Live Talks Los Angeles

This talk took place on June 19, 2016 at the Moss Theatre in Santa Monica and is part of the Live Talks Los Angeles series.

Twenty Five years ago, Ezekiel “Easy” Rawlins came onto the literary scene—just back from World War II—and opened the door on a Los Angeles that had not been part of the signature Los Angeles noir novels written by the masters, Raymond Chandler and Ross MacDonald.  Walter Mosley’s books on Easy Rawlins and his neighbors and friends touched a nerve; his deft capturing of the conversations, the deep connections and frustrations of his characters made his books both critical and popular successes.

Since Devil in A Blue Dress set Easy out on his first job of detection,  Mosley has published close to 50 books across genres and formats.   His characters’ popularity and the critical acclaim his books drew opened doors for another generation of writers of color, not only in the mystery field but in other genres as well. 

At this quarter century mark, Mosley is being recognized for this series’ deep cultural importance and impact by his award of Grandmaster by the Mystery Writers of America organization.  With the publication of the new Easy Rawlins, Charcoal Joe, we look forward to celebrating the anniversary of the Easy Rawlins series as well as the wider intellectual and political scope of the writer himself. 

Walter Mosley’s indelible detective Easy Rawlins is back, with a new detective agency and a new mystery to solve. Picking up where Rose Gold left off in Los Angeles in the late 1960s, Easy Rawlins finds his life in transition. He’s ready to—finally—propose to his girlfriend, Bonnie Shay, and start a life together. And he’s taken the money he got from the Rose Gold case and has, together with two partners, started a new detective agency. But, inevitably, a case gets in the way: Easy’s friend Mouse introduces him to Rufus Tyler, a very old man everyone calls Charcoal Joe. Joe’s friend’s son, Seymour (young, bright, top of his class at Stanford), has been arrested and charged with the murder of a white man from Redondo Beach. Rufus tells Easy he will pay and pay well to see his nephew exonerated, but seeing as how Seymour was literally found standing over the man’s dead body at his cabin home and the racially charged motives behind it, that might prove to be a tall order.

Between his new company, a heart that should be broken but is not, a whole raft of new bad guys on his tail, and a bad odor that surrounds Charcoal Joe, Easy has his hands full, his horizons askew, and a life in shambles on the ground around his feet.

Karen Grigsby Bates is a Los Angeles-based correspondent for NPR News, where she covers race, ethnicity and culture and how they each affect several aspects of American life.  In addition, Bates often reports on authors and their work for NPR shows, especially Morning Edition.  She’s been a reporter and substitute host for the Tavis Smiley show, and a correspondent for Day to Day.  In her spare time, Bates has written several books, including two mysteries featuring reporter-sleuth Alex Powell.

Direct download: LTLA.Walter_Mosley.mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:05pm EDT

This talk took place on July 7, 2016 at the Moss Theatre in Santa Monica and is part of the Live Talks Los Angeles series.

Terry McMillan is the bestselling author of Waiting to ExhaleHow Stella Got Her Groove Back, A Day Late and a Dollar Short, and The Interruption of Everything and the editor of Breaking Ice: An Anthology of Contemporary African-American Fiction. Each of Ms. McMillan’s seven previous novels was a New York Times bestseller, and four have been made into movies: Waiting to Exhale (Twentieth Century Fox, 1995); How Stella Got Her Groove Back (Twentieth Century Fox, 1998); Disappearing Acts (HBO Pictures, 1999); and A Day Late and a Dollar Short (Lifetime, 2014). McMillan fell in love with books as a teenager while working at the local library. She studied journalism at UC Berkeley and screenwriting at Columbia before making her fiction debut with Mama, which won both the Doubleday New Voices in Fiction Award and the American Book Award.
Visit her website.

In I Almost Forgot About You, Dr. Georgia Young’s wonderful life–great friends, family, and successful career–aren’t enough to keep her from feeling stuck and restless. When she decides to make some major changes in her life, quitting her job as an optometrist, and moving house, she finds herself on a wild journey that may or may not include a second chance at love. Like Waiting to Exhale and How Stella Got Her Groove Back, I Almost Forgot About You shows what can happen when you face your fears, take a chance, and open yourself up to life, love, and the possibility of a new direction.

Lisa Napoli is a career journalist who has worked at The New York Times, CNN, MSNBC, and has covered arts and culture for KCRW.  She’s the author of the book, Radio Shangri-La, about her time in and around the kingdom of Bhutan, where she went to start a radio station at the dawn of democratic rule.  She is the author of the upcoming book, The Man Who Made the McDonald’s Fortune and the Woman Who Gave It All Away, to be published November 2016. She is the proud recipient of the 2014 Halo Award from the Deutsch Family Foundation for a monthly volunteer cooking group she leads at the Downtown Women’s Center on Skid Row.

Direct download: LTLA.Terry_McMillian.mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:55pm EDT

This talk took place on September 25, 2016 at the Moss Theatre in Santa Monica and is part of the Live Talks Los Angeles series.

Susan Faludi is a Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist and the author of the best seller Backlash: The Undeclared War Against American Women, which won the National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction, and Stiffed: The Betrayal of the American Man. Her most recent book, The Terror Dream: Myth and Misogyny in an Insecure America, was an unflinching dissection of the post-9/11 American psyche in the media, popular culture and in political life.  Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times and The Nation, among other publications.

