City: Los Angeles
Position Seeking: Mayor
Question 1: Please share a meaningful experience you had with art (visual, dance, drama, music, media arts) while growing up and its impact on you.
The arts have always played a central role in my life. As a child I became fascinated with theater at the young age of 9 and spent my formative years acting in every play I could land a role in. By the time I got to college I had decided to dedicate my life to theater and film and spent every summer performing Shakespeare at my alma matter's (UCSC) famed Shakespeare Santa Cruz and upon graduation I spent a year and a half in San Francisco making a living as a professional stage actor. By the time I got to Los Angeles in 2000 I had segued into writing, directing and producing and that is what I have been doing with my life since.
In addition to my work creating video content, I also produce immersive, interactive, theatrical experiences like my signature - Amori's Casino & Burlesque which has been the beating heart of the Lightning in a Bottle music festival since 2013 and features; burlesque, DJ's, bands, vaudeville, fire performers, aerialists and a live art gallery.
I am the only mayoral candidate to identify as a creative artist for employment.
Question 2: What do you believe the role of City Council should be in developing and supporting the region’s arts and cultural infrastructure?
As a city that was literally founded on the arts, specifically the motion picture and television industries I believe we have a unique obligation to support the creative economy in Los Angeles and City Council should be an instrumental part in keeping this economy flowing and expanding.
I believe that the City Council members should be working together to ensure that all districts are supportive of the arts and artists across the city. Special consideration and incentives should be given to development of arts related infrastructure and construction. I also believe that we need to ratify the city business tax to expand the limit on the creative artist clause to $500,000 in net profits, not gross revenues.
Question 3: What’s your vision for the city? What role, if any, does art and culture play in advancing that vision?
My vision for the city is one in which all Angelino's are engaged in the vitality of their city. This starts with creating a quality of life that is not currently enjoyed by all citizens. We need to not only create homes for all people experiencing homelessness who want to get off the streets, but address the factors that lead people to be in jeaopardy of losing their homes.
Artists are particularly vulnerable to the conditions that lead to poverty and homelessness and we need to ensure that the city expands its construction of low income housing to take into account the people who too often get left behind as the city grows and neighborhoods that have traditionally been a haven for artists become too expensive for artists to continue to live in.
I want to help foster the arts and artists by recognizing their value to not just our economy but to our culture and our spiritual well being.
Questions 4: A recent report by the Otis College of Design found that 1 in every 6 jobs in LA County supports the creative sector and economy in Los Angeles County. If elected, how will you aim to ensure the continued vitality and growth of the creative economy and the artistic community that it supports?
One of my main platform issues is finding the love for the film industry in Los Angeles. As I previously stated this city is founded on the film and television industries, yet we have turned our back on the very business that put us on the map. As a result productions are fleeing in droves to other states and countries who value their business and the boon to the local economy more than we seem to.
We need to not only raise incentives, but create an arts friendly culture that shows these industries as well as other artistic industries that we value their business and all the other benefits they bring to our city. As the question states, many people benefit from having a vital creative economy, as artists support a myriad of local businesses in the creation of their art.