Terri Mowrey and Rick Kopps. Photo Credit: Jonathan Lewis
By John Farrell
There really is nothing new under the sun.
Matters we think of as contemporary: bloody violence, unfaithful and murderous wives and husbands, and kinky, over-the-top sex. That could be the formula for a dozen movies you might have seen with popcorn and soda in hand any week in the 21st century.
And perhaps you’d be right to say that in most plays of the last 200 years much of that sort of action occurred off-stage. Victorian audiences and the modern playgoer usually expect a little decorum in the playhouse.
But at the time of Shakespeare, and for many years after, plays were not only uninhibited, they were the most violent (and popular) show in town. Thomas Middleton’s The Changeling, written in 1620 just a few years after Shakespeare’s death, is one of the best and best-known tragedies of the English stage. A tragedy with comic overtones, the play is filled with enough blood to make even Shakespeare’s Macbeth, which it incidentally follows on the Long Beach Playhouse’s Studio Theatre stage, look tame.
On August 30, director Dave Barton will bring his Jacobean dream of an adaptation of The Changeling to the Playhouse.
“Put a Jacobean tragedy in modern dress and, aside from the language, it’s indistinguishable from today’s news headlines,” Barton said. “(It’s) full of backstabbing, politics, mental illness, sex, bloodshed and comedy. The play’s concerns about moral fidelity, sexual honesty, the war between men and women and the power money has to corrupt feels very contemporary.
The Changeling tells the story of a young woman who is going to be wed, at her father’s insistence, to a man she does not love. She decides the best way to solve this problem is to hire a man to kill that future husband. The problem is that the creepy man she hires for the task expects to get much more from her than just a fee. The story takes place in a palace and in a madhouse. And, as Baryon said, uses “bags of blood” to tell the story.
Tickets are $24, $21 for seniors, $14 for students. Pay what you can Thursday, August 30 at 8 p.m,, tickets two for the price of one Friday, August 31 at 8 p.m., $27 opening night Saturday, September 1 at 8 p.m., Sunday, September 2 at 2 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m., Sundays at 2 p.m. through September 29.
Details: (562) 230-0564, www.lbplayhouse.org Venue: Long Beach Playhouse Studio Theatre Location: 5021 E. Anaheim, Long Beach
Enjoy the 2012 Long Beach QFilm Festival, from Sept. 14 through 16, at the Art Theatre and The Center Long Beach. With screenings in both the Art Theatre and the The Center Long Beach, the two day festival will feature films and documentaries that have won awards on the indie film circuit around the world.
Gallery Azul duo, Ray and Cora Ramirez-Vasquez, just love to push the envelope and poke convention in the eye with their themed shows.
Known for putting on exhibitions that explore issues of identity and resistance against dominant regimes in various contexts, the husband and wife team are doing it again with their group show, 1950’s and 1960’s Icons, which scrutinize the objectification of women’s roles and identity, the influence of Madison Avenue and the explosion of color as evidenced in the Technicolor films produced by Hollywood during that period.
Now that they have found the “God particle,” maybe it’s time to solve far lesser but still deserving and perplexing questions of existence. Perhaps it’s not exactly parallel, because the discovery of the God particle answers more about how the universe came into existence than the far more tangential question of how life was born.
Still, most people would say the universe be damned. If we’re not sleep deprived or hungry, romance remains the foremost thing on most people’s minds. Romance plunges us into emotional maelstroms at the mere glimpse of cleavage. The joys, the ecstatic moments, merge with the mundane in the construction of the bonds with which people are bound. (more…)
Aside from the expiration date of the delirium of USS Iowa fever, which has its grand opening on the July 7, there’s an equally important date fast approaching: The grand opening of Crafted — potentially the largest and most significant showcase for handmade crafts in Southern California.
This isn’t a venue for cheap knockoffs and mass produced trinkets with “Made in (fill in the blank)” stickers slapped on them. We’re talking about handmade crafted objects made in the United States that are utilitarian in nature while embodying the crafter’s inspiration. These kinds of crafted works range from wearable art to furniture, and from soap to desserts made from liquor.
