• Congress Asks for Kushner’s Security Clearance to be Revoked

    • 06/01/2017
    • RL Intern
    • News
    • Comments are off

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The FBI inquiry into the relationship between Donald’s Trump’s son-in-law and Senior Adviser Jared Kushner, Former U.S National Security Advisor Michael Flynn and Russian officials have reached the halls of Congress as Rep. Ted W. Lieu has co-led a letter to the White House asking for the immediate revocation of Kushner’s security clearance pending the closure of the FBI probe into Russian ties with the Donald Trump campaign.

    According to CNN the FBI inquiry into Kushner stems from intelligence reports pertaining to Michael Flynn’s Russian contacts which mentioned Kushner as a participant between conversations between Flynn and Sergei Kislyak. The content of the conversations included establishing a back channel of communication between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin that would circumvent diplomatic and intelligence agencies.

    The meeting was omitted from Kusnher’s security clearance forms, which require the disclosure of all foreign contacts or face up to 5 years in prison.

    In the letter presented to counsel of the president, Don McGahn, it is stated that due to “serious questions (that) have previously been raised about Mr. Kushner’s omitted meetings with Russian officials … the White House should take all possible steps to protect national security including immediately revoking Mr. Kushner’s security clearance.” 

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  • Widow, Pearl Return to the Grand Annex

    • 06/01/2017
    • Reporters Desk
    • Music
    • Comments are off

    By B. Noel Barr, Music Writer Dude

    The Grand Vision Foundation brings Dave Widow and The Line Up with Bernie Pearl, June 3, back to the Grand Annex. This the third pairing of these artists in what has become an annual event.

    On this night, singer and songwriter Widow and The Line Up will bring a sophisticated rhythm and blues flavor to the show as they jam with Michael King on the keyboards and vocals, and the legendary R&B drummer and vocalist James Gadson. Gadson has played on more than 500 gold records. Among musical titans with which he has performed, King has played with Johnny Guitar Watson and R&B group, The Delfonics. Another featured guest on bass is Michael BeHolden, known for his work with Buddy Miles and Sly Stone.

    Guitarist, singer-songwriter Dave Widow will lead his band through his most recent albums, Covered and the widely acclaimed Waiting For The World to End, plus some new material that will surprise his fans.

    Bernie Pearl, the guru of the Los Angeles blues scene will be on hand that evening. Since his early days at his brother’s club the Ash Grove immediately took this original American form. Studying at the feet of blues legends, being personally mentored by Lightnin’ Hopkins and fellow Texan Mance Lipscomb. Pearl would go on to perform with Big Mama Thornton, among many others. He developed the first Los Angeles FM blues show, Nothin’ But The Blues in 1967, which lives on today on KJAZZ with Gary Wagner. Later, Pearl established two blues festivals, all the while performing and teaching the blues.

    Mike Barry returns on bass for this date.

    This is a must see show for anyone who loves blues and R&B.

    Time: 7:30 p.m. June 3
    Cost: $20 to $100
    Venue: Grand Annex, 434 W. 6th St., San Pedro
    Details: (310) 833-4813; www.info@grandvision.org

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  • Bail Reform Legislation Passes CA Senate

    • 06/01/2017
    • Reporters Desk
    • News
    • Comments are off

    SACRAMENTO — On May 31, the California Senate passed legislation , to reform California’s cash bail system and replace a pretrial process that often forces people of modest means to remain in jail until a court can determine their innocence or guilt but allows the wealthy to go free.

    Senate Bill 10 cleared the Senate on a bipartisan 25-11 vote and goes next to the Assembly for consideration.

    According to the most recent data available, 63 percent of the inmates in county jails are awaiting trial or sentencing. That’s roughly 46,000 Californians on any given day. While some defendants are considered too dangerous to release or a flight risk and should be held in custody for those reasons, many are not a threat to public safety and could be released, monitored and reminded when to return for court hearings.

    The average daily cost to counties to hold inmates awaiting trial is more than $100 per inmate, according to the Board of State and Community Corrections. In Los Angeles County, the cost is $116. The cost of supervising a defendant in the community is about 10 percent the cost of keeping him or her in jail, according to the Pretrial Justice Institute.

    Jurisdictions across the country have begun implementing reforms and experimenting with alternatives to cash bail. Most notably, for more than two decades, Washington, D.C., has run a pretrial services program that only detains defendants considered too dangerous to release into the community while others are sent home, monitored and given reminders on when to return for court hearings.

    Santa Clara County implemented its own version of bail reform in 2012, adopting a risk assessment method aimed at reducing the pretrial jail population. It costs the county $215 a day to incarcerate a person but only $10 a day to monitor a person in the community. Moving to this new approach in 2013, the county saved more than $60 million by safely supervising many defendants in the community that under the old system would have been held in jail.

