Kulak's Woodshed: a paradise for songwriters.


Go Go’ers, every corner of L.A. is chockablock with writers with songs in their hearts and their well-thumbed notebooks.   Check out a few (or a lot!) at these cozy, Valley (some San Fernando, one San Gabriel, all good) hangouts and make your ears happy.  The rest of you will surely follow.   


Kulak’s Woodshed   

You’ll feel like you’re inside your hippie aunt’s magical mystery tour parlour at Paul Kulak‘s tiny, labor-of-love, storefront joint.   There’s no liquor or food; it’s all about the music at Kulak’s, which is why performers flock to play here.  (The songwriters-in-the-round is one of L.A.’s best. )  Lounge on the bed or the couches…anywhere, really…and you may end up on the live webcast of the show. (“Hi Mom!”)  Viewers  at home can send messages to the musicians and donations to Paul.   Come for the L.A. music community’s best-kept secret.  (Now you know it too.)   

Note:  On Friday, May 21st, witty, wonderful singer/songwriter (and Emmy-winning writer) Tracy Newman headlines with the Reinforcements while erudite piano man Marty Axelrod starts the night out right.    

Tracy Newman @ Kulak's Woodshed on May 21st. (Photo by Sherry Barnett.)



Hallenbeck’s General Store & Cafe   

There may not be music in the establishment’s title but this charming reproduction of  an old time general store, complete with pot belly stove, is a magnet for musicians who love the raised stage (no bad sight lines!), the mellow sound, the period atmosphere, and the delish drinks, desserts and light dinner fare.  Come for a great show and a tasty supper while taking care of all your gift-shopping needs.   


Wine & Song @ Wine Styles   

Brad Colerick’s  Wednesday night Wine & Song  has become a  weekly, home-away-from-home hang for music-savvy South Pasadeneans who appreciate the top-drawer talent and the tasty wine from event co-sponsor Donati Vineyards.  Sink into the leather chairs with gourmet nibbles from WineStyles during the show.  Come for the comfortably upscale, neighborhood vibe and because you never know who will drop in to say hi and sing.   

 Standing in the corner has never been so much fun.   

Ready?  U Know U Want 2 Go Go….   


Set sail for sin with "Absinthe, Opium & Magic: 1920's Shanghai" at the Ivy Substation May 7 - 29.


Mother’s Day is imminent and whether you have a Mother Mary or a Mommy Dearest, isn’t it best to indulge your love of murder and mayhem before you see la mere ? The following tours, one literal, one theatrical, will  soothe all bloodthirsty inclinations so you can sit down to Sunday brunch with a clear conscience.     

Hollywood may get the most bad press, but the San Gabriel Valley has more than its share of weird wonders and shocking crime.   You can learn all about them this Saturday on Esotouric’s Blood & Dumplings crime bus tour, which digs beneath the deceptively staid surface of the east-of-Pasadena communities to expose a hundred years of secret and unsavory sites from Phil Spector’s Alhambra manse (where B-actress Lana Clarkson met her untimely end) to the El Monte lion farm whose proprietors hosted lion meat BBQ’s “on special occasions” (Ms. Go Go wonders what made guests eligible for THAT A-list?!)   Better yet, you can get a two-for-one deal on the death and depravity thanks to Esotouric’s  May Mania promotion.  (Hint: look for the secret phrase on their tour page.  Link is below.)  BONUS: every ticket is a raffle entry for a  “Pair Pass” so you can bring along a pal on your next Esotouric excursion.    

Since you’ll undoubtedly work up an appetite on the San Gabriel Valley trail of guts and gore, the bus will stop at 101 Noodle Express where you’ll sample deliciously meaty, Shangdong-style dumplings. (If the mention of the lion meat feast quelled your carnivorous cravings, vegie options are available if requested a few days in advance.)    Appropriately, given the morbid tone of the tour, the restaurant’s beef roll was recommended in Jonathan Gold’s L.A. Weekly article “99 Things to Eat in L.A. Before You Die”.   No one knows if any of the late lamented tour subjects were lucky enough to indulge.   

You’ll consume your Chinese fare at La Laguna de San Gabriel amongst the photo-op-friendly snails and sea serpents. (Yes, it’s two Go Go-recommended Saturdays in a row at the Monster Park; https://uwant2gogo.wordpress.com/2010/04/30/monster-mash-picnic-la-laguna-de-san-gabriel-beany-and-cecil-redux/)   

Guess what?  There’s a sea lion….   

If the Blood & Dumplings tour merely whets your appetite for the macabre, book a “berth” on the Grand Guignolers’ Absinthe, Opium and Magic: 1920’s ShanghaiYour  French, luxury liner “cruise” to Jazz Age Shanghai is an impressively immersive, theatrical spectacle from the pre-sail (pre-show) revelry (tango and Flashlight Follies), refreshments (absinthe and tea tasting), and souvenirs (shipboard photos), to the badly behaved Petit Guignolers (naughty puppets whose performances evoke the company’s Grand Guignol inspiration), to the dangerous dockside encounters with brawling gangsters, a brothel of Sing Song Girls, and the Madame of a deadly opium den.  

 Cocktail/vintage attire is suggested to further evoke the era.   Ms. Go Go recommends red so any blood stains won’t show.   

Your mother won’t suspect a thing….    

Ready?  U Know U Want 2 Go Go….    


Goodies from the Six Taste Food Tour: New Chinatown/San Gabriel Valley

In-the-know Go-Go-ers  grab their gastronomical goodies in the San Gabriel Valley: the new hub of Cantonese food in Los Angeles.   Game for a new source of Chinese chow, but not sure where to start?  Let Six Taste Food Tours demystify dim sum as well as guide you to some of the neighborhood’s best BBQ, buns, and boba in their morning tours this Saturday and Sunday.

The  price of the three hour walking tour includes all the food that you sample at six San Gabriel stops, your friendly guide’s expertise (about the area as well as the food),  plus a Six Taste bag.   Experienced Six Tasters advise pacing yourself; you sample a LOT of food! 

NOTE: This weekend’s tours had openings at press/post time but they often sell out so go-go now to buy tix if this weekend is your first choice.  Otherwise, the website below posts dates of future tours.

NOTE Deux: The New Chinatown tour is pork and wheat heavy and is NOT vegie-friendly.

Six Taste Food Tours: New Chinatown/San Gabriel Valley

Saturday, March 20 @ 9:30AM (3 hour tour)


Sunday, March 21 @ 9:30AM (3 hour tour)

$55 per person per three hour tour.


Meeting Location:  Focus Plaza (San Gabriel, CA)
(Exact meeting location details will be provided immediately upon purchase of tickets.)


Ready?   U Know U Want 2 Go Go….