Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Who Is The Superstar on Los Angeles Billboards?

(Los Angeles) Vietnam superstar Ha Phuong, vocalist, actress and humanitarian, is now making herself known in America, focusing on Los Angeles, the melting pot for Asian talent. Ha Phuong has decided to throw up Billboards around Los Angeles, hoping you will take notice of her and wonder who she is.

I’ll tell you who Ha Phuong is, she’s a superstar in parts of Asia, has just released a new single, “Memories of Love” coupled with the video. The video has already reached a stellar reception with 1 Million Viewers on YouTube. The song is a truly romantic song of a woman’s strength to live and love and resolve to endure through troubled times. Yet another masterpiece from an artist of magnificent talent.

About Ha Phuong & Ha Phuong Foundation
Ha Phuong, a petite dynamo with a huge heart and a big name in her native Vietnam is now an artist in residence, deeply entrenched New Yorker. Living here, she is more determined than ever to help make the world a better place, inspired by her upbringing in Vietnam as well as her love for her daughters, and for all people. “HP,” as she is known to her friends, is an accomplished actress, singer and now movie producer: working on her feature film, a dramatic thriller in which she stars, is called Finding Julia. Always eager to develop further, Ha Phuong expanded her repertoire to include acting, studying with prominent teachers. In New York, Ha Phuong continues to pursue her own artistic endeavors but is equally famous for her deep commitment to her charitable work. Since 2008, her charitable Ha Phuong Foundation is one of the largest of its kind with a $1 Million seed money donation and is the culmination of Ha Phuong’s passion for music and her fierce devotion to supporting children’s causes. Her inaugural project to build a multi-media arts center partnership with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Garden Grove has already been completed. In addition, she assists in the Vietnam Relief Effort, a non-profit organization created by her husband, Chinh Chu, and his sister. The Vietnam Relief Effort aids in school buildings, funding surgeries for war veterans and disabled people; and bringing Vietnamese doctors to the U.S. for training. She has done so much work that in 2016, Phuong was named a “Top Donor to UNICEF.” In an extraordinary demonstration of her commitment to helping others, Ha Phuong pledged 100% of her future earnings from her music and acting career to the Foundation. 

Fox's Dark Phoenix Set To Open June 7, 2019

20th Century Fox has released the new trailer and poster for DARK PHOENIX. The film stars James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas Hoult, Sophie Turner, Tye Sheridan, Alexandra Shipp, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Evan Peters, and Jessica Chastain. DARK PHOENIX is scored by composer Hans Zimmer. 

Watch the new trailer HERE:

Release Date: June 7, 2019, Written and Directed by Simon Kinberg Produced by Simon Kinberg, Hutch Parker, Lauren Shuler Donner, Todd Hallowell

Cast: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas Hoult, Sophie Turner, Tye Sheridan, Alexandra Shipp, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Evan Peters, and Jessica Chastain

In DARK PHOENIX, the X-MEN face their most formidable and powerful foe: one of their own, Jean Grey. During a rescue mission in space, Jean is nearly killed when she is hit by a mysterious cosmic force. Once she returns home, this force not only makes her infinitely more powerful but far more unstable. Wrestling with this entity inside her, Jean unleashes her powers in ways she can neither comprehend nor contain. With Jean spiraling out of control and hurting the ones she loves most, she begins to unravel the very fabric that holds the X-Men together. Now, with this family falling apart, they must find a way to unite -- not only to save Jean's soul but to save our very planet from aliens who wish to weaponize this force and rule the galaxy.

Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra Performs World Premiere of James Newton Howard's Concerto

Concerto Features LACO Principal Cello Andrew Shulman;
Program Also Includes Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 14 
and Symphony No. 36, “Linz,”
plus Gabriella Smith’s Riprap 
with Principal Timpani Wade Culbreath
Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra performs the world premiere of prolific Grammy®-, Emmy®- and Academy® Award-nominated composer James Newton Howard's Concerto for Orchestra & Cello, a LACO commission, led by Conductor Laureate Jeffrey Kahane on Saturday, March 23, 8 p.m., at the Alex Theatre, and Sunday, March 24, 2019, 7 p.m., at Royce Hall. Newton Howard's work, underwritten by and dedicated to Maurice Marciano, was written for and spotlights Principal Cello Andrew Shulman. Kahane also leads Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 14, conducting from the keyboard, and Symphony No. 36, "Linz.” LACO Principal Timpani/Percussion Wade Culbreath takes center stage on marimba for Gabriella Smith's Riprap for marimba and strings.

