image Architecture & Planning

Let’s Apply Critical Thinking to the Fake News Emanating From the Measure S Campaign

Note: This is Part One of a Three Part Series.

I am hopeful that LA City voters can distinguish between hype and logic. The very future of our city is dependent upon voter discernment.

Recent events in American civic life have sparked new scrutiny into how people in our democracy stay informed. Almost daily, we hear accusations from our president that major media outlets are guilty of pushing out “fake news.” If we, according to him, cannot trust the Washington Post or the New York Times, then we certainly cannot exercise responsible citizenship relying upon a 140 character tweet or a Facebook post. So, what do we do?

Now, more than ever, Americans are called to think critically about the information with which they are bombarded. A Chinese proverb suggests this: “He who asks a question is a fool for five minutes; he who does not ask a question remains a fool forever.”

Let’s take a look at a very local case study. We are called to put on our Critical Thinking hats here in our city where there are billboards all over town that present the very enticing sound-bite: Vote Yes on S:  Save our Neighborhoods. Well, who can argue with saving our neighborhoods?

But this is where the questions must start. We can learn from what educators are doing to help students discern between real information versus sponsored information. Research recently conducted by the Stanford Graduate School of Education queried whether students  from 12 states could distinguish between advertisements, sponsored news and real journalism on the web. It struck me that adults would benefit from the curriculum being developed to help children in their critical analysis of information and news.

I cannot tell you how many people from my neighborhood have suggested they are voting for Measure S because they have bought into the claims that are showing up in their mail on almost a daily basis. Let’s take a deep breath and think. I have a handy curriculum guide from The News Literacy Project (NLP) to debunk the fake news promulgated by this campaign.

Over the next week, I am going to apply questions from NLP’s Ten Questions for Fake News Detection.  Today I will start with three questions:  #1, #3 and #9.

Question 1.  Emotions?  Are you hoping that the information turns out to be true?

Response:  A beautiful 12-page booklet mailed earlier this month from the Coalition to Preserve LA  evokes an emotional response with the title “Measure S is the Solution for L.A.’s Future.” Omigosh. Wouldn’t it be great…finally…to have THE solution?

Let’s overlay that broad promise with some truth checks.  If Measure S is THE solution for L.A.’s future, then why would a cast of hundreds of community leaders and organizations be standing shoulder to shoulder to should to oppose THE solution? (Hint, perhaps because it is not the solution….?)

Why would trusted organizations such as the United Way of Greater Los Angeles and Bet Tzedek and the Valley Industry & Commerce Association oppose the solution for L.A.’s future? And why would the Los Angeles Times title their endorsement of the No campaign with a rebuttal to the solution: “Measure S isn’t a solution to L.A.’s housing woes, it’s a childish middle finger to City Hall. Vote no.”?

Question 3. Consider the headline or main message. Does it use excessive punctuation or ALL CAPS for emphasis? 

Everything about the Measure S campaign is in ALL CAPS. Their mailers come screaming in your mail box saying “MORE LIES.” “CITY HALL IS BROKEN!” “WE GET MORE TRAFFIC. THE DEVELOPERS WIN. TELL CITY HALL ENOUGH!”

Enough. My hands are over my ears. What children are being taught now is how to discern responsible news dissemination versus hype. It is important to move past the headlines and drill down further.

I am hoping that our discerning LA voters are recognizing the signs of hyperbole evident in this campaign. More on that in my next blog.

Question 9. Can you confirm, using a reverse image search, that any images in your example, are authentic?

On that slick, expensive 24-page booklet mentioned above, there is a bucolic residential street scene. That must be the neighborhood that the Neighborhood Integrity Initiative (AKA Measure S) is trying to protect. Authentic? Consider the fact that the image on the front of this slick campaign piece features a photo of a Beverly Hills residential street.  You can purchase this as a stock image for $33 from Getty Images.  

Next in this series:  applying question #5 and looking at the source of the information distributed by the Measure S campaign.

Kerry Morrison is executive director of the Hollywood Property Owners Alliance.  She serves on the United Way/LA Area Chamber Home For Good Task Force and blogs at @KerryHMorrison

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February 21, 2017

image Entertainment

Toil and Trouble: The Ides of March

The Ides of March has never been sexier than this March 15th, when the exciting new performance company Toil and Trouble presents their take on the classic. Described as a re-imagining – with burlseque – of Shakespeare’s tales of betrayal and revenge, the production is Toil and Trouble’s third.

