Monday, November 24, 2014

LA Press Club honors Quincy Jones and Nancy O’Dell in Arts and Entertainment Journalism

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Los Angeles Press Club honored Quincy Jones and Nancy O’Dell last night for Arts and Entertainment Journalism

The 7th Annual National Arts & Entertainment Journalism (NAEJ) Awards Gala honors reporters, photographers and critics across all media platforms. Quincy Jones (speaking) and Nancy O'Dell were also honored.
The 7th Annual National Arts & Entertainment Journalism (NAEJ) Awards Gala honors reporters, photographers and critics across all media platforms. Quincy Jones (speaking) and Nancy O'Dell were also honored.
President Robert Kovacik with honoree Co-Ancvhor Nancy O'Dell and her Entertainment Tonight producer of 20 years at the Los Angeles Press Club 7th Annual National Arts & Entertainment Journalism Awards. Quincy Jones was also honored.
George McQuade III
Music Giant Quincy Jones received the Los Angeles Press Club’s Visionary Award, for his humanitarian work at the 7th Annual National Arts & Entertainment Journalism (NAEJ) Awards Gala in the famed Crystal Ballroom at the historic Millennium Biltmore Hotel, downtown L.A. Sunday, Nov. 23, 2014.

The Awards event spotlights the best journalists and critics across all media platforms. Jones was be introduced by Actress Tina Sinatra and had a sit down, candid onstage interview with NBC4’s Robert Kovacik. The Press Club awards were dedicated to Robin Williams who gave back to the community, especially to the homeless. From the moment he broke into America’s living rooms as Mork from the Planet Ork, Robin Williams was irreplaceable, as both an actor and a comic. He was remembered most for his films, “Good Morning Vietnam, Dead Poets Society, Good Will Hunted, where he earned an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor. After Williams untimely death on Aug. 11, following a battle with depression, tributes poured in from friends and colleagues in Hollywood.

LA Press Club also handed Entertainment Tonight’s co-host Nancy O’Dell the Luminary Award. “Ms. O’Dell is one of the hardest working professionals in the business and truly deserving of this career achievement award,” said Press Club President Robert Kovacik of NBC4.
Nancy O'Dell (youtube) is the co-host of one of the most watched entertainment news programs, Entertainment Tonight. Among her many achievements she is also a producer, entrepreneur, philanthropist and author of three bestselling books. She is the creator of “Little Ashby: Star Reporter,” an educational series of children’s apps.

The 7th Annual National Arts & Entertainment Journalism (NAEJ) Awards Gala honors reporters, photographers and critics across all media platforms. The event included a silent auction, banquet and entertainment show hosted by Dan Lauria (The Wonder Years/Sullivan & Son) and Valerie Azlynn (Sullivan & Son) and included Comedian Alonzo Bodden
The “Journalist of the Year” award went to Jase Peeples, entertainment editor, THE ADVOCATE.
The Los Angeles Press Club is a nonprofit, 501© (3). For more info and the winners of last night’s event visit:

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Monday, October 20, 2014

Hollywood Film Festival tackled social impact issue of homelessness

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“People end up in homelessness for various reasons, “said Threatt. “Any one of us could end up homeless for the same reasons," said Winter Shelter System Manager Brenda Threatt.

“This festival is about films and entertainment and I’m delighted to be on this panel to talk about homelessness,” said Manager Brenda Threatt, Winter Shelter System for the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA). .  Threat was among a half dozen panelist for the Hollywood Film Festival
(Oct. 16-19). “Homelessness is not entertainment; it is a serious crisis in our country and community. I think is extraordinary that people in this industry and the Hollywood film Festival have come together to bring light to this issue,” explained Threatt. 

