Aerial yoga takes working out to new heights.
December 24, 2010
An artful alternative to classic yoga, aerial yoga marries traditional Vinyasa flow with Cirque du Soleil-style acrobatics. Opened this summer in the Malibu Country Mart, 5 Point Yoga (the five points are mental wellness, physical fitness, nutrition, community and environment) offers a 90-minute aerial yoga routine that is as challenging as it is fun.
The class is held in a large, airy room filled with natural light. Soft New Age music is the sound track, creating a peaceful, serene setting in which to practice. Equipped with more than 10 years of aerial experience, instructor Alicia Marie Schultze leads her small class (maximum capacity is eight people) through a series of stretches, fluid yoga poses and core exercises to warm the body in preparation for the acrobatics.
The second part of the class is purely aerial. Schultze says the practice “isn’t just a learning of the moves but a learning of the body.” Long silks cascading down from the cathedral-like ceiling serve as anchors for the routine. Schultze takes the class through various sequences, including the most basic—climbing the silks (think climbing ropes in gym class, but more graceful)—and each student is given personalized attention based on skill level (note: a two-year minimum of intense yoga practice is recommended).
Primarily a core and upper body workout (your arms and back will be sore in places you never knew existed), the class provides an exhilarating feeling of empowerment from completing an aerial series. “It gives people the opportunity to get off the ground and experience a whole new way of being in their body,” says 5 Point Yoga owner Ted McDonald. “You get a workout, but you also get an experience you won’t get in any other exercise class.”
Deck the Drive
Two Rodeo’s iconic holiday display brings a winter wonderland to the heart of Beverly Hills.
December 10, 2010
Living in Los Angeles, we may not have brisk temperatures to signal the oncoming holiday season, but we do have a merry-making beacon in the 200 block of Rodeo Drive. To be exact, nearly 60,000 twinkling lights, 8,000 feet of ribbon and 1,500 feet of garlands festooned from Wilshire Boulevard to Dayton Way cue it’s time to deck the halls. It’s all part of the holiday display at Two Rodeo, the stretch of the infamously posh shopping street modeled after an open European piazza. “The focal point is the 30-foot-tall tree at the top of Via Rodeo,” says marketing director Maureen Pollack, who—along with an in-house team—is responsible for planning the decorations.
The present winter wonderland theme features everything from ribbon-wrapped buildings to replicas of giant polar bears frolicking around icebergs--all in a palette of red, silver and robin’s egg blue. “We’ve done some form of holiday décor [every year] for the 20 years Two Rodeo has been here,” says Pollack. “This year, we wanted to stay true to tradition but kick it up a notch.”
The jolly spectacle, which goes up after Thanksgiving, is on display until the first week of January. In the evenings, seasonal entertainment, such as strolling carolers and steel-drum bands, enhance the festive ambiance Thursdays through Saturdays and the entire week leading up to Christmas Eve. Winter coats need not attend.
Win a Trip to France
Travel to the glittering city of Versailles on France Guide Prestige’s tab
December 03, 2010
Trianon Palace Hotel
The luxury travel experts at France Guide Prestige are offering readers a chance to win a three-night stay for two at the lavish Trianon Palace Hotel in Versailles, France. Two round-trip tickets to Paris via Air France, plus breakfasts and two tête-a-tête dinners at Gordon Ramsay's La Veranda are included in the package. Winners will also be invited to the prestigious L’Académie du spectacle équestre, a sort of ballet for the equestrian world, and the Château de Versailles. Visit franceguide.com to enter.
Passport to Spain
Assouline debuts a luxury guide to Europe’s sultriest country.
October 15, 2010
For the final volume in its luxury collection of travel guides, Assouline gives us an insider’s look at where to eat, sleep and play in Spain. Like the other journals in the collection—Italy, India, Greece, Argentina and the U.S.—the Spain Destination Guide ($140 for the set of six) has no shortage of local favorites shared by concierges stationed at the exquisite Spanish hotels under The Luxury Collection Hotels & Resorts’ umbrella. And what would a travel guide be without intel on where to find the best eats? For that, master chef José Andrés provides his favorite locales (as well as a few savory Spanish recipes) and mixologist Greg Seider addresses the art of the Spanish cocktail. Try his La Boqueria Sour with one of Andrés’ delicious dishes.
LA BOQUERIA SOUR
1 oz. Havana Club rum
1 oz. Spanish brandy
1 oz. lemon juice
¾ oz. agave syrup
1 egg white
Paprika for garnish
Muddle figs in cocktail shaker. Add remaining ingredients (except paprika) and shake. Fill the shaker with ice and shake again vigorously for 15–20 seconds. Double strain into a chilled martini glass, garnish with ground smoked paprika and serve.
