• Garcia Points to Construction as Emblematic of LB Progress

    • 01/26/2018
    • Greggory Moore
    • News
    • Comments are off

    By Greggory Moore, Contributor

    Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia’s fourth State of the City speech delivered Jan. 9 to a packed house at the Terrace Theatre, stuck to his tried-and-true formula: a couple of musical numbers, an extensive list of the past year’s achievements, five minutes touching on a couple of challenges, an assurance that just about everything is trending in the right direction and finally a  “Go Long Beach!”

    While the State of the City is partly one big pep rally, with Garcia as Cheerleader-in-Chief, there were some worthwhile takeaways.

    Whoever chose the opening number apparently didn’t realize that the Tomorrow (from Annie), while hopeful, is partly about how dark things are right now. “Just thinking about tomorrow / Clears away the cobwebs and the sorrow […] The sun will come out tomorrow / So ya gotta hang on ‘til tomorrow.” For the next 40 minutes Garcia would say little about Long Beach’s cobwebs and sorrow. Rather, the three-minute LBC sizzle reel of drone-shot aerial footage made it clear what the mayor’s main motif would be: Good development. Development good.

    “In my first State of the City and throughout 2015, I asked you to judge our performance by the number of construction cranes in the air and the hard hats you see on the streets,” Garcia said as soon as he hit the stage. “Today there are seven tower cranes across our skyline, $3 billion of developments under construction, and more than 3,500 units of housing have been either completed or approved.” He also pointed to the largest bridge project on the West Coast, upgrades to the Blue Line, expansion of the Aquarium of the Pacific, modernization of the Convention Center, construction of a new civic center, a bunch of infrastructure projects care of Measure A, etc.

    “You see, Long Beach is under construction,” he said.

    But when it comes to all this development in the LBC, there are three words on everyone’s lips right now: Land Use Element, an aspect of the City of Long Beach’s General Plan that plots how the city will change and grow. There is widespread concern that the push for increased density is unfairly crowding out longtime lower-income residents, a topic addressed in  Gentrification, Renters and Displacement, an episode of the documentary series City Rising airing on PBS stations. While Garcia touted “hundreds of new affordable housing units for seniors and working families” and claimed that this past year “the city council adopted an aggressive plan to build and preserve more affordable housing,” he signaled his awareness that not all of his constituents are convinced that it’s enough—and that, in fact, they may be right. “We must take up and debate the proposed Land Use Element,” he said. “[…] We can do more, so thanks to a new initiative by councilmembers Lena Gonzalez, Al Austin and Dee Andrews, the city council will be looking to adopt new policies that help folks stay in their homes, more rental assistance for seniors and support for renters to move into home ownership.”  Garcia, who did not reply to Random Length News’ request for examples of such policies, also singled out “a statewide homelessness crisis” as a local challenge, highlighting the need for a year-round homeless shelter, rather than the winter-only shelter that the City operates. He correctly noted, “Long Beach has seen a decrease in homelessness citywide.”

    But he saved his strongest language for the need to overhaul the trucking system at the Port of Long Beach, calling it a “crisis.”

    “Port leadership and industry experts all agree: we cannot sustain the current trucking system we have in place,” he said. “We currently have a broken system where trucks are not moving in and out of terminals efficiently.” Additionally, many trucking companies are misclassifying their drivers and paying them “poverty wages.” He asked the city council to partner with the state legislature to confront these unfair practices.

    The vast majority of Garcia’s speech accentuated the positive:   crime trending in the right direction, improved energy efficiency, an increasingly friendly climate for business and the arts. The mayor’s State of the City address has been spinning positive in these areas every year, regardless of the nuances, long before Garcia took office.

    Garcia did play some new material. For example, he announced the formation of Long Beach Justice Lab, an initiative aiming to develop new approaches to interrupting the cycle of repeat offending by troubled individuals.

    “The research clearly shows that we see many of the same people cycle through our public safety services—and most of them for committing low-level offenses like possessing an open bottle of beer on the street,” he said. “In Long Beach—and in most of the country—it’s a small percentage of people who are repeatedly committing crimes and consuming a tremendous amount of resources. We can continue to arrest them indefinitely, or we can try to understand and help these people break these dangerous cycles. [… This includes] placing a mental health clinician in our city jail. We currently have no mental health services in our jail, yet we know it is a place where we can help people access services and resources.”

    Garcia announced that “late this year” the Army Corps of Engineers will finally unveil their preferred options for restoring the San Pedro Bay, including breakwater reconfiguration.  But before you could spell “NIMBY,” he hastened to add that “any project we undertake will restore the ecosystem at our beaches while also protecting the homes and businesses along the coast.”

    The sizzle reel that prefaced the night’s main event closed with a five-word caption: Building a Better Long Beach. In the city according to Robert Garcia, that is exactly the state of things. Whatever challenges Long Beach faces, according to the mayor, bet your bottom dollar that tomorrow there’ll be (even more) sun.

    Bonus fun facts:

    • While introducing Garcia, when Vice-Mayor Rex Richardson quipped that no mayor seems more like a comic-book movie character than Garcia (a reference to Garcia’s well-known Comic-Con side), you could clearly see the spot on his teleprompter script that said “(Laughter).”
    • In 2017 Long Beach cleanup crews hauled away almost 16,000 discarded mattresses. That’s about one mattress for every 30 residents—just this past year!
    • Garcia spoke with pride about Vision to Learn, an organization that has partnered with the city to provide 8,000 low-income students with eyeglasses. Garcia brought one of the beneficiaries onstage and asked her what she thought of her new glasses. “They’re pretty good,” she said, not exactly overflowing with enthusiasm.

    Related links:

    City of Long Beach’s General Plan
    Gentrification, Renters and Displacement
    Homelessness in Long Beach

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  • Destroying the Village (Ports O’ Call) to Save the Town

    • 01/26/2018
    • James Preston Allen
    • At Length
    • Comments are off

    By James Preston Allen, Publisher

    When I first moved to Pedro in 1973, there was a lying crook in the White House, massive demonstrations in the streets of America and an unpopular war in a distant land. The wisdom of pursuing that war and its most infamous alibi that “we had to destroy the village to save the town” was as arrogant and stupid then as it is now. Not much has changed except the players in this rather dark Shakespearean drama and the village this time is our own. Back to square one, it seems. The past is our future.

