The Drive-In Is Back! Masters of Horror Series Starts April 3rd!

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Do you miss going to the drive-in as much as I do? I remember the first one I went to as a kid. It was with my grandmother and not quite the romantic experience I’d seen in movies, but it was great fun nonetheless. I find it quite sad that most drive-in theaters have become swap meets or shopping centers. I’ve read that at one time, L.A. County had over 40 drive-in movie theaters and now that number has dwindled down to one. A quintessential form of American entertainment barely exists anymore.

So, it’s a good thing that Hollywood Mobile Movie is bringing the drive-in movie back to Los Angeles! Following a wildly successful horror series last fall, Hollywood MobMov is once again teaming up with the Steve Allen Theater for The Masters of Horror Drive-In Series. The Friday night events will feature double bills of episodes of Showtime’s Masters of Horror program and classic films by the same director. There will also be an in-person Q&A with each filmmaker. Joe Dante and The Howling kick off what is shaping up to be quite a treat for fans of scary movies at the drive-in. Click here for the full schedule, complete with trailers.

I’ve personally volunteered with Hollywood MobMov many times and can assure you that the events are a blast. I don’t know why, but there’s something really fun about sitting in your car to watch a movie!

Read on for more information about the Masters of Horror Drive-In series

Fools! Switching off your lights won’t save you from The Wolf Man: American Cinematheque screens classic Lon Chaney, Jr. film tonight

wolfman_300You thought you were doing the planet a favor by switching off your lights for Earth Hour, right?

Turns out all you really did was make it easier for the werewolves of Griffith Park to sneak into our neighborhoods under the cover of darkness.

Now, instead of enjoying your usual lazy Sunday routine — idling in your car, running your leafblower and then teasing your lhasa apso’s coat with aerosol hairspray — you’re going to have to stock up on rye bread from Trader Joe’s and pray to Jesus that Big 5 still has some silver bullets in stock.

If you can somehow make it safely into Hollywood by 5:30 pm, try to take shelter in the Egyptian Theatre, where the American Cinematheque will be screening The Wolf Man, the 1941 horror classic that stars Lon Chaney, Jr. as your friendly neighborhood lycanthrope. The Wolf Man and Norman Jewison’s apparently werewolf-free Gaily, Gaily (1969) are being presented as as part of an Art Director’s Society tribute to Robert Boyle.

And for God’s sake, turn your lights back on already!

Image: Lon Cheney, Jr. is The Wolf Man.

60 Earth Hour

EH_A2_Template_FINAL.inddEarth Hour began in Sydney, Australia in 2007 as a response to the desire to change the way we live so as to impact the planet less.  During that first Earth Hour, 2.2 million businesses and homes turned off their electricity for sixty minutes.  Last year, the movement became a global initiative with 50 million participants.  Iconic structures such as the Golden Gate Bridge, Rome’s Colosseum, the Coke-A-Cola billboard in Times Square and the Sydney Opera House all participated with darkness for the hour.  The goal for this year is to reach 1 bilion participants.

Tonight is Earth Hour, beginning at 8:30 pm.  I discovered it by way of Taste, one of  my favorite L.A. Restaurants.  They are offering a candelit dinner during the event.  I thought it was a stunt until I did a little research.  What looked like a clever promotion turned out to be a global effort to ‘vote’ that we deal with this issue.

You can do your own research or even participate tonight in your own way by visiting the Earth Hour website. A billion people is a drop in the bucket when it comes to the earth’s population nor am I sure it will have any real impact but I think there is some legitimacy to the fact that we as humans have not thought out how to preserve our habitat.  This may not be the way to improve things but it has made a lot of people all over the planet stop to think about it.  That’s powerful enough.

Prince Rocks The Hell Out Of LA Live

lotusTo this day I still cannot believe my parents bought me the soundtrack to Purple Rain. I would sit in my bedroom huddled in secret glee as I listened to Darling Nikki and the rest of the highly suggestive lyrics.  But what started out as a tawdry flirtation with sexual material grew into a mature adoration for one of the greatest musicians to ever walk on earth.

If you’ve been a Prince fan for any span of time, you know that not only is he a musical genius but his addiction to performing has provided millions of us with memorable concerts.  He does them on the fly.  He plays whatever the hell he wants for however long he feels like.  Sometimes he makes people wait for hours outside before he gets started but he always rewards them with an unforgettable fist full of hours he never again repeats.

In anticipation of his latest musical triumph, LotusFlow3r, The Purple One has done it once more – tonight he is playing all three venues at LA Live one right after another.  Equally impressive, the shows sold out in about ten minutes.  If you were clever, and a devoted fan, you found a way around that via Prince’s incredibly beautiful and interactive website.

