• Hahn Honored the Late Rep. Juanita Millender-McDonald

    LONG BEACH — On April 7, Rep. Janice Hahn hosted a special ceremony renaming the North Long Beach Post Office for the late Rep. Juanita Millender-McDonald.

    She was joined by Millender-McDonald’s widower, James McDonald Jr., her daughter Valerie McDonald and several prominent elected officials.

    The renaming of the facility at 101 E. Market St. is the result of legislation introduced by Hahn which passed Congress in December 2014.  Hahn unveiled a plaque honoring Rep. Juanita Millender-McDonald alongside Millender-McDonald’s widower and daughter. Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia, Rep. Alan Lowenthal (CA-47), former Rep. Diane Watson and Long Beach Councilmen Al Austin and Rex Richardson also spoke at the event.

    For all her accomplishments, Congresswoman Juanita Millender-McDonald’s political career started relatively late in her life. By age 26, she was a mother of five. After raising her children, she went back to school to earn a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in her 40s.  She became a teacher in LAUSD and later the manuscript editor for Images, a textbook aimed at promoting the self-esteem of young women, and the director of gender equity programs for the school district.

    Juanita Millender-McDonald made history by becoming, in 1990, the first African-American woman on the Carson City Council, and in 2007, she became the first African-American woman to chair a congressional committee — the House Administration Committee. She served on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and the Small Business Committee, the two committees on which Congresswoman Hahn serves.

    Congresswoman Millender-McDonald succumbed to cancer in April 2007, just a week after requesting a leave of absence from the House of Representatives.

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  • RLn ANNOUNCEMENTS: April 7, 2015

    April 7
    Council Considers Alcoholic Manufacturing, Accessory Tasting Room Ordinance.
    The Long Beach City Council will consider an ordinance amendment with regard to alcoholic manufacturing and accessory tasting rooms, during its 5 p.m. April 7 meeting, at City Hall.
    The alcoholic beverage manufacturing industry has experienced significant growth across the county. The council would like to add specific zoning specific definitions form the industry and develop standards regulating the use.
    Details: 15-0247
    Venue: City Hall, 333 W. Ocean Blvd., Long Beach
     
    April 7
    Hahn to Dedicate Post Office to Late Congresswoman
    WASHINGTON, DC –On April 7, Rep. Janice Hahn (CA-44) will lead a special dedication ceremony to the North Long Beach Post Office after the late Congresswoman Juanita Millender-McDonald who represented the community for years.
    The ceremony, lasting from 10 to 11 a.m., will feature the congresswoman and members of the Millender-McDonald family, Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia and Long Beach City Councilmen Al Austin and Rex Richardson and State Sen. Isadore Hall.
    Details:www.hahn.house.gov, (310) 831-1799
    Venue: North Long Beach Post, 101 E. Market St., Long Beach
     
    April 7
    Special Olympics Luncheon
    The San Pedro Chamber of Commerce and the San Pedro Convention and Visitors Bureau will be hosting a luncheon featuring Olympic gold medalist Rafer Johnson on April 7 at the Doubletree Hotel in San Pedro.
    The event is to raise funds to host Special Olympics athletes from Croatia and Kazakhstan.
    In July, the World Games will take place in Los Angeles. Over 10,000 Special Olympic athletes from 177 countries will be coming to compete. As part of the festivities the athletes will be coming one week early to practice and get to know the people of Southern California. Eighty communities will be hosting athletes. San Pedro is privileged to host athletes from Croatia and Kazakhstan from July 21 to July 24.
    Tickets are $75 and reservations are available through the San Pedro Chamber of Commerce or the San Pedro Convention and Visitors Bureau.
    Details: (310) 720-1776, SpecialOlympics@SanPedroCVB.com, bkeenan@toberman.org
    Venue: Doubletree Hotel, 2800 Via Cabrillo Marina, San Pedro
     
    April 9
    Pathways to Employment Planning Committee
    The Northwest San Pedro Neighborhood Council’s Pathways to Employment Planning Committee is meeting at 6 p.m. April 9 at Peck Park.
    Details: nwsanpedro.org
    Venue: Peck Park, 560 N. Western Ave., San Pedro
     
