DEALS & DISCOUNTS--I don’t get out to the theater much; but, when I do, of course I hope it will be a treat. I’ll tell you what; you really couldn’t do better than to grab your last chance this weekend to take in the wistful-sweet “Sábado Mornings” at the Studio/Stage theater on Western Avenue in Hollywood. I heard about the play from a special invitation from director Melvin Ishmael Johnson and House Manager Earlean Anthony back in April when the show was in previews. 

Melvin is a tireless creative powerhouse. He hosts the Quamran Report, which aired for over two hundred segments at Skid Row Studios in downtown Los Angeles. Skid Row is a community radio station that features stories affecting our diverse communities and especially in downtown. It encourages community participation in producing news, politics and culture. Their motto is “Where Anyone Can Do Radio.” Tune in now to check out a discussion on the state of community theater on the last segment of the Quamran Report at Skid Row. It features one of the actors from “Sábado Mornings.” Meanwhile, I’ll keep everyone posted on what’s happening at Skid Row as well as where the Quamran Report is headed next. 

Melvin is also a playwright, a community activist and the founder of Veterans Community Theater Workshop. I’d been wanting to see Melvin’s work for a few years now. On Sunday, about an hour prior to curtain, I was working on my one woman show when I got a call from a writer/director friend reminding me about the performance. It was a lickity split decision. I said to myself, “Damn! The time is now!” Out the door I went. 

The theater is a small, intimate affair – perfect for the poignant story of Eddie and Rosa played beautifully by Jonaton Wyne and Judith E. Ex LAPD cop Eddie is dealing with his demons when he meets Mexican-American immigrant Rosa, the shy but strong waitress who has some secrets of her own. I really don’t want to say too much about the show because it unfolds so beautifully and anyway I’m not a theater critic. Let’s just say, SEE IT! 

There’s plenty of fun to be had both before and after the play with the friendly folks running the show. Prior to the taking our seats, we had a nice glass of red wine... 


… a nice touch, not to mention the delicious tamales on offer at the end of the show. 


Mama’s is a not for profit collective where you can sample tamales of various styles from several different countries. Until you know the difference between a Mexican tamale and a Salvadorean tamale, well, you really haven’t lived! 


There were one tamale and two tamale plates, with rice and beans. The one tamale plate was just six bucks and plenty for me – mighty tasty too, as was the stream of jokes from an actor named Isaac who was in attendance. 

If you’re lucky, Isaac will be there again, passing out jokes in abundance. But you won’t need any luck to catch the memorable performances of Judith and Jonaton in “Sábado Mornings” and to chat with the creative duo Melvin Johnson and Earlean Anthony. Enjoy! 


Studio/Stage Theater

520 N. Western Ave.

between Clinton St. and Maplewood Ave.

For more information: 213-908-5032 

Tickets are $24 General Admission; $15 for Seniors/Students/Military

Friday, May 13 – 8 pm

Saturday, May 14, 8 pm

Sunday , May 15, 5 pm


(Jennifer Caldwell is a an actress and an active member of SAG-AFTRA, serving on several committees. She is a published author of short stories and news articles and is a featured contributor to CityWatch. Her column at is dishing up good deals, recipes and food for thought. Jennifer can be reached at  Facebook: - Twitter: @checkingthegate) 


DEALS AND DISCOUNTS--Improv at the Upright Citizens Brigade (UCB) in Hollywood is always a fun night. Deals and Discounts contributors, Jennifer and I (photo above) caught the ASSSS Cat show at the Franklin campus last Sunday evening proving to be very entertaining and it is free!!! We laughed our asses off, ASSSS Cat. Oh wow, how clever. 

The ASSSS Cat show, a staple of the UCB Improv stage for the past 15 years, plays every Sunday night at 7:00 pm. The show started with a UCB’s founding member and regular on Comedy Central, Matt Besser asking us Mad Lib questions. We discovered the audience were from all over: Melbourne, London, Vancouver, Little Rock, Nashville, Detroit and Calabasas. The topics thrown out ranged from robots, to mustaches, to ladies stretch pants. Pretty random. 

After the warm up, Matt introduced the cast. With help from the audience, the monologist (the person who give the monologue) got started. “Give me a subject,” she declared. The first reply was “Prince”, and she took off with a story about the Purple One. 

