Russell Simmons isn’t exactly on the lam these days, despite recent reports in the trade press that paint the one-time rap mogul as selling off his roster of businesses and properties in the U.S. and increasingly holing up in Bali, Indonesia, which has no extradition treaty with the U.S., where several women have leveled accusations of assaults that go back 35 years … Simmons is spending a lot of time in Bali these days – but he denies the allegations. And he wasn’t keeping a particularly low profile the other day at the Westfield Century City mall. Simmons greeted customers and passersby at NextHealth, which offers “access to the latest technology in an environment where science coexists with holistic values” – with treatments that range from cryotherapy to plasma-rich platelet treatments, among others …
Simmons told me he’s an investor in NextHealth, and that he stopped to visit the Century City location after attending the Nov. 24 funeral of Kim Porter, a former girlfriend of Sean “Puff Daddy” Combs, and mother of three of Combs’ children … Simmons also said that he sees much good in the Me Too Movement even though he considers himself a victim of its excesses. “I believe the revolution of the Me Too Movement is necessary, and it is glorious and overdue – things wouldn’t change without it,” Simmons said. “I also know, however, that there is collateral damage in every revolution – and I am collateral damage in this one.”
IKEA Aims for City Center
Commercial landlords, home furnishings retailers and local consumers in these parts can take cheer or fear in recent word that Sweden-based IKEA has Los Angeles on a list of potential sites for a “city-center” store if a test location under consideration for New Yorkworks out … A city-center store in Paris is due to open next spring at about 5,400 square feet – less than 1/10 the size of a typical IKEA … The move to smaller stores would help trim real estate costs in big cities, but also stems from a trend toward shoppers doing more online research before going to brick-and-mortar shops – a pattern that has IKEA cutting back on display space. Other candidates for the smaller store in the U.S. include San Francisco and Washington, D.C., according to the retailer, which said the shift should eventually lead to nearly 12,000 new jobs, offsetting 7,500 positions it plans to cut, mostly in its back-office operations. IKEA employs about 160,000 globally.
IKEA might want to check Downtown – specifically the 800 block of S. Broadway, where an Urban Outfitters has set up shop in about 7,500 square feet of the old Rialto Theater, a pending Apple Store has made waves with plans for a similarly sized store in the Tower Theater, and Costa Mesa-based action-sports apparel and shoe brand Vans has gotten less attention with its plan for an 8,000-square-foot flagship – more than twice the size of a flagship in London – between the two … You heard it here first: Don’t be surprised in Vans brings more energy than Apple to Broadway’s retail scene.
Milken Institute’s Other Level
Anyone who has attended the annual Milken Institute Global Conference at the Beverly Hilton knows that it’s the equivalent of an intellectual fire hose, with thousands of attendees from the upper reaches of business, government and media; speakers ranging from Nobel Prize winners to inventors and sports stars; and panel discussions that run the gamut from the applications of artificial intelligence to the causes of the opioid crisis …
Anyone who attended the Milken Institute’s Nov. 16 Town Hall held in a modest meeting room at the non-profit’s headquarters in Santa Monica got an idea of how it turns that fire hose into a garden hose, with a hundred or so engaged specialists gathering to dig deeper into a specific challenge, eager to cross-pollinate ideas and grow some solutions … This Town Hall was about the Future of Work in California, and one of its several panels took up a central challenge with the discussion Academia & Employer Partnerships. The panel was moderated by the Milken Institute’s Kevin Klowden, and included California Community Colleges Chancellor Eloy Ortiz Oakley; Cal Poly Pomona President Soroya M. Coley; and Jay Banfield, a managing director of non-profit Year Up … The takeaway: Academia is ready to reconsider its role in preparing students to make a living in our rapidly changing world – and that’s no small development. Employers, meanwhile, should get ready to understand academia better. And both sides should get together on a common vocabulary to apply to the challenges and opportunities to be found in training a workforce to fit our economy … A good example of the new vocabulary can be found in the term “blunt proxy,” which is often applied to college degrees. Academics have come to realize that many college degrees are granted in majors that don’t necessarily prepare students to meet the needs of employers upon graduation. Educated? Yes. Ready to add value in today’s economy? Not necessarily … Listen closely and you’ll hear both educators and human resources pros talk about “competencies,” a term often applied to more specific skill sets, some of which can be obtained by certificate programs that are shorter and less expensive than getting a degree.
Still no response from 14th District Los Angeles City Councilmember Jose Huizar or his office to inquires in the raids of his City Hall office, a field office, his home and other locations … The FBI, IRS and U.S. Attorney’s office all are keeping quiet, too … No shortage of folks from various walks of life – from the corporate world to community organizers – who say they aren’t surprised the feds knocked on Huizar’s door.
Low Tech Highly Effective in Watts
Check this video to see how a simple kite shaped like a bird does a fine job of keeping real birds from damaging the Watts Towers.
High Art Highly Effective in Watts
Then head down to the Noah Purifoy Gallery/Charles Mingus Gallery next door to Simon Rodia’s historic towers at 1727 E. 107th Street to take in The Conductor, an exhibit of works by Chukes, who deploys paintings and sculptures to wonder “what music looks like.”
OC at LA Auto Show
Several Orange County outfits dressed up the Convention Center and L.A. Live! as the L.A. Auto Show got started this week, including: Genesis, the luxury brand of Fountain Valley-based Hyundai Motor America; Kia Motors America, the reorganized Karma hybrid brand; and tech distributor Ingram Micro Inc. – all based in Irvine … Genesis had the biggest ad of the event – a giant banner on the Convention Center itself. Kia also had a supergraphic up, while Karma hosted a Nov. 28 meet-and-greet with cocktails and sushi at Katsuya for members of the media who got a preview in advance of the general public, and Ingram Micro took over the Mixing Room Cocktail Lounge at the J.W. Marriott the same evening.
Different Bunch of 1 Percenters
The vibrant commercial landscape of Orange County means there’s no shortage of wealth or the wealthy there, but it was a different bunch of 1 percenters on display in recent days at the federal courthouse in Santa Ana. That’s where prosecutors pressing a racketeering case have sought to seize property from the Mongol Nation – or Mongols Motorcycle Club – including the San Gabriel Valley-born outfit’s trademarked name and logo. Mongol members purportedly refer to themselves as the 1 percenters of the world of motorcycle gangs, joining their counterparts in the Hells Angels and Outlaws in the upper crust in their corner of the underworld … Closing arguments in the case were expected November 30, and the seizure of a trademarked logo would seem to be a precedent-setting move worthy of serious debate for both its intended consequences and the potential for unintended consequences. Pity that the case only drew significant media attention beyond the legal press based on a celebrity turn when Jesse Ventura – a former pro wrestler and governor of Minnesota who rode with the Mongols more than 40 years ago – was called as an “expert witness.”
Ani Tumanyan waits tables at the Pig & Whistle, which is next door to the Egyptian Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard, which earlier this month hosted the annual Arpa International Film Festival, which featured a film by Prince Babdasian, who is Tumanyan’s sister Armine. That’s the sort of full-circle story that offers a reminder that Hollywood is a neighborhood – and it comes from Oscar Arslanian, publisher of the soon-to-go-quarterly Discover Hollywood, a regular at the Pig & Whistle, and a true Hollywood guy … And, yes, the Armenian-American underpinning of this story extends to the Arpa film festival – an outgrowth of a Tarzana-based nonprofit known as Analysis, Research & Planning for Armenia.
Sullivan Says: Original Tommy’s has put pickles & tomatoes on par with peanut butter & jelly and chile & lime when it comes to simply great flavor combinations.