Friday, June 29, 2012

The Dahls

Melinda and Caitlin Dahl at La Poubelle Bistro



At the Franklin Strip (Franklin Village)

So often in Hollywood, people claim that they can sing, act and (insert a random third talent here, usually, dance) really well. However, it is actually quite rare that someone can truly call himself a bona fide triple threat, and even scarcer does one family produce a pair of talented dynamos at the same time.

Twin sisters Caitlin and Melinda Dahl are skilled actors, having appeared together in "Nip/Tuck" and "House," and separately in "Bones," "American Horror Story," "CSI: NY," "Cold Case" and The Amateurs with Jeff Bridges and Ted Danson. Caitlin has directed acclaimed short films and numerous music videos, while Melinda has photographed actors, models and musicians and exhibited her work in fine art galleries around Los Angeles. Together they run a multimedia creative agency, DahlHouse Productions, that has worked on campaigns for brands like Sexy Hair and Guess. With Melinda on vocals and rhythm guitar and Caitlin on vocals and electric guitar, they are also the singer-songwriters at the helm of the Dahls. Joined by Emily Isacson on keyboards and accordion, Ryan Carman on drums and Omar Velasco on bass, the Dahls are set to release their debut album, Midnight Picnic, on Aug. 14.

Caitlin and Melinda recently took time out from their hectic schedules to give me a tour of their favorite block in Los Angeles, the Franklin Strip in Franklin Village. They lived around the corner from the strip for six years, and even though they've moved a few miles away, it's still their main stomping ground.

First we step into a bookshop and record store rolled into one, Counterpoint Records and Books. Melinda shows me the various book sections, while Caitlin dives into the record bins and unearths an Andrews Sisters' vinyl to add to her collection. Her choice amazes the cashier ("You know who they are?!") but isn't surprising to anyone familiar with their musical upbringing.
The Dahls at Counterpoint Records and Books

"We've always sung together since we were really little," says Caitlin.

"Caitlin is a great harmonizer, she can naturally harmonize to anything. I was pretty obsessed with singing all the time, and she would just come along and do the harmony. It was amazing,"  says Melinda.

"They didn't have YouTube back then, but if they did, oh boy, we'd be all over it," laughs Caitlin.

"Our dad is fantastic singer," she continues. "When he was a little boy he was in a boys choir school in Toronto. And then our uncle is a folk musician."

"He would take us to folk festivals as little kids. There are photos of us dancing, and Ashley MacIsaac playing violin," adds Melinda. "We also saw Loudon Wainwright III when we were 8, because I played 'Lullaby' – you know, [sings] 'shut up and go to bed' – for my uncle who said to me, 'He was at the folk festival when you were 8,' and I thought, 'Wow, I can't believe we saw him when we were that young."

"And I just saw him this past year in Downtown at the Orpheum opening for John Prine," interjects Caitlin. "That was an incredible show. They sang 'Angel From Montgomery,' and we were so moved that we started covering it at our shows."

We pass Counterpoint's area with rare books, Harmony Fine Books and Art, as well as an organic juice bar, Real Raw Live, before browsing the $20 rack in front of Native Boutique. I immediately recognize the Dahls' style in all the cute dresses hanging at the store.

We move on past Sushi Taiyo, Upright Citizens Brigade, Franklin & Company Tavern (run by the same owners as the Oaks Gourmet at the Bronson end of the strip), Birds (that Caitlin says is a good lunch spot, and Melinda lauds its Chicken Strips) and the Bourgeois Pig café, to get to the Daily Planet at the Tamarind Avenue end of the strip. The Dahls spend time looking through magazines and then take me through the shop full of items – candles, journals, scarves, paperbacks – that often make perfect birthday gifts for their friends.

Reading magazines at the Daily Planet
When we're finally tired of shopping, we head to their favorite part of the strip, La Poubelle Bistro. Caitlin is a fan of the French restaurant's Filet Mignon and Crispy Brussels Leaves, while Melinda prefers the salad with burrata cheese and Coq Au Vin. It's clear that they come here often when they lead me inside and I see a portrait of them hanging on the wall.

"We love the atmosphere, the food, the people – it's all artists and musicians – and the owners are so wonderful," says Caitlin.

"They support artists, and they love art. We even had shows here when we first started out," adds Melinda.

The Dahls have since graduated to performing at venues like the Viper Room, Hotel Café and Room 5 over the past few years, while releasing a self-titled EP in 2009 and steadily working on material for Midnight Picnic. Often times, inspiration could be found in every-day situations.