According to Toil and Trouble’s creator Angie Hobin, the unique production has been percolating for a long time. “I found both Shakespeare and burlesque when I’ve been ‘lost’ at different points in my life. I was required to do a book report on Hamlet when I was in eighth grade, when one most always feels a bit lost,” she laughs. “I fell in love with the accuracy and poetry with which Shakespeare describes the human condition. I was introduced to burlesque when I’d hastily moved to New York in pursuit of a failing relationship at age 22, and googled ‘powerful women performing tonight in New York.’” Hobin walked some thirty-three blocks to watch  the burlesque show Champagne Riot, which she says was the “greatest show I’d ever seen in my life at the time, and the women that performed in it are my burlesque idols to this day. I knew I wanted to be a part of this culture, even though I didn’t know if I had the nerve to do what they were doing.”

When Hobin returned to Los Angeles, she made a list of the things that brought her joy. “At the top of that list were Shakespeare, burlesque, and performing. So I decided to find a way to combine all three.” At the cast party following the closing of a play, Hobin mentioned the idea as a potential project, and overwhelmed by the positive response she heard, she went for it.

Toil and Trouble’s public relations director, Courtney L. King says “The performances border on cabaret style. Actual Shakespeare is performed, and then the production moves into a burlesque performance aspect.”

The Ides of March will be centered around the assasination of Julius Caeser, and features eight acts built around the theme of betrayal, each taken from eight of Shakespeare’s plays. “Each act will begin with with a scene and end with a strip tease,” Hobin explains. “I firmly believe that’s the route that Shakespeare would have taken with his writing, if Queen Elizabeth hadn’t been so staunch about her necklines.”

Performing in Hollywood is “terrific,” Hobin says, and both the theater and the show are a part of the changing, newly exciting entertainment scene on the busy boulevard. “Toil and Trouble is, in my mind, what the evening gown and suit-and-tie patrons of the golden age of Hollywood would have expected to see when they stepped into a theater for a sophisticated night on the town. The young adults of today are more intellectually influenced than they were during the rise of the club scene in the early 2000’s, and as unusual as our subject matter may be, I feel as though it’s suited to the time.”

The company has previously mounted two other well-received shows, one for Halloween, and a performance in January eponymously titled Toil and Trouble.

As described by the creative producer, Burgundy Kate, “Toil and Trouble has something for every kind of audience member, not unlike how the theater was in the time of William Shakespeare himself.” Kate notes that theater buffs will enjoy classic scenes unfolding in new ways, and burlesque fans will see some of the most talented and creative performers Los Angeles offers. “We like to think of it as being ‘low-brow Shakespeare, and high-brow burlesque.’”

The Ides of March will be performed March 15th at 8 p.m, with doors opening at 7. Tickets are $20. For more information visit

*UPDATE: This show will no longer take place at Prospect Theatre. The new location is El Cid, 4212 W. Sunset Blvd.

Genie Davis is a multi-published novelist and journalist, and produced screen and television writer. Passionate about everything-Los Angeles, you can see her work in the arts on her own

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February 17, 2017

image Entertainment

Hollywood: Host to Grammy Hitmakers since 1959

To people all over the world, Hollywood is known as the capital of the motion picture industry. But to many others, Hollywood is also well known as a music town. And what would the movies be without music, after all? As The Recording Academy prepares for The Grammy Awards this Sunday, music’s biggest night, we take a look at some of the historic recording studios here in Hollywood, where some of the most memorable Grammy award-winning works have been recorded.

Capitol Records, 1750 Vine Street

Photo by Gary Leonard © HPOA

  • Bonnie Raitt’s “I Can’t Make You Love Me” was inducted into Grammy Hall of Fame November 2016
  • from the album Luck of the Draw, recorded at Capitol Studios in 1990. (source)
  • 25, the third studio album from Adele, and 2017 Album of the Year nominee, was mixed at Capitol Studios. (source)
  • Recent Grammy Wins Cut at Capitol:
  • 2014 Album of the Year: Daft Punk Random Access Memories (source)
  • 2015 Album of the Year: Beck Morning Phase (source)

Back in Time:

  • 2005 Album of the Year: Ray Charles Genius Loves Company (Mixing) (source)
  • 2005 Best Rock Album: Green Day, American Idiot (source)
  • 1965 Record of the Year: The Beatles “I Want To Hold Your Hand” mastered at Capitol (source)
  • 1999 Hall of Fame Award Ella Fitzgerald Sings The Rodgers and Hart Song Book (1956) (source)
  • 1959 Frank Sinatra Come Dance With Me! wins Album of the Year at 2nd Annual Grammy Awards (recorded at Capitol Studios 1958) (source)

Record Plant (Formerly Radio Recorders), 1032 N. Sycamore Ave.
Previous location: 8456 West Third Street

