A Teacher's Secret Life Hillel Aron's look at the life and death of Harry Major, a Hollywood High teacher with a penchant for taking in ex-cons, had readers riveted last week ("The Pen Pal Murder," Oct. 17). Anon can't wait for the movie version, saying, "Great story and writing. Write...
After 40 — yes, 40 — years of cooing and obsessing over Sanrio’s adorable mascot, Hello Kitty is getting her own fan convention. The first Hello Kitty Con takes place Halloween weekend at MOCA’s Geffen Contemporary. The festivities launch Thursday morning with a packed schedule of panels and demo sessions. Check out talks such as “Inspired by Her — Artist and Hello Kitty” and “Guys Love Hello Kitty Too!” There also will be classes on flower arranging, cookie decorating and scrapbooking. Given that this is a convention at an art museum, you can expect lots of art-filled activities. On Thursday, Vancouver-based artist Camilla d’Errico will teach and lecture throughout the day. Esther Kim, Dabs Myla and Martin Hsu will appear later in the convention, while five tattoo artists will be available for appointments throughout the weekend. If you’re looking for something less permanent, get a Hello Kitty manicure from nail artist Masako Kojima. Hello Kitty merchandise, including exclusives and limited items, will be on sale as well. Somehow not enough for you? K-town’s hipper-than-thou Line Hotel is offering Hello Kitty packages during the convention. The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA, 152 N. Central Ave., dwntwn.; Thu., Oct. 30-Sun., Nov. 2, 10 a.m.-7 p.m.; $20-$30 (most days sold out). sanrio.com/hellokittycon-eventinfo.More
Today’s generation might be familiar only with Steven Spielberg and Tom Cruise’s 2005 adaptation of H.G. Wells’ The War of the Worlds, but on Halloween Eve 1938, back when radio was the lifeline of the home, Orson Welles’ retelling of the sci-fi novel became the most infamous radio broadcast in American history. Many of the nearly 1 million people who tuned in to the CBS program were convinced that a meteorite had landed in New Jersey, sending an army of Martian invaders to eat them. Though Welles and his Mercury Theater assured listeners the program was merely a play (their “version of dressing up in a sheet and jumping out of the bush and saying ‘boo’ ”), mass hysteria and even reports of suicide set in, to the delight of the press. Fake Radio re-creates that fateful night when aliens conquered the country, employing a cast of more than a dozen actors, period music and costumes. Since 1998, the local troupe has been re-enacting old radio scripts from the 1930s to the 1950s, including The Wizard of Oz, The Phantom of the Opera, It’s a Wonderful Life and All About Eve. Past guests have included George Wendt, John Larroquette, Fred Willard and Jeff Garlin. Trepany House at the Steve Allen Theater, 4773 Hollywood Blvd., Hlywd.; Thu., Oct. 30, 8 p.m.; $20. (323) 666-4268, trepanyhouse.org. More
Looking for the perfect place to show off your Black Widow costume? Stan Lee’s fourth annual Comikaze Expo launches on Halloween at the Los Angeles Convention Center. At this pop culture extravaganza, learn how to pose for cosplay photos or get a crash course in steampunk. Check out a screening of Return to Nuke ’Em High Volume 1 with Troma co-founder Lloyd Kaufman. Bring the kids: On Friday, the convention’s exhibit hall hosts a massive trick-or-treat adventure. Stick around throughout the weekend for a huge Tetris 30th-anniversary gathering or catch Spike and Mike’s new Halloween special on Saturday. Sunday is “Family Day,” with fun for all ages, including a panel with the stars of Power Rangers Megaforce and a Land of the Lost reunion. The whole weekend is filled with celebrity guests — from Adam West and Julie Newmar to Game of Thrones stars Gwendoline Christie and Alfie Allen. Look out for the convention’s founder, Stan Lee, as well as Cassandra Peterson (aka Elvira), who is a partner in the event. Los Angeles Convention Center, 1201 S. Figueroa St., dwntwn.; Fri., Oct. 31, 1-7 p.m.; Sat., Nov. 1, 9 a.m.-7 p.m.; Sun., Nov. 2, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; $30 day pass, $70 weekend pass, children under 12 free with paying adult. comikazeexpo.com. More
Though it’s the fleshiest gathering outside the Playboy Mansion, the West Hollywood Halloween Carnaval is not clothing-optional. In fact, the 500,000 attention-getters expected tonight have been working on their amazing outfits almost since the day they shed last year’s Miley Cyrus’ wrecking-ball gear. The biggest people-watching event in town — and, as a parade, second only to the Tournament of Roses — includes 50-plus performers, live bands and DJs across six stages, a costume contest and the crowning of the honorary “Queen of the Carnaval” (last year, Queen Latifah held that title). So what will be the most popular costume idea this year? Maleficent? The three-breasted woman? Ebola? Put on a hospital mask or hazmat suit and find out. Santa Monica Boulevard between Doheny Drive & La Cienega Boulevard, W. Hlywd.; Fri., Oct. 31, 6-11 p.m.; free. (800) 368-6020, visitwesthollywood.com.More
When it comes to the life of Bruce Haack, separating truth from fiction is not easy. The groundbreaking electronic music composer and inventor is said to have taught himself to play piano by age 3. By 8, he apparently was escaping his abusive mother's wrath by sneaking off to Indian...
