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

May 21, 2015 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 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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Calling all Chalk Artists…contest with prize money

May 14, 2015 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 that  larger chalk festival sponsored by the devil and as restrictive 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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