Category Archives: Education

How to build your Art Business with Social Media event Saturday

MAFA SM EventPart of Monrovia Association of Fine Arts mission is to help artists develop their business.  The second in a series of seminars is this Saturday June 18 at the Monrovia Community Center.

The seminar on how to build your Art Business will be taught by Margaret Danielak, is a well-known art consultant and I have her excellent book entitled “A Gallery without Walls” about this topic. The discounted member fee is only $20.00 and can pay for itself in increased sales. Non-members $30.00, students $10.00.  You can reserve a seat and pay HERE.  The price of admission includes your course handouts, Starbucks’ coffee, juice and snacks.  Hurry as seats are limited.

Deets: Monrovia Community Center Iris Room, 119 W. Palm Ave, Monrovia, 10 a.m. to noon.

A Walk on Water gets a gift from Dodge

Sometimes it is more than the car, its the  perfect mix of ambition and heart.

Last night started out like any other manufacturer party.  This time hosted by Dodge.  It was different as instead of rolling out a red carpet for a shiny new car, it was to give a gift to suburban Los Angeles based “A Walk on Water“. AWOW for short.

Until last night I hadn’t heard of them or their mission.  AWOW is there to support families with autistic members.  They provide the entire family, not just the person with autism, with the chance to spend a fun day together learning to surf.  They believe in the theraputic powers of the ocean and surfing as a way to bridge the communication gap and give a family with special needs a fun learning experience they can share.

Actor Danny Trejo gave a moving introduction to the group and shared how is own family is affected by autism.  Its just not the person with special needs that needs help, but the entire family that is affected and need help with coping and learning.  The board members of AWOW also shared with us their personal stories on why what they do is important to them and the families they help.  There wasn’t a dry eye in the house after one board member talked about how his non-verbal son spoke his first words after his first surf ride.  He’s skilled now on the board that he’s ready to be a teacher in the group.  The power in belief in abilities and that you can make always find a way to make a positive out of a challenge.

The big news dropped at the end of the presentations is that Dodge, a division of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles was donating $20,000 to AWOW to kick start their growth and expand beyond the Los Angeles area.  Dodge/FCA together are also pledging an additional $50 for every test drive at authorized dealerships in the coming days up to $5,000 additional for AWOW. (list of authorized dealers after the jump).  It was hinted that Danny Trejo himself will be at some of the dealerships during their day of sponsored test drives to meet and greet those helping out AWOW by taking drive in a shiny new Dodge.

To further sweeten the pot, Nacional Records, our host for the evening festivities, is going to give away 2 tickets per test drive to the October 3 Supersonico Festival at the Palladium.

For the list of  dealerships dates and times you need to make the jump. Continue reading A Walk on Water gets a gift from Dodge

What do with the kidlets in the SGV this summer?


Summer Art Lessons 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

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

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: Continue reading Pedal on the Pier – fundraiser to send kids to Summer Camp

Einstein is a Dummy opens in Sierra Madre

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.    Continue reading Einstein is a Dummy opens in Sierra Madre

12 Days of Giving : Monrovia Association of Fine Arts

LogoThis is a group that I have devoted tons of energy and time to over the last 10 years.  Their mission statement sums it all up:
“Enhance the lives of those within our community through interaction with the arts. Increase the opportunities of our children through art education.”

Its something I completely believe in, live and breath it.  I got involved 10 years ago as a way to help promote my art, but after a few meetings I found its something that benefits the entire community in ways I never knew.

My kids were in the MUSD system and I was disappointed to learn that Art Education wasn’t part of the curriculum as a separate class at the elementary level.  Monrovia Association of Fine Arts, MAFA for short, was just getting ready to make its first donation to the schools the year I joined to help fund art educatoin at the elementary level.  Over the course of the next few years our cash donations totalled over $75.000.  But it didn’t stop there. Continue reading 12 Days of Giving : Monrovia Association of Fine Arts

American Sabor: Latin flavor in American Music and an LA focus

American Sabor opens on Saturday Nov 16th at Cal State  University LA with a huge open house.  Its an exhibit on loan to CSULA until February 6 2014.  The Exhibit is here are part of a grant from Ford Motor Company.  The exhibit left me speechless.  Yes, I knew some of the famous names, but I never knew until touring this exhibit the depth that Latin Music, its flavor or sabor has influenced all of American Music.

