NEW TO SOCAL MAG! L.A. DEE DA 2.0!

NEW TO SOCAL MAG! L.A. DEE DA 2.0!

THIS WEEK: DANCES WITH FILMS FESTIVAL, WONDERWORLD LA

DANCES WITH FILMS

The opening night green-carpet event for the Dancing With Films indie film festival took place in the gorgeous and historic lobby of the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, directly across from the TCL Chinese Theatres where the short and full-length works were set to screen over the next couple of weeks in multiple theaters. As directors, producers and on-screen talent made their way down the carpet, each group shepherded by a protective publicist, such as seasoned L.A. flacks Henry Eshelman and Diane Brown, cameras flashed and interviewers held up mics under the glaring lights. For many of these indie filmmakers from around the world and around the U.S., this was their very first brush with Hollywood glamour!

Now that the Los Angeles Film Festival has ceased hosting an annual event, Dances With Films — so named in its debut year by co-founders Leslee Scallon and Michael Trent to support a feature film they had made called Indemnity, in the wake of Sundance hosting a plethora of “dance” monikered film festivals — i.e., Slamdance, Digidance, No Dance, and several more with similar monikers.

Twenty-two years later, Leslee and Michaels’s Dances With Films is going stronger than ever while still sticking to their motto of “No politics, no stars, no sh*t.”

DWF has risen to fill the breach left by the L.A. Film Festival in supporting and featuring primarily indie film projects of all kinds, some of which this year included the heartbreakingly excellent The Land, which features a terrific star turn by actor Herman Johansen; the girl-centered video-gaming short Would You Like To Try Again?; Wowsers, produced by and starring the party’s most fabulously dressed guest Sam Fox, about a club where the BDSM isn’t always safe, sane and consensual; and the surprisingly witty horror-comedy Driven, starring the film’s writer, Casey Dillard, along with Richard Speight Jr. of HBO’s Band of Brothers and the CW series Supernatural.

WONDERWORLD LA

Just down the street from where DWF was hosting their opening night festivities, the fabulous magical interactive pop-up museum that is Wonderworld LA was throwing their own soiree to introduce the Wonderworld brand of visual genius to celebrities and local media influencers, sweetening the pot with drinks, donuts, a cotton candy station, complimentary nail art, and swag bags for attendees. Even Fox 11 news showed up to cover it!

Co-founded by venture capitalist Hua Wang and businessmen Jay Yue and Jie Wang, Wonderworld first popped-up in New York’s Soho district where the threesome gathered a cabal of creative designers who were seeking a platform for their work. Wonderworld Soho ran for a year before coming to Hollywood’s Walk of Fame just this month, where local artists such as Josh Wong collaborated in customizing the build-out to be unique to L.A.

Pop-up museums may be a new concept in Los Angeles, but they’re a big — and lucrative! — trend in NYC, where the trio behind the original and L.A Wonderworlds is set to launch Wonderworld Brooklyn any day now.

In NYC, Wonderworld is something of a fashion brand, but here in L.A., they’re not targeting the nightlife set. Rather, Wonderworld is open only during daylight hours and is bracing for a steady stream of both the legitimately young as well as the so-called young at heart, who will no doubt be completely entranced by the Alice-in-Wonderland-esque rabbit-warren of 11 differently themed interconnecting rooms, all housing art installations in various crazy-wonderful themes, all of which are meant for extreme posing and photographic shenanigans. Memory-making shots of patrons climbing in, on, and around the various oversized and decorative props, and Instagram-worthy photo ops with your posse are highly encouraged. We can’t help thinking that kids, both little and big, will take to Wonderworld LA as if it were a more sophisticated version of a Disney theme park!

Wonderworld LA is set to pop at least through the second week of August. For tickets and information call (747) 284-9616.

 

 

 

Wisdome: an immersive art park

Wisdome: an immersive art park

Left: Leon Hendrix, Jimmy Hendrix’s younger brother and Randy Hanson

Legendary writer/photographer Belissa Cohen goes psychedelic to experience L.A.’s hidden gem of an “immersive art park,” Downtown L.A.’s Wisdome

If you haven’t yet been to downtown L.A.’s Wisdome, we suggest putting it on your nightlife bucket list, and maybe stock up on your favorite psychedelics beforehand.

