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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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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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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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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.

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

March 11, 2015 in Driving, Entertainment, Events, News, San Gabriel Valley


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

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

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

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

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

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

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Einstein is a Dummy opens in Sierra Madre

March 8, 2015 in Education, Entertainment, People, San Gabriel Valley, Theatre/Stage

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Hold’n Hands, Help’n Hearts to be featured on KNBC Sunday Night

March 7, 2015 in Blogging (in) LA, News, People, San Gabriel Valley, Social issues

Holdn' Hands, Helpn' Hearts flyer

Holdn’ Hands, Helpn’ Hearts flyer

Lisa Barrios, owner of Monrovia’s Paint n Play Art Studio and Gallery has been doing this program for several years now.  Holdn’ Hands, Helpin’ Hearts is simply getting the hand print of a child or other loved one with cancer in clay and producing a legacy keepsake for the family.  It started with a special request several years ago from a little boy at the City of Hope with terminal cancer.  Lisa did it, no charge to the family so they would have one last keepsake from their little boy before he passed.

Lisa does this out of the goodness of her heart.  She has done imprints of little ones in morturaries for families who lost a child and she couldn’t get to them fast enough as she wants them to have that one last keepsake of their little hand.  She’s always done it free of charge.  She’s done it countless times.

KNBC’s Angie Crouch heard of the program and interviewed Lisa and some of the families she has helped.  The segment will air Sunday night on KNBC channel 4 on the “Life Connected” show that airs Sunday 3/8 at 11PM.  IT will repeat Monday 3/9 at Noon during the afternoon news.  The story promises to be heart wrenching and enlightening.

If you would like to donate to the program you may do so through the Monrovia Association of Fine Arts that has long been a supporter of the program.  Make your check payable to the Monrovia Assocation of Fine Arts and send it to us at 418 S Myrtle Avenue, Monrovia CA 91016

As a disclaimer, I’m a board member of the Monrovia Association of Fine Arts, and I can assure you the money’s donated go directly to keeping this program going.

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Two Plays opening at Sierra Madre Playhouse

March 6, 2015 in Entertainment, San Gabriel Valley, Theatre/Stage

Einstein is a Dummy, Putting it Together flyer, click to embiggen

Einstein is a Dummy, Putting it Together flyer, click to embiggen

I’m pretty jazzed about this.  A first for the play house, opening 2 plays a week apart.  Running concurrent for a few weeks.  A hefty undertaking, but the cast and crew of the playhouse are up to making it happen.

Opening tonight, 3/7/2015 is Einstein is a Dummy.  A play really geared for the family but especially 3rd to 8th graders.  The nerdy types that are too smart for their own good but don’t test well…I had one of those kinda kinds in my brood.  This musical production centers around the life of young Albert Einstein at age 12 trying to fit in.

As an adult, Albert Einstein changed our view of the universe. But as a boy, he struggled with the same issues
any 12-year-old might—keeping up with violin lessons, impressing the girl next door and, oh yeah, comprehending the fundamental relationship of space and time to the speed of light, of course. This uplifting play about a fictional day in young Einstein’s life confirms that each of us is both ordinary and special. The whole family will love this delightful musical.

All you need to know about show date and times as well as ticket purchasing HERE.

Read the rest of this entry →

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Hahamonga and the San Gabriels, discussion tonight

February 19, 2015 in Entertainment, environment, News, San Gabriel Valley, Social issues

Flyer - click to embiggen

Flyer – click to embiggen

I wish I had more information for you, but I just got notice and no press release with a lot of details.  Altadena Heritage is putting on the discussion with 3 speakers on the importantance of Hahamonga and the Arroyo Seco river system that brings rain water from the San Gabriesl to the ocean.  The speakers are:

  • Dave Douglas, PhD, Geologist and Dean of PCC School of Science and Mathematics
  • Tim Brick, Director of the Arroyo Seco Foundation
  • Josephine Axt, Army Corp of Engineers, Planning Division

If interested please RSVP to [email protected]

Deets: February 19,2015 7-9PM Alta Dena Community Center, 730 E Altadena Drive, Altadena CA 91001  MAP HERE

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fish in a bag on my stoop this morning.

January 29, 2015 in ICME, Pets, San Gabriel Valley

click to embiggen.  One lively and one half dead goldfishies found on my front door this morning.

click to embiggen. One lively and one half dead goldfishies found on my front door this morning.

Oh those kids today. I don’t know what to make of this.  Is it a harmless prank or is it a warning like a horsehead on your lawn by the mafia?  I think its the former and certainly is a lot better than getting your lawn forked or trees teepeed.

My youngest is a senior at MHS and 3 of his friends awoke to the same “gift” this morning.  Who knows why but we’re in a mad dash to get them in a proper bowl and fed.

Whatever it is, it is entertaining for the grand who calls it a “shark”…he’s 2.

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Final effort for the “No Big Dig” to save Hahamonga

January 28, 2015 in environment, News, San Gabriel Valley, Social issues

Time is limited and the citizens in Pasadena aligned against the counties plan to rape, scrape and gut the Hahahmonga watershed need your help.  All efforts to bring reason and preserve the area have fallen on deaf ears.

Their “Hail Mary” plan is to resort to litigation and they need our help.  They have a crowd sourced fund raiser going on indiegogo to raise the funds to litigate and bring a stop to the Counties plan.  Please donate today.  They’ve got 9 days left to raise the funds.

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The begging gets better…enough to entice me at a fast food joint

January 25, 2015 in Food & Drink, ICME, San Gabriel Valley, Shopping, Social issues

Click to embiggen and get the full picture

Click to embiggen and get the full picture

Yes, the ubiquitous tipping jar got bumped a bit with some humor injected by some bored soul at the Philly’s Best in Monrovia.