Community Theater for the Community

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I don’t get out to the theater much; but, when I do, of course I hope it will be a treat. I’ll tell you what; you really couldn’t do better than to grab your last chance this weekend to take in the wistful-sweet “Sábado Mornings” at the Studio/Stage theater on Western Avenue in Hollywood. I heard about the play from a special invitation from director Melvin Ishmael Johnson and House Manager Earlean Anthony back in April when the show was in previews.

Melvin is a tireless creative powerhouse. He hosts the Quamran Report, which aired for over two hundred segments at Skid Row Studios in downtown Los Angeles. Skid Row is a community radio station that features stories affecting our diverse communities and especially in downtown. It encourages community participation in producing news, politics and culture. Their motto is “Where Anyone Can Do Radio.” Tune in now to check out a discussion on the state of community theater on the last segment of the Quamran Report at Skid Row. It features one of the actors from “Sábado Mornings.” Meanwhile, I’ll keep everyone posted on what’s happening at Skid Row as well as where the Quamran Report is headed next.

Melvin is also a playwright, a community activist and the founder of Veterans Community Theater Workshop. I’d been wanting to see Melvin’s work for a few years now. On Sunday, about an hour prior to curtain, I was working on my one woman show when I got a call from a writer/director friend reminding me about the performance. It was a lickity split decision. I said to myself, “Damn! The time is now!” Out the door I went.

The theater is a small, intimate affair – perfect for the poignant story of Eddie and Rosa played beautifully by Jonaton Wyne and Judith E. Ex LAPD cop Eddie is dealing with his demons when he meets Mexican-American immigrant Rosa, the shy but strong waitress who has some secrets of her own. I really don’t want to say too much about the show because it unfolds so beautifully and anyway I’m not a theater critic. Let’s just say, SEE IT!

There’s plenty of fun to be had both before and after the play with the friendly folks running the show. Prior to the taking our seats, we had a nice glass of red wine…

ORGANIC AND FROM FRANCE, I MIGHT ADD…

… a nice touch, not to mention the delicious tamales on offer at the end of the show.

DIRECT FROM MAMA’S HOT TAMALES!

Mama’s is a not for profit collective where you can sample tamales of various styles from several different countries. Until you know the difference between a Mexican tamale and a Salvadorean tamale, well, you really haven’t lived!

ONE TAMALE, TWO TAMALE…

There were one tamale and two tamale plates, with rice and beans. The one tamale plate was just six bucks and plenty for me – mighty tasty too, as was the stream of jokes from an actor named Isaac who was in attendance.

If you’re lucky, Isaac will be there again, passing out jokes in abundance. But you won’t need any luck to catch the memorable performances of Judith and Jonaton in “Sábado Mornings” and to chat with the creative duo Melvin Johnson and Earlean Anthony. Enjoy!

NEED TO KNOW:

Studio/Stage Theater

520 N. Western Ave.

between Clinton St. and Maplewood Ave.

For more information: 213-908-5032

Tickets are $24 General Admission; $15 for Seniors/Students/Military

Friday, May 13 – 8 pm

Saturday, May 14, 8 pm

Sunday , May 15, 5 pm

 

AT LONG LAST: A DOGGY POST – FROM CITY WATCH LA!

INDOOR POTTY INSURANCE FOR FIDO – ONLY $50 A MONTH

by Jennifer Caldwell

Frenchie from Doggy and the City

Let’s face it. Doggy peeps can get plenty stressed when it comes to the well being of our furry/hairy friends. One challenge every working person faces is making sure our friends can relieve themselves when nature calls without making a mess in our homes. The day I became less of an unemployed actor and more of a day job-ee, I found myself in quite a pickle. Although my little Mo was never going to pee on the floor, I hated to think of him in a painful position for any amount of time.

WHEN YA GOTTA GO, YA GOTTA GO!

Friends offered to help – from near and far; some paid, some unpaid; with some I bartered. Each one worked out for a while but, in the end, I couldn’t rely on that method to be sure that my little friend wouldn’t be hurting to do his business. Dog walkers and doggy day care can run into hundreds of dollars a month; and with dog walkers, you’re basically giving a stranger access to your home. What’s a privacy prone broke girl to do?

ENTER CENTER STAGE: DOGGY AND THE CITY!

This aptly named service is a lifesaver for several reasons:

  • $50 a month gets me a strip of self absorbent grass of approximately 5 sq. ft. delivered to my front door every other week. For bigger canines, $60 will get you a strip of about 10 sq. ft.
  • $100 a month for small / $120 for large gets you weekly delivery
  • I can change the strip in a jiffy, but a full service option is also available. That means, a service rep will change your strip for you.

