the next service is in NYC on March 26

Posts In Sugar

Jennie Gonzalez | Featured Performer

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For this Sunday’s service in LA — 12 noon at Bootleg Theater — the theme is SUGAR and I’ve been wanting to get some dance in the mix, in particular I’ve been thinking about dance from Latin America–I recalled that some of the dances were derived from the sugar fields. So, I reached out to some dance people in LA and found a wonderful dancer to perform some merengue. Merengue was created by sugar beet plantation workers in the Dominican Republic. Jennie Gonzalez is an LA dancer, teacher and choreographer with great experience in all sorts of Latin dance. I’m thrilled she’ll dance merengue for us.

Here’s her bio:

Jennie Gonzalez was born in Miami, Florida to Cuban and Puerto Rican parents. Ever since she was little she loved to dance. Always a spectacle at family parties and school dances. It wasn’t until Jennie went to college that she decided that she wanted to pursue her passion for dance and turn it into a career. She joined a local dance company that specialized in the Cuban stye of Casino/Rueda and soon realized her love for Salsa. Ms Gonzalez graduated Florida International University with a Bachelor’s in Dance. She was also apart of the University of Miami’s Hurricannette dance team in 2002 in which she performed at the Rose Bowl for the National Championship. Upon moving to Los Angeles, she was awarded a spot on the Debbie Reynolds scholarship program which prompted training in all forms of dance, voice, and acting.

Jennie has been featured in various television shows such as Wizards of Waverly, So You Think You Can Dance, and the Travel Chanell’s Get Packing, among many others. Delving deeper into cultural dance, Jennie became apart of an international dance troupe called The Sahlala Dancers specializing in the oriental art of Belly Dance As well as, traveling Internationaly and Nationaly as a principal member of the non-profit urban latin dance theater company Contra-Tiempo. One of the highlight years with the Contra Tiempo she traveled to Cuba for artistic exchange and was able to take class and perform with top notch Cuban artists. In 2009, Ms Gonzalez was a member of the cutting edge Salsa team Angeleno Funk. In their first couple of months together the team took a prestigious Third Place at the Mayan Team Championships. More recently Jennie began branding her signature style of sexy latin dancing into a class specifically for a Pole Aritst studio known as The Choreography House. Eventually Jennie began taking on the new skill of pole dancing which prompted her entry into a local Pole competition. She took first place at the Pacific Pole Championships in the level 2 entertainment division. Not to mention, Jennie is a certified group fitness and zumba instrctor. She can be found teaching her lively classes all over los angeles.

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Positivity Cheerleaders | Featured Performer

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For this Sunday’s event in LA — the theme is SUGAR, 12 noon at Bootleg Theater — we were thinking of what is SWEET in terms of performance and we thought of cheery dispositions, kindness, the sweet boost of a supportive word. So, with that in mind, I’m delighted to announce that the Positivity Cheerleaders will be coming to brighten our days! These chicks are good times!

Here’s their bio:

The Positivity Cheerleaders are only kind of joking.

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Bahni Turpin | Cultural Calendar

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Our Cultural Calendar is one people’s favorite aspects of our service and it’s always fun to see who’s going to read it. This Sunday in LA–12noon at Bootleg Theater—our reader will be the one and only Bahni Turpin. I’ve known Bahni since my LA theater days and am a huge fan and admirer–in addition to her chops, Bahni’s a huge believer in community and an advocate for the health of all people. So happy she’s going to be with us this Sunday for SUGAR.

Here’s Bahni’s bio:
Bahni Turpin is a Los Angeles based actress, yogini, award winning audio book narrator, and community activist. She has been a member of Cornerstone Theater Company for 10 years and recently toured 9 CA communities with Cornerstone’s adaptation of the Tempest playing the lead role,”Prosper”. Bahni has also performed at the Kirk Douglas Theater,(Eclipsed), Mark Taper Forum,(Mules, House Arrest) and South Coast Rep, (The Further Adventures of Hedda Gabbler, Eurydice). She has numerous television , film and commercial credits, and recently completed filming of an episode of Criminal Minds Beyond Borders, set in South Africa and due to air this spring. Bahni is also the founder of SoLA Food Co-op, an organization that seeks to create a natural foods cooperative in South Los Angeles.

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Sergio Duque | Featured Artist

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For this Sunday’s gathering in LA — 12noon at the Bootleg Theater — we have a special treat in the Visual Artist category. Sergio Duque is a clothing designer who has worked with many of the greats of the industry, including a 7 year stint with Diane Von Furstenberg. Sergio’s a master with textiles, drapery, cut–all of it–and he’s going to share some of his designs with us. I’m delighted to see his work in person and to share this artist with our community.

Here’s Sergio’s bio:

SERGIO DUQUE is a Los Angeles-based fashion designer and Creative Director of his own lifestyle label called De Design. He is also the founder of a new high fashion line for dogs called Lulu & Tash.

