Monthly Archives: December 2011

Incredible Gifts in 2011

So I woke up last week to a surprising and sincerely unexpected email from Deborah Stambler of betweenparents.org nominating this blog for a Versatility Award.  I had no idea such a thing existed and am truly honored.  I never expected it.

After a short Christmas holiday food fest and a brief stay in Scripts Mercy Hospital, San Diego, making this season truly memorable (more on that later – maybe), I am finally getting around to my speach and carrying on the traditions that go along with the nom.  lol

1. Nominate 15 Fellow Bloggers.   Ok this is going to have to be an ongoing list that gets updated because, there are so many blogs that I currently read, I’m not sure which ones to pick.  They are all great!  Here are five for now:

Nomi Prins;   The Body Series;    Mindjet;   Sleep Love Eat;   SARA Toole Miller;

2. Let the bloggers know.  Yes indeed.  Spreading the joy and fun of spreading the word.

3. Share 7 random things about myself.  Alrighty then…

At age 10 I was scouted for the US Olympic Gymnastics team but never attended the tryouts.  My parents couldn’t get me to the practices.  It is my single biggest regret in life.

I danced professionally but never really had great dance technique until later in life because I couldn’t stand the feeling of my feet touching the ground.  I preferred jumping, leaping and flying in the air.

I received a perfect 10 for the swimsuit category of the Regional Miss America Pageant trials when I was 18 years old.  — and I have no photo to prove it!

Steamer clams are my second favorite food next to a New England Lobster — or maybe it’s the other way around.  I don’t know — it’s a toss up.

I wanted to be a Paleontologist when I grew up.

At age 9 I wrote my first book entitled, “The History of the World”, gave it its own Dewey Decimal number and placed it in the school library.  A few months later when I found my book (I had initially been very excited to see that my masterpiece had been ‘checked out’ and therefore being read) in my mother’s linen chest as a souvenir, I demanded she return it immediately saying, “It’s not for just for you, it’s for EVERYONE!”

Every close and best friend I have is currently living somewhere between 2465 and 3628 miles away.  (What does that mean anyway?)

BONUS:  My aunt Rose always said I was a writer.  Bloggers weren’t invented back then.  lol

4.  Thank  Deb Stambler for nominating me.   THANK YOU DEB!  YOU ROCK!  Being recognized is probably the most amazing gift anyone can give to an artist of any sort.  It’s awesome to know I’m writing something interesting enough to read.

5.  Put the Versatile Blogger badge on my site:

versatileblogger111

Behind the Scenes at Studio 54 with Club Co-Founder Ian Schrager Live on Dec 24, 25 and 31

Club co-founder Ian Schrager sits with fashion icon Norma Kamali to give the definitive Studio 54 interview

For the first time ever, Ian Schrager will take listeners behind the scenes – and even into the basement of the legendary club Studio 54, on SiriusXM’s Studio 54 Radio, channel 15.

The exclusive, revealing two-part interview special, “Schrager on Studio,” will feature the visionary Studio 54 co-founder and international hotelier sitting down with fashion icon Norma Kamali to share the inside story of the legendary and iconic nightclub.

 Ian Schrager unquestionably has had his finger on the pulse of pop culture for decades. Along with Steve Rubell, he created the world’s ultimate dance explosion and a club so unique it is still a household name today all over the world.  In this one of a kind interview, Ian Schrager and Norma Kamali, talk about an era, time and place that still resonates and whose cultural impact is still being felt today.

“I never talked about Studio 54 until now,” said Schrager. “And I thought SiriusXM was the perfect place to do it.”

“Schrager on Studio” Part 1 will air Saturday, December 24 at 6:00 pm ET and “Schrager on Studio” Part 2 will air on Sunday, December 25 at 12:00 pm ET.

The interview special will be rebroadcast on Saturday, December 31 at 4:00 pm ET and Sunday, January 1 at 2:00 pm ET.

