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February · March 2018

American Dreamer Jewell Farshad builds confidence and community through pageants

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The Face of Phase II

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The Face of Phase II


Vol. 2 | No. 6

EDITOR’S NOTE 6 New Discoveries, Classic Values COMMUNITY 10 Night Market @ Runway 12 Silicon Beach Community PlayDay @ The Pointe 14 Google Expeditions AR @ Playa Vista Library People 16 Pageant-winner Jewell Farshad chases the American Dream 22 Entrepreneur Raj Singh is using AI to improve the hotel experience

Pets 34 Three adorable cats ready for adoption @ Annenberg PetSpace HOME 36 Cryptocurrency expert Dave Levine opens up his Montecito home HEALTH 40 One-on-one with a pro: Spry Society’s Troy Aguila 42 Gabrielle D’Addario shares three common car seat mistakes FOOD 46 Hash is Playa Vista’s version of a friendly neighborhood diner

30 Join the Uproar creates an online platform for the art of speaking up

SHOPPING 50 Step out in style with these art-inspired Converse sneakers

WORD ON THE STREET 26 How’s your New Year’s resolution going?

Events 52 Don’t miss the inaugural Playa Vista 5k Fun Run



46 ON THE COVER: Local resident and pageant winner Jewell Farshad kicks off her heels poolside at The Resort. Photo by Courtnay Robbins. Design by Michael Kraxenberger.

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1 2 7 5 1 M i L L e n n i u M D r i v e # 1 4 0 · p L aya v i S ta · 3 1 0 . 7 5 1 . 6 8 3 4 4 Playa Vista Direct | February · March 2018

Edito r ’ s N ot e

New Discoveries, Classic Values


ars are learning to drive themselves, scientists are planning a trip to Mars, and reality as we know it is becoming more and more virtual by the day. Technology is also shifting culture, but there are still traditional values that Playa Vistans continue to hold dear. Putting this issue together, I learned that a strong sense of family and the need to protect our children from danger is of paramount importance in this community. At the Silicon Beach Parents Group PlayDay, I spoke with content creator and local mom Gabrielle D’Addario about why she became a certified Child Passenger Safety Technician. In addition to ensuring she was using her own children’s car seats correctly, her motivation was to help educate the whole Playa Vista community about car seat safety. I also discovered that the seemingly old-fashioned American dream is alive and well in Playa Vista. Actress and model Jewell Farshad immigrated to L.A. from Iran in search of a career and gender equality. After making a splash on the pageant circuit, she is well on her way to achieving her dream. Putting money away for safekeeping has long been a winning financial strategy, and continues to be. For some, however, brick-and-mortar banks are so 20th century. Cryptocurrency expert Dave Levine shared his knowledge of the growing trend of digitizing assets, telling our reporter Robyn Paris, “It’s just a better way to hold money.” Local resident Raj Singh is changing the hotel industry with Ivy, an artificial intelligence concierge that remembers your preferences from stay-to-stay and interacts with you in that comforting, “warm and friendly” way to help you feel more at home when you’re traveling. Ivy’s not a real person, of course, but she’s built with humanness in mind. While technology is changing by the nanosecond, it’s good to know the residents and innovators of Playa Vista are holding onto their values, like putting family and human connections first. After all, there isn’t an app for that. Shanee Edwards Managing Editor ·

6 Playa Vista Direct | February · March 2018

Managing Editor Shanee Edwards Art Director Michael Kraxenberger Contributing Writers Lara J. Altunian · 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 · Zsuszi Steiner Emily Hart Roth Graphic Designer Kate Doll Account Executives Renee Baldwin Kay Christy David Maury Advertising Director Rebecca Bermudez Senior Editor Joe Piasecki Publisher David Comden

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Night Market @ Runway at Playa Vista As temperatures dipped into the low 50s on Friday, Jan. 26, Playa Vistans dug out their scarves, gloves and puffy coats to frolic at the Runway Night Market. Eight different kinds of hot and creamy queso were available at The Queso Truck, while dessert was served cold and crunchy at Frach’s Fried Ice Cream truck. Little hands made string art masterpieces and Play-Doh cupcakes while their parents sipped craft beer, all to the sounds of house music from DJ Alexia Riner. Even more exciting was the pop-up augmented reality (AR) art installation curated by Street Art House, a new art gallery, mural-making and event curation service that had its grand opening at Runway the same day. With a smartphone or tablet the AR art became animated, revealing another layer of experience for the observer. “My co-founder and I come from tech,” said Street Art House’s Justin Fredericks, “So in 2018, we’re infusing technology and art.” — Shanee Edwards 10 Playa Vista Direct | February · March 2018