Will I be there?  HELL YES.  If you’re also in possession of tickets get there early.  The Staples Center has been hosting a world figure skating competition all week and there are finals going on at the very same time as the first couple of concerts.  There will be a sea of humanity at LA Live and all over  the streets surrounding the complex.  This is one of those times when taking the Metro will make you super cool and savvy.

Vive le Rat!

blekA year later, Blek le Rat’s angel is still intact on Sunset near Maltman. The reknowned French street artist, who was the first to use stencils to execute work in the early ’80s (long before Banksy,) bestowed his elegiac images  upon Silver Lake and Echo Park during his first US one-man exhibit last Spring at Subliminal Projects, the gallery owned by Shepard Fairey.

The exhibit was called, “Art is not peace but war,” something Fairey is experiencing  now in his legal battle with AP over his Obama Hope poster.

The Blek site front page currently features another of his stencils from the same Los Angeles intersection.

You Say Tomato, I Say TomatoMania!

heirloomsHere’s a good way to start your victory garden: heirloom tomatoes!  My girlfriend could take a bite out of tomato like she were chomping on an apple.  This always boggled my mind, until I had my first heirloom tomato.  I dated a girl ever-so-briefly who would spend her entire week’s paycheck on one single trip to the Sunday’s farmer’s market.  One time, she spent a huge chunk of that paycheck just on heirlooms.  I thought she was insane, until I took a bite:  Meaty, not overly juicy, sweet, with hints of earth.  So this is what a tomato is supposed to taste like!

I still grumble at the idea of having to use up the majority of a paycheck just to have enough to shop at your local open market – the slow food movement desperately needs to peek an eye out from under Alice Waters’ drooping wings and stop pretending like access to organic and local food is affordable and available to the majority of the population.  Here’s one way towards heirloom affordability:  TomatoMania! at the Tapia Brothers’ Farm Stand in Encino.   Today and tomorrow, from 9am to 5pm, you can peruse their selection of nearly 300 varieties of heirloom tomato seedlings and get your victory garden ready for the summer.

In case you miss this, Beverly Hill’s PartyPaperLife store will host its own urban TomatoMania! sale on its sidewalk on April 18.  That’s right, we’re bringing heirlooms to the masses…

I am so not having kids

motorscootersIs it me, or is Silver Lake and surrounding areas being overrun with droves of  youths buzzing through traffic on loud, dangerously rickety, unlicensed, fume-belching scooters? A short while before this group sped by today, I saw what appeared to be four teenage girls on scooters weaving in and out between two buses barreling along Sunset, seemingly oblivious to them.

Tavis Smiley fills in for Larry King tonight

tavisHow cool to see KCET’s Tavis Smiley hosting Larry King Live on CNN tonight. I first found Smiley years ago, when I lived in NYC, via his Los Angeles-based radio show that was broadcast on a local NPR affiliate. Smiley ultimately left the radio show, saying NPR was ineffective in reaching a more diverse audience. Now he hosts his own nightly TV show at 11 PM on KCET.

Tonight’s King show had some LA/CA relevance with Smiley doing a segment about medical marijuana dispensaries and the recent decision by the Obama administration Justice Dept. to not prosecute them if they are following state laws. (CA passed Prop 215 in ’96, legalizing pot for medical purposes, although federal law doesn’t allow it– yet.)

“The Millionaire Matchmaker” and My Love/Hate Relationship With Los Angeles

img_1415I did not move to Southern California to be part of the “scene,” whether that word is preceded by “entertainment industry,” “Hollywood,” “celebrity” or some other term.  It’s fine with me if others are immersed in that, but I prefer the serenity of beach town life.   Of course, due to our location, one can theoretically bounce between serenity and “scene” as one wishes.  And Hollywood is a mere 15 miles away.

One area, however, where “Hollywood” and my beach town come crashing together is in the countless films, television programs,  commercials, videos, and print ads that are shot near me in Marina del Rey, Venice, and Santa Monica.  I never realized how often this happens until I moved here.  Usually, I’m proud and excited to see my neighborhood pop up on television or the big screen.  But the television program containing more scenes filmed in my area than just about any other, “The Millionaire Matchmaker,” is also one of the most annoying, and represents some of what I dislike about Los Angeles.

Continue reading “The Millionaire Matchmaker” and My Love/Hate Relationship With Los Angeles

Tonight! Machine Project’s Forest Opens!

Wondering what you’re going to do with your Friday nights now that Battlestar Galactica is over? Tonight you can stop by Machine Project and check out The Forest that’s been under construction for the past couple of weeks. I’ve heard it’s quite a sight to see.

The Forest @ Machine Project
The Forest @ Machine Project

The Opening Reception for The Forest is tonight, March 27th, starting at 8pm. This is a last minute announcement, so if you can’t make it tonight, there will be ongoing events occurring in and about the forest, which will continually transform until April 24th.

