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Always-Patsy Cline and the blogathon soft open

July 31, 2015 at 2:57 pm in Entertainment, Events, Music, People, Profiles, San Gabriel Valley, Theatre/Stage

Cori Cable Kidder as Patsy and Nikki D'Amico as Louise.  click to embiggen

Cora Kidder Cable as Patsy and Nikki D’Amico as Louise. click to embiggen

Always-Patsy Cline the production kicking off the 2015-2016 season at the Sierra Madre Playhouse officially opens this weekend to a sold out crowd.  SOLD OUT.

As a board member I’m involved in a lot of aspects behind the scene’s.  JozJozJoz,  metblogs/blogging.la CEO is an official tweeter for the L.A. Opera and that was the germ of the idea for the blogathon for the soft opening, last rehearsal of Always-Patsy Cline. But more on that a bit later.

This is a wonderful story of an overly zealous fan and the star she adored becoming accidental friends and pen pals. The play itself is about  how Louise Seger, a Houston housewife played by Nikki D’Amico who is best characterized as a spitfire hellcat fun loving divorcee, reminiscing over the night she first heard Pasty Cline on the radio and how she followed her career until they met a club outside Houston.  They became best of friends, Louise and Pasty became penpals and wrote each other until Patsy’s untimely death at the age of 30.  Those letters to Louise ended with the salutation “Always-Patsy Cline”.  That story, and the story of Patsy’s life are intertwined and told through 27 songs by Patsy Cline beautifully recreated by Cori Cable Kidder and backed up by a live band. Read the rest of this entry →


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Monrovia Art Walk Saturday 7/25 7-10PM

July 23, 2015 at 7:25 am in Art, Entertainment, Events, People, San Gabriel Valley, Shopping


Santiago Heredia will be among the artists doing live demonstrations at this Saturday’s Art Walk in Monrovia sponsored by the Monrovia Association of Fine Arts. Santiago works in acrylic and cranks out paintings full of character and fun live before his audience.

Also demonstrating at the Art Walk will be Elizabeth Butterfield who will show her torn paper collage techniques.  Monrovia High School Ceramics under the direction of Saul Perez will be demonstrating on the potters wheel.

All told there will be 10 (possibly more in the works still) artists on the 400 and 500 block of South Myrtle Avenue.  These artists will include photographers, painters, jewelry sculptures at the Art Walk.  Last. and not least, the Empty Bowls Monrovia project led by Meaghan McCarthy will be there selling the last of the bowls with 100% of the proceeds going to help the Foothill Unity Center feed the homeless and needy here in the SGV.

Lastly, adding to the festive atmosphere there will be live music.

Might I suggest…make a night of it.  Visit one of the many restaurants in Old Town Monrovia, or take in a movie then hit the Art Walk to round out your night.

Deets.  MAFA ART WALK, Saturday 7//25/2015, 7PM-10PM. 400/500 Block S Myrtle Avenue, Monrovia CA 91016 MAP HERE

 


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Thoroughly Modern Milly opens tonight in Monrovia

July 16, 2015 at 6:36 am in Entertainment, Music, San Gabriel Valley, Theatre/Stage

TMM PosterCommunity theatre is derided but not always deservedly so.   The theatre group associated with Monrovia High School tackles big plays and does them quite nicely.  Most importantly its a community effort supported by MUSD and gives kids and young adults in the area a chance to spread their wings, experiment and grow.

The play plot is well known.   Young girl goes to New York looking for a rich husband instead of love.  The part of Milly is played by Marjory Zuk who not only sings well, but dances well to bring the character to life.  Theres a large pool of local talent to round out the cast and make for a lively evening.

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


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Patsy Cline Listening Party at Vromans Hasting Ranch

July 15, 2015 at 6:52 am in Entertainment, Music, News, People, San Gabriel Valley

Always - Patsy Cline listening party poster, click to embiggen

Always – Patsy Cline listening party poster, click to embiggen

This is going to be an awesomely fun evening.  Sierra Madre Playhouse and Vroman’s Books in Hasting Ranch have teamed up to bring the cast and crew from their soon to open “Always…Patsy Cline” production down the hill for a listening party.  Listen to such classics as Crazy, Walking After Midnight, and I Fall To Pieces.

