Now Registered on the Better Lemons Calendar – August 5 - 11, 2019

Theatrical shows and Cabaret NOW registered on the Better Lemons calendar!

For more shows visit our Calendar. For shows with a LemonMeter rating, visit our LemonMeter page.

MACBETH

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THE VANDAL

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NIKI HARIS: SISTERS IN SOUL

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LOST MOON RADIO SUMMER BLOCK PARTY

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ANDY WARHOL'S TOMATO

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THE SPANISH PRAYER BOOK

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TO GILLIAN ON HER 37TH BIRTHDAY

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PAUL ROBESON THEATRE FESTIVAL

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NOW MORE THAN EVER: AN AFTERNOON OF HUMOR

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A THOUSAND CLOWNS

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Lemon Butter: Best of L.A.'s Theatre Adjacent Restaurants and Bars - August Edition

Lemon Butter is a bi-monthly column featuring choice restaurants, lounges, Happy Hours, and other spots where hospitality is offered, that are convenient to theatre venues throughout Los Angeles. For distances and times given traffic and parking are not factored in. Where available, contact all hospitality venues for valet or parking information and/or reservations.

This month's Lemon Butter covers just a few restaurants in the Silver Lake, South Pasadena, and Downtown LA areas, with one recognized by the Michelin Guide which only just recently returned to Los Angeles!


The Chicken and Waffles at Preux & Proper, Downtown, Los Angeles. Photo by Dan Watkins.

PREUX & PROPER

This Michelin Bib Gourmand awarded restaurant is just a few minute's drive from the Music Center's Ahmanson, Mark Taper Forum, Dorothy Chandler, and Walt Disney Concert Hall.

Executive Chef Sammy Monsour and restaurateur Joshua Kopel bring southern cooking to Los Angeles to their New Orleans-inspired DTLA restaurant.

Cocktails include the Punk Evans comprised of Effen Vodka, lemongrass, ginger, and frozen watermelon balls, an Alabama Slammer featuring Buffalo Trace Bourbon, Sipsmith Gin, yellow chartreuse, lemon, lavender, and grape soda, the Hells Bells made with Real McCoy Rum, ginger peach tea, and lemon, and the refreshing Green Gullah made with St. George Gin, green chartreuse, pineapple, lime, ginger beer and chipotle.

For a starter or bar bites, there's the Cajun “Popcorn” Rock Shrimp with Monsour's buttermilk marinade, cornmeal crust, Creole remoulade, and chunky cocktail sauce,  the Dungeness Crab Hushpuppies with Low-Country Boil Spice, charred Poblano butter, house bourbon barrel-aged green hot sauce, and the Southern Fried Mississippi Catfish that's marinaded in buttermilk before it is dipped in cornmeal and fried, then is served with house pickles, celery salt, and red remoulade.

There are also cool and crisp salads Baby Iceberg such as Pop’s Chop, with North Country bacon ends, heirloom tomato, scallion, Humboldt Fog goat’s cheese and buttermilk dressing, the Chicken Bacon Cobb with house chicken bacon, heirloom tomato, cucumber, hard-boiled egg, queso fresco and avocado ranch, or the OGO Caesar prepared with Monterey Bay seaweed, mustard frills, caper berries, Parmigiano and toasted yellow-eyed peas.

For main dishes there are the fried chicken plates, featuring Chicken & Waffles served with two boneless breasts on cinnamon sugar, cornbread waffles with bourbon-maple, crushed pecans, marjoram, and "really good" butter, Chicken & Biscuit prepared with two boneless breasts and a handmade buttermilk biscuit with charred Poblano butter, Serrano jelly and bourbon barrel-aged green hot, the Nashville Hot served with two boneless breasts, house pickles, Pop’s Slaw on thick cut brioche with a choice of "Hot," "XXX," "Reaper," or "Hellfire" sauce, and a Whole Fried Game Hen comprised of four quartered bone-in game hen with Low-Country seasoning, buttermilk dressing, parsley, scallions and dill, or the Crispy Braised Dr Pepper Wings which include twelve whole wings served with a pomegranate-habanero BBQ, lime crema, and cilantro.

