Charles Phoenix New Book: Addicted To Americana On Sale Now!

By: Judy Shields


Los Angeles, CA (The Hollywood Times) 4/18/2018 – “Everywhere I go, I look at what’s unique about that town, what makes that town special. I have a theme park sensibility, so I look for the attractions, the talking points.  The hidden treasures, collectables, where is the “there, there” there.  What makes these towns unique.  This book basically represents the highlights of all of those,” Charles Phoenix told The Hollywood Times today during a telephone interview.

The Hollywood Times (THT):  “What have you been up to?”

Charles Phoenix (Charles): “I just got back from Austin, Texas.  It was really, really fun. I mean this is a town that has completely embraced the Americana ascetic, the very vintage, retro and classic roadside American style.  I called it “ramshackle roadside relic sheek” it’s kind of it. There is a music thing played everywhere, it’s a very indoors/outdoors kind of restaurants and old honky-tonk.  They really embrace their lore there.  They put it up on a pedestal and I love that.  I love when towns treat themselves like a theme park.”

THT: Did you have a road show there?

Charles Phoenix Chicken neon sign in Austin Texas

Charles: “No, actually I had a book signing there.”

THT: So you were out promoting this amazing, wonderful and addictive book?

Charles:  “Thank you, I’m glad that you like it. I am very proud of it and worked very hard on it. It was 25 years in the making, literally.  All the travels, all the collecting of other people’s Kodachrome slides, which I started to do in 1992.  This whole book is a combination of my travels and my collections of other people’s old slides and the stories that came along with them.”

THT: Talk about your live shows:

Charles: “I have an enthusiastic delivering of the material when I am live onstage talking about it.  I have covered many elements of mid-century American culture, then and now. I think what people really love about my show is my enthusiasm.  I think enthusiasm is a very saleable commodity and I have the enthusiasm for it!  I have the info to back it up.  I have been doing my retro slide show live onstage for over 20 years now and I have many topics and subjects, depending on what city I am performing, and the shows have various names.  I always try to include stuff from the city that I am in, either vintage images or new images of vintage places, Mom and Pop shops, unsung local landmarks and maybe unnoticed local heroes and local foods.   I also cover shopping malls, which is certainly on the change now, which makes them kind of interesting topic.  There is a lot in this book and I am kind of shocked looking at it myself, frankly!”

THT: Talk a little about the history of your new book.

Charles: “This whole book represents treasure hunting.  Looking for Americana, is what it is in search of.  I go in search of it on two levels, both physically, by going out in the world and finding it and finding vintage images of it. In my case, I collect vintage Kodachrome slides and I have been collecting them since 1992. I first stumbled upon a collection in a thrift store in Pasadena and it was a little blue shoebox that I spotted and it said “Trip Across the United States 1957, which was on the side of it.  I was originally attracted to the box, because it was an old-looking shoebox.  I picked it up and there was a whole box full of some families slides from the trip across the United States in 1957.  I held a few up and I knew immediately that this was a treasure with my name on it.   So I was completely smitten from that moment on and I haven’t stopped collecting other people’s old Kodachrome slides since.  I call my collection the “slibrary,” and I have a “slibrarian.” She has basically been organizing the entire thing for about 15 years now.  This is in part the reason how I was able to do this book, because I have a lot of really unusual rare images.  I take great pride in my territorial skills both out in the field and going out to find what is interesting and what isn’t.”

THT: You are like an investigator.

Charles: “I love playing detective to find the stuff, I love going to a town and having a hunt for something. There is always some treasure that has gone missing, a car, a vintage neon sign or something that needs to be portable in some way that deserves to be found.  Occasionally I wind up going in search of some treasure that has been misplaced or no one knows where it went. Sometimes I recover them and occasionally they’re gone for good.”

I asked Charles if he had photos from when he was young and he said very few, because nobody in his family was a photographer.  “I have to rely on other people’s photos, not my own,” Charles said.

Charles also has a line of his and her clothing called Sir Charles of Phoenix, which are retro inspired.  Check it out here:






THT: Do you have any live stage shows coming up?

Charles: “Yes. I have one coming up in Las Vegas this weekend at the Orleans and another one in June called Catalinaland. A show all about the story and the glory of Catalina. It is going to be held inside the epic art deco theatre which is inside the legendary iconic casino building there on Catalina. That is going to be a rare threat to get inside that casino building and into that art deco theatre. That is coming up  June 10th.”

“What I am covering is uniquely American, for the most part and it’s a part of our culture that isn’t fading away but is fading away, but not completely!  That is why I am covering it.  I think it is really an underrated time in our history and the type of stuff that I am covering is very underrated in the scheme of things and very under covered historically. It was made in the USA.”

“What a great idea, a book to share with your children and grandchildren.  Get this book and share it with them. Make it a point to take a vacation to find these treasures, create your own memories with your children and grandchildren.  What wonderful gift to give to your parents/grandparents, so that they can share memories of some of these places they may have seem in their early days.  A great Mothers Day gift. This is such a colorful book, and belongs on everyone’s coffee table in every living room across America.   We need a book like “Addicted to Americana” in our lives, color, nostalgia, American history and it’s fantastic,” The Hollywood Times.

Here is my favorite picture from the book:


Charles Phoenix is a showman, tour guide, food crafter, and author. He is known for his live comedy slide show performances, madcap Test Kitchen videos, “field trip” tours, and colorful coffee table books, all celebrating classic and kitschy American life and style. On TV, Charles has appeared as a judge on Food Network’s Cake Wars: Christmas. He’s also guested on Storage Wars, Jay Leno’s Garage, Conan, and Martha Stewart, and is often heard on NPR. The Los Angeles Times says, “Call him the King of Retro,” and LA Weekly anointed him “the Kodachrome King.”

Growing up in Ontario, California Charles was educated at theme parks, shopping malls, and his dad’s used car lots. As a teen he discovered thrift shops, which led to a lifelong vintage shopping spree. He calls thrift shops “schools of style, museums of merchandise, and the perfect place to study the underbelly of our mass consumerism culture.”

After moving to Los Angeles and enjoying careers as a fashion designer and classic car dealer, his life changed forever — in a thrift shop — when he discovered a shoebox full of vintage Kodachrome slides marked “Trip Across the United States, 1957.” Collecting orphaned vintage slide photography soon became an obsession that inspired his retro slide show performance career, beginning in 1998.

Charles’ slide show performances are supercharged, laugh-out-loud celebrations of retro American pop culture. Fans from coast to coast enjoy his spirited story telling, gracious wit and sharp eye for oddball detail.

He covers a dizzying array of subjects and themes, projecting both vintage Kodachrome images and contemporary photos documenting his retro road trip discoveries.

No two shows are ever the same. Many performances are tailored specifically to highlight the region he’s performing in, inspiring newfound appreciation for underrated local landmarks, unique attractions, “mom-and-pop” businesses, and extreme architecture.

Charles’ popular “Disneyland” Tour of Downtown Los Angeles proves the heart and soul of the city is like a great big theme park. Touring vintage landmarks and themed environments — including Old Chinatown, Olvera Street, Clifton’s Cafeteria, Angels Flight, Bob Baker Marionette Theater, Carroll Avenue and more, he proves “Southern California doesn’t have one Disneyland, it has two!” He also leads tours of Palm Spring’s iconic mid-century modern architecture during Modernism Week.

Big Retro Slide Show Extravaganza

April 20, 2018 & April 22, 2018
Orleans Hotel Showroom
4500 W Tropicana Ave
Las Vegas, NV

Prepare for your national pride to swell when Ambassador of Americana, Charles Phoenix, launches retro pop culture into the stratosphere! With his keen expertise, unbridled enthusiasm and eagle eye for oddball detail, Charles shares the very best of his retro road-trip discoveries and colorful kaleidoscope of found vintage Kodachrome slides from the pages of his latest book, Addicted to Americana.

This is a marvelous mashup of mid-century of stories and glories of spectacular space-age style, amazing attractions, local landmarks, roadside wonders, festive foods, crazy car culture, futuristic transportation and more galore all in glorious Kodachrome COLOR! Your imagination will be inspired and your American spirit will soar!

NOTE: each show is different. Check Event schedule for show times.

June 10, 2018 at 2:00 p.m.

Live Retro Slide Show Performance Celebrating SoCal’s Enchanted Island!
Avalon Casino Theatre
1 Casino Way
Avalon, CA 90704

Click here to buy tickets:

Catalina Island Museum presents … Ambassador of Americana, Charles Phoenix, at the iconic Casino’s spectacular 1929 Art Deco movie palace.

Be prepared for your Catalina loving’ spirit to SOAR when Charles sweeps us away on a time-travel storytelling and retro slide show adventure extravaganza exploring the island’s classic landmarks, legends and lore.

Experience the backstories and glories of the S.S. Avalon, glass bottom boat, flying fish, Bird Park, Catalina Pottery, vintage souvenirs, Casino, Wrigley family, the mysterious Catalina-shaped swimming pool, and much more.

Charles also shares his vintage guide to today’s Catalina sightseeing, shopping, dining, and where to find the Island’s hidden treasures, time warps, and what not to miss as you discover Catalina as a great big theme park!

The performance is two-acts with an intermission. Festive dress is encouraged but not expected.

Aftershow Cake & Book Signing Party

You are invited to meet Charles following the performance at the Catalina Island Museum. Copies of his latest book, Addicted to Americana, will be available for purchase.

Charles is the author of many colorful, collectible coffee table books celebrating mid-century Southern California, Las Vegas, Hawaii, Kodachrome road trips and his native Pomona Valley. His latest is Addicted to Americana!

