Writing

 

Xaque’s first TV writing credit came with reuniting the cast of his favorite 80s soap “Dynasty” for the 2006 CBS special “Dynasty Reunion: Catfights & Caviar.” Since then, he’s written “The Scream Awards (Spike),” “The World Music Awards (ABC),” “The Producer’s Guild of America Awards,” and many others.

 

He is currently a contributing writer for the Huffington Post.

 

Xaque is the author/illustrator of the book, A Big Adventure In The Smallest State: A History of Rhode Island For All Ages.

Hollywood’s Female Trouble: Part 1, The Writers

The Huffington Post

April 03, 2012

A female friend recently said to me, “Sexism in the entertainment industry is so prevalent that most people are blind to it, and barely notice it anymore.” This friend has been a Hollywood insider for decades, and Emmy nominated for her writing — twice. Among her observations: “Not one show on HBO is created by a woman. Male audiences are the most coveted demographic. Studios are afraid to give women writers a big action movie. Being a woman writer in Hollywood feels like Peggy Olson on Mad Men every day still.”

Hollywood’s Female Trouble: Part 2, The Directors

The Huffington Post

April 04, 2012

In the 84-year history of the Academy Awards, only four women have been nominated for Best Director. Only four! And only one (Kathryn Bigelow for The Hurt Locker) has won. So how many female director members are there in the Director’s Guild of America? I called the DGA, and they confirmed the number as 13.5 percent, a number on the ascent I am told, but obviously still low. Even with Bigelow’s Oscar win in 2009, why are the statistics for female directors (in both film and television) less than golden?

The Best Singles of the 1990s That Missed the Top 50, Part 1

The Huffington Post

August 29, 2014

The 1990s (like any decade) had its share of magnificent pop songs that, for whatever reasons, didn’t scratch the Top 50 on Billboard’s charts. Today, many of these tracks have fallen into obscurity, but they deserve another listen, as they still sound incredible. In alphabetical order, here are my picks for the 90’s best singles that missed the Top 50 (with accompanying video links).

The Best Singles of the 1990s That Missed the Top 50, Part 2

The Huffington Post

September 04, 2014

These pop singles should’ve ruled the charts in the 90s — or at least dented the Top 50, but for whatever reasons did not. But charts be damned, I’ll love them forever. This list continues alphabetically wherePart 1 left off.

If some of these are unfamiliar, take a listen — they might just change your life for the better as they did mine twenty some years ago...

The Exceptional Touch of KCRW’s Jason Bentley Shapes America’s Musical Tastes

The Huffington Post

May 06, 2015

What do Adele, Foster The People, Hozier, Norah Jones, Arcade Fire, Lorde, Beck, Coldplay, The Black Keys and Sia all have in common? All were unknown to the mainstream until Los Angeles’ KCRW (89.9FM) embraced their debut records teleporting them into the public’s consciousness and, ultimately, the pop stratosphere. Playing a central part in the cultural pulse of the City of Angels for 70 years now, KCRW is one of America’s best public radio stations, and their music director Jason Bentley, is living proof that video didn’t kill the radio star after all.

Bryan Fuller Talks Horror and Hannibal

The Huffington Post

April 24, 2014

For the first time in TV history, horror on the small screen rivals (and often surpasses) big screen horror in terms of acting, story, cinematography — and viewers. 2014 finds American television in a coming of age for horror series: The Walking Dead, American Horror Story, Bates Motel, Grimm, Dracula, Salem and the most chilling, and stunning of them all, Hannibal (Fridays 10pm, NBC) chronicling the pre-Silence Of The Lambs life and times of Dr. Hannibal Lecter.Hannibal is executive produced by Bryan Fuller, the same visionary who trick or treated us a few Halloweens ago with Mockingbird Lane, a beautiful, gruesome re-imagining of The Munsters — as well as the most original network series of the past decade, Pushing Daisies.

A Chat With Roger Corman: 60 Years of Filmmaking and Still Going Strong

The Huffington Post

May 09, 2014

With credits dating back to 1954, Roger Corman has one of Hollywood’s longest running careers, and every step of the way has fearlessly pioneered ideas in filmmaking, through all of new media’s many definitions over the decades. So it’s perfect that the 5th Annual New Media Film Festival honors Corman this week with the Legend Award to be presented by director John Carpenter. The event takes place June 11th at Los Angeles’ Landmark Pico Cinemas.

