Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Mari Vanna - West Hollywood & My Russia Problem

Russia, Russia, Russia. You're killing me, Russia. But what to do when I've already got so much invested in you? Six years of my life writing a musical, learning everything I can about the culture, the politics, language and food... You're making it very difficult for Steven and I to take our trip there. Basically, you're an embarrassment. 

In some ways, what's going on over there with the INSANE LGBT laws-- which apply to VISITORS even, and not just gay visitors, but visitors they SUSPECT of being GAY SYMPATHIZERS!!-- is part of the strange cultural conflict and karma that interests me about Russia in the first place.

But let's table my desire to boycott all things Russia for the moment and celebrate Brie's birthday, which happened to be at new West Hollywood hot-spot (oh, the irony!) Mari Vanna. Named for a supposedly real Russian woman with a flair for cooking that turned her home into an un-intended scene, the ambience reflects a Russian cottage complete with knick knacks, garden boxes, and fluffy blankets to snuggle up in in case you get cold. 

The vodka was truly amazing-- the perfect buzz, no hangover. And while I didn't love the chicken and onion jello that is a Russian staple (Sorry!) their beef stroganoff was about the best I've ever had. 

Brie looked crazy beautiful and glamorous, as per usual. And Mari Vanna is one of those key-ed places where you have to have one in order to get into special VIP nights. I'm not normally into exclusive key type stuff, but I got one. And it comes on an adorable blonde matryoshka doll key chain. 

Okay, but seriously, I think boycotting Russian food and vodka isn't the way to go. I generally try not to throw the baby out with the bathwater. But I do think we should be pressuring events like the Olympics to relocate and sponsors to pull out of places with inhumane laws. Here's how you can get involved with that: 

Petition Coca-Cola, VISA, Procter&Gamble, Samsung, and Panasonic to stand for Human Rights and pull sponsorship from the 2014 Winter Olympics.

Petition Team USA/United States Olympic Committee to boycott the Winter 2014 Olympics in Sochi Russia

Petition the UK to boycott the Russian Winter Olympics

 Petition to Boycott Winter Olympics 2014:

Petition Winter Olympics 2014 Sponsors to condemn anti-gay laws

Petition the IOC to relocate the 2014 Winter Games to Vancouver

And listen, who knows how long this kind of disgusting lawmaking will last in Russia, or how long Americans with short attention spans will decide to boycott. But just, in the long run, can I say, whatever you do, please don't boycott any musicals about massacred Russian royalty. Okay? Thanks. 

Monday, July 29, 2013

Music Monday - 1975

Last week, during my flurry of activity with Dena, we went to see these guys at the 987 Hollywood Tower Penthouse. It was pretty awesome and Kade and I have been rocking out to their EP in anticipation of their fall album all summer long. (Sorry/Not Sorry for those multiple screamy videos as we cruised down PCH on Fourth of July.)

When I first started listening to them, me and fave Brit, David, had to take a minute to assess A.) which vaguely Northern accent the guys had. (Google helped us out. Manchester by way of Cheshire) and B.) If lead singer, Matthew Healy-- who reminds me a bit of a young Dave Gahan-- was kind of putting it on with his accent. Like, ya know, milking it a bit. Turns out he's not and they were smart, witty and lovely to chat with last week. 

"The City" is my favorite song of theirs. Get into it. 

Full length album out September 2, UK, September 3, US.

If you wanna find love, then you know where the city is... 

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Landfill Harmonic Orchestra

Make music however you can, people. This is fabulous. 

"The world sends us garbage and we send back music."

Monday, July 22, 2013

Music Monday - Nicholas & Alexandra

Did you notice we had a new logo? It's pretty, right? Thanks much to Heather Weiss for being amazing. Also amazing, recently, I found these two recordings of "Love Will Stay" posted on youtube. 

One, we knew about the performance-- by our fabulous friend Stephanie Gibson last summer. But I didn't know anyone had filmed it!

And the other wins the award for youngest person to sing this 11 o'clock number. Adorable Olivia singing a super vulnerable rendition at her school singing competition. Full-on broken heart people! 

Enjoy! Dena and I are off to check out some real estate with Brie in Santa Monica and cruise Abbot Kinney before our dinner at THE BAZAAR TONIGHT!! AHHHHH!!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Dena in LA Friday Links

My fairy godmother/family friend/Fergie & Fife all-star reader arrives from Georgia tomorrow! We have some pretty amazing girls-trip type activities planned (which I'm sure you'll see more of on here in no time) and I'm looking forward to checking out some of the places in LA I've always wanted to go, but lacked the means or genuine motivation (read: occasion) to make it a priority. 

I can't wait to spend some QT with Dena! I know my friends are about as excited as I am. She's pretty much everyone's favorite. 

Here are your weekend links. 

