This Saturday: Grand Ave Arts: All Access

This Saturday, October 29th, The Broad museum will host Grand Ave Arts: All Access which aims to highlight the cultural and artistic stretch on Bunker Hill in the Finance District, including The Broad Museum, The Museum of Contemporary Art and the Walt Disney Concert Hall, all within walking distance of each other.

It’s billed as an open house of sorts from 10:00am-4:00pm and is family friendly and free. According to The Broad’s press release, there will be special performances, behind-the-scenes tours (on a first come, first serve basis) and family friendly workshops between 11:00am-4:00pm, also on a first-come, first serve basis.

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Why I Watched The Case of JonBenet Ramsey Instead of the Emmys

I suffer from award show fatigue. However, one thing I don’t suffer from is true crime fatigue. When I was a child, it wasn’t Freddy Krueger that scared me, or Jason, but movies that I managed somehow (wink, wink) to see like The Exorcist, supposedly based on actual events. The potential reality is what scared me.

Also, I distinctly remember freaking out about the dead body scene in Stand By Me. Although fiction, the story seemed plausible to me, and I put myself in the shoes of boys my age who saw a dead body of someone else their own age. Unfortunately,  that fictionalized fear became a reality when I attended the funeral of a boy in my karate class when I was thirteen.

I also like a good mystery. A mystery challenges not only your thought process but your perceptions. It forces you to step into the mindset of different people. And maybe that’s part of the thrill–toying, considering emotions and thoughts most of us succeed in keeping at bay. It’s a safe way to explore the dark side.

Even though I could find a way to stream or Youtube later, I was eager to get home for the much touted The Case of JonBenet Ramsey, a two-part investigative series.

The show is executive produced by Jim Clemente, a former FBI investigator, former New York City Law Dept. prosecutor and current technical advisor and writer for Criminal Minds. Admittedly obsessed with the case, Jim is joined by Scotland Yard behavioral analyst Laura Richards.


 Investigators on the case include James Kolar (from L to R), forensic pathologist Dr. Werner Spitz, forensic linguistic profiler James Fitzgerald, Laura Richards, forensic scientist Dr. Henry Lee, Jim Clemente, and Statement Analyst Stan Burke. Both James Fitzgerald and Stan Burke are former FBI agents. 

They’ve assembled a team of experts including former investigators on the case, forensic and linguistic experts. Among them is James Kolar, known to those familiar with the case as the author of Foreign Faction: a summary of his findings on the case in which he positions a theory that pretty much implicates her brother Burke as the possible perpetrator.

After reading Kolar’s book and watching the first installment of The Case of:  JonBenet Ramsey, I won’t be surprised that if after the end of the second part of the series they will put forth that Burke is the probable killer. After all, they did reconstruct a child’s skull and had a ten-year-old boy strike the skull with a flashlight they believe might have been used to kill her.

Unseemly? Maybe. Capitalizing on the recent thirst for true crime episodic series (a la the now Emmy-honored OJ Simpson: American Crime and podcast Serial) ? Most certainly. Riveting?  Ask my husband who I shushed as it came on.

Riveting?  Ask my husband who I shushed as it came on.

The conclusion of ‘The Case Of: JonBenet Ramsey” airs tonight on CBS at 9:00 pm PST. 





The Singing Pharmacist

As some of you know, my business name is Terrisse Creative. Now, this wasn’t any sort of attempt at hubris, but an idea that one day my business would include another person or two or at least, some collaboration–a kind of collective.

To use my name was a practical decision. If I came up with something clever, cutesy or too literal, the chances are that someday I might outgrow it and have to deal with the inevitability that my mind would change.

There was perhaps yet a more subversive reason. By asserting my name on everything I was undertaking I was pressing myself to move forward, to fail and succeed on my own merits. It’s my good name I would be putting on the line.

The name Terrisse is of southern French origin and has a basis in the French word for earth: terre. I’m interested in its history and origins and am always curious when I meet someone I don’t know that shares the same last name.

I’m not really sure how I became Facebook friends with Guillaume–I have a cousin with the same first name and I think one of us American Terrisses thought for a moment it was that cousin. As awkward as it seemed to be “friends” with this person I didn’t know, the sheer fact that his name was Terrisse and he lived in France was enough to keep my curiosity up and keep Guillaume alive in my feed.

