• Activists Ask Garcetti and Beck:

    Are You Listening?

    By Terelle Jerricks, Managing Editor
    Photo by Phillip Cooke
    The Los Angeles Forum on Crime at the Warner Grand Theatre on Feb. 4 was not just intended to be an opportunity for San Pedro to sound off on opening the Harbor Division jail or getting more police officers on the streets. It was also intended as an opportunity for Chief Charlie Beck to burnish the image of the Los Angeles Police Department in a context in which both the image of his leadership and the image of police as public servants have been taking a beating.

    This was made abundantly clear at the “No Excuses” rally in the parking lot of LAPD’s Harbor Division on Jan. 30.

    Cmdr. Phillip Tingirides of the LAPD South Bureau and Sgt. Catherine Plows spoke directly to public relations problem police officers face both locally and nationally even as they were effusive in the praise of the community for coming together in support of their police officers.

    “This is a cop’s dream,” Tingirides said at the rally. “Think about it…every time you turn on the TV all you see is cop bashing.”

    Plows sounded a similar note.

    “When you look at the different rallies that are held across the country right now, how many are out there for police support?” Plows asked rhetorically. “Not many. This is really a phenomenon, at least here in California.”

    The Los Angeles Police Protective league attended in support of the rally, but also to push its most recent attack against Beck, calling him out on the alleged dismantlement of the department’s Parole Compliance Unit—“alleged” because the LAPD media relations department, and by extension Beck. would neither confirm or deny that he dismantled the unit as of press time Feb. 3.

    Councilman Joe Buscaino, who recalled staffing the jail when it was briefly opened while he was an officer, suggested that the jail was going to be soon opened anyway. He believes that some things could be done now to put more officers on the street.

    “This was one of the reasons I ran for this office,” Buscaino said. “These are the frustrations that we hear today.”

    Buscaino said opening the jail has been his main priority every year he has served on the council.

    “My main priority for each budget year was opening this jail and staffing it with detention officers,” Buscaino said. “We have created a pathway to ensure that this jail is staffed … that’s a major success in the last couple of years.”

    Buscaino explained that the jail hasn’t opened sooner because of the length of time it takes to attract and train new detention officers.

    “When you staff and hire detention officers you have to advertise the positions and they have to go through the academy,” Buscaino said. “The department tells me that they first have to move the sworn officers out of the metropolitan jail, which numbers 70 or so. Once they move the sworn officers out of the metropolitan jail, I was told that the Harbor jail is their priority.”

    There were also those who are livid at the perceived deterioration in the quality of life due to the presence of homeless encampments and homeless people and their perceived connection to the increase in crime in the Harbor Division.

    For better or for worse, the link among these ideas is a belief that city government has neglected its seaside community.

    Saving San Pedro member, George Palaziol, said as much during the rally. “We need to show our local politicians that this is something we hold near and dear to our hearts,” Palaziol said. “We need to come together and show that we mean business. If there are some people in office not willing to provide that for us then we will put somebody in there that will.”

    Saving San Pedro started off as Facebook hashtag following after the emergence of homeless encampments around the old Ante’s restaurant and the short-lived Tiny Homes San Pedro project last summer. But aside from Palaziol’s heated rhetoric, the issue of homelessness or rather the high visibility of homelessness was negligible compared to the general sense of neglect by city government—past and current elected included.

    Other contingents at the rally included activists who have fighting to shut down the Rancho LPG tanks for the past decade and the local realtor backed group, the Los Angeles Waterfront Access and Redevelopment Coalition, which is frustrated by the direction of Waterfront Development.

    This is a cascade of interests for the same thing which is the betterment of the community across the board,” said Janet Gunter, member of the San Pedro Peninsula Homeowners United, the original Saving San Pedro group that began challenging Rancho LPG more than a decade ago.

    “We may not interpret everything in exactly the same way, it shows that everybody is concerned about what’s going on in the community, and they see [the community] as being on the decline in multiple ways.”

    She noted that the Porter Ranch gas leak has really drawn a lot of attention and local residents are now wondering what’s inside Rancho LPG’s tanks.

    “That’s good,” Gunter said. “We’ve got elevation in crime. That’s significant and has been publicized. So, people are saying, ‘what’s up with that and why?’ When you start to look around, you see the reasons why. It’s basic neglect. So this year, we’re all on the same page and that’s a good thing.”

    The vice president of the San Pedro-Wilmington NAACP Branch 1069, Joe Gatlin, echoed similar sentiments.

    “The exciting thing about this is [that] this is an issue the whole community believes in,” Gatlin said. “When I was the president of the neighborhood council 10 or 15 years ago, this was the same issue. It hasn’t changed.”

    Gatlin served as the president of the Central San Pedro Neighborhood council during the mid-2000s.

    “We lost officers 15 years ago because crime had [gone] down,” Gatlin said. “Then we have a homeless situation and we have a lot of businesses shuttered down and it’s getting worse.

    “But when big budgets are made and they see that crime is going down in the Harbor, they take everything from us. Now crime is going up again.”

    Community leader and restaurateur John Papadakis blames unions and city government.

    “We must maximize public access and maximize commercial opportunity,” Papadakis said. “We have no commercial businesses here. It breeds crime.”

    Papadakis recalled driving down Gaffey, one of the busiest streets in town, and noted that on both sides of the street that there were homeless people just waking up in the doorways of shuttered businesses.

    “Commercial businesses ensure safety because people take care of their businesses and won’t allow the criminal element around it,” Papadakis said. “San Pedro has given itself over to the criminal element and the homelessness due to the fact that businesses are dying and going elsewhere. They let them die because they won’t create a seaside, they won’t create a people-friendly seaside.”

    Papadakis was referring to local government and the ILWU in his all encompassing “they.”

    “The union’s misjudged this whole matter,” Papadakis said. “They tried to pit union officials against people who want development by saying their jobs would suffer if the port invests in public use infrastructure and what would turn this area around…i.e. public access, businesses along the waterline, grand public attractions.”

