Category: New Discoveries

Tierney Sutton’s “After Blue”

When one of the world’s greatest jazz singers, Tierney Sutton, interprets one of the world’s greatest songwriters, Joni Mitchell, the result, in the case of Sutton’s new “After Blue,” is a startlingly sublime work of art. Recording for the first time in a decade without her Tierney Sutton Band mates Christian Jacob and Ray Brinker...

Ron Funches

Some cats and kittens have it, “it” being that hard-to-define yet easy-to-recognize certain something. They’re touched. Blessed. Gifted. SoCal-based actor and comedian Ron Funches is one of this strange and wonderful breed. Large, adorable, and stoner-friendly, Funches’ drawling delivery and chillaxed energy is charming. But not monotonous. Funches peppers the mellowness with unexpected bursts of...

Laurence Hobgood’s “Christmas”

We’re on the record: the world needs another Christmas music collection about as much as another porno clip. We’ve got plenty. What more needs to be added, what else can be said on the subject of Christmas songs that hasn’t already been said wonderfully well by hundreds — thousands? — of others? Pianist-arranger-composer Laurence Hobgood,...

The House I Live In

Eugene Jarecki’s award-winning documentary, “The House I Live In,” is necessary viewing for anyone who mistakenly thinks continuing our disastrous War on Drugs, declared by Richard Nixon in 1971, is a good idea. The genius of this film is that it examines the toll our national folly and hypocrisy takes not only on entire communities...

Why I Died

The solo performer Katie Rubin works in the theatrical comedy tradition of Lily Tomlin and Whoopi Goldberg, portraying multiple characters, often at the same time, in the same scene. In her new show, “Why I Died,” playing through November 23 in Hollywood’s Hudson Theater, Rubin applies her considerable acting chops to a confessional memoir of spiritual...

The Tomorrow Show

If you’re able to be awake and sentient at Midnight on Saturdays in Hollywood, you can experience the most wonderfully weird variety show in Los Angeles: “The Tomorrow Show.” Hosted by the incomparable Ron Lynch, a comic genius who Duke Ellington would have complimented with his highest praise “beyond category,” TTS is unpredictable — a fictional...

Late Quartet

Despite being handicapped by a complete absence of CGI natural disasters, murderous firearms, or human bloodshed, the feature film “A Late Quartet” is surprisingly interesting. You could say it’s an adult film — about four adults (members of a world-famous string quartet) playing adult music (Beethoven, Shostakovich), grappling with adult concerns (mortality, fidelity, honesty). Writer-director Yaron...

How to Grow a Band

The documentary How to Grow a Band is simultaneously an intimate examination of artists (visions, egos, eccentricities, the whole thing) and a brilliant advertisement for the film’s subject. That would be the Punch Brothers, an all-star modern bluegrass band formed around the charismatic mandolin virtuoso and singer Chris Thile. The band’s sublime and sensational music is...

The Dictator

Like us, you may have tired of the extravagantly talented comedian Sacha Baron Cohen shooting fish in barrels. Borat, Bruno — these characters exploited backwards and stupid folk for cheap laughs. That’s why it took us so long to see “The Dictator.” His latest harkens back to Cohen’s early days as the inscrutable hip-hop interviewer...

Hindi Zahra

A French-Moroccan chanteuse who sings in English, French and Berber, Hindi Zahra sounds exactly like herself — which is to say unlike anyone else. Backed by as few instruments as she can get away with — a guitar, some bongos — Hindi fills the soundscape with her peculiarly seductive voice, a thin airy tone that suggests...