• Old San Pedro Lives on a Restaurant Wall

    • 11/30/2017
    • Richard Foss
    • Cuisine
    • Comments are off

    By Richard Foss, Cuisine and Culture Writer

    If you visited J. Trani’s lately you might have noticed an unusual change in the decor: a remodel that makes the place look older. The hunting lodge look is gone, replaced with vintage pictures that show a very different San Pedro. The place is heavy on memorabilia from The Majestic Café, a restaurant that was started in 1925 by Chef Dustin Trani’s great-grandfather. The photos show a crowded but casual spot; they also raise a question about the name, one that Dustin can’t answer.

    “Why the Majestic Café?” Chef Dustin Trani asked, rhetorically. “Nobody knows. It was a brash place full of longshoremen and marines and the people who did business at the port, and it wasn’t fancy by any means. I asked my father once, but he had never thought to ask my great grandfather when he was still alive.”

    Founder Filippo Trani emigrated from island of Ischia near Naples along with thousands of others who sought opportunity in America. Many stopped on the East Coast, but he kept going because he had friends in Wilmington. Most of that area was one big olive orchard. He worked there before he moved to San Pedro to open the restaurant. The restaurant may have served fishermen but it didn’t serve much fish.

    “Seafood was expensive, and The Majestic was a working class diner,” Trani said. “They served chili beans with spaghetti, beef stew and wet roast beef sandwiches. We still serve that sandwich on the lunch menu today. It’s two large pieces of French bread with thick slices of top round, topped with au jus and chili beans. It’s a fork-and-knife sandwich. There was a tuna salad on the menu, using tuna brought in at Terminal Island. Some of the guys eating it might have caught it or canned it. They probably brought over a case and traded it for a wet beef sandwich, because they bartered a lot in those days.”

    In 1925 San Pedro was a tough port town, home of bars like Shanghai Red’s where gambling, prostitution, smugglers and the people who dealt with them. Trani reveals that some colorful characters had their own private space.

    “There was a back room called, The Blue Room, where bootleggers hung out and there’s mystery about it,” Trani said. “I had only seen black-and-white pictures of it and when I asked my dad one time he said that it wasn’t blue. He had no idea why it was called that and neither did anybody else. It had a back entrance and all kinds of people hung out here. My grandfather said that he saw the gangster Mickey Cohen there and thought, ‘Oh boy, we don’t want this guy around here.’ But for some reason he kept coming back to our little café even though he could afford to eat anywhere. He was a character at the restaurant and so was Freddy the Leg-Breaker, otherwise known as Freddy the Hat. If you were his friend he was Freddy the Leg-Breaker, to everybody else he was Freddy the Hat.”

    The mere possibility of earning Freddy’s attention probably helped keep the clientele better behaved than the average place in town, despite the fact that they were illegally serving alcohol somewhat blatantly. It was kept under the counter until prohibition was repealed in 1933, but Filippo’s brother Lou manned the bar from a space right by the door. He was probably kept busy by a stream of customers who had visited the neighboring business.

    “The place where longshoremen picked up their paychecks was next door, so there were always guys who suddenly had money in their pockets and wanted something to eat,” Trani said. “We had fed them even when they were broke, though. My great-grandfather was at the helm; he would sit at the counter all day long while my father and uncles ran the kitchen. He had the pay list of who owed us money and I assume that when their tabs got too high, that’s when you called Freddy. We used to have house accounts here at J. Trani’s until a few years ago, but it just got too complicated keeping track. And besides, everybody has credit cards now.”

    The Trani family also established a tradition that went on for decades, but that ended suddenly because of one of their more colorful customers.

    “We used to have the Majestic Picnic every year, always the third Sunday in August,” Trani said. “Our customers would throw money in the jar all year long, and the Tranis would match that amount and throw a picnic for the community. It was at the LAPD pistol range just off Channel Street, and there would be softball and all these other attractions for 700, 800 people. The last year they did it was 1974 and there were a lot of politicians, congressmen, Judge Perkovich, everybody who was important in town. Mickey Cohen showed up too, with his stooges. We had to get the permit for the police field from the police department and I remember my grandfather saying, ‘We can’t have this guy here!’ It was like a scene from The Godfather, all these politicians and a gangster just hanging around at a picnic. Next year the LAPD didn’t issue the permit and that ended it. I’ve always thought about bringing it back.”

    Only a few years after the last picnic, the Majestic itself was on the road to disaster.

    “When my great-grandfather passed away in 1978 the restaurant was left to the brothers Lou, Jim, Jack and Philip,” he said. “It was a ship with no captain; you could predict that it would start a feud and it did. In 1987, they sold the restaurant. My grandfather and father came here to start this restaurant, and my great-uncle Phil started his in Long Beach. When we opened this location there was nothing on the wall from the old restaurant, because we had put all that in the past. My grandfather would never even drive by the old restaurant because of the resentment over what happened, over losing brothers never to see them again. It took 27 years, but we have made up now and are friends again. It was sad to see, but it’s behind us now. When we did the recent remodel and updating we decided to bring in those pictures along with a lot of old photos of the history of San Pedro.”

    The Tranis will share some of its history at an event on Dec. 5, when Dustin Trani will cook favorites from his great-grandfather’s menu. Prohibition-era cocktails will be served after dinner to accompany a program called “How Prohibition Changed America.” Part of the proceeds will benefit the Pacific Food & Beverage Museum, which is scheduled to open in San Pedro early next year. (Full disclosure: the author of this article is the curator of that museum and presenter of the program, as well as a regular columnist for Random Lengths News.)

    The evening will be a celebration of the era, the neighborhood and of what may be the only fourth-generation restaurant in greater Los Angeles, where the family still works in the kitchen. It’s a rare example of continuity in a city and society that worship the new and novel, a chance to look back at who we were when all photos were in black and white and the booze had to be kept under the counter.

    For details about the Repeal Day event on Dec. 5, check the events section at PacificFood.org  or stop in at J. Trani’s for a flyer. Have a cocktail at the bar when you do; they’re really good.

    Trani’s is at 584 W. 9th St. in San Pedro. Details: (310) 832-1220; www.jtrani.com

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  • Fruitcake: Cope with this Much Maligned Holiday Tradition

    • 11/30/2017
    • Lyn Jensen
    • Features
    • Comments are off

    By Lyn Jensen, Contributing Writer

    If you love fruitcake — also called fruit bread, Yule cake, or Christmas ring — you have much to look forward to this holiday season.

    You’re probably well aware of the many ways there are to enjoy fruitcake—plain or as part of various concoctions. You might be planning to get one (or more) from a local retailer such as Amalfitano Bakery in Rancho Palos Verdes, or order online from a world-renowned company such as Collin Street Bakery based in Corsicana, Texas. Even if you dislike fruitcake, you may find yourself with one anyway. Maybe you’ll get one at a party. Maybe you have that relative that always bakes fruitcake as gifts, like Truman Capote’s cousin Silk did in the classic story A Christmas Memory. Maybe this is the season for you to confront the reality that you have a fruitcake stored away somewhere — for longer than you’d care to admit. If so, consider options beyond throwing that fruitcake away. Upcycle it instead of adding food to humanity’s daunting waste stream.

    Browse around the Internet for ways to share your fruitcake cheer. The Collin Street Bakery website provides some ideas. The following suggestions are culled from several Internet and print sources.

