War Horse Play Arrives at Ahmanson Theatre
The Tony Award-winning play begins its national tour with LA.
June 13, 2012
The captivating Broadway play War Horse launches its national tour on June 13 at LA’s Ahmanson Theatre. Sure to be a must-see for summer, War Horse has been a critical darling in both its stage and film versions. The piece swept last year’s Tonys with five awards, including Best Play, and Steven Spielberg’s film masterpiece earned six Oscar nominations.
Based on the novel by Michael Morpurgo and adapted for the stage by Nick Stafford, War Horse portrays the poignant story of a young boy and his horse in World War I-era England. The cast is comprised of 30 performers and a series of life-sized equestrian puppets created by Handspring Puppet Company. Bob Boyett and the National Theatre of Great Britain serve as the lead producers of the US-wide tour.
War Horse first premiered to rave reviews in London in 2007, and will remain in LA for this leg of its tour until July 29. For tickets, visit centertheatregroup.org.135 N. Grand Ave., LA, 213-972-7401
Advice on Finding the Perfect Real Estate Ally
Ernie Carswell provides advice on finding the perfect real estate ally.
June 11, 2012
Even though I’ve been at the high end of this business for more than three decades, I still have to prove my chops with new clients—something all agents must do, really. It doesn’t matter if they are celebrities or not, my goal is to treat everyone with the utmost honesty and fairness, and give them realistic advice and creative strategies to shorten the length of the buying or selling process.
A referral by a friend or business manager means there is built-in trust from the outset. Treat your first call to an agent like an audition—give them about 30 seconds to prove they are confident, knowledgeable, and well informed. A good agent will then present a clear, organized plan for marketing and listing your property.
It also helps to find common ground. I saw an article about Moby being famous for his pancakes, which caught my interest since I’m a pancake-maker myself on weekends. When he came to see a chateau in the Hollywood Hills, I sought some pancake-making tips from him. It turned into a fun exchange—he was happy to wax on about pancakes and was immediately comfortable with me. He bought the house.
Because top brokers require a name prior to showing a house, it’s difficult to keep information private in this town, so look for an agent who is discreet and respects your privacy. One way to be creative and honest is to provide a business manager’s or attorney’s name.
Additionally, hire an agent who has a sophisticated understanding of the marketplace and is a good communicator. Ultimately, however, it’s most critical to establish a long-term relationship with someone who has the personality and skills to make you confident you can weather any transaction storm with them as your guide. erniecarswell.com
Graffiti Artists Tag Restoration Hardware
Check out the new inspirational graffiti exhibit at the brand’s Beverly Boulevard gallery.
May 16, 2012
Restoration Hardware is exhibiting two colossal pieces of graffiti art in The Gallery on Beverly Boulevard, located in the brand’s West Hollywood store, this month. The two 12- by 24-foot pieces, specially commissioned by Restoration Hardware chairman and CEO Gary Friedman, are a collaboration between graffiti artists CMENTONE (Matt Boal) and GE-OLOGY.
Works are emblazoned with Japanese Sumi-inked tags of inspirational quotes written by Friedman to reflect the Restoration Hardware brand. “When we are open and giving of our light, we create an endless reflection that outlives our human existence,” reads one of the two quotes, titled Endless Reflection. Edge and inspiration, isn’t that what all LA abodes need more of? 8772 Beverly Boulevard, West Hollywood, 310-652-0323
CicLAvia Encourages City to Walk
Initiative to alleviate city congestion makes fourth appearance in LA.
April 13, 2012
Downtown LA becomes a “walking city” when CicLAvia comes to town on Sunday, April 15. From 10 AM-3 PM, Angelenos are encouraged to ride, run, walk, or skate along a 10-mile stretch of car-free streets in an effort to de-stress from traffic and reconnect with the neighborhood.
CicLAvia started over 30 years ago in Bogotá, Colombia in an effort to alleviate the city’s congestion and pollution. Today, the events take place across Latin America and the US. This is the fourth installment in Los Angeles.
Broker's Tips for Hollywood Hills Buyers
Hilton & Hyland's Susan Andrews shares tips for buying in the Hollywood Hills.
