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: 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/

Event Review: Venice Arts DJ'd Whiskey and Music Party, March 3rd!

3.3VeniceArts JeanetteVasquezVentura030Venice Arts is a local non-profit organization that runs education and mentoring programs in documentary photography, filmmaking and multimedia primarily targeting Los Angeles-area low income youth. They're an astonishing and very successful group that has grown tremendously in the last few years since my very own teenage son took photography classes there 3 or 4 years ago. See student image to right, by Jeannette Vasquez.

Kathy Leonardo and I attended a special evening recently that was a combination party and fundraiser for the Venice Arts Youth Art Internship Program, and advanced component of Venice Arts' free Art Mentoring Program for low-income youth which was established in collaboration with the Venice Media District in 2007.

The program places highly skilled high-school age students in internships at creative production and post-production companies throughout Los Angeles. Two new internships are being launched this spring – one at GRAINEY PICTURES in Marina del Rey and the other at COLD OPEN, a Venice Ad Agency.

3.3 VeniceArts ClaudeVelas009The evening was quite lively, and included music spun by DJ Jacques, lots of delicious food (I can attest to the delicious part) donated by local restaurants like Outback Catering, Venice Beach Wines, and 26 Wines, and best of all, a whiskey-tasting with the Bourbon Baron, something I highly recommend anyone staging a fundraiser in the future look into. Whiskey makes the "fundraiser" component go down much easier.  Student image to left, by Claude Velas.

There were also some amazing photos taken by current Venice Arts students during the fall workshop and "best of" work from their archives which could be bid on.

In addition to helping out one of the best causes around (students), we had a swell time and enjoyed ourselves quite a bit. And probably due to the whiskey tasting, we didn't mind a bit that we didn't win any raffle prizes, which included a night at the Hotel Shangri-La and gift certificates to local Venice restaurants. Oh, well. Maybe next year.

For more info about Venice Arts, see their website at http://www.venicearts.org/.

Event Review: Skidmore Contemporary Art Gallery's Opening Reception for Jennifer Bain!

lowresSKIDMORE JenniferBainOn Saturday, February 25th, Skidmore Contemporary Art (D-2) held an opening reception for artist, Jennifer Bain. A wonderful show, where the art leaped off the canvas and onto the walls of the gallery.

An eclectic group of people gathered to celebrate the artist, who was there greeting her fans. Since Skidmore is located at Bergamot Station, there were many visitors perusing the galleries that night. Wine and refreshments added to the art party vibe, along with laughter, stories, meeting new friends and seeing old ones.

You can also read more about the opening as well as other events at Bergamot Station in my column "Talk of the Town" from the Santa Monica Mirrot. http://www.smmirror.com/#mode=single&;view=34146

Jennifer Bain's art uses contrasts and dualities within a botanical theme. Her larger works are rendered on Kaolin clay (fresco-like) covered panels whose soft ivory background is strongly reminiscent of parchment and vellum of the past. Intended as anod of reverence to botanical artists such as Maria Sibylla Merian of the 17th century.

Bicon-jennifer-bain-2ain talks about her creative process, "The genesis of each painting differs. I might begin with an idea, specific image, or even simply a color or form (usually from an older work of mine). With this simple beginning I develop the content, paying close attention to shifts in meaning and emotion created by the inclusion and juxtaposition of image and shape. I keep rich sources of imagery to draw from around me, including botanical illustrations, photographs, drawings, graphics, textiles, hand printed papers, and of course my own past works. Also important to this blend are botanical forms I draw and cut out of Mylar (rigid polyester)."

She explains her passion for the art, "The magnetism of painting for me is the mystery of creating ideas, mood or context from images. Since I'm fascinated by many different kinds of visual information, my work is a fusion of all that I see."

