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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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Event Review: The Revisionist at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts!

The Revisionist produced by the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts is a very compelling plRevisionist-JesseEisenbergay running through Sunday April 17th.

Written by Jesse Eisenberg, the Oscar-nominated star of The Social Network and frequent contributor to The New Yorker, and directed by Robin Larsen, noted director of such plays as A Delicate Balance and Uncle Vanya at the Antaeus Company as well as being an Academy Award-winning filmmaker, The Revisionist is the story between a young American man, David and his older Polish cousin, Maria. David is a writer with a crippling case of writer’s block who goes to Poland to change his environment in hopes of being able to finish his book while visiting Maria, a woman in her seventies who is a holocaust survivor. They both have very different ideas of what this visit is about: David wants to be left alone while Maria is thrilled to have family visiting with her. She wants company. She wants to get to know him, to be with him, to share food and time with him. As the story unfolds, we learn of secrets, addiction, isolation and longing. The Revisionist invites us into this encounter and makes us question our own values and ideas about family, connection, what it means to be human, alienation and intimacy.

What is really interesting to me is how we, the audience are engaged in their encounter. The way the stage is set up in the middle of the room with about four rows in front of the stage and four rows behind, we share this intimate space together which is Maria’s very small apartment. I loved the impeccable scenic design by Tom Buderwitz who also created the scenic design for Casa Valentina which I recently saw. We see every detail and nuance of this cramped, European apartment - the longing and intimacy are palpable.

TRevisionist 59 LowReshe creative team for The Revisionist also includes costume designer Jocelyn Hublau Parker, lighting designer Leigh Allen, sound designer and music composition John Zalewski, casting director Beth Lipari, and production stage manager Elle Aghabala. All fell into place for a very memorable production. There’s still time to see The Revisionist, now through April 17, 2016!!

For more information about the actors, the production and the Wallis, please visit: http://TheWallis.org

Tickets: Single tickets: $50 (prices subject to change)

What: The Revisionist

Where: Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, Lovelace Studio Theater, 9390 N. Santa Monica Blvd, Beverly Hills, CA, 90210
When: April 1 - 17, 2016: Tues - Fri 8pm; Sat 3pm & 8pm; Sun 2pm & 7pm
Phone: 310.746.4000
Website: http://TheWallis.org

Event Review: Masters of Taste at the Pasadena Rose Bowl!

Sunday, April 3rd was a beautiful day on the field of the Historic Pasadena Rose Bowl. On this lovely afterReview-MastersofTastenoon from 3 PM to 7 PM, we sampled and enjoyed some of LA's finest fare from 40 Master Chefs and restaurants, 25 craft cocktail bars, wineries, and breweries at Masters of Taste, a luxury food and beverage festival, with proceeds benefiting Union Station Homeless Services, an organization committed to helping homeless men, women and children rebuild their lives.

What an amazing day we had! Here are some highlights from our favorite culinary offerings. Our first taste of the day was from the Raymond 1886 Restaurant of Pasadena with two kinds of tacos - Yucatan grilled carrot and roasted duck - I really enjoyed the roasted duck - delicious!! Along with the tacos, we enjoyed a custom made margarita specialty cocktail made with Mescal, fresh lime and cilantro, topped off with a Cayenne sauce that made it taste a little smoky. It was spicy and smooth at the same time - Yum!

Review-MastersofTaste-Birch-foisgrasThe chicken liver and foie gras mousse (see image, left) served with a toasted crisp from Birch of Pasadena was incredible – it had a creamy texture with a port topping that was decadent and satisfying. We needed more of the crisps for double dipping.

Next we sampled braised pork cheek with Pea & sunchoke purée, crispy shallots and Pea vines from Hyde of West Hollywood. Also rich and delicious. We needed some wine to go with all these scrumptious tastes. I had a glass of Light Horse California Chardonnay from Jamieson Ranch Vineyards of Napa. It had a citrus aroma with a smooth finish and my friend enjoyed a glass of the Light Horse Cabernet that had an intense ruby color and flavors of berries and spices.

