• Veterans Ride 600 Miles for Fallen Brothers

    By Joseph Baroud, RLn Contributor

    Fourteen veterans, who were wounded in combat, took the Never Quit Challenge, Sept. 8 through 11. The challenge included a 600 mile jet ski course from Morro Bay to San Diego.

    In the challenge’s second year, veterans who received purple hearts stopped in Santa Barbara, Long Beach and Catalina Island. The challenge concluded on the evening of Sept. 11  at the Stone Bistro’s Liberty Center, Point Loma for a 9/11 tribute.

    “It’s great, getting back together and having that camaraderie that you don’t get in the real world — the civilian world,” said 3rd Ranger Battalion Kyle Butcher, one of the veterans who was part of the challenge.

    The prior year’s challenge took place between Key West, Fla. and New York City. Event organizer Shawn Alladio said the location change each year is what makes the competition unique.

    The event supports the Marsoc Foundation, Station Foundation, and Phoenix Patriot Foundation. All three support veterans and the families of fallen soldiers.

    It’s called the Never Quit Challenge for a reason: The waters are choppy and unpredictable, creating a greater challenge for wounded veterans. One rider was using prosthetic legs, but zero riders complained or quit. (more…)

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  • SHAWL House Adds Compassion, Pride to Harbor Area

    By Zamná Ávila, Assistant Editor

    Maintaining a historic home is challenging and choosing to own a historic home comes with a plethora of city and state rules to abide by.

    Support for Harbor Area Women’s Lives, known as SHAWL House, has been making repairs to its neo-classical and colonial revival-style home near 9th and Centre streets. In 2000, grants from the Ahmanson Foundation, the Parsons Foundation and the Weingart Foundation helped to purchase the home SHAWL uses at 938 S. Centre St., in San Pedro.

    The house, built in 1910, was constructed in the neo-classical and colonial revival styles near an area known then as “Saloon Keepers Row.” It was once home to Henry Stieglitz, a judge, city attorney and member of the San Pedro Board of Trustees, who also was a volunteer fireman. After the Stieglitz family vacated the house, it became a boys’ home, before SHAWL made the home a women’s shelter.

    Recently, the home underwent some much needed repairs. The columns in front of the home started sinking and separating over the course of time. One day when Executive Director Laurie Whalen-Martinez arrived at the SHAWL house, on a weekend, one of the columns had sunk deeply and separated. Because SHAWL is part of Volunteers of America, she contacted that organization and asked for someone to come and look at the column. After coming to the site, representatives from the organization suggested hiring a structural engineer. (more…)

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  • Rancho is ‘Fixed’, Government is Broken:

    EPA, DHS Officials Fail To Answer Public’s Fundamental Questions at Two-Hour Meeting

    By Paul Rosenberg, Senior Editor

    “If this is outreach, I think you are already failing,” Kathleen Woodfield said about 30 minutes into a two-hour meeting with federal regulators at Peck Park on the eve of Sept. 11.

    Rep. Henry Waxman convened the meeting to address concerns raised by the Rancho LPG facility. Officials from the Department of Homeland Security and the Environmental Protection Agency both showed up prepared to explain their operations. But the crowd in attendance was overwhelmingly concerned with their shortcomings—and how to overcome them. Which is why Woodfield, vice president of The San Pedro and Peninsula Homeowners Coalition, seemed to speak for the vast majority of those in attendance.

    Waxman was not present because the House was in session, voting that day, but District Director Lisa Pinto chaired the meeting, ably keeping it from descending into chaos. However, she lacked Waxman’s legendary personal and institutional authority to put the agency representatives on the spot, as most of those in attendance clearly wanted.

    Rep. Janice Hahn’s District Director Lara Larramendi, read a statement. (more…)

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  • Boys and Girls Club 9/11 Candlelight Memorial

    Boys & Girls Clubs of the Los Angeles Harbor’s high school students are organized a candlelight vigil in honor of the people impacted by the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.

    The event included poems, speeches and live music by the club’s Arts Academy jazz.

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  • Gear Up for the Lobster Festival with Lobster Tortilla Soup, Other Recipes

    By Lori Lynn Hirsch Stokoe, Food Writer and Photographer

    With the world’s largest lobster festival right around the corner and in our own backyard (The Port of Los Angeles), it was time to develop a new lobster recipe.

    Now, while lobster is usually decadent, expensive and reserved for special occasions, I sought to create a more humble lobster dish for everyday enjoyment. These 3.5-ounce lobster tails cost $6.50 each, while the rest of the ingredients are quite inexpensive. This hearty meal in a bowl can be served to company as well as enjoyed for a weeknight dinner.

