Some of us may have had a rough start when it came to getting our bodies and health summer-ready. Guess what, though? It’s never too late to hop aboard the fitness and wellness train! Vital Proteins is popping up at The Grove this summer, from July 26th through August 4th with lots of fun activations — including workout classes, afternoon mani, cocktail hours, meet & greets and more. With yoga, dancing, boxing, and so much more, it’s a good idea to check out Vital Proteins for more information and scheduling on each event (or read on) in order to get prepared for full-body wellness!
All attendees are required to RSVP for each event.
Here are a few highlights attendees can look forward to:
Meet & Greet w/ Gold Medal Gymnast Nastia Liukin
Cycle House Spin Class w/ Nichelle & Aaron Hines
Summer Slim Down Class w/ Katie Dunlop
WEEK 1 Friday 7/26
RISE & SHINE FULL BODY WORKOUT w/ LINDSEY HARROD (@LINDSEYHARROD) 8:30 AM
Get ready for the weekend with Lindsey Harrod’s full body workout
SUMMER FRIDAY MOCKTAILS 1 pm
Raise a glass to Summer and stop by for Collagen Water inspired mocktails
MEET & GREET w/ GOLD MEDAL GYMNAST NASTIA LIUKIN (@NASTIALIUKIN) 10am – 1 pm
Meet Nastia Liuikin, an Olympic gold medalist and sip on some complimentary celery juice (her fave!)
CYCLE HOUSE SPIN CLASS WITH NICHELLE & AARON HINES 4 PM
Come ride with us as Cycle House takes over the Grove on Bow Street
SUMMER SLIM DOWN CLASS WITH KATIE DUNLOP (@LOVESWEATFITNESS) 9:30 AM
Sweat it out with Katie Dunlop and her full body workout
COLLAGEN & SNO CONES 10:30AM-1:30PM
Chill out with an ice cold treat at the Cabana brought to you by Sno Cone Amore
YOGA W/ RENEE BARGH 8 AM
Start your Monday right with a class with fellow yogi Renee Bargh
AFTERNOON MANIS by OLIVE & JUNE 3-6 PM
Get pampered by manicurists from Olive & June for complimentary Vital Proteins inspired nails
BOXING CLASS w/ DILLAN OSTROM (@DILLANOSTROM) 8 PM
Stop by for a boxing inspired workout with Dillan Ostrom
WEEK 2 Wednesday 7/31
COREPOWER YOGA CLASS 8 AM
Stretch it out with a morning yoga class brought to you by CorePower
MOLLY GREEN HANDSTAND WORKSHOP 9:15
CHARLOTTE TILBURY REFRESH
Swing by the Cabana for an afternoon touch up
BOOTY WORKOUT w/ BETINA GOZO (@BETINAGOZO) 7 AM
Wake up and sweat with Nike Master Trainer Betina Gozo for an AM booty workout
AFTERNOON MANIS by OLIVE & JUNE 3-6 PM
Get pampered by manicurists from Olive & June for complimentary Vital Proteins inspired nails Friday 8/2
SUNRISE YOGA w/ MARY BETH LARUE (@MARYBETHLARUE) 9 AM
Rise & shine at the Grove with an early morning yoga class by Mary Beth LaRue
MOLLY GREEN HANDSTAND DEMO 10 AM
Get some one on one tips from yogi Molly Green
SUMMER FRIDAY MOCKTAILS 1 pm
Raise a glass to Summer and stop by for Collagen Water inspired mocktails
DANCE CLASS + MEET & GREET WITH ANGEL MERINO (@MAC_DADDY) 9:30 & 10:30
Dance with your favorite beauty influencer & say “hi” after class
LIVE PODCAST TAPING WITH ALMOST30 6-8 PM
Join us with Krista Williams and Lindsey Simcik from Almost30 for a live podcast taping in Alo Yoga’s studio as they discuss all things lifestyle & wellness
WELLNESS PANEL WITH CARINA WOLFF (@KALEMEMAYBE), MAX LUGAVERE (@MAXLUGAVERE), & JENN RANDAZZO 1-3 pm
Come listen to wellness influencers Max Lugavere & Carina Wolff chat with our in-house RD Jen Randazzo on all things wellness & nutrition
LAUREN GORES MEET & GREET 10:30 AM – 12:30 PM
Stop by and talk all things beauty with Summer Friday’s Co-founder Lauren Gores
The House of Rémy Martin has introduced its new, limited-edition Rémy Martin XO created in collaboration with artist Steaven Richard, a globally celebrated French metal smith who has worked with major figures in contemporary art and architecture, such as Jacques Garcia, Pierre Yovanovitch, Karl Lagerfeld and Jean Nouvel.
