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Friday, January 22, 2021

Janeane speaks with Starr Parodi, an innovative solo artist, pianist, multi award-winning composer and producer. She is also an honoree in the 2021 SHE ROCKS AWARDS!

Starr Parodi first entered the public eye playing keyboards as part of the house band on the hit late-night Arsenio Hall Show and has played, toured or recorded with a wide array of artists including Carole King, George Howard, BB King and Mavis Staples. Since then she has become a vibrant part of the Los Angeles composing community, scoring hundreds of episodes of TV & film as well as being a passionate and innovative solo artist, pianist and producer whose work has been featured on NPR, The BBC, KCRW and iHEART Radio. 

As a multi award-winning composer, Starr has had her symphonic works premiered at Lincoln Center, received a gold record for her production/arrangement of the James Bond Theme and is the first woman to have her compositions performed in the 87-year history of the Festival of Arts-Pageant of the Masters where she is currently a featured composer. Starr is also currently president of the Alliance for Women Film Composers and champions opportunities for women in film and TV.

READ her full bio here.

Excited to share my conversation with Cherie Currie who will be honored at the 2021 SHE ROCKS AWARDS Friday January 22, 2021!

Cherie Currie’s extraordinary life reads like fiction. From her time as a teenage rock star to becoming an accomplished Chainsaw Carving artist, Cherie has always taken the road less traveled. Cherie was just 15 when she became the lead singer of The Runaways, and within a month the band secured a deal with Mercury Records. After leaving The Runaways, Cherie began a lengthy solo career that includes collaborations with Slash, Brie Darling, Billy Corgan, The Veronicas and more. Her most recent solo album, Blvds of Splendor, touches on her retro appeal while marking the strong foothold Cherie has cultivated in modern mass appeal.

Photo credit: Robert Sebree

Cherie Currie released a new solo album produced by Matt Sorum (Guns N' Roses, Velvet Revolver). Blvds of Splendor via Blackheart Records in April 2020. 

Click here to watch "Behind The Scenes" footage of Cherie & Matt during the making of the album: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ljnky6xbnTg

Blvds of Splendor features guest collaborations with Billy Corgan of Smashing Pumpkins, Slash and Duff from Guns N’ Roses, as well as Juliette Lewis, Brody Dalle, The Veronicas and drummer Matt Sorum,

Consequence of Sound

Rolling Stone

The special digital only release features three bonus tracks (including a remake of The Runaways classic “Queens of Noise” featuring Brody Dalle, The Veronicas, Juliette Lewis and Matt Sorum paying homage to late Runaways drummer Sandy West). "Queens of Noise" is offered as an instant grat track when you pre-order the album: https://presave.io/t/cheriecurrie.

View the Queens of Noise Recording Session

Cherie Currie Returns with New Star-Studded Solo Album
“Blvds of Splendor”Set For Release Via Blackheart Records April 28, 2020

Billy Corgan, Slash, Matt Sorum, Duff, Juliette Lewis and more make guest appearances
Digital-Only Release Features Remake of The Runaways Classic “Queens of Noise”

Click here https://youtu.be/ZrJxqCrfBWk to view In-Studio footage
of “Queens of Noise” Recording Session

Click here to watch "Behind The Scenes" footage of Cherie & Matt during the making of the album: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ljnky6xbnTg

Los Angeles, CA – April 8, 2020 - 70’s Icon and Ex-Runaways singer Cherie Currie has confirmed a release date for her latest solo project which features a bevy of rocks finest on the new album, Blvds of Splendor. The album is set to be released digitally on April 28, 2018 via Blackheart Records Pre-Order Link and features guest collaborations with Billy Corgan of Smashing Pumpkins, Slash and Duff from Guns N’ Roses, as well as Juliette Lewis, Brody Dalle, The Veronicas and ex-Guns N’ Roses, Velvet Revolver drummer Matt Sorum, who also produced the set. “Cherie’s voice tells it all, she is the real deal. And now more than ever that voice tells the story of where’s she’s been in her life. This record is about who Cherie Currie is now. We’ve waited a long time to hear this icon of Rock N’ Roll do what she does best. I’m very proud to be a part of this album by one of the best female singers of all time.” said Matt.

Photo credit: Robert Sebree

Blvds of Splendor has been a labor of love as Cherie & Matt originally began work on it back in 2010 when Cherie was promoting The Runaways movie (currently streaming on Netflix) which stars Dakota Fanning as Cherie and Kristen Stewart as Joan Jett. The tracks languished in the vaults for years while Cherie went back to work on her chainsaw carvings (see here: CNN) and did other studio work for 2015’s Reverie release, which features some of the last works of legendary Runaways manager/producer Kim Fowley.

In 2016, Cherie was set to release Blvds of Splendor when she had a near death accident while chainsaw carving falling over 12 feet to the ground off of a hilltop scaffolding. The accident left Cherie with partial facial paralysis and severe head trauma for over 10 months. After her recovery, she met and went in the studio with Fanny drummer & vocalist Brie Darling and in 2019 they released their critically acclaimed The Motivator album via Blue Elan Records. Cherie is back to chainsaw carving again and is ready to finally release Blvds of Splendor. “I’ve never had so much fun making a record before. We all looked at each other and went, ‘Oh my God, there’s magic happening here” Cherie said.

Blvds of Splendor was released on 180 Gram Translucent Red Vinyl for Record Store Day in 2019 with a limited run of 3000 copies. This will be the first time the album is available worldwide digitally for the fans. The digital release features three bonus tracks (including a remake of The Runaways classic “Queens of Noise” featuring Brody Dalle, The Veronicas, Juliette Lewis and Matt Sorum paying homage to late Runaways drummer Sandy West) that were not included on the Record Store Day vinyl release. "Queens of Noise" will be offered as an instant grat track when you pre-order the album: https://presave.io/t/cheriecurrie. View the Queens of Noise Recording Session

Blvds of Splendor full album track listing

1. Mr. X
2. Roxy Roller
3. You Wreck Me
4. Black Magic
5. Blvds of Splendor
6. Force To Be Reckoned With
7. Bad and Broken
8. Rock & Roll Oblivion
9. Shades
10. Draggin' the Line
11. Breakout
12. The Air That I Breathe
13. What Do All the People Know? – Bonus Track
14. Gimme – Bonus Track

15. Queens of Noise – Bonus Track



American Songwriter Magazine Interview HERE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: OCTOBER 1, 2020 - Former Runaways vocalist Cherie Currie has released one of her all-time favorite songs with “What The World Needs Now Is Love.”

