LA Food & Wine Fest 2015How to squeeze the last of fun from summer?

Start with this trio of best fests.

Then there’s more….

So Many Chefs, So Little Time

Tired of hot dogs and potato chips?

Get ready to treat your taste buds.

L.A.’s most chef-centric food fest — the Fifth Annual Los Angeles Food and Wine Festival —  kicks off tonight.

Foodies will want to empty out the piggy bank vault for this four-day dining extravaganza; it’s not cheap but neither is the experience.

In addition to fine wines and spirits from around the world, expect fine dining stroll-abouts, dream team collaborations, one-off power lunches and cooking demos from top L.A. chefs as well as visiting chefs from around the country.

Root for the home team tonight with Ultimate Bites of L.A.: presented by Lexus and hosted by Curtis Stone (Maude Restaurant) with Special Guest DJ Mike D (Beastie Boys).  The walk-around event features bites from Downtown to the Westside, the South Bay to the Valley plus wines and spirits from all over the world.

If you ever wanted to try Funkzone or Folly of the Beast wines, tonight’s your chance.

Additional libation-centric events of note include:

— Friday’s “Night Market” hosted by Chef Tyler Florence and featuring street food  specialties from 30 chefs with custom cocktails, sake, beer and “free-flowing wine” (Woohoo!)

— “Saturday’s “Definitive Boozy Brunch” hosted by James Beard Award winner Michelle Bernstein (Cena by Michy, Miami) & Questlove with a Special DJ Set. (Optional transpo provided by presenter Lexus.)

Yay James Beard for recognizing boozy excellence!

— Saturday night’s grand slam event “Lexus LIVE on Grand” featuring a performance by the Roots as well as 30 chefs plating and 100 wineries pouring.

Mortgage the house if you must…..

5TH ANNUAL LOS ANGELES FOOD & WINE FESTIVAL — Thurs, Aug 27 – Sun, Aug 30; various times.  $67.50 – $315Various venues, DTLA & Hollywood.  For tix & more info, go HERE.

Great music; great cause.

Great music; great cause.

Welcome to the human race….*

It’s been a great summer for music in L.A.

The end-of-summer is not slacking off.

Head to Hollywood on Saturday for the Ascencia Urban Blues Festival: an all-day jam of top-notch national, local, and you’ll-be-glad-you-saw-them-when blues acts.

The day-long festival features headliner Walter Trout (Canned Heat, John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers); the guitarist/songwriter, who was near-death last year before a liver transplant, is on tour with his “I’m Back” tour.  The legendary bluesman played Royal Albert Hall this past June, receiving three standing ovations.

This Saturday, let’s try to match the Brits.

Blues heavyweights  Arthur Adams and Guitar Shorty further anchor the strong lineup, which includes local faves Little Faith as well as femme powerhouse The Scorch Sisters and Trout’s three sons in the Trout Brothers Band.  Rounding out the day-into-evening blues party are  The Americans and Jerron “Blind Boy” Paxton; both appear this fall in American Epic: a PBS/BBC special produced by Jack White, Robert Redford, and T Bone Burnett about the birth of modern American music including the blues.

Eat well at a clutch of food trucks and feel good that the fest, which is presented by Pacific BMW, benefits Ascencia by bringing awareness and much-needed funding to their core mission of helping raise families, individuals and U.S. veterans out of homelessness.

It’s good to feel great about the end of summer.

ASCENCIA URBAN BLUES FESTIVAL — Sat, Aug 29; 10am – 8pm  $35 online; $40 door. Kids 12 & under FREERaleigh Studios, 5300 Melrose, Hollywood 90038. For tix and info, go HERE*Lyric from “Welcome to the Human Race” by Walter Trout.

Grandes Maestros End-of-Exhibit Fest at the Natural History Museum.

Grandes Maestros End-of-Exhibit Fest at the Natural History Museum.

Get on the Iberoamerican Party Bus

Haven’t seen  Grandes Maestros: Great Masters of Iberoamerican Folk Art, Collection of Fomento Cultural Banamex?

This Sunday, combine a musn’t-miss viewing with an end-of-exhibit festival!

Get on the bus…or better yet, Metro…and head to the Natural History Museum.  The Grandes Maestros  exhibition, which made several “Best of 2014” art show lists, features 1,200+ works of folk art from 22 countries with an emphasis on Mexico, Central and South America, Spain, and Portugal.

The celebration includes music, such as Ballet Folclorico Do Brasil, and art activities including Talvera Plate Design with Barnsdall Arts and Papel Picado with Self-Help Graphics & Art.

It’s never too early to get inspired for your Day of the Dead decorations.

GRANDES MAESTROS — Sun, Aug 30; 10am – 4pm. $10 – $20Natural History Museum, 900 Exposition Blvd, LA 90007. For tix and more info, go HERE.

