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“The Odd Couple” opens Friday at Sierra Madre Playhouse

May 4, 2015 at 4:08 pm in Entertainment, Events, FEATURED, People, San Gabriel Valley, Theatre/Stage

AND THERES A NIFTY CONTEST TOO…PRIZE IS DINNER WITH THE DIRECTOR AND CAST

Odd Couple Contest poster, click to embiggen, image by Gina Long

Odd Couple Contest poster, click to embiggen, image by Gina Long

The Odd Couple celebrates its 50th Anniversary this year and the Sierra Madre Playhouse production promises NOT to be your grandparents version of the play.  There are some interestsing twists.  This cast has character and chemistry.  The one rehearsal I sat in I was enthralled and had to keep my attention diverted so I didn’t get so wrapped up I spoiled opening night for myself.

Artistic Director Christian Lebano and Director Alan Brooks bring some fun to the table in their interpretation of “The Odd Couple” that won’t go unnnoticed.  To give it some local flavor the Pigeon Sisters are played by actors Kari Lee and Jane Lui.  The little bit I saw they bring a whole new range of interest and humor to the roles of the love interests of accidental bachelors Oscar and Felix.  Worth a see, trust me.

What is really fun is the contest.  Since this is the story of a mismatched roommate situation, the Sierra Madre Playhouse is running a contest for the worst roommate story.  The stories will be read prior to the play start each week and the winner will be announced at the Sunday matinee on June 12.  Story must be entered by midnight May 31, 2015. You can enter by submitting your story on the Sierra Madre Playhouse Facebook page, or emailing them at [email protected]  As noted in the headline…the best story gets dinner with the director and cast.

Christian Lebano, the Artistic Director at the Playhouse has his own roommate story to share here:

The Odd couple opens May 8 and runs through June 27.  You can order tickets HERE.  Here’s an added surprise and reason to attend opening night…you get to go to the opening night reception and mingle with the cast, directors and board of the Sierra Madre Playhouse.  Location of the reception is announced at the play…so no crashers.

Sierra Madre Playhouse 87 W Sierra Madre Blvd. Sierra Madre CA 91024  MAP HERE  Box Office 626/355-4318


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Pedal on the Pier – fundraiser to send kids to Summer Camp

May 4, 2015 at 3:19 pm in Education, Events, Seasonal, Social issues, West Side

Pedal on the Pier Logo, click to embiggen

Pedal on the Pier Logo, click to embiggen

Ok, this is a different event, not bicycles, but stationary bikes ridden 100 miles to raise money to send inner city kids to summer camp.  It’s sponsored by the  Harold Robinson Foundation and will be held May 31st 2015 on SaMo Pier.  Nice setting, fun if you’re into riding bikes that don’t go anywhere. At least some creep racing in a sport sedan can’t run you over, but I digress.  Most importantly this is about raising funds to help underprivileged kids get to summer camp and enjoy all that experience has to offer.

To participate there are a few criteria.  Just having stamina and great gams to sit and bicycle isn’t enough. You  need to have pledges for at least $2,500 to be on one of the stationary bikes on the pier and pedal for those 5 hours.  You also need $250 for an entry fee.  You can start the registration process for you as an individual or a team  HERE.

Full Press Release after the jump: Read the rest of this entry →


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Concorso de Ferrari 2015 in Pasadena…its a wrap

April 27, 2015 at 10:30 am in Driving, Entertainment, Events, San Gabriel Valley, Transportation, Vintage

Yup, this Sunday as promised was the Concorso de Ferrari in Old Town Pasadena. It was a most excellent show. A Ferrari for every budget from 40K fixers for sale to a one of a kind 15M model.  And everything in between.  Making a token appearance to offset the legion of La Ferrari was a Saleen S7.  Even Maserati, the bastard stepchild of Ferrari, was there with new cars under a tent from a local dealer.  Not to be out done, totally non-Italian Aston Martin was present with its own tent as well.  Supercar stars were alligned in Old Town this weekend. Read the rest of this entry →


