Theme Parks: If you don't want to stay home to hand out candy to trick-or-treaters or battle the throngs of people at West Hollywood's annual Halloween Carnaval, you still have three more nights to visit one of the SoCal theme park's annual Halloween haunts. There's Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios where you can dodge zombies in a prison like the one in "The Walking Dead" or try to escape demons from Evil Dead, Insidious. This year's Knott's Scary Farm Haunt has five new mazes, an Elvira stage show and the always entertaining "Hanging" with a gothic fairytale theme. Not to be outdone, Queen Mary's Dark Harbor offers six mazes (including a new circus-themed one), live musical performances, a burlesque show, costume contests and rides.
L.A. Haunted Hayride @ The Old Zoo (Griffith Park) Tonight is the last night to experience the annual attraction that is "Based on Actual Events" of murder and paranormal activity that haven occurred at the park. There's also the In Between that has you navigating the maze in utter darkness and the Purgatory sideshow with a ride, psychic readers, the House of Mirrors, live shows and more. Scream @ Exposition Park (South Los Angeles) If you want a slightly tamer experience, Street Food Cinema hosts a screening of Wes Craven's 1996 slasher film. Written by Kevin Williamson, Scream stars Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox and David Arquette. Komodo, Dogtown Dog, the Wing Joint and other food trucks are scheduled to be on hand, and DJ Steady State will be spinning all night long.
FRIDAY, NOV. 1
In Theaters This Week Domhnall Gleeson and Rachel McAdams in Richard Curtis' About Time; Michael Polish's adaptation of Jack Kerouac's Big Sur, with Jean-Marc Barr, Kate Bosworth, Josh Lucas and Henry Thomas; Dallas Buyers Club stars Matthew McConaughey as an AIDS-stricken electrician who refuses to give up on life. Also starring Jared Leto and Jennifer Garner; Naomi Watts in Diana; I'm such a fan of Orson Scott Card's sci-fi novel, Ender's Game, (and its Ender's Shadow companion) that I sincerely hope that the film version doesn't disappoint. With a cast headed by Asa Butterfield, Harrison Ford, Hailee Steinfeld and Ben Kingsley, I've got my fingers crossed; James Franco's Sal Mineo biopic, Sal. Also in theaters: Bastards; The Broken Circle Breakdown; Capital; Free Birds; Krrish 3; Last Love; Last Vegas; Man of Tai Chi; Nosotros los Nobles; A Perfect Man
SATURDAY, NOV. 2
DAY OF THE DEAD
Dia de Los Muertos @ Hollywood Forever Cemetery (Hollywood) The
theme for the 14th annual celebration is El Magico Mundo de Los
Alebrijes, the brightly colored folk art sculptures of fantastical
creatures. From noon to midnight, you can enjoy the procession, over 100
altars, Aztec ritual dancers, an art exhibition, costume contest,
Mexican cuisine and arts and crafts. Don't miss performances by Saul
Hernandez, Ceci Bastida, Chicano Batman and Quitapenas.
No-Ho Zombiewalk @ Metro Red Line Station at Lankershim/Chandler (North Hollywood) Put
on your finest zombie make-up and take part in this walk along
Lankershim Boulevard, from the Metro station to Huston Street.
HARD Day of the Dead @ L.A. State Historic Park (Elysian Park) This year's festival features two days of musical acts on four stages, so make sure to wear some comfortable shoes. Saturday's lineup includes Skrillex, Nero, Boys Noize, Bloody Beetroots, Kavinsky, Glaslamp Killer and Wolf + Lamb. The following day is even better with Deadmau5, Calvin Harris, Pretty Lights, Cut Copy and, of course, Destructo.
SUNDAY, NOV. 3
Taste of Venice @ Electric Lodge (Venice) The even highlights the neighborhood's culinary talent while supporting Inside Out Community Arts. It kicks off with a VIP Reception at 3 p.m. hosted by Adam Gerler and Jet Tila, with fare from Chaya Venice, Café Gratitude, Tasting Kitchen, Barnyard and more, along with music, cocktails, demos from local chefs. From 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., you can go on a walking/tasting tour of some of the best restaurants on Abbot Kinney, including my favorite Joe's. There's also Hal's, Willie Jane, Primitivo and Abbot's Pizza, among others, to visit.
MONDAY, NOV. 4
Desaparecidos @ The Fonda (Hollywood) The Nebraska five-piece released their only album, Read Music/Speak Spanish, in 2002, but finally released new material last year. The original lineup of Conor Oberst on vocals/guitar, Landon Hedges on bass/vocals, Matt Baum on drums, Denver Dalley on guitar and Ian McElroy on keyboards reunites for a national tour that stops in Los Angeles tonight. With lyrics that are definitely more political charged and more explosive melodies than the frontman's main Bright Eyes project, be forewarned: your ears will be ringing from the sonic assault on your eardrums at a Desaparecidos show.
TUESDAY, NOV. 5
Muse Live at Rome Olympic Stadium @ Vista Theatre (Los Feliz) If you missed the British trio the last time they swung through town, then here's your chance to see their first concert film in 4K ultra high definition in my favorite L.A. movie theater before it comes out on CD/DVD and Blu-Ray Dec. 2. Shot in July of this year, the film captures what the band calls their biggest tour – which translates to your average group's stadium shows on steroids – complete with pyrotechnics, huge digital screens and a troupe of actors complimenting hits like "Uprising," "Supermassive Black Hole," "Time Is Running Out" and "Starlight." The screening begins at 9:45 p.m.
"Play Dead" @ Geffen Playhouse (Westwood) The opening minutes of the show, created by magicians Todd Robbins and Penn & Teller's Teller, are performed in total darkness, setting the tone for a terrorizing and mesmerizing evening. Be prepared for some gruesome yet brilliant tricks woven with crafty storytelling and telepathy in this production that takes a look at life, death and the in-between.
"William Mulholland said, 'There it is. Take it.' Some people think that should be the motto of Los Angeles, but I think it's a little crude. What I love about L.A. is that this is where everybody comes to dream and work. We all have day jobs; we work our asses off," Dance Hall Pimps frontman RJ Comer says as we begin our walk through his favorite place in the city, Hollywood Forever Cemetery. "The people who are here in this amazing cemetery in the shadow of Paramount Studios, they came to Los Angeles to dream and work."
Ever since his family migrated from the Midwest (Chicago and Milwaukee) to Simi Valley when he was 14, RJ has been doing just that: working to pursue his musical dreams. In 2009, he formed Dance Hall Pimps as the vocalist/banjoist/guitarist with Jeff Jourard (the Motels) on lead guitar, and the group – that currently includes Vic "Baron" Migenes on drums, Eddie Fish on bass, Steve Carr on saxophone, clarinet and flute, Daniel Alexander on keyboards and Philip Fiorio on trumpet – is poised to release the follow-up to their debut album ( last year's Beast for Love), entitled The Dead Don't Walk, next week (Nov. 5). In spite of being in the midst all the preparations for the record's unveiling and release show happening Nov. 2 at the Mint, RJ graciously takes time to give me the best, most detailed tour of a chosen locale that I've been on thus far.
Hollywood Forever boasts as rich and colorful a history as many of the personalities who are buried throughout its 62 acres. Founded in 1899 by Isaac Lankershim and Isaac Van Nuys, the cemetery became the final resting place for the likes of philanthropist Griffith J. Griffith (Griffith Park and Griffith Observatory) and L.A. Times founder Harrison Gray Otis and played a big part in the growth of early Hollywood, sharing a wall with Paramount Studios. It was owned by convicted felon/millionaire Jules Roth for a period when it fell into disrepair but was eventually restored and refurbished by Tyler and Brent Cassity when they purchased the property in 1998 and was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The moment we meet at the front entrance, RJ hands me a map and begins pointing out landmarks within the cemetery – the Abbey of the Psalms where his favorite jazz saxophonist Art Pepper's crypt is, the dedicated Jewish and Buddhist areas. His excitement is contagious, and we start picking up the pace walking over to his favorite section.
"Hollywood Forever is one of my favorite places to come and just chill. What I love about it is, you can come here and just sit. Whether you want to see a mobster [Benjamin "Bugsy" Siegel's crypt is in the Hall of Solomon.], or if you want to reflect, it's such a beautiful, peaceful place. I especially love it at sundown," he says of the cemetery's park-like atmosphere. "It's a great place to get away from the constant to-do list of living in L.A. and all the administrative duties of being a musician running a band. This place helps me get connected to the creative side and helps me remember why I do this."
