• Leland Street Elementary Celebrates Military Families

    Ivan Adame, Editorial Intern

    On April 15, students, parents and teachers gathered to honor members of all branches of the military and the coast guard at Leland Street Elementary School’s military assembly.

    The school observed April as the month of the military child. The month of the military child was declared by the Department of Defense in 1986 to recognize the lives of children of military families.  There are about 2 million such children in the United States.

    “These children make sacrifices and are courageous as their parents serve our country,” said Shauna Brodsky, psychiatric social worker for the Los Angeles Unified School District. “They face frequent moves, significant life changes, and separations from a military parent when he or she is deployed to war or goes away to work to train for weeks, months, or even years… to date we have approximately 70 students that come from military families here at Leland.”

    During the event, students spoke about their experiences as a military child and explained the functions of each branch of the military. Afterwards, students lined up with their parents, who were dressed in uniform.

    “My dad fixes army trucks and is a commanding officer,” said Jaylon Davis, a student who has lived in three other states and attended six other schools. “He is a good officer and he has gone away for weeks— sometimes months at a time.”


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  • Long Beach to Hire Locally First

    City Council Adopts a Five-Year Plan to Prioritize Local Hiring
    By Crystal Niebla, Editorial Intern

    Long Beach construction workers might find it easier to find work in the next few years.

    Earlier in April, the Long Beach City Council approved a five-year Project Labor Agreement with the Los Angeles/Orange Counties Building and Construction Trades Council that would prioritize employment for Long Beach residents in construction projects costing more than $500,000.

    The agreement will work in three tiers that would prioritize Long Beach first in tier one, and then draw workers from the Los Angeles and Orange Counties in the following tiers, if necessary.

    Gregory Sanders, pastor of The ROCK Christian Fellowship and president of the Long Beach Minister’s Alliance, an entity that advocates for local jobs, said that the point of it is to “exhaust” the first tier before moving on to the other two.

    Under the details of tier one, the agreement will require that at least 40 percent of work hours will belong to Long Beach residents. The agreement also guarantees that 10 percent of jobs will go to the “economically distressed,” Sanders said.

    The agreement, through a course of five years, will cover about $28 million annually in construction activity. These construction projects do not include the Civic Center or the Belmont Beach and Aquatics Center, which will be covered under separate agreements. In the case of the Civic Center, Long Beach leased the land to an outside developer.  Therefore, Project Labor Agreement’s rules cannot affect the Civic Center construction nor it’s local hiring policies.

    Before, Long Beach would establish labor agreements for each individual project. Once the project was completed, the agreement ended.

    Susanne Browne, senior lawyer at the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles, said a successful local hire requires the Project Labor Agreement and a policy that would lay out the specific details of the hiring process. Browne, who is in the foundation’s Long Beach office, works with Long Beach Local Hire Coalition to “fine tune” policy themes.  An example of these themes may include providing formatted steps as to how contractors can hire locally.

    “Every project labor agreement with local hire that’s been done by a municipality or a large entity typically has one of these local hire policies,” Browne said.

    Like entities such as the Port of Long Beach or Metro, Browne said Long Beach’s construction industry needs the agreement and a local hire policy to “overlap” their themes.  She said following these guidelines will help project contractors meet and then surpass the first tier’s percentage quotas.

    Local hire coalitions say that Long Beach’s new five-year agreement extends opportunities for workers.

    Sanders said the local hire community wants to start reaching out to people in Long Beach City College and trade school, The group is also targeting people who don’t want to go to college. He said wants to “infuse” unions with “apprentice-qualified candidates,” where the candidates will receive training in fields such as construction and plumbing.

    “The goal is that they get picked up by the union, once they go through the apprenticeship program, and then they’re in the union,” Browne said. “Then, they’re going to get dispatched to other jobs …. The goal is to create a pathway for a construction career.”

    After the Project Labor Agreement was approved by the city council, a local hire policy was introduced by local hire agencies that wish to refine the effectiveness of the agreement.

    Jerry  Rueb,  lead pastor at Cornerstone Church, who works closely with local hire coalitions, said that the agreement can address the long-term joblessness in Long Beach, especially for those who are disadvantaged.

    “Long Beach’s unemployment numbers are well over the national average,” he said. “When you include the minorities, and when you include just the economics … there [are] many, many people that need jobs and careers, and this seems to be a logical place for people to get started.”