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Sweeney Todd opens at Monroe Forum Theatre in NoHo

April 24, 2015 at 11:05 am in Entertainment, People, The Valley, Theatre/Stage

Sweeney ToddSondheim fans will really enjoy this production.  New to Sondheim, well Kristin Towers-Rowles diection of “Sweeney Todd, the demon barber of Fleet Street” is a great introduction.  She did a pretty terrific if not out right amazing job fitting this production into the small square platform of a theater that is the El Portal.  Meant for the big theatre, this small stage carried the impact in its small footprint.  No mean feat.

The cast is pretty amazing.  Set in Victorian England in the grittier side of town among the poor and barely surviving the story is of a man wrongly accused of a murder and comes back for revenge.  I can’t give much else out without you all calling foul and spoiler.  Its a good story with some interesting twists.  Well worth the time to go see it.

I have to give two specal nods for performances that stole the show.  First was the beggar woman, played by Kendra Munger. She manages to upstage others with her decrepit old hooker  character begging for alms in exchange for “favors”  By far the scene stealer was Alison England who plays Mrs. Lovett the lowly meat pie baker.  Mrs Lovett befriends Todd Sweeney to help him with his plan as well as further her ambition.  A thoroughly enjoyable and wickedly good performance by Ms England.  Loved it.

Sweeney Todd plays at the El Portal in North Hollywood through May 10,2015.  Tickets can be ordered by calling 818-508-4200 or 866-811-4111.  El Portal Web Site HERE.

Press Release after the jump. Read the rest of this entry →


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Concorso Ferrari this Sunday in Old Town Pasadena

April 24, 2015 at 10:29 am in Driving, Entertainment, Events, Transportation

Concorso Ferrari 2015 Poster, click to embiggen

Concorso Ferrari 2015 Poster, click to embiggen

This weekend is the Concorsco Ferrari ’15 to be held in Old Town Pasadena.  Its open free to the public and will include hundreds of Ferrari’s along the stretch of Colorado from Raymond Avenue to Pasadena Avenue.  Quite the collection of cars.

Also known as Ferraris on Colorado, this signature event hosted by the Ferrari Club of America Southwest Region delights over 5,000 owners, enthusiasts and spectators each year. Impressive Ferraris from around the country will line Colorado Boulevard from Pasadena Avenue to Raymond Avenue. Adding to the entertainment will be a vast array of sponsors and partners displaying exceptional sports and luxury cars, offering quality accessories & fine apparel and introducing various automotive related services.

This Ferrari exclusive annual concours is free and open to the public. Ferraris from 2004 and earlier are eligible for judging. Judging will follow FCA National Guidelines IAC/PFA
(International Advisory Council for the Preservation of Ferrari Automobiles). Awards in up to ten classes will be made at the conclusion of the event by an esteemed panel of Ferrari experts.

I have on good authority, make that very good authority that this show for THIS year is opening up for other super cars such as the McLlaren and L Ferrari to name drop a few.

Date April 26, 2015, 10AM – 3PM West Colorado Blvd, Pasadena CA MAP HERE  WEB SITE


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Mad Max Mustang Best of Show at Fabulous Fords Forever

April 20, 2015 at 10:39 am in Driving, Entertainment, Events, SoCal, Transportation

Mad Max Mustang, best of show at Fabulous Fords Forever. Click to embiggen

Mad Max Mustang, best of show at Fabulous Fords Forever. Click to embiggen

By far the best car of the show at Fabulous Fords Forever this past weekend in Buena Park was what I called the Mad Max Mustang.  I adored this car.  Not that it was an excellent restoration, or stunning custom.  It was sheer genius combining two historic vehicles into one mash up that worked here or in a Mad Max movie.  The owner chopped and stretched the wheelbase of an original bronco to fit under a 1968 Mustang.  Still Primer gray, and nothing else would be appropriate.  The crowning touch was the inclusion of a Gatling gun.  How cool was that!

