Marina Anderson

The Flying Goddess

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It’s one of those postcard sunny days with blue skies in Los Angeles when we meet up with actress Marina Anderson, an equally bright energy who greets us with a beaming smile. From Sicilian, Lithuanian, French, and Spanish heritage, this vivacious beauty has a passion for writing and has been active in the field since she was in college. Not one to sit still, Anderson is also a publicist (for celebrities including music icon Alan Parsons and actor-environmentalist Ed Begley Jr.), acting coach, career consultant, and personal manager (at The Media Hound PR), makeup artist, jewelry designer, and spiritual consultant. Whew! Currently, she is busy with the re-release of her hot-selling memoir: David Carradine, The Eye Of My Tornado.
Some of her unique and diverse starring, guest star, supporting roles, and appearances in television shows, features films, webisodes, national commercials, and voiceovers include Dexter (opposite Jennifer Carpenter), co-lead in the Emmy-nominated web series Sophie Chase, Law & Order LA, Desperate Housewives, Dangerous Curves, Sex & Mrs X (opposite Linda Hamilton), Forever Knight, Kung Fu: The Legend Continues (opposite David Carradine), the Genie Award-winning film 32 Short Films About Glenn Gould, and many other productions.
Chatting away over a green tea blended frappé, we find Anderson’s passions include painting, craft projects and helping animal rescue organizations. Look for her next book, The Adventures of Lulu the Collie, which stars her beloved dog, Lulu, daughter to Lassie VIII. If she isn’t busy in meetings for a reality show pilot she’s producing, acting, recording voice over auditions, or visiting with her 94-year-old mother, Anderson is at her computer writing. For a “Flying Goddess,” she is a very grounded, down-to-earth person.
 
