Category: Entertainment & GRAMMY Central

Football in Los Angeles

Football in Los Angeles

Defensive tackle (9) Aaron Donald of the Los Angeles Rams against the Seattle Seahawks during the Rams 9-3 victory over the Seahawks in an NFL Week 2 game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Sunday, September 18, 2016, in Los Angeles, CA. (Jeff Lewis/Rams)

Defensive tackle (9) Aaron Donald of the Los Angeles Rams against the Seattle Seahawks during the Rams 9-3 victory over the Seahawks in an NFL Week 2 game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Sunday, September 18, 2016, in Los Angeles, CA. (Jeff Lewis/Rams)

By Debbie Emery

Los Angeles seemingly has everything — beaches, mountains, diverse culture, award-winning restaurants, the coolest bars and the hottest clubs.

But one thing it didn’t have for over two decades was an NFL team. While the Lakers and Clippers had NBA fans fulfilled, the Dodgers and Angels entertained during the baseball season, and the Kings and Galaxy offered action on the ice and the soccer pitch — football Sundays were a quiet time in the City of Angels.

That all changed last year, when after years of teasing, the NFL officially announced that the Rams were returning to L.A. The Rams originally played here from 1946-1979, before moving to Anaheim from 1980-1994, and then to St. Louis, Missouri.

Suddenly L.A. had a team again, with an exciting young quarterback in number one draft pick Jared Goff, a star running back in Todd Gurley, and — in true Hollywood style — a TV crew following them around for HBO’s “Hard Knocks,” plus E! reality show “Hollywood & Football,” which chronicles the lives of the players’ wives and girlfriends as they transition to California.

Their presence couldn’t be ignored -— even by impatient commuters who stared up at mammoth billboards proclaiming “We’re Home,” featuring a Goliath-sized Aaron Donald leaping over the Griffith Observatory.

The Rams’ temporary home at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum is also steeped in local history. The 93,607-capacity venue has been home to the USC Trojans since 1923, it hosted the 1932 and 1984 Summer Olympic Games, the Dodgers played there until Dodger Stadium was built in 1962, and even The Boss has performed there. When it comes to the NFL, the Rams, Chargers and Raiders have all hosted games at the Coliseum over the decades.

The modern day Rams are just lodgers at the Coliseum until their shiny new $1.9 billion stadium is built on a 298-acre site in Inglewood. Excavation at the new location began late last year, the digging will take six to eight months and it is scheduled to open in time for the 2019 NFL season.

Along with becoming one of the most sought-after stadiums in the NFL — giving Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clarita, the Dallas Cowboys’ AT&T Stadium and the Minnesota Vikings U.S. Bank Stadium a run for their money — the mixed-use community will include residential units, a manmade lake and a revamped casino.

It is also located less than four miles from Los Angeles International Airport, which is convenient for visiting players and fans — making L.A. an potential hub for sports tourism. Time a trip right in October (post season schedules permitting), fans could potentially go to a football, basketball, baseball and hockey game all in one weekend. Then they could pop up to Santa Anita to watch the horse racing too!

Understanding how important access to travel is for all those involved in the NFL, the Rams are official partners with American Airlines, teaming up for community events, fan rallies and player meet-and-greets. When it comes to the expanding NFL International Series, Virgin Atlantic is the official sponsor for teams and fans flying to England for American football games. The Rams will be making that 11-hour flight once a season for the next three years for “home” games while their new stadium is being built so they’ll be getting pretty familiar with that route!

For team owner Stan Kroenke, it is all part of building their brand in the U.S. and abroad. Also the owner of London’s Premier League club, Arsenal, the business entrepreneur is keen to unite the fan bases of both teams.

Back here in L.A., the Rams also have partnerships with the Los Angeles Clippers, the Hollywood Bowl, Film Independent Spirit Awards, Universal Music Group, American Film Institute and British Academy of Film and Television Arts – Los Angeles chapter.

With all those glamorous connections, the Rams are proving they really are part of the future of Los Angeles. However, no one said it was going to be easy — and it hasn’t been. It’s been a rollercoaster return for the organization so far for their first season back in Southern California in 22 years.

Regardless of how the season ended, the fans have proven that they are fully behind their team, and after setting the record with the largest crowd to ever watch a preseason football game in U.S. history with nearly 90,000 fans in attendance, the Rams sold out their home opener and have boasted consistently high ticket sales since.

Are the Rams going to win the Super Bowl soon? Maybe. That’s still to be determined. Is the ride going to be fun to follow? That’s guaranteed!


Defensive linemen sign autographs for kids at the Kids Autograph Tent on Day 1 of Rams Training Camp on the campus of UC Irvine, Saturday, July 30, 2016, in Irvine, CA. (Jeff Lewis/Rams)

Defensive linemen sign autographs for kids at the Kids Autograph Tent on Day 1 of Rams Training Camp on the campus of UC Irvine, Saturday, July 30, 2016, in Irvine, CA. (Jeff Lewis/Rams)

Player Profile: Aaron Donald

Aaron Donald has a sweet personality. He’s from Pittsburg and is now a bonafide NFL star. He’s making his way (with his young family) as an important part of the L.A. Rams. It’s good to remember that he is just 25 years old and only a few years outside of attending college at University of Pittsburg.

Q & A With Aaron Donald
LAX Magazine: Can you talk about the process of moving from college to NFL, and also moving out here?

Aaron Donald: The difference from college to NFL is the speed of the game. Guys in the NFL are a lot bigger, a lot faster, and more athletic. I am just getting used to the speed of the game and, the play book is a lot bigger too. There are a lot of things to learn but it has been a good transition. Moving from St. Louis to L.A. is a lot different too — a way bigger city, and more opportunities out here. At the end of the day football is football. When you see that green field it’s the same everywhere.

LAX Magazine: Have you gotten a chance to get to know Los Angeles?

Aaron Donald: I’ve been pretty much focused on football. I know Thousand Oaks like the back of my hand.

LAX Magazine: When you were growing up in Pittsburgh, who were your NFL idols?

Aaron Donald: I grew up a big Pittsburgh Steelers fan. You gotta be a Pittsburgh Steelers fan in Pittsburgh, you know. I grew up a big Jerome Bettis fan. I used to play full back so I thought I’d be a running back one day. But I ate myself out that position.

LAX Magazine: Do you travel much outside of work travel?

Aaron Donald: I really don’t travel. I don’t. I’m a boring person.

LAX Magazine: What do you do on your down time?

Aaron Donald: Relax with my family. Watch film and give my body rest. That’s it. I’m a boring person. I don’t do much.

Sounds like the perfect football player to us!


Antonio Lysy, Holidays with Bach

Antonio Lysy, Holidays with Bach

Antonio Lysy Photo credit Paul Flanagan

Antonio Lysy
Photo credit Paul Flanagan

Cellist Antonio Lysy’s upcoming show is generating a lot of buzz with the classical music set. Having recently played to a sold out house for several performances of a production at The Broad Stage in Los Angeles, Lysy will be undertaking the extraordinary feat of performing Johannes Sebastian Bach’s entire collection of solo suites for cello in a single show. In what promises to be a unique musical experience being performed at the very same venue, the rarely performed full set of all six suites, the December 20th show, Holidays with Bach, is a hot ticket.

Lysy’s previous and critically acclaimed show, Te Amo Argentina, engaged the audience in a visually passionate journey through Argentina, celebrating its diverse culture and music. Te Amo also featured music written expressly for the internationally celebrated cellist by well-known Argentine film composer and pianist, Lalo Schifrin. The show went on to become one of the few Cello centered recordings to ever win a Latin Grammy. That is a milestone of which his late father, renowned violinist, Argentina native, and personal inspiration, Alberto Lysy, surely would have been proud.

In a similar concept, Holidays with Bach will enhance Bach’s compositions with multimedia enhancements that further engage the audience to experience and connect more with the music. The concept comes from answering the question, “Where do you want to be when you hear this music? Where do I feel it should be played,” Lysy explained. Keeping the focus on the music, Lysy says the background projections “are simply ornaments, complimentary, and not obtrusive… bringing the audience closer to the music.” The Broad is described by Lysy as one of his absolute favorite venues to perform in citing the perfect intimacy and “balance of size and sound.”

It is a challenge to not only perform the string of suites (with only one intermission), but also evoke the audiences’ emotion. That’s the goal. “It’s like a Grand Slam in Tennis,” the cellist says of the upcoming feat. Recognizing the intensity of this accomplishment, Lysy is readying himself like a champion with a sports psychology coach and implementing techniques as applied to musical training. There is a mental preparation not unlike one who prepares for a marathon. “It is strenuous,” the cellist asserts of the physicality side of it. The coach is basing his training on his dissertation which is instrumental in helping Lysy get into good ‘musical’ shape. The coach is a recent graduate of UCLA, where Lysy also teaches and helped develop the University’s official Department of Music thanks to a generous grant from the Herb Alpert Foundation.

UCLA Professor by day and internationally celebrated cellist by night, the Italian born Lysy seems have a clear goal for the accessibility of classical music both in performing it and a student’s understanding of it. And balance plays a key role in doing so. Soon after graduating and putting his musical talents to use professionally, he also realized his gift for teaching while in Toronto, Canada. Lysy began to understand how each provides “…unique opportunities to nurture. They both motivate and inspire in tandem,” he explains. “I love both and can’t do without either.” Since seizing the opportunities to teach as well as perform in L.A., he, his wife, and their three children have found a “crescendo of welcoming in Los Angeles.”