- One of the places we'll be perusing is the Danish Modern store in Silverlake.
- Another possibility. WINE!
- 5 Great California homes
- LA's abandoned city plans
- One of these, please. 
- This is old, but it needs to be noted... Fassbender. Macbeth. IN SCOTS. Mind = blown.
- Speaking of Scots with castles. GUESS WHO ELSE IS HERE! The Chief!
- This is NO JOKE some amazing science magic. But chemicals always have down sides. Wonder what this one's is?
- Interesting piece on abortion
- The elderly + the young person they remember
- Many of these were difficult... many were alarmingly easy. 
- I spent a lot of very happy time in TX, but in any turf war (& given some recent events there) I will ALWAYS pick NYC. I LOVED this video. "Remember the alamo? NEITHER DO WE!" 

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Celebrating McC

Last week, we had a massive two-day celebration of McC's 30th. Her whole family was in town and we feasted at Eveleigh (can you say #chickensalmonsteak?!?) where I successfully ran the gauntlet between tequila, wine and bourbon. We also bobbed and weaved through samplings of chicken, salmon, AND steak-- as well as jalapeno peppers, radishes, salads and potatoes. AND. Donuts AND Cookies. 

If we've learned nothing in our 30+ years, McC, I think we can all agree it's this: More is more. 
(Well, and wait & see, please don't murder me and SIGH.)

Thanks for driving that point (and all those points, actually) home, Eveleigh. I could have eaten those donuts until I died from a diabetic insulin spike. 

We continued the next night in our own fire pit enclave of The Roof at Hotel Wilshire with one of the most beautiful views I've ever seen. No one even threw McC in the pool! Let's do this every year!

Monday, July 15, 2013


I am puppy sitting for 5 adorable dogs at the moment-- including 3 newborn puppies. They're half Yorkie and half Maltese and they are the precious-est. I snuggle with them in my neck and they give me kisses. They give each other kisses too. cuuuute. Happy Monday to you!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Maybe - Annie - 3 Year Old Singer

Happy Friday. You're welcome. Weekend Links tomorrow once I've recovered from McC's 2 day birthday extravaganza. 

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Finding Vivian Maier

Here's a film I'd like to see. Uncovering the story behind one of my favorite photographers. The Mary Poppins of photography. A hoarder. A spy. The inventor of street photography. She never even developed many of her photos. They only came to light when someone unknowingly purchased them in an auction. 

Finding Vivian Maier. That's a story if I ever heard one.

Also, today is my dear McC's 30th birthday! If I were rich, I'd buy her a Vivian Maier. But alas, I'll just use my words. Here's how wonderful I think McC is

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Sara Bareilles - The Blessed Unrest

Sara Bareilles straddles the line between the mainstream formula and the unexpected, the insightful better than pretty much any artist I can think of. Most everyone feels like they have to come down hard on one side or the other. Not Sara.

Her new album, The Blessed Unrest, is my favorite yet. With Brave & Manhattan, I knew we should be expecting something great. Filled with rich, textured pop songs, but also, songs about death and life set in one of the largest and most imposing cemeteries on Earth. And you know I love a good uplifting number about cemeteries. Always have. The above and below of it. Something about being uplifted by acknowledging the dark side, the impermanence of all of it. The etchings left behind that only hint at what once was. 

Here's my current fave track (Chasing the Sun) from the album, which is out next week, but you can stream on itunes now. If you know me, these are the kind of lyrics I'd write. And as a bonus, the vid has the lyrics in Spanish... ???

It’s a really old city 
Stuck between the dead and the living 
So I thought to myself, sitting on a graveyard shelf 
As the echo of heartbeats, from the ground below my feet 
Filled a cemetery in the center of Queens 

I started running the maze of 
The names and the dates, some older than others 
The skyscrapers, little tombstone brothers 
With Manhattan behind her, three million stunning reminders 
Built a cemetery in the center of Queens 

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Vinessa Shaw for International Committee of Artists For Peace

For the past few days I've been editing footage of the beautiful memorial services for sweet Muzzy. Sharing the grief and joyful remembrances of my dear friends' mother/grandmother has been an honor. The Damante/Shaw family has been such an important part of my life, my faith, and my belief in myself. 

And so I feel like it's appropriate to share this wonderful video of Vinessa Shaw discussing overcoming her obstacles around belief in herself for ICAPeace. Founded by Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter & Patrick Duffy, the organization uses artistic influence for the purposes of peace and applies principles of Buddhism to art. 

Other fun videos include Steven Sater & Wayne Shorter talking about how awesome women are

In addition to always being amazed by Vinessa's beauty, humble nature, determination, etc, I'm glad that this video reminded me how fierce her fur suit was in Eyes Wide Shut. Get it, girl!

Monday, July 8, 2013

There it is, Take it

Hello. I'm back. I think I'm back for good. We'll see. It's been an interesting time in which I haven't felt like I had much interesting to say. But I'm back. And think I may have things to say in the not so distant future. 

In the meantime, here is some Los Angeles-- (by AM Bushe) a city I love more than I ever expected to-- and a place that's welcomed me in its own weird way like not too much else before. I hope you're having a great Monday and that your holiday weekend was as fantastic as mine. And that you weren't one of the 490 DUIs in LA this weekend... woof. 

Why Stop Now?

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