• Singer Angel Bonilla

    Random Happening OUT LOUD Festival 2019: Queer Futures Celebrates LGBTQ+ Culture

    • 06/24/2019
    • Melina Paris
    • Art, Culture
    • Comments are off

    Pictured above, one of Americas’ flourishing singers, Angel Bonilla has a rare ability to effectively serenade and capture her audience’s attention with her strong stage presence.

    “If Pride celebrates who we are, OUT LOUD celebrates what we create,”— OUT LOUD

    Summer has arrived and it’s time for the second annual OUT LOUD: A Cultural Evolution, the LGBTQ+ arts festival June 29, at The Art Theatre Long Beach. The community arts organization presents their theme, Queer Futures, with the driving question: What do queer futures look like, and how do we create them?

    The event began in May 2018 as the brainchild of founder Dave Russo. He recognized a need for artistic and creative spaces where LGBTQ+ artists and culture-makers can be seen, heard, and valued for their contributions to society.

    OUT LOUD director of events and promotion, Nancy Woo said, “The big thing we are bringing to Long Beach is a multi-disciplinary art festival celebrating the many facets and diversity of the queer experience, opening up the question of what queer means, and envisioning positive queer futures. 

    Variety is at the heart of this festival as the main theater event features singers, dancers and poets in a lineup of 12 performers. After the performances a social reception will follow. OUT LOUD will present a curated art display of more than 20 artists and additional performances from 4 to 6 p.m. at The Hangout across the street from the Art Theatre. 

    Going forward, Russo envisions OUT LOUD’s future to showcase big things like a float festooned with photos of great LGBTQ writers, artists, musicians, activists to newly educate or remind the crowd of this cultural heritage. He wants to bring attention to the historical and cultural figures who worked for equality by using the pen, the brush, the piano, the stage, to offer a view of the significant contributions LGBTQ artists have given to the world. 

    “Overcoming the odds, fighting for individual rights, working hard to achieve success and recognition—aren’t these noble acts that deserve a spotlight?” asks Russo “Wouldn’t it be great if we had a parade and a stage?”

    Saint Marsha print by Victoria Maldonado whose work exhibits interest in queer visibility, female empowerment, and multicultural backgrounds.

     

     

    OUT LOUD will present multiple disciplines of performance art. Here are just a few from the Art Theatre portion of the event.

    • Featured among the theater performances will be Angel Bonilla from the Philippines. Angel’s competitive journey began in 2016 when she represented the Philippines and placed second out of 53 countries at the 25th Discovery International song competition in Varna, Bulgariain. Then Angel made history March 2018, when she took the stage as the first transgender contestant to turn a chair on NBC’S The Voice. Besides singing, Angel’s other great skill is her ability to emotionally connect with her audience.
    • Other performers and speakers include, the United Voices Choir; a choral orchestra specially assembled for OUT LOUD 2019.
    • CSULB Dance Showcase; Threading, featuring Sarah Culotta and Jasmyn Hamblyn. “..threading..” is a movement expression exploring the desexualization of stigmatized over-sexualized lesbian relationships. 
    • Cultural anthropology professor Gregory Mattson will give a social address. LGBT culture and history, interest Mattson particularly as they intersect with race, ethnicity, class and sub-culture. 

    See the full festival lineup here, www.tinyurl.com/arttheatrelineup-queerfutures 

    OUT LOUD Festival

    Time: 1:30 to 4:00 p.m. June 29

    Cost: Free

    Details: www.outloudlb.com

    Venue: The Art Theatre Long Beach, 2025 E 4th St, Long Beach

     

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  • LBO’s Central Park Five Successfully Takes on Epic Questions of Equal Justice

    By Greggory Moore, Curtain Call Columnist

    In 1990, five boys went to jail for a brutal attack on a female jogger in Central Park. Problem is, they didn’t do it. Or that’s one of the problems. Another is that this was yet one more case where young men of color got the shaftfrom police, from the judicial system, from the media.

