DEALS & DISCOUNTS--I guess you could say that it all started when I met this artist named Leland when I was volunteering for the GLAAD Media Awards … 

So there I was in front of City Hall, listening to the mayor after a long May Day march, when I ran into this Leland fella once again and he invited me to go have a drink with him and a couple of his friends later in WeHo. Of course, I said I’d be delighted and we parted ways with much adieu. 

I arrived in the San Vicente/Santa Monica Boulevard area at around 7 pm. I drove around and tried to find street parking but finally opted for the library parking off of San Vicente. I scuttled on up to Santa Monica and met Leland and his pals at Rage. 

I have to tell you that I really had no idea what I was in for. 

The tables were all arranged facing a stage area and it dawned on me that we were not only having a drink but seeing a show. In fact, one of my newfound pals, Terrence, was due to be in the show. 

The show began with a tall lean dude with glasses lip-singing a rousing rendition of “Rose’s Turn” from Gypsy as the divine Miss M belted it out from a screen up above. The live performer was shaking his groove thing and shimmying his shoulders and I thought, “What the heck is going on here!” 

It became clearer with each number that Musical Mondays at Rage is a rager of a deal. 

TRANSLATION: THIS SHOW IS ABSOLUTELY FREE OF CHARGE! 

Leland and his pal Elizabeth had never seen the show either and we were astounded at the depth of talent in the group of performers before us. They would strut and scoot and sashay hither and tither as they seemingly belted out tunes from Trouble in River City to All That Jazz while videos played overhead. 

Some of them were so good at lip-singing that I’m still convinced they WERE singing. 

The joint rocks a happy hour too. I enjoyed a glass of Pinot Grigio for $7. You never know how wine will be in a bar but this was just fine. They also offer up tasty food items at reasonable prices. I have to admit that I had already eaten so didn’t sample the fare but would love to hear from a reader on that score! 

One thing is perfectly clear. Everything’s Coming Up Roses at Monday Night Musicals at Rage and I plan to take my friends there the next chance I get. They’ve made a musical lover out of me. Who knows, maybe I’ll see if I can take a stab at it myself! 

Thanks to the awesome performers Andrew Blau, Bobby Beus, Pilar Herrera, Gerson Rapoport, Brian Treadway, Chris Ahears, Imani Estese, Danielle Dee, Frank Woo, Jason Rasmussen, Martin “Free” Ramon, Ryan Provencher, Kevin Clager, Coleen Quinn-Allen, David Shepherd, Rudy Villa, Chris Lilly and Jose Gallegos – and the Ishka Maher for producing this wonderful night and her husband Keith Jacobson the VJ.

 

NEED TO KNOW: 

Rage nightclub

8911 Santa Monica Blvd.

West Hollywood, CA

 

Starting at 6 PM, VJ Keith Jacobson plays all your FAVORITE Broadway and movie musical clips. Then, at 10 PM, the show begins!

(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. Jennifer can be reached at recessioncafe@yahoo.com.  Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/jennifercald - Twitter: @checkingthegate ... And her website: Jenniferhcaldwell.com) 

-cw 

 

 

DEALS & DISCOUNTS--Going into the office for a job interview, the first thing I noticed was the painting hanging in the conference room, a large cheerful collage of colors. It somehow comforted my nervousness while trying to search for the “right” answers, for the routine questions, “where do you see yourself in 5 years”, “what are your greatest weakness?” 

Concluding the interview, the conversation came to a silent lull, and the COO used this painting as a talking point. Even though it looks like one large painting, it is actually made up of 24 individual canvases, each a 6” squares. He proudly explained at the last holiday party, each employee painted one square. The outline of the flower was already sketched, but no one knew what the finished product would be. Using imagination, each person did what they wanted with their canvas square. 

One person painted a golf course with a hole and sand trap, another boats on a river, a collage of leaves, flowers, an abstract of facial profiles, and so on. When people had completed their painting, they moved on to their neighbor’s square and enhanced their design even further with more color and details. 

Each individual square on its own looks somewhat child-like, but alright. But when put all together, the whole painting transforms into something so much better. The painting is dimensional, upbeat and creative, interesting, and DYANMIC. Who would not want to be a part of a synergetic company like that? 

So I got the job, and I have been here for the past 5 weeks. It is a good thing I like that painting because I stare at it from 8 am to 5 pm as the conference room is next to my cubicle. I have heard the CEO and COO tell the painting schpeel so many times already. Obviously I am not the only person impressed; the creation of this painting is impressing potential staff and clients alike. 

Since this painting happened before I came on staff, I like to try to pick out who painted which square. It is a great way to get to know my colleagues in a different light, as their square tells a lot about their personalities and their backgrounds. They happily recall an enjoyable and playful experience painting together. For a brief moment that person seems different, I can see their inner child that so rarely comes out to play in the workplace. 