The partnership highlights two living heritage companies rooted in historical craftmanship, refined luxury and celebrated expertise. Both the House of Rémy Martin and Atelier Steaven Richard bear the label Entreprise du Patrimoine Vivant (EPV), a mark of recognition by the French State, a reward for artisanal know-how and manufacturing excellence.
Rémy Martin’s desire was to combine the world of cognac with the world of an extraordinary artist. During the collaboration process, Steaven Richard immersed himself in the story behind Rémy Martin and found inspiration from the vineyards in Cognac to create the refined design. The limited-edition XO label is made of an invented way to emboss brass with a unique golden texture featuring the Rémy Martin XO motif. The textured pattern is inspired by the diversity of the different eaux-de-vie necessary to create the XO blend.
“I took inspiration from Rémy Martin’s centuries-old connection with the soil – its love for nature – and something happened. Something approaching a revelation: from the verticality of the vines that climb to the sky, this piece reaches out towards the stars,” explains Richard.
Designing the label was a starting point which led to an extension of the collaboration. Steaven Richard also created a metal sculpture, the Masterpiece, for the iconic Cognac house. The art piece is a unique architectural sculpture, which gently reveals Rémy Martin’s emblematic centaur in the “anamorphosis” optical illusion technique, glimpsed through metal pillars that represent the vertical vines of Cognac, France.
To celebrate the launch, Rémy Martin and Richard hosted an exclusive event in the Eric Buterbaugh Gallery in West Hollywood. The interactive event created the sensory experience of being inside Steaven Richard’s atelier. Notable attendees included Artist Russel Young, Actor Sarunas Jackson of Insecure, Jeweler Zenobia Morrow, Actor EP Evans of Ballers, Actor/Comedian Cherelle Patrice, former WNBA All Star, Cappie Pondexter, amongst others.
The limited-edition Rémy Martin XO is available in limited quantities through independent retailers in select markets and online at Reserve Bar for $200.
Steven F. Arnold (1943–1994) Born in Oakland, Ca., he moved to Los Angeles and set up a studio on the bend of Beverly and Virgil. His studio was dark—only when he lite it did you see all the extravangrant props and elements of his photography. In some ways, he felt San Francisco—though every visit to his studio would have someone from the movie business; Ellen Burstyn and Grace Zabriskie were regulars. He shot mostly from a tall ladder looking down. It was the first time I came to realize that a six pack could be created in illusion by painting shadows. He mastered in tromp l’oei (to deceive the eye) and the creation of photographic tableaus.He was also a filmmaker, painter, illustrator, set and costume designer, and assemblage artist.
This Sunday, Outfest presents the documentary about his life.
Angelica Huston narrates this exploration of the spectacularly dreamlike world of Salvador Dali’s protégé and PWA, Steven Arnold, and his strikingly creative and influential body of work filled with occult rituals, Hollywood camp, and surrealist art nouveau whimsy. Taken from more than 70 hours of original and archival footage, including rare scenes of Holly Woodlawn, director Vishnu Dass digs deeply into the decadent countercultural and inspiring life of this unheralded multimedia artist of the queer community.
Lights, cameras, action… Food, music, fashion! These are the staples that make up almost all of Southern California’s events, and it would be a disservice to attendees if even one of those necessities were forgotten. It’s a perfect formula, and emerging denim brand, Majority Denim, is looking to take advantage of what much of SoCal’s population thrives on — while also directly connecting to striving artists and influencers for amazing opportunities.
