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LA Art Party Newsletter

LAArtParty is an arts and entertainment website. Established in 2010, it is an online go-to guide for what's happening in and beyond the LA area - this includes dining, travel and more.

Founded by journalist, and "Blues Mama" Kathy Leonardo (a longtime performer), the campy site has an unusual slant which will keep you entertained. Leonardo has been writing for the past 15 years about various subjects for the Huffington Post, THRIVE GLOBAL, LA Weekly, etc.

Each month the LAArtParty staff, led by Kathy Leonardo decides which events will be featured. Posted at noon on the Thursday prior to the last week of the month, LAArtParty.com features the Top Ten Art Parties, plus other fun events each month. VIP subscribers find out ONE week prior to the public and receive discounts and invites to VIP parties throughout the year.

See Contact Page to find out how to become a VIP subscriber so you don't miss any more great ART Parties!! See Contact/Rates Page to find out how submit and promote your own events!

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Review: Turn Me Loose at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills

TheWallis TurnMeLoose 7 Pictured-Joe Morton Credit-LawrenceKHoTurn Me Loose at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts. Pictured: Joe Morton as Dick Gregory. Photo credit: Lawrence K. Ho.

"You can't laugh social problems out of existence" goes a line voiced by Emmy Award and NAACP Image Award-winning film, television and stage veteran Joe Morton as Dick Gregory in Turn Me Loose by playwright Gretchen Law. This West Coast Premier of the Off-Broadway hit is staged to partially transform the Wallis' Lovelace Studio into a comedy club with half the audience is seated at small tables close to the stage as we become intimately captivated by the words and life of the deeply passionate comedian and social activist.
TheWallis TurnMeLoose 12 Pictured-Joe Morton Credit-LawrenceKHoTurn Me Loose at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts. Pictured: Joe Morton as Dick Gregory. Photo credit: Lawrence K. Ho.

As much a social political history lesson about race and civil rights as a stand-up act, we are taken back and forth between the 1960's when Gregory was finding his place in the entertainment world to the clearly spiritually grounded presence later in his life and at the time of his passing in August of this year.

Joe Morton subtly shifts in tone, posture and gait portraying Gregory over these 50 years while consistently delivering skillful soliloquies and verbal punches to the audience's gut, engaging us and keeping us off guard with jokes that educate and admonish our collective complacency. At one point he cajoles us to stand up in our seats and voice to him the racial epithet he so often hears when performing. Supporting Morton on stage to move through the flow of scenes is actor John Carlin who nimbly voices characters including racist audience members who taunt and heckle Gregory as he stands his ground.
TheWallis TurnMeLoose 16 Pictured-Joe Morton Credit-LawrenceKHoTurn Me Loose at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts. Pictured: Joe Morton as Dick Gregory. Photo credit: Lawrence K. Ho.

Gregory had an internal voice knowing what to do from insisting to having a "seat on the couch" at the Tonight Show to standing with his friend Medger Evans weeks before he was killed and whose last words were "Turn Me Loose". Leaving the theater, Gregory's thoughts and feelings linger to offer more light on the racial and social issues we still confront today.

The production is directed by John Gould Rubin and produced by John Legend and Mike Jackson with an original song by legend. Turn Me Loose has an extended limited engagement through November 19. http://TheWallis.org

Review: Dorrance Dance at the Wallis

This past weekend (Oct 12-14), the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, Michelle Dorrance, artistic director, founder and choreographer of Dorrance Dance, presented a three work production that fused hip-hop, break dancing, live music and individual style to create one of the most electrifying and riveting rendition of tap dancing.
Dorrance Dance 2Myelination Picturedl-rByronTittleandMichelleDorrance PhotoCreditKevinParryforThe Wallis
Dorrance Dance Myelination Pictured (from left to right) Byron Tittle and Michelle Dorrance Photo Credit Kevin Parry for The Wallis

Dorrance Dance celebrates the distinct tradition of dance through the vision of Artistic Director and 2015 MacArthur Fellow, Michelle Dorrance. Founded in 2011 the acclaimed dance company incorporates new and unique forms of dance, such as street, club & experimental dance creating a constantly evolving style of dance. This West Coast premiere version of Myelination included the Bessie Award-winning Three to One, Jungle Blues and a new, fully extended version of Myelination.

