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Once You’ve Seen Trieste, You Cannot Pretend it Doesn’t Exist

Here is the humbling reality.

I had the privilege to attend an international conference on mental health last week in Trieste, Italy. There were 36 countries represented; panels, speakers and site visits stretched out over four days. Not surprisingly, there were no speakers invited from the U.S. to share best practices. We have none.

I was in Trieste with 12 leaders from Los Angeles county who traveled thousands of miles to witness this stunning cultural paradigm shift up close. Thanks to my Stanton Fellowship from the Durfee Foundation, I had to privilege to visit Trieste in June and blogged about that earth-shattering experience. About a month after arriving home, when I received word about this conference, I reached out to leaders in LA asking if they would be willing to make this pilgrimage. You can read about the Trieste Model, but you have to actually see it in action to appreciate the humanity associated therewith.

The Los Angeles delegation to Trieste mental health conference November 2017, in front of the Cavallo horse, symbol of freedom from the asylum. From L-R: Dr. Jonathan Sherin, Judge James Bianco, Lt. David Petrocelli, Kerry Morrison, Caroline Kelly, Tracey Whitney, Brittney Weissman, Dr. Pietro D’Ingillo, Sgt. Annadennise Briz, Lt. Brian Bixler, Sarah Dusseault, Phyllis Owens. Not pictured – Anthony Ruffin.

Our Los Angeles delegation included representatives from the Department of Mental Health, Los Angeles Police Department, LA County Jail, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, LA County District Attorney, LA City Council, Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, Community Partners, the Superior Court, and a Skid Row service provider. Because of the diversity of these perspectives (which was healthy), I felt like we were the proverbial blindfolded people touching an elephant trying to describe what we saw. What was remarkable was that by the end of the week, we were able to converge our impressions into one unified image of what needs to change in Los Angeles. Will that be easy? No. But what we witnessed and experienced together will be impossible to ignore.

It is hard to capture in one blog all that we need to do different in LA (and in America, for that matter). But let me use one illustration that will provide some insight.

While I was at the conference, I woke up one morning to a text sent by a frustrated Hollywood cafe owner. There was a short video file attached. In this clip, a disoriented man is walking into her cafe. He is barefoot and has a white bedspread draped over his shoulders. The business owner says, “I need to ask you to go. You have to go.” He turns around and heads to the door. He stops for a moment at the door, and then he walks out.

In Hollywood, there are few resources for business owners to assist the many mentally ill homeless individuals who wander in to establishments.

This simple video documents five things about what is wrong in Los Angeles. Watching it 6,000 miles away in Trieste reminded me why we were all there. We are frustrated too.

1. This barefoot man, naked except for a pair of shorts and a blanket, is clearly uncared for; left to fend for himself.

2. He is likely hungry; he is wandering the streets of Hollywood.

3. The shop owner shoos him away. She clearly wants him to leave. She is fatigued of this behavior, because this happens quite frequently — he is not the only one.

4. Her fatigue is understandable. She has no one to call. There is no phone number that will lead her to a place where he could be helped. She sends me a text instead, and I am 6,000 miles away.

5. If he comes back again, her only recourse will be to call the police.

Prior to spending this intense week in Trieste, all of our conversations about “fixing this” travesty in Los Angeles revolved around trying to “streamline” things, create special outreach teams, build partnerships between law enforcement and DMH, employ a “housing first” model to get that guy into housing. Though helpful, they are stop-gaps.

So imagine this man walking into a trattoria in Trieste (and you must suspend some disbelief here because people are not left to deteriorate to this level). But, consider this: the shop-owner would have the freedom to let her heart lead and exercise patience because this doesn’t happen hardly ever. Instead of trying to “protect the business” she would probably have him sit down and get him something to drink, or maybe something to eat.