Thirteen Things You Never Knew About Pine Cones...

The Huffington Post

August 29, 2016

On a recent trip to San Diego, I met two Americans (in their 20s or 30s) who had never heard of Maine, the state where I am living. I tried to explain (“it’s the northernmost tip of New England,” etc.) and they still had no idea what I was talking about. I can’t speak as to why they never heard of one of our fifty states, but I have learned that most Americans in their lifetime never see Maine, and I get it. Remote, off in the quietest corner of our country, unencumbered by a metropolis or major sports team, but once here, you’ll understand why it’s nicknamed the “Pine Tree State.” Hundreds of miles of the tallest pine forests in our country. Step into its woods, and pine cones carpet the forest floors. Where I live, they’re nearly as common as rocks. You’ve probably held them, maybe even decorated a holiday wreath with them, but what are they? And what roles have these strange, scaly pine tree-spawn played in our world? You might be surprised that throughout history, cones have been symbolic of immortality, human enlightenment, and ‘the third eye.’ Why? After some digging, much light was shed on a secret world of little known cone facts starting with...

When an Actual Grammy Watches the Grammys...

The Huffington Post

February 16, 2016

My Mom is a 71-year-old, no-nonsense, midwestern grandmother and housewife whose first love has always been music. Growing up, vinyl ruled our home thanks to her heavy rotation record collection: James Taylor, Al Jarreau, Melissa Manchester, Blood, Sweat & Tears, The Doobie Brothers, Nancy Wilson, Steely Dan, Miles Davis, and her favorite, Earth, Wind & Fire — to which she’d dance around the house. The Grammy Awards were always a special shared occasion. It was just about the only time we could watch superstars perform live on television, and discover new favorites. So I grew excited knowing this would be my first year in eons watching the annual telecast with my Mom. Shortly after I came home to the east coast for the holidays, Mom collapsed - with what we had no idea. The next thing we know she had been quarantined in the infectious diseases wing of the local hospital with MRSA virus, which can be fatal. I’ve been very thankful she’s on the mend. It’s true all that is said about the healing power of music so with this year’s Grammy commercials flaunting an Earth, Wind & Fire tribute, this was must see TV for us. I even made a fun viewing game where Mom and I rated each live performance on a scale of 1 (worst) to 10 (best). Popcorn was popped, Munchos were being munched, and the show started.

25 Years After Anna, Sally Kirkland Reflects on the Oscar Race for Best Actress

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February 22, 2012

This year’s Academy Awards reunites Meryl Streep (The Iron Lady) with Glenn Close (Albert Nobbs) for the third time in the Best Performance By An Actress in a Leading Role category. The first time they faced off for Oscar was 1988. The prize went to Cher inMoonstruck, but the Golden Globes earlier that year bypassed the superstars (Streep, Close, Barbra Streisand, Faye Dunaway) to honor a lesser known independent film veteran, Sally Kirkland, with Best Drama Actress for Anna. In Kirkland, a star was born — in her forties. Kirkland’s Anna, a faded Czech star stumbling into Manhattan striving for a new beginning, is just as stunning 25 years later.

‘Mickey’ Turns 30: A Closer Look at the One and Only Toni Basil

The Huffington Post

November 08, 2012

An iconic slice of new wave dance-pop from the early MTV era, Toni Basil’s cheerleading anthem, “Mickey,” shot to number one 30 years ago — in 1982. Though she’s often considered a “one-hit wonder,” Toni Basil was no flash in the pan. What many don’t realize is that by the time “Mickey” was released, Basil was actually in the third decade of a varied career, spanning dance/directing/acting/music that began with choreography for ABC’s Shindig! (1964), and is still going strong today.

Remembering the One and Only Karen Black

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August 12, 2013

In the fall of 2011, I had the pleasure — and honor — of being assigned to interview one of my favorite actresses, Karen Black, about her hilarious and touching turn in the darkly comic play, Moses Supposes, at Los Angeles’ Zephyr Theatre. Nobody knew at the time that the performance would be her theatre swan song.

