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Playground of Dreams is one of most exciting and inspiring charity events I have attended in a long time. When I first met Co-Founders, Anna Herbert and Brian Larrabee, I was immediately impressed by their passion, commitment and joy for what they were doing.
Playground of Dreams (POD) is an innovative mentoring program that teams industry professionals with children to build their creativity, confidence, leadership, and unique sense of purpose in the world. Talk about giving kids a headstart in life, POD gives these kids a running start or in many instances a good sprint.
Playground of Dreams was definitely a playground for kids to live out their dreams of being an actor, poet, scientist, rock star, or musician. Working with entertainment industry mentors to help build their confidence and creativity, these kids put on the “Coolest Variety Show on Earth,” and even delivered extremely moving testimonials on their experiences dealing with being bullied in school or on being picked on for being different. Some of the special performances included Vassy, COED, Mosaic, Kandace Lindsey, The School of Rock, and actor Dash Mihok, Travis Van Winkle, and actress Sharon Pierre-Louis.
Some may say, “Oh this is a glorified talent show.” No, this is far from it. I have never been to an event and seen so many people, well over 500 excited, invigorated and inspired that packed this venture. These young kids played to a large crowd and all received standing ovations and thunderous applause; The likes of which many of today’s Rockstars would be envious. Needless to say, I was very impressed.
This event included tons of activities for the kids who attended and even a few for the adults. There was a creative “Time to be Your Own Superhero” where the kids went in and received a costume makeover by stylist and designer Liz Trdatyan and her team, into any type of superhero or character they wanted.
Makeup artists painted masks and lightning bolts and even ombre stripes from purple to magenta all over kids’ faces! Pretty amazing stuff! There was also an incredible “Dream Panel,” that featured Catt Sadler, Sharon Lawrence, Frances Fisher, Martin Kove, two time Oscar-winning sound engineer Ron Judkins, and talent manager Michael Greenwald. It was so inspiring and again, talk about giving these kids a running start.
There was also a Peace Sign painting station with live music hosted by 24 Peaces – a World Peace Project. 24 Peaces is an incredible documentary in which artist Gene Jimenez conducts a series of twenty-four conversations with both preeminent peacemakers and a cross section of “every-day people” from diverse backgrounds and cultures throughout the world. It was a real pleasure to meet Gene! It was also fun for Lori Moreno, Parris Harris, numerous kids and myself to get our doodle on and draw on Gene’s Peace Sign.
Another fan favorite was a hilariously fun photo booth. Now I don’t know about you, but, whenever I see one of these, I go crazy. This is a great opportunity to ham it up with your friends. Exhibit A – See the pictures below with the awesome Clemson Twins and Yael from Sweet Crush Ice.
Did I mention food yet? This lively atmosphere included the ever so tasty Sweet Crush Ice Bar, one of my favorites, if you haven’t tried Sweet Crush Ice, you gotta! Click on their name for a direct link. They are located in Brentwood. Look them up! The owner Yael is as sweet and generous as the healthy desserts she has created.
More tasties: Duff Goldman’s Cake Mix, Village Pizzeria, EarthBar – Wow they had some amazing organic juices and green drinks! We LOVED the EarthBar Liver Cleanse juice! Also another favorite of mine was Hint Water – I love their flavored waters! Other sponsors included Cinema Secrets, Level 3 Design Group and Lacoste.
On the adult side there were two great sponsors: The award winning organic Blue Ice Vodka and the amazing Corazon Maya Tequila. I had briefly seen Corozon at the Art.Life Art Exhibition in Downtown Los Angeles a few weeks earlier. This time I got to talk with two awesome representatives from the company, Brad Di Pane and Allan Santana. What great guys, but honestly their Tequila spoke for itself. All of my friends loved the fantastic and unique heart-shaped Corazon Maya Tequila bottle design. Talk about winning over a lot of hearts! I also liked their creative bottle and stand. Maya Tequila Reposado tastes great and is smooth!
