California

WHY? and Serengeti

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In the highly fickle and competitive world of music, bands that may be “great” individually but sound similar to other artists in their genre bracket, there’s a good change they get lost in the static. It is those musicians that straddle genre lines, blending influences to create a sound all their own, that are not only making themselves memorable, but becoming essential to staying relevant to listeners’ eclectic tastes.

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La Descarga

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As the night continues, another dance, a crowd of thirsty dwellers, a trip to the cigar room, a plentiful amount of beautiful people, dance floor flow, and a lot of thoughtful character. La Descarga is a place that reminds me of the “joints” once permitted in old time Cuba. The kind that Reinaldo Arenas dared to write about:

I pull off the cover, and stare at her dusty, cold shape I clean of fthe dust and caress her. With my hand, delicately, I wipe clean her back, her base and her sides. In front of her, I feel desperate and happy.

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Hollywood Cemetary The 9th Annual Johnny Ramone Tribute

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If ever there was a glamorous graveyard, Hollywood Forever Cemetery is it. It is the final resting place for legends like Cecil B. DeMille, Vampira (Maila Nurmi), and the man we were there to celebrate: Ramones guitarist Johnny Ramone. Don’t let the cemetery aspect spook you—with lush magenta bougainvillea, pristine stone statues and soothing water features, Hollywood Forever is simply beautiful.

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Five0Four HOLLYWOOD

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The evening begins with a plethora of tastings. A throw back to the streets of New Orleans, the ostentatious melody of flavor and combination, and a wetting of ones appetite. It must be told that Five0Four is a restaurant and bar that has that open-air appeal with a subtle familiarity you’ve been there before. A testament to the environment they create and while it’s located right off of the infamous Hollywood Boulevard, you can sit outside, feast your eyes on the passersby, the tourists, the entertaining factor of life in real time.

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Double Header of Talent: Shaun B and Orlando Napier at Harvelle’s

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He is a thin, handsome man in a striped shirt and jeans, sipping on Stella Artois and bobbing to the music–and I realize it’s the second headliner of the night, Orlando Napier–and since we are standing inches from the speakers, I flip into a blank page of my notebook and write “Break a leg up there” and hold it up to him. He smiles and shakes my hand twice before hopping on stage, embracing a glistening-with-sweat Shaun B. who concludes his set with supercharged covers of Stevie Wonder and The Turtles’ “Happy Together.”

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I Think It’s Raining

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It is with this in mind that I was struck by how at odds I felt about the actors’ ability in conjunction to the film’s style and narrative. Undoubtedly a by-product of the director’s decided dismissal of maintaining strict coherence of his script, throughout the narrative Renata and Val carry on Linklater-esque conversations in an awkward, pause-filled manner that initially induces a sort of ticking time-bomb dread.

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Cirque-A-Palooza!

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This is the show that the performers would put on for each other. The juggler dropped his pancake (more on that later), the sword swallower even choked up just a little bit of the spaghetti from his dinner (I’ll leave that one alone). That said, even before the show started, I felt like I was in on the jokes, maybe even sitting in Stefan’s living room, dancing a little too wildly and drinking more than I should. So along with other performers, the audience and I cheered the successes, forgave foibles, and generally had a delightful time doing so.

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The OC Fair: A Summertime Treat

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So, as many of you know, I am a full-grown man. I chop wood, wear flannel, play a contact sport, drink beer, do dumb things with my friends, and eat an excessive amount of meat. I like to pride myself on my carnivore-like nature. Walking through the welcome gates at the OC fair, I experienced the beginning stages of a meat stroke. Then proceeding further through the smoke and smells of my paradise, I came to behold Juicy’s World Famous BBQ … They had an eighteen wheeler truck BBQ station, with over 300 turkey legs in sight, a brisket bigger than my torso, giant western sausages that could overflow an Olympic sized pool, and onions and peppers for days.

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Letter From the Editor – Issue No. 4

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That said, this issue is just about the articles we’ve written this past couple of months that took place in and around Los Angeles. It will continue to grow and there will never be a shortage of things to write about in this city. So to the city that holds my heart, thank you for always embracing me even when you spit me out – because hey, that’s just part of being in this city – AND in this industry – thank you for showing me the world in one central location. Thank you for welcoming every ethnicity, every economic range, every color, every shape, every size, every smile, every story, every bite, every culture, every artist, every musician, every struggling actor, every wanting filmmaker, every theatre enthusiast, every remarkable human being.

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The Rainmaker: Who Cares if its Not Feminism—Its True

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With such an excellent cast, it’s easy to nitpick. The only off note comes from Robert Standley’s Starbuck. Starbuck is supposed to be a charming con man, but on Standley, the snake oil is a little too thick. Still in later love scenes, he embodies the hope and confidence of a true “confidence man”—one that is able to inspire the confidence of others.

The tale is a familiar one—resting on the idea that nobody can love you until you love yourself. But of course this internal struggle to believe in ones own beauty comes much easier when surrounded by people who already believe in it for you.

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The Bruery Brew Dinner at The Crow Bar – Prying Flavors with Pairings

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Our plates are cleared, and the second beer arrives, Or Xata, a horchata ale—something we’ve never had or heard of—and anticipation swells in our tongues; both of us spending many nights running to 24-hour Mexican restaurants to satisfy our cravings for the milky, cinnamon drink after 2am. Upon smelling the beer, it evokes images of a creamsicle on a hot summer day, and as it touches your lips, the cinnamon and creamy body takes over, weaving to a vanilla conclusion. We discuss how you often read about eccentric billionaires who have enough money to fly out their favorite chili cheese burger from a Ma and Pa restaurant in the Midwest. This beer would be our eccentric billionaire fly-out.

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The Comedy and Magic Club

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Andrew Norelli followed, and made the smart move of using very locally weighted topics like health nuts and social media. Since he was the performer we were primarily going to see, I had done some research on him, watching a few video clips of previous performances (including his spots on The Late Show with David Letterman and Comedy Central’s Live at Gotham) and I was impressed that everything I heard was fresh material, even making me cry over a flaxseed oil joke.

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