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Meet the LA Made Performers: 2020 - 21

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A Journey Through Brazilian Music

Silvia Nicolatto has a multicultural background; she combines her rich music compositions with her poetry. Silvia is a singer-songwriter and actress, born in Minas Gerais. She has released three albums in Brazil, “Além dos Gestos,” “Cantiga,” and “Rua de Sol e Lua.” In the UK, she has also released the album “Silvia Nicolatto and Her Anglo Cornish Friends.” In the U.S., her song “Curva do Rio” was included in the compilation “Brazilian Romance.”

Roberto Montero. Born in Brazil and living in Los Angeles for about 20 years, Roberto Montero has performed with Grammy Award-winner Sergio Mendes at the Blue Note in Japan, in Morocco, and across the United States, with Latin Grammy-nominated Brazilian singer Baby Consuelo, and with four-time Grammy-nominated Tiziano Ferro, among others.

Mika Mutti has been a music director (piano, synthesizers, percussion, guitar), co-producer, and arranger for Sergio Mendes since 2008 (including the most recent album to be released in April 2019); co-producer/songwriter/performer of the closing ceremony of the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro; co-producer/songwriter/ performer of the track "Rio" (nominated for an Oscar in the category of animated feature film); and has recorded and performed with artists such as The Scorpions, John Legend, Jamie Foxx, Will I Am, Carlos Santana, Siedah Garrett, and Common. Mika has been nominated for a Grammy with Sergio Mendes's album "Bom Tempo" and "Magic," performing as a percussionist, pianist, co-producer, and songwriter.

Sergio Mielniczenko. In 1976, Sergio joined the Consulate General of Brazil–Cultural Affairs staff and in 1978, he created, produced, and hosted one of the first radio programs in the U.S. dedicated to Brazilian music, "The Brazilian Hour," which continues to the present day and is now broadcast worldwide in five languages.


Acooba Scott – Cooking Programs

Acooba Scott is an accomplished vegan chef, specializing in family and home-style vegan cuisine. Acooba and her husband have raised four children, completely vegetarian from birth, and offer classes and workshops in support of a healthy plant-based family lifestyle.

Acooba has sustained a plant-based lifestyle for almost 30 years and is the author of Vegan Sushi: A Step by Step Guide, and the upcoming Vegan Survival Guide. She shares tips, techniques, and delicious recipes to help make plant-based living deliciously sustainable.


African Americans and Their California Dream Journey during the Jim Crow Era

Alison Rose Jefferson, M.H.C, Ph.D. is a historian and heritage, conservation consultant. Her research interests explore the intersection of American history and the African American experience in Southern California, particularly during the Jim Crow era, historical memory, public history, spatial justice, and cultural tourism, with an aim to engage broad audiences through applied history projects in the struggle for social justice. Her recent book titled, Living the California Dream, African American Leisure Sites during the Jim Crow Era (University of Nebraska Press) rethinks the significance of the struggle for leisure and public space for all within the long freedom rights struggle.

Lisa Teasley (Interviewer) is the author of the acclaimed novels Dive and Heat Signature, and the award-winning story collection, Glow in the Dark, published by Bloomsbury. Teasley’s essays, stories, and poems have been much anthologized and have appeared in numerous publications and media around the world; her BBC television documentary “High School Prom” was in long-term rotation in the UK; and she is the senior fiction editor at Los Angeles Review of Books.


Dante Alencastre – AIDS Diva

Dante Alencastre is an award-winning documentary filmmaker and LGBTQ community activist, based in Los Angeles, California. His filmmaking and work on the boards of Los Angeles Arts organizations and political and community groups is focused particularly on the overlapping Transgender, Latino/a, and gender-non-conforming sub-tribes within the community.


Elizabeth Liang – Alien Citizen

Elizabeth Liang was raised in Guatemala, Costa Rica, Panama, Morocco, Egypt, and Connecticut as a Guatemalan-American business brat of Chinese-Spanish-Irish-French-German-English descent. She graduated from Wesleyan University and is an award-winning bilingual actress who works in theater, television, and film; she also narrates audiobooks. Her essays have been published in the anthology Writing Out of Limbo and the journal Asian American Literature: Discourses & Pedagogies.


Barbara G. Wong – Craft Programs

Barbara Wong is a professional storyteller and self-taught craft workshop leader. She can frequently be seen haunting libraries and craft fairs in search of fun crafts and stories to share with audiences of all ages in public libraries, festivals and other venues throughout Southern California. Barbara began her storytelling and craft journey in Hawaii where she became an Artist-in-the-Schools and member of the University of Hawaii’s SCEP (Statewide Cultural Extension Program), sharing stories in schools and libraries throughout the Islands. At the same time, she also joined the Pacific Handcrafters Guild, after being jury-selected as a macramé jewelry artist.


Steven Dewall – Beginner Digital Photography

Since the indie-rock and independent-film boom of the 1990s, when he started his career as a photographer in Los Angeles, Steven Dewall has played a number of roles. He has worked as an art director, set designer, photo editor, and director of photography for music, movie, and lifestyle magazines. He made his name shooting musicians, actors, and film directors, and enjoyed connecting with people based on their love of the creative process. These days, he still does work like that, but is focusing on lifestyle and design, with an emphasis on interiors and environmental portraits. While the subject matter is a little different, his approach is the same: aiming to capture a scene in an intimate, honest way that’s still stylish and distinct. He currently lives in the Eagle Rock neighborhood of Los Angeles and his clients range from nonprofit organizations to commercial and entertainment-based media.


