The Adventures of Brad: A series

The Adventures of Brad: A series

BRAD first caught our eye on facebook as he traveled about the city during a time of lockdown. Dressed only in his blue speedo, Brad has become a staple for those familiar with Wendy Krueger, who posts regularly on the adventures of Brad. We reached out to Wendy to get some insight into Brad, the man:

Where is Brad originally from? Brad is from Waukesha, WI. He came to LA to party but found a deeper meaning in life with his best friend, Chad.

What sign is Brad? He’s definitely an Aries! Adventurous daredevil.

Where does Brad get his bathing suit? Brad has his swim suits custom-made. In his old life, he wore suits but since moving to LA, he only wears speedos.

Brad has a fine physique—what gym did he attend before the lockdown?  Brad doesn’t go to the gym. His workout is being in the outdoors and occasionally lifts wine glasses. He has a natural six pack and came in a six pack of friends. Brad, Chad, Mitch, Cody, Josh, Ryan.

We look forward to the next adventures of Brad and wherever his speedo will take him.

Concept and Photos by Wendy Krueger

Tips to Present a Better You

Tips to Present a Better You

More than ever, we are communicating online—via Zoom, Skype, Viber, even FaceTime. While reality is a good thing, it can always be improved upon. We reached out to legendary Los Angeles photographer John Skalicky for some tips on how to make ourselves look better in the time of lockdown.

While we wait it out…

While we wait it out…

The New Pope: Set design, art direction, costume design are all remarkable in this new HBO series.

As we all have a lot of time on our hands, here is my list of things to watch: The New Pope (and the old series, with Jude Law) If you love art, design, costumes, dialogue with flair, religion, pomp and ceremony with a lot of naked bodies, this is your series. Often over-the-top. this series by director Paolo Sorrentino (The Grand Beauty) is a series with a grand vision of things. In the New Pope, his theme appears to be a great concern for the lost amongst us—children with defects, the lost parents of those children, a dwarf nun, drugs, nudity, the politics of the church all get scrambled into one great nine-week series. You don’t need to back to the older series, just understand that Jude Law was the young Pope who had a stroke and has been in a coma, while laconic John Malkovich comes into the picture as Sir John Brannox, a man with a taste for great clothes while his politics run in the middle (the middle way) and his own unhappiness informs nearly all his decisions. There are gay priests, lesbians, drug addicts, werewolves and dancing nuns—it doesn’t get much better than this. The final episode, the Ninth Episode rises above the usual final series ambiguity—all the questions are answered, yet remain shrouded in mystery nonetheless: The last scene is Jude Law wearing a small white bathing suit heading into the ocean, he pauses, he winks at the camera. We are left with people in their rightful places, Cardinal Voiello has appropriately risen to a higher station, Sofia Dubois has taken a lover, the bad people are in jail, and a child has become a pain in the ass

The Prime Video, Hunters created by David Weil and produced by Jordan Peele plays games with some serious issues.

Hunters: a little hard to take seriously when in one scene you have the Nazis using Jews as a pawns in a very real game of chess in concentration camps and in the next, you are treated to a Marvel Comic portrayal of a group of Nazi hunters. This doesn’t happen often but then it does—as in the short game show sequence called “Hate the Jew” its last question is why we hate the Jews—the answer is, “because they’re Jewish.” Nonsensical and ridiculous it still never fails to compel further watching—and they may be its best promotion—it has audacity. It also has Al Pacino doing Al Pacino, but with a Yiddish accent. Logan Lerman, has and remains a fine actor as he heads into adulthood. Other standouts are Josh Radnor as Lonny Flash, Dylan Baker as Bif Simpson (a delicious if not completely absurd role) and a special nod to Greg Austin who plays Travis Leich, a very scary, threatening presence that seems right at home in the world of today. A very special award-winning performance is rendered by Carol Kane as Mindy Markowitz—rarely has loss been so sensitively portrayed. Needless to say, this show is about something that actually did happen in America, Operation Paperclip, and it answers that nagging question we all have had: where did the Nazi scientists go after the war?

The Hulu/FX Network show DEV: why is the daughter a statue? This and other existential questions are asked.

