Wednesday, February 15, 2017

The Grammy Museum's Hawaiian Music MELE MEI Exhibit through April 2, 2017

Photos by Karen Ostlund

Now on display on the Museum’s fourth floor through April 2, 2017, We Are Friends: A Lifetime Party of ’70s Hawaiian Music will explore the period of renewed Hawaiian cultural awareness and the enormous impact of Hawaiian music and recording industry in the ’70s. 
Grammy Museum new exhibit: suitcase of Cecilia Kapono tour manager Johnny Isara, 1970
Mele Mei performers:Bobby Moderow Jr, Frank Hewett, Kalapana, Henry Kapono, Johnny Valentine, Blayne Asing and Alx Kawakami

LOS ANGELES – Last Feb. 8, 2017, for the second consecutive year, the GRAMMY Museum® celebrated the rich cultural heritage of Hawaii’s music and kick off Mele Mei 2017 with a special evening titled We Are Friends: A Lifetime Party of ’70s Hawaiian Music. The event was held in conjunction with the opening of the Museum’s new fourth-floor exhibit of the same name and will feature performances by renowned Hawaiian artists and musicians.
Grammy winner KALANI PE'A performed  

  “From the ukulele to the steel string guitar, folk music to modern rock and even hip-hop, the music of Hawaii continues to hold a singular place in popular culture,” said Scott Goldman, Vice President of the GRAMMY Foundation and MusiCares, who also played a large role in developing the exhibit through writing and research. “The artifacts that will be on display in the exhibit really place a much-deserved spotlight on the music of the “Hawaiian Renaissance” of the 1970s. I’m confident that even the most seasoned Hawaii music fans will learn something new.”

“It’s a true honor seeing the history and culture of Hawaiian music come to life in our space here at the GRAMMY Museum,” said Chris Morrison, GRAMMY Museum Traveling Exhibits Manager who also played a role in curating the exhibit. “Our partnership with Outrigger Resorts has given us the opportunity to introduce our Los Angeles audience to Hawaiian music history, while also helping support Hawaii’s Mele Mei event for two years in a row now. Shining this year’s spotlight on the legendary Henry Kapono will make every day feel like a Sunday at Duke’s, right here in downtown L.A.”
The second GRAMMY Museum exhibit to celebrate Hawaii’s musical history, We Are Friends serves as the official kickoff of the Mele Mei 2017 celebration in Hawaii.

Opening day concert in the GRAMMY Museum’s Clive Davis Theater was hosted by Billy V. and featuring performances by GRAMMY®-nominated artist Henry Kapono, as well as Johnny Valentine, Alx Kawakami, Blayne Asing, Malani Bilyeu, Gaylord Holomalia and GRAMMY nominee Kalani Pe'a who 4 days later won the #GRAMMY for "Best Regional Roots Music Album" at Staples Center.

“Mele Mei and the GRAMMY Museum are celebrating a golden era of Hawaiian music and the influential artists who helped inspire the renaissance of Hawaiian culture during that period,” said George D. Szigeti, president and CEO of the Hawaii Tourism Authority. “Anyone who enjoys Hawaiian music will appreciate seeing this exhibit in Los Angeles and learning about the proud legacy of artists who have touched the hearts of people for generations.”

The leading artists in this renaissance of Hawaiian music included Cecilio and Kapono, Kalapana, Country Comfort, Olomana, Sunday Manoa, Hui Ohana, Gabby, Sons of Hawaii, and Keola and Kapono Beamer.

