Acclaimed Guitarist Rocks the Riviera


November 2013


183989110-Igor-s-Hollywood-Riviera-Real-Estate-News-November-2013Interested in learning how to play the guitar or improve your current skills? Why not take private lessons in your own home from Madonna’s lead guitarist?

Fortunately for Riviera residents, Monte Pittman — the main guitarist who plays with pop music legend Madonna in mega arenas around the world — calls this part of the world home. Monte has played on every live tour with Madonna since 2001 and has also co-written some of her songs. He even performed with her on the 2012 Super Bowl halftime show, the Grammys  and the MTV Video Music Awards.

Monte met the mega star through a strange twist of fate. Shortly after moving to Los Angeles from Texas back in 1999 to pursue a music career, Monte took a job at Guitar Center to make ends meet. He soon realized that giving private lessons would be a lot more fun and financially rewarding. Monte’s third student was British film director Guy Ritchie, who had been given a guitar as a gift by his then girlfriend Madonna. When Guy returned the favor with a similar gift for Madonna, she too turned to Monte for lessons and a great musical partnership was born.

Monte first picked up a guitar at the age of 13 and was inspired in his early years by the music of KISS, Metallica, Pink Floyd and Radiohead. Along with playing for Madonna, Monte has collaborated with glam-rock star Adam Lambert, and was a member of the rock group Prong. He has won numerous music industry awards, including Best Solo Artist at the 2012 Artists in Music Awards and a Career Achievement Award from the Hollywood F.A.M.E Awards. Monte has written and performed two solo albums, “The Deepest Dark,” released in 2009 and “Pain, Love & Destiny,” released in 2011.

He is currently signed with Metal Blade Records and will release his third album later this year. When he’s not on the road touring with Madonna or recording albums, Monte gets involved with music-related charities such as Little Kids Rock, a fundraiser that restores music education to underserved public schools. He also donated a guitar he played at the Super Bowl halftime performance to the Dream Foundation, helping to raise $10,000.

Monte and his wife, Lisa, a model and actress with a professional photography business, enjoy all the benefits of living in the Riviera, including the fact that they are just down the street from Lisa’s parents.

After an energetic world tour with Madonna and the hundreds of others involved in putting on a large production, it’s nice to come home to a quiet, laid-back neighborhood with soft ocean breezes.

Visit Monte’s official website,, for news on his latest releases and performances. To book a private guitar lesson with Monte, email him at For professional photography by Lisa, including weddings and portraits of all types, go to:


Local Resident Goes Into High Gear to Provide Luxury

Pre-Owned Cars to Customers


October 2013


174632077-Igor-s-Hollywood-Riviera-Real-Estate-News-October-2013Riviera resident Jody Lilly knows a thing or two about cars. Especially luxury cars. That’s because Jody, who owns Jama Auto House in Hermosa Beach with his business partner, Lars, has worked in the car business for decades. As a life-long car buff, it’s a job he loves.

Every day, Jody gets to play matchmaker to drivers looking for the car of their dreams, whether it’s a sexy Ferrari or a solid Mercedes. If he doesn’t have it in stock, Jody searches far and wide for the perfect car for his clients and lets them know when it’s available. In every case, his goal is to match his clients with a preowned car that looks and feels like new, is trouble-free and is exactly what they’re looking for.

A family-owned business, Jama Auto House has been the pre-owned car dealership of choice for South Bay residents to buy, sell, detail and service their cars for the last 30 years.

Pre-owned European luxury cars – particularly Mercedes-Benz and BMWs, are a specialty – though Jama typically has many other brands on the lot.

The one-on-one customer service and low-pressure professionalism provided by Jody has developed a loyal base of customers who return to Jama again and again.

“Many of our customers are neighbors from the Hollywood Riviera, but we also sell cars all over the country and export anywhere in the world,” said Jody. “It’s always a compliment when someone’s moved out of state but trusts me so much that they still call on me to find the right pre-owned car. I like knowing that I’ve sold my customers a car that is in excellent condition and that they’ll enjoy and be happy driving.”

Though his first car was a 1960 Chevy Corvair, today Jody drives cars from his inventory so that he knows first-hand how it performs before it sells.

A South Bay native, when he’s not on the lot Jody’s favorite place to be is surfing in Torrance or paddle boarding near King Harbor. On a recent paddle boarding jaunt he found himself just a few feet away from a whale (see photo).