    • Some people eat ice cream even when it involves fruitcake. Fruitcake purists (those actually do exist) may insist the dish is to be eaten plain, but if you, like most, are not one, slice it and top it with ice cream and/or whipped cream. You’ll find it tastes much better. You can even make a fruitcake sundae the way you’d make a brownie sundae. A variation is to crumble or cube bits of fruitcake as garnish on a sundae.
    • Try toast. Put thin slices on a baking sheet and toast them in the oven, then top them with butter or cream cheese for breakfast or snacks. You can also use the slices to make French toast.
    • Make trifle or bread pudding. Both are time-honored ways to recycle leftover bread or cake, and that includes fruitcake. Find a recipe and hit the kitchen.
    • The right wine makes a marriage. If you serve fruitcake with compatible dessert wine, such as Riesling, tawny port, or cream sherry, you’ll find they make each other taste better. You may even want to throw a wine-tasting party. Invite guests to blind-taste several selections of dessert wine, and serve fruitcake to cut the liquor. Award a door prize to the person who eats the most.

    If after considering ways to make fruitcake enjoyable, you still can’t face serving or eating it, dispose of it in a useful way.

    • Repeat, trashing or composting fruitcake is not a good idea. Fruitcake infamously lasts years or decades. It’s not going to break down in a compost pile anytime soon.
    • Our animal companions like fruitcake even if we don’t. Humorists sometimes wonder how many fruitcakes end life as bird feed. How about gifting your backyard’s wildlife with an appropriate feeder, too? If you know a friendly dog, horse, pig, chicken, parrot, or goat, maybe they’ll like your unwanted fruitcake.
    • Call food charities about making a donation. Ask about donating some butter or cream cheese, too.
    • Don’t tell anybody, but re-gift it. Johnny Carson is credited with originating a joke about how maybe there’s just one fruitcake in this world and it’s forever being passed around as a gift. If you do this kind of recycling, make sure it’s going to someone who’ll be pleased to receive it and stop the chain. Otherwise you may find it coming back around. Do the recipient a favor, too — type or write up serving suggestions (like these) and tuck into the gift package.

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  • Holiday Afloat Parade is Back

    • 11/30/2017
    • Zamná Ávila
    • Feature
    • Comments are off

    By Zamná Ávila, Assistant Editor

    It’s that time again. Lights will adorn the ocean shores as a regalia of boats float upon the Los Angeles Waterfront to welcome the holiday season.

    Peace Around the World is the theme of the 55th Annual Los Angeles Harbor Holiday Afloat Parade, which will take place from 6 to 8 p.m. Dec. 2 at the Port of Los Angeles.

    The Los Angeles Harbor Holiday Afloat parade starts in the East Basin near Banning’s Landing Community Center in Wilmington and heads south down the Los Angeles Main Channel. It takes about 90 minutes to cover the entire parade route.

    Los Angeles County District 4 Supervisor Janice Hahn will head the fleet of about 60 boats of all shapes and sizes as this year’s grand marshal.

    Participating vessels include powerboats, sailboats, tall ships and harbor working crafts.

    Community leaders will take part in the parade as judges or passengers. Trophies will be awarded in the following categories: Theme, Traditional, Holiday Spirit, Most Original, Children’s Choice, Judge’s  Choice and the Grand Marshal’s Award.

    Before the parade, at 4 p.m., viewers are invited to enjoy free holiday festivities at Banning’s Landing Community Center in Wilmington.

    The boat line ups will be led by a Los Angeles Port Police dive boat, a 65-foot hydrofoil-assisted catamaran vessel equipped for diving and sonar; followed by the Warner L. Lawrence fireboat, the Irving Johnson headed by Grand Marshal Supervisor Janice Hahn, La Espada, a Harbor Breeze boat headed by Councilman Joe Buscaino; the Something Special, a 58-foot banner powerboat owned by George Miller; several tugs and working vessels, the Mauretania, an 80-foot Jack Voight motoryacht stationed at 22nd Street Landing; the Westerly, a 55-foot dive commercial scuba boat; about 35 recreational boats; all escorted by three Port Police vessels and two U.S. Coast Guard auxiliary boats.

    Spectators may view the procession from:

    • Banning’s Landing Community Center, 100 E. Water St., Wilmington
    • Cruise Ship Promenade, Harbor Boulevard and Swinford Street, San Pedro
    • Battleship IOWA, 250 S. Harbor Blvd., San Pedro
    • Downtown Harbor, 5th Street and Harbor Boulevard, San Pedro
    • 22nd Street Landing, 141 W. 22nd St., San Pedro
    • SS Lane Victory, Berth 49, 3600 Miner St., San Pedro
    • CabrilloWay and Holiday Harbor marinas, 2293 Miner St. and 285 Whalers Walk, San Pedro

    Details: laharborholidayafloat.org

    Click here to read about the Spirit of San Pedro Holiday Parade

    Deck the Streets of Downtown San Pedro

    Line up on the streets of San Pedro to witness the joy of the holiday season as it parades through Pacific Avenue.

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  • Deck the Streets of Downtown San Pedro

    • 11/30/2017
    • Zamná Ávila
    • Feature
    • Comments are off

    The 37th Annual Spirit of San Pedro Holiday Parade ushers in the season

    By Zamná Ávila, Assistant Editor

    Line up on the streets of San Pedro to witness the joy of the holiday season as it parades through Pacific Avenue. The 37th Annual Spirit of San Pedro Holiday Parade is from 1 to 3 p.m. Dec. 3, and you won’t want to miss it.

    The event, which takes about half a year to prepare is a collaboration among several community groups such as the San Pedro Chamber of Commerce, the Beacon House, the San Pedro Elks Lodge #966, the office of Councilman Joe Buscaino and the Los Angeles Police Department.

    More than 9,000 people will enjoy the parade of little leagues, scouts, high school bands and equestrian units marching through its downtown area. The San Pedro Ballet City Ballet will also be showing off their moves in Nutcracker costumes. And, of course, the holiday parade would not be complete without the presence of Mr. and Mrs. Claus.

    The parade route will start on Pacific Avenue at 13th Street, head north and turn east on 6th Street to Palos Verdes Street. It will feature more than 88 units. Bands will play music learned and practiced at San Pedro High School, Dana Middle School, Wilmington Middle School, Gardena High School and Carson High School.

    The 2017 parade line up:

    Los Angeles Port Police Motorcyles clear the parade route
    San Pedro High School Golden Pirate Regiment Marching Band
    San Pedro High School Air Force JROTC
    Mark Wallengren of KOST 103.5 FM
    Los Angeles Port Police – Interceptor
    Los Angeles Port Police

    Port of Los Angeles Harbor Commissioner Anthony Pirozzi
    Metro Bike Riders
    Port of Los Angeles “Timmy the Duck” Float
    Los Angeles Emerald Society Pipes and Drums and Los Angeles Police Department Honor Guard
    Los Angeles Police Department Capt. Michael Oreb
    LAPD Harbor Cadets
    Wells Fargo Stage Coach with San Pedro’s Honorary Mayor Domenic Costa,
    San Pedro High School Lady Boosters
    San Pedro High School Drill, Flags and Cheer
    San Pedro High School Baseball
    San Pedro High School Marine Magnet
    Rep. Nanette Barragan

    International Children’s Choir
    Assemblyman Patrick O’Donnell
    Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn
    Encore Theater Group – Seussical
    Los Angeles Harbor College – Dr. Otto Lee
    Harbor College Walkers
    LA Airforce Base Honor Guard
    LA Airforce Base Commander Col. Roberts
    Boys and Girls Club of the Los Angeles Harbor
    San Pedro Bay Historical Society
    LAFD Historic Band Wagon with Fire Chief Ralph Terazas
    Los Angeles Fire Department Fire Truck Station 48
    LAFD Historical Society Hummer
    Harry Bridges Span School Band / Boys & Girls Club
    Harry Bridges Span School Drill Team
    Harry Bridges Span School Cheer and Pep Squad
    Beach Cities Shrine Club with motorized camels
    Crowne Plaza LA Harbor Hotel
    Providence Aztec Dancers
    Knights of Columbus Angels Gate Council

