• Hamid Nickpay

    • 08/09/2017
    • Reporters Desk
    • Calendar
    • Comments are off

    ENTERTAINMENT

    Aug. 12

    Hamed Nikpay
    Enjoy Iranian melodies and dance.
    Time: 8 p.m. Aug. 12
    Cost: Free
    Details: www.grandperformances.org
    Venue: Grand Performances, 300 S. Grand Ave., Los Angeles

     Summer Breeze Festival
    Be part of a night with Keith Sweat, Guy and Teddy Riley, and Bobby Brown.
    Time: 2 to 10 p.m. Aug. 12, and 1 to 9 p.m. Aug. 13
    Cost: $50 to $160
    Details: www.queenmary.com
    Venue: The Queen Mary, 1126 Queens Highway, Long Beach

    Aug. 13
    Shari Puorto Band
    Kick back for a bit of blues, rock and soul.
    Time: 5 to 7 p.m. Aug. 13
    Cost: Free
    Details: http://tinyurl.com/MB-Summer-Concerts
    Venue: Polliwog Park, 1601 Manhattan Beach Blvd, Manhattan Beach

    Sunday Sessions
    This is a free dance party celebrating Los Angeles’s house music scene, featuring music from Kaleem, Jun and Tony Powell.
    Time: 2 p.m. Aug. 13
    Cost: Free
    Details: http://grandparkla.org/calendar
    Venue: Grand Park, 200 N. Grand Ave., Los Angeles

    Groove Lexicon
    As one of Los Angeles’s most experienced and widely sought-after musicians, David Anderson has appeared, recorded and toured with many popular acts.
    Time: 4 p.m. Aug. 13
    Cost: $15
    Details: https://alvasshowroom.com
    Venue: Alvas Showroom, 1417 W. 8th St., San Pedro

    Aug. 17
    Daymé Arocena
    Experience the jazz-inflected blend of Afro-Cuban soulfulness.
    Time: 8 p.m. Aug. 17
    Cost: Free
    Details: www.skirball.org/calendar/2017-08-17
    Venue: Skirball Cultural Center, 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles

    THEATER

    Aug. 11
    Macbeth
    Shakespeare by the Sea presents Macbeth. Seduced by supernatural prophecy, Macbeth and his lady embark on an ambitious quest to win the Scottish throne. In the aftermath of their success, we glimpse a world torn apart when a volatile, paranoid tyrant becomes king.
    Time: 7 p.m. Aug. 11
    Cost: Free
    Details: www.citymb.info
    Venue: Polliwog Park, 1601 Manhattan Beach Blvd., Manhattan Beach

    Aug. 12
    Guys and Dolls
    Set in Damon Runyon’s mythical New York City, Guys and Dolls is an oddball romantic comedy. Gambler Nathan Detroit tries to find the cash to set up the biggest craps game in town while the authorities breathe down his neck. Meanwhile, his girlfriend, nightclub performer Adelaide, laments that they’ve been engaged for 14 years.
    Time: 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and 2 p.m. Sunday, through Aug. 12
    Cost: $14 to $24
    Details: lbplayhouse.org
    Venue: Long Beach Playhouse, 5021 E. Anaheim St., Long Beach

    Aug. 12
    Taming of the Shrew
    Shakespeare by the Sea presents The Taming of the Shrew. When rebellious Katherina stands in the way of her younger sister Bianca’s marriage, fortune hunter Petruchio is enlisted to “tame” the elder daughter, freeing a path for Bianca’s motley suiters. From their first meeting, sparks fly and the ultimate battle of the sexes ensues — leaving us to wonder: who is taming who?
    Time: 7 p.m. Aug. 12
    Cost: Free
    Details: www.citymb.info
    Venue: Polliwog Park, 1601 Manhattan Beach Blvd., Manhattan Beach

    Aug. 13
    Peter y La Loba
    Enjoy another telling of Peter and the Wolf, this time with Latin Grammy Award winners Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam.
    Time: 3 and 4:30 p.m. Aug. 13
    Cost: Free
    Details: www.grandperformances.org
    Venue: Grand Performances, 300 S. Grand Ave., Los Angeles

    Aug. 17
    Macbeth
    Shakespeare by the Sea presents Macbeth. Seduced by supernatural prophecy Macbeth and his lady embark on an ambitious quest to win the Scottish throne. In the aftermath of their success, we glimpse a world torn apart when a volatile, paranoid tyrant becomes king.
    Time: 7 p.m. Aug. 17
    Cost: Free
    Details: www.shakespearebythesea.org
    Venue: Terranea Resort, 100 Terranea Way, Rancho Palos Verdes

    Aug. 19
    Cowboy vs. Samurai
    What if the classic romantic comedy, Cyrano de Bergerac, was set in modern-day Wyoming? What if the large-nosed protagonist was now an Asian-American high school English teacher and his love interest was the beautiful new Asian-American teacher with a preference for dating white guys? Will he help his cowboy friend win the girl, or make his own feelings known?
    Time: 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 2 p.m. Sundays, through Aug. 19
    Cost: $20
    Details: lbplayhouse.org
    Venue: Long Beach Playhouse, 5021 E. Anaheim St., Long Beach

    Aug. 27
    Dark Moon
    Elysium Conservatory Theatre roars into the summer with an epic re-imagining of The Ballad of Barbara Allen. Set in the Appalachian Mountains near Ol’ Baldy, Dark of the Moon is an immersive thriller that follows John the Witch Boy and Barbara, a human, as they fight for love among the terrifying worlds of witches and equally colorful residents of Buck Creek.
    Time: 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and 7 p.m. Sundays, through Aug. 27
    Cost: $10 to $25
    Details: www.fearlessartists.org/box-office-1
    Venue: Elysium Conservatory Theatre, 729 S. Palos Verdes St., San Pedro

    ARTS

    Aug. 19
    Third Saturday Artwalk
    Explore San Pedro’s diverse art scene, featuring 30-plus open galleries, open studios, live music and eclectic dining. Free art walk tour starts at Siren’s coffee house.
    Time: 2 to 6 p.m. Aug. 19
    Cost: Free
    Details: www.SanPedroBID.com
    Venue: Siren’s, 356 W. 7th St., San Pedro

    PVAC Faculty Exhibition
    Showcasing the talent of the community of artists who teach at The Studio School and Youth Studio at Palos Verdes Art Center / Beverly G. Alpay Center for Arts Education, the Faculty Exhibition presents new works in diverse media, including painting, drawing, ceramics, glass, textiles and design.
    Time: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays, and 1 to 4 p.m. Sundays, through Aug. 19
    Cost: Free
    Details: http://pvartcenter.org/exhibitions/pvac-faculty-exhibition
    Venue: Palos Verdes Art Center, 5504 West Crestridge Road, Rancho Palos Verdes

    Aug. 25
    Audrey Barrett: Available Light
    Gallery 478 and TransVagrant Projects are pleased to present Audrey Barrett: Available Light, an exhibition of photography and auction benefiting City of Hope Metastatic Breast Cancer Research.
    Audrey Barrett (1940-2017) was an extraordinary photographer and designer whose aesthetic encompassed a broad spectrum from surrealism in photography to Russian constructivism in design. This exhibition consists of black and white gelatin silver and platinum palladium prints from her archive and includes many of the artist’s proofs.
    Time: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, through Aug. 25
    Cost: Free
    Details: (310) 732-2150
    Venue: Gallery 478, 478 W. 7th St., San Pedro