In the Darkroom is an absolute stunner of a memoir―probing, steel-nerved, moving in ways you’d never expect. Ms. Faludi is determined both to demystify the father of her youth―‘a simultaneously inscrutable and volatile presence, a black box and a detonator’―and to re-examine the very notion and nature of identity.”―The New York Times

In The Darkroom is Susan Faludi’s most personal book to date—an extraordinary inquiry into her family saga. When the feminist writer learned that her 76-year-old father—long estranged and living in Hungary—had undergone sex reassignment surgery, she felt compelled to confront a past she knew little about and a person she had long put aside. How was this new parent who identified as “a complete woman now” connected to the silent, explosive, and ultimately violent father she had known? What did this mean for her as a feminist and daughter? If who we are is most profoundly forged by who our parents are, what did her father’s metamorphosis say about her own identity?  Faludi chases that mystery into the recesses of her suburban childhood in Westchester County, New York, and her father’s many previous incarnations: American dad, Alpine mountaineer, swashbuckling adventurer in the Amazon outback, Jewish fugitive in Holocaust Budapest, commercial photographer who had built his career on the alteration of images.

Lisa Napoli is a career journalist who has worked at The New York Times, CNN, MSNBC, and has covered arts and culture for KCRW.  She’s the author of the book, Radio Shangri-La, about her time in and around the kingdom of Bhutan, where she went to start a radio station at the dawn of democratic rule.  She is the author of the upcoming book, The Man Who Made the McDonald’s Fortune and the Woman Who Gave It All Away, to be published November 2016. She is the proud recipient of the 2014 Halo Award from the Deutsch Family Foundation for a monthly volunteer cooking group she leads at the Downtown Women’s Center on Skid Row.

Direct download: LTLA.Susan_Faludi.mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:27pm EDT

This talk took place on June 8, 2016 at the Moss Theatre in Santa Monica and is part of the Live Talks Los Angeles series.

This event is part of our Newer Voices Series where we feature debut authors and authors with one or two books whose writing we’d like to draw more attention to. Free tickets are available 7-10 days before the event.  We encourage purchasing advance tickets that include the book and a reserved section seat.

— “And Our Fiction Special Tonight Is…,” New York Times, Oct. 31, 2014
— “Stephanie Danler talks about her much-buzzed-about debut novel,” Time Out New York, Mar, 15, 2015
— “Restaurant Toil Serves O.C. Novelist Well,” Orange County Register, Jan. 7, 2015

Stephanie Danler is a writer based in Brooklyn, New York. She holds an MFA in creative writing from the New School. Sweetbitter is her debut novel.

“Stephanie Danler arrives on the literary scene with a fully-fledged, original voice that’s wry, watchful and wise beyond its years—acutely attuned to the pleasures of the senses and to the desperate stratagems of self-invention among young urban seekers. Sweetbitter is a stunning debut novel, one that seems destined to help define a generation.” —Jay McInerney

You will develop a palate. A palate is a spot on your tongue where you remember. Where you assign words to the textures of taste. Eating becomes a discipline, language-obsessed. You will never simply eat food again.

These are the words that introduce us to Tess, the twenty-two-year-old narrator of Sweetbitter—and you will never again read a debut coming-of-age novel as stunning as this one.

Shot from a mundane, provincial past, Tess comes to New York in the stifling summer of 2006. Alone, knowing no one, living in a rented room in Williamsburg, she manages to land a job as a “backwaiter” at a celebrated downtown Manhattan restaurant. This begins the year we spend with Tess as she starts to navigate the chaotic, enchanting, punishing, and privileged life she has chosen, as well as the remorseless and luminous city around her. What follows is her education: in oysters, Champagne, the appellations of Burgundy, friendship, cocaine, lust, love, and dive bars. As her appetites awaken—for food and wine, but also for knowledge, experience, and belonging—we see her helplessly drawn into a darkly alluring love triangle. With an orphan’s ardor she latches onto Simone, a senior server at the restaurant who has lived in ways Tess only dreams of, and against the warnings of coworkers she falls under the spell of Jake, the elusive, tatted up, achingly beautiful bartender. These two and their enigmatic connection to each other will prove to be Tess’s most exhilarating and painful lesson of all.

Stephanie Danler intimately defines the crucial transition from girl to woman, from living in a place that feels like nowhere to living in a place that feels like the center of the universe. She deftly conjures the nonstop and purely adrenalized world of the restaurant—conversations interrupted, phrases overheard, relationships only partially revealed. And she evokes the infinite possibilities, the unbearable beauty, the fragility and brutality of being young in New York with heart-stopping accuracy. A lush novel of the senses—of taste and hunger, seeing and understanding, love and desire—Sweetbitter is ultimately about the power of what remains after disillusionment, and the transformation and wisdom that come from our experiences, sweet and bitter. 

Direct download: LTLA.StephanieDanler.mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00pm EDT

This talk took place on September 20, 2016 at the Moss Theatre in Santa Monica and is part of the Live Talks Los Angeles series.

Simon Sinek is author of the global best seller, Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action and the New York Times and Wall Street Journal best seller, Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t. Sinek is also best known for popularizing the concept of Why in his first Ted Talk in 2009.  It has since risen to the third most watched talk of all time on, gathering 27+million views and is subtitled in 43 languages.  Visit his website at
Simon Sinek is an optimist, and believes in a bright future and our ability to build it together.  That is the simple theme behind his upcoming book, Together is Better. 
Grammy Nominated singer/songwriter Aloe Blacc  performs the song “Together is Better Than One” at the close of this event as well as a few more of his hits.
Together is Better is a celebration of that simple, human idea that we are better when we help each other than we are when we work alone.  Too often, we avoid asking for help when we need it or refuse to accept it when it’s offered for fear that it will make us look weak or put us or our job at risk.  Too often, we keep self-doubt to ourselves instead of turning to someone we trust for inspiration.   
The journey to finding the life you love is never quick or easy. Still, more and more of us are setting off in search of a better way. While each of us is living a different story, many of the challenges and victories along the way are the same. 
In Together is Better, Sinek has combined some of his favorite quotes, amazing illustrations, storytelling, and commentary in this delightful tale of three kids who go on an adventure to find a better place for everyone.  
In the simplest way possible, this book reminds us all what it means to be a leader, the courage it takes to ask for help, and the value of working together.  It is a book that illustrates the need for leaders to foster environments in which trust and cooperation can thrive. 
Direct download: LTLA.Simon_Sinek.Aloe_Blacc.mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:29pm EDT

This talk took place on October 31, 2016 at the Bootleg Theatre inLos Angeles and is part of the Live Talks Los Angeles series.