    Cheer/Pep Squad, Knights of Columbus Angels Gate Council
    Improved Order of Redman
    Wilmington Middle School – Wilmington Marching Jaguars Band

    15th District Los Angeles City Councilman Joe Buscaino on a bike
    San Pedro Co-Op Nursery School

    Feed & Be Fed Garden Church – Taiko Drummers
    Harbor Occupation – Taiko Drummers
    Toberman Neighborhood Center
    Toberman Neighborhood Center
    San Pedro Girl Scouts
    Pt. Fermin Elementary Cheer/Pep Squad            Los Angeles Kings Ice Crew
    West Coast Reign All Star Cheer
    Cub Scouts of America Pack 234
    Cub Scouts of America Pack 500
    Cub Scouts of America Pack 1203
    Gardena High School Band & Auxiliary
    State Sen. Steve Bradford
    Keller Williams Realty Float
    Angie Flores Books with Panda Bear
    Diamond All Stars Cheer/Pep Squad

    Cabrillo Beach Contingent
    Port of Los Angeles High School Cheer/Pep Squad
    Equestrians Charros de Jerez Zacatecas
    Mary Star of the Sea Catholic Church – 2017 Parish Fiesta
    AltaSea at the Port of Los Angeles
    South Bay Divas All Star Cheer
    Cheer/Pep Squad and South Bay Divas All Star Cheer
    Pacific Battleship – USS Iowa Hummer
    Port of Los Angeles High School JROTC
    Journeys Martial Arts
    San Pedro Girls Softball Association
    Hayley Clark Dance Company
    Equestrians Palos Verdes Junior Drill Team – Horses
    Bayview Baptist Church Float
    San Pedro Soccer League
    Ballet Folklorico Alma de Oro
    Alliance Alice M. Baxter College Ready High School Cheer/Pep Squad

    Peoples Place
    Eastview Little League
    Carson High School Marching Band
    Fantasy Spa Mobile Pet Grooming
    Mary Star of the Sea Pre-school, Elementary School and Junior High School
    New Harvest Singers
    Marine Mammal Care Center Los Angeles
    Salvation Army San Pedro Corp
    Beach Cities Roller Derby
    Dance Tech
    Northwest San Pedro Neighborhood Council
    Trolley – Pinkachu and Clilfford the Big Red Dog
    Barton Hill Elementary School Cheer/Pep Squad
    Barton Hill Elementary School walkers
    San Pedro City Ballet
    Dana Middle School Marching Band
    Dana Middle School Cheer/Pep Squad
    San Pedro Rotary Club – Santa and Mrs. Claus

    Click here to read about the Holiday Afloat Parade

    Holiday Afloat Parade is Back

    Lights will adorn the ocean shores as a regalia of boats float upon the Los Angeles Waterfront to welcome the holiday season.

    Continue reading…

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  • Elysium Boldly Goes Where Few Theater Companies Ever Go

    By Greggory Moore, Curtain Call Columnist

    Anton Chekhov (d. 1904) occupies an odd historical space. During his lifetime he was on theater’s cutting edge with his idea of subtext, a convention that reflects the aspect of human interaction where what is happening emotionally is not always explicit. But for all that modernism, Chekhovian dialogue sounds more archaic than stylized to our ears. The Chekhovian challenge for actors and directors, then, is to play that artificiality with the subtextual reality, layering all that humanity (nothing artificial about Chekhov there) atop his wonky words.

    Elysium Conservatory Theatre’s Three Sisters is a triumph of exactly that. Director Aaron Ganz and his cast boldly explore social interaction in a way that few theater companies ever do, incorporating so much naturalistic space and silence into the dialogue that the only way you could feel more like a fly on the wall is if you sprouted little wings.

    We meet Olga (Charlotte Spangler), Masha (Monica Ross) and Irina (Kate Slinger) exactly one year after their father’s death. They live together on their family estate with their brother Andrei (Justin Powell) in the provincial town they’ve called home for the past 11 years. But they yearn to return to Moscow, which for them symbolizes a carefree world of love, devoid of loss and devoid of the confusion on the purpose (or purposelessness) of suffering. They believe that work can redeem them, can redeem all of humanity. If they just do the work, the right work, they can locate themselves in history and make sense of it all.

    If you’ve read any of the 19th-century Russian classics, you know that the sisters are never going to find what they’re looking for. A powerful philosophical enlightenment was happening in that time and place. Writers like Dostoyevsky, Turgenev and Lermontov were exploring the bleakness of the human condition in a brand new way. Chekhov, a generation younger, picked up the torch.

    If you’re looking for a lot of plot, the Three Sisters ain’t your gals. The dominant action — almost the only action — in a Chekhov play is people sitting around and talking. And, because Chekhov never met a chance to hammer home his motifs that he didn’t like, they repeat themselves plenty:

    …work, Moscow, what does it all mean, someday we’ll understand what it means, we must work, we’ve gotta get back to Moscow, in the future it will all make sense, let’s work because it will make the future better and the present more comprehensible, we’re never going to get to Moscow, I’m working but it still doesn’t make sense, but maybe in the future….

    This might be a bit of a bore if not for the humanity of the interactions both between the characters and between each character and her existential predicament as they struggle amidst life’s ponderousness. This is the magic of Elysium Conservatory Theatre’s production. It’s not so much that the actors get their mouths completely around Chekhov’s wonkiness (the cast gets high marks across the board), but how they live in the spaces around them. It may be difficult to fully explain why moments of the play, such as Irina sitting curled up on a chair in the late-night aftermath of a party — idly eating a cookie, languorously removing her shoes, and silently regarding other characters as they straggle on and off stage — is so captivating; the short answer is all about seeing these characters live their lives as we humans actually live our lives.

    That realism carries over into the dialogue. Scenes always play in real time, with the actors allowing for all the natural space that is organic to real-life conversation — the meaningful looks, the awkward pauses, the averting of the eyes, the processing, the sitting in silence together, the being alone in a crowded room or even an embrace.

    If the delivery is enough to make you feel like a fly on the wall, the staging ramps up the audience immersion so that it’s like experiencing Three Sisters via a virtual reality headset. Elysium’s Theatre would be eyed with murderous envy by almost any troupe this side of Broadway, comprising several unique rooms, each bigger than most any black box theater. Elysium Conservatory Theatre fully exploits the blessing of all that space with a vigorous movement element that is one of their signatures (although at heart this is a traditionalist take on Chekhov, with the movement set pieces confined to tasteful accents), but Three Sisters is staged so that, no matter where you sit, scenes will sometimes play within a meter or two of you. There is no stage confining the actors’ ambit. We’re with them in the room, in the garden, sometimes literally sitting right next to them on the couch. It might play as a gimmick in the wrong hands; here, it’s most always just like life.

    Because of the pacing and the occasional movement elements, Elysium Conservatory Theatre’s Three Sisters runs more than four hours, so they have chosen to break the play into two parts, which (depending on when you to see it) are played either on a single Saturday (with a few hours in between) or on consecutive nights. The logic of the separation is successful vis-à-vis plot arc and character development, but Elysium Conservatory Theatre further supports it by staging Part One in the upstairs foyer space, while Part Two plays out in a pair of the interior spaces (the audience migrates from one to the next).

