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4 Legendary LA Comedy Clubs Where Actors Started Their Careers

Los Angeles Comedy ClubsWhen aspiring comedians and actors make the pilgrimage West, they are often just as starstruck by the famous comedy clubs in Los Angeles littering major streets as they are the famous actors. Many of those comedic actors got their start right here in those hallowed halls. Let’s take a look at four legendary comedy clubs in Los Angeles where actors started their careers.

The Laugh Factory

8001 Sunset Blvd., Hollywood, CA 90046

There is probably no more famous comedy club in Los Angeles backdrop than that of The Laugh Factory. That technicolor logo in orange/yellow surrounded by blue/purple is seared into our brains for reasons both sad and glad. It’s the backdrop that was behind Michael Richards during his memorably awful onstage breakdown, as well as Dave Chappelle’s triumphant return to the stage after quitting his TV show and dropping off the comedy map for years.

Founded by Jamie Masada, who immigrated from Iran at age 14 with no money and no knowledge of English, The Laugh Factory has become a mainstay of its Sunset Strip location and even expanded to Long Beach, Chicago, and Las Vegas. Masada started the club with the intention of paying stand-up comics a fair wage (a somewhat controversial idea in 1979), but Richard Pryor, the first major act he booked, reportedly handed back his $100 split for the night, saying “you need this for your rent, boy.”

The Comedy Store

8433 W Sunset Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90069

A black building covered in “handwritten” names of the comedians who have performed there, The Comedy Store is another Sunset Strip landmark which immediately confronts both hopefuls fresh off the bus and tourists hopping off their hop on/hop off Starline tour bus. The club opened in 1972 by comedian Sammy Shore (now better known as the father of Pauly “Hey Buuuuudy” Shore), but was quickly handed over to his ex-wife Mitzi in a divorce settlement. Far from just a lucky inheritor, Mitzi Shore became hugely influential with her non-traditional methods of financing as well as bucking the “boy’s club” trend of comedy clubs in Los Angeles at the time, devoting an upstairs section to booking female comedians exclusively and later creating specialty nights for gay, lesbian, and Latino performers.

However, not everyone felt so well cared for. Remember how the idea that paying comedians was revolutionary back in the 1970s? The Comedy Store was part of the old guard, with Mitzi Shore arguing that being on stage was an “opportunity” and training ground for comedians who would (hopefully) get noticed by casting agents — all while paying waiters, bartenders, and herself. Among the comedians who picketed against this policy for five weeks outside the club were David Letterman and Jay Leno. Feel free to thank them both when you get a check for your Comedy Store gig!

The Groundlings

7307 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90046

Now, for actual training grounds, The Groundlings is second to none. It’s one of the great Saturday Night Live breeding grounds for all eras of the show, with Phil Hartman, Jon Lovitz, Will Ferrell, Chris Kattan, Cheri Oteri, Will Forte, Maya Rudolph, Kristen Wiig, and more on the alumni roll. While the name refers to the school’s humble origins (“Groundlings” were lower-class members of the audience who stood on the ground to watch plays in Shakespeare’s day), having The Groundlings on your resume today is especially prestigious.

Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre

5919 Franklin Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90028

Similar to The Groundlings but a little edgier, weirder, and generally friendlier to the pocketbook is The Upright Citizens Brigade. What began in a tiny theater on Franklin Ave, the small size, affordable tickets, and legendary improv shows featuring well-known actors ensure that every show ends up being standing room only.

In an effort not only to expand, but allow more space for students, fans, and comedians to socialize before and after shows and classes, UCB recently opened a new, larger “compound” in Hollywood that is intended to feel less like the average comedy club in Los Angeles and more like a “college dorm” where you can hang out with the next Donald Glover, Rob Corddry, Ed Helms, or Aubrey Plaza, all of whom got their start at UCB.
So there you have it. The past and present of comedy all in one great city. All that’s missing from these famous comedy clubs in Los Angeles is the future. If you think that’s you, hop off that Starline tour bus and get to work!

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Country Music in Los Angeles: Where to Listen, Play, and Two-Step

Country Music In Los AngelesIf you live and breathe country music, you’re not alone. The booming industry caters to plenty of talented popular artists who always have something new to contribute. Places like Arkansas, Tennessee, Texas, and Kentucky are best known for their love of country, but as an LA resident, you’re not out of luck. You have plenty of resources to soak up some country music in Los Angeles without traveling far from home.

