[dropcap letter=”M”]aybe it’s all the pre-Independence Day pyrotechnics talk, but Kenneth Anger has been on our mind lately (his experimental film Fireworks sparked said remembrance.). Conventional wisdom avows to the fact Los Angeles is chalk full of offbeat characters, but the experimental filmmaker (Lucifer Rising, Mouse Heaven, Inaguration of the Pleasure Dome)stands above the rest. With a list of friends any subculture egghead would kill for—Marianne Faithfull, Jean Cocteau, Jimmy Page, Tennessee Williams, to name a few—Anger is one Hollywood type we would gladly have a drink with at the Roosevelt.
Anger has always worked above the fray of cinema, a practice that has mirrored his life. He is solitary man who on rare occasions steps out into his native LA city. In order to delve into the mind of this somewhat elusive experimentalist gem, Interview sought out Harmony Korine (Kids, Gummo, Spring Breakers) to have a chat with Anger and get a sense how this cinematic provocateur feels about the current state of film-making.
photography SEBASTIAN KIM
And when asked by Korine whether “there’s any type of magic to Los Angeles still? Is it as interesting as old Hollywood?” his response might surprise you. But shock has always been Anger’s ammo.
Before launching into stardom, new waves of electronic music must make their rites of passage through the Avalon’s CONTROL Fridays. Always on the forefront of the newest and most forward-thinking brands of electronica, CONTROL Fridays has played host to some of the genre’s biggest acts way before they even qualified a mock Coachella bill — EDC gawds like Skrillex, Wolfgang Gartner, Dada Life, Bingo Players and more passed through the Avalon’s weekly showcase. This weekend, they celebrated a glorious five years with Dada Life and with no intentions of slowing down, we caught up with co-founder Ryan Jaso on CONTROL’s success and what made it the mainstay it is to date.
LA CANVAS: What spurred CONTROL’s creation?
Ryan: We saw a void in the marketplace — there was a new sound coming and with it a new generation of fans. We went to a lot of dance music-based parties that were more underground, and we saw what Avalon was doing on Saturday nights and wanted to introduce this new sound to a big stage.
LAC: What do you think has allowed CONTROL to have such longevity?
R: CONTROL is a brand, it’s known across the world at this point and I think that is something you rarely see in nightlife. We’ve never done anything we weren’t proud of, and we’ve always stayed true to what we believe in. You won’t see Paris Hilton gracing the CONTROL stage anytime soon.
LAC: At what point did you feel like CONTROL was a success — was there a particular show or moment where you realized it?
R: For me it was our second show ever with Surkin, we probably only did about 750 people — low by comparison to our big nights now — but it made me think this could actually work.
LAC: What were the challenges in keeping CONTROL afloat? Any near-disasters or mishaps?
R: There was a challenge every week in the beginning. We went through three or four bookers before we linked with Giant which really helped solidify the bookings, countless promoters, general managers, production coordinators… you name it. We always had the backing of the owner John Lyons which is really what made it last. Most clubs would have given up if they saw more than half the shows in the red, but Avalon believed in it and that’s what brings us here today.
LAC: What are some of your favorite/most memorable CONTROL shows and why?
R: There are too many to name; we’ve had the pleasure of having artists like Bingo Players, Krewella, Rusko, Dillon Francis, Skrillex and Dada Life cut their teeth at CONTROL. I’ve heard many of the aforementioned state CONTROL is one of their favorite parties in the world and that means a lot.
LAC: Where do you see yourselves in five years?
R: Doing an interview with LA CANVAS about how we made it to ten years of CONTROL.
Photos courtesy of CONTROL. Pictured: Dada Life at CONTROL’s recent 5 Year Anniversary party.
Smallpools sold out the Troubadour on last Friday night. Yet as a group, the members have only four completed songs, and it’s been merely five months since their first live performance. We chatted with frontman Sean Scanlon the night before the show, so he could tell us their secret to such quick success.
LAC: Your live debut was Jan 13th, and five months later you’ve sold out one of the most iconic LA venues. Tell me about your ride.
Sean: It’s awesome. We first launched our first track, Dreaming, in May, and it’s just really crazy how great the response was and how quickly the song spread on the Internet. We’ve been offered great tours with these bands. It’s only been, what, eight months of band life, and we’ve already done a career’s worth of stuff.
