October · November 2017
D i r e c t
No More Excuses
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Vol. 2 | No. 4
EDITOR’S NOTE 6 You Can’t Pigeonhole Playa Vista COMMUNITY 10 Silicon Beach Fashion Show @ Concert Park 12 Night Market @ Runway Playa Vista 14 Opening Day @ Providence St. John’s Playa Vista ICYMI 16 Find out which major Playa Vista business is suing a medical marijuana company for trademark infringement Q&A 18 Katherine Schwarzenegger signs her new book at the Annenberg PetSpace
PETS 32 Three adorable pets ready for adoption @ Annenberg PetSpace HOME 36 War hero Zulah Ray turns 100 @ Sunrise Senior Living Playa Vista
HEALTH 42 Shanna and Lou Ferrigno share their workout plan @ Bluff Creek Fields Park FOOD 48 Big Mango Café offers a friendly and yummy approach to the lunch grind
SHOPPING 54 Find the perfect accessories People for Halloween and the Day 22 Playa Vista photographer Howie Ronay of the Dead transforms trash in art EVENTS 26 Vista Studios’ Frank Gianotti and Randall Heer on the future of 56 Don’t miss craft brews @ the pop-up film production Oktoberfest Night Market at Runway
36 ON THE COVER: Father and daughter fitness team Lou and Shanna Ferrigno @ Bluff Creek Fields Park. Photo by Courtnay Robbins. Design by Michael Kraxenberger.
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Edi t o r ’ s N o t e
You Can’t Pigeonhole Playa Vista
laya Vista is known as a hub for the tech industry’s biggest players. And walking around Runway or shopping at Whole Foods, it’s easy to think the area belongs only to millennials and young families. But this issue of Playa Vista Direct, however, is proof they are only a fraction of the rich, multifaceted community here. At the corner of Jefferson Boulevard and Playa Vista Drive, nestled next to Fire Station 67, stands a senior living community called Sunrise. Filled with veterans, centenarians and some of the spriest great, great grandmothers you’ll ever meet, these Playa Vistans offer a unique wealth of experience and life stories. In August, I was honored to meet Private Zulah Ray, a war hero and POW, at his hundredth birthday party. Ray wore an ear-to-ear grin as his family and community celebrated around him. I hope you enjoy reading his inspiring story. Another thing I learned from editing this issue is that actor and former bodybuilder Lou Ferrigno and his daughter Shanna love to work out in the parks in Playa Vista. I was able to visit the park with them and get some tips on staying fit from the Incredible Hulk himself. Basking in the golden sunshine, with a cool breeze coming off the bluffs, it was a surreal experience. At an open house event for Vista Studios, I was able to walk around the cavernous space, mingle with guests, and sit in the drivers’ seat of a McLaren racecar, dreaming about taking her for a test ride down the 90 Freeway. The moment was fun and totally unexpected. When I attended The Silicon Beach Fashion Show in Concert Park, I was delighted to learn that instead of professional runway models sporting the latest fall styles, the show was actually comprised of local kids. The littlest model, baby Dom Fagerlind, laughed as he crawled across the catwalk to show off his Paige Lauren neon blue onesie. Just when I think I know the routine, Playa Vista offers a way to exceed my expectations. And I expect nothing less. Shanee Edwards Managing Editor · firstname.lastname@example.org
6 Playa Vista Direct | October · November 2017
Managing Editor Shanee Edwards Art Director Michael Kraxenberger Contributing Writers Christina Campodonico Stephanie Case · Richard Foss Jessica Koslow · Robyn Paris Andrew Dubbins · Andy Vasoyan Gary Walker Contributing Photographers Erica Allen · Inae Bloom Courtnay Robbins Maria Martin · Shilah Montiel Emily Hart Roth Graphic Designer Kate Doll Account Executives Renee Baldwin Kay Christy David Maury Advertising Director Adam Schaffer Senior Editor Joe Piasecki Publisher David Comden
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c o m m uni t y Photos by Inae Bloom
Silicon Beach Fashion Show @ Concert Park Playa Vista’s tiniest tots strutted their stuff down the runway on Saturday, Aug. 19, both for fun and to help young mothers and children in need. Organized by the Silicon Beach Parents Group, this fashion show featured darling kids decked out in designer duds. Fashion houses like Caro Bambino, Rowdy Sprout, and Peas and Queues were on parade in the park. Many of the garments were made from organic fabric or featured UV-blocking fabric. Baby model Dom Fagerlind didn’t mind he was too young to walk. The babe simply crawled across the stage to show off his neon blue Paige Lauren onesie. Hostess Gabby D’Addario narrated the show as her adorable daughter tried to steal the microphone. Parents donated baby wipes to benefit The Harvest Home, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to help pregnant women who are homeless or soon to become homeless. — Shanee Edwards 10 Playa Vista Direct | October · November 2017
1 Fashion house Caro Bambino sets up shop in the park 2 Megan McDonald wearing Catimini 3 Model in front wearing Catimini, model in back wearing Little Creative Factory 4 LeAngela Melius wearing Michael Stars, twins Lea & Liv Melius wearing Little Creative Factory 5 CJ Garrett wearing Platypus Australia SPF 50 Swimwear
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c o m m uni t y Photos by Inae Bloom
Night Market @ Runway As the sun set over the bluffs on Friday, Aug. 25, crowds gathered at Runway for a new experience: a pop-up Night Market. Artisans of all kinds displayed their wares for families to ogle and purchase. DJ Disco Shrine spun family-friendly pop tunes that brought out dancers, big and small. Other cool activities included a glow-in-the-dark art mural, the Craft Camper and food trucks. For mom and dad, craft beers were on hand, including IPA Del Rey from the Indie Brewing Company. Watermelon margaritas came courtesy of Sol Cucina; Hal’s Bar & Grill poured the wine. Many parents sipped in a gated area while their kids played games. Playa Vista resident Melissa Mason was thrilled the event was held in the evening. “It changes it up,” she says. “You can do dinner and then have drinks — whereas on Sundays, you have to go home and make your own dinner.” — Shanee Edwards 12 Playa Vista Direct | October · November 2017
