Category: Westsiders 2018

Pay It Forward— Arabian Prince

Somewhere not far from his Marina del Rey condo or Playa del Rey alma mater St. Bernard High School, Arabian Prince wants to create a space where kids from neighborhoods like Compton — where he grew up and became part of the foundational rap group N.W.A. — can learn to code, find a mentor, and interact with the latest technological innovations. Think of it as a co-working space, R&D lab, startup accelerator and tech education center all in one. Arabian calls it “Open Labs,” and he’s hoping to find this initiative of his Inov8 Next product innovation incubator a...

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The Supermom — Gabrielle D’Addario

When entrepreneurs and investors discuss Playa Vista, they usually talk about tech or real estate. But locals know it’s really the moms who run the show. Playa Vista mom Gabrielle D’Addario, a self-described “disruptor,” is an idea machine. Leave her in a room for five minutes and she’ll have created five new and exciting events you’ll be desperate to add to your calendar. But staying active in Silicon Beach isn’t about career-building, she says — it’s a calling. “I’m using my social media presence to make a positive change in the community,” D’Addorio says while we chat in Bluff...

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An Animated Life — Jeff “Swampy” Marsh

The end of July marks the conclusion of San Diego Comic-Con, one of the largest festivals of pop culture in the country. For a guy like Jeff “Swampy” Marsh, it’s both an exciting and unusual time. “It’s the one place in the world where you feel like you’re famous, if you’re an animator,” he says. “Ever since ‘Phineas and Ferb’ hit.” “Phineas and Ferb” is Swampy’s claim to fame: 200-plus episodes of zany cartoon fun that ruled the Disney Channel from 2007 to 2015. Swampy co-created the series with fellow “The Simpsons” and “Rocko’s Modern Life” alum Dan Povenmire;...

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Our Lady of Intangible Experiences — Nonny de la Peña

Nonny de la Peña could be accused, perhaps fairly, of bringing the vegetables to virtual reality. Having worked for decades to develop the possibilities of VR and AR (augmented reality) — having in fact been dubbed the “godmother of VR” — de la Peña has used the technology to tell difficult and painful stories: about imprisonment at Guantanamo Bay, or systemic hunger, or the quiet moments of war. Why not jump on the immersive-sex wagon, or create another arena-fighting game? Why the serious stuff? Why the vegetables? Blame journalism. Before she was the godmother of VR, the Venice-born de...

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