• King Lear a Success at LB Shakespeare

    By John Farrell

    King Lear is one of the great jewels in Shakespeare’s crown.

    It is a play that mixes political intrigue with the declining rule of a king, tragedy of the most touching sort with ambitions that make Game of Thrones look childish, and all in one evening at the theater.

    But the play is large, immensely large physically and emotionally, needing a large cast and, even in a small theater, a lot of room for physical theater and swordplay. Shakespeare did it, though, at the Globe with little in the way of scenery.

    So, when Long Beach Shakespeare Co. opened their new production in the small Richard Goad Theatre in Long Beach they knew it would work. That production opened May 30. It is a success, from the interpretation of Lear with company regular Carl Wawrina to the tragic end of the play, with daughter Cordelia dead in the kings arms.

    Every Lear is a unique interpretation and Wawrina goes not for the hugely dramatic but the subtle: his Lear is one we recognize from our own lives: a man who wants to retire from his dramatic and powerful life, a man who wants his three daughters to take over and lead successful and fulfilling lives. But Lear is mistaken: two of his daughters plot against him and he disowns the third because she will not fawn on him. The result is tragedy for him, political infighting and final death. (more…)

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  • Court OKs Disclosure of Officers’ Names OIS Cases

    SACRAMENTO — On May 29, the California Supreme Court ruled, in a 6-1 vote, Justice Ming Chin opposed, that police agencies generally must release the names of officers involved in shootings.

    The decision means that police departments must prove a danger to the officer (or officers). In order for the city to withhold a name, it would have to establish that there’s an actual, credible threat. The court stated officers’ names only can be withheld if there is specific evidence that their safety would be imperiled, such as would be the case with undercover officers. However, police departments do not have a blanket right to conceal the names of officers involved in shootings.

    “Indeed, it is my view that too often law enforcement treats the vast majority of what it does as a secret and dissuades public involvement, when in face very little need be kept confidential and the engagement of our community should be embraced and welcomed,” he wrote. “… we also need to consider the privacy and safety interests of officers and their families, as well as the privacy interests and safety of our community. It is this balance that state law seeks to consider and achieve. As Police Chief, it is my job to abide by and enforce state law, as interpreted and clarified by our Supreme Court; I look forward to the direction from our City Attorney in regard to the implementation of this decision.”

    The case stemmed from the officer-involved shooting of Douglas Zerby, a 35-year-old man who was killed by police officers when they mistook a garden hose for a gun. An autopsy showed that Zerby was shot 12 times. The District Attorney’s office cleared the officers of fault. A federal jury later awarded Zerby’s son and parents $6.5 million for the officer’s negligent battery and violation of Zerby’s 4th Amendment rights. (more…)

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  • RL NEWS of the Week: June 3, 2014

    Dodson, Curtiss Middle School Students Graduate from Hippocrates Circle Program

    San Pedro — On May 30, 50 Dodson and Curtiss Middle School students graduated from the Hippocrates Circle Program, which was designed to open their eyes to future careers in medicine.

    Within several weeks, the students work with their mentor physicians, tour the Kaiser Permanente South Bay Medical Center, and meet with representatives from colleges and medical schools.  The program aims to create a pipeline of future physicians who reflect the diversity of our community.

    The mission of the Hippocrates Circle Program is to provide youth from underrepresented communities and diverse backgrounds with awareness that a career as a physician is possible. Through the collaborative efforts of local school districts, medical schools, and Kaiser Permanente physicians, the Hippocrates Circle Program strives to strengthen the self-esteem of young people and empower them to pursue their goal to become a physician.

     

    Harbor Community Clinic Receives $50,000 Grant Award

    SAN PEDRO — Harbor Community Clinic will receive a $50,000 grant from the Ralph M. Parsons Foundation that will provide general operating support for the Clinic at 593 West 6th Street in San Pedro.