FroReview-MastersofTaste-Raymond-Alvarez-TocaMaderam Toca Madera of West Hollywood, we really enjoyed a citrus coconut salad which was completely vegan served with crispy banana in a small bamboo plate. Not only was it a beautiful presentation, it was completely compostable.

See image, right - Toca Madera's Chef Raymond Alvarez

The spicy Cypriot lamb meatball with shredded cabbage salad, tomato sauce and Tzatziki from Inotheke of Santa Monica had a really interesting flavor that I enjoyed a lot. It was definitely one of our favorites!

Another stand out was the sushi bowl with tuna, snapper, salmon and rice from Hamasaku of Los Angeles - had a delicious and delicate flavor - this was a popular dish among other attendees as well.

The Ceviche Vegetarian from Sangers & Joe of Pasadena was a real treat - crunchy endive, peas and avocado with a light lemon vinaigrette were just a few of the ingredients that made this dish so unusual, original and delicious!

It was time to try another glass of wine. Next was a delectable Viognier from Four Brix Winery of Santa Ynez called Smitten. I'd say after a couple sips, I was pretty smitten with this crisp and light white with a lovely floral aroma.

The fried chicken served on a sweet potato pancake with Gochujangbutter and maple syrup from Nighthawk Breakfast Bar of Hollywood was melt in your mouth delicious!!!

The Chilled English Pea Soup with Wood Sorrel from Wax Paper of Frogtown was so surprisingly flavorful, it tasted like spring!

Review-MastersofTaste-KellysKookiesOMG we have to talk about desserts!!! Favorites were the Buko Pandan Chia Seed Pudding from Creme Caramel of Sherman Oaks - so good - rich but also light and oh so creamy with a gorgeous purple color and crunchy topping!! And the assortment of Cookies from Kelly’s Kookies of Arcadia was wonderful (see image, left) - favorites were the Chocolate Dipped Macadamia Shortbread, the Raspberry Dreams and the Lemon Shortbread.

Next, we were treated to a 10 minute relaxing massage from Massage Envy. What a wonderful way to end this fabulous day! Visit the website and be sure to join us next year. https://mastersoftastela.com/

Event Review: CASA VALENTINA at the Pasadena Playhouse - Runs thru April 10, 2016!

CASA VALENTINA produced by The Pasadena Playhouse is not to be missed. Written by four time Tony Award winner Harvey Fierstein, the iconic playwright of the Broadway hits Torch Song Trilogy, La Cage Aus Follies, and most recently Kinky Boots, and directed by David Lee, nine time Emmy Award winner of Frasier, CASA VALENTINA does not disappoint.
 
SPasadenaPlayhouse-Valentina2ee image (from left to right): Lawrence Pressman, Raymond McAnally, Mark Jude Sullivan, Christian Clemenson (standing), John Vickery and Robert Mammana (standing) in “Casa Valentina” at The Pasadena Playhouse. Photo by: Jim Cox Photography

Based on a true story, taking place in 1962 around the Dirty Dancing era, CASA VALENTINA is a little bungalow neatly tucked away at a colony in the Catskills, offering a haven for heterosexual men who want to be free to express themselves as their inner girls. At CASA VALENTINA, they can dress in their favorite dresses, lingerie and shoes and wear jewelry, makeup and wigs without judgment, and feel free among their peers in this loving, accepting cross-dressing community. There is a sense of camaraderie among this topnotch cast who all give heartfelt performances. As the story unfolds, we learn of a political scandal and event that will change everyone’s lives. CASA VALENTINA is funny, tragic, dramatic, surprising and compelling as we learn of this clandestine world, and are forced to think about questions of identity, love, fidelity and commitment.

In addition to the play, I loved the glamour, the fabulous costume design by Kate Bergh and the incredible stage and scenic design by Tom Ruderwitz - as the viewer, we get to see the entire house as each scene is occurring - rotating as sort of a voyeuristic doll-house for us to peer into.