One of Professor Lysy’s philosophies in teaching and performing is to take a “new perspective” in playing and comprehending classical music. “You don’t have to do what everyone else is doing,” he tells his UCLA students. “I encourage students to find talent in their own uniqueness,” he reveals. One could easily see that with Holidays with Bach, Lysy also teaches by example in applying that philosophy and giving a sensory experience to the audience, to “inspire them in a whole new way. We need that.”


Bing Crosby Season, Fall at Del Mar

Bing Crosby Season, Fall at Del Mar

Fall Paddock

It’s all about fall tidings and bringing back the old-school Hollywood vibe the seaside oval was founded on with the ‘Bing Crosby Season’ taking off on Thursday, October 29. This nostalgic season will present superior racing along with a lineup of engaging events during the five-week run. One of those happenings will be the glamorous Opening Day Vintage Hollywood Fashion Contest where fashion historians can conjure their inner golden age starlet or favorite celebrity icon. Up to $3,000 in prizes will be given out to the winners of each category: Best Dressed Couple, Best Celebrity Lookalike and Most Glamorous.

Other seasonal events include a Fall Gourmet Food Truck Festival on Saturday, November 7 and Del Mar’s Beer and Cider Festival offering more than 100 local and international brews and ciders all in one place on Saturday, November 28.  Additionally, there will be a special racing card on Thanksgiving Day with an early 11 a.m. post time along with a One Mile Family Fun Run at 8 a.m., where running enthusiasts and families with kids can stretch their legs on the backstretch as they loop around the 1-mile dirt track.

Vintage Hollywood Fashion

Vintage Hollywood Fashion

Saturday, November 14 is Fleece Pullover Giveaway Day. Guests entering through the gates will receive a free pullover sweater. There are also unique dining opportunities to be had every single weekend throughout ‘Bing Crosby Season’ with re-occurring events such as Daybreak at Del Mar, providing visitors fresh breakfast fare with breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean during the morning workouts from 8 – 10 a.m. each Saturday.

Every Sunday brunch lovers can rejoice at Bing+Bubbles+Brunch in the Turf Club and enjoy bottomless mimosas, a rotating menu by popular San Diego chef Brian Malarkey and a Turf Club table for the race day.

L.A. Art Goes BOOM For Real

L.A. Art Goes BOOM For Real

Kent Twitchell

Kent Twitchell

Kent Twitchell

Kent Twitchell has the kind of career that provides a blueprint for aspiring professional visual artists. If you’ve spent time driving in Los Angeles then you’ve undoubtedly seen his work. Huge, photo-realist murals that depict subjects staring back at the viewer. His art includes a giant image of the L.A. Chamber Orchestra; eight stories high, overlooking the Harbor Freeway in downtown Los Angeles. Twitchell didn’t set out to paint murals — he started out in the “hippie days” when it wasn’t unusual to put images on walls. At the time he began painting his Monuments to American Cultural Heroes his passion for it led him to paint more and more murals. In other words, he was driven.

Twitchell has been an artist since childhood. When he went to kindergarten the teacher made “a big fuss” over his drawings. His uncle taught him one stroke lettering when he was 14, and by the time he was in high school, he was able to paint letters on trucks. This was in the 1950s. Kent became used to seeing his work in public — on trucks and other businesses. He credits this early experience as the fundamental reason he became a public artist. After a stint as an illustrator in the Air Force, he became an illustrator for JCPenney in Atlanta. After a year in this work he moved west to Los Angeles and stayed with his uncle in Monterey Park. At that time college beckoned and he attended East Los Angeles College, Cal State L.A. and then Otis College of Art and Design.

The Los Angeles Mural Conservatory was largely started because Twitchell’s The Freeway Lady was painted over by the building owner. Initially, Twitchell felt like the owner of building could do what he liked, but members of the L.A. art community were irate — especially Bill Lasarow, publisher and editor of ArtScene. The initial lawsuit was won in 1992, which established the law which states that building owners are required to notify the artist if they plan to paint over or destroy an existing mural. The artist must be given notice so they can move or archive the mural.

These days, Twitchell has finished his second version of The Freeway Lady at Los Angeles Valley College. Next he will create his second version of Edward Ruscha, which is going up at the American Hotel in the Arts District of Downtown L.A. When asked about retirement, the 73-year-old says that he never thinks about retiring because what he’s doing is not really work. It is just play and most people who do what they love are just playing hard.

Levi Ponce Photo by Leonardo Tejeda

Levi Ponce
Photo by Leonardo Tejeda

Levi Ponce

Levi Ponce is the heir apparent to the large scale Los Angeles, (and San Fernando Valley) mural scene. Inspired by Kent Twitchell in his youth, and his father, Hector Ponce, who is also a muralist; Ponce was five when they moved from the Pico-Union neighborhood in Los Angeles to Pacoima — a community located deep in the San Fernando Valley. He was struck by the lack of art in Pacoima compared to the realist murals by Twitchell that he missed from living in Central Los Angeles. In 2011, at the age of 24, Ponce set out to bring large-scale public art to Pacoima. At the time, he asked the city for funding and was turned down. While city officials wouldn’t financially support his vision, the community of Pacoima donated paint and sometimes residents would hang out while he painted. They would bring music, water and food and some even picked up a paintbrush to help. The community was hungry for art and appreciated his efforts. A feature on Good Day LA brought a lot of attention to his work on Van Nuys Boulevard in Pacoima, and the area quickly became a destination for artistic tours of Los Angeles. Mayor Garcetti even chose this area as part of the Great Streets Initiative. Ponce’s vision is to continue to bring art to underserved communities sharing his knowledge with others who want to create community based art. Keep an eye on to stay abreast of his work.


Bunnie Reiss

Bunnie Reiss

Bunnie Reiss

Bunnie Reiss is a recent transplant from Oakland to Los Angeles. Educated on full ride scholarships from the SF Art Institute and Pont-Aven School of Contemporary Art in France. She took education seriously and achieved a master’s degree in painting. Her latest body of work is based on Plato’s Cosmology. Plato believed the universe needs order and symmetry to exist. That it does not exist in chaos. Her images and characters reflect symmetry and balance taking on both cosmic and human form. Some characters are depicted as delivering messages, searching for their mates and representing their past, present and future selves.

Reiss’ process starts in the sketchbook. She is “big on process” and takes her time drawing and taking notes as she draws. When a bigger idea comes she goes through her previous sketchbooks to map out a story using existing characters. Once it is time to paint, Reiss mixes her own colors. Years of studying color have given her the ability to get the exact color of her vision. She doesn’t shy away from bright colors and paints freehand. She says that she likes to paint on rocks as it’s good practice and she likes the curvature.

With regard to her move from Oakland to L.A., Reiss says that L.A. is better for her at this stage in her career because the city is full of creative people. She says, “It’s one of the only big cities in the United States that can house artists and give them projects and income to survive. With that comes an energy that doesn’t always sustain but is really great to be involved with for as long as it lasts.”

Aaron Rivera

Aaron Rivera

Aaron Rivera

Contemporary painter, Aaron Rivera, made a tough decision more than two years ago with his partner. They decided to leave the changing social landscape of long-time home, San Francisco, for Los Angeles. It is a move many San Francisco artists are making. Ever since, Rivera has continued to find inspiration and create opportunity in the diverse communities of Los Angeles that are reflected in his work.

His latest collection titled Monsters of Leisure is a series of paintings depicting “hedonistic states of revelry…pure emotion, with subjects who are totally oblivious to the concept of responsibility,” as Rivera describes. The bird-like figures portrayed in the leisurely scenes are, as he elaborates, “stylistic vehicle to play with shapes and color while illustrating scenes that people could project their own references onto.” This is reflective of his early inspiration by Greek art which tends to give dimensional storytelling about society.

Today, Rivera’s inspiration has him earning a living in a city burgeoning with possibilities by way of dedicated hard work. He has also found new opportunities professionally in the field of stop-motion animation. His work continues to evolve since his migration south. The artist finds himself more and more influenced by people, a heavy consumption of a variety of media, and the local scenes.

Rivera is fueled by time spent with his family and friends, but that does not prevent him from enjoying travel. He loves the “textured and alive” scene in Mexico City. Back at home in L.A., he explores the assortment of inspiring neighborhoods. Some of his favorite hotspots include Pine and Crane on Sunset Boulevard and the Commissary at the Line Hotel. Rivera also likes outdoor adventures, opting on weekends to leave the car behind and rent a bike, or hop the subway to Pershing Square and roam the popular Grand Central Market, or meander in the fashion district. Sometimes inspiration is easily found in a leisurely walk in his local ‘hood’ of Los Feliz.

Axel Wilhite

Axel Wilhite

Axel Wilhite

Axel Wilhite is a local painter who was born and raised in Los Angeles. He is currently living and working near LAX in Hawthorne; he jokingly says that the township is a few years away from being an art mecca. With no formal training in art he does have a sensitivity to storytelling and creating characters. He loves to bring audiences to strange places by offering familiar images in a skewed context. His latest series of work involves painting on the bills of failed Zimbabwe currency. In a world where economies collapse in the blink of an eye, he loves the fascinating absurdity of painting seascapes, intricate insects or the flaming Deepwater Horizon rig on one hundred trillion dollar bills. He’s working on thirty pieces for a show in Paris scheduled for December.

Raised by a sculptor dad and art conservator mom, he’s been surrounded by art his whole life. After witnessing his father struggle, he did not consider making a living by creating art. He attained a graduate degree in fictional writing at NYU but found that he couldn’t afford to live in New York. He ventured to Japan to continue his Kendo martial arts training while studying swordsmanship. Living in Japan made him feel like a “cultural fish out of water” and he had difficulty connecting with people. Harnessing his cultural anxiety into art, he started painting on Japanese menko cards. Thus began his style of painting on pre-printed surfaces from menko to Audubon bird prints and antique maps.