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  • Candidates Line Up for Honorary Mayor Campaign

    By Ivan Adame, Editorial Intern

    For almost half a century, the San Pedro Honorary Mayor’s campaign has been a tradition. Business owners and distinguished community members compete to raise funds for local charities and the candidate who raises the most money wins the honors.

    The honorary mayor is a ceremonial position. The winner will represent the community and the San Pedro Chamber of Commerce at a variety of events for two years, including flag salutes, the holiday parade and 4th of July celebrations at the Korean Bell.

    The honorary race dates back to 1966, when it was sponsored by the San Pedro Junior Chamber of Commerce—known then as the Jaycees—a leadership training and civic organization for people between the ages of 18 and 40. (more…)

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  • Rebuilding the SP Elks Lodge Begins

    By Ivan Adame, Editorial Intern

    Almost a year after an arsonist burned down the Elks Lodge in San Pedro, community leaders hosted a groundbreaking ceremony, April 11. However, the costs and timing of rebuilding the lodge remain undetermined.

    A former Elks member Nick Pecarich, a 79-year-old retired longshoreman, was arrested and charged with burning the original building down.

    The original 34,000 square-foot lodge was built in 1968 at a cost of $1.5 million. Rebuilding the lodge nowadays will cost “far in excess of that,” said former exalted ruler Eugene DeAngelis.

    Tentative plans for the new building designed by the architectural firm SRK were on display.

    “One of the things we realized is that the Elks Lodge is not the building, it’s the people,” said Rep. Janice Hahn. “It’s every single one of you who holds the value of the Elk’s and the community in your heart and it’s very heartwarming today to see people walking here.”

    During the ceremony, the city Fire Department Station #101 was commended for their efforts in fighting the blaze.

    In commemoration of the groundbreaking, city leaders presented the Elks Lodge with certificates of special recognition.



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  • LB District 4 Elects Supernaw as its New Councilman

    Photos and brief by Diana Lejins
    LONG BEACH — Lifelong District 4 resident Daryl Supernaw will soon join the Long Beach City Council.

    Supernaw beat Herlinda Chico and Richard Lindemann in a winner-take-all special election April 14. He took 52 percent of the vote. Chico got 42.4 percent of the district vote and Lindemann only took 4.8 percent of the vote.

    The election ushered him into the seat that now-Assemblyman Patrick O’Donnell vacated.

    The new councilman-elect said the election sent a message to constituents.

    “It shows that a truly independent candidate can win,” he said. “I hope to continue serving the 4th District and the city for many years.”

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  • Mark Twain is Alive, Shakespeare is the Question

    By John Farrell, Curtain Call Writer

    Everybody knows Sam Clemens.

    Sure, he has been dead for more than 100 years, but Hal Holbrook brought him back to life 60 years ago. His linen suit and bushy eyebrows, his wry humor and slick way around a sentence are still a part of everyday American life.

    Will Shakespeare, on the other hand, well, we know he wrote all those great plays (or do we?) but as for his appearance, his habits, his way of speaking – well, he was an actor and probably a bit of a chameleon. So, except for his plays, he’s pretty much forgotten by the time he died in Stratford upon Avon, (perhaps from partying too hearty with Ben Jonson). (more…)

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  • The NFL to Carson:

    How a Big Deal was Kept Secret

    By Terelle Jerricks, Managing Editor, and Lyn Jensen, Carson Reporter

    When Carson’s political leaders announced that an 80,000-seat football stadium was going to be built on the San Diego and Harbor freeway juncture a month ago, no one knew a deal was brewing—not members of Carson’s city council and not the city’s planning commission.

    The only clue to this secret was a lawsuit filed against Carson the day after it was announced that a stadium would be built.

    Until recently, 157 acres of this former landfill produced so much methane gas that anything built on top could have spontaneously combusted, like it almost did in the early 1980s when there was a drive-in theater. This and other hazardous waste at the site made it too toxic to build on, thwarting Carson’s chances of landing a professional football team at least two times in the past 20 years.

    But after the announcement, the Department of Toxic Substance Control deemed the land ready for construction once all the extraction wells—built to safely release the methane gas—are installed within the next six months.

    Construction on the Boulevards at South Bay projects was to begin in 2012. But when former Mayor Jim Dear was asked about the project’s progress in 2014, he blamed the economy for the delay and the “thousands of [polyethylene] piles” that still needed to be driven before construction could begin.

    Before the Feb. 20 announcement, council members Lula Davis-Holmes and Elito Santarina appeared unaware of any stadium plan. Santarina talked about how the Boulevards at South Bay was going to open in 2016 and Davis-Holmes complained about the lack of progress on the project.

