• RLn ENTERTAINMENT: July 29, 2014

    Aug. 1
    Carl Verheyen Group Show
    The Carl Verheyen Group will be performing at 8 p.m. Aug. 1, at Alvas Showroom in San Pedro.
    Details: (310) 833-3281
    Venue: Alvas Showroom
    Location: 1417 W 8th St., San Pedro

    Aug. 7
    Michael Bradford

    Songwriter and bassist Michael Bradford will be performing at the Grand Annex in San Pedro from 7 to 11 p.m., Aug. 7. Soul pop artists, David and Devine will perform alongside Bradford and The Neighborhood Bullys will open the show. Tickets are $30 in advance and $35 at the door.
    Details: (310) 833-4813
    Grand Annex
    Location: 434 W. 6th St., San Pedro

    Aug. 14
    The Haden Triplets

    The Haden Triplets will be performing at 8 p.m., Aug. 14, for a sunset concert at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles.
    The Haden Triplets will be performing stripped down, old time country tracks off their debut album. The doors open at 7 p.m. and seating is on a first-come first-served basis. Admission is free. Parking is $10.
    Details: (310) 440-4500
    Venue: Skirball Cultural Center
    Location: 2701 N Sepulveda Blvd, Los Angeles (more…)

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  • RLn THEATER Calendar: July 29, 2014

    Aug. 8
    Guys and Dolls
    The Warner Grand Theatre in San Pedro presents a youth musical performance of Guys and Dolls at 8 p.m. Aug. 8, at 2 and 8 p.m. on Aug. 9, and at 4 p.m. Aug. 10. The play revolves around the gamblers and gangsters of the New York underworld. Tickets are $15.
    Details: (310) 548-2493
    Venue: The Warner Grand
    Location: 478 W. 6th St., San Pedro

    Aug. 15
    Into the Woods
    The Troupe will perform a youth production of Into the Woods at the Warner Grand Theatre in San Pedro at 7 p.m. Aug. 15, at 2 and 7 p.m. Aug. 16, and at 2 p.m. on Aug. 17. The performance weaves together stories from various childhood tales. Tickets are from $5 to $27.
    Details: (310) 548-2493
    Venue: The Warner Grand
    Location: 478 W. 6th St., San Pedro

    Aug. 23
    Rivers and Tides Film Series
    The Palos Verdes Peninsula Land Conservancy welcomes the public for a screening of Rivers and Tides at 7:30 p.m., Aug. 23, at the Palos Verdes Arts Center.
    The documentary follows sculptor Andy Goldsworthy as he creates works of art from natural materials. Box dinner reservations required.
    Details: (310) 541-2479
    Venue: Palos Verdes Arts Center
    Location: 5504 Crestridge Road, Rancho Palos Verdes

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  • RL NEWS Update: July 28, 2014

    Senior Might Face Charges in Non-Pregnant Robber’s Death
    LONG BEACH — The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office is considering whether or not to charge 80-year-old Tom Greer in the shooting of a fleeing, female, robber July 22 in a Los Cerritos neighborhood in Long Beach.
    On July 25, the District Attorney’s Office filed charges against Gus Adams, 26, an accomplice to the robbery. Adams was arrested on suspicion of Murder on July 23. He faces four other felony charges including residential burglary and elder abuse. The accomplice is charged with murder under the legal principle in California that an accomplice may be culpable for an illegal death that occurs in the course of the commission of a felony. Officials said that Adams is held at the Los Angeles County Jail with $1.1 million bail. He is scheduled to be arraigned to Aug. 11. Adams had two prior convictions for possession of a controlled substance in 2011 and petty theft with three prior convictions in 2012.
    Adams was charged with first-degree residential robbery, first-degree residential burglary, grand theft with a firearm and possession of a firearm by a felon. If convicted, he faces life in prison.
    The Long Beach Police Department arrested Adams’ mother, Ruby Adams, 49, on suspicion of robbery. Police filed charges against Ruby Adams on July 28. The Los Angeles County district attorney’s office charged Ruby Adams, with first-degree murder and first-degree residential robbery. Officials said Ruby Adams may have acted as the look out in the robbery.
    Greer told investigators and various news sources that when he arrived to his home at about 9 p.m. July 22, in the 3900 block of Country Club Drive, he was attacked by a man and woman who were burglarizing his home.
    Police officials said that the couple threw Greer on the floor and allegedly began to beat him. The woman, Andrea Miller, 28, continued beating Greer, while Adams tried to break into Greer’s safe. Eventually, Miller stopped hitting Greer and join Adams. Greer ended up with a broken collar bone, cuts and bruises. (more…)

