• RL NEWS update: Aug. 27, 2014

    Long Beach Technology Services Director Retires
    LONG BEACH — Curtis Tani, director of the Long Beach Department of Technology Services, recently announced his plans to retire, effective Sept.12, 2014.
    Curtis has been director since 2004. Prior to that time he was acting director and also customer services manager for Technology Services, and assistant to the city manager. He began his career with Long Beach in 1990 as a senior auditor in the city auditor’s office.
    Under his leadership, Long Beach modernized information systems and technology infrastructure, leveraged cloud technology, deployed virtualized servers and personal computers, expanded fiber optic and wireless network technologies, migrated to internet-based phone technology, implemented smartphone apps, deployed Wi-Fi at city facilities, launched the Citizen Technology Advisory Committee, increased the use of mobile computing technologies, expanded its video surveillance camera network and implemented disaster recovery capabilities.
    Long Beach has been named a Top Ten Digital City in the nation the past three years by the Center for Digital Government, recognizing the city’s commitment to innovative and effective use of technology to enhance City operations and improve the customer experience.
    Long Beach will conduct a national search for the next director of Technology Services. In the interim, City Manager Pat West announced he will appoint Chris Wilding as acting director of Technology Services upon Tani’s retirement. (more…)

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  • Lady of Shalott: A Theatrical Experience Not To Be Missed

    By John Farrell

    The Lady of Shalott is the latest production from Aaron Ganz and his new theater group in San Pedro, Theatre Elysium San Pedro Rep.

    It was obvious from the moment you stepped into the small theater that this was going to be much more than just a play.

    The premises on Seventh St. had been transformed into a small museum of memorabilia and relics from The Lady of Shalott, Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s 1842 poem of a legend of King Arthur.

    Before the play begins the audience is allowed in the theater. The poem inspired many artists in the Victorian era. John William Waterhouse, the painter, is perhaps the best known. His paintings are on the simple brick wall, on a suit of armor, King Arthur’s sword in its stone and a written version of the poem on foolscap. But that poem, as dramatic as it is, is no play. It took Ganz’ extraordinary imagination and the adapting skills of David Mancini — listed as dramaturge as well as adapter — to turn the story from its focus on the Lady to a retelling of the Arthurian legend.

    Ganz and Mancini used Tennyson’s Idylls of the King, T. H. White’s The Once and Future King and even a little Monty Python and the Holy Grail and Shakespeare to flesh out the story.

    Lady of Shalott is a shimmering, exciting, sometimes bewildering and always exalting celebration of Arthurian legend. Its action, which begins and ends with the Lady in White of Tennyson’s iconic poem and stretches metaphorically from the beginning of the legend to it’s bitter end.  Geographically, in the theater from the round table in the back (where member’s of the audience occasionally sit and people walking down the alley stand and look) to every nook and cranny inside, is a mixture of rock songs, modern dance, violent and frightening sword play and murder.

    By itself The Lady of Shalott isn’t a drama. Ganz took the four-part poem and expanded it to a story that invokes the Arthurian legend, a legend of love and honor and betrayal. A story that responds to dancing, to music and to violence.

    The play doesn’t quite begin: instead it just starts flowing, the audience moving and flowing with it from room to room. First there is Paris Langle, the one contemporary character in this production, dressed in black and mourning over the art. From there the action flows back and forth, with the audience, some seated (temporarily) some standing, getting a view of the dancing and singing and acting, being treated by the actors as participants dancing at the wedding feast, sitting at the Round Table and feeling a little insecure as the fabulous sword-fights range only a few feet away. There are two intermissions, announced only by the lights coming up and the actor’s retreating. This isn’t a new way of seeing theater (Ganz did it in his last production, Wouldn’t It Be Lovely,) but it does require a new mindset. You can’t just sit in your comfy plush seat and sleep the evening away. You have to keep moving and watch the actors for cues to where the action is going to be.

