• Standing Where U2 Stood Against the Joshua Tree

    • 07/07/2017
    • Lyn Jensen
    • Music
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    By Lyn Jensen, Contributing Writer

    In the darkness of the reactionary Reagan era, U2 lit a candle, an unforgettable fire of music that mattered.

    Throughout the 80s these four white Christian street punks from Dublin — Bono, The Edge, Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen Jr. — gave us songs that honored Martin Luther King, Jr. and protested American policy in Latin America. They played for famine relief in Africa and organized an entire tour to benefit Amnesty International.

    In 1987, U2 named a history-making rock album after a California desert plant — The Joshua Tree. It gave the world I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For, and 10 other tracks that U2 fans consider essential.

    U2 is on tour celebrating the 30th anniversary of The Joshua Tree, playing all the songs in order. The album photoshoot is as much a part of rock history as the music. Finding the locations where the iconic pictures were taken is a challenge U2 fans (like me) relish.

    The site of the album’s front cover photo is fairly easy to find, being the lookout at familiar Zabriskie Point. (U2’s choice for a location may have been influenced by the film with that title.) The back cover, showing the band members posing with a lone spreading Joshua tree, is more obscure, a random California location.

    Bono’s often been coy about the tree’s whereabouts.

    “I don’t know if we’ll ever find that Joshua tree again,” he told an interviewer during the ‘87 Joshua Tree tour. “I hope that if people do find the Joshua tree, they won’t cut it down and take it home … or bring it to a gig! ‘Hey, Baaano!  I got yer tree!’”

    In the same interview, he described how they first found the tree.

    “We just spotted it by the roadside,” he said. “Anton Corbijn, our photographer, was the first to see it, so he called, ‘Stop the bus!’ and went racing across the desert.… We thought it was a very powerful graphic image.”

    With the help of Melinda Lewis who spent the 80s as a rock journalist, I pieced together directions from some clippings and blogs and we drove to the Owens Valley, turning east for several miles along state highway 190. We parked at a turnout — probably the one U2’s bus stopped at — about 1.7 miles before a dirt road that cuts across Lee’s Flat. We found the distinctive mountain ridge seen in the photo to be the north side of the Coso range.

    Before GPS became common, some fans resorted to taking the Joshua Tree record album and driving around likely sites in the California desert until they found a mountain ridge and a Joshua tree that looked exactly like the one in the photos. Nowadays, the tree’s GPS coordinates can be found online. But GPS coordinates are just numbers; finding the tree is an experience.

    Unfortunately, the tree fell down in 2000 so it can no longer be seen from the road. Joshua trees live for centuries, and this specimen, judging by its height of 10 to 12 feet, obviously had. On an isolated California desert flat, it grew to a distinctive shape sometime before 1900, starred in one of the 20th century’s great rock photos, and then, its work on earth done, expired with the millennium.

    Today, Lee’s Flat sports miles of Joshua trees, making a fallen one harder to find. Referring to the Joshua Tree CD I keep in my car, I visually located the distinctive notch in the mountain range. With that as a guide, my eyes moved to the near distance, to a conspicuously vacant spot between two or three Joshua trees, as if something unseen were there — a fallen tree, perhaps. From the turnout, a shallow sandy wash led in that direction and the sand showed fresh footprints.

    The makers of those fresh footprints turned out to be three other U2 fans. Yes, they said, they’d been to the tree.

    They pointed to the spot I’d been eyeing, and told me to walk to an odd-looking small white spot, between one very tall single-stalk Joshua and what looked like a smaller double-stalk Joshua (which turned out to be two single-stalk Joshua trees on a line).

    Seekers of the tree need to walk through desert sand, so the usual precautions are advised. One source says the tree’s 3,500 feet off the road, but I think it’s closer than that. As I walked, I noticed stone trail markers, which helped. I followed the wash over some slight ridges to a shallow gully that’s visible at the base of the tree in the album photos.

    I could see how the fallen tree resembles a cross, with its two main branches sticking out at right angles, and the decaying yucca clusters falling about like a robe. One little-known fact about The Joshua Tree is that it’s wordplay for Christ’s cross. Joshua is a variant of Jesus, and tree is a synonym for cross.

    Where U2 stood for the Joshua Tree photo, someone spelled out, “Leave it behind” with rocks.

    People do leave things behind here. The whitish landmark proved to be a disintegrating guitar. A silvery sticker-plastered suitcase was tucked under a branch. The fans I spoke with had left their own small wooden plaque with:“We found what we’re looking for,” with their names and the date.

    Someone has marked the spot in a more permanent way. An elaborate bronze plaque, less than a yard square, set in cement, preserves for posterity the sight of the tree against the mountain range. It’s where the tree may once have shaded it.

    The plaque reads, “Have you found what you’re looking for” with no question mark. There’s no indication of who put it there, but I’d like to think U2 themselves were involved.

    I left to go find whatever else my heart was still looking for.

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  • Miguel Atwood-Ferguson Pays Tribute to J. Dilla

    • 07/07/2017
    • Melina Paris
    • Music
    • Comments are off

    By Melina Paris, Music Columnist

    Re-imagining the transcendent music of legendary producer Jay Dee, (or J. Dilla) is how multi-instrumentalist, arranger and composer, Miguel Atwood-Ferguson described his June 24 show at Grand Performances.

    The beloved J. Dilla’s music couldn’t have been in better hands than Atwood-Ferguson’s to re-envision and continue his ongoing legacy. It was in 2009 when Atwood-Ferguson originally composed and conducted the historic Suite for Ma Dukes concert – named for Dilla’s mother – leading more than 60 musicians at Luckman Fine Arts Complex in Los Angeles. He considers it one of his greatest achievements.

    This Grand Performances event was arranged and music directed by Miguel Atwood-Ferguson for 26-piece ensemble. It combined a mixture of Dilla’s music translated to chamber music and new originals composed by Atwood-Ferguson.

    Dilla

    Among the many fans and contemporaries of James Dewitt Yancey (Feb. 7, 1974 – Feb. 10, 2006), transcendent is the prevalent opinion about the prolific hip-hop producer and rapper. Known by the stage names J. Dilla and Jay Dee, his vast musical knowledge came from his parents. His mother is a former opera singer and his father was a jazz bassist.

    Dilla died in his prime at the young age of 32. He had suffered more than three years with an incurable blood disease and had also been diagnosed with lupus. He left behind a huge body of work, which is being rediscovered anew.

    He emerged from the mid-1990’s underground hip-hop scene in Detroit as part of the group Slum Village. After Slum Village’s major label debut in 2000 with Fantastic, Volume 2, Dilla broke out on his own. He debuted in 2001 with the single, Fuck the Police followed by the album Welcome 2 Detroit. In the following short five years, he moved forward at a furious pace producing his own music and contributing to many other artists’ work.

    Known as one of the music industry’s most influential hip-hop artists, Dilla had a distinguishable sound with his beats, vocal samples and synths. His producing skills can be heard on more than 30 albums of his own within his lifetime. As well, many of his works have been released posthumously. Dilla produced and was master of ceremonies on countless records or tracks for artists such as, A Tribe Called Quest, (Get a Hold) De La Soul, (Stakes is High) Busta Rhymes, Erykah Badu, The Roots, The Pharcyde, D’Angelo, Mos Def, Bilal and Common.

    Commonality in music

    Atwood-Ferguson and Dilla are both gifted multi-instrumentalists. Dilla played cello, keyboard, trumpet, violin and drums. Later when he learned the MPC drum machine he proved to be a quick study in that realm too. Atwood-Ferguson plays violin, viola, cello, bass, piano, keyboards and percussion.

    Maybe it’s a musical dialect or an inherent understanding of expression through building and layering musical landscapes between two gifted artists and producers. Atwood-Ferguson’s re-imagination of Dilla’s compositions proved to be an elevating experience.

    Dilla’s heavy, wobbly, looped beats and experimental soundscapes were translated into chamber music, without letting go of that head bopping beat Dilla was revered for. This was a magic combination of classical music interwoven with rolling beats.

    Luscious strings led arrangements. Various instruments took on other characteristics. At times Atwood-Ferguson’s viola sounded like a horn or the strings mirrored sounds of being under water. It was an experience as much as it was an event in finely orchestrated pleasure.

    Carlos Niño was featured on percussion. Frequently his sounds wrapped around the elegant compositions adding a dimension of natural elements. Big screen images of Dilla at work, cosmic graphics and shots of the orchestra added extra ambiance to this union of classical arrangements with infectious backbeats.

    Atwood-Ferguson’s music is rich with innumerable details. He ties together diverse varieties of musical and cultural elements into magical presentations. It was a perfect melding of genres and influences.