SSat-Mar26-PasadenaPlayhouse-Valentinaee image (from left to right): James Snyder,  Valerie Mahaffey, Raymond McAnally and Robert Mammana in “Casa Valentina” at The Pasadena Playhouse. Photo by: Jim Cox Photography

The entire creative team for CASA VALENTINA also includes choreographer Mark Esposito, lighting designer Jared A. Sayeg, sound designer Philip G. Allen, wig, hair and makeup designer Rick Geyer and fight choreographer Mike Mahaffey. Kudos for an extraordinary job! Don’t miss CASA VALENTINA, now through April 10, 2016!!

Tickets range from $25 - $125. Click Here to purchase tickets.

What: Performance
Where: Pasadena Playhouse, 39 South El Molino Avenue, Pasadena, CA 91101
When: Tuesdays - Saturdays at 8pm; Saturday matinee - 4pm; Sunday mantinee - 2pm; Sunday evening show - 7pm through April 10, 2016
Phone: 626-356-7529
Website: http://www.pasadenaplayhouse.org/

Event Review: Roseanne Cash, the Broad Stage

On March 12, 2016, I attended a performance by singer/songwriter Rosanne Cash at the Eli & Edythe Broad Stage.

ThReview-RoseanneCash-byGeorgeWHarrise Americana singer/songwriter graced the stage with her husband, producer- guitarist John Leventhal. At first glance, one can tell she is a humble and affable performer, willing to allow the audience to see all of her.

Photo courtesy of George W. Harris

Her storytelling and camaraderie with her husband, pulled the audience in even more. Leventhal was impressive. His ability to carry the show with one acoustic guitar (with our without Cash's playing) was quite extraordinary. Cash joked that she experienced a thirty year wait between grammys and played an assortment of hits as well as some oldies too. Her humble attitude towards her music and the music business was quiet refreshing.

One of the best moments of the show was when she revealed the story behind one of the cuts off her latest CD The River & the Thread. It was originally an entirely different song written for Emmy Lou Harris. She overhead her husband John Leventhal and her ex-husband Rodney Crowell writing the song and fell in love with it. She loved it and begged for them to let her sing it...to no avail. As is custom in the music industry the song never did get recorded. It was then that she would ask to put her own words to it. At the time her son was doing a Civil War project for school and the singer decided to search for her family ancestry history online. She found Cash ancestors on both sides of the Civil War. Cash dove deep into the genealogy and found inspiration from her relative Mary Ann Cash...this was the basis for her lyric to accompany the beloved melody which would later become the song When the Master Calls the Roll.

SheSat-Mar12-BroadStage-RosanneCash-8 PhotoCredit ClayPatrickMcBride.jpeg peformed a touching rendition of "Sea Of Heartbreak" and "Etta's Tune," offering a lovely mix of both her earlier and current work. All in all, Roseanne Cash and John Leventhal delivered a wonderful performance. At the finale, the audience jumped to its feet.

Photo by Clay Patric kMcBride

I have only good things to say about the Eli & Edythe Broad Stage. I have attended shows before here and love the venue, which has a wonderful sound system. The location, (1310 11th St. Santa Monica CA 90401) is also easy to get to and the free parking is one more benefit to the venue. http://www.thebroadstage.com

Event Review: "Stand Up for Beyond Baroque"

BeyondBaroqueBeyond Baroque Literary Arts Center put on a rousing evening of comedy on January 21 at the Hotel Erwin in Venice as a fundraiser to help pay for very needed and high priority repair to their building's roof. "Stand Up for Beyond Baroque" was hosted by Eve Brandstein with an impressive line-up of comedians, storytellers, and musicians. Richard Modiano, Director of Beyond Baroque, expressed his appreciation for all the support and welcomed the audience, who, before the show began were interacting with each other in what felt like a family reunion.