Then she would know to call the community mental health center — not the police. There would be someone who would come within a reasonable time to “scoop up” the person (that is a word we heard in Italy) and take them back to the center. (If he was not willing to go, that is the subject for another blog,)

At the center, this person would be offered an emergency place to sleep while the team jumped into action. I am not sure I accurately understand everything that would happen within the context of “jumping into action.” But I do know that these essential elements of engagement would kick in:

— hospitality
— relationship building
— attempt to contact the family

Now, I will stop here, because we have a lot of work to do to capture the essence of this model (it cannot be completely replicated in the U.S.). But here is what I know. In Trieste, we were reduced to thinking about this wearing our human-being hat. Risk-management is not a department that exists in the Trieste mental health system. Never was there a discussion about:

— what are the “rules” of engagement?
— what is the liability associated with acting in this way?
— is there a HIPAA violation if we try to find the family?
— how will this be paid for?

I hope this plants the seed in fertile soil for the paradigm shift the LA Trieste team experienced this week. I am still trying to find the words to describe this. Please private message me if you are moved and would like to stay connected to this journey.

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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November 21, 2017

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Hollywood Lights Up the Holidays

After an absence of four years, holiday lighting will return to Hollywood Boulevard for the 2017 holiday season, as a result of a joint effort between the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce and the Hollywood Entertainment District (HED). A lighting ceremony will be held to show off the new decorations on Monday, November 20th at 6 p.m. at the corner of Hollywood Boulevard and Highland Avenue, adjacent to the Metro Station.

The event will be emceed by Leron Gubler, President/CEO of the Hollywood Chamber. Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell, 13th District will participate in the event. “Some of Hollywood’s most iconic destinations will sparkle even brighter this holiday season thanks to the Bureau of Street Lighting, the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, and the Hollywood Entertainment District. These seasonal lights will be sure to spread some holiday cheer for residents and visitors alike,” O’Farrell said.

Rendering of the holiday decorations to be installed on Hollywood Boulevard.

The Chamber and HED have been working together on the project since the beginning of July. A request for proposals was sent out to lighting décor firms, and three companies were interviewed by a joint panel. Based on the interviews, the firm of St. Nick’s Commercial Design & Décor, based in Long Beach, was selected.

Under the agreement between the Chamber and HED, the Chamber is making the initial investment in purchasing the decorations and the HED will handle the ongoing maintenance.

“We are pleased to bring even more glitter to Tinseltown this season with spectacular new lights,” said Kerry Morrison, executive director of the Hollywood Entertainment District.  “Plus, with the addition of new permanent lighting, residents and visitors to Hollywood Boulevard will get a dose of Hollywood magic all year long.”

The decorations will be installed one block either side of the intersections of Hollywood Boulevard with Vine Street and Highland Avenue and are expected to be up by Thanksgiving week.

As envisioned, the decorator will wrap 54 palm trees with permanent lighting. Each tree will also have two RGB lamps installed under the crown of the tree to light up the palm fronds. In addition, 27 city light poles will have custom-made pole-mounted decorations with a star theme to be installed along with decorated commercial green garland with LED lights.

The tree lights will be kept up all year, while the decorations will be removed after New Year’s Day. What is especially exciting is that the RGB lamps can be programmed with different colors, which will enable the HED to change the lighting to different colors depending on the holiday.

“We believe the decorations will make an enormous difference along the Boulevard and will help to bring back a festive spirit,” Gubler said. “We are pleased to have been able to work with the Hollywood Entertainment District to bring back the decorations.”

About the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce

For more than 96 years, the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce has provided leadership, business development resources, networking, and government affairs programs and services to keep the Hollywood business and residential communities safe, relevant and economically vital. Jeff Zarrinnam of Hollywood Hotel, is the Chair of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors 2017-18, and Leron Gubler is the President/CEO of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce. For more information please visit

About the Hollywood Entertainment District

The Hollywood Entertainment District property business improvement district (BID) is funded by approximately 400 property owners who assess themselves more than $3.4 million annually to pay for cleaning, security, streetscape and marketing services to help deliver a vibrant experience at the epicenter of the entertainment capital of the world.

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November 17, 2017

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Jollywood, a Holiday Pop-Up in Old Hollywood on December 9

Join us for this inaugural community event in Tinseltown!

