*A very special Author and Music Night in honor of Black History Month brings Charles Wright, legendary L.A. musician and bestselling author of “Up From Where We’ve Come: An Eventful Journey” to the South Pasadena Public Library Community Room on Thursday, February 23 at 7 p.m. The event will also feature Petrella, “The First Lady of Country Soul” and her band, Mixed Influence. The event is free and will be presented by the South Pasadena Public Library and the Friends of the South Pasadena Public Library, with special thanks to 210 eastsound!
Charles Wright is the founder of the pioneering funk and R&B band of the 60s and early 70s, The Watts 103 Street Rhythm Band, known for the hits “Do Your Thing”, “Till You Get Enough”, and “Love Land”. Their biggest and most enduring hit “Express Yourself” is among the most sampled tracks by rap and hip hop groups. Continue reading →
*One of my greatest surprises after moving to the west coast seven years ago was the discovery of Six Flags amusement parks. I grew up just a stone’s throw from the midwest’s Cedar Point, which is widely known as the roller coast capital of the world. I still cherish the memories of my annual treks there as a kid, and didn’t imagine being close a park that could match the thrills I’d experienced at Cedar Point.
Then, I found Six Flags.
The one in my neck of the woods, Six Flags Discovery Kingdom, was always a thrill, but got better in recent years with the addition of rides like Superman Ultimate Flight (which is the first ride I hit when I enter the park!) and The Joker, a new hybrid coaster that repurposed the foundation of one of the park’s old wooden out-and-backs and turned it into a scream machine that left me hoarse for the balance of my day there last summer.
During THAT ride, I had to suppress my repeated “F*** me!” screams, as there were small, impressionable children aboard. (I can’t wait to ride it again!) Continue reading →
*I don’t know about you, but I don’t think I can take another Trump announcement, pronouncement, or tweet! Yesterday, I needed a break from the dismal news cycle, so I snuck into a showing of the hysterical new The Lego Batman Movie. Even a die-hard Superman fan like me loved it.
Maybe that’s because the Man of Steel himself has a role in the movie, and provides a fairly significant plot point to the action-packed romp, during which Batman struggles with…
Yes, I am. I was drawn into the story from the first few frames. I howled with laughter during the flick, which has lots of action and humor that will appeal to the little ones, along with many jokes that will go right over their heads while leaving you in stitches.
Will Arnett, who provides the voice of the most vain Caped Crusader we’ve ever seen on screen (“…I get up at 4:30am and pump iron until my pecs are just sick!”), may well be my favorite cinematic Batman. Continue reading →
*HOLLYWOOD, Calif. (February 14, 2017) – In anticipation of the upcoming release of Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast,” the latest live-action adaption of a classic animated film, the legendary El Capitan Theatre presents a series of films, FESTIVAL OF FAIRY TALES: Disney’s Live Action Adventures, from March 3 – 12, 2017.
The Festival of Fairytales will kick off with Disney’s “Maleficent” (2014) directed by Robert Stromberg, March 3-4, followed by Disney’s “The Jungle Book” (2016) directed by Jon Favreau, March 5-6; “Pete’s Dragon” (2016) directed by David Lowery, March 7-8, “Cinderella” (2015) directed by Kenneth Branagh, March 9-10, and concluding with “Alice in Wonderland”(2010) directed by Tim Burton, March 11-12.
“Recently Disney has taken some of its most beloved stories and made them into new films for new audiences – of which “Beauty and the Beast” opening March 17 here at The El Capitan Theatre is the latest,” said Ed Collins, General Manager of The El Capitan Theatre. “Many of these new films which have been very popular with audiences and critics alike have become classics in their own right. They have given a whole new generation a way to have a unique experience with these characters. We know that our El Capitan Guests will welcome a chance to see these films again on the big screen as they were meant to be seen and we are thrilled to present them now.”
The El Capitan Theatre is offering a special FESTIVAL OF FAIRYTALES Package; for $50 per person, guests receive a Reserved Ticket, small box of popcorn & 12 oz. fountain drink to each of the five films, tickets for this package must be reserved in advance by calling 818-845-3110. Guests will choose show date & seats for all five films at the time of purchase. A $20 VIP preferred ticket is also available for each film individually, which includes a VIP Preferred Seat, popcorn in a souvenir tub and 20 oz. drink. Continue reading →
*A few days ago, a colleague shared her perspective about music legend Johnny Mathis as he relates to current media consumers. She said she thought that today’s online readers “…are too young to know who Johnny Mathis is…”
As a lifelong Mathis fan, I was stung by those words. Could she have been right?
I swallowed hard as I took those words in, and clicked on my iTunes “Johnny Mathis” playlist. After listening to a few classics like “Misty,” “Too Much, Too Little, Too Late,” and “Chances Are,” I reflected on my colleague’s perspective. If she’s right, I surmised, it’s my job as a journalist to educate, to inform. And so…
Today’s Black History Month moment is brought to you by the incomparable Johnny Mathis!
