• SoundWalk Group is PUMPing Up Long Beach

    • 09/28/2017
    • Greggory Moore
    • Art
    • Comments are off

    By Greggory Moore, Contributing Writer

    On a temperate October night in 2013, the artist and curatorial collective called FLOOD transformed Long Beach’s East Village Arts District into an indoor and outdoor gallery of sound-art installations.

    Four square blocks of downtown were converted into one big audiovisual playground; people leisurely explored about 40 installations. The experience was unique for each visitor: simple novelty, deep meditation on sound as a transformative environmental factor or a chance to get stoned and trip out in Long Beach’s closest approximation to Burning Man.

    It was called SoundWalk (soundwalk.org), and for 10 years running it was the city’s most unique arts event. But a decade is a long time, enough for sound art to move from the fringes to the mainstream — well, sorta. It became big enough for  the Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles to host a sound-art exhibition of its own. So FLOOD decided to close the book on SoundWalk.

    FLOOD promised to return in 2015 with “a more expansive and more daring event that [would] explore and respond to the synaesthetic experience in which cognitive boundaries dissolve and the senses converge.”  When that didn’t happen as scheduled, SoundWalk devotees couldn’t be blamed for some pessimistic nostalgia.

    But this past June, FLOOD suggested that perhaps the best is yet to come. It introduced soundpedro, a reconceived SoundWalk in indoor and outdoor spaces at San Pedro’s 36-acre Angels Gate Cultural Center. Staged with a commanding 360-degree hilltop view of the horizon as a background, soundpedro’s dozens of fixed, mobile and interactive installations were so well received that another was immediately green-lighted for 2018.

    But soundpedro was a detour on the way to fulfilling FLOOD’s original promise, which will be honored in full beginning Oct. 7 with PUMP — an acronym for Public Urban Multisensory Presentations. PUMP will encompass an array of exhibits, sculptures, environments, installations, site-responsive works, projections, interactions and performances tailored toward isolating or linking our senses and methods of perception in Long Beach.

    If you ever went to SoundWalk, you have some sense of the delights in store with PUMP. If you never went, it’s time to find out what you missed.

    FLOOD’s impetus for PUMP is not merely to celebrate art for its own sake, but to combat what the group views as “local communities’ and governments sometimes dismissive attitude and stance towards arts and culture, [which has] result[ed] in waves of arts scenes coming and going throughout Long Beach history.”

    Neil Mathis’ “Thoughtitarium” is an 8-foot diameter sound modulating hemisphere fabricated with burlap, plaster and water. Photo courtesy of FLOOD

    FLOOD stated on its website that this pattern affects artists lives frequently:

    “[T]hose artists who are able to make the transition from bohemia to the ‘Art World’ no longer, literally or figuratively, count Long Beach as home, with some pulling up stakes and moving elsewhere and others residing but no longer exhibiting here. [PUMP] recognizes our city’s identity as a point of artistic origin while, at the same time, attempting to explore the possibilities of making Long Beach an end point and destination for artists and art lovers.”

    The dismissive attitude that artists have felt is one of the reasons SoundWalk is no more.

    “People are still talking about SoundWalk, but it became logistically impossible to keep doing it downtown,” said FLOOD member Marco Schindelmann, who is the vice-president of the Arts Council for Long Beach. “As the economy recovered [from the financial crisis of 2007–08], businesses weren’t as generous with accommodating installations. But Amy Eriksen [executive director of Angels Gate Cultural Center] was a big fan of SoundWalk and offered up Angels Gate. That’s how we were able to put on soundpedro.”

    Unlike SoundWalk and soundpedro, PUMP is a series of events spread across two weeks. While some works can be experienced at various times during the entire two weeks, others will happen only once. PUMP venues and spaces include the Packard, the Icehouse, the East Village Arts Park, the Collaborative, WE Labs, the Artist Co-Op Gallery and Studios, the Pacific Court Apartments and galleries and studios at 3rd and Elm streets.

    Although neither the Packard nor the Icehouse was originally conceived as an arts venue, Schindelmann said this typifies the city’s art history.

    “A lot of art in Long Beach happens in places that were not designed to feature art but have been adapted to do so,” he noted.

    Aside from its extended physical and chronological footprint, PUMP will also have more of a multisensory thrust. Even though many SoundWalk and soundpedro installations had a strong visual component, Schindelmann said PUMP aims “to move from multimedia to the synaesthetic,” more fully merging sensorial experience — with increased emphasis on the tactile and even the olfactory — rather than giving sound top billing. That being said, attendees will not be lacking for aural stimulation.

    PUMP kicks off on Oct. 7, featuring no less than three opening receptions, which include performances and installations by more than 30 separate artists and groups. As with SoundWalk, soundpedro and every other event FLOOD has ever staged, all aspects of PUMP are free to the public. This is part of FLOOD’s mission to make art accessible.

