No Budget Film Festival Tonight

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jVUCBUQOAg8[/youtube]

Heads up: Tonight is the No Budget Film Festival, a nifty experiment in which filmmakers are challenged to make a movie without a budget.  Literally – these aren’t movies made on a shoestring budget; these are made without the shoestrings, period.  Filmmakers only could rely on things they already had, things they could borrow, or things that were donated.

Out of the 50 or so films that were entered in the festival, 15 were chosen for tonight’s screening at the Downtown Independent. And, of course, there will be prizes: the Critic’s Choice Award, as well as the Audience Choice Award, chosen by you, truly.

Tickets are $10 online and $15 at the door.

Sunset Junction Cancelled, Some Shows Will Go On

Arthur Adams at Sunset Junction '08. Courtesy our own Burns!

In the end, even Live Nation couldn’t use its deep pockets to bail a lil’ ol’ community-oriented street festival out: an apparent $100,000 loan from the conglomerate notwithstanding and a ridiculous attempt to raise more money from the community – on top of the $25 it already charges for entry – it looks like Sunset Junction is cancelled.  The organizers apparently failed to solidify their permitting situation before selling tickets to the public, renting space out to the vendors, and booking the bands:  according to the city, some $141,000 in fees were past due, and have been for the past year.  Like that time your parents forgot one too many times to pay the electricity bill, the Board of Public Works finally just turned off the festival’s lights this morning.

But, as this is the Festival That Just Won’t Die Gracefully, the organizer’s attorney told LA Weekly soon after the Board’s decision: “Were gonna go back and review our options.”  That said, the organizers have indicated that there will be refunds (a recent tweet: “Lets not lose our faith, web site is down & Tickets $ will be re inverse to all of fans who supported, please do not panic (vendors,fans etc)”), but still are decrying the injustice of it all on their Facebook page and in a press release.

In spite of the cancellation, there may be a few performances this weekend yet.  LA Weekly also reports that El Cid’s stage will remain open “because they never received – and thus never signed – official contracts from the festival.  They’re also opening another free stage for displaced bands at nearby sister club Los Globos.”

Win Tickets to the Eels!

Oh, you know the Eels.  Well, unless you somehow missed the last decade of television and movies, you know them.  They’ve popped up when angst required background music (Chuck, Shrek, probably too many Grey’s Anatomy episodes to count).  It’s angst with a beat, though, and Mr. E’s wonderfully gritty, woeful voice.

The Eels are playing a show next Friday, August 12, at the El Rey, and we’ve got some tickets to give away.  The Submarines – a local band that you may recognize from their many residences at The Echo, or maybe from their anti-capitalist anthem that made it unironically into a few iPhone commercials – will open.   To win tickets to this great show, leave a comment with your favorite Eels song.  Major bonus points if you can name your favorite Eels song used in a movie or television show.  Good luck!

Mohawk Bend Finally Opens Tonight

The sign outside Mohawk Bend on Sunset and Alvarado in Echo Park has promised “Opening soon.  Very soon” for a few weeks now, and I’m very, very excited that it will finally open at 5pm today.  Mohawk Bend comes courtesy Tony Yanow, so if you’ve been to his excellent Tony’s Darts Away bar in Burbank, you’ll know what we can expect here: vegan-friendly eats and a damn great craft beer selection.

The bar is located in an old movie theater, completely rehabbed so what was once the lobby now houses a long bar, communal and non-communal tables, and an open kitchen.  Tony is vegan, so the menu is too (“60 percent vegan, 20-percent lacto/ovo vegetaria, and 20 percent meat” is how the press release describes it).  It’s dinner service only for now, but they hope (as do I) that they’ll start a brunch and lunch service soon.

Most important, though, is that beer.  There are 65 California craft beers on tap, 5 from out of state breweries, and a two-firkin cask system for those of you who are uber-serious about your ales.  And sweet, kind people behind the bar who can patiently explain the differences between an IPA and non-IPA and help you decide which pint(s) to try.

I was lucky enough to attend a preview event of the space two weeks ago and, believe you me, the space and the beer selection is fantastic.  See their photos of the space here, and see you there, soon.

Mohawk Bend, 2141 W. Sunset Blvd. in Echo Park; (213) 483-2337.

Scenes from the LA Street Food Fest

Over the weekend, a few dozen old- and new-skool food stands, trucks, restaurants, and even some eateries from Baja trekked to the Rose Bowl to participate in the second annual Street Food Fest. There were three entry times, two during the day and one in the evening. I got there at 6 and, whether it was because of Carmageddon or because everyone decided to do the day trips, the crowd was comfortably crowded – very few long waits and ample time to sample everything you wanted to sample, and then some.  At the end of the day, a few awards were handed out: Javier Plascencia’s smoked oyster with chicarron and sea pickle was the Best in Show amongst the official judges and the crowd, and one of my favorites, Antojitos Carmen, won “Best Old School Street Food” for its huitlacoche huaraches. A few photos from the event below:

Win Tickets to See Demetri Martin!!

Would you like to see a man and his flip chart?

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vaGa3kjRS7o[/youtube]

If so, you’re in luck: Demetri Martin is on tour, and we have a few tickets to see his one-man-plus-props show this Sunday, July 24th, at the Fox Theater in Pomona.  To win, just leave a comment below with your favorite Martin prop: that flip chart? His guitar? Ukelele?  Have at it, folks, and I’ll pick a winner on Wednesday.

A Little Donut Man History

Photo by Burger Baroness and used under a Creative Commons license.

Just in time for our upcoming Donut Summit, the LA Times last week published a great story on the background and history of last year’s Donut King, Donut Man.  Owned by third-generation Japanese American Jim Nakano, Donut Man opened in 1974 with Nakano manning a fryer and his wife, Miyoko, taking care of the order window.  The rest is donut history:

With the treats came lore: Roy Rogers ordered a buttermilk bar before heading out on hunting trips. Elvis Presley, a jelly man, sent his karate instructor to pick up raspberry-filled doughnuts.

The tidbits are fascinating: Nakano was born in Boyle Heights and was only 2 when he and his family were sent to internment camps in Poston, Arizona:

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