    Because the immersive realism is the true star of the show, this production feels like an ensemble piece, even though it obviously centers on the sisters, all of whom are well cast. If there’s a standout in Part One, it’s Monica Ross as Masha. Despite seeming the most reticent of the sisters as the play opens, her explosiveness (more angst than meanness) is our first window into the family’s discontent. Just about the only alteration Ganz has made to the (English translation of the) dialogue is including curses appropriate for our coarsened 21st-century ears.

    “Oh, but her fucking clothes,” Masha exclaims about Natasha a quarter of the way through Part One, and it helps amp up our sense of reality. Although Masha’s got the mouth of a sailor, Ross never plays it gratuitously.

    The standout of Part Two is Kate Slinger. Although Andrei and Natasha are other characters that end up  changed (Natasha in particular comes into her own—not in a good way), young Irina runs the most tortuous path and arrives at its end the most damaged. While Ross and Corkery are notable for their  anger and bitterness, Slinger’s heavy lifting is internal, with her pain and confusion emerging more from her face than her words. Because it’s often impossible to keep all of the characters in view at one time — that’s how fully Elysium Conservatory Theatre exploits these big spaces — sometimes you may turn your head to find that Slinger’s been playing that anguish while no-one may have been looking. In such a real moment, your suspension of disbelief has to keep your empathy for Slinger in check; otherwise, you’ll get distracted from the drama. That’s acting.

    If there’s a weakness to Elysium Conservatory Theatre’s production, it may be a slight overindulgence in all that space. Maybe on occasion the characters are standing unnaturally far apart as they talk. Maybe sometimes they speak a little too loudly for the situation. On the whole, though, their instincts — tightly honed in the rehearsal process — are fantastic. I’m not a Chekhov fan, but I was all in for all four hours. It’s a privilege to experience a show this immersive, this quietly bold. They don’t come along often.

    Time:  8 p.m. Thursdays through Sundays, and 12:30 p.m. Dec. 2, through Dec. 16
    Cost: $10 to $15
    Details: (424) 535-7333, FearlessArtists.org
    Venue: Elysium Conservatory Theatre, 2729 S. Palos Verdes St., San Pedro

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  • James Kimo West

    • 11/30/2017
    • Reporters Desk
    • Calendar
    • Comments are off

    ENTERTAINMENT

    Dec. 2
    James Kimo West
    Kimo’s annual Holiday Slack Key Show kicks off in San Pedro with enchanting hula by Kevin Tsusui and Ku’uleilani Taketa. Kimo will play selections from his two acclaimed holiday slack key CDs as well as Hawaiian slack key classics.
    Time: 8 p.m. Dec. 2
    Cost: $20
    Details: https://alvasshowroom.com/event/james-kimo-west-holiday-slack-key
    Venue: Alvas Showroom, 1417 W. 8th St., San Pedro

    Anita Chang, Rodney Oakes
    An eclectic concert of music by Anita Chang and Rodney Oakes for piano, sackbut, trombones and video will be presented at Los Angeles Harbor College. Chang will present works by Mozart, Chopin and Liszt. Oakes will present his new work for sackbut and piano, Pavane, a new video with electronic music.
    Time: 8 p.m. Dec.2
    Cost: Free
    Details: (310) 233- 4429.
    Venue: LAHC, Music Dept., 1111 Figueroa Place, Wilmington

    Dec. 2
    Wilco Listening Party
    Wilco will be re-releasing the albums AM and Being There, both remastered and expanded. In the case of Being There, originally a double disc set, it’s been expanded to 5-disc collection. Included in this new version are 15 out-takes, a full 20-song show from the Troubadour, plus another four recorded for KCRW.
    Time: 6 p.m. Dec. 2
    Cost: Free
    Details: (562) 433-4996
    Venue: Fingerprints Music, 420 E. 4th St., Long Beach

    Dec. 3
    Bobby Breton

    Bobby Breton and his six-piece band performs a variety of jazz, pop and originals to ring in the holiday spirit.
    Time: 2 p.m. Dec. 3
    Cost: $22.50
    Details: https://alvasshowroom.com/event/bobby-breton-friends-celebrate-the-winter-solstice
    Venue: Alvas Showroom, 1417 W. 8th St., San Pedro

    Dec. 9
    Doug Macleod

    Doug Macleod multiple blues music award winner returns with Denny Croy on bass. He will be presenting his music and stories.
    Time: 8 p.m. Dec. 9
    Cost: $20
    Details: (310) 833-7538; http://alvasshowroom.com
    Venue: Alvas Showroom, 1417 W. 8th St., San Pedro

    Dec. 16
    Holiday POPS Spectacular 2017
    The Golden State Pops Orchestra’s acclaimed production “Holiday POPS Spectacular” returns this year with joyous music and high spirits. Celebrate the holiday season by joining Maestro Steven Allen Fox and the Golden State Pops Orchestra and Chorale.
    Time: 8 p.m., Dec. 16
    Cost: $28.50 to $60.00
    Details: gspo.secure.force.com/ticket
    Venue: Warner Grand Theatre, 478 W. 6th St., San Pedro

    THEATER

    Dec. 1
    White Christmas

    This holiday season discover the perfect gift for everyone on your list!  Start with a timeless tale of joy and goodwill, fill it with classic Irving Berlin songs, and top it off with glorious dancing and lots of snow and you have Irving Berlin’s White Christmas.
    Time: 8 p.m. Dec. 1, 2, 8 and 9, 2 p.m. Dec. 2 and 9, 1 p.m. Dec. 3 and 10, and 6 p.m. Dec. 3
    Cost: $20 to $90
    Details: (562) 856-1999; www.musical.org
    Venue: Carpenter Performing Arts Center, 6200 Atherton St., Long Beach

    Dec. 9
    The Nutcracker
    San Pedro City Ballet, home of American Ballet Theatre superstar Misty Copeland,
    presents its 24th annual production of The Nutcracker, with artistic direction by
    Cynthia and Patrick David Bradley. Join Clara on a dreamlike journey with a dancing
    Nutcracker, mischievous mice, sparkling snowflakes, and a magical Christmas tree.
    Time: 2 and 7 p.m. Dec. 9, and 2 p.m. Dec. 10
    Cost: $19 to $39
    Details: www.sanpedrocityballet.org/upcoming-events/nutcracker
    Venue: Warner Grand Theatre, 478 W. 6th St., San Pedro

    Continuing

    Arsenic and Old Lace

    If you are a lonely, elderly gentleman, steer clear of the old Victorian rooming house that Abby and Martha Brewster run. It may be your last room on Earth! When these two sweet old sisters feel the need to release a worthy roomer of his lonely suffering, just a sip of their homemade elderberry wine will do the trick.
    Time: 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and 2 p.m. Sundays, through Dec. 2
    Cost: $10 to $27
    Details: www.lbplayhouse.org/show/arsenic-and-old-lace
    Venue: Long Beach Playhouse, 5021 E. Anaheim St., Long Beach

    Much Ado About Nothing
    The drama of military war and the comedic war between the sexes meet in the great playwright’s hilarious, heart-wrenching comedy. Set in a timeless world of disguises, intrigue, beautiful words and surprising violence. It performed by a talented all-female cast.
    Time: 8 p.m. Dec. 1 and 2, and 3 p.m. Dec. 3
    Cost: $10
    Details: www.eventbrite.com/e/much-ado-about-nothing-tickets-38483341711
    Venue: The Collaborative, 421 W. Broadway, Long Beach
    The Night Before the Night Before Christmas
    Lou has wrestled with a big ball of tangled Christmas lights for the last time. Christmas is cancelled. Escaping New Jersey, the freezing cold, his nutty family and most of all the holidays, is exactly what Lou plans to do. Will a couple of unlikely characters help restore Lou and Carol’s Christmas spirit in the St. Nick of time?
    Time: 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sundays, through Dec. 16
    Cost: $27
    Details: www.littlefishtheatre.org/wp/the-night-before-the-night-before-christmas
    Venue: Little Fish Theatre, 777 S. Centre St., San Pedro