Amaya Mattei – Belly Dancing/Learn to Do Henna

From St. Tropez, France, Amaya “Sultana Gamal” is internationally known as a powerful, charismatic dancer. Amaya has danced since childhood: She studied ballet, jazz, and modern dance extensively as a scholarship student at the prestigious American School of Dance, various ethnic dances, along with many years of folk dance. Amaya has been teaching dance for over 25 years and taught yoga for many years. Amaya now directs Ya Harissa! Bellydance Theater, one of the most exciting Middle Eastern dance companies in Southern California. She trains the dancers, choreographs, and designs and makes the company’s costumes.


Bonnie Bowden – Musical Performance

Renowned songstress Bonnie Bowden is among those rare artists equally at ease in a Jazz, Pop, Broadway, or Classical setting. From a Disneyland pop soloist to lead soloist with Sergio Mendes Brazil ’66, Brazil '77, and Brazil '88, Bonnie has toured the world many times over. In addition to English, she sings in French, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish and has performed with a wide variety of entertainers from Antonio Carlos Jobim to Stevie Wonder. Currently, she performs in all types of musical settings from Symphony Orchestras to Jazz Combos to Big Band Orchestras. She also performs a one-woman show blending the Great American Songbook with Broadway Hits, Movie Themes, and Classical Favorites.


Liberate Hollywood – Breathwork/Sound Bath

Liberate Hollywood is a healing, sacred, and safe space designed to liberate individuals, communities, and the world! A place of strong community where we unite as one divine humanity to heal, to love, to transform, to vibe, to energize, to educate, to learn, to create, to be inspired, to be intellectually stimulated, to start great conversations, to rediscover our passions, to share, and to enjoy.


Cabaret Music, Song, and Magic

Arlene Nicoletti, a native of Los Angeles, previously performed in four original Los Angeles bands in the 90s at such places as the Dresden Room, Whisky A Go-Go, the Troubadour, and the Roxy. She spent a year doing stand-up comedy in 2006/2007 at such places as the Comedy Store, the Ice House, and the L.A. Improv. She has also done singing ventriloquism.

Glenndalf The Magician was born Glenn Schneider in Upstate New York in the 1960s. He enjoyed entertaining his family with puppet shows and ventriloquism at an early age. Fast forward to 2005 when he finally had an opportunity to follow his passion and moved to California to study magic in a serious course that took over 15 months to complete and garnered him an actual diploma in the field of magic. After honing his act in a local venue for over 160 consecutive weekly shows, he had a show that could go on the road. From comedy clubs to corporate gigs, country clubs, and private parties, Glenndalf’s unique blend of comedy and magic delights all ages. He also enjoys mesmerizing audiences with his wine glass harp playing.


Louie M. Valdivia – Chinese Calligraphy

Louie Valdivia began studying Chinese calligraphy with Master Yuan Zhi Zhong at the Taiwan Economic and Cultural Office in El Monte, CA, in 2007 and continues to do so the present day, specializing in the Han Dynasty calligraphy called Clerical Script. Clerical Script was used more than 2,000 years ago in China by court officials. The script is difficult to master and few calligraphers write it today. He earned a Master’s Degree in Oriental Languages from UCLA in 1977 and is a credentialed Chinese Language instructor at California Community Colleges.


Chinese Rhapsody

Mr. Wei Qi Zhong was born in Szechuan, China, and started his acrobatics training at age 11. His excellence with his craft has won him many awards, including the National Acrobatic Championship in China. His unique acrobatics is unsurpassed and there is no other acrobat artist that can duplicate his work yet.

Mask-Changing is street art that was started in Szechuan province. Due to its popularity and sense of magic, mask-changing is now formally taught in the Szechuan Art Academy. The Master that taught Mr. Zhong knew that one day Mr. Zhong would be performing world-wide, so part of the uniqueness of Mr. Zhong's Mask-Changing is that there are recognizable masks such as Spiderman and Doraemon. Including these familiar masks adds to the humor of this show, in addition to the endless wonder all audiences will feel. Mr. Zhong has performed world-wide and has done thousands of stage and TV appearances, including countries in Asia, Europe, Africa, South America, and all across the United States.


Musicians of the Pacific Trio

The Pacific Trio (Instruments: pipa, zither, and Chinese woodwind pipes) was established in 1997 by three renowned musicians who were drawn together by a desire to promote and popularize the art of Chinese instruments in the Western world. Master Pui-Yuen Lui is known as "King of Pipa." His claim to fame is mainly from Hong Kong, where he composed and performed many music scores for hundreds of movies, including movies by Bruce Lee and by Jackie Chan.


Christina Chu – Chinese Traditional Music

Christina Chu has been playing the Chinese Zither (GuZheng) for over 10 years with much experience in performing in different environments that range from restaurants to large-scale events. She enjoys showing others traditional Chinese culture through her music to allow as many people to be exposed and experience what Chinese culture is like. She loves interacting with her audience and getting them to not only to appreciate her art but also to have a good time with everyone.


Stephanie Satie – Coming to America

Stephanie Satie is an actor/playwright, whose plays often explore the way refugees and immigrants respond to disruption and relocation. She has appeared on and off-Broadway, in regional theatres and TV and currently tours three critically acclaimed solo plays: Refugees, set in an adult ESL classroom, (published by Samuel French); Silent Witnesses, based on interviews with child survivors of the Holocaust (multiple award winner); and Coming to America, featuring 10 immigrant women. Other non-solo plays include Leon’s Dictionary, set in Kiev, Ukraine as the Soviet Union crumbles (Finalist O’Neill Center, Ashland, and Princess Grace awards). She divides her time between writing and performing. Currently, she is developing a play inspired by George Burns and Gracie Allen, Say Goodnight, George, and a play based on slain Russian journalist, Anna Politkovskaya.


