el ay [L.A.] made

DUBLAB

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Above many other things, we are constantly grateful to live in a city that calls itself home to such a vast array of musical scenes. From the recent Echo Park Rising music festival, FYF and HARD fests, to Grand Park Summer Sessions and the Twilight Concerts at the Santa Monica Pier, this town is certainly not lacking in melodic entertainment. We get some of the worlds greatest orchestras, including our own LA Phil, at the Hollywood Bowl and who could forget the eery-yet-exciting performances in the Hollywood Forever Cemetery. While festivals and concerts abound during the summer, the rest of the year we often find ourselves turning to the radio to catch our favorite classics and discover new jams. Sadly, most of our radio stations churn out the same songs that are all starting to sound the same… and at a rate of about 30 times per hour. Ugh. Though all may seem lost to these hair whipping, roaring, twerking teen ‘idols’, don’t you fret fellow Angelenos, for, thankfully, there is Dublab

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A+A: For starters, what exactly is Dublab?

M: At its core, Dublab is a non-profit internet radio station. Dublab is a group of creative people, musicians, DJ’s, filmmakers, visual artists who have come together to create this collaborative organization. We’ve been doing radio since ’99 but we also do a lot of tangent projects that are all music related as well.

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A+A: Well, that’s just plain awesome. How did Dublab get started?

M: I first got really involved in music back in 1994 in college radio. I was lucky to land there at a time when a lot of interesting folks were coming together (many of the founders of Dublab) like Daedelus, my brother and Edit of The Glitch Mob. We were developing this new kind of underground sound that was really exciting because there wasn’t much of it around at the time. Wu-Tang would be on one night and maybe a techno guy the next. We were also an illegal/pirate radio station and we knew at any moment we could be shut down. Because of that, I started looking into Internet radio and was able to get it up and running online by early 1998. We wanted to keep the momentum going and so we just went for it!

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A+A: Can you tell us about some of the events and projects you guys put on?

M: In the fall and winter we have a night called 'Give Up…Stop Dancing and Cry' where we play all sad music and films. We also have a signature event called Tonalism, which is an all night space/drone/ambient music happening that we do worldwide. We also produce art shows that are music related. We did one with Creative Commons called Into Infinity, an infinity-themed art and music show. The art was circle shaped and the audio was 8-second sound loops recorded from artists all over the world. Then we combined the visual and sound over and over to create different combinations and new sounds. Over the years we’ve had these various art and music shows that are intended to explore the edges and angles of music. We like to play with how people interact with sound.

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A+A: What is your role in Dublab?

M: I am the executive and creative director. I work with our team to create the radio broadcast schedule and I also conceive some of the special projects we do, whether it’s an album release or curating a show or making a film. I try to set those things in motion and guide the organization creatively, while simultaneously figuring out the logistics and funding. We want keep the identity of Dublab loose enough so it’s still fun, but strong enough so that we have a unique identity.

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A+A: So, who are the kinds of people that create a place like Dublab?

M: Each person involved with Dublab inspires the next. We all try to do things for the passion of music itself. We look to inspiring individuals, record labels, other artists and organizations, like the radio station WFMU out of the east coast. They are over 75 years old and are always doing things that are progressive. We try to remain on our own path but also to bring the right people together.

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When we first started we were always told to click one box to describe the type music we played, but nothing really fit. We decided to coin the term Future Roots Music for our genre. We like to play the most progressive music, sometimes straight from the artist’s studio. We are playing music that hopefully influences people. Music that might not have a large audience at first, but may grow and inspire. In one set you might hear  1920’s music from Baghdad played next to a brand new song from LA. We select DJ’s that feel very strongly about their musical taste and we just let them do their thing. We never tell a DJ what to play, we just find the right DJ’s to play the music.

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A+A: Tell us about some of your DJ’s.