The harmonious relationships on stage between the live music, choreographed dance, and individual style variations is what the company is best known for. With each act layered in synchronicity, the music and movement became an extension of one another. Solo and duet performances were filled with head spins, handstands and bold improvised moves. The music and combined the personal style of each dancer told a story and evoked and intensified emotion. The bodies of the dancers moved as one with the band and the lights it all added to the intensity. The production was eccentric, molding modern and classical tap was received with great satisfaction and a standing ovation from the audience.
DorranceDance  Myelination 4 PicturedByronTittle PhotoCredit KevinParryforThe Wallis
Dorrance Dance, Myelination, Pictured Byron Tittle, Photo Credit: Kevin Parry for The Wallis

Dorrance Dance has performed at celebrated venues such as Jacob's Pillow, The Joyce Theater, The Kennedy Center, New York City Center, Lincoln Center Out of Doors, Vail International Dance Festival, National Arts Centre of Canada, Spoleto Festival USA, Fira Tarega (Spain), Staatstheater Darmstadt (Germany), and more.

Visit the website to find out about upcoming performances in your area.  https://www.dorrancedance.com/

Review: Jazz at Drew Concert Series

Returning last year, after an eight year hiatus, the 2017 Jazz at Drew Concert Series was held Saturday, October 7th on the campus of Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science (CDU). This year marked the 20th time the event has taken place. According to David M. Carlisle, MD, PhD, President and CEO of CDU, there are two goals for Jazz at Drew, “First, as a fundraiser, it helps support CDU student scholarships, services and campus facilities.  Second, as a concert, it provides South LA with a first-class entertainment event as part of our commitment to bring as many resources as we can to the community in which we live and work.”
OCT-2017-MUSICREVIEW-JazzatDrewIt hasn’t yet been stated how much money was raised, but I can unequivocally declare that they delivered on their first-class entertainment claim! Plus, the event was well organized with a small shopping bazaar, plenty of food/drink options and ample bathrooms.

Jazz at Drew’s emphasis on showcasing homegrown talent with international appeal has been the distinguishing factor that separates the event from larger jazz festivals in Southern California. The home town community feel was evident from the start with the Honorable Maxine Waters seen walking through the crowd – giving everyone a smile and a wave to the crowd’s chants of “We love you Maxine.”

The Fernando Pullum Community Arts Center Jazz Band opened the show. In addition to its top level youth jazz program, the center offers free performing arts classes to students 5 – 20. The jazz students got things going with their opening tune, Stevie Wonder’s classic “Isn’t She Lovely.” Then, West Coast Get Down members Kamasi Washington and Ryan Porter joined the band. While the elders provided the solos, the kids laid down an ample groove and provided an early highlight with a driving version of James Brown’s “Cold Sweat” which resonated with the crowd who were trying to get used to the 90+ degree heat.

Next up was veteran jazz and R&B singer Eloise Laws who is known to her fans simply at “El”. Ms. Laws is a member of the talented Laws family which includes brothers’ Hubert and Ronnie as well as sister Debra. The soulful, sophisticated singer started her set with “Last Days of Summer,” a song off her 1999 album The Key. The song emphasized her easy-going vocal style and her band’s potent chops. The focus on the heat continued with a sparkling version of Peggy Lee’s classic “Fever.” Throughout her set, El commanded a consummate stage presence that melted the crowd’s hearts and grabbed their attention with her passionate unique vocal style. A highlight of the set was El’s new single “Can’t Let Myself, Hurt Myself” – an authoritative and demonstration to the power and independence of the female spirit. She dedicated the song to all people, especially women.
dw3-RichardBilowDW3 makes a big impression (photo by Richard Bilow)