Compton Cowboys – Randy Savvy

Randy Savvy was born and raised in Richland Farms Compton. His family (aunt Mayisha Akbar and father Louis Hook) started Compton Jr. Posse in 1988 before he was born. Savvy and his twin brother Carlton and were born into the ranching and farming lifestyle. Their father is a first-generation college graduate and obtained a Harvard MBA in the 1980s and moved his family to Compton to be a role model and make a difference in the community.


Theatre 40 – “Crime and Punishment” and “L.A. Lit”

Theatre 40 is a small, professional theatre, located in Beverly Hills for over 50 years. Daniel Leslie and Melanie MacQueen are members of the Company, where they run the Adult Theatre Appreciation Classes held in association with the Beverly Hills Unified School District. Melanie is also a Resident Director of the Company. Her next play will be Taming the Lion by Jack Rushen, which will open in March of 2020. Melanie and Daniel are also both again featured in The Manor, an ongoing production that will be going up again in February 2020 at the historic Greystone Mansion in Beverly Hills. The actors in their LA Made offerings are also proud members of the Company.


David Kendrick – Darkness Under the Light/Psychedelic Music

David Kendrick is a musician and writer who resides in Los Angeles. He came to town at the behest of music guru Kim Fowley during the punk rock late 70s and has stayed touring and recording with Gleaming Spires, Sparks, Devo, and many many more. He spends much time immersing himself in subjects that fascinate him, including film noir, psychedelia, hauntology, libraries, trickster mythology, and crime fiction. He has a collection of over 1,000 film noir movies from around the globe.


Hannah Flynn and Johnny LaZebnik – Develop Public Speaking Skills with Comedy Improv and PowerPoint

Hannah Flynn is a webinar producer who fell into the art of Powerpoint completely accidentally and currently works in tech. She has short hair and liberal arts energy.

Johnny LaZebnik is a working comedy writer with experience at Upright Citizens Brigade and The Groundlings. He also has short hair and liberal arts energy.


Gaetano Jones – Domestic Warrior Cooking: Gourmet Ramen

Gaetano Jones, owner of Domestic Warrior Kitchen, is an actor/singer/songwriter, caterer, foster family coach, and fulltime domestic warrior. He has been navigating solo parenting since 2013 when he first became the foster father of his two now-adopted little daughters. Being a sole homemaker tight on budgets of both time and money, it is a priority for him that his children have well-developed and broad palettes. His motto is quick, easy, healthy, and inexpensive meals to expand the family’s diet.


Naoko Takei Moore – Introduction to the World of Donabe Cooking

Originally from Tokyo, Japan, Naoko Takei Moore is a donabe (Japanese clay pot) and Japanese home-cooking expert, based in Los Angeles, CA, and author of the cookbook Donabe (Ten Speed Press). She is the owner of TOIRO, originally started as an online shop, which specializes in donabe and Japanese artisan products, all related to cooking and dining. TOIRO opened its first brick-and-mortar shop, TOIRO Kitchen and Supply in West Hollywood in October 2017. Her company is also the U.S. representative and distributor of Nagatani-en, an artisan donabe producer since 1832 from Iga, Japan. Naoko’s mission is to spread wonderful Japanese food culture to the world through her shop, products, and events.


Pickle the Drag Queen – Drag Queen Bingo/ShakesQueer

Pickle is L.A.'s premier Drag Queen Singing PTA Sensation. She was featured as a part of national ad campaigns for Gilead and Dollar Shave Club. Recently, Pickle has taken over as director of the Drag Queen Story Hour Los Angeles Chapter and continues to develop new Queer programming for youth and teens. Pickle can be found hosting shows regularly throughout Los Angeles.


El Vez – Tribute to the Screamers

El Vez is the Latin sensation sweeping the nation and the world, following successful tours in many countries. A modern multicultural hybrid of Americana and Mexicano, he is more than entertainment; he is a thinking man’s Elvis, a post-modern King with a Latin twist, the Chicano experience presented and told through the songs of Elvis.


Boze Hadleigh – Enduring Elvis/The Other Side of Marilyn

Boze Hadleigh is the author of 26 books, most of them showbiz-themed. His Master's is in Journalism, he has published hundreds of magazine and newspaper articles in several countries, speaks five languages, has visited 60+ countries, won on "Jeopardy!" and his books have been translated into 14 languages and yielded 11 TV documentaries and three plays. His last two books have featured international icons Marilyn Monroe and Elvis Presley, and two of his books focused on the Hispanic/Latinx presence in and contributions to popular entertainment. The Los Angeles Times labeled him "a pop culture dynamo."


Fikru Weldekidan and Sinay Woubeshet - Ethiopian Cooking/Dance

Fikru Weldekidan and Sinay Woubeshet are the creators of Fiker Events. The couple is originally from Ethiopia. Fikru is a chef, photographer, dancer, and the owner of Fiker Catering and Event Production. Sinay is a mental health worker and a dancer by choice. Their unique Ethiopian cultural dance, coffee ceremony, and a cooking demo of the very unique, fascinating, and delicious cuisine created by Chef Fikru have created a means for cultural exchange and communication. Fikru and Sinay's mission is to create culture throughout Los Angeles.


Fleece Jones – Musical Duo

Fleece Jones is an LA-based indie duo comprised of Kiazi Halpern (A.K.A. “Fleece Kawasaki”) on guitar and vocals and Jeremy Jones on viola and vocals. Initially conceived as a busking group, they now spend their time playing shows in or around the Los Angeles area and still entertaining Metro patrons with their eclectic mix of songs.