    FLOOD will be able to stage PUMP’s installations largely thanks to two producers, Michelle Molina and John Chiang. Molina is well known for supporting the arts in Long Beach. While Chiang is less well known around town, the five cavernous floors of the Icehouse give FLOOD an opportunity in terms of scale that the Long Beach arts scene has never seen.

    “Without knowing exactly who we are, Michelle and John are letting us do what we want to do,” Assadi said. “We couldn’t afford these spaces based on our budget.”

    While FLOOD co-founder and President Kamran Assadi expressed pragmatism about the great seismic shift Long Beach needs, he knows from experience how things can take root and grow in the city.

    “I was talking years ago with people about doing this and they called me crazy,” he said. “But SoundWalk started with just three or four of us talking about how nice it would be to bring sound art to Long Beach and by the end it had become an internationally known sound-art event and a signature event for the city.… We’re not expecting Long Beach to become an arts mecca from just one event, but hopefully PUMP will help change the dynamic.”

    For all things PUMP visit lbpump.org.

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  • Hotel Workers Ordinance Fails to Pass

    • 09/28/2017
    • Zamná Ávila
    • News
    • Comments are off

    By Zamná Ávila, Assistant Editor

    Elida Aguirre, representing the Campaign to Stand with Women, told the Long Beach City Council she has worked at the Maya Hotel in Long Beach for 19 years.

    “I am here because I am a housekeeper and I know what it feels to be woman when faced with the threat of sexual harassment from guests,” Aguirre said. “Sometimes we have to work in our areas and if something happens to us we don’t know if someone will hear us if we need help. I have marched in the streets many times and come to city council meetings more times than I can count…. I am tired of asking for support without a clear answer.”

    Sept. 19 was no different. The city council voted 5-4 against a measure that would have provided hotel workers with greater safety tools against harassment and established workload limitations. Voting no were District 3 Councilwoman Suzie Price, District 4 Councilman Daryl Supernaw, District 5 Stacy Mungo, District 6 Councilman Dee Andrews and District Councilman 8 Al Austin.

    The measure, which concerned hotels with 100 or more rooms, failed to pass despite support from politicians such as Rep. Alan Lowenthal and Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn. Attendees left the council chambers screaming, “Shame on you!”

    The item would have directed the city   manager to draft an ordinance that required such hotels to provide panic buttons, notices about harassers or sex offenders to employees, notices in guest rooms about the law concerning harassment, notices of employee rights concerning verbal or physical sexual misconduct by guests, and humane workloads that would have required the managers to pay a full shift’s worth of overtime to housekeepers who work on 4,000 square feet of floor space in a day’s work.

    The Long Beach Police Department reported of at least two attacks against hotel workers in 2016. One was a sexual battery against a woman in the hotel industry, the other was a battery against a man.

    “It is important that our folks are safe,” said Alex Montances of the Filipino Migrant Center before the meeting.

    The proposal was presented as a both a woman’s issue and an immigrant’s issue.

    “This definitely is a woman’s issue,” said former Councilwoman Tonia Reyes Uranga during public comment. “It is also an immigrant issue. When you talk about the majority of housekeepers being women and being from immigrant backgrounds, then this is an immigrant issue. Don’t pussyfoot around. This is what it is.”

    But the majority vote and opponents of the ordinance believed the comprehensive motion was too broad and lacked proper vetting.

    Price said her concern with the proposed ordinance was that it singled out one class of worker, female housekeepers, but ignored other types of workers in the industry.

    “We can’t say ‘yes’ to one class of employees,” she said. “What about the janitors, chefs, and people who work the front desks?”

    Industry opponents cited the way ordinance was written as point of contention.

    “We absolutely are diligent in making sure we have safe workplace for our people,” said Greg Keebler, general manager of the Hilton Long Beach Hotel. “The difference is in the wording of this ordinance and the things that are so prescriptive that they have been written to not allow for a resultant outcome, which may be worse than what you expect. They are written by people who have not spent 37 years in the industry to know what is up on the board is … [not] possible.”

    “Tonight’s item is just bad public policy,” said Jeremy Harris, senior vice president of the Long Beach Area Chamber of Commerce. “The chamber for years — if not decades — has made it a point to ensure that government does not hinder the progress of private sector…. At a minimum we’ve asked in the past to compromise, when we cannot agree. Tonight’s item is an example of the exact opposite. There is no compromise here.”

    Prior to public comment, the proposal’s cosponsor, District 2 Councilwoman Jeanine Pearce addressed those types of remarks.

    “We’ve been at this point before when business said, ‘We can’t do that because we’ll go broke,’” Pearce said. “This policy has vision; it fits the needs of Long Beach; it’s measureable and it’s something that we can be really proud of…. In the letter that we got from the Chamber, it says, ‘Just come to us, just come to us and talk to us’…. Well, people have.”

    Maria Elena Durazo, national vice president of Unite Here hotel and restaurant workers, noted the council members were asked to take sides.

