Sunday, December 18, 2022

Coming up 12/19/22 at 9:00am pst - Irina Maleeva, a true multifaceted international sensation talks about her journey into acting, and her role in the upcoming series Paul T. Goldman - streaming January 1st on Peacock


Star of stage, screen, television, cabaret and the world of music, Irina Maleeva is a true multifaceted international sensation. The daughter of a famed Bulgarian stage actress and an aristocratic Italian statesman, Maleeva first established herself as a child performer in her native Bulgaria -- and from there her career and talents would bring her to the glittering global stage. The world of Irina Maleeva jettisoned into the cinematic spotlight when she was discovered by the legendary Federico Fellini at age 15 and would go on to perform in three of his highlyacclaimed movies: Satyricon; Spirits of the Dead; and Roma. 

Later Maleeva was chosen for the lead part of Jessica in the film, “The Merchant of Venice” playing opposite Orson Welles’s Schylock. The film was also directed by Orson Welles “This was the best time of my life”, remembers Irina. For many years part of the film was lost. When finally recovered, it premiered in Los Angeles at the Egyptian Theater in 2017. Adept in seven languages and with degrees in painting and set design from the historic Accademia di Belle Arti in Rome, plus studies at Cinecitta Drama Film School and the prestigious Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London, one could say that Maleeva is truly a Renaissance artist in her own time. Says Maleeva, "It was inevitable that I was born to be an actress.There was nothing else for me but the theater and the movies. Painting and playing the piano wasn’t enough for me. I needed to express myself with my voice and my body. What motivates me is the need to act." 
Included in her motion picture accomplishments: studying and working with iconic Italian directors Luchino Visconti and Roberto Rossellini and starring in more than 30 leading roles in European and American films opposite such luminaries as James Mason, Valentina Cortese and Terence Stamp, plus notable actors Susan Sarandon, Charles Grodin, David Duchovny, Anthony Franciosa and Klaus Kinski, to name a few. For her portrayal as a demented countess in the cult crime mystery film Union City, Maleeva appeared opposite rockers Debbie Harry and Pat Benatar and for her memorable role in this film she was awarded at the Toronto Film Festival. Later she would play the part of Mrs. Hasadan in the screwball comedy of errors Wasabi Tuna. 

Among her other acting achievements are the lead in the Italian-French television series Poly in Venice and The Girl without Identity. American television roles include appearing as a guest star on Days of our Lives, The Gilmore Girls, Pensacola, Just Shoot Me, Six Feet Under, Angel and Threshold. Maleeva was a principal recurring actress on the television series Cracking Up and the award-winning soap opera The Bold and the Beautiful. She has also guest starred on American Body Shop and the critically acclaimed science fiction drama series Heroes, not to mention appearing in the role of Ruba in the HBO-produced show Twelve Miles of Bad Road. Maleeva has co-starred opposite Susan Sarandon in the comedy-drama film The Meddler and guest-starred in the television crime drama series Aquarius with David Duchovny, The Night Shift and the comedy Jane the Virgin. It is not surprising to learn that over the years Maleeva has brought her unique singing voice to the stage and to recordings as well, which has enabled her to travel the world with her onewoman musical comedy shows from New York to Rio de Janeiro to Tokyo. 

The shows Passion, Pain and Occasional Vodka Tonic and Irina Abroad were presented at the Matrix Theater in Los Angeles and the famed Cinegrill at Hollywood's Roosevelt Hotel. "The best part about acting," notes Maleeva, "is that I live many more lives through the parts I play. And my life becomes richer with more knowledge and experience. I also love to make people happy through my musical comedies." Of note is the release of her CD Illusions produced by music industry greats Michele Brourman and Stephan Oberhoff as well as creating and co-writing the stage show Illusions with renowned Broadway director and writer Randy Johnson which ran at the Hudson Theater in Los Angeles for two consecutive years. And now, she is currently at work writing a screenplay for an upcoming film. 

In 2017, Maleeva was bestowed the South East European Film Festival's SEEfest Life Achievement Award -- an honor that was presented to her by the Mayor of Beverly Hills -- in addition to kicking off the SEEfest festival in 2018 with a live performance of her musical Gypsy in My Soul directed by Carlyle King at the WACO Theater Center in the colorful North Hollywood arts district. Balancing her acting assignments and her singing engagements with her personal life is imperative for Maleeva, but more importantly, her life’s long dedication is as an avid activist in the fight for saving the elephants and rhinoceros through The Wildlife Trusts in Africa. Her life priority is being a strong advocate for saving lives of innocent animals through her charitable organization. She loves to fly, cruising around the world, playing with her beloved dogs Romeo and Juliet and sharing quiet times at her Beverly Hills home with longtime husband Nathan Goller.

Paul T. Goldman is streaming January 1st on Peacock: Synopsis: Paul T. Goldman is a mind-bending series from the director of Borat Subsequent Moviefilm and the producers of The Disaster Artist. It’s a project that director Jason Woliner has been shooting for over a decade and a story that continues to pile on jaw-dropping new twists. In the style of Woliner’s work on Borat Subsequent Moviefilm, the series is a groundbreaking project that mixes fact and fiction to tell a bizarre and incredible tale. #PeacockTV #PaulTGoldman #OfficialTrailer 

Monday, December 12, 2022

Coming up 12/12/22 9:30am pst - Garen Staglin Chairman and Founder, One Mind | Leading a Global Impact on Mental Health, Founder & Co-Chairman and Interim CEO Healthy Brains Global Initiative (HBGI), and Proprietor Staglin Family Vineyard

Meet Garen Staglin

Garen's Italian heritage has always influenced Staglin Family Vineyard. Born in 1944, he learned early in this life the importance of wine to the quality of life from his father, Pasquale Stagliano (later changed to Ramon Staglin when he was naturalized) and his mother Darlene Guilliams. Family dinners with relatives and friends were almost always accompanied by wine, and Garen often got a little glass of wine with club soda to taste. As he grew up in Southern California, Garen started to learn more about wine through books and importantly, numerous tastings. After graduating from UCLA with a degree in electrical and nuclear engineering he was fortunate to be accepted to Stanford Business School in the late 60's. While there, he and Shari would take day trips to visit the vineyards in Napa back in the days when surprisingly there were only six wineries in Napa! They were so impressed they felt that it was one of the greatest places on earth, and someday they had to find a way to come back and make their life here.