    Then, as now, San Pedro’s and Los Angeles’ civic leaders were hell bent on building a reimagined San Pedro. Beacon Street was one of our most notorious districts –– known by sailors from around the world as being one of the roughest ports on the coast.

    Did they actually call it the “Barbary Coast”?

    It was colorful and full of characters and a ton of bars and brothels to boot that totaled to 73 by one count before Beacon Street was destroyed.

    A few of the old names and buildings were saved. Years later, a new generation of community leaders would mourn the loss of old Beacon Street’s history and offer a newer perspective on the role of architectural history. The term “adaptive reuse” has become the buzzword du jour. The recent example of this is Pappy’s Seafood restaurant that took 301 West Sixth Street back to the bricks of its origins, making what was old new again.

    Part of the patio in my 1917 California bungalow home has some of the original bricks from Ol’ Beacon Street. My century- old dwelling is now part of the Historic Preservation Zone in the blocks just south and west of old Beacon Street.

    Preservation is not what can be said for the Starbucks that was allowed to build on the corner of 9th and Gaffey streets after the demolishing of the aging Doggy Diner and TC’s Bar. We now have a brand new cookie-cutter Fort Apache-looking prefab drive-thru on one of the most iconic corners of our Great Street. Progress at last!

    Now, the same is about to happen with our 61-year-old Ports O’ Call Village and restaurant. Unbeknownst to the public, that while we were awaiting progress on the popularly supported Waterfront Promenade, the L.A. Waterfront Alliance development team and the Port of Los Angeles were huddled behind closed doors and “negotiated” the lease for the Ports O’Call property. During those negotiations, the port guaranteed that the property would be scraped-clean before turning over the property.

    This seems almost incon- ceivable seeing as how both Wayne Ratkovich and the Johnson brothers of Jerico (the developers) have somewhat long histories in adaptive reuse and have done some reputable projects like the Wiltern building on Wilshire Boulevard, and the John T. Gaffey and Brown Bros. buildings in San Pedro. Why then would they allow for the destruction of some of the more interesting and historic structures along our waterfront just to create a version of — and I’ve heard them say this — San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf?

    We are getting caught up in Mayor Eric Garcetti’s exuberance. In a released statement, the mayor touted the city’s soaring economy, saying:

    We are powering Los Angeles’ economy to new heights every year, because we know that lasting prosperity means investing boldly in jobs, opportunity, and growth… The expansion of our travel and tourism sector, and the success of our port, tell the story of a city whose moment has arrived — and we will continue pushing forward as we expand our role on the world stage, and prepare to welcome the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2028.

    This as the rumors swirl that his sights are set on running for the Oval Office.

    Yes, the Los Angeles economy in parts is expanding, evidenced by the housing crisis, pushing the growing population of homeless people on our streets and the influx of migrants from Echo Park and (the town formerly known as) Venice to the last affordable part of Los Angeles by the water — San Pedro. All of this boom-time economy will gentrify many of our neighbors out of their homes and jobs and we will end up losing both our history and culture in the process.

    Now, I’m not opposed to all development, redevelopment or even new architecture. But it’s got to be smart development. It’s got to be culturally intelligent redevelopment and quality construction that preserves history or stands the test of time.

    Most of the time we get none of the above and until the “new” plans and designs for Ports O’Call Village are revealed — maybe as soon as the Jan. 25 Harbor Commission board meeting. We don’t know what exactly we are getting. This newspaper has filed a Public Records Act request demanding the port release these plans that have been privately circulated but not presented in a public forum as of this date.

    What we do know at this point is that 20-some small merchants have been evicted and driven out of business and that Ports O’ Call restaurant and the commercial boat operators are under threat of the same action.  This is not what I, and many others, remember of the promises made to the community. Stupidly we didn’t get it in writing.

    As of Jan. 23, the Central San Pedro Neighborhood Council passed the following resolution:

    The Central San Pedro Neighborhood Council calls for the immediate halt of all Ports O’Call tenant evictions due to the Port of Los Angeles failing to adequately disclose subsequent amendments to the 2009 approved Environmental Impact Report regarding Ports O’Call redevelopment and keep the CeSPNC and the public informed. The POLA has also not revealed in advance how these amendments will fundamentally change the previous plans and commitments made publicly that will substantially alter the waterfront development.

    Therefore, the Central San Pedro Neighborhood Council further resolves to call for transparency regarding Ports O’Call redevelopment, [that] a public hearing on renegotiations of the lease with LA Waterfront Alliance and their new plans be held including but not limited to the preservation of historic buildings, and a guarantee for the opportunity to retain existing tenants through the negotiations of new leases that would include Ports O’Call Restaurant, commercial boats, and others.

     And if the Port of Los Angeles fails to follow the Central San Pedro Neighborhood Council’s recommendations the council demands decisions regarding the Ports O’Call lease to be transferred to the Board of Referred Powers, at Los Angeles City Council for review and approval.

    To date, this is the strongest community response to the destruction of Ports O’ Call Village and has the growing support of many in this community who both fear and desire redevelopment on the waterfront, but are increasingly posing the questions “At what cost and to whose benefit?”

    Clearly, we can not allow for the failed policy of destroying the village to save the town to be executed once again in such a way that demolishes both our history and culture just because some folks want to “rebrand” this town into something less than what it already is — authentic!

    Editor’s note: Just before press time we received the 2016 Ports O’ Call plot plans which did not include elevations. Read below:

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  • Dr. Mario Molina Talks Life After Big Split with Molina Medical

    • 01/25/2018
    • Terelle Jerricks
    • News
    • Comments are off

    Cutbacks lead to nixed plans in San Pedro

    By Terelle Jerricks, Managing Editor

    No one outside of the Fortune 500 company could have foreseen its rapid retrenchment after Molina Healthcare announced it would be moving one of its business units into the 100,000 square foot digs in San Pedro’s Topaz building in March 2017.

    Molina Healthcare Inc.’s board of directors unceremoniously fired Dr. J. Mario Molina and John C. Molina in May 2017. The men had served as the organization’s top two executives for more than 20 years. Their father, Dr. C. David Molina, founded the company in 1980 to address the special needs of low-income patients. Mario Molina steered the company when the elder Molina died in 1996. John Molina guided the company when it went public in 2003.

    The company released a statement  saying the firings were due to “poor financial results.”

    At the time, the Los Angeles Times reported that analysts had long viewed the local health insurer as a potential acquisition target of a larger insurer. Removing the brothers could make such a deal easier.

