We’ve got to admit, when we’re choosing our next watering hole, “vegan Mexican” isn’t exactly the first descriptor that comes to mind. But Gracias Madre, with its succulent-minded aesthetic, is a delicious destination. We’ve hypothesized that the majik that goes into making something as peculiar as cashew cheese taste good might also serve the same purpose in cocktails.

It’s easy to dismiss the WeHo hotspot’s ethos as being hyper neo-hippie. As is trendy nowadays, the restaurant and bar boasts locally sourced, organic produce, and its own website is littered with fodder for cynics and skeptics (“Welcome to a seat at love’s table.”—really?) Before we roll our eyes though, how about letting the booze do the talking?

Beverage Director Jason Eisner tells us, “We make everything by hand, and we work around the clock, so obviously we love what we do, and we love working with one another.” And it shows. As Eisner is readying our drink, we see his staff join together in its preparation, squeezing lime and placing a finishing garnish atop the drink. It’s not unlike the composition of a well-done cocktail. A masterful mixologist is one who treats his ingredients like teammates, working in tandem to coax the best out of each other. A scent here, a flavor there, and the Estrella del Mar arrives at our table flushed scarlet and tasting of summer.

And what says sunshine and balmy days more than the taste of juicy watermelon? Combined with the kick of muddled jalapeno and mezcal’s potent smokiness, the Estrella is tempered with a little lime and agave nectar. A pinch of salt adds a savory finishing touch, and there you have it—summer in a coupe glass.



In a cocktail shaker, muddle watermelon cubes and Jalapeño slices. Add ice and build the rest of the ingredients in the shaker. Shake well. Double strain (fine strain) into a coupe glass. Garnish with homemade pickled watermelon rind.

photography RACHEL MANY




A run down of events in our fair city this week.




WHEN: Thursday, January 30, 6-9pm; Open through February 2
WHERE: Geffen at MOCA | 125 North Central Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90012
WHAT: Give your pupils a break from the glare of dastardly pixels and set your sights on a visual feast with tactile potential. Printed Matter, one of the world’s largest public source of artists’ books, zines and more, brings to LA an Art Book Fair where print geeks can rejoice in artwork that won’t result in frozen screens and carpal tunnel. Best of all? It’s free. | more




WHEN: Friday, January 31 through Sunday, February 2
WHERE: 3021 Airport Ave | Santa Monica, CA 90405
WHAT: The ALAC returns to the Barker Hangar this weekend, transforming all 40,000 square feet and 40-foot ceilings into 70 makeshift exhibits to showcase emerging galleries from all around the world. With a strong focus on LA’s own plethora of galleries, ALAC focuses on creating an environment that allows for artists, curators, and art geeks alike to enjoy. Featuring programming ranging from artist Q&As to museum curator discussions and film screening, ALAC aims to cultivate LA as a hub for contemporary art and its patrons. | more




WHEN: Friday, January 31
WHERE: El Rey Theatre | 5515 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90036
WHAT: Robert Delong made a splash on the music festival circuit last year producing what seems like a one-man-dance-party all from a live set up of up to 20 instruments, a hacked Wii control, and even a flight simulator joystick mapped to midi controllers and gyros. Incorporating a diverse range of sounds, Delong throws in everything from Moombahton to House. Fellow dance music machine Mystery Skulls accompanies Delong Friday night at the El Rey. | more




WHEN: Saturday, February 1, 7pm-1am
WHERE: Seven Points | 845 S. Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA 90014
WHAT: Celebrate the two year anniversary of Futra, a label and collective whose productions celebrate the intersection of sound with the sensory. This Saturday, join the crew as they bring together cutting-edge artists, genre-bending DJs and innovative installation artists for a night of inspired creativity. $5 before 8:30, $10 after. Sponsored beverage hour 7-8pm. | more





WHEN: Sunday, February 2; 3pm-1am
WHERE: 20 East Colorado, Pasadena, CA 91105
WHAT: This Super Bowl Sunday, why not forego the lame potlucks with your culinary-challenged homies and head to a joint where craft beers and delicious bites await? Let Kings Row do the hard work for you — they’ll be serving up a roasted pig and sides like their famous mac’n’cheese — so you can work on feigning football intelligence with one less task on your plate. | more




