Motherland Comedy Show Brings You Big Laughs for Small Bucks in Eagle Rock

September 10, 2019 by Jonathan Tolliver
Motherland Comedy at Kusina Filipina. Photo by Jonathan Tolliver

Home is in a strip mall in Eagle Rock, it turns out. Or at least that’s what the newish standup comedy series Motherland, would have you believe. Housed at the very-fine Filipino restaurant Kusina Filipina, Motherland features a murderer’s row of known comics, and they’re worth more than the price of admission, which just happens to be free.

Produced by Mike Joyce, Rob Haze and C.J. Toledano, the show feels like stumbling into a speakeasy, a very low-key and dimly lit affair in an unassuming location. 

The show is free, but you’d be a fool to not order this inexpensive, delicious Filipino food to devour while you take in the show. The portions are unbelievably large; you could eat one entree over the course of s day and still have leftovers.

Haze hosted the mid-August show I recently attended, and he kicked things off with a delirious story about getting drunk in the Dominican Republic and worrying he’d never get back to the U.S., a story anyone who likes drinking in strange locations can relate to. So many missed flights, so little time.

Rosebud Baker (Inside Jokes on Amazon Prime) opened her night with a casual braggadocio, explaining how much easier it is to have sex in LA, and how she’s committed herself to the much-maligned vaping community. ‘

“I’m on the vaping side of history, I chose my side,” she quipped. “I’m just treating vaping like my dad treats climate change. If it kills me then it’s not my problem!”

Amy Silverberg (also from Inside Jokes), talked about her Grandma’s new man Bill, who recently confessed his decades old love to her. During a family gathering, grandma insisted she wouldn’t sleep in the same bed as her new man if it made Amy uncomfortable.

“Grandma, the only thing that would make me uncomfortable is if you don’t fuck Bill tonight,” she joked.

Matty Ryan (Comedy Central) was a standout, a lanky, sarcastic wit with a talent for fully acting a story out. Ryan, who is from Chicago, recently had a man sneeze into his mouth on the L train, a harrowing experience that now haunts both him and members of the audience who saw his set at Motherland.

“I was worried my water was going to wash his sneeze into my belly,” he said. “Please god. I’m not positive but I’m pretty sure that’s how a plague starts.” 

Motherland is fresh on the very-crowded standup scene, but it’s set apart by an extra lean production. Hosts and producers keep their personal sets short, and a it’s hip-if-you-know-what’s-up location. Tucked next to the worst target in L.A. (one man’s opinion), across the street from the best 7-11 in L.A. (same man’s opinion), it’s in an area rife with slowly simmering nightlife, a rising hipster bubble away from the Silver Lake / East Hollywood / Hollywood morass.

Motherland convenes in a restaurant, which makes the show a winning date idea, a 2-for-1 eating and entertainment experience for folks looking for love with maximum efficiency. It’s the big city, baby! Gotta move fast.

The lineup, at least on the night I attended, offers significant racial diversity that reflects the cultural brilliance of the city at large. Chris Garcia really drove this home, cracking jokes about the culture clash he faces being married to a white woman. There’s a ferocious bit where he does Spanish dirty talk to non-Spanish-speaking wife during sex, and how he eventually runs out of material and starts saying random, unsexy phrases. Those jokes had the room in pieces. 

This setup and punchline also crushed: “My wife is white, she’s from Iowa. I went there for Christmas, I was the only Black guy there,” said the not-black Garcia. “Her family was like, are you…Scottie Pippen?’ 

While this particular show had seating available–much to chagrin of Haze, who lightly prodded the audience to sit up front all night–this show is going to take off pretty soon. If you want a seat, get there early.  

Motherland takes place weekly on Thursday nights at Kusina Filipina, located at 4157 Eagle Rock Blvd Los Angeles, CA. Doors open at 8:30, the show starts at 9, and it’s a steal to see this caliber of talent for no cover.

It’s not the easiest place to get to by public transit, though there are buses from downtown / Chinatown, and carpooling is always a good idea. For updates on the lineup of the week, you can visit the Motherland Comedy Facebook page.


This Interactive Halloween House Brings ‘Hocus Pocus’ and ‘Nightmare Before Christmas’ to Life

September 4, 2019 by Jonathan Tolliver
Image via Freeform

There are myriad spooky options for Halloween thrill seekers, but if you want a little camp with your frights, then Freeform’s Halloween House is where you wanna be. Hocus Pocus, Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas, The Addams Family, and more classic films from Freeform’s ‘31 Nights of Halloween’ come to life at this ghostly locale.