    Papadakis noted we only need to look to Long Beach for an example of a skyline that matches the crane-line.

    “We see a port that competes with us in cargo movement but it’s also a great destination,” Papadakis said. “We need to follow that, but we don’t want to because the people with power… big government and big unions don’t want to give it up. And they punish us economically to keep us on our knees. That’s what breeds this problem of crime and lack of police.”

    Speakers at the rally made repeated calls to stay united in spirit and purpose as they move forward in holding elected officials accountable. The Saving San Pedro social media hub started off as a severe reaction by a subset of the community to the homeless encampments sprouting out of nowhere in town.

    Back then, their vision was small and limited to questions of who belonged and who didn’t and social media pages a space for harassment as exemplified by online attacks on Helping Those In Need founder, Nora Hilda-Vela and homeless people who have committed no crime other than simply being visible in public spaces. An exacting of a reactionary San Pedro brand of justice.

    The “No Excuses” Rally looked like an unveiling of a new coalition of interest groups—a coalition with subtly differing views on addressing homelessness, but on the same page, that quality of life in this town has deteriorated.

    The featured speakers at the forum include Beck, Police Commission president Matthew Johnson and Tingirides. But the real question is whether City Hall and every layer of government governing the Los Angeles Harbor Area are listening.

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  • Lights Transcend at the Museum of Neon Art

    By Andrea Serna, Arts and Culture Writer

    The grand opening exhibition Illuminations, at the Museum of Neon Art, brings together a group of contemporary artists displaying glass, and light and animation art. The artists address issues from indigenous culture to social media emojis.

    Although the museum has been in existence for more than 30 years, the Glendale location is its first permanent home. A grand opening is scheduled for from 7 to 10 p.m. Feb. 6.

    San Pedro artist Candice Gawne has served on the advisory board at Museum of Neon Art almost since the museum’s inception.

    “It has been an epic journey” said Gawne. “Finally the city of Glendale welcomed us and gave us this building. It’s really a wonderful facility.”

    She is represented in the group show with two pieces of her incandescent art. Gawne began her career as a painter, creating works reflecting her passion for light and color. In 1982, she began to experiment in sculpting with glass and light. Light serves as a literal and metaphorical medium to communicate transformation for the artist.

    A rare visit to her cathedral-like studio, overlooking downtown San Pedro, will find you surrounded by luminous pulsing anemones, starfish and shimmering lunar beams. Gawne resides in a home exploding with color over the cliffs of Point Fermin. Much of her glass work reflects a fascination with botanical and marine life. Gawne said her passion started with a love for jellyfish but it has moved far beyond towards iridescent dragons, and finally, a neon doorway, — perhaps a threshold leading to the eternal light.

    Abstract artist Lisa Schulte created A Conversation, a 10- by 20-foot wall of emojis, following a distinct conversation using only hugs, smiles, hearts and many more symbols that seem to have replaced conversation as we knew it, before social media.

    “One could say that working in neon is akin to bringing sky to touch ground, harnessing the spiritual to the earth,” stated Schulte on her website.

    Schulte began her affair with neon as a traditional neon sign maker. Eventually she expanded towards more personal work that has been exhibited in museums and galleries across the United States. The Los Angeles County Museum of Art commissioned one of her pieces for their permanent collection and her art has been published in science books.

    Today’s neon has moved away from the concept of highway advertisement and into the world of fine art. It has become multi-dimensional alchemy. Neon is a gateway between scientific principles and artistic expression.

    The “Boulevard of Cars” on Brand Avenue in Glendale used to be lined with dazzling, animated, bright neon signs advertising the wild love affair Americans were having with automobiles during the mid 20th century.

    Now, on Brand Avenue, you can once again find vibrant signs, as well as contemporary neon art,  but it is inside the newly opened home of the Museum of Neon Art. The small building across the street from The American Center can be easily found by looking for the curvaceous figure of the Neon Diver on the roof.

    Neon DiverThe Neon Diver was created in 1950 for the Virginia Court Motel along U.S. Highway 80, the historical Dixie Overland Highway, in Meridian, Miss.  Museum of Neon Art Vice President Eric Evavold explained the importance of neon during the creation of the great American highways system. Evavold, a neon preservationist, is known as Los Angeles’s ‘neon archeologist’ and devotes much of his time to rescuing abandoned neon signs.

    “Neon is one of America’s cultural threads that hold us together in the blanket of history,” said Evavold, explaining that the birth of the automobile came in the early 1920s.

    The Los Angeles Packard automobile dealer brought the first neon sign to America from the Paris Art Deco Fair.

    The museum mission is divided between conserving the history of neon and development of the art form.

    Bringing together historical preservation and contemporary art forms the Museum of Neon Art has just begun to build their future. The new building boasts a workshop to train the next generation weaving light and glass.

    If you are feeling nostalgic for the beautiful neon signs of old Hollywood try the Neon Cruise, a double-decker tour bus. Coming up for Valentine’s Day, the Museum of Neon Art will take you from downtown  Los Angeles to tour neon signs, movie marquees and permanent installations of contemporary neon art through downtown Los Angeles and Hollywood.

    Tours meet at 7 p.m. and the bus departs at 7.30 p.m. sharp for the three-hour tour. Evavold will lead the February tour and you can depend on receiving an in-depth history of Hollywood landmarks, plus he has promised a few surprises. Tours fill up quickly every year, so call the museum or purchase tickets online.

    The future is definitely bright.