In Catfish, two young filmmakers and a photographer make us all think about our Facebook status.
September 17, 2010
When I speak to Henry Joost and brothers Nev and Ariel Schulman over the phone during a press tour for their film Catfish, the connection is grainy. It’s hard to hear them, and it’s what I imagine it would sound like to talk with someone over an old rotary dial. So considering that their film focuses on the mystery of relationships created on Facebook—a modern tool used to connect more than 500 million active users—it’s a bit ironic.
I start by asking them if everything depicted in the film—which, out today, sets the stage for The Social Network's release next month—actually happened as it’s shown. I don’t want to offend them, but what I saw at a screening the week prior is pretty unbelievable, heightened by the fact that five minutes before the interview I read a comment on YouTube comparing the film to the faux-reality of The Blair Witch Project.
“One-hundred percent,” they answer in unison. One of them pipes up, adding, “Not a single thing in the film was faked or reenacted or anything.”
Schulman, along with Joost, started filming his photographer brother Nev in their tiny Manhattan office after Nev received a Facebook friend request from a little girl named Abby in Michigan asking if she could paint one of his photos. What started as a documentary about a long-distance Facebook friendship grew into a discovery of a web of lies—all caught on camera. “The documentary gods just dropped it out of the sky” says Ariel.
“It’s an unbelievable circumstance and a collection of strange details that led to this movie happening,” Nev explains. “We share an office, and [Ariel] and Henry have a strange obsession with filming things. They collect video footage for no reason. It seems like a too-good-to-be-true situation, but we just kind of lucked out.”
“Using these cameras is like practice for us,” Joost says. “We’re capturing things all the time for that reason, and Ariel had the instinct that this was a story that could develop into something.”
The film follows Nev as he begins a romantic relationship with Abby’s older sister, Megan, who he also met through Facebook. They text, e-mail, Facebook message and, yes, talk over the phone. Nev is also friends with Megan and Abby’s mother, Angela, as well as several of the family’s friends. One night, through another Internet discovery, Nev begins to suspect that Megan is not being entirely honest with him. So the three friends depart on a trip across the country to meet the family and discover the truth.
“Our philosophy is that it’s best for audiences to go in knowing as little as possible, because that’s the way that we experienced this story,” Joost says. “We want to preserve that for the audience as much as possible.”
So did the friends alter the way they use Facebook? “Absolutely,” says Joost. “I don’t like to friend people who I haven’t met in person. [Ariel] still does, though.”
“In addition to thinning out my friends on Facebook,” Nev says, “I’ve also deflected more than 200 friend requests since the movie came out. It’s not because I don’t want to have a connection with these people, but I am now totally reconsidering how [my Facebook] should be private to some extent. I encourage people to become a Facebook fan of the movie. I’ve recently set up a Nev Schulman fan page.”
“Anytime you put something on the Internet,” Joost adds, “you’re basically committing it to a permanent record. Even if you delete it, it still exists somewhere.”
As a brilliant story that speaks loudly to the Internet generation, Catfish is a perfect example of that. No spoilers here, but after seeing the film you might walk away pondering, but you won’t walk away hungry.
Catfish opens in Los Angeles today.
Hitting All the Right Notes
Carlos Santana revisits the classics with his latest album.
September 17, 2010
Rock legend Carlos Santana is known for producing some of the most soulfully intricate guitar work in the business. On September 21 we get even more from the icon as he releases a new album of classic-rock covers called Guitar Heaven: The Greatest Guitar Classics of All Time—a collaboration with producer Clive Davis that was recorded partially in LA and features tists like Inilong with Yo-Yo Ma on the Beatles’ “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”), Joe Cocker (on “Little Wing” by Jimi Hendrix), Gavin Rossdale (on T. Rex’s “Bang a Gong”), and Nas (on “Back in Black” by AC/DC).
It’s a powerful lineup, and one that will no doubt help fuel the Grammy Award-winning guitarist as he embarks on a European tour on September 29 before beginning his “Supernatural Santana: A Trip Through the Hits” residency at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Vegas. But don’t expect note-for-note replications from the album. “Like [jazz saxophonist] Wayne Shorter says, ‘notes are like people; you must visit them once in a while,’” says Santana. “When you revisit the notes, you learn so much that you didn’t know before. That’s what music’s supposed to be—open for more exploring.”
Photograph by Maryanne Billham
The Nose Knows
Margaret Hyde’s new children’s book and iPhone app tell a “scentsational” tale.