Hollywood has always been a holiday town. From Santa Claus Lane decorations along Hollywood Boulevard to the annual Hollywood Christmas Parade, Tinseltown lives up
to its nickname throughout the holiday season.

In order to excite locals and visitors alike with the plentiful holiday shopping options in Hollywood, the Jollywood Holiday Pop-Up in Old Hollywood was conceived to bring
together our Hollywood community of shopkeepers, retailers, artisans, artists, chefs, florists, and more to offer the community one-of-a-kind holiday gifts and treats. And to
add an extra dose of Holiday cheer, the event will feature carolers, holiday lights, and of course Santa Claus!

Local restaurants, retailers, and galleries will join in the spirit offering special discounts, tastings, and live performances. It’s a dazzling and sparkly holiday event sure to
brighten the season.

Visit for more information.


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November 16, 2017

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The Hollywood Museum – History from the Inside Out

Housed in the historic Max Factor building, The Hollywood Museum not only contains more than 10,000 pieces of film industry memorabilia, the building itself is a classic.

Designed by architect S. Charles Lee, the building was sold to make-up artist Max Factor in 1928, but its opening was delayed until 1935 due to the Great Depression. It was here, in this stunning Art Deco structure, that Factor created make-up originals. Factor’s cosmetic empire, like the building itself, went through a variety of owners after Factor’s son, Max Factor Jr., sold it in 1973.

It was Proctor & Gamble that sold the building to The Hollywood Museum’s founder Donelle Dadigan, in 1994. It took her nine years to restore it to its original glory, recreating everything from Factor’s original make-up rooms to chandeliers and antique furniture.

Donelle Dadigan, founder of The Hollywood Museum (courtesy photo).

According to museum publicist Harlan Boll, Dadigan originally purchased the building to house a personal collection as well as Hollywood artifacts. “Her godfather, Jose Iturbi, was the first person to sell a million records, and one of the first musicians to get a star on the Hollywood Boulevard Walk of Fame. He played for Frank Sinatra and Judy Garland among others, and had quite a following,” Boll relates. “Going far beyond that collection, Donelle took photos from the original Max Factor studios so that everything in the museum was restored precisely, for example, making sure all the colors were right in each of the individual rooms designed for clients by hair color. This is all Donelle’s baby.”

Today, the museum’s ground floor houses those studios which include one for blondes, used by Marilyn Monroe, one for brunettes, and one for redheads. In the latter, Lucille Ball was given her signature hair color, designed by Factor.

“Marilyn’s look was created here. Rita Hayworth, Elizabeth Taylor,” Boll says. “Factor originally tried blonde on Lucille Ball before settling on the signature red. I spoke to Lucy Arnaz about that, and she said that she remembered sitting in a corner as a child, watching as her mother had her hair done while Max worked on her.”

Max Factor applying makeup to Jean Harlow in his studio, circa 1929 (courtesy photo).

The Hollywood Museum has four floors of exhibit space, including a basement that houses the Dungeon of Doom. It was once a bowling alley as well as a speakeasy during Prohibition. Today, visitors can spend time in the same jail cell where Jodie Foster visited Anthony Hopkins as Hannibal Lecter in Silence of the Lambs. The original set was donated by the studio, reconstructed piece by piece, and is on display year-round.

“The walls of course are fake brick,” Boll reports. “But everyone looks at it, thinks it’s real until they rap their knuckles against it.”

Boll adds that the “number one request of the museum is from people asking to spend the night in the Silence of the Lambs cell. Even members of the police force have requested it.”

Hannibal Lecter’s jail cell from Silence of the Lambs, in the Dungeon of Doom at The Hollywood Museum (courtesy photo).

Along with the set, Boll says the basement area also holds original costumes and props from more than 40 horror films. “You’ll see horror figures Freddy Krueger, Michael Myers, and Jason, items from Sweeney Todd, Chucky, Underworld, Van Helsing, Blair Witch, The Walking Dead and the classics like Frankenstein, Dracula, Vampira, and Elvira,” Boll asserts. More chilling memorabilia: the costume and mask used by Anthony Hopkins in Silence of the Lambs, and the slightly macabre death masks of Vincent Price, Bella Lugosi, Lon Chaney, Christopher Lee, Boris Karloff, and Peter Lorre.