M: We have a really broad range. A lot of them actually make music themselves. Diego Herrera aka Suzanne Kraft, who is on right now, got involved when he was 15 as an intern. Today, he just completed his first European tour and participated in the Red Bull Music Academy. Aaron Coyes aka Slayron of the dub-psych group Peaking Lights just started a Friday show called The Analogue Players Club. The record label and PR group Friends of Friends host a monthly show as does the producer Daedelus who is a founding Dublab DJ. Staff member Ale of Languis and the band Pharaohs hosts a weekly show right before Matthewdavid who runs Leaving Records. Matthew’s wife Diva is also a Dublab DJ and also recently signed to Stones Throw Records. Dublab DJ Danny Holloway is a legend in the record world. He lived in Jamaica in the 70’s while working for Island Records and produced bands like The Heptones. Mahssa runs a store called Mount Analog which is one of the best new record shops in the country. They do a lot of in-store shows and serve as the US base for the Finders Keepers record label. There are so many more amazing folks involved which you can see and hear at dublab.com/labrats.

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A+A: What are your favorite music venues and/or music nights in and around LA?

M: I like more of the unconventional ones. Natural spaces are always interesting. One of our DJs does a lot of forest shows and this year is doing a desert party in Joshua Tree where he will have yoga classes and a Japanese chef. I like collaborative work. Incorporating different senses gives a variety of experiences. Museum venues are also fun. We have done a lot of events with LACMA, MOCA and The Getty. Being able to expose the public community is always exciting for us. I love Human Resources and REDCAT. They both have a big variety of shows. We work with Cinefamily a lot, which is an amazing space. That’s one of the things I love about LA: it has so much space!

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A+A: where are your favorite late-night food spots?

M: I’m a fan of classic LA spots like Pacific Dining Car on 6th just west of downtown LA. It’s an old train car, the waiters wear tuxedos, the food is great and they make amazing martinis. It’s open 24-hours, but from 11pm on they have a half price menu! The mulitas at Taco Zone are so good and really authentic. Sqirl just down the street on Virgil is amazing.  G&B Coffee in Grand Central Market is great. The owners are big supporters of ours. They put great soul and craft into what they do. India Sweets & Spices is a favorite lunch spot and you can actually buy old Indian music cassettes in the attached grocery store. Speranza in Silver Lake has wonderful Italian food and a great vibe! Elf Café in Echo Park is my favorite restaurant. It’s all organic and vegetarian North African style cuisine. The atmosphere is super cozy and the food is mind-blowing.

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A+A: And any favorite bars?

M: I like places with history like HMS Bounty, Tiki-Ti and Hank’s Bar downtown on Grand. On the fancier side, I like The Varnish, L&E Oyster Bar and The Virgil, right underneath us.

A+A: What is you favorite music of the moment?

M: I’m really into Michael Hurley. He’s this amazing old vagabond (in the best of ways) and one of the best song writers out there. Peaking Lights new album is one of my favorites, Pharaohs, I listen to a lot of Alice Coltrane, Caribou’s Daphni Project, Ariel Pink’s new album and this producer out of the UK, Andy Stott.

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A+A: On your 85th birthday where do you picture yourself?

M: I hope to be feeling no regrets, to have lived a life on my own terms but also very aware and thoughtful of people around me, and to have a happy family whom I have passed my values onto. I want to have done my part in the community by doing positive, creative things that have influenced people, to have sent out a positive ripple in the universe. Also, I hope to have a great beard and be totally nuts!

A+A: What’s the most important quality in a best friend?

M: With full trust anything is possible. Being able to have adventures and try new things with someone is most important.

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A+A: Anything else?

MDublab has always been a radio station at the core. We end up doing so many other things that sometimes people can’t guess what we are but we have expanded our live broadcast schedule a great deal and are focusing on radio in a big way! It’s our dream to keep operating as a radio station that does other creative projects, is free, open and accessible. Also we are having a celebration of 14 years on September 21st, so save the date

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                          Mark ‘Frosty’ McNeill

LAB ART

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In our perfect world, every blank wall of every ugly concrete building would be covered in street art. Wouldn’t it make the world such a happier place to live in? At the very least, it would be colorful! Until laws regarding street art begin changing, the best we can do is cover our own walls with the vibrant, modern art. That is where Lab Art gallery owner Iskander Lemseffer comes in. Three years ago, Iskander began to realize the awesome potential in this underground art form. He created a haven where street artists could display and sell their work, without the the threat of it being buffed off the walls just a few days later. Essentially, Lemseffer is enabling street artists to have something that many of them have never experienced before: a lasting presence. With a longer ‘wall life’, if you will, more and more people are able to see the gritty beauty and hear the messages of this previously belittled culture. We were lucky enough to sit down with Iskander himself and hear a little more about the life of a street art entrepreneur.