Newton Howard, one of the most versatile and respected composers currently working in film, has composed scores for more than 120 films during his 30-year career, including the Oscar-nominated scores for DefianceMichael ClaytonThe VillageThe FugitiveThe Prince of Tides and My Best Friend’s Wedding. He also received Golden Globe nominations for his massive orchestral score for Peter Jackson’s blockbuster remake of King Kong, his symphonic score for Defiance, and his songs from Junior and One Fine Day. He won the 2009 Grammy Award for his co-score with Hans Zimmer for The Dark Night. In addition, he won an Emmy for the theme to the Andre Braugher series Gideon’s Crossing and received two additional Emmy nominations for the themes to the long-running Warner Bros. series ER and the Ving Rhames series Men. In 2008, World Soundtrack Award named him Film Composer of the Year for his work on the films Charlie Wilson’s WarMichael Clayton and I Am Legend, and he has received BMI’s Lifetime Achievement Award. Newton Howard has also written extensively for classical music artists and ensembles and has worked with popular music legends Elton John, Rod Stewart, and Chaka Khan, among others.

Kahane, equally at home at the keyboard, on the podium and as a soloist with major orchestras around the world, stepped down as LACO’s Music Director in 2017 following a highly successful 20-year tenure. He has established an international reputation as a truly versatile artist, recognized by audiences around the world for his mastery of a diverse repertoire ranging from Bach, Mozart and Beethoven to Gershwin, Golijov and John Adams.

Shulman, who is the first British winner of the Piatigorsky Award and was made an Honorary RCM by the late Queen Mother, has been hailed for playing that is “always eloquent and passionate” (Los Angeles Times). He has performed concertos with the Philharmonia, ASMF, CBSO, BBC Scottish, Utah and Singapore Symphonies, and Los Angeles and Royal Liverpool philharmonics. He has given recitals in Wigmore Hall, the Royal Palace, Stockholm, and Buckingham Palace, London, and he has performed Strauss’s Don Quixote with Rattle in London and Salonen at the Hollywood Bowl. He is a regular guest at the Aspen, Aldeburgh, Bath, Edinburgh, Mainly Mozart and La Jolla festivals. Shulman’s solo and chamber recordings span 35 CDs, including the Britten Quartet’s complete discography, Vivaldi concertos for Virgin and Janacek for EMI.
Culbreath, appointed LACO Principal Timpanist-Percussionist in 2009, also serves as the principal percussionist for the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra and principal timpani with the Pasadena Symphony Orchestra. As a session musician, he has performed on hundreds of soundtracks, including the Academy® Award-winning scores for Aladdin, La La Land and Life of Pi.

Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra (LACO) ranks among the world’s top musical ensembles. Beloved by audiences and praised by critics, the Orchestra is known as a champion of contemporary composers, with eight ASCAP Awards for Adventurous Programming, as well as a preeminent interpreter of historical masterworks. Headquartered in the heart of the country's cultural capital, LACO has been proclaimed “America’s finest chamber orchestra” (Public Radio International), “LA’s most unintimidating chamber music experience” (Los Angeles magazine), “resplendent” (Los Angeles Times) and “one of the world's great chamber orchestras"(KUSC Classical FM). Performing throughout greater Los Angeles, the Orchestra presents orchestral, Baroque and chamber concerts, as well as salon evenings in private spaces and unique experiences that explore classical music's cutting-edge sounds. LACO's long history of educational outreach encompasses programs integral to its mission of nurturing future musicians and composers as well as inspiring a love of classical music. Jaime Martín praised as "a visionary conductor, discerning and meticulous" (Platea Magazine), is LACO’s Music Director Designate and takes the podium as Music Director in the 2019-20 season.