Visual allure often isn't a virtue we value when chasing obscure flavors in L.A.'s international neighborhoods. In fact, adventurous diners tend to appreciate the opposite: The grungier the location, the more accomplished we feel for having sought it out. Looks be damned — let the fireworks happen on the flavor...
The Los Angeles art world has been saying a collective "hallelujah" since the arrival in January of Philippe Vergne as MOCA's new director. Although some East Coast commentators condemned the appointment — citing in particular a budget crisis scandal in which Vergne resorted to selling off a number of works...
It's just math. With ever more overflowing arts districts and only so many Saturday nights a month, a bumper crop of shows opens tonight in Culver City — and several galleries are ringing in the new season by showing off their marquee rosters. Exact hours and show durations vary, so you'll want to check gallery sites for complete details. Promising and must-see highlights include Brooklyn-based artist KAWS at Honor Fraser, offering new work extrapolating from the Peanuts comics. The artist styles these images to the point of abstraction with his trademark bold color schemes, along with more gestural, black-and-white works (through Oct. 31). Also Kehinde Wiley's World Stage series at Roberts & Tilton (through Oct. 25) continues with an iteration based on Haiti's pageant culture, using the artist's iconic portraits of everyday folks rendered in his lavishly regal style. Zackary Drucker & Rhys Ernst's Post / Relationship / X at Luis de Jesus (through Nov. 1) surveys their years-long transgender love affair and artistic collaboration with recent photos that debuted at Paris Photo L.A., as well as a brand-new video piece. Sandow Birk at Koplin Del Rio (through Oct. 17) presents the third in his aesthetically and emotionally intense series transcribing the entire Koran and illuminating it with images of contemporary secular life in America. Rebecca Farr offers haunting mixed media paintings on canvas and the release of her new book at Klowden Mann through Oct. 18). The Miaz Brothers take on "The Masters" in a new series of ghostly, witty paintings at Fabien Castanier (through Oct. 11), in the Italian sibling-collaborators' first U.S. show. Tim Gratkowski at Walter Maciel (through Nov. 1) shows new two- and three-dimensional, retro-slick and expressively abstract mixed-media collages. Patricia Chidlaw at George Billis Gallery (through Nov. 1) installs a diverse suite of urban landscape paintings, which go beyond photorealism to show us our common world in an uncommon light. Honor Fraser Gallery, 2622 S. La Cienega Blvd., Culver City; thru Nov. 1; free. (310) 837-0191, honorfraser.com.More
“Adam Mars: Once Upon a Time, We Weren’t Stalkers” opens this week at Gusford Gallery, but at least one of its key text-based images (“I Loved You, Then I Googled You”) is already up on a billboard — which is kind of perfect, since the work is about how much we relentlessly chronicle every moment of our lives in public. The emotional highs and lows, triumphs, epic fails and misapprehensions that once were private affairs have become 140-character public confessions, one-way broadcasts in which we hurl our bullshit into the public sphere without filter. OK, so maybe social media–fueled narcissism isn’t a sign of the apocalypse, but the confluence of word, image, technology and bottomless need for attention is certainly a phenomenon worth addressing — and Mars’ visual art, which both celebrates and impugns the practice, is the perfect way to do it. By painting his texts on a tactile, expressive, brick-backed abstract patterning, he both evokes the “real world” in a literal brick-and-mortar sense, and addresses the outside voice represented by truncated, decontextualized online pronouncements. Also, they are hilarious. Please try to remain aware of the irony when you repost them on Instagram, OK? Gusford Gallery. 7016 Melrose Ave., W. Hlywd. Thu., Nov. 6, 6-9 p.m.; continues Tue.-Sat., 11 a.m.-6 p.m., through Dec. 20; free. (323) 452-9563, gusfordgallery.com.More
Tuesdays-Saturdays, 6-9 p.m. and Tuesdays-Saturdays, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Continues through Dec. 20
Alexandre Aja's Horns is the rare YA-ish romance that doesn't make like a guidance counselor and force the characters to shake hands and forgive. It's a biblically tinged, eye-for-an-eye vengeance thriller about an emo boyfriend named Ig (Daniel Radcliffe) whose childhood sweetheart Merrin (Juno Temple) has been murdered underneath the...