Mele Mei (Music May) is a month-long celebration of Hawaii’s music, hula and culture. Music and hula events are at various hotels, venues, on the beach and statewide. Enjoy ukulele to steel guitar, traditional Hawaiian music to slack key, island reggae to rock — and everything in between. To learn more visit
“Hawaiian music and culture are the heartbeat of Outrigger Resorts. As the presenting sponsor of Mele Mei in L.A., Outrigger is proud to partner with the GRAMMY Museum, AEG, HARA and HTA among many others, to bring this event to life,” said Sean Dee, executive vice president and chief marketing officer for Outrigger Enterprises Group. “This event is one note in our ongoing track to help perpetuate Hawaiian music and a fun way to display our appreciation for the talents of all of the world-class musicians participating this year.”
“The Hawaii Academy of Recording Arts (HARA) is thrilled to return to such a special place in the music world — the GRAMMY Museum — to celebrate the launch of Mele Mei with Mele Mei in LA,” said Pali Ka’aihue, Hawaii Academy of Recording Arts president. “We look forward to sharing the beautiful tradition of Hawaiian music with music lovers from Los Angeles and around the world.”
We Are Friends: A Lifetime Party of ’70s Hawaiian Music and the coinciding Mele Mei In L.A. event are made possible by the support of the Hawaii Tourism Authority, Hawaii Academy of Recording Arts, Outrigger Hotels and Resorts, Delta Vacations, Northstar Travel Group, Waikiki Beach Walk®, Yasuda International, Duke’s Malibu, Duke’s Huntington Beach, Blue Note Hawaii, Oahu Visitors Bureau, Innovative Networking Group, and AEG Facilities.

Featuring dozens of performances throughout the Hawaiian Islands, Mele Mei provides both residents and visitors from around the world a chance to immerse themselves in the islands’ local music and culture. The annual event features an impressive schedule of artists and industry icons at various hotels and venues statewide with entertainment from ukulele and steel guitar to traditional Hawaiian music and hula. For more information on Mele Mei please visit
You can also follow Mele Mei on Facebook at, on Twitter at, and on Instagram at

Whole Planet's Pre-Grammy Benefit 2017 at Nightclub OHM in Hollywood

Photos by Karen Ostlund
La Santa Cecilia
Last Thursday, Feb. 9, 2017, Whole Planet Foundation, Clamorhouse and other valued partners honored Olowo-n'djo Tchala and Prairie Rose Hyde, co-founders of Alaffia, for alleviating poverty in Togo and around the globe.
 The celebration took place at Whole Planet Foundation's biennial pre-GRAMMY benefit, which was  held at OHM Nightclub in Los Angeles.
The Reluctant Apostles featuring Katey Sagal and Chris Assaa
Jessica Childress
GRAMMY-nominated artists  La Santa Cecilia, and Rene Marie performed at the benefit along with Jessica Childress, The Reluctant Apostles featuring Katey Sagal, Chris Assaad and Givers and Takers. Celebrity hosts included drummer/producer Vince Wilburn Jr. (Miles Davis Estate).
Alaffia, an organization based in Olympia, WA, empowers West African communities to become sustainable through the fair trade of indigenous resources and the sale of handcrafted body care products. Olowo-n'djo and Rose encourage empowerment through Alaffia's community projects, women's cooperatives, education, and involvement in their local communities.
Whole Planet's buffet, vegan and organic
Since 2006, Alaffia has funded 4,463 births, planted 57,575 trees, donated 7,482 bicycles to Togolese students, built ten schools, and provided school supplies to 32,842 students. "The only things that are certain is that my life will be forever sacrificed for the empowerment of all disadvantaged people, and that even if Alaffia was to disappear today from the face of the earth, the support and the opportunities that each and every one of you have given us over the years has profoundly impacted my communities for generations to come," said Olowo-n'djo Tchala, co-founder.

Alaffia is a top donor to Whole Planet Foundation's global microfinance programs in 69 countries including Togo and the United States, "Given the first average developing world loan size of $184, Alaffia's donation of $200,000 to the Foundation has created more than 5,775 opportunities for impoverished entrepreneurs and their family members to live a better life.