Country Music Bars and Venues in Los Angeles

  • Burgundy Room is a cozy dive bar in LA that plays a wide range of music, including “old school” country that is sure to get your toe tapping. This super cozy bar is the perfect place to get away from all the Hollywood hullabaloo and enjoy a dark, cozy hangout.
  • Cowboy Country Saloon in Long Beach is another winner. The bar features three dance floors, a pool room, a large stage for local bands to play, and a 15,000 square-foot hall for square dancing.
  • Outpost Hollywood offers the perfect solution for sports-loving fans of country music in Los Angeles. Sit back, relax, sip beer from a mason jar, and watch your favorite team beat their rivals on one of the big screen TVs. Wednesday at 10 pm is karaoke night, so get ready to sing your country heart out!

Los Angeles Country Music Festivals

  • Stagecoach is California’s best country music festival. The event takes place every April in Indio, a mere 2.5-hour drive from LA. Each year boasts an excellent country music lineup, from George Strait and Brad Paisley to Keith Urban and Brooks & Dunn. Expect a fun, friendly atmosphere in sunny Southern California. The main stage is certainly worth your attention, but don’t forget the petting zoo and line dancing tent! It’s an unforgettable experience that brings new guests and returning country fans back year after year.
  • The Country Pop Up is a fun event every summer that takes country music to the beaches of Santa Monica. Prepare yourself for live musical acts, free line dancing lessons, unique giveaways, retail shops, drink specials, and more.

Country Radio Stations in LA

  • KKGO, or Go Country 105 FM, is the station that hosts the Country Pop Up series every year. Known as Southern California’s country music station, KKGO plays many of today’s hottest country hits, plus a few you might not have heard before. Along with playing all your favorite country music in Los Angeles, the radio station gets involved in the community by hosting events and concerts. Country music is for everyone, and Go Country wants it to stay that way!
  • KFROG 95.1 and 92.9 FM lets you enjoy a little Tim McGraw, Toby Keith, Carrie Underwood, and Taylor Swift, along with more of country’s biggest names. The radio station holds contests to hook you up with tickets to see various artists playing country music in Los Angeles. You won’t regret tuning in!

Learn to Play Country Music

Now it’s your turn. If you love listening and dancing to country music in Los Angeles, why not pursue the art of making your own music? Start by covering your favorite bands, and then try your hand at writing your own music.

You have nothing to lose and an amazing new talent to gain! Start by browsing music teachers in your area — whether you want to learn country singing or guitar, we have the teacher for you. Who knows? This could be the start of your country music career!

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The 5 Best Piano bars Los Angeles Has to Offer

Best Piano Bars In The Los Angeles AreaIf you’re studying to be a musician of any kind yourself — whether you’re an aspiring professional or a talented and enthusiastic amateur — nights out that involve live music are probably high on your wish-list. And if you like to combine your musical socializing with food and drink, venues with smaller instrumental ensembles, such as piano bars, are likely to be exactly what you’re looking for in a great night out. When looking for entertainment venues, running a Google search for a term such as “piano bars Los Angeles” will give you several pages of results. However, these five suggestions give you a flavor of what’s out there in terms of variety of music and venue feel:

1)  Piano Bar Hollywood

6429 Selma Avenue, Hollywood, California 90028

The Piano Bar is probably the most famous piano bar of its type. Close to the Hollywood Walk of Fame, The Piano Bar has come a long way since its slightly seedy reputation of five or so years ago. Proud to have no guest list and no dress code, the music is described as offering a “party” feel, so expect the playlist to be mostly uptempo. Customer reviews are extremely favorable, but many lament that they don’t serve food, so this bar is a good choice if you and your friends have already been out to dinner elsewhere.

2) The Varnish

118 East 6th Street, LA 90014

The Varnish is unique among piano bars in Los Angeles — despite only being around since 2009, the venue takes customers right back to the 1920s with the feel of a speakeasy. Unsurprisingly, the music offered is jazz, performed live every Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday after 9pm. Although they don’t offer food directly, the bar is attached to Cole’s restaurant (in fact, in true speakeasy fashion, it is accessible through a discreet door at the back!). Be aware, however, that The Varnish is tiny — you may have to wait to get in, and even though they don’t admit parties larger than six, you may find that it’s rather cramped and intimate. Drinks can take a while to arrive, but only because each cocktail is expertly hand-crafted.