Screening recently is the compelling series, DEV, on Hulu and FX networks. Written and directed by show creator Alex Garland (of Ex Machina fame) this series takes us to a northern California quantum computer company called Amaya. Ponder this: a quantum computer company. Yes, this show gets heady, it gets complicated: it’s a love story, a murder mystery, a suspenseful corporate spy espionage story, a philosophical look into what is “determinism”, what is time, what is past and so on. So, it’s light stuff, and it moves, speaking of time, rather slowly. But it has a sensational Sonoya Mizuno (also in Ex Machina), Nick Offerman, Karl Glusman and the terrific Jin Ha, who played Annas in 2018’s live version of Jesus Christ Superstar on television.

This is show not without humor—for example, in one scene, we are treated to a blurry version of Arthur Miller screwing Marilyn Monroe and a short discussion on why progress in human nature always ends in porn. Fair enough. My own suspicion is that this about time travel, reality and not to give too much away, I think we will see the important events unfold in the golden room where all the quantum things take place.

The Great Expanse shows us that the future, everyone will be beautiful.

The Great Expanse: Hundreds of years in the future, things are different than what we are used to after humans have colonized the solar system and Mars has become an independent military power. Rising tensions between Earth and Mars have put them on the brink of war. Against this backdrop, a hardened detective and a rogue ship’s captain come together to investigate the case of a missing young woman. The investigation leads them on a race across the solar system that could expose the greatest conspiracy in human history. Starring Steve Strait—a beauty of an actor, tall, lean, loves to show his 12 pack, and like nearly every character on this show, has full lips. Can get a little confusing with so many story lines, there are a lot of characters, but as the series develops it gets better and better.

Off to a slow start, but we all await the “Paint it Black” moment in this unique series.

Westworld. A new season, a new setting, some new cast members and somewhat difficult to get into. Maybe for those us in Los Angeles, seeing that MacArthur Park and The MacArthur building as shooting locations takes us very far from the dystopian world of the West in the previous shows. It also begins to have a Blade Runnerish quality. It’s early, it’s too soon to know where it’s going, but we apparently have time, a lot of time to spend, catching up.

A Weekend in the Country: DAOU Winery Sojourn

A Weekend in the Country: DAOU Winery Sojourn

The road to SoCal’s local wine country is the El Camino Real, or Highway 101. Located 219 miles from Los Angeles,  Paso Robles is precisely the halfway point between Los Angeles and San Francisco. Paso Robles used to be a dusty pioneer town famous for its almonds, but that has all changed. A burgeoning wine country, it is home to over 200 wineries, 40,000 vineyard acres and many winegrape varieties, but primarily Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Zinfandel, Syrah, and Chardonnay. It is that rare combination of warm days and cool evenings that helps produce these wines. It should also be noted that the town El Paso de Robles (which means Pass of the oak trees) was co-founded by Kentucky outlaws Frank and Jesse James’ uncle Drury around 1869.

One of the finest among them is the family owned Daou Winery in the Adelaida District. The Daou brothers, Georges and Daniel started the winery in 2007, moving their life and fortune from San Diego to Paso Robles. The Daou Winery is beautifully set in the mountains at an altitude of 2,200 feet; rich with rolling hills, a faint hint of the Pacific 14 miles away, the winery enjoys some of the best climate and soil (calcareous clay) to produce a great Cabernet Sauvignon.

We meet Daniel Daou, a man passionate about his winery and wine. In fact, there are moments where is he so engaged in the science of winemaking you too want to live this life of juice, soil, rain, air, wood and glass. It becomes clear that winemaking is indeed a science as well as passion—so many elements must come together perfectly to produce a good harvest, a good year, a good wine.

Georges and Daniel Daou hail from Lebanon, by way of France. Their father, Joseph Daou, grew up in Beirut, in a modest, urban family. Joseph was 10 years old before his father, who grew up an orphan, was able to buy the family’s first bed. The prevailing culture of Joseph’s youth was one of genteel French colonialism—Lebanon having only gained its independence from France in 1943. In time, Joseph became a successful businessman, and Beirut would become known as “the Paris of the Middle East.”

Remarkably, the greatness of DAOU Mountain was foretold 40 years earlier when the property, then known as Hoffman Mountain Ranch, was hailed by California winemaking legend André Tchelistcheff as “a jewel of ecological elements.”

The mountain was first planted to grapes in the early 1960s by Dr. Stanley Hoffman and his wife Terry. To test his faith in the Adelaida District, Dr. Hoffman enlisted the input of Tchelistcheff, who was California’s foremost winemaking authority at the time.

Tchelistcheff was impressed with what he saw, and his seal of approval gave Dr. Hoffman further confidence to go forward. Hoffman Mountain Ranch released its first wine—a Cabernet Sauvignon—in 1972.