    Grassroots Solutions, an out-of-state public relations firm, hit the ground running building community support. With a client list that includes major labor and environmental groups—an apt choice given the leftward political leanings of the city—the firm formed Carson2gether.

    With major backing from the Oakland Raiders and [San Diego] Chargers Football LLC, paid circulators swarmed Carson for several weeks, aggressively soliciting signatures on a 309-page spiral-bound initiative—a document based on the Boulevards at South Bay plan with the addition of a stadium overlay zone and the removal of residential housing. Applicable laws regarding site remediation is not as strict for commercial development.

    The group delivered the completed petitions containing almost 14,000 signatures to the Carson City Clerk on March 21.

    The Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder has 30 days (until April 20) to verify that the petitions contain at least 8,041 valid signatures. If so, the initiative may end up on the November ballot, unless the city council acts to change the zoning before then.

    While there’s widespread support for a team in Carson, there are still voices of trepidation in the city on building anything on the former landfill.

    When the city was last in consideration for an NFL team in the early 2000s, several Carson residents, including former Mayor Vera Robles DeWitt, Robert Lesley and Pat Seals raised serious concerns about the remediation of the toxic soil on the property.

    Lesley recently expressed concern about “horrendous” traffic around an 80,000-seat stadium and whether an adequate traffic study was ever completed.

    “They [stadium supporters] don’t understand an 80,000-seat stadium is different from a 30,000-seat stadium,” he said, comparing the proposal to the StubHub Center.

    Carson2gether spokesman Fred MacFarlene said that the stadium project will rely on the traffic studies of previous environmental impact reports such as the one for Boulevards at South Bay and the L.A. Metromall. Random Lengths News was not able to find a traffic study that takes traffic considerations of a stadium in the Boulevards at South Bay plan.

    MacFarlene also told Random Lengths News that the Oakland Raiders and Chargers Football Co. were in the final stages of purchasing the property from Starwood Capital, the latest entity to hold title to the 168-acre piece of land.That information was confirmed by the San Diego Chargers special counsel Mark Fabriani on April 8.

    After all is said and done, this is a big deal. For the city, it has been a 30-year wait for the land to become rehabilitated enough to build on.

    Twenty-four of the 32 NFL team owners have to approve any deal that relocates a team in the Los Angeles market. How this Carson deal came to be is still a billion dollar question.

    NFL in Carson in Context

    NFL team owners have teased Angelino football fans with the prospect of a franchise in Los Angeles since the late 1990s. Each of those times, Carson was a part of the conversation.

    In the late 1990s, the site attracted the attention of Hollywood deal-maker Michael Ovitz, who, along with a few partners including Glimcher Realty Trust, sought to develop the property into a stadium.

    At the time, a union pension plan acquired the property from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. in an auction for $10.8 million. They planned to build the L.A. Metromall, but ultimately ended up selling the land to the Carson Marketplace LLC, a shell company for the LNR Property Corp. The sale was made for $30 million in 2004.

    In 2005, Carson officials including Dear, Jerry Groomes and Ron Winkler met with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell about developing a stadium at the former Cal Compact Landfill. Dear said at the time, there was no NFL team committed to playing in Los Angeles but, “if you build it, they will come.”

    A month later, Carson abandoned the stadium plan. Instead they pursued the Boulevards at South Bay project, a retail and residential space with no stadium.

    The developer of the Boulevards project was LNR Property Corp.’s Commercial Property Group and Hopkins Real Estate Group.

    In 2012, Starwood Capital acquired the property after purchasing LNR Property for $1 billion.

    In 2013, representatives from Starwood Capital submitted a development plan that identified a 43-acre outlet mall to be built along the San Diego Freeway, accompanied by two parking garages. Their plan saw the future buildout of a warehouse discount store along with more than 800,000 square feet of retail space, 209 hotel room, as well as 850 residential units, and 1,150 rental units, all in conformance with the Carson Marketplace plans.

    Rand Properties Jilted Before the Dance

    Now that the former Cal Compact Landfill is just about ready for construction, bit players in Carson’s decade’s-long saga of getting a football team to Los Angeles feel as if the rug has been pulled out from under them.

    This past February, Beverly Hills developer Richard Rand filed a breach of contract lawsuit against the city and Leonard Bloom of U.S. Capital LLC.

    Rand claimed in the lawsuit that he began working through his companies Rand Resources LLC and Carson El Camino LLC to bring one or more NFL franchises to the city and play in a “state of the art” stadium within the city.

