EcoLuxe Lounge at the Avalon: a Pre-Emmy’s Treat


Before the Emmy Awards were even broadcast, there were a lot of prize winners in Hollywood – guests lucky enough to attend product placement producer Debbie Durkin’s annual EcoLuxe Lounge, this year with the theme of Christmas in September, and charitable partner Shriner’s Hospitals for Children. On Saturday, September 19th, from 11- 6, Durkin paid homage to television awards nominees and a wide array of sustainable and eco-friendly products.


The Ecoluxe Lounge transformed music and dance venue The Avalon into a winter wonderland replete with Santa and Mrs. Claus, glittering Christmas trees, and plenty of sugar plums to taste. Los Angeles has been suffering a heat wave, but it was plenty cool inside the club. DJ Mike Shay spun hip holiday tunes, hand crafted sugar plums were more than just visions dancing in attendees heads, and there were no stocking caps or kerchiefs to be seen. Rather, there was plenty of inventive treats and gifting items.


Guests including Elliot Gould, Adina Porter, Khandi Alexander, nominated for her appearance in ABC’s Scandal, Orange is the New Black’s Abigail Savage, and best supporting actor nominee (for Masters of Sex) Beau Bridges were among the celebrities who turned up to donate unwrapped toys for Shriners Hospital and pose for portraits with Santa and Mrs. Claus.


How2Girl Courtney Sixx, a host of the event, helped guests create Do-it-yourself holiday ornaments. The ornaments weren’t all that glittered: beautiful pieces from Amy Marie Radzik’s AR Jewelry and from Ammanii Jewelry added more shine.  Radzik’s eclectic jewelry making grew out of her other profession as production company co-owner. When her San Diego-based company started doing shoots for department stores, Radzik was often called upon to make custom pieces, and do it quickly. “Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve made jewelry, but I began to get serious about it seven years ago on a photo shoot,” Radzik says. “And now I make jewelry professionally.”



Chariot Travelware gifted beautiful hard-shell suitcases in a variety of sizes and designs – plenty of room to pack that new jewelry. Founded in 2011 by Moon Woo, the luggage is uniquely beautiful, with patterns from roses to geometric designs, vibrantly bright colors to dark grey.  Sleek but sturdy, the luggage is available online and in major department stores across the Southland.


Resqme Lifesaving Tools was also on hand, providing colorful, small emergency glass cutting tools designed to save lives easily.



Guests also explored haute couture from Sen Couture, and received dynamic makeup and hair styling from MUA Victoria Rowe & Glam Squad.

Before taking off to enjoy gift bag booty such as Yoot organic herbal tea, Justin’s peanut butter cups, crispy Pop Chips, and Modern Oats breakfast cereal, there were plenty of holiday-themed tastes on hand at the event.


Sugar and Spyked Holiday desert bar served treats like chocolate rum mini-puddings, while the S’More Bakery offered gourmet s’mores deliciously scorched with a hand held blow torch.

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Delicious mini-cupcakes, chocolate covered pretzels, and cake pops were the order of the day from Infiniti Sweets,  by owner Amanda Vefour, who started her company five years ago.


To drink? Fete Today served up a delightful petite Sirah crafted at a small family vineyard in Lodi, Calif.  Fête Today is a wine and gift shop that encourages “lives full of celebration and joy.” Along with a delicious wine redolent of dark fruits, smooth, and light, Fete offers some additional treats: a color changing twist top and an app for iOs and Android that’s essentially a fun augmented reality photo booth.


On the non-alcoholic side was NEON energy drink, a flavorful organic blend of green tea, prickly pear, and other all-natural ingredients that’s low in sodium and high on lift. Smoked Fusion BBQ catering, Rounds Premium Burgers, Hint Water, and the Southmore Group also offered tasting eats and beverages.



The holiday spirit of giving was in the air and fun was all around, making this year’s Emmy EcoLuxe Lounge another winning afternoon from producer Debbie Durkin. Going to Sundance? You’ll see Durkin there with another eco-awesome event.


Pursuit of the Magic Piece: Book Signing and Tasty Eats


Looking for something fun for the whole family this weekend? Something celebrating a cute children’s book, and serving up healthy, tasty eats for both kids and adults? Jeanne Cheng, owner of Kye’s Montana in Santa Monica, Calif. has a treat for you.

