Benjamin Millepied & Natalie Portman Hosted L.A. Dance Project Annual Gala

L.A. Dance Project, the dance company led by Artistic Director, Benjamin Millepied, held its annual gala this Saturday, October 19, 2019, raising over 1 Million dollars towards the arts and bringing in a packed house of dance enthusiasts and industry leaders. The event, presented by Van Cleef & Arpels and CAA, honored the LUMA Foundation and its founder Maja Hoffmann, whose mission is to support the activities of independent artists and pioneers, as well as institutions working in the fields of art and photography, publishing, documentary, and multimedia.

LL Cool J, Natalie Portman. Photo by Getty Images.

LL Cool J, Natalie Portman. Photo by Getty Images.

This year’s attendees gathered at Hauser & Wirth in Downtown Los Angeles and included LL Cool J, Barry Jenkins, Andie MacDowell, Frank Gehry, Charles Gaines, Elisabeth Shue, Greg Lauren, Nicholas Britell, Tim Fain, Antonio Villaraigosa, Nick Fouquet, Laura & Kate Mulleavy and more. Guests were dazzled by special performances by L.A. Dance Project, pianist, and composer Nicholas Brittell and violinist Tim Fain, and students from the Gabriella Foundation, which serves students in economically disadvantaged neighborhoods throughout LA.

Andie MacDowell, LL Cool J and Benjamin Millepied. Photo by Getty Images.

Andie MacDowell, LL Cool J and Benjamin Millepied. Photo by Getty Images.

The evening kicked off with a Dom Perignon hosted cocktail hour, with waitstaff clad in Greg Lauren. Guests were then treated to a rare musical performance by Moonlight composer Nicholas Brittell and violinist Tim Fain, who performed excerpts from the Academy Award-winning film, making for a great reunion with director Barry Jenkins in the audience. The duo then surprised the guests with a never performed excerpt from HBO’s hit drama Succession, leaving everyone in complete awe. 

In close collaboration with LADP Company, choreographer Kyle Abraham, presented ‘Excerpt from Chapter Song,’ a series of constantly shifting vignettes that explore the textures and sensations of transition set to an eclectic playlist in order to disrupt expectations. Following Kyle’s dynamic work, guests were wowed by LADP dancers performing Benjamin Millepied’s ‘I Fall, I Flow, I Melt,’ which examines different aspects of Bach’s music for a moving experience set to the famous composers’ melodies. A solo performance of ‘Adagio in B Minor’ by Janie Taylor captivated onlookers with a combination of old and new styles of social and classical dance, which lead into a final performance by Gabriella Foundation students choreographed by Gianna Reisen. 

Andie MacDowell, Natalie Portman. Photo by Getty Images.

Andie MacDowell, Natalie Portman. Photo by Getty Images.

As the performances concluded, guests were greeted with Casamigos cocktails and feasted on a seasonally curated dinner by local Los Angeles Chef Kris Tominaga of Manuela and special pours of local California wines. Wrapping up the evening with a live auction, the LA Dance Project Gala raised over 1 million dollars to support the arts in Los Angeles. 

Anitta talks about Mariah Carey at Ipanema Footwear Launch Party in LA

Brazilian singer-songwriter Anitta released her fourth multi-lingual Album “Kisses” - she sings in Portuguese, Spanish and English - on Friday, April 5 and she is gaining even more International recognition.

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The record features Brazilian superstars Caetano Veloso, Ludmilla, and Papatinho, as well as American artists Snoop Dogg, Becky G, Alesso and Prince Royce.

On Saturday, April 6, the popstar celebrated her sandal collaboration with Ipanema, the Brazilian footwear brand, alongside the launch of the album at Skybar in Los Angeles. 

The event featured a panel of style mavens Alyssa CoscarelliAyydé VargasHanna Montazami, and Delaney Glazer who discussed the latest trends of fashion and music, followed by an exclusive performance by Anitta and a guitar player with some of her newest music “Get to know Me”, “Voce Mentiu”. She wore a short tight leopard print dress and her hair pulled back.

