• Fringe Fest Opening

    By John Farrell

    It’s time again for the Hollywood Fringe Festival, the celebration of all things theatrical that has become an annual rite for theater fans, for theater performers,  and for over-worked stage crews.

    It began officially on June 12 (though there were performances before that date) and closes on June 29 (though there are, again, performances after that date as well.)

    More than 1,500 performances are scheduled in more than 30 theaters from Hollywood Boulevard on the north to Melrose Boulevard on the south, from Gardner Street in the west to east of Western Avenue, with many theaters centered in an eight-block long section of Santa Monica Blvd. You can take the train and bus to the fun and see several plays without walking more than a few blocks – four or five a day, if you’ve got the sitzfleisch to endure.

    The Hollywood Fringe is based on the original Edinburgh Fringe Festival, but with a twist: Hollywood is home to more actor/waiters than anywhere else, and the Hollywood version includes many small plays where actors are trying to be noticed and are eager to here your reviews. (more…)

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  • Friends Like These Mixes Great Performances with Flawed Script

    By John Farrell

    Friends Like These is writer Gregory Crafts’ visceral look at one group of students at a local high school who you know are doomed from the start.

    The play begins with reports of a mass shooting at the high school and the only question is “Who does the shooting?”

    In this Theatre Unleashed production, directed by Wendy Gough Soroka, that is one problem. The other problem is the complete lack of parents in the mix. Scott Sharma plays Garrett. He is bullied to the point of spending a couple of weeks unconscious in the hospital with a broken jaw and no one, save his friends, seems to notice.

    That is a shame because, despite these logical flaws, the five cast members give riveting and real performances as students troubled and trying to work out their lives. You think about the flaws after the play: during the performance you are focused on Garrett, on his girlfriend Nicole (Parissa Koo), Diz (Sammi Lapin), Bryan (Sean Casey Flanagan) and Jesse (Le Pollero). Diz has lost Garrett to cheerleader Nicole and is devastated at her loss. Jesse is a jock with attitude and his former girl-friend Nicole has left him for Garrett. Bryan is Garrett’s friend and Jesse’s wrestling partner. The story, about high school angst and emotional problems, rings true if you don’t think things through. But the actors give great performances and it is only later that you begin to wonder.

    Tickets are $12.50

    Performances are Monday June 22 at 4:30 p.m.Wednesday, June 24 at 9 p.m. and Saturday June 28 at 10:30 p.m. (more…)

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  • RL NEWS of the Week Ending June 13, 2014

    Unofficial Election Results: Central SP Neighborhood Council
    SAN PEDRO — The results from June 10 election for the board of the Central San Pedro Neighborhood Council are below.
    Results become final in a few days when the appeal filing period closes. The new board will be seated July 8 and officers will be elected by board appointment at that time.
    Carrie Scoville, Sue Castillo, James Preston Allen, Frank Anderson, Kali Merideth, Donald Galaz, Karen Ceaser, Danielle Sandoval, Debbie Rouser, Alexander Hall, Katherine Gray, Jose Guerrero, Grant Hartwell, Collin B. King, Debra A. Hunter, Andrea Serrao and Khixaan Obioma-Sakhu were elected to the neighborhood council.

    LB City Council Votes on Lifeguard Staffing, Training Rules
    LONG BEACH — On June 10, the Long Beach City Council voted 8-0 to receive and file communication from the fire chief to the Marine Safety Division staff regarding staffing the city’s four rescue boats.
    The five-month-old plan would lead to additional training for lifeguards and temporary staffing changes on a city rescue boat.
    The Long Beach Lifeguard Association opposed the plan, which involves temporarily placing a fire captain on a rescue boat while lifeguards undergo 80 hours of firefighting training because of questions about the type of training that would be required and budgetary concerns regarding temporary staffing.
    In January, the city was ordered to pay a worker’s compensation claim with regard to two lifeguards injured. Their duties included using fire equipment. (more…)

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  • Court House Closed for Business

    By James Preston Allen, Publisher

    Tino, the Cambodian-Texan bar owner of Crimsin, stood across the street as the state maintenance workers unbolted the letters which once read, “San Pedro Superior Court.” It was just two Latino guys with a ladder and some tools. By the time we noticed what was occurring, the letters were half gone, leaving only “erior court”– an ominous and foreboding reference to the demise of 100 years of local justice in this southern part of Los Angeles County.

