• RLn ANNOUNCEMENTS: Sept. 24, 2014

    Sept. 27
    National Public Lands Day
    Palos Verdes Peninsula Land Conservancy invites you to National Public Lands Day, from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Sept. 27, at White Point Nature Preserve.
    Help plant and water native plants, repair garden trails and signage and clean native plants seeds.
    Details: (310) 541-7613; www.pvplc.org
    Venue: White Point Nature Preserve
    Location:  1600 W. Paseo del Mar, San Pedro
    Sept. 27
    The Healing Exchange
    The Healing Exchange is a benefit to raise funds for children with cancer, from 1 to 5 p.m. Sept. 26 at Little Rec Park, in Long Beach
    Venue: Little Rec Park
    Location: 4900 E.7th St., Long Beach (more…)

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  • POLA Fire Contained, Smoke Impacts Linger

    Photos by Betty Guevara

    By Zamná Ávila, Assistant Editor
    Officials said that the origin and cause of the Sept. 22 Port of Los Angeles fire on Berths 177 and 179, but some damage is yet to be determined.

    “We are still way too early to determine any type of estimate,” said Los Angeles Fire Department spokesman, Capt. Jaime Moore.

    The good news was that no one was injured during the fire.

    Arson investigators determined that workers in the area were doing a soldering operation. The welding caused the fire. The fire spread because of timber impregnated with creosote. The wharf was about 50 by 800 feet. (more…)

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  • RL NEWS Updates: Sept. 22, 2014

    LBPD Needs Help in Fatal Hit-and-Run
    LONG BEACH — The Long Beach Police Department is still looking for the public’s help with information relating to a fatal hit-and-run collision that took place, at about 12:11 a.m. Sept. 13, near Sprint Street and Studebaker Road.
    The victim, 20-year-old Daniel Gomez of Long Beach, was struck by a vehicle as he attempted to cross Spring Street.
    Through their investigation, detectives were able to determine that the vehicle involved in the collision is a 2011-2014 silver metallic Honda Fit.
    As a result of the collision, the vehicle may have sustained damage to the front driver’s side consisting of dents to the front bumper and hood, a broken driver’s side head lamp, a broken or missing driver’s side mirror housing and possibly a broken windshield.
    Anyone with information regarding the identity of the driver or who recognizes the vehicle description is urged to come forward and call (562) 570-7355 or visit www.lacrimestoppers.org. (more…)

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  • Twelfth Night Is One Laugh After Another

    By John Farrell

    Twelfth Night is probably Shakespeare’s funniest play.

    Maybe that is because, unlike his other comedies, it is really about nothing in particular.

    It is just a simple and wholly improbable situation, a mysterious island nation that doesn’t (and pretty well couldn’t) exist, and an awful lot of jokes and comic situations. The situations have more crotch grabbing and hip-thrusting than you might expect.

    (If you read up on Shakespeare you’ll discover that that kind of comedy was his forte: only in modern productions has it been cut back because Shakespeare has become, well, sacred.)

    What You Will is the play’s secondary title, and that means “Have at You” is the Elizabethan vernacular. Gregory Cohen directs the new production at Long Beach Playhouse’s Studio Theatre which opened Sept. 6, and he takes that title — pardon us — seriously. This is as fast-paced and hilarious as Twelfth Night gets, with one joke, one funny sequence, one naughty sequence, piled on top of another, fast-paced, direct and effective, with so many laughs the audience never knew when to stop laughing.

    The story is about Viola, (Paige Sherman,) a young woman whose ship is wrecked. Her identical twin brother probably drowned. She comes ashore in Illyria and very soon decides to masquerade as a man and marry the Duke, Orsino (Mikel Wills).

    She assumes the identity of Cesario, and becomes the go-between for Orsino and his love, Olivia (Ani Maderosian). Olivia, of course, falls for Cesario too.

    Along the way Viola has to deal with that and Olivia’s uncle Sir Toby Belch (Dean Figone as a bigger-than-life drunk) and Sir Andrew Aguecheek, (the very mousy, slightly gay and over-the-top hilarious Leigh Hayes).

    And then, there is Malvolio (John Byrd), a dour character who you know will have the wool firmly pulled over his head by Maria (Loren McJannett-Taylor). There are many ways to analyze this comedy, but who cares? Leave analysis for Freudians and enjoy the very obvious sexual jokes, like the yellow stockings Malvolio dons, along with a huge cod-piece, when he thinks he gets a love letter from Olivia. Or the way Viola inflames Olivia’s love. (Is she a he or a she in Olivia’s mind?)

