Chef Q+A: Luigi Criscuolo

When you were 15 years old and new to cooking, what mistakes did you make?

When I started, almost all I did was bad. I loved using many “heavy” ingredients and too much oil. I liked tasty, fried, fattening dishes. After a few months, I corrected my mistakes.

In the past, you have owned a restaurant. What are you doing now as a chef?

Good question. I owned a restaurant in the past. I’ll definitely open one again in the future, but I cannot accept the idea of leaving the stoves. I love cooking too much and would literally live in the kitchen.

What are the proper accompaniments for linguini: protein, beverages, and anything else?

When I think about linguini, I automatically think about claims, cherry tomatoes, Italian parsley, extra virgin olive oil, and garlic. A nice bottle of my beloved “greco di tuff,” a great southern Italian wine.

What are some of your other favorite pastas to cook for clients?

I love seafood! I love cooking ravioli, lobster with ricotta cheese, and spaghetti with shrimp and zucchini. I love to use porcini. Porcini is a respected Italian mushroom.

Which traditional Italian entrees do Americans misinterpret when we try to prepare them?

Mmmm, there is something out there really, but one of the top is chicken. In America, chicken is overused and in italy we not really eat the dish you have, chicken parmigiana. Our alfredo sauce is originally white, made of just butter and parmesan cheese. Americans use too much heavy cream almost everywhere.

How are we making the tomato sauce incorrectly?

There are too many tomato sauce recipes. My tomato sauce is only peeled garlic, extra virgin olive oil, good tomatoes, salt, and of course, basil.

What is the difference between Manhattan pizza and typical pizza eaten in Italy?

There is only one. pizza in the world: neapolitan pizza! Yes, I’m sorry about that, but I’m neapolitan, and I’m so proud of my pizza, and for me, it is the only one in the world. The rest is just a variant of the real pizza, so different really that I do not even call it pizza.

Is it true that many Italians eat healthy dessert such as fruit on most days instead of a rich tiramisu?

Dessert is eaten everyday in Italy. We love fruit for dessert, but chocolate for dessert and tiramisu are never missing on the Italian table. Cannoli is the most known Italian dessert in the world.

Which meal do you recommend for someone to cook for entertaining a romantic interest?

I remember one of my romantic dinners with my wife. Nova salmon bruschetta as an appetizer. Risotto with lobster. Grilled Hawaiian prawns to share, and chocolate lava cake. A few days later, that girl became my wife. She still is!

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Musician Q+A: MsTish!

Why did you want to get into music?

Music was something that came NATURAL to me. It’s been a part of my life – ALL MY LIFE!

What was your first musical experience?

My first Musical experience was in church singing in the choir.

Who are your favorite names in music right now?

My favorite names in music right now is Canton Spirituals.

What was your first concert?

My first concert was at a school in Memphis for children.

How does music make you feel powerful?

My music empowers the GOD in me – I give OUR FATHER All the Glory!!

What is your next release going to be?

My next release will my 4th Album ( Conviction )

What is most significant to you as an artist?

Time – Loyalty and standing out.

Actor Q+A: Alfredo Trueba

What is your favorite thing about acting?

Just being. Being in the moment. Being and doing as the character. Feeling all the emotions that come with that. When you are able to be 100% in it, just living it for the first time, whether it is with a camera inches from your face in front of a 30-person crew, or in front of a sold out theater, the rare moments when you are just able to be fully in it. Its like magic, its surreal.

What is the hardest part?

I guess when you are just not finding it. When you are trying to find that character, or that emotion, in rehearsal, or on set, it can be excruciating. Because you know what has to happen and for some reason, your body, your emotions, the circumstances, get in the way of your preparation and your process, and if you’ve been on set for seven hours waiting around and suddenly they need you to go, you need to be able to take a breathe and do it, because everyone is counting on you and time is money, but that’s part of the fun too!

What are your tips for newbie actors?

