• Garcetti Meets with Peña Nieto

    Mayor Eric Garcetti met, March 4, with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto.

    The investment in Mexico’s ports in the northern region of the west coast to increase the number of cruises between Los Angeles and Baja was among the issues discussed by Garcetti and Peña Nieto. Each ship that calls at the Port of Los Angeles equals $1 million in economic impact for Southern California region.

    They also discussed increasing the number of flights from Mexican cities to Los Angeles’ airports.

    Garcetti is in Mexico City for his first trade mission as mayor, leading a delegation of government officials and business leaders to increase tourism, encourage companies to locate in Los Angeles and invest in local companies in Los Angeles.

    Also March 4: (more…)

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  • The Future Governor From Newhall, Calif.

    By Lionel Rolfe

    The obituary notice of a four-term California assemblyman who died at 86 the other day brought back memories of an odd and jarring time in my youth when he hired me to write a philosophy because he was then an aspiring politician.

    When I first met Jim Keysor in the late ‘60s, I was a reporter at the Newhall Signal. On hot summer days, the president of the Newhall Chamber of Commerce would stroll across the patio to gab with us in our modest cityroom.

    Keysor was the chamber’s president, but he struck me a little different than the usual kind who becomes president of the chamber of commerce. This isn’t to say he was a fellow member of the counter culture. He wasn’t. He was a Mormon, from a prominent Mormon family, and he was a Democrat of sorts.

    He had been born in Salt Lake City in 1927. What was most weird about him was that he was a Mormon and a Democrat. In those days, and still probably nowadays, Mormons in Newhall were a motley crew of political reactionaries, proud Republicans who like all proud Republicans looked down their noses on Democrats.

    One of the most prominent of them was the lieutenant governor, with the so appropriate name of John Harmer. Harmer was a charmless kind of man with an appalling reactionary political philosophy.  (more…)

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  • Panther Heart: Music for Meditating on Human Interconnectedness


    By Greggory Moore, Long Beach Columnist

    Panther Heart hasn’t been much like other bands in Long Beach.

    First there’s the size of their lineup and the numerous instruments in play. Then there are the ethereal, wordless, sprawling sound tapestries and the concepts behind them. Add in the fact that they create at such a deliberate pace that they’ve been at work for years on a project they’re only halfway through, rarely playing live more than a couple of times per year and Panther Heart is a bit of an musical outlier.

    It’s not a modus operandi that suits everyone, and it’s partly responsible for the band’s major lineup change. Of the nine members who saw through the multi-year completion of Parts 1 and 2 of the four-part Panther Heart Defeats the Dire Wolf, only drummer Ryan Serrano and founder and multi-instrumentalist Christopher Lyles remain. And with six new members in the fold, the time is ripe for putting Dire Wolf on the back burner and embarking on a new endeavor.

    But first, a bit of history.


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  • Why Businesses Everywhere Who Support Arizona’s SB 1062 Should Put “NO FAGGOTS” Signs in Their Windows

    My friend Jericho once told me he preferred racists who called him “nigger” to those who hid (perhaps even from themselves) behind a façade of tolerance and phrases like “Some of my best friends are Black.” His rationale was simple: If someone calls you “nigger,” you may not like him, but at least you know just where he stands.

    With Gov. Jan Brewer’s veto of SB 1062 last week, the question of religious cover for Arizona businesses to discriminate against homosexuals may be moot. But the sentiments that birthed the bill remain in play. The truth is, a lot of people simply do not like homosexuals—and not just in Arizona.

    That is their prerogative, of course. But the Civil Rights Act of 1964 decreed that certain types of business (labeled “places of public accommodation”) could not deny service on the basis of “race, color, religion, or national origin.”

    Sexual orientation was not specifically enumerated, but that should matter to us no more than the fact that the Constitution says only that all men—as opposed to women—are created equal. It was a different time, and contemporary contextualization of the spirit of the law mandates that homosexuals be protected from discrimination no less than women be seen as legally equal to men.

    So what’s a poor business owner to do if she doesn’t want to cater to homosexuals? Two little words: “NO FAGGOTS.”

    The First Amendment is a beautiful thing. It protects not only speech to which no-one objects, but also the unpopular opinion, even when expressed in terms generally regarded as vulgar or vile. You want to call someone “nigger,” “kike,” “spic,” “faggot”? That is your inalienable right.

    So, really, what better way to keep homosexuals from darkening your doorstep than sticking a “NO FAGGOTS” sign in the window? How many homosexuals do you think are going to want to contribute to your financial bottom line once you’ve made it so painfully clear that their kind is unwelcome?

    No, you can’t really enforce the sentiment behind such signage. If a same-sex couple walks into your restaurant, you’ll still have to hold your nose and serve them. I just think you’ll be a lot less likely to attract such undesirables in the first place. Plus, whatever anybody thinks of you, no-one will accuse you of being disingenuous. You don’t like the LGBT community, you don’t want its members coming around—why not say it in no uncertain terms?

    Disingenuousness is, of course, all over the pro-SB 1062 side of the debate. Proponents proclaim the bill as being about nothing more than religious freedom. One of the flaws in their argument is taking for granted that inherent to religious freedom is the right to run a business. But that beautiful First Amendment, which protects religious freedom as much as it does speech, doesn’t say anything about having a place of business. Come to think of it, having is business isn’t a central tenet of any religion, is it?