    The only slightly sane one in the character mix is the court jester Feste (Alex Shewchuk). Yes, he is sane and sometimes even sensible, but he has a great time making everyone else the butt of his jokes and their own lack of common sense. He has a great deal of fun getting Sir Toby and Sir Andrew in a fight with Antonio (Ramon Ochoa), the long lost brother, and even more fun when Malvolio is arrested for madness. Well, yes, he is guilty, sort of, but in this crowd who isn’t?

    There is real love here, but it is trumped or at least equaled by the physical lust everyone seems to have.

    “If music is the food of love,” as the play says in its first line, it’s tunefulness is soon forgotten (as are the frequent appearances of Amanda Hillig and Steven Shane as musicians whose services are needed less and less as the evening proceeds) as the frenzy increases. Only in the play’s last song, a titillating tale of man’s sexual life, is the music restored.

    From Sir Andrew’s entrance through the audience to Malvolio’s scream exit, return and second exit, the audience laughed and enjoyed Shakespeare’s most inspired nonsense. You’ll have a great time, too, with this Shakespearean foolishness.

    Tickets are $24, $21 for seniors, $12 for students. Performances are Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m., Sundays at 2 p.m. through Oct. 4.

    Details: (562) 230-0564www.lbplayhouse.org
    Venue: Long Beach Playhouse Studio Theatre
    Location: 5021 E. Anaheim St., Long Beach


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  • Richard III: A Challenge Met

    By John Farrell

    Long Beach Shakespeare Company may be small. Its Richard Goad Theatre up on Atlantic in north Long Beach is really a converted storefront, with parking for the actors in back and a dressing room upstairs. It seats perhaps seventy when over-full.

    But Long Beach Shakespeare Company’s artistic heart is large, ambitious, seeking to produce, even in its humble circumstances, full versions of some of the Bard of Avon’s most critically acclaimed works. A few months ago it was King Lear, which featured a full and effective cast in one of the most difficult of Shakespeare’s tragedies.

    This month they did something a little less daunting, that great melodrama Richard III, memorable from several film portrayals and the relatively recent news that that king’s remains, lost when he was defeated at Bosworth field hundreds of years ago at the end of the War of Roses, had been found and re-interred in York Cathedral, as befitted a king who was on the wrong end of Tudor history.

    Richard III is not history. Shakespeare lived in a Tudor world and his story is based on the Tudor view of matters: Richard was a hunchback and a murderer who had everyone close to him killed and married the wife of a man, who he had murdered. He is evil, even a little slimy, and he is willing to tell the audience directly what he is planning and doing, how he intends to become king despite his deformity and how he intends to have love (or at least sex) even though he is unsightly. (more…)

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  • Yoga Revolution Comes to Long Beach

    By: Melina Paris Music Columnist

    Novices and yogis took over Bixby Park this past month, during Long Beach’s first Mantra Mela, a Yoga and Kirtan Festival.

    The name Mantra Mela essentially means a chanting festival and kirtan is the music. However, much more was included in this festival for the rapidly growing community of yoga devotees in town.

    Mantra Mela included yoga classes at three different stations throughout the day, an assortment of vegan, vegetarian and raw foods. There was a healing village with practitioners from Long Beach’s Sacred Roots Holistic Spa offering in part, massage, cupping and reiki and Tibetan sound healing.  A variety of vendors were on hand, including Natural Holistic Baby, The Peace Corps and book booths. Workshops happened throughout the day on ayurveda, “Art of Happiness.” There was also a Krsna Lounge with music from a mix of traditional kirtan instruments like drums, sitar, karatalas, small Indian hand cymbals and harmonium, a pump powered reed organ.

    Dharma Shakti, the owner of Yogalution Movement and Ayurveda,  produced the festival. A dedicated community servant and up and coming spiritual leader, Dharma initiated Long Beach’s Yoga on the Bluff. She has a large following of yoga practitioners who attend her free classes on the bluff.Up to 250 people gather on weekends for her classes. Dharma’s mission is to help Long Beach recognize what it has in its own community andput yoga on the map in a big way.

    “Yoga on the Bluff has always been my main vehicle and I think it will always remain my main vehicle somehow to promote that,” Dharma says. “For the longest time, people have always had to drive into Los Angeles when they want to take advanced yoga classes or see great instructors.” (more…)

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  • Was That A Glacier I Froze Next To?

