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Senses Block Parties Return As Part Of Revamped Events Lineup

| Entertainment | March 12, 2020

Mark your calendars and start digging through your closet to find the perfect outfit to wear to SENSES, the monthly themed block party in Old Town Newhall. SENSES is a free series that runs on the third Thursday of every month, from March through October.

Those familiar with the City of Santa Clarita’s [email protected] events have much to look forward to as the weather warms up in 2020. With a new schedule of fun, free and entertaining events taking place each month, residents will have opportunities to enjoy music, theatre, comedy and more without being limited to one night of the week. As such, the [email protected] brand will become City of Santa Clarita Events, and its online presence will be a hub for city-run events taking place throughout Santa Clarita.

In addition to SENSES on the third Thursday of the month, the 10 by 10 Variety Show will continue to offer storytelling, short films, comedy and more on the first Thursday at The MAIN (24266 Main Street). The newest events to debut at The MAIN, You’re The Best and SCENES will be offered on the fourth Thursday and fourth Friday, respectively. More information about entertainment happenings in Santa Clarita will be announced at the start of each month.

Residents and their friends are invited to stimulate their senses and experience something new at the SENSES Block Party. SENSES gives you the chance to enjoy live music, gourmet food trucks, drinks, activities and more, and is intended for adults. The 2020 SENSES season kicks off on March 19, at 7:00 p.m. and will feature a new theme each month. The themes for this year are:
Luck O’ the Irish – March 19
Cowboy Kickoff – April 16
Nintendo Party – May 21
Roaring ‘20s – June 18
Hawaiian Luau – July 16
Sports of All Sorts – August 20
Chocolate Factory – September 17
Chills and Thrills – October 15

For more information about the City of Santa Clarita’s SENSES Block Parties, visit OldTownNewhall.com/events or connect on Facebook by “liking” city of Santa Clarita Events.

On the Town with Jason Downs

| Entertainment | March 12, 2020

It was raining on Tuesday, which only added to the feeling of authenticity as I struggled to keep up with my nephew on his morning run. “Just a quick three miles,” he said, “some simple PT while I’m on leave…wanna come?”

No problem, I thought, I run five days a week, this’ll be easy.

I was wrong. All I saw of my nephew was his back as he left me behind and got smaller and smaller in the distance, but you know what? I only felt pride. You see, he’s eighteen years old and just returned from basic training four days ago… and emblazoned on the back of his wind breaker as he flew off ahead of me was single word that said it all: MARINES. That’s right, folks, my nephew, Brandon, not only made it through the toughest boot camp on the planet but came out smiling on the other end. And an expert marksman to boot!

Private Brandon Althoff, US Marine Corps

Having known Brandon his entire life, none of this surprises me. He’s incredibly smart, sensible, good-natured, and good-hearted. I’ve always believed in him. But I could tell he surprised himself a bit, which is all the more satisfying. Especially surprising to him was his success on the rifle range. Qualifying as an expert with a rifle is the highest rank one can achieve and is a step above sharpshooter, which I didn’t know. Brandon had never fired a weapon in his life before, which they said actually gave him an advantage. It’s harder to break bad habits than start fresh and learn correctly. But then again, from the stories he told, it sounded like his training was a long series of first time experiences coupled with breaking old habits and making new ones. This goes on until your body and mind adapt. Listening to him and seeing the glint in his eye made me wish I could’ve experienced the training right alongside him. But alas, I’ve aged out. No one over twenty-nine. I’ll have to settle for panting along behind him in the rain until he heads back for more training next week.

“How long was this first series of training?” I asked.

“Thirteen weeks,” he answered.

“And do you miss it now that you’re suddenly back in the world?”

“Not at all,” came his answer without hesitation. “But I’m looking forward to getting back in there for my MCT the next twenty-eight days. That’s Military Combat Training.”

“Is that supposed to be just as hard as Basic?”

“Harder.”

When I asked him what the most difficult part of his thirteen-week stint had been, he told me, “The first two weeks.” He went on to explain what a great shock it was to suddenly be in a completely different, unknown, and strenuous environment. No family. No contact. No calls. No control. Everything was harder than he thought it would be. “During those times I had to remind myself why I was there and that there was no way I wasn’t going home a Marine.” Not all of the boys in his unit stuck with it. Out of eighty that began only fifty-three graduated. There were about three hundred and forty in his entire class.

“Aside from medical reasons that guys had to drop out for, I’d say to anyone attempting this kind of training you just have to remember what you came for and stick it out. That’s what got me through.”

The moment Brandon actually became a Marine was not on the field in front of his friends and family last Friday, but on top of a mountain called “The Reaper” a couple weeks prior after a fifty-four hour obstacle course termed “The Crucible.” Brandon and his fellow would-be Marines had to climb a vertical incline with their seventy pound packs after the days long exercise. Even though his calves were burning and his body was exhausted, Brandon focused on everything he’d been through to get to that point. “It really wasn’t that difficult after everything I’d done to get to that moment.” Once he reached the top, according to tradition, he was officially a Marine in the eyes of his commanding officers and his fellow trainees.

Brandon’s father gives his son
a proud embrace.

On graduation day, knowing his family was in the crowd cheering him on was “the best feeling ever,” Brandon said. I’d say the feeling was mutual on this end too. The overwhelming love and pride for this young man was apparent on everyone’s face as his grandparents stood for photos and his brothers flexed for the camera beside him.

And while Brandon still has a ways to go in his training, another seven or eight months before he gets assigned to the field, he says joining the Marines was the best decision he could’ve made for himself thus far.

“If you’re asking if I’d go back and do it all again…yes, yes I would.”

Well, to you, Brandon, I say thank you for your service and the light you bring to our lives. Oorah! And just as your fellow Marines live by Semper Fi, your family will always be loyal and faithful to you wherever this adventure takes you.

So, there it is for this week, friends.
([email protected])

Until next time, bon voyage, break a leg, and bon appetit!

Frequently Asked Questions about the Latest Pandemic All of Your Misconceptions are Correct

| Entertainment | March 12, 2020

We’ve been fantasizing about an apocalypse for a long time – but have all of the movies and young adult novels capitalizing on our fears thoroughly prepared us with the knowledge to survive a novel virus? So far, everything we are seeing now did not make the final cut of “28 Days Later” and “The Walking Dead.” But does that mean we are overreacting, or are these not the proper steps to take? Finally, some answers.

  1. Do I need to stock up on toilet paper? Yes and yes. An item as multipurpose as toilet paper is a sheer necessity. Quilted Northern is the only part of the stock market not taking a plunge – but your toilet should if you are hoarding enough. Much like prison, this commodity will eventually replace the U.S. dollar as currency. With coronavirus spreading through the handling of cash, toilet paper is sure to be the only proper way to handle our business (in more ways than one).
  2. Does hand sanitizer work? Should I buy 14 gallons of it? Of course, just like any other alcohol. If you drink enough, the virus won’t stand a chance. In fact, neither will you; but when it comes down to it, would you rather die of Coronavirus or by chugging scented Purell with all of your old frat buddies cheering you on? There are two ways to die: with dignity, or without dignity, and the choice is yours.
  3. Can I get Coronavirus from ordering Chinese food? Only if it comes with the entrée. Honestly, ordering sides tends to add up, and it’s just not worth it in the end. By the time you finish the main course, you will probably be full anyway.
  4. If I am young and healthy, can I die from it? First of all, stop bragging, because you are making everyone else feel bad. You know what? Just because you asked, sure. Yes you can die from it. That will teach you to stop gloating.
  5. Can I still fly Delta? I have a lot of points saved up and flight prices are dropping. This question is extremely common. Flying at this time is very risky, unless it’s convenient. A risk is only a risk if you have skin in the game, and it sounds to me like occupying public spaces is fine as long as it’s a good deal. While you are at it, go on a cruise and buy a ticket to Coachella. With this attitude, the virus will be gone in no time

And, hopefully you’ve chuckled and realize this is satire…

Color Concepts Art Exhibit at Old Town Newhall Library

| Entertainment | March 12, 2020

The new group show, “Color Concepts” features colorful artwork by four talented artists. Featured artists include Cyndi Baker, Dale Voelker, Ksenia Sadavodava and Ma Geraldine Suguitan-Ignacio. This exhibit is on display for one month from March 2 to April 2, at the Old Town Newhall Library.

The community is invited to celebrate the opening of this new exhibit with a free art reception on Wednesday, March 18, from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m., at the Old Town Newhall Library. Attendees will enjoy free food, drinks, music and a chance to discuss the pieces with the artists and community.