WHEN: Tuesday, February 4 through Sunday, June 8, 2014
WHERE: The Getty Center | 1200 Getty Center Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90049
WHAT: Japanese artist Hiroshi Sugimoto explores the distillation and interpretation of history in visual form. By subtly and creatively reimagining and replicating moments in history through photography, Sugimoto critiques the museum’s presumed role in the accurate portrayal of history. | more



WHEN: Wednesday, February 5, 7pm
WHERE: The Mint LA | 6010 West Pico Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90035
WHAT: Stones Throw Records signees Myron & E grace the Mint’s stage next week, bringing to Los Angeles their take on a Motown, retro-soul revival. Individually, the two are equally talented, both having met during a stint as back-up singers and touring with Bay Area group Blackalicious. They eventually released a slew of funk 45s of their own that landed them the Stones Throw signing. Label founder Peanut Butter Wolf will also be making an appearance at the Mint, spinning choice jams from his two-ton vinyl collection. | more




It’s not often you come along an LA-based Welsh singer-songwriter. And one who sings of morbid themes at that. Cate Le Bon arrived on our sunny shores earlier this year and with her she’s brought a wealth of intricate sounds and a whimsicality that makes for an interesting juxtaposition against the emotional and sometimes haunting lyrics of her songs. Ahead of her show at the Bootleg this Saturday, we invited Cate Le Bon to play for us at the LA CANVAS headquarters for a #clubhousesession. Check out the video below and don’t forget to purchase tickets for her show here. 

Photo source: Cate Le Bon


George Fitzgerald first caught our ears with an impossibly smooth remix of one of our adolescent favorites – Groove Theory’s “Tell Me”. Admittedly, singer Amel Larrieux’s silky vocals were the perfect material for such a remix. Though he’s been releasing music for about three years – the first being on Scuba’s Hotflush label in 2010 – the producer, DJ, and label boss has a sound that’s perfectly polished, exhibiting a finesse that peers in the industry have taken many years to develop. We’re huge fans of his hybrid sound melding together deep house, 2 step and techno, and we’re not alone. Earlier this year, Fitzgerald was selected to do an Essential Mix on BBC Radio 1, and later was featured on the “In New DJs We Trust” program–a sure sign of a rising star and where many a DJ and producer have showcased their talent to an eager global audience.

We’re happy to announce that he’ll be playing this Sunday at Medusa and have picked out some jams and mixes for you to listen to in preparation, if you aren’t already hyped up like we are:

Groove Theory – ‘Tell Me (George Fitzgerald Remix)’

George Fitzgerald – ‘I Can Tell (By The Way You Move)’

George Fitzgerald – ‘Thinking of You’

Kimbra – ‘The Build Up (George Fitzgerald Remix)’

George Fitzgerald – BBC Radio 1 Essential Mix – January 19, 2013


Purchase tickets for George Fitzgerald’s show this Sunday at Medusa and get more info here.


Rising dance music star, Mystery Skulls, is a one-man-dance-party whose electronic beats are laced with funk, soul and disco. His performances have so much energy and infectiousness, one might find it hard to believe it’s just one guy up there. Mystery Skulls, aka Luis Dubuc, sings his own vocals, lacing them over layers of beats and poppy melodies. We caught up with the rising star before he took to the decks to DJ our very own “Future” issue release party.


LA CANVAS: So, you released an EP in 2011 and in 2013 you signed to Warner. When can we expect your next release?
Mystery Skulls: I’m putting out a single in December through Warner and then we are going to do another single in the early part of next year. Then the record is going to come out in Spring of next year — so it is mostly written, I’m just kinda finishing it up right now. It’s really cool, there are some interesting people on the record.


LAC: You grew up in Toronto when you were younger, and eventually moved to Dallas — have either of these places influenced your sound at all?
MS: I think Toronto definitely did the most. I was really young, and the thing about Toronto, for whatever reason, there’s just so much European music. I remember there were bands I liked when I lived in Toronto and I remember when I moved to Texas, no one had heard of them. It was all radio and Matchbox Twenty and whatever. And I was into like Daft Punk, and Chemical Brothers and Portishead – I was fucking cool! ::Laughs:: Anyway, the thing about Texas, I sort of picked up this other side. There’s just a different type of music that they like there, and it did rub off on me. It’s not all bad.


