I was watching Jeopardy once, and the answer was, 'This leader did some sightseeing in a newly defeated Paris in June of 1940.' The contestant said, 'Who is Adolf Hitler?' and Alex Trebek replied, 'That is correct.' Really? That's the answer to the question 'Who is Hitler?': A guy who went antiquing through Europe? Because I feel like I know that name from something else.
Jane Borden performs at Hollywood Studio Bar & Grill on January 7th at 8pm, the Pleasure Chest on January 8th at 8pm and M.I. Westside Comedy Theater on January 9th at 10pm. Tickets are under $10.
The La La Land concert of our dreams? A recreation of the "Another Day of Sun" opener on the 105 and 110 connector. But we'll take "City of Stars" in the Hollywood Hills as a close second. La La Land is set for a screening and live concert at the Hollywood Bowl this Memorial Day weekend, complete with a fireworks finale. Composer Justin Hurwitz will conduct the Oscar-winning score backed by a 100-piece orchestra, choir and jazz ensemble. The concert will premiere over two nights (May 26 and 27) here in L.A. before embarking on a tour.
Don't be shy about stripping down to your skivvies. After roaming the 400 stalls at this arts festival, sampling the fine foods and listening to the music, you may want to take it off for a dip in the nearby Pacific. Look out for the Fiesta over both Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends.
Everybody likes a good theme party, and this Memorial Day Weekend, Main Street in Santa Monica is giving the people what they want. In an effort not only to entertain Westsiders, but also to raise funds for Summer SOULstice and Heal the Bay, Main Street between Pier Avenue and Bay Street will transform into an interactive Monopoly board game, allotting attendees special "MAINopoly dollars," to be exchanged for food tastings across the street's finest establishments. Trade a couple fake bucks for fresh fish ceviche from Enterprise Fish Co, goat cheese tostada from Manchego and more. Fuel yourself with happy hour draft beers and cocktails, before cracking up in the event's official "Go Directly to Jail" VIP lounge and beer garden. As with any balls-out theme party, guests are encouraged to dress in Monopoly-inspired attire. Nab your tickets in advance for $25—$10 cheaper than the day-of price.
We the people, in order to form a more perfect happy hour, should attend this series of crash courses on the U.S. Constitution at the Hammer Museum. Have a happy hour drink ($5 beer and wine) at AMMO Café while reflecting, inquiring and building your knowledge of the American government at this project from artist Linda Pollack.
It isn't summer in LA until the first cemetery screening brings hoards of movie-lovers to Hollywood Forever, toting folding chairs, picnic blankets, snack spreads and lots of booze. Each year, Cinespia brings classic cult favorites to the hallowed resting place of such Hollywood greats as Rudolph Valentino and Bugsy Siegel. An inspired concept, and one Angelenos line up for hours to partake in, enjoy DJ sets, dance parties, sleepovers and more magical mischief otherwise strictly forbidden behind the cemetery gates. It's an LA rite of passage, a quintessential summer experience and one of the best film venues in the city. Just be sure to get your ticket early, arrive early, pee early... it's getting a bit overcrowded, to say the least.
Forget blogs: Get out from behind your computer screen and into the world of printed lit at L.A. Zine Fest. The all-day event showcases over 175 exhibitors of zines, small press publications and comics from across the country, bringing together the best of SoCal nerds for the exchange of art, ideas and more. Don't miss the fest's free readings and workshops on niche topics like "how to run your own DIY music venue."
You'll need to trek up to the Central Coast for this annual event, but where else can you sustainable, vegetarian festival dedicated to equal parts music, food, art, yoga and wellness? Lightning in a Bottle has stepped up its musical lineup in recent years, with Bassnectar, Richie Hawtin, Kaytranada, Bonobo, Jhené Aiko and Bob Moses topping the 2017 bill. Expect to do some serious soul-searching during this six-day retreat, all while immersing yourself in everything from a speaker series at the Lucent Temple of Consciousness to the old timey Grand Artique trading post.
Tucked away in picturesque Topanga Canyon, this Memorial Day weekend festival has become a favorite local tradition. Bohemian locals of all ages as well as curious onlookers converge to celebrate music, food, arts and Mother Earth. Some complain that the masses have commercialized this neighborhood event, but there are still plenty of true '60s hippies, vegan food vendors and healing arts to make you think you’re in Woodstock. Let the kids enjoy their own arts and crafts section, dance to local bands and don’t miss the quirky DIY Memorial Day parade on Monday morning. Parking troubles are alleviated by a free shuttle along Topanga Canyon Boulevard. No pets are allowed, but you’ll definitely be able to connect with your spirit animal.