August 01, 2010
With her interactive new children’s book and corresponding iPhone application, Margaret Hyde continues her penchant for publishing interesting and educational stories while promoting animal rights. The latest book, Mo Smells Blue, is the fourth in a series in which Mo, a friendly and adventurous dog, explores the world using his sense of smell, picking up the scents of objects of the same color that share a common theme. Each book contains “Press-2-Smell” technology infused with essential aromatherapy oils from Aura Cacia, so parents and children alike can enjoy the scents along with Mo.
The related iPhone application, Mo’s Nose (free on iTunes), acts as a search engine for pet owners with a nationwide catalogue of vets, dog parks, groomers and more. It additionally features two games for children who are fans of the Mo’s Nose series.
Portions of the proceeds from Mo Smells Blue will go toward both the Best Friends Animal Society, which rescues and finds homes for abandoned animals, and Plastic Free Ocean, which raises awareness of the damage to the world’s oceans caused by plastic refuse and promotes alternative and reusable materials.
A New Flavor
LA resident Aarti Sequeira spices things up on The Next Food Network Star.
July 26, 2010
There are only four women remaining on the hit show The Next Food Network Star, one of them LA resident Aarti Sequeira. We queried her about the show, what sets her apart from other cooking personalities and what she loves about LA.
LOS ANGELES CONFIDENTIAL: Why does the Food Network need a personality like yours?
AARTI SEQUEIRA: The great thing about the Food Network is that they endeavor to provide something for everyone. And there’s no one on the network cooking the kind of food that I do—familiar American dishes with a splash of Indian flair.
How does it feel to be one of four women remaining in the show?
I am honored to be included in this group. I’ve walked away from this process with some true friends I know I’ll stay connected with for the foreseeable future.
You have an incredibly popular website,aartipaarti.com. How instrumental was the success of the site to making it on the show?
Producing my own show before I started on this show meant that I was über-comfortable in front of the camera. It also helped me learn how to cook and talk at the same time.
How long have you lived in LA?
About seven years. I love it, primarily because of the massive variety of food available here. And don’t even get me started on the year-round farmer’s markets.
What are some of your favorite places to eat?
At the moment I’m obsessed with Chego, the restaurant from the chef behind the Kogi truck.
The Beach Boys
Five California boys are creating their own sound—and a really good time—with their band Fight Fair.
July 26, 2010
Having released their first full-length album, California Kicks, late last month, Fight Fair—a band of young born-and-bred California buddies—is definitely ready for summer. And with a spot on the Vans Warped Tour to boot, they’re more than set to spread some California sunshine countrywide. We caught up with frontman Alex Bigman to talk about the band’s love of their home state, their evolving sound and what’s next.
LOS ANGELES CONFIDENTIAL: California Kicks has a different feel from your first EP, Settle the Score. How would you describe your new sound?
ALEX BIGMAN: Our new sound is like a modern surf rock mixed with punk influences. The first EP was a little more hard core and punk rock. We started listening to a lot of oldies like the Beach Boys and older punk music like the Ramones, and we kind of formed this new genre or style that people are calling “surf core.” It’s a lot of songs about going to the beach and surfing and having a good time. It’s a really good, fun summer CD.
Who do you see as your ideal fan?
I think anyone across the world can get into our music; it’s uplifting and fun. Obviously the record is calledCalifornia Kicks, and we’re representing California because that’s where we’re from and where we grew up, so that’s who we are.
Is there any part of California you’re particularly excited to play during the Vans Warped Tour?
I’m stoked whenever we’re in California. I went to San Diego State, and our other guitarist went to UC Santa Barbara, so we’ve been all over California. We have ties to San Diego, LA, Central California, Santa Barbara—all the way up to San Francisco. Pretty much all of California is our hometown.
So what’s next for Fight Fair once you wrap the Warped Tour in August?
We’re going to be going on more tours, and doing some writing for the next album. We’re going to be changing the sound up again. Expect some reggae-type stuff.
Run to Mummy
The California Science Center checks in new mummies.
July 26, 2010
If you’ve always been curious about past cultures and get a thrill out of unearthing ancient relics, get ready for a major archeology-junkie fix: On July 1, the California Science Centeropens “Mummies of the World,” one of the largest exhibitions of mummies that was developed by American Exhibitions, Inc. in association with the Reiss-Engelhorn Museums of Mannheim, Germany. It features artifacts from South America, Europe, Asia, Oceania and Egypt—look for one of the oldest mummified infants ever discovered, incredible animal mummies and the Orlovits clan, part of a large group of mummies found in a church crypt in Hungary in 1994.
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