Floral Design - Casey Schwartz and Kit Wertz

Sisters Casey (Coleman) Schwartz and Kit (Coleman) Wertz began their floral design business Flower Duet in 1999, starting as a part-time weekend business after Casey had retired from designing flowers on luxury cruise ships around the world and Kit had immersed herself in floral design courses for a few years. They love creating custom wedding flowers for all types of brides and grooms, directing corporate team-building reward events for companies like Brighton and Ernst & Young, and teaching flower arranging to budding floral designers and the dedicated floral enthusiast.

Casey was inspired by flowers her whole life through her parents’ beautiful gardens and love of all types of flowers and plants. After Casey graduated from Ohio University with a bachelor’s degree in Recreation Management, she achieved her goal to work on cruise ships and to chase summer around the globe. Casey started her floral design career on a luxury cruise ship called The Sea Goddess I, part of the legendary Cunard lines. It was one of her early jobs on the ship to create and maintain the live floral designs on the ship for 7–10 days and to buy flowers from vendors at port cities around the world in multiple languages and currencies.

Like her sister, Kit had a love of flowers from an early age thanks to the lovely flowers her mother grew every summer in the backyard. During college, Kit worked as a perennial plant specialist at a local nursery, and after graduating from James Madison University with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism, she had the opportunity to work in The Netherlands. Kit became passionate about floral design after living among the flower-loving Dutch and after she created her own wedding flowers (with Casey’s help) for her wedding in 1997. Kit fell in love with the Los Angeles Floral District and wanted to share that passion for flowers with her friends.


The Folk Experience

Cindy Paley has delighted Jewish communities across the country with her spirit and rich repertoire of Jewish music. As a Cantorial Soloist, Cindy is the soul of Lev Eisha and the Valley Beth Shalom N’shama Minyan, both creative Shabbat women’s services in Los Angeles. She has also served as the High Holiday Cantorial Soloist at numerous synagogues in California, Arizona and Washington. As a performer, she invites audiences to experience her beautiful renditions of Yiddish folk songs, Ladino love songs, and exuberant melodies of modern Israel, as featured on her Yavo Shalom, Zing Along, and Koleet CDs. Cindy’s Jewish holiday CDs (Chanukah, A Singing Seder, Shabbat and Celebrate with Cindy) are well known by teachers and families across America.

Ed Labowitz and Mike Sirota are part of another trio, The Folk Collection, which has performed for the last 15 years throughout the country, singing the classic songs of the folk era. When not singing with that group or The Folk Experience, Mike is the Cantor at Temple Ami Shalom in West Covina and a Permit Expeditor in the Los Angeles area. As a Los Angeles entertainment lawyer, Ed represented many of the folk groups of the 1960s, including The Kingston Trio and The Limeliters, with whom he jams from time-to-time. Ed lives to perform and loves it when the audience sings along.


Ian Ruskin: From Wharf Rats to Lords of the Docks/To Begin the World Over Again

Ian Ruskin is a graduate of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. He founded The Harry Bridges Project in 2000 and has written, performed, and produced many plays and radio and film documentaries, including From Wharf Rats to Lords of the Docks about labor leader Harry Bridges. He has performed the play over 250 times to approximately 50,000 people, including the English and Scottish Houses of Parliament. The film version, directed and shot by multi-Academy Award-winner Haskell Wexler, aired nationwide on PBS for 4 years.


Go for Baroque!

Los Angeles Baroque (LAB) is directed by violinist Lindsey Strand-Polyak and cellist Alexa Haynes-Pilon. Founded in 2016, LAB gives dedicated professional, student and community musicians from across greater Los Angeles the opportunity to explore repertoire, learn baroque playing style and perform. It aims to encourage, support and expand the early music community in L.A. and to be inclusive in reach, to give the maximum number of highly motivated players the chance to participate. Their players come together from all walks of life and from all over L.A. to offer three weekend afternoon concerts at our rehearsal and performance home, St. James’ Episcopal Church in South Pasadena. LAB’s fourth season continues their three-concert season in South Pasadena and they plan to return to the Berkeley Early Music Festival Fringe in June 2020.

Lindsey Strand-Polyak (Artistic Director) Praised for her “rococo gracefulness,” Lindsey Strand-Polyak is active throughout the West Coast as a baroque violinist and violist. She performs with ensembles such as the American Bach Soloists, Musica Angelica, Seattle Baroque Orchestra, Pacific MusicWorks, and Bach Collegium San Diego; and has appeared at the Oregon Bach Festival, Twin Cities Early Music Festival, and the Fringe Series of both Boston and Berkeley Early Music Festivals. Dr. Strand-Polyak was the assistant director for the UCLA Early Music Ensemble from 2011-2015 and is co-artistic director of baroque chamber group Ensemble Bizarria and of Los Angeles Baroque—Southern California’s first community baroque orchestra. Lecture-recitals include McGill University, the University of Texas at Austin, and national meetings of the American Musicological Society. She has served on the faculty of the Colburn School and the Herb Alpert School of Music at UCLA and was recently appointed adjunct professor of baroque violin and viola at Claremont Graduate University. She earned her Ph.D./MM in musicology and violin performance from UCLA, studying historical performance with Elisabeth LeGuin and modern violin with Guillaume Sutre and Movses Pogossian.