    This new funding will help the Clinic provide primary and preventive healthcare services to low-income residents of the Harbor area.  (more…)

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  • RLn THEATER Calendar: May 30, 2014

    June 14
    Beauty of Nature Series
    Cabrillo Marine Aquarium and Palos Verde Land host their second film Riding Giants at 3:30 and 6:30 p.m. June 14. Admission is free with limited seating.
    This spectacular film is a comprehensive look at the history of surfing, from its origins as a tiny subculture to its widespread resurgence.
    Details: www.cabrillomarineaquarium.org
    Venue:Cabrillo Marine Aquarium
    Location:3720 Stephen M. White Drive, San Pedro
     
    June 19
    Hamlet
    Shakespeare by the Sea presents Hamlet, at 8 p.m. June 19, at Point Fermin Park in San Pedro.
    Details:www.shakespearebythesea.org
    Venue:Point Fermin Park
    Location:807 W. Paseo Del Mar, San Pedro

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  • RLn COMMUNITY Calendar: May 30, 2014

    June 6
    Sip of Long Beach
    Sip of Long Beach meets, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. June 6, at House of Hayden in Long Beach.
    Meet, mingle and greet.
    Details: BradPShore@earthlink.net
    Venue: House of Hayden
    Location: 421 E. 1st St., Long Beach

    June 7
    70th Anniversary of D-Day Commemoration
    Join the celebration of the 70th anniversary of D-Day at the SS Lane Victory at Berth 78 in San Pedro.
    Venue: SS Lane Victory
    Location: Berth 46, San Pedro
     
    June 11
    Seafood Feast Raises Funds for Scholarships
    The Propeller Club of Los Angeles-Long Beach, the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, the Port of Long Beach and the Port of Los Angeles will host the 27th Annual Seafood Feast and Memorial Scholarship Fundraising event, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. June 11, at the San Pedro Fish Market.
    The Seafood Feast and Memorial Scholarship Fund was established in 1987 to honor the memory of longshore workers who have lost their lives working on the waterfront and to assist local high school seniors entering college.
    Tickets are $40 per person.
    Details: (818) 951-2842; propellerclub.lalb@verizon.net
    Venue: San Pedro Fish Market
    Location:  1190 Nagoya Way (Berth 78) in Ports O’ Call, San Pedro. (more…)

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  • San Pedro Blues Man Returns to the Source

    By Andrea Serna, Arts and Culture Writer

    Located firmly on the Mississippi Blues Trail is the town of Clarksdale.

    Meandering through the Mississippi Delta, the trail is the home to B.B. King, John Lee Hooker, Howlin’ Wolf and many more. The location is effectively the cradle of the blues.

    To this rich environment, San Pedro bluesman Dave Widow, offers his expertise to guitar apprentices at a workshop called Down to the Crossroads. The workshop at the Shack Up Inn was founded in the heart of the Mississippi Delta to help blues guitarists attain a deeper connection with the form, characterized by specific chord progressions. In May, Widow served as one of three coaches mentoring students to expand their technical abilities and free their musical imaginations.

    During the five-day workshop coaches and students spend time “woodshedding.” The term in blues means more than just practicing. It is the recognition of the need to sequester oneself and dig into the hard mechanics of the music before coming back and playing with a group in public. There’s something almost sacred about the term.

    “There is a reason soldiers go to boot camp,” said Gary Wagner, host of the weekend radio show “Nothin’ But the Blues” on KKJZ 88.1, about the Crossroads workshop. “It is for this same reason musicians go to the ‘woodshed’ environment provided in Clarksdale. Not everyone is an Eric Clapton or a Robert Johnson. The majority of great musicians have many thousands of hours of practice under their belt. Even the greatest musicians still practice every day.”

    Dave Widow has spent practically his entire life immersed in the music. Raised in Cincinnati, he came to California because this is where the business is. He immediately plugged into the local blues rock scene, initially meeting guys from the Pure Prairie League band. His musical style is influenced by long standing relationships with musicians such as Buddy Miles, Bill Champlin of Chicago and his mentor and collaborator, the late Roger “Jelly Roll” Troy from The Mike Bloomfield Band. Widow credits legendary guitar player Lonnie Mack with inspiring him to turn professional.

