How to watch films in L.A. (Courtesy of Downtown Film Festival)

How we watch film in L.A. (Courtesy of Downtown Film Festival)

Your stars and stripes buns were a hit at the grill.

Your spontaneous rendition of Born in the USA inspired a flash mob at the fro-yo stand.

And everyone was jealous of your rocket’s red glare.

Read on to be the hero of your own summer.

How to Be Cool and Beat the Heat

There’s a reason theaters are mobbed in summer.

Air conditioning.

Unlike multiplexes in the ‘burbs, the Downtown Film Festival offers cool with your cool.

Celebrating its fifth year, the award-winning fest presents 100+ indie features, documentaries, and shorts over eleven days;  many are L.A. premieres of award-winning films from national and international fests.

Downtown Film Festival 2013In addition to series that feature both female and Latino filmmakers, fest highlights include: screenings of international digital shorts at the Los Angeles Center for Digital Art during this Thursday’s Downtown L.A. Art Walk; a free public screening of the 2013 winners of the Bombay Sapphire Imagination Series, presented by Oscar-winning screenwriter Geoffrey Fletcher (Precious) on Friday, July 12th; and a special showcase of  French 3-D shorts on Sunday, July 14th, which not-so-coincidentally happens to be Bastille Day.

Viva les shorts.

The majority of films will screen at the Downtown Independent Theater; other unique venues include the L.A. Grammy Museum, the Edison, and a free, closing night screening  at Los Angeles Union Station.

Forget it, Jake.  It’s Chinatown.

DOWNTOWN FILM FESTIVALWed, July 10 – Sat, July 20; FREE – $20For more info re: schedules, venues and films, go to:

More music for Moore, OK.

More music for Moore, OK.

Good for OK

This Thursday’s Moore, Oklahoma benefit is practically a country song in itself.

When Angie Taylor’s students lost their instruments in the May 20th tornado that decimated the town of Moore, Oklahoma, the band director vowed that she would replace them.

This Thursday, July 11, a half-dozen of L.A’s best singer-songwriters will help Taylor keep her promise.

Veteran songwriters Tracy Newman and Severin Browne are producing the benefit, which will feature fellow stellar writers/performers Marty Axelrod, Bill Berry, Cynthia Carle, and Kevin Fisher at the Talking Stick in Venice.  100% of the night’s proceeds will go directly to help Taylor and the kids of Highland West Junior High start making music again.

This Thursday, the happy ending is up to you.

TRACY NEWMAN AND SEVERIN BROWNE PRESENT A BENEFIT FOR VICTIMS OF THE TORNADO IN MOORE, OKLAHOMAThurs, July 11 @ 7:00 p.m.; all ages; $20 The Talking Stick, 1411 Lincoln Blvd, Venice 90291

People say funny things.

People say funny things.

Grand UnPerformances

Comedian Beth Lapides’s weekly Sunday night UnCabaret at First & Hope is one of L.A.’s classiest comedy nights.  On Friday, UnCabaret joins with Grand Performances and goes al fresco.

Plan accordingly.  Bring your cocktails in a flask.

Alec Mapa, Mary Beth Abella, Kristina Wong, Suzanne Whang and Charlene Deguzman crack wise at this special UnCabaret under the stars as part of Grand Performances’ “NEA-supported look at Los Angeles as the gateway for Asian immigration”.

You’ll just call it the gateway to laughs.

UNCABARET AT GRAND PERFORMANCESFri, July 12 @ 8pm; FREECalifornia Plaza, 350 S Grand, DTLA 90071

Ready?  U Know U Want 2 Go Go….

See more at photo l.a.

Go Go’ers, it’s Day 13 of 2012.  Do you know where your resolutions are?

Whether those suckers are still on the shelf all shiny and new or crumpled up with lint and a dry stick of gum in your discarded New Year’s Eve duds, it’s never too late to get serious about Being a Better Person.  (Or at least a more cultured one.)

