Archive for the ‘Entertainment’ Category

The Wondrous, Santa Barbaran Fourth of July Fireworks Show (via modeofaide)

July 5, 2011

I miss watching the Fourth of July Fireworks Show in Santa Barbara. I watched the fireworks show during two stints of summer school at UCSB in 2000 and 2001. The first time, I watched it with roommates from my apartment at the hillside where SBCC is located. The following year, my friends and I parked at the outdoor mall, Paseo Nuevo (where the parking was free, a welcome treat for us broke college students at the time), walked State St. all the way to Stearns Wharf and waited for seven hours before the fireworks show took place directly above us.

The Wondrous, Santa Barbaran Fourth of July Fireworks Show We were running late.  Shifting around scores of people as we rushed along the downtown section of State Street, we began to both hear and feel the explosions in the sky.  It didn’t matter.  Our patriotic endeavor was successful.  The only thing more pleasant than the fireworks themselves were the looks on people’s faces as they gazed upon the blinding colors.  Independence is beautiful. Neon explosions. The intermezzo. The denouement. For those … Read More

via modeofaide

The Palace Theatre Turns 100

June 29, 2011

On June 26, 2011, the Palace Theatre turned 100 years old.  To commemorate the centennial anniversary, three sold-out screenings were held.  The theater, located on 630 S. Broadway in Downtown Los Angeles and originally named Orpheum, opened on June 26, 1911, as a vaudeville house.  In 1926, the theater was renamed the Palace when a much larger Orpheum Theatre was built down the street. The Palace has hosted shows with entertainers like actor Fred Astaire, magician Harry Houdini, and French stage actress Sarah Bernhardt.

The Palace Theatre in Downtown Los Angeles is celebrating its 100th anniversary with a $1 million restoration aimed at bringing back the French and Renaissance style and charm that defined the theater.A million dollar restoration project, with a few changes, has begun.  The craftsmen in charge of the renovation stripped away seven layers of paint from the walls, revealing the hall’s original wallpaper.  Shahram Delijani, whose family owns the Palace and three other historic downtown theaters, was able to replicate the original wallpaper, allowing him to bring the Palace back to its very original decorations.  The Palace Theatre will look beautiful with its original design, bringing it back to a French and Renaissance look.

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Taylor P.

Hollywood Bowl Hall of Fame inducts Gloria Estefan and Harry Connick Jr.

June 23, 2011

On Friday, June 17, 2011, the Hollywood Bowl celebrated its 90th season with fireworks, music performances, and a preview of the new Cirque de Soleil show, Iris.  This year, the Hollywood Bowl honored two new inductees to the Hollywood Bowl Hall of Fame: singers Gloria Estefan and Harry Connick Jr..  Actress Hilary Swank introduced honoree and New Orleans native Connick Jr., a friend since their on-screen performance of, “P.S. I Love You” together.  The pianist and jazz singer start off somewhat stiffly with “The Way You Look Tonight”, pausing afterwards to acknowledge the award.  “I’ve never been in a hall of fame for anything so it’s a big deal.  I’m just honored,” said Connick Jr., who noted that his voice had cracked a couple of times.  “I’m sure you heard it.  I don’t care, I mean, it’s not like I’m performing brain surgery on someone.  If you make a mistake, it’s OK.  But I was thinking like the Cirque de Soleil people, like what’s the equivalent of cracking a note for them?  You die… So I’m very happy to be a singer.  I might crack some more notes because it’s very comfortable to know that I can do that and live.”

The 90th season of the Hollywood Bowl included the induction of Gloria Estefan and Harry Connick Jr. into their hall of fame as well as performances by the new inductees.After intermission, actor Andy Garcia introduced Gloria Estefan.  Garcia explained, “We have a common bond.  Our families, both fled to this country when we were young children to escape the repression of Castro’s Cuba.  Our parents had to start all over again, struggling to give a better life in Miami.”  Estefan also happens to be the first Latina to be honored in the Hall of Fame.  Congratulations to both of these singers for their many contributions to the music world.