In the past, the Artwalk has flirted with the idea of incorporating a crafted dimension to the First Thursday event, only to watch it devolve into something closer to a swap-meet. In downtown San Pedro, where division is as common as liver spots when it comes to the direction of the arts district, there is uncommon unity in the belief that hordes of imported trinket peddlers do not fit the vision of a destination town.
Once fully established, Crafted is expected to serve as an incubator space for up to 500 micro-businesses and drawing up to 500,000 visitors a year. This is project number two for the three-person development team, Wayne Blank, Howard Robinson and Alison Zeno in Santa Monica. Since opening in 1997, Bergamot Station has become a destination point in the art world for both collectors and artists, drawing 600,000 visitors annually.
Zeno has been the face of Crafted from the start, pitching the idea to the Port as well as to the community. With gravitas garnered from Bergamot Station’s success, she has been able to inspire a degree of confidence and comfort in the Harbor Area.
Random Lengths News caught up with Zeno at FinDings Art Center during First Thursday’s Artwalk this month and picked her brain about the vision of Crafted. She had just fought through the 6 o’clock traffic after an already long day to pass out handbills for the Crafted grand opening, and then touch bases with various community members amidst the throngs of people there for the Artwalk.
So far, there are more than 70 crafted business listed as sponsors that will have booths at the super marketplace for crafts. By opening day, Zeno expects to have close to 100 crafted artists locked in and ready go.
Though Crafted is a juried exhibition space, there’s enough flexibility to allow for the diversity that is exhibited by its crafted sponsors, like K.C. Sears who describes her boutique, Make Shop Live, as eco-chic meets funky vintage– a community that supports a lifestyle that embraces process over product, by making wearable and furnishing goods from “up-cycled” materials.
Lindsay Zuelich’s Wood on the Brain, a Crafted vendor that crafts wearable and home décor objects from wood.
Then there are the food related vendors such as the Cake Bar, which bakes any imaginable pastry with its main ingredient being liquor or Hepp’s Salt Co., which has many variety of cooking salts.
Zeno comes from a design background as does everyone on her team and has been in the arts industry for more than 30 years. She explained that her team avoided the traditional jury process of selection, noting bias amongst different disciplines of crafts.
“Everybody has such a distinct point view of their own and then applying that to their peers,” Zeno explained. “And, what we wanted to do was stress a broad definition of craft… So I couldn’t get a committee of people who represented everything from skateboard art to fiber art.
“At the end of the day, what we’re trying to create here is not a juried art affair with prizes, we’re trying to bring together a quality group of visual artists who have an opportunity to make a living making the things they love and they have to have a consumer appeal to do it.”
The concept of raising in importance process to the level of substance is a common refrain amongst Zeno and the craft community. One of the first crafting organizations to sign on to Crafted was FinDings Art Center which sells handcrafted stationery goods, clothing, aprons and handbags made from recycled or reused materials. The makers of these goods are the women who are a part of FinDing’s family literacy program.
“We applied for Crafted and of course they fell in love with our concept and they offered us first contract,” Annette Cicketic, founder of FinDings said. “So we are the first contracted in Crafted to have a booth. And they loved the concept of women and the nonprofit, and community involvement.”
Cicketic explained that the art center really began with the desire to promote family literacy and the recognition early on that with a holistic approach, family literacy could be the catalyst that mitigate some of the more destructive forces affecting low-income immigrant families. For Cicketic, that meant carving out a place for where mothers can have a bit of peace and quiet.
“The result was something like a quilting bee sort of an environment,” Cicketic explained. This space turned out to be a classroom in 223 Street Elementary School in Harbor Gateway, she noticed that most of the women had hidden talents that they took for granted like embroidery, knitting, crocheting and sewing.
Before long, immigrant women from around the world were sharing their native knowledge of embroidery, sewing, crocheting while teaching each other English with assistance from Cicketic, who is a retired Los Angeles Unified School District teacher.
