Take My Tickets To The Hold Steady Tuesday July 7

I hate you people.

See, I only have one pair of tickets to give away for The Hold Steady next Tuesday. If I had two pairs, or even three, I could use one for myself. But I only have one. So I have to give it to you people.

Photo by Marina Chavez
Photo by Marina Chavez

The Hold Steady is one of my favorite bands. Introduced to me by a bartender friend (quelle surprise), at first they rubbed me the wrong way. What the HELL is up with him shouting over the songs?

Then I listened to what he was saying, and the lyrics melted into the music and became the sound of the rust belt rocking the night away in dim bars, the sound of hell-bent tours to crappy clubs around the country, the heir to Kerouac, to Springsteen. The piano made me think of the Mississippi River.

So, you jerks, tell me your favorite thing about The Hold Steady. Or your favorite story about them. One lucky winner, who will not be me, will get to go to the show.

Just kidding about hating you. I love you all. Please take me as your plus-one.* Continue reading Take My Tickets To The Hold Steady Tuesday July 7

Win Chris Botti Tickets to the Greek!!!!!

images3You and Chris Botti?

Write haiku win Greek tickets

July 9th Under Stars….

It’s such a beautiful way to embrace a LA summer night.  Listening to Chris Botti play his amazing jazz on his trumpet… The Greek Theater in the Hollywood Hills, a picnic dinner with wine, free tickets for you and your favorite person.  Sooooo, if you want to win 2 tickets to this great concert, just write a haiku about:

a) Why you are a  Chris Botti fan.

b) or why you want to see a concert at the Greek on a beautiful summer night on Thursday, July 9th.

c) or why you deserve these tickets!

I first met Chris through his friend Sting, who is one of Chris’s mentors (sort of).  And once I was turned onto his contemporary jazz style I was hooked.  Not to mention he is a swell guy…. and damn sexy!  He has a soft touch to his playing… yet is a Miles Davis impresario, so you can imagine the music that comes from him.

So have at it.  Turn your creative juices into overdrive and write a haiku! (and win these tickets, baby!).

Win Tix to the Hootenanny This Saturday July 4!

Rock! Roll! Rides! Racks (guns AND girls’)! The annual Hootenanny festival’s a celebration of balls-out rock: rockabilly, psychobilly, swingbilly (ok, I made that up)–a musical smackdown of epic proportions involving quite a lot of pomaded pompadours, cuffed blue jeans, pinup beauties & candy-apple-red devil cars.

reverendhorton530
The Reverend Horton Heat

Bands include The Reverend Horton Heat, Los Lobos, Supersuckers, Horrorpops, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, Nekromantix, Lee Rocker, The Blasters and lots more, plus a car show and cool swag for sale, much of which should prolly be paying Coop royalties.

Supersuckers
Supersuckers

Wanna go? Tell me your favorite rockabilly band & song in the comments, and post your fave passage of their lyrics. We’ll randomly choose a few winners to go rock their socks off.

Big Problems for LA Vegans

If you have special dietary requirements or restrictions it’s important that you can trust restaurant menus and marketing. This is important for health reasons because many people have allergies that can be life threatening. As you can imagine it would be problematic for someone with a nut allergy to be assured that a restaurant was nut-free only to find that the main course had a little peanut butter thrown in “for flavor.” For people who have made dietary choices based on ethics or religion, such as veganism, being able to trust what a restaurant tells you is also extremely important.

Green Leaves Vegan is not veganIt’s not entirely news that some places in LA that claim to be or offer vegan menu items are not being completely honest. 3 years ago I mentioned a run in with Vegan Express where an employee told me some of the fake meat sold as vegan contained whey, a milk product. I also had a less than pleasant experience at Green Leaves Vegan where I was asked to leave the place after asking why there would be non-vegan items on a menu at a restaurant with “vegan” in it’s name with nothing to differentiate them on the menu.

While my research started and stopped with asking a handful of questions, the folks over at LA’s Quarry Girl took things a step further. Actually many many steps further – they actually did laboratory tests on menu items from 17 different eateries that claim to be vegan. Seriously. This is the most in depth trial and investigation on this kind of thing I’ve ever seen. Of those 17, 10 passed the test, one was suspect, 5 failed, and 1 failed in major major ways. The big failure was Green Leaves Vegan which I can’t say I’m surprised to hear. I was extremely surprised that one of my favorite places Pure Luck came back suspect. Most of the other failures were of the “vegan thai” variety and it’s entirely possible the problem is due to faulty product labeling.

