Carla Esparza in the Best of LA People Issue!

Here is an excerpt from the profile I wrote about the inspiring and kick-butt female MMA champion Carla Esparza for the L.A. Weekly 2013 “Best Of L.A. People” Issue! Special thanks to Carla, my editor Jill Stewart and all of the other fascinating Angelenos featured in the issue! See the entire article at www.laweekly.com.

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In January, Carla Esparza became the first Invicta Fighting Championships Straw-weight Champion in Women’s Mixed Martial Arts. The gorgeous 25-year-old, ranked No. 1 in her weight class in the world, says her victory against Bec Hyatt via unanimous decision was like a dream. “There’s a goal you aim toward, and the accumulation of training and hard work all come together when you have your hand raised! Even if you come out bloodied and broken — it’s all for that one moment. It’s almost unreal.”

Carla “The Cookie Monster” Esparza was drawn to wrestling at Redondo Union High School in Redondo Beach when football players in the weight room expressed surprise at how strong she was for her size (at 5-foot-1, she’s 4 inches shorter than the current Atomweight female champ)…

Esparza has sustained injuries including sprains, bruises, torn ligaments, a snapped elbow, a broken ankle and a concussion. “People aren’t used to it, seeing women fighting against women and getting hurt,” she says. “It is raw and intense, and it awakens that basic instinct that people have to attack or defend. But between the fighters, the more intense it gets, the more we love each other.”

She believes that “day after day, we are changing people’s minds” about women in MMA… People usually don’t recognize her, but she says, laughing, “You get to dress up and go out with a black eye, and that’s kinda hot!”

Most of all, she says, “I feel grateful to be doing what I love.”

The Harp Twins come to Los Angeles!

The Harp Twins are a very talented pair of sisters that I have been following online for several years. When they came to Los Angeles for a special performance at Ace Gallery I was lucky enough to catch their duet harp performance and write about it for www.laweekly.com. Here is an excerpt from the article. Special thanks to the Harp Twins Camille and Kennerly Kitt and my editor Zachary Pincus-Roth.

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Martin Schoeller’s new show “Identical: Portraits of Twins” at ACE gallery in Beverly Hills is interesting enough on its own, but the opening this past Saturday was an unusual and memorable experience that, quite literally, made this L.A. Weekly reporter do more than a few double takes.

HarpTwins1-by-Anna-Jones

The party featured a rare Los Angeles appearance by the sublimely beautiful and exceptionally talented duo known as the Harp Twins, Camille and Kennerly Kitt. Also in attendance were dozens of pairs of identical twins. Twins of all ages, ethnicities, and professions crowded the lofty space, mingling and sipping cocktails as the strains of such tunes as Metallica’s “Enter Sandman” and Rihanna’s “Disturbia” lilted from the two golden concert grand harps and collective 20 fingers of Camille and Kennerly, transformed from gritty rock and pop into something that sounds downright angelic…

Known on YouTube for their entirely self-produced and self-styled music videos covering everything from The Smiths to Coldplay to AC/DC to Lady Gaga, the Harp Twins have been gaining more and more fame with each passing video and performance…

At the opening at ACE gallery there was a sense of the surreal, being surrounded by so many pairs of people who look exactly alike, and it raised some questions about not only etiquette, but the possible frustration of being perceived as a clone…

“We are never offended when people can’t tell us apart,” they say. “Looking alike is the way we were born and we’ve never known life any differently. We think it is strange that some people find twins ‘creepy,’ but we think that people are sometimes wary of things that they don’t understand….We love being ‘different’ together…We’ve never spent more than part of a day apart.”…