    The median bail in California is $50,000, and 10 percent – what would be needed to pay a bail agent for release – is $5,000, an amount beyond the reach of most Californians. In fact, according to a 2016 report by the U.S. Federal Reserve, 46 percent of Americans don’t have $400 to pay for an emergency expense and would have to sell something or borrow money to cover the cost.

    Even bail for the most minor offenses can be more than $1,000. And for people who can’t pay, their lives are turned upside down, waiting in jail for weeks or months before their case goes to court. The result is devastating for the individuals, who can end up losing their jobs, their apartments and their cars, which are towed, if left on the street, even before a court decides on their innocence or guilt.

    SB 10 would safely reduce the number of people being held in jail awaiting trial and ensure that those who are not a threat to public safety or at risk of fleeing are not held simply for their inability to afford bail.

    The bill would require, except when a person is arrested for specified violent felonies, that a pretrial services agency conduct a risk assessment and prepare a report that makes recommendations on conditions of release for the person pretrial.

    If the court determines that pretrial release, with or without nonfinancial conditions, will not reasonably assure the appearance of the person in court as required, the bill would require the court to set monetary bail at the least restrictive level necessary to assure the appearance of the defendant in court.

    If the court has set monetary bail, SB 10 would authorize the person to execute an unsecured bond, execute a secured bond, or deposit a percentage of the sum mentioned in the order setting monetary bail.

    The court may detain a person under certain conditions, and the bill allows a prosecuting attorney to file a motion seeking the pretrial detention of a person in certain circumstances, including when the person has been charged with violent crimes or sexual assaults.

    The bill also creates standards for training and for cost-effective and validated assessment tools.

    SB 10, The California Money Bail Reform Act of 2017, is jointly authored by Sen. Bob Hertzberg, a Van Nuys Democrat, and Assemblyman Rob Bonta, an Oakland Democrat. The legislators are working with a broad coalition. The two are also co-authors of Assembly Bill 42, an identical bill making its way through the California Assembly.

    “Whether you can go free before a trial right now is determined by the size of your wallet, not the size of your public safety risk – and that’s not the way it should be,” Hertzberg said. “This legislation reforms bail so it treats people of all backgrounds fairly and equally, whether they are rich or poor.”

    SB 10 is co-sponsored by the American Civil Liberties Union of California, Anti-Recidivism Coalition, California Public Defenders Association, Californians for Safety and Justice, Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, Essie Justice Group, SEIU California, Silicon Valley De-Bug and Western Center on Law and Poverty.

    SB 10 is part of Hertzberg’s ongoing efforts to restore justice to California’s criminal justice system and roll back unfair and overly harsh penalties and fines that hit the poor and the working poor especially hard.

    In 2015, Hertzberg authored SB 405, which, along with Gov. Jerry Brown’s related budget proposal, established a new traffic amnesty program for fees and fines incurred prior to 2013. The program allowed people to talk to a judge if they wanted to before paying fines, restored driver’s licenses to those with a payment plan and reduced exorbitant fee debts by taking a person’s income into account in setting the fine amount.

    In the first 15 months of that program, more than 205,000 Californians have received amnesty fine and fee reductions and more than 192,000 have had their suspended driver’s licenses reinstated, according to the California Judicial Council.

    Hertzberg went on in 2016 to author SB 881, which requires courts to respond to traffic amnesty claims within 90 days of the claims being filed, and SB 882, which prohibits youths from being charged with a criminal violation for transit fare evasion and instead treats the offense through an administrative process.

    Details: http://sd18.senate.ca.gov,


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  • Let’s Talk Cuisine, Communication, Cultural Differences

    • 06/01/2017
    • Richard Foss
    • Cuisine
    • Comments are off

    By Richard Foss, Cuisine and Restaurant Writer


    I was scanning the menu at an Indian restaurant, and a plate on its way to another table caught my eye. It looked like nothing I had seen before and smelled amazing, so I asked the server to point to the description on my menu so I could find out what it was.

    “I’m sorry, sir,” he replied. “That is only on the menu that we give our Indian clientele.”

    I immediately asked for the owner, because I wanted to know why I wasn’t allowed to order the good stuff. He heard me out, sighed, and responded.

    “Let me explain something to you, please,” he said. “When we opened I had many regional items on the menu. Customers who didn’t know what things were kept my servers at every table for 15 minutes asking questions, and then they ordered chicken curry because they came here for chicken curry.”

