• RLn ANNOUNCEMENTS: May 9, 2014

    May 10
    Bridge Construction
    Southbound Interstate 710 Freeway closure connector to westbound Ocean Boulevard will close for 30 months, starting May 10.
    Officials reminded commuters and truck driver heading to the Port of Long Beach and Los Angeles about the long-term closure and detour routes that are needed.
    The Interstate 710 Freeway will be under construction to demolish and rebuild the connector ramp, as apart of the Gerald Desmond Bridge Replacement Project.
    When the connector closes, southbound I-710 traffic heading to Terminal Island traffic will be briefly diverted onto southbound Pico Avenue, then to an on-ramp that joins westbound Ocean Boulevard to cross the Gerald Desmond Bridge.
    Trucks and other vehicles whose destination is beyond the Port of Long Beach are being asked to consider using the I-110 Harbor freeway, State Route 47 or other alternate routes to avoid the surface street detour.
    Details: www.newgdbridge.com
     
    May 12
    Free Women’s Health event for all ages
    St. Mary Medical Center is hosting a free women health event, from 5 to7 p.m. May 12, in Long Beach.
    Internist Visal Nga, Do and Interventional cardiologist Amar Kapoor will host a lecture. There will be a demonstration meditation and yoga. There also will be health screening.
    Details: (888) 478-6279www.dignityhealth.org/heart.
    Venue: Bazzeni Wellness Center
    Location: 1050 Linden Ave, Long Beach
     
    May 12
    A Major Water Line Construction Project
    The Metropolitan Water District work will replace and/or reline 900 feet of a major water feeder line, from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. May 12, near west Bixby Road and Cedar Avenue in Long Beach.
    The work will continue through mid-August.
    Cedar Avenue and the alley between Cedar and Pacific avenues will be closed at the north side of Bixby Road for the duration of the project. The two north lanes of west Bixby Road and the adjacent sidewalk will be closed from Country Club Drive to Pine Avenue, as well. Two-way traffic will continue in the two south lanes of Bixby Road.
    Details: (213) 217-6752
     
    May 12
    LB Board of Harbor Commissioners
    The Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners will meet, at 6 p.m. May 12, at the Miller Family Health Education Center.
    Commissioners will consider the approval of the second amendment to the contract with the South Coast Air Quality Management for up to $30 million in funds from Proposition 1B Goods Movement Emission Reduction Program.
    Details: www.polb.com
    Venue: Miller Family Health Education Center
    Location: 3820 Cherry Ave., Long Beach

    May 13
    Central San Pedro Neighborhood Council Meeting
    The Central San Pedro Neighborhood Council welcomes the new commander of the Los Angeles Police Department Harbor Division, Capt. Gerald Woodyard at its 5:30 p.m., May 13 meeting, at Port of Los Angeles High School.
    The situation of the unused jail at Harbor Division will be addressed by Capt. David Lindsay, commanding officer of Los Angeles jails. We’ll also hear from the new neighborhood prosecutor, Lauren Halligan, and section chiefs of the Customs and Border Patrol about the policy regarding detaining cruise ship members in our port.
    The neighborhood is looking for community members to fill 17 at-large board positions that begin July 2014.  Potential candidates are invited to come to the May 13 meeting at 5:30 to learn more about the opportunity to serve the community.  Candidate applications are due May 16.
    Details: www.sanpedrocity.org
    Venue: Port of Los Angeles High School
    Location: 250 W. 5th St., San Pedro

    May 17
    Hands Across the Sand
    The 5th Annual Hand Across the Sand event will take place, from 10 to 1 p.m. May 17, at the Wilmington Waterfront Park and at Long Beach Cherry Beach. The event will kick off with workshops at 10 a.m. and holding hands will take place at 12 p.m. in Wilmington.
    The groups are meeting in solidarity to voice their opposition to dirty fossil fuels and to call for an end to climate change.
    Details: (310) 303-7950, (323) 350-0873
    Venue: Wilmington Waterfront Park, Long Beach Cherry Beach
    Location: 326 King Ave., Wilmington; Junipero at Ocean Boulevard, Long Beach

    The Long Beach Opera Needs Volunteers
    The Long Beach Opera is looking for Volunteers Usher to assist at performances.
    Volunteers are welcome to stay and watch the performances free of charge. Details: (562) 432-5934,
    Venue: Longbeachopera.org
    Location: 507 Pacific Ave., Long Beach

    Women Shelter Needs Volunteers
    The Women Shelter of Long Beach need volunteers in various capacities, contributing to the thousands of families overcoming trauma caused by domestic violence.
    Volunteers are need in assisting in planning and participating in community awareness campaigns, providing service to its board of directors, direct service support and others.
    Details: (562) 437-4663; www.womenshelterlb.org (more…)

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  • Ponte Vista Breaks Ground

    By Zamná Ávila, Assistant Editor 

    SAN PEDRO — Nearly 10 years after it was first proposed, Community leaders joined iStar Financial, May 8, to broke ground on Ponte Vista housing development.