    April 11
    Jump Into Spring by Volunteering
    Join the Dominguez Rancho Adobe Museum, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. for volunteer open house.
    Details: (310) 603-0088; www.dominguezrancho.org
    Venue: Dominguez Rancho Adobe Museum, 18127 S. Alameda St.,
    Rancho Dominguez
    April 11
    Participatory Budget Meeting
    Councilwoman Lena Gonzalez is launching a demo of the participatory budget process to District 1 residents, from10 a.m. to 12 p.m. April 11 at Cesar Chavez Park in Long Beach.
    District 1 is partnering with Participatory Budgeting Project, a nonprofit that empowers people to decide how to spend public money. The group will be introducing the process, see what the community values are and help residents get a feel for the process by deciding how $50,000 gets spent.
    The demo will consist of three gatherings, where community leaders and residents collect ideas and decide how best to allocate funds.
    From April to June 2015, the district committee will oversee the participatory budget process along with District 1 staff and the Participatory Budget Project.
    Details: (562) 570-6919; http://longbeach.gov/civica/filebank/blobdload.asp?BlobID=42611
    Venue: Cesar Chavez Park, 401 Golden Ave., Long Beach
     
    April 11
    Jane Addams Neighborhood Tree Planting
    Join a team of neighbors, city staff and volunteers to plant trees, from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. April 11, at Jane Addams Elementary in Long Beach.
    Trees reduce greenhouse gases, provide habitat, reduce cooling costs, and increase property values.
    Details: (562) 570-6866
    Venue: Jane Addams Elementary School, 5320 Pine Ave., Long Beach
     
    April 14
    Human Trafficking Panel
    The Cal State Dominguez Hills Political Science Department is hosting a panel discussion on human trafficking, from 2:30 to 4 p.m. April 14, at the Loker Student Union Ballroom C.
    The forum will be exploring, learning and discussing the questions: What is human trafficking in the 21st century, and what can we do to help raise awareness and strive towards alleviating it once and for all? The event is free and open to the public.
    Details: (310) 243-3435
    Venue: 1000 E. Victoria St., Carson

    April 14
    LA County Town Hall Meeting: Proposed Civilian Oversight Commission for Sherriff’s Department
    You are invited to the Los Angeles County Town Hall Meeting to discuss the proposed Civilian Oversight Commission for the Sheriff’s Department, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. April 14, El Cariso Community Regional Center in Sylmar .
    The mission of the Civilian Oversight Commission is to improve public transparency and accountability with respect to the LASD by providing robust opportunities for community engagement and ongoing analysis and oversight of the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department’s policies, practices and procedures and advice to the sheriff, Board of Supervisors and the public.
    Details: (818) 901-3831,13100 Hubbard St. Sylmar
    Venue: El Cariso Community Regional Center
    Come to find out more about the Commission and share your thoughts.
     
    April 17
    Cambodian Genocide Remembrance Day
    The public is invited to an evening dedicated to observing the passage of 40 years since the Cambodian Genocide, from 5 to 8 p.m. April 17, at the Expo Arts Center in Long Beach.
    Venue: Expo Arts Center, 4321 Atlantic Ave., Long Beach
     
    April 18
    Charity Voyage
    New Image Emergency Shelter for the Homeless Inc. presents its 4th Charity Voyage fundraiser, April 18, aboard The Majestic in San Pedro.
    The event will include a reception complete with a harpist, a 5-course gourmet dinner with wine, a comedian and a silent auction.
    Costs start at $150 per person.
    Details: (562) 822-7657, www.newimageshelter.org
    Venue: The Majestic, San Pedro
     
    April 25
    Eighth District e-Waste and Shred Fest
    Dispose of old electronics at District 8’s e-Waste and Shred Fest, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. April 25, at the North Station Police Department in Long Beach.
    Household electronic waste which includes: computer monitors, televisions, computer CPUs, keyboards, printers, cellular phones, DVD players, etc.
    Details: (562) 570-1326; district8@longbeach.gov
    Venue: North Station Police Department, 4891 Atlantic Ave., Long Beach

    April 29
    Pulse of the Ports
    Be part of the 11th Annual Pulse of the Ports: Peak Season Forecast, from 7 to 10 a.m. April 29, at the Long Beach Convention Center’s Pacific Ballroom.
    Details: www.polb.com/pulsersvp
    Venue: Long Beach Convention Center, 300 E. Ocean Blvd., Long Beach