    Cassandra Ambe is the white-clad Lady, trying hard not to be interested in the world that flows by her window, which, because of the curse, she can only watch in a mirror. But when she spies Sir Launcelot (Sam Fleming), the handsome and upright flower of the knights, she begins to want to see things herself. King Arthur (William Reinbold) wants to begin an era of peace and justice, though he has to explain why he is king to a youngster with democratic leanings. He does fall in love at once with the Guinevere (the delightful and delicious Jamie Ann Burke) but so does Lancelot. And when Nimue, the Lady of the Lake, (Dorrie Braun) introduces Arthur’s illegitimate son Mordred (his name sounds like death and Chris Lang looks the part) the end is inevitable.

    The music is eclectic, everything from rocks songs which the audience sings, including the Beatles’ “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” and not only Dance Choreographer Laura Linda Bradley and Fight Choreographers Kevin Moran and Danielle Burlington deserve kudos. How many times have you had a great appreciation for the lighting? It was designed by John Delfino. San Pedro Rep can be hot on these summer nights, so wear cool clothing and be prepared to experience one of the most exciting nights of theater anywhere.

    Tickets are $25 and $20, for students. Performances are Thursdays through Saturdays at 7 p.m. and Sundays at 3 p.m. through Sept. 21. There aren’t any performances Aug. 28 through 31.

    Details: (424) 264-5747www.sanpedrorep.org

    Venue: T.E. San Pedro Rep Theatre

    Location: 331 W. 7th St., San Pedro

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  • RLn THEATER Listings: Aug. 25, 2014

    Sept. 5
    Pocho in the House
    Pocho in the House will be performed at 8:30 p.m., Sept. 5 through Sept. 7 at the Found Theatre in Long Beach.
    The show usess humor to break down stereotypes and promote cross-cultural understanding. It is a one-man show about growing up as a Mexican-American in California.
    Tickets are $15.
    Details: (562) 433-3363; foundtheatre.org
    Venue: Found Theatre
    Location: 599 Long Beach Blvd., Long Beach

    Sept. 12
    Long Beach QFilm Festival
    Tickets for the 2014 Long Beach QFilm Festival are on sale now.
    The weekend will open at the Art Theatre the evening of Sept. 12 with the Long Beach premiere of Appropriate Behavior,  and the Los Angeles area premiere of My Straight Son (Azul y No Tan Rosa). An Opening Night party will take place between screenings at The Center. To stay up-to-date on this year’s screenings and events, or to purchase tickets, visit the QFilms site here.
    Check out the lineup for this year’s festival here.
    Appropriate Behavior is an New York City-based comedy about the romantic misadventures of a bisexual Iranian-American woman.  Azul y No Tan Rosa is an award-winning Venezuelan drama in which a gay man struggles to connect with his teenage son from a previous relationship. An Opening Night party will take place between screenings at The Center.
    Other narrative and documentary features selected to screen on Saturday and Sunday include Happy End?!, Letter to Anita, Cupcakes,Out in the Night, Boy Meets Girl,” Blackbird,” Transvisible: The Bamby Salcedo Story and Tru Love.
    CLICK HERE for more information.
    Details: http://qfilmslongbeach.com/

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  • RLn COMMUNITY calendar: Aug. 25, 2014

    Sept. 5
    A Sip of Long Beach
    A Sip of Long Beach is having a cocktail mixer, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Sept. 5, at Gaucho Grill in Long Beach
    A Sip of Long Beach takes place the first Friday of every month in a different location in town. It is an opportunity to meet, sip, network, laugh, mix, converse, unwind and hang out.
    Details: www.facebook.com/ASipOfLongBeach, www.gauchogrilldining.com
    Venue: Gaucho Grill
    Location: 200 Pine Ave., Long Beach
    Sept. 7
    2014 Long Beach AIDS Ride Kick-off Party
    A kick-off party for the 2014 Long Beach AIDS Ride will take place, from 3 to 6 p.m. Sept. 7, at Alfredo’s Beach Club in Long Beach.
    Meet the 2013 riders and event staff to ask questions and learn about this year’s ride.
    The Long Beach AIDS Ride is a fundraising event produced by, and benefitting The Center Long Beach and The Comprehensive AIDS Resource and Education program at St. Mary Medical Center.
    Details: here
    Venue: Alfredo’s Beach Club
    Location: 5101 E. Ocean Blvd., Long Beach (more…)

