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Archive for February 6th, 2012

Life at LCO

Posted by Levine Communications Office on February 6, 2012


Home away from home


LCO Offices - Located in Beautiful Downtown Beverly Hills


Tania Pantoja enjoys herself at LCO office party


Employee Appreciation


Friendly faces of LCO - Gail and Virgil


Superstar Intern Vernon smiles for the camera


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JZ Knight wins battle over land use and water

Posted by Levine Communications Office on February 6, 2012


Despite our apparently bountiful supply, water scarcity is a growing problem throughout Washington state.

In December, the Washington Supreme Court issued a decision in the matter of JZ Knight v. City of Yelm, finding that Knight had the legal right to challenge Yelm’s approval of residential subdivisions without first obtaining adequate water supply. The Center for Environmental Law & Policy (CELP) filed a “friend of the court” brief supporting Knight by arguing that ownership of water rights in a watershed can serve as a basis for challenging land use decisions.

“Water is a key component of land use and if a city doesn’t have sufficient water rights to supply prospective hook-ups, then it has no business approving developments,” said Rachael Paschal Osborn, staff attorney for CELP.

In 2007, Yelm approved preliminary plats for five subdivision developments, even though the city’s water system plan indicated it was severely short of water supply to serve existing and new hook-ups. JZ Knight, who owns both property and water rights in the vicinity of the developments, challenged the plat decision based on failure to comply with state growth management laws, which require that local land use authorities find an adequate water supply to serve a subdivision prior to plat approval.

The Yelm City Council rejected Knight’s claim both on substance and finding that Knight lacked legal standing to bring the claims because she was not injured. After a circuitous appeals process, the Washington Supreme Court affirmed that Knight was correct to challenge Yelm’s lack of water supply and had legal standing to do so, noting “she has water rights within the same aquifer as Tahoma Terra’s proposed sources of water for the new development.”

Concern over water rights continues in Yelm. The City of Yelm recently obtained approval of new water rights from the Washington Department of Ecology. A group of landowners in Yelm, the Thompson Creek Downstreamers, have appealed Ecology’s decision out of concern that additional pumping by Yelm will harm their own water rights and instream flows.

The Court’s decision in the JZ Knight case complements an August 2011 water and land use decision involving Kittitas County. In that case, the Court held that the Growth Management Act requires the county to protect the quality and quantity of groundwater supplies when making land use decisions.

“Water scarcity is an increasing problem throughout Washington state,” said Osborn. “Improved legal linkages between water availability and land use decisions will protect public values in our rivers and aquifers.”

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Luci Romberg becomes first woman to qualify for international finals. Read all about it on DailyMail.com

Posted by Levine Communications Office on February 6, 2012

The five-foot stuntman who has become the world’s best female freerunner… and now she’s ready to take on the men


Luci Romberg - Professional Freerunner and Stunt Woman

She may only be 5ft tall, but Luci Romberg has catapulted herself to the top as the world’s best female freerunner. The 30-year-old, from Colorado, U.S., has somersaulted her way to the finals of freerunning competitions across the globe, leaving the world’s best male competitors in her wake. Her abilities see her backflip across railings, scale the side of buildings, jump an 8ft gap from one roof to another and use bars, boxes or poles as she spins through the air.

Ms Romberg works as a professional stuntwoman and her job as already seen her lie down in the path of a jackknifed tanker and has even been set on fire. The pint-sized daredevil is a member of The Stuntwomen’s Association and has starred alongside Hollywood celebrities in blockbuster films and television shows including Indiana Jones, Green Lantern and Heroes.

She said: ‘Both my parents are incredible athletes. My dad was a tennis pro for 30 years and has just retired. ‘He now golfs, plays volleyball, tennis, softball and coaches a soccer team and my mum is a barrel racer. ‘My brother is also a professional stuntman and we were all athletes so I guess you could say it’s in our blood.’

After being convinced to have a go at doing stunts by a gymnastic teammate, Ms Romberg moved to LA to pursue her dream. It was there that she discovered her talent for freerunning and she had been a member of Team Tempest, one of the best troupes in the world, since discovering the sport in 2005. She has been placed top female freerunner in eight international competitions, most recently in the Red Bull Art of Motion 2011.

She is the only female freerunner to have qualified for the finals of the annual competition. ‘For me freerunning is about artwork of the body, it’s very free and very challenging,’ she said. ‘There are no rules, there’s no right or wrong, you learn the basics and do what you like. ‘I train every day, I’d sleep in the gym if I could, if you’re good at something you want to do it as often as you can. ‘Freerunning is scary, it’s hard, it takes a lot of courage and hitting the concrete hurts but it’s my life and I love it.’