You can watch the video HERE featuring Cherie and an all-star band all filmed separately in quarantine. Pre-save the single HERE & HERE which will be released Friday, October 2.

This timeless classic written by Burt Bacharach & Hal David and originally recorded by Jackie DeShannon exudes the hopeful message of spreading love into the world with its signature lyric: “What the world needs now is love, sweet love. No not just for some but for everyone.” A message that couldn’t ring more true in these current times.

Cherie says – “Driving back from my sister Marie’s house in Henderson NV over July 4th weekend I was listening to the Forrest Gump soundtrack Marie had gifted me. When “What the World Needs Now Is Love” came on I put it on repeat to sing along. I was struck with how prevalent this song is, especially today. Right at that moment Dave Schulz called me and I shared my thoughts on the song. “Let’s do it!” and Dave set off on making this possible. His talent as a producer and player are so obvious as to why he has had the successful career he has. Dave Schulz brought in wonderful players! Even the violinist who worked with Burt Bacharach. The final key was reaching out to my long time friend, vocalist Julie Ragins to complete the chill factor on the end of the song. My dear friend and publicist Ken Phillips was onboard from the start stating this was a timeless song in a time where what we REALLY need is love. Love created this. From our hearts to the world. Love really is the answer!”

The track was produced by keyboardist /vocalist Dave Schulz (Goo Goo Dolls, Berlin, The Sweet, Wang Chung), who selected a few of his supremely talented A-list musician friends for the occasion.

“During the lockdown, I have been producing an entertaining and quirky series of "quarantine style" songs/videos for my youtube channel and had randomly said to Cherie "Let’s do a duet!" She immediately got excited because she happened to be driving along at that exact moment ...and had heard "What The World Needs Now Is Love" (Jackie DeShannon's version of the Burt Bacharach classic) in her car and thought what a great message that would be for our times. Of course I was ecstatic at the idea. I'm a HUGE Burt Bacharach fan and couldn’t agree with her more. I immediately enlisted a few of my favorite session musicians / friends. It truly was a blast to create and I think it’s great for Cherie, especially, since it’s not something her fans will expect from her. We're so excited about it...we may even do an entire album like this! – says Dave

Bass - Tony Levin (King Crimson, Peter Gabriel, John Lennon)

Drums - Randy Cooke (Ringo Starr, Dave Stewart, Five For Fighting, Colbie Caillat)

Strings - Eliza James (Burt Bacharach, Paul Anka)

Backing Vocals - Sharlotte Gibson (Nine Inch Nails, Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey) and

Julie Ragins (Moody Blues, Queen Latifah) with strings recorded by Matthew King Ross (David Foster, Barbara Streisand). Audio mixed & video edited by Sammy Burke

Follow Cherie Currie:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cherie.currie.58

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/cheriecurrieofficial/

Cherie Currie Official Website: cheriecurrie.com

Learn more about Cherie and her chainsaw carving here: http://www.chainsawchick.com/about.html

Album cover photo credit: Robert Sebree

For interview opportunities with Cherie Currie and Matt Sorum

please contact: KpPublicityGroup@gmail.com and http://kenphillipsgroup.com/currie.htm

Thursday, January 21, 2021

Coming up at the SHE ROCKS AWARDS - Ann Mincieli, Mad Skills Award - GRAMMY-winning recording engineer, studio coordinator for Alicia Keys and co-founder of NYC-destination studio Jungle City Studios

Ann Mincieli, Mad Skills Award - GRAMMY-winning recording engineer, studio coordinator for Alicia Keys and co-founder of NYC-destination studio Jungle City

"If you focus on being great, then no matter who you are
and what you want to achieve, your success will follow."

A sought-after recording engineer, Ann Mincieli fell in love with the idea of engineering around 1990. Since then she has worked on albums for the likes of Alicia Keys, Jay-Z, Drake, Mariah Carey, Usher, Jennifer Hudson, and Whitney Houston.

WATCH: https://youtu.be/N5xLPO9nfi8

Serving as the regular engineer for much of Keys' work, Mincieli earned her first career GRAMMY for Best R&B Album as the engineer on The Diary Of Alicia Keys at the 47th GRAMMY Awards. She earned a second career GRAMMY in the same category at the 56th GRAMMYs for Keys' Girl On Fire.

Mincieli is the co-founder of Jungle City Studios in New York. Thanks to her skill as a sound engineer and her large collection of vintage gear, including a vintage Versatone Bass amp played by the Wrecking Crew's Carol Kaye and 20-plus '70s and '80s era drum machines.

Did you know? According to an interview she did with Atlantic Records, her favorite piece of gear is the Telefunken M16 microphone.

In 2018 Mincieli was featured as part of the Recording Academy's "We Are Music," campaign, which was designed to showcase the creators the Academy represents.

About Ann Mincieli

Ann Mincieli is a renowned Engineer, Mixer, Collaborator and Album Project Manager for Alicia Keys. Since 2018, Mincieli has been involved with She is the Music, a nonprofit organization dedicated to increasing the number of women working in music across all levels. The 2x GRAMMY® winner has worked with some of music’s biggest acts including Mariah Carey and Jay-Z, among others. Mincieli is the owner of Jungle City Studios, which is one of New York’s most elegant and best equipped recording facilities in the world. As a prominent leader in the music industry, Mincieli has been at the forefront of the movement to restore Manhattan to its former prestige as one of the world’s top recording destinations.

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Laura B. Whitmore, Founder of The Women’s International Music Network™ (The WiMN) and the SHE ROCKS AWARDS - Coming up January 22, 2021! RSVP NOW!

