ALL PHOTOS and VIDEOS by Joane Nelson

 

By Anna Paula Goncalves

LOS ANGELES — I’ll just cut straight to the chase:
Go catch “Mile 22” in theaters, Aug. 17! As you can see from watching our fun “black” carpet experience, maybe these 22 [no spoiler, here] reasons of why I think you should, means you will.

 

Ready? Here we go.

1) This is Mark Wahlberg and Director Peter Berg’s fourth collaboration (“Lone Survivor,” “Deepwater Horizon,” and the Boston-set “Patriots Day,” about the Boston Marathon bombings) yet “Mile 22” is their first collaboration on a fictional story.

2) Mark Wahlberg’s character, James Silva, will give you a little bit of everything you love about Mark.

3) Lauren Cohan. I was already familiar with her work on ‘The Walking Dead,’ but she was a revelation to me in this film. And she may just end up being one to you, too.

4) Iko Uwais. WHAT?!?!? Where did this guy come from and why wasn’t I familiar with his work before?!

5) Ronda Rousey. I personally love seeing her reinvent amd rebrand herself. If you dig her as much as I do, you’ll appreciate her character, Sam Snow.

6) John Malkovich. Need I say more?

7) Nikolai Nikolaeff. I got a taste of his work and definitely want to see more.

8) Every single cast member that was on that carpet loved being there and it showed. That made me much more excited to see them on the big screen. And after watching them on the big screen? Yup, that was some great casting.

9) In fact, I’m just going to go ahead and give credit where it’s due and where it’s usually not given: Casting Director and guru, Sheila Jaffe, for her and her team’s work.

10) Did you realize just how many of the actors come from TV series? Some of which didn’t have film credit at all prior to “Mile 22”! As someone involved with the  casting world, I love seeing professionals appreciate talent and hunger over a resume. Hence my point No. 9.

11)  Sound effects team made me really take in everything that was happening.

12.) You will want to applaud… (I lost track of how many ‘applauding’ moments happened in that theater.)

13.) You will be ‘shook’…

14.) You will also laugh, though…

15.) And yes, you will probably want to shout, too…

16.) You won’t want to look away. In fact, you may get mad at yourself if you do or if anyone walks in front of you. I saw it happen three times (one being with me, I’ll admit it.)

17.) You will be caught off guard…

18.) You will want to watch the sequel. Oh yes, there’s a sequel already set to happen you guys! That should tell you something. For more, read here.

19.) Lea Carpenter and Graham Roland. Intentionally left these two toward the end because every point made here was thanks to their original story.

20.) Screenwriting was also well done (Lea Carpenter).

21.) Although we see a lot of this kind of theme, these two really wrote something that was unexpected. You have to watch to know what I mean.

22.) Left the best for last: A reminder, even through a fictional film, of how sacrificial it is for our service men and women to sign up to give their lives as a shield to protect others.

And there you have it! My 22 reasons why you should drive however many miles to your nearest theater to catch this film on Friday, Aug. 17!

 

 

SOUTH BOSTON — Enough NHL players to fill an All-Star roster turned out the other night for the Summer Happy Hour party at Coppersmith in South Boston to support The Corey C. Griffin Foundation.

The host committee included: Brian Boyle (New Jersey Devils); Paul Carey (Ottawa Senators); Charlie Coyle (Minnesota Wild); Ryan Donato (Boston Bruins); Mark Fayne (Edmonton Oilers); Brian Gibbons (Anaheim Ducks); Steve Greeley (Buffalo Sabres AGM); Noah Hanifin (Calgary Flames); Jimmy Hayes (New Jersey Devils); Kevin Hayes (New York Rangers); Cory Schneider (New Jersey Devils); Jimmy Vesey (New York Rangers); Chris Wagner (Boston Bruins); Miles Wood (New Jersey Devils); and
Keith Yandle (Florida Panthers).

All photos by Bill Brett

To view full gallery, click here. 