Playground of Dreams – hats off to Co-founders Anna Herbert and Brian Larrabee. Thank so much for inviting me to your incredibly inspiring and exciting event. I know this was a kids events, but I saw just as many adults having a great time as well. It was amazing to see so many kids filled with joy and happiness as they experienced living their dreams NOW. All of my friends and I had a great time supporting an awesome charity and we look forward to the next one!
Isn’t it time you… #LiveYourDream
Treasure of the Black Jaguar is one of the most exciting low-budget Independent films I have seen in years. It’s been a long time since a film has inspired and motivated me as a filmmaker/producer to make another film. This film has done it. What Mike Bruce, the director, Cameron Van Hoy, lead actor/producer, and what the rest of the cast and crew have pulled off is incredible.
It’s the creativity and ingenuity of the director and the producers that carries this film beyond budget limitations. More importantly a limited budget has added more quality to the filmmaking. How might you ask? Without spoiling the film; the two leads, Shlomo and Anthony wind up in a Mexico jail. How? Why? All we need to know is it quickly throws them into the greatest adventure of their lives.
Do we ever discover the Treasure of the Black Jaguar? Will we survive? These filmmakers let the audience imagineer and participate in the telling of the story. This makes the film stronger and draws the audience into a shared creative experience.
Below check out the brilliant opening of the film: an old Leonard Nimoy “In Search of” style documentary on the Mayan Black Jaguar Deity. This rustic film within a film sets the tone and gives a colorful backstory.
The intensity and rawness of this film is backed up by the fact that the cast and crew risked their lives in the making of it. They survived the harsh elements of the desert by living in tents for two weeks; no showers, no Starwagons, no restrooms, just them in the brutal elements. I was surprised and had to laugh when Mike Bruce described the bathroom detail; a long walk into the darkness with a shovel.
Let’s give a nod to the actors for their excellent performances. Timothy V. Murphy plays a wiley and conniving Blake West, the treasure hunter who draws his two “tenderfoot” cohorts Anthony (Cameron Van Hoy) and Shlomo (Michael Drayer) into the desert in search of the elusive and mysterious golden Treasure of the Black Jaguar. We learn that all that glitters is not gold and that easy money is a mirage when your life is stake.
Benjamin Oberman is president and CEO of Film Festival Flix. I dig Benjamin’s philosophy “that if you can’t bring everyone to the festival, then bring the festival to everyone!” Benjamin has created a platform that “brings Award-Winning and Audience Favorite films from Festivals around the world, directly to a theater near you.” I really love and support this concept and what Film Festival Flix is all about! Thank you Benjamin, I would have never seen or heard of this great film.
Treasure of the Black Jaguar is an off the rails scramble for gold that keeps you guessing. Mike Bruce is a luminous and exciting director to watch. I see very big things for Mike and lead actors Timothy V. Murphy, Cameron Van Hoy and Michael Drayer in the near future.
Do you have gold fever? Join the hunt for the Treasure of the Black Jaguar.
Watch the Temple of the Black Jaguar Trailer:
Here are some great Treasure of the Black Jaguar videos
Art.Life Art Exhibition Downtown Los Angeles – On March 30th, 2013, my close friends and I attended an exciting art opening in downtown Los Angeles – the Art.Life Exhibition. This event was hosted by Amy Demirchian of EWI Collections where a portion of the proceeds were donated to the Los Angeles Art Alliance.
Opening nights of art exhibits are always enjoyable for me and I was pleasantly surprised at the excitement, energy and the honest gratitude I felt from the artists and from many of the people who attended.
The show was on a grand scale and it included such a great mixture of Art from mixed media, oils, prints and some incredible bronze sculptures. This exhibit presented approximately 50 artists in an elegant 30,000 sq. ft. loft and what made it so appealing was that it was great to see so many different forms of artistic expression.