    And, in the process of research, I thought it would be neat to share a few interesting tidbits about our favorite crustacean:

    Are Maine lobsters always from Maine? Not necessarily. The American lobster, Homarus americanus, is found along the Atlantic coast of North America from Canada to New Jersey, with a very small percentage found all the way down to North Carolina. Maine lobster is another name for the American lobster. American lobsters are a cold water species. (more…)

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  • Soapbox Derby Debuts at Queen Mary’s

    By Joseph Baroud, Contributor

    Racers kept their heads down. Their eyes pointed straight ahead as they steered their wheels went for the gold at the All-American Queen’s Cup Soap Box Derby race.

    The derby took place Aug. 23 and 24 at the parking lot adjacent to the Queen Mary in Long Beach. A ramp was placed at the beginning of the track. Racers were released from the top, gathering enough speed to push them to the finish line. The finish is 40, or 50 feet ahead of the ramp. Haystacks outlined the track to cushion a driver in the event of a crash and cones divided the two lanes.

    Most of the races were neck-and-neck from start to finish. Some ended with about a second, or a second-and-a-half, between them. Some ended with finishes that made your heart skip a beat. That instance alone was enough to fill the gap that separated the racers. Most importantly, none of the races were one-sided, which called for an exciting event.

    The races began at 11 a.m. There were four different races for each of the three different classes: stock; super stock; masters. The double elimination race had drivers race each other, mark the time difference, trade wheels and lanes and go at it again. The time difference was recorded after the second race and whoever had a better accumulated time would advance. The switch was made to ensure a fair game. (more…)

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  • Residents Say, ‘Not So Fast’ to Road Diet at Town Hall

    By Terelle Jerricks, Managing Editor

    Councilman Joe Buscaino hosted an informational town hall meeting on the Pacific Avenue Road Diet” Aug. 27 in a bid to squash rumors of San Pedro’s take over by the Bike Lane mafia.

    “This is not a bike lane project,” Buscaino reiterated almost at the start of the meeting.

    Whether he was successful or not remains to be seen, but a number of local residents are highly upset with the changes.

    Department of Transportation representative Michelle Mowery said that the bike lanes were never the focus of the road diet project, but were an added benefit that was tacked onto project later since it cost little in terms of space and money to implement.

    Buscaino attempted to cast the road diet as a safety issue. The term “Road Diet” is a Los Angeles Department of Transportation term describing the conversion of two lane streets into one lane streets in either direction. Buscaino noted this 1 mile stretch between O’Farrell and 22nd street as having the greatest number of pedestrian accidents in San Pedro.

    The former Los Angeles Police Department senior lead officer turned councilman cited statistics, such as the fact that there were three schools on Pacific Avenue, including Barton Hill and 15th Street Elementary school and Alliance College-Ready Public Schools, a recently opened charter high school. (more…)

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  • All is Now

    By Andrea Serna, Arts and Culture Writer

    A decade ago, author Ekhart Tolle brought the concept of ‘now’ into popular psychology with his book The Power of Now.

    Artist Jay McCafferty preceded Tolle with a practice of art that necessitates presence of spirit, focus and mindfulness that would test all but the most dedicated Zen practitioners.

    In September, curator and artist Ron Linden opens an exhibition of McCafferty’s work at Warschaw Gallery in San Pedro.

    The exhibition visits McCafferty’s new solar-burned, process driven paintings. Working outdoors, using a magnifying glass and the sun’s heat, he burns holes of various sizes into stacked sheets of vellum paper. Depending on the intensity of the sun and other atmospheric conditions, McCafferty can create a variety of effects. The burns in the paper leave behind a smoky residue that adds a painterly quality. The resulting works can be delicate and lace-like, or aggressive as detritus in the remains of destructive fire.

    McCafferty needs to be in the moment, let the work of art reveal itself through action. He sets the stage mentally and physically with preparation of the paper, then focuses on being present and lets the art unfold and develop.

    “These works have a certain passivity and tranquility to them,” Linden said. “He is masterful with what he does. There is no preordained design or composition in his work. He begins and works until the sun goes down and next day takes up where he left off.”

    McCafferty’s choice artwork can be described as ‘Process Art’ – art that emphasizes the process of its making. His interest in process and the properties of his materials are determining factors in his aesthetic and has precedence in the abstract expressionists use of unconventional methods such as dripping, pouring and staining.
    McCafferty has always followed his own intuition in his works.

    “My work originated in the early 70s,” McCafferty said. “The zeitgeist of the time was process oriented and that was primarily the time frame that I came out of. It is something that has been part of my work for most of my career. I have a strong theory that everything is ‘right now’. You can hypothesize about what happened before and fantasize about what is going to happen, but one thing I know for certain is right now is all that exists.”

    He also believes there are no accidents. The magnifying glass is a device that has become more mysterious to him over the years. He has learned, over many years of practice that he cannot use the method unless he is paying complete attention. The artist’s attention is ‘magnified’ by the lens. When we spoke recently, he had just spent six hours on one piece. A completed work can take as much as three months to finish.

