Playa Vista People 4/16/2020


Belinda Tan co-founder of Science 37

Belinda Tan co-founded Science 37, a clinical research company, located in Playa Vista, whose transformative technology service platform enables patients to participate in research opportunities in their homes. Science 37 brings together scientists, physicians, clinical researchers, thinkers, and innovators to challenge the current paradigms of how we do clinical research. We constantly ask, “What’s best for the patient?” With the mission to accelerate biomedical research by putting patients first, we built patient-centric telemedicine enabled clinical trials service that maintains the highest quality and compliance standards. In addition to opening new markets for research, our model has the potential to increase ethnic and gender diversity in clinical trials by providing access to all patients, no matter where they live.


Exer Urgent Care, an emergency room alternative, announced Thursday that on-site testing for the new coronavirus is available at their Culver City location and other clinics in Los Angeles County. L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti announced that any Los Angeles County resident who has symptoms may apply to be tested for the virus, so in an effort to support patient care, Exer is offering testing at all their locations, and drive-up testing at seven clinic locations: Calabasas, Stevenson Ranch, Northridge, Sherman Oaks, Pasadena, Westwood and Redondo Beach. In order to be tested, patients need a prescription, the Exer news release said. Exer is offering patients an online evaluation via VirtualCare by Exer. VirtualCare is an online urgent care service providing real-time access to a health care provider via video chat. Patients do not need an appointment, they can remotely log in and will be connected to an Exer medical provider the news release said.

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An image from a Trojan Condoms campaign that aims to show that staying home can still be sexy. (72andSunny)

When the novel coronavirus crisis hit the U.S., 72andSunny, one of Los Angeles’ largest creative advertising agencies, was ready. The Playa Vista firm, which has an office in Singapore, had already watched the devastating fallout from COVID-19 in Asia.  So agency leaders in early March began arranging for staff members to work from home. And they moved swiftly with one of their biggest clients, the NFL, to spread a positive and unifying message. Unable to shoot a video, the firm asked NFL players to submit clips showing how they were coping with stay-at-home orders.  Within 48 hours, the firm had hundreds of videos, and the ad team spent three days whittling the material to a moving five-minute public-service announcement, called “Stay Home, Stay Strong.” “We very quickly switched into the mode of: What can these brands do to bring good to the world?” said Glenn Cole, co-founder and creative chair of the agency. “Brands really have the resources and relationships in culture to make a difference.”


Life in the time of coronavirus has created a new normal for everyone, and Southern California’s local hospitals are no exception. Two nurses at Cedars-Sinai Marina del Rey Hospital recently shared their stories from the front lines of the pandemic. “Kinda feels like we’ve got our hands are tied to behind our back, cause the second we get a new patient everyone wants to run in the room and help settle the patient in — but we can’t,” said Lauren Yamashita, a registered nurse who works in the intensive care unit. Some protocols have changed when it comes to treating COVID-19 patients. And doctors and nurses are racing to keep up with a virus that none of them had previously seen. “They become sick so quickly that it’s just every little detail we have to be watching for,” Yamashita said.

Although stress is high, there is camaraderie and teamwork among the hospital staff.  “It’s inspiring to see so many co-workers willing to come in extra days to help out,” Yamashita said. “That’s definitely something that I think keeps us going. It keeps us feeling like a team.” And as any health-care worker will attest, the mind is just as important as the body. “We try to be there and communicate to them and make them feel good, be positive,” Irine Quintas, a registered nurse, said of patients. “That helps them a lot. We’ve discharged some of our patients home, and they’ve sent us back messages thanking us for talking to them and encouraging them during a difficult time.” The staffers say they know the power of staying positive for themselves. “I’ve been spending a lot of time in my backyard these days,” Quintas said. “That’s really the only place I can take my toddler. So while he’s out there playing, I’ve been trying my luck at gardening. So that’s kind of been my therapy. “This will all be over soon,” she added, “and we’ll be — we’ll be alright.”