    Suite for Ma Dukes and New Originals will tour internationally through summer. Atwood-Ferguson carries on the love and admiration of J. Dilla to London, Rotterdam and then, Lincoln Center, Out of Doors Series, in New York in August.

    www.grandperformances.org

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  • Auction Brings Light to Gallery 478

    • 07/07/2017
    • Terelle Jerricks
    • Art
    • Comments are off

    By Andrea Serna, Arts and Culture Writer

    When a prolific artist approaches the end of her life, there is often the question of what will become of a large body of work. For fine art photographer Audrey Barrett, who spent the last five years of her life resisting cancer, there was never a question. Barrett wanted her work to raise money to fight the disease that would take her life.

    Barrett’s family reached out to old friends and collaborators, Ray and Arnée Carofano of Gallery 478 in San Pedro, to help find new homes for her work. On July 8, Gallery 478 in conjunction with TransVagrant Projects will present Audrey Barrett: Available Light, an exhibition of photography and an auction benefiting City of Hope Metastatic Breast Cancer Research.

    Barrett’s art practice was diversified. While studying for a degree in interior design at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, Barrett picked up a three-week class in photography. Although she worked most of her life in the field of fashion and interior design, her  taste for surrealism led to experimentation with an 8 by 10 camera using platinum plating to create images with the tremendous tonal range which makes platinum prints so extraordinary. This exhibition consists of black and white gelatin silver and platinum palladium prints on delicate gampishi paper from her archive. Many artist’s proofs are included in the collection.

    In her memoirs, Barrett wrote, “I became totally consumed … within that time I discovered something innate in me, a passion with the camera that brought forth something from deep inside of me.”

    Her images were done with available light, and very little of it, using long exposure times, sometimes up to 45 minutes. During a photo session, she often encouraged her subjects to breathe and move if they needed, creating ghost-like images.

    Serendipity brought together the Carofanos and Barrett. Professional photographers Ray and Arnée Carofano traveled to Texas for the International Fotofest in 1995. Casual conversation led them to discover that they lived just minutes away from each other in Redondo Beach. The fortuitous meeting led to bohemian gatherings at Barrett’s Studio 202 in Redondo Beach. Barrett would conduct lavish runway shows of her fashion creations, while available photographers would record the scene. The friendship and creative association lasted for 22 years, until metastatic breast cancer eventually overcame Barrett.

    “When I do a photo session,” Barrett said. “I become a part of the photograph… I don’t know if I’m in the picture or behind the camera. I am both.”

    The Carofanos’ hope is that Barrett will live on through her works, her donations to fighting cancer and the people who invite the work into their homes.

    All proceeds from the auction directly benefit City of Hope Breast Cancer Research and are tax-deductible. Audrey Barrett: Available Light runs through Aug. 25. A public reception will take place from 4 to 7 p.m. July 8.

    Time: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday  through Friday, and by appointment
    Cost: Free
    Details:  (310) 732-2150
    Venue: Gallery 478, 478 W. 7th St., San Pedro

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  • Jean Genet’s THE BALCONY @ the Garage Theatre

    About halfway through opening night of the Garage Theatre’s production of The Balcony, I was put in mind of a bit I particularly like from Being and Nothingness, Jean-Paul Sartre’s 1943 philosophical magnum opus. Sartre asks us imagine a waiter at a café, to examine his particular little movements and expressions as he takes orders and brings food. It’s like he’s playing a sort of game. But what is he playing at? The game of being a waiter. He’s not essentially a waiter: he’s performing the ritual of waiter in order to manifest the condition in the world—an example that holds for the entire façade of society:

    [T]he waiter in the café plays with his condition in order to realize it. The obligation is not different from that which is imposed on all tradesmen. Their condition is wholly one of ceremony. The public demands of them that they realize it as a ceremony; there is a dance of the grocer, of the tailor, of the auctioneer, by which they endeavor to persuade their clientele that they are nothing but a grocer, an auctioneer, a tailor. Society demands that he limit himself to his function as a grocer […]. There are indeed many precautions to imprison a man in what he is, as if we lived in perpetual fear that he might escape from it, that he might break away and suddenly elude his condition.

    Considering Sartre’s influence—particularly in France—this passage was probably somewhere in Jean Genet’s mind when, 13 years later, he penned his classic about role-playing and reflection writ large. In The Balcony, we’re all whores as soon as we get the dumb idea to play out our private fantasies on the public stage. But it’s an idea with which Genet has a bit of absurdist fun, spawning the kind of work that might have come locking Sartre and Groucho Marx in a room together with a bottle of absinthe and not letting them out until they wrote a play. It’s simultaneously smart, pretentious, silly, and astute.

    Welcome to the Grand Balcony, an inconceivably elaborate brothel run by Madam Irma (Sherry Denton-Noonan) in an unnamed city where a revolution is raging. Here you can play out your wildest fantasies—which, apparently, have a lot more to do with power than sexual relations. Here we meet the Bishop (Christopher Spencer), the Judge (Adam Brooks), and the General (Bruce Eason), men who revel in playing at hearing confessions, at being begged for absolution and mercy, at ordering their fellow citizens to their deaths and being lionized for such lordship. It would be a safe environment, were it not for that pesky revolution, with all the bodies in the street and threats to the established order. The Chief of Police (Chris Mock)—who actually is the Chief of Police—doesn’t especially mind, so long as in the end someone inside the brothel will play at being the Chief of Police. Besides, inside or outside, for the rebels and the powers-that-be, it’s all the same:

    THE CHIEF OF POLICE. The rebellion is a game. From here you can’t see anything of the outside, but every rebel is playing a game. And he loves his game.

    IRMA. But supposing they let themselves be carried beyond the game? I mean, if they get so involved in it that they destroy and replace everything. Yes, yes, I know, there’s always the false detail that reminds them that at a certain moment, at a certain point in the drama, they have to stop, and even withdraw…But what if they’re so carried away by passion that they no longer recognize anything and leap, without realizing it, into…

    THE CHIEF OF POLICE. You mean into reality? What of it? Let them try. I do as they do, I penetrate right into the reality that the game offers us […].

    Genet can be tedious, but director Jamie Sweet makes two choices that help keep that tedium from becoming too thick: he gives us two intermissions (with which this version of The Balcony runs three hours), and he emphasizes the silly. The result is a third act that redeems your choice to have sat through the first two, because here is where you find most of the fun. Three cast members in particular help on this front. Elijah Douglas, who plays the Queen’s Envoy and has little to do in the first two acts, delivers his lines with a quirky stateliness that helps steer The Balcony into more amusing waters. Meanwhile, the drunker the Judge gets in the face of his new real-world responsibility, the more slapstick—and funnier—Adam Brooks is. But Christopher Spencer may be the brightest light. He is so fab in Act 1 that we really feel his absence from the middle of the play, but he’s back with a comic vengeance in the final act. Some actors are just a joy to watch at every moment; Spencer is that kind of talent.

    The rest of the cast is generally fine, but as of opening night Sherry Denton-Noonan was not yet off-book. This is, you know, less than ideal for any role, but it doubly hurts the overall flow here, since Irma has more lines than anyone else.

    The Garage Theatre is a low-budget outfit, but within those constraints the mise-en-scène works well enough to bring the Grand Balcony to life. In particular, Cat Elrod’s costumery is cute. Despite being a play whose action takes place almost the entirety within a single space, The Balcony is a rather ambitious show to do in a black-box theatre, and I give the Garage an A- for effort (the minus because I think going a shinier route would have made the production more visually interesting).

    “Do you really think we will be satisfied with make-believe until the end of our days?” the Bishop asks as The Balcony winds to its inevitable conclusion. Genet’s answer seems to be that we would be better off if only we could confine our power roles to the bedroom, rather than needing to play them out in the world at large—but the genie is out of the bottle. “We waited 2,000 years to perfect our roles. […] There will never be a rebellion powerful enough to destroy this imagery.”

    We can, however, acknowledge our predicament, and laugh at it. Then maybe, just maybe, we can whore ourselves out to society with a little more decency and dignity than we might do otherwise. And in a world with all this fighting in the streets, a little such self-awareness in the whorehouses of power might go a long way.

    THE BALCONY THE GARAGE THEATRE • 251 E 7TH ST (JUST OFF LONG BEACH BLVD) • LONG BEACH 90813 • 562.433.8337 THEGARAGETHEATRE.ORG • THURS-SAT 8PM • $15–$20 (THURSDAY TIX ARE 2-FOR-1) • THROUGH JULY 22

    (Photo credit: Aleksey Volchek)

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  • The Nasty Woman Concert Series

    • 07/06/2017
    • Kym Cunningham
    • Music
    • Comments are off

    LGBTQ Feminism and the Arts Intersect

    By Kym Cunningham, Contributing Writer

    During the October 2016 presidential debate, Donald Trump brusquely referred to Hillary Clinton as “such a nasty woman” to discredit her comments concerning his elusive tax returns.

