Thursday, January 30, 2014

Events for Jan. 30-Feb. 5, 2014


Lolawolf (Michael Leviton)


Lolawolf @ The Echo (Echo Park)
The New York band, fronted by Zoë Kravitz and featuring Reputate's James Levy and Jimmy Giannopoules, makes its L.A. debut tonight at the Echo. The evening is set to include tracks from their forthcoming self-titled EP (available Feb. 4), including the cheeky "Drive (Los Angeles)," sweet "What Love Is" and 80s-tinged "Chainz." All of the songs I've heard so far from Lolawolf are incredibly danceable, so this should make for a fun outing.



Cat Art Show @ 101/exhibit (6205 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood)
Catch the final days of this feline-focused art show that everyone was meowing about after its opening reception last weekend. From Shepard Fairey, Buff Monster and Gary Baseman to Mercedes Helnwein, Tim Biskup and Incubus' Brandon Boyd, artists interpret the role of cats as not only domesticated companions but as muses and inspirations. Even if you aren't a kitty lover, their renderings are sure to bring a smile to your face. Through Sunday afternoon.


In Theaters This Week
Andy Garcia, Vera Farmiga and Taissa Farmiga in At Middleton; Labor Day, directed by Jason Reitman, takes places over the holiday weekend that changes the lives of 13-year-old Henry Wheeler (Gattlin Griffith), his mother (Kate Winslet) and a stranger who needs their help (Josh Brolin); Zac Efron, Michael B. Jordan and Miles Teller are three best friends navigating the dating world in That Awkward Moment. Also in theaters: California Scheming; Tim's Vermeer


Mayer Hawthorne @ Palladium (Hollywood)
The soulful L.A. singer-songwriter released his third studio album, Where Does This Door Go, over the summer, boasting some of the best tracks of his career thus far. Songs like "Her Favorite Song," "The Only One" and "Corsican Rosé" are so smooth, they can give the most timid a boost of bravado to ask the hottie standing over at the bar for a spin on the dance floor with just one listen. If you have yet to experience Mayer Hawthorne live, please go to this show. Although your feet will be sore from dancing all night, you will definitely thank me later for all the fun you had.

Johnathan Rice


Johnathan Rice @ Bootleg Bar (Westlake)
Last year, the L.A. singer-songwriter released his third solo album, Good Graces, his first work since putting out the critically lauded I'm Having Fun Now album under the moniker of Jenny & Johnny with Jenny Lewis. He also collaborates with Lewis on the score for Song One, which stars Anne Hathaway and Johnny Flynn and just premiered at Sundance. Lewis also appears on Good Graces, along with Z Berg, the Watson Twins, Farmer Dave Scher and Chad Marshall, so it's safe to assume at least one of the guests will make an appearance for a song tonight at Bootleg.


Chinese New Year Festival @ Chinatown
The Year of the Horse is said to be one of exuberance, so celebrate all that the year ahead holds in store at the oldest New Year spectacular in the country taking place through Sunday afternoon. The 115th Annual Golden Dragon Parade begins Saturday's festivities at 1 p.m. with floats, dancers and bands streaming down the streets, led by this year's Grand Marshal, Mayor Eric Garcetti. After the parade, enjoy cultural performances and workshops, traditional and gourmet street food, craft beer fem Eagle Rock Brewery and a live music stage curated by Buzz Bands LA's Kevin Bronson with local acts like the Happy Hollows and Raw Geronimo.



Fútbol: The Beautiful Game @ LACMA (Miracle Mile)
While American football celebrates its two top teams today, fútbol fans still have a few more months until the 2014 FIFA World Cup kicks off in Brazil. Never fear, though, soccer lovers. LACMA has something to help pass the time, a new exhibit that examines the sport and its influence on nationalism, globalism and the common human experience through video, photography, painting and sculpture from around 30 international artists. Works from Miguel Calderon, Robin Rhode, Kehinde Wiley and Andy Warhol are just a few of the stunning pieces to take in as the exhibit runs through July 20.

Jared Leto in Dallas Buyers Club (Focus Features)


Jared Leto Double Feature @ Egyptian Theatre (Hollywood)
Jared Leto has scooped up several awards and is the frontrunner for the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for the role in Dallas Buyers Club that lured him out of temporary acting retirement. Whether it was in that film, Prefontaine, Chapter 27 or Darren Aronofsky's Requiem for a Dream (2000), Leto immerses himself completely into character. American Cinematheque celebrates the actor with a double feature Dallas Buyers Club and Requiem for a Dream, featuring two of his greatest performances, and a discussion with him between the two films.


National Frozen Yogurt Day @ Yogurtland (Citywide)
Honor the goodness that is frozen yogurt with a visit to your local Yogurtland. They celebrate their third annual event today with free yogurt and toppings from 4 p.m. to 7p.m. today. Not to be outdone, Menchie's is celebrating on Thursday (Feb. 6) with your first 6 ounces free. You just have to like their Facebook page, and they'll send you a coupon.