    “It is much more significant to all of the Long Beach housekeepers and immigrants who are forced to live in fear: Fear of the whims of a pathological president, fear of what is on the other side of a hotel guest door, fear of having an unreasonable workload demanded of you and not having the power to say, ‘Ya basta!’”

    Instead, that majority voted 5-4 to draft an alternative resolution to support safe workplaces throughout the hotel industry, protections for women, unionization, technology safety, and promoting diversity. But the resolution has no enforcement bite.

     

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  • Dashed Dreams, Broken Promises

    • 09/28/2017
    • Terelle Jerricks
    • News
    • Comments are off

    Ports O’Call merchants sue port for $25 million

    By Terelle Jerricks, Managing Editor

    Virginia Pavkovich is the operator of MexilatinGifts at Ports O’ Call Village. Photo by Jesse Marquez

    Virginia Pavkovich has operated the Mexilatin Gifts at Ports O’ Call Village since 1962.

    “I have the most unique gifts from Latin American countries,” the long time proprietor explained. “I’ve been here for more than 50 years. This is my bread and butter. I can’t be thrown out into the streets just like that. We’ve been here long enough to deserve some respect.”

    Akibu Jamal, owner of the African American Gift Shop for the past 28 years, expressed similar sentiments.

    “They act as if we were nothing,” Jamal said during the Sept. 19 press conference at which he and his fellow shop owners announced they were suing the port over its handling during the redevelopment of Ports O’ Call. “They asked us to leave and left the big shops alone … to stay…. We’re both here doing business [referring to the larger tenants such as the San Pedro Fish Market and Spirit Cruises]. They shouldn’t discriminate. If they wanted to demolish this then everyone should have to go. This is America.”

    Pavkovich and Jamal, like more than a dozen other small Ports O’ Call business owners, thought the Port of Los Angeles was going to negotiate in good faith with “successful” businesses that wanted to continue operating in the new San Pedro Market Place.

    What they got instead were recurring conversations about relocating elsewhere with no promise of return to the San Pedro Waterfront, while the San Pedro Fish Market, Spirit Cruises and Port’s O’ Call Restaurant were guaranteed space in the new San Pedro Market Place.

    Everything came to a head this past June when the port issued eviction notices to 15 shop owners that would be effective Oct. 2.

    In response, the shop owners filed a $25 million lawsuit against the port for intentional and negligent misrepresentation and false promises, among other charges.

    One after another, the tenants said they were mislead, if not downright lied to about their ability to stay after the redevelopment was completed.

    Among the items the shop owners are calling for are:

    • Relocation to a temporary location at Ports O’ Call during the construction, noting that there are two large potential lot space areas available: one north and one south.
    • The temporary location to be made up of 15 portable mobile offices or bungalows ranging from 500 square feet to 1,500 square feet.
    • Signage at all streets and freeway exits leading to Ports O’ Call Village for visitors
    • That the developer rebuild the historical Ports O’ Call Village about 1,500 square feet in the new development project
    • That shop owners have the first right of refusal in the new development.
    • Assurance that the new project shops rent will be reasonable to current San Pedro area market rates.

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  • Blind Allegiance is Not Patriotism

    • 09/28/2017
    • James Preston Allen
    • At Length
    • Comments are off

    NFL players have as much right to protest as anyone else

     By James Preston Allen, Publisher

    I have been thinking lately that I should be reading a book on the fall of the Roman Empire as the Twitterer-in-Chief is waging wars and picking fights with kneeling NFL football players while significant portions of our country are being submerged by massive hurricanes and historic floods — as if his own twitter-storms haven’t stimulated enough resistance to his unpopular reign of error. No. 45 still hasn’t drained any swamps in Washington D.C., Texas or Florida.

    That there’s a swamp in his own administration is laughable. A couple of years ago, Sens. John McCain and Jeff Flake released a report on the $53 million the Department of Defense paid to professional sports for the inclusion patriotic displays during games between 2012-2015. We still have performers singing the national anthem, color guards leading crowds in the Pledge of Allegiance and parachute drop-ins from planes to start the games says that  taxpayer money is still being doled out.

    I have written previously about my support for Colin Kaepernick’s kneeling protest. I am even more inspired by the growing solidarity across the spectrum of professional sports such as the NFL, NBA and even Nascar. Local high school teams are “taking a knee” and linking arms as the national anthem is played. This is a powerful statement on the national stage of sports TV that will engage a whole set of beer drinking fans to question the meaning of overt flag waving and blind patriotism. This, however, is nothing new.

    Some will remember heavyweight boxing champion Muhammad Ali’s protest of the Vietnam War in 1967 when he refused to be drafted. Ali lost his title and was convicted of draft evasion.

    In the following year at the summer Olympics in Mexico City, track medalists Tommie Smith and John Carlos gave their iconic black fist salute when our anthem played — both were powerful statements on the world stage of sports. These acts of protest and resistance took courage and sacrifice on the part of these athletes and others and it cannot be overlooked that the majority of them are black Americans. That white America is still shocked, amazed or upset only begs the question, why?