About Charles Phoenix

Addicted to Americana, author, chef, and retro pop culture humorist Charles Phoenix celebrates classic and kitschy American life and style. He is known for his live comedy slide show performances, eye-popping “test kitchen” videos, and colorful coffee table books.

On TV he is a judge on Food Network’s Cake Wars, and has appeared with Jay Leno, Martha Stewart, and Conan O’Brian. He is often heard on NPR.

Fans enjoy his clever spin and genuine reverence for Americana and trust his guide to attractions from coast to coast.


Phyllis Fender – a love letter to Leo Fender

Phyllis Fender and Randall Bell’s book “Leo Fender: The Quiet Giant Heard Around The World” cover

Leo Fender’s wife takes a look backwards at the hardworking genius behind Fender and G&L in her new book, “Leo Fender – The Quiet Giant Heard Around the World”

By JP Durand
Santa Clarita, CA (The Hollywood Times) 4/18/18 – Enigmatic and tireless, Leo Fender worked all his life towards perfecting his vision of the electric guitar.  Along the way, some of music’s most famous musicians came under the spell of Leo’s creation.  His widow, Phyllis Fender, has written a new and intimate memoir of the genius craftsman that focuses on his work ethic, his quiet behind-the-scenes personality, and the restless spirit of innovation that he started at Fender and continued at G&L.  The new book is a must-read for any serious Fender guitar fan for an intimate glimpse of the man whose quiet work truly redefined music-making worldwide, introducing iconic instruments like the Telecaster, Stratocaster, and P-Bass, as well as producing the foundational amplifiers for rock, jazz, surf, you name it.  Even the venerable Marshall brand of amps started as a tweak of Leo Fender’s Bassman circuit.  So who was this man?

Continue reading “Phyllis Fender – a love letter to Leo Fender”

Deana Martin Announces List Of Celebrity Guests For The Deana Martin Celebrity Roast

Honoring The ‘Man Of The Hour’ Joe Mantegna

The April 15th event to host celebrity guests and cast members from Criminal Minds, The Sopranos, Westworld, NYPD Blue, plus others.

LAS VEGAS, Nev. – Deana Martin returns to the Showroom at the South Point Casino in Las Vegas for her next edition of The Deana Martin Celebrity Roast honoring the ‘Man of the Hour’ – world-renowned actor, producer, writer and director, Joe Mantegna on Sunday, April 15 at 6 p.m. Deana Martin continues her father’s legacy by recreating The Dean Martin Celebrity Roast, which ran on NBC between 1974 to 1984.

Joe Mantegna, best known for his role as David Rossi in the CBS hit-series Criminal Minds, is the “Man of the Hour,’ and will have his life and career roasted by special celebrity guests. In addition, Mantegna is known for roles In box office hits, including Three Amigos, The Godfather Part III and Up Close & Personal. Mantegna won a Tony Award for David Mamet’s play Glengarry Glen Ross and earned Emmy Award nominations for his roles in three different miniseries: The Last Don (1997), The Rat Pack (Starring as Dean Martin,1999), and The Starter Wife (2007). He’s also known for his role voicing Fat Tony in The Simpsons.

Deana is excited to announce the celebrity guests who will join her in roasting Joe Mantegna: Singer, actor, and star of Saturday Night Live, Joe Piscopo; actor and Sopranos guest star, Lou Martini, Jr.; star of Westworld, Clifton Collins; star of Criminal Minds, Kirsten Vangsness; star of NYPD Blue, Gail O’Grady; “The Bad Boy of New Jersey” comedian, Mike Marino; director and star of Criminal Minds, Matthew Gray Gubler; and legendary comedian and Tonight Show Host, Tom Dreesen.

“Joe Mantegna is ‘one of the good guys’, so roasting him will be difficult. But with our creative and talented cast of Roasters, we will take no prisoners. So, fasten your seatbelts, it’s going to be a bumpy night,” says Deana Martin

Tickets for The Deana Martin Celebrity Roast are available for purchase on the South Point website.

For additional information on Deana Martin’s appearances and concert events, please visit

About Deana Martin:

Deana Martin is an influential American singer, actor and performer and the very proud daughter of iconic entertainer, Dean Martin. Her 2006 debut CD release, “Memories Are Made of This,” stayed in the top ten for 40 consecutive weeks.

Her follow-up CD, 2009’s, ” Volare,” debuted in the top ten of the Billboard charts, followed by 2011’s seasonal evergreen, “White Christmas,” 2013’s critically acclaimed “Destination Moon.”



Her latest, 2016’s “Swing Street,” garnered her airplay on top jazz, standards and country radio stations, emphasizing her prominent status as a hit recording artist.


As a celebrated author, Deana found herself on the New York Times’ coveted #1 Best Seller list with her 2004 memoir, “Memories Are Made of This: Dean Martin Through His Daughter’s Eyes.” In it, she shares never-before-told stories about her father and his ‘pallies’.

The e-book version returned Ms. Martin to the best-selling book charts in 2015 on Wall Street Journal’s roster of best-selling e-books.

Stop Dieting And Start Living With A Simple And Scientifically-Proven Plan To Eating Right

San Francisco, CA, April 4, 2018 ― Who doesn’t want a flat belly? Well, finally, there is a scientifically proven way to shed stubborn pounds and keep them off, especially for weight around the midsection.

The secret to beating the bloat and enjoying lasting weight loss is a healthy gut.

A healthy gut—fueled by superfoods, anti-inflammatory fats, and prebiotic and probiotic foods—can balance your appetite, reduce cravings, regulate blood sugar, fight inflammation, and fuel your body with key nutrients for optimal health.

Award-winning dietician brings gut health all together without the guesswork with his proven, seasonal eating plan. And, fat-burning, pound shedding and feeling youthful never tasted so good!

Introducing Flat Belly 365: The Gut-Friendly Superfood Plan to Shed Pounds, Fight Inflammation and Feel Great All Year Long (ISBN: 9780757320101 – January 2018 — $18.95)

Chocolate Smoothie Bowl

Full color recipes like Fig Jicama Salad, Beef Bone Soup, Chocolate Smoothie Bowl and California Avocado Gazpacho will have your mouth watering as the weight comes off.

Chocolate Smoothies Bowl recipe

All plans are adapted for all eating styles including vegetarian and vegan.

Flat Belly 365 provides an initial “reboot,” a 7-day kickstart plan to rev your body into optimal fat-burning.

Villacorta’s clients report up to six pounds of weight loss, an average of 1.5 inches gone from their waistlines, better sleep and renewed energy levels after the first week.

His publicist reported a loss of 20 pounds in thirty days on his last program.

Tantalizing recipes like Cauliflower Walnut Soup, Pumpkin Pie Smoothies, Moroccan Lamb Stew, Cannellini Chicken Sausage Bowl and Citrus Raspberry Chia Seed Pudding.

About Manuel Villacorta:

Manuel Villacorta, MS, RD, is an internationally recognized, award-winning registered dietitian-nutritionist with more than 18 years of experience. He is the author of three books, Eating Free, Peruvian Power Foods and Whole Body Reboot: The Peruvian Superfoods Diet.

Villacorta is a trusted voice in the health and wellness industry ― a national media spokesperson, a health blog contributor for The Huffington Post and an on-air contributor for Univision. Manuel is the owner of MV Nutrition, a San Francisco-based private practice, and the recipient of five “Best Bay Area Nutritionist” awards from the San Francisco Chronicle, ABC7 News and Citysearch. Read more on:

Available wherever books are sold or to order directly from the publisher, contact

HCI Books – or (800) 441-5569

Flat Belly 365: The Gut-Friendly Superfood Plan to Shed Pounds, Fight Inflammation and Feel Great All Year Long

ISBN: 9780757320101 – January 2018 — $18.95

The Gut-Friendly Superfood Plan to Shed Pounds, Fight Inflammation and Feel Great All Year Long
Manuel Villacorta, M.S. RD

1. What made you decide to write Flat Belly 365?

I like to keep up with current nutritional science. Nutrition is a dynamic. There are always new findings. What made me write this book is that, in the past, I have written about superfoods and weight loss. But lately, there has been new evidence about how gut health affects weight and overall health. So with Flat Belly 365, I’m marrying the concepts that I have written before on weight loss with current knowledge regarding visceral fat, inflammation and gut health.

2. What makes Flat Belly 365 different from any other book in its genre?

This book is not just a compilation of research findings and tips, but also it gives you the how-to’s which can be key. I am holding people’s hand with this book. Not only do I provide lists of foods to eat, but also recipes on how to use these foods, and detailed meal plans on how to use these recipes throughout the week along with shopping lists. When I showed my book to my sister-in-law, who is not a kitchen-friendly person, she said to me “Wow, I can do this.” Anyone can. It’s that easy.

3. How is this book different from your other three books?

My first book, Eating Free, was more about mindful eating and freeing people from food guilt. I see my second book Peruvian Power Foods as an encyclopedia with recipes showcasing superfoods. My last book, Whole Body Reboot, was the marriage between these two books. With Flat Belly 365, I am focusing on gut health and visceral fat, but still using superfoods and taking into account eating mindfully.

I have meal plans also, but more complex. 7 different breakfasts, 7 different lunches – but people don’t eat like this! Even I don’t eat that way. So I said “Do what you do Manuel. If you’re succeeding there must be a reason.” In this book, I’ve kept it simple, but even more effective.

4. How do you know Flat Belly 365 works?

As I mentioned before, I not only read the literature to find the latest research in nutrition and write books on it, but I also apply it in my private practice in San Francisco with my clients. Once I see that my recommendations are working through my client’s success is when I decide this is worth writing about. So, before I published Flat Belly 365, I tried the meal plans out on several clients who had great success.

