Mendelssohn’s Mystical Landscapes with the LA Philharmonic at Disney Hall

Published on Wednesday, December 7th, 2011

We were quite the culture vultures recently as guests experiencing the Toyota Symphonies for Youth production of “Mendelssohn’s Mystical Landscapes” at Walt Disney Concert Hall. The event promised to be a great outing for the family and did not disappoint! I was unsure if my almost five year old Critter would be able to appreciate something as lofty as a Mendelssohn symphony, but I was willing to try it, as there was also the promise of fun activity workshops and crafts preceding the actual performance. I took the gamble and headed downtown with the Critter and my Perfect Husband. I was especially interested to expose my child to all the instruments available for “petting” in the Instrument Petting Zoo, as I wanted to get an idea if my boy had any interest in any particular one. I think we know now – violin, not too interested; drums, REALLY interested. We loved watching him enthusiastically play said drums, then headed back into the Music Hall to create a castle and a crown, and possibly view some ballet dancing as well.

The main event, of course, was the thoughtfully designed program which portrays Fanny Mendelssohn longingly reading and writing letters to her brother Felix as he travels the world, composing and conducting music. We were delighted with the clever presentation which gave an excellent primer on the sounds different instruments make, combining ballet, theatre, and the symphony along with a little geography as well, tracking Felix as he ascends to musical greatness. Female Dudamel Conducting Fellow Mihaela Cesa-Goje led the orchestra, so there was also a recurring theme that now girls can achieve musical greatness, while poor Fanny, also a gifted composer, had to stay home and wish she could do all the things her brother was allowed to do.

I have to insert that a visit to Disney Hall is an experience in and of itself for a designer like me – I could have sat and stared and absorbed the space for hours without any other stimuli. Once it was time to view the performance, the real magic began. I really can’t express how perfect the acoustics of the space are – the Perfect Husband pointed out how the sound of man playing bagpipes as he walked through the hall and out the door were the same level of volume until he was completely out of the hall. The music just envelops you, and even a four year old became completely enraptured.

I highly recommend the series, which kicks off 2012 with “Mahler’s World” with the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela on January 21, 2012. Click on all the pink links for more information and to see/hear a video clip of that amazing sound.

BeverlyHillsMom’s Labor Day Weekend 2011 Picks: Being Elmo and Taste of Beverly Hills

Published on Friday, September 2nd, 2011

I know, I know, it’s been a whole MONTH since I shared all the fun stuff going on in our ‘hood, but have no fear there will be a fantastic “What I did for My Summer Vacation” post next week after the Critter goes back to preschool and I can get my schedule going again with some quiet time at The Office. I can’t wait to show you all the wonderful times we’ve had!

For this weekend, I plan to a)go big on forgetting the diet and go to as many of the Taste of Beverly Hills events I possibly can; b)support the documentary genre and view Being Elmo at Docuweeks; c) loaf about in a way that I can’t when the Critter and my Perfect Husband aren’t camping.

I’m thrilled to see the film, as I saw the trailers for it at the PBS Press Tour, and it looks really phenomenal. I actually got to meet Kevin Clash, the guy behind the little red monster, and it hit me then what an impact this man has had. He is the most famous person in the world that you wouldn’ t recognize walking down the street. I can’t wait to know more about how this irreplaceable piece of American culture came to be!

You may remember the big time I had last year at The Taste – this is definitely one of my favorite community gatherings, as one really gets to see all our cultures together having a wonderful time. If you would like to try it yourself – click on the flyer below to purchase ticket and if use the promo code BHEF to receive a 40% discount, a portion of the proceeds of your ticket will go to the Beverly Hills Education Fund. Enjoy yourselves and have a safe Labor Day! More to come next week!

from Lloyd Dobbler to Pearl Jam 20

Published on Saturday, July 30th, 2011

At this very moment I am sitting in the International Ballroom at the Beverly Hilton, listening to some serious American entertainment iconography. Somehow, because of my interest and support of PBS Kids through this blog, Facebook and Twitter, I have now attended three PBS Press Tours. At these events I am allowed to sit amongst hardcore journalists who screen and write critiques of the season lineup. As a blogger, I do not have the responsibilities of the hardcore – I’m able to completely gush about the people who make the amazing programming and films that we see on PBS, as opposed to take an omniscient stance.

First up this morning was Cameron Crowe (who, until Elmo is up tomorrow will be my gushee), was on the panel today to discuss his latest contribution to his portfolio of rock and roll documentaries – “Pearl Jam Twenty”, part of the American Masters 25th Anniversary. As a HUGE fan of his Cameron’s movies since I first saw Say Anything, I was really inspired by Crowe’s easygoing demeanor and his friendly interaction with all of us – this is a man who is passionate about his subjects. His remarks about his long standing relationship with the band , how they embarked on the retrospective as “group therapy” throughout the “angst and explosion of the early years” were rooted in the Seattle music scene in the 90s. We were told that twenty years later the film is a “joyful expression” of the fact that they “stayed true to their roots while still moving on” into mature artists.

