Arts & Culture, Interviews »

Keeping cowboy culture alive in Compton

Posted March 5, 2015 by | 3 Comments | ]

Southern California is an industrialized megalopolis, but its agricultural history continues in some unlikely places. One of them is the City of Compton, where a few cowboys still ride their horses — on trails but also through city streets.
For years, the center of cowboy culture was “The Hill,” a stable at Figueroa and 131st streets, until it mysteriously burned down 3 years ago. Since …

Arts & Culture, Dishing Up, Food »

DISHING UP THE HOLIDAYS: Alisa Reynolds’ gluten-free Mac & Cheese

Posted November 23, 2015 by | 0 Comments | ]

When you think of the holidays, you probably think of things like gathering around the table with family and friends; gift giving; and watching hours and hours of college football. But what would Thanksgiving be without your mom’s sweet potato casserole or your Uncle Irv’s deep-fried turkey; or gift giving without your dad’s killer eggnog; or watching all those bowl games without chicken wings?
Holiday …

Arts & Culture, California Elections, Education, Interviews, Issues, LA Noir, News, Politics, The Mixer »

Mixer: Campus Activism Roils the Southland

Posted November 20, 2015 by | 0 Comments | ]
friday mixer square

Today, Occidental College President Jonathan Vietch announced some steps he’s taking in the wake of protests on campus over lack of diversity and racism at the school.
To be sure, Occidental — in the past — has ranked very high on lists of the most diverse liberal arts schools across the country.
But Vietch responded to demands on campus by saying the school will increase funding for the school’s …

Arts & Culture, Backstage, News »

BACKSTAGE: A Curtain Raiser for LA

Posted November 19, 2015 by | 0 Comments | ]

[BACKSTAGE is a series of posts focusing on the ‘Inside Baseball’ of the theater. Here’s the ‘curtain raiser’ speech I long to hear in every theater in Los Angeles.]
Good evening!
Hi, I’m the artistic director. Thank you all for making it out tonight. 
Your presence makes what we do possible. Without you — it’s just a rehearsal. You, the audience, make theater possible. And not just the theater but the community. We …

Arts & Culture, Santa Barbara »

Kronos Quartet takes a musical journey through genocide

Posted November 19, 2015 by | 0 Comments | ]
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The Kronos Quartet isn’t your average classical music ensemble. Though you’ll see a cello, viola and violins, the concerts aren’t filled with pieces by Beethoven or Mozart. Instead, they look to the future of music – and they take risks. Sometimes these risks are political or reference charged historical events, like when composer Steve Reich commissioned a piece for them called “Different Trains,” which is …

Arts & Culture, Santa Barbara »

Melissa Etheridge, solo and personal in Santa Barbara

Posted November 13, 2015 by | 1 Comment | ]

As a singer-songwriter, Melissa Etheridge took cues from the best. She wore the tapes out of artists like Bruce Springsteen, Joni Mitchell, Peter Gabriel, Rickie Lee Jones and Paul Simon.
“They wrote songs that spoke to the human condition,” said Etheridge. “I always believed that’s what a singer-songwriter’s job was.”
Two Grammy awards and 13 albums later, some might say she’s doing her job well. In addition to making music, …

Arts & Culture, Santa Barbara »

High art hidden in casino carpets

Posted November 10, 2015 by | 0 Comments | ]

Usually, when you walk into the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, you see this:
A collection of marble Greco-Roman sculptures surrounding a large-scale loutrophoros, a ceremonial water vase used in ancient Greece.
But, for the next four months, you’ll see this:
Reds pop and greens glow. Patterns spin and collide. Take off your shoes and every step has a different sensation. You’ll float through velvet and sink down in plush …

Arts & Culture, Issues, News, Silicon Beach »

Twitter’s new heart

Posted November 3, 2015 by and | 1 Comment | ]
twitter bird

Your friends on Twitter are either aglow or aghast, depending on whom you talk to, about the social app’s decision to get rid of its star, and exchange it with a heart. 

Arts & Culture, Issues, News »

Halloween horror: hundreds of SoCal ravers arrested

Posted November 2, 2015 by | 1 Comment | ]

It was a scary weekend for rave-goers, at least those seeking chemical enhancement to round out the experience.
After a spate of overdose deaths, authorities dropped the hammer at a pair of electronic dance events in Southern California.
At the Halloween-themed HARD Day of the Dead Festival at the Pomona Fairplex, nearly 500 people were arrested over two days. Most of the busts were for drug …

Arts & Culture, News »

In Pasadena, Cars of the Past and Future

Posted October 29, 2015 by | 0 Comments | ]

The cars of the past continue to take car design into the future.
Last weekend in Pasadena, both old and new designs were on display at the Art Center College of Design.