Together, Anitta and Ipanema are heading out on a global tour to introduce the album and collection to the world, making stops in Rio de Janeiro, Los Angeles and Madrid.

After the live concert Anitta and I talked backstage, she told me how she found the confidence to sing in three different languages, “Yeah, it’s really hard.  Pretty much because you listen to so many people say that it’s not gonna work, it’s not gonna work, it’s not gonna work that you say like I need to make it work so I worked really hard to be really good in English and I’m a believer and had good faith in English that people could miss on like the literal song. “

“I’m just confident for anything. I just have this need inside me when I was four.  I don’t know,” she continues.

She also told us the “real” meaning of her album title “Kisses”, “I’ve always wanted to show this person, because I’m a really complex person, you know?  My personality is really complex. I have a lot of person that is inside me myself, so I wanted to show this in the sad songs which kind of person can I be sometimes, and we were thinking about…but it was too obvious to put the name of the album “Anittas”.  So, we were thinking about things that could be like me, a lot of different ways, but being also the same thing always, so the kiss is something like this—you can find a different kind of kisses like family kiss or sexy kiss, whatever, friend, family, whatever—but it’s also still being a kiss.  That’s why we chose this name “Kisses”—the different types of being kissed.”

She explained to me why she picked Caetano Veloso to collaborate on the song “Voce Mentiu,” “He helped me a lot in my life, so I really love him and appreciate everything he does, and he’s a friend of me, I am friends of his family and because when I wrote that song with my partners, when I listened to it the first time, it was like, this is so Caetano.  I need to have him with me, and then he said yes right away.”

And when she has the opportunity to collaborate with one of her idols singer Mariah Carey, the song will be about dreams, she said, “About going for your dreams because since I was zero years old, I was listening to her, and I mean, if I met her, I could not imagine it would be happening, so if I sing with her, it would definitely need to talk about dreams, about realizing…about getting something done in your life that you could never imagine that could happen,” she said.

We also talked about where she finds inspiration for her songs, “My inspirations is things that I live, an experience that I had in my life.  I always talk about real things.  Or somebody or some story of another third person—another person.  I like to talk about real stuff and also things that I believe that happened with me.”

Anitta, Selma Fonseca

Anitta, Selma Fonseca

The album 10-track Album took almost one year to complete, she said,  “Just the part that depends on me.  The parts that depend on other people, it was like two months, and that’s it, and we were like, come on!  Come on!  It was crazy.”

Rilan Exclusive Interview and Release of new single "Love or Drugs"

Rilan – songwriter, Pop singer, and Glee Alumni dancer - is releasing his new single “Love or Drugs” today (March 22) and on April 2nd he will release its music video, where I make a Cameo.

“Making fun of Hollywood and all the things that we basically experience here (in Hollywood)”, Rilan said about his new song in my exclusive interview.

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“Think about it why do we go to the club? We go out to either get fucked or get fucked up, we go out because we don’t really have real connections with people, not everyone is going to dinners having a good time and actually having a conversation, they are just trying to get involved in something where they will feel something because they are numb inside so basically I am making fun of that because when I came to Hollywood I was like, “This is great, I am the misfit artsy kid I am gonna fit in here”, I didn’t fit in here at all, because it’s very scene related, there is entertainment but there is also the nightlife scene and who is cool on Instagram, and how that influences everything, so just making fun of all those cool kids and parties that I have never been to and thought they would look like.”

He continues: “I always grow up in a theater kid, super theatrical, everything that had to do with performance all the artist that I admired were David Bowie, Prince and Madonna, all that glam pop, and when I came here in 2014 that was not cool here it was very much about a vibe, Lorde had just broken out, so was very minimum, music was very cool, wasn’t about going out there with dancers and performing and showing people what you got, it was more settle,  on the background and that’s kind of what’s everyone else dress and acted and I am not like that at all, I mean look at me I look like George Michael went to space. Basically I didn’t fit at all and I am not that type of a person that’s gonna go out and make a scene, I kind of make a scene on stage and that’s where I belong as oppose to getting on the dance floor and getting in debauchery or not, so when I came out here trying to make friends and basically get discovered in the music industry I was very shy and very put off by the scene the only way I knew how to talk about it was to make fun of it.”