Jody and his wife, Susan, have lived in the Hollywood Riviera for 10 years and were drawn to the area  by its ocean views and quiet neighborhoods. They have four children and 8 grandchildren between them.

Stop by Jama Auto House for a luxury pre-owned car or servicing at 700 Pacific Coast Highway between 7th and 8th Street, or call 310-318- 1639 to learn about their financing and warranty programs. To see their always changing inventory, you can also go to

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Mr Fix It: Ed Figlin Puts Appliances Back to Work


June 2013


145595181-Igor-s-Hollywood-Riviera-Real-Estate-News-June-2013We’ve all been there. You turn on the dishwasher and come back a few minutes later to see a growing puddle of water on your kitchen floor. Or the clothes dryer spins endlessly yet the clothes never dry. Or you suddenly realize all your refrigerated foods feel like they’re room temperature and are fading fast.

Appliances – they make our lives so much easier, but they’re far from invincible. Which is why Ed Figlin’s knock at the door is a welcome sound for Hollywood Riviera homeowners with a  fridge on the fritz – or any appliance for that matter.

The owner of Edward’s Appliances, Ed has been making house calls in his Hollywood Riviera neighborhood and points beyond for a total of 19 years.

Over that time, he’s seen it all – the electric ovens that won’t stop beeping, the washing machines that clog up thanks to a baby sock in the drain pump and microwave ovens fried by gold rim plates.

“Routine maintenance can often extend the life of major appliances, but eventually everything mechanical breaks down,” says Edward. “I advise my clients that as a general rule, if a repair would cost half or more of the purchase price of a new product, it’s probably wiser to replace the appliance. Otherwise fixing the appliance is usually more economical.”

According to Ed, simple steps such as cleaning the condenser coils on refrigerators annually and changing air conditioner filters monthly during operating season can add life to your appliances. Washer fill hoses should be replaced every five years, and the exhaust duct on clothes dryers should be inspected and cleaned at least once a year. Also, always clean the lint filter before each use. With ovens, make sure there’s no heavy grease build up on the interior.

With an estimated 600 million appliances at work in U.S. households, Americans spend more than $15 billion a year on new appliances. Gone are the days when washing dishes meant wasting time and water standing at the sink (washing dishes by hand uses on average 5 times more water per session than a dishwasher). The scrubbing boards of pre- clothes washing machine days are a relic delegated to museums, as are the ice boxes once used to keep food cold.

But how long should appliances last before they need to be replaced? According to Consumer Reports, the average life expectancy for dishwashers is 9 years, washing machines 10 years, garbage disposers 12 years, refrigerators and dryers 13 years, and gas ranges 15 years. Of course these figures may vary depending on the model and brand of appliance, plus how well they are maintained.

When he’s not repairing appliances, Edward and his wife, Anya, and their children Alice (14) and Oliver (8) enjoy all the perks of living in the Hollywood Riviera, including riding their bikes to the Riviera Village, the beach and El Retiro Park. They also take a weekly jiu-jitsu class together.

“I feel very fortunate in that I not only live in a great area, but I also work in this community so I’m never too far from home,” says Edward. “I pride myself on being prompt, honest and professional so every house call I make is a positive experience. I meet a lot of other Riviera residents through my job and it makes living here feel like an even more tightly knit community.”

You can reach Edward for all your appliance repair and installation needs at 310-780-9474 or


Kaiser Brothers Experts in the Nuts and Bolts

of Home Building


May 2013


140446335-Igor-s-Hollywood-Riviera-Real-Estate-News-May-2013At times it can be rainy, muddy, windy and cold, but Kit and Kim Kaiser love the outdoors so a life  lifelong career working in construction is the ideal job for them. Rather than put on a suit and tie so they can sit in a cubicle, a day at the office for the Kaiser brothers means throwing on their jeans, rolling up their sleeves, and getting to work on the Riviera homes they remodel and build from the ground up.

The Kaisers, owners of K2 Contractors, have been building homes in the South Bay for 33 years. As licensed general contractors, they manage the entire home building process from foundation to rooftop. That includes hiring and managing subcontractors for wiring, plumbing, flooring, painting and  other areas, securing permits, meeting building codes, scheduling inspections and much more.

It’s a huge undertaking – one which these brothers both find challenging and fun — which is why Kit and Kim (unlike some other contractors) often do the hands-on work themselves.