This is what Zeno encountered when she met Cicketic and was introduced to finDings:
“I came down here and talked to Annette and learned about her passion for family literacy, and helping people finding gainful employment and it resonated with the work that we’re doing,” Zeno explained. “You can see it in the quality of work that they’re doing. It’s an excellent example of what we keep saying, ‘It’s about high quality, not high end.’
“It doesn’t matter that some pieces sell for $2.50. It’s not about $1,000 sweatshirts. Everybody should have the opportunity to appreciate their own art. You should be able touch art everyday. It should be a piece of your house. You should be able to find out the story of the object you bought. And I can’t think of a better story than this one [of finDings].”
Zeno, reflecting on potential and the future of said of the artisans leasing with Crafted, “Here’s a group that can help each other learn from experience rather than failure. But at the same time everybody takes responsibility for their business.”
In Zeno’s way of looking at things, no one is coming to the table saying, “I don’t know how to do this, can someone do it for me.”
To Zeno, Crafted is a forum where artisans come to the table and say, “I don’t know how to do this, can somebody give me the benefit of their experience so that I can go sell this.”
Zeno–like all those connected to Crafted–believes passionately that an one should be able to make a living from making things they love, despite a rough economy. She noted historically that people turn to crafting in such economic times to supplement their incomes.
“They’re finding that they don’t have to fit into someone else’s mold,” Zeno explained. “They can have an entrepreneurial spirit and there’s a venue that’s now available to them that is somewhere between their dining room table and a retail storefront on Main Street.
“We hope to grow people up and out of Crafted. The rents are affordable enough to take that leap of faith.”
Though it’s a cliché, Crafted was born out of the idea that if you build it, they will come. There’s a lot of things that will come out of this, Zeno explained. With the presence of gourmet food trucks and live music, Crafted will take on a festival atmosphere without turning into a carnival, allowing it to become a sophisticated event destination.
Zeno stresses that there are also other business opportunities for the folks who plant themselves at Crafted, noting that as they grow, they could grow the wholesale side of their business or form partnerships with people doing like-minded things.
“It shouldn’t be viewed through the, ‘I make, I sell.’ lens,” Zeno explained. “It should be, ‘I make, I sell, I expose myself to the world and see what happens.’”
And that’s the view many observers with hopeful aspirations for the Waterfront are taking.
Alvas Showroom will be celebrating Loving Day on June 24 by featuring Sandra Booker and her all female jazz and world music ensemble, Eve on a Swing.
Loving Day is the commemoration of the Loving vs. Virginia Supreme Court case that struck down anti-miscegenation laws in the remaining 16 states that still had the law on the books as of 1967. The laws essentially criminalized interracial marriages in those states. Though the civil rights victory has been celebrated for more than a couple of decades in various parts of the country, the court case and it impact isn’t widely known.
“After dinner tonight, I’ma put it on you” boomed the R&B singer from the trailer’s sound system, which Ed had upgraded no less than ten times. After dinner, he would have loved to put it on someone, if finding someone wasn’t so damn tricky. When he became too stoned or drunk to conjure a fictional vocation, women usually ran at the first mention of his job.
The ghost of Reagan, and my endorsement for Hahn
By James Preston Allen, Publisher
With this editorial, I fully and unequivocally endorse Janice Hahn’s candidacy to return to Congress and represent the new 44th Congressional District. I have chosen to do this not for the many reasons that others have previously voiced, such as her support for union workers, or her stance on equity for women and the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community. I endorse her because of something that is quite unique to this newspaper. Hahn is the only person, aside from myself, that attracts the ire of certain right-wing letter-writing critics. This, in my mind, means that over and above everything I agree with her on politically, she must be doing something right!