The Top 20 Best James Bond Theme Songs

The Huffington Post

October 18, 2012

2012 marks the 50th anniversary of James Bond’s cinematic debut, and is proving to be a banner year for the iconic franchise with the highly anticipated feature, Skyfall (November 9) as well as the release of Best of Bond, Capitol’s expansive CD set spanning a half-century of remastered 007 music.

The 20 Greatest Movie Songs Robbed of Oscar Nominations

The Huffington Post

February 02, 2015

Fifty years ago, Shirley Bassey’s Goldfinger, arguably the greatest James Bond theme of all, and one of the most explosive musical compositions in the history of cinema missed winning the Academy Award for Best Song — in fact, it missed a nomination altogether. Yes, you read that correctly. Shirley Bassey’s Goldfinger wasn’t even nominated.

Peaked at #11: Iconic Pop Hits That Missed the Top 10 by One Notch

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April 06, 2015

Considered by many in the music industry to be the most frustrating place on the charts for a pop single to peak, I have always been fascinated with songs that made their home at #11. These singles ascended almost all the way only to lose their momentum at the U.S. Top 10’s doorstep. By just one notch they were denied of ever being celebrated in a weekly Top 10 list. However these singles (listed in chronological order) get the last laugh as they have endured far beyond their unfortunate #11 fate, and today are better known and loved than many singles that went to #1...

Remembering Joni Mitchell’s First Decade of Music As She Turns 70

The Huffington Post

May 22, 2013

Though I remember being assigned to sing “I’ve looked at life from both sides now” in the third grade choir, it wasn’t until purchasing 1991’s Night Ride Home (on cassette!) when I fully jumped aboard the Joni Mitchell train. I’m proud to say I own every album she’s ever released — and I cherish them all. In fact, exploring her vast, varied, back catalogue — especially her 1970s output — is something I recommend to every music fan. Always uncompromising, Mitchell danced to her own drum from the beginning. Her first decade of releases seamlessly journeys from deeply personal folk into pop, jazz, blues, rock, funk, world music, and the avant garde — a musical evolution that must be heard to be believed. Fortunately, for both longtime fans and the uninitiated, Rhino has released Studio Albums 1968 - 1979, an affordable 10-disc set perfectly timed to coincide with Mitchell’s 70th birthday.

Remembering the One and Only Donna Summer

The Huffington Post

December 26, 2012

It was never just disco with Donna Summer. A unique trailblazer that defied categorization, she had one of the great voices that mattered. Thankfully the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame realized this with her 2013 induction.

1983: My Favorite Year in Pop Music

The Huffington Post

January 08, 2013

I’m a pop song junkie, and I owe it all to 1983 — the year I started buying music. Hard to believe 30 years have passed. 1983 was a rare year where many of the finest singles actually ended up at #1: “Billie Jean,” “Every Breath You Take,” “Total Eclipse Of The Heart,” “Come On Eileen,” “Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This),” “Let’s Dance,” “Down Under,” “Africa,” “Flashdance,” “Maniac,” “Baby Come To Me,” “Maneater” — tuneful, innovative productions that still sound fresher than most of 2013’s pop playlists.

How Eurythmics’ ‘Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)’ Changed My Life

The Huffington Post

August 20, 2013

I guess like any kid there is that defining moment in pop culture that jolts you like a lightning bolt out of childhood and into adolescence. For me, it was Eurythmics’ hit song Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This), which topped the Billboard charts 30 years ago this week.

60 and Going On Timeless: Happy Birthday Annie Lennox

The Huffington Post

December 30, 2014

Not many recording artists who debuted on the American pop charts in 1983 can say they graced the Top 10 in 2014, but Annie Lennox can. In the past 30-plus years, the Scottish born singer/songwriter has placed (as Eurythmics and solo) 20 songs in the U.S. Hot 100, and more if you include the dance, rock, music video, adult contemporary, and holiday charts. Annie’s body of work is a study in how an artist can stretch the boundaries of pop, soul and rock on their own terms, and remain not just relevant, but vital — witness her current Grammy nomination for 2014’s Nostalgia.