Photo by Devin Strecker © HPOA

  • Inducted into Grammy Hall of Fame November 2016, Elvis Presley’s “Jail House Rock” was recorded here in 1957, in what was then known as the Radio Recorders Annex. (source)
  • 2017 Nominee Album of the Year:
  • Justin Bieber Purpose (source)
  • 2007 Best Contemporary R&B Album: Beyonce B’Day (source)
  • 1974 Album Of The Year: Stevie Wonder Innervisions (Previous location) (source)
  • 1978 Best Album: Fleetwood Mac Rumours4 (Previous location) (source)
  • 1978 Record of the Year: The Eagles “Hotel California” (Previous location) (source)

Sunset Sound & Sound Factory, 6650 Sunset Blvd. & 6357 Selma Ave.

Photo by Devin Strecker © HPOA

  • Prince’s ninth studio album Sign O’ the Times, parts recorded at Sunset Sound, was inaugurated in the Grammy Hall of Fame November 2016. (source)
  • 2013 Best Historical Album: Brian Wilson Smile (source)
  • 2001 Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance: Macy Gray “I Try” (source)
  • 1987 Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals: Prince “Kiss” from the album Parade (source: Prince: Life and Times: Revised and Updated Edition By Jason Draper)
  • 1985 Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal: Prince Purple Rain (source)
  • 1984 Nominee Best Female Pop Vocal Performance: Sheena Easton “Telefone” (source)
  • 1978 Nominee Record of the Year & Best Female Pop Vocal Performance: Linda Ronstadt “Blue Bayou” off the album Simple Dreams (source)

EastWest Studios (Formerly Ocean Way), 6000 Sunset Blvd.

According to their official website, EastWest Studios has had more Grammy-winning recordings than any other studio in the world.

Photo by Devin Strecker © HPOA

  • 2013 Best Urban Contemporary Album: Frank Ocean Channel Orange
  • 2012 Nominee Album of the Year: Rihanna Loud
  • 1984 Album of the Year: Michael Jackson Thriller
  • (Michael Jackson took home seven Grammys for Thriller, setting a record for most wins at one ceremony)
  • 1998 Hall of Fame: The Beach Boys Pet Sounds
  • 1970 Nominee Best Male Pop Vocal Performance: Frank Sinatra “My Way”
  • 1967 Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals: The Mamas and the Papas “Monday Monday”

Henson Recording Studios (Formerly A&M Records), 1416 N. LaBrea Ave.

Photo by Devin Strecker © HPOA

  • 2012 Nominee Album of the Year: Lady Gaga “Born This Way” (Mixing) (source)
  • 2008 Best Rap Album: Kanye West “Graduation” (source)
  • 1999 Grammy Hall of Fame: Joni Mitchell Blue (source)
  • 1991 Best Rock Song: Sting “The Soul Cages” (source)
  • 1972 Album of the Year: Carole King Tapestry (source)
  • 1972 Song of the Year: Carole King You’ve Got a Friend (First woman to win Song of the Year) (source)
  • 1986 Best Female Pop Vocal Performance Barbara Streisand The Broadway Album (source)

Hollywood Palladium, 6215 Sunset Blvd.

Photo by Gary Leonard © HPOA

  • The Carpenters accepted their Grammy for Best New Artist at the Hollywood Palladium in 1971, as well as a Grammy for Best Contemporary Performance by a Duo or Group for their song “Close To You.” “Close To You” was recorded with the Wrecking Crew musicians at the A&M Studios (now Henson Recording Studios) in Hollywood. (source)
  • Location of Grammy Award Ceremonies 1971, 1974, 1976 and 1977.
  • In 1974 Stevie Wonder became the first African American to win a Grammy for album of the year for his work Innervisions. He accepted his award at The Hollywood Palladium, just a few miles from The Record Plant where it was recorded. (source) The same night, he won Best Rhythm and Blues Song, Best R&B Vocal Performance, and Best Pop Vocal Male Performance. He later won a Grammy for Album of the Year for Songs in the Key of Life, which was presented at the 1977 Grammy Award ceremonies at the Hollywood Palladium. (source)

Boulevard Recording (Formerly Producer’s Workshop), 6035 Hollywood Blvd.

  • 1981 Grammy Nominee Album of the Year Pink Floyd The Wall (source)
  • 2008 Hall of Fame: Pink Floyd The Wall (source)
  • 1978 Nominee Album of the Year: Steely Dan Aja (source)
  • 2005 Hall of Fame: Steely Dan Aja (source)

WAX Ltd. (Formerly T.T.G. Studios), 1441 N. McCadden Pl.