On Thursday, July 25, 2019, from 7 pm to 10 pm, Majority Denim will hold their first major event, titled “Meet the Majority – How Style Sounds”. This free special event is a celebration of a new beginning in Los Angeles for Majority Denim. This innovative, high-quality fashion brand, is designed to style all genders, and proceeds from every item purchased from the brand will be donated to charity. While designated to be an evening where fashion meets music, Majority Denim plans on introducing their new influencer program, “Meet The Majority”. The Majority influencers will unveil their creative craft by showcasing their custom denim pieces in collaboration with Majority Denim’s Creative Director/Co-Founder, Christian K.
Even more exciting, the event will feature live music performances from Jeff Bernat (@jeffbernat) & Nathi (@nathiofficial) with their original music. Fortunately, the fun doesn’t stop there, as the evening will also include a Majority Denim pop up shop with a DIY Custom Station, complimentary bites and drinks, a live DJ (DJ Street Fox) & live music, a performance by The Mob Dance Company (@themobdanceco), and a night of mingling with the trendsetters and tastemakers of LA. This special event will be held at As We Dwell, located in the Arts District of Los Angeles, at 440 S. Alameda St. More information about this new and beautiful location can be found on their website, while more details about the event can be found on Eventbrite.
Features and benefits of the “Meet The Majority – How Style Sounds” event include:
An estimated 1K+ attendees throughout the event.
An expansive network of fashionable artists, musicians, actors, dancers, and business entrepreneurs.
An innovative denim company fresh to the fashion scene introducing high quality styles fit for all genders.
A showcase of the “Meet The Majority” Brand Influencers custom denim styles created with the Creative Director/Co-Founder Christian K. The influencers collective network spans over half a million followers across digital media platforms.
“Sharing a sense of style through community, innovation, and unity. We don’t need to fit in, we stand out” – Majority Denim
“An innovative, high quality fashion brand, designed to style all genders. Made in Los Angeles. A team of veteran denim makers with over 30 years of experience using high quality Italian, Japanese, Brazilian and American denim. We are on the path of discovering the ‘nu’ generation movement and merging it with consistent high quality and tradition.”
Majority Denim also has a recently launched YouTube Channel where they give exclusive access to their business, their partners, lifestyle, and design process. Click the play button below for a deeper glimpse into what the fresh LA. brand is about.
LA nights are often subject to parties and gatherings all over the city, but on the evening of July 11th, a different kind of gathering took place. From 6 pm to 10 pm, this event gave back in one of the most heartfelt ways possible, and helped to cast away darkness encompassing the lives of today’s innocent children. The Bohemian Ball, a charity event created by Natalie Backman and The Young Leaders Council, gathered notable guests of the Agoura Hills community to raise funds for powerful social change. Among the crowd was Actress/comedian, Anjelah Johnson; Musician, Manwell Reyes; Singer/songwriter, Tyrone Wells; Buzzfeed actress and comedian, GloZell Green, and Actress/comedian, Angel Laketa Moore, to name a few.
The Bohemian Ball was created to bring awareness to the non-profit, Unlikely Heroes, an organization that rescues and rehabilitates child victims of sex trafficking all around the world. The Young Leaders Council created a presentation demonstrating how important Unlikely Heroes’ work is by highlighting the success stories of children they’ve been able to save within their program. Singer/Songwriter Tyrone Wells performed a medley of songs while guests enjoyed a dinner, drinks, and desserts. The event managed to raise just under $50,000 for the organization’s efforts, which is sure to go a long way in helping children worldwide.
While it may be pretty straightforward to believe that the funds raised will provide a shelter for the children, they actually go much further to include healthcare, education, recreational activities, rehabilitation resources, love, and hope to the rescued victims of sex trafficking domestic and abroad.
About Unlikely Heroes
Unlikely Heroes, is a local non-profit organization dedicated to rescuing and rehabilitating child victims of sex trafficking in countries such as Nigeria, Thailand, Mexico, and the Philippines, as well as the United States. The organization strives to rescue and rehabilitate all of these children — as well as post trauma therapy, education, medical care and job training and most importantly, a happy, healthy childhood.