3)  The Dresden

1760 No. Vermont Avenue, Hollywood, CA 90027

The Dresden proudly claims to have been “a Hollywood landmark for over 50 years,” and judging from the number of films it has appeared in, including “Swingers” and “That Thing You Do”, the have decent grounds to make that claim! The music style you should expect here is jazz, with live music performed every night of the week. For the budding piano bar star, there’s an open mic night every Tuesday. The Dresden is also famed for its Blood and Sand cocktail and good food. Customers either praise or deride the 1970s styling, but all agree that The Dresden is a must-visit among piano bars in Los Angeles.

4)  The Charleston

2460 Wilshire Blvd in Santa Monica, CA 90403

With a gastropub menu and an eclectic variety of live music styles offered, we recommend checking the calendar of events for The Charleston before you go. The famed jazz brunch on Sundays is a good start for your first visit, where Bobby Alto Music generally play, also slipping pop and rock into their playlist. Although there is no cover charge, there is a two-drink minimum requirement for these events.

5)  The Hotel Cafe

1623 1/2 N. Cahuenga Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028

Listed amongst America’s Top 40 Music Venues, this piano bar in Los Angeles is a bit of a one-off. With a quirky website, the FAQs alone are guaranteed to make you smile. Not purely a piano bar in Los Angeles, several artists have residencies at any one time, so you are likely to experience a wide variety of different music. Reviewers have declared it “a must” if you love live music.

 

As bars and restaurants open (and sadly close) all the time, it’s worth keeping your eye open both for piano bars in Los Angeles and in other areas. If you’re a budding musician, open mic nights can be a good way to get a foot in the door, ensuring that the live music experience continues for people seeking a good night out for years to come.

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Take the Mystery Out of LA Museums: 6 Discussion Questions for Kids

Los Angeles Museums Taking your kids to a museum can be an educational and fun experience for the whole family — as long as you plan it correctly! You can easily encourage your child’s interest and make the opportunity an enriching and entertaining one if you keep some discussion questions in mind for both during the visit and on the drive home.

Start with these questions:

  • WHO? Who created the exhibit or piece of art? Identifying the “who” often leads to follow-up questions regarding the when, why, and how of items on display.
  • WHAT? There can be many “what’s” to the experience, such as “What did you learn?” and “What was your favorite?” This is an especially fun question for LA museums featuring fine art, like the Getty Center and the Hammer Museum.
  • WHY? Perspective and perceptions of art often vary with age. For example, a cubist Picasso work might have your four-year-old calling out shapes, your 11-year-old daughter commenting on the bizarrely skewed facial features, or your teenage son snickering over anatomically correct parts. In addition, these types of broad questions offer more lively discussions among family members, involving each person in your family.
  • WHY? Discuss the purposes of LA museums before, during, or after your visit, considering why the exhibits are on display for the community.
  • WHEN? When were the artifacts or exhibits constructed? This will lead to further “how” questions, such as how exhibits relate to the present time.
  • HOW? How does the piece of exhibit relate to your child’s world, time period, or culture? How does it make them feel? How would you or your child do it different? Exploratory questions not only increase your child’s understanding of exhibits at LA museums, but strengthen critical thinking skills as well. Want to give your kids a little room to explore on their own? Kidspace Museum encourages exploration through science and art exhibits, classes, and workshops.

Still Overwhelmed?

If you’re overwhelmed or would like something more specific to a particular museum’s exhibits, see if the museum offers a family activity kit or guide to get you started. Many museums offer lists of age-appropriate questions for children, in hopes of both engaging them in the experience and fostering a love and understanding of art. The Los Angeles County Museum of Art, for example, offers a great family activity kit, tons of great kids programs, and a free youth membership program.

Think your kids are a little young to get a lot out of a fine art at LA museums? You can still encourage their interest in the arts at Zimmer Children’s Museum. Created especially for children and babies, Zimmer offers story time, singalongs, art projects, and more. Introducing children to LA museums at a young age fosters an interest in programs later in life.

