• Bucket of Blood

    Remembering Liberty Hill and the Irony of it all

    James Preston Allen, Publisher

    Each year, on the morning of July 4th at an often overlooked stone monument a few hundred feet off Harbor Boulevard on Fifth Street in San Pedro, a handful of citizens gather to commemorate the 1923 incident at Liberty Hill.  You see, it was 91 years ago during a waterfront strike that the notorious International Workers of the World, or Wobblies as they were generally known, called for a maritime strike in San Pedro.

    It was effective in that 90 ships were backed up at anchor as far as you could see. The shipping bosses called on the Los Angeles Police Department to help break the strike. The department willingly complied, rounding up and jailing union activists for violating “criminal syndicalism” laws or for simply holding an International Workers of the World union book.

    In those times, it was a criminal offense to organize for better working conditions or publicly promote an eight hour work day, advocate for child labor laws and many more ideals once labeled “radical” in an ardently anti-union city. These basic labor laws are now considered commonplace.

    The incident that perhaps became better known than the strike that precipitated it involved progressive activist and noted American author of “The Jungle,” Upton Sinclair came to San Pedro in support of the striking dock workers. Los Angeles Mayor George Cryer threatened Sinclaire with arrest if he spoke at the well publicized rally atop a small hill near Beacon Street. (more…)

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  • RLn NEWS of Week

    New Board Officers and Committee Chairs Appointed!

    SAN PEDRO — At the July 8, 2014 board and stakeholder meeting the new Central San Pedro Neighborhood Council Board was seated and took the oath of office.  The following officers and committee chairs were appointed:

    Executive Board 

    • President – James Preston Allen
    • Vice President – Debbie Rouser
    • Secretary – Khixaan Obioma-Sakhu
    • Treasurer – Danielle Sandoval
    • Outreach and Communications Officer – Donald Galaz

    Committee Chairs

    • Port Relations Committee – Frank Anderson
    • Land Use Planning & Public Works – Sue Castillo
    • Bylaws Committee – Not yet appointed
    • CD15 Issues Committee – Not yet appointed
    • Finance Committee – Chaired by the new Treasurer
    • Homelessness Ad Hoc Committee – Not yet appointed

    (more…)

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  • Woody Guthrie is Still Singin’

    By John Farrell

    The Hollywood Fringe Festival is over for a year and no one could see everything.

    But there were moments, and the best, from our point of view, was Hard Travelin’ with Woody Guthrie, a one-man show written and directed by Randy Noojin that was intimate, as simple as the music of American icon Guthrie and a moving tribute to his vital concern with the American working man, a concern that was built during the Dust Bowl, 80 years before the erstwhile revolution of the 99 percent.

    (more…)

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  • How Meeting Susan Anspach Completed The Circle

    Goodnight moon.

    Goodnight room.
    Goodnight Lionel in the room.

    —Susan Anspach

     

    I met her at a Thanksgiving party in 2012. Karen Kaye, the sister of avant garde filmmaker Stanton Kaye, had been throwing the parties for years at her Echo Park home.

    Back in 1971, Stan made a film called Brandy in the Wilderness, which created a large stir among bohemians in the Hollywood area. The bohemian scene was particularly vibrant around Los Angeles City College and a lot of us who gathered at Karen’s were the core of Hollywood bohemianism. Sometimes new faces would appear. I liked going to Karen’s parties because many of the people who went there were some of the greatest eccentrics of the era.

    That’s how I met Susan Anspach. (more…)

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  • RLn ANNOUNCEMENTS: June 30, 2014

    July 1
    LB City Council Votes on Civic Center
    The Long Beach City Council will consider whether to move forward on building a new Civic Center, which includes the Main Library and City Hall, at its July 1 meeting.
    Mayor Bob Foster and other council member, who are retiring, asked for the item to be included in the meeting to evaluate two proposals for the project. It is unlikely work will be done before July 15, when the new council takes office.
    Proponents of the new civic center would like private companies to have the property, build and maintain all of the facilities including the public portions, then lease the city hall and library back to the city for no more than the $12.6 million a year.
    Parking and Lincoln Park, which is dedicated public space in perpetuity, would have to be part of any project.
    As of present, Foster and other council members have ignored requests to consider retrofit and the cost of the civic center. Mayor-elect Robert Garcia seems to share the interest in getting a new Civic Center. City Hall was built in the late 70s.
    The city council also will consider receiving information and providing directions to staff as to the Southeast Area Development and Improvement Plan, as well as a resolution allowing for the initiation of a consolidated coastal development permit in connection with the Los Cerritos wetlands and Synergy Oil Field on 2nd Street, near Pacific Coast Highway.
    Details: (562) 570-6555
    Venue: Long Beach City Hall
    Location: 333 W. Ocean Blvd., Long Beach (more…)

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  • Shakespeare is Still Going Strong

    By John Farrell

    It’s time for Shakespeare.

    For the 17th season Shakespeare by the Sea is presenting plays by the bard of Avon at Point Fermin Park for the next few weeks before going on tour to more than 20 sites around Southern California and then returning for their final performances in San Pedro.