The 90-minute panel on homelessness was moderated by Executive Director John  Maceri, Ocean Park Community Center. In addition to LAHSA’s Brenda Threatt and John Maceri, the featured, distinguished  speakers included: Katie Stagliano, activist, The Starfish Throwers; Jacquelyn Aluotto, director and producer of the Nimby Experience and Evvy Shapero and Kara Fox, co-founders of Glamour Project.
“People end up in homelessness for various reasons, “said Threatt. “Any one of us could end up homeless for the same reasons. They are no different from us, they are people trying to live,” she said.

LAHSA, which will be counting the homeless in January, is seeking 5,000 volunteers to help in the Greater LA Homeless Count 2015. The last count showed 39,000 men, women and children in the City of LA have no place to call home. And in L.A. County homelessness amounts to around 58,000 over a 4,000 square mile area.

When asked “what can an individual do to help a homeless person,” she said, “We had several suggestions and the most basic one is to ‘care about them as people, to not step over them, not to ignore them, but to see them as human beings’. We should talk to our policymakers and make them accountable to these human beings who represent all of us,” explained Threatt.

Other highlights of the film festival on through tonight (Sunday, Oct. 19, 2014) included the debut showing of, “From Gangs to Gardens, Rap DJ Cavem Moetavation along with his midwife educates youth on eating healthier via organic garden ( D.J Cavem said, “We need to educate our youth to reduce obesity in schools and my music and this film is doing just that.”

And finally, during a break of the dozens of films on everything from homelessness to human trafficking, Film Festival Owner Brad Parks, COO, of CineCause

exclusively announced that he has come up with a new software program that will revolutionize the way filmmakers, own and sell their films globally online.

 He says it’s similar to DropBox, but more powerful in how social impact filmmakers produce, share and manage their film properties.  The Hollywood Film Festival ends Sunday night.

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Saturday, August 9, 2014

Another Summer Blockbuster at the box office: Guardians of the Galaxy

In the opening scene on planet Earth in the year 1988, young Peter Quill sits in the waiting room of a hospital, listening to the Awesome Mix tape no. 1 on his walkman as his grandpa (Greg Henry) comes out and gets him so he can say goodbye to his mom who is dying from cancer. His dying mom gives him a present and tells him his father was an angel and that Peter is just like him. She asks for his hand, but he's too scared to take it. Just then, she dies. The distraught Peter runs outside and is abducted by a spaceship.

26 years later on the planet Morag, an adult Peter Quill A.K.A. The Star-lord (Chris Pratt) is searching for a mysterious Orb. He finds it as Korath (Djimon Hounsou) and his henchmen find Peter. After a shootout, Quill escapes and returns to his ship, Milano.

His partner/mentor Yondu (Michael Rooker) calls and tells him to give him the Orb. Quill decides he's going to sell it on his own.

On the Kree Warship, the Dark Aster, Korath reports to Ronan (Lee Pace) that he failed in getting the Orb and that it's in the hands of Quill. Ronan sends assassin Nebula (Karen Gillan) after him, but before she can go, Gamora (Zoe Saldana) volunteers instead.

On the planet Xandar, Quill takes the Orb to a buyer and asks what it is because Ronan's goons were after it too. The buyer suddenly doesn't want anything to do with it and kicks Peter out of his shop. Outside, Gamora jumps Peter and tries to retrieve the Orb herself. Nearby, Rocket Raccoon (voice of Bradley Cooper) and Groot (Vin Diesel) see there's a bounty on Quill's head, so they join in the fight. Its not too long before they're all arrested by Nova HQ and sent to a space prison called The Kyln. (Note: Stan Lee has a cameo appearance as an old man on Xandar, chatting up with a young lady - Rocket calls him a pervert)

Pretty much everyone in prison wants to kill Gamora because she's the daughter of Thanos. Drax the Destroyer (Dave Bautista) has a personal vendetta against her because Ronan killed his wife and daughter, so he wants to avenge them by taking the life of one of his family members in return. Gamora explains that shes also against Ronan and was planning on double crossing him. Quill steps in and helps argue in Gamora's favor.