Breathe. Give yourself a break. Save money when you can. There are so many different roads to success, but you have to define what success is for you, and you can’t define your self-worth by it. Especially for people that become actors in search of the lifestyle, the money, or the fame, because it’s what we see and read about, and in some cases are told we should strive for, but most working actors are just that, working. So you have to love acting and the art, and not do it for what you think it might bring you. Also continue to refine your skills and your craft, continue to train and get better, and surround yourself with likeminded hard working people and artists.

What skills, training and education do you recommend?

It’s different for every actor. Show me 1,000 actors and I’ll show you 1,000 approaches to acting. In terms of skills, great listening, an openness and flexibility to work with different people and changing circumstances, and courage. All actors need courage! But as far as training and education go, there are millions of options out there… I went through an intensive BFA program, but you see it all the time living in LA, you meet a lot more actors that, you know, got off the bus with a suitcase and a dream so to speak, actors who have been training with the same acting teacher for years, or people that have just learned by doing it, they’ve been on camera since they were babies – literally! But I always recommend what my friend and casting director Andy Roth says, which is there are two approaches to acting, one that works and one that doesn’t, and actors have to find the one that works for them, and keep at it.

Who are your favorite actors/actresses and what do you learn from watching them?

The list is long and varied; I love film and television, and I try to watch it all. It changes every week as I get enthralled by whatever I’m watching, but I love the passion, joy, and energy Gael García Bernal brings to set on Mozart in the Jungle, I love the command of character and scene work that come from a Denzel Washington performance, who is a master storyteller and understands the camera so well. Watching great actors do live work is incredible too, I remember I saw Jeff Daniels and Michelle Williams in Blackbird on Broadway, and it is so emotional and challenging material, and it almost seems over the top, especially compared to their work in front of the camera, and yet you go with them, and you feel what they do, and its incredibly useful to see how they must adapt for the medium they are working in. So for this week, I’ll settle on those four…

What are your upcoming projects and career goals?

I just finished Car Plays, which had a successful run as part of the Pasadena Art Walk, but I really can’t wait for some of the stuff I’ve been doing to come out, in particular the “Chandler” episode of ID Network’s Betrayed coming out in December, as I play the lead antagonist, Robert ‘Carl’ Paiva. Its so much fun to play a villain, but a to play a 70s hyper-masculine mustache killer from the Midwest in a hit new show’s second season, its really exciting. But upcoming projects? I’ve been dying to play Salvador Dalí since working on a version of the character with casting director Ellen Parks, and though I can’t really talk about it yet, I will be playing him very soon and my blood is boiling! I have family in Spain that is actually not far from where he lived most of his life… And as far as career goes, I would love to work with genius filmmakers like Alejandro Gonzalez Iñarritú, who I’ve loved before Birdman and The Revenant made him one of the most coveted directors in the world. But more than anything, continue to tell great stories and reach people, whether that be in front of a packed audiences on musical stages where I started, on film, television, or through viral web content, at the heart of it, I hope to continue to do work with meaning, that pushes the envelope, and reaches people.

What is something funny that’s happened to you on the job that makes you love acting more?

I don’t know if this is funny, but recently on the shoot of Rico San Marco, we were shooting in the city of Temecula, a charming town, and for some reason residents hated us! It was crazy! Most of the time when you are shooting on the streets or on location, people want to know what you are shooting, want to take pictures with you, the actors, maybe even try to get in the shot, but we had the film commission shut down a tiny street the first day and people went nuts! They were complaining about having to wait, they were yelling at our production assistants until the director, had to get involved, it was crazy. One guy was upset someone asked him to be quiet, and so he stomped his way through five flights of stairs just to mess with production, but as an actor sometimes the adversity, having less time to shoot, you have to focus and push through, and as a leading actor, working with a kid on the shoot, you have to lead by example and show everyone not to focus on the drama around a shoot, but the job, the scene, the take at hand… And by the end, most people in town ended up loving our production team and came out to watch us film our final scene on the town bridge, but hey, that’s show business, and you got to love it!

Author Q+A: E.H. Humphreys

What inspired you on this book?

Players: A Game of Grit and Glory is about a female professional polo player and her team; as a polo player myself I was inspired by the game and the extraordinary people I have met through the sport. It is a world unbeknownst to much of the population and one that I wanted to share.

