It was the happiest day of Phillip Cho's life. Shortly after New Year's Day in 2005, he learned that he had acquired a fortune of $600 million — a windfall from his brother, who had won a settlement in a corporate espionage lawsuit, and who planned to give Cho access...
Just as organizations such as A/V Geeks and the Prelinger Archives have been busy digitizing Super-8 and 16mm home movies, instructional films, and other forms of celluloid ephemera, Everything Is Terrible (EIT) is dedicated to finding the most god-awful casualties of VHS and virtually every kind of media thereafter. Everything Is Festival is a series of public screenings showcasing some of the most mind-glowingly bad shit out there. This year's fun, five-day film fest, Everything Is Festival: The 5th Dimension, kicks off with EIT's very own Memory Hole, a visual assemblage of rejects from America's Funniest Home Videos, which offers a window into America during the last quarter-century. Ticketed presentations include the 1991 amusing atrocity Samurai Cop (with star Matt Hannon in person!) and the sophomore edition of The Most Outrageous Video Games. Other highlights: Barry Hansen aka Dr. Demento's favorite finds, as well as the Found Footage Battle Royale, a community invitational for anyone hankering to share their own funny and/or disturbing under-recognized gems. Cinefamily at the Silent Movie Theatre, 611 N. Fairfax Ave., Fairfax District; Thu., Aug. 28 to Mon., Sept. 1 (various showtimes); opening night free. All other screenings $12/$15, members free. (323) 655-2510, cinefamily.org.More
With more than 60 performances on offer in hip-hop, ballet, tap, modern, tribal, contemporary, jazz, belly and pole dancing, the Mix Match Dance Festival returns with its annual terpsichorean tasting menu of local dance troupes. Billed as L.A.'s largest dance festival, the Hart Pulse Dance Company–hosted event has some repetition in groups and dancers over its four days, but each of the four shows has a distinctive and different lineup. Friday's groups include Ashley L. Jones, Lexi Stillanos, Hazel Clarke, Kelela Batinga, Diane McNeal Hunt's Elevate, Merge Dance Theatre, Amaterasu Dance Company, Gabriela Hernandez Cardenas, J.J. Dance, Brooklyn Hughes Melton, Julianna LaRosa, Sara Kempa-Leon, OdDancity, Rosie Trump (With or Without Dance), Reach Dance Academy Burbank and the host company. Now in its eighth year, Mix Match Dance Festival is a weekend of shows offering an unmatched chance to measure the temperature of current SoCal dance. For the full lineup and tickets, go to hartpulsedance.com. Miles Memorial Playhouse, 1130 Lincoln Blvd., Santa Monica; Thu.-Sat., Aug. 28-30, 7:30 p.m.; Sun., Aug. 31, 2 p.m.; $17. (661) 755-2182, brownpapertickets.com/event/239532.More
Game lovers will be gathering at the Hilton Los Angeles Airport over Labor Day weekend for Gateway 2014. Part of the Strategicon family of holiday weekend gaming events, this four-day convention features tournaments, demos and more, for board game lovers and card sharks alike. A full roster of events is planned every day right up until Monday afternoon, so check out strategicon.net for the schedule. For those who want to simply play with friends, head to the library. It's stocked with old favorites and more recent titles. Whether you're looking for something with zombies, Cthulhu or Dungeons & Dragons, there is something here you can take on loan for a few hours. Hilton Los Angeles Airport, 5711 W. Century Blvd., Westchester; Fri., Aug. 29-Mon., Sept. 1; $60 weekend pass ($50 in advance), day pass $30 (Sat.-Sun.)/$15 (Fri., Mon.)., $5 kids under 12 with adult admission. strategicon.net.More
The Los Angeles Times kicks off its annual food festival, the Taste, on Labor Day weekend. The folks from that paper's Food section join local chefs for a weekend of discussions, cooking and cocktail demos, wine seminars — and actual food and drink. Among the many activities: cooking demos by Nancy Silverton, Jimmy Shaw, John Sedlar, Karen Hatfield and Casey Lane, among many others; a butchery demo by Amelia Posada; Russ Parsons chats with Thomas Keller; Jonathan Gold and Betty Hallock host a mixology demo; and a farmers market cooking panel with Roxana Jullapat, Jessica Koslow and Josiah Citrin. A weekend pass goes for $299; tickets for individual events run from $175 down to a kids' brunch for $5. Check out the website for details and to buy tickets. (LAT subscribers get a $25 discount.).More
fri 7/25 Dierks Bentley GREEK THEATRE For the better part of the past decade, Dierks Bentley has helped usher in a new era of country music. His catalog has spawned seven No. 1 hits on Billboard's Hot Country Songs charts and cemented his status as one of mainstream country's superstars...
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...