One of the highlights was discovering a new up and coming artist Liz Trdatyan, whose work showed an almost seemless fusion of creativity, technique, style and a strong sense of fashion, all culminating together on the canvas. She uses paints, textiles, and even pieces of poetry to convey her expressions.
My favorite piece called Eccentric Muse, was the artist’s expression of the frustrations and conflicts she faced with her own sense of identity and culture, her struggles as a woman and how Hollywood objectifies beauty, hence most of the face in the painting being covered, except for the beautiful entrancing eyes. The layering and the glazing technique adds a magnificent luster to the painting. This is a truly a one of a kind and excellently composed mixed media work.
Now, moving on to one of my favorite forms of art: sculpture. All of us were definitely impressed and moved by the bronze sculptures of Stuart Kusher, and not just because of the scale of his works, but because of the time he takes to pay attention to the small details, like the gentle sloping of the woman’s breasts as she drifts underwater in Patron Saint of Sanonofre. It is the artist’s mantra of ninety-nine percent observation and one percent application that really shines through in his work. I personally loved the way he infused a fresh twist to this classic medium, the twisted coils of hair and goatee on the Path to Stonehenge, the tree branches and leaves branching out of the head in Afrinesta, and the mohawk in…Mohawk Mafia.
Now it’s time for a little drink, and what can I say about the spirits served around the bar? Another one of my favorite new discoveries is Maya tequila (smooth). The great people at Maya Tequila are rocking with a fantastic and unique bottle design that is sure to win over a lot of hearts! I know it got mine!
Another winner was Mascarade, a new cocktail blend of French Armagnac, vodka, peach and apricot juices. This tasty blend kept my friends going the entire night!
POP! What is art nowadays without representing pop culture? No one does it better than this particular artist, whose iconic imagery of Los Angeles has splashed all over magazines and billboards across town for the past three decades; not to mention that his Art has graced Absolut Vodka bottles. Andre Miripolsky has once again created a fun, bright collection called the Sharks of Los Angeles and the Sharks of Hollywood to keep us uplifted in our spirits and our views of living in this temperamental town.
Andre’s Sharks of Hollywood had all of my friends and I laughing! This painting is a fun, edgy and ballsy take on Hollywood reality. Where else in the world do sharks eat sharks? And shark directors eat their own films? Oh and some of these Sharks are even on rollerskates?!? Welcome to the hilariously entertaining and fascinating world of Andre Miripolsky.
Hollywood spoiler alert: Don’t get eaten by the sharks….., well, you certainly won’t by Andre, whose happy, honest and humble personality really left a significant impression on me and had me walking away feeling like I met a true gentleman, honorable and full of integrity.
Liz Trdatyan, Stuart Kusher and Andre Miripolsky are artists that are on the rise and worth watching and most importantly worth supporting and buying their work. All in all a good time was had by everyone. Art.Life is a must see event and well worth your time. My friends and I look forward to the next Art.Life Exhibition.
Fiesta Movement Rides Again! @FordFiesta Fashion w/ @ParrisHarris @LoriMoreno @AzmythKaminski @EdMagik
A remarkable Celebrity Oscar Suite & Party – Kathy Duliakas‘ 5th Annual Celebrity Oscar Suite & Party Benefiting the KIND Campaign was an event to remember. My hat goes off to Kathy Duliakas. Wow! What a massive undertaking to produce this incredible event and it was quite obvious from the start that this event was created and produced from the heart.
The Taglyan Complex in Hollywood is a prime and perfect event location that has everything to offer; from their awesome grand ballroom, beautiful garden oasis, food catering (Taglyan’s own Divine Food and Catering created some amazing eats!) and plenty of parking to mention a few. Thanks to Parris Harris, I have been lucky to be a part of several amazing Fashion Shows that he has produced there.
Most importantly, I was very happy to find out this event benifited the KIND Campaign. The Founders Lauren Parsekian and Molly Thompson were on hand to spread awareness about girl-against-girl “crime” and to support their efforts to launch KIND KITS this fall. Many Celebrities filmed PSA’s against bullying before they entered the gifting suite.