With their South City Fried Chicken moving to Preux & Proper for lunchtime pop-ups Monday through Saturday, Preux & Proper now serves that buttermilk brined chicken in their Southern city-themed sandwiches, like the Chapel Hill topped with “Pop’s Slaw,” Jenny’s pimento cheese, house pickles, and crispy Tarheel country ham. The Greenville, their take on a Club, features that crispy chicken with hickory-smoked chicken bacon, house mayo, gruyère, baby iceberg lettuce and heirloom tomato, The Austin, with Rojo bean hummus, burrata, Javi’s Tia’s Hot Sauce, pickled radish, cilantro, blue corn tortilla crumble, and heirloom tomato, the Nashville seasoned with a Nashville rub, chili oil, house pickles and a sweet and tangy Cookout slaw, and a personal favorite, the New Orleans, with creole remoulade, cajun spice, Thai basil, a fried egg, benne seeds, and ginger-miso BBQ.

There are staple sides including the Slaw, Kennebec Fries, a Watermelon Cucumber Salad, Braised Collards, Low-Country BakedBeans, and Preux & Proper’s famous Cast Iron Mac & Cheese.

For dessert, Preux & Proper’s Pâte à Choux Beignets made with “bananas foster” dulce de leche, and powdered sugar, Maria’s Strawberry Shortcake served with a house buttermilk biscuit, brown butter solids, and crème fraîche vanilla ice cream, or Chef Sammy’s Banana Puddin’ featuring candied walnuts, bananas, Nilla wafer, and toasted coconut.

Laissez les bon temps rouler!

PREUX & PROPER - 840 South Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90015 - (213) 896-0090

Distance to the Ahmanson, Mark Taper Forum, Dorothy Chandler, and Walt Disney Concert Hall  - (1.5 miles, 9-15 minute drive)


The Mole Enchiladas Poblano at Casita Del Campo in Silverlake, California, June 23, 2019. Photo by Monique A. LeBleu.

CASITA DEL CAMPO

CASITA DEL CAMPO in Silver Lake houses the Cavern Club theatre and is walking distance to the Lyric Hyperion.

Legendary Casita Del Campo celebrating 57 years in Silver Lake serves fresh fruit Margaritas, like the Strawberry and Pomegranate Margaritas made with fresh lime juice, triple sec and tequila, along with flavors like apple, peach, melon, and banana—perfect for Summertime cocktails before a show downstairs at the Cavern Club.

The vibrant and colorful restaurant features homemade Mexican fare like the shareable Casita’s Special with six crispy mini tortillas topped with chicken, beef, beans, jack cheese, sour cream, fresh guacamole, chopped tomatoes, and peppers, the cheesy Enchiladas are prepared with a choice of protein or can be served vegan with a light tomatillo sauce, the Mahi Mahi, grilled and topped with red bell peppers, onions, cilantro, tomatoes and is served with white rice, black beans, and plantains, the Pollo al Cilantro, with fresh cubes of chicken in a butter sauce, with olive oil, spices and cilantro, and the Cochinita Pibil--a pork tenderloin marinated in spices, achiote chili, and fruit juice, slowly baked and served with white rice and black beans. All of their entrees are served with soup or salad, rice, beans, and hot corn tortillas.

Rudy del Campo, a successful dancer on Broadway, Las Vegas and a “Shark” in the film 'West Side Story,” opened Casita del Campo in 1962 with his family. He met Nina del Campo in 1965, where they fell in love. Rudy passed in 2003, but restaurateur Nina del Campo continues to work at the restaurant where she's been in charge of the business since the 1960s. The restaurant, traditionally and festively decorated with moons, Moravian stars, holiday decorations of the month, with “West Side Story” memorabilia throughout, also has glorious enclosed patios which contain Nina del Campo's brilliant artistry—her hand-inlaid glass mosaic tables designed by her and representing Mexican art and culture. These should not be missed in a visit to this landmark Silver Lake restaurant!

CASITA DEL CAMPO - 1920 Hyperion Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90027 - (323) 662-4255

Distance to the Cavern Club Theatre  - None. You are there!

Distance to the Lyric Hyperion Theatre  - (0.1 miles, 1 min. drive, 2 min. walk.)