Mother Falcon @ The Echo (Echo Park)

The Austin-based orchestral band begins a monthlong, Wednesday night residency at the Echo tonight. Mother Falcon is composed of 15 to 20 members that play strings, trumpets, saxophones and even a bassoon, Greek bouzouki and glockenspiel, and the songs on their sophomore effort, You Knew, are mesmerizing. I'm not sure how all of them are going to fit on the Echo stage, but a thoroughly unique and entertaining experience is guaranteed to be in store. If you can't make it tonight, do try to check them out one of these Wednesdays in February.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

New Release Tuesday 1/28/14

Jan. 28, 2014


Drowners – Self-titled (Frenchkiss)
The Drowners were born when frontman Matthew Hitt moved to New York City from his native Wales, and upon listening to their self-titled debut, another New York group comes to mind, the Strokes. There is tight, snappy garage pop throughout the foursome's album, but with a playful energy that is all their own. Standout tracks include "Long Hair" and "A Button on Your Blouse," and should prove to be equally as enjoyable live when the Drowners play Coachella in April.

Wax FangThe Astronaut (Don't Panic)

The duo from Louisville, KY, who scored "American Dad!"'s 150th episode last season, release an epic space-rock opera today. The tale of The Astronaut, who is separated from his spacecraft, swallowed by a black hole and transformed into a celestial super being, is told over three movements. From the tracks' experimental beeps, psychedelic guitar riffs and soft-then-soaring vocals, you experience the gamut of emotions the space explorer feels throughout his tragic adventure.

Also available –
Angelique Kidjo's Eve; The Autumn Defense's Fifth; Casting Crowns' Thrive; Cities Aviv's Come to Life; David Crosby's Croz; Dum Dum Girls' Too True; The Gaslight Anthem's B-Sides; Hospitality's Trouble; Jesus Sons' self-titled; Isaiah Rashad's Cilvia Demo; The Lawrence Arms' Metropole; Leif Vollebekk's North Americana; Kins' self-titled; The Mast's Pleasure Island; Of Mice & Men's Restoring Force; Periphery's Clear; Pontiak's Innocence; Red Dragon Cartel's self-titled; Sleepy Sun's Maui Tears; Trentalange's Same Illusion


My Life in Middlemarch
by Rebecca Mead (Crown)
George Eliot's 1874 novel Middlemarch is often assigned reading for high school and college students, so it's no wonder that many young writers become enamored with the English writer. Staff writer for The New Yorker and author of One Perfect Day: The Selling of the American Wedding, Rebecca Mead was captivated by Middlemarch as a young woman and reread the novel several times over the course of her years at Oxford, as a journalist, through romantic relationships and eventually marriage and beginning a family. In My Life in Middlemarch, she gives a glimpse into Eliot's life, explores themes from the work as they relate to our modern world and relays how the novel has influenced her life. After reading Mead's book, fans of Eliot's novel will want to go back and read it again.

Also available – All Joy and No Fun by Jennifer Senior; The Ghost of the Mary Celeste by Valerie Martin; The Guest Cat by Takashi Hiraide; The Love Playbook by La La Anthony; An Officer and a Spy by Robert Harris; The Paleo Approach by Sarah Ballantyne; The Parthenon Enigma by Joan Breton Connelly; Red Rising by Pierce Brown; Still Life with Bread Crumbs by Anna Quindien; Up From the Grave by Jeaniene Frost


Film – Ron Howard directs Chris Hemsworth and Daniel Brühl in Rush, the story of the the 1970s rivalry between Formula One racers James Hunt and Niki Lauda; Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 features the voices of Bill Hader, Anna Faris, Will Forte and James Caan; Benedict Cumberbatch is Julian Assange in Bill Condon's The Fifth Estate; Johnny Knoxville is up to no good, with an 8-year-old in tow, for Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa; Last Vegas finds Michael Douglas, Robert De Niro, Morgan Freeman and Kevin Kline at a bachelor party in Sin City

TV – Bonnie & Clyde; Treme: The Complete Fourth Season; Treme: The Complete Series

Music – Metallica's Through the Never

Also available – 1: The Movie; Ass Backwards; Collision; Concussion; Dark Touch; Demonic Toys; House of Bodies; I Will Follow You Into the Dark; A Perfect Man; Seasons of Gray; Torture Chamber

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Events for Jan. 23-29, 2014


Tim Armstrong: Avenues & Alleyways


Tim Armstrong: Avenues & Alleyways @ Subliminal Projects (Echo Park)
Ten years back, I used to see Tim Armstrong on the dance floor at various bars in Echo Park, so it's no surprise that the musician, songwriter and artist has chosen the neighborhood for his first ever solo art show. Most of you know the fiery performer from Operation Ivy, Rancid and the Transplants, but few have seen his drawings, paintings, watercolors and mixed media work, until now. In addition to the pieces on display at Avenues & Alleyways, running through Feb. 22 at Subliminal Projects, Armstrong is releasing a limited edition box set of 45 screen prints (each signed and numbered by him) and performing with Tim Timebomb & Friends at the opening reception tonight.