The Old Town Newhall Library is located at 24500 Main St. Business hours are Monday through Thursday, 9:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m., Friday from 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m., Saturday 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. and Sunday 1:00 – 5:00 p.m.

For more information regarding the “Color Concepts” art exhibit, contact Katherine Nestved at [email protected] or call (661) 250-3777. For details regarding other city art exhibits, visit SantaClaritaArts.com.

Wine of the Week – Rose

| Entertainment | March 5, 2020

by Beth Heiserman

This past weekend, 2015 Rosa’s Choice Rose ended up with under a case left in our inventory. It has been a consistent favorite of so many people since we debuted it. I will share a little secret, yesterday I made the blend of our 2018 Rosa’s Choice Rose. It’s a blend of Chardonnay, Muscat, Viognier, symphony and a hint of Syrah. It has aromas of watermelon, strawberries and peaches for a fruity and scrumptious rosé wine. This is such a delicious summer or even a brunch wine. It’s such easy drinking that you can enjoy it by itself, but you can enjoy it chilled with strawberry cheesecake trifle, grilled chicken with a strawberry red wine balsamic sauce or a watermelon granita topped with mint.

Yesterday when I was at the farmers market, I bought the most amazing fresh strawberries. When I approached the fruit stand, the aroma was so delightful I couldn’t resist bringing some home. Last night for dinner, I made turkey burgers topped with a crab au gratin. A little play on surf and turf. Plus, we enjoyed pickled green beans from Completely Pickled. He makes the best pickles. Just a hint, his pickled pineapple is to die for when pairing it with our 2015 Amber Chardonnay. And then for dessert we enjoyed the fresh strawberries on top of vanilla bean ice cream. All I could think of was how perfect this would be together.

Don’t forget our Annual Bottling party is next Saturday March 14th at noon. Its $55 per person which includes lunch and a bottle to take home. We will have live music from Sierra Highway performing. You can purchase your tickets in the tasting room or online at http://reyeswinery.com/events.

Live Music

| Entertainment | March 5, 2020

Mar 6, Fri
6–8pm Telco Brewery Max Esparaza Live music
6:30–9p Wolf Creek Brewery Dan Kirkpatrick Classic rock

7–9pm Rock Inn – Lake Hughes Nathan on piano Piano
7–10pm Hyatt Valencia lounge Tewks & JP Classic rock

7–10pm Vincenzo’s Newhall Improv night Variety
7–11pm Chuy’s in Stev.Ranch Route 69 band Rock covers
8–11pm The Local Pub & Grill Nick Horn R+B, pop, rk

8–11pm Wine 661 Bill Cinque & friends Classic rock

8–11:30 Vincent Hill Station Seventh Switch Classic rock
9–12m Salt Creek Grille Jay Bolan Acoustic CR

9–1am Alchemy Valencia The Fulco Experience Rk, CR, ctyr

Mar 7, Sat
6–8pm Telco Brewery 4 Shades of Gray Classic rock
7–10pm Sweetwater Cafe Big Coyote Country
7–10pm Hyatt/Greater Pacific Tewks & JP Classic rock

7:30–10p Vincenzo’s Newhall The Grateful Dudes Bluegrass
8–10pm Double Trouble Wines All Access band Rock covers
8–11pm Wine 661 Sean Wiggins & Colin Pop, CR, ctry
8–12m VFW 6885 Emerald City Classic rock

9–12m Rock Inn – Lake Hughes Right Side Up Classic rock
9–12m Salt Creek Grille Jay Bolan Acoustic CR

Mar 8, Sun
10a–2p Saugus Swapmeet Lee & the Real Deal Live music
3–7pm Vincent Hill Moldy Marvin’s open mic Various

5–9pm VFW 6885 Magnolia Drawl Country
5–9pm Amer Legion Newhall SCV Blues Soc – Kyle Taylor Blues Jam
5:30–8p Vincenzo’s Newhall Scambooty Swing

Mar 10, Tues
7–9pm Rock Inn – Lake Hughes Roby Duron Acoustic
7–10pm Bergie’s steakhouse Eric Garcia, guest artist Blues mix

Mar 11, Wed
6–8pm Alchemy Valencia Monaco’s happy hour Piano
6–9pm Tomato Joes in CC Guitar James (Hackett) Classic rock

Mar 12, Thur
6–9pm Tomato Joes in CC Daphne Winters Live music
6:30–9p Brewery Draconum Dole – Humphries duo Pop, bl, ctry
7–10pm Bergie’s steakhouse Alan Wright band Blues mix

Mar 13, Fri
7–9pm Rock Inn – Lake Hughes Nathan on piano Piano
7–10pm Hyatt Valencia lounge Dole – Humphries duo Pop, bl, ctry

7:30–10p Vincenzo’s Newhall Guilty as Charged Live music
8–11pm The Local Pub & Grill Nick Horn R+B, pop,

8–11pm Wine 661 Bill Cinque & friends Classic rock

8–11:30 Vincent Hill Station Wild Side on patio Rock covers
9–12m Salt Creek Grille Various artists Acoustic CR
9–1am Doc’s Inn Frankly Speaking Rock classics

March at The Main

| Entertainment | February 27, 2020

Mark your calendars for events in March at The MAIN! The 81-seat theatre in the Old Town Newhall Arts and Entertainment District (24266 Main Street) offers a variety of film, theatrical, comedic and musical entertainment. Tickets for upcoming events are currently available online at AtTheMAIN.org.

The MAIN welcomes Crowsnest Productions with its production of “Nancy Who? The Girl Detective Without A Clue” by Mary Main. Set in the 1930s, Nancy is not your typical teenager. She is an amazing crime-solving sleuth with advanced skills in deduction, a keen eye for observation and an almost superhuman ability to act on a hunch. With her intrepid gang of friends and a loyal beau, she tries to uncover clues to a crime, but without much success…at least at first. This is a play you won’t want to miss! Performances are scheduled for March 13, 14, 20, and 21 at 8:00 p.m., and March 15 and 22, at 2 p.m. Tickets are $15 for general admission and $12 for seniors/students.

On March 19, from 7 to 10 p.m., enjoy a free art reception featuring the brand new exhibit, “Spray It,” by Iris Peretz. This show features unique street art made with spray paint. This indoor mural and graffiti art show celebrate community, togetherness and life in Los Angeles. According to the artist, the colors and brightness of the pieces resound and glow on the walls as if in a dance, which celebrates this shared moment in time with a focus on the positive outlook we all crave. The show enlightens and delivers a message of peace, love and inclusion. Attendees at this reception will enjoy complimentary small bites and light refreshments and have a chance to meet the artist.

Wacky local celebrity Even Steven is back on the MAIN stage with “You’re The Best!” This is not your average community talent show. This free event is outrageous, entertaining and full of mayhem sure to delight audiences of all ages! Expect the unexpected with acts including comedians, dance groups, magicians, animal acts, singers and more! Monthly winners will receive a $50 gift card and will have an opportunity to win $500 in the grand finale show at the end of the year. The competition is open to all levels of experience and ages. Come share your talent every fourth Thursday of each month at 7 p.m.! The next show is on March 26 and is free to attend.

Round out the month with SCENES, as the music series presents “Como el Aire An Evening of Flamenco” on Friday, March 27, at 8 p.m. Flamenco is a genre of Spanish music, song and dance from Andalusia, which is in southern Spain. Immerse yourself in Spanish culture by visiting an array of booths featuring Spanish arts, crafts, clothing and more. Thematic beverages will also be for sale at the bar. Enjoy a pre-show experience with the VIP Package! VIP tickets include Spanish tapas, a themed beverage, reserved seating and a chance to meet the performers.

The show will feature dancer Savannah Fuentes, Flamenco guitarist Carlos de Jacoba and musical artist Diego Amador Jr. on The MAIN stage. SCENES recognizes, celebrates and explores many diverse musical traditions that represent various cultures and music genres through the ages, as well as unique regions around the world. Tickets are $20 for general admission and $30 for the VIP Package. Doors open at 7:30 p.m.

Learn more about these events and purchase tickets to shows by visiting AtTheMain.org/tickets.

