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Thursday, April 28, 2016

The World's Stage

The World's Stage: Tony Towns Interview 

Photo by Evan Jackson
by Evan Jackson
If the world really is a stage and we are all merely players in it with our entrances and exits, as Shakespeare suggests, then actor, host, and executive producer Tony Towns has made one hell of a debut. Working in the corporate aspect of the entertainment world, having countless jobs on FreeForm's Baby Daddy, Tony Towns hungered for more. With that passion he co-created, with Jesus Heredia, the interactive show Hitting The Town - where he's the executive producer and host. With his infectious energy he joyfully engages celebrities, the everyday man on the street, and guests at red carpet events. When I looked at his work and met him I knew he would thrive in any setting you put him in. Where will we see Tony next? Hosting the next Miss Universe Competition? Talking to the stars as they arrive for the Oscars? With his charisma, stage presence, and never-ending work ethic you'll soon see him everywhere. 

Hitting The Town  
Twitter:  @hittingthetown
Instagram: @hittingthetown
Facebook: Hitting The Town
YouTube: Hitting The Town
Tony Towns on the Creation of Hitting The Town

Tony Towns on Boldest Thing He's Done In His Career 

Tony Towns on The Boldest Thing He Will Do This Year

Monday, April 25, 2016

2016 Monsterpalooza Recap

Monsterpalooza 2016 Recap 

Photos by Evan Jackson
by Evan Jackson

Halloween came early when all the ghouls, goblins, monsters, and make up effects artists came to play at this year's Monsterpalooza in Pasadena, California at the Pasadena Convention Center. There was plenty of creepy and outlandish costumes on display as well as around the convention center. The crowd was in a frenzy when the legendary actor Dick Van Dyke, of the Dick Van Dyke Show and musical Mary Poppins, made an appearance. Also spotted was actor Jorge Garcia from ABC's Lost and CBS's Hawaii Five-O. One of the coolest elements of Monsterpalooza was the IronHead Studios display that showcased the masks they've made for the upcoming Marvel movie Captain America: Civil War. To see the intricate design of Black Panther's helmet was something to marvel at.    

Actor Jorge Garcia

Dick Van Dyke

Dawn of Justice: Batman v. Superman

X-Men Apocalypse

Captain America

Black Panther

Michonne from Walking Dead

Friday, April 15, 2016

To Be Artistic, Gifted and Black

To Be Artistic, Gifted and Black: Artist's Reception & Exhibit – Riea Owens & Gail Oliver 

Artist Riea Owens and her son Niles Owens

by Evan Jackson

Photos by Eva Jackson

On Sunday evening, April 10th, I was honored to attend Alkebulan Cultral Center's Artist Gallery in Pasadena, California featuring the works of artist Riea Owens and photographer Gail Oliver. Patrons of the show swirled around the room as they were treated to African American,Afrocentric & multicutral artwork by Riea Owens and photographs by Gail Oliver that embodied the spirit of Los Angeles. You could feel the culture reverberate at this art gallery, with one piece or another resonating with the viewer. At one point there was a small boy who reached for a painting!  Let's just say the little guy was so moved by the art he had to take a closer look at it. And in all fairness the painting he had reached for was of a small boy with a concerned look on his face,maybe he saw himself in that art piece.

 Among Riea's best work is her painting that serves as a collage of the most iconic images of the 90's R&B and Hip Hop era. A piece commissioned by her son Niles Owens, she reimagines Jay Z's debut classic 'Can I Live', Notorious B.I.G's famed 'Ready to Die', and Erykah Badu's soulful 'Baduizm' album covers. The subject matter of Riea's paintings were multicultural from two gentleman relaxing on a bench seemingly in their Sunday Best suits to a confident warrior looking across the landscape with a spear in hand. Her art work also had a gracefulness and lightheartedness to it as well like that of the ballet dancer preparing for a recital. 

  Gail Oliver's photography displayed the streets and essence of Los Angeles and the surrounding cities. She had a piece that struck a chord with me, a listing of the main streets and areas in Pasadena. Having ridden down those places all my life it was great to see that. A photo that stuck out to me was an old building in Los Angeles that could of been a movie theater or a venue as Gail was keen to not take the cliche angle of the marquee in front. But a side angle of the building that highlighted its colorful art deco design.

 It was very refreshing to see such culture, my culture, represented. From the African American art to the emphasis on Pasadena I feel like art galleries and exhibits like these are important for the city and their residents. It was an event you could bring you family, friends, and loved ones to so as to soak up the arts in order to be influenced by it weather you're a creative or not.

Artist Riea Owens among her artwork

Riea Owens and family

Photgrapher Gail Oliver and Artist Riea Owens


Monday, April 11, 2016

2016 LA Times Festival of Books

2016 LA Times Festival of Books 
Padma Lakshmi on the Main Stage at the LA Times Festival of Books discussing her book Life, Loss, and What We Ate
by Evan Jackson
Photos by Evan Jackson

As I descended upon the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books on the campus of University of Southern Calfornia this past weekend their was a certain joy in the air. The rain and cloudy weather did not stop book lovers from meeting their favorite authors, discovering new books, and joining in on activities & as well as eagerly awaiting the panels.

One of the first discussions I attended was HGTV's Property Brothers, Johnathon Scott & Drew Scott

The Property Brothers Johnathan Scott & Drew Scott on the Main Stage at the LA Times Festival of Books

Host of Bravo Top Chef's Padma Laskhmi talked about her book 'Love, Life, and What We Ate'. Through out the discussion Padma talked about her love of food and where it stemmed from. She talked about sweet story of her climbing cabinet like a temple monkey to reach spicy food. And in turn how her daughter, Krishna, when preparing meals would push the hot peppers on guests to see a reaction out of them. Through her modeling years she talked about booking a shoot with famed photographer Helmut Newton and suddenly cancelling it two days prior. She got a call back from him six weeks later. She talked about finding strength in embracing her scar. She would emphasizes she does not want her scar to be retouched in magazine covers and photo shoots.

LA Times USC Fanbassador Joy Ofodu

Mantamaji creator Eric Dean Seaton

Valiant Comics Booth

Stranger Comics Booth

Monday, April 4, 2016

Prose & Poise

Prose & Poise: Ciera Payton Interview
by Evan Jackson

When I interviewed actor, author, and playwright Ciera Payton last year I saw the composure of a woman who had put her all in to the arts. And now a year later when I talk to her I see that same exuberance and burning desire to not only better herself but those around her. She does this through her acting and work as a playwright - impressively writing a one woman show Michael's Daughter. How she helps others is creating a nonprofit organization, under the same name as her one woman show, to help students in the Casa Esperanza area in Panorama City. Recently being the recipient of Los Angeles 2016 Pioneer Woman of the Year Award I notice Ciera just gets as much a reward developing young students as she does showcasing her creative talents. Through her poise in the difficulties she continues to grow as an artist while cultivating the next generation of creatives.

Facebook: Actress Ciera Payton
Twitter: @CieraPayton 
Instagram: @CieraPayton

Ciera Payton on Her New Orleans Upbringing 
 Ciera Payton on Her Non-Profit Michael's Daughter

Ciera on Recieving the 2016 Pioneer  Woman of The Year Award

Ciera Payton on Her Acting Career & What's Next 

Ciera Payton on The Boldest Thing She's Done Yet 

Feel Young, Be Bold, Live Regal

Feel Young, Be Bold, Live Regal