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Entertainment Reviews and Commentary from Karen Salkin

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The Cure In The Canyons beauty-fest, to benefit breast cancer research, was one of the few events I’ve ever been to that lived up to its billing. I actually feel bad for anyone who may have missed it. I previewed it last week, and I’m usually a tad nervous to hype something that I haven’t previously been to. But I trust the PR women enough to assume that it would be good. It turned out to be even better than that.

It was a casual day at the Bony Pony Ranch which was way up in the Malibu hills. On the way up the steep, winding road, my friend, Laurel, who was the driver, said she felt like we were traveling in the Scottish Highlands! The topography was such that I expected to see Heathcliff walking along the moors any minute. (I know--there are no moors in Malibu…that we know of.) But the venue was perfect.

The dining area at Bony Pony Ranch.

Everywhere we turned, there was another great service set up under a canopy. I’m insane, so I have to first get off my chest what we missed because I hate missing anything, but there were just so many activities that we couldn‘t get to them all. I didn’t know until the end that there was a company applying the kind of false eyelashes that last six months! And the eyebrow shaping line was too long, as was the one for massages.

Now, for the many things we did partake of. There were several beverages available, and in different spots, so you never had to go back for one. Our first activity was getting manicures, courtesy of O.P.I. I chose the hippest new color of the season, Russian Navy, and received compliments on it for the rest of the day. I’m so glad that I was brave enough to go with it.

Our next stop was the beautiful food area. I know--you’re all shocked that I put nails over food! I admit--it was a difficult choice, but it worked out well for me. Barbecue was provided by Chef John Bard, there were healthful appetizers from Fresh Dining, and we had chocolate truffles courtesy of Chocolates A La Carte. But my favorite was meatballs in Oliver’s Orange Grilling Sauce. That stuff was addicting! We each got a bottle of it to take home. Good thing Mr. X grills all the time. Now if only he could learn to whip up some meatballs! (We all know I’m not not going to be making them.)

Appetizers from Fresh Dining.

We got relaxing eye treatments from Skyn Iceland, I had my hair flat-ironed by the adorable girls from Paul Mitchell, and finished the afternoon with a spot of tea and desserts made by Apple Spice Junction, a name that made my mouth water. On the way out, we got giant goodie bags that are really computer carrying cases! So, I guess they know that we ladies are beautiful AND intelligent. And know a good cause when we see it.

The whole event made me look forward to their next one, which is on Oct. 13. It’s called Take A Hike, and the info is on their website below.


dead bride running
Cast of Dead Bride Running at the Underground Theatre. Photo by Ed Krieger.
This is one of the most entertaining little theatre shows that I’ve seen in a long while. And it was one short act, with absolutely no lull. It’s the fictionalized story of that creepy run-away bride from last year’s headlines, told from three different participant’s perspectives, and was humorous and well-done.

Tamara Zook, as the bride, was dead-on. She looked so much like the real woman that I kept thinking maybe it was she! At the after-party, sans bad-hair wig, she looked like a classy Auntie Mame type. This was great casting because I never would have pictured her as the bride.

The entire cast was perfect, while playing multiple characters, and the show incorporated clever use of video and even musical numbers. I love an evening of just fun theatre, with no pain or let-down. This is the kind-of universally-appealing play that I could see moving to Off-Broadway after the L.A. run.

In addition to the show being an upper, I had great experiences with two of the artists, off-stage. My friend and I were having trouble finding a parking spot, so I ran into the theatre pre-show, to see if they had any suggestions in that category.

A very handsome guy came out to help us, and couldn’t have been more pleasant. I found out later that he was Rick Sparks, the co-author and director! How nice is that?! They even offered to hold the curtain for us, but I said to go ahead, and we’d be in soon.

The show had just started when we walked into the lobby, and I asked a girl who was standing there if she was going to show us to our seats. It turns out she was one of the actors, Lisa Joffrey, preparing for her entrance. But she calmly figured out the appropriate time to usher us to our seats, and brought us there as she went on.

I seriously can’t imagine many actors doing that. And she was excellent, too, and never missed a beat on stage. When I told her after how unusual and kind that was, she was genuinely surprised to hear it!