When Playa Vista-based dentist Lawrence Fung discovered his fellow health care workers were in need of PPE, there was no way he was going to sit by idly. “My business is essentially shut down until April 19,” says Fung. “I thought, okay, what am I going to do now?” Given that his dental practice in Culver City has a 3D printer, an idea sparked: “I thought, why don’t I print a mask?” he says. After crowdsourcing a design for a standard facemask then 3D printing it, he learned that the pre-made filters from 3M were completely sold out. He needed a new plan. When a large pediatric hospital reached out to him saying they were in need of face shields, he contacted several 3D printing companies in Orange County and the Inland Empire to help fabricate the face shields. “The turnaround time is about 48 hours and can make about 500 a day,” says Fung, who’s had over 1,500 face shields manufactured. The face shield is the first barrier between the virus and medical professional, with the mask as the second barrier. Since the standard practice is one shield for one patient, the need is in the tens of thousands. “If everyone at home [with a 3D printer] could make 10 of these, we could make thousands of them,” he says.

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The Silver Strand is an area south of Washington Boulevard between the Ballona Lagoon, Via Marina and the Main Channel leading from Marina del Rey Harbor to the Pacific Ocean, during spring several types of local exotic flowers bloom, bringing beautiful colors and fragrances into the area.


BFFs Oaklynn and Haisley love hanging out in the back of their car chatting and catching sunsets in Playa Del Rey. (Taken pre-pandemic)


If there’s a Facebook Group for kazoo-playing enthusiasts, there’s definitely a Facebook Group for you. That’s the message of this charmingly funny spot, “Kazoo,” directed by the Traktor collective via production house Stink for Wieden+KennedySqueak E. Clean Studios handled the music, sound design and audio post based right here in Culver City. Client Facebook Groups Agency Wieden+Kennedy Dan Viens, creative director. Production Stink Films Traktor, director Rachel Curl, exec producer. Editorial Rock Paper Scissors Lauren Dellara Music/Sound Squeak E. Clean Studios, Culver City, Calif.



NFL Owners next are scheduled to meet May 18-20 in Marina del Rey, California, and coaches and GMs would be expected to attend that meeting if it takes place. But that meeting could be postponed, canceled or relocated, making it unclear when and where NFL owners would consider rule-change proposals. Last season, players, coaches, and fans were unhappy with the application of the rule, which made Interference-related calls and non-calls subject to replay. There were complaints that the system was unpredictable and the rule was not being applied consistently, leading players and coaches to say they no longer knew what constituted pass interference and what did not.


Lisa Solomon
The Studio | Founder & CEO

Q: Where were you born?— At NYU Hospital in New York City

Q: Where do you work, and where did you go for your job training? What drove you into the career field you are currently in?— I’m the Founder and CEO of an incredible boutique fitness community called The Studio (MDR). Growing up, I envisioned my career to be in medicine and having a family.  I always loved music, and when I went to school in New Orleans, it only further enhanced my interest.  After college, while deciding on life’s next steps, I was sitting on the beach one day and struck up a conversation with a girl who asked me what I wanted to do with my life. Out of nowhere, while telling her about my med school aspirations, I confided that I wanted to get into the music industry. She remarked with “that’s great! I just got promoted at RCA, so why don’t you come in to interview for my job! “ I went in on a Tuesday, started on Thursday and the rest was history. I spent about 15 years in the music and entertainment industry, working with incredible musicians and talent from all over the world.
Then about 12 years ago, I was ready for a big change in my life.  I had recently moved to Los Angeles, still working in entertainment, but I knew it was time for me to move on.  So I wrote a business plan to open up a clothing store and then quickly realized after crunching numbers and living in a recession that this was not practical.

I was working out several days a week at a local Lagree method studio, and found myself observing the love and attention people had for health and wellness during a time of economic struggle and uncertainty. I had this background in branding, talent, relationships and music and started thinking about how I could manifest my skill set into something fitness and community-related. Drawing on my love of Lagree,  I opened my first studio in Marina Del Rey with no background in business or fitness (other than being a passionate client) and on our first day, our classes were mostly sold out!

Q: How did you end up in Playa Vista?— A friend had told me about all of the developments that were taking place in Playa Vista and the more I looked into it, the more I saw its potential. I lived in Venice for many years and knew what was happening with all the tech companies setting up shop nearby. Around 2012, I had read an article in USA Today that touted Playa as the new Silicon Beach, and that was the impetus for moving forward. It was one of the best decisions I have ever made.

Q: Where are your favorite places to go on weekends?— Weekend?  What’s a weekend?!  Ha!  I work most Saturdays but try to take off Sundays to spend with my husband, dogs and have some me time..  Whether that is taking a walk on the beach, running errands or seeing friends, I feel that having time to disconnect from work and be present for loved ones is extremely important.

