Dec 312016
CTG Mark Taper Forum

Diane Ragsdale presents Transformation or Bust: When Hustling Ticket Sales and Contributions is Just Not Cutting It Anymore at Mark Taper Forum
Photo credit: Javier Segura





Center Theatre Group is pleased to present a keynote presentation at the Mark Taper Forum on Monday, January 9, 2017 at 10 a.m. The one hour keynote presentation will be free and open to the public followed by a discussion and Q&A. The Diane Ragsdale keynote presentation is supported by a grant from The James Irvine Foundation.

The keynote presentation, “Transformation or Bust: When Hustling Ticket Sales and Contributions is Just Not Cutting It Anymore,” will be given by Diane Ragsdale and will explore concerns over lack of engagement with the arts, which she relates to a growing market ethos in the arts and culture sector that treats communities like markets, citizens like consumers, and culture as an exploitable product. She argues that a market ethos is particularly troubling in the arts and culture sector because, on the most basic level, art is a mechanism through which we share with one another what it means to be human. Through inspirational ideas, practical actions, and industry examples, she challenges arts organizations to resist the ethos of the market and uphold their role as purveyors of a different value system.

About Diane Ragsdale
Diane holds an MFA in acting/directing from the University of Missouri-Kansas City and is currently a part-time doctoral candidate at Erasmus University Rotterdam, where she lectured from 2011–2015 for both the cultural economics & entrepreneurship program and the sociology of the arts program. While a lecturer at Erasmus, she taught master- and bachelor-level courses on such topics as the creative economy, creative organizations, arts management, arts marketing, and the organization of art and culture. Her dissertation topic is the evolving relationship between the commercial and nonprofit theater in the US over the past 60 years. In 2015 she was visiting guest artist/lecturer at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she designed and taught a course on aesthetics and beauty to business majors. Before moving to Europe in 2010, Diane was a program officer for theater and dance at The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation in NYC and managing director at the contemporary performing arts center, On the Boards (in Seattle). Prior work also includes stints at several film, music, and art festivals.

The past five years, alongside working in academia, Diane has provided a range of consulting and training services to the arts and culture sector; has been a frequent panelist, provocateur, or keynote speaker at arts conferences around the world; and has contributed articles to several trade publications—including “Recreating Fine Arts Institutions,” for the (fall 2009) Stanford Social Innovation Review and “Rethinking Cultural Philanthropy,” published in 2011 by the Royal Society for the Encouragement of the Arts (the RSA). In 2012, she contributed essays to two books: “Creative Destruction” in Counting New Beans: Intrinsic Impact and the Value of Art (edited by Clayton Lord and published by Theatre Bay Area); and “Producer-Consumer Engagement: The Lessons of Slow Food for the Reflective Arts” in Building Communities, Not Audiences (by Doug Borwick). She also writes a popular arts blog called Jumper, which is published on For the 2016-2017 academic year she has been appointed Arts Writer in Residence for the University of North Carolina School of the Arts.

About Center Theatre Group
Center Theatre Group, one of the nation’s preeminent arts and cultural organizations, is Los Angeles’ leading nonprofit theatre company, programming seasons at the 736-seat Mark Taper Forum and 1600 to 2000-seat Ahmanson Theatre at The Music Center in Downtown Los Angeles, and the 317-seat Kirk Douglas Theatre in Culver City. In addition to presenting and producing the broadest range of theatrical entertainment in the country, Center Theatre Group is one of the nation’s leading producers of ambitious new works through commissions and world premiere productions and a leader in interactive community engagement and education programs that reach across generations, demographics and circumstance to serve Los Angeles.

The Keynote Presentation is free and open to the general public.
To RSVP, please visit



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Dec 302016

New Los Angeles Renters’ Protections

Mayor Eric Garcetti took another step toward curbing L.A.’s housing affordability crisis, signing into law the Tenant Buyout Ordinance — a key addition to the City’s Rent Stabilization Ordinance (RSO), which is designed to protect Angelenos from runaway rents and displacement from their neighborhoods.

Half of L.A. families live in an apartment covered by the RSO. The ordinance will strengthen renters’ rights by ensuring that landlords inform residents of their relocation rights in the event of a tenant buyout. Previously, tenants could be offered a lump sum to vacate units, without a formal process to educate them about additional sums for relocation assistance to which they may have been entitled.

The new ordinance requires landlords to file buyout agreements with the City, so that staff can better monitor the process. It also permits renters to withdraw from the buyout agreement within 30 days.

“Every tenant in Los Angeles should understand their rights, especially in a tight housing market, and landlords should know their responsibilities,” said Mayor Garcetti. “The RSO is the most powerful tool we have to keep families and neighborhoods together, and this ordinance will help protect vulnerable populations — like senior citizens and immigrants — from displacement. As we work to build new affordable housing, we also must make sure that residents know about protections that are already in place.”

“As Chair of the Housing Committee, I am proud to add another layer of protection for tenants with the Tenant Buyout Notification Program amendment to the City’s Rent Stabilization Ordinance,” said Housing Committee Chair Councilmember Gil Cedillo, who was key in ensuring the ordinance’s passage. “This program requires landlords to inform tenants of their RSO rights before executing a buyout agreement, giving them full disclosure of their rights and protections under the RSO.”

“As I’ve been dealing with a crisis in my district where more than 150 seniors are threatened with evictions, it is clear that it is more important than ever that all tenants fully understand their rights when their landlord wants to move them out of their apartments,” said Housing Committee Vice-Chair Councilmember Paul Koretz.

“The newly adopted Tenant Buyout Ordinance is an important new tool in our efforts to ensure that tenants in Rent-Stabilized (RSO) buildings are fully informed of their rights to remain in their homes and are not coerced into accepting buy-out or ‘cash for keys’ offers,” said Rushmore Cervantes, General Manager of the Housing and Community Investment Development of the City of Los Angeles. “In a time when affordable housing units are scarce, the new ordinance is designed to ensure that tenants can make informed decisions and have the opportunity to seek advice before voluntarily relinquishing their rent-stabilized unit.”

The new ordinance builds upon Mayor Garcetti’s comprehensive plan to strengthen the RSO, which includes strategies to increase awareness of renters’ rights and better enforce existing regulations. Earlier this year, Mayor Garcetti launched an RSO awareness campaign, “Home for Renters.” The campaign reaches out to L.A.’s most vulnerable neighborhoods with thousands of public transit advertisements, door-hangers, informational pamphlets, and online resources that make detailed information about the RSO accessible to both tenants and landlords. The effort was developed by the Housing and Community Investment Department of Los Angeles (HCIDLA) in partnership with Mayor Garcetti’s Innovation Team, which focuses on data-driven projects, and is supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies.

Last year, Mayor Garcetti also announced a new online property database, which helps the public easily identify properties that are subject to the RSO. The City Council and HCIDLA are also advancing a new city-wide rent registry, which will help the City proactively enforce regulations on allowable rent increases. To stem the loss of RSO units as the City expands its housing stock, the City is also implementing new State law that requires the replacement of affordable RSO units in new developments.

While the City remains on track to meet Mayor Garcetti’s goal to build 100,000 new housing units by 2021, the Mayor is advancing additional policies to ensure equitable growth in the City’s housing supply, and is doubling down on the production and preservation of affordable housing developments dedicated to low-income Angelenos.



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Dec 282016
Debbie Reynolds Died One Day After Her Daughter

Debbie Reynolds in Singing In The Rain alongside Gene Kelly (R) and Donald O’Connor (L)

Just a day after the death of her daughter Carrie Fisher, the Unsinkable Molly Brown stopped Singing In The Rain, forever. Debbie Reynolds suffered a stroke and died. She was 84. In my capacity as the editor for the popular Cultural Events In Los Angeles, I interviewed Miss Reynolds a few years back. She wasn’t young anymore but very vivacious, warm and kind. It is hard for me to believe that Hollywood Royalty and a survivor like her would have departed so suddenly and so quickly. The only explanation is a mother’s broken heart. (In the words of her son, Todd Fisher, “she wanted to be with Carrie.”)