Steinway is the official piano of Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra.

Concert Preludes, pre-concert talks held one hour before curtain and free for ticket holders, provide insights into the program's music and artists.

Tickets for concerts at Alex Theatre and Royce Hall start at $28 and may be purchased online at or by calling LACO at 213 622 7001 x1. Discounted tickets are also available by phone for seniors 65 years of age and older and groups of 12 or more. Students with valid student ID may purchase discounted tickets ($8), based on availability.

Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, “Kahane on Mozart,” Jeffrey Kahane, conductor/piano, Andrew Shulman, cello
Wade Culbreath, marimba; Saturday, March 23, 2019, 8 p.m., Alex Theatre, 216 North Brand Boulevard, Glendale CA 91203; Sunday, March 24, 2019, 7 p.m., Royce Hall, 340 Royce Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90095

MOZART                                              Piano Concerto No. 14
JAMES NEWTON HOWARD                 Concerto for Orchestra & Cello (World Premiere; LACO
GABRIELLA SMITH                              Riprap for Marimba and Strings
MOZART                                              Symphony No. 36, “Linz”

7 p.m. (Alex Theatre)
6 p.m. (Royce Hall)
One hour before curtain, pre-concert talks provide insights into the music and artists.  Free for all ticket holders.

Tickets start at $28.  For information about the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra’s 2018-19 season or to order tickets, please call 213 622 7001, or