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  • Long Beach Gets New Mayor, City Council

    By Zamná Ávila, Assistant Editor

    On July 15, Long Beach swore in its youngest, first openly gay and first Latino mayor, during mayoral inauguration ceremony at the Terrace Theatre.

    “As mayor I want our lead our city into the future,” said Mayor Robert García, 36, who was sworn in at the ceremony. “I want us to embrace our destiny as a great international city with good goals and with good peoples.”

    García committed to passing a responsible budget, strengthening the city’s educational ties with the university, the community college and the school district. The goal is to strengthen public safety services and parks, he said. He wants to create a more sustainable city, which he envisions also would innovative.

    “We will move our city into the new century and we’ll do it together,” García said.

    He also made a commitment to working with labor organizations and fighting poverty in the city.

    “There are one in five of every one of our neighbors that tonight is struggling between finding healthcare for their children, childcare, food, or a roof over their head,” he said. “And, I believe that no matter what you do or where you live, we are all in the business of helping. We all want to help.” (more…)

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  • First Amendment in Jeopardy

    Censorship of Freedom at Los Angeles Superior Courts Revealed

    By James Preston Allen, Publisher

    I believe that the Founding Fathers of our republic enshrined the free exercise of religion, protection of free speech and freedom of the press in the Bill of Rights because they were the liberties that were the first to be abused.

    History has proven them right and nothing has really changed. Free speech is still the first victim to an overreaching government.

    Take for example a letter I received from the Los Angeles Superior Court’s Executive Officer Clerk Sherri R. Carter, just a few days after our past front page story ran, “Stop Or We’ll Shoot” (July 11-24, 2014 Rln). This story challenged the use of force policy at the Long Beach Police Department, whose chief, Jim McDonnell, now is running for Los Angeles County Sheriff.

    The letter, titled “Re: Removal of all publications from the courthouse,” was prefaced with the following: (more…)

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  • RL NEWS of the Week: July 24, 2014

    LBPD Seeks Help with Hate Crime Robbery
    LONG BEACH — The Long Beach Police Department is seeking help from community members in identifying a man suspect of a hate crime-related robbery.
    On July 2, 2014, at about 4:30 p.m., a woman was attacked in the parking lot of a local shopping center in the 4000 block of Atlantic Avenue.
    The woman, a 32-year-old Long Beach resident, was wearing a black hijab. She was parked in the shopping center parking lot adjacent to the alley that runs north and south and just west of the shopping center, loading items into her car. It was then that she was approached from behind by a man, who took hold of her hijab in his hand.
    The man cursed at the victim while referring to the cover as a “hijab,” indicating he had some knowledge of the Muslim culture. He forcibly pulled and twisted the hijab as he attempted to remove it, which choked the victim, and caused scratches and abrasions to her neck. The suspect then walked southbound down the alley with the hijab.
    The victim was able to provide a description of the suspect, and worked with detectives to create a composite sketch. The suspect is described as follows: (more…)

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  • Art Draws Attention to San Pedro

    By Andrea Serna, Arts and Culture Writer

    In the past few years several successful artists have moved from the crowded and costly habitat of Santa Monica and Venice to the port town of San Pedro.

    Their motivations vary slightly. Some Santa Monica and Venice Beach artists fled metropolitan congestion. while others were fleeing oppressive studio rental prices. But most commonly, their move to San Pedro was just a fresh start in a creative environment.

    Much of the impetus has been the chaos thrust upon the arts community by the arrival of the Metropolitan Transit Line to the Bergamont Station arts complex. Traffic congestion and noise from the construction has impacted the quality of life for many artists trying to live creative lives in the area.