    After he put it that way I couldn’t really argue with him, and it started me thinking about the advantages and perils of breaking a cuisine into a new market. One advantage is obvious: Once your cultural community finds that you serve items they can’t get elsewhere, you have instant fans who will keep coming back as long as you’re doing it right. With that customer base you can then start figuring out how to reach a broader clientele.

    Though this may seem counterintuitive, that task can be more difficult if the cuisine being offered is a regional variation on something that’s already popular. Consider an item from Italian cuisine that is within the American mainstream. If you order lasagna in Sicily you’ll get thick noodles in a beefy red sauce with olives and both mozzarella and ricotta; in Venice the same item is prepared with thin crepe-like noodles, carrots, sausage and a white sauce with no cheese. In Bologna they make it with an egg pasta with bechamel sauce and just a dusting of Parmesan. (I’m not even going to get into all the other regional styles, of which there are many, or the carb and garlic bombs from New Jersey and adjacent locales.)

    So you order lasagna in an Italian restaurant expecting the style you know and not only does something almost completely different come out, you didn’t know there were other styles until right now. Your first thought is that they made it wrong — not different — wrong. Whatever you grew up with is right and this isn’t it. You may not complain to the manager so you are unlikely to get an explanation but you may not come back to that restaurant.

    Would you have enjoyed that dish if it had an entirely different name, so you judged it on its own merits? Very probably, because the problem wasn’t the dish but your expectations of it.

    So why doesn’t the menu explain this difference before you order, or why doesn’t your server when you do order? The menu can’t because there isn’t space for a thoughtful explanation of regional cooking. If there was space, there is no guarantee that whoever was available to write it is both fluent in English and adept at explaining flavors. I have been writing about food for 30 years and sometimes still have to think about how to convey the effect of different seasonings. There’s also the problem that you know your expectations and other people don’t. The chef or owner may be great at cooking, but that doesn’t mean they know how what they’re serving is different from your Platonic ideal of lasagna.

    The communication problem is even greater for the people who take your order. Whoever writes the menu does so uninterrupted and at their own pace, while at every moment that a server is explaining something to you, someone at another table is waiting for their food, water or to order dessert. Add into this the fact that your server may not speak English as a first language or even a second.

    Here, let me help you visualize what that is like. Right now, using what you can remember of your high school Spanish, explain the difference between coleslaw and sauerkraut. Be sure to use the proper terms for all spices and preparation methods. Ready? Go.

    That went well, didn’t it? You had the luxury of doing that without any interruptions and without the need to listen for that little bell that means another order is up in the kitchen. I’m sure you did just fine.

    Sarcasm aside, what can restaurateurs do to let you know that they have an unusual regional specialty, and what can you do to make sure you know what you’re ordering? From their side, they can provide as full of a description of each item as they are capable of, and can try to encourage their staff to interact with customers as much as possible without compromising the service. Customers can be proactive and patient, and use their phones or tablets to look up any items they don’t know. Even more importantly, they can be open-minded when they are served something slightly different from what they expected. If a customer really wants to improve the situation, they might suggest to the owner and server how the item might be described to prepare dinners for a different experience than usual.

    Our world isn’t going to get any less multicultural and complex, no matter what nativist elements of society might wish. We might as well enjoy and adapt to cuisines that are expressions of other cultures, teaching and learning as well as we can.

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  • Along for the Ride

    • 06/01/2017
    • Reporters Desk
    • Calendar
    • Comments are off


    June 3
    Along For The Ride
    Along for the Ride is a band of musicians from Latin America and the United States. Although the band concentrates in jazz and bossa nova (aka Brazilian Jazz), it also ventures into other Latin and non-Latin styles, such as blues, bolero and flamenco.
    Time: 8 p.m. June 3
    Cost: $20
    Details: www.alvasshowroom.com
    Venue: Alvas Showroom, 1417 W. 8th St., San Pedro

    June 3
    Rock the Queen
    Queen Mary’s Rock the Queen returns and this time we’re teaming up with the No. 1 morning radio show in Los Angeles, The Woody Show, to present The Woody Show Fiesta at
    Royal Machines featuring Dave Navarro, Mark McGrath, Billy Morrison, Donovan Leitch, Chris Chaney and Josh Freese, Sugar Ray, SmashMouth, Spin Doctors, and EVE 6.
    Enjoy a day of incredible alternative rock while seeing the entire gang of The Woody Show as they host this unforgettable day of music, food and drinks in one big fiesta party.
    Time: 3 p.m. June 3
    Cost: $39 to $99
    Details: http://bit.ly/QMRockTheQueenTix
    Venue: Queen Mary, 1126 Queens Highway, Long Beach  