    While this comment may or may not have been successful in persuading some of the populace to cast a vote for him, or rather against her, Trump failed to consider the massive backlash his nonchalant statement would have. After Trump won the presidency, feminists across the nation used this phrase as a rallying cry in protest of the president’s off-handed misogyny.

    During the Jan. 2017 Women’s March, protesters banded together amidst T-shirts and signs that read: “nasty women fight back,” and “the future is nasty.”

    Marching alongside her sisters and brothers, longtime feminist and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning rights activist Susan McKenna noticed this rallying cry and an idea began to percolate.

    “I saw men and women together unifying around protest,” McKenna said. “And we were all just so inspired by music and protest and activism.”

    McKenna decided that she wanted to use music and comedy to bring together the women’s community, especially those who have been marginalized as a result of their gender identities and/or sexual orientations.

    “In this current political authoritarian climate … there is an even greater responsibility to women to help each other and to unify and to resist together,” McKenna said. “I hope to be a small part of that by helping create diverse and fun events by and for women.”

    Thus was born the Nasty Woman Concert Series, which will have its inaugural concert at 7 p.m. on July 8 at diPiazza’s Lounge in Long Beach. The NWCS will feature performances as varied as the hip-hop of Wendy Ho and folk music of Abby and the Mist, as well as headliners No Small Children and Kelly Mantle, a star-studded red carpet, a ribbon-cutting with a surprise politician, and a renowned actress performing tarot card readings.

    Created by Long Beach artist Michelle Stewart, the Nasty Woman Concert Series logo — a skirted, pink individual replete with guitar and ‘rock on’ hand gesture — perfectly encapsulates McKenna’s vision for the NWCS.

    “I always like to say that if the Lilith Fair from 1997 hooked up with the 2017 Women’s March, their first-born child would be the Nasty Woman Concert Series,” McKenna said. “[Attendees] can expect a lot of shenanigans. We’ve got an awesome lineup.”

    Providing Healing Spaces

    Although a separate legal and political entity, 100 percent of the proceeds of the NWCS — and hopefully, subsequent concerts — benefit the L-Project Los Angeles. The L-Project works to empower women of the LGBTQ community through the intersection of art and technology. McKenna is among the board members of this nonprofit.

    “The L-project’s focus is to create spaces for women,” McKenna said.

    It hosts multicultural and educational programs and events to create a sustainable and inclusive community for women in the Los Angeles area. It also hosts an annual Frida Fest in September that honors the legacy of Frida Kahlo by showcasing the work of local lesbian artists.

    LGBTQ Feminism and the Arts Intersect

    McKenna has always believed in the intersection of LGBTQ activism, feminism and the performing arts. While attending a small college in rural Colorado in 1991, McKenna found both her identity as a member of the LGBTQ community and as a feminist.

    “I came barreling out of the closet,” McKenna said. “I didn’t just dip my toe out. I got on my motorcycle, shaved my head, wore combat boots and put a ‘I’m a lesbian’ bumper sticker on my forehead for a couple of years.”

    However, the real conflation between her identities lay in the arts.

    “I started a feminist group on campus,” said McKenna. “I got involved at the radio station and started broadcasting what I called a feminist show. I discovered Melissa Etheridge and the Indigo Girls. And here I am, 25 years later, still listening to that music…. I met some of the radical women who shaped the women’s movement and [they] definitely shaped my opinion…. Of course, then I got into corporate America and I got into reality.”

     The White, Male Reality

    The reality that McKenna found was the same one that exists in board rooms across corporate America: overwhelmingly white and overwhelmingly male. In her corporate life, McKenna works as chief marketing officer for a startup company.

    “I have spent the bulk of my career working with or for men,” McKenna said. “I get along, of course, but I’m always the only woman in the boardroom…. I still make 73 to 79 cents to a man’s dollar, even at my position.”

    Part of the impetus behind the Nasty Woman Concert Series was the frustration McKenna feels working within the male-dominated tech industry for 23 years. As a high-powered female executive, McKenna felt a kinship to Hillary Clinton during the 2016 election.

    “I see first-hand what happens to women in power,” McKenna said. “I see how we are positioned as bitches and things that are less-than…. We are ‘pushy’ and ‘aggressive,’ not ‘assertive’ and ‘definitive.’ I myself have been affected by that very recently. And that’s part of the reason why the Nasty Woman Concert was born.”

     Is Nastiness Diverse?

    Another reason that the NWCS was born was to showcase the local talents of important activist bands, including McKenna’s wife’s punk band Shitting Glitter.

    “Amy’s band Shitting Glitter is important here because she had drag queens and transsexual women dancing in her band in 2001 when it wasn’t cool to be a drag queen,” McKenna said. “RuPaul’s Drag Race had not been launched yet. She’s been doing this for 16 years and that can’t be left unsaid.… At the same time, we really wanted it to be a diverse musical show.”

    But the diversity McKenna referred to was notably rooted in music genre, begging the question as to whether this third wave of the feminist movement — a movement symbolized by pink pussy hats and the Women’s March — will repeat the same mistakes of earlier feminist and LGBTQ movements.

    However, McKenna sees this insistence on intersectionality as potentially more divisive than solution-oriented.

    “I think we really need to come together as a community,” said McKenna. “It’s no longer I’m gay, or bi, or trans, or queer, it’s that we all have struggles in our community and in other communities too…. I wish we could all come together as a community and agree on a few simple things to help move our agendas forward. The more we are fighting internally, the less we are going to get done.”

    But for the show on July 8, what McKenna is most concerned about is providing a safe space for sexually marginalized women.

    Nasty Future

    McKenna is already looking toward the future, hoping for possibly a second show in Hollywood come October.

    “We’d like to take the show on the road to parts of Northern California or the Northern West Coast,” McKenna said. “We’d also like to go to Washington, D.C. and New York. I’ve had interest from a lot of different bands and musicians.… We’re talking to people and organizers right now but we need volunteers…. To me, this isn’t just about a concert series…. This is about a movement. That’s what we’re looking to create.”

    McKenna hopes that each one of the future shows will be individualized, with local performers and talent in the vein of Sarah McLachlan’s Lilith Fair.

    “My hope is that we can create a local community event, with one or two headliners that have national recognition,” McKenna said. “It’s an organic movement. Wherever the wave takes me, I’ve got my bathing suit on. Let’s go.”

    Details: https://nastywomanconcerts.com
    Cost: $15 to $250
    Venue: diPiazza’s Lounge, 5205 E. Pacific Coast Highway, Long Beach

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  • Port Truckers’ 15th Strike Takes Struggle to New Level

    • 07/06/2017
    • Paul Rosenberg
    • News
    • Comments are off

    By Paul Rosenberg, Senior Editor

    Protesting their treatment as “sharecroppers on wheels,” Port truck drivers in Southern California went on strike for the 15th time — this time, for the entire third week of June. The truckers were joined by warehouse workers and rail drivers who work for the same employers under similar systems. The workers say these systems deny them basic workers rights and have resulted in wage theft.

    Specifically, the workers charge that their official classification as “independent owner-operators” is a fiction. They say they are forced to lease their trucks, obligated to make weekly payments and resultantly begin every pay period deep in debt.  They often earn less than the minimum wage – sometimes nothing at all.

    Like the Fight for $15, the port truckers’ struggle has involved years of repeated brief-but-focused actions that have aimed for profound fundamental changes, truckers seek to build support among a purposefully disorganized workforce, educate the public about issues, and earn its support generating pressure for government action.

    But this strike was a landmark in three respects:

    First, it came on the heels of the first extensive national news coverage of the problem by USA Today, seven years after the problem of misclassification was documented in the landmark study, The Big Rig: Poverty, Pollution, and the Misclassication of Truck Drivers at America’s Ports. The national recognition of conditions truckers have been subject to for years both encouraged the struggle and gave added resonance to the message.

    Second, the strike upped the pressure on local elected leaders.

    “Striking drivers and warehouse workers for the first time took their pickets directly to both Long Beach and Los Angeles city halls to call on the cities’ leaders to step up and end lawbreaking at the ports they oversee,” Teamsters representative Barb Maynard told Random Lengths.

    Third, strikers drew particular attention to the prospective push for zero-emissions vehicles — and to the need for including workers’ protections in the process — culminating in a public show of support from former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, whose initial version of the Clean Trucks Plan included such protections and ensured the truckers’ treatment as employees. But those full labor law protections were withdrawn from the original Clean Trucks Program as a result of litigation by the American Truckers Association. This left individual truckers shouldering the costs of new trucks — hundreds of millions of dollars annually.

    Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and Long Beach Robert Garcia announced the new zero-emissions goals — set for 2035 — on June 10, the week before the strike began. The need to include workers’ protections in the process was featured in strike announcement later that week.

    “The last time they did this in 2008 with the Clean Truck Program, the corporations ended up passing on the cost to the workers by requiring them to lease a truck in order to get hired and illegally misclassifying them as ‘independent contractors,’ leaving very little for the workers to take home to their families,” said Eric Tate, secretary-treasurer of Teamsters Local 848. “We don’t want that to happen again.”

    Since then, courts have consistently ruled in favor of truckers, finding that they are employees as a matter of law. Seeing favor within the courts, striking truckers and their allies are determined to prevent the historical wage theft from continuing. More than $40 million in wage theft and penalties has been assessed in 376 cases brought before the California Department of Labor Standards Enforcement, but that’s only a fraction of the total costs the industry has shifted onto the backs of workers.

    A 2014 follow-up to the Big Rig study, The Big Rig Overhaul, projected that “port trucking companies operating in California are annually liable for wage and hour violations of $787 to $998 million each year.”

    As the strike neared its conclusion on June 22, former Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa appeared in support of the strikers, echoing their claims that port trucking is becoming a system of sharecropping on wheels.

    “That’s what used to happen in the sharecropping system,” Villaraigosa said. “You owe more money before you start the day, and oftentimes at the end of the day, you still owe money.”

    The strike was announced in advance on June 15 first in a press conference, then in comments to the Board of Los Angeles Harbor Commissioners.

    “Drivers and warehouse workers are sick and tired of being worked like sharecroppers at the bottom of the multi-billion dollar logistics industry while greedy CEOs make out like bandits,” Tate said at the press conference. “There is just no excuse at all for LA and Long Beach to allow greedy corporations to continue to exploit these hard-working men and women through abusive and often illegal contracting-out, misclassification, temporary staffing and wage theft schemes.”

    Afterward, commissioners heard directly from the workers involved.

    “I was living at a church, because I don’t earn enough to pay rent,” Alberto Arenas, a Cal Cartage warehouse worker for 20 years, told them.

    The strike kicked off against XPO Logistics June 19, with picket lines going up first in Commerce, then Rancho Dominguez, San Diego and at the ports.

    “We’re fed up with working so hard, making so little, and having no benefits,” said Jose Herrera, an XPO port/rail driver. “There’s nothing independent about us — XPO controls our work yet continues to fight us in court.”

    On June 27, the strike expanded to four subsidiaries of California Cartage and to Chinese-government owned Intermodal Bridge Transport. That same day, strikers and their supporters marched from Promenade Square to City Hall in Long Beach, delivering letters to Garcia and city council members demanding an end to wage theft in Long Beach.

    On June 28, faith leaders joined the picket line at the COSCO terminal in Long Beach. June 29 saw Villaraigosa join strikers at the Evergreen terminal in San Pedro. Finally, on June 30, striking workers and supporters rallied on the steps of Los Angeles City Hall and delivered demands to the mayor and city council, several of whom joined the workers at their rally. But the fight is far from being over.

    “Misclassified drivers continue to file new claims for wage theft every day, and will not back down on their demand to end indentured servitude at the ports,” Maynard said. “Drivers will continue to escalate their demand that the cost of new trucks be the responsibility of the trucking companies who employ them, and of their retail clients, not the drivers as occurred in the 2008 Clean Truck Program.

    “More strikes should be expected.”

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  • Bail Reform: The System that Penalizes the Poor

    • 07/06/2017
    • Terelle Jerricks
    • News
    • Comments are off

    By Terelle Jerricks, Managing Editor

     

    This past May, reality show celebrity Dog The Bounty Hunter’s voice robocalled about 800,000 phone lines, warning voters that the state legislature was working to do away with the bail bond system. The system is allegedly designed to keep poor people incarcerated rather than keeping dangerous people off the street or from fleeing justice.

    “You, the taxpayer, will pay to release these criminals,” Dog warned. “Car thieves, burglars, sexual predators and repeat offenders will get out of jail with little accountability, and we will not be able to go after them when they run.”

    Human Rights Watch paints a different picture in a report released this past April. The organization found California’s system of pretrial detention kept people in jail even if they are never found guilty of a crime.

    The report used as exemplar the 2015 experience of Maria Soto and her 18-year-old son Daniel Soto who was stabbed in a street fight while he was out with friends. He was arrested.

    “A man had accosted Daniel and his friends outside of a restaurant,” the report stated. “They had fought, and the man pulled a knife. Cut and bleeding, Daniel staggered up to a police officer, who called an ambulance and arrested him. Apparently, the man with the knife had gotten to the officer first.”

    He spent a week in jail before he was able to have a day in court and plead “not guilty” to a felony assault charge. The judge set bail at $30,000.

    Although Soto earned enough as a stenographer to support herself and two sons, none held property to put up for collateral, nor savings or other assets to post Daniel’s bail.

    Daniel spent six weeks in jail until his next court date at which the judge dismissed the assault charges for lack of evidence.

    Human Rights Watch noted that the majority of county jail prisoners in California have not been sentenced, but are serving time because they are unable to pay for pretrial release.

    Like a scene out of a police procedural show such as Law and Order: Special Victims Unit,  people accused of crimes but unable to afford bail give up their constitutional right to fight the charges because pleas get them out of jail and back to work and their families. Judges and prosecutors use cust- ody status as leverage to pressure guilty pleas.

    With a median bail rate that is five times higher than the rest of the country, the report noted that there is a clear correlation between the poverty rate and the unsentenced pretrial detention rate at the county level in California.

    And those locked up in pretrial are overwhelmingly poor, working class and  black or Latino.

    Human Rights Watch found that from 2011-2015, police in California made almost 1.5 million felony arrests. Of those, nearly one in three, like Daniel Soto, were arrested and jailed, but never found guilty of any crime. Some spent only hours or days behind bars, while others spent weeks, months or even years.

    Assemblyman Rob Bonta noted that while some defendants are considered too dangerous for release or are flight risks and should be held in custody, many are not a threat to public safety and could be released, monitored and reminded when to return for court hearings.

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

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

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

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

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

    Senate Bill 10 promises to reduce the number of people being held in jail awaiting trial and to ensure that those who are not threats to public safety or flight risks are not held simply for their inability to afford bail.

    “Whether you can go free before a trial right now is determined by the size of your wallet, not the size of your public safety risk — and that’s not the way it should be,” said Sen. Bob Hertzberg, who has been writing reform legislation on this subject for years. “This legislation reforms bail so it treats people of all backgrounds fairly and equally, whether they are rich or poor.”

    “With the passage of SB 10 in the Senate, California now moves another step closer to creating meaningful bail reform, which will protect public safety, ensure equal justice for all and spend our limited resources in a more cost-effective manner,” Bonta said in a release.

    The California Money Bail Reform Act of 2017 was authored by Hertzberg and Bonta. They are working with a broad coalition. Hertzberg and Bonta also co-authored Assembly Bill 42, an identical bill that is making its way through the Assembly.

    Provisions would not apply when a person is arrested for certain specified violent felonies. Otherwise, the bill would require a pretrial services agency to conduct individualized risk assessment and prepare a report that makes recommendations on conditions of release.

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

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

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

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  • Both Sides Miss the Point

    • 07/06/2017
    • James Preston Allen
    • At Length
    • Comments are off

    Can we stop talking about insurance and start talking about medical care?

    By James Preston Allen, Publisher

    Far and wide, we’ve all heard the Republicans’ Obamacare complaints. They have consistently called it a failure and some kind of attack on the freedom to chose our own doctors.

    Five years ago when the Affordable Care Act was signed into law, then Vice  President Joe Biden in an off-mic comment to President Barack Obama called it, “A big fucking deal.”

    It took the Democrats some six decades to get a health care act through Congress.

    Republican naysayers said people wouldn’t sign up for the Affordable Care Act, it would fail to meet enrollments and the economy would suffer from it. People wouldn’t pay their premiums.

    They claimed the ACA wouldn’t reduce the uninsured rate and instead would lead to an overall loss in coverage. The Republicans said Americans would hate the coverage they received under Obamacare.

    All of these claims have been proven false. The only claim that seems to have come true is that insurance rates did rise faster than expected. Indeed, this has proven to be the miscalculation by Obamacare’s critics — they even went so far as to claim the ACA would lead to higher deficits and a weaker fiscal footing for the nation.

    Steven Benen said as much in his report on MSNBC this past March.

