Francisco Real killed people. He smuggled illegal immigrants. He sold drugs and collected taxes for the Mexican Mafia. He ran a gang and family criminal enterprise that made his street in Glassell Park one of the most dangerous in Los Angeles. But L.A. being the city of reinvention, last week...
The sixth AxS Festival (pronounced "axis"), themed Curiosity, represents the spot where art and science meet in contemporary culture. It's inspired by Pasadena's rich history of innovation in design and engineering, and its equally rich history of supporting modern and contemporary art. In fact, while much of the program is characterized by futuristic daydreams showing off awesome new art toys, many of the exhibitions, installations and dance and music performances excavate the ever-present past. For example, Machine Project's Field Guide to the Gamble House is a commissioned work reimagining the Arts & Crafts landmark by inviting artists to create new works including "participatory nap concerts, a tableau vivant, puppets, dance, séances, videos, inflatable sculptures, joinery-specific lawn furniture, a secret Swedish-Japanese fusion restaurant" and more. There are two free open houses (otherwise, guided tours cost $20); a series of events and workshops is priced separately. By contrast, a full slate of mostly free programs at something called SPHÆRÆ is a temporary, site-specific, outdoor sculpture–slash-stage by Dutch architect Cocky Eek. Its programming features immersive sound works, video pieces and conversations. And Caltech is staging a musical called Alice Through the Wormhole, Or What's This Wonderland Up to? So there's that. Various Pasadena locations including the Gamble House, 4 Westmoreland Place, Pasadena; Fri., Sept. 19-Sun., Oct 5; various times; free-$90. (626) 793-8171, axsfestival.org, machineproject/gamblehouse.More
The name, Luminario Ballet, is a bit deceiving. The dancers wear pointe shoes and perform contemporary ballet, but the moniker does little to reveal the most distinctive feature of this troupe — the accomplished, sometimes dazzling aerial work the ensemble incorporates into performances. The aerial work will be on view with the reprise of LedZAerial, set to music by Led Zeppelin, and an ambitious work-in-progress, TRAILS, danced against NASA satellite images showing the effects of climate change in California. Set to Philip Glass' Mishima, performed live by musicians from the New Valley Symphony, TRAILS also includes video body-mapping technology. Canadian Olympian and international dancer/aerialist Emilie Livingston joins the dancers as a special guest. Just as the broader perspective from a trapeze brings a different view from dancing on the stage, the perspective from outer space conveys an urgency different from what can be seen on the ground. El Portal Theatre, 5269 Lankershim Blvd., N. Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat., Sept. 19-20, 8 p.m.; Sun., Sept. 21, 3 & 7 p.m., $30-$40. (818) 508-4200, elportaltheatre.com.More
Oliver Payne wants you to chill out. At least that's the goal of the London-born, L.A.-based artist's outdoor performance Chill Out, in which participants are invited to listen to the namesake ambient record released in 1990 by British acid house band The KLF. But there's a catch: Attendees must show up at exactly 7 p.m. and commit to remaining for the entirety of the obscure 44-minute L.P. According to 356 Mission gallery manager Ethan Swan, a security guard will "make sure that people are chilling out, so to speak" by vigorously enforcing a staunch set of rules: no phones, no talking, no photography, no late entry and no re-entry. Since standing is decidedly un-chill, participants will be asked to lounge on beanbag chairs, futons and AstroTurf or bring their own blankets — basically anything "conducive to chilling out," Swan says. The rules will no longer apply when Payne DJs post-performance, which means the after-party might be even chiller than the performance itself. 356 Mission, 356 S. Mission Road, Boyle Heights.; Sat., Sept. 20, 7 p.m. (doors at 6 p.m.); free. (323) 609-3162, 356mission.com.More
Imagine Etsy in person: artsy tees, bullet necklaces, pungent artisanal spices, handmade harmonicas, furniture crafted from exotic woods. The offerings at the city's newest alternative shopping experience, Odd Market at Casa Vertigo, are as unique as anything you can find online and kick any shopping mall's ass. No fewer than 88 of L.A.'s most creative crafters, including Two Hermanas, Povertees, Detroit Trash, stones glass + bones and Crown Bloom Company, will be selling jewelry, fashions, food and decor at this new weekly market. While you're perusing scads of one-of-a-kind goods, you also can feast your eyes on the historic building that houses it all: a former Odd Fellows Temple built in 1924, which retains much of its original art deco, Beaux Arts and Spanish Colonial influences. Sustenance can be found at gourmet food trucks including Luckdish, Currywurst, the Griddler and Roadhouse Rotisserie, and live music by local bands plays throughout the day. Odd Market at Casa Vertigo, Casa Vertigo, 1828 Oak St., Pico-Union; Sun., Sept. 21, noon-7 p.m.; $5, free parking. laeventco.com/odd-market.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...