    “I met Lonnie when I was going to college,” Widow said. “I sat in with the band and we sort of bonded and he gave me the courage to go forward.’

    In his years of association with such renowned musicians Widow has developed his own style, not wanting to sound like anyone else.

    “My style incorporates southern blues with Chicago Blues with little bits of Memphis and Motown,” Widow said. “I also have a funky rock flavor that I like to throw in.”

    Widow is a perfect choice to serve as a coach and mentor to other guitar players, and Clarksdale, Miss. possesses the mystical inspiration desired to create the magic of the blues.

    Before the arrival of European settlers, the Clarksdale, Miss. was inhabited by the Choctaw and Chickasaw tribes. The Indian Removal Act of 1830 drove the Native Americans out of the delta and opened the area to cotton farming. Several cotton plantations were soon established in the Clarksdale area. Fundamental to the delta’s cotton industry was the widespread exploitation of African-American laborers. U.S. Census data shows Coahoma County’s 1860 population at 1,521 whites and 5,085 slaves.

    It was in this swamp of oppression that the blues was born.

    Gospel, jazz, rock, rap and pop music have all evolved from this original seed of African rhythms. Now blues finds itself threatened by extinction, but a tight group of musicians and music lovers work to keep the blues alive. The Blues Foundation in Memphis, Tenn. even has an annual award titled, Keeping the Blues Alive, granted each year to those willing to pass the torch.

    “When a musician understands music, especially blues, if they REALLY understand it, they know there is an obligation to pass that knowledge on to ensure the future of the genre” Wagner said. “There are many ways to do this. There are “blues-in-the-school” programs conducted by the Blues Foundation and their local affiliates. The goal would be to have a complete ‘stepping-stone’ process so that anyone with the commitment would always have a next step to their own personal growth.”

    Musicians attend the Crossroads workshop, a mere three miles from the fabled intersection of Highways 61 and 49. This is where, according to legend, Robert Johnson made his deal with the devil, to tune his guitar and teach him how to play the blues. Attendees are housed in rustic sharecropper shacks on the old Hopson Plantation. The location provides an immersion experience in the Mississippi Delta and isolation from the contemporary world.

    “You are really well aware that you are in a very unique place with a lot of history” Widow said. “It has its own vibe. When you are here you can feel the blues and the history of slavery. It is a powerful place”

    Other local musicians have also made the pilgrimage. Popular San Pedro bluesman, Sean Lane also made his trip up The Blues Trail and back to the crossroads. His objective was to develop more as a Delta Blues musician, playing slide guitar. He returned newly invigorated by the spirit of Johnson, creator of the slide style of blues.

    Lane will be opening for Dave Widow at an upcoming performance at Alvas Showroom on June 14. The show is billed as Dave Widow and Friends. Because of his deep connections to rock and blues musicians you never know who will show up at a Dave Widow performance. His back up band will be Christopher North and Joe Puerta from Ambrosia. A ‘mystery guest’ is planned and almost any of the musicians from his remarkable associations could sit in. In the past, special guests have included Bill Champlin and also musicians from Bonnie Raitt’s band.

    Dave Widow and Sean Lane are guaranteed to bring the experience of Clarksdale, Miss. to Alvas and this blues fan is guaranteed to be there.
    Details: (800) 403-3447
    Venue: Alvas Showroom
    Location: 1417 W. 8th St., San Pedro

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  • College Bound Celebrated Accomplishments at Warner Grand Theatre

    SAN PEDRO — On May 29, San Pedro and Wilmington graduating high school seniors from the Boys & Girls Club of the Los Angeles Harbor College Bound Program celebrated their accomplishments with friends and families at the Warner Grand Theatre.

    In the 2012-2013 school year, College Bound served 319 high school seniors at the San Pedro, Wilmington and Port of LA Boys & Girls Clubs. Of those seniors, 98 percent graduated and 97 percent of those graduates entered a two-year college or four-year university in the fall. The College Bound program focusses on individual counseling for students to assist them in getting the grades necessary for college and in completing the most effective college, financial aid and scholarship applications.

