WATCH | PEANUT BUTTER FALCON
Set in the rural Deep South of bayous and wetlands, this film has a crazy cast for a story about a kid named Zak who runs away from home to make his dream of becoming a wrestler come true. Once you see “Peanut Butter Falcon” though, you’ll realize that there’s plenty of reason for the ample line up. (Shia LaBeouf, Dakota Johnson, Thomas Haden Church, Bruce Dern, to name a few.) It follows the story of Zak who has Down Syndrome and lives in a nursing home as he’s without family or resources. Watching an old VHS tape all day about a wrestler named Salt Water Redneck, he dreams of going to Salt Water’s wrestling school which is advertised in the video. With how many times Zak has tried to escape, he ultimately becomes a "flight risk,” but one night he succeeds (wearing only his underwear) and meets an outlaw who becomes his coach and ally. The plot of this mismatched-buddies drama may feel all too familiar, but the strong casting and genuine sweetness provide a welcome realistic edginess that is often lost in today’s film culture. We sure did smile a lot through this one we we’re pretty sure you will too.
photo by Wonho Frank Leek
DINE | AMERICAN BEAUTY | VENICE, CA
It seems there are a billion restaurants coming and going in and around LA, so we’re always grateful when a real gem with staying power hits the scene. This modern neighborhood steakhouse just opened September 8th on Rose Ave. in Venice, and the marvelous amalgamation of creative consumables is absolute bliss. American Beauty is a totally new concept and collaboration, with owners, chefs and a wine team that are beyond compare. The dinner menu offers the highest quality sourced meats grilled over an almond wood fire, local produce, fresh seafood and decadent sides. Can you say divinity? Their craft cocktail program and notable wine list boast a surprising and delightful selection of over 200 wines, sourced and curated by their exceptional Wine Director. The design of the 3,000 sq ft space is inspired by the roots of the original building structure, the exterior’s original façade remains mostly unaltered, while the interior is designed to feel lived-in, with neon elements alluding to an urban environment, and vintage lighting adorned with modern touches. Leather booths, walnut wood, vintage stained glass, and bistro chairs bring simple yet significant sophistication to the space. Ok, it’s taste-time. The menu is sourced from ranches reflecting various feeds, cuts, grades and aging techniques. Standout menu items include a Flannery 30-day dry aged Prime Porterhouse, Ocean Trout Steak, and Stuffed Hash Browns. Other menu offerings include chopped vegetable salad, Monterrey Calamari, and Fried Artichoke with kimchi aioli. Dinner reservations 7 days a week? Yep. Valet parking? Yep. Excuses not to visit? Nope.
These photographs and this story are definitely something out of the norm. When Les Emmerson sang that signs were breakin’ up the scenery, he couldn’t have been referring to these roadside monuments. Or could he? From the 1980 Big Fish Supper Club on Route 2 in Bena, Minnesota, all the way to the 1987 Thunderbeast Park Platybelodon’s eye on Route 97 in Chiloquin, Oregon, it’s amazing sometimes to get a look at what you otherwise might never have seen. Thanks to these photos taken by John Margolies over an almost forty year period, we are shown there is truly unique, if not bazaar, art in places you might least expect. It’s been argued whether these photos are preserved eyesores or preserved art, but either way they’re preserved history that would otherwise be lost. Whether or not you’ve ever experienced any of these masterpieces in person, there is some sense of mysterious nostalgia along the way. These intriguing “False windmills” and “demented roosters” are available to us since the Library of Congress lifted the copyrights to the photos, and you can also find some of them in books here for further viewing.
“The unattainable is invariably attractive,” just ask Miles S. Nadal. This read is quite intriguing, if not jaw dropping, and we think that you should give it a whirl. For starters, this Canadian born executive stands out amongst the other businessmen in their sixties because he often wears somewhat rare $750 Nike waffle trainers with his dark suit and tie. Recently Sotheby’s hosted a hushed display of a hundred pairs of what the auction house called the “rarest sneakers ever produced,” and to no one’s surprise, this guy was there front and center. We don’t want to give away too much, but just know that by the end of this article Nadal pays well over $400k (yup, over 400 thousand) for a pair of sneakers. Uh, these aren’t your every day Chuck Taylor’s.
CAFFEINATE | MAÑANA COFFEE | SOUTH CONGRESS HOTEL
Marvelous coffee and tea, delectable grab-and-go items, and a rotating menu of glorious in-house pastries from the conjoining hotel’s executive chef - need we say more? The space is inviting, simple, clean and naturally lit. The ergonomic flow of the bar runs down to the minimal indoor seating in a setting that’s not only balanced, but just loud enough to feel like there’s a bustle yet not too loud for an important conversation. If it’s not in the triple digits outside, then the back patio area (not unlike the indoor space), is pretty much a perfect setting whether you’re in your office workwear or your work out gear. The staff is welcoming and confidently trained to the nines. Don’t let all the concrete and glass throw you off - there’s a sought after sincerity in this tucked away cafe’ that you can’t just find anywhere. Hope to see you there mañana!
LISTEN | NIKKI JENSEN AKA “NAALA”
One of the perks of living in Austin is hearing first cuts of up and coming artists before the record even drops. We learned about Australian artist, Naala (aka Nikki Jensen) via producers of hometown hero Gary Clark Jr. Naala is currently finishing her debut folk/pop record at Arlyn Studios (kinda big deal.) It features one of our favorite guitarists ever Charlie Sexton (bob Dylan, Bowie, eric Clapton), John Dees (Gary Clarke Junior) & Nick Clarke (Kanye West’s Bass). Ok, enough name dropping, just wanted you to know that the record is going to be that good. She’s been performing in and around Austin for six years as Nikki Jensen before changing her stage name to Naala, and if you like Dolores O'Riordan (from the Cranberries), Sarah Jaffe (oh, how we love her), or Sinéad O'Connor, then we think you should keep Naala on your radar.