Twenty-Sixth Annual LAWTF Announces Honorees

    The 26th Annual Los Angeles Women’s Theatre Festival (LAWTF) will honor five women for their exceptional career and life achievements in the Opening Night Champagne Gala and Awards Ceremony on March 22, 2019, at 7 p.m. at Theatre 68, 5112 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood, CA 91601. The deserving honorees who have made laudable contributions to the world of theatre are listed here:
  Jenifer Lewis will be bestowed with the Eternity Award, given to an artist or individual whose lifetime achievements have made a lasting contribution to the world of theatre. Ms. Lewis is a veteran of Broadway (Eubie!, Comin’ Uptown, Rock ‘N Roll! The First 5,000 Years, Hairspray) and regional theatre (portraying the title role in the Seattle cast of Hello, Dolly!). Her autobiographical comedy and music show The Diva Is Dismissed played Off-Broadway at the Public Theatre. A stint as one of Bette Midler’s Harlettes led to her appearing in Midler’s HBO specials and feature film Beaches. Her career spans 47 feature films and hundreds of television appearances, with series regular roles on three hit series: Black-ish; Strong Medicine; andCourthouse. She is a much-in-demand voice artist. Her singing career on the concert stage includes over 200 concerts in 49 states and four continents. She is the author of a memoir, The Mother of Black Hollywood.
Leslie Ishii will be the recipient of the Integrity Award, presented to an artist or individual who has brought credibility and dignity to her work. Ms. Ishii is an actor, director, teaching artist, producer, facilitator and community activist, with extensive credits in all these areas of endeavor. She has appeared on Broadway (James Clavell’s Shogun: The Musical), in Hollywood (recurring roles on Lost, The Bold and the Beautiful, and parts in feature films),  on regional stages (Mark Taper Forum, South Coast Rep, Cornerstone Theatre, American Conservatory Theatre, and El Teatro Campesino). She has directed for Center Theatre Group, Artists at Play, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, East West Players, Joseph Papp Public Theatre (NYC) and Perseverance Theatre (Alaska).  She has worked extensively for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (National Cultural Navigation Theatre Project, Consortium of Asian American Theaters and Artists, Theatre Communications Group, more).
Sandra Tsing Loh will receive the Maverick Award, presented to an artist or individual whose work has set a high standard of individuality and self-styled creativity. Actor, comedian, and author, Ms. Tsing Loh is one of L.A’s best-known solo performers, with shows including The Madwoman in the Volvo, Mother on Fire, I Worry, Aliens in America, and Bad Sex with Bud Kemp.  A three-actor version of her show Sugar Plum Fairy debuted at South Coast Rep in 2017. She appeared at The Broad Stage in a stand-up show, The B**** Is Back: An All-Too-Intimate Conversation. She workshopped a new piece, Blue State, at the Ojai Playwrights Conference. She was designated a Distinguished Alumna by Cal Tech, where she obtained a BS in Physics. Her daily radio broadcast The Loh Down on Science is heard by 4 million people weekly. Her broadcast The Loh Life is heard weekly on NPR. The author of numerous books, she is an adjunct associate professor of Drama at UC Irvine, where she also teaches Science Communication.
    Whitney Weston will receive the Rainbow Award, bestowed on an artist or individual for her diverse contributions in fostering non-traditional and multicultural theatre works. Ms. Weston co-founded the Greenway Arts Alliance with Pierson Blaetz in 1997, which has operated the Greenway Court Theatre in the Fairfax District of Los Angeles since 2000. She is a lifelong activist, committed to keeping the arts and the community working together. Greenway produces and presents theatre, spoken word, media arts and dance performances that represent and reflect the unheard voices and rich diversity of Los Angeles. Ms. Weston has received recognition for her activities from the NAACP, Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle, L.A. Weekly, Women in Theatre Red Carpet Award, and has been recognized for outstanding service by the L.A. Mayor’s Office, L.A. City Council and LAUSD’s School Board and Administrators’ Union.
Carol Channing is this year’s recipient of the Infinity Award, memorializing exceptional achievements of a theatre artist. The term “legendary” is not hyperbole in describing the late Ms. Channing’s stature in the American theatre. The recipient of three Tony ® Awards, including one for Lifetime Achievement, her Broadway credits include Hello, Dolly! (the original production plus two revivals), Lend an Ear (Theatre World Award), Proof Thro’ the Night, Show Girl, Lorelei, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Four on a Garden, The Vamp, Wonderful Town, and Let’s Face It! She also appeared in touring productions ofHello, Dolly!, Jerry’s Girls, Legends!, and Sugar Babies. She also appeared in films and extensively on television. She won a Golden Globe for her performance in the film Thoroughly Modern Millie and received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Ms. Channing advocated strongly for arts education for children.
There will be special live performances at the Gala in addition to the awards presentation. Performers include:
Vannia Ibarguen in Yma. This dance excerpt celebrates Yma Sumac, the only Peruvian woman bestowed with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Juli Kim in For Those Who Dream. This dance is attributed to beauty in the midst of finding resiliency in the human spirit.
Vickilyn Reynolds in Hattie McDaniel…. What I Need You to Know! This excerpt of the musical play gives a glimpse of the first African American to receive an Oscar® in Hollywood.
Founded by Executive Producer Adilah Barnes and Miriam Reed, the Los Angeles Women’s Theatre Festival is an annual event unique among Los Angeles cultural institutions and should not be missed as LAWTF celebrates its 26th year.
The Los Angeles Women’s Theatre Festival is a non-profit organization. The Los Angeles Women’s Theatre Festival organization is made possible this year in part by the Department of Cultural Affairs of the City of Los Angeles, City of West Hollywood,  Los Angeles County Arts Commission, City National Bank, Union Bank,  City of Culver City in association with Sony Entertainment, KPFK 90.7 and Adilah Barnes Productions.
Admission to the Gala on Friday, March 22 at 7 p.m. is $50 or two tickets for $90 (includes reception and champagne). For the other programs on Saturday and Sunday, ticket prices this year include general admission single show tickets at $25  in advance or $30 at the door. A VIP all-access pass for the entire weekend is available for $150. Reservations: (818) 760-0408 or go to To join and follow LAWTF on Facebook and Twitter, click on their links at

Marvel Studios' CAPTAIN MARVEL European Gala

To the delight of enthusiastic fans, stars Brie Larson, Samuel L. Jackson, Jude Law, Lashana Lynch and Gemma Chan, directors Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck, and executive producers Victoria Alonso and Jonathan Schwartz attended the European gala screening of Marvel Studios’ CAPTAIN MARVEL, which was held in London tonight. 

