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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Circa's Two Day Run at the Broad Stage Makes A Big Impression!!!

Mar15-16-BroadStage-Circa-credit-Justin NicholasI had the opportunity to attend the opening of a two day show at Broad Stage. Circa was a great option for adults who enjoy the acrobatic part of a "circus" and a LOT less expensive than most. Fresh from a world tour, the ensemble was like a well oiled machine....beautiful acobatics with dance incorporated which helped create a mesmerizing show. I especially enjoyed the adult humor.

Circa's troupe is from Brisbane, Australia, and consists of of seven members trained in circus arts.  Circa runs a training center and workshop program at its professional studio in Brisbane.

Artistic director and CEO of Circa, Yaron Lifschitz took over in 2004 and has helped redefine the troupe.  While paying homage to the classic circus, he presents a new take on the art form and pushes the boundaries between circus theatrics and dance

Broad Stage's director, Dale Franzen wasn't kidding when she said...."Hundreds of cities around the world have risen to their feet in celebration of Circa and we are delighted to welcome them to Santa Monica. The blending of bodies, light, sound, and skills meld into a seamless whole that redefines the nature of circus."

Though young, most of the members have been performing for years, with resumes boasting stints at the National Institute of Circus Arts, the Flying Fruit Fly Circus, and other companies around the world. Circa runs a training center with an impressive workshop program at its professional studio in Brisbane and partners with schools and affiliates throughout Australia. 

So keep your eye out for Circa...and be sure to catch them when they are back in LA. http://circa.org.au/

Mar15-16-BroadStage-Circa2About The Broad Stage
Under the leadership of Director Dale Franzen and Artistic Chair Dustin Hoffman, The Eli and Edythe Broad Stage at the Santa Monica College Performing Arts Center opened its doors in October 2008. Inspired by Italian "horseshoe" theaters, yet conceived in an absolutely contemporary vernacular, The Broad Stage is an artist's dream and an audience's delight. Unlike any performance space in the country, it is sublimely intimate with 499-seats and strikingly grand at the same time–allowing eye contact with artists from the boxes to the back row–forging a new kind of artist and audience experience in Los Angeles. Theater shows, dance, film, operas, musicals, symphony and chamber orchestras are presented on one of the city's largest proscenium stages. In addition to The Broad Stage, The Edye Second Space, a smaller black box theater, presents new, developing and innovative work in theater, music and dance as part of the Under the Radar Series. Featuring younger, innovative artists and chamber pieces and plays, programming at The Edye is intentionally spontaneous, reflecting the dynamic nature of the space and allowing the latest, most exciting artists to be booked on short notice. The Broad Stage Arts Insights education and outreach program offers opportunities for cultural exposure through various student events, currently reaching 12,000 students and diverse community members annually through over 30 free and low-cost events. www.thebroadstage.com

Event Review: ZAY GEZUNT!

ZayGuzuntSandySimonaZAY GEZUNT! at Highways in Santa Monica, organized by Actor, director, producer, Sandy Simona, was touted as "an eclectic evening of New Work from Eastern European and Jewish visual and performance artists."

See image: of Sandy Simona in action

In the lobby, before the performance we enjoyed viewing paintings by Zhenya Gershman of her grandmother "Baba" that lovingly depicted the personally individual and archetypical nature of aging.

I and my daughter Anya enthusiastically anticipated a full evening that focused on, celebrated and enriched our own cultural heritage. As it were, we had to wait for the second half of the show for that experience.

The first half of the show featured comedian Jeffrey Scott doing standup shtick called "Fagala" riffing on his self-acknowledged gay Jewish identity with material he occasionally turned to the audience anticipating, if not encouraging, a groan.

"Combat the Wack" was a multimedia rap, chant, hip hop, new age performance piece featuring visuals by 8 Foot Bass Monster, set design by Upperhands, flower of life design by Mike Russeck, stage managed by Ben Webber, music by Dubvirus, DJedi, Lux Modern and Everyman and performers Lauren Michelle LiBrandi, Alyssa Aparicio, Sara VonGillern, Azmyth Kaminski, Madeline Grace Fauss, Sacha Csicsery-Ronay, and Evan Lewis Shafram. The high energy piece showed the performers own collaboration, through integrated movement, sound and words, and engaged the audience ourselves to participate in the power of collaboration in the face of chaos.

ZayGuzunt1After a brief intermission, the stage was reset for the amazingly powerful "Lost in Lvov" that showcased the deeply personal and emotionally evocative biographical storytelling performance by Sandy Simona. With historic black and white film projections as a backdrop and the Storytelling BAND, featuring Caitlyn Conlin on vocals, acting as a chorus, Ms. Simona's finely honed script and well-acted performance took us into a dream-like tale of the Belman sisters, who immigrated to America from the U.S.S.R. before Perestroika. Though I must admit to not being able to follow every subtle nuance of language, through her very sensitive characterizations of these relatives in accent, tone and gesture, and, at times herself speaking in present-day reflection, she wove together a tapestry of images and memories in what ended our evening with a heart-felt warmth and satisfaction.

