Film

The Marriage of Architecture and Dance

written by Robyn Wyman-dill

 

It’s Bastille week. When the flavors of France come out and dance in local bistros in celebration of Independence Day. Perhaps, it is the shared ideals of the French and American Revolutions and our common-colored flags – billowing in the wind with patriotic blue, white and red washes – that keep our French-American relationship evolving positively. And why the great portrait of Marquis Lafayette, a Frenchmen, has been hanging in the US House of Representatives chamber – since 1830. Over two centuries, the American-French cultural, historical and economic exchange has continued to get better.

Yes, indeed. The US has seen an immigration of the highest standard in terms of artistic enrichments from our French-speaking friends. Like Louisiana cuisine, Dijon mustard, French-trained chefs, exquisite French wines and Trader Joe’s pop-up sponges. While the lavendar fields of Provence cross the pond in soaps and fragances, the Tournées Festival brings contemporary French cinema to American college and university campuses every year so that more than 500,000 students can fall in love with French films. Oh la, la.

Lucky for Southern Californians, their weather seems to suit French creativity.

When Cirque de Soleil first came to LA, the company had just enough money to cover a one-way ticket for their performers. But, when Angelenos went to see them, they went wild. Their 1987 Los Angeles Arts Festival performance attracted the kind of critical attention that sent Hollywood a knocking. The French-Canadian powerhouse for theatre arts has been raising the bar on entertainment ever since. And then there’s dance.

If the gravitational waves could hear the sound of amazement rising in skies, it would be coming from audiences watching the dance company, Diavolo, founded by French Choreographer and Visionary, Jacques Heim. This company has been dazzling audiences around the world and re-envisioning modern dance in southern California for a quarter of a century. Read the rest of this entry »

Space Music

written by Robyn Wyman-dill

It’s April when the earth gives birth to Spring, the birds sing and everywhere smells like roses. Last week was a sweet week for my hometown, LA, when Kobe Bryant gave us everything he’s got, making history in his final game at the Staples Center. With the ease and grace of a champion. There were approximately 19,000 fans in the Staples Center house and over 8 million others watching remotely as the basketball legend proved how worthy he is of our love. (The Lakers trailed behind the Utah Jazz, a team that delivered some of the best team basketball that evening.) Scoring 60 points to finish with a 101-96 Lakers victory. Sealing his 20 year career with a most spectacular finale. While 55 years earlier, humans got their first taste of space when Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gargarin became the first person to leave the atmosphere and return. Blazing a trail for generations eager to know the galaxy. Opening the door for more space westerns.

To boldly go where no one has gone before

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OC With A French Twist

Pascal Olhats

Pascal Olhats

written by Robyn Wyman-dill
It was supposed to be a much shorter stay for Normandy-born, Chef Pascal Olhats, who paid a visit to Orange County over 30 years ago, and never looked back – pioneering an under-developed culinary scene into the realm of excellence with signature dishes like – seabass au thym – while remaining true to French classics like – Normandy tart tatin and salade lyonnaise. Fast-forward to April 23, when The Newport Beach Film Festival presents an insider’s perspective from ‘our man with panache’ with the debut of La Tradition, a documentary biopic, tracing the evolution of Chef Olhats’ influence on the fine dining scene here. His narrative is the kind of stuff the ‘American Dream’ is made of. Read the rest of this entry »

Hot to Trot Week

by Robyn Wyman-Dill

Another hotter than ever week trickles in, bringing humidity to southern California.  Much to everyone’s discomfort and surprise. Yet, according to the Christian Science Monitor, heat waves coupled with high humidity have been on the rise(in terms of frequency and intensity) for more than 20 years here. It’s just taken this long for everyone to notice.

Let’s talk about the weather. Heat waves come in varieties. Southern California has two.  A daytime heat that tends to be dry and a nighttime heat that holds onto the high humidity throughout the day.  It’s the nighttime heat that gets you every time.