The Outsider/ Blush Leather

Susan Hassett, CEO and creator of a new brand of casual footwear called “Cocktail Sneakers” is surrounded by women. Hassett says that she did not intend to work exclusively with women in this new Boston-based venture, but as it turns out that is exactly how the company is getting off the ground.

“I did not set out to involve only women but the timing is incidental. …It wasn’t pre-planned,” she says. “It started out with creating a beautiful, more feminine sneaker for women who want a look that is effortlessly chic-whether she is a stay at home mom or business woman.”

Hassett was very clear at the beginning on what she wanted to create and why. Three and a half years ago she identified a void in the women’s shoe market for an attractive sneaker, one where women could have a shoe that actually transitions all day from casual to elegant without a hiccup in their wardrobe.

Once the idea for the shoe was in place, she built a team that would help her launch the new brand. Through a series of serendipitous introductions she found her designer, Mar Espanol of Shoe Girls Studio in Brooklyn, who introduced her to a woman-run, woman-owned factory, the marketing team Grier Park with Daniella Vollinger and Bianca Brown, and the creative/branding duo Dames, founded by Jemme Aldridge and Emilie Hawtin, who all happen to be very accomplished women.

The introductory selection of cocktail sneakers comes in white, black, navy, blush, and red and range in price from $195 to $225. They can be purchased online at CocktailSneakers.com and at a select number of boutiques on the East and West Coast.

“I feel like I am re-defining sneaker culture for women. Every woman should have a few great pairs of fashion sneakers–this is what we all want to wear. It will never take the place of a beautiful stiletto but the fact that you can put on an outfit now and go to a cocktail party or out to dinner, take off those heels without people looking at you and saying you’re wearing sneakers? No more. ”

So to all fashionistas, when you find yourself on your feet you can get there from here, even if your path is walking through Quincy Marketplace cobblestones, and still look like a perfect ten. 

 

 

 

 

 

Denzel Washington stars as Robert McCall in Columbia Pictures’ EQUALIZER 2.

By Anna Paula Goncalves

 

Denzel Washington does it again! In his first career sequel, Washington is back as the retired agent Robert McCall in “The Equalizer 2.” 

In addition to Washington, director Antoine Fuqua returned to helm EQ2 as did actors Melissa Leo and Bill Pullman. The film also features Pedro Pascal and Ashton Sanders. Talks of an “Equalizer” sequel started months before the 2014 release of the original. The film follows McCall (Washington) as he sets out “on a path of revenge after one of his friends is killed.”

“The Equalizer 2” opens in theaters nationwide on Friday, July 20, 2018.

Filming for EQ2 began in September 2017, with crews spotted in Union Park in Boston’s South End, the North Shore, including Lynn, Larz Anderson Park in Brookline, and Randolph and Marshfield.  In 2017, Darryl’s Corner Bar & Kitchen shared a post its Facebook page about EQ2 — with a photo of  Washington in the South End eatery.

Getting a chance to catch a sneak peek just a few days before the sequel arrives in theaters this Friday, I’ll say this much [without any spoilers, of course]:

Expect a thrilling, at the edge of your seat ride watching Washington reprise his role as the people’s hero. The character that we loved to love the first time around comes back just as vengeful and just as righteous – contradictory character traits that Denzel can genuinely and successful bridge with ease.

But if Washington isn’t enough of a reason for you to add him to your Friday night plans, I’d suggest you go for the eye candy; for the one that looks beautiful from every angle, day or night…

Yes, I’m referring to Boston! You may or may not geek out a little when recognizing some of our streets and neighborhoods on the big screen, but I am certain that you’ll appreciate it.

Actor Taylor John Smith at SDIFF Film Insider Series

Left Coast. La was honored to attend the San Diego International Film Festival’s VIP Film Insider Series featuring HBO’s new “Sharp Objects” starring Amy Adams, Patricia Clarkson and Taylor John Smith. The event was held at the  ArcLight Cinemas in San Diego, CA. 