While he doesn’t show much in Los Angeles — he does get invitations to show in Europe — his fascinating artwork is available to view online or at his studio in Hawthorne.

Brian Ricci

Brian Ricci

Bryan Ricci

Bryan Ricci moved to Los Angeles from New York fifteen years ago to study for his graduate degree at Otis College of Art and Design. That was after finishing his undergraduate degree from SUNY in upstate New York. He supplements his income by teaching and feels teaching art is good for his own practice. Painting is isolating, while accepting a teaching role forces one to be in the company of others, and to reflect on one’s own practice. Ricci’s painting style has evolved from landscapes created in graduate school to his recent bold and colorful abstract pieces. Pushing paint through the back of raw linen creates his current groups of paintings. His work starts with a vision of a group of colors. In the beginning of his process he’s not entirely sure of the outcome. For Ricci, it’s about the “physicality of the paint” versus the actual picture. He interacts with his work by using new layers of pigment as it reacts to previous layers. He knows his painting is complete when his irritation level reaches a breaking point! The process seems to be working for him because his paintings are beautiful. It’s important to see Ricci’s work in person and there are a couple painting available to view at Sherle Wagner in Beverly Hills.

Jovi Schnell

Jovi Schnell

Jovi Schnell

Jovi Schnell lives in Angeleno Heights with her husband who is a wood worker at the woodshop collective, Off The Saw. And, yes, speaking with Schnell feels like walking into an episode of Portlandia. She is lovely, bursting with creativity and says that she gathers inspiration from a hovering vision in her third eye area that emerges on long walks, while bathing, or doodling in her notebook. She’s been working in Los Angeles for several years but is now studying for an MFA from UC Berkeley. Her work has the look of Folk Art but she’s hesitant to describe it as such for fear of not seeming “accessible.” She feels that it’s important for her work to be viewed by different audiences, and her public installations in places such as skate parks are her solution to artwork being available to a wider audience.

Schnell’s creative process starts with a massive flow of ideas. From there she jots down her ideas and literally pulls them out of a bucket to let kismet run its course. Her process goes from thought to brush to paper working diligently. Her collage pieces are very intricate and led to her work using cutouts. She started that series with paint samples from the local hardware store. They were free, colorful and inspiring.

She agrees that over the last decade, Los Angeles has been sourcing great artists. The draw has been the caliber of cultural institutions arriving in Los Angeles as well as the flow of artists moving to L.A. creating a large community of artists with access to space. She adds that the downside is certain galleries are not surviving unless they partake in huge international shows such as Art Basel in Miami.

Deedee Cherie

Deedee Cherie

Deedee Cheriel

The current darling of the L.A. art scene is Deedee Cheriel who just sold out her August 2015 show at MK Gallery. Hailing from Eugene, Oregon she has traveled all over the world which has critically influenced Cheriel’s work. When home in Eugene, she’s surrounded by chickens, bikes, blackberries and organic gardens. It’s a hard adjustment to return to the competitive landscape of Los Angeles where dinner party conversations revolve around the latest professional achievement. She says that she tries not to define herself by accomplishments in an effort to avoid setting herself up for unhappiness. She sticks to working on subjects which are “deeply important” to her and there she finds peace in her work.

Cheriel moved to Los Angeles in her late 20s pursuing a creative life. The Pacific Northwest had yet to develop into the creative mecca that it is today. Her first project in L.A. was as a production designer on a semi-autobiographical movie she co-wrote about a girl rock band. To this day, Cheriel finds that the production and film community support her work. Creative people consume and value art, so they buy it. She’s worked on and off in the film industry to support her ability to work on her art — her film gigs were her “day job” and afforded her a flexible painting schedule.

Cheriel’s style is constantly evolving. Her use of recurring characters is not intentional but is now part of an aesthetic expectation. While Cheriel was living in Santiago, Chile, reading One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez she fell in love with magical realism. At that time her bandmate’s girlfriend had a pitchy voice and they lived on the 22nd floor of an urban high-rise. This is the precise moment when she imagined the woman as a bird living in a cage. It was the first time she though of painting people as animals, a style that permeates her work to this day.

Sweet, Sweet Music

Sweet, Sweet Music

Motown: The Musical

Motown: The Musical

Motown: The Musical opened last night at Hollywood Pantages Theatre.

It’s not everyday that you get to see music legend, Barry Gordy Jr, dance on stage at the Pantages Theatre. Last night the chairman got down after a terrific show celebrating the story and the history of Motown Records, which he started in 1959 in Detroit. The story is told in a family, feel-good way that chronicles the early days of Junior’s stuttering career and failed marriage. His large, loving family – who worked together in the family grocery business – decided to lend him $800 to start a record company after he had moderate success selling songs. His best friend and constant sidekick throughout the story is Smokey Robinson. His girl – though they never married – was Diana Ross and her story was just as interesting as his.

Motown: The Musical

Motown: The Musical

When watching the show, one can’t help but feel the parallels of today. The riots in Baltimore after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. are addressed as Marvin Gaye moves towards protest music. The story of Diana Ross has a Beyoncé feel as the brightest star of a female vocal group goes off on her own and parlays her fame into a movie feature in Lady Sings The Blues.

There’s also the pilgrimage from Detroit to Los Angeles, which is timed with the discovery of Michael Jackson and the Jackson Five. And the eventual decline of the label that continued to create hits by Smokey and Stevie Wonder but couldn’t close the gap after losing Marvin, Michael and Diana to larger labels with more money.

The show is simply terrific and filled with brilliantly performed Motown favorites and a heartfelt dialog sharing an American success story when we need it most. Since it was opening night, the producer got on stage to congratulate the cast and to invite the man of the evening, THE Barry Gordy Jr, to say a few words. They were: Thank you.

The show runs until June 7th.


Cruzmatik, Connoisseurs of California Style

Cruzmatik, Connoisseurs of California Style

Cruzmatik at LAX!

Cruzmatik at LAX!

Cruzmatik is a pair of great musicians named Reggie Stevens and Jason Williams. They are, as the name implies, from Santa Cruz and have a rap meets rock vibe producing fun Cali sounds that are prefect for the beach party or after party. The two have known each other since childhood when Reggie moved from Shreveport, Louisiana to Santa Cruz. They went to high school together but then Reggie headed east on a football scholarship eventually signing on with the NFL. After playing for the New York Giants, Kansas City Chiefs and Denver Broncos, he headed to Europe to play arena football. When Reggie came back to the States to play for an arena team in Nashville, he ended up playing on country music superstar Tim McGraw’s team.

Upon meeting Mr. McGraw, Reggie communicated that he had an interest in preforming rap music. McGraw made an introduction and then Reggie had a record deal. After experiencing moderate success as a solo rap artist, Reggie’s record label folded and he found himself living in Santa Monica and feeling stuck. He headed home to Santa Cruz where he reconnected with Jason.

Jason had also been working in the arts, as a singer in a California style rock band, Ribsy’s Nickel, popular with the surf and skate crowd. He is also an avid snowboarder and motocross aficionado. Reggie felt that his rapping and Jason’s rock sound would blend well together so he approached Jason and asked for his time to commit to Cruzmatik.

They’ve done well while having fun and sharing their philosophy of life. Jason has grown both personally and professionally. He’s now running business meetings.  Everyone else is dressed in suits and ties and he’s wearing his usual skateboard-esqe outfit. He’s also discovered how to go with the flow and appreciate happenstance. When they got their distribution deal with Empire Distribution out of San Francisco, Ghazi Shami, CEO and founder, told them that he needed content — specifically videos. So they got to work and produced five great videos that are available to enjoy on Vemo. On their first video for “Party Don’t Stop,” they were set up to shoot at a local Santa Cruz nightclub, five days before the start of filming they heard from the nightclub manager — a friend — who said that he could no longer offer the club for filming. Instead of blowing up, JWillz said, “no problem” and they ended up securing an art gallery to replace the nightclub. The art gallery was located above an abandoned Wrigley gum factory that they used to film their party scene. With the help of veteran director, Tha Razor, the video turned out far better than if they had stuck with the nightclub.

Cruzmatik is a great example of California style and California fun. Check out their videos on Vemo and keep an eye on this dynamic duo.

MC LYTE, Inspire and Lead: The Root of this Hip Hop Icon’s Legacy

MC LYTE, Inspire and Lead: The Root of this Hip Hop Icon’s Legacy



LS: You have been classified as an activist, artist, actress, radio host, author, and philanthropist — Hip Hop Sisters Foundation, HHSF, is the perfect meld of all of these into one personal legacy. Through your activism, participation, and leadership, the Foundation is offering its initial scholarship this year. How many years have you invested in culminating the idea for HHSF?

Lyte: Thank you for the acknowledgment. I launched Hip Hop Sisters Artistry in 2006 and it focuses on the artist, dj, and dancer by giving them a platform to network and discover other artists that love Hip Hop just as much as they do. The Foundation side was launched last year, in 2012. Throughout the years I’ve lent my name and celebrity to many causes and finally, I thought starting my own organization would be a great idea. Not long after sitting with Lynn Richardson; who acts as COO for a foundation Russell Simmons founded, Hip Hop Summit Action Network; we were on our way. Lynn now serves as President of HHSF and is in charge of putting all of our programs together.

LS: HHSF is awarding the scholarship to a University of Wisconsin entering freshman. What drew you to the University of Wisconsin, Madison?

Lyte: The University of Wisconsin, Madison felt like a perfect fit. Lynn, our president, sourced the partnership out with a gentleman who runs a program there at the University called First Wave. The MC Lyte/First Wave $100,000 Scholarship is an opportunity for a high school graduate to attend the University for four years, tuition free.