    June 3
    Dave Widow
    With his unique style of finger-picking and bluesy vocals, Dave Widow combines elements of rhythm and blues, funk, soul and rock.
    Time: 8 p.m. June 3
    Cost: $20 to $120
    Details: www.grandvision.org/shop/tickets.asp?id=979
    Venue: Grand Annex, 434 W. 6th St., San Pedro


    June 17

    The Long Beach Playhouse presents August Wilson’s Fences, which observes the African American experience across several decades.
    Time: 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and 2 p.m. Sunday, through June 17
    Cost: $20 to $24
    Details: www.lbplayhouse.org
    Venue: Long Beach Playhouse, 5021 E. Anaheim St, Long Beach

    June 18
    The Last Five Years
    An emotionally powerful and intimate musical about two New Yorkers in their 20s who fall in and out of love over the course of five years.
    Time: 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and 2 p.m. Sundays, through June 18
    Cost: $30
    Details: http://boxoffice.printtixusa.com/friendsoftorrance/eventcalendar
    Venue: Torrance Theatre, 1316 Cabrillo Ave., Torrance


    June 3
    A Brief History of Long Beach Pride
    The Historical Society has led the way to collecting the history of the LGBT community in Long Beach and ARTX is proud to host this exhibition coinciding with Pride Month.
    Time: 6 to 9 p.m. June 3
    Cost: Free
    Details: (562) 999-2267
    Venue: ArtExchange Long Beach, 356 E. 3rd St., Long Beach

    Sept. 3
    Frida Kahlo: Through the Lens of Nickolas Muray
    In May 1931, photographer Nickolas Muray (1892965) traveled to Mexico on vacation where he met Frida Kahlo (19071954), a woman he would never forget. The two started a 10-year, on-and-off romance as well as a friendship that lasted until the end of their lives.
    Time: 11 to 5 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays, through Sept. 3
    Cost: $7 to $10
    Details: molaa.org
    Venue: Museum of Latin American Art, 628 Alamitos Ave., Long Beach

    June 25
    A New View
    A New View features new member artist Susan Soffer Cohn,  jewelry artist Nancy Comaford and painter Parrish Nelson Hirasaki.
    Time: 4 to 7 p.m., through June 25
    Cost: Free
    Details: (310) 265-2592; artists-studio-pvac.com
    Venue: Artists’ Studio Gallery at the Promenade on the Peninsula, 550 Deep Valley Drive, #159, Rolling Hills Estates

    July 8
    Ray Carofano’s Riverrun is a suite of photographs capturing seldom seen images of the 51-mile storm drain still flatteringly called the Los Angeles River. Carofano turns his subject into the narrator. The river narrates itself as it makes you want to look and, more importantly, look again.
    The exhibition runs through July 8.
    Cost: Free
    Details: (310) 315-3551 or office@dnjgallery.net
    Venue: DNJ Gallery, 2525 Michigan Ave. Suite J1, Santa Monica


    June 3
    Wrigley River Run & Tadpole Trot
    Enjoy tree-lined streets in a historical district, admire palm trees over 1920s homes as you pass the horse stables, watch birds along the Los Angeles River and run underneath the Pacific Coast Highway all in one day.
    Time: 7:30 to 10:30 a.m. June 3
    Cost: $10 to $55
    Details: www.wrigleyriverrun.com/register.htm
    Venue: Willow Boulevard at Pacific Avenue, 2598 Pacific Ave, Long Beach

    June 3
    Viva Las Vegas
    San Pedro Ballet School presents its annual spring recital by students in ballet, tap, jazz, modern, hip-hop and contemporary dance.
    Time: 2 p.m. June 3
    Cost: $24
    Details: www.sanpedroballetschool.com
    Venue: Warner Grand Theatre, 478 W. 6th St., San Pedro

    June 4
    Shared Science Summer 2017 Workshop
    Interested in exploring the science behind Battleships? LEGO engineering activities explore simple robots and geared motors. The afternoon includes investigating how robotics are used on the ship.
    Time: 12 to 3 p.m. June 4
    Cost: $7 to $30
    Details: http://sharedsciencefun.org/
    Venue: Battleship USS Iowa, 250 S. Harbor Blvd., Berth 87, San Pedro

    June 5
    National Donut Day
    The Salvation Army of Southern California will be celebrating National Donut Day. Those in attendance will get to relive history with Salvation Army “Donut Lassies” in historical costume. The public is welcome to join us for a special donut festival, including a ceremony to honor veterans, live music and an appearance from Shotgun Tom Kelly of K-Earth101.
    Time: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. June 5
    Cost: Free
    Details: (877) 446-9261
    Venue: Pacific Battleship Center, 250 S. Harbor Blvd., San Pedro

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    Art as Resistance Lights Up Los Angeles

    • 05/31/2017
    • Melina Paris
    • Art
    • Comments are off

    By Melina Paris, Contributing Writer

    Protest takes on many forms. One of the most prominent forms is the protest march. In 2017 we have witnessed a flurry of marches all with one thing in common, resistance to Donald Trump’s policies.