IMG_7333doneCliché: Your memoir is a significant and very personal book. Why did you write it?
Marina Anderson: Like my jewelry, it was all about empowerment. First to empower myself, then to empower others. Especially women. I want to point out this is an updated version of the original. This has mega pictures from my personal collection, new stories, and new information that came to light after the book originally published in 2010. My memoir started out as my self-help therapy, just to vent. When I’d talk to people about various things, like problems in a marriage or other serious subjects, I realized this was something that could potentially help others, too. So I didn’t hold back about things, like the sexual abuse and incest. I felt others could benefit from my coming out and writing about it. And it has. I get people thanking me for having the courage writing the book. When clairvoyant John Edward predicted in the celebrity reading segment for his television show that I’d be rebuilding my foundation from scratch, I had no idea at the time it would not only take years to do, but my memoir would be a part of it. I wanted to change the matrix in my being in order to stop a pattern in my life. I thought I could help David do the same with his demons. Our relationship was the catalyst of that change happening to finally heal the core of my being.
The Flying Goddess? How’d you come up with that name?
Well, when I lived with David, we had these ornate, colorful wood-carved figurines dangling from our living room ceiling. One was a Love Goddess. It looked like it was flying, so when I was trying to come up with a name for my production company I thought of The Flying Goddess. In my book, there’s a whole story behind how the logo I designed for it materialized into a jewelry line—a very spiritual and very “meant-to-be” message behind it.
That is so cool! How long did it take you to write your book?
GOODNESS! Ugh! [She gives us a comical expression to look like she’s screaming] I could write a book on my experience with the original publisher, but I won’t get into that now. You know how people say “just write down things that bother you” and then either burn the paper or throw it in the trash? Well, when I’d write things down, I just couldn’t bring myself to destroy it. There was something telling me I should keep it and just set it aside. So I did. My one-pagers turned into chapters. That was over a period of the time I was with David and through the divorce, but I didn’t set out to write a book. I just wanted to vent. But in talking to people about my experiences, they kept saying “you should write a book.” After I got my original book deal, it took me about four months of 14- to 16- hour days to organize my notes, “vents,” and write new chapters for the complete memoir.
To churn it out that quick was insane. The titles I came up with for each chapter just flowed as did the rest of the book. I’ve gotten compliments on the chapter titles, too. It’s nice. But that period of time from writing to dealing with the publisher and then feeling like my book was being promoted wrong was an extremely stressful time. I felt like my book was being exploited instead of getting the message out of the true purpose and importance, relevance, and meaning behind it. I was so incredibly upset. It still ticks me off.
IMG_7171doneHow do you view David then and now?
He’s still a world icon. David was a complex and fascinating man… larger than life, dynamic, and multi-talented. He had an undercurrent of insecurities and a fear of abandonment that caused him to consistently hit the self-destruct button in his life. He had a volatile, dark, but brilliant personality and mind, which I found irresistible. Totally charismatic, especially with women. Ha! Yes, indeedy! And he had an incredibly fun and funny side too.
Looking at the two of you, you look like a bit of a mis-match. Did people ever tell you this?
[Laughs] Yes… well… after we separated, I had dear friends who also knew David finally say, “We didn’t want to tell you this, but we were thinking ‘Are you fucking nuts?!’” A lot of people told me that we didn’t look like we belonged together. But the reality and spirituality of it is that I believe David and I were destined to be together to learn certain lessons—karmic things. And we did. And like his TV show, at a point, it was time to leave the temple.
Was he the love of your life?
Probably. It feels like it. I’m hoping to find love again, so we’ll see. I believe I was his. He wore a duplicate of our wedding band until the day he died. I put everything into our marriage, him, his career to get him back on the “A” list. I got lost in the process, but succeeded in our mission with multitudes of projects I secured for him as his personal manager paving the way for Kill Bill. Like the song in Chorus Line, “What I did for love…” Well, that’s for sure, and people in the industry and friends of ours knew it, too. I feel men and women will be able to identify with dedicating their life to someone they love. When David first got sober, two of his brothers thanked me for giving them their brother back.
How did it come about that he met Quentin Tarantino?
It was at a party during the 1995 Toronto Film Festival at the Bistro 990, a popular restaurant there. We just finished chatting with Drew Barrymore and Quentin wandered in. David was too shy to go up to him and I was determined not to let the opportunity slip by, so I went up to Quentin myself. The rest is in my book, and in history. [Wink]
I read you consulted astrologers and psychics?
Oh… yes, indeed. Still do: Sloan Bella, Weiss Kelly, Donna Hennen. I’ve been into that since I was a kid. I studied it, and used to do readings for people. Now I do healings. For animals, too. So to consult with a psychic about things, especially business, well, that was just part of my life and David was also into it. When he died, I consulted with the ones I was closest to. The ones I mentioned. Helped me get not only get through the shock, but through the information about his death. It’s [we say this in unison] all in the book.
You’ve had acting roles in so many cool projects. Voice-overs, too.
I was trained in theatre. Did a lot of Shakespeare and musicals. I’ve played everything from demented murderers to moms to attorneys to bimbos in scenes opposite some wonderful talent: Linda Hamilton, John Forsythe, Mariel Hemingway, Blair Underwood, Michael Nouri, David (Carradine, of course), his brother, Robert, Frank Stallone… oh my gosh, the list goes on. Great fun. I got into voice-overs many years ago and did a ton of them. I love doing different characters. It comes easily to me. I had a lot of practice since I used to disguise my voice all the time on the phone for fun or when I didn’t want people to know it was me. When I lived in Canada, I had five national on-camera commercials running within two years too.
IMG_7223doneSo what are you up to now?
I just did a role in a film short called In Honor Of. I play a mom with a bit of a demented viewpoint on things. I LOVE those types of “off” roles! It has a very haunting storyline. I’m also developing various projects for TV and film. A metaphysical show and a film version of my book. Ta-da! I’m dual citizen (American-Canadian) so it could very well be a Canadian production. It got interest from two heavyweight Canadian writer-producers and director-Exec producer who has primetime TV hits, DGA, and Emmy Awards. In fact, at one point we all worked together on the same show. Working on funding and the script.
That’s fabulous! More writing?
Yes! I have a series of children’s inspirational books I want to publish as well as a self-help book. I’m also preparing for the publishing of my first children’s book, The Adventures Of Lulu The Collie. It stars my beloved girl, Lulu, who was daughter to the real Lassie VIII and brother from the same litter—Lassie IX. It would make a fabulous animated cartoon series. I’m working on her website (www.LuluTheCollie.com). She was in the “biz” as well, with a long list of TV shows and films to her résumé. Lulu was the light of my life. I dedicated my memoir to her. She got me through the most difficult time in my life.
When it comes to animals, you are on the bandwagon, huh?
Definitely. Animal and children’s rights advocate! Definitely! I’m SO into helping animal causes. I’m getting my Flying Goddess jewelry back out on the market. I’m keeping busy with that and freelance writing for fabulous publications like Cliché! HELLLOOOOOOOO! So proud to be a part of this magazine! You guys are great and the magazine is totally awesome!
Back at ya, girl! Anything else you want to shout out?
Yes. Life is full of challenges. Some greater than others. Right now my brother and I are dealing with the aging of our mom and it’s things like this that push you into a different perspective and reality of life and what it’s all about, and how precious it is. It’s sometimes difficult not to become fearful about the future and it’s important people appreciate what is truly valuable and important. It’s not materialistic things. It’s love, quality of life, bringing joy to others… sharing and helping, too. We are all human beings with our own faults. No one is perfect. To forgive is not to forget or dismiss. Things happen and sometimes it’s a challenge to learn from it and to move forward in a positive and proactive way. But it is possible. THANKS CLICHÉ!
For more information on Marina and where to order her book:
www.MarinaAnderson.net
www.DavidCarradinebook.com
www.facebook.com/MarinaAnderson1