    POLA Expands Marina Engine Exchange Program
    SAN PEDROThe Port of Los Angeles has expanded its existing Marina Engine Exchange Program to include all-electric and alternatively fuelled motors.
    The Marina Engine Exchange Program provides funding (75 percent of the total cost, up to $2,000) for local boat owners to upgrade old, highly polluting motors with California Air Resources Board three-star certified ultra-low emission motors.
    POLA will offer up to $3,000 to boat owners choosing to purchase an electric motor.
    In order to qualify, an applicant’s boat must have an operational, two-stroke outboard motor no greater than 20 horsepower and be in a port marina. The old motor will be replaced with an approximate equivalent horsepower rating (up to 15 horsepower). Upon engine replacement, the boat must remain in a Port of Los Angeles marina for at least one year.
    For an application form, visit http://portoflosangeles.org/environment/marina_engine_exchange_program.asp

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  • RL NEWS Briefs: April 6, 2015

    Los Alamitos Man Gunned Down in Long Beach

    LONG BEACH — A 47-year-old man was killed, April 4, in north Long Beach, Long Police Department officials said.

    Officers discovered Lawrence Lee Casados with a gunshot wound at about 11 p.m. on the 2700 block of East South Street.

    Paramedics pronounced the Los Alamitos resident dead at the scene.

    Officials suspect the victim was socializing in the alleyway when a suspect approached Casados on foot and fired upon him. No suspect information is available at this time. The investigation is ongoing.

    Anyone with information regarding this incident is urged to call (562) 570-7244 or visit www.lacrimestoppers.org.

     

    Garcetti Announces Appeal to Immigration Court Case

    LOS ANGELES— On April 6 Mayor Eric Garcetti announced that the city is partaking with a coalition of 73 cities and counties filing a friend-of-the-court brief in Texas vs. United States.

    The Cities United for Immigration Action coalition represents 43 million people across the country. Garcetti and New York City Mayor de Blasio have led the effort.

    The brief urges immediate implementation of President Barack Obama’s executive actions on immigration. President plans to grant administrative relief to over 4 million undocumented children and adults.

    The brief, which was filed in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals shows support for the president’s reforms. These reforms will provide temporary relief from deportation to immigrants with longstanding ties to the U.S. who pass a background check and meet other criteria.

    The coalition argues that the district court judge who temporarily blocked implementation of the programs failed to consider the significant harms to America’s local governments caused by this delay.

    The brief also argues that the District Court judge’s decision to block executive action with a preliminary injunction is damages the economy, hurts families, threatens law enforcement priorities and will stall desperately needed changes to the federal government’s immigration policies.

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  • RL NEWS: April 3, 2015

    One Dead, 15 Injured in Wilmington Hotel Fire

    Wilmington — A man died and 15 other people were injured, April 2, after a fire broke out in a hotel in Wilmington.

    One of the people injured leaped out of a window in an attempt to escape the fire.

    The fire broke out at about 3 a.m. The Los Angeles Fire Department responded to a fire at the Wilmington Hotel, two-story 20-unit building, at 111 East C. St.

    More than 100 firefighters extinguished the blaze in about 50 minutes. There were 29 occupants in the hotel. LAFD arson investigators have deemed the incident “suspicious.”

     

    Seven Charged in Scheme to Pay Kickbacks to Boeing Official

    LOS ANGELES – Seven defendants have been charged in a scheme to pay kickbacks to a procurement official at a subsidiary of the Boeing Co. that supplies satellites and satellite parts to federal government entities, including NASA.

    A series of cases related to the kickback scheme were announced April 2, after prosecutors learned that a federal judge unsealed documents related to four of the defendants who previously pleaded guilty in under seal proceedings.

    At the center of the scheme is an executive at a San Gabriel Valley metal company that was a subcontractor to Boeing Space and Intelligence Systems, which supplies satellites and satellite parts to NASA, the Department of Defense, the National Reconnaissance Office and the United States Air Force.

    The executive, Alfred Henderson, was arrested on March 30. The 60-year-old Pico Rivera resident was arraigned on a 15-count grand jury indictment that was unsealed after his arrest. Henderson is the vice president of A&A Fabrication and Polishing Inc., which operates in Whittier and Montebello. A&A was also charged in the indictment.

