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Restaurant Reviews and Commentary
from Karen Salkin

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Here’s the second column in a row that combines food and entertainment. I guess that nowadays, it’s hard to separate the two. It makes for a great night out.


What can be better than an evening of great music, with a goodie bag waiting at your theatre seat, and an after-party at a hip restaurant, with a DJ, no less? Not much. And the opening of “City Kid, The Musical” was made even more special for me by having Mr. X as my escort, which is a rarity, believe me.

Cast of “City Kid, The Musical.” Marliss Amiea and Jacob Nixon in foreground. Photo by Craig Schwartz.
I had already been invited when I noticed that the composers were none other than my very dear old friend, Peter Bunetta, and his equally talented partner, Rick Chudacoff, commonly known as “Cheese.” They’re the producers of one of my all-time favorite albums, The Temptations--Together Again, and I remember that they started on this musical when I was still skinny!!! I was most curious to see it.

Not just because Mr. X and I are fans of Peter’s, personally and professionally, but because we both dance hip-hop, we absolutely loved the music! Good thing we were sitting in the back row because Mr. X was rocking the house. He could barely be contained. Nor could I, actually.

[Sidebar: It’s been weird to me, all my life, that most people sit still at concerts. Even at classical ones, I can’t sit still. It’s MUSIC, for Pete’s sake!]

Senyo Amoaku as Badboy, in center. Stephen Craig on the right. Photo by Craig Schwartz.
On the other hand, we had not much idea of what was going on in the script, except that a bunch of people in at least their twenties (playing high school kids, I think) were having some drama. The singing was pretty weak, except for the female lead, Marliss Amiea.

The dancing (and choreography by Bradley Rapier) was outstanding, though, with the boys (most notably Jacob Nixon) out-dancing the girls by a mile. Mr. X’s favorite actor of the evening was Senyo “DNA-1” Amoaku as the super-scary Badboy because, when we met him at the after-party, he couldn’t have been more different from his character.

Here are a few quick notes that I wrote while the show was in progress:
Mr. X said the opening number was boffo, and there was an even better one in the second act.
Off-spring of two entertainers are in the cast--Arielle Paul, the daughter of the old-school quartet Manhattan Transfer’s Alan Paul, and the adorable son of Marie Osmond, Stephen Craig.

Peter and I used to plan that when I got a network or syndicated talk show, he would be my bandleader, and instead of playing an instrument, (his is drums), he’d just groove. How cool would THAT be?

This show is definitely not for staid older folk, or the un-hip. Just go for the music, and don’t stress about following the story. And make plans to go to a club afterwards because you’ll definitely be in the mood.

“City Kid, The Musical running through November 25
Hudson Backstage Theatre 6539 Santa Monica Blvd. Hollywood 323-960-7863

We segued from the Hudson over to eat. on sunset (which is written with no caps and has that stupid period after “eat,” for no reason.) It was the venue for a few different functions that evening, and ours was on the patio. (It was a warm enough night and there were heaters, as well.)

They did the food in an odd way, but it all worked-out. They brought about six to ten of each item, and rather than pass them, put them on the table for the few piranhas who were standing around it, in a feeding frenzy. (I was one of them, of course.)

It was a hard decision of whether to eat or dance. Shockingly, I chose dance for the most part, but relented when I realized that I wasn’t getting anything to eat…on sunset. So, I scarfed some of the most delicious protein-style (i.e. wrapped in lettuce rather than a bun) burgers ever, along with parmesan fries, mini-grilled cheeses, and weird short rib pizza.

That’s all the sustenance I needed to dance for the next two hours in a row, while I watched obscure Shirley Temple films projected high-up on the building next door. The highlight of the evening, for me, was watching the dancers high-five each other when they saw some of Mr. X’s new Krump moves. Which meant that I was a groupie, going home with the star of the party.

eat. on sunset 1448 N. Gower Ave. Hollywood 323-461-8800


Adam Lambert
Adam Lambert getting down at the Ford. Photo by Ed Krieger.
In all my goings-out, I had never been to the Ford Amphitheatre before, which is shocking, even to me! “Broadway Unplugged” was held on a cold, rain-threatened night, and barely anything could have gotten me out of the house, save for the hope of hearing the amazing Adam Lambert sing.

I was not disappointed. Although he sang just one song, (as did most everyone), it was well worth it. My friend, Denise, who usually just humors my opinions, agreed whole-heartedly. Without getting into her personal business, she’s been around many of the best singers of the last three decades, and even she was amazed by Adam.

The whole event was fabulous. It consisted of Broadway-type singers, most of whom are appearing here in “Wicked,” singing whatever their hearts desired, with just a piano to accompany them. Most were talented, with the occasional head-scratcher, but Adam stole the show. He’s actually darling and gorgeous, as well, with the most fabulous sense of style.

Carla Renata
Carla Renata. Photo by Ed Krieger.
The female hit of the night was Carla Renata, who just finished a run in “Avenue Q” at the Ahmanson, playing Gary Coleman. She not only could sing, but was excellent at selling her number, “The Oldest Profession.”

And, second best of all, (to Adam, of course), was the theatre itself . It couldn’t have been more beautiful! It looked like the footage I had seen years ago of Barbra Steisand’s private concert outdoors on her Malibu Ranch. It was quite heavenly and had the feel of a secret garden. I’d go back there anytime.

The Ford Amphitheatre stage at night.
Except for the stacked parking (but Denise and I were the leaders this night, so nah nah na-nah nah), this was a super-easy experience. And I got an extra work-out in, climbing those many stairs. (They have an elevator, if you’d rather not do a real stair-master.)

One audience note: Marie Osmond was in attendance, fresh from the taping of “Dancing With The Stars,”( the week pre-fainting spell), cheering on her son (mentioned in the above review), Stephen Craig, who was performing.

Stephen Craig
Stephen Craig with his duet partner. Photo by Ed Krieger.
I was feeling bad that I hadn’t stuck around the theatre post-show, to meet her, until she collapsed the next week. If I HAD met her, I would have thought the whole incident was MY fault. Or, at least that’s what Mr. X would have told me!

Ford Theatre 2580 Cahuenga Blvd. East

From the theatre, the holders of VIP tickets segued over to the Miceli’s Italian restaurant in the Valley. Their attraction is usually singing waitpersons, but who needed them this night? The cast wound-up playing the piano and singing themselves.

Karen and Adam Lambert at Miceli's Party
Karen and Adam Lambert at Miceli’s Party. Is she even breathing?!
The buffet was perfect: several kinds of delicious pizzas, crisp Italian salad, meatless pasta, rolls and chocolate cookies. I actually got some eating in before I accosted Adam outside the rest rooms. He’s really a nice guy, too, AND laughed at everything I said.

Or was it at my horrible shirt? I hadn’t planned on taking off my Nanook of the North parka, which I thought necessary for the outdoors. (I didn’t know the party was a restaurant.) When Michael Sterling, the proprietor of Sterling’s Upstairs at Vitello’s Supper Club, greeted me, he commented, “Oh, you’re so wintry.” And, embarrassed by it!

Denise finally pried me away from Adam, we congratulated Ronn Goswick of the Valley Musical Theatre, who hosted the evening, on a job more than well-done, and moseyed on home so I could catch-up on the Rockies winning the NLCS, and wonder when Adam would be called upon to sing the National Anthem! Now, THAT would be spectacular.

Miceli’s 3655 Cahuenga Blvd. West Universal City 323-851-3345

And lastly, I hope you all have a safe,fun time with one of my favorite holidays--Happy Halloween!

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