The community of The Art Of Monteque Organization and The Art of Monteque Team is made up of talented and insightful professionals artisans who speak their minds and are devoted to creating change through social dialogue by sharing their insights and thoughts, with the goal of illuminating the world of the arts, social issues, politics, the environment, literature and entertainment. Our contributors are the lifeblood of The Art Of Monteque Organization and with great gratitude, we honor them below:
Artistic Director and Founding Partner
With a career in the entertainment industry which spans four decades in the disciplines of Acting, Singing, Dancing, Directing, Choreography & Songwriting, Lacy Darryl Phillips is a phenomenal artist who, after having attained a wealth of experiences and knowledge in the world, now wishes to nurture the up-and-coming artistic talent of the future.
Director of Marketing Strategy and Public Affairs
James Groth is a well-established executive in the media, automotive and entertainment industries. As a producer, James identifies scripts, films and hello what it isprojects at various stages of production and helps in raising funds to market, sell and distribute feature films.
Liisa found herself on stage at a very young age, inhabiting different people and playing many roles, a perfect outlet for all that she saw and absorbed. Appearing in films and television, all roads full of learning lead back to her one love, acting. Whether performing on stage, films, or television, or just observing life, Liisa continues her unending pursuit of the perfect performance.
Melvin Wade is the Director of the Multicultural Center at University of Rhode Island with expertise in building and maintaining higher education programs that enhance community building within and across cultural boundaries.
Arts and Entertainment Journalist
Mike Szymanski is a journalist, activist and writer with more than a dozen books in fiction and non-fiction published throughout the world. He co-authored the Lambda Award winning book, “The Bisexual’s Guide to the Universe,” and contributed heavily to James Spada’s biographies on Barbra Streisand, Bette Davis and Peter Lawford, and helped author bios on Michael Jordan (“The Making of Space Jam”) and “The Winona Ryder Scrapbook.”
His work has appeared in The Los Angeles Times, New York Times Syndicate, Entertainment Weekly, US Magazine, E! Online, Chicago Tribune and many other publications, and he has interviewed hundreds of the most famous celebrities of the past half century.
He is also a tireless activist for environmental and animal causes, and has personally co-produced shows that raised millions for AIDS charities, as well as for Multiple Sclerosis, which he has had since 2000, and hopes you never notice. His journalism includes groundbreaking and award-winning pieces on the homeless mentally ill, the school system, stuntman safety and many other important issues.
Now, Mike is working on a children’s book and taking care of his four aging Dachshunds while living in the Hollywood Hills with his partner of more than 20 years, where they have raised two boys.
Public Relations Specialists and Entertainment Correspondent
Saga graduated from Chapman University in 2001 with a Masters in Filmmaking and brought her unique style to some brilliant projects from low-budget features to studio box office successes. She began her career at Fox Studios, one of the largest studios in the world, as a Production Coordinator in the VFX department on box office hits such as “The Devil Wears Prada”, “A Good Year” and “Fantastic 4”. She moved across the studio system to Marvel’s “Iron Man2”, Sony Pictures’ “Just Go With It” and Indie film festival award winners that have been distributed across the globe. Saga has also been the Production Manager on high fashion photo shoots for world class publications as Vogue, Vanity Fair, Harper’s Bazaar and ELLE magazine gracing the covers and spreads with high profile clientele like Taylor Swift and David Beckham. She is passionate about film making and various types of production and enjoys taking projects from concept to completion. She has a strong understanding of creatively delivering on time and on budget shows. Saga started her own film consulting business, Hollywood Consulting.
Saga is also a fabulous chef, a “total foodie” as she calls herself! Food brings people together and has been a big part of her life. You can find her Arabic cooking show, Spice It Up with Saga.
Saga wants to inspire people and make a difference in the world through action and empowerment. Next to filmmaking and cooking, keeping our planet at the forefront of our attention is another one of her passions. The food charities Green Wish Los Angeles sponsors attracted her to the organization. Saga also finds time to volunteer with Golden Retrievers.
Cultural Arts Correspondent and Art Critic
Adrienne Vaught is will traverse in classical literature along with being a prolific creative writer. She is an artist of film, stage and of the fashion world . With a inquisitive passion for adventure that is only matched by a unbelievable thirst for knowledge Adrienne Vaught is a true renaissance woman. With a love of anthropology she has often traveled where she can best experience the best life has to offer. Often mingling with the greats of political, Entertainment, Theater, Western and environmental worlds Adrienne Vaught has become a melting pot of experience. Along with being a writer she is also an artist, singer and a academic.