Not too long ago, I happened to exchange a comment or two with him. This led to Guillaume telling me he was currently stateside and to the suggestion that we meet up when he gets to Los Angeles.

I dutifully told my husband I would be meeting with a tall and dark male stranger who may or may not be a distant cousin, and with his blessing, the meeting was arranged. We took a walk along Echo Park lake, trading family stories, trying to discover if we were indeed related.

Guillaume is a pharmacist in the southern French port town of Marseillan. I tell him my grandfather was from Marseille, not too far away. His is a family business is called Pharmacie Terrisse-Magnabal and although I have had nothing to do with the success of this quaint drugstore, I couldn’t help to be excited. Maybe industriousness is in my blood after all. Maybe I could get a discount on French face cream.

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Over the course of the afternoon Guillaume told me three amazing things:

1. He will be opening a small boutique hotel near his pharmacy this summer. 

Another family venture, this seaside boutique hotel will be a rustic and charming retreat. The rumor is it will also bear the illustrious Terrisse name.

2. If are indeed related, we share a common ancestor–the “pirate” Claude Terrisse.

Guillaume calls him a pirate from what I’m finding out he was more like a celebrated mariner under Louis the XIII and XIV. A statue was erected of this fierce ancestor in the southern village of Agde. Here is the bust of my “pirate” pater familias:


Bust of Claude Terrisse by Auguste Baussan (1829-1907) via

3. In all of Guillaume’s spare time, he performs as an operatic baritone.

Here he singing “Hallelujah” by Leonard Cohen in the church at Marseillon this past Christmas:

Are Guillaume and I really related? Most likely, at least distantly. When I got home, I found a write-up on the brave sailor Terrisse that my grandfather had copied. At this time,  a DNA test is outside of my current disposible income but Guillaume was calling me cousin, so I’m going with it.

But I’d like to think this Renaissance man who shares my name is a link to my past and maybe a little inspiration for my present. With this name tied to the earth, I’m inspired to keep trying to make it my own way-to put down my roots. I’m ready to put my name on it.

With this name tied to the earth, I’m inspired to keep trying to make it my own way-to put down my roots. I’m ready to put my name on it.


The Meeting of Two Terrisses













Gianni Arone is Giving His Art Away

When someone gives away something for free, there is usually a trade-off.

Sport my logo please, link back to my blog, tell your friends.

So, when my favorite local artist, Gianni Arone, who is represented by Gallery Brown in L.A.  announced today to his over 5,000 Instagram followers that from now “for the rest of my life” he will be giving certain pieces of art for free (minus shipping) I nearly up on my laptop.

I went to his website and saw that he has posted four pieces under his “Free For You” tab.

From the four pieces, I selected this piece”

“A Tigers Claw Is Sharpened By The Path The Strike” and 18″x16″ penwork on paper.


It is not a print.

So what’s in it for Gianni? Here is his full statement from his Instagram post:

I am inherently “paid” every time that I make art. I will continue to sell my art at galleries, and during shows-so that, I may in some form stay “relevant” in the “art world” and “art market”-should they still accept me after this. Some might say “doing this…giving away your art-it’s bad for your career. You are inundating the market place with your work. The “free” title on the work devalues it.”

Perhaps-but it is great for my life-in more ways than I can explain to you in the post. The art market-really is about provenance-who owns your work and where it is bought from. It’s an establishment that is geared towards money-and those who have money. I am not concerned about the art world, the art market, the auction, or any of that.

That will take care of itself. I want to take care of myself. The best way to do that is to selflessly give myself.

I remember when I had no money. No money at all. I was homeless. I would burn twigs to turn to charcoal so I could paint.

I have, in a short time-been able to sell my art in exchange for money-HOW COOL IS THAT!

So, the art is Free to who ever needs, wants, desires it. Give it as a gift. Give it to a stranger. Give it to a blank wall. Request as many as you like that are available. Feel no guilt or shame in receiving these gifts from me. I am paid already. I am paid every time I create. My process is that powerful to me.