On the main floor, besides the lush Art Deco lobby and Max Factor’s restored make-up rooms, visitors are offered a look at Cary Grant’s Rolls Royce, a tribute to Judy Garland, and Planet of the Apes props and costumes among other sci-fi exhibits.

The lobby of The Hollywood Museum in the Historic Max Factor Building (courtesy photo).

“There’s a piece of the Hollywood sign here, too,” Boll adds. “It’s from the letter ‘H’ and you can see the graffiti on it and bullet holes shot through it, and why it had to be replaced due to damage.”

And don’t miss the Beauty Calibrator. Boll suggests it’s one scary-looking machine. “It’s one of the earliest forms of technology. It looks like a cage. It was placed over a woman’s head and it was used to pinpoint parts of your face to measure things like how high your eye brows went, how big your lips were, the distance between your eyes. Max Factor would use that to measure how to contour your face. The older stars remember it and not fondly. It looks like something from Hellraiser,” he laughs.

One of Max Factor’s creations, on display at The Hollywood Museum: the beauty calibrator (courtesy photo).

The second and third floors exhibit costumes worn by stars in famous films, along with props and posters. These include what the museum calls the world’s largest collection of genuine Marilyn Monroe memorabilia.

“Marilyn will always be there because she is just so popular people would complain if they took her out for even a short time,” Boll attests. “Another permanent exhibit for us is the Jose Iturbi, which includes his grand piano, and the tux Frank Sinatra wore when he performed with Jose.”

Along with permanent exhibits, the museum features other stellar rotating shows. “Currently we have an LGBT history exhibition, Reel to Real: Portrayals and Perceptions of Gays in Hollywood,” Boll says. “In February, we’ll be presenting an Annette Funicello exhibit.”

Part of the Reel to Real: Portrayals and Perceptions of Gays in Hollywood exhibit, featuring actress, comedian and producer Lily Tomlin (courtesy photo).

Even the elevators at The Hollywood Museum have history. Big enough to move cars from Factor’s collection and the museum’s artifacts, it was and is an important transit point to parties and events held on the top floor. “Max Factor put a bar in the elevator, and we do that to this day for events such as the Emmy Daytime Nominee and Oscar parties. We can carry 40 to 50 people up and they’ll have their drinks in their hands when they reach the party.”

Boll notes that the museum is the only Hollywood memorabilia museum to survive and thrive year after year. “It allows people to access history and stories about Hollywood they would not otherwise know.” One such story centers on a beaded dress worn by Barbara Stanwyck to the Oscars. “It’s only beaded on one side because she said the designers shouldn’t waste their time beading the right side. She wouldn’t allow anyone to photograph her from the right side.”

The Hollywood Museum’s tribute to Debbie Reynolds (courtesy photo).

Along with its exhibits, the museum holds a wide range of events every year, including tributes to stars who’ve passed away, such as Debbie Reynolds, and a 2011 reunion of individuals who worked on I Love Lucy, to celebrate its 60th anniversary and Lucille Ball’s 100th birthday.

The Hollywood Museum
1660 N. Highland Ave.
(323) 464-7776

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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November 10, 2017

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Feastown Pop-Up Market is Here!

Feastown is a brand new pop-up market in the heart of Hollywood that celebrates the rising starts in the food, music and design scene. The bi-monthly event takes place every other Saturday at Eastown, 6201 Hollywood. The market will operate from 1:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. on the first and third Saturdays of each month.

With an assortment of up-and-coming local food vendors, and partnerships with Hollywood’s own The Center at Blessed Sacrament and the Los Angeles College of Music, Eastown presents a new take on the text book “night market” bringing together all aspects of the community for a bi-monthly night of delicious food, and festivities.

For more information, visit

Eastown is situated in a prime location, right in the center of Hollywood. You’ll find restaurants, bars, shopping centers, entertainment venues, transportation options, and so much more—all within a few blocks of our community. (Courtesy photo)

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November 7, 2017

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The Hollywood Palladium: Historic Status for an Historic Venue

While it was only listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2016, The Hollywood Palladium has truly earned this designated status for years. The Palladium’s origin is a real Hollywood story.