    By Lionel Rolfe

    A half century or so ago, I took a trip to the top of the Sierra, where I made the acquaintance of the fragile land of delicate meadows and lakes and dramatic ice fields and glaciers just below the jagged peaks that form the spine of the Sierra.

    As I recollected my adventure, it became more and more like a dream, hyper-realistic, a place I know I could never really return to.

    There is no Trans Sierra Highway that crosses the John Muir trail along the spine of peaks anchored in the south by Mt. Whitney and in the north by Yosemite. Much of that pristine land would be destroyed if there were such a road. Some years back, the freeway bureaucracy wanted to build such a road, but luckily, wiser heads prevailed.

    The only way to get there is to hike in, carrying your sleeping bag and provisions. Physically I am no longer up to such a task and that means I will never see God’s country again, which makes me sad.

    But in my mind, there is one moment I can not lose. It was the moment I stood next to a glacier at the top of the Sierra.  (more…)

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  • iPad Scandal Continues to Implode

    By Zamná Ávila, Assistant Editor

    Strained relationships with the school board, an acrimonious relationship with the teachers union — to say the least — and a blowing scandal surrounding a pet project may be the end of Superintendent John Deasy’s tenure with the Los Angeles Unified School District.

    The negative attention the $1.3 million project, which aimed to give an “iPad for every student, teacher and administrator in the district,” has the superintendent considering whether to step down from his position.

    Tensions with the school board recently reached an impasse, Sept. 10, when Deasy decided to take off his gloves and file a public records request seeking emails and other documents involving board members, two people and 18 technology companies in a two-and-half-year period, scrutinizing their ethical relationships. The public records act requests target board members Steve Zimmer, Monica Garcia, Bennett Kayser and Tamar Galatzan. The companies include Google, Hewlett-Packard, Lenovo, McGraw-Hill and Microsoft, among others. An Aug. 28 request asked the same from board President Richard Vladovic and Board Member Monica Ratliff. In essence, he may be trying to prove that the board may be “calling the kettle black.” (more…)

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  • Cantinflas Shows Activism, Humanity, Inspiration of Mexico Icon

    By Cesar Arredondo, Guest Columnist

    Mario Moreno, “Cantinflas,” is arguably the greatest comedic actor to come out of the Spanish-speaking world.

    Now a new film, simply titled, Cantinflas, is running at the Cinemark at the Pike in Long Beach. The film paints a multilayered picture of Moreno. It humanizes the legend and highlights little known aspects of Moreno’s life as a film producer, screenwriter, businessman, labor activist and husband.

    Cantinflas, premiered this past August  nationwide with a limited release in U.S. cities with large Latino populations. The film is expected to open in Mexico later this month but it already has been selected as that country’s entry for the Oscar in the best foreign language film.

    Moreno was already a huge star in his homeland by the time he was introduced to American audiences with the acclaimed 1956 film Around the World in 80 Days, based on Jules Verne’s classic novel of the same title. Moreno plays the lovable Passepartout.

    Cantinflas, the movie doesn’t just aim to wring laughs from Moreno’s old material but attempts to reflect Moreno’s talent, revealing just why he was admired by the likes of Charlie Chaplin, Elizabeth Taylor and others. Moreno’s light was bright enough to eclipse Marlon Brando for a Golden Globe in 1956 for Around the World in 80 Days. The film went on to win five Oscars, including best picture. (more…)

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  • Hot Weather, a Shortage of a Great Vision

    By James Preston Allen, Publisher

    These days, even sitting at your computer can leave you drenched with sweat.

    It is exactly at times like these that I wonder why we have not lined our streets with a forest of shade giving trees, open public pools at many of our city parks, or finally renovate and open the Gaffey Street pool to give relief for neighborhood children.

    The long and the short explanation of these longings is that we have hobbled ourselves with our philanthropic donation mentality and short term fixes in response to budget deficits. We also suffer from lack of a grand vision of what we can expect living in one of the largest cities in the world. After all, we are all a part of this sprawling city and region known as Los Angeles.

    Our own “village mentality” restricts us from envisioning a more sustainable, economically secure and livable city. And, government officials continually reminds us that the city or the state lack the resources for this or that project. Meanwhile, other government entities spends a half billion dollars on a single new courthouse or fritter away hundreds of millions on dysfunctional software programs. (more…)

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