Debbie Reynold’s career spanned over 60 years. She starred and appeared on the big screen, the stage and television. Her film and television credits are too many to list, so here are a few highlights:

Having won a beauty contest at 16, she signed a contract with MGM. She appeared in her first film The June Bride in 1948. Having played several supporting roles, she was offered a role in Singing In The Rain in 1952 (not a professional dancer, she danced alongside Gene Kelly and Donald O’Connor and was great!)

Many other roles followed: Susan Slept Here (1954); Tammy and the Bachelor (1957); The Unsinkable Molly Brown in 1964 (earned her an Oscar nomination); TV’s The Debbie Reynolds Show (1969-1970); TV’s The Love Boat (1980-1983); TV movie Perry Mason: The Case of the Musical Murder (1989); TV series Roseanne (1997); TV movie These Old Broads 2001; TV series Rugrats (2000-2002); TV series Will & Grace (1999-2006); TV movie Behind the Candelabra (2013) and most recently, TV series The 7D (2015).

Debbie Reynold’s stage credits include: Irene (on Broadway in 1973); Debbie (on Broadway in 1976); Annie Get Your Gun (US Tour in 1977) and Woman of the Year (on Broadway in 1981).

Debbie Reynolds was nominated for many entertainment awards and has won:

  • 1956 National Board of Review
  • 1996 American Comedy Awards
  • 1997 American Comedy Awards
  • 1997 Satellite Awards
  • 2014 Screen Actors Guild (Life Achievement Award)
  • 2015 The Academy Awards (Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award)

Another token of the entertainment industry’s appreciation: Debbie Reynolds received a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1997. (It is located at 6654 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood)

Interesting tidbits:

  • Debbie Reynolds was one of few actresses to have danced – on screen! – with Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly. (The two greatest American dancers!)
  • Debbie wanted to play herself in “Postcards from the Edge”, the 1990 film based on her daughter’s book / memoir. The role went to Shirley MacLaine.
  • Debbie Reynolds was a passionate collector of movie memorabilia. Her collection was impressive and included signed movie posters, over 3,000 costumes and 46,000 square-feet of stored movie props and equipment. It was her dream to share the collection with the public. She tried several times to create the Hollywood Motion Picture Museum, but the project didn’t come to fruition. As far as we know, some of Debbie Reynolds’ extensive Hollywood collection was auctioned off.

The above, gives you a glimpse into her life as a successful and sought-after actress and a professional. But no one’s life is work alone.

The sweet girl next door really was who she appeared to be: a Girl Scout. Good, honest, caring and hardworking. Perhaps naïve belongs on the list, too. Her personal life brought her a lot of heartache and – in spite of her work, earnings and savings – severe financial hardship which at one point forced her to live out of her car.

At 23, Debbie fell in love with and married a popular pop-singer and actor Eddie Fisher with whom she had two children (Todd and Carrie Fisher). The couple was close friends with Mike Todd (Oscar-winning movie producer) and his wife, Elizabeth Taylor. Following Todd’s tragic death in an airplane crash, Fisher took upon himself to console Todd’s young widow. One thing led to another: Debbie Reynolds marriage to Eddie Fisher ended in divorce; Fisher married Elizabeth Taylor, and the rest is history. (The jilted wife, Reynolds and the seductress, Taylor eventually made peace during the filming of the 2001 TV movie These Old Broads.)

10 years later Debbie Reynolds decided to settle for a comfortable marriage to a shoe mogul, Harry Karl. Years into the marriage, Debbie found out that the originally prosperous businessman was a compulsive gambler who gambled away not only his fortune but hers as well… (It was in the aftermath of her second marriage that Debbie suffered the worst financial crisis of her life.)

Her third and final marriage – to real estate developer, Richard Hamlett – didn’t bring Reynolds happiness, either. (He was not only unfaithful and greedy but Debbie suspected he might have been willing to kill her to collect on her life insurance.) This marriage too ended in divorce (1996).

Debbie Reynolds, America’s Sweetheart, so pretty, talented, hardworking and good was very unlucky in love.

So, this is a much abbreviated life story of Debbie Reynolds, the talented and very successful goody two-shoes forced by life’s circumstances to work harder and longer than most and to become a successful entrepreneur just to amend for the financial losses her husbands caused. She succeeded at this, too. At the time of her death her fortune is estimated to be about forty million dollars.

Speaking of her daughter, Carrie Fisher, Debbie Reynolds once said: People used to call her “Debbie Reynolds’ daughter,” now they call me “Princess Leia’s mother!” In the end, they left this planet, together: “Debbie Reynolds’ daughter” and “Princess Leia’s mother”.

The staff of Anything L.A. Magazine and the staff of Cultural Events In Los Angeles express their deepest condolences to the family of Miss Reynolds: her children and grandchildren; to her friends, admirers and fans. A legendary STAR of Hollywood’s Golden Era is gone. We are heartbroken. The death of Carrie Fisher was a tragedy. The death of Debbie Reynolds is devastating. It is with heavy hearts that we say: Debbie Reynolds wasn’t just an actress, she had guts and spirit, she was an extra-ordinary person and we’ll miss her very much.

Anything L.A. Magazine’s Editor, E. Elrich



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Dec 282016
2016 Kennedy Center Honorees

2016 Kennedy Center Honorees
Photo credit: John Filo / CBS

The 39th Kennedy Center Honors were a star-studded gala as always but this year perhaps a little more solemn than usual in spite of plenty world-class and lighthearted entertainment.

“The Kennedy Center Honors celebrates the spectacular talents of artists whose brilliance has left a lasting impact on our society,” stated Kennedy Center Chairman David M. Rubenstein. This year’s Honorees have.

2016 Honorees Al Pacino, Mavis Staples, James Taylor, Eagles and Martha Argerich were seated with President Obama and the First Lady. The master of ceremony was the brilliant Steven Colbert. But the spotlight of the evening was on the memorable achievements of each of the honorees which were celebrated in words and tribute performances by their artist and celebrity peers.

It was impossible not to feel that Al Pacino, Mavis Staples, James Taylor, Eagles and Martha Argerich not only shaped culture of their times – in the case of Mavis Staples perhaps even impacted history – but left indelible mark on our lives.

The legendary Al Pacino created a genre all his own. His rare blend of vulnerability, masculinity and passion rendered with dramatic effect like no other’s became a symbol of the many productions he starred in.
A special tribute to Al Pacino was paid by Chris O’Donnell, Bobby Cannavale, Lily Rabe, Laurence Fishburne, Kevin Spacey, Gabrielle Anwar and Sean Penn.

Describing Mavis Staples as a soulful and powerful singer doesn’t do her justice. She is the embodiment of passion: a passion on stage and a passion for social justice.
A special tribute to Mavis Staples was paid by Bonnie Raitt, Elle King, Don Cheadle, Andra Day and others.

James Taylor and Eagles are not only brilliant songwriters, musicians and singers. They are the music of our lives. We associate their hits with events in our lives.

A special tribute to James Taylor was paid by President Bill Clinton, Darius Rucker, Sheryl Crow, Yo-Yo Ma, Garth Brooks, James Taylor Tribute Cast and others.

A special tribute to Eagles was paid by Ringo Starr, Kings of Leon, Vince Gill, Bob Seger, Juanes, Steve Vai, Steuart Smith, Eagles Tribute Cast and others.

Martha Argerich (Argentinian piano virtuoso) galvanized classical music and revitalized the public’s interest in classical concerts. Her immense talent and unparalleled virtuosity have garnered awards worldwide and impressed her peers and as well as competitors.
A special tribute to Martha Argerich was paid by Jeff Goldblum, Itzhak Perlman, Yefim Bronfman, Placido Domingo, Yuja Wang and others.

Other highlights of the 39th Kennedy Center Honors?