    But running a business is a matter of law, particularly when we’re talking about “places of public accommodation.” They are subject to a whole host of codes, rules, regulations. And discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation simply runs afoul of the whole system.

    SB 1062 was intended to change that in Arizona. For now, at least, it failed. But try the “NO FAGGOTS” thing. Yes, some people will shun you, but you’ll gain some admirers. The Westboro Baptist Church, for example. And in any case, if you’re genuinely trying to adhere to your religious beliefs, isn’t the end result more important than public perception?

    What’s that you say: you resent the insinuation that you would ever use a slur like “faggots”? Forgive me—I got confused. It’s just that you dislike gay people so much that you think God disapproves of your associating with them, and that government should allow discrimination against them in places of public accommodation, you know? I figured you might want to call a spade a spade. My mistake.

    But let us not forget the words of Christ: “Let your light so shine before others, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matt 5:16). If you don’t want to do business with homosexuals, don’t hide that feeling under a bushel of legalese. Let it shine!

    (The image above is a screen capture from the film Pleasantville playing upon the business signage common to the Jim Crow-era South.)

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  • ART

    March 2
    In the School of Art Student Art Galleries
    Curated by Daniela Ionescue, the Art and Fashion group exhibition continues with ideas presented in last semester’s Art and Fashion exhibition, specifically globalization, sustainability and fair trade March 2 through 6, at Cal State Long Beach’s Student Art Galleries in the Fine Arts Complex.
    Marcus Thibodeau displays printed utilizing a variety of materials. Arezoo Bharthania’s paintings investigate the idea of inside and outside as they relate to life in Iran, memory, and displacement. Justin Smith and Michael Rollins display process-based abstract paintings referencing structural objects and frequencies.
    Details: School of Art website
    Venue: CSULB
    Location: 1250 Bellflower Blvd., Long Beach (more…)

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    Feb. 28
    Top Dog/Underdog
    Cal State Dominguez Hills Theatre and Danced Department has produced a Topdog/Underdog, a character study of two black men, at 8 p.m. Feb. 27 and 28, March 1, 7 and 8, and at 2 p.m. March 2 and 9, at its Edison Theatre.

    Topdog/Underdog is a powerful play written by African American playwright and screenwriter Suzan-Lori Parks and directed by assistant professor of theatre arts Sharrell Luckett.

    In the play, Parks provides an intense view into the lives and relationship of two brothers, as they attempt to survive a difficult past and deceive their way into dominance over the other.

    Their father named the brothers Lincoln and Booth…as a prank. Now grown men, their names and their histories haunt them. Trapped by their poverty, family history of abandonment, and ominously prophetic names, these two black men find themselves locked in a dangerous game of deception, fighting over which one’s the player and which one’s the played in this darkly passionate story about family grievances, racism, deep wounds and healing.

    Topdog/Underdog considers nothing less than the existential traps of being African American and male in the United States, the masks that wear the men as well as vice versa. (more…)

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    Feb. 28
    Black History Month Reading
    Thandisizwe Chimurenga, freelance journalist and contributor to several local and national Black media outlets, will read from her soon-to-be-published book No Doubt: The Murder(s) of Oscar Grant, at 7 p.m. Feb. 28, at Solidarity Hall in Los Angeles.
    Oscar Grant was the subject of the 2013 hit film, Fruitvale Station, produced by Academy Award-winning actor Forest Whitaker. Chimurenga provides an eyewitness account of the trial of Grant’s killer, white transit police officer Johannes Mehserle, and connects the systematic state sanctioned violence that exists against young Black males nationally with Grant’s
    The program, sponsored by Radical Women and the Freedom Socialist Party, is disabled accessible and refreshments will be served for a small donation.
    Details: (323)732-6416; www.socialism.com
    Venue: Solidarity Hall
    2122 W. Jefferson Blvd., Los Angeles (more…)

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    Feb. 28
    Janet Klein & Her Parlor Boys
    Experience an amazing night of obscure, naughty and lovely tunes from the 1910s – 1930s, starting at 8 p.m. Feb. 28, at the Grand Annex in San Pedro.
    Stylish chanteuse, Klein and her band, The Parlor Boys, treat you to spirited renditions of Tin Pan Alley, early hot jazz, vaudeville, Yiddish novelty numbers, ragtime and other vintage-style tunes.
    General admission is $20 in advance and $25 at the door.
    Details: Tickets
    Venue: Grand Annex
    Location: 434 W. 6th St., San Pedro (more…)

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  • The Great March for Climate Action

    Join in as 1,000s rally to kick off the largest Climate March in U.S. history, starting at 9 p.m. at the Wilmington Waterfront Park to USC. There also is a local 2-mile march option.

    Details: (310) 971-8280; www.climatemarch.org
    Venue: Wilmington Waterfront Park
    Location: near Harry Bridges and C streets

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  • LB Mayoral Debate

    The YES WE CAN Democratic Club will be hosting a mayoral debate Feb. 28 at the First Congregational Church in Long Beach

    Robert Garcia, Bonnie Lowenthal, Doug Otto, Gerrie Schipske and Jana Shields will have the opportunity to explain to the public why they should be elected mayor of Long Beach.

    The debate is free but seating is limited.  Long Beach residents are encouraged to reserve seats by visiting www.ywcdc.comand clicking on the Mayoral Debate banner. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and debate begins at 7 p.m.

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