All posts by Dustin Brown

I am the Senior Editor at HollywoodPressCorps.com.

So Very Vida’s Successful Blog Launch Party in Conjunction With the World Networks

All of Hollywood was a buzz, as noted actress, voice over artist and fashion blogger Vida Ghaffari (The Mindy Project, Jimmy Kimmel Live) just had the exclusive, jam packed launch party for her self-titled blog, www.soveryvida.com, at the glitzy W Hotel Hollywood on June 29th. Ever the media maven, Vida hosted the event in conjunction with www.theworldnetworks.com, which was founded by savvy entrepreneur Lousine Karibian.

 

Aligning with the W was on point with Vida’s brand as she has showcased many high end events  in the luxury goods market such as the Rand Review, exclusive Oscar and Emmy Gifting Suites, front row coverage of LA Fashion Week, The Film Fashion Awards and countless other high-tier, private events. “Hollywood is such an integral part of my career and I’m honored that I got the chance to collaborate with Lousine, The World Networks and the W for this event. Lousine is a real visionary and she has created such a wonderful organization that really empowers all types of entrepreneurs especially women, which is what I strive to do with my blog and in all aspects of my media career. More than anything though, I was touched by the support of so many friends and colleagues coming out to support me. Though I do go to events as a blogger, it can often be a very solitary experience as it is full of deadlines and mastering word press and constantly in a state of follow up and pursuit of what is timely and blog-worthy. So to see all my fabulous guests there for me, on a very warm night in Hollywood, with at least 6 big events going from the Paley Center, to a Zac Efron premiere, and even a Paris Hilton perfume launch, well, I’m truly excited and grateful for all of this warmth and support. I also wanted to thank the lovely ladies at the LA Fashion Magazine as well as the staff from Malin + Goetz, who stopped by as well as my amazing hair and makeup teams, Maryam from Chic Look, and Jade and her wonderful Moonstar Cosmetics and Starving Artists Project team,” said Ghaffari. Vida was dressed in a Sue Wong gown, her hair was by Maryam Motaghy of Chic Look Salon in Valley Village, CA. Vida’s head makeup artist was Jade Martinez, founder and CEO of Moonstar Cosmetics. She was assisted by makeup artists LiliaYeremyan and her sister Sher Yeremyan, who is the owner of Mazi Salon in Glendale, CA.

Vida getting glammed celebrity makeup artists Shog and Sher

Numerous celebrities and attended this event such as celebrated actor Ford Austin (Bosch, Dahmer vs Gacy, Facebook Live with Ford and Vida), his wife, Emmy-winning producer Lauree Dash, Kate Linder (The Young and the Restless, Mother’s Day), Actress/Radio Personality Amber Lynn (Host ofRock’N’SeXXXy Uncensored, star of Who’s Jenna?), Pej Vahdat (Bones-series regular, Shameless), Larry Thomas (Seinfeld), Isaac C. Singleton Jr. (Deadpool, Guardians of the Galaxy), Assaf Cohen (American Sniper, Entourage), Gabriel Jarret (Real Genius), Carrie Lazar (The Magnificent Seven), Rico E. Anderson (Star Trek: Horizon, the Fosters), Kim Estes (Fresh Off the Boat, Pretty Little Liars), Cecilia Specht (Scandal, Partners), Dawna Lee Heising (Samurai Cop 2: Deadly Vengeance), actor/filmmaker/on-air host Tyrone Tann (Lavanderia,Blooob, Stauros Entertainment), Hoyt Richards (The Mangled, Intersection),Reatha Grey (Off Their Rockers, Betrothed), Anna Easteden (Two and a Half Men), actress/model Max Wasa (House of Manson, Playboy Playmate), actress and model Dani Sciacca (The Witch Chronicles 2), Jon Mack (Blunt Force Trauma, Saw 6), Michelle Bernard (Any Given Sunday, Grease Live!), Actress and model Miki Black (CSI: NY, Maxim,Benchwarmer), Mandy Amano (Teeth and Blood, Crank: High Voltage), Actress/model Natasha Blasick (Days of Our Lives), Musician Martin Blasick, Actress/model Lisa Cash (General Hospital, Maxim St. Patty’s Day girl), entertainment attorney Nadia Davari, and filmmaker Steven Aryamlooi (My Girlfriend’s Back, Love…& Other Four Letter Words) as well as internationally renowned fashion designer Sue Wong, HSH Rudolf Kniase Melikoff (Kingdoms of Armenia, Georgia, and Imperial Russia). Also in attendance upper echelon of style makers and influencers such as RachelMcCord of the popular McCord List, Motown Maurice and others to show their support for Vida and her thriving blog. The gift bags were full of great juices courtesy of Bai, products from Adin of California, GreenFish premium detergent and a copy of The LA Fashion Magazine, who was a media partner. Supporters for the event were Jhenyaby Melanie Gasparyan, Lululemon Athletica, Dawn Christie and Sue Wong.