LS: Will you be able to visit with the scholarship awardees?

Lyte: Absolutely, and I’ve met the two winners who will attend this semester. We announced the winners during the Soul Train Awards festivities. The winners and their families attended the awards ceremony; it was amazing!!

LS: Will the scholar have a chance to experience the music business with you and other HHSF Advisors?

Lyte: The program/curriculum at the University will have the students quite busy throughout the school year. The focus with First Wave is Academics, Activism and the Arts. While majoring in medicine, law or business they also get to develop their craft as Hip Hop artists, poets, actors, writers, etc. They will also travel and perform their craft in many places throughout their four years at Madison.

LS: Does the formation of HHSF aspire to become well-known?

Lyte: Sure! I believe there is still much to be done. Although the students have the opportunity to attend school for free they still require textbooks, food, and travel money to go back and forth to their homes during holidays.

LS: Does HHSF help rid the negative image of females in hip-hop?

Lyte: Our aim is to help young girls define themselves for themselves: to restore self-love and self-respect. They shouldn’t be so easily deterred and convinced that they are less than God’s children. Though several of today’s Hip Hop lyrics say they are less than, it is important that they learn they are so much more.

LS: How can female listeners translate Hip Hop into a positive message?

Lyte: Now that’s difficult! It depends on who you’re listening to. I wouldn’t write the entire genre off, however I would get specific with what I allow to be pumped into my ears on an ongoing basis. Searching for the Hip Hop that speaks to you is golden.

LS: Reaching the youth can be difficult. What outreach, other than the website do you use: local churches, schools, and performance events?

Lyte: Yes, all of the above! We also partner with local organizations that already have a strong presence in the communities we’re looking to make an impact in.

LS: I have learned you are also involved on an international level with outreach; please describe one or more of these efforts. Please let us know more about Sunni Gyrl Global.

Lyte: Most recently HHSF traveled to South Africa to speak to young kids about what it takes to make it in a competitive work field and how education should remain their focus. We are looking to open our next scholarship winning opportunity to the students there in South Africa, as well.

Sunni Gyrl, Inc. is a company I founded in 1997. Together with the newly appointed COO, Lynn Richardson, we are building an empire. We just sold our first show to the BET Network entitled Hip Hop Sisters. Sunni Gyrl represents Lil Mama who just starred as Left Eye in the VH1 TLC biopic. She’s now touring with TLC.

Sunni Gyrl is also a full-service entertainment and management firm that provides executive leadership and customized strategies in the areas of celebrity/artist support; development and management; brand development and management; wealth maintenance; community affairs and outreach; and production/creative services.

I am also part of a nationally syndicated radio show called Cafe Mocha. We’re in roughly 30 cities throughout the US and boast 1.5 million listeners weekly,

LS: You are creative to the max and have thrived in the ever-critical eye of the media — It must have been difficult to remain your own anchor and not be swept by cultural currents?

Lyte: Thank you! I just love creating new ways to get around everything or anyone that tries to stop me. Really it’s not me they may attempt to stop, it’s an idea. On our last conference call, I shared with my staff that we’re working to get me everywhere so that I’m able to act as a conduit: a via for God to inspire generations of people. I want God to use me for good so when we’re working, yes it is MC Lyte that we’re pushing but the overall the goal is much bigger than any MC, including me.

LS: Was there a particular event, age or period that stands out as the most trying?

Lyte: At some junctures in life you outgrow people and sometimes it happens to be the people you work with. I’ve switched management only twice in my 27 year career and each time it was difficult to say goodbye. When faced with the choice of having to let go of people, places or things in order to grow into who you are meant to be, you’ve got to learn how to say goodbye.

LS: With hindsight, how would you advise your younger self to persevere?

Lyte: Ask more questions and don’t allow someone to keep you isolated. You need to know other artists and learn what they know and teach what they don’t.

LS: Would you say good job or have wished you’d taken a different approach?

Lyte: I said NO a few more times than I probably should have but you live and learn. I’m cool with the way things have turned out, ecstatic really!

LS: You are also an author and motivational speaker. Your book Unstoppable-Igniting the Power Within to Achieve Your Greatest Potential, is a guide to living life, based upon your first-hand knowledge. Your passion to share your life story with others and exposing your own vulnerability is brave. Can you please share with us your favorite inspirational quote?

Lyte: “You can’t fail until you quit.” – Russell Simmons. Some of my favorite books are: The Pathway of Roses, The Art of Being, and The Ten Commitments, each full of quotes to live by.

LS: And will you share a location where you feel replenished?

Lyte: Ubud, Bali, in the middle of a rice field, best meditation ever. If I haven’t the time for there, any beach will do!!

LS: Now for the biggest news…the reality show Hip Hop Sisters, on BET, featuring Yo Yo, Monie Love, Lady of Rage, MC Smooth, Lil Mama and you, is to air this fall! It will be great to have a reality show about successful women, not just wives of successful men. I am looking forward to a voyeur perspective of your entertainment-driven lifestyle. Where did the idea germinate?

Lyte: Thank you for that excitement! I wanted to do this type of show years ago (network not to be named), however they weren’t ready. They wanted what I couldn’t and wouldn’t deliver and that was drama without resolution.

LS: How difficult is it living your life with all those cameras?

Lyte: We actually start shooting late September so I’m not sure yet (laughing). I’m sure it will take some getting used to but we’re all ready.

LS: Please share anything you would like about the filming, the cast, ect….

Lyte: The show is a docu-series that follows six great MCs who happen to be women. Yo Yo, Rage, Monie Love, MC Smooth and our special guest Lil Mama are the cast for the show and we are all excited about our premier. We’re recording a record together while going on the road and searching for the next top female MC.

LS: Please let our readers know ways to contribute to Hip Hop Sisters Foundation?

Lyte: Sure! Join the movement and or donate at

LS: What are a couple of your favorite things to do in L.A., when you have spare time that we might not see on the new season of Hip Hop Sisters?

Lyte: I’m pretty simple, yet deeply metaphysical. I like meditating and reiki. You might catch me doing TM or yoga which is totally not TV worthy so look for me at The Golden Bridge, or catch me @mclyte.

LS: Thank you very much for taking the time for this interview. Best of luck on the next phase of your career!

Lyte: I do have a bit of news that’s top secret but will be able to talk about it soon. I’m receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award at this year’s BET Hip Hop Awards ceremony!


Jerry Ferrara

Jerry Ferrara

Photo by Miranda Penn Turin

Photo by Miranda Penn Turin

For a young man, Jerry Ferrara has had a long and prolific career in show business. After a steady stream of bit parts, Jerry was thrust into the spotlight when Entourage debuted on HBO. As part of the wave of cable channel dramas, Entourage was able to cuss, show nudity, and generally get your attention by sharing the lives of people intimately connected to Hollywood. Jerry’s most famous role to date was playing Turtle, the lovable, kindhearted best friend of Hollywood movie star, Vincent Chase (played by Adrian Grenier). When Jerry started on Entourage, he was very young, 24. He says, quite sweetly, that he was a kid when it started and a man when it ended.

One of our favorite aspects of Entourage is that it is set right here in Los Angeles. We love seeing which hot spot was going to be featured each week as the scene of a date, party night, or important business meeting. Jerry agrees and says that working on Entourage was like his ticket to getting to know Los Angeles. He says that since wrapping up the show it has set in how great they had it to work on the project.

The show examines the ups and downs of Hollywood, and life as an actor; one can go from riding high to cut throat in an instant. Jerry seems to have avoided the pitfalls that hamper Hollywood youth. Jerry came to Los Angeles at the age of 20 and says that he has worked at every restaurant in the Valley. He would get small parts on King of Queens and assumed that he had made it so he would quit his restaurant jobs and focus solely on acting. When other parts didn’t materialize, he would find himself back at the restaurant, groveling for his job back. Eventually that resilience led to Entourage.

Jerry has made the transition from cable drama star to movie actor quite well. He’s now lined up for several films to come out in the following year. He was fortunate to get involved with a Steve Harvey movie called Think Like a Man, based on an actual self-help dating book penned by Harvey. The book sold millions and so they made it into a movie similar to He’s Just Not That Into You where actors play out different scenarios in the book. The movie was successful so they are now making Think Like a Man Too. Jerry is set up to be a part of the sequel.

An intriguing movie called Last Vegas is also on deck for Jerry. This movie sounds like a riot. It’s the grandpa set bachelor party played by Oscar winners Michael Douglas, Kevin Kline, Robert De Niro, and Morgan Freeman. Jerry says that his head was spinning from the opportunity to work with this cast and said that even though they have nothing to prove, each of his castmates worked very hard on delivering their best to the project.

On a more serious topic, Jerry will be working with Peter Berg on Lone Survivor, which is about a failed mission in Afghanistan. Staring Mark Wahlberg, Emile Hirsch, Eric Bana, and Jerry, the film follows four navy seals on a mission to take out a Taliban leader who become compromised and under attack. This movie was shot in New Mexico and Jerry would travel between that set where he was playing a Navy Seal to the Las Vegas set for Last Vegas where he was playing a brash, party guy rival to the gray-haired bachelor party.

Finally, we can’t forget that they are making an Entourage movie! The gang will be back for two more hours of fun. Jerry says that he can’t wait to see which Los Angeles venues will be included in the filming.

When he’s not working on movies, Jerry also owns a restaurant called Fat Sals. It’s a college-type place located near UCLA with expansion down to San Diego. If you’re feeling like indulging in a big calorie day or you need to feed the football team, then head over for some delicious sandwiches.

Jerry’s advice for visitors to Los Angeles: Get to the beach! And check out a sporting event, L.A. is a great sports town.