5. What does gut health have to do with weight loss?

There is a growing body of evidence that the right combination of gut bacteria can cause changes in a person’s weight. Researchers can now even identify an individual as obese or lean just by looking at their gut bacteria. Several studies have even transplanted gut bacteria from obese mice into lean mice, which resulted in weight gained without any changes in their diet and exercise. The same result occurred when the microbiome of lean mice was transplanted into obese mice; they lost weight.

6. What are probiotics and prebiotics?

Probiotics are the good type of bacteria that are live, active organisms that help keep the digestive system happy and healthy. The more probiotics in our gastrointestinal system, the healthier our microbiome and a healthy microbiome means lower risk if chronic diseases such as low immunity, type 2 diabetes, gastrointestinal disorders and even depression among others. Probiotics can be found in fermented foods such a yogurt, kefir and other fermented foods like kimchi and sauerkraut.

Prebiotics are the fuel to help probiotics thrive and multiply. Prebiotics are fibers found in foods such as avocados, sweet potatoes, oatmeal, onions, garlic, leeks, among others.

7. You talk about visceral fat. So are there different types of body fat?

Not all body fat is created equal. There are 2 main types of fat in our bodies some of these fats can be harmful to health in large amounts and others can actually be beneficial. It is also important to know that where this fat is located in your body can have an impact on your health. Flat Belly 365 is specifically targets visceral fat which can cause inflammation. Visceral fat surrounds your organs and the other fat, subcutaneous, is located just under the skin.

8. Why worry about inflammation?

Chronic inflammation you can’t see or feel and it’s difficult to test for. Your body is constantly releasing inflammatory chemicals, such as cytokines, that are produced from factors such as having excess visceral fat. Cells, artery walls, and fibers are affected, which leads to other chronic diseases and advanced aging.

9. What are the main concepts of the book?

There are three main concepts of the book. One is tackling visceral fat with anti-inflammatory fats and superfoods. Second is keeping your gut healthy which can help reduce weight and prevent other chronic diseases and third is reducing inflammation by eating anti-inflammatory superfoods.

10. You’ve written Peruvian Power Foods and Whole Body Reboot which both talked about Peruvians superfoods. Are the ingredients in Flat Belly 365 easy to find?

Yes, this book is all about simplicity. This book focuses on good old American fruits and vegetables. Given that California produces a significant majority of the fruits, vegetables and nuts sold in the United States, I decided to follow California’s seasonal growing chart, which focuses on American-grown superfoods and can be found throughout the United States


Grace + Soul & Mother Wit – New Cookbook by Daphne Maxwell Reid

A Cookbook Spiced with Personal Memories


By: Judy Shields

Hollywood, California (The Hollywood Times) 4/9/2018 “I kept thinking well I have to really codify this sometime and I was encouraged to get that cookbook off my computer. After publishing four other books I said I could do this. I decided this was the time to do it and I did it.” Daphne Maxwell Reid told The Hollywood Times during a phone interview from Virginia.

I totally have to write this: Every person out there who thinks cookbooks are not worth having, you are mistaken. You, plus everyone else out there in the universe needs to have this cookbook. Order one today for yourself and why not get one for that unique gift for a new bride, new mother or anyone that enjoys cooking.

Daphne’s new cookbook will conjure the souls of your grandmother, mother and aunts. It is Unique!

From the first page where Daphne talks about “children not being taught “living” skills, like home making, manners, and common sense and if you think the microwave oven is an essential cooking tool, this may be an eye-opening book for you.”

The second and third pages with a photo of what a table setting should look like and a photo of her beautiful parents Mother Rosalee and Father Green.

Daphne has turned this cookbook into her personal memories opening the door to her life and ask us to come in and make ourselves feel at home.

The introduction pages are filled with her fond memories of her parents and pictures of them, Daphne’s family and adorable pictures of her and her photographic career from 1948-1960 and 1966-1999. She shares wonderful memories of Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays at her farm in Charlottesville, Virginia and has a few pictures of the amazing grounds and spectacular view.

Throughout the book, she shares some of her memories as well as some of her favorite recipes. Page 9 starts with Setting Up the Kitchen, what really, we truly have to set up our kitchen. That is what I’ve been doing wrong all along!

Daphne shows formal dinner place settings as well as casual place settings. Tableware for daily meals, essential pots & pans, utensils along with optional pots & pans and utensils. Pantry and refrigerator essentials. She even has a couple of her beautiful menu cards. She is so talented. There is also basic cooking terms and measurements & stuff.

I really enjoyed the Appeteasers, as her Father Green Maxwell used to call appetizers the “teaser” before the meal. Her Guacamole and Mom’s Cheese biscuits recipes are delicious.

Daphne and I had a great conversation about her new book, her passion for photography and her Custom Made Wearable Art creations called DAPHNE STYLE which are Chinese inspired silk brocade coats she makes and sells on her website:
The Hollywood Times (THT): What are you doing for fun these days?

Tim Reid & Daphne Maxwell Reid (Photo IndieWire)

Daphne Maxwell Reid (DMR): “I also have a collection of wearable art that I have made and I do photography and write books about that and I help my husband (actor Tim Reid) with his institute where he is training filmmakers and, and, and. We have been in this film business for many years now and we built a studio here in Virginia for him to work and we had that for about 18 years and we sold it about three years ago. Now he has downsized to a smaller studio about eight years ago. He started an institute to train filmmakers on the college level because they were not getting any practical knowledge in the schools. It has become an international institute and he has trained over 80 fellows that have gone through this program.”

THT: What was your inspiration for this cookbook?

DMR: “I started this cookbook about 38 years ago. Just living life and collecting recipes from the people who I was working with and the people I grew up with and hung out with. I would have a meal at their house and say this is good and they would give me the recipe. I have been collecting them for years and years and Tim and I used to print these little calendars out with the recipes and send them out as Christmas gifts.”

“It was time for a memoir too, because people kept asking me about my life. When you live a long time they want to know where you are from, how did you do this, so I just put a little bit in the cookbook.”

THT: Do you still talk to your Vivian Bank’s family?

Daphne Maxwell Reid Aunt Viv from Fresh Prince of Bel Air

DMR: “Sure, we hang out together and we help each other do whatever it is we are doing. Kids and babies and going to weddings. It has been great. It’s rare that it ends up being that cohesive.

I have done a bunch of series and this is the one that is most cohesive of the remaining people who were in the show.” (The show being Fresh Prince of Bel Air)

THT: You were a model back in college, how was that for you?

DMR: “I got discovered when I was in college and did that as a lark and it turned into a lovely lark. I kept doing it until I started doing commercials and that was fun and then I started doing voiceovers and that was even more because I didn’t have to put on makeup to do it. Robert Conrad discovered me in Chicago and put me on television on a show he was doing called “The Duke” and that was fun. When I left Chicago and moved to Los Angeles, he was doing another show called “A Man Called Sloan” and he put me on that show and I just kept falling into these wonderful opportunities and learning what I could learn behind the scenes to keep having fun. The stars aligning and taking advantage of opportunities and being prepared for those opportunities by boning up on what I was supposed to know.”

THT: When you were doing modeling was it good back then?

DMR: “It was great, I was in college in Chicago and modeling in New York. I was flying, doing my job and saying hi to my Mom and then going back to school. I had no drama like what is going on with the me too movement now. I was young and really never ran into that. I think they understood that I wasn’t going to put up with something like that. I believe one agent did one approach and he didn’t need to do that anymore.”

THT: What was your passion in college? Modeling?

DMR: “No not at all. That was an opportunity to make some money to get me through school. All they asked me to do was smile and I really know how to do that. I never did runway or anything like that, I was a junior model and I did a lot of editorial stuff. I was never seeking to be what has become supermodels. They did not have supermodels back then, because they had working models. I was happy when they called and not distressed when they didn’t call. I was studying interior design and architecture and having a really good time doing drafting and planning to be architect.”

“I had a real deep interest in detail and architect itself. Being in Chicago you can’t escape great architecture. It was a great environment to be exposed to all sorts of different styles and see where my eye took me. It was helpful in my later years when I turned 60 and decided to become a photographic artist, you just declare it you know, you just say today I’m going to be a photographic artist. (Laughter) you put it there and figure out how to make it come true. I decided to be a photographic artist and realized that the pictures that I had been taking for years were all details of architecture and mostly doors. I started a whole series of photographs from around the world and they became books, and notecards and prints that sold like crazy before the economy crashed. That was my passion for a good ten years. I’m still doing that and now I had to shift my focus to my design work.”

“I was born with a lot of gifts and God gave me gifts of things that I need to share. So I am taking this time to share those gifts and express the creativity that I was Blessed with.”

THT: What are you designing?

DMR: “I am designing Chinese coats that folks have been buying very much and I hand make all of them and it takes too much time to do both photos and that.

So I do a spirt of designing and sewing and then I go back to my photography and then I talk about the cookbook and another third thing and another track that is keeping me busy. I have having a great time of my life.”

THT: Tell us about these Chinese coats.

DMR: “Go onto my website at Daphne Style and you will see these toppers that I have been making out of Chinese 100% silk brocades and I have been wearing for years and people have always stopped me in the streets and asked where did you get that and I want one of those and I would say I make it and no. Then finally about three years ago my husband said you should really start making those for other people. And I knew what the time commitment was going to be and I was in the middle of finishing up the cookbook and my fourth book of photography and I said yeah I’ll get to that. He had a fundraising fashion show and he said you are going to be in it so make something. I was able to sell a coat right off the runway and continued on that track for the past two years. I did New York Fashion week, which was a lot of fun. I am getting ready for another fashion show. So I am going to be a little beaver in my studio selling stuff for the next month or two. We have fundraisers here in Virginia for my husband’s institute.”