Wine of the Week – Rose All Day!

| Entertainment | February 27, 2020

by Beth Heiserman, Reyes Winery
There is always something happening at the vineyard all year long. We just finished pruning the vines and now we are preparing to bottle our 2017 and 2018 vintages. Every year we have an event at the vineyard for guests to see the bottling process. This year it will take place on March 14 from 12pm-4pm. The price is $55 per person and will include lunch, a glass of wine, a tour of the bottling line and you get to take home wine that just was bottled. Plus, we will have live music from the band Sierra Highway.

We will be bottling several different wines this year – just to name a few of our estate wines, which are all from the 2017 harvest; Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Amber Chardonnay.

We have sourced our Grenache from a local vineyard from the High Desert in the Antelope Valley just 90 miles shy of downtown Los Angeles. We will be bottling a 2018 Grenache this year. It captures the essence of this unique varietal. Beginning with intense aromas of strawberries, raspberries and rose petals, these notes continue on the palate and are layered with sweet flavors of plums and strawberries. Rich tannins complement the lushness of the fruit, and the subtle oak notes add to the length of the finish. Enjoy this wine with roasted pork enchiladas with a guava garlic salsa, aged Gouda cheese or a dark chocolate bark with candied rose petals and raspberries.

Plus, we will have a 2018 Grenache Syrah blend for a delightful Rosé. Again, we sourced the Grenache from the same local vineyard for our 2017. The Grenache Syrah Rosé was fermented in French out for 14 months. This is a delicate, yet vivacious wine with aromas of raspberries and flavors of freshly picked strawberries and blueberries with a hint of mandarin. Its balanced acidity provides a delightful finish.

Enjoy this with a citrus side salad for brunch, with a tomato and goat cheese quiche or with mixed berry crepes. This fabulous Rosé is the perfect brunch wine. There are numerous things to pair with the spectacular blend — but then again, Rosé can be all day!

Visit www.reyeswinery.com for more information.

Live Music

| Entertainment | February 27, 2020

Live Music this week in SCV!

Feb 28, Fri

6:30–9p                Wolf Creek Brewery              Jackie Beckwith                        R&B, pop

7–9pm                       Rock Inn – Lake Hughes                       Nathan on piano                       Piano
7–10pm                Alchemy Valencia                   Wardencliff Jazz Quartet       Jazz
7–10pm                Hyatt Valencia lounge           Drew & Ket                                  Live music
8–10pm                Double Trouble Wines          Mike Fitzgerald trio                 Country-pop
8–10pm                Vincenzo’s Newhall               Open Mic Night                         Variety
8–11pm                The Local Pub & Grill              Nick Horn                                     R+B, pop, rk

8–11pm     Wine 661                                    Bill Cinque & friends                Classic rock

8–11:30                Vincent Hill Station         Fulcos Exp on the patio          Classic rock
9–12m                  Salt Creek Grille                       Galo Pacheco                             Acoustic CR
9–1am                  Doc’s Inn                                    Emerald City                                Rock classics

Feb 29, Sat
6–8pm                  Telco Brewery                         Fahr West Session                   Country, CR
6–10pm                Vincent Hill Station                 Al Bermudez                               Live music
7 – 9:30p              Pocock Brewing                                       Ian Ormiston                               Live music

7–10pm                Hyatt/Greater Pacific            Drew & Ket                                 Live music

7:30–10p                Vincenzo’s Newhall               Colt 45 band                                Country, CR
8–10pm                Double Trouble Wines          Sweetwater Gentlemen        Bluegrass
8–11pm                Wine 661                                    Eliot Walkhorn                            Flamenco
8–11pm                Marci’s Bar & Grill                   Barfly band                                  Rock
8–12m                  VFW 6885                                   Reverend G-Z                             Live music

9–12m                      Mabel’s Roadhouse               Cheap Thrills                               Rock
9–12m                  Rock Inn – Lake Hughes                       Boys Night Out                           CR blues ctry
9–12m                  Eighth and Rail                         Vinyl Gypsies                              Classic rock
9–12m                  Salt Creek Grille                                      Sean Wiggins duo                     Pop, CR, ctry
9–12m                  Alchemy Valencia                   Snareheads                                 Dance rock

Mar 1, Sun
10a-2p                  Saugus Swapmeet                  Old Dawgs, New Tricks           Live music
1–5pm                  Rock Inn – Lake Hughes                       Roby Duron + Walker Gibson CR, pop, bl
3–5pm                  Double Trouble Wines          David Marchant                        Acoustic
3–7pm                  Vincent Hill                                Moldy Marvin’s open mic      Various
5–9pm                  VFW 6885                                  Sue Rey & Runarounds           60’s rock

Mar 3, Tues
7–9pm                  Rock Inn – Lake Hughes                       Ginger’s love songs                  Acoustic
7–10pm                Bergie’s steakhouse              Deep Fried Daddys                   Blues, CR

Mar 4, Wed
6–8pm                  Alchemy Valencia                   Monaco’s happy hour             Piano
6–9pm                  Tomato Joes in CC                  Guitar James (Hackett)           Classic rock

Mar 5, Thur
6–9pm                  Tomato Joes in CC                  Daphne Winters                        Live music
6:30–9p                Brewery Draconum                Blue Motel Rm band                Classic rock
7–10pm                Bergie’s steakhouse              Dallas Hodge                               Blues mix

Mar 6, Fri
7–9pm                  Rock Inn – Lake Hughes                       Nathan on piano                       Piano
7–10pm                Hyatt Valencia lounge           Various artists                            Live music

8–11pm     The Local Pub & Grill              Nick Horn                                     R+B, pop, rk

8–11pm                Wine 661                                        Bill Cinque & friends                Classic rock

8–11:30                Vincent Hill Station                 Seventh Switch on patio               Classic rock
9–12m                  Salt Creek Grille                       Jay Bolan                                     Acoustic CR

Join Reyes Winery for Their Monthly Hike this Sunday

| Entertainment | February 20, 2020

by Beth Heiserman, Reyes Winery

For the first time, Reyes Winery will be hosting our monthly hike and brunch on a Sunday. This coming Sunday, February 23, we would love for you to join us on this wonderful excursion of the Sierra Pelona Vintners Mountains above Agua Dulce in Santa Clarita! Our guide will take you on a two-hour hike, and upon return you will enjoy a delightful brunch with our award-winning wines. Afterwards, you will be taken on a tour of the vineyard and barrel room before returning to the tasting room for a special tasting.

As I put together this week’s menu, knowing what amazing vegetables are in season, two things I have chosen are blood oranges and carrots. I’ve decided to put together a purple carrot and blood orange marmalade. Normally when I do anything with blood oranges I always incorporate our 2013 Quinn’s Zin, but this time I have chosen our 2017 Muscat. My recipe calls for a dash of orange blossom water and this wine pairs perfectly with that.

Carrot marmalade has been around since the 12th century in the Middle East. Most people would never think about putting carrots in marmalade; but they’re wonderful in cakes, quick breads and many other tasty treats. Purple carrots are known to have originated in the Middle East in the 14th century. Yes, carrots have been known to exist since 300 BCE. Purple is one of the exotic colors that we have not seen at the market until recently. I must say when I need to slice, grate or use these colorful carrots in any way, if I don’t wear gloves my hands turn purple. Originally, this was considered a natural dye for fabrics for the “royal” purple in clothing. In the 17th century, the Dutch created the orange carrot from the purple strain. An old-wives tale is that in one century, the Dutch made all other colors non-existent.

In the tasting room, Syrah will be featured this weekend to celebrate International Syrah Day which was February 16. For the hike, the second wine I am featuring is the 2015 Syrah. This is a great brunch wine, since our estate Syrah has delightful aromas of coffee, smoke and blackberries. It’s been aged in French oak for 18 months, which gives this wine a light toasty note. It is well-balanced with notes of black apricots for a velvety finish. It pairs well with short ribs braised in coffee, Ancho chile sauce, aged Gouda or tiramisu.

Tickets for the hike are available on our website at ReyesWinery.com/events. See you Sunday!

On the Town with Jason Downs

| Entertainment | February 20, 2020

By Jason Downs

Greetings fellow Santa Claritans and welcome to a column that’s all about having fun around town! We’re fortunate enough to live in one of the great entertainment meccas of the world. Join me as we celebrate all the area has to offer!

Here’s what I got up to this week: The Newhallywood Silent Film Fest at Hart Park and an afternoon with Douglas Fairbanks!

As you know, friends, I’m a sucker for history and nostalgia, especially as it pertains to my favorite of the arts — performance and filmmaking. These two crafts have collided right here in Newhall for a hundred years and to celebrate that fact the City of Santa Clarita, the William S. Hart Museum, and the SCV Historical Society put together a wonderful tribute this weekend.