If you know painter Joe Goode, who road-tripped to L.A. from Oklahoma in 1959 to make his go as an artist, you probably know his drawings of torn paper or paintings of blue skies. They're pretty nonchalant and usually modestly sized, so it's surprising to see how big and majestic the new paintings in his "Flat Screen Nature" show at Kohn Gallery are. They're two-tone expanses of color painted on sheets of fiberglass. Even though you could tumble right into those deep blues, Goode's still not taking himself too seriously. Every piece has weirdly ragged edges and the titles are jokes: Honk if You See Jesus for one with a ghostly shape near the bottom, or Coming Attraction for one that looks like a big-screen sunset. 1227 N. Highland Ave., Hlywd.; through Aug. 29. kohngallery.com.More
An enormous steel structure, like a giant birdcage by Escher, rises up from the grounds of Materials & Applications, an independent, progressive design studio off Silver Lake Boulevard. Architect Warren Techentin's installation, La Cage Aux Folles, presents nested helixes in a complex system of small lines and hyperbolic dimensional math, which occupies sculptural space and explores traditions of simple-shelter and decorative architecture — but it turns out it's also a stage. It opened in April with a series of performances that occupied and activated the space in ways linked to its name's semiotic origins: cage and folly, as in "inside and outside, captivity and protection, function and ornament, shape and line, stasis and dynamism." The installation remains open every day through Aug. 29, but this weekend, La Cage welcomes Matt Kivel to celebrate the release of his appropriately named and suitably experimental new album, Days of Being Wild. Known for his complex, subtly asymmetrical, lyrical style, Kivel's work rather echoes the spirit and form of the cage; his afternoon also features solo sets from Sophia Knapp and Kevin Morby (Woods, The Babies), plus beer by Craftsman Brewery. Materials & Applications, 1619 Silver Lake Blvd., Silver Lake; daily thru Aug. 29. (323) 739-4668, emanate.org.More
Weep at another whiff of an Elmore Leonard adaptation, one that nails down neither the peppery laughs nor the street-crime desperation that are key to the writer's work. Instead, the comedy is too broad to take the characters seriously, and the vibe is breezily aimless, a mistake in a story...
After The Princess Bride made Robin Wright a star, she shocked Hollywood by saying no. No to The Firm and Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. No to Jurassic Park, Dirty Dancing, Born on the Fourth of July and Batman Forever. She even said no to the cover of Vanity Fair...
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Led by chef Tin Vuong (also of Little Sister, Abigaile, and Día de Campo), the new iteration, now simply called Wildcraft, is a modern Italian restaurant with a focus on Northern Italy. Vuong has brought in Bryant Wigger, previously of Trattoria Napoli. The space has been redesigned by Bishop Pass, with an eye towards giving it the feel of a Fellini Film.
Alimento, the new restaurant from chef Zack Pollack, opens tonight in Silver Lake.
Pollack is best known as one part of the two-man chef team behind Sotto, the Pico Boulevard Southern Italian restaurant that serves some of the city's best Italian food. Pollack and co-chef Steve Samson opened Sotto in 2011 in partnership with restaurateur Bill Chait. While Pollack is still very much a part of Sotto, he's currently focusing about 110% of his energy on his new project.
Pollack spent 12 days traveling around northern Italy recently doing research for Alimento, and found a lot of inspiration from the more Germanic flavors found in the regions of Italy near the border. "It's kind of like a little world between worlds," he says. But Alimeto won't be a straightforward homage to any particular region of Italy — it will be an expression of Pollack as a chef. The short menu focuses on strong-flavored smaller plates (lamb belly, mackerel conserva), pastas and a couple of platters (whole fish, huge hunks of pork shank). Brunch will be coming on weekends in four to six weeks.
We spoke to a very sleep-deprived Pollack about the neighborhood, the menu and what's sure to become a controversial charge for water.
It was bound to happen - rising from the wooden planks of the Santa Monica Pier, surrounded by Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. and carnival food staples (hot dogs! fast-food pizza!), the first Italian restaurant has popped up on the horizon, with an executive chef with serious gastronomical cred, Giacomo Pettinari. Even though Al Mare, a 279-seat ristorante, has been feeding the masses of tourists and locals alike through the holidays, its official ribbon-cutting was actually only held recently, on March 12.
Co-owners Paolo Simeone and Franco Sorgi, who have already seen success with Trastevere on the Third Street Promenade and La Piazza at the Grove, spent more than two years completing the buildout of Al Mare, which is designed by local architect David Hibbert. The 9,000-square-foot Italian eatery now stands three stories tall, with second-floor balcony terraces and a rooftop deck boasting one of the best views on the Westside.
In his restaurant review this week, New York Times critic Pete Wells quipped, "Sea urchin pasta is so popular now, it will probably turn up on the menu at the Olive Garden before the year is over." His prediction is likely a little closer to reality than Wells might imagine. Olive Garden has just done a major overhaul of its menu, the largest overhaul in the chain's history. And the added dishes take significant steps toward the new gourmand sensibilities of Middle America, brought on by the Food Network, Top Chef and the foodification of everything.