The Chicken Karaage, front, and Spicy Tuna "Tacos" during Happy Hour at Ai Restaurant, South Pasadena, California. Photo by Monique A. LeBleu.

AI RESTAURANT

AI RESTAURANT in South Pasadena, next door to the landmark, re-purposed Rialto Theatre, and very near the  Fremont Centre Theatre and South Pasadena Theatre Workshop is a best-kept secret when it comes to Happy Hour quick bites and a cocktail just before the theatre...or anytime.

One Yelp reviewer referred to the Ai Bar as the "Cheers" of South Pasadena, as the place is indeed that popular with diehard locals, especially during Happy Hours.

Although a modest assortment at their full bar, their collection Japanese beers are choice, as is their sake and Chef Fumito's select Japanese whiskeys. Their house Chardonnay (typically Hess) is a good value at $5.50 a glass, as is the "Ai Tai" of Bacardi Light rum, pineapple, lime, orange juice and Almond Orgeat syrup, with a float of Myers Dark rum at $8.

Happy Hour and the best deals are Tuesdays through Saturdays 4-7 pm., and Sundays 5-7 pm, which features a variety of specially priced items that can make a fantastic “tapas” style shareable dinner with bar bites such as the crispy fried Chicken Karaage, the Grilled Shishito peppers, the Ika (squid) Tempura, Mussels prepared in white wine, garlic & olive oil, the spicy Tuna Poke marinated with a seaweed salad, and the ever-popular Spicy Tuna "Tacos" on wonton tostadas.

Some of the sides include String Beans sautéed with Garlic Sauce (which is the same sauce for the off-menu Garlic Edamame, if you ask for it), Steamed Asparagus' served with a miso-based dipping sauce, Steamed Spinach sautéed with garlic and served hot or cold, Okra served Tempura, or steamed Shumai dumplings (Deep fried or steamed), the Agedashi Tofu, a deep fried Tofu in broth, and fried shrimp, squid, scallop, and other assorted Tempuras.

If you are lucky, Fumito San might have the melt-in-your-mouth Lamb Chops during Happy Hour, which come with a garnish of a very creamy mashed potato salad and dipping sauce. When he has it, this is a must have!

Aside from lots of hot plate combinations and sushi to order, Ai Restaurant is one of the last Japanese Restaurants to provide “Love Boats”–large table-service boats filled with preset and to order sushi assortments. There are also assorted “Don” or Rice Bowls with ebef, Chicken Katsu, Tempura, and unagi, and Udon Noodle Bowls of beef, chicken, Tempura, Nabeyaki, or Soba with Tempura.

Cut rolls are relatively simple, such as the Yellowtail & Green Onion Roll, Jumbo Shrimp Tempura Roll, or the seasonal Soft-Shell Crab Roll, along with assorted Sashimi to order and Chirashi Bowls (Mixed Sashimi over Rice.)

Word of warning: as a family run business, the restaurant is incredibly busy during lunch and large groups sometimes take longer to serve. The restaurant is closed on Mondays.

Itadakimasu!

AI RESTAURANT - 1013 Fair Oaks Ave, South Pasadena, CA 91030 - (626) 799-0534

Distance to the South Pasadena theatre Workshop  - (450 ft, 1 min. drive, 5 min walk)

Distance to the Fremont Centre Theatre  - (0.2 miles, 2 min. drive)


It's National See-A-Show Day!: SIX Questions with jackbenny

jackbenny, the dynamic musical duo comprised of twin brothers Jack and Benny Lipson, is exactly what the music industry and the world need right now. They are young, grounded in tradition, bounding towards what's next in the world of sound, and always refreshing. On the eve of their upcoming show National See-A-Show Day!, debuting at the Luckman Intimate Theatre for one-night only this weekend, I had to buzz with these boys about music, their current work, and – of course – queerness in artistic expression. Here we go!

Roger Q. Mason (RQM): How did jackbenny begin?

Jack and Benny (JB): Growing up here in LA we started jamming together in our tweens singing songs by artists and composers we admire. Benny moved away to Miami for undergrad and as soon as he returned the two of us began playing bass and keyboard, respectively, in a handful of local bands. But soon we grew antsy to write and perform original material with more pointed lyrics and unbound to prescribed musical formulae. We retreated to Sedona, Arizona for a week in December 2016, and thus spawned jackbenny and our first batch of songs.