  • 2017 Lifetime Achievement Award: The Velvet Underground. The Velvet Underground recorded their album The Velvet Underground & Nico, at the former TTG Studios as well as at Scepter Studios and Mayfair Studios in New York City. (source: 101 Albums that Changed Popular Music By Chris Smith (p.44), Notes from the Velvet Underground: The Life of Lou Reed By Howard Sounes)

Cherokee Studios, 751 N. Fairfax Ave. (closed)

  • David Bowie is nominated for seven 2017 Grammy Awards for his album Blackstar. Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award Winner (2006), David Bowie, recorded his tenth album Station to Station at Cherokee Studios in Hollywood in 1975. (source: The Complete David Bowie By Nicholas Pegg)

Gold Star Studios, 6562 Santa Monica Blvd. (closed)

The since-destroyed studio was made famous as the homebase for Phil Spectors “Wall of Sound”.

  • Inducted into Grammy Hall of Fame November 2016, Sonny and Cher’s “I Got You Babe” was recorded at Gold Star Studios. (source: The Wrecking Crew: The Inside Story of Rock and Roll’s Best-Kept Secret By Kent Hartmanv, p.94)
  • 1965 Nominee Best Rock and Roll Recording: The Righteous Brothers “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin” (source: Tearing Down The Wall of Sound: The Rise And Fall of Phil Spector By Mick Brown, p.174)
  • 1999 Hall of Fame: The Ronettes “Be My Baby” (source: Rhythm and Blues, Rap, and Hip-hop By Frank W. Hoffmann, p. 107)
  • 1966 Nominee Best Vocal Group Performance: The Beach Boys “Good Vibrations” (source: The Beach Boys: The Definitive Diary of America’s Greatest Band, on Stage … By Keith Badman, p.118)

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February 10, 2017

image Community

Measure H. Failure is Not an Option

What?  Another election? Another Measure H? Didn’t we just vote on this?

Answer:  Yes. Yes. And sort of.

In less than a month, the polls will be open throughout the entire county of Los Angeles, and voters will have a chance to support the second phase of a “one-two” strategy to make a serious dent into our homeless crisis. Measure H will appear on county ballots on March 7 asking voters to authorize a ¼ cent sales tax increase for ten years to raise money for homeless services. It requires a 2/3 vote.

Encampment on Vine near Lexington, in the Sunset & Vine District.

Last November, Measure HHH was the first punch in the one-two punch to end homelessness. City voters overwhelmingly supported (76 percent!) the ten year general obligation bond to fund $1.2B in permanent supportive housing throughout the city of Los Angeles. Measure H is the second, and knock-out punch. The two go hand in hand and both strategies are necessary to make the meaningful dent on a problem that has grown to crisis proportions. Housing + services.

We have to get this passed. Failure is not an option.

Measure H is akin to the software that accompanies the hardware which is the housing provided by HHH. Measure H will fund a ramp up in essential county services that meet people on the street (e.g., coordinated outreach teams, mental health and substance abuse treatment, urgent care psychiatric treatment centers, emergency shelter); help them get housed (case management) and keep them housed (supportive services to help people avoid falling back into homelessness). That is what the county does.

Why should the business community care? I am proud to say that in Hollywood, the business community is “all-in” when it comes to stepping up to address this crisis. Both boards for the Hollywood Property Owners Alliance, which manages the Hollywood BID, and the Central Hollywood Coalition, which manages the Sunset BID, voted to lend their name to the list of endorsing organizations for Measure H. Both organizations and their boards have a history of involvement with this issue, supporting local nonprofits, staying involved with the activities of Hollywood 4WRD, and personally volunteering for the homeless count and other boots-on-the-ground activities. Ending homelessness is good for business and essential for a thriving and healthy neighborhood.

Encampment on Selma near Cherokee in the Hollywood Entertainment District.

Here’s a few factoids that might make this more real.

  • The 2016 homeless count identified 47,000 people homeless in the county. Many of us participated in the homeless count on January 26, 2017, and we fear that number may be higher now.
  • Though Skid Row is a place of much suffering, 90 percent of individuals and families experiencing homeless do not live on Skid Row. They are spread throughout the entire county, which is why this funding measure will serve the entire county.
  • The average consumer will pay a little more than a dollar a month to support homeless services through the sales tax.
  • Because Measure H is a special tax, it can only be used for homeless services and there will be a citizen’s oversight committee to hold the county accountable.
  • Since LA has already passed its own bond measure to pay for permanent supportive housing for the homeless, other cities have the option to do something similar. But, again, this funding will support important services that can be quickly deployed to address this problem all over LA County.