Why did you want to become a writer?

I have always been writing, as a child I wrote little stories and as a teenager I wrote to escape from the agony that is high school. Writing has been a source of comfort and self-exploration throughout my life, however this was the first time I finished writing a novel.

What was the hardest part of creating this book?

Finding the time to write was difficult because I wrote Players whilst I was studying for my law degree. Getting started took more time than finishing because once I had written over half of the book I was so excited about the ending that I was more motivated to keep going.

What do you hope people gain from reading it?

Players is designed to be a book that people can dive into and escape from the trials of their own lives. I hope that it brings people enjoyment and that it makes the world more aware of this wonderful sport that is not just about the riches and glamour that is often associated with it; polo is about determination, teamwork, and horses over everything else. I hope that people are inspired by the strong female characters and the supportive friendships that are at the heart of the book.

When you were a kid, what were your favorite books?

Like any horse-mad teenager I was obsessed with horse-themed books and series like the Black Stallion series, the Thoroughbred series, the Saddle Club, and of course Seabiscuit. I, like most people of my generation, grew up with Harry Potter and I cannot fail to mention the effect that had on me and encouraged me to imagine and create.

What is your advice to people who are not excited about reading?

If a person is not excited about reading then they probably have not found the right book yet. Books are very personal, you are delving into your own unique interpretation of someone else’s universe. Don’t listen to what other people tell you that you should read, find something that you get joy from and want to continue reading. There are lots of sources where you can read the first chapter of a book to decide if it is something you want to continue with.

Why should we buy your book?

Players is a great book for anyone looking for an action-packed story that is fun and easy to read but full of soul.

Author Q+A: Jo M. Sekimonyo

What inspired you on this book?

I started this journey by asking few simple questions. What I run into are perverted answers that made me realized the distribution justice is a simple and at the same time a complex question. This book is frankly born out a frustration that no one wanted to revisit socioeconomic inequalities in term of injustices.

Why did you want to become a writer?

For all of the wrong reasons, raise hell and feel alive. Writing is a way to express inner struggles as well as ideas. There is nothing like the thrill of turning your feelings into words that could possibly change somebody else journey, or break the silence in somebody else mind.

What was the hardest part of creating this book?

Writing is boring. I basically sat and stared at a screen for hours, days, weeks, before typing into a keyboard. There aren’t many variations on that. My contradictions added to my idealism, which amplifies the difficulty in learning new emotions or interpreting facial expressions.

What do you hope people gain from reading it?

In a world of flawless idiocies and imperfect knowledge, arguments which have a certain persuasive façade comes out on top. In the dissection of commerce and trade, there are other ways to tell the story. It wasn’t all about mathematics and cute graphs until recently. I hope that the premise of my rants forces readers to pay greater respect to people who are making valid arguments against profiteers’ “raison de vivre”.

When you were a kid, what were your favorite books?

I shall confess that I was a fan of Tin tin. My naivety did get the fume of racism. The cartoon depicted people like me as primitive to the core, with the stereotyped features that need no describing. It supports the typical colonial belief: non-Europeans never grow into the maturity of adulthood. This paternalistic conception of colonialism I grew up with in the southern hemisphere with the delusion of being part of the northern hemisphere.

What is your advice to people who are not excited about reading?

If you don’t like reading, watch documentaries, then write a book. Inspiration is everywhere. You jump in a public bus and watch people faces, get them to talk.

Why should we buy your book?

To have something else to say in terms of distributive justice for which the prevailing sermons have become standardized. Nowadays, it’s not so much between the right-wing and the left-wing economists. Even in the part of the world where Capitalism doctrine is not very understood nor deeply theorized, it’s very widely and, I would argue, very successfully applied. Chants against injustices have become spoken word fumbling acts. Utopian ideals persist in the collective consciousness despite the absence of a robust intellectual foundation because people feel deep in their gut the paradigm shift. I don’t just grumble and gesticulate my frustrations about this. I am a merchant of ideas, and my greatest one yet is the solution to the archaic and barbaric capitalism structure. I call it ethosism.