    Time: 12 to 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 12 to 5 p.m. Sunday
    Cost: $8
    Details: www.new-neonmona.org
    Venue: Museum of Neon Art, 216 S. Brand Blvd., Glendale

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  • Wild Land: ARTS Calendar: Jan. 29, 2016

    Wild Land
    Wild Land: Thomas Cole and the Birth of American Landscape Painting, a traveling exhibition exploring Cole’s role as an artistic and cultural pioneer, runs through March 14 at the University Art Gallery at California State University Dominguez Hills.
    Time: 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. through March 14
    Cost:
    Free
    Details:
    (310) 243-3334; kzimmerer@csudh.edu
    Venue:
    University Art Gallery, CSUDH, 1000 E. Victoria St., Carson

    Wanderland
    Nathaniel Galka: Wanderland beckons the viewer to enter a new land, filled with trees, mists, and solitude.
    Time: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays, and 1 to 4 p.m. Sundays through March 6
    Cost:
    Free
    Details:
    (310) 541-2479; www.pvartcenter.org
    Venue:
    Palos Verdes Art Center, 5504 W. Crestridge Road, Rancho Palos Verdes

    An Aesthetic Realist
    On exhibit will be about 28 oils and pastels by Theodore N. Lukits highlighting his atmospheric plein air landscapes and captivating Orientalist paintings.
    Time: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays, and 1 to 4 p.m. Sundays until March 6
    Cost:
    Free
    Details:
    (310) 541-2479; www.pvartcenter.org
    Venue:
    Palos Verdes Art Center, 5504 W. Crestridge Road, Rancho Palos Verdes

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  • Memories: THEATER Calendar Jan. 29, 2016

    THEATER
    Feb. 5
    Memories: A Performance Art Work in Progress
    Robert Dilworth’s Memories of Inhabited Spaces exhibition is brought to life through the presentation of this performance art piece.
    Time: 4 to 5 p.m. Feb. 5
    Cost: Free
    Details: www.marymountcalifornia.edu
    Venue: Klaus Center for the Arts, 430 W. 6th St., San Pedro

    Feb. 6
    Academy Award Nominees for Best Live Action Shorts
    Don’t miss this rare opportunity to see all of the Academy Award nominees in the category of Best Live Action Shorts, including Bis Gleich directed by Benjamin Wolff which screened at San Pedro International Film Festival in 2014.
    Time: 7 p.m. Feb. 6
    Cost: $13.75
    Details: http://spiffest.org
    Venue: Warner Grand Theatre, 478 W. 6th St., San Pedro

    Feb. 6
    Staff and Friends Cabaret
    Come have fun with the staff of the Long Beach Playhouse and watch them perform for your amusement.
    Time: 8 p.m. Feb. 6
    Cost:
    $10
    Details:
    www.lbplayhouse.org
    Venue:
    Long Beach Playhouse, 5021 E. Anaheim St., Long Beach

    Feb. 12
    Saving Hartopia
    This devised work is an attempt to tell the stories of the youth of Long Beach using theatre, movement, poetry, and music.
    Time: 8 p.m. Feb. 12 and 13, and 2 p.m. Feb. 14
    Cost: $15
    Details: (562) 494-1014; www.lbplayhouse.org
    Venue: Long Beach Playhouse, 5021 E. Anaheim St., Long Beach

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  • Healthy Communities Challenge: RLn ANNOUNCEMENTS Jan. 29, 2016

    Jan. 30
    Healthy Communities Challenge Enrollment Drive
    The event is part of local efforts to enroll as many people as possible in response to President Obama’s “Healthy Communities Challenge,” which is targeting 20 major cities nationwide to increase health coverage.
    Time: 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Jan. 30
    Details:
    (562) 570-7979
    Venue: 2525 Grand Ave., Suite 210, Long Beach

    Jan. 30
    Neighborhood Meet Greet
    Nanette Barragan, who is running for the 44th Congressional District, will host a meet and greet with San Pedro Neighbors.
    Time: 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Jan. 30
    Details:
    (424) 206-3963; Nanette@barraganforcongress.com
    Venue:
    1906 El Rey Road, San Pedro

    Feb. 1
    NWSPNC Port Committee Meeting
    Full agendas are available on the NWSPNC website.
    Time: 5:30 p.m. Feb. 1
    Details: nwsanpedro.org
    Venue: San Pedro City Hall, 638 S. Beacon Street, Room 452, San Pedro

    Feb. 1
    Advance Press Briefing on Climate Resiliency Report
    Mayor Robert Garcia and Aquarium of the Pacific President Jerry Schubel will preview a climate resiliency report advance of a full report to Feb. 2 Long Beach City Council meeting.
    Time: 12 p.m. Feb. 1
    Details:
    (562) 570-5027
    Venue: Mayor Garcia’s Conference Room, City Hall, 333 W. Ocean Blvd, 14th Floor, Long Beach

    Feb. 4
    Los Angeles Forum on Crime
    Joe Buscaino will be presenting the Los Angeles Forum on Crime. The featured speakers will be LAPD Chief Charlie Beck, LAPD Police Commission president Matthew Johnson, and Assistant Commanding Officer of South Bureau Phillip Tingirides.
    Time: 6 p.m to 8 p.m. Feb. 4
    Details: https://www.facebook.com/events/1545673539079366/
    Venue: Warner Grand Theatre, 478 W. 6th St., San Pedro

    Feb. 5
    GDB Construction
    Northbound Harbor Scenic Drive at Ocean Boulevard will be reduced to one lane.
    Time: 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. through 5

    Feb. 6
    Cabrillo Marine Aquarium Beach Clean-Up and Native Garden Workday
    Volunteers learn about shoreline habitats and the coastal sage scrub native plant community, while discovering the benefits of protecting these environments. Volunteers of all ages and abilities are welcome.
    Time: 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. Feb. 6
    Details: www.cabrillomarineaquarium.org
    Venue: 3720 Stephen M. White Drive, San Pedro

    Feb. 7
    NUDA’s February Workshop
    Demonstration and sampling.  Infusing raw tempered cacao with essential oils workshop.
    Time: 1:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. Feb. 7
    Details: nudajuiceshop@gmail.com
    Venue: 407 W. 6th St., San Pedro

    Feb. 9
    Gerald Desmond Bridge Construction
    The on-ramp westbound on Ocean Boulevard will be closed to traffic from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. Feb. 9. Exit at Anaheim Street. Head west to use State Route 103/State Route 47 south to rejoin Ocean Boulevard from the southbound Interstate 710 to reach San Pedro. From Pico Avenue take northbound Pico Avenue to 9th Street west, continue to I Street. Take SR-103/SR-47 south to rejoin Ocean Boulevard to reach San Pedro.
    Time: 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. Feb. 9