He explained to us the lyrics: “The chorus is “I want your love, love, love, drugs, drugs, drugs, give me what you wanna give me I just want your love or drugs, whatever is better for me”, so it’s basically that time of the night when the lights goes on in the club and everyone is looking around, they are either who I am leaving with what I am getting to make this night make sense and have a good time because I don’t feel anything inside, when people are down they tend to try to find someone or something that’s going to make them feel better but they should look inside and deal with other things instead of coping with a problem. It’s a pop song but at the same time dies into some real problems that people have we are addicted to love and we are addicted to drugs and they are very similar.”

Rilan is always working in his cool studio in Hollywood, he said: “The music I have been writing around this time has been about not fitting in Hollywood and that kind of relationship I have with myself and other people and what I am seeing.  So, this was just me saying, when people were telling me to write relatable music that people were like I was like, I think the most relatable thing I can do is be myself.  People will see through a fake so this me making fun of what pop music is nowadays because it seems like it is very girls and fast cars and money and drugs and that’s what’s cool.  So, I am not really in that world, at least not yet.  Like I can’t really afford that lifestyle so I figured I would just make fun of it. And have this give a metaphor as to what it’s like to be alone here and kind of poke fun at all the cool kids cause I think that’s what’s pop music is supposed to be.”

“I’m from New Orleans, Louisiana so the most haunted city in the continental US.  Just so you know which probably explains why I am so creepy and weird.  Self-deprecating too.  I have been here five years. I mean like my parents are super cool.  I am sure they had a heart attack when I pulled out of college in Nashville after three months and then just moved here.  They have been supportive, but it was definitely a thing where my parents were like, “Oh great so you’ll go there (LA) and you’ll succeed within a year and everything will be fine, right?”  And I was like Oh yeah totally, it will happen super-fast.  No, it is so slow and it is hard.  And it is you know that kind of mentality certainly doesn’t help when you are involved in debauchery.  You know like night life and what not.  So, that’s kind of what I have seen, is seeing people who have been my friends who are artists that come on here with a dream and then kind of get lost in the scene. Making fun of it is my way of kind of staying out of it, you know.”

We also talked about the upcoming music video where he tells us about a scene with gas masks and smoke: “There are some parts that represent the different activity that kind of happens at parties and what I imagine happening when I’m not there.  The gas masks are pretty much the weed smoking scene where everyone is kind of connected to each other instead of a bong or whatnot.  So, it’s basically saying how we are trying to connect to people but we actually can’t cause you can’t see their faces but everything is connected with black tubing so it is kind of like a metaphor for sin and trying to fit in when actually you are not showing your real self. We got a little weird and artsy.”

And about the scenes under the water, he said: “When I hear the song and when I wrote the lyrics, I was thinking of this fantasy version of drugs and like being high and all that kind of stuff and I think LSD and I think mind-altering substances, freeing you are outside of your body so the best way for me to represent I think was being in the water where everything is flowing around you and you feel like you are not one with gravity.  So that really became the focus of the video when I met with Nick Alexander and Collier Landry helped me direct the video.  They were like I think we need even more water scenes.  I was like, “Oh that’s awesome” and then we know that was possible to get your camera under the water, but it was great.  It was 40 degrees outside and it was cold.  I think it really is something interesting because I haven’t really seen so much of that in a video.”

Besides his father, Michael Roppolo, who manages his day to day, Rilan is working with new producers ad co-managers: “This year I’m working with Randy Jackson, “yo dog”.  He’s a fellow Louisianan.  He’s from Baton Rouge, the capital which is like an hour away from New Orleans.  But we have talked about some of the same people that we know from there.  It’s so crazy. It’s a smaller big city you know.  He’s super cool.  He’s helping me and he is such a great guy.  He is super connected but also understands music so it’s great to work with somebody like that and I’ve been working with a plethora of producers and my co-writers.  I still work with Naz Tokio, who I did my single with three years ago, “Blindfolds”.  And then my other co-writer, Krysta Youngs.  She is awesome.  She is basically the other me.  There is another girl running around that looks basically the same as me just she, but she dresses like a unicorn.”

