Get your hands on a sleek Philippe Starck-designed iPod/iPhone docking station.
March 11, 2011
The wireless innovators at the Parisian electronics firm Parrot teamed up with Philippe Starck to design an iPod/iPhone docking station. The result is the aesthetically pleasing Zikmu Parrot by Starck Hi-Fi speakers ($1,600 for a pair). Ahead Stereo, 7428 Beverly Blvd., LA; aheadstereo.com.
Murray Home Theater
Anything is possible with Murray Home Theater.
March 04, 2011
Once upon a time, it took little details like a friendly Labrador or family heirlooms to create a home sweet home. Nowadays it’s more along the lines of a 65-inch flat panel above the fireplace or a full-blown media room. As Michael Murray, founder and president of Costa Mesa’s Murray Home Theater, puts it, “sound and lighting make a house a home.” He would know: For the past decade, Murray has been installing home theaters, security systems and home automation (controlling, say, your home’s lighting from your iPhone) into abodes all over the West. He has also executed the outlandish, such as recessing a television into flower beds for optional outdoor viewing, and equipping monitors in a backyard bar with a live ticker linked to Vegas’ sports books. Above all, Murray believes in the personal touch. “We’re a boutique company,” he says. “Homeowners know us on a first-name basis.” murrayhometheater.com
Art Los Angeles Contemporary Shines
A visit to Art Los Angeles Contemporary opens the eyes.
February 04, 2011
Photography by Fredrik Nilsen
To call Art Los Angeles Contemporary an art fair simply does not do it justice. The labyrinth of art—which ran January 27-30 this year—accommodates 70 exhibitors at the historic Barker Hangar at the Santa Monica Airport. And it's quite a show, filling viewers with shock, awe, inspiration, or a combination of all three at every turn. The 34,000 square feet of open exhibition space housed an eclectic mix of sculptures, photographs, watercolors, oil paintings, live art, and video animations, as well as pieces consisting solely of tape, textile, or cardboard.
Known for its diversity, the show featured works of art by both established and younger galleries both in the US and abroad. But there was one unifying theme: the bold, fearless art that pushed the envelope and took several steps outside the art world’s comfort zone. There is nothing safe or conventional about, for instance, a photographic print of a shower curtain knotted around a woman’s head mounted on Plexiglass. Still, as I turned a corner to find myself face-to-face with a series of photographs of a woman gradually covering her face with chocolate frosting and rainbow sprinkles, I couldn’t help but think, oh, I’ve been there. It was then that I realized why ALAC is such a find: The beauty of its artwork wasn't just in its daring and nervy spirit, but more so in its ability to connect with viewers and, on occasion, make them drool.
Movie Must: Waste Land
Director Lucy Walker's new film finds magic in a dumping ground.
February 04, 2011
“How does one's life get to the garbage dump, and how does one recycle oneself?” muses documentarian Lucy Walker (Countdown to Zero, Blindsight, Devil’s Playground) on one of the central themes of her astonishing film Waste Land. The director herself needs no recycling, as she finds herself in the midst of a bright, shiny career high even after shooting knee-deep in trash.
Waste Land is Walker’s chronicle of once-impoverished, now-acclaimed photographer Vik Muniz’s journey back to his native Brazil. There he visited the world’s largest dumping ground to create photographic portraits of local itinerants who forage for recyclables to sustain themselves, all shot amid a landscape of garbage. Muniz hopes the high-dollar proceeds from his avid collectors will alter the lives of these Brazilians. “The amazing people we found there are somehow spiritually so recycled, so inspirational in their courage and dignity,” says Walker. “I knew they would have dramatic stories—but I didn’t realize they would be cooler than anyone I’ve ever met.”
Walker had the landscape in mind a decade ago after visiting a Staten Island landfill during an NYU seminar on garbage. “It was mortifying—[but] as a filmmaker, I was saying, ‘I should put it on film because it’s such a powerful location.’” Waste Land is illuminated by the incredible spirits the filmmaker encountered and “the idea of turning garbage into art—things that are so valueless you throw them away, into things that are so valuable you buy them at auction and put them as prized possessions on your wall.” Even Muniz was unprepared for the compelling encounters. “I thought, ‘Ha, [Muniz] may have been surprised, but I wasn’t,” says Walker. “That was my cunning plan.’”