Agile: Luci Romberg is the world's best female frontrunner and will compete against male rivals in the finals of the annual international competition.


In motion: She appears to be suspended in mid-air in this image as she runs through the streets of LA.


Stunt: The 30-year-old took up the sport in 2005 after working as a stuntwoman in LA.

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Excerpt from “The Whip” placed in the Huffington Post as Karen Kondazian launches her book tour.

Posted by Levine Communications Office on February 6, 2012

Excerpt: The Whip


Karen Kondazian

Karen Kondazian

When I first came across Charley’s story 20 years ago, my interest turned from curiosity into an obsession. I kept asking myself questions about how she got away with her secret for so long; how she lived so many years alone and without human intimacy. But most of all, why did she choose to live her life as a man? Of course, if you were a woman in those times you had few options, and only men could try to live their dreams.

The enigmatic Charlotte ‘Charley’ Parkhurst, (1812-1879), lived 30 years of her life disguised as a man and became one of the great California stagecoach drivers or whips, as they were called. She killed a famous outlaw who robbed her stagecoach one too many times; and was the first woman to vote in the U.S. (1868 for General Grant), of course as a man. She died of cancer of the tongue from too many cigars and too much chewing tobacco, and not until she was being prepared for her burial, was her true gender was discovered, along with the fact that she had borne a child.



ImageCalifornia, 1849

A stagecoach, heading from Santa Cruz to Sacramento, made its way along a rutted road, the horses kicking up clouds of brume-like dust. Uninhabited terrain stretched as far as the eye could see. Perched on the box next to the driver, her face, hat, and clothes covered by a layer of dirt and grit, sat Charley Parkhurst… four months and a few weeks later already a pretty damn good man.

She was surprised at how easy her physical transformation had been. As a man, she now spoke, whereas as a woman, she would have been silent; as a man, she would take what she desired, whereas as a woman, she would have acquiesced. She must now push forward into this new world she was discovering and this new person she was becoming… a world of freedom and reprisal — an eye for an eye.

Charley pulled a can of snuff from her vest pocket and offered it to the driver.

“Thankee kindly,” he said, plucking some from the can with his thumb and forefinger. He stuffed it under his lip. She made a mental note: thankee kindly.

The driver leaned over his side of the coach, hawked up liquid, pursed — in an almost delicate way — his lips, and then in a moment of fierce concentrated precision aimed at a branch on a passing bush and spat. That he missed that branch and hit another mattered to him not a whit. He settled back, a bemused smile dancing across his lips.

A moment later, Charley sloshed the tobacco around her mouth and spat out the brown juice, after which she, too, sat back. She did the smile as well, looking around in that same god-like benevolent way. She could get used to this: sitting up high, controlling the horses, spitting, man-smiling, everything.

As they neared their destination, she could see a scattering of cloud-like canvas and frame dwellings spreading out from the greenbelt that marked the confluence of the American and Sacramento Rivers. “That’s it?” she said.

“Yep. That’s Sacramento. Beating heart of the Mother lode.”

“Don’t look like much.”

“Well,” said the stagecoach driver, glancing over at Charley with a smile, “it ain’t in some ways. In other ways you might say it is. Depends what you want it to be.”

The coach and six-team trotted alongside the riverbank. In a short time the reaching arms of Sacramento surrounded them, and then, with an escalation of sights and sounds and voices, Sacramento itself–the clamoring, kaleidoscopic scene that had now become part of the fantasy of every man and boy in America. Charley leaned over the side of the coach, enthralled.

The stagecoach driver saw the direction of her gaze. “That’s the Embarcadero,” he said. “And that’s the San Francisco steamer over there, carrying all the golwd hungry men bound for Sutter’s Mill.”

She was taken aback by the dozens of barks, brigs, and schooners moored along the docks. They created a forest of masts… their cables looped around tree trunks and roots. The street was choked with stagecoaches and wagons, disgorging passengers, the passengers running for the boats. Men of every shape, color, and constitution — swearing, spitting, sweating, shoving.
Later, Charley would learn their names: Mexicans, Indians, Chinese, Australians, Basques, Croats. She noticed that there were no women of any shape or color.

The stagecoach driver was thinking the same thing. “Not a woman in sight,” he said, sighing.
Charley forced a sigh, following suit.