The monologist told of a time when she went with friends to a karaoke bar hoping to sing Prince songs. The Thai owner would not play the correct songs unless she was tipped otherwise they would be stuck with Shania Twain music. Incidentally, the bar was decorated in Thai tourism posters with a sexy underwear machine in a corner. Who knows if the story was actually true, but it was definitely entertaining nevertheless. 

Now it was Improv time. The UCB cast created a seamless skit incorporating all the zany details of that far-fetched story. It was so fluid; you might have thought that the actors had spoken backstage or that they could read each other’s minds. They acted, sang, and danced spontaneously feeding off of each other’s energy and creativity. 

The night consisted of two monologue/skit sets with the show totaling about an hour and a half of great entertainment.  

Los Angeles is lucky enough to have two UCB campuses just a few miles from each other in Hollywood, one on Sunset Blvd. and other on Franklin Avenue offering over 50 shows per week, or about seven different shows a night. Most shows cost $5, a few select ones are $10, and, as previously mentioned, the ASSSS Cat show is free. For the paid shows you can reserve general seating tickets. I would strongly suggest visiting their website to check out the schedule. The “Search History” show develops a story around an audience member’s cellphone google search history. I happened to see it with an all-female cast, and it was hilarious. “Shitty Jobs”, revolving around crazy bosses and even crazier co-workers, is even more hilarious. Even if you see the same show twice, it is always different because the cast is never the same and the topics are inspired by the audience. 

The founding group, Matt Besser, Matt Walsh, Ian Roberts and Amy Poehler, created Upright Citizens Brigade after working together at a comedy club in Chicago in 1998. They opened UCB in NYC in 2001, and Los Angeles in 2005. There are now four UCB locations, two in New York and two in Los Angeles. Over the years, the UCB has expanded with a first ever improvisational school, manuals, books and videos, and providing a forum for emerging amateur improv actors to develop their craft. 

UCB Los Angeles has produced some really famous comedians that have gone on to headline television shows, stand-up comedy, and movies such as Aziz Ansari, Ed Helms, and Zach Woods. 

Here is a tip: All UCB theatres have limited seating for less 100 people providing an intimate setting where the audience participates in the action. While that is a great thing, it is not good if you arrive late. We arrived at 6:45 pm for the 7 pm show. It was too late to get seating on the main floor, and we ended up on the balcony standing behind the last row. So get there early and enjoy a great show. 


Check out general information for Upright Citizens Brigade:  


UCB Franklin

5919 Franklin Avenue, Hollywood  

UCB Sunset (location open since October 2014)

5419 Sunset Blvd., Hollywood


(Sue Helmy has plenty of tricks up her sleeve. She is currently providing superb administrative services at a financial management firm in Century City. She is active in countless church and civic organizations and spends every minute she can spare dancing to the Zumba beat.)


SUCH A DEAL--Ready for your close up? Wilshire Beauty is a one stop shop for everything you need to be camera ready! 

As I write this, Wilshire Beauty Supply is having a dazzling sale! 

This centrally located apothecary is filled with lotions, creams, polishes and poufy do’s from Hollywood and around the world. Good deals are always on hand but right now they are going through a remodel, so they have some real savings on high end products. 

If you need some high quality beauty supplies and fashion accessories at prices up to 70% off regular, you owe it to yourself to come on down to Wilshire Beauty. It’s at the corner of Wilshire and Cloverdale along that famous boulevard of retail splendor from the golden age of Hollywood – the Miracle Mile. 

I’ve been a customer of Wilshire Beauty Supply since I moved back to LA from the Big Apple. This is my current spot for all my hair coloring needs. 

Ooh-la-la! I love the Schwartzkopf lgora line of reds – and WB has them! 

WB also carries premiere brands like: 

  • Dermalogica
  • Yonka
  • Caudalie
  • Ojon
  • Phyto
  • Jonthan Product
  • Bar Escentuals
  • Stila 

I was in the store just this evening. The savings are popping. The staff is stellar. What more could anyone want? You’d have to be anemic not to want to get up and dance about it. I’ve always got the real skinny from Cindy who is a veritable fountain of knowledge concerning all things beauty. She’s more than happy to share her seemingly bottomless bag of tips and tricks for making oneself camera ready - or set for the 9 to 5, whichever may come first. 

Adam is also spectacular. In fact, he’s the one who sold me my new spring handbag. The last time I came in, I was captivated by the colorful and chic new spring collection of handbags that were sitting on the shelves. When he told me how much they would set me back, I took me about two seconds to say, “Yes, I’ll take it!” Honestly, Kate Spade and Ted Baker, stand back. 