    On  March 4, the Los Angeles City Council approved the project at 26900 S. Western Ave. in San Pedro.

    The previously Navy occupied 61.5 acres of land on which Ponte Vista sits was turned over for civilian use, which included giving 19.58 acres of the property to homeless advocacy group, Volunteers of America. In 1999, Los Angeles and its Planning Commission approved a plan to redevelop the land as a mixed-use project.

    In 2005, Robert Bisno, of Bisno Development Co., purchased the remaining 41.95 acres of the land in auction for $88 million, and bought Volunteers of America’s 19.58 acres for $37 million. The proceeds were given to Harbor Interfaith in order to build on the new site.

    In the mid-2000s, Bisno proposed a high-density, mixed-use development of more than 2,300 dwellings with on-site retail. In an uproar, the community organized against the Bisno project and the rezoning of the property from single-family homes to multi-unit homes, giving birth to the We R-1 movement in San Pedro.

    In 2009, the Los Angeles Planning Commission rejected the plan. iStar Financial took control of Ponte Vista in 2010. (more…)

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  • Review: Long Beach Opera’s “An American Soldier’s Tale” + “A Fiddler’s Tale”

    Long Beach Opera does non-traditional opera. So what could be more non-traditional than staging a work devoid of singing? How about staging two on a single bill?

    That’s exactly what LBO is up to with their double-bill based on Igor Stravinsky’s neoclassical theatre piece L’Historie du soldat. There’s music, dancing, and recitation, but not a word is sung. It’s an interesting choice, but one for which LBO obtains only mixed results.

    The LBO double-bill is a study in adaptation. The first part, An American Soldier’s Tale, is Stravinsky’s original music joined to a Kurt Vonnegut libretto based on the real-life story of Pvt. Eddie Slovik, the only American soldier since the Civil War executed for desertion. The second part, A Fiddler’s Tale, somewhat returns to Stravinsky’s original theme—L’Historie du soldat itself is an adaptation of the Russian folk tale “The Runaway Soldier and the Devil”—although Wynton Marsalis has created entirely new music to propel librettist Stanley Crouch’s story of a fiddler who strikes a deal with the devil that gives her fame and riches in exchange for pimping her artistic soul to service the lowest common denominator.

    Despite the differences—Stravinsky does his modernist take on classical chamber music, while Marsalis manages a mélange of foxtrots, marches, jazz, and classical—both halves suffer from a poor dance component. LBO has at times brought a stellar physicality to its shows (Nixon in China, for example, featured a full-blown ballet, among other striking visual elements), but the creation of the double-bill didn’t include a choreographer, and it shows. More often than not the dancing we see is little more than flopping around.

    This flaw that is doubly damaging, considering that both halves contain long music-only passages that invite a visual component. This is particularly true during the second half of A Fiddler’s Tale, where dancing is explicitly called for by the text, and the piece is probably 25% longer than it should be, with a denouement that desperately wants, but ultimately fails, to maintain the story’s momentum.

    That’s a shame, because the story of A Fiddler’s Tale is fun as far as it goes. Told by a narrator (Roger Guenveur Smith) who gives voice to himself, the devil—who goes by the name Bubba Z. Beals and takes his raspy conversational style from the Bayou—and the fiddler, Crouch’s libretto is a charming take on how the pop-culture machine seems to succeed by draining art of its heart. “Corruption is a job,” Beals brags, defending his work—he’s literally an agent from hell—as providing a public service.
    Smith’s performance is a mixed bag. For whatever reason, he was not off-book during the opening performance, which resulted in a subtle unevenness in his delivery. At times he was great, so funny and on it; at others, the thread is lost. This perhaps relates to the inconsistency of his accent. Usually the distinction between the narrator’s and devil’s manner of speaking is evident; but every now and then Smith dropped into a mode somewhere in-between the two, the persona he embodied comprehensible only from context.