“Warner label signed “Love or Drugs” my new single, so they are going to be pushing that out in Scandinavia - Norway, Finland, Iceland, Sweden and Denmark.  So, look for my face over there if you are over there.”

“I can only really write about what I have experienced or what I witness, so a lot of the songs are from my perspective of basically I always feel like a misfit in the city of cool kids.  Which I feel like everyone can kind of relate to.  I mean anyone who says that high school is the best time of their life peaked in high school.  Like definitely.  They are not living a life anymore.  You know what I mean?  They are probably like…”

And we both agreed that High School wasn’t fun: “Oh awful, horrible, terrible.  I guarantee you there are people I know who even I went to high school with they are like “That was the best time of my life.”  And I was like this is sad.  But I still kind of carry that with me of being that like freak.  So, it is about not fitting in and they are tongue in cheek because I think that satire is a lost art form now and I super sarcastic and I think that is something that is missing in pop music, along with mystery.  So, they are definitely pop but they are definitely theatrical.  There is a lot of influence from Queen and Prince and I guess there is a little Gaga in there too.  Kind of the people that I grew up loving.  But I have a song about wishing that I had a billionaire lover so that I could afford doing all the things that people do here.  I have a song about basically just wanting to stay home when everybody else is out and having a good time doing that.  I have a song called, “I feel Nothing” which is just about people that wear you down to the bone and you are just done with them, but at the same time while it is dark-themed it is all pop music so you can dance to it and you can have a good time and then when you go home later you can just cry about the lyrics.”    

My Cameo in the Video

My Cameo in the Video

 

TAO Park City - Sundance Film Festival

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Let’s Get ready for Sundance Film Festival.

TAO Group is returning for its 11th year with TAO Park City presented by Stella Artois during film’s most coveted week, Sundance Film Festival. Located at The Yard, TAO Park City will be better than ever with its three-night pop-up from Friday, January 25th – Sunday, January 27th

For the first time, Casamigos will be serving up cocktails to guests, warming them from the inside/out against Park City’s bitter winter weather. TAO Park City’s pop-up is complete with DJ sets by DJ Ruckus, Vice and Mel DeBarge; along with a surprise performance on Friday night.

Arin Ray Exclusive Interview & Release debut Album "Platinum Fire"

On Thursday, March 8, 2018, Interscope Records’ R&B singer-songwriter and X Factor contestant Arin Ray hosted a Play Back for the release of his debut album Platinum Fire at Record Plant Studios in Hollywood. We talked about the Album title, his newborn son and how he is “trying” to be like Lionel Richie.

The 14-track project takes listeners on a winding journey as Ray reminisces over everything from love and temptation, old school memories and failed friendships.

Arin Ray, Selma Fonseca

With a dream team of producers in tow Nez & Rio, F Keys, Terrace Martin, and Childish Major, the album is as musical as it is personal. Ray showcases his powerful vocal range over a medley of hip-hop, jazz and neo-soul influenced instrumentals. The end result is a nuanced blend of new and old school sound which is sure to catch the ear of music lovers across the board. The album is now available on all digital retailers and features Childish Major, Terrace Martin, Ty Dolla $ign, DRAM, SiR, and YG.

I sat down with Arin for an exclusive interview: “Yeah, it’s called Platinum Fire and that’s what I was like smoking and I thought, man, that’s a dope ass name and I was like you should make that your album, and I was like, yeah. I really don’t tell the origin because it’s really not that interesting to me.  I just liked the name.  I just thought it was a cool name, and it gave me kind of a vibe to, you know, within all the songs that I made, like, I don’t know, I just kind of fed off of that title and tried to make songs that really, you know, incorporated that vibe, you know. I don’t know what Platinum Fire is.” He said.