Shep Gordon — in his storied career as a talent manager, agent, and producer — has worked with, and befriended, some of the biggest names in the entertainment industry, from Alice Cooper to Bette Davis, Raquel Welch to Groucho Marx, Blondie to Jimi Hendrix, Sylvester Stallone to Salvador Dalí, Luther Vandross to Teddy Pendergrass. He is also credited with inventing the “celebrity chef,” and has worked with Nobu Matsuhisa, Emeril Lagasse, Wolfgang Puck, Roger Vergé, and many others. 

“Reality has never seemed to important in the 50 years Shep and I have been working together.  When we need something to happen, Shep just works his magic to simply MAKE it a reality.  I’m still not sure how he does it—he just has that natural ability to create scenarios and relationships that help to get you where you need to go.” –Alice Cooper

“The amazing, incredible, unlikely-but-true story of the man who’s done everything, been everywhere, and was at seemingly every important moment in musical and culinary history. He’s a one-man history of cool. And through it all, he’s somehow managed to remain a mensch. Shep Gordon is a legend.”–Anthony Bourdain

Supermensch is an eye-popping peek into entertainment industry from the magnetic force who has worked with an impeccable roster of stars throughout his storied career.

In this engaging memoir, the charismatic entertainment legend recalls his life, from his humble beginnings as a “shy, no self-esteem, Jewish nebbisher kid with no ambition” in Oceanside, Long Island, to his unexpected rise as one of the most influential and respected personalities in show business, revered for his kindness, charisma—and fondness for a good time.

Gordon shares riotous anecdotes and outrageous accounts of his free-wheeling, globe-trotting experiences with some of the biggest celebrities of the past five decades, including his first meeting with Janice Joplin in 1968, when the raspy singer punched him in the face. They Call Me Supermensch is a sincere, hilarious behind-the-scenes look at the worlds of music and entertainment from the consummate Hollywood insider.

Alice Cooper pioneered a grandly theatrical brand of hard rock that was designed to shock.  Drawing equally from horror movies, vaudeville, and garage rock, the group created a stage show that featured electric chairs, guillotines, fake blood and boa constrictors. He continues to tour regularly, performing shows worldwide with the dark and horror-themed theatrics that he’s best known for. 

Alice has been touring consistently, year in and year out, averaging over 80 concerts annually, both within the USA and internationally, with his band which features the three guitar attack of guitarists Ryan Roxie, Nita Strauss, and Tommy Henriksen, plus the rhythm section of drummer Glen Sobel and longtime bassist Chuck Garric.



Direct download: LTLA.Shep_Gordon.mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:57pm EDT

This talk took place on June 7, 2016 at the Moss Theatre in Santa Monica and is part of the Live Talks Los Angeles series.

Sebastian Junger has spent decades of his life reporting from conflict zones worldwide. He is the New York Times bestselling author of War, The Perfect Storm and A Death in Belmont. Together with Tim Hetherington, he directed the documentary Restrepo based on his embed in Afghanistan’s Korengal Valley. It won the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance and an Academy Award nomination. He is a contributing editor to Vanity Fair and has been awarded a National Magazine Award and an SAIS Novartis Prize for journalism.

Maximilian Uriarte enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in 2006 at the age of nineteen and served for four years. During his first deployment to Iraq in 2007 he served as an MRAP turret gunner and dismount of India Company’s Jump Platoon in the Zaidon region southeast of Fallujah. He deployed to Iraq again in 2009 as a billeted Combat Photographer and Combat Artist. In 2010 Uriarte created the popular comic strip Terminal Lancewhile still on active duty. The strip is now published in theMarine Corps Times and has grown immensely in popularity, with over 490,000 Facebook followers and one million unique hits per month at Uriarte has a bachelor’s degree from California College of the Arts.

Combining history, psychology and anthropology, Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging  picks up where War left off—specifically with the problems Vets face when presented with the irony that there are elements of battle that they, counterintuitively, miss. These positive feelings come from the innate human preference to live in small groups defined by clear purpose. This connection has been lost in modern society, and regaining it may be the key to our psychological survival.

Tribe explores what we can learn from tribal societies about loyalty, belonging, and the eternal human quest for meaning. Junger explains the irony that—for many veterans as well as civilians—war feels better than peace, adversity can turn out to be a blessing, and disasters are sometimes remembered more fondly than weddings or tropical vacations. Tribe explains why we are stronger when we come together, and how that can be achieved even in today’s divided world.

Decades before the American Revolution, Benjamin Franklin lamented that English settlers were constantly fleeing over to the Indians-but Indians almost never did the same. Tribal society has been exerting an almost gravitational pull on Westerners for hundreds of years, and the reason lies deep in our evolutionary past as a communal species. The most recent example of that attraction are combat veterans who come home to find themselves missing the incredibly intimate bonds of platoon life. The loss of closeness that comes at the end of deployment may explain the high rates of post-traumatic stress disorder suffered by military veterans today.

Combining history, psychology, and anthropology, Tribe explores what we can learn from tribal societies about loyalty, belonging, and the eternal human quest for meaning. It explains the irony that-for many veterans as well as civilians-war feels better than peace, adversity can turn out to be a blessing, and disasters are sometimes remembered more fondly than weddings or tropical vacations. Tribe explains why we are stronger when we come together, and how that can be achieved even in today’s divided world.