    It seems to also go slightly unnoticed, but in clear view of anyone paying attention, that these displays of patriotism are not so subtle forms of national propaganda to inspire recruitment into our armed forces and making military service “heroic” if not fundamental to “being an American.”

    The same might be said of the U.S. Navy’s Fleet Week enterprise that hosts the public at almost every major U.S. port once a year including San Pedro.  It’s great to see the sailors and to open up our town to the publicity, but the underlying propaganda of this event is only questioned by some. Few ask, “Why do we need to spend $54 billion more for defense when our schools, healthcare and infrastructure need it more?”

    This of course opens the door to even larger questions about the cost of maintaining American military dominance and why it is necessary. The Pentagon and related spending totaled $598 billion, about 54 percent of the fiscal year 2015 U.S. discretionary budget. For FY 2017, President Barack Obama proposed the base budget of $523.9 billion, which included an increase of $2.2 billion over the FY 2016-enacted budget of $521.7 billion.

    And yet, when the Republicans in Congress look to cut taxes and spending, the military is a sacred cow, or more precisely a permanent expenditure to maintaining empire.  Ultimately, it will be the defense budget, not Social Security or Medicare, that bankrupts our country.

    In all of the protest and controversy over the national anthem and the Pledge of Allegiance, Attorney General Jeff Sessions defends the Twitterer-in-Chief’s stance on NFL players not standing for the national anthem, but comes out swinging for free speech for conservative speakers on campuses.

    What rankles Sessions and Trump the most is that these famous sports stars who are looked up to by millions of fans still have a conscience about injustice in America even while they make huge salaries entertaining them.

    So maybe, just maybe, we need to rethink our national anthem. Some suggest Woodie Guthrie’s This Land is Your Land — as it is called the “people’s anthem” or might we invite the ghost of Jimi Hendrix to play his instrumental version without the lyrics at the next Super Bowl?

    In the end, Grand Apprentice Trump has made America more divided over the symbols of Americanism and accomplished nothing of substance to improve the lives of the majority.  He is the best example of why making government work like a business is such a bad idea —particularly when the guy who gets elected is so atrociously bad at business himself.  And yet, with all of the intelligence and frankness that Obama exhibited as president in his 8 years in office, he could not raise the public discourse on racism in America to the height that Trump has in just 8 months!

    And just for complete transparency, I haven’t said the Pledge of Allegiance since I was 17 years old at the height of the Vietnam War. Blind allegiance to a flag doesn’t make one more of a patriot, nor does it secure the liberties enshrined in our constitution. Kneeling during the National Anthem doesn’t make you less of a patriot either.

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  • Arsenio Rodriguez Project

    • 09/21/2017
    • Reporters Desk
    • Calendar
    • Comments are off

    ENTERTAINMENT

     

    Sept. 23
    The Arsenio Rodriguez Project
    The Arsenio Rodriguez Project is an all-star ensemble of top Los Angeles musicians dedicated to the music and memory of Arsenio Rodriguez, the father of Cuban Salsa.
    Time: 8 p.m. Sept. 23
    Cost: $20
    Details: www.grandvision.org
    Venue: Grand Annex, 434 W. 6th St.,San Pedro

    Sept. 24
    Soniquett Flamenco
    Experience an exciting afternoon of Flamenco dance and music. The show features Sarah Parra, Jose Cortez, Diego Alvarez Muñoz Jose Tanaka, Cuadro Flamenco dancers and Flamenco Guitar Dojo guitarists.
    Time: 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. Sept. 24
    Cost: $25 to $35
    Details: http://tinyurl.com/soniquett-flamenco
    Venue: Grand Annex, 434 W. 6th St., San Pedro

    Popfuji IV: An Independent LA Music Showcase
    Brouwerij West’s monthly summer concert series, Popfuji, continues with its fourth indie music summer concert. The September lineup features: Caught a Ghost:
    Time: 12 to 8 p.m. Sept. 24
    Cost: Free
    Details: www.brouwerijwest.com
    Venue: Brouwerij West, 110 E. 22nd St., San Pedro

    Sept. 29
    Sept. Swing Party at The Sky Room
    Long Beach’s dance-friendly, deco supper-club The Sky Room hosts their swing sextet.
    Time: 7:30 to 11:30 p.m. Sept. 29
    Cost: Free
    Details: (562) 983-2703
    Venue: The Sky Room, 40 S. Locust Ave., Long Beach

    Sept. 30
    Everyday Outlaw

    Down from the High Sierras, this Tahoe-based country band kicks up the best of Waylon Jennings, Merle Haggard and George Jones with a traditional honky-tonk lineup of acoustic guitar, telecaster, pedal steel, bass and drums.
    Time: 8 p.m. Sept. 30
    Cost: $20
    Details: www.grandvision.org
    Venue: Grand Annex, 434 W. 6th St., San Pedro