Anti-Bullying is a cause that is very near and dear to my heart. Bullying is unacceptable and I am glad it is getting the attention that it deserves.
I was very honored to be a part of this event and the Social Media / Twitter Lounge. Together along with a group of Social Media Influencers; Lori Moreno, Dana Waldie, Holly Follis, Evangelina Rexes, we rocked the hashtag #SweeetSwag and created a ton of buzz across all forms of social media. It truly was an interactive experience and people from all over the world had the opportunity to join in on the fun, conversation and ask celebrities questions in real time.
The event featured numerous brands such as Maleku Jewelry®, LA SkinAesthetics, MEGUMI•O™, Beach Girls, Isabeau™, Divine Food and Catering, LEX Cosmetics™, DharmaSmart, GOGA by Gordana, Julie Lopez, Nina.B.Roze®, Twisted Silver®, Hot Iron Holster®, Perch™ By TII, Single® by Galina Sobolev, Tough Luv®, Trips 4 Fundraising™, Big. Bold. Fierce.®, Beverly Hills Cosmetic Surgery Center, Chilanthropy™, Nava Natural, M.B. York™, Kah® Tequila, Eco Swim™, Nick Chavez® Beverly Hills, Divine Food and Catering, The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf®, Joia® All Natural Soda, NitroCream, Photo Booth Pro, 9021Pho, Zing® Vodka, Twistband®, ShowStoppers®, Soaptopia®, 95 & Sunny, Hawaiian Springs® Water, Justin’s®, LUNA®, Pirate’s Booty, Pretzel Crips®, Erewhon, Tea Forté®, Zestra®.
The Celebrity Guests that attended was a huge list included Adrienne Maloof (The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills), Jason Isaacs (Harry Potter), Joe Mantegna (Criminal Minds), Rory Cochrane (Argo – Won Oscar® for Best Picture), Jackson Pace (Homeland), Lucy Alibar (Oscar® Nominee – Writer, Beasts of the Southern Wild), Ali Saam (Argo – Won Oscar® for Best Picture), Carly Chaikin (Suburgatory), Tara Summers (Hitchcock, Ringer), Jason George (Gray’s Anatomy), Wes Ramsey (CSI: Miami), Matt Nolan (Argo – Won Oscar® for Best Picture), Natasha Henstridge (The Secret Circle), Gilles Marini (Switched At Birth), Nicholas Bishop (Body of Proof), Todd Lasance (Spartacus: War of the Damned), Tiffany Brouwer (The Help), Judi Shekoni (The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2), Jay Harrington (Hot in Cleveland), Carly Rose Sonenclar (The X Factor Finalist), Matthew Fahey (Awkward), Nikki Deloach (Awkward), Sophie Winkleman (Two and a Half Men), Sean Stone (Savages), Sandra Vergara (The Devil’s Ink), Pandora Vanderpump (Vanderpump Rules), Marilu Henner (Celebrity Apprentice – All Star), Renee Olstead (The Secret Life of the American Teenager), Caitlin Thompson (90210), LuAnn de Lesseps (The Real Housewives of New York City), Briana Evigan (Step Up 2: The Streets), Amy Rider (The Secret Life of the American Teenager), Stephanie Pratt (The Hills), Carolyn Hennesy (True Blood, General Hospital), Brian White (Beauty & the Beast), Chelsie Hightower (Dancing with the Stars), Bonnie Wright (Harry Potter), Victor Alfieri (Southland), Cas Anvar (Diana), Rowly Dennis (Jane by Design), Charlene Amoia (American Reunion), Okera Banks (VH1 Style Expert), Patricia Velasquez (The L Word), Kristen Quintrall (The Helpers), Carly Steel (TV Guide Network On-Air Host), Danielle Nicolet (X-Men), Nikki Tomlinson (The Funny Man), Jill Marie Jones (Girlfriends), Ariane Bellamar (Beverly Hills Nannies), Amy Paffrath (Trend This!), Matthew Hoffman (On Air Personality), Lauren Parsekian and Molly Thompson (Kind Campaign), and more!