Nevertheless, it doesn’t seem to affect the festive spirits here.  Because, during all this oppressive heat, there are happy feet dancing ‘moderne’ at the Laguna Dance Festival, models strutting their stuff on the catwalk at Style Week OC and the finest horses jumping fences to win the ASPCA Regionals at Blenheim Equisports Park. I coined it, ‘a hot to trot week’ for obvious reasons. Read the rest of this entry »

September

blog by Robyn Wyman-Dill

September is my favorite month of the year in the western hemisphere. This season, the changing tides seem to be headed for the better with California on the verge of becoming the first state in the nation to enact the one-use plastic bag ban!  The California Senate has voted 22-15 in favor of just such a bill which is expected to be approved by Democratic Governor Jerry Brown this September. Coming to supermarkets soon, the measure – – will ban grocery stores from handing out single-use grocery bags with purchases and provide money to local plastic bag companies to help them retool their wares to make heavier, multiple-use bags that customers can buy.

Now considering more than 10 billion plastic bags are used in California each year(According to an estimate by Californians Against Waste, an advocacy group supporting the bill.), this is exciting news. For more in-depth chatter about plastic see http://rjwdcreative.com/blog/2014/08/15/the-plastic-wrap/.  Meanwhile some 3,000 miles – that’s about 1350 kilometers – away, two albino lobsters made a rare appearance off the coast of Maine.

Little did I know lobsters come in colors. Like calico, blue, yellow, red, albino and split-colored. Read the rest of this entry »

Tito La Brea and the Velvet Underdogs

blog by Robyn Wyman-dill

I have an artist friend named Ray who coined the name Tito La Brea (which means giant tar pits in English)for a series of paintings he did in the 90s. We have been good friends for 15 years.

Last weekend, we discovered a pocket of Provence at a corner restaurant called Bistro de la Gare in South Pasadena. Over our sumptuous eggs florentine, Ray shared that his synonym, Tito La Brea, had a Facebook page.  That intrigued me.  For the next hour we sat – undisturbed – on the patio, while Ray told me the story behind the masked wrestlers he painted on velvet for the iconic El Carmen restaurant – where tequila and tacos have been served for a quarter of a century or more. Read the rest of this entry »

The Plastic Wrap

by Robyn Wyman-Dill

It’s been brought to my attention we have far too much plastic in our lives. Producing an estimated 32 million tons of plastic waste annually.  According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, only 9 per cent(or less than 3 million tons) actually gets recycled. Making all that conscientious sorting of my weekly garbage equate to 81 per cent pointless. Or, is it?  I decided now is the time to educate ourselves on plastic matter.

The marriage of man to plastics can be traced as far back as 150 BC.  To Mexico.  Read the rest of this entry »

Happy Makers

blog by Robyn Wyman-dill

Every decade is shaped by right and wrong moments. Creating impressions that will form the tapestry of your life. As we process in time, parts of the tapestry will fade. While certain others remain glued together, perhaps, by gravitational pull and the alchemy of magic. Getting stored in the brain – until aroused. Evoking dormant feelings.

Whenever right moments emerge, I hear music.  Just made-up tunes floating around inside my head that make me feel happy. (As a kid I entertained myself by singing show tunes from musicals I found in our record collection. Starting with songs from My Fair Lady, Oliver and Gigi, then moving my vocal chords intoWest Side Story and Irma La Douce, before shimmering out of musicals into Motown and popular music – which seemed to cry out to everyone to sing. Which I did. Evolving from Hair and The Age of Aquarius into The Mamas and the Papas andCalifornia Dreamin’, ) And the beat goes on and on with afterglow.. So, what do I do next?

I go to see a play infused with music, naked truths and lots of laughter. About a happy maker who created just the right moments for me.

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Religion in the Kitchen

blog by Robyn Wyman-dill

Some people are in the habit of going to church on Sundays. Where they pray before an altar.  My altar is my refrigerator.  God’s house of all things delicious. Amen. Read the rest of this entry »

In Celebration of Dogs

blog by Robyn Wyman-dill

There is no greater gift than unconditional love. For it remains steadfast in its devotion to another.  Without boundaries or expectations.

As you might expect, this state of mind is as pure from conceit as fresh, fallen snow.  For unconditional love is infinite, measureless and completely genuine.  Like the everlasting affection,unfaltering loyalty and benevolent concern a dog has for its master. For the sole goal of a dog’s life – after survival – is increasing the welfare of another.  Without retribution.

In celebration of puppy love, we’d like to share some of the countless examples of dogs who love with all their heart – to please their masters.

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