When he finished Stanford with an MBA, Shari and Garen were married and they traveled to Japan where Garen served as a Lieutenant in the U.S. Navy and fought in the Vietnam War. After a year, he was transferred to the Pentagon and worked in the Systems Analysis Group under Secretary of Defense, Robert McNamara. While in DC, Garen's passion for wine was cultivated by frequent trips to the main wine shop in DC where favorable import taxation allowed him to purchase 1st Growth Bordeaux for less than $10/bottle. When he was discharged from the Navy, they headed north to New York City where Garen began what has become a lifelong career in venture capital and investments. Frequenting New York's finest wine shops became a Saturday morning tradition. As Garen searched for bargains he found himself experimenting with new varietals to extend his knowledge.

Garen remains active in the world of venture capital and private equity investing, serving on public and private Board of Directors. He couldn't be happier balancing his time between investing, philanthropy, and helping with the wine business, all the time enjoying a wonderful marriage and family, and the pride of having his family all working together at Staglin Family Vineyard.

Chairman and Founder One Mind Institute
Leading fund raising organization to find causes and cures for mental illness, principally depression, schizophrenia, and bi-polar. Since founding we have raised directly and through follow on grants over $515 Million. Initiated One Mind at Work for workplace mental health best practices globally. Initiatied 10 year documentary series with Ken Burns/PBS on Brain Health/Mental Health and celebrity campaign. Formerly known as International Mental Health Research Organization and One Mind Institute.

Founder & Co-Chairman and Interim CEO Healthy Brains Global Initiative (HBGI)
The Healthy Brains Global Initiative (HBGI) is an umbrella set of financing mechanisms developed by global leaders in neuroscience, policy, and finance to fuel an unprecedented increase in brain science breakthroughs, from basic research to implementation, that will change the lives of those living with mental and neurological disorders and bend the unsustainable $3 trillion global cost curve borne today by low, middle, and high income countries. Currently service as Acting CEO while global search for new CEO is completed.

Proprietor Staglin Family Vineyard
71 Acre estate in Rutherford, California dedicated to producing limited quantities of Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, and Sangivovese that compete with the finest wines in the world. Family partnership also owned by Shari Staglin (CEO), Brandon Staglin, and Shannon Staglin (President). Our motto is "Great wines for great causes."

Coming up Monday 12/12/22 9am pst - Barbara Becker, author of Heartwood: The Art of Living with the End in Mind and Winner of a Gold Nautilus Award

Winner of a Gold Nautilus Award

“We can do extraordinary things when we lead with love,” Barbara Becker reminds us in her debut memoir Heartwood.

When her earliest childhood friend is diagnosed with a terminal illness, Becker sets off on a quest to immerse herself in what it means to be mortal. Can we live our lives more fully knowing some day we will die?

With a keen eye towards that which makes life worth living, Barbara Becker―a perpetual seeker, a mom, and an interfaith leader―recounts stories where life and death intersect in unexpected ways. She volunteers on a hospice floor, becomes an eager student of the many ways people find meaning at the end of life, and accompanies her parents in their final days.

Becker inspires readers to live with the end in mind and proves that turning toward loss rather than away from it is the only true way to live life to its fullest. Just as with the heartwood of a tree―the central core that is no longer alive yet supports the newer growth rings―the dead become an enduring source of strength to the living.

With life-affirming prose, Becker helps us see that that grief is not a problem to be solved, but rather a sacred invitation―an opportunity to let go into something even greater…a love that will inform all the days of our lives.

In her 2022 Nautilus Gold Award-winning memoir, Becker, an ordained interfaith chaplain, sets off on a quest to find the answer to the question: can we live our lives more fully knowing someday we will die?

Talking points:

How to cope with the first holiday season after losing a loved one
The one question we should ask ourselves in order to live a more purposeful life
Simple advice to help family caregivers cope with caring for loved ones with Alzheimers
How Barbara’s work as a chaplain and in hospice has impacted and informed her feelings about death·
A surprising twist when the author turned to her own book for advice on life and death when she was diagnosed with breast cancer
What we can learn about coping with death and grief from religious traditions outside of our own

Barbara Becker has dedicated over twenty-five years to partnering with human rights advocates around the world in pursuit of peace and interreligious understanding. She has worked with the United Nations, Human Rights First, the Ms. Foundation for Women, and the Grameen Bank of Bangladesh, and has participated in a delegation of Zen Peacemakers and Lakota elders in the sacred Black Hills of South Dakota. She is an interfaith minister and has sat with hundreds of people at the end of their lives. Through writing, she explores what it means to live a life of meaning. Barbara lives in New York City with her husband and two sons. More at


Gloria Steinem, Author & Activist:

"Life is an adventure of following our curiosity—that is, the voice of our true self—into the unknown world around us. In Heartwood, Barbara Becker tells the story of her own journey into understanding loss and love, and so inspires us to follow our curiosity into a world that is both universal and a source of our uniqueness. And what could be better than that?"

Mirabai Starr, Author of Caravan of No Despair and Wild Mercy:

"Heartwood is a luminous book. The language is simple, tender and wise, the story-telling riveting, and the presence of the narrator both dignified and authentic. I have rarely read a book that left me feeling so fundamentally blessed. Highly recommended."

“Becker debuts with a stirring chronicle of the events, moments, and stories that led to her reconciliation with mortality…Becker’s eloquence is a salve for confronting a difficult topic…This will be a comfort for anyone contemplating their own mortality, or those in search of advice for others.”