Crowe believes that since Pearl Jam has always been such a fantastic live band, they weren’t slaves to MTV video views, never stopped caring about their fans – never letting the connectedness waiver. His love for the group is palpable, as he sees them as iconic figures on the scale of The Rolling Stones, speaking about how wonderful it was to have over 1200 hours of video footage of their performances along with personal moments that he was able to recollect as he went through the production process. The energy of the trailer shows the band’s electric interaction with the crowds at their shows, drawing me back into the era of the music of the time. According to Crowe, lead singer Eddie Vedder sees himself in the footage, bodily hurling himself into the adoring fans’ arms and
asked “what was that guy trying to prove?”

Special thanks to the folks from PBS for having me there and allowing me to ask Cameron when he will do the sequel to Say Anything – I always wanted to know what happened to Lloyd.

*photo of Cameron Crowe – thanks to Rahoul Ghose of PBS

A Jolly Good Congrats to the Royal Couple

Published on Friday, April 29th, 2011

I was feeling very sentimental about Wills getting married. I remember when his mom and dad married and how it was the biggest thing ever. How Diana’s dress and all the trimmings of the wedding started a trend of brides aspiring to the same gentrified standards of that Royal Wedding, and we didn’t see a waistline or cleavage for about six more years. I wondered what this generation of royal would produce in a family of folks who know how to host a theatrical nuptial.

And then I received the invitation and it all came together – Style 2020 was hosting a brunch to view the wedding! I immediately called my favorite ex-patriot now all American Barrie Darling and we also extended the invitation to our own princess Catherine and her handsome prince Casper, who would of course be the most fun people in the world with whom to watch this whole pageant.

It was a fabulous celebration in honor of style, substance and spectacle, as you can plainly see in my photos. A very special thanks to Style 2020 of Newport Beach for transporting us physically, mentally, and visually with their wonderfully festive brunch to commemorate the marriage of the new Royals. I hope Catherine will forgive me for this terrible video of her heartfelt wishes for the couple – try to ignore the bad video and focus on her beautiful words. Here’s to princesses and happily ever after!

Shedding light on Beverly Hills City Council candidate Nancy Krasne

Published on Monday, January 31st, 2011

UPDATE – January 17, 2013: Nancy is running for City Council again on March 5th!

Here’s a story that was originally published on January 13, 2011, watch Nancy’s Facebook page for updates on meet and greets and to volunteer support – I have updated the links with election info too!

I remember sitting in a meeting with all the members of the various committees of the General Plan of the City of Beverly Hills. We were all gathered together in the auditorium at Beverly High for an update of some sort. I had only lived in Beverly Hills for about two years at that time, and I had signed on to take part in the Commercial Standards Committee. This bimonthly evening committee meeting would, in spite of my being woefully behind in local history and politics, prove to be a real education in both. My joke to friends was that I always felt like Mary Tyler Moore in a room full of Lou Grants. This meeting at Beverly High was different because I got to see and visit with all the folks in the other committees, and there was one lady sitting behind me who had everyone smiling around her, and she was so charming, I thought to myself that this would be a great lady to know. I had to run off to a client meeting and didn’t have time to introduce myself.

Flash to a couple of months later I had discovered this sparkling personality was Nancy Krasne, and called her on the phone. I told her that I was basically the new kid in town and had an interior design business and was very invested in being part of the community I had come to love. She couldn’t have been more wonderful; she came for lunch at my studio, regaled me with great stories of her life in Beverly Hills. She hired me to plan her new kitchen in her fabulous ultra contemporary “Jewish Hawaiian”(she calls it) home in the hills, and that’s how it all started.

Since then we have remained friends. She has always been very generous with her time and knowledge and has been the one I call when I need advice from someone wiser than I. She has now served what I hope will be the first of two terms on the City Council, the first of which I campaigned fervently while pregnant with the Critter. I was thrilled to find that she put her hat in the ring for the second, and hope that the citizens of Beverly Hills realize how lucky they are to have a person watching the village who has no agenda other than to keep Beverly Hills as fabulous as it’s always been.

Eighteen years as a teacher in the LA School system and raising two sons gives her a very real point of view when it comes to the issues at hand, and she’s quite sharp at fiscal issues to boot. When I talk to her about hot issues like the metro rail, or the now cooled Hilton project, she has always thought the entire project through to the end, has read and comprehended every word of every report, and is always trying to get to the bottoms of things. It’s rare that something she says at the Council meetings doesn’t cause thunderous applause for sheer common sense. One of my favorite things she says is “Sunshine is the best disinfectant” – this can mean SO many things, including shedding light on politics.