Vida with the “Soup Nazi,” Actor Larry Thomas
Actor Ford Austin with his wife, Emmy award-winning producer Lauree
Vida with Honorable Gregory Karahalios, Consul General of Greece
Vida with actor Pej Vahdat
Vida with Lousine Karibian, founder of the World Networks
Noted actress Reatha Grey
Vida with fashion designer Sue Wong. Vida is dressed in a Sue Wong gown
Vida with noted actress Kate Linder, star of the Young and the Restless
Vida with Actor Assaf Cohen

ABOUT VIDA GHAFFARI

Born and raised in the DC area, Vida Ghaffari comes from a long line of renowned diplomats, scholars, actors/directors, writers, and poets and knows her way around high-end fashion and glamour. Vida wants to uphold the family tradition through the arts and the media. She has been active on the Tinsel town scene as an accomplished actress, journalist, a voiceover artist, and industry insider. With her rich, smart, and sassy signature voice, Vida works steadily as a voiceover artist. Vida recently voiced two characters in the award-winning animated film “Lovesick Fool” created by Emmy-nominated director Dominic Polcino (“The Simpsons,” “Family Guy,” and “King of the Hill”). Acclaimed actors Fred Willard, Lisa Kudrow, and Janeane Garofalo also voiced roles in this film. This comedic powerhouse landed a great co-starring role in Mindy Kaling’s humorous and much buzzed about show “The Mindy Project.” She has also starred in Comedy Central’s “Mind of Mencia“. These projects cap off a number of successes for the versatile starlet. She will soon be shooting a supporting role in multi award-winning filmmaker Gregory Hatanaka’s “Darling Nikki” alongside James Duval (“Independence Day,”Donnie Darko“), Kristine DeBell(“Meatballs”), Mel Novak (Bruce Lee’s “Game of Death,””Black Belt Jones”).  She will also star in “Copperhead Creek” opposite James Van Patten (of “Saw” fame), which is a western by Rick Groat. Vida is also nominated for a Best Actress award at the coveted Love International Film Festival which starts today. Vida’s multi award-winning blog was named by On Trend Magazine as a blog to watch. More info about Vida via facebook, twitter, and instagram at her handles @VidaGhaffari and @soveryvida. More info about Vida at www.soveryvida.com

ABOUT THE WORLD NETWORKS:

The World Networks is, as its name implies, an international networking group created and developed by its CEOLousine Karibian in 2011. To its immense credit, this networking group has members from nearly every country on the globe. Karibian is also the CEO and founder of The Armenian American Network (TAAN), which she started in October, 2010. After she had founded TAAN, Karibian’s contacts from different backgrounds asked her, “Could you do this for our people as well?” And so was born The World Networks organization to bridge various ethnic and geographic communities. Not only is Lousine Karibian the entrepreneur’s entrepreneur, but she is also most certainly the net worker’s net worker, having built her company, The World Networks, into a truly global enterprise. She is also a terrific marketing person, as her clients will attest. More info via facebook and instagram at her handle @theworldnetworks and at www.TheWorldNetworks.com

ABOUT STATION AT THE W HOTEL HOLLYWOOD

The elegant yet hip W Hotel is in the heart of Hollywood. Step outside and discover Station Hollywood, located just outside of the Living Room at W Hollywood and adjacent to Hollywood Boulevard. More info athttp://www.whollywoodhotel.com/station-hollywood-bar

Photos courtesy of Bob Delgadillo

Dustin Brown

Dustin Brown

I am the Senior Editor at HollywoodPressCorps.com.

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An Interview With Artist Jason Alacrity

The Hollywood Press Corps recently got a chance to interview music video director and comic book creator Jason Alacrity. Jason is an artist who is known in the music world for his directing. As a hobby, Jason has a project called the ALACRITY which recently toured in Japan. As an artist, he is well versed in directing, producing and editing music videos for bands such as Skinny Puppy ( “illiSit” ) and COMBICHRIST ( “Maggots At The Party” and “My Life, My Rules” ).  Jason Alacrity got the attention of Nivek Ogre from Skinny Puppy when Jason produced and directed the short film, “ASTRID”.

Creating the new video for COMBICHRIST
Creating the new video for “My Life, My Rules” by COMBICHRIST. Photo courtesy of Joe Letz

Hollywood Press Corps (HPC): What inspired you to become a director?

Jason Alacrity (JA): I originally wanted to be a special fx make up guy. When I was a kid I bought legendary make-up artist Tom Savini’s “Grand Illusions” book and studied it cover to cover. I’d spend days working on things in my basement and then test the makeups and kill gags on my little brother, while filming them on our crappy VHS camcorder. To justify the kill gags and monsters I’d make up little stories, and then as time went on I became more interested in the storytelling than doing the make up.

Director Jason Alacrity
Director Jason Alacrity. Photo by Rhiannon Royse

HPC: Who are some of your key influences with how the videos look?

JA: Depends on the project, but a few consistent influences are “Suspiria”, Richard Stanley’s “Hardware” and Jodorowsky’s “Holy Mountain.” Some of that is visible in ASTRID, especially with the shot choices and art design. This new “COMBICHRIST” video is in black and white, so with that I was going for more of a Universal Horror meets silent film look like HAXAN: Witchcraft through the ages.

HPC: What is your favorite Industrial band?

JA: My favorite band of all time is Skinny Puppy, which is why it was such a mind blowing experience to work with them and be a part of their legacy, all be it by proxy.
HPC: Are you happy?

JA: Most of the time I am. Although I don’t know how much happiness matters in the grand scheme of things. Seems that we put far too much emphasis on “happiness” when it’s so fleeting. I think being “satisfied” is far more important. To that point I’m satisfied in what I’m doing with my life and work right now.

Jason Alacrity on the set for the COMBICHRIST video in Atlanta
Jason Alacrity on the set with Skinny Puppy for the “illiSit” video. Photo courtesy Rhiannon Royse

 

HPC:Is there room in dark underground music for happiness?