A vivid and moving look at war and PTSD, The White Donkey follows young Marines as they experience the ugly, pedestrian, and often meaningless side of military service in rural Iraq. The White Donkey tells the story of Abe, who enlists in search of a greater purpose. He quickly realizes that his expectations don’t match reality. Abe gets more than he bargained for when his journey takes him to war-torn Iraq.
A visually striking and emotional story, The White Donkey will resonate with military and civilian readers alike—readers of nonfiction like Phil Klay’s Redeployment, fiction like Kevin Powers’s The Yellow Birds, and graphic novels illustrated in a compelling style and containing a powerful message. The book explores the war of active duty as well as the war veterans face upon returning home.
Direct download: LTLA.Sebastian_Junger.mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:31pm EDT

This talk took place on May 19, 2016 at the Gensler in downtown Los Angeles and is part of the Live Talks Business Forum which is part of  Live Talks Los Angeles.

Rachel S. Moore is the President and CEO of The Music Center in Los Angeles, the 3rd largest performing arts center in the United States.  She was a former dancer with the American Ballet Theatre’s corps de ballet under the direction of Mikhail Baryshnikov, the Executive Director of ABT from 2004-2012, and CEO of ABT until 2015. The Music Center includes Walt Disney Hall, the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, the Mark Taper Forum, the Ahmanson Theater and is the home to resident companies the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Center Theatre Group, the Los Angeles Opera, and the Los Angeles Master Chorale. At the Music Center, she is responsible for all dance programming, programming in the newly opened Grand Park, and education programming.

In The Artist’s Compass, she describes her path to becoming an artist, from artist to CEO, and offers a road map for other artists seeking a successful, sustainable, lifelong career.  Her book is part memoir, part real world guide as she shares insights into the world of performance artists—dancers, singers, musicians, and actors—and offers strategies for success in a tough, competitive world.

Moore, a dancer from Davis, California, was invited to join the American Ballet Theater at the age of seventeen. After completing high school at eighteen, she became a professional dancer for six years before injury brought her dancing career to a premature halt. With a BA from Brown University and a master’s degree in arts administration from Columbia University, Moore reentered the world of performing arts in a series of executive positions. Many artists focus on their craft and ignore the business element of their career; Moore explains that this mistake is costly.  The performing arts world is increasingly focused on business and in order to thrive, or even survive, artists must become knowledgeable about their goals, the industry, branding themselves, establishing a network, and communicating effectively.

Ted Habte-Gabr is Founder and Producer of Live Talks Los Angeles.

Direct download: LTLA.Rachel_Moore.mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:56pm EDT

This talk took place on June 21, 2016 at the Moss Theatre in Santa Monica and is part of the Live Talks Los Angeles series.

Patric Kuh is the restaurant critic for Los Angeles Magazine and the author of The Last Days of Haute Cuisine: The Coming of Age of American Restaurants, which won the 2002 James Beard Award for writing on food. His new book is Finding the Flavors We Lost: From Bread to Bourbon, How Artisans Reclaimed American Food.
“Kuh artfully tells a food tale… As a chef, I am inspired by Kuh’s desire to give convenience and mass production a run for the money with a tasty vision for the American table. This book made me hungry!” (Alex Guarnaschelli, executive chef at Butter and author of Old-School Comfort Food: The Way I Learned to Cook)
We hear the word “artisanal” all the time—attached to cheese, chocolate, coffee, even fast-food chain sandwiches—but what does it actually mean? We take “farm to table” and “handcrafted food” for granted now but how did we get here? In Finding the Flavors We Lost, acclaimed food writer Patric Kuh profiles major figures in the so-called “artisanal” food movement who brought exceptional taste back to food and inspired chefs and restaurateurs to redefine and rethink the way we eat.

Kuh begins by narrating the entertaining stories of countercultural “radicals” who taught themselves the forgotten crafts of bread, cheese, and beer-making in reaction to the ever-present marketing of bland, mass-produced food, and how these people became the inspiration for today’s crop of young chefs and artisans. Finding the Flavors We Lost also analyzes how population growth, speedier transportation, and the societal shifts and economic progress of the twentieth century led to the rise of supermarkets and giant food corporations, which encouraged the general desire to swap effort and quality for convenience and quantity.

Kuh examines how a rediscovery of the value of craft and individual effort has fueled today’s popularity and appreciation for artisanal food and the transformations this has effected on both the restaurant menu and the dinner table. Throughout the book, he raises a host of critical questions. How big of an operation is too big for a food company to still call themselves “artisanal”? Does the high cost of handcrafted goods unintentionally make them unaffordable for many Americans? Does technological progress have to quash flavor? Eye-opening, informative, and entertaining, Finding the Flavors We Lost is a fresh look into the culture of artisan food as we know it today—and what its future may be.

Antonia Lofaso joined Joe Bastianich and Tim Love in the second season of CNBC’s ‘Restaurant Startup,’ as a consultant and the show is now in its third season. Best known for her role on Top Chef Season 4, Top Chef All Stars and Top Chef Duels, Chef Antonia Lofaso is one of America’s most loved chefs. Most recently, Lofaso has gone from television personality to business owner and is currently executive chef and owner of Black Market in Studio City, California and Scopa Italian Roots in Venice, California. With a lifelong passion for cooking, Lofaso chased her dreams and has managed to balance her busy career with being a single parent. She shares her secrets and tips in her book The Busy Mom’s Cookbook re-released in paperback and can be seen as a frequent judge on Food Network’s Cutthroat Kitchen.

Direct download: LTLA.Patric_Kuh.mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:22pm EDT

This talk took place September 14, 2016, at the William Turner Gallery at Bergamot Arts Station, Santa Monica, CA as part of Live Talks Los Angeles series. 

Maria Semple is the author of This One Is Mine and Where’d You Go, Bernadette,which has been translated into eighteen languages. Her TV credits include Beverly Hills 90210, Mad About You, Saturday Night Live, Arrested Development, Suddenly Susan, and Ellen. She graduated from Barnard College with a degree in English. Today Will Be Different is her third novel.