Not only were silent films shown throughout (with live accompaniment), including Mary Pickford’s “Little Annie Rooney” and Douglas Fairbanks’ “The Mask of Zorro,” but costumes and artifacts from Pickford and Fairbanks films were on display, slapstick acting workshops were given, bus tours were offered, and even a special romantic Valentine’s Dinner with a screening of Fairbanks in “The Black Pirate.” (Incidentally, “The Black Pirate” one of the first films ever to appear in Technicolor, a company which Fairbanks is credited for saving by championing its technology.)

This was a wonderful event and I was thrilled to see so many folks enjoying the Newhallywood festival as much as I did. Attending a jam packed presentation about the life of Douglas Fairbanks led by Tracey Goessel, who recently released a highly researched and lovingly told biography on Fairbanks, was both enlightening and entertaining. It was a privilege to hear the author speak about ‘Doug’ and all she had learned writing her amazing account of the inimitable man’s life. By the end of her presentation the audience couldn’t help but join the Fairbanks fan club, myself included.

Her book is entitled “The First King of Hollywood” and I highly recommend it. I bought a copy and have been reading it all week. Mrs. Goessel’s prowess with a pen, engaging style and infectious admiration for her subject is perfectly suited for the spirit of Douglas Fairbanks who veritably leaps from her prolific pages with the boundless swashbuckling joy the man is so well known for.

This guy was amazing. He not only made some 200 films, but he also co-founded United Artists with wife, Mary Pickford (the biggest star on planet earth at the time), Charlie Chaplin, and D.W. Griffith, but also co-founded the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and served as its first president, which still brings us the Oscars every year to celebrate achievement in the film industry. Fairbanks served as the ceremony’s first host.

Interestingly, Fairbanks was the first celebrity to move to the wilds of Beverly Hills, at the time a barren wasteland. Soon, he and Mary Pickford’s home, affectionately known as Pickfair, became the hot spot for all of Hollywood royalty…and actual royalty from all over the world. And this was the magic of the silent film era; it truly was a universal language, and Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford were the first king and queen to reign supreme the world over; internationally loved by everyone.

Understandable, watching Fairbanks bound about, doing incredible stunts with an infectious smile on his face. He was the original Superman, Spiderman, Robin Hood, Zorro, and Romeo all rolled into one, literally paving the way for all the action stars and superheroes to follow.

For anyone who hasn’t walked through William S. Hart’s incredible home, which has been maintained exactly as he left it when he died, you must make the trip. I see something new every time I go. At one point, I was standing in William S. Hart’s bedroom speaking with Mr. John Smith, docent and sage historian at the Hart Museum, and Tracey Goessel, the biographer I mentioned earlier, about the shared history of these two giants, Fairbanks and Hart, in the early industry. (William S. Hart was asked to be the fifth founder of United Artists but was given an offer by Paramount he couldn’t refuse.) The two were lamenting how a proper biography of Hart was yet to be written. My attempts to give birth to a partnership between Mr. Smith and Mrs. Goessel right then and there by saying, “Hey, you should team up and write it,” may or may not come to fruition but I do believe a proper biography on the original cowboy star will be the result of that meeting someday…from at least one of us!

Such a rich history in film here it makes me proud to live in Santa Clarita. And the Newhallywood Silent Film Festival only made me want to learn more. There’s still so much to explore. Case and point, I mentioned Charlie Chaplin earlier who was one of Douglas Fairbanks closest friends, well, both legendary artists saw the end of an era when Warner came out with “The Jazz Singer” and the advent of ‘talking pictures’ changed the industry (and the stars) forever. Santa Clarita was a part of that too. The last shot of the last successful silent film, “Modern Times,” which was produced, directed, written and starring Mr. Chaplin was filmed on Sierra Highway just outside of Newhall. Symbolic of all this area offered to the silent era and all it continues to offer in ‘modern times.’ I, for one, with the help of these great pioneers in film, will honor the passage of time and revel in the gift they’ve given us.

So, there it is for this week, friends. Always feel free to let me know what you like doing around town so I can check it out and write it up. ([email protected])

Until next time, bon voyage, break a leg, and bon appetit!

Live Music

| Entertainment | February 20, 2020

Feb 21, Fri

6–8pm Telco Brewery Wardencliff Jazz Quartet Jazz
7–9pm Rock Inn – Lake Hughes Nathan on piano Piano
7–10pm Hyatt/Greater Pacific Sean Wiggins & Colin Rk, ctry, bl
7–10pm Alchemy Valencia Monaco Live piano
8–10pm Double Trouble Wines Honeypig band Country-pop
8–10pm Wine 661 Bill Cinque & friends Classic rock
8–11pm The Local Pub & Grill Nick Horn Folk, alt, pop
8–12m Amer Legion Newhall Heavy Metal Night Hard rock
8–11:30 Vincent Hill Station Runaway Train on the patio Ctry rock
9–12m Salt Creek Grille Lance Allyn Acoustic CR

Feb 22, Sat
6–8pm Telco Brewery Max Esparza Live music
6–10pm Vincent Hill Station Siren Valley Acoustic
7 – 9:30p Pocock Brewing Kevin Brown Live music

7–10pm Hyatt/Greater Pacific John Pinto & Tewk Classic covers

7:30–10p Vincenzo’s Newhall Scout Live music
8–10pm Double Trouble Wines Blue Wails Classic rock
8–11pm Wine 661 Tommy Peacock Rock, funk
8–12m VFW 6885 No Chasers band Classic rock

9–12m Rock Inn – Lake Hughes Saloonatics Classic rock
9–12m Salt Creek Grille Lance Allyn Acoustic CR

Feb 23, Sun
3–5pm Double Trouble Wines Harry Orlove Jazz
3–7pm Vincent Hill Moldy Marvin’s open mic Various

5–9pm VFW 6885 L.A. Fender Benders Classic rock

5–9pm Amer Legion Newhall Steve Brittain’s CR Jam Classic rock
5:30–8p Vincenzo’s Newhall The Junk Show Variety

Feb 25, Tues
6:30–8:30 Alchemy Valencia Monaco Live piano
7–9pm Rock Inn – Lake Hughes Just One Guy Acoustic
7–10pm Bergie’s steakhouse Gary Swan, guest artist Blues mix

Feb 26, Wed
6–8pm Alchemy Valencia Monaco’s happy hour Piano
6–9pm Tomato Joes in CC Guitar Jack Classic rock

Feb 27, Thur
6–9pm Tomato Joes in CC Daphne Winters Live music
6:30–9p Brewery Draconum The Gamblers duo Acoustic
7–10pm Bergie’s steakhouse Gary Coppola & Time Mach Classic rock

Feb 28, Fri
7–9pm Alchemy Valencia Wardencliff Jazz Quartet Jazz
7–9pm Rock Inn – Lake Hughes Nathan on piano Piano
7–10pm Hyatt Valencia lounge Drew & Ket Live music
8–10pm Double Trouble Wines Mike Fitzgerald trio Country-pop
8–10pm Vincenzo’s Newhall Open Mic Night Variety
8–11pm The Local Pub & Grill Nick Horn R&B, pop, rk

8–11pm Wine 661 Bill Cinque & friends Classic rock

8–11:30 Vincent Hill Station Fulcos Exp on the patio Classic rock
9–12m Salt Creek Grille Galo Pacheco Acoustic CR

Artist Suzi Kades is Blending Art with the Environment in Her New Solo Exhibit

| Entertainment | February 13, 2020

Be inspired by the unique creations of Suzi Kades in her solo show “pArts,” on display from February 12 to April 6, 2020, in the Town Center Art Space at the Westfield Valencia Town Center. With a passion for the environment and a creative mind, Kades upcycles random and odd materials to create little figures and scenes. Her belief that anything can be created from something is evident in her works. By showcasing her creative talents, she hopes to inspire all ages to recycle and repurpose old materials into a creative outlet.

The community is invited and welcome to attend the reception on Wednesday, February 12, from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at the Westfield Valencia Town Center. Food, drinks, music and art will be provided. The Town Center Art Space is located at 24201 Valencia Boulevard. The business hours are Monday through Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., and Sunday from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

For more information regarding the art exhibit, contact Katherine Nestved at [email protected] or call (661) 250-3777. For details regarding other city art exhibits, visit SantaClaritaArts.com.