Expect an interactive Halloween Town, a stop at the Sanderson Sisters magical cottage, and a prize-filled Oogie Boogie’s lair. Things get extra-festive at a special October 3 event with drag queens performing songs as the Sanderson Sisters, giving a whole new meaning to the words ‘death drop.’ That night there will also be witchy cocktails. Who can resist themed drinks and drag? Who?!

The Halloween House event runs Oct 2-7, and sounds equal parts funny and frightening, a lighthearted immersive experience for folks 13 and up. The aforementioned Oct 3 drag night is 21+ after 6 p.m. and will run you $37, which includes two drink vouchers for beer, wine or cocktails. It’s $27 to attend any other day.

Tickets are available here, and are limited and sold in 20-minute intervals, so if you’re looking to go at a specific time, be sure to hop on tickets early. Weekend times are 11am till 11:20 p.m., and weekdays are 4 to 10:40 p.m. Plan on arriving 15 minutes before your ticketed time. This is Hollywood, where parking is the real scare, so plan accordingly.


The La Brea Tar Pits Are Being Renovated and You Can Help Influence the New Design

September 3, 2019 by Jonathan Tolliver
Concept rendering by Diller Scofidio + Renfro.

Welcome to Extreme Makeover: La Brea Tar Pits Edition. The world-famous museum and park is on track for a major redesign, with three architectural firms in the running to lead the ambitious overhaul. Models, renderings and drawings are on display at the museum through September 15, and the public is encouraged to give feedback via the Tar Pits official website, where you can see detailed proposals and renderings from three architectural team finalists

The Natural History Museums of Los Angeles County unveiled the designs at a recent presentation. The organization hopes to more seamlessly integrate the museum with surrounding Hancock Park, and while each rendering accomplishes that goal, they designers take radically different approaches. New York firm WEISS/MANFREDI takes perhaps the most ambitious approach, reimagining the park as a series of intertwining loops that link everything together, ostensibly fostering community and collaboration between researchers, attendees and museum staff. 

Changes like these are overdue. The Tar Pits haven’t been renovated since they opened over 40 years ago, despite their significance to Los Angeles and researchers the world over. A visit to the museum right now is a great and too-rare chance to weigh in on big ticket public item, but also just to appreciate the only active urban Ice Age excavation site in the world. 

The museum is easy to get to by public transportation, though there is a metered parking and paid parking in the area if you want to drive. It’s open 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day except major holidays. You can buy tickets to the museum, but there are also plenty of free options. Oh, and don’t forget to stop by the adjacent Second Home Serpentine Pavilion, a hyper-colorful installation open daily now through November 24.


DTLA Proud Brings Bevy of Entertainment to Pershing Square This Weekend

August 22, 2019 by Jonathan Tolliver
Image via DTLA Proud

Don’t put the rainbow flags in storage just yet. DTLA Proud lands at Pershing Square August 23-25, and it boasts a bevy of diverse entertainment and culturally enriching pop-ups. 

Friday is a free, all-ages, alcohol-free affair, with Drag Queen Storytime, a Gaymers Lounge and fierce mainstage performances. More on that later. 

Have you ever wanted a water park smack dab in the heart of downtown during Summer’s peak? Everyone has, you can admit it. Starting Saturday, Summertramp has you covered.

The brainchild of nightlife impresario Andres Rigal, the monthly outdoor pool party is ramping things up for DTLA Proud, with water slides, an expanded water park, DJs and massive floaties. It’s an explosion of color and creativity, or in their words, ‘A Magical Brigadoon of Decadence and Delight.’ 

A DTLA Proud lounge gives you a place to recharge your literal and figurative batteries, while a rehydrate station cools you off and staves off that hangover. There are food trucks, a barber and a clothes check for those who wanna show some skin. 

Over on the east side of the park, the mainstage boasts over 100 queer performers, with a focus on local talent; the folks working DTLA clubs year round. 

Highlights from this year include Dragula season one winner Vander Von Odd, The Trans Chorus of Los Angeles, Queer as Punk review, the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, RuPaul’s Drag Race favorite Ongina along with some new to the scene queens and the ballroom bonanza of HIV/AIDS non-profit REACH LA.

