• American Fascist: Hope Falls, Apprentice Rises

    By Paul Rosenberg, Senior Editor

    Day after day, massive protests have erupted in scores of cities across America in response to Donald Trump’s election to the presidency of the United States. They are ignoring the counsel of political leaders who had failed them―political leaders who seem willfully ignorant of how well Trump fits the worldwide pattern of autocratic authoritarian rulers.

    One of them, Russia’s Vladimir Putin, even played a murky behind-the-scenes role in Trump’s victory, following a documented pattern of Russian support for right-wing nationalist politicians across Western Europe.

    At the same time, a wave of hate crimes have swept across the country. The Southern Poverty Law Center collected 437 reports of hateful intimidation and harassment between the day after the election and the following Monday.

    Meanwhile, House Speaker Paul Ryan renewed talk of privatizing Medicare—the epitome of the out-of-touch elitist GOP agenda that Trump ran against. Trump’s repeated defense of Medicare and Social Security was an early part of his base appeal.

    Typically elected with minority support, autocratic rulers like Putin, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, or Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orbán consolidate their power by violating existing democratic norms; threatening, bribing and intimidating others in secret; and demonizing vulnerable racial, ethnic, religious and sexual minorities, as well as their political opposition and the free press—much of which Trump has already done during his campaign.

    They rely heavily on manipulative political theater, in place of sound, empirically-based policies arrived at through public deliberation. And the worse and the more regularly their policies fail, the more intensely and elaborately they shift blame onto others. They also benefit enormously from the erosion of hard-won social trust in established institutions. (See sidebar “Fake News Helped Elect Trump.”)

    As for bringing the nation together, outgoing Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid stood virtually alone in pointing out the obvious.

    “If this is going to be a time of healing, we must first put the responsibility for healing where it belongs: at the feet of Donald Trump, a sexual predator who lost the popular vote and fueled his campaign with bigotry and hate,” Reid said in a press release. At press time, Clinton’s popular vote lead was almost 1.7 million votes.

    “Winning the electoral college does not absolve Trump of the grave sins he committed against millions of Americans… If Trump wants to roll back the tide of hate he unleashed, he has a tremendous amount of work to do and he must begin immediately.”

    Trump’s first wave of appointments the following week proved just how right Reid had been. (See sidebar below “Trump’s Troubling Appointments”.) But other leading Democrats seemed oblivious to what was going on.

    “We must accept this result and then look to the future. Donald Trump is going to be our president. We owe him an open mind and the chance to lead,” Hillary Clinton said, as if she weren’t speaking about a man who campaigned on locking her up—and still might try to do so.

    “We are now all rooting for his success in uniting and leading the country,” President Barack Obama added. “We all go forward with a presumption of good faith in our fellow citizens, because that presumption of good faith is essential to a vibrant and functioning democracy.”

    The Unlikely Rise of Vladimir Putin

    But Trump is the very epitome of a bad-faith actor, as noted by Masha Gessen, author of The Man Without a Face: The Unlikely Rise of Vladimir Putin. Writing for the New York Review of Books, Gessen, who has lived in autocracies most of her life, and spent much of her career writing about Vladimir Putin’s Russia, laid out a set of six “Rules for Survival” in an autocracy:

    1:  Believe the autocrat. He means what he says.  If you think he’s exaggerating, that’s just your instinct to rationalize the unacceptable. (Sidenote: The U.S. press did this with Hitler back in the 1930s. It did not end well.)

    160308092500-02-trump-pledge-0308-large-tease 2:  Do not be taken in by small signs of normality. Indeed, books like They Thought They Were Free, written in 1955, make it quite clear that superficial normalcy was one of Nazi Germany’s most malignant features.

    3:  Institutions will not save you. America’s institutions are much stronger than Russia’s where Gessen learned this lesson first-hand. “Many of these institutions are enshrined in political culture rather than in law, and all of them—including the ones enshrined in law—depend on the good faith of all actors to fulfill their purpose and uphold the Constitution,” he notes. It’s precisely that good faith that Trump has been waging war against for the past 18 months. The press is already under serious assault—as a proliferation of fake news sites and stories helped Trump get elected—and the courts are surely not far behind.

    4: Be outraged. Even though—following Rule No. 1—you’re not surprised. “This will lead people to call you unreasonable and hysterical, and to accuse you of overreacting,” Gessen warns. “It is no fun to be the only hysterical person in the room. Prepare yourself.”

    5:  Don’t make compromises. Gessen offers Ted Cruz as Exhibit ‘A’ of what not to do. “Those who argue for cooperation will make the case, much as President Obama did in his speech, that cooperation is essential for the future,” he warns. “They will be willfully ignoring the corrupting touch of autocracy, from which the future must be protected.”

    6:  Remember the future is Gessen’s last rule, and it carries a glimmer of hope—but also a message of responsibility: “Nothing lasts forever,” he writes.  “Donald Trump certainly will not, and Trumpism, to the extent that it is centered on Trump’s persona, will not either.” But it was failure to imagine the future that helped hand Trump the election in the first place. Democrats “offered no vision of the future to counterbalance Trump’s all-too-familiar white-populist vision of an imaginary past.”

    Gessen isn’t the only one with this sort of background or experience.  Susan Faludi, author of Backlash and Stiffed, has written about Hungary’s recent authoritarian turn, and its echoes Trump’s America.  Trump and Hungarian Prime Minister Orbán “enjoy a certain kissing-cousin resemblance,” she noted, starting with Trump’s wall-building fetish and Orbán’s “thirteen-foot-high razor-wire fence running 110 miles across the Serbian border to keep out Syrian refugees.”  Mexicans and Muslims top Trump’s enemies list, Roma and Jews top Orbán’s.

    Sarah Kendzior is a Saint Louis-based writer, a trained anthropologist who’s done academic research in Central Asian authoritarian states. She was one of the first writers to warn that Trump could be elected president, even before the GOP primaries started.

    Running on American Pain

    In May she wrote an op-ed titled Trump is the smartest candidate: He’s running on American pain.

    “Having studied authoritarian states for over a decade, I would never exaggerate the severity of the threat we now face,” Kendzior recently wrote. “But an American kleptocracy is exactly where President-elect Trump and his backers are taking us.”

    Trump ran, absurdly, as a billionaire “populist,” despite a long record of bullying, abusing, and ripping off the little guy (workers, small business owners, “Trump University” students, stockholders, even his own lawyers), hiring illegal immigrants, outsourcing manufacturing overseas (shirts in Bangladesh, neckties in China, suits in Mexico, etc.) and reaping over $800 million in taxpayer subsidies from New York City alone.

    He’s the quintessential example of the very ultra-rich elite he pretended to run against—even more clannish and prone to nepotism than most—but with two crucial differences: First, he has always had intimate connections with criminal types who provide him extra muscle and leverage (starting with New York mob connections through his lawyer Roy Cohen). Second, he has always played the part of an outsider, ripping off sympathy on behalf of the very people he otherwise routinely plunders.

    Moving toward kleptocracy, as Kendzior warns of, is merely a continuation of how Trump has always operated, but it’s unfolding in concert with the very establishment GOP interests Trump pretended to oppose. Not only will Trump’s worldwide business empire remain intact, but his children, who will run it, will apparently also be involved in his administration, possibly even with security clearances.

    The problematic pattern was explained by MSNBC’s Joy Reid on AM Joy on Nov. 19.

    “There are dictatorships around the world where the leader of the country and his family essentially milk the country and use the presidency and the leadership of the country to enrich their own family,” Reid said. “We haven’t had any example of that in the United States, but I want to look at an example. It seems small, but in a sense it kind of makes the point.

    “Ivanka Trump did her RNC speech and then immediately tweeted out, ‘Here’s the look, you can buy what I have on.’ OK, that’s just one thing. But then you had the 60 Minutes interview, she then had her staff send out a style alert to the media, that the regular mainstream press could promote the [$10,000] bracelet that she had on, that then the American people could buy.  Fast forward to the meeting with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan, they served Trump Water at the meeting.”

    And we’re still almost two months away from Inauguration Day.

    “This is the sort of thing we normally associate with a post-Soviet kleptocracy, or a third world dictatorship,” Washington Post contributor Paul Waldman said in response. “And the stuff that we know about may be the least problematic. It’s the stuff that we don’t know about that we really have to worry about.”

    The Washington Post recently reported on how, “100 foreign diplomats, from Brazil to Turkey, gathered at the Trump International Hotel this week to sip Trump-branded champagne, dine on sliders and hear a sales pitch about the U.S. president-elects newest hotel…. Some attendees won raffle prizes—among them overnight stays at other Trump properties around the world–allowing them to become better acquainted with the business holdings of the new commander in chief.”

    America’s Impending Fascist Rule

    The U.S. government, it seems, is now a marketing arm for Trump enterprises. It’s a long, long way from Jimmy Carter being forced to sell off the single peanut farm he had spent his whole life building. But Carter, of course, was a Democrat.

    Meanwhile, the GOP establishment is more eager than ever to return to its Wall Street friendly roots. Not just in ways that Trump openly signed onto, such as repealing the Dodd-Frank regulations that passed after the financial crisis, but also in ways he seemed to fundamentally oppose, most notably by privatizing Medicare.

    As far back as 2013, Trump told Conservative Political Action Conference that Republicans should not cut Social Security or Medicare because most Americans want to keep the benefits as they stand now. Again, in January, 2015, Trump pledged, at the Iowa Freedom Summit, to save Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid “without cutting it to the bone” by “making the country rich again.” He’s even implied that Medicare could be part of his plan to replace Obamacare.

    Ryan couldn’t disagree more—though he’s not upfront about it.

    While Obamacare actually extended Medicare’s solvency by more than a decade, Ryan is claiming the exact opposite, saying we have to phase out Medicare because of Obamacare. And, he’s very sneaky about it, according to Josh Marshall, of Talking Points Memo.

    “Ryan says current beneficiaries will be allowed to keep their Medicare. But after the cord is cut between current and future beneficiaries, everything is fair game,” Marshall points out.

    There’s another side to Trump’s economic plans, however. Trump plans to spend a trillion dollars on infrastructure over 10 years. Infrastructure spending used to be a bipartisan issue, and for voters, it still is, but not in Washington. Infrastructure spending helps boost the economy, but Republicans under Bush had other priorities—tax cuts for the rich, and expensive foreign wars—and under Obama they had two reasons to oppose it: They had no practical or political wish to help boost the economy, and they had an ideological fetish to pursue: balancing the budget. That fetish goes away whenever a Republican takes office. Deficits exploded under both Reagan and Bush, so there’s no reason not to expect it again.

    This is where Democrats like Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren have said they were willing to work with Donald Trump. But David Dayen at the New Republic warns that there are hidden dangers lurking there. The real aim—as with all things Republican—is to funnel a lot of money into private hands.

