Thursday, December 19, 2013

Events for Dec. 19-Dec. 25, 2013




Julius Erving @ Barnes & Noble (The Grove)
Long before Blake Griffin, Jeremy Evans and Terrence Ross were even alive and dreaming of flashy slam dunk maneuvers, Dr. J took home the very first All-Star Game dunk title in 1976. If you have yet to be schooled in the basketball great's other accomplishments off and on the court and above the rim throughout his ABA career and 10 years as a 76er, the Dr. J: The Autobiography that was released last month should definitely be added to your holiday wishlist. Better yet, head down to the Grove this afternoon to pick up a copy and have it signed by the legend himself.



In Theaters This Week
Ron Burgundy fans rejoice! The long-awaited sequel to the 2004 comedy, Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, finally hits theaters with all of the beloved characters played by Will Ferrell, Paul Rudd, Steve Carell, David Koechner and Christina Applegate; Spike Jonze's Her, starring Joaquin Phoenix, Amy Adams, Rooney Mara and the voice of Scarlett Johansson, begins a limited run; The BBC series "Walking with Dinosaurs" makes its way to the big screen for a live-action/CG-animated, 3D adventure with the voices of John Leguizamo, Justin Long and Karl Urban. Also in theaters: Dhoom 3; The Past

It's A Wonderful Life @ The Cinefamily (Mid-City West)
I couldn't believe that my boyfriend had never seen the Frank Capra classic, so I forced him to watch it last Christmas. I wish I waited until this year, though, since the Cinefamily is screening it in 35mm every day from now until Dec. 26. If you still know anyone that hasn't seen it or if you could never possibly get enough of George Bailey, tickets are just $12.


"Stomp" @ Saban Theatre (Beverly Hills)
For over two decades, the percussion group has delighted audiences around the world with their creative use of found items, from matchboxes and brooms to garbage cans and Zippo lighters, to fill venues with sound. Their explosive shows incorporate dance, music and theatrical performance for an electrifying experience that audiences of all ages will enjoy.

"'Twas the Night Martians Invaded Burlesque" @ Fais Do-Do (West Adams)
Peepshow Menagerie presents a holiday-themed burlesque show with performances from Scarlett Letter, Madeline Sinclaire, Lucky DeLuxe, Holly Rock-It, Japan's Nikita Bitch Project, New York's Belle-Morte Baudelaire, Oklahoma's Holli Would and many more. In addition to the dancers, there is live music and comedy. And, most importantly, the event benefits the Burlesque Hall of Fame/Exotic World museum in Las Vegas.



Lucent Dossier Experience @ The Fonda (Hollywood)
The Fonda is an ideal venue to experience the wonder that is Lucent Dossier up close and personal, and what better night to see them on than the longest of the year, Winter Solstice? The L.A. troupe unveil a new stage show, Solstice of the Dreamers, which combines dance, aerial arts, futuristic clowns, electronic and live music from Black 22's, in a post-apocalyptic vision of the world. Leave reality outside the theater doors, and step into the realm of Lucent Dossier.


Ugly Sweater Run @ L.A. State Historic Park (Elysian Park)

It seems like ugly holiday sweater parties are all the rage this year. Why not up the ante and sign up for this 5k that snakes around and through the park? The race begins at 11 a.m., and hot chocolate, Angry Orchard Hard Cider and Sam Adams Winter Lager are going to be served at different stations throughout the course. if you just want to watch, there are photo stations and holiday music at the start and holiday goodies, awards for best mustache, beard and sweater after the race.


Stevie Wonder @ Nokia Theatre (Downtown)
The Motown legend hosts his 18th annual House Full of Toys benefit concert, which collects and distributes toys and gifts to people in need. This year, Wonder has announced that he will perform his 1976 landmark album, Songs in the Key of Life, in its entirety at the show. He has hinted that several of the R&B, soul and jazz greats and musicians who played on the album will join him on stage for all of the songs that many of us know each and every word to, like "Isn't She Lovely," "As," "Sir Duke," "I Wish" and "Knocks Me Off My Feet."



Elf @ Aero Theatre (Santa Monica)

It's hard to believe it's the 10th anniversary of Jon Favreau's Christmas comedy that spawned a spaghetti with maple syrup craze, as well as a Broadway musical, and introduced the world to Zooey Deschanel's pipes. American Cinematheque celebrates the anniversary with a screening of the film that stars Will Ferrell, James Caan, Bob Newhart and Mary Steenburgen as part of their Holiday Spirit on the Big Screen series. Other screenings include Auntie Mame and White Christmas (Dec. 19), the first two Die Hards (Dec. 20), It's A Wonderful Life (Dec. 20, 21 & 23), The Bishop's Wife (Dec. 22) and The Poseidon Adventure (Dec. 28).



Woody Allen & His New Orleans Jazz Band @ UCLA's Royce Hall (Westwood)
For fans of his films and anyone who has seen Barbara Kopple's 1997 Wild Man Blues documentary, it's no secret that Woody Allen loves jazz, but few probably know that 2013 marks the 40th anniversary of his musical performance career, which began at New York's Michael's Pub. Since the late 1990s, Allen and his New Orleans Jazz Band have performed a Monday-night residency at the Carlyle Hotel, building a repertoire of over 1,200 songs. With Allen on clarinet and band director Eddy Davis calling out the playlist as the night progresses, the Royce Hall audience is sure to be treated to several improvised numbers as well.



L.A. County Holiday Celebration @ Dorothy Chandler Pavilion (Downtown)
Looking for a way to occupy the kids for a few hours before Santa visits? Since 1959, the L.A. County Arts Commission has offered this cost-free event to Angelenos, and it's become the city's biggest holiday show that was even nominated for an Emmy. More than 20 choirs, music ensembles and dance companies represent the vast diversity of Los Angeles' neighborhoods and cultures in the three-hour celebration.