—Publishers Weekly Starred Review

“A graceful meditation on divine deliverance. Once firmly entrenched in our “death-shy” contemporary culture, the author is now a reassuring advocate for peace and interreligious understanding, and she views dying as an opportunity to seek enlightenment and give thanks, regardless of one’s preferred spiritual path.”


“…an invaluable resource in living a life filled with meaning and purpose. A resource filled with wisdom and one that readers will find themselves returning to often in both good times and bad.”

—Shelf Awareness

“An affecting and informative memoir about the lessons we can glean from life as well as death.”

—Library Journal

“This insightful, quietly moving book is not just for the grieving or those who comfort them.”


For more info on the book, please check out the release, Q&A, praise sheet, and previous media coverage.

Monday, December 5, 2022

Coming up 12/5 LIVE on KUCI - Victoria Garza, author of forthcoming memoir THE FIELD

Victoria Garza, author of forthcoming memoir THE FIELD (on sale: November 15; JackLeg Press) "the song of the sister who died by the sister who survived" (Barbara Cully, author of Desire Reclining). Focusing on themes of coping, loss, healing, the metaphysical, the Mexican-American diaspora, queer identity, and more, Garza's memoir is a story of emotional healing--for anyone who has experienced loss in any form. Each section of the memoir introduces a literary verse that has allowed Garza to unpack her grief in a new way and contextualize the story she is telling.

Kirkus Reviews writes: "The author illustrates, in observant, poetic prose, the reverberating effects that grief can have on a life, and the many ways that her family has coped with it. As she does so, she examines her protective mechanisms and peels back layers of guilt and sorrow to tenderly uncover revelations about herself." Beth Alvarado (author of Jillian in the Borderlands and Anxious Attachments) writes: "A tender and deep evocation of Mexican American culture."

Additional Advance Praise for THE FIELD:

This book is the song of the sister who died by the sister who survived. It is a distillation, a documentary whose milestones are marked by St. Teresa, Dickinson, Neruda, Dante, the Gospel of Thomas, and The Tibetan Book of the Dead. If you want to know how a family touches grief tenderly and respectfully as loss drills its terror, if you want to know how a ten-year-old confronts darkness, conducts a life, and delivers her heart back to its origins whole—read Garza's testimony, where a simple field in Ohio vibrates with the knowledge that the important matters weed themselves out and one is left with the essential nature of one's love.
—Barbara Cully, author of Desire Reclining, The New Intimacy, and Shoreline Series

At its Norse root, haunt, or heimta, means "to lead home." That sense of loss and longing infuses Victoria Garza's profound journey to make sense of a childhood tragedy. Grappling with guilt and trauma through vignettes as sharp and luminous as stained glass, The Field opens a space between memory and dream where angels walk among us and death becomes a door. Garza reminds us it's emotions that matter' and that grief is not an affliction, but a deep, abiding expression of love.
—Harrison Candelaria Fletcher, author of Finding Querencia: Essays from In Between.

About Victoria

For most of my professional writing career, I’ve written journalism, screenplays, documentaries, and multimedia content. Although an excerpt of The Field was published by Kore Press and won a completion grant from the Elisabeth George Foundation, I consider myself a new author and The Field, my first book. Accounts of death have, of course, a rich literary history. I believe my audience is the same audience moved by Joan Didion’s The Year of Magical Thinking, Elisabeth McCracken’s An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination, and the stunning French book, The Disappearance, by Genevieve Jurgensen, to name the ones that have moved me most.

I hold an M.A in Media Theory, History and Criticism from University of Arizona and an M.F.A in Film Production from the NYU's Graduate Institute of Film & Television. Currently, I'm a senior writer for Apple.

I live in the Bay Area with my wife Lisa, and our two children, Augustin and Dakota.

Victoria Garza

Coming up 12/5 9:30am LIVE on KUCI - UCI students Sandra Quintana and Marissa DeGeorge

to today's show featuring 
UCI students Sandra Quintana and Marissa DeGeorge

Meet Sandra! She is a 4th year
Psychological Sciences major at UCI

Originally from los angeles, Sandra now lives in riverside. She is a fourth year transfer student at UCI. Sandra has always been interested in people and the way relationships work. She decided to major in psychology and hopes to make her career surrounded in making an impact in the education and mental health space. In her free time, she loves taking photos and going out with friends. Her favorite thing is going to concerts! Fun fact: She has been to one every month this year. Sandra also loves watching movies, especially in theaters.

Meet Marissa! She is a 4th year at UCI
Psychological Science and Criminal Law

Marissa DeGeorge is a double major in psychological science and criminal law. She is very passionate about learning and would like to go to graduate school. Marissa  decided to major in both of these fields because she is eager to learn more about our minds and behaviors individually and socially. The topic that interests her most would be neuropsychology! I am excited to explore, learn, and grow through this journey!

Thursday, November 17, 2022

11/14 at 9:30am LIVE on KUCI - The Wellness Initiative in Social Ecology also known as WISE - a new and rising wellness resource for the UCI community. Several students from the Wellness Initiative in Social Ecology Peer Advisory Collective (WISE PAC) join Janeane on KUCI 88.9fm


The Wellness Initiative in Social Ecology also known as WISE is a new and rising wellness resource for the UCI community after recognizing the greater need for more mental health and wellness resources. We aim to improve and expand upon mental and behavioral health and wellness programming services for the UCI School of Social Ecology students while complementing ongoing campus efforts.

One major project of WISE is the Wellness Initiative in Social Ecology Peer Advisory Collective (WISE PAC): a student-led, student-driven team of individuals within the School of Social Ecology who represent diversity in race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, lived experience, ability, and socioeconomic status. All members are driven and passionate people, who want to create real change in wellness and mental health in the UC Irvine community. As a team, we aim to destigmatize mental illnesses and increase access to mental health uses and resources. As we continue to expand, we hope to have our efforts reach more to not just the students of UCI, but also the community of Orange County.