    The Central Park Five

    Saturday (June 22) at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday (June 23) at 2:30 p.m.
    Cost: $49 to $150; student rush tickets $15
    Details: (562) 432-5934; LongBeachOpera.org
    Venue: Warner Grand Theater, 478 W. 6th St., San Pedro

    And from Donald Trump, who used his considerable resources and influence to push for the convictions, never mind pesky details like the fact that the only DNA recovered from the victim failed to match any of the accused.

    Thirty years after the attack, with those boys now middle-aged men still struggling to come to terms with their experience, The Central Park Five not only documents this high-profile miscarriage of justice, but it also invites us to consider whatif anythinghas changed when it comes to race relations and jurisprudence in the United States.

    The Central Park Five opens not with singing but with words projected on a screen:

    They admitted they were guilty. The police doing the original investigation say they were guilty. The fact that this case was settled with so much evidence against them is outrageous. And the woman, so badly injured, will never be the same.

    The quote is Trump’s, from 2016after the DNA was matched to a man who confessed to the attack, after the State of New York paid the Central Park Five $41 million as a settlement for their wrongful conviction. And all that evidence he mentions? Nothing but largely inconsistent confessions made by scared teenagers after hours of interrogation with no lawyer in sight, confessions they recanted shortly thereafter. No victim ID. No witnesses. No incriminating physical evidence.

    Composer Anthony Davis and librettist Richard Wesley are clear from the start: The Central Park Five is not merely the story of the Central Park Five; it’s a tale of two worldsone of white privilege, one for those on the darker end of the spectrum. In Davis & Wesley’s hands, Trump is the ultimate poster boy for and promoter of the oppression that results from white privilege, while the Five are paragons of those living in its shadow.

    That shadow is so dominant in The Central Park Five that the first solo is given to a white man, Zeffin Quinn Hollis, playing a character the program labels as “The Masque” and who also serves as a police interrogator. Acting as something of a Greek chorus for white privilege, The Masque rues the condition of New York City, blaming the angry animals who “wear their clothes in strange ways” and “have babies they do not know.”

    In Harlem, meanwhile, the soon-to-be Central Park FiveAntron (Derrell Acon), Yusef (Cedric Berry), Raymond (Orson Van Gray), Korey (Nathan Granner), and Kevin (Bernard Holcomb)are just boys. Neither animals nor angels, they are looking for sunshine in the shadows. “They tell me in school how big the world is. That’s their world; it ain’t mine.” The Five’s world is the block, the neighborhoodand since that’s all they have, they try to own it. This may include a bit of mischief, but nothing like the atrocity for which they are about to be robbed of the rest of their youth.

    The remainder of The Central Park Five juxtaposes their interrogation and trial with the institutional realities that hold far more sway over their fate than truth. Those realities include a criminal justice system that has prejudged the boys and a complicit mass media, both sectors deftly pressured by Trump (Thomas Segen), self-styled New York royalty, to secure a conviction regardless of the facts.

    Mitisek’s staging relies heavily on projectionsblack-and-white snatches of inner-city architecture, color-saturated interiors of Trump Tower, New York Post front pages and CNN screencapswhich play across nine rectangular screens (including five mobile doors that rearrange themselves almost constantly) and freely bleed against the back wall. Coupled with Dan Weingarten’s expert lighting (which really comes to the fore in Act II), visually The Central Park Five stays interesting despite few additional scenic elements (although there is that memorable gold-plated toilet Trump regally rides onstage after intermission).

    Musically, Davis’s eclectic score often calls to mind Gil Evans-era Miles Davis (e.g., Porgy and Bess), while selectively picking spots to incorporate subtly effective electronic elements and evocations of the musical milieu of late ’80s urban culture (including a direct melody quote of Parliament’s classic “Give Up the Funk (Tear the Roof Off the Sucker)”). Davis shows no fear of negative space, occasionally pausing completely to leave uslike the Fivecompletely in the dark.

    Despite orchestration that sometimes buries the vocals (the Warner Grand was not designed with opera in mind), The Central Park Five is extremely well-sung, with each performer perfectly matched to his/her part. Without a single aria to be had, standout moments (such as mezzo-soprano Jessica Mamey’s adroitly going back and forth with Diana Morgan’s flute) are rare. Even the members of eponymous quintet rarely sing solo; rather, they make their mark as a unit, often with clarion five-part harmonies that imbue even monosyllabic bursts with formidable emotion.

