Kathy Leonardo

Kathy Leonardo  Photo:Gregory Dahl

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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: Diavolo Dance Theater at the Broad Stage


ODiavoloARCpening night of Diavolo Dance Theater's premiere of Transit Space at the Broad Stage attracted an eclectic group of dance lovers. There were all types...young, old, couples, and the obvious group of confused men dragged along by their girlfriends. However, by the time the intermission rolled around...those same men had joined the ranks of the rest of the audience and were truly enthralled.

Diavolo Dance Theater is an internationally renowned modern dance company of dancers, gymnasts, acrobats, and athletes. The two pieces stood on their own: Trajectoire originally premiered in 1999 and was breathtaking...perhaps so much so it overshadowed the rest of the performance.

The sets played a leading role in the production. Set designers Daniel Wheeler (Trajectoire) and Sibyl Wickersheimer (Transit Space), along with set engineers Mike McCluskey and Tina Trefethen created artful and inventive detachable sets for the dancers to play on. The three-dimensional choreography was obviously inspired and developed further through the design of the sets.

Special thaDiavolo1nks for the beautiful shots from photographer Ben Gibbs.

The "arc" from Trajectoire was the true star of the piece and the dancers played the role of supportive cast creating an undeniable work of art. The movement of the arc allowed the dancers to embrace the force of gravity and kept the audience at the edge of their seats...

The second act featured Transit Space premiering for the first time. Influenced by the documentary Dogtown and Z-Boys, skate ramps were used to enhance the dance moves, simulating jumps, spins and leaps one would make with a skateboard.

AlDiavolo4though it was extremely compelling, complete with an audio track featuring spoken word, it tended to lag at moments. Also at times the sets that were so original seemed to be a burden to the dancers as they pushed them around the stage. However, the finale took an energetic turn allowing for better usage of the slide-like sets. Next came exlaborate skateboard moves and jumps culminating in a thrilling ending.

Artistic Director Jacques Helm spoke after the show. An animated leader, he described the art of dance...."What we do on stage is like a live abstract painting with themes such as human struggles, fear, danger, survival, chaos, order, faith, love."

While directiDIAVOLO3ng this company for the last twenty years, Helm continues to choreograph for other projects such as the Cirque du Soleil "KA" at the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas.

Diavolo has been touring nationally and internationally for the last thirteen years. This is their third year at the Broad stage.

Visit the website to find out more about this terrific dance troupe - http://www.diavolo.org/

Ticket prices range from $49.00 - $79.00.

What: Transit Space by Diavolo Dance Theater
Where: The Broad Stage at the Santa Monica College Performing Arts Center, 1310 11th St, Santa Monica, CA 90401
When: Saturday, September 29, 2012 2:00 pm and 7:30 pm; Sunday September 30, 2012 4:00 pm
Phone: 310 434 3200
Website: http://thebroadstage.com/Diavolo   http://www.diavolo.org/

Whole 9 Gallery's Taste of Culver City, A Big Success!

ThINVITE-TASTE-OF-CULVER-CITY-061912e Whole 9 Gallery has established itself as a leading cultural center in Culver City. An art gallery and non profit, they not only help emerging artists but aslo support Peace Project initiatives.

On any given day, 25% of anything purchased at The Whole 9 Gallery, goes to The Peace Project and 100% from Peace Project merchandise will go directly towards Peace Project initiatives.

On July 14th, The Whole 9 Gallery hosted a benefit, The Taste of Culver City, an eclectic mix of art music delicious food and wonderful socializing.

A lovely crowd of interesting people greeted me as I walked through the door. A welcoming selection of art beckoned to me as appetizers and dirnks were offered. This special event was a benefit and well worth the admission price to be part of this fantastic art party.

Several Culver City RestCrowdshot Whole9 byNickApplebeeaurants contributed to the night. Samplings from the Culver Hotel, Grand Casino, Kay & Dave's, Kebab Bistro, K-Zo, La Rocca's and more. I enjoyed a glass of champagne while socializing and nibbling on savory appetizers.