“How can I help?” This is a question I am asked over and over. Well-meaning people want to hand out sandwiches, donate clothes, volunteer for food lines. This is all well and good, but for the next five weeks, until election day, the single most meaningful, impactful and effective thing you can do is pledge to vote YES ON H. Tell  your family. Convince your friends.

Here are some specific tools. If you are a fan of social media, take advantage of the social media kit the campaign has created. Use the hashtag #YesonH and #fight4homeless when you communicate. Throughout the county, volunteers will be holding postcard writing parties to target high propensity voters. If you want to find a party near you, or host one at your organization, contact the campaign or Tommy Newman at 323-829-0877 or

Kerry Morrison is executive director of the Hollywood Property Owners Alliance.  She serves on the United Way/LA Area Chamber Home For Good Task Force and blogs at @KerryHMorrison

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February 9, 2017

image Community

LACE: Nonprofit Art in the Heart of Hollywood

Since its inception in 1978, Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions, or LACE as the art space is most commonly known, has been a beacon for experimental and innovative artists. Founded by artists, this non-profit gallery is free to the public, and presents a wide range of art including performance art, art installations, and public projects. With a move to the heart of Hollywood Boulevard in 1993, LACE is a cultural mainstay.

According to executive director Sarah Russin, the 3500-square-foot main gallery and 350-square- foot Project Room gallery serve multiple audiences. “International art audiences will come to LACE to see works about social justice issues, and explore contemporary art. Other tourists and Southern California residents will come in to see the exhibitions we present as well. But what we’re really interested in is visitors from the neighborhood.” Russin adds that along with a burgeoning business district, dining, and entertainment attractions  “The area is coalescing with an increase in housing density – we’re within walking distance of hundreds of apartments and homes, and we’re free and open to the public.”

With an accelerating hyper-local viewer base, the gallery’s role as a purveyor of exciting and meaningful contemporary art has never been more important.

Three curators from LACE’s Emerging Curators Program, Virginia Broersma, Nick Brown and Kio Griffith  have put together the current compelling group show, The Ecstacy of Mary Shelley. The installation deals with the dichotomy of pleasure and pain in a seven-artist group show that explores moments of transformation that can cause both experiences. As is true with many LACE exhibitions, the works engage viewers on a serious level, but are also accessible and involving. Presenting mixed media works, sculptures, installations, and video art, with Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein as the show’s inspiration, viewers get a glimpse into both the fearsome and the inspirational.

The Ecstasy of Mary Shelley, Curated by Virginia Broesma, Nick Brown, and Kio Griffith
at LACE (Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions). (Photo by Chris Wormald)

The Ecstasy of Mary Shelley, Curated by Virginia Broesma, Nick Brown, and Kio Griffith
at LACE (Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions). (Photo by Chris Wormald)

The Ecstasy of Mary Shelley, Curated by Virginia Broesma, Nick Brown, and Kio Griffith
at LACE (Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions). (Photo by Chris Wormald)

Other recent exhibitions have focused on public practice, such as After the Aqueduct, exploring Los Angeles’ water source, and Cocina Abierta Collective’s Help Wanted project, which examined the lives of Los Angeles restaurant workers.  Chats About Change is an on-going series about the political and social aspects of art-making and communication.

“We try to have a balance between presenting work that’s challenging and has deep content with visually exciting and appealing exhibitions,” Russin says, explaining that LACE seeks to present work that appeals to both sophisticated, art-centric viewers and the general public.

Along with the art itself, LACE holds events such as exhibition openings, music nights, artist talks, and panel discussions, such as a recent panel about the nature of curating itself.

“Three years ago we started our inaugural curator’s program. We hold one exhibition a year that’s open to anyone in Southern California who presents a proposal for a complete exhibition idea,” Russin explains. “We also have a wonderful internship program working with students from junior colleges, universities, and art schools as well as with recent graduates,” she notes. “Some serve as gallery guides.”

Having accessible guides is an important aspect of LACE exhibits. “The idea is that anyone can come in and engage with someone, and talk about the shows. One of our most important missions is to introduce contemporary art to the public.” Another way in which the gallery provides this introduction is through an ongoing series of online educational videos designed for the general public that supports artists and artistic dialogue, as well as in-person events such as Creative Capital Workshops and the Sustainability Network, and partnerships with ArtworxLA and PEN USA.

Another vital part of the gallery’s mission is to work with and foster artists creating innovative work and socially engaging content. Over the years, LACE has presented over 5000 artists in some 3000 programs and events, including now well-known Los Angeles artists such as Mike Kelley, John Baldessari, and Gronk.