    This is not the first time the city and Rand have tangled in the courtroom. In 2003, in a suit against the city and its redevelopment agency, Rand accused then Mayor Darryl Sweeney of soliciting a bribe in exchange for various entitlements in connection with a “$100 million mixed-use development” he had planned for the 91-acre property. Rand said he refused to pay the bribe and as a result, the city denied the entitlement, despite earlier assurances.

    In 2006, a jury sided with Rand, finding that his civil rights had been violated. The city appealed the civil verdict and Rand filed a cross-appeal seeking $20 million in damages.

    In 2008, while the appeal was still ongoing, Rand and Carson’s redevelopment agency entered into an Exclusive Negotiating Agreement. The agreement was contingent upon Rand halting his cross appeal and not enforcing the judgement.

    The agreement was first extended for three years, then extended a second time in 2011 to end in 2012. Rand and the redevelopment agency entered a new two-year agreement similar to the first one.

    Gov. Jerry Brown’s dismantling of the state’s redevelopment agencies caused Rand to question his rights. In September 2012, Rand proposed entering into an exclusive agency agreement with the city in exchange for staying his $20 million cross-appeal of the 2003 lawsuit. This agreement allowed Rand to operate as the city’s exclusive agent in talks with the NFL about bringing a team to Carson.

    Under the agreement, no one other than Rand Resources was permitted to represent the city in negotiations with the NFL, and Rand was to shoulder all the cost of meeting with NFL executives and hiring architectural firms to draft proposed stadium designs, among other costs. The agreement was to end in 2014.

    Rand accuses the city of double dealing while the contract was enforced—starting at least in the summer of 2013. He accuses the city specifically of meeting with Leonard Broom of U.S. Capital while his exclusive agreement with the city was in force.

    For perspective, Rand owns 12 acres of a 91-acre piece of land adjacent to the 157-acre brown field. The remaining 79 acres are owned by at least two other parties. Before California’s redevelopment agencies were dismantled, Rand hoped the Carson Redevelopment Agency would use its powers of eminent domain to enlarge the 91-acre property to help entice the NFL. A substantial portion of the 91 acres has the same issues with hazardous waste as the 157-acre field.

    Rand Resources lawyer Joseph Ybarra said he’s confident the courts will find that the city violated the Exclusive Agent Agreement. Councilman Albert Robles said the council was asked not to speak on the NFL stadium just yet.


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  • Rolling With the Derby:

    Photo By Tristan King

    Photo by Tristan King

    The Most Open Sport on Wheels
    By Eric Fujimori, Editorial Intern

    Roller derby is by no means a mainstream sport, but it’s well on its way to becoming a relevant force in the South Bay and Long Beach areas.

    Since its inception four years ago, Beach Cities Roller Derby has been recruiting more members and attracting a bigger fan base each season. The growth in popularity comes from the organization’s commitment to its unaltered mission statement of being a diverse and welcoming community.

    This concept is driven by Beach Cities Roller Derby’s founder and leader, Shayna Meikle. (more…)

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  • Working Class Kitchen:

    A Butcher Shop That Finally Meats My Expectations
    By Gina Ruccione, Food Writer and Blogger, Photos by Phillip Cooke

    When it comes to dating and choosing a restaurant, my approach is essentially the same: “What are you willing to do to impress me?”

    In the Harbor Area, there is no shortage of restaurants, and God only knows you could walk 10 steps and trip over a man.

    Lately, I’ve been a little underwhelmed by both (men and restaurants) doing very little to pique my interest, hold my attention, or just simply put in the work. But when I stumbled upon Working Class Kitchen in Long Beach, I was immediately intrigued. (more…)

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  • Unlocking the Secrets of that Flamenco Music


    By Lionel Rolfe

    When I was not yet quite a teenager, I spent a few years studying the classical guitar under Dorothy De Goede. She was  a strikingly beautiful woman who had been a student of Andre Segovia. I was, of course, in love with her even though I was barely a decade old. I then wanted to study flamenco, so my parents sent me to Carlos Montoya.  I loved flamenco but Montoya’s best and most patient coaxing did not teach me how to unfurl my right hand with that particular flamenco sweep.

    I should have had some genetic disposition. My dad was half German-Jewish and the other half Portuguese-Jewish. His mother grew up speaking Ladino in Seattle. The few remaining Ladino speakers lived in Seattle at that time — Ladino is a combination of Hebrew and Spanish. Yiddish is Hebrew and German.