Machine Project is located @ 1200 North Alvarado in Echo Park, 90026, right between the Downbeat Cafe and the Echo Park Film Center. Stop by to check out what is sure to be a unique and magical exhibit.

Iconoclasts on Fairfax

iconoclastIconoclast Editions’ Pop-Up Shop on Fairfax in West Hollywood is open for another week, until Monday, April 6.

Los Angeles-based photographer Shawn Mortensen’s photographs are exhibited, along with the work of other artists, mostly prints, including three vintage serigraphs by the late artist and illustrator Charley Harper.

Harper is known for his stylized wildlife illustrations he did for the US National Parks Dept. in the mid-20th century. There’s a copy of the enormous book, Charley Harper, An Illustrated Life, edited by Todd Oldham, right when you walk in the gallery, that makes you feel Lilliputian as you hoist open its cover.

Iconoclast is a project-based studio based in Cincinnati that collaborates with artists to create exhibits, publications and artist editions. It produced Beautiful Losers in 2004,  the notable street art exhibition that originated at Cincinnati’s Contemporary Arts Center and included work by LA’s Shepard Fairey. The exhibit toured nationally, making a stop at the Orange County Museum of Art in 2005.

[History lesson: CAC was a political flashpoint in 1990, thanks to the newly declared “culture war” by conservative Republican scolds who took umbrage at its National Endowment for the Arts-funded exhibit of photographs by Robert Mapplethorpe depicting sexually charged images of gay men. Maybe you remember when the state of Ohio filed obscenity charges against CAC; and Republican Senators Jesse Helms and Alfonse D’Amato waved photographs of gay men in sexual situations in front of their colleagues and wailed about “outrage.” S & M can have that effect on faint-hearted types like Senators, I guess.]

Many converging cultural axes to be had in the Fairfax District — but like I said, only through April 6th.

Iconoclast Editions Pop-Up Shop, 451 N. Fairfax at Rosewood 90036

“Black” color ban in the works in an effort to green up our cars by CARB.

The idgets in Sacramento are grabbing at straws in an effort to green up cars by banning “Black” as a color option on new cars sold in 2012.  The proposal is out there as it takes a bit more energy to cool a black car than others.   I see Henry Ford of the “let them have any color as long as its black”  fame rolling in his grave.

Yes, a black car may heat up faster but whatever happened to a little common sense to cool them off faster by say…rolling down a window or popping open the sunroof to get rid of the excess faster when you first start the car?  Both worked for me when we had a black car.  (In fact that car had the best A/C of any car we have ever had…kept us cool as can be in 118 heat during a traffic jam).  The savings even on a few thousand cars will still be nominal and certainly there are bigger smog makers out there to tackle that would have better impact.

Up for discussion…is this nonsense or do you think the savings in fuel is worth it?  Do you think LA is ready to give up its sexy black car for say a white one?

frazgoeslargeblacktinyHat tip to Kent Shockneck and his Let’s Blog for bringing this to my attention.  Pic by me, it will take you to my flickr page where you can get a bigger view if you wish.

Et tu, Southland Publishing?! LA City Beat Bites the Big One

Hat tip to the charming Mr. Behrens at LAist for tipping me off to this, and it’s a mark of how thoroughly I’ve been sucked into the world of big corporate media that I hadn’t heard rumblings of this coming for weeks.

Now I did work at their competition for a while–The LA Alternative Press–but I had a soft spot in my heart for LA City Beat, the little local upstart who, while it was owned by a large parent company itself, attempted to take on the better (slightly) bankrolled and more established LA Weekly. And I happily penned a number of articles for Pasadena Weekly deputy editor Joe Piasecki, also owned by Southland Publishing (will the P-Weekly disappear too?).

Rest in peace, wee paper. As print draws out its death scene, milking every agonizing second for all its worth, I shed a tear for ye.

Readers, does anyone see a way for print to survive? Let’s stop lamenting the sackings & closings, and start figuring out if there’s a winning business model to keep print….printing.

SGV Bloggers Picnic, Saturday [email protected] Park

sgvbloggerspicnicThose rascally SGV Bloggers are at it again.  It is picnic time in the SGV and if you blog you need to show up.  Discussions are lively, discussions are down and dirty when it comes to Free Speech issues and wine tasting.   Ooops…I didn’t say the last part as we will be in a public park where booze is forbidden, but it has happened!   More details on the Altadena Blog.   (Yours truly may make an appearance if I can get kids schedules shuffled about).

Deets: March 28, Noon-4PM, Farnsworth Park, Altadena CA.  MAP HERE

Present from LADWP

Present from LADWPWell it’s not so much a present because I’m pretty sure I paid for it already via my past electrical/water bills. Thanks, LADWP!

Even so, it was pretty cool to open the front door and find a little green giftbag sitting there.

The “LADWP giftbag” included:

Did you get one?