Local Latin soul group DW3 took to the stage next. DW3 is short for Down With 3 and the three are Damon Reel, Eric Mondragon and Eric’s brother Billy. At the Drew, the trio was augmented by five superb musicians that added a lot of color (i.e., horns and percussion) and really filled out the sound – kudos to the C-Town horn section. Another shout out should go the group’s guitarist who was featured in a couple of songs and as guitar fans would say, “The dude can really shred.” The group played a set of upbeat originals showcasing their new album “On the Floor” which produced two chart topping singles for urban format and was produced by two-time Grammy Award Winner Paul Brown and Marcus Miller.The group has a lot of talent and I’m sure glad I found out about them at the show. If you want to hear the band play in an intimate setting, they have a biweekly gig every Thursdays and Sundays at Spaghettini Jazz Club in Seal Beach.

Around 3:30PM, The West Coast Get Down (WCGD) took the stage. For those of you not familiar with the band, the WCGD’s month-long recording session in 2012 is already the stuff of jazz legend. Inspired by their packed-house jam sessions at the Piano Bar in Hollywood, the group got together and rented out a Los Angeles studio for 30 days. The results became a landmark jazz record (Kamasi Washington’s The Epic) and two extraordinary albums (bassist Miles Mosley’s Uprising and Cameron Graves’ Planetary Prince). The latest album from trombonist Ryan Porter is also a result of that fruitful month, but, Porter had something different in mind – a children’s record entitled Spangle-Lang.

Oct2017DREWMusicREVIEW-TheWestCoast-GetDownby RichardBilowThe West Coast Get Down creating musical magic. (photo credit – Richard Bilow)

While the band often gets categorized as Kamasi Washington’s band; in fact, Washington — is a partner in the WCGD, not its leader. It’s an eight-man musical collective that seems not so much about removing the boundaries between genres as never recognizing them in the first place. Each player in the band is a virtuoso and has a unique approach to their instrument. While it used to be a weekly occurrence to see the band at the now defunct Piano Bar, times have changed. The well-earned success of Kamasi Washington and Miles Mosley has made them jazz superstars and has led to international tours. So, it is always a treat when they return home and they get the band back together and play live.

The band hit their stride on their second song, “The End of Corporatism” from Cameron Graves’ Planetary Prince. This piano driven tune with a memorable, melodic horn line gave everyone in the band ample opportunity to display their talent – I really loved watching the interplay between the drummers Ronald Bruner, Jr. and Tony Austin who produced Mosley’s Uprising and served as the band’s spokesman at the Drew.  Austin introduced the next tune “Little Boy Blue” from Porter’s new that featured the lovely vocals of Patrice Quinn. The comradery in this band unparalleled and their comfort level with each other leads to a lot of smiling – everyone was really enjoying themselves but nobody more so than keyboardist Brandon Coleman who just could not stop smiling!

The band next turned its attention to bassist Miles Mosley who did a rousing version of his song “Abraham” which featured Mosley’s skill with a bow and a nice little interlude from DJ Battlecat. After Mosley’s dazzling display, the band ended its set with Washington’s “The Rhythm Changes” from The Epic. This beautiful tune was another highlight for vocalist Quinn and the saxophone stylings of Kamasi Washington and his father Ricky who plays soprano saxophone in the band. And, can I just say how cool is that to play in the same band with your Dad?
Oct2017-DREWMusicReview-Earth-Wind-Fire-RichardBilowEarth, Wind & Fire playing another one of their smash hits. (photo credit – Richard Bilow)

As the temperature cooled and the sun went down, it was time for the event’s headliners, the legendary Grammy-winning group, Earth, Wind & Fire to grace the stage. The band is helmed by founding members Ralph Johnson, Philip Bailey, and Verdine White and they are joined on stage by Bailey’s son Philip Jr. and a gifted collection of percussion, singers and horn players. The entire crowd was familiar with all of the songs and everyone sang and danced along to the group’s hour set of non-stop hits: “Sing a Song,” “Reasons,” “September” and the band’s national anthem “That's the Way of the World." One of my favorite sights from the show was watching the enthusiastic kids from the Fernando Pullum Community Arts Center Jazz Band singing and dancing while watching the band from the front of the stage. EW&F still have their mojo with a stage show that features highly choreographed moves, accentuated horn arrangements and great harmonies. Also, Philip Bailey can still hit those high notes on “Reasons”.