    It’s a complex arrangement by which investors and contracts get handsomely paid—a built-in 10 percent profit margin for the contractors. But don’t expect infrastructure anywhere it can’t turn a tidy profit through user fees. And that leaves the heartland of Trump’s rural and exurban red America shit out of luck.

    “You may end up with another bridge in New York City or another road in Los Angeles, which can be monetized,” Dayen explained. “But someplace that actually needs infrastructure investment is [dicier] without user fees.”

    This won’t necessarily be a problem for Trump—if he can manipulate, distract attention and shift blame around—the one thing for which he has shown great talent. That’s what autocratic rule all comes down to in the end.

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  • PrEP: World Gets 35 Years Closer to Ending AIDS

    By Zamná Ávila, Assistant Editor

    Ace Robinson

    Ace Robinson is the executive director of Dignity Health St. Mary’s Medical Center’s C.A.R.E. Program. He takes PrEP to prevent an HIV infection

    To say the least, Ace Robinson was a late bloomer.

    “I didn’t know I was gay until the middle of undergrad,” Robinson, 38, said. “I was close to 20 years old when I figured it.”

    For Robinson, the era of big hair, material girls (and boys) and MTV is a distant memory. He also was too young then to be directly impacted by AIDS, a disease that changed the way we have sex. Since 1981, the year outbreaks were first noted, millions of people have died from ailments related to the disease, many of them gay men,

    Much has changed in the past 35 years since. Education and prevention efforts have helped curb the spread of AIDS. New medications are enabling people living with HIV to have much longer and fuller lives.

    In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of new HIV diagnoses fell 19 percent from 2005 to 2014. Most people who take their medications properly and consistently can live full lives.

    In the mid-1990s, Robinson was still a biochemistry undergraduate student. By that time, scientists had discovered and developed the use of HIV-protease inhibitors, which revolutionized therapy options for people living with HIV and helped turn what many considered a death sentence into a chronic condition. Little did he know that he would later be working in the field of HIV/AIDS research and public health administration.

    He is currently the executive director of the Comprehensive AIDS Resource and Education, C.A.R.E., Program at Dignity Health St. Mary’s Medical Center in Long Beach.

    Long Beach is one of the most HIV-impacted cities in Los Angeles County.

    In 2012, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health reported that Long Beach had more HIV infections than any other region in the county.

    Recently, the Department of Public Health named the C.A.R.E. Program a Center of Excellence, awarding a $90,000 grant. The program will offer PrEP-related services to people whether or not they are insured or underinsured. That is on top of the fact that Medi-Cal, Covered California and a PrEP provision in the budget signed by Gov. Jerry Brown in June, help facilitate access to the treatment.

    Let’s Talk About PrEP

    Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis or PrEP is a once-a-day medication, approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2012. People who are not living with HIV can take it to prevent HIV infection when exposed. When taken, consistently, Truvada®, the only approved drug for PrEP, has proven to have 92 percent effectiveness.

    According to the CDC studies have shown that PrEP reduces the risk of getting HIV from sex by more than 90 percent when used consistently. Among people who inject drugs, PrEP reduces the risk of getting HIV by more than 70 percent when used consistently.

    Truvada contains two drugs in one pill. For HIV-positive people, it slows down the replication of the virus within immune cells. For HIV-negative people, if they’re exposed to the virus, the medicine will prevent the virus from more fully infecting the immune system.

    Alan McCord, director of education at Project Inform, an organization that provides up-to-date information and advocacy on HIV and Hepatitis C, explained that HIV needs to get inside immune cells and merge with their genes in order to make more HIV and cause a chronic infection. PrEP works because both drugs get into and stay inside immune cells as long as daily PrEP is taken. This way, the drugs are already in place before HIV shows up. Should an HIV transmission occur, PrEP stops HIV’s life cycle well before chronic infection occurs; and HIV eventually dies because it can’t reproduce enough to cause a chronic infection.

    PrEP is also often used together with other prevention methods to further decrease a person’s risk. These include using condoms, disclosing status to partners, and treatment as prevention or TasP. That means an HIV-positive person who is on HIV treatment is very unlikely to pass the virus onto others because the medications they take greatly reduce the HIV in their bloodstream to extremely low levels.

    “It’s a great tool,” Robinson said. “If you are a person who can take pills every day, you don’t have to worry about HIV.

    Robinson acknowledges there still is much stigma associated with people living with HIV. PrEP conveys that a person taking the prevention tool is not bigoted toward people living with HIV.

    “It takes HIV out of the conversation but it doesn’t protect against anything else such as gonorrhea,” he said. “Sex is part of the conversation but it shouldn’t be the main part of the conversation.”

    Robinson is not just a public health advocate. He is a patient. The former basic and qualitative scientist is HIV negative and practices safer sex in different ways, among them, using PrEP.

    “I have known about PrEP well before approval by the FDA in 2012,” Robinson said. “So I already know that it worked as long as I took it properly. And it made sense logically for me to easily add it to my healthcare strategy….  “My sexual health strategies vary based on the type of sex that I am having. I try to use whatever sexual health prevention tools make sense at the time.”

    Robinson said that the vast majority of people who take PrEP, have no side effects.

    “It has increased the level of intimacy that I have with other men, while also reducing any anxiety that comes with potentially contracting HIV,” he said.

    However, if the drug is not taken as prescribed, PrEP is much less effective. The medication must be taken daily. It takes about seven days of regular use for it to work.

    Thus far, only two people using PrEP, have been infected with HIV. But there are many factors that may account for that. The status of some of their sex partners may not have been undetectable, for example.

    Being Undetectable

    A person living with HIV can achieve undetectable levels of the virus after undergoing antiretroviral therapy. The level of viral load is what causes a person to be likely to transmit the disease.
    As explained in The Body.com, researchers have found that people who are being treated for HIV and have undetectable viral loads pose a negligible risk of sexual transmission, 0.06 percent, close to zero.

    “Once you begin therapy, you stay on therapy, with full virologic suppression you not only have protection from your own HIV … but you also are not capable of transmitting HIV to a sexual partner,” said Dr. Carl Dieffenbach, director of the Division of AIDS, National Institutes of Health in a video. “With successful antiretroviral treatment, that individual is no longer infectious.”

    “Undetectable only happens if you know your HIV status, you went to the doctor, you got on meds and you stayed on meds,” Robinson said. If you have anxiety about HIV transmission, it doesn’t hurt to make it nearly impossible (to get infected by taking PrEP while having sex with someone you know has an undetectable viral load). Do you need both? No, but it would ease your mind.”

    The next stage of PrEP is an injectable drug, which promises to be used with less frequency than the pills that has to be taken on a daily basis.

    “We have this opportunity to really end this,” Robinson said. “It’s going to take all of us, not just some of us. PrEP is really changing conversations of how we physically love each other…. We don’t live in a bubble. As long as there are trains, planes and automobiles, we are all connected.”

     

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  • Mac Sabbath Puts Pedal to Metal

    ENTERTAINMENT

    Nov. 26
    Mac Sabbath
    Come out to the Gaslamp in Long Beach and see the great Mac Sabbath. Also performing are Los Pendejos, The Great Pumpkin (Smashing Pumpkins Tribute), Room Service (Kiss Tribute), Disraeli Gears (Cream tribute), The Approach & Execution & Seeds of War. This show is for all ages.
    Time: 5 p.m., Nov. 26
    Cost: $18 to $25
    Details: http://tinyurl.com/MacSabbath-gaslamp
    Venue: Gaslamp, 6251 E. Pacific Coast Highway, Long Beach

    Kick Off Gig For The Holidays
    First gig after a break in the action. Rick’s Jamnesia is the band that brings the party. The offer a large variety of music such as blues, funk, rhythm and blues, soul, jazz and old school.
    Time: 9 p.m. Nov. 26
    Venue: Godmothers Saloon, 302 W. 7th St., San Pedro

    Nov. 28
    DMT, Fracture, Meridian
    Get your introduction to Black Light Lounges Metal Mondays.
    Time: 8 p.m.  Nov. 28
    Cost: $5
    Details: http://tinyurl.com/BlackLightLounge
    Venue: Blacklight District Lounge, 2500 E. Anaheim St., Long Beach

    Dec. 2
    Night Owl Party by the Sea
    Come drink and play pool with us as we rock out in San Pedro at Harold’s Place. It’s free and the drinks are cheap. And check out a band called, Klaymation,
    Time: 9 p.m. Dec. 2
    Cost: Free
    Details: (310) 832-5503; jenrules323@aol.com
    Venue: Harold’s Place, 1908 S. Pacific Ave., San Pedro

    Dec. 3
    Wagman’s Gold, Silver Celebration
    KJazz 88.1 FM presents a concert celebrating the career of Gary “The Wagman” Wagner, host of the station’s long-running weekend show, Nothin’ But the Blues, Headlining this special evening are Walter Trout and Friends, Janiva Magness, Coco Montoya and The Alastair Greene Band.
    Time: 7 to 10 p.m. Dec. 3
    Cost: $25 to $55
    Details: www.jazzandblues.org, http://tinyurl.com/Wagman-Gold
    Venue: Warner Grand Theatre, 478 W. 6th St., San Pedro

    Woodie & The Longboards
    Named America’s No. 1 Beach Boy Tribute Band, Woodie and the Longboards began performing music from the 60s and 70s in 2002 and haven’t looked back. Be part of a night packed with Good, Good, Good, Good Vibrations.
    Time: 8 p.m. Dec. 3
    Cost: $25 to $35
    Details: www.grandvision.org
    Venue: Grand Annex, 434 W. 6th St., San Pedro

    Frank Unzueta
    Join jazz pianist-composer-guitarist Frank Unzueta for an unforgettable night of Latin and Brazilian jazz sounds featuring his original compositions. Also featuring vocalist Jonathan Karrant.
    Time:
    8 p.m. Dec. 3
    Cost:
    $25
    Details:  
    (310) 519-1314; www.alvasshowroom.com
    Venue:  
    Alvas Showroom, 1417 W. 8th St., San Pedro

    Dec. 4
    Handel’s Messiah
    Light up your Holidays with a chamber version of Handel’s magnificent Messiah, featuring professional soloists and baroque instrumentation.
    Time:  4:30 p.m. Dec. 4
    Cost: $10 to $50
    Details: http://longbeachcameratasingers.org
    Venue: Beverley O’Neill Theater, 300 E. Ocean Blvd., Long Beach

    Dec. 9
    Anita Chang, Rodney Oakes
    The Los Angeles Harbor College Music Department presents Anita Chang and Rodney Oakes during an evening concert. Chang will perform two Brahms’s intermezzos, Two leider from Mendelssohn’s Songs without Words, and Rachmaninoff’s Prelude in D major. Oakes will premiere his Bag of Tales for trombone and electronics, Prelude and Fantasy for two trombones with guest trombonist Greg Lee and a new piano work with video accompaniment, Piano Odyssey. Together, they will premiere Oakes’ Four Bagatelles for sackbut and piano.
    Time: 8 p.m. Dec. 9
    Cost: Free
    Details: (310) 233- 4429
    Venue: LA Harbor College Music Recital Hall, 1111 Figueroa Place, Wilmington