In Theaters This Week
Gimme Shelter features a powerful performance from Vanessa Hudgens as a pregnant teen on the streets of New York; Aaron Eckhart and Bill Nighy in I, Frankenstein; Visitors, from Godfrey Reggio (the Qatsi trilogy), has the director teaming up again with composer Philip Glass for a stunning, wordless portrait of modern life. Also in theaters: 24 Exposures; Betrayal; Gloria; Jai Ho; Knights of Badassdom; Run and Jump

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles @ Nuart Theatre (West Los Angeles)

My sister was obsessed with TMNT when she was little, from the animated series and video game to begging my mom for a Michaelangelo Halloween costume one year. So you can bet that we were standing in line at the theaters when the original movie was released at the height of TMNT mania in 1990, and even I enjoyed it. A quartet of mutated, pizza-loving turtles led by a mutant rat sensei against their archenemy Shredder – what's not to love? Venture into the sewers of New York City with the green gang when Landmark Theatres screens a 35mm print of the cult classic. Cowabunga!


Jake Bugg @ The Wiltern (Koreatown)
As I was looking up press photos of the English singer-songwriter and musician for this column, my boyfriend walked in and asked, "Are you working, or just fawning over Jake Bugg?" Sigh, maybe I am a little taken with him. Whenever one of his songs comes on over the radio, I instantly turn the volume up. His self-titled debut from last year and his sophomore effort, Shangri La, named after producer Rick Rubin's Malibu studio and released in November, are in constant rotation while I'm sitting at my desk. Bugg crafts gorgeous ballads, and his easygoing stage presence belies his 19 years of age. This is easily the show not to miss this week.



Drenge @ The Satellite (Silver Lake)
If you've had a particularly hard week, then I'm writing you a prescription for an evening with the English duo. Banging your head, thrashing your body and just completely giving yourself over to the aural beast that is Drenge's music is the ideal way to unleash all of your frustrations. Just give their recently released "Bloodsports" single a spin, and you will undoubtedly see what I mean.


Internet Cat Video Film Festival @ The Echoplex (Echo Park)
Although I'm not a cat lover (I'm extremely allergic.), I'm not immune to the charms of online cat videos. This celebration of the international viral sensations is making a world tour, with a stop at the Echoplex tonight. In store for you feline fanatics is a reel of 85 cat videos, a costume contest, cat-related vendors and reps from local animal shelters and humane societies, as well as special appearances by the awesome Grumpy Cat and Keyboard Cat.


Ducks vs. Kings @ Dodger Stadium (Elysian Park)
No, I didn't make a mistake with the venue. This is hockey, outside, at Dodger Stadium. A shiny new ice rink has been built in the center of the stadium as part of the 2014 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series, making it the first outdoor regular-season NHL game played west of the Mississippi River. The game couldn't come at a better time, since both teams are doing well this season: Anaheim sits at the top of the league, while Los Angeles isn't too far behind in the Pacific Division. KISS perform before the game and during the first intermission, too.



Leigh Steinberg @ Book Soup (West Hollywood)
Back when Jerry Maguire was released in 1996, scores of people wanted to become a sports agent like the character played by Tom Cruise in the film. The actual superagent who inspired the character, though, is Leigh Steinberg, who has represented over 150 pro athletes, including Troy Aikman, Steve Young, Oscar de la Hoya and Ben Roethlisberger. He just released a new book, The Agent: My 40-Year Career Making Deals and Changing the Game, that shares some of his personal stories as one of the greatest sports agents in history. He discusses and signs copies of the book at 4 p.m.


The Bangles @ Whisky A Go Go (West Hollywood)
No other band takes me back quite like these women can. From The Goonies soundtrack, their "A Hazy Shade of Winter" cover in Less Than Zero to a cameo by them in the first season of "Gilmore Girls" and an incredibly embarrassing recording and music video of "Walk Like an Egyptian" made by my best friend, her dad and me at Universal Studios, their songs were present in so many of my memories growing up. The trio of Susanna Hoffs, Debbi and Vicki Peterson take part in celebrating the famous Sunset Strip venue on the last night of the Whisky's 50th Anniversary weekend with a set that is sure to include many of those tracks.



Hands @ Bootleg Bar (Westlake)
There's nothing better than getting over the mid-week hump by dancing, and the Los Angeles-based foursome of hands provide a more than capable soundtrack to get you moving. TIME named them as one of the 11 Great Bands You Don't Know (But Should) list in 2012, and with the release of their debut full-length, Synesthesia, last year, they continue to captivate with their danceable indie rock and feverish live shows.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

New Release Tuesday 1/21/14

Jan. 21, 2014


Against Me!Transgender Dysphoria Blues (Total Treble)
It's been two years since frontwoman Laura Jane Grace publicly came out as transgender, and the band's sixth album reflects her intensely personal grappling with gender dysphoria, loss of a young friend, love and acceptance. She took on producing duties for the first time and even built a new studio in Florida to record Transgender Dysphoria Blues' demos. Unfortunately a tornado damaged the studio, but the album was eventually recorded, mixed by Billy Bush (Garbage, Muse, Tegan and Sara) and features NOFX's Fat Mike on bass for "Unconditional Love" and "FUCKMYLIFE666." All 10 tracks veer from deeply personal and political to commenting on the current state of the music business, and is sure to resonate with longtime fans and new listeners alike.