Learn about the singing techniques Patsy used to evoke the heartbreak and longing that have made her songs country and pop classics. Presented in tandem with the production of Always… Patsy Cline at The Sierra Madre Playhouse, playing July 31 – September 12, 2015.

I know this shopping center well.  Parking is always tight and you can idle forever waiting for a spot to open.  I’d suggest if you are mass transit enabled take the Gold Line to the Sierra Madre Station and walk the 4 blocks east to Vroman’s or grab an ARTS shuttle or Foothill Transit 187 “murder bus” to the center.  Much easier and less stressful than dealing with tight parking.

Deets: The Patsy Cline Listening Party will take place at Vroman’s Hastings Ranch store at 3729 E. Foothill Blvd., Pasadena, CA 91107 on Friday, July 17, 2015 at 6:00 p.m. Free event. MAP HERE.


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Lotus Festival at Echo Park

July 12, 2015 at 12:45 pm in Art, Downtown, Entertainment, Events, Food & Drink, Seasonal, Shopping

Echo Park Lake and the lotus in bloom looking at DTLA, Click to embiggen

Echo Park Lake and the lotus in bloom looking at DTLA, Click to embiggen

Well today I ventured to Echo Park for this years Lotus Festival.  Yes, they were in bloom and they were knock me over gorgeous.  The rest of the festival, meh.  My last time there was 2007 when I was a rower with the team metblogs Dragon Boat, but I digress.

This years show had very few artisans.  There was some nifty stuff.  Lots of Day of the Dead skulls painted on stuff you wouldn’t expect.  Great food trucks…gotta give the food vendors the nod as they make this festival.  The rest, sadly was swap meet crap.  Its a common theme in outdoor events too many times of late, they let vendors in reselling cheap import crap forcing out the artisans with quality work who can’t compete at a price point.  grrrr.

The music was fun and lively.  and varied.  Something for everyone and that alone makes its worth the drip to Echo Park and fight for parking.

Today is the last day.  More details on the show in the Lotus Festival FB page.

Pic by Me, more on my Flickr album


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Call to Artists – Opportunity to share and sell your work

July 10, 2015 at 6:55 am in Art, Entertainment, San Gabriel Valley, Shopping

Art Walk Post Card. Click to embiggen

Art Walk Post Card. Click to embiggen

Monrovia Association has two opportunities to show and sell your art work.  The fees are nominal and often you far exceed in sales what your display fee was.  Its a cost effective way to promote your work to potential collectors and start a following.  Covering costs is always a good thing.

ART WALK This annual event was condensed to one night of showing and selling excitement on July 25.  The artists are lined up on the 400 block of South Myrtle Avenue in Monrovia.  This is the same block as the theatre and you capture that crowd as well as those from the local restaurant scene.  (Monrovia has quite the large sidewalk cafe scene going which in itself can be a reason to visit).

If interested in the Art Walk please contact the coordinator Bill Hyatt at [email protected] for all the details on this fun event.

CELEBRATE THE ARTS This year marks the 52nd year of this annual event. IT will be held the weekend of September 26-27 in Library Park in historic Old Town Monrovia. Celebrate the Arts is a Juried Fine Art event that doesn’t permit bead stringers and folk arts.  This annual event is well supported  and attended by the community and surrounding area.  There are numerous artists and community organizations that in this show each year.  Adding to the traffic this year is the first ever ChalkFest featuring several chalk street artists competing for prizes.

Celebrate the Arts Poster, click to embiggen

Celebrate the Arts Poster, click to embiggen

For more information on Celebrate the Arts contact the coordinator Christine Geltz at [email protected] for all the details and an application.

Please follow us on twitter and facebook for all the most current news and updates on events.

*disclosure, I’m on the Board of Directors of the Monrovia Association of Fine Arts and serve as Jury Coordinator.

 


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What do with the kidlets in the SGV this summer?

