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Lisa Loeb Eyewear Event: A Sight to See

A little over a month ago, I had the privilege of photographing a fun event for Lisa Loeb’s new eyewear line at Visualeyes Optometry in Sherman Oaks, California. Fans came in and out trying on all different shapes, sizes, and colors of Lisa Loeb Eyewear as she helped them select the cutest frames.

Lisa signed autographs and shared laughs with her devotees and even raffled off a pair of free frames and an ipod. As there are over ten different styles to choose from, some people gave up trying to decide and left with more than one! Needless to say, no one went away empty-handed.

Most of the attendees were young women, although not all fell under this category. Lisa befriended a new fan, little Ethan, who couldn’t get enough of the new frames!

The event was a sight to see, and I’m happy to have been a part of it! If you’d like to order your own pair of Lisa Loeb frames, visit her site: http://www.lisaloebeyewear.com/

Visualeyes Optometry is a wonderful little place with a warm staff made up of loving people who are eager to help out in any way they can. Dr. Lee Dodge, the managing optometrist, is extremely friendly and welcoming. If you need your eyes checked out, I highly recommend it! Visit: www.drdodgeod.com

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Daniel, Actor

Daniel Hepner is a unique individual. Unique in the finest sense of the word. Originally from Sydney, Australia, he has lived in Los Angeles since 2000 and has experience with commercial, television, film, and theatrical work. He has appeared on shows such as Days of Our Lives, The Office, and Ghost Whisperer, movies that include Alice in Wonderland and A Thousand Words, and commercials for companies such as Burger King. For his photoshoot, we went for a few specific character looks: the cold-hearted, elitist snob  (think Ryan Phillipe in Cruel Intentions), a hideous, poorly-dressed foreign dude (who just immigrated from Germany and can also pass as a high school teacher), and a bored yet witty office worker in his mid-30’s. Sometimes we nailed the exact look we wanted, and other times we were graced with interesting variations. Needless to say, we had fun throughout the process. Daniel was kind enough to answer some questions I had for him following the shoot. . .

What led you to acting?

In the beginning, like when I was about 8 or 9 (and maybe for a lot longer after,) acting was was an escape from reality for me. I often felt really shy around people, so it was a chance to be the center of attention and express something in front of an audience.

What is one (or some) of your favorite roles that you’ve played in your lifetime? Why?
I played a Porn Star on stage once. I loved taking on that sexual confidence and mixing it with a masked emotional vulnerability. Actually what I really loved was directly addressing the audience.
I loved being in makeup and costume when I did a day’s background work on Alice in Wonderland. It was so exciting to be a part of that creation even though I had so little to do -it really gave me a sense of wonder and amazement. I got to watch a lot of great people (such as Tim Burton and Colleen Atwood) do their jobs on set. Talk about marvel -I was basically walking around with my mouth hanging open.
What is your ideal role?
There’s no “ideal” role. It’s about making the most of every role, and that’s not easy to do. But that said -I truly love comedy that’s supported by a good sense of truth. I enjoy playing characters that seem unlikeable or unpleasant. I feel like I can specialize in this area. I gravitate towards characters that really stand out in a crowd and are interesting to me. Basically I want to represent the neurotic unlikeable freaks! I want people to laugh (at themselves, at me and at LIFE) and I want to laugh with them. Nothing’s funnier than the truth.
How do you define character?
I currently define character as how someone acts under pressure. That’s per my current acting teacher Steve Tiestort at The Imagine Life.
Did you enjoy our photoshoot? Why/why not?
I enjoyed the collaboration and especially the improv I had with the Photographer and Susan (the other gal on the shoot.) It was easy and fun, and I got to play in different situations.
What actor do you admire most?
You mean other than me? I always forget. There isn’t just one person. But I seem to like watching a lot of women actors these days. Like Kate Winslet and Cate Blanchett. I used to have a James Dean complex. I love Miranda Richardson. Leonardo DiCaprio always wins me over and is great to watch. Brian Cox is amazing. I love “Old Hollywood” too, the actors were really graceful onscreen and (at least)in their public image.
I also admire the actors that make their material. Especially the British comics like Jennifer Saunders and Tracey Ullman and then ofcourse there’s Woody Allen.
Anything else you’d like to add about yourself? (something strange, funny, quirky…)
Hmmm… I love eating. In restaurants. Especially steak, fried chicken and dessert like ice cream. And I love to travel to Europe and Australia. And I love to dance. I definitely have my own style. I sort of learnt to dance watching Madonna’s Blond Ambition tour as a teenager -that inspired me for life. I got to do this dance The Office (The Wedding Dance at Jim and Pam’s Wedding.) That was a real honor and LOT of fun!
Thanks to Susan Weingartner for helping with the shoot. And many thanks to you, Mr. Hepner. 🙂  Best of luck to you in your career!

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Julia Dean Photo Workshops Grand Opening

Howdy! Here is the advertisement for the Julia Dean Photo Workshops’ Grand Opening Event as they’re relocating from Venice to Hollywood. The event is Saturday, March 26th from 7-10pm at the new location: 755 Seward St., Los Angeles, CA 90038.  They selected an image I took of actress and model Felicia Fairley several months ago for the flier which was pretty neat. I have learned so much by taking various classes that JDPW has to offer, so if you’re looking for a way to step up your game and gain knowledge, fun and inspiration, I highly recommend taking a class there (or two or three…) 🙂

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Cheryl Guerriero, Los Angeles Writer

Meet Cheryl: a fun-loving, creative, endearing Los Angeles writer and New Jersey native. I took Cheryl’s headshots last week and was lucky enough to see many beautiful sides to this Madonna-loving, free-spirited Italian girl. Curious about her journey as a writer, I asked Cheryl a few questions about it.