Cirque de Soleil TOTEM

Cirque de Soleil TOTEM

Cirque de Soleil’s TOTEM

Cirque de Soleil’s TOTEM

Cirque de Soleil’s TOTEM beckons child-like amazement from the least attentive ticketholder. Charles Darwin would give it two thumbs up! Cirque’s team of professional artists brings the wonder of evolution to the stage; spotlighting the mythical and enlivening development of humankind and species “through a visual and acrobatic language.” TOTEM‘s energetic performance addresses the debate of the origins of humanity, emphasizing one unanimous fact: Evolution is Amazing! With showings in three breathtaking locations across the L.A. area there is no excuse to miss this adventuresome retrospect to life’s beginnings.

Reviews from the 2011 shows in San Francisco, compliment the shows acrobatics, lighting, choreography, soundtrack, and side-stage events; heralding this as the best Cirque de Soleil has produced. Acclaimed writer and director Robert Lepage supplies the omnipresent network of cohesive origin themes, which the team of skilled performers develop through countless breathtaking moves guided by an invisible awe. Guy Laliberte and Gilles Ste Croix’s exceptional team of over 4,000 has brought street arts to the grand stages worldwide, so it is no surprise TOTEM carries the torch.

L. A.: opens OCT 11 closes NOV 10 — Port of Los Angeles, San Pedro

IRVINE: opens NOV 21 closes DEC 29 — Orange County Great Park

SANTA MONICA:  opens JAN 17 closes FEB 09 — Big Top at Santa Monica Pier

In addition to purchasing tickets, Cirque de Soleil’s website offers a Boutique with marvelous prints for any of their nineteen shows available for purchase, and other great holiday gifts!!

Buy tickets: TOTEM

Playhouse Nightclub

Playhouse Nightclub


PLAYHOUSE Nightclub is L.A.’s premiere nightlife destination located in the heart of Hollywood.

Recognized for being one of the first clubs to bring house music to the Boulevard, Playhouse has remained at the forefront of Hollywood’s ever-changing nightlife scene since it opening in 2009.  Each week, Playhouse features top DJs from all over the world including Paul Van Dyk, DJ Ruckus, DJ Chuckie and Ross One, and the club also celebrity DJ residencies with Nick Cannon and Jermaine Dupri.

The owners invested $6 million in renovating the historic Fox Theater. The space is massive at 13,000 square feet, on three levels, with a 750 person capacity and four bars. Intelligent lighting and intriguing design elements keep guests captivated. Versatile truss-based lighting is designed by award winning Steve Lieberman of SJ Lighting. Dan Agne of Sound Investments customized a world-class Funktion One Sound System for the space, which is perfectly suited for both club nights and music events.

The Playhouse staff is outfitted in a stunning array of costume options designed by L.A.-based fashion designer, Kelly Nishimoto. Every guest that reserves a table with bottle-service receives complimentary shots, appropriately coined “A’Muse”. To further the experience, Playhouse’s talented staff far exceeds your expectations where they double as performers. Your bartender may hop on the trapeze, your server could turn into an aerialist, or an impromptu burlesque show may occur right before your eyes.

6506 Hollywood Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90028
(323) 656-4800

The Getty

The Getty

The Getty Center is a must visit for everyone in Los Angeles. It is place of peaceful beauty that will enchant you. Located in the heart of the west side, perched upon the hills overlooking the Pacific Ocean and inner Los Angeles, the location offers a heavenly view. Plan to spend the day and enjoy a meal at The Restaurant. It’s a lovely setting with fine cuisine, overlooking the Santa Monica Mountains. You’ll want to dress up to fit in with your surroundings, but wear smart shoes so that you can take in as much art as possible.

The Virgin and Child with Saints and Allegorical Figures, about 1315–20, Giotto di Bondone. Tempera and gold leaf on panel, 15 1/8 x 10 1/4 in. (38.4 x 26 cm). Private collection. Image courtesy of Wildenstein & Co., Inc., New York

Florence at the Dawn of the Renaissance: Painting and Illumination, 1300–1350

If you’ve ever been to Florence then you understand the the power that art has to mightily impact a city: The magnificence of The Duomo, the doors of the Baptistery, the Uffizi Gallery and the David by Michelangelo at the Accademia di Belle Arti. As far as art is concerned, Florence is where’s it at, and as you may be aware, it is the birthplace of the Renaissance. Right now the Getty is hosting a remarkable exhibit featuring 90 pieces from the beginning of the Renaissance. The show spans fifty critical years of European civilization (1300 – 1350) that heralded the end of the dark ages, and moved societies into the beauty of the Renaissance. Religious and commissions by the Medici helped to drive the new artistic visions and genre. The Renaissance was also began an unprecedented time of prosperity in which many brilliant artists were able to develop their art. The Getty exhibit features a record number of paintings by Florentine master Giotto di Bondone, the highest number ever exhibited in North America.

A Fish Called Sierra (Un pez que llaman Sierra), 1944, Manuel Alvarez Bravo, gelatin silver print, 9 7/16 x 6 7/8 in. J. Paul Getty Museum, Gift of Daniel Greenberg and Susan Steinhauser. © Colette Urbajtel/ Archivo Manuel Álvarez Bravo, SC

revolutionary art

Back in the early 1940s, after WWI, a group of European visionary artists left the continent and descended upon Mexico City. There they were taken aback by the plethora of artistic production from local Mexican artists as well as from Pre-Colombian imagery. The group started a journal — a practice enjoyed by privileged artists of the day — that displayed their art (photography, paintings, poetry), and was a platform for the message to abandon surrealism, (like Dali) and popularized a move forward into abstract impressionism, (like Pollock). The leader of this Mexico City based movement was an Austrian named Wolfgang Paalen, and the journal was called Dyn. From 1942 to 1944, six issues of Dyn were published and distributed in New York, London, Paris, and Mexico City. The Getty exhibit titled FAREWELL TO SURREALISM:  THE DYN CIRCLE IN MEXICO celebrates the work of the various writers, painters, and photographers who contributed to Dyn and formed the Dyn circle. Dyn derives from the Greek to dynaton, which means “the possible”. The title was selected by Paalen who felt that revolutionary art must “pre-figure the possible.” The work of the group is extremely interesting and visually exciting. We especially like the photograph Un pez que llaman Sierra by Manuel Álvarez Bravo, which features a young Mexican female looking off in the distance and holding a fish. She is very beautiful with spirit in her eyes, but her ambivalence and her props of fish heads and overturned boats are all so odd that it fascinates.

Self-Portrait, negative 1980; print 1990, Robert Mapplethorpe, Gelatin silver print print, Image: 35.6 x 35.6 cm (14 x 14 in.), The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, Jointly acquired by The J. Paul Getty Trust and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Partial gift of The Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation; partial purchase with funds provided by The J. Paul Getty Trust and the David Geffen Foundation.


In conjunction with the Mapplethorpe show at LACMA, the Getty version is In Focus: Robert Mapplethorpe, which focuses on Mapplethorpe’s early development from artist to photographer. Mapplethorpe attended art school, majoring in Graphic Design, but never took photography. After college, he started making collages with magazine images paired with colored paper and framed. This early work is what inspired him to become a photographer. His first foray was with a Polaroid camera. His Polaroid images became the focal piece of his collages, and revealed his eye for beauty. We suggest that visitors try to view both the Getty and the LACMA collections of Mapplethorpe’s art.

The J. Paul Getty Museum
1200 Getty Center Dr.
Los Angeles, 90049
(310) 440-7300




Los Angeles County Museum of Art

The grand dame of all the art museums in Los Angeles is LACMA (Los Angeles County Museum of Art). In fact it is the largest art museum in the western United States. LACMA covers twenty acres in the heart of the city of Los Angeles. Consisting of a breathtaking collection of international pieces, which include Asian, Latin American and Islamic art over a vast history, the museum seeks to represent a variety of beautiful objects from historic artifacts to great European Impressionists to the best of contemporary art. Also impressive are the ongoing programs.  For instance, the Mapplethorpe exhibit which is juxtaposed to the Caravaggio exhibit: two great artists who pushed the envelope of their artistic periods.

Stanley Kubrick

The art of filmmaking is celebrated by way of the Stanley Kubrick exhibit now showing at LACMA through June 30, 2013. Stanley Kubrick has been celebrated as one of the best filmmakers of his time, and in true artiste fashion, his larger than life personality and manic need for control play out in the exhibit. Kubrick directed many incredible films. Among them are The Shining, Eyes Wide Shut, Barry Lyndon and 2001: A Space Odyssey. If you’ve ever seen his films then you’ll know that they are both brilliant and unconventional. The man is a genius. There is no romcom predictable formula in his work. His films leave one to ponder new ideas — truly the definition of art. The exhibit is outstanding as it addresses the processes of Kubrick’s filmmaking and includes scripts production photography, lenses, costumes, and props. Los Angeles is full of movie junkies and they will have a great time geeking out with this exhibit!

Caravaggio, Saint John the Baptist in the Wilderness, 1604-1605, The Nelson Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, William Rockhill Nelson Trust.

Bodies and Shadows:
Caravaggio and His Legacy

Showing now until February 10, 2013 is the Caravaggio exhibit, Bodies and Shadows: Caravaggio and His Legacy. The show is focused on the remarkable style of Caravaggio and those painters who followed and replicated his techniques. Including eight works by Caravaggio and another four-dozen pieces from the 17th century by his Italian, French, Spanish and Dutch disciples. The style of Caravaggio’s painting — which was revolutionary at the time — captures a raw realism that leaves one transfixed by the emotion portrayed in his subjects. His personal life was also intriguing.  He spent much of his time touring Italy, creating amazing art but leaving a path of destruction including charges of murder and his own death under dubious circumstances. It was later, in the 1900s, when audiences and art lovers finally realized his incredible talent and secured for him his important place in the history of painting.