Check out her designs at:

THT: Are you doing any type of television work?

DMR: “I have local show here on PBS called “Virginia Currents” and I am the host of that. It is a show that is shown every week, although we tape it in bunches. I will go where any of the casting agents call me. I still have agents and still do auditions, haven’t landed anything lately, but okay.”

Daphne has three grandchildren, ages 16, 14 and 12, which also keeps her busy. She also said that Northwestern has a great deal of her archives. She said she loves their facility and they maintain it digitally so that it will be available for research and for her kids. She was very honored when they asked for that.

Opening Closed Doors: Cuba 2015 is available now. Travel with Daphne through Cuba, just prior to the process of lifting the United States embargo, to see the beautiful Cuban culture through her eyes.

Belgium: Doors Old & New is the third of her collections, a catalogue of two wonderfully charming cities in Belgium, Brugge and Antwerp.

France, featuring the beautiful doors she found in Auvillar, Toulouse, and Paris.

HOT OFF THE PRESS: A book without doors, Grace, Soul and Motherwit: A Cookbook Spiced with Personal Memories AND the 2018 Calendar from Venice, Italy (autographed on your birthday) is now available.

All of her books are dedicated, autographed, and dated when purchased. Get them today, one for yourself and get several, they will make excellent gifts.


About Daphne Maxwell Reid

People remember me as “Aunt Vivian” from “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air.” Throughout my years of work on television, I traveled the world and captured images of portals, doors, gates and architectural details, some of which have sparked a strong emotional response in me; they awakened the sense of wonder and curiosity that took me back to my childhood when I was endlessly exploring what was behind the many doors that surrounded me.

The time has come for me to share my photographic eye with you. I hope to awaken your childhood sense of wonder and curiosity with “Daphne Maxwell Reid’s Fresh Prints®” a collection of signed DIGITAL PRINTS, and four BOOKS that share with you the stories of the journeys that have taken me around the world, as well a one book of memories in the form of a cookbook entitled “Grace, Soul & Mother Wit”.

Reid was born in New York City, the daughter of Rosalee and Green Maxwell. She is a graduate of the Bronx High School of Science. She received a degree in interior design and architecture from Northwestern University, which she attended on a scholarship and where she became the first African-American woman to be named homecoming queen. While at Northwestern she began a modeling career, eventually signing with the Eileen Ford modeling agency. She was one of the first black women to be on the cover of Glamour magazine.

She has appeared in numerous television programs. Her best-known role was replacing Janet Hubert-Whitten as Vivian Banks on the NBC sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air from 1993 to 1996. She joined the show right after the fictional character Nicky Banks was born toward the end of Season 3, when Hubert-Whitten was released from her contract after a contract violation and multiple problems working with the show’s star, Will Smith. She had a recurring role as JT’s mother, Frances Hunter, on the UPN sitcom Eve, and then played Juanita Lawrence on the BET sitcom Let’s Stay Together. Reid is also an accomplished photographer. During the 1980s and 1990s Reid served on the advisory board of the National Student Film Institute.

Recipient of the Women of Vision Award from Women in Film & Video – DC. (Wikipedia)

Young Author Strips to Make a Statement About Prejudice and Promote her Debut Collection of Poetry and Prose, Blue Bird

LOS ANGELES, CA – Blue Bird, by author Magda Ayuk, is both a political statement and a spiritual journey to self-love and healing in the face of oppression. Launching in April, which is National Poetry Month, it will be featured at the LA Times Festival of Books, in Booth #912.

For the video, Canadian author Magda Ayuk teamed up with South African videographer Yusuf Gamieldien to create a burlesque-inspired piece on race. In it, Magda takes off items of clothing to a sensual song performed by Brooklyn artist TCVVX. As she strips, derogatory comments used against black women, painted on her body, are seen.

“I have years of experience in this area. I know how the world around me receives me and the stereotypes they have about me upon first glance. Living in Asia on and off since 2014 definitely drove that point home,” Magda says.

Blue Bird by Magda Ayuk exposes the beauty and the ugly of the human experience by exploring the topics of race, gender and love under the umbrella of freedom. Blue Bird officially launches April 17, 2018, which is appropriate with April being National Poetry Month. The book will also be featured at the LA Times Festival of Books, April 21 – 22, 2018, in the Black Château booth, #912

Blue Bird is an open invitation to be unapologetic about who you are and to bloom as you find peace in rebellion. The pieces encourage readers to challenge what it means to be a man, or a woman, or other, through true self-discovery, and to define themselves as they see fit. While pouring over Magda’s poems, expect to self-reflect and ponder your relationship to the world around you. The video is the perfect accompanying visual.

“I wanted to use my body to make a statement. Throughout history, there have been both a fascination and disregard for black bodies in white spaces. Think minstrel shows and Sarah Bartman. I am fully in control in this video and fully aware of the words used against me. I had the words ‘slave’, ‘monkey’ and ‘angry’, painted on my skin. People of color can use the ugly that’s often thrown at us and create art. And, art is seduction, and that’s why I wanted to use elements of burlesque to illustrate my stance,” Magda says.

Magda promotes self-love in her pieces because she believes it’s the only way to disassociate yourself from the world’s perception of you. She describes it as a force field. Magda hopes to inspire that kind of self-love in her readers through her body of work. She is Canadian, Cameroonian and an expat living in South Korea. Being “other” is, therefore, familiar to her. The overarching message of the book is to explore your multiple identities and to love yourself from soul to marrow, rejecting all ideas that don’t resonate with who you are.

Magda Ayuk believes that the voices of marginalized people, such as herself, need to be heard. To her, owning your truth is an act of rebellion.

The paperback and kindle versions of Blue Bird are available for pre-orders.

Click here to find Blue Bird on Amazon.

Blue Bird
By Magda Ayuk
ISBN-13: 978-1530935659
Price: $12.99 paperback, $2.99 Kindle
Pages: 242

About the Author

Magda Ayuk is a poet, a self-care and financial literacy advocate, and a journalist. Her writing is underpinned by spirituality, race, gender and love. In her free time, she flirts with the art of burlesque, music and theater. Magda is currently based in Seoul, South Korea . You can find more of her work on Instagram @magdaayuk.

After Nearly 40 Years in the Entertainment Business, Sean Penn Tells “CBS Sunday Morning” The Thrill is Gone

Penn Tells Tracy Smith: “I’m Not in Love with That Anymore”


Sean Penn and Tracy Smith (Photo CBS)

After nearly 40 years in the entertainment business – and earning some of the industry’s top honors – actor-director-writer Sean Penn says the thrill is gone, in an interview with Tracy Smith for CBS SUNDAY MORNING to be broadcast Sunday, March 25 (9:00 AM, ET) on the CBS Television Network.

The two-time Academy Award winner tells Smith he doesn’t enjoy acting these days. “I, you know, I think that this has been true for some time,” Penn tells Smith. Penn makes his startling admission about acting in a wide-ranging interview with Smith tied to the release of his first novel, Bob Honey Who Just Do Stuff, published by Simon & Schuster, a CBS company.

“It can be great when you’re working with good actors or good directors or good writing as an exercise,” Penn tells Smith of acting. “But do I have a belief that it has a lasting value? Maybe, I could make the argument intellectually. But I don’t have a visceral – I’m not in love with that anymore.”

What he does love, he says, is writing – which he does in longhand, not on a computer. Bob Honey is about a septic tank salesman-turned-assassin who kills people with a mallet. Among his other actions, Honey sends a letter containing a veiled threat to a fictional president.

Does he worry people won’t get the joke?

“You know, some people are going to get this book and some people are – not going to get this book,” Penn says. “Some people, I think, will really enjoy it, others will loathe it. And – and that really is what I’d like to say about me, you know?

Sean Penn (Photo CBS)

Penn also talks with Smith about his ongoing philanthropic efforts to help rebuild Haiti after the 2010 earthquake and personally going to New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina. He also discusses his infamous interview with then escaped drug lord Joaquin (El Chapo) Guzman; his legal battle with producer Lee Daniels; life after acting; and what advice he might give to his younger self.

Follow CBS SUNDAY MORNING on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Listen to CBS SUNDAY MORNING podcasts at

Cal State LA Honors Marvel’s Luke Cage Creator and Acclaimed Science Fiction Writer at Eagle-Con

Los Angeles, CA, Cal State LA (The Hollywood Times) 03/15/2018 — Hours after news broke that blockbuster hit Black Panther had surpassed $1 billion in box offices worldwide, Marvel’s Luke Cage creator, Cheo Hodari Coker, took the stage at Eagle-Con at California State University, Los Angeles.

Coker is the showrunner, executive producer and writer for the Netflix project that was the first TV show to star an African American superhero. Wearing a Black Panther comic book T-shirt, he accepted the 2018 Eagle-Con Prism Award on Saturday for furthering representation through artistic media.

“The success of [Black Panther] plays backward and forward because it helps across the entire realm of entertainment in terms of what people of color can accomplish,” Coker said onstage after receiving the award. “Now they can’t say that Black-themed projects don’t travel. They can’t say that there isn’t a diverse audience for fantasy and science fiction.”

The award presentation capped a full day of panels, speakers and exhibitors on March 10 at Cal State LA during the final day of Eagle-Con, a three-day convention that explores issues of race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, identity and representation in science fiction and fantasy across media. The event’s founding sponsor is the Art Directors Guild.

