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Karen's archives

Karen's birthday show (on "Karen's Restaurant Revue") airs on Jan. 15th at 8PM, and the Valentine's show airs on Jan. 22nd, both at 8PM and on Time-Warner Cable, Ch. 98, 77, or 3.  Check local listings for your station.

Happy New Year! We’ve made it to another one, knock on wood. In this first column of 2008, I feel I should pass on some ways to pamper yourself before we get too far into it, putting other issues before our own well-being. Hope these suggestions help. Also, news about a new restaurant and, of course during this season, an Ice Show review.

Though this isn’t quite in the “pampering yourself” category, it’s always fun to just sit back and watch others work. Especially when it’s something as beautiful and lively as this show.

Dale Gonyea, Karen Salkin, Dorothy Hamill

I first saw it a couple of Thanksgivings ago, with primarily the same cast. The format is very different from that of most skating shows, in that this one is done on a basic theatrical stage, as opposed to in an arena.
Also, Broadway on Ice has about 15 skaters, but only one star. On both of my visits, the beautiful Dorothy Hamill was it. It’s amazing how stunning her skating still is. Hopefully, those who see the show after Jan. 16 will be treated to her magnificence once more, but for now Dorothy has since taken a break from the tour to undergo treatment for breast cancer. Our thoughts and prayers are with her.
It’s not all bad news for the audiences, though, as she’s being temporarily replaced by fellow Olympic Gold Medalist, Brian Boitano, who should be an equal treat for ticket-holders. (Her usual replacement is Nancy Kerrigan, but she’s now very pregnant with her third child. Congrats to her and her agent hubby.)
One more note about Dorothy, before I move on to the show itself. When I was waiting for her after, (AND the brilliant comedian, Dale Gonyea; more on him in a sec), I was standing behind a young boy, who I assumed was waiting for an autograph. Then I noticed from behind that he was signing one. I didn’t remember someone so young being in the show, so I was curious for him to turn around. It was DOROTHY!!! How can someone look that good past 40?!
Now, back to the show. What it is is skating to Broadway show tunes, with colorful costumes and lighting. It’s great to see skating so up-close and personal like that. Most of the music is piped-in, but each stop has a live singer who’s appeared on Broadway. We got Franc D’Ambrosio, who’s done “Phantom” a time or 2. (Or 1,200!) He wasn’t my favorite, but the rest of the audience seemed to love him. (Oh, I saw it when it was here in SoCal at the end of December, at the Thousand Oaks Theatre.)
As much as I love skating, the highlight for me, both times I saw it, was definitely Dale Gonyea. They roll him out on a platform with his piano in the second act, and then we all just sit back and roll with laughter for the next 20 minutes.

0994Even though it’s almost the same as the one
above, I had to include this cause I think Dale
looks more like Harry Potter in this one! And because I loved seeing a picture that
included my fabulous Butler Bag.

This guy is brilliant! He’s funny, talented, plays the piano beautifully (his serious rendition of “Rhapsody In Blue” is a show-stopper), has a warm, welcoming singing voice, and is adorable, too. (He even says his nephew thinks he looks like Harry Potter. Great observation!)
His act is comedy, with piano, singing (all original lyrics, and new ones for each city played! How does he do it??), and red sequined sneakers. That last part hits me where I live. (I have a whole sequined sneaker collection, form my more colorful days.) I wonder if Dale is a water sign because he’s always performing on ice and the ocean. (He does a lot of cruise ships concerts.)
All in all, the Broadway On Ice is about two hours of pure relaxation and enjoyment. Everyone leaves the theatre upbeat and happy. I wish all forms of entertainment were this successful.
Broadway On Ice


As if taping my TV show, writing celeb news for, having the occasional acting job, and doing this weekly column weren’t enough, I just became the official restaurant critic for the Culver City News and Blue Pacific News. Some of you may think that I’m nuts to take on another project, but for a while now, I’ve been fascinated by the rise of Culver City in the hipness category, and my mouth waters to try out all their restaurants.
Being the lazy girl that I am, (although you wouldn’t know it, judging by the above list of my gigs), I rarely make time to go out of my closest neighboring hoods. So, having to do it will get me over that way.
For my first assignment for them, I attended the opening of Brunello Trattoria and it was so good that I’m reviewing it here, as well. (Even though I have one Beverly Hills friend who’s such a snob that she wouldn’t travel from Pico to Washington to have the meatloaf she was dreaming about from a party I had in Culver City a few years ago. But now, the poor girl works there, and lives in the Valley! In her mind, it’s almost like a wicked step-mother is going to appear next!)
If you’re a Culver City local, or a denizen of a beach area, (such as Santa Monica), you can also check-out my reviews in those papers each week.
The opening was very generous. There were no little soggy passed hors d’ouevres here; rather, each party sat at their own table and got food from a hot buffet. They served chicken cacciatore, roasted potatoes, salad, pizza bread, 2 kinds of pasta, and at least 4 varieties of pizza. There were 5 in my party and we all loved everything. Not a weakness in the bunch.
It was pretty hectic, so we didn’t have the full dining experience, but we’ll definitely try to make it back there soon for a full review.
Brunello Trattoria 6001 Washington Blvd. Culver City 310-280-3856