SiriusXM launched Studio 54 Radio, a 24/7 commercial-free channel devoted to the best classic dance and disco, as a tribute to the music often played in the legendary club created by Rubell and Schrager. The channel, launched in August, features music that comes from the vaults and special record collections of insiders, much of which has never been heard since the club permanently closed its doors. Studio 54 Radio also includes The Marc and Myra Show, the weekly interview series featuring Studio 54 insiders sharing many never before told personal stories and anecdotes about the renowned club.

Lady Bunny and Patricia Field at the One Night Only Opening

On October 18, SiriusXM, along with members of the original Studio 54 team, reopened Studio 54, at its original location, for “One Night Only.”

For more information, please visit http://www.siriusxm.com/studio54radio 

Bailamos Dance Studio Abandons WEHO and GROOV3

They’re pulling up the floors, pulling down the mirrors and pulling out the light fixtures.

At the end of this month, Bailamos Dance Studio on Santa Monica Boulevard in West Hollywood, CA, will be closing up shop for good.  And with the decision to end an era of ballroom dance the studio also leaves, the popular GROOVE3 “groovement”, the cardio-funk, hip hop, live DJ’d class phenomena started by dancer, choreographer, performer, Benjamin Allen, stranded and without a home.

“We started right here in WEHO two years ago with just two classes a week.  West Hollywood is our  home,” said Allen at the end of yesterday’s 12pm to 1pm weekly Sunday class, which has been regularly frequented by celebs, such as Ru Paul.

The announcement from the studio was made only this past week to Benjamin and GROOV3, Dance, Sweat, Live.  It has been rumored (although not confirmed by the studio owner or the landlord of the property) that Bailamos chose not to renew their lease which is also said to be upwards of $12,000 per month. And in only several days time, without a new space, GROOV3 may be leaving West Hollywood forever.  So far, no available dance studios or spaces large enough and with a dance floor have been found.  No other studios in the area have offered to open their doors.

In the meantime, GROOV3 is simply moving out, moving on and searching for a new additional location.  They will continue to run their classes outside of West Hollywood at their other regular spots:  Moore Dancing in Brentwood, The Sweat Spot on Sunset in Silver Lake, Your Neighborhood Studio in Culver City, and Wild Card Dance Co. in Agoura Hills.

You can, however, sign up for their newsletter and get the details on all of the classes and happenings like the upcoming Dance Dance Resolution, New Years Day 2 hour special event which will also kick off the 100 DAYS OF DANCE  campaign (join the Facebook page by clicking here), as well as the ongoing Dance Sweat Give Charity events.  Visit the website: http://www.dancesweatlive.com

And if you’ve got a floor big enough to host a DJ and 60 dancers per class, they’d love to talk to you.

Celebrating Holidays with the Whole Furry Family

Tis the season! 

It’s the time of year when we feel sentimental enough to actively gather together with family and friends to share our company, gifts and most of all, food.  Our pets are part of the family too and you may be thinking of allowing them to take part in some of your festivities – aka left overs from your meal as an extra treat.

But before the party is in full swing, and your furry little guys and gals are roaming around begging for handouts or counter swiping a few goodies, you might want to consider a few food rules and maybe even inform your guests, including the kids as to what’s cool and what’s not cool.

Of course, the first question to ask is, “Is giving my pet a few table scraps a good idea to begin with?”  Well according to Lucy Postins, of the human-grade whole food pet food company, The Honest Kitchen, it’s absolutely OK.  In fact, there are lot’s of foods that are not only safe for most pets to eat, but that also add a healthy variety and extra nutrition to your dog’s and cat’s regular meals, making holiday meals  a special feast for everyone.  Of course, you still have to be careful.  There are plenty of do’s and don’ts.  Fido and Kitty can’t eat everything even though they think they can.  So here are some tips for feeding pets from the holiday dinner table.

Top recommendations to share with your pets this year around the dining table:

·         Turkey, Ham, Prime Rib and other meats. These can all be added in moderation; the key thing to remember is to never feed pets any type of cooked bones because they can splinter and damage the GI tract. Also avoid too much fat and gristle, which can potentially be dangerous. Whenever possible, choose free-range, natural and grass-fed meats, which are healthier for you and your pets.