Based on the book of the same name by The New York Times bestselling author Gillian Flynn (“Gone Girl,” “Dark Places”), “Sharp Objects” is an eight-episode series that tells the story of reporter Camille Preaker (Amy Adams) who “returns to her small hometown to cover the murders of two preteen girls. Trying to put together a psychological puzzle from her past, she finds herself identifying with the young victims a bit too closely,” according to HBO. In addition to Adams, Clarkson and Smith, the series features Chris Messina, Eliza Scanlen, Elizabeth Perkins and Matt Craven. It is directed by Jean-Marc Vallée from scripts by Marti Noxon and Flynn.

Heading into the theater no one knew what to expect, but by the end of the VIP preview the 200 person crowd was on the same page. This show is definitely a must see! “Sharp Objects” Premiers Sunday, July 8 at 9 p.m.
 
 

Tonya Mantooth, Taylor John Smith, Adam Loew

Kristian Forster, Careesa Campbell, Managing Director of Maserati & Ferrari San Diego, Vicky Carlson

PHOTO BY STEVEN TACKEFF

 

LINCOLN, R.I. — Even after 50 years of touring, Tower of Power certainly comes to play.

Playing many songs from their new album Soul Side of Town including crowd participation in “Stop It” with new lead singer Marcus Scott. Original members Emilio Castillo, Francis Rocco Prestia, Stephen “Doc” Kupka and David Garabaldi played with as much energy and perfection as I remember back in the ’70s. With the crowd on their feet for many of the songs including “It’s not the Crime,” “Your Still a Young Man” and “School Boy Crush” Tower of Power had the crowd singing along with the band most of the way. Long time fans got what they were looking for in Towers megahit “What is Hip” at the end of the show.

Coming out for two encore songs Tower did not disappoint a person in the full house at the Twin River Casino in Lincoln, RI. 

Before Tower of Power took the stage, the audience was treated some good old-time funk and soul music from the Average White Band, which performed many of their hits including their signature  “Cut the Cake.” As a opening they certainly got the crowd up and dancing and ready for Tower of Power. 

REVIEW AND PHOTOGRAPHS BY STEVEN TACKEFF

 

   

    

 

BARRY WETCHER/WARNER BROS.
Mindy Kaling (third from left) in the recently released “Ocean’s 8” with (from left) Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Sarah Paulson, Awkwafina, Anne Hathaway, Rihanna, and Helena Bonham Carter.

 

LOS ANGELES — The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (the Oscars people) has invited Kendrick Lamar, J.K. Rowling, and Audra McDonald among the 928 actors, writers, casting directors and others both in front of and behind the camera to join its growing membership. Today’s move comes as the Academy is trying to diversify its ranks. 

This year’s record-number of new members invited tops 2017 with a previous record of 774 new members and that of 2016 when 683 new members were invited, according to Variety

Among those invited to join the Academy today are several with Boston and New England ties including actors Cambridge native Mindy Kaling, who graduated from Buckingham, Browne & Nichols; Medford native Julianne Nicholson; and  Sarah Silverman, who hails from New Hampshire. Invitees from the casting branch includes Sheila Jaffe, whose work on the Oscar-winning “The Fighter,” which starred Mark Wahlberg as  boxer “Irish” Micky Ward, is among her enviable list of credits. 

“The expansion of Academy membership to more than 8,200 stems from an ongoing effort to diversify its ranks following uproar over the lack of African-American nominees in 2015 and 2016, which culminated in  2016’s #OscarsSoWhite controversy,” Variety wrote. 

 

LOS ANGELES – L.A. Live, the entertainment complex with a 40,000-square-foot, open-air plaza that features giant LED screens as well as a red-carpet site for special events, celebrated its 10th anniversary on June 8 in Microsoft Square.

A press conference, hosted by ESPN co-anchors Neil Everett and Stan Verret, kicked-off the festivities while the chemistry between the two filled the outside space with positive energy.