    Henderson pleaded not guilty on March 30. He was released on a $25,000 bond and was ordered to stand trial on May 26. Representatives of A&A will appear on behalf of the company in federal court on April 13.

    The indictment alleges that Henderson and A&A paid kickbacks to Mark Allen, 60, of Fresno, who was a procurement officer at Boeing Space and Intelligence Systems in El Segundo. The kickbacks were paid to Allen through an outside sales representative, Raymond Joseph, 66, of Los Angeles, related to purchase orders to A&A for tooling parts used to manufacture of satellites that were sold to the U.S. government. The indictment alleges that Allen provided Henderson with confidential information that gave A&A an improper advantage in bidding and ensured that A&A would receive purchase orders from Boeing Space and Intelligence Systems.

    The indictment also alleges that, after Boeing decided to stop doing business with A&A due to work quality and performance issues, Henderson devised a scheme to do business through a “front” company, Nace Sheet Metal Company, which was owned and operated by Cesar Soto, 47, of Chino. The indictment against Henderson alleges that Soto and an A&A employee, Randy Mitchell, 62, of Whittier, misrepresented that A&A’s facility was actually operated by Nace and that Henderson unlawfully used Soto’s name on price quotes to Boeing.

    In a court order filed late Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Otis D. Wright II, unsealed criminal cases against Mark Allen, Raymond Joseph, Cesar Soto and Randy Mitchell. All four previously pleaded guilty and are pending sentencing.

     

    Garcetti Unveils New Easy-To-Read Parking Signs
    LOS ANGELESOn April 3, Mayor Eric Garcetti installed the first of 100 new easy-to-read parking signs that use streamlined graphics and colors to explain confusing parking restrictions.

    The Los Angeles Department of Transportation will test the signs during a six-month pilot program on Spring and Main Streets between 2nd and 9th Streets in downtown Los Angeles.

    The LADOT Parking Signage Pilot Program makes Los Angeles the first city in the country to create grid-style parking signs. The signs use graphics in green and red to pictorially summarize parking restrictions. The new signs are being placed alongside existing signs, in accordance with state law. A web address on the sign solicits input from drivers about the signs during this initial phase of the program:  http://parkinginfo.lacity.org. In Phase II of the pilot program, LADOT will work with the California Traffic Control Devices Committee to gain final approval to completely replace existing parking signage with the new signs.
    In addition to the redesign, the new signs also feature attached Gimbal and BKON bluetooth low-energy beacons, donated to the city at no cost to taxpayers. The transmit-only beacons can send information readable by smartphones and connected vehicles and provides the foundation for developers to create apps that provide parking and other information. The signs’ QR code and web address also direct users to websites where they can find parking information: http://parkinginfo.lacity.org

    Future, opt-in uses for the beacons could also include payment options or neighborhood event notifications.  Developers interested in creating accompanying apps are encouraged to visit www.lamayor.org/beacons for more information.

    For more information about the Parking Signage Pilot Program, see the attached fact sheet.  For more information about the beacons, visit www.gimbal.com and www.bkon.com

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  • Robles Appointed Carson Mayor

    By Lyn Jensen, Carson Contributor

    Albert Robles was appointed mayor of Carson at a special city council meeting April 1. Robles and his fellow council members, Elito Santarina and Lula Davis-Holmes, voted 3-0 to make the appointment instead of calling a special election.

    Robles will serve out the remainder of Jim Dear’s unexpired four-year term as mayor, which began in March 2013. The mayor’s position has been vacant since March 24, following his resignation to become the city’s new city clerk.

    Because of Dear’ resignation and Mike Gipson’s move to the assembly this past fall, the city council is operating with three members. A special election will take place June 2 to fill Gipson’s seat. How the fifth council seat will be filled has not yet been determined.

    Robles is scheduled to take his oath to office as the mayor at the regular council meeting on April 21. Robles must run in March 2017, if he chooses to continue to serve as mayor.

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  • KKJZ Leaves CSULB Campus

    By Zamná Ávila, Assistant Editor

    For decades, 88.1 KKJZ harmonized and jazzed up the Cal State University Long Beach campus. But on March 14, it all came down to a yard sale.