1 Street Art House hosted an interactive, augmented reality (AR) pop-up art show at Runway 2 Mom orders Brazilian food for the kids from the Tender Grill food truck 3 The bundled-up Hawkins family enjoys the crisp, cold air 4 A group of friends enjoy watermelon wheat ale from Lost Coast Brewery 5 An eager hand reaches for a bowl of deep fried ice cream from Frach’s food truck

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Silicon Beach Community PlayDay @ The Pointe Discovery and family fun filled the crisp, cool air on Saturday, Jan. 6, when the Silicon Beach Parents Group hosted their monthly free play day for Playa Vista families at The Pointe. Swag bags and coffee were available for the adults, while kids enjoyed face painting with Elsa from “Frozen,” coloring, crafts and athletic games provided by TGA Sports and Euro Soccer USA. Juliana Farello of Wondertree Kids and Elizabeth Fraley of Kinder Ready Inc., companies that help preschoolers transition to kindergarten, also joined in the fun. Chudney Ross, owner of the bookstore turned mobile events company Books and Cookies, held a pop-up storytime event and gave families a chance to win their own private storytime. Perhaps the most exciting part of the event — at least for parents — were the free professional stroller and car seat cleanings provided by Tot Squad. The next Silicon Beach Community PlayDay will happen Saturday, March 3, also at The Pointe. — Shanee Edwards 12 Playa Vista Direct | February · March 2018

1 Books and Cookies was on hand to share their love of literacy and sweet treats with Charlie and other booklovers 2 Tiny tikes show off their agility in the obstacle course provided by TGA Sports 3 Little Leah sees a light at the end of the tunnel 4 Dad encourages his toddler son to kick a soccer ball provided by Euro Soccer USA 5 Jiah gets her face painted by Princess Elsa from ‘Frozen’

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Google Expeditions AR @ Playa Vista Library Toddlers, pre-teens and a handful of adults experienced the magic of augmented reality when Google Expeditions AR visited the Playa Vista Library on Dec. 21. Asus smartphones and selfie sticks in hand, participants searched the library’s community room for hidden 3-D lobsters, coral branches and seaweed invisible to the naked eye. They found a cyclone spinning in the corner of a room, and walked right through a meteor belt in another. One man gasped when he saw an object pop up on his screen, and a young toddler tried to reach out and touch the craters of a moon she saw through the phone. Google Expeditions Lead Associate Ashley Samuels said library visits offer a unique opportunity for user feedback about the education-focused app. “This is where we’ve been able to reach all types of people and all walks of life,” she said. “It’s a huge spectrum, where you can go from little kids — 4- and 5-year-olds — to adults, to some elderly adults.” — Shanee Edwards 14 Playa Vista Direct | February · March 2018

1 The Google Expeditions app planted a branch of coral in the Playa Vista Library’s community room 2 Google Expeditions Lead Associate Ashley Samuels showed kids how to find virtual elements 3 Through Asus smartphones kids could see kelp and other sea flora up close 4 Timmy Washburn, 12, was enchanted by the app’s AR technology 5 Samuels says library visits like this one give Google important feedback about AR

Pageant-winner Jewell Farshad is decked out in her coveted crown and sash

16 Playa Vista Direct | February ¡ March 2018

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Ms. California US America Jewell Farshad chases her immigrant dream in Playa Vista Story By Shanee Edwards | Photos by Courtnay Robbins


n the era of #MeToo and #TimesUp, the world of beauty pageants may seem like a throwback to a different time. But pageant winner and Playa Vista resident Jewell Farshad has a different take. For her, pageants have been about building confidence, finding her voice and empowering other women. Born and raised in Iran, Farshad moved to Los Angeles by herself when she was just 19. Though being alone in a new culture was difficult at first, she says, “It was my dream to move to the States, where I could have a career and be who I want without the government having a say.” So far, it seems Farshad’s dream is coming true. Last August, the actress and model was crowned Ms. California US America 2018, and the work has started rolling in. A commercial for Google and a music video with Snoop Dogg are just a couple of the jobs she’s landed. And no word from the government, as of yet. She attributes her success to competing in pageants. “I’ve always been very shy,” says Farshad, “and I actually never thought I would want to do a pageant because there’s a stigma with pageant girls being over the top and not very smart. But when my pageant director reached out to me, I started getting to know all the girls and I realized it’s actually really different. These girls have a career. These women have goals and are helping each

An actress and model, Farshad says modern pageants are about empowering women

other get to where they want to go.” Like most women, Farshad’s experienced sexual harassment — particularly when looking for acting and modeling jobs. Luckily, pageants have provided a much-needed support system. “I felt that if I refused men or people in power I would never get hired as an actress again. But just going

back [to the pageant world], having that support from the women and my pageant coach is so great. If I told them ‘I was just harassed by this guy’ or if a Harvey Weinstein-type thing happened, my coach definitely has my back. She’s not going to tell me to silence my voice. She’s going to tell me to speak up.”