Live music was supplied by Rosendo, The Jane Doe's and Grace Gravity.

The exhibition, ZERO HOUR featured artists: Fred Feldmesser, Graham Goddard, Joan Scheibel and Ashleigh Sumner.

I was speciifically drawn to one artist's work. LA Local, Joan Scheibel who was showing her work for the first time at the Whole 9 Gallery for this special fundraiser.

ScJoanScheibelWhole9 byNickApplebeeheibel has been actively exhibiting her art for the past 2 years at venues such as The Center For The Arts, Eagle Rock, Advocate/Gonchis Gallery in Hollywood, Venice Art Crawl and City Sip.

She shared her process with me, "I try to paint everyday...it is the best meditation I can do!" She continued, "I think I started painting the minute I began walking. Ever since I can remember starting with crayons."

I had the chance to talk to event coordinator and curator for the Whole 9 Gallery, Heidi Huber as well.

"The event went great! The food was excellent, as was the music, and the company!" she exclaimed.

HeidiHuber Whole9 byNickApplebeeWhen asked how often the Whole 9 Gallery holds benefits, she replied, "Since we are a relatively young non-profit, I don't think we're ever out of fundraising mode. Typically, we'll host three fundraisers a year but always have Peace Project merchandise available for purchase at The Whole 9 Gallery in downtown Culver City."

Finally, I asked about the new space...and how it has affected the gallery. Huber says "We moved here last October, just before we premiered the 2nd Peace Project exhibit. We are loving this location -- the foot traffic is so much better and our neighbors are unreal. Well, you saw how supportive they are -- all of the food last Saturday was donated.

The most wonderful part of this fun night, was all the proceeds from the event help to transform lives by creating jobs for people in Sierra Leone, Africa, through The Peace Project initiatives.

Special thanks to photographer Nick Applebee.

Event Review: Beat the Drum

7.15Beatthedrumfest1 590x345"One Heart, One Beat" was the mantra for the highly energetic, powerful and empowering evening of music, dance, song and poetry of the "Beat the Drum -- East Los Meets West Los Second Annual Drum Festival."

The event took place under the clear and cool sky at the John Anson Ford Amphitheatre in Hollywood on Sunday July 15.

The family frienBeattheDrum photobyMBaroHuehuetl Drummersdly event, which celebrates the universality of the drumbeat as a rhythmic connection of our human heartbeat, fused the traditional and contemporary, and began with performances, community displays, and art demonstrations in the theatre plaza where people gathered to meet up and enjoy picnics.

The audience entered the amphitheater to the world music of DJ Reyes Rodriguez and as the sun began to set, a duo of shamanistic Aztec Huehuetl drummers (see image, left) initiated proceedings.

DeBeattheDrum photobyMBaroCapoerira Collectivef Poetry Jam Poet Mayda Del Valle began with a poem and emceed, introducing each group and engaging the audience throughout the evening, and recited an extended and powerful rap during her performance as a member of Atabey.

The Capoeira Collective (see image, right) shared their practice of Brazilian martial art that combines dance and music. The fluidity and choreography of the rolls and acrobatic attacks and defensive movements play out in a game between the Capoeiristas.

BeattheDrum photobyMBaroAtabeyThe seven women and four men of Atabey performed the "call and response" interchange between the dancers and drummers of the Bomba music tradition. 

This tradition was brought to Puerto Rico from Africa by the slaves who worked in sugar cane plantations and represents a mixture of religious, cultural, and poverty dynamics within struggles of life and love.

East LA Taiko (see image, right) raised the heat with its fusion of Latin, Afro-Cuban, Ska, Punk Japanese and stand-out performances by Fredo Ortiz, best known for touring with the Beastie Boys, Taiko drummer Maceo Hernandez, known as the “Demon Drummer of East LA”, Lysa FloresBeattheDrum byMBaroff East LA Taiko, former Alice Bag lead guitarist and El Vez member, and the amazingly energetic and powerful taiko drummer named Taylor.