The iconic Sunset Blvd. theater was built by film producer Maurice M. Cohen, and designed by renowned Los Angeles architect Gordon B. Kaufman in a sleek Moderne-style. Los Angeles Times publisher Norman Chandler funded the construction on what was once the Paramount Studios lot. The cost: just $1.6 million. Chandler may have been drawn to the project because architect Kaufman also designed the venerable Los Angeles Times building.

Historic photo of the Hollywood Palladium. (courtesy photo)

Inside The Palladium’s façade, the curved interior is startlingly contemporary for a building constructed in 1940. There’s an 11,200-square-foot dance floor, with a mezzanine and a floor level that has room for up to 4,000 people. The structure includes a stunning circular entrance foyer with balcony stairs, and a domed ceiling crafted in Art Deco style. If the architecture isn’t impressive enough, then there’s acts who’ve played here.

Reflecting changing tastes over the decades, the venue’s opening night – October 31st, 1940 – presented Tommy Dorsey and his orchestra along with a just-starting-out Frank Sinatra as the band vocalist. Hollywood’s finest, from Judy Garland to Jack Benny showed up to share in the magic. Cohen was thrilled. Having said he would create the “world’s largest dining and dancing palace,” it seemed that his dream had come true.

Vintage photo of a crowd dancing at the Hollywood Palladium. (courtesy photo)

Over its first decades, The Palladium hosted radio broadcasts and concerts. There was swing, big band, and Latin bands, when in the mid-’50s the mambo and the cha-cha-cha were popular. In 1955, disc jockey Lionel “Chico” Sesma promoted his Latin Holidays at the Palladium, an event that lasted for decades. Then came taping of the Lawrence Welk show, and in the late 60s and 70s rock n’ roll acts moved to the foreground. Performers from Jimi Hendrix to Led Zeppelin to Alice in Chains took the stage. More recently, varied acts from Run DMC to Walk the Moon have performed at the 4000-person capacity venue. Upcoming concerts include high powered bands like LCD Soundsystem and St. Vincent. On the 77th anniversary of the venue’s Halloween opening, The Palladium hosted a live performance by John Carpenter of his score to his horror classic film Halloween.

Through the years there were political moments too, including a famous civil rights speech made by Martin Luther King Jr. at the World Affairs Council held at The Palladium in February 1965. The Emmy Awards, Grammy Awards, Country Music Awards and the NAACP Awards have all been hosted here.

The Palladium has even been a star in its own right, appearing in The Blues Brothers in 1980.

The Hollywood Palladium, circa 2005, before its renovation. (courtesy photo)

A staple of Hollywood culture, The Palladium is one of the longest-operating event venues in the city.But, as its glory days waned and the venue became worn, there were threats of demolition. Luckily, instead of tearing it down, Beverly Hills-based live events company Live Nation entered the picture, stepping in to lease the concert hall in 2007 for 20 years, and acting as the driving force behind its refurbishment. Following a year-long closure, the grand re-opening in 2008 was a performance by Jay Z.

Thanks to The Palladium’s recent landmark status, any future development to the site must follow strict planning guidelines, keeping the concert hall safe. There are some changes afoot, however. The Palladium Residences, two 30-story residential towers and some 24,000-square-feet of retail space, will rise on either side of the venue. Designed by Santley Saitowits, the mixed-use luxury project will be created in a style resembling the Streamline Moderne style of The Palladium itself. Construction is scheduled to commence in 2018, and if the project’s density has sparked some concern, the landmark status for The Palladium itself is universally applauded.

Rendering of the proposed new development, The Palladium Residences. (rendering courtesy of Crescent Heights)

A Hollywood classic, The Palladium rocks on – a real-life example of the motto “the show must go on.”

The Hollywood Palladium
6215 Sunset Blvd.
(323) 962-7600

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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November 2, 2017

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Meet Friends and Make Memories at Locals Night!

