Category Archives: Theater

interviews with producers, directors, actors, etc.

be the change


October 3, 2012

This week’s topic: Be the Change

until i can figure out how to embed the podomatic player, click here to listen to the podcast.

Jocelyn Kay Lee, creator, director, and performer at “Wee Yogis Play”
Thea Mercouffer, filmmaker of “Rock the Boat – Saving America’s Wildest River”
Aaron Paley, co-founder and Executive Producer of CicLAvia

Featured Music:
Be the Change (The Story of Mahatma Gandhi), MC Yogi (audio from YouTube video)
Just Believe, Kaylee Smiles
Namaste, Kaylee Smiles
One River, Benjy Wertheimer & John de Kadt
Let’s Talk About Occupation (We Are The 99%) Official Music Video, Guido Corleone (audio from YouTube video)

* * * * * * * *

it’s now october, national yoga month is over, and after five weeks of nothing but interviews about yoga, my initial thought was to have guests who were involved with anything other than yoga on the show…

so i searched my email inbox as well as my facebook feed for ideas. but since half of my messages/feed are about yoga and the other half are about everything else, it was almost inevitable that i’d find something yoga-related that i REALLY wanted to mention. and, in this case, it was 143rd anniversary of mahatma gandhi’s birthday on october 2nd and the gandhi-inspired “be the change” video that MC yogi had just released.

speaking of anniversaries and change, the first anniversary of the occupy LA movement was on october 1st, so i also wanted to share the video guido corleone (and yes, it’s a pseudonym) posted in honor of the occasion.

there was an email i’d received from george wolfe of LA river expeditions that said: “This Thursday, October 4th, is the LA Premiere of an awesome new documentary— all about the LA River and its revitalization, as well as other important issues related to how we use our steadily shrinking water resources…” since i was fortunate enough to have actually paddled a kayak up and down a section of the river with george’s expedition group, i reached out to him, and he put me in touch with the filmmaker of “rock the boat“, thea mercouffer. who also happens to be his wife.

i knew that i was going to be riding my bike at cicLAvia this coming sunday, october 7th, and i knew that many of my westside friends still had NO idea what this uber-awesome bike/walk/dance/play event was all about. so i contacted the cicLAvia PR people and they set me up with aaron paley, one of the original people responsible for making it happen in the first place.

with the conscious life expo opening near LAX this weekend for a three-day run, i reached out to the organizers for an interview; unfortunately, they were in the midst of event prep work and had to decline my request. but as if divine intervention were looking out for me, a message landed in my inbox about “wee yogis play“, the first-ever yoga musical for kids. it turned out that a good number of the performers in the musical are yoga teachers i know and/or have heard about, so i immediately contacted them and got jocelyn kay lee on the show.

i added some music from “wee yogis play” and the title track from benjy wertheimer and john de kadt’s  “one river” album, and boom — we have a show!

of course, i didn’t count on the website being down while my show was supposed to air live. so the only person on the show who knew what was going on was yours truly. i suppose worse things could’ve happened.

as for the show IOU’s, i.e., the links to ticket purchase sites, here they are:

“wee yogis play” at the magicopolis theatre on saturday and sunday, oct 13th-14th 5pm: indiegogo

“rock the boat” at the downtown independent theater on thursday, oct 4th 7pm: brown paper tickets

and here’s the link to the “hungry for change” film: FREE online screener

i also mentioned the wrong url for my podcast site. it’s NOT — you’d think i’d be able to say it in my sleep by now!

finally, i searched the internet and found out there was no one named guido corleone in “the godfather”. shows you how bad i am with movie trivia… which is why this show is called “yoga chat” and not “movie chat” 🙂


olympic fever!


August 15, 2012

This week’s topic: Olympic Fever!

until i can figure out how to embed the podomatic player, click here to listen to the podcast.

Asuka Hisa, Director of Education at Santa Monica Museum of Art
Jessica Hooper, yoga instructor
Shari Goodhartz, yoga instructor

Featured Music:
Hanuman 2, Girish
Hanuman Baba (Dub Farm Remix), Krishna Das
Hanuman Jump, Jai Uttal
Hanuman Chalisa, Bhagavan Das

* * * * * * *  *

the seventeen-or-so days of the 2012 london summer olympics are now history. the US athletes did exceedingly well and came away with more medals than any other country, with the women athletes earning more medals than the men. girls rule!!

thanks to a few slow days at work, i was able to sit at my desk and watch the livestream feed of the cycling, swimming, diving, water polo, beach volleyball, soccer, and gymnastics events. and when i missed those, i’d tune in to the late night replay to catch up on the news so i could keep up with the ongoing conversations on facebook and twitter 🙂

so with a hat tip to the games of the 30th olympiad, i thought it fun to have an olympics-inspired episode. i ran down the list of events that caught my interest… and ended up with cycling and training with balls.  and to add a bit of controversy, i threw in the topic of yoga as an olympic sport.