LAC: What’s the group dynamic?
Sean: A lot of the ideas are inspired in a room when we’re all together. Anybody can start an idea—it can be Beau just playing a random drumbeat over Mike’s leads and I’ll come in with some chords or something. We’ll spend hours and hours in a room to just be really tight with our filter, and we’ll only pursue things as songs if we really, really like it. We could spend a whole day in the studio, and the last ten minutes have one part that we like. So we’ll record it and come back the next day and work on it some more. Everyone gets involved. We try and flesh out the skeleton—the song with some chords and melodies—and then it’s all on me to write the lyrics.
LAC: You all met in LA, but none of you are from here. So where’s home base?
Sean: Well I had known Mike (Kamerman, lead guitar) for a year, and we had been writing together in our hometown—he lived in New Jersey and I lived in New York—and we both moved to LA together. We live together; we’re roommates, and we met Beau (Kuther) and Joe (Intile) our drummer and bass player, here through some musical friends. We’ve been here close to three years now; we got crappy jobs and lived in apartments, and made a life out here even before the band had started. So we came out to LA to do music, kind of got suck into the grind of getting your feet grounded in LA, and then finally said “Enough is enough. We’re finally going to do this for real.” So yes, LA is definitely the hub of Smallpools.
LAC: How have previous projects made you prepared for what you’re doing now?
Sean: I’ve been doing music forever, in a ton of different projects, and I feel like those were not failures, but practice I guess, the working. They say 10,000 hours makes you an expert of something, and I’ve put in a lot of hours in a band and with the songwriting. All the guys in the band are kind of in the same situation; we all met at some dark times in our musical lives, and we’re all very lucky that this is the one that’s doing something for us. Even though it happened so quickly in the Smallpools world, it is something that we’ve all been working at for a really long time, so it’s really rewarding that it’s been successful thus far.
LAC: Have things slowed down or are they just getting started?
Sean: We’re heading out with Grouplove in a few months, but yeah, the Troubadour show is kind of the bookend of our touring for this year. I think we’ve toured as much as we possibly could on these four songs, so we have to hole up in the studio and get out some more jams to everybody.
LAC: That being said, you only have 4 songs released—about 13 minutes. How do you fill the time for a headlining gig?
That’s a great question; tomorrow is a headlining show. I think we’ll treat it as pretty laid-back. We’re going to play some new ideas and new songs. And we’ll definitely play the entire EP. We’ve got just one cover song.
LAC: What’s the cover?
Sean: It’s a New Radicals song, it’s called You Get What You Give. It’s a good one. When Mike and I first moved to LA, we’d drink a lot and go out to karaoke and sing that song together. It got a really great crowd reaction, because everybody knows the song, but they kind of forgot that it existed. So once it starts playing, they’re like “Oh crap, I know that song,” so we thought we’d play it live.
LAC: And as you’re still making a name for yourself, what do you want Smallpools to be seen as?
Sean: I think I would like Smallpools to just be known as “those guys who just know how to write a quality song that I want to listen to and tell a friend about.” We don’t need a lot of gimmicks or craziness, we’re just four dudes that take a lot of time to write really good songs and perform them, have fun, and then meet everybody—just a lighthearted experience.
This Saturday, self-taught slash self-proclaimed vandal turned street artist Benjamin Alejandro hosts his latest art installment at the Amanda Harris Gallery of Contemporary Art in none other than Sin City, Las Vegas.
Known for his philosophical and iconographic approach to his art, Benjamin’s newest body of work builds upon the famous mug-shot portrait series that featured the likes of Jay-Z, Lil Wayne, Lindsay Lohan – simply because of course, you can’t not mention Lindsay Lohan and ‘mug shot’ in the same sentence – and even his own.
By taking moments of past failures – as exemplified by the mug shots – and transforming them into pieces of art that teeter between disturbing and funny, Benjamin has developed a penchant on taking his concepts and ideas on societal worship of celebrities and flips it in an attempt to reveal to viewers just how obsessed we can be.