    To compound the crisis, rents in and around the site recently increased by 200 to 300 percent. Hungry developers and city managers have identified the potential for additional retail space at the location. The well-known Track 16 Gallery at Bergamont Station was one of the first – after 18 years in operation – to receive an eviction notice. The gallery was located immediately in the path of the new train station. Now relocated to Culver City, the gallery has a reputation for hosting contemporary exhibitions with a punk vibe.

    Track 16 curator Laurie Steelink was living in Mar Vista while working in Santa Monica. She seized the opportunity to re-assess her life. Her mind recalled past visits to San Pedro. Various friends connected her to a studio on Pacific Avenue, which she calls ‘Cornelius Projects’.

    “One of the reasons that I call it Cornelius Projects is because I want people to know that I am going to have exhibitions when the time is right,” Steelink said. “I want to do it when the subject and material that I have gathered is right.”

    She launched her ‘project’ with This is Not An Art Show: Stencils, Zines and Flyers by Craig Ibarra. That show was followed up with The Mind of Joe Baiza. Cornelius Projects, located across the street from Harold’s Bar, seems to have plugged right into the punk history of San Pedro. Moreover, because of her Westside connections, Steelink has been able to pull art and music lovers down the 405 into the Harbor Area. Her exhibits have been reviewed by L.A. Weekly and KCRW. Punk rocker Henry Rollins showed up for The Mind of Joe Baiza.

    Steelink has an all women’s show, Habit Forming, coming in August. The exhibition will feature all local San Pedro women artists. A date for the opening has not yet been announced.

    Recently, the arrival of John Van Hamersveld, and his wife and business partner Alida Post, to the former Williams Bookstore location on 6th Street has created a flurry of excitement for downtown San Pedro.

    Hamersveld has had a legendary career as a graphic artist. His autobiography Drawing Attention, records the amazing journey. It is impossible to overstate his impact on popular culture. His very first success, while still attending school at the Art Center in Los Angeles was the iconic DayGlo poster image from the Endless Summer surf film in 1963. At the same time he helped to create an incredible visual impact for Surfer Magazine, a publication that helped to distract millions of young teenagers of the day. As a teenager, my own bedroom walls were covered with these images.

    It was an incredible beginning to a 50-year career that led to images familiar to millions around the world.

    He naturally migrated to the music industry. In 1972 Van Hamersveld created the album cover for the Rolling Stones masterpiece, Exile on Mainstreet. The album, covered with an assortment of circus freaks perfectly represented the Stones notorious reputation at the time. He continued to create cover art for Cream, Bob Dylan and many more.

    Infamous street artist Shepard Fairy cites Van Hamersveld’s Jimi Hendrix poster ‘Pinnacle Hendrix’ as a “perfect image, impossible to improve upon.” Fairey has said Hamersveld’s posterized black and white style informs much of the street art of today.

    Van Hamersveld and Post moved their studio to San Pedro after reaching a point of total frustration with life in Santa Monica.

    “It just became a nightmare,” Post said. “We were so trapped. I called it the Donner Pass, trying to get past the 405. It was a quality of life issue. I was looking for a place to live in a city that I didn’t want to live in.”

    In the middle of their search for a way out of Santa Monica they came to San Pedro to look at the Bank Loft building. Although they found the lofts attractive, the apartments were too small for a studio. However they noticed the abundance of available rentals on 6th and 7th Streets.

    Eventually, they found a classic mid-century house above Western Avenue. After buying the home, they discovered the newly vacated Williams Bookstore location on 6th St. They realized that they could use the location as a work studio for Van Hamersveld and Post could open her project, Post-Future, a store for art, books and education. Post is especially interested in connecting with the elementary and high schools in town.
    The plus for them was the historical connection to the bookstore.

    “I decided I have got to grab this so nobody can destroy it,” said Post, an avid reader and admirer of Charles Bukowski. “We came from a place that wasn’t what it was anymore. Then we came here and everything about it reminds us of what we loved about growing up in Los Angeles.”

    Post was raised in Los Angeles and Van Hamersveld grew up in Lunada Bay. During his early years he surfed the local waters, which explains his early influence in surf culture.

    Artist Ellwood Risk had been living and working on the Westside for 20 years when economics triggered his search for a new location.