 

Neil and Stan introduced us to the friends and driving forces behind L.A. Live, which includes Dan Beckerman, president and CEO of AEG; Lee Zeidman, president of Staples Center and L.A. Live; Curren D. Price Jr., 9th District Council Member of Los Angeles; Luke Walton, head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers; chef/restauranteur Wolfgang Puck; and Luc Robitaille, president of the Los Angeles Kings.

The press conference concluded with a special performance by the Conga Room Foundation’s “Conga Kids.” Once the Conga Kids were done wiggling their little hips to “Hound Dog” by Elvis Presley, Wolfgang Puck surprised us with the grand finale—a three-foot tall, tiered birthday cake designed especially for the occasion.

Later that evening, L.A. Live transformed into the ultimate anniversary celebration called “Dark Nights Birthday Edition” sponsored by Absolut Vodka. The celebration reflected the name of the location “LIVE” with outstanding performances including Weekend Celebrity, Ryan & Liz Dueling Pianos, and Phobik Vyal.

For the past 10 years L.A. Live has hosted more than 204 million guests and 15,000 events, including 93 award shows, 125 movie premieres, 1,700 sporting events, and more than 2,000 concerts and live events so it’s no secret why L.A. Live is Los Angeles premier sports and entertainment district.

Happy Birthday LA Live and we at LeftCoast.LA wish you many more!

 

 

 

 

 

 

We asked photographer Steven Tackeff to select some of his favorite images from the summer radio station concerts that are always a tough ticket in Boston, New York and Los Angeles. Steve picked some of his favorites from Kiss 108’s annual concert, including Alanis Morissette, Gwen Stefani, Britney Spears, Ricky Martin, and Lenny Kravitz.

 

IMAGES BY STEVEN TACKEFF

 

When the news broke on Tuesday that trailblazing fashion genius Kate Spade had died the reaction was immediate.

Locally, public relations veteran Chris Haynes, who like so many was caught off-guard by the 55-year-old Spade’s apparent suicide, posted on line of his shock and sadness. For Haynes it was personal. He oversaw the 1999 opening party for Spade’s Newbury Street boutique while working directly with Spade and her husband, Andy.

As outlets around the world looked for photographs to accompany the stories, many chose the image from the now-defunct Stuff@Night of Spade in Boston in front of a wall of her most colorful handbags. “Out of the millions of Kate Spade photos out there in the Universe, Getty Images shared three pictures and SOMEHOW one of them is from our Boston store opening,” Haynes wrote.

Boston Fashion Week founder and executive director Jay Calderin posted a simple black and white photo of Spade taken by Thomas Iannaccone with a Wendy Mass quote: “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” Kate Spade (December 24, 1962 – June 5, 2018)

Styleboston’s Tonya Mezrich wrote up a piece outlining her thoughts on Spade’s passing. (And we got her to let us use some of photographs of her with Spade bags.)

From Mezrich:

“RIP Kate Spade. Your life was, oh, too short. Your whimsical designs gave my husband something to look forward to when choosing gifts for the various holidays: birthdays, Valentine’s Day, Christmas, Chanukah, you name it. I think my first bag of yours was the pink T-Rex. Who buys dinosaurs for their wives? He saw it in the store and insisted on getting it. It brightened so many peoples’ day each time I wore it to an event—the Hot Pink Party, Valentine’s day, there were so many occasions for a fierce pink T-Rex to attend.

Photo by Michael Blanchard

“My list does not end there. A Russian nesting doll hardwood clutch made its way into my collection, too. A Russian name that I cannot pronounce and do not even attempt to, but indeed a whimsical nesting purse with a little doll pouch inside as well in typical Russian nesting fashion. Kate, oh, Kate you were so creative. But my favorite of all your bags is the limited-edition wicker gator. He scared many a diner as we sat al fresco in Miami eating dinner at Michael’s Genuine. Those Floridians are so used to seeing gators, I was surprised he made one yell sitting upon a side table at the outdoor patio, peeking his head out of the nearby shrubs.