Robert Mapplethorpe, Calla Lily, negative 1988; print 1990, © Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation, The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, Jointly acquired by The J. Paul Getty Trust and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Partial gift of The Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation; partial purchase with funds provided by The J. Paul Getty Trust and the David Geffen Foundation.

Robert Mapplethorpe: XYZ

When you think of the work of Robert Mappelthorpe you may immediately think of controversy instead of his art — and that’s because his work started the debate between the definition of art as opposed to the definition of pornography. Being a nation of puritans, many citizens of the United States during the 1980s Culture Wars were outraged when government funds were used to finance exhibits of his work. This was due to the fact that many defined his work as pornography rather than art.  Mapplethorpe, as you may know, was a gifted photographer; there is no doubt in that. However his work pushed the boundaries of what was considered acceptable due to the homoeroticism evident in some of his art. His gift was in his ability to capture the unguarded realism of his subjects in black and white film. His portraits include many celebrated intellectuals of the late 70s and 80s including William Burroughs, David Hockney, Gregory Hines and Isabella Rosellini. His floral still life’s are stunningly stark and are so powerful that the images give audiences chills.  And then there are his nudes, the source of the controversy. In addition to being considered pornographic, they also had a slight tinge of racism. Yet, like historic Greek sculptures, his images are beautiful. The beauty in the contour of a strong gluteus maximus is very hard to deny and thus initiated the debate as to whether or not public funds should be used for such artworks, or indeed of any artworks. This exhibit allows viewers to form their own opinions, as it features images from the risqué to the stark simplicity of his floral still life work.

Artist’s Trial Piece, Late Period, 26th Dynasty, reign of Amasis or later, circa 570-525 B.C.
Stone; Sculpture, Limestone, Height: 14 in. (35.56 cm)
William Randolph Hearst Collection

Egyptian Art

What we have at LACMA are various pieces of work from the Predynastic Period (5550 – 3100 BCE) of Egypt to the Roman Period (31 BCE – 337 CE). The collection offers a glimpse into ancient life in Egypt including everyday items such as bowls and knifes, to the extravagant grave goods that accompanied deceased kings and queens on their way to the afterworld.

Skull Hacha, 600-900, Mexico, Ritual/ceremonial object, Carved basalt, 15 1/4 x 3 1/4 x 8 1/2 in. (38.74 x 8.26 x 21.59 cm), Gift of Constance McCormick Fearing

Art of the Ancient Americas

The collection of the art of the Ancient Americas extends over three thousand years of artistic and craft production. Beginning around 1500 BCE until the arrival of Europeans in the early sixteenth century.  The collection includes the geographic regions of Mesoamerica, the western Andes and the area that is now Columbia. This region produced rich works of art that were significant to their magical cultural practice. Jade was considered to be more valuable than gold, and various animal spirits were celebrated in figurines. Being in tune with celestial and terrestrial cycles was crucial to artistic development, and the extensive collection at LACMA spans from mundane to spiritually significant.

Head of Aphrodite, 2nd century copy of a Greek original of circa 450-440 B.C., Roman, Sculpture; Stone, Marble, Height: 8 3/16 in. (20.8 cm), Gift of Varya and Hans Cohn

Greek and Roman Art

The William Randolph Hearst Collection bequeathed the majority of the Greek and Roman pieces to LACMA. There are several Roman copies of the Greek originals that were excavated in the late 1700s in Rome. Greek mythology is the main subject of this collection including the Hope Athena, which is one of the most important, and best-preserved Roman sculptures from Hearst’s collection.

Claude Monet, In the Woods at Giverny: Blanche Hoschedé at Her Easel with Suzanne Hoschedé Reading, 1887, Painting, Oil on canvas, 36 x 38 1/2 in. (91.44 x 97.79 cm), Mr. and Mrs. George Gard De Sylva Collection

European painting and sculpture

The collection of European paintings and sculptures at LACMA extends from the twelfth to the early twentieth centuries, and covers all major styles of European painting from medieval Gothic to Impressionism. Included in the collection are many Italian baroque paintings and Dutch paintings from the Golden Age. Our favorites of the collection include better-known names such as the works of Paul Cézanne, Claude Monet, and Pierre –Auguste Renoir. LACMA boasts a large selection of sculptures by the great Auguste Rodin.

Pair of Earrings, Iran, Sasanian period (5th century), Jewelry/personal adornment; Metalwork, Gold, Diameter: 1 5/8 in. (4.2 cm), Museum Acquisition Fund

Art of the Ancient Near East

This remarkable collection consists of over 2000 pieces with specific emphasis on Iranian art. LACMA’s collection of Iranian prehistoric pottery offers an important cultural view of very early artistic impressions. The collection also includes pieces of rock-cut art from the royal palaces of emerging Assyrian kingdoms, including inscribed bas-reliefs and glazed bricks. One of our favorite pieces of this historically important collection is a pair of earring from the Sasania period. These solid gold artifacts are handmade and signified wealth and prestige.

Chinese Art

After taking leave for about five years, Chinese art is back on display at LACMA, thanks to the work of Stephen Little and Christina Yu who direct the departments for Chinese and Korean art. The Chinese exhibit tells the story of art in China through first explaining the wide artistic diversity as created in different dynasties. Each dynasty brought about changes in aesthetics and technology. One very special item on display is a Lidded Ritual Food Cauldron from the Zhou dynasty (1046 – 256 BCE). These particular kinds of artifacts were “spirit objects”, used for burial ceremonies to celebrate and worship ancestors.

Jar with Dragon and Clouds, Korea, Joseon dynasty (1392-1910), 18th century, Wheel-thrown porcelain with blue painted decoration under clear glaze, Height: 17 1/2 in. (44.45 cm); Diameter: 13 1/2 in. (34.29 cm), Purchased with Museum Funds

Korean Art

The Korean Art collection at LACMA is extensive and was initially started by a donation of Korean ceramics from Park Chung-hee who was the leader of South Korea from 1961 to 1979. He gifted the ceramics to LACMA after a visit to the museum in 1966. The collection was further increased with a significant donation of 200 pieces in 2000. Our favorites among the collection are the stunning ceramics that go back to the Three Kingdoms era, and the more modern and glossy porcelain pieces from the Joseon era. In addition to ceramics, the Korean art collection at LACMA includes drawings and paintings. The art is so spectacular and beautiful it may take your breath away.

LACMA is open everyday except Wednesday, Thanksgiving and Christmas. Admission is $15 or free for members, special exhibits cost extra. Self parking available for $10 and public transportation is encouraged.

Los Angeles County Museum of Art

5905 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90036




Art L.A.

Art L.A.

Hammer Museum

The art scene in Los Angeles is world class. Over the past several decades our community has put its resources into building and expanding some of the best museums in the country. We are the West Coast venue of choice for traveling exhibits, surpassing even San Francisco for internationally renowned art. We are exceptionally fortunate in this, and we encourage all our readers to get out and see all that L.A. art has to offer. We’ve only touched the tip of the iceberg in our coverage but we hope to offer a base level of guidance for your exploration of art in L.A.

The Hammer Museum is a part of UCLA.  The Museum focuses on modern mediums and bold artistic statements. The Armand Hammer Collection is filled with the strong styles that emerged in the 1800s with important works from Cézanne, Gauguin, Pissarro, van Gogh, Toulouse-Lautrec and Singer Sargent. The late great businessman, Dr. Armand Hammer, started the museum which is located in the heart of Westwood, right by his company Occidental Petroleum Corporation. In addition to Dr. Hammer’s personal collection of Impressionist and Post Impressionist painting, the museum has an active calendar of programs and exhibitions that are both affecting and modern. A current exhibit focuses on the subject of graphic design, and how the medium has evolved. The exhibit also examines the accessibility of the modern era and the impact of design on branding and entertainment – especially in our app driven mobile world.

The Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens

The Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens

Housing one of the finest collections of British portraiture in the world is the Huntington Library Art Collection.  A visit to The Huntington is like stepping into an episode of Downton Abbey. Perhaps the most famous paintings of Britain’s Golden Age are the masterpieces, The Blue Boy, by Thomas Gainsborough and Pinkie, by Sir Thomas Lawrence. In addition to its magnificent collection of portraits, The Huntington also is home to one of the original Gutenberg Bibles, and one of the earliest illustrated manuscripts of The Canterbury Tales, among many other rare documents. The Huntington also is surrounded by 120 acres of world-famous gardens, divided into more than a dozen thematic areas.  These include: the Rose Garden, the Shakespeare and Herb Gardens, the Desert Garden, the Japanese Garden, the Australian Garden, the Subtropical and Jungle Garden, the Palm Garden, the Camellia Collection, and finally, the Children’s Garden and Conservatory.


Museum of Latin American Art

Museum of Latin American Art

The Museum of Latin American Art or MOLAA, as it’s known, is located in Long Beach and is relatively having been founded in 1996. It is the only museum in the United States that is exclusively dedicated to modern and contemporary Latin American art. The exhibition Lola Álvarez Bravo: The Photography of an Era, will be on view at the Museum of Latin American Art until January 27, 2013. The show features the work of photographer Lola Álvarez Bravo, one of Mexico’s most important photographers from the twentieth century. The exhibition is comprised of a recently discovered group of photographs including unpublished negatives and archival material of Lola’s work.