On Sunday the 27th from 3-5 pm, restaurant owner and book author Cheng is hosting a special book launch party to celebrate the release of her “Pursuit of the Magic Piece.” As fun as this book is for kids, having recently dined in Kye’s sunny, cheerful location, we can attest that there’s something even more fun afoot: the food. Primarily inventive, vegetable wrapped burritos,  Cheng describes her food as prepared to have the whole family “eating happy.”

We approached dining here with some caution: organic, healthy fast casual that’s actually tasty can be tough to find. But her claim is justified: the conscious food movement cuisine served up here is something everyone will enjoy – because it’s all about flavor.

Featuring Kyeritos, gluten free wraps with organically sourced ingredients and enough taste to appeal to Cheng’s young son, to try a bite is to believe you’ll clean your plate: in fact, you’ll want to eat here all the time.

And what better time to sample the cuisine than at a family friendly book launch where there will actually be samples.  Cheng calls the launch a “nutritional adventure. There’ll be a fun activity page, a book reading, samples of the book’s recipes, and children can even roll their own mini-sweet chicken kyerito.”


The delightfully spicy Vegan Bean Taco wrapped in collard greens on top; below, the Macro, wild seared salmon in nori.


Reading material!


The drinks are delicious too, from herbal teas to smoothies – like this caramelized banana shake made with banana, Chinese yam, coconut milk, and coconut milk ice cream.


Kye’s is located at 1518 Montana in Santa Monica. And this is the weekend to grab a bite and a book.

Merry Karnowsky Gallery – Mark Whalen – Trapezoid


What do you see? Rubik’s Cube, geometry class, chess boards, hundreds of cameras trained on hundreds of people, one person, no people at all – the observed and the observer, entwined and alone.


Geometric forms shape a world of immense order. Patterns create beauty, create conformity. All chaos is about to break loose in this Trapezoid life.


The Merry Karnowsky Gallery is often a hot-bed of emerging artists, and the exhibition of Mark Whalen’s latest works, “Trapezoid” is no exception. From hand-painted glazed ceramics to acrylic, ink, and gouache on panels, Whalen has constructed a series of personal, intricate worlds.

Meticulously detailed, his ceramics and paintings feel intense,  pristine but pointed introductions to something other-worldly that Whalen is asking the viewer to explore.




E.T. – take a picture and text it home.  The rest of us can explore this strange and stellar world through October 12th at  170 S. La Brea in Los Angeles.

  • Genie Davis; Photos – Jack Burke

Nick van Woert at Moran Bondaroff Gallery


“Just Dropped in to See What Condition My Condition Was In,” Nick Van Woert’s solo exhibition at West Hollywood’s Moran Bonderoff gallery, plays on the Kenny Rogers song of the same title, referencing altered states, the human condition, and the repetitive dance of history.  “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it,” as philosopher George Santyana famously said.


Or, as Woert’s art viscerally points out, perhaps the past we remember isn’t really what it appeared to be after all.



Historic Caucasian faces carved on wooden cigar store Indian sculptures; the bombardment by police of a Philadelphia row house in 1985 meticulously miniaturized; a vinyl record – available as a take-home to opening night visitors – recreating the sounds and noises designed as musical torture in the Waco, Texas Branch Dividians stand-off.

All are a part of this wide ranging and well-curated exhibition which pulls viewers off the street and into a world of public events and private perceptions.

Recall, reinvent, and respect.


Van Woert is originally from Reno, works in Brooklyn, and professes a powerful interest in “the evolution of materials in architecture and art… these days we’re interested in preserving the past, but only visually. There is no material continuity. The materials are more or less insignificant.”


“Condition,” however, is quite significant. Significantly substantive political statements, significant design and art, significant emotions presented across the installation’s environment. How many gallery exhibits really make you think? It’s not just political landscape, it’s the landscape of people bearing the weight of their politics.

You can check out your condition – and conditioning – through October 10th. Moran Bonderoff is located at 937 N. La Cienega in West Hollywood.

  • Genie Davis, Photos – Jack Burke