“You will not be forgotten. You got your last name from the brother of comedian David Spade, I didn’t know this until now, but to me you were your own spade, a jack of all trades and one that will be sorely missed.”

**Be sure to tune in to Tonya’s new tv series “On The Red Carpet” on NESN Sat/Sun night at 11:30 pm.

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Reggae artist Konshens

Monday, May 28th the UCLA Cultural Affairs Commision celebrated the 32nd anniversary of their annual Jazz Reggae Festival. The festival was held at the UCLA Sunset Recreational Center and sponsored by Coca-Cola and Playfull. There were live performances from Half Pint, Charlotte Day Wilson, Sahara Grim, Jamila Woods, Global Soul Collective and an amazing performance by headliner Konshens and the Submachine band. In between acts, DJ, QBwoy was spinning the hottest tunes in hip-hop reggae and top 40’s while the crowd sang along.

 

The food vendors had their work cut out for them but they handled the large crowd gracefully. My two favorite vendors were “Flavors of East Africa” and “Unforgettable Lemonade” the combination of the two was to die for. We also visited the craft booths where we got a chance to talk to Ronnie Skin Care Daddy, the founder of LosAngelesOilsAndButters.com. Ronnie had a lot of products containing black seed oil, which happens to be an immune system booster that I am obsessed with.

The Jazz Reggae Festival launched in 1986. Throughout the years the JRF has brought in many respected artists such as Erykah Badu, The Roots, Damian Marley, Common, and many more. The JRF always strives to create a cohesive and welcoming space for students and the greater Los Angeles community. This year LeftCoast.LA was there and it didn’t take us long to feel at home. Between the spot-on staff and the lively crowd there was not one ingredient missing! This event was cooked to perfection.

 

MC Sloan-7th generation descendant of Toussaint Louverture

Coming from the East Coast, I did not know what to expect when it came to Haitian Flag celebrations in Los Angeles. I was born in Jacmel, my father is from there and my mother is from Port-de-Paix, so I think that qualifies me as 100% Haitian but this Haitian had never been to a flag celebration like this one before.  I have to say this festival did not disappoint! Premier Event Promotion Services did an amazing job putting together this Haitian Heritage festival and they locked down Leimert Park in Los Angeles with good food, live music and positive vibes.

One of the highlights of the concert had to be artist MC Sloan, who is a 7th generation relative to Toussaint Louverture, arguably one of the biggest names in Haitian history. Because of Toussaint’s resilience and ability to lead Haiti, he successfully defeated colonialism and slavery. Another nod to history was delivered by MC Sloan, who did an outstanding with a brief lesson reminding us of where we came from and where we need to be today. Alongside all the beautiful West Indian faces we saw that night were countless numbers of supporters from the American and African American community.

The host, Mr. Haiti, kept us on our toes and grinning as we saw live performances from MC Romane Simon, a respected film producer in Los Angeles, Mr Surprise, a Reggae artist for the soul; my favorite tune of his is “Send no Gun”, Hip Hop artist Lil Litty, who had me craving Lemonade Juice by the end of his set, Theresa King, who relaxed us with her vocals and Pickleez California’s go-to Haitian band.
It’s safe to say we can’t wait to see what else P.E.P.S.LA has up their sleeves…stick with LeftCoast.LA for all things LA!

ARTIST CAROLINE GEYS

 
 
I have to share with you the amazing! and captivating experience we had at the Future, Light and Space event planned by media company Standard Vision. If you were there on Thursday, May 17th between 7 pm – 11 pm you were among the lucky sipping cocktails on the patio at the Yard House. The location couldn’t be better for an art show- it had a killer view of the four story high SVLA1 Screen on Marriott Courtyard LA and as we sampled some oh so good wine we took in the amazing art in front of us.
 