Skirball Cultural Center

Skirball Cultural Center

The Skirball Center is an important part of arts and culture in Los Angeles. Hosting over 600,000 visitors annually, the Center was founded to connect 4,000 years of Jewish history with the democratic ideals of modern United States. In a timely exhibit, Decades of Dissent: Democracy in Action, 1960–1980 features protest posters and political art from the radically charged era of the 60s and 70s. Themes of peace, civil rights and the environment reflect the messages of the posters. The exhibition includes a gallery soundtrack of protest music by Bob Dylan, Joan Baez and Marvin Gaye.

Natural History Museum

Natural History Museum

Fossils and the history of life on earth are the subjects at the Natural History Museum. This behemoth of a facility holds a collection of hundreds of thousands of fossils, mainly ocean critters from around this area (California, SW United States, NW Mexico). The work of the very popular Dinosaur Institute showcases the Mesozoic era, when there were many types of dinosaurs roaming the earth. They also have the Rancho La Brea department, which houses the specimens from the 600 species of plants and animals that were found in the La Brea Tar Pits. That’s right. You can become acquainted with the ancient beings who lived right here in L.A. With 35 million specimens and objects in the collection, the Natural History Museum offers a detailed account of the diversity of life on Earth.


Chinese American Museum

Chinese American Museum 

The history of the Chinese in Los Angeles is fascinating. The Chinese American Museum celebrates the Chinese American experience in Los Angeles. The exhibitions include historical presentations such as a recreation of the Sun Wing Wo General Store and Herb Shop. This was a popular shop in the 1890s when the Chinese faced terrible discrimination and racism. The Chinese Americans formed Chinatown in order to be self-sufficient. The museum tells the story of Chinese immigrants as they settled in Los Angeles.

Grammy Museum

Grammy Museum

Music lovers, just imagine four entire floors of engaging and informative exhibits about the art, technology and history of recorded music. This is what visitors to the Grammy Museum, at L.A. LIVE will discover. Launched in 2008, the Grammy Museum also features artifacts, films and stories from the 50-year history of the Grammys. There are interactive exhibits and recorded music fans of all ages are welcome. On the fourth floor you’ll find the Songwriters Hall of Fame Gallery, the Enduring Traditions section, and an important section depicting the impact of music on America’s social and political fabric. Techies will love the third floor, with its behind-the-scenes look at the modern recording process as well as the history and evolution of the equipment and techniques of the art form. Finally, working your way down to the second floor Clive Davis Theater, you’ll be taken on a journey backstage at the 50th Annual Grammy Celebration. Also on the second floor is the Special Exhibits Gallery, which features exciting rotating exhibits.

The California African American Museum

The California African American Museum

As museum director Charmaine Jefferson says in a recent message, part of the California African American Museum’s mission is to “recognize the critical value of the African American voice in and about the world.” Visitors are sure to be enlightened. Having opened its doors in 1984, coincidental with the Olympic Games, the CAAM has been evolving ever since. Housed in its 44,000 square feet, are 3 full-size exhibition galleries, conference center, theater, research library, and gorgeous glass-ceiling Courtyard. Located at 39th and Figueroa Streets, near the L.A. Memorial Coliseum, the CAAM is handy to other attractions such as the Museum of Science and Industry and the Exposition Park Rose Garden. In addition to historical exhibitions such as African American Military Portraits from the American Civil War, the museum also exhibits works of by African American artists and presents engaging conversations by the artists and historians.

The Hollywood Museum

The Hollywood Museum

One doesn’t need much more of an introduction than “The Official Museum of Hollywood.”  We are all star-struck in some degree and here — housed in the historic Max Factor Building at Highland and Hollywood — are four floors jammed-packed with important Hollywood artifacts, stunning exhibits, posters, automobiles and everything else star-gazers and film buffs might want to see. Wardrobes, make-up rooms, props, and even the infamous Hannibal Lecter’s jail cell from Silence of the Lambs are there for the gazing and gawking. Rotating exhibits are fascinating and have included Marilyn Monroe, TV Memories, I Love Lucy (Lucille Ball), Jean Harlow and Michael Jackson. The Hollywood Museum’s art deco building is a genuine piece of Hollywood history as well.  Purchased by Max Factor in 1928, just before the Great Depression, it did not open for business until 1935, but soon became “The Place To Go” for Hollywood society and working women who wanted to patronize The Make Up King.

Santa Monica Museum of Art

Santa Monica Museum of Art

Located in Southern California’s largest art gallery and cultural complex, Bergamot Station, the SMMoA exhibits local, national and international contemporary art in a striking, dramatic building. Well-regarded for its risk-taking in exhibition selections, the Santa Monica has most recently presented work from such artists as Michael, Queenland, Kianja Strober, Agnes Denes, Mickalene Thomas, Isa Melsheimer and Milton Glaser and regularly presents “walk-throughs” of artists’ work with an informed artist guide. The mission of the SMMoA includes a strong outreach to all ages in an effort to connect the public with members of the local art community and the greater art world.

Jennie Finch: From L.A. to LA

Jennie Finch: From L.A. to LA

…as in Louisiana La Mirada’s Olympic Gold Medal Girl
By Laura Costadone & Greg Nilan

There is no such thing as a great baseball team without great pitchers. Jennie Finch was the pitcher you wanted if you had to win a game. Considered by Time Magazine as the most famous softball pitcher in history, two-time Olympic medalist, Jennie has won championship after championship, set records and brought women’s softball into the national and international spotlight. All eyes were on Jennie at the 2004 Summer Olympics, when she pitched Team USA all the way to a gold medal victory. This 32 year-old woman from La Mirada (California) seems to have it all, success, sex appeal, two kids, a husband (who was a professional baseball pitcher too) and a house and farm in the prairie!

LAX Magazine had the pleasure to interview Jennie Finch, and we cannot deny that the first thing that stands out is her great amazing figure and beachbunny good looks. (She has been named by People magazine as one of its “50 Most Beautiful People” for a good reason!). She also appeared in the 2005 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue featuring sexy Olympic medalists and was a contestant on Donald Trump’s Celebrity Apprentice…so plenty of star appeal and experience.

But Jennie struck us as a down-to-earth woman who isn’t comfortable playing the part of the sex symbol or pop icon as she is so dedicated to her family she chose a total unique lifestyle living in the middle of rural America on a farm with her two kids and husband. Having grown up in La Mirada and hanging out on the baseball diamonds and Huntington Beach, Jennie now makes her home in the gulf coast region down in Sulphur Louisiana…population 21,000.

LAX: Lets talk a little softball first. Tell us about that five year old pitcher taught by her Dad, the eight year old UCLA batgirl and superstar at La Mirada High School? What are your favorite memories of that period you spent growing up in Southern California?

J.F.: I have so many big memories, most on the baseball diamond. I have two big brothers (five and ten years older than me) that were playing baseball and since I was a little girl. I always wanted to be with them and playing with them. I have so many memories competing outside with other girls and winning most of the time, which made me feel good because I was always losing against my big brothers. Then I started traveling all around, tournament to tournament. Softball dominated my life, the games always came first with almost no vacation time, but it was fun. We went to a lot of Dodgers games at Dodger Stadium. I have always been inspired by them. In our family, my mom was the sports nut, she was the one in the family always wanting to go see the Dodgers. She always made us listen to Vin Scully on the radio for every Dodgers game and Chick Hearn for every Laker game. She was very intense and she was the huge sports fan in my family. But my Dad was the one who taught me how to pitch and he was my individual coach spending hours and hours with me on my skills. It was fun. A few memories when not on the baseball diamond were our favorite beach hangout place at Huntington Beach. I also have memories of my parents swinging by In-N-Out Burger many times on our way home from the airport when we returned to LAX.

LAX: So you were a Los Angeles area high school phenomenon. What made you choose the Arizona Wildcats and Tucson?

J.F.: I love Arizona and the traditions out there, plus some other girlfriends and a few teammates were also going there with me, so I didn’t feel alone. I respected what Coach Candrea and his staff had accomplished and what they were doing. It was a truly special place to play, not too far away from home. I could drive home in seven hours. My goal was to compete in the PAC Ten Conference and Arizona was a good place to play.

LAX: You have the all time record for a collegiate softball pitcher with 60 straight wins, but you also hit .309, .327 and .370 in your college days, played a solid first base, and in one game against the University of Oregon you had nine RBI’s in one game? What were the driving forces that led to this amazing level of success?

J.F.:Yeah, I always wanted to be that athlete that was well rounded and could contribute to her team in many ways: pitching, hitting and fielding. I worked very hard on my batting. I enjoyed pitching and always looked for the great opportunity of helping my team anyway I could. I was so lucky and blessed to be able to both hit and pitch well.

LAX: You were 2-0 in the 2004 Olympics and won a gold medal. Tell us about your favorite highlights of that experience?

J.F.: Absolutely amazing, such an honor, everything and more than I ever dreamt it would be. That team was amazing and it was a dream come true. It was so special to represent the country, be surrounded by different colors, diversity, great athletes and most of all to be in Athens, where the Olympic Games began. We traveled the world together and lived through so many experiences together. The camaraderie amongst the teammates is something you never forget. We are still in touch thanks to social media because we are true friends, sharing so many memories. We will have a big reunion in Chicago this year and that will be fun.

LAX: From the high of 2004 Gold Medal to the low, we then move head four years to 2008 and your team loses in the final to Japan and you’re not even in the game box score? What memories do you have of that tough day for Team USA?

J.F.: It was tough to watch and experience especially if you want nothing but gold! It was very hard to be on the sidelines and experience that game from the bench. But keeping things in perspective you usually are excited and thrilled to go to the Olympics and get a medal of any kind. We learn from our mistakes and to keep your perspective as a competitor. Our coach that day after the loss told us to keep our heads held high for all the great things that we had accomplished. He also said life will throw you many curve balls and getting an Olympic Silver Medal will not be the biggest disappointment in your lives. I wanted to be in the lineup that day but as a team member you have to be a team player and support your team any way you can. It was frustrating being on the sidelines but I tried to pour my energy into supporting my teammates. Baseball is such a team sport!

