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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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

Event Review: The Taste - Presented By the Los Angeles Times at Paramount Pictures Studios

Let me clear upfront, this is not a Taste Bannerfood review and I couldn't do justice to the overall experience by singling out any particular restaurant or chef demonstration.

What I can say is that the food writers, critics and editors at the Times teamed with local chefs to produce this most wonderful opportunity to enjoy our local LA culinary scene in a most festive atmosphere.

It was a party with we guests mingling through the booths set-up along Paramount's movie set streets that created an all-inclusive sense of community. And regardless of the neighborhood we actually live in , we came together to enjoy food and drink to experience restaurants located from Glendora to Topanga.

There was an easy flow throughout the event -- from parking in the nearby structure, to having ID checked (need to be over 21), to going through a security metal detector, and then moving through the scene and deciding where to queue up, in what were quickly moving lines, to be served each delicacy with care and a chance to learn about the cuisine and the restaurant.

Sharing THeTASTEChefsbar-style and seated tables with others was the norm and afforded opportunities to have pleasant impromptu conversations as we savored what we were having at the moment and hearing recommendations for what to have next.

An air-conditioned tent lounge provided respite from the outdoor scene and another booth had guests making a 7-second video from which we received a totally cool personalized flip-book that was printed on-the-spot.

The Taste was a completely fulfilling, satisfying and fun experience. Event review, and photos by Michael Baroff.

Event Review: Opening Gala for Gallerie Sparta!

The grand opening of Gallerie Sparta made its debut Saturday, June 8th at its new home at Sunset Plaza in West Hollywood.

GallerieSparta ABaroffThe VIP event was hosted by Penny Vizcarra of integrated PR agency and provided guests the opportunity to provide a thrill to all of their senses.

Event-goers indulged their senses with bacon sautéed asparagus hor d'oeuvres and mesmerizing paintings that created a night of international delight.

The French international art gallery featured some of the most critically acclaimed artists from all over the world. French-Israeli sculptor, Hedva Ser, who currently serves as UNESCO's Ambassador for Peace displayed some of his newest works as well as other world-renowned artists including Beijing Olympics featured artist, Yvonne Domenge.

HilaryDuffandStephanSpartacroppedSee image: Owner Stephan Sparta with Hilary Duff

The opening gala hosted some of the artists themselves, and celebrities like Hilary Duff, Tess Broussard (Comedy Central's Nick Kroll Show), Alex Lombard (Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter), Arlene Klasky (American animator), Amber Scholl (Entertainment Reporter), film director/producer Christy Oldham (Cain and Abel, Barracuda), film producer Clinton H. Wallace (Violent Blue, American Nudist), and Yamashiro architect/designer Carlos Ulloa.

The two-story gallery, centrally located on West Hollywood real-estate located at 8641 Sunset Blvd, West Hollywood, CA., 90069 in the Sunset Plaza.

For more information on Gallerie Sparta please visit: www.galleriesparta.com

Event Review: Annenberg Iris Night Lecture Series!

EVENTREVIEW AnnenberglogoThe Annenberg Space for Photography recently hosted one of its IRIS Night Lecture Series featuring the "War/Photography" exhibit.

Photojournalist, Nina Berman led audience members through the progression of her career as she traveled from Vietnam to Afghanistan and across the United States over the past 30 years in an attempt to relay prevalent issues surrounding war and its aftermath.

EVENTREVIEW Anneberg war-header-imageBerman describes her artistic inspiration as trying to understand her own emotions through photography as a means of dealing with public issues around the world regarding women's justice in Arab nations as well as the U.S.'s reaction to wounded soldiers. To Berman, "War is invisible; we are reminded of it and affected by it. It inspires a sense of power and romantic fantasies." When examining her pieces, this sense of power is evident.

One particular piece was of a woman in Afghanistan completely veiled in royal blue silk holding a postcard with Arabic scripture. The postcard appeared to be the woman's means of using written word for political and social expression and creative way to depict the fact that thoughts cannot be ignored and transcend throughout the world by communication and expression.

WEVENTREVIEW Annenbergby AnyaB ninabermanhen asked if the people and stories personally overwhelmed her, Berman describes feeling isolated in the aftermath of September 11th but the importance of getting public attention is worth it since "it feels like you are breaking ground."

When a photography student questioned her about the components of great documentary photography, Berman explained, "I like to photograph things I do not know the answer to. Those things that have a message that you can find an initial aesthetic approach to understanding and connect with subject matter and move you deeply."

TEVENTREVIEW AnnenbergASP WAR Palu OJ-Orjuela smallhe components of war photography and grappling with the surrounding issues of government, citizens and purpose lead to questions that have yet to be answered by politics or mediaw. War photography and photojournalism as a field have given insight into subjects that are beyond what words can describe and the Annenberg Space for Photography has provided an outlet for artistic expression in dealing with complex issues.

The next exhibit the Annenberg will host ia Helmut Newton in his "White Women, Sleepness Nights, Big Nudes" exhibit opening June 29th.