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Joie Montoya

Hackers’ Next Victim: Nintendo

June 8, 2011

On Sunday, June 5, 2011, it was reported that Nintendo Co. had been hacked.  The security breach on their network was not as severe as the one on Sony’s PlayStation Network.  Hackers were not able to obtain any sensitive information, nor have the attacks caused any damage to internal systems that would inconvenience their customers in any way.  The latest attack has raised questions over who exactly is responsible for hacking these online servers.

Nintendo is the latest victim in a string of high-profile attacks on its servers and network, which should serve as a wake-up call for other companies to bolster security defenses on their own computer network.Unlike many security breaches which are done anonymously at the hands of obscure hackers, the group who took public responsibility for hacking Nintendo is called LulzSec.  LulzSec has claimed responsibility for hacking other websites, as well, including some of the Sony websites.  LulzSec stated on Twitter: “We’re not targeting Nintendo…we sincerely hope Nintendo plugs the gap.”  The group also confirmed Nintendo’s claims that no important customer data was lost in the breach, stating, “we [sic] just got a config file and made it clear that we didn’t mean any harm.  Nintendo had [sic] already fixed it anyway.”  The recent string of security system breaches serves as a wake-up call for other companies to bolster security defenses on their own computer network.

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Joie Montoya

Top 10 Prom Themes

May 31, 2011

Prom themes can be creative, poorly thought-out, or non-existent.  For the prom committee, picking out a theme can be stressful and tough.  There are so many themes to choose from, and each class may attempt to outdo the theme of the previous class.  With that in mind, here is a list of my ten favorite prom themes:

  1. With so many different prom themes to choose from, you can make sure that no two classes in a row will have the same prom theme.Masquerade – Masks veil the identity of your mystery date until after the prom court in announced.
  2. Paris by Moonlight – This lovely romantic theme finally gives you a chance to speak French, if only for one night.
  3. Project Runway – Dressing in the best clothing is the game, complete with a fashion show.
  4. Casino Nights – Poker, Craps, or Roulette. You may even win a prize at the end of the night.
  5. Shanghai Nights – You may be inspired to go on summer vacation to China with this theme.
  6. Under the Sea – Remember the theme of the dance Marty’s parents attended in “Back to the Future”? This is that theme.
  7. Hollywood theme – This is an easy theme to setup, especially here in Southern California.
  8. Cinderella and Prince Charming – This could be the dream prom of two high school sweethearts.
  9. New York, New York – The prom committee would face the daunting task of making the dance hall or banquet hall look like New York as much as possible.
  10. Decades” theme – Bring back the Roaring ‘20s or Disco ‘70s for a new generation.

These are some classic, creative and fun prom themes.  You could even come up with your own original prom theme and go down in your school’s history for creating a magnificent prom.  Prom night is a significant point in your high school memories.  Just remember that the prom theme isn’t everything; what counts is what you make of your night.

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Taylor P.

Top Ten Prom Locations in Los Angeles

April 28, 2011

Prom night can mean a lot to people in high school.  It is a big part of your high school career, the one night many look forward to in their senior or junior year.  Finding the right tuxedo, dress, limo, corsage, boutonniere, and date is all up to you.  Finding a great location is up to the school.  With a little research, I found out the top ten prom locations near Los Angeles, California.  Here is a list of the top locations:

1. The Athenaeum in Pasadena (map | street view)

The large number of public and private venues in Southern California could make it difficult for high school prom organizers to choose a location. Here are ten popular prom locations in and around the Los Angeles area.

2. The Greek Theatre in Los Angeles (map | street view)

The large number of public and private venues in Southern California could make it difficult for high school prom organizers to choose a location. Here are ten popular prom locations in and around the Los Angeles area.

3. Sunset Gower Studios in Hollywood (map | street view)

The large number of public and private venues in Southern California could make it difficult for high school prom organizers to choose a location. Here are ten popular prom locations in and around the Los Angeles area.

4. Autry National Center in Griffith Park (map | street view)

The large number of public and private venues in Southern California could make it difficult for high school prom organizers to choose a location. Here are ten popular prom locations in and around the Los Angeles area.