    Jim Kimo West, Ken Emerson
    Celebrate the holiday season with some kick-back, stress-reducing island vibes. Kimo’s annual Holiday Slack Key Show will feature terrific hula.
    Time: 8 p.m. Dec. 9
    Cost: $20
    Details:  310-519-1314; www.alvasshowroom.com
    Venue:  Alvas Showroom, 1417 W. 8th St., San Pedro

    Dec. 10
    Warehouse One Holiday Show
    The second annual ska-rock holiday show with San Pedro’s favorite local band. Originals, covers and classics will put you in a festive spirit with a rockin’ hometown twist. Opening act: Law.
    Time: 8 p.m. Dec. 10
    Cost: $15 to $30
    Details: www.grandvision.org
    Venue: Grand Annex, 434 W. 6th St., San Pedro

    Dec. 10
    Nili Brosh
    Instrumental progressive rock-fusion will feature original music by Nili Brosh.
    Time: 8 p.m. Dec. 10
    Cost:  $20.00
    Details: alvasshowroom.com
    Venue: Alvas Showroom, 1417 W. 8th St, San Pedro

    Dec. 11
    The 19th Annual Carlos Vega Memorial Birthday Concert
    Carlos Vega was a renowned recording artist who had recorded and/or performed with Freddy Hubbard, Boz Scaggs, Lee Ritenour, Vince Gill, Reba McIntire, Olivia Newton-John, Larry Carlton, Linda Ronstadt, Joni Mitchell, and Randy Newman, before he died in 1998. Those paying tribute at this show include David Garfield (keyboards) and special guests Frank Gambale, Michael Thompson, James Harrah, Denny Dias (guitars); John “JR” Robinson, Gary Novak, Jimmy Branly, Steve Ferrone, Walfredo Reyes Jr. Oscar Seaton (drummers); Jimmy Earl (bass), Alex Ligertwood (vocals).
    Time: 4 p.m. Dec. 11
    Cost:  $50.00
    Details: alvasshowroom.com
    Venue: Alvas Showroom, 1417 W. 8th St., San Pedro

    Dec. 11
    Joy to the World!
    Justin Rudd and his nonprofit Community Action Team invite the public to a free, 90-minute “Joy to the World” Christmas concert. All ages and all sizes of groups are welcome.
    Time: 4:30 p.m. Dec. 11
    Cost: Free
    Details:  https://2016joytotheworld.eventbrite.com
    Venue: Bay Shore Church, 5100 E. The Toledo, Long Beach

    Dec. 17
    Fleetwood Mac vs  Heart
    Gaslamp Long Beach presents Fleetwood Mac vs Heart featuring Mirage and Dog n Butterfly.  This is a concert and dinner show you don’t want to miss.
    Time: 7:30 p.m. Dec. 17
    Cost: $15 to $58
    Details: www.gaslamptix.com
    Venue: Gaslamp Lounge, 6251 E. Pacific Coast Highway, Long Beach

    Dec. 17
    Holiday POPS Spectacular
    The annual “Holiday POPS Spectacular” continues with festive music and high spirits. Celebrate the holiday season by joining the Golden State Pops Orchestra, Maestro Steven Allen Fox, and the GSPO Chorale, led by Maestra Marya Basaraba.
    Time: 8 p.m., Dec. 17
    Cost: $29 to $60
    Details: www.grandvision.org
    Venue: Warner Grand Theatre, 478 W. 6th St., San Pedro

    Dec. 18
    Celtic Music
    World’s Most Recorded Piper” Eric Rigler (soloist on Braveheart, Titanic, The Simpsons, etc.) and multi-talented string player Dirk Freymuth team-up to create a musical panorama of Celtic spirit and energy. Drawing from haunting Irish melodies, barn-burning jigs and reels, and themes from Eric’s film and television work, the duo produce a hearing-is-believing sonic experience.
    Time: 4 p.m. Dec. 18
    Cost:  $20
    Details: alvasshowroom.com
    Venue: Alvas Showroom, 1417 W. 8th St., San Pedro

    Jan. 1
    New Year’s Eve 2016 in DTLB
    The DLBA will not only once again host the largest party in town, it has shifted gears to one-up itself as it welcomes a plethora of the world’s finest musicians to take part in a three-stage, three-block festival in the heart of Downtown located on Pine Avenue between 1st and 4th Streets. Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings and Citizen Cope are headlining this year with each bringing guests to perform throughout the evening. Those guests include a special DJ set from Cut Copy, electro-dance master Big Data, reggae songstress HIRIE, house DJ Plastic Plates, and Latin soul group Boogaloo Assassins. Joining them are The Delta Bombers, DJ Paul V., DJ Taharba, and Sizwe the DJ.
    Time: 8 p.m. Dec. 31
    Cost: $40
    Details: http://tinyurl.com/DTLB-NYE
    Venue: Downtown Long Beach

    THEATER

    dont-dress-for-dinner-press-photo-13

    DON’T DRESS FOR DINNER (MAINSTAGE, NOV. 5th – DEC. 3rd, 2016) PHOTO 13: Victoria Serra (SUZETTE), Mitchell Nunn (GEORGE), Yvonne Robertson (JACQUELINE), Della Lisi (SUZANNE) (Michael Hardy Photography)

    Dec. 3
    Don’t Dress For Dinner
    Bernard’s plans for a romantic rendezvous with his mistress are complete with a gourmet caterer and an alibi courtesy of his friend, Robert. But when Bernard’s wife learns that Robert will be visiting for the weekend, she decides to stay in town for a surprise tryst of her own… setting the stage for a collision course of assumed identities and outrageous infidelities.
    Time: 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and 2 p.m. Sundays, through Dec. 3
    Cost: $14 to $24
    Details: (562) 494-1014; www.lbplayhouse.org
    Venue: Long Beach Playhouse, 5021 E. Anaheim St., Long Beach

    Dec. 3
    She Loves Me
    She Loves Me follows the story of Georg and Amalia, two parfumerie clerks who aren’t quite the best of friends. Constantly bumping heads while on the job, the sparring coworkers can’t seem to find common ground.
    Time: 7 p.m. Dec. 3
    Cost: $27 to $32
    Details: (562) 856-1999, ext. 4; www.musical.org
    Venue: Beverly O’Neill Theater, 300 E. Ocean Blvd., Long Beach

    Dec. 10
    The Nutcracker
    San Pedro City Ballet returns with a holiday season tradition, featuring their corps de ballet and some of San Pedro’s ballet stars of the future. This is truly a magical experience for the entire family.
    Time: Dec. 10 and 11
    Cost: $19 to  $39
    Details: www.sanpedrocityballet.org
    Venue: Warner Grand Theatre, 478 W. 6th St., San Pedro

    Dec. 10
    A Very Special Holiday Special
    The Palos Verdes/South Bay Group of the Sierra Club invites you to a holiday outing to see A Very Special Holiday Special, a light comedy by Mark Harvey Levine. From a talking Christmas tree, Grandma’s visit to the babe in the manger, the sons of Israel watching a flame, and Les Miz — elf-style — you’ll love this holiday evening full of theatrical stocking stuffers.
    Time: 8 p.m. Dec. 10
    Cost: $22
    Details: (310) 383-5247
    Venue: Little Fish Theater, 777 Centre St., San Pedro

    ARTS

    Nov. 30
    Ambiguity
    The Long Beach Playhouse Gallery presents Paula A. Prager exhibit, Ambiguity.
    Time: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Nov. 30
    Cost: Free
    Details: (562) 494-1014
    Venue: Long Beach Playhouse Gallery, 5021 E. Anaheim St., Long Beach

    Dec. 10
    On Being Blue
    TransVagrant and Gallery 478 are pleased to present On Being Blue, Recent Works by Jay McCafferty. Electing the neutrality of the grid as an organizing principle, McCafferty has been creating artworks by focusing rays of sunlight on its points of intersection for more than three decades.
    Time: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, through Dec. 10
    Cost: Free
    Details: (310) 600-4873
    Venue: Gallery 478, 478 W. 7th St., San Pedro

    Dec. 12
    Altered Objectsaltered objects
    Altered Objects offers a reimagining of everyday objects by three Los Angeles artists: Julie Schustack, Tina Turturici, and Nicolas Shake. Shake builds his ghost sculptures from a tire, a shovel, or a palm tree frond, but they change within the context of the media and color he employs. Turturici recreates everyday objects in multiple media including ink drawings, collage, paintings and 3D objects. While Schustack combines found objects with her unique ceramic forms to create mysterious sculptures that capture the essence of time and change, especially her works related to music.
    Time: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, through Dec. 12
    Cost: Free
    Details: (310) 243-3334
    Venue: University Art Gallery, LaCorte Hall, A-107, California State University Dominguez Hills, 1000 E. Victoria St., Carson

    Dec. 16
    Have an EPIC Election!
    An election history exhibition Have an EPIC Election! 100 Years of National and California Elections is showing at California State University Dominguez Hills Library Cultural Arts Gallery. Through newspaper headlines and campaign materials of older campaigns juxtaposed with more recent elections, the exhibition presents a case for how much things have changed and how much they’ve stayed the same.
    Time: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, through Dec. 16
    Cost: Free
    Details: (310) 243-3895
    Venue: CSUDH, 1000 E. Victoria St., Carson

    Dec. 31
    L.A. Noir
    Since 1999, Mark V. Lord has plied his trade as a professional screenwriter in New York and Los Angeles, while maintaining a mostly private practice as a photographer.
    Lord’s images of Los Angeles are filled with the deep shadows and low-key lighting characteristic of these films, but with a decidedly contemporary twist.
    Time: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays, and 1 to 4 p.m. Sundays.
    Cost: Free
    Details: www.pvartcenter.org
    Venue: Palos Verdes Art Center, 5504 Crestridge Road, Rancho Palos Verdes

    Jan. 15, 2017
    Chiaroscuro
    Cornelius Projects is pleased to present new paintings by San Pedro artist Candice Gawne. The exhibition will also include an installation of several of Gawne’s signature plasma glass sculptures in the Cornelius Projects’ screening room.
    Time: 12 to 5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays, through Jan. 15, 2017
    Cost: Free
    Details: (310) 266-9216; corneliusprojects.com
    Venue: Cornelius Projects, 1417 S. Pacific Ave., San Pedro