Olowo-n'djo Tchala and Prairie Rose Hyde, co-founders of Alaffia
 "We are proud to honor Alaffia for their trailblazing impact in Olowo-n'djo's native Togo and abroad, and to be joined by this year's generous event sponsors like truRoots to raise funds for global poverty alleviation," said Joy Stoddard, executive development and outreach director of Whole Planet Foundation.
Proceeds from the evening went directly to Whole Planet Foundation, a Whole Foods Market non-profit, to fund microcredit loans to provide the world's poorest entrepreneurs with the opportunity to create home-based businesses for the chance to lift themselves and their families out of poverty. To date, Whole Planet Foundation has disbursed $61 million in micro-lending programs, funding 1.75 million micro-credit loans for micro-entrepreneurs, 88%women, in 69 countries.
Sambazon Acai shakes

The event was supported by Presenting Sponsor truRoots and Community Leader Sambazon. Foundation Partners were BluePrint Organic, Cedar's Mediterranean Foods, City National Bank, Saffron Road, SeaSnax, Lifeway Kefir, Lily's Sweets, PopChips, prAna, and VOSS Water.
Event Supporters included Coyo, Harmless Harvest, Health-Ade Kombucha, Justin's, KeVita Sparkling Probiotic Drinks, NadaMoo, Playing for Change Foundation, Rishi Tea and Volvic.
Whole Planet's Drink Menu

 Event Contributors included Cabo Chips, Castor & Pollux, Doctor Kracker, Greyston Bakery, Heavenly Organics, KIND Bar, Madécasse Chocolate, MS Event Production, Navitas Naturals, Papyrus-Recycled Greetings, Planet LA Records, Purely Elizabeth, Putumayo, Rhythm Superfoods, Scarlette Bartending and The Seaweed Bath Co.
Nada moo! frozen yoghurt

Lifeway frozen Kefir float

Sunday, February 12, 2017

LACMA's Exhibit "Future Present" by Artist Moholy-Nagy, Feb.12-June 18, 2017

The “Future Present” Moholy-Nagy retrospective opened today, February 12th in L.A. 

The exhibition will be at LACMA through June 18, 2017.
Photos by Karen Ostlund 
Co-organized by LACMA, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, and the Art Institute of Chicago.
 Moholy’s works, including Room of the Present, in LACMA’s Moholy-Nagy: Future Present from February 12 through June 18, 2017. The first comprehensive retrospective of the artist’s work to be seen in the United States in nearly 50 years, the exhibition includes approximately 300 works, some never before shown publicly.
Co-organized by LACMA, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, and the Art Institute of Chicago, the exhibition has already visited the other venues in the last year before moving to Los Angeles for its only West Coast appearance. Michael Govan, LACMA’s CEO and Wallis Annenberg Director, pointed out that the exhibit looked different in and was reinvented for each venue.
Early years: Radio and Railway Landscapes 1920
 “Moholy-Nagy: Future Present,” a comprehensive retrospective of the work and legacy of artist and educator László Moholy-Nagy (1895–1946), opened today Sunday, Feb. 12, at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). The vast accumulation of works created by the pioneering painter, photographer, sculptor, designer, and filmmaker illustrates how he used new technologies, techniques, and ideas to transform art in the first half of the 20th Century.

Moholy-Nagy's work in advertisment in mens clothing 1932
At first glance, some of Moholy-Nagy’s work seems routine now, such as his advertising graphic work and Plexiglas sculptures. Then, a quick glimpse at the dates when the works were created facilitates an understanding that the work was truly cutting edge and avant-garde, and had great influence on artists since then.

“Moholy’s goal throughout his life was to integrate art, technology, and education for the betterment of humanity; he believed art should serve a public purpose,” said Carol S. Eliel, the exhibition curator from LACMA. “These goals defined the artist’s utopian vision, a vision that remained as constant as his fascination with light, throughout the many material changes in his oeuvre.
Photo-montages by Moholy-Nagy
One of the most versatile of the 20th century artists, Moholy-Nagy grew up in Hungary. He left his law studies at the University of Budapest to serve in World War I. He began drawing during the war. After his discharge, Moholy-Nagy took up art and became involved with many of the era’s art movements, including Cubism, Futurism, Dada, experimental photography, early Minimalism, and more. The artist lived briefly in Vienna, before settling in Berlin in 1920. With the 1934 rise of Nazism, Moholy-Nagy moved with his family to Amsterdam, then London. Then, in 1937, the artist accepted an invitation to found a design school in Chicago, Ill., and he lived in Chicago until his death in 1946.

