DEALS & DISCOUNTS--On my first day at my new job, one of my co-workers was complaining that it had taken her a long time to drive to work due to the millions of illegals that are driving on the Los Angeles freeways. After questioning her, she repeated what she heard Sean Hannity say on radio that morning. I told her not to listen to that stuff, and, in frustration, went to my cubicle to cry over ignorant rhetoric both on the air and passed down by everyday people.
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:
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 email@example.com. Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/jennifercald - Twitter: @checkingthegate ... And her website: Jenniferhcaldwell.com)
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
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:
Mall of Egypt
Al Wahat Al Baharia
6th October, Cairo, Egypt
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.)