“13.1 Los Angeles” Half Marathon Next Sunday, Starting at Venice Beach

Harbor
Runners may be distracted by the Marina Harbor views

The 13.1 Los Angeles half marathon (13.1 miles) takes place next Sunday, January 15, against “a new scenic backdrop.” The half marathon, part of the “13.1” series of races in major U.S. cities, starts at 7 a.m. at the Venice Boardwalk (Rose Ave. intersection), winds around the Marina del Rey Harbor, and ends in Playa del Rey. Area drivers should plan accordingly.

In addition to the half marathon, there will be a separate “Karhu 5k” race along Dockweiler Beach, in which racers will compete against — insert joke here — a runner dressed as the Karhu Bear. Runners who “Beat the Bear” will win a pair of Karhu brand running shoes.

New Year’s Eve Fireworks at the Marina

Marina
Marina Harbor with Burton Chace Park, a prime viewing location, on the far side

Good news for many area residents: the annual Marina del Rey New Year’s Eve fireworks show is a go.

After L.A. County canceled this year’s July 4 fireworks show at the Marina due to budget tightening, private interests stepped up to assist with funding to put on the New Year’s Eve display. That’s cause for a double celebration.

The fireworks show gets warmed up at 11:55 p.m., but, given the public parking and traffic challenges during Marina del Rey events, I’d plan to get there quite a bit earlier.

Two Days, Two Holiday Boat Parades

Boat Channel
Marina Boat Channel by day

If you’re an L.A. lover of the life aquatic, you’re in luck: this weekend, we’ve got two boat parades in a row.

First up, on Saturday, December 10, is the Marina Holiday Boat Parade at the Boat Channel in Marina del Rey. The boat parade, where the vessels are decked out in lit holiday splendor, begins at 6 p.m., preceded by a fireworks show at 5:55, which some people may be eager to see after the annual July 4 fireworks display was canceled due to budget cuts. There will be judging in various categories for the boats. See the first link above for all details.

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No 4th of July Fireworks for Marina del Rey

Marina del Rey 4th of July
Marina del Rey 4th of July reveler from apparently cash flush 2009

According to the Los Angeles County Department of Beaches and Harbors (see top link under “News and Press Releases”), “[t]here will be no fireworks display this year in Marina del Rey in celebration of Independence Day on Monday, July 4, 2011 due to budget curtailments.” That has got to be a big disappointment not just to locals who enjoy the big fireworks show from the Marina Boat Channel, Burton Chace Park, Venice Beach, and Playa del Rey, but also to many other Angelenos who braved the local driving and parking nightmares in previous years to see it too.

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Lot in My Backyard

What’s being called one of the largest apartment building construction projects in the U.S. since 2008 is underway in our backyard, Marina del Rey. The former Del Rey Shores apartment complex on Via Marina has been demolished to make way for The Shores.  The drab beige and brown 2-story buildings are gone, and in their place will be a dozen modern 4 and 5 story buildings, totaling some 554 units. As the accompanying pictures hopefully demonstrate, it’s quite striking to see such a large plot of temporarily open land in the congested Marina, just a few blocks from the beach.

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The [alleged] Future of Journalism

abombineveryissueI’m still not convinced there even IS a future for journalism, at least not as we’ve known it (and heck I have a degree in it). Further, I won’t exactly miss what it’s become. But that’s not the point –

Should you wish to witness a spirited and entertaining discourse on this very subject, however, why not head out to The Warehouse in Marina Del Rey on Saturday, and catch The Lowdown?

Here’s what your host Jeff Norman has to say about it:

The Lowdown is a bold cultural revival fueled by unique collaborations between world-class artists, authors, activists and other public-spirited leaders. Presenters and performers connect the dots between media, government, national security, sustainability, psychology and the arts. By confronting disinformation, promoting civic engagement and having fun in the process, we help people cope with life in America.

The Warehouse Restaurant
4499 Admiralty Way
Marina del Rey, CA 90292
Hosted by JEFF NORMAN and featuring performances and a discussion with

music by I SEE HAWKS IN L.A. (Full set at 5 PM)
Author PETER RICHARDSON
Journalist ROBERT SCHEER
LA Weekly founder JAY LEVIN
Comedian ED CRASNICK
Musician-satirist GARY GORDON
Drinks and appetizers available – no minimum required.
Happy hour discounts from 5 to 6!
FREE admission
Seating is first come, first served.
The evening will conclude with a book sale and signing by Peter Richardson, author of A Bomb in Every Issue: How the Short, Unruly Life of Ramparts Magazine Changed America, hosted by Book Soup.

(Ow, my linking hand!)

Marina Development Continues Apace

img_1630I took a look at and snapped some photos of the latest construction project in Marina del Rey.  It’s the expansion of the Best Western Jamaica Bay Inn on Admiralty Way near Panay Way.  The old Jamaica Bay Inn was a quaint two-story place with approximately 42 rooms, where people liked to go for breakfast.  Renderings of the expanded four-story 111-room hotel, for which the neighboring Cafe Escobar was bulldozed to make way, can be found here.  The Inn’s PR company describes its project as (warning: get out your air sickness bag) one:

“that will transform the familiar Marina Del Rey property into a lush Caribbean-themed resort befitting its name. The new Jamaica Bay Inn will take advantage of the hotel’s unique location on the only beach inside the marina, an inviting arc of sand and calm water appropriately known as Mother’s Beach. The new hotel will have a colorful porte-cochere that will be a street-side landmark for the property and an elegant lobby with a sophisticated West Indies décor, rattan/wood/leather furniture and a large stone fireplace and chimney as a focal point. Gag on this

Anarchy in the MDR

img_13851Taking a walk in my Marina del Rey neighborhood today, I ended up behind this orange-and-plaid-clad bloke with orange hair and multiple earrings.  He had just gotten off the bus with a few small bags of groceries.  I’ve seen him and his groceries here on the street before.  Although the beefier presence is deceptive, my grocery-toting neighbor is John Lydon, a/k/a Johnny Rotten, frontman for The Sex Pistols and the former Public Image Ltd.

Normally, I would never post about a “c-word” sighting.  What makes this newsworthy, however, is the incongruence of having Johnny Rotten, who made his name, his reputation, and his career on being angry and edgy more than on his musical talent or anything else, living in a place that is known for being laid-back and anything but angry and edgy.

The next time I run into John/Johnny, I will try to say hello, and ask him for an impromptu mini-interview.  I want to know whether he is now living an idyllic, anger-managed life by the sea.  Hopefully, he won’t lose his temper.