    Jazz, blues, Latin jazz and swing, CDs, vinyl and DVDs, books and merchandise from Sinatra to Fitzgerald to Coltrane were all available for sale.

    The nonprofit station has moved from the Chuck Niles Studio to Westwood, where Global Jazz–the company that runs it–is headquartered. The move was finalized March 7, after a December vote by the CSULB Foundation, the station’s license holder. Stephanie Levine, KKJZ’s station manager and general counsel, described the stations relocation as a cost saving measure. She said that operating the station will be less expensive, more efficient and have a professional studio for use because KKJZ is not having to keep an office in Long Beach.

    “Our most important plan is that we keep Kjazz … the only full time jazz and blues station in the country,” Levine said. “It’s a decision that made sense and continues to make sense. The most important thing is that we are keeping the music alive in the station.”

    Global Jazz has stated its intent to maintain its student internship program with the university. Student’s seeking experience interning at the radio station will have to fight through a traffic congested 405 Freeway. However, students are expected to have access to a full staff and a fully functioning office.

    Cal State Long Beach brought in the Mt Wilson FM Broadcasters Inc. affiliate, to take over management of the radio station in 2007, following several years of financial difficulty. Under the contract, the station was supposed to provide four $5,000 scholarships to CSULB students and offer paid internships to four students. The format continued to be blues and jazz.

    Originally KLON, the station was founded in 1951 and licensed to the Long Beach Unified School District. The state bought the station from the school district in 1981 and the license was transferred to CSULB. In 2002, KLON changed its call letters to KKJZ to reflect its content, and nicknamed K-JAZZ. In time, it became the No. 1 jazz station in the United States.

    “It was a long-term process to become a full-time jazz station,” said David Grudt, a former employee who worked at the station during its early years. “It didn’t all happen overnight.”

    For some years, the station would put on the Long Beach Blues Festival, bringing about 30,000 people to the campus’ athletic field.

    “We were the big cheese as far as jazz in the town,” said Grudt, who left the station in 1992. Grudt described KKJZ as “the little station that could,” when the station initially opened, operating on 1,200 watts off Signal Hill.

    By 1991 the power increased to 8,000 watts. The station took the slogan “American Jazz Station.” With 30,000 watts these days, the 88.1 KKJZ is considered a boutique station.

    “Unfortunately, it’s an audience that is shrinking,” he said. “It’s not a mass audience anymore.”

    The station has maintained its jazz and blues format throughout the years. But it has gone from disc jockeys selecting music to a mix in which a preset playlist is used for some programs.

    Global Jazz renewed its contract for another five years in 2013.

    Like Grudt, many people understood the move as a business decision. “But from an emotional standpoint, I don’t like it.”

    No matter what, it’s a challenge, Levine said. The station has plenty of listeners but not as many contributors.

    “I don’t anticipate it will get any easier,” Levine said. “It’s incumbent on us to be creative and to keep the station going.”

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  • Trippin’ the Sixties Returns to Alvas

    Featuring Barry McGuire and John York with Special Guest P.F. Sloan
    By B. Noel Barr, Music Writer Dude

    I went off to Altadena to catch the Trippin’ The Sixties performance by Barry McGuire and John York  with P.F. Sloan at The Coffee Gallery Backstage. My mission was to preview the act before they come to San Pedro on April 11 at Alvas Showroom.

    Owner of the Altadena venue, Bob Stane was gracious to allow me to get in at the last minute for this date. The venue holds 50 listeners, in very homey space.  After having fought my way through heavy L.A. traffic, I met some very friendly staff who helped me out a lot. Relaxed after meeting with friends, the show began.

    Making their way on to the stage were Barry McGuire and John York who tore into a rousing version of  “Green Green”. This song that made The New Christy Minstrels and singer Barry McGuire very famous. McGuire, who grew up in San Pedro, is quite the raconteur, his stories which are hilarious and poignant come from the heart of a life well lived.

    The show features the music and the vibe of the sixties, giving a nod to the songwriters of that era. McGuire’s deep voice began describing a small skinny kid, a songwriter  who was making his way around Bleecker Street in Greenwich Village. That person, Bob Dylan.