At Sanctuary, Ronan reports to Thanos (Josh Brolin) that Gamora is a traitor. Thanos tells him to take care of her and get the Orb. He also notes that Gamora is his favorite daughter, which pisses of Nebula (his other daughter).

Gamora has a plan to sell the Orb to someone else. Quill, Rocket and Groot agree to help and split the reward. Rocket has a plan to escape the prison. He needs one of the guards wrist devices, a prisoners prosthetic leg and a battery from a tall column in the prison. As he explains that its very important to take the battery last, Groot grabs it first. The alarms go off and security droids fly in. Gamora goes to get a wrist device as Quill negotiates the prisoners leg. Drax decides to join in the escape too realizing that eventually Ronan will go after Gamora and then he can kill Ronan himself.

Everyone gets the stuff they need and make it to a guard station near the top of the prison. Rocket is surprised that Quill actually got the leg and says he didn't really need it. It was a joke. Rocket rigs up the stuff to turn off the gravity in the prison and to use the security droids as jets to fly the guard station out of the prison. They escape, but Quill goes back and gets his walkman from one of the guards.

Yondu goes to his broker and finds out Quill still has the Orb.

Everyone on Quills ship gets to know one another better. They don't like each other at all. Soon they arrive at Knowhere (corpse of an unknown being) to meet with the Collector. While they wait for their appointment, Drax, Rocket and Groot get drunk and gamble. Gamora and Quill bond over music. He explains that his mom made him the mix tape of her favorite songs. She listens and likes it. He asks her to dance, but she doesn't. He says it reminds him of an old fable about other people who didn't dance. It was called Footloose. He makes a pass at her, but she says shes not one of the doe eyed girls hes used to and she wont fall for his pelvic sorcery.

Before they can meet with the Collector, Drax, Rocket and Groot (all drunk) get into a big fight. Drax thinks Groot is dumb and Rocket is tired of people calling him a rodent. The Collector's assistant fetches them and they all go to meet him. Drax goes off on his own and makes a call.
(More )

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Sunday, July 20, 2014

America: Imagine the World Without Her (2014)

Courtesy Lionsgate
This is not your typical Michael Moore movie. It is not just another documentary, but a documentary that has become a political football in Hollywood and according to a few A-celebs in Hollywood they're pushing it, because it is not too far off from the truth. 

Dinesh D’Souza’s new movie, “America: Imagine a WorldWithout Her,” is a powerfuly produced defense of our country. It is in answer to the constant criticisms of America’s past and present we see today on TV and in other films. Through interviews with liberal politicians and activists, D’Souza adds up their allegations and finds answers like a public defender would.

His defense is of the nation’s foreign policy and economic system is balanced. He does a great job telling the story of America. His answers he collects from influential people he interviews are strikingly well presented and supported by well-produced recreations of history and an eclectic soundtrack of American music from all across our cultural background.
This movie will not pack the house, because it is a conservative movie from a conservative author, so it is intended mostly for conservative audiences. 

Not sure why, but D’Souza missed a chance to tap some of the more intellectual minds of the political left in a good debate. The documentary points to America’s troubled past with some very cool reenactments to allow you to draw your own conclusion, so we won’t do it here. 

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Saturday, June 21, 2014

Nearly 1,000 people packed into  Beverly Hills Temple of the Arts at the Saban Theatre on a Friday evening recently, (June 13, 2014) for an International Evening of Music and Remembrance honoring Holocaust survivor and member of the Dutch Resistance, Curt Lowens.

Anne-Marie Johnson, Sharon Farber and Richard Stellar on the red carpet.

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Lowens saved 125 Jewish children and two downed American pilots during the Holocaust.  Composer Sharon Farber’s
Bestemming:  Concerto for Cello, Orchestra and Narration, which Curt Lowens served as the inspiration for, was performed with Lowens appearing as the Narrator, along with Ruslan Biryukov who appeared as the Cello Soloist, supported by the Glendale Philharmonic Orchestra led by Conductor Frank Fetta.