The driver looked over at her. “Oh hell, don’t worry. You can find tarts pretty easy though. If you got the cash.”

“Thanks for the tip,” she said.

Excerpted from The Whip by Karen Kondazian. Copyright © 2012 Karen Kondazian. All rights reserved. Reproduced by permission of Hansen Publishing Group, LLC.

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Neil Strauss’s “Who’s Got Game” featured in the Huffington Post

Posted by Levine Communications Office on February 6, 2012

How to Win Friends and Influence Girls

ImageThe composer John Cage has a great quote that, if you can live by it, makes life a lot more interesting. “My credo,” he says, is, “be open to whatever comes next.”

And so, despite getting over a hundred unsolicited offers, propositions, requests, and ideas in via email a week, every Monday, we sit down here at my home and go through the best of them.

And every now and then, one captures our imagination.

So let this small article be not just the story of the development of a board game all about attraction and seduction, but also about how to blindly solicit a collaboration with someone you’ve never met before.

One day, a young New Yorker on my reader mailing list sent in an idea: He’d previously designed and developed a game that was released by Hasbro (makers of Monopoly, Cranium, and Trivial Pursuit), and said he’d been turning some of the tactics from my book Rules of the Game into a bar game, which he’d been using to meet women. (He’s engaged now, so evidently it worked.)

A lot of people send in emails saying, “We can make a lot of money together,” and it tends to be a turn-off. First of all, obviously I would’ve chosen a career other than writing if I wanted to make money (or at least I would’ve written about underage wizards or underage vampires), and secondly, anyone who’s only interested in money is usually only interested in ripping you off.

However, his email contained two things that made me pay attention to it: First of all, credibility and a track record (a Hasbro game). And the second thing was passion: he created this game all by himself just for himself, field-tested it, and didn’t seem to be interested in money, but just sharing something he felt was great and would benefit people.

So those two qualities led to a two-year collaboration on a board game called Who’s Got Game. Once I got involved, I didn’t just say, “Let’s put it out.” We both started playing it with friends and strangers. And after each game, we masterminded on every element of the experience. Gradually we began adding in an element that I thought would be unique to a game: An intimate knowledge of social dynamics.

After all, the lessons that I learned while researching my books on pickup artists and the game, applied to any social context: Since then, I’d trained everyone from Fortune 100 CEOs to government intelligence agents. And a board game is ultimately a social experience: you play not to win, but to have a shared experience with your friends.

So we took the knowledge of social interactions from approaching thousands of strangers in bars, clubs, cafes, shopping centers, and dark alleys (okay, maybe not the dark alleys), and funneled into a party experience. Though the overt goal of Who’s Got Game is to win, the real objective is to end the game with a deeper, more genuine connection with the people you’re playing with than you had before sitting down to play the game. In particular, to forge a connection with the partner you’re playing with, especially if it’s a person you’re romantically interested or involved with. (Who’s Got Game can get a little awkward if you’re playing with your mother.)

So, in a world in which social networking is making people less social in real life, we added in elements of the game that would actually improve people’s social skills: Rapport cards to help people get to know each other better, Neg cards that generate teasing laughter, Coldreading Cards that break down people’s personalities, Social Intelligence Cards that teach people the counter-intuitive rules of male-female interactions. And, my favorite, Secret Cards, which are social engineering missions that players have to pull off in the group, without anyone’s knowledge. This way, even the small talk that takes place during the gameplay becomes part of the game itself.

In order for me to actually take the final steps and release this, however, there were a few other important features the game had to have:

–It had to be just as fun for men to play as women. In other words, it had to be a party game that’s primary purpose is fun and social lubrication. Like the game itself, it had to elicit comfort and trust if someone brought it out to get a party going.

Yet at the same time

–It had to allow a player to move through the real-life steps of the game with a partner they were romantically or sexually interested in (rapport, connection, attraction, kino).

–It had to also serve as a teaching tool, so anyone learning the Game could easily add new material to their repertoire.

–It had to still serve the additional function of being a tool guys can take into the field and use to meet women. And vice verse.

–It had to be fun on its own, separate from any game or social dynamics element.

If you do get Who’s Got Game, send me field reports or photos, and I’ll put my favorites on the facebook.com/neilstrauss page.

And, to make this more interesting, if you send in the best true field report or gameplay photo, I’ll send a free copy of Who’s Got Game to the friend of your choice.

Of course, the real benefit is if it helps your relationship or gets you into one. Think of it as Twister for the mind.


Neil Strauss - Who's Got Game

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