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  • Israel Divestment Campaign Organizers Launched Another Zim Shipping Protest

    Photo and article by Barry Saks

    More than a 100 protesters affiliated with Block the Boats and BDS-LA formed a circular picket line outside the Long Beach Harbor Pier A terminal at the arrival of the Israeli shipping firm, Zim American Integrated Shipping Services Company, on Aug. 23. (more…)

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  • RLn ENTERTAINMENT Weekend Edition: Aug. 22, 2014

    Aug. 23
    Mike Pinera
    Iron Butterfly’s Mike Pinera will perform with New Blues Image, at 8 p.m. Aug. 23, at Alvas Showroom in San Pedro.
    Mike Pinera played Lead Guitar and co Lead Vocals with Butterfly on the albums, Metamorphosis, Evolution, Light And Heavy and on the DVD In A Gadda Da Vida.
    Suggested donation is $20.
    Details: (800) 403-3447
    Venue: Alvas Showroom
    Location: 1417 W. 8th St., San Pedro

    Aug. 24
    Joe La Barbera Quintet
    Joe La Barbera Quintet will perform, starting at 4 p.m. Aug. 24, at Alvas Showroom in San Pedro.
    Suggested donation is $20.
    Details: (800) 403-3447
    Venue: Alvas Showroom
    Location: 1417 W. 8th St., San Pedro

    Aug. 28
    Summer Concerts at the Nature Center
    Join your neighbors for calypso music, starting at 7 p.m. Aug. 28, at the El Dorado Nature Center in Long Beach.
    Bring low chairs or blankets and an earth-friendly picnic dinner. Your $3 suggested donation supports Friends of El Dorado Nature Center and habitat restoration and education programs at the Nature Center. Children 5 and younger are admitted free of charge.
    Venue: El Dorado Nature Center
    Location: 7550 E. Spring St., Long Beach
    Aug. 29
    Mitch Forman Trio
    Mitch Forman Trio will perform, starting at 8 p.m. Aug. 29, at Alvas Showroom in San Pedro.
    Details: (800) 403-3447
    Venue: Alvas Showroom
    Location: 1417 W. 8th St., San Pedro

    Aug. 31
    Ask Dino Show
    The Ask Dino Show will take place, starting at 7 p.m. Aug. 31, at Alvas Showroom in San Pedro.
    Details: (800) 403-3447
    Venue: Alvas Showroom
    Location: 1417 W. 8th St., San Pedro

    Sept. 12
    Flamenco Rhythms at Rancho San Pedro 
    Flamenco Fridays at the historic Dominguez Adobe are back by request, from 5 to 7:30 p.m. Sept. 12, featuring Sarah Parra with special guest Ricardo Chavez and guitarist Gabriel Osuna.
    Experience the profound musical expression from Spain with authentic flamenco guitar and an intimate dance performance by first class Los Angeles artists.
    There is $15.
    Details: (310) 603-0088; http://dominguezrancho.org/
    Venue: Dominguez Rancho Adobe Museum
    Location: 18127 S. Alameda St., Rancho Dominguez

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  • RLn ANNOUNCEMENTS: Aug. 22, 2014

    Aug. 23
    District 7 Community Welcoming, Resource Fair
    Join District 7 community members and city officials as they celebrate a new beginning for the district and the city, starting at 12 p.m. Aug. 23, at Silverado Park in Long Beach. The following city departments and organizations will be on hand to provide information about their services:
    Long Beach Health & Human Services
    Long Beach Oil & Gas
    Long Beach Water Department
    Long Beach Police Department
    Port of Long Beach
    Building Healthy Communities
    East Yard Community for Environmental Justice
    The Filipino Migrant Center
    Housing LB
    Housing People Properly Community Food Center
    South Coast Air Quality Management District
    Entertainment will be provided by:
    Canela Negra
    Shining Sons (more…)