Celebrate Love at Reyes Winery

| Entertainment | February 13, 2020

by Beth Heiserman, Reyes Winery

February, to me, always means love and romance. This year is no different. I love watching all the romance movies on TV, and enjoying fabulous, decadent foods this time of year. I went to the farmer’s market yesterday and spoke to the farms that I always get my produce from for Valentine’s Day. I saw fabulous purple cauliflower and carrots, and so many other vegetables that inspired me. I placed my order and am eady to pick everything up fresh Friday morning! It is absolutely fabulous to be able to do that.

This Friday and Saturday, I am preparing my annual Valentine’s Day dinner. Either night you are welcome to join us at Reyes Winery. Come check into the tasting room between 5 and 6 PM and have a glass of wine with some assorted appetizers. At 6 o’clock everybody is invited into the barrel room for dinner. I plan to start everyone off with a mixed green salad that will have fresh strawberries, candied almonds slices and edible flowers. Then all the guests are welcome to a buffet dinner featuring award-winning wines and a wine infused dinner.

I am offering Atlantic salmon with a blood orange Zinfandel sauce, rainbow quinoa and rainbow carrots. It will be paired with our 2013 Quinn’s Zin. My second offering is leg of lamb raised with a rosemary blackberry Syrah sauce. It’s paired with truffle potatoes and purple cauliflower. This is to pair with our 2012 “double gold” Syrah. Then for dessert, I have two offerings depending on if you prefer vanilla or chocolate. I have a white chocolate cake with raspberry frosting and a white chocolate raspberry treat on top. For the chocolate, a dark chocolate cake with a caramel drizzle. Each of the desserts will pair with our Agua Dulce Delight and White Delight.

I hope to see you this weekend. You can make reservations on our website at reyeswinery.com/events. Since it is a holiday there are no walk-ins for dinner, but the tasting room doesn’t require reservations to come in and taste. Bring your someone special to the tasting room or for dinner!

On the Town with Jason Downs

| Entertainment | February 13, 2020

Greetings fellow Santa Claritans and welcome to a column that’s all about having fun around town! We’re fortunate enough to live in one of the great entertainment meccas of the world. Join me as we celebrate all the area has to offer!

Here’s what I got up to this week: An indie film fest at an old special effects shop in North Hollywood, and a musical version of Matilda (starring a remarkable young lady) at the Canyon Theatre Guild.

Ever wonder where movie magic happens? Visit the Makeup & Effects Lab in North Hollywood sometime. These are the guys that make prosthetic alien masks, intergalactic weapons for superheroes, and other essential props and makeup for films like Iron Man, Captain America, Star Trek and Batman. Well, an acquaintance of ours, AJ Apone (raised in Santa Clarita); his father owns and operates Makeup & Effects Lab, which was an amazing place to host a little film fest this past weekend. The work comprised of work AJ and his friends produced themselves…including another local filmmaker, Eric L. Thompson. Now, Eric we know very well. He’s part of our new extended family here on the west coast. My wife’s sister is married to his brother. Seems like a roundabout connection, but when we moved out to Valencia from New York six years ago Eric and his family welcomed us with open arms and that has made all the difference in our lives here. Anyway, his short film Stevie was the feature of the evening.

After sipping a few beverages under the gaping mouth of Jaws overhead, while life size versions of Clint Eastwood and Samuel L. Jackson looked on, we traveled deeper into the shop where a large screen was set up among the many familiar artifacts filling every available space. Most notably, a Bat Mobile. That’s right, a fully functioning Bat Mobile from the infamous 1960’s TV version starring Adam West. One word: Awesome.

After a brief intro the lights went out and the shorts began. Let me say without any bias, Eric’s movie was really good! The writing was tight, the directing was spot on, the actors were compelling, the editing was perfection, and it was beautifully shot. The action centered around two wannabe gangsters waiting for a mysterious man to show up so they can hand off a mysterious package. But what made this thing bubble to life was the full blown characters, uneasy banter, and rising tension. Stevie just couldn’t sit still or keep his mouth shut, driving his uneasy partner to the brink. The look and feel were very Tarantino-esque, right up to the satisfying and surprising climax.

We were so proud and happy for him. He did an excellent job! Not sure if it’s available to view online as of yet, but keep an ear out for this guy and his movie: Eric L. Thompson, hometown writer and director from Valencia, and his extremely well made movie, Stevie.

AJ Apone introducing Eric L. Thompson (center) at the premiere of Stevie.

Since moving to the Santa Clarita Valley, and being a lover of the stage, I’ve caught a few shows at the Canyon Theatre Guild… Matilda: The Musical (beautifully directed by John Lucewich and Jennifer Teague) is the best yet, due in large part to the young lady playing the lead role, Ms. Birdie West. After the first number in which the title character is introduced, my eleven year old son leaned over with wide eyes and said, “She’s good.”

He’s a man of few words, my boy, but he was right. For a ten year old, Ms. Birdie had a command of the stage, a simple and innate acting ability, and a natural presence one doesn’t often see at that age (and all with a spot on London accent, to boot). And that’s to say nothing of her beautiful singing voice. I spoke with TimBen Boydston, who’s been the Executive/Artistic Director of the theater for the past twenty years (the theater’s been a local treasure for 50 years!) and he agreed that a talent like Birdie West only walks through the door every once in a while.

The entire cast should be commended for giving a wonderful performance, especially Matilda’s counterpart, Miss Honey, played by Chelsea Henderson-Jones. The story, originally told by the inimitable Roald Dahl, is about a brilliant young girl, Matilda, who is unloved and unappreciated by her family until she goes to school at age five and meets Miss Honey who immediately recognizes her gifts. Together, the two look for their place in this crazy, unforgiving world. These ladies give a beautiful and heartfelt performance that will leave you teary-eyed. There are many laugh out loud moments, especially whenever Matilda’s mother’s dance instructor is on stage, Rudolpho (played with button bursting gusto by Cole Carter), and Matilda’s arch nemesis and school principal, Mrs. Trunchbull, who is played with delicious hilarity by Chris Loprete. The show goes on for another three weekends so get your tickets now…this one’s not to be missed!

Let me just take a moment to say what a wonderful and important thing is happening at the Canyon Theatre Guild. Whether you’re a fan of theater or not (and you should be), this organization is a beacon of light in our community. Their mission is to make the world a better place by entertaining, educating, and enriching the people of Santa Clarita through live theater and they are doing just that…and have been for 50 years. Establishments like this lift the spirit of the community whether you realize it or not, but again, I encourage you to get over there and see for yourself. They put up nine full-scale productions every year, plus one over at College of the Canyons…usually their headliner for the year…a big title like Frozen or Les Miserable. Over 30,000 folks in this area attend their performances each season and thousands of individuals and businesses support the non-profit with their donations (our local government among them). Not to mention the hundreds of artists and volunteers who show up year after year to create the wonderful shows we enjoy. And for good reason!

All of this is a testament to the quality and value the Canyon Theatre Guild brings to our town, and our lives, on a regular basis. What a gift. And so I urge you, friends, be a part of it. Whether it’s to enjoy Matilda or the upcoming Pride & Prejudice, or donate your talents for painting sets, auditioning for the next performance, or becoming a sponsor yourself, be a part of this very special family; something pure and tangible and invaluable is happening right here in our own backyard. I, for one, will start by saying a hearty ‘thank you’ to TimBen Boydston and everyone at the CTG, for doing your part to make this crazy, unforgiving world a better place.

Chelsea Henderson-Jones as Miss Honey (left) and Birdie West as Matilda (right).
photo by Jeff Barlow

So, there it is for this week, friends. Always feel free to let me know what you like doing around town so I can check it out and write it up. ([email protected])

Until next time, bon voyage, break a leg, and bon appetit!

