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BEST HOUR OF ACTUALLY FUNNY IMPROV COMEDY
Sometimes your friends invite you to things like an improv comedy show. Then you go, realize that you’re not laughing, and try to decide what the best time would be to punch that same friend in the mouth. But there is good improv out there, and one of the best deals in town is at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre, where you can see two genuinely funny half-hour shows, back-to-back, for a mere $5. Every Thursday night at 11 p.m., Last Day of School and Convoy are performed by some of the top comedians UCB has to offer, and their weekly shows routinely play to packed, cackling houses (you can, and should, reserve your tickets online in advance). In Last Day of School, which has a popular “text message show” with scenes based on audience cell-phone in-boxes, the blond duo of Neil Campbell and Heather Campbell (oddly, no relation) particularly stand out. Bringing alcohol, according to the sign on the wall, is prohibited, but if that rule ever gets enforced, it would be a first. 5919 Franklin Ave., L.A. (323) 908-8702, ucbtheatre.com.
BEST BAR FOR VALLEY VAGITARIANS
Touting itself as “Valley chic,” Moonshadow Lounge in North Hollywood, more often known as NoHo, offers a regular happy hour, go-go dancers, live music and Sunday brunch. You can play darts or pool, dance to DJ Boulevard’s spinning of hip-hop and electronica on Saturday nights, or sing karaoke on Tuesday nights with host KJ Tony, who offers more than 60,000 song choices. The bar has multiple TV screens tuned to pro football, baseball and basketball. The lounge has such a great vibe that it’s been featured in lesbian films such as But I’m a Cheerleader, Girl Play and A Marine Story. It’s also a fun jaunt into the Valley if you live, or party, on what 1.6 million Valleyites call “the other side of the hill.” 10437 Burbank Blvd., N. Hlywd. (818) 508-7008, moonshadownightclub.com.
—Patrick Range McDonald
BEST PLACE TO BE ADMIRED
There’s no doubt about it — “Booby Trap” at Temporary Spaces in East Hollywood is the nighttime event for gorgeous lesbians to see and be seen in L.A. Dancing until late into the night every Wednesday under a big, mirrored disco ball to the sounds of nu wave and electro pop, gals love to let it loose midweek, packing the dance floor. And this is a great deal, featuring a minimal $5 cover charge. There’s also a happening patio scene where people hang out and smoke. The Trap is getting so popular that it’s expanded from every other Wednesday to every Wednesday. Booby Trap at Temporary Spaces, 5100 Fountain Ave., L.A., email@example.com. 10 p.m.-2 a.m.
—Patrick Range McDonald
BEST REASON TO TURN ON YOUR RADIO IN THE A.M.
Poor commuter, it’s all you can do to find one decent song amid the screeching, snorting, complaining, middle-aged dudes on morning radio, who’re blabbering on about either politics, erectile dysfunction or underpants and gas. Not that KXLU’s Melissa McAllister can’t dish out the potty talk, but the format is flanked by densely crafted sets of exceptional songs and tempered with her signature brand of banter: a hodgepodge of informative exposure to new bands, an encyclopedic knowledge of music, self-deprecation, silliness and a deep adoration of beer. So often, KXLU DJs play too-long sets, then mumble, giggle, yawn and never name a goddamned thing they’ve played for the past hour. Not McAllister. She’s a pro (she’s also the station’s former general manager), spinning a mingling of pop, folk, punk, noise, dance, dark-wave and garage bands rarely attempted over the air. Imagine this on L.A. radio: whole 30-minute sets in which you never need to change the station because every selection is awesome and expertly placed in its context (Lightning Bolt back-to-back with Edith Piaf is one example). McAllister chalks it up to good requests from listeners, but we know she’s the chops behind this years-old favorite show for so many of us. KXLU 88.9 FM, Thursdays, 6-10 a.m.
BEST LIVE MUSIC IN A SHOPPING CENTER
Back in the day, Cahuenga Boulevard between Sunset and Hollywood was a nasty stretch with little more to offer than the Spotlight tranny bar, the Burgundy Room (host to local DJs and bands) and the Room — the back-alley speakeasy bar that specialized in hip-hop and acid jazz. Fortunately, Space 15 Twenty brings a little whiff of grungy street life back to the boulevard — now a shopping mecca for hipsters — with weekly Thursday-night performances by local acts like Ariel Pink, Dublab Soundsystem and the freak-trance, raw food–inspired collective Pocahaunted (at the April opening of Kim Gordon’s Mirror/Dash Pop-Up shop and gallery). The secluded interior courtyard — lined with shops like Hennessey + Ingalls’ satellite branch, Alife, We the Free and Urban Outfitters — encloses the crowd for intimate outdoor shows. With good local acts on the bill, the vibe’s often more tight and enjoyable than at some clubs around town — made all the better by alcoholic sno-cones at the neighboring snack bar. In addition to music, Space 15 Twenty hosts outdoor movie nights Mondays and the occasional independent design craft fair, or a “minimarket” — a venue for local manufacturers of totes, knitted items and custom tees. 1520 Cahuenga Blvd., Hlywd. space15twenty.com.