After the headliner’s set, there was a rather long break and I expected a lot of folks to head home satisfied with a great day of music. But, evidently, the crowd knew that Shelia E. was worth waiting for. Shelia E. and her band took the stage at 7PM and opened up with very funky version of the national anthem followed by “America” that set the stage for her politically charged set which was focused on her new album Iconic. The album was a result of the musician aborting her dance record and opting for a timely project that calls back to her Oakland roots, where she listened to the likes of Curtis Mayfield and Marvin Gaye, as the Black Panther Party movement gained momentum.  The album was her reaction to the current political climate and the fact that the songs still resonate.
Oct2017DREWMusicREVIEW-sheilasaxSheila E. cozies up to her longtime sax player Eddie M. (photo credit – Richard Bilow)

Shelia E. displayed her talents on percussion, vocals and guitar as the band attacked the familiar 60’s and 70’s tracks from the new album: Parliament-Funkadelic’s “One Nation Under A Groove / Mothership Connection", Sly and the Family Stone’s “Everyday People", Marvin Gay’s “Inner City Blues / Trouble Man", will.i.am’s “Yes We Can” and a medley of James Brown tunes. Between songs she mentioned how much these songs mean to her and that we need to remember that love unites and hate divides us. The crowd loved every minute of it – especially, when she walked through the crowd and then invited them to dance on stage with her. Shelia E. brought the crowd together and made everyone feel loved. Near the end of the show, she asked everyone to look around to a stranger next to them and look them in the eye and say you love them. I did it and the person was so touched, I was soon hugging their entire family – it was very emotional and it brought enormous smiles to our faces.

Shelia E.’s uplifting set and her way with a crowd, brought us together and made us think that maybe we can just get along – an ideal ending to a show with a local focus and an international appeal. I can’t wait for next year’s event and I hope to see you there!

Blues Legend Buddy Guy Can Still Tear It Up

One of the few remaining old guard blues legends, Buddy Guy graced us with his presence last week at the Saban Theater in Beverly Hills.
buddyguyplaying-byRichardBilowPhoto by Richard Bilow

The 81 year old guitarist shows no signs of slowing down. Unlike some of his contemporaries who look fragile onstage, Mr. Guy displayed the enthusiasm of someone half his age. The legend started the night with a cover of Willie Dixon's "I'm Your Hoochie Coochie Man" and immediately showed the crowd what he could do. He teased the crowd a little by rubbing his guitar against his shirt to the beat and then tore into a solo that highlighted his tremendous tone and dexterity.

Throughout the night he told stories about his youth, how important it is to love and how honored he is to be able to play homage to his blues heroes. To that end, he played some John Lee Hooker, Jimmy Reed and the man he called his all-time favorite – BB King.
Photo by Richard Bilow

One of the highlights of the night was Little Willie John's "Fever" where Mr. Guy had everyone clapping their hands to the snap of his fingers. The crowd ate it up and his adept band kept up with him at every stage. The song provided rhythm guitarist, Ric Jaz, with an opportunity to showcase his impressive chops and it also allowed Guy to trade some notable licks with keyboardist Marty Sammons.

Throughout the night, Guy rapped to the crowd about various problems with society – e.g., you can't drink until you're 18, but you can go to war or all the pesticides, etc. that is used in our food. However, all of his rants ended with him professing that his parents taught him to love everybody and that if everyone was like him, there wouldn't be a worry in the world.
Photo by Richard Bilow

During Guy's classic "Someone Else Is Steppin' In (Slippin' Out, Slippin' In), he jumped into the crowd and walked among his disciples soloing, singing and joking with the mob. No doubt his connection with his audience keeps him young, but, it is also his willingness to share the spotlight with young players. For the encore, Guy brought up his opening act Quinn Sullivan along with Carmen Vandenberg and a young lady whose name I didn't catch. All of them revealed serious blues prowess. While the trio of young virtuosos soloed, Guy walked around onstage smiling and throwing picks to the crowd. His smile said it all – the blues has a future!