Growing up, RJ was surrounded by music from his mother (a classically trained singer who performed with big bands, was choir director and played the organ in church), in addition to the folk and bluegrass his ukulele-playing father and banjo-strumming grandfather exposed him to at campfires and sitting on porches.
"I was a boy soprano with the red cassock and white surplice in the church choir. One of my first jobs was singing 'Ave Maria' at countless weddings. I also spent about four years in the professional theater, doing musical comedy, singing, acting and dancing on stage. Then my voice changed, and I lost my job. That's tough," he laughs.
Living in a house full of all different kinds of music is something that RJ feels he really benefitted from, but he actually found the true musical love of his life on his own.
"Little known to my father ( who was not a big fan of the blues) and my mom (who taught me all about Tommy Dorsey, Glenn Miller and the big bands), I fell in love with the blues," he admits. "One of the most memorable performances in my life was when I was little and begged them to stay up late because I heard B.B. King was going to be on 'The Tonight Show.' I remember watching him and saying, 'That's what I want to do.'"
We come upon one of the places RJ likes most in the cemetery, the Garden of Legends, and he shows me the grave of Tom Reddin, the Los Angeles Police Department chief when "Dragnet" first aired. Memorials to Cecil B. DeMille, John Huston, Fay Wray, Jayne Mansfield and Hattie McDaniel are located in this area, too.
"This is one of my favorite places in the cemetery. I love all these little mausoleums. Being sort of gothic guy, the idea of having a little mausoleum with a creaky iron door and your name on it, that appeals to me," he says with a grin before assuring me that it is OK for us to walk on the grass over graves. "If somebody reaches up and grabs us then…," he laughs.
Since Halloween and Día de Los Muertos are just days away, I don't find his comment very funny. Hollywood Forever hosts one of the city's biggest Day of the Dead events every year, which RJ finds great delight in dressing up for.
"What I love about the celebration here is that the suggested attire is 'mourning attire,' so I get to wear my cutaway coat, double breasted vest, ascot and top hat," he smiles.
We walk over a bridge to the Lake Island Mausoleum erected by William Andrews Clark, Jr., the founder of Los Angeles Philharmonic, and RJ takes a little stroll down memory lane.
"Inside there are several internments with Italian mosaic tiles. When I first came here and met the guys who run Hollywood Forever, someone in the group had been a deacon in the Catholic Church and had learned to sing Gregorian chants like I used to sing. We went inside, closed the doors, lit candles and he sang, 'Ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est,' which is Latin for 'Where there is charity and love, there is God.' It was so beautiful," he remembers. "I also met Eric Garcetti, who was the council member of this district for so long and is now the mayor, on these steps. He was having an event when he was running for council for the first time, and this is right where I met him."
Ramones bassist Dee Dee Ramone is buried on the northwest side of the lake, and to the southwest is a statue memorializing the band's guitarist, Johnny, which is our next stop. The ax man's wife holds an annual Johnny Ramone Tribute cancer benefit at the cemetery, and it's also the site where RJ got his first taste of the legendary foursome's live performances.
"We were here when they projected Rock 'n' Roll High School against the mausoleum wall, and they played footage from the Ramones' London New Year's Eve concert for the first time ever. It was really cool because I had never seen the Ramones in concert. They played every song at 90-million miles an hour, every song was less than two minutes and they never took a break," he says in amazement.
Hollywood Forever frequently screens films when it hosts the popular Cinespia film series every summer. Old horror movies, film noir and Bob Fosse musicals are responsible for a lot of inspiration in RJ's songwriting, and while we pass the resting place of movie legends Douglas Fairbanks and Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., we discuss the expansion of the Dance Hall Pimps' sound to include horns and harmonica on the new album.
"When we don't have horns, we have harmonica [on The Dead Don't Walk]. It's something I always envisioned. When the band first started we had a keyboard player who was also a trumpet player, so he would cross the stage to play either instrument. It was great, but I really wanted a dedicated horn section and a keyboard player. On this record, that's what we did, and now it's what the band is – we have a trumpet/saxophone player and a keyboard player. I would love to have a trombone player because I'm an old-school guy. "
This is a statement that RJ repeats several times as we venture into the Cathedral Mausoleum where the crypts of Rudolph Valentino, Harvey Henderson Wilcox and Peter Lorre can be found.
"The stained glass windows on each end of the mausoleum are Tiffany stained glass. It's a breathtaking place," RJ tells. "My home has a lot of stained glass in it as well. I have a 1909 California bungalow that has a huge stained-glass door, and there's stained glass in my study. I guess I'm just an old-school guy, what can I say? That's why I love this place."
He further demonstrates his old-school flair when listing some of his other favorite places in Los Angeles: the Roosevelt, Musso & Frank, the fountain at Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. Nowhere is the confluence of all RJ's influences from past eras more evident than in the songs he creates with Dance Hall Pimps. From cabaret and blues rock to Americana and surf rock, the group bends genres into a sound that is all their own.
"We don't do the cabaret thing much anymore, that's where we started. Now we've settled into where my roots are: blues and blues rock. I wish there was a real market for cabaret because I love it, but in today's music world the money is in music licensing and publishing. Cabaret doesn't have legs from a commercial standpoint, but I do love the theatricality of it. You think about what covers we have done – Screamin' Jay Hawkins, Lou Reed, David Bowie – we're obviously into theater," RJ states with a laugh. "On the first record, we had 'I Put a Spell on You and 'Walk on the Wild Side. This record we have [Creedence Clearwater Revival's] 'Bootleg,' which was an accident frankly, and 'Sorrow' which wasn't an accident at all. I've always wanted to do something by Bowie."
Interesting cover songs aren't the only thing that the two Dance Hall Pimps albums have in common. Their covers both display an image of a werewolf.
"The first album cover was done by James O'Barr, who created The Crow, and the record was very much centered in the horror genre where we came from (cabaret, "The Rocky Horror Show"). We're getting away from that on this new record, but it's not a complete departure. So we have the monster, but he's just a shadow. He's behind the man, whereas with the first record he was the subject," he explains. "What we're trying to convey is that there's always going to be a little darkness, a bit of playful, dark horror in what we do. That's why it's in a shadow against the wall. When you listen to tracks like 'Voodoo Bar' and 'Population 100,' they're like the cabaret of Dance Hall Pimps' first record, but when you listen to the first few tracks they're all straight love songs with a dark, macho twist."
There is no doubt that The Dead Don't Walk's first five numbers are just that, straight-up love songs with a macho twist. Opener "A Safe Place to Land" is a heartfelt message to RJ's wife. "Love Ain't Just a Feelin'" calls for love to be shown through action and behavior, not selling your heart short and demanding to be treated well. The title track doesn't refer to zombies but to those relationships you just can't quit easily even though you should, while the fifth, "No Survivors," has lyrics inspired by "Sons of Anarchy."
"I went to Jeff Jourard to write a song for this record. He comes to me with three riffs, and those three riffs are so powerful that I just decided to write lyrics in between them. At the time, I was powering through all the episodes of 'Sons of Anarchy,' so the lyrics were all tough, slightly demonic motorcycle guy. When we went into the studio to record it, the lyrics were too demonic, so I changed them all at the last second. I wrote the lyrics you hear on the record five minutes before walking into the booth to record because I really wanted to capture a human motorcycle gang, not a demon motorcycle gang," RJ laughs.
In all seriousness, The Dead Don't Walk is a major step away from being a cabaret, party band for Dance Hall Pimps. They have crafted personal stories of love and loss into songs anyone can relate to and come back to listen to time and again. There really is something for everyone, as illustrated in the special guests on the album: blues singer and harmonica player Jimmy Wood, hard rock legend Terry Ilous (Great White, XYZ) and, representing metal's new guard, Holy Grail's James-Paul Luna. The album is dedicated to the former talent booker and assistant manager of the Roxy, Jeff Cahill, who passed away earlier this year.