  • The John F. Kennedy Tribute given by Jack Schlossberg accompanied by his sisters Rose Schlossberg and Tatiana Schlossberg, President John F. Kennedy’s grandchildren.
  • Cynthia Erivo’s rendition of “The Impossible Dream” was inspired and stirring. Intertwined with recordings of President John F. Kennedy’s speaking on the importance and value of the arts, her interpretation of “The Impossible Dream” could be an anthem of the Kennedy Center, not to mention a mantra for aspiring artists everywhere.

Unlike previous Kennedy Center Honors ceremonies, this year’s was particularly moving. These were the last Kennedy Center Honors of President Obama’s administration. The evening had glitz and glamour and featured great artists of our time. The standing ovation of the night was given to… President Obama.



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Dec 272016

Carrie Fisher Suffers Heart Attack On A Plane

While on a plane from London to Los Angeles, Carrie Fisher (Star Wars’ beloved Princess Leia) suffered massive heart attack. According to reports provided by the plane’s passengers, the plane’s captain asked immediately whether there is a medical doctor onboard. The flight’s crew, an emergency medical technician and a nurse rushed to help. We’ve been told that CPR was performed on Carrie Fisher while the plane was still in the air.

The airplane reached LAX about fifteen minutes after the crises begun. Still in spite the efforts of many, Fisher was unresponsive when the plane landed. An ambulance took her to the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center from the tarmac. Carrie spent several days in intensive care reportedly fighting for life. She passed away, today on December 27the 2016.

Carrie Fisher was the daughter of Hollywood’s royalty. Her mother is Debbie Reynolds; her father was Eddie Fisher. She was an actress, producer, screenwriter, author and speaker. Those who knew her well valued her extra-ordinary, self-deprecating sense of humor. Carrie Fisher reprised her role as Princess Leia in 2015 Star Wars: The Force Awakens. She was in London on a promotional tour for her new book “The Princess Diarist” which was named Best Book of Fall 2016 by the PEOPLE Magazine. It was on her way back home from London that she suffered cardiac arrest from which she didn’t recover.

Carrie Fisher is survived by her daughter Billie Lourd, her mother and siblings. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family, friends and fans.




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We love you Princess Leia

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Fight and come back!
Dec 272016
Happy Holidays Los Angeles From L.A. Mayor

This gorgeous photo is the property of L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti

L.A. Mayor, Eric Garcetti wishes Angelenos of ALL cultural backgrounds Happy Holidays:

Merry Christmas:
“Everywhere in our City of Angels — whether exchanging presents and singing carols, making tamales and sipping eggnog, going to a posada, or worshiping at Midnight Mass — we unite on Christmas by embracing all that is good in our world. The most meaningful gift we can give today, and every day, is sharing our joy and light with others. My wish is that we will always live in the spirit of kindness, compassion, generosity, and hope that this holiday brings into our hearts.”

Happy Hanukkah:
“During Hanukkah, we remember a story about the triumph of hope against all odds, and celebrate the beauty and resilience of light. And even after generations of telling our children about the miracle of the oil that lit the temple in Jerusalem for eight days, the message of Hanukkah endures like that flickering flame. May this time of year always remind us that nothing is brighter or warmer than the light we find within ourselves — and nothing is stronger than the hope we give to each other in our times of greatest need.”

Happy Kwanzaa:
“Kwanzaa is anchored in ancient traditions and timeless values that have given people of African descent the power to build great civilizations and thrive after extraordinary hardship. We take these seven days to contemplate principles of self-determination, shared responsibility, creativity, unity, purpose, and faith — and rejoice in the great power they possess in our lives. May the kinara fill homes with light, and our hearts with the joy, warmth, and peace that this holiday brings to people all over the world.”



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Dec 262016
English Superstar George Michael Dead At 53

Photo property of

English superstar singer and songwriter George Michael has died at home at the age of 53. The cause of his death has not been revealed. (Gossip has it, that George Michael died from a heart failure.)

The star – who ruled the 1980s and continued writing and performing ever since – passed away on Christmas Day. Ironically his song “Last Christmas” is the 10th most downloaded holiday song in history. Now, it will also be a reminder of his passing.

George Michael was an accomplished artist who has sold over 100 million albums during his nearly 40 year long career. He became known as a part of the two member group Wham!. After only two years, he went solo and became even more successful. During some periods of his career, he was more popular and sold more albums than Michael Jackson or Prince.

Among his many popular hits are: Wake Me Up Before You Go Go, Freedom, Careless Whisper, I’m Your Man, The Edge of Heaven, Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me (with Elton John), Fastlove and Last Christmas.

His work found the recognition of millions of fans and earned numerous awards:

  • 3 American Music Awards
  • 3 Brit Awards
  • 2 Grammy Awards
  • 1 MTV Europe Music Awards
  • 4 MTV Video Music Awards
  • 4 Ivor Novello Awards

Last October George Michael was nominated for the Songwriters Hall of Fame. The honor is reserved for composers and lyricists whose work made a worldwide impact. (Voting for winners has ended on December 16th.) The Annual Awards & Induction Gala takes place on June 15, 2017.

Most recently George was putting finishing touches on his sixth solo album “Symphonica” scheduled for release on March 17th 2017.

Even though his work took most of his time, George made time to advocate for the LGBT community and was involved with numerous charities. He was dedicated to helping children, promoting the arts, the fight with cancer, helping the elderly, but more than anything: fighting HIV / Aids and supporting those affected. (It’s important to note that he’s done a lot of good and donated large sums of money, anonymously.)

George Michael who is of Greek-English descent was born Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou in London, England. (He often referred to himself as “The Singing Greek”.)
George’s stardom not withstanding, he had his share of struggles. There were drugs, rehab stints, the loss of his mother to cancer, health problems and legal problems.

His sexual orientation was a secret for years. He revealed that he is gay in 1998 in the aftermath of his infamous arrest in Beverly Hills. His love life had its ups and downs as well. Unconfirmed rumors have it that in the weeks preceding his untimely passing, George was working on reconciliation with his long time love Texan art dealer, Kenny Goss.

On the news of George Michael’s passing, Elton John made a statement on Instagram: “I am in deep shock. I have lost a beloved friend – the kindest, most generous soul and a brilliant artist. My heart goes out to his family and all of his fans.”

Many other celebrities and legions of George Michael’s fans expressed their grief and shared condolence messages.

It’s been said that George was driven by the need to be loved. He was.



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Dec 252016
President Obama’s Legacy

President Barack Obama listens while meeting with Council of Economic Advisers Chairman Jason Furman and Jeffrey Zients, National Economic Council Director, in the doorway of the Oval Office, Jan. 28, 2016. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

The Obama era is coming to an end, President Elect Trump will be sworn in the office in a few short weeks. Nearly half of Americans look forward with anticipation and hope to his inauguration and his turn at the wheel.

It is a tradition however to look back before closing a chapter. President Obama is considered one of the least popular presidents in the U.S. history, right now. What is President Obama’s legacy?

President Obama is being blamed for his policies, decisions and actions whether they were right, wrong or beyond his control, as if no one noticed that the unpopular today President has in fact… saved America.

A few examples of things the President is scrutinized for:

  • his economic policies
  • his internal policies
  • his international policies
  • his policies on climate change
  • and – of course! – Obamacare

When President Obama took over the White House, he inherited many liabilities. To name just a few: a growing recession, high unemployment rate (7.8%) and the costly war in Iraq. These inherited liabilities were a growing threat to the Country as he was taking the oath of the office, way before he was able to make – leave alone, implement – any decisions.

Bottom line, President Obama took over a sinking ship – we’ve come dangerously close to sinking! – and not only restored it back onto an even keel but corrected some of the crisis’ causes AND moved us as a nation forward.