·         Green Bean Casserole. Most pets love the sweet taste of green bean casserole, just do not include the onion topping and serve to pets in small amounts. As an alternative, you can share fresh, raw or cooked green beans to your pets as well.

·         Sweet Potatoes. These are an excellent source of beta carotene and make a highly nutritious meal addition for dogs. Steamed or baked sweet potatoes are ideal, especially since raw root vegetables can be difficult to digest. Avoid giving your pet the holiday-themed sweet potato side dishes that contain marshmallows, syrup or nuts.

·         Cranberries. These are a great addition to your pets’ meals any time of the year, but be wary of the sauce and jelly side dishes. Cranberries contain natural compounds that can help prevent bacteria from adhering to the bladder wall, so they are an excellent choice for cats and dogs who are prone to urinary tract infections.

·         Winter Vegetables. Winter vegetables like pumpkin, squash, chard and kale are loaded with vitamins, antioxidants and fiber, and are great gently cooked for pets. Avoid serving your pets large amounts of vegetables, however, that contain added salt, wine, soy sauce or butter.

Absolute NO’s for these foods for your pets.

·         Stuffing and Corn Pudding. These products tend to contain onions and raisins, as well as bread and cornmeal, which can lead to ear infections and skin problems.

·         Desserts and Cheeses. When eaten in excess, these can cause stomach problems for pets. (so a little bit of cheese is fine.  definitely no sugar)

·         Relishes, Pickles and Sauces. These condiments tend to contain heavy spices, sugar, onion and other ingredients that can cause disruption in their GI tract.

·         Toxic Foods to Pets. The following list of ingredients are toxic to pets and should not be fed to pets in any form:

o    Onions

o    Chocolate

o    Macadamia nuts

o    Grapes

o    Raisins

o    Artificial candies containing xylitol

One more tip:  If you do decide to break the established house rule of “no people food”, don’t allow your pet to gorge.  It can lead to health problems such as pancreatitis and bloat. The best thing to do is gradually add new foods into their diets to make sure they can handle them.

Are you looking to go the extra mile? You can find a whole bunch of amazing recipes in Lucy’s healthy pet recipe cookbook Made of Love.  Your pet will love you back for it while licking the plate clean!

Sometimes You Just Feel Like a…

Sitting in the corner…

on Melrose Avenue.  A perfect example of how artists are taking street art farther into the imagination and into real life at the same time.  We simply cannot call this kind of mural, graffiti any more.  Street Art.  It’s pure.  But not always simple to define.  And why do we need the definitions anyway when we all know what the artist is trying to say, at least in this case.  The thing I’m discovering more and more about street art is that it is a collective understanding.  We often can’t put what we see into words in order to explain the moment with some sort of precision, but we know it in our gut.  It’s collective recognition, thoughts and feelings.  With this piece, we know from memory.  And that’s part of the beauty, part of the fun, part of the experience.

Plant Based Vegan Holiday Bake-Off Challenge

The very cool folks over at EARTH BALANCE are at it again!  This time with a holiday bake off for a $1000 Whole Foods Gift Card and a team of expert judges Jenny Engle and Heather Goldberg of innovative, gourmet vegan food company, Spork Foods, right here in Los Angeles.

Submit Your Vegan Dessert Recipes

for the Chance to Win!

The Holidays are soon approaching and the Earth Balance Holiday Bake-Off is in full swing. The third week of the four-week competition has begun, and delicious vegan dessert recipes are on the menu!

The Earth Balance Holiday Bake-Off is a four-week competition that evaluates original, plant-based dessert recipes using at least one Earth Balance product. Each week of the contest features a different dessert theme, including our two remaining categories – cupcakes and cookies. Each week, two winners are chosen to receive Whole Foods gift cards and a year’s supply of Earth Balance. One lucky winner will take home a $1,000 Whole Foods gift card grand prize!