Today, oftentimes, it literally pays to be cynical. One could say that this is a deft marketing ploy by an artist who is fully comfortable is social media’s warm embrace. I was viscerally struck by Mr. Arone’s artwork when I first saw it at Stone Malone Gallery last year–I feel the sincerity of his work. I feel, based on his statement, that he is grappling with the duality of being able to support oneself with your art, and realizing that as you become more successful, your work becomes out of reach from some of those who appreciate what you do in a very pure way.

From all of us who are poor in disposable income, yet perceptive about the world around us,

Thank you Gianni.

How to Self-Solicit Without Being Gross

Hello. Is it me you’re looking for?

Back in 1984 Lionel Richie got straight to it. Well, sort of.

As anyone who freelances knows, it’s a way of life that isn’t exactly free. You become your human resource department, scheduling and booking agent. All these things take up time and resources, leaving you with a smaller sliver of time to do the actual work. What is truly freeing is  the ability to interact with a variety of people, set your boundaries and release limitations.

Although I started freelance work awhile ago, I just recently made the transition to relying on my freelance work for a good portion of my income.

As I’ve discovered, one of the most challenging aspects of the freelance life is putting yourself out there for work.

Recommendations are wonderful, and the idea is to get to the point where most of your new work trickles down like manna from the referral heavens.

However, until that glorious time arrives you must hang the open-for-business sign on the door.  Your must put the headphones on and twirl that sign.

With job postings and boards, you are limited by defined expectations and often a pre-set payscale. It can be depressing as a quality content writer with some experience to see Craigslist posts that read something like this:

Freelance Writer Needed for New Digital Magazine.

Witty and funny the writer will create 5-10 thought-provoking buzz-worthy posts per day. Work from home with some office facetime required.

Must have a finger on pulse on what’s hot in the Millenial generation. Is able to stay on top of trends in music, entertainment and the fashion industry.

MUST know WordPress. Absolutely no EXCEPTIONS! If you don’t know WordPress like you know your own mother, don’t bother to respond.

Excellent photoshop skills a plus.

Coding skills (Ruby, C++ preferred) a plus

InDesign a plus

Cooking, baking and parasailing skills a plus (all activities our CEO enjoys)

Must know Quickbooks and like dogs. Some light bookeeping and dogwalking are a part of this position.

Pay $10-11 (based on experience)

Ugh. If all you are doing is looking on Craigslist or any other job board for that matter, things get depressing quick.

It seems impossible to reach up to those clients who pay fairly, or maybe even (gasp) well.

I’m starting to believe some of your best chances of reaching the right people are to get comfortable with self-pitching and soliciting.

Now, why would I say self-solicit instead of a much less ick-inducing word like, let’s say…um, I don’t know, networking?

Networking is getting to know people in a hopefully relaxed setting. It soliciting light. The emphasis is on establishing connection and getting to the business talk later. Networking sometimes costs as we pay to go to networking/social events. It’s drink in one hand, the other on your business card. And it is crucial, but shouldn’t be the only way to sell yourself in person.

With self-soliciting, you are making a direct pitch. Which is almost as scary as Lionel hitting on his drama student.

How to do this without going into carnival barker territory or without placating and pleading (sorry Lionel) is the tough part.

Here are my tips from where I’m currently at in my self-soliciting game:

Look for opportunity everywhere, and I mean everywhere

Awhile back, I was scouting locations for a baby shower I was throwing for one of my closest friends. I was in a cute little pie shop in Noho. My focus was firmly on the baby shower (and pie) but I made sure to check out the counter where everyone posts their business cards and flyers. A real estate flyer stood out to me for their clean, modern design. I picked it up to take home and research for opportunities.

Take Home and Assess 

While going about your business, collect whatever stands out to you, the phone number of the business, the shop’s name or in my case a flyer. Now, it’s time to come home and do the research. Having done some work with a real estate company in the past, I’m aware that successful real estate agents are busy. They might want to stand out from the crowd with quality blog posts and MLS descriptions but are pressed for time. They might not have an established writer or maybe they do but have room for an additional person on the team.