The Quarry Girl posse looked into that as well and found some shocking information about requirements on ingredients lists for import foods that should be of concern to anyone who cares what they put in their bodies. Really you should just go read the article.

[Thanks LaLaWag]

No entity without identity

bumps-vs-humps
Bumps versus humps

Since I arrived in Los Angeles, and to my lovely Fairfax District, I have noticed a gesture toward block-by-block neighborhood autonomy. It is apparently the perogative of each residential block to decide whether it wishes to be a “bump street” or a “hump street”. There is nuance to this decision; for although there is no distinction in the physical form of the traffic regulation elements, the semantic distinction is dizzy with moral and aesthetic nuance.

Those of us on hump streets scoff at the crude vulgarity of the bumpsters. Sure they can regulate traffic speeds, but they just lack the refined tastes, the cultural cache of speed humps. One gets a sense of mismatch about them, something like when some Hollywood poseur on Melrose wanders onto West Hollywood’s stylish Melrose Avenue, and looks so garishly out of place. Continue reading No entity without identity

Green in All Shapes and Sizes at Venice Eco-Fest

img_1556This year’s Venice Eco-Fest, held at Windward Ave. and Ocean Front Walk on Venice Beach, presented attendees with an impressive array of options.  You could arrange to equip your home with solar power, purchase clothing made from bamboo, receive a massage, listen to a Zappa-like band on the solar-powered stage, check out electric bicycles and motorcycles, eat sustainable food, and even sign up with the Green Party.  Or, you could do what a lot of Venice Beach visitors like to do on a beautiful summer day: just soak it all in.
Plenty of pics after the jump

It Caught My Eye: The Beetle & The Blossom

We have a juvenile magnolia growing in front of our house that’s been something of a struggler for as long as I’ve lived here. Its leaves are always kind of wilty and the past several years its bloom production has been smaller than that witnessed in other trees its size.

Last year however, in conjuntion with our next-door neighbor we ripped out the ivy that blanketed the parkway fronting both our houses and in its place laid down a bed of river rocks, and the magnolia’s much happier to have the place  all to itself, because its looking healthier and this year the blooms have been off the hook.

I know the fig-eaters (aka green June beetles; not to be confused with June bugs), such as this one I found this morning snacking on a brand new blossom, totally agree (click to ginormify):

gjb

TODAY! Rummage Sale @ Echo Park Film Center

Film reels @ the EPFC by noway
Film reels @ EPFC by noway

For the next few hours you can get some great deals on old film and video gear, while at the same time supporting an important community organization. Today, Echo Park Film Center is holding their annual rummage sale with all proceeds going toward the free filmmaking classes they offer to kids in the neighborhood.

Besides youth classes, EPFC also offers no-cost classes for seniors. Other workshops are very reasonably priced. In addition to media arts education, the film center offers a variety of things from microcinema screenings to equipment rental to digital editing facilities and more.

Echo Park Film Center is a Los Angeles treasure and has much to offer to the city. Why not stop in and see if you can help them out by purchasing something they’ve cleared from the closets? If you aren’t in the market for some used film gear, there are other ways to get involved.

The rummage sale runs until 5pm today. I have it on good authority that you can get some really good deals today and that there is still plenty of equipment available.

Echo Park Film Center is located at 1200 N. Alvarado Street @ Sunset Blvd, next to Machine Project.

Create:Fixate, Downtown Tonight

Photo by Blake Gardner, used with kind permission.
Photo by Blake Gardner, used with kind permission.

Looking for something interesting to do tonight in L.A.? Take in some culture, a lot of culture, at Create:Fixate‘s art space at the Premiere Events Center in downtown Los Angeles.

Back in March I told you about Create:Fixate’s first event of this year, “Wisdom Within Us.” Tonight they return with their new show, “Build.” I had a great time at Wisdom, and I’m really looking forward to the new show.

Tonight’s event will follow a similar format to the one in the Spring, with a new theme. There will be many different artists showing in a huge three-room gallery, live music & DJs, cocktails and dancing. It’ll be like that party at your friends house, but cooler. Much, much cooler.

What: Create:Fixate’s “Build” – Exploring Art, Architecture & Design
When: Tonight, Saturday 6/27, from 7:00pm-3:00am.
Where: Premiere Events Center, 613 Imperial Street, Los Angeles

So tonight join me early at the Doll Factory for the LA Derby Dolls All-Star game, then follow me over to Create:Fixate and we’ll make it a high-brow after-party. For complete details on tonight’s event, see Create:Fixate’s website.