First, a bit about Beyond Baroque ----
Beyond Baroque is a non-profit poetry and literary arts center with a national reputation for attracting, showcasing and advocating for poets and writers. It has played a significant role in helping Los Angeles become an international arts capital, and has helped to make Venice and Los Angeles a cultural destination.
Located in the old City Hall building in Venice, Beyond Baroque has been the neighborhood's literary center since 1968, housing more than 40,000 art, literary and poetry books, broadsides, newspapers, and zines and hosting readings, workshops and performances by Venice, Los Angeles, and Southern California writers and artists.. During recent rains, the bookstore's roof suffered leaks that damaged some of its materials. "It's crucial that the work be protected from the elements," says Beyond Baroque Assistant Director Carlye Archibeque, who along with a team of dedicated volunteers, organized and coordinated the event.

AnBeyondBaroque-benefit-Dylan-Brodyd to acknowledge the very talented artists who generously gave of their time to perform --

See image: Courtesy of Beyond Baroque, Dylan Brody

Dylan Brody
One of America's leading humorists and storytellers who enthralls his audience with literate and literary insight. He currently writes and performs regularly for the David Feldman show on KPFK (Pacifica Radio) in Los Angeles With five CDs out on the Stand Up! Records label and a new deal with Rooftop Comedy for the release of his solo show MORE ARTS/LESS MARTIAL.

Eric Schwartz
Award winning singer, songwriter, performer, satirist, mult-instrumentalist and entertainer. Eric's songs go from the political to the profane, sometimes both. His latest release is "The Better Man."

Rick Overton
As a 40 year comedy veteran, Rick has starred in numerous HBO and Showtime specials and has had countless TV stand up appearances and has appeared in numerous films. He played The Drake on "Seinfeld" and Pam's Dad on "The Office." He currently recurs on Adult Swim's "Children Hospital," ABC's "Last Man Standing," TNT's "Leverage" and recently guest starred on "The League," "The Middle," "The Kroll Show," and "Newsreaders". Rick is currently a semi-regular contributor to the Huffington Post and hosts a popular podcast called "Overview" that is available on iTunes.

Courtesy of Beyond Baroque, Rick Overton and Talia HarariBeyondBaroque-benefit-RickOvertonandTalia Harari

Talia Harari
From Tel Avi to Fort Lauderdale to Los Angeles, Talia is a comedian and reality and documentary programming producer. https://twitter.com/taliahara

David Zasloff
David is a stand-up comedian/multi-instrumentalist – vocalist and has written two books, "The Complete Book Of Everything, Part I" and his autobiography is called, "The Joy of Suffering."

Suzanne Whang
TV personality television host, actor, stand-up comedian, emcee, keynote speaker, political activist, minister, radio host, published author, and stage 4 breast cancer thriver.

Tamer Kattan
Egyptian-born American was born into a family of Muslims, Christians and Jews, leaving him incredibly comfortable in the uncomfortable. An award winning international comedian with TV and commercial credits in the United States and UK, Tamer has a deep understanding of the human condition. A regular at the Comedy Store, Improv and Laugh Factory in Los Angeles.

Jann Karman
Released two successful comedy albums -- Live at the Blue Loon and Same Guy, Different Shirt and when scheduling permits, performs her critically acclaimed solo play Reclining Nude on La Cienega in Los Angeles theaters. She's also written a book based on Reclining Nude's theme: a contemporary woman's struggle to find peace and authenticity (and maybe a man who knows how properly to use a fork) amid life's chaos.

BeyondBaroque-benefit-Kelly-CarlinKelly Carlin
Her memoir "A Carlin Home Companion: Growing Up with George" is available from St. Martin's Press. She currently hosts a monthly SiriusXM radio show The Kelly Carlin Show, which spotlights her conversations with iconic comedians, and a weekly podcast "Waking from the American Dream" at smodcast.com

Eve Brandstein
One of Hollywood's most prodigious workers, Eve has made contributions to nearly every facet of the entertainment industry. In addition to being a poet, Eve Brandstein has been a major studio and network executive, a producer, a film and theater director, writer/creator, and casting director. She is also an artist, psychotherapist, teacher and workshop facilitator, who has led writing and performance groups. She is also the producer of the celebrated reading series – Poetry In Motion, launched in 1988, which is presently a bi-coastal monthly series at Beyond Baroque in Venice and various venues in New York City.