    “One of the projections that never sat well for Republicans, who sometimes pretend to care about the deficit, was that ‘Obamacare’ would reduce the nation’s deficit by hundreds of billions of dollars in the coming years. The GOP assumed the nonpartisan budget analyses were wrong and proceeded to tell the country the law would make the deficit larger and ‘bankrupt’ the country. But according to the Congressional Budget Office, Republicans got this backwards, too. In fact, the overall price tag of the ACA is now smaller than previously projected.”

    After demonizing the law for so long, the Republicans senators can’t agree whether to flat out repeal Obamacare and then replace it later, or repeal it and replace it immediately with something that they can’t even define.

    Meanwhile, out here in California, U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris spoke  to a crowd of healthcare professionals and union workers at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center in Torrance recently and reframed the GOP leadership’s discussion of their plans for healthcare.

    “It’s not like we left our healthcare on the bus, or at the club or in an Uber. This is not about losing something,” Harris said. “They’re trying to take our healthcare.”

    In Sacramento, the nurses union rallied  support for SB 562, a bill that would establish a statewide single- payer plan. The bill is currently due to the fact that to date there’s no agreed upon means of funding it.

    The problem with both sides of this debate is that Republicans and Democrats are arguing about insurance plans rather than the actual delivery of health care. The healthcare debate has become a symbolic battle between socialized medical insurance versus free market insurance with a side argument about taxes and who pays for it.  That there’s even Republicans trepidation over repealing all of the ACA and growing recognition that any new plan would need to subsidized by the federal government reflects that the insurance model of health care is proving to be far more complex than necessary. Remember, the ACA was modeled after Mitt Romney’s Republican state plan, not a universal plan.

    If universal healthcare is ever deemed a “right” as President Franklin Roosevelt once argued, then the solution should look more like our universal education system.  Service districts could be set up like school districts with community clinics feeding into local hospitals that are connected to research hospitals.  And like our public schools, this would not eliminate the option for private doctors, clinics or hospitals. You would just pay more to use them.

    So, rather than burdening businesses with yet another employee tax, the cost could  be picked up by a parcel tax on all property not unlike the one everyone pays now for school districts, college districts or flood control districts. And the beauty of this concept is that much of the infrastructure is already in place.

    From the tax collection to the community clinics to the local doctors connected to the hospitals, the networks are mostly already in place. The only thing that would change is who gets billed.

    The insurance middlemen would mostly be out of the picture as the state and/or counties would pay a flat rate based upon per capita sign up in their district. Everyone could get access to healthcare. The tax rate may have to be mediated between vacant parcels, farms and open space versus industrial and commercial uses where more people live or work. But the math on how to cover 39 million residents in California becomes much less complex than all of the fuzzy math and tax magic coming out of Washington, D.C. these days.

    The costs to businesses could also be further defrayed by reducing or eliminating workers’ comp insurance, as it would no longer be necessary, Everyone would be covered 24 hours per day, and the only coverage a business owner would need is an umbrella liability policy. The downside to getting a plan like this passed in the legislature is that the insurance industry would scream bloody murder and the workers’ comp lawyers would cry foul. But these are two categories of the health industry that drive up costs but don’t actually deliver medical services. Business owners, large and small, would universally give up these in favor of a simpler direct access to health care.

    In the end, simplifying access so that a patient can see a doctor regardless of pre-existing conditions  should end up being no more arduous than signing up a child for school. This is something we as a people know how to do. So let’s stop arguing over solving it the wrong way.

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  • Nasty Woman Concert Series

    • 07/06/2017
    • Reporters Desk
    • Calendar
    • Comments are off

    ENTERTAINMENT

    July 8
    Nasty Woman Concert Series
    The concert series is designed to bring together the women’s community through the healing power of music and comedy, especially those women who have been marginalized because of their gender identity and sexual orientation.
    Time: 7:30 p.m. July 8
    Cost: $15 to $25
    Details: www.nastywomanconcertseries.com
    Venue: diPiazza’s Lounge, 5205 E. Pacific Coast Highway, Long Beach

    July 9
    Sabine Trio

    Sabine is widely respected as an award-winning classical pianist in the United States and Europe.
    Time: 4 p.m. July 9
    Cost: $20
    Details: https://alvasshowroom.com
    Venue: Alvas Showroom, 1417 W. 8th St. San Pedro

    July 14
    Tony Ferrell Band
    The Tony Ferrell Band rocks another concert featuring 10 of the best soul, rock and pop musicians in the world.
    Time: 8 p.m. July 14
    Cost: $15
    Details: (310) 782-1440
    Venue: Grand Annex, 434 W. 6th St., San Pedro

    July 15
    Artyom Manukyan Trio
    Cellist Artyom Manukyan first made his name as a musician to watch in his native Armenia and traveled the world as the youngest member of the BBC World Music Award-winning Armenian Navy Band.
    Time: 8 p.m. July 15
    Cost: $20
    Details: https://alvasshowroom.com
    Venue: Alvas Showroom, 1417 W. 8th St. San Pedro

    July 15
    Golden State Pops Orchestra
    The Golden State Pops Orchestra along with a full choir performs music from leading video-games with special guest conductors and performers. The concert features hit video game music with projections, lights, special guest composers, performers and video game talent.
    Time: 8 p.m. July 15
    Cost: $28.50 to $70
    Details: gspo.com
    Venue: Los Angeles Theatre, 615 S. Broadway, Los Angeles.

    July 16
    Led Zepagain
    Led Zepagain (stylized Led ZepAgain) is an American hard rock tribute band formed in Ventura, Calif. in 1988.
    Time: 4 p.m. July 16
    Cost: $20
    Details: https://alvasshowroom.com
    Venue: Alvas Showroom, 1417 W. 8th St. San Pedro

    July 21
    Sidestepper and Buyepongo
    Dance your face off with electro-cumbia from Colombia and other global sounds.
    Time: 8 p.m. July 21
    Cost: Free
    Details: www.grandperformances.org
    Venue: Grand Performances, 300 S. Grand Ave., Los Angeles

    Downtown Bollywood
    Learn new dance moves and show them off in a judgement-free zone.
    Time: 7 p.m. July 21
    Cost: Free
    Details: www.grandperformances.or
    Venue: Grand Park, 200 N. Grand Ave., Los Angeles

    Elliott Caine
    Enjoy live bebop and Latin jazz, then stuff your face with food from the market.
    Time: July 21
    Cost: Free
    Details: www.farmersmarketla.com
    Venue: The Original Farmers Market, 6333 West 3rd St., Los Angeles

    FYF
    Explore the lineup at the FYF Fest, featuring Missy Elliot, Bjӧrk, Frank Ocean and Nine Inch Nails.
    Time: 5 p.m. July 21, 2 p.m. July 22 and 23
    Cost: $109 to $549
    Details: https://fyffest.com
    Venue: Exposition Park, 700 Exposition Park Drive, Los Angeles

    July 22
    Sean Lane
    Join the band on a journey through time and hear everything from the foundational raw Delta style that started it all to the electrified blues-rock that it has become.
    Time: 8 p.m. July 22
    Cost: $15
    Details: https://alvasshowroom.com
    Venue: Alvas Showroom, 1417 W. 8th St. San Pedro

    July 23
    Caress of Steel
    Rock to this Rush tribute band.
    Time: 4 p.m. July 23
    Cost: $20
    Details: https://alvasshowroom.com
    Venue: Alvas Showroom, 1417 W. 8th St. San Pedro

    July 23
    Mark Mackay Band
    A little bit country, a little bit rock ‘n’ roll at Polliwog Park, Manhattan Beach.
    Time: July 23
    Cost: Free
    Details: http://tinyurl.com/MB-Summer-Concerts
    Venue: 1601 Manhattan Beach Blvd., Manhattan Beach

    July 25
    iPalpiti Orchestra
    The iPalpiti Orchestra performs selections from the 20th iPalpiti Festival of International Laureates. The orchestra iPalpiti  (ee-PAHL-pit-ee, Italian for “heartbeats”) is unique in that it draws its members from top prize-winning laureates of international competitions.
    Time: 7:30 p.m. July 25
    Cost: Free
    Details: (310) 316-5574
    Venue: Rolling Hills United Methodist Church, 26438 Crenshaw Blvd., Rolling Hills Estates

    July 27
    Sean Watkins
    American tunes feature a celebration of Paul Simon with a great lineup of musicians.
    Time: 8 p.m. July 27
    Cost: Free
    Details: http://tinyurl.com/Sean-Watkins-Friends
    Venue: Skirball Cultural Center, 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles

    July 28
    La Charanga Cubana
    Enjoy traditional Cuban dance music, then stuff your face with food from the market.
    Time: 7 to 9 p.m. July 28
    Cost: Free
    Details: www.farmersmarketla.com
    Venue: The Original Farmers Market, 6333 W. 3rd St., Los Angeles