"The Roxy was the first venue on the Sunset Strip that got us," RJ says. "We're this band where everybody is over 40, with a weird, eclectic sound that's not traditional for the Sunset Strip. They agreed to give us our first show in the big room on a Monday at 11 p.m. We got 80 people in that room, and they became believers. They booked us ever since, and Jeff gave us our first residency at On the Rox."
As an Angeleno, RJ has spent a lot of time on the Sunset Strip and has some amazing memories from shows there.
"[I saw] Guns N' Roses play the Roxy before they got signed. Guns N' Roses is one of the greatest bands of all time; their first record is amazing – 'Sweet Child O' Mine,' 'Welcome to the Jungle,'" he says. "When you think of quintessential rock 'n' roll, that's got to be in the time capsule. That, and '(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction.' I never got to see the Stones when they were young, but I got to see Guns N' Roses, Buckcherry and all those great rock bands that tore the Sunset Strip up."
Being at Hollywood Forever Cemetery has also stirred up memories from Dance Hall Pimps' shows past, as RJ describes the record release show for Beast for Love that took place on these very grounds.
"Our first record release show was here in the masonic lodge in the main building. It's one of the coolest venues in L.A., and it was amazing. The masonic lodge is a beautiful place. The stage is long and not very high, so we built a stage over the stage, a runway. We transformed it into a total rock 'n' roll venue," he recalls. "We had over 350 people here; it was a huge show. There was no way we were going to top that, so we decided not to even try. For [The Dead Don't Walk's release] show we want it close, sweaty and small – like a New Orleans joint."
Dance Hall Pimps are sure to have the Mint packed with sweaty, dancing bodies on Nov. 2, and you never know which of The Dead Don't Walk's special guest contributors might take the stage and join the fun.
The Dead Don't Walk will be available Nov. 5. Dance Hall Pimps perform Nov. 2 at the Mint. For more information, visit dancehallpimps.com.
Arcade Fire – Reflektor (Merge) I can't stand it when detractors dismiss Arcade Fire as being too dramatic. From the first time I experienced the Montreal group headed by Win Butler and Régine Chassagne perform live at Coachella in 2005, they won me over with their anthemic songs and infectious spirit of fun. I have never felt put off by the passion they exude from the stage at any of their shows since and was happy to hear their ability of rocking with carefree abandon captured on Reflektor. Their fourth album was produced by LCD Soundsystem's James Murphy, and with its punched-up dance grooves, you can feel his touch on every track. He doesn't overwhelm, though, as the album's primary themes of the Greek Orpheus myth and Chassagne's parents' homeland of Haiti are woven throughout. If you aren't already addicted to the title track, you will fall in love with "Flashbulb Eyes," "Here Comes the Night Time" and "You Already Know."
The Devil Makes Three – I'm a Stranger Here (New West) The trio of singer/guitarist Pete Bernhard, guitarist/banjoist Cooper McBean and stand up bassist Lucia Turino have found boundless inspiration on the road since leaving their rural Vermont hometown for their new base in Santa Cruz, Calif. and playing festivals and stages across the country. Ten of these road songs find their place on the band's fourth album, recorded with producer Buddy Miller at Dan Auerbach's Nashville studio, and they're some of the Devil Makes Three's darkest (both lyrically and sonically) and biggest sounding yet. Coming to terms with mortality ("Dead Body Moving"), friends' addiction battles ("Mr. Midnight") and relationship struggles ("Worse or Better") are all documented on I'm a Stranger Here, as is the destruction of Hurricane Katrina and the flood in Brattleboro ("Forty Days") with guests the Preservation Hall Jazz Band.
Minor Alps – Get There (Barsuk) The debut effort from the collaboration between Juliana Hatfield and Nada Surf's Matthew Caws is a a departure from most of their past work but terrific in its own right. The two artists wrote each of the 10 tracks together, share lead vocals and play every instrument (except for some drumming and programming by Parker Kindred and Chris Egan) on Get There. Their harmonies are beautiful on songs like "Far from the Roses," "Radio Static" and "Waiting for You." Catch them at the Echoplex Nov. 12. Also available – Alterprod's Class Struggle; Bad Religion's Christmas Songs; Bad Things' self-titled; Body Parts' Fire Dream; Botany's Lava Diviner; Bottomless Pit's Shade Perennial; Dead Letter Circus' The Catalyst Fire; Diane Coffee's My Friend Fish; Ed Kowalczyk's The Flood and the Mercy; Far-Out Fangtooth's Borrowed Time; Jace Everett's Terra Rosa; Jonwayne's Rap Album One; Juana Molina's Wed 21; Julie Roberts' Good Wine and Bad Decisions; Kelly Clarkson's Wrapped in Red; Laurel Halo's Chance of Rain; Linkin Park's Recharged; Loves It's All We Are; MellowHigh's self-titled (Oct. 31); Moonface's Julia with Blue Jeans On; Mutation's Error 500; Pampers' self-titled; Protest the Hero's Volition; Quelle Chris' Ghost at the Finish Line; Quiet Life's Wild Pack; Robert Glasper Experiment's Black Radio 2; Russian Circles' Memorial; Seether's 2002-2013; Sepultura's The Mediator Between Head and Hands Must Be the Heart; Skeletonwitch's Serpents Unleashed; The Songs of Tony Sly: A Tribute; Survive This!'s The Life That You've Chosen; The Swellers' The Light Under Closed Doors; Thomas Rhett's It Goes Like This; Trace Adkins' King's Gift; Vandana Jain's Anti Venus; White Denim's Lemonade Corsicana; Yamantaka // Sonic Titan's UZU; Yancey Boys' Sunset Blvd.; Zula's This Hopeful
Isabel Beyoso – "Mm-Mm Spell" The L.A. singer-songwriter debuted the new video for the first single from her album, It's Time, today. Check out "Mm-Mm Spell" below:
The Pioneer Woman Cooks: A Year of Holidays by Ree Drummond (William Morow) I am totally obsessed with Ree Drummond's "Pioneer Woman" show and frequently replicate many of her recipes at home. The blogger, bestselling author, photographer and "accidental cowgirl" releases her third cookbook today, and it's definitely going on my Christmas list. She shares ideas and 140 recipes for every special event you might find yourself hosting, from brunches and dinner parties to Halloween and Fourth of July. She beat Bobby Flay in a Thanksgiving "Throwdown" three years ago, and you can find some of those dishes in the 19 recipes she shares in A Year of Holidays' Thanksgiving section. The cookbook sold out in mere seconds when it debuted on QVC a few weeks back, so I know I'm not alone in my obsession.
Also available –The 21-Day Sugar Detox by Diane Sanfilippo; After Dead by Charlaine Harris; A Cruel and Shocking Act by Phillip Shenon; Codex Seraphinianus by Luigi Serafini; Dark Witch by Nora Roberts; The De-Textook by Cracked.com; The Hogwarts Library boxed set by J.K. Rowling; Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh; Monsters by Rich Cohen; Pok Pok by Andy Ricker; S. by Doug Dorst; Stitches by Anne Lamott; The Southerner's Handbook by the Editors of Garden and Gun; Their Life's Work by Gary M. Pomerantz; Tune In by Mark Lewisohn; What's So Funny? by Tim Conway
Film –Monsters University tells the story of how beloved monsters Mike (Billy Crystal) and Sulley (John Goodman) met and became friends. Also with the voices of Steve Buscemi, Helen Mirren and Sean Hayes; Byzantium stars Gemma Arterton and Saoirse Ronan as two mysterious women with a shared secret; Ryan Reynolds and Jeff Bridges are undead police officers in R.I.P.D.
Music – Bruce Springsteen's Springsteen & I; CeeLo Green's Loberace Live in Vegas; Celtic Woman's Home for Christmas: Live from Dublin; Joe Bonamassa's Tour de Force: Live in London; Lady Antebellum's Live on This Winter's Night; Move Me Brightly: Celebrating Jerry Garcia's 70th Birthday TV –Damages: The Complete Series; Cook's Country: Season Six; Degrassi: Season 12; Family Tree: The Complete First Season Also available –All Hallows' Eve; Bounty Killer; Bye; Cars 3D; ESPN Book of Manning; Free Samples; Glass: Perfect American; Heartland Christmas; Margarita; Night Vision; Out in the Dark; Running Mates; Santa Claus Conquers the Martians; Silver Bells; The Snow Queen; Surrendered; Switchmas; Tabu
Crystal Fighters @ The Fonda (Hollywood) The Basque/UK-based quintet recorded their latest album, Cave Rave, here in Los Angeles with Grammy-nominated producer Justin Meldal-Johnsen (Beck, Air, Paramore) and return to town to share the new songs with Angelenos. Be prepared to dance, because practically every track off their sophomore release is guaranteed to get you moving, from opener "Wave" to "LA Calling," "Love Natural" and "Are We One." They combine traditional folk instruments from their native land with African beats and synthesizers for completely unique dance music.
