Left Justified


Rick Garcia: Where Life Intersects Art

July 20, 2018 by Dan Kazan in Culture

In the political world today there are so many questions about what is real and what is fake. But sometimes, what may look fake isn’t actually so. Take news anchor Rick Garcia. Garcia, a Los Angeles native, began his broadcasting career in 1979 at KAVL-AM in the Antelope Valley. Eventually, he became an anchor with the Los Angeles KCOP News 13 and with Fox 11’s 10 o’clock news sports segment.

Rick Garcia

Rick Garcia

It might, therefore, be confusing if you happen to be watching one of many movies where you see Rick Garcia as a news anchor. But you could, indeed, have this experience if you were to watch the movies Nightcrawler, Collateral Damage or Shadow of Doubt or if you were to tune in to television shows such as Code Black, Scorpion, Rock Me Baby, Buffy the Vampire Slayer or even 24. Rick Garcia’s real world news reporting intersects here with Hollywood, as he reports the news in these many shows.

Certainly, these intersections are true for many others as well. NBA star Kyrie Irving has made a second career for himself as the well-known character Uncle Drew. Kids flock to see his movies and appreciate the multifaceted ability of the basketball champ to also make them laugh.



Google Building Internet City in Toronto

July 16, 2018 by Gail Nussbaum in Culture

A historic ship ‘Caledonia’ berthed at the Toronto waterfront. Photo courtesy shankar s.

Last October a group representing the governments of Toronto and Canada, drew up a contract with Sidewalk Labs, a division of Google, to create a design for about 12 acres along Toronto’s waterfront. The commission is worth $50 million and will cover the now derelict area at the far eastern end of the waterfront.

The goals of the Toronto and Canadian officials are to re-imagine what the dilapidated waterfront can look like as “the world’s first neighborhood built from the internet up,” according to Sidewalk Labs.

The process of development of this area, known as Quayside, will be unique: instead of the slow evolution of the neighborhood as gentrification redefines the area, Sidewalk plans to build the entire area in one fell swoop. And it will be a truly Google-style design, as the first “smart” city, as sensor-enabled and highly wired—an inner city that can run itself.

Urban planners came to attention when they heard Google was involved in designing the city. Planners and city officials took to magazine stories with titles like “Google’s Guinea-Pig City” and “A Smarter Smart City.” Since this is just the beginning of this project observers are interested in how it will all turn out, but they are suspicious that it can turn out well.

“Google? What does a tech company know about running a real live city?”

So, what does Sidewalk have planned for this Toronto neighborhood? How about “pay-as-you-throw” garbage chutes that automatically separate recyclables and charge households according to how much garbage they throw away. Or highly local weather sensors that can report a rain storm on its way and heat up a snow-melting sidewalk. And apps that tell the neighborhood residents when the comfy chairs along the water are free; or crowdsource approval from the neighbors for permission to throw a block-party, based on the level of noise the party is expected to produce. Auto-calibrate traffic signals to reduce pedestrian traffic during public events, or to help enable a smooth rush hour. All the information from the city’s functioning would flow into a database that would constantly learn how to improve the city’s functioning. Sidewalk says it will deliver “the most measurable community in the world.”

Lunar New Year Celebrations and What An Earth Dog Year Means for 2018

February 4, 2018 by Dan Kazan in Culture

Chinese New Year decorations along New Bridge Road, Singapore. Photo courtesy of C1815.

According to Chinese astrology, 2018 is an Earth Dog year. This horoscope predicts a year of acceleration and financial gain, among other things, giving many individuals and businesses something to look forward to. A two-month-long event currently being held at the Museum of Chinese in America provides just the opportunity to celebrate the Chinese New Year and get to know a bit more about the country’s culture and traditions. The museum, also called MOCA, boasts a dedicated staff and board of trustees, including Columbus Hill Capital Management CEO and CIO Kevin D. Eng, many of whom are participating in the 2-month MOCA Fest 2018. Held in support of the museum’s education programs, the project will feature a range of Lunar New Year events including special exhibits, children’s activities and the Night Market cuisine fair.

Kevin D. Eng and other finance managers might take a personal interest in the Chinese New Year this year. MOCA’s event hopes to offer some context and significance to Chinese traditions, including astrology.

MOCA president Nancy Yao Maasbach said: “For anyone seeking a deeper understanding of the historical and cultural foundations behind Lunar New Year, MOCA is the natural destination to find these answers. We created MOCA Fest 2018 so that visitors of all ages can better appreciate the Lunar New Year holiday and what it means to New York City’s Chinatown, the Chinese American community and the Chinese diaspora as a whole.

“The funds raised by MOCA Fest 2018 are critically important to sustaining the museum and its continued efforts to educate the public about the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, its aftermath and its effect on contemporary American society today.”

MOCA’s Lunar New Year Ball will mark the end of the museum’s festivities on February 28th. Held at China Blue in Tribeca the event will host a select party of guests, such as Kevin Eng and other board members, as well as many others, at an authentic Shanghainese banquet in a 1930s Shanghai setting.