Author Q+A: Shavonda Robinson

What inspired you on this book?

I wanted to help raise awareness of violence against women is wrong and should not be tolerated. Also help each women recognize the signs of an abusive partner and learn to escape before it is too late.

Why did you want to become a writer?

I always wanted to help uplift and teach others through my experiences.

What was the hardest part of creating this book?

This book has the ability to put anyone in their feelings.

What do you hope people gain from reading it?

To help women recognize the signs of domestic violence and learn to escape before it gets worser.

When you were a kid, what were your favorite books?

I loved all kinds from Maya Angelou and Alot children’s books.

What is your advice to people who are not excited about reading?

Reading a book can save someone life or help someone who is going through a certain situation.

Why should we buy your book?

If you can relate to domestic violence against women whether it is you or someone you may know then this is a resourceful and important book that could help you many ways.

Author Q+A: Jennifer Juan

What inspired you on this book?

I recently went back and looked over some of my older work, some of which was written while I was studying at The University Of Greenwich, and it was so interesting to see how much growth there has been. I put together a collection called “The Things We Did Last Summer”, with some of the highlights of my older work, that hasn’t been published in print yet, so it will be a good starting point for anyone interested in how I’ve developed, without the pressure of having to scroll through my entire back catalogue.

In “Last Of The Greenwich Glamour Girls” I wanted to expand on my skills as a writer, and just continue to grow, learn and show people how far I’ve come as both a writer and a person. The title and the poem that goes along with it comes from something me and a friend used to call ourselves when we were studying at The University Of Greenwich. I didn’t take everything as seriously as I could have, because I think I was afraid of taking the next step into adult life, so now that I’ve moved on from that, and I’m growing and learning to do my own thing, I think there is a little regret from what could have been, but a lot of joy for what is to come, and I really tried to capture that in this book.

Why did you want to become a writer?

I wanted to explore language. I’m a really curious person, about everything, and so for me, learning and discovering things is what I love to do, and writing is no different. I’ve always seen it as a tool for exploration, and if I get to say something that is on my mind along the way, then that’s fine for me too.

What was the hardest part of creating this book?

I find it very difficult to let go of the things that I create sometimes, because even if I don’t mean them to come from my life, and my experiences, there is always a part of me that finds a way in, and it can make it very difficult to put things out there. I found one of the poems, Under Your Bed, particularly difficult, because it can be therapeutic to take something painful and create something from it, it can be so hard to have to revisit that. It’s like I was sitting with my laptop, with my trauma leaning over my shoulder, pointing out spelling errors and telling me how much I sucked, but it’s worth it, because it’s like gaining back the power from that situation. It doesn’t own me anymore, because I turned it into something strong, and it works for me now.

What do you hope people gain from reading it?

I hope that they’ll enjoy it, and maybe find something that they can relate to. I think that the relationship between an author and the reader is so important, so I hope I can build that with lots of new people, and strengthen that bond with my existing readers.

When you were a kid, what were your favorite books?

I loved and still love Carol Ann Duffy. I loved her way with words, and how she talked about things that I’d never really thought about before.

What is your advice to people who are not excited about reading?

Don’t beat yourself up about it too much. I think that sometimes people aren’t engaged with books, because their only experience with them is school, and they often don’t get too much choice with what they read. I think just being open to books, not putting so much pressure on yourself, and letting the right book find you. So many television shows and movies these days are based on books, or have novel adaptations, so if you find yourself enjoying The Walking Dead, for example, maybe go to your library and check out one of the comics? Or if you see a quote you like on instagram, maybe click on the hashtag and see if you find anything else you like.

I think another important thing is to remember that you can read whatever you want, it doesn’t have to be a huge leather bound book written in the Victorian era to be valid, if it has words, and it engages you, then you’re reading, and that’s cool. I think some are put off of reading because there is a lot of elitism, with people being shamed for enjoying certain books, or genres, or for reading in non traditional ways. I think if people involved in writing and reading communities work together to destroy the stigma and shaming of reading non traditional formats, we would find that a lot more people get excited about reading, because they’d feel more welcome.