5. The Key Club in West Hollywood (map | street view)

The large number of public and private venues in Southern California could make it difficult for high school prom organizers to choose a location. Here are ten popular prom locations in and around the Los Angeles area.

6. The Music Box in Hollywood (map | street view)

The large number of public and private venues in Southern California could make it difficult for high school prom organizers to choose a location. Here are ten popular prom locations in and around the Los Angeles area.

7. The Hollywood Palladium (map | street view)

The large number of public and private venues in Southern California could make it difficult for high school prom organizers to choose a location. Here are ten popular prom locations in and around the Los Angeles area.

8. The Bluebird Café in Culver City (map | street view)

The large number of public and private venues in Southern California could make it difficult for high school prom organizers to choose a location. Here are ten popular prom locations in and around the Los Angeles area.

9. The Castaway in Burbank (map | street view)

The large number of public and private venues in Southern California could make it difficult for high school prom organizers to choose a location. Here are ten popular prom locations in and around the Los Angeles area.

10. California Science Center in Los Angeles (map | street view)

The large number of public and private venues in Southern California could make it difficult for high school prom organizers to choose a location. Here are ten popular prom locations in and around the Los Angeles area.

These ten places have gotten the best reviews in the Los Angeles area.  Most of these places also have concerts and shows so they are made to have fun parties for prom.  With decorations and music, these places become part of the prom night dream.

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Taylor P.

Santa Clarita Paseos

April 26, 2011

Santa Clarita isn’t usually the first city that pops into people’s minds when they think of a vacation destination, unless they are planning a trip to Six Flags Magic Mountain.  The truth is, many people are not aware of things they could do here in the Santa Clarita Valley, a beautiful master-planned bedroom community north of Los Angeles that is kept very clean.  One of the things the city is known for is the Paseos, which are hidden trails all throughout the community where bicycle riders and joggers can go about their daily exercise.  These connecting trails give residents an easier time getting to parks, entertainment, shopping, and employment centers while enjoying the scenic path as well as being friendly to the environment.

Santa Clarita, CA, may be known as the city where Six Flags Magic Mountain is located, but the city has also created a network of bicycle- and pedestrian-friendly paths and hidden trails, or paseos for local residents and visitors to enjoy.There are five different trailheads in Santa Clarita so far, which include:

Promenade Trailhead (map | street view)

You can enter the trailhead off the east side of McBean and park your car at the shopping centers nearby.

Auto Center Trailhead (map | street view)

You can enter it off the north side of Valencia Bl., at Auto Center Ct.  There is off-street parking for vehicles and horse trailers.  Benches, drinking fountain, and information kiosk can be found on site.

South Fork Trailhead (map | street view)

You can enter it off the south side of Magic Mountain Pkwy., between Valencia Bl. and San Fernando Rd., on the west bank of South Fork River.  There is off- street parking for vehicles and horse trailers.  Picnic tables and drinking fountain can be found on site.

Camp Plenty Road Trailhead (map | street view)

You can enter it off the south side of Soledad Canyon Rd., at the Camp Plenty Rd.  Off-street parking available.  Drinking fountain can be found on site.

Lost Canyon Road Trailhead (map | street view)

You can enter it off the south side of Soledad Canyon Rd., at Lost Canyon Rd., just south of the intersection beneath the freeway underpass.  There is some street parking available.  Benches, drinking fountains, water spigots, and hitching posts can be found on site.

If you’d like to explore the city’s paseos, download and print Santa Clarita’s “Trails and Parks Map” or Newhall Land’s map, “Valencia’s Paseos“.

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Joie Montoya

The Festival of Books

April 11, 2011

The annual Festival of Books, which is sponsored by the Los Angeles Times, will be held on April 30th and May 1st, 2011, on the University of Southern California (USC) campus in downtown Los Angeles.  The festival is free for everyone, but there will be a charge for parking at USC’s campus.  There are several stages set up for the two-day event, from children’s books to cooking demonstrations.