The Meaning of Beantown

A few days in another town: Boston, the least happy place on the planet when the Lakers win the championship. It’s also the US city that began a new era in mass transit nearly 50 years ago, when, in the same year that Los Angeles was scrapping its last Red Cars, it created America’s first new major trolley line since way before WW II. Making it the first US city to realize that the urban transportation future didn’t just belong to the automobile.

That 1960 Riverside line is now connected to the vast MBTA Green Line light rail network, whose original 1897 downtown segment was the first US subway line. After 1900, the old Boston MTA, of the famous folk song, also built several different heavy rail subway-elevated systems, each with incompatible equipment— a possible tribute to long-ago City Hall corruption. It also has portions that are dauntingly weird. Take the Silver Line, a hybrid bus system that runs partly underground and looks like it want to be on rails… Continue reading The Meaning of Beantown

Amanda Palmer Slays L.A.

Amanda Palmer plays Radiohead, by me. Bigger with a click.
Amanda Palmer plays Radiohead on the beach, by me. Bigger with a click.

Amanda Palmer is ostensibly on vacation. After nearly a year of touring in support of her album “Who Killed Amanda Palmer,” she is taking some much deserved time off. Of course, time off for Amanda means playing shows at the Troubadour (last night) and hosting occasional Tweet-ups on the beach for friends and fans.

Often the venues that Amanda plays are 21+ or 18+, so her younger fans don’t get a chance to see her perform or interact with her. She uses Twitter to alert fans to what amounts to flash mobs in public spaces: “LA ninja beach gathering is going to be a winner. today, 4 pm, hermosa beach @ end of 16th street. bring flowers, ninja clothes.” And the fans happily obey, as evidenced in my photo set from that afternoon. (Careful. Amanda is very, shall we say, “free?” A few of the pics in that set, while tasteful, are NSFW.)

Amanda tweets and a hundred people show up at random locations on a few hours notice. One reason for that is her unusually deep connection to her fans. The marketing benefit for “Amanda Palmer™” seems to be a pleasant, almost unintended consequence of who Amanda Palmer really is. They heap adoration on her, but more importantly she’s very open with them, and genuinely loves them back.

Click past the jump for more on one of the best shows in L.A. this year. Continue reading Amanda Palmer Slays L.A.

Miss Peaches Southern Cuisine

Delicious lunch
Delicious lunch

In the midst of antique shops on Lankershim Blvd. is a  soul food restaurant I had only learned of on Monday. Mike Fabio’s photos were more than enough to convince me to drive to North Hollywood for some soul food I didn’t make myself.  Miss Peaches Southern Cuisine was well worth the trek from the eastside.

I am not a fan of Roscoe’s. I think the food is pretty bad; on par with Aunt Kizzy’s Front Porch. My preferred method of eating what I consider home-cooking is to make it myself or wait until I can visit family to get it done right. Soul food restaurants in LA just always seem to be lacking something for my palate. So, to say that I was delighted to bite into the chicken that’s perfectly seasoned and not greasy would be an understatement. I actually picked it up to eat it with my hands. I don’t do that in public. The macaroni & cheese was good and didn’t leave a lump in my belly. Note that my kids also ate the mac ‘n’ cheese and they are ridiculously picky when it comes to baked mac. But what surprised me the most were the greens. I’m used to greasy and old tasting greens being served. These were fresh and slightly sweet. Restaurant owner & chef, Connell Moss, said it was because he doesn’t use meat in them.

I have never found the appeal of the chicken & waffle combination. I like them both, but separately. Knowing how unpredictable my kids are when it comes to what they eat, I ordered the combo for them to share. Surprisingly, they both ate both items. It wasn’t until the end ofthe meal, when I snagged a piece of waffle off their plate did I understand. Simply put, Miss Peaches makes some damn delectable waffles. I would be hard pressed to come up with a restaurant in Los Angeles that makes waffles as good.

It looks like I need to had back over to North Hollywood for work. The idea of not going back hasn’t even cross my mind.

Miss Peaches Southern Cuisine
5643 Lankershim Blvd.
North Hollywood, Ca 91601

Mon – Thurs 12:00 noon – 9:00pm
Fri 12:00 noon – 9:00pm
Sat 2:00pm – 9:00pm
Closed on Sunday

Tel: (818) 760-4924
Fax: (818) 760-4925

We Accept All Major Credit Cards

We do not have a liquor license.
Please BYOL. Never any corkage fees.