    Aug. 27
    The Desolation Center Experience
    Before the era of Burning Man, Lollapalooza and Coachella, Desolation Center drew punk and industrial music fans to the far reaches of the Mojave Desert for the first of five events Mojave Exodus in April of 1983. Cornelius Projects pays tribute to Desolation Center’s pioneering vision with an exhibition featuring painting, photography, sculpture, video and ephemera.
    Time: 12 to 5 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, through Aug. 27
    Cost: Free
    Details: corneliusprojects.com, www.desolationcenter.com
    Venue: Cornelius Project, 1417 S. Pacific Ave., San Pedro

    Sept. 3
    Cada Mente en Su Mundo
    The Museum of Latin American Art is proud to host a solo exhibition of new and recent works by Luis Tapia, a pioneering Chicano artist from Santa Fe, New Mexico. For 45 years, Tapia has taken the art of polychrome wood sculpture to new levels of craftsmanship while utilizing it as a medium for social and political commentary.
    Time: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays, and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Fridays, through Sept. 3
    Cost: $7 to $10
    Details: molaa.org
    Venue: MOLAA, 628 Alamitos Ave., Long Beach

    Sept. 3
    Frida Kahlo: Through the Lens of Nickolas Muray
    In May 1931, photographer Nickolas Muray (1892–1965) traveled to Mexico on vacation where he met Frida Kahlo (19071954), a woman he would never forget. The two started a romance that continued on and off for the next ten years and a friendship that lasted until the end of their lives.
    Time: 11 to 5 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays, through Sept. 3
    Cost: $7 to $10
    Details: molaa.org
    Venue: Museum of Latin American Art, 628 Alamitos Ave., Long Beach

    COMMUNITY

    Aug. 12
    Iowa by the Sea Picnic
    All Iowans and people who love the great state of Iowa are invited to this year’s fun event. The picnic location provides excellent security, adequate space and a great view of the battleship.
    Time: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Aug. 12
    Cost: $12 to $35
    Details: (877) 446-9261; www.pacificbattleship.com
    Venue: Battleship Iowa, 250 S. Harbor Blvd., Berth 87, San Pedro

    Aug. 12
    Alex’s Coast Run
    ILWU Walk the Coast in Los Angeles will host a family-friendly community event. Bring the family for the spectacular ocean-view Alex’s Coast Run 5K, or 1 mile family walk and a 1K Kids’ Run.
    Time: 8:30 a.m. Aug. 12
    Cost: $15 to $35
    Details: www.alexslemonade.org
    Venue: Point Fermin Park, 807 W. Paseo del Mar, San Pedro

    Aug. 13
    CycLAvia SanPedro/Wilmington
    CicLAvia, which produces temporary car-free days that transform streets into safe spaces for thousands of people to explore the city by foot, bike and other forms of non-motorized transport, will take place from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Aug. 13 in Wilmington and San Pedro.
    No parking will be allowed on the CicLAvia Route from 1 a.m. to 6 p.m. Aug. 13. Parking restrictions will be enforced and vehicles will be towed beginning at 1 a.m.
    Details: www.ciclavia.org/ciclavia_sanpedro17

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  • Long Beach’s Great Society:

    Fleeting Apples and Honey are Here to Stay

    By Richard Foss, Cuisine and Restaurant Writer

    It’s often forgotten now, but the most popular drink of the American West was once cider. It was so associated with the frontier that one presidential candidate attacked another as the “log cabin and hard cider” candidate — that is, an uncultured hick from the sticks. Voters did not fault the cider-drinker; they interpreted the insult as an attack on working folks like them: people who lived in cabins and drank cider and whiskey rather than more genteel beverages.

    Real cider has more character, and the place to discover it is in downtown Long Beach. Great Society is Los Angeles County’s only restaurant specializing in cider and mead, and it has become a place of pilgrimage for ciderheads.

    The restaurant has a pleasantly funky wood-paneled interior, but we decided to dine on the outdoor patio in spite of the alarmingly squeaky floor — it feels solid but sounds like it’s about to collapse. A charming fellow named Hunter showed up with menus and an encyclopedic knowledge of their contents. Servers like this are an asset to any restaurant and vital in one that serves things most people won’t be familiar with; he was a fine guide to both food and drink.

    Drink was first on our minds. My friends and I ordered two tasting flights of cider and one of mead. Mead is both more ancient than cider and even more obscure in modern America. In general it has a thin, light body and flowery sweetness. Sometimes the makers add herbs or fruit essence to punch up the flavor. The sweeter ones I tried verged on perfume territory, but the Honeypot Prelude and Mysterious Mead with Meyer lemon flavor were delightful.

    We had eight ciders to sample between our two flights. I’d tell you about all of them if I had the space. Highlights were the Seattle Cider Dry, which had a flavor that would please Belgian ale fans, and Golden State Gingergrass that used lemongrass and ginger to make the perfect refreshing summer beverage.

    In this age when every bar seems to have its own barreled cocktails, it’s no surprise that cider makers are experimenting with aging, too. Tilted Shed stores their ciders in used rye whiskey barrels for a rich, deep flavor that will appeal to cocktailians. Shacksbury from Vermont uses both rye and Madeira barrels for a slightly caramelized woodiness. We were polarized by another experiment, a salted caramel cider by Turquoise Barn. I enjoyed it, while my companions thought it a novelty. The big surprise was the Mission Trail Jerkum made from fermented plums. We all rated this dry, fruity beverage highly and will look for it again.

    We considered ordering starters to accompany our drinks but saw the size of the burgers on passing plates and decided against it. Burgers and sandwiches are mainly what they do here. They make a steak and ribs with a sweet sauce, but everybody I talked to, including our server, said that the burgers are the way to go.

    The burgers were, indeed, good. They towered at least six inches high when delivered. If you order one, you have two options: unhinge your jaw like a python devouring an unfortunate antelope, or smash the burger and make it less photogenic yet more manageable. The standard burger is exactly what you want it to be: the meat a bit smoky from the grill, the usual lettuce, cheddar and tomato enlivened with some aioli, and a good pretzel bun as base and crown. Bravo on those buns, by the way — they maintain structural integrity even with a moist burger. They have a gluten-free option too, which was good to know.

    The lamb burger was even better, featuring feta, caramelized onions and some mint in the mayo to give a Greek feel. I was less thrilled by the Thai spice burger because it didn’t live up to its name. It was a standard burger accompanied by peanut sauce and mango-pineapple chutney; the sweetness and richness of Thai cuisine were missing. Good Thai peanut sauce adds some chili for balance. It was sorely needed here. Hot sauce was offered instead, but this burger was already the most moist of the bunch, and it didn’t need more liquid.

    The burgers were offered with a side salad, coleslaw and either regular or parmesan fries. We tried both types of fries and were happy because they were hot, crisp and plentiful.

    Dinner for three with flights of cider ran $80. For a unique tasting experience with good burgers, it was completely worth it. The cider resurgence is happening and the place to experience it is right here in your neighborhood.

    Great Society is at 601 E. Broadway in Long Beach.

    Details: (562) 270-5625

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  • DARK OF THE MOON @ Elysium Conservatory Theatre

    A witch boy from the mountain came,
    A-pinin’ to be human,
    Fer he had met the fairest gal
    A gal named Barbara Allen

    The opening stanza of the “The Ballad of Barbara Allen” (more on which anon) sets the scene for Dark of the Moon, an Appalachian gothic tale about a mountain-dwelling witch boy who romanticizes the human life he espies down in the valley. Then one night he meets (Biblically speaking) Barbara, and nothing will do but to git himself transformed into one of ‘er kind. The only catch is that she has to marry him and stay true for a full year; otherwise, it’s back up the mountain, boy.