The exhibit changes from room to room reflect how Moholy-Nagy’s interest in one art form.  Visitors move along with the artist’s career, from his earliest days in Hungary to the Bauhaus in Germany (1923–28), other work in Europe, and final years in Chicago (1937–46).

A lot of Moholy-Nagy advertising pieces, graphics designs, and photomontages are collages employing a kaleidoscope of carefully chosen imagery. There are a considerable number of photomontages in the exhibit; many offer satirical narratives piecing together the images assembled.
Three of five works he did called “Construction in Enamel,” but are more commonly known as his “telephone paintings,” are included here, and presented side by side.
“Room of the Present” is based on plans and correspondence dating back to 1930.
 The immersive chamber features sculpture, posters, film, and industrial design elements.
Moholy-Nagy’s kinetic “Light Prop for an Electric Stage (1930)

“Vertical Black, Red, Blue,” a 1945 sculpture in LACMA’s collection. The plexiglas is incised with an intricate pattern and painted the named colors in places.
Nickel sculpture with spiral, 1921

Graphic designs are shown from various phases of his career. The show includes advertising lithographs for the London Underground in 1936 and 1937 that reflect his interest in typography, motion, and geometric objects. Geometric forms, circles and diagonals in particular—are commonly used in various pieces.
László Moholy-Nagy (1895–1946) was an artist and educator who strove to make images and ideas accessible to the broadest possible public, would no doubt take great advantage of all these platforms were he alive today. One of the most versatile figures of the twentieth-century avant-garde, he was a brilliant and restless experimenter who ardently believed in the potential of art as a vehicle for social transformation and in the value of new technologies in harnessing that potential.
László Moholy-Nagy, Photograph (Self-Portrait with Hand), 1925/29, printed 1940/49, Galerie Berinson, Berlin, © 2017 Hattula Moholy-Nagy/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn

Born in rural Hungary in 1895, Moholy lived and worked, over the course of his career, in Budapest, Vienna, and Berlin; at the Bauhaus in Weimar and Dessau; and in Amsterdam, London, and Chicago. A desire to expand his artistic horizons led to his early geographic relocations, while his later moves were the result of the rise of Hitler and National Socialism in the 1930s. Moholy’s work was collected and exhibited internationally during his lifetime, and his writings, often pedagogical, were widely published and translated.

Moholy  pursued law studies at the University of Budapest but left after two years, in 1915, to serve as an artillery officer in the Austro-Hungarian army during World War I. He began drawing while on the war front, depicting its bruised landscapes and devastated figures. He got wounded in 1917 and convalesced in Budapest, writing for the city’s avant-garde publications. Moholy remained there after his discharge in 1918 to focus on painting, and was soon drawn to the cutting-edge art movements of the period, including Cubism and Futurism. Moholy moved to Vienna in 1919 before settling in Berlin in 1920, where he served as a correspondent for the progressive Hungarian magazine MA.
Moholy -Nago 1927
 The letters and glyphs of Dada informed Moholy’s visual art around 1920 while the hard-edged geometries and utopian goals of Russian Constructiveness influenced his initial forays into abstraction shortly thereafter, particularly works that explore the interaction among colored planes, diagonals, circles, and other geometric forms. By the early 1920s Moholy had gained a reputation as an innovative artist and perceptive theorist through exhibitions at Berlin’s radical Galerie Der Sturm as well as his writings. “Production-Reproduction” (published in 1922), for example, illuminates the notion of iteration and reiteration in various media as a means to “produce new, as yet unfamiliar relationships.”
Photogram 1926 Moholy
 Moholy described his geometric abstractions as a “glass architecture” of simple, minimal forms, embodying light and transparency and intended to manifest a utopian society. In his attempt to envision the new, Moholy increasingly worked with industrial materials including metals and plastics. Going one step further, Moholy’s 1923 “telephone paintings” were not made by his own hand but rather fabricated by an industrial manufacturer; Moholy thereby set a precedent for later generations of artists from John Baldessari to Jeff
Moholy: Space Modular 1942