    The Fred Schreuders Project
    Makule Productions is proud to announce the next monthly event offering the best in jazz, featuring the Fred Schreuders Project.
    Time: 8 p.m. Sept. 30
    Cost: $20
    Details: (310) 320-8802
    Venue: Ohana Club Room, 21718 S. Vermont Ave., Torrance

    Stones & Stewart
    Stones & Stewart takes the audience back to this magical time in the 70s and 80s. Jumping Jack Flash as the Stones and Gregory Wolfe as Sir Rodney deliver the one-two rock ’n’ roll knock-out punch.
    Time: 8 to 11 p.m. Sept. 30
    Cost: $17.50 to $22.50
    Details: http://tinyurl.com/stones-gaslamp
    Venue: Gaslamp Long Beach, 6251 E. Pacific Coast Highway, Long Beach

    THEATER

    Sept. 30
    All in the Timing

    The Studio Theatre proudly presents All in the Timing by David Ives. This critically acclaimed, award-winning evening of comedic short plays combines wit, intellect, satire and just plain fun. Ives’ collection of six fast-paced glimpses into the eccentricities of life, love, communication and dating will shine a light at the absurdity of life.
    Time: 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and 2 p.m. Sundays, through 30
    Cost: $14 to $24
    Details: (562) 494-1014; www.lbplayhouse.org
    Venue: Long Beach Playhouse, 5021 E. Anaheim St., Long Bea

    Oct. 7
    Kill Climate Deniers

    The global premiere of playwright and activist David Finnigan’s hyper-real story for the stage told in the style of an action film that looks squarely into our battle against man-made extinction. What happens when the unstoppable force of climate change meets the immovable object of politics?
    Time: 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturdays, through Oct. 7
    Cost: $15 to $25
    Details: www.thegaragetheatre.org
    Venue: The Garage Theatre, 251 E. 7th St., Long Beach

    Oct. 21
    Boeing Boeing
    A zany French farce featuring the swinging bachelor Bernard and his three stewardesses – all engaged to him without knowing about each other.  Turbulence abounds when airline schedules change and they all end up at his Parisian flat at the same time.
    Time: 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturday, through Oct. 21
    Cost: $23 to $45
    Details: https://shakespearebythesea.secure.force.com
    Venue: Little Fish Theatre, 777 Centre St., San Pedro

    Oct. 21
    Dracula
    Celebrate the Halloween season with the Long Beach Playhouse in the company of the most classic monster ever to roam through literature, film, and stage – Count Dracula! As Lucy Seward succumbs to a mysterious illness which is draining her life force, her father and his long-time associate, Dr. Van Helsing hunt the true cause of her malady – a vampire stalking London.
    Time: 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sundays, through Oct. 21
    Cost: $20
    Details: (562) 494-1014; www.lbplayhouse.org
    Venue: Long Beach Playhouse, 5021 E. Anaheim St., Long Beach

    ARTS

    Oct. 5
    Diasporagasm
    South Bay Contemporary Gallery in conjunction with Michael Stearns Studio 347 presents a co-
    located multimedia exhibition Diasporagasm. This exhibit is curated by artist, Beyoncenista, the alter ego of April Bey. This exhibit acts as a performance bringing together melanated artists working in Los Angeles, Haiti, Ghana, the Caribbean and West Africa.
    Drawing from the groundbreaking film Moonlight—a timeless story of human connection and
    self-discovery, the curator appropriates, amends and recontextualizes the juxtaposition of art,
    race and gender. The opening reception is from 6 to 9 p.m. Oct. 5.
    Time: Oct. 5 through Nov. 18
    Cost: Free
    Details: (562) 400-0544
    Venue: Gallery 347, 347 W. 7th St., San Pedro

    Oct. 31
    17th Annual Frida Kahlo Artist Exhibit

    Enjoy another awe-inspiring exhibit featuring several artists at Picture This Gallery. The opening reception night, from 4 to 8 p.m. Sept. 16, will include live musical performances featuring CASI SON and Omar Perez, as well as Frida look-alike contest.
    Time: 12 to 7 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays, through Oct. 31
    Cost: Free
    Details: (562) 233-3726
    Venue: Picture This Gallery, 4130 Norse Way, Long Beach

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

    COMMUNITY

     

    Sept. 24
    Caribbean Festival
    Experience a day in the sun Caribbean-style. Bring your friends and family to explore Caribbean cuisine, music, and culture. Enjoy live performances, art workshops, face painting and local food and craft vendors that represent the diversity and vibrant cultures of the Caribbean.
    Time: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 24
    Cost: Free
    Details: www.molaa.org
    Venue: Museum of Latin American Art, 628 Alamitos Ave., Long Beach

    Sept. 28
    Dark Harbor on The Queen Mary

    The normally placid Long Beach Harbor transforms into a seaport of pure Halloween horror as the Captain and the other Dark Harbor Sinister Eight Spirits return to prey on any mortals who dare to enter their realm after dark. You’ll make your way through spine-tingling mazes on and around the haunted Queen Mary, including for the first time a fourth maze aboard the ship.
    Time: Sept. 28 through Oct. 9
    Cost: $12
    Details: http://tidd.ly/aa6af0ea
    Venue: Queen Mary, 1126 Queens Way, Long Beach