Now, this may be one of the races in which Hahn doesn’t mind coming in second. I believe I hold the title for receiving the most snide and vitriolic attacks for my political writings. But I do enjoy the company and I will remind you, my loyal readers, that I wouldn’t have it any other way. I support and defend “free speech” rights of all the citizens enshrined in the First Amendment, even when it doesn’t suit me personally. I have been asked quite adamantly, yet politely, by both friends of Hahn and by the congresswoman herself to refrain from publishing “any more of those horrible” letters. To which I’ve responded, “I have no control over what some people choose to write and send.”
“But you have the publisher’s prerogative not to print,” they rejoin. I end the conversation by noting that I only use that prerogative to avoid litigation.
“I don’t tell you how to run the congressional office, so don’t tell me how to run the newspaper,” I say.
So let’s talk about why people are angry. They get absolutely apoplectic when I argue that one of their sacred cows, Ronald Reagan, is the cause for much of our current malaise. The president who sold the country on “trickle down” economics; the one who started us on the path of “free trade” as he facilitated the shipping of good industrial jobs south of the border and west of the Pacific. He’s the one who was hired by the private sector back in the 1950s to sabotage national health care. He probably still would if he were alive today. He is the one who signed the law deregulating the Savings and Loans industry only for it to implode a short while later in the same manner we witnessed with the current banking crisis.
As Americans, we should be very angry. We live in the wealthiest nation on earth, yet 35 million of our citizens can’t afford health insurance and routinely go to emergency rooms for health care. Since the time of Ronald the “Great Communicator” Reagan, the wages of the working class have stagnated into a flat line, while the price of a middle-class standard of living has doubled or tripled. Public education has been under-funded, then it is attacked for not keeping up with privatized schools––schools that that get their support from the elite few whose salaries have grown exponentially from exporting jobs and importing cheap manufactured goods. Many of those who are the most pissed off misguidedly blame the public sector unions. The public sector makes up only 12 percent of the workforce, but has managed to hold the line against attacks on the middle class, by protecting collective bargaining–something the rest of America, should consider.
People are angry because they’ve been lied to while Wall Street vultures foreclosed on their dreams of a middle class lifestyle. Millions of Americans have been forced into bankruptcy, while the billionaire bankers get bailouts to cover their bad investment bets on derivative bond swaps––a financial product that nobody really understands. Yet, derivative trading continues to plague and embarrass the CEO of one of Wall Street’s largest banks, Chase Bank, which announced it simply lost $2 billion on leveraged bets while spending millions lobbying against Wall Street regulations.
The only folks who seem to be placing their anger in the right place is Occupy Wall Street, who have been routinely abused and arrested for speaking the unsavory truth–that the moneychangers are corrupt. And, in saying this unholy critique of capitalism, they deliver the most unlikely refrain in the public domain of this land of the free: There are some things more important than profit.
So yes, I endorse Janice Hahn for Congress. Precisely because certain right-wing letter-writing tea-bag sympathizers have criticized her, because she stood her ground where it really mattered, and because she unequivocally understands which side of the class divide she represents and because she will occasionally respond to her critics. I have urged her to do it more often. And you should too. For all those that mutter some sotto voce uncertainties about “Janice not being perfect,” I say that this is why she accurately represents this district, which for all of its assets is so much less than perfect. It’s one of those things in life that makes you work harder, an example we all might like to emulate.
Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich announced May 16 that he is not running for Congress in Washington state, where activists had urged him to launch a campaign. Kucinich signaled the end of his 16-year congressional career in an emailed statement to supporters:
Because of my love of public service, I have given a great deal of time and much thought to the advice and encouragement I have received from so many people of good will in Washington State. I certainly want to continue to be of service to our country and to the working men and women who have built it.
A candidate like Deputy District Attorney Jackie Lacey with credentials that include more than 25 years of experience in the District Attorney’s Office, 10 years as second in command of the office, and an endorsement from a well liked outgoing district attorney, would make an intimidatingly formidable candidate. But with Los Angeles City Attorney Carmen “Nuch” Trutanich’s million dollar war chest and an endorsement list that looks like Democratic Who’s Who list, the race looks more like a fight between David and Goliath.