Set in the 1990s, Marvel Studios’ “Captain Marvel” is an all-new adventure from a previously unseen period in the history of the Marvel Cinematic Universe that follows the journey of Carol Danvers as she becomes one of the universe’s most powerful heroes. While a galactic war between two alien races reaches Earth, Danvers finds herself and a small cadre of allies at the center of the maelstrom. 

The film stars Brie Larson, Samuel L. Jackson, Ben Mendelsohn, Djimon Hounsou, Lee Pace, Lashana Lynch, Gemma Chan, Rune Temte, Algenis Perez Soto, Mckenna Grace, with Annette Bening, with Clark Gregg, and Jude Law.

Marvel Studios’ “Captain Marvel” is produced by Kevin Feige and directed by Anna Boden & Ryan Fleck. Louis D’Esposito, Victoria Alonso, Jonathan Schwartz, Patricia Whitcher, and Stan Lee are the executive producers. The story is by Nicole Perlman & Meg LeFauve and Anna Boden & Ryan Fleck & Geneva Robertson-Dworet, and the screenplay is by Anna Boden & Ryan Fleck & Geneva Robertson-Dworet.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Trumpeter Etienne Charles Set To Bring "Carnival: The Sound Of A People" To The Broad Stage

By Darlene Donloe

Etienne Charles is one of those fortunate individuals who gets to do what he loves for a living while loving what he does to live.

Monday through Thursday Charles is an Associate Professor of Jazz Trumpet at Michigan State University. Come the weekend he goes out to play – and play he does. That’s when the master trumpeter finds himself traveling the world as one of the hottest, most electrifying jazz musicians in the business.

Charles, who is single and hails from Trinidad, is bottling all of that musical oomph and bringing his latest show, Carnival: The Sound Of A People, to The Broad Stage in Santa Monica at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 2.

The show, featuring his particular brand of all that jazz, is a celebration of Trinidadian culture, birthed out of Charles’ fascination with Jab Molassie, the blue, fire-breathing carnival characters, and the people who become them.

The entire show, which will have several performers dressed in Jab Molassie, is the result of Charles’ research, fascination, and emersion into all that is Carnival. Because this inspirationally purposed musician feels a deep connection to the Carnival traditions and is eager to share his feelings with the world, he explored the past and present of Carnival on his island homeland. When he thinks of Carnival, in his head, he sees it all very vividly. 

What Charles, 36, found was several blends of jazz, calypso, soca, reggae, bomba, soul, mascaron, Afro-Latin styles from across the Caribbean and music from the American South, in particular, New Orleans.

This is not a new groove for Charles. His music has always bared that infectious Caribbean root.

Charles’ recordings include San Jose Suite (2016), Creole Soul (Culture Shock Music 2013), which features original compositions and arrangements of music by Bob Marley, Winsford Devine, Thelonious Monk, and Bo Diddley. He also released Kaiso (2011), Folklore (2009) and Culture Shock (2006). In 2015, he also released Creole Christmas, a cross-collaboration highlighting traditional Caribbean holiday folk music, featuring musicians from the United States, Venezuela Macedonia, and Trinidad & Tobago.

I recently caught up with Charles (EC) to talk about his career and his upcoming show at The Broad Stage in Santa Monica, CA.

DD: Take me back to the first time you heard a trumpet. What was it about the sound that made you want to play it?

EC: The first time I heard a trumpet was when I actually played one. I actually wanted a saxophone. My uncle was going to get me one, but he sent me a trumpet instead. When I tried to play it, it sounded horrible. I love music. It’s a beautiful instrument.

DD: What have you learned about yourself through your music?

EC: Patience. If you have an idea, go for it. Don’t let people stop you. Growing up black, in order to be accepted in society you have to be a doctor or lawyer. Where I’m from not many people studied music. Most people were like, ‘you won’t have a career’. My goal wasn’t to prove them wrong, it was to have a career.