JA: God yes. Or at least I’d prefer to think of it as “humor”. Humor is probably the most important element of life and art. Without it things tend to be too “one note”. Its great for movement and texture. Ironic how serious I just sounded talking about humor…the irony!

The ALACRITY performing live in Tokyo, Japan
The ALACRITY performing live in Tokyo, Japan

HPC: Your short film, “ASTRID”, seems to be an important point in your career. How did you decide to make this short film?

JA: I was moving out of an amazing building in downtown LA and was itching to shoot something there before I left. DTLA has a massive homeless population of forgotten people, half of which are suffering from untreated mental illness. So I came up with the idea of telling a story that was a “day in the life” of a girl with a deadly power. A girl that is growing insane under the weight of her power. And I really wanted to melt a face off.

More from the set of COMBICHRIST in Georgia
More from the set for the COMBICHRIST video “My Life, My Rules” in Georgia. Photo by Joe Letz

HPC: Your comic version of “ASTRID” is called, “VESNA”. Can you talk about how you and artist Megan Hutchison decided to make this comic?

JA: I had to change the name to “VESNA” unfortunately because of all the luck another book this year is beating us to the punch with the name. I wrote a feature script for “ASTRID” and it became too expensive to finance. Over a few million dollars, and that’s a bridge too far in terms of independent financing. For me anyway. Megan is a friend of mine that I met on set many moons ago while she was doing art direction for commercials and features. She had just released her book “Will O’ the Wisp” and I was blown away. I had always known she was an amazing art director but I had no idea she was such a talented comic illustrator. Then it hit me, we could make a book, a storyboard essentially and use that to raise money for a feature or TV series. So I showed her the short, pitched her the feature idea and she was in.

The Alacrity at a live performance
The Alacrity at a live performance

HPC: Is “VESNA” a comic or a graphic novel?

JA: Ooo good question. I believe its a graphic novel that thinks it’s a comic book.

HPC: When is “VESNA” expected to come out?

JA: Hopefully by September of this year.

HPC: What is your process like when you’re making a music video for a band like COMBICHRIST?

JA: Every band is different, but with COMBICHRIST, it all begins with an idea from Andy (LaPlegua). For this video he gave me a call and said his idea for the video was simply “I think it should open on a shot of a pile of bloody bodies. Then I crawl out from beneath, covered in blood. I find clothes somewhere, put them on and the blood seeps through the shirt. Then we go and do a performance somewhere. Oh and it should be in black and white.”
He then sends me the song, and I take those ideas and string together a narrative. Try to make a cohesive structure out of it. For this one I had to figure out how we end up with a pile of bodies? So I thought how about a ritual murder. OK cool, what kind? Well we are shooting in Georgia…and then the idea of the snake handlers and faith healers came to me. I then write a script and go back to Andy and he approves it. We work well together, usually on the same page pretty early on.

A page from the comic book, "VESNA" created by Jason Alacrity and Megan Henerson
A page from the comic book, “VESNA” created by Jason Alacrity and  Illustrated by Megan Hutchison

 

HPC: Can you tell us about shooting the “My Life, My Rules” video?

JA: Haha oh should I really answer that? Just kidding, It’s everything you’d think from a COMBICHRIST video. Strippers, drugs, booze, porn stars and dangerous snakes. What people might be surprised about though is how great everyone is. This is my second music video with these guys and everyone is super cool. All the locations we shoot at (this video and the Maggots) are donated for free, and most of the crew and all the talent are friends pitching in. Andy has a great community of friends in Georgia that are always game to pitch in for a video. It’s always a lot fun.

HPC: What is one thing that would surprise our readers to know about you?

JA: I grew up in a tiny farm town in the middle of Iowa. It had one stoplight, and was small you could walk from end to end in 15 minutes.

Dustin Brown

Dustin Brown

I am the Senior Editor at HollywoodPressCorps.com.

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Celebrated Actor Ford Austin and Actress and Noted Blogger Vida Ghaffari Hosted the Exclusive IberJoya Jewelry Show in Conjunction With Macy’s Topanga

To quote the iconic Marilyn Monroe, “Diamonds are a girl’s best friend” as celebrated actor Ford Austin of  http://www.actorfordaustin.com (Bosch,Dahmer vs Gacy) and actress and noted fashion blogger Vida Ghaffari (The Mindy Project, Jimmy Kimmel Live, www.soveryvida.com), of “Facebook Live with Ford and Vida”, co-hosted the luxury event of the season, the exclusive IberJoya trunk show at Macy’s Topanga Mall on Sunday, June 12th.


There were coveted gift bags for the VIP guests stocked with beauty products and fragrance samples from Proctor & Gamble’s P&G Prestige Products Line. P&G also had a raffle for a gift basket worth $500 and the winner was actress Holly Fields (The O.C., Jag).

“We were very excited about this partnership between Macy’s Topanga and the Iberjoya jewelry line and we hope to continue this thriving collaboration with Ford and Vida,” says Jon Albert, store manager of Macy’s Topanga.

“I’ve been dreaming of this collaboration with on-air talents Ford and Vida and this Iberjoya show was the perfect opportunity to showcase beautiful jewels with skilled influencers like Ford and Vida,” added a proud Marie-Rose Akiki, Executive Fashion Stylist and Corporate Sales at My Stylist @ MacysTopanga.

“There was a great buzz at this Macy’s surrounding this event and Iberjoya received a very strong social media presence as a result of this popular event,” said Iberjoya sales rep Michael Falvey.