FRIDAY, OCT. 25
In Theaters This Week Pulitzer Prize-winner Cormac McCarthy's first original screenplay, The Counselor, immerses a lawyer in the underworld of drug trafficking, is directed by Ridley Scott and boasts an impressive cast that includes Michael Fassbender, Penélope Cruz, Cameron Diaz, Javier Bardem and Brad Pitt; Spinning Plates is a documentary that follows three restaurants (Grant Achatz's Alinea in Chicago, Breitbach's Country Dining in Balltown, Iowa and La Cocina de Gabby in Tucson, Ariz.) and their stories of family, legacy, passion and survival. Also in theaters – Blue Is the Warmest Color; Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa; The Pin; Torn
SATURDAY, OCT. 26
Muse Costume Ball @ LACMA (Mid-City West) If you want to mix some art into your Halloween fun, then LACMA's 10th annual event is for you. Aside from the modern art in the museum's galleries, you can view Chris Burden's Metropolis II, Bruce Nauman's For Beginners, Richard Serra's Band, John Divola: As Far As I Could Get and See the Light – Photography, Perception, Cognition: The Marjorie and Leonard Vernon Collection. There is also a contest for Best Black-and-White Costume, Best Classic Movie Monster and Best Ghost of Hollywood Past and entertainment from Clairy Browne and the Bangin' Rackettes, Zombie Joe's Underground Theatre Group and a DJ set from Theophilus London.
Glasser (Jonathan William Turner)
KCRW's Masquerade @ The Legendary Park Plaza Hotel (Westlake) The
station's fifth annual costume ball and dance party adds live screen
printing by Hit + Run, Harlow Gold's vintage burlesque revue (Blind
Tiger) and Haunted Dancehalls to its usual costume contests, macabre
storytellers, artisan food trucks, five themed rooms with music from
KCRW DJs like Jason Bentley, Anne Litt, Liza Richardson and Chris
Douridas, performers from Lucent Dossier and the Bella Donnas and Shana
Koenig's amazing Solar Sculptures. The lineup of musical acts is not to
be forgotten, either: Glasser, DJ Dave Sitek, Har Mar Superstar, the
Lions, Grizfolk and DJ sets from Thievery Corporation's Rob Garza, Dale
Earnhardt Jr. Jr. and Tom Chasteen's Dub Club.
SUNDAY, OCT. 27
Sausage Fest @ Fig (Santa Monica) Chef Ray Garcia throws his second annual Sausage Fest (tee hee) with contests, live music and more. Participating chefs include Primal Alchemy's Paul Buchanan, Haven Gastropub's Greg Daniels, BierBeisl's Bernhard Mairinger, Ray's and Star Bar's Kris Morningstar, Short Order's Christian Page and Little Fork's Jason Travi. All hail meat in tube form. L.A. Sriracha Festival @ Lot 613 (Downtown) Organized by Food GPS and Randy Clemens, author of The Sriracha Cookbook, the afternoon pays tribute to the world's most iconic hot sauce. There are themed dishes and desserts aplenty from stations manned by Westly Avila (Guerrilla Tacos), Ernesto Uchimura (Plan Check), Tai Kim (Scoops), Neal Fraser (BLD, Fritzi Dog), Eric Greenspan (the Foundry) and more. Don't worry, you can fight the heat in your mouth with plenty of local craft beer, cocktails and sodas while enjoying live DJ sets.
"The Black Suits" @ Kirk Douglas Theatre (Culver
City) One of the best moments in "Smash" was when you heard Jimmy
Collins (Jeremy Jordan) sing for the first time, sitting at a piano
belting out "Broadway Here I Come." The incredible song was penned by
Joe Iconis, who is the composer and lyricist behind this world-premiere
musical. "The Black Suits" follows a Long Island band as they try to win
a battle of the bands and, more importantly, as they move from
adolescence to adulthood.
TUESDAY, OCT. 29
Danny Elfman's Music from the Films of Tim Burton @ Nokia Theatre (Downtown) There was a time when Halloween was always commemorated by Oingo Boingo's Dia de Los Muertos shows, and this string of three nights is sure to stir up lots of Angelenos' memories from those concerts. They also mark Danny Elfman's first live U.S. performances in 18 years. He is joined by the Hollywood Symphony Orchestra and the Page LA Choir conducted by John Mauceri in a celebration of his compositions from the many Tim Burton films he's worked on. The music is accompanied by visuals from those films that include Edward Scissorhands, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Beetlejuice, Pee-Wee's Big Adventure, Alice in Wonderland and more.
WEDNESDAY, OCT. 30
Lucha VaVoom @ The Mayan (Downtown) For two evenings, Lucha VaVoom's Mexican masked wrestlers, burlesque dancers and comedy troupe take over the Mayan for a Halloween extravaganza. The nights include stripteases from stars like Michelle L'Amour, an all-mini Battle Royale and the return of the flying luchadore Stuka. You can get in on all the costumed fun on either night, but on Halloween there will be a special contest with a $250 prize.
Gov't Mule @ The Fonda (Hollywood) The Southern rock jam band just released a new album, Shout!, which features a second disc with vocal interpretations from Elvis Costello, Dr. John, Ben Harper, Jim James, Grace Potter and more. This show is special for many reasons: It celebrates the release, keeps with their annual tradition of throwing a Halloween-themed concert and features Robby Krieger of the Doors sitting in with the group. Definitely the show not to miss this week.
The Black Hollies – Somewhere Between Here and Nowhere (Ernest Jenning) The title track from the Black Hollies' new album grabbed me from its opening lines ("hey hey hey, oh ay oh"), and the rest of Somewhere Between Here and Nowhere is just as addictive. Formed by three members of Rye Coalition – Justin Morey, Herbert Wiley and Jon Gonnelli (as well as White Hills' Nick Ferrante on drums) – the Black Hollies spent three years crafting their fourth album in their hometown of Jersey City, N.J., and the constant recording and rearranging has resulted in some of their best work to date. There's the danceable "Unless It's My Imagination," dreamy "Wake Me When it's Over" and fuzzy walls of pure rock "When It's Time to Come Down."
David Dallas – Falling Into Place (Dawn Raid/Dirty/Duck Down) The United States has yet to embrace a foreign hip-hop artist as wholeheartedly as we do our own, aside from Canadian Drake. New Zealand rapper David Dallas throws his hat into the ring with his first American full-length, Falling Into Place. He has already released two albums in his native country, and both made it onto the charts in addition to garnering him Best Urban Album at the New Zealand Music Awards and Best Male Artist at the Pacific Music Awards. The new album's standout track is "Runnin'," the lead single that you might recognize if you watch ESPN or from the "FIFA 14" soundtrack and "Madden 25" trailer.
Gringo Star – Floating Out to See (My Anxious Mouth) A lot has changed for the Atlanta band since the release of their debut All Y'all and even since Count Yer Lucky Stars from 2011. Their third album, Floating Out to See, marks the only time they have worked without a producer, mixer or engineer to record entirely in a home studio. The 13 tracks are also the first to have been created solely by the Furgiuele brothers since third writing member Pete DeLorenzo parted ways with the band. Although past influences culled from music played by their grandfather who started worked in radio during the 1940s and '50s find their way onto the album in whispers of artists like Buddy Holly, Santo & Johnny, the Stooges and Sam Cooke, Gringo Star are clearly cutting their own path with songs such as "Find a Love," "Taller" and "The Start."
Poliça – Shulamith (Mom + Pop) Something's definitely in the water in Minnesota; the Midwest area has turned out some remarkable indie acts in the past few years. Bon Iver, Dessa, Gayngs and Poliça, who present the follow-up to their Give You the Ghost debut from last year, to name just a few. Founded by Gayngs' Ryan Olson and Gayng's contributor Channy Leaneagh, the group's sophomore effort continues to put forth slick electropop with seething beats enriched by Leaneagh's soft and ethereal vocals. Named for feminist Shulamith Firestone, the album questions cultural norms from energetic opener "Chain My Name" to the smooth "Tiff" that features Bon Iver's Justin Vernon and pulsating rhythms of "Matty." Dance along with the band in person when they stop at the Fonda on Nov. 20.