LAX: From growing up in Los Angeles to the Olympics and now to a very rural and remote Louisiana farm? This is a very unique lifestyle choice and change of pace!

J.F.: I grew up in California and there is nothing like California for me. There is nothing better than flying to LAX and feeling like home. My husband is from Louisiana. I travel a lot and we were not spending enough time together, so I decided to move to Louisiana last August to stay as close as possible. I love the sense of small community and I love to be able to do all the country stuff. We live in a farm with over 350 acres of land. It is so peaceful. We enjoy fishing, hunting and doing all the activity outside. It is my escape and it keeps me in balance! We don’t go very often, but I also enjoy the beach there in the Gulf. Although they are nothing like the California beaches. The sand is not so white and the water not so blue but I enjoy it.

LAX: Tell us about your book “Throw Like a Girl: How to Dream Big & Believe In Yourself”

J.F.: I think I have been so privileged. I was able to do so many things. I got so many opportunities, so many life experiences from traveling around the world that I felt the need to share them. Every time I put my uniform on I felt blessed. I wanted to inspire many girls on how to turn frustration into determination. It is incredible when young girls just say “thanks for sharing your life journey with us”. I think it’s about being the best you can be and try not to get lost in comparing yourself to others. Looking inside instead of around you to figure out your gifts and to let them shine! Everytime I look back 20 years ago those opportunities were not always there for girls. Today I feel I can be a mom and so much more. Many women now follow their dreams and go for the Gold. Softball is amazing that way as a sport. Everyone on the field has a slightly different ability that makes them perfect for their position. It’s a great life lesson too.

LAX: How do you stay in such great pro athlete form? Any workout or diet tips to share?

J.F.: Balance and moderation! Try to move whenever possible. I really prefer to start my day getting my workout in early. I love running because it is good for my mind, soul and body. I also go to the gym to mix things up because it is good for your body to have a variety of workout regimes and keep mixing it up in different ways. I love being outside with my boys, (Jennie has two sons, five year old Ace and Diesel who is one) playing tag or trying to keep up with them. I try to not be too hard on myself regarding my diet. Living in Louisiana I am surrounded by so many good foods. Splurging is important but again balance is the key. Keep your body moving and in balance both emotionally and physically and enjoy what you have.

LAX: What do you do when you feel you need a change in routine, a break in schedule?

J.F.: In my life I have been able to go to amazing places from Bora Bora to Italy. Unfortunately sometimes when you travel for work it is different but I travel a lot and have visited amazing places. Now I simply want to be with my family. I really want to be where my family is. Home is my sanctuary and where I love to be.

LAX: You did a “magical Marathon” where you committed to a marathon soon after delivering your son and 25 pounds overweight. What kind of challenge was that?

J.F.: It was something I always wanted to do, especially after softball. It was a good way to put competition back into my life. I wasn’t planning on it being within a year and a half of retiring and four months after giving birth to my second child! I was asked by Timex and the main reason for saying yes was that for every person I passed Timex would donate $1 to the New York Road Runners Youth Program. That added to the challenge. It wasn’t enough just to run 26.2 miles, I would have to pass as many people as possible. It was like running for a bunch of kids in the New York City area and trying to raise money for them doing something I always wanted to do. I met so many people running. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity and experience.

LAX: Time Magazine defined you as the most famous softball player in the world. How did you feel about it? How did you translate from sport icon to a pop icon?

J.F.: My family keeps me grounded. I know that the opportunities I have were not there for my mom. I try to be the best I can be especially as a role model. I feel so lucky because I could be everything I wanted to be: a mom and playing softball. I live one day at a time. Sometimes I freak out when I see my schedule but I try to keep everything in perspective. I keep my priorities in order and my life in balance to be the best I can be. My mom was my example I had a great role model, my mom!

LAX: Do you still play softball? What do you miss the most?

J.F.: No, unfortunately have little time to play softball. After competing at such a high level I don’t know if I can compete in the local adult league slow pitch! But I’m lucky because I do get out on the field by doing my Jennie Finch Softball Camps around the country. I love being out on the diamond, sharing my passion for softball with others. I love to inspire young girls about the game that gave me so much and it is good to have a chance to give back at least part of what it has given to me. I do miss playing, though. I miss competing and being around my teammates.

LAX: Anything else you would like to add?

J.F.: Yes, I just want to say I love LAX so much. So many of the sky caps I have gotten to know over the years, as I have done so much traveling out of LAX my whole life. Many of them are incredibly sweet and even though it is a big town, it feels like home and a small town when I’m at LAX. When I walk through the airport there are so many who know me or my parents from the many camps, clinics, games and travels and they ask “Hi Jennie, how is it going?” I love the fact it feels like home for me and it will always be home. Some of the sky caps even flew with their family to see me play in Arizona and I have many great LAX stories and memories

The Foodie Jock

The Foodie Jock

We recently sat down on a beautiful Saturday afternoon with the Dodgers’ two-time All-Star (soon to be three given how well he and the team have started out this season!) right fielder, Andre Ethier. Andre and his bustling family of four reside here during the regular season and make Arizona their home in the off-season. He is very interested in food culture and, in fact, previously wrote a food blog for the team’s website. On the field fans see the intensity and focus he brings to the game, but it is refreshing to see an athlete light-up with an engaging smile when talking about his two young boys and his culinary adventures. We talked while sitting in the home dugout with his teammates running in the outfield and the grounds crew getting the field into game-ready shape.

LAX: Andre, thank you again for taking the time to meet today.

Andre Ethier: (sitting down while finishing a post-lunch pop tart) Glad to take the time and it is nice to meet you.

LAX: So, to get started, with a busy game schedule during the season, what are some of the things you like to do in L.A. when you get a break?

AE: It can be tough, especially when we have a night game, but definitely my favorite thing is to play around with my boys in the yard. Nothing beats family time after a tough game. We do have a number of favorite spots for meals that we enjoy. In particular, I love the food and staff at Osteria Mozza (in Hancock Park). The folks there know me pretty well, so when I call ahead, they always put my favorite appetizer (tripe) on the table waiting for me. I grew up eating tripe and other foods like it, so to have it done highend Italian style is pretty special.

LAX: Osteria Mozza just got some great news with (Executive Chef) Matt Molina winning his James Beard award. We recently profiled their Singapore location and David Almany, the chef there, gave a lot of credit to Matt Top image: Credit Juan Ocampo/LA Dodgers. Bottom image: Credit Jon SooHoo/LA Dodgers LAX-MAGAZINE.COM 2 6 SUMMER 2012 as a mentor.

AE: That was great news for the restaurant and really well deserved. We had a private dinner for my thirtieth birthday there and he cooked for us. Outstanding food.

LAX: I imagine you wind up eating here in the clubhouse frequently on game days. What kind of fare does the team provide?

AE: You’ll probably be surprised, but the Dodgers do a nice job of providing a rotation of diverse good food to the team — we have sushi on Fridays and just last Wednesday we had Ruth Chris Steakhouse here. In addition, I’ve been fortunate to play with so many teammates from the Dominican Republic and other countries, who will often bring in food that they grew up with and introduce all of us to a great diversity of spices and flavors.

LAX: What is your general opinion of the L.A. food scene?

AE: I find the food scene here in L.A. to be unique and one of extremes: you have these great high-end restaurants and at the same time there are amazing “low-end” hole-in-the-wall spots, often concentrated in particular neighborhood areas. When I have time I love to hit Thaitown, Chinatown, Japantown, Koreatown or a local taqueria. Tofuya, Tinga and Kagaya are particular favorites. L.A. has these little spots run by folks who have been cooking the same dish for decades; taking good traditional family recipes and transforming them.

LAX: What is it that first drew you to the food scene and to appreciate the restaurant experience?

AE: The best thing about going out is that I can just relax and put the day behind me. As much as I love going to fantastic restaurants, I’m just as happy grabbing a really good burger at a dive if that gives me an opportunity to hang out with my teammates.

LAX: You get to travel to some strong food cities, like San Francisco, New York and Chicago. Do you get anytime to explore?

AE: When I am on the road in a town with a well-known food scene, if we have an off day I will try to get in to a high-end place. I was recently able to eat at Alinea, Next and the Girl and Goat in Chicago.

LAX: Molecular Gastronomy is fun every once in a while.

AE: Exactly. Grant Anchutz is so talented and I really enjoyed the experience, but it would be tough to eat there too frequently. I think his rotation of the menu every few months is a good idea.

LAX: Have you tried Momofuku in New York?

AE: Yes, I actually try to have lunch there regularly. I’ve also been to Per Se, but haven’t yet made it up to Napa to eat at the French Laundry. In many cities the restaurants aren’t open past 10 pm, which is tough with a night game. I did have a great meal over at Nopa in San Francisco, which is open late. Also enjoyed a nice dim sum breakfast at Yang Sing.

LAX: In the off-season when you have more time, do you and your family travel?

AE: For the past few years we have gone to the Caribbean, which has been great fun, especially for the boys. The food down there is worth the trip — the spices and curries and super fresh ingredients. Like I said earlier, some of my teammates opened my eyes to the great food traditions in that area.

LAX: Andre, last question, with your kids growing up, have you had the chance to get them down to Disneyland yet?

AE: (laughing). I was just there last Wednesday! We had a wonderful day at the park and, hey, I had a turkey leg and a handful of churros! Family, food and good times. Doesn’t get better, does it?