June 17, 2015 at 4:11 pm in Art, Education, LA, People, San Gabriel Valley, Seasonal, Shopping

HINT ITS ART RELATED

Summer Art Lessons flyer...click to embiggen

Summer Art Lessons flyer…click to embiggen

Paint n Play Art Studio and Gallery in Monrovia has just the thing to keep kids entertained and busy this summer.  Art classes.  Several to choose from and all expert taught by Lisa Barrios and her loving staff.  Real working pros sharing their talents with kids.  Does it get better than that?

From basic ceramics to Parent and Tot classes its a learning experience and freeing little minds to create.  I really love this stuff.  Most is ages 6 and up, though some are as young as 4, and others you need to be at least 8.  Hard core elementary ages that need some structure and learning activities in the summer…that are fun.

Click the flyer to embiggen and get the full deets on the classes they offer.  Call Lisa Barrios the owner of Paint n Play for the details and to get your kidlet signed up.  You won’t regret it and you’ll be a hero to your kid for doing so.

Deets: Paint n Play Art Studio and Gallery, 418 S Myrtle Avenue, Monrovia 91016  626-256-4648


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A night of creating ART and a little libation to loosen you up…

May 21, 2015 at 6:07 am in Art, Entertainment, Events, Food & Drink, Media, People, San Gabriel Valley

Adult Art nite 5.20 This is going to be a fun event. Terrific even.  Its about creating art, some adult refreshements (booze) and hors d’oeuvres to nourish your body and loosen up the creative spirit you bottle up daily while chained to your cube.  Its about learning to express yourself in a media other than words.

The teacher this round is Elizabeth Jewell Butterfield, the featured artist at Monrovia Association of Fine Art’s annual Celebrate the Arts held in September.  Elizabeth is an amazing mixed media artist.  She takes bits of material, paper, what have you, tears in itty bitty bits and applies it to a canvas where it suddenly becomes a beautiful painting.  She will teach you do the same in the First class held on May 30

The last time this was done at the Paint n Play Art Studio and Gallery in Monrovia it sold out fast.  The teacher made the class exceptionally fun and everyone walked away with a piece of art to hang in their cube to remind themselves they can do it.  I can’t stress enough…sign up early and don’t miss this fun event.

Deets” May 30, June 20,  and July 18.  Paint n Play Art Studio and Gallery, 418 S Myrtle Avenue, Monrovia CA 91016 626/256-4848 to reserve a spot.


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Fung Brothers attack the East vs West Coast differences

May 20, 2015 at 11:01 am in Entertainment, LA, People, Which Side?

These guys are hysterical.  I actually enjoy watching them and their analysis of what an Asian American is all about. Its entertaining and educational.  This time around they attach the East Coast vs West Coast differences.  Not the usual attack on Angelenos from the NYT or some condescending post on Angelenos making the move to the big NYC.  Its really just a close look at the differences in the two coasts and the Asian communities.


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Fixed…the app to fix parking tickets

May 17, 2015 at 5:40 pm in Driving, Law, Law Enforcement, Transportation

screen grab of the app in action...click to embiggen

screen grab of the app in action…click to embiggen

Has anyone use this new app called Fixed?  In short its like mobile deposits for your banking app, you take a picture of the ticket, upload and they fight the parking ticket for you.  For a fee. 35% of the ticket.  Seems a little steep, but prolly cheaper than taking the morning off of work and standing in a line in traffic court to fight.  FWIW they say 50% win in traffic court, I’ve done 100% just by showing up.

Comment if you’ve used and the results.  Anyone test it with the parking Nazi’s in Pasadena that post-date times and hope you arrive after the time they “posted” as observing your expired meter?


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Calling all Chalk Artists…contest with prize money

May 14, 2015 at 6:35 am in Art, Contests, Entertainment, News, South Bay

Chalk Art Promo...click to embiggen

Chalk Art Promo…click to embiggen Photo credit: V. Bugatti

Monrovia Association of Fine Arts (MAFA) is adding a Chalk Art Festival to its already established Celebrate the Arts.  The show will be held September 26 and 27 with the Chalk Art produced and judged on the 26th.  Celebrate the Arts is excited about this, its 52nd annual event in Library Park in historic Old Town Monrovia.