    “Can we at least have a few letters from the sign as memorabilia?” we asked.

    “No,” was the answer. “They belong to the State of California.” The workmen looked over their shoulders at us like we were either drunk or crazy, continuing their work.

    Well, of course, they do but who would miss a few letters? We the people of Sixth Street might like to have some proof of what once was here. The workers continued pulling the letters off the building until they were all gone.

    It was back in 1909 that the Los Angeles Consolidation Committee promised the residents of the Harbor Area a “police court” as part of the deal to annex to the City of Los Angeles and there has been a court here in some form or another until June of 2013. (more…)

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  • Other Desert Cities

     

    By John Farrell

    Other Desert Cities got a Pulitzer Prize nomination in 2012.

    It must have been for the witty and sometimes biting dialog because the play is nothing but talk: often humorous, often witty talk, but more a long family argument over Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, with the talk taking the place of any action.

    Even caryn desai (CQ), International City Theatre’s artistic director, can’t make it drama. It opened to a small audience at Long Beach’s International City Theatre June 6 and continues there through June 29.

    The play tells the story of the Lyman family, especially their daughter Brooke (Ann Noble) as they get together at the elder Wyeths’ family home in Palm Springs over Christmas 2005. The Wyeths, Polly (Suzanne Ford) and Lyman (Nicholas Hormann) want their daughter to take up residence in the house next door. Brooke doesn’t want to leave her Long Island home. She says she wants real seasons, but slowly the family secrets come out and make her reluctance more substantial. The plot starts out as comedy but by the end, with bitter secrets revealed (and a token last minute resolution) it has moments of tragedy. (more…)

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  • THEATRE REVIEW: “Night and Her Stars” @ the Garage Theatre

    By a strange coincidence, 1994 gave birth to two separate fictional retellings of the results-fixing scandal at the 1950s game show Twenty One. The first was Richard Greenberg’s play Night and Her Stars. Months later came the film Quiz Show, which garnered four Oscar nominations and forever saddled Greenberg’s play with the baggage of comparison.

    A work of art should be taken on its own merits, of course. But because Night and Her Stars trods almost exactly the same ground as Quiz Show—and doesn’t offer anything as good in the way of insight—if you’ve seen the film, Night and Her Stars may not get a fair viewing.

    It’s the 1950s. Television is America’s newest god, but savvy TV producer Dan Enright (Robert Edward), whose quiz show Twenty One is stillborn, recognizes a special problem with TV that did not plague radio: universal specificity. With radio, he says, listeners of a show—say, the radio soap Ma Perkins—dress up the experience in the theater of one’s own mind. But as Enright notes, with TV “it’s not your Ma Perkins or my Ma Perkins—it’s just Ma Perkins.” From there it’s a small step to realize how much he can manipulate the perceptions and reactions of the viewing public.

    And realize it he does, embarking on his fateful course when Herb Stempel (Anthony Galleran) auditions. Stempel may be a bit of a spaz—not that Enright can’t turn that to a ratings advantage—but he’s got the sort of encyclopedic knowledgebase that perfectly suits the show. His backstory, though—a working-class life in Queens with a healthy child—isn’t as juicy as it might be, so Enright enlists Stempel—a man desperate for some sort of recognition in life—in a bit of poetic license, divining how it will play to the viewing public. Will Stempel win, or “will his child perish from some poor-person’s disease in terrible Brooklyn?” We’ll be back to find out right after these messages.

    But for Enright’s plan to work, he needs to ensure Stempel’s success, and so the fix is in, and Twenty One becomes a sensation. But no sensation lasts forever, so Enright keeps an eye out for replacing the good with the better. And when college professor Charles Van Doren (Sumner Leveque)—the son of a Pulitzer Prize-winner, no less—walks through the door, it’s bad news for Herb.

    Greenberg’s prose is sometimes well constructed, but ultimately we never penetrate deeply into the people mouthing it. Enright wants ratings, Stempel wants attention—that’s about as much as we ever learn about them. The most fleshed-out character is Van Doren, who can’t resist the chance to wear an intellectual mantle a few sizes too big. But even here Greenberg never really explores the neurosis behind the need.

    Director Matt Anderson would have done well to have his cast modulate their performance. In the small space that is the Garage Theatre all that yelling wears thin. It’s not that there isn’t a logic to going over the top, as Greenberg’s minor characters are intentionally caricatured. But amplifying the lack of nuance here pays diminishing returns.