Dr. Hoffman was nothing if not ahead of his time, and that was ultimately the winery’s undoing. The market for his Paso Robles wines was outpaced by costs of running the winery, and he was forced to sell the winery in 1981. The land’s potential would remain untapped for more than two decades to follow.

As Dr. Hoffman once recalled about his first years in Paso Robles, “There were some Zinfandel growers in Paso, but nobody that I know of who wanted to grow French varietals like I did. We were the first. People were not encouraging. They said we were crazy.”

Fatefully, Georges and Daniel were met with similar skepticism when they arrived here with their stated intent to produce wines rivaling the world’s greatest.

Five years after acquiring the mountain and planting their vineyard, the Daou brothers were presented with an opportunity to purchase the adjacent property that included the old Hoffman Mountain Ranch winery facility. Their architect recommended that they raze the building and start over, but their respect for Dr. Hoffman’s legacy was too great. They decided to restore the building instead.

A year later, they held a ribbon cutting with two very special guests of honor: Stanley and Terry Hoffman. As one observer of that day wrote, “It’s not always easy to go home, especially if there are some broken dreams involved. But dreams delayed are not always dreams denied and sometimes you just have to wait awhile to see the work you started come to fruition.”

These and other stories are related with a quiet satisfaction that they did indeed take these mountains and produce some of the finest wines in the region.

WE’RE GOING TO A PARTY

After the winery tour we were invited to lunch at the winery restaurant. Cody Thomasson, Estate Chef, DAOU Family Estates serves a table of distinctly Lebanese fare—kabobs, mezze (Hummus, Muhammara, Bali Butternut, Castelvetrano Olive Tapenade, Spicy Whipped Feta, Tzatziki, Garlic Toum, Lime Zested Medjool Dates, Almonds & Pita Bread), an offering of cheese and charcuterie, lamb chops and of course the perfect sampling of wine, direct from the barrels. If you have never had wine from a barrel, it is a tasteful experience to be enjoyed in the cooler room temperatures—even the Cabernet is cool, and Daniel admits to liking his wine slightly on the cooler side. Indeed.

Later that night, a party, a soiree has been organized at the winery— This will be the 8th iteration of DAOU’S flagship Cabernet Sauvignon, Soul of a Lion. A wine that represents the family patriarch, Joseph Daou and the lessons of persistence, passion and courage he instilled in his sons during their childhood. Food, wine, friends and music, this is a night of celebration for the 8th reiteration of the wine. The music is Lebanese, the food is a mix of Middle eastern fruits, vegetables and lamb chops. The wine is DAOU, both  Soul of the Lion and other varieties—all incredible! We are atop a hill in the middle of Pasa Robles, so when we spot Twilight actor Taylor Lautner, it is a surprise. This of course, leads to a mental discussion about the nature of celebrity: you cannot go anywhere without people talking about you, circling about to attempt a hello, you are judged. As the night progresses, everyone gets to meet Taylor and he turns about to be exceptionally sweet about it. He ultimately joins his friends and everyone on the dance floor for the last dance song of the night (see video below).

Random Thoughts: winemaking is a business and a science—at times Daniel delved so deeply into soil texture, climate and the conditions needed to produce a great varietal. There is a quiet competition between Napa and Pasa Robles although the current notion is to keep PR as rural as it can remain despite the blossoming wine trade taking place. Asked where the next wine making region might be, all answered, Livermore, CA. People who work in the wine industry seem to genuinely enjoy it. Maeve Pesquera, Senior Vice President, DAOU Family Estates has likely told her story countless times, but it is clearly evident that she enjoys her job—and why not? Daniel Daou sports the best Prada shoes we have ever seen.

DAOU VINEYARDS + WINERY | PASO ROBLES

Address: 2777 Hidden Mountain Rd, Paso Robles, CA 93446

Appointments: daouvineyards.com
 
Phone: (805) 226-5460

 

Left to right: Daniel offers Zuke Oshiro some wine from the barrel; entrance to the winery restaurant; the spectacular view looking west from the winery; the kabobs have been served.

THE SOUL OF A LION

THE WINE | Soul of a Lion is DAOU’s crown jewel, named after the father of Georges and Daniel Daou. The 2017 vintage displays richness, elegance and balance—the hallmarks of a superb growing season that allowed for extended ripening. A deep, complex bouquet reveals notes of cassis, black currant, licorice, incense, ripe plum and vanilla. The palate is full-bodied, layered and complex, while smooth, silky tannins lead to a persistent finish. It is impossible to drink this wine without respecting the great structure that will allow it to evolve nicely for years to come. In short, this is a blockbuster vintage that showcases the innate power of DAOU Mountain.

