This year I had the opportunity to interview celebrities, chefs, volunteers and who touched my heart with a quote they shared. Here are 10 of the most fascinating people I met this year –
Frances Ford Coppola – The night I met Coppola, he was receiving a special honor and award at the 25th annual UCLA TFT Film Festival Directors Spotlight along with a talented group of film students. Sitting in a large theater at the Director’s Guild of America on Sunset Blvd. in Hollywood, I watched UCLA Dean Teri Scwartz honor Francis Ford Coppola with the Distinguished Vanguard Director Award Presentation. She enlightened guests with the history of Coppola’s career and had her team put together a short compilation of Coppola’s films that included Apocalypse Now, Bram Stroker’s Dracula, The Cotton Club, Finian’s Rainbow, The Godfather, The Godfather Part II, The Godfather Part III, The Outsiders, Peggy Sue Got Married and You’re a Big Boy Now. While a graduate student at UCLA, Coppola won a Samuel Goldwyn Award for the best screenplay. After this honor he was hired to write scripts for Seven Arts. Read more –http://luxebeatmag.com/legendary-film-director-francis-ford-coppola/.
Wayne Brady – Growing up in Florida, Wayne Brady knew he wanted to be an actor, He acted in high school and enjoyed improvisation (which he is brilliant at). I interviewed Brady at The Wallis Theatre in Beverly Hills. Here’s the full interview http://thestagereview.net/2016/11/11/wayne-brady-tries-sondheim-first-time-wallis/.
Rob Reiner – While dining at the elegant BOA Steakhouse for lunch I always spot an actor and model visiting Ford Models office, Abrams Artists or Atlas Entertainment and Media Talent Group located in the 14-story building. It’s also on the bottom level of the private, members-only Soho House that resides at the top of the two-story penthouse. One day, I saw actor, comedian, producer and director Rob Reiner. He stopped at our table and shared with me that he has two movies coming out in 2016 -2017. Read my review of BOA Steakhouse – https://dineandtravel.me/2016/04/10/dine-like-a-celebrity-at-boa-steakhouse-on-sunset/.
Author Simone Leslie – I was fortunate to lunch with this beautiful writer Simone Leslie and our mutual friend and public relations wizard Cherry Hepburn at The Front Yard in North Hollywood. Leslie is an Australian author who wrote the book – It’s OK To Be Beautiful: Heavenly Whispers To A Broken Heart. This beauty started modeling at 15 years old, yet was shy and insecure. She constantly heard negative voices, that left her almost suicidal. “If you don’t believe you are worthy, you will self sabotage yourself,” Leslie shared. After years of studying psychology, she wrote a book to help people create a shift in the core programming levels of their brain that will bring healing and wholeness. Her short stories are a revelation from heartache to love life and oneself. Her book can be viewed and purchases at http://www.putnamandsmithpublishing.com or go to http://www.simoneleslie.com.
William and Elizabeth Shatner – It’s a beautiful love story of Hollywood movie and television star William Shatner meeting a beautiful woman named Elizabeth. Quickly the two realized they had a lot in common with their mutual admiration for horses and helping those in need. They married in 2001 and got to work helping others. Every year the Shatners host the Hollywood Charity Horse Show in Burbank, raising money for children’s and veterans’ charities. Priceline.com (Will’s been a spokesperson for the Priceline.com since 1997) and the generous people at Wells Fargo help host this fundraising party by bringing together horses, riders, a great dinner, one-of-a-kind auction items and superstar entertainment, which has included in past years Brad Paisley, Ben Folds, Lyle Lovett, Willie Nelson, Randy Travis, Sarah McLachlan, Sheryl Crow, Joe Walsh and Vince Gill. Read more – https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/william-elizabeth-shatner-give-back-jill-weinlein.
Actress Saycon Sengbloh – I had the opportunity to meet and interview Broadway veteran Saycon Sengbloh at a rehearsal of Merrily We Roll Along. Sengbloh was nominated for a Tony Award last year for her role in Danai Gurira’s Eclipsed. Recently she starred in Michael Arden’s production of Stephen Sondheim’s masterwork Merrily We Roll Along at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts. Here’s my interview – http://thestagereview.net/2016/11/29/catching-up-with-saycon-sengbloh/
Chef Mario Batali – Mario Battle the chef and restauranteur has over 25 different restaurants located in Boston, New York, Boston, Connecticut, Chicago, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and Singapore. They are all operated by Batali and Bastianich Hospitality Group which co-develops the restaurants with chefs, GMs and wine directors. “It’s like a franchise, where the people involved have part equity,” Batali said. “Their ownership is crucial to the map of the program. It gives everyone accountability to help the restaurant succeed.” Here’s more of my review – https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/why-mario-batali-successful-jill-weinlein.
Meeting the Director and Cast of HEAT – I pinched myself sitting in front of Al Pacino, Robert De Niro and Michael Mann as they discussed how they made the classic movie – HEAT. Oscar nominee Christopher Nolan led the discussion. Actors Val Kilmer, Tom Sizemore and Amy Brenneman were also present. I learned that Pacino and De Niro previously worked together in 1974 on Francis Ford Coppola’s “The Godfather Part II” before being reunited in “Heat,” which is set in Los Angeles. – Here’s my article https://dineandtravel.me/2016/09/28/meeting-the-cast-of-michal-manns-heat/.
Gage John Lazare – I attended a special painting session at The London West Hollywood near Beverly Hills, and was warmly welcomed by the creative artist Gage John Lazare. Raised in Kahnawake, near Montreal, Canada, he now he lives in New York City and travels around the world, creating his own pieces and collaborating with other artists and designers. I took a seat in front of a small easel holding a blank white canvas. A package of paint brushes in various sizes and package of paints and a palette were nearby. Here’s what I learned – https://dineandtravel.me/2016/08/31/outdoor-paint-class-at-the-london-hotel/.