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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.

 

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A Walk in the Woods Premieres at Sierra Madre Playhouse

January 24, 2015 in Entertainment, People, San Gabriel Valley, Theatre/Stage

No spoilers. But its a grand performance by all concerned

Mamcy Youngblut and John Prosky star in Sierra Madre Playhouse's production of "A Walk in the Woods"

Nancy Youngblut and John Prosky star in Sierra Madre Playhouse’s production of “A Walk in the Woods”

Last night was the opening of Sierra Madre Playhouse’s performance of “A Walk in the Woods”.  It opened to a sold out house.  Its an entertaining, often poignant look at the world of diplomatic negotiators during the Reagan Era arms talks and their interchange on what makes us the same and different at the same time.  This play by Lee Blessing is directed by Geoffry Wade.

The four scenes take place during the four seasons in an American election year in a secluded forest in Switzerland.  The jaded and cynical Soviet negotiator  Andrey Botvinnik is portrayed by John Prosky.  Andrey has survived several U.S. Negotiators and capably guides his newst adversary through the mine field of arms negotiation.  He does this through humor and utter avoidance of the task at hand.  The new American negotiator that he must work with is Joan Honeyman played by Nancy Youngblut.  Joan is the spunky, starry eyed new kid on the block with ideals she can work out a deal to end the arms race that both sides can live with.  Andrey foils her at every step often leaving Joan aggravated and flabberghasted.  And the audience roaring with laughter.

Interlaced in this is the big politics of each nations history as a world power and fear of a past repeated.  All good stuff, hard to believe one can laugh condsidering the  task at hand and the issues they face.  Its also a very enlightening look at the process. You walked away wondering how it all went down and how anything was ever accomplished.  Or was it?  I highly recommend “A Walk in the Woods” if you are looking for a fun and enlightening theater experience.  These two actors carried you through the process of negotiations and becoming friends that respect each other very well.

This play is the 4th in the 2014-2015 Season that explores the American experience as told by American playrights.  This play and those to come are what will continue Sierra Madre Playhouse’s transformation into a Regional Destination Theatre.

You can order your tickets HERE.

Sierra Madre Playhouse, 87 W Sierra Madre Blvd, Sierra Madre CA 91024  Phone: 626-355-4318

Photo by Gina Long, courtesy Sierra Madre Playhouse and used with Permission.

 

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Preserving Los Angeles history one building at a time

January 9, 2015 in environment, History, LA, Law, News, People, San Gabriel Valley, Social issues, Vintage

Broadway Arcade in DTLA, click to embiggen

Broadway Arcade in DTLA, click to embiggen

The good folks at Esotouric Bus Tour Adventures, Kim Cooper and Richard Schave do a lot more than give really nifty tours of the city.  They are historians with a major heart on for the city.  In the best way of course.

This weeks newsletter outlined the winners and losers in their efforts to help preserve the cities architectural history.  It outlines 25 things this year, good bad and ugly, that happened in terms of historic preservation.

The most exciting bit was the passing of city ordinance 13-1104 requiring public notification when any building more than 45 years is to be demolished.   Why does this matter?  It will give preservation groups around the city the chance to speak up and stop the destruction of those building with a history or architectural significane from being trashed in the name of progress and a new high density mixed use project.  Not all buildings need to be preserved that are that old, but many should as it is part of the texture and character of the city that shouldn’t be trashed for a new parking lot or apartment jungle.

Pic by me of the Broadway Arcade while on an iphone safari.  Click to embiggen

Hiking Fish Canyon

January 1, 2015 in environment, LA, San Gabriel Valley

2014dec05-9524The water flowing after the first rains of the season in Fish Canyon.Fish Canyon is open, and the waterfalls are flowing.
I want to write that first line in all BOLD CAPS.
Because that hasn’t been said in 30 years.

Fish Canyon, in the San Gabriel Mountains above Azusa and Duarte, used to be humming with people. Cabins were scattered along the trail and hikers posed next to the stunning triple waterfalls.

But the cabins were destroyed in one of the many fires that flash along the mountains, and then the mining company who owns the canyon, closed the entrance to the public.

But in a deal with the city of Duarte, in June of 2014 the Vulcan Materials Company opened access to the valley for the first time since it was closed in the mid-1980’s. I went on this hike in June when it first opened, and it was hot and dry, the only water standing lonely in sad dirty little pools. At the peak of the hike, where the waterfall should be, was just a towering cliff face standing bleak and empty of water in the summer sun.
But now the rains have come and the valley has come alive with the sounds and sights of tumbling, churning, splashing and falling water.

The trail up on the hillside of Fish Canyon in June of 2014.Remnants of the first rains of the season in Fish Canyon.In the summer, when everything was hot and dry, this canyon did not feel so special, but now with the falling water, it’s easy to see why it was once a haven.

It is a wonderful little river valley, with standing oaks, sticky cactus, a gurgling stream and the occasional birdcall.

But the real treat is the waterfall. It falls in three sections…. Read the rest of this entry →

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You know…its just not New Years Day until the B2 bomber flies over

January 1, 2015 in Entertainment, Events, News, San Gabriel Valley, Seasonal

B2 Bomber banking over my house.  Click to embiggen

B2 Bomber banking over my house. Click to embiggen

I know, its silly.  Ring in the New Year at midnight, but in my little corner of L.A it isn’t New Years Day until 8:02AM when the B2 bomber banks over my house for its second swipe at the Rose Parade.  Pretty nifty stuff.

More pics by me in my flickr set just in case our trusty old server doesn’t want to take my upload.

Happy New Year L.A.