The Dyson Sphere — Not Just Science Fiction

The Huffington Post

November 05, 2015

A few years ago I wrote on The Huffington Post about author Raoul Peter Mongilardi’s Next To The Gods, a complex, world-building four book series of science fiction. In it, the Aurocerians, an alien race of beings have created a Dyson Sphere, an impenetrable constructed barrier encompassing an entire solar system serving a dual purpose of protection while harnessing the power of a star. The recent news of Kepler Space Telescope’s discovery of KIC 8462852, an oddly dimming star 1,500 light years from Earth, which has been speculated to harbor a potential Dyson Sphere-like alien megastructure made me reflect on Mongilardi’s series, and other works of science fiction that have, over time, become more in the realm of science than fiction.

10 Quick Tips That Can Save L.A. Lives in a Disaster

The Huffington Post

December 11, 2015

“Don’t get scared - get prepared,” says Los Angeles-based disaster preparedness teacher, Deidra Dwyer, who adds that despite Southern California being “eighteen months pregnant” for a major earthquake, only two in every ten Angelenos are even somewhat ready, and that’s an optimistic number.

Whatever Happened To The Grammy Category: Best Female Rock Vocal Performance?

The Huffington Post

February 04, 2013

Though it should’ve been implemented since at least Janis Joplin’s first solo record (1969), for whatever reasons, Best Female Rock Vocal Performance didn’t make the cut as an official Grammy category until 1980. And though solo female artists continue to release great rock records every year, The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS) stopped with the category after 2004.

12 Times That Oscar Got Best Actress Wrong

The Huffington Post

January 15, 2016

Sometimes the Academy Awards get it right. And sometimes the Oscar goes to actors for the wrong reason — especially in the leading role categories. Let’s face it, in its 88 years, there are instances where actors were awarded Oscars not because they were truly the category’s strongest, but because they were the most popular, the most sentimental, played the studio politics game with the most savvy, played the most likable character, the actor whose character dies from the most horrible disease, etc. All wrong reasons.

Dancing To Her Own Beat: Q & A with Actress/Musician/Humanitarian Maria Conchita Alonso

The Huffington Post

August 18, 2016

Just two years after immigrating to the United States, Cuban born, and Venezuelan raised, Maria Conchita Alonso, made her Hollywood film debut in 1984’s Moscow On The Hudson alongside Robin Williams. Since then, the feisty, passionate actress has appeared in over one hundred film and television roles, and has forged a reputation as one of entertainment’s most versatile talents, Latina or otherwise.

From Brooklyn to Cannes: Everything’s OK With Filmmaker Ace Salisbury

The Huffington Post

May 12, 2016

Twenty-eight-year-old, Brooklyn-based filmmaker Ace Salisbury was taking a shower (because that’s where all great ideas originate) when he was struck with a mental image of Manhattan surrounded by gaping canyons instead of rivers. Barren, dried up, this was a New York City with no access to drinkable water. He ran with this thought experiment. This wasn’t a zombie takeover, or a war with an invading alien species. To him, the answer was much darker because it was a human cause - in fact the cause of this imagined apocalypse was something very real: fracking.

The Best 80s Singles That Never Made the Top 40 (Part 1)

The Huffington Post

December 31, 2013

As a teenager in the 1980s, I amassed a large, eclectic collection of that decade’s vinyl. In going through it all, I find myself listening more often to the hits less travelled, and after some research, I discovered a surprising array of brilliant, beloved singles that failed altogether to grace Casey Kasem’s countdown. So I compiled a list (in alphabetical order) of the best 80s singles that, despite their awesomeness, never made Billboard’s Top 40 (and in many cases, the Hot 100)...

The Best ‘80s Singles That Never Made the Top 40 (Pt. 2)

The Huffington Post

January 02, 2014

These 1980s pop singles (in alphabetical order) should’ve ruled the charts — or at least dented the Top 40, but for whatever reasons did not. But charts be damned, I’ll love them forever. This list continues where Part 1 left off.

If some of these songs are unfamiliar, take a listen — they might just change your life for the better as they did mine about 30 years ago...

Five Reasons Vero Beach Is Your New Favorite Florida Destination

The Huffington Post

February 22, 2016

While too many of Florida’s waterfront cities have succumbed to claustrophobic overdevelopment, tacky tourist traps, and high-rises, Vero Beach remains the breath of fresh air. Though classified as a city, Vero, with a strict policy that no building can exceed four stories, feels more like a seaside village. It’s the rare place we didn’t know still existed in the Sunshine State.