President Obama stopped American economy from collapsing

  • Confronted with the greatest recession since the Great Depression, President Obama signed the 2009 $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to stimulate hiring. His strategy was a success and produced desperately needed jobs.
  • His HAMP and HARP programs helped save millions of American homes from foreclosure.
  • He repeatedly extended unemployment benefits to protect the jobless until they find employment.
  • To prevent future predatory lending, President Obama created the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
  • To make sure that Wall Street doesn’t continue its questionable business and trading practices, he enforced stricter regulations of the financial industry.
  • President Obama bailed out the American automotive industry and he was right. The bailout helped turn the industry around and created over 100,000 jobs.
  • By attracting private investment into the nation’s largest banks, he orchestrated a privately-funded bailout of the banking system.
  • The Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility, and Disclosure Act protects consumers from exploitation by credit card companies.
  • To end wasteful spending, President Obama eliminated banks from the Federal Student Loan Program and expanded Pell Grant for students from low-income families.

President Obama worked with other nations to prevent global recession
He played an important role in securing over 500 billion dollars from the G-20 countries for the International Monetary Fund to ensure financial liquidity of emerging markets. The President’s participation helped prevent global recession.

President Obama ended the war in Iraq and improved national security

  • He’s ended the war in Iraq.
  • In a covert operation of U.S. Special Forces, the head of al-Qaeda, Osama bin Ladin, was executed.
  • President Obama eliminated the use of interrogation techniques which violated the Geneva Conventions. (These techniques were approved for use and used by his predecessor’s administration.)

President Obama advanced civil rights

  • Because of President Obama, members of the LGBT community can now openly serve in the American military. There is no “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” anymore.
  • Obama expanded the definition of Hate Crimes in the Hate Crimes Prevention Act. The definition now includes – in addition to religion, color, race and national origin – also disability, gender and sexual orientation.
  • To ensure that progressive values are represented in the U.S. Supreme Court, President Obama nominated Judges Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan. Both were confirmed and are serving on the U.S. Supreme Court.

President Obama protected environment

  • He laid the groundwork for closing old, coal-powered power plants that release the most carbon monoxide emissions. Once implemented, it will curb global warming and protect human health.
  • Obama signed the Omnibus Public Lands Management Act which expanded areas eligible for protection including wilderness, rivers and historic as well as hiking trails.
  • The President was responsible for the speedy reparations paid by British Petroleum to the victims of the Gulf Oil Spill.
  • He invested more than any other U.S. President in research in the area of renewable energy from biofuels and cleaner coal to electric cars and other forms of efficient energy use and production.

President Obama created THE FIRST healthcare system for all Americans

His historic Health Care Reform is the first universal health insurance in the United States. It is intended to provide health security to all, including patients with preexisting conditions, adult children still living with their parents, etc. (As we all know by now, Obamacare is costly and imperfect. It can be modified, improved and made cost-effective. Its concept however is sound.)


President Obama has accomplished all of these and a lot more (the items listed above are merely a few highlights) while improving the image of America in the world.

The most recent act of our “unpopular” President? He’s working on making a permanent ban on offshore oil and gas drilling in areas of the Arctic and along the Eastern Seaboard a law.

With President Barack Obama at the helm, we’ve made significant progress in:

  • Achieving economic balance at home
  • Ensuring balance in the world economy
  • Creating financial consumer protection
  • Financial protection of students
  • Advancement of civil rights
  • Environmental protection
  • Providing – FOR THE FIRST TIME IN AMERICAN HISTORY! – health insurance coverage for all
  • (this is a very incomplete list of President Obama’s accomplishments. It doesn’t include also Michelle Obama’s advocacy for military families, children, education or healthy nutrition.)

We are reading plenty of criticism of the President, lately. I wonder why?

  • Imagine the outcome of the last recession without Barack Obama in the Oval Office. We’d all be likely citizens of… China, today.
  • Imagine the outcome of the unemployment crisis without Barack Obama as President. There’d be soup kitchens on street corners and millions of people lining up for a bowl.
  • Imagine the outcome of the foreclosure crisis without Barack Obama as President. There’d be more homeless people than housed…
  • Imagine the auto industry collapse without Barack Obama in the Oval Office. For the first time in history of the automobile, there’d be no American-made cars.
  • Imagine the banking system collapse without Barack Obama in the Office. We’d experience another Great Depression!
  • Imagine consumers’ exploitation by the mortgage industry without Obama’s intervention. We all know that not all homes were foreclosed on for their owners’ fault. Many were cheated out of their homes. President Obama closed the “free-for-all” flood gates.
  • Imagine civil rights without Barack Obama. Tolerance is the mark of a civilized society. Thanks to President Obama civil rights in the United States have been expanded to include special protections for the disabled as well as for members of the LGBT community.
  • Imagine environmental protection without Barack Obama. Actually, you don’t have to imagine: you’ll see it soon after the President Elect takes office. Start saving for oxygen masks for yourself and your loved ones: that’s what the Chinese use to survive.
  • Imagine sick people in need of medical care without Obamacare……

It seems that nearly half of the population either didn’t realize the seriousness of the crisis Obama took on and didn’t consider the potential case scenarios we would have faced if it wasn’t for President Obama….

Anyone with some basic understanding of politics can appreciate the fact that even the President’s powers have limits and are set in context. Barack Obama is a democratically elected President of a Country that is a part of the international community, not a king or a dictator in the only country on Earth. His decisions were moderated by many factors. In some cases they reflected his personal values, but in most they were the best compromises available. He didn’t support senseless violence, didn’t gamble American lives to settle personal grievances, respected human rights, managed relationships with lenders the U.S. is beholden to the best way possible. He tried to do the most good for the greatest number and succeeded.

The results frustrated many. Those most frustrated chose to believe that presidential power has no limits and that electing a Republican political novice will make all their dreams come true. The most disappointed segment of population voted for – and elected – Donald Trump. Bad news: there is no job (even in the government of the United States!) and no person with an absolute or super power. Your dreams won’t come true under the incoming President, either.

It’s quite simple really, there is a moment every month when you have a “choice” to pay your mortgage / rent or take the money for your mortgage / rent payment and blow it on something you really want or need. Why don’t you follow your heart? Because the “choice” to pay for housing or blow the money foolishly isn’t really a choice. The same applies to the decisions a president gets to make: damn if he does and damn if he doesn’t. Of course, we are all “dumb” to be paying for housing as opposed to a dream vacation and we know it. So, why do we?….

To me personally – my opinion may not reflect the opinion of Anything L.A. Magazine – Barack Obama is a Hero, in more ways than one. The job of a President is to consider the welfare of all citizens and to ensure safe future of the Country. Barack Obama has done an extra-ordinary job and we were blessed to have him as a President especially at a time of a major crisis. He’s done right by our Country and by fellow Americans. He cares about our economy, safety, health, education, finances, civil rights, environment and the progressive direction of the United States. He – and his family – brought honor and grace to the White House, again. He restored America’s authority and image internationally.

President Obama’s legacy is a testament to his wisdom, courage and foresight. He may not have gotten everything right. We may not “love” the final outcome. But there is no denying that the unpopular President Obama saved America. We owe him a debt of gratitude. Time and history will do him justice.

Anything L.A. Magazine’s Editor, E. Elrich



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Good work Anything LA

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Any moron can criticize, it takes someone with a brain to distinguish facts from fiction.

I don’t leave comments Online

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I’m making an exception to say thank you to the President. My house was in foreclosure, I still own it. I lived on unemployment benefits for a while. I’m no expert on global warming, but my family and I survived because of Obama’s policies. Thank you Mr. Obama. You had my back.

About time to put things in perspective!

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SIX STARS: Excellent piece. The much berated President deserves credit!
Dec 242016

Jane Fonda The Ageless Idealist

Jane Fonda – daughter of the legendary actor Henry Fonda – is a world famous, Oscar-winning actress, Hollywood star, aerobics’ guru and a best-selling author. She is also a lifelong social activist who:

  • Protested against the Vietnam War and Iraq War
  • Took an active part in the Civil Rights Movement for equality for African Americans
  • Supports feminism, feminist causes and reproductive rights
  • Fights for human rights of downtrodden people worldwide
  • Took part in the 2015 Vancouver Greenpeace Rally to protest oil drilling in British Columbia

More recently, Jane Fonda received national attention for her support of protests against the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline.