    One very strong performance is Robert Edwards’s turn as the Faustian Enright. His silver-tongued slickness is seductive enough that you believe him capable of pulling the strings deftly enough to get exactly he wants and then come away relatively unscathed when it all falls apart. Edwards’s every gesture and facial expression is impeccable. Moreover, despite possessing a stentorian voice capable of filling a much larger space, he is perfectly modulated from start to finish, saving his loudest outdoor voice for when he needs it, while also being willing to go so quiet that you almost have to strain to hear him.

    Going with a minimalist set—little more than slats of wood cobbled together for efficiency—is a strong choice, a sort of stripping away the TV glitz for a script all about revealing that the emperor has no clothes. Anderson does a nice job with blocking the action across this set, and Yammy Swoot’s lighting design generates many strong visuals.

    Poll a hundred people who have seen Quiz Show and a hundred people who haven’t, and the latter group is bound to enjoy Night and Her Stars more than the former. Two tales of how TV execs fixed “real-life” shows in order to generate greater viewer interest based on exactly the same characters and covering more or less exactly the same ground is probably one too many for most viewers.

    But what was true in the 1950s and in the 1990s remains true today: the great reality of television is not so much what’s onscreen, but the manipulation of the viewing public. The game is fixed, and the house always wins. A reminder of that fact never hurts.

    NIGHT AND HER STARS THE GARAGE+ALIVE THEATRE • 251 E 7TH ST (JUST OFF LONG BEACH BLVD) • LONG BEACH 90813 • 562.433.8337 THEGARAGETHEATRE.ORG • THURS-SAT 8PM • $18; $15 FOR STUDENTS & SENIORS (THURSDAY TIX ARE 2-FOR-1); CLOSING NIGHT + PARTY $20 • THROUGH JUNE 28

    (Photo credit: freshframefoto.com)

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  • Dorian’s Descent Still Needs Work

     

    By John Farrell

    Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray was crying out to be made into a musical after Jekyl and Hyde and many other Victorian classics were produced with varied success.

    Dorian’s Descent, the world premier at the MET Theatre that opened the end of May, tries hard to fill that void, but it does it with only mild success. It is a great production, featuring a cast of 18, a seven-member pit orchestra led by Chris Raymond, wonderful production values in the small MET Theatre including more than a few choreographed scenes and a few riveting performances (although not, unfortunately, of Dorian, played by Michael D’Elia).

    But it’s a musical, and all musicals live and die by their music. It has a book by Raymond, Marco Gomez and Michael Gray, lyrics by Gomez and Raymond and music also by Raymond, but nary a hit in the show’s almost hour-long production. Every so often there seems to be a promising tune, but even when they have great names, like “The Demon’s Cavatina” and “The 11-11 Club Blues,” when they start to work the often leaden lyrics distract your attention. “We all win if we live a life of sin” is an example and there are plenty of others.

    This is a world premier, though, so maybe the lyrics (and the too-long book) will be cut and revised later.

    Still there is plenty to like in Dorian’s Descent. If D’Elia is dull as the good Dorian, when he begins his life of sin he does get better. Cassandra Nuss is delightful, wonderful to look at and affecting as Sybil Vane, the woman Dorian drives to early suicide. Kelly Brighton is extraordinarily as the roue Henry Wotton, not quite comic relief but always on the scene to keep things flowing and uttering Wilde’s witticisms to boot. Jeremy Sage is Basil Hallward, the painter whose portrait of Dorian is enchanted and who cares about Dorian in a slightly more than fatherly way. Toni Smith plays the Demon who buys Dorian’s soul and she does a good job vamping the house, though her songs are less than delightful.

    Gomez directs the story he helped write, and he manages to get all the action on one big stage, with the help of a rotating stage on the left side. Raymond does a great job with the music he wrote and the hidden band in back of the action. Tania Cossick’s choreography is often effective, though not always. (Some dance scenes seem little more than routine.) Michael Mullin’s costumes are effective and sometimes exciting and John Iacovelli does a decent job with the scenery, though you wonder just when this story is set: Victorian era, Edwardian, mid-60s or 2005?

    The special portrait by Karen Sanchez is intriguing. Its changes to reflect Dorian’s descent and then his death are interesting.

