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...
If comedians and the like gabbing online has replaced music during your commute or workout, you're a podcast junkie, and where better to get your fix than at the third annual Los Angeles Podcast Festival? Organized by Graham Elwood, Chris Mancini, Dave Anthony and Andy Wood, the schedule brings together Marc Maron, Aisha Tyler, Dana Gould, Larry Miller, Todd Glass, Jonah Ray and others to host live tapings of their podcasts, which cover everything from comedy to science to April Richardson's love of Saved by the Bell. Expect a few surprise appearances; past guests have included Zach Galifianakis, Andy Richter, Maria Bamford, Brian Posehn and SNL alum Laraine Newman. The weekend also features a "stand-up podsmash," a podcast lab and panels and workshops on the how-tos of podcasting. Who knows? You could be the next Marc Maron. Sofitel Hotel, 8555 Beverly Blvd., W. Hlywd.; Fri., Sept. 26, 5 p.m.-mid.; Sat., Sept. 27, noon-10 p.m.; Sun., Sept. 28, noon-mid.; $31-$63. lapodfest.com.More
The lush, wistful elegance of Nat King Cole's iconic recording of "Stardust" contributes the title and the soundtrack for David Roussève's consideration of a gay African-American teenager who appears to the audience only through a series of projected text messages. In Roussève's Stardust, the dancers articulate the emotional content of those texts, with Cole's track augmented by d. Sabela grimes' original score. Cari Ann Shim Sham provides the video art projecting the text messages. Even in its earlier unfinished state, Stardust was dubbed one of the best dance performances of 2013 by the L.A. Times. This expanded version has toured nationally, appearing in the prestigious Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival, and returns with Roussève's troupe REALITY, a roster of some of L.A.'s most compelling contemporary dancers. Reviews have singled out Roussève's poignant solo segment as the boy's grandfather, a strong hint as to why this L.A.-based choreographer's mantel is heavy with CalArts' Herb Alpert Award, a NYC Bessie Award and L.A.'s Horton Award, among others. Cal State University Long Beach, Carpenter Performing Arts Center, 6200 E. Atherton Street, Long Beach; Sat., Sept. 27, 8 p.m. $35-$40. (562) 985-7000, carpenterarts.org/stardustMore
Two rooms, two floors and untold levels of global bass take over the Echo and Echoplex for this meeting of two of L.A.'s most crushing club nights. Dub Club does just what you'd think but with even more enthusiasm and precision, delivering reggae and its many descendents with various contributors on the mic. Boyle Heights' storied Subsuelo outfit (which won a Best Eastside Club Night from this very paper) deploys speaker-bursting, pan-Latin selections spanning several genres, generations and continents. The occasional nights when these two crews come together mean that you've got the best musical production from probably half the planet in play all at once — dub, reggae, dancehall, funk, cumbia, hip-hop, soul and more. Prepare to go past the unexpected toward the simply unprecedented.More
Don't wait for the weekend to indulge in a night of groundbreaking music and theater. The producers of the upcoming documentary " … but can she play?" have teamed up with the Pasadena Playhouse for a courtyard jazz fest featuring all-female jazz band The Brina Simon Trio, followed by a performance of Kiss Me, Kate starring Emmy winner Wayne Brady and Merle Dandridge. Part of the specially priced mezzanine tickets for Cole Porter's musical will benefit the production of " … but can she play?," a long-overdue documentary about female jazz trailblazers. Despite an uprising of aspiring jazzwomen, they've been underrepresented in the media, at festivals and on radio airtime. By highlighting brilliant female musical renegades such as Tia Fuller, Claire Daly, Aubrey Logan, Hailey Niswanger and Grace Kelly, who at 22 just released her ninth album, " … but can she play?" hopes to answer that question once and for all: Yes, she can. Pasadena Playhouse, 39 S. El Molino Ave., Pasadena; Wed., Sept. 24, concert at 7 p.m., Kiss Me, Kate at 8 p.m.; $75. (626) 356-7529, pasadenaplayhouse.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...
You want to shower after walking through "Las Putas Problematicas," translated as "The Whore Problem," Alex Becerra's new show at ltd Los Angeles. The thick, globby paintings look as if they might still be wet; they're full of naked and partly naked bodies, which bend, twist or dance above mirrors that give you too much information. Objects that aren't human, such as the green recliner in one painting, also start to look bodily and the all-encompassing griminess is weirdly impressive. 7561 W. Sunset Blvd., #103, Hlywd.; through Oct. 11. (323) 378-6842, ltdlosangeles.com.More
Opening reception Sept. 27, 6:30-10 p.m.
By the time you read this, you might already have caught one of the new billboard or wall murals street-art titan D*Face, aka Dean Stockton, has been dropping around L.A. this month — and guessed that a local show was in the offing. D*Face's PMM Art Projects pop-up, Scars and Stripes, begins Friday, Sept. 26, with interior and exterior installations. The gallery also becomes the HQ of a citywide mural campaign. Somehow, in between painting his Pop-inspired, darkly romantic murals in cities from London to New York, Tokyo, Malmö and Malaga, D*Face also found time to create a new series of sculptures and some 30 large-scale paintings, as well as two limited-edition prints, which he plans to drop at the assuredly scene-tastic public reception tonight. Though a native Brit, the artist's most enduring fascination and sustaining muse is the allure and elusiveness of the American Dream — the dream of fame, eternal youth and obscene wealth, that is. Many of the new paintings are portraits of pop culture figures, such as Kurt Cobain, Jimi Hendrix, Biggie Smalls and Tupac, who all achieved massive stardom and were dead by 30. So, you know, good times. These works, like many of D*Face's most iconic images, draw from personal as well as shared cultural memories, as he wields the tight lines and primary colors of comics and pop art in service of thoughtful, wistful and always arresting visual interventions on the urban landscape. PMM Art Projects, 315 S. Robertson Blvd., W. Hlywd.; Sat., Sept. 27, 6:30-10 p.m.; free. Exhibit continues through Oct. 14. (212) 627-1455; pmmartprojects.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...
In 1962, Harold Hayes, managing editor at Esquire magazine, marched over to the cubicle of junior editor John Berendt, announcing himself with the infamous ka-klat of his metal-tipped shoes."Who is the most important literary figure in New York?"
"Comedy lives in the two-shot," Harold Ramis once told actor Stephen Tobolowsky, and whether or not that's something that director Anna Martemucci took specifically to heart, her darn good Hollidaysburg is interested less in close-ups than in the reactions her young adult characters have to each other as they share the frame.
The happy upswing of downtown Los Angeles — thanks to a substantial influx of investment money and loft dwellers — has meant a culinary renaissance, with many fantastic restaurants opening or reinventing themselves.
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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