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A Legendary South LA Nightclub Burned to The Ground Wednesday Night

Plus, a former MMA fighter and anti-masker makes a scene, and the Hollywood Standard closes forever

The former site of The Total Experience club in South Los Angeles
The former site of The Total Experience club
Courtesy of Gail Oliver
Mona Holmes is a reporter for Eater Los Angeles and a regular contributor to KCRW radio. She has covered restaurants, dining, and food culture since 2016. In 2022, the James Beard Foundation nominated her for a Jonathan Gold Local Voice Award.

A former South LA nightclub burned completely to the ground in an overnight fire on Wednesday night. The Total Experience was owned by record producer Lonnie Simmons, and was known for helping notable soul, R&B, and funk acts on their way to stardom. LA County fire officials did what they could, but the overnight blaze ultimately destroyed the entire structure.

According to KCET, locals and record industry types considered A Total Experience the R&B equivalent of the Roxy Theater, having run from 1972 to late 1990. In its heyday, the venue regularly hosted up-and-coming stars like Teena Marie, the Gap Band, Queen Latifah, and Tone Loc. Legend has it that Simmons, who died in 2019, even kept a small recording studio inside the building.

In other news:

  • On Tuesday, the Board of Supervisors will likely consider a motion introduced by LA county supervisor Sheila Kuehl that requires restaurants and other food-service providers to offer disposable containers, utensils, and straws upon request. Back in 2018, the council initiated an effort to ban single use plastic straws by 2021.
  • Former professional MMA fighter Tito Ortiz (and now Huntington Beach mayor pro tem) apologized after criticizing the city’s TK Burger location for asking him to wear a mask, reports the Orange County Register. Ortiz first posted a video calling out the business for demanding that he wear a mask (which is a state-level order) but quickly deleted, though not until another user captured it and sent it around, leading to the apology.

*this is not a mask debate*this is not a mask debate* *this is not a political post*this is not a political post* Now we got that out of the way - this is a video of Tito Ortiz that’s been making it’s way around the internet as of yesterday and in my opinion whack as fuck. I get that you are super passionate about not wanting to wear a mask and you’ve made it known that you flat out refuse to put one on. That being said - to stoop so low, as a member of City Council and a representative of the City of Huntington Beach, to use social media to publicly shame a local small business for refusing service is about as petty as one can get. Embarrassing if you ask me. This isn’t how you support our Mom n Pop businesses. TK Burger is following CDC protocol and doing what is best for their business. So don’t shame them for trying to do the right thing. *Especially since the restaurant industry has been one of the hardest hit during the lockdown. Thoughts? *edited #TEAMTK

Posted by Hector Hek Valdez on Monday, January 18, 2021
  • A fire burned a boarded-up Acapulco restaurant in Sun Valley on Wednesday night, reports ABC-7. No one was hurt, and the restaurant has been closed since 2018.
  • LA-based canned wine brand Nomadica has launched a wine club, complete with national shipping. Expect the women-owned company to partner with local California wineries, offer discounts to club members, and more.
  • After 21 years on the center of the Sunset Strip, the Standard Hollywood will close “indefinitely” on Jan. 22. CBS-2 reports the iconic hotel shared said it was “unable to prevent a significant increase to its lease.” Hotels throughout the Southland have been having a tough go since the pandemic began last March.
  • Norm’s Encino is close to being finished on 16573 Ventura Boulevard, reports Toddrickallen.
  • Pedaler’s Fork in Calabasas is back to doing barbecue, including upcoming packs for the Super Bowl.
  • Macheen is currently the best breakfast burrito in Los Angeles, says Food & Wine.
  • Steve Samson’s Superfine Pizza is hosting a Redbread pop-up by seasoned pastry chef Rose Wilde. This is happening only on Monday, January 25 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.