This service changed my life! Little Mojito is very well trained and would never think of going in the house; so, it did take a while. At first, he refused to go inside – no way no how. But after patient training, he got the message that it was okay to go on his inside grass.

I’VE NEVER HAD AN ISSUE WITH ODOR!

When I was choosing my service, I did find another one that delivers hydroponic grass. I considered this option but in the end, I was sold on Doggy. The soil that comes with their strips is naturally absorbent. I followed the instructions on where to place the box that the strip sits in and I’ve never had any problems with bad smells. 

HAKUNA MATATA!

Since, I got this service, the quality of life for me and Mojito is vastly improved. He still prefers to go outside and I still take him; but, we both know that when Mom’s away, it’s okay to go in the box.

Well folks, that’s enough potty talk for today. If you’re inclined, give Doggy and the City a call. Dave or Matt will set you up in no time. Here’s what you need to know:

DOGGY AND THE CITY

Indoor dog potty and dog grass delivery service

818-282-3449

doggieandthecity.com

 

 

MAD MEN: THE FINAL HOUR

SpyThe final episode of Mad Men is coming up this Sunday. I’d say that Matthew Weiner is a pretty awesome story teller. The show has been an incredible journey and I’m really happy I played a part in creating it. You’ll find out exactly what kind of a part I played in my latest article for City Watch LA.  It’s all about where to go if you live in LA, to catch the series finale and enjoy a cocktail just like all the folks on Mad Men did for seven seasons.

Enjoy! And if you’re going out to catch the show, maybe I’ll see you there!

A WORLD OF IMAGINATION: FREE OF CHARGE

One of my favorite places in the whole city is the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. A few days ago, I decided it was high time to spell out all the awesome deals on offer there. I’m not gonna lie, I was thinking I knew most everything there was to know about all that‘s available; but, I wanted to make sure. So, I met with Tim Digan, Director of Guest Services at LACMA.  Turns out I didn’t know the half of it.

I covered the Latin Sounds Music Series right here on Deals and Discounts. Many of you already know about the smokin’ jazz on Fridays and chamber music on Sundays — all with no dollars required.

They’ve also got a film series running year round in conjunction with Film Independent and the New York Times. Tickets for the general public range from free to $10 and free to $5 for LACMA members. The series includes new releases, classics, documentaries, and discussions with filmmakers. Sweet! You can purchase the entire film series as an add-on to membership for $50 for the whole year.

A Basic LACMA membership runs $90 for two, with an Indie Membership for singles at $50. Students pay only $25 annually. The museum offers several opportunities to take in the exhibits at no cost. Los Angeles residents can enter free from 3 to 5 pm on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, and from 3 to 8 pm on Fridays. Anyone can get in free on the second Tuesday of the month and that deal goes all the live long day. Target Free Holiday Mondays, sponsored the program’s namesake, gets you in free on any Monday that is also a federal holiday.

Guest artists and lecturers visit the campus often, presenting talks on all manner of interesting subjects, often for free. Go to (link- LACMA Calendar) – http://www.lacma.org/visit/calendar where you can click on any day and scroll through all the good stuff happening on that day.

The campus itself is truly a gem. Aside from the exhibits inside the museum itself, there is so much more to see. The grounds are absolutely beautiful. There’s plenty of lawn and trees, as well as ongoing outdoor art. Folks can go and have a picnic or just sit and read. There are several eateries, ranging in  price and free wi-fi is campus-wide.

LACMA is a great place for kids. In fact, there are over twice as many kid members as adults. The Arts for NextGen Program caters to these young members like nobody’s business. The program offers free entrance for anyone 18 or under as well as one accompanying adult.

On any given day, the Boone Children’s Gallery is abuzz with kids trying their hand at creating art. Upon arrival, kids receive a basic instruction on art making and then dive in. They are welcome to use as many materials as they wish and it is all free. Budding artists can take their creations home or leave them for display in the gallery. The walls are lined with the colorful creations of those who’ve come to enjoy this experience.

LACMA hosts dozens of special events. Guests of all ages will no doubt enjoy the KCRW Good Food Pie Contest coming up this Saturday. Last year, some 2,000 people attended this free event where celebrity judges pick the best pies. You can sample the pies and judge for yourself and you can even enter the contest for a $15 entry fee. If you wear your apron, you’ll not only look cute, you’ll also get free general admission. Delicious!