Graham ColtonLonely Ones (Graham Colton Recordings)

After parting ways with Universal Music, Colton began reconnecting with himself as an artist and collaborating with friend and fellow Oklahoma City musician Wayne Coyne of the Flaming Lips, who inspired him to experiment more during the songwriting process. As a result, this new album is a move away from Colton's singer-songwriter past towards the lush textures of indie/psych pop, complete with handclaps, la-la-las and infectious melodies.

U.S. RoyaltyBlue Sunshine
The Washington, D.C. foursome isolated themselves in a house overlooking a cemetery near Great Falls, Md., with longtime friend and engineer Justin Long, who worked on their Mirrors debut, to begin their sophomore effort. They eventually finished Blue Sunshine at Dreamland Studios in upstate New York, and the album reflects the intense reflection produced from isolation and new songwriting approaches inherent in being in new locales, as well as the passing of lead singer John Thornley and lead guitarist Paul Thornley's father. As you listen to the 11 songs, you'll hear whispers of "Hollywood folk, 70s AM gold and desert road trip blues."

Young the GiantMind Over Matter (Fueled By Ramen) 
I admit that I'm sometimes biased when it comes to bands from where I grew up in Orange County, but as evidenced by the success of their 2010 self-titled debut, Young the Giant deserve all the praise I throw their way. If you love them for "My Body" and "Cough Syrup," Mind Over Matter – produced by Justin Meldal-Johnsen (Beck, Nine Inch Nails, Paramore) – will continue to please with tracks like energetic lead single "It's About Time." Their Feb. 7 show at the Palladium is sold out, but if you don't mind driving a bit you can see them at Ventura Theatre Feb. 4 or Soma in San Diego on Feb. 9.

Also available – 2014 GRAMMY Nominees album; Aer's self-titled; Akissforjersey's New Bodies; Chris Gatsby's Middleground: Morals + Money; Crushed Stars' Farewell Young Lovers; Culted's Oblique to All Paths; Damien Jurado's Brothers and Sisters of the Eternal Son; Dog Bite's Tranquilizers; I Break Horses' Chiaroscuro; Ice Nine Kills' The Predator Becomes the Prey; The Jacka & Laroo's Never Be the Same - Season II: No Mercy; The John Lurie National Orchestra's The Invention of Animals; Mode Moderne's Occult Delight; Mogwai's Rave Tapes; Ray West & OC's Ray's Café; Shoko Hikage's Inishie no; Sister's Disguised Vultures; Snowgoons' Black Snow 2; Step Brothers' Lord Steppington; Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra's Fuck Off Get Free We Pour Light on Everything; Throwdown's Intolerance; together PANGEA's Badillac; Warpaint's self-titled


Available this week – Dark Souls: Design Works art book; The Days of Anna Madrigal by Armistead Maupin; People Tools by Alan Fox; Perfect Ending by Robert Jeffress; Say Goodbye to Survival Mode by Crystal Paine; The Second Machine Age by Erik Brynjolfsson


Film – Woody Allen directs Cate Blanchett as a New York socialite who moves into her sister's San Francisco apartment when her life begins to unravel in Blue Jasmine, also with Sally Hawkins, Alec Baldwin and Peter Sarsgaard; Captain Phillips, starring Tom Hanks and Barkhad Abdi, is the true story of the commanding officer of the Alabama as it is overtaken by a crew of Somali pirates; Eugenio Derbez directs and stars in the highly lauded dramedy Instructions Not Included

TV – Borgen: Season 3; Comedy Bang Bang: Season 1; How the Universe Works: Season 2; The Incredible Dr. Pol: Season 3; NYPD Blue: Season Five

Music – The Doors' R-Evolution; Pink!'s The Truth About Love Tour: Live From Melbourne

Also available – Bad Milo; Best Man Down; Charlie Countryman; Crossing Lines; Freezer; In a World; Machete Kills; Old Goats; The Prey; Starving Games; Sunlight Jr.; Vikingdom

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Events for Jan. 16-22, 2014




Cameron Diaz @ Barnes & Noble (The Grove)
Since making her feature-film debut at 21, the SoCal native has not only captivated millions on the big screen but has also become a role model as an advocate for education, the environment and the empowerment of women and girls. In her recently released The Body Book: The Law of Hunger, the Science of Strength, and Other Ways to Love Your Amazing Body, Diaz shares her own journey of learning about nutrition, exercise and the mind/body connection. She discusses and signs copies of the book tonight, so if you've always admired how fit the actress appears, now's your chance to hear her formula on staying healthy.


Nightmare and the Cat @ Bootleg Bar (Westlake)
If you've yet to see the L.A. fivesome led by Django and Sam Stewart (sons of Dave Stewart and Siobhan Fahey), you should definitely check them out while you can at venues as intimate as the Bootleg. They just released a video for the catchy "Blackbird Smile" off their Simple EP and are set to release their debut full-length via Capitol Records later this year, so you can bet you'll be hearing about the rockers in the months to come.