    “The board never gave me an explanation. I had an employment agreement that says I can be terminated without cause and that’s what they did,” Mario Molina said. “And they terminated me and my brother. It was clear the company was no longer interested in operating the clinics.”

    Molina noted he already owned a medical group (Golden Shore Medical Group) and that there was a clause in his contract that said if Molina Healthcare wanted to close or get rid of the medical clinics, he had the right to buy the assets.

    “So I simply exercised that right,” Molina said. “The clinics are valuable community assets. They are in low-income communities and they serve people in need of that care who would probably have a difficult time getting that care if it wasn’t for those facilities.”

    Molina insures 765,000 people, and until Jan. 1, it operated its own clinics around the state. The company has MediCare programs and has served more than one million customers who purchased a plan with a marketplace exchange created by the Affordable Care Act.

    In September 2017, the company announced plans for a reorganization that includes the elimination of some 1,500 positions nationwide — almost 600 of those in Long Beach. As part of the reorganization, the company also withdrew from a lease of space at the Topaz building in San Pedro and moved out of its headquarters in the World Trade Center in Long Beach.

    “They laid people off so they just don’t need the space anymore,”  Molina said. “The easiest and fastest way to cut costs is to cut staff and that’s what they did. Think about it, if you’re an insurance company, you’re paying claims for people for when they get sick, you don’t have a lot of control over that. You can decide how many employees you want and lay people off tomorrow.

    “I think that Molina Healthcare, like all the other large insurance companies, especially those that have participated in Medicaid in the Affordable Care Act marketplaces, are concerned by the uncertainty over what the future holds,” Molina said, alluding to the attacks on the Affordable Care Act by the Donald Trump administration and Republican-controlled Congress.

    “There was a tremendous effort by the Republicans in congress to repeal the law,”  Molina said. “They failed, but they continued trying to undermine the law and I’m sure that was a concern to a company like Molina, which has a substantial portion of its membership covered through Medicaid and have a large marketplace presence. Businesses hate uncertainty. [If] it’s hard to plan, it’s hard to budget.

    “If you look at Certene, Molina Healthcare and even United and Anthem, they all saw growth in the Medicaid side of their business because of the expansion of the Medicaid program. So, for many of the insurance companies, they saw more membership and more revenue. Molina was not unique in this.”

    Molina wouldn’t speak on the particulars of Molina Healthcare’s case, but he singled out the Customer Sharing Reduction payment issue as an example of how the health care for the neediest is being used as political football.

    As the Golden Shore Medical Group founder explained it, if Mr. Jones, a health consumer on a the Silver Plan, goes to the doctor and has a $50 copayment, his health insurer would halve the cost so that Mr. Jones only has to pay $25. The health insurer would then bill the federal government, saying “You know, we paid half of Mr. Jones copay, we need you to pay us $25.”

    “But the Trump administration stopped paying those, then the insurance companies raised their premium rates. So that was one of the things that came out of all of this and so people in the marketplace saw higher premiums,” Dr. Molina said.

    “For most people in the market place who are getting federal subsidies, it didn’t impact them very much. For the people not getting subsidies, the 15 percent or so not subsidized, it meant a huge increase in their insurance premiums. So, that’s one of the big things that happened in the past year.”

    Molina said he believes it’s the same challenge that all doctors face, especially in California where reimbursements for physician services are especially low.

    “California ranks down at the bottom in what they pay doctors to take care of MediCal patients,” Molina said. “That’s obviously something that concerns us.”

    He said he’s worried about people who have insurance right now in Covered California and those on Medicaid in California.

    “I would hate to see people go back to being uninsured,” Molina said. “Before the Affordable Care Act, we used to see people who were uninsured who would pay us cash for their care. That was fine. We could do that.”

    “Where we would have difficulty was if they didn’t have insurance to cover prescriptions or they didn’t have insurance to cover hospitalization. There is only so much we can do for them and that’s what I worry about with all of the discussion in Washington about further cuts to the Affordable Care Act.”

    Molina noted that the Trump administration is now talking about allowing people to buy association health plans that would be exempt from some of the rules and terms of the benefits are covered.

    “You might have insurance and find out that chemotherapy is not covered,” Molina said. “Nobody plans to get to sick. Nobody plans to get cancer and sometimes people don’t think about what is covered under their plan.”

    The doctor noted that because of Affordable Care Act’s 10 essential benefits the Covered California marketplace has very comprehensive insurance policies.

    “But you could end up, if you’re a small employer or self-employed getting one of those association plans and find out when you’re really sick, the services are not covered. It’s a real danger,” he said.

    Molina said there are two things citizens need to focus their attention on:

    • Congressional attempts to use budget gap caused by the Trump administration’s tax cut to cut Medicaid
    • And the further undermining of the Affordable Care Act through the rulemaking process.

    “The tax cut is going to increase the deficit,” Molina said. “Some Republicans are fine with that, but not all of them. [But] I think people like congressional House Speaker Paul Ryan are going to try to cut Medicaid … to close that budget gap.”

    The doctor said that was especially a problem here in California because we’ve expanded Medicaid to cover people who are not insured.

    We could also see the roll out of a lot skimpy insurance plans. People might buy those plans thinking they are getting coverage at a lower cost. This is a situation in which these particular health consumers would find that the treatment they need may not be covered.

    “That’s a real danger and that’s something I think is going to fly under the radar screen,” Molina said. “A lot of people don’t understand or don’t realize, or they’re just not involved.”

    With the change of ownership over Molina Healthcare’s clinics, Molina said patients should expect the same quality of care going forward.

    “We accept MediCal patients and MediCare patients and Covered California patients and that will remain in effect,” Molina said. “Really, what’s changing is the name. The locations are the same.”

    The doctor noted that about 90 percent of Molina Healthcare staff who worked under the old ownership have accepted offers of employment.

    “For the next few months we’ll be changing the signs and changing the name,” the doctor said. “It’s going to be the same people providing the same services [patients] were used to in the past.”

    What will possibly change under Molina’s Golden Shore Medical group is the number of insurance carriers with which they have contracts.

    “Right now it’s primarily Molina Healthcare,” Molina said. “In the future, we would like to have contracts with other insurance plans as well.”

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  • Chavela Captures the Essence of a Ranchera Icon

    • 01/25/2018
    • Zamná Ávila
    • Culture
    • Comments are off

    By Zamná Ávila, Assistant Editor

    Filmmakers Catherine Gund and Daresha Kyi are making sure ranchera great Chavela Vargas is never forgotten. Their documentary, Chavela, explores the life of the singer through interviews, images and, of course, music.