Ready for a day out at the museum? Encourage your child’s inquisitiveness, and explore the mysteries at the vast array of LA museums available. Enjoy!

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Comedy Store

Getting the Gig: How to Book Comedy Shows in Los Angeles

Booking Comedy Show GigsSo here’s you: an extremely talented actor looking to book comedy shows in Los Angeles. You’re not just talented; you’re gracious (twice as humble as the next guy!). But no matter how talented you are, LA can be an intimidating town. But continue reading, and you may just learn a few ways to not just survive, but to thrive in its unique comedy landscape.

LA of the Land

LA is at the center of the push toward improv in all forms of American comedy. Call it the Apatow Effect, but the trend toward laughs generated by performers who have easy chemistry with each other has moved beyond his circle. Recently, for example, Jonah Hill took his improv chops to Martin Scorsese’s set for “The Wolf of Wall Street”.

While improv may electrify movies and comedy shows in Los Angeles, the process of heightening often leads to many scenes of American comedy ending with characters shouting at and over each other, at least according to writer/director Edgar Wright on his commentary track for “The World’s End”. Even if you agree with Wright that the best comedy is tightly written on the page and barely strayed from, you’ll still need to be comfortable improv-ing or at least continuing scenes past their end on the page in search of that one line that will make the director crack up and make you a star. But before that can happen, you have to book the gig.

Auditioning and Never Hearing “No”

Auditions can be a nerve-wracking process. In addition, the “don’t call us, we’ll call you” attitude of LA can be surprising to recent transplants from other comedy hotbeds like New York and Chicago. For whatever reason, casting directors for comedy shows in LA have a unique talent for making you feel like another nameless cow moving through the slaughterhouse.

What’s worse, there’s a deeply ingrained culture of never saying “no” in Hollywood. Far from being an exhortation to agree to every part and accept every challenge that comes your way like Jim Carrey did, the Hollywood ban on “no” extends to all facets of the industry. Essentially, it turns “yes” into “maybe” and “maybe” into “never in a million years.”

What this means for you at first is to not get too excited every time someone says they have a part for you or that they’ll read your script if you email it to them (you are writing yourself brilliant parts only you can play, aren’t you?). The other, even more important side is to realize the reason no one will ever reject you outright is because they don’t want to burn any bridges in case they need you later. You can look at that as cowardice and opportunism, or you can see it for the fact that no one knows when they might need you. And no one, not even you, knows for sure that they’ve seen the best you have to offer.

How to Prepare

The best way to stand out in an extremely-packed field of actors auditioning for the same comedy shows in Los Angeles just so happens to be the motto of the Boy Scouts — always be prepared! LA is a town of dreamers who have the positivity (or self-delusion) to hang on to the slimmest of hopes. Fortunately for you, many of these dreamers competing against you aren’t just unrealistic flakes; they’re completely unprepared.

Whether they got the sides the night before from their agent or decided to crash an audition, you’d be surprised at how many comedic and dramatic performers walk in front of casting directors with no idea of the project’s tone and having made no choices beforehand. If you know your lines and understand the script, you’re already in the upper half of applicants. Researching past works is another great place to start. If you’re auditioning for a show, it helps to have seen a few of its recent episodes.

Finally, it’s impossible to overstate the importance of time management in LA as an actor. Everyone understands traffic and makes allowances for lateness, but being there on time helps you stand out (especially if others are not). But beyond competition, arriving with time to spare lowers your stress level and gives you time to get into character and assess your goals for the audition, like highlighting your physical comedy skills. That’s hard to do if you’re circling the building looking for a parking spot minutes before your audition is scheduled.

Getting the Training You Need

Of course, the other way to beat your competition is to be better than them. It’s in your power to be better informed, more practiced, and more experienced than everyone else trying to get on those same comedy shows in Los Angeles. Acting classes and working with private acting coaches are great for this. While it pays to be a team player, especially in improv, you can expect to be overshadowed and outright steamrolled onstage by your fellow performers trying to catch the eyes of agents in the audience. Your secret weapon here is one-on-one personalized instruction. You don’t have to worry about that overeager busybody monopolizing your teacher’s time when, for the duration of the session, you’re the only student they have.

Good lucking breaking into the scene, and we’ll see you on stage!