About Natalie Backman
Natalie Backman is a yoga teacher, and the Founder of Imagine Fest. Originally from Washington State, Natalie has called Los Angeles home for nearly seven years and has been teaching yoga for five of them. She is currently a 500-hour Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher of the Himalayan Tradition and is working toward certification in ParaYoga with Rod Stryker. She teaches weekly at Agoura Power of Yoga as well as Horizons Senior Center, MUSE School, and for several private clients. She, along with the entire Imagine Fest family, donates her time and energy to offer healing and empowerment to their local community, as well as an opportunity to be the change we wish to see.
Summer is in full swing and Sunset Blvd staple, KATANA, has an offering that feeds the palette of Angelenos looking for a unique dining experience this season. KATANA’s Red Sun is an annual event inspired by the Ginza tradition in Japan. It takes place every Sunday from 6:00pm – 11:30pm now until Labor Day Weekend, September 1, 2019.
SoCal Mag was able to get a preview of the limited edition menu along with the excellent Summer cocktails crafted by KATANA’s mixologists.
Enjoy items like the Popcorn Shrimp Tacos topped with a miso glaze, purple cabbage, and served in organic blue tortillas; The delicious Seafood Ceviche is made with shrimp, crab, yuzu, avocado, tomato, cilantro, and ghost pepper salt; The Hammer Roll is made with rock shrimp tempura, avocado, soy paper, spicy tuna, soy marinated jalapeno, masago, and eel sauce; My personal favorite was the Wagyu Short Ribs, served sizzling; and we can’t forget about the Smoked Robata Shrimp made with chimichurri ponzu and the Kurobuta Asian BBQ Ribs.
The star cocktails from the bar include the Tropic Like It’s Hot, a sweet blend of rum, Giffards apricot liquor, pineapple juice, lime juice, simple syrup, and Angostura bitters. The Dragon Kiss is made with Azunia Resposado tequila, asian plum syrup, lime juice, rhubarb bitters, and aromatic tonic. Lastly, the Summer Snow is a tread made with vodka, matcha syrup, coconut milk, passion fruit, and lime juice.
Make sure to make reservations at www.katanala.com to enjoy the special table-side Robata Yaki Menu, Live DJs, and outdoor patio seating.
The Factory Kitchen is launching their new summer wine Monday special running Monday, September 30th, 2019. Guests can enjoy 50% off any bottle of wine from their extensive wine list. The weekly special is available every Monday during both the lunch and dinner business hours. Beverage Director and Sommelier Francine Diamond-Ferdinandi has created a wine list which reflects the essence of their distinctive regions. Though Italian wines are prevalent at The Factory Kitchen, additional wines from neighboring Western European countries and beyond are served.
The Factory Kitchen is the product of a long-standing friendship between Ferdinandi and Chef Angelo Auriana. Ferdinandi and Auriana share the vision of imparting their Italian roots and memories through food and hospitality. The original trattoria, serving traditional Italian recipes, opened its doors on Oct. 24, 2013, in The Arts District, Downtown Los Angeles. The Factory Kitchen takes its name from the street it’s located on and the former factory building complex that hosts it, but the restaurant is purely Italian.
The food at The Factory Kitchen takes center stage, with a lively pasta-making station where pastas including Casonzei, pork sausage and veal ravioli with pork belly, sage brown butter and Reggiano Parmigiano cheese and Modenesi, 18-month aged Prosciutto di Parma tortellini. Filling the length of the back of the restaurant, the pasta station is also where The Factory Kitchen’s signature Mandilli di Seta is made—thin sheets of handkerchief egg pasta with Ligurian almond basil pesto, a favorite at the restaurant’s flagship location in Downtown Los Angeles.
The Factory Kitchen Los Angeles is located at 1300 Factory Place #101 in Los Angeles, CA 90013.
The restaurant serves lunch Monday through Friday from 11:30 am to 2:30 pm. Dinner services on Monday through Thursday from 5:30 pm to 10 pm, Friday from 5:30 pm to 11 pm, Saturday from 5 pm to 11 pm and Sunday from 4:30 pm to 9:30 pm.
Connect with The Factory Kitchen online and on Social Media below:
If you haven’t already taken a summer vacation, odds are you will soon. And if you have taken that summer vacay already, you’ll probably be taking another one or doing some outdoor activities at the very least. For that reason alone, we thought it would be a great opportunity to revisit footwear brand MOBS Design. After all, in LA’s summer fun (and heat), comfort is a top-notch priority — and MOBS is here to delivery just that. If you missed our previous coverage of MOBS’ amazing brunch event, you can catch up here. Otherwise, keep reading to learn more about why we’re revisiting this amazing brand!