    The 25-year project illustrates the life of a woman who used music as an instrument to release her pain, which she gifted to her audience. The film, which was screened in early January at the Art Theatre in Long Beach, will have an encore presentation in February.

    Told in Spanish with English subtitles, Chavela is a mesh of interviews with the singer, friends and lovers, using photos and translated lyrics of her songs to create a sense of self-reflective storytelling as the music icon interpreted popular songs of the era. Rather than a complete biographical documentary, Chavela focuses on the life of the singer in Mexico and Spain, at the height of the resurgence of her career. While the documentary touches on her childhood it doesn’t go into great detail about her life in Costa Rica or how she arrived in Mexico and started her career.

    “Let’s start with where I am going,” said Chavela Vargas at the beginning of the film, which was set in 1991. “It’s more interesting to the whole world, not where you come from but where you are going.”

    Vargas, who had a cameo in the 2002 Salma Hayek film Frida, came back to the limelight in 1990s after more than decade of being retired. Chavela spotlights her personal struggles dealing with the homophobia (both internal and external), alcoholism, poverty and loneliness.

    With Vargas’ unique and heart-wrenching, raspy voice the song Soledad, meaning “loneliness,” prefaces an interview with her.  The filmmakers begin to tell the story of Chavela Vargas through her eyes, starting and ending the film with Vargas saying, “My name is Chavela Vargas; don’t forget it.”

    Like many artists of the time, Vargas started singing in small venues in Mexico. At first she wore feminine attire, makeup and long hair. That didn’t work well for the singer. It was actually her masculine traits that caught the attention of her audience. She shook the traditions of women singers standardized by elaborate dresses and feminine flirtation.

    “I looked like a transvestite dressed as a woman, really,” she said. “Time stood still. ‘What’s up with this woman wearing pants before the 1950s?’… I put on pants and the public was stunned.”

    Vargas was born Isabel Vargas Lizano, on April 17, 1919, in Costa Rica. Her parents were not able to deal with Vargas being naturally masculine.

    “That Isabel, as my mother called me, that Isabel is the one I love and is with me,” she said. “Chavela is a cabrona (fucker).”

    As a child, she was hidden from visitors, because they were ashamed of her. When her parents divorced they gave her up to an aunt and uncle.

    “I was a very sad girl, very lonely,” she said.

    At 14, she ran away and moved to Mexico in search of opportunities. Chavela Vargas, her alter-ego, was born in 1942.

    “I used to dream of a paradise called Mexico,” she said. “Mexico taught me to be who I am, but not with kisses and hugs, but with kicks and slaps. Mexico took me and told me, ‘I’m going to make you a woman. I am going to rear you in land of men… You want to sing? Well, you have to confront the best that there is.’” Her former life partner, Alicia Pérez Duarte, remembered how Vargas had to assert herself in that land of men.

    “To be Chavela, you have to be stronger and more macha and more drunkard than any of the charro singer who were around her,” Pérez Duarte said.

    Her talents did not go unnoticed. José Alfredo Jiménez, a famous ranchera  singer, befriended Vargas and took her under his wings. Her career took off. She performed and opened for some of the best acts in Mexico.

    Vargas was the only woman who dared sing to another woman. Frida Kahlo and Ava Gardner were among her known conquests. And yet, she didn’t officially come out as a lesbian until late in her life.

    “It’s not about me being homosexual,” she said. “Consider that the human being loves and that’s it. Don’t ask who or why. Leave it. That’s the beauty of things.”

    Chavela is a painstaking view of a woman who went against the norms through adventure, love, friendships, sadness and music. Gund and Kyi’s film is a vessel of understanding and acceptance.

    Chavela is showing at 11 a.m. Feb. 3 and 4 at the Art Theatre, 2025 E. 4th St., Long Beach and at 7 p.m. March 8 at the Museum of Latin American Art, 628 Alamitos Ave., Long Beach.

    Details: www.arttheatrelongbeach.org, www.molaa.org, www.chavelavargasfilm.com

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  • Pearl Charles

    • 01/25/2018
    • Reporters Desk
    • Calendar
    • Comments are off


    Jan. 26
    Hot House “Ameri-Gumbo”
    Hot House will be setting the house on fire.
    Time: 9 p.m. Jan. 26
    Cost: Free
    Details: (310) 832-5503
    Venue: Harold’s Place, 1908 S. Pacific Ave., San Pedro

    Jan. 26
    Richard Smith
    National Fingerstyle champion and protégé of Chet Atkins, Richard Smith will perform solo guitar including fingerpicking to fiddle, swing and jazz, rock and pop.
    Time: 7:30 p.m. Jan. 26
    Cost: $20
    Details: (310) 833-3281; https://alvasshowroom.com/events
    Venue: Alvas Music Store, 1413 W. 8th St., San Pedro

    Jan. 27
    Plini, Marco Minnemann, Mohini Dey
    Come join this unique musical journey with some of the hottest young virtuosos in the instrumental music scene today. Collaborative sets of music will be showcased featuring songs by each artist.
    Time: 8 to 10 p.m. Jan. 27 and 28
    Cost: $40
    Details: (310)833-7538; www.alvasshowroom.com
    Venue: Alvas Showroom, 1417 W. 8th Street , San Pedro

    Feb. 2
    Pearl Charles
    Pearl Charles inhabits a Hollywood set built around late night revelry, love affairs, serenading the sunrise through whirlwind stories of her native Los Angeles. A pre-order her album Sleepless Dreamer, either on CD or colored vinyl is required to attend the event.
    Time: 7 p.m. Feb. 2
    Cost: $12.99 to $16.99
    Details:  (562) 433-4996
    Venue: Fingerprints, 420 E. 4th St., Long Beach

    Feb. 3
    The Hillbenders Bluegrass
    The Hillbenders perform a full bluegrass style tribute to The Who’s classic rock-opera, Tommy.  Conceived and produced by SXSW co-founder Louis Jay Meyers, the band bridges the gap between rock and bluegrass while paying total respect to Pete Townsend’s original work. It’s Whograss at its best.
    Time: 8 p.m. Feb. 3
    Cost: $20 to $30
    Details: grandvision.org
    Venue: Grand Annex, 434 W. 6th St., San Pedro