RuPaul’s DragCon Plays with All the Colors in the Crayon Box

The Huffington Post

April 20, 2016

“We’re all born naked and the rest is drag,” true words by RuPaul whose 2nd Annual DragCon bats its fierce lashes at the Los Angeles Convention Center on May 7 and 8. And my how it’s grown in a year. Sponsored by Logo, DragCon premiered last year as a way to unite the drag community and give this most fabulous tribe a place to come together. There is no convention on Earth quite like this.

Game of Silence’s Eileen Grubba Shines a Light on Actors With Disabilities

The Huffington Post

April 07, 2016

Among the minority groups underrepresented in Hollywood television and film, actors with disabilities are perhaps the most invisible. In 2015, less than one percent of all series-regular roles on primetime network television were played by actors with disabilities, and yet 20 percent of our population is a person with a disability. Slowly but surely (emphasis on the “slowly”) things are changing in Hollywood, and Eileen Grubba is proof. For 24 years now, Grubba (pronounced Grooba) has quietly carved an impressive career in a variety of memorable television roles, most recently as Alice Ann on NBC’s new drama series Game of Silence, premiering this Tuesday, April 12 at 10/9c. The Alaskan-born actress even does her own physical stunts on the show. I spoke to Grubba about her journey as an actress in Hollywood - not an easy path to say the least - which makes her triumphs all the more inspiring.

From Boston University to Army Paratrooper to The Academy Awards: Q & A with Henry Hughes

The Huffington Post

April 04, 2016

He’s fought in a war. He’s been nominated for an Academy Award. He met his wife when he was 13. He’s mentored by the director of Star Wars. Director Henry “Hank” Hughes’ life may sound like a movie, but it’s all real.

A Revealing Q & A with Suzanne Whang of the New Comedy Film, A Weekend With The Family

The Huffington Post

March 30, 2016

You may remember Suzanne Whang as the host of HGTV’s House Hunters, or as Polly, the spa manager on NBC’s Las Vegas, or memorable roles on Arrested Development, Dexter, General Hospital, Cold Case, Two & a Half Men, Boston Legal, Nip/Tuck, NYPD Blue, and many more dating back to Spenser: For Hire. Her TV credits go for miles, but her film credits are a much smaller list. In fact, one of entertainment’s best Asian actresses finally has her first starring movie role this weekend in Director Chris Stokes’ A Weekend With The Family. And after audiences get a taste of Whang’s scene-stealing work in this hilarious film, her phone will be ringing with many more big screen opportunities.

Best and Most Beautiful Things Premieres at SXSW

The Huffington Post

March 01, 2016

One of the year’s most touching documentary films, Best and Most Beautiful Things, makes its world premiere this month at SXSW. A provocative and joyous coming of age portrait of precocious 20 year old Michelle Smith of rural Maine, she’s both legally blind and diagnosed on the autism spectrum, but the film does not pander to that. She bursts off the screen as someone immensely relatable. You’ll want to know her. This is a powerful, affecting journey into a young woman’s mind as she searches for connection and empowerment by exploring life outside the limits of “normal” through a “fringe community.”

Sci Fest L.A. Takes Theatre to New Realms

The Huffington Post

May 27, 2016

Now in its third year, Sci-Fest L.A., the world’s only science fiction theatre festival, boldly goes beyond where live theatre has gone before, and proves sci fi isn’t just for TV and movies.

Meet Jake Marcionette, the Youngest New York Times-Bestselling Author

The Huffington Post

January 05, 2016

When he was twelve years old, Florida-based Jake Marcionette released his debut book, Just Jake, a loosely autobiographical, laugh-out-loud comedy adventure. With that book, Jake made history in two ways: the youngest author to hit the New York Times Bestseller list and the youngest author in the history of Penguin Books to land a publishing deal.

