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...
Now in its sixth year, Los Angeles Haunted Hayride turns the Old Zoo area of Griffith Park into a scare fest you're unlikely to forget. The hayride itself is a 25-minute jaunt through devilish scenes; the attraction will include encounters with massive hydras, a larger-than-death Grim Reaper and even Cerberus, the hellhound that guards the underworld. The In-Between (Dark Maze), where you must fumble through a blackout labyrinth, is back, too. After drawing 50,000 folks per season, Haunted Hayride is expanding. This year, the fright fest includes two new areas: an interactive walking tour, where guests set the scenes into motion, plus an apocalyptic journey through Pestilence, War, Famine and Death. They've also added a Theatre Macabre, with interactive shows that bring classic horror movie scenes to the stage, as well as Blood Drums, the spooky, October incarnation of Street Drum Corps. Still not enough? Jack's Carving Shack's offers pumpkin-mutilating competitions. 4730 Crystal Springs Ave., Griffith Park; Oct. 3-31, Thu. & Sun. and Wed., Oct. 29, 7-10:30 p.m.; Fri.-Sat., 7 p.m.-mid.; $30 (Hayride and Purgatory), $42 (all-attraction pass), VIP passes and season tickets available. losangeleshauntedhayride.com.More
Our sense of smell is incredibly powerful — it triggers memories, captures emotions and is key to our experience of food. Smell is what brings tastes beyond the standard — sweet, sour, salty, bitter and umami — and into the realm of complexity. That's why the Institute for Art and Olfaction has partnered with Castle Gourmet for Stop and Smell Your Dinner, a four-course tasting menu with scent pairings. Says chef Anne Lee of the all-vegan menu: "This is our favorite time of year, where late summer and early fall flavors are both readily available, and I am taking full advantage of that fact!" In its most recent iteration, the menu featured edible flowers, lavender ice cream and burnt mushroom dust. Hosted by drag performer and Pop tArt Gallery owner Phyllis Navidad and taking place in experimental restaurant/art space Thank You for Coming, this promises to be one event where perfume won't take away from the dining experience. Instead, integrated into the menu, it will enhance and play with the flavors of the food. Now that smells good. Thank You for Coming, 3416 Glendale Blvd., Atwater Village; Fri., Oct. 3, 7:30 p.m.; $65. (323) 648-2666, thankyouforcoming.la.More
The celebrated contemporary choreographer Garth Fagan gets help from the equally celebrated trumpeter Wynton Marsalis whose music provides the soundtrack for Lighthouse/Lightning Rod. Fagan’s new work receives it West Coast premiere in four performances.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...
An undefeated middle-weight from Kazakhstan, boxer Triple G smiles a lot and looks relatively naive even when he's destroying an opponent. In artist Cyril Kuhn's portrait of him, he's even more big-eyed and endearing than in real life. It's hard to tear your eyes away. Kuhn's new show at Jancar, called "Mirrored Face-Off," is full of paintings like this, which turn public figures and pop stars (Hillary Clinton and Madonna also make appearances) into vulnerable characters in some alien fantasy. 961 Chung King Road, Chinatown; through Oct. 4. (213) 625-2522, jancargallery.com.More
Claressinka Anderson and Sonny Ruscha Granade co-curate the newest exhibition and integrated pop-up shop at the Underground Museum, a rather new, utterly experimental, independent exhibition space in what could be thought of as the far east end of Culver City's gallery district. (It's technically Arlington Heights.) "My Self Is an Other" gathers together five contemporary artists for a painting-centric group show that's self-absorbed by design, as each artist takes on a facet of existential philosophy examining where "me" ends and "you" and "everyone else" begin. Alexandra Grant deploys words and social/psychological theory as both composition and content and frequently collaborates with writers (including in her new book with Keanu Reeves). Collaboration and collective authorship also are themes for Kendell Carter, whose woven painting is an unfinished work to be physically completed by the involvement of the other artists in the show. Dennis Koch makes finely constructed drawings that reflect his interest in theoretical math and physics. April Street's sculpturally manipulated and painted hosiery works take a more directly feminist point of view. And finally, painter Rives Granade builds up layered images, re-creating the gradual distortions that accrue in public image and private memory, addressing the chasm of perception between the mind and the world. The curators also take over the store space with a thematic pop-up offering work by artists including FriendsWithYou, Francesca Gabbiani, Matt Merkel Hess, Jow, Polite Society Paper, Robert Minervini, Fay Ray and Eddie Ruscha. So if you're not quite up to finding yourself just yet, you can fill the void with shopping. The Underground Museum, 3508 W. Washington Blvd., Arlington Heights; Sat., Oct. 4, 6-9 p.m.; free. Exhibition continues Wed.-Sat., noon-6 p.m., through Nov. 22. (323) 989-9925, theunderground-museum.com.More
For a lot of reasons that probably have to do with shareholder value maximization, this is an era in which mainstream cinema has been eclipsed by excellent television. You could argue that the people who make TV tend to be more interesting and complicated than those who make films. This...
The tragedy of Jason Reitman's Men, Women & Children is that it was released the year it was made. A snapshot of today's cultural disconnection, in which Facebook, texting, World of Warcraft and streaming smut lure people away from dinner with their families, the film's so current that its observations...
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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
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
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 smaller stage and bar. The beer-and-wine bar specializes in such bottled beers as La Fin du Monde and Delirium Tremens and tap beers likeMore
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
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