Reach Out

This is probably the most difficult step. You are cold-connecting with this person. So, how do you do it in a way that minimizes the gross factor?

After researching, decide on your point of contact. In this case, I discovered the real estate agent had a marketing person and decided to contact that person directly. Look at how they are presenting themselves and try to match that tone when reaching out. If it is a formal company, use a bit of a formal tone. Young and hip? Maybe it’s time to be more conversational. If you aren’t sure, I would err on the side of slightly more formal.

Give an Alternative

Once you’ve done your research and decided on method and point of contact, it’s time to craft the approach. In my email, I let her know who I am (a writer), what I can do for her (this is where your research comes in–what can you do to make their work easier?) and then I gave her an alternative. 

It’s important first to make a direct pitch focusing on the service you can offer to them.  Be to the point and positive. Make sure to let them know what sparked your interest.

This is where it gets delicate. 

They may already have this service or some form of it. Even if you think it could be better (like web design) from what you have observed be careful about the way you word things. In my case, I knew they already had a marketing person. They already had good writing. So, I based my approach from a “growth” standpoint.

“I like what you are doing already. If you have room for another (insert team member, writer, web designer) I would love the opportunity to meet…Even if you don’t have a need at this time I would love to stay in contact.” 

And then, close with an alternate. An offer to meet-up or stay in contact even if they don’t need your services.

In my case, she replied we met up, and I’ve retained her as a contact–success!

Cold self-soliciting shouldn’t be overlooked as a method of growing your freelance career. You never know…it may lead to someone saying “Yes!” when you ask “Is it me you’re looking for?”

Why I Let My Friends Change My Life

I’m not special. And boy, is that so very hard for me to admit. Everyone has a journey of self-discovery and continuing improvement is often slow. But sometimes, the change comes in quick bursts… in epiphany moments. Which is what happened to me one night at a Halloween party; the night I allowed my friends to change my life. Things have never been the same. Read More

Obsession Confession: The Monastero Twins- Gay Canadian Sexiness Times Two

Somehow, my entangled Youtube threads arrived at the channel of The Monastero Twins, Adam and Luke…and I am so grateful. The Monastero Twins are two early twenty-something fraternal twins who recently started making Youtube videos together and have quickly racked up a following.

The first video that captured my attention was their double coming out video, now at over 1 million views, where they announced to their parents (dad Monastero was eating a piece of chicken the entire time) that they were both gay. In the intro to the video they say that their parents have an inkling about Luke being gay but no idea Adam is.

“You’re both gay?” The incredulous reaction from their mom quickly shifted from surprise  to questions and ultimately, acceptance. The  brothers’ solidarity and self-awareness is endearing.

What’s else is there to love about the Monastero brothers? I break it down:

*They look really different, but are both equally cute: Nerd-chic redhead Luke, swarthy Mediterranean Adam. Something for everyone.

*Their adorable ordinariness. Although they play it up in skits, they are naturals on camera and are refreshingly real. Very comfortable in their skins, they play off of each other so well.

*Those Canadian accents…nuff said.

*Unabashed love for their parents. Adam and Luke are close to their parents (your’e the best parents ever!) and divulge their parents’ love of reading comments on their Youtube page before bed. Look out for a segment where they interview them and you will fall in love with the whole family.

I can’t fully put into words why I love watching the Monastero’s but I’m obsessed! See what started my Monastero Madness below:

Adam and Luke’s coming out

Freelance Freaky Friday: Where Freelance Fears Are Debunked and Dumped

Don't be scurred

Let’s be clear: I’m new to freelancing. That is, being a complete and total free agent. For a number of years I worked on writing on a contract basis alongside a “regular” job. I’ve newly made the complete freelance leap. Although I’m not an expert, I know freelancing is not for the faint of heart.

It’s no secret that the job market and work culture has changed in the U.S. and globally. Freelancing has become less mystifying and more a viable option. However, the fear of failure, or of not having any money can be paralyzing. Which doesn’t help anything. Worry, fear and anxiety won’t help you, and certainly won’t help your clients.

So, in this Friday segment, I work on exploring ways to soothe your freelancin’ heart.