THE VINTAGE | The 2017 growing season was preceded by one of the wettest winters in recent memory, with nearly 35 inches of rain recorded on DAOU Mountain. The vines were energized by the much-needed moisture, setting one of our best crops yet. The weather remained steady from spring through mid-summer. However, a heat wave descended upon California during the third week of August. Many vintners chose to harvest immediately, but we made the brave decision to allow the fruit to hang. As we suspected, a cooling trend snapped the heat wave ensuring that the fruit achieved optimal ripeness. The result was our latest harvest ever on the mountain, reaching all the way into the third week of October. The long hang time yielded the deepest color and concentration we have seen from our estate. The tannins are silky and beautifully integrated. We feel that the 2017 wines will rival the best ever from DAOU Mountain.

DAOU VINEYARDS & WINERY | Family owned and operated, DAOU Vineyards & Winery is committed to producing collectible, world-class wines to rival the most respected appellations in the world. DAOU Mountain’s combination of remarkable geology, microclimate, a 2,200-foot elevation, and steep slopes gives it a terroir described as “a jewel of ecological elements.” As stewards of this beautiful terroir, our goal is to make fine wines that honestly and accurately reflect the potential of the estate.

VARIETALS | 79 % Cabernet Sauvignon, 14% Cabernet Franc, 9% Petit Verdot BARREL AGING | 22 months in 100% new French oak ALCOHOL | 14.7%

Wine Education

There’s more to wine than just drinking it—here are some interesting facts:

A single bottle contains:

750 ml of wine which is 25.6 ounces made from 2.4 pounds of grapes (39.0 oz) and is enough for four to five glasses.

A case of wine is a dozen 750 ml bottles or 307.2 ounces total, which comes from 30 pounds of grapes.

One standard oak barrel of wine holds 295 bottles of wine (or 59 glasses) made from 740 pounds of grapes which works out to approximately to 24 cases wine.

An acre of vineyard land can give the grower five tons of grapes (greatly depending on variety, farming practices and location) which will give you 797 gallons of juice or thirteen and half barrels, which is close to four thousand bottles of wine.

Valentine’s Night!

Valentine’s Night!

Chocolate, gifts, an exchange of cards—it must be Saint Valentine’s Day. But wait—this festive holiday has some dark roots: Historians believe Valentine’s Day actually began in Ancient Rome as a pagan fertility festival called Lupercalia, with the celebration dedicated to Faunus, the Roman god of agriculture, and Roman founders Romulus and Remus. According to History.com, the day was celebrated with activities that included sacrificing animals and whipping women with animal skins until they bled, signifying their fertility. But that’s all behind us now, we even buy our pets a Valentine’s treat! For most us, we head out for a dining adventure to share with the one we love. We have assembled a small selection of our favorite places this day or any other for your consideration.

Tempo Cantina

 

Modern Mexican Cuisine. Pictured here is MAYAN GRILLED SALMON served w/ saffron rice, roasted veggie, grilled pineapple, lime crema, avocado purée, achiote sauce! There’s enough goodness here to make any heart melt.

Address: 12056 Paramount Blvd, Downey, CA 90242
Reservations: opentable.com
Phone: (562) 321-9600

The Stanton DTLA

The former Bottlerock location is now home to The Stanton DTLA. A corner side seat to the activities on Hope and 11st, The Stanton offers up some great vegetarian dishes such a Brussel Sprout salad and Housemade Meatballs. Dinner entrees range from Lobster Linguine to Lamb Bolognese. With an excellent wine selection at hand, the appropriate romantic lighting, and seating both in and out, this is the place for a romantic downtown Valentine.

 

The Stanton DTLA

1091 S Hope St. Los Angeles CA 90015

https://www.thestantondtla.com/

Info@TheStantonDTLA.com

 

 

Off Vine

Since 1989, Off Vine has been serving a wide range of hearty California favorites with regional American influences. Yes, the food is very good, but let’s recollect for a moment—this is located in the heart of Hollywood, in what is now a bustling area of many restaurants, shops, theaters and bars. Rendezvous by the fireplace, enjoy a comforting,  hearty meal in the vine-wrapped outdoor garden, or perhaps a celebration with all your friends and family in one of their private rooms. If you are looking for that special zone romantic, this is one of your best bets.