i rounded up an eclectic group of guests:

– asuka hisa of the santa monica museum of art who talked about this weekend’s cause for creativity: tour da arts bike event at bergamot station

– jessica hooper, a yoga tune up instructor who uses balls (among other props) to help students get more in tune with their bodies while stretching and toning

– shari goodhartz, a yoga teacher who specializes in yoga therapy and philosophy

and while the only exposure i had to the long jump and high jump events was through the nightly news recaps, i thought it would be cute to imagine hanuman in his own olympic event — because, as we know, no one would even come close to achieving the distances he can! the hanuman-centered music selections were from girish, krishna das, jai uttal, and bhagavan das, gold medal wallahs in the kirtan world (if there were such a thing!)

for those new to the bike community in los angeles, these were the organizations asuka  mentioned in her segment:

– LA county bicycle coalition – LACBC works to build a better, more bike-able Los Angeles County. LACBC is the only nonprofit, membership-based organization working exclusively for the millions of bicyclists in Los Angeles County.

– C.I.C.L.E. – We are a Los Angeles based not-for-profit helping riders of all ages and skill levels use bicycles for everyday transportation. We believe that bicycling can improve our health, build community, save us money, and protect our environment …all while being fun!

– santa monica spoke – As a local chapter of the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition, (LACBC) we are dedicated to improving biking in the City of Santa Monica. We are a community based group working to make Santa Monica more sustainable, and a better place to live, bike, walk, work and play.

– cicLAvia – CicLAvia makes the streets safe for people to walk, skate, play and ride a bike. There are activities along the route. Shop owners and restaurants are encouraged to open their doors to people along the CicLAvia. The next event will be on Sunday, October 7th.

here’s the link to the FREE jazz event located right around the corner from bergamot station: jazz on the lawn

this was the article shari and i referred to during her segment: Should Yoga Be An Olympic Sport?

i hope you have as much fun listening to this episode as we had talking with each other!

postcards on the ledge


July 11, 2012

This week’s topic: Postcards on the Ledge

until i can figure out how to embed the podomatic player, click here to listen to the podcast.

Annie Freeman, yoga instructor and choreographer of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”
Jules Mitchell, director of South Bay Yoga Conference
Dan Ward, yoga instructor and co-founder of Yoga Bike Gang
Sean Gray, yoga instructor and co-founder of Yoga Bike Gang

Featured Music:
Evensong, Dave Tate & Victoria Lagerstrom
Gayatri Mantra, BhaktiMa Kirtan
Gaia Nectar, Masood Ali Khan
Radhe Shyam, Breath of Life Tribe

* * * * * * * *

it was one of those weeks when i realized i had no idea what the theme of the show was going to be.

ever the procrastinator, i decided to declutter the stack of stuff on my desk to delay the inevitable. and it was while i was sorting through the abundance of flyers that i realized i had the topic of the next show staring me right in the face: yoga postcards! i could interview the people who’d handed them out and ask them all about the events they were promoting. and i’m sure i’d have no problem getting people to talk, especially since it was essentially a free promo for them.

i picked an eclectic mix of events and contacted the organizers. and to my relief, they all said yes!

the first one was a flyer for annie freeman’s yoga class at archway studio and theatre in downtown LA. it turns out that she and her partner were about to unleash a unique concept in theatre: a shakespearean play with some yogic touches thrown in. and in a stroke of perfect timing, it was opening the day after the show was to air. yeehaa.

the second one was for the upcoming south bay yoga conference in redondo beach. who says only the westside can lay claim to having an abundance of yoga classes and music? it was also refreshing to be able to deal with the conference director directly instead of with their PR staff  😛

and in deference to my obsession with all things bikey (and yoga, too, of course), i reached out to dan ward and sean gray, organizers of the yoga bike gang ride in santa monica which would be held the weekend of the show. yay bikes!

the music fell into place organically – music from free downloads (thanks, yogitunes, for the dave tate/victoria lagerstrom track!) as well as from musicians who would be performing at the yoga conference and at kirtans over the weekend: bhaktima kirtan, masood ali khan, and the breath of life tribe.

there were a few issues that came up during the taping of the live show, mainly having to do with someone at the studio monkeying with the mixing board connections and not returning them to their normal settings. it was a great chance for me to practice calming breathwork…

as a thank-you gift to all yoga chat listeners, here are some deals that were offered on the show:

annie freeman is offering $8 off the price of tickets to “a midsummer night’s dream” at the archway near little tokyo — just say you heard about it on this show. and make sure you catch a performance before its run ends on august 18th. thanks, annie!

jules mitchell is offering 15% off the cost of passes to the south bay yoga conference. use code JULY15 to get the discount through the end of july. thanks, jules!

and don’t forget that all yoga bike riders will be getting 10% off their bill at the post-yoga/bike lunch at wurstkuche. thanks, dan and sean!