Watching the Oscars on the Couch With Grandma and Grandpa

The Huffington Post

February 29, 2016

My parents, married for (over) 45 Years are Straight Outta Ohio. No nonsense, midwestern folk (and grandparents) who love going to the movies. Dad’s (74) a retired businessman who worked in a world not unlike The Big Short, and Mom (71) a career hausfrau, knows her way around Joy‘s trademark mops like nobody’s business. I’ve stayed with them here in Florida for the past few months while they’ve been ill, and I’ve made it my mission to be their cinema docent, guiding them to as many of Oscar nominated films as I can before the big night, and they’ve been game. Here’s a sample conversation

The All-Star Dog Rescue Celebration Is Good Reason to Be Thankful This Thursday

The Huffington Post

November 23, 2015

America has 8 million animals in their shelters, and only half of those make it out alive. Troubling statistics like these, which only seem to multiply each year, were enough to keep Emmy nominated producer, and avid dog-loving activist, Michael Levitt awake at night. So he took action with the most powerful medium in the world - television - and made history in the process. Last Thanksgiving day, FOX broadcast Levitt’s creation, the first ever prime time dog adoption special. Hosts Jane Lynch and Hilary Swank (who also Executive Produces with Levitt) along with a who’s who of film, music and TV stars, helped inspire more than 4,500 dog adoption applications.

The Green Feast Is One of America’s Premiere Farm-To-Table Events

The Huffington Post

October 04, 2015

If there were a Nobel Peace Prize given to Americans who are actively working to promote smarter, healthier, more sustainable ways to consume food, then mother and son Vicki and Evan Marks would certainly be candidates. Consider them sustainable food heroes. Seven years ago they began the annual Green Feast, Orange County’s premiere celebration of local, organic farmers, fisherman, vintners, bakers, ranchers, beekeepers, and cheesemongers, which has blossomed into Southern California’s best outdoor conscious foodie event. 

The Nellie Olesons Celebrate 20 Years of Demented Hilarity at Silver Lake’s Cavern Club

The Huffington Post

October 01, 2015

As a patron of Los Angeles’ most unique underground theatre, The Cavern Club, I have become a fan of actor/performance artist John Cantwell’s annual Love Connie extravaganzas, but until last weekend I had yet to experience The Nellie Olesons, the veteran sketch comedy trio that gave rise to Connie. Well thanks to Evil Never Dies, the Nellie’s bawdy, brilliant and bizarre 20th Anniversary bash, I am a Nellie Olesons virgin no more. Thank goodness!

Sean Maguire Breathes New Life Into Robin Hood in ‘Once Upon a Time’

The Huffington Post

September 10, 2015

In the past 70 years, roughly 15 men have portrayed the heroic Robin Hood in film and on television - Kevin Costner, Russell Crowe, Sean Connery, Errol Flynn. Now Sean Maguire, the sophisticated, sexy and suave British actor joins that coveted list. This gifted actor has brought his special interpretation of the romantic hero to ABC’s hit fantasy drama Once Upon a Time which premieres Sunday, September 27 from 8-9pm ET/PT on ABC. Sean, a fan favorite, has recently been made a regular cast member for Season Five.

Club De Cuervos Is Netflix’s Freshest New Series of the Year

The Huffington Post

August 10, 2015

The first exclusively Spanish language series, shot entirely in Mexico and conceived/created in the United States, Club De Cuervos, Netflix’s brand new series is not only this summer’s most binge-worthy delight, but should be applauded as a game changer in the burgeoning world of globally-designed entertainment. The series, in which billionaire Mexican siblings feud over the family-owned soccer team (The Cuervos, Spanish for “the Crows”) was designed not just for a Mexican audience, but for the entire soccer-loving world, which let’s face it, is almost the entire world. Much like the Spanish cousin to Netflix’s current Emmy darling, Orange Is The New Black, Club De Cuervos oscillates brilliantly from laugh-out-loud comedy to poignant drama, while never dipping into Latin stereotypes or telenovela 

Tamara Jacobs’ Your Ultimate Success Plan is the Get-Off-Your-Ass Book of the Year

The Huffington Post

July 19, 2015

Tamara Jacobs knows what she’s talking about when it comes to moving ahead in the business world. When Fortune 500 companies like Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, Bayer, Merck, Novartis, Revlon, and others need advice with their branding and image, they call Tamara - as do leaders from every field, including a few of the current presidential election candidates. Her brand new, second book, Your Ultimate Success Plan, cleverly and humorously breaks down (for all ages in the workforce) how to job hunt effectively and navigate one’s way to career success. Reading Jacobs’ books, you can see why she’s become one of America’s most sought after consultants. She writes as she speaks, in a breezy, witty, no-nonsense style that lifts you into a new way of thinking. This is motivational writing at its most clear and user-friendly. Recent college grads seeking employment would be wise to add this to their summer reading list.