MOBS Design is a staple for the shoe connoisseur, and they’ve been creating extremely comfortable, light-weight, and attractive shoes for both men and women. With a variety of eye-catching styles, the shoes truly fit whatever occasion life can throw at you. From running and exploring the city, to picking up the kids after work, MOBS has taken into account that we live diverse and busy lives. As a result, the company’s offerings transcend the demands of daily life.
In addition to the many styles, MOBS features an easy-on-the-eyes array of color combinations to further meet your particular tastes. Whether you’re feeling sporty and need a breathable knit finish, or life is demanding something more formal to match your slacks, this brand has your feet covered with all-leather finish options. When we last met with the MOBS team, they wore their favorite pairs of stylish designs, and spoke eloquently of their mission, creative and design processes, and what’s to come in the company’s future. Here’s what that vision is like today, plus a little more insight from MOBS’ Founder and CEO, Alexandre Benaim, in a special Q&A interview:
Where do you find inspiration for the aesthetic of MOBS?
“I find my inspiration in culture all around the world but also in design, architecture, art, photography, cartoons, sport wear, work wear, combat wear, materials, high end and any fashion to create versatile sneakers that work in any situation and allow to be active and dress-up.”
What sparks your ideas, visually? Why unisex?
“Sneakers are functional product by definition which makes our designs are driven by technics and comfort. Otherwise I believe that men and women can definitely wear the same colors and materials.”
What are your imperatives as a creative director?
“Find the meaning without losing the goals. Create the aesthetic without losing the comfort. Build the story without losing the identity.”
How do you keep creative integrity and originality within the footwear market, while so many brands are copying from each other?
“We are not chasing the trends, we are not reinventing the wheels… In fact we are just trying to offer the best version of classic silhouette by offering a minimalist timeless design.”
Who would you describe as the quintessential MOBS consumer?
“Any active, nomadic people with a free state of mind.”
What direction would you like to see MOBS grow toward in the future?
“I would love to establish MOBS as a relevant high-end, athletic lifestyle brand with a diversity of products.”
Everyone has remarked the extreme comfort of MOBS shoes. What is the secret?
“The magic recipe! We design and engineer a real athletic in-sole and out-sole combined with leather uppers, and even the entire linings of all our models are made from natural leather. We have been through all the details to offer the best possible comfort.”
What is your favorite shoe from the collection, and why?
“Tough question… But the high top is really an awesome version of what I think is the most emblematic sneaker’s silhouette.”
MOBS Design brings innovation, unique colors, high-quality materials and undeniable comfort to the table. LA summers have become notorious for all there is to do regarding entertainment and activities — as well as the scorching weather. The MOBS brand is a refreshing eye-magnet in the world of sneakers, and it’s reassuring to find a brand of shoes that can bring many miles of durability to the feet of consumers in an extremely versatile and stylish way. Simply put, the shoes are just so damn cool!
HAVE YOU EVER had the experience in a restaurant where your first bite of food sends a pleasing tingle through your body? Then you sip your wine and it’s like a little bit of heaven? No? You haven’t had that experience? Then you obviously haven’t been to Massilia in Santa Monica. This spacious, high-ceilinged restaurant seats 85 people inside and another 60 on the large, laidback patio, plus there’s a lounge upstairs available for private parties that seats another 30 people. Massilia is open 7 days a week serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as an incredible happy hour every day with exceptional tapas (from 3-6:30pm). In addition, brunch is served on Saturdays and Sundays with choices of buckwheat pancakes laden with fresh berries, crème fraiche and maple syrup, Smoked salmon eggs benedict on toasted brioche with rotisserie potatoes, or Ahi tuna with a grapefruit salad.
Massilia is the old name for Marseilles, France where the restaurant owner, Emmanuel Dosetti grew up. But Massilia isn’t his only restaurant. Emmanuel owns the four Zinqué cafes (in Venice, DTLA, Newport Beach and West Hollywood) and though they’re all popular French restaurants, Massilia is the only one that serves the signature fusion of Mediterranean, Moroccan and French cuisine.
