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Josie Smith Malave

Josie Smith Malave "Chef Josie" is a classically trained chef, global adventurist, inspirational speaker, social entrepreneur, ratings worthy TV/radio personality and founder of Global Soul Project – a food, youth and community initiative.

This big-hearted, outspoken chef has been featured in People Magazine and numerous other publications. She was a standout on Bravo TV's award-winning show, Top Chef and named Global Soul Chef by Color Magazine.

Josie's life journey has become a part of her own brand. Her initiative, Global Soul Project, embodies all that is close to her heart, from her rich and diverse ethnic heritage to her values around food inclusivity, youth empowerment and community. She continues to use food as tool to inspire, engage and teach the folks around her.

Kajsa Alger

Kajsa Alger is the Executive Chef and Susan Feniger’s Partner of Mud Hen Tavern, a neighborhood bar and restaurant that opened on December 7, 2013. Located near the corner of Highland and Melrose in Hollywood, she and Susan prepare a wide variety of rustic dishes and bar food, with the occasional global inflections that they naturally bring to the table. Coupled with a vibrant beverage program that offers a fun and curated selection of international wines, local craft beers and artisanal cocktails, Mud Hen Tavern is a welcome addition to Los Angeles’ dining and bar scene.

Prior to that, she held the same position at STREET, which opened in 2009 and was known for its wide array of street food from around the world. While the brick and mortar location closed in October 2013, STREET will live on in lots of exciting ways, including new locations and a robust catering business.

With more than 20 years of culinary experience and frequent travel exploring ethnic marketplaces, Kajsa has developed an incredibly vast knowledge for spices and globally-influenced cuisine. These trademarks of her cooking naturally shine through in Mud Hen Tavern’s menu, with simple, rustic dishes diners crave. Coupled with a vibrant beverage program that offers a fun and curated selection of wines, craft beers and artisanal cocktails, Mud Hen Tavern is a welcome addition to Los Angeles’ dining and bar scene.

As a teenager in Los Angeles, Kajsa snuck into the kitchen of CITY restaurant and ended up in an informal apprenticeship with Susan Feniger and Mary Sue Milliken that would turn into a lifelong friendship and eventual partnership. She ultimately joined the team at Border Grill in their flagship Santa Monica location in 1990, where she could showcase her talents in a collection of menus that highlighted foods from around Mexico and the Latin world.

Kajsa next began working with Judy Rogers at the legendary Zuni Café in San Francisco to further hone her culinary skills. She then joined David Kinch’s highly-acclaimed Restaurant Sent Sovi, and the northwest favorite, Carlyle Restaurant & Bar in Portland, Oregon. In 2003, she returned to Los Angeles and the Border Grill/Ciudad company to head up kitchen operations as Corporate Chef for their five restaurants.

Kajsa’s long association with Susan, her understanding of operational and financial systems and her creative passion for simple, colloquial foods have made for a fun and fruitful partnership that allows for both to continue exploring and sharing their culinary passions.

Karen Williams

Karen Williams is one of today's hottest comedy stars -- with an awesome personality, stunning good looks, and a sterling reputation for delivering laughs each and every time! She is known for her quick repartee, insightful commentary, audience rapport, and sheer likeability! She is a comic craftmaster, a gifted actor, a multitalented writer, and an inspirational lecturer, whose HaHA Institute attracts clients from the public and private sectors. Armed with her "healing with humor" philosophy, Karen is a modern-day alchemist and motivational humorist, whose audiences revel in her cathartic laughter and whose peers consider her a comic's comic!

As a solo entertainer, Karen delights fan-filled audiences from San Francisco to South Beach to Sydney. An international comic favorite - who showcased her talents at the Just for Laughs Comedy Festival in Montreal several times - Karen Williams is a star entertainer and headliner with Olivia Cruises and Resorts, where she's garnered some 150 laugh-filled trips around the globe!

Karen is a featured comic in "We're Funny That Way," the hilarious, internationally-acclaimed film shot at Buddies in Bad Times in Toronto and shown regularly on HBO. She was also a nominee for the 1999 GLAMA Award for her irreverent comedy CD, "human beings: what a concept" (Uproar Records).