April 09, 2012
The Hollywood Hills is one of the most sought-after areas to buy real estate, and rightly so. But as beautiful as that area is, it can be complex to navigate when buying a home.
When you finally identify the house you want to buy, the first order of business is deciding on a price, which includes many variables to take into account. Determining the value of a property there can be challenging due to the diversity of views, infrastructure, usable flat land, and access.
Once you're in escrow, investigating the condition of the property is critical. Consider a geological inspection for hillside stability, a drainage inspection to control hillside erosion, and a boundary survey to clarify property lines. The shapes of Hills lots are often irregular, causing neighbors to unknowingly encroach on each other's properties, which can lead to costly litigation—and worse, living next door to your enemy! I currently represent the buyers of a Sunset Strip-area house where the previous sellers were forced to rescind the home in a down market and ordered to pay almost $1 million in damages due to an encroachment on a neighboring property they failed to disclose.
To make sure my clients weren't buying a house next to a litigious neighbor, I decided to knock on the door, introduce myself, and get the whole story. The neighbors couldn't have been lovelier, and my clients got along swimmingly with them. Surprisingly, that was the least of our problems.
After performing our own boundary survey, we found two more encroachments with the neighbor on the other side of the property. Even though a seller provides you with reports, it is always wise to conduct your own inspections. Using a knowledgeable Hollywood Hills agent is essential to protecting your most valuable asset—your sanity! luxurylahomes.com
Plush Private Jet Service: Elite Aviation
An inside look at the exclusive private jet service from the woman at the helm of it all.
March 13, 2012
Known for its attention to detail, high-profile clients, and ultimate discretion, private jet company Elite Aviation recently launched Elite Attaché, a program that provides guests with even more amenities and attention. We spoke with president and CEO Chris Holifield to learn more about her stable of jets and the creature comforts her clientele has become accustomed to.
Elite describes itself as “a woman-owned global premier private jet company.” What led you to the helm of the company?
CHRIS HOLIFIELD: I acquired Elite Aviation out of my own personal need to not be sitting in airports. Many of the people that I transport are in media and entertainment—Fortune 500 people whose time is at a premium. I found myself in that same situation. I got to a point where sitting in an airport was a waste of my time and a waste of money. I had the opportunity of buying Elite Aviation and thought, I can be really good at this, because all I need to do is treat everybody the way I want to be treated!
There are a lot of private jet and private charter companies out there. How does Elite stand out?
CH: The first thing [...] is that I am the president and CEO, and I'm also the client. I have not been on a commercial aircraft for 15 years. So, because I have flown all of my competitors and I am also a successful business person, I know exactly what not to do. The other component that makes us very different is obviously Elite Attaché, and our meticulous attention to detail.
Tell us about service on the planes.
CH: The service on the plane would be comparable to sitting in the lounge of a five-star hotel. My aircrafts are beautifully appointed with the finest leather and the finest wood finishings. Dining on my aircraft would be like dining at a five-star restaurant. I can get you any kind of food you want.
What's next on the horizon for Elite?
CH: I'm in the process of negotiations to expand abroad, and I'm in the process of negotiations to expand to Long Beach. We would cover all of Orange County and California.
The Prince of Prints
Illustrious abstract artist Ellsworth Kelly may hail from New York, but he’s having a major LA moment.
March 05, 2012
Ellsworth Kelly’s 1976 work Colors on a Grid.
It’s spring. Love is in the air. In particular, love for Ellsworth Kelly seems to be everywhere in LA, bursting like one of his bright, monochromatic prints.
The giant of American abstraction—who turns 89 in May—is being celebrated with a three-month retrospective of his lithograph prints, paintings, and sculpture at LACMA and also with an exhibit at the new Matthew Marks Gallery in LA, the façade of which he also designed. And to top off this Ellsworth extravaganza, the French fashion label Kenzo is releasing a Spring/Summer 2012 collection inspired by his bold mastery of shapes and colors.
“I’m very happy with the show at LACMA,” says Kelly, calling it “the best show of my prints I have seen.” As for the exterior of the Matthew Marks Gallery, the artist says, “When I saw the model of the building, it just came to me in a flash. It had to have a black bar. Since then I have thought a lot about the fact that more than a quarter of my paintings are in black and white.”