Laura B. Whitmore, Founder of The Women’s International
Music Network™ (The WiMN) and the SHE ROCKS AWARDS 

The She Rocks Awards honors women in the music & audio industries.

Join the event live on Friday, January 22, 2021
Pre-show: 6:00 pm PT / 9:00 pm ET Awards begin 6:30pm PT / 9:30pm ET

The Women’s International Music Network™ (The WiMN) brings women from all facets of the music industry. The organization produces events, creates opportunities for performance and networking and works to bring the conversation around diversity in the industry into the forefront. The WiMN seeks to create a hub to connect women in all facets of the music industry and works to expose role models, events and educational opportunities that focus on women in music.

Founded in 2012 by Laura B. Whitmore, a veteran marketer of the musical instrument and audio industries, the Women’s International Music Network site (TheWiMN.com) hosts interveiws, news, events, and a community forum for women from all walks of the industry. In 2020 they will launch the new She Rocks Podcast, featuring interviews with women in music.

SHE ROCKS 2021 Honorees! See the LIST!


Founded in 2012 by the Women’s International Music Network, the She Rocks Awards honors trailblazing women from all areas of the industry– from educators, to label execs, manufacturers, non-profits, media, performers, engineers, and more. Past honorees include Melissa Etheridge, Gloria Gaynor, Tal Wilkenfeld, Nita Strauss, Pat Benatar, The Bangles, Suzi Quatro, The B-52s, Colbie Caillat, Sheila E., Linda Perry, Chaka Khan, Ronnie Spector, Lita Ford, Esperanza Spalding, Shirley Manson and many others. A complete list of previous honorees is here.

Each year, the She Rocks Awards attracts music icons, artists, industry professionals, fans and media for a one-of-a-kind event that shines the spotlight on women who stand out in the industry, and offers a high energy evening of performances, networking opportunities, giveaways, a silent auction and more.

Questions or comments? Contact us at info@thewimn.com

Laura B. Whitmore is a graduate of Hofstra University with a B.S. in Music Merchandising and an M.B.A. in Marketing. As the marketing manager for Korg USA for 20 years, she was instrumental in marketing, PR and artist relations for the Korg, Marshall, and VOX brands. She was also editor of Korg’s ProView Magazine. Prior to that, she worked in the Direct Marketing department of CBS Records.

In 2008 Whitmore left Korg USA and founded Mad Sun Marketing, a boutique agency that specializes in marketing, PR, artist relations, event production, graphic design, and more for music and audio companies. Past and current clients of Mad Sun include Positive Grid, ArtistWorks, 108 Rock Star Guitars, Academic Superstore, Acoustic Amplification, Agile Partners, Breedlove Guitars, Colby Amplifiers, Dean Markley USA, Korg, KVRaudio, MusicFirst, Muse Research, NewBay Media, Notion Music, Peavey, SIR Entertainment Services, SIR Stage37, SoundTree, Sterling Audio, Take Me To The River, and more.

Today she is the Vice President of Marketing for Positive Grid, an innovative, forward-thinking music industry hardware and software company.

Whitmore was the editor of Guitar World’s AcousticNation.com and the creator of the GuitarWorld.com featured blog series, Guitar Girl’d. She writes regularly for industry media outlets including Parade.com, Guitar World, Acoustic Guitar, MI Professional, In Tune and more. Whitmore has hosted and moderated many workshops and panels at events such as NAMM, Digital Hollywood, and SXSW on the topics of women in music, marketing, PR, apps and music making, songwriting, and more.

In 2015 she and Brad Tolinski (former editor of Guitar World) launched a live event series called BackStory (backstoryevents.com) that is streamed live with major media partners like Guitar World, Parade.com and AOL.com. Guests have included Ringo Starr, Andy Grammer, Paula Cole, Orianthi, Colbie Caillat, Amy Lee, Ace Frehley, Roger Waters, Zakk Wylde, Tom Jones and many more.

Whitmore is a also a singer/songwriter and acoustic guitarist. She and her co-writer Jenna Paone will be releasing an album in 2020. She currently lives in Massachusetts and has two amazing children, Emma and Cole, and two sweet little dogs, Zillie and Luna.

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

My Divorce Party - The Movie Comedy feature about lifelong female friends helping their BFF through divorce!

Invest in My Divorce Party - The Movie:
Comedy feature about lifelong female friends helping
their BFF through divorce! | Wefunder

Executive Producer - Divorce Party: The Movie

One of the Producers of "Take Me To Tarzana." Producer of episodic short film selected in Tribeca Film Festival's N.O.W. Showcase 2020. Desiree has acted in multiple award wining and distributed projects, and is a respected actress in the Industry.

Logline: Future divorcee, Xan gathers her closest friends in Joshua Tree to celebrate (or more appropriately sulk in) her impending split. Chaos ensues when she reveals she brought her divorce settlement money to the party with the intention of blowing or burning it all by the weekend’s end.

Synopsis: On the eve of finalizing Alexandra 'Xan' Lynch’s divorce, she decides to gather her closest comrades in Joshua Tree to relax, celebrate, and more appropriately, sulk. The gang arrives at their less than tranquil lodging, an RV park in the middle of nowhere (no, it isn’t a ‘low-key’ chic one). They meet their neighbors Ezekiel, a pansexual hick, and Amara, and an Instagram bohemian hippie (neither are low-key chic either). That evening, Xan drunkenly spirals out of control. She pulls out a bag and begins taking out large amounts of money, throwing it into the fire. Her equally inebriated friends quickly get over their shock and confusion to stop her from burning her entire life savings. She reveals half will be going to her cheating husband come Monday in their divorce settlement. Lines are soon drawn as every friend has a different opinion on what Xan should do with the money.