    Risk’s abstract works are based in his industrial background as a drywall hanger and house painter. Today, he is represented by galleries in Los Angeles, New York and London. Connections to television and movies have also provided him with a collector base.

    “What facilitated my move was my landlord sold my space,” said Risk. “I had to start looking for a new space. I looked at mid-city and Jefferson corridor. It was just not doable because of the amount of space I needed for my work.”

    Searching through Craigslist, he found a 4,500 sq. foot industrial space on Harbor Blvd. He hit it off with Landlord Yvetta Williams, who formerly owned the Shell Store. He walked away the same day with the keys to a massive space with a view of the ships in the Harbor, the Vincent Thomas Bridge and the Gateway Fountains.

    “For me the big difference I noted immediately was the lack of traffic,” Risk said. “I have great views of the bridge and the ships coming and going.”

    All of the artists interviewed for this story said that they were only vaguely aware of the deeply rooted arts community in San Pedro.

    “I wasn’t really aware of all the history of it,” Risk said . “I heard over the years that people had moved down here, but I wasn’t really aware. Like everybody else on the Westside, it is such a bubble. All the years I lived there, I rarely went east of Lincoln. Now all my artist friends in Venice are starting to talk about San Pedro. San Pedro and Oxnard seem to be the areas that artist’s (from the Westside) are looking at.”

    Artists have been migrating south to San Pedro for decades. Many well established and world renowned artists arrived years ago. Early attempts to establish an arts colony date back to the mid-1950s and even a movement in the 1970s.

    Each influx has enriched the area . Many of these artists have discovered an ideal environment, with beautiful landscapes, moderate prices and an already existing art community to support their work.

    One exciting benefit for San Pedro is a 20-foot tall mural installation that will be coming soon to 6th Street. Famed artist Van Hamersveld is creating his very first mural project to be placed downtown. The arrival of this work will bring an announcement that artists in San Pedro are living, working and creating world-class art. But we already knew that, didn’t we?
    Image: Pinnacle Hendrix by John Van Hamersveld © 2014 John Van Hamersveld/Coolhous Studio
    Details: http://corneliusprojects.com/, http://ellwoodtrisk.com/, http://www.johnvanhamersveld.com/

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  • Advice to Long Beach Leaders from Those Who Preceded Them

    Institutional memory is hard to come by in Long Beach government. With the mayor and nine city councilmembers termed out after eight years in office, the greatest possible stability would be seeing the same 10 faces behind the dais for six years running. And when change inevitably comes, it can be sweeping.

    No year better epitomizes that fact than 2014, in which five new councilmembers and a new mayor have taken office. And with five of the six of the newbies under 40—and holdovers Suja Lowenthal and Al Austin not far beyond that line—it may be more valuable than ever for the city’s sitting government to draw upon the experience of the past.

    Who better than those recently off the front lines of Long Beach governement to offer these young’uns some advice on how to make their short time in office as productive as possible? It was with such a thought in mind the week before the most recent changing of the guard that I touched base with outgoing Councilmembers Gary DeLong and James Johnson, as well as with former Councilmember Rae Gabelich (who was termed out in 2012), to find out what advice they have for their successors, their main concerns for Long Beach’s immediate future, and how they think the city council might function more effectively.

    Although now-former Mayor Bob Foster did not respond to an invitation to participate in this article,* shortly before he left office he did make clear his greatest concern for the City of Long Beach in the near term: finances.

    “While we have weathered a great storm with the financial crisis, there’s another very large storm brewing,” Foster said earlier this month when he announced his FY2015 budget recommendations, made in light of what Foster called a “freight train” of future costs the City must bear related to California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS) expenses, which will increase by 87% over the next seven years. “You’ll be told, and we’ll hear it again, that we’re ‘balancing the budget on the backs of employees.’ [But n]early 75% of our budget costs are on salaries and employee-related expenses. Where else are you going to look?”

    DeLong and Johnson agree with Foster’s stormy economic forecast. DeLong names general financial issues, along the related upcoming labor negotiations, as the biggest challenge facing the new council and urges them to “balance the budget without any gimmicks, continue to make capital investments in our community, and don’t let the operating expenses increase.” He names the council’s biggest failing during his term as “not taking on pension reform sooner, and not doing enough. […] We also could have made more improvements in the existing labor contracts.”