1 Frida Fabian leaves a message on the neon chalk wall 2 Kids get crafty with the help of the mobile Craft Camper 3 A family dance party courtesy of DJ Disco Shrine 4 A Sol Cucina bartender makes margaritas for a thirsty crowd
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Soul and high style abounds in this newly completed 2017 stunning modern barn estate in Silicon Beach's North Kentwood. The home presents urban sophistication and classic Americana with inspired and mindful luxury finishes. The impressive architectural design and flow recall the charm of East Coast countryside while offering the buyer the latest technology and best elements of West Coast living with an attached west-facing California room to enjoy evening sunsets. The home features four ensuite bedrooms with dramatic and pitched ceilings and a charming powder room. The master retreat is dreamy, romantic and spacious. The kitchen is a showstopper with a 5ft x 10ft black walnut waterfall chef’s island, custom-built white locker-style cabinets, step-in pantry, all stainless Bertazzoni appliances, white quartszone counters, white subway tiles, and tons of luxury upgrades. The exterior paint has "solar reflective technology" and brings high style and supreme "cool" to one of LA's hottest neighborhoods. Please join us November 5th, 2017 for the 35th Annual Westchester Mental Health Guild’s Holiday Home Tour. We are extremely proud and grateful for the opportunity to sponsor this amazing event. Follow us on Facebook for updates on the home we will be hosting and to get updates on the many properties we have coming in 2017.
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c o m m uni t y Photos by Maria Martin
Opening Day @ Providence Saint John’s – Playa Vista Providence Saint John’s celebrated the grand opening of its new Playa Vista medical offices on Thursday, Aug. 17, with L.A. City Councilman Mike Bonin on hand to congratulate them. The facility at 12555 W. Jefferson Blvd. includes 16 exam rooms and two large procedure rooms for primary and specialty care, including pediatric medicine, cardiology and well-woman exams to serve the “lots of mommies in the area,” said Katie Kerr, director of primary care services. Pediatric services include separate sick and well child waiting rooms, with negative reverse air technology to suck the germs away. Kerr led a tour of the high-tech facility, which was designed in accordance with strict conservationist standards to save energy. Providence also recently made a $30-million commitment to funding mental health initiatives in the community, said Kerr. “We’ll also have an adult and a children’s psychiatrist available who will take insurance. Our goal is to provide as many services as possible so people don’t have to leave the area,” she said. — Shanee Edwards 14 Playa Vista Direct | October · November 2017
1 Pediatrician Dr. Amy Shapiro with her family on opening day Doctors Jay Kahng, Daniel Lau, Danielle Fischer, Jeffrey Bourne and Amy Shapiro
3 Scot McIntosh, Dr. Jeffrey Fischer, Dr. Danielle Fischer, Mike Bonin and Katie Kerr Dr. Jay Kahng takes Katie Kerr’s blood pressure – it was normal
Construction Project Manager David Nastri and his daughter
In Case You
Missed It Cedars-Sinai Playa Vista is now open at Runway, offering urgent care services noon to 9 p.m. weekdays, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekends. Primary care services coming later this month with pediatric and OB-GYN services coming in November. Jessica Alba’s Honest Company has filed suit against Honest Herbal for trademark infringement. Based in Colorado, Honest Herbal sells cannabinoidrich hemp products. The lawsuit suggests the similar name will confuse customers.
A new TV drama called “Silicon Beach” was purchased by Fox. Written by Brian Young (“Vampire Diaries”), the show will focus on a millennial woman as she navigates the competitive world of tech startups in sunny Playa Vista.
Hash, a new breakfast and lunch spot, opened at 12121 Bluff Creek Drive, bringing everything from delicious carrot cake waffles to the Bebop Bowl made with rice, choice of protein, eggs and veggies. Open weekdays from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
“We have a vibrant and passionate digital culture here in Hollywood, and yet our opportunities to come together as a community and acknowledge our leaders in this space are few.” – Bettina Sherick, founder of Hollywood in Pixels, talking about the Silver Pixel Awards held at the Facebook offices in Playa Vista in October As told to Dave McNary of Variety 16 Playa Vista Direct | October · November 2017
Playa Vista Direct | October Â· November 2017 17
Katherine Schwarzenegger at PetSpace signing her new book â€˜Maverick and Meâ€™
Q & A with Katherine
The author and activist visits the Wallis Annenberg PetSpace to sign her new book on pet adoption Story By Shanee Edwards | Photos by Maria Martin
s many as 6.5 million dogs and cats end up in American animal shelters each year, and roughly 1.5 million of them are euthanized because they can’t find a home, according to the ASPCA. But the good news is that 3.2 million shelter animals do get adopted. If it were up to Katherine Schwarzenegger, each and every adoptable animal would find a forever home. To help build a culture of “adopt, don’t shop,” Schwarzenegger has written a children’s picture book about pet adoption called “Maverick and Me.” The book tells the story of her own experience of fostering — and quickly falling in love with and adopting — a shelter puppy who needed a little extra care. The daughter of Maria Shriver and Arnold Schwarzenegger, she signed copies of her book at the Wallis Annenberg PetSpace in Playa Vista on Sept. 17. Playa Vista Direct: What inspired you to write “Maverick and Me”? Katherine Schwarzenegger: I’ve always been a huge animal lover, and I wanted to write the book to teach kids about animal rescue. I just saw the way my little cousins reacted to meeting my rescue dog Maverick. I wanted to teach them that animal rescue is an option, so when they get their first pet they might choose to adopt.