“The holiday season is about family traditions and recipes. Plant-based desserts are just as delicious, if not more, than desserts made with traditional ingredients.”

Throughout the four week contest, a team of culinary experts including Jenny Engle and Heather Goldberg from Spork Foods evaluate the recipes based on appeal, ease of preparation and creativity.

To qualify, recipes must be plant-based, contain an Earth Balance® product, including spreads, sticks, nut butters and soymilk, and feature one or more vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, nuts or seeds. Each week, bakers will compete to have the top recipes in a different category. The remaining recipe category schedule is:

  • December 12-18: Cupcakes
  • December 19-23: Cookies

All winners will be announced the week of January 9, 2012.

More information about the Holiday Bake-Off Recipe Contest is available at MadeJustRight.com/contest.

Miscellaneous Stuff


Rain:

I think it’s time we retired the song, “It Never Rains in California” because this morning Angelenos are getting drenched!

LA Drivers:

Um, you might want to not blow the stop signs and speed through residential areas after 5pm when you think it is dark enough that no one will see you. Because actually, you might be running over a jogger or cyclist (like myself — I would need three hands for keeping a count of last night’s incidents alone — and I was wearing light-colored clothing).  Let’s face it, Christmas and Hanukkah would really suck if instead of rushing to the mall to buy that awesome cheap electronic that will be obsolete in a year, to rush home to your family, girlfriend, party with friends, or worse, church, temple or Kush connection,  you were instead rushing someone to the hospital or the morgue and on your way to jail.  SLOW DOWN!

Bike Lanes in West Hollywood:

This week, WEHO residents proved that their misplaced selfishness has no bounds when there was a public request issued for residents, cyclists and pedestrians alike to weigh to in on the proposal to create new bike lanes in the City of West Hollywood, and how it will impact its residents and passers-through. What ensued on a local news outlet comment section was a heated dialog about how it sucked getting to Temple – but no real bike comments or anything about the issue.   Not sure if anyone actually even showed up to the meeting. Hurrah for the fur ban and the now official Go-Go Dancer Day!  Really?

Christmas Lights:

They make me happy.  Last night while running I ran into a gi-normeous display being mounted all over a two story house, around a giant cactus and other landscape foliage which illuminated the entire corner of the block.  I couldn’t help but shout out how much I loved it.  Plus, it sure helps to make the neighborhood safe. ( see my comment about Stop Signs)

Pinks Hotdogs:

I don’t know if I have the wherewithal to actually stand in line around an entire city block for an hour just to purchase my favorite hotdog, but it sure smells good and is quite a site to see walking down LaBrea Ave to Melrose.  Still famous and going strong after 72 years, Pinks still warms my heart and my tastebuds (mostly at 1am when it’s not so crazy) as one of Hollywood’s true dog stop icons. (What’s up with only one Mrs. Santa anyway? The hardest working woman at Christmas obviously)

Happy Holidays!

ARTCARD LA Opening Exibition at the NELA Art Walk

ArtCard LA has a brand new collection and it’s founder, LA-Artist.com founder. Oliver Shipley wants to invite you to join in the display this Saturday evening in Highland Park, Los Angeles during NELA Art Walk.
NELArt Walk consists of galleries and art organizations located in Northeast Los Angeles who are dedicated to increase the visibility of the thriving arts community in the area. Northeast Los Angeles has a long tradition in the arts. Many working artists now continue this tradition by making their homes and having their studios here. The neighborhood is also home to many galleries, alternative arts spaces and arts organizations.

 

 

Exhibition

Around 400 artistis from across 95 L.A. Neighborhoods will be exhibiting this Saturday, December 10th at Avenue 50 Studio in Highland Park during the NELA art walk

Check us on FacebookYouTube and Twitter to find out more….