Concluding the event was CAVA (see image, left) led by Claudia Gonzalez-Tenorio with her sultry strong-willed feminine energy tempered with maternal instincts, as brought out with her duets with her youngdaughter who played taiko and harmonized vocally.

CAVA seemlessly blended traditional Afro-Cuban Son, Cumbia, ska, salsa and funk and featured Walter Miranda on keyboards and bassand Adam Topol on a hybrid timbales/rock kit.

Beat tBeattheDrum photobyMBaroff CAVA 3he Drum was organized by Tricia Ward, Artistic Director who is Founder of ARTScorpsLA/ACLA (Art, Community, Land, Activism!), which, was developed n response to the 1992 LA riots, is a community-based public art project and land collective built on the belief that every person is a freely creative individual deserving a safe, healthy community in which to express themselves.

Photos by Michael Baroff

LACO holds 23rd Annual Silent Film Gala

5.20 UCLARoyceHallThe Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra held it's annual silent film and fundraising gala at Royce Hall. The evening featured two Harold Lloyd's silent films. The early 20th century films were re-scored in the by composer-conductor Carl Davis. Mr Davis conducted the LACO in a US premiere of a new score for "High and Dizzy," a 1920 short film revolving around a young woman who sleepwalks and the doctor who is attempting to treat her.

He also conducted the feature length film "The Kid Brother" (1927). The gag filled fable about the youngest (and smallest) of three brothers who saves the day and gets the girl - while no one else in the rural community would accuse him of being the day saving, rescuing type. The film was made long before the Hollywood westerns established the white hat archetype of the good guy. And certainly long before any environmental issues about dam building and the distraction of habitat or even fire safety.

T5.20 LosAnglesOrchestraphotohe Los Angeles Camber Orchestra played with it's customary aplomb on the new score by Carl Davis.  The lower section of Royce Hall at UCLA was sold out and the sumptuous banquet that followed was well attended by Hollywood talent, from both sides of the camera. Dustin Hoffman was completed his 12th year as honorary chair of the event. The LACO honored Leonard Maltin, film critic and historian.

Guarded By Cats

585BoardinghouseA number of poets gathered at 585 Boardriders off Abbot Kinney to celebrate and raise funds to help with the restoration of the Venice Beach Poet’s Monument. The monolith was created in 2000 by Beyond Baroque and the city of LA. The words of Jim Morrison (the Doors) Exene (X) and others were engraved in the concrete walls of the LAPD sub-station and three exterior shower walls.

The restoration will include re-etching some of the lettering and applying an anti-graphite protection and a continuing maintenance program. The party started with a special “Meet the Artist” reception at 6. By 7 pm the doors opened to a larger group of artists, poets and lovers of both. A silent auction had been set up with items from James Beach, Erwin Hotel, Altered Space Gallery and more.

The poets that came up on the stage, poured out original and heart felt works. They sang poems and spoke songs. We learned that Abbott Kinney may have dug the canals, but it was the beat poets of the 50’s like Alan Ginsburg and Jack Kerouac that dug the scene by the beach, exposing Venice as an artist’s hang.

585Boardinghouse BillXenne spoke of her pre "X" days as a poet living above a liquor store on Abbot Kinney. “Before I moved to Hollywood and did the star thing.” She missed her borrowed radio alarm clock and staying up late writing poetry.

LA City Councilman Bill Rosendahl addressed the group, speaking about the legacy of poetry in Venice. He gave each of the presenting poets a certificate from the City of Los Angeles.

Benefit for the restoration of the Venice Beach Poet's Monument.
Thursday, May 31 585 Boardriders, Venice CA.
Presented by the Venice Arts Council

Event Review: 2012 Topanga Canyon Studio Tours

TlowresFlyer June910 TopangaStudioTourhere is never a better time to enjoy neighboring Topanga Canyon than in the late spring. And never a better excuse to discover the backroad beauty of Topanga Canyon than on this self-guided two day tour of over 20 artist studios, hosting over 50 participating artists.