Here you can start your meal with an appetizer of socca chips: chickpea flour (gluten free) black olive tapenade and green peas hummus—absolutely delicious. Or try the tasty mix of clams with merguez sausage in tomato and white wine sauce served with grilled sourdough bread—again, delicious. There’s pan seared calamari (not fried), roasted red peppers bruschetta, aguachile ceviche—so many mouthwatering tapa style appetizers to choose from.
And why not have a cocktail? On the best seller list is La Francaise (please watch the video and allow the lovely Rebecca Carriel to present the special ingredients for you). Also popular is La Japonaise, a mixture of kikori Japanese whiskey and amontillado sherry with lemon, basil and cynar. The drinks menu offers 5 types of negronis (you should love Massilia for that alone), a variety of beers (even gluten free choices), aperitifs, digestifs and dessert wines. And of course, the wine list is superb. My favorite being the bold red, Chateauneuf-Du-Pape domaine du vieux lazaret 2015.
For the main course, there are pasta dishes (I recommend the tagliatelle aux morilles—the most flavorsome mushrooms sprinkled with parmesan), and vegetables dishes like zucchini gratin and ratatouille style Provençal roasted vegetables. But the “big” dishes are the grilled branzino served whole with chimichurri, herbed oil and lemon—simply delectable, and Moroccan couscous royal chicken, merguez sausage, lamb, seven vegetables, white raisons, and Harissa sauce.
Leave space for dessert and try the ile flottante, a meringue with crème anglaise and caramel. It melts in your mouth and, as my dining cohort said, “it’s like the dessert that never was”. It’s lighter than air.
On top of the scrumptious food and fabulous array of beverages, the service is outstanding. I would be amiss to not give a loud shout out to our server, Jean-Michel Danays who was delightful, knowledgeable, entertaining and went above and beyond to make our meal a memorable one.
Great news for Los Angelenos and art and music lovers at large, the Venice Art Crawl and the Mar Vista Music and Art Walk have joined forces to produce one of the Westside’s most entertaining, visually impactful and sprawling one-day arts and cultural activations: THE GET AROUND.
The Get Around is a one day joint event with six art activation hubs along Venice Blvd. — from Venice beach to the 405 — that will feature live music, art, food and art installations—aka all of our favorite things.
To help the expected thousands of visitors “get around,” LADOT is providing free shuttle buses along the entire event route scheduled to pick up visitors at eighteen stops along the way, allowing guests to walk, bike, skate and access cool micro-mobility alternatives like dockless scooters, smart bikes and hoverboards. Park on the streets near the 405 exit at Venice Blvd. and catch the first shuttle stop to ride and explore art in the newly formed Venice Mar Vista Arts District.
There’s more going on on the day than can possibly be reprinted here, but here’s an abbreviated selection of highlights!
Five live music stages, over 150 art vendors, and even more exhibitions
Inside Venice Skate Culture exhibition, hosted by Juice Magazine
Edrok One’s Mar Vista Block Party, featuring live hip-hop and mural painting
The Wasatch Live Music Stage hosting rock and blues, plus fire-spinning by local flow masters
The Mercado at SPARC, an outdoor arts market, including a special exhibition at The Durón Gallery
Readings and a book sale courtesy of Beyond Baroque, plus a farm stand and performance by Takakao Minewaka
A whole motorcade of food trucks featuring the tastiest grub on four wheels
King Eddy Saloon’s Beer Garden with curated brews and live tunes
Art installations and dance DJs at The Bubble Lounge for those 21 and up
The InfiniTree, a kid-friendly musical installation, photo opp and meditation space
Live artists, karaoke, fitness games, tarot readings, face painting, and more presented by Venice Beachland
Japanese pop-rock duo Cribabi, plus local bands at the Venice Japanese-American Memorial Monument
Artist talk, book signing and photo booth with renowned muralist Emily Winters
Three-wheeled scooters, experimental bikes and skateboard demos at Micromobility Hub
Mind-boggling Burning Man Art Cars exhibited by The Dirty Beetles DJ Collective
And oh so much more!