Jake Gyllenhaal, not a particularly bulky guy to begin with, dropped 20 pounds or so to play a Los Angeles misfit who finds his calling as a freelance crime videographer in Dan Gilroy's nervy thriller Nightcrawler. Even when Robert De Niro does it, weight change isn't acting — it's the...
The best that can be said of The Pact 2 is that its existence might draw the attention of more viewers to The Pact, a superior indie creep-out from 2012 whose creator, the writer-director Nicholas McCarthy, fashioned it according to three inviolable principles.
Before the job had a name, the king of a television show was usually unknown beyond his kingdom -- the gangs of tool-belt-wearing union workers, divisions of actor prettifiers, regiments of writers and editors.
The autumn passage of the New Wavers continues apace with this, the final film by the late great postmodernist, whose movies were always fraught with our often self-destructive need for narrative.
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The cheese-and-charcuterie-intensive inspiration for L.A.'s new generation of wine bars, Suzanne Goin's pan-Mediterranean A.O.C. is a fantasy of a modern small-plates restaurant, the kind of place you drop into for a glass of Friulian Tocai and a plate of sliced prosciutto, a Cairanne and some bacon-wrapped dates with Parmesan -More
When chef Tom Colicchio's original Craft opened in Manhattan's Gramercy Park neighborhood, it was a fantasy restaurant, a place where customers were invited to construct their meals from scratch, or rather from gleaming copper pots of prepared meats, sauces, starches and vegetables all ordered à la carte. At Craft inMore
The sharpest Chinese seafood house in town at the moment is Elite, which used to be the local branch of a Chinese-owned chain called New Concept, and which still serves a few of the funkier dishes from that restaurant, including suckling pig with foie gras, fried prawns served in aMore
San Gabriel ValleyMonterey Park/ Alhambra/ S. Gabriel
This grand old downtown hotel is like a fascinating puzzle box, with each lavishly decorated room leading to an even more ornate bar or lounge area. Formerly a YMCA when it opened in 1925, the Figueroa was converted into a hotel after the Depression and has since been the siteMore
Fish, man — raw fish — from Tokyo’s Tsukiji Market and jetted right to you, careful slabs of yellowtail, tuna, fluke, sprinkled with salt and drizzled with olive oil, Italian sashimi on a pretty glass plate. Il Grano’s crudo, Italian sashimi, hasn’t the pleasure in it that you’ll find at,More
To get into this speakeasy-themed Cuban oasis (in the space that used to be Blacklite), reservations are recommended and you'll need to wear somewhat dressy attire (no baseball hats, shorts or flip-flops). But La Descarga's dramatic details make it worth the trouble. If you make it past the guard outside,More
Lock & Key is not exactly in a glitzy location, and it's easy to miss the pink neon sign outside this Koreatown speakeasy. The entrance walls are covered with countless doorknobs, handles and locks -- but it's worth scrabbling for the right one. Heavy black wood, green leather, silver chainMore
It would be hard to overestimate the importance of John Sedlar, who introduced the idea of new Southwestern Cuisine 25 years ago at the late St. Estephe, marrying classical French technique to the flavors imprinted onto his palate as a kid in New Mexico -- at this remove, it's hardMore
Like so many other restaurants on the Westside, the food at the wine bar Rustic Canyon owes less to the standard bistro playbook than it does to the kind of cooking that French guys don't consider cooking at all: basically a compendium of what happens to be on the farmersMore
Don't believe the rumors – Westlake's famed Haitian restaurant TiGeorges' Chicken isn't going anywhere, according to George Laguerre himself. The native Haitian has made his famous chicken for more than a decade, and despite whispers of impending closure, the perfectly seasoned cluckers with a side of rice and beans willMore
Valentino has long been L.A.¹s ultimate special-occasion Italian restaurant, a bells-and-whistles place where you reserve a table weeks in advance. But it turns out that even Valentino wants to be not just admired, but loved. Its V-vin Bar is a little awkwardly situated within the restaurant, and the grouping ofMore
