Kathy Leonardo

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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 Taste at Paramount Studios Presented by the LA Times!

THETASTE-2014BI really enjoyed going to the TASTE on Sunday evening, AUGUST 31st, at Paramount Studios, presented by the LA Times. The Paramount lot was a great venue to host such a memorable gastronomic event, "Flavors of LA."

To say that there was every conceivable dish one can imagine is an understatement. We really had to pick and choose among some of the city's best restaurants. With so many choices, it was difficult to decide on which tastes to try - here are some of my highlights:

My hands-down favorite was Manhattan Beach Post and their 62° egg with gumbo sauce and shrimp grits. Chef David LeFevre says "basically we cook the egg at 62° for 30 minutes and hold it until served. At the same time we have white corn grits and then we cook with chicken stock parmesan, marscapone, rosemary and garlic and then fold in shrimp. Lastly we have a gumbo stock that is based on holy trinity, brown roux, shrimp stock. chilis and Cajun spice. We finished with green onion and crispy garlic."

STHETASTE-2014-ChefDavidLeFevre-MBPostee pix - Chef David LeFevre of MB Post

It was my first taste of the night – I have never tasted anything quite like it – melt-in your mouth with a chewy yet custardy satisfying texture that made me not want to eat anything else for the rest of the evening...(but of course I did) definitely worth a trip down to Manhattan Beach to have this again!! Accompanying this, I chose to try Matua, a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc that was light, refreshing and delicious especially on such a balmy evening.

See image: Planeta Wine serving up a tasty redPlanetaWine

Some of the other wonderful wines we tried were Zaca Mesa of Santa Barbara County who served its delicious Syrah, Planeta who served its Cab, Laetitia Vineyard of Arroyo Grande's Sparkling Brut which was very refreshing and delectable on this warm summer's night. and 50 Shades of Grey's Sauvignon Blanc, dare I say, was "mighty fine!"

Urban Garden Lebanese Kitchen, whose specialty is serving ancient food with a modern sensibility served small bites of chicken with a wonderful hummus.

AyarTHETASTE-2014-PizzeriaMozzaa Thai Cuisine served some delicious spicy corn and other mouthwatering tastes from Thailand.

Pizzeria Mozza offered a delicious and beautiful taste of marinated red and yellow baby peppers stuffed with tuna.

See Pix - Pizzeria Mozza offers its signature bites

Bowery Bungalo's elegantly grilled chicken skewers serve on top of their delicious salad was fabulous.

No meal is complete without a little desert (and that’s about all I could possibly consume!) B Sweet's hot bread pudding was melt in your mouth delicious - a great way to end a wonderful, tantalizing and scrumptious evening!!

Event Review: The Art of Elysium's Annual Fundraiser, Genesis!

Genesis-byDanDelCamposFrom artists to hipsters, there was a full house Friday night (September 5) at the Ace Hotel for "GENESIS," a fundraiser for The Art of Elysium. The Art of Elysium is a charity for artists, musicians, and other creatives that formed for the purpose of giving back to the community by participating in artistic workshops for the needy, at a wide range of facilities.

Elysium is dedicated to enriching the lives of artists and critically ill children. It provides a wide range of fine and performing arts workshops and activities, designed to help children cope with the emotional challenges associated with illness and hospitalization. They work to promote opportunities for growth and development, encourage socialization and provide exposure to various artistic skills and disciplines. Programs designed for hospitalized youth include Fine Arts, Fashion Design and agendas for Music, Media/Theatre Arts and Arts-Based Self-Esteem.

GENESIS is a fundraising celebration of emerging artists that brings creatives, tastemakers and social leaders together in support of The Art of Elysium's programs and mission. This year, the concept began with curation. Luminaries were asked to select their favorite up-and-coming LA based artists. Curators included Spike Jonze, Catpower, Jakob Dylan, Shepard Fairey, Karen O, and Beck. Past shows included innovative young artists such as Night Gallery founder, Davida Nemeroff.

TGenesis2-byDanDelCamposhis year's party began outside the hotel with live graffiti, curated by Shepard Fairey. Live shows included performances by Soko, Moses Sumney, Mary Ocher, Nite Jewel and others. Fine Art & Film Installations included works by Chris Milk, Lance Bangs, Wrdsmth and Dallas Clayton.

The Art of Elysium is dedicated to enriching the lives of artists and critically ill children. They believe that there is a powerful and mutual exchange of hope and appreciation that occurs when artists share their time and talent with children battling serious medical conditions.

Photos by Dan Del Campos

LA Art Party Event Review on Huff Post: Lexus Grand Tasting at the 2014 Los Angeles Food & Wine Festival, August 21-24 2014!

LA Art Party attended thehuffpost-logo Los Angeles Food and Wine Festival (August 21-24 2014) presented by Coast Luxury Management.

Celebrating its fourth year, LAFW was incredible.