His latest body of work, “The trouble is, you think you have time,” Benjamin continues to toy with the idea of taking the celebrity off of the pedestal, to reaffirm that they too are also human, which is easy to forget – hell, we saw Adrian Grenier at Harvard & Stone last week, and he looked pretty human ordering a measly PBR.
For you lucky folks that are in Las Vegas anytime between now and January 18 of next year – and you can definitely count us in for a Sin City visit before the year is over – check out Benjamin’s take on his favorite human beings and maybe take a leaf out of his book: “Some of our giant culture icons were and are human and people just like me and you. We are all human and yet quite capable of great level of influence.”
Go get ’em, tiger.
Jack of all trades Erik Brunetti recently celebrated the release of FUCT, a book based on his provocative clothing line of the same name which he started in 1990 here in our city of angels. The brand changed L.A. streetwear into the iconic “west coast skater” look, quickly sparking other lines to follow Erik’s method of pushing for graphic nude images, blunt slogans, and controversial photos of celebrities to market their clothing. FUCT created and reflected a lifestyle that is as relevant today as it was over 20 years ago and can now see its influence outside the streets of L.A. The book, written by Erik, serves as a detailed archive of the brand that started it all.
It’s only fitting that a cult figure like Erik would celebrate his book release at a location that knows all about controversies, the famous luxury hotel Chateau Marmont. LAC was there to take a few pics and brush elbows with artists, photographers, designers, and friends.
Brace yourselves, Los Angeles, electronic dance music’s biggest prophet has made our city his new home. Pete Tong, the legendary veteran DJ and radio host for the UK’s BBC Radio 1, is one of dance music’s loudest advocates. While the scene has climaxed to a foreign territory where many are skeptical about its lasting future, Tong is no cynic about the current situation, but instead, a belieber, believer and visionary in embracing the current disposition.
With his recent relocation from the UK to LA, he plans on taking refuge within this concrete jungle–a hub for talent and haven for creativity. This city has invaluable powers to introduce or hide its talented artists by its labyrinth of networks, something Mr. Tong plans taking full advantage of, to introduce even more brilliant talent from the UK and Europe. We’re reminded of the powerful article that Bill Gates wrote, ‘Content is King’, which spoke of the boundless capacity of the internet and its extension of networks.
Pete Tong’s innovative perspective plans on rewiring the current grid of EDM that happens to be playing it rather safe and replicated among many of America’s DJs. By stepping out of his comfort zone and channeling his sweeping knowledge and deep roots of the EDM field, this new market will be groundbreaking for his personal career and for many to come.
BBC Radio 1 – Pete Tong, Essential Mix featuring Disclosure
This Friday night. Sept 20, will be his first Los Angeles residency show at Sound Nightclub in Hollywood. Los Angeles, brace yourselves for a sensational evening fueled by some of the most emerging and captivating tunes that this EDM prophet has to offer.
Purchase your tickets here.
What a belle époque to be a male-female music duo: Beach House, Sleigh Bells, Purity Ring, we really could keep going. One tag-team we’ve had our ears out for is British duo, AlunaGeorge. Producer George Reid and songstress Aluna Francis have been on the scene, serving infectious originals and brilliant features on tracks of other rising acts, like UK electronic duo, Disclosure. The pair has been building buzz with their sub-genre-bending take on pop music, Aluna’s distinctive vocals, and their protagonist verses. Following the summer release of their full length “Body Music,” the Brits hit the road on their first North American tour, and recently made their LA debut to a pumped-up packed house at the El Rey.
Aluna strutted on stage robed as a futuristic boxing goddess with George boyishly bopping on synthesizer, and backed by live drums and bass. As the digital and organic sounds harmoniously flooded the venue, the audience feverishly danced and sang along to favorites like “Attracting Flies,” White Noise,” and “This Is How We Do It.” Their cover of Montel Jordan’s timeless jam was a hit! Aluna’s bright vocals called and the crowd responded in deep refrains of the song’s memorable chorus. The show capped off with another crowd pleaser, “Your Drums, Your Love,” but left with no encore leaving attendees served and eager for more, as AlunaGeorge stepped off waving, blowing kisses and thanking fans.
So, what’s next for the pair? These two are young, talented, and are certainly onto something. Let’s hope the future proves that they’re ideal music mates, unlike some other past boy-girl duos… Ike & Tina? White Stripes? Sonic Youth… too soon?