Exhibit Details

The exhibition will take place in the Annex Gallery at Avenue 50 Studio (131 No. Avenue 50 Highland Park, 90042) from December 10th to January 8th. Opening night, December 10th from 6-10 pm.
Facebook Event / Directions

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LA Gives Toys for Tots a Saucy Holiday Celebration

One of my favorite gal pals in LA is heading the line up of completely out loud women who celebrate life with heart.  This week Jamie Rose, author  of Shut Up & Dance (…like I said), dedicated Tango dancer, writer (pretty famous) actress, is putting her full heart into a benefit this coming Sunday for,  Toys For Tots.  Please join her along with these other wonderful ladies to laugh, love, give and receive.

Watch Jamie’s Book Promo Here:

Pre- “Occupy” Wall Street Insider Nomi Prins Discusses “Black Tuesday” at Book Soup, Dec. 8, 2011

Long before Occupy Wall Street and other local groups such as Occupy LA were born, Nomi Prins has been rocking Wall Street’s world since the beginning of the Wall Street collapse.  

As as a whistleblower turned novelist/political pundit, Senior Fellow at Demos and former Goldman Sachs and Bear Sterns insider, Nomi has written several books that blew the lid off of the crisis, naming names, offering details and generally upsetting the (Larry Summers, Tim Geithner, Ben Bernake and Henry Paulsen) apple cart that supported TARP, revealing a track back to the now world-wide, ripple effect we are still feeling today.

JackedOther People’s Money, and It Takes a Pillage brought to light the details that no one wanted to acknowledge or believe and has continued to inflame The Street, chapter after chapter, interview after interview. Supported by colleagues such as Matt Taibi (Rolling Stone Magazine), Nomi is also one of LA’s own and is back in town this Thursday evening, Dec. 8 at 7 p.m. at Book Soup with a discussion and signing of her new book Black Tuesday.

It’s a fiction. This time around, Nomi Prins offers a historical novel that captures the “swirl” of New York City’s greed, power, romance and desperation on the cusp of the Great Stock Market Crash of 1929 and Great Depression, eerily mirroring the present through its chief character, Leila Khan.

A vivacious, determined immigrant, struggling to find her purpose in a tumultuous America, Leila becomes a marked woman as she delves into the shadowy world of wealth and corruption. Black Tuesday, reveals a world of fraud, obsession and economic devastation in a turbulent era that shines a revealing, and disturbing, light on today’s world.

Black Tuesday had a recent successful launch in New York City. It’s been a great two months for Black Tuesday – tons of radio, online interviews, and TV, including on Brian Lehrer, NY-1, PBS Tavis Smiley, MSNBC, RtTV, Fox & CSPAN-BookTV at the NYC Strand Event (with Matt Taibbi & Rich Benjamin), which will air this Saturday at 9:30 a.m.

But most of all, Nomi is great presenter, an intimate host, storyteller and live encyclopedia on the subject, so you might not want to miss this one.

You can get a glimpse of Nomi by visiting a recent interview: The Crash of 1929 Was Just A Prelude.  Or visit her website: http://www.nomiprins.com/.

You can also watch the award winning video that Rocked the Bailout, LIVE MY LIFE, (one that Nomi was kind enough to support), which offered an irreverent parody about it, and for which she had this to say:

“In today’s world where, more than ever,  the ongoing concentration of money and power in the hands of a self-selected few, relies on political and public apathy, Live My Life provides a much needed shot of timely, thought-provoking, musically forward, irreverence to the status quo.” ~ Nomi Prins

LA Fights to End Corporate Personhood

This might be the most interesting news this week. On Tuesday, December 6th, 2011 at 10am Los Angeles is set to become the first major city in the US to call for an end to all Corporate Constitutional rights.  With Occupy LA groups marching in West Hollywood over the weekend, and picking up steam daily, the issue of corporate personhood has got to be high on the list.  As with the recently passed fur ban in West Hollywood, this is sure to make national news if amended and most definitely have implications that extend well beyond the borders of this city.  And according to LA Progressive which was picked up this morning by Reader Supported News (Worldwide) this issue is on the table for tomorrow right here at Los Angeles City Hall.  Below I’ve re-printed the article.  Read On…

he Los Angeles City Council will vote on a resolution, which calls on Congress to amend the Constitution to clearly establish that only living persons – not corporations – are endowed with constitutional rights, and that money is not the same as free speech in the electoral process. If the resolution is passed, Los Angeles will be the first major city in the U.S. to call for an end to all Corporate Constitutional rights. The vote will be held at 10 AM on Tuesday, December 6, 2011 at Los Angeles City Hall 200 North Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012-3224. Citizens are urged to attend the meeting and to contact their City Council Member in support of this initiative. A full draft of the resolution is available on the website.