Samantha, always practical, wants her to invest in a conservative long-term mutual fund. Jasmine, three years in recovery, wants her to selflessly donate all of the money to different women's shelters and nature preserves. Isabella (who is trying to hide her own recent engagement) thinks Xan should use it for her own self-care and Wendy, every group needs a wildcard, just wants her to piss it all away on strippers and drugs. Xan decides to split the cash evenly between each of her friends, with only one caveat: they must spend it all this weekend. They each get to live out their ideal way of helping their friend through this heartbreak. As they spend their way through Joshua Tree the group learns that maybe Xan is not owning up to the whole story and tensions begin to rise. As Xan and her friends’ tensions come to a head, Ezekiel and Amara plot to steal the rest of Xan’s savings. Luckily, like Ezekiel and Amara, the plot wasn’t too deep and the gang quickly sabotages them. Although they were able to band together and dupe the couple’s scam, the damage Xan has done to her friends is irreversible. Xan’s only goal now is to get the few relationships that matter back on track.

Comparable Films:

Divorce Party is a female-driven, fresh, exciting, and hilarious feature film in the same spirit of BRIDESMAIDS, GIRLS TRIP, BOOKSMART, RAISING ARIZONA, ROUGH NIGHT, and more! We think this story is extremely marketable to all women, and our goal is this film be not only relatable to millenials and Gen-X, but women of all ages!

RSVP TO WATCH THE SHE ROCKS AWARDS This Friday, January 22, 2021 Sponsored by Positive Grid

The She Rocks Awards honors women 
in the music & audio industries.
Join us live on Friday, January 22, 2021
Pre-show: 6:00 pm PT / 9:00 pm ET Awards 
begin 6:30pm PT / 9:30pm ET

Register to watch it live:

This Friday, January 22, 2021

Sponsored by Positive Grid

The 9th Annual She Rocks Awards is just days away! Our honoree and performer lineup includes Nancy Wilson of Heart, The Go-Go’s, Cherie Currie; drummer Cindy Blackman Santana, Evanescence front woman Amy Lee, comedian Margaret Cho, and many other amazing female role models. Join us for this year's fabulous online show hosted by Lzzy Hale (Halestorm), pre-show hosted by Lyndsey Parker (Yahoo Entertainment/ SiriusXM) with opening act Magnolia Boulevard sponsored by PRS Guitars. Plus, we have a few surprise guest appearances in store! 

The She Rocks Awards will stream live on Friday January 22, 2021. The event begins with our virtual red carpet at 5pm PT/8pm ET hosted by John Stapleton of M.A.C Cosmetics, followed by the pre-show starting at 6pm PT/9pm ET. The awards ceremony begins at 6:30pm PT/9:30pm ET on Believeinmusic.TV, Parade.com and AXS.TV. Click below and RSVP for the link to watch the show!

Coming up soon! Liz Atherton, Founder of CASTVOICES


Liz Atherton is a veteran of the talent business with more than thirty years experience as the founder of one of the top talent agencies in the industry, as well as a tech entrepreneur.

Liz started her professional career as a project manager for a Fortune 10 company with world-wide engineering and product reach. However, she was always drawn to the entertainment industry having been raised by arguably the top jingle producer ever, Jodie Lyons. And while her dad would pull her into the studio now and again, Liz’s real interest was in streamlining the business behind the business.

Living in Austin during the heyday of Texas TV and Film production, Liz took her love of talent and technology and founded The Atherton Group (TAG) Talent Agency. TAG grew into one of the top boutique agencies in the U.S. (and one of the first in the world with an online presence). With operations in California, Texas, and Louisiana, and bookings worldwide, TAG consistently appeared in the top 1% list of IMDB’s “power” talent agencies.

Liz sold her interests in TAG in 2018 and founded EANK, Inc., an enterprise business-to-business system comprised of CastVoices, CastActors and ProductionJunction – soon to become the trifecta for securing work in the Film/TV and VO industries. CastVoices, the first vertical, is set to launch this spring as the new “home base” for VO talent, Agents, and Casting Directors.

Liz attended the University of North Texas graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Management with a major in Personnel Management and Organization Behaviour, and minors in Math and Psychology. She currently lives in Austin, Texas, and is the proudest mom of 4 amazing children who have grown up into successful, philanthropic adults, and a dog named Fish!

Liz Atherton - LinkedIn



Coming up! From Super Bowl champion and literacy crusader Malcolm Mitchell comes an exciting new story that shows even reluctant readers that there is a book out there for everyone! My Very Favorite Book in the Whole Wide World by Malcolm Mitchell

From Super Bowl champion and literacy crusader Malcolm Mitchell comes an exciting new story that shows even reluctant readers that there is a book out there for everyone!

Meet Henley, an all-around good kid, who hates to read. When he's supposed to be reading, he would rather do anything else. But one day, he gets the scariest homework assignment in the world: find your favorite book to share with the class tomorrow.

What's a kid to do? How can Henley find a story that speaks to everything inside of him?

Malcolm Mitchell, bestselling author of The Magician's Hat, pulls from his own literary triumph to deliver another hilarious and empowering picture book for readers of all abilities. Through his advocacy and his books, Malcolm imparts the important message that every story has the potential to become a favorite.

Coming up! David Fishof COO Rock n Roll Fantasy Camp talks about the opening on 1/15/21 of ROCK CAMP - THE MOVIE and more!





As seen on ABC News, RollingStone.com, Billboard,
Consequences of Sound, and more!


Summer camp meets Spinal Tap as we journey to Rock' n' Roll Fantasy Camp, where dreamers from across America and around the world gather to shred with their heroes - and learn to rock like the legends.

Rock Camp is an institution and cultural phenomenon that has been going on in Los Angeles, New York, and other cities since 1996. Rock Camp is the brainchild of music producer David Fishof. It boasts a jaw-dropping array of rock star "counselors" that include Roger Daltrey, Alice Cooper, Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons, Nancy Wilson, Joe Perry, Jeff Beck, Slash, and countless other rock legends.

Directed and produced by Doug Blush, co-directed and edited by Renee Barron, and produced by Jeff Rowe, Rock Camp, The Movie takes us back more than four decades to the beginnings Fishof's career as a sports agency and eventually an entertainment executive and music producer. Fishof founded Rock' n' Roll Fantasy Camp, which has been making dream comes true for more than 25 years. The camp brings together musicians from all walks of life for an unforgettable experience with legendary rock stars. These musicians teach, inspire, and jam with the campers over four days., concluding with a life performance at a famed venue.