    Sandy Ballatore in Art in America writes that the works are “the gridded, singed, skeletal remains of his own peculiar art-making ritual: sitting on his studio roof, magnifying lens in hand and sun overhead, he ignites papers, plastic, wood, cardboard … in a mechanical meditative rite.”

    McCafferty also is a pioneer in the field of video art. Eventually he became discouraged by the reluctance of galleries to show video in its early days and concentrated on painting. His art is now shown in museums and galleries across the United States and Europe.

    His trust in Linden is a primary reason that McCafferty is showing his art in San Pedro.

    “I was born in San Pedro,” McCafferty said. “I never thought there would be an art reality for me there. It wasn’t part of the tradition that I grew up in. The art world was always someplace else. The idea that there is somebody here [who] I like and respect is wonderful. I never thought San Pedro, or even Los Angeles, would ever be a distribution center. Even though most of the major sales [in the past] were in New York, most of the major ideas primarily came from the West Coast. We have less tradition hanging over our heads.”

    As a young artist in the 1970s, McCafferty developed a practice that became a groundbreaking trend in the 21st century. In 1972, he acquired a Sony Portapack camera and turned it on himself shaving in his bathroom mirror each day. He has been doing that for the past four decades. He has never stopped.

    Decades of technical evolution forced him to adjust his video practice. A recent viewer commented that his work was akin to the Rosetta Stone of video work. He states he has owned eight or nine cameras, moving from the original Sony Portapack to digital as time progressed. During the process he also documented the decades long evolution of Gillette shaving equipment.

    Richard Linklater’s film, Boyhood, and Michael Apted’s film, Up, are examples of our fascination with documenting our lives throughout extended time periods. Our current access to video technology on the cell phone we carry in our pockets has made us the most highly documented generation in history. McCafferty was essentially a visionary in this field.

    He was the first video artist to be shown at the Long Beach Art Museum, which in the 70s established a reputation for exhibiting artists working in the experimental medium. Years later, the Long Beach Museum of Art realized they had neither the technology nor the staff to preserve the large video collection gathered.

    The Getty Museum acquired the collection in 2005. It is an important record of the early and continuing history of video art and a crucial component of the region’s cultural history. Containing numerous masterpieces in the medium, the collection comprises the largest gathering of video art works produced in Los Angeles and Southern California. Pioneers of the art form, such as John Baldessari, Bill Viola and Jay McCafferty, are represented.

    Jay McCafferty, Recent Works, opens at TransVagrant @Warschaw Gallery with an artist’s reception at 4 p.m. Sept. 13.

    Details: (310) 600-4873
    Venue: TransVagrant@Warschaw Gallery
    Location: 600 S. Pacific Ave., San Pedro

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  • Blackbird Takes an Honest Look on Being Black, Gay in the South

    A Long Beach QFilm Festival Feature

    By Viktor Kerney, Guest Columnist
    Being black and gay is truly living on a prayer.

    The pressures from family, friends and faith can stretch a closeted youth beyond their limits. That amount of burden on one’s shoulders can either come crashing down or eventually make that person stronger than before. These are the issues writer and director Patrik-Ian Polk addresses in his latest film, Blackbird, featured at this year’s Long Beach QFilm Festival.

    Like his groundbreaking projects Punks and Noah’s Arc: Jumping the Broom, Polk continues tackling topics within the black LGBT community. In Blackbird, Polk delivers an honest and passionate coming of age story about a young choirboy struggling with being gay in a small Southern town.

    This film follows Randy (Julian Walker), a young church boy who is beset by host of problems: the disappearance of his younger sister, the separation of his parents and his budding sexuality. (more…)

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  • Connecting the Harbor to LA

    Road Diets, Stop Signs, Traffic Solutions

    By James Preston Allen, publisher

    Councilman Joe Buscaino held a town hall forum on the Pacific Avenue Road Diet last week and got an ear-full from some unhappy residents about narrowing the roadway. The problem is that the Los Angeles Department of Transportation has already decided, for some very rational reasons, that this is the solution and has already budgeted the money to slow traffic on this roadway. The one small truth revealed by the DOT representatives at the meeting  is that the ATSAC traffic signal synchronization system that the city paid millions for hasn’t been working and there’s no estimate of when it will be fixed. So much for great plans and hi-tech solutions.

    The problem that the city is solving here is kind of like Councilman Buscaino’s predecessor Janice Hahn’s approach to traffic accidents, more stop signs and traffic signals. When taken individually, these incremental steps are reasonable solutions, until they are implemented with an overall plan.

    What is needed is a region-wide traffic and transportation plan that takes into consideration port cargo traffic, the impact of increasing commuter traffic on streets like Gaffey street and Pacific Coast Highway (both of which feeds into the 110 freeway) and the projected impacts of waterfront development from tourists visiting the harbor. (more…)

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