Owner Elizabeth Fischbach renovated the longtime Filipinotown/Echo Park joint Lupita's and transformed the narrow, brick-walled room into a hip wine and craft-beer bar. Entertainment ranges from DJs to acoustic buskers. 21 & over.More
The latest restaurant project from the O.C.-based team that brought us Dakota, Whist and Meson G is a bordello-style, flocked-wallpaper saloon with a big list of wines by the half-bottle, the chance to have Red Hawk or Crescenza on your cheeseburger instead of ordinary cheddar, and big Chinese takeout containersMore
Get on your knees and pray at the Abbey, a sprawling 16,000-square-foot indoor-outdoor drinking establishment that attracts a consistently fierce crowd of choirboys (and the clergymen that love them). Named "Best Gay Bar in the World" by the Logo channel, the Abbey is fun whether you're gay, straight or undecided,More
Silver Lake's Moroccan-themed gay grotto is a long-running fave, as much for its stiff, reasonably priced drinks as for its vivacious, open-to-all atmosphere. When the adjacent dance room was added a few years ago, it became a full-fledged club. The dark and sweaty pit pumps and pulsates on weekends thanksMore
Whether it’s the always-lively beer garden, the quaint shops that sell lederhosen and dirndls or the market and deli that specialize in European imports, even kitsch-phobic snobs have to succumb to Alpine Village’s faux Bavarian charm. They especially can’t deny its status as the largest host of Oktoberfest in L.A.More
Based in a sprawling warehouse in Little Tokyo, Angel City Brewery is downtown L.A.'s only active brewery. You can sip pints or flights at the bar or at community picnic tables inside or outside, where you'll often find a fleet of food trucks. Angel City Brewery hosts tours every hourMore
This bar is part of Thomas Keller's Beverly Hills complex, which includes a restaurant on the second floor and a little walk-up bakery. Bar Bouchon is a cute bistro-ish place on the ground floor that spills out to the patio, serving oysters and cocktails and classic French small plates.More
A modern Spanish tapas bar, restaurant and lounge, Bar Celona, owned by local entrepreneurs Jack and Karen Huang, resides in Old Town Pasadena. Painted with rich crimson red and hues of mellow mustard, the space is modeled after traditional tapas bars in Spain, with handcrafted murals of "The Running ofMore
Sometimes a burger and fries is enough to sustain you through a night of serious drinking, and sometimes it's got to be boozy bacon prunes. It is at those latter times that you hope you have the pull to get past the doorman at Bar Marmont, whose list of regularMore
You may be familiar with the sensations provided by good prosciutto or Kentucky ham, but Ibérico ham is something else entirely. Slightly chewy, it dissolves slowly into a rondelay of flavors - hazelnuts, sweat, caramel, smoke, amber, and Parmesan cheese. Advocates of the Spanish ham say that the fat isMore
In the age-old debate over dry-vs.-wet rub when barbecuing, Beachwood BBQ and Brewery in Long Beach fiercely makes a strong case for dry – although defiant diners will nonetheless find a variety of sauces on their tables. The younger sister of the original Seal Beach location is hog heaven ifMore
With rams' heads mounted on the walls and display cases of Native American artifacts, Bigfoot West sometimes seems like a museum, but it's actually one of the Westside's hippest bars. Whereas the Bigfoot Lodge, its sister location in Atwater, has more of a kitschy vibe, with sasquatch signage and aMore
Neal Fraser, best known for his restaurant Grace, has long been a bwana of complexity in fourth-stage Los Angeles restaurants, mixing so many national idioms on a plate that his customers are never quite sure whether they are reading a menu or looking at a departures board at LAX. ButMore
The Blind Barber is all business in the front -- an old-timey barber shop that offers classic hair cuts, shaves and trims -- and party in the back, a dark speakeasy that serves up craft cocktails and nine different types of gourmet grilled cheese. Tucked into a strip mall behindMore