We started at the town center circle where my editor (Kathy Leonardo) and I checked in and proceeded to view the the silent auction paintings. Participating artists had been invited to paint or decorate 8" square canvases and put them up for bid starting at $35.

Studio #3, next door was The Topanga Art Imaginarium, a painting studio for kids and adults. The walls and center stands were covered with paintings created by the school's students and owner, Natalia Wabnig. The room had a lovely ambiance and emanated creativity.

Nex120609 Topanga 0633t we got in the car and traveled on back roads to see the ceramic studios of Rebecca Catteral. Rebecca demonstrated her technique of transferring photo images to clay. She has lived in Topanga for the past thirty years and has been a member of the Topanga Canyon Artists since the 90's.

Catterall talked about working with clay, "Some is wheel-thrown, some is hand-built. I do alternative Raku, such as Ferric Chloride and horsehair. Some of my work is sculptural such as my Tromp L'Oeil series."

Also on hand were artists and jewelry designers vending colorful earrings and necklaces against a bucolic background.

120609 Topanga 0642Venturing further up narrow roads, navigating between fellow tour participants, we found the Topanga Inn featuring breathtaking views. Plein air artist Elena Roche's work was on dsiplay. “You paint and paint and learn more on every painting.” the Romanian-Lithuanian born artist told us.

Robin FeeleyWe also visited Robyn Feeley's cozy canyon artist hide-away that she shares with her many pets and pet art. Robin paints water-color portraits of pets from photos for friends and commissions. She then creates ceramic tiles of the images. Many of her animal themed tiles were on display and for sale for as little as $10.

120609 Topanga 0645From there we ventured down rustic Old Topanga Canyon Rd to the art displays at the Ribbit Tree and Plant Nursery. Joel Harris had taken over a yoga studio with many of his iconic red roof houses.

With the shadows growing longer we ventured further down Old Topanga Canyon Rd. and parked in a field near Artist Robin Becker. She discusses her process and subject matter, "I use layers of color and imagery from my photographic journeys, sometimes using images of rooms, portals, passageways, landscapes, gardens and vignettes of architectural details."

Also at this stop, we enjoyed the mosaic work of artist Ka120609 Topanga 0654ren Silton. She has been teaching and creating mosaics for many years. She also works in clay and other mediums. She’s had many diverse commissions, which include murals, tables and mirrors. She had a table of her wares for sale at this stop.

By five o'clock that evening, we had seen fewer than half of the studios on the tour. We headed back to the Topanga Gallery where a party was underway celebrating the day's events. A crowd of artists and "gallery tour-ists" was assembling over wine and cheese. There were many bids made on the Silent auction Squares. It was starting to look like a successful event.

Reception and Silent Auction at the Gallery Saturday June 9 5pm-8pm, 2012
Phone: 310 455-7909
Website: www.topangacanyongallery.com

Photos by Gregory Dahl

Event Review: LAAA's Gem Show

Eat CakeThe walls were as tightly packed as the crowd at Gallery 825. On Saturday, April 21st, the  Los Angeles Art Association presented Gem, the kick-off to their Spring 2012 Art Season.

The exhibition showed more than 200 "affordably-priced original artworks for sale." LAAA's mission is to provide opportunities, resources, services and exhibition venues for Los Angeles artists, with an emphasis on emerging talent. Founded in 1925, LAAA has launched the art careers of many celebrated artists and has played a central role in the formation of Los Angeles' arts community.

This one-night-only event at LAAA's Gallery 825 on La Cienega Blvd is widely embraced by the Southern California art community as an important showcase of emerging art trends.

Shrimp Coq TailWhile attending the event, I had the opportunity to talk with some of the artists about their work. Adele Mills presented her deeply ironic work, "Eat Cake," a painting that achieves parallax by layering clear polyester an inch and a half over a canvas painting. Our earth is trivialized by appearing next to a beach ball, with an architectural reference to Versailles, and by extension Marie Antoinette and the utterance that condemns all ruling classes with the phrase: "Let them eat cake."