Ahh, the French fry. Always second place when it came to mealtime, they stood faithfully by our sandwiches and hot dogs, the trusty sidekick Robin to our Burger-Batman. For many of us, fries are a nostalgia food. When we were kids, our french fries came from greasy fast food chains. We ate them greedily, and as we got older, we got creative and dipped them in our soft serve, stuffed them into our burgers and burritos, and patted ourselves on our backs for our innovative gluttony. But let’s be real, now that we’re adults it’s time to indulge in fries that truly reflect the diversity of our refined palate–kimchee, duck confit, lamb neck, and all. If you’re ready to move beyond Mickey D’s, read on to get the scoop on some french fried fanciness.
Chicken Tikka Poutine
Where: Badmaash | 108 West 2nd Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012
What: Combine the LA’s diversity and innovative inhabitants and you get Badmaash. From what we understand it is the country’s first Indian gastropub. The restaurant offers a mix of Bombay street food, Indian fusion cuisine and traditional Indian favorites –like butter chicken, saag paneer and lamb vindaloo. Their take on poutine earned them a spot on our list by taking their masala fries — crispy fries tossed in Indian spices — and throwing gravy, cheese curds and tikka masala chicken on top. Savory, creamy, crispy and spicy all at the same time. You just can’t lose with this one.
Duck Fat Fries
Where: Sixth Street Tavern | 630 West Sixth Street, Los Angeles, CA 90017
What: Zagat named Sixth Street Tavern’s duck confit cheese fries the best thing they ate… and we’d have to agree. The fries by themselves are superb — the right amount of crispy and golden and thick, perfect to pair with a beer. But to kick it up a notch — not to get all Emeril — the tavern added smoked gouda, a garlicky cheese sauce and salty, shredded duck confit goodness to boot.
Banh Mi Fries
Where: The Gorbals | 501 South Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90013
What: Thrice cooked fries, gravy, steak, sharp cheddar, garlic aioli, Sriracha, fried jalapenos, and pickles – what more can I say? It’s everything you like in a Vietnamese steak banh mi sandwich on top of fries — sour pickles, heat from the jalapenos and Sriracha, then you throw in some hoisin gravy and cheddar cheese to add the extra oomph! Of course, let’s not forget the backbone of the dish, the fries, which are perfect for sopping up all the leftover juices.
Lamb Neck Poutine
Where: Ink | 8360 Melrose Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90069
What: Lamb Neck Poutine. The name doesn’t exactly roll off your tongue, but trust us when we say that Ink’s version of the French stew-y goodness is just another one of Michael Voltaggio’s genius. The poutine holds true to itself — rich, thick and creamy, but takes on a bolder flavor coming from the slow-cooked lamb neck. While the gamey neck flavor can be strong for the pallet, Voltaggio balances out that notion with chopped chives, forest chives gel and tangy yogurt curd. The fries themselves are not made of the standard potato, but out of fried tubular chick peas that are light enough to not weigh down your stomach, but can hold its own under the poutine.
Where: Fresh Fries Truck | All over LA
What: Another food truck yes, but these fries will conquer that sweet tooth. The much celebrated Nutella, mixed with its old school colleague, peanut butter, and the already sweet but now crispy sweet potato, makes for an easily picked at dessert mixture.
Where: Frysmith | All over LA
What: We actually had a dilemma trying to pick one. It’s common knowledge that LA’s food truck game is ridiculously on point, so how could we not feature French fry truck extraordinaire, Frysmith. But which French fry offering do we choose, the kimchi fries or the Rajas fries? Clearly the kimchi fries came out the victor. Why, you ask? Simply because who would’ve thought that kimchi, Korean pork and cheddar cheese would be so delicious. The marriage between the spicy, sour kimchi and the sweet, tangy pork was obvious, but the American cheddar cheese threw us a curveball that Frysmith knocked out of the park.
Carne Asada Fries
Where: Las Anitas | 26 Olvera Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012
What: Carne asada fries may be the obvious, maybe even carne asada fries via Olvera Street, but it isn’t our fault that that is where genius lay. The carne asada, sour cream, guac, and salsa are scattered atop a mountain of waffle fries. Imagine, each waffle fry as mini, edible plates carrying all the fixings straight into your mouth. You can skip worrying that your skinny fry will weigh less than even the tiniest piece of carne asada, ultimately resulting in dropped topping and a stained tee.
