Archives for 2017

The Replicas Music Interview

Recently Urban Toot was at the Dads’ Club here in Glendale, California and we saw The Replicas Music, Variety band perform at a very private and very VIP birthday party. The band was just crazy good and we got to know them a little and thought that it would be a hoot to interview them here on Urban Toot. 

I sat down with Veronica Puleo, the Executive Director for The Replicas Music so I could get to know her a little bit better. Veronica’s a lot of fun and her passion for music and performing comes out in spades. She’s one of those people who are sorta like Dwayne Johnson who makes you feel like you have been best friends since kindergarten. She’s pretty kick ass!

Here’s how the interview with The Replicas Music got started.

So tell us a little bit about yourself, your background and what it is that you do for The Replicas Music.

Veronica: I’m an artist. I started dancing at the age two, began singing at age 7, picked up the guitar at 19, moved to LA to act, be a photographer, and singer songwriter.  Is your head spinning yet?  I love art and working with artists.  What I do for TRM is provide the very best live music entertainment for special events such as weddings, corporate parties, and  private soirees.  I find incredible musicians to play classical, jazz, and all genres of music. My partner I customize and design specific soundtracks for each client to fit the scene of their event.

So you Perform and you are the Artistic Director. What’s that like? It’s gotta be crazy!

Veronica: Crazy is an understatement, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I wear so many hats and get to be a chameleon. That is my wheelhouse and my comfort zone.  I can sell to my clients, get the contract signed, book musicians and fill the calendar, and learn a bunch of music for the next gig.  I won’t lie, it can get challenging at times, but I always welcome it.

I understand that you perform with one of the variety bands. Tell us about that variety band, the people in it and how are they different than your two other variety bands? 

Veronica: I feel like one of the luckiest singers in the world. The musicians that grace our stage are some of the most disciplined, professional, super talented individuals … and they happen to have the best sense of humor and they are like family. That is the variety band I get to sing with.  Matt Hornbeck, one of the coolest people you’ll ever meet and his guitar chops are insane.  Hire him to be your session cat!  Speaking of session players, our Music Director, Michael Holowatch is not only a sick drummer, but he also owns Mud Dog Drum Studio (sessions, lessons, and production). Todd Honeycutt, our lead male vocalist toured with Sir Elton John and sings on so many movie soundtracks such as Planet of the Apes!  

I can go on and on about TRM Variety Band.  This is the band that started our agency in 2011.  We literally cover everything but death metal!

We have so many more talented folks in our arsenal that make up our other big ensembles:  

Uptown Social Club – Pop / Top 40 / Motown / 80s – Malynda Hale, Cheyenne Jolene, Aaron Schumacher … these vocalists will knock your socks off. Google them!  Seriously they are so accomplished it blows my mind.

 

Boulevard West –  Funk / Soul / RnB – T.j. Wilkins was on The Voice, The horn section in that band:  JP Floyd on Trombone tours with Chance the Rapper, Cameron Johnson on Trumpet tours with Robin Thicke

Boulevard West –  Funk / Soul / RnB – T.j. Wilkins was on The Voice, Jamila Ford backing vocalist for Seal, Christopher Johnson – a gifted trombonist, has performed with musicians such as Clark Terry, Wycliffe Gordon, Aloe Blacc, Jasmine Sullivan, Jamie Foxx, Mary Mary, Ledisi, Tevin Cambell, Yolonda Adams, Rachelle Ferrell, Jennifer Holiday, Monica, Tamia, Stephanie Mills and Stevie Wonder to name a few.

From looking at your website, The Replicas Music I see that you represent a lot of other musical acts/groups. Tell us about them.

Veronica: We’ve got it all from solo artists, duos, trios … all the way up to 13+ pc bands.  They can handle all styles of music.  Even our background ensembles can take classic rock hits like “You Shook Me All Night Long” by AC/DC and turn it into a Bossa Nova.  So fun!  We also represent the very best in Mariachi, Jazz, Classical, Latin Jazz, Bluegrass, New Orleans Brass Band.  

We saw you play at the VW Dads’ Club. Is that a normal type of venue that The Replicas Music plays? 

Veronica: All venues and events are game!  We love down home backyard parties … and in this same breath I can say that my musicians love to get dolled up and play the most posh venues in SoCal.  Our usual spots are private estates, Malibu Rocky Oaks, The Beverly Wilshire, The Montage Beverly Hills, The Ebell of LA, Sunstone Villa in Santa Ynez, Hummingbird Ranch, Santa Barbara Zoo, Santa Barbara Historical Museum, Santa Monica Beach Club, Jonathan Beach Club, Jonathan Club DTLA, The Millennium Biltmore, The Four Seasons Biltmore, The Four Seasons Westlake Village, The Four Seasons Beverly Hills, City Club DTLA, Los Angeles Athletic Club … and for good measure, you can catch the TRM Variety Band monthly at the Sagebrush Cantina in Calabasas.