Have a very Merry Christmas!!!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Dina LaPolt

Dina LaPolt at her L.A. haven, SoulCycle West Hollywood


Entertainment Attorney DINA LAPOLT

At SoulCycle

8570 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood 310-657-7685

Dina LaPolt's life has certainly taken many unexpected twists and turns since her childhood in Upstate New York that was filled with dreams of becoming a rock star. After spending years on the road pursuing her musical passion, while simultaneously earning a bachelor's degree, she realized she wanted to become an entertainment attorney. Dina established her own firm, LaPolt Law, P.C., in 2001 and has worked tirelessly to build an A-list roster of rock, hip-hop, heavy metal, pop and singer-songwriter clients. In addition to being named one of the most influential women in music by Out Magazine and The Advocate and co-producing the Academy Award-nominated Tupac: Resurrection documentary, Dina is the instructor of a Legal and Practical Aspects of the Music Business UCLA Extension course.

She took time out of her busy schedule balancing clients, twin baby boys and preparing for the Jan. 7 start of her 14th year teaching the UCLA class to meet me at the place in the city where she reinvigorates her mind, body and spirit four times a week, indoor cycling mecca, SoulCycle. It's immediately apparent that SoulCycle is anything but your typical fitness center just stepping through the West Hollywood location's tall glass doors. The bright and airy atmosphere is accentuated by a wall full of snapshots of smiling regulars and a warm greeting from the staff behind the counter, whom Dina knows by name.

Eager to show me one of her favorite parts of SoulCycle, we head into the studio. Housing 54 bikes, the room is not cramped but inviting, with overhead lights dimmed and scented candles aglow. Music flows from the speakers, adding to the expectant, excited energy in the air before class begins. Dina points out a white wall decorated with a list of six words painted in black block letters: athlete, legend, warrior, renegade, rockstar, soulcycle. Strong, inspirational words that I realize can all be applied to Dina herself.

Dina's all set for today's SoulCycle session
Finding encouragement in her artist mother and firm motivation in her father, music has always had a role in Dina's life.

"When I was young, I was into bands like Led Zeppelin, but when I saw Joan Jett & the Blackhearts, my entire life changed. I was 12 or 13 and said, 'Wow, that's what I want to do,' so I set out, touring in a van for 10 years. It was really fun; I learned how to make macaroni and cheese powered by a cigarette lighter on a hot plate with powdered milk," she laughs. "My dad would always say, 'You need something to fall back on.' In retrospect, it gave me a lot of motivation, for failure was not an option. It took me almost eight years to get my bachelor's degree because I was constantly on tour and traveling. I graduated from the State University of New York at New Paltz as a music major, but I always had a knack for business. I was running their campus concert committee, so I would book all of these shows and had this idea one day to book an enormous concert with Joan Jett & the Blackhearts. I did it, and 25,000 people showed up."

Dina continued performing music while using her business savvy as a talent buyer and show promoter for clubs in Upstate New York. She consistently filled venues, regardless of the bands playing, and eventually impressed KISS' Eric Carr, who gave her a position managing bands in his Streetgang Productions company. When KISS relocated to the West Coast, Dina made the move to San Francisco where she kept managing bands and doing club promotion until her band was chosen to play a showcase at a music business conference, and she had one of the biggest epiphanies of her life.

"There was a pass for one of us to actually go to the conference, and when I opened the booklet to look at all the different things they had during the day, I thought they looked interesting. I decided to go to a panel described as 'three music lawyers talk about negotiating record deals in today's industry.' We had a show that night until 2 a.m., and the panel was early, so I ended up being late. I looked at the three guys up there – one had long hair in a ponytail, one had tattoos on his arm and the other guy had two earrings – and I thought, 'oh god, I'm not at the lawyers panel.' I asked the girl next to me, and she said, 'Yes, this is it. Shh!' I had an epiphany: This is what I want to do," she recalls. "I waited in line to talk to the one with the two earrings to find out where I should go to law school. He saw that I was holding a cassette tape and said, 'I'm not taking unsolicited demos.' I tossed it and said, 'No, I want to go to law school and do what you do.' He said, 'First you need to get a bachelor's degree. I said, 'Oh, I have that,' and he gave me a list of law schools to call. I got back that afternoon and called. That conference was in March, and by September, I was in law school."

Her fierce determination led her to John F. Kennedy University, School of Law in Walnut Creek, Calif., where she put herself through school by teaching children guitar lessons and eventually earned her J.D. while still playing in a band. She passed the bar and was sworn in on June 5, 1997. Just two days later, she received a phone call that would change the course of her life yet again.

"My ex-girlfriend's sister called me and asked if I was an entertainment lawyer yet. I said, 'Yes, as of two days ago!' She said, 'Great, I'm Miss June and on the cover of Playboy, so you should move down here.' Within four days I was living with Miss June in Sherman Oaks, and that's how my law career took off. I started representing a lot of the Playboy Playmates and worked myself up from there. That was a pivotal time for me. It was difficult for me to find a job at a law firm because even though I had a knack for the business I was always a musician, tour manager or manager, and never had a job in the music business. I didn't have the experience."

After that fateful day at the music conference, Dina had kept in touch with that 'lawyer with the two earrings,' and he was able to get her an internship at a friend's practice that represented the likes of Susan Tedeschi and Cake. She started learning the business side of the industry, but it was still hard for her to secure a paid position. She used the last money she had to sign up for a class with Don Passman at USC. She read everything he assigned and sat in front of every class each week so she could focus on engaging with him to learn as much as possible.

Around this time, Dina was also struggling with inner demons, but the light at the end of the tunnel included not only recovery but the discovery of a new passion.

"I had a horrible drug and alcohol problem. The Playmates did an intervention on me, and you know you're really screwed up when the Playmates are doing an intervention on you. But I got sober in 1998 and have been sober ever since," she tells. "I joined Crunch gym and there was a woman there, Stacey Griffith, teaching spin classes. I didn't know what they were, but she was fun, always so happy and confident. She took me under her wing, and I started spinning. My friend and I would schlep to her classes at 6 a.m., and I lost 30 pounds. I also had a pack of people who didn't drink or use drugs, they just did spin class. There was such a camaraderie. We all loved music, and Stacey would play my developing clients' music in class. It really became something."

Stacey eventually moved to the East Coast and started working for the very first SoulCycle in New York City founded by Elizabeth Cutler and Julie Rice in 2007. The fitness routine quickly caught fire and spread to 25 locations throughout the country (and they're going global with a location in London opening next year), attracting 6,000 riders to class each day. From their first 45-minute class, everyone from Lady Gaga, Max Greenfield and Lena Dunham to Eli Roth, Emily Blunt and Kelly Ripa has become a devotee. Each class is $30 (plus $3 shoe rental if you don't have your own clip-ins), and there is also a 60-minute SoulSurvivor endurance ride or a 60-minute SoulBands class that uses resistance bands to tone your muscles.