Emmy season is the perfect time to focus our attention on the beautiful costumes that make our favorite shows come to life. After all, what would Downton Abbey, Game of Thrones or Mad Men be without the costume designers who make those far-off worlds believable? Once a year, the FIDM Museum & Galleries' "Outstanding Art of Television Costume Design" exhibition gives these costumes the spotlight. Curated by Mary Rose, president of the Costume Designers Guild (as well as a governor of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, which presents the Emmys), the exhibit allows up-close and personal access to 75 designs otherwise only visible on the silver screen. Pick your favorites before the Emmys air on Aug. 25, or come back after watching the show to marvel at the winning designs. FIDM Museum, 919 S. Grand Ave., dwntwn.; Tue.-Sat., 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; thru Sept. 20; free. (213) 623-5821, fidmmuseum.org.More
Most of the art in "The Meme Machine," the first show Agency is hosting in its new East Hollywood location, has a cobbled-together look, as if it was made from stuff found in the basement or out on the street. Even Luis Gispert's video, Block Watching, fits that bill. In it, a woman in a cheerleading outfit and costume jewelry — bangles, jangling necklaces, big hoop earrings — is in front of a green screen. Sounds of car alarms play loudly and she moves her body to match their pitches and crescendos. She's quite good at it. 4911 Clinton St., E. Hlywd.; through Sept. 27. (818) 415-7619, agencycontemporaryart.com.More
Kevin Smith is a bright guy who over the years has become a little too taken with his own persona, his own jokes, his own cult following — it's the filmmaker's equivalent of getting high on your own supply. No matter how awkwardly pontifical or ill-shapen his movies have gotten...
Terry Gilliam is a gifted, ambitious filmmaker who, sadly, may now be more famous for being misunderstood and underfunded than he is for actually making movies. The Zero Theorem isn't likely to reverse that equation. In this half-squirrely, half-torpid sci-fi adventure, Christoph Waltz, with a shaved head and a face...
Don't expect many laughs from this retro-futuristic curio, which doesn't really go for them, despite its parodic title and its '70s insistence that in the far future View-Masters would be cutting-edge communication tech.
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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
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
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
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
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
Bistango is a fusion of fine wine, gourmet food, contemporary art and sophisticated architecture. The candle-lit bar offers a view of a small stage that accommodates R&B, Latin and jazz bands. Well-known for its list of more than 400 wines, Bistango also features a full bar and a modest offeringMore
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
A neon Pac-Man ghost outside the door lets you know you've arrived at Blipsy Barcade, the Koreatown bar lined with vintage arcade games. From Double Dragon to Paperboy, retro video games ping away beneath the DJ-supplied soundtrack -- which could be anything from frantic cumbias to oldies rock. The barMore
This restaurant is a steak oasis, where the meat is aged for about one week to break down the sinew-making it tender-while being marinated in head chef Jorge Guttierez's secret concoction before being charbroiled to delectability!More
Based in a former 1930s warehouse, this brick-walled performance space hosts theater, music, dance and film events in a medium-size theater, which is adjoined by a more bare-bones bar. The beer-and-wine bar specializes in such bottled beers as La Fin du Monde and Delirium Tremens, alongside tap favorites like ManifestoMore
Hops and yeast. These two substances, which we tragically take for granted, find their spotlight at this delightfully understated bakery and brewery. Discretely located in a seemingly stagnant Huntington Beach warehouse strip, Brewbaker's allows you to create your own blends of mouth-watering beer and nosh on a slice of freshlyMore
Camilo's started out as a catering company on York Boulevard in Highland Park - the small attached cafe was added almost as an afterthought. But the good Cal-Mex food and neighborhood-friendly prices caught on with everyone from starving artists to thriving yups, and in no time, the cafe had outgrownMore
La Habra's toniest (read: priciest) restaurant: Nothing on the dinner menu is less than $15. Fancy-prepared American food in an English-pub setting (though it's quite a bit larger than a typical English pub).More
It's hard to miss this longtime fixture on Catalina Island. The Catherine Hotel is just about 100 yards down the road from where the ferry boats dock, at the bend where the aptly named Crescent Avenue begins its lazy curve along the Avalon waterfront. Although the Catherine is indeed aMore
The various Cedar Creeks offer similar menus featuring prime rib, rack of lamb and homemade desserts. The Brie-and-pecan-stuffed chicken breast comes with a creamy pear-sage sauce that draws out the fine, nutty flavor of the pecans. The large butterflied scampi is served with capers and diced Roma tomatoes. And theMore
This tacky Mexicali spot took over Le Bar, a Latin drag queen hangout in 2005, and it's been the casa of choice for Silver Lake's too-cool-to-shampoo scene ever since. A life-size painting of Willie Nelson greets patrons near the bar, where, under a thatch hut roof, the bartenders (most areMore
If you fancy yourself a bit of a badass, too edgy to succumb to the wiles of your average bottle-blond stripper but not above ogling pretty girls in general, Cheetahs is probably for you. Thanks to the tattooed, punk rock, Suicide Girl vibe of the place, you can feel likeMore
Forest green booths line one wall and a smattering of Betty Boop memorabilia (gifts from owner Bette Barlotta's regulars) collect dust behind the bar at Tee Gee, but everybody's favorite visual element has to be its crusty lime green ceiling complete with gold glitter specks. Ceramic lamps, brown wood panelingMore
A heavy, brocade curtain separates the Copper Still from Jaragua, the Salvadoran restaurant in which it's surreptitiously located. As the only pre-Prohibition style cocktail bar in Koreatown, the Copper Still encapsulates the changes that K-Town is experiencing. Beverage director Nancy Kwon arrived in 2012, revamping the lackluster cocktail program andMore
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
Angelenos have always been suckers for programmatic architecture, eager to eat chili in a chili bowl or munch on doughnuts under a 40-foot cruller, drink beer inside a bucket or consume fried chicken inside an abstracted KFC container. The giant milk bottle on Slauson and the big thermometer in BakerMore
They offer a huge menu selection, including American dishes; you'll want to try the enticing fettuccine Alfredo, lasagna, shrimp and pastas. The chicken Parmigiana melt sandwich and the calamari steak will create lasting memories in your stomach. Plus, they sell Fernet Branca, which will cure your cholera.More