    July 29
    Mothership Landing
    Celebrate the 40th anniversary of Parliament-Funkadelic’s groundbreaking release.
    Time:  8 p.m. July 29
    Cost: Free
    Details: www.grandperformances.org
    Venue: Grand Performances, 200 N. Grand Ave., Los Angeles

    July 30
    Hard Day’s Night
    You’ll swear The Beatles are in the South Bay.
    Time: 5 to 7 p.m. July 30
    Cost: Free
    Details: http://tinyurl.com/MB-Summer-Concerts
    Venue: Polliwog Park, 1601 Manhattan Beach Blvd, Manhattan Beach

    July 30
    Rob Garland’s Eclectic Trio
    Rob Garland’s Eclectic Trio plays original high energy instrumental and vocal music with funk, blues, jazz, fusion and rock.
    Time: 4 p.m. July 30
    Cost: $10
    Details: https://alvasshowroom.com
    Venue: Alvas Showroom, 1417 W. 8th St. San Pedro

    Aug. 3
    Ibibio Sound Machine
    Experience African and electronic jams inspired by the golden era of West African funk, disco and post-punk.
    Time: 8 p.m. Aug. 3
    Cost: Free
    Details: www.skirball.org/programs/sunset-concerts/ibibio-sound-machine
    Venue: Skirball Cultural Center, 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles

    Aug. 4
    Bad Haggis
    Put some celtic rock in your life, then stuff your face with food from the market.
    Time: 7 to 9 p.m. Aug. 4
    Cost: Free
    Details: www.farmersmarketla.com
    Venue: The Original Farmers Market, 6333 W. 3rd St., Los Angeles

    Dance Disco
    Learn new dance moves and show them off in a judgment-free zone.
    Time: 7 p.m. Aug. 4
    Cost: Free
    Details: http://grandparkla.org/calendar
    Venue: Grand Park, 200 N. Grand Ave., Los Angeles

    Aug. 5
    Dorian Wood, Kaumakaiwa Kanaka’ole
    Dorian Wood awakens a haunting interpretation of Jeannine Deckers’ The Singing Nun and Kaumakaiwa Kanaka’ole offers a genre-crossing performance from Hawaii.
    Time: 8 p.m. Aug. 5
    Cost: Free
    Details: www.grandperformances.org
    Venue: Grand Performances, 300 S. Grand Ave., Los Angeles

    Aug. 5
    Summertime in the LBC
    This summer, enjoy a lineup of talents, including 50 Cent & G-Unit; Yg; Wu-Tang Clan; Bone Thugs-N-Harmony and the George Clinton Parliament Funkadelic.
    Time: 12 p.m. Aug. 5
    Cost: $200
    Details: www.summertimeinthelbc.com
    Venue: The Queen Mary, 1126 Queens Highway, Long Beach

    Aug. 6
    Seatbelt, The Paladins
    All the Americana you can handle with plenty of rockabilly, honky-tonk and hillbilly boogie will play at Polliwog Park.
    Time: 5 to 7 p.m. Aug. 6
    Cost: Free
    Details: http://tinyurl.com/MB-Summer-Concerts
    Venue: Polliwog Park, 1601 Manhattan Beach Blvd., Manhattan Beach

    Aug. 10
    Delgrés
    Witness the Los Angeles debut of a band that brings a bluesy blend of styles from Guadeloupe to Louisiana to the Mississippi delta.
    Time: 8 p.m. Aug. 10
    Cost: Free
    Details: http://www.skirball.org/programs/sunset-concerts
    Venue: Skirball Cultural Center, 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles

    Aug. 11
    Djs Anthony Valadez, Valida
    Check out the new venue for KCRW’s Summer Nights series, featuring plenty of danceable grooves, games, food and drinks.
    Time: 5:30 p.m. Aug. 11
    Cost: Free
    Details: http://events.kcrw.com/events/summernightsanthonyandvalida
    Venue:  Union Station, 800 N. Alameda St., Los Angeles

    Septeto Santiaguero
    Get on your feet with one of Cuba’s most influential bands.
    Time: 8 p.m. Aug. 11
    Cost: Free
    Details: www.grandperformances.org
    Venue: Grand Performances, 300 S. Grand Ave., Los Angeles

    Bill Watrous Quartet
    Bop to straight-ahead jazz, then stuff your face with food from the market.
    Time: 7 to 9 p.m. Aug. 11
    Cost: Free
    Details: www.farmersmarketla.com/events
    Venue: The Original Farmers Market, 6333 W. 3rd St., Los Angeles

    Dj Nights
    Dance, dance, and dance some more.
    Time: 9 p.m. Aug. 11
    Cost: Free
    Details: http://grandparkla.org/calendar
    Venue: Grand Performances, 200 N. Grand Ave., Los Angeles

    Aug. 12
    Summer Breeze Festival
    Be part of a night with Keith Sweat, Guy and Teddy Riley, and Bobby Brown.
    Time: 2 to 10 p.m. Aug. 12, and 1 to 9 p.m. Aug. 13
    Cost: $50 to $160
    Details: www.queenmary.com
    Venue: The Queen Mary, 1126 Queens Highway, Long Beach

    Hamed Nikpay
    Enjoy Iranian melodies and dance.
    Time: 8 p.m. Aug. 12
    Cost: Free
    Details: www.grandperformances.org
    Venue: Grand Performances, 300 S. Grand Ave., Los Angeles

    Aug. 13
    Shari Puorto Band
    Kick back for a bit of blues, rock and soul.
    Time: 5 to 7 p.m. Aug. 13
    Cost: Free
    Details: http://tinyurl.com/MB-Summer-Concerts
    Venue: Polliwog Park, 1601 Manhattan Beach Blvd, Manhattan Beach

    Sunday Sessions
    This is a free dance party celebrating Los Angeles’ house music scene, featuring music from Kaleem, Jun and Tony Powell.
    Time: 2 p.m. Aug. 13
    Cost: Free
    Details: http://grandparkla.org/calendar
    Venue: Grand Park, 200 N. Grand Ave., Los Angeles

    Groove Lexicon
    As one of Los Angeles’ most experienced and widely sought after musicians, David Anderson has appeared, recorded and toured with many popular acts.
    Time: 4 p.m. Aug. 13
    Cost: $15
    Details: https://alvasshowroom.com
    Venue: Alvas Showroom, 1417 W. 8th St., San Pedro

    Aug. 17
    Daymé Arocena
    Experience the jazz-inflected blend of Afro-Cuban soulfulness.
    Time: 8 p.m. Aug. 17
    Cost: Free
    Details: www.skirball.org/calendar/2017-08-17
    Venue: Skirball Cultural Center, 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles

    Aug. 18
    Sharon Marie Cline & The Bad Boyz Of Jazz
    Listen to classic jazz, then stuff your face with food from the market.
    Time: 7 to 9 p.m. Aug. 18
    Cost: Free
    Details: www.farmersmarketla.com
    Venue: The Original Farmers Market, 6333 W. 3rd St., Los Angeles

    Daymé Arocena
    This Afro-Cuban vocalist is sure to blow your mind.
    Time: 12 p.m. Aug. 18
    Cost: Free
    Details: www.grandperformances.org
    Venue: Grand Performances, 300 S. Grand Ave., Los Angeles

    Cameron Graves
    Experience a mind-expanding jazz fusion.
    Time: 8 p.m. Aug. 18
    Cost: Free
    Details: www.grandperformances.org
    Venue: Grand Performances, 300 S. Grand Ave., Los Angeles

    Dance Argentine Tango
    Learn new dance moves and show them off in a judgment-free zone at Grand Park.
    Time: Aug. 18
    Cost: Free
    Details: www.grandperformances.org
    Venue: Grand Performances, 300 S. Grand Ave., Los Angeles

    Aug. 19
    Catina DeLuna
    Los Angeles’ highly acclaimed arranger/producer Otmaro Ruiz and International Recording Artist Catina De Luna will be presenting the music of their Grammy-nominated CD Catina DeLuna and Lado B Brazilian Project.
    Time: 8 p.m. Aug. 19
    Cost: $20
    Details: https://alvasshowroom.com
    Venue: Alvas Showroom, 1417 W. 8th St. San Pedro

    Aug. 19
    ALT 98.7 Summer Camp
    The ALT 98.7 Summer Camp will feature Foster The People as well as The Head and The Heart.
    A limited number of VIP tickets will be available for purchase and will include pit access, a piece of official event merchandise and meet and greets with participating artists.
    Time:  3 p.m. Aug. 19
    Details: http://alt987fm.iheart.com/features/altsummercamp-2199
    Venue: The Queen Mary Events Park, 1126 Queens Highway, Long Beach