Called an “immersive art park,” this enormous 35,000 sqare foot space houses a collection of five huge interconnecting domes, one of which hosts nearly continuous showings of a 360 degree short film called Samskara by innovative experimental artist Android Jones. The other domes host other immersive art installations, live music events in 10.1 surround sound, and are surrounded by a commodius grassy outdoor area for hanging out on glorious summer nights with bars, ethnic food and drink purveyors, and trinket vendors selling wares of a vaguely spiritual nature —  it’s the whole enchilada in one place, with enchiladas. It’s both comfortable and hella trippy!

We experienced the Wisdome when Randy Hanson, who is considered arguably the best of the Jimi Hendrix tribute performers among those in the know about such things, did the first of his spot-on two-night performances in the largest of the Wisdomes, while psychedelic art in the form of constantly morphing mandala images were projected on the walls and ceiling of the dome, and many audience members took in the multimedia show from reclining seats. Like them, we found ourselves gazing ceiling-ward during the show, mesmerized, as the images changed organically, all the while absorbed in the expertly executed music.Randy, who is in demand all over the world for his Jimi Hendrix realness, and is, like Jimi, a Seattle native, played and sang all the hits note for note, from “Foxy Lady” to “Purple Haze” to the Bob Dylan-penned “All Along the Watchtower,” on what just so happened to be Dylan’s birthday.

As happens in L.A., we found ourselves Ubering to the Wisdome with the famous-adjacent:  Leon Hendrix, Jimi’s younger brother and an edgy blues musician in his own right, who sang with Randy and his band very appropriately  on “Castles Made of Sand,” a song Jimi had penned back in the day about his family’s dysfunction. Leon’s own show the very next weekend at The Mint in West L.A. was a sold out success.


The world-renowned Randy Hanson brings his Jimi extravaganza back to the Wisdome at the end of June. For all of us who missed Jimi’s legendary L.A. performance at the Hollywood Bowl in 1968, we now have a second chance to Be Experienced!

Punk Rock Karaoke

Punk Rock Karaoke

Lots of things have changed, of course, since the L.A. Weekly’s Thursday issue was what you rushed to get a hard copy of in order to gauge your spot in the Hollywood hierarchy and with which to strategically plan every move in your upcoming week’s nightlife carnivale.

For one thing, Coke Zero has edged out Diet Coke as the drink of choice.

 

But for those of you who don’t, or can’t, or were too young or too unhip to remember, back in the day there was a nightlife column in the Weekly called L.A. Dee Da, and it defined what and who was hip in L.A, via words and pictures, for many years.

We didn’t start the L.A. Dee Da column, nor name it, but we wrote and took the pictures for it for over 7 years, until we killed it — very possibly because we had just seen too fucking much to leave the house one more fucking time! And that was that. Until now.

Here again, for the armchair clubgoer, is classic L.A. Dee Da, 2.0:

Unexpectedly pleasant was the 7th Annual Rock Against MS benefit at downtown’s historic Palace Theater. Originally set for the Los Angeles Theater directly across the street, when sound issues arose at the Los Angeles, chill-as-ice proprietor of both theaters Ramin Delijani (of the downtown Ezat Delijani Square Delijanis), was kind enough to allow the show to move across Broadway to one of his other three historic venues, one of which — the Tower — is slated to become the downtown Apple store.

With reserved seating, actual songs with beginnings and endings, and sound levels not too loud for casual conversation, this was no recipe for high millennial attendance. In fact, when the MC asked if anyone in the audience was under 20 … the sound of crickets could almost be heard amongst the crowd. Yes, it was a playdate for the senior set! Comprising the first part of the evening was various songs done in tribute to some of the musicians who’d died in 2018, kind of a feel-good tribute to death: some of those honored musically were Temptation Dennis Edwards, Motorhead guitarist Fast Eddie Clark; Lynrd Skynrd guitarist Ed King, the fabulous Aretha, Pantera co-founder/drummer Vinnie Paul, and The CranberriesDolores O’Riordan, among others. It was like being in the audience at American Idol, but with real celebrities doing the covers. Even stand-up comic Bill Burr took a turn on the drums.