Starsky and Hutch star turned AIDS activist after both his wife and son died from the disease (but bringing the Elisabeth Glaser AIDS Foundation to life), Paul Michael Glaser is a featured artist in the Art Crawl—calling his art his “third act.” He’ll be showing at The Paradise Project 2201 Ocean Front Walk (at Venice Bl.) at the Luminaries of Pantheism mural (S. Venice Blvd.).
To wrap it up, this is the most ambitious art and culture project of the year for these two cities, and is a cool event for a hot day at the beach and inland!
For more information and to download the map click here
THIS WEEK: DANCES WITH FILMS FESTIVAL, WONDERWORLD LA
DANCES WITH FILMS
The opening night green-carpet event for the Dancing With Films indie film festival took place in the gorgeous and historic lobby of the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, directly across from the TCL Chinese Theatres where the short and full-length works were set to screen over the next couple of weeks in multiple theaters. As directors, producers and on-screen talent made their way down the carpet, each group shepherded by a protective publicist, such as seasoned L.A. flacks Henry Eshelman and Diane Brown, cameras flashed and interviewers held up mics under the glaring lights. For many of these indie filmmakers from around the world and around the U.S., this was their very first brush with Hollywood glamour!
Now that the Los Angeles Film Festival has ceased hosting an annual event, Dances With Films — so named in its debut year by co-founders Leslee Scallon and Michael Trent to support a feature film they had made called Indemnity, in the wake of Sundance hosting a plethora of “dance” monikered film festivals — i.e., Slamdance, Digidance, No Dance, and several more with similar monikers.
Twenty-two years later, Leslee and Michaels’s Dances With Films is going stronger than ever while still sticking to their motto of “No politics, no stars, no sh*t.”
DWF has risen to fill the breach left by the L.A. Film Festival in supporting and featuring primarily indie film projects of all kinds, some of which this year included the heartbreakingly excellent The Land, which features a terrific star turn by actor Herman Johansen; the girl-centered video-gaming short Would You Like To Try Again?; Wowsers, produced by and starring the party’s most fabulously dressed guest Sam Fox, about a club where the BDSM isn’t always safe, sane and consensual; and the surprisingly witty horror-comedy Driven, starring the film’s writer, Casey Dillard, along with Richard Speight Jr. of HBO’s Band of Brothers and the CW series Supernatural.
Just down the street from where DWF was hosting their opening night festivities, the fabulous magical interactive pop-up museum that is Wonderworld LA was throwing their own soiree to introduce the Wonderworld brand of visual genius to celebrities and local media influencers, sweetening the pot with drinks, donuts, a cotton candy station, complimentary nail art, and swag bags for attendees. Even Fox 11 news showed up to cover it!
Co-founded by venture capitalist Hua Wang and businessmen Jay Yue and Jie Wang, Wonderworld first popped-up in New York’s Soho district where the threesome gathered a cabal of creative designers who were seeking a platform for their work. Wonderworld Soho ran for a year before coming to Hollywood’s Walk of Fame just this month, where local artists such as Josh Wong collaborated in customizing the build-out to be unique to L.A.
Pop-up museums may be a new concept in Los Angeles, but they’re a big — and lucrative! — trend in NYC, where the trio behind the original and L.A Wonderworlds is set to launch Wonderworld Brooklyn any day now.
In NYC, Wonderworld is something of a fashion brand, but here in L.A., they’re not targeting the nightlife set. Rather, Wonderworld is open only during daylight hours and is bracing for a steady stream of both the legitimately young as well as the so-called young at heart, who will no doubt be completely entranced by the Alice-in-Wonderland-esque rabbit-warren of 11 differently themed interconnecting rooms, all housing art installations in various crazy-wonderful themes, all of which are meant for extreme posing and photographic shenanigans. Memory-making shots of patrons climbing in, on, and around the various oversized and decorative props, and Instagram-worthy photo ops with your posse are highly encouraged. We can’t help thinking that kids, both little and big, will take to Wonderworld LA as if it were a more sophisticated version of a Disney theme park!
Wonderworld LA is set to pop at least through the second week of August. For tickets and information call (747) 284-9616.