Why should we buy your book?

I found myself finding answers to a lot of life’s questions in the books I’ve read over the years, and right now, I think a lot of us have questions, so maybe, I have the answers you’re looking for, but you’ll have to get the book to find out.

Model Q+A: Rina Kelly

How do you get modeling jobs? Are you with an agency or freelance?

I was actually asked! And you never would believe Where the agent found me… in the line at McDonalds Hah. the mcflurry tastes extra good that day. Haha

I was for a short time Linked to a agency in Oslo Norway. Then I started to be contact by various designers!! Like malene birger, DAY et, moods And fam are some of them!! Most of them are danish designers

What made you want to be a model?

 I never thought I would be one! At the Beginning I saw it like a new challenge in life, like.. guess I didn’t take it too seriously but shortly I turned to a more dedicated person.
And the fairytale started

What is the hardest part about pursuing modeling as a profession?

lack of sleep and sometimes painful feet!

What is the most fun?

designers sending me clothes as gift, after the show hehe. Also you meeting new peoples, I traveled a lot and have lots of nice memories

How do you respond to people who don’t believe in your goals?

Well.. in my case, people believed more in me than I did at the beginning.

What advice do you have for people who want to model?

Just go for it!! It’s various type of model works!! Try to figure out what kind of model you are. And follow your heart.

What are your career aspirations and where can we find you next?

I am retired! I moved to Mexico 2 months ago. and been already asked by L’Oréal Paris Mexico. But I focusing now on my music and career as actress. So my model fairy tale has reach the sweet end.

Actor Q+A: Hakan Yildiz

What is your favorite thing about acting? What is the hardest part?

My favorite thing about acting: , being someone else l think and the hardest part is to act this different personalites on camera

What are your tips for newbie actors? What skills, training and education do you recommend?

Well there are many things they have to do from eduction to self discovery. You must first discover what kind of abilities you have except acting then its always good to have a second talent to improve. Attend method acting classes, workshops, get a demo reel and headshot then start finding auditions in your town. Try to join all these auditions if its not gonna get you a possitive results. Never give up and its hard way to follow your dreams.

Who are your favorite actors/actresses and what do you learn from watching them?

There are too many good actors and actresses l like to watch.

What are your upcoming projects and career goals?

I have a couple of feature film projects for next few years. The Boy On The Bridge is one of them. We will shoot it in New York next year 2018

I will be in Los Angeles and getting ready for my role for this film..

What is something funny that’s happened to you on the job that makes you love acting more?

When we actors forget/mix my monologues during the shooting l think we all lough a lot. l’m a professional actor and independent film producer.

Artist Q+A: Mark Humes

What kind of art do you specialize in?

I specialize in Digital abstract art.

What first attracted you to art?

The ability to express my thoughts with out words.

What made you want to do it as a profession and not a hobby?

To me, it was a necessity. After becoming disabled from my Military service, I knew a life of retirement was not for me and art, especially digital art was something I could pursue no matter what disadvantages I faced.

Who are your favorite artists and how have they influenced your work?

Well, these are two very different questions to me. My favorite artists are Van Gogh and H.R. Giger, but I can’t claim any influences in my artwork with the one exception being I try to make my work just as expressive as theirs.

What is your attitude towards art in our time period?

I feel it is changing with technology. New mediums such as digital art and 3d printing are changing the game as well as the fall of the gatekeepers. In today’s world artists are not dependent on the art complex to be known. A Simple web posted video can have an artist work being seen by thousands in a day where an old brick and mortar gallery would be hard pressed to get a quarter of that kind of foot traffic in a month. I feel we could be approaching digital golden age.

What is your advice for people who want to have professional careers as artists?

You have to love what you are doing and realize being an artist means you are in business so do your research and make a business plan it will help you greatly on your way.

Where can we view your work and/or buy it?

Viewing my art is as simple as a Google image search For Mark Humes Art, but all of my artwork can be viewed and purchased at Mark Humes Gallery.