Our goal is to have a unanimous vote by the City Council,” said Mary Beth Fielder, Co-Chair of Move To Amend LA, the grassroots organization spearheading this effort. “We are experiencing overwhelming support for what may be a historic turning point in restoring a voice to the voters and setting an example for the rest of the country.”

Move to Amend L.A.’s effort is endorsed by a growing list of organizations including Common Cause, Occupy LA, Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, Physicians for Social Responsibility, Environmental Caucus of the CA Democratic Party, Occupy Venice, Southern California Americans for Democratic Action, MoveOn LA, Progressive Democrats of the Santa Monica Mountains, Multiple Neighborhood Councils, Democracy for America, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, Strategic Actions for a Just Economy, Good Jobs LA, AFSCME 36, LA Green Machine, LA Progressive, and the California Clean Money Campaign.

Tune into The Dylan Ratigan Show on MSNBC on Monday, December 5th at 1 PM PST/4 PM EST

Claude Kelly Gets His X-Factor On with 2 Grammy Nominations

The definition of an X FAC·TOR is:

1. A variable in a situation that could have the most significant impact on the outcome.

2. A special talent or quality that cannot be described which makes someone very special

Well, CHECK AND CHECK!

"Wunderkind" Claude Kelly

Songwriter Claude Kelly can’t remember how he came to be nicknamed the “Studio Beast,” but when you get a moniker like that, it’s not something you dispute, right?

“I’ve been trying to figure out where that came from for years,” says the wunderkind, who really hasn’t had long to mull over it anyway. Check the math: in just seven years, Claude went from college grad to writing #1 hits for Kelly Clarkson (“My Life Would Suck Without You”) Britney Spears (“Circus”) and giving Chrisette Michelle one of those enduring, defining ballads (“Blame It On Me”) that helped send her album straight to the top of the charts in its first week.  And now he’s done it again.

On November 30th, hit-making songwriter Claude Kelly received his second and third career GRAMMY® Award nominations, including a “Song of the Year” nod for co-writing Bruno Mars’ “Grenade.” 

For the second year in a row, Claude Kelly was nominated in the “Best R&B Song” category – this year for co-writing Ledisi’s “Pieces of Me.”  Claude Kelly received his career-first GRAMMY® Award nomination last year in the “Best R&B Song” category for co-writing Fantasia’s “Bittersweet.”  The 54th Annual GRAMMY® Awards air live February 12, 2012 from Los Angeles, CA on CBS.

Claude Kelly can be seen each week on FOX’s “The X Factor” as one of the show’s Vocal Producers/Coaches working to arrange, train and coach the contestants on how to best sing and perform their song selections each week.

He has written Billboard #1 hits and critically-acclaimed, award-winning tracks across genres for Miley Cyrus (“Party In The USA”), Kelly Clarkson (“My Life Would Suck Without You”), Jason Derulo (“In My Head”), Britney Spears (“Circus”), Michael Jackson (“Hold My Hand” featuring Akon), Jessie J (“Price Tag”), Ke$ha (“Take It Off”), Christina Aguilera, Whitney Houston, Jennifer Lopez, Leona Lewis, Adam Lambert, Jennifer Hudson, Flo Rida, Pitbull, Chris Brown, T.I., Jordin Sparks, David Cook, David Archuletta, Brandy, R. Kelly, NKOTBSB, Backstreet Boys, New Kids on the Block, Olly Murs, Fefe Dobson, Charice, Chrisette Michelle and Melanie Fiona, among many others.