    COMMUNITY

    Dec. 2Candy Cane Lane Logo
    Candy Cane Lane
    For the past 31 years Weymouth Corners Merchants have sponsored this free community event. The street is lit with twinkling lights and Santa is expected to arrive for the children to enjoy.
    Time: 5 to 9 p.m. Dec. 2
    Details: (310) 519-0966
    Venue: Weymouth Corners, 8th Street, between Weymouth and Averill, San Pedro

    Dec. 2
    Victorian Christmas Luncheon
    Join the friends of the Banning Museum in kicking off the holidays in style at their annual Christmas luncheon in the historic Stagecoach Barn. Guests will enjoy an elegant plated lunch, special live holiday entertainment, an exclusive look at the Banning Mansion decorated for Christmas and a viewing of our newest exhibit, The March of the California Column: 900 Miles to Battle in the Norris Luncheon Visitor Center..
    Time: 11:30 a.m. Dec. 2
    Cost: Tickets are $95 for non-members and $85 for Friends of Banning Museum members.
    Details: (310) 548-2005; www.thebanningmuseum.org
    Venue:  Banning Museum, 401 E. M St., Wilmington

    Dec. 3
    Victorian Christmas Weekend Celebration
    Join the friends of the Banning Museum in opening the holiday season in grand style at the Banning Museum’s Annual Victorian Christmas Celebration and Open House. Visitors will get to enjoy period entertainment, tours of the Museum decorated in holiday splendor, refreshments, a children’s craft, a blacksmith, a horse-drawn trolley ride between The Banning Museum and Drum Barracks Civil War Museum as well as local food and craft vendors.
    Time: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dec. 3 and Dec. 4
    Cost: Free
    Details: www.thebanningmuseum.org
    Venue:  Banning Museum, 401 E. M St., Wilmington

    Dec. 3
    Wilmington Winter Wonderland
    In previous years the Wilmington Winter Wonderland has exceeded 2,500 people, with lines wrapped around the block filled with children looking to play in the snow bought by the port.
    Time: 11:00 a.m. to 2 p.m. Dec. 3
    Cost: Free
    Details: www.portoflosangeles.org
    Venue: Wilmington Waterfront Park, near C Street at Harry Bridges Boulevard, Wilmington

    Los Angeles Holiday Harbor Afloat Parade
    The parade of boats lit like Christmas trees will start in the East Basin near Banning’s Landing Community Center in Wilmington and will take about 90 minutes to cover the entire parade route up POLA’s Main Channel. Spectators may view the procession from several points along the channel, including the Banning’s Landing Community Center, 100 E. Water St., Wilmington; the Los Angeles Maritime Museum, 600 Sampson Way, San Pedro; Ports O’ Call Village, 1100 Nagoya Way, San Pedro; the Cruise Ship Promenade at Harbor Boulevard and Swinford Street, San Pedro; 22nd Street Landing, 141 W. 22nd Street, San Pedro; and Cabrillo Marina, 200 Whaler’s Walk, San Pedro.
    Time: 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Dec. 3
    Cost: Free
    Details: www.portoflosangeles.org
    Location: Wilmington and San Pedro

    Dec. 4
    San Pedro Holiday Parade
    The Spirit of San Pedro Holiday Parade is celebrating its 36th year, from 1 to 3 p.m. Dec. 4, along Pacific Avenue and 6th Street in the heart of Los Angeles’ Harbor Area. The parade steps off at 13th Street and Pacific Avenue.
    Time: 1 to 3 p.m. Dec. 4
    Cost: Free
    Details: www.portoflosangeles.org, www.sanpedrochamber.org
    Venue:  Downtown San Pedro

    Dec. 10
    San Pedro Democratic Club Meet and Greet
    Celebrate the holidays with fellow San Pedro Dem Club members.
    New members welcome. Light hors d’oeuvres & drinks will be served. A special tribute to President Robert Brandin.
    Time: 4:30 to 7 p.m.
    Venue: Crafted at the Port of Los Angeles, 112 E. 22nd St., San Pedro

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  • A VERY SPECIAL HOLIDAY SPECIAL @ Little Fish Theatre

    If you’re an American over 30 (or maybe even younger), a wintertime staple as you came of age was the Christmas special. Your take on Frosty the Snowman, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, and various versions of Santa Claus—not to mention how the Peanuts gang celebrated the holiday—was informed by the various animated and claymated half-hour classics.

    Playwright Mark Harvey Levine always wanted to get in on the action—as well as to show Hanukkah some love—and now he has with the eight short plays that make up A Very Special Holiday Special. By turns campy, cute, and clever, ultimately Levine puts together enough funnybone tickles and amusing homage to make this a very serviceable way to get an injection of lite holiday fun.

    Oy Vey Maria starts us off right with Jesus’s birth night. The three wise men are there, but they can’t get a word in edgewise because Mary’s parents won’t stop kvetching. “Jesus?” she whines, thinking they’d settled on ‘Myron’ for the child. “No-one’s going to remember that he’s Jewish!” They couldn’t even get a room at the inn. (The three wise men were wise enough to call ahead.) As will recur throughout the evening, dialog here reveals the supposed origins of many Christmas carols. “I only wanted to have a silent night,” Mary moans at the chaos that has ensued, such as the unwanted appearance of a little drummer boy, “a holy night!” Very cute.

    The Light gets Hanukkah in the mix, as two Maccabees watch the lamp while a third goes to fetch oil, a trek that ends up taking far longer than expected. “How long does it take to get some oil?” one of the guards asks the other on the second day. “This is the Middle East. The stuff is pretty much coming up out of the ground.” Unlike the rest of the bunch, this one ends on a serious note. It’s a bit incongruous, but bonus points for a silly Samuel Beckett insertion.

    I’ll Be Home for Brisket has Joseph from Oy Vey Maria showing up at the house of Mary Magdalene (“Hm,” she says flirtatiously as he mentions his wife, the Virgin Mary. “I’m just Mary”) and her little brother, a Jerry Lewis-like Lazarus, as he searches for somewhere to heat up the brisket his mother-in-law brought. Through a series of misadventures we witness the birth of numerous Xmas traditions, from trees and stockings to the name ‘Saint Nicholas’ and his yearly return.

    A Very Special Hanukkah Special is a reworking of It’s a Wonderful Life, where Hanukkah-loving Murray finds that his wish to live in world where Hanukkah is bigger than Christmas may not be so wonderful after all. A lot of the puns in this one are rather predictable, but nothing unforgiveable.

    Oh, Tannenbaum features Murray again, this time surprised to find that his Christmas tree (his wife is Catholic, so they celebrate both) can talk. And is Jewish! Murray learns that Christmas-tree tradition isn’t so merry from the tree’s point of view.

    Best Present Ever finds a woman spending Christmas alone with her cat and dog, who can talk in a way intelligible only to the audience. This is the most unique play of the bunch. No puns or homage here, just a funny take on how people and pets relate to each other, with an unexpected bit of warmth to close it out.

    For its part, You Better Watch Out makes the best societal comment, as the home of two Buddhists is invade by a militant squadron hell-bent on decorating these non-celebrators’ home (never mind that it’s the middle of August), a battleground they are trying to take in the war on Christmas they feel is being waged. “Happy holidays” is such anathema to them that they can barely bring themselves to refer to the epithet as “H.H.,” lest its full utterance mortally wounds them. A Pattonesque Santa saves the day.

    Les Miserabelves is the Rudolph story by way of Les Miserables, right down to both solo and ensemble musical numbers. ‘Nuff said.

    A total cast of seven manages to populate these eight plays with their many characters, and to a person their energy does not flag even momentarily. The transitions from one play to the next are smooth, and each role and play achieves just the tone Levine is sounding at any given moment. This may be low-budget theater, but the work the Little Fish cast and crew does is not on the cheap.

    Although A Very Special Holiday Special is not the sort of humor that hits me where I live, the fact that I found as much to like about it as I did speaks well to this intersection of playwright and theatre company. Those whose tastes place them nearer the center of the Levine and Little Fish’s target demographic will almost certainly come away with a lot of big laughs and bellyful of holiday spirit.

    A VERY SPECIAL HOLIDAY SPECIAL LITTLE FISH THEATRE • 777 CENTRE ST • SAN PEDRO 90731 • 310.512.6030 • LITTLEFISHTHEATRE.ORG • FRI-SAT 8PM (NO PERFORMANCE NOV 25), SUN 2PM (NO PERFORMANCE DEC 11); THURS DEC & 15 8PM; • $25-27; WITH DINNER $45 • THROUGH DECEMBER 17

    (Photo credit: Mickey Elliott)

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  • MOLAA Mix and Mingle – ANNOUNCEMENTS

    Nov. 18
    Docent Mix and Mingle
    The Museum of Latin American Art invites interested future docents its Mix and Mingle Orientation. Arrive at 5:30 p.m. sharp and meet the volunteer manager who will present a brief introduction in the screening room and wine and cheese in the lobby. At 6 p.m., experience MOLAA’s “speed dating” segment where your questions will be answered by MOLAA staff and veteran docents. At 7 p.m., take a tour of the Museum for a first-hand look at their exhibitions.
    Time: 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Nov. 18
    Cost: Free
    Details: (562) 437-1689; sbeckley@molaa.org
    Venue: MOLAA, 628 Alamitos Ave., San Pedro
     
    Nov. 19
    Seaport Marina Hotel Development Plans
    Community members are invited to give input on new plans for the development of the Seaport Marina Hotel, at Second Street and Pacific Coast Highway. The area is one of Long Beach’s most important development sites and opportunities. This is your chance to come and see the new proposed design for the project.
    Time: 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Nov. 19
    Venue: Seaport Marina Hotel, Main Ballroom, 6400 E. Pacific Coast Highway, Long Beach

    Nov. 21
    Central SPNC Ad Hoc Committee on Marijuana
    The Central San Pedro Neighborhood Council’s Ad Hoc Committee on Marijuana will meet to discuss regulatory framework.
    Time: 6:30 p.m. Nov. 21
    Details: Agenda
    Venue: San Pedro Regional Library, 931 S. Gaffey St., San Pedro
     
    Nov. 23
    Cambodia Town Mural Project
    The Cambodia Town Mural Project, sponsored by a matching grant from the California Arts Council, is calling on all interested videographers and mural artists to submit proposals for the project by Nov. 23.
    Details: www.artslb.org

    Nov. 24
    Thanksgiving Feast for the Needy
    The 8th Annual Wilmington Thanksgiving Feast for the Needy is a collaborative community effort to collect, prepare and serve a hot Thanksgiving meal to those in need. In addition, clothing, toys and toiletries are donated and distributed to attendants to help improve the quality of their life.
    Donate your time or necessities.
    Details: (562) 274-2339; aneedywilmington@gmail.com

    Nov. 27
    HBCU College Fair
    Come out to this free college fair and learn about Historically Black Colleges and Universities and what it takes to get admitted.
    Representatives from more than 50 HBCUs will be present to answer your questions. There will be workshops on the SAT, financial aid and scholarships.
    Time: 2 to 6 p.m. Nov. 27
    Details: http://tinyurl.com/j62jx58
    Venue: Long Beach Convention Center, Seaside Room, 300 E. Ocean Blvd.