    With so many big themes in play, Davis & Wesley can be forgiven for never really distinguishing any of the Five as individuals, especially because in both the press and public imagination they were/are only “the Central Park Five.” As the guilty verdicts come in and haunting notes lament what has befallen “one more forgotten man child in an unpromised land,” we think only of the collectiveand not just these boys, but all the so-called “animals [and] monsters” denied their fair share of the American dream based on class and culture and skin.

    “The world is ours. We’re still here,” sing the Five, now free and alive in the 21st century, the misdeeds done to them in darkness now exposed to the full light of day. “We’ve made it all the way back, and we’ve finally come home.” It seems The Central Park Five will end on a measure of hope.

    But as unresolved notes hover in the air, a last projection flashes: a 2015 CNN screenshot noting that no charges would be filed in the death of Tamir Rice, an unarmed 12-year-old black boy shot at point-blank range within one second of initial contact by a white officer whoas video evidence makes amply clearmade no effort to ascertain whether Rice was actually a threat.

    It’s deceptively easy to highlight progress made during the three decades since the Central Park Five were thrust into public consciousness. Look at pop culture! Black billionaires! Barack Obama! What more is there to say?

    But plus ça change. Donald Trump is president, and by any statistical measure people of color have yet to attain anything like equal footing in the Land of the Free. Not economically. Not educationally. Not judicially. And with the proliferation of video recording, we need do nothing but open our eyes to see that police are not protecting and serving without prejudice. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

    Long Beach Opera’s latest world premiere is more than mere historical dramatization. The Central Park Five is a window through to view both past and present with an eye toward making a more equitable future. This is the only way to make America greatin a way she never was.

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  • DIY Marabella Winery in San Pedro

    • 06/20/2019
    • Reporters Desk
    • Culture
    • Comments are off

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  • Shooting in Wilmington

    WILMINGTON–On June 16, about 4:15 a.m., Harbor Area patrol officers responded to a radio call of a shooting near N. Island Avenue, Wilmington. When the officers arrived they located Jose Guadalupe Vera, an 18-year-old male Hispanic lying on the sidewalk at the apron of the driveway suffering from multiple gunshot wounds. Los Angeles Fire Department paramedics responded to render aid but Mr. Vera died from his injuries at the scene. Detectives are seeking the public’s assistance in identifying the suspect(s) responsible for the shooting death of Mr. Vera. The suspect’s vehicle was described as a light colored compact vehicle; however, the detectives do not have any leads as to the suspect’s identity and are asking for the public’s help. Anyone with additional information is urged to call Detectives Tiffin and Cortez, Harbor Area Detectives, at 310-726-7884.

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  • 2019 International Reporter prize awarded to journalist Greg Palast

    Greg Palast Wins Journalism’s International Reporter Award

    Greg Palast’s International Reporter 2019 Award

    Journalist Greg Palast is known for complex undercover investigations, spanning five continents, using the skills he learned over two decades as a top investigator of corporate fraud. Palast’s work frequently focuses on corporate malfeasance. He has also worked with labor unions and consumer advocacy groups.

    On June 7, The Association of Mexican Journalists awarded Palast the 2019 International Reporter prize for his exposés on the theft of elections from Georgia to Mexico and his reporting from Venezuela and Ecuador.

    Palast was presented the award filmed live from Mexico City. President Obrador was expected to present the award. Instead he was negotiating the agreement that backed down U.S. President Donald Trump from his threat to impose tariffs that could have crushed the economies of both nations.

    Palast elaborated on the problems resulting from America’s press, which is weaker and more submissive to the viewpoint of the moneyed class than the Latin press.

    “If my fellow Americans seem as ignorant and crazy as chihuahuas, foolishly electing people like George Bush and Donald Trump, forgive them, because my countrymen don’t get the truth through their news, only exposure to a torrent of cheap propaganda.”

    Palast then recognized the courage of Mexico’s reporters. “I am honored to accept this award — from a courageous nation of journalists far more courageous than me, who have given their lives to report the news. All I can do is commit to honor your award by continuing to fight to uncover the truth, whether in Caracas or Mexico or Washington.”