    Howard Richardson & William Berney’s 1945 re-conception and adaptation of “The Ballad of Barbara Allen”, a centuries-old Scottish folk song that makes no mention of witchcraft, is short on plot, but that’s not much of a drawback for Elysium Conservatory Theatre (ECT), because their focus is elsewhere. Back in April they savaged the script of Romeo and Juliet—which, like all Shakespeare, has plot coming out its ears—to create a piece that was more visceral than verbal, full of dance and music and immersion. They hit the mark well enough then, and they do so again with Dark of the Moon, once again relying primarily on strong staging and the cast’s overflowing energy.

    I did not see anything ECT did prior to moving into the elegant building that formerly housed San Pedro’s landmark Ante’s Restaurant (Romeo and Juliet was their first show in what we’re now simply calling “the Elysium Conservatory Theatre”), but it’s hard for me to imagine ECT doing work anywhere else, so effectively do they explore the possibilities innate to this quasi-labyrinthine structure. For Dark of the Moon director Aaron Ganz puts his cast through the paces in no less than four separate physical spaces, including one that’s outdoors, one that plays at alternate ends of the large main room (with the audience seated in the middle and turning 180 degrees as the scene shifts ground), and one that is largely reconfigured when the audience enters it for a second time. Playing out such possibilities requires multiple sound and lighting set-ups and not a little stage managing, and the effort is evident in the results.

    The actors’ effort is even more obvious. This is a troupe that’s long on physicality, and I’m betting that cumulatively the cast drops a few pounds of water weight during each ECT performance. In Dark of the Moon no-one exemplifies this better than Justin Powell, who works up a sweat during his first five minutes onstage with all the idiosyncratic hopping and self-slapping he does while still a witch boy. But there isn’t a cast member who would fail to meet his/her Fitbit numbers here. Movement is an ECT super strength. If you don’t like an ECT show, it’s never going to be because it’s too static.

    The possible downside to so much energy onstage all the time is that it doesn’t leave a lot of room for nuance in the acting. That’s partly by design: this simply isn’t a show with a lot of intimacy. Moreover, the acting talent across the board is clearly superior to many casts populating far more conventional and intimate storytelling. But if you’re looking for an attempt at the sort of performance that garners Tony nominations, this isn’t it. Dark of the Moon is more theatrical experience than theatre. (Admittedly, it’s a fuzzy line, but my drawing it should give you at least a vague sense of what to expect.)

    That said, the amp isn’t always cranked up to 11. ECT excels at going over the top, filling up their big theatrical spaces to the brim with big voices and gestures, but they have enough savvy to go quiet and still in order to produce maximum effect when less is more. A childbirthing scene is a highlight here, performed as a silent, slo-mo tableau vivant set to an effectively chosen piece of contemporary music (sounds like Kate Bush, but isn’t), breaking into a real-time eruption of sound with impeccable timing.

    Maybe the most striking aspect of ECT’s Dark of the Moon is patience. In Ganz’s hands, the company isn’t even a little afraid of long stretches that serve no purpose other than to immerse us in the milieu of early-20th-century life in the shadow of the Smoky Mountains. Barbara’s family sharing a jar of their home-brewed mountain dew with the local preacher (Ganz, who excels in the role) is of no dramatic consequence, but it helps us feel like a fly on the wall getting an up-close eyeful of rural life. Later we’re actually in the pews with the town folk (ECT loves to invent ways to incorporate the audience into the action), a feeling underlined by the fact that we sing (complete with actual hymnals!) a full three songs with the congregation before the dramatic action recommences. There’s real courage in choices like this, because you’re betting on your ability to create an environment that will keep your audience engaged while the plot is on hold. ECT wins that bet.

    Personally, my main entry point into theatre is the script. I favor the intellectual over the sensual. Works that rely more on impression and immersion (“theatrical experiences”) are not typically my bag. Dark of the Moon is more or less such a work. Nevertheless, through conceptual detail and sheer gusto ECT managed to keep even the likes of me entertained. So if you’re inclined toward this kind of show, you’ll almost certainly get more than your money’s worth. But one thing’s for sure: there’s nobody else doing this kind of thing on this scale ’round these parts. That alone means you might want to check out what’s happening in the Elysium.

    DARK OF THE MOON ELYSIUM CONSERVATORY THEATRE • 729 S PALOS VERDES ST • SAN PEDRO 90731 • 424.535.7333 • FEARLESSARTISTS.ORG • FRI-SAT 8PM; SUN 7PM • $10–$25 • THROUGH AUGUST 27

    (Photo credit: Louella Boquiren)

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  • Delgrés

    • 08/07/2017
    • Reporters Desk
    • Calendar
    • Comments are off

    ENTERTAINMENT

    Aug. 10
    Delgrés
    Witness the Los Angeles debut of a band that brings a bluesy blend of styles from Guadelupe to Louisiana to the Mississippi delta.
    Time: 
    8 p.m. Aug. 10
    Cost: 
    Free
    Details: 
    http://www.skirball.org/programs/sunset-concerts
    Venue: 
    Skirball Cultural Center, 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles

    Aug. 11
    Djs Anthony Valadez, Valida
    Check out the new venue for KCRW’s Summer Nights series, featuring plenty of danceable grooves, games, food and drinks.
    Time: 5:30 p.m. Aug. 11
    Cost: Free
    Details: http://events.kcrw.com/events/summernightsanthonyandvalida
    Venue: Union Station, 800 N. Alameda St., Los Angeles

    Septeto Santiaguero
    Get on your feet with one of Cuba’s most influential bands.
    Time: 8 p.m. Aug. 11
    Cost: Free
    Details: www.grandperformances.org
    Venue: Grand Performances, 300 S. Grand Ave., Los Angeles

    Bill Watrous Quartet
    Bop to straight-ahead jazz, then stuff your face with food from the market.
    Time: 7 to 9 p.m. Aug. 11
    Cost: Free
    Details: www.farmersmarketla.com/events
    Venue: The Original Farmers Market, 6333 W. 3rd St., Los Angeles

    Dj Nights
    Dance, dance and dance some more.
    Time: 9 p.m. Aug. 11
    Cost: Free
    Details: http://grandparkla.org/calendar
    Venue: Grand Performances, 200 N. Grand Ave., Los Angeles

    Aug. 12
    Summer Breeze Festival
    Be part of a night with Keith Sweat, Guy and Teddy Riley, and Bobby Brown.
    Time: 2 to 10 p.m. Aug. 12, and 1 to 9 p.m. Aug. 13
    Cost: $50 to $160
    Details: www.queenmary.com
    Venue: The Queen Mary, 1126 Queens Highway, Long Beach

    Hamed Nikpay
    Enjoy Iranian melodies and dance.
    Time: 8 p.m. Aug. 12
    Cost: Free
    Details: www.grandperformances.org
    Venue: Grand Performances, 300 S. Grand Ave., Los Angeles

    Aug. 13
    Shari Puorto Band
    Kick back for a bit of blues, rock and soul.
    Time: 5 to 7 p.m. Aug. 13
    Cost: Free
    Details: http://tinyurl.com/MB-Summer-Concerts
    Venue: Polliwog Park, 1601 Manhattan Beach Blvd, Manhattan Beach

    Sunday Sessions
    This is a free dance party celebrating Los Angeles’s house music scene, featuring music from Kaleem, Jun and Tony Powell.
    Time: 2 p.m. Aug. 13
    Cost: Free
    Details: http://grandparkla.org/calendar
    Venue: Grand Park, 200 N. Grand Ave., Los Angeles