    Light The Night
    Help celebrate the new colorful Ferris wheel at The Pike Outlets at the Light the Night event. The iconic Ferris wheel at The Pike Outlets got a colorful makeover.
    Time: 6 to 10 p.m. Sept. 28
    Cost: Free
    Venue: The Pike Outlets, 95 S Pine Ave., Long Beach

    Southern California Boat Show
    Premiering this Fall, the Southern California In-Water Boat Show is making a big splash at Cabrillo Way Marina in the heart of Los Angeles Harbor. Come aboard and compare a large selection of new boats, as well as some of the finest brokerage vessels on the Pacific Coast.
    Time: 12 to 7 p.m. Sept. 28
    Cost: $15
    Details: www.socalboatshow.com
    Venue: Cabrillo Way Marina, 2500 Miner St., San Pedro

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  • Long Beach Goes Sanctuary

    • 09/21/2017
    • Zamná Ávila
    • Briefs
    • Comments are off

    On Sept. 19, chants from outside the overflowing Long Beach City Hall could be heard throughout the almost eight hours it took the city council to hear a motion that would help its undocumented community.

    “What do we want?”

    “Sanctuary!”

    “When do we want it?

    “Now!”

    “Sí se puede!”

    “Let us in!”

    “We want to see a real commitment that [the council members] are going to protect every resident,” Alex Montances of the Filipino Migrant Center said before the item was presented by the council. “Folks can say it’s symbolic, but it means more to us…. It is a show of support…. We understand that [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] will do whatever they can.”

    The Long Beach Values Act of 2017 is a pledge to adopt and expand state Senate Bill 54, which protects undocumented people by prohibiting state personnel from sharing information with federal immigration enforcement agencies, such as ICE.

    The Long Beach City Council voted, 7-1, with Councilman Daryl Supernaw absent and Stacy Mungo opposed to the item.

    “I support Dreamers; I support state law, but I really wish we would follow our own process,” said Mungo, who wanted the item to go through the city’s legislative committee.

    District 1 Councilwoman Lena Gonzalez, who put the motion on the agenda, specified that she wanted the policy to include protecting local Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and Dreamer students, preventing future deportations of local residents, examining county partnerships, protecting the information of local immigrant residents and advocating for pro-immigrant policies.

    “As the daughter of immigrants, myself, I know firsthand the value immigrants bring to the City of Long Beach,” Gonzalez said. “This is our sanctuary policy. Long Beach Values Act is what we are calling it…. Not only does it provide protections, it will provide resources for our immigrants.”

    “DACA came forward as a response to Congress’ inability to pass a Dream Act,” District 7 Councilman Roberto Uranga said. “The Dream Act, as many of you might know, provides a pathway toward citizenship, something that I guess Congress has a hard time dealing with. But, I guess we are dealing with it now.”

    After Donald Trump’s order via his Attorney General Jeff Sessions, to end DACA within six months, Dreamers are now in limbo, especially newer applicants.

    “The repeal of DACA by the administration proposes to break up families and I think it’s absolutely the wrong way to go,” said District 8 Councilman Al Austin.

    “DACA affects a lot of students who want to continue their education,” Uranga said. “There are some examples of people who have gone through our educational system and have become doctors, but are afraid to practice because of their status.”

    The policy of the Long Beach Values Act, which is being written in collaboration with local immigrant rights organizations and educational institutions, will be presented to the council after 60 days.

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  • Explore the Culinary Traces of a Vanquished Empire

    • 09/21/2017
    • Richard Foss
    • Cuisine
    • Comments are off

    By Richard Foss, Culture and Cuisine Writer

    I make a living with words, but like anyone else I’m sometimes careless with them.

    I was reminded of this during an email exchange in which someone mused about Hispanic cuisine, and they did so in response to and email where I had used the phrase “Latino cuisine.” We had been using those words interchangeably, but was there a definite difference?

    There is, and you can prove it in the usual manner. Do a Google search for “Latino restaurants” and “Hispanic restaurants” and the top hits will be Mexican, but there are divergences down the line. The Hispanic list will include references to actual Spanish eateries, while the Latino search includes Caribbean and South American places.

    That’s as it should be, because technically all things Latino-American are a subset of items that are Hispanic. Hispanic refers to the culture of Spain and Portugal (the ancient Roman province of Hispania), while Latino-American is about cultural fusions in the Americas that include Spanish influence.

    Spain’s culinary heritage spread via its empire, which peaked in the 1600s. You may have heard the slogan, “The sun never sets on the British Empire.” But not only was the Spanish Kingdom a major worldwide colonial power, that phrase was first said about the Spanish, not the British. There were Spanish and Portuguese in both east and west Africa and in Asia, which is why your command of those languages will be useful in places as diverse as Angola, Macao, Mozambique and the Philippines.