SCARLET STONE: Miriam Peretz (Tahmineh) - Photo credit: Jim Carmody

THE SCARLET STONE: Miriam Peretz (Tahmineh)  (Photo: Jim Carmody)

More Weekend Go Go Fun!

The Scarlet Stone —  Persian dance/theatre/music/animation!  Persian mythology! Artists of the Iranian diaspora!  Sat 8/29

Muse ’til Midnight — Adrian Younge and Venice Dawn!  Music mash-ups by DJs Mark deClive Lowe and Jeremy Ellis inspired by artist Noah Purifoy’s work.  Cash bar/small bites!  Sat 8/29

Oinkster Hollywood’s 1st Summer BBQ Blowout  One day only!  No tix/rez required!  While supplies last!  Sun 8/30

Ready?  U Know U Want 2 Go Go….

This event will be the cat’s meow. (“Tigger and Apple Pie” Jo Ann Callis c.1980; Courtesy of LACMA)

Important news flash: summer did not end at Labor Day.

First, you’re welcome.

Second, since the mercury is still kickin’ it in the upper 80’s, it’s a good thing you have another two weeks to officially wear white shorts not to mention at least one outside weekend event to wear them to.

Yes, Go Go’ers, the livin’ is still easy.

Let Them Eat Pie

Proof that summer isn’t over: pie and lots of it.

KCRW’s 2012 4th Annual Good Food Pie Contest keeps your haze of summer happiness going strong at LACMA  on Saturday, September 8th from 2:00-4:00 p.m.  Come at 11:30 a.m. to purchase Patina picnic food — you can dine and gaze at a certain rock — but the real event is the Pie Contest.

With celebrity food judges on hand to taste and choose, 200+ pro and non-pro pie makers will vie for the gold bragging rights with Fruit, Nut, Cream/Chiffon/Mousse, and Savory Pies PLUS Metropolis II Inspired pies.  Haven’t seen the mind-boggling Chris Burden’s Metropolis II  installation at LACMA?  Wear an apron and you get free admission to the museum.

Yes, you can wear it over your white shorts.

But Go Go’ers, here’s the BEST part!  Grab a ticket at the KCRW Hospitality Table just north of the Ahmanson Building (first come, first served) and you’ll get free pie.

Which really may be the best thing in life….

KCRW 4th ANNUAL GOOD FOOD PIE CONTEST —  Sat, Sept 8th, 2-4pm; FreeLACMA, 5905 Wilshire Blvd., LA 90036

Truth in advertising…..

Dirty Pretty Things

Just to set the record straight, Ms. Go Go is not referring to Ms. Vanessa Cate and her lingerie-clad ladies as “things”.

It’s a movie reference, Go Go’ers.  Look it up.

Count on those adjectives, though, when it comes to Down & Dirty: Cate’s cabaret spectacular, about a chorus of dancers and their frantic efforts — which may or may not involve clothes coming off — to keep their show from collapsing when their MC suddenly disappears.

You can SO relate…

The late-night, Saturdays-only cabaret — part of the 20th anniversary celebration of  Zombie Joe’s Underground Theatre Group — has been playing to packed houses but — lucky you — has been extended through September 9th by popular demand.

There’s nothing like skimpy lingerie when it comes to making friends.

DOWN & DIRTY – Saturdays through Sept 29th @ 11pm; $15 — Zombie Joe’s Underground Theatre Group, 4850 Lankershim Blvd. North Hollywood, 91601

Reservations: 818-202-4120

Comedy with soul

Dinner Comedy

Go Go’ers, there’s cabaret, there’s comedy and then there’s UnCabaret: Beth Lapides’s legendary, weekly Sunday night comedy line-up, which recently relocated to the swanky Bar Fedora at the First & Hope supper club.

Swanky + comedy = good.

This week, Jackie Kashian, a Ms. Go Go fave, will take the stage along with a handful of other hilarious types including Danny Shorago of the Fuxedos.

Fuxedos…bet you can’t say it just once.

Expect music, expect laughter, and also, expect dinner if you opt for the “Platinum Package” (Hey, Big Spender), which includes a drink, preferred seating, and a three-course “American Bistro” meal.

Go Go’ers, you’ll want to keep your strength up.

UNCABARETSundays @ 8pm; $20-$55First & Hope, 710 W 1st St, DTLA 90012,213-617-8555; Across from the back of Disney Hall; STREET PARKING & VALET GARAGE UNDER VENUE  Tickets

Ready?  U Know U Want 2 Go Go….

Really famous authors playing music.

It’s the weekend of rock and sometimes roll.

More accurately, it’s the weekend when rock rolls to a stop.

You’ll want to be there when it does.

Past Whose Bedtime?