Veterinarian JJ Rawlinson introduces a pup to a young animal lover
What do you think of the Annenberg PetSpace? It’s the most amazing space I’ve ever been to. It’s so well done — has the cutest dogs and cats and rabbits. It teaches such great lessons to kids about going in and adopting a pet. They get to write their story on the little touchscreen board. It’s just such a great interactive space for kids to learn all about animals and the responsibility of taking care of animals. And it gives animals a second chance at life and at love.
What have you learned as a result of adopting Maverick? I’ve grown up with many different pets, but Maverick was my first rescue dog. I got him when he was just two weeks old and he was really sick. That whole experience has been amazing for me. It’s made me a better person and taught me a lot about responsibility, but also about patience and unconditional love. (Continued on page 20) Playa Vista Direct | October · November 2017 19
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What advice do you have for people who adopt a dog that’s been abused or neglected? Every single dog has different needs, and it’s important to figure out what that is and cater to their needs. Teaching them, just like you would a child, is the way to go. Do you have any plans to go into politics? No. I think if you grow up in politics, you either really want to go into it or prefer to admire it from afar. I have a huge amount of respect and admiration for people who are in politics, but I like to view it from a distance. If you could come back in your next life as any animal, what would it be? Obviously, a dog. What kind? I’d be a mutt, because they are the most special.
STAYING HEALTHY TOMORROW BEGINS WITH A DOCTOR TODAY. Primary care opening October 16 at Runway Playa Vista.
With primary and urgent care in Playa Vista, Cedars-Sinai experts are now closer than ever for your long-term and short-term needs. Our doctors provide personalized care and, most importantly, keep you healthy. And with pediatrics coming soon, we’ll be your partner in health for every stage of life. Cedars-Sinai is located at Runway Playa Vista, with additional locations in Westchester, Marina del Rey, Culver City and Santa Monica.
12746 W. Jefferson Blvd. Playa Vista, CA 90094 1-800-CEDARS-1 cedars-sinai.edu Covered by most insurance plans. Urgent Care Hours Weekdays: Noon - 9 p.m. Weekends: 9 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Photographer Howie Ronay dumpster dives for his art
22 Playa Vista Direct | October Âˇ November 2017
P e op l e
Playa Vista photographer Howie Ronay transforms trash into art Story By Kelby Vera | Photos by Maria Martin
owie Ronay never imagined that a bike ride in Chicago would be the catalyst for a lifechanging project, but that’s exactly how Pretty Ugly Gallery began. Since 2013, Pretty Ugly has been finding magic and beauty in the imperfect edges of urban life, blossoming from an Instagram account into a full time passion. Now about that bike ride… Ronay was cutting through an alley on his way to the downtown loft he shared with his wife Jennifer (now Pretty Ugly Gallery’s CEO), when something caught his eye. “It was very strange. I’d walked through this alley a hundred times at least,” Ronay recounts. “But one day, I happened to notice a brown dumpster. It was rusted and the paint was revealing different kinds of colors. There was like a rainbow of earth tones showing through — oranges and reds and dark browns, and I couldn’t help but stop. “Before I knew it, I started snapping pictures of this dumpster,” he says, laughing. “I must have looked partially insane.” But the results were striking. “As I kept looking, it started to look a little more like modern art and less like a dumpster,” says Ronay, who by that time had already worked as a creative director in advertising for two decades. To reveal the washes of color and texture hidden in dumpsters, chipped paint, rusted cars and other facets of urban decay, Ronay shoots about 50 photos of an
Ronay takes up to 50 photos of trash to find the three most compelling images
ugly thing, experimenting with various compositions until he settles on three photos he thinks are most compelling. “At that point,” says Ronay, “I will push some more saturation, and I will adjust the overall color temperature warmer or cooler depending on what compliments the shot the best.” After Ronay’s photographic epiphany in Chicago, he knew he needed to find the perfect name — something that was just as unique as the fusion of dirty and dazzling in the pictures. “I knew [the idea] was contradictory, finding this beauty in something known
to be ugly, so we needed that juxtaposition in the name. “And really quickly ‘Pretty Ugly’ hit me,” the perfect combination of a common phrase and the essence of the project. Though some of the work is done on the computer, “everything starts with that initial capturing of the beautiful compositions and designs that were already hidden within.” Pretty Ugly Gallery took off quicker than Howie and Jennifer could have (Continued on page 24) Playa Vista Direct | October · November 2017 23
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(Continued from page 23)
even imagined. As the Instagram fan base grew from handfuls to hundreds, followers started to itch for prints and IRL artwork, leading to the creation of the webstore. In addition to the success of the shop, PUG has sparked more than a few amazing collaborations. Santa Monica culinary social club Stage + Table reached out after finding Pretty Ugly and invited them to help plan an evening of art. The result was a Pretty Ugly matching game, where teams competed to pair the original pictures with PUG’s painterly prints. PUG also has the honor of being showcased in Sundance Cinema Galleries in West Hollywood. The gallery has also found a way to pay it forward to the artists of the future, partnering with both the National Network for Youth and Anthropos Arts. Through it all, Ronay’s bike has been one of his most important partners.
Ronay proudly shows his “Pretty Ugly” creations
“If I wasn’t a biker, this would never be happening,” he says. “The bike is the key to this whole thing.” Ronay can recount his share of adrenaline-fueled moments in pursuit of the perfect picture. “There have been times where I see a construction site and I’ll wait for the light, run in my bike shoes, hop over the railing and sit there shooting,” he says, laughing again. “And then I’ve got to find a break in the traffic and get back and not slip on the asphalt.”