I hope you’ll join my fellow Nancy fans, because I think the principles of her vision for the city are so bright. Election day is March 5, and if you haven’t yet, the deadline to register to vote is February 21. Oh, and by the way – we still haven’t gotten around to redoing that fabulous kitchen we have planned. Nancy’s too busy making sure it’s nice for the rest of us.

  • Fighting for high ethics, full transparency and public accountability at all levels of City government.

    Demanding full accountability to the community for all major City expenditures.

    Launching an ongoing campaign to upgrade aging and deteriorating infrastructure citywide, from sidewalks to utility poles while holding our utility providers responsible to the residents.

    Ensuring that Beverly Hills maintains the world renowned quality and response time of our Police and Fire Departments.

    Strengthening the City’s Joint Powers Agreement while working closely with the city’s education community to maintain and increase academic excellence.

    Moving decisively to find and integrate the best traffic solutions from around the world into a bold, proactive program to increase accessibility and ease of movement within the city while cutting flow through traffic on our residential streets.

  • Androgynous Pat to the extreme

    Published on Tuesday, June 30th, 2009

    I must admit that when I first read this article about “Pop”, a Swedish child whose gender is not being revealed by his/her parents, I was irritated. This experiment is designed to put nurture/nature to the test, by allowing Pop to become whatever gender he/she likes. While I really don’t think it’s wise to use one’s own child as an experiment and was ready to get on the bash the idiot parent wagon, but it is sort of interesting how irritated it makes people when they don’t know one’s gender.

    And why do we care anyway? Technically, the child is not being harmed by being allowed to pick whatever toys and clothing he/she wants, and he/she wants to wear both on different occasions. But my more cynical side tells me that the parents might be creating a naivete that could hurt the child in the long run by not allowing them to know that a little boy wearing lipstick in math might have a impact on his social life that he didn’t expect when he was enjoying trying it on.

    As much fun as it might be to do “girly” with my son one of these days, I have heard stories from personal friends that it was a terrible idea for their parents to allow, for example, a thirteen year old boy to highlight his hair in 1989. “What was she thinking?” He fumes, “I had football players spitting on my car”. But maybe this was a gay thing and not a gender thing. I am politically incorrect again, sorry, just not sure what it all means.

    I noticed recently how annoyed people became when a mother to be would not reveal the sex of her baby. Didn’t she know how much cute stuff is boy OR girl? Green is way too ambivalent! Being a lover of pink myself, and a somewhat fastidious accessorizer, have nearly eschewed pink altogether, lest my very masculine diaper bag clash. A lover of color should probably be more liberal in their attitude toward this subject but I confess I am a true pedestrian. Blue is for boys. Pink is for girls.

    So I wonder: will the Critter go to Beverly High with kids who have no discernible gender identity? And will they be cool with that in the way that now young people are (mostly) cool with gay people? Will I be going to a PTA meeting with whole families whose gender is not detectable? What will that be like? Will boys who like to wear dresses not get beat up anymore? What if my kid is the kid wearing the dress? The places my mind goes during naptime…

    The why of Super Why

    Published on Monday, June 15th, 2009

    My PBS homework

    Critter has homework too!

    I was excited to be included as a mom blogger in the discussion that took place today at KCET. What became a round table discussion about our relationships to the media that our children see was presided over by three veteran producers of educational television. It was real treat to be able to see into the inner thoughts of how Super Why, Sesame Street, Sid the Science Kid, and Curious George came to be. Joyce Campbell, Lesli Rotenberg, and Angela Santomero really revitalized my interest in programming for children, and I have now walked away as a mom who doesn’t think that all TV is bad. I’m fascinated by the inspiration that led these women, all mothers themselves to create what I think is the best programming for children. I will have much more to report about this, as you can see I have been given a lot of material to pass by the Critter and see what he responds to. I also am happy to know that they want our ideas on how to keep kids watching educational television as they grow past preschool age. I’m all for kids watching programming that teaches them to love to read a real book!

    Parents interested in knowing more about exploring the world with PBS should go here. They want to hear from you, and they listen!

    I’m going completely ornaMENTAL~

    Published on Thursday, November 13th, 2008

    I know, I know – you thought that the Aesthetic Addict has jumped the shark and is only interested in base amusements like the Real Housewives – but no, dear reader. I spent the better part of Veteran’s Day at The Getty, my favorite museum in Los Angeles. The Getty is one of the enormous perks of living here – just ten minutes in the car to the tram that goes up the hill!

