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...
The 18th Street Art Center has been host and home to a quarter-century of the most progressive, fearless, experimental, visual and performing arts in Los Angeles history. So it’s fitting that its silver anniversary takes up the whole weekend. 18is25 starts with the de rigueur big gala benefit on Saturday night, followed by a day of beer, art, music and history on Sunday. The gala benefit art sale and party offers unique video and performance work, food and popular 18th Street extended family such as Barbara T. Smith, Phranc and Marcus Kuiland-Nazario. Sunday doubles as the center’s fifth annual BAM (Beer, Art and Music Festival) and as such is its own reward — but this year’s “anniversary edition” is augmented not only by a general air of festivity and frolic but also by unlimited tastings from some 40 artisanal brewers, the continuation of the previous evening’s art sale, on-site artists-in-residence in full open-studio mode and, yes, plenty of food trucks. 18th Street Art Center, 1639 18th St., Santa Monica.; Sat., Oct. 25, 6-10 p.m.-Sun., Oct. 26, 1-5 p.m.; $45-$125 (weekend passes $150). (310) 453-4347, 18thstreet.org. More
America’s policy of never-ending war comes at an incalculable price, and it’s our military — our youth — who get stuck carrying the debt. At The Warrior’s Return: From Surge to Suburbia, that ghastly cost, reckoned in loss of life, limbs, innocence and even sanity, will be addressed by two particularly capable speakers: Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist David Finkel, author of acclaimed books The Good Soldiers and Thank You for Your Service, and clinical psychologist Albert “Skip” Rizzo, director for medical virtual reality at the Institute for Creative Technologies at USC. Finkel, through his exhaustive research, experience and interviews, is intimately acquainted with the struggles and distress that burden our veterans, but Rizzo actively confronts PTSD with immersive simulations that directly re-create specific instances of trauma. He returns his patients to the very moment that plagues them, allowing them to confront the terror head-on. It’s a fascinating field: Rizzo gives these ex-soldiers a set of virtual-reality goggles, hands them a weapon and fires up the tech gear. They’re plunged back into combat mode, replete with goosebumps and adrenaline surges, negotiating what Rizzo calls an “emotional obstacle course.” The slightly sci-fi trappings of virtual reality aside, this discussion is all about human emotion, relief and recovery from trauma — the most boundlessly engaging subject of them all. Los Angeles Central Library, Mark Taper Auditorium, 630 W. Fifth Street, dwntwn.; Mon., Oct. 27, 7:15 p.m.; free, resv. required. (213) 228-7025, lfla.org.More
Bob Odenkirk must have the strangest interactions with fans. Comedy nerds fawn over his cult HBO program Mr. Show, drama fans hound him about Breaking Bad and cinephiles praise his work in Alexander Payne’s Academy Award–nominated Nebraska. Since the end of Mr. Show in the late 1990s, Odenkirk has branched out into directing (Melvin Goes to Dinner), producing (The Birthday Boys) and discovering new talent (Tim & Eric), but he has never stopped honing his craft as a writer. Now for the second time in two years, he has his name scribbled on the cover of a book. A Load of Hooey is a dip into his well of absurd ideas and short stories. Odenkirk is hosting a party at Largo to celebrate the release, with help from a couple of his old Mr. Show pals — Brian Posehn and Jerry Minor. Largo at the Coronet, 366 N. La Cienega Blvd., Beverly Grove; Tues., Oct. 28, 8 p.m.; $40, includes copy of the book. (310) 855-0350, largo-la.com. More
Remember last year when everyone was walking around Union Station with fancy headphones on, and the passengers were all, “What the heck are those people doing?” Go figure: They were listening to a live opera taking place in real time throughout the building. Possibly the only opera to be featured in Wired, Invisible Cities was surreal, futuristic, classical and avant-garde all at the same time — and now it’s also the centerpiece of its production company’s new record label. The Industry Records launches with the Nov. 4 release of the cast recording of Invisible Cities, and to celebrate, they are reprising the work with the original performers, in a one-night-only acoustic concert version in Union Station’s cavernous vaulted ticket hall. Seating is first-come, so even though there are no headphones to rock this time and no reservations required, you should still get there at least half an hour before departure. Union Station. 800 N. Alameda St., dwntwn.; Wed., Oct. 29, 7:30 p.m.; free. (718) 812-9159, theindustryla.org.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...
Lily Simonson does serious research for her paintings. She studies specimens or goes on expeditions (she's on her way back to Antarctica this fall). But her paintings, like the ones in her "On Ice" exhibition at CB1, don't necessarily read as scientific. They read as intuitive, painterly explorations of what rock forms, icicles and iciness feel and look like. They're the kind of things you just like. And the way the main gallery is black-lit and her paintings glow seems to shrug off the gravitas of both art and science. 207 W. Fifth St., dwntwn.; through Oct. 26. (213) 806-7889, cb1gallery.com.More
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
It's an unwritten rule that we're supposed to feel most in step with people our own age, as if sharing the same cultural and historical references somehow enables our ability to look into one another's hearts. So why do we sometimes tumble into deeper friendships with people who are 10...
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