Review: BLINDED at The Brickhouse Theatre

Blinded, written by Joni Ravenna, directd by T.J. Castronovo and produced by John Lant had its world premiere July 15th at the BrickHouse Theatre, the new home of Write Act Repertory in North Hollywood with a strong cast.
From Left to right: Cindy Marinangel, Chris Muto, Rico Simonini, Marilyn Sanabria; photo by Albert Romano

Just when I thought I’d seen it all, I saw this play about someone who can’t see because of seeing something that traumatized him. The plot was interesting and original where the main character, Donald has hysterical blindness because seventeen years earlier he walked in on his mother in bed with someone other than his father. What he saw that day was so devastating that his psyche refused to see anything else from then on. At 35, depressed Donald visits a shrink, NYC’s best  Bob Salamoni, before  possibly ending it all. However the doctor’s very unusual plan to help involves Donald having an affair with Salamoni’s younger beautiful wife Bridget. There’s only one caveat.  Bridget can never find out Donald is blind.
Chris Muto, Cindy Marinangel; photo by Albert Romano

The chemistry between Chris Muto (Grey’s Anatomy,Scandal), an actor from New York, my old stomping grounds, who plays “the blind man” and Cindy Marinangel (Tony & Tina’s Wedding) was very strong and real. They both played the comedic and dramatic moments well. It was interesting to watch the creative ways he hid his blindness from her.
The Cheila character played by Marilyn Sanabria (also from New York) was very funny and colorful and her scenes with Dr. Bob Silveroni played by Rico Simonini (not only a good actor but a cardiologist in real life!) had quite a few laugh out loud moments. Both seemed like demanding roles and were handled well.Cheila wore many great outfits, almost as many as Diana Ross does in concert.
July2017-Blinded-MarilynSanabria-RicoSimonini-photobyAlbert Romano
Marilyn Sanabria, Rico Simonini; photo by Albert Romano

The writing was strong, thanks to the playwright Joni Ravenna.  I found myself involved with the show all the way through, laughed often and was surprised once or twice with some twists. The director T.J. Castronovo did a great job. 

The set design of the two locations worked well for the story.  I especially liked the way the room at the apartment was set up “more French” with all the French Flags for Bridget’s French lessons. 

I also enjoyed the French music that came in from time to time. Not sure if the irony of having a Stevie Wonder song play before a show (about a blind person) and just before the 2nd act was intentional but it was a nice touch. It is a fun show to escape reality for a little while, with some good one liners, good acting and a few twists.

July2017-Blinded-CindyMarinangel-BridgetSilveroni-photo-Albert Romano
Cindy Marinangel charming as Bridget Silveroni; photo by Albert Romano

The BrickHouse Theatre is located at 10950 Peach Grove Street in North Hollywood. 
The show runs through August 13th. Show times: Fri & Sat at 8:00pm and Sun 2:00pm; Admission: $25 students and seniors $20 reservations 800-838-3006; Online ticketing: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/299343

Review: Ezralow Dance: Primo Passo at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Arts

Los Angeles native Daniel Ezralow returned to The Wallis to premiere Primo Passo – Italian for “first step” – a career retrospective of his investigation of intentional movement and exploring the question of "why do we do what we do."

Erzalow's works are energetic, visceral and physically explosive and affected me in a way that, during a post performance Question and Answer session (which, the way, is a wonderful part of these performances at the Wallis) describes as "neuron mirroring", meaning we, the audience, experience in our bodies what the dancers are doing with their bodies as we watch them perform on stage.Throughout the performance that also had a feeling of "other worldliness", with the often darkened, spot lit, shadowed and flickering stage, we hopped, slid, tumbled, and ran in a joyful and playful. 

July-2017-TheWallis Ezralow Foreign Tails Anthea Young  Kelsey Landers Credit Dan Steinberg Photography for The Wallis
Dancers Anthea Young (left) and Kelsey Landers (right) perform Foreign Tails. Photo credit: Dan Steinberg Photography for The Wallis.