“I had the opportunity to wear almost $200,000 in exquisite Iberjoya jewelry, and I felt like a million bucks. With all the black tie events I’ve attended, I’ve never seen any jewelry line that rivals this line in terms of elegance, style, quality, and sparkle! What a glitzy and momentous way to launch the first event that we co-hosted, which was at our all-time favorite department store Macys,” said an excited event co-host Vida Ghaffari.

Numerous celebrity and other VIP guests attended such as Ford’s wife, Emmy award-winning producer Lauree Dash, Laura T. Sharpe, Founder, Artists For Trauma, Laura Saltman (Correspondent, Producer The Insider, Access Hollywood’s Dish of Salt), actors Hank Garrett (Three Days of the Condor, Car 54, Where are you?), Pej Vahdat (Series Regular on Bones), Lisa Cash (Actress, General Hospital, Model, Maxim St. Patty’s Day girl), Anna Easteden (Actress, Junkie, At the End of Time), Michelle Bernard (Actress, Any Given Sunday, Grease Live!), Rico E. Anderson (Actor, The Fosters, Star Trek: Horizon), Suze LanierBramlett (Actress, Hills Have Eyes, Betrothed), Reatha Grey (Actress, Betty White’s Off Their Rockers, Betrothed), Tyrone Tann (Actor, Filmmaker LavanderiaBlooob, On-Air Host Stauros Entertainment), Alain Washnevsky (Septembers in Shiraz, Scandal), Entertainment attorney Nadia Davari, Legendary Iranian actresses Apick Youssefian(The Keeper: The Legend of Omar Khayyam, Cry of the Village) and her daughter Mary Apick (Homeland, 12 Angry Men and Women), as well as royalty such HRH Prince Emad Zand II (Persian Zand dynasty) architect, luxury interior and jewelry and accessories designer as well as the upper echelon of stylemakers and influencers such as Faith Boutin, managing director of FVM Global Magazine and others were in attendance to show their support.

Iberjoya is one of the leading diamond manufacturers and suppliers in the jewelry industry. Their specialties range from loose diamonds to finished jewelry. With over 50 years in the industry, they pride themselves as being highly innovative and adaptable to any market, allowing them to provide their customers with the best possible value.

Macy’s, established in 1858, is the Great American Department Store – an iconic retailing brand over 740 stores operating coast-to-coast and online. Macy’s Westfield Topanga Plaza offers a first class selection of top fashion brands including Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein, CliniqueEstee Lauder & Levis. In addition to shoes and clothing, Macy’s has a wide variety of housewares, gifts and furniture.

Macy’s also had a private shopping sale from 3 to 8 pm and at macys.com where customers got an additional 30% off on select regular, sale and clearance clothing and jewelry. They also got an extra 20% off of select regular, sale and clearance home items and watches, an extra 10% off of select regular, sale and clearance electrics/electronics.

Actors Ford Austin and Vida Ghaffari bring their knowledge, wit and candor to “Live with Ford and Vida!” Ford is a celebrated actor and filmmaker who is a lifetime member of the Actors Studio and a SAG convention delegate. More info at  http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1284939/?ref_=fn_al_nm_1 Vida is also a noted voice over artist and blogger with So Very Vida. More info at http://www.imdb.me/vidaghaffari More info about “Live with Ford and Vida” at https://www.facebook.com/LiveWithFordAndVida/

Photos courtesy of Albert L. Ortega/Gettyimages, Guillermo Proano/PR Photos and Bob Delgadillo/WENN

Dustin Brown

Dustin Brown

I am the Senior Editor at HollywoodPressCorps.com.

More Posts - Website

Voices Out Fundraiser

Tonight, there is a black tie gala event in Los Angeles on Friday June 3rd, 2016 at the swanky Olympic Collection at 11301 West Olympic Blvd, #204  from 9:00pm-1:00am

Shani and Andy and a much loved 4 legged friend
Shani and Andy and a much loved 4 legged friend

Proceeds will go to the Voices Out charity created by celebrated International Recording Artist, Producer, Actor, Writer and Activist  Shani Rigsbee and her husband, legendary artist Andy Madadian, aka the “Prince of Persia” or the “Persian Elvis.”

The mission of Voices Out is to provide a voice and aid children and animals in neglectful, abusive and abandoned conditions as well as assist and provide programs with long term solutions for their welfare.

In addition to Shani and Andy, celebrities expected are Celebrities expected: La Toya Jackson, Master P, Mohamed Hadid (Real Housewives of Beverly Hills), Shiva Safai, Lilly Ghalichi (Reality TV / Social Media Personality) and many others.

Come Enjoy a Spectacular Night of…

Full Bar and Appetizers ,Surprise Performers
Comedy ,Magic, Showgirls, Celebrities, Backgammon Lounges,DJ and Dancing, and a Silent and Live Auction. Valet parking will be provided. More info at http://voicesout.org/

Dustin Brown

Dustin Brown

I am the Senior Editor at HollywoodPressCorps.com.

More Posts - Website

Taurus Birthday Party at the W Hotel in Hollywood

What’s your sign? Well, Angela Downey of Downey’s Desserts, www.downeysdesserts.com, Producer Jenna Urban of Urban Media Group, and Celebrity Photographer Bob Delgadillo have similar birthdays, so they are all Taurus or rather Taureans, so they celebrated their birthdays in style at the swanky W Hotel in Hollywood. Hollywood Press Corps was proud to be a media partner of this epic birthday party!