    Feb. 10
    Free Health Lecture: Help! I Am Not Getting Any Younger!
    Learn what is happening to the body as it ages. Find out what you can do to control aches and pains with the help of Dr. Romina Ghassemi.
    Time: 7 to 8 p.m. Feb. 10
    Details: (310) 548-5656
    Venue:
    San Pedro Chiropractic and Posture, 1534 25th St., San Pedro

    Feb. 13
    City of Long Beach Sandbag Sundays
    As part of the Long Beach City El Niño preparedness efforts, Long Beach CERT will be hosting Sandbag Saturdays. Come and fill your own sand bags with assistance from CERT & Search and Rescue personnel. Both sand and sandbags will be available free on site.
    Time: 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Feb. 13
    Details: http://tinyurl.com/zyfxbfp
    Venue: Fire Station 11, 150 E. Market St., Long

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  • Downtown Farmer’s Market: COMMUNITY Calendar Jan. 28, 2016

    Jan. 29
    Downtown Farmer’s Market
    Enjoy fresh fruits vegetables, flowers, crafts and food stalls.
    Time: 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Jan. 29
    Cost: Free
    Venue: 6th Street between Pacific Avenue and Mesa Street, San Pedro
     
    Feb. 4
    Farmer’s Market
    Enjoy fresh fruits vegetables, flowers and crafts.
    Time: 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Feb. 4
    Cost: Free
    Venue: Providence Little Company of Mary Medical Center, 1300 W. 7th St., San Pedro
     
    Feb. 4
    Heart of the Harbor Local Harvest Farmers Market
    Enjoy fresh fruits vegetables, flowers and crafts.
    Time: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Feb. 4
    Cost: Free
    Venue: L Street between Avalon Boulevard and Marine Avenue, Wilmington

    Feb. 4
    First Thursday Art Walk
    Check out San Pedro’s art night out. Enjoy galleries and studios, and restaurant specials in the restaurants.
    Time: 6 p.m. Feb. 4
    Cost: Free
    Details: www.1stThursday.com
    Venue: Downtown San Pedro

    Feb. 5
    Downtown Farmer’s Market
    Enjoy fresh fruits vegetables, flowers, crafts and food stalls.
    Time: 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Feb. 5
    Cost: Free
    Venue: 6th Street between Pacific Avenue and Mesa Street, San Pedro

    Feb. 5
    Alumni Reunion
    Former Marymount students are invited to join with faculty and staff for an evening of fun, friendship and memories. RSVP.
    Time: 5 to 8 p.m. Feb. 5
    Cost: Free
    Details: Alumni@MarymountCalifornia.edu
    Venue: Ports O’ Call Waterfront Dining, 1200 Nagoya Way, Berth 76, San Pedro

    Feb. 6
    Lunar New Year Festival
    The Port of Los Angeles’ 2nd Annual Lunar New Year Festival Year returns honoring the year of the fire monkey. This free event offers activities for everyone to enjoy with traditional hanging and floating lanterns, face painting, Los Angeles Public Library Book Bike, crafts by CRAFTED, food trucks (Asian inspired and American) and traditional brush artistry and live entertainment.
    Time: 2 to 7 p.m. Feb. 6
    Cost: Free
    Details: www.portoflosangeles.org
    Venue: LA Waterfront, 6th Street at Harbor Boulevard, San Pedro

    Feb. 6
    Friend Fest
    The Friendship Neighborhood invites you to join them at the next Friend Fest. Join them for live music, open mic time, icebreaker games, raffle prizes, food and new friends.
    Time: 1 to 4 p.m. Feb. 6
    Cost: Free
    Details: www.facebook.com/events/1659017264361851
    Venue: Drake Park, 951 Maine Ave., Long Beach

    Feb. 6
    Long Beach Mardi Grass Parade, Festival
    Thousands of revelers of all ages will once again descend on Shoreline Village, and neighboring Rainbow Harbor and Aquarium of the Pacific, for the largest annual parade event to hit the Long Beach coastline.
    Celebrated for its focus on offering a family-friendly alternative to the more traditionally risqué and adult-oriented annual tradition, Long Beach Mardi Gras has quickly become embraced as one of Long Beach’s signature annual events.
    Time: 6 to 12 p.m.
    Cost: Free
    Details: www.longbeachmardigras.com
    Venue: Long Beach Shoreline, 401 Shoreline Village Drive, Long Beach

    Feb. 7
    Tidepool Wonders
    Explore low tides on the rocky shore with Cabrillo Marine Aquarium. Bring family and friends to the aquarium’s John M. Olguin Auditorium for an informative slide show, followed by a Cabrillo Marine Aquarium Education staff led walk to the nearby Point Fermin Tidepools.
    Time: 2 to 3:30 Feb. 7
    Cost: Free
    Details: (310) 548-7562; www.cabrillomarineaquarium.org
    Venue: Cabrillo Marine Aquarium, 3720 Stephen M. White Drive, San Pedro

    Feb. 8
    Artists Talks
    Finding the Singing Voice that Sells Records/Songwriting Techniques will be taught by celebrity songwriter and former band member of the group Oingo Boingo, John Avila. Master classes are a series of artist development workshops created for visual and performance-based artists.
    Time: 7 to 8 p.m. Feb. 8
    Cost: Free
    Details: (310) 303-7223; www.MarymountCalifornia.edu
    Venue: The Klaus Center, 430 W. 6th St., San Pedro
     
    Feb. 12
    Networking at Noon
    Promote your business and exchange ideas with other San Pedro Chamber of Commerce members.  Networking at Noon highlights different locations throughout San Pedro.  Be prepared to provide a commercial about your business or organization, and share materials with other attendees.  Seating is limited to 20 and is open to members only. Call for reservations
    Time: 11:45 to 1:15 p.m. Feb. 12
    Cost: $20
    Details: (310) 832-7272
    Venue: Marymount California University, Waterfront Campus, 222 W. 6th St., San Pedro
     