Moholy: Plexiglas and steel, Twisted Planes

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Recap of Photographer Chris Cuffaro's GREATEST HITS & Future Projects

Photos & story by Karen Ostlund
(left) Gibson rep. pointing at Chris Cuffaro
 GREATEST HITS, the premiere art retrospective, photography exhibition & auction with live music celebrating the work of Los Angeles photographer Chris Cuffaro, opened in West Hollywood last Thursday, February 2nd  at Gibson Brands in West Hollywood (8801 Sunset Blvd, former Tower Records space).

The GREATEST HITS show featured over sixty different photographs fifteen, large 60x60 photographs as well as over-sixty 24x24 images in limited and numbered quantities including: Alice in Chains, Bad Brains, Ben Harper, Brian Wilson, Chris Cornell, Eddie Vedder, Elvis Costello, Fiona Apple, George Harrison, George Michael, Gwen Stefani, Henry Rollins, Ice Cube, Ice-T, Iggy Pop, INXS, Jackson Browne, Jane's Addiction, John Lydon, Nick Cave, Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Eddie Vedder, Phil Collins, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Slash, Social Distortion, Soundgarden, Steve Jones, Terence Trent D'Arby, The Afghan Whigs, The Game, Tommy Lee, White Zombie and Willie Nelson
Opening act by Particle
The night's musical performances featured upcoming LA artists: Givers & Takers, Josh Todd, Lauren Ruth Ward, Particle, The Palms, DJ's Fred Sablan and Jeordie White. 
100% of the proceeds from artwork sales for GREATEST HITS went to the Sweet Relief Musicians Fund, a charity providing financial assistance to all types of career musicians who are struggling to make ends meet while facing illness, disability or age-related problems.
Cuffaro's George Michael portraits
The first exhibition of Cuffaro's
photography was held in Los Angeles in 1992, composed of 31 photographs.In 2011, his portraits of late lead-vocal Michael Hutchence and INXS were exhibited in London:"Michael Hutchence & INXS: Rare & Unseen by Chris Cuffaro”. It was held at the Gallery Soho.

"I have intention to do a similar exhibit for George Michael here in Los Angeles, said Chris  "Only four photos of George Micheal are featured in my GREATEST HITS auction-exhibit". 
Singer George Michael died Christmas Day 2016 of heart failure.
Cuffaro continued: "I am also working on a documentary with help of the managers behind my photographed artists. It will feature footage of myself and talents, the last 30 years as a photographer"  
 Chris Cuffano is best known for his portraits of musicians, and he was closely associated with the Seattle rock scene of the early 1990s, and frequently photographed artists including Nirvana and Pearl Jam. He directed the first black-and-white video Jeremy for the Pearl Jam song “Jeremy" in 1991. Cuffaro and lead-vocal Eddie Vedder from Pearl Jam became friends, but the label ultimately shelved the black-and-white video, and instead commissioning a more commercial video when "Jeremy" was released as a single.

At Gibson Brands in West Hollywood. Chris Cuffaro's GREATEST HITS, Feb.2nd 2017
Re-Mixed Bakery, Vegan & Gluten-free cookies
Chris Cuffaro's Greatest Hits Drink menu

Gibson Custom Guitars on the wall

Friday, February 3, 2017

SUE WONG Launches International Brand Of Boutique Hotels

Photos by Karen Ostlund
Designer Sue Wong with her models in Malibu ARTHAUS
Last Sunday, January 29th 2017, renowned celebrity fashion designer Sue Wong hosted a brunch celebration at ARTHAUS, her seaside off PCH Malibu home. An artful, soaring loft-like gallery residence overlooking the Pacific which houses her extensive collection of Modern Art.
The celebration announced the genesis of the SUE WONG brand of international Boutique Hotels and interior design.
Her models showed her most classic gowns over the last ten years."I envision the SUE WONG brand of International Hotels to carry my usual panache of signature haute style and glamour", she said.
(Center) Sue Wong with rocker Imran Raza