    BEH — An Improvised Play
    Who are the characters in BEH? Where does BEH take place? What is the plot of BEH? You tell us – BEH is an improvised play.
    Time: 8 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, 2 p.m. Sundays, through Dec. 16
    Cost: $20
    Details: www.thegaragetheatre.org/on-stage-now-1
    Venue: The Garage Theatre, 251 E. 7th St., Long Beach

    ARTS

    Dec. 2
    AGCC Open Studios
    Open Studios Day is a biannual event at Angels Gate Cultural Center celebrating all that happens on our campus and the diverse and lively community that makes us unique. More than 50 studio artists will open their doors for you to see what they create in their studios.
    Time: 12 to 4 p.m. Dec. 2
    Cost: Free
    Details: www.angelsgateart.org
    Venue: AGCC, 3601 S. Gaffey St., San Pedro

    Dec. 2
    SU LA

    Michael Stearns Studio invites you to an artists reception for SU LA: New Beings. This exhibit features Syracuse University students from the Masters in Fine Arts Turner residency program.
    Time: 4 to 7 p.m. Dec. 2
    Cost: Free
    Details: michaelstearnsstudio.com
    Venue: Michael Stearns Studio 347, 347 W. 7th St., San Pedro

    Dec. 6
    Pure Nature
    The Long Beach Creative Group would like to invite you to attend their upcoming reception for the exhibit Pure Nature at the Long Beach Playhouse.
    Time: 5 p.m. Dec. 6
    Cost: Free
    Details: www.lbplayhouse.org/rentals/gallery
    Venue: Long Beach Playhouse Gallery, 5021 E. Anaheim St., Long Beach

    Dec. 9
    Painting with the Masters
    Enjoy live music, appetizers and a wine bar at exhibit opening of Painting with the Masters.
    The exhibit will run through Jan. 9, 2018.
    Time: 5 to 8 p.m. Dec. 9
    Cost: Free
    Details: (310) 547-3158; www.parkhurstgalleries.com
    Venue: Parkhurst Galleries Inc., 439 W. 6th St., San Pedro

    Continuing

    Rino Gonzalez
    Rino Gonzalez has attracted an impressive following for his works of realism during the almost 40 years since his immigration from the Philippines at age 16. Much of the joy of these painting comes purely from studying technical achievement in the reproduction of such aspects as fine lacework, polished and textured surfaces, worn books and tattered pages, fruit and roses.
    Time: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m Tuesday through Saturday, through Dec. 2
    Cost: Free
    Details: (310) 547-3158; parkhurstgalleries.com
    Venue: Parkhurst Galleries, 439 W 6th St, San Pedro

    Made in Cotton
    Closely intertwined with racial politics, the production of cotton and the history of slavery are encapsulated in the potent exhibit.
    Time: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, through Dec. 7
    Cost: Free
    Details: http://news.csudh.edu/made-in-cotton
    Venue: University Art Gallery, LaCorte Hall, A-107, California State University Dominguez Hills, 1000 E. Victoria St., Carson

    David Lamelas: A Life Of Their Own
    The University Art Museum has organized the first monographic exhibition in the United States on the Argentine-born artist David Lamelas as part of the Getty Pacific Standard Time Initiative LA/LA. Best known as a pioneer of conceptual art, Lamelas gained international acclaim for his work in the 1968 Venice Biennale, Office of Information about the Vietnam War at Three Levels.
    Time: 12 to 5 p.m. Sundays through Friday, through Dec. 10
    Cost: Free
    Details: www.csulb.edu/university-art-museum/exhibitions
    Venue: University Art Museum at California State University Long Beach, 1250 Bellflower Blvd., Long Beach

    Moon Over San Pedro
    Ann Weber’s large biomorphic sculptures have been described as bizarre characters from a story, hanging on the wall or sitting in the middle of the gallery like strange and evocative outcroppings of nature or outer space.
    Time: 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursdays,  and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Fridays through Sundays, through Feb. 4, 2018
    Cost: $6 to $7
    Details: lbma.org
    Venue: Long Beach Museum of Art, 2300 E. Ocean Blvd., Long Beach

    COMMUNITY

    Dec. 2
    A Life Among Fishes
    Join Cabrillo Marine Aquarium for a special event featuring Christopher Dewees, internationally recognized master of Gyotaku, the Japanese art of fish printing.
    Time: 4 p.m. Dec. 2
    Cost: Free
    Details: (310) 548-7562; www.cabrillomarineaquarium.org
    Venue: CMA, 3720 Stephen M. White Drive, San Pedro

    Dec. 2
    55th Annual Los Angeles Harbor Holiday Afloat Parade
    Port of Los Angeles, with this year’s parade theme Peace Around the World will take part in the parade as judges or passengers on about 60 boats parading along the Los Angeles Waterfront. Participating vessels are of all shapes and sizes, including powerboats, sailboats, tall ships, and harbor working craft.
    Time: 6 to 8 p.m. Dec. 2
    Cost: Free
    Details: laharborholidayafloat.org
    Venues: Banning’s Landing Community Center, 100 E. Water St., Wilmington
    Cruise Ship Promenade, Harbor Boulevard and Swinford Street, San Pedro
    Downtown Harbor, 5th Street and Harbor Boulevard, San Pedro
    22nd Street Landing, 141 W. 22nd St., San Pedro
    SS Lane Victory, Berth 49, 3600 Miner St., San Pedro
    Cabrillo and Holiday Harbor Marinas, 285 Whalers Walk, San Pedro

    Battleship Iowa Parade View
    Kick off the holiday season with brightly decorated boats, hot cocoa, face painting and sweet treats at the Battleship Iowa.
    Time: 6 p.m. Dec. 2
    Cost: $15
    Details: https://tickets.labattleship.com/mainstore.asp?cid=1382#cat1382
    Venue: Battleship Iowa, 250 S. Harbor Blvd., San Pedro

    Dec. 5
    Harbor City Winter Wonderland
    Light up the night at Harbor City’s Winter Wonderland.
    Time: 4 to 8 p.m. Dec. 5
    Cost: Free
    Details: (310) 548-7705
    Venue: Ken Malloy Regional Park, 25820 S. Vermont Ave., Harbor City

    Dec. 7
    San Pedro Tree Lighting
    Have a happy, jolly holiday in San Pedro.
    Time: 4 to 8 p.m. Dec. 7
    Cost: Free
    Details: (310)-732-4515
    Venue: Pepper Tree Plaza, 629 S. Harbor Blvd., San Pedro

    Dec. 9
    64th Annual Daisy Avenue Christmas Tree Lane Parade
    Enjoy a good ol’ holiday parade.
    Time: 5 p.m. Dec. 9
    Cost: Free
    Details: (562) 570-7777
    Venue: Daisy Avenue between Pacific Coast Highway and Hill Street, Long Beach

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  • From Syracuse to San Pedro:

    • 11/27/2017
    • Andrea Serna
    • Art
    • Comments are off

    Studio 347 exhibits Syracuse University MFA students

    By Andrea Serna, Arts and Culture Writer

    In a modest San Pedro neighborhood overlooking the Port of Los Angeles sits a small house with a sizable ambition. Each semester Syracuse University in New York chooses three students from the masters in fine arts program to come to California, reside in the Turner House, and participate in an intensive study program.