Upcoming programs include presentations at the Los Angeles Art Book Fair February 23 – February 26, the exhibition I can call this progress to halt opening March 8th, and Rhizomatic Arts: Sustainability Network Happy Hour on April 2nd.

With a history this rich and a future this vibrant, LACE is a star in the expanding LA art scene – one that’s perfectly placed along the Walk of Stars right on Hollywood Boulevard.

The gallery is open from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday-Sunday.

LACE (Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions)
6522 Hollywood Blvd.
(323) 957-1777

Genie Davis is a multi-published novelist and journalist, and produced screen and television writer. Passionate about everything-Los Angeles, you can see her work in the arts on her own

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February 7, 2017

image Dining

Mahi Mahi has got your Fish Fix

There’s a great new spot for seafood fans on the lookout for a fast casual option that also doesn’t break the bank. Mahi Mahi Seafood Grill is located right in the Gower Gulch plaza, with a huge menu that actually caters to vegetarians, pescatarians and omnivores alike. Influences from cuisines near and afar ensure that there’s something on the menu for everyone.

The menu at Mahi Mahi Seafood Grill in Hollywood. (Photo by Esther Tseng)

Most menu items are under $10, from salads, Hawaiian, Teriyaki and poke bowls to full platters of grilled and fried fish or other proteins of your choice. There are also a variety of sandwiches, tacos and burritos filled with chicken, beef or fish. The best part is that the menu items are so vast, that it’s pretty much customizable to your preference. Side orders from chips and salsa to coleslaw and macaroni salad as well as clam chowder round out your meal quite nicely, should you feel hungry for that extra bite.

Crispy Cod Fish, $9.95 at Mahi Mahi Seafood Grill in Hollywood. (Photo by Esther Tseng)

There’s also a fancy, high tech, touch screen fountain soda machine with a seemingly endless variety of sodas and iced teas — only $1.95 for purchase, and refillable should you be dining in. Don’t forget to furnish your order with selections from the refrigerated salsa and sauce bar, which is conveniently located at the back of Mahi Mahi. You’ll find pepperoncini, hot salsa, roasted red salsa, green salsa, chipotle sauce and tartar sauce perfect for dipping or topping your food.

The sauce and salsa bar at Mahi Mahi Seafood Grill in Hollywood. (Photo by Esther Tseng)

Mahi Mahi Seafood Grill
6122 W. Sunset Blvd.
(323) 464-6244

The dining room at Mahi Mahi Seafood Grill in Hollywood. (Photo by Esther Tseng)

Esther Tseng is a freelance food and drink writer. She has contributed to Eater, Thrillist, LA Tourism, Visit West Hollywood, Serious Drinks, and more. She practices Pilates, spins and snowboards to counter all the calories she consumes and loves to travel, whether for work or leisure.

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February 6, 2017

image Entertainment

Museum of Death: A Life Force in Hollywood

The goal of the Museum of Death is to bury the notion of negativity – and “make people happy to be alive,” as its literature states. Begun in 1995 in San Diego by the husband and wife team of J.D. Healy and Catherine Schultz, the museum moved to Hollywood in 2000.

The Museum of Death on Hollywood Boulevard. (Courtesy photo)

“We’re located ‘where the stars end and the darkness begins,’ assistant museum director Ryan Lichten says. “That’s one of the tag lines on our flier, because one block over, the Walk of Fame stars end – or begin, depending on which direction you’re coming from,” he smiles.

“The whole emphasis here is to bring visitors closer to what most people fear – which is death. We don’t really talk about it in America. You don’t think about it until it happens. It’s a sterile thing here, but in other countries it’s a celebration of life, not a mourning of a loss. In other places they’ll parade the dead through the streets,” Lichten notes.

Henry, Portrait of a Serial Killer at the Museum of Death in Hollywood. (Courtesy photo)

The museum features exhibits from artwork about death to letters from serial killers. “We have items relating to execution and capital punishment, funerary ephemera from the Victorian era up to the present, a collection of human and animal skulls, and taxidermy,” Lichten explains

The museum encompasses about twelve sections, and is packed with exhibitions and memorabilia. View crime scene photos, a Charles Manson exhibit, a display on a suicide cult, and one on deaths in California. The subject may seem grim, but Lichten relates that a visit to the museum often serves to uplift the guests that pass through it’s doors – without passing on.

Guillotine at the Museum of Death in Hollywood. (Courtesy photo)

“We want to encourage you to get out and live your life,” he says. “It’s all real, we don’t pull any punches. It’s really educational if you get past the initial shock of seeing what you’re seeing. Most people walk out of here with a smile on their faces, feeling great to be alive.”