    Appropriately my father, a scholarly judge by profession, loved the classical guitar, an instrument whose popularity really began with Segovia. The guitar, like a piano, can be a whole orchestra. My father also loved lutes, and we regularly went to the lute club. My dad loved to play the guitar in his heavily wooded paneled study where he also smoked his fine cigars. Maybe that was the Iberian in him, and I got a bit of it too, by osmosis if not genetics. In retirement, my dad spent a lot of time in Spain and Portugal, acquiring more guitars.

    My dad had been gone for several years when I was contacted by Doranne Croon Cedillo, and she told me her brother Drew Croon had written a “Gypsy Mass” before he died in 2007–he was born in 1951. She was mounting two performances–one in San Francisco and another in Beverly Hills.  The work will be premiered for a second time in Beverly Hills on Sunday, June 21, 5 p.m. at All Saints Parish, 504 Camden Drive.

    I was instantly intrigued. Cedilla said that rarely had anyone written a piece of serious classical music based on flamenco. I knew that the great Spanish composers–Rodrigo and de Falla, among many others, borrowed a lot of flamenco melodies and rhythms, but used them only as embellishments. Would I like to write about it?

    Of course I would. Flamenco’s roots are mysterious–they comes from the Andalusian region of Spain, and were created when the area was part of the crumbling empire of the Moors–an Arab and African people–who ran the south of Spain. The Romani tribes were from India, and had lived as slaves in the Persian empire. Who knows how the two people interacted, but in one way it is known–they call it flamenco. Prominent among the non-Christian outcasts were the Jews.

    At the heart of the ensemble Doranne assembled was Alex Conde, the classically trained pianist from Spain. His father, Alejandro Conde, played Flamenco guitar and sang and in the last decade Alex has spent in the United Sates, he has found his passion returning in the form of Flamenco. He has found a good Flamenco base in Baghdad by the Bay. And, he says with a laugh, the climate suits him better than was the case in Boston.

    He says you have to understand that the Spanish monarchs and Catholic clergy were incredibly harsh on the people of Andalusia.

    “The music is all about the bad things that happened to them,” he says. Particularly despised were the Romani and Jews and the black Moors who were often Muslim.  Alex notes that the great irony is that many of the Romani today are members of evangelical Catholic cults, and rarely play their wonderful music in public. They “believe in God and pray all the time.” He said they are closely knit, and patriarchal. There are many rules for women. The men tend to have the last word. They are very conservative.”

    But the music isn’t “conservative.” Quite the contrary, which is what gives it an enduring appeal. Flamenco is defiantly improvisational; like many great musical traditions such as blues it is music that comes out of suffering and survival, love and death. Conde does not apologize for playing Drew Croon’s Gypsy Mass, even if flamenco purists would object. Just, in fact, as they reject the very notion of flamenco mass that uses a piano instead of a guitar. But he likes Drew’s music for the way it mixes the sacred and the profane, which he thinks is particularly attractive and beautiful.

    Conde is fairly much traditional Spanish by background. His father is from Valencia on the Mediterranean coast, which has Moorish roots, and his mother is from La Mancha–he notes with a smile La Mancha is the same place where Cervantes came from.

    He grants that it is at least an irony that the words of this “serious” piece of flamenco composition are in Latin–but the music is authentically Flamenco–both in terms of melody and rhythm. Yes, the texts are sung in Latin and are very traditionally Catholic, and the result “is a beautiful mix in my opinion.”

    Conde was trained as a classical pianist, but when he came to the United States to pursue his classical studies, he began to miss flamenco tremendously. Perhaps it was a form of homesickness, he confesses.

    He’s aware that there is no central flamenco hierarchy. But many believe you can’t play flamenco unless you’re Gypsy, he says. Some would consider a Latin Mass “a kind of traitorous thing.” Others will be angry because he’s playing on a piano instead of a guitar. Yet the essential purpose of the modern guitar was to be kind of a replacement for the piano.

    In any event, Doranne was lucky to have found Conde. He was a good match for Croon.

    Croon was not Spanish. Doranne says their parents were mainly Swedish and Irish. Croon’s grandfather came from Sweden and Croon is a Swedish soldier’s name and his mother was a McCabe from Ireland.