    Groove Lexicon
    As one of Los Angeles’s most experienced and widely sought-after musicians, David Anderson has appeared, recorded and toured with many popular acts.
    Time: 4 p.m. Aug. 13
    Cost: $15
    Details: https://alvasshowroom.com
    Venue: Alvas Showroom, 1417 W. 8th St., San Pedro

    Aug. 17
    Daymé Arocena
    Experience the jazz-inflected blend of Afro-Cuban soulfulness.
    Time: 8 p.m. Aug. 17
    Cost: Free
    Details: www.skirball.org/calendar/2017-08-17
    Venue: Skirball Cultural Center, 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles

    THEATER

    Aug. 11
    Macbeth
    Shakespeare by the Sea presents Macbeth. Seduced by supernatural prophecy, Macbeth and his lady embark on an ambitious quest to win the Scottish throne. In the aftermath of their success, we glimpse a world torn apart when a volatile, paranoid tyrant becomes king.
    Time: 7 p.m. Aug. 11
    Cost: Free
    Details: www.citymb.info
    Venue: Polliwog Park, 1601 Manhattan Beach Blvd., Manhattan Beach

    Aug. 12
    Guys and Dolls
    Set in Damon Runyon’s mythical New York City, Guys and Dolls is an oddball romantic comedy. Gambler Nathan Detroit tries to find the cash to set up the biggest craps game in town while the authorities breathe down his neck. Meanwhile, his girlfriend, nightclub performer Adelaide, laments that they’ve been engaged for 14 years.
    Time: 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and 2 p.m. Sunday, through Aug. 12
    Cost: $14 to $24
    Details: lbplayhouse.org
    Venue: Long Beach Playhouse, 5021 E. Anaheim St., Long Beach

    Aug. 12
    Taming of the Shrew
    Shakespeare by the Sea presents The Taming of the Shrew. When rebellious Katherina stands in the way of her younger sister Bianca’s marriage, fortune hunter Petruchio is enlisted to “tame” the elder daughter, freeing a path for Bianca’s motley suiters. From their first meeting, sparks fly and the ultimate battle of the sexes ensues — leaving us to wonder: who is taming who?
    Time: 7 p.m. Aug. 12
    Cost: Free
    Details: www.citymb.info
    Venue: Polliwog Park, 1601 Manhattan Beach Blvd., Manhattan Beach

    Aug. 13
    Peter y La Loba
    Enjoy another telling of Peter and the Wolf, this time with Latin Grammy Award winners Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam.
    Time: 3 and 4:30 p.m. Aug. 13
    Cost: Free
    Details: www.grandperformances.org
    Venue: Grand Performances, 300 S. Grand Ave., Los Angeles

    Aug. 17
    Macbeth
    Shakespeare by the Sea presents Macbeth. Seduced by supernatural prophecy Macbeth and his lady embark on an ambitious quest to win the Scottish throne. In the aftermath of their success, we glimpse a world torn apart when a volatile, paranoid tyrant becomes king.
    Time: 7 p.m. Aug. 17
    Cost: Free
    Details: www.shakespearebythesea.org
    Venue: Terranea Resort, 100 Terranea Way, Rancho Palos Verdes

    Aug. 19
    Cowboy vs. Samurai
    What if the classic romantic comedy, Cyrano de Bergerac, was set in modern-day Wyoming? What if the large-nosed protagonist was now an Asian-American high school English teacher and his love interest was the beautiful new Asian-American teacher with a preference for dating white guys? Will he help his cowboy friend win the girl, or make his own feelings known?
    Time: 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 2 p.m. Sundays, through Aug. 19
    Cost: $20
    Details: lbplayhouse.org
    Venue: Long Beach Playhouse, 5021 E. Anaheim St., Long Beach

    Aug. 27
    Dark Moon
    Elysium Conservatory Theatre roars into the summer with an epic re-imagining of The Ballad of Barbara Allen. Set in the Appalachian Mountains near Ol’ Baldy, Dark of the Moon is an immersive thriller that follows John the Witch Boy and Barbara, a human, as they fight for love among the terrifying worlds of witches and equally colorful residents of Buck Creek.
    Time: 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and 7 p.m. Sundays, through Aug. 27
    Cost: $10 to $25
    Details: www.fearlessartists.org/box-office-1
    Venue: Elysium Conservatory Theatre, 729 S. Palos Verdes St., San Pedro

    ARTS

    Aug. 19
    Third Saturday Artwalk
    Explore San Pedro’s diverse art scene, featuring 30-plus open galleries, open studios, live music and eclectic dining. Free art walk tour starts at Siren’s coffee house.
    Time: 2 to 6 p.m. Aug. 19
    Cost: Free
    Details: www.SanPedroBID.com
    Venue: Siren’s, 356 W. 7th St., San Pedro

    PVAC Faculty Exhibition
    Showcasing the talent of the community of artists who teach at The Studio School and Youth Studio at Palos Verdes Art Center / Beverly G. Alpay Center for Arts Education, the Faculty Exhibition presents new works in diverse media, including painting, drawing, ceramics, glass, textiles and design.
    Time: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays, and 1 to 4 p.m. Sundays, through Aug. 19
    Cost: Free
    Details: http://pvartcenter.org/exhibitions/pvac-faculty-exhibition
    Venue: Palos Verdes Art Center, 5504 West Crestridge Road, Rancho Palos Verdes

    Aug. 25
    Audrey Barrett: Available Light
    Gallery 478 and TransVagrant Projects are pleased to present Audrey Barrett: Available Light, an exhibition of photography and auction benefiting City of Hope Metastatic Breast Cancer Research.
    Audrey Barrett (1940-2017) was an extraordinary photographer and designer whose aesthetic encompassed a broad spectrum from surrealism in photography to Russian constructivism in design. This exhibition consists of black and white gelatin silver and platinum palladium prints from her archive and includes many of the artist’s proofs.
    Time: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, through Aug. 25
    Cost: Free
    Details: (310) 732-2150
    Venue: Gallery 478, 478 W. 7th St., San Pedro

    Aug. 27
    The Desolation Center Experience
    Before the era of Burning Man, Lollapalooza and Coachella, Desolation Center drew punk and industrial music fans to the far reaches of the Mojave Desert for the first of five events Mojave Exodus in April of 1983. Cornelius Projects pays tribute to Desolation Center’s pioneering vision with an exhibition featuring painting, photography, sculpture, video and ephemera.
    Time: 12 to 5 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, through Aug. 27
    Cost: Free
    Details: corneliusprojects.com, www.desolationcenter.com
    Venue: Cornelius Project, 1417 S. Pacific Ave., San Pedro

    Sept. 3
    Cada Mente en Su Mundo
    The Museum of Latin American Art is proud to host a solo exhibition of new and recent works by Luis Tapia, a pioneering Chicano artist from Santa Fe, New Mexico. For 45 years, Tapia has taken the art of polychrome wood sculpture to new levels of craftsmanship while utilizing it as a medium for social and political commentary.
    Time: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays, and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Fridays, through Sept. 3
    Cost: $7 to $10
    Details: molaa.org
    Venue: MOLAA, 628 Alamitos Ave., Long Beach