    Investigative journalist Greg Palast

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Palast’s acceptance speech:
    [original in Spanish]

    My esteemed fellow reporters,

    If my fellow Americans seem as ignorant and crazy as chihuahuas, foolishly electing people like George Bush and Donald Trump, forgive them, because my countrymen don’t get the truth through their news, only exposure to a torrent of cheap propaganda.

    But let me defend my countrymen.

    Americans never elected George Bush. In 2000, I discovered how Bush stole the election in Florida. My story for BBC, The British Broadcasting Corporation, was published all over the world — except in my own nation.

    And later, in 2006, they stole another election. Here, in Mexico.

    I directed an investigation for The Guardian of England that proved, without any doubt, that AMLO [now President Lopez Obrador] had won. That story was completely disappeared from the media in my country.

    Don’t blame Americans. They really believe Donald Trump was elected President.

    Let me tell you today that that did not happen.

    Before the 2016 elections, Trump’s political agents eliminated 1,100,000 Black and Hispanic citizens from the voter rolls. If it were not for the purge of these voters and the disappearance of their ballots, Trump would not be President.

    I reported this discovery for Al Jazeera and in Rolling Stone magazine, but the U.S. television news kept Americans in the dark.

    I’ve brought some copies of my film, The Best Democracy Money Can Buy, which has subtitles in Spanish, which explains how Trump stole the election and how he can steal the next one in 2020. I do this to protect my countrymen from being blamed for electing this spoiled, rich, fanatic, orange-stained baby.

    And permit me to add, most of us in the USA oppose the latest Trump tariff tantrum.

    Today, as I accept this honor, I am sadly aware of the absence of my fellow journalist, Julian Assange.

    Assange is in prison today for the sole crime of letting Americans know the truth about their own government and the deadly crimes of our leaders.

    I am honored to accept this award — from a courageous nation of journalists far more courageous than me, who have given their lives to report the news. All I can do is commit to honor your award by continuing to fight to uncover the truth, whether in Caracas or Mexico or Washington.

    Thank you so much.

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  • The Port of Los Angeles Board Meeting Agendas

    The Port of Los Angeles Board Meeting Agendas

    Continuation of the Appeal Process Level I Coastal Development Permit No. 18-25 Appeal

    In accordance with Section 6.0 Development Guidelines and specifically, Section 6.6.1 of the Port Master Plan, the Board will reconvene to continue the appeal process regarding Coastal Development Permit No. 18-25

    The continuation of the appeal process shall be held prior to a Special Board Meeting on the same date and location as listed above.  

    Time: 9 a.m. June 20

    Cost: Free

    Details: www.portoflosangeles.org

    Venue: Cruise Terminal Baggage Handling Facility, 250 S. Harbor Blvd., San Pedro

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  • Andrew Silber’s Good Life — Restaurateur Talks Culinary Adventures

    • 06/17/2019
    • Terelle Jerricks
    • Cuisine
    • Comments are off

    By Terelle Jerricks, Managing Editor

    After 23 years, San Pedro’s favorite pub is an institution.

    Walk inside, the lights are dim and the din of conversation waxes and wanes depending on how close it is to the weekend. On any night of the week, ask the bartender what’s new on the top shelf and you will generally get a good primer on what’s good and why. If you’re not familiar with Northern European cuisine, the waitstaff can educate you and you won’t feel silly for asking. Service at The Whale & Ale comes from a place of expertise, which is another way of saying it comes from restaurateur Andrew Silber.

    “The main thing … is customer service,” he explained with characteristic simplicity.

    “When I look at the restaurants I go to, almost universally the food is pretty good or excellent,” he said. “Not many restaurants survive if the food isn’t any good. What sets them apart is how you’re treated when you get there. And you remember vividly places that give you exceptional service.”

    Andrew, well-traveled, is fluent in three languages and knowledgeable about fine dining and hospitality. It’s a safe bet that if there’s a culinary adventure to be had, he would know where to find it. For all the diversity in Southern California dining, Northern European cuisine is a rarity amid the endless variations of Asian and Latin American cuisines. Educating the local palate, without turning off diners, is a challenge.

