COMEDY FOR A CAUSE benefits INSIDE OUT COMMUNITY ARTS, PEACE4KIDS and the TIZIANO PROJECT this Thursday, June 25th at The Hive Gallery & Studios, 729 S. Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90014.

Open bar & snacks. Live music and raffle. Doors open at 8:30pm, laughs ensue at 9:00pm.

The Tiziano Project strives to develop and encourage first-class collaborative journalism on a global scale. They provide community members in conflict, post-conflict, and underreported regions with the equipment, training, and affiliations necessary to report their stories and improve their lives.

Tiziano Terzani was an Italian writer and foreign correspondent known for honest and courageous reporting and for defending native and livable values in the face of economic encroachment. He was one of the few Western journalists to report from and remain in Saigon as it was falling and it is in this spirit that our organization is dedicated.


Tiziano Terzani (1938-2004,)

Peace4Kids provides programs and services for foster and at-risk youth from ages 5-18, and after emancipation until age 24. Peace4Kids is dedicated to empowering foster and at-risk youth by providing community as family. We create a strong foundation through programs focused on creative expression and life skills, allowing our kids to discover their unique voice and limitless potential for success.

Through the arts, Inside Out Community Arts promotes healthy interaction among diverse at-risk and underserved Los Angeles middle-school youth. Led by specially trained teams of professional artists and high school age mentors, Inside Out bridges cultural, geographic, socioeconomic and differently-abled boundaries to support youth in creating and presenting topical theater and art, empowering them to make positive choices as individuals and members of the greater community.<


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Sister Elizabeth Donderstock makes cheese balls that sustain the existence of her entire religious community, Clusterhaven. However, she feels unappreciated among her Squeamish brethren, and she decides to try her luck in the outside world. She meets a Cockney-speaking Ukrainian immigrant couple and finds a job at Plymouth Crock, a restaurant run almost entirely by recovering alcoholics. Things are going great for Liz, until she’s offered a promotion to manager.  Liz has a sweating problem and to get the job, she’ll have to have an operation to fix it. Meanwhile, back at Clusterhaven, Liz’s compatriots just can’t seem to duplicate her cheese ball recipe, and it’s going to cost them their quaint, cloistered lifestyle. They are panic-stricken and sure she sabotaged the recipe. Does Liz go through with the operation? Can the Squeamish be saved? Will the cheese balls ever taste good again? The answers to these and so many other questions can be found in this comedy from the Talent Family, David and Amy Sedaris.

Click here for a preview of the book.

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Denise Munro Robb and the 44th President of the U.S. of A.

I was stunned to learn recently that Denise Munro Robb won tickets to last month’s Town Hall Meeting with our President, considering she had also won the coveted tickets to Obama’s inauguration last January! Did this red-head’s membership in the Green Party give her the luck of the Irish? On reflection, I conceded that maybe all is fair in love and war if Denise, who has dedicated her life to stand up for what she believes in, can beat the odds and win the lottery twice. When Denise ran for City Council District 4 in 2001, the LA Weekly gave her this heartfelt endorsement:

“Denise Munro Robb, (is) a resourceful, committed activist who successfully spearheaded a yearlong fight to halt the destruction of historic apartment buildings, many of which offer decent affordable housing, in her Wilshire-area neighborhood. She’s also been active in the Green Party and local environmental causes — as a candidate, she’s earned the Sierra Club’s highest possible rating… The hitch is that the 39-year-old Robb has little chance of winning. Conventional wisdom dooms her candidacy, in large measure because her campaign embodies the very attributes that make her appealing, including her refusing to accept donations from developers and lobbyists. She’s going to raise about $25,000 in a race where the top spenders could blow half a million. So while urging voters to support her, we also have to note distinctions between the moneyed candidates.”

Smiling Spider: Did campaigning at the local level make you feel closer to the President even if you ran your campaign more like a Dennis Kucinich than an Obama?

Denise Munro Robb: That’s interesting, I forgot about that no, I didn’t feel connected in that way because Obama had millions (he raised over 700 million) and I raised $60,000.  They just don’t take you seriously unless you have tons of money. What do we have in common? Obama and I both taught Constitutional law (I was a Teacher Assistant) and we both are concerned about the killing of the constitution by the Bush administration. And of course, we’re both cute!