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A+A: What inspired you to start Lab Art?

I: I used to go to art openings and galleries all the time. After a while, I began to notice that they always only displayed one or two street artists, at the most. I didn’t see any galleries that were specializing only in street art. I worked in the fashion industry for 17 years and I wanted to get out of it, because when the Zaras and the H&Ms of the world came, you couldn’t sell high end denim anymore. A friend of mine had a 5500 square foot showroom in downtown LA which was basically a just an empty, white box. So I thought to myself, “Okay, I’ll do a one night show, fill it up with artwork and see what happens.” Alec Monopoly was doing live painting during the event as well. Three hundred people showed up, I sold 11 paintings, and I thought, “Maybe I should be doing this. This is my ticket.” So the next day I went out looking for locations and about two or three weeks later I found this space on La Brea. It did not look like this when I found it. It used to be an auto body shop. Now, we’re in our third year in this space and we’re the nation’s largest street art gallery. I never expected it to be the biggest one, but here we are. 

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A+A: What a great story! Well, you’ve really done an amazing job with the space. And especially to have the foresight to open in this area! La Brea Corridor is really turning into quite the hotspot. So how do you find your artists?

I: My artists find me. We get five to ten submissions a day and there is a three month waiting list. We have 25 different artists right now. We used to have 64 at a certain time but with street art, you know, some people come and go. You always have your usual suspects; your Alec Monoply, your Thank You X, your Mar, your Annie Preece, your Louis XXX. They’re always around. Most of our artists are local and from LA as well.

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A+A: Do you find that you’re more drawn to certain styles of street art, or do you keep yourself pretty open in terms of who you display here at Lab Art?

I: I’m pretty much open. However, we don’t carry artists like Shephard Fairey, Banksy and Mr. Brainwash. The reason is, I always wanted to give the little guy a chance. But I’m starting to notice that all these little guys are becoming big guys right now. When I did that event where Alec was live painting, the press came and I told them, “Go interview that guy. He is going to be huge,” and they kind of brushed it off and didn’t bother to go talk to him. Now look where he is. 

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A+A: There are several contemporary street artists right now, like Mr. Brainwash and Alec Monoploy, who are appropriating old, popular images and making it their own by painting versions of it on street walls. Granted, we do live in the age of appropriation, but what are your thoughts on this recycling of images and pop culture?

I: I actually like it. There’s a certain comfort to it because it’s recognizable. The Annie Preece condensed soup painting over there? Of course we’ve seen that image a million times but the play on words there says, “Yeah, this has already been done, but we’re going to do it again.” It’s sending a different message. Street art has the ability to bring these old images back into the mainstream, where they weren’t before. Street art has always been frowned upon and has never been respected by the fine art community. Although, I have good news regarding that because we’ve always wanted to give street art the place it deserves in art history. I’ve just been accepted as a member of the Art Dealers Association of California, which legitimizes all of this.

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A+A: Congratulations! That’s such a huge accomplishment, especially since you are such a pioneer in the street art world. So, are there any cool trends you see happening between the street art world and the contemporary art world, in general?

I: I’m going to be very honest with you, I am so enclosed in this place that I don’t even look at what other people are doing. Before I opened Lab Art, I saw a lot of galleries that, again, had one or two street artists. Nobody carried only street art. After we opened, they just started mushrooming everywhere. And now, they’re all closed. People would call me and ask if I’d seen what this guy done and what that guy had opened, and I’d say no, because I’m just doing my thing. Whatever they are doing is their deal. I just go with my gut feeling on things and support what I think is the best out there.

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A+A: That makes a lot of sense actually. This space is really cool as well because, on the street you can only see on piece at a time, whereas here, you can see multiple pieces at a time. It makes each artist seem more like an ‘artist’, or what we normally associate with the word artist.

I: Well that’s another thing. In the beginning, each section was dedicated solely to one artist. And then I thought, no, I should be like in the streets: all mixed.

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A+A: Who are some of your favorite local, up and coming artists that you are featuring right now?