Dina and one of her favorite SoulCycle instructors,
Heather Peggs (left)
We stand in the SoulCycle shop that's full of branded tanks, tees, hoodies and other apparel when Dina's instructor for this afternoon's class, Heather Peggs, walks by. Along with MB Regan, who used to teach movement for the National Shakespeare Conservatory, Heather is one of Dina's favorites. The former acrobatic dancer and music executive, who was named to Billboard's Top 30 Music Executives Under 30 in 2009, is full of energy as she tells me that she's included two of Dina's clients in the soundtrack for today's class.

"What I love about SoulCycle is that it's about positive affirmations and you're not competing in the class. You are together, a team of people, and the instructor's very motivating," Dina offers. "You see the words on the wall – athlete, warrior, etc. – everything's about positivity. If you can do this, you can do anything. That's what really gets me going. When I come, I feel empowered. When I leave here, I know that I'm capable of anything."

Coming from the frenzied pace of life in New York, Dina took to the laid-back environment of Los Angeles with ease.

"When I came out here, taking my new York work ethic and putting myself in the middle of Los Angeles, I just soared from the minute I came here. I was used to my parents' you've got to do something attitude. I never stand still because I wasn't brought up that way. Coming to L.A., I finally had an environment where I could just go, go, go because Los Angeles gives you as much as you can take. It's a never-ending energy source, if you have enough energy to keep up with it, and the weather just makes it unstoppable. In New York, you might have a whole agenda worth of things to do that day and then you get an ice storm or five feet of snow and suddenly everything is done. We don't have that in L.A.," she says. "What I love most about L.A., though, is the that there's such an emphasis on taking care of yourself. New York is a very selfless environment, and L.A. is a very selfish environment. I go to spin class at lunch, and no one blinks an eye. I have to leave early to go to Pilates or get a facial, and no one blinks an eye. It's not only accepted in L.A., but it's encouraged, and I encourage that with the people that I work with, too. I tell them that they have to take care of themselves, and they say, 'But I have to do this, this and this.' If you don't detach, go take the night off and do something good for yourself, you're going to do all of those things half-assed. If you take the night off, you're going to come back tomorrow and be loads more productive."

To keep up with the many demands on her plate, Dina visits SoulCycle four times a week, in addition to yoga and Pilates classes.

"My kids were born in February, and in March I had this back pain that wouldn't go away. I went to my chiropractor, but it couldn't be fixed, so they sent me to their orthopedic doctor who ordered an MRI. She gets the results and says, 'You have three bulging discs in your back. I'm writing you a prescription for Pilates.' I said, 'What?! I don't even like Pilates, I'm type A personality, I need to be drenched in sweat to think it's working. Pilates is for pussies,'" Dina laughs. "She said the alternative was pain medication and surgery, so I tried Pilates. Within 60 days, I had no back pain, and, not only that, people kept telling me that I looked great. Pilates changed my body, so I've kept with it twice a week at Back to Total Health Wellness Center where they have acupuncture, vitamins, orthopedics and a Pilates studio all in one."

The LaPolt Law office is located on the Sunset Strip, so she has several lunch spots that she frequents in the area. Urth Caffé, Veggie Grill and Talesai ("the best Thai food in L.A.") are her favorites. On the weekends, Dina and her wife usually take their twins to the Grove, where the love the lights and music, or for a walk around Dina's old stomping grounds in West Hollywood, where the family is looking forward to relocating to after the New Year.

"West Hollywood Park is so great for the kids, and now that we're moving back to the neighborhood, we can just walk out our door with the stroller to Starbucks," she says. "We take our kids to Fit For Kids where they do Baby Belugas twice a week, and we'll be able to walk there now."

Dina lights up whenever she brings up her two boys, and she is, of course, filling their lives with music.

"When the kids were born, they responded to music and singing immediately. We have music on in the house constantly. When they were about a month old, one of my clients was doing the Ultra Music Festival so I was streaming it live on the iPad, and my one son, Buddy, would not take his eyes off the iPad for over an hour," she remembers with a smile. "I always sing to them, especially to get them to sleep, whether it's music from The Sound of Music or Mary Poppins."

Aside from sharing her love for music with the twins, Dina is passionate about exposing all aspiring musicians to the business side of the industry.

"I would tell the people in the music department at my college that they needed to have a music business minor, but they just wanted to focus on technique in the curriculum. And now, let's cut to 20 years later, that university is calling me to ask me for help setting up a music business program. They're trying to recreate the class that I teach at UCLA to compete with schools like Berklee College of Music and Juilliard that have had business programs for 15 years," she shares. "They can't keep putting people out on street with a music degree who can play a mean arpeggio and memorize a Rachmaninoff concerto but know nothing about the business."

"I am so blessed and grateful that I have been in the music business my whole life and was never forced to take another career. I feel like I'm giving back by teaching this UCLA course. A lot of people have taken this class over the years who have gone on to become vice presidents at record and publishing companies or managing artists like Christina Aguilera," she continues. "It's such a good feeling to see them give interviews and say, 'I learned everything I know from Dina La Polt' or have them come up to me at the Grammys and say, 'I'm working at this place now, and if it wasn't for you…' That is worth more than a million dollars."

For more information, visit

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

New Release Tuesday 12/17/13

Dec. 17, 2013


B.o.B.Underground Luxury (Atlantic)
Bobby Ray Simmons, Jr. (aka B.o.B.) immediately caught my attention when he hit the scene with The Adventures of Bobby Ray in 2010 because of his musicality and knack for picking great collaborators. The Decatur, Ga. hip-hop artist's debut spawned three Billboard Hot 100 top ten singles, including double platinum "Nothin' on You" (which introduced there world to Bruno Mars' voice), "Airplanes" featuring Paramore's Hayley Williams and "Magic" featuring Weezer's Rivers Cuomo.He continued turning out the hits with Strange Clouds' title track with Lil Wayne and "Both of Us (feat. Taylor Swift)" last year. His third album brings more of the same. You will find guest appearances from Chris Brown, Future, 2 Chainz, T.I., Juicy J, Priscilla Renea and Ester Dean among others on Underground Luxury.