The experience takes music lovers from spectator to the stage, sharing the limelight with their musical heroes. Rock Camp, The Movie follows four campers (and their families) through their journeys to shred with their heroes and see how they overcome their fears and transform their lives.

Blush is an award-winning director, producer, editor, and cinematographer. His credits include, as editor, the Oscar and ACE Eddie Award winning 20 Feet from Stardom (2013), as executive producer, the Oscar winning Period. End of Sentence. (2018) and, as consulting producer and editor, the Oscar winning Icarus (2017).




Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Coming up! Author Abbey Lee Nash joins host Janeane Bernstein on KUCI 88.9fm

Born to parents with a serious case of “wanderlust,” Abbey Lee Nash has lived in some pretty interesting places, including on a Christian farming commune in rural Georgia, above a third-world craft store in Kentucky, and on a Salvation Army retreat center in the Pennsylvania mountains. She currently lives outside of Philadelphia with her husband, two daughters, and one very rambunctious Australian Shepherd. When she’s not writing, she loves talking about writing and reading other people’s writing—especially contemporary YA. Abbey is an active member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. LIFELINE is her first novel.

Abbey Lee Nash debuts with a new voice along the lines of Jennifer Niven, Sharon M. Draper, and John Green, in Lifeline, a gorgeously written tale that plunges the reader into the life of popular high school senior Eli Ross who has everything...

...until an overdose at a party takes it all away.

After nearly dying in the ER, Eli agrees to go to LakeShore Recovery Center, an inpatient substance abuse treatment program where he'll spend the next 28 days.

It's there that Eli meets Libby, the sharp-edged artist, whose freshly tattooed scars mirror the emotional scars Eli tries his best to ignore. Eli soon learns that if he's to have any chance at a future, he'll first have to confront his past.

Abbey skillfully weaves a tight story and unforgettable characters together to create a novel that is honest, raw, funny, heartbreaking, and hopeful and will ultimately have you turning pages throughout the night.

Coming soon! THE WAKE OF LIGHT Written, Directed, and Produced by Renji Philip


Written, Directed, and Produced by Renji Philip


"A film from the heart. Beautifully told and beautifully acted - a touching rite of passage."

-- Thom Noble - Academy and BAFTA Award-Winning Editor - THELMA AND LOUISE

“A film of immense charm, humor and hope with powerhouse performances across the board.”

-- Logan Taylor - Film Programmer - SXSW

In this timely, heartfelt film, a young woman has to choose between caring for her aging father or a chance at love.

Mary (Rome Brooks) has spent her entire life caring for her widowed father after he suffered a stroke when she was a little girl. One day Mary meets Cole (Matt Bush, from TV's "The Goldbergs"), a young man passing through her small town on a cross-country road trip, who falls for Mary and asks her to join him on his journey. Now Mary must choose between her deep-felt responsibility to her father or a chance at love.

THE WAKE OF LIGHT has won over 20 Film Festival Awards during its festival run. The film is written, directed, and produced by Renji Phillip and stars Rome Brooks and Matt Bush (“The Goldbergs”). The film has a running time of 80 minutes and will not be rated by the MPAA. The film will have its virtual theatrical release on January 15, 2021 by Laemmle Theaters. It will open on digital platforms on February 15, 2021.

Laemmle Virtual site:


For more information or to view the trailer, go to: http://www.thewakeoflightmovie.com/

Coming up on KUCI! Karishma Muthukumar, a third-year undergraduate at UC Irvine studying cognitive science, talks about her project, Patience and Pandemic

Four months into the stay-at-home orders and campus-wide shift to remote learning, we invited university students to reflect: How do you interpret patience in a pandemic? What is it like to live in suspense? How has staying at home changed your sense of space? Of time? From memories of a different yesterday to plans that were indefinitely postponed, students at the University of California, Irvine share the real experiences of young adulthood during a pandemic. Up-and-coming creatives express their perspectives on a theme that holds space while challenging the reader to urge onwards: to find strength in patience.

Patience and Pandemic Editorial Board, photo taken at the cover launch event
top row (L-R): Dinelli Jinadasa, Karishma Muthukumar, Caitlin Yee
bottom row (L-R): Jazmin Viayra, Meenakshi Chandrasekaran, Anganette Cisneros

Karishma Muthukumar is a third-year undergraduate at UC Irvine studying cognitive science. As the 2019-20 Dalai Lama Scholar, she founded the Patient Project at UC Irvine. Karishma is drawn to the art of stories and the ways in which conversations can heal.

Patience and Pandemic features student reflections on time and space in the context of suspense. Students from all corners of campus respond to the theme. Caitlin Yee, Meenakshi Chandrasekaran, Dinelli Jinadasa, Anganette Cisneros, Jazmin Viayra, and Victoria Sweeny compose the editorial board.

The project was supported by the XIV Dalai Lama Endowed Scholarship Fund and Strauss Foundation.

website: www.patientproject.org/journal
instagram: www.instagram.com/patientprojectuci

UCI students publish book about life under quarantine

Patience and Pandemic is a collection of photos, essays and poems

Irvine, Calif., Jan. 7, 2021 – Students from the University of California, Irvine are self-publishing a book about their lives during the COVID-19 crisis. Patience and Pandemic, which is set to be released this month, is a collection of photography, essays and poetry solicited during the summer of 2020 as a way for Anteaters to express themselves during the stay-at-home order.

The organizers originally came together in late 2019 as part of the Patient Project, a UCI compassion-in-action initiative centered around the concept of alleviating anxiety in hospital waiting rooms. Undergraduates aimed to promote conversation and community by waiting alongside patients in healthcare centers. When the pandemic hit, they pivoted to chronicling life under quarantine and its similarities to waiting.

“It’s challenging to be in a waiting room, a place where people often find themselves anxious and alienated, so we wanted students to reimagine what it means to be a patient,” said project founder Karishma Muthukumar, UCI’s 2019-20 Dalai Lama Scholar. “But then COVID-19 happened, and the whole world became a waiting room. So we decided to focus on the experience of being in quarantine.”