Ellen Dubin Interview

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It’s loud and crowded at a local café in Studio City. I’m looking for a striking and statuesque woman among the people standing in line to get coffee when I hear a boisterous, roaring, unique laugh. There she is! Ellen Dubin is sitting at a table inside, socializing with some of the other regular patrons.
“Hi, beautiful! MISSED YOU!” Her voice resonates as she spots me entering the doorway, jumps up, and gives me a squeeze. Dubin talks a mile a minute, catching me up on her recent auditions and voice over bookings. “OHMYGOD, you’ve got to hear this! Did you know…?”
She suddenly gets hushed and she whispers something confidential so the people at the next table can’t hear. When she hits the punch line, she gives me the “Dubin nudge” with both of us bursting out in laughter and exchanging a look only people two longtime friends can understand. The next table starts laughing and they don’t know why. It’s because of Dubin. Her upbeat energy and laugh are infectious. She has that effect on people!
This Gemini-nominated actress for Best Actress in a Continuing Role for the Canadian version of the US Emmy Awards stars in The Collector. The series is a supernatural drama about a man who collects souls for the devil. In it, Dubin plays passionate journalist Jeri Slate, who will stop at nothing to get to the truth about who and what this mysterious collector is and does. She is also a single mother of an autistic son who may be the son of the devil. This hit show has been seen in more than 65 countries and is now showing on The Chiller TV Network in the US.
Ellen has also done a wide variety of acting roles from Boeing, Boeing opposite Peter Scolari (Bosom Buddies, Honey I Shrunk The Kids…) to her infamous role (with a mega fan base) as the wild and wacky cannibal Giggerota the Wicked in the worldwide cult hit LEXX.
Ah, but that’s not all! Read on for the full interview.

Robby Benson: An Open Book

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M ANDERSON HEADSHOT

©Cesare Bonazza


Robby Benson: An Open Book
We originally met just about a year ago on Facebook, of all things. This flipped my love-hate relationship with the social media site to the love side. I happened to see a posting about his new, upcoming book based on an extraordinary journey this celebrity took in life. Not a trip around the world, but inside his own world. Inside him…his body. I thought I’m Not Dead Yet! was something very important and felt compelled to help get the word out, so I sent him a message, never expecting a response, but he did respond! Unassuming and ego free, two-time Golden Globe nominated actor (with radiant, bright blue eyes, I might add), Robby Benson is an open book. Pun intended.
The initial Facebook communication grew into a friendship over the months that I treasure. I had the joy of not only meeting Robby, but his fabulous wife, Karla, for lunch in a quaint, jammed little eatery in Toluca Lake when they popped into town.
When I told friends about my plans, the men listed their favorite Benson films and the women gushed about how they still held secret crushes all these years. His career accomplishments are a mile long. From his recent guest starring role in an upcoming ABC series Mind Games, to the voice of Beast in Disney’s classic animation Beauty and the Beast to Ice Castles to Running Brave, One on One, Ode To Billy Joe…to his directing TV shows to authoring books to composing… on and on! He’s co-starred opposite some of the all-time greats in the entertainment industry: Paul Newman, Rod Steiger, George Burns, Jack Lemmon and more.
In addition to success as a mega-talent, Robby has more than two decades of experience as a teacher. Honored with nominations for New York University’s Distinguished Teaching Award and David Payne-Carter Award for Teaching Excellence, he’s now a professor at the University of Indiana. It’s rare that you see his kind of enthusiasm and support for students. Robby not only goes the extra mile, but he climbs Mount Everest for them!
Look for his in-depth interview on Oprah’s OWN show Where Are They Now? this February. BY MARINA ANDERSON
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©Bengal Prod. Inc.