 

VALENTINE’S DINNER AT OFF VINE

Date: 2020-02-14
Time: 5:30 pm-9:00 pm
Price: $ 80.00 (Per Person, Not including Tax, Gratuity & Beverage)
To reserve your exclusive seat please call: (323) 962-1900

The Art of Wood

The Art of Wood

The art of making furniture is universal—it is a craft, an ancient craft that requires patience and a profound knowledge of wood. Japan is nearly 70% forest, which has provided an ample supply—dating back 1,300 years. Perched in the retail epicenter of Hollywood and Highland is Japan House, an oasis of creativity and calm.  It is there that we found this current exhibit with a display of beautiful woodwork seen here for the first time.

JAPAN HOUSE Los Angeles is proud to announce the exhibition “HIDA | A Woodwork Tradition in the Making,” which brings Japanese woodcraft from its spiritual homeland of the Hida region of Japan to Los Angeles for the first time. On display from January 16 through April 12, the exhibition invites visitors to discover the legendary craftsmen of Hida and their design legacy today, embodied in the work of century-old furniture maker Hida Sangyo Co., Ltd. Select items on display include a chair designed by the late Sori Yanagi utilizing wood-bending techniques native to Hida and part of the permanent collection at the Victoria & Albert Museum, London; and a branch spoon created by Ibuki Kaiyama utilizing a traditional chiseling technique.

Located in the center of the country in Gifu Prefecture, the Hida region became known for its woodworking traditions and skilled artisans 1,300 years ago. This fame continues today through innovative design and sustainable use of the region’s forests, particularly the iconic cedar tree, in everything from contemporary furniture to fragrant aroma oils.

The furniture maker Hida Sangyo Co., Ltd was founded in the region in 1920, and for nearly a hundred years has prioritized four core principles: Forest, Human, Time and Craft. Engaging all five senses, the exhibition guides visitors to experience these themes for themselves: coexistence with the forest (Forest), consideration of inherent human needs (Human), a legacy cultivated through time (Time), and a continuous refinement of craft (Craft). Displays will highlight regional specialties such as Hida-shunkei lacquerware, Ichii wood carving (Ichii itto bori — Japanese yew carving), and mageki (wood bending), as well as materials, prototypes, and products developed by Hida Sangyo and its frequent collaborations with some of the world’s top contemporary designers, such as Enzo Mari and Sori Yanagi.

The exhibition will also spotlight where tradition meets technology and innovation, such as Hida Sangyo’s revolutionary wood compression techniques with cedar. This sustainable domestic wood is typically too soft for long-lasting furniture, but in the Hida Sangyo factory, cedar is compressed and strengthened for use in durable chairs, tables and flooring imbued with cedar’s subtle scent. As a business leader, Hida Sangyo’s success has also influenced a community of other manufacturers to stay in, or migrate to, the Hida area, furthering the time-honored mastery of the region’s woodcraft.

Exhibition Credits:
Presented by JAPAN HOUSE Los Angeles
Exhibition contents provided by Hida Sangyo Co., Ltd.
Exhibition and Graphic Design | Daigo Daikoku
Planning and Production Assistance | Intertrend Communications, Inc.
Content Contribution | Historical Archive Office, Takayama City Board of Education

For more information on all programs, please visit https://www.japanhouse.jp/losangeles

Photography by Takaya Sakano

Art Comes to LA!

Art Comes to LA!

Superfine! Art Fair is returning to the Magic Box @ The Reef in DTLA for its second LA edition, February 6 – 9, 2020. Throughout the four-day fair, visitors will have the unique opportunity to meet and connect directly with 60+ top local and international artists, collectives, and galleries.

In true Superfine! fashion, visitors will be greeted by a welcoming environment, affordable price points (works starting as low as $100!), and the crème de la crème of emerging contemporary artists. Be ahead of the curve and not only discover, but take home tomorrow’s top artists today.

In addition to thousands of affordable, original works of art starting at just $100, explore the LA fair program and experience experimental performance art, cutting-edge art films, and innovative installation art.

for tickets and event information:

https://superfine.world/superfine-la-art-fair-tickets

Portfolio: Don Saban

Portfolio: Don Saban

Don Saban knows LA; he’s photographed it for a long time yielding images that are difficult to pin down in time. In fact, his eye for details found in Los Angeles create a visual proposition that they could be places found in Europe. His works has range—deep, black and white, to the new mundanity of color found in Uber scooters in a line. What is always apparent is his unfailing eye for the art of photography—his images rise above the ubiquituous cell phone portrayals and lead us in and back into a time when photography had meaning.