    Feb. 9
    De Lux

    After establishing a sound on their debut Voyage, De Lux took a moment to re-center and come back leaner, sharper, clearer and deeper on their new album More Disco Songs About Love. A pre-order of More Disco Songs About Love on CD or vinyl is required
    Time: 7 p.m. Feb. 9
    Cost: $12.99 to $21.99
    Details:  (562) 433-4996
    Venue: Fingerprints Records, 420 E. 4th St., Long Beach

    Feb. 10
    Nicky J. Crawford
    Crawford wraps her melodic voice around funk riffs and rhythm and blues tunes for a high-energy soul performance.
    Time: 8 p.m. Feb. 10
    Cost: $20 to $30
    Details: grandvision.org
    Venue: Grand Annex, 434 W. 6th St., San Pedro


    Jan. 26
    Mark Twain Tonight

    Recreating the one man show that starred Hal Holbrook on Broadway, Jaxson Brashier portrays Mark Twain as a 70-year-old humorist in this 90-minute production. Adapted from Twain’s own words for a commentary on slavery, religion and politics, mixing the satire with comic yarns about life on the Mississippi.
    Time: 8 p.m. Jan. 26 and 27
    Cost: $15
    Details: www.lbplayhouse.org
    Venue: Long Beach Playhouse, 5021 E. Anaheim St., Long Beach

    Jan. 26
    Picasso at the Lapine Agile
    The clever off-Broadway hit play from comedian and writer Steve Martin imagines Albert Einstein and Pablo Picasso meeting in a Parisian bar one evening in 1904, just before each man introduced the work that would make him famous. With rapier-sharp wit and hysterical one-liners, Martin paints a playful portrait of the two geniuses, with egos as big as their intellects, as they spar about art and science, their respective libidos, and the promise of the 20th century.
    Time: 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 2 p.m. Sundays Jan. 26 through Feb. 8
    Cost: $30 to $70
    Details: http://palosverdesperformingarts.com
    Venue: Norris Theatre, 27570 Norris Center Drive, Rolling Hills Estates

    Jan. 27
    Cat in the Hat, The Whos, Horton, The Grinch, Yertle the Turtle and a host of other Dr. Seuss characters travel the Seussian universe through the Jungle of Nool.
    Time: 7:30 p.m. Jan. 27 and 2 p.m. Jan. 28
    Cost:  $46 to $60
    Details: grandvision.org
    Venue: Warner Grand Theatre, 476 W. 6th St., San Pedro

    Feb. 2
    Forgotten Images: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow
    This year’s highlights include a special stage reading of Lady Patriot. The play is written and directed by Ted Lange, and tells the story of a freed slave and unlikely spy in the Jefferson Davis White House who helped to bring down the Confederacy with her intelligence work.
    The event will also feature the return of the powerful Forgotten Images, a traveling educational exhibit and museum.
    Time: 8 p.m. Feb. 2
    Cost: Free
    Details: www.expoartscenter.org
    Venue: Expo Arts Center, 4321 Atlantic Ave., Long Beach


    Black Coffee
    In this seldom seen and intricately crafted mystery, Agatha Christie weaves scientific discoveries, international espionage and unimaginable murder together to give the audience a night of unraveling the knots of danger and suspense.
    Time: 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sundays, through Feb. 10
    Cost: $20
    Details: www.lbplayhouse.org
    Venue: Long Beach Playhouse, 5021 E. Anaheim St., Long Beach

    Pick of the Vine
    An exciting night of entertainment awaits you in these 7- to 15-minute short plays hand-picked by Little Fish Theatre from authors across the country.
    Time: 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and 2 p.m. Sundays, through Feb. 17
    Cost: $25 to 27
    Details: (310) 512-6030; Littlefishtheatre.org,
    Venue: Little Fish Theatre, 777 Centre St., San Pedro


    Jan. 27
    Making Social
    Making Social is an exhibition based on a pedagogic approach to social experience and art.
    The show is based on a course taught by Matt Rich over the past decade about social experience as a medium in art.
    The opening reception is from 1 to 4 p.m. Jan. 27.
    Time: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, and 12 to 5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays, through March 17
    Cost: Free
    Details: http://angelsgateart.org
    Venue: Angels Gate Cultural Center

    Jan. 27
    Randi Matushevitz, Huss Hardan Closing Reception
    The final day for Urban Dilemmas, the incredible large scale mixed media paintings from Randi Matushevitz and Color of Money photographs by Huss Hardan.
    Time: 3 to 5 p.m. Jan. 27
    Cost: Free
    Details: www.huzgalleries.com; www.randimatushevitz.com
    Venue: Huz Galleries, 341 W. 7th St., San Pedro

    Jan. 27
    The Rebel Body
    Angels Gate Cultural Center presents, The Rebel Body, a solo show by Johanna Breiding. The Rebel Body, brings together multimedia works and various collaborations to explore historicized accounts of political persecution. The  reception is from 1 to 4 p.m. Jan.  27.
    Time: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, and 12 to 5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays, through March 17
    Cost: Free
    Details: http://angelsgateart.org
    Venue: Angels Gate Cultural Center, 3601 S. Gaffey St., San Pedro

    Feb. 1
    7 Painters
    TransVagrant + Gallery 478 are pleased to present 7 Painters including the works by Katy Crowe, Ron Linden, William Mahan, Jay McCafferty, Marie Thibeault, Ted Twine, and HK Zamani. The exhibition will open with an artists’ reception from 4 to 7 p.m. Feb. 3
    Time: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, through March 11
    Cost: Free
    Details: (310) 732-2150
    Venue: Gallery 478, 478 W. 7th St., San Pedro

    Feb. 3
    Other Places Art Fair
    Fluid in definition, bonded by an intention to operate in other places outside the traditional commercial art gallery system, Other Places Art Fair 2018 features 24 participants presenting site-specific booths encapsulating their projects and programming.
    Time: 12 to 5 p.m. Feb. 3
    Cost: $5
    Details: http://angelsgateart.org
    Venue: Battery Leary-Merriam at Angels Gate Cultural Center, 3601 S Gaffey St., San Pedro


    Jan. 26
    2018 Walk for Kids Kick-Off
    Gladstone’s Long Beach is helping to kick-off the 7th Annual Long Beach Walk for Kids! RSVP to join. Learn more about the 5K walk benefiting the Long Beach Ronald McDonald House. You will hear how you can help us sustain the needs of families with seriously ill children undergoing treatment at a nearby medical facility.
    Time: 9 a.m. Jan. 26
    Details: (562) 285-4308, www.rmhcsc.org/longbeach
    Venue: Gladstone’s Long Beach