Arts & Culture, Santa Barbara »

Singing through the battle, with soul

Posted October 27, 2015 by | 1 Comment | ]
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Singer Sharon Jones found success relatively late in life. She released her first record when she was 40 years old. Now, at 59, neither her age nor health problems have stopped her from performing.
The story of her battle with pancreatic cancer was told in the recent documentary, “Miss Sharon Jones.” At the film’s debut at the Toronto Film Festival this past September, she announced …

Arts & Culture »

Inside L.A.’s first transgender modeling agency

Posted October 23, 2015 by | 1 Comment | ]

On a recent afternoon, lots of very beautiful people gathered in a downtown Los Angeles hotel ballroom. They were all models, there to audition for clothing designers participating in L.A. Fashion Week. Many of the models were female, many were male, but some identified themselves as transgender. Those models were represented by Los Angeles-based Slay Model Management, the first modeling agency in L.A. specializing …

Arts & Culture, Interviews »

Walking a City Where the Car is King

Posted October 22, 2015 by | 1 Comment | ]

Los Angeles is a city that’s constantly reinventing itself and, in many ways, a place where people come to reinvent themselves.
It’s also a place defined by cars and car culture – where people drive from point A to point B, rarely stopping along the way.
Author David Ulin writes about a the spaces you might miss while car commuting in his new book, “Sidewalking: Coming to …

Arts & Culture, News, Santa Barbara »

Playing with the classics

Posted October 21, 2015 by | 0 Comments | ]

“All the notes are already there, so if I mess up, I can’t blame my instrument,” classical musician Ray Chen said about his violin, which was built by Antonio Stradivari in 1715. It turns 300 years old this year.
“It’s unnerving to think about all the hands that have played it,” he said.
Chen might have a classic violin, sleek clothes (he’s an Armani model on the side) and professional demeanor …

Arts & Culture, News »

Music Center keeps its spending out of public view

Posted October 21, 2015 by | 0 Comments | ]

An attempt by County Supervisors to get to the bottom of financial problems at the Music Center has run into a brick wall.
The county ordered an audit of spending at the downtown L.A. entertainment complex, but the L.A. Times reports that managers at the Music Center declined to turn over most of their records.
County Auditor-Controller John Naimo says he was able to view less …

Arts & Culture, Food, News, Santa Barbara »

Will jam for wine: bringing live music to wine country

Posted October 21, 2015 by | 0 Comments | ]

When the sun goes down in Santa Barbara’s wine country, things get pretty sleepy.
The Santa Ynez Valley is known more for Pinots and Chardonnays than a robust nightlife.
But that might be changing thanks to some interesting collaborations between artists and winemakers. Standing Sun Winery in Buellton, CA is one example. Owner John Wright was a preservation architect on the East Coast before he moved to the Santa …

Arts & Culture, Interviews »

Douglas Fairbanks, the first king of Hollywood

Posted October 20, 2015 by and | 0 Comments | ]
1934 Publicity photo of Douglas Fairbanks, Sr. for his final film, "The Private Life of Don Juan." Photo credit: Public domain

When we think of people in the movie business who’ve played major roles both in front of and behind the camera, names like Robert Redford, Woody Allen, and Angelina Jolie tend to come to mind. But there was a much earlier generation of movie stars who did it all—one of them was Douglas Fairbanks.
Tracey Goessel is the author of a new Fairbanks biography, “The …

Arts & Culture, News, Politics »

Browns moving on up to historic Sacramento mansion

Posted October 19, 2015 by | 0 Comments | ]

It’s out of the loft and into to the mansion for Gov. Jerry Brown and his wife, Anne Gust Brown.
California’s first couple have announced that they will leave the modern, downtown Sacramento digs they’ve occupied for the past five years to live in the California Governor’s Mansion. The Browns’ dogs, Sutter and Colusa, will also make the move.
It’ll be the first time in almost …

Arts & Culture, News, Santa Barbara »

New Noise hits Santa Barbara this weekend

Posted October 15, 2015 by | 0 Comments | ]
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If you’re walking around Santa Barbara this weekend, you’re likely to hear an eclectic blend of live music wafting out of local venues like Soho, Velvet Jones and Whiskey Richards. Based on the SXSW experience in Austin, TX, New Noise Music Festival spreads music across five downtown venues. It starts today and culminates in a block party at the Funk Zone on Sunday.
Here are a few bands …

Arts & Culture, News »

Steve Martin the Art Curator

Posted October 14, 2015 by | 0 Comments | ]

To name Steve Martin’s many achievements in the arts would be a lofty task.

Arts & Culture, News »

It’s been 20 years since OJ Simpson was found not guilty. A new doc looks back

Posted October 2, 2015 by | 0 Comments | ]
O.J. Simpson in 1990 with a group of servicemen to watch a Thanksgiving Day football game. Simpson is visiting U.S. troops who are in the region for Operation Desert Shield. (Photo: Wikipedia)

The OJ Simpson trial has been billed as the most publicized criminal trial in American history – the first reality TV show for the courtroom voyeur (“if it doesn’t fit, you must acquit”) and Saturday marks 20 years since that acquittal, when Simpson was found not guilty in the murders of his estranged wife and her alleged boyfriend.
Simpson was a Heisman Trophy winner, …

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