    Dorian’s Descent must still be called a work-in-progress, but it’s worth seeing what has been created so far and to be able to say you saw it first. The MET Theater is a bit of a trial if you hate climbing stairs, but they do offer parking.

    Tickets are $30 to $34.99, seniors and students pay $20. Performances are Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m., Sunday at 3 p.m., through July 20, with the theater dark on July 4.

    Details: (323) 802-4990; www.doriansdescent.com

    Venue: The MET Theatre

    Location: 1089 Oxford Ave., Los Angeles

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  • Dems Tone-Deaf on Veterans’ Asbestos Issue

    Originally published at www.huffingtonpost.com

    “You never let a serious crisis go to waste. And what I mean by that it’s an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before.”
    –Rahm Emanual, Mayor of Chicago and former White House Chief of Staff

    In the dark cloud that is the ongoing Veterans’ Affairs scandal, Mayor Emanual’s words offer a silver lining. With the resignation of the head of the VA and calls for criminal investigations, we see a chance for veterans’ issues to get the reform they deserve — yet it seems that President Obama and other Democrats might be a bit tone-deaf to actual challenges facing our vets.

    Certainly, “reform” promises a long list, and U.S. Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) illustrated that he’s among those facing the political music in announcing the Restoring Veterans’ Trust Act, which outlines a litany of changes.

    But, as a civil justice observer, might I add one missing item to the agenda? It’s certainly not up there with immediate healthcare needs, but new federal court rulings threaten to open old wounds for many who made the ultimate sacrifice, albeit decades after they served.

    A bit of background: You’ve seen those ads seeking victims of mesothelioma, which is a cancer caused by asbestos, right? Compensation for those tragedies is nearly always in the millions of dollars, and connecting lawyers with victims has made “mesothelioma” the most expensive of Google’s search words. (more…)

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  • RL NEWS of the Week: June 5, 2014

    Pink Released
    SAN PEDRO — The Pelican, known as Pink, was released June 3, in San Pedro.
    The International Bird Rescue center repaired the bird’s slashed pouch in a series of surgeries.
    He was rescued April 16 after he was found in Long Beach with his pouch sliced open from one end to another. The repairs were delicate due to the double layers of tissue that must be strong enough to withstand a pelican’s head-first dives into the ocean.
    The California brown pelican underwent two surgeries and required more than 600 stitches to repair his pouch that someone sliced open.
    The case is still under investigation by the California Fish and Wildlife Service. Contributing to the reward fund were the Animal Legal Defense Fund and the Port of Long Beach. A $20,000 reward remains outstanding in the case.

    LBPD Arrest 17-Year-Old for Bringing Dagger, Drugs to School
    LONG BEACH — On June 4, Long Beach Police Department arrested a 17-year-old boy for bringing a dagger and a controlled substance to Millikan High School on May 28.
    Detectives from the department’s Juvenile Investigations Section were dispatched to the 2300 block of West Arlington Street at 9:40 a.m. Wednesday to locate the suspect, according to Sgt. Megan Zabel, a police spokeswoman.
    The boy, however, fled from detectives on foot, Zabel said. A perimeter was set up and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department helicopter responded to assist.
    The suspect was found and taken into custody without harm, she said.
    The suspect is a student at Millikan. He is believed to have an affiliation with a local gang. He was detained by school personnel after the incident on May 28, but fled the school prior to police arrival.
    He did not threaten anyone at the school with the weapon and there is no indication at this time he had plans to harm anyone at the school, officials said.
    The suspect is being booked on charges of bringing a weapon on school grounds and possession of a controlled substance.