    “I’m not sure how my brother  came to love Flamenco guitar so much. It was a natural progression. Maybe it was a natural progression for him. When he was 18 he gave up electric guitar to play classical and was drawn to Spanish classical particularly. He was fascinated by and appreciated greatly the Spanish, French and Italian cultures in Europe, the cultures and languages of Latin derivation. He grew up in the Atwater section of Los Angeles before moving to France. Even then he sought out a Flamenco guitar. He ate, drank and breathed flamenco guitar studies eight to ten hours of practice a day–at the same time he was teaching all finger-picking styles at Charles Music in Glendale. When he turned 21, his teacher told him he had nothing more to teach him. Then he started traveling to Spain where he studied with flamenco masters there. When he lived in France, he rode his bicycle from France throughout Spain many summers, spending more time there when he could.”

    For herself, Doranne Cedillo makes it clear she loves his music, and wants the world to hear it. Thus I attended the premiere of “Misa Gitana Andaluza — A Gypsy Mass” from which scores of people had to be turned away at the  Poppy Art House in San Francisco’s Mission District on March 22. There in this wonderfully San Francisco-decorated store, once we were seated, my eyes were instantly riveted on Kindra Scharich, and the moment the opera singer opened her mouth.

    Her voice was so full and complex and warm. I can’t quite describe why, but the voice seemed roomy and resonant as if I were sitting there with a great view of the all the sounds of the universe–in which all the cacophony had been banished.

    She had an angelic face, dark enough that it easily could have been Spanish, but later she explained to me that she’s not. She’s German, in fact German with a lot of Jewish in her. Later when we talked about that, I observed that her “German” family might have come from the Spanish Expulsion of 1492. She said her background included being from a German Village in Russia. Her father was a chemist who was not particularly religious when he came to Midlands, Mich. to work for Dow Chemical after the war. She also has Scottish blood by way of her mother.

    I wondered if her voice would be so beautiful if her face wasn’t so beautiful.  It was kind of an idle thought, perhaps without much real point–yet her unique voice and beauty were plain for everyone to see.

    Kindra says that she’s not quite sure how she was chosen to join the ensemble–Doranne first contacted her, possibly at Conde’s strong suggestion. She knew Conde and Fanny Ara, the dancer, had worked together. She knew of Ara, but had not worked with her. Now that she is, she says it’s “like playing chamber music,” and for most musicians that’s a very good thing. Chamber music generally provides the most satisfaction to the musicians involved. The intimate synergy gets the musicians closer to the source of the music.

    “One of the things that was really challenging is that we didn’t know Drew. We couldn’t be sure of Drew’s absolute intentions.” So Doranne allowed the musicians to be flexible and fluid enough to recreate those intentions in their own way. Kindra says that she understands when a person is in charge of bringing a loved one’s music to life, one has to do so carefully. And she adds, “At so many points it would have been nice to have Drew there.”

    She suspects that she was chosen in part because “it’s notated and they needed someone who was classically trained.” And she’s classically trained. She also understands that he was melding many things, all a reflection of Croon himself who obviously wanted to create a Latin mass with Flamenco music.

    She explains that the words of the masses “are meaningful to her” even if they don’t express her personal belief. As she sees her role, it’s not to express one’s personal beliefs, but to take on the attributes of a particular expression.”

    Kindra says that Croon did an incredible job of “matching the world of the dance to the spirit of the texts.” If he had a particularly energetic text, he chose a very energetic dance. If the text was more reflective, he chose a more subdued dance. “Flamenco comes in many different styles–from vibrant to slow and ponderous to reverential,” she says–and Drew put them together well.

    Next I talked with Fanny Ara, the Flamenco dancer who with her castanets was certainly the visual show stopper. Here you have the pianist and singer mostly following a score, whereas the dancer’s every move is not notated.  For her, Ara told me, dancing is not an intellectual exercise–it’s about what she’s feeling. It’s the feelings she wants to communicate. That’s why she didn’t want to rehearse a lot–she wanted to keep that improvisational door fresh and open.

    Ara is Basque, but from France, not Spain. She admitted to even feeling more French than Basque. Like Conde, she studied piano, ballet and modern dance, but kept returning to Flamenco.

    She went to Spain to study Flamenco. To Ara, flamenco is heavy, about earth emotions, a heavy art form whereas Croon’s work is “airy, like  you’re flying.” And, she said, that’s where the magic comes from.

    “I took the liberty to put more Flamenco into it,” she says. She said she asked to take some liberties, and was given that permission. She said she and Conde made the changes she had written. They then rehearsed them to see how it worked out. She says with satisfaction it worked well. I think my dad would have thought so too.

    * Lionel Rolfe is the author of a number of books, most of which are available on Amazon’s Kindle. Many are also available in paperback.



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