Chloe Ford (she/her/hers) 

I am a 4th year University of California, Irvine student double majoring in Psychological Science and Criminology, Law and Society. I am the CoDirector of Design and a part of the Education Cluster at WISE. As of right now, I am looking to go to law school. I would like to possibly pursue a career in family law and later on pursue some sort of Phd either in a criminology related field or a psychology related field.

Frankie Nelson (she/her) 

I am a 3rd year UCI student majoring in Psychological Sciences with a minor in Sociology. I am the Secretary and the lead of the Social Support Cluster at WISE. I am incredibly passionate about supporting others and their mental health! I plan to pursue a Masters of Social Work and become a licensed clinical social worker after UCI. I hope to focus my work on disadvantaged and low-income communities that often have less access to mental health resources.

Andrea Briseno Tellez (they/she/he)

I am a 4th year UCI student majoring in Psychological Science with a minor in Chicanx/Latinx Studies. I am part of the Self-Care Cluster at WISE. My goal is to become a Marriage and Family therapist focusing on Latinx families. I hope to bring resources in Latinx communities and destigmatize mental health. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Lisa Carey, founder of Intentfully FiT, a well-being platform for women over 50 joins host Janeane Bernstein on KUCI 88.9fm



Saying yes to new adventures has propelled Lisa Carey through three careers, and she’s just getting started.

In her latest role as founder of Intentfully FiT, a well-being platform for women over 50, Lisa is redefining the anti-aging narrative by creating a community that finds joy in the age of NOW. She sees the journey of becoming the best versions of ourselves as a celebration of ageless authenticity in each moment along the way.

 Lisa’s first act began at 17 when she said yes to talent scouts who recruited her to join the Ice Follies. “I was a National Figure Skating Pairs Champion who had just missed my try at the Olympics and they wanted to match me up with another partner professionally. It was all very ‘kismet-esque,’ but I remember boarding the plane to leave home and seeing my dad cry for the very first time. Still, I couldn’t believe I was actually getting paid to do something I loved to do with all my heart.”

 Thus, started a decade of travel as a professional athlete -- touring with Ice Follies, Ice Capades and Scott Hamilton’s Stars on Ice; capturing a National Professional Pairs Championship and World Silver Medal, and representing the U.S. in events in China, South Africa, and Spain.

Returning to Los Angeles at age 27, Lisa resumed her education with evening courses in marketing and public relations at UCLA. One night after class a guest lecturer offered her a job interview and she said yes to career adventure number two. She worked her way up to Agency General Manager, then became PR Director of the Harlem Globetrotters, before establishing Lisa Carey Public Relations when her first of two children was born.

“My agency specialized in event marketing, and I loved highlighting events that brought families together,” she said. “My dream come true gig came in 2009 when my agency represented the World Figure Skating Championships at STAPLES Center. It was like returning home, full circle, but behind the scenes, at the pulse.”

When Covid hit and event marketing was on hold, Lisa retired her agency of 27 years to focus on her passion project. 

She says, “I’m really excited about where I find myself at this stage of life. I’m a few months away from enrolling in Medicare, and I’ve just launched a media platform that honors our evolving identity as women. I brought the best parts of my two previous careers together and sort of repurposed them into something totally new. Intentfully FiT is where I landed.”

“I wanted to open up a conversation with women of age that is empowering verses age-defying. It’s an online oasis where women over 50 like me, share stories and curiosities about this chapter of our lives in themes around Lifestyle, Fitness, Mindfulness, and Wellness.”

“The concept hit me when I let my hair go gray,” Lisa said. “It was surprising how liberating it felt to be more in touch with the real me. I wanted to see what else was limiting me, so I set out to refresh the lens I viewed my life from.”

“To me, it’s my turn to create a joyful life of my design. Everything I need is already right where I am, so I’ll see where this new adventure takes me.”

Lisa was just featured in Shoutout LA.

Wednesday, November 9, 2022

Coming up! Jerry Saltz, senior art critic at New York magazine and its entertainment site Vulture, winner of the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for criticism - Saltz shares details of his latest book - ART IS LIFE: Icons and Iconoclasts, Visionaries and Vigilantes, and Flashes of Hope in the Night

ART IS LIFE: Icons and Iconoclasts, Visionaries and Vigilantes, and Flashes of Hope in the Night is a deliciously readable survey of the art world in turbulent times by New York Times bestselling author, Pulitzer Prize Winner, and “One of the most powerful art critics today” (TIME OUT) Jerry Saltz. A former truck driver and self-described “failed artist,” Saltz has become one of the art world’s most accessible and instructive voices. Since the 1990s, he has been an indispensable cultural voice: witty and provocative, he has attracted contemporary readers to fine art as few critics have. An early champion of forgotten and overlooked women artists, Saltz has celebrated the pioneering work of African American, indigenous, LGBTQ+, and other long-marginalized creators. He has also become beloved online, amassing a more than a million dedicated followers on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. 

“Jerry Saltz’s voice has been one of the most valued in the art world as both a critic and a champion of artistic works and their creators. Now, [Saltz] takes stock of the cultural landscape over the last two decades to make the case that art in all its forms, from the provocative to the political, is vital for our existence.” – Time Magazine

In ART IS LIFE, Jerry Saltz draws on two decades of work to offer a real-time survey of contemporary art as a barometer of our times. Chronicling a period punctuated by dramatic turning points—from the cultural reset of 9/11 to the rolling social crises of today—Saltz traces how visionary artists have both documented and challenged the culture. ART IS LIFE offers Saltz’s eye-opening appraisals of trailblazers like Kara Walker, David Wojnarowicz, Hilma af Klint, and Jasper Johns; provocateurs like Jeff Koons, Richard Prince, and Marina Abramović; and visionaries like Jackson Pollock, Bill Traylor, and Willem de Kooning. Saltz celebrates landmarks like the Obama portraits by Kehinde Wiley and Amy Sherald, writes searchingly about disturbing moments such as the Ankara gallery assassination, and offers surprising takes on figures from Thomas Kinkade to Kim Kardashian.

