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Reggae artist Konshens

Monday, May 28th the UCLA Cultural Affairs Commision celebrated the 32nd anniversary of their annual Jazz Reggae Festival. The festival was held at the UCLA Sunset Recreational Center and sponsored by Coca-Cola and Playfull. There were live performances from Half Pint, Charlotte Day Wilson, Sahara Grim, Jamila Woods, Global Soul Collective and an amazing performance by headliner Konshens and the Submachine band. In between acts, DJ, QBwoy was spinning the hottest tunes in hip-hop reggae and top 40’s while the crowd sang along.

 

The food vendors had their work cut out for them but they handled the large crowd gracefully. My two favorite vendors were “Flavors of East Africa” and “Unforgettable Lemonade” the combination of the two was to die for. We also visited the craft booths where we got a chance to talk to Ronnie Skin Care Daddy, the founder of LosAngelesOilsAndButters.com. Ronnie had a lot of products containing black seed oil, which happens to be an immune system booster that I am obsessed with.

The Jazz Reggae Festival launched in 1986. Throughout the years the JRF has brought in many respected artists such as Erykah Badu, The Roots, Damian Marley, Common, and many more. The JRF always strives to create a cohesive and welcoming space for students and the greater Los Angeles community. This year LeftCoast.LA was there and it didn’t take us long to feel at home. Between the spot-on staff and the lively crowd there was not one ingredient missing! This event was cooked to perfection.

 

It is here! “Deadpool 2″ is upon us. Another superhero Marvel movie that we’ve all been waiting for. The theaters will be brought to life again this Friday with this amazing sequel that critics are saying is better than the first. What else did we find amazing?  The” Deadpool 2″ Theme Bar Pop-Up experience that we attended, brought to us by Mike’s Harder and the Downtown Los Angeles Film Festival, was an adventure to be talked about, an event not to be missed, and certainly the best pop up scene on this side of the globe. Check out my video “Leftcoastla hits Deadpool2″

It really has never felt this good. A Bar Pop-Up experience that’s far better than what you would expect from a normal Marvel show. Oh… Wait! ‘Far better’ is actually not good enough to describe what the pop-up experience party felt like. Saturday, May 12th will be a day to remember for every Marvel fan in LA, and it all went down in style as the actors stayed in character. It was so real and gave fans a feel of what the movie will be like, and now everyone is talking about “Deadpool 2”.

Aside from the free drinks and chimichangas that were available, the fun was unstoppable as the DJ kept dishing out all the latest tracks. Now the expectation has been created. The anticipation is sky high. Every Marvel fan in attendance can’t wait to rock and roll-if this is not the real deal, then we wonder what is! Kudos to Marvel for not disappointing us.  So what are you waiting for? May 18th is just around the corner. “Deadpool 2” is here. Grab a bucket of popcorn, pick up your tickets and join in the fever. Let’s journey together.

Edgar Allan Poe: Buried Alive
Photo by Liane Brandon

As executive producer and founder of Spy Pond Productions, Eric Stange has produced, directed and written a dizzying array of work, mostly telling unique, often lost stories of American history. His work, which also covers science, has been broadcast on PBS, The Discovery Channel, and the BBC. Before becoming a filmmaker he wrote about art and culture for The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The Atlantic Monthly, and other publications. Eric has been the recipient of a Harvard University Charles Warren Fellowship in American History. He’s on the board of Common-Place, a website devoted to early American history, and writes a column about media and history for American Heritage magazine. “Edgar Allan Poe: Buried Alive” stars Denis O’Hare as Poe, and was shot on location in Boston. A screening will be held on Saturday, April 29, 1:30 p.m., at the Brattle Theater in Harvard Square as part of the Independent Film Festival of Boston (http://iffboston.org), and will be broadcast nationally next fall on the PBS series American Masters.

 What was it like working with Denis O’Hare?

Denis is one of the most talented actors in the business. Virtually everyone has seen him in his many TV or movie roles (“American Horror Story,” “The Good Wife,” “True Blood, Dallas Buyer’s Club”), but like a lot of great character actors he isn’t a household name. He should be.

What sold us on casting Denis was that he spent a whole season of “American Horror Story” playing a leading character who’s mute. Our film doesn’t have a lot of dialogue—Poe is often alone and silent, though very expressive. When we saw that Denis did an entire season of episodic TV without saying a word —we knew he could be our Poe.

In addition, it turns out Denis had studied a lot of poetry in college, so he did a wonderful job reciting Poe’s poems. And we didn’t even realize until we started with hair and make-up how much he actually looks like Poe!