    On Dec. 2 Michael Stearns’ Studio 347 opens SU: LA New Beings, an exhibition by Syracuse University MFA candidates Hollie Lyko, Mika Mollenkopf and Preston Van Allen.

    SULA: New Beings showcases the diverse experimentation and breadth of practice within the Turner Semester Residency.  Pushing aside traditional representations, SULA: New Beings expresses the body across several binaries: human/machine, real/imagined, exterior/interior.  Working with computer technology, performance and video, mixed media assemblage and bookmaking, the works in this exhibition offer perspectives to a timeless subject.

    In Syracuse the students had already established a working relationship, even though their practices are diverse.

    Van Allen has been a ceramicist since childhood. He was born and raised in Towanda, Pennsylvania — a small town 20 minutes from the New York state border. A very early influence was ceramicist Jack Troy Teacher, who had a studio in upstate Pennsylvania. His studio practice intersects ceramics, technology, and innovation.

    Working with ceramic 3D printing technology, he has designed and built a completely mechanically driven printer.  This exhibition will feature his new machine, which he refers to as bricoleur — referring to a construction of diverse available material. Following a debilitating surgery Van Allen found himself unable to use the potter’s wheel.

    “I have a connection with both clay and 3D modeling,” acknowledged Van Allen. “But I didn’t know how to match the two until I started working with my professor on building and designing this printer that actually prints clay.”

    The current bricoleur is the sixth generation of his prototype. Live demonstrations of the ceramic printing process will take place at both the opening reception on Dec. 2 and the December First Thursday art walk Dec. 7.  Operating the printer via computer, Van Allen’s practice blurs the boundaries between artist, maker, and object.

    Lyko and Mollenkopf have differing practices, but they worked to create a performance called Beings of Light.

    Mollenkopf’s social practice investigates and dissects relationships and the emotional connections and feelings formed within them, while Lyko’s practice typically revolves around the kitsch and the boundaries and aesthetics associated with low and high culture.

    “I’m really interested in how humor operates in art as a language” commented Lyko. “It is a universal language that is avoided in the art world.”

    What better than to take their combined interests to the boardwalk at Venice Beach? Dressed all in white as their alter-egos, The Beings of Light. Combining science fiction with superstition they visited the boardwalk on Friday the 13th. The women carried a transparent bag containing 1,000 custom fortune cookies filled with superstitions from around the world. Greeting passersby with holiday cheer, they offered them the opportunity to choose their fortune. The objective was to push social boundaries within the public sphere, and playfully engage with strangers. The two women created video documentation of their Friday the 13th Beings of Light performance at Venice Beach, which will show in the gallery during the exhibition.

    The Turner House is a fully credentialed program funded by Chuck Klaus and Marylyn Ginsburg and supervised by Syracuse Professor of Painting, Kevin Larmon who serves as the faculty of record for the off-site program. Larmon has been offered permanent residence in San Pedro and we expect to see much more from the students rotating through each semester. Lyko, Mollenkopf and Van Allen will be returning to Syracuse mid-December. The exhibition at Studio 347 runs through Dec. 12.

    Time:  4 to 7 p.m. Dec. 2
    Cost: Free
    Details: michaelstearnsstudio.com
    Venue: Michael Stearns Studio 347, 347 W. 7th St., San Pedro

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  • Rick Parma

    • 11/23/2017
    • Reporters Desk
    • Calendar
    • Comments are off

    ENTERTAINMENT

    Nov. 30
    Rick Parma
    Jazz it with Rick Parma and the Chitown Soul.
    Time: 6 to 10 p.m. Nov. 30
    Cost: $25 to $310
    Details: www.solvenue.com
    Venue: 313 E. Carson St., Carson

    Dec. 1
    Trio Céleste
    Based in Orange County, Trio Céleste is ensemble-in-residence at the Claire Trevor School of the Arts at UC Irvine.
    Time: 12 p.m. Dec. 1
    Cost: Free
    Details: (310) 316-5574; www.palosverdes.com/ClassicalCrossroads/FirstFridays.htm
    Venue: First Lutheran Church and School, 2900 W. Carson St., Torrance

    Dec. 1
    One Drop
    The San Diego-based band embraces the spirit of classic roots reggae and dub music with a calculated blend of rhythm and blues, pop and rock subtleties.
    Time: 7:30 to 11:30 p.m. Dec. 1
    Cost: $15 to $300
    Details: (424) 276-9705; www.solvenue.com
    Venue: The Sol Venue, 313 E. Carson St., Carson

    Dec. 2
    James Kimo West
    Kimo’s annual Holiday Slack Key Show kicks off in San Pedro with enchanting hula by Kevin Tsusui and Ku’uleilani Taketa. Kimo will play selections from his two acclaimed holiday slack key CDs as well as Hawaiian slack key classics.
    Time: 8 p.m. Dec. 2
    Cost: $20
    Details: https://alvasshowroom.com/event/james-kimo-west-holiday-slack-key
    Venue: Alvas Showroom, 1417 W. 8th St., San Pedro

    Anita Chang, Rodney Oakes

    An eclectic concert of music by Anita Chang and Rodney Oakes for piano, sackbut,
    trombones and video will be presented at Los Angeles Harbor College. Chang will present
    works by Mozart, Chopin and Liszt. Oakes will present his new work for sackbut and piano,
    Pavane, a new video with electronic music.
    Time: 8 p.m. Dec.2
    Cost: Free
    Details: (310) 233- 4429
    Venue: LAHC, Music Department, 1111 Figueroa Place, Wilmington

    Dec. 3
    Bobby Breton
    Bobby Breton and his six-piece band performs a variety of jazz, pop and originals to ring in the holiday spirit.
    Time: 2 p.m. Dec. 3
    Cost: $22.50
    Details: https://alvasshowroom.com/event/bobby-breton-friends-celebrate-the-winter-solstice
    Venue: Alvas Showroom, 1417 W. 8th St., San Pedro

    THEATER

    Dec. 1
    White Christmas
    This holiday season discover the perfect gift for everyone on your list!  Start with a timeless tale of joy and goodwill, fill it with classic Irving Berlin songs, and top it off with glorious dancing and lots of snow and you have Irving Berlin’s White Christmas.
    Time: 8 p.m. Dec. 1, 2, 8 and 9, 2 p.m. Dec. 2 and 9, 1 p.m. Dec. 3 and 10, and 6 p.m. Dec. 3
    Cost: $20 to $90
    Details: (562) 856-1999; www.musical.org
    Venue: Carpenter Performing Arts Center, 6200 Atherton St., Long Beach

    Dec. 9
    The Nutcracker
    San Pedro City Ballet, home of American Ballet Theatre superstar Misty Copeland,
    presents its 24th annual production of The Nutcracker, with artistic direction by
    Cynthia and Patrick David Bradley. Join Clara on a dreamlike journey with a dancing
    Nutcracker, mischievous mice, sparkling snowflakes, and a magical Christmas tree.
    Time: 2 and 7 p.m. Dec. 9, and 2 p.m. Dec. 10
    Cost: $19 to $39
    Details: www.sanpedrocityballet.org/upcoming-events/nutcracker
    Venue: Warner Grand Theatre, 478 W. 6th St., San Pedro