HieroglyphicsThe Kitchen (Hieroglyphics)
It's been 10 years since the Oakland hip-hop crew a new album, and the collective – comprised of Del the Funky Homosapien, Casual, Domino, Pep Love and Souls of Mischief's A-Plus, Opio, Phesto and Tajai – have your head nodding from the get-go. From "Livin' It Up" and "The Mayor" to "All as Above so Below" and "Passing Fads," there is boasting, social relevance and, most of all, fun.

Sly and Robbie Presents ShaggyOut of Many One Music (Ranch/Empire)

Shaggy teams up with Reggae legends Sly and Robbie for an album that brings back the classic vibe of Roots Reggae. They enlist the vocal talents of greats like Beres Hammond, Cocoa Tea and Damian "Jr Gong" Marley, as well as younger artists such as Konshens, Jimmy Cozier, pop/R&B's Ne-Yo and "The Voice" finalist Tessanne Chin for a beautiful tribute to the Jamaican genre.

Great Gift Sets – Anita O'Day's The Verve Years – 1957-1962; The Beatles: Live at the BBC (vinyl); Jerry Garcia Band, Bob Weir and Rob Wasserman's Fall 1989: The Long Island Sound; John Mellencamp's 1978-2012

Also available – After the Burial's Wolves Within; Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues – Music from the Motion Picture; Casey Veggies & Rockie Fresh's Fresh Veggies; Country Faith; Leon Russell's Snapshot; Mac Miller's Live From Space; The Secret Life of Walter Mitty soundtrack; Skeme's Ingleworld; Steeleye Span's Wintersmith: In Collaboration with Terry Pratchett; Talib Kweli Gravitas


Tartine Book No. 3: Modern Ancient Classic Whole by Chad Robertson (Chronicle)

I hadn't been to San Francisco in almost 10 years, and when I went up to visit my sister in 2012, the first place I went to was Tartine Bakery & Café. I was amazed at the amount of people waiting in a line that snaked out the door and onto the sidewalk out front just to get some baked goods, but once I bit into my croissant I realized what all the fuss was about. The dynamic duo of pastry chef Elisabeth Prueitt and baker Chad Robertson released their first cookbook, Tartine, in 2006, and Robertson unveils a third in the series today. Tartine Book No. 3 focuses on baking with whole grains with new recipes and methods, as well as reformulating popular Tartine pastry recipes to include whole grains. A must for any Tartine fan and home baker, the photos alone will have you drooling.

Also available –
Cool Tools by Kevin Kelly; Non Nom Paleo by Henry Fong


Film – From writer/director Neil Blomkamp (District 9) comes Elysium, set on a ruined Earth in 2154 and starring Matt Damon, Jodie Foster and Sharlto Copley; Robert De Niro, Michelle Pfeiffer and Dianna Agron in Luc Besson's The Family; Disney's The Lone Ranger, directed by Gore Verbinski, stars Johnny Depp and Armie Hammer; Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Chloë Grace Moretz and Christopher Mintz-Plasse don their superhero masks again in Kick-Ass 2; Thrilling crime-drama Prisoners stars Hugh Jackman, Maria Bello, Viola Davis and Terrence Howard as parents of two lost girls and Jake Gyllenhaal as the detective trying to find them

TV – Burn Notice: The Complete Series; Family Guy: Volume 12; Justified: The Complete Fourth Season; Psych: The Musical; Shameless: The Complete Third Season; The Sound of Music Live!

Music – The Gaslight Anthem's Live in London; One Direction's This Is Us; Roxette's Live Travelling the World

Also available – Ain't Them Bodies Saints; Force of Execution; I Am Hardwell; Line of Duty; Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters; Predator 3D

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Events for Dec. 12-18, 2013


The Royal Concept (Connie Ha)


The Royal Concept @ The Roxy (West Hollywood)
After garnering two HypeMachine hits, "D-D-Dance" and "Gimme Twice" last year, the Swedish foursome signed to Lava and released the Royal EP in September. I am totally smitten with "On Our Way," just one of the tracks from the EP, which they have been touring the states in support of for the past month. They make their way to the legendary Roxy stage tonight, and with influences as diverse as Simon & Garfunkel, Daft Punk and the Strokes, you can bet that the rest of the songs in their arsenal are just as addictive.



S.I.D.: Superman Is Dead @ Subliminal Projects (Echo Park)
The influence of the Sex Pistols' Sid Vicious is incredibly far reaching, although he only lived to the age of 21. Even if you're not a huge punk fan, his image is instantly recognizable. And now, Los Angeles' Shepard Fairey has teamed with British photographer Dennis Morris for a new collaborative exhibition of paintings, prints and photographs of the music icon (born John Simon Ritchie), which also features a life-size replica of a hotel room destroyed by Vicious in 1977. The pieces that fuse their unique styles with one another are stunning. Tonight's opening reception for the exhibit that runs through Jan. 11, 2014 features a once-in-a-lifetime performance by Ritchie Love, composed of Sex Pistols guitarist Steve Jones, Billy Idol, Leigh Gorman and Clem Burke. This is a must for any Sid Vicious devotee, and tonight's show shall prove unforgettable for any punk lover.


In Theaters This Week
Christian Bale with a combover, Bradley Cooper in a perm and a Jennifer Lawrence/Amy Adams kiss – who isn't down for David O. Russell's 1970s mafia drama, American Hustle; I am such a geek for J.R.R. Tolkien that I literally just yelled out, "YAY, finally here," at The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug's release this week. Ian McKellen, Martin Freeman, Lee Pace, Orlando Bloom and all of the dwarves return in Peter Jackson's continuation of the Tolkien classic, with the added character of Tauriel ("Lost"'s Evangeline Lilly). Tom Hanks as Walt Disney and Emma Thompson as P.L. Travers in Saving Mr. Banks, the story of bringing Mary Poppins to the big screen. Also in theaters: Here Comes the Devil; Hours; Tyler Perry's A Madea Christmas

Lightning Strikes: A Jerry Bruckheimer Retrospective @ Egyptian Theatre (Hollywood)
American Cinematheque pays tribute to the prolific film and television producer with a four-day film series with double features of several of his biggest hits. The retrospective begins this evening with two films directed by Tony Scott and starring Tom Cruise, 1986's hallmark of my childhood Top Gun and 1990's Days of Thunder. Bruckheimer joins the fun for Saturday's program which kicks off with him signing copies of Michael Singer's new book, Jerry Bruckheimer: When Lightning Strikes – Four Decades of Filmmaking, followed by the Michael Bay-directed The Rock and Bad Boys. In between Sunday's screenings of Thief and American Gigolo, there's a discussion with Thief director Michael Mann, and Monday's double feature of Enemy of the State and Black Hawk Down caps things off.