"We relax by going on hikes, taking long walks. I come over here [to Franklin Village] to visit friends, and we walk up to Bronson Park and the "Bat Caves.' It's so beautiful," says Melinda. "Right at the top of Bronson, that's where [the title track] 'Midnight Picnic' was inspired."

Even when they tried to take a short trip to relax, inspiration would hit and they would find themselves working on a song. A jaunt to Lake Elowin in Three Rivers, Calif., led to the track, "Periwinkle Sky."

"The color of the sky on Lake Elowin was periwinkle purple," says Melinda. "I went up there with Ryan, and we wrote 'Periwinkle Sky.' We came back, recorded it with the band, worked it out/arranged it, recorded the song and went back to Lake Elowin and shot the music video. So, it was full circle."

The Dahls' "Periwinkle Sky" video

"Periwinkle Sky" and "Feathers" are two of the more lighthearted songs on the album, but Midnight Picnic also delves into the darker moments of life.

"For me, I want listeners to be transported into the experience of the songs. As you go through the lightness of 'Periwinkle Sky' and the darkness of 'Dark Side,' there's a journey in between the songs and the stories," says Caitlin. "Because, often times, the only way through the darkness is to follow the light. Life is full of ups and downs – don't we know."

As Caitlin pauses, I feel like she is specifically alluding to one of the darkest moments in the family's life, the sudden and tragic death of the twins' older sister and wildly talented artist, Lauren "Lolo" Dahl, in 2004. But neither twin chooses to remain overcome by sadness for too long.

"Life can be really challenging. There are moments of pure and utter joy and happiness. You want to really take advantage, go for the happiness if you're feeling it. Write those happy songs and really embrace them. Then, when you're in a darker place, having a bad day or a bad break-up – that's part of life, too," Melinda says. "It's so nice to be able to channel all that energy into something creative where you feel it's like therapy. It's like a catharsis, writing a song – especially the dark ones."

"It feels so good when it's all out on the table," says Caitlin.

No matter what life throws at them, the Dahls always choose to weather the storm together.

"We always joke that we'll definitely end up together when we're 80. We'll be roomies in the old folks home," says Caitlin with a laugh.

Midnight Picnic is currently available. For more information, visit

The Dahls' "Dark Side" video 

Thursday, June 28, 2012


Object of my teenage obsession: Slash (Travis Shinn)

Guns N' Roses, Metallica and Motörhead

Oct. 3, 1992 @ The Rose Bowl (Pasadena)

While most girls my age were obsessing over the guys on "Beverly Hills, 90210," my good friend Victoria was head over heels in love with Axl Rose and I was totally infatuated with Slash. Guns N' Roses posters and magazine photos of the guitarist covered my bedroom walls. So much so, that my mom would often proclaim how hesitant she was to go into my room because of all those "scary pictures."

When Use Your Illusion I and II came out, Victoria and I would talk on the phone for hours, dissecting every song while simultaneously watching the "November Rain" video on MTV (her puking at Stephanie Seymour, me drooling over Slash's solo). Once the huge stadium tour was announced, we made a pact to go together. However, my mom had seen footage of the riot at the Missouri concert and wasn't about to her 15-year-old go alone. I finally convinced her to let her best friend's 20-something son, Mike, chaperone Victoria and I to the show. It was all we could talk about for the next few months: our dreams of sneaking backstage and, more practically, our plans on how to smuggle a camera into the show.

Finally, the day arrived. And after an hour-long lecture from mom about how we should never leave Mike's side and the hour-long trek to Pasadena from Orange, we stood in the Rose Bowl parking lot – Victoria with a disposable camera lodged between the back of her neck and her lace turtleneck. At this point, I'm not even sure where Mike wandered off to, but he had his ticket so we were sure that we would meet up him at our seats on the floor.

All I remember of Motörhead's set was thinking that Lemmy didn't look as ragged as expected for being ancient at 47 and us singing "Ace of Spades" over and over. Likewise, Metallica's set is sort of a blur. I do remember excitedly screaming when the first strains of "One" could be heard and feeling bad for James Hetfield's burned and bandaged arm.

But all hell pretty much broke loose when Slash's guitar riffs filled the stadium, and the band roared onto the stage with "Welcome to the Jungle." The audience was jumping around so much that Victoria and I could barely remain standing on our chairs, but it didn't matter. We were having the time of our lives being bounced around  to "Mr Brownstone" and "It's So Easy."