LAC: I read that you’ve also done metal music, yet you also really like doing disco. Is there one that you feel you make stronger music in, and why did you gravitate toward this genre or sound rather than metal?
MS: Well I wouldn’t even say it was disco…to be honest with you, I just love all music in general, I know it sounds super cliche, but I think to me it’s sort of one in the same – they are both really rhythmic genres. I don’t really know how to describe it. The thing about metal too is it’s just such larger than life personalities, and it’s sort of these people attempting to be something else, and with dance music it’s also these people trying to be something else. You would think there wouldn’t be so many similarities, that they are just polar opposites, and I don’t know, I just love that…


LAC: Do you think that you would go back to making metal music? Or are you just going to do dance for now?
MS: I don’t know about full time, no. I have so many friends that play metal for a living and we’re still great friends, so I think it’s fun. To those dudes, what I do is so foreign. They tell me I’m so lucky cause I get to fly with a laptop, and I’m like “oooo  you can be in a van for dayysss.”


LAC: You’re a transplant now here in LA. What do you love most about the city?
MS: I love everything about it. I’m such a fan. I wake up constantly and just think “I’m so fucking lucky to be living here.” I really like having my windows open all the time, so that’s kinda my favorite thing. Other than that, musically, it’s the best place. Movies – you can see anything!
LA is the main place. I love it.

LAC: Speaking of music, are there any LA bands we should be looking out for that you really like?
MS: I like that band, Tapioca and the Flea. I played with them the other day, so they are the only ones really fresh on my mind. They are really cool


LAC: I read somewhere that you really like Halloween, and that you have like a whole tattoo in its honor. Why is that such a favorite of yours?
MS: I don’t know, it probably goes back to that thing about getting to be someone else. You just get to put on this personality of something that you are totally not. You get to put on a mask and just be that, its fucking awesome. There’s something super precious about that.


LAC: It’s kind of magical.
MS: Yes! And it’s super awesome that adults do it too.


LAC: Do you have plans on expanding your tattoo at all?
MS: Yeah, I’m pretty tattooed, so I definitely have plans


LAC: People have described you as a one man dance show. Are there other people out there that you think are doing something similar? 
MS: I feel what I do is a little different – I’m a little more visual. Im DJing and singing, I don’t have drums or a band. When I perform, there’s more of a vibe and a story – it’s less visceral. It’s deep in a way.


LAC: You mentioned Nile Rodgers and working on the album with him. Is there anyone else you have collaborations with on the horizon?
MS: Yeah, I’m working on a track right now with Viceroy and I did a track on the new Kimbra record.


LAC: Lastly, the issue that you helped us celebrate was The Future Issue, so I thought it might be fun to ask – if you could travel forward in time, how far would you go?
MS: That’s a really interesting question. You don’t know how interesting that question is. I think if I could go any length of time, and return, than I would go thousands of years.


LAC: I guess I was asking more of how far you would want to go to see yourself?
MS: OH! I was just thinking of going realllly far – uhm yeah, I don’t know…I would like to see myself in 20 years. I have so many goals and ambitions, so it would be cool to see that come to fruition. As cheesy as it may sound.


Photos: Frank Maddocks


Not to be confused with the top-rated university, Jon Hopkins reigns from a decidedly more contrary world — music. The UK electronica artist crafts tracks that manage to achieve a rare combination of emotive expression and technical precision. There’s a perfection in the atmospheric pulse of Hopkins‘ tracks, a meticulousness to every sonic movement. His ability to weave resonant narratives through electronic music has caught the ears of everyone from Imogen Heap, with whom Hopkins jumpstarted his career as a guitarist, to ambient legend, Brian Eno. With collaborations and remixes with respected electronic innovators like Four Tet and Nosaj Thing under his belt, Hopkins more recently found resounding success with his June 2013-released LP, Immunity, garnering his second Mercury Prize nomination.

We caught up with the rising musician ahead of his upcoming show (Saturday, November 30 at the Echoplex) and talk movie scores, technology, and the very human process of music production.