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LACMA

What to Know Before You Go: The LA County Museum of Art

LACMA

Looking for a fun and enriching outing with the kids? Look no further than the LA County Museum of Art, the largest art museum in the western United States. Located at 5905 Wilshire Blvd in Los Angeles, the museum has exhibited amazing works of art since 1965.

Before you head out of the house, here are a few things to know about the the LA County Museum of Art…

1. Time your visit for free admission.

Do you have kids under 17? Sign up for a NexGen membership to receive free admission! The museum also admits LA County residents for free after 3 pm Monday through Friday. Fun, enriching, and free? You had no idea what you were missing, did you?

2. Check the schedule for activities.

  • Story Time: Folk tales and age-appropriate children’s stories are presented every Monday and Friday at 2 pm in the Boone Children’s Gallery.
  • NexGen: This is a free youth membership program, which offers free general admission to anyone under 17 with one accompanying adult. Enroll here!
  • Art Classes & Camps: Classes for all ages are taught by artists, in addition to special art camps coinciding with school breaks. Prices vary.
  • Community Art Programs: Children and young adults are invited to attend free artist-led workshops, exhibitions, and more (typically weekdays after school).
  • Self-Guided Activities: Free activities available at the Box Office include an art tote full of objects and activities, an audio tour, and guides for parents to encourage dialogue about art with kids.

3. Consider exploring the art beyond the paint brush.

Going beyond what is expected from the typical art museum, the LA County Museum of Art offers a variety of programs, including:

  • The Film Department: The LA County Museum of Art previews new studio, independent, and foreign films, and also hosts a film series in celebration of cinema worldwide with thematic film series, retrospectives, and tributes.
  • Music Programs: The LA County Museum of Art presents more than 100 concerts annually, including leading international and local jazz, classical, Latin, and new music ensembles. Looking for a free show? Check out the Sundays Live series, featuring a free one-hour concert every Sunday at 6pm in the Leo S. Bing Theater.
  • The Education Department: The Education Department provides opportunities for all ages to explore art, including talks and courses, art and film education, a film lab, art classes, school and community events, teen-focused events, evenings and resources designed just for educators, and more!

4. Get ready for a little retail therapy.

In person and online, the LACMA store offers posters, books, e-books, jewelry, toys, and other novelties and gifts inspired by museum collections and exhibits. Looking for current or out-of-print exhibition catalogs and books on contemporary art? Visit the Art Catalogues Bookstore.

Want to show your support for this awesome venue? Become a LA County Museum of Art member for additional perks, unfettered access, and most importantly, to support and spread the joy of art to children and the community via the museum’s extensive outreach programs. So what are you waiting for? Head out and explore the museum, and get your kids involved in the arts today!

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HBowl

Live Music in LA: Everything You Need to Know About the Hollywood Bowl

Everything You Need To Know About The Hollywood Bowl In Los AngelesThe Hollywood Bowl is one of the country’s most famous open-air music venues. It’s also the largest natural outdoor amphitheater in the US. As a fixture of the entertainment capital of the world, the Hollywood Bowl has seen big changes from its humble beginnings in the 1920s to its current status as a venue for popular touring acts, as well as the summer home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the year-round home of the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra.

History

This LA institution and Hollywood landmark had humble beginnings, with the first-known performance listed on the Hollywood Bowl schedule being two women performing on a barn door. If you look at that 1920 photo, you may notice a lack of the venue’s most distinct features. The “bowl” in the name refers to the concave shape of the hillside into which the amphitheater is carved.

The famous curved, white band shell came much later, going through a few acoustically excellent revisions built by Frank Lloyd Wright’s son between 1927 and 1928. The look was considered too avant garde, so the next year a new shell was built. With additions by famed architect Frank Gehry, it stood until 2003, but proved difficult for acoustic engineers, becoming “a liability” by 1970.

The current shell, fiercely opposed by conservationists in 2003, incorporates elements of the sonically superior Lloyd Wright designs and achieves much better quality, with some extremely sophisticated digital sound management to make sound not just level from front seats to back benches, but for it to seem as if the music is playing at the same time, rather than delayed by traveling a long distance.

Performers

From its inception, the Hollywood Bowl schedule has been packed with notable and diverse artists. Since 1922, the Los Angeles Philharmonic has called The Bowl home, and more recently the venue lent its famous name to an important resident ensemble, the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra.