(Continued on page 18)

Playa Vista Direct | February · March 2018 17

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(Continued from page 17)

To win her crown, Farshad was judged on her resume of charity work, answering questions about current events, but also walking the stage in a gown and, of course, a swimsuit — an experience she describes not as objectifying, but empowering. These days, she says, it’s not about looking flawless; it’s about looking real. “One lady had breast cancer and both of her breasts had been removed. There was a 50-year-old woman who said, ‘You know what? I haven’t been in a bikini on stage for a very long time, and I feel good! I feel great about myself,’” Farshad recalls. “You don’t have to have a perfect body, it’s about having that confidence to go up there, walk, make eye contact and show the world who you really are.” While auditions and shoots are keeping Farshad busy for now, she does have some big long-term goals.

(Continued on page 20)

Farshad lives out the American Dream on the second story of The Resort

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(Continued from page 18)

Farshad lounges by the pool, inventing casual-royal lifestyle goals

“I’d like to be a spokesperson for the U.S. Embassy or the UN. One of the people I look up to is Amal Clooney. She’s gorgeous, smart and she defends human rights throughout the world. She’s put her own life in danger to rescue women.” Like many other millennials, Farshad values community, volunteering and pursuing her dreams — all things that pageants have helped her do, so it makes sense winning a crown means more to her than simply a validation of her good looks. “Pageants are about more than being a beauty queen. We are empowering each other to get out there, be CEOs and run companies.” Follow @Jewell_Negin on Twitter and Instagram.

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20 Playa Vista Direct | February · March 2018

Full Page Sam Aragi

Raj Singh is founder and CEO of Go Moment, developer of the travel chatbot Ivy

22 Playa Vista Direct | February ¡ March 2018

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‘Hey Ivy, Where’s the Pool?’

Playa Vista entrepreneur Raj Singh is changing the hotel industry with Artificial Intelligence Story by Andy Vasoyan | Photos by Maria Martin


s Siri, Alexa and Google Assistant continue their pleasantvoiced infiltration of homes, appliances and cell phones, another affable Artificial Intelligence — Ivy — has been quietly staking her claim. While Siri inhabits an iPhone, Alexa her Echo, and Google Assistant hangs out in the office and home, Ivy is a more itinerant sort: She’s the world’s largest travel chatbot, working in hotels across the country. A product of Santa Monica-based startup Go Moment, Ivy represents groups ranging from stalwart Sheraton and Hilton hotels to glitzy Vegas playgrounds like Caesar’s Palace and the Hard Rock Hotel. She’s often the first interaction with a hotel that many of the guests will have, so Ivy greets them by name, offers fresh towels, some drinks by the pool, and many things besides. Satisfied guests have asked Ivy on dates, offered cash tips, even proposed marriage. So how did Ivy become a digital concierge par excellence? Enter Playa Vista resident Raj Singh, founder and CEO of Go Moment. Singh grew up riding horses in the Himalayas of Kashmir, until his family moved to Los Angeles when he was 12. They eventually expanded into hotel operations, while Singh himself would read science fiction and acquaint himself with the burgeoning internet, including chatbots. After he graduated and worked in user experience and design for the likes of Sony, Virgin and musician Sheryl Crow, Singh realized that for the hospi-

Singh’s artificially intelligent concierge helps hotel guests feel more at home when they travel

tality industry, “hotels cannot keep up with rising guest expectations simply by hiring more people. The profit margins are thinner than most people think, and if you want to adopt a messaging strategy, there’s still phone calls, there’s still emails. You need automation and AI for this.” In 2014, Singh and Go Moment found their AI partner: IBM’s Watson, which had notoriously outwitted human contestants on “Jeopardy” three years earlier. The technological side meshed well, though “admittedly, the market wasn’t necessarily ready in 2014,” Singh says. “But every year that’s passed by, we’ve seen the market moving closer to where we are.”

At 4 years old, Ivy’s a relative AI elder statesman — she’s had time to hone her craft. The AI is now working with what Singh believes to be the world’s largest proprietary guest behavior database, all in service of creating that “warm and friendly personality that is simple and easy to approach and understand, and will take care of you wherever you go.” That personality differs slightly from stay to stay (Caesar’s Palace is a bit more “buttoned-up, than, say than the Hard Rock Hotel,” according to Singh), but the end goal remains something recognizable from stay to stay. (Continued on page 24) Playa Vista Direct | February · March 2018 23

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(Continued from page 23)