There’s the hard way  — Mother Teresa — and the easy way  — Ms. Go Go.

The former involves fetid slums, a nun habit, and a long trip to India.  The latter involves music, art, your fave ensembles , and barely any travel time at all.

Ms. Go Go thinks the choice is clear.

Who wouldn't want to be one degree from Ed Tree?

Tree People x 2

Trees.  You like them.  In fact, it’s safe to say you’re a fan  — whether the trees are holding up your slacker time hammock, propping you up for nature-esque photos, or shading you from the sun during your recent winter picnic.

That Jack Frost glare can be intense.

Of course, they’re great for the environment — not just your leisure needs, lazy — and The Talking Stick in Venice makes it easy to take care of both with the  5th Annual Auld Lang Syne  edition of Mark Islam’s Grassroots Acoustica 55, which has raised almost $45,000 for L.A. causes.

That’s some Mother Teresa-level do-gooding right there.

Offering you the opportunity to show your Tree appreciation in a concrete fashion: “One Degree to Edward Tree”.  Guest of Honor Ed Tree, a well-respected songwriter, musician, and producer on the roots/country/Americana music scene,  will be performing along with many of the equally well-respected artists he’s worked with over the years including Brad Colerick, Dudley Saunders, Kevin Fisher, Lisa O’Kane, and Marty Axelrod to name just a few.  There’s no cover charge but 100% of the donations go to

Dig deep.  Your next picnic will thank you.

(ONE DEGREE TO EDWARD TREE — Sat, Jan 14, 7-10 pm; no cover charge but donations suggested —  The Talking Stick Coffee Lounge, 1411-C Lincoln Blvd (@ California), Venice, 902o1, 310.450.6052)

Save the Moose Lodge Bar!

Moose Loves Ya, Baby!

Go Go’ers, it can’t be denied that this time of year we all need a little post-holiday TLC.

The Moose is no exception.

Recently, a drunk driver rammed into the Burbank Moose Lodge — a long-time bastion of roots and blues in the East Valley — and not only smashed the venue’s signature moose mural, painted by local artist Randall Williams, but — horrors — the cozy back bar as well.

Talk about biting the hand that serves you….

Helping to save the moose and the joy juice at a reconstruction fundraiser Saturday, January 14th: The Happy Hour Band – made up of members of Rod Stewart, Lucinda Williams, Joe Cocker, and Dwight Yoakam’s bands.  Also helping to re-spruce the Moose: the blues-gritty Luis Oliart Band and gospel sensations Little Faith.

Think of it as Moose Lodge love.

(BANGLAMOOSESat, Jan 14 @ 8pm; Suggested donation $10Burbank Moose Lodge, 1901 Burbank Blvd,  Burbank, 91506)

Get there before the hordes.

Camera Not-So-Obscura

Ms. Go Go loves a good photo booth and shaking it like a Polaroid.

And really, who doesn’t?

But if you want to boldly go beyond the Kodak moment, head to the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium this weekend for the 21st edition of photo l.a.

In addition to hitting the legal drinking age, the 21st Annual International Los Angeles Photographic Art Exposition — its big boy name — offers three days of “vintage masterworks, contemporary photography,video and multimedia installations”, lectures, panels, book signings.  You’ll also find special installations such as those focusing on post-WWII art created in Southern California  —  the latter in connection with the Getty’s  Pacific Standard Time: Art in LA 1945 – 1980.

In other words, eat your pre-Exposition Wheaties.

Other special features include Salon de Tableaux, an area of “tabletop presentations showcasing vintage, vernacular and unique photography” , and the introduction of photoBOOK — a forum with guest reviewers offering feedback to photographers on their book proposals.

Imagine: your collection of china shepherdess figurines immortalized in photographic book form.

Ironically, of course.

(photo .l.a. — Sat – Mon, Jan 14-16th, Sat & Sun 11am – 7pm, Mon 11am – 6pm; $15 – $35Santa Monica Civic Auditorium,  1855 Main St, Santa Monica 90501.