At the age of 19, San Francisco’s John Royce Mathis was headed to the Olympic trials when he turned his back on his promising athletic career and accepted an offer to meet with a representative from Columbia Records.
“I was overjoyed to get out of high jumping,” Mathis laughed by phone. “It was such a pain — literally. I had a bad back like a lot of athletes do. It limited not only my performance but my livelihood for whatever other physical activities I wanted to do. So when the telegram came, it sounded too good to be true, to get an invitation to come to New York and make a record.”
*LOS ANGELES, CA (February 2017) Ebony Repertory Theatre (ERT – Producing Artistic Director Wren T. Brown) announced today that ERT will present FIVE GUYS NAMED MOE starring Emmy Award-winner Obba Babatundé (Dreamgirls/Tony nomination). Written by Clarke Peters, this exuberant, international hit musical pays tribute to the music of rhythm and blues pioneer Louis Jordan. ERT’s production, directed and choreographed by Keith Young (Sammy), with musical direction by Abdul Hamid Royal (FIVE GUYS NAMED MOE/original Broadway production) will commemorate the 25th Anniversary of the musical’s Broadway production. Performances will run May 18 – June 11, 2017 with an official press opening on Saturday, May 20 at the Nate Holden Performing Arts Center (4718 West Washington Boulevard) in Los Angeles, 90016.
“Ebony Repertory Theatre is very excited to present FIVE GUYS NAMED MOE in the 25th Anniversary year of its Broadway debut,” said Wren T. Brown, ERT Producing Artistic Director. “I will never forget the sheer excitement I felt while sitting in the Eugene O’Neill Theatre on Broadway in 1992 watching six wonderfully talented men and a most swinging band celebrate the music and persona of the seminal and pioneering saxophonist, singer and bandleader Louis Jordan. In addition, we are thrilled to have Keith Young make his Los Angeles directorial debut with this production. We are also honored to have the original Musical Director of the Broadway production, Abdul Hamid Royal, leading the band. And of course, we are overjoyed to have the gifted triple-threat Obba Babatundé as Nomax. Continue reading →
*Black folk get ONE MONTH, the shortest of the twelve (But hey, we’ll take it!) to commemorate the impact our race and culture have had on the world. Our people have done a LOT to develop the many treasures that make this country what it is today. A country that everyone in the world is trying to get to and build a life for themselves and their families.
And now, thanks to the site Discover Los Angeles, we don’t have to wonder about all the events set up to help us and anyone else celebrate and learn more about Black History.
Since 1976, every U.S. president has officially designated the month of February as Black History Month, an annual celebration of achievements by African Americans and a time for recognizing their important role in U.S. history. The event was originally the brainchild of noted historian Carter G. Woodson and other prominent African Americans.
Here are some of the exciting events (and cultural institutions) participating in Black History Month events in the Los Angeles area.
Battleship Iowa (February 2017)
Located at the L.A. Waterfront in San Pedro, Battleship IOWA is presenting events and tributes throughout February to honor Black History month. There is no better place in Los Angeles to celebrate and commemorate the impact African Americans have had in the United States Navy and to this country than on the “Battleship of Presidents,” the same ship where Vice Admiral Samuel L. Gravely, the first African American to command a Navy warship, served during his illustrious Naval career.
The Battleship IOWA Museum is featuring Celebrating the American Spirit – Battleship IOWA Salutes Black History Month, a temporary display that will be part of the ship’s tour through Feb. 28. Guests will learn about the achievements that many African Americans made in the United States Navy and service for this country. The exhibit focuses on five pioneering black servicemen: Robert Penn, a Medal of Honor recipient; Alex Haley, the first chief journalist for the Coast Guard; John Henry “Dick” Turpin, one of the first African American Chief Petty Officers in the United States Navy; Doris “Dorie” Miller, the first African American to be awarded the Navy Cross; and Samuel L. Gravely. Continue reading →
*Rainbow Promotions, LLC will present “A Special Evening of Music for Friends and Lovers” — a Valentine’s Day concert featuring the remarkable Stephanie Mills, along with Eric Darius, and The L.A. Collective on Saturday, February 11 at 7:30 p.m. The event will take place at the Long Beach Terrace Theater Performing Arts Center located at 300 E. Ocean Blvd., Long Beach, CA 90802
TICKET Prices range from $70 – $175 for VIP Dinner packages which includes a savory 3-course dinner and a rose for each lady.
Doors for VIP ticket holders open at 4:30 p.m. with dinner being served from 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Doors for regular non-dinner ticket holders will open at 6:30 p.m.
To purchase tickets, go to Ticketmaster.com, visit http://bit.ly/Valentines2017 or call (800) 745-3000.