The 1,172-mile crude oil pipeline is to run from the Bakken Formation oil deposits in North Dakota through South Dakota and Iowa to Illinois. The Bakken Formation oil deposits are believed to be huge and presumably hugely profitable. The crude oil transported via the Dakota Access Pipeline could be then distributed from Illinois to refineries – and then consumers – in other parts of the country. Energy Transfer Partners, the oil company that owns the pipeline, stands to make billions.

The Dakota Access Pipeline however poses serious environmental risks (it is to pass under the Missouri River where it could potentially rupture and contaminate water supply) and encroaches on indigenous lands violating sites which are sacred to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. These two main issues are only the “highlights”. The economic stability of the Tribe and the health of its members which might be negatively affected by chemical contamination are at stake as well.

The leaders of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe sued and attracted the support of thousands, including army veterans and celebrities. The protests were curbed by authorities; the law suit so far produced a temporary injunction during which additional environmental impact testing is to be conducted.

The fears of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe are justified. Energy Transfer Partners (the oil company that owns the Bakken pipeline) is currently sued by five States for contaminating groundwater. Energy Transfer Partners company has extremely poor safety and environmental ratings.

There is no ending of the conflict in sight. Just in case you wonder which side is right: environmental disasters disproportionately affect the poor and powerless (think of the led-contaminated drinking water in Flint, Michigan).

Jane Fonda supported the protesters and now she is putting her money where her mouth is: she celebrated her 79th birthday by withdrawing all her money from Wells Fargo Bank. (Wells Fargo is one of the banks that finance the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline.) On the same day (accompanied by her granddaughter), she marched with American Indian leaders, her friends, allies and fellow celebrities (Lily Tomlin, Catherine Keener, Frances Fisher and Delores Huerta participated. Some of them have also removed their money from the offending banks.) in Hollywood. The goal of the demonstration was to increase public awareness to the #DeFund DAPL movement and urge consumers to follow her lead and withdraw their money from banks that support environmental destruction and trampling indigenous peoples’ rights. Jane Fonda also sent a letter to Tim Sloan, the CEO of Wells Fargo Bank urging him to stop financing DAPL.

As she’s done many times before, in this case too Fonda inspired a movement. DeFund DAPL is growing by leaps and bounds. The results can already be measured and are, according to Yes Magazine.

We all have convictions that we hold dear. Not all of us have the guts to act or stand up for them in public. Jane Fonda does. She didn’t mellow with age. Once idealist, always idealist. But idealism and social activism come with a price.

Her anti Vietnam War stance cost her dearly. Some considered her a “traitor”. She was forced to live with the “Hanoi Jane” label for many years. (Citizens who protest policies do so out of love of country: to correct its course, to make their country better. Cowardice is unpatriotic. Pacifism is not just patriotic, it is also moral.)

Fonda may still be “Hanoi Jane” to some. To the rest of us Jane Fonda represents courage and American conscience.

She is quoted as saying: “It’s much more important to be interested than to be interesting.” Jane Fonda is both.

Anything L.A. Magazine’s Editor, E. Elrich



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Jane Fonda is a busy woman

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She’s done many things. She achieved plenty as an artist and entrepreneur. She raised a family. And yet, she finds the time to notice the world around her and bother to stand up for what’s right. If anything, Jane Fonda puts the rest of us to shame for not taking a stand. Jane, you make a difference!

Kudos to Jane Fonda!

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She’s a living proof that age is just a number. I don’t care how she manages to look so young. I’m delighted to know that she is young in her thoughts and actions. She things like we the 20 somethings and backs it up with the fortune of a successful 70 something. Had more wealthy “seniors” thought and acted like Jane Fonda, we the 20 somethings would have had more hope.
Dec 232016
A Mistrial For Lee Baca

After a mistrial was declared, Lee Baca said: “I feel great!”

A mistrial was declared in the trial of former Los Angeles County Sheriff, Lee Baca. The prosecutors from the U.S. attorney’s office will now decide whether – or not – to retry Baca.

Baca – who has allegedly been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease – was charged with conspiracy to obstruct a federal grand jury investigation, obstruction of justice and making false statements to federal officials in regard to a wide spread abuse of prisoners in L.A. County’s jail. He originally pled guilty and accepted a plea deal that granted him 6 months or less in prison. Only after a federal judge rejected the plea deal, Baca changed his plea and chose to face trial.

From the beginning of the case, former L.A. County Sheriff Lee Baca shrugged off allegations of concealing the beatings of peaceful and compliant inmates by his staff from federal investigators, denied knowledge of such acts by the sheriff’s department and blamed the civil rights’ violations on his “disorderly” subordinates.

Baca was not the only one charged. Nine sheriff department’s officials have already been convicted in connection with the case. Baca “retired” – after the scandal came to light – in 2014.

According to reports the 12 person jury deadlocked. While 11 jurors leaned toward acquittal, one could not be swayed, hence the mistrial. It seems that so far, the Alzheimer’s disease-based defense elicits sympathy from jurors and is effective. (How else to explain the fact that in a case in which many other sheriff department’s officials have been charged, found guilty and convicted, the head of the department – who at least knew and at most ordered violence against prisoners and then tried to conceal it from investigators – gets off scot-free?)

It isn’t quite over yet, prosecutors may still decide to retry the current case. In addition, Lee Baca faces a separate trial for making false statements to federal officials.



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Dec 232016

L.A. Luxury Real Estate Expert Michelle Hirsch

Just like there is a difference between Kmart and Neiman Marcus, there are differences in real estate. “Location, location, location” not withstanding, there are homes and there are estates.

For most of us, our neighborhood real estate agent is the right person to call on to find and buy a comfortable single-family home in a safe community. Those with deeper pockets – who can afford the best, latest and luxurious – need an agent that specializes in luxury residential real estate. A real estate agent familiar with the needs of affluent clientele, the market, purchase process, area and the hottest in luxury living.

One of these experts in L.A. area – with a special knowledge of the San Fernando Valley – is The Michelle Hirsch Group. The heart of the group is Michelle Hirsch herself. With 10 years of experience at Rodeo Realty and Remax where she’s earned awards and distinctions for being a top performing agent, she now works in alliance with Keller Williams Realty. Michelle specializes in Los Angeles Luxury Residential Real Estate Homes and Estates. She’s particularly proud of having met the expectations of her many past luxury real estate clients who express their appreciation by referring to her new clients.

Her office is located in Valley Village, in the immediate neighborhood of Sherman Oaks, Studio City, Calabasas, Encino, Tarzana and other affluent communities.

Michelle Hirsch is familiar with the latest trends, amenities and security systems, buyers like you require. She also knows how to identify hidden pitfalls and / or well-concealed flaws of the property you might be considering before you make a commitment to purchase it.

Unlike other real estate agents you may have dealt with in the past, Michelle is experienced and energetic and will use her experience and energy to make sure you’ll find and get the exact luxury home or estate that meets yours and your family’s needs. She’s not afraid to troubleshoot, stand up for your interests and will ensure that the whole process of buying a new residence is stress-free for you.

She’s known as the Premier L.A. Luxury Real Estate Expert for a reason! If you are looking for a dream home and don’t like the hassle that usually accompanies the process, contact Michelle Hirsch: she’ll make the search and acquisition of your new luxury home or estate, a GREAT experience!

The Michelle Hirsch Group (Keller Williams Realty)
Los Angeles Real Estate Sales and Consulting
DRE LICENSE #01445587



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Dec 212016

L.A. City Attorney Won’t Tolerate Criminal Gang Activity


Hyde Park Shopping Center Allegedly the Epicenter for Drugs, Guns, Assaults, Shootings

Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer announced that his office is taking action against the owner of a South Los Angeles strip mall, and also one of the business owners, in order to curb blatant criminal activity by the Rollin’ 60s Neighborhood Crips. Crimes at the location have increased in number and intensity including last year’s brutal gang homicide of a 19-year old who made the fatal mistake of wearing the wrong colored shoes.

