Friday, September 04, 2015

Free L.A.: Last Chance for Shakespeare in Griffith Park This Weekend


We finally made it to the Independent Shakespeare Co.'s free Shakespeare in Griffith Park (on the grounds of the old zoo, next to Shane's Inspiration park) last weekend, in time to see one of the final performances of "Much Ado About Nothing."

much ado

The free Shakespeare in Griffith Park has taken place since 2004. The "Much Ado" adaptation, set in 1945, was well-done, with sharp performances, some musical interludes and playful use of the audience. We brought along a picnic, and although it was a bit too long for the kids (thank goodness we had our phones for them to play with when they got antsy), I'm glad we got there. And best of all, of course, is it's free! (Donations, of course, are encouraged.)

Now it's your turn. The final performances of the summer are this weekend: "Romeo and Juliet" tonight and Sunday, plus Symphony in the Glen on Saturday. Details on "Romeo and Juliet":
Adolescent bliss spins out of control in this imaginative staging of the most famous love story ever told. This new adaptation incorporates an original rock score and design that is equal parts fairy tale and punk. A live band and athletic performances create a Romeo and Juliet that explodes off the Griffith Park stage.


More details about the organization:
ISC relocated to Los Angeles in 2001, producing several productions in small venues. In 2003, we partnered with the Department of Cultural Affairs, City of Los Angeles to produce Free Shakespeare in Barnsdall Park. The first performance of the outdoor, free festival was attended by 14 people and a dog. By 2009, the summer festival performed for nearly 12,000 patrons, outgrowing Barnsdall Park.

2010 marked the start of a new chapter in our history: the summer festival moved to Griffith Park. It’s an ideal spot. It’s truly the park that’s for all Los Angeles, our stage is built in the gently sloping natural amphitheater of the Old Zoo, and the nights are peaceful. The 2014 season was our most successful yet: we performed for more than 43,000 people. The Festival has grown to include more than Shakespeare performances. Audiences enjoy pre-show performances by a variety of local artists, we host the Salon Series (conversations about the intersection of Shakespeare and contemporary culture), and families can attend pre-show workshops about the plays. All of our summer events are entirely free.


Go here for more information.


August Radio Ratings: KRTH, KFI Top the Charts

KRTH "K-Earth 101" is back on top.

The classic hits station (the classy way of saying "oldies") won the August 2015 book in Los Angeles with a 4.9 share of the listening audience age 12 and over. It was also 8th with persons 18-34 and 4th with the 25-54 year olds.

Meanwhile, top 40 KIIS-FM was No. 1 with listeners 18-34 (7.9 share), while hot adult contemporary KBIG "My 104.3" was No. 1 with 25-54 (5.4 share).

The big market success story right now may be hip-hop KRRL "Real 92.3," which has been the No. 2 station in the market among adults 18-34 since May. Not bad for a station that had previously been urban AC "Hot 92.3." It continues to narrowly beat heritage hip-hop KPWR "Power 106," having stolen key morning star Big Boy.

In morning drive time, KFI's Bill Handel remains dominant with radio listeners age 12 and up, averaging a 5.2 share. Close behind was Spanish language KLVE (5.1 share), which was No. 1 with listeners 25-54 (5.4). Ryan Seacrest on KIIS was still No. 1 with persons 18-34, a streak he's held all of 2015.

In morning drive, here are the top shows among listeners 12+:

1. KFI (5.2 share)
2. KLVE (5.1)
3. KRTH "K-Earth" (4.6)
4. KIIS (4.3)
5. KOST (4.0)
6. KTWV "The Wave" (3.9)
7. KBIG (3.7)
TIE. KNX (3.7)
9. KROQ (3.4)
TIE. KSWD "The Sound" (3.4)


1. KLVE (5.4)
2. KROQ (5.0)
3. KIIS (4.6)
4. KLYY (4.3)
5. KBIG (4.0)

Here are the top stations among listeners 12+:

1. KRTH (4.9 share)
2. KBIG (4.8)
TIE. KIIS (4.8)
TIE. KOST (4.8)
5. KTWV "The Wave" (4.1)
6. KCBS "Jack FM" (3.8)
TIE. KSWD "The Sound" (3.8)
TIE. KFI (3.8)
TIE. KLVE (3.8)
10. KAMP "Amp Radio" (3.1)


1. KBIG (5.4)
2. KIIS (5.2)
3. KOST (4.7)
4. KRTH "K-Earth" (4.6)
5. KLVE (4.3)

Monday, August 31, 2015

Rate-A-Restaurant #354: Guu (Vancouver)


Restaurant: Guu Izakaya

Location: 838 Thurlow St (Vancouver)


Type of restaurant: Japanese

We stipulated: I was in Vancouver for less than 48 hours -- long enough for perhaps one real meal. My colleague Geraldine suggested Guu, which was located close to my hotel.



They stipulated: "Guu Original on Thurlow is where the Izakaya boom started. It’s not only the first Guu to open, but is the very first Izakaya in Vancouver. Established in 1993 as 'Raku' & changed to 'Guu' in 2000, this Guu offers the most authentic izakaya experience, offering classic dishes like Yaki Udon & Oden. This is as close you’ll get to the real deal….unless you fly to Japan."


What we ordered: Tuna Tataki ($8.40), salmon sashimi ($8.80), Guuud Ale ($8.80)


High point:  I took a chance on the Guuud Ale and it was indeed guuud! Tuna tataki was nice too.


Low point:  Guu didn't have the scallops dish that I was most excited about off the menu.


Overall impression: I'm pretty sure I blew it, eating healthy instead of getting the down-and-dirty fried goodness off their menu. I didn't do my homework, and when I asked for menu guidance, I really didn't get any from the waiter. So I went in default mode and ordered healthy.


Will we return: If I return to Vancouver, I may hit Guu again in order to order properly.

KCRW's THE SPIN-OFF: Preston Beckman, The Scheduler Unmasked

On the latest edition of KCRW's The Spin-Off, Joe and I are joined by retiring scheduling guru Preston Beckman, who crafted the network strategy at NBC during the height of "Must See TV," and then again at Fox as it rode the "American Idol" wave:

By the mid 90's, NBC was on top. They had a Thursday night lineup that included Seinfeld, Friends, and ER. Beckman tells us how he knew Seinfeld was something special and why scheduling at the networks in the late 90's became something like pro-wrestling, with lots of big talk and even bigger egos.

He also reflects on less successful lineups, like in 1997 when NBC had 18 comedies on the schedule. While that may seem crazy now, he walks us through the thinking at the time.

When Beckman moved to Fox in 2000, it was right at the start of the reality revolution, and he was ready to embrace it. He says no one quite knew what to do with American Idol when they first got it, but Beckman came up with the idea to put a results show on an entirely separate night.

As for as shows he's encountered over the years he wishes he could have saved, those include I'll Fly Away, Grounded for Life, and yes, Firefly.

Listen below!


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?
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