Love Actually @ Electric Dusk Drive-In (Downtown)

Since it was raining last weekend, the screening of Love Actually has moved to this evening and there are still a limited amount of tickets left. Act now to experience my favorite holiday rom-com ever at the drive in. The 2003 Richard Curtis film weaves several storylines together that simultaneously make you laugh and cry, leaving you a mushy, sentimental mess. There's the dashing Prime Minister (Hugh Grant) who falls for a staff member, Bill Nighty as a washed-up rocker, Colin Firth as a writer who finds love with a Portuguese housekeeper, Mark ("The Walking Dead"'s Andrew Lincoln) who is hopelessly in love with his best friend's wife (Keira Knightley), a dedicated sister (Laurey Linney), a grieving widow (Liam Neeson) and his stepson, a couple (Alan Rickman and Emma Thompson) dealing with adultery, adorable porn stand-ins (Martin Freeman and Joanna Page) and Colin (Kris Marshall) who heads to America to put his British accent to use in picking up some ladies.


Deap Vally @ Bootleg Theater (Westlake)

It seems fitting that Deap Vally are headlining this Christmas Sweater Festival since the duo first met at a class where drummer/vocalist Julie Edwards taught guitarist/vocalist Lindsey Troy how to crochet. Make sure to wear your most hideous Christmas sweater to rock out to songs from the ladies' debut, Sistrionix, released earlier this year. The night also features performances from Western Lows, Boardwalk, Heaven and Crash, and all proceeds benefit the Pablove Foundation.


Renegade Craft Fair Winter Market @ L.A. State Historic Park (Elysian Park)
The curated indie-craft marketplace showcases the brightest talents in contemporary craft and design, and this weekend marks their fourth annual winter fair. Los Angeles' best and brightest, from La Cadelaria Candles and Waffles & Honey Jewelry to Z Confections and Coldwater Canyon Provisions, show off their wares from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. today and Sunday. There are also free screen printing demos, art installations, free photos from Magnolia Photo Booth Co. and yummy goodness from trucks like No Jodas, Greasy Wiener and India Jones Chow Truck.

Brendan Jennings and Ron West in 'Twist Your Dickens!"
(Craig Schwartz)


The Second City's "A Christmas Carol: Twist Your Dickens!" @ Kirk Douglas Theatre (Culver City)
If you've never heard of Chicago's improv comedy troupe, the Second City, let me enlighten you with just a few of their notable alumni: Alan Arkin, Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Gilda Radner, Tina Fey and Tim Meadows, among many others, including Peter Gwinn and Bobby Mort, the writers of this holiday comedy that returns for another L.A. run this year. Both have worked on "The Colbert Report," and this hilariously irreverent satire of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol stars some of the group's brightest stars – as well as guests like Casey Affleck, Mindy Cohn, Jane Kaczmarek, Rhea Perlman and Matthew Modine – so you know you're in for a great time. Through Dec. 29.


Taste of Tamales @ La Placita Olvera (Downtown)
I would always look forward to Christmas Eve, when my childhood best friend would make piles of tamales with her family and bring us a few bags of the masa-encased goodness. No other food says family and the holidays to Mexican-Americans quite like tamales, so it's no wonder that there is an annual festival here in Los Angeles to celebrate the food. You can enjoy every tamale flavor imaginable from a variety of L.A. vendors and restaurants, musical performances, arts and crafts, carnival games and free toys for children on a first-come, first-served basis from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.



Joe Manganiello @ Barnes & Noble (The Grove)
C'mon, guys, you know that you would kill to have a body like the "True Blood" and Magic Mike star. You're totally in luck because he just released a new fitness book called Evolution: The Cutting Edge Guide to Breaking Down Mental Walls and Building the Body You've Always Wanted. In it, he helps you clear your mind to envision your body transformation, gives you the tools to do it and the ability to maintain the focus to keep up the program. You can meet your body-sculpting inspiration when he visits the Grove store to sign copies of the book at 7 p.m.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

L.A. HAVENS - Ice Skating 2013

Downtown on Ice at Pershing Square

Although it has been downright frigid in Los Angeles lately, temperatures will never dip low enough for snow and ice. That doesn't mean your dream of a white holiday can't come true. Bundle up, grab your skates and head on over to one of these local ice rinks for some merry and bright outdoor fun.

Downtown on Ice 
Now-Jan. 20, 2014 @ Pershing Square - 532 S. Olive Ave. (Downtown)
$8 for a one-hour skate session; $2 skate rental

Besides skating, there is also a free concert series, broomball games every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday night and a Winter Holiday Festival on Dec. 14 with Santa, snow, live music, crafts, bouncers and a train ride.

Holiday Ice Rink
Now-Jan. 20, 2014 @ The Lakes (Thousand Oaks)
$10 for admission and one-hour session; $4 skate rental

Located next to the shopping center's beautiful bodies of water, the picturesque rink is the ideal setting for a festive skate session. It's a bit of a trek to get there if you live in Los Angeles proper, but since it's surrounded by several great restaurants and shops so you can make an afternoon or evening of it.

ICE at Santa Monica
Now-Jan. 20, 2014 @ 1324 5th St. (Santa Monica)
$12 for admission and skate rental

This is one of the only places in Los Angeles where you can spend a day at the beach then go ice skating – all within walking distance. There are even beginner hockey clinics with staff members from the L.A. Kings for $15 on Sundays through Jan. 12, from 9 a.m.-10 a.m.

L.A. Kings Holiday Ice
Now-Dec. 31, 2013 @ Nokia Plaza, L.A. Live (Downtown)
$13 for adult admission and skate rental; $8 for children

Speaking of the L.A. Kings, their outdoor skating rink returns to L.A. Live again this year just steps from their home arena at Staples Center. You can also purchase a Supper & Skate package for $30 ($20 for children), which includes admission, skate rental and a prix-fixe dinner from LA Market, Lawry's Carvery, Rock'N Fish or Trader Vic's.