We LAFW-2014-logo 301were unable to attend all the various tasting/cooking events happening earlier in the weekend *(Yes we are hoping to next year), but we did manage to make it to the Lexus Grand Tasting, Live on Grand event on Sunday, August 24, the final day of the festival.

For my full review, be sure to check out the Huffington Post which was published on August 28, 2014. See www.LAFW.com

Event Review: "Chilled Air" Opening at Think Tank Gallery in Downtown LA!

The Think Tank Gallery hosted its exclusive opening weekend party of Chilled Air this past Saturday, June 21.

ChannelCHilledAirreview-8photobyKayteMethven16ing the use of art and culture as a medium to escape the downfall of the Great Depression, Chilled Air's innovative take on escaping the summer's heat and provided a venue for creative's and intellectuals to push the ideals of other Los Angeles galleries.

Think Tank's Downtown Los Angeles location is in the historic Santee Shopping District and is home to a pristine gallery carved out of a century-old warehouse's huge second floor and has the ambiance that caters to reflection and inspiration atypical to modern LA galleries.

The three-week long skate festival goes from June 21- July 13 and features local artists and talent. Chilled Air's integration of art and skating provides an escape from the summer's heat, and The Think Tank's exclusive opening party proved to be a refreshing way to celebrate the solstice.

Here's some more info on Think Tank Gallery:

TCHilledAirreview-8photobyKayteMethvenhink Tank Gallery, Los Angeles is an arts experience space that is indebted to the complexities of a quickly urbanizing world, and caught right in the middle of it. Our space in its Downtown LA location of the historic Santee Shopping District is a pristine gallery carved out of a century-old warehouse's huge second floor. We blog about things you might have missed but would be interested to see.

Photos by Kayte Methven

Be sure to check out their website at http://www.thinktankgallery.org/

Event Review: Coming Out Kinky: A Grown Up Story at Promenade Playhouse!

In the program notes to her one-woman performance "Coming Out Kinky: A Grown Up comingoutKinky-1Story," Jean Franzblau posits the question: "Why do I want to expose details of my sex life publicly?"

With open and honest self reflection and humor, Jean skillfully weaves together anecdotes from her childhood sexual awakening through awkward adolescent self-deceptions, to adult relationship trials, tribulations, shame and recoveries, to a sense of non-judgemental self-acceptance and joy in the discovery and exploration in the community of others engaged in BDSM (bondage, discipline, sadism and masochism).

The light-hearted tone of the performance is set as she begins (and ends) the show by trying to respond to her mother about why she just broke up with her recent boyfriend. Throughout the 70-minute performance Jean describes and "acts out" her various sexual exploits with a sense of, at least after-the fact, the learning and development she gained. It felt as if we were invited into a "wonderland" as one experience makes her larger and one makes her small, and, to further quote the Jefferson Airplane's "Go Ask Alice" lyric, "And if you go chasing rabbits... know you're going to fall.. when the men on the chess board get up and tell you where to go."

ComingOutKinky11Though all about "sex", the essence of the show is about personal and spiritual growth with those awakenings punctuated by the moments when Jean freely dances to her own heart-beat.

"Coming Out Kinky" is directed by Karen Aschenbach, with lighting design by Argent Lloyd and music by Eric Schwartz. A portion of the proceeds of the show support Sex-Positive World (www.sexpositiveworld.org), a non-profit organization dedicated to making the world a sexier, more touch-positive, heart-centered and connected place.

The show continues May 11, 18, 25, June 1 and June 8 at Promenade Playhouse, 1404 Third Street Promenade, SM, CA 90401 8:30 pm; Sundays - 7:30 pm www.comingoutkinky.brownpapertickets.com

hotos by Benjamin Brooks

A Midsummer Night's Dream Delights the Senses at the Eli and Edythe Broad Stage Performing Arts Center

BrBroadSTage-MSND-handspring-1istol Old Vic's artistic director, Tom Morris and Cape Town's Handspring Puppet Company come together for the first time since the internationally acclaimed "War Horse." This mystical, magical interpretation of Shakespeare's play within a play is a win.

Upon entering the architecturally modern space you are immediately enamored with the 499 seat theatre that has an intimate feel while somehow still seeming majestic. Actors are mingling with the audience in character before the play begins, which is both exciting and intimidating. The set is dark and mysterious. A wood and metal shop. Draped white cloth and a space void of color. The lights dim and the actors bid adieu to the audience and seamlessly take us on a journey of lover's passion, excitement, pain and silliness all sprinkled with a bit fairy dust, of course.

Oh the puppets! All twelve of the brilliantly talented actors morph from flesh and blood characters into breathing life into the puppets they man, allowing the imagination of the audience to soar. For example," puck" is created by constructing and deconstructing a puppet using things you would find in your tool shed...a watering can, wicker basket, hand saw and a hoe. The three actors (Lucy Tuck, Saikat Ahamed, Fionn Gill) simultaneously voice the puppet in such a way that you can't help but believe. The actors move beautifully while delivering Shakespeare's Iambic pentameter and changing back and forth from parts of the scenery to their character. In one such scene they hold planks of wood to become the trees in the forrest. It must be noted that all of the actors rarely leave the stage, adding to the intensity of the performance.