 
 
At what age and was there anything in particular that compelled you to pick up a camera and make it a career?
I was in grade school, and I can’t remember exactly what age I was, but very young… always the family photographer, so I guess that’s where it all started. I never really quit making photographs, and continued on with my first class in photography my junior year in high school, where I got very serious about it and made the decision that this is what I would do in life, and as time went on, nothing else captured my imagination or interest…so it was decided!
 It’s 2020—what is the state of photography in a digital world?
It just keeps getting better and better, and the printers as well. It has allowed me to do things I could only dream of back in the old film and darkroom days. That all seems so antiquated now, which in a certain sense, it is. With the advent of digital technology, it has inspired me immensely, and now allows me to do things I could never do before, so in a sense, the technology has finally caught up with my vision.
… on that note, what is your best method of advertising your work—instagram, twitter, etc?
I’m very active on Facebook and Instagram. I was posting a lot of my work on Flickr until it changed and is no longer unlimited for free accounts. I hit the limit for that a very long time ago, so I don’t really post there anymore. I also have websites of all the different bodies of work, which includes my video work, and can be seen here at the master site: http://donsaban.com/index.html
The Los Angeles project, how long have you been working on these images?
I think at least going on 20 years.

 

What photographers do you admire, living or dead that inspire you?
George Hoyningen-Huene, Horst P. Horst, Cecil Beaton, George Hurrell, and Vivian Maier to name a few…oh, there are so many, and I like them all for different reasons. I’m so glad you didn’t asked which is my favorite. How could I ever decide!
Is there a photographer that you mentor, and feel they are going places?
As you know, I’ve photographed a lot of jazz musicians over the years, and was introduced to a young lady who is just starting out by a mutual friend. I’ve sort have taken her under my wing and I’m passing along my knowledge of performance photography. She has a great eye, so I’m mostly helping with all the technical aspect of low light photography, and editing in Photoshop and Lightroom. She’s a very quick study, which makes it enjoyable to share what I know.

MEET THE PHOTOGRAPHER: DON SABAN

Don Saban, a native of Phoenix Arizona, received his formal training at the prestigious Brooks Institute of Photography in Santa Barbara, and simultaneously was a private student and studied art and photography as protege of professor William A. Rohrback, University of California Santa Barbara, who was a student of Minor White at Berkeley in the early 50’s. Saban stayed on in Santa Barbara after finishing his studies and was a member of the Santa Barbara Museum of Art Photography Committee. During his tenure in Santa Barbara, he was one of the first photographers to be in Art Life magazine and was the first photographer to be on the cover.

After coming to Los Angeles, he taught at Otis/Parsons and continued his photographic work which was published in numerous magazines. After 10 years in Los Angeles, Saban accepted the position of Principal Photographer at the University of California Santa Barbara. During that period, he was commissioned by the Santa Barbara Museum of Art to go to Budapest and do the photographs for the book, Standing in the Tempest: Painters of the Hungarian Avant-Garde. Saban then returned to Los Angeles once again, and in 1999 was brought on board as photography consultant to work on the Tokyo DisneySea project. Saban found a new home with the Walt Disney Imagineers, and 21 years later, is still providing photographic expertise and working closely with the team on all their projects. Saban continues to exhibit his work, and has had many one man and group shows, has appeared in books, magazines and various publications, and is in private and public art collections both nationally and worldwide.

 

Best Of

Best Of

All things must end—that includes 2019. It was the Year of the Pig, the year that we discovered that beer is good for you, cheese can protect you from salt, human bodies can continue to move over a year after death, the Lovers of Modena were men and dolphins are right handed. The climate in SoCal was extraordinary this year—not much humidity, ample rain, ample sunlight and we even experienced an earthquake or two! The Best Picture was Green Book (remember that?), Olivia Coleman won for her performance as Queen Anne then promptly went to work on The Crown as Queen Elizabeth II. The record of the year was Hey, Ma by Ben Iver as music slowly moved to aural epic sounds (especially soundtracks!) With all that in mind, we asked all our editors what stood out for them this year.

Joshua J. Pinkay

-Favorite Album: Scenery – Emily King
Emily King released her third studio album, Scenery, this year and has garnered two Grammy nominations for 2020. The record is a beautifully engineered piece of art that blends Soul, Folk, R&B, and real songwriting to create a melodic masterpiece.
 