Although Kelly was born in Newburgh, NY, grew up in New Jersey, and now lives in Spencertown, NY, he has a special affinity for the City of Angels and its art community. The exhibit at Matthew Marks Gallery, for instance, marks his 15th solo exhibition here since 1992. “I have represented Ellsworth Kelly for more than 20 years,” says the gallerist. “I opened my first space in Chelsea in 1994 with a show of new paintings [by him]. It means a lot to me to inaugurate another gallery with an Ellsworth Kelly exhibition.”
Marks continues, “[The show at LACMA] includes more than half the prints he has made. These two shows underscore the nearly 50-year relationship Ellsworth has had with Los Angeles [since] he first showed here in 1965 at the Ferus Gallery.” Stephanie Barron, senior curator of modern art at LACMA, says she’s thrilled to have the Kelly retrospective under the museum’s roof—and the Left Coast is an especially appropriate place for many of these works. “Particularly with this body of prints, most of them were made here in Los Angeles at Gemini G.E.L. [studio],” she says. “It’s a wonderful homecoming.”
Ellsworth Kelly: Prints and Paintings is on display at LACMA through April 22. 5905 Wilshire Blvd., LA, 323-857-6000. Ellsworth Kelly: Los Angeles is on display at Matthew Marks Gallery through April 7. 1062 N. Orange Grove Dr., LA, 323-654-1830.
Home Gym Staple: An Elliptical Cruiser
ElliptiGo releases its most innovative elliptical bicycle yet.
February 07, 2012
The ElliptiGo 11R
ElliptiGo, the makers of the world’s first elliptical bicycle, has released its highest-performing bike yet, the Elliptigo 11R ($3,500). Designed with 11 gears for racers and high-endurance cyclers, the new stationary beach cruiser provides a high-intensity, low-impact workout, much like jogging—minus the joint pressure. A plethora of gears enable steep mountain climbs, high speeds (up to 30 mph), descents, and marathon rides, while a lightweight design and ergonomic grips offer smooth, controlled movement. Interested in a test run? ElliptiGo bikes are currently being rented at Hermosa Cyclery. 20 13th St., Hermosa Beach, 310-374-7816; hermosacyclery.com
Home Accessory Picks
Haus Interior's Nina Freudenberger shares her favorite home finds.
February 07, 2012
1. Lawson-Fenning’s Thin Frame Cabinet ($4,415) is a favorite of mine. The modern cubist base contrasts with the figurative wood burl doors, which are so delicate and beautiful. Lawson-Fenning East, 1618 Silver Lake Blvd., Silver Lake; 323-660-1500
2. I am really drawn to faded colors and watercolor palettes this season. The Ikat Design Rug Berja Ivory from Mehraban (price upon request) is a perfect example of a piece that can transition between the modern and the traditional. Mehraban, 545 N. La Cienga Blvd., LA, 310-657-4400
3. I love this Trapos Llama Throw by Pehuen Patagonia Designs ($575). It looks a little hand-knitted, but is still geometric. Calypso St. Barth, 225 26th St., Brentwood, 310-434-9601
4. Kelly Wearstler’s Mini Brass Bauble Box ($150) adds a little glamour to a coffee table or a dressing table. Kelly Wearstler Boutique, 8440 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood, 323-895-7880
5. The Maze Lidded Box by Plantation ($195) is a great desk organizer that doubles as a piece of art. Plantation,144 South La Brea Ave, LA, 3233-932-0511
6. This Black & Gold Glass/Chrome Lamp ($322) gives an incredible glow. I love it so much that I’m selling [it] at my shop. Haus Interior LA, 8211 West 3rd St., LA, 323-951-0151
Tech Gift Idea: Nintendo Pearl Pink 3DS
The gaming powerhouse launches a pink hand-held for Valentine’s Day.
February 01, 2012
The new Nintendo Pearl Pink 3DS ($170) is the perfect Valentine’s Day gift for the gadget gal. Available February 10, the hand-held system includes a built-in 3D camera, video recorder and games, as well as advanced social features and national Wi-Fi access. Even better, the 3D technology can be viewed sans glasses to keep you looking fashionable.