Alexa Haynes-Pilon (Artistic Director) Recently described by Early Music America as “a special artist with a brilliant future,” Alexa Haynes-Pilon has quickly established herself in the California early music scene performing on baroque cello, viola da gamba, baroque bassoon, and dulcian. She is the principal cellist for Musica Angelica Baroque Orchestra and has performed with the American Bach Soloists, Ergo Musica, Albany Consort, American Contemporary Ballet, Los Angeles Baroque Players, and Con Gioia. With Lindsey Strand-Polyak, she co-founded Ensemble Bizarria, a Los Angeles-based early music ensemble. In Toronto, she was a founding member of the early music ensemble, Rezonance, and she performed in Handel's Hercules with Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra. Alexa has appeared in the Boston and Berkeley Early Music Festivals.


“Golondrina” Opera: Olvera Street, Birthplace of L.A.

Alan Medak. As well as managing the artistic side of Vineyard Touring Opera Company, Alan Medak is also an accomplished musician. He is currently plays horn in the Huntington Beach Symphony, Bellflower Symphony, and chamber groups around L.A. He is former Principal Horn with the Milwaukee Chamber Orchestra, and former Music Director of the Tabor Opera Company (Denver), and currently coaches singers and guest conducts with local orchestras around Los Angeles. Medak holds a B.A. in Music from Lawrence University.

L. C. Harnsberger is an accomplished composer, author, and arranger. He received his B.M. in Music Composition from the University of Southern California, where he studied with internationally respected composers and arrangers including Morton Lauridsen and Stephen Hartke. His opera “Golondrina” was performed in 2015 and 2017.


Judith Helton – History Alive

For over three decades, Judith Helton has been performing her one-woman show “Laura Ingalls Wilder,” taking on the role of this beloved author. Ms. Helton has contractual permission from The Little House Heritage Trust and HarperCollins, Publishers, to use copyright material from the Little House books. Hours of stories have been memorized verbatim and are chosen based on each audience. As Laura, she also tells of the author’s life and times and answers questions in character. This program has been performed at Rocky Ridge Farm in Mansfield, MO, and at the Wilder home site in Malone, NY. Ms. Helton has four one-woman shows, which she researched, wrote, and costumed herself, the others being Abigail Adams, Beatrix Potter, and gold rush performer Lotta Crabtree.


Carole Lung (aka Frau Fiber) – History and Use of the Sewing Machine/Piecework 101

Carole Frances Lung (born in San Francisco, CA, in 1966) is an artist, soft power activist, and Associate Professor of Fashion Fiber and Materials, at California State University Los Angeles. As the biographer and archivist for her alter ego Frau Fiber, Carole activates a vocabulary of fashion and textile production and consumption, crafting of one-of-a-kind garments, installations, performances, and social sculpture, paying homage to labor, textile, and apparel manufacturing histories and contemporary production systems.


Elliott Kuhn – Horticulture Basics for the Home Garden

Elliott Kuhn is an experienced educator and owner of an urban farm in Panorama City with an interest in spreading awareness about local ecology and helping people become aware of the real cost of food. He is currently researching opportunities to expand educational programming on the farm and become a reliable source of locally grown produce for restaurants, chefs, and community members that care about social and ecological responsibility.


Louis Easton – How to Prepare a Terrarium

Easton Garden Designs, was established in Los Angeles in 2016 by CEO, Louis Easton, while pursuing a career in the entertainment industry. Louis became a plant enthusiast to help with the intensity of working long production hours while pursuing his dream of becoming a film director in Hollywood. He has years of experience merchandising plants, plant sales, terrarium workshops, and delivery services.


INCA, the Peruvian Ensemble

Since 1982, INCA has been presenting Peru's rich multicultural heritage of ethnic and folkloric music, songs, dance, and traditions. INCA performs music and dances from the Andean region (Inca heritage), from the central and northern coasts from Peru (Criollo, Hispanic heritage), from the southern coast (Afro-Peruvian, African heritage), and from the Peruvian and Bolivian Amazon jungle (jungle natives heritage).


Kevin Dulude – Inside Vincent Price

Kevin Dulude has performed in many theatres throughout Los Angeles County. He has also appeared in a few films and such television series as Arrested Development. Currently he is entertaining audiences with his one-man shows. In Shadow of the Villain, Kevin uses old-fashioned storytelling and song, as he plays eight different characters to share one man’s descent into the darkness. In Hepburn Sings!, he portrays the actress and American icon, Katharine Hepburn, in a semi-musical journey through her life. And in Inside Vincent Price, he performs the title role, as the King of Horror is forced to listen to a radio tribute to his life at the moment of his death. In past productions, Kevin has also appeared as Clark Gable, Otto Preminger, and Bette Davis, so beware dead legendary celebrities, you may be next!


Michael Lane - Intro to Animal Communication

Michael Lane grew up with dogs, rabbits, gerbils, hamsters, and birds. Two of the most transformative periods in his life were both marked by animals. Michael’s black cat Bandit, who he adopted in 1995, was his first cat, and not only opened his eyes to how amazing cats are, but also to how the friendship and love with an animal is no different and no less deep than that with another human.


Ilona Glinarsky – It Takes YOU to Tango

Ilona Glinarsky, the creator of Tango to Success and LivingTango(R) methods, is a 25-year veteran of social partner dance, a 2019 finalist of the Southern California Tango Championship, and a leading force in the LA Tango community. A musician by education and a dancer by choice, she has become an award-winning educator and life coach who works with individuals of all ages, groups, and organizations.


LA Made Spirits – Richard Foss (Moderator)

Richard Foss is a culinary historian, author of both fiction and nonfiction, and lecturer who has written two books and over a thousand articles and reviews. He is also the curator of the “Cooking Up a New West” exhibition that will open at the Autry Museum of the American West in 2021.