Cliché: You have such a rich, creative background! Acting, music, directing, producing, photography, writing, and now teaching. Wow! What would you say is your true passion?
Robby Benson: In the arts, my true passion is composing and engineering music. In life, my main passion is Karla Jayne DeVito and our children.
Tell me more about you being a professor and your students. Do they call you “Professor Benson?”
No… they call me Robby, even the ones who want to call me Professor Benson, I make sure they call me Robby.
That’s so cool! Love that. I saw an online campaign not too long ago raising funds for your students and the department. You really go the extra mile for “your kids,” don’t you? Why?
My students are raising money for their films using IndieGoGo. I always go the extra mile for my students. If I am going to do anything–anything at all, I must do it he best that I can. In this case, doing it for my students means that we will have a new generation of “old school” storytellers; along with filmmakers that behave “old school” and that word would be decent.
How do you like life in Bloomington, Indiana?
It’s whimsical here. It’s an artistic community. Also, the university is rich with history and everyone calls Bloomington the ‘Blue Island’ in a sea of red.
Your beautiful wife…
[Robby can’t help himself in his pure enthusiasm and love. His energy can’t be contained] Yes!
Karla is fabulous…
YES!
…and established in the biz as well.
[With pride] YES!
Does she still sing?
YES!
Do you record and write music together?
YES!
You’ve been together how long?
[Eyes beaming] 33 years!
And from what I understand, inseparable, right?
[With a big smile] YES!
[Sigh] Now that’s true romance.
[Emphatic nod] YES!
Tell me what the two of you love to share/do together the most.
Hold hands… anywhere… anytime… as long as we’re together.
Does it bother you when women come up to you and say they used to have a major crush on you in earlier years?
Not at all. It’s flattering…
I must say, you are even more handsome now…
Thank you. [Blushes]
Did you ever consider yourself a “heartthrob?”
No… I always considered myself as a hardworking actor, writer, director and composer. Everything else is someone’s perception–and Hollywood and pop culture is built on perception.
largegroup

©Dan Thrasher


Speaking of “heartthrob,” you’ve been through the ringer with some major medical procedures. What was the deciding factor to get you to write the book?
I wanted to reach out to my cardiac brothers and sisters because I’ve had 4 open-heart surgeries. I have a lot of information that can help others who are having the operation for the first time–or even their loved ones who go through hell… Sometimes I believe it’s harder on the loved ones than on the patient because the patient actually feel the pain–the loved one imagines the pain… and the imagination is brutal.
I think you were one of the leaders in the pack to come out with a multi-media format, right?
Yes, we were one of the first and we did it all by ourselves!
Wow, I commend you. That’s intense! How does it feel to have helped so many people with your book?
I’ll always feel like I haven’t helped enough.
Has it generated requests to speak at conferences?
I love speaking at conferences because I can make people laugh about things that usually are frightening.
That’s a gift in itself to be able to do that. Heard OPRAH requested you for her new show Where Are They Now? To be aired sometime this February. How exciting! Did they fly out to Indiana?
Yes, they interviewed my students and they also saw how exciting it is to be educated at a I.U. (Indiana University) and how the arts are supported and are thriving.
Loving the photographs you take and post on Facebook. You have a natural talent for composition. Any specific camera?
I am a 100 percent Canon guy. I love everything they do–from SLRs to the Canon C-300 and the Cine lenses. Incredible products.
When did you get into photography?
I’ve always seen the world through a camera. Even as a child.
That leads us into wanting our readers to know more about you being an Executive Producer on your son’s indie film.
I was the Executive Producer and scored the film, Straight Outta Tompkins.
How was it for father and son to work together?
I worked with my father when I was young and it is a poignant and beautiful collaboration. It’s something I would never give up as long as I live.
Is your music going to be used in the film?
Yes, I composed the score with the help of Zephyr.
What about your daughter, Lyric?
She is engaged to get married. She is a poet, a singer and a spiritual soul.
What wonderful names you gave your children.
Thank you. We wanted our children to have a life of their own–not be thought of as anyone other than their true selves. Also, Lyric and I just finished her first album. We co-wrote the songs. I engineered and played on the album, too. It was a poignant and bonding experience, as well. It’s called “Lyric’s Love Light Revolution.”
And there’s a new “baby” addition to the family, right? Here we go with the music theme for the names–Mozart! How did this come about?
Yes, we have a new puppy named Mo based on Mozart, so we actually call him “Wolfie.”
If you could have three wishes to materialize for 2014, what would they be?
That everyone in my family is healthy and happy. That I get to direct my film Garth and that my students are fulfilled and feel they received the best education possible.
Visit Robby’s website for more information and to purchase this book: www.RobbyBenson.com
For more information about Entertainment Columnist Marina Anderson, visit:  www.MarinaAnderson.net
Featured image ©Karla DeVito

Przman: The Grooming Guru

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Pirooz 2 christopher robbins photo