    And of course, the Spanish impacted Central America and its cuisine; though once you get any further south than that, things get complicated. From the Mexican border through the Isthmus of Panama there are two major elements to the fusion, the Spaniards and the Native Americans. That doesn’t mean there is one cuisine, because the native people had highly developed cuisines based on their ecologies. All used corn as their primary grain, but the Aztecs in the high plains, Mayas of the Yucatan jungles and Zapotecs in the mountains around Oaxaca had different seasonings and ingredients available. Those cuisines are still distinctive after hundreds of years of European influence.

    Central America south of the Mayan culture had smaller cultural groupings in less diverse ecologies, and their cuisines were almost lost shortly after contact with Europeans. There are minor Afro-Caribbean influences, but none from the Inca, the greatest civilization on the southern continent. The impenetrable jungles of Panama meant that the rich traditions of the Incas and their staple crop, the potato, never came north until Europeans made the transfer.

    Once you get to South America, Latino cuisine has a host of influences. Brazilian food is almost as African as it is Spanish, and Argentinian food might be described as what would happen if an Italian, a cowboy, and a Spaniard were locked in a kitchen together. An 19th century influx of Chinese railroad workers and Japanese farmers makes Peruvian cuisine a Euro-Asian fusion that existed long before Californians thought they had invented something. And that list doesn’t even get to the cuisines of the Caribbean, which have fusions of Latino and French, British, and even Dutch elements.

    Another Latino cuisine that you might not have considered is further north. The historic cuisine of the California ranchos was obliterated by Anglo settlers, but they bypassed New Mexico, so rich traditions there survived more or less intact. The place most people don’t consider as Latino is the American South — Spain ruled Louisiana for more than 50 years and there are echoes of paella in jambalaya. Not convinced? Consider the name of the peppery Louisiana pork sausage called chaurice — sound like a Frenchman trying to pronounce chorizo to you?

    In fact, let’s take a look at other variants of chorizo to show how diverse one staple of Latino cuisine is. Here in California, we usually get Mexican-style chorizo, a greasy, crumbly pork sausage that is sold fresh and is usually cooked into eggs. (This is one of many regional varieties, but it’s the default so I’m sticking with that to reduce confusion. I’ll add the confusion back in soon.) The original chorizo of Spain is also a pork sausage and shares the use of garlic and paprika, but it has a much coarser grind of meat, less fat, and is sold ready to eat after being cured and aged for months. The two versions of chorizo are not at all interchangeable.

    Things get odder further south. Brazilian chouriço usually contains some pork blood, vinegar and a bit of sugar, Argentine chorizo has ground bell pepper, and Ecuadorians add cinnamon and cumin. There are plenty of other variants. I used chorizo as an example, but might have chosen plenty of items; tamales have a geographic and stylistic range that goes from Mississippi to Peru.

    So what does all this mean for someone in the Harbor Area who is dining out or cooking at home? In restaurants it means you should keep an open mind about the things you are served, because there is a vast stylistic variety. If the thing on your plate is markedly different from what you’re used to, it’s probably not that they made it wrong, but that they follow a different tradition. Ask your server about the regional style and you’ll probably learn things that will inform future experiences.

    For those who are cooking at home, it’s worth keeping in mind that those differences exist and so do stores that stock just about any variety your recipe calls for. You may end up making an extra stop or two on your shopping trip, but the item you make will have the flavor balance that you’re trying to achieve.

    The cuisine of Spain is rich and varied, and when it came to our hemisphere it blended with local traditions to create delightful hybrids. It’s worth the time to seek out both original and fusions to experience and get in tune with the evolving world of both Hispanic and Latino cuisine.

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  • Interview with The Chori-Man

    • 09/21/2017
    • Richard Foss
    • Cuisine
    • Comments are off

    Sausages Link Generations

    By Richard Foss, Culture and Cuisine Writer

    Humberto Raygoza talks about chorizo with the enthusiasm most people reserve for politics and sports. He started The Chori-Man in 2013, and less than two months ago opened a storefront in San Pedro. The little shop in a residential neighborhood is open only three days a week, but does a booming business selling burritos, tacos and sausage by the pound.

    Humberto Raygoza, The Chori-Man, shows off his chorizo. Photo by Richard Foss

    Richard Foss: Where in Mexico did you grow up, and how did you get into this business?
    Humberto Raygoza: I was born and raised in Antelope Valley, but every summer I would spend a month with my grandparents in Mexico. My parents are from Zacatecas — my father’s side of the family is all butchers. As I got older the deal was that I would spend time with my dad’s side of the family, working in their butcher shops, and with my mom’s side of the family working in their poultry business.
    I started making chorizo in my house in Culver City and walked the streets to sell it. I did that for a year and a half, and after eight months I landed my first big account, the Federal Bars in Long Beach and North Hollywood. A year after that I was invited to Crafted to do catering, and I have been in Crafted and Browerij West since 2015.