“Building the foundation and doing the framing is one of our favorite parts of the job,” said Kit.

“It’s very gratifying to build a home,” added Kim. “We get to see the finished product whenever we drive by, and we know we’ve helped the homeowner build their dream.”

When they’re not working, the Kaiser brothers, who both stand over six feet tall, can still be found outdoors, usually playing either tennis or volleyball.  Southern California natives, they have both lived in the Hollywood Riviera for many years, and are raising their families here.

So when you are driving by another Riviera home being built, look out for the two tall brothers and wave hello to your Riviera neighbors, Kit and Kim.

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11th Annual Torrance Relay for Life

April 27-28 at South High


April 2013

cv_17_5918388897201156106It’s that time of year again – time for our community to pull together for 24 hours to raise awareness and funds for cancer research at the annual Torrance Relay for Life. This weekend event raises funds for the American Cancer Society with the help of teams of volunteers who camp overnight and commit to having at least one team  member walking on a track at all times, because cancer never sleeps. This year’s theme is “Spirit of Aloha.”

Local resident Joy Kobashi, the event chair for the past two years, has participated in and helped plan the Torrance Relay for Life since its inception.

“My mom died of pancreatic cancer, so it really feels like I’m fighting back against this disease by getting involved every year,” she says. “It’s very healing.”

Joy and hundreds of other participants will walk the South High track at the 11th Annual Relay for Life of Torrance, April 27-28. The event honors cancer survivors, pays tribute to those who have lost their lives to the disease, and raises money to fight cancer.

Cancer is a leading cause of death in the US. With Relay for Life events held in more than 5,000 communities and 20 countries, the fundraiser raises nearly $500 million a year, making it the largest such event in the world. The funds pay for research on cures for cancer, services and education for those battling the disease, and advocacy efforts with the Federal government.

Last year, the Torrance Relay for Life  raised $228,115.00. The goal for this year’s Torrance relay is to raise $265,000 for the American Cancer Society.

The Hollywood Riviera Sportsman’s Club is fielding a team again this year, with Igor serving as team captain for theeighth year in a row. Please consider joining the Riviera Sportsman’s Club’s Relay team if you’d like to get involved (women and men are welcome). The team raised more than $10,000 for the American Cancer Society last year, and hopes to exceed that amount this year. Relay for Life began in 1985 with the vision of Dr. Gordy Klatt, a colorectal surgeon in Tacoma, Washington. In an effort to raise funds for his local American Cancer Society, Dr Klatt spent a grueling 24 hours circling the track at the University of Puget Sound, logging in more than 83 miles. Nearly 300 of Dr. Klatt’s friends, family and patients cheered him on as he walked, while others donated $25 to walk 30 minutes with him.

Ultimately, he raised $27,000 to fight cancer. The following year, Dr Klatt organized 19 teams to take part in the first team relay event, and a total of $33,000 was raised for the American Cancer Society. Today, Dr. Klatt’s vision is a fundraising phenomenon. Highlights of the Relay for Life are a survivor lap at 9:15 am Saturday just following the 9 am opening ceremony. At 9 pm Saturday, a Luminaria Ceremony will honor survivors as well as those who lost their battle with cancer. The luminarias burn through the night to light the path for those walking to fight back against cancer. You can purchase and decorate your luminaria at the event on Saturday. Entertainment is provided throughout the event, including performances by local bands and dance groups. The event concludes Sunday at 9:00 am with a closing ceremony.

To sign up for the Hollywood Riviera Sportsman’s Club team, or to donate  funds, please contact Igor at 310-892- 6016 or You can also mail your donation, payable to the “American Cancer Society, ” to Igor at 601 Calle de Arboles, Redondo Beach, CA 90277, and he will forward it to the American Cancer Society. Please mark on the memo line “Relay for Life of Torrance.” Or, you can donate to Relay for Life and/ or join the Hollywood Riviera Sportsman’s Club team online at

Donations are accepted until August 31, 2013, so don’t be discouraged if you can’t make the event. Your gift is tax deductible as a charitable contribution to the fullest extent allowed by law.

For more information about the American Cancer Society’s support for survivors and patients, please call them 24/7 at 1-800-227- 2345.

We hope to see you at South High the weekend of April 27-28 as together we fight back against cancer.