They’re authors.  They’re rockers.  They’re authors and rockers. They’re the Rock Bottom Remaindersthe all-author rock band that counts Stephen King, Dave Barry, Amy Tan and Matt Groening among its members.  So basically, the best celebrity lit band of all time.

Maybe the only celebrity lit band of all time.

After performing together for 20 years, the Rock Bottom Remainders will hold their FINAL public concert at the El Rey Theater this Friday, June 22nd as part of their “Up Past Our Bedtime Tour”.

Not that you can relate, night owl.

Stephen King will join the band for the first time since 2007 and the Rock Bottom Remainders will welcome musical guest Roger McGuinn, former lead singer and lead guitarist for The Byrds.  Signed lithographs of David Horsey’s band drawing (above) as well as signed books by the authors will be available for purchase.  A pre-concert reception with the authors is also an option for purchase.

So basically, your best chance to chat about “Lost” with fellow fan Stephen King.

Lest you think this is merely a vanity stunt , the band has raised over $2 million for charity.  The El Rey gig will benefit  The Midnight Mission, The Los Angeles Downtown Women’s Center, and a new Emerging Author Series, to be launched January 2013, via concert presenter Live Talks Los Angeles.

Hopefully, at least one of those emerging authors knows how to rock a maraca.

ROCK BOTTOM REMAINDERSFriday, June 22nd @ 8:30; pre-concert reception from 6:30-7:30pm; $40-$300El Rey Theater, 5515 Wilshire Blvd, LA 90036;

Who wants to be sedated…?

Rock ‘n Roll Will Never Die

Rock ‘n roll is about the music.  Of course.  But it’s also about the ephemera, the hard-to-pin-down, the attempt to grasp the X factor of talent and yes, genius, by any and all means possible.

Starting this Saturday, grasp at will.

WHO SHOT ROCK ‘N ROLL: A Photographic History, From 1955 to the Present is a traveling exhibit of 50 years of rock ‘n roll curated by shutterbug and author Gail Buckland, organized by the Brooklyn Museum, and opening this Saturday, June 23rd at the Annenberg Center for Photography.

Check out 166 portraits, album covers, and crowd shots by rock photog luminaries like Annie Leibovitz, Diane Arbus, Richard Avedon, Lynn Goldsmith, Henry Diltz and Bob Gruen as well as new(er) camera-kids-on-the-block such as David LaChapelle, Mark Seliger and Max Vadukul.

You’ve been wanting to ogle Madonna when she was still a mere mortal.

Also accompanying the exhibit are a slide show and documentary as well as lectures with the artists, collectors, designers, and documentarians.  Additionally, KCRW will be organizing a series of July-August concerts with Moby, Portugal. The Man, and Raphael Saadiq with accompanying DJ sets by Jason Bentley, Dan Wilcox and Gary Calamar, and Anne Litt.

Madonna probably won’t make an appearance…but you definitely should.

WHO SHOT ROCK ‘N ROLL: A PHOTOGRAPHIC HISTORY, FROM 1955 TO THE PRESENT —  Sat, June 23 – Oct 7; Sun, Wed, Th, Fri – 11am-6pm; Sat 11am-9pm. Free/Parental discretion advised because of content —  Annenberg Space for Photography, 2000 Ave of the Stars, Century City, 90067.  213.403.3000.

Rock on.

A Rolling Stone

Unless you’ve actually lived under a rock the past few months, you’re probably aware of the journey of a 340-ton granite boulder from its home in Riverside County to its new home on, appropriately, Miracle Mile.

The stone may not have gathered moss but it did get an awful lot of media attention.

The leviathan of the rock world is a component of reclusive artist Michael Heizer’s Levitated Mass and is perched over a 456-foot-long slot constructed by Heizer  on LACMA’s Wilshire campus.   After the ribbon-cutting ceremony this Sunday, June 24th at 11:00 a.m., visitors will be able to take gratis walks through the channel and under the rock on a daily basis.

Yes, you’ll be between a rock and a hard place.

If the rock rolled through your ‘hood on its eleven night journey in March, you’re eligible for free museum admission to all LACMA exhibits and collections from June 24 to July 1, 2012.  Check for your zip code here and bring proof of residence.

Trust Ms. Go Go: this is the Rock of Ages you want to see.,

LEVITATED MASSOpens Sun, June 24 @ 11: am; freeLACMA, Resnick North Lawn (off 6th Street), 5905 Wilshire Blvd, LA 90036, 323.857.6000;

Ready?  U Know U Want 2 Go Go….

CORRECTION: Post has been updated with correct link to the Annenberg Space for Photography.  The previous link read “.com” but should read “.org”

You'll have fun even if a little, golden stag doesn't dance on your hand.

You swore you wouldn’t do it again and yet, here you are.