LA CANVAS: You’ve spoken in interviews a lot about the tension between technology and human emotion – why do you gravitate toward electronic music in particular to express emotion?

Jon Hopkins: It’s hard to answer that really, I mean my primary motive is just following my instincts – it was just as soon as I heard it when I was a kid, I connected to it. It was just more exciting to me to hear sounds that I had never heard before. it occurred to me even then that it was like an open platform – it would evolve like people do. It’s impossible to imagine the type of sounds that will be possible to make in time – and I love that idea, much more than trying to find new ways of playing the piano – which is the other side of what I was doing. But as the years went on, what I wanted to do as a kid has come true. So now I can imagine the sound and make it.

LAC: Speaking of making any sound you want – you mentioned listening to raindrops coming down a pipe and really wanting to capture that sound – what’s been the most difficult sound or image that you have tried to capture?

JH: I don’t actually try to capture the [exact] thing, it’s more like inspiration for things. So the raindrop thing was actually water running through pipes in a hotel room – it happened to be resonating in a way that was inexplicable. It was like causing this chord to happen and it was a completely random thing. It seemed like a random passage. It wasn’t like I was trying to replicate the sound but more the feeling of it. I don’t go around with a recorder.

The sounds that are on the record that are real world sounds, are ones that I captured from around the studio where I am. To me they seemed really logical to include. It’s like incorporating the world and my own reality into it. So I don’t go to lengths to capture things around me unless I am actually writing.

LAC: You’ve worked on a couple movie scores…

JH: Yes, I’ve done four actually.

LAC: If you could pick a movie score – not necessarily the ones that you’ve worked on – but just in general, if you could pick one to represent your life, which would it be?

JH: Hm, the reality of my life – it would be Twin Peaks. It has a pretty exceptional score. Theres something incredibly dark and deep and beautiful about that score that really resonates with me more than any other score has. It is just so well arranged. We imagine some art closer to our hearts than others – and that’s definitely the one for me.

LAC: When we listen to your music we get the sense that it is deeply personal. Does the process for your music ever exhaust you emotionally, or do you find that it energizes you?

JH: It’s a total mix of those two things actually. When you said ‘does it ever exhaust you?’ I found myself nodding. It’s like I put nine months of work into that album. It really takes a toll – it really takes over your life. It makes it in some ways difficult – when you’ve had an amazingly intense day, and you’re making a breakthrough on a track, it makes it difficult to come home and relate normally to a girlfriend or anyone I see – you’re in a different world. The best thing to do is take a few days off to become a normal human being again. But then after I take a long time off – after a week or so with no music at all, it feels like I am lacking something, lacking energy. Somewhere in there, there is a balance. I just haven’t found it yet.

LAC: Are there any challenges translating your productions into live shows?

JH: Actually it’s a difficult part of the album cycle. You have in your head that there is this huge fanfare and you go to mastering and you commit to it and then you have to deconstruct it all again for the live album. It is painful- you have to get right back into it and figure out how to do it live. Then it becomes fine when you actually start doing the shows, you think you’ve prepared properly. You take the tracks even further than they go on the record … there’s more you can do in the live arena. You can make them longer, heavier, more extreme in some ways and you can even feed off the crowd. It’s a great opportunity to explore the ideas you didn’t have the first time around. Again, it’s difficult, but amazing.

LAC: We’ve heard you speak about being against trends, and how they lead to a sound that can be identified as old. But, has there ever been a new trend that has caught your ear and had  you a little bit tempted?

JH: Oh yeah, I mean I talk a lot of bullocks in interviews (laughs). It’s not quite as clear cut as that. But there are some elements of my sound that I can pinpoint, ‘Oh that was inspired by this’ everything was a trend at one time. So it is difficult – you really do feel differently about what you do everyday so sometimes you will say things like that…

There is a particular type of compression that’s very common, sidechain compression – I can’t really describe the sound – its like a way of making a bass drum or whatever part you like displaced with the part behind it and it makes everything sound fat and amazing. It is definitely a trend of the moment. I try to do it subtly so that it isn’t like super obvious. There are some examples where it is being used too extremely years ago when it was at its peak.

I just prefer to cherry pick the things I love the most and not worry about what trend they’re from, I guess thats a better way of putting it.