    The season opened with A Midsummer Night’s Dream and this past week with Hamlet. On June 28 at 8 p.m. there will be a performance of Midsummer Hamlet will trod the boards (taken down every night and re-constructed the next evening) July 3 and 5. All performances are free. On Aug. 15 the tour returns to San Pedro for the final performance of Hamlet. The final performance of Midsummer is Aug.16. Performances from Beverly Hills to South Pasadena, from Lakewood to Newport Beach, are scheduled.

    Midsummer opened the Shakespeare by the Sea festival June 12 in a production that took a slightly different tack, with Bottom, sitting in the audience and members of the cast watching as the play proceeds. Bottom is played by the play’s director Patrick Vest, and he has crafted a more-than-workmanlike version, with lots of role doubling. Kathryn Farren plays Hippolyta and Titania, B.J. Allman Oberon and Theseus. G. Anthony Joseph is both Puck, the mischievous sprite and Philostrate, Theseus’ servant. Company veteran Andy Kallok is Egeus and in a brief but hilarious turn also plays Mustardseed as a gruff and unwilling participant. Demetrius is Garret Replogle, Lysander is Robert McHalffey, Hermia is Olivia Schlueter-Corey and Helena is Bridget Garwood.

    Shakespeare by the Sea decided to go with of the Bard’s est this summer. There is no play that ranks higher in the Shakespearean canon than Hamlet. But Hamlet is a huge play, more than four hours when every line and scene is included, and this is a much briefer version, including all the well-known soliloquies and action, but bigger on sword-fights than poetry. Cylan Brown is a seemingly very young Hamlet, caught in the web of his father’s death, and the remarriage of his uncle Claudius (Jay Castle) to his mother Gertrude (Kristina Teves). There is a lot of sexual attraction between the two and that makes Hamlet even more miserable.

    Horatio, Hamlet’s best friend (B.J. Allman) and Ophelia (the very attractive Olivia Delgado) try to make Hamlet happy, but he cannot get over what may have happened. And, Polonius (Charles M. Howell) doesn’t make things better. The play ends with Hamlet, Gertrude, Ophelia and Claudius all dead, but it seems a bit too fast for all that.

    Shakespeare by the Sea has a few more weeks in San Pedro, then goes on tour and returns to Point Fermin Park on Aug.15 and 16 for the end of their run.

    Details: (310) 217-7596www.shakespearebythesea.org
    Venue: Point Fermin Park
    Location: 807 Paseo del Mar, San Pedro

     

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  • Feuer Announces Renewed Neighborhood Prosecutor Efforts

    By James Preston Allen, Publisher

    Watching City Attorney Mike Feuer explain his goals for the Neighborhood Prosecutor program was in sharp contrast compared to the hubris of what I remember from former City Attorney Carmen Trutanich.

    The difference being like a cat in an antique store versus a bull in a china shop. Feuer, is both a politician and a lawyer and doesn’t apologize for being either.  His quaint, slightly old fashion, even liberal, ideal that the law should work for the common citizen and not just as a cudgel to protect the rich and powerful, was refreshing.

    Then, I was struck by the oddly named, “Neighborhood Prosecutors,”  the legal advocates that Feuer is in process of dispatching to the city’s 16 police divisions, including Harbor Division. This inherited title could be misinterpreted in one of several ways other than what it’s supposed to mean.

    What does this neighborhood prosecutor do exactly? Everything from nuisance abatement on slumlords to building code enforcement, and from settling neighbor complaints on gas powered leaf blowers to animal control problems. Do you have a quality of life issue? Call the neighborhood prosecutor at your local police station.

    They really should be called “legal advocates” though. Their job mostly involves dispute resolution, coordination of city services to promote community problem solving, and assistance for the city so that it may live up to its promise of providing a safe and secure community, as opposed to prosecuting anyone. Or are they just carrying out the second half of the pledge, “to protect and to serve,” something that Los Angeles Police Department Chief Charlie Beck has been promising in the police departments “community based policing” policy this past five years? (more…)

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  • RL NEWS Weekly Update

    Three Rescued in Human Trafficking Operation

    LONG BEACH — Two children and a woman were rescued this past weekend in Long Beach thanks to Operation Cross Country, a four-day humane trafficking sweep. Three people were arrested in connection to human trafficking, three were arrested for pimping and 54 people were arrested for prostitution or drug related offenses.

    The Long Beach Police Department partook in the FBI headed initiative, in which 106 cites were involved, 168 children were rescued and 281 pimps were arrested.

    Anyone with information can call (562) 570-7219 or visit www.LACrimeStoppers.org.

     

    Assembly Policy Panel OKs Response Plan To Panama Threat

    SACRAMENTO – On June 24, an export-promotion and financing plan that passed its policy review on a bipartisan vote of Senate Bill 511 in the California Senate. (more…)

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  • Is Long Beach Sufficiently Self-Scrutinizing When It Comes to Police Use of Force?