    ELECTION 2014
    LONG BEACH — Long Beach Vice Mayor Robert Garcia is now Mayor-elect Robert Garcia.
    The 36-year-old politician won the election with 52.1 percent of the vote against real estate investor Damon Dunn, who garnered 47.9 percent of the vote, according to the city’s unofficial result counts. Dunn lost despite having invested about $700,000 into his campaign. Garcia raised $450,000. When he is sworn in, Garcia will become the youngest and the first gay-Latino mayor in the city’s history.
    Out of 256,735 registered voters about 17.6 percent, or 45,250 people, cast their ballot on June 3.
    City Attorney Charles Parkin maintained his seat with a with a whopping 61.8 percent of the vote against challenger District 7 Councilman James Johnson, who garnered 38.2 percent of the vote.
    Parkin, 56, was appointed in August 2013 to the position after his predecessor Robert Shannon retired.
    Parkin oversees a staff of 20 attorneys, who represent and protect the city’s legal interests by representing the city in lawsuits and providing legal advice to the city’s commissions, the Port of Long Beach, Long Beach Airport, the Long Beach Police Department and the Long Beach Fire Department, among other city entities.
    District 1 field deputy Lena Gonzalez, 33, will be among the new faces in the council. She took 60.4 percent of the vote against Misi Tagaloa, who garnered 39.6 percent of the vote for the Council District 1 race in Long Beach.
    Another new face in the Long Beach City Council is Stacy Mungo, who garnered 54.6 percent of the vote against lobbyist Carl Kemp who took in 45.4 percent of the vote to represent District 5.
    Mungo works as a Los Angeles County budget officer for Community and Senior Services. Previously, she was president of the El Dorado Park Estates Neighborhood Association.

    McDonnell to face Tanaka in Runoff
    LOS ANGELES — Long Beach Police Department Chief Jim McDonnell will square off against former Undersheriff Paul Tanaka to become the next head of the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department.
    McDonnell took the lead with 49.15 percent of the vote, with 264,104 votes, in the June 3 Primary Elections, according to the preliminary results.
    Gardena Mayor Paul Tenaka garnered 14 percent of the vote, retired sheriff’s Cmdr. Bob Olmsted got 9.89 percent of the vote, Assistant Sheriff James Hellmold received 7.91 percent of the vote, retired sheriff’s Lt. Patrick Gomez garnered 6.74 percent of the vote, Assistant Sheriff Todd Rogers got 6.14 percent of the vote and Los Angeles Police Department Senior Detective Supervisor Lou Vince finished last with 5.43 percent of the vote.
    McDonnell was the only outsider among the seven candidates running Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. McDonnell is a 29-year LAPD veteran. Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey, LAPD Chief Charlie Beck, Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer, Attorney General Kamala Harris, and Los Angeles County supervisors Michael Antonovich, Gloria Molina, Zev Yaroslavsky and Don Knabe, endorsed him.
    The new sheriff will head a department with a $2.9-billion annual budget and more than 9,000 deputies, as well as oversee the policing of 42 cities and unincorporated areas. McDonnell cited his service on the citizens’ commission, which issued an influential set of recommendations for improving the county jails, as experience.
    Tanaka is a 30-year veteran of the LASD. Tenaka has raised more than $900,000 for his campaign, according to recent filing reports.
    The department has been under scrutiny for the treatment of its jail inmates, which has led to federal indictments and an investigation. Four-term Sheriff Lee Baca retired in January amid criticism of how he handled for deputy-on-inmate violence in county jails and charges of corruption within the department. Eighteen sheriff’s deputies were indicted.
    Interim Sheriff John Scott will head the department until December.
     
    Feuer Rolls Out Neighborhood Prosecutor Program
    LOS ANGELES – On June 2, City Attorney Mike Feuer has announced that he will be hiring an additional five neighborhood prosecutors in the next few months, bringing the number to 21.
    The Neighborhood Prosecutor Program works with law enforcement and members of the community to tackle quality of life issues impacting neighborhoods, such as vandalism, graffiti, illegal dumping, blight and different types of disturbances. The scope of work also includes gang activity, gun violence, domestic violence, trespassing, prostitution, zoning code violations, health code violations and other issues affecting quality of life.
    The Neighborhood Prosecutors are embedded in the community, working closely with schools, neighborhood councils, home owner and residents associations, chambers of commerce and other civic organizations.
    Feuer also announced that he and each of the 16 neighborhood prosecutors will host “Meet Your Neighborhood Prosecutor Forums” during the next few months across Los Angeles.
    Upcoming meetings include:
    6:30 p.m. June 24
    Port of Los Angeles Administration Building
    425 S. Palos Verdes St.
    The Neighborhood Prosecutors as assigned to Los Angeles Police Department divisions includes Lauren Halligan for the Harbor Division.