Curt Lowens, actor and Holocaust survivor (right)

      The Consul General of Germany and the Honorary Consul of The Netherlands united with the Israeli Consulate of Los Angeles, along with Ken Howard, president of SAG-AFTRA to recognize Curt Lowens’ sacrifices for humanity.

Emmy Award-nominated composer and event co-producer Sharon Farber said, “There are precious few Holocaust survivors who are still with us – their stories should not be forgotten.  I was inspired by Curt’s story, and through that inspiration I created a Concerto that has resonated across the board with anyone who has suffered through oppression.  I hope that Curt’s story, as well as those of other survivors from this dark time in human history, will live forever through this concerto.”

89-year-old actor and Holocaust survivor Curt Lowens sat center stage amidst a 32-piece orchestra and delivered a narration that ended in a standing ovation for Farber’s Concerto.

ollowing the Concerto, an Oneg Shabbat feast as well as a private reception held by The Netherlands Consulate saw entertainment industry professionals, celebrities and other guests queuing up to be photographed with composer Sharon Farber and Curt Lowens, who received two proclamations – one from SAG-AFTRA and the other from Los Angeles Councilman Paul Koretz, who proclaimed June 13, 2014 as Curt Lowens Day in Los Angeles.

Ken Howard, president of SAG-AFTRA presented at proclamation to actor Curt Lowens on behalf of SAG-AFTRA’s 165,000 members worldwide for his service to humanity.
 Howard said, “As actors, we are often called upon to play heroes, but rarely are we asked to be truly, death defying-ly courageous.  Rarely do the choices we make result in the very real threat of imminent discovery and death.  Rarely are we required to stand against a brutality so savage that it curdles the blood.  Heroes are rare and they are precious.

        “The kind of bravery that Curt Lowens showed in rescuing endangered children and downed pilots – that is rare and precious.  It is rare because it requires a soul deep commitment to stand strong in the face of unspeakable evil.  It requires one be a person of conviction whose actions have a profound effect on the world; a caring man and brave – whose efforts more than 60 years ago quite literally changed the world – possibly in ways we cannot fully appreciate.”

Other speakers included Rabbi David Baron of Beverly Hills Temple of the Arts at the Saban Theatre and Samara Hutman, Executive Director of the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust, who oversaw, with the assistance of Jewish World Watch, an exhibit entitled, The Future of Memory:  The Next Generation, featuring portraits taken in the earliest days of the Righteous Conversations Project, a collaboration of Holocaust survivors and teens.  Ilysia J. Pierce, cantor of Beverly Hills Temple of the Arts at the Saban Theatre sang The Star Spangled Banner and Israeli teenager Shir Ordo made her U.S. singing debut performing Hatikvah.
Ricard Stellar holds SAG/AFTRA proclamation.

        Event sponsors include, Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust, Beverly Hills Temple of the Arts at the Saban Theatre, Jewish World Watch, Glendale Philharmonic Orchestra, the Netherlands Consulate of Los Angeles, the Daniel Pearl Foundation and Steinway Piano Gallery of West Hollywood.
       Bestemming (Destination in Dutch) is composer Sharon Farber’s first cello concerto. Farber recently received her first Emmy Award nomination in the 41st Annual Daytime Creative Arts Emmy Awards in the category of Outstanding Achievement in Music Direction and Composition for a Drama (The Young and the Restless); she is the only woman composer nominated.  Farber is also the recipient of the 2013 Society of Composers and Lyricists Award for Outstanding Work in Art of Music for Film and the 2012 recipient of the International Visionary Award in Music presented by The Women’s International Film & Television Showcase.

Shir Ordo, Israeli Event Soloist making her U.S. performing debut, Conductor Fetta, a guest, Composer Sharon Farber
and Co-Producer Richard Stellar


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