Attendees of the convention, which was themed “Aliens, Monsters and Others,” explored an expansive exhibit from the Art Directors Guild, showcasing storyboards, concept art and other pre-production work on well-known science fiction and fantasy TV shows and films.

“This year’s Eagle-Con was even more successful than we could have imagined,” said Patrick B. Sharp, one of the founders and faculty director of the convention, and interim associate dean of the Cal State LA College of Arts and Letters. “The Art Directors Guild has been with us from the beginning, and with its generous support Eagle-Con will become a staple in the Los Angeles science fiction and fantasy community.”

For three days, Cal State LA’s Golden Eagle Ballrooms and University-Student Union were transformed into a haven for those who enjoy stories about other worlds and other beings. The phenomenal success of Black Panther set a celebratory tone throughout the gathering at a time when the importance of racial, ethnic and gender diversity is at the forefront of national conversations about science fiction.

Acclaimed science fiction and fantasy writer, Nalo Hopkinson, received the 2018 Eagle-Con Octavia E. Butler Memorial Award. The award is given in recognition of impactful contributions to the world of science fiction, fantasy and speculative fiction, with the spirit and conviction demonstrated by multi-award-winning author and Cal State LA alumna Octavia E. Butler.

Hopkinson, who is also a creative writing professor at UC Riverside, has won numerous awards for her short stories and six novels, including her first, Brown Girl in the Ring. This novel was also the inspiration for a feature film, Brown Girl Begins.

“This is an excellent time to be given this honor,” Hopkinson said to a full room in the University-Student Union on March 8. “When I first began reading Octavia’s books, when I first began publishing my own, there was no hope of ever seeing our work enter the mainstream.”

March 8-9 featured student-centered panels exploring issues such as the portrayal of women and feminism in superhero films and TV shows and the evolution of Afrofuturism, an aesthetic that infuses elements of African cultures into science fiction and fantasy.

Cal State LA professor Libby Lewis led an engaging discussion on the legacy of Octavia E. Butler with Natalie Russell, assistant curator of literary collections at the Huntington Library. Russell helped organize the more than 8,000 pages of letters, manuscripts and photographs that comprise Butler’s special collection at the Huntington.

Russell recited a quote from Butler, the first African American woman to gain widespread recognition in science fiction: “Why do I write? Because I can’t expect anyone else to tell my stories.”

More than 300 students, alumni, staff, faculty and community members flocked to the convention’s headline day, which featured local vendors and artists, panels and cosplay competitions. Pokemon trainers, zombies and Ghostbusters mingled with Sailor Moon, Lex Luthor and Naruto.

“It was great to see so many from Cal State LA and the wider community come out for Eagle-Con,” said Cal State LA Executive Vice President Jose A. Gomez. “The panels provided valuable insight into the world of science fiction and fantasy. Our students and others were able to learn about career opportunities from top professionals in the entertainment industry.”

The day’s panels provided an inside look into the entertainment industry, featuring concept artists, writers, producers and costume and production designers, including the team behind the visual world of Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2 and legendary costume designer Deborah Nadoolman Landis, UCLA professor and director for the David C. Copley Center for the Study of Costume Design.

Eric Wallace, co-executive producer and writer for The CW’s The Flash, shared insights into the writing and producing process of TV shows and comic books during a conversation with Los Angeles-based entertainment journalist Hannibal Tabu.

A panel on writing for science fiction and superhero TV shows touched on the importance of diversity in writer’s rooms.

“Diversity is a buzzword you hear a lot these days, but it’s so important so that you aren’t getting just one viewpoint conveyed,” said Christos Gage, who writes for Marvel’s Daredevil on Netflix and has worked on The CW’s Arrow.
Eagle-Con was co-founded at Cal State LA in 2014 by Rhonda Mitchell, who was then the program coordinator for the university’s Cross Cultural Centers.
Mitchell returned to campus on Saturday and was recognized for her “creativity, passion and inspiration.” She received the award from Cal State LA New Student and Parent Programs assistant director Christopher Johnson, who along with Sharp co-founded the convention with Mitchell.

After accepting the Prism Award, Coker applauded Eagle-Con and expressed his deep appreciation for the honor.

“This is the most beautiful award I have received,” Coker said. “You don’t do it for acknowledgement, but when you receive the acknowledgement, it’s such a gift, it’s such a blessing. Sometimes on those dark days it keeps you pushing forward.”

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle: Linda Joyce on Royal Love and Marriage

TORONTO, ON – SEPTEMBER 25: Prince Harry (R) and Meghan Markle (L) attend a Wheelchair Tennis match during the Invictus Games 2017 at Nathan Philips Square on September 25, 2017 in Toronto, Canada (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images for the Invictus Games Foundation )

by Dr. Laura Wilhelm, LauraWil Intercultural

West Hollywood, CA (The Hollywood Times) 3/6/18 – Linda Joyce is one of the most sought-after media personalities and public speakers in New York City, London, and Shanghai.  Joyce is a one-woman powerhouse for people trying to solve difficult personal problems.  Her client list includes well-known celebrities and international business titans looking to merge the worlds of the intuitive with the practical.

Author of the best-selling book THE DAY YOU WERE BORN and many others, Linda is a frequent guest on radio and television.  She has appeared on 20/20 with Barbara Walters, the HOWARD STERN SHOWTHE LATE SHOW WITH DAVID LETTERMAN, and FORGIVE AND FORGET with Robin Givens. Linda Joyce’s always practical and no-nonsense tips have been seen on Continue reading “Prince Harry and Meghan Markle: Linda Joyce on Royal Love and Marriage”

“Older Woman, Younger Man”

By Sonja Klein

Alpine, TX (The Hollywood Times) 2/5/18 – I’m an older woman. The oldest man I’ve ever been to bed with was 65. Viagra made it possible. I didn’t know it at the time, and if I had known, I would have been turned off.

After that experience, I gave up on sex, determined to live without it, but fate was kind to me one day as I was dumping the garbage I hauled from the ranch. As a steward of the land I forbid a dump on my property. Many ranchers simply dig a pit, dump their garbage, burn it when it becomes full, and repeat the cycle over and over again. Not me. I pay a monthly fee to deposit my garbage in a trailer in the nearest town of Barksdale. Continue reading ““Older Woman, Younger Man””

The Power of Numbers book by Jesse Kalsi

Reviewed: by Elizabeth Carbe’

Santa Clarita, CA (The Hollywood Times) 1/22/18 – The Power of Home Numbers is an interesting and engaging read for the well-seasoned numerologist, novice or skeptic. Continue reading “The Power of Numbers book by Jesse Kalsi”

Alec Byrne Photographer

LONDON ROCK: The unseen Archive
Story by Jimmy Steinfeldt
Los Angeles, CA (The Hollywood Times) 1/10/17 – The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Who, Led Zeppelin, David Bowie, Graham Nash, Jimi Hendrix, The Doors, Bob Dylan. What do they all have in common? Photographer extraordinaire Alec Byrne.

Byrne has just released an amazing book LONDON ROCK: The unseen Archive. The book contains more than 250 pages of gorgeous and historic Rock N Roll photography. Studio and location portraits as well as concert photographs. Also many behind the scene rock n roll photos of swinging London.
Starting at the tender age of 17 Byrne began his odyssey while living in London in 1966. He eventually moved to Los Angeles in the mid 1970s and these photographs haven’t been seen in public for almost 40 years!
Graham Nash said in part “These images are physical proof of that pervading feeling of joy mixed with bravado, vision, and soul.” The book is encased in a beautiful yellow and red box. Similar to the boxes that used to contain photographic paper. Yes, remember having to print photographs in a darkroom? At seven and a half pounds the book is worth every bit of the $95 price.
Alec Byrne will be signing copies of this amazing book at Book Soup at 3pm on Saturday January 20. Don’t miss this rare opportunity to meet one of the world’s truly historic photographers.
Book Soup
For more information
To see the London Rock Trailer


STAR TREK’S Nichelle Nichols Feted by Former NASA Astronaut Mae Carol Jemison and Others at Her 85th Birthday Celebration


Her role blazed a path to the stars for future NASA Astronaut Mae Carol Jemison and so many others

by Dr. Laura Wilhelm, LauraWil Intercultural

West Hollywood, CA (The Hollywood Times) 12/30/17 – In Hollywood, stars shine on-screen and stage.  In space, their light shines more literally.

Actress Nichelle Nichols encountered both kinds of stars when she joined the cast of the original STAR TREK television series (1966-1969) as communications officer Lieutenant Uhura.  Her trailblazing character was eventually promoted in Starfleet to the rank of commander in the succeeding motion pictures.  Lieutenant Uhura is considered the first non-stereotypical television role played by a black woman.

As such, Uhura broke new ground in US society.  Civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. personally asked Nichols to remain on  when she considered leaving the series during its first year to pursue a Broadway career.

STAR TREK “You can’t leave,” King reportedly said.  “You’re part of history!”

President Obama and Star Trek’s Nichelle Nichols Flashing Vulcan Salutes.

Nichols met with another prominent fan, former US President Barack Obama, in 2012.  There in the Oval Office, Obama unabashedly confessed to his youthful crush on Lieutenant Uhura!

Nichelle Nichols studied in Chicago, New York and Los Angeles and worked as a dancer, singer, and model.  She toured the US, Canada, and Europe with the Duke Ellington and Lionel Hampton bands.

Prior to STAR TREK, Nichols was a guest actress on Gene Roddenberry’s first series THE LIEUTENANT (1964) in an episode dealing with racial prejudice titled “To Set It Right.”  She has documented all of these Hollywood highlights and many more in her 1994 autobiography BEYOND UHURA: STAR TREK AND OTHER MEMORIES.

Nichols pictured in 1982 film “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.”