© Christopher Robbins


“Hey, man…what kind of nose clippers do I use?”
“Dude, my girlfriend is ticking off at me ‘cause I’m not paying enough attention to her; what do I do?”
“Thanks, guy! That shaving cream is fantastic. Feel my face!”
“Tried that hair conditioner and it did the trick. Cool!” Knuckle bump.
Too embarrassed yourself to ask just anyone about those personal grooming questions like “man-scaping” or urinal etiquette? How about everyday routines like shaving? What do you and countless others have in common?  You’re looking for the source to get not just solid information, but helpful tips that actually work. Where would you find what you need all in one spot?
PRZMAN.COM. Yep, we’re talking about men’s grooming and lifestyle expert, Pirooz Sarshar, otherwise known as the “Martha Stewart of Men’s Lifestyle.” He’s the GGT—“guys go to” and wingman. A guru of sorts in the man’s world, he has the answers to what men seek with a straightforward, honest approach, flair, a sense of humor, and a tad of irreverence.
His status didn’t happen overnight. Sarshar, who became an expert on men unintentionally, earned his trusted reputation built on years of experience from the ground up. All the years of researching products and training he received from a variety of jobs started in Washington, D.C. with his mother, who used Sarshar as a guinea pig for testing various haircuts and colors.
“I’d always get suckered into things. Like my mom would say she was having a class on perms, but didn’t have model. ‘Let’s throw him in’… ya know?” He laughs, “It got to a point where I’d shave my head because I was embarrassed. A lot of abuse went on!”
“I’d always ask questions like, ‘Why do guys have to wear their hair like this or have a part like that?’” says Sarshar, but it’s the product and technical side that attracted him to the profession. His grandmother created various products they used in the family salons, and Sarshar fell in love with the concept of making his own as well. His fascination turned to a passion for it all. He soon took up the art at age 14, learned barbering from a man who worked at one of his mother’s salons. Sarshar became a talented practitioner himself after moving to NY, working with the top salons and hair stylists of the day.
“In general, men are embarrassed to talk about their nails or what shampoo they use or styling products and skin care. More and more men are starting to bypass the stigma and talk about such subjects.” Under the PRZ label, he’s created a line of hot-selling shaving products that contain the best ingredients (including organic) and use secrets of the world’s best barbers.
“I spent two years creating a content formula, grooming, cooking, lifestyle, and implementing the specialized formulas.” What he found was curious. People from press functions who gave Sarshar flack and criticism for what he was doing were secretly confiding and consulting with him!  “Evidently it was sort of a macho thing where the men didn’t want their male friends to know they were insecure about their grooming habits or needed advice on other things.”
The new PRZMAN.com website has all new products and services. There’s entertaining info like strategizing tips on things like how to get the best reservation in a restaurant to what’s a great gift for your girlfriend, to fitness, nutrition, recipes and even, whoa …vices! Check. It. Out!
“It’s the place you come to where you can learn anything from cleaning your kitchen floor to grooming. Whether he’s using mascara, a shampoo, conditioner or whatever, men don’t want to share their information. They want to keep it private, but more and more men are spending money on more and more grooming products because they are embarrassed to talk about it. It’s just a guy thing.”
Sarshar stresses that it’s important to be very raw and direct when giving advice and information. “The goal is to give a guy help. If he walks away learning one thing, then I think we’ve done our job.”
“I’m a great guy to take shopping,” says Sarshar. Since an early age, he admits to reading magazines such as Vogue. He is not only up to speed with fashion, but comfortable reading women’s publications. This lifestyle connoisseur consistently keeps up with fresh ideas, different approaches to grooming, and how it might translate into the men’s arena. “It’s turned me into an expert on men without realizing it.”
Influencing millions of men, Sarshar admits he is good with teaching the male population for the simple reason he knows the right way to reach his audience. “There’s a way to go about it, a language that goes with it” that makes them feel good and confident about themselves. “There’s a way to help men get motivated and stay motivated and not feel freakish about what they are doing to achieve that happiness and contentment.” There’s a certain amount of just plain common sense used, too. “Some of the most intelligent men are insecure and make things too complicated.” PRZMan streamlines it all for them into “Basic 101.”
M ANDERSON _cesare bonazza photog

