A List of Favorites From 2018

And I in my cap had just settled down for a long winter’s nap. . .

As usual, my Year End list doesn’t include much released in the current year, because I’m a slow mover with a tendency to look back over my shoulder. But here are some things I discovered this year that I recommend. I would like to thank Kanopy for many of the interesting films I’ve seen, and Goodreads for helping me keep track of what I’ve read! So here we go:

Movies:

They Call Me Jeeg (Lo chiamavano Jeeg Robot)” (2015)
This gritty Italian film is the ultimate anti-hero story with plenty of style and odd, dark humor. It’s the tale of Enzo, a small-time crook who does nothing but watch porn in his spare time, until he suddenly (and violently) receives superpowers that cause him no end of trouble. They also lead him to the love of his life, however, in the form of the psychologically damaged Alessia, and create in him a new found sympathy for others, and sense of purpose. Violent and twisted, yet still uplifting.

Demon” (2015)
This Polish film is a gripping story of supernatural possession, based on the mythological dybbuk, but steeped in the history of WWII. A young man unearths a skeleton the night before his wedding on his future in-laws’ farm and gradually becomes possessed by the ghost of a young Jewish woman. It’s a trainwreck of a transformation that derails the wedding ceremony and dredges up the history of the rural town before and after the war. Thoroughly creepy and riveting. Watch out that for that hand under the bed . . .

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Movies Till Dawn: New Year, (Mostly) New Movies

Mid90s” (2018, Lionsgate) Confident directorial debut by actor Jonah Hill, who depicts, in granular detail, middle-schooler Sunny Suljic‘s attempts to find much-needed acceptance with a group of older skateboarders. Hill has the Clinton Era cultural details down pat (especially the soundtrack), but the film’s high points are the exchanges between the boys, which have the right mix of bravado, wrong-headed advice and nervous emotion, and an avoidance of anything resembling a moral or a character trajectory. Suljic and his co-stars, as well as Lucas Hedges and Katherine Waterston as his brute of a brother and unfocused mom, respectively, deliver these moments refreshing, unfiltered honesty. Lionsgate’s Blu-ray includes commentary by Hill and cinematographer Christopher Blauvelt and deleted scenes.

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X / Los Lobos / The Blasters at O.C. Observatory 12.27.18

All Photos by Deb Frazin

Last night I kissed 2018’s ass goodbye the best way I possibly could: by driving down to the O.C. Observatory to see X, Los Lobos and The Blasters play. You already know it was great. It’s ALWAYS great every time these bands play a live show.

The Blasters were fun from beginning to end (as usual). I could’ve listened to Phil Alvin sing all night long. Everyone in the front row was dancing through the entire set. The chicks love ’em!

Up next was Los Lobos. They played a long, satisfying set. I always dig when David Hidalgo breaks out the accordion (the sound of that accordion always melts my heart), and I really loved their cover of The Allman Brothers’ “One Way Out”.

Finally, X hit the stage. I’ve seen them a zillion times since 1980, and I STILL get excited whenever I see them play. I always look cool on the outside, but on the inside I’m like a teenage girl at a 1965 Beatles concert when X starts playing! They opened with “Beyond and Back”, and ended with “Nausea” (which I found remarkably appropriate, because for me, this year was loaded with poverty and spit). Goodbye 2018.

Enjoy the photographs and the videos (I work hard, so you don’t have to)!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xn1TWOFeIvE
https://youtu.be/bzTdyleubVk

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Where the Cool Kids will be on New Years Eve 2018

Queen Mary Fireworks. Courtesy of The Queen Mary.

New Year’s Eve is one of the biggest nights for partying all around the world. It’s also not a bad night to curl up in your jammies with popcorn and watch the ball drop. If you aew looking for a place to party, either with the family or with a bunch of drunk strangers, here are some of the best parties happening around LA.

EXTRAVAGANZAS

SIXTH ANNUAL GRAND PARK + THE MUSIC CENTER’S N.Y.E.L.A.