The museum opened a second location in New Orleans a year ago, but the original location here features unique-to-California exhibits including those focused on the deaths of Hollywood celebrities, and local tragedies such as the still-unsolved Black Dahlia murder case.

Elizabeth Short, known as the Black Dahlia. (Courtesy photo)

From body bags to a coffin collection, anything you can think of relating to death is here. There are mortuary apparatuses, mourning jewelry, and even a video showing a real embalming. From funeral objects to death care, most of the objects are American.

The Museum of Death offers a self-guided tour the lasts just about an hour, and visitors range from the young to the elderly. “We recently had a bus group of over fifty 75 and up senior women visit us, and we’ve also hosted high school field trips. Everyone dies, so really everyone has a reason to check out the museum,” Lichten asserts.

The museum and it’s staff enjoy their location right on Hollywood Boulevard, and Lichten reports that their address is “just far enough off the Walk of Fame” that it’s not considered a part of the more tourist-centric exhibits on the boulevard. The Museum of Death is not a conventional tourist attraction. But Lichten notes “We have a large following from all around the world. People visit from everywhere, and it certainly doesn’t hurt to be located on one of the most popular streets on the planet.” For the living, that is.

Museum of Death
6031 Hollywood Blvd.

Museum of Death in Hollywood, CA. (Courtesy photo)

Genie Davis is a multi-published novelist and journalist, and produced screen and television writer. Passionate about everything-Los Angeles, you can see her work in the arts on her own

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February 2, 2017

image Dining

Omakase Mondays at Katsuya by SBE

Katsuya by SBE gives you something extra special to get out on the town for on Mondays thanks to their special Omakase Series. Start your week off right by treating yourself to a seasonal, multi-course dinner at Hollywood and Vine featuring the freshest catches of the day and imaginatively plated dishes.

Chawanmushi egg at Katsuya Hollywood. (Photo by Esther Tseng)

Only 10 seats are available every Monday night, right at their exclusive sushi bar, with the menu subject to change weekly. So come with an open mind and palate, because you’re in for a special treat. It’s $85 per person, inclusive of tax and gratuity, for a 7-course meal and dinner is at 8 p.m. It’s a great way to have a luxe night out in Hollywood at a more-than-reasonable price. Pair your meal with a recommended sake (additional), and you’re set.

Pickled Kabocha at Katsuya Hollywood. (Photo by Esther Tseng)

Chef de Cuisine David Lespron alternates the seven courses between Katsuya classics and seasonal specials, which might even be served that night only. And you’ll have front-and-center seats to all the action, so you’ll get to watch your dishes be prepared right in front of you for the ultimate in dinner entertainment!

So be sure to reserve your spot, either by calling or using this form. If you have any dietary restrictions, you can specify on the phone call or on the form. Enjoy!

Corn Chowder with Miso at Katsuya Hollywood. (Photo by Esther Tseng)

6300 Hollywood Blvd.

Esther Tseng is a freelance food and drink writer. She has contributed to Eater, Thrillist, LA Tourism, Visit West Hollywood, Serious Drinks, and more. She practices Pilates, spins and snowboards to counter all the calories she consumes and loves to travel, whether for work or leisure.

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January 30, 2017

image Entertainment

Museum of Broken Relationships: Mending the Broken Hearts on Hollywood Boulevard

If you’ve ever had a broken heart, or cried for that ‘happily ever after’ that never came, just in time for Valentine’s Day, make a visit to the Museum of Broken Relationships on Hollywood Boulevard.

Interior of the Museum of Broken Relationships in Hollywood. (Courtesy photo)

This fascinating museum exhibits objects donated by those who’ve experienced a sad love story, from love letters to breast implants. Displaying anonymously donated objects from around the world, there are sad, funny, and hopeful stories here, and the expression of the welcome theme that everyone has had an experience like this. Donators and visitors alike experience a catharsis that’s both unburdening and entertaining.

Olinka Vistina and Drazen Grubisic, two artists in the middle of their own break-up in Zagreb, are the museum’s originators. According to museum spokeswoman Erika Paget, the couple initially joked that between them they could start a museum with the artifacts of their relationship.

An artifact at the Museum of Broken Relationships in Hollywood. (Courtesy photo)

“They stayed friends and revisted the idea a few years later, and opened their first pop-up show in 2006. The exhibition was so popular that they immediately started touring and opened the first Museum of Broken Relationships brick and mortar location in Zagreb in 2010,” Paget says. “John B. Quinn, a Los Angeles attorney, visited the Zagreb museum in 2015 and was so taken with the universality of the show that he contacted the artists and began talks to bring it to Los Angeles. We opened in June of 2016.”