    The story of An American Soldier’s Tale is not quite as strong. Vonnegut is too on the nose with his castigation of the military for its application of a “fight or die” code of conduct in regards to a man whose nature simply could not accommodate the warrior’s code. Besides, there’s no much to tell. Guy runs away from his unit, gets caught, refuses to go back and fight, gets executed. As much as LBO injected with the piece with the expressionism it demands, they needed to go further to make it sing.
    But the musical performance of the double-bill is beyond reproach. Under the management of Timothy Lee, this eight-piece configuration of the Long Beach Orchestra handles everything Stravinsky and Marsalis throw at them with seeming ease and full-flavored tastefulness.

    An American Soldier’s Tale and A Fiddler’s Tale are not the kind of work that opera traditionalists favor. But Long Beach Opera has defined itself by working against the traditionalist grain. And while this non-traditional double-bill doesn’t fire on all cylinders, it does drive the audience into territory that will be new for most everyone who attends. That in itself may be a worthy journey.

    AN AMERICAN SOLDIER’S TALE + A FIDDLER’S TALE LONG BEACH OPERA • CENTER THEATRE (300 E OCEAN BLVD) • LONG BEACH 90802 • 562.432.5934 LONGBEACHOPERA.ORG • SATURDAY 2PM • $29–$150 • ONE (MORE) PERFORMANCE ONLY: MAY 10

    (Photo credit: Keith Ian Polakoff)

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  • Hahn Walks Out on Dobson

    By Zamná Ávila, Assistant Editor

    James Dobson vowed to stay away from politics when he began his speech at the annual National Day of Prayer event in Washington D.C. on May 1.

    “This is not what we are here for, to talk about who we elect and parties and all that,” said Dobson, founder of the conservative group Focus on the Family. “We just don’t do that. That’s not what the National Day of Prayer is all about.”

    But that’s exactly what he didn’t do. Using morality as a pretext, he called President Barack Obama “the abortion president.”

    “President Obama, before he was elected, made it very clear that he wanted to be the abortion president,” Dobson said. “He didn’t make any bones about it…. This is something that he really was going to promote and support, and he has done that, and in a sense he is the abortion president.”

    Rep. Janice Hahn stood up, pointed her index finger at the speaker and told him, “This is inappropriate, before walking out on Dobson.

    “The annual National Day of Prayer is supposed to be a day, where the whole country, regardless of faith or party affiliation, unites to pray for our nation,” said Hahn in a statement. “I was appalled and offended by Mr. Dobson’s extremely inappropriate and divisive rants about the President and felt they had no place in this nonpartisan forum, so I stood up and walked out, after telling him that his remarks were inappropriate. (more…)

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  • Brouwerij West Comes to the Port of Los Angeles

    Photo by Phillip Cooke

    By Michael Koger, Contributing Writer

    If you were to look up Brouwerij West on BeerAdvocate.com, you’d find that it’s located in Rancho Palos Verdes.

    However, if you buy a bottle of their beer, it might say it was brewed in San Jose.  But in January 2015, Brouwerij West (pronounced “brewery”) will be opening up in the Port of Los Angeles’ Warehouse No. 9, which Crafted hopes to turn into a classic high-ceiling mall, in the mold of downtown Los Angeles’ Grand Central Market or Seattle’s Melrose Mall.

    For Brouwerij West owner, Brian Mercer, the move was serendipitous.

    “Rachel Waugh [of Crafted] called me one day to see if I was interested [in Warehouse No. 9],” Mercer said.

    For the past three years, Mercer has been a “traveling” brewing, which is the practice of renting space in other breweries to brew beer.

    “We wanted to get started brewing,” Mercer said. “We’ve brewed at Sudwerk up in Davis” and other parts of the state as well.

    However, the plan was not to roam forever. (more…)

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  • Central San Pedro Neighborhood Council Meeting

    The Central San Pedro Neighborhood Council welcomes the new commander of the Los Angeles Police Department Harbor Division, Capt. Gerald Woodyard at its 5:30 p.m., May 13 meeting, at Port of Los Angeles High School.

    The situation of the unused jail at Harbor Division will be addressed by Capt. David Lindsay, commanding officer of Los Angeles jails. We’ll also hear from the new neighborhood prosecutor, Lauren Halligan, and section chiefs of the Customs and Border Patrol about the policy regarding detaining cruise ship members in our port.

    The neighborhood is looking for community members to fill 17 at-large board positions that begin July 2014.  Potential candidates are invited to come to the May 13 meeting at 5:30 to learn more about the opportunity to serve the community.  Candidate applications are due May 16.

    Details: www.sanpedrocity.org
    Venue: Port of Los Angeles High School
    Location: 250 W. 5th St., San Pedro

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  • Garcetti Launches ‘Entrepreneur in Residence’ Program

    LOS ANGELES — On May 2, Mayor Eric Garcetti launched the Entrepreneur in Residence Program.

