My picks for 19th Annual Polish Film Festival (Oct. 17-25, 2018)

by Tom Nguyen

October is always teeming with great film festivals in Los Angeles! It’s as if all the cinephiles, like myself, suddenly needed a break from an overstimulating summer of competing activities, and cocoon ourselves inside a myriad of film screenings this month as a Fall transition. Next up: 19th Annual Polish Film Festival, which opened Wednesday, October 17, 2018, at Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood, with a gala screening of Squadron 303, based on the true history of Polish pilots who shot down three times more Luftwaffe planes during the Battle of Britain than other Allied pilots.

The film festival continues through Thursday, October 25, at two primary venues: Laemmle Noho 7 Theatre in North Hollywood and Laemmle’s Monica Film Center in Santa Monica. There will also be free screenings at CSU Northridge and USC campuses and Hellada Gallery in Long Beach. Here are my picks (in order of appearance at the festival): Continue Reading →

Top Picks for NYE 2016 in Los Angeles!

15 Film Picks (5)
by Tom Nguyen

When I’m considering where to spend New Year’s Eve in Los Angeles, I look for 3 things:

  • Great live bands or dance music we typically cover on this site.
  • It won’t break the bank (Some free, most under $40).
  • Whether big or small events, I’m looking for good vibes, not pretentiousness.

If you’re looking for the same, here are my recommendations (in order of cost) all across LA: Downtown, Silver Lake, Hollywood, Mid City, Santa Monica and Long Beach: Continue Reading →

Afro Funke’: Saying Goodbye in December

(UPDATE 12/28/13: What an amazing last night! Here are the pics!)There was a collective gasp across LA’s music and culture scene this week when it was quietly announced and word began to spread that Afro Funke’, the 10 year long popular world music night was coming to an end this month. This site quite literally owes its existence to Afro Funke’, as the friendships and bonds that developed over the years and led to this site, were first formed on Afro Funke’s dance floors at Zanzibar in Santa Monica. Continue Reading →

Double Oscar Entry Feature: Two Lives and I Am Yours on Fri 11/22

two lives
This Friday, November 22, the Aero Theatre in Santa Monica will be showing a free double feature of Two Lives, Germany’s official Oscar entry and I Am Yours, Norway’s official Oscar entry. Both films deal with the fallout of intermingling between cultures. The event is free with RSVP and there will be a wine & cheese reception following with directors Georg Maas and Iram Haq and actress Amrita Acharia in attendance!

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Awareness Film Festival July 25-28

remIn its 4th year, the Awareness Film Festival takes place each summer in Los Angeles and runs Thursday, July 25, through Sunday, July 28, at venues conveniently located in and around downtown Santa Monica. The Awareness Film Festival’s motto is “Films That Do More Than Entertain” and its mission is bringing awareness and to open eyes to some of our world’s pressing issues: Ecological, Political, Health/Well Being and the Spirit. They showcase both Documentary and Narrative Features, as well as Short Films, Music Videos and Public Service Announcements.​ They have filmmaker Q&A’s, filmmaker Panels, as well as conscious art and music.​​​​​ ​​The Awareness Film Festival was formed by Heal One World, a non-profit charity. This Festival is also a fundraiser for Heal One World​​. Any net profits from this event will go completely to charity, including their partner organizations.

Here are just some of the many compelling films covering a wide range of issues at the festival. You can see the full schedule here:

THU 7/25     FRI 7/26     SAT 7/27     SUN 7/28

Afro Funke 10 Year Anniversary featuring Ozomatli Thu June 27

The weekly world music night Afro Funke at Zanzibar, Santa Monica will be celebrating 10 years going strong this Thursday, June 27 with Ozomatli in the house! The people behind Afro Funke are Rocky Dawuni, Cary Sullivan and DJs Jeremy Sole (KCRW) and Glenn Red (Eclectica) and they have been faithfully bringing great global music and culture every week to the west side in Los Angeles.

I had an opportunity to ask them a few questions about the upcoming celebration: Continue Reading →

Best of Belgian Cinema every 3rd Wednesday at Aero Theatre

This is the 4th annual Grit and Whimsy series of Belgian cinema organized by the Consulate General of Belgium and showing at the Aero Theatre in Santa Monica every 3rd Wednesday of the month throughout the year. I only found out about it now so I’m quite disappointed I’ve already missed 2 spectacular films coming from Belgium. Some of the screenings will include Q&A with the filmmakers and every screening is followed by a Belgian beer reception! Continue Reading →

Music festival & Campout at The Ranch Party in the Santa Monica Mountains

ranch partyThis Saturday, March 2, expected to be in the 80s, is the perfect weekend to enjoy an all-day into the night outdoor music festival at The Ranch Party, nestled in the Santa Monica mountains. The place is actually home to Ranch Kids, a nonprofit introducing low-income, at-risk and special needs children from the city to the positive world of outdoor nature and farming. The benefit concert will feature an eclectic lineup of independent LA bands, like The Internet (of OFWGKTA), Kisses and Mansions on the Moon, and my favorites: Zak Waters, The Record Company and Gavin Turek.
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Paris Combo US Tour with New Album

By the time a friend introduced me to the wonderful eclectic music of Paris Combo, the group was already well into a long hiatus after their 2004 album Motifs. Their music is a blend of French cabaret, rumba, flamenco, Gypsy swing, cool jazz, African, Latin and Middle Eastern styles that defies easy categorization. My long wait to hear them live is over! They will be touring the US in April and May, playing new songs from their 5th studio recording, simply titled “5”. Here are their tour dates/cities:
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