GNR cooled things down a bit with a cover of Paul McCartney & Wings' "Live and Let Die" and Duff taking over lead vocals for a cover of "Attitude" (Misfits). Right about then, Mike finally sauntered to his seat, just in time to partake of whatever the guy next to him was passing around (Ha, what a chaperone!). Besides "Nightrain" and "Patience," they mainly stuck to Use Your Illusion tracks, including "Bad Obsession," "Yesterdays," "Double Talkin' Jive," "You Could Be Mine" and "Estranged." Matt Sorum had a wicked solo after "Civil War," while Gilby Clarke and Slash added unique flourishes to between-song breaks: The Godfather theme song, bits of "Wild Horses."

As the show drew to a close with "Paradise City," I remember Victoria and I held hands and yelled every word right back to the stage. Even though we knew that we would never run off and elope with Axl and Slash, we were still almost in tears because we were so happy just being there together, watching our favorite band and making a memory we would cherish forever.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Events for June 27-July 2

Royal Teeth





Royal Teeth @ The Library @ The Redbury (Hollywood)
New Orleans is known for its glorious food and amazing music, and this six-piece continues to build on that musical tradition. Garnering attention with the release of last year's Act Naturally EP and making their way from New Orleans to CMJ, SXSW and finally to Los Angeles this week, Royal Teeth energize stages with their thoughtful lyrics and infectious dance beats.



Levitated Mass @ LACMA (Mid-City West)
After making news during the boulder transport last March, Michael Heizer's Levitated Mass finally opened over the weekend. Since it's located in the outdoor sculpture park, you can view Levitated Mass for free, and if you live along the boulder's transport route, you can also get free admission to LACMA's galleries through July 1 if you bring proof of residence in one of the zip codes listed here.


"The Tony Clifton Revue" @ Comedy Store (West Hollywood)
Two years ago, Andy Kaufman's alter ego took over the Comedy Store for four sold-out nights and created a hunger for more nights of comedic bedlam. Finally Tony Clifton is back tonight, tomorrow night and every Friday in July, bringing the music of the Cliftones and the burlesque routines of the Cliftonettes with him.


Check Yo Ponytail 2 @ The Echoplex (Echo Park)
Definitive Jux founder and CEO, El-P, journeys to the West Coast to takeover the 1s and 2s at CYP2. Also spinning tonight are Killer Mike, Mr. Muthafuckin Exquire and Despot.



M. Shawn Crahan @ Book Soup (West Hollywood)
Crahan, aka Clown, of Slipknot is not only one of the band's percussionists and founding members, he is also its art director and creative visionary. Away from the band, Crahan is quite passionate about photography, which is evident in his new book, The Apocalyptic Nightmare Journey, that he'll present and sign at Book Soup.

Men of Magic Mike (Warner Bros. Entertainment)


In Theaters This Week
Channing Tatum, Alex Pettyfer, Matt Bomer and Joe Manganiello take it all off in the Steven Soderbergh-directed Magic Mike; Alex Kurtzman, co-creator of "Fringe," directed, co-wrote, co-produced Chris Pine and Elizabeth Banks in People Like Us; Seth MacFarlane makes his jump to the big screen with Ted; Also in theaters: Beasts of the Southern Wild; Neil Young Journeys; Tyler Perry's Madea's Witness Protection



Greatest Hits Party @ Royal/T (Culver City)
The cultural events space is moving from its current location at the end of August. What better way to celebrate the past five years than to throw a party? From 8 p.m. to 9 p.m., past Royal/T curators will be on hand to walkthrough the space and discuss pieces. Then the party kicks in at 9 p.m. with desserts, DJs and performances, all capped off with a midnight toast.


Labyrinth @ Cinespia (Hollywood)
"You remind me of the babe."
"What babe?"
"The babe with the power."
"What power?"
"The power of voodoo."
"Who do?"
"Do what?"
"Remind me of the babe."
God, I love this movie!!!


Vegan Pizza Day
Besides a Vegan Pizza Crawl in Echo Park (25% off dine-in, vegan deep-dishes at Masa, 15% off vegan slices at Two Boots, two vegan slices for $4 at LA Pizza Co, specials at Mohawk Bend and $1 off draught beers for pizza crawlers with receipt at Sunset Beer Company) other restaurants across the city are participating. Get 10% off all vegan fare at EVO Kitchen (West Hollywood), 20% off at Pizza Cookery (Woodland Hills) and specials at Pizzanista! and Urbano Pizza Bar (Downtown), M Cafe de Chaya (West Hollywood) and Cruzer Pizza (Los Feliz).


MxPx @ House of Blues Sunset Strip (West Hollywood)
This summer marks the 20th anniversary of the pop punk trio, and they kick off their celebratory tour this weekend, starting Friday night in Anaheim, before heading across the country and over to Europe and Asia.