    We saw The Women’s March in January, not only in this country but around the world. April has seen at least three protest marches, Tax Day March, The March for Science and The Peoples Climate March. There were marches at airports throughout the nation and thousands more globally after Trump’s executive order banning people entering the United States from seven majority-Muslim countries. And most recently, May Day protest marches.

    But another form of protest has been brewing and producing impactful art works. It is Art as Resistance, Paintings in Protest to a Trump Presidency. The exhibition is curated by Long Beach artist, Eric Almanza in response to the first 100 days of Trump’s presidency.

    The showing opened May 12, at Avenue 50 Studio in Los Angeles. The gallery exhibits artists of color who display high quality work, and who haven’t been represented in mainstream galleries. Opening night drew a large crowd that steadily multiplied to a full house as the night continued.

    Almanza said that curating for this show was different than most because all of the artists created new works. Usually artists choose from what they have, looking for pieces that go along with the theme of a show. So in essence Almanza trusted the artists to produce great work. As a curator this required much risk. It wasn’t until a week before the opening that he saw the works. Some artists even dropped out or their work was not produced.

    As for Almanza’s contribution, With This Fire a Rebellion Will Rise, his piece pictures a section of the border wall. It is set on fire. On the wall is Almanza’s logo of resistance. A dream catcher with two triangles in the center.

    Almanza has said it’s for the resistance, “because every great resistance needs some kind of logo.”

    When he created it he thought of it as a piece of apocalyptic science fiction. He always imagined an apocalypse would take place in the not too distant future but it seems like time has fast-forwarded and we are at a threshold, about to enter a post-apocalyptic society.

    Almanza called Alex Schaefer’s piece, A Banquet Without Consequences, a “tour de force.” It includes Trump and various bankers. Almanza said Schaefer has been very upset by the government bailouts of the banks. So much so that as a form of protest in 2011, Schaefer rendered a painting while on the street in front of a Chase Bank on Van Nuys Boulevard. In the painting the bank roof was ablaze. Police arrived and questioned him, asking if he was planning to follow through on the scenes he had painted on canvas. A year later he was arrested for a chalk drawing of the word “Crime” with a Chase logo in front of a downtown Los Angeles Chase bank. He spent 12 hours in jail for vandalism.

    There is much going on in Timothy Robert Smith’s piece, Untitled. It makes a compelling statement about the president. Untitled depicts a swirl of hair appearing as a tornado around a black hole. War planes come from behind the chief executive. He holds what appears to be a cellphone with his Twitter thumb positioned dangerously close to pressing the nuclear button – earth with a red circle around it.

    Below is a portion of the curator’s statement on the group exhibition and some of the visceral paintings comprising the show.

    “Art as Resistance brings to focus the artistic reactions of 17 artists living and working in the era of Trump. Rich with voices from the oppressed, these paintings serve as a visual protest to Trump and everything his administration stands for.”

    Go see this invigorating show while it’s in Los Angeles, until June 3.

    Details:  www.ericalmanza.com, http://avenue50studio.org

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  • LBPD Shares Edibles with Doctors

    • 05/31/2017
    • RL Intern
    • Briefs
    • Comments are off

    LONG BEACH — Dignity Health at St. Mary Medical Center partnered with the Long Beach Police Department May 30 to educate health care providers on the growing epidemic of mind-altering drugs that are being consumed by youth and impacting Long Beach communities.

    Drug investigators from the LBPD shared a wide variety of new designer drugs, including candies and drinks that are increasingly targeting teens and growing in popularity. More than 50 medical staff were instructed on how to recognize symptoms, effects and risk factors surrounding these drugs. St. Mary’s has recently seen an increase in emergency room visits from Long Beach youth who have come in after ingesting these edible drugs.

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  • DNJ Gallery in Santa Monica Hosts Ray Carofano’s riverrun

    • 05/31/2017
    • Andrea Serna
    • Art, Calendar
    • Comments are off

    DNJ Gallery at Bergamont Station in Santa Monica exhibits the riverrun photography series by Ray Carofano of Gallery 478 is San Pedro.