Paget says Quinn’s museum is thriving in Hollywood. “The city is a place that’s steeped in big dreams and crushing defeats. Hollywood is also a place where people are open to new ideas,” she laughs. “Moving pictures! Talkies!” And now, a museum about – lost relationships.

A collage of artifacts from the Museum of Broken Relationships in Hollywood. (Courtesy photo)

Paget notes that the collection comes from all over the world, as well as locally. Overall, the varied exhibits “show how even in our most lonely and disconnected times, these are universal experiences. No one is immune. What happens when you see these stories, all the different types of relationships from all different types of people, is that you begin to understand the strength of the human spirit and what truly connects us across all borders.” Paget adds that “We are all looking for human connection and love, and we all trip on that journey.” Visiting the museum and seeing that universality first hand is an experience that is “extremely bolstering to one’s soul.”

The museum started their call for objects in February, 2015, and it’s still open. “We receive between 5 and 20 objects a week,” she notes.

That’s a lot of broken hearts looking for closure.

“Our audience is everyone,” Paget says, describing museum visitors. We all have the language to speak on what is included in this collection. We have all had experiences with loss and heartbreak, whether its minor or much larger.”

A submission arrives to the Museum of Broken Relationships in Hollywood. (Courtesy photo)

The popular museum is a spot visited by people from all walks of life, at all stages of relationships, and of all ages. “While it can be very cathartic if you are going through a difficult time, it is also a beautiful place to visit if you are in a stable relationship. It can be a reminder of what we are working on and what we should appreciate in our lives.”

The serene space also brings people a little closer to their own vulnerabilities, and those of others. “It drives you to be a bit kinder in your everyday dealings, because you never know what someone else is going through.”

From a poignant collection of origami cranes to used emery boards, visitors will find a wide variety of emotional artifacts, accompanied by notes from donors explaining them, together shaping a tender and intimate experience of love, loss, and healing.

Museum of Broken Relationships
6751 Hollywood Blvd.

Museum of Broken Relationships, Hollywood, California. (Courtesy photo)

Genie Davis is a multi-published novelist and journalist, and produced screen and television writer. Passionate about everything-Los Angeles, you can see her work in the arts on her own

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January 25, 2017

image Events

An Afternoon with Earl Carroll

Spend an afternoon with Earl Carroll – followed by “A Night At Earl Carroll’s” – presented by the American Cinematheque, the Art Deco Society of Los Angeles & Hollywood Heritage!

An illustrated presentation on Sunset Boulevard’s art deco era Earl Carroll Theatre, Hollywood’s newest Historic Cultural Monument, will be given by Richard Adkins of Hollywood Heritage and Marc Wanamaker of the Bison Archives. This nightclub, famous for its “Vanities” showgirl stage revues, opened on December 26, 1938 with a jaw-dropping Art Deco interior designed by Alexis de Sakhnoffsky who invented the Streamline Moderne style.

Adkins and Wanamaker will give a history of the glamorous supper club with the words “Through these portals pass the most beautiful girls in the world,” emblazoned over the door and talk about the impending renovations to the building that most recently housed Nickelodeon. Wanamaker will detail his personal history with the building in the 1960s when it was known as The Aquarius Theatre and the Kaleidoscope psychedelic night club where The Doors famously performed. The Art Deco Society of Los Angeles joined Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell’s office and heritage groups including Hollywood Heritage and the Los Angeles Conservancy to speak to the cultural importance of the building to Los Angeles and helped to obtain Historic Cultural Monument status for it.

The 1940 musical, A Night at Earl Carroll’s, will play following the lecture at approximately 2 PM.

1940, Universal, 62 min, USA, Dir: Kurt Neumann

Perhaps Hollywood’s most glamorous club ever, the Earl Carroll Theatre stood on the southeast corner of Sunset and Vine – an Art Deco palace emblazoned with cement slab movie star autographs (much like Grauman’s Chinese) and a huge neon sign of dancer Beryl Wallace surrounded by the incantation “Through These Portals Pass the Most Beautiful Girls in the World.” Released one week after FANTASIA, this musical stars Ken Murray with Rose Hobart, plus radio stars Brenda & Cobina (Blake Steward and Elvia Allman) and songs by Hobart, William Brady, Mary Lou Cook, Lillian Cornell and an old vaudeville dance by Lela Moore. The thin plot revolves around Earl Carroll (playing himself) being kidnapped by mobsters at a mayor’s convention. A glorious artifact for those with an interest in the revival of burlesque!

Click here for tickets.

Photo courtesy of the Art Deco Society of Los Angeles.

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January 20, 2017