As if all this wasn’t enough, Tim let me in on a couple of little-known happenings going on at the museum. Seems there’s a real nifty gathering that takes place at Dagny Corcoran’s Art Catalogues Bookstore. When scheduled, it takes place on a Sunday at 4 pm in the Ahmanson building on Level 1. This salon-like artists’ dialog and reception is on the cutting edge in the city, with guests such as  John Baldessari and Jarrett Gregory. For now, it is absolutely free.

Another little known gem is the opening receptions that take place in the Art Rental and Sales Gallery. Here, the work of a juried selection of emerging Southern California artists is featured on a Saturday evening from 5 to 7 pm. You can rub elbows with the artists themselves and ask them about the source of their inspiration. All pieces are available for purchase or rent. Apparently this event has been going on since the 1950’s and has remained a primary source of fundraising for the museum. Keep an eye on the Calendar at the website to catch these groovy events.

For my money, I say LACMA is really something special. In these hard times, it’s good to find a place where a person can enjoy the gift of human expression in all its many forms — without paying an arm and a leg.

NEED TO KNOW:

Los Angeles County Museum of Art  5905 Wilshire Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90036 (map) http://goo.gl/maps/YgHvA

LACMA is open every day except Wednesdays, Thanksgiving and Christmas

Hours:  Monday 11 am–5 pm Tuesday 11 am–5 pm Wednesday Closed Thursday 11 am–5 pm Friday 11 am–8 pm Saturday 10 am–7 pm Sunday 10 am–7 pm

General Admission Tickets

A one-day pass to LACMA’s galleries and exhibitions, excluding specially ticketed shows

Members Free

Under 18 Free

Seniors & Students $10

Groups of 10+ $12

All other guests $15

Parking: LACMA’s lot is accessible from 6th Street and is not a deal at $10. Parking is free after 7 pm. There is plenty of metered street parking in the area as well as a lot of free street parking. Do observe “Permit Only” signage, as it is in abundance, but not everywhere.

(web) www.lacma.org

MARCH AGAINST LOW WAGE JOBS

Photo credit: Neil Jacobs/Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO

This past Saturday, I joined thousands of other folks here in Los Angeles for a march through historic Chinatown. The reason for the event? – the impending arrival of Wal Mart in Chinatown. It seems that the urban areas are a significant part of the Walton family’s final frontier.

Although the LA County Fed officially dubbed the event a “March Against Low Wage Jobs,” there were really two big beefs going around. One was indeed the matter of low wage jobs and the heinous record of Wal Mart towards its’ workers and towards organized labor. United for Respect at Wal Mart, an organization formed by associates at Wal Mart, were in the house. They were really great – brave and inspiring. Can you imagine working at this giant company and having the courage to stand up and fight for better wages and conditions?

Click on Wal Mart march for Part One of the coverage I did for City Watch to see Girshriela Green, one of the leaders of this group, calling Wal Mart out!

Another issue that was raised, by some almost exclusively, was how small business in Chinatown would be adversely affected. This is all pretty interesting since, I’m pretty sure that small business has been ferociously anti-union for decades if not ever since unions existed.

Sure, you have some folks saying, “Oh, yes; Mom and Pop have been good to me for twenty-five years. I’ve been treated well” That may be true, but that is almost totally up to their discretion, isn’t it? Mom and Pop could be the Cratchets and that would be just too bad for anybody who happens to work for them, right?   Without unions, a poor worker soul really has no recourse apart from a few bare bones labor laws regulated by the National Labor Relations Board, which has practically had all its’ teeth pulled over the years. So, it just seems an unlikely pair – organized labor and small business.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not sticking up for Wal Mart or thumbing my nose at small business. I come from a long line of small business owners myself. I love the diversity of Los Angeles. It’s my favorite thing about this city. I would hate to see Chinatown, Koreatown, Little Ethiopia, East Los Angeles, or any of LA’s culturally rich neighborhoods disappear.

BUT:

Wal Mart is not the problem – it’s a symptom of the problem. If it wasn’t Wal Mart, it would be another big corporation. That’s the way this system works.

The market is not sentimental or nostalgic – and that’s not just in Chinatown, Jake.

DISHIN’ UP DEALS AND DISCOUNTS AT CITY WATCH LA

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Now you can read about all the same Good Deals you find on Recession Cafe over at Deals & Discounts on citywatchla.com. While you’re at it, click on the Front Page. This hot spot on the information superhighway delivers content that is all Los Angeles, all the time. Where else can you keep on eye on City Hall, take a peek at a video of the new Downtown Civic Park AND find out about the mayor’s drunken night out with a famous mariachi?

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