    Sept. 3
    Frida Kahlo: Through the Lens of Nickolas Muray
    In May 1931, photographer Nickolas Muray (1892–1965) traveled to Mexico on vacation where he met Frida Kahlo (19071954), a woman he would never forget. The two started a romance that continued on and off for the next ten years and a friendship that lasted until the end of their lives.
    Time: 11 to 5 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays, through Sept. 3
    Cost: $7 to $10
    Details: molaa.org
    Venue: Museum of Latin American Art, 628 Alamitos Ave., Long Beach

    COMMUNITY

    Aug. 10
    Bookmaking Workshop
    Artist Sue Ann Robinson has a six-week residency at the Long Beach Museum of Art. She is dedicating three hours each week during her residency to demonstrate a different bookbinding structure.
    Time: 5 to 8 p.m. Aug. 10
    Cost: Free
    Details: lbma.org
    Venue: Long Beach Museum of Art, 2300 E. Ocean Blvd., Long Beach

    Aug. 12
    Iowa by the Sea Picnic
    All Iowans and people who love the great state of Iowa are invited to this year’s fun event. The picnic location provides excellent security, adequate space and a great view of the battleship.
    Time: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Aug. 12
    Cost: $12 to $35
    Details: (877) 446-9261; www.pacificbattleship.com
    Venue: Battleship Iowa, 250 S. Harbor Blvd., Berth 87, San Pedro

    Aug. 12
    Alex’s Coast Run
    ILWU Walk the Coast in Los Angeles will host a family-friendly community event. Bring the family for the spectacular ocean-view Alex’s Coast Run 5K, or 1 mile family walk and a 1K Kids’ Run.
    Time: 8:30 a.m. Aug. 12
    Cost: $15 to $35
    Details: www.alexslemonade.org
    Venue: Point Fermin Park, 807 W. Paseo del Mar, San Pedro

    Aug. 13
    CycLAvia SanPedro/Wilmington
    CicLAvia, which produces temporary car-free days that transform streets into safe spaces for thousands of people to explore the city by foot, bike and other forms of non-motorized transport, will take place from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Aug. 13 in Wilmington and San Pedro.
    No parking will be allowed on the CicLAvia Route from 1 a.m. to 6 p.m. Aug. 13. Parking restrictions will be enforced and vehicles will be towed beginning at 1 a.m.
    Details: www.ciclavia.org/ciclavia_sanpedro17

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  • Alex’s Lemonade Stand Returns with 5k Run

    • 08/04/2017
    • Terelle Jerricks
    • News
    • Comments are off

    By Terelle Jerricks, Managing Editor

    For the past six years, the ILWU and Alex’s Lemonade Stand have fought childhood cancer side-by-side in Los Angeles through the Walk the Coast fundraising campaign. This effort used to include an annual event at Warehouse 52-57 on Miner Street, featuring classic cars and live performances.

    This year is different. In a bid to get more active community involvement, ILWU Walk the Coast is hosting a 5-kilometer race, a one-mile family walk and a one-kilometer kids fun run on Aug. 12. The race starts at 8:30 a.m. at Point Fermin The ILWU chairman of the Walk the Coast Committee, Danny Imbagliazzo, said he hoped participants would use this race as a tune-up for the Conquer the Bridge race that’s scheduled in the coming weeks.

    The fundraiser benefits Alex’s Lemonade Stand, a nonprofit organization committed to raising money for childhood cancer research. It’s also the first of what the ILWU intends to be an annual Walk the Coast fundraiser for the anticancer organization.

    The pediatric cancer charity was named after Alexandra Scott, who developed cancer only days before reaching her first birthday. Alex was afflicted with neuroblastoma, a common infant cancer that grows out of immature nerves; more than 90 percent of those diagnosed with the cancer are younger than five years of age. Alex’s cancer never went into remission despite ongoing treatments.

    When Alex was four years old, her mother, Liz Scott, decided she wanted to do something for children in similar situations. She and her daughter set up a lemonade stand in their front yard to raise money. Their first stand raised $2,000.

    News of Alex’s efforts spread quickly and exponentially by word of mouth.

    “She would do this every year, before long, people started launching their own lemonade stands and sending money to Alex,” Scott explained to Random Lengths in 2012. “By the time she died, she raised $1 million for a cure for all types of pediatric cancer and not just for her[s.]”

    Since that time, the Scotts have grown the event with the help of community organizations and union families nationwide, raising $140 million to fund more than 690 research projects in more than 129 leading pediatric cancer centers.

    “I would tell somebody to come and they would tell someone,” Scott said. “Then, someone  would call the newspaper to come and there would be a story in the paper. It would become a viral story before there was such thing as ‘going viral.’”

    Imbagliazzo has long said that the union’s effort was an expression of its desire to help the community.

    “We wanted to do something good and we wanted to do something good with the community for other people,” Imbagliazzo said.

    To that end, locals coastwide organize and coordinate numerous events at multiple ports during the same period of time.
    Details: www.alexscoastrun.org

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  • Defend Free Speech on All Campuses

    Re-instate Claremont McKenna College Suspended Students

    By Mark Friedman, Trade Union Activist

    Claiming to be fighting fascism, anarchist groups in the United States have carried out numerous actions in recent months that pose a deadly danger to the working class — from sucker-punching rightist Richard Spencer as he was speaking to a reporter to assaulting workers who express support for Donald Trump to disrupting and shutting down campus speeches by individuals with whom they disagree.

    Students organized a 250-person counterprotest to the right-winger invitee Heather MacDonald.  As a result, four of the seniors had their college degree revoked. Others face the loss of financial aid. Instead of harsh treatment of the students, administrators should use the incident as a teaching moment.

    These thuggish actions of violating free speech, whether in Claremont or Berkeley, flow from the erroneous view that a minority of adventurers can substitute themselves for mass actions and change society. But their actions close down political spaces, handing the government and its police agencies golden opportunities to clamp down on political freedoms. The rightists become the “victims.”

    That’s the opposite of what politically conscious unionists, activists and individuals stand and fight for: mobilizing the working class to organize politically independent of this country’s ruling wealthy and their parties, joining today’s labor and political struggles. These seek to build social protest movements capable of fighting police brutality, union-busting, attacks on abortion rights and Planned Parenthood funding, anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant racism and this society’s dog-eat-dog social relations. One of the most striking aspects about the anarchists’ actions — such as the riot they organized in Berkeley — is that they reduce workers to bystanders, erasing any possibility of mass protest.

    Writing in The Nation Jan. 22, Natasha Lennard gives a graphic description glorying in the black bloc she joined in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 20, during Trump’s inauguration.

    “Disrupt J20 aimed to directly impede, delay and confront the inaugural proceedings,” she wrote. “This message was delivered with human blockades, smashed corporate windows, trash-can fires, a burning limousine, ‘Make America Great Again’ caps reduced to ashes and a blow for Richard Spencer.”

    Spencer is a white supremacist and president of the National Policy Institute. He was speaking to a reporter on the street when a black-clad assailant sucker punched him in the face and ran away. A video of the blow went viral on the Internet, accompanied by tweets such as: “We all have to stay strong and survive so that we too can have the chance to punch Richard Spencer in the face.”

    Anarchist black blocs have targeted speaking engagements of Milo Yiannopoulos, an editor for Breitbart News, at many campuses. At the University of Washington in Seattle, they forced their way to the front of a Jan. 20 protest, throwing bricks and paint to try to stop people from attending his talk. Similar groups tried to stop an event organized by the College Republicans at New York University Feb. 2 for comedian Gavin McInnes, who calls himself a “Western chauvinist.” McInnes was pepper sprayed on the way in. In Southern California, alleged pro-Palestinian supporters prevented supporters of Israel from speaking on campuses. Instead of shouting them down, students could have organized a countermobilization to demonstrate the broad support for Palestinian rights and against continued Israeli expansionism. Which one would have educated and mobilized more?