Classic Coming of Age Film FeaturesRiviera Locals


March 2013

128994608-Igor-s-Hollywood-Riviera-Real-Estate-News-March-2013This year’s Academy Awards may be behind us, but did you know that two local residents (brothers actually) starred in an Academy Award-nominated film?

The year was 1965, and the film was so well received that in addition to its Academy nomination in the Best Short Subject category, it won the Palme d’Or for Best Short Film at the 1966 Cannes Film Festival as well as first prize in  international film festivals including Venice and Moscow. It was even reviewed in Time Magazine.

With no dialogue but plenty of classic surf rock music, Skaterdater tells the story of seven skateboarding boys who encounter a rift when one of them becomes interested in a girl, leading to a downhill skating duel. It was the first film on skateboarding and starred seven local residents, of which Bill and Bruce McKaig still reside in the Riviera.

“We were a group of friends who surfed and when we weren’t surfing we skated together on the Imperial Skateboard team,” says Bruce, who pointed out that in that era, most skateboarders were also  surfers. “We were all locals. Five of us went to Newton Middle School (now called Richardson), my brother went to South and another boy went to Chadwick.”

Bruce and the rest of the team were approached by the director and producer – two UCLA students getting their doctorate – after winning a skateboarding contest. The boys spent every weekend for nearly six months doing take after take, to the point that most of them were tired of skateboarding when the film was completed. They earned $1 each for the film.

Riviera residents watching the movie will recognize several of the film sites, including Via Monte D’Oro, Newton Street and Bluff Street. The movie was also filmed in Palos Verdes (look for Malaga Cove Plaza) and in Torrance where the former Rolling Hills single movie theater used to be on Pacific Coast Highway (now the Rolling Hills AMC multiplex). The final shot was filmed in San Pedro at Averill Park. Bruce is wearing a green headband in the film, while Bill had on white Levi jeans and was one of the tallest in the group. He’s the dark-haired boy skating while  looking backwards at two girls at the end of the film. The boys always skateboarded barefoot.

“It was a very different sport back then,” says Bill, who collects old skateboards and still rides one occasionally. “We used clay wheels, which slipped a lot. Now the boards are lighter and the wheels are faster, so skateboarders can do much more with the sport.”

Go to to watch Bruce, Bill and the other stars of Skaterdater make their mark in this classic film.

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Award Winning Composer Calls the Riviera Home


January 2013

119339242-Igor-s-Hollywood-Riviera-Real-Estate-News-January-2013When most kids watch Star Wars or Indiana Jones for the first time, what they remember most is the action, the drama and the visual effects. What left an indelible imprint on Christopher many more major feature films. Chris couldn’t get enough and was soon pestering his parents to take him to see Williams conduct the Boston Pops.

Thirty-plus years later, Chris is an acclaimed composer in his own right, and John Williams, while still being his idol, is also a colleague. Chris’ film credits include Alvin & The Chipmunks, HOP, Think Like A Man and Horrible Bosses. He also scores television, including 2012’s hit series Revolution (NBC), as well as numerous video games and records. In 2006, Chris was nominated for an Emmy Award for his score to Supernatural (The CW).

Lennertz were the grand symphonic scores. Watching those movies was Chris’ introduction to the musical genius of composer John Williams, who also scored ET, Jaws, Jurassic Park and Chris began his musical training at the age of 9, first with the trumpet and then the guitar. He studied music in high school and later at USC’s Thornton School of Music, where he still acts as a guest lecturer for the film and music schools.

Chris also uses his musical talent for charitable causes. Most recently, he spearheaded A Symphony of Hope: The Haiti Project. Chris brought together 25 of Hollywood’s leading composers to collaboratively write a symphony for a benefit CD and concert which has raised $100,000 for Haiti’s earthquake relief.

Chris and his wife, Shannon, moved to the Hollywood Riviera in 2009 after living in Playa del Rey. They spotted the area while strolling through the Riviera Village and decided to take a closer look. Once they saw the close community, the great schools and the beautiful treelined streets, they knew this would be the perfect place to raise a family (their daughter, Neave, is 4 and another child is on the way). An avid sailor, Chris also likes being close to the Harbor.

After composing all day, the peaceful sound of the Riviera at night is music to his ears.

“I can hear owls from the Palos Verdes walking trail across the street,” he says. “It’s like nature’s own symphony.”