Trainwreck was the perfect introduction to Amy Schumer’s talents, striding the line between saucy, sweet and spill-your-popcorn funny. But with her second major film role, Schumer needed to show her range: Could she play anything other than a directionless, oversexed thirtysomething who drinks too much but learns a few valuable life lessons before the credits roll? On this evidence, no. Schumer is Emily, a directionless, oversexed thirtysomething whose dream holiday to Ecuador goes off the rails when her boyfriend dumps her and she’s forced to invite her scaredy-cat mom, Linda (Goldie Hawn), instead. Linda is convinced the pair of them are going to be kidnapped and sold for ransom by drug lords—which is, of course, exactly what happens. What follows is a series of aimless, goofy high jinks, as the pair hamfistedly escape only to bicker their way across the Amazonian jungle. A few of the gags hit home: Schumer’s flawless timing makes the best of some creaky one-liners. Her blend of glee and horror when she inadvertently murders one of their captors hints at the sharper, more interesting film that might have been. But too much of the humor derives from Emily’s insatiable appetite for booze, food and sex, while the central mother-daughter relationship is predictable. Goldie Hawn broke a self-imposed 15-year retirement to do this movie; she must be missing her armchair now.
Formerly the LA Vegan Beer and Food Festival, Eat Drink Vegan is setting up shop at the Rose Bowl, and will feature more than 75 craft breweries, wine, kombucha, cold brew and craft soda at the all-you-can-drink fête. Pair your pint with vegan and vegetarian eats from local food vendors; check out the full list here.
This delicate and thoughtful film—small in scale but brimming with the quiet passion of the title—imagines the life of 19th-century poet Emily Dickinson, played with brittle, red-eyed intensity by Sex and the City’s Cynthia Nixon. It takes some commitment to adjust to the dialogue and manners of the era, but once you do, you’ll find this is a film with endless wit hidden under its bonnet. Like Dickinson herself, it finds humor in pompousness and subtly leads us—often through playing with light and time—to strongly feel how she ached with the joy and pain of her world. Written and directed by British filmmaker Terence Davies (Distant Voices, Still Lives), A Quiet Passion is set almost entirely within the Massachusetts home where Dickinson, who grew increasingly unwell and solitary in adulthood, was raised and lived until her death in 1886. We hear Dickinson’s poems, few of which were published in her lifetime, mostly in voiceover, while we witness the intensity of her relationship with her parents (Keith Carradine, Joanna Bacon) and siblings (Jennifer Ehle, Duncan Duff). The talk is pointed in a household that savors the power of words, but it’s as much the imagery that makes the movie a treat. It’s rare to see a drama that makes such subtle sense of an artist’s life.
While there are several festivals enticing families over Memorial Day weekend, this is the only option that will (figuratively) transport its 15,000 attendees to New Orleans. The two-day annual Cajun & Blues Festival in scenic Simi Valley will satisfy different musical tastes with both a Cajun/zydeco stage as well as a blues Stage. Snack on food options straight out of Louisiana like jambalaya and alligator sausage, and take part in a bead-filled Mardi Gras parade each day. As a cherry (or rather crawfish) on top, the proceeds will go to charitable, educational and humanitarian causes. The 2017 lineup includes Robby Krieger, the Yardbirds and Big Bad Voodoo Daddy.