Ben Harper, Fitz and the Tantrums, Vieux Farka Touré @ Hollywood Bowl
Part of KCRW's World Festival, the night is hosted by Garth Trinidad and headlined by the soulful Harper. Having released his 10th studio album, Give Till It's Gone, last year, the singer-songwriter is as honest as ever, both on the record and on stage.

American Royalty



American Royalty, The Orwells @ The Echo (Echo Park)
Psychedelic blues-rock trio American Royalty begin their Monday-night July residency bringing tracks from their latest offering, Matchstick, to the stage. The vocals of Marc Gilfry and Billy Scher take you on a sonic journey, from heart-wrenching soul to eerie and electronic, that promises to be even more powerful live. In the lineup for the evening, Chicago's the Orwells, who release their debut album Aug. 7.

Tashaki Miyaki @ Bootleg Theater (Silver Lake)
Dark but hauntingly beautiful, the male-female duo generated buzz with their cover of the Everly Brothers' "All I Have to Do is Dream" before releasing a debut EP last fall. Catch them at an intimate hometown show before they graduate to the bigger leagues.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

STREET SIGNS - L.A.'s Teachers

Overlooking the Yoshinoya parking lot at the northeast corner of Wilshire Boulevard and Alvarado Street across from MacArthur Park stands Héctor Pónce's 1997 mural entitled Los Angeles' Teachers. Originally from El Salvador, Pónce worked as a commercial sign painter in Mexico as he developed his artistic skills and vibrant style. After moving to Los Angeles, he began to paint murals all over the city, including the massive portrait of the Beatles, Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley and Arnold Schwarzenegger on the Harvey Apartments in Hollywood.

Los Angeles' Teachers is significant because it captures actor Edward James Olmos (before he became Adama in "Battlestar Galactica") with Jaime Escalante on the set of 1988's Stand and Deliver. Escalante, whom Olmos portrays in the film, was a ground-breaking math teacher at East Los Angeles' Garfield High School. Escalante passed away in 2010, but through Pónce's mural, he continues to inspire many of the city's teachers and youth who pass it every day.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Bernard Yin of Astra Heights

Bernard Yin digs into Cha Cha Chicken's Mulato Cubano sandwich.

BERNARD YIN of Astra Heights

At Cha Cha Chicken

1906 Ocean Ave., Santa Monica

One of the inspirations for JIGSAW was the amount of musicians I know who are total foodies. And Bernard Yin, lead guitarist for Astra Heights, definitely loves food.

"I just finished touring Europe with a band that doesn't pay terribly much, but my primary motive whenever I tour with them is that we go to cities with amazing food. If I knew that the food was not going to be part of the package, I wouldn't do it. It's that important," he says.

Bernard meets me at one of his usual neighborhood haunts, Cha Cha Chicken, where he enjoys the Caribbean-fused-with-Latin cuisine a few times a month. His favorite dish, the Jerk Chicken Enchiladas, is comprised of the restaurant's signature Jamaican-style chicken wrapped in tortillas and smothered in a sweet, spicy mango pineapple sauce. He's also a big fan of their Aguas Frescas (seasonal fresh fruit waters). Today, he decides to try the Mulato Cubano and a blended watermelon and cantaloupe ague fresco, which is quite refreshing on this hot summer day. The sandwich is well worth the wait when it arrives. A crispy Cuban baguette is pressed around shredded chicken breast, cheese, lettuce, pickles and mustard. The chicken is juicy and so tender that little bits keep falling away from the sandwich.

Cha Cha Chicken in Santa Monica
Since Bernard has lived in Los Angeles for 20 years, he also loves Mexican food.

"I eat Mexican food almost every day. I've got this route, I know where to go for the best huevos rancheros, fish taco, [etc.]. There's a place called Gilbert's up on Pico – the vibe is great, and it's definitely a place where you prepare to get really stuffed. Paco's Tacos on Centinela is pretty well known. The tortillas are made right then and there. That's a very powerful thing. There's a place, a real hole in the wall on Lincoln right near Pico on the southeast corner. I go there a lot for a veggie burrito. Mariscos Guillen La Playita is fantastic and mind-boggling inexpensive. … The culture clash or the blending of cultures that you see here in L.A., it's so well exemplified when you see these taco trucks with like, the Korean taco – all these funny hybrids of food genres."

Fusion cooking is something that Bernard is used to. His mother is Greek but was born and raised in France, and his father is Chinese, so he grew up being exposed to a lot of different foods.