The data that keeps Ivy on top is also, for a security-minded CEO like Singh, an area of awareness. “All the data we have on the guest is anonymized and through opt-ins, where the guest actually has to say ‘Yes, you have my permission,’” says Singh. “Our maxim internally is that if we wouldn’t want it done to our data, we won’t do it to anyone else’s.” All that compiled data and skill that Ivy has can be freeing for a hotel’s workers too. “How many times can you answer a text message asking what’s the Wi-Fi, what time is checkout, without feeling like a robot?” Singh observes. “We’re seeing that as Ivy takes these mundane, repetitive tasks away from human employees, they feel better about their jobs. … Less robotic.” In the realm of AI in general, Singh raises the specter of the “Terminator”

At this point, Singh doesn’t think sentient robots will replace mankind

franchise, where sentient robots attempt to wipe out mankind: “I’ve had people say ‘They’re going to Skynet us! Robots are going to take all of our jobs!’ My response to that is there was a time when all of us had horses to travel and get around. Now we have cars, but horses are still around, and I

think that’s probably for the best. It’s just a different kind of function.” Looking forward, Singh offers some very human milestones for Ivy; she and Amazon’s Alexa are already “friends,” meaning guests could start to say things like “Hey Alexa, tell Ivy to get me more towels.” As Ivy looks to make new friends, she’s also trying to learn new languages: a translation function where a guest could message Ivy in their native language, and have her as a go-between for the guest and hotel staff. Ivy’s continued quest for humanity, though interesting, is not Singh’s number one priority. “AI is a tool, and we’re trying to apply it judiciously where it can create a positive experience for people. We’re not going to be AI for AI’s sake,” Singh says. Follow @RajSinghLA on Twitter.

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Word on the Street How Is Your New Year’s Resolution Going? Compiled by Griffin Baumberger

Kozzie Pampino

Stella Tan

Nick Tomasic

Being a photographer, Kozzie believes resolutions are important for creative growth. “My New Year’s resolution has gone phenomenally,” he says. “I want to grow as an individual, become one with the universe — and to not think so much, but execute.”

“I don’t do New Year’s resolutions,” says Stella, who adds that in her experience, most New Year’s resolutions don’t hold up throughout the year. Her philosophy: “I feel like you should make resolutions throughout the year and just try to be a good person.”

Just back from a walk through the park with his dog, Nick says that his resolution is on track — thanks to his walking buddy. “My resolution was to get more exercise, and it’s going fairly well,” he says, cradling his workout pal.

Noretta Kiros

Howard Urban

Joyce Faylow

“I have had an interesting year,” says Noretta, out enjoying a sunny day at Runway. For her, it’s all about maintaining a positive outlook. “I’m getting past the toughness with new beginnings,” she says. “I feel like it’s going to be a good year. I’m feeling it.”

Having consistently broken his past resolutions, Howard is taking a different approach. “I’m thinking about making one because I used to break them all the time, but this one, I don’t know what that resolution is yet,” he says.

Joyce decided to stay conscious about the environment and the sustainability of her lifestyle. Now she makes sure to “eat all the things in my fridge before I buy new food,” and tries “to make homemade foods and eat leftovers instead of going out.”

26 Playa Vista Direct | February · March 2018

Playa Vista Direct | February · March 2018 27





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Kelly Schoeffel (left), Danielle Gard and Maria Galleriu co-created the protest poster collective Join the Uproar

30 Playa Vista Direct | February ¡ March 2018

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The Art of

Speaking Up

Join the Uproar is a virtual space to facilitate real-world action Story By Christina Campodonico | Photos by Maria Martin


or a few executives and strategists at Playa Vista advertising firm 72andSunny, the election of Donald Trump to the highest office in the land led to a burst of creativity. “We were going to do something that celebrated the inauguration of the first woman president, and that didn’t happen,” recalls 72andSunny brand director Danielle Gard of the days following Election Night 2016. “We got together and were scratching our heads on just what we could do and how we could help keep our country moving forward. And it kind of happened haphazardly that we went to the first impromptu march downtown and Kelly saw a couple with a sign…” “They were holding up Mercedes signs that they thought were peace signs,” jumps in Kelly Schoeffel, co-head of strategy at 72andSunny. “We’re like, ‘You know what, we’re marketers, we’re writers, we’re visual communicators, so maybe we can help people get their voices out.’” From there, Join the Uproar — an online platform featuring free, printable protest posters by creatives at 72andSunny and contributing writers and designers — was born. “We tapped our designer friends to help us create a bunch of different pieces of art and things that express all different sorts of opinions and hit on a bunch of different topics, from women’s rights to the environment to just, like, f*ck Donald Trump,” says Schoeffel on behalf of the group. Among the collective’s leaders —