The Rink
Now-Jan. 5, 2014 @ Third St. & Orange Grove Ave. (Burbank)
$10 for a 90-minute session; $3 skate rental

Located in the heart of downtown Burbank, this is the rink to visit if you still have some gifts to cross off your shopping list since the Burbank Town Center is just a few minutes away. It's also the place to go if you're taking a small child since they have these adorable, plastic Bobby the Seal Skating Aids for rent ($6) that the little ones can use for support as they glide around.

Woodland Hills Ice
Now-Feb. 17, 2013 @ Westfield Promenade (Woodland Hills)
$10 for a two-hour session; $7 for children; $5 skate rental

Now in its fifth season, this rink offers lessons, as well as special theme sessions and giveaways through February 17. There are PJs & Pancakes (or Doughnuts) mornings when you get free skate rental if you show up in your pajamas, dance performances, Country on Ice nights when you get free rental if you wear denim, Mustache Night and a celebrity Doppelgänger Night.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

New Release Tuesday 12/10/13

Dec. 10, 2013


Brendan BensonYou Were Right (Readymade)

While Benson's band with Jack White, the Raconteurs, are said to be working on a new album, the Nashville (by way of Michigan) musician and singer-songwriter releases his sixth solo effort today. Benson's characteristic witty lyrics continue to shine on You Were Right, as does his musicianship, which is strengthened by a backing band that includes former members of the Posies and the Cardinals. From the country twang of opener "It's Your Choice" and "Diamond"'s lovely harmonies to the power pop of "Rejuvenate Me" and the reggae-tinged "I'll Never Tell," Benson toes the line, genre-wise, while continually touching emotional chords with his words.

Childish GambinoBecause the Internet (Glassnote)
The hip-hop artist that many of you may recognize from his work with Derrick Comedy and his former gig on NBC's "Community," was, of course, met with much skepticism when he began garnering attention with Culdesac in 2010 and Camp, his first studio album, the following year. Donald Glover continues to forge his own path in the rap game with Because the Internet, a concept album that also has a screenplay based on the songs, and whether you think he's being completely honest and real or just playing another role as Childish Gambino, it's hard not to just tune out all of the talk and focus on the music as your head starts nodding along to the beat and his rhymes. The album features guests like Chance the Rapper, Jhene Aiko and Azealia Banks, but my favorite tracks are those where he flies solo: "3005" and "Shadows."

Dâm-Funk & Snoopzilla7 Days of Funk (Stones Throw)

Snoop Dogg adds yet another moniker to his list of aliases with Snoopzilla, a nod to Bootsy Collins, and joins forces with the L.A. vocalist, musician and producer for a funkdafied album that pays tribute to Snoop's funk influences with Dâm-Funk's masterful polish. The duo first collaborated on stage at 2011's SXSW and immediately hit you with hard beats and a smooth flow in album opener "Hit Da Pavement." See them perform other tracks from 7 Days of Funk tonight at Exchange LA in Downtown.

Robert PollardBlazing Gentlemen (GBV)
Having released around 40 solo and Guided by Voices works, the prolific force behind the Dayton, Ohio, indie rock band says that he's "finally figured out how to write a song after 55 years" upon debuting his latest solo effort, Blazing Gentlemen. Although legions of GBY fans would beg to differ, Pollard isn't joking. He applied a new technique of taking a consistent approach to writing all of the lyrics first and then working out the melody for each track on his guitar, and the straightforward, disciplined tactic paid off in the album's 16 songs. Standouts are "Extra Fool's Day," "Tea People" and "Lips of Joy."

Also available –
Beastmilk's Climax; Coone's Global Dedication; Drexciya's Journey of the Deep Sea Dweller Volume IV; E-40's The Block Brochure: Welcome to the Soil 4, 5 & 6; Guerrilla Toss' Gay Disco; The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug soundtrack; Jon Bellion's The Separation; Krystal Keith's Whiskey & Lace; Logos' Cold Mission; Madlib's Rock Konducta Part One; Milosh's Jetlag; Parmalee's Feels Like Carolina; R. Kelly's Black Panties; Roc Marciano's Marci Beaucoup; SCNTST's Self Therapy


What Does the Fox Say? by Ylvis and Christian Løchstøer (Simon & Schuster)
It's a little hard to believe that Bård and Vegard Ylvisåker unveiled their video for "The Fox (What Does the Fox Say?)" a mere three months ago since it has so pervaded pop culture. The promo for the new season of the brothers' Norwegian talk show became a YouTube sensation with over 200 million views, spawned a slew of copycat clips and covers, a fox costume craze during Halloween and, now, a children's book. The song's lyrics, penned by the Ylvisåkers and Christian Løchstøer, are set to playful illustrations by Norwegian author and illustrator Svein Nyhus, and is sure to delight all the children in your life whenever you read the animal sounds aloud.

Also available – Innocence by Dean Koontz; Sports Illustrated Almanac 2014


Film – Universal Studios is donating a percentage of the proceeds from the Fast & Furious 6's DVD, Blu-ray, digital and On Demand sales to Paul Walker's Reach Out WorldWide organization; Naomi Watts and Robin Wright are childhood friends who fall for each other's sons in Adore; Despicable Me 2 features the voices of Steve Carell, Kristen Wiig and Russell Brand; Billy Bob Thornton directs and stars in Jayne Mansfield's Car, with Tippi Hedren, Kevin Bacon and Robert Duvall; Some Girl(s), based on the Neil LaBute play of the same name, stars Adam Brody as a successful writer who tries to make amends with all of his exes (played by Kristen Bell, Jennifer Morrison and Emily Watson among others) on the eve of his wedding

TV – Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Special: The Day of the Doctor; Futurama, Vol. 8; The Game: The Sixth Season; Teen Wolf: Season Three, Part 1

Music – Foghat's Live in St. Pete; One Direction: Reaching for the Stars; Pocket Full of Soul: The Harmonica Documentary; Sample This: The Birth of Hip Hop; Scorpions' MTV Unplugged

