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.

 

 

 

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

At the Skirball

At the Skirball

Los Angeles fashion designer Rudi Gernreich (1922–1985) introduced the “monokini,” the thong, unisex caftans, pantsuits for women, and enough inventive clothing to earn him a worldwide reputation. Yet Gernreich was far more than one of the most prominent designers of his time—his clothing was fearless. Fearless Fashion: Rudi Gernreich explores the visionary and progressive ensembles that transcended rigid social expectations and championed authenticity above all.

Gernreich, a Viennese Jew, immigrated to the United States from Austria in 1938, fleeing the oppressive and anti-Semitic Nazi regime. Beginning with his life in Los Angeles, the exhibition examines the circumstances that enabled Gernreich to grow into a trailblazing designer—from his early career as a dancer for the Lester Horton Dance Theater to his role as a founding member of The Mattachine Society, a gay rights organization. It shows how Gernreich dovetailed his personal background with his design vision to champion freedom of expression through his work.

The exhibition features over eighty Gernreich ensembles, along with accessories, original sketches, photographs, ephemera, and newly filmed interviews of friends and colleagues. All mannequins for this exhibition were custom produced with flat feet—a deviation from industry standard. Flat feet were a design feature Gernreich emphasized, dressing his models barefoot or in sensible short-heeled or flat shoes. Illustrating how Gernreich challenged conventional notions of beauty, identity, and gender, Fearless Fashion: Rudi Gernreich reveals how the designer redefined style in ways that continue to influence fashion today.

THE SKIRBALL CULTURAL CENTER
The Skirball Cultural Center is an educational institution in Los Angeles, California devoted to sustaining Jewish heritage and American democratic ideals. It has been open to the public since 1996.
 
Address: 2701 N Sepulveda Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90049

5 Best Westside Spas for Mother’s Day

5 Best Westside Spas for Mother’s Day

What do Mothers want for Mother’s Day? Short answer: Relaxation and me time… Or, as we like to call it, a spa day. If you’ve been scrolling through Yelp wondering which is the best Westside spa for Mother’s Day, or if you’re simply scratching your scalp trying to find the perfect gift for your Mom, then you are in the right place.

This year we got together a group of Moms and asked them “which are the 5 best Westside spas for Mother’s Day?”. Below we’ve listed them.

Burke Williams

Mom will feel: Serene, peaceful
Perfect if she loves: Quiet, nurturing, European style spas
Price Range: $$$
Treatment time: All day

Burke Williams Spa is the classic Day-Spa choice for many women in the Westside. This European, dimly-lit space has various baths (both silent and social), private massage rooms, and a reading nook with coffee and fruit too. You can enjoy just a massage, or indulge in the the all-day Spa facilities too. Though this place is on the more expensive end of the Spa spectrum, it is absolutely worth it for the many hours of luxury and relaxation that is on offer here.

Learn more about Burke Williams here.

Hideko Spa

Mom will feel: elegant, pampered
Perfect if she loves: Japanese hospitality, luxury, grace, Japanese tea
Price Range: $$
Treatment time: Typically 1.5 hours

A Japanese luxury spa, Hideko is a modest yet elegant space that offers unparalleled hospitality and grace. With a deluxe Japanese massage experience, the spa uses only organic products and materials, including oils, woods, scrubs, wraps, and refreshments. After your massage you can enjoy your own private bath in a luxury tub adjacent to your massage room, as well as warm cup of herbal tea and a selection of Japanese cakes.

Learn more about Hideko Spa here.

Cryo Healthcare

Mom will feel: Energized
Perfect if she loves: Fitness, Biohacking, a less traditional wellness experience
Price: $
Treatment time: Typically 1 hour

Notoriously loved by Mom of three, Demi Moore and Mom of five, Tori Spelling, the Cryo Healthcare facility provides a uniquely elegant Cryotherapy experience on the Westside. Originating from Japan, Cryotherapy has quickly gained popularity with the ever-expanding biohacking community. Known for its immediate energizing effects Cryotherapy is the perfect gift for any Mom who likes keeping up with trends, and trying new things.

Before booking make sure you check out the list of medical conditions that determine your Mom’s suitability to the treatment.

Find out more about Cryo Healthcare here.

Raven Spa

Mom will feel: Healed and opened up
Perfect if she loves: Thai Massage, acupuncture
Price Range: $$
Treatment time: 1.5 hours

The Raven Spa is a sweet oceanside spa that is nestled in the side streets of Santa Monica. It specializes in Thai massage yet also offers an impressive menu of alternative treatments like acupuncture, infrared saunas, and Reiki. If your Mom prefers deep tissue massages with a focus on relieving tension and muscle soreness then this is the place for her!

Learn more about The Raven Spa here.

Willow Spa

Mom will feel: Grounded
Perfect if she loves: Soft touch, energy healing, Asian-inspired spaces
Price Range: $$
Treatment time: Typically 2 hours

Willow Spa offers a tropical Spa experience for any Mom who wants to indulge in soft healing. Nestled in a renovated home, WIllow Spa is the perfect haven-away-from-home for any Mom who wants to experience massage with a spiritual focus. There are a number of specialized treatments at Willow Spa–from their Blooming Lotus Massage (a treatment specifically designed for pregnant women), to their Reiki practice (an ancient healing technique used by the Tibetans to enhance the flow of life-energy), to Shiatsu (a Japanese method of unlocking energy in your body by using the meridians of your body).

Learn more about Willow Spa here.

1 Thing You Should Do In L.A. This January: Come In And Refuel at Daily Harvest

1 Thing You Should Do In L.A. This January: Come In And Refuel at Daily Harvest

Contributing Editor: Anthony Stafford

It’s that time of year when pretty much everyone is optimistic and ready to make a positive change in their lives. From the gym to the dinner table, chances are high that many new year’s resolution will involve diets, fitness, and health. If you happen to be one of those people (and even if you’re not), we’ve got the perfect can’t-miss event of the month that will spice things up before those resolutions become a bore.

For a whole week — from January 17th through January 23rd — Daily Harvest is bringing their Refueling Station pop-up to Los Angeles. The best part? It’s free and open to the public at the Westfield Century City!

What is Daily Harvest?

Daily Harvest is a direct-to-consumer brand delivering delicious, nutrient-rich, fruits and vegetables that are frozen at the source, and chef-crafted for taste and ready in minutes. They recognize that the speed at which we live today often forces us to turn to quick, unhealthy choices. From gas stations to convenience stores, our options are filled with foods that lack the nourishment we need at the price of instant gratification. That’s why Daily Harvest has created this Refueling Station as a food oasis for busy people to disrupt their overbooked schedules and remind them that they can nourish their bodies with good food that won’t slow them down. The perfect way to stick to your new year’s resolution a bit longer, right?

The pop-up’s chic take on a retro gas station is a physical manifestation of Daily Harvest’s greater mission to take care of food, so food can take care of you. Visitors will be able to sample the brand’s growing portfolio of good, clean food, including smoothies, breakfast bowls, harvest bowls and cookies! In addition, guests can purchase Daily Harvest cups offline and in person, and partake in engaging programming, like on-site nutrition coaching, swag giveaways, and other surprises!

In November 2018, Daily Harvest opened their first-ever Refueling Station in NYC, which was a huge success.

When To Visit?

Dates: January 17th – 23rd
Time: Open to the public from 11:00AM-8:00PM daily
Address: Westfield Century City; 10250 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90067