    Within the program Garcetti appointed two experienced entrepreneurs to spend a year developing ideas to boost Los Angeles’ economy and create jobs. The initiative is sponsored and supported by Ernst & Young LLP.

    Ernst & Young LLP is a global leader in assurance, tax, transaction and advisory services.

    Krisztina “Z” Holly and Amir Tehrani have been named the inaugural Entrepreneurs in Residence. In addition to helping create entrepreneur- and business-friendly policies, they will also convene local non-profits, educational institutions and businesses to help foster entrepreneurship in our city.

    Holly is a contributor to Forbes, consultant and board member, council chairwoman for the World Economic Forum, and advisor to the Barack Obama administration in innovation and entrepreneurship. She most recently served as vice provost for Innovation at USC and as founding executive director of two university innovation centers at MIT and USC, which helped students and faculty launch 39 companies and developed ecosystems in Boston and Los Angeles. In 2009, she created the first-ever TEDx event, TEDxUSC and was named Champion of Free Enterprise by Forbes. Her first startup was computer telephony pioneer Stylus Innovation (acquired by Artisoft) and she later joined other startups including Direct Hit (acquired by Ask Jeeves). She has bachelors and masters degrees in mechanical engineering from MIT. (more…)

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  • High Fidelity Returns

     

    By Andrea Serna, Arts and Culture Writer

    There were always a few holdouts: A small core of collectors who held on to their turntables and never placed their albums on the lawn at a yard sale.

    Now, those collectors have been vindicated. Dig out your turntable. Vinyl is back in a very big way.

    In 2008, organizers in San Francisco created “Record Store Day,” a day to spread the word about the unique culture thriving at independent record stores. The day is now celebrated at record stores on every continent except Antarctica. Boomers are watching their grandchildren joyfully embrace the beloved pastime of combing through record store racks, searching for that one rare prize and rejoicing at a discovery to add to their collection.

    Jim and Dacie Callon of JDC Records have brought their record distributorship back to San Pedro after spending almost 20 years in Hermosa Beach on and around Pier Avenue. Music fans will remember JDC Records. The Callon’s original location was on Pacific Avenue across from Fort MacArthur, before it moved to 5th Street.

    JDC records in now comfortably in downtown San Pedro on 6th Street, near Pacific Avenue. The massive inventory of vinyl has found a new home right behind San Pedro Vapes (a discreet entrance off the alley will get you in the back door). Go in the back and you will find records, CDs and even tapes stacked literally to the ceiling.

    Jim Callon says he is happy to be back in his hometown. Starting June 5, the store will be open for the First Thursday Art Walk. Jim has even promised to have live music for the event. For now, he is open Monday through Friday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

    The Callon’s have spent almost 40 years in various aspects of the music business. As a musician, Jim Callon founded his JDC Record label in 1977 with two rhythm and blues disco hits. His controversial move from rock to disco may have cost him friends, but when he began distributing 12-inch vinyl, he hit pay dirt as the largest distributor of dance music on the West Coast.

    In 40 years, you see a lot of trends come and go, but Callon has remained inventive, persistent and flexible. His former clients Tower Records and Music Plus are history, but today he is distributing vinyl to the newly popular independent record stores across the country and internationally.

    A young record collector, Michael Castanon, recently told me of his attraction to the organic, warm, analog aesthetic.

    “I enjoy it because it is more of an experience,” Castanon said. “When you listen to an mp3 it is like a buffet: not completely satisfying. But when you put on a record you are fully experiencing it. The warmth and the sound you get from vinyl are much better. If I press play on my iPod I do not feel connected to that music. When I physically go through my records, take a moment and pull out a record, glance at the cover art, [and] I put it on my record player with the intention of listening to it from start to finish.”

    Some of us from the 60s generation may be surprised to know millennials could hold still long enough to listen to one complete side of an album, let alone BOTH sides. Remember, you can’t carry this music in your pocket or load it onto your cell phone. You can leave the room, but you can’t go too far.

    “A lot of these kids have never heard analog before,” Callon said. “My theory is that when they get into their parents record collection for the first time, the sound is unique to them. Regardless of who the artist is, they become fascinated.”

    Another attraction is the somewhat short supply of the records. Vinyl records are still pressed on just a few antiquated press machines left in the country. Sales of vinyl around the globe have climbed from $55 million in 2007 to $171 million in 2012 and are still climbing. Pressing plants are feeling the strain of increasing demand for vinyl albums and they’re ramping up production, working overtime to fill orders.