In June of 2020, four months into the stay-at-home order and the university wide shift to remote learning, Anteaters were invited to submit artwork and prose on the theme of patience during a global pandemic.

An editorial board made up of seven UCI students pared the 165 entries down to about 50. The resulting book reveals the voices and vulnerabilities of both undergraduate and graduate students, including those from the medical and law schools.

“What they shared for this project is truly remarkable,” said Edgar Dormitorio, UCI’s assistant vice chancellor for student affairs. “The book memorializes the experiences of this generation during the pandemic and conveys their remarkable resiliency despite the challenges.”

Patience and Pandemic launches this month in print form, edited by Muthukumar, a junior in cognitive sciences and biological sciences, and designed by Caitlin Yee, a sophomore in biological sciences. The student editorial board hopes to follow up with an interactive, digital community journal later in the year.

The book is supported by UCI’s XIV Dalai Lama Endowed Scholarship Fund and by the Strauss Foundation. The Patient Project, which became a campus organization in December 2019, will serve as a means of community engagement around Patience and Pandemic.

About the University of California, Irvine: Founded in 1965, UCI is the youngest member of the prestigious Association of American Universities. The campus has produced three Nobel laureates and is known for its academic achievement, premier research, innovation and anteater mascot. Led by Chancellor Howard Gillman, UCI has more than 36,000 students and offers 222 degree programs. It’s located in one of the world’s safest and most economically vibrant communities and is Orange County’s second-largest employer, contributing $5 billion annually to the local economy. For more on UCI, visit www.uci.edu.

Monday, January 11, 2021

Coming up on KUCI 88.9fm -- Matchmaker/Dating Coach, Julia Bendis, talks about her business ‘Match by Julia,' her NEW book, and how her traditional approach to dating has brought love to so many lives

No Smiling Allowed: Growing Up in Soviet Russia
and Other Funny 
Stories from a
Jewish Immigrant
by Julia Bendis

No Smiling Allowed is a comedic take on life in the former Soviet Union, as an immigrant in America. Julia Bendis has compiled many years of funny stories about her old-fashioned and traditional Russian parents, their understanding of how life works in the United States, their hilarious adventures, and her own younger generation's view of what it was like to blend in as a weird-looking kid from Russia. The audiobook follows Julia and her family from their life in Riga, Latvia, which was part of the former Soviet Union, through their move to California and all the adventures in between. Who knew that assimilation in a new country could have so many hilarious twists and turns? "Grandma started running around with a metal pot, asking all the neighborhood kids to sit and pee in it. That's a sight I will never forget. She was a tough Ukrainian Jew that survived the war, so no kid wanted to ask questions. They just sat on it and peed in that pot".

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Julia Bendis shares her backstory

I was born in the Former Soviet Union, and moved to the U.S. in 1989 when I was 13 years old, which was also right before the fall of Communism. I still speak and write fluently in Russian language. I'm also Jewish, so this makes me a true "Fiddler on the Roof" Matchmaker :)

Growing up in Communism was difficult not only because you didn’t have personal freedom, but also because we lacked many things. Food was hard to come by, waiting in lines only to find out they ran out of things was a daily struggle. Even though life wasn’t easy, my family was still able to enjoy the little things like each other and bringing people together. As long as I can remember the women in my family did two major things: cook and introduce people to one another. My Mother matched people up back in Russia as well and have counted numerous weddings and babies as a result. Once we moved to the U.S. her Matchmaking took a back seat in order to help my Father provide for us. That’s when I took over in a way. My first match was when I was in high school, and the couple went out for about 3 years.

I’ve always known that I had a keen intuition of who would be great with whom, and my ability to read people only developed even stronger as I got older and living in a whole new country. This intuition and my Grandmother’s wisdom has guided and helped me over all these years, and I continue to use her wise words and advice to this day.

The History of Match by Julia and Matchmaking in general

Matchmaking has been a huge part of Russian and Jewish culture for many generations, and in my family in particular. Jewish women in Russia and Poland have always gathered together in villages to bring single men and women together. In the beginning it was definitely something that was arranged by the parents and grandparents, and most people had arranged marriages. Over time as the culture and religion evolved, single people wanted to give their input in what type of partner they wanted. So these so-called Matchmakers would sit down with the families to share their “files” on who was single in their town or village, and give information about their families. Once people started to move further away from their families, the art-form of “Matchmaking” started to die down. And of course with new technology, people didn’t want outside help when it came to their love-life. However, these days more and more people find themselves not only too busy to go out and meet people, but are overwhelmed with the amount of choices when it comes to online dating, bars, night-life and the lack of time to be able to pursue the different avenues of meeting a partner. That’s why old-world Matchmaking, with a new and revised traditions are even more helpful today. Instead of people meeting strangers online, seeing pictures and profiles that could be completely fake and wrong for them, I meet with every single person and screen them prior to setting them up on dates.

There’s a big difference in meeting someone in person versus behind a computer looking at touched up pictures, and written profiles that may only be words and not reality.

How Match by Julia works and relates to today’s dating scene

I bring my culture, my upbringing and my realistic view on life and relationships to the people I work with.

My style is very unique since I don't try and change people like other so-called Matchmakers on TV, I don't yell or berate people. However, I do tell every client to be realistic in their search for love and more importantly open-minded to any and all possibilities. I teach them to forget their list of must-haves in a partner, and open their eyes to all potential matches.

I have a realistic view on relationships, dating and what work and what doesn't, which is something I help my clients learn and understand. I love talking to and helping people. I live for love, and think everyone deserves to be loved and have a partner in life, no matter what age they are. My clients range in age from 23 to 84.

I founded Match by Julia and matchbyjulia.com after many years of fixing people up for fun, and satisfaction of seeing people happy and in love. I started bringing people together as a teenager, and continued all the way until I got married and had my own kids. After many years I realized that I was spending more time bringing people together than any other job I had, and it was the most satisfaction that I’ve ever known as well. Matchmaking has not only been my work, but part of my daily life as well. I have always taken the time to make a deep connection with every person I’ve come in contact with, making it a priority to remember each one. With every new client, I get to know them on a personal level, their needs, wants and desires for their future mate. After the initial meeting, start researching, interviewing, and screening people that are either in my database or by meeting and recruiting new clientele.