Today Will Be Different is so unique, so smart, so funny, so beautifully humane, so utterly of our times, it’s astonishing. I’ve scribbled exclamation points and underlined passages on almost every single page so I can go back and savor. I’ve started quoting it as if it’s already a classic—which, no doubt, it will be.”  —Gillian Flynn, author of Gone Girl and Dark Places

Artistic madness, brilliant satire, inventive plotting, and most of all heart. Today Will Be Different takes all the best parts of her national bestseller from 2012, Where’d You Go, Bernadette and kicks it up a notch. Set in Seattle, New Orleans, Aspen and New York City, the book is a day in the life of Eleanor Flood, famed animator of a beloved TV show, mother of Timmy, her precocious makeup-wearing son, and wife of the star Seattle Seahawks hand surgeon, Joe. Early on in the day, a graphic memoir, a real illustrated story within the story, resurfaces from her past and threatens to reveal a buried family secret. 

Gigi Levangie is the New York Times bestselling author of six novels. Her novel, Maneater, was made into a Lifetime miniseries, The Starter Wife was made into a USA Emmy-Award winning miniseries and series, starring Debra Messing. She wrote the original screenplay for the Julia Roberts blockbuster, Stepmom. Many of her screenplays and pilots have been optioned by NBC, ABC, Sony, and more. Levangie spent eight years as the head of television development for the legendary NBC head, Fred Silverman, where she began writing for film and tv

Direct download: LTLA.Maria_Semple.mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:56pm EDT

This talk took place September 14, 2016, at the Moss Theatre in Santa Monica, CA as part of Live Talks Los Angeles series. 

Award-winning journalist and author Lisa Ling takes her audience on a gritty, breathtaking journey across America, immersing herself in communities that are unusual, extraordinary and sometimes dangerous. Each episode gives viewers an inside look at some of the country’s most unconventional segments of society.

In season three of This is Life with Lisa Ling, Ling goes inside the cage with female fighters, attends a wedding behind bars, and learns to code with Silicon Valley teens. She explores legalized prostitution, investigates the ravages of America’s heroin epidemic, and uncovers state laws that allow rapists parental rights.  In Los Angeles she gains unprecedented access to America’s largest jail, and in Philadelphia, takes a 360-degree look at how technology is changing the landscape of law enforcement.

Ling is also the host of an upcoming digital series, This is Birth, where she explores how healthcare legislation, income inequality and cultural shifts are changing how people have children in America. Before coming to CNN, Ling was a field correspondent for The Oprah Winfrey Show and contributor to ABC News’ Nightline and National Geographic’s Explorer. She has reported from dozens of countries, covering stories about gang rape in the Congo, bride burning in India and the Lord’s Resistance Army in Uganda, among other issues that are too often ignored. Ling got her start in journalism as a correspondent for Channel One News where she covered the civil war in Afghanistan at 21 years of age.  She later went on to become a co-host of ABC Daytime’s hit show The View, which won its first daytime Emmy during her time at the show.  Ling has also served as a special correspondent for CNN’s Planet in Peril series and is a contributing editor for USA Today’s USA Weekend magazine.  In 2011, her acclaimed documentary journalism series, Our America with Lisa Ling, began airing on OWN. 

Ling is the co-author of Mother, Daughter, Sister, Bride: Rituals of Womanhood and Somewhere Inside: One Sister’s Captivity in North Korea and the Other’s Fight to Bring Her Home, which she penned with her sister, Laura.  

In 2014, President Obama named Ling to the Commission on White House Fellows.

Michaela Pereira is the host of HLN’s new three-hour daily news program Michaela. Live from CNN’s Los Angeles bureau, the show airs from 10am-1pm ET/7-10 am PT.  She joined CNN in 2012 and was the co-host of New Day with Chris Cuomo and Alisyn Camerota.  For nine years, Pereira was the co-host of KTLA Morning News.

Beyond her broadcasting achievements, Pereira is active in several community organizations working with at-risk children and teens. She served as a member of the board of directors for the Long Beach Boys and Girls Club; an advisory board member of Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), supporting children in foster care; and co-chair of the advisory board of Optimist Youth Home, providing services for troubled youth.

Direct download: LTLA.Lisa_Ling.mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:53am EDT

This talk took place August 29, 2016, at the Moss Theatre in Santa Monica, CA as part of Live Talks Los Angeles series. 

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is the NBA’s all-time leading scorer and a Basketball Hall of Fame inductee. Since retiring, he has been an actor, a basketball coach and the author of eleven books, many of them New York Times best sellers, including What Color is My World?, which won the NAACP Image Award for Best Children’s Book. Abdul-Jabbar is also a columnist for Time Magazine and The Washington Post, writing on a wide range of subjects including race, politics, age and pop culture, and his essays and columns have also appeared in the Huffington Post, in the Los Angeles Times and on, among other publications. In 2012, he was selected as a U.S. Cultural Ambassador. 

Since retiring from professional basketball, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has become a lauded observer of culture and society. He now brings that keen insight to the fore in Writings on the Wall: Searching for a New Equality Beyond Black and White. He uses his unique blend of erudition, street smarts and authentic experience in essays on the country’s seemingly irreconcilable partisan divide – both racial and political, parenthood, and his own experiences as an athlete, African-American, and a Muslim. The book is not just a collection of expositions; he also offers keen assessments of and solutions to problems such as racism in sports while speaking candidly about his experiences on the court and off.

Timed for publication as the nation debates whom to send to the White House, the combination of plain talk on issues, life lessons, and personal stories places Writings on the Wall squarely in the middle of the conversation, as many of Abdul-Jabbar’s topics are at the top of the national agenda. Whether it is sparring with Donald Trump, within the pages of TIME magazine, or full-length features in the The New York Times Magazine, writers, critics, and readers have come to agree on what The Washington Post observed: Abdul-Jabbar “has become a vital, dynamic and unorthodox cultural voice.”