More importantly this exhibit has a  portion dedicated solely to the contributions of Angelenos, specifically East LA in the 1990s.  That will be part of the permanent collection at CSULA when the Smithsonian moves on loan to its next city.  Famous Angelenos starting with Desi Arnaz and flash forward to  Black Eyed Peas I was amazed, outright blown away with the influence Latin music has had on pop music, hip hop, jazz and other genres.  Other artists of note that are showcased in the exhibit are Alice Bag, Los Lobos, Los Illegals, and Quetzal. Continue reading American Sabor: Latin flavor in American Music and an LA focus

Last Minute Opportunity: Grammy in the Schools Programs

GRAMMY in the Schools websiteWho doesn’t love music? And who doesn’t love stories about band camp? Well, the fine folks over at the GRAMMY Foundation are offering a couple band camp options right here in Los Angeles in the coming year for high school students interested in learning more about having a career in the music industry. (You know, for students who aren’t able to find drugs in their own high schools.) Continue reading Last Minute Opportunity: Grammy in the Schools Programs

The Best Party You May Never Have Heard Of:TwentyWonder!

Some of you have been around long enough (and are lucky enough) to have attended SUPERBALL – the crazy, eclectic, celeb-studded (but in a good way) event where damn near anything could and did happen.

Like all gigantic, out of control events, SUPERBALL kind of reached its peak and when the dudes behind it got busy with life, it went away for a while.

But nature abhors a vacuum, and out of the ashes of SUPERBALL came … TwentyWonder! A Carnival of the Mind, and a great cause too.

Plus, TwentyWonder just got featured on GoldStar. Discounted tickets are now $20 for a limited time. Jump on it, and then alert your friends!


This Saturday! July 9th! From 6pm to Midnight!

21 and older with ID

VIP Tix include a souvenir medallion – very cool!

(hope this image cures the JumboTron effect – was posting from the phone)

What Have We Learned?

Cal State Northrigde
Cal State Northrigde

So maybe I’m just posting this because I’ll be participating in a commencement ceremony at CSUN next week, but I never fail to get a chuckle when I pass this sign on Reseda Blvd in Northrigde Northridge. It’s been more than two years since Travis blogged about it here at, and still no changes.

Now, while I’ve poked around on various city-related websites trying to figure out how to report the misspelling, I haven’t had any luck. Short of submitting the information on the same Burea of Street Services form used to report problems such as palm fronds in the road, I’m at a loss for what to do. Anyone have any experience with this type of thing? The City of LA websites don’t seem to have the best navigational schemas.

I’m just certain that this can’t be the only sign in Los Angeles bearing a glaring typo, so I ask you, kind readers: what sorts of odd/error-filled signage have you seen lately?

LA Community College District Runoff

Mail-in Ballot
Not pictured here: a tree.

I usually try to maintain a fair level of awareness about what’s going on politically, but sometimes I miss a beat (or a slew of election mailers) and get caught unawares when my permanent vote-by-mail ballot shows up in the mailbox. I can be pretty handy with google when I need to be, though, so I don’t usually have a problem researching the issues, performing my civic duty, and getting my ballot out in the mail on time.

That happened to me again this week, as I received my ballot and had to scratch my head for a second, trying to figure out what needed voting on. I flipped through all of the paper (see pic by me), nearly messing the few lines that actually indicated what I should be voting on. As it turns out, there’s a runoff election for the community college district, as none of the candidates received a majority in the first go-round.

What initially struck me about this was simply the amount of wasted paper that went into the mailer ballot, and I started to feel a little guilty for opting for the permanent vote-by-mail status. But the more I thought about it, I began to think about the fact that there would be a lot of expense and wastefulness going into this runoff election regardless. So I went to The Google and started poking around, and came across this set of minutes from a 2009 special meeting of the CCD Board of Trustees, which basically says that they don’t want to waste money that can be spent on helping students holding unnecessary runoff elections in 2011. There was unanimity regarding seeking legislation to avoid the costly runoff for 2011, but apparently that legislation never came about. One of the expressed concerns about runoff elections, however, is that of low voter turnout, and so now I don’t feel as guilty about the vote-by-mail thing, as I’m probably more likely to vote than the average bear.

The one bit of good news I turned up in this brief exploration into the finer aspects of LACCD runoff elections is that those Angelenos living in the 36th Congressional District get to hold a single election to vote in the LACCD runoff and in the Congressional District special vacancy election. Lucky you!

Freakuent Flyers

There must be some political rule regarding the inverse proportionality between low-profile elections and the crazy high amount of mailers involved, and it’s being proven once again with the LAUSD board seat that’s being fought over by candidates Bennett Kayser and Luis Sanchez, to be settled with an election May 17.