I can’t tell you how many compliments I’ve got from this bag. It is a real find. Since the labeling featured the fact that the bag is lead free, I am now imagining that vinyl must normally have a lot of lead in it. Who knew? Like they say, you learn something new every day. Anyway, the fact that it’s not leather but definitely looks like it is all good by me! 

The store is full of beautiful pieces of all sorts, including HAIR ACCESSORIES, JEWELRY, HATS AND SCARVES. You can even get a reflexology kit or a traveling sonic toothbrush with a cool design on the case for only $16. 

I bought a really lovely scarf for that other lady who writes for this column on her birthday last year. She loves it! If you’re in the market for a special gift that won’t be found just anywhere, this is the place to come. 

I love old Hollywood lore and WB has quite a history with the stars and starlets. It began back in 1947 as a playground of experimentation for Rita Hayworth’s colorist and Bette Davis’s makeup artist. Here, they would whip up all kinds of concoctions designed to bring out the best in their famous clients. Now, the store is operated by the Kohan family, who have made it one of the premier destinations in Los Angeles for quality products. 

The care that goes into the selection of the items on offer is obvious. It is such a treat to visit the shop and see what new and special treats will be in store. As Cindy says when she speaks of what it’s like to unpack the new arrivals: 



Wilshire Beauty Supply

5401 Wilshire Bouleavard

Los Angele, CA 90036

(323) 937-2001

Hours:               M-F     9 am – 8 pm

                        Sat      9 am – 7 pm

                        Sun     10 am – 5 pm


Parking is behind the building off of Cloverdale.


(Jennifer Caldwell is a an actress and an active member of SAG-AFTRA, serving on several committees. She is a published author of short stories and news articles and is a featured contributor to CityWatch. Her column at is dishing up good deals, recipes and food for thought. Jennifer can be reached at  Facebook: - Twitter: @checkingthegate) 

DEALS & DISCOUNTS--I love this place! Best coffee in West Los Angeles. When you think of a conservatory, you think of a place of fine art. The Conservatory of Coffee, Tea and Cocoa is a place of the fine art of specialty drinks. Each “masterpiece” tantalizes your senses with the alluring aromas of the freshest and finest ingredients and the warm, welcoming atmosphere.

Let me explain: As you walk in, the experience starts. You pass an assortment of burlap sacks from exotic coffee beans with names printed like Jamaican Blue Mountain, Costa Rican La Amistad, and Guatemalan Mayacert. There is a commercial coffee grinder to grind roasted beans within minutes of being brewed, and a very cool indoor tree reminding you of a studio set you might find across Washington Blvd. at Sony Pictures.

Golden tea tins are lining rows of shelving with over 75 varieties of loose teas. It is really hard to choose between teas that are leafy, full-leaf, wiry, needles, pearls, and pellets, the barista will help you create a perfect cup seeped in a single serve organic bag. Just like the coffee, this is the widest and freshest tealeaf assortment ever.

Within a few minutes, my coffee order was ready with a latte rosette embellishment. Within the first taste of the velvety richness and smooth coffee flavor, no over-roasting or burnt taste. It was love at first sip, I became a Conservatory convert.

Between a cup of Jose, Peruvian was the coffee blend of the day, and a vegan muffin, I paid around five bucks and felt extremely satisfied with my purchase for the best café treat ever.

The Conservatory sells coffee and tea supplies, and a barista can help advise you how to conveniently brew coffee, tea or cocoa at your home. I would highly encourage visiting their website to see the many exotic varieties of coffees and teas available to buy from all over the world.

There is no Wi-Fi, but plenty of people are working with their laptops. Note, the Conservatory closing times are at 6 pm on Monday - Friday, 3 pm on Saturday, and closed on Sundays. Parking is a bit tricky, but you can try in back in their private lot.





10117 Washington Blvd

Culver City, CA  90232

(Across the street from the Sony Studios lot)


Monday - Friday 7 am - 6 pm, Saturday 8 am - 3 pm, Not Opened on Sundays.



(Sue Helmy has plenty of tricks up her sleeve. She is currently providing superb administrative services at a financial management firm in Century City. She is active in countless church and civic organizations and spends every minute she can spare dancing to the Zumba beat.)

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