Birthday gals Angela and Jenna with birthday guy Uncle Bob
Birthday gals Angela and Jenna with birthday guy Uncle Bob

The beautiful red carpet hosts were Integrity Entertainment PR, fashion and entertainment specialist Kim Cox, Mrs. Latina Global of Columbia (Yanith Forero), and a couple of the Mrs. Asia USA ladies of the Philippines (Amelia Johnson and Pinay Ako).

Jenna celebrating with friends
Jenna celebrating with friends
Uncle Bob, actors Dawna Lee Heising, THT's Vida G. and Ford Austin. Vida and Ford are dressed in Sai Suman
Uncle Bob, actors Dawna Lee Heising, THT’s Vida G. and Ford Austin. Vida and Ford are dressed in Sai Suman. Vida proudly points to the HPC logo and so does Uncle Bob!
Host Erica Allseitz with comic Gil Fajardo
On-camera host Erica Allseitz with comic Gil Fajardo

 

Jenna and Uncle Bob and their guest rock the red carpet!
Jenna and Uncle Bob and their guest rock the red carpet!
Artist Sham Ibrahim, birthday gal Angela with artwork made my Sham and friends
Artist Sham Ibrahim, birthday gal Angela with artwork made my Sham and friends
Miss Philippines Asia USA Amelia Johnson with Nancy Salim, owner of My Oasis Spa
Miss Philippines Asia USA Amelia Johnson with Nancy Salim, owner of My Oasis Spa
Publicist Denise O'Brien and friends
Publicist Denise O’Brien and friends

Photos courtesy of Sheri Determan, Disco Stella, Mark Sevier, Namli Inc. Photos, Donna Dymally, and Liza Crilly-Tyner.

Dustin Brown

Dustin Brown

I am the Senior Editor at HollywoodPressCorps.com.

More Posts - Website

VENICE FAMILY CLINIC HOSTS ANNUAL ART WALK & AUCTIONS

Venice, California – May 24, 2016 – Google became an art gallery this past Sunday, May 22nd for Venice Family Clinic’s Art Walk & Auctions. This annual event brings together Los Angeles’ hottest established and emerging contemporary artists in raising money to fund health care for the 24,000 low-income, uninsured and homeless patients of Venice Family Clinic. This year’s Venice Art Walk raised more than $700,000 for Venice Family Clinic, with more auction pieces sold than ever before (and art sales are still underway!) to benefit local families and individuals in need of health care.

Plenty of food and drinks at Venice Family Clinic's Annual Art Walk and Auctions at Google Los Angeles. (Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images for Venice Family Clinic)
Plenty of food and drinks at Venice Family Clinic’s Annual Art Walk and Auctions at Google Los Angeles. (Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images)

This year’s event featured a 350-piece silent art auction, artist studio tours and community celebration. Attendees enjoyed access to meet and greets at artists’ studios, live art exhibitions, music, food and drinks.

It was a beautiful spring day at the Venice Family Clinic's Annual Art Walk and Auctions at Google Los Angeles on May 22, 2016 in Venice, California. (Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images for Venice Family Clinic)
It was a beautiful spring day at the Venice Family Clinic’s Annual Art Walk and Auctions at Google Los Angeles on May 22, 2016 in Venice, California. (Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images)

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Venice Family Clinic’s Studio Tours, which ran on the same day of Venice Art Walk, encompassed 50 local art studios, galleries and special exhibits within a 2-mile radius of Google headquarters. This year’s Studio Tour artists and galleries included CAVE Gallery, Corrine Chaix, Marian Crostic, Jean Edelstein, Peter Fetterman Gallery, Maria Greenshields-Ziman, Brad Miller, Elizabeth Orleans, Pamela Weir-Quiton, and Team Bungalow.

VENICE, CA - MAY 22: Artists creating art at the Venice Family Clinic's Annual Art Walk and Auctions at Google Los Angeles on May 22, 2016 in Venice, California. (Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images for Venice Family Clinic)
VENICE, CA – MAY 22: Artists creating art at the Venice Family Clinic’s Annual Art Walk and Auctions at Google Los Angeles on May 22, 2016 in Venice, California. (Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images)

This year’s Signature Artists were Guy Dill and Analia Saban. The LIVE art installations were provided by Heather Hansen, Karolina Maszkiewicz, and Quentin “Shplinton” Thomas. Guests also enjoyed musical performances by The Raging Bulls, Darden, Shane Alexander, WaterDawgz, Carlos Calvo and Givers and Takers in the designated Beer Garden.

The crowds gathered to view art at the Venice Family Clinic's Annual Art Walk and Auctions at Google Los Angeles on May 22, 2016 in Venice, California. (Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images for Venice Family Clinic)
The crowds gathered to view art at the Venice Family Clinic’s Annual Art Walk and Auctions at Google Los Angeles on May 22, 2016 in Venice, California. (Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images)

 

 

 

 

Dustin Brown

Dustin Brown

I am the Senior Editor at HollywoodPressCorps.com.

More Posts - Website

A Celebration of the Life of Johnny Guitar Watson

(Los Angeles, CA) – On Tuesday May 17th, 2016, the 1st Annual Johnny Guitar Watson Heart for Music Foundation Celebration took place in downtown Los Angeles in the historic Los Angeles Theatre Center. The star-studded celebration was co-hosted by Glynn Turman (Love That Girl) and Kiki Shepard (Live at the Apollo).