You can offer your support and donations to Beyond Baroque by going to: http://www.beyondbaroque.org/support.html

Event Review: VENICE ARTS 22nd ANNIVERSARY GALA

On Saturday, November 7th, LAArtParty joined Venice Arts as it celebrated its 22nd Anniversary Gala. Twenty-two years ago, Venice Arts started with 10 kids and a big dream.

Its awa2015-VeniceArts-MikeNewhouse-Ruthrd-winning Art Mentoring program now reaches hundreds of low-income youth each year throughout Los Angeles, and the Venice Arts Gallery serves as a destination for media-based arts, featuring free exhibitions, documentary film screenings, and public programs for adults.

This incredible signature event began with a walk on the red-carpet and included hosted wine and cocktails, specialty tastings, heavy hors d'oeuvres,and desserts, live music, a student-run photo booth and caricature stations, and a silent auction featuring collectible photographs by many noted professional photographers and Venice Arts' talented students, as well as items from local artisans and creative businesses.

Also at the Gala, Venice Arts recognized two individuals whose support of Venice Arts and its mission has enabled the nonprofit to flourish and grow. This year -- Ruth Seroussi, Esq. and Michael Newhouse, Esq. who were honored as this year's Community Angels. Both serve on the Board of Venice Arts, and have been involved with the organization for over 8 years. Michael told us "It was really very flattering to be honored this year. It meant a lot to both Ruthie and me because Venice Arts is a model with respect to what can be done to change the lives of many children who most likely would never have had the chance to express themselves as artists, and that's special."

At the Gala, LAArtparty also talked to Michael Jasorka, one of the professionals who is a volunteer mentor at Venice Arts. He teaches a workshop there called Venice Arts Comics, in which the kids actually design and then self-publish an entire comic book! This year's comic was called "Energy Vampires and Water Goblins."

He hasm-VeniceArts-MichaelJasorka-TatianaQuinoness been teaching at Venice Arts since 2010, and he told us "My favorite thing about teaching at Venice Arts is empowering the students with the know-how of a very complex medium -- mixing the essences of art, concept, character, and of course, story, to make a clear and communicative sequential narrative (comic). The most important thing students can walk away with at Venice Arts is being more conscious about their expression and how far art can take them on their journey of self-discovery."

Michael also introduced us to one of his star students, Tatiana Quinones, 15, who has been in Michael's Comic Book Workshop for two years and who enjoys bringing her stories to life as comics. From humans to household cats, they're all a joy for her to create and make interact in her comic narrative.

Every year this event is one of most fun evenings ever, and we certainly look forward to next year's gala.

Event Review: Sights, Sounds and Innovation at Lightning in a Bottle

Lightning in a Bottle hosted their annual festival over Memorial Day Weekend (May 21 - 25, 2015) which brought over 30,000 participants to the isolated desert grounds on the outskirts of Bradely, California. The sustainable music and arts festival became home to an eclectic mix of progressive millennials, health-conscious advocates and green-thumbed innovators.

Upon arriving, festival-goers LIB2-byANyaBaroffhopped on a school bus to campgrounds and festival which was vaguely reminiscent of the first-day of summer camp. Entering the grounds was reminiscent of Disneyland's Frontierland fused with futuristic post-apocalypse lights and electronic music. This organized chaos was facilitated and fostered by a sense of mutualistic respect, where attendees welcomed others into the weekend-long community.

Throughout the four-day festival, attendees were introduced to forward-thinking initiatives, including world lectures attempting to understand the power of Hip-Hop in the Middle East and the effects of positive affirmations in health. Between day-time lectures, pop-up yoga sessions, and meditation sound-baths, a sense of commrodery and purpose formed within festival grounds which transcended the four days of the eco-friendly event.

Festival stage design innovation was brought by festival host's, The DoLab, which are also responsible for Coachella Music Festival stage design. This artistic expression was represented through music stages including an architectural staple, The Woogie Stage, which joined the man-made lights and sounds with the organic visuals of sand-dunes and mountains surrounding the venue.