Leslie Liautaud, Wife of Jimmy John‘s Owner, Supports Family‘s Lithuanian Heritage

November 19, 2017 by Mindaugus Jackevičius in Business, Culture
Leslie Liautaud with her husband Jimmy John Liautaud and mother-in-law Grazina Liautaud

Leslie Liautaud with her husband Jimmy John Liautaud and mother-in-law Grazina Liautaud

“Lithuania is a hidden gem,” claims Leslie Liautaud, writer and Honorary Consul to Lithuania for the State of Wisconsin who is in the process of attaining Lithuanian citizenship. Liautaud is the wife of Jimmy John Liautaud, the billionaire founder and owner of the Jimmy John’s restaurant franchise. Together, Leslie & Jimmy, as well as Jimmy’s Lithuanian mother Grazina “Gina” Gudaityte Liautaud, have supported a variety of Lithuanian philanthropic causes for many years.

In her Interview with DELFI.lt, Liautaud explains her connection to the country and why she wants to become a Lithuanian citizen.

What is your connection to Lithuania?

I know that your mother-in-law, Grazina, comes from Lithuania. Tell us about your family.

– I myself came from Kansas City, Missouri, where I worked in the performing arts. My job took me to Chicago. While there, I met Jimmy John Liautaud and we got married. Over the past decade, I have become an active playwright and novelist. I have written some full-length plays, as well as a coming-of-age novel for teenagers called “Black Bear Lake”.

My connection to Lithuania came from my husband’s family. His mother, Grazina Gudaityte Liautaud, was born in Zeimelis in 1938. She has been providing financial support to Lithuanian causes for decades. She devotes her time and money to supporting Lithuanian business, improving the health care system, advancing social issues, improving education and promoting cultural progress. She contributed heavily to the beautiful Lithuanian traditions in our family life. I will always be grateful to her for that!

Many years ago, I joined my mother-in-law in devoting time, effort, and financial support to non-governmental organizations which support Lithuania both locally and abroad. Due to those efforts, I am an Honorary Consul to Lithuania for the State of Wisconsin. I have been working with Lithuanian diplomats and US leaders in areas relating to agriculture, health, education, and politics. In addition, I place a special focus on promoting entrepreneurship and advancements in the performing arts.

The focus on entrepreneurship is a joint passion of mine with my husband, Jimmy John Liautaud. Jimmy is the founder, chairman, & owner of the Jimmy John’s restaurant chain. The company employs more than 70,000 people across the US. There are now over 2,700 stores in 43 states, and it’s still growing fast. Last September, we sold a large portion of the company to Roark Capital Group, a Private Equity firm which specializes in franchise restaurants, but Jimmy is still the single largest individual shareholder in the company. He has also invested in several hotels, wineries, airlines, bars, and restaurants, as well as in real estate. Jimmy has a passion to help others. He and Jimmy John’s give generously to a variety of causes including dental care, health and wellness, the US Military, education, and the arts.

At the same time, we’ve raised three children together: Spencer is 23 and works at Jimmy John’s, Lucy is 18 and a student at the University of Iowa, and Freddy is 17 and a student at Brewster Academy in New Hampshire. Jimmy and the kids all have dual US and Lithuanian citizenship. I am very proud of the family’s Lithuanian roots, and I’m working hard to become a Lithuanian citizen as well!

Have you ever calculated how much money you’ve contributed to Lithuanian causes?

– No, we’ve spent time and money to support a variety of Lithuanian causes for many years now, but we prefer not to publicize the amount we give each organization. I am proud of the projects we’re working on to support the people of Lithuania.

As an Honorary Consul, I fund all of this work. As I mentioned, I was inspired by my mother-in-law, Grazina to dedicate my time and financial support after seeing her do it so diligently for decades. Many years ago, I joined Grazina in support of the “Lithuanian Children’s Hope”, a nonprofit organization that provides specialized orthopedic treatment to Lithuanian children. As a family, we funded and worked closely with the people on the ground in Lithuania to establish an orthopedic department at the Vilnius University Children’s Hospital. In addition, we bought new windows for the whole hospital. We also assisted with and supported the country’s post-independence elections.

In 2014, Grazina, Jimmy, & I visited Lithuania and met with the students of ISM University of Management and Economics. We were so impressed with their entrepreneurial spirit that we established scholarships for five of the most outstanding students.

What would Lithuanian citizenship mean to you?

– As I mentioned, my mother-in-law and my husband have instilled in me a great pride in our shared Lithuanian heritage. I feel a strong connection with the country and its people. I hope that by acquiring Lithuanian citizenship, I can strengthen these ties in our family for future generations.

I also think that citizenship would help me support the Lithuanian people more effectively. I would like to continue my mother-in-law’s endless commitment to help Lithuania. I think that we can bring great entrepreneurial lessons to the country from our experience growing Jimmy John’s.

How often do you come to Lithuania?

– I have been here three times over the last decade. Once I’m a citizen, I hope to spend much more time in this beautiful country.

How would your life change if you got the dual citizenship?

– I am already extremely blessed, but dual citizenship would make my life even better by allowing me to further integrate into the Lithuanian culture which I love so much. We’d also love to buy some land and a house in Lithuania. I would certainly take advantage of the opportunities that I see in developing the country’s relationship with the USA in areas like agriculture, health, education, politics, and especially entrepreneurship and the performing arts. I promise to continue my commitment to support the country in any way that I can. It would be an honor to be a citizen of Lithuania.

What aspect of Lithuania is your favorite?

– I was born and grew up in the USA, and I love my country, but Lithuania has captured my heart as well through the family heritage that I received. The country is beautiful, calm, and rich in history and traditions. People are kind and gracious and they are always looking to learn and grow. I am constantly surprised that the country has not attracted the attention it really deserves. Lithuania is a hidden gem.