The evening opened with a Prologue that had a small shadowed figure move within a TV screen showing Black and White images from 1960's shows like the Twilight Zone and Addams Family and with cameos from seminal news anchor Walter Cronkite.

With four weeks of intense rehearsal, the diverse and highly talented performers with dance backgrounds in avant-garde and commercial, ballet and hip hop, modern and street, gave it their all as they pushed beyond their own limits to entertain and pull us in to Erzalow's vision. The works performed included: Brothers (1982), a duet homage to being and having a brother with the dancers jostling with each other in strength and playfulness to Igor Stravinsky's Concertino for Twelve Instruments.

Foreign Tails created by ISO Dance Theater in 1985 with music by Claude Debussy evokes a magical rural environment where the hoop skirts of the two female dancers become transformative entities with which they are their two male partners interact , disappear and emerge from with whimsical and highly inventive engagement.

Super Straight is coming down (1989), first of five commissioned works by the Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, inspired by artist Robert Longo's "Men in the Cities", score by Thom Willems, and grey suit costumes by Jackson Lowell, evokes the harsh structure and form moving modern humanity.

SF (2004) has the whole company move and jump to the wide range of taken-for-granted simple movements that are unique in each and everyone one us.

Awakening Solo, accompanied by live music by Jaschim Cooder on mbira and nail violin, featured Athea Young, who is the company's Dance Rehearsal Director and performed in five of the seven pieces.July-2017-TheWallis Ezralow Pulse Credit-DanSteinbergPhotography-TheWallis
Pulse; Credit Dan Steinberg Photography for The Wallis

Pulse (2000), with music by David Lang, original lighting design by Ryan O'Gara, and shimmery almost transparent costumes by Jackson Lowell, had the dancers slide repeatedly across the stage, magnetically connect with a partner only to snap apart as if they were molecules in some whorling ether. 

See below image of Chroma (2013), choreographed to Strauss' Blue Danube Waltz had the dancers changing from initial mutli-colored American Apparel garb to evolve into sharing pieces to each have their own unified color attire to then transforming into each other as they moved behind and through a series of magic (video) screens 

July-2017-TheWallis Ezralow Chroma Credit-DanSteinberg-PhotographyfortheWallis edited-1
Chroma. Photo credit: Dan Steinberg Photography for The Wallis.

Ezralow Dance is Daniel Ezralow (Artistic Director and Choreographer), Arabella Ezralow (Associate Artistic Director), Jeff Mclaughlin (Technical Director), Dan Weingarten (Lighting Designer), Marc Rosenthal (Video Projection Designer), Garrett Crouch (Stage Manager), Joanie Coyote (Costume Designer), Anthea Young (Ezralow Dance Rehearsal Director) and Performers Kelly Allen, William Clayton, Junji Dezaki, Gerald Espinosa, Najla Gilliam, Issac Huerta, Kelsey Landers, Re’sean Pates, Vanessa Nichole, Chad Azadab, Shauna Davis, Raymond Ejiofor, and Charissa Kroegeer.

The upcoming 2017/2018 Season of Dance @ The Wallis will feature  Dorrnace Dance, L.A. Dance Project, Lula Washington Dance Theater, Dada Masilo's Giselle, and BodyTraffic.  Go to http://www.thewallis.org

Event Review: 2017 Dwell on Design

I look forward to the Dwell on Design show every year and this year was no exception. As someone who has renovated homes for years, its always a treat to see the latest cutting edge design and fun custom elements I can incorporate into my projects. Some of my best design details in my own home I first saw at Dwell on Design or Dwell magazine. I wouldn't miss it! This year it was unique in that there was a real emphasis on artist-designed elements that gave the event even more bespoke flair! Even contemporary art magazine Fabrik had a booth.
Tesselle Ceramic Tile Co booth; photo by Paul Finn

always have to go back to the convention center for a second day during the 4 day long design show because the first day is spent taking in everything and chatting with the various vendors about their displays. It definitely can get overwhelming. I suggest getting a pass for the entire show just in case you just have to come back to see something a second time. Some of the products are on display for the first time ever so I'm like a kid on Christmas morning when I get there. Inspiration usually strikes of how and where I can use various products and I always need a second look at more than a few things.