Just to set the record straight for the new year, I don’t have fake: teeth, boobs, hair, eye color, nails, or eyelashes, though those I’ve tried twice. And my motto used to be, “You should fix nothing about your face, except teeth.” I hate gross teeth, and do think that most people should whiten theirs. (I’ve tried to do mine, but because according to a couple of dentists, they’re the whitest naturally, they won’t whiten and the fake ones look so much better than my natural ones! Shame.)
And we all know that I don’t have a fake nose! (Though someone once asked me if I had mine added to, for the purpose of looking like Cher in her heyday! People are just nuts!!!)
But, after a recent hard lesson about the dangers of sun-bathing, I’m all about fake tans, mainly the spray-on kind.
Unless you spent the holiday vacationing in an exotic locale, you’re probably pale and wan, even in sunny SoCal. Or maybe you’re not because you attended the same pre-Christmas function that I did at the WLA branch of Sunset Tan.
First of all, I was surprised by how convenient the location was. I rarely choose to drive on Sepulveda, assuming it’s a mess, but I think everyone feels the same way because it was easy. And I parked in their adjacent lot, and walked just a few steps into the place! I’m glad I hadn’t gotten good-looking because honestly, no one saw me enter! (I had thought that because it’s across from Sports Club LA, you had to look good, even to just get a tan! I DID want to get noticed on the way out, BTW!)
Anyway, after I enjoyed a couple of seasonal refreshments, I got the royal treatment, tanning-wise. First up, was time on a tanning bed, after first slathering on their new pre-tan lotion, which was light and not greasy. I spent only five minutes on the bed because I’m still not sure about the safety of them, in general. These were the nicest ones I’ve ever seen, though.
Next, I used an exfoliating towelette, to make sure there was no lotion left on for the next step. That was a spray tan performed by a person, not a booth, though they have those, as well, for the shy among us. The girl who did mine, Alana, the manager, was very thorough.
The funny thing was the reaction of the girls in the waiting area. When I walked in, sans eye make-up and white as a ghost, they all protested when I said how bad I looked. But, after the spray tan, they looked as if they were seeing a ghost! They were shocked at how much better I looked! I personally think that most people look better with a tan, but no one more than me. It’s like night and day. Maybe it has something to do with having blue eyes, because with a tan, I really don’t even need eye make-up.
We girls in the reception area socialized a tad more, complimenting each other on our new tans. Then we each got a hefty goodie bag, which made our inner beings as glowy as our skin.

Sunset Tan 1856 S. Sepulveda Blvd. 310-268-8262


Since it was the dead of winter that I got my spray-on tan, no one was going to see it besides Mr. X because in winter, I love wearing sweaters, tights, and boots. And I wear bronzing powder on my face, whenever I’m done-up.

So, as to not waste it, I figured I’d at least get a massage so someone else could drink in the beauty of my bronzed bod. And, boy, did I ever need one! Between my new gig at (which means I’m at the computer more than ever), and the stress associated with the holidays, my neck and back were a wreck. (And Mr. X claims that my atomic structure is messing up the bed!)
So, I headed over to Ona Spa because two of my gal pals highly recommended it and I’m always on the look-out for great services. (As a matter of fact, that’s almost the only kind of gift I’m happy to receive anymore! Except for paint cards. But that’s another story.)
The spa itself is upstairs from a hectic hair salon, and the vibe on the 2 floors couldn’t be more different than the ones portrayed on the “Upstairs, Downstairs” series. It was peaceful and quiet and somehow Zen. 

couples room
The couples room at Ona Spa.  Note the robe that I loved on the front table.

The girls who work there are all pleasant, and even the décor is soothing. And I loved the shower and super-luxurious robes. And the massage table pad for girls to fit their boobs into when lying on their stomachs was an unbelievably welcome touch, trust me on this one!
I had heard that they have an amazing 3-hour service, but lacking the time (and the dough for this especially pricey one), I opted for another unique massage, the Pada, which is performed with feet ONLY!
Since I’m used to being walked on, (but usually only figuratively), I thought it might be interesting to have it be my choice, for once. But I really did expect it to be only part of the massage, not the whole thing.
I’m glad that Elizabeth, my masseuse, told me beforehand that she loves to do this one because I kept worrying about her safety. (See why in the next paragraph.) But then I reminded myself that she said she was really into it, so I tried to relax and enjoy it. For most of the other inhabitants of L.A., who really aren’t that concerned about the welfare of others, they won’t have the same problem, which, in this case, is good.
It was pretty interesting. I felt like we were auditioning for Cirque Du Soleil! No fooling around! Elizabeth hung from a bungee-like contraption from the ceiling and massaged my whole body with solely ( get the pun?) her feet! My heels are so rough from years of walking barefoot (don’t ask--it was during my circus days), that I volunteered to join the team as The Exfoliator. (I think I’ll try my act out on Mr. X first.)
Anyway, as great as it was, I don’t understand how this is better than a regular massage with hands. (Elizabeth used hers to do mine, and that part was my favorite. That girl is an excellent masseuse.) But, for jaded Southern Californians, who’ve had every kind of pampering experience there is to be had, the Ona Pada is definitely the way to go. I guarantee it’ll finally be a new one on them!

Ona Spa 7373 Beverly Blvd. 323-931-4442

And lastly, in case I don’t put up another column before January 14, I want to wish a very Happy Birthday to…ME! (Just to go along with this column’s theme of looking out for yourself.)

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