I: Skyler Grey, who is a 13 year old LA street artist. We are hosting his debut party here on September 19th. Everyone else… no one is really  up and coming anymore! 

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A+A: Is there anyone that you have found that you are really excited about?

I: I can honestly say that I discovered Skyler Grey. He’s been trying to get in here for two years. Every time he’d come in, I’d tell him that he wasn’t ready. One day, he posted something on Facebook and I called his dad and said, “We need to have a meeting next week.” He brought in two Queen Amys and they both sold within less than 24 hours. A month later, he brought in two more, different colors and different styles (everything we sell is one of one, no reproductions, no prints), and both of those sold within 24 hours as well. It’s been crazy.

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A+A: What did you see in his work that had changed? What was that shift?

I: There was something about him… something in his work. When you go the extra step in your work, people notice it. Louis XXX, when he first started, was doing very small pieces. I called him one day and said, I need you to come here, pick up all of your stuff, take it home and paint over it. It needs more layers. He brought them back and we started selling them like hot cakes. When you see more work put into something, it speaks more to people.

A+A: That makes a lot of sense, actually. In anything, really, when there are more layers, there’s more depth and it makes it that much more interesting. It gives it more history.

I: And the way I curate, if I see a piece and I think, “this can hang in my living room”, I put it in here.

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A+A: So why did you decide to start Lab Art in LA as opposed to another city?

I: Well, I live here so that was a major factor. In my early twenties I was going to move to New York but then… there’s the cold. I don’t do cold, simple as that. I’m from Morocco, and Casablanca is on the same meridian on the planet as LA, so it’s the exact same weather, which is perfect. Also, LA is the capital of street art around the world, so this really is the right place to do this.

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A+A: What are some of your favorite neighborhood spots around LA? 

I: I love Larchmont. I also love Cross Creek in Malibu. I went to Pepperdine for a little while, so that’s why I love Malibu. It reminds me of my college years. There’s also a little hidden gem in LA called the Petit Ermitage Hotel. That is my home away from home. If I don’t answer my phone and you want to find me, I’m there.

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A+A: Where are your favorite areas or walls to find new street art?

I: Downtown, on Mateo and 7th. They’re called the LA Freewalls. They are constantly changing. That’s how I actually got into street art because, being in the fashion industry, I was always downtown. Everyday I would drive by, and what I was looking at in the beginning was Shepard Fairey’s Andre the Giant. I remember thinking, “What is this thing? Is it an ad?” Then, a couple years later, I started seeing Brainwash’s face, holding a camera, appearing on the walls. I actually knew him from the clothing industry, because I’m French-Moroccan and he is too. From that moment on, I started to become curious about what this street art movement was. Two years before the show I hosted downtown, I was seeing the Alec Jack Nicholsons pop up in LA. I looked Alec up and sent him and email asking to buy one of his Jack Nicholsons. I never got a response. Two years later, we’re doing the event, he’s there doing live painting, and he comes up to me and asked if I had sent him an email a while back asking to buy his work. I said yes, and he says, “give me a second”. He goes to his car, comes back and says, “this was Seth Rogen’s but you can have it, I’ll just make him another one.”

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A+A: Um… that is a rad story! Have you ever made any art yourself?

I: Yes, but I don’t show it. I am an artist, which is why I am attracted to all of this, but no, I don’t show my work.

A+A: Where do you picture yourself on your 85th birthday?

I: Hopefully in the south of France with my kids and my grandchildren all around me.

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A+A: If you could live in any era, when would it be and where?

I: 50s and 60s, the Mad Men era, in LA or New York. Everything was impeccable during that time.

A+A: What are your future hopes for the company and the growth of Lab Art?

I: Hopefully opening more Lab Arts around the world and exposing the world to LA street art. We’re actually hosting an exchange in April 2014 with Graphic Gallery in London, during Brit Week here. Lab Art will invade London at Graphic and we’ll send them 5 of our LA artists, and Graphic will invade LA at Lab Art and they will send us 5 of their London based artists.

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A+A: Sounds great. We’ll definitely be there! The more spreading of street art around the world the better! It makes our cities so much more beautiful and colorful to exist in.

I: It brings happiness! That’s why it makes me so upset that they keep buffing everything off the street walls!