The Oakland-based, LA-raised Mimi Tempestt is also bringing her firebrand mix of poetry, rap and stadium-sized vocals to the mainstage Saturday alongside LA’s finest DJ Willyouarenot. She came of age in downtown’s queer scene, cutting her teeth in half-empty clubs, a diamond in the rough.

‘Imma rap, sing all my love songs, and smear lipstick on my face,’ says Tempestt. ‘This is my goodbye kiss to L.A. for showing me a beautiful summer as I head back to Oakland for the fall.’

The event’s promoters stress that this weekend is for the community and by the community, an ethos that separates this gathering from its glitzier WeHo counterpart.

Like many pride celebrations, the event curators here are acknowledging the 50th anniversary of The Stonewall Riots, but are also partnering with the One National Gay and Lesbian Archives to pay tribute to L.A.’s own queer history dating 10 years before that historic event.

There’s also a massive marketplace featuring 20 queer entrepreneurs who’ve partnered with visual merchandisers to present custom stores. Take a trip down artists alley to see the vibrant work of queer artists. Hell, take some home.

Friday runs from 4 to 10 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday run from noon to 10 p.m.

Don’t forget that Friday is free. $10 tickets for Saturday and Sunday are on sale here, with all proceeds going toward the DTLA Proud Community Center. 

Pershing Square is super easy to get to by train or bus, and rideshare can drop you right at an entrance. For more info go to

Free Museums, Happenings

10+ L.A. County Museums Will Be Free For Smithsonian Magazine’s Museum Day on September 21

August 21, 2019 by Jonathan Tolliver
Japanese American Museum in Little Tokyo
Credit: Brian Champlin / We Like L.A.

Events are more fun when they’re free. There’s probably a study to back that up somewhere. Smithsonian Magazine’s annual Museum Day – September 21 this year- draws throngs of curious folks hoping to make the rounds of some of Los Angeles’ world class museums completely free, a boon if there ever was one. 

You choose a museum from the list below, grab a ticket online here, and voila, you get complimentary admission for you and a guest. Note that you only get two tickets per email address, so fire up those burner accounts if you’ve got a big group. This is a very popular event, and museum hours vary, so if you want to catch em all – or even most – it’ll take some planning. Here are some of your options for L.A. County residents:

  • La Plaza de Cultura y Artes
  • Japanese American National Museum 
  • GRAMMY Museum 
  • California African American Museum
  • Autry Museum of the American West
  • USC Pacific Asia Museum
  • The Wende Museum
  • Museum of Latin American Art
  • Carolyn Campagna Kleefeld Contemporary Art Museum at California State University, Long Beach
  • The International Printing Museum
  • Los Angeles Maritime Museum

Keep in mind the free admission promo expands beyond just L.A. County, with 87 museums and cultural institutions in California participating in the day of freebie fun..

To search for additional museums who are offering free admission on September 21, you can use this search tool on the Smithsonian Magazine Website.


A Multi-Room Hello Kitty Pop-Up is Coming to L.A. for the Character’s 45-Year Anniversary

August 20, 2019 by Jonathan Tolliver
Image via Hello Kitty on Facebook

She may be middle-aged, but this kitty’s as spry as ever. To celebrate the beloved mascot’s 45-year anniversary, Sanrio invites the feline faithful to the Hello Kitty Friends Around the World Tour, a multi-room, sensory-rich, brilliant walk-through adventure that comes to Los Angeles from September 20 through October 20. The 10,000-square-foot pop-up takes you aboard ‘Hello Kitty Air’ to London, Paris, New York, and Honolulu before you land safely in Tokyo, where a hip-as-gift-shops go experience awaits. 

Along the way you’ll visit Hello Kitty’s house, hit up a Parisian bakery and the Hello Kitty Cafe. The aforementioned gift shop boasts collaborations with Girl Skateboards, Herschel Supply bags and luggage, and some pretty hip streetwear from Levi’s, an acknowledgement of the ever-increasing hipness of this iconic kitten. 

Chinatown’s LA Plaza Village plays host to this delightful pop-up, a venue that’s easy enough to get to via train with a short walk. Parking in that area’s a little hairy, so ride share is encouraged. They recommend you arrive 15-20 minutes before the start of your tour.  

Tickets are $27 Monday to Wednesday with slots running from 11:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., $30 Thursday to Sunday at roughly the same hours, then $50 Thursday to Saturday late night at 9 and 10 p.m. With that last option you’ll get a ‘special tour gift,’ which is just ominous enough to be enticing. Get more info and purchase tickets here.


Paint the Walls with Water Balloons at This Abstract Painting Show in DTLA

August 12, 2019 by Jonathan Tolliver
Installation by Michelle Miller / Photo by Jonathan Tolliver

Summer never lasts. The vibrance, abandon and heat all disappear, making way for insular, insulation-blessed pursuits. This is part of the polyphonic inspiration behind Poolside, an abstract painting show that captures the fleeting, sugary joy of the season in a multi-room, immersive gallery experience. 

Artists Jayes Caitlin, Michelle Miller and Jung Yun have filled the burgeoning Rhythm Visuals Gallery with brilliant paintings and prints, weirdly done. The entire experience is a dopamine rush, a jolt of audacious work to get you through the dog days of Summer. 

Miller, who co-owns Print Shop LA in Chinatown, built the centerpiece of the show, a behemoth installation with enough centripetal force to reroute traffic. 

“I usually do murals and paintings, so it was really cool to be able to take the shapes out of the paintings and hand cut them and create this playful world,” Miller told We Like L.A., “All my work is really connected to my gender identity and design and the experience traveling and moving through different environments.” 

You can walk into the installation – so long as you strap on some booties – and dance among the jagged and jubilant shapes, a top-notch photo op for the gram or for airdropping to a confused stranger. The Yale-bound Miller, who identifies as non-binary, has carved out a niche with shape-obsessed, ice cream-colored works that you can seemingly taste with your eyes, including a project to design and print the official poster for this year’s Pitchfork Music Festival in Chicago.

The other big draw is a kiddie pool in the back of the gallery where you can grab water balloons and pilfer the gallery’s white wall to reveal a bodacious painting, a magic marker-like illusion scaled up. It’s made with hydrochromatic ink that dries white but turns clear when you get it wet, says Caitlin, who, like the other artists in this exhibition, moved here after studying at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She runs the aforementioned print shop with Miller, and has a virtuosic grasp of abstract technique. 

Painting by Jayes Caitlin / Photo by Jonathan Tolliver

Her work here is on-theme. It’s eye-popping and prismatic and modern, but it stands out from the other pieces here with its almost tribal, pastiche sensibilities. ’That series for me is all made from these board paint skins that I collaged together, so it stays really loose while I’m working and has a lot of freedom to improvise, but it’s all still paint in the end,’ she said. 

Poolside, like most work at Rhythm Visuals Gallery is smartly laid out, the bombast of the front and back rooms of the gallery softened by the meditative middle-room work of Yun, an enigmatic and esoteric artist whose skill belies his young features. 

“I moved around growing up, so its kind of natural for me to adapt to where I’m at. Whatever’s available to me, I don’t need a paintbrush,” Yun explained. 

He uses unconventional techniques – one piece was done by hand, another made in part with box cardboard in lieu of a paintbrush – and incorporates video and sound baths for an overall moody and sativa-friendly experience. A murky visual is projected onto the biggest piece here, slowly changing shape and color the longer you stare. And trust, you will stare. 

Work by Jung Yun / Photo by Jonathan Tolliver

“There is no painting like this if you look back in history,” he said.

Boundlessly curious, he’s also a fashion designer who’ll be selling his progressive, warehouse-chic apparel in the gallery, so you can wear the strange. 

Apparel by Jung Yun / Photo by Jonathan Tolliver

For opening reception on August 10 the show boasted snacks, cocktails, intrepid ice cream flavors by Mild Crush and tarot readings by Ayyaht. Truly summertime radness encapsulated. 

Photo by Jonathan Tolliver

The exhibit is open Sunday, Monday and Thursday from noon to 4 p.m. through September 5. Rhythm Visuals is located at 1040 S Olive St, Los Angeles.

It’s not terribly far from the nearest train stop, and is easily accessible by bus if you want to avoid parking downtown. Ride share, per usual, is recommended. 


There’s a Pop-Up Roller Skating Rink Coming to Union Station This Month

August 9, 2019 by Jonathan Tolliver
Union Station Old Ticket Room
The old ticket room at Union Station. Credit: Steve and Julie via flickr

Take off those TRAINing wheels, and lace up your finest retro skates, because Union Station is transforming the historic ticket course into a wheels up boogie wonderland over two days from August 24-25.

Union Station’s Retro Roller Rink will feature a 3200 square foot pop-up rink soundtracked by a DJ spinning classics from the 70s, 80s and right now (because you deserve to hear Earth Wind and Fire and Nicki Minaj in one place, you really do).

As an added bonus, the renowned LA Roller Girls will be on hand giving hot tips to skaters of all levels and showing off their moves, presumably.

Regarding costs: A one-hour skate costs $7 in advance and $10 at the door, and skate rental is included in that price, though you are allowed to BYOS: Bring Your Own Skates. All ages are welcome.

There’s also a skate-tastic photo booth where you can commemorate this free-wheeling day. Beer and soda will also be sold on site. Buzzed cola, anyone?‪

The weekend rink is open noon to 9 p.m. on August 24, and noon to 4 p.m. on Sunday August 25. Union station is super easy to get to on public transit, obviously, but you’re welcome to park nearby or take an Uber.‬

Tickets are available here.


Doggie Paradise Docks at The Queen Mary in September

August 6, 2019 by Jonathan Tolliver
Image Courtesy of @3aussienbrothers via The Queen Mary

Snoop told you Long Beach was the dog capitol of the world, but nothing could prepare you for this. The Queen Mary is bringing an entire afternoon of dog-friendly delights next month for you and your pup, including splash pools, a canine crafts station, and a bark-filled ball pit.  Your four-legged friend can also get a real Hollywood pampering, including a full wash and manicure at mobile grooming stations. 

The Pawfect Performance Stage features pooch-perfect entertainment all day long and a tail-wagging watermelon eating contest. There are, of course, instagrammable art installations: a giant fire hydrant, flower walls, and a ‘dog toy heaven.’

Listen, there’s more. There’s a prize-filled cutest dog contest, paw painting and paw clay imprinting, scores of small businesses selling dog accouterments, and merchandise from  Real Meat Co, Just Food For Dogs, PJs Pet Cafe, and Camp Run A Mutt. 

The Bark-eology Tent hosts educational workshops every half-hour, including a Reiki Healing demonstration from Tranquil Pet aimed at reducing your pet’s anxiety, stress and depression. You can also pick up tips on training and obedience and learn about pet First Aid and CPR.

Pups from Seal Beach Animal Center and Long Beach Animal Care will be on hand looking for a forever home. You can fill out an adoption application, and also sign-up to volunteer and / or foster. 

So there’s a lot. This is like Coachella for dogs, but on the ocean, a perfect little get away for you and your bestie. Tickets start at $25 plus a service fee for general admission, an all-access pass that covers one human and one dog. VIP tickets are $50 plus a service fee and will get you a treat bag with matching shirts and bandanas for you and your puppy partner, and a Doggie Paradise pet water bottle. Each additional dog is $5, so feel free to bring additional good boys and girls. 

This goes down at Queen Mary Events Park on Saturday, September 14 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., a real dog day afternoon. You’re gonna want to drive to this, and while you can park off-site and walk over, there’s $15 on-site parking in the Queen Mary’s massive lot. Find tickets here


The Museum of Weed Opens This Weekend in Los Angeles

August 2, 2019 by Jonathan Tolliver

The first-ever Museum of Weed debuts this Saturday at a location on Cahuenga Blvd., just a stone’s throw from Paramount Studios and only blocks north of Hancock Park. The 30,000 square foot space of ‘higher learning’ is the brainchild of WeedMaps, a cannabis website, community and discovery platform. Their aim is to provide insight and history into the prohibition and racially disparate public policies surrounding marijuana. And they’re not pulling any punches.

The Museum of Weed features interactive exhibits, Instagram-friendly art installations and a bevy of historical artifacts. Note that there is no actual consumption of cannabis on the premises, but the exhibits really sell you with their names: Pre-Prohibition, Age of Madness, Counterculture Revolution, Behind Closed Doors, Entrapment, Dose of Compassion, and Legalization and The Plant Lab.

The opening night soiree, which took place on Thursday, featured some highfalutin guests: Mustard DJ’ed while Tommy Chong and RuPaul’s Drag Race star Laganja Estranja milled about, taking in the greenery and scenery. People from all walks crowded into the massive museum, a reminder that it’s not just college-aged hippies who love weed. And if pay attention, there’s a lot to learn here.

Photo by Jonathan Tolliver

At its best the Museum of Weed melds information, photography, and sound to paint a grim yet predictable picture of a war on drugs driven by nativism and political propaganda. The effect is somber and rousing. A mellow hum drips in through the speakers as you take in cannabis-referencing artwork from ancient cultures, including a work from Egypt dating back to 1550 BC that explains how the plant was used to treat gonorrhea, among other ailments.

From there you learn about the origins of anti-weed propaganda in the U.S., largely provoked by fear of immigrants driven here by the bloody Mexican Revolution. Did you know it’s commonly called marijuana, as opposed to cannabis, because Prohibitionists hoped the Spanish word would make it sound scarier?

Photo by Jonathan Tolliver

Things take a psychedelic turn as you walk through a fun house with anti-pot slogans, an inventive and frankly creepy way to drive home the mania surrounding the drug in the early to mid 20th century. 

As we move to the counterculture revolution section of the exhibit we learn how weed tied into the civil rights movement and other major cultural shifts. Mannequins with TVs for heads recreate the words of Nixon, who promises to hit the marijuana ‘thing…right square in the puss.’

Photo by Jonathan Tolliver

Later, there’s a stoner’s bedroom decked out with posters and placards highlighting pro-weed music of the era, including California faves Cypress Hill, who were apparently one of the first groups to rap unambiguously about their love of hydro. 

A mock hospital room explores, to great emotional effect, the way weed helped soothe HIV / AIDS patients during the crisis of the 80s and 90s. This one is a tear-jerker, but also a fierce indictment of America’s slow response to the autoimmune plague.

The museum is brashly political, and has an undeniable point of view. America, misled by anti-immigrant politicians, is stuck in a century-long pot prohibition loop. Despite the optimism of recent state legalization and decriminalization measures, there are still thousands in prison for non-violent drug offenses. 

There’s a petition station where folks can voice their support for marijuana legislation. That is, in fact, the stated goal of this endeavor.

“Today in the United States, someone is arrested for non-violent possession of cannabis every 48 seconds,” said WeedMaps CEO Chris Beals via press release. That’s over 650,000 arrests annually, consuming hundreds of millions of dollars and resources from law enforcement efforts.”

The most potent moment of the exhibit comes when you turn a corner and suddenly there are armed, uniformed mannequin soldiers greeting you in formation, yelling at you. The very-real fear you feel is only a fraction of what one might muster during an actual raid. Scary stuff.

Photo by Jonathan Tolliver

Outside the exhibit, in the museum foyer, the mood was light as a feather. Tommy Chong was smiling, the cafe churned out meaty little bites, and the gift shop teemed with curious gawkers.

It’s a beautifully-rendered building, a wood paneled exterior leading into an open interior of marble counters and floor-to-ceiling glass. It feels more art-gallery than museum, a progressive design that matches the forward-thinking message of the exhibit at large. 

The museum officially opens tomorrow, August 3 and closes September 29. You have to be 18+ to enter, and tickets start at $35 for general admission. VIP tickets, which are only available to those who are 21+, are listed at $200.

The Museum of Weed is located  at 720 N Cahuenga Blvd, Los Angeles, CA. Hours are as follows:

Monday – Tuesday: Closed
Wednesday – Thursday: 2 – 8:30 p..m
Friday: noon – Midnight
Saturday: 11a.m. – 7 p.m. | VIP Only 8 p.m. – midnight
Sunday: noon – 7 p.m.

Keep in mind this is a busy area, and street parking is scarce, so ride-sharing or public transport is recommended if you’re able.


‘Ghostbusters’ Maze Opens at Universal Studios Hollywood This September

July 26, 2019 by Jonathan Tolliver
Image via Universal Studios

If there’s something strange in your neighborhood, who you gonna call? The box office. 

The slimy n’ scary classic Ghostbusters oozes into Universal Studios Hollywood’s ‘Halloween Horror Nights’ this September with sure-to-be-spooky immersive mazes based off the beloved 1984 hit film. Aim for full apparition submission as you follow the films’ heroes- Peter, Ray, Egon and Winston – through iconic scenes from the movie: the firehouse, the New York Public Library, and the Temple of Gozer, which sounds like a delicious restaurant but sadly is not. 