    Daedelus Grooves for Cola20
    Daedelus and musical pals will reinvent classic EDM/IDM joints on real instruments as lullabies, sing-alongs and merry melodies.
    Time: 8 p.m. Aug. 19
    Cost: Free
    Details: www.grandperformances.org
    Venue: Grand Performances, 300 S. Grand Ave., Los Angeles

    Djs Aaron Byrd, Garth Trinidad
    This special edition of KCRW’s Summer Nights series features after-hours museum access, food trucks, a beer garden and more.
    Time: 5 p.m. Aug. 19
    Cost: Free
    Details: http://events.kcrw.com/events/summernightsaaronandgarth
    Venue: The California African American Museum, 600 State Drive, Los Angeles

    Aug. 20
    Hollywood U2
    Enjoy Bono-approved U2 covers.
    Time: 5 to 7 p.m. Aug. 20
    Cost: Free
    Details: http://tinyurl.com/ManhattanBchConcertsinthePark
    Venue: Polliwog Park, 1601 Manhattan Beach Blvd, Manhattan Beach

    Aug. 24
    David Buchbinder’s Odessa/Havanna
    Explore the rich and exhilarating connections between Jewish and Cuban music, sharing Andalusian, Arabic, Roma, Sephardic and North African ancestry.
    Time: 8 p.m. Aug. 24
    Cost: Free
    Details: www.skirball.org/programs/sunset-concerts
    Venue: Skirball Cultural Center, 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles

    Aug. 25
    DJs Jason Bentley, Travis Holcombe
    Experience the new venue for KCRW’s Summer Nights series, which will feature plenty of danceable grooves, games, food and drinks.
    Time: 5:30 p.m. Aug. 25
    Cost: Free
    Details: http://events.kcrw.com/events/summernightsjasonandtravis
    Venue: Union Station, 800 N. Alameda St., Los Angeles

    Inca
    Enjoy Peruvian and Andean music, then chow down on food from the market.
    Time: 7 to 9 p.m. Aug. 25
    Cost: Free
    Details: www.farmersmarketla.com
    Venue: The Original Farmers Market, 6333 W. 3rd St., Los Angeles

    Dj Nights
    Learn new dance moves and show them off in a judgement-free zone.
    Time: 9 p.m. Aug. 25
    Cost: Free
    Details: http://grandparkla.org/calendar
    Venue: Grand Park, 200 N. Grand Ave., Los Angeles

    Aug. 26
    Mark De Clive-Lowe
    A sonic journey of jazz and electronic music from a Japanese New Zealander.
    Time: 9 p.m. Aug. 26
    Cost: Free
    Details: www.grandperformances.org
    Venue: Grand Performances, 300 S. Grand Ave., Los Angeles

    Aug. 27
    Lynette Skynyrd
    Enjoy Free Bird at Polliwog Park, Manhattan Beach.
    Time: 5 to 7 p.m. Aug. 27
    Cost: Free
    Details: http://tinyurl.com/ManhattanBchConcertsinthePark
    Venue: Polliwog Park, 1601 Manhattan Beach Blvd., Manhattan Beach

    Aug. 31
    Betsayda Machado y La Parranda El Clavo
    Listen to Afro-Venezuelan roots music and be ready to dance.
    Time: 8 p.m. Aug. 31
    Cost: Free
    Details: www.skirball.org/programs/sunset-concerts
    Venue: Skirball Cultural Center, 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles

    Sept. 1
    Susie Hansen Latin Band
    Listen to jazz and chow down on food from the market.
    Time: 7 to 9 p.m. Sept. 1
    Cost: Free
    Details: www.farmersmarketla.com
    Venue: The Original Farmers Market, 6333 W. 3rd St., Los Angeles

    Dance Salsa
    Learn new dance moves and show them off in a judgment-free zone.
    Time: 9 p.m. Aug. 25
    Cost: Free
    Details: http://grandparkla.org/calendar
    Venue: Grand Park, 200 N. Grand Ave., Los Angeles

    Sept. 2
    Concert Under the Guns
    Experience the sounds of the Battleship Iowa. The event will include food trucks, beverages and fireworks.
    Time: 6:30 p.m. Sept. 2
    Cost: Free
    Details: (877) 446-9261
    Venue: Battleship Iowa, Pacific Battleship Center, 250 S. Harbor Blvd., San Pedro

    Sept. 3
    Colour My World
    Enjoy covers of Chicago’s biggest hits.
    Time: 5 to 7 p.m. Sept. 3
    Cost: Free
    Details: http://tinyurl.com/ManhattanBchConcertsinthePark
    Venue: Polliwog Park, 1601 Manhattan Beach Blvd, Manhattan Beach

    Sept. 4
    2H2H
    Join the all-female tribute to UFO on the USS Iowa for a “Shoot Shoot” holiday afternoon.
    Time: 4 p.m. Sept. 4
    Cost: Free
    Details: http://tinyurl.com/yd55onwp
    Venue: Battleship USS IOWA, 250 S. Harbor Blvd, Berth 87, San Pedro

    THEATER

    July 9
    Magic Fruit
    Cornerstone Theater Company is pleased to announce a special concert reading of Magic Fruit. The plays looked at food equity, urban and rural farming, food addiction and community gardens.
    Time: 7 p.m. July 9
    Cost: Free
    Details: http://cornerstonetheater.org
    Venue: Grand Performances, 350 S. Grand Ave., Los Angeles

    July 7
    Mary Poppins
    Musical Theatre West brings a “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious,” production of Disney and Cameron Mackintosh’s Mary Poppins to the Carpenter Performing Arts Center.
    Based on the books by P.L. Travers and the classic Walt Disney film, Disney and Cameron Mackintosh’s production features the delectable Sherman Brothers score, including A Spoonful of Sugar.
    Time: 8 p.m. July 14, 15, 20, 21 and 22, 2 p.m. July 15 and 22, 1 p.m. July 16 and 23, and 6 p.m. July 16, through July 23
    Cost: $20
    Details: (562) 856-1999, ext. 4; musical.org
    Venue: Carpenter Performing Arts Center , 6200 E. Atherton, Long Beach

    July 21
    Annie
    Join the irrepressible comic strip heroine as she takes center stage in one of the world’s best-loved musicals. Annie’s escape from an orphanage and the clutches of the wicked Miss Hannigan leads to new life and home with billionaire Oliver Warbucks.
    Time: 7:30 p.m. July 21, 22 and 29, and 2 p.m. July 23, 29 and 30
    Cost: $39 to $60
    Details: www.grandvision.org/warner-grand/events.asp
    Venue: Warner Grand Theatre, 478 W. 6th St., San Pedro

    July 21
    The Taming of the Shrew
    For Shakespeare by the Sea’s 20th anniversary season, community members will be able to enjoy William Shakespeare’s famous comedy The Taming of the Shrew. The professionally-crafted productions are presented free.
    Time: 7 to 9 p.m. July 21
    Cost: Free
    Details: www.shakespearebythesea.org/wp/calendar
    Venue: Marine Mammal Care Center, 3601 S. Gaffey St., #8, San Pedro

    July 28
    La Linea
    A multimedia story of everyday life on the Mexico-U.S. border with music by Panoptica.
    Time: 8 p.m. July 28
    Cost: Free
    Details: www.grandperformances.org
    Venue: Grand Performances, 300 S. Grand Ave., Los Angeles

    Aug. 5
    Guys and Dolls
    Set in Damon Runyon’s mythical New York City, Guys and Dolls is an oddball romantic comedy. Gambler Nathan Detroit tries to find the cash to set up the biggest craps game in town. Meanwhile,the authorities breathe down his neck; meanwhile, his girlfriend, nightclub performer Adelaide, laments that they’ve been engaged for 14 years.
    Time: 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and 2 p.m. Sunday, through Aug. 5
    Cost: $14 to $24
    Details: lbplayhouse.org
    Venue: Long Beach Playhouse, 5021 E. Anaheim St., Long Beach

    Aug. 13
    Peter y La Loba
    Enjoy another telling of Peter and the Wolf, this time with Latin Grammy Award winners Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam.
    Time: 3 and 4:30 p.m. Aug. 13
    Cost: Free
    Details: www.grandperformances.org
    Venue: Grand Performances, 300 S. Grand Ave., Los Angeles

    ARTS

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

    July 9
    National Watercolor Society Member’s Show
    The exhibit is juried by nationally known Bob Burridge. The artwork ranges from realistic to non-objective and features 89 paintings.
    Time: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays, and 12 to 4 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays, through July 9
    Cost: Free
    Details: (424) 225-4966
    Venue: National Watercolor Society, 915 S. Pacific Ave., San Pedro