Jim Hill has been a fixture on CBS 2 in Los Angeles for more than 30 years. He appears on the station’s weekday 6 and 11 p.m. newscasts and also hosts the weekend editions of “Sports Central” – Southern California’s most comprehensive sports newscast. In addition, he co-hosts “LTV,” the Los Angeles Lakers pre-game show on KCAL 9, where he joins Lakers legend James Worthy.

Hill, who played defensive back in the National Football League, draws upon his experience as a player, his talents as a broadcaster and relationships with top athletes and coaches to deliver his award-winning sports reports.


Direct download: LTLA.Kareem_Abdul-Jabbar._mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:50am EDT

This talk took place October 17, 2016, at the Moss Theatre in Santa Monica, CA as part of Live Talks Los Angeles series. 

Julissa Arce is a writer, speaker, and social-justice advocate. She is the cofounder and chairman of the Ascend Educational Fund, a college scholarship and mentorship program that assists immigrant students, regardless of their immigration status, ethnicity, or national origin. Julissa is also a board member for the National Immigration Law Center and for College Spring. Prior to becoming an advocate, she built a successful career on Wall Street, working at Goldman Sachs and Merrill Lynch. Visit her website.

America Ferrera is an award-winning actress and producer who is perhaps best known for her breakthrough role as “Betty Suarez” on ABC’s hit comedy, Ugly Betty, for which she was recognized with a Golden Globe®, Emmy®  and Screen Actors Guild Award®, as well as ALMA and Imagen Awards. 

Ferrera currently produces and stars in the new NBC workplace comedy, Superstore, in it’s second season.

What does an undocumented immigrant look like? What kind of family must she come from? How could she get into this country? What is the true price she must pay to remain in the United States?

Julissa Arce knows first hand that the most common, preconceived answers to those questions are sometimes far too simple-and often just plain wrong.

On the surface, Arce’s story reads like a how-to manual for achieving the American dream: growing up in an apartment on the outskirts of San Antonio, she worked tirelessly, achieved academic excellence, and landed a coveted job on Wall Street, complete with a six-figure salary. The level of professional and financial success that she achieved was the very definition of the American dream. But in this brave new memoir, Arce digs deep to reveal the physical, financial, and emotional costs of the stunning secret that she, like many other high-achieving, successful individuals in the United States, had been forced to keep not only from her bosses, but even from her closest friends.

From the time she was brought to this country by her hardworking parents as a child, Arce-the scholarship winner, the honors college graduate, the young woman who climbed the ladder to become a vice president at Goldman Sachs-had secretly lived as an undocumented immigrant. In this surprising, at times heart-wrenching, but always inspirational personal story of struggle, grief, and ultimate redemption, Arce takes readers deep into the little-understood world of a generation of undocumented immigrants in the United States today–people who live next door, sit in your classrooms, work in the same office, and may very well be your boss. By opening up about the story of her successes, her heartbreaks, and her long-fought journey to emerge from the shadows and become an American citizen, Arce shows us the true cost of achieving the American dream-from the perspective of a woman who had to scale unseen and unimaginable walls to get there.

Direct download: LTLA.Julissa_Arce.mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:20am EDT

This talk took place September 26, 2016, at the Moss Theatre in Santa Monica, CA as part of Live Talks Los Angeles series. 

Jay McInerney’s first book, Bright Lights, Big City, sold to Random House for $7500, and, when published in 1984, catapulted him into the ranks of literary sensation.  Since then, he’s written six other novels, a collection of short stories, and three collections of essays on wine. A student of Raymond Carver and a former fact-checker at The New Yorker, McInerney wrote a wine column for the Wall Street Journal for four years. He lives in New York City and Bridgehampton, New York.

David L. Ulin is a 2015 Guggenheim Fellow, and the author of Sidewalking: Coming to Terms with Los Angeles, which was shortlisted for the PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay. He is the former book editor and book critic of the Los Angeles Times.

McInerney’s first novel in ten years unfolds across a period of stupendeous change—including Obama’s historic election and the global economic collapse. In Bright, Precious Days, he revists his characters Corinne and Russell Calloway, who are living the dream life in New York City.  They find themselves — and their marriage — tested more severely than they ever could have imagined, as Russell, an independent publisher, encounters an audacious, potentially game-changing opportunity, and Corinne, devoted to feeding the poor, faces a man with whom she’d had an ill-fated affair in the wake of 9/11.  


Direct download: LTLA.Jay_McInerney.mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:53am EDT

This talk took place October 18, 2016, at the Moss Theatre in Santa Monica, CA as part of Live Talks Los Angeles series. 

Jane Alexander has appeared in 75 films, including Testament, Kramer vs. Kramer, All the President’s Men, The Great White Hope, Brubaker, The Cider House Rules, Sunshine State, Feast of Love, and Terminator Salvation. She has performed in more than 100 plays, among them The Great White HopeThe Visit and The Sisters Rosensweig, appearing on Broadway, London’s West End, and in regional theaters from Atlanta to Los Angeles. She has received, in addition to a Tony and two Emmys, an Obie, a Drama Desk Award, and a Theatre World Award, as well as being inducted into the Theater Hall of Fame. She is an impassioned wildlife proponent and conservationist, and former chairperson of the National Endowment for the Arts.  In 2012, she received the Indianapolis Prize’s inaugural Jane Alexander Global Wildlife Ambassador Award. She lives in upstate New York and Nova Scotia with her husband, the award-winning director Ed Sherin.

Terrence McNally, a strategic communications consultant who helps organizations tell better stories, hosts a weekly interview show on the Progressive Voices Network on TuneIn and a monthly podcast with Harvard’s Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering. All podcasts can be found here.  For 17 years he hosted an interview show, Free Forum, on KPFK.

