Behold: five great things you should do in Southern California this week, from art to food to music to an adventure we’ll call the Wild Card from the makers of the 5 Every Day app. Get this as a new podcast in iTunes. If you want five hand-picked things to do in Los Angeles every day, download the free 5 Every Day from the App Store.
When Charles Burnett’s 1978 film Killer of Sheep was rescued from obscurity almost ten years ago, it felt like it came out of nowhere.
Shot in Watts on a shoestring, it was an unprecedented thing that seemed like it hatched out of the egg fully-formed—outside of time and cinematic tradition.
But that’s not exactly true, of course.
Burnett’s movie was just one product of a whole underground film movement. It was basically ignored during its day, but it later came to be called the LA Rebellion.
The Rebellion was a group of African American filmmakers who came up through UCLA's School of Theater, Film and Television starting in the late 1960s through the early 1980s, a golden era during which their self-supported cinema existed in a sort of vacuum.
A dreary, atmospheric masterpiece about a dreamer who lives in Watts and works in a slaughterhouse, Killer of Sheep is the fitting final installment of a Fall film series put on by the Echo Park Film Center. They've spent the past few months exploring the alternate histories of Los Angeles Cinema.
It screens for free this Wednesday in the Historic Ticketing Hall at beautiful Union Station, with a special introduction from the Director himself.
CITY: Animation Breakdown Festival (feat. Rick and Morty Live)
Animation Breakdown are the Cinefamily’s resident cartoon connoisseurs, the guys responsible for the historic Silent Movie Theatre’s cereal-fueled Saturday Morning Animation block, as well as its more adult-oriented animated affairs.
Every year at about this time, the Breakdown boys are given full reign over the theater for their annual Animation Breakdown Festival—an extra-long weekend of weirdness that’s about to hit conniption pitch.
This year’s program is packed out with some of the leading lights in contemporary cartoonery, including an Animated Evening with director Lance Bangs and a special Show & Tell with Bob’s Burgers creator Loren Bouchard.
And the marshmallow in this sugar cereal? A live, fully improvised episode of cult sci-fi cartoon Rick & Morty, for which I am personally going to camp outside the theater like a tween awaiting a new Harry Potter movie.
The Animation Breakdown Festival starts this Thursday, and runs through next week.
FOOD: The Smokehouse
What is a barfly, technically? How does a fly differ from say, just a bar regular? What's less than a barfly?
Ponder these and other great philosophical questions in the shadowy confines of the Smokehouse, a 60-year old steak joint a bone’s throw from the Warner Brothers lot in Burbank. And they keep your martini on ice.
The daytime ambiance here is dotted with martini-drinking barflies, grubs, and gnats, all sheltering from their boulevards of broken dreams… but you might also spot George Clooney commandeering a corner booth for a meeting, so what is reality?
Just get some sirloin and commit to whichever way the coin flips.
MUSIC: Reggie Watts at El Cid
It's gotta be one most under-appreciated patios in Silver Lake: El Cid.
Down a winding series of staircases, El Cid’s outdoor, semi-secluded enclave of high booths is a gem—and worlds away from its Sunset entryway.
Inside there's a totally great little venue, which hosts the city's premier flamenco dinner theater — as if anyone else would dare vie for the title — a tradition El Cid has been celebrating for 50 years now.
The rest of their calendar is an unpredictable potpourri of country, comedy, and cabaret, with one notable exception: Tuesday night's standing appointment with Reggie Watts & Karen, his Late Late Show band.
Apparently Watts recognizes a dusty diamond as much as we do.
Add it to that epic list of regular celebrity endeavours we as Angelenos take for granted.
WILDCARD: Triforium turns 40!
In a car city like LA, public art is easy to ignore. Even when it's six stories tall and weighs 60 tons. Even when it's smack-dab in the center of Downtown Los Angeles. And even when it looks like it landed there from a galaxy far, far away.
We’re talking about the Triforium, a 1975 sculpture on Temple and Main. It should be impossible to miss, and yet—when's the last time you took a look at it?
Designed by artist Joseph Young, it was initially supposed to be a "polyphonoptic" sculpture. That means Young wanted to use motion sensors and a computer system to translate the motions of passersby into psychedelic patterns of light, sound, and music.
Unfortunately, the computer never quite worked, and time has not been kind to this ambitious project—these days, it's a glorified pigeon roost. But we're trying to change that!
We just launched the Triforium Project: a coalition of artists, urban planners, civic leaders, and LA enthusiasts who believe that Joseph Young’s vision for an interactive light and sound sculpture deserves a new life.
On Friday, Dec. 11, we’ll be celebrating the Triforium’s 40th birthday at the intersection of Temple and Main, downtown. Come for tours of the sculpture’s usually off-limits control room! See the ancient computer! Enjoy tunes from dublab!
And stay for the free cake.