    Nov. 28
    POLB Board of Harbor Commissioners
    The Port of Long Beach’s Board of Harbor Commissioners is scheduled to meet Nov. 28 at the Harbor Department Interim Administrative Offices.
    Time: 6 p.m. Nov. 28
    Details: http://tinyurl.com/POLBBoard112816, www.polb.com/webcast
    Venue: Harbor Department Interim Administrative Offices, 4801 Airport Plaza Drive, Long Beach

    Dec. 3
    Monthly Beach Cleanup
    Cabrillo Marine Aquarium invites the public to participate in our monthly Beach Clean-Up. Volunteers learn about coastal habitat, the growing amount of marine debris within it, and the benefits of protecting this ecosystem.
    Time: 8 to 10 a.m. Dec. 3
    Details: (310) 548-7562; www.cabrillomarineaquarium.org
    Venue: Cabrillo Marine Aquarium, Stephen M. White Drive, San Pedro

    Dec. 13
    FIS Study Coming to City Council December 13th
    The international terminal study presentation has been moved to the Long Beach City Council agenda for Dec. 13. The presentation and public input will include information from two commission meeting with the consideration for an international terminal facility.
    Time: 5 p.m. Dec. 13
    Details: longbeach.gov
    Venue: Long Beach City Hall, 333 W. Ocean Blvd., Long Beach

    Dec. 20
    Deep Draft Navigation Study
    The Port of Long Beach has extended the comment period for a study to identify and evaluate improvements to existing navigation channels, enhancing safety, reliability and efficiency for visiting vessels.
    The Deep Draft Navigation Study would assess the costs, benefits and environmental impacts of the project alternatives that include dredging to deepen channels, basins, berths and other areas in the port.
    Public comments on the Port of Long Beach Deep Draft Navigation Study will now be accepted through Dec. 20. Comments should be sent to Heather Tomley, Director of Environmental Planning, Port of Long Beach, 4801 Airport Plaza Drive, Long Beach, CA 90815, or at heather.tomley@polb.com.
    The Notice of Preparation for the proposed project is available online at www.polb.com/ceqa.

    Lower Your Water Bill
    The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power is offering free aerators and showerheads to its residential customers.
    Details: (800) 544-4498; www.ladwp.com
    LADWP Customer Service Centers:
    [one_half]San Pedro
    535 W. 9th St.
    San Pedro, CA 90731

    [/one_half]Wilmington
    931 N. Avalon Blvd.
    Wilmington, CA 90744

    Donate Food for the Holidays
    The holidays tug at everyone’s hearts but also at everyone’s stomachs.  We associate them with special foods and rituals that help define who we are as individuals and families. The homeless and working poor often lack the resources for holiday meals and treats.
    Here are some recommended items to collect and donate:

    • Meat:  frozen turkey (Thanksgiving) and/or spiral hams (Christmas)
    • Trimmings:  canned vegetables, mashed potatoes, stuffing or dressing mix, canned yams or sweet potatoes, cake mix and frosting
    • You can also donate grocery cards.

    Please deliver your donations behind the administrative building at 670 W. 9th St., San Pedro.  A volunteer will help unload them and will give you a receipt.
    Details: (310) 831-0603 ext. 224, MRadice@HarborInterfaith.org for details.

    Adopt a Family For Christmas
    Each year we invite you to adopt one or more families for the holidays. You can adopt as an individual, a family, a church, a group, or a business. Adoption lets you bring  joy to families who can’t provide it for themselves.
    If you decide to adopt one or more families, you can get a holiday wish list from the family.  Harbor Interfaith asks that you wrap the gifts and bring them to the Block Party to present them to the family on Dec. 17.  The event will take place at the shelter from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
    To adopt, call (310) 831-0603 ext. 229 or email DRamirez@HarborInterfaith.org by Dec. 2.

    Donate Toys for the Holidays
    On Dec. 21, from 1 to 4  p.m.,  toys will be distributed for 800 children on the first floor of the Family Resource Center.  Harbor Interfaith will need 1,600 toys to distribute.
    The community is invited to donate new toys for all ages by bringing them to the Family Resource Center, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The center is often short of gifts for children ages 11 to 18. When delivering toys, please take them to the Family Resource Center, 670 W. 9th St., San Pedro,  between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

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  • Getting Down Thompson Style

    ENTERTAINMENT

    Nov. 18
    Tim and Myles Thompson
    Tim is a Nashville-based session player, singer and songwriter. Myles is also a prolific singer-songwriter and mandolin player.
    Time: 8 p.m. Nov. 18
    Cost: $20
    Details: (310) 833-7538; http://alvasshowroom.com
    Venue: Alvas Showroom, 1417 W. 8th St., San Pedro

    Nov. 19
    Dirk Hamilton
    Dirk Hamilton returns to Alvas Showroom with a new CD Touch and Go. Touch and Go is an album of 13 songs recorded and produced by Rob Laufer in Los Angeles.
    Time: 8 p.m. Nov. 19
    Cost: $20
    Details: (310) 833-7538; http://alvasshowroom.com
    Venue: Alvas Showroom, 1417 W. 8th St., San Pedro

    Nov. 19
    The Joshua Tree
    Tribute to the loud and important band by a group named after its finest album. Opening acts include: The Contenders (tribute to The Pretenders) and  Substance (tribute to New Order).
    Time: 6 p.m. Nov. 019
    Cost: $10
    Details: http://tinyurl.com/The-Joshua-Tree-U2Tribute
    Venue: Gaslamp, 6251 E. Pacific Coast Highway, Long Beach

    Nov. 19
    The Funk Show
    The most anticipated show of the year will feature Cameo, The Bar-Kays, The S.O.S Band, Con-Funk-Shun, Mary Jane Girls and One-Way.
    Time: 7 p.m. Nov. 19
    Cost: $150
    Details: http://tinyurl.com/jnstlbo
    Venue: Long Beach Convention Center, 300 E. Ocean Blvd., Long Beach

    Nov. 19
    Rachmaninoff
    The 2005 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition Silver Medalist, Joyce Yang will dazzle us with a performance of Rachmaninoff’s well known Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini.
    Time: 6:30 p.m.Nov. 19
    Cost: $92
    Details: http://longbeachsymphony.org, http://tinyurl.com/joyceyang
    Venue: Long Beach Terrace Theater, 300 E. Ocean Blvd., Long Beach

    Nov. 20
    Colors of Autumn
    The Nori Tani Group, a multicultural jazz band, will play popular jazz tunes and some Japanese tunes in their “Colors of Autumn” concert.
    Time: 4 p.m. Nov. 20
    Cost: $25
    Details: (310) 833-7538; http://alvasshowroom.com
    Venue: Alvas Showroom, 1417 W. 8th St., San Pedro

    Nov. 26
    Mac Sabbath
    Come out to the Gaslamp in Long Beach and see the great MAC SABBATH. Also performing are Los Pendejos, The Great Pumpkin (Smashing Pumpkins Tribute), Room Service (Kiss Tribute), Disraeli Gears (Cream tribute), The Approach & Execution & Seeds of War. This show is for all ages.
    Time: 5 p.m. Nov. 26
    Cost: $18 to $25
    Details: http://tinyurl.com/MacSabbath-gaslamp
    Venue: The Gaslamp, 6251 E. Pacific Coast Highway, Long Beach

    Nov. 28
    DMT, Fracture, Meridian
    Get your introduction to Black Light Lounges Metal Mondays.
    Time: 8 p.m.Nov. 28
    Cost: $5
    Details: http://tinyurl.com/BlackLightLounge
    Venue: Blacklight District Lounge, 2500 E. Anaheim St., Long Beach

    Dec. 3
    Wagman’s Gold & Silver Celebration
    KJazz 88.1 FM presents a concert celebrating the career of host of Nothin’ But the Blues, Gary “The Wagman” Wagner. Headlining this special evening are Walter Trout and Friends, Janiva Magness, Coco Montoya and The Alastair Greene Band.
    Time: 7 to 10 p.m. Dec. 3
    Cost: $25 to $55
    Details: www.jazzandblues.org, http://tinyurl.com/Wagman-Gold
    Venue: Warner Grand Theatre, 478 W. 6th St., San Pedro

    THEATER

    Nov. 18
    My Son Pinocchio
    Geppetto’s musical tale retells the classic Disney story from Geppetto’s perspective.
    Time: 7:30 Nov. 18 and 19, and 2 p.m. Nov. 19
    Cost:  $22
    Details: (310) 781-7171; www.southbayconservatory.com
    Venue: James Armstrong Theatre, 3330 Civic Center Drive, Torrance

    Nov. 19Michael Hardy Photography. Courtesy photo of the Long Beach Playhouse
    Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
    The infamous tale of Sweeney Todd, an unjustly exiled barber, follows his blood-soaked return to 19th century London as he seeks vengeance against the lecherous judge who framed him, ravaged his young wife, and keeps his daughter a virtual prisoner in his house.
    Time: 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; through Nov. 19
    Cost: $20
    Details: www.lbplayhouse.org/show/sweeney-todd-the
    Venue: Long Beach Playhouse, 5021 E. Anaheim St., Long Beach

    Dec. 3
    Don’t Dress For Dinner
    Bernard’s plans for a romantic rendezvous with his mistress are complete with a gourmet caterer and an alibi courtesy of his friend, Robert. But when Bernard’s wife learns that Robert will be visiting for the weekend, she decides to stay in town for a surprise tryst of her own… setting the stage for a collision course of assumed identities and outrageous infidelities.
    Time: 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and 2 p.m. Sundays, through
    Cost: $14 to $24
    Details: (562) 494-1014; www.lbplayhouse.org
    Venue: Long Beach Playhouse, 5021 E. Anaheim St., Long Beach

    FILM

    Nov. 19
    Unbranded
    Sixteen mustangs, four men, on dream: to ride border to border Mexico to Canada. The documentary tracks four fresh-out college buddies.
    Time: 4 p.m. Nov. 19
    Cost: $10
    Details: (310) 541-7613; pvplc.org
    Venue: Warner Grand Theatre, 478 W. 6th St., San Pedro

    ARTS

    Nov. 20
    Serendipity
    See the world as things move, then stop and enjoy the sky, flowers and rock patterns through Serendipity, the works of Norma Cuevas, Joe Devinny, and Mina Tang Kan.
    Time: 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays, 12 to 6 p.m. Sundays, through Nov. 20
    Details: (310) 265-2592; www.artists-studio-pvac.com
    Venue: The Artists’ Studio Gallery at the Promenade on the Peninsula, 550 Deep Valley Drive, #159, Rolling Hills Estates