    Feb. 13
    Cultural Conversations
    Long Beach is known as the “international city” and this program at North Branch Public Library aims to embrace the cultures residing in the surrounding neighborhood. Cultural Conversations is a program that highlights different countries and cultures each month. The focus of the program is to bring patrons and community organizations together so we can share our stories to give insight as to what it was like living in another country. Come and learn about the traditions, food and folklore while forming new friendships and learn about different cultures in our community. The focus will be on Samoa.
    Time: 3 to 4:30 p.m. Feb. 13 and 27
    Cost: Free
    Details: (562) 570-1047
    Venue: North Neighborhood Library, 5571 Orange Ave., Long Beach
     
    Feb. 13
    Salt Marsh Open House
    Step out into nature and discover the hidden world of the Salinas de San Pedro Salt Marsh.
    Join Cabrillo Marine Aquarium educators and Coastal Park naturalists as they help uncover the world of mud and water that is our local wetland.
    Time: 2 to 4 p.m. Feb. 13
    Cost: Free
    Details: (310) 548-7562; www.cabrillomarineaquarium.org
    Venue: Cabrillo Marine Aquarium, 3720 Stephen M. White Drive, San Pedro

    Feb. 14
    South Coast Cactus & Succulent Society
    Join Marquita Ellias, author of Botanical Names Decoded, on a delightful journey of discovery as we learn why we use those Latin names, what they mean, and how really simple it is.
    Time: 1:30 p.m. Feb. 14
    Cost: Free
    Details: southcoastcss.org
    Venue: South Coast Botanic Garden, 26300 Crenshaw Blvd., Palos Verdes Peninsula
     
    Feb. 18
    Munch and Learn
    Enjoy an interactive luncheon featuring social media expert, Branimir Kvartuc, communications director for Councilman Buscaino.  Space is limited. Call to reserve your seat.
    Time: 11:45 a.m. to 1 p.m. Feb. 18
    Cost: $15 and $20
    Details: (310) 832-7272
    Venue: San Pedro Chamber of Commerce, 390 W. 7th St., San Pedro

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  • Bird Dogs: RLn ENTERTAINMENT Calendar Jan. 27, 2016

    Jan. 30
    Bird Dogs
    Zachary and Dylan Zmed deliver a tribute to the luminous harmonies of the Everly Brothers.
    Time: 8 p.m. Jan. 30
    Cost: $25
    Details: Tickets and Info
    Venue: Grand Annex, 434 W. 6th St., San Pedro

    Jan. 30
    TriFecta
    Ric Fierabracci, Ray Brinker and Steve Fister form TriFecta
    Time: 8 p.m. Jan. 30
    Cost: $20
    Details: http://tinyurl.com/Trifecta-Alvas
    Venue: Alvas Showroom, 1417 W. 8th St., San Pedro
     
    Jan. 31
    Homenaje
    Get ready for an afternoon of Cuban and African influenced jazz.
    Time: 4 p.m. Jan. 31
    Cost: $10
    Details: http://tinyurl.com/HomenajeAtAlvas
    Venue: Alvas Showroom, 1417 W. 8th St., San Pedro

    Feb. 5
    Andy & Renee, Hard Rain
    Local folk-rock sweethearts return with their soulful and high-energy show with full band.
    Time: 8 p.m. Feb. 5
    Cost: $25
    Details: http://tinyurl.com/Andy-Renee-Hard-Rain
    Venue: Grand Annex, 434 W. 6th St., San Pedro

    Feb. 5
    First Fridays at First
    Classical Crossroads’ presents 2015 Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition
    Junior Division gold medalists violinist Geneva Lewis, violist Emma Wernig and pianist Nathan Lewis.
    Time: 12:15 p.m. Feb. 5
    Cost: Free
    Details: (310) 316-5574; www.palosverdes.com/ClassicalCrossroads/FirstFridays.htm
    Venue: First Lutheran Church and School, 2900 W. Carson St., Torrance

     
    Feb. 5
    Johnny Boyd Live
    Long-acclaimed as one of the most versatile vocal performers today, Boyd seamlessly blends swing, jazz, pop, country, gospel and rock.
    Time: 7:30 p.m. Feb. 5 and 6
    Cost: $33
    Details: https://itkt.choicecrm.net/templates/TORR/
    Venue: George Nakano Theater, 3330 Civic Center Drive, Torrance

    Feb. 5
    Godspeed You! Black Emperor
    Live nation presents Godspeed You! Black Emperor, a Canadian post-rock, cult-favorite.
    Time: 9 p.m. Feb. 5
    Cost: $35
    Details: www.grandvision.org
    Venue: Warner Grand Theatre, 478 W. 6th St., San Pedro

    Feb. 6
    Robert Sarzo: A Salute To Santana
    Robert Sarzo, nicknamed The VuDu Man is a Cuban-American guitarist. His career has spanned 40 years. He has worked with an array of notable and iconic people in the entertainment industry.
    Time: 8 p.m. Feb. 6
    Cost: $30
    Details: (310) 519-1314; www.randomlengthsnews.com
    Venue: Alvas Showroom, 1417 W. 8th St., San Pedro
     
    Feb. 12

    FAT-Fabulous Austrian Trio
    The amazing Alex Machacek has done it again. Combining mindboggling fluidity, daredevil string-skipping technique and audacious intervallic leaps on the guitar
    Time: 8 p.m. Feb. 12
    Cost: $20
    Details: (310) 519-1314; www.randomlengthsnews.com
    Venue: Alvas Showroom, 1417 W. 8th St., San Pedro
     
    Feb. 13
    Dale Fielder Quartet
    Enjoy an evening of cutting-edge jazz originals and classic jazz standards.
    Time: 8 p.m. Feb. 13
    Cost: $20
    Details: (310) 519-1314; www.randomlengthsnews.com
    Venue: Alvas Showroom, 1417 W. 8th St., San Pedro
     