    Carofano is known for presenting the melancholy dystopian landscape of the desert in his series Land of Broken Dreams. With his riverrun exhibit he has now had an encounter with the Los Angeles River that has elevated his color palette and subject matter with a dramatic look at this 51-mile concrete corridor. He has deconstructed the landscape by tightening his lens to discover the abstract beauty within the concrete ribbon of the river. Carafano does not attempt to represent external reality, but seeks to achieve its effect using shapes, forms, colors, and textures.

    The exhibit will run through July 8, 2017.

    Details: (310) 315-3551; dnj.net
    Venue: DNJ Gallery, 2525 Michigan Ave., Suite J1, Santa Monica

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  • Turner House Serves as the New Artist Incubator

    • 05/31/2017
    • Andrea Serna
    • Art
    • Comments are off

    By Andrea Serna, Arts and Culture Writer

    Marylyn Ginsburg and Chuck Klaus possess high profile reputations as arts patrons in the Harbor Area. You will find their names on art buildings at the Palos Verdes Art Center, the Marymount College Klaus Center for the Arts in downtown San Pedro and the Norris Theater for Performing Arts.

    But the program that is closest to their personal history is the Turner House in San Pedro. The house took on Ginsburg’s maiden name of Turner (Ginsberg is her last name from a prior marriage). The home was customized to house art students from Marilyn’s alma mater, Syracuse University. Each semester three students are chosen from the masters in fine arts program to live in San Pedro and undertake an intensive art study. The program includes internships, studio space at Angels Gate Cultural center and visits to Los Angeles’s most significant museums. The students are also provided with opportunities to tour galleries and contemporary artist’s studios, and to hear from prominent artists, curators and gallery owners, many of whom are accomplished Syracuse University alumni.

    Ginsburg was inspired by her own past as a young disadvantaged student who was fortunate enough to obtain a scholarship for her education.

    “I lost my father when I was seven years old and I had two younger siblings,” Ginsburg said. My mother worked very hard for many years for General Electric and found they had a scholarship program for children of the employees. Each year I applied and received a $500 scholarship, a substantial amount at that time.”

    The scholarship allowed Ginsberg to attend the arts education program at Syracuse. While in school, she supplemented her scholarship by cleaning houses for 50 cents an hour, sometimes 75 cents if she vacuumed. She graduated magna cum laude in art and education. After graduation, she went on to teach ceramics, drawing and painting at Palos Verdes High School.

    Many years late, Marylyn found success in real estate and took the inspiration she found in her youth to reach down and give a hand to other young art students. Eventually, the Turner House was established in San Pedro.

    “I remembered my days at Syracuse University and I wanted show Syracuse I appreciated what they did for me,” Ginsburg said.

    A Program is Born

    The inception of the program seven years ago was a one-week practicum for Syracuse art students. The spring break program, entitled Art in L.A., was modeled after a one-week immersion program created by screenwriter and Academy Award winner Aaron Sorkin, another Syracuse alumnus. Sorkin Week brings Syracuse writing students to the heart of the entertainment industry.

    Art in L.A. eventually reached the point where it could bring students to California for an entire semester. This expansion required housing for the students, and the couple used their own resources to purchase a home in central San Pedro above Fort MacArthur. The mid-century home required considerable renovation. An entire wing was added to provide three bedrooms and two bathrooms downstairs as well as a loft on the second floor.

    The credentialed program is fully funded by Klaus and Ginsburg and supervised by Syracuse Professor of Painting Kevin Larmon, who serves as the faculty of record for the off-site program.

    “Each week the students have artists visit their studio at Angels Gate Cultural Center,” Larmon said. “They also go to visit artists in downtown Los Angeles.”

    Larmon, based in Syracuse, makes regular visits to San Pedro to oversee the program and coordinate the internships at Angels Gate Cultural Center, Palos Verdes Art Center and the Museum of Latin American Art in Long Beach. Each student spends 10 hours per week on the internship. They are free to devote the rest of the week to their art.

    Larmon encourages each student to create a piece of art to leave behind in the Turner House, and the home is building a significant collection.The most recent residents of the Turner House are third-year graduate student Taro Takizawa, first-year graduate student Rene Gortat from Brooklyn and South Korean student Sun Young. The students will be displaying their work in a group show at Yoon Space Gallery in Los Angeles.

    When he is not in San Pedro, Larmon leans on Los Angeles curator Carole Ann Klonarides. As an independent curator and strategist for artists, she helps to guide the students. Her advice is invaluable in assisting with career objectives. She spends time learning about their experiences and backgrounds to shepherd them towards individuals and institutions that will help them reach their career goals.

    “As I got to know each student it became more than an advisory relationship; it became a mentoring relationship,” Klonarides said.

    Unsurprisingly, Klonarides recounts an experience that paralleled the experience of the young Marilyn Ginsburg’s scholarship at Syracuse.

