A Selective Guide to the Arts in Los Angeles

Welcome to Culture Spot LA!

Culture Spot LA is an online magazine providing sophisticated readers with articles, reviews, and listings for classical concerts, theater, art exhibits, opera, literary events, independent film and more.

It is the place for fans of the traditional arts and supporters of local creativity to find out what’s going on in arts, culture and entertainment in the Los Angeles area, from Santa Monica to Pasadena. And it’s the place to learn about personalities in the arts, from musicians to artistic directors. Culture Spot LA takes readers from the smallest stages to landmark venues, providing information and insight with journalistic integrity and artistic sensibility.

In addition to supporting and promoting the arts, Culture Spot LA believes in giving back to the community. We include fundraising events in our pages and offer free advertising to charities and nonprofits working to save the environment, help the less fortunate, and provide educational opportunities to young people.

Editor in Chief

Julie Riggott

Julie has been the editor of a monthly magazine devoted to arts, charities, and personalities and an arts and entertainment editor at weekly newspapers, where she earned awards for her work. She’s written about local artists, actors, directors, musicians, authors, and even scientists, and interviewed celebrities such as Brian Wilson, John Malkovich, Larry McMurtry, Al Franken, and Tim Robbins. She feels very fortunate to live in LA where there is an extraordinary amount of culture to experience and she can still retreat to her home in a canyon for serenity.

Contributing Writers

Theodore Bell

Ted blends musical and psychological analyses in his musings as a freelance critic of the local sonic arts scene. He is a graduate of the University of Louisville School of Music and the UCLA Doctoral Program in Psychology. An Angeleno for the past 30 years, Ted is an avid musician and supporter of the arts.

David Maurer

David is a former senior editor for Classic Home magazine and writes about the arts and architecture for a variety of print and online outlets.

Samuel Jang

Samuel has worked in finance and the non-profit arts world. He worked on IT projects as a business systems analyst at Capital Group while volunteering as a board member and treasurer of a Pasadena-based chamber ensemble, and later joined the ensemble as its production manager to work on cultural exchange projects in Vietnam and Mexico. He started playing violin at the age of 10 and the piano at 12, and continues to enjoy playing as an amateur. He is currently working toward his Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation.

Henry Schlinger

Henry is a connoisseur of classical music, a guitarist and songwriter of classic rock (www.hankschlinger.com),  and a behavioral scientist. He previously published classical music reviews in a weekly newspaper.

Benn Widdey

Benn has been writing since he was a little boy and dancing with all the kids on his block since then too. His writing has been published on blogs and in journals and magazines. He writes grants, fundraising letters, press releases and arts marketing copy as well.

Natalie Kessel

Natalie was raised in Texas as a tennis prodigy and eventually traded her racquet for a video camera after discovering Spike Jonze’s music videos. Attending art school in San Francisco, she lived between coasts until deciding to settle in LA for the platform-friendly weather. Her LinkedIn title labels her as a writer and filmmaker, but she is also a dancer, tarot card reader and karaoke queen.

Ekphrasis Rex

Ekphrasis Rex is the nom de plume of an art aficionado who heads an engineering group specializing in green technology.

Hao Yuan Kueh

Kueh is a music lover and pianist who plays mainly classical, but also likes to dabble in jazz.  He is also a cell biologist.  He enjoys attending concerts at Disney Hall, and likes to unwind in front of the piano after a long day at work.

Former Contributors

Penny Orloff

Penny is an actor, musician, and playwright, and the author of the comic novel, “Jewish Thighs on Broadway,” available on Amazon.com. She writes articles on music, theater, opera and dance for various print and web publications.

Wendy Kikkert

Wendy is founding president of The Intimate Opera Company. Her roles include Cherubino in “The Marriage of Figaro,” Orlofsky in “Die Fledermaus,” and Suzuki in “Madama Butterfly.” She has earned degrees in piano performance from Wellesley College and a master’s degree in vocal performance from CSU Long Beach. She teaches music, piano, and voice at a private school in Fullerton.

David Gerhardt

David is an actor and writer who came to Los Angeles from the internationally unrecognized Bachelor of Fine Arts Acting program at the University of Colorado. He splits his time between reviewing LA theater for Culture Spot and analyzing college football for The Ralphie Report.

Jessica Koslow

Most recently, Jessica Koslow was the editor of Campus Circle, an LA-based weekly newspaper, for four years. Before returning to her hometown, she lived in New York City, working as an editor while also freelancing for various newspapers, magazines and online publications. She received her B.A. from Brown University and is currently pursuing a Master’s in Specialized Journalism (The Arts) at the USC Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism.

Colleen M. McLellan

Colleen is a writer of varying persuasion, whose interest (and BA) in dance and literature led her to music, book design, and lecture as other art forms deeming analysis worthwhile.  She holds dear her bicycle, her continuing education, and her neighborhood in Downtown LA.

Anna Reed

Anna is a dance artist, teacher and writer, and a recent transplant to the Los Angeles area. She holds a BA in English from Dartmouth College and an MFA in dance performance from Ohio State University. Her writings about the local dance scene can also be found at danceinla.blogspot.com.

Gil Kaan

Gil, a former managing editor of the now-defunct Genre magazine, has had the privilege of photographing and interviewing some major divas in his career, including Ann-Margret, Diana Ross, Faye Dunaway, Carol Channing, Shirley MacLaine, Catherine Deneuve, Liza Minnelli, Sandra Bernhard, Anna Nicole Smith, Margaret Cho, and three Catwomen — Eartha Kitt, Lee Meriwether and Julie Newmar. He had the fortuitous opportunity to conduct Lily Tomlin’s coming out interview. Gil has since reviewed movies and theater for a number of local and national outlets. A photo montage of Gil’s Halloween Carnavale photos through the last decade was recently included in the WeHo@ 25 juried exhibition.

Néstor Castiglione

Néstor is a writer, translator and lecturer born and raised in Los Angeles. Aside from classical music, he writes about local news, literature, film and the pre-war popular culture of Japan. His Instagram account is @echorrhea.

Website Design

Jacob Rishe

After earning a bachelor’s degree in business, Jake (https://jacobrishe.github.io/) led a team of developers through many website design and development projects at a startup digital marketing company. To advance his knowledge within the field, he taught himself multiple coding languages and was accepted to go back to school as a full stack software engineer. He graduated from General Assembly and is currently working as a freelance software engineer. 


Karl Larsen

Karl started his professional career as the resident photographer for the House of Blues in Las Vegas (www.karllarsen.com). Since then, Rolling Stone magazine has sent him on assignment nationally and internationally, and he’s photographed musicians from Aerosmith to ZZ Top. His work has appeared in all of your favorite entertainment magazines, including People and Entertainment Weekly. Karl also has work in Celebrity Vault gallery in Beverly Hills.

Logo Design

Kelly Coats

Kelly is an artist, musician, and designer based in Los Angeles (www.kellycoats.com). While living in Mexico City several years ago, she co-founded (with Renato Ornelas) the Mexico City-based artist collective Bordermates.