Also available – AFI's Burials; Anoushka Shankar's Traces of You; Black Hearted Brother's Stars Are Our Home; Brandy Clark's 12 Stories; Cage's Kill the Architect; CFCF's Outside; Dead Gaze's Brain Holiday; DJ Khaled's Suffering from Success; DJ Rashad's Double Cup; Drop Electric's Waking Up to the Fire; Hot Since 82's Little Black Book; Love to Love You Donna remix tribute to Donna Summer; Lynx's Light Up Your Lantern; Katy Perry's Prism; Machinedrum's Vapor City; Meek Is Murder's Everything Is Awesome, Nothing Matters; Men's Labor; Motörhead's Aftershock; Omar Souleyman's Wenu Wenu; Orbé Orbé's Invisible Kingdoms; Polly Scattergood's Arrows; P.O.S.'s WDELH/MDS/RMX; Ryan Hemsworth's Guilt Trips; The Strumbellas' We Still Move on Dance Floors
In Stores This Week –Allegiant by Veronica Roth; Days of Fire by Peter Baker; Extortion by Peter Schweizer; The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt; I Heart My Little A-Holes by Karen Alpert; The Map and the Territory by Alan Greenspan; The Power of Right Believing by Joseph Prince; Sycamore Row by John Grisham; Things That Matter by Charles Krauthammer; We Are Water by Wally Lamb; Week in a Day by Rachael Ray; Well Fed 2 by Melissa Joulwan
Film – In Before Midnight, the story of Jesse and Celine picks up almost two decades since their first meeting, and once again the film's leads Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke wrote the screenplay with director Richard Linklater; Patrick Wilson, Vera Farmiga and Ron Livingston in James Wan's The Conjuring; The Internship's Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson are salesmen trying to find their place in the digital age; Ryan Gosling reunites with Drive director Nicolas Winding Refn for Only God Forgives, which is set in Bangkok's criminal underworld; The Way, Way Back stars Steve Carell, Toni Collette and Allison Janney
Music – Def Leppard's Viva! Hysteria; Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert; Hugh Laurie's Live on the Queen Mary; Morrissey's 25: Live; Sara Bareilles' Brave Enough: Live at the Variety TV –Nikita: The Complete Third Season; Primeval New World: The Complete Series
Also available –As Cool As I Am; Black Friday: Dark Dawn; Dead in Tombstone; I Give It a Year; King's Faith; Leviathan; Love, Sex & Missed Connections; Return of the Killer Shrews; Shepard & Dark; Standing Up; Storm Rider; This American Journey; Waiting Room; The Wall
Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros
(Laure Vincent Bouleau)
Edward Sharpe's Big Top @ L.A. State Historic Park (Elysian Park)
Although huge red-and-white tents have popped up on its grounds, Big Top is no ordinary circus. The new festival experience, created and curated by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, takes over the park for the next four evenings with a wide array of activities that include vaudeville comedy, contortionists, magic, acrobats, puppetry, carnival games, interactive performance art from Lucent Dossier, beer gardens and a unique farmers' market. Of course there is music as well, kicking off with acts such as Fool's Gold tonight, Rocco DeLucca Friday, Frank Fairfield Saturday and Aaron Embry on Sunday. Each night, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros perform an intimate, in-the-round set.
FRIDAY, OCT. 18
In Theaters This Week 12 Years a Slave is Steve McQueen's epic based on the autobiography of Solomon Northrup (Chiwetel Ejiofor), a free black man who was kidnapped and sold into slavery, and also stars Michael Fassbender, Benedict Cumberbatch, Paul Dano, Alfre Woodard and Brad Pitt; Robert Redford is stranded at sea in All Is Lost; James Franco directs an adaptation of William Faulkner's As I Lay Dying, in which he stars with Danny McBride and Logan Marshall-Green; Broadway Idiot, a documentary following the process of turning Green Day's six-times Platinum American Idiot album into a Broadway musical; Chloë Grace Moretz and Julianne Moore in Carrie, a reimagining of the 1976 classic; The Fifth Estate follows the early days of WikiLeaks with Benedict Cumberbatch as Julian Assange and Daniel Brühl as Daniel Domscheit-Berg; The story of how Allen Ginsberg (Daniel Radcliffe), Jack Kerouac (Jack Huston) and William Burroughs (Ben Foster) were brought together by murder, Kill Your Darlings. Also in theaters: Big Ass Spider!; Escape Plan; God Loves Uganda; Hellbenders; I'm in Love with a Church Girl; Red Wing
SATURDAY, OCT. 19
Festival Supreme @ Santa Monica Pier (Santa Monica)
Tenacious D always puts on fun shows, mashing comedy and music together, so they decided to create a new comedy and musical festival. The lineup includes Patton Oswalt, Zach Galifianakis, Adam Sandler, Fred Armisen, Princess (Maya Rudolph and Gretchen Lieberum), Sarah Silverman, Reggie Watts, Neil Hamburger, Nancy and Beth (Megan Mullally and Stephanie Hunt) and, of course, Kyle Gass and Jack Black. Aside from the live entertainment, there are free arcade games, specialty cocktails and food vendors like Border Grill, Poke Poke, Fritzi Dog and Strawberry Fields.
Alton Brown @ Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts (Cerritos)
it's baking a pie or roasting a turkey for the first time, whenever I
try something new in the kitchen the first thing I do is watch an Alton
Brown video on the subject. The best-selling author, "Good Eats" host
and Food Network regular possesses a gift for translating the complex
scientific principles behind cooking into easy-to-follow instructions on
how to concoct dishes on your own. I am forever faithful to his biscuit
recipe; it has never failed me. He brings a mix of food
experimentation, stand-up comedy, multimedia lecture and live music to
Orange County this evening with his Edible Inevitable Tour.
Rebel Bingo (Filip Milenkovic)
Rebel Bingo @ 333 Live (Westlake)
must confess that I am a sucker for bingo. I even used to carry around a
bingo dabber pen in my purse. Rebel Bingo, however, is nothing like the
nursing-home game. Invented in a London church hall basement, rules and
refinement are thrown out the window on these game nights. Instead, you
can expect loud music, dancing, drinking, DJs, profanity-laced number
calling, 'punishment' for claiming to have bingo when you don't and
unorthodox prizes. Don't wear anything you wouldn't want covered in
marker because you will inevitably be drawn on.
Halloween Double Feature @ Electric Dusk Drive-In (Downtown)
Get into the spirit of the season with two Halloween favorites. First up is Tim Burton's Beetlejuice from 1988, which follows a recently deceased couple (Alec Baldwin and Geena Davis) as they become ghosts and try to scare away their home's new inhabitants under the tutelage of the mischievous "bio-exorcist" title character played by Michael Keaton. Whenever I hear "The Banana Boat Song," I immediately think of this movie. To follow is the 1982 horror classic, Poltergeist, that is going to scare the bejesus out of you.
SUNDAY, OCT. 20
Story of the Year @ House of Blues (West Hollywood)
"And here I am, pouring my heart onto these rooftops… From up here the city lights burn like a thousand miles of fire, and I'm here to sing this anthem of our dying day." I have such great memories of sitting in a car with friends on the roof of a parking structure on the Sunset Strip, belting out the lyrics of "Anthem of Our Dying Day" from Story of the Year's debut album, Page Avenue. It's hard to believe it's been 10 years since its release, especially because it seems like just yesterday that I interviewed the St. Louis natives before a show a week after the album came out. It was so inspiring to be surrounded by these musicians who were so full of passion and hopes for the future. Page Avenue has since become a classic to those who love the genre, and to honor its anniversary, SOTY just released an acoustic/reimagining of the record, Page Avenue: Ten Years and Counting, and embarked on a celebratory tour that hits the Strip tonight.