    Mayor Garcetti Announces First 15 “Great Streets”
    LOS ANGELES — On June 3, Mayor Eric Garcetti announced the first 15 streets of the Great Streets Initiative to improve neighborhood gathering places and generate economic activity by revitalizing key community corridors.
    Garcetti has created the Great Streets Studio, which comprises dedicated staff with an office in City Hall tasked with community outreach and project development of the 15 streets.
    Los Angeles has more streets than anywhere else in America.  At 6,500 centerline miles, our streets make up about 13 percent of all the land in Los Angeles. Garcetti’s Great Streets Initiative envisions transforming this underutilized asset to support thriving neighborhoods. Great Streets activate the public realm, provide economic revitalization, increase public safety, enhance local culture, and build great communities.
    In the near-term, change will begin with temporary treatments, including plazas and parklets. In the long-term, permanent changes to curbs, street lighting, street trees, and street furniture will be made.
    The city budget for Fiscal Year 2014-15 contains $800,000 for the Great Streets Initiative. This money is primarily seed funding to begin planning and outreach for each of the 15 corridors. Some of the streets already have existing funding, either through grants or through current city work plans. Once a Great Street is designated, the Great Streets Studio, in collaboration with the respective council office and community stakeholders, can leverage these existing investments for additional grant funding and begin mapping out an implementation timeline.
    In Council District 15 Gaffey Street between 15th Street and the Interstate 110 freeway has been slated for improvements.

    FAC, LA County Jail releases inmate visitor log
    By Peter Scheer • December 5, 2013 • 1st Amendment NewsCoalition News
    SCHEER– As part of a legal settlement with the First Amendment Coalition, the Los Angeles County Jail has agreed to pull back its veil of secrecy on the identities of persons who visit incarcerated public officials.
    The jail’s prior policy had been to withhold—on grounds of privacy-protection–the names of visitors to all jail inmates. Going forward, the state’s biggest jail will apply a “presumption” of access when the requests (made under the Public Records Act) relate to public officials.
    FAC was represented in the litigation by Jean-Paul Jassy of Jassy Vick LLP in LA.
    The settlement grows out of a suit by FAC for access to the visitor logs for one of the LA jail’s high-profile inmates, John Noguez, the embattled LA County Assessor who faces multiple felony counts for bribery, embezzlement and related public corruption charges. Noguez was arrested in October 2012 following a political corruption probe into allegations that the Assessor’s Office lowered property tax bills in exchange for campaign contributions.
    FAC filed a public record request after being approached by journalists who had been denied access to the visitor logs. Lawyers for the jail said the records must be withheld to protect the privacy of Noguez’s visitors. FAC argued that Noguez’s visitors had no expectation of privacy in view of the gauntlet of security personnel and screenings that they had to pass through to reach Noguez.
    “It’s hard to imagine a less private interaction than a prison visit,” said FAC executive director Peter Scheer. “You have to pass through a metal detector; you’re subject to pat-down searches; you’re scrutinized by police and other security personnel at every step; and your movements are recorded on video.”
    “Privacy is the last word that comes to mind,” Scheer continued. “This is the legal equivalent of standing before a live, network TV camera in the middle of Times Square at rush hour.” Scheer said.
    So who came to visit Noguez? During the period October 2012 through February 2013 (the period covered by FAC’s record request), he received two visits from an aide to state Sen. Ronald Calderon. (See visitor log, embedded below). The San Gabriel Valley senator has been embroiled in allegations of political corruption following an FBI search of his office and the leak of an FBI affidavit discussing Calderon in connection with an ongoing criminal probe.
    Noguez remains in jail while trying to raise funds for his bail, which was set at $1 million. Noguez also continues to hold the position of County Assessor, a job to which he was elected (and from which he cannot be removed unless convicted of a crime). Moreover, he continues to draw his Assessor’s $200,000 salary.
    As part of the settlement with FAC, the LA County Jail agreed to adhere to the following policy:
    “The identity of visitors to inmates at the Los Angeles County Jails is information that falls under the California Public Records Act (CPRA). With regard to inmates who are also high-ranking public officials, as defined in Government Code section 82048 and also to include judicial officers and high-ranking officials of the federal government, given their unique status and the public’s interest, there is a rebuttable presumption that the identity of their visitors while incarcerated shall be made available to the public under the CPRA.” (See actual document, embedded below).
    FAC was represented in the litigation by Jean-Paul Jassy of Jassy Vick LLP in LA. In addition to disclosing the visitor logs and agreeing to change the jail’s policy, the county agreed to pay FAC $5,000 in legal fees.

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  • 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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