"My mom would make traditional Greek Tiropita – a phyllo dough triangle stuffed with feta cheese and herbs – and Spanakopita. She would also make souffles. I grew up eating rabbit in urban America. The French eat rabbit a lot, and I know the taste of rabbit very well. From my father's side I know the taste of duck. … My dad cooks very well too. He loves to prepare a slab of salmon, garnished and dressed up with a lemony, tangy element going on. He does make a mean pancake – as all Chinese people are supposed to," he says with a wink.

Another benefit of growing up in a multicultural household was a wide variety of music.

"My mother, for example, loved that Eydie Gormé album, Canta en Español, which anybody from Latin culture knows even though it's at least 35 years old. It's this amazing collection of standard Spanish love songs that you hear every mariachi play. She did it with such panache with Trio Los Panchos. So, there I was with a Greek-French mother and a Chinese dad listening to Spanish music (by a non-Hispanic, mind you!). Even to this day, it's one of my favorite records."

Bernard's love for music blossomed when his family relocated to San Diego from the San Francisco Bay Area.

"I no longer could hang out with my friends, I had no life. The guitar was handy, so I started playing a few random things. I was always listening to AM radio. All through the '70s you could turn on an AM station and you would hear an impressive variety – Sly Stone, Deep Purple, America, Helen Reddy, Olivia Newton-John, John Denver, Grand Funk Railroad and all the British Invasion and post British Invasion stuff and pre-disco Bee Gees – all on one station. As a musician it's kept me stimulated because I enjoy a variety of music. The other day I jammed with Norwood Fisher, the bassist from Fishbone, and I'm working with some projects right now that have nothing to do with the direction that he's got. The variety keeps me from getting sick of it and selling my guitar."

Aside from Astra Heights, Bernard has played with arrests such as El Vez, the Fuzztones, the Zodiac Club, the Animators, Pansy Division, Medicine and the MiGs. He has also produced material for Marisable Bazan and created music for film and television shows like "Dexter."

Cha Cha Chicken is just a block away from Bernard's house, as well as one of his usual surf spots. 

"I surf almost daily. My favorite spots aren't always the nearest, sometimes you have to settle to just get some surfing under your belt for the day. Out of convenience I surf right here at Bay Street and the waves are semi-decent there often enough, and it's walking distance. It's so rejuvenating and stimulating. As far as L.A. goes, all the way up the coast there are different spots. Sometimes it's good at Zuma, sometimes it's not. Sometimes it's good in Malibu, sometimes it's not. The list goes on. They call it a Surfing Safari because you're looking and hunting for a wave."

Another of Bernard's passions is fishing, which he got into from spending a lot of time around water with his dad, an underwater marine photographer. The self-proclaimed "obsessed angler" also loves the artistry of making his own flies. Besides working a day job in marketing, composing instrumentals for licensing and performing with bands, this modern-day Renaissance man certainly deserves to enjoy his downtime eating good food, surfing and fishing.  What else does he do to relax?

"I sleep. Almost every day I take a nap. That's huge!"

For more information, visit

Friday, June 22, 2012

L.A. HAVENS - Rewind Audio

(Courtesy of Rewind Audio)

Rewind Audio

1041 N. Alvarado St., Los Angeles (Echo Park) 213-273-8904

I was on the hunt for a new record player, and the moment I walked through the door of Rewind Audio I knew I was in the right place. The new M. Ward album was being spun on one of the many vintage turntables for sale, and I took it as a sign of their good taste.

Twelve years ago, married couple Jennifer and Oscar Carpinteyro began scouring estate sales for audio equipment. They opened Rewind Audio in 2010 with the intent of keeping e-waste out of landfills by refurbishing and selling pre-owned turntables, amps, receivers, cassette players and instruments at an affordable price.

My vintage turntable purchased from Rewind Audio
A true mom-and-pop store, you're sure to find at least one of the Carpinteyros on hand at all times to answer questions and make suggestions. Oscar walks me through their inventory, explains the pros and cons of every turntable and lets me listen for the difference as each one plays a record. I finally settle on a 47-year-old United Audio Dual 1019 turntable (at a very competitive price with what I've seen on e-Bay), which I am totally in love with now.

Besides offering a wide selection of equipment to purchase, Oscar also does repairs. As he shows me some pieces that people have brought in for him to fix, he shares a story of how the owner of one particular item accidentally dropped her turntable as soon she got home and had to turn right back around and have him fix it again. Remembering details like this about his customers and equipment is a true sign of someone who takes joy in his craft. Both Carpinteyros are passionate about what they do, and it's evident by their five stars on Yelp that the community has noticed.