Live Music This Week!

| Entertainment | February 13, 2020

Feb 14, Fri
6–8pm Double Trouble Wines Harry Orlove Jazzy
7–9pm Rock Inn Nathan on piano Piano
7–10pm Hyatt/Greater Pacific Dole – Humphries Rk, R&B, ctry
7–10pm Alchemy Valencia Dennis Atlas Rockin’ piano
8–11pm Wine 661 Bill Cinque & friends Classic rock
8–11pm The Local Pub & Grill Nick Horn Folk, alt, pop
9–12m Salt Creek Grille Galo Pacheco Acoustic CR
9–1am Doc’s Inn Frankly Speaking Rock classics

Feb 15, Sat
6–10pm Vincent Hill Station Herbie Kao trio Jazz
6:30-9p Pocock Brewing Some Other Loco Bl, ctry, folk
7–10pm Hyatt/Greater Pacific Connor Cherland Indie-folk, soul

7:30–10p Vincenzo’s Newhall The Grateful Dudes Bluegrass
8–10pm Double Trouble Wines Gary Coppola & Time Mach Classic rock
8–11pm Wine 661 Sean Hughes Rock, pop
8–12m VFW 6885 Lee Harper band Country
9–12m Alchemy Valencia Barfly Rock
9–12m Doc’s Inn Peacock & the Feathers Rock, pop
9–12m Rock Inn Country Roads band Country
9–12m Salt Creek Grille Galo Pacheco Acoustic CR
9–12m Eighth and Rail Snareheads Dance rock

Feb 16, Sun
3–7pm Vincent Hill Moldy Marvin’s open mic Various

5–9pm VFW 6885 Pam Loe & Chad Watson Country
5–9pm Amer Legion Newhall Thom Teresi’s Jazz Jam Jazz Jam
6:30–8p Vincenzo’s Newhall Jet Jurgensmeyer & Nikki Hahn Live music

Feb 18, Tues
6–8pm Alchemy Valencia Monaco’s happy hour Piano
7–9pm Rock Inn (Lake Hughes) Roby Duron Acoustic
7–10pm Bergie’s steakhouse Celso Salim & Danny Diaz Blues mix
Feb 19, Wed
6–9pm Tomato Joes in CC Guitar Jack Classic rock
7–9pm VFW 6885 Magnolia Drawl duo Country

Feb 20, Thur
6–9pm Tomato Joes in CC Daphne Winters Live music
6:30–9p Brewery Draconum Drop 3 band Jazz, funk
7–10pm Bergie’s steakhouse Bob Carilllo band Blues mix

Feb 21, Fri
7–9pm Alchemy Valencia Monaco’s happy hour Piano
7–9pm Rock Inn Nathan on piano Piano
7–10pm Hyatt Valencia lounge Sean Wiggins & Colin Rk, ctry, pop
8–11pm The Local Pub & Grill Nick Horn Folk, alt, pop

8–11pm Wine 661 Bill Cinque & friends Classic rock

8–11:30 Vincent Hill Station Runaway Train on the patioClassic rock
9–12m Salt Creek Grille Lance Allyn Acoustic CR

Celebrate a Night of Rock and Roll Bring the Family to see Tommy C and the Black Widow Grease Band!

| Entertainment | February 13, 2020

Tommy C and the Black Widow Grease Band are set to rock Santa Clarita with their unique Detroit sound for a night of family-friendly music. On February 21st, the band will perform at the Newhall Family Theatre with special guest The School of Rock All Stars. Tickets are selling for only $10 with 10% of the proceeds benefitting the Wounded Warrior Project.

Frontman Tommy C is a Detroit native, where his decades of musical success were born. He has been influenced by various types of musical styles, from Motown to rock ‘n’ roll. During his extensive career, he served as the musical director for Chubby Checker and played on stage with a number of musical legends such as Jerry Lee Lewis, Little Richard, Chuck Berry, Conway Twitty, The Temptations and the Four Tops, just to name a few.
Having the pleasure of working with these legends has taught him how real rock ‘n’ roll should be performed and he now proudly calls his personal sound “a tribute to the greatest era of rock ‘n’ roll.”
Ready to start a new chapter in his life, and one which will allow him to be closer to his family, Tommy has decided to leave Detroit for Santa Clarita. With a new group of local talented Los Angeles musicians, who he describes as “highly adrenalized, high-octane rockers,” they are ready to take California by storm.
This all started with a new single, Believe What You Say, released on January 1st, a set of Southern California shows and an overall passionate enthusiasm to share their sound.

The band understands the importance of giving back, so they ultimately teamed up with the Newhall Family Theatre for an intimate night of music which they’ve dubbed as a “family affair.” Introducing his music to the town which he will now call home was very important to Tommy, as was helping out the Wounded Warrior Project, a foundation he holds near and dear to his heart.

The show starts at 7pm, and tickets can be purchased at EventBrite.com or by calling 310-579-9903. Kids under 12 and adults over 65 are invited to attend the show for free. The Newhall Family Theatre is located at 24607 Walnut Street.

Everyone is invited to experience the music of Tommy C and the Black Widow Grease Band, young and old!

For more information on Tommy C and the Black Widow Grease Band visit www.tommycbwgb.com.

Art Gallery to Feature Jessica Wimbley Exhibit

| Community, Entertainment | February 6, 2020

The College of the Canyons Art Gallery will feature the mixed media work of artist Jessica Wimbley in her solo exhibition “Belle Jet and Cabinet Cards.”

Running through March 26, the exhibition is a survey of works Wimbley has created over the past six years investigating how identity is constructed through portraiture as well as inherited ideals and beliefs.

Wimbley’s complex and poetic portraits are made up of layers of photographic images of herself, her grandmother, great grandmother, and other relatives dating back to the early 1900’s. She also uses Victorian portraits, pop culture images from black periodicals like JET Magazine, and ethnographic images of Native, African, and African American women.

“I’m so excited to introduce Jessica Wimbley’s artwork to our community and also thrilled that Jessica will be here ‘in-residence’ to engage directly with our students and faculty,” said COC Art Gallery Director Pamela Lewis.

Using poet Audre Lorde’s term “biomythography” (a literary form that blends elements of autobiography, the novel, and personal mythology) as an interdisciplinary approach, Wimbley’s mixed media works merge memory, biology, culture and history to challenge the complexities of race and narrative in the American imagination.

“Through the merging of images, I seek to create a hybrid, which exposed the shifting of identities in relationship to both historical and social political understanding of American history and citizenry,” said Wimbley.

As the Art Gallery’s second artist in residence, Wimbley will be on campus from February 24 to 27.

A free public lecture by the Los Angeles-based artist will be held at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 26 followed by a reception for the artist from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m.

The College of the Canyons Art Gallery is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays. Those unable to visit the gallery during normal hours are welcome to contact the gallery to schedule a viewing appointment.

All gallery exhibitions and related events are free and open to the public.

More About the Artist:
Based in Sacramento, Jessica Wimbley has exhibited her work in galleries across the nation, including the Wignall Museum of Contemporary Art, California State University at Long Beach, and Ripon College.

After earning a bachelor’s degree in painting from Rhode Island School of Design, she completed her M.F.A in visual arts from the University of California, Davis. Wimbley also holds a master’s degree in arts management from Claremont Graduate University.

On The Town with Jason Downs

| Entertainment | February 6, 2020

Greetings fellow Santa Claritans and welcome to a column that’s all about having fun around town! We’re fortunate enough to live in one of the great entertainment meccas of the world. Join me as we celebrate all the area has to offer!

Here’s what I got up to this week: A Lunar New Year Parade in Chinatown, a stroll down Olvera Street, and a struggle through my daughter’s first high school dance with a boy!

The Metrolink down to Union Station is a breeze if you ever plan to visit downtown L.A. for a little excursion. Easy peasy…and an unlimited day pass for the train is a bargain at ten dollars. The museums and music halls are only several blocks away, and Olvera Street and Chinatown are even closer. It’s a wonderful and convenient day trip that requires little to no planning. I recommend it! We were there to celebrate the Chinese Lunar New Year with some friends from the Rotary Club who’d booked us tables at the Ocean Seafood Restaurant overlooking the parade. And let me tell you, folks, stepping into this restaurant we may as well have been in Beijing.

Wall to wall red carpets, floor to ceiling mirrors covering every surface, and crystal chandeliers (all faded with time and wear) gave an overall authentic effect. Especially the giant aquarium tanks in the foyer filled with live lobster and foot long fish, right next to the hostess station. Talk about fresh seafood.

First we were brought our own individual plates full of appetizers and desserts. The apps comprised of an assortment of dumplings containing pork, red beans, shrimp…and the desserts included an egg pastry and a coconut jello. All different consistencies and flavors. It was a whirlwind for the taste buds. They were beautifully put together.

My favorite was the warm Bao Dumpling in the middle.

The main courses were served family style and consisted of Chinese broccoli, beef and noodles. All delicious! But I barely had time to finish before the Golden Dragon Parade was underway. The mayor of Los Angeles, Eric Garcetti kicked things off, waving to the crowd and exploding confetti poppers from the back of an antique pick-up truck (there were a lot of confetti poppers going off all around us) followed by other LA politicians and top law enforcement, including Sheriff Villanueva. It was nice to see so many elected officials participating in this wonderfully cultural event.