A+A: Us too! But hopefully, thanks to people like you, these artists and these murals will start to be recognized as true works of art, just with a different sort of canvas. Any upcoming events?

I: Skyler Grey on September 19th, 2013!

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                             Iskander Lemseffer

THREE JERKS JERKY

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(Photo by Hagop Kalaidjian)

Ahh, jerky. A true American staple. We’d go out on a limb and bet that almost everyone reading this has experienced the simple, dehydrated joy that is beef jerky. As jerky enthusiasts ourselves, we’ve tried a whole range of the sinewy, dried delicacy. Sadly, the vast majority of the jerky selection is tough, dry and chock full of nasty preservatives.  We always hoped that one day, a standout jerky would arrive on the scene, putting all other jerkys to shame, shining in all its healthy, tender, and flavorful glory. The HTF (healthy, tender, flavorful) trifecta is clearly a hard one to perfect in the jerky game. We’ve watched and tasted many brands who have tried and failed, rarely even hitting two of the three. Then, we met Three Jerks Jerky. When we heard they made their version of the beef snack with filet mignon, we were intrigued. We got in touch with the jerks and asked them if we could swing by, get a little jerky demo and learn what sets them far apart from the Jacks Links, Obertos and Slim Jims of the world.

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A+A: Can you start by telling us the story behind the jerky? What inspired you to start Three Jerks Jerky?

J: It started when I was living in Orange County. We were all sitting around one night watching TV and a conversation about jerky came up. We quickly came to the conclusion that we all loved jerky, but that everything out there really sucked. It was clear that all the big companies had no interest in making a good product, and all the smaller guys, who were doing the organic, grass fed stuff, weren’t making anything that great. So, we decided to try making our own. The next day, we went to the store and bought the best meat we could find. We did batches of filet, batches of rib eye, batches of New York strip – all the premium cuts of beef- and they actually turned out pretty good! Little by little, people were trying it, liking it and asking for more. So we started working on a ton of different flavors, tried a ton of different meats and eventually, it evolved into two realizations: 1) filet mignon is the best meat to use and 2) people really liked our product.

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A+A: Well that sounds like a pretty lucky start! Did you just teach yourselves how to make it? Or did you go in with some former jerky makin’ skillz?

J: We are totally self-taught. It’s kind of the standard grass roots, entrepreneurial story: we’d go to my apartmtent after work almost every night, every week, and just work on jerky until 3 or 4 o’clock in the morning.

A+A: Whoa! That’s a lot of jerky time!

J: A lot of jerky time. I would set an alarm every hour in the middle of the night to go and check the dehydrator to see when it was perfectly done. It was a lot of work.

D: I was living up here in Santa Monica when Jordan was living in Orange County, and I was doing the same thing at home, on my own. We experimented with so many different flavor combinations. We’re launching with three, Original, Chipotle Adobo and Memphis Barbecue, but we probably have about 8 or 10 flavors that are legitimate possibilities for down the line.

J: A whole roster of delicious flavors.

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A+A: What’s the philosophy behind Three Jerks Jerky?

J: As far as the product goes, we want to make the absolute best beef jerky we can. Jerky is typically thought of as a primarily blue collar food, but we want to change that stereotype and create a premium side of it.

D: We’re basically making red neck charcuterie.

A+A: How long have you guys been at this?

J: A full year at this point. We launched our Kickstarter two weeks ago, but leading up to that was a lot of work getting the product set, getting a supply chain set, figuring out our branding and marketing, finishing our packaging-

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A+A: Yeah! We love your packaging. Very rustic. And love the three layered animals! 

J: It’s actually a little bit of a character play on us. Fogey is the bear, I don’t know why but they chose me to be the jackass-

D: It has nothing to do with personality…

J: And the other founder, who is no longer with us, is the chicken.

A+A: Are you looking for a new jerk?

J: We’re actually thinking about getting a chicken as a placeholder for the third jerk. 

A+A: Haha well, that would be appropriate! Are your ingredients local, sustainable, and organic?

J: Yes. For the most part, everything is totally local. The meat sourcing- the farms, the cows- are all local. The manufacturing facility is local, our spice supplier is local in Long Beach-

D: Even the guys who are making our final packaging are just 35 miles east of downtown.