    John York began filling the air with a vibrant twelve string guitar  as McGuire began with his renditions of Dylan’s “Blowin in The Wind” and “The Times They Are a Changin”. After which John York (one time member of The Byrds) performed “The Chimes of Freedom”, a song that stirs me everytime I hear it.

    At this point in the set, P.F. Sloan was brought to the stage with stories of how he and McGuire met. In this setting you are being a fly on the wall in folk and rock history.

    P.F. Sloan, in a three year span had charted on  Billboard Magazine’s Top 200 on 40 different recordings, as songwriter, producer, and performer. The man was one of the hot young music makers of his time. Working with not only McGuire, but as well as the talents of the Mama’s and Papa’s, Johnny Rivers, The Searchers, The Grass Roots and many others.

    McGuire said, “We had leftover time in the studio and Phil had this box of songs, he ripped one out of a binder.” Sloan chimes at this point describing the scene. “Drummer, Hal Blaine (premier session musician of the 60’s) heard this song and began the track with a roll on the snare drum.”

    The guitar comes in and McGuire begins to sing, “The western world it is explodin’ violence flarin’, bullets loadin’….” the song  “Eve of Destruction” was born. When you listen to this mid-sixties musical commentary on the world and society, you can help but think how little has changed.

    The show continued with more anecdotes and songs. The story of Johnny River’s hit single “Secret Agent”  and some backstories on The Mama’s and Papa’s  filled out the evening, with a song to go with each one. In the end McGuire and company ended quite appropriately with song he had recorded many years before, “Try To Remember”

    Showtime for Trippin’ The Sixties is 8 p.m. April 11, 2015

    Details:www.alvasshowroom.com
    Venue: Alvas Showroom
    Location: 1417 W. 8th St., San Pedro

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  • Seatbelt at The Eldorado

    By B.Noel Barr, Music Writer Dude

    On March 20, I had the opportunity to see one of my favorite, local, rockabilly bands perform.

    I have known Seatbelt for quite a while. I watched its progress through two CDs: Modern Sounds in Pagan Love Songs and Pour Me A Traveler. To say that I’m a fan is an understatement.

    Last summer, I premiered on my old Internet radio program Lunch at the Barr, a wicked cool tune titled, “My Ship Came In… But I Sank Her.” It’s part of an upcoming collection of Seatbelt songs, but the release date is yet to be determined.

    The leader and main songwriter, Scott McLean, plays a mean rockabilly-country guitar, with a vocal style to match a classic 1950s sound. His songwriting is always tongue-in-cheek. McLean loves infectious, rhythmic, 2- to 3-minute ditties that get you up and dancing.

    Playing upright bass is Jim “the Kid” Matkovich, who also sings lead on occasion, but acts as backing vocalist. Laying down the beats is John “Lenny” Lenkeit on drums and percussion.

    I caught the first set of their show at the Eldorado Bar and Grill in Long Beach, Seatbelt had the full house percolating from the first note to the last. To be honest, the band reached so many high spots during the show, it would be impossible to name everything they played.

    Here are some highlights:

    After the first song, “Lonesome Tears,” they had the crowd roaring with “Five O’Clock” (an anthem for hard drinking). A little later, McLean led the band into the aforementioned “My Ship Came In…”, which is a brilliant standalone hit. Another fan favorite, “Up in Your Grille,” from Pour Me A Traveler, kept the fire stoked. From the group’s first album, they performed a song called “Catfight,” followed by a country favorite originally recorded by “Cherokee Cowboy” Ray Price, titled, “Crazy Arms.”

    Some of the other covers I want to mention are Bobby Fuller’s  “I Fought the Law,” which segued into a medley of surf classics, like “Pipeline,” “Walk Don’t Run,” “The Munster’s Theme,” “Misirlou,” and several others whose titles I could not remember at the time.

    But one of the biggest kicks of that set was when McLean introduced a song that was like something the late Slim Whitman would have done. I grew up on country and Western music, listening to KFOX out of Long Beach with my dad. So when I heard that song, I tried but couldn’t pin it down. Midway through it, the arranger in my head was saying, “This song needs some legs, to push it along.” Then: BAM! The tempo changed, and it became Black Sabbath’s “Paranoid.”

    The room was in hysterics and erupted as the group played this metal classic, true and hard, everyone loved it. This was followed by an inspired version of Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire.”