    Feb. 13
    Markus Carlton
    Markus Carlton brings new material as well as jazz and blues standards.
    Time: 6:30 p.m. Feb. 13
    Cost: Free
    Details: (310) 832-0363; www.WhaleAndAle.com
    Venue: The Whale & Ale British Restaurant and Gastropub, 327 W. 7th St., San Pedro
     
    Feb. 13
    Dennis G & the Zydeco Riderz
    It’s Mardi Gras at the Annex with zydeco, Cajun and swamp pop. Dennis G & the Zydeco Trail Riderz rev up the stage with a delicious taste of Louisiana.
    Time: 8 p.m. Feb. 13
    Cost: $20 and $25
    Details: www.grandvision.org
    Venue: Grand Annex, 434 W. 6th St., San Pedro
     
    Feb. 14
    Stars of Tomorrow
    Rolling Hills United Methodist Church’s Second Sundays at Two concert series presents Stars of Tomorrow from USC Thornton School of Music. These talented top students are from the USC Thornton graduate program under the direction of renowned violist and USC Thornton Director of Chamber Music Karen Dreyfus.
    Time: 2 p.m. Feb. 4
    Cost: Free
    Details: (310) 316-5574
    Venue: Rolling Hills United Methodist Church, 26438 Crenshaw Blvd., Rolling Hills Estates

    Feb. 14
    Vintage Valentine
    Make your Valentine’s Day historic at the Queen Mary’s first-ever Burlesque Supper Club – Vintage Valentine. Feb. 14 will be a sultry evening of burlesque, live jazz and a mouth-watering 4-course dinner featuring vocals by Broadway and television star Jenna Leigh Green, best know for her roles as Nessarose and Elphaba in the original cast of Broadway’s Wicked and Libby on Sabrina.
    Time: 5:30 p.m. Feb. 14
    Cost: $99 and $129
    Details: (877) 342-0738; www.queenmary.com/events/vintage-valentine
    Venue: The Queen Mary, Grand and Windsor Salon, 1126 Queens Highway, Long Beach

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  • Leonard Bernstein’s CANDIDE @ Long Beach Opera

    Life is happy for Candide is Westphalia. He lives in the land’s most beautiful castle, and his beloved Cunégonde has consented to be his wife. No wonder he is so willing to accept Dr. Pangloss’s philosophy that this world is the best of all possible worlds. Little does Candide know that the world with all its cruelty, deception, avarice, hypocrisy, and natural disaster, is about to beat that optimism out of him.

    It doesn’t sound like the makings of a comic opera, but that’s exactly what you get from Leonard Bernstein’s Candide, based on Voltaire’s Candide, ou l’Optimisme, a wicked lampoon of our nasty world and anyone who thinks it’s all for the best or God’s plan or some such thing.

    To stage Candide, Long Beach Opera takes a minimalist approach, making significant cuts to the score and script, while framing the entire show as a kind of “improvised rehearsal” (as director David Schweizer says in the production notes). After an opening bound to confuse patrons thrown off-balance by the nontraditional, the “show”‘s director, played by LBO mainstay Robin Buck, makes his casting choices—including himself as narrator/Voltaire and Pangloss—and we’re in Baron Thunder-ten-Tronckh’s castle as Candide’s world is about to be turned upside-down.

    There’s no telling whether LBO’s framing device is employed purely for aesthetic reasons or is born out of material limitations. Whatever the case, this Candide is light on spectacle. Costuming is limited to a few caricature strokes, and sets are basically nonexistent. Settings—which are many in Candide—are evoked with little more than dialog and some simple but charming shadow puppetry.

    Fortunately, the whimsy of the presentation fits the material. But LBO’s Candide —perhaps especially because of the conceptualization—lives or dies almost entirely on its performances, and there’s definitely a beating heart here. With a cast of only eight (not including the stagehands—see below), there is barely a moment’s rest between them, with Schweizer doing a fine job keeping the proceedings in perpetual motion. But the cast is all carbed up, so the energy never flags. Buck is the linchpin, despite a vocal role that takes a backseat to those of Candide and Cunégonde. The wryness of his narration/”direction” helps keep the focus on the fun. When he does sing, he does yeoman’s work, particularly on”Dear Boy”, which features some of Candide‘s most clever lyrical turns.

    Todd Strange is a strong Candide, marrying Candide’s wide-eyed naiveté with a voice that never falters. He’s so natural to the role that you can lose track of how much he’s really doing. But opposite him, there’s no way not to follow how fantastic Jamie Chamberlin sings Cunégonde. Written to let a good coloratura really show off, Chamberlin is strong throughout and dazzles in places, particularly during “Glitter and Be Gay”, a number that leaves no doubt whether an opera company’s got the right woman for the job.

    The show’s weakest element is the ensemble vocals, where it often seems the cast members are slightly out of sync with each other, which makes it difficult to decipher the lyrics. This hurts particularly during a bit of a capella during the finale. Here the lyrics are clear enough; it’s just that something isn’t meshing.

    Compositionally, Leonard Bernstein is Leonard Bernstein for a reason, and Candide is that rara avis that appeals equally to fans of opera and musical. If there is a hitch in Bernstein’s giddy-up—or at least in LBO’s truncated version—it’s that most of his best work comes before intermission, leaving Act 2 a little pale by comparison, even if the final two songs, “What’s the Use?” and “Make Our Garden Grow”, close the show on a high note.

    Augmenting the cast of eight are members of Rogue Artists Ensemble, who wordlessly perform as extras and on-stage stagehands, creating atmosphere and mise en scène with shadow puppets, overhead projectors, and robust use of various materials you might find at the 99-cent store. A showpieces along these lines are the half-life-size cardboard puppets the Rogues make dance in “Auto-De-Fé”.

    Candide is a perfect opera for those who are intrigued by the artform but turned off by its potential ponderousness. Long Beach Opera’s playful take goes far to further Bernstein’s revelry in Voltaire’s comic cynicism.