After STAR TREK was canceled in 1969, Nichols enthusiastically volunteered in a special project with NASA to recruit minority and female personnel.  Among those recruited were Dr. Sally Ride, the first American female astronaut; and Guion Bluford, the first African-American astronaut!  Mae Carol Jemison, the first African-American woman in space, has cited Lieutenant Uhura as her inspiration for wanting to become an astronaut.

Mae Jemison joined Nichelle Nichols at her 85th birthday celebration along with many other fans, friends, and family members on the evening of Thursday, December 28th, 2017 at La Piazza Italian Restaurant at The Grove.  This reporter spoke briefly with Jemison on the red carpet about ongoing interdisciplinary science projects.

Star Trek: The Original Series (1966) – Uhura ( Nichelle Nichols )

And shaking hands with the woman who played Lieutenant Uhura, arguably the world’s most famous communications worker, was truly a career milestone that will hopefully augur well for the New Year!  The ensuing exchange went more or less like this:

THT (LW): Do you think the future for women in aerospace looks bright?

NN: Well, I did it!  If I could do it, anybody can.

THT (LW): Both my father and brother are scientists in Southern California.  I always thought I wanted to be a scientist, too–but here I am reporting for Hollywood instead.

Star Trek’s Lieutenant Uhura played by Nichelle Nichols.

NN: Then that is what you were meant to do!

Those warm words and the even warmer smile that accompanied them will not soon be forgotten.  If LIEUTENANT UHURA said them, that must mean something!

Judging from the guest list, it looked like the one and only Nichelle Nichols had quite an evening in store for her.  Actor/singer Robert Davi, actress/singer Carmen Carter, actress/producer Angelique Fawcette, writer/director Steven Fawcette, and singer Chantel Steinreich, among others, were scheduled to attend.

Nichelle Nichols (Actress-Star Trek: TOS) and Celeste Yarnall (Actress-Star Trek: TOS) at the “Unbelievable” Movie Premiere at the TCL Chinese 6

Hilariously, the hyper-gorgeous VIVA GLAM Founder/CEO Katarina Van Derham–billed as the most successful Slovak in Hollywood–was sure she had met this reporter somewhere before like almost everyone else everywhere she goes whether or not she is reporting.  Van Derham and Nichols appear together in the upcoming sci-fi film UNBELIEVABLE!!!!!–which certainly describes both of these out of this world ladies.

Nichelle Nichols of ‘Star Trek’ fame appears at East Coast Comicon

Nichelle Nichols was duly celebrated as one of the sexiest women of STAR TREK in a 2016 VIVA GLAM article commemorating the 50th anniversary of the series.  Please follow this link to read it:


Nichelle Nichols as Nyota Uhura from Star Trek

Regrettably, the red carpet for this stellar event was all this reporter had time to attend during the busy holiday season.  But as Nichelle Nichols herself realized, small steps are bigger than no steps at all.  Be all you can be wherever you are, and the entire universe will take notice one day!


Asian Superstar Ha Phuong’s Book “Finding Julia,” Based on the Movie, on Sale Now!

Asian Superstar’s Book “Finding Julia,” Based on the Movie, on Sale Now!


By: Judy Shields


Los Angeles, CA (The Hollywood Times) 12/21/2017 – “I hope that readers of the book will empathize more with the characters in “Finding Julia”, in which I was an actress, producer and concept creator.” Said Ha Phuong, author of new book Finding Julia.

Finding Julia, the book based on Asian singing and acting sensation Ha Phuong’s new feature film, is now available.

Inspired by events in Phuong’s real life, Finding Julia tells the story of a Eurasian acting student, Julia Chamonix, who’s haunted by the tragic death of her Vietnamese mother — a former star actress and singer in Vietnam — and her own secret desires. Caught between two cultures, East and West, Julia questions if she will ever fit in anywhere.

“I looked at Julia and immediately thought of the young girls in Vietnam, of my nieces from the countryside who always dream of America,” says Phuong. “Everything has its own price and it will take a few generations to adapt to the American way of life, and it has nothing to do with how rich they are.”

Published by HP Productions Inc., the book will be available on the Finding Julia website,, and on Amazon.

The film version of Finding Julia stars Phuong in the title role of Julia, Andrew McCarthy as her father and Richard Chamberlain as her demanding acting coach. Finding Julia premiered Oct. 28 at the Third Annual Asian World Film Festival in Los Angeles.

After scoring many best-selling albums and popular videos in her native Vietnam, Phuong is now an established New Yorker building her U.S. career. She recently released a new music video featuring her new English language single, the hauntingly beautiful “Lost in a Dream,” with profits going to her two philanthropic entities for children in Vietnam and the United States.

Ha Phuong

The interview with Ha Phuong:

The Hollywood Times (THT): Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

Ha Phuong: “I rarely talk about myself, so the best way to find out more is to visit my website It contains a lot of my history as I worked my way into the hearts of Vietnamese audiences, as a pop singer, an actress and philanthropist. Even though I consider myself a Vietnamese American, I still put forth great effort to reach out to audiences through my accomplishments. This time, it isn’t only for Vietnamese audiences but for those in the US. Obviously, as we all know, reaching an American audience means reaching a global one.”

THT: What are your ambitions for your writing career?

Ha Phuong : “Literature and art are pursuits that require a great deal of aspiration and passion. In order to become a well-known singer and actress in Vietnam, and to be successful in my second home, the US, I have to hold these two great dreams, dear to my heart. Literature can attain greatness by enduring in culture for decades, even before the birth of cinema. I came to it with no ambition nor aspiration of fame, but with sincerity, and in hopes that the readers of the book will be inspired to watch the film.”

THT: Which writers inspire you?

Ha Phuong: “I don’t read enough, but I do love adaptations of books to the silver screen. Thus, I never miss films that are based on famous novels like “Gone with the Wind,” “The Godfather,” and “The Thorn Birds”. Among these novels, only “The Godfather” was written by a male author. It inspires me that female authors have such a knack for depicting emotions, which is why film makers so often choose to adapt their works to the big screen. It always turns out to be rewarding for everyone. As a passionate fan of film, I hoped to close the gap in understanding between the book and the film, and my collaboration with Judy Katz on “Finding Julia” really helped.”

THT: What’s the book about?

Ha Phuong: “You may read it to feel the solitude of a Vietnamese American who grows up without a mother, and must face the odds of existing between two cultures as well as her obsession with her mother’s death. She cannot feel fulfilled despite a prosperous life from her father’s inheritance.”

THT: What made you decide to sit down and actually start writing something?

Ha Phuong: “Since movies cannot include the level of detail that a novel can, or the viewer may being too distracted to catch every detail or have time for a second viewing, I hope the book will help them understand the story better.”

THT: Do you write full-time or part-time? Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured?

Ha Phuong: “I am a full-time mom and wife (daytime usually) therefore writing and performing art has become a part-time job. The ideal time for writing is often at night or midnight when my husband is away on business and the children are asleep. We often joke with work partners that in order to accomplish anything, we have to “steal” time from family happiness. (It seems that male writers do not share that sentiment)”

THT: What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book?

Ha Phuong: “The hardest thing for me in writing this book, just like the difficulty that the character of Julia confronts when learning how to act, is still English. Julia’s father is American and her mother is Vietnamese, and both of my parents are Vietnamese. So I start with mother’s language of Vietnamese to write every emotion out, then have them translated into English. My uncertainty causes me to revise the English’s translation over and over again in effort to cross check whether it conveyed correctly as I wanted. To complete such a process, we spent a great deal of time.”

THT: What is the easiest thing about writing?

Ha Phuong: “The fact that I had such intense feeling for the stories and that I have experienced and witnessed these things in my life was the easiest thing about writing. The source material was true, so it helped make the story more alive. The stories about facing culture shock, or even the Oedipus complex, which in this case occur between father and daughter, are known to many, but only a few people know how to push those things to meaningful climax in the art work, like we did.”

THT: How do you market your books?

Ha Phuong: “I am currently experiencing Marketing tool on Facebook and working with Vietnamese media to get exposure with my Vietnamese fans around the world. Those fans will be with me in the initial steps and give me the confidence to recommend the book to friends globally.”

THT: Do you read much and if so who are your favorite authors?

Ha Phuong: “I enjoy reading female authors who write about female protagonists, especially those that involve the women’s issues that I care about. I’m also interested in stories about talented women, a virtue that creates miracles in life. I am also aware of the impermanence of life, you may shine for a while but it doesn’t mean that it will follow you in until the end of life. The life stories of many famous women gave me that lesson.”

THT: Where can you see yourself in 5 years’ time?

Ha Phuong: “Five years ago, I put all of my effort into the movie and the book. In order to maximize my ability to share emotions, I needed to study and practice music, acting, and English while simultaneously trying to advance life and work. With my singing technique, my coach was very helpful, and surprised by my persistence and improvement. I was already a successful singer, but I had to put it on hold to focus on family and now that I have resumed my career, I consider it a fresh start in a new environment. Now that the film and book are finished, I need to continue my study and training until my next appearance, maybe soon, maybe five years from now. I have strength of spirit and I hope that my future work will not be a disappointment to anyone.”

THT: Is there anything else you would like to add that I haven’t included?

Ha Phuong: “The first and last words of every conversation I have regardless of the work is always thanks to my life-long partner for his understanding and for enabling his wife to accomplish this work. Yes, I have great interest in the majority of women in the book as well as in life and I appreciate their perseverance to overcome adversity alone, yet I recognize that if your partner is always willing to offer support, the road to the destination will be much shorter.”