Comedy writer and former television host of the New York variety show, "In the Life," Karen sharpened her comedy teeth as a ghostwriter at Columbia Pictures. Her humor writings appear in numerous anthologies, including Joke Stew (Andrews McMeel Publishing); Revolutionary Laughter (Crossing Press); Out in All Directions (Warner Books); and Out, Loud & Laughing (Random House).

Karen graduated summa cum laude from Cleveland State University with a personally-designed major in "Humor and Healing." She earned a Master of Education degree from CSU's Adult Learning & Development program. Founder and CEO of the International Institute of Humor and Healing Arts, Karen has successfully branded HaHA Institute as the go-to resource network for educational programs, workshops and seminars focused on the healing power of humor.

Karen taught Stand-Up Comedy in the Dramatic Arts department of Cleveland State University; studied improv at Second City Chicago; and directed inaugural comedy classes at Second City in Cleveland. Karen continues to perform comedy worldwide and star in television commercials while teaching acting and improvisational comedy at ProModel and Talent Management, training students to compete at IMTA (International Model and Talent Agency) Conventions in New York and Los Angeles.

Her hilarious one-hour solo comedy special “I NEED A SNACK” -- filmed live at The Knitting Factory in Hollywood -- aired regularly on LOGO TV and is available on DVD. “LAUGHING MATTERS” is an award-winning documentary film showcasing Karen's star quality and highlights her social activism.

Curve Magazine calls Karen Williams "...a laugh riot!" The Sydney Morning Herald proclaims that Karen Williams is "ferociously funny, with perfect pace, timing and structure."

Roxanna Ward

Roxanna is a beloved member of the Olivia family. Her debut with Olivia was on an Alaska cruise in 1992. Since then, she's joined us several times a year! Her brilliant comedy, writing, musicianship and singing endears her to audiences everywhere. A woman of many talents, Roxanna is a mother, high school teacher, producer, writer and director. Her past credits include work with Dolly Parton, Kirk Douglas and many others. The late Phyllis Hyman, and more recently, Suede, have both recorded Roxanna's song "Remember Who You Are." Whether you are seeing Roxanna for the first time or tenth time, she always makes you laugh and warms your heart.

Sweet Baby J'ai

Few entertainers can command a stage like the indefatigable, Sweet Baby J'ai. She is a critically acclaimed singer, songwriter, producer, arranger and actress who has toured the world with her distinctive sound. Although J'ai is known for her energetic stage presence and powerful vocals, some critics describe her as a "jazz singer", a "soul singer", others as a "blues singer" but all agree that this versatile singer-songwriter is a "storyteller". She can't be contained by one genre of music.  Talented both as a vocalist and musician, she takes unconventional instruments, the washboard and spoons, and claims them as her own special sound. As one critic pointed out, "This ain't no backyard hoe down ... she will have you swooning before the concert is over."

When your mom gives you such a memorable name as "Sweet Baby," odds are you’re gonna end up in the entertainment industry.  Sweet Baby J’ai continued the family business after sneaking into Kansas City jazz clubs as a kid. With an uncle who worked as a bassist for Billie Holiday and a cousin who played guitar with Dizzy Gillespie, J’ai was constantly surrounded by the music that would become her career.  She has been featured many times on Olivia Cruises, Walt Disney Concert Hall, Playboy Jazz Fest, Casablanca Music Fest, Tokyo, Jarkata and a host of festivals, concert and club venues throughout the world.  She has shared the stage with Herbie Hancock, Joe Sample, Jill Scott, Etta James, Melissa Etheridge and many more; her velvety vocals gracing jazz, soul, and R&B songs. You can check out a dose of her latest cd, Introducing J'ai Michel on this trip designed to soothe your savage beast or feed it!