For more info on Sandy Simona, see here website at http://www.sandysimona.com/

Photos by Sarah Louise Wilson  www.sarahlouisewilson.com

Pacific Resident Theatre's Production of "Pure Imagination" Featured in Santa Monica Mirror!

Read my article about Pacific Resident Theatre's production of "Pure Imagination" in the Santa Monica Mirror. Click HERE! The show rekindles the music of Anthony Newley and Leslie Bricusse. Share my memories of performing these incredible songs.... Back in my twenties I was cast in the national touring company of "Stop the World, I Want to get Off" and had the oportunity to work with the Broadway legend in a revival of this celebrated musical.SM-Mirror-LogoPRT-Pix-article

LA Art Party Takes on Sundance Film Festival

As Sundance Film festival commenced its 10-day film extravaganza, LA Art Party ventured out to capture some of the most anticipated films and events of the New Year.

TheSundance1 music and film Mecca of Park City showcased some of the newest and brightest talent. Highlights from the festival included The Stella Artois Lounge that launched the opening festival by showcasing featured musicians, Capital Cities.

See photo of Capital Cities

The low-key, exclusive lounge hosted some of the newest and brightest filmmakers and talent. Capital Cities trumpet player, Spencer Ludwig, captivated audiences by taking the indie-pop band to the next level by infusing his jazz background with their classic upbeat tunes.

Sundance2Park City's vibrant art scene came to life at Old Town Gallery where national news outlets interviewed painters and art consultant, Ashley Sorenson about the live, interactive window installation. The interactive gallery allowed for Hollywood natives to explore Park City's art scene and connect with local artists in an inspired opening.

See photo -Live Installation - Ashley Sorenson

Matisyahu was the featured performer for the end of Stella Artois lounge's opening weekend.

SSundance3ee photo: Matisyahu

As event goers sipped on cider and snacked on Belgium waffles, the lounge continued to invite filmmakers to escape the below freezing climate and relax to Matisyahu's rock-rap fusion.

The premiere of the award nominated documentary, Alive Inside: A Story of Music and Memory, proved to be an inspiring journey to understand the power of music. By giving ipods to Alzheimer's patients, the film guides viewers through the complications of cognitive decline and poses potential solutions to improve the livelihoods of an aging population.

Sundance4A Q&A with the filmmakers suggested the need for new programs that use music therapy to promote cognitive well-being. The Los Angeles based organization, Music Thinks (musicthinks.org) uses music therapy to promote efforts in cognitive and mental well-being and could be the innovative change needed to combat the incurable disease.

See photo: Alive Inside producers

Photos by Anya Baroff

Event Review: "Aladdin and his Winter Wish"

"Aladdin and his Winter Wish" recently opened at the Pasadena Playhouse. Produced by WEd 12.11 PasadenaPlayhouse AladdinFinalCropLythgoeFamily Productions and the Pasadena Playhouse, the show was fun and enjoyable.

The Opening Night Gala was a star studded event with guests that included Neil Patrick Harris and more. To begin the evening, all guests were invited to enjoy a winter wonderland in the The Playhouse’s Engemann Family courtyard, complete with holiday carolers, crafts, activities, games, delicious food and wine and a real live camel!

The play, an updated version of the Arabian Nights tale is done in the style of a traditional British family Panto, known for its interactive style and humor, that appeals to everyone ages 2 —102!

This was a real treat especially for the kids which made up a large portion of the audience. There was a live pony, a flying magic carpet which flew over the London Tower, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the Pyramids and the Hollywood sign!

imagePop music including hits from from Bruno Mars and Katy Perry made it very fun, contemporary and fresh. All the actors gave memorable performances and the dancing was top notch. Ben Vereen, a Broadway icon, was hilarious as the Genie; Jordan Fisher as Aladdin and Ashley Argota as the princess, sang beautifully together and also gave great performances. The finale even included real snow falling over the audience. And as we left the playhouse thru the courtyard, there was more snow descending from above - truly a magical night!

What: Performance

Where: Pasadena Playhouse, 39 South El Molino Avenue, Pasadena, CA 91101

When: 7pm

Phone: 626-356-7529

Website: www.PasadenaPlayhouse.com

Pinot Days, an Exceptional Tasting!

Pinot Days! The Grand Festival Tasting at the Skirball Cultural Center last Saturday was truly an enjoyable afternoon. Almost 50 wineries were represented in this beautiful space.