THIRTEEN’s American Masters Closes Season 31 with the Exclusive Broadcast Premiere of This Is Bob Hope

THIRTEEN’s American Masters Closes Season 31 with the Exclusive Broadcast Premiere of This Is Bob Hope…


By: Judy Shields

For those of us who grew up watching Bob Hope and all those USO Christmas shows, will most definitely need to watch this show. It is wonderfully directed and produced to show the man who entertained us and many of the troops fighting the wars from WWII, Vietnam and to his last show at Desert Storm Gulf War.

Bob Hope on stage entertaining the troops in Vietnam (Photo Courtesy of Bob Hope Legacy, LLC.)

Please share this amazing show with your family and friends, it’s a great way to show all the younger generation the man who brought us stand-up comedy and wonderful TV shows and how the talk show host of today got their starts in the business thanks to Mr. Bob Hope.

American Masters: This is Bob Hope…  the unabridged director’s cut of the film, featuring over 35 minutes of additional footage, premieres nationwide Friday, December 29 at 9 p.m. on PBS (check local listings). It will be available to stream the same day via Passport for PBS station members (contact your local PBS station for details) at and on PBS OTT apps.

Features Hope’s writings voiced by Billy Crystal and new interviews with Conan O’Brien, Kermit the Frog, Tom Selleck, Brooke Shields, Dick Cavett, Margaret Cho and others Unabridged Director’s Cut premieres nationwide Friday, December 29 on PBS (check local listings)

During his eight-decade career, Bob Hope (1903-2003) was the only performer to achieve top-rated success in every form of mass entertainment: vaudeville, Broadway, movies, radio, television, popular song and personal appearances, including his annual USO Christmas military tours and hosting the Academy Awards more times than anyone else. A comedy innovator, Hope invented the topical monologue that later became a late-night TV staple and comedy tropes like talking while backing up. He refined a spontaneous, conversational, improvisational style of comedy as a vaudeville master of ceremonies that created a blueprint for acerbic standup comics.

Written, directed and produced by John Scheinfeld (The U.S. vs. John Lennon, Chasing Trane: The John Coltrane Documentary), American Masters: This is Bob Hope… presents a candid look at a remarkable life with unprecedented access to Hope’s personal archives, including writings voiced by Billy Crystal and clips from Hope’s body of work to reveal a gifted individual who recognized the power of fame, embraced its responsibilities and handled celebrity with extraordinary wit and grace, becoming a model for public service in Hollywood.

Bob Hope, circa 1955 (Photo Credit Bob Hope Legacy, LLC.)

“Alongside an examination of Bob Hope’s extraordinary career achievements is a portrait of a gifted man with enormous personal contradictions,” says filmmaker John Scheinfeld. “Even in the longer cut, I barely scratched the surface of his huge impact and influence.”

American Masters: This is Bob Hope… features new interviews with Woody Allen, Dick Cavett, Margaret Cho, daughter Linda Hope, Kermit the Frog, film critic/historian Leonard Maltin, Conan O’Brien, Tom Selleck, Brooke Shields, Connie Stevens and biographer Richard Zoglin (Hope: Entertainer of the Century). Edited to evoke the fast, fun pace of Hope’s classic monologues, clips include highlights from numerous TV specials, his Pepsodent radio shows and classic films like The Cat and the Canary, My Favorite Blonde, his iconic Road pictures with Bing Crosby, and The Big Broadcast of 1938 featuring his signature song “Thanks for the Memory.”

The unabridged director’s cut also features Hope’s 1930s comedy shorts and delves further into his radio and TV career, USO tours and charity work. It will be available on DVD January 9, 2018, from PBS Distribution and is also available as part of Bob Hope: The Ultimate Movie Collection DVD box set on November 14 from Universal Studios Home Entertainment.

Launched in 1986, American Masters has earned 28 Emmy Awards — including 10 for Outstanding Non-Fiction Series and five for Outstanding Non-Fiction Special — 12 Peabodys, an Oscar, three Grammys, two Producers Guild Awards, a Critics’ Choice Documentary Award, and many other honors. To further explore the lives and works of masters past and present, the American Masters website ( offers streaming video of select films, outtakes, filmmaker interviews, the American Masters Podcast, the Inspiring Woman web series, educational resources and In Their Own Words: The American Masters Digital Archive: previously unreleased interviews of luminaries discussing America’s most enduring artistic and cultural giants. The series is a production of THIRTEEN PRODUCTIONS LLC for WNET and also seen on the WORLD channel.

American Masters: This is Bob Hope… is a production of Crew Neck Productions and American Masters Pictures. John Scheinfeld is writer, director and producer. Dave Harding, Richard Gurman, Richard Zoglin and James Hardy are producers. Peter S. Lynch, II is editor and co-producer. Michael Kantor is American Masters series executive producer.

Bob Hope’s Paramount photo by Bud Frake, circa 1953 (Photo Courtesy of Bob Hope Legacy, LLC)

Major support for This is Bob Hope… is provided in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities, National Endowment for the Arts, and Roslyn Goldstein. Major support for American Masters is provided by AARP. Additional support is provided by Rosalind P. Walter, The Philip and Janice Levin Foundation, Ellen and James S. Marcus, Judith and Burton Resnick, Vital Projects Fund, Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, The Blanche & Irving Laurie Foundation, and public television viewers.

About WNET

WNET is America’s flagship PBS station and parent company of THIRTEEN and WLIW21. WNET also operates NJTV, the statewide public media network in New Jersey. Through its broadcast channels, three cable services (THIRTEEN PBSKids, Create and World) and online streaming sites, WNET brings quality arts, education and public affairs programming to more than five million viewers each week. WNET produces and presents such acclaimed PBS series as Nature, Great Performances, American Masters, PBS NewsHour Weekend, Charlie Rose and a range of documentaries, children’s programs, and local news and cultural offerings. WNET’s groundbreaking series for children and young adults include Get the Math, Oh Noah! and Cyberchase as well as Mission US, the award-winning interactive history game. WNET highlights the tri-state’s unique culture and diverse communities through NYC-ARTS, Theater Close-Up, NJTV News with Mary Alice Williams and MetroFocus, the daily multi-platform news magazine focusing on the New York region. In addition, WNET produces online-only programming including the award-winning series about gender identity, First Person, and an intergenerational look at tech and pop culture, The Chatterbox with Kevin and Grandma Lill. In 2015, THIRTEEN launched Passport, an online streaming service which allows members to see new and archival THIRTEEN and PBS programming anytime, anywhere:

About Bob Hope

When Bob Hope died in 2003, he left behind a legacy as one of the best known, most loved, and longest lasting stars in the entertainment business. For six decades, Hope made us laugh in vaudeville, in the movies, at the Academy Awards, on stage and in print. He was renowned for his longevity (he was 100 years old at the time of his death), his love for golf, and his contributions to charity. But perhaps Hope’s greatest legacy is his work entertaining the troops.

Beginning in 1941 and continuing for half a century, Hope headlined 57 USO tours, bringing a bit of joy to the lives of U.S. military men and women serving in World War II, Korea, Vietnam, the first Gulf War, and beyond. And he was deeply proud of this work. When President Bill Clinton named Hope an honorary veteran in 1997, Hope responded, “I’ve been given many awards in my lifetime – but to be numbered among the men and women I admire most – is the greatest honor I have ever received.”

Bob Hope Special Around the Globe with the USO-Danang 1969

1944: A World War II show presented “somewhere in the South Pacific”

1966: Entertaining the troops in Cu Chi, Vietnam on Christmas Day

1984: Christmas in Beirut

1990: One of his final USO tours, with Rosemary Clooney

Memorials to Hope have proliferated across the American landscape. You can walk down streets named for Bob Hope in El Paso, Texas, Miami, Florida, and Branson, Missouri; cross the Cuyahoga River on the Hope Memorial Bridge in Cleveland, Ohio; and bypass the congestion at Los Angeles International by flying into the Bob Hope Airport in Burbank, California. Hope’s name is memorialized on hospitals, theaters, chapels, schools, performing arts centers, and American Legion posts from Miami to Okinawa. The US Air Force named a transport plane for him, and the Navy christened a cargo ship in his honor. Bob Hope Village, in Shalimar, Florida, provides a home for retired members of the Air Force and their surviving spouses. The World Golf Hall of Fame, in St. Augustine, Florida, features an exhibit celebrating Hope’s passion for the game, “Bob Hope: Shanks for the Memory.” A dozen colleges offer scholarships in Hope’s name. Another dozen organizations give out awards in his honor, among them the Air Force’s annual Spirit of Hope Award and the Bob Hope Humanitarian Award, presented by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.

His punchy, two-syllable name, so emblematic of the optimistic American spirit; the unmistakable profile, with its jutting chin and famously ski-slope-shaped nose; the indelible images of Hope performing for throngs of cheering GIs in World War II and Vietnam—it was once impossible to imagine a time when the first question that needed to be answered about the most popular comedian in American history would be: Who was Bob Hope, and why did he matter?

By the time he died—on July 27, 2003, two months after his hundredth birthday—Hope’s reputation was already fading, tarnished, or being actively disparaged. He had, unfortunately, stuck around too long. The comedian of the century, who began his vaudeville career in the 1920s and was still headlining TV specials in the 1990s, continued performing well into his dotage, and a younger generation knew him mainly as a cue-card-reading antique, cracking dated jokes about buxom beauty queens and Gerald Ford’s golf game. “World’s Last Bob Hope Fan Dies of Old Age,” the Onion’s fake headline announced a year before his death. Writer Christopher Hitchens expressed the disaffection of many of the baby-boom generation in an online dismissal of Hope just a few days after his passing: “To be paralyzingly, painfully, hopelessly unfunny is a serious drawback, even lapse, in a comedian. And the late Bob Hope devoted a fantastically successful and well-remunerated lifetime to showing that a truly unfunny man can make it as a comic. There is a laugh here, but it is on us.”