Lenny Wiiliams from Tower of Power on the red carpet at the Heart for Music Foundation's Johnny "Guitar" Watson Tribute in downtown Los Angeles. Photos courtesy Dustin Brown at the Hollywood Press Corps
Lenny Williams from Tower of Power on the red carpet at the Heart for Music Foundation’s Johnny “Guitar” Watson Tribute in downtown Los Angeles. Photos courtesy Dustin Brown at the Hollywood Press Corps

On May 17, 1996, Johnny Guitar Watson collapsed on stage in Yokohama, Japan. He was playing his hit song, “Superman Lover.” He died of a heart attack while his friend, Frank Zappa, was by his side. Twenty years later, friends, family and fans gathered to celebrate his life.

This event was a long time passion of Johnny Guitar Watson’s daughter, Virginia Watson. It was an amazing night of blues, funk and legendary performers directed by Iona Morris and Musical Direction by guitarist Gemi Taylor. The show was written by David Ritz, the famous biographer who wrote about Ray Charles, Etta James, Smokey Robinson and Buddy Guy. David was the last person to interview Johnny Guitar Watson (known as Johnny G to his friends) and had many stories to tell about that interview.

Southern California Blues Societies Cadillac Zack with legendary drummer Emry Thomas. Photo courtesy the Hollywood Press Corps
The number one blues promoter in Southern California, Cadillac Zack(L), with legendary drummer Emry Thomas(R). Photo courtesy the Hollywood Press Corps

The red carpet for the event was held in the lobby of the historic Los Angeles Theatre Center. Located in the heart of downtown, this historic building is a great place for an event. Many of the evenings performers and presenters walked the red carpet including Barbara Morrison, Doyle Bramhall II, Lenny Williams, Larry B Scott and David Ritz. There was a full house with around 500 people in attendance.

Doyle Bramhall II at the Johnny Guitar Watson Tribute with the Master Phonk House Band. Photo by the Hollywood Press Corps
Doyle Bramhall II at the Johnny Guitar Watson Tribute with the Master Phonk House Band. Photo by the Hollywood Press Corps

The musical performance in the main theater began with a video of Johnny Guitar Watson. Due to some audio difficulties, the video portion of the show was screened with no audio. This didn’t dampen peoples spirits at all because seeing Johnny on the screen reminded everyone why we were all there. Dolye Bramhall II kicked off the music by playing, “Ganster Of Love”, a blues staple of Johnny Guitar Watson’s. Doyle and his band handled this blues classic with a rich, full sound. The sound all evening was quite remarkable. Virginia Watson brought together many musicians and they played an amazing selection of blues, funk and soul.

The first annual Johnny Guitar Watson Heart for Music Foundation Tribute
The first annual Johnny Guitar Watson Heart for Music Foundation Tribute

The house band was the Master Phonk Band and Gemi Taylor did an outstanding job as the Musical Director and guitarist. A lot of the House Band came from Johnny Guitar Watson’s band from his five decades in professional performing.

Barabara Morrison came out second and sang, “Ain’t Gonna Hush”, another Johnny G classic from his blues years. Johnny Guitar Watson originally recorded this song in 1956 on the “Three Hours Past Midnight” album. Barbara Morrison is a legend in the Los Angeles blues scene. She did such a great job singing this blues song and the Master Phonk band did an incredible job. The horn line for the night included Chazy Green on saxophone, Michael Harris on trumpet and Steve Baxter on trombone. This horn line added a brilliant element to the night’s music that can be heard in the recordings that Johnny Guitar Watson made over fifty years ago.

Leaving blues and heading into a 1960’s pop direction, Martin Kembers from the British band, “Color Me Bad” came out and sang , “Mercy, Mercy, Mercy” with his son Ashley. This was a 1966 song written for Cannonball Adderly. The song went on to become a surprise hit on the soul charts. Martin and Ashley sounded great with a wide vocal range and youthful enthusiasm.

Some of the musical equipment from the Johnny Guitar Watson Estate were on display at the JGW Tribute
Some of the musical equipment from the Johnny Guitar Watson Estate was on display at the JGW Tribute

Doyle Bramhall returned to the stage with his band and sang, “Loving You”, a song from JGW’s funk years. Recorded in 1973, it featured a sort of rap intro and is considered a classic funk song. Doyle Bramhall II played an amazing solo on this one.

Lead singer of the legendary 1970’s soul band Tower of Power, Lenny Williams, came out and sang, “Dont Change Horses in the Middle of a Stream.” His singing style is rich and from the heart. Lenny Williams’ style has influenced modern R&B and Hip Hop artists.

Next, Lamont Dozier sang “The Lone Ranger” with the Master Phonk House Band. Lamont is the songwriter and producer known for creating the Motown Sound. He wrote songs for and produced The Four Tops, The Supremes and The Isley Brothers. This was an amazing rendition and The Master Phonk Band along with Lamont provided a world class performance.

Hip Hop icon YO-Yo performed "Telephone Bill" by Johnny Guitar Watson. Photo by D Brown of the Hollywood Press Corps
Hip Hop icon Yo-Yo performed “Telephone Bill” by Johnny Guitar Watson. Photo by D Brown of the Hollywood Press Corps

Crystal Penni sang,”I Wanna Ta-Ta Ya Baby” This was a great performance. Gemi Taylor, as Musical Director and guitar player did such a great job of laying back to let the singers perform and then playing amazing guitar solos that had a Johnny Guitar Watson feel.
Neo-soul songwriter, Mishell Ndegeocello, sang JGW’s, “Ain’t That a Bitch”, which was the highlight tune of Act 1. Her performance with the Master Phonk Band seemed to capture the humor, the expertise and soul of Johnny Guitar Watson. Hip Hop legend Yo Yo came out next to perform JGW’s song, “Telephone Bill”. Hip Hop and rap owe so much to Johnny Guitar Watson’s sound and beats. “Telephone Bill” is a spoken-word tune that is considered the beginning of rap. David Ritz says that JGW said that he had “Invented rap.” Drummer Emry Thomas is really not paid anything for the samples that modern rappers like Jay-Z and Kanye West use in 2016. Emery was Johnny Guitar Watson’s drummer in the 1970s for hits like “Superman Lover”, “Ain’t That A Bitch” and many other hits. When“Ain’t That a Bitch” went Gold, the second stage of Johnny Guitar Watson’s career began.