While Pretty Ugly isn’t a physical gallery yet, it has sparked a community of creators who tag their pictures #PUGlife. “The greatest thing about the whole thing is how it started with no intention other than posting a few pictures, and now I’ve been fueled and inspired by people’s enthusiasm.” So if you’re the type to find magic in the messy, maybe the #PUGlife is the life for you. Find Pretty Ugly Gallery online at PrettyUglyGallery.com
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Guests mingle around a McLaren race car on a Vista Studios soundstage
P e op l e
A Studio Built
for the Future Vista Studios brings cutting edge technology to an industry in flux By Andy Vasoyan | Photos by Maria Martin
n a city littered with production studios, the Vista Studios is an odd bird. One of only a handful of independents with their production capability and size —and west of the 405 to boot — the Playa Vista-based company occupies a warehouse that last saw work under French automaker Citroën in 1969. In true L.A. fashion, the parcel was still zoned for filming. After a yearlong construction and reclamation process, Vista Studios soft-opened in May of this year; a client moved in before the city fully accommodated their new electrical setup, so an open house for their tech-savvy neighbors near Runway at Playa Vista included generators buzzing with the hors d’oeuvres. By the time the juice was flowing in late July, multiple clients were inhabiting the four sound stages, which range in size from a cavernous 6,300-square-foot area to a modest 1,320-foot space. By September, Vista had worked with networks like FX, hung with skateboarders shooting for Apple, and had taken out permits to film wolves for VR. “When you have a place that can do so much, it’s easy to add elements of services and production value,” says Chief Marketing Officer Frank Gianotti. “We come from the world of creating production, building TV shows, running studios. We can do it all.” Gianotti comes to Vista after a tenure at an independent studio in Culver City,
From virtual reality to a 4K format, this control room can handle the latest in cutting edge technology
where he worked with his future partner, Vista CEO Randall Heer. Heer has been in the industry in one form or another for 34 years, with three Emmy Awards under his belt, and says that the traditional film and TV model is in flux. “It used to be that you have your own network and build all of the infrastructure to support that in-house with facilities, equipment, and so on,” Heer says. “A lot of businesses now are trying to grow and build content, but don’t want that kind of heavy capital commitment.” That’s where Heer believes Vista Studios comes in (as a “turnkey, white-glove solution,” in the jargon), and that’s also
where the studio’s Playa Vista location plays a role as well. “It’s a center for [advertising] agencies and new media companies, and being here puts us centrally located to serve those companies,” Heer says. One of their first clients was a company creating virtual reality content that’s now building their own space down the street. On either side of the Vista Studios lot is a special effects design studio and the headquarters of Samy’s Camera. A five minute walk leads to the WeWork space, and for (Continued on page 28) Playa Vista Direct | October · November 2017 27
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(Continued from page 27)
being in a cul-de-sac, foot traffic around the studio is brisk. “We’ve actually had a half-dozen walk-ins since we opened, and people were happy to find out ‘Hey, you’re a studio!’” attests Gianotti. “But we’ve also got the tech giants in the neighborhood, YouTube and Snapchat and TMZ as well.” YouTube is, in fact, in the neighborhood, with their 41,000-square-foot YouTube Space LA less than a mile away. The converted helicopter factory is probably Vista Studio’s nearest comparison in regards to size. However, at 30,000 square feet, Vista is dwarfed by big-name mega studios. Disney’s plot in Burbank, for example, occupies 51 acres — more than 2,000,000 square feet. Vista Studios’ smaller size belies its flexibility: Every room has been designed to respond to the varying needs of different productions. Control rooms can be edit bays; edit bays double as dressing
rooms; the common area is a workspace. That also applies to Vista Studio’s digital infrastructure, a partnership with British company Snell Advanced Media, or SAM. “SAM put a lot of trust in us as a testing ground for their new equipment and, in return, we get to work with their cutting-edge technology,” Heer says. “The technology is very advanced, but it just works, so content producers can focus on actually making content.” SAM and Vista Studios have been set up to record in a 4K format; although consumers have been a bit slow on the uptake for 4K enabled televisions, companies like Netflix are requiring their master recordings to be shot in 4K. The Advanced Television Systems Committee, which has overseen the transition to digital television, is updating its standards to include 4K. Heer says that’s another example of an industry in transition, which is exactly where
Founders and partners, Frank Gianotti and Randall Heer both have a long history in film production
Vista Studios can make their mark. “There’s too much interesting stuff going on in the industry,” Heer says. “The corporate world is changing. It’s time for us to do our own thing. The hotbed of entrepreneurial activity is right here in Playa Vista, and we’re right in the middle of it.” For more information about Vista Studios, call (310) 803-9080 or visit thevistastudios.com.
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A dop t ion
from Annenberg PetSpace The coolest buddies in Playa Vista are waiting for their new forever homes
I’m simply beautiful and a very friendly and affectionate gal, if I do say so myself. How could you resist me? I like children and would make a great family pet. I’m really easygoing and love listening to music!
I’m very proud to be a vegan! I love nature and being outdoors. I dream of sunny days out in the yard with the warm sun on my face. Please share your veggies with me — I’ll be your best friend.
I’m a very young puppy, cuddly, happy and ready to steal your heart! What more can I say, I’m completely adorable and ready to go home with you!
“Tip from the Trainer” by Eleasha Gall, CPDT-KA
What did you say? Most people I talk to will at some point say, “I wish my dog could tell me what he’s thinking”. I usually smile and say, “They can, but we need to learn how to listen to their dog language.” This isn’t something like decoding barks, it’s learning how to decode
dog body language. If we really want to know what our dog is saying, we just have to watch. The most common thing I see dogs do, both in public and in the dog’s home, is “The Yawn”. If a group of kids has ever asked to pet your dog and he yawns, he is not suddenly tired. He’s stressed! Recently, I was talking to another dog trainer who works with a musical production that incorporates dogs as part of the show. Their rule
was that if the dog yawned three times, he was taken off stage and the back-up dog was brought in. The performing dog was then allowed to be alone, destress, and could be put back on stage with no problems. Next time you are out with your dog and you see a yawn, look and listen! Give him some space and quiet time. He will thank you for hearing and seeing him.