They had an opening night reception in a smaller theatre next-door, and the happy attitude and creativity from the show spilled over to it. Small theatres are not known for their lavish after-party spreads, but this one had some nice hor’s doerves.

Even better than that, they had a beautiful creamy blue wedding cake, and decorations keeping with theme. (Like sneakers and wedding bands as the centerpiece.) People stayed longer than I’ve usually seen at these events, and we all went home with smiles on our faces. Especially when we saw that our cars hadn’t been towed!

“Dead Bride Running” running through October 21
Underground Theatre 1312 N. Wilton Place Hollywood 323-960-5773


I never thought that I’d be reviewing a real estate open house! But the recent Santee Village Grand Opening was celebrated with the Taste of Santee Village on the site of their sleek new downtown redevelopment project.

Three authentic buildings were converted to designer lofts, and it seemed that everywhere we went, something delicious was being served.

Display of Chef Fri Reyes.

On the ground level, along with lessons of how to make condo living safe for pets, courtesy of Bark Avenue, there were truly delicious appetizers from Jerry’s Mexican Grill.

Then, we visited a second-floor model loft and had lovely creations, such as cucumber sandwiches, prepared on-site by Fri Reyes, a chef whose business is private home cooking lessons.

My last snack stop was the roof, where the Jacuzzis were, to watch a grilling demonstration by 2 Guys Grillin’. Of course, we got to then eat what they made, and it was the most popular spot of the day. I stayed for three dishes, all grilled of course: chicken, asparagus spears, and pineapple, which was so simple, and the winner, in my opinion, that I’ll actually try making it myself! (But don’t hold your breath.)

I was the most interested in the food, but I’m a big architecture and historical edifice fan, so here’s the lowdown on the buildings, taken directly from the press release: “Built originally in 1911 for the garment and textile manufacturing industry, featuring the heavy, concrete-frame construction and ornamental facades characteristic of early 20th century industrial era architecture, these buildings all sat largely unappreciated for decades.
“But in 1998, MJW Investments bought
them and began a nearly decade-long process to restore and re-adapt them for loft living. Recognized for their social and architectural significance, the buildings were designated as local historic monuments in 2001.

“Today, Santee Village remains the first urban loft community of its kind anywhere in Los Angeles offering a built-in village in its block-long, creatively landscaped central courtyard with retail space offering restaurants, shops etc. In addition, the beautifully restored buildings offer dramatic LA vistas, stylish interiors, private balconies in some units and a rooftop retreat complete with a basketball court, spas, a barbeque and rooftop swimming pool and cabana.

“Most importantly, buyers purchasing any of the historic lofts in the restored Santee Village building--built between 1912 and 1926—will be among the first in Los Angeles to save thousands of dollars on property taxes under the Mills Act, which encourages historic preservation.”


And lastly, this cinematic season has just started, but I’ve been lucky enough to be invited to many screenings put on by the amiable group Australians In Film. At first, I wondered why most people in attendance were attractive and pleasant. Then I remembered--they’re Australian! Makes me want to get over my reticence to take very long flights, and head to their homeland right now!

As I sat down to write this review, I had trouble remembering the film’s name. It doesn’t really go with story, in my opinion. I don’t remember ever thinking that of a movie before.

I’ve been a Viggo Mortenson fan ever since I saw him have unbelievable screen sex with Diane Lane in one of my favorite movies, “A Walk On The moon.” I always think that he has bad teeth, which would negate any crush I might develop on him, but I’m never really quite sure because I don’t think I’ve ever seen him smile.

When I saw him come on-screen in this one, any traces of attraction were over for me because he had his hair in some sort of slick-man almost-pompadour. But it was perfect for the character, and he’s such a thorough actor that I forgot all about him as Viggo and just got into the film.

It was excellent, but the gore was hard to take. At least we somehow had notice of when to cover our eyes, which I had to do on too many occasions. Still, this interesting Russian mob tale, also starring new mom, Naomi Watts, is definitely worth the time, which is how I seem to measure everything nowadays.

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