"I am very excited and pleased to announce the new franchise of SUE WONG Boutique Hotels. I envision the SUE WONG brand of International Hotels to carry my usual panache of signature haute style and glamour, while offering a sense of relaxation and renewal to upscale international guests. Dana Blanchard is an experienced hotel developer who has a track record of 24 hotel projects behind him and will be working with me as an advisor on my projects. The new hotel franchise is based on the paradigm of my three homes representing Body, Mind and Spirit," said the critically acclaimed designer.

Coined as “Every Woman's Couturière,” Sue Wong expressed how she has many dreams yet to manifest. Being the quintessential Phoenix, she now finds herself poised on a threshold she calls her Third Phoenix Rising. The next most vibrant and exciting Third Chapter is the culmination of a stellar career, the embodiment of her well-respected, much loved epiphanous label of magnificent evening gowns and cocktail dresses, SUE WONG.

In addition to delivering a vision for the future of her brand, Sue Wong gave an impromptu retrospective Fashion Show with stunning looks culled from the SUE WONG archives worn by guest models Eugenia Kuzmina and Ava Capra of America's Next Top Model, who channeled glamour goddesses on the outdoor runway.
Bridal headpieces by designer Maritzia Regalado of Atzi Designs (2nd from left)
Stunning headpieces by Maritzia Regalado of Atzi Designs and the couture jewelry of PK Bijoux complimented the gorgeous gowns. Hair and Makeup was provided by Reyna Kalil, Luis Martinez and Carlos Zapata. D'Jesus Trujillo provided model casting and coaching.

Sue Wong's opening speech in garden
 Celebrity guests who attended the event included renown actress Jane Seymour, Alice Amter of the Big Bang Theory, actor/musician Ronn Moss (The Bold And The Beautiful) actresses Kate Linder and Jacqueline Murphy, Chris Pitman (Guns 'N Roses), actor John Blyth Barrymore, Latin actress Maria Conchito Alonso, iconic FOX News anchor Christine Devine, Sandro Monetti of CNN, actor Paul Michael Glaser of Starsky and Hutch, and Entertainment mogul, Larry Namer.
(left) Ronn Moss (The Bold And The Beautiful) with friends

Musical performances from stellar artists included vocalists Maria Elena Infantino, Melissa Lee Diehl, Jayme Claire, Shannan Rene Parks, Brit rocker Steve Cooke, avante-garde bassist Dordje Stijepovic, the incomparable John Walsh, aka Jawn Star and  talented Imran Raza of Sonic Astanga, who brought his band.

Sue has taken fashion into never-before-seen heights of couture excellence in the commercial arena. Her ground-breaking acumen and high excellence in the pantheon of design affords her the luxury in applying her collective artistic sensibilities to multiple genres. She continues to be the proven Alchemist, expanding her artistic canvas into licensing modalities for Fashion, Home, Lifestyle and Interiors. Sue's core Fashion signature style of haute glamour and romantic vintage aesthetics embodies an odyssey of seduction, sensuality, and femininity that invokes and awakens the Goddess within each woman.
Living room design Sue Wong ARTHAUS in Malibu

Breakfast bacon-egg burgers by Hollywood Burger
Sponsors for the event included Purple Haze Liqueur, Hollywood Burger, Rejirderlig Cider, Sol and Luna, Burgerim, and Aqua Carpatica.
Sue Wong favorite, 1920's flapper dress

Maria Elena Infantini sang Italian opera

British rocker Steve Cooke performed among many

Sue Wong's ARTHAUS bedroom design
Guests in garden of Sue Wong's ARTHAUS in Malibu
John Walsh performed at Sue Wong's ARTHAUS Malibu