Bob Saget Shines a Light on Scleroderma With Cool Comedy — Hot Cuisine

The Huffington Post

May 26, 2015

In 1982, management consultant and former competitive figure skater, Sharon Monsky was diagnosed with scleroderma (in Latin “hard skin”) a rare, potentially fatal disease that hardens the skin and internal organs and often strikes women of child-bearing age. Given two years to live, Sharon was shocked at how few, even in the medical community, were aware of the disease. Her response was to make possible what seemed impossible. She applied her business expertise to found the Scleroderma Research Foundation (S.R.F.), which, to date, has raised over 35 million dollars and provided medical breakthroughs through tireless research, and new medications. Sharon lived two full decades after her original prognosis, passing away in 2002 due to complications from scleroderma.

Downton Abbey, Grantchester and Beyond: Q&A With Composer John Lunn

The Huffington Post

May 21, 2015

If you want a spectacular score to accompany your British drama series, then look no further than John Lunn, the maestro behind the music for Grantchester, Little Dorrit, The White Queen, Shetland andDownton Abbey for which he has won two Emmy Awards. And that’s just scratching the surface of his credits. Classically trained, but contemporary in attitude, Lunn never seems to stop creating musical magic for television’s finest British imports. He is currently scoringThe Last Kingdom, an adaptation of Bernard Cornwell’s best sellingThe Saxon Stories for BBC/BBC America.

Eight-Time Grammy Winner Manny Marroquin’s Music Mixing Magic

The Huffington Post

February 03, 2015

Manny Marroquin is the most humble hitmaking powerhouse mixer in the business. With eight Grammies to his name so far including the rare feat of winning a trio last year in three different categories (Best Urban: Rihanna, Best R&B: Alicia Keys, Best Pop: Bruno Mars), the Guatemalan born family man may add a ninth on Sunday as he is nominated for the Record of the Year Grammy with Sia’s Chandelier. In addition, he mixed what is currently the Oscar frontrunner for Best Song, Glory from the film, Selma, which also won the Golden Globe this year for Best Song. Add to that the fact that two of the top three iTunes songs this week (Four Five Seconds by Rihanna, Kanye West and Paul McCartney, and Shots by Imagine Dragons) were mixed by his hands, and you’ll understand why Manny is the man

The Beautiful Music of Still Alice: A Q & A With Composer Ilan Eshkeri

The Huffington Post

January 12, 2015

Awards season 2015 has just begun and already Julianne Moore has been nominated for dozens of well deserved awards in the Best Actress category for the film Still Alice, which is released widely on Jan.16th.

Producer Michael Levitt’s Cause for Paws Will Make TV History This Thanksgiving

The Huffington Post

November 25, 2014

When Los Angeles-based TV producer Michael Levitt isn’t creating hit shows, he’s driving all over greater L.A. rescuing dogs from kill shelters and placing them in loving “forever” homes. Now taking his passion one giant leap further, Levitt has created a groundbreaking TV event, the Thanksgiving Day dog rescue spectacular, FOX’s Cause For Paws (8p/7c). This show marks an historic first - never before has a television network dedicated prime time programming to the plight of rescuing dogs - a dog-a-thon so to speak. And it’s little surprise that Cause for Paws means more to Levitt than any show he’s ever produced. To bolster its appeal, Levitt has enlisted dozens of celebrities to lend their talents for the two hour special, which could be a game changer for the 8 million animals that enter shelters each year. Here’s hoping it becomes an annual event.

A Q&A with C.J. Valleroy of Angelina Jolie’s Unbroken

The Huffington Post

November 18, 2014

Young C.J. Valleroy was first inspired to become an actor watching Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt battle it out in Mr. & Mrs. Smith’s famous kitchen fight scene. How fitting then that his breakthrough role in the upcoming dramatic feature Unbroken (a Christmas Day release in America) would be directed by Jolie, a woman he now considers a 

A Q&A With American Horror Story’s Naomi (“Pepper”) Grossman

The Huffington Post

November 18, 2014

If Emmys were awarded to actors for playing the most bizarre characters on TV, then Naomi Grossman would surely have to clear a space on the mantle. Grossman’s breakthrough role of Pepper, the deformed, nearly wordless dwarf on FX’s American Horror Story: Freakshow has not only become a pop culture sensation (‘Pepper for President’ signs, Pepper Halloween costumes) but is a prime example of character acting at its finest. There is a reason that Pepper is the first and only character in all the American Horror Storyseries to have recurred (seen originally in Season Two: Asylum). And with all the prosthetics and makeup, many have no idea what Grossman’s actual face looks like, but that hasn’t stopped the actress from catapulting to #1 on IMDB.com for a few weeks in a row. Yes, that’s right - number one.