    “I had this opportunity myself when I was their age,” she said. “I was invited to the Whitney Museum independent studies program, which enabled me to go to New York when it was the art center of the country.”

    “Now …  LA has become the art center,” she continued. “So, it’s basically allowing these students to take the shortcut, to come right in the midst of the professional art community. They meet first hand, by introduction, with art directors, critics and art dealers.”

    Known primarily for her pioneering artistic and curatorial work in video art, Klonarides has been an active participant in two historic art communities — New York and Los Angeles — as they evolved to world prominence.

    While giving back to the next generation of artists, Ginsberg and Klaus have helped them break into the art world — a daunting experience for any new artist.

    “Some of the students use the connections they make here to take on some important positions,” Klaus said. “We recently had a student who was able to secure a mid-career track position because of the connections he made.”

    Then there is the breathtaking location of their studio at Angels Gate. The students share a 1,000-square-feet working space on the cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

    Angels Gate Director Amy Eriksen said the students help out with exhibitions and assist the small staff that runs the art center.

    Marylyn Ginsburg and Chuck Klaus’ love story is rooted in culture. Their story began in Syracuse, New York and, to the benefit of many, crossed the country to bring them both to California. In 2009 they exchanged vows at Wayfarers Chapel in Rancho Palos Verdes, and in the past eight years, they have enriched the cultural community with their love for the arts.

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  • We Are Misty Copeland

    • 05/26/2017
    • Kym Cunningham
    • Culture
    • Comments are off

    San Pedro Ballet Students Receive Scholarships to Prestigious Dance Schools

    By Kym Cunningham, Contributing Writer

    San Pedro Ballet School has announced that three of its students will be following in Misty Copeland’s graceful footsteps by attending two esteemed performing arts schools in New York City.

    Misty Copeland was the San Pedro Ballet School’s first prodigy. Through the studio’s guidance, Copeland moved to New York, taking the ballet world by storm when she became the first black principal dancer of New York’s renowned American Ballet Theatre. Copeland has since become a household name synonymous with hard work.

    Lauren Renee Ortega, Enrique Anaya and Danielle Ciaramitaro are students at the San Pedro Ballet School on Pacific Avenue at 13th Street in San Pedro. Photo by Kym Cunningham

    Now, three more students from the same school have a chance to follow the star’s trajectory. Enrique Anaya and Lauren Renee Ortega will attend the Joffrey Ballet School this summer, while Danielle Ciaramitaro will begin classes at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in the fall. All have received scholarships. Each expressed excitement about the opportunity to pursue their art at such a high level.

    Ciaramitaro said going to New York to pursue her career in the performing arts had always been her dream.

    “It’s all I ever wanted growing up,” Ciaramitaro said. “I’m super grateful and thankful to everyone who has supported me along this journey. I’m excited to spread my wings and fly.”

     Different Paths

    Ciaramitaro and Ortega both began dancing at the San Pedro Ballet School when they were in preschool. Ortega said ballet was originally one of many activities her mother encouraged her to pursue, but once she took a class she fell immediately in love with the art. Ciaramitaro agreed.

    “I originally started at home watching DVDs,” Ciaramitaro said. “My grandma would play these ballerina DVDs for me. I loved it so much that I asked her if I could go take an actual ballet class.”

    Enrique Anaya is planning to attend the Joffrey Ballet School this summer. Photo by Gray Autry.

    In contrast, Anaya was a relative latecomer to the world of ballet; he was introduced to the San Pedro Ballet School in 2016 by one of his teachers at the Humanity and Arts Academy of Los Angeles.

    “I didn’t really know anything about it,” Anaya admitted. “I looked a mess.”

    Ortega remembered that Anaya wore socks and basketball shorts to his first class. Anaya, professionally clad in a black athletic tank and ballet leggings, smiled at the memory. Like Ciaramitaro and Ortega, once Anaya started dancing, he was hooked.

    “I took that one class and that’s really all it took,”  Anaya said. “I really like it because you get to be really graceful but at the same time, at least for men, you get to be super masculine. They go hand in hand.”

    A Second Home

    Another aspect of the San Pedro Ballet School that all three students appreciated was the supportive atmosphere, which extends into the surrounding neighborhoods.

    “This whole community, especially in Pedro, really supports the studio,” Anaya said. “There’s a sense of home here.”

    Ortega and Ciaramitaro both agreed.

    “All of us are like family,” Ortega said. “We spend four hours every day together.”

    Ortega admitted that often she spent more time with this second family than with her own family. She cited this as one of the sacrifices that she has had to make in order to pursue her art.