It's an interesting phenomenon to see a chain such as Olive Garden, which has long been synonymous with the kind of bad taste coastal snobs like to scoff at, move in a new food-forward direction. The change comes as a way to energize the brand, which has seen its sales drop recently. So if Olive Garden is getting more upscale, and chef-driven restaurants are far more casual than they used to be, will all of America end up at the small-plates summit smack-dab in the middle? We went and tasted some of the new menu items at Olive Garden to find out.
The area of Silver Lake Blvd. between Sunset and the reservoir is turning into a legitimate restaurant row. With LAMill, L&E Oyster Bar and the forthcoming location of Milk, as well as a sushi spot in the old Reservoir restaurant location (a project which seems to have stalled right before opening), the cute little retail district already had a lot going for it. Now there's news that Zach Pollack, with Steve Samson one part of the two-man chef teambehind Sotto, will be opening an Italian restaurant in the space that had been slated to become Bleu Sage (another project that had stalled indefinitely).
Eater reported on Tuesday that Pollack has taken out an ABC license for beer and wine at 1710 Silver Lake Blvd. under the restaurant name Alimento, and Pollack confirmed to us that he's planning an Italian restaurant in the space. For now, Pollack is keeping fairly quiet about the details of the project, mainly because he's still figuring them out.
"I'm really excited about the new place," he told us. "I'm actually headed to Italy in a few days for some research and development that will likely hone the project further."
Goodbye, Westside. Chef Walter el Nagar's consistently fleeting Italian pop-ups, titled Barbershop Ristorante, have been moving progressively east, with earlier stints in Venice and upstairs at the A.O.C. space on West Third Street. Now the chef, known for his work at beach-town haunts such as Il Grano, Piccolo and La Botte, is putting down roots in the heart of Hollywood.
For the fifth installment of Barbershop, el Nagar will be serving his modernist cuisine inside the Farmer's Kitchen on Selma. The extended stint will run Wednesday through Saturday nights, from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m., through Feb. 15. Barbershop will forgo its usual timed seatings in favor of a more relaxed reservation policy, inviting guests to belly up to the well-lit bar space to interact with the open kitchen in real time.
How much pasta can we possibly eat? How much antipasti? How many cannolis can we shove in our pie-holes? A lot, apparently. Italian is one of those cuisines that Americans never tire of, and it seems there can never be too many Italian restaurants. But in L.A.'s recent history of restaurant openings, Italy practically dominates.
It might have started with Bestia, which opened late 2012. Then, of course, we all salivated with anticipation until Bucato opened last August. Since then, we've had Scopa, Rao's and a new location of Terroni. In November, Al Bacio opened on Sunset, albeit replacing another Italian spot, Osteria Drago. Josef Centeno's newest spot, Orsa & Winston, claims Italy (along with Japan) as a culinary inspiration.
As L.A.'s seafood moment begins to mellow out, here's hoping that pasta is the next big trend. On the heels of Bucato, Factory Kitchen is now rolling out homemade pastas and trattoria-style Italian food in downtown's Arts District. Restaurateur Matteo Ferdinandi (Celestino Drago) has partnered with chef Angelo Auriana (Valentino) on a simple yet casually hip Italian concept that opened to the public on Oct. 31.
If you've never had the chance to eat at one of Scott Conant's five Scarpetta restaurants (Beverly Hills, kind of pricey, etc.), you can still sample his much-praised food by cooking it yourself, using the recipes in The Scarpetta Cookbook. With 125 of his signature dishes (beautifully photographed by Brent Herrig), the book is a master class in Italian cuisine. In the introduction Conant describes his style as "urban-Milan-meets-rustic-Tuscany."
Conant starts things off with some general guidelines, including the admonition to read recipes all the way through before any cooking begins. This tip might sound obvious -- but if you don't follow it, you could get into trouble, since so many of his dishes require advance prep work and maybe even learning a new skill.
Last night I made my national primetime television debut—which, as a print journalist, are words I specifically went to school to avoid ever having to say. But as much as I've tried to hide behind my bylines, pseudonyms and nom de plumes, it was only a matter of time before...
Popsicles are having a moment in the spotlight, just in time for the next heat wave (otherwise known as our permanent summer). More sophisticated than the classic ice pops bought off your local ice cream truck, this new breed of frozen treats showcases luxurious ingredients (Valrhona chocolate), farmer’s market finds...
The first time you enter Surati Farsan Mart is a potentially overwhelming experience. The place resembles a Jewish deli more than a restaurant, and during peak hours, the line can stretch out the door. The clientele are loud and almost entirely Indian. There are more women dressed in saris than...