Smiling Spider: Dennis Kucinich had to go to court to be admitted in some of the debates. Didn’t you complain at the time of your campaign that you were shunned?

Denise Munro Robb: Yes. I forced them to put me t in a debate where I wasn’t intially welcome.  Then towards the end of the campaign my volunteers and I were listening to the radio and we heard the top two best funded candidates in my race being interviewed. So we stormed the radio station and made them put us on. The next show invited me to stay as a guest for a full hour!  It was pretty wonderful.


Denise Munro Robb in DC, January 20th, 2009.

Smiling Spider: You won a ticket to the inauguration, what “privileges” did it give you over the sans-tickets like me?

Denise Munro Robb: Oh boy, the privilege to stand out in the cold for 5 or 6 hours before the ceremony began.  The privilege to be pushed around like cattle.  After waiting in one line for HOURS someone with a bullhorn would say “you’re in the wrong line, silver ticket holders must be over here” and people who came hours after us were already way ahead of us by then. We were able to stand near the reflecting pool but we couldn’t see anything. I couldn’t even tell who Obama was. The video screen had a tree in front of it so we couldn’t see that way either.  Also, there were multiple sound systems that seemed to be crossing each other so we literally couldn’t hear anything.  The only thing I really liked was that I was with all these other people having a shared moment in history.  The energy of the city was exciting.


One thing I miss about Paris is walking by its little boutiques in the summer and seeing such signs:

The store will be closed from the evening of July 27th through August 26th, included.

The bakery/patisserie across the street usually had a sign that said “The store will be closed from the evening of June 30th through July 30th, included.” so that French people got their dose of warm croissants and pains au chocolat no matter what.

When I realized it was time for the Smiling Spider to take a summer break I asked my sister-in-law to take a picture of a vacation notice. Unfortunately my sister-in-law e-mailed me back that it was harder to find bakeries closing for a whole month, which made me so sad I didn’t want to even ask why.

In the French tradition of 5 weeks paid vacation after a year of employment, stores that are never opened 24/7 and certainly not on Sundays, I would like to announce that the Smiling Spider will be taking a French vacation from August 5th through September 4th, inclus.

I hope you too will get a break and enjoy the rest of our California summer.

I will leave you with another picture of our boulangerie called “Le Gateau Battu” (the whipped cake.) The sign says this is a Artisan Boulanger Patissier, who uses whole butter, kneads the dough by hand and bakes it in his oven.

I also wanted to let you know of a show being performed outdoors this coming weekend by our socially-conscious Cornerstone Theater Group. It’s called “attraction” and is the story of Downtown L.A.’s Traction street. Definitely something to check out. For more info go to



WICKED! @ The Pantages Theater, 6233 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood ~ Through May 8 ~ General: $35.00-$98.00. Premium seating: $177.50-$201.50. Lottery: $25.00 cash.

WARNING: This review is a major spoiler.


In 1958 Hollywood made a film version of the Broadway hit show Bell, Book and Candle. In the screen adaptation, the stunning Kim Novak plays Gillian, the owner of an unconventional art gallery specializing in African art. By day, Gillian moves about her possessions sensing the protection of the spirits who once inhabited her haunting collection of African masks.

By night, Gillian lounges at the local jazz club wearing tight fitting black and red gowns. In full frontal view, Gillian’s outfits look deceivingly proper until Gillian, in true catwalk fashion, gently wiggles and a plunging decollete exposes Novak’s bare and famously gorgeous back. Gillian doesn’t leave the club with a jazz player in tow even if Kim Novak, in real life, would soon be Sammy Davis Jr.‘s lover. When the famous couple contemplated tying the interracial knot a year later, their friends congratulated them on their upcoming marriage and expressed their condolences for their soon-to-be dead careers. Kim and Sammy’s relationship quickly turned to dust.


and can he marry a gorgeous White movie star?

In 1950’s Hollywood, such a single-minded gal and erotic affirmation of life as Gillian can’t really be a woman… of course not… soon we discover that Gillian is really a witch!

Enters the most sexually unthreatening male actor who ever lived:


James Stewart as Sheperd Henderson… Would you be looking at the cat?

Click HERE for the full review.