When headliners Marky Ramone’s Blitzkrieg came on, the audience was allowed to leave their seats and rush forward — or maybe saunter is a better word for how this particular audience of post-punk pensioners drifted stage-ward, where not only was no mosh pit created, there was not one instance of even the most minor pushing, shoving, nor the most light, accidental jostling. Look at us — we’re all so goddamned nice now! When did that happen?

The band proceeded to play a tight as a drum, feel-good walk down the oldies-but-goodies lane of memories that is a Ramones’ greatest hits cavalcade, including “Beat On The Brat,” “Sheena Is A Punk Rocker,” “Rock n Roll High School,” “I Wanna Be Sedated,” and all the rest, with Marky doing a surprisingly serviceable job on vocals — considering he was previously the group’s drummer, replacing Tommy Ramone, until (according to Wikipedia) he was fired for alcoholism. But by 2014 all the original members were dead, leaving Marky the only one left to carry the “Gabba Gabba Hey” torch well into the present century. His reception at Rock Against MS proved that, for some of us, it just doesn’t get old.

It didn’t hurt that Marky and the current lineup were totally on point, moving from one hit to another like a greasy machine. Marky was the epitome of classic New York cool in a Dean Martin t-shirt, a full mop of longish hair, and a physique that would have rivaled Twiggy’s in her heyday, with no appreciable difference in his sartorial style from that of the original New York punks we saw congregating outside New York’s CBGB and Max’s Kansas City circa 1978.

Coming from the Silent Auction area, we ran into local keyboard goddess Gere Fenelli, formerly of Redd Kross, who announced gleefully that she’d become a first-time bride at 56 and gesturing to her groom, proving that young love isn’t the only game being played in this town.

Backstage after the show, Blitzkrieg guitarist/former Bad Religionist/Circle Jerk Greg Hetson was as perplexed as anyone as to why the MC, former Mad TV castmember Debra Wilson, chose to stride back out onstage amid audience chants of “Hey Ho, Let’s Go!,” cutting off the band’s encore and closing the show rather anti-climatically, rather than with the hoped-for “Blitzkrieg Bop.”

An event that captivates both young and old is the best karaoke night in L.A. This fun-for-all-ages event takes place once a month not strictly in L.A., nor in the environs of Hollywood, Koreatown nor Little Tokyo. It takes place inside the kind of massive, three-sided strip mall that only the suburbs can spawn. Maui Sugarmill Saloon, the site of the festivities, shares Tarzana Square with dozens of other in-high-demand local emporia such as O Fancy That! British gifts and Abi’s Judaica (“beautiful gifts from Israel”!), which itself shares a very trayf wall with a Round Table chain pizzaria. But one thing Tarzana Square features that not even we can disparage: more than enough easy, convenient, hassle-free and no-cost parking for the overflow crowds at the Sugarmill.

You can keep your clusterfuck of a Downtown L.A. We’re partying in beautiful downtown Tarzana.

Organized by booker Sarah Elizabeth, there’s no vanilla joke of a ballad-filled karaoke machine involved at the Sugarmill’s karaoke night. The tiny stage tucked into a corner of the intimate venue holds a full live punk band, with San Lee of the Dickies and Greg Hetson, again, on guitar, and longtime scenester Nubs Gutmacher on sound, and singing along with the hoi polloi are a few celebrity ringers such as Mikey from the Adicts. The action all takes place just steps away from the pool table area, where — of course — people are calmly playing pool amid the din and sports coverage plays non-stop on a TV mounted on the wall. With the band ripping through a rolicking set of punk classics, this IS your mother’s karaoke — or maybe your grandmother’s — with hits by Iggy, Joan Jett, The Clash, FEAR, Misfits, Stiff Little Fingers, Buzzcocks, Circle Jerks, and more.

Even youngsters who could not have been born when this music was first inciting the dance known as the pogo were getting down with the vocals. Lyric sheets are provided, and it’s a free-for-all to sign up. Unlike “classic” bar karaoke, it doesn’t really matter here if you can hit any of the notes — no one can hear you above the band when you screw up, and the supportive audience claps for every valiant effort.

We got so caught up in the spirit of the evening we earned 2.5 of our 15 minutes of fame being an almost-for-real Runaway on “Cherry Bomb.” Punk rock karaoke takes place at the freeway-close Sugarmill, so grab your grandparents and their handicapped placard and join in the fun, which takes place the first Saturday of every month.