Hours are Tues, Thurs-Sat: noon-7 p.m.; Wed: noon-3 p.m.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

REMEMBER WHEN - Billy Idol/Faith No More

Billy Idol (

Billy Idol and Faith No More

Oct. 27, 1990 @ Pacific Amphitheatre (Costa Mesa)

I was pretty lucky growing up. Both of my parents loved going to concerts. From Diana Ross, Kool and the Gang and Tito Puente to Kenny Rogers, Dolly Parton and Willie Nelson (Yes, my dad was an Asian cowboy.), my sisters and I got dragged to a lot of really eclectic shows.

I chose this concert as my first "Remember When" column because it was the first show that I actually begged my parents to buy tickets for. I was only 13, so of course they had to tag along with my 7-year-old sister. But they let me bring two friends, so I was excited. They purchased lawn seats, so that my sister could just lie down if she got tired. Looking back on it now, I'm not sure what they were thinking.

The combination of artists on the bill might seem a little weird now, but at the time, both Faith No More and Billy Idol were fixtures on MTV. FNM were riding high on the success of their "Epic" single. Everyone knew of the song's video with the exploding piano and fish flailing around on the ground. It was also the world's introduction to the awesome craziness that is Mike Patton.

Everything started out fine, Patton even managed to lull my sister and dad to sleep with his cover of the Hershey's white chocolate ad jingle. Although, most of the audience knew he wasn't really referring to white chocolate when he was extolling the virtues of his "creamy white, dreamy white."
But then the band ripped into their heavier stuff, jumping around the stage and whipping the crowd into a frenzy. People on the lawn began to mosh and … set fire to bits of trash. It was so fantastic: my first taste of rock 'n' roll mayhem! My mom started yelling at my dad to wake up, but somehow we managed to calm her down so we could stay for at least some of Idol's set.

As Idol's crew set up, a huge fist with "Rude Dude" painted on its fingers was unveiled to be hovering over center stage. The singer had just been in a near-fatal motorcycle accident eight months previous, but it didn't matter, he still managed to slither his way around the stage to "White Wedding," "Dancing With Myself" and his latest hit, "Cradle of Love."

Meanwhile, the ruffians around us were containing their fires to the metal trash cans randomly dotting the field and emanating an odor that definitely wasn't from cigarettes. Then the Rude Dude fist started to rotate, and its middle finger began to rise. ACK! This was the final straw for my mom, who promptly gathered us up and hurried us towards the exit.

As we made our way to the parking lot, strains of "Eyes Without a Face" wafted down to us, and I was in a kind of dream state. My inner Catholic school girl rebel had fallen in love. I wanted more of the adrenaline rush that surrounded me all evening – from the performers on stage and the crowd's screaming, slamdancing bodies. This was definitely the beginning to a beautiful addiction.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Events for June 20-26


What better way to make 5 p.m. on Friday get here sooner than to start planning the rest of your week right now? Here are the top picks for concerts and other events happening around town.

Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan (Credit: Kim Fox)




The Fug Girls @ Barnes & Noble (The Grove)
Go Fug Yourself is one website that I make sure to visit at least once a day. If you can't laugh at Katy Perry traipsing around the MuchMusic Awards in a nude bodysuit with bedazzled privates, I most likely do not want to associate with you. Not only are Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan witty fashion bloggers, they're published authors. Messy, the sequel to their debut young adult novel Spoiled, just hit stores, and they'll be discussing and signing copies at the Grove tonight, as well as Vroman's in Pasadena on June 24.




Vans Warped Tour @ Orange County Great Park (Irvine)
Whether you're 14 or 24, nothing says it's summer like spending a day under the sun at Warped. The three L.A.-area shows are all this week (tomorrow in Pomona and Sunday in Ventura), so there's really no excuse to miss at least one of the dates. Newer bands not to check out: Dead Sara, Hyro Da Hero and Stepdad. For fans of the older school, Anti Flag performs on all three days and MxPx singer and bassist Mike Herrera is doing a solo acoustic set in Pomona. For everyone in between: Taking Back Sunday, the Used and New Found Glory.

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (20th Century Fox)





In Theaters This Week
The highly-anticipated Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter from the innovative director of Wanted, Night Watch and Day Watch, Timur Bekmambetov; Pixar's latest animated treasure, Brave, features my favorite Scottish actress, Kelly Macdonald ("Boardwalk Empire"); Steve Carell and Keira Knightley in Seeking a Friend for the End of the World; Henry Thomas is Hank Williams in The Last Ride; Woody Allen in Italy (To Rome With Love)

James Bond Weekend

Satisfy your 007 fix with a weekend full of Bond double features. Friday @ The Aero (Hollywood): Goldeneye and Tomorrow Never Dies; Saturday @ The Egyptian Theatre (Hollywood): The World Is Not Enough and Die Another Day; Sunday @ The Aero: Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace



Nancy Silverton and Matt Molina @ Williams-Sonoma (Beverly Hills)
Do you start drooling uncontrollably at the word 'Mozza'? Grab a napkin and head to Williams-Sonoma Beverly Hills where Silverton – the chef behind Pizzeria Mozza and Osteria Mozza – and Molina – the chef in charge of both kitchens – are signing copies of The Mozza Cookbook: Recipes from Los Angeles's Favorite Italian Restaurant and Pizzeria. Most importantly, they will also be doing a cooking demo.