    Nov. 30
    Ambiguity
    The Long Beach Playhouse Gallery presents Paula A. Prager exhibit, Ambiguity.
    Time: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Nov. 30
    Cost: Free
    Details: (562) 494-1014
    Venue: Long Beach Playhouse Gallery, 5021 E. Anaheim St., Long Beach

    Dec. 10
    On Being Blue
    TransVagrant and Gallery 478 are pleased to present On Being Blue, Recent Works by Jay McCafferty. Electing the neutrality of the grid as an organizing principle, McCafferty has been creating artworks by focusing rays of sunlight on its points of intersection for more than three decades.
    Time: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, through Dec. 10
    Cost: Free
    Details: (310) 600-4873
    Venue: Gallery 478, 478 W. 7th St., San Pedro

    Dec. 12
    Altered Objects
    Altered Objects offers a reimagining of everyday objects by three Los Angeles artists: Julie Schustack, Tina Turturici, and Nicolas Shake. Shake builds his ghost sculptures from a tire, a shovel, or a palm tree frond, but they change within the context of the media and color he employs. Turturici recreates everyday objects in multiple media including ink drawings, collage, paintings and 3D objects. While Schustack combines found objects with her unique ceramic forms to create mysterious sculptures that capture the essence of time and change, especially her works related to music.
    Time: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, through Dec. 12
    Cost: Free
    Details: (310) 243-3334
    Venue: University Art Gallery, LaCorte Hall, A-107, California State University Dominguez Hills, 1000 E. Victoria St., Carson

    Dec. 3120
    L.A. Noir
    Since 1999, Mark V. Lord has plied his trade as a professional screenwriter in New York and Los Angeles, while maintaining a mostly private practice as a photographer.
    Lord’s images of Los Angeles are filled with the deep shadows and low-key lighting characteristic of these films, but with a decidedly contemporary twist.
    Time: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays, and 1 to 4 p.m. Sundays.
    Cost: Free
    Details: www.pvartcenter.org
    Venue: Palos Verdes Art Center, 5504 Crestridge Road, Rancho Palos Verdes

    Jan. 15, 2017
    Chiaroscuro
    Cornelius Projects is pleased to present new paintings by San Pedro artist Candice Gawne. The exhibition will also include an installation of several of Gawne’s signature plasma glass sculptures in the Cornelius Projects’ screening room.
    Time: 12 to 5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays, through Jan. 15, 2017
    Cost: Free
    Details: (310) 266-9216; corneliusprojects.com
    Venue: Cornelius Projects, 1417 S. Pacific Ave., San Pedro

    COMMUNITY

    Nov. 18
    Supply Chain Digital Transformation Conference, Hackathon
    In an effort to streamline and optimize  supply chain efficiency in the maritime industry, the USC Marshall School of Business has partnered with the U.S. Department of Commerce and the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach  to host the first-ever Supply Chain Digital Transformation Conference. The event will kick off with a one-day symposium at USC’s Town and Gown, where industry leaders, academicians, transportation experts, port executives, digital influencers and policy makers will come together to discuss data sharing innovations and new technologies for digitizing the supply chain.
    Time: Nov. 18 through 20
    Cost: $100
    Details: www.uscsupplychain.com/digitalsc
    Venue: USC Town and Gown, 665 Exposition Blvd., Los Angeles

    Nov. 19
    Family Adventure Sail
    Every month, the Los Angeles Maritime Institute offers locals and visitors to the Los Angeles Waterfront a chance to sail on a tall ship and look behind the scenes at the Port of Los Angeles. These sails serve as mini-fundraisers and help raise awareness about our mission, volunteer opportunities and the importance of supporting youth education at-sea.
    Time: 3 to 5 p.m. Nov. 19
    Cost: $60
    Details: (310) 833-6055; www.lamitopsail.org
    Venue: Berth 78 in Ports O’ Call Village

    Nov. 23
    Chill
    chill, queen mary
    Long Beach will once again be overtaken by the holiday spirit when the fifth annual Chill returns to the majestic Queen Mary ship. In addition to ice skating, ice tubing, sleigh rides, and visits with Santa, Southern California’s coolest holiday adventure will unveil a new interactive and immersive experience Alice in Winterland.
    Time: Nov. 23 to Jan. 8
    Cost: $30 to $40
    Details: http://queenmary.com/chill
    Venue: Queen Mary, 1126 Queens Highway, Long Beach

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  • Baramee Thai Offers Charisma, Integrity, Maybe Even Spiritual Authority

    By Richard Foss, Guest Columnist

    Depending on which story you believe, when Wolfgang Puck named his first restaurant Spago, he either didn’t know or didn’t care what the word meant – he just liked the sound. It was oddly memorable and sounded sophisticated and that was all that mattered.

    If you have gotten this far without stopping to Google that, it’s the Italian word for string. Yes, the sign for that most famous California cuisine restaurant, the one that spawned a thousand imitators, looks mildly silly to Italians. Restaurant names are all over the map, often celebrating the name of the chef or region, perhaps the house specialty, but sometimes just a non sequitur.

    Baramee, the Thai restaurant on Sixth Street in San Pedro, is different. The name has no direct translation in English, but is a Buddhist concept that combines charisma, spiritual authority and integrity. It’s a mystic aspiration that might seem at odds with the mundane business of serving people food.

    I didn’t know that when I went inside, but could tell that something interesting was going on. A triangle of shelves on one wall held statues of Buddhist deities who stare impassively toward a plain brick wall, a striking contrast of east and west, divine and ordinary. Beneath the deities were the bar and a comfortable dining area. We had planned to sit in the garden patio area but found this combination of ancient and modern to be a fine alternative.

    The menu offers classic Thai specialties plus a few modern fusion dishes. We started with classics: chicken larb and tofu triangles. The latter are about as simple as anything you can order, triangles of bean curd flash-fried and rushed to the table along with dipping sauce. Since even good tofu tastes like tofu, the only variables are the execution and the sauce. These arrived crisp outside and soft within, with a sweet and spicy sauce topped with chopped peanuts. It’s a world-class snack, albeit something you should never order to go because they’re best straight from the fryer.

    One of my companions who wasn’t familiar with larb glanced at the dish disinterestedly and said, “Oh, just ground chicken.” Then he tried a bite and discovered otherwise. Larb is from the Issan region near Laos, where they like things spicy, sour, and heavily herbal, and the combination of lime juice, slightly funky fish sauce, mint, and red and green onion accomplishes that nicely. We had asked for it ‘medium spicy,’ and had a nice bit of lip and tongue tingle when the plate was empty. The version here was light on the roughly ground toasted rice that gives it a distinctive texture. But the flavors were excellent.

    Our next item was a sweet and spicy shrimp salad – not a Thai dish strictly speaking, since lettuce salads are almost unknown in that country. It’s too hot for salad lettuces to grow well there. I went to an American-style Thai restaurant in Chiangmai where salads were regarded as exotic and strange. This salad was a mix of lettuces, cucumber, carrots, and cabbage topped by grilled shrimp in a sweet hot sauce. The shrimp had a little smoky grill flavor and the hot sauce over a cool salad was a nice touch, but it wasn’t my favorite item of the evening.

    Our other mains were a “crying tiger” ribeye steak, fried trout with green apple, cashews, and chili lime, roast duck with spinach, panang soft shell crab curry and a seafood pad Thai. The trout was a standout, the battered and fried fish topped with tart green apple slices, cashews, sautéed vegetables, and an onion-lime chili sauce. It’s not traditional Thai because neither trout or apples are native, but this was a brilliant fusion of Thai and Californian ideas. Crying Tiger is simple: a grilled steak served with a sauce made with fish essence, garlic, tamarind, sugar and spices. It’s a Southeast Asian Worcestershire sauce (a fair comparison because they’re made with almost the same ingredients —look on the side of a bottle if you don’t believe me.) The steak here was a perfect medium rare as requested and delicious, though it was served uncustomarily not sliced making it harder to share.

    The panang curry had a healthy portion of soft shell crab in a thick red curry with coconut and fresh basil, but was a bit milder than expected. All the flavors were there, but  they were likely deliberately muted to accommodate our non-Thai palates.

    The duck was a conventional Chinese style crisp-roasted duck, made superb by a mound of lightly sautéed spinach. This had been tossed with a sauce that used sweet vinegar and delicate herbs. If I knew how to make it, I’d be stealing the idea for home.

    The only disappointment was the seafood pad Thai, which had plenty of shrimp, mussels, and squid but was bland and had overcooked noodles. Pad Thai usually has bright flavors of cilantro and textures of peanut, cabbage, and bean sprouts, but this was soft and mild. It was the only thing we had that I wouldn’t order again.

    We paired our meal with Thai iced tea, house-made lemonade, and wine from their unusually good selection. They offer Reisling, sauvignon blanc and pinot grigio, all of which have enough sweetness and acidity to match this food. There is also a good selection of beer, which is more traditional.

    Dinner for four hungry people ran $132, a tad expensive but worth it for the elegant environment, good service and food quality. Baramee would do well in Thai Town. That’s not something that can be said of most restaurants that serve communities without an expatriate population. They have integrity and charisma, and while I can’t guarantee the other spiritual aspects, they sure know how to cook.

    Baramee is at 354 W. 6th St. in San Pedro. Open daily from 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. There only is street parking. Patio dining and wheelchair access good. Reservations are accepted. It offers local delivery.

    Details: (310) 521-9400; barameethai.com.

     

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  • POLA Records Best Month Ever For A Western Hemisphere Container Port

    POLA Records Best Month Ever For A Western Hemisphere Container Port

    SAN PEDRO — Cargo volumes at the Port of Los Angeles increased almost16 percent in October compared to the same period the past year, marking the busiest month ever at a Western Hemisphere container port, according to data collected by the American Association of Port Authorities.

    Total volumes registered at 814,574 twenty-foot equivalents, TEUs, eclipsing the previous record of 800,063 TEUs at the POLA in October 2006.

    October imports increased 16.4 percent to 417,311 TEUs. Exports jumped 23.3 percent to 166,406 TEUs. Along with an 18.3 percent surge in empty containers, overall October container volumes were 814,574 TEUs.

    With total cargo volumes through the first 10 months of 2016 at 7,182,682 TEUs, it represents an  increase of 5.25 percent compared to the same period in 2015. Current and past data container counts for POLA  may be found at: http://www.portoflosangeles.org/maritime/stats.asp

    POLB Volumes Dip in October

    October container volumes were down 6.2 percent at the Port of Long Beach compared to the same month the prior year, as the fallout from the Hanjin bankruptcy continues to settle.

    A total of 581,808 twenty-foot equivalent units, TEUs moved through docks last month. Export TEUs were 1.2 percent down, relatively flat compared to the prior October, to 126,770 TEUs. Total imports were 296,711 TEUs, 3.7 percent off. Empty containers experienced the largest drop of 13.8 percent to 158,327 boxes.