    Continuing

    Arsenic and Old Lace

    If you are a lonely, elderly gentleman, steer clear of the old Victorian rooming house that Abby and Martha Brewster run. It may be your last room on Earth! When these two sweet old sisters feel the need to release a worthy roomer of his lonely suffering, just a sip of their homemade elderberry wine will do the trick.
    Time: 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and 2 p.m. Sundays, through Dec. 2
    Cost: $10 to $27
    Details: www.lbplayhouse.org/show/arsenic-and-old-lace
    Venue: Long Beach Playhouse, 5021 E. Anaheim St., Long Beach

    Much Ado About Nothing
    The drama of military war and the comedic war between the sexes meet in the great playwright’s hilarious, heart-wrenching comedy. Set in a timeless world of disguises, intrigue, beautiful words and surprising violence. It is performed by a talented all-female cast.
    Time: 8 p.m. Dec. 1 and 2, and 3 p.m. Dec. 3
    Cost: $10
    Details: www.eventbrite.com/e/much-ado-about-nothing-tickets-38483341711
    Venue: The Collaborative, 421 W. Broadway, Long Beach

    The Night Before the Night Before Christmas
    Lou has wrestled with a big ball of tangled Christmas lights for the last time. Christmas is cancelled. Escaping New Jersey, the freezing cold, his nutty family and most of all the holidays, is exactly what Lou plans to do. Will a couple of unlikely characters help restore Lou and Carol’s Christmas spirit in the St. Nick of time?
    Time: 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sundays, through Dec. 16
    Cost: $27
    Details: www.littlefishtheatre.org/wp/the-night-before-the-night-before-christmas
    Venue: Little Fish Theatre, 777 S. Centre St., San Pedro

    BEH — An Improvised Play
    Who are the characters in BEH? Where does BEH take place? What is the plot of BEH? You tell us – BEH is an improvised play.
    Time: 8 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, 2 p.m. Sundays, through Dec. 16
    Cost: $20
    Details: www.thegaragetheatre.org/on-stage-now-1
    Venue: The Garage Theatre, 251 E. 7th St., Long Beach

    ARTS

    Dec. 2
    AGCC Open Studios
    Open Studios Day is a biannual event at Angels Gate Cultural Center celebrating all that happens on our campus and the diverse and lively community that makes us unique. More than 50 studio artists will open their doors for you to see what they create in their studios.
    Time: 12 to 4 p.m. Dec. 2
    Cost: Free
    Details: www.angelsgateart.org
    Venue: AGCC, 3601 S. Gaffey St., San Pedro

    Continuing

    blink•point
    TransVagrant Projects and Gallery 478 are pleased to present blink•point, recent work by Ellwood T. Risk.
    Risk is a self-taught artist who has been living and working in Los Angeles since 1992. Risk appropriates, alters, re-contextualizes, shoots (here and there) and represents the ordinary in unanticipated iterations. An artist’s reception is scheduled 4 to 7 p.m. Sept. 9.
    Time: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, through Nov. 25
    Cost: Free
    Details: (310) 600-4873; (310) 732-2150
    Venue: TransVagrant Projects and Gallery 478, 478 W. 7th St., San Pedro

    Exene Cervenka in Collage
    Exene Cervenka: Lipstick Sunset combines the pieces on display combine handwork and appropriated images, written words and found text that present a perplexing and highly personal world.
    Time: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays, and 1 to 4 p.m. Sundays, through Nov. 26
    Cost:  Free
    Details: (310) 541-2479; www.pvartcenter.org
    Venue: Palos Verdes Art Center, 5504 Crestridge Road. Rancho Palos Verdes

    rebidishu III
    Los Angeles Harbor College Fine Arts Gallery is pleased to present rebidishu III, Recent Paintings by Katy Crowe.
    Abstract art is often seen as carrying a moral dimension, in that it can be interpreted to stand for virtues ranging from order and purity, to simplicity and spirituality. In the case of Crowe, virtue is obtained by process and intuition.
    Time: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, through Nov. 30
    Cost: Free
    Details: (310) 233-4411
    Venue: Los Angeles Harbor College Fine Arts Gallery, 1111 Figueroa Place, Wilmington

    Rino Gonzalez
    Rino Gonzalez has attracted an impressive following for his works of realism during the almost 40 years since his immigration from the Philippines at age 16. Much of the joy of these painting comes purely from studying technical achievement in the reproduction of such aspects as fine lacework, polished and textured surfaces, worn books and tattered pages, fruit and roses.
    Time: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m Tuesday through Saturday, through Dec. 2
    Cost: Free
    Details: (310) 547-3158; parkhurstgalleries.com
    Venue: Parkhurst Galleries, 439 W 6th St, San Pedro

    Moon Over San Pedro
    Ann Weber’s large biomorphic sculptures have been described as bizarre characters from a story, hanging on the wall or sitting in the middle of the gallery like strange and evocative outcroppings of nature or outer space.
    Time: 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursdays,  and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Fridays through Sundays, through Feb. 4, 2018
    Cost: $6 to $7
    Details: lbma.org
    Venue: Long Beach Museum of Art, 2300 E. Ocean Blvd., Long Beach

    COMMUNITY

    Nov. 30
    The Lego Batman Movie
    Join in  to see The Lego Batman Movie, a  cooler-than-ever Bruce Wayne must deal with the usual suspects as they plan to rule Gotham City, while discovering that he has accidentally adopted a teenage orphan who wishes to become his sidekick.
    Time: 7:45 p.m. Nov. 30
    Cost: Free
    Details: (310) 732-4515
    Venue: Harbor City Recreation Center, 24901 Frampton Ave., Harbor City

    Dec. 1
    Do Swimming Animals Mix with the Ocean?
    Join us for the next Discovery Lecture featuring John Dabiri, a professor at Stanford University and recipient of the MacArthur Genius Grant. He will discuss his research on whether migrating ocean animals change the physical and/or biogeochemical structure of the water column.
    Time:  7 to 9 p.m. Dec. 1
    Cost:  Free
    Details: www.eventbrite.com/e/free-discovery-lecture-tickets-39051329578
    Venue: Cabrillo Marine Aquarium, 3720 Stephen White Drive, San Pedro

    Dec. 2
    A Life Among Fishes
    Join Cabrillo Marine Aquarium for a special event featuring Christopher Dewees, internationally recognized master of Gyotaku, the Japanese art of fish printing.
    Time: 4 p.m. Dec. 2
    Cost: Free
    Details: (310) 548-7562; www.cabrillomarineaquarium.org
    Venue: CMA, 3720 Stephen M. White Drive, San Pedro

    Dec. 2
    55th Annual Los Angeles Harbor Holiday Afloat Parade
    Port of Los Angeles, with this year’s parade theme Peace Around the World will take part in the parade as judges or passengers on about 60 boats parading along the Los Angeles Waterfront. Participating vessels are of all shapes and sizes, including powerboats, sailboats, tall ships, and harbor working craft.
    Time: 6 to 8 p.m. Dec. 2
    Cost: Free
    Details: laharborholidayafloat.org
    Venues: Banning’s Landing Community Center, 100 E. Water St., Wilmington
    Cruise Ship Promenade, Harbor Boulevard and Swinford Street, San Pedro
    Battleship IOWA, 250 S. Harbor Blvd., San Pedro
    Downtown Harbor, 5th Street and Harbor Boulevard, San Pedro
    22nd Street Landing, 141 W. 22nd St., San Pedro
    SS Lane Victory, Berth 49, 3600 Miner St., San Pedro
    Cabrillo and Holiday Harbor Marinas, 285 Whalers Walk, San Pedro

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  • Exene Cervenka, John Doe Reignite a New Generation

    • 11/22/2017
    • Melina Paris
    • Music
    • Comments are off

    By Melina Paris, Music Columnist

    For a culture obsessed with youth, authenticity matters. This is especially true if golden age artists are able remain relevant, when decades separate them from their audience.