Grand Park and the Music Center will celebrate their sixth annual New Year’s Eve focusing on the future of LA with LA Dreams, inspired by the imaginations of our children. From December 31, 2018, at 8:00 p.m. until January 1, 2019, at 1:00 a.m., more than 50,000 people are expected to attend the alcohol-free, family-friendly event, which covers 90 acres, from Grand Avenue to City Hall (Spring Street) and from Temple Street to 2nd Street.

Attendees will enjoy the work of Los Angeles County 5th & 6th graders, whose dreams inspired the signature event, and 3-D animated countdown to midnight filled with colorful artwork and inspirational language on the west-facing side of Los Angeles’ City Hall,  a pyrotechnics show, dancing, and over 60 food trucks. Entertainment includes a wide variety of musical performances on two stages including Aloe Blacc, Maya Jupiter and an all-female lineup of DJs featuring Spiñorita, Ericalandia and Kronika. Refer to their website for info on entrances, public parking, bike valet and banned items. – Elise Thompson

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watt’s picture of the week – thursday, december 27, 2018

polish tall ship dar mlodziezy paid my pedro town a visit during this world tour she’s now on… left today for panama – safe seas, ahoy!

photo by mike watt

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A Yuletide Photo Gallery: Santacon 2018

Santacon 2018 All photos by Brian Donnelly

Early in December Santacon took over the streets of LA for Metro rides, Mexican Food, Skeeball and games of strength like the Christmas tree toss.

Merry Christmas from The LA Beat!

More photos after the break!

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Tiny Shoulders: Fascinating Documentary About Barbie Examines Feminist Possibilities

Barbie! Model, Astronaut, Mermaid, President. The blonde-tressed plastic doll with the tiny waist and golden-white skin simultaneously conjures images of freedom and oppression, beauty tyranny and career-girl freedom. In the new Hulu documentary, “Tiny Shoulders: Rethinking Barbie,” writer/director Andrea Blaugrund Nevins, and producer, Cristan Crocker, examine the feminism possible in the story of Barbie.

A Pisces born in the Year of the Pig, Barbie turns 60 next year. Dreamy and sincere, Barbie’s always done her best, a perfect Pisces Pig. Don’t hate her because she’s beautiful! I know I don’t, and I look nothing like her. But I did identify with Roxanne Gay, whose presence in the documentary thrilled me, as did comments by Gloria Steinem, Peggy Orenstein, and all the women who thoughtfully considered the implications of the 11.5″ tall doll with the impossible breast/waist/hip ratio. The doll began in Germany as a sexy toy named Lilli purchased mainly by grown men. Under entrepreneur Ruth Handler’s vision, the doll evolved in America into Barbie, named after her own daughter. Continue reading

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Movies Till Dawn: High Tension for the Holidays 2018

Await Further Instructions” (2018, Dark Sky Films) Fractious British family discovers that their tense holiday celebration has become more unpleasant due to an unseen force that issues increasingly violent demands through their television set. An appropriately nasty parable for nasty, divisive times, director Johnny Kevorkian generates maximum tension when he focuses on how the family members’ fears and prejudices push them to extremes; the ending plunges into straight-ahead horror, which proves gruesome, if less impactful. Dark Sky’s Blu-ray includes cast and crew interviews, as well as storyboard and concept art visualizations.

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watt’s picture of the week – thursday, december 20, 2018

sunrise in pedro on my sixone bday – tug headed out the angels gate…

photo by mike watt

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The Museum That Made 11 Swedes Vomit is Now Open in Downtown Los Angeles

Photo by Anja Barte Telin, courtesy of the Museum of Disgusting Food.

A barf bag is issued to every visitor to the Museum of Disgusting Food, a new pop-up in Downtown’s Arts District. The bag may seem like nothing more than a cute gimmick, but you may find it handy when you hit the tasting bar.

The Museum of Disgusting Food first opened in Malmö, Sweden, while this new iteration is located within the A+D Architecture and Design Museum. A concept of Dr. Samuel West, the man behind the recent Museum of Failure, the Museum of Disgusting Food examines culinary revulsion in cultures around the world. Continue reading

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