Of course there were ample stunning restorations and modified cars to be seen.  In total there were over 1900 cars representing the start of the Ford Motor Company and included example of many nameplates from Ford, Linclon, Edsel, Mercury and 1 Cortina!

More pics on my flickr album.  All video and pics by me.

 


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MHS Robotics has GoFundMe to get to World Championship

April 8, 2015 at 11:00 am in Events, San Gabriel Valley, Science, Technology

MHS GoFundMe Flyer, click to embiggen

MHS GoFundMe Flyer, click to embiggen

The kids at MHS Robotics, have battled their way to the National Robotics Championship and need help to get the money raised to get them there.  The first ever Tech Challenge World Robotics Championships will be held in St Louis April 22-25 and they need to raise $12,000 to pay travel expenses and entry fee.  They have a GoFundMe set up to make the donating process easy and painless.  If you can help this great group of good kids realize a dream please donate!  They need just another 3K to get there!

This isn’t the first time I’ve written about he kids in MUSD and their Robotics…those kids in 5th grade all those eons ago when my son was doing robotics are part of this team.  Please make this happen for them!


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More on the AEA vote and Pro 99 Seat Theatre

March 26, 2015 at 10:31 am in News, People, San Gabriel Valley, Social issues, Theatre/Stage

Ballots will be arriving in the hands of member actors of the Actors Equity Association.  Its important to keep 99 Seat Theatre alive in Los Angeles.  A “NO” vote will insure that the 99 Seat Agreement remains in place and is not changed.


Longtime KABC weatherman Dr. George Fischbeck passes away

March 25, 2015 at 2:25 pm in News, Obituaries, Television, Weather

bla-2015-03-25-dr-george-fullshotABC7 announced today that longtime KABC weatherman Dr. George Fischbeck died on this morning at the age of 92.

I remember watching Dr. George and his signature bow-tie on television until he retired from ABC and enjoyed his re-emergence KCBS in the mid-to-late 1990s.

For many Angelenos, Dr. George was more than just the weatherman. He taught us about jet streams, high and low pressures and millibars. When he was giving us his forecast for the highs and lows for the next day, he’d also remind us to be good citizens and take care of each other.

He was also an ambassador of good will both on and off the set. For years, he collected toys for children at Porterville State Hospital.

Years after he retired, he gave his support to ABC7’s Spark of Love Toy Drive.


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Sondheim’s “Putting it Together” opened this past weekend

March 19, 2015 at 10:49 am in Entertainment, News, People, San Gabriel Valley, Theatre/Stage

Putting it Together Cast and Pianist...click to embiggen

Putting it Together Cast and Pianist…click to embiggen

I’m not a total rube as I at least knew who Sondheim was before this  past weekend’s opening of “Putting it Together” at the Sierra Madre Playhouse.  I couldn’t have told you what he wrote or even hum a few bars before then.  Now I can.  He’s a bright lively composer who’s lyrics are not only cunning but witty.  Many times the audience broke into laughter during Friday nights performance.

The all star cast is directed and choregraphed by Cate Caplin with Jake Anthony as the music director.  The cast consists of Kurt Andrew Hansen, Kristin Towers-Rowles, Chris Kerrigan, Rachel Hirshee and Mike Irizarry who use a series of 31  Sondheim songs to tell a story of love, marriage, and mistresses during the course of a 1 percenters cocktail party.  Yup, there’s a twist and the bitterness of the woman scorned comes across in a most comical way.

Of all the songs in the play, “Bang” was my favorite.  Didn’t involve guns, but rather was the exclamation point in the digression of young lovers and love making to bitter married folks having dutiful relations in the bedroom.  That’s as delicate as I can put it…but that song alone had us laughing out loud during the performance.  The actions of the cast added hysterical emphasis.