    Elizabeth Machado is one of the graduating seniors who was honored at the celebration after accomplishing her Ivy League dreams.

    Elizabeth is a San Pedro High School senior and will attend UCLA. She is a first generation American of Mexican descent. Her family has experienced much success thanks to College Bound. Her cousin and brother both completed the program and returned to San Pedro from their 4-year universities to celebrate with Elizabeth. Her younger brother is working hard with College Bound case managers to match his sister’s accomplishments in a couple of years. (more…)

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  • Enjoy a 5-Course Gourmet Dinner for $25

    By Lori Lynn Hirsch Stokoe, Food Writer and Photographer

    It’s one of the best kept dining secrets in all of Southern California, where the food is impressive, the service is genuine, the ambiance is unique and the cost for a 5-course gourmet meal is … $25.

    The students of the Los Angeles Harbor College Culinary Arts Program benefit from community participation and this is a secret they don’t want us to keep.

    At 6 p.m. Thursday nights, third semester students present their “PM BISTRO” dinner series. They feature a five-course menu gastronomique, each week spotlighting a different cuisine. This semester they showcased Jewish, Thai, Mexican, Italian and Indian foods. The prior week the theme was “Exhilarating China.” The last dinner in this series was on May 29, highlighting “Old World Cuisine of Germany.” (more…)

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  • At Length Endorsements —

    LA County Sheriff: Olmsted Yes, Tanaka No

    James Preston Allen, Publisher

    Never before in all my years of voting in Los Angeles County did the significance of the sheriff’s office rise to the importance that it does today.

    Even though I knew old Sherman Block, the sheriff whose longevity in office made his name became synonymous with the position, I never really trusted the department. The current investigations into scandals involving the Men’s Central Jail have only come to confirm our own worst fears: there are officers who believe that they are above the law.

    The Los Angeles Police Department’s Rampart scandal echoes in this election. Even the hardline candidates believe the federal government will soon impose a consent decree on the Sheriff’s Department. But this consent decree can’t happen soon enough, for as we have seen with the LAPD, change doesn’t happen from the inside out. Nor is change brought about by those trained and promoted from within the system, unless there is some external authority forcing that change.

    Having said this, it might seem logical to endorse Jim McDonnell, the Long Beach Police Department Chief (formerly of LAPD), however Long Beach under his leadership still has it’s own unsolved problems with reigning in officer-involved shootings and transparency issues.

    Paul Tanaka, the former under-sheriff who resigned over the controversy at the Men’s Central Jail and who testified recently in court in a related case, is likely under investigation by the feds over his abuse of power. Obviously he’s not the one to shephard change at the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department. (more…)

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  • George McKenna: When a Living Legend Speaks

    By Terelle Jerricks, Managing Editor

    Candidate for the Los Angeles School Board George McKenna is living legend for many in the African-American community.

    His legend is largely due to role in turning Washington Prep High School from a failing and violent school to a renowned performing arts academy in the 1980s. The turnaround was so dramatic that a film was made about it with Denzel Washington starring as McKenna. With this film, his legend only grew.

    His almost 50 years of service meant that he served as principal of the schools attended by my parents, uncles, aunts and cousins born before 1970. My mother, a former student of Mount Vernon Junior High School, has fond memories of McKenna and remembers him from when he served Dorsey High School.

    I was reminded of this nostalgia listening in on the conversations of black educators, both retired and active, one recent Sunday at the home of San Pedro residents Ron and Vive Jones.

    He shared with his small audience of 30 or so, what he learned while on his journey through life.

    “What I’ve found, especially with people in California, especially those from disadvantaged circumstances, believe that what they have is the best they can get,” McKenna said. “And they learn to live in what I call a limited reality. The disenfranchised don’t always recognize their own oppression because they live in what I call a limited reality.”

    McKenna, made clear on this evening, that he sees his role as a creator of appropriate (more…)

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