Sunday, September 17, 2023

Street Food Cinema: La La Land

 On a Saturday night, amongst the stars in the outskirts of Downtown LA, Street Food Cinema: a TIL Events Production in collaboration with Hurwitz Concerts & Lionsgate, presented "La La Land In Concert: Film Screening with Live Orchestra" to a packed crowd of moviegoers in L.A.'s State Historic Park. 

Lately, Street Food Cinema has been having some of the best events in L.A., partnering with Studios and Organizations for open-air screenings and they seem to only be getting started!

We conducted an interview with Composer/Conductor Justin Hurwurtz and SFC / TIL Founder & producer Steve Allison just before the LalaLand Screening which had a full 52 piece orchestra overlooking the Downtown skyline.

Monday, March 4, 2019

Now Apocalypse!

Gregg Araki is back and FINALLY on TV!

And a few lucky LA fans got to see the first three episodes of the new STARZ series on the big screen thanks to Outfest Fusion at the Chinese 6 Theatres on March 3, 2019.

The question in fans is now, has the wait been worth it?

For those of us that have followed Araki's career, ever since 1997's Nowhere, Araki has been wanting to share his flavor of ultra sexual teen romance madness he's been known for to the small screen. But WHY would he EVER want to do a thing like that?

As the godfather of Queer cinema, Araki has pushed the boundaries of sex and what the "norms of society" are, with a limited reach on the silver screen, and taking his brand to television  to be shared with people weekly, to a bigger, far reaching audience was the ultimate goal. 

Unfortunately, the world wasn't ready for Araki in the 90s -though it ALMOST happened with his MTV pilot "This Is How The World Ends" (last time I checked it was in youtube, watch it!)- of the 2000s, but it's better late than never, I say.

Now Apocalypse, the story of Ulysses (Avan Jogia) and his friends in LA, hits many of Araki's previous tropes. Some beats even recreating moments us fans know from previous films, most from 2010's "Kaboom", which was also heavily borrowing from his MTV pilot. As our lead worries of a world ending catastrophe foreshadowed in a dream that is shared with best friend Carly (Kelli Berglund), all done in a very similar manner as Kaboom, one stars to worry if this is all going to be a rehash. BUT, luckily, as we are introduced with his straight roomate (and secret crush, again, Kabooming it!) Ford (Beau Mirchoff) as he's reverse cowgirl-ing his beloved Severine (Roxane Mesquida), we get a glimpse of what it is to come. The sex is umped to the max on the series, and Araki this time is going all out. Granted, sex is not all that make (or break) a series, but it's nice to FINALLY have crazy, depraved sexual situations THAT ARE NOT BEING JUDGED OR LOOK DOWN UPON on television. We also get what we love from his films, characters that are looking for love in a world where it is so hard to find it. Ulysses' crush, Gabriel (Tyler Posey) starts ghosting him, Ford can't seem to win with Severine's cold and calculated outlook on love and monogamy, and Carly can't connect sexually with boyfriend Jethro (Desmond Chiam). As situations we are all very familiar with unfold (alond with Nowhere's alien Roscoe making an appearance for good measure), we are all once again sucked into Araki's world once again, with those three half hour episodes we were lucky to preview not being enough to satisfy our Araki needs.

After the screening, it was time for Araki, along with Avan Jogia, Kelli Berglund, Roxane Mesquida, and Beau Mirchoff to join the audience:

And here's the full Q&A, for posterity's sake:

All in all, if you're a fan of Gregg Araki, this is the series we've been waiting for. Yes, forgive his sins of rehashing, I was already DONE after Kaboom with his teen apocalypse themes, BUT in the end, he's still giving me what I've always liked about his movies ever since Doom Generation, that awkwardness, solitude and sense of feeling unloved we all feel at one point of another, it may be that some of us don't grow out of it, and it better be the case for Araki, cos I'm still 100% on board.

Now Apocalypse will start airing on STARZ on March 10, check your local listings!

Monday, July 9, 2018

Anime Expo Time!

That time of the year was upon us once more, Summer! And with Summer comes Anime Expo! And, like it has been since the time I've been going (this was my sixth year), it's 4 days of fun in Los Angeles!
You may have seen people during the 4th of July weekend in downtown dressed up in costumes, and Anime Expo is the reason why. Yes, I have written about Anime Expo before (last year) so what is new?
I decided that the best course of action for this article would be a little show and tell; after all, is better if you see it and I will provide the context. Since last year we didn't spend too much time inside the exhibit hall, this time we are gonna be delving into the experience that is AX!

 We'll start with the scope of things, as always, AX was PACKED! Lots of people running around everywhere, whether it was to a panel, to buy something, for a cosplay meet up or what-have-you, it was gonna take you a while to get to point A to point B. You best have all your day planned ahead!

Cosplayers is one of my favorite things about AX. Seeing what new anime or pop culture characters are gonna pop up, and the exchange between those demonstrating their abilities and skills on recreating that particular character they love, and those that want to capture it for posterity.

Now, not all people dressed up are cosplayers, the various booths also have people cosplaying a particular character, and, more often than not, they are, in their own spare time, fans or even cosplayers! 

 On our way to check out how the signings work on the West Hall, on the opposite side of the Convention Center (hence the need to always plan out the day), we rain into this art piece:

You were allowed to paint on the boxes as well, who said promotions can't be also fun? Once we arrived at the West Hall, we realized the signings were actually on the other side, but we actually used the opportunity to check out the Fate Grand Order VR game, which we actually discovered it was more of an experience where you just get to look around and see one of the characters dance in an arousing fashion. And, oh, they were actually two possible random experiences you could do:

After the VR experience, we finally made it to our destination, as the music composer from the seminal Super Nintendo game, which was recently redone and released on PS4, Hiroki Kikuta,who signed our Indivisible soundtrack CD! 

After meeting Kikuta, it was time for the RWBY signing with voice actor Yssa Badiola and RWBY writer Kerry Shawcross, who were really nice and attentive to all the fans, taking their time to talking to fans, signing and posing for photos! 

 Another aspect of AX that is expected every year is for cosplayers to exhibit their creations to attendees outside the South Hall. All day, everyday, you can just peruse and be amused by all the creativity displayed:

 Remember to always be respectful of all the cosplayers and to always ask for permission to take their photos, courtesy and respect should go without saying, so don't forget!

More photos in the next article as we share some of our experiences on the panels and battling the killer heat to get to Funimation's event at Lucky Strike!

Words by Humberto Sandoval
Photos by Lauren Label