Newly opened and nestled in the heart of Hollywood, Aventine brings the charm of old world Rome married with a modern San Francisco-inspired design aesthetic. Hailing their namesakes from one of the seven hills ancient Rome was built on, Aventine Hollywood is the second iteration of brothers Gian-Paolo and Chef Adolfo Veronese’s successful Taverna Aventine of San Francisco.
The Veronese’s are people of careful thought, and this is made apparent as soon as you walk through their door. Gian-Paolo set out to create a place that, “speaks for itself,” and certainly hit the mark. As an avid event host (especially favoring the arts and non-profits), and a preserver of tradition, Gian-Paolo sought out a building with history and room for expansion. He tore through walls to expose beautiful 1920s brickwork and thought to use one wall as a “garage door” opening up to a beautifully kept patio and alley. Not only does Aventine serve as a warm, intimate dining space, but the flexibility in its design allows it to open up to accommodate large parties, or even festivals. Though its potential as a venue is exciting, the little details are what makes Aventine so charming– the dining tables are made from reclaimed bocce ball courts.
Care and attention to detail certainly don’t stop with the decor. Chef Adoldfo’s menu takes the traditional and makes it unexpected and exciting. The Aventino (mozzarella stuffed meatball on a bed of golden raisins, soft polenta, and topped with basil pesto) was a delight of textures and flavors, and the first time I ever enjoyed polenta. Chef Adolfo generously kept us surprised all night by sending out a taste of nearly everything on the menu—and I could go on praising all of it. The Gamberoni (sautéed prosciutto wrapped jumbo shrimp, sage, balsamic glaze) were unbelievable, the Gnocchi pillowy soft, the Agnolotti (stuffed with short ribs, rice, swiss chard, demi cream sauce) a savory delight, and the Verdure a Foglia (sautéed winter greens, spicy red pepper) were hearty, yet simply done with a nice heat. Despite being loaded up on all that beautiful food, when Chef Adolfo sent out the Ossobuco, we knew we had to make room. The meat was incredibly tender and fell right off the bone. The friend polenta made the perfect sponge for soaking up all the flavors of the Ossobuco; crispy on the outside and creamy inside, its delicate flavor yielding to the richness of the meat.
Our final surprise from Chef Adolfo was dessert. It would be a mistake to walk away from Aventine without trying some of their sweets. We tried the Zoccolini (fried pizza dough stuffed with nutella, mascarpone dipping sauce, sqirl jam), which was wonderfully indulgent, and the Butterscotch Panna Cotta with a maldon salt crust. This is certainly not to be missed. The salt added a great depth to the sweet, buttery panna cotta that made for a dessert worth fighting Hollywood traffic and parking for.
The Veronese brothers don’t do all this alone; Food Network celebrity mixologist Nikki Martin has joined ranks as beverage director. Seasonally driven and food minded, Martin mixes playfulness with tradition (Martin loves working with candy). Take for example, Martin’s punchbowl-style Limoncello served with a black licorice straw, or Negroni with rock candy and ginger. Her Tuscan Sunrise (Hendrick’s Gin with muddled strawberry and basil) was refreshing and flirty, with the herbal nod towards Italy, and comes highly recommended. We also got to sample her Stropino: champagne, vodka, and two scoops of mandarin sorbet topped with microgreens (in our case, cilantro). Also delicious was the Rosemary Clooney. Named after George Clooney’s aunt, the singer of the hit Mambo Italiano, a close second to our favorite cocktail.
And if all you’re looking for is a little snack with your drinks, Aventine offers Popcorn Al Tartufo (truffle popcorn with parmesan and Italian parsley)—the perfect bar snack with an elegantly traditional twist.
Like any good Italian kitchen, Aventine is here to feed the whole neighborhood, with the comforts of tradition and the spoils of Hollywood’s glamour.
1607 N Cahuenga Blvd
Hollywood, CA, 90028.
Mon-Thurs: 5:30pm – 11pm
Fri-Sat 5:30pm – 11:30pm