Match by Julia is a traditional and personalized matchmaking service that caters to anyone wanting to find their other half. Every match is hand-picked, through a one-on-one process that pays great detail to your specific needs. I work with both female and male clients in Orange County.

How to contact Julia:

Julia Bendis
matchmaker I author I relationship coach
949.648.4300 Tel

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Sunday, January 10, 2021

Award-winning director/producer Thomas Balmès’ (Happiness, Babies) and Participant Media’s profound documentary SING ME A SONG, slated for a New Year's Day release on January 1 from Gravitas Ventures

A young Bhutanese monk dreams of leaving his monastery to be with the woman he loves.

Award-winning director/producer Thomas Balmès’ (Happiness, Babies) and Participant Media’s profound documentary SING ME A SONG, which is slated for a New Year's Day release on January 1 from Gravitas Ventures via virtual cinemas and on VOD platforms. The rich character study, which premiered at 2019 Toronto International Film Festival to critical acclaim, is a captivating coming-of-age film about a young Buddhist monk searching to find a balance between tradition and technology.

Balmès returns to one of his Happiness (2014) subjects, now a teenaged monk (Peyangki), living in a rural (yet Wi-Fi equipped) monastery in Bhutan, absorbed in the wonders of the world that are a simple click away. The structured daily village rituals of prayer and candle lighting now compete with the powerful lure of smartphones and TV.

Apps for chats and dating introduce the monks to girls and violent video games, neither of which quite line up with the traditional vows of the monks. Peyangki is passionate about love songs and forms a relationship over an app, WeChat, with a young singer (Ugyen) in the “big city” of Thimphu. Distracted and disinterested in study, and often scolded by his masters and mother, he sells medicinal mushrooms to make enough money to leave the monastery and travel to Ugyen. A nuanced portrait of a young man’s introduction to the world, Balmès offers us an eye-opening snapshot of the effects of technology, and challenges us to reassess our perceptions of self-worth and beliefs in an age of unparalleled connectivity.

Sunday, January 3, 2021

First show of the new year! Kicking off the show on 1/4/21 at 9:00am pst is one of the most in demand blues/rock guitarists in the world, GE Smith. GE joins Janeane to talk about his years as SNL bandleader, guitarist for Hall and Oates, his NEW music with LeRoy Bell, his beautiful and talented musical wife Taylor Barton and so much more!

One of the most in demand blues / rock guitarists in the world is a mysterious character who goes by the name of G.E. Smith. Millions of TV viewers know his face-and the shock of unruly blond ponytail that was always falling across it-from his tenure stint of fronting the Saturday Night Live Band.

                         LISTEN | WATCH

For G.E. (George Edward) Smith, a soulful guitarist, composer, singer, and bandleader, it all began in rural Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, where he was just about born with a guitar in his hand. “I started playing around the age of four, and started getting good at seven,” he says. “Eventually, the girlfriend of one of my Uncles bought me a Martin, a real good guitar, in 1959. Then when folk the music scene came around and Bob Dylan was first performing, I got really into that.” By chance he was attending a taping of the television show ‘Hootenanny’ in Princeton, New Jersey, and saw the legendary Odetta and Josh White perform, further inciting his musicality.

On his 11th birthday, G.E.’s mother bought him his first electric guitar, a Fender Telecaster, a model that dated his birth year-1952. (“I still have that guitar, and there’s no sound that I can’t find in it.”) By then he was supporting himself as a musician, and playing in numerous situations–Pocono’s resorts, high school dances, you name it–often with musicians more than twice his age.

After accomplishing all he could in the bar-band scene as a teenager, Smith left the Pocono’s to conquer the Connecticut. He quickly established himself as a “top gun” guitarist and hooked up with the legendary Scratch band, which scorched clubs up and down the East Coast during the mid-70’s.

In late 1977, G.E. got his first break in the form of Dan Hartman, fresh off his hit “Instant Replay”. Dan hired G.E. to front his band for a “lip-synch tour” of Europe and the U.S. Upon his return to the East Coast, Smith moved to Manhattan and became the guitarist for Gilda Radner’s 1979 Broadway show “Gilda Live”. Radner and Smith became an item and shortly after married.

During that period of Smith’s life another break took place when the blue-eyed soulsters Daryl Hall and John Oates came calling. Not only was Smith hired to play lead guitar for Hall and Oates, he stayed for six years (1979-1985) constantly touring and recording with them, racking up hit after hit with songs like Private Eyes, Man Eater, Kiss on My List, and others. “It was insanely fun, “ he recalls. “We were so big that one year we decided it would be fun to perform during summer –all year round! We toured the northern hemisphere in the summer and the southern hemisphere in the during America’s winter.”

Another fortuitous event was the Live Aid and Farm Aid benefit concerts in early 85’. I ended up being the house band backing Mick Jagger, Tina Turner and whoever didn’t have a band.

G.E.’s hard work earned him a commanding position in the music industry as a first call blues/rock guitarist, sought out by major recording artists like Jagger, who, shortly after Live Aid, called Smith to work with him on his first solo album, She’s the Boss. (Smith also played on Jagger’s Primitive Cool.) During this period Smith also did a few one-off recordings and concerts with David Bowie, and Peter Wolfe, among other notables.

When Hall & Oates decided to take a long break from the music scene, Smith was chosen to be musical director for Saturday Night Live. “The way it happened was, I knew Howard Shore, the show’s original musical director, and producer Lorne Michaels, from my stint with Gilda,” says Smith. “In ’85, when Lorne returned to produce the show again, he asked me to be the musical director. And I was thrilled to take it.”

Leading the SNL band for 10 years (1985 – 1995) – it was arguably the best late-night band on television at the time – and G.E. won an Emmy. “I definitely grew a lot from playing with those world-class musicians, especially the horn section. I really had to learn to play in time and in tune. It was a great education.”