American jazz legends such as Al Jolson, Billie Holiday, Nat King Cole, and Ella Fitzgerald have all graced the stage. The Beatles came across the pond to perform in 1964 and 1965, recording both dates for a long-awaited live album. Playing at the Hollywood Bowl was a “dream concert” for The Doors, and the LA-bred band finally played there in 1968, recording a live album as well.

The Hollywood Bowl continues to evolve, with jam band Phish playing their first show there in 2011 and Avicii becoming the first EDM act to appear on the Hollywood Bowl schedule as a headliner in 2013.

Finding Shows and Getting Tickets

The first stop for any prospective concert-goers is the venue’s website, where you’ll find the Hollywood Bowl schedule, tickets, fan photos, and more. The most exciting feature, however, is a seating chart that reveals the view from that section when you click on it. This interactive chart has the answer when you want to know if the garden boxes are really worth so much more than the cheap seats.

With its history and glamour, shows by popular musicians often sell out quickly. In those cases, it’s not enough to keep up with the Hollywood Bowl schedule—you really need to join those bands’ mailing lists or follow them on social media. Not every band organizes a completely digital sale tied to IDs to prevent scalping like Nine Inch Nails did on nin.com, but artists frequently make pre-sale codes available to their fans.

Songkick and Bandsintown are both useful for finding out about concerts as soon as they’re announced. You just have to list the bands you want to see to get notified about local shows before they go on sale. Both services have apps that can scan your personal music library for artists to simplify the process.

Crowd and Vibe

Because of the relatively high ticket prices, or perhaps just the awareness that a symphony was there the night before, the crowd at the Hollywood Bowl is typically well-behaved no matter who’s playing. While other venues in LA are famous for hard partying antics, The Bowl is not that kind of place.

If you want to get a taste for the crowd, you can always peruse the section of user-uploaded snapshots and selfies on the site.

With its unbroken history of nearly a century and picturesque location (the Hollywood Sign is visible in the hills behind the band shell), the Hollywood Bowl is one of the most unique and celebrated venues in California. The Bowl has kept pace with changing trends and improving acoustic technology, making it a must-visit venue for tourists and locals alike.

 

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5 Los Angeles Music Studios for Aspiring Musicians

If you’re an advanced music student in Los Angeles County and envision a future in music, you’re in luck, because there are tons of area studios where you can record yourself! Although these music studios in Los Angeles County run the gamut in pricing, acoustics, and equipment, many of the best studios provide comprehensive gear and instruments, top-notch audio engineering, backup vocalists, and additional help with music production.

Regardless of which studio you might be interested in, listen to music made at the studio before you sign any agreements. Make sure the music is similar to the type you perform. For example, if you sing solo, ask to hear a recording of a solo singer. A guitar recording will not give the most accurate comparisons. Also, ask how many clients of your exact category the studio has.

To get you started in your research, here are some of the top music studios for advanced students in Los Angeles County.

1. NRG Recording Studios

Photo from https://www.facebook.com/nrgrecordingstudios

Photo from https://www.facebook.com/nrgrecordingstudios

11128 Weddington St.
North Hollywood, CA 91601
(818) 760-7841

In the studio’s words: “High production quality shouldn’t come with an exorbitant price tag. … We accommodate any need a client has and have a history of working with amazing artists and clients.”

About the studios: NRG Recording is owned by award-winning producer and mixer Jay Baumgardner. Although the studio works with superstars all the times (including Linkin Park, Alicia Keys, and Bush), it makes a point of remaining accessible to people just starting out in their music careers. Among its features are two full tracking rooms and one mix/vocal room. Its top-notch gear, including microphones and gear pedals, makes it one of the best music studios in Los Angeles County.

2. 48 Windows 

Image from http://www.48windows.com/studio/

Image from http://www.48windows.com/studio/

1661 N Lincoln Blvd, Ste 220
Santa Monica, CA 90404
(310) 392-9545

In the studio’s words: “Most of all, we strive not only for purity of sound, but for making our clients understand that 48 Windows is their home. Our clients have our cell numbers, and know that day or night, anytime they need us, we will be there to help.”

About the studios: These studios blend vintage with state-of-the-art technology. They seat up to eight people, and have sound-isolated windows, natural light, and gorgeous views of Santa Monica. The staff can help you select microphones and stay with you until the very last step. Staffers will also analyze your audio recordings for various issues.