-Favorite Restaurant/Meal: K-Town Smash Burger at E!GHT Korean BBQ
E!GHT Korean BBQ introduced their “Smash Burger” to L.A. this year which is an absolutely decadent mix of two pork belly x brisket blend patties, Gochujang Mayo, mozzarella cheese, Seoul slaw, all on a Bolo bun!
 
-Favorite Movie: Avengers: Endgame
This climactic film from the Marvel Cinematic Universe closed what many fans know as the Infinity Saga spanning 23 films worth of characters and connected story lines. It has since gone to break the World record for highest grossing film of all time.
-Favorite TV Show: A Million Little Things (ABC)
ABC launched their critically acclaimed drama series, A Million Little Things, which centers around the interpersonal relationships between friends and their families. The bonds of friendship in this series are tested when this group loses a core member of their lives to suicide, which in turn, unravels a series of questions that will affect how they see and interact with one another for the rest of their lives.
 
-Favorite TV Special:   HΘMΣCΘMING: A Film by Beyoncé
Beyoncé & NETFLIX released this record-breaking documentary that gave fans a closer look at her most iconic performance to date as the headliner for Coachella in 2018. No other artist in the history of Coachella’s existence has used such perfectly executed footage to create a show that has buzzed pop culture to the core and even making social media solidifying it’s impact by aptly creating the name “Beychella” as stamp to its place in history.
 
JOSHUA J. PINKAY is our Senior Editor

Randy Dunbar

Favorite Movie: Pain and Glory by Pedro Almodóvar. It’s a strange observation, but this film about an over-the-hill director connecting to his past is a devastating work of art; more than a film, a poem really to the beauty of survival, memory and how we manage survival. The Other: Once Upon a Time In Hollywood—maybe it was the time itself, but the acting, the memorable scenes (except the last 10 minutes) were powerful reminders of what movies can do.

Favorite TV: Years and Years: Russell T. Davies’ British drama that takes us on a journey with the fascinating and relatable Lyons family over 15 eventful years over only six episodes, and we start in 2019. A drama that had some predications about the future, insight into the nature of love and the endless fascination we all have with family. The Other: Succession—because we all want to think we could live this way.

Tech of the Year—Though no fan of Apple, I broke down and bought the high-end iPhone max—mostly everything stayed the same, but the camera continues to dazzle with a clarity and depth heretofore unseen.

Favorite Hangout: PRANK Bar— a block away from work, great drinks, brunch and company—the vibe is unpretentious cool in a relaxed setting.

Favorite Restaurant: Massilia—to hang with the owners and chef’s of a restaurant always brings a unique perspective to a dining experience, and here, the food was great as we pondered is it French, is it Italian? Located in Santa Monica near the Promenade, Massilia is another epicurean creation from Emmanuel Dossetti, the founder of Zinqué cafe,

Dennis Richardson

 

  1. Favorite Movie: Godzilla: King of Monsters
  2. Favorite Tech: Nintendo Switch
  3. Favorite Drink: Gik Live! Blue Wine
  4. Favorite Grooming/Hygiene Product: Lumē Deodorant
  5. Favorite Restaurant: Mambo International Kitchen

Niki Smart

Best Restaurant: Blair’s in Silverlake

Best Film: Parasite

Best TV Show: Succession (Seasons 1 and 2) and I’m already excited for Season 3 – but I also loved Fleabag and Barry.
 
Best Travel Experience: sitting in the street in San Pancho, Mexico, watching the happy chaos of people, kids, scooters, dogs, cars, bicycles, roosters, and even donkeys passing by.
 
Best Purchase: Solar panels for my house. Now my EV is powered by the sun – woohoo!
 
Best Show in Los Angeles: Scott Nery’s Boobie Trap (go see it!)
 