MONDAY, OCT. 21
Shohreh Aghdashloo @ Book Soup (West Hollywood)
The award-winning actress shares her incredible life's story in The Alley of Love and Yellow Jasmines, which released over the summer. The memoir begins with her childhood in Teheran when her passion for film was born. It moves through the early years of her marriage, the 1979 revolution that toppled the Shah and saw the start of the stifling reign of Ayatollah Khomeini, her escape to Europe and eventually Los Angeles. She shares her struggles in assimilating to the new culture and breaking barriers in Hollywood. Aghdashloo has one of the most unique voices, both literally and as an author, so it's going to be a great experience to hear her discuss her story at Book Soup where she is also set to do a signing.
TUESDAY, OCT. 22
The Dig @ The Satellite (Silver Lake)
The New York quartet celebrates today's release of their new EP, You & I, with a show at the Satellite. The group's two vocalists, Emile Mosseri and David Baldwin, have been making music together since age 11, and when they met keyboardist/guitarist Erick Eiser, they began cultivating the Dig's sound. Joined by drummer Mark Demiglio, the band craft intelligent and catchy songs characterized by tight harmonies, gorgeous synths and sharp guitars. It's a real treat to see the songs translated to a stage in a venue as intimate as the Satellite.
WEDNESDAY, OCT. 23
"Evita" @ Pantages Theatre (Hollywood)
The Tony-winning musical, with music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyrics by Tim Rice, returns to the gorgeous Pantages in a new production directed by Michael Grandage (Tony-winner for "Red") and choreographed by Rob Ashford (Tony-winner for "Thoroughly Modern Millie"). If you've seen the 1996 film adaptation that starred Madonna and Antonio Banderas, then you know the story is based on Eva Perón's rise from the slums of Argentina to the presidential mansion with unforgettable songs like "High Flying, Adored" and "Don't Cry for Me Argentina."
Bunny Explosion is located on a wall just west of the Brig as you approach the Farmacy at 1509 Abbot Kinney Boulevard in Venice Beach. The animals make frequent appearances in the work of artist Max Neutra, a Venice native who painted the piece last year. Whenever I look at the mural, the phrase 'pull a rabbit out of the hat' comes to mind, and indeed, Neutra's style is often full of whimsy and the unexpected.
The Avett Brothers – Magpie and the Dandelion (American) The North Carolina band, fronted by Scott and Seth Avett, release an eighth album that is full of the folk, bluegrass, punk, country, rock and ragtime blend the Avett Brothers have come to be known for. The 11 tracks were recorded during the same sessions as their effort from last year, The Carpenter, with powerhouse producer Rick Rubin, who also produced their I and Love and You album from 2009. It's no surprise, then, that Magpie and Dandelion packs just as many thoughtful, somber ballads – and less screeching vocals – as those two albums. Have some Kleenex handy, because you'll be shedding tears as you sing along to every word of tracks like "Good to You" and "Apart From Me." The Dismemberment Plan – Uncanney Valley (Partisan) The groundbreaking D.C. foursome's first album in 12 years was recorded by longtime collaborator J. Robbins (Jawbreaker, The Promise Ring), produced by the band and Jason Caddell, and mixed by Paul Q. Kolderie (Pixies, Radiohead). Perhaps the years apart are just what the Dismemberment Plan needed to come back and record with fresh perspective. Uncanney Valley exudes a playful exuberance from the opening lines of its first track, "No One's Saying Nothing," and that energy remains throughout songs such as "White Collar White Trash" and "Let's Just Go to the Dogs Tonight," making for a energetic, fun listen. Witness the new album, as well as older favorites, brought to the Fonda stage on Dec. 12.
Gary Numan – Splinter (Songs from a Broken Mind) (Machine Music) Co-produced by the electro/industrial pioneer and his longtime collaborator Ade Fenton, Splinter (Songs from a Broken Mind) marks Numan's 20th studio album. Nine Inch Nails guitarist Robin Finck provides snarling riffs that pair with pulsating synths to give texture to the backdrops for Numan's vocals. The artist relocated to Los Angeles from his native England at the end of last year, and Angelenos have heartily embraced him: His Oct. 17 and 18 shows at Hollywood Forever's Masonic Lodge sold out in minutes. You can still catch him perform songs from the new album, and signing some copies, at Amoeba Hollywood tomorrow (Oct. 16) at 6 p.m.
Lucius – Wildewoman (Mom + Pop) It's pretty impossible to not get up and dance from the opening bars of the title track from the NYC quintet's debut, Wildewoman. Adding stellar vocal harmonies by Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig, heart-pounding percussion and hand claps (yes!), to their infectious hooks has made Lucius a "band to watch" as dubbed by TIME and Rolling Stone. "Turn It Around," "Hey, Doreen" and "Tempest" are guaranteed to get you moving, and even stripped-down tracks like "Go Home" and "Two of Us on the Run" capture your attention. They blew the roof off the Echo in August and won't be back in town for a while, but that just means you'll have plenty of time to memorize the lyrics to your favorite tracks.
Tristen – CAVES (Pupsnake) Tristen Gaspadarek's follow-up to her acclaimed 2011 debut, Charlatans at the Garden Gate, sees the Nashville-based singer-songwriter stepping into the synth-pop realm, mixing electronic and live instruments for an electrifying sophomore release. She artfully marries these new tones with touches from her past influences that range from Dolly Parton and Madonna to the Beatles, Bob Dylan and David Bowie on CAVES, produced by Bright Eyes' Mike Mogis and mixed by Stephen Hague (New Order, Pet Shop Boys, OMD). Tristen's vocals captivate, from the buoyant first single, opening track "No One's Gonna Know," to the break-up ballad "Easy Out" and the darker "Winter Night, which was inspired by the Boris Pasternak poem of the same name. She performs in Los Angeles this Friday, Oct. 18, at Hotel Café.
Also available – American Babies' Knives & Teeth; Annie Mac Presents 2013 compilation; Beats Antique's A Thousand Faces – Act 1; Black Milk's No Poison, No Paradise; Boardwalk's self-titled; Boldy James' My 1st Chemistry Set; Brian Haas & Matt Chamberlain's Frames; Cass McCombs' Big Wheel and Others; Courtesy Drop's Songs to Drive to; Cry, and Make Love To; Crystal Antlers' Nothing Is Real; Cults' Static; Devin the Dude's One for the Road; Dom Kennedy's Get Home Safely; Doomriders' Grand Blood; Eye Candy's A Tell All; Field Study's Feverland; The Head and the Heart's Let's Be Still; Heavenly Beat's Prominence; I Am King's Onehundred; Icon for Hire's self-titled; James Ferraro's NYC, Hell 3:00 AM; Kwes.' ILP; Linda Thompson's Won't Be Long Now; Lizzo's Lizzobangers; The Lonely Forest's Adding Up the Wasted Hours; Luke Temple's Good Mood Fool; Marijuana Deathsquads' Oh My Sexy Lord; Mike Donovan's WOT; Music from the Motion Picture Carrie soundtrack; Morcheeba Head Up High; Nobunny's Secret Songs: Reflections from the Ear Mirror; Paul McCartney's New; Pearl Jam's Lightning Bolt; Red City Radio's Titles; Red Fang's Whales and Leeches; Scotty McCreery's See You Tonight; Shad's Flying Colours; Shine 2009's Our Nation; Silence the Messenger's Achilles; Tancred's self-titled; Tim Hecker's Virgins; TLC's 20; Toad the Wet Sprocket's New Constellation; Trivium's Vengeance Falls; Willie Nelson's To All the Girls…; Wymond Miles' Cut Yourself Free; Young Dro's High Times
Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy by Helen Fielding (Knopf) The flawed heroine returns, but she's not living the happily-ever-after existence fans of Fielding's 1996 introduction to Bridget Jones's Diary (and its The Edge of Reason sequel) might have expected. First off, SPOILER ALERT, Darcy is dead, leaving Bridget to face middle age and to raise their two children alone. As she deals with life as a single mother, Bridget ventures into the world of dating once again, but with modern-day technology and the Internet's dating tools at her disposal. And yes, Bridget Jones is now a cougar. Follow her continuing struggles with her weight and men, as well as the new challenges that parenthood brings.