Wild Things, Wild Places: Adventurous Tales of Wildlife and Conservation and Conservation on Planet Earth, Jane Alexander writes of her steady and fervent immersion into the worlds of wildlife conservation, how she’s come to know the scientists throughout the world–to her, the prophets in the wilderness–who are steeped in this work, of her travels to the most remote and forbidding areas of the world as they try to save many species, including ourselves.

Direct download: LTLA.Jane_Alexander.mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:49am EDT

This talk took place September 8, 2016, at the the theatre at United Talent Agency in Beverly Hills, CA as part of Live Talks Los Angeles series. 

Dr. Daniel J. Levitin is the author of three #1 bestselling books: This is Your Brain on Music, The World in Six Songs and The Organized Mind.  He is also the James McGill Professor of Psychology and Behavioral Neuroscience at McGill University in Montreal, where he runs the Laboratory for Music Cognition, Perception and Expertise. 

Larry Vincent is the founder of UTA Brand Studio and serves as Chief Branding Officer at UTA. Over the last two decades, Larry has worked with globally beloved brands including Barbie, Disney, MasterCard, Microsoft, the NFL, Oakley, Playstation, Fisher-Price, and the Four Seasons. He is an award-winning writer and speaker whose last book, Brand Real, was selected by strategy+business magazine as one of the best business books of 2012.

Misinformation is a bigger problem than ever before as we’re bombarded with distortions, pseudo-facts and jibber-jabber, all masquerading as the truth.  It’s nothing new—especially when it comes to politicians— but we’ve created more human-made information in the last five years than in all of human history before then. And right along with it has come a proliferation of errors, lies, and manipulations that cross social and educational classes like never before. How do we separate the wheat from the digital chaff?

Levitin’s new book, A Field Guide to Lies: Critical Thinking in the Information Age is an indispensable and funny primer on how to recognize misleading announcements, graphs, and written reports, and how to think critically about the stories and statistics we encounter on a daily basis.  


Direct download: LTLA.Daniel_Levitin.mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:13am EDT

This talk took place September 8, 2016, at the Moss Theatre in Santa Monica as part of Live Talks Los Angeles series. 

Dr. Daniel J. Siegel is a clinical professor of psychiatry at the UCLA School of Medicine, where he also helped to establish the Mindful Awareness Research Center.  He also heads up the Mindsight Institute, an educational center devoted to promoting insight, compassion, and empathy in individuals, families, institutions, and communities. Dr. Siegel’s books include three New YorkTimes bestsellers: 
, and, with Tina Payne Bryson, Ph.D, The Whole-Brain Child and No-Drama Discipline. As a lecturer, he’s spoken before King of Thailand, Pope John Paul II, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, at Google University, and TEDx.

Paul Zak‘s two decades of research have taken him from the Pentagon to Fortune 50 boardrooms to the rain forest of Papua New Guinea.  All this in a quest to understand the neuroscience of human connection, human happiness, and effective teamwork.  His academic lab and companies he has started develop and deploy neuroscience technologies to solve real problems faced by real people.

Paul is the founding Director of the Center for Neuroeconomics Studies and Professor of Economics, Psychology and Management at Claremont Graduate University.

His latest book, Trust Factor: The Science of Creating High Performance Companies, uses neuroscience to measure and manage organizational cultures to inspire teamwork and accelerate business outcomes.  His 2012 book, The Moral Molecule: The Source of Love and Prosperity, recounted his unlikely discovery of the neurochemical oxytocin as the key driver of trust, love, and morality that distinguish our humanity.    

What we mean by the term “mind” has traditionally been the province of philosophers, but what might neuroscience teach us about it? How does the mind differ from consciousness? And how do we know who we really are? In Mind: A Journey to the Heart of Being Human, Dr. Siegel explores the nature of the who, how, what, why, and when of your mind—of your self—from the perspective of neuroscience. Mind is the essence of our true nature, our deepest sense of being alive, here, right now, in this moment. How science explains this most perplexing of topics is truly one of the most exciting journeys into knowledge we can take. 

Direct download: LTLA.Daniel_J._Siegel.mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

This talk took place October 26, 2016, at the Moss Theatre in Santa Monica, CA as part of the Live Talks Los Angeles series.

Carole Bayer Sager is an Oscar, Grammy and two time Golden Globe winner.  For five decades, she has been among the most admired and successful songwriters responsible for lyrical contributions to over 400 songs.  She recorded three solo albums and with Marvin Hamlisch and wrote the hit Broadway musical They’re Playing Our Song. She has collaborated with some of the greatest composers and musical artists of our time, including Bette Midler, Aretha Franklin, Whitney Houston, Frank Sinatra, Michael Jackson, Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds and Carole King, among many others. She is a member of the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame and was awarded a Star on Hollywood Boulevard.  

Interviewing Carole on the Live Talks stage is her friend, musical powerhouse and 11-time Grammy Award winner Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds, who’s written and produced more than 26 number-one hits.  His triple-platinum breakthrough album, Tender Lover, launched him into international superstardom in 1989. Last year’s Return of the Tender Lover was his first solo album in seven years. 
From Whitney Houston to Michael Jackson, Aretha Franklin to Mariah Carey, Babyface has worked with an encyclopedia of the greatest artists of our time. His most recent productions include collaborations with Barbra Streisand, Celine Dion, Ledisi, Colbie Caillat, Jennifer Hudson and Ariana Grande.  The prolific music man counts more than 150 top 10 R&B and pop hits, 42 R&B No. 1 hits and 51 top 10 pop hits (including 16 No. 1’s). His Grammy-award winning duet album with Toni Braxton, Love, Marriage and Divorce, was released in 2014. 
Babyface and Carole recently teamed up with songwriter Bruce Roberts on the Hillary Clinton campaign theme song, Stronger Together, sung by Jessica Sanchez. Babyface boasts an honor few other celebrities can: A stretch of I-65, which runs through his home town of Indianapolis, was named for him in 1999.
In her memoir, They’re Playing Our Song, Carole Bayer Sager shares the remarkably frank and darkly funny story of her life in and out of the recording studio, from her fascinating (and sometimes calamitous) relationships to her collaborations. There are tales of her two most significant collaborations (both of which were romantic) — Marvin Hamlisch, with whom she wrote Nobody Does It Better; and for 10 years she wrote songs and was married to Burt Bacharach, during which time they wrote That’s What Friends Are For which raised over 2 million dollars for AIDS research.  This book will fascinate anyone interested in the craft of songwriting and the joy of collaboration.  It’s also a deeply personal account of how love and heartbreak made Bayer Sager the woman, and the writer, she is. It reveals an unexpected side of Carole, a deeply personal account of a frightened and insecure woman finding her way. 
Direct download: LTLA.Carole_Bayer_Sager.mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:54am EDT