A remarkable Celebrity Oscar Suite & Party – I look forward to Kathy Duliakas’ next Annual Celebrity Oscar Suite & Party. It truly was a day to remember. Not to mention I got to meet some incredible people and run into a few old friends! Plus I got to finally meet Actor Brian White. Brian and I have been tweeting each other for years and it was great to finally met in person.
Many Thanks and Blessings to Kathy Duliakas, Dana Waldie, Melanie Marden and Kathy’s great staff / team! It was fabulous to meet and talk with Ali Saam, Nicholas Bishop, Sean Stone, Wes Ramsey, Gilles Marini, Jay Harrington and so many others! Big Thanks to Kurt from Joia® All Natural Soda, Debra Mitchell from Twisted Silver®, OMG Lori Moreno & I had so much at the Photo Booth Pro LOL
Rockin’ the Oscars omg! Insider style – This year’s Academy Awards proved fantastic like no other! The red carpet was Fabulous and together with the omg! Insider Twitterati we were rockin’ the tweets live from the OMG! Insider Studios on the CBS lot.
You had the amazing Anne Hathaway looking “classic” in Prada, Naomi Watts “out of this world” in Giorgio Armani Prive, Charlize Theron “White, sharp & Flowing” in Dior Haute Couture and the “Silver Lining” of Jennifer Lawrence in Dior Haute Coutue. Glamorous with a capital G.
Congrats to Quentin Tarantino. I’m so glad he won the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay for Django Unchained. It was such a powerful and moving film. I met Django producer Reginald Hudlin at the PGA screening they had for us members and I told him you guys are winning best picture and screenplay. One for two. Also, I loved Argo and I’m very happy that Ben Affleck and his team won Best Picture.
It was a fast and frenzied pace at the OMG! Insider Studios as all of the Twitterati were tweeting, cheering, clapping and having a grand time as we “owned” Twitter! It was amazing as were Trending on Twitter Worldwide and in the United States.
THANK YOU DEPARTMENT:
HUGE & SUPER THANKS to Bryan Moore, Brad Bessey and Nina Parker for hosting this fabulous event! Thank you Marie Walker Riddle for the cool swag bags you graciously provided us with and for the use of your great photography.
The Entire OMG! Insider staff and crew for being so inviting, gracious, polite and professional. Together we rocked it!
THANK YOU TO OUR SPONSORS:
Samsung for the Awesome Samsung Galaxy Note II! The Twitterati rocked the #GalaxyAtWork hashtag! Thank you Katie from Edelman! I really look forward to tweeting from this amazing phone! Samsung + Galaxy Note II = Grateful. Love you Guys!
Yael Lustmann from Sweet Crush Ice Bar – Wow everything was absolutely fantastic and sweet! Look forward coming into your store!
Check my previous blog from the OMG! Studios:
Together we worked the social media networks and our teamwork paid off! #omgInsider was Trending Worldwide on Twitter three times!
A HUGE Thanks to Thea Andrews Kevin Frazier and Michael Yo for lettings us tweet from their chairs on the set of OMG! Insider Studios on the CBS lot. You guys are awesome! PS. We love where you guys hide your Mintz from Trader Joe’s LOL
OMG! Insider #HashTagMoments at the Grammys – Wow there we so many hilariously fun filled #HashTagMoments all of us kept saying, “We can’t wait for the Academy Awards!” Wow did Justin Timberlake rock the #Grammys house Frank Sinatra style or what?!?!
A Huge Thanks to Calvin Lee at Mayhem Studios for the cool T Shirts! Cheers and a huge thanks to all the Amazing Staff at the OMG! Insider. Also check out the #omgInsider Twitterati Queen @LoriMoreno ‘s blog: