August 31, 2013 |
There's one second of sound on John Legend's new album, "Love in the Future," that sums up his current artistic mission. It's on the delicate, gloomy track "Asylum," and the sound is a snare drum. Or rather a blast of raw, percussive white noise that punctuates Legend's future-soul tale of a love "where we both go crazy. " "We were leaning toward progressive, cool samples with space and minimalism," Legend said. "How do you refresh a genre that's so traditional and classic?" Although Legend is an R&B artist indebted to Sam Cooke's pristine phrasing and white-shoe piano ballads, his "Love in the Future" sounds remarkably modern.
July 31, 2013 |
It is the face of Eileen Brennan that will stay with me as much as any one of the performances the quintessential character actress packed into her very long career. Not a classic beauty, her face was arresting for its very distinct abilities. The eyes alone were scene-stealers, so often carrying the weight of the world. Whether they were being called on to condemn or forgive, Brennan somehow left you feeling that she was handling the petty frustrations of life for the rest of us. Her voice is what got her a start in the business -- singing on stage -- though what lingers is the sound of a gravelly alto that seemed stained by whiskey and cigarettes whether she smoked or drank a day in her life.
July 27, 2013 |
Peaches and nectarines are kissing cousins. In fact, maybe closer. Plant a bunch of peach pits and a few of them will actually sprout nectarine trees, and vice versa. It used to be said that the difference was that peaches had fuzz while nectarines didn't. But in supermarkets today, that's hard to determine since many of the peaches have been mechanically de-fuzzed. Generally, the flavor of nectarines is lighter and a little more acidic, almost lemony, while peaches are richer and muskier.
July 14, 2013 |
Tired of the shuttle-bus lines, the candy wrappers, the oh-the-humanity crowds that threaten to spoil the Yosemite experience? Have we got a summer place for you. The sleepy June Lake Loop offers all the joys of the Sierra with a fraction of the fuss. There are four alpine lakes, waterfalls, towering back-country hikes, kayaks, a high-end spa and some of the huskiest trout you've ever seen. This all makes June Lake one of the most amiable -- and versatile -- weekend jaunts in California.
June 26, 2013 |
Many beer drinkers equate pilsners with the watery, bland beers of the American mega-brewers, but thankfully craft breweries are producing flavorful and approachable examples that do justice to the long history of pilsners. The refreshing qualities of delicately balanced lager make it a wonderful match for the balmy midsummer days in Los Angeles, and here are suggestions for some of the best locally brewed pilsners to start your exploration into the style. TAPS Fish House in Orange County is a brewpub that does lagers right, and brewmaster Victor Novak cooks up three different versions of the pilsner.
June 6, 2013 |
Even her dog could swim. That's one of my favorite memories from interviewing swimmer-turned-movie-star Esther Williams at her house in Beverly Hills in 1984. Williams, who died Thursday morning at the age of 91, was delightful talking about her fabled past at MGM. And of course her house had a pool - that's where her little terrier would dog paddle. Like many baby boomers, I grew up watching the former swimming champ's vastly entertaining MGM Technicolor musicals like 1944's "Bathing Beauty" and 1949's "Neptune's Daughter" on television, swooning over her extravagant, almost psychedelic swimming routines.