You raise your bleary, post-Xmas head in which visions of sugar plums — whatever the heck they are — have polka’ed your plan-ahead gene into oblivion.  You realize — horrors! — it’s mere days until New Year’s Eve and you’ve forgotten to figure out where you’ll go for the Most-Fun-Or-Die-Trying Night of the Year.

Not to worry, slackers.  Ms. Go Go has sifted through this year’s list of umpteen parties and chosen three of the best.

The fun patrol never sleeps.

Party Like It’s 1929

Maybe it’s the influence of HBO’s Boardwalk Empire.  Maybe party planners are feeling especially simpatico with the Great Depression.  Maybe it’s just the appeal of the sleek duds.   Whatever the reason, it seems every other New Year’s Eve event this year is a Prohibition-era shindig.

There could be worse problems.

If  a Roaring Twenties New Year’s Eve is your cup of bathtub gin, ankle over to the posh Park Plaza for LACMA Muse‘s Golden Stag New Year’s Eve Party .  Dressed-to-impress sheiks and shebas — that would be you, fashion plate — will be sipping cocktails, savoring treats, ogling dancers, prancers, and romancers, and swinging to the eighteen-piece Elliot Deutsch Big Band.

The swanky,  revelry-revved bash is a Sypher Art Studios  affair — you know them from Labyrinth of Jared Masquerade Ball — so top drawer talent, peerless ambiance, and impeccable attention to detail are all guaranteed — not to mention a complimentary champagne toast  and midnight fireworks.

The latter can’t hold a sparkler to you, Broadway baby.

(THE GOLDEN STAG NEW YEAR’S EVE PARTY — Sat, Dec 31 from 9pm – 2 am; $50/21+ — Grand BallroomPark Plaza Hotel, 607 South Park View St, LA, 90057; Tickets 323 857-6010 or purchase online – no tickets available at the door.)

Best place to anticipate the Apocalypse......

Countdown to Midnight…and Armageddon. 

That ball drop signifying the end of the year?   Yawn.  So unoriginal.

This year, up the countdown ante with a midnight toast to oblivion — the Mayan, not the liquid Manhattan kind — at The Beginning of the End of the World New Year’s Eve Party at Villain’s Tavern.

To help you prepare for the possible arrival of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse — those party poopers — the Arts District oasis offers Punchfest; on New Year’s Eve, five to seven varieties of VT’s signature punches will drop a dollar an hour in price  from $11 for a Mason jar pint at 7:00  p.m. to $6 at midnight when you’ll also get free champagne to toast the End of Days.

The Rapture is so much more palatable with punch and a little bubbly.

(THE BEGINNING OF THE END OF THE WORLD NEW YEAR’S EVE PARTY –  Sat, Dec 31st; doors open at 5 pm; no cover charge/21+Villains Tavern, 1356 Palmetto St, DTLA 90013, 213.613.0766,

See how good Marilyn looks in black & white?

Hedging Your Bets in Style

Just in case the world is ending next December, you’ll want to rack up some good karma to offset the impending cataclysm.

This New Year’s Eve, do good and look good doing it at the White & Black(out) Ball,  presented by Night Tap and benefiting Thinking About Tomorrow — a Santa Monica–based org that initiates community educational programs such as health and fitness initiatives, recycling programs, and back-to-school drives.

Already, you’re feeling so much better about your post-Apocalyptic prospects.

You’ll keep that do-gooder glow well in into 2012 after the benefit bash in the two-story ballroom in the elegantly historical Santa Monica Bay Club (c. 1914).  Everyone looks swell in black and white — as any pre-Technicolor movie proves — so join your fellow Beautiful Benefactors at the swell soiree featuring an open bar, music courtesy of Keaton James, the Rockstars, and DJ Jamie Charles, the ubiquitous champers toast at midnight, and giveaways all night long.

It’s so easy being good.

(THE WHITE & BLACK(OUT) BALL — Sat, Dec 31st  from 9:00 p.m. – 2:00 a.m.; $80/21+ The Santa Monica Club, 1210 4th St, Santa Monica 90401.  Limited $60 discount tix available at Night Tap.) 

Drink and Ride – A PSA from Ms. Go Go

Go Go’ers, this NYE leave your 2011 cares behind you and the driving to the MTA, which is offering 24 hour service  from 9:00 pm on Saturday, December 31st to “close of service on January 2nd”.

Even better, the MTA is offering FREE rides on all Metro trains and buses on New Year’s Eve from 9:00 p.m. Saturday, December 31st until 2:00 a.m. on Sunday, January 1st.  You can still ride after 2:00 a.m. — you just have to pay regular fare.

They had Ms. Go Go at “ride after 2:00 a.m.”

For more details — including getting up at an ungodly hour for Rose Bowl Parade action — go to the Metro website.

Ready?   U Know U Want 2 Go Go….