Artist Greg “Craola” Simkins

Photo by Brent Broza

It was a summer evening in late August as I prepared for my night as the floor Somm at the restaurant.  Our restaurant business brings many eclectic types of people together from foodies, oenophiles, fashionistas, critics and of course the locals.  One night, my eye was instantly drawn to a beautiful woman dressed in a simple white blouse with the coolest designed leggings. It was a great picture. Her sitting there against the deep blue leather of our booths, her leggings, popping off her legs framed by our walnut floors, it was beautiful. I did not recognize the designer, but thought it could be Alexander McQueen or Stella McCartney. On her way out I complimented her on her styling and asked her about her leggings and where I could get some. She said she wasn’t sure, but gave me her friend’s name who was the artist that designed them.  I didn’t have to even write it down because it was easy to remember – “Craola“.  I went to his site to do some shopping when I was lured into viewing his work.  As I discovered everything Greg “Craola” Simkins was up to in the art scene, I was completely surprised to find out he was a native of  Torrance, CA., right here in my backyard.  Now, the South Bay is mostly known for it’s beaches and volleyball – not art.  So as a NY transplant living in a beach community I have to seek out and travel outside the area get my “culture” fix.  Since my kids share the creative gene, I try to instill a variety of experiences in their lives too.  As I began delving into Greg’s website, youtube ,Instagram and Snapchat I began appreciating Greg’s artistry and I knew I had to know more about this artist who grew up and still lives a few miles away.  Greg is a very talented and fascinating artist who also has a business that consists of a clothing line, art supplies, iphone and ipad and macbook cases, and has a movie that is touring the film festivals as we speak.  During my Q& A I learned about his upcoming solo exhibition of new works ‘Beyond Shadows‘ at the “Merry Karnowsky Gallery” in Los Angeles  –  May 21st to June 18th.  Here is more about what I discovered during my Q & A with “Craola” and if you want t0 see my favorites go below to GG Picks.

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Words, Wine and… Me

When I got an invitation on Linked In to be the guest Sommelier on a digital series, I wondered, “Is this for real?” I immediately looked into it to see if it was an authentic show — and the exciting answer was YES! Tara Johnson is the creator and executive producer of this new series about female empowerment, “Words, Wine and Women.”   The show talks to strong, intelligent, modern women as they engage in raw, honest, and often-humorous conversation. Tara explained that the show features a wine-tasting session with its hosts. The guests are a team of five women tasting wine before they get into the other conversational topics. I loved everything about this program — and even offered our restaurant as the backdrop for Season Two.

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