To learn more about pet adoption or to see other available pets, visit annenbergpetspace.org 32 Playa Vista Direct | October · November 2017
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A Hero Turns 100
Sunrise of Playa Vista throws a birthday bash for a World War II vet who radiates positivity By Stephanie Case | Photos by Courtnay Robbins
36 Playa Vista Direct | October Âˇ November 2017
Left side: B e low: B e l o w r i g h t:
ulah Dawson Ray was born on Aug. 28, 1917. On Aug. 26, 2017, a hair shy of one century later, Sunrise of Playa Vista is bustling with energy. The senior assisted living center’s first floor has turned into a birthday extravaganza for its almost centenarian. Throngs of people crowd around tables, laughing and swapping stories, as music plays from a jukebox. But a surprising amount of guests linger near a table by the entrance. It’s covered with vintage army memorabilia: wartime letters sent across the Atlantic, plaques and medals, photos in uniform, a Purple Heart — mementos of a life lived bravely. Some of Ray’s fellow Sunrise residents trickle in, learning about their neighbor through his keepsakes.
War hero Zulah Dawson Ray greets family members
The letter sent to Ray’s mother notifying her he was missing in action
The community at Sunrise Playa Vista gathers around Ray to sing happy birthday
“That he was in the military: that’s the most amazing thing,” says Barbara Thor, a senior at Sunrise. “He’s gone through some hard times.” Ray was a 24-year-old country boy from the Ozarks when he joined the U.S. Army. Two days after he entered active service, the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. Some recruits jumped ship, but he stayed. Ray eventually joined a tank team and was sent to fight in Europe, where he was quickly thrown into danger. While traveling through the Mediterranean Sea, a nearby American ship was bombed by an airplane. The water around him was filled with barracks bags and men: some drowned, others alive, frantically grasping onto any floatation device in reach.
“This was our first taste of what war was really like,” Ray remembered, as part of an oral history of his life, dictated in 1987. “We could still hear the scream of the bombs as they left the planes overhead and the shuddering boom when they hit the water and exploded. We wondered if our ship would be hit next.” Ray’s ship survived unscathed, but his luck later ran out on a Tunisian battlefield, where he was injured and captured by enemy forces. At a German field hospital, his shoes were stolen. He eventually left with only two of his prior possessions: a nail clipper and his high school ring. (Continued on page 38) Playa Vista Direct | October · November 2017 37
(Continued from page 37)
From his hospitalization, Ray was sent to an Italian camp as a prisoner of war. For seven months, he and others were trapped there with little source of comfort. Ray said: “I have been asked many times if I was ever hungry during my P.O.W. internment. I have to answer, ‘Just once, from the beginning to the end.’” In September 1943, Ray and other prisoners caught wind of the Italian surrender. Soon after, under cover of darkness, Ray escaped the camp with a group of 14 others, hiding in bushes and narrowly dodging the German soldiers who were out to recapture them. He made his way back to the American lines, where he continued to serve for two more years. Ruby Kaylor, Ray’s niece, was very young during his time overseas. It wasn’t until decades later, as an adult, that she learned the full extent of her uncle’s harrowing history.
Guests congratulate Ray on turning 100
“I was impressed with all that he went through,” Kaylor says. “To me, he never seemed like he had any scars, emotionally or mentally. He always seemed to be in good spirits, always thankful for what he had and very positive.” At his party, the positivity is unmistakable. Sitting behind a red-white-
and-blue cake, birthday sash across his chest, Ray has a tiny yet powerful smile, reminiscent of the toothy grin from his old Army headshot. “You can wake him up at 3 a.m. to check on him, and he’ll still have a giant (Continued on page 40)
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smile on his face,” says Barbara Tabb, coordinator of the Reminiscence Neighborhood at Sunrise, where Ray now resides. After spending more than four decades of his postwar life in California — much of it in Westchester, working for Chevron — Ray and his late wife Marie transferred to Sunrise. For as long as his health allowed, Ray stayed involved at the facility: taking frequent daytrips with Sunrise residents and long walks by Ballona Creek with Kaylor, going to church every Sunday and having coffee with friends at the West Los Angeles VA on Mondays. Sunrise became his new center of gravity, and the community embraced him. So, when Kaylor approached Sunrise with the idea of throwing a birthday party, their team hit the ground running. “Sunrise was absolutely amazing,” Kaylor says. “They just went above and beyond.” As her guest list grew — with more than 100 family members, veterans, fellow church patrons and friends joining to celebrate Ray’s remarkable century of life — the assisted living community rushed to make room for everyone. “I think [Ray] felt it was a special day,” says Kaylor, looking back. “And for 100 years, I thought it was wonderful that we could recognize him.”
