Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Newsletter: Thanksgiving, White Christmas, Holiday Transit...

ExperienceLA.com wishes all of its site visitors, newsletter subscribers, blog readers, Flickr Pool members, and contributing partners (essentially all the fabulous people that make ExperienceLA.com and its network fabulous) a wonderful Thanksgiving!

With the holiday comes an early issue of our newsletter. Check out our latest ExperienceLA.com Newsletter, featuring:

- Extended Public Transit Hours for the Holidays (Metro Red Line and Downtown DASH)
- White Christmas: Screening of that 1954 Classic
- 1,000 Teddies - Art Installation and Fundraiser
- And reminders of great things to read on this blog!

See our newsletter for more details! Click here to subscribe to the ExperienceLA.com Newsletter. You'll be thankful if you do!

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

-ExperienceLA.com Staff

Singing in the Holidays

Call me a caffeine fiend (or a victim of commercialism), but the onset of my favorite holiday season becomes official when I begin to see the Starbucks Christmas cups appear in increased frequency. 90 degree weather or not, warming my hands around a steaming cup of Pumpkin Spiced Latte or Caramel Apple Spice, its holiday aromas wafting me into a state of glee, is a seasonal must. That and listening to 103.5 the moment the station converts to Christmas music 24/7.

I love Christmas. Warm fuzzies galore!!

Good news for those of us Christmas junkies who potentially make everyone else sick with our excitement over irrelevant songs boasting the joys of a white Christmas. The LA Phil recently announced its 2008 Deck the Hall Holiday Series... which includes a Holiday Sing-A-Long!! No more need to be a secret singer within the safety of your morning commute, as you can now join a multitude of people, on key or not, as they sing your favorite Christmas songs. If you've never experienced a sing-a-long before, you're missing out. But if it's not your cup of tea, here's a full listing of the series:

12/16: Chanticleer returns with Exquisite Christmas Singing
12/17: Organist David Higgs presents the Holiday Organ Spectacular
12/20-21: 'Twas the Week Before Christmas with the LA Phil
12/21: David Prather hosts a Holiday Sing-A-Long for the whole family
12/22: The Count Basie Orchestra brings the Swing to the Holidays
12/23: Soweto Gospel Choir offers Inspired Renditions of Christmas Classics
12/31: Pink Martini rings in 2009 with Two Special New Year's Eve Performances

-Sarah Koo, ExperienceLA Marketing Assistant

Monday, November 24, 2008

Thanksgiving Thankfuls

I'm thankful to be living and working in Los Angeles because of the great weather and the eclectic mix of cultures all in one location. I'm thankful to be working for experienceLA.com because I get to be one of the first to know what cool events are happening in the city.

Unfortunately, I keep hearing complaints (even from myself) of all the other things that have to be done. It may be hard, especially in today's economy, for us to truly understand all that we are grateful for. Here is an activity I found to be quite helpful. This Thanksgiving, try it at the dinner table while everyone is waiting for the Tryptophan to kick in.

1. Each person gets a 3x5 card to write down a list of all the things they "have to" do:

For example:
I have to go to school.
I have to drive in traffic to get work.
I have to brush my teeth.

2. Change "have to" into "get to" and then add a reason why:

For example:
I get to go to school because I have drive to better myself. (Some people don't have that ambition)
I get to drive in traffic to work because I have a car that can drive me there. (Some people don't have cars)
I get to brush my teeth because I have most of them. (Some people don't have any teeth!)

3. Add "I'm thankful" in front, and the final result is:

I'm thankful I get to go to school because I have drive to better myself.
I'm thankful I get to drive in traffic to work because I have a car that can drive me there.
I'm thankful I get to brush my teeth because I have most of them.

So during this holiday (and everyday), change your have to's into get to's, and remember – You get to read this blog because experienceLA.com brings it, and all things cultural and wonderful, to you! (Oh, and I'm thankful for the internet as well!)