Prizes, yes there will be prizes that are funded by your nominal entry fee and by generous sponsors in the area.

  • $500 First Place Advantage Ford Lincoln (Just announced)
  • $250 Second Place Monrovia Merchants
  • $100 Third Place Brian Huffman Photography
  • All Prize winners will also receive an 8X10 photograph of their work by Brian Huffman Photography

If you’d like to join please write me direct [email protected] and I’ll send you an application with the full details.  Unlike some other festivals we like to think of ours as the friendlier, more fun Chalk Art Festival in the SGV.  Yes, there are some requirements.  Entry fee of $25 but that also makes you a member of MAFA. Subject matter is wide open, but because the Celebrate the Arts is a community family oriented venture so you can’t include pornographic or erotic themes and content.  You need to apply early as space is limited and spaces are assigned on a first come, first served basis.  As Celebrate the Arts is MAFA’s big fund raiser for the year we ask that you create a small piece of art on a  12″X12″ canvas to be included in our silent auction.

Disclosure…I’m a Board Member and Jury Chairman for the Monrovia Association of Fine Arts.  I donate way too much time according to my wife as I firmly believe in their mission statement: “Enhance the lives of those within our community through interaction with the arts. Increase the opportunities of our children through art education.”.  And do “like” us on Facebook.

Edit 1:57 PM our First Prize sponsor has been signed on and announced.


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The Odd Couple is a rip roaring good time at Sierra Madre Playhouse

May 9, 2015 at 4:18 pm in Entertainment, News, People, San Gabriel Valley, Theatre/Stage

The cast...cick to embiggen

The cast…cick to embiggen

Neil Simon’s “The Odd Couple” opened at the Sierra Madre Playhouse and it was a riotous good time.  The play we know, but Alan Brooks and Artistic Director Christian Lebano twisted it up a notch and made this so much more than the bare words on the script.  I can’t find a fault in the production, and neither could the audience that laughed pretty much non-stop during this examination of interpersonal relationships among friends and differing personalities.

Where to start, by now we all know the story.  Oscar Madison’s wife and kids leave him and move away leaving him to grunge up an 8 room apartment.  Shortly thereafter Felix Unger’s wife boots him and he shows up on Oscar’s doorstep with no place to live.  Jack Sundmacher as Oscar and Brad David Reed as Felix have terrific chemistry and brought their characters to life.  Even in Oscar’s most curmudgeonly moments you felt connected to him and understood him.  Felix is just a nutball basket case and he too wound up capturing your heart.  His sinus-clearing-ear-unplugging bit was hysterical.

As I mentioned in an earlier post the poker table, played by Richard Van Slyke, Joe Langer, Steve Bean and Vince Donvito had chemistry.  It was really as funny as watching a group of guys who’ve been been playing for years, not actors who just recently met.  Funny, caring, wise-cracking and FUNNY.  You couldn’t help but wish you were in their circle at the table playing poker as well.

Jane Lui (l) and Kari Lee (r) as the Pigeon Sisters, click to embiggen

Jane Lui (l) and Kari Lee (r) as the Pigeon Sisters, click to embiggen

The absolute bit of genius was switching up the roles of the “Pigeon Sisters”, the dating interest and neighbors of Oscar and Felix. Played by Kari Lee and Jane Lui was a piece of sheer casting genius.  The chemistry and infectious zest for living they brought to the stage really brought the play to life. Typically the two rolls are just simply cast to a couple of blonde bimbos and let the chips fall where they may, these two brought the characters of Gwendolyn and Ceciy to hyper animated life.  Between the two of them they capture Felix’s heart and convince him he’s going to be ok.  They even twist Oscar around to see Felix for the friend he is.  Quite a task and brilliantly played by Ms Lee and Ms Lui.

Don’t forget the contest for “my worst roommate” that runs until May 31.  Send the Playhouse your worst roommate story and if chosen you get dinner with this incredible cast!  ENTER HERE, or simply mail your story to [email protected]

The play runs through June 27,  Order tickets HERE.

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

All pics by me.

 


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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 →