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(Continued from page 38)
Shanna and Lou Ferrigno say you can have fun and sweat at the same time
H e a lt h
Become your own
action hero For Shanna and Lou Ferrigno, getting fit is a walk in the park Story By Shanee Edwards | Photos by Courtnay Robbins
n any given day, you might run into certified fitness professional Shanna Ferrigno, her two dogs, Tyson and Ruby, and her father Lou in one of the many parks in Playa Vista. They love it here and it’s easy to understand why. Shanna gushes, “I love the fact that there’s workout equipment right here in the parks. I love that you can’t make an excuse not to exercise once you’re out here — and you can bring your dog. It’s such an active community. Everybody walks, and they talk to each other. You can have a glass of wine at one of the restaurants and then come here and enjoy the outdoors,” she says as I chat with her and her father Lou Ferrigno, the famous body builder and actor, at the The Ferrignos recommend boxing as a way to tone arms and build strength Bluff Creek Fields. For Shanna, the book is very perhave to walk through what’s going on in At 65, Lou is still a Mack truck of sonal. When she was 12 or 13, her father our lives and not mask it,” she says. a man, with muscles upon muscles. But Lou says one of the biggest pitfalls he’s also incredibly humble, kind-hearted returned to competitive bodybuilding. Her parents established a super healthy, he sees is when “people lose weight, and maintains a positive attitude. These highly structured food regimen for the but they gain it back because they are qualities his daughter reflects in can’t handle being successful with spades. Together, they built their lifestyle entire family. Shanna admits she retheir own body.” brand, Ferrigno FIT, on their core values belled, with a mindset of “anything that Shanna thinks being too focused on to help people get healthy in a “safe, sane nobody saw me put in my mouth doesn’t exist.” It led to her becoming overweight. becoming a specific size or weight can and holistic” manner. also undermine people’s success. Shanna’s book “The Reset Plan: Lose Now she’s healthy, strong and beautiful, and says that experience helps her to un“Throw out the scale! It’s just a the Secrets, Lose the Excuses, Lose the crazy numbers game,” she says. “It’s all Weight” is all about letting go of trauma derstand how people self-sabotage their own weight loss and overall health. about how you feel and what goes into and how to stop making excuses for “It comes from their past. A lot of your body.” not being fit. “It delves more into the people get told they’re not good enough. mental-physical aspect, as opposed to a six-pack abs kind of book,” she explains. But at this point, we’re adults and we (Continued on page 44) Playa Vista Direct | October · November 2017 43
H e a lt h
(Continued from page 43)
In 1977, the U.S. Government released its first dietary guidelines (the McGovern Report), which inspired the low-fat craze of the 1980s, which in turn inspired lasting confusion about dietary strategy. “The report said saturated fat is going to kill you,” says Shanna, and “I think people are still really confused: ‘Do I go low-fat, do I go fat-free, do I go no carbs, do I go glutton-free?’ You’ve got to go with what works for you and how you feel. I think people are losing track of how they feel because of all these gimmicks coming out. Weight loss is a $4-billion business, and they’re not out to serve our best interests.” Lou says even if you can’t afford a pricey gym membership, Ferrigno FIT can help people figure out what they need to work on at home or in parks, like the ones in Playa Vista.
(Continued on page 46)
Lou counts while Shanna does pushups to strengthen her biceps and core
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H e a lt h
(Continued from page 44)
“Some people can’t afford a personal trainer,” says Lou. “Some people have bad trainers. This is something that will work for any age, any type — you teach yourself how to become a personal trainer and you motivate yourself.” Shanna agrees with empowering people to take action. “We have to be our own hero. We have to know what’s right for us.” Though Ferrigno FIT and acting jobs keep Lou incredibly busy, he’s on the verge of adding a new title to his resume: Head of the President’s Council on Physical Fitness & Nutrition. President Trump, Lou’s former boss on season five of “Celebrity Apprentice,” has tapped Lou for the job. “Because of the life I’ve lived and what I’ve overcome, I feel I’m the best candidate,” he says. For more information about Ferrigno FIT, visit their website at ferrignofit.com.
Lou and Shanna think working out with a partner helps keep you accountable for a great workout
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48 Playa Vista Direct | October · November 2017
Thai Crunch Salad with Asian mixed cabbages, romaine lettuce, chicken, crispy won tons, rice noodles, crushed peanuts and Thai peanut dressing
A bov e :
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ithout many words, Jonathan Weiss communicates volumes through his cooking. He’s in the kitchen every day at 2:30 a.m., preparing 1,000 catered meals for the surrounding business community. He greets and often hugs his customers at Big Mango Café, a successful restaurant he co-owns with partner Adam Drucker on Waterfront Drive. He’s worked alongside master chefs including Wolfgang Puck, Julia Child and Border Grill co-founder Susan Feniger. And if you don’t pay close enough attention when ordering at the counter, you might not realize that Jonathan Weiss is deaf. Weiss’ culinary education began as a kid in his grandfather’s British pub, The Fox and Hounds. “He’s been in the kitchen since five minutes after he was born,” jokes Drucker, who often stands by his partner, listening to him and translating. Weiss speaks, but is liable to not be understood, and reads lips. “His grandfather was a huge influence on him,” Drucker says. “He
pushed him to speak, to read lips and to cook like a champion.” Hidden among the towering offices in Silicon Beach, Big Mango Café has been open for five-plus years — an impressive feat considering other eateries in Playa Vista have come and gone in the past few years. When it opened, the café was mostly surrounded by dirt. Four outside tables have multiplied into 13 today. Back then, the café catered mostly to businesses, and it still does. The kitchen, where Weiss and his staff prepare all of the food, is located four blocks away. The company partners with online catering services and online ordering services, and they have plenty of corporate clients they service daily. The café is open from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on weekdays. “We’ve designed the business to offer food that is fast, fresh and reasonably priced,” says Drucker. Weiss adds: “People don’t have time, only 45 minutes. They want quick, and we understand our audience.” Serving an office park is definitely a niche market. There is not much foot
traffic on Waterfront Drive. Two standup signs have been placed at the end of the block in each direction. But it’s still tucked away just enough that you probably have to know that it’s there. “We feel lucky to be here,” Drucker says. “We got here way back when. We know the area well, and we know the people that work here in Playa Vista well. We cater to their needs.” The menu offers specials that Weiss creates every week. Every Wednesday is Sushi Wednesday. “People go crazy over our specials,” assures Drucker, “especially the Mexican dishes. We do them right.” Big Mango Café serves artisan sandwiches and salads, desserts, soups and smoothies. They sell pre-made salads and sandwiches too, if you need to grab and go. A few customer favorites are the Thai Crunch salad with chicken and peanut dressing, and the BBQ Beef Brisket — all homemade by Weiss in his kitchen. “We hate artificial stuff — nitrates, high-fructose corn syrup,” Drucker (Continued on page 50) Playa Vista Direct | October · November 2017 49
(Continued from page 49)
explains. “We serve all-natural sodas, sparkling water extracted from maple syrup, and Waiakea Hawaiian volcanic water.” Located on what seems like an island of their own, it’s not immediately obvious if Big Mango Café is affected by all of the new restaurants popping up in Playa Vista. “Every time a new one opens up, we feel it,” says Drucker. “When Whole Foods opened up, our business dropped for two months.” And, luckily, the customers always come back. Drucker and Weiss are a perfect working pair. Weiss is in charge of the food, and Drucker oversees the business. Both are seasoned restaurateurs. Weiss has been catering for 25 years and once ran Jack Sprat’s in West L.A. and Gladstones in Malibu. Drucker managed Paradise Cove Café in Malibu and ran Susan Feniger and Mary Sue Milliken’s Border Grill food truck business.