    During the last few years, while the City of Long Beach has touted record-setting lows in crime, the Long Beach Police Department has been under fire for a number of high-profile accusations of excessive force.

    But according to the civic bodies responsible for investigating such accusations, the City finds only about 1% of complaints as necessitating officer training or discipline. (more…)

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  • Museum of Latin American Art Announces Major Change

    By Andrea Serna, Arts and Culture Writer

    Since its inception in 1996, the Museum of Latin American Art, MOLAA, has worked under the constrictions of a mission statement that focused on the work of artists who have lived and worked in Latin America post 1945.

    The question of what is Latin American art, and who falls under the definition has plagued the museum almost from the start. President and CEO Stuart Ashman, who came to the museum in 2011, led the efforts to clarify the mission of the museum.

    At the April meeting of MOLAA’s board of directors, a resolution unanimously passed that clarified the definition of Latin American art to include Chicano art and art created by people of Latin American descent who have lived exclusively in the United States.

    “I am very pleased that the Board of Directors of the Museum of Latin American Art took this important step,” Ashman said. “In addition to acknowledging the Latino artists in our region, this action will expand the museum’s ability to serve the community and maintain its relevance to an even larger audience”.

    Founder Robert Gumbiner fell in love with Latin American art several decades before the medium was popular. His early collection was displayed in the Long Beach offices of Family Health Plan, the health maintenance organization that he founded. Gumbiner’s belief was that art had the power to heal the body and elevate the soul. He was also a man who loved a bargain and art from Latin America was an affordable investment when he began his collection.

    Throughout the years the value of Latin American art increased and the museum he founded attracted artists and visitors from all of the United States, Latin America and beyond.

    Long Beach photographer D.W. Gastélum serves on the advisory board at The Art Exchange, a Long Beach nonprofit that supports working artists and arts education. Gastélum expressed pleasure in the broadening of the mission statement.

    “I see it as policy catching up with reality,” Gastélum said. “I agree with a statement by Latin Jazz musician Otmaro Ruiz, who said, ‘Latin America starts here (Los Angeles) and goes to Patagonia.’ There are a lot of different styles and experiences that go into making Latin American Art.”

    “Some of us think that people who lived and worked in the part of the U.S. that fell under the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, which was not that long ago, are Latin Americans and always have been. I think it is a positive step for MOLAA and I am looking forward to seeing additional dynamic exhibits there.”

    Young local Latino artists who visit the museum find inspiration from the great works on display. Agustín Bejarano of Cuba, Fernando Botero of Colombia and José Gurvich of Uruguay all have a place in the permanent collection. But students and artists seeking the work of members of the Chicano art movement have been frustrated by their exclusion from the walls of the museum.

    These artists did not qualify for exhibition under the constraints of the previous mission statement.
    Long Beach Chicano artist, Steven Amado, who works under the name Chatismo, has a long history with the museum. He began his association with MOLAA as an intern in high school; now he is an educator at Jordan High School in Long Beach.

    “When it first opened its doors back in 1996 all of the artists in the Los Angeles area were excited to have Latino Art being displayed in their local community,” Amado said. “We were astonished and grateful. After the excitement, we then realized that we had no shot at ever exhibiting at such a grand venue.

    We had heard about the policy that only Latino artist living outside of the United States were allowed to exhibit. MOLAA has always been a great support and inspiration to many visual artists in southern California. It would be a dream come true to finally be able to display art in the museum here in the City of Long Beach, right in our back yard.”

    In 2011 a crack was opened in the door to the art movement. The Getty Museum funded Pacific Standard Time. The sweeping collaboration of over 60 cultural organizations, Pacific Standard Time told the story of the birth of the Los Angeles art scene and how it became a major new force. MOLAA was given the opportunity to represent Latino artists in Los Angeles.

    For the first time MOLAA opened its arms to embrace this branch of the family. The exhibition Mex/LA featured the work of many Chicano artists, including Rudy Cuéllar, founding member of the Sacramento-based artist collective the Royal Chicano Air Force, Andy Zermaño, Yolanda López, John Valadez and Harry Gamboa Jr. The first piece of artwork that visitors encountered when they came to see Mex/LA was Gypsy Rose, the famous lowrider car by Jesse Valadez Sr. that was installed in MOLAA’s lobby.

    The museum can now officially open its doors to the entire Latino community – those living in their native countries, the United States or abroad. It is already planning its first Biennial of Latin(o) American Art in 2016 in conjunction with MOLAA’s 20th anniversary. This exhibit will bring 30 artists from the United States, Latin America and elsewhere and will be selected by three guest curators.

    Amado confirms his pleasure at the recognition of his community of artists.
    “I think it’s a great moment in history for the museum,” said Amado. “A time for celebration and a great accomplishment for today’s modern Chicano arts movement. Artists living in the United States of Latino descent can now strive for bigger better things and hope to be exhibited at MOLAA. It’s about time; we can dream big now.”

    Andrea Serna was on staff at the Museum of Latin American Art from 2000 to 2008, where she worked as the membership marketing manager.

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