Jenny Lewis (Warner Bros. Records)



The Avett Brothers @ Nokia Theatre (Downtown)
Where punk meets bluegrass for a modern-day honky tonk, you have the Avett Brothers. It doesn't matter if it's Seth or Scott Avett at the mic, either of their emotive vocals pull at your heartstrings and cause entire venues to break out into song. Another of favorite part of their shows is watching cellist Joe Kwon sing along and playfully jump around to songs like "Kick Drum Heart" and "Laundry Room."

Jenny Lewis @ The Observatory (Santa Ana)
Sorry, but you'll have to head beyond the Orange Curtain for this one since her Largo shows on Wednesday and Thursday are already sold out. This is your only other chance to see her (rescheduled from last October) I Heart CALI tour. Her solo albums, Rabbit Fur Coat and Acid Tongue, are in constant rotation on my playlists, but there's really no substitute for experiencing her magnetic charm and wicked pipes in person. She'll also be performing June 24 at Hollywood Bowl as part of Glen Campbell: The Goodbye Tour with Dawes, Lucinda Williams, Jackson Browne and Kris Kristofferson.

The Ramones, shot by Ian Dickson (




Who Shot Rock & Roll: A Photographic History, 1955 to the Present
Through Oct. 7 @ Annenberg Space for Photography (Century City)
I'm sure you've seen the lamp post banner ads for this all over town, and the exhibit is finally opening. Curated by Gail Buckland, author of the 2009 book this first major museum exhibition of rock photography is based on and shares its name with, Who Shot Rock & Roll presents 175 images from over a hundred photographers, like Annie Leibovitz, Richard Avedon and Ian Dickson. Just pick an era, and many of its most influential artists are represented: Chuck Berry, the Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Joy Division, Fugazi, U2, etc.

Rebel @ J.F. Chen (Hollywood)
Today is the last day of James Franco and MOCA's exhibit inspired by the film Rebel Without a Cause. A collection of photography, painting, film, video installation, sculpture and drawings by artists that include Terry Richardson, Ed Ruscha and Harmony Korine, the pieces explore themes from the film as well as its off-camera drama.




The Cult with Against Me! and The Icarus Line @ The Palladium (Hollywood) 
"Fiiiiire, smoke she is a rising." – ahh, that takes me back to seventh grade. I am just as curious to see how well the Cult frontman Ian Astbury has held up as most people probably are to see Laura Jane Grace at the helm of Against Me! on Saturday.

New Edition @ Nokia Theatre (Downtown)
This one also takes me back to grade school. I'm not going to lie, I know pretty much every word on their Heart Break album. Sorry all of you NKOTB and BSB fans, they've got nothing on "Ronnie, Bobby, Ricky and Mike" (Ralph and Johnny).

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

STREET SIGNS - Wrinkles in the City

One of my favorite things about Los Angeles is street art. Whether it's a mural, graffiti, wheatpasting or an object hanging from a telephone wire, you never really know where you'll come across an installation. I'll be sharing some of my favorite pieces with you through JIGSAW's Street Signs section.

This particular piece, located at 1759 Glendale Blvd. (Echo Park), is part of French artist JR's Wrinkles in the City series from last year. The TED Prize-winning artist left his mark on Los Angeles, from Downtown to Venice, with his massive photos of elderly faces and body parts pasted onto the sides of various buildings.

When I first saw this one, I thought it was a tribute to George Carlin – just using a really unflattering photo. With his crazed eyes the yelling old man is frightening but also perhaps a bit mischievous. You can see more of JR's projects at

Monday, June 18, 2012

Bradley Hanan Carter of NO

Bradley Hanan Carter at his favorite table in the courtyard of Silverlake Juice and Tea


At Silverlake Juice and Tea (Now Sprouted Garden Café)

2813 W. Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles (Silver Lake)

Anyone who gets to know Bradley Hanan Carter soon learns of his passion for music and his obsession with coffee. So when I ask the New Zealand transplant to name his favorite spot in his neighborhood, it's only fitting that he replies with a café: Silverlake Juice and Tea.