“For too long, residents and business patrons of this community have been held hostage by the rampant gang activity we allege at this shopping center,” said Feuer. “Enough is enough. My office will continue to fight to rid our neighborhoods of illegal guns, drugs and gang conduct that have a devastating impact on our communities.”

The lawsuit names Diamond Property Management, Inc., the owner of a strip mall in the South LA neighborhood of Hyde Park, as well as Mohammad Mansour, the owner of African Tobacco, a tenant business. The property includes a car wash, associated auto businesses, a tobacco shop/convenience store, and a burger stand located at 3312 W. Florence Avenue, near Crenshaw Avenue, and within one mile of four schools, three parks and three churches.

Law enforcement officers have responded to an escalating series of crimes at the property including drive-by shootings, robberies, batteries, and assaults. In the spring of 2015 a teenage boy at the car wash with his mother was confronted and fatally shot multiple times by gang members for allegedly wearing the wrong color shoes. Recent criminal activity includes:

  • In May 2016, LAPD Officers recovered a .45 caliber semi-automatic handgun from a backpack near the tobacco shop. One week later, two alleged members of the Rollin’ 60s Crips were arrested after recovering a fully loaded .357 Smith & Wesson revolver from a paper bag near the burger stand.
  • In August 2016, Narcotics Enforcement Officers arrested three individuals, including a documented member of the Rollin’ 60s Crips, after selling crack cocaine to a law enforcement informant at the property.
  • On Thanksgiving Day 2016, one of the property’s business owners was assaulted in the parking lot of the property resulting in his tooth being knocked out.

The lawsuit seeks an injunction prohibiting gang and criminal activity on the property, physical and managerial improvements to the property including: an internet-connected video monitoring system covering all public areas at the property; improved lighting; secure gating and fencing; improved tenant screening and lease enforcement procedures including earlier closure times for businesses; and armed, licensed security guards.

Since July, 2013, City Attorney Feuer’s Federal and Local Special Abatement Operations Unit has filed 45 actions similar to these and obtained 56 injunctions requiring comprehensive physical and managerial improvements to nuisance properties. In this same time period, the office has also successfully secured the closure of six gang/narcotics locations and recovered over $400,000 in costs and fees.

Feuer also recently established an easy-to-use online method through which residents may report properties with gang and / or narcotics activity in their neighborhoods. He’s asking residents to report these properties by calling his office at (213) 978-8340 or visiting the City Attorney’s website: All reports may be made anonymously.



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Dec 192016

Russian Diplomat Assassinated In Turkey

On December 19th 2016 Russia’s ambassador to Turkey, Andrey G. Karlov, was assassinated in Ankara.

Ambassador Karlov was giving a speech during an art gallery opening of “Russia Through Turks’ Eyes” photo exhibition. He was ambushed, shot from behind and killed while speaking at the gallery.

During the attack the shooter screamed: “Don’t forget Aleppo, don’t forget Syria!” Turkish security forces attempted to arrest the assassin but he was determined not to be captured alive and was killed during struggle with the police.

It’s been made public since that the gunman was a 22 year old Turk, Mevlut Mert Altintas, who graduated from a police college and was a member of the Turkish police force.

The investigation of the gunman’s motives is on-going, but it’s believed that the assassination was an act of terror. (The war in Syria is in its 6th year. Turkey is currently home to over one million of Syria’s war refugees. A possibility of the killer being exposed to anti-Russian propaganda and / or being recruited by a terrorist organization with ties to the war in Syria are being considered.)

Turkey and Russia are working together not to allow this tragic event to further damage their relations already strained by the Syrian war. Even though United States and Russia represent opposite sides in the conflict in Syria, Secretary of State John Kerry officially condemned the assassination:

“The United States condemns the assassination today in Ankara of Russian Ambassador Andrey Karlov. Our thoughts and prayers are with his loved ones, the Russian people, and with the other victims who were injured in this shooting.
We stand ready to offer assistance to Russia and Turkey as they investigate this despicable attack, which was also an assault on the right of all diplomats to safely and securely advance and represent their nations around the world.”

Anything L.A. Magazine’s Editor, E. Elrich



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Dec 192016

Slaughter On A Berlin Christmas Market

On December 19th 2016 a truck driver with Polish license plates plowed into a crowded Christmas Market in Berlin, Germany, at a high rate of speed. The 18 wheeler loaded with steel went over the curb and onto the plaza surrounding the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church which hosted small merchants’ stands with traditional Christmas decorations, snacks and beverages. There was festive music and crowds of people in a holiday mood when the terror struck.

(The Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church is not only centrally located in the capital of Germany but holds a symbolic meaning to Germans reminding them of the horrors of WW2 bombings.)

As a result of this horrific Christmas time attack, twelve are confirmed dead. Fifty are injured. A passenger in the truck has been found dead. The driver didn’t attempt to break during the incident and escaped from the scene. According to latest reports, the driver was arrested. It isn’t known as of yet, whether the tragedy was an accident or a deliberate act of terror. (German authorities contacted the company that owns the truck. It appears that the truck may have been stolen. The identity – or even nationality – of the driver wasn’t made public so far.)

UPDATE: The Polish driver of the truck that caused carnage in Berlin was found murdered. The man under arrest for allegedly driving the truck during the massacre was wrongly accused and has been released. A manhunt for the killer-driver is over. Berlin truck killer Anis Amri was shot dead in a confrontation with two police officers in Milan, Italy on 12/23/16. The Tunisian refugee denied political asylum in Germany – but not deported – was in fact a terrorist who pledged allegiance to ISIS.

Los Angeles Mayor, Eric Garcetti issued the following statement:

“Los Angeles stands with the people of Germany in their grief and sorrow following today’s horrific attack on a Christmas market in Berlin. We mourn those lives lost.
This is a time of year where people everywhere – and of many faiths – turn their focus to all that is good in our world, and recommit themselves to the love and understanding that lies at the core of our humanity. Inhumane and evil acts like today’s cowardly attack cannot be allowed to diminish our resolve to live those ideals. And we will never abandon the values of brotherhood and sisterhood that the enemies of peace seek to take away.”

Anything L.A. Magazine’s Editor, E. Elrich



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Dec 192016
Zsa Zsa Gabor, The Pioneer Of Celebrity Died At 99

Zsa Zsa Gabor, The Pioneer Of Celebrity Died At 99

Zsa Zsa Gabor pioneered the concept of celebrity as a career. Her beauty, business savvy and hunger for life and love gave her a beautiful life.

Zsa Zsa Gabor was born in Budapest (Hungary) and arrived in Hollywood in her twenties following her actress sister Eva Gabor.

Zsa Zsa was a Miss Hungary in 1936. Her beauty immediately attracted Hollywood’s attention and she was cast in several supporting roles in major movie studios’ productions. She’s had very few starring or even noteworthy roles. The first of them was in Moulin Rouge (1952) opposite Jose Ferrer. Right after, she returned to playing supporting roles.

By 1960s Zsa Zsa transformed herself into what we’d call today a celebrity and made a career out of being herself; it’s only fair to say that she’s done it very well. She’s made many cameo appearances and had a number of bigger roles (“The Naked Gun 2½: The Smell of Fear” in 1991 and “The Ruby Wax Show” in 1997) and smaller ones as herself or making fun of herself.

One of the biggest scandals of her life ensued when upon being stopped for driving a car with an expired tag in 1989, she was pulled over by a Beverly Hills police officer. With a typical Zsa Zsa temperament she slapped him! The incident was followed by a brief trial during which she was found guilty. Zsa Zsa had to pay just over $25,000 in costs and fines; she was also sentenced to jail (she served three days) and 120 hours of community service.

