Meet the LA Made Performers - Season 5: 2020 - 21

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.

Bailey Sarian: Murder, Mystery, & Makeup

Join Bailey Sarian, host of her YouTube series Murder, Mystery, and Makeup, for an afternoon discussion over makeup, true crime research, and her experience as an influential true crime storyteller and makeup artist.

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.

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.

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.

Conversation Between Hanif Abdurraqib and Courtney Lilly

Hanif Abdurraqib, in conversation with Courtney Lilly, head writer of the hit ABC show, Black-ish. They'll be discussing Hanif's new book, A Little Devil in America.

Don't Call Me Ugly: A Fresh Look at Modernism

Join us for this engaging interactive, virtual tour from the Los Angeles Conservancy as we critique some of the tough-to-love buildings of downtown Los Angeles and perhaps in doing so, you’ll really see them for the first time.

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.

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.

Experimental Quesadilla Lab at Home

Artist Teresa Flores will help turn your kitchen into a space for fun and experimentation with Experimental Quesadilla Lab. Together we will work with what we have in our kitchens and use the scientific method to explore identity, wellness, and food accessibility.

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.

Gaysian AF

Gaysian AF is the hit sold-out variety show that ran for a year at the Upright Citizen’s Brigade Theatre in Hollywood before the collapse of modern society. A branch of the renowned Asian AF show, Gaysian AF features the best of LGBTQ+ Asian Americans in entertainment. For this one-time-only event, a panel of comedians will host special guests for some frivolity at the virtual round table.

Green Girl Leah Thomas

Leah Thomas is an intersectional environmental activist and eco-communicator based in Southern California. She’s passionate about advocating for and exploring the relationship between social justice and environmentalism and identifying the ways in which injustices happening to marginalized communities and the earth are interconnected.

Introduction to Writing for Sketch Comedy: Write Like SNL!

Join Chris Renfro, an LA-based actor, writer, comedian, and home baker, for an introduction to the basics of sketch comedy. Participants will be exposed to different styles of sketch comedy and all their forms.

Jie Ma - Traditional Chinese Instruments and Electronic Music

Jie Ma, musician, and composer plays traditional Chinese instruments and electronics in a concert celebrating her Chinese heritage, L.A.'s cultural diversity, and the inspirational spirit unique to Los Angeles

Modern Calligraphy With Debby Reelitz

Debby Reelitz, an experienced lettering artist with more than 20 years of experience will teach you how to turn your snail mail into mail art by learning the popular and playful Modern Calligraphy. You will learn where this style comes from, strategies on how to create the lettering style, and projects to use the skills you have learned.

L.A. 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.

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.

Lynne Thompson: Los Angeles Poet Laureate

Lynne Thompson’s Beg No Pardon, her first book, won the Perugia Press Prize in 2007 and the Great Lakes Colleges New Writers Award in 2008. She’s also the author of Start With A Small Guitar (2013) and Fretwork (2019), winner of the Marsh Hawk Poetry Prize. Thompson is the recipient of multiple awards, among them an Individual Artist Fellowship from the City of Los Angeles. Her work has been widely anthologized including in The Coiled Serpent: Poets Arising from the Cultural Quakes and Shifts of Los Angeles and Best American Poetry 2020. Thompson serves on the boards of Cave Canem and the Los Angeles Review of Books, is Chair of the Board of Trustees, Scripps College, and serves as the inaugural Perugia Press Poet Liaison to the Board, a conduit between poets and the board and a mentor to the latest winning poet.

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.

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.

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).

Papel Picado with Self-Help Graphics

Join Self Help Graphics and Arts Barrio Mobile Artists and learn how to create traditional Día de Los Muertos crafts to honor the dead. For this workshop, you will need colorful tissue paper, a Papel Picado template, a stapler, twine or string, and a glue stick.

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.

Regarding Paul R. Williams with Author Janna Ireland

Join photographer Janna Ireland as she discusses famed Los Angeles architect Paul R. Williams (the first Black member of the American Institute of Architects) and her project to photograph many of his built works around Southern California.


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.).

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 70s 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 workshops for clubs near and far.

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.

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!

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.

Sustainability: More Than an Ethos

A panel discussion moderated by local farm owner Elliott Kuhn on the growth and development of a more sustainable Los Angeles, including Michael Martinez from LA Compost, Natale Zappia, Associate Professor of History and Director of the Institute for Sustainability (IS) at California State University, Northridge (CSUN), and Rachel Surls, head of the UC Master Gardener program and adjunct professor of Urban Agriculture and Sustainability.

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.

They Called Us Enemy: An Intergenerational Conversation on Racial Injustice

Join us for this intergenerational conversation on racial injustice and reconciliation surrounding George Takei’s graphic memoir, They Called Us Enemy. June Berk, a former WWII incarceree and Japanese American National Museum volunteer will be interviewed by Abbi-Hope Jihye Park and Abigail Eun, two Los Angeles-area high school students from the Koreatown Youth and Community Center's Koreatown Storytelling Program. They will discuss the novel, the many histories it connects, and its lessons for our futures.

Performers 2019