Joan Wulf had a few of her metal and wood square meditations that through necessity of having so many artists in so little space, were separated by another artist's work. Joan's work cries out for more space for the eye to settle on.

Alisa and LisaElyse Wyman displayed an 8 inch cracked amber torso that spoke of damaged perfection. I was not able to view her other larger torso because it had sold moments before I was able to speak with Elyse. Shoe-horned into a corner between some really nice figurative paintings was a five-foot photogenic photogram entitled "Plenty Endowed," by Richard Slechta. The dramatic colors were achieved through paint and bright light applied to photosensitive paper and mounted on aluminum.

Karrie RossKarrie Ross had her painted bustier sculptures on display - at least for an hour. Karrie told me the woman who purchased the work understood that the works were about stimulating conversation on many levels. The exterior is beautifully decorated, while the inside has text and writing reflecting the owner's inner dialog about beauty and self worth.

Alisa Gabrielle invited me to feel the contours of her Rubenesque sculptures. Alisa says it's about honoring women, our planet and the humanity on it. While Lisa Occhipinti and I were discussing her collage of cut books, photographs and bees wax, one of the gallery attendants informed us that the piece had sold as she removed it from the wall, leaving nothing but the nail it had hung from.

The event was a huge success, as evidenced by the empty nails and din of conversation.

http://www.laaa.org/gem2012_preview/index.html

Special thanks to Marlene Picard for providing images from the show.

Event Review: Blankenship Cabaret Theatre

Thlowres 3.31.12 BlankenshipCabaretTheatre pix1e Blankenship Cabaret Theatre presented a wonderfully entertaining evening of dance and music performances to an enthusiastic sold-out audience at the historic Alexandra Hotel in downtown Los Angeles. The event took place in the Blankenship Ballet Ballroom.

The grand and elegant feel of the venue, built in 1906, played a role in setting the atmosphere for the Moulin Rouge-inspired theater of sensuous delights that seamlessly blended opera, ballet, world dance and classical and popular music artistry.

In true cabaret fashion, the audience seated, some at small tables, around three-sides of the raised stage, was able to enjoy gourmet cuisine and delicacies by Bravo 'Top Chef' Ilan Hall of "The Gorbals" as well as libations from a full bar.

After an opening Rachmaninoff prelude from pianist Pauline Yang, the show continued for two-hours of eclectic entertainment from over 20 talented world-class performers including: Opera Diva Shana Blake Hill, Vocalist & Dancer Megalyn Echikunwoke, Cuban Ballerina Bertha Suarez Blankenship, Acclaimed Pianist Mark Robson, Afro Cuban Master Ramon Ramos Alayo, Cuban Ballet, Danseur Ramon Moreno, Cuban Ballerina Patricia Perez, Cuban Ballet Danseur Maykel Solas, Ballerina Junna Ige, Cuban Danseur Alejandro Boza, Flamenco Dancer Richard Chavez. Belly Dancer Meliza & 'The Jewels That Raq!', Highland Bagpiper Orion McCabe. Other performing artists included Hip Hop Dancer David Persons, Ballerina Ruth Fentroy, Ballerina Heather Ross, Cuban Ballerina Tatiana Serrano Piche, Ballet Danseur Mario Montenegro, Ballet Danseur Akil Thompson and Ballerina Kim Michener.

Backstage at BlankenshipCabaretBackstage, photo by Greg Dahl.

All-in-all, it was an evening in which the sum of the individual artist's parts contributed to creating a collectively greater and satisfying whole.

Kudos to creative producer Mark Blankenship, and artistic director, Bertha Suarez Blankenship. As well as co-producers, Shana Blake Hill, Joseph Amaral, Jaime Garza, and Abby Blum. http://www.blankenshipcabarettheatre.com/