    July 9
    Justin Favela: Gracias, Gracias, Thank You, Thank You!
    Following a tradition of social commentary practiced by notable Latino artists such as Coco Fusco, John Jota Leaños and Alejandro Diaz, Justin Favela’s pinata-shaped sculptures meld memory with humor to reveal difficult to communicate experiences of identity and place. His exhibition at Palos Verdes Art Center presents pieces from his current body of work that have recently been exhibited at many venues in his home state of Nevada.
    Time: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays, and 1 to 4 p.m. Sundays, through July 9
    Cost: Free
    Details: www.pvartcenter.org
    Venue: Palos Verdes Art Center, 5504 Crestridge Road, Rancho Palos Verdes

    July 24
    Disruptions
    The Art of Eliseo Art Silva features 20 works which embrace sparring ideas to intentionally disrupt the expected and bring attention to new ideas and conversations. As an artist of over 100 public works on the East and West Coasts and in his own studio practice, this Philippine-born artist strives to disrupt his audience, forcing them to rethink and energize. RSVP requested.
    Time:  5 to 8 p.m. July 24
    Details: (310) 514-9139; linda@sbcglobal.net
    Venue:  The Arcade, 479 W. 6th St., Suite 107, San Pedro

    July 30
    From The Desert to The Sea: The Desolation Center Experience
    Before the era of Burning Man, Lollapalooza and Coachella, Desolation Center drew punk and industrial music fans to the far reaches of the Mojave Desert for the first of five events, “Mojave Exodus,” in April of 1983. Cornelius Projects pays tribute to Desolation Center’s pioneering vision with an exhibition featuring painting, photography, sculpture, video and ephemera.
    Time: 12 to 5 p.m. Thursdays through Sundays, through July 30
    Cost: Free
    Details: (310) 266-9216
    Venue: Cornelius Projects Gallery, 1417 S. Pacific Ave., San Pedro

    COMMUNITY

    July 20
    Art and Science of Evaluating Beers
    Become a better beer nerd.
    Time: 7 p.m. July 20
    Cost: Free
    Details: www.grandperformances.org
    Venue: Grand Performances, 300 S. Grand Ave., Los Angeles

    July 22
    Her Voice: Sultana, Meklit, And Ulali
    Celebrating women’s voices from Indian, Pakistani, Ethiopian and Native American traditions.
    Time: 7 p.m. July 22
    Cost: Free
    Details: www.grandperformances.org
    Venue: Grand Performances, 300 S. Grand Ave., Los Angeles

    July 24
    Grunion Run Schedule
    Take Cabrillo Marine Aquarium’s Fish-tival and celebrate all things grunion. Grunion may be collected by people with a valid 2017 California Fishing licence and by hand only. No license is required for those younger than 16.
    Time: 10:30 p.m. July 24
    Cost: Free
    Details: www.cabrillomarineaquarium.org
    Venue: Cabrillo Marine Aquarium, 3720 Stephen M. White Drive, San Pedro

    July 29
    Sinister Circus
    The Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor proudly presents Sinister Circus, the first-ever haunted summer costume ball aboard the Queen Mary. Following a day of macabre fun at Midsummer Scream 2017, join us at a spook-tacular costume party aboard where you can dress up to become one of the ringmaster’s minions for Dark Harbor’s Sinister Circus.
    Time: 8 p.m. July 29
    Cost: $29 to $34
    Details: http://bit.ly/DHSinisterCircus
    Venue: Queen Mary, 1126 Queens Highway, Long Beach

    July 30
    Peter & The Wolf
    The childhood classic told with live music.
    Time: 3 to 4:30 p.m. July 30
    Cost: Free
    Details: www.grandperformances.org
    Venue: Grand Performances, 300 S. Grand Ave., Los Angeles

    Aug. 12
    Iowa by the Sea Picnic
    All Iowans and people who love the great state of Iowa are invited to this year’s fun event.  The picnic location provides excellent security, adequate space and a great view of the battleship.
    Time: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Aug. 12
    Cost: $12 to $35
    Details: (877) 446-9261; www.pacificbattleship.com
    Venue: Battleship Iowa, 250 S. Harbor Blvd., Berth 87, San Pedro

    Aug. 18
    Movie Under the Guns
    Battleship Iowa invites you to a free screening of Guardians of the Galaxy. The movie will be shown on board the fantail of Battleship Iowa as you sit under the stars, overlooking the beautiful Los Angeles Waterfront.
    Time: 7:30 p.m. Aug. 18
    Cost: Free
    Details: (877) 446-9261; www.pacificbattleship.com
    Venue: Battleship IOWA, 250 S. Harbor Blvd., San Pedro

    Sept. 2
    Swing Pedro Fleet Week 2017
    Come dance, listen to great music and meet great people from San Pedro. This event is free to all Navy and military on active duty so make sure to mingle with our fine servicemen. Spaces fill up quickly so be sure to get your tickets early.
    Time: 6:30 p.m. Sept. 2
    Cost: $25
    Details: (310) 547-2348
    Venue: People’s Yoga, Health & Dance, 365 W. 6th St., San Pedro

    New Blues Festival IV
    More than 30 of the biggest names in Blues Music join us this Labor Day Weekend in the beautiful El Dorado Park in what promises to be its most ambitious event to date.
    Time: 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sept. 2 and 3
    Cost: $40 to $75
    Details: www.newsbluesfestival.com
    Venue:  El Dorado Park, Long Beach

    13th Annual Light at the Lighthouse Music Festival
    There will be four stages including a main stage with some of the best headlining Christian rock bands like The Edge and a worship stage featuring talent from local churches.
    Time: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sept. 2
    Cost: Free
    Details: www.lightatthelighthouse.org
    Venue: Point Fermin, 807 W Paseo Del Mar, San Pedro

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  • Monthly Beach Cleanup

    Cabrillo Marine Aquarium invites the public to participate in its monthly beach clean-up. Join educators in keeping the coastal park eco-friendly and clean.
    Time: 8 to 10 a.m. July 1
    Details: (310) 548-7562; www.cabrillomarineaquarium.org
    Venue: Cabrillo Marine Aquarium, 3720 Stephen M. White Drive, San Pedro

    Centro CHA Entrepreneurship Boot Camp

    Looking to learn more about start-ups, business plans, marketing, financial management and legal structures? Centro CHA and the Institute and CSULB are partnering to host a 6-week entrepreneurship program Monday nights beginning July 10. A certificate of entrepreneurship will be awarded to participants who complete the program.
    Details: (562) 612-1424; susan@centrocha.org

    Work Smart Workshop

    Women: attend this free salary negotiation workshop to gain the skills and confidence to successfully negotiate your salary and benefits packages.
    In every two-hour workshop, you will gain confidence in their negotiation style through facilitated discussion and role-play.
    Time: 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. July 11
    Cost: Free
    Details: https://salary.aauw.org/longbeach
    Venue: The Center Long Beach, 2017 E. 4th St., Long Beach

    Gerald Desmond Bridge Closures

    A lane will be closed, from 7 to 9 p.m. weeknights, on eastbound Ocean Boulevard at State Route 47, through July 21.

    Free Meals Served

    Meals will be provided to all eligible children, free of charge. Eligible children will receive the meals at a residential or non-residential camp.
    Time: 12 to 1 p.m. Monday through Friday, through Aug. 4
    Venue: San Pedro Boys and Girls Club, 1200 S. Cabrillo Ave., San Pedro

    Grant Review Panelist Wanted

    Apply to become a panelist for the Arts Council for Long Beach. Panelists decide how to distribute annual grants funds to Long Beach artists, organizations and community groups.
    Applicants must be Southern California residents; they are chosen from different disciplines.  The Arts Council runs three days, one day for each category. These include: operating grants, community project grants and professional artist fellowships. Applicants must specify which grant category they’d like to be considered for.
    Panelists commit 10 to 20 hours to the process, which includes reading and pre-scoring applications, as well was as attending one full-day panel meeting.
    The 2017 panel schedule is:

    • 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Aug. 18 – Professional Artist Fellowships
    • 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Aug. 21 – Community Project Grants
    • 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Aug. 22 – Operating Grants I & II

    Details: lisa.desmidt@artslb.org; www.artslb.org/services/grants

    Arts Council for Long Beach’s Annual Grant

    The Arts Council for Long Beach’s 2017–2018 annual grant cycle applications and guidelines are now available. Applications and guidelines are at http://www.artslb.org/grants.

    Call for Artists

    Friends of Bixby Park is looking for local artists to display or sell artwork .’at Art in the Park events. Submit a sample to joshua@aaronrealestate.net.

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