Also available –The Caterpillar Way by Craig T. Bouchard; The Duck Commander Devotional by Alan Robertson; The Everything Store by Brad Stone; The Family by David Laskin; Humans of New York by Brandon Stanton; Identical by Scott Turow; Johnny Carson by Henry Bushkin; Just One Evil Act by Elizabeth George; The Kennedy Half-Century by Larry Sabato; The Last Dark by Stephen R. Donaldson; Orr by Bobby Orr; Police by Jo Nesbø; The Reason for My Hope by Billy Graham; Revealed by Kristin Cast; Shores of Knowledge by Joyce Oldham Appleby; Transform by Christopher Morace; Wheelmen by Vanessa O'Connell; The Wolves of Midwinter by Anne Rice
Film – Sandra Bullock is an uptight FBI agent who has to join forces with a rebellious Boston cop (Melissa McCarthy) to take down a drug lord in Paul Feig's The Heat; The Colony stars Laurence Fishburne, Bill Paxton and Kevin Zegers; Pacific Rim, from director Guillermo Del Toro, pits Charlie Hunnam, Idris Elba and Rinko Kikuchi against giant monster aliens; Oliver Stone's Untold History of the United States
TV –Anger Management: Volume Two; Defiance: Season One; Hart of Dixie: The Complete Second Season; The Fall, Series 1; River Monsters: Season 4; Vikings: Season One
Music – Deep Purple's Perfect Strangers - Live; Flying Colors' Live in Europe; Jason Aldean's Night Train to Georgia; Joe Cocker's Fire it Up: Live; The Tenors' Lead with Your Heart: Live from Las Vegas
Also available –Assaulted: Civil Rights Under Fire; Babysitter Massacre; Birdemic 2: The Resurrection; Come Dance with Me; Dirty Wars; Exploding Sun; The Harbinger Decoded; A Hijacking; Hitched for the Holidays; Jug Face; Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain; Love at the Thanksgiving Day Parade; Maniac; Merry In-Laws; Plush
Culture Collide Festival @ Various venues (Echo Park)
The three-day extravaganza invades Los Angeles with performances from bands representing all corners of the world. Aside from the many American acts – such as Liars, Rob Crow, NO and Bleached – Denmark's the Raveonettes, Canada/Germany's King Khan & the Shrines, the UK's Alice Russell, Fuck Buttons and Keaton Henson are all part of the lineup. UCB Theatre presents comedy sets from the likes of Maria Bamford, Nick Thune, Rory Scovel, Natasha Leggero and more. There is also a Creative Summit that includes panel discussions on the subjects of Innovators (Moby, Shepard Fairey and Dhani Harrison), International Festivals, licensing and Beers of the World this afternoon, as well as Record Labels, Bands and Bands and Spirits of the World on Friday.
Beyond Fest @ The Egyptian (Hollywood) and Aero (Santa Monica)
This new film festival, brought to you by American Cinematheque and Amity, combines the best in horror, sci-fi and fantasy now through Halloween. Events kick-off tonight with a screening of John Carpenter's Assault on Precinct 13 and discussion with the film's star, Austin Stoker. There are more discussions with the likes of Richard Donner, Clive Barker, Jörg Buttgereit and Joe Begos. In addition, there are premieres of Why Don't You Play in Hell? and The Last Days on Mars with Live Schrieber, live performances from Goblin and a Nerdist Writers Panel. There's the eighth annual Dusk-to-Dawn Horrorthon on Oct. 26 with back-to-back screenings of six films that include Amityville II: The Possession, The Fly, Hell High and The Sentinel. A screening of F.W. Murnau's Nosferatu caps off the festivities on Oct. 31 with live musical accompaniment from Cliff Retallick.
Rob Zombie's Great American Nightmare @ Fairplex (Pomona)
Tonight marks the start of a new Halloween event curated by the musician and filmmaker that combines haunted-house attractions with a music festival, running through Nov. 2. Aside from three terrifying mazes based on Zombie's House of 1,000 Corpses, The Haunted World of El Superbeasto and The Lords of Salem, there are outdoor screenings of classics like The Phantom of the Opera, The Last Man on Earth and House on Haunted Hill. The musical lineup includes 3OH!3 tonight, Ozomatli Oct. 13, The Used Oct. 17, Andrew W.K. on Halloween and Rob Zombie Nov. 2.
FRIDAY, OCT. 11
J. Roddy Walston & The Business
J. Roddy Walston & The Business, Gringo Star @ Troubadour (West Hollywood)
I am obsessed with "Heavy Bells" from J. Roddy Walston & The Business new album, Essential Tremors, which released last month. The track builds from a twangy, head-nod inducing verse to an explosive chorus that defines the Baltimore band's soulful, southern and punk core. If they can translate even an ounce of the track's energy to the stage, then this will make for an incredible show. Atlanta's Gringo Star are set to get the crowd going with songs from their upcoming album, Floating Out to See (available Oct. 22).
In Theaters This Week
Tom Hanks is Captain Phillips in Paul Greengrass' biopic of the merchant mariner whose ship was taken over by Somali pirates in 2009; CBGB tells the story of the legendary club with Alan Rickman, Rupert Grint and Ashley Greene; Escape from Tomorrow, the guerrilla horror film shot at Disneyland and Walt Disney World; Jennifer Hudson, Jordin Sparks and Jeffrey Wright in The Inevitable Defeat of Mister & Pete; Danny Trejo reprises his secret agent role in Robert Rodriguez's Machete Kills, which also stars Mel Gibson, Michelle Rodriguez, Sofía Vergara and Amber Heard; Julian Fellowes wrote the screenplay for this adaptation of Romeo and Juliet, starring Hailee Steinfeld, Douglas Booth, Ed Westwick, Paul Giamatti and Stellan Skarsgård. Also in theaters: Cassadaga; I Used To Be Darker; The Institute; Shepard & Dark; The Trials of Muhammad Ali
SATURDAY, OCT. 12
Psycho @ L.A. State Historic Park (Elysian Park)
If you're suffering "Bates Motel" withdrawals (Ugh, new episodes aren't coming until next year), then perhaps a screening of Alfred Hitchcock's classic film can help ease your pain. While Freddie Highmore and Vera Farmiga are incredible as the Bates in the television show, there's no denying the depths of creepiness that Anthony Perkins' performance reaches in the 1960 cinematic treasure. Angeleno band Grey Eastern performs at 6:30 p.m., and you can grab some movie snacks from food trucks such as the Wing Joint, Chanchos Tacos, Downtown Dogs and Umami Burger.
Artisanal LA @ L.A. Mart (Downtown)
I know some of you like to get all of your holiday shopping done before Thanksgiving, so why not get a head start this weekend at Artisanal LA's fall show. Aside from picking up handmade home goods and edible treats from over 200 purveyors, there are tastings, chef demos, workshops, panels, hosted drinks, DJs and giveaways to keep you busy. This show's makers on hand include Petersen Pottery, Lula Mae, Morning Glory Confections, Granola Mama's Handmade and Pressed Juicery.
Michael Franti (Lauren Dukoff)
Michael Franti & Spearhead @ The Fonda (Hollywood)
The NorCal group couldn't have picked a more apt title for their latest album than All People since their music appeals to just that. Since the early 1990s, they've successfully married funk, hip-hop, reggae, folk, jazz and rock with lyrics that inform and inspire listeners of every age to action. Their live performances are just as engaging, charged with electrifying energy and passion that is sure to ignite the Fonda's dance floor with new tracks like "I'm Alive (Life Sounds Like)" and "Show Me a Sign."
WEDNESDAY, OCT. 16
Atoms for Peace @ Hollywood Bowl (Hollywood)
To witness Thom Yorke's vocals filling the legendary venue is an unforgettable experience, and to see him fronting this rock supergroup – composed of Nigel Godrich on keys, synths and guitars, Flea on bass, Joey Waronker on drums and Mauro Refosco on percussion – should be phenomenal. You can expect to hear many of the songs from the album, AMOK, they released earlier this year, but you might also be treated to some unexpected covers and gems from Radiohead's deep catalog. Pure Bathing Culture @ The Echo (Echo Park)
If you're a Vetiver, Foxygen or Damien Jurado fan, then you should definitely check out Pure Bathing Culture since they've all collaborated with Sarah Versprille and/or Daniel Hindman. The Portland, Ore. duo just released their debut album, Moon Tides, in August, and its gorgeous melodies, soaring vocals and dreamy synths captivate with tracks like "Dream the Dare," "Only Lonely Lovers" and "Golden Girl." I've seen them perform with Andy Cabic before, so I know both members put on a terrific live show.