    Plus, a funny thing happens on the way to disabusing Candide of the illusion that this is the best of all possible worlds: he comes to find that optimism is not completely misplaced. It is we, you see, who create a large part of the world around us. Everything may not be for the best, but we can make the best of this terribly flawed world we share—not by turning that frown upside-down, but pulling our weight to cultivate the kind of life that’s worth living. Bernstein and company play up that side of Voltaire’s Candide, and Long Beach Opera sure don’t hide that light under a bushel.

    CANDIDE LONG BEACH OPERA • CENTER THEATER (300 E OCEAN BLVD) • LONG BEACH 90802 • 562.432.5934 LONGBEACHOPERA.ORG • SATURDAY 2:30PM + 8PM • $29–$137.25; STUDENTS $15 • JANUARY 30 ONLY

    (Photo credit: Keith Ian Polakoff)

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  • Choi, Patterson Give Watts Healthy, Affordable Fast Food Option

    By: Katrina Guevara, Contributing Writer

    First come food trucks, then come restaurants, then affordable and healthy food marry. C-U-I-S-I-N-E.

    Roy Choi

    Chef Roy Choi enjoys laughs with “Chef” film director Jon Fareau at the grand opening of LocoL. Photos by Phillip Cooke

    That is the love story of chefs Roy Choi and Daniel Patterson from the ground up. The duo have joined forces to open their first fast food restaurant, called LocoL in Watts, on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. More branches are tentatively targeted for the Tenderloin neighborhood of San Francisco and East Oakland.

    “It’s two concepts together,” said Choi when describing the meaning behind the restaurant name at last August’s MAD4 festival. “Loco, like we’re fucking crazy to be doing this; And then, local.”

    Their mission statement on their LocoL IndieGogo page is to have “Revolutionary fast food made with real ingredients to nourish the body, soul and community.” Choi and Patterson are on a quest to feed everyone delicious, healthy and affordable meals, especially in low-income neighborhoods. They are also collaborating with world-renowned chefs Rene Redzepi (Noma) and Chad Robertson (Tartine Bakery) to revolutionize food technology. Patterson has collaborated with Tartine Bakery on whole grain burger buns technology by using rice flour as an ingredient. They aim to change supply lines in order to make efficient and delicious food to bring to other areas, said Patterson in the LocoL introduction video. Choi said he wants to put chefs rather than the suits back into the food game.

    Choi and Patterson announced the restaurant concept at last year’s MAD4, the annual Copenhagen gathering for chefs, cooks and farmers founded by Redzepi. Choi’s big question was where to start with social change. So, he started by applying the Danish ergonomics of practical, minimal and high-minded style into food culture. Choi does not like the idea of fast food trapping children with unhealthy options. He wanted a restaurant to have flow, so his first concept for LocoL was to have an open kitchen.

    Patterson said no chefs have gone into the fast food sector. Since chefs ultimately feed people, they can perhaps be a solution to hunger.

    The LocoL Instagram (@welocol) account showcases the makings of the fast-food joint. The restaurant started its job fair in mid-December for a staff entirely local to Watts. The social media account previews the development of menu items ranging from a pressed burger to nuggets. From the MAD4 symposium, Choi said a $5 to $9 burger is a huge valley. The recently posted LocoL menu offers “Burgs” at $4. “The Fried Chicken Burger” has slaw, buttermilk mayo and hot sauce. “Foldies” at $2 are a combination of a taco, quesadilla and pupusa. “The Bulgar Language” for $4 is a bowl that comes with green goddess creamy dressing and croutons. The appetizers are $1 each, along with comparatively affordable items like bowls, burritos, soft serve ice cream, agua frescas and breakfast items.

    The massive open kitchen is the sight of the minimal restaurant with “We Are Here” lettering at the main door.

    LocoL is Watts’ first sit-down restaurant in years, said Councilman Joe Buscaino from a video of the soft opening on Jan. 16.

    The original IndieGogo campaign to fund the fast food restaurant reached its goal of $100,000 by March 19, 2015. More than 1,366 backers donated a total of $128,103 for both restaurant locations.

    The concept started a few years ago with Patterson founding The Cooking Project to teach children how to cook at home. Patterson said there is no cooking problem, just a tasting problem in the nation. Choi volunteered at A Place Called Home in South Central Los Angeles to empower the youth to open their food-based business through cooking.

    LocoL is now the latest addition to the densely populated 2.1 square mile neighborhood of Watts. The Los Angeles Times reports 45 percent of food places in South Central are fast food chains. The United States has the biggest fast food industry, making $200 billion annually. On the contrary, the median resident age of Watts is 21 years old, which is younger than most of the county and country. The neighborhood has the highest rate of single parent families at 2,818 families out of a population of 41,028 population in 2008 based on Los Angeles Department of City Planning estimates.

    Choi is the owner of local restaurants Chego!, Sunny Spot, A-Frame, Pot, 3 Worlds Café, Alibi Room, Commissary at the Line Hotel and the infamous Kogi truck. Daniel is the founder and owner of Daniel Patterson Group, which includes restaurants Coi, Alta, Plum, Plum Bar and Haven.

    Fast food has quickly changed in the last two generations. Choi believes it can be changed in another two generations. With Choi dubbed as one of the godfathers of the food truck movement, he along with self-taught chef Patterson are forces to be reckoned with.