If you are someone like me who likes to personalize your space you'll be amazed at the prefab modular homes that are brought into the vast LA convention center for the show. You will forget you are in the convention center as you wander around these luxurious homes, picturing how it would be to live in one. They are on display like they are really installed and designer furnished like someone lives there but while you're in one I wouldn't try using the toilet but by all means stretch out of the bed!
Marvin Windows and Doors; photo by Kathy Leonardo

This years prefab pavilion showcased a full-size prefab home from Method Homes and a tiny home from Kim Lewis Tiny Home. These aren't your granddads modulars on display! They have all the style and design of someone's high-end dream home. You pick the finishes and fixtures like lighting, tile, counters, etc. and a few months after placing your order, your house gets delivered, installed and assembled right onto your plot of land! Your neighbors will love you for sparing them from the on-site construction! You can get a list of installs going on all over Los Angeles so you can watch the houses being craned into position.

The Shade Store debuted its Roller Shade Collection at the Dwell on Design opening event. They featured a lovely party at their booth with Nate Berkus there greeting his fans.
Nate Berkus with Kathy Leonardo - founder of LAArtParty.com

So, if you like wifi enabled gadgets, art, architecture and fine design not to mention the latest in instant prefab homes, be sure to check out Dwell on Design next year! There is nothing like it! http://www.dwellondesign.com/

Event Review: No Whining at the 12th Annual LA WineFest

LAWineFest, the largest and longest-running consumer wine tasting event in Los Angeles held its 12th Annual event this past weekend July 17th – 18th and continued to make the world of wine fun and accessible for Angelenos. The event which has become the Southland's signature celebration of all things wine was founded in 2005 by renowned wine personality Dr. Joel M. Fisher.
This year, the event moved from Hollywood to the hip, industrial-chic Market Row, part of the Downtown Arts District's ROW DTLA one of the largest adaptive projects in downtown. A partially shaded, pretty outdoor lane surrounded by revitalized 90-year-old warehouses built by the Southern Pacific Railroad proved to be an ideal setting for the event.

After checking in, guests were given a glass and set free to stroll from booth to booth sampling wine and learning from the company representatives (and sometimes the winemakers themselves) who were eager and happy to chat about their creation. The party vibe of the Rebel Coast Winery made it a particularly popular booth.

The astute event organizers understood that wine lovers might have some beer loving friends (or they might need a break to sip something else), so they also offered some seriously artisan brews (e.g., Baja Brewing, Co., High Water Brewing). And because all that sipping eventually made you hungry, they offered food from some of our city's most interesting food trucks curated by Smorgasbord LA (e.g., Batterfish and Crispy Cuban). There was also live music from local band Will and the Won'ts who played great tunes with tons of energy. People danced as they browsed artisan merchandise in boutiques and stalls

One of the most popular areas of the event was the Boutique Winery section which was only accessible with an "All Access" wristband. This area allowed wine lovers the opportunity to enjoy and discover emerging gems from wineries that handcraft fewer than 2,000 cases per year. Some of the wineries included: Cloak & Dagger, Sleeping Indian Vineyard and Holman Cellars.

The diverse crowd, a true representation of Los Angeles, mingled organically sharing their love of wine. The offerings hailed from around the globe, though there was a local presence with Downtown names like San Antonio Winery and Iron Triangle Brewing. There were many tables and chairs set up, so attendees could take a break, sit back and relax. There was even a small outdoor game area where people enjoyed games of Baggo and Jenga. In fact, everyone's good time was actually a good deed since the 12th Annual LAWineFest benefited Sunshine Kids, an amazing organization which provides positive group activities and emotional support for young cancer patients.
LAWinefest-2-pixby KeithBlockOverall, the new location along with beautiful weather was a perfect opportunity for grape nuts to discover new wines and meet new people. The event was nicely spread out with enough wineries, breweries, vendors and food trucks to please everyone – there were no whiners! And, I'm sure all of us who attended can't wait for next year's event! http://www.lawinefest.com/

Photos by Keith Block;