    Callon had the foresight to purchase inventory of records from warehouse stock back in the 90s and he still has much of that inventory, as well as growing his stock through purchases directly from the pressing plants.

    The technology for pressing records may not have changed, but the technology surrounding turntables and speakers is 21st century. The newer turntables are an investment. Audiophile turntables no longer require a receiver; powered speakers are plugged directly into the turntable via a preamp. Needle cartridges are adjusted to float lightly on the vinyl, barely touching the record. The base of today’s turntables are heavy to prevent movement. My generation will still recall the movement and skipping that was caused once the party started and people began to dance. That problem is avoided with the heavier more stable turntables of today.

    This generation has brought back much of the enjoyment of album rock Castanon tells us.
    “I go to The Prospector in Long Beach and the DJ plays Pink Floyd The Wall start to finish.” Castanon said. “Or, they will play Blondie Parallel Lines start to finish. Those are the type of bars I like to go to.”

    The lesson to be learned here is: Don’t throw that shit away!

    Just as surprising as the resurgence of vinyl – maybe even more surprising — is the return of cassette tapes. JDC Records has a large inventory of music on cassette tapes. As with vinyl, the analog sound is warmer. Occasionally rare recordings can be found more readily on tape. New music is being released again on cassette. And don’t overlook the advantage of portability and headphones with cassettes.

    So now, where did I put my Walkman?

    photo by Phillip Cooke

    Details: (424) 264-5335
    Venue: JDC Records
    Location: 447 B W. 6th St., San Pedro

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  • RL NEWS: May 5, 2013

    Officer Killed In Harbor City Hit-And-Run

    HARBOR CITY — A Los Angeles Police Department officer, 32-year-old Roberto Sanchez, was killed and another was seriously injured, after a hit-and-run May 3, in Harbor City.

    Officers were making a U-turn to follow a speeding vehicle and were broadsided by an SUV at about 4 a.m. near Senator Avenue and Anaheim Street, officials said.

    Sanchez was a 6-year veteran assigned to the Harbor Area. Sanchez, of Santa Ana resident, was had recently wed.

    His patrol partner, Richard Medina, was in critical condition but was released from the hospital May 4.

    It is believed that the patrol car at the time was following a white Camaro traveling east on Anaheim Street. The Camaro and the patrol car both made U-turns. A Chevy Tahoe, also heading east, plowed into the driver’s side of the patrol car as the officers were completing their turn, official said.

    The department did not yet know whether the patrol car’s sirens or lights were on at the time, or whether drugs or alcohol may have been a factor in the crash, officials said.

    The SUV driver fled the scene on foot. The patrol car radio was inoperable. The surviving officer had to use his cell phone to call for help, officials said.

    Police located and detained a “person of interest” about a mile from the accident, but no arrests had made, officials said.

    Investigators will have to look at video footage from the patrol car to figure out what happened. That video appeared to show the police lights of the patrol car had been turned on.

     

    Council Members Propose Blue Line Extension to Pedro

    LOS ANGELES — On April 30, Council members Joe Buscaino and Tom LaBonge presented a motion to request that the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation report on the feasibility of implementing a light rail system that will connect riders in Wilmington and San Pedro to the Blue Line.

    The Blue Line is a 22-mile light rail line running north to south between Long Beach and downtown Los Angeles, through south Los Angeles, Watts and Compton, in Los Angeles County. It is one of the six lines in the Metro Rail System, and is the oldest and second busiest line in the system.

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  • The People vs. Northern Trust

     How the LACERS Pension fund was looted and Why LA Runs a Deficit

    James Preston Allen, Publisher

    Underneath the media circus that exploded in the wake of TMZ’s reporting of Donald Sterling’s racist rant, Sterling’s biracial mistress denials of sexual-romantic relationship and Sterling’s ban from the NBA, was the news that the Securities Exchange Commission subpoenaed Northern Trust for documents related to the company’s securities-lending activities.

    Admittedly, it doesn’t have the sexual allure or glitz of a billionaire’s scandal, but it caught my eye just the same. Why, you may ask? Because Northern Trust is the custodial bank for all of the pension funds for the city of Los Angeles and has control of more money than Don Sterling could ever imagine.

    Let me explain.

    Back towards the end of 2011, former City Attorney Carmen A. Trutanich tried to get the Los Angeles City Employee’s Retirement System, LACERS, to become a party with Los Angeles in a $95 million lawsuit against Northern Trust for losses they incurred in the sub-prime mortgage crisis. The bank that invests the $9.6 billion in assets for city employee’s retirements. LACERS refused to sign on to the lawsuit and Northern Trust subsequently settled with the city for a few million. (more…)

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