Okay I get it, the VW Dads Club is not your normal type of venue, but how was it to perform there? 

The Replicas Music performing at The VW Dads' Club

Veronica: We loved performing at VW Dads Club and would love to be there more!  We met so many awesome people.  There is a true sense of community and genuine good vibes all around in Glendale.  Steve and Patti from Smack Smog made our killer website, rebranded us completely, designed the perfect logo and help us with marketing. We recently bought a house with the help of our most awesome Glendale Real Estate Agent, Jake at Diggs.  Skyline Home Loans hooked us up with our loan.  

So what is a normal gig for The Replicas Music and all its acts? (In town, out of town, wedding, corporate etc)

Veronica: All kinds of events, but mainly Corporate, Weddings, and Fundraisers.  We will travel anywhere.  We recently did a gig at The Phoenician in Scottsdale AZ for AT Kearney. But for the most part we stick around SoCal from Santa Ynez down to San Diego.

Do you have any tips for someone wanting to hire some live entertainment? 

Veronica: Hire real musicians!  Hire musicians who live, eat, breath, and sleep music. Stay away from track bands if music really does matter to you.  What is a ‘track band’?  Well, that’s a band that uses pre recorded tracks to thicken up their sound. Sometimes you’ll see a band and hear horns and backing vocals, but there are no horns on stage and no backing vocals.  Sometime you will see a 4 piece band and they will sound like a 15pc.  They may even be ‘miming’ and not even playing their instruments.  We simply don’t believe in that. #NoTracks … Real musicians don’t need tracks.  

It sounds like you’re crazy busy! What do you do to keep sane?

Veronica: Yoga, play with my dogs, go salsa dancing

It sounds like you have your hands full! If our readers wanted to hear you live when is your next public gig?

Veronica: October 20th at Sagebrush Cantina in Calabasas.

Authors Note:
For the sake of full transparency I should mention that The Replicas Music is a client of Smack Smog here in Glendale, California, which is the internet marketing & branding team that takes care of the technical things on Urban Toot. If that bothers you for some reason you should feel free to leave this website right now and never come back. Our feelings won’t be hurt because we aren’t here to trick you or exploit you in any way. With that said, The Replicas Music Agency is a pretty kick ass group of rogue musicians who play weddings, corporate events and VIP birthday parties. You should contact them and book one of their ensembles for your next event!

GUSD App

GUSD App

gusd app graphic

The GUSD App serves you Top Stories about what’s happening at all the schools in the Activity Stream, you can receive notifications (although at this point the notifications are almost nonexistent for most people. I’m sure that this will pick up over time as the App gains more ground.  You can see other items on the second page such as:
  • Calendar
  • News
  • Tip Line – Kinda cool. It’s a small form that the user can fill out and enter tips. I think it would be good to have some sort of explanation of what tips they hope to receive but it is a form of communication with the district so it’s a good thing. The  Tip Line has Categories that if you take the time to explore will help you to send out information about
    • Bullying
    • Drugs
    • Feedback (whatever that means)
    • Fighting
    • Kudos
    • Maintenance
    • Medical
    • Personal Crisis
    • Safety Risk
    • Suggestions
    • Technology
    • Threat
    • Vandalism
    • Weapons

I think it’s pretty cool that you can either provide your name and contact information or remain anonymous as well as provide the location.

Other Cool Things

Other cool things is the Parent Connect where you can see attendance and assignments. I just wish all the teachers would use the Parent Connect and not just a couple.

Directory

Another good feature is the directory for each school. That’s pretty obvious so I won’t go into detail.

The other features you’ll have to check out for yourself. There is the Center Track pay for EELP which looks like it just takes your to a regular webpage inside the app. The writing is tiny on a phone and so I think I would personally hate using it it but that’s just my opinion but check it out for yourself and try it out.

The Construction Update didn’t load so i don’t know what’s going on there and the Elementary Lunch Menu began another download of a PDF which I don’t think is a good idea. It’s going to need to download often, it’s going to be a resource memory hog that will use up your phone storage. I’m not sure why they don’t just port it into HTML 5 and be done with it. Oh and as much as I like the School Superintendent (I really do, he seems like a good guy) I don’t understand why he has is own section in the App. If it’s going to have some important information then at least tell us what sort of information it will have.

