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Arts and Entertainment

LA Weekend had Everything but You

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This weekend LA Weekly provided an A+ collection of speakers and performers. The only thing missing was you. Where were you? Seriously, you could have called. LA Weekend had the misfortune of going up against the larger-than-life Silver Lake Jubilee, but the trek across town to hit both Saturday actually wasn't that bad.

We were unable to make it Friday night for Comic Book Burlesque, Amy Alcon and The Bad Boys of Blogging (ooh, hypocrite check). Saturday, however, was fantastic! It was informative, entertaining, funny and a rare opportunity to see icons like Gary Panter. That theater should have been packed. Let me tell you what you missed...

First of all, the Saban Theater is gorgeous. Sure, we all attended concerts there when it was the Wilshire Theater, but it is something to see in the sunlight. I kept getting distracted by bright, shiny objects.

We started out with Jonathan Gold moderating a panel about hot dogs with people "who have forgotten more about hot dogs than most of us will ever learn." Joe Fabrocini from Fab's in the valley, Sue Moore from Let's Be Frank, who started making her own dogs 5 years ago in San Francisco, and Duane Earle from Earlez, south of the 10 Freeway.

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Gold started off talking about his family's quest for the ultimate Chicago Dog and the hot dog spots gone by. Earl, who was a charmer and raconteur, grew up working a hot dog cart in New York. They discussed the importance of the dog itself versus the toppings. Fabrocini said everyone's favorite dog is the dog they grew up with. He emphasized that you cannot fry any dog and call it a ripper -- a ripper is a specially made hot dog for deep-frying.

After the panel Kate Micucci performed in all her pixie glory. So adorable. Her quirky little songs were sung very quickly to the frantic strumming of a ukulele, and most of them ended with a punch line. It is definitely something to see, and I would book her in a minute, but I'm not sure I could sit down and listen to an entire album.

Clown City Limits. How to describe them, OK, they are three down-on-their-luck clowns hanging out in what appears to be a parking lot, yakking it up and being generally clownish and ridiculous. It kind of reminded me a lot of a parking lot in the downtown arts district circa '95.

One clown was a curmudgeonly cigar-smoking betting type who was a bit like Lewis Black. His partner in crime was ummm, well,, his makeup was smeared into a kind of blur. He didn't speak, but communicated in mime like Harpo Marx and with a creepy squeaking noise. A third clown in old-fashioned formalwear watched from the sidelines knowingly, occasionally nodding approval. At least they left the audience alone, no seltzer attacks. In fact, they were kind of subdued for clowns. I think it would have been better had I been stoned.

The formal, nodding clown later tried to explain the different types of clowns to me, but I got lost when he said the hobo wasn't a hobo because he was a cheat and so I could only nod politely. And approvingly.

Up next, the man we had been waiting for, Gary Panter! Matt Groening was also there to see his old friend, and we chatted with him for a bit. I went backstage to photograph Gary, and he was drawing a signature for a fan like they do at ComicCon. I couldn't resist and rummaged for a flier. Such a nice guy.

He spoke over a slide show of his work, mentioning that he really couldn't find an outlet for his style in the beginning. Finally he came to LA and found punk rock. He talked about Slash and Kickboy. I was too enamored with the enormous works of art to really focus on the interview.

We spent some time hanging out on the balcony with Keith Morris, who is also a fantastic DJ, spinning rare 60s garage rock. The amazing photographs of Kevin Scanlon were on display in the lobby. Outside, the Rock & Roll Pizza Truck was rockin' the slices, and damn if it wasn't one of the closest things we've had to a true NY slice in a long time. It was worth it just for the pizza.

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