    Seatbelt rocked the joint, and everybody at the Eldorado was having lots of fun. By 10:45 p.m. the room was still packed.

    One other note: I had not been to the Eldorado in northeast Long Beach in quite a while. The room is very nice now and well-appointed for a restaurant-bar-concert venue. The food is spectacular and the drinks are served in healthy portions. The sound and lighting are very good–what you should expect in a venue like this.

    Seatbelt will have a standalone performance April 25 at Godmothers Saloon. Showtime is 9 p.m. The group will return the following month on May 8, opening with Lazy Lance and the Longhorns for Deke Dickerson at Godmothers, with the downbeat kicking off at 7 p.m.

    Also, Seatbelt will be playing the Port Nationals Car Show July 18 and also the New Blues Festival II over Labor Day Weekend. Sept. 5 and 6.

    Band Details: seatbeltrockabilly.com

    Venue Details: The Eldorado Bar and Grill, , Ste C, 3014 Studebaker Rd, Long Beach, (562) 421-4590; the-eldorado.net

    Venue Details: Godmothers Saloon, 302 W 7th St, San Pedro (310) 833-1589; godmotherssaloon.com

    Venue Details: The Port National Kustoms and Bobbers Show, portnationals.com, facebook.com/PortNationals

    Venue Details: The New Blues Festival, newbluesfestival.com, facebook.com.theNewBluesFestival

     

     

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  • San Pedro Bluesman Dave Widow Headlines Fundraiser

    By Andrea Serna, Arts and Culture Writer

    Popular San Pedro musician Dave Widow will be headlining a fundraiser for radio station KKJZ April 19 at St. Rocke in Hermosa Beach. A regular at such venues as B.B. King’s Blues Club, the House of Blues, the Mint and the Lighthouse, Widow and his Line up delivers a hot night of rhythm and blues.

    The concert is the first in a series of three organized by DJ Gary “the Wagman” Wagner, in support of the nonprofit radio station. Wagner, a recent recipient of the “Keeping the Blues Alive Award” from the Blues Foundation in Memphis, Tenn., is host of Nothin’ But the Blues. The show broadcasts from 2 to 6 p.m. Saturdays and from 2 to 7 p.m. Sundays on 88.1 KKJZ.

    Widow, raised in Cincinnati, has spent practically his entire life immersed in music. He came to California and plugged into the local blues rock scene. His musical style is influenced by musicians with whom he had longstanding relationships, such as Buddy Miles, Bill Champlin of the band Chicago, and his mentor and collaborator, the late Roger “Jelly Roll” Troy from the Mike Bloomfield Band. Widow credits legendary guitar player Lonnie Mack with inspiring him to turn professional.

    In February Dave had a packed house in a sold-out show at the Grand Annex in San Pedro. The intimate theater provided the crowd with a wild night of R&B music.

    Widow’s music was eventually noticed by Wagner, and he has been a regular on the radio ever since. Old Dogs Records, a blues label out of Georgia, also took note of Widow’s distinctive style and signed him to their label.

    “I really appreciate Gary Wagner for inviting me to perform” Widow said. “[He] and K-JAZZ have been very supportive of my music for several years, and I am in their debt.”

    The plush environment at St. Rocke provides a high-energy venue for music fans to enjoy a full evening of rock and blues.

    “I personally selected each of the indie bands being featured during this series of three shows,” Wagner said. “If you listen to my radio show and you like what I play, come to these shows. You will not be disappointed.”

    Also in the lineup is South Side Slim, originally from Oakland and a recent recipient of L.A. Weekly’s award for best contemporary blues and R&B artist.

    Rounding out the bill will be Jumpin’ Jack Benny, one of the most entertaining acts in music. Upcoming fundraising concerts are scheduled for May 3 with Barry Levenson and June 7 with the Other Mules. More information is available at jazzandblues.org.

    Tickets for two are available for a pledge of $60 at the website and include annual membership to KKJZ. A $165 donation gets you a pair of tickets to all three shows.

    Tickets are also available by phone during regular business hours. Call (310) 478-5540, press 0 for the operator and ask for the membership department.
    Details: (310) 478-5540
    Venue: St. Rocke
    Location: 142 Pacific Coast Highway, Hermosa Beach
    photo credit: Steve Jost

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  • Hyung Mo Lee – A Witness to Change

    By Andrea Serna, Arts and Culture Writer

    On a windy bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean, Hyung Mo Lee works diligently, experimenting with materials found on the hills outside his studio.