I do like the idea of combining sounds of all different times, whether it is right now or ages ago.

LAC: Do you have any guilty pleasure listening?

JH: I prefer to call it ‘proud pleasure listening.’ I am quite an admirer of ABBA and the production in ABBA – and not everyone is into that. My dad was always playing it. And Fleetwood Mac as well. Im quite proud to announce that I like these things cause there’s a reason why these things are so enduring, it’s cause they are amazing. They have a common level of skill and writing and production.

LAC: Lastly, what’s next for you? Where do you see yourself in the next few years?

JH: I don’t really know at this point. The album has opened up all kinds of new opportunities. You know if you asked me this a few months ago I might’ve said I was going to do another collaboration – but now I want to set up my own studio. I really want to start my own place that is custom built. Eventually I want to do my own solo album – take it to another level with that. So that may well be a two year project. But yeah, you don’t know who is going to call and have something exciting for me. You never know if you are going to get a call from a director and be linked to a 4 month project.

I’m touring ’til August, and everything else is happening after that.


Catch Jon Hopkins playing at the Echoplex this Saturday, November 30 alongside fellow European electronic musicians, Clark and Nathan Fake. Purchase tickets here.

Photo: Oddbjørn Steffensen


Ah, the sweet smell of moderate success. You’ve got a stable job, a lease without a cosign, and you’ve finally obtained a modest disposable income which funds all your weekend gallivanting. But, that feeling. You know, the Suzy Orman/Angelina hybrid on your shoulder urging you to spend your extra money a little more responsibly.  You know, support your community, go to the dentist, acquire an adequate emergency fund… grow the fuck up?


Artwork: Mark Wagner


Getting bottles at the club may seem fun. We mean, hey, we like exclusivity and space as much as the next person, but the pricetag is often one we’re not prepared to see on our credit card bills a month later. Ivan M. Illán, our resident financial sage, tells us, “The biggest mistake that people in their 20s and our 30s make, is living way beyond your current means, in the hope of one day living up to the level of accumulated debt.” Sound familiar to you? Take out your credit card statements and analyze what you’re spending on. Figure out how much you should be spending and saving, and make it a regimen. If you can dedicate a couple hours each week to the gym, you can do this too.


What? They’ve run out of Haagen Dasz caramel cone ice cream? What’s a sugar-craving fiend to do? Oh, sorry, that’s not the kind of disaster we’re talking about. Your stomach may be growling now, but imagine a life without ice cream or any food at all! Okay, we might be exaggerating here, but part of financial health is simply planning for the future and all the bumps along the way. Prepare for the hiccups by putting money away each month, investing, and getting insurance for things you didn’t even know you needed – like disability income and retirement plan insurance. Also consider getting life insurance, you know, in case all those tubs of ice cream get to you some day.


You may not be rich in cash, but you can be swimmin’ in karma. Consider dedicating a couple of hours a month to causes you’re interested in and you’ll not only help out a cash-strapped organization, but you’ll feel better about yourself too. Can you do social media? Take photos? Design? Trade hangover-guilt for glowing feelings of virtuosity by donating your skills rather than taking on the prototypical soup kitchen duties. Skills like yours can normally cost cash-strapped non-profits big bucks per hour, so simply donating some of your time can be invaluable. And besides, experts like Ivan point out, “We have the technology now where someone in LA can do something amazing for an organization in the Midwest,” so don’t underestimate your ability to contribute to a greater cause.

Ivan M. Illán, CFS, is Founder and Managing Partner at Aligne Wealth, LLC, a wealth preservation and insurance services company. Read our blog and want to dig a little deeper? Learn more from the experts at Aligne Wealth, LLC and how they can help you meet your financial needs and objectives a.k.a #getmoney


UK duo Dusky grabbed some major attention last month by beating out mostly mainstream bangers for the coveted #1 spot on Beatport’s Top 100 chart. Alfie Granger-Howell and Nick Harriman, who make up Dusky, have been putting out a widely varied range of music, touching on everything from deep house to techno, all to much acclaim. Their ability to weave in everything from uplifting melodies to low-end density have marked them as a duo unafraid of the depth and originality that electronic music is often accused of lacking. We catch up with them below after their set at HARD’s Day of the Dead at the Red Bull Music Academy Discotheque Stage.