Q: Do you visit Playa Vista often?— All the time!  You can find me there most Saturdays that I am in town speaking in the Intro to (MDR) class at 12:30pm.  We have an incredible community there and I love seeing loyal clientele and meeting new faces.

Q: Any local traffic shortcuts that you would choose to share?— Do not always rely on Google Maps because traffic in LA can change in a minute!  I live in the South Bay so I normally will take the “back way” to our Playa studio, which is the Vista Del Mar route instead of CA-1 or behind the airport.

Q: Do you have family in Playa Vista?— Yes, my Studio (MDR) family!

Q: Are there any community events you go to in Playa Vista?— I love spending time at the Farmer’s Market on Saturdays.  I think it is very well curated.  I also love when the community puts on special events of their own like the Snow Days, Halloween or Night Markets.  It is a wonderful way to bring people together; you feel such a sense of belonging.

Q: There are so many great people and businesses in the Playa Vista community. Is there any of particular interest you would like to share?— I LOVE the Beauty Beach Lounge ladies. I call it my office away from the studio! The energy in Shay and Jennifer’s salon is infectious- plus, they make you look and feel your best. I also love the frame selection at Runway Optometry and the staff in there as well. I feel very fortunate to have such a collaborative community where I can walk over to another business and feel comfortable striking up conversation or taking a minute to decompress. We very much strive to be the same way at our studio.

Q: What does the perfect day in Playa Vista look like to you?—Sitting inside The Studio (MDR) by the window and relishing in the community’s warmth – the passersby,  the clients coming and going that I get to see and catch up with every day. We cheer each other on, and it goes beyond the studio, too. Sometimes I have to take a step back and pinch myself. It truly fuels me and keeps me going.



Photography by: Stephanie Tabor

Del Rey Beach, as well as the adjoining Dockweiler Beach, are closed until further notice. Signs warn potential beachgoers not to plan on any picnics or swim time. Fire pits sit empty and security as well as barricades block entrances to parking lots.

*PLAYA VISTA PEOPLE–Only Originals Allowed!:


Whether you’re hankering for a triple pretzel burger with cheddar cheese and caramelized onions or a Vietnamese chicken and rice bowl with shredded veggies, herbs, and fish sauce, this beachside restaurant by culinary power couple Brooke Williamson and Nick Roberts knows how to serve up a delicious meal. Top it off with grab ‘n’ go chocolate chip cookie dough or cookie decorating kits for the kids to enjoy at home. Parents can treat themselves to premixed take-out house margaritas, mules or barrel-aged old fashions. Delivery is available via Uber Eats.

Playa Provisions

119 Culver Blvd., Playa del Rey
(310) 683-5019


1. ***I am afraid The L.A. Times Editorial Board is suffering from NIMBY derangement syndrome. NIMBYs are homeowners and renters throughout Los Angeles and the rest of the country who feel that establishing housing for homeless people — and in this case, homeless COVID-19 patients — “in their backyards” will have a significant negative impact on their lives. So they stand their ground and fight it. Most probably, a significant percentage of Times readers are NIMBYs. Yet The Times’ editorial directs this dismissive and disdainful closing comment at them: “We don’t have the luxury of tolerating them now.” —– Gene Pomerantz, Marina del Rey

2. ***It appears to me that in the United States, COVID-19 is a political virus. Because of the many missteps from the White House, closure of the water system (to some) in Detroit and the diminishing role of the CDC, the citizens of this health-care-for-profit nation are at great risk! Pardon me while I wash my hands in warm water for 20 seconds.  Please note that I do not live in Detroit, am not incarcerated, nor am I poor or black. —– Robin Doyno, Mar Vista

3. ***Today I am calling and writing my congressional representative to ask for legislation that assures our participation in the World Health Organization. To not have the protection of this network of research, education and action is criminal and fatal to both the U.S. and the rest of the globe. —– Robin Doyno, Mar Vista

4. *** On the very, very rare occasions I see a security guard at the Runway Shopping Center in Playa Vista, I have noticed they are always watching videos on their phone instead of doing their job. – Dabney Carson, Playa Vista.

5. *** Thank God for Urban Plates in Playa Vista. Good healthy food. Fair prices. Amen. —– Yana K., Playa Vista.

6. ***Do you have a message for your neighbors in Playa Vista? Post on the Playa Vista People Bulletin Board for FREE. Send your 50-word message to us at:


Playa Vista People Edited By: Aurora DeRose  

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