    RF: How is your chorizo different from the stuff in supermarkets?
    HR: When my grandparents and great-grandparents made chorizo, they used the meat that was left on the bones after the big pieces had been cut off. The big companies are making it with fillers like lymph nodes and glands that should be trashed. The stuff that we make is all from pork shoulder and picnic cuts.

    RF: What about the seasoning?
    HR: People grow different spices and peppers around Mexico, and everybody uses their own chiles, whether it’s pasillas, guajillos, negros, whichever. That means there are subtle differences wherever you go. The one thing you don’t find is chorizo that has the texture and seasoning that is most common [in the U.S]. If you look at the label of chorizos by the big companies, they name it Mexican, but there’s no actual region of Mexico where they eat a sausage exactly like that. Nobody seems to know where this style comes from. Try asking them and see what they tell you, if they even respond to the question. (I did call several commercial chorizo manufacturers. As of the time this article went to press none had responded.)

    RF: What kinds of chorizo do you make now, and do you plan to expand your product line?
    HR: I make Southern Mexican Toluqueño chorizo, a green chorizo with poblano and coriander, and also Zacatecan red. I also make two styles of Argentinean chorizo and one Sonoran, but those are exclusively for sale to restaurants. I’m practicing making new chorizos, and this is my test kitchen. I want to incorporate smoked chorizos… they only do that in one little region of Mexico, around Toluca, and their smoking techniques are a little rough.

     The Chori-Man is at 2309 S. Alma St. in San Pedro. Open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Fri.-Sun. only. Phone (424) 287-2414.

    Click here and print coupon for a 10% discount at The Chori-Man

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  • Casual Laborers Want Full-Time Work

    • 09/18/2017
    • Terelle Jerricks
    • News
    • Comments are off

    By Terelle Jerricks, Managing Editor

    On Sept. 8, about 300 casual longshore workers demonstrated in front of  the Casual Dispatch Hall in Wilmington. Similar amount of workers protested for more opportunities to become registered full union members.

    Random Lengths News received a tip from one casual who asked not reveal his name since the organizers placed an embargo on communications with media until they were ready.

    He said about 200 jobs were left unfilled. Random Lengths requested comment from the Pacific Maritime Association’s Wade Gate, but he never confirmed if the action affected port operations.

    ILWU Local 63 President Paul Trani, representing the Marine Clerks, was quoted in the Press Telegram speaking to the heart of the casual’s complaint.

    “They are frustrated,” Trani said. “They have been sacrificing their family. Many have two jobs.”

    Officials from three ILWU locals — Locals 63, 13 and 94 — issued a joint statement that day saying that they did not condone the action.

    “As always, Locals 13, 63 and 94 are committed to fill all labor needed for the movement of cargo in the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach,” the brief statement said.

    More than 5,000 casuals pick up intermittent work along the docks at a dispatch center in Wilmington. The workers have been preselected in a random lottery, and once they build up enough seniority through hours worked, they can qualify to pick up full-time work. But those roles are rarely opened, and many part-timers have been waiting for more than a decade to land a job as a registered ILWU (ID) member.

    The casual that called in the tip to Random Lengths said he has put in more than 5,000 hours and has been working the docks for 13 years yet still hasn’t received a job with security and benefits.

    Earlier this year, the ILWU and the Pacific Maritime Association, representing shippers and terminals at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, hosted a random lottery for more part-timers, effectively expanding the list and making the wait times longer for those at the very bottom.

    ILWU Local 13 asked the PMA to hire 600 casuals on a full-time basis, and ILWU Local 63 asked that 100 positions be filled in its union. However, the PMA has declined to do so even with record levels of cargo crossing the docks at both of the local harbors.

    “We don’t have enough clerks to fill these jobs. We want more clerks,” Trani said. “Every day there’s at least a couple hundred jobs that go unfilled by [full-time] marine clerks.”

    The PMA declined to comment to the media as of press time, but it is understood that the ports have been urging the union and the shipping association to address this issue.

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  • Westin Long Beach Gets Unionized

    • 09/15/2017
    • Reporters Desk
    • Briefs
    • Comments are off

    LONG BEACH — On Sept. 8, Highgate Hotels, the new owners of the Westin Long Beach Hotel, announced the approval of the unionization of its employees.

    Highgate Hotels bought the Westin in mid-August.

    The Westin is a full service hotel with 474 guest rooms, meeting rooms, banquet facilities and a full restaurant and bar.

    Westin workers have been seeking unionization, with the assistance of United Here Local 11 since 2015, when lawyers representing employees filed a lawsuit alleging the former owners, Starwood Hotels, failed to pay full wages and provide rest breaks for housekeepers and food service workers. Hotel workers, in general, have high rates of work-related injury, particularly those employed in housekeeping. Unite Here Local 11 represents more than 25,000 hospitality workers in Southern California and Arizona.

    Councilwoman Jeannine Pearce had helped arrange a meeting to end the dispute.

    The next step will be to negotiate a labor contract with management concerning pay, benefits and working conditions.

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