Hollywood locals, rejoice! We’re throwing a neighborhood party right on the Walk of Fame and you’re invited!

Suaya Properties and the Hollywood Property Owners Alliance presents the third Locals Night in Old Hollywood, the historic core of the world’s most famous neighborhood. This third edition will feature free samples from participating restaurants, live music, painting, community organizations and more, with a Halloween vibe – feel free to wear your costumes! Come experience all that Old Hollywood has to offer. Register in advance for your passbook, or simply pick it up from the booth at the southeast corner of Whitley and Hollywood, on the sidewalk bump-out.

April Clemmer, tour guide with #WalkOldHollywood, will be leading short Haunted Hollywood tours on the hour from 6:00 – 9:00 p.m. Sign up for your spot on a tour by registering here!

The third Local Night in Old Hollywood will feature the following restaurant participants:
Jameson’s Irish Pub
Cabo Cantina Hollywood

Boardner’s By La Belle
Baja Beach Bar
Rise N Grind
Crying Tiger

6:30 – Rayssa
7:15 – Arthur*Autumn
8:00 – Devin Tait & The Traitors

by Chris Ruggiero of Scot Nery’s Boobie Trap

by Amy Crosby of Witches Reframed

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October 18, 2017

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Hollywood Rises to the Challenge at 2017 Annual Meeting

Property owners and their representatives from the Hollywood Entertainment District and the Sunset & Vine District came together for the 20th annual All Property Owners Meeting. It was held this year at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel’s Academy Room on Thursday, August 24, 2017.

The meeting was a little different from past years, as staff opened the meeting by acknowledging the difficult year experienced by many businesses and organizations in the area, due to the increases in crime, homelessness and encampments, and the unintended consequences of changes in various state and local laws and ordinances that have made enforcement more difficult. Executive Director Kerry Morrison shared concerns from business and property owners, spoke to the myriad issues that staff has addressed over the past year, and reflected on her twenty years working for the BID. LAPD Hollywood Commanding Officer Cory Palka shared his perspective on the challenges facing law enforcement officers in Hollywood and took questions from the audience.

However, good news was shared on the bright spots in Hollywood, including the BID’s maintenance, beautification, wayfinding signage and event programming initiatives, new developments, and new businesses to celebrate. Further, even more exciting news about the future of the two BIDs – soon to become one large District (the largest in Los Angeles), was shared by BID renewal co-chairs Brian Folb and John Tronson. Sunset & Vine District board president Fabio Conti concluded the meeting with closing remarks.

Despite the current challenges, Hollywood truly is rising to the occasion, strengthening its voice and looking to a bright future.


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October 17, 2017

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Emerson College Los Angeles: A New Hollywood Landmark

Emerson College has a mission to develop and prepare students for a successful path in communication and the arts. Long based in Boston, Mass., the school – renowned for its entertainment industry credentials – has run a semester-long, professional internship program in the Los Angeles area for over 30 years. Now, Emerson has established a gorgeous physical presence in Hollywood.

Emerson College Los Angeles, on Sunset Boulevard in the Sunset and Vine District of Hollywood, CA. (Courtesy photo)

According to Allison Sampson, Vice President and Executive Director of Emerson College Los Angeles, the school decided to open a brick and mortar campus here to further expand its programs.

“Building a permanent home on the west coast was part of a strategic planning initiative which has allowed Emerson to flourish. Emerson L.A. opened in 2014 and now has 40 classes, 25 faculty members, and around 200 students per semester,” Sampson attests.

Of course, the internship program itself, which is such a core of Emerson’s program in Los Angeles, continues to thrive.

“Each semester, Emerson Los Angles students intern at more than 150 sites in a variety of professional fields, including film and TV, music, comedy, journalism, marketing, theatre, and related enterprises,” Sampson explains.

Students intern at prestigious SoCal companies such as ABC Disney Television, BuzzFeed, Comedy Central, Dreamworks Animation, HBO, Lionsgate Entertainment, Sony Pictures Entertainment, and Variety, among other locations.