    Jan. 27
    Third Annual Marley Festival
    The Marley Festival will again bring some of the best reggae bands from Southern California together for this one special day to support original reggae music. The event will feature reggae artist Don Carlos and the Soul Syndicate Band with Common Sense, and special guests.
    Time: 5 p.m. Jan. 27
    Cost: $25 to $30
    Details: GaslampLongBeach.com
    Venue: Gaslamp, 6251 E. Pacific Coast Highway, Long Beach

    Wheels & Heels 2
    Join in for the second Annual Wheels and Heels event hosted by #Reign46 Queen Mothers Ginger Grant and Diana Prince. This special event will raise money for “Infinite Flow – A Wheelchair Dance Company” who pair able-bodied people as dance partners with people in wheelchairs to create beautiful dances.
    Time: 3  to 6 p.m. Jan. 27
    Details: (562) 436-7900
    Venue: Hamburger Mary’s, 330 Pine Ave., Long Beach

    Jan. 27,
    AltaSea’s Quarterly Open House
    Author Marcus Eriksen, who built the Junk Raft that is now on display at AltaSea, will be recounting his adventure of building a ship out of trash then sailing it across the Pacific Ocean.  RSVP.
    Time: 10 a.m., Jan. 27
    Cost: Free
    Details: rsvp@altasea.org
    Venue: AltaSea, 2456 S. Signal St., San Pedro

    Jan. 28
    Whale Fiesta
    Come celebrate the 48th annual Whale Fiesta. This fun-filled family event celebrates marine mammals and the migration of Pacific gray whales along Southern California’s coast.
    Time: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Jan 28
    Cost: Free
    Details: www.cabrillomarineaquarium.org
    Venue: Cabrillo Marine Aquarium, 3720 Stephen M. White Dr., San Pedro

    Jan. 28
    Long Beach Vegan Chili Cook Off
    Come on out and taste some great vegan chili and pair em up with some delicious specialty beers, tapped just for the event. There will be up to $500 in prizes.
    Time: 2  to 8 p.m. Jan. 28
    Details:  http://lbvegan.com
    Venue: 4th Street Vine, 2142 E. 4th St., Long Beach

    Feb. 3
    4th Annual Great San Pedro Crab Feed
    Preparation for the 4th Annual Great San Pedro Crab Feed is under way. A ticket provides an all-you-can-eat Dungeness crab meal cooked in a savory cioppino sauce with unlimited pasta, salad, and fresh baked french bread
    Time: 5 to 9 p.m. Feb. 3
    Cost: $65
    Details: http://rotarysanpedro.org/event/the-4th-annual-great-san-pedro-crab-feed
    Venue: The Cabrillo Beach Youth Waterfront Sports Center, 3000 Shoshonean Road, San Pedro

    Feb. 10
    4th Annual Lunar New Year Festival
    The Port of Los Angeles’ 4th Annual Lunar New Year Festival returns celebrating the Year of the Dog. This event will feature live entertainment, arts and crafts, gourmet food trucks, a petting zoo and even dog adoptions, with a fireworks show as the grand finale.
    Time: 3 to 7 p.m. Feb. 10
    Cost: Free
    Details: craftedportla.com
    Venue: Crafted at the Port of Los Angeles, 112 E. 22nd St., San Pedro

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  • Not Guilty in Inauguration Protest Case

    A jury found the first six defendants to stand trial in connection with protests at Trump’s inauguration not guilty on all charges

    By Baynard Woods, Guest Columnist

    The first six of 193 people charged with rioting and conspiracy charges after being arrested in connection with protests on Inauguration Day were found not guilty.

    The case has been seen as a test of the First Amendment under the Donald Trump administration. Because the arrests occurred in Washington D.C. the crimes are prosecuted by U.S. Attorneys who ultimately answer to Jeff Sessions.

    Lead prosecutor Jennifer Kerkhoff has argued, on a novel legal theory, that anyone who was wearing black and was in the vicinity of 12th and L streets, where police used pepper spray, grenades, and batons to cordon off more than 200 people in a kettle, is guilty of conspiring to riot and of any property damage associated with the riot. Among those kettled are journalists who were covering the protest, legal observers, and medics.

    Of the six defendants in the first group to stand trial, one, Alexei Wood, is a journalist who was live-streaming the protest, and two medics, one who is a registered nurse, were there to offer medical services.

    “She was aiding and abetting this riot. That was her role,” said Assistant US Attorney Rizwan Qureshi in court. “As a provider of medical services, she was a co-conspirator. She aided and abetted this group. She wasn’t prepared for a march or a protest. She was prepared for war.”

    At the close of this trial, when Kerkhoff told the jury that the standard of ascertaining guilt “beyond reasonable doubt” in a case “doesn’t mean a whole lot,” Judge Lynn Leibovitz assured the jurors: “I’m sure she didn’t mean to say what she just said.”

    Detective Greggory Pemberton has spent an entire year investigating the case, which has relied on evidence from unreliable, far-right sources such as Project Veritas, which recently tried to trick the Washington Post and discredit the women accusing former Alabama Senatorial candidate Roy Moore.

    “The trial also underscored the extent to which the Trump administration was actively working with far-right and neo-fascist political groups like Project Veritas, Oath Keepers, Media Research Center and Rebel Media to criminalize and punish anti-fascist and anti-Trump activists,” the advocacy group Defend J20 said in a statement. “Despite what could be considered collusion with these groups, and the government’s attempt to criminalize ‘anti-establishment’ views, the jury roundly rejected those efforts.”

    In a recent motion filed on behalf of defendants in the next round of trials, it was alleged that Pemberton gave false testimony to the grand jury in order to bring charges, claiming that everyone who was arrested was present for the entire march and the destruction of property, which included broken windows at several chain businesses heavily associated with capitalism such as Bank of America and Starbucks.

    One of the defendants was not even at the protest on Inauguration Day but is being charged on the basis of a podcast talking about the protest.

    The judge had already dismissed the felony inciting a riot charge against all of the defendants.

    In a statement the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia indicated that it would continue to prosecute the remaining 187 defendants in the case.

