, Democratic State Senator Susan Rubio hosted a press conference in support of her Senate Bill, SB805, “Save The Performing Arts Act Of 2021” in Boyle Heights at the Josefina Lopez’s Casa 0101 Theater with a group of activists, influencers, and Hollywood star power.

“Save the Performing Arts Act of 2021” is a bill that will provide infrastructure support and funding for small non-profit performing arts organizations and individuals in marginalized communities across California. This support will include 51 organizations and individuals throughout California. SB805 will establish the Small Nonprofit Performing Arts Paymaster which will provide a low-cost payroll and paymaster service for SNPAC (Small Nonprofit Performing Arts Companies). The goal of the legislation is to establish the Performing Arts Equitable Payroll Fund to ensure that SNPACs can pay all workers minimum wage, particularly workers in marginalized communities. The idea is to support and stabilize local performing arts communities which are incubators for playwrights, actors, designers, directors, and other artists as well.

Photo Gallery after the Break

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‘Summer Sounds on the Plaza’ Returns to The Original Farmers Market This Week


Live music returns to the Original Farmers Market! ‘Summer Sounds on the Plaza’ begins this Thursday, May 27, and will take place every Thursday and Friday evening from 5 to 7 p.m. through June 25.

Come to shop or dine, then stay to hear music from a variety of genres, including flamenco guitar, ’20s ragtime, R&B, Latin jazz, ’30s swing, calypso, and more.

The acclaimed ragtime/swampy blues/New Orleans jazz band California Feetwarmers’ much-anticipated return to the Farmers Market happens on Thursday, June 24.

These performances are free of charge and take place at Farmers Market Plaza in front of the iconic clock tower.  The Original Farmers Market is located at 3rd and Fairfax.

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Herb & Seed’s New Delivery Service Makes Plant-Based Eating Easy

Herb & Seed’s Buddha Bowl. All photos by Karin E. Baker for The LA Beat.

Herb & Seed Plant-Based Kitchen is a new vegan meal delivery service. A local, woman-owned company based here in Los Angeles. Herb & Seed is headed by Natalie Jaconetty, who has been eating organic plant-based food since she was a child.

Natalie’s early exposure to plant-based eating came via her mother, a holistic doctor. A longtime advocate of food as medicine, eating local and organically, and sustainable living, she passed on her values to her daughter, who now uses those mindful practices at Herb & Seed.

Natalie’s recipes are created with help from plant-based nutritionists. You won’t find any processed meat substitutes or refined ingredients here. Every ingredient is organic and made of whole foods that are local and seasonal.

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watt’s picture of the week – saturday, may 22, 2021

yesterday found dirk at his shoppe in my pedro town… ‘guitar safari’ is getting prepped for a re-open and I wanna be part of an event for it!

photo by mike watt

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mike watt’s hoot page

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The Roosevelt Hotel Has a New Outdoor Bar & it’s Hosting Live Jazz Tonight

The Spare Room… Somewhere Else. Photo credit: Eugene Lee.

If you’re a fan of Hollywood’s historic Roosevelt Hotel, you may have visited its Spare Room. A cocktail lounge and gaming parlor tucked away on the hotel’s mezzanine level, the Spare Room is a gorgeous vintage spot that serves inventive cocktails. It’s also got a  playful vibe, thanks to the pair of bowling lanes and an assortment of handmade wooden games available to play as you sip.

As the Spare Room is an indoor space, the Roosevelt has just opened a new outdoor bar adjacent to its famous Tropicana swimming pool (the pool’s bottom was painted by art luminary David Hockney back in the ’80s).

Dubbed The Spare Room… Somewhere Else, the new bar offers Italian-influenced bites and creative cocktails, along with games like Mad Libs and Battleship (participants will be supplied with custom pencils and one-use paper pads).

Tonight, on Thursday, May 20, Somewhere Else is hosting jazz from Justin Esposito of Blondie Beach Records. Two sets of live jazz will bookend a DJ set. Hours tonight are 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. and you can make reservations via Resy.

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Movies Till Dawn: Everyday People

Ladybug Ladybug” (1964, Kino Lorber) Students and teachers at a small rural school react to a seemingly real warning about an imminent nuclear attack with anything but the orderly, civil response detailed in government training films, and fall prey to panic, fear, and in one case, apparent tragedy. Gut-wrenching for many viewers and critics upon its release, Frank and Eleanor Perry‘s black-and-white drama, which is based loosely on a real incident, has been surpassed in terms of intensity and ugliness by subsequent nuclear war dramas (see “The Day After”) but as a look at everyday people, and especially children, facing the enormity of their own mortality, “Ladybug” retains much of its awful, draining power, even in its ambiguous or arthouse-forward moments. Kino’s Blu-ray offers detailed and thoughtful commentary by historian Richard Harland Smith, who dives deeply into the film’s crew and cast (which includes TV/stage vets William Daniels and Nancy Marchand of “The Sopranos”), the incident on which it’s based, and the magazine article it inspired, in addition to a wealth of other production info.

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Southern-Style Bakery Dr. Shica’s Opens Thursday!

Image by Karin E. Baker for The LA Beat.

Dr. Shica’s long-awaited gourmet bakery finally opens its first brick-and-mortar space tomorrow, Thursday, May 20, in Culver City.

Why are these Southern-style treats so popular? Since she was a little girl in South Carolina playing with her first Easy-Bake oven, Dr. Shica learned from her mother and grandmother how to craft the tastiest desserts using premium, high-quality ingredients.

Her Oreo-bedecked vegan brownies taste rich and decadent. The red velvet cakes and cupcakes, made from her mother’s recipe, are loaded with pure flavor and topped with rich cream-cheese frosting. Her cookies are soft in the center and deliciously crispy around the edges.

Her reputation as “the Southern sweet maker to the stars” began when Hollywood executives clamored for her baked goods after tasting them at a pop-up soul food eatery on Melrose. Soon, her brownies were dubbed “Almost Famous Brownies.”  Then, Oprah Winfrey tried Dr. Shica’s desserts and crowned the bakery one of her top-three “Favorite Things.”

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