Designs by Camila Rodrigues and Kristina Mueller are among the 100-plus signs available on Join the Uproar’s website

or HBICs (Head Bitches in Charge) as they call themselves — are Gard, freelance writer/creative Stephania Silveira, 72andSunny’s senior brand manager Camille Yaptinchay, strategist Emily Pfitzinger, lead writer Lauren Ferreira and strategy director Maria Galleriu. “We all did pretty much everything together,” says Galleriu, “from designing the project, coming up with powerful poster lines, reaching out to designers, building our platform, [and] getting out on social media.” The result of this collaboration is a colorful mélange of stop-you-in-yourtracks signage that anyone with an internet connection can download, print, share and take with them to a protest. And if

you’re having trouble finding one, Join the Uproar lists upcoming protests on their website. “It was also important to help motivate people in that sense,” says Galleriu, “help people understand that you don’t just express yourself via social media and a ‘like’ button — you actually have to physically show up.” Since Join the Uproar’s founding, their posters have appeared not only on Instagram feeds across the web, but in demonstrations across the globe — sightings which the group tracks through social media posts mentioning their name. (Continued on page 32) Playa Vista Direct | February · March 2018 31

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(Continued from page 31)

“Especially around the Women’s March last year, we were popping up all over the world,” says Gard. “There were some posters in Brazil. There were some in Europe that we saw, and ended up getting tagged in. The response was pretty overwhelming and really cool.” For this year’s Women’s March, held locally on Jan. 20 in downtown L.A., the group focused on designing posters that championed gender equality. A few Join the Uproar posters that popped into my view that day included a pink, blue and red-lettered sign that said, “My Body, My Choice, My Country, My Voice” and a punchy pink graphic of a fist on top of powerpose legs that said “Resister”— emphasis on the “sister” part in red. Other creative takes include a globe wearing a Trump wig that says, “You Can’t Comb Over Climate Change,” and another that says “There

Join the Uproar helps others take a stand on equality and the environment

is No Planet B” over a map of the world. In the end, Join the Uproar hopes to inspire a new wave of political activists through thought-provoking design. “Design has a very unique power,” says Galleriu. “It holds the ability to make anything clear, appealing and impactful. And this is exactly why design

was helpful in this case — helping powerful words get more impact and reach more people. … If we helped one person actually express herself, it was all worth it.” Print a poster or find out how to contribute a design at

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“Tip from the Trainer” by Eleasha Gall, CPDT-KA

Cat Stress Management New environments can be very stressful for cats and they often require up to two to three weeks to become accustomed to their new surroundings. When in a new home, each cat will adjust in his or her own time. During this two to three

week acclimatization period, you should monitor your cat for new health problems, such as sneezing or discharge from the nose. Soothing music, especially nature sounds, can comfort your cat, and limit sounds from other nearby animals. Sudden noises should be avoided around a stressed cat. They prefer slow movements and a regular, predictable routine.  When your cat does become more

social around you or lets you pet them without getting easily upset, you should always reward them with treats, love and play time with their favorite toy. It’s okay if it takes a few weeks or even a month. You’ll have this cat for a long time, so it’s important that they know you are to be trusted. The ultimate reward is knowing that your cat is living a happier and stress-free life.

To learn more about pet adoption, or to see other available pets, visit 34 Playa Vista Direct | February · March 2018

At Home In

the Digital Domain Dave Levine is Playa Vista’s resident cryptocurrency expert

By Robyn Paris | Photos by Courtnay Robbins

36 Playa Vista Direct | February · March 2018

Hom e

Left side:

Cryptocurrency expert Dave Levine at his Montecito home with his daughters Gala, 5, and Dalia, 3. B e low:

B e l o w r i g h t:


A single dad, Levine trades décor for down to earth playtime with his girls.

While Gala reads a book, little Dalia seems to have an affinity for all things digital, just like her dad.

verywhere you look, someone is talking about Bitcoin or Ethereum. But what exactly is cryptocurrency, and why is it relevant now and not just in some distant sci-fi future? To get some answers, I spoke with cryptocurrency expert Dave Levine, a Playa Vista resident raising two beautiful daughters. Levine first dabbled in “crypto” when he bought his first Bitcoin in 2014. In a nutshell, cryptocurrency represents an asset like a stock, bond, real estate investment or gold; however, unlike a physical asset, crypto is exclusively digital. It’s a digital investment that according to Levine is “unhackable.”