LA Roller Girls – Roller Skating Dance Class

LA Roller Girls Entertainment sources the top world-ranked champion skaters based in Los Angeles and performing worldwide. With over 25 years of training in competitive roller figure skating, founding members Candice Heiden and Crystal Roseborough have taken their National and World Championship accomplishments (10 years on World Team USA and over 30 U.S. National titles) to the professional level to provide a unique and awe-inspiring entertainment experience like no other.


Robert Pressler – Learn to Create a Bonsai Tree

Robert Pressler is the owner of Kimura Bonsai Nursery in Northridge, CA, and is the president of the California Bonsai Society. He studied with a variety of teachers, starting informally with Frank Okamura at the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens in the early 70's when he was young. He moved to California in 1984 and a few years later, he met John Naka, Ben Oki, and the whole group of Southern California Bonsai artists and clubs that really helped him expand his skills and gave him the opportunity to share them with others. In 2000, he met Kenji Miyata at a convention in California and since 2001, he has been studying with him. He conducts several classes a month at his nursery as well as demonstrations, lectures, and workshop for clubs near and far.


Mariachi Arcoiris de Los Angeles

Mariachi Arcoiris de Los Angeles, the world's first LGBTQ+ mariachi brings Mexican music and folklore to Southern California and the rest of the world. A unique and dynamic ensemble representing the traditions of a rich culture of Mexico, this group was created as a haven for mariachi musicians who identify as LGBTQ+ to come together and perform traditional Mexican regional music in an otherwise “machista” and discriminating subculture of the mariachi world.


Melissa Elliott – Craft Programs

Melissa Elliott has had an eclectic career, first as a graphic artist and typesetter, then as a movie title designer, and finally as a teen librarian for the past 10 years. She is now teaching Young Adult Literature and Readers' Advisory as an adjunct professor for the library school at UCLA. She also works as a consultant, offering instruction for library staff on readers' advisory and book-talking, and teaches art and crafts workshops for teens and adults. She has been painting in watercolor for about 15 years.


Miri Koral – Music: A Main Character in Classic Yiddish Films

Miri Koral has a passion for Yiddish, which she has been exercising for over 20 years as an educator, international speaker, published poet and translator, and producer. She is the Continuing Lecturer in Yiddish at UCLA and is the Founding Director of the California Institute for Yiddish Culture and Language which has since 1999 enriched our community with the best possible programming about a rich and threatened heritage.


Music of India

Christopher Garcia is a performer/composer/improviser/educator who continues to garner popular and critical acclaim in 28 countries on 5 continents for his performances and original compositions for indigenous breath and percussion instruments of Mesoamerica/Mexico and India alongside western classical instruments in chamber and symphonic settings.

John Stephens is a sitar, surbahar, and sarode player based in Los Angeles. He earned his bachelor’s in music from Berklee College of Music (2006), majoring in Jazz Composition. After living in India for a year, he went on to earn his MFA in North Indian music at CalArts (2011).


Lilly Padilla - Nutrition and Healthy Cooking

Lilly Padilla is the author of the book Anticancer Habits and Anti-inflammatory Nutrition. She is a certified integrative nutrition coach and holistic nutrition chef with a specialization in Chinese Nutritional Therapy. In her practice, she uses both the latest scientific-based findings on health and nutrition and Chinese nutritional therapy concepts focusing on bio-individual needs and health conditions. Her latest classes are focused on gut health, specific methods and foods for supporting a healthy microbiome, nutrient absorption and immunity. Lily is also a healthy 18-year cancer survivor.


Pagdiriwang: A Celebration of Culture!

Kayamanan Ng Lahi is a Filipino-American arts organization providing and presenting programs that transform lives through culture—enabling its members to empower themselves, their families, and communities and enrich society through diversity, equity, and inclusion. Founded in 1990, Los Angeles-based Kayamanan is proud to celebrate 30 years of cultural empowerment, bridging the rich heritage of its ancestral homeland with today’s life in the diaspora.


Sarah Neill – Paper Crafts

Sarah Neill is a dedicated paper crafter, always looking for new techniques and interesting ways to create her cards and three-dimensional projects. She started paper crafting after her children were born, and she was looking for some “me” time. After searching for sewing classes, she stumbled upon card making and there was no turning back. Born in England, Sarah has now lived in the United States for over 20 years, with her husband and two children, all avid artists!


Persian Cooking With Naz Deravian

Naz Deravian is a James Beard Award nominated author of Bottom of the Pot—Persian Recipes and Stories. She is the recipient of The IACP Julia Child First Book Award, presented by The Julia Child Foundation for Gastronomy and the Culinary Arts. Bottom of the Pot was also awarded as of one of the best cookbooks of 2018 by the American Library Association. Ms. Deravian has been published in The Atlantic, The Los Angeles Times, Saveur, O Magazine, and Montecristo Magazine. She has also been profiled in The New York Times and Bon Appetit magazine, among others. She was born in Iran, she grew up in Canada and now lives in Los Angeles with her husband and two children.


Reverberations

Michelle Green Willner is a dramatic and evocative award-winning composer living in Los Angeles. Her works have been commissioned and performed internationally by various ensembles, choirs, and symphonies. Dr. Green Willner thrives on artistic collaborations and her multi-disciplinary works have been performed at various venues.

Doni Silver Simons Collaboration Dr. Michelle Green Willner, a dramatic and evocative award-winning composer and Doni Silver Simons, internationally exhibited performance/visual artist, began their multi-disciplinary alliance in 2016 with the premiere of Reverberations (Museum of Tolerance, L.A.). This work was selected to be performed at the 2017 Jerusalem Biennale and was also presented at the 2019 Conney Conference (92nd St Y, N.Y.).