With his signature blend of candor and conviction, Jerry Saltz argues in ART IS LIFE for the importance of the fearless artist—reminding us that art is a kind of channeled voice of human experience, a necessary window onto our times. The result is an openhearted and irresistibly readable appraisal by one of our most popular and perceptive cultural observers.

Jerry Saltz is the senior art critic at New York magazine and its entertainment site Vulture, and the author of the New York Times bestseller How to Be an Artist. In 2018 he was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Criticism. A frequent guest lecturer at major universities and museums, he has spoken at Harvard University, the Museum of Modern Art, the Guggenheim Museum, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and many other venues, and has taught at Columbia University, Yale University, the Rhode Island School of Design, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and elsewhere.

Sunday, November 6, 2022

Tune in November 7th, 2022 at 9:30am and meet UC Irvine's School of Education Dean Frances Contreras

Frances Contreras
Dean and Professor, UCI School of Education

On January 1, 2022, Dr. Frances Contreras officially began her tenure as dean of the University of California, Irvine School of Education. The third dean in school history, Contreras is the first Chicana/Latina dean to head a school of education in the University of California system.

A first-generation college student, Contreras joins the UCI School of Education from UC San Diego, where she was associate vice chancellor for equity, diversity and inclusion and a professor in the Department of Education Studies at UC San Diego. These roles, she explained, prepared her with a foundation in which she enlists diverse viewpoints and perspectives, critically examines change and growth, and oversees processes to improve efficiency and fairness.

Contreras is a UC alumna, earning a bachelor’s degree at UC Berkeley, a master’s degree from Harvard University and a Ph.D. in Education from Stanford University.

With this in mind, Contreras, a SoCal native, looks to expand the reach and impact of the UCI School of Education for its students, UCI, and surrounding K-12 community. Entering its 10th year and already ranked No. 7 in the nation among public schools of education, Contreras calls the UCI School of Education a “diverse, vibrant and influential school.”

“Our school was founded with a mission to improve the educational equity, access and outcomes for individuals of all backgrounds, from infancy to adulthood. The research, curriculum, programs, and partnerships undertaken to achieve this aim make the UCI School of Education unlike any other school in the nation,” Contreras said. “We are working to serve as a national model for putting research into practice and for practice influencing research, while simultaneously serving as an exemplar of inclusive excellence in our programs, research, pedagogy, partnerships, centers, curriculum, admissions and hiring practices.”

​Learn more about Dean Contreras, her vision for the UCI School of Education, and the impact she hopes to make on communities across the nation.

Saturday, November 5, 2022

11/7 at 9:00am pst LIVE on KUCI 88.9fm - One of the youngest survivors of Auschwitz-Birkenau tells her remarkable story--Tova Friedman's THE DAUGHTER OF AUSCHWITZ


My Story of Resilience, Survival and Hope

by Tova Friedman and

Malcolm Brabant

A powerful memoir by one of the youngest survivors of Auschwitz, Tova Friedman, following her childhood growing up during the Holocaust and surviving a string of near-death experiences in a Jewish ghetto, a Nazi labor camp, and Auschwitz.

"I am a survivor. That comes with a survivor's obligation to represent one and a half million Jewish children murdered by the Nazis. They cannot speak. So I must speak on their behalf."

Tova Friedman was one of the youngest people to emerge from Auschwitz. After surviving the liquidation of the Jewish ghetto in Central Poland where she lived as a toddler, Tova was four when she and her parents were sent to a Nazi labour camp, and almost six when she and her mother were forced into a packed cattle truck and sent to Auschwitz II, also known as the Birkenau extermination camp, while her father was transported to Dachau.

During six months of incarceration in Birkenau, Tova witnessed atrocities that she could never forget, and experienced numerous escapes from death. She is one of a handful of Jews to have entered a gas chamber and lived to tell the tale.

As Nazi killing squads roamed Birkenau before abandoning the camp in January 1945, Tova and her mother hid among corpses. After being liberated by the Russians they made their way back to their hometown in Poland. Eventually Tova's father tracked them down and the family was reunited.

In The Daughter of Auschwitz, Tova immortalizes what she saw, to keep the story of the Holocaust alive, at a time when it's in danger of fading from memory. She has used those memories that have shaped her life to honor the victims. Written with award-winning former war reporter Malcolm Brabant, this is an extremely important book. Brabant's meticulous research has helped Tova recall her experiences in searing detail. Together they have painstakingly recreated Tova's extraordinary story about the world's worst ever crime.


Tova Friedman is eighty-four years old and lives in New Jersey, USA. She is one of the youngest survivors of Auschwitz and uses her vivid memories to write and speak against anti-Semitism and prejudice. She was the director of a nonprofit social service agency for twenty-five years and continues to work as a therapist.

Malcolm Brabant is a veteran, award-winning veteran foreign correspondent. Brabant has reported from over 80 countries.


" Enriched by Friedman’s earnest reckonings with her trauma and hard-won sense of optimism, this is a poignant testament to survival and faith."

–Publishers Weekly

“I read this book with gratitude and urgency. Gratitude for the courage Tova Friedman has shown in deciding to share her story. We are all the beneficiaries of such powerful witness. The urgency comes from the knowledge that as time marches on such vivid voices are becoming increasingly rare. Read this book, cherish the lessons. It is a book rooted in the terrible events of another time, but the truths it reveals are eternal.”

–Fergal Keane, author of Wounds: A Memoir of War & Love

"An unforgettable and deeply moving story. Malcolm Brabant brilliantly evokes the world of the ghetto and of Auschwitz through the eyes of Tova Friedman, a small child who survived the brutality of the Holocaust."