Throughout her career she’s managed to captivate the media, play a significant role on the Hollywood scene, develop herself into a “brand”, and amass a fortune. Along the way, the fierce Hungarian has had a rich personal life; suffice to say she’s been married NINE times……….

She’s best known for her charming foreign accent; the infamous incident during which she’s slapped a Beverly Hills cop; her nine husbands (one of whom was Conrad Hilton with whom she’s had her only child), and – of course! – her insights on men. These are some of her thoughts:

“A girl must marry for love, and keep on marrying until she finds it.”

“I believe in large families: every woman should have at least three husbands.”

“I have never hated a man enough to give his diamonds back.”

“To a smart girl men are no problem – they’re the answer.”

“I am a marvelous housekeeper. Every time I leave a man I keep his house.”
“You never really know a man until you have divorced him.”

When a curious interviewer asked how many husbands she’s had, Zsa Zsa replied: “You mean other than my own?”

Gabor’s good life took a dive after she’s been injured in a car accident in 2002. The accident left her partially paralyzed. Further health problems soon followed. She suffered a stroke in 2005. In 2012 her leg had to be amputated due to infection. Zsa Zsa – the life of the party for so many years! – spent the last years of her life bedridden. Gabor died of a heart attack at 99. The last years of her life not withstanding, she’s had a long and beautiful life.

Zsa Zsa Gabor may not have been the most beautiful actress in Hollywood, the most accomplished one, or even the most popular one. But she’s certainly done incredibly well; she reached for the stars and became a star in her own right: famous for being famous. Paris Hilton, Kim Kardashian West and a bevy of other beauties whose only claim to fame is “celebrity” follow the trail blazed by Zsa Zsa Gabor.

Anything L.A. Magazine’s Entertainment Editor, I. Sturm



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Dec 182016
Pope Francis Turns 80

Photo courtesy of Vatican. Copyright of Vatican.

“Today is Pope Francis’ eightieth birthday, and on this occasion the College of Cardinals concelebrated Mass with the Supreme Pontiff at 8 a.m. in the Pauline Chapel, during which Cardinal Angelo Sodano, dean of the College, addressed words of congratulations and affection to the Holy Father.

In his homily the Pope commented on the day’s readings, focusing on the theme of memory and the invitation in the Letter to the Hebrews to “remember” and to pause a moment on the journey to look at those who preceded us before going forward. “We need to ask for this grace: not to forget. It proper of love not to forget; it is proper of love to keep always in view the great good we have received; it is proper of love to look to history: to where we are from, our parents, our ancestors, the journey of faith. … And this memory is good for us, as it renders even more intense our vigilant wait for Christmas. A day of calm”.

After the Eucharist the Holy Father addressed the cardinals to thank them for their greetings and their presence, and added:

“For some days some words come to mind, which seem ugly: old age. It is frightening, at least: frightening. Yesterday too, as a gift, Msgr. Cavaliere gave me Cicerone’s De senectute – another drop… I remember what I said to you on 15 March [2013], in our first meeting: ‘Old age is the seat of life’s wisdom’. I hope that for me too it will be this. I hope it will be like this!

“There also comes to mind”, he continued, “How it came so soon – that poem by Pliny, I think: ‘Tacito pede lapsa vetustas’ [Ovid]: with silent steps old age comes to you. It is a blow! But when one thinks of it as a stage in life which is for giving joy, wisdom, hope, one begins to live again. And there comes to mind another poem that I cited to you that day: ‘Old age is calm and religious’, ‘Es ist ruhig, das Alter, und fromm’ [Hölderlin]. Pray that mine may be thus: calm, religious and fruitful. And also joyful. Thank you”.

We have an affinity for Pope Francis because he seems so down to Earth. On his birthday he didn’t receive heads of state or celebrities bearing lavish gifts but dined with the homeless. Seems like a man who lives what he preaches. Happy 80th Birthday Pope Francis!



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Dec 182016

Inventor Of Heimlich Maneuver Died

Dr. Henry Heimlich, the American thoracic surgeon who invented the Heimlich maneuver (named after him) passed away at 96.
Few people realize that at the time Dr. Heimlich invented his famous maneuver that saves people from chocking, chocking was a common cause of death. Since the introduction of Dr. Heimlich’ technique in 1974 an estimated 50,000 lives have been saved.
Performing the Heimlich maneuver doesn’t require specialized training or equipment, anyone can perform it and save a life.

Ironically, Dr. Heimlich himself didn’t have the opportunity to directly help a chocking person by using his technique until this year when at dinner time a neighbor in the senior community he lived, a lady of 86, begun chocking. Dr. Heimlich took action and yes, saved her life.

Learn how to perform the Heimlich maneuver!

Dr. Heimlich was a physician, World War 2 veteran, author and a hero to the 50,000 people his invention saved already and to the many more who will benefit from it, yet.



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Dec 172016

Eat Naked LA: Healthy Meals At Home WITHOUT The Work

We all want – leave alone, need! – to eat healthier. If you are well, eating healthy is good for your health, your mood and your weight. If your health is less than perfect already or if you suffer from food sensitivities or food allergies, eating healthy is mandatory.

Rationally, we all know that. But we are busy. We are tired. We are in a hurry. There is often no time for preparing a healthy meal. As a result we grab “something” on the go, when hunger strikes we’ll eat whatever is available. No wonder so many of us don’t feel well. After all, you are what you eat.

Since we’re tired so often, we find ourselves compelled to drink more coffee. There is nothing wrong with that. In theory, that is. In reality, coffee often comes with sugar or worse yet, some artificial sweetener. When hunger hits at the wrong time, we rely on candy or other sweet snacks to survive till the next meal. Sugar induces inflammation, chronic inflammation is the breeding ground for cancer, cancer thrives on sugar….

Serious and even terminal diseases are rarely a matter of bad luck. More often than not, they are caused by bad eating habits. You wouldn’t think to put sugar in your car’s fuel tank because a car needs gasoline to run, duh. Yet, most people don’t hesitate to eat junk food knowing its inherent health risks.

I’m not your parent. I’m not giving you a lecture. I’m not passing a judgment on your schedule or habits. Just the opposite, I’m writing this article to share some good news.

One clearly brilliant man – a classically trained musician from a family that values home cooking – for personal reasons developed a menu of healthy meals. Since he is young, athletic and raises a young family he needed meals that would keep him strong and healthy. His menu works for him and his family great. For a few years now, he’s preparing these healthy meals for others in his commercial kitchen in N. Hollywood. His healthy meals are a huge hit! You may have heard of Fernando Restrepo and his fabulous meals (Eat Naked LA), already. If not, read on!

The meals are prepared from scratch; everything is fresh, low fat, savory, tasty and healthy. (Incidentally, it’s Eat Naked because the meals don’t contain harmful ingredients or additives: just delicious, good-for-you, nutritious foods.) The cooking? Smart, gourmet and creative: take a look at the menu AND pictures!

Here is how it works:

  • You can order and pay Online (
  • The price of a single meal is about $10
  • The meals are ready to eat
  • You get to choose what you want to eat from a menu of protein, veggies and side dishes or select from complete meals
  • The meals are prepared fresh for omnivores, vegetarians and vegans, daily
  • You can pick your meals up from Eat Naked LA in North Hollywood or have them delivered
  • You can eat your meals as soon as they’re ready or freeze them for later

No wonder people praise the meals on social media and give them 5 stars on review Websites! (Some say that they even lost weight!) Fernando Restrepo’s idea of combining great-tasting healthy meals with flexibility, easy ordering and affordable prices is pure genius.

With Eat Naked LA’s meals, no matter how busy, hurried or tired you might be you can eat healthy. No more excuses: you have only one body, now filling it up with the right fuel is easy! Eating healthy meals naked (at home!) is optional.

Eat Naked LA
11310 Vanowen Street
North Hollywood, CA 91605
Phone: (323) 823-7654

Written by Anything L.A. Magazine’s Lifestyle Reporter, Jason Berberyan



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Dec 172016

Hybrid Bikes Another Mode Of Green Transportation

In climate change-sensitive California, hybrid cars took off like wildfire. They use less gas, produce fewer emissions, are better for the environment and driving them costs less.