“Bitcoin solved the double-spend problem with digital currency,” says Levine, which essentially means that if you have a dollar to spend, it can only be spent once — the mathematical algorithm of Bitcoin ensures that someone can’t give the same unit of currency to multiple people at the same time. Using a “blockchain,” which is a system for tracking a block of transactions encrypted together, crypto technology turned digital currency into a scarce asset, much like a physical asset, which according to Levine created the “cryptocurrency revolution.” Still confused? That’s OK — it is tricky. Further complicating things is that Bitcoin, Ethereum and other types of cryptocurrency (there are over

1,000) are not being used as currency yet amongst the general population. It’s still too early. Rather, they are secure investments that some folks, particularly early adopters, have made a fortune investing in, as Bitcoin specifically has been growing at a rate of over 1,000% per year for several years. Ready to whip out your checkbook? Levine recommends investing only what you can afford to lose and sitting on your investment for at least five years. The markets are very volatile with Bitcoin and Ethereum (two of the most popular and reliable cryptocurrencies), both spiking wildly and plummeting in value. Furthermore, (Continued on page 38) Playa Vista Direct | February · March 2018 37

Hom e

(Continued from page 37)

transitioning from Bitcoin to dollars and back is difficult and can be costly with the associated fees. Levine —who has a background in e-commerce and predicted back in 1995 the rise of the “dot com revolution,” the internet bubble that existed by 2000 and its subsequent “pop” around 2001 — believes “the next Google, Amazon … will come from [cryptocurrency] … it will be even bigger than the internet. Eventually all money will be digitized and invested … it’s a better way to hold money.” He adds that the blockchain technology has broader purposes than currency. In fact, the technology is used by Ethereum to encrypt and fuel the programming code of many decentralized applications. That means contracts, services, electronic voting and digitally recorded property assets can all be encrypted via blockchain, then fueled or traded using “ether” — the currency

When Levine’s not explaining cryptocurrency, daddy-daughter time continues in the Montecito courtyard.

used by Ethereum. Still want to learn more? Levine offers educational cryptocurrency videos on his YouTube channel (DaveLevineDotCom) and the occasional seminar in Playa Vista.

Calling Playa “the Aspen of family living,” Levine notes that it’s the ideal location for someone who works from home. “The only traffic you get in Playa Vista,” he says, “is the strollers.”

I LIST. I STAGE. I SELL. ! n i w u o y . .. Michelle Martino • 310-880-0789 • 38 Playa Vista Direct | February · March 2018

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Swing kettlebell through legs and up to chest level with arms relaxed, shoulders back and down

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Hold kettlebell at chest level, push hips back and down as you squat to work gluts and core

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roy Aguila, co-owner of Spry Society, has an expansive worldview when it comes to fitness: “We have a ‘train for life’ philosophy. We look at the gym and everything that happens within these four walls as training for life — whatever that means to you. We want to you be better outside the gym, whether that’s biking, hiking, being more active with your kids or with your grandkids. We wanted to have a gym that was all-inclusive to the 99% of us who aren’t competing in the CrossFit games.” Though Aguila says CrossFit is the meat and potatoes of Spry Society, they also offer a range of options, including a high-intensity group class called Fit Playa Vista. “There’s less of a barrier of entry for that class.” Whether you exercise at the gym or at home, Aguila suggests integrating kettlebells into your workout. “They are underutilized tools that are popular because of their versatility,” he says. Spry Society is at 5631 Mesmer Ave. Call (310) 254-9434 or visit 40 Playa Vista Direct | February · March 2018

Kettlebell floor press

Lie on back, press kettlebell toward ceiling to work the chest, triceps and deltoids

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HE a l t h

Protect Your Precious Cargo Certified Child Passenger Safety Technician Gabrielle D’Addario helps demystify car seats By Shanee Edwards | Photos by Maria Martin


ccording to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, car accidents are the leading cause of death for children ages 1 to 13. Given that statistic, it’s vital to use the right car seat correctly every time your child is in a vehicle. As car seats get more high-tech, however, it may feel like an engineering degree is required to install and use them properly. Playa Vista mom Gabrielle D’Addario recently became certified as a Child Passenger Safety Technician

not only to ensure her own children’s safety, but also to educate other parents in the community. “The majority of car seats are installed incorrectly,” says D’Addario, “and if kids are put in the wrong size seats, they won’t be protected in an accident.” D’Addario says the three-day training with Safe Kids USA was intense, but worth it. She can now easily spot a car seat in need of an adjustment and plans to offer free car seat safety checks at upcoming Silicon Beach Parents

Group “PlayDay” events. Here are the three most common car seat mistakes she sees. No. 1: Turning the Car Seat Too Early California law requires a child to be in a rear-facing car seat until the age of two. “I always tell everyone to rear-face as long as possible,” says D’Addario. Rear-facing seats are five times safer (Continued on page 44)

Child Passenger Safety Technician Gabrielle D’Addario with her husband Kris Zacuto and their kids Charlie and Gracie at The Pointe Park

42 Playa Vista Direct | February · March 2018

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HE a l t h

(Continued from page 42)

for infants and toddlers than forwardfacing seats. No. 2: Improperly Securing the Straps The purpose of the five-point strap is to keep a child’s chest, head and neck from moving forward during a crash. “When the car seat straps are secure you shouldn’t be able to pinch the straps. If you can pinch it, it means the strap isn’t tight enough, putting your child at risk for whiplash. A child’s neck bones don’t actually fuse until they’re four.” No. 3: Wrong Placement of the Chest Clip “The chest clip should be at over the armpit at nipple level. That’s where the impact of an accident is going to be absorbed, and that’s the strongest part of body.”

