Turkuaz publicity photo

A live show by a band that you’ve heard good things about, but never seen is always fraught with risk. Will they live up to expectations or disappoint and be quickly forgotten? Turkuaz, a nine piece band from Brooklyn, NY with a solid pedigree (graduates from the renowned Berklee College of Music in Boston) exceeded expectations during their energetic show at The Mint in Los Angeles on July 9.

Abita Brewery logo

New Orleans is known for great food, jazz, culture and debauchery. While tourists in the city can find more than their fair share of each, the southern Louisiana area features other attractive destinations. New Orleans visitors looking for nearby travel adventures can enjoy a riverboat ride, see grand estates and go on bayou tours. Another interesting destination is a day trip to the Abita Brewing Company. Beer lovers know that Abita is ubiquitous with New Orleans. What they may not know is that Abita is a Louisiana success story and the brewery is an easy trip from New Orleans. Visitors will learn about the history of the brewery, enjoy a tour and get the chance to sample their many delicious beers.

Mainopoly logo

The games began on Memorial Day weekend (Sunday, May 25, to be exact) as local businesses along Santa Monica's Main Street came together to raise money to support the street's 14th Annual Summer SOULstice– to be held on June 21-22 – and to help the Heal the Bay foundation, by hosting MAINopoly: A Taste of Main Street, which was a foodie version of the classic board game Monopoly.

Neil Patrick Harris brought his whole family to see Cirque du Soleil "Totem."

The circus is in town! Tuesday evening, January 21, 2014, was a star-studded night at the premiere of Cirque du Soleil's Totem at the Santa Monica Pier. Celebrities turned out in droves to see the show, first hitting the Tapis Rogue (red carpet), including Neil Patrick Harris, Alison Janney, Jason Alexander, Paris Hilton and Mario Lopez.

Gov't Mule at Fonda Theatre with Robbie Kreiger

Gov’t Mule returned to the Fonda Theatre (formerly the Music Box) for a special pre-Halloween show on October 30th. Each year they select a classic rock band to cover for the occasion. They chose The Doors for the 2013 special event and raised the level of anticipation by announcing that guest guitarist Robbie Kreiger, a founding member of The Doors, would join the band for the entire cover set. The sold out show was filled with Gov’t Mule fans who remember The Doors music reverentially and even a few who may have seen the original band. The place was sold out and many came in wacky costomes. The first set covered a broad spectrum of old and new Gov’t Mule material and the second set was a laundry list of Doors classics.

Herradura tequila bottles at Loteria Grill tasting event

Herradura tequila and Jimmy Shaw’s Loteria Grill joined forces for a series of tastings that paired food selections with the premium tequila. Herradura is one of the oldest makers of fine tequilas and Loteria Grill is well respected in Los Angeles for their authentic Mexican cuisine. What set the series in motion was Shaw’s fondness for the Herradura brand and his custom designed signature private reserve double barrel reposado that was bottled recently and introduced at the tasting series.

Taste of Mexico Association Event crowd shot with projected logos

LA Plaza, the historic site of Mexican-American culture and heritage in Downtown Los Angeles was an appropriate location for the 2013 Taste of Mexico event. Authentic Mexican cuisine, fine booze and live music could be found at the open air site. On this beautiful night, hundreds of attendees enjoyed a diverse array of bite size treats from a who’s who list of Los Angeles restaurants. A number of fine tequila, mezcal and beer companies were also offering cocktails and tastings of their products. The Taste of Mexico Association, whose goal is to enhance and promote Mexican cuisine, put on a fine culinary evening that showcased some of the best Mexican food and drink in Los Angeles.

Karl Denson and Zach Deputy at El Rey Theatre during Ray Charles tribute show.

It was not just a regular Thursday night in October in Los Angeles. Two great bands played at The El Rey Theatre. Anders Osborne, a prolific songwriter and guitarist based in New Orleans and his stellar band opened the show. Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe, a funk, soul, rock and fusion band led by the multi-talented saxophonist followed with special guest Zach Deputy. The KDTU set ended up as a brilliant tribute to the music of Ray Charles. The night was epic and although the crowd was disappointingly small, everyone in attendance enjoyed an amazing show.

Viola Davis and Jake Gyllenhaal share a moment at the 2013 Hollywood Film Awards.

While Angelenos may not have noticed that the 17th Annual Hollywood Film Festival came and went from October 17-21, 2013, the world will certainly sit up and take notice of the corresponding Hollywood

Anders Osborne Peace album cover

Anders Osborne has been a prolific songwriter over the past few years. He opens his new album Peace with a song of the same title that contains a fuzzy riff very reminiscent of “Cortez the Killer,” a Neil Young classic that Osborne often tears up in his live shows. This new collection of eleven extremely listenable tunes follows up on the frequently brilliant singing and guitar playing Osborne demonstrated on 2011’s American Patchwork and 2012’s Black Eyed Galaxy, both on Alligator Records. With this new Alligator release, Osborne continues to grow as a musician and songwriter.

James Republic outside view

Long Beach restaurant James Republic is a welcome newcomer to the vibrant downtown scene. With a modern design, expert staff and dedication to fresh ingredients, this upscale casual place should be a hot spot for quite some time.

Long Beach Funk Fest logo

The 2013 Long Beach Funk Festival took place in the heart of downtown on a beautiful July day. This is the first year that the festival has charged admission so expectations were high for an enhanced entertainment event. The festival ran all day and musical acts performed on two stages separated by The Promenade and Broadway. Throughout the venue, vendors were selling food, beverages and a variety of wares.