Chief Entertainment Correspondent
Brian Sebastian Has been working in the entertainment industry for close to 30 years. Working at WPOP News Radio 14, KISS FM, Power 106 and then the WAVE 94.7, before he transitioned to networks television and cable. Brian gives movie reviews and artist interviews from a different in depth angle while asking questions outside of the usual fluff. Brian Sebastian captures more then the story, he captures the heart and soul of it. Over the years he has interviewed 15,000+ celebrities and artist.
To really understand Brian Sebastian, it is important to know he loves drum and bugle corps. It’s his passion. He is a “drum corps nut”. The connection Brian feels to the Drum & Bugle Corps translates into the enthusiasm he has for life.
Cultural Entertainment Correspondent
Classical/Jazz Pianist and Composer Steven Buckner has always been inspired by others and world events to create his own distinctive style in music composition. As a native Michigander, Steven loves to travel and seeks inspiration thru the people he meets and writes music thru his own experiences. Steve describes his music as a channeling of cultural and spiritual elements. Steve added that, “Peace comes from within, and music can have a place for it as well”
Currently, Steven Buckner resides in Los Angeles California building his catalogue of television and film placements. In 2018 he won 4 Indie Music Channel Awards, and nominated for a Hollywood Music And Media Award for best producer. His recent film score for the movie Raceland will premiered at the TLC Chinese Theater in Hollywood CA during the Dances With Films Festival and the Durango Film Festival in Colorado.
Steven produced two music videos for his instrumental piano compositions “Invisible” and “Across The Ocean”. Both videos have exceeded over 21,000 views on his Facebook page and growing! His music can be heard currently on the E! Network, and MTV. In addition, his music is also broadcasts throughout over 170 retail chain stores around the world!
Entertainment Journalist and Reviewer
If Sanyukta Thakare founder of thr4sam, could be defined in two words, it would be ‘Binge Queen’. From dunking herself into films, series to anime, she not onlyenjoys critiquing them but can also make your life easier with the best recommendations on her author’s page. You will hardly be done with the list of ‘what you need to watch’ that she provides to those in her good books. Speaking of books, she also prefers spending more on bound pages with oodles of knowledge that other essentials.
She found her love for books and movies at a very young age, and that love drove her to the world of entertainment journalism. She now uses, her expertise in writing stories and understanding psychology to help bring light to talented artists and their art, in any form, hoping to have a positive impact on society and young minds. She believes in community building and continues to do so through her strong yet light vibed words.
Multimedia Film and Art Journalist
Sara Proctor is a undergraduate student at Rhode Island College. She is a Student Of athlete (gymnastics),Film Studies and Communications (mass media) major. Sara Proctor is also pursuing a certification in personal training and a Bachelor’s degree in film studies and mass media communications. She is a perspective producer of films and screenwriter.
Social and Healthy Living Contributor
Katerina Cozias is America’s Media Mindset Mentor. An international media and communication expert, on-camera TV host, bestselling author and global empowerment speaker. Katerina currently resides in Los Angeles where she is the producer & host of the morning talk show LA40 as well as the founder of VasGeo Media Corp., a Hollywood based media training and production company.
Art and Culture Contributor
Lori Hoffman began her career in education as a substitute teacher and ultimately became the Chemistry Team Lead Teacher at Paramount High School. People have always been drawn to her writing allowing her to write bios or profiles for social networking sites, one of which became number one on its site for the month of March 2015.
Lori Hoffman has been working on the development of a novel, along with writing a screenplay. She recently began writing a comedy sketch. When she isn’t writing, she enjoys substitute teaching and driving for ride share companies.
Lori Hoffman admires her late Aunt Barbara Wanbaugh, who wrote a screenplay that Disney bought years later. She always told Lori, “Don’t listen to what the critics say and never stop writing!”
Arts and Culture Correspondent
Cesar Arredondo is a freelance journalist with more than a decade of experience working for Spanish- and English-language and bilingual media outlets, covering immigration, education, arts, culture, Latin rock, activism and hard news. In his experience as a bilingual reporter for over a decade, he has seen the great contributions Spanish-language journalists have made to society and media. He has also seen the challenges they face at work. His works have won three Best of the West journalism awards for the coverage of the Sundance Film Festival and the Occupy movement in Utah, and a recognition from the National Association of Hispanic Publications for an article on education.