–Jeremy Bowen, author of Six Days: How the 1967 War Shaped the Middle East

“[A] heartrending, lyrical account of a young girl’s survival during the Holocaust.”

—Reader’s Entertainment Magazine


My Story of Resilience, Survival and Hope

by Tova Friedman and Malcolm Brabant

Hanover Square Press

September 6, 2022

Coming up Monday 11/7 at 9:15am pst on KUCI 88.9fm - "Catch the Bus” a short film written, produced and directed by Chloe Owens and starring her Dad, Peyce Byron

"Catch the Bus” a short film written, produced and directed by Chloe Owens, will screen at the 10th Annual Studio City Film Festival ion Monday November 7th at 7:30PM at the Laemmle Noho 7 in North Hollywood.

“Catch the Bus” tells the story of James (Peyce Byron), an older gentleman who is the last to audition to be a television sports anchor. Initially sized up to be a no by producer Marlene (Krista Unverferth). James, who took two buses to get to the audition, presses forward to get the job of his dreams. Will he win over the irritable Marlene? The film lightly touches upon ageism and the instant judging we use on others.

Byron, a graduate of Northeastern University, celebrates his 15th year as the Lead Singer of The Platters Live. He is not only a singer and songwriter of Gospel and R&B music, but also a two-time award-winning actor which includes an NAACP Image Award for Best Actor in a lead role and the ADA Award for Best Actor performing as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Most recently Byron won for Best Actor in the International Independent Film Awards for his role in “Catch the Bus”. His latest single “You Can Give Love” and CD “Whosoever” are available on iTunes, Spotify, Amazon Music, Apple Music, CD Baby, Google Play Music and all online and streaming music stores.

Owens studied Film a year abroad at Reading University in England, and later graduated from Rutgers University. She moved to NYC where she ran a cable TV show on MNN and wrote, directed, and produced a popular webseries. She won BEST SHORT SCREENPLAY in the WESCREENPLAY DIVERSITY COMPETITION and BEST SCREENPLAY in the ROADMAP DIVERSITY WRITING COMPETITION. Chloe was also a finalist in the AT&T SHAPE contest which allowed her the experience of shooting on WB studio lot. Additionally, Owens placed in a number of other screenwriting competitions. Most recently, she won BEST NARRATIVE SHORT FILM for “Catch the Bus” at the International Independent Film Festival. Chloe is now in post-production on W.I.L.S.D.M - a short film she wrote & directed; that will enter the festival circuit in 2023. Owens is currently writing a feature screenplay, based on her award-winning short film: Catch the Bus. She's excited to meet producers interested to help bring the film to life.

“When I was young, I got to watch my dad win Best Actor from the ADA for his portrayal of Dr. Martin Luther King” says Owens. “That was quite a special night for us! However later that year, I would move back east to live with my mom. Some time afterwards my dad experienced a work-related injury, which set his acting dreams back for many years. About a decade ago I returned to L.A, and over time rediscovered how talented my father is. Currently he is the lead singer in The Platters, and performs around the country. His voice is hypnotic; it lifts people up. I encouraged my father to begin acting again, and during Covid lockdown I got him into some virtual classes. I made this film to help pump up my Dad’s acting reel. For me, it was akin to my dad winning Best Actor when I was a kid. Only now, it’s a film directed by his daughter.”

To purchase tickets:

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Monday, October 10, 2022

Peter Orner, author of STILL NO WORD FROM YOU, talks about his latest book, his role as director of creative writing at Dartmouth College, and how he gets his inspiration

A new collection of pieces on literature and life by the author of Am I Alone Here?, a finalist for the NBCC Award for Criticism. Stationed in the South Pacific during World War II, Seymour Orner wrote a letter every day to his wife, Lorraine. She seldom responded, leading him to plead in 1945, “Another day and still no word from you.” Seventy years later, Peter Orner writes in response to his grandfather’s plea: “Maybe we read because we seek that word from someone, from anyone.”

From the acclaimed fiction writer about whom Dwight Garner of The New York Times wrote, “You know from the second you pick him up that he’s the real deal,” comes Still No Word from You, a unique chain of essays and intimate stories that meld the lived life and the reading life. For Orner, there is no separation. Covering such well-known writers as Lorraine Hansberry, Primo Levi, and Marilynne Robinson, as well as other greats like Maeve Brennan and James Alan McPherson, Orner’s highly personal take on literature alternates with his own true stories of loss and love, hope and despair. In his mother’s copy of A Coney Island of the Mind, he’s stopped short by a single word in the margin, “YES!”—which leads him to conjure his mother at twenty-three. He stops reading Penelope Fitzgerald’s The Beginning of Spring three quarters of the way through because he knows that finishing the novel will leave him bereft. Orner’s solution is to start again from the beginning to slow the inevitable heartache.

Still No Word from You is a book for anyone for whom reading is as essential as breathing.

Monday, October 3, 2022

Coming up Monday 10/3 at 9:30am - Kelley Lê executive, Director of the Environmental and Climate Change Literacy Projects (ECCLPs), director of the University of California Irvine Science Project

LISTEN to today's show featuring Kelley Lê

Kelley Lê has been in the educational field for over a decade as a high school science educator, instructional coach, and educational leader. She is currently the executive director of the Environmental and Climate Change Literacy Projects (ECCLPs), director of the University of California Irvine Science Project, Friends of the Planet NCSE Award winner (2022), and author of, Teaching Climate Change for Grades 6-12: Empowering Science Teachers to Take on the Climate Crisis Through NGSS (2021). She also serves as a board member for Ten Strands, CAELI Professional Learning Hub member, CLEAN Accelerating Climate Capacity, Engagement, and Leadership Summit (ACCELS) Forum planning committee member, and a Climate Reality Corps Mentor.