    In many incidents, targets have included individuals wearing pro-Trump hats or signs. The anarchists join the liberals in slandering workers who voted for Trump, fed up with the grinding depression conditions that the world economic crisis of capitalism is producing, those Hillary Clinton called “deplorables.”

    Neither Trump nor the workers who voted for him are part of a fascist movement. But as workers’ struggles deepen and the danger of fascism is posed, the stakes for working people in rejecting anarchism and its methods will only grow. The historic function of fascism is to smash the working class, destroy its organizations and stifle political liberties when the capitalists find themselves unable to govern and dominate with the help of democratic machinery.

    Attempting through violent attacks to silence those you disagree with from expressing their views is a method that can and will be used against the workers’ movement, women fighting to defend their right to choose, immigrants and their right to emigrate where jobs are, against deportations, etc. Groups that carry out such attacks are fertile ground for provocateurs and breed actual fascists. And, their provocations allow rightists such as Spencer and Yiannopoulos to appear to stand on the moral high ground as defenders of freedom of speech.

    The great labor leader Farrell Dobbs, who organized the Teamsters in Minneapolis in the 1930s to build a fighting and democratic union, to mobilize workers to defeat real fascist gangs (Brown Shirts), and to oppose U.S. entry into World War II said: “If you start by attempting to hastily gather together a vanguard force and crush fascism in the egg, you are playing into the hands of the fascists, you are losing ground in the mobilization of the real class that can do away with fascism.” (Teamster Rebellion, Pathfinder Press.)

    The anarchist perspective is marked by opposition to political action by the working class. They favor the action of small groups to the mobilization, education and organization — of the working class, small farmers, farm workers, youth, women, oppressed nationalities, documented and undocumented — to take power out of the hands of the wealthy rulers and begin to reorganize society in the interests of the toiling majority — as the 1959 Cuban Revolution showed was possible.

     

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  • Cowboy versus Samurai

    By Greggory Moore, Curtain Call Contributor

     

    If you’re of Asian descent, there are only two reasons you live among the 1,000 inhabitants of Breakneck, Wyo. — either you were adopted, or you wanted to start a new life after a bad experience in the big city. These very personal reasons explain why Chester (Perry Pang) and Travis (Lee Samuel Tanng) are Breakneck’s only Asian residents.

    But No. 3 is coming  and everything is about to change.

    Contrary to its titular implications, the conflict in Cowboy versus Samurai isn’t between Asians and Caucasians. It isn’t even between two people or cultures. Rather, it’s four characters who come into conflict with themselves once catalyzed by the Cyrano de Bergerac conceit, making for a night of theater reminiscent of the Steve Martin film Roxanne, minus the firemen, with a sprinkling of cultural awareness. It’s good-natured, slightly amusing and unlikely to mark you deeply.

    Meet Chester (Perry Pang) and Travis (Lee Samuel Tanng), who together constitute the whole of the Breakneck Asian-American Association (BAAA — you know, like a sheep). Chester worships Bruce Lee (“the perfect Asian man”) and wants his hometown to stop acting like there are no Asians here — you can’t even get tofu or Kirin, for fuck’s sake!  His militancy is fueled mostly by his personal identity problems. He’s never been outside of Wyoming, his white parents neglected to find out from the now-defunct adoption agency where they found him and just what sort of Asian he is (Japanese? Chinese? Korean?). Growing up, he never had an Asian friend.

    But then came Travis, a high-school English teacher who moved to the middle of nowhere to start over after his heart was broken in Los Angeles. But militant he ain’t.

    In fact, he actually likes his quiet, semi-monkish existence here. He’s even made a best friend of Del (Christian Skinner), a wannabe cowboy (he won his six-gallon hat in a contest) and pot-smoking physical education teacher who once upon a time was quick with the racial slurs but turned out to be a good guy.

    Enter Veronica (Rosie Naraski): a native New Yorker who has landed in this backwater-berg by design. They desperately needed good teachers, and hey, she just wants to try something completely new. That is, except for dating Asian men, even though she and Travis immediately hit it off. She’s gone white almost all her life (“preferences,” she says, not prejudice), and she isn’t about to change now. Actually, she’s committed to staying single for a while. But when Del is smitten, Travis — despite his own amorous feelings — helps his ineloquent pal woo her. That’s what friends are for, right?

    There are few surprises in Cowboy versus Samurai. The comedy is sitcom-level with the occasional curse word; the politics are only skin-deep. And if you’ve seen one Cyrano adaptation, you’ve pretty much seen them all. But not all theater has to be compelling.

    The opening-night audience seemed mostly appreciative of playwright Michael Golamco’s humor (although I have no theory to explain why they would laugh at one moment and then give no reaction to an equally [un]funny line the next). Unfortunately, the actors had yet to truly inhabit their characters. Rather than really talking to each other, it felt as if they were reading from a teleprompter behind the eyes, leaving almost every exchange feeling flat.

    The notable exceptions are Del’s monologues, which we come to learn are the passages from the letters Travis composes for him. Part of the difference is that Christian Skinner is simply better here than he or anyone else is when they’re talking to each other, but these also happen to be Golamco’s best passages.

    There’s an old writer’s rule saying that if you’re going to show the audience anything your characters are claiming is brilliant, beautifully written, etc., it damn well better be — otherwise you’ve just made your characters look like idiots. But Golamco avoids such a pitfall. Del/Travis’s reflections on love — e.g., how it makes you willing to fly all your colors in a world where camouflage keeps you safe, how it allows you to be more comfortable being seen in society because of the self-knowledge that you’re truly not alone — contain beautiful imagery and reveal a thoughtful soul for whom it’s easy to see a gal falling. M. de Bergerac himself never wrote anything so good (at least not that Rostand lets us hear).

    Del’s monologues also contain the show’s nicest technical moments. The highlight is Paul Tran’s lighting design during a monologue about a burning barn. Tran makes compelling choices concerning what to illuminate or enshadow and when, helping us feel the night air, the darkness, the prairie, the flames, the eyes of a fiery steed slowly emerging toward us.

    Cowboy versus Samurai is lite fare, but maybe you don’t want a full meal every time you go to the theater. First-time Director Shinshin Yuder Tsai does a respectable job with material that, while not exactly paradigm-shifting, gets you from point A to point B. You may not be transformed by your journey to Breakneck, but you’ll come away no worse for wear.

    Time: 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and 2 p.m. Sundays, through Aug. 19

    Cost: $14 to $24

    Details: (562) 494-1014

    www.lbplayhouse.org

    Venue: Long Beach Playhouse, 5021 E. Anaheim St., Long Beach

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  • Teamsters Charge CAAP Blows Smoke

    • 08/04/2017
    • Paul Rosenberg
    • News
    • Comments are off

    By Paul Rosenberg, Senior Editor

    On July 20, the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach released the draft of their new Clean Air Action Plan, opening a two-month comment period.

    The first public comment was a resounding rejection from the Teamsters, because the plan would tacitly allow the continued exploitation of individual truckers, misclassified as independent owner-operators. These truckers were saddled with the lion’s share of the costs of the Clean Trucks Program in the initial plan — hundreds of millions of dollars a year.

    “Your clean air program is going to make it worse, because the actual people who paid for the last clean trucks program — and it wasn’t designed to be that way — was the drivers, the people [who] can’t afford it,” Teamsters International Vice President Fred Potter told POLA commissioners at their meeting the next day. “They made all the truck payments and most of them — virtually almost every one of them — while they paid for those trucks. They’ll never own them.”

