JOAN OF ART - A Cinematic Masterpiece starring Brad Pitt, A Swinging Good Time, and Surviving the Darkest Time in History

AD ASTRA is a film set in the near future about one man's physical as well as psychological journey into space. The film is, in one word...brilliant.

It stars Brad Pitt who gives one of his best performances of his career as Astronaut Major Roy McBride who is sent on a deeply classified mission to investigate a rash of solar surges coming from Neptune that threatens the existence of Earth's survival. Roy's father Clifford (Tommy Lee Jones) who has been presumed dead for years is being blamed for the occurrence.

Clifford McBride a renowned astronaut was sent to Neptune 29 years ago to search for intelligent life, but he never returned. Now U.S. intelligence believes that Clifford is alive and responsible for the calamities that are taken place on our planet.

As Roy travels to the outer edges of the solar system to find his missing father and unravel a mystery that threatens the survival of our planet, his journey will uncover secrets that challenge the nature of human existence and our own place in the cosmos.

The film co-written by James Gray and Ethan Gross has stunning visuals, great special effects, but in the end, it's all about Brad Pitt.

Brad is in every scene and he is absolutely mesmerizing. This is a sci-fi film like no other. There are no aliens...just a man exploring outer space and most importantly his own inner world. Come Oscar time, Brad is definitely going to get a nod for his fine work.

AD ASTRA which is a popular Latin phrase meaning 'to the stars' opens in theaters nationwide on Friday September 20th. Do not miss it!

After exploring the depths of our galaxy I think it would be fun to get up and dance and by dance I mean 'swing' to the sounds of the best big band group around today, BIG BAD VOODOO DADDY.

In case you're unfamiliar with the group, they are a contemporary swing revival band from Southern California that in 2018 marked their 25th anniversary. Since its formation in the early nineties in Ventura, the band has toured virtually nonstop, performing on average, over 150 shows a year with record sales of over two million to date.

Their notable singles include 'Go Daddy-O', 'You & Me & the Bottle Makes 3 Tonight' and 'Mr. Pinstripe Suit.' I've seen them numerous times and can't wait to see them this Saturday evening, September 21st at The Canyon Club.

Doors open at 6pm and they go on at 9pm. The Canyon Club is located at 28912 Roadside Drive, Agoura Hills CA 91301. For tickets or more information call 818-879-5016 or go to WhereMusicMeetsTheSoul.com.

Two weeks ago I saw a beautiful, sad, fascinating play entitled THE CHINESE LADY which actually was a fascinating history lesson. The play is at the Greenway Court Theatre located at 544 North Fairfax Avenue in LA and one that I highly recommend.

Inspired by the true story of America's first female Chinese immigrant, THE CHINESE LADY is a dark, poetic, yet whimsical portrait of America through the eyes of a young Chinese woman, Afong Moy (the excellent Amy Shu).

Afong is just 14 years old when she's brought to the United States from Canton in 1834. She is put on display for the American public as 'The Chinese Lady.' For the next half century she performs for curious museum goers showing them how she eats, what she wears and the highlight of the event, how she walks with bound feet.

As the decades wear on, her celebrated sideshow comes to define and challenge her very sense of identity. Sharing the stage with Amy is Trieu Tran, a powerful actor who plays The Chinese Lady's translator. This is definitely 'a must see play.'

For tickets and show times please go to GreenwayCourtTheatre.org.

Now there's another great music event going on this weekend and it's happening at the Shrine Auditorium. Lenny Kravitz, a four time GRAMMY award-winning singer, songwriter, producer and multi-instrumentalist elevates the union of rock 'n roll, funk, blues and soul he patented in 1989 and will be performing for one night only on Saturday, September 21st.

He is all about raising vibration. In his own words, Lenny feels that 'we need to reach higher.' 'We need to be more thoughtful, spiritual, loving and open. He says 'we need to stop thinking of borders, boxes and imaginary forms of separation.' 'We're all on planet Earth together and we must do better.' After reading these words, I can promise you that this will be one amazing concert.

The Shrine is located at 665 West Jefferson Blvd in LA. To buy tickets or for more information call 213-748-5116 or go to ShrineAuditorium.com.


JOAN OF ART: Big Band Music, Rock and Roll Memories, PhotoLA, and of Course the Super Bowl

I know most of America will be watching the Super Bowl. I have to admit I'm not into football but I do love the commercials. But Sunday makes up just one day of the weekend so here's some fun suggestions before the game of games starts...