In Theaters This Week
By now you've probably seen photos or video footage of the scary baby marketing campaign for Devil's Due; Chris Pine assumes the role of Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit as he becomes a full operative for the CIA. Also with Keira Knightley, Kevin Costner and Kenneth Branagh; The Nut Job features the voices of Will Arnett, Brendan Fraser, Liam Neeson and Katherine Heigl; Ice Cube and Kevin Hart in Ride Along. Also in theaters: Jamesy Boy


Eagles @ The Forum (Inglewood)
It's only fitting that an iconic L.A. band like the Eagles inaugurate the new and improved Forum with over a week full of shows. Beginning last Wednesday and continuing tonight, Jan. 18, 22, 24 and 25, the prolific foursome of Glenn Frey, Don Henley, Joe Walsh and Timothy B. Schmit takeover the reinvented venue with their History of the Eagles tour. Songs from the entirety of their 40-year career are included in each night's setlist, even some that have never been performed in concert. Beware of belting out the lyrics to "Witchy Woman," "Lyin' Eyes," "Heartache Tonight" and, of course, "Hotel California" too loud at the show, or you might not have a voice tomorrow.



The Nerdist Writer's Panel @ Meltdown Comics (Hollywood)
Ben Blacker (co-creator of "The Thrilling Adventure Hour" and writer for "Supah Ninjas," "Supernatural") moderates a series of talks with professional writers of television, film, comic books, music and novels about their process and the business in general at the NerdMelt Showroom housed at Meltdown Comics. This afternoon's chat is with TV writer/producer Bryan Fuller, the mind behind amazing programs like "Hannibal," "Pushing Daisies" and "Dead Like Me." The self-professed Star Trek geek has also worked on shows like "Star Trek: Voyager," "Heroes" and "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine." It should be interested to learn about Fuller's writing process and his views on the entertainment business as well.



Kingdom Day Parade @ Western Ave. & Crenshaw Blvd. (South Los Angeles)
The biggest parade in the country honoring Martin Luther King, Jr. kicks off at 9:30 a.m. today at the intersection of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Western Avenue in South Los Angeles. Presented by the Congress of Racial Equality of California, the parade draws thousands of people with floats, celebrity guests, equestrian and other community groups, and marching bands. Pay tribute to Dr. King's life and legacy by taking part in the festivities.


Today is the first opportunity you have to take advantage of the special prix-fixe lunch and dinner menus offered by some of the city's best restaurants over the course of 12 days (running through Jan. 31). Lunch prices range from $15, $20 to $25, while dinner costs $25 through $85. Why not venture to a different neighborhood for a day of food exploration? You could hit Downtown for lunch at Aburiya Toranoko and dinner at Mo-chica; Culver City for lunch at Ford's Filling Station and dinner at Lukshon (pictured to the right); Silver Lake for lunch at Mohawk Bend and dinner at Black Hogg. Or, why not try a restaurant that is normally a bit over your price range, like Bouchon, Patina, Spago or Melisse? The options are endless.


Justin Timberlake @ The Forum (Inglewood)

Angelenos are lucky that the pop star has graced SoCal with several stops on The 20/20 Experience world tour. He actually brings the tour to a close at the Staples Center on Aug. 12, but before then, he gives the recently reopened Forum stage a run for its money. The concert promises flashy lights, lasers and choreography, but the real main attraction is JT's own showmanship. He can dance and sing like no other, and if you haven't seen him live, what are you waiting for?



together PANGEA @ The Smell (Downtown)
I saw the L.A. trio perform at Echo Park Rising over the summer, and their ferocious energy and style captured my attention. They release a third full-length, Badillac, today and celebrate with a release show at the Smell this evening before heading out across the country in support of the album. Give tracks like "Offer" and "Cat Man" a spin, and you're curiosity will be piqued just like mine.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

New Release Tuesday 1/14/14

Jan. 14, 2014


Black KnightsMedieval Chamber (Record Collection)
I was just talking about Wu-Tang Clan's far-reaching influence on music a few days ago, and after listening to the L.A. duo's new album, it's clear that Wu continue to have a strong presence in today's scene. In fact, it was RZA who first introduced the Black Knights (aka Rugged Monk and Crisis the Sharp Shooter) to Medieval Chamber's producer, former Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist John Frusciante. Although this is not Frusciante's first time at the helm of an album (see his previous work with the Mars Volta), it marks his first foray into hip-hop production. The resulting 10 tracks are innovative, powerful and pay tribute to Doc Doom, a former member of the group who was shot and killed in 2007.

The Crystal Method – Self-titled (Tiny E)
It's been five years since the Las Vegas duo released an album, and in that time, the world of EDM has seen tremendous change. Ken Jordan and Scott Kirkland continue to explore various directions of electronic music on their fifth studio effort. Whether it's through new sounds or collaborations with guests such as LeAnn Rimes, Scars on Broadway's Franky Perez, Le Castle Vania, Nick Thayer or Dia Frampton, who provides vocals for the album's first single, "Over It." They celebrate the release with an appearance on "Morning Becomes Eclectic" this morning and a performance at the El Rey on Thursday (Jan. 16).

SupersuckersGet The Hell (Acetate)
The band celebrates 25 years together with a new album – their ninth. Although they have delved into other genres, from country to garage rock and grunge, in the past, the Supersuckers return to their punk-rock roots on Get The Hell. The quartet recorded the album at Willie Nelson's famed Arlyn Studio in Austin, and it was mixed by Blag Dahlia of Dwarves and Andy Carpenter. If you love the snarling attitude of the Supersuckers' tales of debauchery and excess, you will love this new effort. They head out on tour in a few weeks, stopping at the Troubadour on March 21 with the Toadies.