Here's a sampling of what critics are saying:
"Her voice is part cream, party honey and all soul." -New York Times
"Sweet Baby J'ai will no doubt be considered a legend in her own time ... She is by any critic's opinion, the real deal!"  - LN Magazine
"She proved it on all of us in the 1920's lesbian love story, Prove It On Me ... a flawless performance and spine tingling soulful vocalist ..." - Tolucan Times
"Show-stopper ... a sensational performer" - Durango Herald
"Extraordinary ... a stunning performer." - Jazz Now
"Swinging ... powerful ... and haunting." - Los Angeles Times

Jessica Kirson

Jessica Kirson's unique style and captivating stage presence captures the attention of audiences and club bookers everywhere she performs. Her wide variety of characters brings a diverse energy to her routine. Once you have seen her amazing talent, it is easy to understand why she was selected to perform at the Hamptons, Toyota, Marshall's Women in Comedy, Comedy Central's South Beach, Montreal, and HBO's Las Vegas comedy festivals. She was awarded, "Best Female Comic" by the MAC association in New York City and recently accepted the Nightlife Award for, "Best Stand-up Comedian" in NYC. Her Youtube channel, "The JessyK Show" has over 2.2 million views.

Jessica has been featured on various television shows, including, Comedy Central's "Premium Blend" and "Fresh Faces," Nickelodeon's "Sixth in the Suburbs," Noggin's "LOL," VH1's "Awesomely Bad" Shows, Oxygen's premier game show "Can You Tell?," Bravo's "The Great Things About Being," The Women's Television Network's, "She's So Funny," NBC's "Last Comic Standing" Seasons 2 and 3, NBC's "Last Call With Carson Daly", "The Dr. Oz Show", "Why We Heart Vampires", "When Vacations Go Bust" on The Travel Channel, TV Guide channel, two appearances on the "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno", two appearances on ABC's, "The View", Showtime's, "White Boyz in the Hood", and NBC's "Celebrity Apprentice". She also has a one hour special on the Logo Channel called, "My Cookie's Gone" and has appeared on, "The Joy Behar Show" on CNN-HLN numerous times. She can be seen in the movie “School Dance” with Nick Cannon, Jim Breuer and George Lopez, coming out in July of 2014.

C. C. Carter

C.C. Carter is a seasoned Chicago Slammer and performance poet who brings the house down whether performing to an intimate crowd of 10 or in a public arena of 10,000. Her poetry and performances make her one of the few spoken word artists to showcase regularly at women’s music festivals including the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival, National Womyn’s Music Festival, and Sistahfest as well as garnering her opening credits for Nikki Giovanni, Maya Angelou, Cheryl Clarke and Dorothy Allison. Her one woman show, Living Large In a Shrinking America – sold out all three shows in Provincetown during women’s week; critics deemed it “hilariously funny and perfectly timed.”

Whether giving keynote performances on the complexities of the Marriage Equality act, performing at human rights rallies or presenting performance lectures on college and university campuses of the intersections of diversity, C.C. gives voice to her layered truths of being femme, lesbian, multicultural and a mother.

C.C. has received numerous awards and honors for her arts and activism, including the induction into the Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame. Her work is currently anthologized in over 15 collections of poetry and prose including Best Lesbian Erotica, Best Black Women's Erotica, Does Your Mama Know and Women Warriors: 35 Women Leaders in the Spoken Word Revolution.

Links

DJ Rockaway

Born and raised in Queens, NY, DJ Rockaway has been bringing her passion and love for music to dance floors for over a decade performing for audiences in the U.S. and internationally. From nightclubs on both the east and west coasts, to private weddings and events, she is a regular DJ on Olivia cruise and resort vacations and DJ’s for national non-profit events such as NCLR, HRC and Equality California, to name a few. She is the founder of PLAY San Francisco and PLAY San Jose, which are monthly events for women who love to dance. A true New Yorker (just listen to her talk), DJ Rockaway’s unique mix of music styles – dance, hip-hop, R&B, house, club, retro – allows her to play to all who love to dance and feel the music. For DJ Rockaway, music is more than a blend of sounds, music is an experience – she wants you to feel it, live it, escape into it.

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Olivia Travel is the premiere lesbian travel company providing amazing cruise and resort vacations for lesbians worldwide. We create unforgettable holidays for women from all over the world. Vacation with us and you will never be the same!