    “Most people, even if they haven’t traveled to Northern Europe, they all know what fish and chips are,” Andrew explained. “A lot of them know what shepherd’s pie is or bangers and mash because they’ve read Sherlock Holmes or seen it in on TV or something. They at least have a vague idea of it. And those that don’t, ask us.”

    However, Andrew noted that another, albeit (in his words) “minor” challenge, is people’s perception of a pub.

    “With a pub, there’s all sorts of types,” he said. “It could be a bar with five stools and that’s it. There are some pubs that have three banquet rooms and a dining suite. For people who haven’t visited England or toured around England, some may have a misconception of what a pub is. And the risk then is that they show up and they become disappointed.”

    Andrew recalled the old pub, Tommy’s Yacht Club, where one of the main attractions was an oscillating liquor cabinet behind the bar.

    “When we first opened, I think people in the area thought we were going to be like Tommy’s Yacht Club. It had long bar with lots of alcohol and beer and not much else. So many people didn’t realize that there was food (at The Whale & Ale) — a whole menu and not just chips.”

    In the past few years, a number of bars that provide food have taken on the moniker, “gastropub,” signifying the advent of gourmet bar food. Some places meet the expectations, while others fall short. When asked about the proliferation of “gastropubs,” Andrew noted that despite the seeming popularity, it hasn’t truly caught on yet, but that the time is coming when it will.

    “Real gastropub food is taking something like steak and kidney pie and adding foie gras or asparagus purée and making it somewhat jazzed up. So, it’s pretty innovative.”

    Andrew opined that the emergence of the gastropub was a reaction against the general terribleness of pub food following World War II, when England suffered through severe shortages and rationing that persisted long after the last shot was fired in that war.

    “When I was born in 1954, the war had been over nine years,” he said. “We still couldn’t get bananas. We had to get ration books and coupons to buy them.”

    The gastropub made a point of turning that reputation around. It is an interesting sort of history.

    A by-product of an all-boys private school in Kingston, London (the equivalent of high school) where he majored in French and Russian, Andrew knew from the very beginning he wanted a career in hotel management. This desire likely came from staying in one hotel after another while he travelled extensively with his father.

    His father was an architect and structural engineer and his mother was a social worker. He knew early on he didn’t want to follow either of their paths. But those years of staying in hotels across Europe, from Switzerland to France, served as inspiration.

    While there aren’t many chefs whose careers he follows, Andrew has been following the career of Dustin Trani, who he describes as just incredible and not just because he is from Pedro.

    New Orleans’ celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse, who is credited with revitalizing Creole-Acadian cooking on StarChefs.com, and Chicago’s Chef Charlie Trotter.

    He and his wife don’t go on vacation often, but when they do, it’s usually a four-day trip to places like Palm Beach, Indianapolis, Portland or Seattle, “so that we could see more of the United States.”

    “In Seattle, there’s a restaurant called the Pink Door that was excellent and another called Union,” Andrew noted. “San Francisco has so many fine restaurants, but my favorite right now is Bix.”

    Andrew took note of San Francisco’s Piccolino’s and a Wolfgang Puck restaurant in that same city, Postrio’s.

    When longtime Executive Chef David Juarez was at The Whale & Ale, he and Andrew would take weekend trips to San Francisco just to eat there because it was a fun thing to do. Andrew noted that David was fascinated with food and how it gets to be what it is. And why a chef comes out with those mixtures, flavors and textures.

    At The Whale & Ale, you can always expect to leave in good cheer and well informed on your next destination for your culinary adventure.

    The Whale & Ale

    Address: 327 W. 7th St., San Pedro

    Details: www.whaleandale.com

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  • Random Letters 6-13-19 — Another Green Glitch; The Latest Attack on the Free Press

    • 06/14/2019
    • Reporters Desk
    • Letters
    • Comments are off

    Another Green Glitch

    The sorry tale of the “ShoreCat” system begs the question of what ever happened to the Port’s commitment to convert to shore power for vessels at berth?

    The China Shipping settlement and the resulting “Clean Air Action Plan” made that commitment. The “ShoreCat” contraption is nothing more than a Mickey Mouse cheap and dirty way to try to skate out of it.