The Golden Dragon was at least a hundred feet long, celebrating the
Lunar New Year in Chinatown.

Several marching bands and dance troupes, a few martial arts dojos doing demonstrations, and beauty queens on ornately decorated floats all went waving by. The Chinese have endured a lot to make their mark in this country, and they have certainly done that and more. I was honored to stand among them to celebrate their culture and the start of a new year. Here’s hoping the effects of the coronavirus will be contained quickly and an antidote developed to put an end to the tragic toll the disease is having in China currently. However, the Chinese Americans I was standing beside and walking past were not wearing masks, no, they were unafraid and undaunted. They are a strong and resourceful people; they will continue to endure and continue to make America a better (and tastier) place while doing it.

And if you’re in Chinatown for lunch (on your next trip), then you may as well have a yummy Mexican dinner on Olvera Street on your way back to  Union Station. You can walk from Shanghai to Tijuana in a matter of minutes. Olvera Street, known as “the birthplace of Los Angeles,” is a marketplace right out of a romance novel. The street is only a block long which has been divided into two narrow, tree-shaded, brick-lined, fountain bubbling market aisles replete with old structures, colorful stalls, street vendors, quaint cafes, authentic restaurants and all kinds of gifts and trinket shops.

On Olvera Street, you completely forget you’re downtown Los Angeles.

Back at home, it was back to reality. A reality that still has my head spinning: My daughter of fourteen going off to her first formal high school dance…and first formal dance with a boy! One thing about my daughter, she plays it pretty cool and no nonsense. She met this young man as part of a Student Action group after the tragedy at Saugus High School (where he attends). He’s polite, respectful, conscientious, and they have a lot of similar interests. So, she decided to ask him to the Hart formal (she was very proud to be the one doing the asking). My wife had met him, as they’ve gone to a movie or two since meeting, and gave her approval. So, there we were, pacing the living room awaiting the arrival of a young man. (Cue the ominous music.) It seems a blink since I was helping her learn to walk across the living room. (Cue the sappy music.)

“Don’t give him a hard time, dad,” my daughter said, referring to her date who up till then I had yet to meet.

“Yes, probably best if you don’t open your mouth at all this time around,” my wife added, “we don’t want to frighten him.”

Swell. I’ve been given the gag order. But all was well when he showed up in a three piece suit, brimming with genuine excitement and sincere joy to be escorting my lovely and amazing daughter. They were adorable. When I dropped them off at the school, the young man thanked me and my daughter said, “Love you, dad.”

I couldn’t help but smile (and cry a little on the inside) as I said, “Be smart, be safe, and have fun, babe…love you too.”

And off they went to make a memory of ‘firsts.’ Ain’t life beautiful. Especially when you have a daughter like mine.

So, there it is for this week, friends. Always feel free to let me know what you like doing around town so I can check it out and write it up. ([email protected])

Until next time, bon voyage, break a leg, and bon appetit!

Love, and Wine, Is In the Air…

| Entertainment | February 6, 2020

by Beth Heiserman, Reyes Winery

Every year we host a winemaker dinner in the barrel room of Reyes Winery for Valentine’s Day. We always feature classics and favorites of Robert Reyes, owner and winemaker of the Winery. This year is no different. Every February, the tasting room features our award-winning Syrah wines, including all the events we have.

Valentine’s dinner is a four-course wine pairing experience. Guests will start to arrive between 5 and 6 pm and be greeted by our tasting room staff with assorted appetizers and a glass of wine. At 6 pm, we will invite all the guests to join us in the barrel room. Here we will start off with a salad and another glass of wine to pair. Then, all the guests will be able to help themselves to a buffet dinner with a glass of wine from a choice of specially picked offerings for dinner. Finally we will finish off the night with dessert and a choice of our white delight, or Aqua Dulce delight.

Every year the menu changes due to seasonally fresh ingredients that are hand-picked from a local farm. Every course will have something that is either red, pink or purple to celebrate this romantic holiday. Come and enjoy a wine infused dinner with your special someone at Reyes Winery in our payroll room this year!

To view the menu or purchase tickets, go to our website www.ReyesWinery.com/events. Reservations are required. Hope to see you for the special occasion!

Live Music

| Entertainment | February 6, 2020

Feb 7, Fri
7–9pm Alchemy Valencia Monaco’s happy hour Piano
7–9pm Rock Inn Nathan on piano Piano
7–10pm Hyatt/Greater Pacific The Fulcos Classic rock
8–11pm Wine 661 Bill Cinque & friends Classic rock
8–11pm The Local Pub & Grill Nick Horn Folk, alt, pop
8–11:30 Vincent Hill Station Benny Thomas on the patio Country
9–12m Salt Creek Grille Jay Bolan Acoustic CR

Feb 8, Sat
6–10pm Vincent Hill Station Crystal Whiskey Country
6:30-9p Pocock Brewing Kirk Lane Live music

7–10pm Hyatt/Greater Pacific Connor Cherland Indie-folk, soul
7:30–10p Vincenzo’s Newhall Right Side Up Classic rock
8–10pm Double Trouble WinesDoc Ventura band Blues mix
8–11pm Wine 661 Sean Wiggins & Colin CR, ctry, bl
8–12m VFW 6885 Debra Ortega Country
9–12m Rock Inn Robert Heft band Blues mix
9–12m Salt Creek Grille Jay Bolan Acoustic CR
9–12m Eighth and Rail PULP Rock & Roll
9–1am Doc’s Inn Route 69 band Rock & Roll

Feb 9, Sun
10a–2p Saugus Swap meet TBD Live music
3–7pm Vincent Hill Moldy Marvin’s open mic Various
5–9pm VFW 6885 U.S. 99 Trio Blues, Rock
5–9pm Amer Legion Newhall SCV Blues Society Jam Blues Jam

Feb 11, Tues
6–8pm Alchemy Valencia Monaco’s happy hour Piano
7–9pm Rock Inn (Lake Hughes)Jack Lelah Acoustic
7–10pm Bergie’s steakhouse JD Experience CR, blues
Feb 12, Wed
6–9pm Tomato Joes in CC Guitar Jack Classic rock

Feb 13, Thur
6–9pm Tomato Joes in CC Daphne Winters Live music
6:30–9p Brewery Draconum Bri Sarikcioglu Pop, Soul
7–9pm Wine 661 Vinyl & Sheen duo Jazz, pop covers
7–10pm Bergie’s steakhouse Robert Heft band Blues mix

Feb 14, Fri
7–9pm Alchemy Valencia Monaco’s happy hour Piano
7–9pm Rock Inn Nathan on piano Piano
7–10pm Hyatt Valencia lounge Dole – Humphries duo Rk, R&B, ctry
8–11pm The Local Pub & Grill Nick Horn Folk, alt, pop

8–11pm Wine 661 Bill Cinque & friends Classic rock

9–12m Salt Creek Grille Galo Pacheco Acoustic CR
9–1am Doc’s Inn Frankly Speaking Rock classics

Film Festival, Theatre and More at the Main Tickets on Sale Now for Shows in February

| Entertainment | January 30, 2020

A mix of laughter, horror and reflection will be on display in a variety of events at The MAIN, located at 24266 Main Street in Old Town Newhall. Tickets are on sale now for film, theatre, comedy and music shows taking place in February. Adult beverages will also be available for purchase at select shows, in addition to concessions.

The MAIN will welcome Open Wings Theatre Company for its production of “Eurydice” by Sarah Ruhl. This poetic reimagining of the Orpheus myth is a retelling in Eurydice’s point of view. Dying too young on her wedding day, Eurydice must journey to the underworld, where she reunites with her father and struggles to remember her lost love. The play is a fresh look at a timeless love story with contemporary characters, ingenious plot twists and beautiful, visual metaphor. Shows are scheduled for February 14, 15, 21 and 22, at 8:00 p.m. and February 16 and 23, at 2:00 p.m. Tickets are $20.

In collaboration with the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles, The MAIN will participate in the inaugural Newhallywood Silent Film Festival by featuring late-night film screenings. On Friday, February 14, at 11:00 p.m., The MAIN will host Silent Screams, late-night screenings of the horror masterpieces “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari” and “The Golem” with live accompaniment. On Saturday, February 15, at 11:00 p.m., enjoy Abstract Cinema Late Show, a late-night party featuring contemporary silent films by CalArts students. Grab your friends for an evening of silence. Concessions and beverages will be available for purchase and both evenings are free to attend.