Monday, August 29, 2022

8/29/22 at 9am pst - Jane Esselstyn, R.N., a fresh, charismatic voice in the plant-based movement talks about her new book, BE A PLANT-BASED WOMAN WARROIR: Live Fierce, Stay Bold, Eat Delicious co-written with her Mom, Ann Esselstyn

The Esselstyn family is three generations plant-based strong. Ann Esselstyn’s husband Caldwell Esselstyn ran one of the studies on a plant-based diet to fight heart disease and wrote a bestselling book on the subject. Her son Rip Esselstyn wrote a several bestselling books/cookbooks, has a food line in Whole Foods, and a popular podcast on the subject. Ann and her daughter Jane Esselstyn have been the women behind the curtains the whole time, developing the recipes and food plans. BE A PLANT-BASED WOMAN WARROIR: Live Fierce, Stay Bold, Eat Delicious, is Ann and Jane’s own book specifically for women, filled with amazing recipes, notes on women's health, celebrates of the power of a plant-based lifestyle.

Encouraged to create recipes without dairy and meat when her husband’s research pointed to the impact of diet on reversing disease, Ann began feeding her family creative, plant-based meals more than thirty years ago. Ann and Jane are bolts of energy from the same strike of lightning and have become fierce, big-spirited advocates for a plant-based lifestyle, reaching hundreds of thousands of fans through their previous books and their popular YouTube channel. At eighty-six and fifty-six, respectively, Ann and Jane are pictures of ageless health and vibrancy and BE A PLANT-BASED WOMAN WARROIR illuminates how plants powerfully support a woman’s body and mind.

BE A PLANT-BASED WOMAN WARROIR includes more than 125 recipes, from Apple Flax Flapjacks and Black Ramen Bowls, to Portobello Sliders with Green Goddess Sauce, to Mint Chip Outta Sight Brownies. And it includes big-flavored dinners like Sweet Potato and Cashew Ricotta Lasagna and Plant-Based Pad Thai, sure to tempt even the most reluctant vegetable-focused eaters. Full of life, captivating energy, and delicious food, this cookbook brings readers to the Esselstyn family table, where plants and joy are at the center.


Jane Esselstyn, R.N., is a fresh, charismatic voice in the plant-based movement. She brings her passion, energy, and can-do attitude to her presentations, cooking demonstrations, and cookbooks. As well as being a nurse, researcher, middle school sex ed teacher, and mother of three, Jane hosts a popular YouTube channel with her spitfire mother, Ann Crile Esselstyn. Jane created the recipes for the #1 New York Times bestseller Plant-Strong and The Engine 2 Seven-Day Rescue Diet. She is the coauthor of The Engine 2 Seven-Day Rescue Diet with her brother, Rip Esselstyn and of The Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease Cookbook with Ann, who is her next-door neighbor in Cleveland, Ohio.

Ann Crile Esselstyn has been called "the Julia Child of plant-based-cooking." She was an award-winning English teacher for twenty-seven years, all while juggling raising four children, coaching, and figuring out how to cook delicious and appealing plant-based, oil-free food (pre-internet!). Ann's singular focus is on creating recipes to prevent and reverse heart disease, and she collaborates with her husband, Dr. Caldwell B Esselstyn Jr., in counseling patients. Ann and her daughter, Jane, also feature heart-healthy recipes on their YouTube channel. Ann graduated from Smith College and received a master's in education from Wheelock College. She lives in Cleveland, Ohio, next door to Jane.

Monday, July 25, 2022

Coming up at 9:30am pst - Breton Tyner-Bryan talks about her latest Dance Drama in the Film Festival Circuit - Invicta


July 2022 Screenings to include Berlin Commercial Raw, July 27

and La Jolla International Fashion Film Festival, July 30

LOS ANGELES, JULY 21, 2022 -- INVICTA, the newest short film from multi-hyphenated creator Breton Tyner-Bryan, will screen at two upcoming festivals in July. The world premiere will be at the Berlin Commercial Raw Festival on July 27 in Berlin, Germany and will make its local premiere at the La Jolla International Fashion Film Festival in La Jolla, California on July 30, 2022.

It is currently running at the Lift Off Global Sessions hosted by Pinewood Studios UK on demand from July 4-28, and was also part of the Tokyo Shorts Best Experimental competition in June 2022.

INVICTA shows the lives and expectations that come with it, is set in New York City where a group of seven Mafia wives come together, driven by passion and drama. They are seemingly locked out of a Riverside Drive mansion and are searching for a way in. Who has summoned them and why are they now denied? As the women struggle to change and/or accept the situation, their dancing suggests alliances; perhaps they were once strong, now weakened. Betrayal -- or is it? -- from one woman brings up lost dreams, dashed expectations and longing for love, despite everything.

The seven women, who could represent the deadly sins, the virtues or the colors of the rainbow, are uniquely portrayed by members of Tyner-Bryan’s company Breton Follies: Sian Berman (Australian Ballet), Maya Kitayama (Broadway’s Beauty and the Beast, Can-Can), Emily Ulrich (Other World), Savannah Crawford, Susan Olmos Sabel, Samara Steele and Tatiana Stewart.

INVICTA is directed, written, choreographed, edited, and executive produced by Tyner-Bryan who also served as costume designer, sound designer and casting director. Her long-time collaborator, Michael J. Burke (The Golden Age, And Just Like That) is Director of Photography and composer Adria Barbosa contributed to the evocative score.

BROADWAY WORLD’s A. A. Cristi reviewed the film calling it “a wonderfully theatrical work…the women all convey a strength…each woman is complex, more than her strength, sexual desire or gender.”

Freelance journalist Nadia Vostrikov called it “...lusciously cryptic film waiting to be pried open” and praised Tyner-Bryan for leading the audience through “...her female-conquering world, indulging the viewer with opulence at every corner.”