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Considering all the major obstacles this amiable duo has already overcome, it doesn’t seem like there’s much standing in their way — except maybe weather, temporarily. “Weather has a negative effect on
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We know Halloween is coming, but these handcrafted earrings are the perfect accessory to remember loved ones on the Day of the Dead, Nov. 1. $35 Night Market at Runway 12775 W. Millennium Drive Playa Vista | (310) 600-8252 (next Night Market is Oct. 20) LittleMuseDesigns.com
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EVENTS Saturday, Oct. 14
Thursday, Oct. 26
Yoga for a Cause
Campus Dessert Social
Renew your body, mind and commitment to doing good with a donations-based yoga class benefitting a local charity. Bring a yoga mat, water and a few bucks. 9 to 10 a.m. The Lawn, behind Runway at Playa Vista. playavista.com
Campus employees can mix, mingle and enjoy a free dessert. Don’t for forget your ID badge. Noon to 1:30 p.m. Central Park Bandshell, 12405 E. Waterfront Dr., Playa Vista. Free (campus employees only). playavista.com
Thursday-Sunday, Oct. 19-22
CTRL Collective VR Haunted Carnival
WestEdge Design Fair More than 150 designers converge for a four-day event in which product and interior design enthusiasts and professionals can mix, mingle, shop and learn from various speakers. Barker Hangar, 3021 Airport Ave., Santa Monica. $20-$95. westedgedesignfair.com Saturday, Oct. 14 OR Saturday, Nov. 11
Friday, Oct. 20
Sunset Nature Hike Visit the Ballona Salt Marsh to watch the sand turn golden under a cotton candy sky and learn more about your local wetlands. Meet at 4:50 p.m. in the parking lot behind Alkali Water/Gordon’s Market, 303 Culver Blvd., Playa del Rey. Tour ends at sunset. Sandy trails, no strollers. All ages welcome. ballonafriends.org
Oktoberfest Night Market
Friday, Oct. 20
This pop-up artisan marketplace features craft brews and specialty drinks in the beer garden, live music, food, lots of artisan vendors and a variety of activities for the kids. 6 to 10 p.m. Runway at Playa Vista, 12746 W. Jefferson Blvd., Playa Vista. playavista.com
Arcade Fire with Angel Olsen Indie rock giants Arcade Fire continue to explore more adventurous musical territory on their Infinite Content tour. Singer-songwriter Angel Olsen opens. 7:30 p.m. The Forum, 3900 W. Manchester Blvd., Inglewood. $40+. (310) 330-7300; fabulousforum.com Sunday, Oct. 22
An Evening with Gretchen Carlson
Friday, Oct. 20
Named one of TIME’s 100 Most Influential People in the World, journalist Carlson is an advocate for female empowerment. She discusses speaking out against sexual harassment and her new book “Be Fierce: Stop Harassment and Take Your Power Back.” 6:30 p.m. William Turner Gallery, Bergamot Station Arts Center, 2525 Michigan Ave., Santa Monica. $20-$45. livetalksla.org Wednesday, Oct. 25
HUB Tap Takeover
Sunday, Oct. 22 56 Playa Vista Direct | October · November 2017
Portland’s HUB (Hopworks Urban Brewery) takes over the taps at the Astro Pub for a seasonal delight. Taps include: Long Root Pale Ale, Gear Up IPA and HUB IPA. 5 to 7 p.m. Astro Pub at Whole Foods Market, 12746 W. Jefferson Blvd., Playa Vista. (310) 862-9900
Enter at your own risk. Make your way through the tormented carnival filled with screams, mazes and mind-bending virtual reality and augmented reality. Less scary activities include an interactive photo booth, art studio, live music, Ferris wheel, carnival games, food trucks and open bars. 10% of the profits benefit the CSSSA Foundation, a nonprofit for The California State Summer School for the Arts. 7 to 11:30 p.m. CTRL Collective, 12575 Beatrice St., Playa Vista. $35$55. eventbrite.com. Saturday, Oct. 28
Silicon Beach Parents Group Halloween Spooktacular Join the Silicon Beach Parents Group for this Halloween Spooktacular. 2 to 5 p.m. Private location in Silicon Beach. $5-$15. eventbrite.com Saturday & Sunday, Oct. 28-29
Marina Spooktacular: Harvest Delights & Nighttime Frights Halloween comes to Marina del Rey, with activities for kids, families and young adults. Daytime adventures include a trick-or-treat scavenger hunt, kids train ride, pumpkin patch and a short kid-friendly tour of an historical tall ship. Nighttime thrills turn the ships into a haunted zombie & pirate maze for teens and young adults. Throughout the event, families can experience a hay maze, food vendors, kids mini-tractor rides, bounce houses, carnival games, pumpkin arts & crafts, costume contest, pumpkin carving and fortune telling. Participate in “Thriller” dance flash mobs on both days. 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday; 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday. Burton Chace Park, 13650 Mindanao Way, Marina del Rey. Free. beaches.lacounty.gov/halloween Sunday, Oct. 29