Talking about the Album process and the producers, he said:

“It’s cool, man, and it didn’t take me too long to do it, either, man.  It was a really cool process making this album.  I kind of already had a foundation of who I was working with as far as the producers—shout out to Nez, shout out to F Keys, shout out to Terrence Martin, shout out to Childish Major, shout out to myself.  Man, it’s been a dope quest.  Yeah, Platinum Fire—I’ve been working on it for about like kind of two years now. That’s where I took the vibe from.”

Arin Ray

Arin Ray

And he told me about his inspiration for the Album’s songs:

“A lot of inspiration came from real life shit like real life events within my relationship, whether it was something I was going through within the industry of my business or my personal life, but a lot of it came from that.  But as far as musical inspiration, I like a lot of the old-school music.  A lot of Marvin Gaye, a lot of Michael Jackson, a lot of Lionel Richie.  A lot of jazz, you know what I mean?” since Lionel is a personal friend and I also love his music, I asked him: “You like Lionel Richie?  Oh, my God. He’s amazing.”

“Yeah, I’m trying to be like him.” He continues: “He’s still lit right now.  A lot of people at that age ain’t really lit.  He’s still lit.”

I wanted to know what he meant about his relationships: “With friends, family, my lady, my baby’s mother, you know what I mean? Myself, my son.  Everybody, you know.  All types of relationships.  I’m learning a lot right now.  Just have to talk to people, you know what I mean, and learn how to…I’m 22.  I’m just now kind of learning how to grow the fuck up, you know what I mean?  Like really learn how to handle my business, handle my shit, so you know, it’s just been that.  It’s really that.  And a lot of this shit came from my son.  My son was born on November 29, 2016.  But obviously, it was made before, so this whole time I’m making the album, he’s in my baby mother stomach, so a lot of the affirmation and the inspiration came from just knowing that he was coming, and then when he got here, knowing that he was there and I had to make sure everything was straight. Shout out to Pharo.”

Platinum Fire includes the 2017 single, “We Ain’t Homies (featuring YG),” which was written and co-produced by Ray. The single served as a strong addition to Ray’s long list of writing credits which includes songs for Chris Brown, Nicki Minaj, Rihanna and Rick Ross.

Selma Fonseca, Arin Ray

Selma Fonseca, Arin Ray

The Cincinnati native released his debut EP, Phases, in 2016; four years after first gaining popularity on the hit show X Factor. The album marks the beginning of a busy year for Ray as he is currently working on a jazz album with Terrace Martin and Robert Glasper, due late 2018.

“Turn it up, man.  Yeah, I just want to tell everybody I’m real for this shit. I’m not here for the looks. I’m not here for nothing else but the music and to win these Grammies, to show that there can be somebody who’s trying to really like do something different within the R & B gang, within the…you know what I’m saying?

And he is already working on his next album: “I don’t know, man. It’s just my personality, so if this one works out the way we want it to, hopefully, shit, that second album…I’m already working on it.”

Producer Nez, Selma Fonseca

Producer Nez, Selma Fonseca

And since March 8 was National Women’s Day he said: “Shout out to National Women’s Day.  That should be every day, you know what I mean?” he continues “We should celebrate women every day, you know what I mean?”

His last words: “Listen to the album, man.”

Land Of Distraction Launch Party

Danita Short, founder of Fashion Brand Land of Distraction hosted an incredible launch party at the Iconic Chateau Marmont Hotel in Hollywood on Thursday, November 30. Kate Bosworth, Tatiana Maslany, Connie Britton, Angela Bassett, Jaime King, Kristin Chenoweth, Zelda Williams, AnnaLynne McCord, Danielle Campbell, Carter Jenkins, Jonathan Sadowski, Ellen Von Unwerth, Blanda, Teala Dunn, Melissa Bolona, Azie Tesfai, and the brand’s design director Christian Juul Nielsen were sipping on drinks, celebrating and dancing to Country singer Nikki Lane who had everyone inside the lobby watching her performance and dancing to her hits "700 K", "Highway Queen", Jackpot", and "American Girl".