    The fact that the Port cheated on the China Shipping shore power tells us all we need to know about their mindset and morals. Substitute PR and spin for actual action wherever possible. The health of many thousands of people remains at risk.

    Noel Park, Palos Verdes Peninsula

    The Latest Attack on the Free Press

    After Julian Assange’s arrest last month, we warned that it represented a major escalation in the U.S. government’s criminalization of journalism.

    Now, for the first time in history, a publisher has been charged under the Espionage Act for revealing classified information. Every news organization — including The Intercept — is at risk.

    The Intercept was launched in part as a platform for publishing the unauthorized disclosures of National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden. Yesterday’s indictment of Assange is an attack on the very principles of freedom of the press on which we were founded.

    Every day, we take pride in reporting, publishing, reading, and sharing fierce, adversarial investigative journalism on national security and other topics. We do this because we believe that this information needs to be public in order to hold the government and the powerful in check. These principles and freedom of the press are directly enshrined in the Constitution.

    This indictment strikes at the heart of the First Amendment and the ideals of a democratic society. And the Trump administration has The Intercept in its crosshairs. Journalism isn’t espionage. Being a journalistic source isn’t engaging in spying. And publishing information that lays bare government misconduct or war crimes is not espionage. When journalism is treated as a crime, we are all in danger. The Assange indictment is not the end of the WikiLeaks saga. It is the beginning of a major assault on freedom of the press.

    It doesn’t matter what you think of Julian Assange or other whistleblowers. What matters is that we all recognize that this is an attack on our basic right to information about what the U.S. government does in our names and with our tax dollars. This is a precedent-setting moment, not just legally, but morally. It is the beginning of the U.S. government coming after journalists and scaring media outlets from doing high-stakes national security reporting.

    Glenn Greenwald

    Co-founding Editor, The Intercept, Washington, D.C.

    [Editor’s note] The Intercept is an online news publication dedicated to what it describes as “adversarial journalism.” It is supported financially by First Look Media, owned by Pierre Omidyar. Its editors are Betsy Reed, Glenn Greenwald, and Jeremy Scahill. https://theintercept.com/

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  • Dew Tour Olympic Sport Skating Arrives in 2020 Tokyo Games

    • 06/14/2019
    • Melina Paris
    • Culture
    • Comments are off

    Speaking to one of the skaters, Alec Majerus

    By Melina Paris Arts and Culture Reporter

    Skateboarding will be an Olympic sport starting at the Tokyo Games in 2020 and will include both men’s and women’s skateboard street and park competitions. And the competitive skateboarding culture purveyor known as the Dew Tour is making sure everyone knows it at their convention which is taking place this week at the Long Beach Convention Center and Rainbow Lagoon Park through June 16.

    At Dew Tour more than 80 of the world’s top pro male and female skateboarders will compete in team and pro and amateur individual competitions in team challenge and individual park and street events.  

    One of those people is Alec Majerus who is originally from Rochester Minnesota, but he moved to Long Beach to become a professional skater. At 24 years old Majerus has been called the “definition of a savage” by his peers and they mean that in the best of ways as they give him high praise and respect.

    They have watched him grow from a 14-year-old boy, when he first skated down a 14-stair rail, into an eminent adult competitor. Majerus won the Silver Medal in the Men’s Skateboard Street X-Games in Minneapolis in 2017. Prior to that he has racked up almost two dozen other awards from as far back as 2010, at 14 years old.

    Professional Skateboadrder Alec Majerus.

    Right after he moved to California Majerus broke his leg. He had to undergo surgery and had metal put in his leg. Because of that metal he was told he could not skate for one year. In a strange coincidence after surgery, Majerus came down with a staph infection and had to have another emergency surgery.

    “It was a blessing I got the staph infection and had to take the metal out because now I’m good, back to normal,” Majerus said in his video. “Then it was on.”

    All he wanted to do was skate and at that point, he had one year to film three “video parts” Skaters make video parts to showcase their skills and they are important, showing creativity, their character and they also document things that may never get recreated.