Everyone in Baywatch seems amused to be in a movie version of Baywatch—how could they not be? (Their expressions range from “Is this really happening?” to “This is really happening.”) The laughs in director Seth Gordon’s surprisingly fun and self-mocking comedy don’t sneak up on you so much as hail you from a mile off with an air horn and then bonk you over the head as you approach. This is a film in which lifeguard Dwayne Johnson leaps out of the water (in slo-mo) with a rescued paraglider in his arms, while porpoises flip behind him in celebration. That moment also brings the film’s title, text rising from the deep like a repressed giggle that won’t go away. The generous—radical?—thing about Hollywood’s version of the tush-ogling ’90s TV phenomenon is that, pretty quickly, it makes you feel in on the joke. Taking lessons from 2012’s wonderfully silly 21 Jump Street (in which Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill scientifically proved that bad television need not result in bad filmmaking), Baywatch owns its preposterousness with every barked line of self-serious dialogue and stuffed-to-bursting wet suit. The actors are what save it. Not only does Johnson build on his subversive persona of hulking, dim-witted likability, but he’s joined by Neighbors’ Zac Efron, today’s reigning king of the hazy one-liner, who plays cocky yet disgraced Olympic swimmer Matt Brody, nicknamed the Vomit Comet. (Confused by his bodacious lifeguard team’s role in routing out crime, Efron’s Brody says it
Transport yourself to a remote beach, a Japanese concert hall and the inside of Björk's mouth as the Icelandic singer's ambitious virtual reality projects comes to L.A. Björk Digital features six VR experiences set to music from the Icelandic singer, as well as the hands-on Biophilia education room and the Cinema room, with an ongoing playlist of music videos directed by Michel Gondry, Spike Jonze, Alexander McQueen and more. Timed tickets are available every 15 minutes and the entire experience takes baout 90 minutes to view.
Eat|See|Hear travels to different locales throughout the city each Saturday during the summer, showing cult flicks on an inflatable HD screen taller than your average Malibu mansion. Bring your own bites or sample snacks from the impressive roster of resident food trucks and show up early for a set from local LA bands. Parking is free at most of the venues, and tickets for screenings at the Autry even include admission to the museum. What's more? If you want to skip the crowds and stroll in casually during the opening credits, spring for an exclusive "Fashionably Late" pass. All of the events dog-friendly, and a portion of ticket sales benefit Best Friends Animal Society in support of NKLA.
R&B crooner and pianist John Legend tackles the genre with refreshingly classy, old-school charm. His latest record, Darkness and Light, features contributions from Chance the Rapper, Alabama Shakes' Brittany Howard and Miguel. Catch him on tour with an opening set of explosive falsetto warble from Gallant.
If just thinking about Michael Fassbender makes you want to strip off all your clothes, Alien: Covenant has a cure for that. David the robot, Fassbender’s creepy-as-a-serial-killer android butler, was the breakout star of Ridley Scott’s 2012 Alien prequel, Prometheus. Scott, realizing that David was scarier than a spaceship full of parasitic flesh-eaters, makes him the star of this sequel to the prequel. It’s just as well, because nothing else kicks quite enough ass. It’s 2104, 10 years after the Prometheus’s crew members ended up as alien meat on their mission to find the origins of human life. A colony ship, the Covenant, is gliding through space on a voyage to a distant planet. Its cargo includes 2,000 people sleeping in hibernation pods, as well as a trove of embryos intended to populate their new home. Scott has famously noted that nothing happens in the first 45 minutes of his brooding 1979 originator, Alien. Not so here. When the Covenant runs into a storm, its computer, Mother, wakes up the crew of 15 from hypersleep, seven years too early. The weather front, it turns out, originates from a nearby planet that seems habitable, with a breathable atmosphere. Too good to be true? Yes, says ship scientist Daniels, played by the terrific Inherent Vice actor Katherine Waterston, who quickly assumes a variation on the butt-kicking Ripley role that Sigourney Weaver made iconic. The rest of the crew is a bunch of science geeks and low-tech dudes who operate the ship (you can
Indulge your inner foodie and shopaholic at this weekly food-focused market. The Brooklyn export has landed in the Arts District and become a hotbed of fantastic food and retail vendors, with some that are testing out their dishes before launching a full-blown brick-and-mortar in the city. Bonus: there is plentiful (and free, for two hours!) parking in the nearby parking garage.
Guy Ritchie’s way-over-the-top, frenzied spin on the legend of King Arthur, with a leaden Charlie Hunnam as the streetwise monarch-to-be and a much more fun Jude Law as his preening evil uncle King Vortigern, offers wall-to-wall testosterone, digital effects, fights and supernatural freak-outs. It walks like a hyped-up Game of Thrones on a megabudget, with vast rural vistas, crowds of thousands, endless battles and plenty of bone-crunching. But it talks like Ritchie's Snatch, with a core cast of British blokes (even a cameo by David Beckham), the street-level banter weirdly out of place next to the movie’s more grandiose side. It’s patchy and chaotic but also energetic enough to enjoy as spectacle if you’re willing to forgive the gaps in sense and reason. It’s certainly never dull. Buried in the fog of Ritchie’s movie are the usual beats of the Arthurian story: the sword in the stone, knights, the lady in the lake and, finally, the round table. This Arthur grows up wheeling and dealing in grimy "Londinium" unaware that he’s the son of murdered king Uther Pendragon (Eric Bana). Ritchie also throws in cheeky London geezers, giant elephants, enormous snakes, lots of freaky eyeball shots and a vision of Camelot that’s dark and Gothic (minus Merlin, the film’s wizarding presence is played by Astrid Bergès-Frisbey as the weirdly unexplained young mystic the Mage). You’ll groan at how the director of Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Sherlock Holmes shoehorns his usual trick
The releases have come fewer and farther between for the indie-rock stalwarts of Modest Mouse. But for a group that started out playing tiny clubs, bingo halls and dive bars, Modest Mouse still fills larger spaces remarkably well, offering up a slightly frenetic live show anchored by Isaac Brock’s distinctive singing, full of yelps and shouts.