Festivities and a musical mix of electronic trap, jazz and experimental classical dominated the night life. Performers including William Close played the Earth Harp during sunset to add to the mystical atmosphere while festival co-founder and members of Lucent Dossier preformed an avant guard art and music experience at dusk.

Other notable bands included funk band, The Vibrometers, who preformed to a day-time audience who listened from tree houses and wooden log benches. Trumpet player, Gabe Steiner captivated the crowd with engaging on-stage dancing and energetic solos. Check out upcoming summer shows at VibrometerMusic.com.

Food served throughout the festival was primarily vegetarian and sustainable whereby a green policy was intact. Not only were trash, recycling and compost options available, a notable option was to leave unfinished dishes in an area to be saved and shared for other hungry attendees. This form of recycling eliminated food waste was overseen by volunteer attendees who monitored this initiative by confirming donators were healthy via an onsite questionnaire.

EventreviewLightninginBottle-Deanna-GravesThroughout the festival, art installations and collaborations were created.

Santa Barbara artist, Deanna Graves expressed her inspiration for being an active participant in the festival through creativity and collaboration. "For me the most inspiring moments at LiB come from an interaction with something that exists without a purpose of making money. Rather, something inspirational created just well...to be inspirational."

Graves' collaborative painting with artist Roy Huerta reflects her participation in Lightning in a Bottle. The painting, which depicts two people, were drawn from models at the festival. The bubbles coming up from their hands hold stories from festival attendees who shared meaningful phrases, pictures, ideas, and quotes in the bubbles. Grave's explains that, "in this sense, the painting became a mosaic of inspirational moments for the festival-goers at LIB."

More of Deanna's work can be seen at: deannagravesart.com/  For more information about LIghtning in a Bottle visit the website at http://lightninginabottle.org/

Event Review: SMMoA Hosts Final "Incognito" at Bergamot Station!!

"Incognito" is one of those Incognito-2015rare memorable events combining mystery, art, speculation and camaraderie. At what other event can one place their "bet" and hit the jackpot? This was the eleventh year of the popular Santa Monica Museum of Art benefit which took place on May 2.

Each of the over 700 10x10 pieces is offered for the same price, $375 regardless of who the artist is. This is where the speculation comes in. You could be purchasing a piece by an unknown artist or a famous artist. You never know until after you make the purchase and are allowed to see the signature on the back of the piece.

Photos courtesey of LA Art Party

The food for the event was provided by Mud Hen Tavern. Susan Feniger and Kajsa Alger have joined forces to delight the tastebuds. "We love staying connected with the art world, both independent galleries and museums," explained Alger, "it keeps us in touch with the creative world and reflects the way food and art have inspired each other for centuries."

When they said cheddar churros, I was hesitant. Wow was I wrong! Crispy, savory and light as a feather. Surprise being the theme of the night, the food was unique and surprising in the use of taste and texture. Simply put, it was delicious.

Incognito-MudHen-TavernThere was something for everyone from tender steak skewers to the best vegan burger I have ever tasted. And during the VIP reception, there was gravlax that melted in your mouth like butter. Heaven! And for all my fellow east coast immigrants, this is the only place I have had a pickle that reminds me of the ones we used to pull out of the pickle barrel. A trip to the Mud Hen Tavern is called for, even if for no reason than the pickles. But trust me, there are plenty of reasons.

There was wine and cocktails flowing freely for the guests, and there were refreshing selections from 'pressed juicers' for a non-alcoholic pick me up.

It was bittersweet because SMMoA will be moving after a 17-year residency. The new location is not yet known, although SMMoA Executive Director has made known that there will be temporary offices in Century City. The museum does not maintain a permanent collection, which makes it unique. Until a new permanent location is decided upon, SMMoA will conduct pop-up exhibits.

Stay tuned for more information. We are all keeping our fingers crossed and looking forward to 12th "Incognito."