From punk rock to drunk rock and, ironically, on 4/20, the tongue-in-cheek country outfit Groovy Rednecks celebrated the joys of alcohol abuse with their third-Saturday-of-the-month gig at downtown Culver City’s historic Cinema Bar, a cozy spot with free admission, frequent live music on the miniscule stage, and just enough room to cut a rug. Nights start with two opening bands, one of which is the duet Talking Treason featuring Laura Smith and Rednecks’ guitarist Bob Ricketts. With songs such as “Always Bring A Beer” and “How Come I Only Love You When I’m Drunk,” the Rednecks’ paen to John Barleycorn was show 153 at this particular spot in the 12 years they’ve been in residency at the Cinema, or show 921 for singer Tex Troester, who’s spent 25 years teamed with guitarists Bob Ricketts and Barefoot Gary Riley who does, in fact, play all shows barefoot. Watch that broken glass! More recent members are stand-up bassist Steve Seifert and drummer Chris Bailey, a newbie of about a year, who is better known in certain circles as Grand Poobah for life of the venerable Hollywood institution The Water Buffalo Lodge — not Fred Flintstone and Barney Rubble’s Lodge 26, but a loosely knit fraternal organization that once boasted a who’s who of the L.A. rock underground and whose legendarily debauched afternoon picnics were once the talk of the town; word is that another is being planned for this summer. Dedicated appreciators of feminine pulchritude, we witnessed one particular annual Water Buffalo Beauty Contest where the fair damsel who stole the coveted crown of Miss Water Buffalo that year demonstrated her “talent” of shaving her legs to an appreciative audience of Water Buffaloes and their Ladies Auxiliary.

Which just goes to show that here at L.A. Dee Da, whether you have true talent or are merely talent-adjacent, you too can make it into boldface!

 

MEET THE GROOVY REDNECKS
My band The Groovy Rednecks have been playing since 1991 (28 years) We have played 921 gigs and counting!
Tex Troester – vocals/lyrics
Bob Ricketts – guitar/music
Gary Riley – guitar/mandolin
Steve Seifert – bass
Chris Bailey – drums

The first time we played The Cinema bar was 17 years ago, we started playing the 3rd Sat of every month 12 years ago. (this will be our 154th gig there) The show starts at 10 pm with “Talkin’ Treason” (a duet of my girlfriend Laura Smith and my guitar player Bob Ricketts. They play mostly covers of country, blues, rock, and pop standards. The Groovy Rednecks start at 11 pm. And we choose a different band to play the midnight slot every month. (any genre as long as they’re good) The bar is one of Culver City’s oldest dives, with a tiny stage and a comfy outdoor smoking patio in the back. This month on 5/18 we are playing with a band called “Cool House”. We also have Merle Jagger on 7/21 and Wreck n Sow on 9/21. We are always looking for fun bands to play with. We need bands for 6/15 & 8/17. Let me know what else you need and thanks ! ~ Tex

A Rising New Menswear Scene in L.A.

A Rising New Menswear Scene in L.A.

It was just a few years ago when ‘bloggers’ were perceived as being mostly women. To be more specific ‘women in fashion’. Or you may have also thought of New York fashion bloggers.

All big cities have their own distinctive style, each having their own trends and fashion tendencies based largely upon the local weather, lifestyle and local taste. For men, the Los Angeles fashion scene has always been considered ‘California casual’ and has been notorious for shorts, chinos, flip flops, tees and polo shirts. But not anymore!

In recent years, Los Angeles has been going through significant revitalization from entertainment, art, food and, yes, even fashion. But in particular: men’s fashion! The days are long gone when men were labeled as ‘metrosexual’ (which, by the way, was a term I’ve never liked) just because they cared about their appearance. It’s now more common and socially acceptable for guys to be fashionable and to take pride in their grooming routine and overall appearance without having to be mislabeled, and without having any actual involvement in the men’s fashion industry.

Thanks to the recent rise of social media, nowadays you can also easily find menswear bloggers throughout all platforms. In L.A., menswear influencers have not only taken the social media fashion scene by storm but they have also replaced the traditional ‘California casual’ uniform with an entirely new fashion. These influencers are not just blogging about their suits and ties, they’re blogging about street style, athletic wear, casualwear, full suits and men’s high fashion.