INVICTA will screen on Saturday, July 30 at THE LOT in La Jolla located at 7611 Fay Avenue, San Diego. The screenings start at 10:00 am, and the red carpet and awarding of prizes will be from 3:00-10:00 pm. Tickets are available through Eventbrite.

About La Jolla International Fashion Film Festival

La Jolla International Fashion Film Festival is the First International Fashion Film Festival Founded in North America. Described as a filmmaker-centered film festival, it is called The Cannes of the fashion film world. An international jury will be awarding filmmakers in 20 different categories.

IFFS’s mission is to empower, support, and recognize the individual creative professionals who make up the fashion film community worldwide.

For more information on INVICTA or to speak with the Breton Tyner-Bryan, please contact Deborah Gilels, LA Media Consultants at (818) 648-9513, email

Coming up 7/24 9am pst - Susannah B is an accomplished singer-songwriter, screenwriter and writer John Anderson talk about their latest project Daddy's Eyes

Sacrifices must be made to make it to the top of the music world. No one knows this better than Dixon James, who promised his wife they would get there. In this haunting message of hope and despair, mother and daughter singers have been separated for over twenty years by race, wealth, fame, and a heroin addiction. They long to find one another…. Before it’s too late. In the tradition of a Greek tragedy, the journey is never straightforward.

Susannah B is an accomplished singer-songwriter, screenwriter and actor. A Los Angeles resident for most of her adult life, Susannah (aka Susannah Blinkoff) grew up in Manhattan as the daughter of well-known Broadway composer/lyricist Carol Hall. From an early age, Susannah was acting off-Broadway and singing professionally in NYC clubs. At Brown University, she met her longtime friend, director Drew Ann Rosenberg. As an actor, Susannah has appeared on Broadway and in film and TV. She co-wrote the film BELLYFRUIT and collaborated on the title song with composer/producer Stephen Bray (Madonna, THE COLOR PURPLE).

She is currently writing a comedic musical TV series with author Annabelle Gurwitch. As a singer, Susannah B has performed at many clubs in L.A. including Hotel Café and Catalina Jazz Club. She has released six albums of her own pop songs as well as an album of retro jazz standards. Most recently, Susannah B released an EP of techno house remixes with DJ/producer j. wells and the duo have a new electronic single “Moon & Sand” dropping later this summer.


John Anderson grew up in Erie, PA and received degrees at UC San Diego in biology, biochemistry and acting. He found his love of writing when he discovered Microsoft Spellcheck. John was winner of best film and best script at the 48-hour film project for "Scared Slim". He was also a series writer on Presumed Innocent, an episodic based on real-life cases from the Innocence Project. Among his many writing credits, he co-produced the horror film, Maneater starring Dean Cain. John was writer/director on the movie, This Town and short film Corgi Conspiracy, which premiered at Santa Barbara International Film Festival

"I first heard Susannah B’s music in a small, crowded jazz club in Hollywood. Her sultry voice and wistful lyrics transported me to a lonely barroom, where I found myself bathed in the opium-den-like company of other lost souls, longing to escape. My wife, director Drew Ann Rosenberg and I have experienced the pain of the opioid crisis firsthand as friends struggled with addiction or died from overdoses. The loss of these vibrant, talented people was tragic and senseless. Could we have done something to give them a ray of hope and shown them how much they had to live for? Life can change in an instant and often-times when you least expect it. My wife discovered this simply by spitting into a DNA collection test tube, where she found new family members and made a deep, meaningful connection. Using these themes, I wanted to craft a modern Greek tragedy, centered on a world where Susannah’s lyrics guided us through the darkness of my imagined inner-city club and while tragic and filled with regret, always holding that spark of hope that comes with the belief that ‘things may get better if you just hold out a moment longer.’ John K Anderson - Writer

Monday, July 18, 2022

Coming up 7/18 9:30am pst - Fernando Andrés and Tyler Rugh, a filmmaking duo share their debut feature film THREE HEADED BEAST which just made it's world premiere at 2022 Tribeca Film Festival

Fernando Andrés and Tyler Rugh are a filmmaking duo working in Austin, Texas. They are both 24 years old and have been making films together since they met in middle school. Their debut feature film THREE HEADED BEAST made its world premiere at the 2022 Tribeca Film Festival in the prestigious U.S. Narrrative Competition.

THREE HEADED BEAST is one of the films in the US and Canadian Narrative competition at this year’s Outfest. We recently participated in the Tribeca Film Festival and their programmers have hailed it “one of the boldest and most assertive American independent debuts in recent memory” and it has been called “erotically charged and arresting” by Chris Feil at Frameline and “hypnotically beautiful and undeniable” by acclaimed filmmaker Jim Cummings (Thunder RoadThe Beta Test).

Here’s a quick summary of the film: Peter and Nina are a long-term couple navigating a healthy and comfortable open relationship. Alex is a young man still figuring out adult life who has formed an intense connection with Peter. Their individual fears, desires, and loneliness collide over a hot Texas summer in a nearly wordless film told largely through intimacy, body language and music.

This is the debut film by Fernando Andrés and Tyler Rugh, a young filmmaking duo from Austin, Texas who not only wrote and directed the film, they acted as cinematographer, editor and sound operators and producers along with producer Lisa Freberg (One Good Man Productions). This is a true independent film about to make waves in this festival circuit and I believe you will find it well worth the watch and review.

Here is a link to the film's trailer:

At Tribeca, we got a number of great reviews.  Here are a few quotes:

"A master class in making something deft and eloquent..."

- The Village Voice

"Don't miss this gem."

-Gay City News

"An impressive triumph of craft."


Screening Schedule

Tuesday, July 19th at 9:45pm / DGA Theater

National CPR and AED (Automated External Defribrillator) Awareness Week is June 1st through 7th. Janeane will be in conversation with a cardiac arrest survivor, Steven Munatones, and Dr. Shira Schlesinger.

According to, back in 2007, the American Heart Association, the American Red Cross and the National Safety Council collaborate...