This is another mural at the Branded Arts complex at 8810 Washington Boulevard in Culver City, which is scheduled to be torn down at the end of this month. Several of the pieces, including this one by Los Angeles' Cyrcle collective, are going to be preserved and put on display at Culver City High School. Warren Brand, curator of the project, is working on a documentary to capture the entire process. You can watch the trailer and contribute to the film's completion here.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. – The Speed of Things (Warner Bros.) One of my favorite things about Joshua Epstein and Daniel Zott is that they rarely take take anything too seriously, which isn't to say that they aren't serious when it comes to crafting infectiously good, indie pop gems. There is a carefree effortlessness and humor in all of their tracks, though, and these traits infuse their sophomore full-length with joy and fun. Just try listening to first single from The Speed of Things, "If You Didn't See Me (Then You Weren't on the Dancefloor)," or "Hiding" without breaking into dance with a smile on your face. It's impossible. They'll be swinging through Los Angeles at the Wiltern on Nov. 6, so make sure to bring your dancing shoes. Deap Vally – Sistrionix (Cherrytree/Communion/Interscope/Island) Drummer Julie Edwards and guitarist Lindsey Troy may have met at a crochet class in the L.A. neighborhood of Atwater Village, but their music is far from relaxing or tranquil. Their vocal howls and screeches join together on their debut for one powerful rock roar that is the all-female answer to duos like the White Stripes and the Black Keys. "If our mothers only knew the trouble that we get into," they sing on Sistrionix's "Bad for My Body," and their mothers, as well as the rest of the world, are about to find out just what kind of mayhem the two can create.
Glasser – Interiors (True Panther Sounds) After releasing her debut, 2010's Ring, Cameron Mesirow (aka Glasser) left Los Angeles for the crowded sidewalks of Manhattan and experienced the end of a longterm relationship, two events that sparked an exploration on the theme of space, both within and without an individual, that influenced the dozen tracks that appear on her second album. Prone to bouts of mild agoraphobia, the close confines of downtown Manhattan helped ease Glasser into her new city so she could focus on creating Interiors with her partner and producer Van Rivers. The resulting songs are gorgeous, intricately layered sonic landscapes that you'll be happy to get lost in. She performs at Hollywood Forever's Masonic Lodge on Thursday (Oct. 10) and as part of KCRW's annual Halloween Masquerade on Oct. 26.
The Fratellis – We Need Medicine (BMG) After a few years apart, the Scottish trio reunite with a new album full of songs chock full of the energetic guitar-pop that put them on the map with the release of Costello Music in 2006 and its follow-up, Here We Stand. While tracks like "This Old Ghost Town" and "Seven Nights Seven Days" will undoubtedly get you moving, it's the darker "Rock 'n' Roll Will Break Your Heart" that leaves a lasting impression. See all the Fratellis live on Nov. 12 at the Fonda.
Lissie – Back to Forever (Fat Possum) If you listened to "Morning Becomes Electic" yesterday, you probably caught Lissie performing tracks from her sophomore effort, the follow-up to 2010's Catching a Tiger. The Ojai-based singer-songwriter spoke of her continuing evolution as an artist and working with Jacknife Lee (R.E.M., Silversun Pickups) on Back to Forever, which indeed sees her injecting more rock into her folk- and country-laced songs. Standouts include "Further Away (Romance Police)," "Sleepwalking" and "I Don't Wanna Go to Work." Can't wait to see the new songs performed live when Lissie visits the Fonda on Dec. 9.
Sleigh Bells – Bitter Rivals (Mom + Pop) It's crazy how fast vocalist Alexis Krauss and guitarist-producer Derek Miller churn out new material. The Brooklyn duo only came together in 2008 and release their third album today. Just because they produce tracks fast and furiously doesn't mean that they aren't always striving for even better and more creative paths. Whether it's the snappy title track, smooth as silk "Sugarcane" or the breathy pop ballad "To Hell With You," Sleigh Bells are as in your face as ever with their uncompromising melding of genres on Bitter Rivals. Make sure to catch their Oct. 18 show at the El Rey, because if you like their albums you will love their live performances. Also available – Alex Chilton's Electricity By Candlelight; Alter Bridge's Fortress; Amos Lee Mountains of Sorrow, Rivers of Song; Anna Calvi's One Breath; The Basement Chronicles compilation; Blacklisters' BLKLSTRS; Born Gold's I Am an Exit; Cage the Elephant's Melophobia; Chase and Status' Brand New Machine; Clara May's American Desi; Darkside's Psychic; Dave Hause's Devour; Ezra Furman's Day of the Dog; Fast Romantics' Afterlife Blues; Fronds' self-titled; Jason Derulo's Tattoos; Kenny Rogers' You Can't Make Old Friends; Kodaline's In a Perfect World; Korn's Paradigm Shift; Lee Ranaldo and the Dust's Last Night on Earth; A Loss for Words' Before It Caves; Miley Cyrus' Bangerz; of Montreal's Lousy with Sylvianbriar; Panic! at the Disco's Too Weird to Love, Too Rare to Die; PAPA's Tender Madness; Patty Griffin's Silver Bell; Pusha T's My Name Is My Name; Richie Ramone's Entitled; RJD2's More Is Than Isn't; Save Your Breath's There Used to Be a Place for Us; SWF's Let It Be Told; Tim Kasher's Adult Film; Tony Dekker's Prayer of the Woods; The Toxic Avenger's Romance & Cigarettes; Turin Brakes' We Were Here; VV Brown's Samson & Delilah
The Wes Anderson Collection by Matt Zoller Seitz (Abrams) Award-winning film and television critic Matt Zoller Seitz puts forth the first extensive examination of filmmaker Wes Anderson's career thus far. The book includes unpublished photos, artwork and interviews with the writer-director behind such films as Bottle Rocket, Rushmore, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, Moonrise Kingdom and, my favorite, The Royal Tenenbaums, as well as an introduction by Michael Chabon. If you are a lover of the auteur then you will love that the work successfully captures his unique flair for the original, and if you have yet to see any of his film, perhaps the book will encourage you to see what all the fuss is about.
Also available – The Can't Cook Book by Jessica Seinfeld; The Circle by Dave Eggers; Confessions by James Patterson; Eat to Live Cookbook by Joel Fuhrman; Focus by Daniel Goleman; Four Blood Moons by John C. Hagee; Hardwiring Happiness by Rick Hanson; Hitler's Furies by Wendy Lower; The House of Hades by Rick Riordan; I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai; League of Denial by Mark Fainaru-Wada and Steve Fainaru; My Story by Elizabeth Smart; Raise the Bar by Jon Taffer; The Republic of Thieves by Scott Lynch; Rose Kennedy's Family Album by Caroline Kennedy; Solo by William Boyd; Starry Night by Debbie Macomber; Storm Front by John Sandford
Film – Joss Whedon's wonderful, modern adaptation of William Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing was filmed in only 12 days at his L.A. home and stars Alexis Denisof, Amy Acker and Nathan Filliion; After Earth, directed by M. Night Shyamalan, centers around Jaden and Will Smith crash-landing on Earth, years after humanity has abandoned the planet; Jacob Hatley's documentary, Ain't In It for My Health: A Film About Levon Helm, follows the Band founding member as he created his first album in 25 years; Todd Phillips reunites the gang (Bradley Cooper, Zach Galifianakis and Ed Helms) in The Hangover Part III; Ethan Hawke and Lena Headey are parents trying to keep their family safe during the 12-hour period of The Purge
TV –90210: The Fifth Season; Alaska: The Last Frontier; American Horror Story: Asylum; Bones: The Complete Eighth Season; The Middle: The Complete Third Season; Psych: The Complete Seventh Season;Robot Chicken: Season Six; White Collar: Season Four
Also available –After Effect; The Beautiful Beast; Curse of Chucky; Europa Report; The Guild: Season Six; Hello Herman; Home Run; How to Seduce a Virgin; In the Flesh; In Hell; Lifeguard; The Look of Love; Midnight's Children; Nothing Left to Fear; Oral Generation; The Secret of Crickley Hall; Shiver; Stuck in Love; Studio C; Vampira and Me; Virgin and the Lover + Lustful Feelings; Zombie Hunter