    Exene Cervenka and John Doe, members of the punk band X, are perfect examples. At their Nov. 4 concert at Brouwerij West in San Pedro, the two circled back to their roots, which encompass the American staples of folk, blues and rockabilly pop. This benefit concert for Palos Verdes Art Center attracted a diverse age range from 20 to 70.

    The bandmates and former couple make great harmony together. Whatever style music they play, that is their motif. But there’s something more at work here.

    Doe’s rolling guitar rhythms and their sweet melodies grab your spirit; their emotionally intelligent lyrics capture your mind.

    As loved as X was and is, the band never got much radio play during the prime of punk. That lack of play on radio and on MTV did not affect X’s popularity and might have ultimately added to the band’s mystique. They were playing many Los Angeles’ clubs such as the Whisky a Go-Go, Madame Wong’s and The Masque from the 70s to the late 80s.

    It was a time when different punk factions formed.  A younger hard core punk subculture was emerging. It was generally faster, harder and more aggressive than other forms of punk rock.

    Their concerts could be rowdy and sometimes violent. A rivalry occurred between the harder youth punks and the Hollywood punks who were perceived to be elite. This gave an unsavory name to Los Angeles punk versus the original New York and London punk scenes, which were more celebrated and garnered more media recognition.

    X escaped all of that. What probably helped was that when these events began happening X was taking a turn back to their musical roots encompassing Americana, country and folk. Their musicianship and raw talent for playing and writing music and going deeper into their roots, brought fans willingly along in their journey.

    X’s fans reflected the band’s musical diversity, some appeared at the concert in avant-garde punk attire while others donned rockabilly digs. At first the audience convened at the stage like they were watching a film, not sure what to expect.

    Exene and John kicked it off with a sweet harmonic country style number. Afterward, Exene took a moment to mention the Palos Verdes Art Center where she has an exhibit through Dec. 31, of mixed media collages titled, Lipstick Sunset. She thanked the art center, saying she feels connected to them.

    The expression of straightforward emotion is typical of the acclaimed poet, artist, author, and vocalist. Exene’s artworks are provocative, just like the songs that made X so popular. Their lyrics are always sweet, yet, piercing. As John has said, “It’s punk. It’s intended to grab attention and make you face what’s being said. Then it makes you listen deeper.”

    Exene is not a storyteller in writing music. She makes personal statements and “more emotional and existential visions of things.” She has said the more personal you are, the more general, (or applicable you are) to people. And her collages of mixed media and text also uncover personal and urgent expressions that make the observer think.

    Seeing the duo’s remarkable timing and connection in action is gratifying and John’s rolling guitar melodies carry you away. Their acoustic set offered a unique take on their more familiar tunes. One of their biggest hits, I Must Not Think Bad Thoughts, originally a fast guitar driven expression of youthful irreverence, became a contemplative mantra of maturity with the acoustic version. And with, The New World, a cautionary tale became a reflective narrative of regret.

    The brazen poetry on Because I Do, a song about marriage, speaks of renegade intentions within the traditional wedded state.

    Before they closed their set Exene made a point to mention the opening bands, Alinea and the Feels. She praised their playing and expressed thanks that they were part of this show.

    The Feels, comprised of three women on vocals, bass and guitars and one male drummer performed a robust combination of metal, ballads and punk. They describe themselves as a psych-punk-grunge-post-future-rock ‘n’ roll-whatever-band and have recently been playing clubs all over Los Angeles.

    Proceeds from the event will enable Palos Verdes Art Center to expand its art education programs for neighboring communities in the Harbor Area.

    Details: www.xtheband.com

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  • Two Short Years and Miles Away from America

    • 11/22/2017
    • James Preston Allen
    • At Length
    • Comments are off

    From the White House to the shores of San Pedro

    By James Preston Allen, Publisher

    It seems like it was just two short years ago that we lived in a country that was moving forward past historic racial divides with the election of the first black president —a man who brought intelligence, grace and compassion to our highest office without a hint of scandal.

    President Barack Obama wasn’t perfect, but he brought respect to the office, leadership in international affairs and led our nation out of one of the worst economic disasters since the Great Depression. And, for all of this he and the Democratic Party were attacked by conservatives and derided for ultimately passing the first step in universal healthcare coverage — a goal that has eluded liberals since Harry Truman was president.

    However, we were not living in a post-racist America, which as we soon learned from Ferguson Mo., as well as the streets of Los Angeles and New York City. Obama took great pains not to appear to be the angry black man in the White House. But the conversation we didn’t have during the eight years with Obama as president was exposed by his successor in less than eight months.  Trumpism has roused and inspired some of the most racist, bigoted and intolerant voices that I have observed since the conflicts of the Civil Rights era. No part of our nation has been spared from this uprising of intolerance.

    We don’t have any Confederate statues here in San Pedro, which is one of the most distant places from the nation’s capital in the continental United States, but we do have a legacy of the Klu Klux Klan, right here on 10th Street in what was known in the 1920s as Klan Hall.  The history and remnants of racism in Southern California are too many to list here, but all one needs to consider is that both during and after the Civil War the “Southern” part of our geographical name was more than a description of place. Los Angeles has struggled with this history ever since and has not completely come to grips or peace with itself.

    Apparently, in this most southern part of the city of Angels, in one of the last enclaves of authenticity and working class suburbia, intolerance still has its place and survives side by side with some of our most progressive, artistic and majority-Democrat residents.

    Curiously, the uprising against the growing homeless encampments and the motion to support tiny homes by the Central San Pedro Neighborhood Council back in 2015 presaged the Trumpism that swept red America just one year later.  Here they called it Saving San Pedro; elsewhere it was coined Make America Great Again, but it amounts to much the same thing — intolerance of the “others.”

    Since that time, the SSP folks gained control of two neighborhood councils and failed at their attempt to make San Pedro great again or to take it back to some mythical Leave It to Beaver time period before all the tuna canneries and the shipyards closed leaving some 30,000 workers unemployed. The San Pedro Harbor Area still hasn’t fully recovered from the policies of the Ronald Reagan trickle down economic model that are just now being refloated by a Republican-led Congress as “tax reform.”

    What is even more curious — locally — is that just when San Pedro Magazine came out with front page homage to the Saving San Pedro uprising, the social media derived community group was in the throws of dissolving back into whence they came ­— a Facebook group of grousing discontents spreading incivility and crass accusations.

    Amidst its implosion, they lost control of the neighborhood councils they had won in 2016.  At least one of its members blamed me, the former president of Central San Pedro Neighborhood Council, for its members’ incompetence at governing and politics.

    From my perspective, they were victims of their own vitriol and inability to unify around anything other than their own intolerance towards others. What has come back to replace them are some of the good people who I know exist here and all across this nation, who have a greater sense of commitment to solving the big problems, rather than shaming victims.

    Los Angeles Police Department Chief Charlie Beck once called San Pedro “the biggest small town in all of Los Angeles.” He may be right. San Pedro is a microcosm of the best and worst that can be found anywhere in this city. It’s just that here one can see it up close without the veneer of Hollywood hype or the subterfuge of City Hall.

    On this last point of concealing the truth, Nathan Holmes, Councilman Joe Buscaino’s new development director for the 15th Council District, who announced that there are currently 420 new housing units in progress for San Pedro, sheepishly admitted at a chamber meeting that only three of those units will be for low-income residents. This is hardly a solution for either the crisis of rising housing costs or the cure for homelessness.

    One can only wonder how long it will take for the current regime in D.C. to implode.

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