Left: Actor Denis O’Hare Photo by Liane Brandon

 Edgar Allan Poe is already a well-known figure, is there new information about Poe revealed in the film?

One of the reasons I made the film is because I came to realize Poe is a hugely misunderstood figure. Most people think of him in a one-dimensional way —as a brooding, mad, perhaps opium-addled denizen of the dark. Until I started researching this project I didn’t know that Poe was an important literary critic, and an influential magazine editor. He was a powerful player in the literary scene of the 1830s and ’40s—a tastemaker—one of the glitterati of his time. He helped define what American literature would be in the early decades of our nation.

I knew Poe had written detective stories. What I didn’t realize is that Poe invented the detective story as we know it today, with all the conventions we’re used to. Arthur Conan Doyle, the creator of Sherlock Holmes, said he had modeled his stories on Poe. And virtually every detective writer since has followed suit.

 Poe is one of those iconic figures who appears in popular culture decade after decade. Even people who haven’t read his works know his face. Why?

Yes it’s amazing how often Poe pops up. He’s in “The Simpsons,” on the cover of the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, and on and on.

Poe himself is partly responsible for his enduring image in pop culture. He knew that to sell his stories in a competitive marketplace he needed more than just good writing—he needed a public persona that would give him an edge. He was a fan of the English bad-boy poet Lord Byron, and he saw how a reputation—even a dark one —could help sell literature.

So he had daguerreotypes made that portrayed him a certain way, and he wrote falsified biographical materials that made him seem a more adventurous and romantic figure than he really was.

But what really cemented his reputation—and in a bad way—was the first obituary after Poe’s untimely death at age 40 in 1849. His literary enemy, Rufus Griswold, wrote the obit, and he described Poe in all the negative ways people still think of him today. So Griswold’s negative portrayal, along with Poe’s own self-mythologizing, have played a big role in keeping Poe famous —or rather infamous.

Daguerrotype of Edgar Allan Poe

What’s the real story? Was Poe just a regular guy who was terribly misunderstood or is there some truth to the dark, Halloween-figure side of Poe?

Well, like any complicated person, it’s a bit of both. If Poe were my buddy, I’d think twice when I saw him come up on caller ID. He could be a terrible friend, and a worse enemy. He was dead broke and in debt most of his life. He had a terrible time with alcohol, though he could be sober for long periods. At the same time, he was brilliant, witty, had lots of friends and was a loving husband, most of the time. Though he married his 13-year-old cousin when he was 26!

One thing I discovered is that practically anything you say about Poe, the opposite is also true. That’s part of what made the film challenging, and fun!

Why the title: “Buried Alive”?

Poe was fascinated —maybe even obsessed—with stories of people who were buried alive by mistake, which happened fairly frequently in the early 19th century. Medicine hadn’t figured out how to determine death with certainty, and particularly during epidemics there was a lot of pressure to get corpses underground quickly. One of his most famous stories is “The Premature Burial.”

I also love the metaphorical meanings. Poe lived his life under a constant cloud of grief —virtually all the women he loved died young. He struggled with a mountain of debt, and even before he died his bad reputation had begun to overshadow the reality of his life. And then, of course, there’s the never-ending mystery of his death. For all those reasons, it feels like an appropriate title.

Mystery of his death?

You have to see the movie.

 

As I wait in line to get on the ferry from Hyannis to the Vineyard, a wild-haired, sweating woman man-handling a stroller complains that I’ve placed my bags in front of her, blocking the line. It is certainly by mistake as I am simply trying to relieve my numb hand from the bag that I had over-packed–again. I apologize, pick up my bag with the non-numb hand and proceed to the end of the serpentine line.

Consenses is a multi-disciplinary installation features the work of more than 144 artists from      32 countries. It will be in Somerville's 212 Elm St., exhibition space from Sept. 26 to Oct. 8.

Consenses is a multi-disciplinary installation features the work of more than 144 artists from 32 countries. It will be in Somerville’s 212 Elm St., exhibition space from Sept. 26 to Oct. 8.

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My Black Friday.

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Loud and proud, sistah. Check out more street art from STMTS.

 

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Going green at its finest.

 

My night lights definitely didn’t look like this.

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Water you talking about? This is art.

 

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Where do I get one?

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If one picture says a thousand words, how many does this say?

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case of the mondays.

photo by Harry Koffman

Let there be light!

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I have a dream, a dream that one day, I will be able to travel to an exotic location and spend the rest of my days shopping to my heart’s desire without paying a single dime.

Louis Vuitton offers just that, besides the last part of course (I’m still on the hunt for a working money tree).

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We’re gonna need a bigger book.

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