But it doesn’t end there. The L.A. men’s fashion scene has grown so rapidly that meetup groups and collaborations amongst bloggers and brands are happening everywhere! The first and largest networking and menswear social club in L.A. is known as ‘The Social Gents’, created by Steve A. Nunez, owner of ‘The Social Cut’, a men’s grooming cafe offering gourmet coffee, a barbershop and tailoring services. Steve created The Social Gents in an attempt to feed the need to unite ‘modern gentlemen’ and to provide a platform for men’s’ fashion influencers to socialize, facilitate networking and cross promotion, and and to be able to confidently talk men’s fashion and grooming.

As a blogger and business owner in the men’s fashion and grooming industry, Steve couldn’t find events to network with fellow bloggers and other entrepreneurs in the industry. Menswear fashion meetups in L.A. have been scarce, and when he did finally stumble upon potential meetups, he found that these events are exclusive to influencers with large followings and clicks are notorious. Steve then decided that he wanted to do away with that industry culture and create a new culture in the men’s fashion world by creating a meetup where every gentleman that attends feels welcomed and confident, regardless of the size of their following. And Steve hoped that attendees come out learning something new and create new friendships, partnerships and collaborations.

 The Social Gents’ goal is to bring fashion bloggers, influencers, menswear enthusiasts, fashion industry people, designers, stylists, labels and anyone interested in menswear and men’s grooming together to connect face-to-face, collaborate and share life experiences.

At The Social Gents’ meetups, guests are greeted with a gift bag filled with dapper goodies provided by brand supporters. The brand supporters utilize these events as an opportunity to interact with menswear enthusiasts in a more personal way and also to promote their brands and products. Attendees also enjoy complimentary libations as they mingle and enjoy different activities such as wine tasting, listen to panel discussions by top menswear brands and influencers, experience a grooming lounge and the much anticipated photo ops, to name a few.

The Social Gents have hosted menswear events throughout Southern California from Los Angeles, to Pasadena, to Downtown Pomona. They’ve had the likes of George Laboda, a highly popular men’s lifestyle influencer and co-creator of ‘Gents Lounge’, and participation from major brands such as: SprezzaBox, Ties.com, The Tie Guys, Harrison Blake, Johnny B and Cremo Company to name a few.

It’s also an exciting time for menswear enthusiasts with so many new men’s fashion brands popping up on social media and looking to build connections with influencers. Established companies are also taking notice of the modern gentleman by making more grooming products tailored for men. Beauty stores, such as Sephora and Ulta, which traditionally catered only to females, are now adding or significantly expanding their men’s grooming sections to cater to the modern gentlemen.

This ‘groomed gentlemen’ lifestyle goes way beyond just clothes and grooming. It’s a revitalization of the gentleman that takes pride in himself, his work and shares the best fashion and professional advice. We don’t want to prep you for a fashion runway. We just want you to look and be your best!

For more information on The Social Gents or to participate at our next event, please visit: TheSocialGents.com

Don’t forget to follow me on social media for daily grooming tips and style advice!

INSTAGRAM: @thesocialcut
TWITTER: @thesocialcut
YOUTUBE: The Social Cut
FACEBOOK: The Social Cut
SNAPCHAT: thesocialcut

For more useful grooming tips and style advice:

www.thesocialcut.com

Until Next Time, Gents!

Men’s Fashion Trends that Need to Die in 2017

YT Cover - Fashion Trends

Happy New Year! The new year is the perfect time to refresh and clean out your wardrobe by ditching all of last year’s overdone trends!  Watch as I review some of the most hyped men’s fashion trends from 2016 that need to die in 2017!

It’s all in good fun so sit back and enjoy my once a year rant! Make sure you guys comment if you think of any other trends need to die in 2017 or which ones should stay. And keep you’re eye out for a future video where I’ll give you all the info on the best NEW trends for 2017!

Enjoy!

Blog Photo New Year

Don’t forget to follow me on social media for daily grooming tips and style advice!

INSTAGRAM: @thesocialcut
TWITTER: @thesocialcut
YOUTUBE: The Social Cut
FACEBOOK: The Social Cut

Until Next Time, Gents!

Steve A. Nunez

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