3. Henson Recording Studios 

Image from http://www.hensonrecording.com/

Image from http://www.hensonrecording.com/

1416 N La Brea Ave
Hollywood, CA 90028
(323) 856-6680

In the studio’s words: “Henson Recording Studios features a seasoned, dedicated staff of technical engineers as well as the ability to draw from a diverse pool of highly qualified engineers.”

About the studios: This studio has gone through several owners, including Charlie Chaplin, and is now in the hands of Jim Henson’s family. The studios offer extensive gear and studio mix equipment, and many of the greatest music industry stars have recorded albums, filmed music videos, and put on performances here, including Van Halen, Michael Jackson, and Lionel Richie.

4. The Village 

Image from http://villagestudios.com/

Image from http://villagestudios.com/

1616 Butler Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90025
(310) 478-8227

In the studio’s words: “In every decade since its founding, The Village has produced the favorite songs of all time. … Music is everywhere, but it sounds better at The Village.”

About the studios: The Village often hosts activities such as Halloween parties and concert series—making it even easier for you to informally check it out. Founder Geordie Hormel, who died in 2006, believed in taking pride in one’s work and that the customer is always right. These philosophies definitely show in the studio, one of the most dynamic music studios in Los Angeles County. It has four mixing rooms, an auditorium, and a ballroom.

5. Ocean Way Recording 

Image by http://www.theindiemusicchannel.com/

Image by http://www.theindiemusicchannel.com/

6050 Sunset Blvd
Hollywood, CA 90028
(323) 467-9375

In the studio’s words: “Generations of music icons…all choose Ocean Way for its phenomenal sounding rooms, customized equipment, impeccable electronic maintenance, and access to the music industry’s most famous collection of vintage tube microphones.”

About the studios: Studios A and B were designed by Bill Putnam and can fit up to 50 musicians. Studio C is a mix/edit room, and Studio D was designed by Allen Sides, the founder of Ocean Way. The studio’s services even include setting up temporary studios in their clients’ homes— a great feature if you’re so inclined.

As you are looking at music studios in Los Angeles and the surrounding areas, do your homework and ensure the studio you select has the right equipment and know-how for you. Need some extra training or guidance before you hit the studio? Don’t forget that TakeLessons can connect you with local teachers for any type of instrument, singing, music recording, and more! Good luck — and have fun!

 

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LA Band

How to Find the Best Los Angeles Bands for Hire

How To Find Bands For Hire In The Los Angeles AreaPlanning an event? The Los Angeles music scene is incredibly diverse, which means if you’re looking for live entertainment for your guests, you’ll have an overwhelming number of options!

First, though, you’ll want to consider the type of music you’re looking for. What will your guests enjoy? When planning music for a wedding, the couple’s wishes trump everything else. If you’re hiring a band for a dance or party, you’ll want to take all of the guests’ tastes into account. Next, it’s time to find Los Angeles bands for hire – the following are some ways to start your search:

Check Local News Sources and Classifieds

The local classifieds can be a great place to start your research. The Los Angeles Times classified section lists many local performing artists, including DJs, cover bands, and up-and-coming artists. You can also find lots of bands in the Los Angeles eBay Classifieds, as well as within Craigslist Los Angeles (in the musicians category). When you find bands you’re interested in, check for reviews and ratings and see if they have a nearby show booked so that you can check them out for yourself.

Browse Los Angeles Bands for Hire Online

Many websites exist specifically to help Los Angeles bands for hire find gigs. For example, Gig Masters lists over 1,200 wedding bands looking for gigs. You can also check Gig Salad, which features a generous number of cover bands that perform at weddings, parties, school dances, and other events. The website Thumbtack allows you to select the genre of music you want and the type of event, giving you a list of bands that might be a good fit.

Visit Los Angeles Music Venues

Perhaps the best way to assure that you’ll be satisfied with your choice is to see prospective bands perform in person. There are several excellent places around LA to see newcomers in action and get your chance to book the next musical sensation before they’re too expensive to consider. Hotel Cafe in Hollywood, for example, has a speakeasy vibe and features live jazz musicians nightly. It’s a great place to find a smooth jazz act for a wedding reception or other classy event.