The college has over 400 internship partnerships, and beyond that, is deeply committed to the on-going revitalization of Hollywood itself. The college has partnered with neighborhood organizations such as the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce and Hollywood Police Activities League.

Sampson is justifiably proud of Emerson College Los Angeles and the successful career connections it offers for students. Having an actual physical location in Hollywood benefits both the students and the community at large.

Emerson college not only hosts its own events, but is also available to host community events. (Courtesy photo)

“With an iconic building located at Sunset Boulevard and Gordon, we’re at the center of the Hollywood community. Los Angles is the premiere destination for students wanting to learn not only about communication and the arts, but also to be submersed in the culture of the region and surrounded by the nation’s top industry professionals,” she enthuses. “Building a permanent facility in Hollywood represents a significant commitment to the city and to the entertainment and communication industries.”

In fact, the college also offers an abundance of resources for both its students and the Hollywood community itself.

“Emerson L.A. serves its entertainment industry partners by hosting events open to the public throughout the year, and providing the community with driven, creative, and talented interns and graduates. In addition, students and alumni are active members of the community and give back through community service.”

The physical architecture of the building is beautiful and unique, making the building itself a kind of gift to the Hollywood area.

“Renowned architect Thom Mayne and his firm, Morphosis, designed the Emerson LA building,” Sampson relates.

The dramatically designed $110 million complex combines student housing, instructional facilities, and administrative offices all in one location. LEED certified, it offers 100,000 square feet of space. It contains an auditorium, screening room, audio and video labs, and performance and rehearsal studios, too.

The unique building housing Emerson College Los Angeles was designed by Thom Mayne at Morphosis. (Courtesy photo)

By doing so, she says the college condenses the diversity of a college campus into a single urban site. She believes that by concentrating the energy of east coast metropolitan centers in a uniquely Los Angeles one, a dialogue emerges between their students’ educational background and their professional futures. And with the campus opening here, both alumni living in the region and visitors from across the country have “a place to call home.”

What Sampson most wants the community to know about the college is that the school is “proud to be a resource for and member of the Hollywood community.”

The college has an alumni base of more than 4,000 in the Los Angeles area, and Sampson says Emerson College continues to grow as a creative force in the entertainment industry.

“We are honored to be a part of the creative economy and to have Emersonians thrive in a variety of fields throughout Southern California.”

Emerson College Los Angeles
5960 Sunset Blvd.
(323) 498-0600

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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September 29, 2017

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Second City Presents the Diversity in Comedy Festival

The Second City Hollywood is producing the Los Angeles Diversity in Comedy Festival from October 20 through October 22, 2017. The festival will showcase performers of diverse backgrounds exploring issues pertaining to race, gender, disabilities, sexual orientation and gender identity through performances, panels, and workshops.

The festival features three active stages. The Second City Stage, and the 3 Arts Stage, are located at 6560 Hollywood Blvd. The Hollywood Improv State is located at 8162 Melrose Ave.

Artists from across the country have been selected through submission will performing all three days, on three different stages. The goal of this festival is to offer a platform for celebrating the unique points of view that come from diverse talent in Los Angeles and beyond. The event is sponsored by 3 Arts Entertainment, NBCUniversal, Thruline Entertainment and Groundwork.

Celebrating over 58 years of cutting edge satiric revues, The Second City continues to deliver the leading voices in comedy while touring the globe. Today, The Second City Training Center is the largest school of improvisation and sketch comedy in the world.

Their alumni list reads like a who’s who of American comedy, as it includes Alan Arkin, Joan Rivers, Harold Ramis, John Belushi, Dan Aykroyd, Bill Murray, Gilda Radner, George Wendt, Martin Short, John Candy, Mike Myers, Steve Carell, Stephen Colbert, Tina Fey, Keegan-Michael Key, and countless others. Los Angeles is the world capital of the Entertainment Industry and The Second City Hollywood is in the heart of it on Hollywood Boulevard. The Training Center follows the traditions developed by these groundbreaking and innovative men and women while encouraging the continued growth and development of the art forms of comedy and improvisation.

For the full festival schedule, visit


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September 21, 2017