The Master Phonk House Band at the JGW Tribute in downtown Los Angeles on May 17, 2016. Photo courtesy D Brown at the Hollywood Press Corps
The Master Phonk House Band at the JGW Tribute in downtown Los Angeles on May 17, 2016. Photo courtesy D Brown at the Hollywood Press Corps

The Intermission provided a chance for musicians, celebrities and fans to mingle and discuss JGW’s music. While munching on fried chicken and pickled okra, I struck up a conversation with “Sticks”, the drummer for T-Bone Walker. It was such an honor to meet a Blues superstar like Sticks at the Johnny Guitar Watson event. There was an exhibit of artifacts from Johnny Guitar Watson’s collection including guitars, jumpsuits from the 1970s, his passports and many other items. It gave a glimpse into the life of John Watson.

Act Two of the Heart for Music Foundation Celebration was pure Jonny G funk. Lenny William’s from “Tower of Power” came out with singer Kim Yarbrough and sang “Love Jones.” The Master Phonk Band was well suited to play Johnny G’s funk tunes and the horn line was top notch. Rudy Copeland, who is the second voice on many Johnny Guitar Watson recordings, sang “Superman Lover.” Rudy told me later that this is his favorite Johnny Guitar Watson song.

Virginia Watson sang “A Real Mother For Ya.” Virginia did such an amazing job putting the night together. She took a moment to introduce Johnny’s grandchildren and spoke about Johnny and his life. Virginia said that Johnny G once said, “I’m not going to die and if I do, I’ll be on stage and it won’t matter.” Johnny G touched so many people’s lives. The Master Phonk Band and Virginia have such a treasure trove of stories and songs to share with the world.

Emry Thomas, known as ET, performed “Virginia’s Pretty Funky” and “Dejon’s Delight” with poet Azmera Hammouri. The Ben Allen Dance Crew danced and added a youthful element to the music. Writer David Ritz came out and spoke about his last interview with Johnny Guitar Watson in 1996. David has a unique view of blues musicians and his writing ability is just amazing. Larry B Scott, known for his acting in movies like “Revenge of The Nerds” and “Karate Kid” talked about Johhny G recording in his studio in the Valley. Johnny G had a connection with so many people.

At the end of Act Two, Angela Gibbs presented her mother, Marla Gibbs, with the first Johnny Guitar Watson Heart 4 Music Humanitarian Award. Marla has been an actress, comedian, entertainer and producer for over 50 years. She’s received seven NAACP Awards. Both Johnny G and Marla Gibbs have careers that span five decades. Marla was gracious as she received her award and many people wanted to speak to Marla after the show.


The First Annual Johnny Guitar Watson Heart 4 Music event produced by Virgina Watson, was an incredible night of music, stories and emotions from the people that knew and worked with Johnny Guitar Watson. This show would make a great Broadway musical or touring show. I’m looking forward to the Second Annual event.

Dustin Brown

Dustin Brown

I am the Senior Editor at HollywoodPressCorps.com.

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HOLLYWOOD FRINGE FESTIVAL PRESENTS AMERICAN MAN DREAM

LOS ANGELES, CA, MAY 12, 2016 – What happens when a young Mexican arrives in America in pursuit of the American Dream of Life, Liberty, Happiness and a good man? Whatthehelldidshesay is excited to announce the presentation of Vanessa Lua’s journey ‘American Man Dream’ at the Hollywood Fringe Festival this June 2016.

One Mexican Woman in pursuit of Life, Liberty, and a Man
One Mexican Woman in pursuit of Life, Liberty, and a Man

The story follows a little girl who is growing up in Mexico whose only companion is her teddy bear, which is representative of the ideal man. He is a cuddly best friend who is always there to listen and love her unconditionally. As a grown woman, her story becomes bittersweet and she begins to think that true love is just a pipe dream. Throughout her journey, Vanessa eventually has to overcome language barriers, Catholic guilt, breakups, more Catholic guilt, bad sex, and even more Catholic guilt. She develops from her virginity in Mexico to chastity in the USA as she says ‘From red, white and “green” to red, white and “blue” and everything else in between her legs!’

The show, to be held throughout the month of June 2016, will be presented at the Studio C theatre located at 6448 Santa Monica Boulevard in Los Angeles, is listed as a dark, irreverent comedy that is both provocative and full of sex.

Vanesa Lua in American Man Dream at Fringe Fest
Vanessa Lua in American Man Dream at Hollywood Fringe Festival

The actress is known for her high profile red carpet celebrity interviews, made using her now iconic pink iPhone. These candid interviews were the beginnings of her production company ‘Whatthehelldidshesay’ Productions. She has since gone on to star in comedy and dramatic projects The Last Ship, Conversation with La Catrina, Anchor Baby, Fatal Encounters, Comedy House and Stuck in a Fairy Tale.

The open and uncensored Hollywood Fringe Festival is an annual, open-access, community-derived event celebrating freedom of expression and collaboration in the performing arts community. Through its offerings, the festival exhibits diverse and cutting-edge points-of-view.