RQM: Let's talk about style. You two beautifully meld musical theatre, jazz, pop, rock and other influences to create a very unique live concert aesthetic. What was the inspiration behind your sound?

JB: We love all the musical styles you listed and more, and of course we invite them into jackbenny's sound! We decided to link our material not necessarily through a certain soundscape - although we do stamp our songs with surprising harmonic diversions and metrical twists - but rather through their savvy and sometimes provocative lyrics addressing contemporary social phenomena. In musical theater the same composer can churn out disparate scores from show to show as they craft in service to the characters and drama; we believe each of our lyrics earns that specificity…the music in a way writes itself!

RQM: Tell me EVERYTHING about It's National See-a-Show Day!!

Jack: Well we can't tell you everything, then you'd know exactly what to expect! It's National See-a-Show Day! is a culmination of all we've culled from our residency last year at the Lyric Hyperion Theatre, where we presented 10 unique 2-act shows of our material sprinkled with a range of guest performers coloring our material. At the Luckman, we'll maintain that 2-act form - this time with five guest artists contributing - but we're beefing the production value: our set designer roommate built a 60s/70s TV special-esque set for us to play on, we've expanded drummer-percussionist Theo Seidmon's arsenal of toys, and throughout the evening we've planned 92 light cues. Simply interacting together as twins on stage seems to invite uproarious laughter, but we want you to leave, as one audience member articulated, “simultaneously smarter and optimistic about the world.”

RQM: Okay, breaking with form – I'm going to ask 6 questions – not five. Jack, what's it like working with Benny?

Jack: Honestly I can't fathom working solo - who can fulfill both the artistic and especially the auxiliary managerial work singlehandedly?! In writing and executing our material, we expect utmost excellence of one another, and often this manifests in frank, brusque criticism...that shortly evolves into laughter. On the business end, Benny and I've started to carve our own territories: Benny oversees and edits video content for jackbenny's website, YouTube, and Facebook pages while I manage our Instagram and mailing list, as well as write all prose surrounding the project.

RQM: Benny, what's it like working with Jack?

Benny: Collaborating with a sibling is both comfortable and challenging; we never hold back how one another is thinking or feeling, good or bad. Since we know one another's capabilities, we push to those limits. I often keep Jack focused on the tasks at hand and monitor his musical ideas from reaching a level of absolute obscurity. Our personalities as composers and businessmen complement nicely.

RQM: Can you tell us anything about your new work Brainstorm?

JB: Brainstorm is a musical theater song cycle of our songs, many of which we'll perform on Saturday. The one-act zooms in on three twentysomethings navigating today's ever-confounding socio-political scene. In continuous sequences of song and movement, they share their newfangled ideas on queer identity, climate change, consensual conduct, bee extinction, healthcare, bureaucracy, and more. The millennials by the piece's close not only refute putative misconceptions of their caricatured generation, but come to empathize with one another on a mutual journey towards a more just and compassionate world. Actually major news regarding Brainstorm began brewing - pun intended - just last week, though we can't formally share just yet...but our audience at the Luckman will be first to hear!

RQM: And finally, let's talk about queerness music. What makes music or a musician or a style of music queer? And why should everyone care?

JB: To start, a couple of our lyrics directly explore queer identity, of course the aptly named “Queer” and its companion number, “Asking.” Other lyrics refer to queer relationships when much music offers either definitively straight characters or nebulously dodges sexual identity as not to expose the creators. But much of the content of our songs, as well as our shows' theatrical aesthetic, stems inevitably from conversations and interactions through our deep involvement in the LGBTQ cultures of LA and New York. Whereas other artists fear this “queer” label will pigeonhole their art towards a niche audience, conversely “queer” to us embraces a spectrum of individuals as variegated as the rainbow. We want those individuals to find themselves within the characters of our music, and hopefully glean from them truths they've - and even we've - yet to discover.

For more information about their show, go to LuckmanArts.org or call (323) 343-6600.

All photos © by Cliff Lipson