In the last couple weeks or so it’s been relatively and quietly steady. I could count on finding one or maybe two crumpled pieces of competing propagandii in my mailbox every couple days or so. Maybe the pictures are different, but the messages are generally the same. Kayser will be grinning avuncularly at me in one telling me what an absolute godsend of a problem-solving gem he will be to the district while slagging on Sanchez as some sort of pigsucking republicant bureaucrat Villaraigosa-lap dog. Then on the next glossy sheet is Sanchez looking calm and confident telling me about his mom and his LA Times endorsement and warning me not to listen to what that liberal democrap windbag Kayser says because he’s a fulla-shit bureaucrat too who doesn’t pay his taxes and probably chronically double parks and maybe even let’s his dog shit all over the neighbors’ yards.

It’s “he said, he said” negative smear tactics, none of which I give a festering rat turd about.

But today was a banner day for my mailbox. A record breaker.  And because of it now I care deeply and with all my withered heart. Because as pictured below my mailbox was packed with a total of 12 different pieces of campaign bullSHIT — many of them duplicates, many of them multiple pages — and all of them going unread straight into my recycle bin and leaving me wanting to vote both of these bums off the island instead of into the ivory school board tower.

So here’s how it’s going to play out leading up to election day. Short of me writing in a candidate or just a series of swear words on my ballot, I’m gonna keep a tally starting tonight — today’s pile of campaign garbage breaks down to Kayser: 8, Sanchez: 4 — and the blowhard smearbag who stacks up the least number of meaninglessness sent to me through the USPS come May 17, is the one whose box I’ll check.

UPDATED (4/25): 2 more anti-Sanchez flyers from the Democratic Party in the mailbox Saturday: Kayser:10, Sanchez: 4.

UPDATED (4/26): Just when I think Kayser’s pulling away, Sanchez comes roaring back with four bitch slaps at his opponent in today’s mail: Kayser: 10, Sanchez: 8.

UPDATED (4/28): Two 16-page monstrosities from Kayser opens up his “lead” again: Kayser: 12, Sanchez: 8.

UPDATED (4/29): This is turning into a runaway. In the mailbox were 8 from the Kayser campaign to only 2 from Sanchez’s side. Kayser: 20, Sanchez 10. Luis is going to have to work pretty hard to out-slag Bernie. But then again, he who uses my mailbox as a slagzone least, gets my vote.

UPDATED (4/30): Sanchez lands 2 today, Kayser takes the day off. Kayser: 20, Sanchez: 12.

UPDATED (5/2): Sanchez drops 4 today, Kayser’s again napping. Kayser: 20, Sanchez, 16.

UPDATED (5/6): Ugh. 12 total flyers in my mailbox today. Kayser loads it with 8 pieces of crap while Sanchez brings only 4. Kayser: 28, Sanchez: 20.

UPDATED (5/7): Dirty Sanchez comes a-roaring back today with four regular flyers, and a couple letters Councilman Eric Garcetti, whose support the Sanchez campaign has managed to enlist: Kayser: 28, Sanchez: 26.

UPDATED (5/10): Yesterday was a lovely respite in which my mailbox was poisoned by neither campaign’s pissy propaganda. Today Kayser dropped four to Sanchez’s zero: Kayser:32, Sanchez: 26.

UPDATED (5/12): Four more from Kayser, three from Sanchez: Kayser: 36; Sanchez: 29

UPDATED (5/13): Heading into the final turn, Sanchez closes the gap with four flyers to Kayser’s zero. Kayser: 36, Sanchez: 33

UPDATED (5/14): Neck ‘n neck! Both Kayser and Sanchez dropped four more shitbombs each today. With only Monday (and maybe election day, Tuesday) — THANKFULLY! — left to infect my mailbox with their smear tactics, Sanchez may need a miracle to catch and pass Kayser: 40, Sanchez: 37.

We’ve Got Valentine’s Day Licked: The Pleasure Chest

This blog post might not be safe for work due to language. The links are definitely NSFW.

Walking through the Pleasure Chest last night was a blast. I’m pretty vanilla in my own sex life, but I read. A lot. And finally seeing sex paraphernalia I’d only read about up close and personal was a HOOT! I highly recommend a visit there whether you are looking for a fun gift for Valentine’s Day or need to complete your fetish collection. The store is a brightly lit, clean and happy place. No dark corners or shady customers here. The staff that I did speak to were smiling and helpful. And oh the variety of toys to play with!