For more information, visit http://www.hollywoodfringe.org

Tickets for American Man Dream at http://hff16.org/3516
Contact: Vanessa Lua
Title: Producer

Phone: 310-994-0138

email: whatthehelldidshesay@gmail.com

Dustin Brown

Dustin Brown

I am the Senior Editor at HollywoodPressCorps.com.

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Attorney Nadia Davari’s Sense of Style

Noted entertainment attorney Nadia Davari has to walk a fine line in fashion. It’s a given that she has to look professional, but since she works in Entertainment Law, her style has to be more hip and on trend, than say, a tax attorney.  Here’s her essay on the role wardrobe plays in her thriving career as an entertainment attorney.  

Nadia in front of the iconic Urban Light display at LACMA
Nadia looks professional and elegant in front of the iconic Urban Light display at LACMA

There are many reasons for wanting to look good and dress nice. Growing up, I used to think that being worried about my appearance and how I look was being superficial. However, I have come to think differently as I started law school and then started practicing as an attorney.

Nadia is dressed casually cool at an event for a women's group
Nadia is dressed casually cool at an event for a women’s group

How we dress affects how we feel and how others perceive us. While “You can’t judge a book by its cover” may be true, who was is that said “dress for success” or dress for the part”? There is little doubt that how we dress has an affect on the way we feel. We communicate with more that the words that we speak. We also communicate with the way we dress. So, I have come to appreciate that how I dress not only affects me personally and how I feel but it also affects the audience and the people whom I meet in the way they perceive me.

Nadia looks glam at a fashion show
Nadia looks glam at a fashion show

 

Nadia with anchorwoman Katie Couric at an event
Nadia with anchorwoman Katie Couric at an event

As far as dressing for myself, when I “dress for the part” and feel good, it helps me in the visualization of what needs to get done, in turn, affecting my ability to accomplish tasks and persuade others. I know that dressing well and looking good has a direct affect in my effectiveness in accomplishing my work.

In dressing for myself to make me feel good, I have also come to realize that I must dress appropriately, meaning I must have respect for the place, situation and the audience. I want to make a good first impression. When I think of a lawyer, looking professional and dressing for the office are the first things that come to mind.Generally, when dressing as an attorney, I want to exude confidence or tell my client that you can trust me. As such, choices may include pant suits, skirt suits and all around uptight goes hand in hand with dressing for the job. While this is true for almost all of the areas of law practice, entertainment attorneys are a bit unique in this respect.

Nadia on the red carpet of the Geekie Awards, where she is a legal advisor
Nadia is dressed “upscale casual” on the red carpet of the Geekie Awards, where she is a legal advisor

In my opinion, dressing as an entertainment attorney is looking like a professional with a twist. As an entertainment attorney, I try to relate to my clients and to make them feel comfortable. This may lead to sartorial choices that are a little different than the typical attorney.  It may be a little more edgy or casual than what one may think of how a typical attorney dresses.  More info at http://www.nadiadavari.com/

Dustin Brown

Dustin Brown

I am the Senior Editor at HollywoodPressCorps.com.

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The Inaugural Healthy Earth Music and Arts Fest

Transmedia 360 presents the Inaugural “Healthy Earth” Music & Arts Fest benefitting Cure 4 Hunger to be held on Earth Day weekend in Leimert Park on Saturday, April 23rd from 10 am – 6 pm. The festival will feature the unveiling of the humanitarian organization,Cure4Hunger’s (C4H) new agricultural technology, the “Gravity Gardens.”

Event flyer

The event is free to the public and will also feature panel discussions, workshops and film screenings in addition to a mixed assemblage of celebrity talent, dance, music and art.  Hosted by actor-humanitarian, Darris Love (Nickelodeon’s “The Secret World of Alex Mack”), comedienne Ramona Stephens, and comedian David Raibon. World music treats include the jazz band, Connect featuring Barbara Morrison; West African dance troupe Le Ballet Dembaya; Ali Baba from Mali with Asha Baba; Native American and Asian performers; Melvin “MDK” Kelly, the young Jimi Hendrix; and DJ Zoon and the GoGo Hoop Dance Stars to name just a few. The youth area will be hosted by teen comedienne, Leroya Sanford (“The View”) and celebrity kids from Disney and Nickelodeon will join anti-bully rapper, Chris La Vrar (“America’s Got Talent”). Family fun includes talented performers, a youth circus provided by Le PeTIT CirQue, and more fun.

This event is the perfect opportunity to support a great cause to end global hunger while cross-marketing to a diverse audience and extended media reach. This festival’s mission is two-fold; to inspire and encourage greater Los Angeles residents to become proactive, solution-oriented citizens that regularly engage in activities leading to a healthy planet for us all. Also, as a cause-related event, they have selected, Cure 4 Hunger, (C4H), as their 2016 beneficiary organization.

About C4H: One in nine people suffer from hunger on earth so to put an end to starvation, co-founders and humanitarian filmmakers, Eric W. Williams & Cylk Cozart invented a new, cutting-edge, robotic gardening technology housed inside indestructible food domes nourished from pure water extracted from the atmosphere. This organization to date has garnered the support of high profile figures such as; Martin Luther King III, NBA player, A.C. Green as well as other global Ambassadors worldwide. Please feel free to visit http://www.cure4hunger.org for more information.

 

Dustin Brown

Dustin Brown

I am the Senior Editor at HollywoodPressCorps.com.

More Posts - Website