Putting it Together runs through March 28 at the Sierra Madre Playhouse.

Added bonus.  This weekend only 3/20-3/21.  On Web sales only.  Buy one seat, get the second seat free.  Makes for a very and cheap date night!  Order tickets HERE with the promo code BOGO.

Added bonus, if you are interested in Einstein is a Dummy that I reviewed recently, this Sunday, 3/22 Performance is also included in the buy one get one promotion on web sales only.  Order Tickets here with the promo code BOGO.

Deets: Sierra Madre Playhouse, 87 W Sierra Madre Blvd, Sierra Madre 91024  MAP HERE

Photograph by John Dlugolecki Photography and used with permission.


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Tower Records, the documentary 3/25/2015

March 18, 2015 at 12:00 pm in Downtown, Entertainment, Filmmaking/Filmmakers, Music

Flyer for the Movie

Flyer for the Movie

I knew about Tower Records long before I moved here.  Sunset and Horn. My bestest buddy from college lived just up the hill on Horn from there.  Every trip to visit Los Angeles included at trip to Tower Records to soak up the vibe and pick up the lastest and greatest tunes.  And star sightings.  Lots of them back in the 80s. Even after I moved here and was living in Canoga Park I still made it there often.  As I look at my collection of tapes and CD’s and odd bits of vinyl each brings back a memory of a trip there.

The Grammy Museum at L.A  Live has a documentary on the rise and fall of Tower Records that will show March 25, 2015.  Tickets are on sale now .  Reel to Reel: All Things Must Pass promises to be a joyous trip down memory lane.  The old store may have been killed by the MP3 pirates, but its memories will live on.

Deets: The Grammy Museum at L.A. Live. Olympic and Figueroa, Los Angeles MAP HERE  Tickets: $15


A Bone Of Contention With Regards To The Long Dead L.A. Marathon Bike Tour

March 14, 2015 at 10:08 am in Biking in LA, Events, News, Sports

laweaklyOne of the first places I turn to of late if I’m looking for anti-cycling news and views is the L.A. Weakly. More often than not, it seems they’ve adopted the less-enlightened view of the urban activity shed by the Los Angeles Times a few years ago. Which is why I was so surprised to see this positive article in this week’s issue on tomorrow morning’s Marathon bike ride, as it moves from guerrilla event toward a potential for full legitimacy.

Of course, that didn’t mean the feature wasn’t wrong on an historic point:

Article quote: “For years, the L.A. Marathon’s route was a loop. Before the footrace began, an official bike ride was held with corporate sponsorship and everything. But in 2009, the marathon route was changed to a straight shot from Dodger Stadium to the sea, and the bike ride was dropped for fear that thousands of cyclists wouldn’t be able to get their bikes home.”

If you want to drink that Koolaid as to the demise of the Bike Tour being on a loop route that couldn’t coexist with an A-B marathon route, go ahead. But in 2007 when the marathon introduced a point-to-point route that began in Universal City and ended downtown (and continued again in 2008) the Bike Tour’s approximately 10,000 bicyclists pedaled on a SEPARATE loop route that began and ended in the vicinity of Exposition Park. Imagine that. PS. I know this personally because in 2007 I actually did both events that fateful day.

So my advice is to put down that Dixie cup and understand that the marathon’s leadershit (NOT a typo) under owner Frank McCourt, didn’t kill the 15-year tradition of the Bike Tour because it was concerned the poor wittle cycwists wouldn’t be able to find their way home after cwossing the finish wine. Nah, they simply and unceremoniously dumped the popular Bike Tour component after 2009 — and did so under the blazingly false pretense of developing a corresponding “world class” cycling event to replace it. When they didn’t spend a fraction of a second creating that, Don “Roadblock” Ward, gawd bless him, stepped in all guerrilla-style and the Marathon Crash Race was born, now perhaps ironically to evolve into what may very well one day become a legitimate “world class” bicycling component on Marathon Day.