One of my favorite swing bands, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy is coming to town on Saturday night.

2018 marks the 25th anniversary of Big Bad Voodoo Daddy's remarkable arrival onto the music scene. Since it's formation in the early nineties in Ventura, California, the band has toured virtually nonstop, performing on average over 150 shows a year, and has produced a sizable catalog of recorded music, with sales of over 2 million albums to date. Early on, during their legendary residency at the Derby nightclub in Los Angeles, they reminded the world, in the midst of the grunge era no less, that it was still cool to swing. The band, co-founded by singer Scotty Morris and drummer Kurt Sodergren, was at the forefront of the swing revival of that time, blending a vibrant fusion of the classic American sounds of Jazz, Swing, and Dixieland, with the energy and spirit of contemporary culture.

Big Bad Voodoo Daddy will be performing at The Rose in Pasadena. The all original core line-up includes Scotty Morris (lead vocals and guitar), Kurt Sodergren (drums), Dirk Shumaker (double bass and vocals), Andy Rowley (baritone saxophone and vocals), Glen “The Kid” Marhevka (trumpet), Karl Hunter (saxophones and clarinet) and Joshua Levy (piano and arranger).

After 25 years, 11 records, over 2800 live shows, and countless appearances in film and television, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy is showing no signs of slowing down, and is looking forward to celebrating it's 25th anniversary in 2018.

February 2, 2019 at The Rose in Pasadena
Doors 6pm. Music 7pm. Headliner 9:00pm.
Opening sets by Nick Marechal and Man on Fire
$38 / $48 / $58 / $68 + applicable fees

If you purchase a ticket at a table, you are required to purchase dinner. Minimum spend is $25.00 per person. You must arrive by 7pm. For tickets and more info visit WhereMusicMeetsTheSoul.com/events/big-bad-voodoo-daddy-pasadena

For the past ten years I've been going to PHOTOLA and this year is no exception. A collaborative platform that links the international photographers, galleries, dealers and publishers. That is PhotoLA. Located at the Historic Barker Hanger in Santa Monica the show runs January 31st to February 3rd, 2019.

You will see the works of the industry elite as well as up and coming talent alike. This is the longest running international art fair on the West Coast that has been in operation for nearly three decades. My favorite photography is black and white and they have plenty of amazing vintage works on hand.

The Barker Hanger is located at 3021 Airport Avenue, Santa Monica in the Santa Monica airport. To purchase tickets to to PhotoLA.com.

Now if you're a collector of Rock and Roll memorabilia you definitely do not want to miss L.A's Rock 'N' Roll Flea Market which people say is more like a party that happens to sell stuff. I've been there and I completely agree. This is a very cool place especially if you're into vinyl which I am. With vinyl vendors, vintage guitars and continuous cocktails, the Rock 'N' Roll Flea Market gives Los Angeles a hangover cure featuring both the 'hair of the dog' and shopping.

Jamming from 10am to 3pm on the first Sunday of every month at the Regent Theatre downtown, the RNR Flea Market can kickstart a Sunday with the same raucous fun that closed out Saturday night. The $2.00 cover charge is waived for those who eat at Prufrock before shopping which is a lovely pizzeria attached to the venue, offering a simple brunch with a complete section of cocktails.

This is a smaller version of massive outdoor venues like the Rose Bowl and in contrast it offers shoppers a fun social experience while they browse. Great way to spend Sunday morning before the Super Bowl.

And speaking of the Super Bowl if you're not into having a party at your house, there's some classic bars to watch the game. One is The Abbey, voted annually as one of the world's best gay bars.

They have four full bars and the drinks are strong. The place is Gothic meets the Mediterranean with indoor/outdoor spaces, plentiful cabanas and hunky bartenders. The Abbey is located at 692 North Robertson Blvd. West Hollywood CA. For more information go to TheAbbeyWeHo.com.

Now if you're into watching the game, L.A. icon Barney's Beanery is the place to be.

Located at 8447 Santa Monica Blvd in West Hollywood this is the original branch of a landmark local chain serving an eclectic mix of pub grub in kitschy digs. It opened in West Hollywood in 1920 and very quickly established itself as a fixture in L.A. with a history and a following that is unmatched.

Barney's is a fantastic place to watch your favorite sporting event, play pub style trivia with friends or sing some karaoke.. No reservations are needed. For more information or to check out the menu go to BarneysBeanery.com.

So folks whatever you choose to do this weekend, make it a fun one.