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A+A: So rad. LA is a very self sufficient city. It seems like the jerky business is becoming somewhat of a trendy pocket of the food world. Obviously your use of filet already puts you far ahead of the competition, but what else do you plan to do to continue to set yourself apart from other jerky makers?

J: Well we’re intrinsically set apart because of the meat we use. Obviously, other people might try to start making their own filet mignon jerky, and if it happens, it happens. We will always remain the original though, and we will continue to work as hard as we can to make really excellent jerky and keep building our brand. We really put our heart and soul into this and I think that comes through. We can only hope people will recognize that.

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A+A: Clearly filet is your forte but is there any interest in ever moving into other cuts of beef jerky or other types of animal jerky?

J: We tried other types of beef and through that process we learned that filet is the best. It’s the leanest and it’s the most tender, so I don’t think we’d stray away from filet. There are definitely plans for expanding with our rubs and our marinades and bottling and selling those. As far as other animals go, as long as there is a premium cut, and there is something that keeps within the same characteristics of top quality and most delicious, then I think it’s something we’d look into.

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(Photo by Hagop Kalaidjian)

A+A: Why did you decide to do this in LA?

D: The pace of life here in LA is more creative than it is insane (like it can be in some other cities).

J: The other day, I was watching Fogey do his magic with social media (we call him the Sultan of Social), reaching out to people and accessing our networks to let them know about our launch. I was thinking that if we were to try and do this in any other city, it would be incrementally more difficult, just because of what happens in LA with the entertainment industry and so much entrepreneurialism. There’s such a social context for creating a business that makes it much easier than other cities.

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(Photo by Hagop Kalaidjian) 

A+A: As meat purveyors, where do you guys go to get the best meat dishes in LA?

D: My barbecue.

J: Yes. Fogey’s barbecue. The dry rub that we use for our Memphis Barbecue flavor is the same dry rub that Fogey has been using on his barbecue since he was 7 years old. It’s insane. There’s also a restaurant in Culver City called A-Frame and they have this beer can chicken that is one of my favorite dishes in LA.

D: One of the best meat meals I’ve had is at Hatfield’s. They have this sous-vide short rib. I mean, I’m starting to drool just thinking about it. It was one of the best meals I’ve had in a while.

J: Playground in Orange County does a pork chop that is one of the best things I’ve ever eaten in my entire life. Its brined, sous-vide, seared and then they do a maple glaze on top. It’s amazing.

D: In terms of just a pile of meat on a plate, there’s one place on Rodeo and La Cienega called JR’s Barbeque. It’s a family owned BBQ place that’s been around forever. It is some legitimate barbeque. 

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(Photo by Hagop Kalaidjian)

A+A: Whats your favorite view in LA?

D: The view from my parents backyard in the Palisades.

J: Fogey’s backyard, definitely. Also, there’s a hike in Topanga Canyon called Tuna Canyon and the view is unlike anything I’ve ever seen in LA.

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(Photo by Hagop Kalaidjian)

A+A: What was your favorite meal as a kid?

J: I grew up in a Cuban family in Miami and there is this one Cuban dish called Vaca Frita, which is a flank steak, shredded, then fried on the griddle with garlic, onion and lime. I could eat that until my stomach explodes.

D: Growing up, I had a nanny who has been with my family for longer than I’ve been alive, about 30 years. She used to cook the most phenomenal, authentic Mexican food; the best guacamole, the best quesadillas, everything. Anything that she cooked was, and still is, my favorite.

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(Photo by Hagop Kalaidjian)

A+A: If there was one law you could change, what would it be?

D: Making sure that Lyft and Uber doesn’t become illegal.

J: There’s been a lot of headway with gay rights which is awesome, so I think probably gun control would be the most critical at this point.

A+A: What are your future hopes for Three Jerks Jerky?

J: It’s tricky because we don’t want to get ahead of ourselves. We have no way of knowing where this is going to go, whether it will become huge or whether it will die out. The only thing we can control is how hard we work. We just want to continue giving this our heart and soul and working as hard as we can. If we continue to do that, I think we will succeed. 

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                  Jordan Barrocas + Daniel Fogelson

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