© Cesare Bonazza


Branching out into guesting seminars, public speaking as well as continuing private consultations and appearances in the media, this pioneer in the grooming market leads the way with the newest finds and how-to’s. The content of his soon-to-be finished book is timeless. What he does and talks about has nothing to do with trend.
“The book will be addressing a comprehensive list of categories that give step-by-step advice and instruction from grooming to cleaning the bathroom. Not all men are taught the basics of every day routines—how to do laundry, cook, clean, organize…” Sarshar says. Also, “Men should embrace what makes them different and unique.”
You may think this is all just for guys, but, well, guess again! I found myself reading about the proper way to trim a moustache (even women wonder about these things) and trying out a couple of the yummy recipes. OK, I peeked at the vices section, too!
What’s his goal? To provide exceptional grooming products and living advice to men of all backgrounds and skin types. “To get men feeling good about themselves and motivated,” he says.
And he’s doing just that. One guy at a time. —Visit marinaanderson.net for more information on contributing entertainment columnist Marina Anderson

They Are Stylin’! Some of Hollywood’s Best Celeb Hairstylists

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M ANDERSON _cesare bonazza photog

© Cesare Bonazza


Look what we have for YOU: tips for all you Cliché readers from a half dozen of the top globally recognized celebrity hairstylists around. And just in time for the holidays and the New Year! Each hair stylist has a mega resume that would put stars in your eyes (seriously). They reveal their personal and professional secrets for not only getting “the look,” but also maintaining the look of a celebrity. There’s some juicy behind the scenes stories, too.
C’mon, admit it. You know you want to know how they get their client’s hair to look like that. Do you ask yourself, “Why can’t I get mine that way?” Got thinning hair? How about making your hair fuller and luscious? Did you know most women walking the red carpet are wearing extensions? And did you know a lot of celebrities wear wigs?
I get a little “techie” when it comes to researching how to achieve certain results, especially when it comes to makeup and hair. Using the wrong product or styling tool can damage hair and ruin a fabulous cut. While watching a TV show, film, or award show, I’ll scrutinize a celebrity’s hair wondering what their stylist used to achieve that particular look.
So I put together my list of top questions and grilled this group about what they know. I had to find out how they do it! The results are one “ah ha!” moment after the other. This is my exclusive gift to you.
May it help light up your holiday and all through next year, too. Enjoy! By Marina Anderson  —For more information about Marina, please visit marinaanderson.net
Feature image © Jenny Hands

I Wanna Buy A House!

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marina anderson

(c) Alan Weissman


I happened to be channel-surfing and landed on HGTV to get my “how-to fix.”  The show Selling LA had already started. I felt compelled to stay tuned because of what the featured real estate agent and owner of Steven Aaron Realtor Group, Steven Aaron, was saying. OK, I admit it wasn’t that at first. It was his vintage Cadillac that caught my eye, but, hey, whatever it takes for people to tune in, right?
The show covers properties in Los Angeles, but the information and principles that Steven brings forth apply to real estate across the country in any financial demographic. From selling to buying, decorating to renovating: he’s got it covered.
Viewers are taken through each episode on an adventure of sorts, each focusing on the sale process of his client’s home. Steven’s spiel of do’s and don’ts, along with a sales strategy and some psychology behind the buyers’ experiences, not only made sense, but also didn’t come across as typical sales hype.
I wanted to know more, sooo… I decided to grab an interview with this native Angeleno and expert in Southern California real estate for Cliché! I was also very curious to see if his on-screen persona of a straight-forward, focused, and warm personality matched in person. (OK it was on the phone, but the same “test” applied.) He not only passed my scrutiny, but displayed an easygoing sense of humor I didn’t get a chance to see on the show. BY MARINA ANDERSON
 
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(c) Bradford Rogne Photography