A: How long have you been a writer and what led you to this creative field?

Q: There was something that I witnessed that gave me an idea for a movie. And up until that point I was pretty bored with the jobs I had. I wasn’t passionate about any of them. Then I had this idea…. and I started writing. It was a New Year’s Eve when I first sat down at my computer to write and I was so damn happy… I realized this is what I want to do.

Q: What sorts of genres do you tend to write?

A: I’ve written in all genres. I love dramas, even though they are the most difficult screenplays to get sold and made. But movies like THE TOWN – I really enjoyed that movie. Essentially – it was a drama, masked in action.

Q: Any pieces you’re especially proud of?
A: I’m proud of every script I have given birth to… they are all my “babies.” Although if I have to pick the script I’m most proud of it would be the last screenplay I wrote….. But don’t tell the others!

Q: Any specific goals/aspirations you have as a writer?
A: To not jump out the window, or turn on the gas and close the windows when the writing process is torturing me.

Q: What tends to help you most when you’re feeling blocked?
A: My vibrator. Or I walk around the block for awhile.

Q: What do you enjoy most about being a writer? Least?
A: When I write a scene or dialogue for my characters and I know I hit it out of the park. And when others read my work and have enjoyed what I wrote. Least – not being able to make a decision.

Q: Besides writing, what other sorts of activities do you enjoy?
A: Swimming in the Atlantic Ocean. The Pacific is too damn cold.

~A giant thank you to Cheryl for giving me the opportunity to photograph her and also to makeup artist Katy Holland for helping out with the shoot!!!~

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Tales from India: An Introduction

INDIA: a place of stimulation…the scent of fire burning and steady hum of chanting, cows walk among yogis as monkeys mingle with tourists. The hair on my skin stands tall as I visualize myself back there, amidst a world of perfect chaos, a place of presence and fluidity, a country where humility is written in the palms of beggars’ hands.  Through the eyes of its natives, India is where I discovered grace.

Not knowing who was going or what propelled me to do it, I took a leap of faith when I signed up for the spiritual journey led by teachers Candace Silvers and Anand Mehrotra in the fall of 2008. Three weeks was all it took to change my life forever.

I spent the bulk of both trips in Rishikesh, located in the foothills of the Himalaya and spread along the right banks of the Ganges. I felt its sacred pulse upon arrival, even before discovering that consumption of meat and alcohol is illegal and that it is the birthplace of yoga. Needless to say, it was a rather sobering experience.

Besides Rishikesh, during my first trip I also spent time in Kerala, a stunning southwestern state known for its backwaters and Ayurvedic treatments. Here I bathed in the warm and salty Arabian Sea and learned the art of meditation. For the majority of the second trip, we stayed in Rishikesh while traveling to nearby villages in the hills and mountains. Due to India’s insane driving conditions where rules of the road simply do not exist, each road trip was an experience in and of itself. While in Rishikesh, we stayed at Anand’s family-owned hotel, Hotel Jaipur Inn.

I had thankfully just purchased my first “real” camera only weeks before my second trip in 2009, a Canon Rebel XSi, so all of these photographs are a product of that using the kit lens it came with.

Because I have such a plethora of images that have been just resting in my computer, I’ve decided to break up my blogs into separate categories with corresponding tales and photos from my journeys. As India represents such a profound turning point of my life, the least I can do is share it with those who are interested. Please enjoy, and thank you for viewing a piece of my heart.

*All of my India photos are available for purchase. If interested, please visit: http://francesiacuzzi.smugmug.com/Other/India-Photos/15916710_xNW8z

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Introducing ‘IT’S ON’ – A Musical Produced by Janet Billig Rich, Stan Zimmerman and Kathleen Marshall, Executive Produced by Garry Marshall

On January 11th and 12th, the Falcon Theatre in Burbank, CA hosted the very first reading of IT’S ON, a musical in development that celebrates TV show theme songs. IT’S ON was conceived by Stan Zimmerman (“The Golden Girls”, “Roseanne”) and written by Stan and Christian McLaughlin (“Married With Children”). The musical’s co-producers are Stan Zimmerman, Janet Billig Rich, Kathleen Marshall, and executive producer Garry Marshall.

It stars: James Carpinello (“Rock of Ages”), Nolan Funk (“Bye Bye Birdie”), Megan Hilty (“9 to 5”), Sheryl Lee Ralph (“Dreamgirls”) and Mindy Sterling (“Austin Powers”).

The plot: IT’S ON! is about about Charlie and Lucy, two longtime song writing partners, who come to a North Hollywood recording studio to record the theme song for a new TV series.

Helping them in the studio are two session singers: Whitney Thomas-Harris (a diva who’s bitter Whitney Houston stole her career) and P.J. (a former Disney Channel star now trying to roughen up his image).  Also part of the show are Babs, (P.J.’s “Mom-ager”) and Mort (the recording studio engineer.)

Along the way, this amazing cast sings over 40 TV show theme songs – everything from “I Love Lucy” to “True Blood”.

I was lucky enough to watch most of the reading and meet many of the amazing cast members, writers and producers. The group was energetic and optimistic, and it was clear how much hard work they have already put into it. Though still in early development, I have a feeling it’s going to be a big hit.  IT’S ON!

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