    Port officials noted the harbor’s past October was the best in the previous eight years, and came during a string of six consecutive months of cargo growth to end 2015.

    A major factor affecting the port’s volume is the Hanjin bankruptcy. In 2015, Hanjin Shipping containers accounted for about12.3 percent of the port’s total containerized volume. Port leaders recently acted to clear a backlog of empty containers related to the Hanjin bankruptcy, freeing a significant number of chassis to speed the efficient flow of cargo through the Southern California supply chain.

    For the calendar year through October, Port TEUs trail the 2015 total by 4.8 percent.

    More detailed cargo numbers are at www.polb.com/stats.

    LB Resident Sentenced for Debt Relief Scheme  

    LONG BEACH – Four defendants were sentenced Nov.14 in connection with a fraudulent Orange County, debt relief firm.

    The defendants all worked at Nelson Gamble and Associates and Jackson Hunter Morris and Knight, companies that offered to settle credit card debts but instead took victims’ payments as undisclosed up-front fees.

    The four defendants all previously pleaded guilty for their roles in the scheme.

    Christopher Harati, 33, of Long Beach, was sentenced to serve 27 months in prison and ordered to pay $408,403 in restitution.  Harati worked with Elias Ponce, 30, in customer service at the companies.

    Ponce, of Santa Ana, was sentenced to serve 42 months in prison and ordered to pay $2,340,373 in restitution.  Ponce worked in the “customer service” department and handled complaints

    Jeremy Nelson, 31, of Dana Point, was sentenced to serve 87 months in prison and ordered to pay $4,225,924 in restitution.  Nelson admitted to being the owner and CEO of the companies and overseeing the scheme.

    Athena Maldonado, 32, of Lake Forest, was sentenced to serve one month in prison and six months home confinement and ordered to pay $130,224 in restitution.  Maldonado handled complaints and held herself out as the vice president of the company’s “legal department.”

    Nelson and Ponce both pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud. Harati and Maldonado pleaded guilty to a separate Information charging one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. A fifth defendant, John Vartanian, 57, of Newport Beach, pleaded guilty to conspiracy in July in connection to his role as a salesman at the companies.  He is scheduled to be sentenced on Nov. 21.

    Members of the conspiracy at times portrayed Nelson Gamble and Jackson Hunter as law firms or attorney-based companies.  Clients were told the companies would negotiate favorable settlements with creditors.  Clients made monthly payments expecting the money to go toward settlements.  The conspirators instead took at least 15 percent of the total debt as company fees, with the first six months of payments going almost entirely toward undisclosed up-front fees.

    The scheme ran from February 2010 to September 2012. Nelson changed the name of the company from Nelson Gamble to Jackson Hunter in 2011. Nelson and his co-conspirators told victims that Nelson Gamble had gone bankrupt and that Jackson Hunter was an unrelated company that had taken over some of the accounts. Nelson and his co-conspirators blamed past problems on Nelson Gamble and denied requests for refunds of money paid to Nelson Gamble. Some victims who previously demanded refunds accepted the explanation that Nelson Gamble was bankrupt and did not pursue complaints against Jackson Hunter.

    In September 2012, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) brought a civil case against Nelson and the companies, alleging that the defendants misrepresented debt relief services offered to consumers. (See https://www.ftc.gov/enforcement/cases-proceedings/122-3030-x120048/nelson-gamble-associates-llc-et-al). The case was settled by entry of a consent decree in August 2013.

    For more information about the Consumer Protection Branch, visit its website at http://www.justice.gov/civil/consumer-protection-branch.

    JetBlue Fined $12,300 for October Noise Violations

    For the month of October, JetBlue conducted four operations after 11:00 pm that resulted in consent decree violations or fines. Each consent decree violation resulted in a fine of $3,000. The next two Consent Decree violations in the 4th quarter would result in $3,000 fines, and the fines would increase to $6,000 for each subsequent Consent Decree violation in the quarter. JetBlue conducted a total of 19 operations in between 10:00 pm and 11:00 pm.  18 of these operations qualified as unanticipated delays and the delays were primarily due to mechanical problems with aircraft and poor weather conditions. One operation that was conducted in between 10:00 pm and 11:00 pm that resulted in a $300 violation. JetBlue was fined a total of $12,300 for the month of October. The attached chart shows the totals for each month of 2016.

    Month 10:00 pm – 11:00 pm 11:00 pm – 7:00 am Total Fines
    January 27 13 40 $48,000
    February 31 15 46 $84,000
    March 28 22 500 $114,900
    April 21 5 26 $16,500
    May 10 2 12 $9,900
    June 14 7 21 $30,000
    July 21 11 32 $48,000
    August 21 21 42 $54,000
    September 13 8 21 $30,300
    October 19 4 23 $12,300
    2016 Total 205 108 313 $447,900
    Monthly Avg. 20.5 10.8 31.3 $44,790

    Racketeering Indictment Targets Wilmas Gang

    WILMINGTON – Authorities arrested 17 members and associates of the Wilmas street gang who are named in a federal racketeering indictment that alleges acts of murder, attempted murder, narcotics trafficking, robbery and witness intimidation – as well as a series of armed attacks on law enforcement officers dating back to 2008.

    The 17 people arrested this morning and late Nov. 8, are among 29 defendants named in a 111-page indictment that alleges violations of the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act. The arrests were made by officers with the Los Angeles Police Department, special agents with the Drug Enforcement Administration and other law enforcement authorities, including the United States Marshals Service and the FBI.

    In addition to those arrested during the Operation “Tidal Wave,” 10 defendants were already in custody on unrelated charges. Authorities are continuing to search for two defendants.

    During the course of the investigation, law enforcement seized nearly eight pounds of methamphetamine and 10 firearms, including one linked to a shooting.

    Operation Tidal Wave targeted the Wilmas gang, which has operated in the Wilmington District of Los Angeles since the 1950s and is affiliated with the Mexican Mafia. As a “surenos” gang, the Wilmas gang “is loyal to, supports and contributes to the Mexican Mafia,” according to the indictment, which outlines how leaders of the prison gang issues orders to kill rival gang members and members of law enforcement.

    The federal indictment unsealed this morning outlines a criminal enterprise that controls the drug trade in Wilmington, collects “taxes” from drug dealers for the benefit of Mexican Mafia members, maintains a supply of often-illegal firearms, and takes retribution against people who may be cooperating with law enforcement. Wilmas gang members murdered two 16-year-old victims on February 26, 2012, according to the indictment.

    Operation Tidal Wave was conducted under the auspices of the Los Angeles High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Task Force, which is coordinated by the Drug Enforcement Administration.

    The 31-count indictment alleges a conspiracy to violate Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act; numerous criminal offenses that violated the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act statute, including murder, distribution of methamphetamine, extortion, and witness tampering; violent crimes in aid of racketeering, conspiracy to trafficking narcotics, possession with the intent to distribute methamphetamine and one defendant is accused of being a felon in possession of a shotgun.

    An indictment contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty in court.

    Most of the 29 defendants named in the indictment face potential life sentences if they are convicted, and most potentially face mandatory minimum sentences of 10 years in federal prison.

    Compton Man Sentenced for Sex Trafficking, Assault of a Minor

    COMPTON — Darrius Marques Sutton, also known as “Biz,” of Compton, admitted to sex trafficking a 15-year-old girl, subjecting her to a month of sexual abuse, and advertising the victim as a prostitute. He was sentenced Nov. 14 to 160 months in federal prison.

    Sutton, 26, said had been sentenced previously to more than four years in state prison on related pimping charges. In the federal case, Sutton pleaded guilty in June to one count of sex trafficking of a child.

    Over the course of month-long spree in 2011, Sutton “repeatedly engaged in violent sexual assaults on young women, and [he] appears to have taken delight in

    subjecting his victims to inhumane and humiliating treatment while breaking them into his stable of prostitutes,” prosecutors wrote in a sentencing memorandum filed with the court.

    At today’s sentencing hearing, prosecutors said that, over a five-month period, Sutton had posted at least 60 advertisements for prostitution on Backpage.com, some of which offered minor victims.

    “It is difficult to imagine sexual assaults more egregious than defendant’s. As defendant admits, he repeatedly raped…a 15-year-old girl, and recorded himself and others doing so – at times while she was unconscious, including on at least one occasion with a vodka bottle,” prosecutors wrote in court papers, which noted a video recorded by Sutton in which he violently punches a young woman in the face, apparently breaking her nose.

    Sutton is one of four men who were indicted by a federal grand jury in August 2015. The federal case followed a state court prosecution of the men in which Sutton was convicted of conspiracy to pimp a minor. In the state case, Sutton was sentenced to 52 months in prison.

    The three other men named in the indictment are:

    • Darius Dajohn Burks, 28, of Los Angeles, who pleaded guilty earlier this year;
    • Edwin Donnell Franklin, 29, of Bellflower, who pleaded guilty earlier this year;
    • Leprinceton Dewon Burks, also known as “Dapper P” and “Pete Williams,” 32, of Carson, who is scheduled to go on trial before Judge Hatter on March 28.

    Arpaio Loses Re-election

    ARIZONA — On Nov. 8, Sheriff Joe Arpio lost his bid for a seventh term in office.

    Arpio known for repeatedly targeting Latinos throughout Maricopa County, Arizona, had been charged with criminal contempt of court two weeks prior to his loss.

    The 84-year-old sheriff has served in office for 24 years.

    After the Department of Justice launched an investigation into allegations of discrimination and unconstitutional searches and seizures in June 2008, Sheriff Arpaio refused to cooperate with investigators. On September 2, 2010, the DOJ filed suit against Arpaio to compel his cooperation. Less than a year later, Arpaio conceded defeat and allowed federal investigators access to his staff and files. On March 24, 2013, U.S. District Judge G. Murray Snow issued a decision in Melendres v. Arpaio that found Arpaio and his office in violation of the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

    Former Phoenix Police Sgt. Paul Penzone defeated Arpaio in a rematch of their 2012 run. This time Penzone received 54.9 percent of the votes, while Arpaio only ended up with 45.1 percent.

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  • Jimetta Rose Raises Higher Vibrations

    By Melina Paris, Music Columnist

    Artists, like stars, form constellations in the sky. I was reminded of this fact when I interviewed the standout jazz vocalist, Jimetta Rose.

    I first encountered Rose when she performed at the Grand Performances Peace Go with You Gil in 2012 and again at Young, Gifted and Nina in 2013, tributes to Gil Scott Heron and Nina Simone.

    At the time, my focal point was Dexter Story, the producer of the two events that was a part of the Grand Performances series on Los Angeles Civil Rights era during the 1960s. It was because of Story, that I was introduced to this generation’s greats such as jazz vocalist Dwight Trible, horn player Kamasi Washington, Nia Andrews and her husband and collaborator Mark deClive Lowe, Georgia Anne Muldrow and now vocalist Jimetta Rose.