    While the initial program at least tried to protect truckers, the new plan represents a giant step back by not even trying.

    The ports’ press release said the plan “incorporates feedback from nearly two years of extensive dialogue with industry, environmental groups, regulatory agencies and neighboring communities” via “more than 50 stakeholder meetings” since a discussion document was released this past November.

    Conspicuously missing are mentions of truckers and their representatives.

    “We were not asked to participate in these stakeholder meetings,” Potter said. “Yet, we’ve had 15 strikes, represented drivers, helped drivers with hundreds — almost a thousand — DSLE claims [California labor law violations], and class action lawsuits… every one of which they’ve won, because these drivers are misclassified.”

    Teamsters spokesperson Barbara Maynard recalled an incident just before the most recent strike.

    “The mayors of Los Angeles and Long Beach held a press conference and announced that they were going to move to zero-emission trucks,” Maynard said.

    The strike coincided with a major investigative story in USA Today, exposing the illegal exploitative system Potter highlighted.

    But despite the strike, the national exposure and petitions hand-delivered to both mayors, Teamsters were not considered part of the discussion.

    “We did not receive a call, from either port saying, ‘Let’s sit down; let’s talk; let’s have a conversation, and make sure that these costs don’t fall onto the backs of the drivers again, like they did in 2008’,” Maynard said. “So it’s not like the actual announcement [of the Teamsters’ opposition] was a surprise.

    “Teamsters certainly support a clean-air action plan, certainly support zero-emission trucks, certainly would support the newest technology to make our air better and the ports more efficient. But it cannot be and will not be on the backs of the drivers again.”

    But truckers and Teamsters’ participation and a plan to protect truckers from illegal exploitation isn’t all that’s missing from the plan, David Pettit, senior attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council said.

    “Right now, I look at this as a wish list, rather than real plan,” Pettit told Random Lengths News. “There’s no enforceable deadline… there’s no funding mechanism.”

    This makes it similar to the Air Quality Management Plan from the South Coast Air Quality Management District, which sets similar goals with a similar price tag.

    “The price tag is the same, roughly a billion, with a “B”, [dollars] in each case,” Pettit said. “So South Coast wants a billion, the port wants a billion. It’s unclear where that money is going to come from.”

    Making matters worse, the plan envisions two waves of new truck purchases — near-zero trucks dominating in the next decade or longer, eventually followed by zero-emission vehicles. The timing varies across seven different scenarios, but the big picture remains the same: a mess.

    “The idea of doing this twice more, once to some kind of renewable LNG and then again to zero-emissions a few years later, doesn’t make a lot of sense,” Pettit said.

    Around 2008, the port spent about $240 million to help subsidize the clean-air truck fleet, he recalled.

    “I thought at the time, ‘How many times are they going to do this?’” Pettit said. “That’s the conundrum the port has put itself in and the answer is, ‘You just do it once.’”

    Another thing that’s clear, Teamsters say: it’s not going to come from individual truck drivers like Tracy Ellis, a Teamster shop steward who also addressed the commissioners.

    “During the first Clean Truck Program, my employer required me to lease a new truck, and pay all the heavy costs associated with operating that business,” Ellis said. “They got away with it by illegally classifying me as a contractor.”

    The burden was crushing. She lost her house, her car.

    “And, when I got sick, I lost everything,” she said.

    In the existing system, there’s nothing protecting individual truckers. Although Ellis is an employee now, not everyone is so lucky.

    “There are still more than 10,000 drivers working at the ports who are considered the laughingstock of the whole industry and are in the same situation that I used to be in,” she said. “These drivers will be forced to work illegal hours, two jobs, if not more, or do whatever it takes to pay for a new truck. Until every driver is guaranteed that the ports are going to ban companies that are breaking the law, then there should be no new truck replacement program.”

    Ellis, who’s been a port trucker since 2001, expanded on her experience afterwards. When the ports did their first clean truck programs, it had an employee mandate to it, but nobody communicated to the drivers what this really meant, she recalled.

    “We were scared, we were harassed by our employers and the trucking companies, that this wasn’t the way to go, that we better not talk to the Teamsters and this and that,” she said. “So we went along with our employers and sided with them because we didn’t know any better, because there was a big lack of communication, which I think is going on again.”

    At the time, she worked for TTSI.

    “They were very active with the politicians and they were the first ones to come out with a clean trucks, and claiming to be on the forefront of the whole environmental issue,” Ellis recalled.

    But over time, a very different picture emerged. Truckers paid TTSI for everything truck-related, including the truck payment, the fuel, the insurance, the maintenance, tires, all the stuff that has to be paid for, but the promise of building equity was largely a fantasy.

    “They would come out every once in awhile, getting rid of people for various reasons,” she said. “They would take the same truck and release it to someone else.”

    Meanwhile, funding — such as the Pier Pass program — was never passed onto the drivers.

    “As [a] result, when times got slow, or the work got slow, we would end up with negative checks, possibly,” Ellis said.

    She was fortunate until she got sick with diabetes in 2010.

    “I was on injections, you can’t drive a bus, truck or anything like that commercially on injections,” she explained, “So, I was out for a year. I had nothing to fall back on, no Social Security, because I was misclassified.”

    She lost her home, her car, her credit rating — everything, because so-called “independent owner-operators” have virtually no protections of any sort.

    The law is now clearly on their side in a way that wasn’t yet clear a decade ago. An exhaustive 2010 report, The Big Rig Poverty, Pollution, and the Misclassification of Truck Drivers at America’s Ports, established that port truckers are employees under existing labor law, which has been confirmed by hundreds of lawsuits and labor law decisions since. A 2014 follow-up, The Big Rig Overhaul, surveyed the progress made and projected that California “port trucking companies operating in California are annually liable for wage and hour violations of $787 to $998 million each year. The true figure probably lies in the middle of this range at around $850 million per year.”

    A substantial portion of that total is due to clean truck costs; while millions in damages have been recovered, the vast majority of law-breaking still goes unpunished. That’s what the Teamsters are determined to change.

    “I don’t think the port would have much of a chance in going to court and saying, ‘Well, these guys are all employees,’” said Pettit because of past rulings that the ports lack standing to make that case. “But the employees themselves can certainly do that, and I believe that there’ve been several hundred reclassification cases brought before the California labor commission, most of which have been successful.”

    “Every one of which they have won,” Potter told the commissioners.

    But truckers also argue that the ports can do more. The past rulings came down before misclassification law was clarified regarding port truckers. Ports do have a right — even a responsibility — to require lawful conduct. Misclassification doesn’t just hurt truckers, it gives an unfair advantage to law-breaking companies over law-abiding ones, deprives government of tax revenue and creates hazardous working conditions, endangering the public as well as drivers.

    “The only way a person can make it with a clean truck is illegally,” Ellis told Random Lengths. “The legal work hours mandated through the Department of Transportation are 11 hours [a day] and the harbors have sidestepped that issue. There’s no accountability of how long or how often the truck can come in and get loads and leave. It’s like the wild, wild West.”

    The law is now clear-cut.

    “[Even though the law is not clear cut,] you allow lawbreakers to come and work in the port,” Potter told the commissioners. “[You] might as well put up a sign, ‘Lawbreakers welcome, come exploit the workers.’”