    But in the midst of this sacrifice, these young adults seem to have found the uplifting communal energy from which so many of their peers are isolated. Unlike the aggressive competition that is usually featured in media representations of the ballet world, these three students seem to view each other as competitive safety nets, each with impressive capabilities that push the others to test their physical boundaries.

    “You feed off each other: the energy that people give is what you receive,”  Anaya said. “You see in a room, “Oh, this girl or guy can kick their head. Let me try or let me work as hard as them. That’s what gets you going.”

    The House that Misty Built

    Perhaps this new emergence of community within the ballet world is due in part to the increasing availability of youth exposure to professional dancers via the internet. Similarly, Misty Copeland has opened doors within the ballet industry, demonstrating to aspiring young dancers what is possible.

    “Misty was a big influence,” Ortega said. “She shows a new path for a … huge group of ballerinas.”

    Danielle Ciaramitaro will begin classes at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in the fall. Photo by Gray Autry.

    Ciaramitaro agreed that Misty was one of her biggest dancing influences. She also said that when she is not in the studio, she spends a lot of her time watching professional dancing videos; instead of her grandmother’s DVDs, she now finds inspiration for her dancing on YouTube.

    The Dream

    Of course, the true love of these three students lies within the onstage performance — an event that would terrify the vast majority of people. But when these students described the ethereal quality of performing onstage, it was impossible not to become enamored with the feelings that they evoked.

    “What you feel when you’re onstage — that adrenaline — it’s almost like a dream,” said Anaya. “When it’s over, it’s so bittersweet… It leaves me speechless. You stand frozen and you think about nothing.”

    “[At the end of a performance,] sometimes you cry because it’s really emotional,” Ortega said. “You’re in paradise.”

    Even talking about performing was enough to bring to bring up these tumultuous and cathartic emotions. In the studio’s last production of The Nutcracker, Anaya played the part of the prince, while Ciaramitaro played the lead female role of Clara.

    “I started as a little mouse in The Nutcracker, an to get up to the part of Clara was like a dream for me,” Ciaramitaro said amidst tears of happiness.

    Not a Second to Lose

    Despite the happiness dancing brings these students, training for it necessitates sacrifice. From getting up for school at 6 a.m. to ending ballet class at 8 p.m., these students rarely have a moment of time to themselves.

    “I don’t have a social life,” Ortega admitted. “It’s pretty much here and school.”

    In order to cope with the demands of devoting her life to the performing arts, Ciaramitaro began homeschooling during her last year of high school.

    “Public schooling was really stressful for me and everything that I did — I also sing and act — I do a lot, not just dance,” said Ciaramitaro. “Being homeschooled really helped me with balancing everything.”

    As a latecomer to the rigors of training for ballet, Anaya said it was a sucker punch coming to the San Pedro Ballet School, where students train four hours, five days a week, leaving no time unused.

    “You’re always doing something: if you’re not doing schoolwork, then you’re at the studio dancing,” Anaya said. “You plan out your whole entire day.”

    Ciaramitaro agreed.

    “Not a minute to waste,” she said.

    “You need a lot of commitment,” Ortega admitted. “Every second counts in a day, every little second. If you’re not doing anything, you’re wasting time.”

    But these students agreed that this rigorous scheduling was just a part of their training.

    “You have to spend a lot of time investing in your training,” Anaya said. “It’s a huge sacrifice but it’s well worth it…. It’s a dream of mine to be able to do what I love: dance and performing.”

    A self-professed theater girl with a broad range of performing arts skills, Ciaramitaro would love to perform on Broadway, whereas Anaya and Ortega dream of becoming members in professional dance companies.

    It is important to note that despite their youth, these are not children with their heads in the clouds. These are emerging professionals, who understand things like time management and sacrifice; these are young dancers who know that their art is only as good as the time and sweat they put into it, who spend chunks of their day studying and practicing and perfecting what they love to do. They accept limitations — physical, mental and temporal — they believe in commitment, which is more than can be said for many full-fledged adults. Most of all, they recognize that good work is never finished.

    More Hard Work Ahead

    For these students, more hard work lies ahead. At the Joffrey Ballet School, Anaya and Ortega will practice nine hours a day, five days a week, more than they have ever practiced before.

    “It’s going to be a lot of hard work,” Anaya said. “You can have fun but work your butt off. That’s why I’m here.”

    For Ciaramitaro, she will spend the next several years of her life breathing and living the performing arts in pursuit of her aspirations to become a Broadway actress. But despite the seemingly insurmountable obstacles, these students believe that the life skills and training they have received from the San Pedro Ballet School has prepared them for whatever may lie ahead.

    “Our drive is greater than the challenges that we’re going to face,” Ortega said.

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