Expect to be scared, but in a funny way, with classic characters like Gozer the Gozerian, and the gooey and goofy Slimer, and the big boy version of the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. 

This year marks the films’ 35th anniversary, a milestone recently-commemorated by a massive two-day Los Angeles fan fest.  That event was teeming with khaki-jumpsuit clad ‘busters buffs , and you can bet Universal will be going all in to impress the flick’s faithful followers. 

The fun kicks off with a September 12 preview and runs through November 3. Halloween Horror Nights has been spooking crowds for over 25 years, and is a must-see for folks who love their scares made to scale. This is the film capitol of the world, after all, with the industry’s best special effects within reach.  

Featuring the show-stopping Stranger Things maze and the perennially well-attended Walking Dead Attraction, this promises to be a frighteningly-big year at the famed Hollywood entertainment mecca. General admission tickets for the preview start at $69 and includes admission all the new mazes and attractions, photos with scare actors, live DJs and themed food and merch. For more ticketing and more information visit


Juice Box is East Hollywood’s Queer Comedy Oasis

July 18, 2019 by Jonathan Tolliver
Host Matt LeGrande. Photo via Juice Box Comedy

There’s nothing better than laughing with a new main squeeze. Luckily, monthly laugh-in Juice Box Comedy has you covered. The queer-friendly East Hollywood mainstay, staged on the front porch of painfully-hip thrift shop L.A.G. Vintage, features a bevy of burgeoning comics and big names dropping in to test new material on a sexy, savvy crowd.

Their Pride edition was poppin, poignant and drowning in rainbows. Danielle Perez kicked things off with casually bawdy jokes about visits to the clinic and being the bougie Cardi B.

Eastside baddie Mary Jane French talked brusquely about her journey as a trans woman, roasting straight people who are confused by her relationship with a trans man. 

“I know this is gay…somehow,” she joked.

The show is hosted by the acerbic Matt LeGrande, a strapping young gun in the game whose baby-like features belie his sharp tongue and whip quick wit. 

“Crazy, sexy, cool are words that come to mind when I think of the show. It’s a groovy comedy party where comics and friends tend to hang before and after. Often the space turns into a dress up party as show goers buy from the vintage store,” he said. 

Photo via Juice Box Comedy

The show grows each month, with folks spilling off the porch and up to the Mexican restaurant next door. It’s slightly obstructed from street view, so walking in feels like unlocking a trap door, a hidden world of cutting-edge comics and retro garb tucked on an unassuming stretch of real estate.

LeGrande curates a lineup that matches the insidiously hip vibe of the neighborhood – less Laugh Factory, more Broad City. 

He features mostly queer comics, a rarity in a city most-known for straightlaced mainstays like The Comedy Store and The Hollywood Improv, clubs where it can feel like they have a one queer and/or female comic slot per show. The nexus where Juice Box goes down is also a carefully meted mix of gay-friendly bars and other businesses, and more conservative fare like the stand up stalwart Hot Tub comedy just down the street at The Virgil.

“Like most intelligent people, I only find women and queer people funny. I wanted to create a space where I could showcase individuals who make me laugh. A show that I would actually have fun at,” he said

L.A.G. is also proudly-gay, a perfect post for a wide swath of folks looking to hear jokes they can relate to. The crowd is decidedly mixed, featuring young and not-so-young Silver Lake-adjacent denizens with cool do’s and calm ‘tudes. All are welcome; this is a safe space.

Speaking of space, Heather Turman was out-of-this world. Her material heavy and hilarious, riffing at length about depression and raunchy sex, the peanut butter and jelly of daily existence. The twice-divorced, queer comic’s mature, seen-it-all approach paired perfectly with headliner Joel Kim Booster’s jokes about bath salts and the highs and lows of club life. He’s a masterful improviser; a performer with a CVS-receipt length list of credits and a unique backstory.

There isn’t a ton of street parking, but plenty of bus lines run along Santa Monica and Vermont, and the red line isn’t too far either. There’s great food in the area, including the aforementioned Mexican restaurant, and there’s a liquor store just across the street for those looking to bring their own booze. 

The next performance of Juice Box Comedy is Friday, July 19. Tickets are $5 and can be purchased via Eventbrite.