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West Adams Third Annual Art Tour

The West Adams Heritage Association presented its third annual self-guided “Art in Historic Places Tour” entitled: The Arts of West Adams: Pattern, Decoration & Diversity, on Saturday, March 24, at the Majestic Pharmacy. Tour participants walked or cycled to some of West Adams’ notable sites and visited the in-home galleries of 12 local contemporary and classic artists residing in the West Adams district. In addition to standard stops, this year’s tour also featured a visit to the historic William Andrews Clark Memorial Library, home to thousands of rare books and manuscripts, as well as a live concert at the California African American Museum (CAAM) where visitors also viewed the popular Pacific-Standard Time exhibit called “Places of Validation.”

For more information on the West Adams Heritage Association visit: www.westadamsheritage.org

Get Lit: inspiring high school students to read, write, and speak up

Several hundred high school students recently filled the Animo Inglewood Charter High School auditorium, talking, laughing, and chatting with friends. Then the Get Lit Players took the stage:

“We are a troupe of poetic youth tied to classic roots… With words to illuminate the dark,” chanted the six members of the teen poetry troupe, and the auditorium fell silent.

For the next two hours, in ones and twos, poets from the ages of 15 to 18, recited words of hope, understanding and respect to the high school students listening with rapt attention.[fancy_box] Get Lit performs at El Rancho High School in Pico Rivera. Video courtesy of Get Lit Staff.[/fancy_box]

The Get Lit Players, who perform in schools across Los Angeles, delivered poems in a blitz-like fashion, wielding their hip-hop verbal skills in rapid-fire attacks. From comical topics to serious ones, their original works bore witness to subjects such as relationship heartbreak and the pressure from parents to be perfect. Then they changed gears and brought to life works by renowned poets such as Gwendolyn Brooks, Walt Whitman, and Langston Hughes.

Troupe members say their mission is to encourage teens to read, write and participate in the arts by connecting the emotions and experiences expressed by celebrated poets with the struggles of young people today. Freshman Brandon Estrada, 14, said the troupe connected with him. “I realized I was buried and forgotten and after watching the performance I feel as though I’ve been resurrected,” he said. “I can be great in life…it’s in my grasp.”

Regine Rhine, 17, a budding poet and member of the Amino High School Poetry Slam team, found the Get Lit performance inspirational – and a bit daunting. Her poetry team will be competing against the troupe next month in a citywide youth poetry event, called the Classic Slam. She too feels at home on a stage, reciting poetry to her peers. “Poetry is a profound way of expressing myself and letting people see another side of me,” she said. Get Lit Player and performer, Junior Herrara, 18, agreed. The East Los Angeles City College student said poetry provides an outlet for self expression like no other.

“It not only let’s me explore realms of myself I did not know existed, it also lets me share and teach my life lessons with others,” he said.

Get Lit’s Classic Slam, will take place at the Wiltern Theater, in Los Angeles on April 28th at 7 PM and showcase blitz-like performances from high school poets from across Los Angeles.

Founded in 2005, in Los Angeles, Get Lit is a non-profit organization offering literary performance training, education, and teen poetry programs. Programs are designed to boost literacy and encourage creative self-expression. By immersing teens in the world of great books, Get Lit equips students for future success in college and the workplace, building concise writing skills, dynamic public speaking abilities and the foundation for lifelong self-confidence. To date, Get Lit has performed before more than 15,000 teens in more than 45 high schools.

For more information on Get Lit, click here to visit their website.

Slauson Corridor Revitalization Update

Supervisor Ridley-Thomas and representatives of the County’s Department of Public Works met with Slauson residents to provided an update on the Supervisor’s unique website public opinion poll. The poll attracted more than 800 responses from concerned community members. Using his website as an access point, the Supervisor presented eight alternatives to the community including written materials and diagrams describing the features of each. Community members were invited to express preferences among the various possibilities. The fundamental differences between the alternatives were over the number of traffic lanes on Slauson Avenue, the width of sidewalks along the Avenue, and provisions for a Class III bicycle lane.

The results of this survey are on the Supervisor’s website. The number one choice was Alterative D-1, which offered 20 foot-wide sidewalks to enhance the pedestrian retail and outdoor restaurant experience along Slauson between Angeles Vista and Overhill.  At the community meeting, there was vigorous public discussion about the survey results. From this discussion came a consensus to move forward with an Environmental Review of five alternatives.  The analysis will study one, two or three through lanes for vehicle traffic, either with or without a bicycle lane — a total of five alternatives.  

 * This option is not necessary; a 20 foot sidewalk leaves sufficient space for the bikeway.

Alternatives with fewer vehicle traffic lanes allow for wider sidewalks and more pedestrian activity, and, conversely, those with more traffic lanes result in narrower sidewalks. The Environmental Review will study automobile traffic levels of service for each of these five alternatives. Once this data is collected, another community meeting will be held to discuss:

a)     accommodating more through traffic for automobiles, and

b)     providing an attractive pedestrian-oriented walking environment with restaurants and retail stores.