For  info: For tix: For venue info:

Ready?  U Know U Want 2 Go Go….


Go Go’ers, if the cold and rain has settled in your very bones, you’ll need more than a couple of high-temp ray days to recover your git-up-and-go.  Luckily, Grand Ole Echo, L.A.’s premier, down home, jump-for-joy returns this Sunday to warm you up no matter what the weather (though it looks like sunny skies all weekend long!)

Queen of Americana Kim Grant kicks off the sixth season of  the Big City hoedown in style with honky tonkin’ headliner/L.A. native Sarah Gayle Meech who’s back in town from her new Nashville home.  Bluesy faves Far West jumpstart the evening at the free, all-ages Echo show;  self-monikered “outlaw folk rocker” Maxim Ludwig & the Santa Fe Seven drive it home til Sarah Gayle takes the stage.  Grant’s new booking partner Julie Richmond settles folk/rock/alt-country L.A. newcomer Kelly Pardekooper on the Back Porch along with longtime local boys the David Brothers who’ll ease you into the week ahead.

The sippin’ whiskey won’t hurt either.

Need to scratch that Americana itch before Sunday supper?   The following shows dish up heaping helpings of you-got-my-number and yeah-that’s-right.

Country on the coast.

The Mint’s not foolin’ around this April 1st.

Welcome the weekend in sophisto fashion on Friday with roots ‘n brass veterans Royal Crown Revue who helped usher in the Swing Revival movement way back in ’89.   These days, Jennifer Keith puts the sultry in chanteuse alongside Crown co-founder/vocalist  Eddie Nichols.  You may remember these swing kings from their long-time residency at the now-shuttered Derby.

Isn’t it time you renewed your acquaintance?

Whoopin’  it up on the Westside this Saturday, Marty Axelrod guest-hosts Ernest Troost’s Juke Joint Gang at the Talking Stick in Venice.    Songs of Shiloh,  the richly textured country narrative from Axelrod and  powerhouse vocalist Nicole Gordon, sets the standard for the evening.  Solo bard Shaun Cromwell references roots and ragtime with his fingerpicking and fine-tuned lyrics while Little Faith revs up the jump and jive, tent revival style, at the shank of the evening.

Bay City may never be the same.

Craving more country?  Check out the recently launched Southland Serenade, your online source of all things Americana in the City of Angels.  (

Ready?  U Know U Want 2 Go Go….


Singer/Songwriter: Welcome to the Talking Stick CD Release Party/Fundraiser May 21st/


Whether you live in Santa Monica (a.k.a. extremely west Los Angeles to you Eastsiders) or the depths of the West Valley (Canoga Park, represent!), there are sites for songsters and the people who love them.  

Ms. Go Go knows that group includes you.   

The Talking Stick  

Art gallery, coffee house, neighborhood  hang…the Talking Stick in Santa Monica is many things to many people but for everyone, it’s THE Westside spot for every kind of great music, including and especially singers/songwriters.   Come for an eclectic mix of promoter-organized evenings, the big, friendly, open vibe, and the generous sense of community.  

Friday, May 21st!:  A $10 advance ticket  for Singer/Songwriter: Welcome to the Talking Stick gets you entry into the Talking Stick’s  CD release party/fundraiser show, featuring tons of top-notch talent.  (That ticket will be $15 at the door…if available…so don’t linger, Go Go’ers.)  

The Guitar Merchant  

In yesterday’s post, when Ms. Go Go said there were songwriters in “every corner” of Los Angeles, she was talking about The Guitar Merchant way out in Canoga Park.  This full-service guitar store can handle all your “Stairway to Heaven” needs but their Wednesday night Open Mic night is also a haven for songwriters in the  wild, wild west (valley).   Come because you’re in Canoga Park, the music is calling and you need a guitar pick….  

Go west, young Go Go’ers, go west.  

Ready?  U Know U Want 2 Go Go….