When she’s not inspecting car seats, D’Addario is a content creator for Discover California TV

D’Addario recommends periodically checking your car seat for straps that may have come loose.

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44 Playa Vista Direct | February · March 2018

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W h er e Happ i n e ss

is on the Menu Hash is Playa Vista’s version of a friendly neighborhood diner, and word is spreading fast Story by Jessica Koslow Photos By Erica allen

46 Playa Vista Direct | February · March 2018

F ood

Left side: A bov e :

Hash’s signature Carrot Cake Waffle with cream cheese drizzle

Restaurateur German Leonne will soon open a beer-and-wine lounge called The Conference Room right next door to Hash

Called The Omega, this salmon tort has Swiss cheese, spinach, red peppers, onions and is wrapped in crispy phyllo dough

A b o v e r i g h t:


ash. It’s a breezy word, with a few different meanings. Merriam-Webster lists it as “chopped meat mixed with potatoes and browned.” Or, “a confused muddle.” Apparently, it’s also Irish slang, used to refer to mixing things up completely. And then, of course, there’s … well, you know. It’s almost as if the mind wanders automatically when hearing or uttering the word. Hash … in a subtle way, whispers “hunger.” Which makes it the perfect name for an eatery tucked down a side street off Bluff Creek Drive, surrounded by large office buildings on the Campus at Playa Vista. Pop in any weekday between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m., order, take a seat with your number, wait for the food to arrive and look around — you’re in the company of the young and industrious types who populate the nearby offices of companies like Yahoo, YouTube, 72andSunny

and Science 37. On weekends, the hours are the same but Hash is a little less crowded, but you’ll still find Loyola Marymount University students, travelers who recently arrived at LAX and, of course, plenty of Playa Vista residents. The single-room spot, which opened about six months ago, offers validation in the parking garage next door (90 minutes on weekdays and all day long on weekends), but most customers arrive on foot or by bike — some in couples, others with dogs, and mostly in chatty groups. German Leonne, one of the restaurant’s partners, is a ball of energy, bouncing from table to table making sure everyone has everything they ordered; and every person is greeted with a friendly smile and a big hello. “Hello, thank you for coming in! … Your bagel’s coming right up. … Please sit anywhere. … I’ll have that table cleaned up right now.”

Leonne’s had one foot in the restaurant business ever since he was a boy growing up in Bogotá, Colombia, and then Houston, Texas. His parents owned a variety of restaurants, from fine dining to cafeteria-style. About three years ago, longtime friends Leonne and Peter Georges decided to go into the restaurant business together. The Greek restaurant Rodini Park in North Hollywood was their first venture together. It’s fresh, healthy and fast, with a catering service and baked goods made fresh daily. And now Rodini Park Greek Kitchen is coming to Playa Vista. Hash, it turns out, is just the first step in a three-part plan. In the next few months, a lounge called The Conference Room is scheduled to open next door with beer, wine and coffee from around world — plus tapas, dancing lessons at happy hour, (Continued on page 48) Playa Vista Direct | February · March 2018 47

F ood

(Continued from page 47)

and special events like a speakeasy night. Rodini Park is also scheduled to launch its second location. But for now, Hash stands alone. A funny chalkboard sign welcomes visitors: “’That’s too much bacon,’ said nobody ever.” A few seats are available inside at a long stand-up bar, more tables and heat lamps are set up outside, and additional seating is next door in a spacious gallery-like room. Hash is casual. Food is served on paper plates with disposable utensils. They cater for breakfast and lunch to the surrounding offices. And, as hidden as they are, “People are loving what we’re doing,” says Leonne — and that rings true, with steady lines and packed tables visible throughout the day. People are “helping and Yelping,” says Leonne, who shares that people are going crazy over the carrot cake waffle with pineapple inside and cream cheese drizzle on top. The waffle is a breakfast treat that Georges, who grew up in New

York, would drive 1½ hours just to get. He had to have it on the menu. You can order super fluffy pancakes, a killer quesadilla, gluten-free and vegetarian options, a Bebop Bowl (Asian-style brown rice, eggs, shredded beef, spinach, green onions, sautéed mushrooms, pickled veggies) or Chiquitas & Gringos (chilaquiles with crisp tortilla chips, eggs, choice of protein, cheese, pickled onions, salsa verde and red chili crema). If you haven’t yet happened on Hash, look for these clues. There are two signs on the sidewalk — one on Bluff Creek Drive and another on Campus Center Drive — and if you enter the courtyard from either side, you’ll see orange umbrellas in the distance, where chef Gena Lora is whipping up tasty dishes and Leonne is making sure his customers smile.

