Thursday, August 27, 2015

What Is The 2015 Song of the Summer?


Is OMI's "Cheerleader" the song of the summer? Radio consultant Sean Ross makes a case for it:

“Cheerleader” was perhaps the first time since “California Gurls” that a song remained a front-runner from Memorial Day to Labor Day, although there were a few negative whispers at the beginning (one PD told me that the women he played it for didn’t like it) and PDs who came up to me midsummer and admitted they didn’t like it at first.

It’s hard to come up with a more profound case for “Cheerleader” than the one made for it in May: “reggae + dance music = extra summer smash insurance in 2015.” But after “Blurred Lines” and “Fancy,” the song’s sweetness probably counts for something as well. You can also say that about “Shut Up and Dance” or “See You Again” after a glut of “Elastic Heart”-type midtempo harshness in the format.

I don't know. I just haven't heard this song much this summer. Maybe I didn't get out of the house much this summer? Yet I did travel quite a bit, and I just never heard it in the wild! What do you make of it?

Sean's other finalists included The Weeknd’s “Can’t Feel My Face” (which seems to have picked up steam later in the summer); Silento's “Watch Me (Whip/Ne Ne)” (which feels more like the next Gangnam Style/What Does the Fox Say/Harlem Shake novelty sensation than a song of summer); and Wiz Khalifa’s “See You Again,” which is leading Billboard's summer chart.

What say you?

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Celebrate the New Clifton's Cafeteria with the L.A. Conservancy


Can't wait to finally see the completely renovated Clifton's Cafeteria? On Monday, September 21, Clifton’s opens with an event to benefit the Los Angeles Conservancy. Per the Conservancy:

Guests will be among the first to visit the iconic downtown restaurant after its multi-year, multi-million-dollar renovation by owner Andrew Meieran.

The event will run from 6:30 – 9:30 p.m., and general admission is $125. Guests will explore the beautifully restored and reimagined first-floor cafeteria, as well as the new Monarch Bar on the second floor. They’ll enjoy passed hors d’oeuvres, drinks, and entertainment, plus full dinner and dessert—by going through the cafeteria line, of course. Tickets are available at

A limited number of VIP tickets also include a behind-the-scenes talk with Meieran and a tour of the third and fourth floors, which won't open until later this year. (Note: As of this writing, fewer than twenty VIP tickets are available; we expect to sell out of them this week.)

Go here for more info or to purchase tix.

Monday, August 24, 2015

MIKE ON RADIO: Interviewing Keegan-Michael Key on KCRW's The Business

I guest host this Monday's edition of The Business (Kim Masters is on vacation) and I had a really fun conversation with Key and Peele star Keegan-Michael Key.
It's a bittersweet time to be a Key & Peele fan. Now in its fifth season, Peabody-winning Comedy Central sketch show scored eight Emmy nominations this year, including a best supporting actor nod for our guest Keegan-Michael Key. Then, at the height of their popularity, Key and his comedy partner, Jordan Peele, announced that this current season of Key & Peele would be the last.

Key tells us that he and Peele opted to go "the British route," bowing out after just a few seasons, similar to many British shows or mini-series. Both Peele and Key have other projects they're pursuing, and Key says he feared that if they kept going on the show, they were in danger of repeating themselves. He doesn't rule out the idea of coming back to Comedy Central in the form of some kind of reunion special though.

There wasn't enough room on The Business for all of our chat; the full version will appear on a future edition of our The Spin Off podcast. But listen here to this week's episode!

KCRW The Business

Also recently on KCRW, Joe Adalian and I discussed the smash box office hit "Straight Outta Compton" and Universal's excellent 2015 on Hollywood Breakdown. Listen below:


And on last Monday's Press Play, Steve Chiotakis and I discussed:
Unless you’ve been living in a garbage can, you probably heard about Big Bird’s big move to pay TV. That’s right, Sesame Street is joining the network of Cersei Lannister, Tony Soprano and "Nucky" Thompson. TV’s a strange place anyway -- on and off-the-small-screen -- and we talk about a possible Fresh Prince reboot and insane plot twists on the underground hit Mr. Robot.

Listen below!


Rate-A-Restaurant #353: Perennial Virant (Chicago)

Perennial Virant

Restaurant: Perennial Virant

Location: 1800 N Lincoln Ave. (Chicago)

Perennial Virant

Type of restaurant: New American

We stipulated: For our last day in Chicago, we decided to finally try the restaurant at our hotel (Hotel Lincoln) for brunch.

Perennial Virant

They stipulated: "Chef Paul Virant's restaurants are built upon his guiding philosophy of making the ingredients – their origin, production and quality – the full focus of his culinary approach. Embracing the Midwestern seasons and utilizing methods of preservation allow guests to always expect a menu that showcases local flavors and ingredients in abundance."

Perennial Virant

What we ordered: Housemade Doughnut ($5), Chicken sandwich ($13), Kids french toast ($4), Biscuits and gravy (gunthorp farm chicken sausage, two egg whites scrambled - $13), Housemade Sausage (two eggs cooked your way, homefries with cheese curds, toast - $13), side bacon ($6)

Perennial Virant

High point:  The doughnut, and the biscuit and chicken gravy.

Perennial Virant

Low point:  The boys' French toast was too burnt. We sent it back... and the replacement French toast was less burnt (see above), but still kind of burnt.

Perennial Virant

Overall impression: Brunch is a hard way to tell a restaurant's worth. Ultimately, it was spotty -- some good, some not-so-good.

Perennial Virant

Will we return: If we stay at the Hotel Lincoln again, perhaps we'll try another meal.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Hipster Zombies: Here's Where That "Fear the Walking Dead" Church Is

bethany church
Photo: Eastsider LA
The zombie apocalypse begins in Silver Lake.

That's the home to the former Bethany Presbyterian Church, which plays a large role in the first episode of AMC's "Fear the Walking Dead." We first see the effects of the zombies in Los Angeles there, and one of the show's main characters witnesses a zombie bloodbath.

In real life, the empty church sits in a fairly pricey and desirable neighborhood, and indeed, there has been talk for some time of turning the Bethany (located at Griffith Park Blvd. and Lucile St.) into a boutique hotel.

Coincidentally, we were just there last night, eating dinner at nearby Pine & Crane restaurant, at Sunset Triangle Plaza. Yep, the chruch is still there, boarded up and creepy. It's not always abandoned, though: It's been used as the home of the Silver Lake Chorus. But as Eastsider LA wrote way back in 2011, plans are afoot to completely renovate the Bethany:

The imposing front doors to the former Bethany Presbyterian Church in Silver Lake are locked shut, the entryway is strewn with trash and shards of broken terracotta roof tiles litter an overgrown garden. A man sleeps alongside of the building, which is topped by a rusting white cross. The church, which neighbors say has not been used on a regular basis for several years, has definitely seen better days since parishioners gathered 80 years ago to lay the cornerstone for the $75,000 Romanesque-style church and Sunday school at the corner of Griffith Park Boulevard and Lucile Street. The church, however, may once again serve as a sanctuary – not for the faithful but for tourists and travelers wanting to bed down in Silver Lake style. The leader of this church revival is Silver Lake resident Dana Hollister, who has renovated many other neglected neighborhood buildings and helped open popular restaurants and bars, including Cliff’s Edge and the 4100 Bar.

Hollister is now taking on perhaps her most ambitious project, turning Bethany Presbyterian into a boutique hotel with 20 rooms and a “food component” or restaurant. “I want to do something that is conservative and appropriate,” she said.

The church is spooky enough that last year it was the site of the scary play "Delusion: Masque of Mortality."


1629 Griffith Park Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 9002
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