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

November 14, 2013 in Art, East Side, Education, Entertainment, History, LA, Movies, Music, People, Social issues, Which Side?

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. Read the rest of this entry →

Last Minute Opportunity: Grammy in the Schools Programs

October 19, 2011 in Education, LA, Music

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.) Read the rest of this entry →

It Caught My Eye: A Most Compelling If Inadvertent Argument

August 5, 2011 in Biking in LA, Education, LA, Social issues

During Wednesday’s bike trek up the Arroyo Seco creek bed and back, ’twas found sprayed under one of the bridges, an urgent call for drastic change, whose typo — whether intentional or not (my vote’s for NOT), made for an entirely unassailable pro-pedagogical position:

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by ruth666

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

July 6, 2011 in Art, Celebrity, Comedy, Education, Events, LA, Science, Social issues


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!

Tickets: http://www.goldstar.com/today/los-angeles/2011/7/4

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?

May 18, 2011 in Education, ICME, LA

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 blogging.la, 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

April 24, 2011 in Education, LA, Politics

Mail-in Ballot

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

April 21, 2011 in Education, Politics

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

February 10, 2011 in Education, Holidays, Shopping, West Side

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.

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
323-650-1022

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

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by frazgo

Monterey Park has LAUSD gang bangers meet their victims.

September 19, 2010 in Crime, Education, Social issues

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.

Education rallies planned today

March 4, 2010 in Education, News, Politics

This morning, I was greeted by news cameras at my kid’s school. There was a podium set up near the drop off location with people giving speeches about the $18 billion cut in education funding by Sacramento. This was all a lead-in for today’s planned statewide rallies protesting these cuts.

There are many rallies happening throughout Southern California, should you wish to lend your voice in support:

LOS ANGELES REGIONAL MARCH/RALLY
4 pm Assemble at Pershing Square (5th & Hill) in downtown L.A. March to the Governor’s office (300 Spring St.) for 5 pm Rally.  Contact: Marla Edy (UTLA) 213-305-9310 or Blanca Castaneda (CFA) 626-379-7380.

“Unite for Public Education: Stop Layoffs, Fee Hikes, Cuts to Education & Community Services.”
3:45 pm gather at CSU Northridge Sierra Quad • 4:15 pm March • 5 pm Hands around CSUN • 5:30 pm Rally at Sierra Quad.

LONG BEACH – “Long Beach Unite for Education” rally, 4:15 pm at Wilson High School Gymnasium, 4400 E. 10th St., Long Beach. Speakers from CFA, Teachers Association of Long Beach (K-12), Long Beach City College. Music by Tom Morello, The Nightwatchman.

CSU NORTHRIDGE — CFA faculty plus student groups will host a regional march. 3:45-5 pm. Sierra Quad. See details in regional listing above.

UCLA – 4:30pm Rally at Bruin Plaza

Organizers also ask that you call your state legistlator (1-888-268-4334) to voice your concerns about these budget cuts

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Help Foundation 44 win a Pepsi grant to help 750 SGV kids get into college.

February 3, 2010 in Education, Events, San Gabriel Valley, Social issues, Uncategorized

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It started with an idea.  Justin Yuille wanted to help kids get into colleges and new that the average high school counselor is so overwhelmed it isn’t always possible to give each kid personalized help with applications let alone SAT’s.  He’s an educator and knows full well the challenges the kids face in getting help from counselors.  With the help of his family members (all educators, some I know personally) Foundation 44 was born.

That was 6 months ago and so far he has helped 75 kids from Pasadena’s Blair High School and Duarte High School to make it into college.  They are all smart kids from under privileged homes, the many the first in the family to make it to college.  They are in the process of working on obtaining their non-profit status as I write this.

Pepsi has a challenge running right now to give out grant money to programs such as this that help a community. The grant is huge $250K. In the end it comes down to votes and Foundation 44 needs votes if it is to grow and achieve their goal of helping 750 local kids from under-privileged homes make it into college.  If you want to help their cause VOTE HERE.