On February 20, from 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m., enjoy a free art reception featuring the newest exhibition at The MAIN, titled “Home Is Where the Heart Is,” by The Brush and Palette Guild Artists. The concept of “home” suggests images and ideas of many different things to different people and other living things. Whatever the interpretation may be, the item or location can make one think of safety, warmth, relaxation, comfort, inspiration, relief, shelter, creativity or significant events and memories. The Brush and Palette Guild Artists have captured images for this exhibit that reflect their interpretations of the saying, “Home is where the heart is.” Attendees at this reception will enjoy light refreshments and have a chance to meet the artists.

Presented by the City of Santa Clarita, “You’re The Best” is the newest event to join the monthly lineup of shows at The MAIN. Its debut in January proved that this is not your average community talent show. Hosted by wacky local celebrity Even Steven, this free event is outrageous and ridiculous, entertaining and fun, and full of mayhem sure to delight audiences of all ages. The audience is encouraged to let their hair down and expect the unexpected. “You’re the Best” performances will include comedians, dance groups, magicians, animal acts, singers and more. Monthly winners will receive a $50 gift card and will have an opportunity to win $500 in the grand finale show at the end of the year. The competition is open to all levels of experience and all ages, so come share your talent or be an active member of the audience. This event is held every fourth Thursday of the month at 7:00 p.m. and will take place on February 27.

To learn more about these events and purchase tickets to shows, visit AtTheMain.org/tickets.

Take a Trip to Santa Clarita’s Past at the Newhallywood Silent Film Festival Silent Film Screenings and Exhibits on Display February 14-16

| Entertainment | January 30, 2020

Step into the early days of filming in Santa Clarita and explore some of the first motion pictures made in the region at the inaugural Newhallywood Silent Film Festival, scheduled for February 14-16 at venues in Old Town Newhall. In partnership with the Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation and the Newhall Family Theatre for the Performing Arts, come take advantage of a unique opportunity to experience some of the entertainment industry’s defining productions.

In addition to screening some of the most famous silent films made in the Santa Clarita Valley, the Newhallywood Silent Film Festival will also allow attendees to see various props, costumes and memorabilia from the time period that are rarely on display for the public.

The festival begins on Valentine’s Day with a pair of special ticketed events. On Friday, February 14, at 10:00 a.m., ticketholders can climb aboard “Bustour” Keaton, which will take them on a one-of-a-kind tour of dozens of sites in and around Hollywood that hold special significance in the history of silent films. Tickets for “Bustour” Keaton can be purchased for $55 per person and include the bus tour and lunch.

That night at 7:00 p.m., celebrate the 100th wedding anniversary of Hollywood’s First Power Couple: Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks, Sr. A romantic dinner at William S. Hart Park will also include a special screening of the technicolor film “The Black Pirate,” which stars Fairbanks. Tickets for the Valentine’s Dinner event are $60 per person or $100 per couple.

The Newhallywood Silent Film Festival’s public screenings begin with late-night showings of horror classics “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari” and “The Golem” as part of “Silent Screams” at The MAIN (24266 Main Street) in Old Town Newhall. Silent Screams is a free event and begins at 11:00 p.m. on Friday, February 14.

The festival will continue through the weekend on Saturday, February 15 and Sunday, February 16, with the screening of more than a dozen films at venues throughout Newhall, including The MAIN and the Newhall Family Theatre for the Performing Arts. Attendees can also visit William S. Hart Park to see a Pickford and Fairbanks pop-up exhibit, as well as the William S. Hart Museum and comedies being shown as part of “Slapstick Junction” at the Saugus Train Station.

For a full schedule of events taking place during the Newhallywood Silent Film Festival, visit NewhallywoodFilmFest.org.

On the Town with Jason Downs

| Entertainment | January 30, 2020

Greetings fellow Santa Claritans and welcome to a column that’s all about having fun around town! We’re fortunate enough to live in one of the great entertainment meccas of the world. Join me as we celebrate all the area has to offer!

Here’s what I got up to this week: The wonders of Hogwarts at Universal Studios and a bit of magic that happens on all the movie lots around town…especially when I get to work there!

As our main gift for the family this year, my wife and I decided to spring for the annual Universal Studios pass. One of the nicest things about it is the luxury of popping down to the park for an evening; no pressure to see and do everything in a single day. Since we’ve also got a houseful of Harry Potter fans, we especially wanted to see Hogwarts while it was still dressed up for the winter. Whether you’re a fan of the Harry Potter series or not, it’s a treat to get lost in the interactive, fully immersive world that’s been created by some brilliant designers and artistic minds.

The snow-capped rooftops of the quaint little “Hogsmeade” village, the cobble stone streets, the countless children dressed in the robes of wizards and wielding wands captures the very best of what Hollywood can do — Make us believe. Particularly at night when the veil of darkness can allow your imagination to make the extra leap.

Hogwarts all lit up during the spectacular light show.

They even have a dozen spots where your wand really works! Wave your wand in the pattern of a given spell and poof, a burst of flames will spew from a chimney top. There are alleyways you can feel are all your own. There are specialty shops to wander in and out that perpetuate the illusion, a chorus of bullfrogs performing in the town square, butter beer by the barrel, and of course, the school of witchcraft and wizardry itself.

Whether you like the jerky ride and flashing lights of the new amusement park coasters, I highly recommend simply waiting in line for the “Forbidden Journey” to experience the incredible feeling of being inside the castle and seeing the amazing attention to detail at every twist and turn of its corridors. The illusion is quite astounding and satisfying.

My son performing one of many spells with his magic wand.

And I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I also recommend dining at The Three Broomsticks. Food is something I would generally avoid at a park like this, other than a treat of some kind. It’s overpriced and notoriously unhealthy. However, we were utterly surprised by the tasty and wholesome fare these wizards cooked up in their cauldrons in the kitchen! It was a home cooked meal with roasted chicken, steamed vegetables, corn on the cob, mashed potatoes, green salad…all fresh, hearty and delicious!

And speaking of studios, I love taking the tours and learning the history (I’ve been to all the biggies, particularly noteworthy is Universal and Warner), but there’s no feeling quite like being summoned to one of the lots as an actor…for an audition, yes, but especially for work. To give you some of idea of the feeling, I’ll refer you to the popular phrase from Titanic, “I’m the king of the world!”

The Frank Capra Building and Sony rainbow beyond.

For someone who has grown up with a true love and respect for the hard work, skill, creativity and LUCK that goes into each and every TV show and film we watch, walking among the very stages where Hitchcock, Kubrick and Spielberg have created some of their masterpieces is both humbling and thrilling. Marlon Brando stood in this spot, I say to myself at the entrance of one the huge stages at Warner Bros where A Streetcar Named Desire was mostly filmed. And the list goes on and on.

After I was cast as snarky Brit in a Disney show, aside from being thrilled with the work, the show was shot on the same stage where I Love Lucy was filmed for all those years. Crazy! I was cast as a nefarious professor recruiting terrorists in NCIS: Los Angeles at Paramount right next door to a stage where It’s a Wonderful Life and Raiders of the Lost Ark were filmed. This sort of thing inspires all kinds of feelings in me, ranging from nostalgia to gratitude to awe.

These past few years, most of my time on a studio lot is spent at Sony/Columbia Pictures where I record weekly background voiceover for the ABC sitcom The Goldberg’s. You cross paths with many stars in passing or sitting at the coffee shop. For instance, Jim Carrey stepped out of the booth I was about to enter after finishing up an ADR session himself.

Simply walking past the giant stage doors and getting a peek of the sets is exciting. Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy have been shooting there forever, side by side on the lot. Shark Tank is a more recent favorite that’s recently hit a decade of shooting there. So many creative folks in one spot is exciting. I often wonder if they’re thinking the same thing I’m thinking: How lucky I am to be working in this incredible place. Sure, all work, even work you love, has its downsides. But I’ll take it any day of the week and twice on Sunday.

I pass the famous Ghostbusters mobile on my way to work.

As I make my weekly trek to the recording booth, I pass the Audrey Hepburn building where Bryan Cranston had a reserved parking spot for Breaking Bad. All the buildings and offices are still named for the stars that occupied them during their heyday. I walk past the Frank Capra building, the Barbra Streisand studio…it’s such an honor to be working in some of the same rooms where the greats made their mark. It inspires me to strive for that same greatness.

So, there it is for this week, friends. Always feel free to let me know what you like doing around town so I can check it out and write it up. ([email protected])

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