    “The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia believes that the evidence shows that a riot occurred on January 20, 2017, during which numerous public and private properties were damaged or destroyed,” the statement reads.  “This destruction impacted many who live and work in the District of Columbia, and created a danger for all who were nearby.  The criminal justice process ensures that every defendant is judged based on his or her personal conduct and intent.  We appreciate the jury’s close examination of the individual conduct and intent of each defendant during this trial and respect its verdict.  In the remaining pending cases, we look forward to the same rigorous review for each defendant.”



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  • Perfect Pacing Makes Little Fish Theatre’s Annual “Pick of the Vine” Their Best Yet

    Every January, Little Fish Theatre rings in a new season by offering “Pick of the Vine,” a program of short plays. This is my third year sampling the harvest, and this is easily the best I’ve tasted, highlighted by strong notes of humor and feeling.

    While previous years may have been weighed down by too much goofiness and too little variety, among the nine plays comprising this year’s Pick of the Vine are several that delve beneath the surface. The opener, David MacGregor’s Immersion Therapy, may not be one of them, but it’s a perfect kickoff to the evening. Every year Melissa (Rachel Levy) gets just what she wants for her birthday. But this year her husband (Daniel Gallai) gives her something she needs: immersion therapy to combat her coulrophobia. Unbeknownst to him, however, there’s an erotic side to Rachel’s fear that might make Freud blush. Contains excellent use of a rubber horn as a phallic symbol.

    There’s not a lot to the second play, Glen Alterman’s Ditmas, which follows a chance meeting of a pair of former junior-high classmates, one of whom has had a sex change. There’s really nowhere for it to go after the big reveal, but its placement between the silliness of Immersion Therapy and the sentiment of Dagney Kerr’s Stay is a testament to the Pick of the Vine 2018’s perfect flow. Initially, though, there’s no guessing that Stay’s reunion of an aged German shepherd (Mary-Margaret Lewis) and a three-year-old poodle (Olivia Schlueter-Corey). But what starts out seeming like just another cutesy people-as-dogs skit becomes surprisingly affecting as the senior canine helps her young best friend gain new perspective on both the bitter and the sweet in our too-short time on Earth. You know it’s slightly mawkish, so you feel a bit silly that you’ve got tears in your eyes. Lewis, Schlueter-Corey, and director James Rice play the scenario just right.

    George Sauer’s Most Popular, a fly-on-the-wall view of a panicky parlay between a pair of middle-aged high-school-reunion crashers who’ve been mistaken for Prom King and Queen, is probably the weakest of the bunch, but it works as a chance to collect yourself after Stay and set you up for J.C. Cifranic’s The Last Word, a Tarantino-inspired scene with a pair of hitmen (Gallai and Ryan Knight), one of whom can’t stand to go forward with the hit because their would-be victim (Perry Shields) won’t cough up some pithy last words. The ensuing argument is funny, but the payoff is even better, including a lighting cue that shows you can work magic with even the most rudimentary of rigs.

    The perfect pacing continues after intermission with Mark Saunders’s The Case of the Missing Know-It-All. Although the title doesn’t make sense—no-one’s ever actually missing—in this is comedy of manners, in his retirement an insufferably arrogant Sherlock Holmes (drolly rendered by Shields) is driving his wife (Lewis) and two grown daughters (Levy and Schlueter-Corey) crazy, so crazy that there’s nothing to do but off him. Ah, but it’s not so easy to outsmart the paragon of deductive reasoning. Saunders’s satire of Arthur Conan Doyle is masterfully pitch-perfect—and, quite simply, funny.

    Until its final twist, there isn’t much to Mario Rivas’s Flat Earther, which has us eavesdropping on Cassandra (Kimberly Patterson) and Martin’s (Knight) first date as they make fun of conspiracy theorists, a lark until it turns out that Cassandra believes that most mass shootings are “false flag” attacks. But she’s about to learn a hard lesson. Rivas probably telegraphs the ending, but it works well enough anyway.

    In Mark Harvey Levine’s Wishes, a man (Gallai) is so addicted to his psychometric ability to divine the wish made on every coin he fishes out of a fountain that his girlfriend (Levy) is leaving him. This one is all about the conclusion, but if you’ve seen Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, it’s going to seem overly derivative.

    Nonetheless, as a final tribute to the night’s ideal flow, Wishes puts us in the right mood for Irene L. Pynn’s The Train, a wordless tale of boy (Knight) meets girl (Schlueter-Corey) in a noisy, crowded subway car. It’s not the most original idea (for the last few months Apple’s been running a long-form iPhone commercial that is at heart the same story), but director Holly Baker-Kresiwirth, with some solid sound cues, make it sing.

    If you’ve attended a previous Pick of the Vine and enjoyed it, you’re sure to be delighted with what they’ve got for you this year. If this is the first you’re hearing of this Little Fish tradition and it sounds worth checking out, your timing is impeccable. There are definitely diamonds in the rough, and the rough is never so bad and always perfectly placed.

    Pick of the Vine
    Time: Fri-Sat 8 p.m., Sun 2 p.m., Runs through Feb. 17
    Cost: $25-27
    Details: Littlefishtheatre.org, (310) 512-6030
    Venue: 777 Centre St., San Pedro

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  • POLA Breaks All-Time Record

    • 01/18/2018
    • Reporters Desk
    • Briefs
    • Comments are off

    SAN PEDRO — On Jan. 12, the Port of Los Angeles announced that it moved  more cargo in 2017 than in any time in its 110-year history, racking up 9,343,192 twenty-foot equivalent, or TEUs, a 5.5 percent increase over 2016’s record-breaking year.

    It’s the most cargo moved annually by a Western Hemisphere port.

    Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka said the port’s growth is a direct result of a concerted, multi-year effort to maximize efficiency throughout the supply chain.

    Supply chain efficiencies implemented by the Port in 2017 included technology upgrades, like the new “Port Optimizer” digital information portal developed by the port in collaboration with GE Transportation. The optimizer aggregates key cargo data online to facilitate better cargo tracking, projections and productivity.

    December imports decreased 2.2 percent to 385,492 TEUs. Exports decreased 7.3 percent to 152,865 TEUs. Along with a 1.5 percent rise in empty containers, overall December containers were 779,210 TEUs, an overall decrease of 2.2 percent compared to the previous year. Current and past data container counts for the Port of Los Angeles may be found here.