    For his part, Johnson is concerned about the temptation to sacrifice long-term good for short-term political gain. “I believe the biggest challenge in our times for government—not just local government, but [also] state and federal government—is how short-term political institutions make the right long-term decision,” he says. “And that’s hard. There’s always going to be the pressure to make things look good today at the expense of tomorrow—to not put money in reserves, to not worry about maintenance, the benefit of which you may not see for five or ten years. […] If we don’t get the money right, everything else—police services, fire services, parks, libraries—will suffer.”

    Gabelich’s view of the greatest challenge facing the new council encompasses the difficult financial reality the City is facing, but follows more along the general lines of George Santayana’s famous maxim: Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.

    “In my opinion, the greatest challenge will be [for the council] to educate themselves on how we got to where we are today,” she says. “There is much to be said about institutional memory and how it can help to not reinvent the wheel. Only three members have been [on the council] over two years, soon to be two [a reference to Patrick O’Donnell’s likely move to the State Assembly]. It takes a couple of years to wrap your arms around policy, staff responsibilities, and options available to you as a councilmember.”

    Johnson concurs with Gabelich about the need to draw upon institutional memory so as to avoid expending time and energy on efforts that have proven ineffective. And he offers a stratagem for making the most of one’s early years on the council: immediately get involved with regional governmental bodies such as the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) and the Air Quality Management District (AQMD).

    “These are all regional governmental bodies that have tremendous impact on people’s quality of life every day,” he says. “And all too often Long Beach has been not well represented—or even not represented—on those bodies. […] We’re the second-biggest city in L.A. County, yet there’s no-one from Long Beach City Council on the MTA, even though the Blue Line is incredibly important for the entire city’s growth and development. Los Angeles has multiple councilmembers on the MTA, and Mayor Eric Garcetti is the vice-chair. The City of Long Beach currently has no representative on the AQMD, even though with the Port of Long Beach air-quality issues are vital to people’s quality of life. It’s one of our main problems in the city. We have the lowest air quality in America. This [kind of thing] is important for new councilmembers to remember. You’re sworn in on Tuesday—I’d start immediately looking at those kinds of opportunity.”

    DeLong, Johnson, and Gabelich all spoke of the lack of collegiality on the council—a theme nearly all councilmembers have touched on at some point during the last few years. “The environment doesn’t foster collaboration,” DeLong says. Johnson and Gabelich propose a strategy for improving the environment: some sort of time together beyond the confines of council chambers.

    “I lobbied for council retreats so that each councilmember could share the needs and vision for the communities they represented,” Gabelich says. “[…] It’s difficult to put your arms around situations that you only hear discussed on Tuesday nights. And at that point it is usually when a situation or need has escalated.”

    “Of course, the challenge is, with a city government, there would be Brown Act issues,” says Johnson. “So I don’t know what the answer is. But that kind of social interaction, a time to leave the council, go somewhere and kind of talk about the goals of the city, maybe talk about non-business items having nothing to do with politics, I think it’s helpful because it increases collegiality.”

    Gabelich partly blames Foster for not fostering a collegial environment, labeling what she calls the “Gang of Six mentality”—a reference to the voting bloc of councilmembers that some perceived to be more interested in carrying out Foster’s agenda than in finding common ground across the council—as the most dysfunctional cycle of behavior she’s seen on the council in recent times. She hopes Garcia will set a better tone.

    “Today our mayor begins with a clean slate,” she says. “He can lead from past examples and use the ‘divide and conquer’ methods that created significant dysfunction over the past years, or he can bring the nine councilmembers together to build a new citywide vision. If our new council body can realize the sometimes very different needs that spread from one district to another and that as a body they play a part in serving the entire city, they can become the strongest, most effective council to date. [… But the new council] may be courted to create a new ‘Gang of Six,’ which would only continue the discourse that has been so obvious over the past six or seven years. It is important that each member understands that they set the policy, not the Mayor’s Office.”

    DeLong and Gabelich emphasize the need for the new council to listen to their constituents—something Gabelich warns City staff may not always help them do.