PhPinotDays3-byMichaelBaroffoto by Michael Baroff

There was a wide array of Pinots with different styles all possessing one common trait: they were well-made and delectable. The diversity of wineries from California included Santa Maria, Russian River Valley, Sonoma Coast, Santa Rita Hills, Santa Cruz, the Dundee Hills of Oregon, and as far away as New Zealand. A special treat, for fans of the film "Sideways" was having the Hitching Post in Buellton come to us this afternoon.

There were large well known wineries as well as small wineries offering tastings of their blends as well as single vineyard and estate wines. Each winery was pleased to educate us on their unique climate, terroir and craft, and mingling with other tasters added to the experience. A key lesson learned from Tom Gable, Contributing Wine Editor at San Diego Magazine, as to how to develop one's palate was, "practice, practice, practice" and that we did.

For art lovers, and we know that art goes well with wine, was the presence of the Robert John Russo Gallery that displayed a number of elegantly classic lithographs from modern masters including Matisse, Chagall and Miro. http://robertjohnrussogallery.com/

PInotDays RobertJohnRussogalleryPhoto by Michael Baroff

All in all, Pinot Days as their tag line states, and just like their wines, offered diversity, character and enjoyment.

Check the website to find out where and when the next Pinot Days happens near you. http://www.pinotdays.com/

LA Art Party sponsors this event and often raffles off FREE tickets, so be sure to check (and LIKE) our FB Page to find out about our giveaway/raffle program! https://www.facebook.com/laartparty

Event Review: My Hero Project Honors Ron Kovic!

SMYHero-RonKovicaturday's night's celebration of Ron Kovic was a powerful tribute to honor the Vietnam veteran and peacemaker, who has been a campaigner for peace over the last 40 years. It took place on International Day of Peace Celebration on September 21st at the Capshaw-Spielberg Center for Educational Justice in Santa Monica.

See image: Ron Kovic and Robert Scheer; photo by Jamie Beckert

The evening's festivities included live music and prominent speakers like director, Frank Cavestani, who showed excerpts from his film, Operation Last Patrol (1972), which documents Kovic’s historic cross-country trip, from Los Angeles to Florida, to protest the Vietnam War at the 1972 Republican National Convention.

MYHERO FrankC 0727Other speakers who gave heartfelt tributes were filmmaker Skip Blumberg, documentarian Loretta Smith and Joyce Sharman, wife of former Laker coach Bill Sharman. Notable highlights were from director, Oliver Stone and actor, Tom Cruise who offered video greetings applauding Kovic for his bravery and perseverance.There was also an inspiring film presentation of recipients of the Ron Kovic Peace Award from the last few years.

See image: Frank Cavestani; photo by Jamie Beckert

The evening concluded with a moving presentation by legendary journalist, Robert Scheer who presented Kovic with the first MY HERO Messenger for Peace Award.

Scheer called Kovic “a great orator” and “an American hero.”  When accepting the award, Kovic thanked the audience, and The MY HERO Project, and urged the crowd to use truth to take a stand against violence. He then asked everyone in the audience to join him, with the other speakers on stage, to sing a poem, A Dream of Peace, that we were given when we entered the theatre. It was a beautiful way to end the evening - the love that filled the room was palpable.

Event Review: Los Angeles Master Chorale's 50th Anniversary Kick-Off Launch & Celebration at Walt Disney Concert Hall

EventReview LAMC byLeeSalemIt was a night to remember at the Los Angeles Master Chorale's 50th Anniversary Kick-Off Launch & Celebration at Walt Disney Concert Hall. 
As I sat on the edge of my seat, I was thrilled by the breathtaking performances, while listening to the masterful concert that was truly a one-of-a-kind musical experience.

The chorus encompassed over 100 men and women, a brilliant collaboration, featuring the diverse and historical sounds of classical music from the past fifty years.

The September 22nd event was the kick-off of the yearlong celebration that will feature ten different programs (four of which will be repeated), totaling fourteen grand performances, honoring the musical talent, directors, and composers of the past and present. The breathtaking performance takes audience members through time, embracing a lavishing and eclectic musical adventure.

I was beside myself as I listened to the musical selection, beginning the concert with Ave Maria and closing with Alleluia. It was truly moving. It was a concert experience of a lifetime that was very enticing and full of laughs and comedy while still embarking on musical history that at time's prevailed a very emotional ambiance.

TLAMaster Chorale by Alex Berlinerhe concert was conducted by Kiki and David Gindler and Music Director Grant Gershon. The Los Angeles Master Chorale holds a special place in our hearts and is a staple for city-goers who embrace culture and classical music at it's absolute finest...truly music to your ears.

I highly suggest checking out this show if you're in the area, you'll be very moved and pleased. Purchase tickets by phone - 213.972.7282 or visit - www.lamc.org.

Walt Disney Concert Hall
111 South Grand Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90012