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  • POW! WOW! Long Beach

    • 08/04/2017
    • Terelle Jerricks
    • Art
    • Comments are off

    Packing a Punch on the Mural Scene

    By Terelle Jerricks, Managing Editor

    Twenty-two artists and art teams put up 21 murals on the sides of Long Beach buildings and walled fences in the span of a week this past July in an event called POW! WOW!

    Six of the 22 artists are based in Long Beach, including Bodeck Hernandez, Nate Frizzell, Noelle Martinez, Ryan Milner, Dave Van Patten and Sparc. Community members got to participate through a series of events designed to connect them with the mural artists.

    This was the third year for POW! WOW! in Long Beach. That lifespan becomes increasingly impressive in a promotional video in which Julia Huang, chief executive of interTrend Communication, admits that business owners were reluctant to allow their walls to be painted over with spray paint when POW! WOW! first came to town.

    “During our first year, it was difficult to get walls because business owners or building owners didn’t know what it means when we [asked], ‘Want us to spray paint your walls with a spray can?’” Huang said. “Immediately, it was equated to graffiti art.”

    Property owners have since come around and donated wall space. Hundreds of local volunteers have  followed  in support as well.

    POW! WOW! Long Beach has even attracted major sponsors such as the Port of Los Angeles, the City of Long Beach, the Downtown Long Beach Business Association as well as the local art museums,  the Museum of Latin American Art and Long Beach Museum of Art.

    LBMA Director Ron Nelson is credited with changing Long Beach’s attitude towards street art after spearheading the 2015 show Vitality and Verve: Transforming the Urban Landscape. The show brought world-renowned artists to paint temporary murals in LBMA galleries.

    Kamea Hadar, co-lead director of POW! WOW!, recounted the early days and why it started.

    He explained that his high school friend Jasper Wong, who came to run an art gallery, had decided to do a project that highlighted the process of making art. He invited a dozen of his artist friends from different parts of the world to paint, live and work together for a week in Hawaii.

    Jasper maxed out his credit cards, paying for all of the flights and Hadar and his family provided the space for them to live.

    The 12 artists would paint all day on individual canvases and then destroy the work. Thereafter, they would stay up and talk all night about art.

    By the third POW! WOW!, the event gathered 100 international artists together for the purpose of creating art, culture and community as well as sharing these values both in Hawaii and across the globe.

    Street art became the canvas upon which Wong aimed to forge this intentional community. But it wasn’t the only canvas.

    POW! WOW! has also made forays in youth mentorship through Pow Wow School of music.

    PWSoM brings in budding musicians into its mentorship program, pairing them with professional musicians and providing creative, comfortable, and safe spaces for artistic expression.

    Pow! Pow! captured lightning in a jar. The ambitious part is the replication of the lightning worldwide.

    “It has to become an international event,” said Wong in 2012. “Every year, it has to be bigger and it has to be better…. Eventually, it will take over a block, then the neighboring block. Then it will take over a city. Pretty soon we will have so many artists coming …. that the whole city will transform.”

    Wong’s intention behind the first POW! WOW! in Hawaii is still evident in POW! WOW! Long Beach. Through a series of events — including a pop-up shop grand opening at MADE by Millworks, a talk with artist Adele Renault hosted by Jeff Staple and another talk with artist Tatiana Suarez moderated by journalist Sarah Bennett — Wong’s event aims to tear down walls and foster connections through art.

    While reflecting on the collaborative nature of this project, Hadar noted that something of cultural significance doesn’t necessarily have to be an ancient artifact. It can be something that is created today in your backyard.

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  • Waterfront Conflicts

    • 08/03/2017
    • James Preston Allen
    • At Length
    • Comments are off

    Ships, Trucks, Unions and Clean Air

    By James Preston Allen, Publisher

    Not much crosses the waterfront in Southern California’s twin ports that isn’t in the jurisdiction of the International Longshore Workers Union. Every kind of commodity and product, legal or not, comes here from around the world — 42 percent of all imports into the United States, to be exact.  What could possibly go wrong?

    According to recent reports from the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, cargo volumes are nearly the highest they’ve ever been.

    The Port of Los Angeles closed its 12-month fiscal year with total cargo volumes of 9.2 million 20-foot units (TEUs). Through the first half of 2017, POLB reports, container throughput grew by 5.1 percent, compared to 2016 which moved 3.5 million TEUs.

    The twin ports also have reported that the combined value of the cargo transiting through the ports amounts to some $450 billion. It would appear that it’s heading for even higher levels of growth in the years to come — as long as there isn’t another recession.

    Still, the recent extension of the ILWU labor contract with the Pacific Maritime Association (the employer group) anticipates growth and avoids any potential disruption to the “supply chain” because of labor strife. This benefits both sides, since neither labor nor management trust what the Trump administration would do with an extended labor dispute on the West Coast. Things could be worse.

    Even the recent Clean Air Action Plan  known as CAAP, and the zero-emissions agreement between the two ports anticipate significant growth in cargo volumes that some estimate could reach as high as 250 percent of the current rate.  Science predicts that if they don’t reduce the exhaust emissions starting now, the increase in cargo volumes will only expand, contributing even more to global warming and endangering the health of millions of Southern California residents. The ones who would be most impacted are those who live or work near the ports.  After all of the advancements to lower those emissions within the past 17 years, the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach still remain the single largest source of pollution in the state. So what’s the problem?

    The weak link in this 4450 billion supply chain are the troqueros — the thousands of mostly immigrant truck drivers hired and miss-classified as independent contractors to haul containers in and out of the ports.  The troqueros lease their trucks from the company, pay their own expenses and get paid on a per haul basis. In the end, they are some of the lowest paid workers in the harbor and they don’t like it.

    In fact, they’ve gone on strike 15 times in the past several years and have gone to court suing the various companies over labor abuses. They have won many of these cases, but they still remain an abused labor group.

    International Brotherhood of Teamsters Vice President Fred Potter spoke of the plight of the troqueros at a San Pedro Democratic Club meeting at Ports O’ Call Restaurant this past July and asked for support. His spiel included arguments I’ve heard before, but this time I just happened to be sitting next to ILWU International Vice President Ray Familathe when I heard them.

    Familathe became notably more agitated as Potter talked about the Teamster’s drive to organize the troqueros. During the question-and-answer period, Familathe blasted Potter for entering the ILWU’s jurisdiction without so much as a phone call or a diplomatic communication to organize workers on “our waterfront.”

    The issue also came up last year when then- Congresswoman Janice Hahn wanted to hold a press conference about the plight of the truckers “on the waterfront.”  After some terse words with then-Local 13 President Bobby Olivera Jr. The conference was symbolically moved across Harry Bridges Avenue, oddly enough, to less contested territory. Still, the dispute between the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and the ILWU goes back decades to when Harry Bridges himself was president of the ILWU International and the jurisdictional battles were over inland warehouse jobs.

    So, the answer to the questions about what could possibly go wrong with the goods movement industry on the waterfront and why the troqueros still don’t have protections as workers all comes down to the head-butting dispute between these two major labor unions. It’s an issue past mayoral administrations, harbor commission boards and port administrators have never wanted to touch.

    The crux of the matter has as much to do with the Teamsters raiding ILWU locals in San Francisco and Sacramento as it does organizing on the San Pedro waterfront. In the end the greater threat to all workers may well be automation and not who represents the unorganized workforce. Neither side seems well prepared to train the next generation for the onslaught of robotics.

    One thing is for certain, if the ILWU came out to officially endorse these truckers, the stalemate over their status would be over in a minute­. But that presumes the Teamsters would come to an understanding that they would have to have peace in other jurisdictions. Who could bring these two powerful unions to the negotiating table?

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