In the same spirit of environmental awareness, bicycles have become trendy in the last few years. Bicycle shops have sprung citywide. There are special bike lines and routes, even bicyclists’ clubs. Of course, there is also Ciclovía, an organization and a day-long event – that closes streets to cars while opening them to foot traffic, skateboarding and yes, biking – taking place several times a year.

With the recent emphasis on biking, which today represents as much a commitment to fitness as to the natural environment, many non-athletes have taken a step back. Let’s face it, not all of us are in top shape and the utility of a bike in everyday living is limited at best: who wants to come to work wearing athletic gear and being all-sweaty…

A relatively new industry is booming as we speak, developed specifically with the non-athletes in mind, hybrid bikes. They go by several names from “pedelecs”, “power- assisted” to e-bikes and “human-electric hybrids”. The sales of e-bikes are EXPLODING!

Since the make of the car you drive is seen as a status symbol in California, many are looking at e-bikes the same way. There is the issue of brand recognition (some of the better known brands are: Italjet, Haibike, Kalkhoff, Evelo and Stromer) and state-of-the-art technology. That explains the prices of high end hybrid bikes, the best ones sell for $3,000 to $5,000 and up.

But there are less costly options as well. One of the popular brands right now is the Electrobike locally advertised as a “convenient transportation solution for Los Angeles”. There are several models to choose from. They differ by body style, battery power and are available in many trendy colors. As far as the technology goes, for a biker used to traditional bycicles, WOW! Electrobikes range in price from about $1,000 to $2,100 and come nearly fully assembled.

E-bikes aren’t mopeds or scooters; they are very much hybrid bikes and leave the choice of pedaling, cruising on electric power alone or power-assisted pedaling to the rider. In other words, an e-bike is like a bike with benefits. The electric battery (rechargeable) makes it possible, in theory at least, to ride an electric bike to work and arrive presentable.

Athletes may look down on electric bikes, for the rest of us hybrid bikes are another mode of green transportation that could – for shorter trips – replace cars.

Hybrid bike facts:

  • Range: depending on the brand and model, a hybrid bike can go from 20–50 miles on a single charge. (Electrobike models go for 20-30 miles)
  • Average speed (depending on the brand and model, again) is 10-25 miles per hour.
  • Electric assistance can be turned on and off with a twist of – or toggle on – the handlebar.
  • The battery can be recharged from any standard electric outlet.
  • E-bikes made by Electrobike use nickel metal hydride batteries which are not only recyclable but considerably less toxic than nickel-cadmium and lead-acid batteries.
  • The looks? Actually quite impressive, the battery is usually well-concealed, in most cases in the bike’s frame.
  • Sound? Yes, it’s perceivable. But e-bikes are not noisy.

Advantages of hybrid bikes:

  • you won’t waste time stuck in traffic
  • you won’t spend money on gas
  • you won’t deplete fossil fuels
  • you won’t spend money on parking
  • you won’t contribute to our carbon footprint (e-bikes produce zero emissions)

Bottom line? Hybrid, electric bikes are:

  • eco-friendly
  • cost-effective to operate
  • save riders money and time

Side effects of riding an e-bike?

  • getting fit
  • reducing stress
  • being seen as cool
  • a slight possibility of developing… superiority complex

Electrobike (the brand hails from Mexico) has many locations throughout South America and its presence in the United States is expanding. There are currently two Electrobike stores in Los Angeles area. (Three additional stores will open in Downtown L.A., Pasadena and West L.A. / Hollywood, soon.)

Electrobike Santa Monica
2665 Main St.
Santa Monica, CA 90405

Electrobike Sherman Oaks
15301 Ventura Blvd
Sherman Oaks, CA 91403

Phone: (844) 743-3353

Written by Anything L.A. Magazine’s Lifestyle Reporter, Jason Berberyan



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Dec 162016
Gov. Brown On Climate Change: "We Will Persevere"

Governor Brown addresses scientists at American Geophysical Union fall meeting. Photo Credit: Joe McHugh, California Highway Patrol.


Governor Brown to Climate Scientists: “We Will Persevere”


Rallying thousands of scientists at one of the largest international gatherings of its kind, Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. today called on the scientific community – the “truth-tellers” and “truth seekers” – to mobilize for the climate fight.

“The time has never been more urgent or your work never more important. The climate is changing, temperatures are rising, oceans are becoming more acidified, habitats are under stress – the world is facing tremendous danger,” said Governor Brown at the American Geophysical Union’s annual fall meeting in San Francisco. “It’ll be up to you as truth-tellers, truth seekers to mobilize all your efforts to fight back. We’ve got a lot of firepower. We’ve got the scientists, we’ve got the universities, we have the national labs and we have the political clout and sophistication for the battle – and we will persevere. Have no doubt about that.”

“We will pursue a path of collaboration and bold political advancement – whatever they do in Washington – and eventually the truth will prevail,” Governor Brown continued. “This is not a battle of one day or one election. This is a long-term slog into the future and you are there, the foot soldiers of change and understanding and scientific collaboration.”

Governor Brown’s remarks follow the action to prevent further coastal oil and gas drilling, reduce ocean acidity and boost renewable energy development in California. In recent weeks, Governor Brown issued a joint release with the governors of Oregon and Washington and the premier of British Columbia reaffirming their commitment to climate action at the close of COP22. The Governor also announced 29 new members to the Under2 Coalition, an international climate pact formed by California and Baden-Württemberg, Germany among cities, states and countries to limit the increase in global average temperature to below 2 degrees Celsius, the level of potentially catastrophic consequences. A total of 165 jurisdictions have now joined the coalition representing more than a billion people and $25.7 trillion in combined GDP – more than one-third of the global economy.

California’s Leadership on Climate Change
California is playing a world-leading role in setting aggressive climate goals, broadening collaboration among subnational leaders and taking action to reduce climate pollutants.

In September, California took bold action to advance its climate goals, establishing the most ambitious greenhouse gas emission reduction targets in North America and the nation’s toughest restrictions on destructive super pollutants. The Governor also signed legislation that directs cap-and-trade funds to greenhouse gas reducing programs which benefit disadvantaged communities, support clean transportation and protect natural ecosystems.

This action builds on landmark legislation the Governor signed in October 2015 to generate half of the state’s electricity from renewable sources by 2030 and double the rate of energy efficiency savings in California buildings. Governor Brown has also committed to reducing today’s petroleum use in cars and trucks by up to 50 percent within the next 15 years; make heating fuels cleaner; and manage farm and rangelands, forests and wetlands so they can store carbon.

Over the past year and a half, the Governor has traveled to the United Nations headquarters in New York, the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris, France, the Vatican in Italy and the Climate Summit of the Americas in Toronto, Canada to call on other leaders to join California in the fight against climate change. Governor Brown also joined an unprecedented alliance of heads of state, city and state leaders – convened by the World Bank Group and International Monetary Fund – to urge countries and companies around the globe to put a price on carbon.

These efforts to broaden collaboration among subnational leaders build on a number of other international climate change agreements with leaders from the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, Mexico, China, North America, Japan, Israel, Peru and Chile and Governor Brown’s efforts to gather hundreds of world-renowned researchers and scientists around a groundbreaking call to action – called the consensus statement – which translates key scientific climate findings from disparate fields into one unified document.

The impacts of climate change are already being felt in California and will disproportionately impact the state’s most vulnerable populations.

From the editors of Anything L.A. Magazine: we are journalists not lawyers, and admittedly, we don’t know whether California’s commitment to slowing down global warming can in fact prevail against the federal government. But – as Angelenos – we are immensely proud of California’s Governor. Governor Jerry Brown – in spite of his age – is progressive and his heart is in the right place. I believe that I speak for the overwhelming majority of Californians as I express our sincere gratitude. Few leaders have the gift of courage and foresight, our Governor does.



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