From its unassuming storefront, Silverlake Juice and Tea seems like your average juice bar/coffee shop, but after grabbing a cup of his usual Coconut Latte (containing sweet bits of freshly shaved coconut) Bradley leads me past three grandiose archways into the heart of the place – a beautiful courtyard full of wooden tables and chairs, lanterns and camel statues. Having opened just over a year ago, the café shares the outdoor space with the Indian-Mexican street food restaurant next door, Cowboys & Turbans, since they're both owned by chef Baba Ji.

While organic juices and ingredient-packed smoothies are $5.50-$7, a large cup of coffee or tea is just $2. Silverlake Juice and Tea also offers a small selection of food items – sandwiches, salads, muffins. After seeing the courtyard, speaking with the friendly baristas/juicers behind the counter and glancing at the tongue-in-cheek drink names (Cacao Me Crazy, J-Bieb, Happy Hippie), it's clear why Bradley loves it here.

"I just live about a five-minute walk up the road [in Echo Park]. I've come up with really good lyrics here just sitting in the sunshine and taking in the atmosphere," he shares. "I like to get out of the house since I record and live in the same place. It's nice to get out and have a little walk down the road. This is a good place to meet everyone, it's easy to get to. There's not too many sanctuaries like this around Silver Lake, where you can just go and sit somewhere and kind of hide away if you want. I could sit here all day, have a few coffees and work on stuff – write, read e-mails, do whatever I have to do."

Besides hanging out at Silverlake Juice, vocalist/guitarist Bradley has been hard at work with his band NO. Formed in 2010 with bassist Sean Daniel Stentz, guitarist/keyboardist Reese Richardson, drummer Michael Walker and keyboardist/guitarist Ryan Lallier, the group decided to spend a year writing before recording their debut EP, Don't Worry, You'll Be Here Forever, entirely at Bradley's house on Mohawk Street.

"We wanted to write some songs we could believe in. We wanted to create some hope because it had been a really hard few years for all of us. I think when you can put some sort of hope in music, then other people maybe can feel that too," says Bradley. "Music really is the only thing that is always there for you, no matter how shit things get."

Once the EP was recorded, NO began to perform publicly. Their first show was Nov. 9, 2011 at the Satellite, and with the EP's release, a Monday-night residency at the Echo, a West Coast tour and performances at SXSW all last March, they haven't stopped since. Garnering attention from L.A. Weekly, KCRW and Time magazine, NO is steadily building a solid fanbase while doing everything completely on their own.

Overall, Bradley loves Echo Park for the cafés like Silverlake Juice and Tea, as well as the kinship he feels with other residents.

"This neighborhood is really good because you can just walk out, have a drink and go see a show. I love the Monday night thing [the free Monday-night shows at the Satellite and the Echo] because there's always a band playing," he says. "It's a really good community of artists and music, and everyone's pretty chill."

"There's a lot of people doing really good things, and it's inspiring when you go out and see your friends doing well. It makes you work harder. I think we're all kind of in the same boat here. Nobody's really showy. No one's got like lots of money, and if they do, it's not about that. It's not about what you've got and what you've done. It's more about who you are," he continues. "It's the first time I've felt that in L.A. to be honest. Most people here [in Echo Park] are just doing their stuff because it's what they want to do. It does create an honesty, and I've really enjoyed that. I mean none of us have got any money, we're just doing this because we love it [laughs]. I love when we play a show and people sing along – that's getting paid."

For more information, visit

NO's video for "Stay With Me," directed by Ryan Reichenfeld:

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Puzzle Piece in the Cement

Just noticed this imprint of a JIGSAW puzzle piece in the cement in front of our house. Sweet synchronicity.

Monday, June 4, 2012


"They've been outcasts all their lives." —The Rolling Stones, "Jig-Saw Puzzle"

We're all searching for that place to fit in, the one spot that makes us feel like we're really a part of our neighborhood and this City of Angels that we call home. Whether it's the café that provides that perfect cup of coffee, a shop where hours pass like minutes in the search for rare vinyl or a hiking trail where inspiration for the next great mystery novel is found, JIGSAW celebrates these special havens.

After years of interviewing celebrities about their latest projects, I wanted to do something that gave a little more insight into their personalities and inspired readers to get out and enjoy their own neighborhoods. So I've created JIGSAW, where musicians, authors, actors and other artists will share their favorite L.A. places through exclusive interviews and photos. I will tell some of my own special L.A. stories too. As you read about our special nooks in Los Angeles, I hope you're compelled to seek out your own missing puzzle pieces.

—Yuri Shimoda