PHOTOGRAPHS BY HUGO TILLMANS
Barbie's Ken Turns 50
The most famous Barbie boyfriend celebrates a birthday.
January 28, 2011
Ken has been Barbie’s main squeeze since 1961, when the two blonde bombshells met on the set of a commercial. For the past half-century, we’ve considered him the ideal man—a trophy boyfriend, a snappy dresser and the ultimate Cali boy. We caught up with Ken as he gets ready to celebrate his 50th birthday this month. From the looks of it, he hasn’t aged a bit.
How does it feel to turn 50?
It’s nothing but a number. I feel great about it—look how good 50 looks on Barbie! 2011 is going to be a great year for me; I can just feel it.
What are your secrets to looking great at 50?
It’s all in the abs, and hair helps, of course! If your abs are rockin’ and the hair is intact, the rest will follow. A nice glow from the Malibu sun also helps.
Where are you living these days?
Malibu is where my surfboard lives, but my life takes me on the road. My passport is always ready to go.
Would you say Barbie is the love of your life?
Isn’t Barbie the love of everybody’s life? She’s an absolute doll!
What are some of the biggest challenges you and Barbie face as a celebrity couple in the spotlight?
The spotlight can be a real scorcher—sometimes you almost feel like you are melting. We work very hard on keeping the right perspective and focusing on fun.
What are some of your favorite qualities about Barbie?
She’s smart, beautiful and brings blonde ambition to a whole new level.
What's your secret to staying in such great shape?
I’m always on the go—work, play and everything in between keeps me moving and active. Catch me if you Ken!
Onstage: The Meanest Guy That Ever Lived
Lily Spottiswoode pays tribute to her late grandfather, Jack Palance, in her one-woman show.
January 21, 2011
Throughout Jack Palance’s acting career, which included his famous turns in 1953's Shane and 1991's City Slickers (for which he won an Oscar), there was more to Palance than the tough western characters he played. For the most part, he was a deeply devoted grandfather. Since his death in 2006, Palance’s granddaughter, Lily Spottiswoode, brings his memory to the stage in her one-woman show The Meanest Guy That Ever Lived (directed by Jenny Sullivan and running through January 22 at Pico Playhouse).
To Spottiswoode, Palance wasn’t Hollywood’s bad guy; he was “just my grandfather, who always had his hair perfectly combed and at the same time, there was often bird shit on his jeans.” Here, Spottiswoode opens up about her grandfather, taking on the role of her six family members and who she likes to play the most.
What is the premise of The Meanest Guy That Ever Lived?
LILY SPOTTISWOODE: It’s about a weekend in which my family came together to say goodbye to my grandfather. It’s not so much a therapy session, but more of a comedy. It’s about how every crazy family has moments when they have to cope.
Did he inspire you to write the show?
The show is a tribute to him, the eccentric life that he led and the worlds he created for my family and I. In that way it’s completely inspired by him. The way I dealt with his death was that I wrote a show about it.
What was it like to have such a famous grandfather?
I never saw him as a movie star. The show is about him, but I never say his name. For me it’s not about using his name—that happened to be [just one] part of who he was. Mainly he was an incredible grandfather and a deeply eccentric man.
What is the hardest part of doing a one-woman show?
It takes a lot of work and discipline. I wrote the show and it’s difficult when rehearsing, to take off my writer’s hat and then just act.
Who do you play?
I play myself, my grandfather, my mom, brother, step-grandmother, and my aunt. I’ve created characters inspired by them; it’s how I saw them dealing with his death.
Who is your favorite to play? My grandfather. I feel like I’m with him. It’s a gift when I get to play him, because I get to have a conversation with him.
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.
Fashion shoot: December 2013 issue of Los Angeles Confidential magazine.