Steven Aaron:  I don’t know that I can say there’s a specific formula to that. I think a lot of it depends on what’s going on in each city. When you’re talking about major cities, metropolis type of cities, then you’re dealing with a different animal than small towns because there’s so much demand for what’s going on to live in the big cities. Like right now, there’s a lot of building going on. I think that’s a really positive sign because that means investors are willing to spend money.
You’re talking about major companies and contractors who develop properties?
Yes.  What I think that’s really great about it is they see that there’s a need, there’s a demand, that there’s a shortage of housing in these big cities.
Would you say there’s an element of timing with real estate?
Everything in real estate is timing. Right now, we’re in an appreciating market. We have been the last 12-18 months. So what’s happened is investors, people who flip [homes], builders, developers, over the last 18 months, are grabbing properties because they see that that margin is there because properties are appreciating. To me, it’s an indication that the market has improved.
What price point properties are selling the fastest? 
They’re going to be “fixers.” They are blowing out! Eighteen offers, twenty-two offers…! These are fixers that the investors want to tear down and build. On top of that, the price points I think that are the absolute hottest are what I call “entry level” or lower price point levels in Los Angeles. (It was noted that “entry level” home prices vary per area. West side prices differ from the valley, etc. for “entry level.”) If the house is done, staged and beautiful, it will sell immediately.
Wow. So the real estate market in general is on the rebound?
Absolutely.
What is staging a house?
Staging a property is where we bring in furniture, art, rugs, and accessories. It is marketing, it is set design. It creates the magic. The objective is for the buyer to have an emotional response to the home, to connect with it. Then it detracts from some of the negatives. It also has to be priced right.
What’s a good strategy or advice when placing a bid on a house you know already has offers? What components in an offer make it most appealing to the seller (i.e. more money down, all cash but offer less money)?
You must have the cleanest offer possible. This means that the seller is going to pick an offer that is the least likely to fall out of escrow and will close. Least number contingencies possible. Do your inspection up front. This will demonstrate to the seller you are serious! Get a formal approval with your lender so you do not have a loan contingency, if possible.
Do you ever do something like feng shui a home or if it isn’t selling, sage or other metaphysical “ceremonies”?   Other tips/things to do if a house isn’t selling? 
If a home is not selling, it is a price/value issue. You must listen to the market and make a price adjustment. I would also see if there is anything that can be done to improve the way the home shows, and minimize any negatives.
I noticed that for the broker viewings you serve food and… were those margaritas I saw on the show?  How important is it to do this? Not the margaritas (haha), but serving a party-like atmosphere?
It depends on the property. By serving food, people stay longer and get to experience the space as if they are a guest. Usually agents are in and out as they have many properties to view. This slows them down.
DANG! That’s clever! Tell me about your experience filming Selling LA.
Selling LA has been a great experience. I am very passionate about my work so it has been exciting to add television as one on the avenues of branding my business and show what we do for our clients.
 
For more info and videos on Steven and Selling LA: stevenaaronrealtor.com
For more info on Marina, visit: www.MarinaAnderson.net

Glam Gala: The Brent Shapiro Foundation

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Marina Anderson and Elliot Mintz


What could be better than a balmy night in Beverly Hills, a slight breeze through the palm trees under a cascade of stars, food catered by Wolfgang Puck, a fashion show, great conversation, A-list celebrities, top echelon socialites and media, glitz, and glamour…? The benefit for the Brent Shapiro Foundation for drug and alcohol awareness, founded by famed attorney Robert Shapiro and his dedicated wife, Linelle, had all that, and more!
Over 1,200 people attended the star-studded summer spectacular gala event held September 7 in Beverly Hills. Each year, the event focuses on sobriety, strides of recovering addicts, and celebrating life to its fullest. This year’s event raised $500,000!

Lisa Rinna and husband Harry Hamlin


Shuttles took patrons from parking to the 40,000 sq. ft. palatial estate, owned by Mei Sze Chan and Jeff Greene, where guests schmoozed the night away and dined on the scrumptious cuisine.  Red velvet cake, assorted cookies, and chocolate-dipped strawberries were to scream for as everyone “ooooh’d” and “ahhhh’d” over a jaw-dropping fashion show by G Haute Couture.
The evening was highlighted by Master of Ceremonies, television personality Pat O’Brien’s participation, actor Robert Davi’s charming us all with Sinatra favorites, and a live auction, which included once-in-a-lifetime events as well as prized art (Douglas Kirkland, Bradford Stewart), jewelry (Swiss Jewelry House of Avakian), dream vacations (Diamond Resorts International) and even a pure-bred Cocker Spaniel puppy!

Baj Ling


Ted Danson was honored for Angels at Risk, and perhaps the most touching and inspiring moment of the evening was not only the Shapiro’s own personal story of the tragic loss of their son Brent to drug and alcohol use, but that of Harry Hamlin, who recounted his own family history of tragedy and personal battles. Hamlin (accompanied by his vibrant celebrity wife Lisa Rinna), was honored by the foundation for his accomplishments in overcoming his obstacles. Two college-bound, sober students from the Phoenix House were also honored with fully-funded scholarships to continue their education.
The foundation’s vision is to bring awareness, compassion and support to those who suffer from the fear, grief, and helplessness caused by the disease of drug and alcohol abuse in order to help turn their lives around.  In Boyle Heights, the Shapiro Foundation recently launched “Brent’s Club,” which offers educational incentives to kids who “do the right thing” by remaining in school and staying clean. BY MARINA ANDERSON
Visit brentshapiro.org for more information and news on future events!