The Chiquitas & Gringos Bowl is chilaquiles with tortilla chips, eggs, bacon, pepperjack Hash is at 12121 Bluff Creek Drive. Call cheese, tomatoes, arugula, avocado and (310) 282-8501 or visit caramelized onions

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Playa Vista Direct | February ¡ March 2018 49


Girl’s Winter Coat and Scarf

This mauve corduroy hooded toggle coat is perfect for play-dates on cool winter afternoons. Pair with this multicolored, lightweight scarf and your daughter becomes the stylish girl on the go. Coat: $75,

Scarf: $15

Playa Vista Farmers’ Market 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays or visit 12775 W. Millennium Drive Playa Vista | (310) 600-8252

Artist-Designed Converse Sneakers Graphic designer Simin Bilbay partnered with Converse shoes to create these funky-fresh low tops that are inspired by her dizzying geometric artwork. Casual yet stylish, they’re perfect for riding your bike to the beach. $100 Playa Vista Farmers’ Market 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays or visit 12775 W. Millennium Drive Playa Vista | (310) 600-8252

For the


Yoga Frogs Girl’s dress From Fi and Me, this adorable print combines frogs and yoga making it so Playa Vista. Your tiny yogini will look sporty as she practices child’s pose. Fabric is 100% cotton. Fully lined, and pre-shrunk. $39

Green Chrysoprase Necklaces Admired for its two-tone appearance, chrysoprase is said to be a detoxifying stone that promotes creativity and a sense of well-being. Wear one necklace to the office and all three for a night out. From Wanda Gale Designs. $54 to $125 each Playa Vista Farmers’ Market

Playa Vista Farmers’ Market

9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays or visit 12775 W. Millennium Drive Playa Vista | (310) 600-8252

9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays or visit 12775 W. Millennium Drive Playa Vista | (310) 600-8252

50 Playa Vista Direct | February · March 2018

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Statistics from MLS, February 2018. Information is deemed accurate but not guaranteed. © playa vista Direct, 2018

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6501 1/2 Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles90045 Playa Vista Direct | February · March 2018 51


Compiled by Joe Piasecki

Thursday, Feb. 22

education-based sports programs for under-resourced communities. 21+. $100 buy-in to play; RSVP required.

Mezcal Luv @ SOL Cocina Get a crash-course introduction to mezcal from the beverage director of SOL Cocina, which stocks dozens of premium varieties. The event begins at 6:30 p.m. with a passion fruit and guava mezcal cocktail and continues until 8 p.m. with appetizers and a flight board with tasting notes and snifters. You’ll also taste three different agaves used to make mezcal. SOL Cocina, 12775 Millennium Dr. $48. (424) 289-0066;

Feb. 25 to March 4

Oscar Movie Week @ Cinemark Playa Vista See all the Best Picture nominees before awards night: “The Shape of Water,” “Lady Bird,” “Darkest Hour,” “The Post,” “Phantom Thread,” “Call Me by Your Name,” “Get Out,” “Dunkirk” and “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.” Visit for the complete schedule.

Friday, Feb. 23

Thursday, Feb. 22

Art & Wine @ The Resort

Saturday, March 10

What goes better with art than wine and hors d’oeuvres? Discover your inner Michelangelo with neighbors and friends as a local artist guides you through the creation of your own masterpiece from 6 to 9 p.m. at The Resort, 12852 Runway Rd. $35. All art materials provided. 21+. Sign up at

Puppy Hour @ Bluff Creek Fields It’s like happy hour, but for puppies! Pooches and their humans meet from noon to 1:30 p.m. at the dog park, 12604 Bluff Creek Dr. Free. Saturday, March 24

Playa Vista Fun Run @ The Pointe Saturday, Feb. 24

Playa Vista Poker Party @ CTRL Collective

Feb. 25 to March 4

Organized by the Silicon Beach Parents Group and sponsored by real estate pros Kris Zacuto and Hilton&Hyland, this party with food, drink, raffle prizes and, of course, a poker tournament benefits the nonprofit TGA Sports Foundation, which provides

The Silicon Beach Parents Group and Elevation Fitness host the inaugural Playa Vista Fun Run, a healthy way to spend time with family, friends and neighbors. Strollers encouraged. The run is from 8 to 10 a.m., with check-ins starting at 7 a.m. at The Pointe, 12812 W. Runway Rd. $25; kids under 12 free. Search “Playa Vista Fun Run” at to register.

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Pvd feb mar 2018  

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...

Pvd feb mar 2018  

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...