 
 

Anthony C. Stafford

 

  • Favorite Movie: Captain Marvel
  • Favorite TV Show: The Masked Singer
  • Favorite Shoe Brand: Mobs
  • Favorite Tech: Apple AirPods Pro
  • Favorite Restaurant: Mambo International Kitchen

 

Katie Nartonis

2019 High Desert picks

Favorite desert restaurants:
La Copine, Landers CA
Pappy + Harriets, Pioneertown, CA
29 Palms Inn, Twenty Nine Palms CA
 
High Desert Sites :
Integratron, Landers CA
Noah Purfoy Art Site, Joshua Tree CA
Sculptor Cybele Rowe private Studio Tour, Landers CA

Winter Style

Winter Style

The Art Of Winter Outerwear In A Warmer Climate

SoCal has its own style
These days, people in Southern California are more accustomed than ever to warm winters. Anything much below the low 50s or high 40s is an aberration, and while some LA folks may shiver in 65-degree weather, this still makes for a more comfortable winter than most experience. The interesting thing is squaring this unusually mild season with one of the more fashion-forward and culturally up-to-date regions in the United States. While fashionistas around the world rush to update winter wardrobes with the latest faux-fur coats and sustainably-sourced infinity scarves, you might be sitting outside at a restaurant in a long-sleeved tee! This doesn’t mean winter outerwear isn’t an option in warmer climates though. There’s just a little bit of an art to it. To examine the idea further, for any readers in SoCal, other stylish spots like Austin or Miami, or anywhere else where the winters are warm, we dug into some specific suggestions for seasonal garments. Find A Statement Sleeveless Coat It’s sometimes remarkable in fashion in general how far you can get by thinking just a little bit outside the box. This is certainly true when you’re looking for ways to embrace fall and winter fashions living in a region that doesn’t really get a winter by traditional standards. We actually went back a number of years and found an article on this very topic – winter fashion in warmer climates – that presented some lovely ideas that can still inspire you today. Most notably, a sleeveless camel coat highlighted by Song Of Style stuck out. It’s undeniably, timelessly chic, can be worn with any number of ensembles (the example included a leopard-print skirt underneath), and perfectly suits a warmer winter climate. Lightweight Jackets Are Your Friends A lightweight jacket can be the perfect everyday garment for a mild winter, though it’s sometimes surprisingly hard to find the right one. Often you end up caught between ordinary hoodies and sweatshirts, and heavier coats or down jackets that are warmer than you need. For the current season, the zip-front lightweight twill hooded jacket from Woman Within serves as the perfect picture of an in-between option. It’s described as something to have on hand for “transitional weather” when it’s neither too hot nor too cold, and the brand’s inclusive sizing range can also be a bonus. Something with a little room can be cool and casual for a SoCal winter, and at the same time this jacket will still fit you if you add a few pounds over the season (as so many of us tend to do!). Embrace A Playful Sweatshirt Or Two Since you likely aren’t going to be bulking up with full-fledged winter outerwear, there’s nothing wrong with taking an altogether more casual approach also. This likely won’t be an everyday option like a lightweight jacket might be, but if you find a graphic sweatshirt that speaks to something you love – perhaps a retro sports team look, or one of the Nickelodeon sweatshirts from Love Tribe – it can be just the thing for an average winter day among friends. These basic sweatshirts don’t heat you up too much, and almost always look great with the sleeves pushed up, but will still give you that little bit of added warmth you need. Opt For A Fall Blazer One of the trickiest things about all of this is finding an everyday look if you’re a little bit more fashion-forward. The sleeveless coat option is a very nice look, but not necessarily something for every day of the week; a lightweight jacket can be perfectly stylish, but may not fit in, say, a work environment. And needless to say, a Rugrats sweatshirt has its place! There’s a clear solution here though, and it’s to find a stylish fall blazer or two that can take you right through a mild winter season. A standard black or charcoal option can be dressed up or down and make for an excellent everyday jacket substitute. Though we also can’t help but love the emerald-colored notch collar cotton blend blazer from Gibson that’s popping up in some 2019 collections and write-ups. Find A Cap Or Beret You Love It’s somewhat difficult to take winter fashion beyond light jackets and coats when you live in a warmer area; it’s not as if you’re going to need some cute mittens or a head scarf for the next 55-degree day! That said, a seasonally appropriate alternative to a winter cap or beanie can be a nice touch that works just fine in warmer temperatures. Such an accessory can take all sorts of forms. You might actually find a loosely knit beanie that’s more of a fashion statement than a means of keeping your head warm. If you want to be a little bolder, you might find a suede fedora to pair with certain looks. For some winter staples though, the textured knit “baker boy” cap from Brixton and Hat Attack’s leopard-print beret were a few options that caught our eye. You can go well beyond these suggestions to more fully dive into winter fashion in a warmer region. A light scarf, some classic boots, whatever colors are trending in a given year…. These are all wonderful ways to embrace the season regardless of temperature. But the ideas and suggestions above can help you to really enjoy the seasonal wardrobe update you might be yearning for.