The symbolism behind speaks loud and clear that this company values individuality, cultivates creativity, cares about the good of the team, as well as, we are each a part of a bigger picture whether we know it or not.  

Expressing creativity, hence the event’s name Co/creation, and building community is exactly the mission of Nick Spano, the owner of Re/Creation (the names are a little confusing). I would say that he is accomplishing it by inspiring others to find their inner artistic, creative, musical, child-like self in a non-judgmental, group based environment. Once a Disney child actor, solar power business owner, farmers markets coordinator, real estate investor, and now events producer, Nick has incorporated his unusual and unique background, his passions, and his organizational abilities to produce small and large-scale events in the Los Angeles area.

With his thousands of followers and events regularly selling out, he is doing something right, and not afraid to stick his neck “outside the box”. He regularly produces and facilitates paint events for free, and other events catering to thousands of participants, Rave On Wheels (ROW) as in roller-skating with DJs playing a variety of beats in Hollywood, and Goddess Celebration – a semi-annual retreat empowering women with yoga, music, food, and massages by masked men in Malibu. Fun and popular, but maybe not designed for the corporate world. 

I, for one, am very grateful to Nick’s creative, community-building paint events which convinced me to join the staff of my current employment. Also I first-hand witness the benefits of the group project and the experiences that went into creating this work of art daily. 

I would like to encourage others to give Co/create a try, especially designed for team building for corporate holiday parties, staff retreats to family reunions, wedding parties or any other group you may want encourage. 

Learn more about Nick and Re/creation, by visiting him online.

 

NEED TO KNOW

RE/CREATION

Contact: nick@recreation.cafe  

www.Recreation.cafe 

www.facebook.com/recreationcafe 

@recreationcafe 

 

 

HERE ARE A FEW OTHER SAMPLES OF CO/CREATION. THEY HAVE BEEN FEATURED IN A GALLERY FOR NON-ARTISTS IN LOS ANGELES.

 

 

This week’s Deal takes place on the opposite side of the world in Cairo where a new attraction has most folks excited, but skeptical. The attraction has nothing to do with ancient Egyptian civilization. On the contrary, it is inside an ultra-modern mega-shopping center. The Mall of Egypt, just 30 minutes away from the great pyramids of Giza, had its grand opening this March 2rd. It is not just any shopping mall, but nearly 2 million square feet containing 400 retailers, an ample 6,500 parking spaces, 2 family entertainment centers and an indoor ski complex. Yes, snow in the middle of the desert, all year round. How ironic is that! I was lucky enough to be visiting my niece who had just taken her 3-year old son after school. Showing off their souvenir photos, I could see that this is something really special for Egyptians. 

Ski Egypt is the first indoor ski slope and snow park on the African continent. It offers skiing, snow-boarding, lessons, a sledding ramp, a chairlift, and a pro shop. The Snow View Café gives visitors while sipping hot cocoa a picturesque overview including watching adorable live penguins waddling around. 

Ski Egypt was built on the great success and on-going popularity of Ski Dubai by the same Emirati developer, Majid Al Futtam, and operated by a British partnership, Extreme Cool Ltd.

MAF began the construction for the mall in 2012, taking almost six years to build employing 6,000 local construction workers costing close to 6 billion EGP or $400 million (hard to know in real dollars because of so much inflation). For more info.  

For a family of 4, the cost is approx. $70 for rentals and lift tickets, and don’t forget professional photos.  To our American standards, the outing sounds like a bargain. For Egyptian standards, it is extremely expensive, if not nearly impossible for the working class. A government employee earns about 1,200 Egyptian pounds per month, or $66 US ($1 USD = 18 Egyptian pounds). 

If Ski Egypt is not affordable for the average Egyptian, the question is who are they targeting their customer base? Is it the more affluent Egyptian? There is a good chance they are getting away on weekends to their Red Sea or Mediterranean villas. Is it international tourists who are taking a day off from visiting national treasures and “Mummies and Deadies” at the Egypt Museum? 

The investment group may be betting on sheer numbers for Ski Egypt’s success. Cairo’s population is close to 10 million and they need somewhere to go. Even if the obvious factors are working against them such as political unrest, weak Egyptian currency and economy, high unemployment, a declining tourism industry, ongoing safety issues, a food shortage (most recently, sugar) and a growing population of penniless refugees from Iraq and Syria. With such huge problems, it would be wonderful to take the afternoon off to enjoy a light-hearted activity. 

To be honest, I am not sure what kind of “deal” this is for the Egyptian people. My biggest fear is that the Egyptians have learned American consumerism, living hand to mouth, accumulating debt, and ravaging its country of its natural resources, especially water. 