Also available –
The Angels' Share; Battle of the Year; Crafting a Nation; Hunt; Man of Tai Chi; Mary Poppins: 50th Anniversary Edition; Muhammad Ali's Greatest Fight; The Seasoning House; Sightseers; Touchy Feely; The Ultimate Life

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Events for Dec. 5-11, 2013


Brendan Canning (Jules Schill)


Brendan Canning, Holly Miranda @ The Echo (Echo Park)
The Broken Social Scene founding member, who also scored Paul Schrader's The Canyons with Me&John, released his second solo album, You Gots 2 Chill, in October, and the theme for this follow-up to 2008's Something for All of Us definitely takes cue from its name. With songs like the beautiful "Never Go to the Races," "Plugged In" and "Bullied Days," which features vocals by Daniela Gesundheit of Snowblink, it's hard not to be swept away by his luxuriously textured aural landscapes. If you have yet to see Canning perform live, this is your chance to see him command the stage in a very intimate setting. Detroit's Holly Miranda warms up the crowd for Canning with a set that includes her two new singles, "Everlasting" and "Desert Call" (the recording features Kelis on backing vocals), that were produced by Dave Sitek and released on his new label, Federal Prism.



Margaret Cho @ The Wiltern (Koreatown)
The Emmy- and Grammy-nominated actress, star of "Drop Dead Diva" and confessed pho addict (see her Jigsaw interview here) finally brings her new stand-up comedy show Mother to her hometown. While Young-Hie Cho has provided inspiration for many of Margaret's characters over the years, her long-suffering Korean mom is the main focus of much of the material in this show, with Cho frequently slipping into an impression of her. She says, "My mother did not prepare me for the world. First – I was named the poetic Korean name 'moran,' which was perfect for the kids at school to call me 'moron,' and set me up for a good quarter century of therapy. However, I can clean a fish with my bare hands." So hilarious – and relatable to people from every cultural background.


Into the Night: Progression @ Skirball Cultural Center (Brentwood)
The Skirball celebrates the recent completion of their campus with this winter party that takes place in several venues throughout its 15-acre grounds, including the first-ever performance in the Guerin Pavilion and after-hours access to the Global Citizen: The Architecture of Moshe Safdie exhibit. Sway along to a live set from Long Beach's Avi Buffalo and the L.A. debut of Brooklyn quartet People Get Ready, sample specialty cocktails, enjoy sets from KCRW DJ Jason Kramer and be treated to a site-specific performance by Jmy James Kidd and her company, the Sunland Dancers.


Bob Fosse: Song, Dance and Direction @ Aero Theatre (Santa Monica)
I am such a sucker for musicals, and Bob Fosse-choreographed and -directed gems are hard to beat. American Cinematheque hosts a double feature of two of the Tony- and Oscar-winning legend's films, with an introduction by bestselling author Sam Wasson, who signs copies of his new book, Fosse, in the lobby at 6:30 p.m. Then, Liza Minnelli and Michael York star in 1972's Cabaret, winner of eight Academy Awards including Best Director, which Fosse won over Francis Ford Coppola for The Godfather. In between screenings is a discussion with assistant choreographer Kathryn Doby and first A.D. Wolfgang Glattes, followed by Roy Scheider, Ben Vereen, Jessica Lange and Ann Reinking in All That Jazz, based on Fosse's own life. Two of Fosse's non-musical movies, Star 80 and Lenny, screen on Saturday.

In Theaters This Week
The Coen's Inside Llewyn Davis, starring Oscar Isaac, Carey Mulligan, Justin Timberlake, John Goodman and Garrett Hedlund, follows a young folk singer over a week in 1961 in Greenwich Village and, with a soundtrack produced by T-Bone Burnett in association with Marcus Mumford, this is one of my most anticipated films of the season; Live Schreiber in Last Days on Mars; Scott Cooper (Crazy Heart) directs Christian Bale, Casey Affleck, Woody Harrelson, Zoe Saldana and Forest Whitaker in the thrilling crime drama Out of the Furnace; Penélope Cruz and Emile Hirsch in Twice Born. Also in theaters: Commitment; Crave; Expecting; Khumba; Narco Cultura

Vampire Weekend (Alex John Beck)


KROQ Almost Acoustic Christmas @ Shrine Auditorium (South Los Angeles)
Although tickets for Sunday's Night Two show (with headliners Arcade Fire, Phoenix and Lorde) are gone, as I'm writing this there are remarkably tickets remaining for this first night. There are several Night One acts whose albums are landing on my top year-end list, including Queens of the Stone Age and Vampire Weekend whose Modern Vampires of the City landed at No. 1 on Rolling Stone's 50 Best Albums of 2013 as well. Also in the lineup are Kings of Leon, AFI, Arctic Monkeys, Cage the Elephant, Grouplove, New Politics and Foals. Hurry up and get your tickets, though, I'm sure this evening is going to sell out soon.


Unique LA Holiday Show @ California Market Center (Downtown)
Support local vendors by picking up your holiday gifts at the "largest Made-in-America shopping event in the country." With over 350 specially selected designers and artists exhibiting their wares today and Sunday, you're sure to find something for everyone in your life. There are T-shirts from Treacherous Minx, scrubs and elixirs from Kings Road Apothecary, jars of tangy goodness from Pickled by Hattie and customized jewelry pieces from Love, Kate, to name just a few of the participants. The portraits that Oh! Snap Studios takes of shoppers are always super cute, so don't forget to stop by their booth for a free photo.



"Richard II" @ Aero Theatre (Santa Monica)
Everyone in my house is obsessed with "Doctor Who," (I even dressed up as the Tardis last Halloween.) and David Tennant is easily our favorite Doctor. It's no surprise, then, that this screening of the Royal Shakespeare Company's theatrical production of the historical tragedy starring Tennant has piqued my curiosity. His performance as the ill-fated British monarch is being broadcast from a sold-out show in Shakespeare's hometown, Stratford-Upon-Avon. This is a first for the movie theater, so it should be quite an interesting night.



Amy Tan @ UCLA's Freud Playhouse (Westwood)
There are only a handful of authors whose work I love so much that I own every novel they have published, and whenever they release a new one I immediately add it to my wishlist even if I have no clue what it's about. Amy Tan is one of these writers, and she just released her latest work, The Valley of Amazement, last month. The book covers 40 years in the lives of two women, Chinese-American Violet and her white mother Lulu, from Shanghai "flower houses" to a remote Chinese village. As with most of Tan's works, the many facets of mother-daughter relationships are explored as they each struggle to navigate the challenges life throws at them. She discusses and signs copies of the novel at 7 p.m.