Sammy Miller - Jazz

A native of Los Angeles, drummer, singer and bandleader Sammy Miller has become known for his unique maturity and relentless focus on making music that “feels good.” Upon completing his Master’s at The Juilliard School, Sammy has toured extensively as a bandleader with musicians focused on sharing the power of community through their music. Independently the band members have performed/recorded with notable artists including Wynton Marsalis, O.A.R, Iron and Wine, Joshua Redman, Lee Fields, Jason Moran at venues including the White House, Lincoln Center, and the Hollywood Bowl.


Scottish Fiddlers of Los Angeles

For over 35 years, the Scottish Fiddlers of Los Angeles have delighted audiences throughout Southern California with the lively, energetic and irresistibly uplifting music of Scotland, the Shetland Islands, Cape Breton Island and Ireland. Their playing is characterized by hard-driving reels and strathspeys, hauntingly beautiful airs and sweet waltzes. Directed by internationally known Scottish fiddler Jan Tappan, and frequently joined by world-renowned guest artists, the Scottish Fiddlers have become a Southland favorite and are the oldest Strathspey and Reel Society in the United States.


Amy Simon - "SHE Is History!"

Amy Simon is a mother, actress, writer, producer, and self-proclaimed Cultural Herstorian. A native New Yorker, she has been acting in and producing theater for most of her adult life. In Los Angeles, Amy directed, co-produced, and performed with the all-female sketch/comedy/improv groups GAL-O-RAMA and OVARYACTION and was the creative force and co-producer behind Heroine Addicts, the four-year, all-female hit variety show at Hollywood’s Bang Studio, featuring many of Los Angeles’ finest writer/performers. Motherhood inspired her playwrighting with her first play Cheerios In My Underwear (And Other True Tales Of Motherhood), which held the record as the longest running solo show in Los Angeles, until it was broken by She is History! which has toured the country.


Shel Weisbach

Shel Weisbach is a retired social studies teacher, having taught on the secondary and community college levels. A history and architect buff since his pre-teen days, later enriched by a love of photography, Shel has created four PowerPoint presentations offering a wide variety of well-known and very, very unknown San Fernando Valley sites past and present (and, occasionally, a little beyond).


Antonio Gonzalez – Southern California Architectural History

Antonio Gonzalez is a resident of Los Angeles. He has a B.A. in journalism from the University of Iowa, an M.L.I.S from San Jose State University, and is currently enrolled in the Heritage Conservation program at USC. He is a member of the Odd Fellows fraternity, works in an architecture and fine arts library and has a blog where he posts items related to architecture and his other interests.


Strong Words – Adult Storytelling

Strong Words began in 2011 at the legendary Body Builders Gym in Silver Lake when three writers came together to share their stories in a public forum. The response was immediate, and the salon-style event grew to include music, visual art and—most of all—a spirit of community. Strong Words moved to nearby Atwater Village in 2016 in a glorious new outdoor venue where adventurous audiences are embracing the chance to listen and participate, to laugh and cry and absorb new ideas in real-time. The event is curated by Larry Dean Harris and Michael Hirabayashi.


Letters to Harriet Tubman - Paul Morse Productions

Since 1980, Paul Morse Productions has been dedicated to the interests of bringing high-quality, live theater to audiences of all ages. Our goal is to provide students with an understanding of the cultural and historical elements that help to determine their own personal and social attitudes and behavior. Patti Henley portrays Harriet Tubman, with Carl Weintraub as Jeffrey Taylor, Jr. Paul Morse was the Founder and Playwright of this organization.


Ashley Perretta

Ashley Perretta is a traveling swing dance teacher and performer based in Los Angeles, CA. While at home, she teaches weekly group classes, private lessons, and workshops in all things Swing. Her teaching and dancing are centered around creating a joyful, gracious partnership and letting the music inspire self-expression and connected conversation. She thrives on sharing the magic this dance has brought to her life and fostering an inclusive, loving community. She holds titles from national and international swing dance competitions and regularly travels for conferences and performances around the world.


George Abe – Tales From the Silk Road

George Abe is a founding member of Kinnara Taiko, a taiko group based at Senshin Buddhist Temple in Los Angeles, and remains associated with them today. Kinnara Taiko was one of the first taiko groups to form in North America, second only to Sensei Seichi Tanaka’s San Francisco Taiko Dojo. He has been a workshop leader every year at Tasiko Conference, starting with the very first one. As a member of Japanese Festival Sounds (on the rosters of Music Center on Tour and From the Center), he has presented assemblies in schools throughout Southern California for over 15 years. He also is an Artist in Residence at Metropolitan State Hospital, providing drumming workshops for clients and staff for the last 10 years.


Tears, Joy, and Hope: Yiddish Songs Written in the Jewish Ghetto

Harriet Bennish is no stranger to the stage. With a classically trained voice, studying at both Peabody Conservatory of Music and West Virginia University, her performance experiences in opera and musical theatre, klezmer, and cantorial music have culminated to a point where she can utilize all her past experiences, breathing creative life into the Yiddish songs she performs.