    One look at Majerus’ skate video’s and you’ll have to keep watching him as he handles treacherous street skating courses of pavement, stairs and rails—Majerus’ specialty. It’s an extremely physical sport. When it puts you down it’s extremely hard to get back up. Majerus keeps getting up.

    RLn spoke to Majerus through email recently about his mad skills and what keeps him motivated.

     

    MP: I see that you’re not wearing any padding which I guess is standard for street skating. But what you do to stay in shape in order to take the beating that you do?

    AM: I do a lot of low impact exercises when I’m too sore for skating like biking and hiking to keep my muscles strong and ready for impact. I also do physical therapy a few times a week to help prevent any injuries.

    MP: Your persistence comes across clearly in your videos. Beyond persistence, how do you challenge yourself to get to the next level, or maybe more appropriately, to the level you want to reach?

    AM: I do have a lot of persistence when learning a new trick. Sometimes I’ll get so close and I’ll try it for hours and not land it. But then the next day, I’ll be a little bit better at trying it from trying it all day the day before, so I just keep pushing until I learn it or unlock how to do it in my brain.

    MP: How did you pull off filming three video parts one years’ time? What did that take for you to complete?

    AM: I was traveling so much with adidas and Volcom …  it kind of just came easy and natural because we were going to such cool places like Barcelona with so much to skate.

    MP: How many years do you plan to — or can you keep skating professionally?

    AM: Well I’d like to skate forever! Ha ha, but I guess we will see how long my sponsors will put up with me and help support my dream. I have no plans of slowing down and I’m going to continue to push myself in contests and in the streets.

    MP: What’s coming next for you after the Long Beach Dew Tour events?

    AM: I am heading to New York the day after dew tour for a Volcom skate trip with the Volcom team. I’m excited we are going to skate and film in New York for a couple weeks.

    Majerus is humble. In his videos his contemporaries explain that filming three video parts in one year is hard. Street skating is harsh, skaters get beat up. If you look at a video part, one trick lasts almost one second. There are 300 tricks or more in five minutes of video. Do the math to fill up a five-minute video part and it becomes clear how demanding it is. But the challenge is one that Majerus clearly, is up for.

    Dew Tour has announced the top athletes scheduled to compete at the summer event. It is the first-ever U.S.-based Olympic qualifying event for men’s and women’s skateboard park and street competitions. More than 300 of the world’s best skateboarders will compete in individual park and street events for a chance to win the Dew Tour title, while earning valuable points toward their country’s Olympic skateboarding team.

    Skateboarders like Majerus are now earning points by competing in World Skate sanctioned events during the Olympic qualifying period which started January 1 of this year and will end May 31, 2020. Dew Tour also serves as the last global qualifying event in the U.S. in 2020. This year’s Dew Tour will host open qualifiers, quarter final, semi- final and final rounds of competition, offering fans the chance to see both favorite and new skaters from across the globe. Competitions will start June 13 and will conclude June 16.

    Details: www.DewTour.com for the complete competition schedule.

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  • Howard Scott Sr. recalls San Pedro history

    Editor’s note: The following is a transcription of Scott’s interview on various topics, from the inspiration for the songs “Slippin into Darkness” to “Cisco Kid.” The text in itallic are transitions written by editorial for contextualization and readable transitions.

    Influential music producer and disc jocky Johnny Otis,

    There was a club in San Pedro called the Harlem Hotspot. Do you remember a guy named Johnny Otis? Johnny Otis had a hit T.V. show in the ‘50s and he would come out of this club in San Pedro called the Harlem Hotspot. It was a pizzeria and a TV show and it played nothing but the blues. All San Pedro was nothing but the blues. All the black people would tune into the Johnny Otis Show. He was a white guy. The only white guy that you could name who wanted to be black. So he never claimed to being white. He always led people on to believe he was a very fair skinned black man. But he could play that piano and he was always surrounded himself with top rate black musicians like Ester Phillips. He had these three big fat girls with him on stage called Three Tons of Joy and they were big ol’ fat girls too man, but they could sing their heinies off. They were on the stage with him, Little Arthur Matthews and the Handsome Mel Williams but that was coming out of San Pedro. Coming out of San Pedro! I was playing with some of the blues greats.