The Troubadour in West Hollywood has featured many big names, like Elton John and Guns N’ Roses, but also books smaller, lesser-known bands that are looking for places to perform. The Echo in Echo Park often has live indie music, and it’s the perfect place to find unusual and innovative acts that are a nice change of pace from your typical cover bands. Bootleg Theater has a lively underground music scene and is another great place to check out more offbeat acts.

There is no shortage of great Los Angeles bands for hire – you just have to do the legwork to find the right fit for your special event. The perfect band is out there waiting for you!

 

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 Photo by Justin Higuchi

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Exploring the Scene: How to Find Jazz Concerts in Los Angeles

Jazz Concerts In Los AngelesJazz has always been considered one of America’s leading contribution to the world of music. As an art form, jazz is constantly evolving as new artists introduce new musical influences and styles to the genre.

Los Angeles is a hotbed of amazingly talented jazz musicians. As the center of the entertainment industry, Los Angeles boasts a great jazz scene with lots of clubs, concerts, and festivals available to help you get your jazz on!

Jazz on the Radio

Kjazz is a public radio station that broadcasts from California State University, Long Beach.  Offering listeners the entire spectrum of jazz, KKJZ plays everything from bebop to cool jazz, Latin to straight-ahead, and swing to big band styles. This is the station to hear the masters, including Miles Davis, Sonny Rollins, and John Coltrane, as well as the hottest up-and-coming artists like Grace Kelly, Doug Webb, and Brad Mehldau.

Jazz Concerts in Los Angeles

Los Angeles features some of the finest concert halls in the country. Most host jazz concert series throughout the year.

For more than 20 years, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art has hosted jazz concerts in Los Angeles at the Jazz at LACMA series. The series runs from April through November and has featured LA’s finest local jazz musicians along with legends like Wayne Shorter, Kenny Burrell, Les McCann, and Ernie Watts.

A great venue for listening to music, the Broad Stage boasts impeccable acoustics and seats so comfortable, you’ll be hoping for an encore or two! While the jazz series is a bit sparse, you can definitely find some talented jazz musicians.

Designed by architect Frank Gehry, the Walt Disney Concert Hall is an amazing venue to catch a concert. Home of the LA Philharmonic, the Hall also hosts an annual jazz series led by Herbie Hancock. There’s not a bad seat in the house for watching these high-profile jazz acts!

Nothing beats spending a beautiful summer evening under the stars with a picnic and live jazz. Another venue curated by Herbie Hancock, iconic performers come from around the world to play at this amazing venue. The season kicks off with the famous weekend-long Playboy Jazz Festival (more on that later!)

Jazz Festivals in Los Angeles

Along with ongoing jazz concerts in Los Angeles, the city hosts some of the most dynamic jazz festivals in the country.

2014 marks the 36th year of the world famous Playboy Jazz Festival. The two-day festival held at the Hollywood Bowl has featured some of the jazz world’s most luminary figures in years past. 2014 is no exception, with performances scheduled by Al Jarreau, Stanley Clarke, Dianne Reeves, Dave Holland, and the Arturo Sandoval Big Band.

West Coast jazz was born on Central Avenue and this festival is a celebration of community and music. This year marks the 19th annual festival and will feature performances by some of LA’s top up-and-coming artists.

Jazz Clubs in Los Angeles

Los Angeles boasts one of the most dynamic jazz club scenes anywhere! From intimate supper clubs to world-class jazz clubs, LA has something for everyone.

This club was designed by trumpeter, producer, composer, and jazz executive Herb Alpert. It’s a classy joint with great acoustics and live jazz six nights a week.

This intimate Hollywood club is one of the priciest venues in the city, but it’s certainly worth it, as it features an impressive lineup of touring jazz greats and local emerging artists.

Located in an unassuming concrete mall in LA’s Little Tokyo, the Blue Whale is one of the top jazz clubs in LA. This club is both romantic and vivacious, and has its finger on the pulse of the LA jazz scene. CD release nights are common here and the weekly jam nights offer listeners a chance to catch the newest up-and-coming musicians in the city.

Whether you’re searching for jazz concerts in Los Angeles, or an intimate club where you can discover the newest rising stars, the Los Angeles offers tons of opportunities for music lovers. Happy listening!

 

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