Skidmore Contemporary Art opened in Malibu in 1998. In 2009, the gallery relocated to Bergamot Station in Santa Monica. Owner and curator, Lia Skidmore has been an art dealer and advisor to art collectors for over twenty-five years. 310-828-5070;  http://skidmorecontemporaryart.com/

Event Review: Katherine Cone Gallery's Hot Opening with Sean Cheetham's "Champagne Wishes and Caviar Dreams"

What a fantastic art party! As2.11.12 KatherineCone SCheetham0212a my Pick of the Week, I chose a solo exhibition offered by Katherine Cone Gallery. Sean Cheetham's latest exhibition entitled "Champagne Wishes and Caviar Dreams" opening reception was off the hook!

See image to right, "Champagne Wishes and Caviar Dreams," 2011 oil on Arches paper, 10 x 8."

Fabulous night....packed gallery, nice bar....something I always enjoy and the art....outstanding! There was also a wonderful mix of people, creating a nice open vibe.

What I like about this exhibition, is unlike so many abstract/contemporary artists today, you can see that Cheetham actually has some training as an artist.

2.11.12 KatherineCrone Pablo bySeanCheetham0212cSo many artists have had no formal training, yet will splash some paint on a canvas and call it art. They have no idea of how to draw or paint. Not the case with Sean Cheetham.

Cheethan is a skilled draftsman. His classic portrayal of his subjects allows the viewer to step into the scene. Almost as if they, the viewer are part of that reality.

Hi2.11.12 KatherineCone AllenSCheetham0212ds portraits, usually of women, capture a moment in time, often revealing the sadness of the characters, intertwined with the richness of the art form. You can feel the emotion seeping from the canvas.

2.11.12 KatherineCone WhiteRabbit SCheetham0212b"Champagne Wishes and Caviar Dreams," a wonderful show...make sure to stop in. It will remain open until March 10th, 2012.

Katherine Cone Gallery is located at 2673 S. La Cienega Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90034. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday 10-6pm; (310) 287-1558; www.katherineconegallery.com.

Event Review: SHAG's Art Party at Corey Helford Gallery

RhondaShagThe Corey Helford Gallery held an opening reception for artist, SHAG on Saturday, February 11th, 2012; Event review By Rhonda Davis (image to right); Photos by Greg Dahl;

On a crisp FSHAGwFanebruary LA night last weekend, Josh Agle aka Shag, returned to Corey Helford Gallery.  It's been three years since this Mid-Century Modernism, martini-loving artist unveiled his newest solo show entitled, Animal Kingdom.  

Read more: Event Review: SHAG's Art Party at Corey Helford Gallery

HARC Foundation 2012 fundraiser

The HARC Foundation
"Help Artists & Rehabilitate Children"
Saturday February 4, 2012

Susan MarcheseThe HARC Foundation has two goals, "To help emerging creative artists and to use the creative arts as a therapeutic science in the rehabilitation of abused, neglected and traumatized children." Their fundraiser was held in support of these efforts at the Gebert Gallery on Abbot Kinney Boulevard. The event was titled "Command Performance" and it featured presentations, both visual and performing arts.

The main floor of the spacious Gebert Gallery was filled with black chairs surrounding a seven foot Steinway & Sons Grand Piano provided by the Steinway Piano Gallery of West Hollywood. Wine and Italian antipasti (including tramezzini) were available while viewing the donated artworks in the silent auction. The auction featured pieces donated by ten local artists. Among the offerings were Digital Impressionism: "Pink Dalia," 36" x 24" by Les Mayers, and Line Drawing: "100 Points on a Line," 16" x 20" by A.M. Rousseau.

Read more: HARC Foundation 2012 fundraiser

Pinot Days Santa Monica

1.28 LOGO PinotNoirDaysdpiAs part of Pinot Days in Santa Monica, there was a public tasting from dozens of regional and international Pinot noir wineries at the Barker Hangar.

Pinot Noir, the most beguiling of all the grapes, is named for its dark color and pine cone shaped bunches, first grown in the Coat d'Or region of France. When I read a quote on Wikipedia from Vanity Fair describing Pinot noir as "the most romantic of wines, with so voluptuous a perfume, so sweet an edge, and so powerful a punch that, like falling in love, they make the blood run hot and the soul wax embarrassingly poetic," and the description of pinot as "sex in a glass," I thought that we were in for an interesting afternoon.

Read more: Pinot Days Santa Monica