    Rose recently released her latest album, The Light Bearer, a title that exemplifies her spirit on stage.

    Rose is known for her neo-soul and rhythm and blues work. Jazz was a rare foray for Rose until recently, but it’s not unexpected considering the company she keeps.

    The album takes you on a musically expansive journey for your soul. Her tone is unmistakably jazz. Her lyrics, whether in song or spoken word impart love. The music dips you into neo-soul grooves, jazzy harmonies and a deep funkiness.

    The Light Bearer has been described as a masters class of the hip-hop and soul backed jazz found in the music from the World Stage in Leimert Park. The album was produced by Georgia Anne Muldrow, a genre busting artist who also is the daughter of jazz great and instrument inventor, Eddie Harris, and jazz vocalist Rickie Byars.

    The album was written, recorded and produced within a two-week period. It  follows a coming of age narrative arch reflecting her growth and maturation as an artist.

    “I’m definitely trying to express everything that’s in me,” Rose said.

    “Sometimes I think the best way to express ourselves is without words because sometimes we get caught in whether or not we agree, whether we pronounce the word the same, whether we can understand the word because of a language barrier,” Rose said. “We operate in feelings. When we get away from the words we’re able to get a more universal communication.”

    She believes that distortion starts to occur when people put feelings into words or personalize them.

    “With singing, painting and even writing, it’s still using words but it’s building the story,” Rose said. “I like to write fiction and poetic prose more so than essay writing because I don’t want to program anyone. I just want to show people options to add to their program.”

    Jazz permeates through The Light Bearer. It doesn’t just have jazz inflections. Still, Rose hesitates calling herself a jazz singer. Choosing instead to refer to herself as a “jazz fan.”

    “I’m not trained in jazz but I love it,” she said. “My ear and my voice go there but I was raised in church.

    “Coming into this industry completely led by a gift, not by motivations of success, how do you even navigate this territory? I feel like I’m being pulled by an ability. My voice just keeps taking me places. When you get there you have to be ready.”

    Rose sings with a band because she hated singing with tracks. When she was young and starting out, that’s what everyone did. But she loved singing with live instruments and she could only do that in church, which she happily did.

    Eventually, Rose auditioned for a band similar to The Fugees, called Hoodie Smith. The experience showed her that she didn’t want to sing if she didn’t have a band.  In 2007, a young Rose bravely started her own band. Still with them, Rose is yet again working on a new album.

    “I want to spread the sound out more,” she said. “I want more instruments on stage and for the live shows, a little more theatrics and more complex music.”

    From primarily performing with tracks to having a band, Rose realized the differences between a church musician and a jazz musician. She recognized she could embody each. Eventually, when she started meeting jazz musicians they called her for vocal gigs. She made a name for herself within Los Angeles’ eclectic jazz scene and with her own band. That continued for a few years.

    “I remember being very aware of the fact that I was trying to pull these two very different worlds together.” Rose said.

    She described it as, “trying to fit into the more elite crowd but being common.”

    “My talent keeps bringing me into these spaces but I was born in South Central and I went to private school,” Rose said. “Ultimately, I know how to relate to people. I think jazz excludes and it’s about not excluding. It’s about pulling these things together.”

    This discernment and her skill in combining the realism of hip-hop and the polish of jazz on stage are her gifts.

    Jazz has always stretched outwards absorbing influences from diverse musical styles. But a renaissance is happening. It’s an offspring of the classic straight-ahead sound taking shape now in a form inclusive of hip-hop soul, funk and a mix of global sounds within the realms of jazz. This is being created from the cream of LA artists.

    Rose has been working with many of the artists creating this sound, such as Dexter Story, Dwight Trible, Miguel Atwood Ferguson, Flying Lotus and Thundercat. The time is ripe for her gifts.

    “Now, because there’s a new vanguard,” Rose said.

    Shafiq Husayn, founding member of the band, Sa-Ra Creative Partners, called Rose in 2006 to sing background for them around the same time she started her band. Rose describes Sa-Ra as the Parliament Funkadelic of our time and the innovators of this four-way fusion of soul, jazz, hip-hop and electronic.

    “I started singing with Sa-Ra and then The Decoders,” Rose said. “As eccentric, funk driven and the funk imagery that they have, like Parliament, their musicality is equivalent to jazz.”

    Working with them is how she started working with more straight-up jazz heads. Rose discovered that while jazz musicians know how much work their craft requires they also know just how good they are. Then, she added there are people like herself.

    But while insisting she hasn’t been groomed for jazz,  Rose also knows her worth, too. “I’m here,” she says.

    She realizes   it may seem as though she came out of nowhere while everybody else had already been doing this music together and studying.

    “It’s like, ‘Where were you? Who are you? What are your credentials? I should know you because we’ve been doing this. How don’t I know you? Then you come and sing, like that? Where have you been?’

    “I’m like, ‘At a church at 56th and Broadway?’ I don’t know,” Rose retorts

    For the past four years Rose has been doing shows at Grand Performances in different calibers. Initially, she was primarily background, she moved on to solos and in the past two years she has hosted.

    “I really desire and think that I’m just here to be the voice of this time, for America,” Rose said. “America doesn’t have a voice. Me sneaking up here is going to challenge the listener but it’s more like learning something new. You haven’t been being enthralled with anything, nothing has been captivating you.”

    She wants to experiment with timeless music, to speak about principles that are important to her and to not dumb down her subject matter.

    “That’s the decision that a lot of artists have to make,” she said. “Do I want to make money or do I want to make a difference, an impact? I don’t believe we are given these talents arbitrarily. So  if you have it remember to share it for the right reason. I’m going to keep doing this because our babies, and everyone need something to see and believe in.”

    Rose is featured on a new record with trumpet player, Josef Leimberg called Astral Progressions. It’s an all fusion jazz record including Kamasi Washington, Bilal and Georgia Muldrow.

    Details: www.jimettarose.com

     

     

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  • Peacocks, Paseo, Politics

    Last spring we had some squatters in our back yard.  Yes, a peahen had nestled herself on top of one sturdy hedge bordering our neighbors next door.  Oddly, her “nest” wasn’t noticed by our family right away.  At final first discovery much to our surprise, it was expertly camouflaged by being deep enough so that when she covered her eggs and nestled her head, there was no interruption in the landscape of the foliage.  Also when doing so, it appeared that a piece of bark lay there instead, obviously fallen from the tree above.  It was a brilliant location.  From our upper back deck, we could observe her home very close up, without disturbing her peace.  Hidden in the hedge so well, plus the nearby tree branches robbing views from predators above, we knew this was one smart chick!  (Rather, peahen).

    Sharing this incredible delight with our neighbors proved equally surprising.  Some appreciated the awe of it all, equally intrigued at this beautiful “happening” placed right within our comfortable reach.  And what an education, too!  Others reacted to the peahen’s new digs with sheer disgust!  Disgust? Really?  “Get rid of it!  Eggs? Crack ‘em!  Shoot it, get it out of your yard!  Peacocks are dirty, noisy and have ruined our garden!”   These certain responses were as far and wide as the chasm that exists on Paseo del Mar right now.

    My husband and I were baffled.   Neighbors we were certain that would love the event – didn’t! Not one bit!  Those we thought wouldn’t be interested at all – were!  Massively!  We just couldn’t get it right.  But our eyes were opened to varied opinions for a gazillion different reasons.

    We continued to love having the peahen and her five eggs as long as she wanted or needed to stay.  We eventually learned the pattern of her daily routine, could identify her “scream” from others, when she would safely leave her nest for food, while taking that small window of opportunity to be able to peek at her beautiful, perfect eggs resting there.  All was good and just in her world, safe in our yard.

    Perhaps the closure of Paseo del Mar, (or the lack of it!) has contributed to this “preserve-like” atmosphere.  The immediate area of the landslide four years ago has created an even more peaceful and serene surrounding atmosphere.  No more cars, trucks or noisy motorcycles, auto accidents, drag races or loud people either.  Just walkers, joggers, cyclists, nature lovers, bird watchers, dog walkers, locals and savvy out-of-towners enjoying that elusive edge of the world.  The lone tree that still stands strong in spite of earth surrounding it long gone is almost like a monument to San Pedro itself:  “Only the Strong Survive.”  Another natural “must see” in Pedro, like the nature preserve, White’s Point, the tide pools and hiking trails, to name a few.

    So here we go again.  Paseo del Mar, what will become of you?  What type of restoration, if any, will take place?  What will the people decide?  Will a bridge be built, the road restored or will it be left as it is?

    There are those who label it “inconvenient” being closed, to those loving the abundance it now provides.  “My husband proposed to me there!”  “It’s where I had my first kiss!”  “Such a beautiful drive!”  “The Corner Store will get more business!”  “It takes 26 seconds longer for an ambulance to reach the same area!”  On the other hand, “How many places in LA are left that provide such beauty, such serenity?”  “The motorcycles and cars are too noisy if the road is restored!”  “Graffiti will be all over the bridge in no time!”  “It’s a signature secret spot, not over crowded, dog friendly, less air and noise pollution, who wouldn’t want that?”  “There’s no place like it!”  Again, a gazillion different reasons, swinging far left and far right, almost puzzling how the same set of circumstances can yield such opposite opinions.  Same picture, opposite views.  And all passionate ones at that!

    So, my husband and I almost giggle now when we continue to “get it wrong” when it comes to identifying certain friends that we think would love to see Paseo reopen – don’t!  To those we think would prefer it restored – won’t!  Perplexing!  Challenging and again, eye opening, too.

    With the politics of the peacocks and Paseo del Mar, we now see how these examples mirror the messy politics we have on our doorstep right now.  Politics!  Two main candidates, and a gazillion different opinions of what is good and what is not.  Same picture, opposite views.  By now you’d think Hubby and I might have gotten better at identifying whom will support whom or what.  Well, “third time lucky” does not apply here!  From awestruck, to giggly to down-right  jaw-dropping, we again have failed in our inklings.  From both sides of the aisle, we have been made numb in our dismay at the gazillion different (and sometimes ridiculous) reasons allegedly behind the passion of their choices.

    The peahen’s eggs never hatched.  One morning to our dismay, they were all gone.  Vanished.  No shells or broken eggs left behind, no evidence of eggs having ever been there at all!   Just one very clean and very empty nest.  Mama’s identifiable screams penetrated the neighborhood.  Nature had not been kind to her in the end, but probably kind to some smart raccoon that knew her schedule as well as we did.

    Perhaps there is a lesson here.  Perhaps the same can be said of Paseo del Mar and Politics at hand right now:  Let your identifiable screams be heard before anything precious and meaningful to you gets taken away.  And I promise you, Hubby and I will remain respectful, totally dumbfounded!

    Janice Borst-Smith
    San Pedro

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