    “[Concilmembers] may be inclined to refer to staff recommendations without asking questions or seeking alternatives,” she says. “These suggestions may not always support the desires of their constituents nor be in the best interest of their district/city vision. […] Being a public servant should not be about doing it my way, but finding common ground within the community you represent.”

    Whatever the council does, Gabelich hopes it will do so with more transparency than it has displayed in the past, especially because such a practice will earn the good faith of Long Beach residents.

    “The unwillingness [on the part of the council] to discuss opportunities for increasing transparency within our government has given the residents of Long Beach even greater reason to criticize local government actions,” Gabelich says, referencing now-former Councilmember Gerrie Schipske’s April 2013 motion to (among other things) force councilmembers to disclose communications about City business emanating from non-City e-mail addresses, a motion that died when no councilmember would second it. “From limited budget information that today does not demonstrate levels of service or needs, to open discussion and options on a new civic center. The reference to our existing city hall’s being dangerous is terribly misleading to the public and of concern to many that work within the building. The study that supposedly determines support for the 3T project versus a rebuild of our current site has yet to be revealed to the public. Watch this one closely. The devil is always in the details!”


    The Long Beach of today will not be the Long Beach of tomorrow, and many of the decisions made by the new city council will be certain to outlast the tenure of their decision-makers. Johnson talks of the “failure of leadership” that caused West Long Beach to miss out on tens of millions of dollars of redevelopment money while the getting was good. And it’s not just West Long Beach that is haunted by missed opportunities and bad city planning that make Long Beach lesser than it might have been.

    We civilian residents of Long Beach can only hope the new leadership in Long Beach avoids those same errors. But the leadership themselves can do more than hope: they can draw upon the past to forge a better future.

    *Note: Now-former Councilmembers Gerrie Schipske and Steven Neal were also invited to take part in this article, but they did not respond.

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  • RLn NEWS of the Day: July 16, 2014

    June Container Volumes Increase at POLA
    SAN PEDRO — The Port of Los Angeles released its June 2014 containerized cargo volumes.
    In June 2014, overall volumes increased 13.89 percent compared to June 2013. Total cargo for June was 736,438 twenty-foot equivalent units, or TEUs, the largest volume in monthly containers since September 2012.
    Container imports rose 16.55 percent, from 328,324 TEUs in June 2013 to 382,666 TEUs in June 2014. Exports rose 8.51 percent, from 148,203 TEUs in June 2013 to 160,823 TEUs in June 2014.
    Combined, total loaded imports and exports increased 14.05 percent, from 476,528 TEUs in June 2013 to 543,489 TEUs in June 2014. Factoring in empties, which increased 13.4 percent year over year, overall June 2014 volumes (736,438 TEUs) rose 13.89 percent compared to June 2013 (646,650 TEUs).
    For the first six months of calendar year 2014, overall volumes (4,052,227 TEUs) have increased 9.2 percent compared to the same period in 2013. June closed out the port’s 2013-2014 fiscal year with a total increase of 5.55 percent compared to the previous fiscal year.
    Current and past data container counts for the Port of Los Angeles may be found at:

    Harbor Commission Approves Port Budget
    LONG BEACH — The Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners on Monday, July 14, approved an $858 million budget for the Port of Long Beach in the upcoming fiscal year, with two-thirds of the spending set aside for a robust building and modernization program. (more…)

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  • Four Clowns Take the Bible to the Beach

    By John Farrell

    Can anything be better than a relaxing afternoon at the beach?

    How about a relaxing afternoon at the beach and an intriguing and original play, thrown in for free?

    That’s what Four Clowns, the very successful LA-based acting company, is offering through at the Annenberg Beach House in Santa Monica. The Annenberg Beach House is an almost perfect place to enjoy the waves, the pool, an attractive beach-front lunch or just a walk along the remarkably deserted boardwalk. The Beach House, built on the property that once hosted William Randolph Hearst’s beach property more than 50 years ago, must be packed on the sunny weekends this summer. But in mid-week the beach is hardly peopled. Hard to believe it is the premier beach of one of the biggest cities in the country.

    Four Clowns uses the front porch of the Marion Davies Guest House (two stories but still a cottage and the only original structure to survive from the 1920s development) to present their visions of the Bible, telling the stories of Noah and Jonah on alternate days at 4:30 p.m. (more…)

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