On the other hand, it was apparent how excited my niece and her toddler were after spending a few hours at the center. They should be proud, SKI EGYPT is amazing. I am hoping it will be a huge success. After all, it provides a paycheck for hundreds of employees and gives people a fun place to go. Otherwise, they may sitting on a huge pile of slush in the middle of the desert.  

NEED TO KNOW: 

SKI EGYPT

Mall of Egypt

Al Wahat Al Baharia

6th October, Cairo, Egypt

https://skiegy.com/  

PRICING

SNOW GO (entry, rentals, helmet)

Child, height and age restrictions           300 EGP ($17)

Adults                                                 350 EGP ($20) 

NORTH POLE EXPERIENCE (entry, lesson, gloves, locker rental)

Child and Adult                                            480 EGP ($27) 

SNOW VIEW, Entry to Café for Viewing

Admission                                                    120 EGP ($7)

(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.)

-cw

DEALS & DISCOUNTS--As Nora journeys from uptight business major to lefty activist, she discovers that the right-wing politician whose office she’s occupying is college friend, Star, who once championed the oppressed. This is the story of the transformation of two women and the people who shape their journey across the ideological divide. From former Black Panther sisters to religious demagogues, there is no turning back for anyone in the city of Los Angeles. Financial and political structures collapse as the two women face off - opposites again - but crossed. Star-Crossed. 

That there is my screenplay in a nutshell, or, as they call it in the Biz, a logline. I’ve worked for years on this feature and I’ve got to tell you, I’m more than a little bit excited at the thought of the awesome cast of actors that is assembling as we speak who will be giving their time to bring these characters to life. That’s why I’m reaching out now to invite you to come be a part of this process. 

Melvin Johnson and Bill White are the producers of the Nesona Play Reading Series. They’re always super busy putting up artistic works that reflect the lives of real people in the diverse communities of Los Angeles. They are committed to diversity and inclusion and to telling socially relevant stories of the resistance and heroism of ordinary people and extraordinary people. 

The readings they produce help writers develop their work by providing a space where artists and audiences can interact in a productive and exciting way. This is where my script will be going up next Wednesday, April 12. The event will include a reading of the script as well as Q&A and a meet and greet with refreshments. You too can have all of this for a donation of your choice. 

A couple of months ago, I was attending a Film Independent event, getting inspired by the cast and director of “Moonlight,” when I ran into an actor friend of mine, Bill Mendieta. I’ve known Bill since I came to Los Angeles. We got to talking about days gone by and times to come. To make a short story even shorter, it was Bill who gave me the nudge I needed to get this thing up on its legs with a reading. 

Turns out Bill is also perfect for the part big firm accountant, Robert Barnes – the husband of one of my leads; and fortune would have it that he was available. Jill Awbrey (playing Nora Bolden) is an amazing actress from my class with the incredible Brad Barnes. “In the moment” is her middle name. I was over the moon when my acting coach and richly talented actor and director, Elise Robertson, agreed to play Star. It is the ideological journey of Nora and Star that lies at the heart of the story. 

I met Bruce Lemon Jr. while doing a bit of casting for Carolfrances Likins’ reading of her script “Subversion!” for which I also played a leading role. That story told the tale of a family affected by the infamous Palmer Raids of the early 1920s, which resulted in massive rounding up and deportations proceedings against thousands of people #resisting unfair labor practices and other social ills. 

This past December, I went on to shoot a reading of a Langston Hughes poem with Bruce. I’m thrilled to say he will be playing the part of Jason Wright – a pivotal character in the life of Nora and the future of Los Angeles. 

More actors are signing on to play pivotal roles and we are sure to be in for a treat. For any of you awesome City Watch readers who would like to be a part of this creation and an enjoyable evening, I extend a hearty welcome. #TheResistance continues – onward to the big screen! 

NEED TO KNOW: 

Reading of “Star-Crossed” by Jennifer Caldwell

April 12, 2017 7:15 pm

MOments Playhouse

665 Heliotrope Drive

Los Angeles, CA 90004 

A production of NESONA Play Reading Series

Contact Information:

dramastage1@yahoo.com            213-908-5032

Talawah65@gmail.com                323-702-6317

You can find NESONA Play Reading Series on Facebook

 

Next Readings:   

April 26, 2017

“Oscar’s Last Stand” by William “Bill” White

May 10, 2017

“A Lesson Before Dying” by Ernest J. Gaines

May 24, 2017

“Bunk” by Julie Taiwo Oni

(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. Jennifer can be reached at recessioncafe@yahoo.com.  Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/jennifercald - Twitter: @checkingthegate ... And her website: Jenniferhcaldwell.com) 

-cw 

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