Also available – AC Angry's Black Denim; Alexis Gershwin's Long Ago and Far Away; Ante Meridian's Sons of Heaven; Bruce Springsteen's High Hopes; Cherry Glazerr's Haxel Princess; David Broza's East Jerusalem/West Jerusalem; De La Tierra's self-titled; Eskimo Callboy's We Are the Mess; James Vincent McMorrow's Post Tropical; Jennifer Nettles' That Girl; Lanterns on the Lake's Until the Colours Run; Mary Chapin Carpenter's Songs from the Movie; Mustard Plug's Can't Contain It; Number One Gun's This Is All We Know; Painted Palms' Forever; POW!'s Hi-Tech Boom; Roseanne Cash's The River and the Thread; Set to Reflect's Artificial Sun; Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings' Give the People What They Want; The Sleepwalker Original Soundtrack (Sondre Lerche); Switchfoot's Fading West


Find It in Everything by Drew Barrymore (Little, Brown and Company)
The actress, director and producer began building her own lifestyle brand with her Flower Cosmetics line and the debut of Barrymore Wines. She continues to venture outside the film world with this new photography book. Over the past 10 years, she has taken photos of any heart-shaped pattern she has come across. From a cloud in the sky and hole in a T-shirt to a discarded straw wrapper and teabag string floating in a mug, she has captured them all. Valentine's Day is still a month away, but Find It in Everything would be an ideal gift for a friend or romantic partner.

Also available – Andrew's Brain by E.L. Doctorow; The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches by Alan Bradley; Duty by Robert Michael Gates; First Love by James Patterson; Healthy at Home by Tieraona Low Dog; Hollow City by Ransom Riggs; The Loudest Voice in the Room by Gabriel Sherman; Wooden by Seth Davis


Film – Director Ryan Coogler's feature-length debut, Fruitvale Station – starring Michael B. Jordan, Melonie Diaz and Octavia Spencer – is based on the true story of Oakland's Oscar Grant; Chloë Grace Moretz and Julianne Moore in the reimagining of Carrie; Enough Said, starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus, James Gandolfini and Catherine Keener; Forest Whitaker and Oprah Winfrey in Lee Daniels' The Butler; Riddick is the third installment of The Chronicles of Riddick series, with Vin Diesel as the title character

TV – Top Gear 20

Music – 20 Feet from Stardom; The Early Days: Leon Russell and Willie Nelson; Freestyle: The Art of Rhyme (10th Anniversary Special Limited Edition): Sully Erna's Avalon Live

Also available – A.C.O.D.; Against the Grain; Be My Valentine; Big Sur; Blue Caprice; Gasland Part II; Greedy Lying Bastards; Hawaii; The Hospital; How to Make Money Selling Drugs; I'm in Love with a Church Girl; More to Love; Our Nixon; Plus One; Rewind This!; Run; Short Term; A Single Shot; Spectacular Now; Underdogs; You're Next

Monday, January 6, 2014

Ethan Gold

Ethan Gold at the Prince Restaurant and Bar


At The Prince Restaurant & Bar

3198 1/2 W. 7th St., Los Angeles (Koreatown) 213-389-1586

In the time that I've spent profiling the people and places of Los Angeles thus far, I have yet to encounter anyone who is as passionate about this city as Ethan Gold. Although the singer-songwriter was born and raised in San Francisco, he has explored virtually every nook and cranny of his adopted hometown.

"I used to live near Koreatown, in a neighborhood that's technically called Mid-City. Most people don't know what you mean when you say that, so I used to call it North South Central. It was sort of a nether zone, so I explored the rest of the city, honestly, more than anyone. I know the city's streets better than some realtors," Ethan admits. "I really went everywhere, from Boyle Heights and Venice to the Valley and Artesia. Before Yelp, or before I got on it anyway, I had my own list of restaurants, and people would e-mail me for it because I'm a guy who goes into every single restaurant and tries it. I really explore weird places where I say, 'I don't know what that is, therefore, I'm going in.' Sometimes you find great stuff that way."

Throughout his adventures, Ethan has discovered some pretty amazing places, including the location he chooses for our interview, the Prince Restaurant and Bar, in Koreatown.

"I found this place because of the alluring sign in the sky and walked into this strange Korean version of an English gentlemen's club. I used to have this rap, 'Cuz I'm a Koreatown clown not an Okie from Muskogee. I like my kimchi with my pork bulgogi.' So, I do love Koreatown. It's a huge part of the city that most people are only dimly aware of and don't realize is not like Little Tokyo or Chinatown, it's a massive swath of the city with its own culture. I've been thrown out of bars because of my race, which is something that doesn't happen often," he shares. "This neighborhood has so many weird, cool bars. It feels like another world. You go south and there's Central American stuff, as well as some classic, old Hollywood steak houses. It's an interesting mix, and I like neighborhoods that are a mix. I live in Silver Lake now, but I still have a fondness for this part of town. It's still close to my heart."