    The artist’s work is on display at the Los Angeles Harbor College Fine Arts Gallery in an exhibition titled Lessons Learned. Curated by gallery director Ron Linden, it is on view through April 24.

    “Much of my work is about the act of making, with improvisations and the surprises that arise during the making of the work,” said Lee in his artist statement. “I like to view it as an open-ended process where one action influences the next, step by step leading into new directions. In my work there is a continual change and a willingness to let go so that change can occur. Eventually, the work evolves and transforms into something unpredicted, and I’m sort of like a witness to these multiple changes during the making of the work.”

    Lee’s drawings, sculptures and installations are notable for their radical choice of materials and emphasis on laborious, time-consuming process. His sumi ink drawings, both delicate and dynamic, are meditations on geologic time–strata rendered brush-stroke by brush-stroke–while his sculptural works expand on lessons learned from drawing.

    “These things are not unlike Jay McCafferty’s obsessive solar burning of little pinholes,” Linden said during a recent walk-through of his gallery.

    Linden was referring to Jay McCafferty, an artist of international renown for his pioneering of the “process art” movement that emerged in the late 1960s. He’s primarily known for his solar burn compositions created with a magnifying lens on a variety of surfaces along plotted grid intersections.

    The quality of Lee’s work emphasizes clarity, simplification, reduced means and reduction of things like form and composition. A juxtaposition of elements is created from mud, spackle and glue. When exhibited alongside laboriously-created works of fine ink on paper, it provides an insight into a deeply creative process.

    The central piece of the exhibition is a 6-foot long sculpture called “Substitute.” It consists of long flowing thread, hanging from a metal frame, held together with mud and glue, and left out in the Hollywood Hills to be weathered by the elements. The piece is both muscular and tender. It seems determined to face what may come, but is showing the effects of time.

    Our first glimpse of Lee’s work was in 2013 at Angel’s Ink Gallery in downtown San Pedro. The artist is known to create a thousand strokes with a brush trimmed down to a single goat’s hair. Curator Robin Hinchliffe remembers the response from viewers as “Whoa, look at this!”

    “That response came as well from many sophisticated artists and gallerists looking in the windows before the show opened and from groups of otherwise casual visitors exploring downtown on First Thursday openings,” she said. “It is at once compelling and serene, awe-inspiring and immediately accessible.”

    Lee spends his days surrounded by art at the Orange County Museum of Art. As an art installer and occasional security guard, he finds inspiration within the walls of the museum.

    “It’s nice to be around the art and to be able to look at art all day,” Lee said. “I think [when you are] spending time with it, day by day, it filters in. Returning to a certain work of art and coming back again each day, it is inspiring–but it just doesn’t pay well.”

    Lee grew up in Southern California with parents who inspired him to read, write and express his creativity. His father is a writer and Lee has fond memories of spending weekends with him digging through crates of books at swap meets in search of paperback novels that sold for 25 cents each. Today, Lee also devotes time to writing poetry and participating in local poetry readings.

    As a relief from the ink drawings, which sometimes take as much as six months to complete, Lee “makes gunk” from mud in the hills near his studio at Angels Gate Cultural Center.
    He mixes glue, paint, plaster and spackle to produce work that is almost diametrically opposed to the ink drawings. Sometimes he molds the muddy gunk on cardboard or newspaper. A heat gun helps to hold the gunk together.

    For those interested in learning about Lee’s process, the fine art gallery at Harbor College is hosting a Q & A with the artist April 15 at 1 p.m.

    Lee’s work is also on view at LA Artcore Brewery Annex in downtown Los Angeles. The three-person exhibit, Black and White, runs through April 8.

    You will also have a chance to visit Lee’s small, muddy studio on the windy bluff, overlooking the Pacific Ocean, during the Angels Gate Open Studios Day on April 26. The Angels Gate Cultural Center is at 3601 S. Gaffey St., San Pedro.

    Details: (310) 600-4873
    Venue: LAHC Fine Arts Gallery
    Location: 1111 Figueroa Place, Wilmington

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