MiBroadStage-MSND-SimonAnnandltos Yerolemou's "Bottom" literally makes an ass out of himself. Lying on a trolly with his head for the donkey's tail, his bare bottom as the head and ears placed on his feet as he wheels about the space. Miltos is a standout with his impeccable comedic timing and ease. He kept the audience in stitches. The ensemble doesn't miss a beat and captivates during the entire almost three hour performance. The music and songs throughout create the perfect mood to add to the action on stage. The evening ended with a standing ovation and an audience that will surely be talking about this artistic endeavor that did not disappoint.

Photographs courtesy of Broad Stage and Simon Annand

Event Review - The Acro-Cats Go Hollywood

It was aEventReview-AcroCats-drummer crisp and sunny Sunday afternoon, when my feline-friendly gal-pals ventured out of our LA homes for a super fun kitty show at the Santa Monica Playhouse. 

My friend, Kat (no pun intended) kept saying,” I wonder if we’ll be going home with a new kitty? As it turns out, all the kitties in the show were rescues, orphans and/or strays—all trained to perform on command. There were even precious little baby kitties available for adoption.  It took all my strength and reserve, not to rush the stage and swoop up that sweet grey/white tuxedo kitten.

The first performer was a groundhog—who doesn’t love a ground hog? Well, maybe the ones that are cursing the last ground hog who indicated that there will be 6 more weeks of winter.  Can you say Polar Vortex, I bet you Chicagoans can!

Samantha Martin’s, Chicago-based, Acro-Cats is an educational and entertaining show for the whole family. However, it was mostly cat-loving adults, at our showing. Together, Samantha and her lovely assistant orchestrated the acrobatic animals with rhythm, grace and style. The star of the show is Tuna, a precocious shorthaired white kitty who also bowls. Yes, it was Tuna the Cat vs. Cluck Norris the Chicken.  And the winner is… I believe it was a tie.

The fun really began when the The Rock-Cats took the stage.  Consisting of 5 cats and a chicken. There was Oz on guitar, Nue on piano and synthesizer, Dakota who is our main drummer, Sookie on chimes, Tuna on cowbell, because everything needs “more cowbell” and Cluck Norris on cymbal and tambourine.

FEventReview-Acrocats-BlackCATor those marketers out there, you have to agree that their product placement was a key move to attract the kitty lovers to the table of kitty shwag—all reasonably priced and F-U-N!  My crew happily walked away with four amazing magnets/pins.  However, I cannot stop thinking about the kitty ears that I passed up.  Oh well, I’ll have to catch the next show when they return next.

Catch the Acro-Cats through April 20th at the SM Playhouse;  Show times are: Thursdays & Fridays at at 7:00 pm; Saturdays and Sundays at 1:00pm, 4:00pm and 7:00pm.

General admission tickets are $25 and are available at www.circuscats.com.

What: Performance
Where: The Santa Monica Playhouse, 1211 4th Street, SM 90401-1391
When: Thursdays & Fridays at at 7:00 pm; Saturdays and Sundays at 1:00pm, 4:00pm and 7:00pm - through April 20th!

Phone: 310-394-9779 ext 1
Website: http://santamonicaplayhouse.com/

Event Review: April 4th...Fundraiser for Internship Program for Low-Income Teens!

OnVeniceArts April 4th, Venice Arts hosted a benefit at the Del Monte Speakeasy at the Townhouse on Windward Ave in Venice.

The townhouse has a rich history....and it was an added feature to attend an event at this hidden speakeasy which which was a flutter back in prohibition days.

Venice Arts is a local non-profit community organization that runs education and mentoring programs in documentary photography, filmmaking and multimedia primarily targeting Los Angeles-area low income youth.

The benefit was to raise funds for Venice Arts' Internship Program for Low-Income Teens. Created by Ruthie Seroussi
 & Mike Newhouse, Colette Bailey, Jodi Gusek, it was good to see Venice locals who came out to support the cause.

On view at the event were works by students that were part of a silent auction.There was also a raffle with prizes such as gift certificates for Turning Point Pilates and wonderful local restaurants including Tony P's Dockside Grill, 26 Beach, Abbot's Pizza, and more.

TWhiskeyBaron-VeniceArtshe Bourbon Baron was on hand and we enjoyed several varieties of whiskeys and scotch.

One hundred percent of all the proceeds from the cover charge ($30 at the door) will go to support Venice Arts' Youth Art Intern Program, placing low-income teens in internships at local creative businesses.

As Always the food was wonderful and donated by many local businesses. For more information about Venice Arts, visti the Venice Arts website.