Today’s question comes from a freelancer who wishes to remain anonymous:

Dear The Rebel Desk: Since leaving my corporate job, I’ve had a hard time transitioning. I’ve been pretty disciplined about getting work done and sometimes have to stop myself from working too long, but I find myself feeling guilty for being able to do things like go take a walk in the middle of the day, or a nap even if I stay up late to meet deadlines. Yesterday, I even had a beer at 11:00 am. Can I really get ahead working this way or am I just being lazy? 

Friend: The freelance life is a trade-off. While you must self-manage and it can be difficult to find the ways in which you work best, don’t feel guilty about taking some time to recharge or reflect or handle family duties. Only you know when is the optimal time for you to get work done. So, chill out and drink that beer. I recommend that you drink below 40 oz. during a weekday, no more than two and not while proofing your work.

Might I suggest a Central Californian craft beer favorite of mine: Firestone Walker 805


Dear White People: Justin Simien Delivers a Smart Send-Up of College Racism

Dear White People Official Trailer

Dear White People… and black people and Asian people, Hondurans and everything in between: Dear White People is a movie. A very good movie that made me both laugh and think too hard.

Directed by newcomer Justin Simien, a former publicist/marketing specialist turned filmmaker, Dear White People is a satire exploring race relations in modern society using a posh fictional Ivy League school as a backdrop.

Don’t let my brief summation fool you, this movie is easy to chew, but harder to swallow: The genius lies in its ability deliver head-spinningly complicated issues in subtle and often funny ways. Each of the characters is sorting through their own complicated parental, social and academic issues compounded by race in the predominately white university.

Multi-protaganist, the plot launches with Sam White, a young woman who has taken a leadership role in the Black Student Union. Her response to modern racism is to launch her own podcast and booklet titled “Dear White People”.

The movie succeeds in showing how racism today often takes subtle, more subversive forms and how challenging it is for young black youth to figure out where they fit in and what stance (if any) they should take. Self and race identity don’t always fit so nicely together.

In fact, the beauty of Simien’s film is that it addresses the age old theme of identity crisis but manages to do so in a way that is entirely fresh and engaging right down to its  cinematography, stylized delivery and of-the-moment Pinterestable graphic design transitions.


Tyler James Williams in the film’s impactful promo poster

Although the movie is not absolute and total perfection, its hard to believe its a first feature film effort with how masterful Simien is not only as a director, but writer and producer. He is helped along by a well-balanced cast, most of whom are trained and experienced, yet still relatively unexposed. No one stood out over anyone else–a good thing, but a particular favorite of mine was Teyonah Parris’ Coco or Colandrea. You may recognize Teyonah as Donald Draper’s secretary in Mad Men. Here she gets to display the full range of her talents in a complex role.

My newly liberated evenings thanks to my scary ass launch into the freelance world allowed me to attend a special Los Angeles Times Indie Focus screening of Dear White People hosted by L.A. Times staff writer Mark Olsen with a Q&A session afterward with the director and three of the cast members.

In the Q&A, Simien divulged that he was inspired by movies like Election, Fame, School Days, Ingmar Bergman’s Persona and especially Network. It was also a chance to tell his own story. Simien went onto say that he was never able to really see his own experience on the screen. “…racism is more covert now…I wanted to tell a very particular black experience…[one of the] bobbing and weaving around other people’s perceptions of you.”

Dear White People is striking a chord. It won the Special Jury Award for “Breakthrough Talent” at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival and Simien was recently named among the “10 Directors to Watch” in Variety magazine.

It’s disturbing that racism is still alive–executed by the hapless, ignorant and malicious alike. But what is so unusual about Dear White People is the humorous and human way in which it is exposed: with a gentle hand, in a way it’s a love letter–gently prodding people to open their eyes.

Even in its most heightened exposure of racism: a themed party where white students are dressing up as black students– there is room for a laugh or two.

What was more disturbing were the real snapshots in the end credits of the movie of several recent racially themed parties at truer-than-fiction universities.

While across the U.S. a more diverse culture is welcomed, a subversive reaction to it dives further underground. In one deft move/movie, Justin Simien exposes a raw nerve: still pinched after all these years.

Dear White People opens in limited release to theaters on October 17th

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