The February 22 public meeting also featured remarks by Culver City Councilmember Andy Weissman.  The Councilmember described the careful steps taken by Culver City in the highly successful revitalization of its downtown core. Stay tuned for results of the Environmental Review traffic studies as the Slauson Avenue Improvement Project moves ahead.

Metro Rail to the airport

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority is  examining ways to connect the region’s growing  rail system to Los Angeles International Airport. Metro will host two community workshop meetings this month to update community stakeholders on various options, including connection to the Crenshaw to LAX light rail line.

The focus of the study is a four square-mile area bounded by La Cienega Boulevard on the east, Manchester Avenue to the north, Imperial Highway to the south, and the LAX airport terminals on the west. The public will be updated on alternatives under consideration such as light rail transit, an  automated  people  mover and  bus  rapid  transit. Metro  staff  is analyzing the various options for each transit type in order to narrow down the number of alternatives that will be carried forward to the  next stage of the process. Below are the dates and times of the two community workshops taking place in March:

Community Workshops

Thursday, March 1, 2012, 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm 
Flight Path Learning Center
6661 West Imperial Highway
Los Angeles, CA 90045

Flight Path Learning Center is served by Beach Cities Transit Line 109 with connections at the Metro Green Line Aviation/LAX Station and LAX Transit Center. Free parking is available on site.

Wednesday March 7, 2012, 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm

Union Station – Entrance on Alameda St*
(Historic Ticketing Concourse)
800 North Alameda Street (Cross Street: Cesar Chavez)
Los Angeles, CA 90012

*Los Angeles Union Station is served by Metro Red, Purple, and Gold lines, Amtrak, Metrolink, Metro bus lines 40, 42, 68, 70, 71, 76, 78, 79, 485, 487, 704, 728, 733, 740, 745, 770, and Metro Silver Line, Dash B, Dash D, Dash Lincoln Heights/Chinatown, Santa Monica Big Blue Bus Line 10, Torrance Transit Line 2, and Foothill Silver Streak. Parking is available on levels P2 and P3. The underground parking entrance is located on the west side of Vignes St just south of Cesar Chavez Av.

Spanish translation will be provided. Special accommodations and information in alternative formats are available to the public upon request. All requests for reasonable accommodations must be made three working days (72 hours) in advance of the scheduled meeting date. Please call the Project Hotline at 310.499.0553 or the California Relay Service at 711.

Metro encourages public participation and wants to hear about the community’s vision for improving transit services to LAX including how a connection to LAX might reduce traffic congestion and improve transportation options to and from the airport and best serve airport users and local employees.

Participate online!

Those unable to attend the community workshops can participate online.  A live video stream of the community workshop presentation and chat will begin at 6:15 pm at http://www.ustream.tv/channel/green-line-to-lax on March 1st and 7th, 2012.

For information on the Green Line to LAX Project, the public can call 310.499.0553 or visit the project web site at metro.net/greenlinetolax.

Days of Dialogue returned on a leap day

L.A. County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, L.A. City Controller Wendy Greuel, L.A. City Council President Herb Wesson, L.A. City Attorney Carmen Trutanich, L.A. County labor federation chief Maria Elena Durazo and L.A. City Councilmember Dennis Zine began a citywide dialogue on the impact of the economic recession on communities throughout the Los Angeles area. Joining the countywide discussion was Culver City Mayor Michael O’Leary, L.A. City Councilmember Eric Garcetti, L.A. City Councilmember Joe Buscaino, L.A. City Councilmember Jan Perry, L.A. Fire Chief Brian Cummings, LAPD Deputy Chief Pat Gannon, USC Senior Vice President Tom Sayles, and Michelle Bagneris, Miss L.A. County 2012.

Days of Dialogue hosted the discussion entitled “From Wreckage and Ruin… The Road to Rebirth: A Day of Dialogue on the Economic Crisis and Community Health.” A special leadership dialogue took place on Wednesday, February 29 at The Galen Center on the University of Southern California campus focusing on the issues of joblessness, home foreclosures, debt, poverty and the loss of access healthcare and their impact on individuals and families in L.A.’s diverse communities. In addition to city and county officials, Art Ochoa, Cedars Sinai; Arnie Berghoff, Arnie Berghoff & Associates; Charisse Bremond Weaver, Brotherhood Crusade; Bob Blake, Bob Blake & Associates; Derek Smith, Diamond Contract Services; Bettye Dixon, Concourse Concessions; Karen Earl, Jenesse Center Domestic Violence Intervention Program; Laphonza Butler, SEIU Long Term Care Workers Union; Cynthia McClain Hill, Strategic Counsel; and Elise Buik, United Way participated in the citywide dialogue event.  Community residents and neighborhood leaders convened at sites throughout Los Angeles for the two-hour dialogue event designed to gauge the effect of the recession on the health of men, women and families throughout the city, and assess the economic downturn’s impact on the health of their communities.

For more information about Days of Dialogue, please call (213) 290-5449 or visit the Days of Dialogue website at daysofdialogue.org or email: info@daysofdialogue.org.

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