DD: Let's talk about Carnival: The Sound of a People.

EC:  It’s my new album. It was an idea to blend – not blend to have music 100 percent based on Carnival in Trinidad. I went all over the island meeting musicians and recording.

DD: Is it important for you to become connected with your ancestors?

EC: Yes, it’s important. That’s what carnival is about. That’s the essence of the carnival.
DD:  For your upcoming show at The Broad Stage in Santa Monica, CA – will I be walking into a Carnival atmosphere?

EC: Yes, on stage there will be a carnival atmosphere. You will be walking straight into it. There will be three of four characters in costume on stage.

DD: Will the audience be able to dance?

EC: If they want they can get up and move. They aren’t chained to the chair. You can make a dance floor.

DD:  What happens to you on stage? Where do you go – meaning are you transported?

EC: I go back and forth. There is definitely an element of transformation. That’s what carnival is about. Jab Malassi.  It’s all about that thing that gets triggered inside of you.
DD: The press release says you are returning to your roots to celebrate Trinidadian culture. When did you leave your roots?

EC: The album I did before was San Jose Suite. I did something about San Jose, California.  I never really left my roots, but this part of my roots is my earliest influence on me.

DD: Has Trinidadian music been fully appreciated and/or recognized?

EC: I don’t think so, because it hasn't. That’s a great question. My answer is really simple. It hasn’t because of access. A lot of Trinidadian artists – I can go down the line - they were well received in the U.S., but in terms of a global phenomenon, it’s very few who have broken through even though they are incredible artists.

DD: So how do we make that happen?

EC: We need to get more opportunities for programming. How many times do you see Trinidadian artists at The Broad Stage or Disney Hall? It comes down to them being presented and put in front as artists. You can’t count Harry Belafonte because he is an American. It’s something I think about a lot. There are so many great artists out of Trinidad and Tobago. We’re still working on it.

DD:  I haven’t seen you here in a while.  

EC:  This will be the first time in five years that I’ve played LA.  I played the Blue Whale.

DD:  What comes to mind when I say the names Louis Armstrong, Miles Davis, and Wynton Marsalis?

EC: Pioneer, visionary and gatekeeper.  I didn’t get into jazz until I was 19. Before I listened to whatever I heard. There was always calypso on the radio. I loved listening to Stevie (Wonder) and Michael Jackson.

DD: Composing, arranging, playing. What does each one do for you?

EC:  Each one gets me closer to music as a medium for communication. It’s about energizing people. It moves me along to communicate with musicians. Playing gets to the heart of me.  As a composer it’s about understanding what has been written before, you tell people stories.  As an arranger, you are coloring music a certain way. It about a texture, which is the nature of the sound.

DD: How did you come to be the Associate Professor of Jazz Trumpet at Michigan State University? 

EC: I heard about it and I just applied. They interviewed me and I got the job. That’s really as there was to it.

DD:  How do you balance your music career with your responsibilities at MSU?

EC: I travel on the weekends and do gigs and I teach during the week. It works very well.

DD: What is it about music? What does it do for you?

EC:  It reminds me of the sound of my mom’s voice. It brings people together who may not have been together before. It energizes and makes people remember. The brain can recognize a melody. It’s powerful.

DD: Describe your style.

EC: It’s 21st-century Caribbean music. It’s all of that. There is improvisation to it. It’s rooted in grooves.

DD: Was there ever a Plan B?

EC: No Plan B. I don’t know how to do anything else.

DD: What has following your passion taught you?

EC: Just to follow your passion. There is nothing more fulfilling. There is nothing better than seeing it affect people in a positive way.

DD: What has following your passion COST you?

EC: Personal time. But I think the sacrifice is worth it.

Etienne Charles Carnival: The Sound of a People, The Broad Stage, 1310 11th St. Santa Monica CA 90401, Saturday, March 2, 7:30 p.m., $45, parking is free, 310 434-3200, or 1310 11th St. Santa Monica CA 90401.