Anyway, decide for yourself if you think it’s a useful app. I think it is. I’m grateful that we have it.

Here are the directions from the GUSD website about how to get the Glendale Unified School District App on your phone.

Instructions on how to get the App on your phone!

  • Download the New GUSD App!

    • Stream school and district news
    • Receive instant notifications
    • Check student information
    • Submit online tips

    Downloading the app is easy!

    1. Visit the App Store or Google Play
    2. Search for “Glendale USD”
    3. Download the app
    4. Select the schools you want to follow

Package Theft

For quite a while now the city of Glendale, California has seen a rash of robberies and Package Theft in residential areas.

People have been locating packages delivered to front doors and porches and then stealing them. These packages have been delivered from numerous sources such as FedEx, USPS, UPS, etc when people aren’t home or aren’t aware of the delivery to their home.

As a result of these thefts, more and more people have been buying home security and surveillance devices including the Ring Doorbell.   The Ring Doorbell has a camera system built into the doorbell that allow you to receive notifications of activity in front of the door. You can monitor it on your smartphone and set the device to record to offsite storage of the video feed (the cloud). It’s a pretty good way to know what’s happening when you are away from home (and even when you are home but not wanting to go to your front door).

Another choice for home video security is SkyBell HD. Skybell operates a little differently but it’s the same general idea. It’s a doorbell that records video and stores it off location, in what is typically referred to as “the cloud” and allows you to access the footage. At last check Skybell gives you 7 days of free online storage and during those 7 days you can download the footage if you wish to keep it permanently.

I want to stress that I’m no expert on these doorbells and that you should do your own research to determine which works the best for you. Both products are priced similarly and have the ability to notify you of motion and let you view on your smartphone. It seems like both are fair options for the average consumer.

Here are two recent cases that are reported on the Glendale City  Website by the Glendale Police.

Until the cases are resolved it’s important to note that these are alleged crimes and the people in these images and videos are suspects. If you know who these people are you should contact the Glendale Police Department at 818-548-4911.

Case #1

1500 block of Wabasso Way, Glendale

On Thursday, June 15, 2017 at 3:27 pm, the suspect ran up to the front porch, grabbed the packages and fled.

Suspect Description – Female, 19-30 years old, thin build and wearing blue jeans and a black shirt.

alleged package theft

 

Here is the video of the event.

 

Case #2

5100 block of New York Avenue, La Crescenta

On Monday, July 3, 2017 at 1:04 pm, the suspect walked up onto the porch, knocked on the front door and when no one answered, she picked up the packages and walked away.

Suspect Description – Female, 55-65 years old, medium build and wearing light colored clothing and a Dodger cap.

alleged package theft

Here is a video of the event.

If you recognize these suspects, please contact the Glendale Police Department at 818-548-4911.

According to package theft statistics, each year more than 23 million Americans have their packages stolen. Follow these tips to avoid being a victim:

  • Have packages delivered to your workplace or to a location where someone is available to receive the item.

  • Use a PO Box.

  • Reroute or reschedule a delivery if you are not home.

  • Require a signature upon delivery.

  • Install a smart security camera at your front door.

  • Use a smart package locker. When adding the shipping address during the checkout process, you can find out whether an Amazon locker is available in your community.

Crime Statistics and Glendale California

A common thought that runs through people’s minds when they are moving into a new area is if it is a safe place to live and how much crime is in the area. I’m happy to share with you that the Glendale Police Department makes the Crime Statistics and the Booking Reports public and online.

This is a great resource for any community to have no matter if you are new to the area or have lived in Glendale for a long time. You can see the reports on the City of Glendale’s website located here.  Remember you’ll have to different choices, one for the crime statistics and the other is the booking reports. Both have great information so you’ll want to check them out.

The reports cover a large range of information that includes (but is not limited to by any means), various types of violent crimes, various types of property crime, special crimes which covers child abuse, simple assault, domestic violence, fraud, identity theft and vandalism. This is of course just a few of the facts that you’ll find it your visit the website and pull up the information on the website.

The information is great. I wish it was geo-tagged so that you could see where the occurrences happen but maybe that’s out there as well and I just don’t know about it.  You’ll see that the Glendale Police Department is hard at work protecting the good people of Glendale. When you look back at a previous post from a couple years ago you’ll see that we were pretty outraged by the amount of traffic vs pedestrian fatalities and the common acceptance of those pedestrian fatalities. It’s really gratifying when you look at the numbers in the bookings reports and the crime statistics to see that the Glendale (California) Police Department is  really tracking the problem and doing their best to reduce the numbers. I’m grateful for the Glendale Police Department and respect the job they do every day for this community.

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