To Don’t List

Happy Monday everyone!  A friend recently shared this extremely inspiring article with me and I wanted to share it with all of you.  What better way to start your week than with a “To Don’t List” of the 30 things to stop doing to yourself.  It’s a quick, moving and ultimately useful reminder of the basics that are easily forgotten while life happens.  Once you’ve read it, be sure to check out the follow up article with “To Do’s” that you can start applying right now…

Enjoy, and have a great day!


JTJ: Fancy Friday

“…it’s Friday…you ain’t got no job…and you ain’t got sh*t to do.”

Okay so maybe you do have a job and things to do.  But if you don’t already have plans for the evening and like jazz, being outdoors, and avoiding the looming Carmageddon nonsense, then here’s a fun, le fance and free option for your Friday night!

Jazz at LACMA features a different jazz band each week – this week featuring the tribute band, Luther Hughes and Cannonball/Coltrane Project.  This evening’s concert will also feature a special Photographic Retrospective of the 20 years of “Jazz at LACMA,” showcasing eight LA photographers’ work capturing some of LACMA’s most magical jazz moments.  So if you haven’t been to JAL before, you can catch up on everything you’ve missed at this one-night-only exhibit!    And, to make Jazz at LACMA that much more enticing, Ray’s and Stark Bar is on-site so you can grab a bite to eat or an after-work beverage or seven while Luther Hughes and Cannonball/Coltrane Project jam out on stage.  I mean really, what could possibly be better than sitting, eating, drinking, and listening to some snazzy tunes?

For more on Luther Hughes and Cannonball/Coltrane Project, check out the band’s website for music and video samples.

Jazz at LACMA takes place every Friday through the end of the summer from 6-8PM and is free to the public.

BP Grand Entrance – 5905 Wilshire Blvd. (Central Court Area)
Los Angeles, CA 90036
(323) 857-6115

Click here for the complete summer jazz schedule.

JTJ: Music to Free Your Soul and Wallet

I find myself to be quite the little music aficionado frequenting live shows, constantly listening to Pandora, and always on the look out for new musical gems.  In the spirit of deals, I will add that Pandora is probably my number one way to discover new music being that it suggests similar artists or songs to the ones you already like.  Way to take the thinking out of it Pandora!  I mean really, we are forced to think about every other little thing, why think about which music you like?  I kid.  Sort of.

This brings me to my new love: Malbec.  In this instance I refer not to the wine, but the band.  However, I do love me a nice glass of the wine, but let’s stay focused.  Just yesterday I came across a song I instantly loved and listened to on replay.   The song I speak of was presented to me while listening to my new Pandora favorite, the Freelance Whales station.  Talk about great ambient sounds.   I unfortunately can’t take credit for the Freelance Whales find, but I am in love with their songs Hannah, Generator 1st Floor, and StarringThis ultimately led me to Malbec’s The Visit.  Check ’em out and let me know what you think!

Now, here’s another tip.  Once you’ve figured out the awesome new music you can’t live without and can’t afford to buy all of, visit this free iTunes substitute to create playlists and hear more of what your new fav bands have to offer.

Happy almost weekend!

Lemonade For Life!

This past Friday night, I visited a special lemonade stand.   Yes, that is what I did on my Friday night and for a good cause.   My longtime friend, Brett Gursky, is a finalist on’s Tastemaker competition show, ala The Apprentice but for the socially inclined.   Brett was given the challenge of directing and producing a fashion show for fashion week that tied in a charity.  Whoever raised more would naturally win.  However, at some point throughout this final challenge, the cause became greater than the outcome of the show.   Brett chose Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation, an organization he had followed closely over the years and therefore became very invested in its success.   Seamlessly Brett integrated the charity’s own Lemonade Stand serving actual lemonade into the fashion show featuring the edgy and sexy designs by Donna Mizani and soundtrack by DJ Savi.  (click here to watch the show)

For those that don’t know, Alex’s Lemonade Stand was founded by a four-year-old girl named Alexandra Scott who was diagnosed with childhood cancer before her first birthday.   Her simple yet monumental plan was to raise funds for doctors cancer research and someday a cure.  When Alex passed away at the age of eight, her stand and foundation raised over $1 million dollars.  Now, in the organization’s 10th year, it has raised over $35 million dollars that have since created 150 research projects, a travel program to help support the families of children receiving treatment, and developed resources to help people all over whom have dealt with and been affected by childhood cancer.

Help turn lemon’s into lemonade by donating $1 (or more) to Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation.

To learn more about Alex or the foundation go to, and to catch the final episodes of MSN’s Tastemaker to find out who wins, go to

Mommy Issues

As you know, I recently graduated from the Second City Training Center in Los Angeles.  You may not know though that such people as Steve Carell, Jim Belushi, Tina Fey, and Mike Myers, those nobodies, are also products of Second City.   So is John Paul Karliak, whom I was fortunate enough to be in class with and perform with him on stage.  Talk about talent.  I mean I always knew he was a great improviser, but after seeing his one-man show that he also wrote, I’m just in awe.

J.P.’s Donna/Madonna is an incredibly moving nature vs. nurture story about his life, or semi-secretive life, with both his adopted mother, “Donna,” and his birth mother, “Madonna.”  Through storytelling, reenactments, song a la Bette Middler, and dance, J.P. keeps you at the edge of your seat waiting to see what will unfold next in his story.

Now although one-man shows are usually not mah thang – unless referred to as stand-up comedy – J.P.’s changed my perception altogether.  The entire show may be performed just by one person, however each character he plays feels as significant and well-rounded as when he is playing himself and you quickly forget you are watching one person do an entire show. That is called acting my friends.   This show is truly lovely and translatable to anyone who has a mother.