JAM Session: Aztec Dance Workshop Danza Mexica Cuauhtemoc leads an exploration of the choreography and poetry of Aztec dance during the Marina Spooktacular. Wear comfortable clothes and shoes so you can dance, too. 1 to 2:30 p.m. Burton Chace Park, 13650 Mindanao Way, Marina del Rey. Free. beaches. lacounty.gov
Wednesday, Nov. 1
Saturday, Nov. 11
Visiting Writers Series: Emily Raboteau
Yoga for a Cause
Emily Raboteau’s writings have appeared in The New Yorker, Tin House, Buzzfeed, LitHub, The Guardian, Guernica, Virginia Quarterly, The Believer and Salon. She visits The Forum at Otis at 7:30 p.m. for an evening of literary discussion. 9045 Lincoln Blvd., Westchester. Free. (310) 665-6800; otis.edu
Find your joy and decompress. This donationsbased yoga class benefits a local charity as you renew your body and mind. Bring a yoga mat, water and a few bucks. 9 to 10 a.m. Concert Park, 13020 Pacific Promenade, Playa Vista. Playavistadirect.com/tree-pose-concert-park
An Evening with Brené Brown
Social scientist and New York Times bestseller Brown discusses courage, vulnerability and what it means to truly belong in an age of increasing polarization with her new book “Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone.” 8 p.m. Barnum Hall, Santa Monica High School, 600 Olympic Blvd., Santa Monica. $40-$55. livetalksla.org Friday, Nov. 3
‘Mighty Ground’ Screening & Concert This documentary tells the story of Ronald Troy Collins, who spends his days singing to people on Los Angeles’ Skid Row, and the connection he makes with those in need. After the screening, Collins performs live. All proceeds benefit HomeAidLA and Mighty Ground through Creative Visions. Bring a beach chair, blanket, picnic basket and cash for food truck purchases. 6 to 8:30 p.m. Central Park Bandshell, 12000 Waterfront Dr., Playa Vista. $15 suggested donation. HomeAidLAMG.eventbrite.com Saturday, Nov. 4
Teen Holiday Jobs Workshop Career coach Liz Mohler leads this workshop for teens on how to land a job during the holidays and bring in some extra cash. 3 p.m. Playa Vista Branch Library, 6400 Playa Vista Dr., Playa Vista. Free. (310) 437-6680; lapl.org
Venice Arts’ 24th Anniversary Gala Venice Arts celebrates 24 years with a gala and silent auction honoring The Sokol Family, with guests enjoying libations and small bites, live music, a student-run photo booth and a caricature drawing station. 5 to 8 p.m. Venice Arts, 13445 Beach Ave., Del Rey. $125-$175. (310) 392-0846; venicearts.org Nov. 5 to Dec. 31
Spamilton The masterminds behind “Forbidden Broadway” skewer Lin-Manuel Miranda’s smash hit “Hamilton” in this parody of the musical that’s taken America by storm. Kirk Douglas Theatre, 9820 Washington Blvd., Culver City. $30-$80. (213) 972-7231; centertheatregroup.com
Saturday, Nov. 18
Silicon Beach Parents Group hosts a Thanksgiving with friends. Bring the whole family for activities, games and food. Bring a donation item for a chance at the raffle. 2:30 to 5 p.m. In the kitchen at Corner Greens, behind Sausalito Villas on Millennium Drive. eventrbrite.com
Oct. 28 & 29
Kinky Friedman Concert The enigmatic singer-songwriter, novelist, humorist, politician and Jewish cowboy poet is taking some new tunes on tour. Concerts happen at 8 and 10 p.m. at McCabe’s Guitar Shop, 3101 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica. $35. (310) 828-4497; mccabes.com Nov. 19 to April 29
“Cold War Spaces,” “Vessel of Change” + “Russians”
Sunday, Oct. 29
The Wende Museum takes a wide look at the culture and history of the Soviet Union with an exhibit of candid photography of Russian life in the late 1970s, a study of Cold War architecture, and playful video art about the 1989 Malta Summit. The Wende Museum, 5741 Buckingham Pkwy., Ste. E, Culver City. (310) 216-1600; wendemuseum.org Through Dec. 10
Carolyn Castaño: “A Female Topography, 2001-2017”
Friday, Nov. 3
Castaño’s first career survey traces her vibrant and forcefully feminine work across drawing, collage, painting, video and installation. Laband Gallery, Loyola Marymount University, 1 LMU Drive, Westchester. (310) 338-3087; cfa.lmu.edu/ labandgallery Through Dec. 15
Impro Theatre UnScripted Impro Theatre creates fully improvised eveninglength plays based on the writings of Jane Austen, William Shakespeare, Stephen Sondheim, Anton Chekhov, Dorothy Parker, Rod Serling (“The Twilight Zone”) and Tennessee Williams, also tackling the genres of horror and L.A. noir during their residency. The Broad Stage 1310 11th St., Santa Monica. $45+. (310) 434-3200; thebroadstage.org
Nov. 5 to Dec. 31 Have an event coming up in or around Playa Vista? Send details to email@example.com. Playa Vista Direct | October · November 2017 57
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5880 W. Centinela Ave., Los Angeles
5850 W. Centinela Ave., Los Angeles
Published on Oct 9, 2017
Playa Vista Direct is a community magazine that aims to nurture community bonds in the modern village that is quickly growing in the 90094 z...