Film and Art Correspondent
Vernon Nickerson is a 1981 graduate of Northwestern University (Evanston, IL) with a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering with a minor in Applied Behavioral Science, the majority of his writing was in government and business settings within the defense aerospace industry. He went on to earn a Master’s Degree in Theology from Fuller Seminary (Pasadena, CA) in 1991 and begin doctoral studies in Marital and Family Therapy. Of which those skills were augmented by excellent clinical training, active listening and reflecting skills.
Entertainment Reviewer and Interviewer
William Engel’s career in journalism began in 2014. After graduating from SUNY Binghamton with a major in Philosophy, Politics and Law, he entered the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism and was thrown headfirst into the world of reporting. Since then, he’s done plenty of urban reporting in both Manhattan and Brooklyn, working as an intern for Straus Media and a freelancer for Kings County Politics. He’s covered a plethora of topics, from restorative justice to disabled activism to drug abuse in Hasidic neighborhoods, and has received an EPPY Award for his contributions to “Without a Badge”, a news package about alternatives to policing in New York City. As a graduate student, he also had the opportunity to write several arts and entertainment-related pieces; his Capstone piece, “The Reanimation of the Zombie Genre”, was a comprehensive examination of the history of zombies in popular media.
Metaphysical Arts Contributor
Masters Degree within metaphysical-arts and strong background in: psychology, philosophy, Eastern-principles, Buddhism, fine-art, entertainment-film/motion-picture industry, photography, commercial-advertising, mixed-media and creative writing. In charge of all visually-creative fine-art/film-videos keeping within the “Metaphysical Photographic Life” mission-statement of “the unseen influences the seen” the non-physical directs the physical.
Artist In Residents Illustrator
Mr. Fırat Canbay artistic background started with dance. He had been performing Turkish Folk Dances since he was 8 years old. Recently he took Ballet and Modern Dance courses and has attend many performances as dancer. After a couple of years he took a rest from being a performer and devoted himself to visual arts. Mr. Fırat Canbay started to take photographs when he was in high school and became interested in short movies. He also did editorial work on a magazine in school. In the following years, he has create illustrations, paintings, and continues to take photographs.
Christopher Roberts is a scholar who believes in the power to help others. He has spent many of his years abroad studying and working to improve the lives of the need is a foreign lands. Christopher’s mission is to use the power of the art to improve the living conditions of communities around the world along with improving social conditions. Christopher lives in London, England.
Austin Winter-Chase 2012 -2016 Emeritus
Artistic Editor and Curator of The Art Of Monteque Gallery
Austin Winter-Chase is a world-wide traveler. He is the author of various literary works while assisting many non-profits in their goal of achieving higher standards. He is an avid art lover who has worked with various galleries. Austin lives in Alberta, Canada, where he does a great deal of creative work.
Jannie Vaught Artist Contributor
Jannie Vaught was born to the bird clan in 1953. Four generations of farmers who came to central California in the dust bowl. Okies. She was called to the medicine path as a small girl. Jannie carried huge quarts everywhere as a child, everywhere she went. Jannie’s stone/s sat at the doorway. White quarts trained in ceremony and healing energy, also trained as herbalist and massage therapist. Jannie has always gardened. In a life ending car crash in 2009 coming out of humblecha, Jannie met the third person, yes, there was a third person in the car. Jannie had been crushed and her left un-serviceable along with a triple head injury, she was taken to Gallup, New Mexico hospital. Only her my hips and legs were not broken. Jannie’s right arm was scheduled to be amputated. however on that day at the hospital there happened to be a young orthopedic surgeon Dr. Baker was Just in from Iraq. He put my arm back on and many surgeries later, somehow the life source in her and her arm has never left. Today at 64 Jannie lives with her two daughters in the hill country of Texas. They have wind, solar power, and a permaculture garden. She has built a food forest in her back yard, started the farmer’s market, a seed library and she writes a weekly column in two local papers. Jannie is currently doing tree rescue in the town where she lives, you can find her on Bloom where you’re planted on Facebook. She is a testament to the Abounding Love of Creator. The patience and encouragement of Mother Earth. Jannie is grateful for the incredible genetics of her Cherokee, German and Irish heritage. You can find her radio show here.