Originally established in 1920s as the Windsor, one is at first taken aback at the Prince's mash-up of old English decor adorned with slightly zany knick knacks with patrons that are primarily Korean, but there is something oddly appealing about walking into a place that looks like it should be in the English countryside and being greeted with distinctly Asian aromas wafting from the kitchen. Over the years, Korean and non-Korean notables from politicians to Hollywood celebrities have walked through the Prince's doors for a cocktail or plate of KFC (Korean fried chicken). The restaurant and its bar have been in films such as Chinatown and Thank You for Smoking, but I'm fairly certain that Ethan is oblivious to the fact that the Prince serves as one of the main locations for Fox's "New Girl" and was featured in "Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations" because he doesn't own a television. In fact, as we take a seat in a red leather, corner booth, Ethan tells me that the TV sets that hang over the Prince's bar definitely rub him the wrong way.

"I chose the Prince as a place for us to meet tonight because it's amusing, and I'm always happy to be here. I love the environment – the walls, the paintings, the music – although they have televisions now, which they didn't used to, and I feel televisions are spreading like a scourge across restaurants and bars. I partly blame flat screens because it's so easy for people to put them up, but they just ruin the atmosphere of a place for me," he emphasizes. "There are TVs here now, and I'm pissed about it. It's a real downer for me. It's not how I live. I certainly waste a lot of time on the Internet, so I can't really be on a high horse about not owning a television, but I find it an instant depressor."

Luckily our booth is next to a piano, and a pianist has begun a medley of holiday songs so the lights and sounds from the televisions soon fade into the background. Ethan is in the mood for something spicy and, at the waiter's suggestion, places an order for the Sautéed Kimchi with Pork. He then divulges one of the most fascinating things I've ever heard ("Something you're not going to believe, but is completely true.").

"When I moved to Silver Lake a couple of years ago, I systematically began going to every single restaurant in the neighborhood. I now have been to, I kid you not, every restaurant, and when I say restaurant I mean even the little sandwich shop that you wonder, 'who ever goes in there?' Yes, I've been there. Every place in Atwater, Los Feliz, Silver Lake and Echo Park. Literally, every single one," he stresses. "It's taken me a few years, of course, and people always say to me, 'You should blog about this. But it's something I share with friends, and the experience itself was like climbing 40 peaks in the Adirondacks or climbing Everest. It was about the experience and doing it, not the writing of it. We live in a time when a lot of people turn everything they do into part of their personal brand. I enjoy going to restaurants, and I just wanted to do it and not have it be turned into something other than eating, being part of a community and meeting the people who run these places. Especially because when you go to the places that nobody else is going to, which by math is going to happen when you're eating at all of them, you're often in there by yourself with the owner. That, to me, is the real Los Angeles right there."

He really isn't exaggerating when he says that he's tried every place in the area. I am in awe when Ethan proves his restaurant savvy by rattling off details about each of the places on my own list of neighborhood favorites in Echo Park. While he has enjoyed trying all of the food at these establishments, the people behind the places are what really excite him.

"I used to go to the HMS Bounty where there was a waitress who was very sweet. She told me that she had been the roommate of Marilyn Monroe and Jayne Mansfield, but it was believable because she was the right age and she just looked like she would be their roommate. It was both a wonderful slice of old Hollywood and kind of sad. She was working in this bar and carried herself with this elegance, she was incredible," he remembers. "That's a place that feels like it has history. I would go in, and there would be a bunch of old fishermen."

Although it would be impossible for him to choose just one favorite out of the hundreds he has visited, Ethan – whose friends have joked is a mini Jonathan Gold, the food critic, and although they are not related, they have similar names that share a "-than Gold" in common – does offer a few recommendations when asked.

"I love the Griffith Park trail that comes up from Fern Dell Drive and the eatery there, Trails Cafe, is a great spot. The Avocado Sandwich reminds me of Northern California. I really love Sake House Miro on La Brea. They have posters of old Godzilla movies. It's chaotic, loud and sort of ramshackle. I like places that feel like a crazy person made them, as opposed to a perfectly designed concept. I prefer places where somebody wanted to make their mom's food in a restaurant and then put up a bunch of random art," he details. "Have you been to Los Tacos on Santa Monica? I never understood refried beans until Los Tacos and El Cholo.  Plus, Los Tacos is open all night. As an insomniac, I go there a lot at 3 a.m. and get a full meal for $6. That's my kind of place."

The vast selection of food options available in Los Angeles is not the only thing Ethan loves about the city, though.

"There's an expression that Los Angeles is the capital of the Third World. Third World is an old term that has a loaded political connotation, but it's a funny way to describe Los Angeles and its mix of cultures. Behind the veneer of Hollywood, there's a massive megalopolis of millions of people. There's a massive Koreatown, a massive Indian community in Artesia, a huge Central American population. I love that you can travel the world in Los Angeles, you can explore this city forever and not get bored if you're active." He continues, "The more you put in, the more you get out. There's an incredible mix of people here, way more of a mix than there is in San Francisco, economically, which makes it more colorful for me."

Ethan's early life in San Francisco with his twin brother Ari and sister Nina was not an easy one or as full of rock 'n' roll tales as some might make it out to be. Some time after Ethan's mother parted ways with his novelist father, she began a relationship with renowned concert promoter Bill Graham.