-Tiina Vuorenmaa
ExperienceLA.com Staff

Friday, November 21, 2008

Newsletter: Grammy Concert, DWTS Giveaway...

Check out our latest ExperienceLA.com Newsletter, featuring:

- The GRAMMY Nominations Concert Live!!
- Holiday Wonders at the Walt Disney Concert Hall
- Cole's All American Street Fair
- Ticket Giveaways and Promotions: Dancing with the Stars at the STAPLES Center & I Love My Wife Discount

See our newsletter for more details! Click here to subscribe to the ExperienceLA.com Newsletter.

-ExperienceLA.com Staff

Friday, November 14, 2008

War Stories: Joyce Guy Interview

Our ExperienceLA.com blog contributor Daood interviews Joyce Guy, who helms the one-woman show War Stories coming to the NEW LATC (Los Angeles Theatre Center) Fridays-Sundays starting November 14th-23rd. Learn more about this show through the actress herself in this exclusive ExperienceLA.com interview!

Daood: Greetings Joyce Guy!

Joyce Guy: Hey Daood, how are you? Thank you for writing and for you interest in War Stories.

Daood: War Stories is written and also portrayed in this one-woman act by you. Exactly what is War Stories about and why was this subject matter endearing to a singlehanded breathtaking deliverance?

Joyce Guy: My father was a Staff Sergeant in the Air Force for 23 years. War Stories tells the story of his struggles in the military through my eyes. Simultaneously [it] also tells the story of my plight growing up in the military and feeling like an outsider in my own country. A third component of the play gives a biographical glimpse of other African-Americans who have served in the military protecting our country.

Daood: Initially War Stories was a stage reading. Transitioning to an actual play came as the result of what quest?

Joyce Guy: I started War Stories as a staged reading to receive feedback from the audience. The play goes on my family's actual journey from Taiwan to Florida to Japan to Kansas and Delaware, with a series of stories written in a rhythmic monologue style laced with haiku, poetry and biographical sketches.

From those staged readings the audience assisted me in making the journey cohesive and clear. Then this summer I was accepted into the LaMaMa Playwright's Retreat in Umbria, Italy. The retreat proved valuable because there I was able to transition the work into an actual play. Playwright Naomi Iizuka who facilitated the retreat gave instructive feedback but at the same time led the participants through a number of writing exercises that lead down the path to completing War Stories.

Daood: Racism, class differences, and the feeling of being an outsider in one's country has been written and talked about in various mediums, but what would you say is unique about this interpretation of your father's experience that impacts your portrayal?

Joyce Guy: [You're] right, these themes have been written about. What makes War Stories unique is that we haven't heard these themes approached from an African-American enlisted man's point of view as seen through the eyes of young African-American female.

When we hear stories of blacks in the military is usually from a male point-of-view, rarely through a female point-of-view. Or when we hear stories of the military it's from a white point-of-view. Rarely are the stories of the children of black children, which there are many, told in the various mediums. We hear of the heroes, but not the everyday soldier[s] who sacrifice their lives.

Daood: Not only have I read that your depiction is exhilarating, but can you elaborate on the various mediums demonstrative in capturing the essence of those moments and times during the play journey from experience to the next?

Joyce Guy: As in my previous work, I usually incorporate various mediums. War Stories has been the most realized. For the first time I have a live musician, a cellist, Peter Walden who also plays the harmonica, djembe drum and other elements. Being a dancer I always incorporate dance movement into my pieces, that's why I write in a rhythmic style with haiku poetry and passages from American Patriot: The History of Black in the Military written by Gail Buckley. We also utilize photographs and 35mm home movie footage taken by my father.

Daood: Psychologically, what preparation process is imperative for performing a role of this nature?

Joyce Guy: There's not a lot of psychological preparation need[ed] for performing. Most of the psychological preparation happened during the writing because I had to delve into those honest places I hadn't visited for a while. As I perform, my focus is on telling my story and not being afraid to go to the painful places. Since I've reconciled with my past, I've allowed myself to freely enter into those emotional places.