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  • RL NEWS of the Week: Aug. 22, 2014

    18-Year POLB Veteran Moves Up the Ranks
    LONG BEACH — On Aug. 21, the Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners appointed John Y. Chun as the new director of engineering design, heading up roads, utilities and other infrastructure projects for the Port of Long Beach.
    Chun, who started with the port in 1996 as a civil engineering assistant, has served as a deputy chief harbor engineer since 2008, and has been involved in a number of port projects including the Middle Harbor Redevelopment, Gerald Desmond Bridge Replacement, Stormwater Master Plan, Pavement Management System and Traffic Sign Inventory Program.
    The Engineering Design Division is critical to the development and maintenance of port channels, roads, wharfs, utilities and other facilities. The division produces technical reports, studies, plans and specifications for port construction projects. As the division director, Chun is responsible for managing multiple in-house design projects and consulting contracts. Engineering Design has a staff of 45 professional and technical individuals reporting to him. Chun succeeds Neil D. Morrison, who was recently promoted to assistant managing director, engineering design and maintenance.
    Chun earned his bachelor’s in civil engineering from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, and his master’s in civil engineering from California State University, Long Beach. He is a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers and the American Public Works Association.

    POLB Contributes $20,000 to Rescue of Local Birds
    LONG BEACH — On Aug. 19, the Port of Long Beach that it is expanding its partnership with the International Bird Rescue. (more…)

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  • What We Censor, What We Don’t

    By Andrea Serna, Arts and Culture Writer

    These day violence, seems to be on the forefront of the newspapers, television and the Internet. However, what we are exposed to is not without censorship.

    The Croatian Cultural Center of Greater Los Angeles is exploring the topic of censorship in the media in the provocative exhibit What We Censor, What We Don’t.

    What We Censor, What We Don’t is the work of photographer D. W. Gastélum, who works under the name El Imagenero. Considered a philosopher with a camera, he has been delving into the topic of censorship.

    Earlier this August, police dragged out a Brooklyn grandmother, who was taking a shower, from her apartment. Officers stood by for more than two minutes while she was naked in the hallway. A video later emerged of the whole incident. The image of the African-American woman was broadcast across the airwaves and the Internet in a blatant disregard for her privacy.

    Through his photographs, Gastélum tackles the hypocrisy that comes from the suppression of some speech and images, as opposed to others, often with conflicting standards to race, gender and age.

    “The censorship of nudity and the non-censorship of violence are defined as something that is contrary to the community standards,” said Gastélum, a lawyer. “What [the courts] say is that to show any part of a nude human is contrary to community standards. But I see things that are contrary to my standards all the time. You can see people being murdered and grievously injured and I find that to be against my standards.”

    The interactive photography show depicts nudity and violence. In an attempt to define individual standards, visitors are allowed to censor the images by placing ‘censored’ stickers over the objectionable aspects of the images. Is the observer offended by the nude woman lying on the floor, or are you offended by the bullet hole in her head? Courts have judged that anytime, day or night on network television, you are free to see grisly scenes of murder, but nudity is routinely censored.

    According to the exhibition’s guide: “Laws are mere codification of ‘community standards. They are not natural, and they are not universal. They are what we collectively decide or allow our standards to be.”

    His legal mind brought him to the topic of community standards.

    One of his inspirations for this project was a 2003 image leaked from Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. The image, which the media released, showed Iraqi prisoners, naked, bound, hooded and tortured. The horrific sight of U.S. servicemen carrying out an atrocity was deemed fit to print, but the genitals of the prisoners were blocked out.

    The juxtaposition of violence broadcast on the evening news and the censorship of the natural human body triggered Gastélum’s objections.