    I have now visited The Getty ample times that I am becoming familiar with their collection. I am starting to hone in on more details of my favorite pieces, which are – surprise – in the furniture collection! Tuesday I became obsessed with ornament, and made my own little collection of photos of some of my favorites.

    We greatly also greatly enjoyed the garden and the exhibit “Please be Seated” – a multimedia installation that allows you to “sit” in a period chair in a period room! Sigh – now all I need is a powdered wig and a bunch of servants.

    P.S. – You may have noticed a new section to the right of my posts called “Alexandra out and about” – this is the place you can click to see more photos of our trip to the Getty…

    Weekend in the ‘Hood…

    Published on Monday, November 10th, 2008

    Racism playbill

    …was mostly NOT in the hood.

    You know I hate the freeway. My Perfect Husband always jokes that I practically will drive through people’s backyards to shortcut. I realize that millions of people hop on the freeway many times a day and think nothing of it, but for me it’s a Voyage, requiring much anticipation and strategy, figuring naps, appropriate dress, and leave time, none of which worked in the end. Nonetheless we made our way to Jungleland. The Critter was delighted to run and run all over the carpet, hoard plastic balls and play house with birthday girl Hannah Ann, two year old of City Mommy Roxanne, and one of the two sassiest dressers in the Greater Los Angeles area. After much fun and cake, we took the voyage back to Beverly Hills to meet the very fabulous Debra for tea in the Atelier. After catching one another up on life and love, she and her fabulous mary janes moved on to her next appointment just as my Perfect Husband arrived from his overnight to Mammoth.

    As we drove to Culver City to see “I’m Not a Racist, but…” at the Actors’ Gang for the Sunday matinee, gal pal and lover of Louis xiv Laura and I talked about how we never go to Culver City because we don’t “get” it. I think we didn’t realize the provocative and the pleasant that awaited us. “Racist” was a very pretty compelling – it was a workshop piece about racism, meaning the actors were cast and enacted scenes from one another’s experiences with racism. Lots of things that never would have occurred to me, and it’s pretty clear that all of the actors have deep resentments towards white people and Christians, even the ones who are white people and Christians. Made me think about a lot of things. I had a long talk with my friend about the show and he said that it’s going to constantly going to be changing from comments, so it also is interesting to know their process and how it came together.

    You know the thing they say about “walking a mile in someone’s shoes”…

    After the play we mosied on down to the Helms Bakery and did a quick stroll through H. D. Buttercup. I am impressed with how much better it looks and how much great looking stuff they have. I mostly do custom upholstery for my clients, but if I had to do something fast and off the floor, I’ll go there again. After a couple of trips around the maze and a brief dilemma over the purchase of a mirrored bed for Laura’s bedroom, we took the few steps south of the showroom into Father’s Office. I was amazed at the sexy incarnation of the original “office” in Santa Monica, and the food was sublime – noshing on some of the “small” menu items made me vow to return with my Perfect Husband for a casual date night to try the “big” items. Father’s Office has everything we would want – high style, great food, all kinds of beer and interesting beverages, sports on tv, and sexy lighting.

    Happy Hour! It all started when…

    Published on Monday, September 29th, 2008

    See pink elephants! Come for Happy Hour at our house!

    Jumbo Lump crabmeat from the Bayou Batry of Louisiana, post Fedex; pre…dip

    crabmeat post-dip; The Grandmother’s special recipe City Mommies together! double love - Leila and Pany are in my Baby Class AND CityMommies! Marguerite thinks it is WAY too loud in here! laughing it up in the lounge convivial congregants on the porch Louis xiv wuvs Laura Cindy and Allan Bloemsma

    …it occurred to the perfect Husband and I that we haven’t yet had a party in our home that was a grown up cocktail party since the Critter was born. As if by spontaneous combustion, Calibamanancy* of CityMommy, having offered to host a get together at her home for visiting CityMommies, had a flood, water damage, and mold. Her house went under construction immediately. I said to the Husband, “Honey let’s have a party now! what better reason than to have all the mommies (and a few of our usual crew) for cocktails?” ECatherinegrey* came from Alabama, Marilynn* came from New Zealand, and they all arrived, all the CityMommies, minus any ruffled feathers over political arguments, grateful over help with kid stuff, curious to meet those we haven’t yet met in person. Although I’ve met most of the CityMommies, there still were a few I didn’t know, and meeting them reminded me of internet dating, before I met the aforementioned perfect Husband. Like the husband, I was thrilled with the result, everyone was prettier and even cooler than I had hoped!

    Who says you can’t get anything good off the internet?

    The party was to be held from 4:00 pm until 6:00 pm, our last guest left at 10:30 pm. Just the way I like it!

    *CityMommy screen id names