You don’t want to miss his last show, trust me.  I’m not giving my seal of approval because my friend needs help filling seats.  He by no means needs help doing that as it has been sold out weekly.  You should see it because it is talent, creativity, honesty and heart at its best.  See it…and then call your mom.

Celebration Theatre – August 31, 2010 @ 8PM
7051 Santa Monica Boulevard
West Hollywood, CA‎
(323) 957-1884‎

Warning: Animal has escaped from the zoo and is disguised…

…as a MAN.

Here’s some background. My friend basically swore off dating for 2010, but went out with this guy one night to get it over with since he had asked her to hang out a few times before that. She had no expectations and really wasn’t in the mood to go have drinks with this stranger at the Belmont on a Sunday night. It turned out that they hit it off and spent five hours talking about everything and anything. He had qualities she hadn’t found yet in other guys, he was assertive, direct, a great listener, and very manly – a real guys guy. She was very intrigued by his time spent in the Israeli army and the fact that he wrote a book about his experience there. An intellectual tough guy, she thought. Perfect. He seemed very into her and made all kinds of future plans to see her.  At the end of that week he would be leaving town for over a month and wanted to see her as much as possible before that.  She was taken back by his eagerness to see her since they’d just started hanging out but liked it. No games, finally.

A few days before he left, he became distant, less talkative, and canceled plans, if you can even call what he did a cancellation.  She was disappointed but not upset because by that point, he had hardly made a dent on her life.  Then, lo and behold, once he got situated on location in Europe, he resurfaced with his excuse being that he was extremely busy before leaving town and needed to take care of everything. Fine, that’s understandable, she decided.  I mean he hardly knew her.  She definitely wasn’t a priority yet. It made sense and she forgave him. They continued talking via text, calls, skype and email. He constantly kept in contact. She figured it couldn’t hurt and would at least be entertained.   However, quickly it went from careless entertainment to real feelings and real feelings turned into missing him.  How could that even be possible after knowing him for such a short amount of time?  It was illogical and unrealistic.  They spoke all of the time, revealed things about themselves in “morning messages” they’d send each other letting the other know how they felt and concerns and questions, and grew closer by the day.  He even initiated talks of her flying out to see him in Europe (on his dime) and brought up what it would be like together when he returned to LA.  He wanted to integrate himself into her life, have her cancel all of her plans for the month of April and spend it with him once he got back. He wanted her to leave a toothbrush and pajamas at his place and be comfortable there with him. Aside for a few small things, and the major disappearing act he pulled in the beginning, he seemed like a good guy. A little pushy and quick to dive into a relationship, but great otherwise. She was definitely excited by his enthusiasm, yet still reluctant because it was all stemming from the two times they hung out before he left. She wasn’t sure she wanted to rule out seeing other people for this person she hardly knew, but hey, she didn’t want to date in 2010 anyway so what was the difference at this point?

Sooner than she expected, they had a series of fights and make ups where each time she wanted to call it quits because hello, it was just absurd to be dealing with this much trouble in the short period of time they knew each other.  He felt the opposite – that the problems were due to the distance and that once in the same place, they would be completely fine.  Again, he pursued, convinced, and on they went.  By this point, she was one foot in, one foot out.  She didn’t allow herself to get completely involved emotionally because things had been so inconsistent and so she kept herself at a distance.  She definitely didn’t see a future with this guy because of their personality differences. He had a temper, would drop off when stressed out with work, and had a mouth on him – most likely due to his time spent in the army.

Then for a while, it seemed like smooth sailing. No fights, just great talks, supporting each other, and becoming close again. Time was passing and soon he would be returning to LA. They’d finally get a chance to really see how things would be together. She was actually really excited to pick him up at the airport on March 27 and decided she would give it a shot. Lo and freaking behold, about two weeks ago he dropped off again, growing distant and less talkative. She knew something was up and in her likely fashion, she wanted to check out emotionally. Not the best defense mechanism, but one nonetheless. Only this time she couldn’t. He had worn her down, after all of the red flags and hesitance, and she let him in. The only difference was that now he had really dropped off. It came right after they had gotten their closest too. She couldn’t get in touch with him and finally gave up. Until yesterday. She couldn’t take it anymore and wanted answers. How could he suck her in like this and then completely go MIA? He was the one driving it the entire time and now silence. So she called him. She wasn’t surprised when he didn’t answer and left a message. But she couldn’t leave it at that. She called the hotel he was staying at and was connected to his room and finally got through. Only the person answering the phone was not him, it was a female and then he got on the phone and pretended he couldn’t hear her on the other end of the line. Now she had an answer. He was seeing someone else. Who knows if it was just that one, or maybe others he was seeing too. For all she knew, he could have been married this entire time. Of course this led to a series of other questions like why, how, when, and who. It also led to anger and disappointment and utter shock. How could he treat her like that after everything they’d planned for and told each other and supposedly felt? What kind of emotionless animal was he really? How can people treat other people like that at all? People pretend to be someone they aren’t, and basically disguise themselves as the person they know you want them to be. The truth always comes out though and someone is always left with the rug pulled from underneath them.

Moral of the story: Take things slowly, get to know the person, and push the brakes when you see red flags early on. Otherwise, you’ll end up with a fraud like she did, hurt, confused and afraid to trust again.  Also, it’s much more respectable and eventually forgivable if you own up to whatever you’ve done to hurt someone else.   Acknowledging it and coming clean may be uncomfortable for you, but it goes a long way and definitely will make a difference in the long run to that person on the receiving end.  Promise.