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I received a link to this short film by Matthew Modine on Twitter.

It reminded me of my father, who is working hard to create opportunity in the small town where I am from.

Keep Calm

and Occupy.

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SUSHI CAM -DO THE DRAGON BALL DANCE!

Hands down, happy hour at Sushi Cam is a great deal. A deal is a deal and it is not a trip to a five star dining experience. The key to enjoying the happy hour here is to refrain from trying to make a monkey into a raccoon. Relax, and take the place for what it is. The sushi is $1.50 a plate and you can get a glass of tap beer for the same price. Wine and hot sake are $3.00 (regular price). If your game is on television, you can catch it on one of the big screens at the bar.

Friday and Saturday nights are extra special. Starting at 8:00 p.m., you can get your groove on, dancin’ to the beats of Murasaki. Spinning jazz, funk, hip hop, rock and disco, they are three talented local DJs, who will get you moving in between your Dragon Ball and your Sapporo.

Now I know that when it comes to sushi, there are sushi eaters and there are sushi eaters. Folks like my sister, who is somewhat of a sushi aficionado, might not add this place to their list of sushi bars offering up the most divine and succulent plates. Still, I don’t think they would be disappointed either.

Sushi Cam – just a clean, friendly, decent sushi place with an awesome staff and rock bottom prices. Keep in mind, those prices are to be IN CASH. NO PLASTIC ACCEPTED.

Sushi Cam. 8300 Wilshire Blvd. (where Wilshire and San Vicente meet). Beverly Hills.

Happy hour is Monday thru Friday from 4-7p and Saturday/Sunday from 11:30a-4p and 9p to closing. Prices during other times are still very low at $3 for sushi, wine, sake and beer.

HOW TO GET HOME FROM LAX FOR $1.40

Sometimes, you just can’t get a ride home.

Such was my dilemma upon arriving at LAX from the ABQ. Being a struggling actress on a shoestring budget, I didn’t want to spend $40 on a cab ride. Even the $20 for Shuttle2LAX.com was more than I wanted to pay.  Besides, that shuttle requires reservations at least four hours prior to pick-up time; and, when I boarded the plane in Albuquerque, I thought I had a ride.

Yesterday, I learned that it is possible to get from LAX to many points in Los Angeles for only $1.40. Here at Recession Cafe, we’re serving up instructions on how to do it.

First, get yourself and your baggage outside the baggage claim area and across the street to the inner ring around the airport where all the public transportation vehicles are. You need to board the Lot C shuttle. This shuttle is free! It will take you and your fellow passengers to LAX Lot C off of 96th Street.

Once you get to Lot C, it is only a quick jaunt across the street to the LAX City Bus Center. Here, you can board buses that will take you to thousands of destinations across the city of Los Angeles. LA Metro, Culver City Rapid Green and Santa Monica Big Blue Bus lines all radiate from the LAX City Bus Center.

To find which buses you need, and to print handy-dandy directions as to times, bus names, line numbers, departure/arrival times, and exact street corners for departure/arrival, you can go to www.metro.net. Look under the “Getting Around” tab, “Rider Tools” and “Trip Planner.” Make sure that when it asks you to choose exact points of departure and destination that you click the one that just says, “LAX.”

This planner is a great tool, except for one thing. Don’t trust the bay numbers it gives you. When I got to the the Bus Center, I found that the bay number my Culver City Rapid bus was supposed to leave from had a Santa Monica Blue Bus sign on it. The signs at the Bus Center were correct. If in doubt, just say hello to one of your fellow travelers and ask him or her. There is a wealth of information out there in the heads of Metro card-holding Angelenos.

When you go to the trip planner, you’ll find alternative modes and routes as well. For example, the Lot G shuttle takes you to the Metro Green Line Aviation Station, where you can catch Metro trains. If you have more money for your transpo and you can afford to pay for parking at one of their structures, you can catch The Flyaway right there at the airport in that same inner ring.The Flyaway has four stations: Irvine ($25 OW); Van Nuys ($7 OW); Union Station ($7 OW) and Westwood ($10 OW). No cash accepted

As for me, I couldn’t resist. That $1.40 option was just too good. In case of this eventuality, I had already printed out my directions from LA Metro’s Trip Planner. I like to have my directions on paper. If you have an iPhone, an iPad or an Android, you can download the Planner from your device’s app store. This mobile app includes features that help you find the nearest station to you and notifies you of bus, train and road closure alerts. You can also simply dial 511 on your cell phone to get this information in voice format.