The event is a program of other-worldly animations and eye-popping graphics abstractions that did more than just mesmerize our mind, it captivated our soul too. The artist spotlight was on Belgian designer Caroline Geys,  a multi-media artist with a strong focus on color- she did not disappoint and the artworks and animation left you delighted and craving more. Other notable artists, whose works were on display that day, were NYC and LA-based artists, FLOAT, Shane Griffin, Superficial Studio and Nate Makuch. They brought their best to the event and to our delight, every single one was worth it, they were exactly what one needs to be reassured that the beauty of life never fades.We had so much fun, the arts were bewitching and entertaining as it drew pedestrians from everywhere to it. There was no other choice but to stop and absorb the beauty on display that day.
 
We had the privilege to interact with Mark Escribano, executive producer of Standard Vision, and he explained how the arts were hand-picked by Pitch Studios. Watch the video to see some of these inspirational images.
 
 

It is here! “Deadpool 2″ is upon us. Another superhero Marvel movie that we’ve all been waiting for. The theaters will be brought to life again this Friday with this amazing sequel that critics are saying is better than the first. What else did we find amazing?  The” Deadpool 2″ Theme Bar Pop-Up experience that we attended, brought to us by Mike’s Harder and the Downtown Los Angeles Film Festival, was an adventure to be talked about, an event not to be missed, and certainly the best pop up scene on this side of the globe. Check out my video “Leftcoastla hits Deadpool2″

It really has never felt this good. A Bar Pop-Up experience that’s far better than what you would expect from a normal Marvel show. Oh… Wait! ‘Far better’ is actually not good enough to describe what the pop-up experience party felt like. Saturday, May 12th will be a day to remember for every Marvel fan in LA, and it all went down in style as the actors stayed in character. It was so real and gave fans a feel of what the movie will be like, and now everyone is talking about “Deadpool 2”.

Aside from the free drinks and chimichangas that were available, the fun was unstoppable as the DJ kept dishing out all the latest tracks. Now the expectation has been created. The anticipation is sky high. Every Marvel fan in attendance can’t wait to rock and roll-if this is not the real deal, then we wonder what is! Kudos to Marvel for not disappointing us.  So what are you waiting for? May 18th is just around the corner. “Deadpool 2” is here. Grab a bucket of popcorn, pick up your tickets and join in the fever. Let’s journey together.

Recently I had the opportunity to sit down in LA for a lively chat with the Massachusetts-based entrepreneur and level III Reiki Master Practitioner, Farah Andre. Reiki  healing has been practiced for decades on the West Coast but the East Coast has been slow to embrace it.

Farah is working to change that perception. A registered nurse with a Bachelors of Nursing degree from Labouré College, she is a believer and is in LA to talk to experts about the best ways to bring this practice to Boston. She touched on her background and shared some insights on her work encouraging people, especially from the black community, to adopt the benefits of Reiki to recognize and remedy core spiritual wounds which, when left untended to, affect their general wellness.

Check out our one on one interview with Farah Andre.

Reiki is a system of healing used for stress reduction and relaxation that also promotes healing on all levels; physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. The word Reiki is from a Japanese word meaning universal life force or energy.

According to Farah, Reiki is really about energy and meditation. It is an elevation cleansing of the body, mind, soul, cos, where everything is interconnected.

“It is about finding what your true life purpose is. It is about guiding you and letting go of things that no longer benefit you so you can prosper.”

She explains that Reiki is a stress reliever and excellent for achieving homeostasis for people suffering the effect of external stressors such as school, work or family. Many health issues like hypertension or high blood pressure, eczema, etc. are often a result of our body reacting to these external stressors.

Farah, who is part of the Black Nurses Rock New England, also talked about plans to partner with a number of NBA teams to see how Reiki can benefit the performance of basketball players in their game and practice sessions, especially for players who have suffered anxiety and panic attacks in the past.

Despite her accomplishments and list of achievements, Farah remains humble and grounded and a lot of fun to be with. She explains that she likes to keep it “quiet” even as she steadily climbs the ladder of success.

For now, Farah continues to support patients in healthcare settings while offering Reiki treatments through her woman and minority-owned business, Endless Konnections.

For more information on Reiki contact Farah at www.endlesskonnections.com.    

 

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