If you are a bookworm and like to read books about different subjects from local and international authors, you will enjoy the Festival of Books in Los Angeles.Hundreds of authors will be there on stage, reading selections from their own books, showing their new books, or just enjoying the festival like everybody else.  Ludwig Bemelmans started the legacy of the Madeline books, authoring and illustrating these wonderful books.  His grandson, John Bemelmans Marciano, carries it on.  The Los Angeles Times has Book Prizes, as well.  The two main winners are Beverly Cleary, who won the 2010 Robert Kirsch Award.  Powell’s Books in Portland, Oregon won the 2010 Innovator’s Award.  Many other authors won in separate categories such as Biography, Fiction, Current Interest, Graphic Novel, and History, among other categories.  There will be a ceremony held in honor of all the winners.  Come join the hundreds of authors and bookworms on April 30th and May 1st to enjoy this literary festival.

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Taylor P.

The Olympic Process: How to Become a Host City

April 4, 2011

Cities around the globe that apply to host the Summer or Winter Olympic Games have to go through a ten-month process of inspection.  The International Olympic Committee, or IOC, is responsible for the applicants and inspections.  First, the city must prove that it is large enough to handle the Olympics.  The Games bring in a large international crowd, which means the city needs to be able to accommodate them with nice hotel rooms, provide them with transportation such as shuttles that go to and from the Games, and provide ample security to ensure their safety.  Second, the city has to convince its residents that hosting the Olympic Games are worth it in city improvements and new jobs.  Hosting the Olympics can be costly, so this may result in the city raising taxes to offset expenses.  Finally, the city needs to have positive media exposure.

The Olympic Games brings together the world's best athletes on a global stage for two weeks during the summer or winter months every four years. Cities around the world must apply years in advance if they wish to host the Games.If a city passes the inspection by the IOC, it is considered a “Candidate City” and the second phase of the process begins.  Once the “Candidate Cities” submit their applications and application fee, the IOC begins making a final decision on which city they see best fit to host the upcoming Summer or Winter Olympic Games.  The fees for hosting the Olympics can be in upwards of $150,000 or more.  These high fees are meant to discourage cities that are not committed to hosting the Olympics.  Some people might think there are no benefits to hosting the Olympic Games, but it shows pride in your city and country.  Plus, it can bring jobs to the community and boost tourism.  It may be a long process, but it is a great event to host!

Relive the moment in 2005 in which the IOC made the announcement  that London was selected to host the 2012 Olympic games.

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Taylor P.

Japanese Culture: The Art of Japanese Theater

March 15, 2011

Japanese theater has been around for centuries.  There are four main forms of Japanese theater; Noh (), Kyogen (狂言), Kabuki (歌舞伎), and Bunraku (文楽).  Kyogen was mainly used during intermission between Noh acts.  Noh was performed for the upper class.  Performers who had roles in Noh plays did not wear masks.  The most well-known form of theater is Kabuki, which, unlike Noh, combined music, drama, and dance.  The extravagance came in dressing up in crazy costumes and real-life sword fighting.  Bunraku is the Japanese term for “Puppet Theater”.  Puppet dolls were 3 to 4 feet tall and were handled by puppeteers.  The puppeteers who controlled the movement of the puppets had to wear all black while the main puppeteer who controlled speech wore colorful clothing.  Music played a large role in all types of Japanese theater.

Japanese theater has evolved over hundreds of years, from the formal, symbolic, and solemn 14th century Noh theater to the extravagant 16th century Kabuki theater.In modern theater, the Japanese adopted naturalistic acting and contemporary themes.  In the postwar period following World War II, many plays focused more on the developing history of Japan.  Western themes also made it to Japanese theater which was called, “Shingeki (新劇)”.  Some plays performed in this theme included the works of William Shakespeare such as “Hamlet” and “King Lear”.  Over the years, you can see how Japanese theater has changed and developed but one thing that has stayed the same is the Japanese peoples’ love for theater.

UNESCO has a video clip about Kabuki Theatre on their YouTube channel.

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Joie Montoya

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