    Details: (310) 123-4567; www.welocol.com
    Venue: LocoL, 1950 E 103rd St., Los Angeles

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  • GDB Replacement Project Work: RLn ANNOUNCEMENTS Jan. 22, 2016

    Jan. 22
    GDB Replacement Project Work
    The Pico Avenue underpass at Ocean Boulevard (Gerald Desmond Bridge) will be closed in both directions between Broadway and Pier E Street. Additionally, the westbound Ocean off-ramp to Pico will be closed.
    Time: 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. Friday, January 22 and February 3 to 5
    Details:
    www.newgdbridge.com

    Jan. 25
    Rec & Parks Ad Hoc Committee Meeting
    The public is invited to attend the Recreation and Parks Ad Hoc Committee meeting.
    Time: 6 p.m. Jan. 25
    Details: http://tinyurl.com/Rec-Parks-Committee-Meeting-Ja
    Venue: Anderson Park Senior Center, 828 S. Mesa St., San Pedro

    Jan. 25
    City Parks “Needs Assessment” Community Workshops
    The City of Long Beach is participating in a comprehensive parks and recreation needs assessment being conducted by the County of Los Angeles. The public is encouraged to participate in a community meeting in Long Beach to ensure that the voices of the community are heard regarding priorities for future park development and rehabilitation.
    Time: 6:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Jan. 25
    Details: http://tinyurl.com/jx9hlul
    Venue:
    Whaley Park, 5620 Atherton St., Long Beach

    Jan. 26
    2016 Greater Los Angeles Homeless Count
    The 2016 Greater Los Angeles Homeless Count is right around the corner! Last year we conducted the largest homeless census in the nation and this year we are poised for an even bigger showing of community engagement. Because of our volunteers and community partners, we all helped shine a light on the critical issue of homelessness in our region. Let’s do it again!
    Time: Jan. 26 to 28
    Details: http://tinyurl.com/jygcbyp

    Jan. 27
    San Pedro Monthly Climate Action Meeting
    From the Harbor Area to the Valley, from Exxon to Porter Ranch, we will now take climate action to shut down the polluting, climate wrecking, fossil fuel operations and make their owners pay to transition us to 100% clean, green, renewable energy.
    Time: 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Jan. 27
    Details: http://tinyurl.com/jnnm2az
    Venue: George H. Peck Rec Center Auditorium, 560 Western Ave., San Pedro

    Jan. 27
    Complimentary Community Health Lectures
    Learn about what muscle pain is and what to do with it with the help of Romina Ghassemi. RSVP.
    Time: 7 p.m. Jan. 27
    Details: (310) 548-5656
    Venue: San Pedro Chiropractic and Posture, 1534 W. 125th St., San Pedro

    Jan. 27
    Trade Connect Workshop at the Port of Los Angeles
    Trade Connect program will host a Trade Connect Workshop, which will cover the fundamentals of exporting, including costs, risks and steps. This series also presents a summary of services, which also includes the basics of the commercial transaction, finding overseas markets, trade financing, logistics and documentation.
    Time: 8:30 a.m. to 11:15 a.m. Jan. 27
    Details: www.latradeconnect.org
    Venue: Port of Los Angeles, 425 S. Palos Verdes St., San Pedro

    Jan. 30
    City of Long Beach Sandbag Sundays
    As part of the Long Beach City El Niño preparedness efforts, Long Beach CERT will be hosting Sandbag Saturdays in the coming weeks! Come and fill your own sand bags with assistance from CERT & Search and Rescue personnel. Both sand and sandbags will be available free on site.
    Time: 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Jan. 30
    Details: http://tinyurl.com/zyfxbfp
    Venue: Fire Station 11, 150 E. Market St., Long Beach


    Jan. 30

    Free Document Shred and E-Waste Fundraiser
    This e-waste and shred drive is hosted by the students of the Hughes Middle School Environmental Science Class and local realtor Andrea Testa. Funds raised will go towards taking the kids of the class on different field trips where they will learn more about how to keep our world environmentally green and protected. Please consider a donation with your drop off.
    Time: 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Jan. 30
    Details: http://tinyurl.com/zzkt4ue
    Venue:
    Hughes Middle School, 3846 California Ave., Long Beach

    Jan. 31
    Eyes on Trafficking Community Outreach Rally
    Take a stand against human trafficking and join us as we take to the streets of Los Angeles for a night of volunteer outreach. This program is part of the Human Trafficking Outreach Project, a project that aims to implement Senate Bill 1193 throughout LA County by training volunteers to visit businesses mandated to put up posters with human trafficking hotline numbers on them
    Time: 3 to 9 p.m. Jan. 31
    Details: http://tinyurl.com/hl9pvkq
    Venue: Alpert Jewish Community Center, 3801 E Willow St., Long Beach

    Feb. 4
    LB Board of Harbor Commissioners Meeting
    The Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioner will meet to discuss a $1.5 million contract for the Pier G Metro track improvements and wharf repair project and support services for the port-wide rail program.
    Time: 6 p.m. Feb. 4
    Details: http://tinyurl.com/LBHarborCommFeb4
    Venue: Harbor Department Interim Administrative Offices, 4801 Airport Plaza Drive, Long Beach

    Feb. 4
    Public Hearing on Proposed Changes to Metro Bus Service
    The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority will host a public hearings in to receive community input on proposed modifications to Metro’s bus service. Approved changes will become effective June 2016 or later.
    Time: 6 p.m. Feb. 4
    Details: http://tinyurl.com/metro-service-changes-proposed
    Venue: Carson Community Center, Adult Lounge, 801 E. Carson St., Carson

    Feb. 4
    Los Angeles Forum on Crime
    Councilman Joe Buscaino will be presenting the Los Angeles Forum on Crime at the Warner Grand Theatre in San Pedro. The featured speakers will be Los Angeles Police Department Chief Charlie Beck, LAPD Police Commission president Matthew Johnson, and Assistant Commanding Officer of South Bureau Phillip Tingirides. RSVP.
    Time: 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Feb. 4
    Details: http://tinyurl.com/j7m7ox6
    Venue: Warner Grand Theatre, 478 W. 6th St., San Pedro

    Feb. 6
    Rain Harvesting Workshop
    Join us again as we partner with Hughes Middle School’s Green Team students and Rain Barrels International for another workshop and rain barrel sale! Rain barrels are $85 each but So Cal Smart Water offers a rebate of $75 per barrel for up to four barrels. Only rain barrels ordered in advance are guaranteed to be available.
    Time: 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Feb. 6
    Details: www.rainbarrelsintl.com
    Venue: Hughes Middle School, 3846 California Ave., Long Beach

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