The first thing that caught my eye was the OhMiBod set of vibrators. These hi-tech wonders connect to your iPod (or iPhone – yes, there is an app for that!) and set the rhythm to whatever music you choose. Gives the phrase “Plug and Play” a whole new meaning. There was also a large collection of vibrators made famous on Sex And The City. Remember The Rabbit? There is a wide variety on that theme – Hop’n Jackrabbit, The Pearl, The Bath Time Bunny and more. The Rabbit has a lot going on with it – multi speeds, parts for internal and external pleasures, independent gyrating sections, etc. Need something a bit more specific? Try the Sqweel – a ten-tongued, multi-speed rotating, uh, gizmo that only stops when you do or the batteries die. (I couldn’t help laughing when I saw it in action as it made me think of those old alien spaceship miniatures used on the original Star Trek.)

Past the vast vibrator section (There was one named “Better Than Chocolate“!) is a huge section of dildos — all shapes, sizes and colors, including some shaped like fists and hands. There were the Classic Cocks (8″, 10″ and 12”) and the Classic Dongs along with the Ballsy Supercock (One Size Fits Most). Point of order here please: What is the difference between a cock and a dong in dildo parlance? There were also “soft pack” dildos – “flaccid and realistic looking cocks to bulk up your bulge” (not usable for penetration). I guess if the ladies stuff their bras, the guys can stuff their undies. I had just never thought of it before! (And they were quite soft.)

Of course there is a section for anal play with Classic Butt Plugs and Smooth Butt plugs. I’m going to be honest that if I had a choice, I would choose the Smooth. Of course I would have to get the Butt Plug Starter Kit before any of that could happen. There was also a Jellies Butt Plug that made me think more of the awesome shoes I wore in the 80’s than it made me think of a sex toy…

In the back of the store is the BDSM section with some amazing masks and crops and chains and leashes. There were ball gags and even beginner ball gags for those just starting out. The ball gags were right next to the mini feather body ticklers which seemed like an odd juxtaposition, but then, as mentioned, I’m pretty square.

The store is large and there is a whole section of videos, another large section for party games and an entire wall of lube – all styles and flavors. They have testers so you can feel and taste the lube before you buy. There are cute panties and lingerie (not a huge selection, but a there was a variety) and even a smoke shop section. There are greeting cards and candles and valentine themed candy. The book section brings together erotica, sex health and even a cook books. Intercourses has fun recipes for all moods and flavors and is a personal favorite.

An image I *can* include in this blog post.

The Pleasure Chest is a phenomenal resource for sex education. They hold classes and workshops regularly on all topics: fellatio, cunnilingus, masturbation, anal sex, dirty talk, spanking and BDSM (among others). They can even design a workshop to your specific need. They will even help you host parties and fundraisers as well.

When I got there last night, there was a class just starting about Oral Sex. A gay man and a straight woman (I think, I didn’t hear her introduction) gave the class (the class was PACKED!) and from what I overheard while I was browsing, they were really giving a great tutorial on everything from how to talk to your partner about fantasies and wishes to detailed anatomy and how your naughty bits actually work. There was lots of laughter and lots of really good straight-forward information.

Once you buy your costume at Forplay, head over to the Pleasure Chest to get everything else you’ll need for that hot night and life of fun!

The Pleasure Chest (love their logo!)
7733 Santa Monica Blvd.
West Hollywood

And don’t worry – if you are still too shy to actually go to the store, you can always shop their online store!

Monterey Park has LAUSD gang bangers meet their victims.

Sistine Culvert

Who knew, but under a new state law parents of gang-bangers are going to be held accountable for their kids actions.  Monterey Park is taking it a step further with the parents/guardians of the bangers in LAUSD to meet with the victims according to an article appearing in the Pasadena Star News yesterday morning.

Part of the program includes educating the parents on resources to keep their kids out of more trouble.  The assumption of course is that these parents give a damn in the first place.

Seriously, does anyone think this will make a difference in the gang problem?  From where I sit these kids wind up in gangs because their parents were absent or hands off in the first place leaving them with no guidance and support to make right decisions.  They opted for gangs for the sense of family and purpose that was lacking at home.  (There are other factors but those are the key I see).
Having never been victimized by a gang I have no idea on how I’d react towards a mandatory meeting with the offender.  The closest I am to being the victim is the few times that my cars have been broken into to steal the stereo and I could care less about meeting the burglar.  I feel the same way towards meeting the offender in a gang related incident, why bother and just move on.  I can’t imagine what I would expect to get out of such a meeting.  Or what the offender would get from the meeting other than a chance to gloat a little.

The discussion on Topix tends to be all over the board but the consensus is all comes to bad parenting. What say you on Assembly Bill 1291?  Will this law make a difference or change nothing?

Pic by me, called the “Sistine Culvert”, urban art tagged over repeatedly by the DESG.