Photo: Jerry Lin


LA CANVAS: Is this your first major US festival?

DUSKY: Not the first one, we played Tomorrowworld. We played somewhere else… uh, we played Decibel Festival in Seattle too. Oh we also played Ultra Festival.


LAC: Have you noticed a difference in playing to US crowds versus European crowds?

D: UK has quite a big repertoire of tracks that they know. They know our scene and people respond quite differently. The UK crowd like to be quite wild. That’s probably partly because of the amount of substances they like to take [laughs] and they like to drink.

LAC: The UK and drinking goes hand in hand.

D: [Laughs] Yeah, definitely.


LAC: Australia’s like that too right?

D: Probably worse over there cause they can’t get drugs over there so they just drink really, really hard. In the UK at least you can get cheap drugs, so, like, by the time it gets past 3, all the drunk people leave and all the people who are really wired are still there.

Photo: Jerry Lin

LAC: Congrats on your #1 Beatport Hit ‘Careless’. What’s it feel like? If you look at the other tracks on the top 10, it’s stuff like Cedric Gervais and Hardwell.

D: It was a nice surprise. Very unexpected, it’s just kind of nice that it’s there. We made it kinda thinking ‘Yeah, we really wanna be Beatport #1. Then it happened and we were like, oh, cool, maybe we should try and get another one.’ [laughs]

LAC: Have you seen a surge of support from people who are like ‘Oh my god, you’re beating out so-and-so’?

D: Yeah, yeah, it was nice! We did a Facebook post, the timing was perfect. It was like the day after Hardwell had gotten announced as DJ Mag’s #1 DJ. So we’re like ‘House Music – 1, EDM – Nil (0). Wooo!’ It got shared like thousands of times and thousands of likes – more so then any of our normal posts. It was good timing. We’ll see, stuff normally takes quite a while to feel the power. If you get a #1 on Beatport it takes like 6 months or almost a year to actually feel the power, for it to translate into your shows. We’ll see how it affects us but hopefully it’s positive.


LAC: You guys started off on the label Anjunadeep. From an artistic standpoint, do you normally come up with tracks and decide where you might want to release them, or do labels come to you and you try to cater to their sound a little bit? The variety of your tracks is quite large.

D: We work with quite a lot of different labels. A lot of that’s out of necessity, because the tracks are so different. Some would work with one label and some wouldn’t. But we try not to try too much to cater to a particular label, we just try to work with different labels. Sometimes we decide we want to do something a bit deeper or techno-y, or garage-y, so we’ll work on relevant ideas. The way we tend to work is we have a huge bank of fragments of ideas. We sit on them and pick them out and take this and put it into a track. After we’re finished we’ll say, ‘Okay, what label will fit with this?’ I think it’s slightly different from a remix. If you’re remixing for a certain label then you’re not gonna put a 12 minute long or a 110 bpm tune. It’ll depend. With originals we just kind of write it and see where they’ll fit.


LAC: With your popularity growing in the US, where do you see yourself in the next 2 or 3 years?

D: Uh [Laughs]. Ask Andrew [their manager]. We never really looked at it like, ‘Oh we wanna get to a certain place,’ we just do it cause we enjoy it. I suppose that comes through in the music and the way we DJ. Hopefully that keeps building. We’re not like, ‘Oh yeah, in 3 years we wanna be Tiesto, or Hardwell.’


LAC: Or Duskwell.

D: [Laughs] Yeah, 13 city tour with Duskwell!


LAC: How would you describe LA in three words?

D: Three words? [Laughs]  Uh, what’s the word for spread out. ‘Vast?’ ‘Hot.’ Uh… I don’t know, I guess I was trying to think of a word to describe the architecture. Cause to me it’s like, I don’t wanna be rude [laughs] but I think the architecture’s quite bleak.


LAC: Alright, ‘bleak’! We’ll take that…[laughs]

D: [Laughs]. ‘Vast. Hot. Bleak.’ [Laughs] ‘See you next time, in 2014. Or never again.’ No, no. Don’t say that ! We’ll say fun. How about that?


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