Duque was born in Medellin, Colombia. While studying architecture as a young man at the Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana, Duque decided to pursue fashion. “I would go to do research for my architecture classes at the campus bookstore” he recalls. “I found myself picking up the American high fashion magazines and thinking, “Oh, this is so cool! This reminds me of architecture. This is what I want to do next.” Duque says his mom cheered on his decision to jump into design. “She always knew that I was artistic, so even when I was a little boy, she always pushed for me to learn more art. She encouraged me to do as much as I could. She’d send me to drawing classes, photography classes and even music classes.”

Duque’s mom already lived in New York City, so he joined her in Manhattan and enrolled at the Parsons School of Design. After just one year at Parsons, Duque completed his degree, and immediately landed his first job with fashion icon Diane Von Furstenberg. With a laugh he recalls, “I had already done a few projects with her company. Then the company President thought it was time for me to meet Diane. When I met her, we talked and she turned to the president and said, “Oh, he’s fine!”
During his eight years at DVF, Duque was in charge of the textile department—developing all the special pieces for Von Furstenberg’s fashion shows. These pieces included hand-beaded dresses, embroideries and custom hand-drawn fabrics.

Red carpet guru David Meister learned of Duque’s skill set and lured him out to Los Angeles. Duque worked alongside David for eight years, crafting stunning evening gowns for Meister’s signature line worn exclusively by Hollywood’s A-List. Duque also designed for Meister’s day dress line available only in Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf Goodman and Saks Fifth Avenue

Duque’s own collection, De Design, offers lifestyle items including custom pillows, hand bags, dog accessories and more. This line is an extension of his original start-up called Lucho Inc. which was a high-end doggie line sold exclusively in the Bon Marché in Paris.
He is currently creating a new design direction and style for White House Black Market’s upcoming 2016 dress collection.
Duque is the winner of a Gen Art Stars of the New Millennium award.

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Polly Segal | Featured Artist

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Our featured musician for this weekend’s LA service — the theme is SUGAR — is a phenomenal singer and entertainer. I met her about 15 years ago through out mutual friend, Fred Cassidy and have been smitten ever since. Who is this phenom? The one and only Polly Segal, an Angeleno by birth, a New Yorker by soul and one of the good ones by any standard. With her sweet, bluesy, soulful voice, she’s gonna cover a great old song (we’re gonna keep that a secret) with the band–and it’s gonna be SWEET.

Here’s Polly’s bio:

Polly Segal is a singer/songwriter who has charmed audiences in both NYC and Los Angeles since 1989 with her original compositions ranging from inspired and introspective love songs to bluesy and often humorous power ballads that showcase her diverse musical background. Her comedic timing and lack of pretense have endeared loyal audiences on both coasts. Polly grew up in Los Angeles, but came into her own as a performer in New York where she could be seen at such landmarks as Joe’s Pub, The West Bank Café, and the Starlight. In 2001, Polly returned to her roots in L.A. and quickly established a loyal fan-base, performing to sold-out shows at Catalina Jazz Club, The Gardenia and M Bar. Polly’s songwriting influences include Bonnie Raitt and James Taylor, and she is currently writing new material for her next show scheduled for March 2016.

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Diane Trunk | Food Offering

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Diane Trunk is a new pal–she’s been coming to the LA Secret City events for a while now and when she heard the upcoming theme was SUGAR, she stepped right up after the service and told me she makes caramels. So, yeah, we’re going to have CARAMELS for SUGAR! That’s this Sunday, December 13th at 12noon at Bootleg.

Here’s a bio Diane wrote for us:
I live in in Los Angeles with 3 chickens, 2 cats, 2 kids, and 1 husband. I am an attorney who works on behalf of survivors of interpersonal violence. I love to cook. I’ve been making these caramels for a while now, and people seem to like them. I’m happy to share them with the Secret City community.

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2015/2016 Season

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Here it is, folks, the big line-up for the year. Very excited about the themes and the venues and the few changes – note the Winter Solstice event at Judson Memorial Church on December 20th. It will be our first evening service and a much bigger venue.

Thanks to all who helped out with suggestions of themes.

  • Sunday, September 27th – NYC/Dixon Place – COLOR
  • Sunday, October 11th – LA/Bootleg Theater – FANTASY
  • Sunday, October 25th – NYC/Dixon Place – EVOLUTION
  • Sunday, November 22nd – NYC/Dixon Place – DIRT
  • Sunday, December 13th – LA/Bootleg Theater – SUGAR
  • Sunday, December 20th – NYC/Judson Memorial Church – STARDUST
  • (Winter Solstice event – starts at 5:30pm)
  • Sunday, February 21st – NYC/Dixon Place – THE FORBIDDEN
  • Sunday, March 6th – LA/Bootleg Theater – PROPHECY
  • Sunday, March 20th – NYC/Dixon Place – ENERGY
  • Sunday, April 24th – NYC/Dixon Place – RISK
  • Monday, May 23rd – NYC/Dixon Place – Secret Admirers
  • Our annual benefit to support the work of The Secret City
  • Sunday, June 12th – LA/Bootleg Theater – FREEDOM
  • Sunday, July 31st – Woodstock – PLAY

So, you can see, it’s going to be a LOT OF FUN. And, because it’s The Secret City, it will also be deep and meaningful and beautiful and rare. And it will be so much richer and better if you’re a part of it.

See you at The Secret City

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