"Because my mother was dating Bill Graham, we would sometimes be at these huge concerts, which was a strange experience, being a 5-year-old kid on stage at these massive shows. People think that we must have grown up in that world, but we didn't really. We were a couple of steps removed," he clarifies. "That's something people misunderstand. My mother was with him, and they died together in a helicopter crash, which made it historic, but it wasn't where we grew up. It's not the milieu that I was in."

The Golds' childhood was clearly not about glitz and glamour, but Ethan has always been able to find refuge in music.

"Music was my private way to create space in my head. Writing music was a world that I could escape into. I was writing music on the piano without lessons. (I spent a lot of time wishing that I had lessons. The flip side of that is there are people for whom lessons beat the creativity out of, so at least that didn't happen.) I approached every instrument with what Buddhists would call beginner's mind. I feel like I'm still figuring them out, and writing songs is partly figuring things out, so it's a real childlike feeling to be writing," he says. "I sat at the piano playing what I called 'arabesques' at age 6. I don't know where I picked that word up, but I think they had a slightly Oriental flavor to them. I also had what I called 'Frenchy pieces,' which was whatever felt French to me at 6, the chords probably sounded like something an accordion would play."

Even on his way to graduating magna cum laude from Harvard, Ethan continued to write songs. He played guitar, bass, keyboards and drums in other people's bands, produced Elvis Perkins' acclaimed Ash Wednesday album in 2007 and scored director/screenwriter Ari's 2010 feature film debut, Adventures of Power. But it wasn't until 2011's Songs From a Toxic Apartment that Ethan released his own songs on an album.

"I was writing my own material and hadn't come around to the confidence to put it out. Doing Songs from a Toxic Apartment, where I played it myself and engineered it myself in a very cheap way using archaic equipment, squeezing what I think is a pretty good sounding and intense record out of it is something that I needed to do. For some reason, I needed to really dig my own garden and figure out what was going on. I don't know that I would ever want to do a record like that again. I think working with other people in more proper studios, there's a real pleasure to that. My next record which will be coming out sometime in 2014, I worked with other players and engineers, so it's not a totally solo album like the first one was," Ethan tells. "I was writing a rock opera and ended up with 80 songs, it spiraled into this craziness. Songs from a Toxic Apartment started when I was demoing songs around that time, getting my own feelings down, my own explorations of my childhood and feelings that were coming up as I was working on the rock opera, which was a pretty dark thing. It was an extremely homemade experience, and the apartment that I refer to, it was literal, but the songs are not about the toxicity that happened to be in apartment. They're about the inner toxicity that a lot of us carry around from our childhoods. I wanted to structure the record so that there's a light at the end of the tunnel, and I think there is. It's a fairly intense ride of a record, but light comes in through the metaphoric window."

After listening to Songs From a Toxic Apartment, it's clear that Ethan has a unique gift for finding light from darkness through song. In a recent blog post on his website, Ethan details a personal tragedy and says, 'They say music is healing, and I could actually feel that now." Music has a way of healing physical or mental pain, not only for Ethan as a songwriter, but for anyone who can relate to the emotions conveyed in his songs.

Ethan says that while most of their childhood was focused on surviving, he does remember singing funny songs with his brother and a time when they built a shoebox-sized pool table out of felt, wood and marbles together. The Gold brothers collaborated as part of the Honey Brothers and on music for Ari's film projects, and they continue to work together in several videos for Songs From a Toxic Apartments tracks. Ethan has released nine videos for the album, and each is actually more like a short film than a typical music video.

"My brother did a video for 'That (Reprise),' which was completely his own work, but the rest of them were mainly birthed images that came to me as I mixed the record. I played all the instruments on the record, mixed and recorded it myself at home; I spent a lot of time with music listening to it on headphones, obsessing on it and was so deep inside of the mixes that these the videos were playing already in my head," he says. "The illustrator for 'To Isis Sleeping' was somebody that I actually had never met in Serbia, who made made it with no input from me aside from pictures I sent of myself so she could get my face right. Another animated video, for 'Poison,' is by a brilliant animator named Tod Polson whom I met at a film festival."

"[Ari] directed "They Turned Away" and "Nonstop" – which I had strongly mapped out, including the drag stuff. That was part of the song for me," Ethan continues. "The song is a dialogue between either a john and a prostitute or these different genders and sleazy impulses within the mind that contain both the chaser, the chased and the chaste. All of that was within the song, so I wanted to do the video that way. My brother wanted to have someone else do that role, but I had to lobby hard to convince him that I could pull it off. I don't normally do drag stuff, but it was something that I wanted to do in this video, to turn the male gaze around on itself for a little bit."

Ethan is going to screen all nine of the videos at his next show, Jan. 8 at Bootleg Bar. He is also giving each audience member a copy of Songs From a Toxic Apartment, as well as playing the album in its entirety, in track by track order, with a band of comprised of other musicians.

"It's a celebration of the videos and a party for the album, as I prepare to embark on my next album," he says. "I'm excited to be moving now as an artist."

As he has come to savor all of the flavors that Los Angeles offers and after years of working to help others realize their creative visions, Ethan Gold is finally able to relish the feeling that comes from sharing his words, emotions and music through his own solo endeavors.

Ethan Gold performs Jan. 8 at Bootleg Bar. For more information, visit