Panel of UC Regents Approve 32% Fee Increase

November 18, 2009 in Education, News, Politics

UC regents

Or: Taking the “Public” Out of “Public Education”

I think as a student, you always expect your fees to go up.  But 32%?  Oof.  Students and those with supportive parents are going to face a mid-year increase of 15 percent to student fees and tuition, then (ouch) another 15 percent increase effective summer 2010.  A panel of UC Regents meeting today – in front of hundreds of students protesting on campus – just agreed to the fee hikes.  This comes at a time when the same Regents are asking $913 million from the state to cover budget shortfalls and, um, in the middle of a recession that is so bad that student lenders are playing hardball when it comes to renegotiating student loans.  The full UC Regents Board will meet tomorrow to approve the approval, at which time more protests are planned.

What should the Regents do instead of barricading public access to education?  Some helpful suggestions here at the Remaking the University blog.

An appeal to @wileecoyote from @jessicasimpson

September 15, 2009 in Announcements, Education, News, Pets

Actual flyer. Please print, copy, and post wherever coyotes may see it!

A coyote snatched Jessica Simpson’s dog before her very eyes, per a tweet she sent Monday evening.

@jessicasimpson: http://twitpic.com/hrudr – My heart is broken because a coyote took my precious Daisy right in front of our eyes. HORROR! We are searching. Hoping. Please help!

Clearly, this is incredibly urgent. Coyotes aren’t known to keep malti-poos as pets for very long, and according to urban legend, will often sell these dogs to NFL players to be used as “playthings” for their rottweillers and pitbulls.

“Mommy” Jessica Simpson is offering a reward for Daisy’s safe return, NO QUESTIONS ASKED.

In case this turns out badly, I’m asking all Metblog readers to chip in with me for a gift that will help protect any of Jessica’s future canine pals: a leash.

Sandra Tsing Loh at the Santa Monica Public Library

August 10, 2009 in Books, Education, Events, Oceanic, People

Schoolchildren_reading_1911

Books and media about the modern-day dilemma of finding the “right” private school for your 4 year old to attend is so overdone.  Someone needs to write a book about the travails of not interviewing, and not being interviewed by, elementary teacher-professors; about having to live with the fact that your horrible neighbors spawned their demon child the same time you did, which means their child is in your kid’s class, and there’s no imposed playroom interview to evaluate whether Chucky “fits in” with the class of ’09; and about not receiving weekly newsletter reports about how much the class is learning about organic farming.

Enter Sandra Tsing Loh, who makes an appearance on Tuesday at the Santa Monica Public Library to promote her newest book, Mother on FireMother on Fire is a memoir of her experience touring private and public school grounds in search of the right kindergarten for her daughters and (spoiler alert) chooses the public school and becomes a total PTA mom to boot.  It’s free, and you can pick up tickets an hour before the 7pm showtime.

I’m personally hoping that Tsing Loh also will offer an editorial on “Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off,” an essay published in this month’s issue of The Atlantic Monthly.  There, she uses her extramarital affair and subsequent divorce  (“Given my staggering working mother’s to-do list, I cannot take on yet another arduous home- and self-improvement project, that of rekindling our romance”) as a vehicle to rail against marriage (“…isn’t the idea of lifelong marriage obsolete?”).  Even though she would have a bit more credibility if she wasn’t writing this in the aftermath of a tumultuous divorce, it is a fascinating read.  Much more interesting than the kid’s story, anyway.

“Lost” in Los Angeles: “Lost University” being taught by local professors

July 27, 2009 in Education, Entertainment, Television

lostuniversityInstead of taking the typical Alternate Reality Game approach between seasons, the producers behind ABC TV’s “Lost” are readying the launch of a series of online classes and lectures with lessons on the source material behind the myth heavy series.

Viewers who enroll in “Lost University” will be able to study languages, such as Korean, Latin, and Iraqi Arabic, Hieroglyphics, Time Travel, and Jungle Survival, among other topics that fans will immediately see the importance of, as well as philosophy and psychology classes that will use show references as analogies.

Los Angeles “Lost” fans should be especially proud that most of these classes are taught by actual professors and teachers from USC and UCLA, including fellow blogger Clifford Johnson (Asymptotia.com), a USC physics professor who will be presenting a course on time travel along with Sean Carrol of the California Institute of Technology and Nick Warner, another Trojan. Read the rest of this entry →