The SNL roster of guest musicians read like a Who’s Who of contemporary music: Eddie Van Halen, Keith Richards, Rickie Lee Jones, Al Green, Bryan Ferry, et al. In fact, many of the best musical (surprise) moments came when G.E. invited guitar heroes to play with the band, unannounced. Eddie Van Halen was the first, followed by an amazing roster that included David Gilmour, Lonnie Mack, Dave Edmonds, Johnny Winter, Buddy Guy, and others. The Buddy Guy visit eventually resulted in the GE’s 1996 Grammy-nominated Buddy Guy – Live CD, with G.E. and the SNL band. “I’ve been so lucky to get into these fantasy situations… that happened over and over on “SNL”. I got to play with everybody.

SNL also provided Smith with a songwriting opportunity when Mike Myers asked him to help write a tune. “Mike had this bit, called Wayne’s World, and he needed a theme song. Aerosmith was the musical guest that week, so Mike and I sat down and wrote a song that Aerosmith could sing and play along with.” Of course the “bit” became a hit film, the soundtrack (and song) a platinum-selling smash hit.

Even more amazing, in the midst of his SNL tenure Smith toured for almost four years with the legendary Bob Dylan. “I would fly home from various places on the globe to do the SNL show,” says G.E. “Both Bob and Lorne were very understanding about giving me the time that I needed. I would work with Bob during the week, then come home for Saturday’s show.” This setup was a true test of his stamina. “During one particularly tough period, I played a stadium concert in Sao Paulo, Brazil, flew back to New York for SNL, then flew to Rio to play several concerts with Bob, flew back that Saturday, then flew to London for a week of concerts with Bob, came back to New York, then met the band for concerts in Paris.”

During his SNL years Smith was also honored to be the musical director for special events such as the 1988 Emmy Awards, the 1993 Rhythm and Blues Foundation Awards and the Bob Dylan 30th Anniversary Concert at Madison Square Garden. The latter event was another of those “fantasy situations” that G.E. keeps getting involved in. “The rehearsals for that Dylan concert you wouldn’t believe. I was rehearsing with George Harrison in the morning, Eric Clapton in the afternoon, and Lou Reed at night. One afternoon, rehearsing the finale, I had Harrison, Tom Petty, Clapton, Neil Young, Dylan and Roger McGuinn all lined up and I’m saying, ‘OK, George you sing here, Eric you play now, Bob you come in here.’ Smith also has written with his friend and fellow musician Jimmy Buffett. Six String Music appears on Buffett’s album Fruitcakes.

Smith acted as musical director at the Rock N’ Roll Hall of Fame Museum Concert in Cleveland.

Following his departure from Saturday Night Live in ’95, Smith and his wife, singer/songwriter Taylor Barton created a critically acclaimed boutique label called Green Mirror Music. They are in their ninth year, releasing rootsy blues, neo-pop.

Smith released his electrifying, high octane CD, Incense Herbs, and Oils in 1998. Between live dates, he has been the musical director and bandleader honoring Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson, and Chuck Berry at the Kennedy Center Honors in Washington, D.C. He also led bands for The Muddy Waters Tribute, and The Mark Twain Awards honoring Richard Pryor, Jonathon Winters, Carl Rainer and most recently Lorne Michaels. Smith has kept a steady presence on the national scene. Is he too busy? Smith laughs and says, “I haven’t slept since the sixties.”

Another highlight of Smith’s history was hosting an interactive show on the Electric guitar over the internet, on NPR, and a live presentation at for Smithsonian Institute.

1999-2000 brought Smith back to SNL, appearing in the 25th Anniversary show and other guest appearances. He was featured on VH1 in the history of SNL, and even hosted the New Year’s Eve bash inaugurating the new Rose Center at the Museum of Natural History, (formerly the Haydn Planetarium).

During 2004-2006, GE raised the stakes for the Cleveland Browns where he headed up home games for the team with his music, rocking the NFL with classic rock and his mantra, “Brownstown.”

2007, catapulted a new DVD, titled 50 Watt Fuse, which premiered at the Mill Valley film Festival to a standing ovation. Co-produced, written and directed by his wife singer-songwriter, Taylor Barton, it features GE in concert and in cameo with David Lindley, Michael J Fox, Mike Myers, Hall & Oates, Rosanne Cash, Rodney Crowell, Jimmy Buffett, Mike Myers, Hot Tuna and Dylan. It celebrated the launch of the new GE Smith signature Fender telecaster, which hit the stores in 2007.

He spent a few years working with esteemed financial guru/rocker Roger McNamee and their band, Moonalice. Electrified: The Guitar Revolution hits airways this August for the new Smithsonian network.

GE joined Roger Waters 2010 WALL LIVE toured the world three times and toured with him for seven years. In 2015, GE returned to SNL where he received an EMMY award as bandleader, for the 40th SNL anniversary special.

In 2015, GE and wife, Taylor Barton, started an exciting project called PORTRAITS, which hosts a rotating roster of acclaimed musicians and artists from all realms for a deeper look at what drives them creatively. Now in its sixth season they have hosted creative legends from Billy Squier to Ethan Hawke and from the Bacon Brothers to the Avett Brothers.

Never one to stay idle, in 2019, GE Smith had the good fortune of teaming up with soul stylist, X Factor finalist LeRoy Bell. LeRoy ( from Seattle, WA and Smith from Amagansett, NY ) sat down in the dead of winter after a cold-call from Smith’s wife, Taylor Barton, with an invitation to perform on their series PORTRAITS. Smith and Bell hit it off. After making demos which included “America” about a fallen democracy, the two were swept up and signed by BMG and thus a critically released collection hit the streets in 2020, with a searing new duo. Their collection, STONY HILL, is out available on ITUNES, AMAZON, and all major streaming services.


Smith has played with the broadest possible spectrum of artists, from Red Buttons to Allen Ginsberg, from Desmond Child to Bob Dylan and Roger Waters; all points in between. “I’ve had an incredible ride in the world of Rock N’ Roll and American music,” says Smith, looking back over his career. GE Smith is one of the most brilliant guitarists out there.