Bob Hope with NBC Microphone for The Pepsodent Show

This was something of a revolution. When Hope made his debut on NBC in 1938, the popular comedians on radio all inhabited self- contained worlds, playing largely invented comic characters: Jack Benny’s effete tightwad, Edgar Bergen and his uppity dummy, Charlie McCarthy, the daffy-wife/exasperated-husband interplay of George Burns and Gracie Allen. Hope’s monologues brought something new to radio: a connection between the comedian and the outside world.

On a podium, no one could touch him. He was host or cohost of the Academy Awards ceremony a record nineteen times—the first in 1940, when Gone With the Wind was the big winner, and the last in 1978, when Star Wars and Annie Hall were the hot films. His suave unflappability—no one ever looked better in a tuxedo—and tart insider wisecracks (“This is the night when war and politics are forgotten, and we find out who we really hate”) helped turn a relatively low-key industry dinner into the most obsessively tracked and massively watched event of the Hollywood year.

The modern stand-up comedy monologue was essentially his creation. There were comedians in vaudeville before Hope, but they mostly worked in pairs or did prepackaged, jokebook gags that played on ethnic stereotypes and other familiar comedy tropes. Hope, working as an emcee and ad-libbing jokes about the acts he introduced, developed a more freewheeling and spontaneous monologue style, which he later honed and perfected in radio. To keep his material fresh, he hired a team of writers and told them to come up with jokes about the news of the day—presidential politics, Hollywood gossip, California weather, as well as his own life, work, travels, golf game, and show-business friends.

When television came in, Hope was there too. Others, such as Milton Berle, preceded him. But after starring in his first NBC special on Easter Sunday in 1950, Hope began an unparalleled reign as NBC’s most popular comedy star that lasted for nearly four decades. Other comedians who made the move into television—Berle, Jack Benny, Red Skelton, Jackie Gleason, Danny Thomas, even Lucille Ball—had their heyday on TV and then faded; Hope alone remained a major star headlining top-rated TV shows well into his eighties. His 1970 Christ- mas special from Vietnam was the most watched television program of all time up to that point, seen in a now-unthinkable 46.6 percent of all TV homes in the country. (The final episodes of Dallas, M*A*S*H, and Roots are the only entertainment shows ever to beat it.)

Bob Hope All-Star Christmas Comedy featuring Bob Hope with the Muppets Kermit the Frog & Miss Piggy Dec 19 1977

This was something of a revolution. When Hope made his debut on NBC in 1938, the popular comedians on radio all inhabited self- contained worlds, playing largely invented comic characters: Jack Benny’s effete tightwad, Edgar Bergen and his uppity dummy, Charlie McCarthy, the daffy-wife/exasperated-husband interplay of George Burns and Gracie Allen. Hope’s monologues brought something new to radio: a connection between the comedian and the outside world.

Hope was the first to combine topical subject matter with the rapid- re gag rhythms of the vaudeville quipster. His monologues became the template for Johnny Carson and nearly every late-night TV host who followed him, and the foundation stone for all stand-up comics, even those who rebelled against him.

He transcended comedy; he was the nation’s designated mood-lifter. No one else could perform that role; few even tried. Comedians for years did impressions of Jack Benny, Groucho Marx, George Burns, and other classic clowns. Almost no one did Bob Hope. His ordinariness was inimitable.

This excerpt was written by Richard Zoglin and originally published in the introduction to his biography, Hope.

Hope Book by Richard Zoglin

Consumer Beware – fraud never is really on holiday

2017 is winding down and a lot of people are looking at the new year for renewed hope to reinvent themselves and their businesses. It is a time to clear up neglected issues to start fresh with a new year. Yet what lurks behind seemingly trusting smiling ads  and pitches for coaching careers, book publishing packages, expensive retreats and more are just society’s latest version of expensive lessons and regret for many vulnerable people duped out of their hard earned money to pay for unrealistic setups.

Local TV channels welcome consumers to report their issues for them to expose the fraud and deceit. Unfortunately geniune programs suffer from the misfits of those who prey on the emotional purchases of the new career seekers. This past year a chain of beauty schools misused college tuition funds thus closing up all their schools leaving beauty school clients without their accomplished careers.

It is the Buyer Beware syndrome. With social media, potential clients get lured into being ‘friends’ with the product group. Nowadays with Live recordings, company CEOs are streaming personal client personal stories as if they were having a confidential beer poolside with coherts.

Independent business owners are seeking services in the new landscape of technology and websites yet getting delays and unfullfilled promises.

TheHollywoodTimes is looking to close out another year in anticipation of a new year with more investigative stories. We welcome more writers and stories to show the glory and the grime along the virtual Hollywood Blvd. in the world. Lets be good humans no matter what time of the year it is. Integrity doesn’t take a holiday so be on your guard and watch your wallet.

Goodreads 2017 Reader’s Choice Awards Announced

The only  major  book awards decided by readers! 1506368850-1506368850_goodreads_misc

Check out the Best Books of the Year

A Christmas Story Stage Play at Sierra Madre Playhouse Starts Tonight

A Christmas Story Stage play is running November 17th through December 31st.  Get your tickets today at Sierra Madre Playhouse website:

Kevin Ying(l.), Jackson Kendall, Griffin Sanford (Photo John Dlugolecki)

Experience the heartwarming story of Ralphie and his Midwestern family at Christmastime. The Parker family gets its Christmas tree. Ralphie’s dad, The Old Man, wins a very special prize in a contest.

Kevin Ying (l.), Richard Van Slyke, Andrea Stradling, Griffin Sanford (Photo John Dlugolecki)

Ralphie is pursued by a girl in his class.

Ralphie is pursued by the class bully. And, most famously, Ralphie sets off on a campaign to acquire his most-desired Christmas present, a Red Ryder BB air rifle, only to be warned repeatedly, “You’ll put your eye out, kid.”

Sierra Madre Playhouse
87 West Sierra Madre Blvd., Sierra Madre, CA 91024

Sierra Madre Playhouse, located in the charming foothill village of Sierra Madre, California, located just east of Pasadena and less than 20 miles from downtown Los Angeles. Sierra Madre boasts a selection of restaurants, cafés to enjoy before or after the show.

There is ample street parking, and a free parking lot on the North side of (behind) the theatre.
The lot used for parking closes at midnight. Please be sure to move your vehicle if you plan on staying in the area after that time.

Special lobby exhibits suggested by A Christmas Story will be curated by Diane Siegel

The Hollywood Times was in the audience for this past Saturday night’s performance.  Get you tickets today because this play is worth the price of admission. It is full of laughter, wonderful acting, that brings the famous characters to life, right in front of your eyes.  The play is well-written, the stage makes you feel like you are right in the living room, kitchen and Ralphie’s bedroom.  The famous rifle, a Red Ryder Carbine Action 200-shot Range Model air rifle with a compass in the stock and “this thing which tells time” just can’t be said enough.  I can’t wait to see it again.


Richard Van Slyke, Andrea Stradling (Photo John Dlugolecki)


Griffin Sanford (Photo John Dlugolecki)

Oh Fudge! Shout Out!

Saturday, December 2, 1 p.m.

Under the marquee of the Sierra Madre Playhouse – Ralphie messes up big time in A Christmas Story when he is trying to help his dad. He utters a wail of – let’s say “Oh Fudge!”

You’re invited to take a turn at this iconic oath and you might walk away with the prize – a plate of fudge. Otherwise – it is “soap” for you!  Free sample tastes of fudge for all in attendance.  FREE! All ages. Awards at 1:30 p.m.



Andrea Stradling (l.), Kevin Ying, Richard Van Slyke, Griffin Sanford (Photo John Dlugolecki)

Written by Philip Grecian

Directed by Sierra Madre Playhouse Artistic Director Christian Lebano

Adapted by Jean Shepherd, Leigh Brown and Rob Clark

Adapted from the novel by Jean Shepherd, “In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash”

Set Design: Charles Erven
Costume Design: Shon LeBlanc
Lighting Design: Derek Jones
Sound Design: Christopher Moscatiello
Fight Director: Ken Merckx


About A Christmas Story

Adapted for the stage by Philip Grecian. Based on the screenplay by Jean Shepherd, Bob Clark and Leigh Brown, and on the book In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash by Jean Shepherd. Directed by Christian Lebano.

Produced for  Sierra Madre Playhouse by Estelle Campbell and Christian Lebano. Young Ralphie Parker and his family experience their most memorable Christmas, with Ralphie in pursuit of his dreamed-about Christmas present: a Red Ryder BB air rifle. 

About The Sierra Madre Playhouse

Our mission – The Sierra Madre Playhouse is a nonprofit, award-winning 99-seat theater dedicated to illuminating the American experience through high-quality productions by acclaimed and emerging playwrights. With century-old ties to our community, we are committed to engaging diverse local and regional audiences and inspiring the next generation of artists and theater lovers.

Artistic Director: Christian Lebano
Managing Director: Estelle Campbell

Sierra Madre Playhouse

Board of Directors
Joan Riback, President
David Gordon, Secretary
Louise Calaway, Treasurer
Anne Scott-Putney
Vanessa Silberman, Marketing Chair
Christian Lebano
Estelle Campbell

The Sierra Madre Playhouse has evolved from a theatrical heritage that stretches back to the days when Sierra Madre was just a tiny village. Residents presented dramas and musicals as early as the 1880s in their homes, in the Town Hall, and in the Woman’s Club.