    Another horrific image on the Internet that gave rise to the exhibit was a photograph that he saw on Facebook. The photograph was of two young boys, around 7 to 10 years old. They were both dead, hung by the neck with a wire, and both of them had their genitalia blurred out.

    “To show their dead bodies does not accomplish anything,” Gastélum said.

    Horrified by what he saw, Gastélum attempted to have the posting removed by Facebook. Regrettably, viral media took over and the image made several rounds on his news feed. The image inspired one of the first pieces in his current exhibition. Gastélum staged an image of a naked woman sunbathing, with a dead rooster next to her, hung by a wire. Which part of this image offends the viewer? The dead rooster or the beautiful, naked woman?

    The artist also has found himself a target of censorship. A small section of the gallery is set aside for photos he created that were removed from his own social media sites. The images of tasteful nudes were found objectionable and Gastélum was puzzled about the reaction.

    Many readers have reported images of bare bottom babies also removed while the daily news displays images of the horrors of war.

    In his blog Gastélum says:
    “The most important part is the people seem to understand the point of it, some of them even said that the art helped them firm up some of their thinking on the ideas presented….and they can influence what is accepted as a “community standard.”

    The photographer brings years of experience to his process.

    The large images for the show were all made digitally with a Nikon D3x and a selection of Nikon lenses.
    He likes to shoot with fast lenses that open up to f/2.0 or better, and many of his go to f/1.4. All of those images were also giclee printed on Epson Exhibition Fiber Paper, with Epson K3 inks on Epson 3800 and Epson 9900 printers. The media used assures long-lasting accuracy.

    His rich black and white photos call back to hours of darkroom printing in the days when 35 mm film was the standard. Today’s best photographers are experts in Photoshop.

    He uses Adobe Photoshop CS6, and said he does not use any add on products.
    “The lack of add-ons is mostly because I can still get the results I want without them and I do not do high volume processing that would make purchasing and learning to use such products much more valuable,” Gastélum said. “I did all of the retouching on all of the images, you’d be shocked to know what many famous photographers do NOT do on their own images. I personally printed each of them.”

    The exhibition came with a full schedule of supporting lectures. Sean DuFrene of the Art Institute and Rudy Vega of UCI both hosted art discussions at the Croatian Cultural Center.

    Artist Andrea Patrie shares the gallery space with Gastélum. Her nudes are reminiscent of artist Lucian Freud and her work can also bring a discomforting example of the relationship between artist and model.

    A closing party is scheduled from 5 to 7 p.m. Aug. 31. Music will be provided by Angel Luis Figueroa.
    Details: elimagenero.net/blog
    Venue: Croatian Cultural Center of Greater Los Angeles
    Location: 510 W. 7th St., San Pedro

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  • The Shortest Distance from Missouri to Los Angeles

    By James Preston Allen, Publisher

    Before Michael Brown was shot six times by a Ferguson, Mo. police officer about two weeks ago, no one ever thought much or even heard of this small community outside of St. Louis. Nor did anyone consider the mounting problems of many small Midwest towns in red states like this one, who have suffered through the great recession with job losses. The inequity between Main Street and Wall Street has hit record highs.

    Most of the people in my circle of friends condemn the militarization of the Ferguson police and for that matter, the use of military weaponry across this nation in large cities or small. And wonder out loud, “How can this kind of overreaction still happen in America?” Well… if you give the police the military weapons, they’ll find an excuse to use them.

    The question I have for Angelinos is this: “What’s the shortest route from Ferguson, Mo, to Los Angeles?”

    The answer: The next officer involved shooting in which the official explanation begins with a character assassination of the victim, rather than a plausible explanation of how the police killed an unarmed person.

    The Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department is at the top of the list, with the Long Beach Police not too far behind. Take a look at the statistics on officer involved shootings.

    However, as we have seen this week, the Los Angeles Police Department is also not immune with issues of its own like the shooting of Ezell Ford, a young unarmed black man with mental health problems, on the streets of South Central.   (more…)

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