    Otis became an influential disc jockey in Los Angeles.

    I played at the Marine Room, some clubs were so dark… I was 15 and 16 years old playing in those clubs, man. So a lot of them I was scared to go into and my father would take me there and stand up there and watch me play all night and made sure I got paid.

    Leo’s, on First and Gaffey in San Pedro, was another club Senior played.

    I played at every dive you can name from L.A. to Long Beach. There was one club on Central Avenue that I was afraid to go to called The Hole in the Wall. If you didn’t have a cut on you when you went in, you would have a cut when you came out.

    Senior recalled a club in Wilmington with a dirt floor at which he performed but couldn’t recall its name. Senior pulled names from the recesses of his memories such as Joe Sproul and TJ Sommerville — Senior said TJ Sommerville, with whom he played bass guitar, was a guitarist. Senior thought highly enough of Sommerville to compare him to Jimi Hendrix.

    “Back in those days, the Navy was all in San Pedro. So, yes, we had sailors up and down the street and hookers on the street and the bars were jumping and the sailors were getting drunk and going to jail and the music was crackin’. I’m tellin’ you, San Pedro was the place to play music, my friend. Everything was there.”

    Genesis of The Cisco Kid
    The song “Cisco Kid” was inspired by the 1950s television show of the same name, the diversity of the neighborhood he grew up in San Pedro and an incident at a Manhattan Beach venue at which he was performing also called Cisco’s.

    For Senior, The Cisco Kid was the first television show in which the protagonists were played by nonwhite actors. The television series starring Duncan Renaldo as the Cisco Kid and Leo Carrillo as Cisco’s sidekick, Pancho were technically desperados wanted for unspecified crimes but were viewed by the poor as Robin Hood figures who assisted the downtrodden when law enforcement officers proved corrupt or unwilling to help.

    When I was growing up in San Pedro, there were black people and there were brown people. And everytime I looked on T.V. I always some white guys playing on it… Cisco Kid was my cowboy idol.”

    Senior recounted having a conversation with a homeless man at the bar. The man was asking Senior to play a song for him before a bouncer threw the vagrant out despite Senior’s protest that the homeless man “was a friend of mine.”

    So when the band War needed a song when Burdon left the band, this was the song. The thing is, when you listen to the words of the song…slippin into darkness When I heard my mother say… son if you do this, you’re going to pay. And I’ve paid several times.”

    Genesis of Slipping into Darkness
    Scott wrote “Slipping Into Darkness” when the band’s name was Eric Burdon and War. They were on their first world tour. For some young twenty-something musicians out of the Harbor Area, the entire experience of traveling and performing abroad was new to them.

    We went to a shoe store in London and I saw this pair of beautiful pair of English riding boots that cost $250. This was in the 1970s so it’s probably $1,000 in today’s dollars. (Actually, those same pair of English riding boots would cost $1,577.46 in today’s dollars).

    I have a size 11 foot, but the boot was a 10 ½. I got it on and the man was not going to let me walk. out the store with that boot on. So he snatched and snatched and snatched… he got the boot off but he also snatched my back out. I was in total pain and I’m walking around in the shape of an “S” … my head is one side and my hips on the other side. A doctor came in and his name and he gave me a shot of demerol.”

    “The painkiller made everything turn black. I kept saying, ‘I’m slipping into darkness… I’m slipping into darkness’ and I was out until the next day.”

    Scott explained that when he woke up the next day, he recalled what the words “I’m slipping into darkness, and thought it made a great song title. He said he it took him a day to write the song to go with the song title. He immediately took the song to Eric Burdon who didn’t particularly care for the song after listening to it.

    War Music in Senior’s words
    What made War so different from everybody else is we didn’t play black bubble gum. We played hardcore street music… the people’s music. Every band that came up behind us had a horn section. Our horn section was a harmonica and a tenor saxophone, which nobody did until that point until today. Nobody have done that. That made us sound different, we had a message, a different feel—a funk feel, and we grew up coming out of Compton, Long Beach, and grew up with Mexicans and black folks, we had that whole Latino thing coming with us. We was ready for the world.

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