Los Angeles Jewish Community Children’s Choir

Under the dynamic leadership of Dr. Michelle Green Willner, the Los Angeles Jewish Community Children's Choir brings together Jewish children from across Los Angeles to celebrate their Judaism through song. For the past eight years, the L.A. JCCC has been performing all around L.A., bringing the joy of Jewish music to their community and beyond. Graciously supported, in part, by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors through the Los Angeles County Arts Commission, the choir has performed for hundreds to thousands, including: the Staples Center for L.A. Clippers and L.A. Kings games; the Saban Theater; Museum of Tolerance; L.A. Museum of the Holocaust; to Sinai Temple’s annual multi-generational Hanukkah In Song; the Ford Amphitheater with the L.A. Jewish Symphony; and many more.


Gustavo Bulgach

Klezmer Juice bandleader and clarinet player Gustavo Bulgach was born and raised in Buenos Aires, Argentina. A part of the large and active Jewish community there, he learned Klezmer music from his family at a young age. Inspired by the religious and secular life of the Argentine community, Bulgach, who now lives in Los Angeles, has traveled around the globe, finding that Klezmer music is the “soundtrack of the Diaspora.”


Edward Sussman – Theremin: Musical History and Demonstration

Edward Sussman has over 40 years of experience working on special effects miniatures, carpentry, mechanical props, set construction, and art pieces in television/film as well as for theme parks, trade shows, and museums. He has been to the farthest galaxies on the reboot of "Star Trek" (2009) and to the bottom of the sea on “Titanic.” His skills include fabrication, modeling, mold making, sculpting, prop design, and prop fabrication.


Trio de Silaré: Classical Music

Risa Larson (Soprano) has established herself as a highly versatile musician who can adeptly sing in a wide range of musical and theatrical styles. She has performed as soloist with the Los Angeles Master Chorale, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and the Los Angeles Opera, among others. Solo performances with the Los Angeles Master Chorale, under the baton of Grant Gershon, include Bach’s Magnificat, Mozart’s Requiem, Rosasharn in the premiere of Ricky Ian Gordon’s The Grapes of Wrath Concert Suite, Respighi’s Laud to the Nativity, Haydn’s Maria Theresa Mass, Britten’s Ceremony of Carols, Britten’s Missa Brevis, Ferko’s Festival of Carols, Betinis' Songs of Smaller Creatures and Swayne’s Magnificat.

Simon Linn-Gerstein (Cellist) has performed solo recitals for PBS Philadelphia, Rutgers-Camden Noontime Recital Series, as a guest performer for the Network for New Music at the Philadelphia Art Alliance, and as a soloist with the Salem Philharmonic and the Symphony by the Sea chamber series. Simon is a co-founder of Strange Interlude with harpist Lily Press, an ensemble focused on intimate salon-style concerts with programs that are carefully curated to include seldom-performed works, pieces by contemporary composers (including newly-commissioned works) and transcriptions and arrangements for their unique instrumentation.

Lily Press (Harpist) performs professionally in orchestras, chamber ensembles, solo recital venues, and for special events. She has performed in a variety of venues, including Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, the Palais Corbelli in Vienna, the Providence Performing Arts Center, Sanders Theatre at Harvard and Pasadena’s Norton Simon Museum. As a chamber musician, Lily is a co-founder of Strange Interlude with cellist Simon Linn-Gerstein. Founded in 2007, Strange Interlude’s performances combine Press and Linn-Gerstein’s love of chamber music with their passion for crafting non-traditional concert experiences that incorporate interactive conversation to bring the audience further inside the works they play and the technical, artistic and personal process of making a piece of music come alive.


West Coast Singers–The LGBTQ+ Chorus of Los Angeles Presents “Pride”

Founded in 1983 with a handful of members, West Coast Singers is the third oldest lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered, mixed-voice chorus in the nation. Now one of the premier gay and/or lesbian choruses in the world, they present their annual Spring concert "Pride."


Elisa Barretta – Yoga Classes

Elisa Barretta is a YogaWorks-trained Yoga Alliance Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT-500 & E-RYT-200), Urban Zen Integrative Therapist, and Reiki Master. As a long-time practitioner, Elisa understands that Yoga has the capacity to challenge and stimulate any and every student and is inspired by and experienced with yogis of all levels. She is honored to share the transformative power of Yoga with anyone who is eager to discover the joy and peace of practice. Elisa’s classes combine creative sequencing, and detailed attention to alignment and safety with a relaxing touch of inspiration to guide you deeper into the moment, cultivating the unity of body, mind, and spirit, with the end result being that the student steps off the mat feeling relaxed, realigned, and revitalized.


The Young Shakespeareans

The Young Shakespeareans program has been empowering students in South Los Angeles’ public elementary schools since 2008 through producing and presenting the works of William Shakespeare. Children in fourth and fifth grade (many of whom are ESL students) develop their literacy and life skills; they become aware of their own perceptions and expressive abilities; and through extended discipline, commitment, and teamwork they prove to themselves, their schoolmates, teachers, families, and communities that they can hurdle very high bars when given opportunity and support. The Program’s transformative power inspires its participants, neighborhoods, and audiences, and radiates further each year. This year at the request of administration as well as the insistence of alumni from two of our partner elementary schools, they will bring the program to middle school for the first time.


Darrell Fusaro – Zine-Making Workshops

Author of What If Godzilla Just Wanted a Hug? artist Darrell Fusaro gets a thrill out of encouraging others to express themselves creatively. He is a decorated U.S. Coast Guard veteran and has a degree in Fine Art from the Newark School of Fine and Industrial Art. He has been invited to lead groups of all ages in various art activities for over 30 years, including workshops in public schools throughout the United States. He is an illustrator and columnist for Recovery Today Magazine, Keys to Recovery Newspaper, i-Italy Magazine, Daily Word Magazine, and is a contributor to DSTL Arts’ Art Block Zine.


Performers 2019

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