2015 – The Year End Shout Out

It’s been quite the year – creativity has flourished, and continues to thrive.  People embarked on projects that materialized, and have been inspired to keep moving forward.

Loved ones passed on.

New friends were gained.

Saint Augustine said, “Since love grows within you, so beauty grows. For love is the beauty of the soul.”

What can feed your soul better than the arts? Well, love. To follow your passion, your desires and your dreams, that’s all love.

To have people come together, to inspire and be inspired is just as exhilarating.

Some favorite moments of 2015 have included visiting artists Alexandra Grant (her new book with Keanu Reeves is due out in March) and Scooter LaForge in New York – congrats to his solo art show in the Big Apple! (www.alexandragrant.com and http://scooterlaforge.tumblr.com)

The Broad Museum opened Downtown Los Angeles (a collection of contemporary art work with free admission – www.thebroad.org)! It is so worth the visit!

The Los Angeles Opera had a wonderful season – with Moby Dick being a favorite.

Both the Alvin Ailey Dance Company and the Martha Graham Dance Company performed in the LA area, and neither one disappointed.

YoYo Ma made a rare appearance for a fundraiser for the Valley Performing Arts Center in Northridge. To watch him become as one with his cello was truly mesmerizing.

If you enjoy chamber music, Le Salon de Musiques is an ongoing series of intimate performances at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. It is a beautiful experience. (www.lesalondemusiques.com)

And even though the theater community in Los Angeles has been fighting an ongoing battle with its own union, theater still thrives. The opportunity to see original works presents itself regularly. A few personal shout outs for local theater go to David Svengalis for writing and directing The Load In; to Linda Nile who was in the original musical Renewal: A Musical Odyssey written by Michael Antin (who also wrote the lyrics and music); to Kelly Goodman who was in the original play Inhale Harmonica written by Nathan Wellman; to Suzanne Mayes who was in the original musical Reunion (book, music and lyrics by Marc Ellis and Michael Lange); to Paul Surace for producing his first full length play The Homecoming; and to Nadege August who was the lead in my favorite play of the year — Sunset Baby, written by Dominque Morisseau.

There were many wonderful productions held this year. A few of my favorites were at the Whitefire Theater in Sherman Oaks. A big shout out to artistic director Bryan Rasmussen for keeping the Whitefire hot and happening, as well as to Jake O’Flaherty who produces many of the Shorts series. (www.whitefiretheater.com)

Original writing also made its way to the front of the camera! Keep an eye out for:

Chipster written by Rafael Agustin and directed by Mark Columbus
Last Life season 2
! written, directed and produced by Kathy DiStefano and Elesha Barnette
The Enigma of Being Awake written and directed by Emmeline Kim
Steps written and directed by Fernando Sanchez and Pascual Sisto
Home Video written and directed by Emmanuel Sandoval
Psychos! w
ritten and directed by Sandy Chukhadarian

And a special shout out to Thomas Granlin and Amy Hatfield for writing and directing KAMI.

Shonda Rhimes said it is the “Year of Yes.” She even wrote a book about it with the same name and discussed it in detail at USC as part of The Los Angeles’ Times “Ideas Exchange.” Rhimes is incredibly talented and intelligent (you only need to watch Gray’s Anatomy, Scandal and/or How to Get Away with Murder to figure that out). She is also a woman who knows how to set her boundaries.

Kathy Bates and Jessica Lange were part of The New York Times Look West series earlier this year. (See my earlier blog posted about the event!)

Denzel Washington spoke at the Wallis and Rachel Zoe talked to the Los Angeles chapter of Business Chicks – both in Beverly Hills. Sue Wong opened LA Fashion Week with her spring collection. The Sound of Music brought laughter and tears at the Ahmanson Theater; Sandy the dog was adorable in Annie at the Pantages; If/Then, also at the Pantages, was like watching the sequel to Rent (Idina Mendzel was brilliant in both); Bullets for Peace offered original art work and there were over a dozen productions of The Nutcracker in the Los Angeles area.

The heat sizzled in the summer, toasted up the autumn, and acquiesced to the cold just before Christmas. The drought still lingers in California, and promises of El Nino have gone rather silent.

There is still the ick in life that may never go away – turn on the news and you’ll see what I mean.

But… much more importantly, there is the beauty of life. No matter what’s happening, it is there.  It’s just a matter of allowing yourself to see it.

For 2016, may creativity thrive within you! May your life be filled with joy, love and laughter!

Life. It’s evocative. And it matters.

with love,

Sophia Louisa Lee

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