This talk took place October 13, 2016, at Barnum Hall in Santa Monica, CA as part of the Live Talks Los Angeles series.

Bryan Cranston won four Emmy Awards for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series for his portrayal of Walter White in AMC’s Breaking Bad. In 2014 he won a Tony Award for his role as Lyndon B. Johnson in the bio-play All the Way. In film, Cranston has won two Screen Actors Guild Awards and received an Academy Award nomination for his leading role in Trumbo. Among his numerous television and film appearances, he was nominated for a Golden Globe and three Emmys for his portrayal of Hal in FOX’s Malcolm in the Middle.

Jay Roach is the director of All The Way, based on the Tony-Award winning play by Robert Schenkkan. Bryan Cranston reprises his role as President Lyndon B. Johnson alongside Melissa Leo, Anthony Mackie and Frank Langella. 

Roach was awarded a total of four Emmy’s for his directing on the made for television movies Recount in 2008 and Game Change in 2012. As a director, his most recent film, Trumbo, stars Bryan Cranston as Dalton Trumbo, one of Hollywood’s blacklisted screenwriters in the 1940s. The film, which also stars Elle Fanning, Helen Mirren and Diane Lane, was released by Bleecker Street on November 6, 2015.  In addition, Roach is known for directing movies such as Meet the Parents, Meet the Fockers, the Austin Powers trilogy and The Campaign.

Along with directing, Roach has also spent time as a producer on a number of moves including 50 First Dates, The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, Borat, Little Fockers and Sisters.

In his riveting memoir, A Life in Parts, Bryan Cranston traces his zigzag journey from his chaotic childhood to mega stardom by vividly revisiting the many parts he’s played, on camera, including: astronaut, dentist, detective, candy bar spokesperson, and off–paperboy, farmhand, security guard, dating consultant, murder suspect, dock loader, son, brother, lover, husband, father.
Cranston chronicles his unlikely rise from a soap opera regular, trying to learn the ropes and the politics of show business on the fly, to a recurring spot as Tim Whatley on Seinfeld, finding himself an indelible part of popular culture. He recalls his run as the well-meaning goofball, Hal, on Malcolm in the Middle, gives a bracing account of his challenging run on Broadway as President Lyndon Johnson. 
He also dives deep into the grittiest, most fascinating details of his greatest role, explaining how he searched inward for the personal darkness that would help him create one of the most captivating performances ever captured on screen: Walter White, chemistry teacher turned drug kingpin.
Direct download: LTLA.Bryan_Cranston.mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:44am EDT

This talk took place September 19, 2016, at the Moss Theatre in Santa Monica as part of Live Talks Los Angeles series. 

Alan Cumming is an award-winning actor, artist, writer, activist, photographer, and raconteur. He has won an Olivier award for his work on the London stage, and a Tony for his work on Broadway; he appeared in all seven seasons of The Good Wife on CBS for which he received multiple Emmy and Golden Globe nominations. He is currently touring a cabaret show Alan Cumming Sings Sappy Songs and recently released an album of the same name. He is the author of novel Tommy’s Tale and the New York Times best-selling memoir Not My Father’s Son. He last appeared at Live Talks Los Angeles to mark the publication Not My Father’s Son.

Annabelle Gurwitch is the author of The New York Times bestseller I See You Made an Effort, a finalist for The Thurber Prize for American Humor Writing 2015. Other books: You Say Tomato, I Say Shut Up and Fired! The former co-host of Dinner and a Movie on TBS, her acting credits include television shows like Boston Legal, Dexter, Medium and Seinfeld and critically acclaimed appearances on stage Off-Broadway and in regional theaters. Her writing appears in The New Yorker, The New York Times, O Magazine, More, The Los Angeles Times and NPR. Her theatrical adaptation of I See You Made an Effort hit the road for a national tour in late 2016. She most recently is the author of a new memoir Where Ever You Go, There They Are released in 2017.

Put David Sedaris and Glenn O’Brien in a blender and add a dash of New York and Hollywood gossip, and you wind up with Alan Cumming. In You Gotta Get Bigger Dreams: And Other Stories, Alan Cumming takes the reader on a wild journey of pithy and cheeky fun, presenting his real-life stories of debauchery during late night Hollywood parties, behind-the-scenes anecdotes, and hilarious yet poignant memories of his life, family, and friends. In this new book, he recounts hysterical and sometimes embarrassing encounters, from awkwardly entertaining Elizabeth Taylor at Carrie Fisher’s birthday party to being on a movie set with Helen Mirren and being mocked for wearing Croc sandals to making a friend’s day by chasing down Oprah at a glitzy gala for a prized photograph with her. These forty-five stories are humorous novellas, each featuring memorable photographs—many simply snapshots taken by Cumming—that document or illustrate the tale told.

Direct download: LTLA.Alan_Cumming.mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:32am EDT