• 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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  • Court OKs Disclosure of Officers’ Names OIS Cases

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

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

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

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

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  • RL NEWS of the Week: June 3, 2014

    Dodson, Curtiss Middle School Students Graduate from Hippocrates Circle Program

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

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

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

     

    Harbor Community Clinic Receives $50,000 Grant Award

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

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

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  • RLn THEATER Calendar: May 30, 2014

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

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  • RLn COMMUNITY Calendar: May 30, 2014

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

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

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  • San Pedro Blues Man Returns to the Source

    By Andrea Serna, Arts and Culture Writer

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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  • College Bound Celebrated Accomplishments at Warner Grand Theatre

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

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

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

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

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