Bonus clip: My timelapse from 2009 and what would be mine and the last bike tour (I had pedaled in every previous one back to the event’s inception in 1995).


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Ultimate Pi Day is this morning

March 14, 2015 at 7:30 am in Entertainment, Science, Seasonal

ultimate pi dayPrecisely 3/14/15 9:26:53 AM is a once in a century geek out day for Math nerds, and nerds in general  Its PI taken to the 9th digit.

Celebrate with a piece of Pi and calculate its area, using PI of course.

.


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Fast cars on a track..life gets interesting this weekend

March 11, 2015 at 10:23 am in Driving, Entertainment, Events, News, San Gabriel Valley


Seriously, one of my favorite events is always involving cars on a closed circuit track where you can run ’em through an obstacle course. It gives you a better sense of what the car is about, how its built than the typical around the block test drive.  You’ll get your chance to do just that this weekend at the Ecoboost Challenge at the Santa Anita Park in Arcadia on Saturday 3/14.

Ford hosts the event and challenges the top competitors on the track.  Fusion vs Camry, Escape vs CRV, Prius V vs C-Max, and F150 vs Silverado.  You get to do them on a track and compare how they handle…or don’t.  How fast they accellerate and brake, steering nimbleness and all the stuff you normally don’t get to do.  With the hybrids the track is geared towards seeing who can get the best mpg….I won with 68.5 with a CMax Energi last year.

The ABSOLUTE best part of the entire day is the ST Performance Academy.   First year it was both a Focus ST and Fiesta ST, last year it was just a Fiesta ST on a timed, fast as you can go on a track, after a bit of coaching prior to your run.  Best of 3 laps is your time in the competition.  It if weren’t for a ringer last year I would have placed 2nd on the course, but I’ll take a respectable third when its only a few tenths behind #2.

You can particpate simply by registering and bringing your Driver’s license to the track at your appointed time.  REGISTER HERE.

I’ll be there 3/13 on a press pass and drop spoilers before you get to the course yourself.  If you do the ST Performance Academy, and like, who WOULDN’T, post your time and we’ll see who amongst us at the best.

Deets: Ecoboost Challenge Saturday March 14/2015 Santa Anita Park, Arcadia CA MAP HERE


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Einstein is a Dummy opens in Sierra Madre

March 8, 2015 at 11:16 am in Education, Entertainment, People, San Gabriel Valley, Theatre/Stage

L to R: Tyler Fromson as Albert, Matt Severyn as Constantin, Andrea Arvanigian as Elsa

L to R: Tyler Fromson as Albert, Matt Severyn as Constantin, Andrea Arvanigian as Elsa

Its science to nurture your inner nerd.  It has a message…its ok to be curious, its ok to ask why, its OK to be different. All the issues every kid struggles with to be “popular” and be themselves at the same time is explored in this high energy production that opened at the Sierra Madre Playhouse this weekend.  Think of it as Energy, the good kind like a colorful Saturday morning exploding on stage (and off at times) with the angst of a kid who doesn’t fit in and wants to.

Einstein is a Dummy is written by Karen Zacarias and brilliantly presented under the direction of Derek Manson for the Sierra Madre Playhouse.  Add in the musical score by Deborah Wicks LaPuma and you’ve got a show that kids will enjoy while picking up some lessons on personal identity and real science.

This is repertory theatre. The play has two cast so as to stage it for evening performances as well as matinee’s for schools here in the SGV.  (This play is aimed at the 3rd-8th grade student).  Regardless of which cast you see, you will have fun with your young genius.  I saw the Electron cast, those that have seen the Proton cast were equally amazed at the production.

The play starts with young Einstein talk with a stray cat in advance of leaving for a music recital.  Here we get the first hint at his curiosity and the gift of a compass that started him thinking about and developing his theory of relativity. Its this first bit where we learn that Einstein sees and hears the world differently.    Read the rest of this entry →