Daood: From a historical, socio-political and cultural standpoint, how significant is War Stories?

Joyce Guy: The inception of War Stories began after the United States invaded Iraq. To once again see the disproportion number of enlisted black and brown men and women going off to fight, this was my way of expressing my views on this travesty, by telling a personal story. War Stories is a reminder of the contribution African-Americans in the military have sacrificed in protecting our country throughout our history with far too little recognition. Now that the U.S. has elected the first African-American president, it is important now more than ever to reveal our true history, why and how we've reached this point. Without knowing, the presentation of War Stories came about at this monumental historical occasion when Americans question our country's intervention and when our troops will be back home.

Daood: Would you provide a phrase from the play that speaks to the triumph and dignity of your father?

Joyce Guy: would love to. "I was at the wrong place at the wrong time. I loved the job. I like not having someone constantly looking over my shoulder. The Air Force told me I was in a frozen field. I had faith the system would change."

Daood: I’m honored that you've taken the time out to answer the questions and I will be attending the play!

Joyce Guy: Thank you so much for the interview. I really do appreciate it. I look forward to meeting you.

-Daood, ExperienceLA.com Blog Contributor

Check out Joyce Guy in War Stories at the NEW LATC. For dates and showtimes, visit ExperienceLA.com.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Recycling Bottles, Newspapers, and....Buildings?

As the winds get colder, bringing LA into its fall weather (somewhere out there some East Coaster or Midwestener is mocking my opening statement), even sunny LA residents can forget the glow and lessons of Earth Day events of April. But have no fear, going green and integrating earth consciousness into your actions is something to remember every day! But it's not just any day you can see how this lesson works in historic preservation. Recycling bottles, newspapers, and....buildings?

Join the Los Angeles Conservancy as it explores historic preservation as a means of conservation! Richard Moe discusses the relationship between historic preservation and sustainability, letting you see another side of the phrase - "reduce, reuse, and recycle". Check out "Combating Climate Change Through Historic Preservation" at Los Angeles Center Studios on November 12th at 7:00pm.

-Charity Tran, ExperienceLA Web Coordinator

Friday, November 07, 2008

Newsletter and Giveaway: [Inside] the Ford: 2008-2009 Season

The latest issue of the ExperienceLA.com newsletter features [Inside] the Ford's 2008-2009 season. Check out the shows and enter to win a Season Subscription for you and a guest!

See our newsletter for more details! Click here to subscribe to the ExperienceLA.com Newsletter.

-ExperienceLA.com Staff

Monday, November 03, 2008

Live Blogging at the Ring Festival LA Press Conference

Coming April-June 2010 to LA... Ring Festival LA. In conjunction with
the LA Opera's presentation of Wagner's "The Ring".

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Behind-the-Scenes: LA Bach Festival Part III (Dress Rehearsal)

This morning was the dress rehearsal for the Los Angeles Bach Festival Finale Concert, and there's something about the dress rehearsal that makes everything just magically click. As I sat there this morning (start time: 9:45 am, day: post-Halloween) - hearing together the soloists, the orchestra, the choir - it just felt amazing and almost unbelievable that tomorrow is the performance.

But what felt just as amazing was the realization that this concert is part of a legacy - that before this dress rehearsal was at least 74 other ones in a span of 74 years.

For a moment during rehearsal as a soloist sang, I had this thought of all the people that have come to pass, that have sat in that very sanctuary of the First Congregational Church of Los Angeles, in anticipation for the performance the next day.

Tomorrow closes the 75th Annual Los Angeles Bach Festival (the second oldest in the country, "the Oldest Bach Festival in the West") and to be a part of that history is such a gift.

I hope you've enjoyed following the festival through the eyes of this ExperienceLA blogger, and that you'll be able to see and hear it through your own eyes and ears tomorrow (November 2nd) as the 75th Annual Los Angeles Bach Festival comes a close with Bach B Minor Mass.

-Charity Tran, ExperienceLA Web Coordinator