After a short-lived stint in the early spring, UCLA's impressively student-run fest is returning to its Memorial Day roots. Though the fest promises the same vibe—which, in the past, was definitely the most 4/20-friendly of the pre-summer festivals—its two days have been pruned down into one. Gone are the dedicated jam band and reggae days; instead you can expect a more streamlined show.
Despite cries to abandon ship, Pirates of the Caribbean sets sail yet again: We’re on film five now and this really is swashbuckling by numbers, with prison altercations, ghost crews, hangman’s high jinks and battle scenes that could have been lifted from earlier installments. Dead Men Tell No Tails is clearly an attempt to return to the good old days of the franchise, with an actual plot—however wishy-washy—and two new young things, played by Kaya Scodelario and Brenton Thwaites. Scodelario is Carina, a "woman of science," a self-taught astronomer hunted on land as a witch. She’s smart and strong, but the movie is too distracted by its own kookiness for her to really get interesting. Thwaites is Henry, the bland but honorable offspring of the even blander Will and Elizabeth (Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley’s characters in the earlier films). Bloom even makes a pair of brief, breathless appearances, his cheeks covered in cockles, but fans hoping for a substantial reunion with Knightley will be left hanging. Carina and Henry are on the hunt for Poseidon’s Trident, a mythical weapon that, if uncovered, has the power to break every oceanic curse—and therefore undo the plots of the movies that came before. Geoffrey Rush’s Captain Barbosa ends up being the most likable character here; Javier Bardem’s pirate-hunter Salazar is all raspy one-dimensional vengeance and let’s not even talk about that Paul McCartney cameo. Unfortunately for everyone, Captain Jack Sparrow is still sl
The virtue of courage is high up on the list of Disney princess must-haves (just below kindness, beauty and a strapping prince in tight pants). So three cheers for Dreamgirls director Bill Condon and star Emma Watson for having the courage to make a live-action musical adaptation of Disney's adored Beauty and the Beast with 2017 gender politics and a diverse cast. Not only is this new Belle the studio's most feminist princess to date, the update boasts the first (and second) interracial kiss to ever appear in a Disney movie, as well as the first openly gay character. And it's all done with a lovely feeling of integrity. Today's Beauty and the Beast is a lavish pull-out-all-the-stops musical. Watson brings sincerity to the role of Belle, the only bookworm in an 18th-century French village. (Her singing isn’t bad either). Luke Evans is hilarious as her sexist meathead suitor, Gaston, whose charming come-ons include: "Do you know what happens to spinsters in the village when their fathers die? They beg for scraps." Josh Gad (who voiced Olaf the snowman in Frozen) is Gaston's adoring sidekick Le Fou. The pair’s one-sided bromance is a highlight. Belle’s inventor dad (Kevin Kline) is on his way to market when he takes a wrong turn and finds himself locked in the gothic castle belonging to the Beast (Dan Stevens from Downton Abbey, hiding behind a furry face and a CGI-supplanted physique). Of course, the Beast is actually a dashing prince, transformed by a kind witch as punishmen
The newest flea market on the block, the Venice outpost of this artisan/craft-focused flea market mini-empire is bringing records, vintage and vintage-inspired clothing, cosmetics, jewelry and more to the Westminster Avenue Elementary School. A handful of small batch confectioners provide sweet treats to snack on or take home, while food trucks and nearby restaurants provide heartier bites. Though relatively small in size, owing perhaps to its prime location bookending the neighborhood’s famed Abbot Kinney stretch, vendors hawk a diverse range of hand-made and expertly curated wares that seems to simultaneously fit in and stand out in one of the nation’s most unusual neighborhoods.