So, how ’bout that? It is actually possible to get home from LAX for only $1.40. It did take two hours for a trip that would take me about half an hour in a car; but in these hard times, the ride was not half bad and the price was easy on the wallet.

SIMPLER TIMES

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…were there ever really simpler times? Do they mean like during the days of Mad Men when women had a hard time getting an office job except as a secretary? Do they mean like during the days of the Depression, when millions of children were roaming the country, looking for something to eat? Do they mean back before Blacks could vote?

Maybe they are referring to those same “simpler times” that Rick Santorum’s top campaign contributor Foster Freiss was talking about – back when women used an aspirin between their legs for contraception. Simple right?

While you ponder this question, you can enjoy a frosty can of Simpler Times beer from your local Trader Joes. At 50 cents a can, they’re the best deal Recession Cafe has found anywhere.

SHAFTRA

The SAG-AFTRA merger. It’s difficult to talk about. Many of my fellow actors are feeling the same. Ever since I fell off the turnip truck here in Los Angeles, like every other actor, I found out real quick that I needed to get into the Screen Actors Guild. And, like many other actors, I grumbled and groused. SAG seemed like an impediment. I joined AFTRA – in the hopes of getting into SAG by getting a speaking part under an AFTRA contract. And that’s how I ended up getting my SAG card.

At the time, I didn’t really appreciate what it meant to be part of a collective bargaining unit — until I actually started working in the industry. SAG had clout. All the best agents, producers, casting directors, everyone used SAG actors. SAG contracts made it possible to make a living in the entertainment industry.

Post merger, we don’t really know.

Today was the last day the SAG logo and the letters spelling, “Screen Actors Guild” would be on the side of 5757 Wilshire Boulevard. Last week, a worker came to take the measurements for removal and replacement of the logo even before the merger votes were due in Everett, Washington.

I went and took photos of them. I asked a woman who was leaving the reception area to take my picture in front of it. She obliged, saying, “Oh, yeah. This is one of the last ones that is still up.” After the photo, as she moved to go, I looked at her and gave a sad face. She said, “Aw, it’s okay. It’s a new era.” Then, she turned with a flip in her step and walked away, almost jauntily. Yeah, I thought – a new era where we all get other jobs. If we can.

I don’t really wear such pessimism well, especially when it comes to unions. I’m a big supporter of workers’ rights – workers of all industries. I really want to get past this.  I was completely against it; and I cannot comprehend the idea of merging these unions before working out the details, especially with regard to pension and health. Now, however, what we have is what we have to work with. We have to start somewhere. We can’t just give up. And even if we wanted to, I don’t think there is anywhere to run. Collective bargaining and the good jobs it brings is under fierce attack. I want to continue to work and to continue to remain an active, proud union member.

Yesterday, I finally called a friend and colleague who has worked really hard to protect the gains made by decades of struggle on the part of SAG members. Even then it was hard to talk about it. She said she’d just been quiet about it all weekend. “I think,” she said,”the hardest part is not being able to trust that the count was real.”

In view of all of the shenanigans jousting around SAG and its’ most recent leadership (i.e. lawsuits – including for breach of fiduciary duty and embezzlement;  the scandalous removal of trustee Robert Carlson for expressing his opinion that the merger would be damaging to SAG’s Pension and Health Plan) and in view of the fact that hundreds of the most active SAG members have been lining up at “informational” meetings for the past few months to protest the sorry lack of a proper actuarial study to analyze the effect of the merger on the P&H Plan — in view of all of this, would’ntcha think the leadership would be more than keen to appear to be as transparent as possible when it came to counting and reporting this particular vote?

The League of Women Voters in Everett, Washington – a neutral, disinterested third party – was willing and ready to observe the count. One of our active SAG members arranged it. But SAG refused. Sean Gallagher, Senior Manager of Governance at the Guild told me over the phone on Friday that “the board made no provisions for there to be any observers.” Therefore, “there will be none.”

And my question is: Why Not?

Some have suggested that the new union be called, “SHAFTRA.” Still, I remain standing for a stronger union for everyone. The decision has been made. It’s up to us to build unity in an industry long divided.