"I'll Eat You Last" @ Geffen Playhouse (Westwood)

Tony and Grammy Award-winning Bette Midler made her first Broadway appearance in nearly 40 years as the star of "I'll Eat You Last," which centers around the legendary Hollywood super-agent Sue Mengers who represented clients that ranged from Barbra Streisand, Faye Dunaway and Cher to Burt Reynolds, Gene Hackman and Ryan O'Neal. See the Divine Miss M shine in the witty, one-woman play written by John Logan and directed by Joe Mantello as it runs in Los Angeles through Dec. 22.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013


Saw this piece as I was walking along a construction zone near Trim salon on Abbot Kinney Boulevard in Venice Beach (1424 Abbot Kinney Blvd.). The bikini-clad beach girl is typical of many people you might come across on the street – although, she does possess an antlered animal head.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

New Release Tuesday 12/3/13

Dec. 3, 2013


Black FlagWhat the… (SST)
Amidst legal action between Black Flag mastermind Greg Ginn and former bandmembers, a vocalist (Ron Reyes, who sings on What the…) being ousted from the group on stage, fierce criticism over the album's cover art (designed by Reyes) and a whole mess of other drama, the seminal SoCal punk outfit release their first album of new material in 28 years. What the…, their seventh effort, is Reyes' first recording with the band since 1980, with Ginn assuming bass duties for the first time since 1984 under his Dale Nixon pseudonym and marks the return of drummer Gregory Moore. From opener "My Heart's Pumping" to "The Bitter End" and "No Teeth," listeners won't find anything new among the album's 22 tracks, characterized by Ginn's frenetic guitar work, simple lyrics delivered with a snarl and just an echo of Black Flag's thundering, manic energy.

Magic TrickRiver of Souls (Empty Cellar)
In between tours with the Fresh & Onlys, Tim Cohen would sit alone in his San Francisco bedroom crafting songs that he eventually started playing at shows with James Kim, Alicia Vanden Heuvel and Noelle Cahill, a foursome that became Magic Trick. They recorded the 10 intimate tracks of River of Souls, their third album, in Cohen's attic studio with horns by Marc Cappelle and guest guitarists Tom Heyman and Steve Peacock. The results, highlighted by "Come Inside," "The Store" and "Crazy Teeth," serve as the ideal workday soundtrack or to listen to as you snuggle by the fire on a cold night.

Sumie – self-titled (Bella Union)

Often times, simpler is usually better. Sweden's Sandra Sumie Nagano releases her debut album, a collection of 10 tracks comprised of nothing but her gorgeous voice, an acoustic guitar and occasional piano from Dustin O'Halloran. Her songs, recorded at Nils Frahm's studio with O'Halloran and Simon Raymonde, serve as an almost polar opposite to the electro-pop gems that her sister, Yukimi, creates with Little Dragon. "It was not a style or a sudden choice but more me playing my guitar and having two small children so I could not make much noise," Sumie says of her pared-down sound. "But I also love minimal and delicate music, so that felt like a natural direction for me." I can't think of two better adjectives for the simple beauty of songs like "Never Wanted to Be," "Show Talked Windows" and "Speed Into."

Also available – AAA Battery's Year of the Woman; bEEdEEgEE's (Brian Degraw) Sum/One; Ben Allison's The Stars Look Very Different Today; Boston's Life, Love & Hope; Britney Spears' Britney Jean; The Faze's The Suicide Note; Jake Owen's Days of Gold; Leona Lewis' Christmas, With Love; Ryan Kelly's Life; Sand's self-titled; Smif-N-Wessun's Born and Raised; Sons of Anarchy: Vol. 3; The Sound of Music (Music from the NBC Television Event); Yoko Ono, Kim Gordon & Thurston Moore's YokoKimThurston deluxe edition


Dangerous Women (Tor)
This anthology, edited by George R. R. Martin and Gardner Dozois, features a collection of 21 stories with one thing in common: a femme fatale. There are familiar characters from 12 New York Times bestselling authors, including a new Outlander story from Diana Gabaldon, one from Jim Butcher (The Dresden Files), Lev Grossman (The Magicians) and, most intriguing to me and many other A Song of Ice and Fire/"Game of Thrones" fans, "The Princess and the Queen" – a 35,000-word novella by Martin about the Targaryen civil war known in Westeros as "The Dance of the Dragons." In addition, there are several original stories by Joe Abercrombie, Lawrence Block, Sherilynn Kenyon, Sharon Kay Penman, S. M. Stirling and many more.

Also available – The Art of Frozen by Charles Solomon; Autobiography by Morrissey; Brown Dog by Jim Harrison; Command Authority by Tom Clancy; The Daniel Plan by Rick Warren; Elizabeth of York by Alison Weir; The Gods of Guilt by Michael Connelly; Happy Herbivore Light & Lean by Lindsay S. Nixon; The Kid by Ben Bradlee Jr.; My Last Fight by Darren McCarty


Film –
Good Ol' Freda, Ryan White's documentary about the Beatles' devoted, lifelong secretary; Olivia Wilde, Jake Johnson, Anna Kendrick and Ron Livingston in Drinking Buddies; The film version of Cassandra Clare's bestseller, The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, stars Lily Collins and Jamie Campbell Bower; The Wolverine story continues, as Logan (Hugh Jackman) travels to Japan to help an old friend

Music – Muse's Live in Rome; Stevie Nicks' In Your Dreams; The Stone Roses' Made of Stone; US Festival 1983: Days 1-3; Willie Nelson Live

TV – The Big C: The Complete Fourth Season; Degrassi: Complete Season 11; Hot in Cleveland: Season Four; Mind of a Chef: Season 2; The Simpsons: Season 16

Also available – All the Boys Love Mandy Lane; The Future; The Hangover Trilogy; Heart of the Country; House of Bad; Let's Get Lost; Madigan Again; The Perfect Wedding; Running Wild: Life of Dayton O. Hyde; The Smurfs 2; Things Never Said; Why We Ride; Winnie Mandela; A Year in Burgundy