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  • Third Annual Bob Marley Festival

    • 01/17/2018
    • Terelle Jerricks
    • Calendar
    • Comments are off

    Reggae legend Bob Marley died almost 40 years ago, but devotees will be celebrating his life at the third annual Marley Festival Jan. 27, at the Gaslamp in Long Beach.

    While reggae’s lyrics often offer elements of social and political commentary — depending on the artist  — at its core, reggae is dance music.

    The lineup for this year’s festival line includes the legendary Don Carlos, a founding member of  Black Uhuru, who performing this show with Soul Syndicate, which was once considered a top reggae session band in Jamaica.

    Black Uhuru and the Soul Syndicate (formerly known as the Rhythm Riders) emerged out of Jamaica in the early 1970s, just as the genre was starting to catch on internationally.

    The Orange County-based band, Common Sense, is probably best known for forcing the rapper to change his name to Common. Active since 1987, the band has a significant following and has released several albums under its own label, Common Sense Records.

    Special guests Simbala, Jah Faith & the Royal Lineage Band and the Ocean Natives will also be performing and DJ Gregory G will be spinning music throughout the night. This event is all ages. Parking is $10 after 6 p.m.

    Time: 5 p.m., Jan. 27
    Cost: $30
    Details: GaslampLongBeach.com
    Venue: Gaslamp, 6251 E. Pacific Coast Highway, Long Beach

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  • Dine By The Harbor: Looking Forward, Looking Back

    • 01/17/2018
    • Richard Foss
    • Cuisine
    • Comments are off

    By Richard Foss, Culture and Cuisine Writer

    News about the closing of Ports O’Call Village has hogged the headlines when it comes to the local restaurant environment. Yet, when it comes to local dining, a lot of other things have been going on in the Harbor Area. It’s worth taking a moment to review major events in the local dining scene in 2017 and what new changes are in the works.

    The first big opening of 2017 was  Jackson’s Place on 7th Street in downtown San Pedro, the area’s first Cajun eatery. The modern dining room quickly became an evening hotspot with live music and a happening wine bar. Lunch and dinner business seems to be doing well, too. The restaurant just expanded the menu and brought in Chef Scott Persson; more changes are likely as he settles in.  Jackson’s Place is at 335 W. 7th St. in San Pedro. Details: (424) 477-5220

    Elsewhere in town, the long-awaited Pappy’s opened to mixed reviews. However, it seems to have stabilized after a change in the service concept. The original pay-at-the-counter pattern was not popular, but table service by an energetic young staff improved the experience. The restaurant is still a work in progress and a full liquor license is pending. That will help Pappy’s compete with other establishments in the area. Pappy’s is at 301 W. 6th St. in San Pedro. Details: (424) 224-5444)

    Around the corner, one of the more promising openings of 2016 fizzled. Punto Cubano got good reviews from the small Cuban community but lasted only a few days past its first year, closing suddenly in December, presumably because of a rent increase. As of this writing, there’s no word about what will replace Punto in the space previously occupied by the very popular Mishi’s Strudel shop. It’s a desirable slot with an extensively remodeled kitchen, so it presumably won’t be vacant long.

    There were a few openings on Western Avenue, mostly fast food places, of which the most noteworthy was Pokeio, specializing in Hawaiian-style tuna and salmon bowls. Marinated raw seafood with different vegetable toppings seems to have hit a savory spot in the American palate. Pokeio seems to be thriving despite competition. Pokeio is at 1385 W. Park Western Ave. in San Pedro. Details:  (310) 400-7052

    Elsewhere, there is action in some odd corners. Despite its eccentric hours, only four days a week, The Chori Man’s homemade sausage in burritos, tacos and quesadillas have been pulling a crowd to the side street. This place is proof that if you have a good enough idea people will find you wherever you are. Other entrepreneurs must be inspired by its success.  The Chori Man is at 2309 Alma St. in San Pedro. Details: (424) 287-2414

    The other culinary business that opened locally doesn’t have much of a dine-in clientele. B.U.L.K. Beef Jerky is misleadingly named, since they sell much more than beef – other critters that are made into jerky and sausage include elk, emu, kangaroo, shark and even python. It’s easily the strangest niche market local business to open in recent memory. Some people stop in just to gawk before being tempted into a purchase. B.U.L.K. Beef Jerky is at 1931 Gaffey St. in San Pedro. Details: (424) 536-3050

                Wilmington was fairly quiet but had one noteworthy new entrant, Smoky Doky BBQ. This is the first barbecue specialist in this area since Porky’s closed in 2016. It has a small counter and most orders are to go. You’re not here for ambiance, but for smoky, peppery meat with the traditional sides. They are doing well enough that they often sell out. Smoky Doky BBQ is at 23 W. Anaheim St. in Wilmington. Details: (424) 364-0588

    Carson also had several small openings and one big one: Restaurant 917 at the Porsche Experience Center. The cars that whiz by on the track may be German, but the food is California creative. The view of the test track is far from the only attraction. Restaurant 917 is at 19800 S. Main St. in Carson. Details:  (770) 290-7917)

    Other restaurants around the area changed in less drastic ways. J. Trani’s remodeled its dining room to focus on the history both of the family business and the city. It’s an attractive new look. There’s a changing of the guard at Babouch as founding owner Kamal Keroles announced the sale of the restaurant and his retirement. The new owner, Trina Mendoza, intends to expand the menu but will keep serving the old favorites. Rafaello’s announced that it will move to a new location on 7th Street (the former DiOrio’s and Caliente Cantina), but the permit and remodeling process will take at least nine or 10 months. This move will put them in the middle of the San Pedro dining and art district and directly across from the owners’ other property, Michael’s Banquet Room.  Rafaello’s will remain open on Pacific Avenue until then. Any closure will be brief.

    The intensity of the downtown San Pedro dining scene will kick up a few notches in 2018 with the opening of Port Town Brewing in the old Liberty Auditorium on 7th Street, by San Pedro Brewing Co’s James Brown. Remodeling is visibly progressing, and the tasting room should open by mid- to late summer. A kitchen may follow, but at the beginning they’ll be using Brew Co’s kitchen for events. There’s also action on 6th Street near Pappy’s, where an establishment called Cabrillo Bakery & Café will open in the former Starbucks. An  Italian restaurant may open soon, but isn’t yet confirmed. The synergies of these openings could change the downtown scene dramatically and bring more customers to all the local businesses, which would be a welcome development indeed.

    Know of any restaurant openings, new culinary business or watering holes? Drop a tip at editor@randomlengthsnews.com.

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