Jack Fry’s Triumphant Einstein! Premieres in Hollywood

The Huffington Post

October 21, 2014

A few years ago, actor Jack Fry created the hit one man show They Call Me Mister Fry chronicling an innocent midwesterner’s first days on the job as a teacher in a gang-infested south central L.A. public school. Thanks to the excellent writing, performing and tireless promotion, Fry won the respect of audiences worldwide, the success of which led him to explore a different kind of one man show. Shifting this time from autobiography to biography, Fry breathes fresh life into one of history’s greatest minds (much like Val Kilmer’s brilliant channeling of Mark Twain) with the funny, touching, and intimate,Einstein! at Hollywood’s Lounge Theatre Fridays and Saturdays through November 22. Fans of Einstein (and who isn’t?) take note, this is a unique American premiere worth investigating.

A Weekend of Great New German Films Premiere at the Egyptian Theatre

The Huffington Post

October 03, 2014

For movie fans, one of the best perks of living in Los Angeles is the fantastic array of cultural film festivals all year long: in February, there’s L.A. Italia, in May the Japan Film Festival, and from Oct. 9 to 12 this year, the Eighth Annual German Currents, a celebration of the best of new German language cinema.

Prairie-oke Returns to the Cavern Club: A Q&A With Little House’s Alison Arngrim

The Huffington Post

November 12, 2015

Inspired by TV’s Little House On The Prairie, writer/director Dane Whitlock’s outrageous parody, Prairie-oke, won raves during its 2013 premiere at Silver Lake’s Cavern Club (incidentally L.A.’s best underground theatre space). Well hold onto your bonnets because our favorite unauthorized musical is back in a big way (running weekends through November 22). Kudos to producers Vickie Mendoza and Matthew Herrmann (who reprises his role as middle son, Alfred) for assembling the most energetic, musical ensemble I’ve seen on the L.A. stage in some time.

Singer Shelley Fisher’s Stunning Musical Tribute to Her Jewish Ancestry

The Huffington Post

September 29, 2014

For almost two years now, L.A. based singer/songwriter Shelley Fisher, has been charming audiences from Manhattan to Memphis to Santa Monica with her one woman autobiographical musical, The Hebrew Hillbilly. And proving that it’s never too late to craft a new song in an established hit show, Fisher and legendary pop songwriter Ken Hirsch (Anita Baker, Barbra Streisand) have cowritten the poignant, We Remember, a stirring tribute to her Jewish ancestry — and the musical’s new emotional summit.

LA Couple Writes the New Definitive Guide to Sex, Relationship and Hormones

The Huffington Post

July 21, 2014

He’s a former fighter pilot and scholar on sex/relationships, raised in a strict Catholic household. She’s a personal, career and relationship counselor, screenwriter and artist, and was raised in a traditional Jewish household. Together husband and wife, Frank Wiegers and Judith Claire, have founded http://www.topgunlove.com/ to help singles and couples with sex, love and romance, and their new book,So THAT’S Why They Do That! Men, Women And Their Hormones, is a compelling achievement in this field.

From Professional Snowboarder to ‘Mompreneur’ — a Q & A With Deckopedia’s Caroline Chabert Graeff

The Huffington Post

May 11, 2015

Shifting gears in life can be both a tricky and rewarding thing — just ask Caroline Chabert Graeff, former pro athlete who reinvented herself as the creator of Deckopedia Publishing, a clever new concept (think Wikipedia as a deck of fun activity cards), specially designed for time-crunched people. Deckopedia’s cards feature themes near and dear to Caroline’s heart including tips for healthy eating, 50 Must-See Destinations, and 50 Road Trip Games. Caroline gave us insight on how one goes from snowboarding the French Alps to becoming a successful “mompreneur” in southern California’s Manhattan Beach.

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