Marina Anderson: An Actor’s Dilemma

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Marina Anderson
It used to be that “the hiring powers” in the entertainment biz would take time out during their hard working day to meet new talent. They were called “generals.” It was free. Performers would either have a simple chat, a prepared scene, monologue or cold read for the casting director, director, agent/manager and/or producer. Companies and studios also used to hold their own “generals” with no cost to the participating talent. For years now, there’s been a profitable twist added to the scenario.
If you ask a young actor what a “general” is, they’ll probably tell you it’s someone in the military. Yeah, ha ha, but it’s really not all that funny. Due to many complaints filed, specific guidelines were mandated for “workshops” and “showcases.” But are these guidelines being followed by the “workshops”?
It’s been a “catch 22.” How do performers meet those that hire, if you can’t get in to audition for them? Easy. You can pay for the opportunity. Ask any actor and you’ll find their opinions are split pros and cons about the subject — whether talent is being taken advantage of, or if they are really being given the golden opportunity to strut their stuff for a fee (anywhere from $40 on up per “workshop”). This type of business has been such lucrative venture, some them have been around for years.
What do people do in these “workshops”? To nutshell, it varies. Often the guest of the evening (usually a casting director, casting associate or often a casting assistant) is given your picture and resume and they hand over a short scene to “cold read” with a partner (usually another actor) in front of the guest and other attendees. You have about 15 minutes to rehearse before performing as if it was an audition. Sometimes the guest has commentaries for the performers, sometimes a chat and it’s regarded as a “learning/teaching experience.” If you go in with the attitude that for every experience, there is something to be learned that’s great. But if you’re sole reason is to be there only for the purpose of meeting a particular guest, then that’s were resentment can creep in and your wallet won’t be the only thing screaming. Especially if you didn’t like the material they handed you or who they paired you up with or…or…
There is one particular bold and outspoken casting director who has stepped out and in front of the pack. Someone who’s been swimming against the stream…rubbing against the grain and defying what’s popular. In short, he’s been making waves. A kind of Lone Ranger among the majority of casting directors. Who is this person leading the way in protecting the underdog and demanding not only the unions be accountable to protect its members, but getting the Los Angeles City Attorney involved to help put a stop to the “abuse”? Billy DaMota, CSA. A well-respected casting director and award winning filmmaker, he’s on a mission, confronting the issues head on.
Cliché: So, Billy…your thoughts?
Billy DaMota: I’ve been casting for 29 years, and I can tell you one thing for certain. Actors take workshops to gain access to working casting directors for consideration for acting work on their TV shows, period. Do the actors accidentally learn something in the process? Sure. But if you seriously believe that this is why actors spend $40-$50 to read a 3 minute scene for a casting assistant, you’re smoking some serious crack.
Why don’t most of these casting directors just teach a “regular” acting class?
Get a working casting director to come to a place to teach, and have one or two of the 20 actors get up to use as examples of what or what not to do in a casting session. Great class, lots of learning, but only a few actors actually get up and read (kind of like a real acting class). Nope, you can’t do that because unless everyone can get up for the CD to evaluate his or her performance, the class will be empty. Few want to learn. Most want to simply perform for consideration of a job. That in legal terms, is an audition. No audition? Empty seats. Crickets.
Billy DaMota
Another scenario?
Scenario #2: Big shot Hollywood CD, Mary is your guest. She has been casting for a couple of decades, on HUGE films and TV shows. She has just, three weeks ago, retired and is not currently casting. She has a wealth of knowledge, teaches an awesome workshop where everyone gets up to read and gets extensive feedback and evaluation. But no one enrolls in her class, because they’re not there to learn, they’re there to get a job. More crickets. Every actor and every casting director who participates in workshops knows it.
These are my opinions only. Pay as many casting assistants as you like to gain “valuable knowledge.” Pretend and imagine that you’re doing something noble by asking an actor to pay a casting person’s rent when they can’t pay their own. But don’t talk down to actors – and don’t treat actors like they’re stupid. It’s insulting and embarrassing. The emperor has no clothes, dude.
What about those rules and regulation guidelines?
I didn’t write the law. I didn’t draft the CSA workshop guidelines. But I think they’re important. I’d like my profession to be recognized for the great work we do, not for taking a fee to attend workshops that may make cast our industry in an unfavorable light. I will spread those facts to my colleagues and to others who care and hopefully they’ll pay attention.
DaMota has more to say about the subject. Soon to be published: An Actor Grovels (Exposing the Casting Director Payola Scheme in Hollywood). Join him on Facebook or visit: http://donotpay.org/
Marina photographed by Ricardo Mamood-Vega
Billy photographed by Alan Weissman