Selma Fonseca, Danita Short

Selma Fonseca, Danita Short

DJ Mia Moretti kept the crowd shaking, 

Outside on the patio, two motorcycles served as decoration and a reminder of the brand's inspiration rock n’ roll, motorcycle culture, and the raw energy of the 1970’s.

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Best photo booth I have ever seen at a party was set up inside a bedroom decorated with an antique bathtub filled with red rose petals with perfect lighting.  You lay down inside the tub the photographer takes photos while his assistant trows pedals on top of you, which made for perfect photos.

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Officially available in early February, the women’s wear label collection will feature forty items,  Kate Bosworth was wearing one of the items.

Vanity Fair and John Hardy's Night of Legends with Julianne Moore

Vanity Fair and John Hardy co-hosted a dinner honoring Julianne Moore and toasting the brand’s new “Made for Legends” platform, which also features Adwoa Aboah. The exclusive dinner held on October 24, 2017, at Le Coucou celebrated Julianne Moore, along with visionaries and innovators creating modern day legacies today in fashion, film, literature, art, etc. The evening was nothing short of legendary, complete with an intimate artist performance where guests were surprised with a piece of John Hardy’s iconic Classic Chain bracelet, a symbol of inner power.

Julianne Moore, Robert Hanson

Julianne Moore, Robert Hanson

Guests also enjoyed nomadic sounds by Stephanie Szankay, verdant installations by Mark Colle and a signature cocktail of suze, mescal, yellow chartreuse and pineapple, called “The Legend.” To honor the legends in everyone’s lives, John Hardy is making a donation on behalf of each guest to two causes close to Julianne’s heart – the Childrens’ Health Fund and Everytown for Gun Safety.

Julianne Moore*, John Hardy Creative Director Hollie Bonneville Barden and CEO Robert Hanson, and Vanity Fair, along with Sophie Auster, Michael Avedon, Zoe Buckman*, Lady Bunny, Rachel Feinstein, Fernando Garcia, Alexander Gilkes, Amanda Hearst*, Iango Henzi, Jihae*, Laura Kim, Jenna Lyons, Vinoodh Matadin, Craig McDean, India Menuez, Mia Moretti*, Bettina Prentice*, Emily Robinson*, Daisy Shaw*, Zadie Smith*Martha Stewart, Julie Taymor, Jasmine Tookes*, Inez van Lamsweerde, Gucci Westman.

*denotes they wore John Hardy jewelry

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Jhene Aiko "Trip" exhibition

Jhene Aiko hosted An interactive artistic exhibition unveiling Jhené’s M.A.P. at E.B. Gallery in West Hollywood, CA on Friday, September 22, 2017, in support of her new Album "Trip". Guests included Jermaine Dupri, Rae Sremmurd, Ugo Mozie and Adonis Bosso.

Selma Fonseca and Jhene Aiko

Selma Fonseca and Jhene Aiko

Beautiful photos of Jhene walking on the beach between colorful trees were displayed onto LED screens TV hanging on the walls and Samsung phones were displaying one of Jhene's poems "I took a trip to find you....I got lost and found myself..." Also on display were pages of her poetry notebook.

Jhene Aiko told me in an exclusive interview: "Yeah, the pictures I took on a tripod, on a timer, and I would just run and take a picture, and it was just during the process of trying to figure everything out that was going on in my head.  Then I edited them myself, as well, playing around with saturation really. They’re just supersaturated, and I wanted the colors to pop because I was experimenting with magic mushrooms, and that really like opened my mind to like the colors of nature, and when I got with Samsung, they really helped me bring this art gallery to life with the amazing LED screens and the frame screens. They look like they are pictures, but they’re actually TV screens, so they’re really good."

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She continues... " And the poetry is all from the little notebook clippings that are there, are all from my real notebook that I have been keeping for years that I turned into the movie, the album.  So this is just like…I always dreamed of having an art gallery of my own with my own work, so now it’s like we’re screening the short film which I wrote and directed and starred in, and my music is playing, and it’s a dream come true."

Atmosphere

Atmosphere

Selma Fonseca and Adonis Bosso

Selma Fonseca and Adonis Bosso