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Impractical Proposals Santa Monica
Weather: The Santa Anas
"Named after Southern California's Santa Ana Canyon and a fixture of local legend and literature, the Santa Ana is a blustery, dry and warm (often hot) wind that blows out of the desert. In Raymond Chandler's story Red Wind, the title being one of the offshore wind's many nicknames, the Santa Anas were introduced as 'those hot dry [winds] that come down through the mountain passes and curl your hair and make your nerves jump and your skin itch. On nights like that every booze party ends in a fight. Meek little wives feel the edge of the carving knife and study their husbands' necks. Anything can happen.' Local legends associate the hot, dry winds with homicides and earthquakes, but these are myths.
"Another popular misconception that the winds are hot owing to their desert origin. Actually, the Santa Anas develop when the desert is cold, and are thus most common during the cool season stretching from October through March. High pressure builds over the Great Basin (e.g., Nevada) and the cold air there begins to sink. However, this air is forced downslope which compresses and warms it at a rate of about 10C per kilometer (29F per mile) of descent. As its temperature rises, the relative humidity drops; the air starts out dry and winds up at sea level much drier still. The air picks up speed as it is channeled through passes and canyons...." -- from the website.
We are fortunate to have two of the world's great deserts right in our backyard. The National Park Service provides an exploration of the Mojave, the deceptively sparse area that falls between the Great Basin and Sonoran deserts. "The Preserve encompasses 1.6 million acres of mountains, jumble rocks, desert washes, and dry lakes." Sections include desert ecology, plants and animals, geology, history and culture, plus a glossary, maps, recreation tips, learning opportunities, and management issues. <http://www.nps.gov/moja>
Impractical Proposals SM benefited from kind notice last week from former LATimesman Kevin Roderick in his local media and lifestyle zine L.A. Observed, which does a great job covering local media and news. "Today's Blog" for October 21, for example, reports on the shutdown of an anonymous insider website about the daily activities, indiscretions and mishaps of Elay's mayor and councilmembers that has been must reading at City Hall; a note on the efforts to clean up the environmental damage at Rocketdyne's Santa Susana Field Lab near Chatsworth (Roderick is author of The San Fernando Valley: America's Suburb, so he pays close attention to doings in the Valley); a link to a Hollywood business story with a Black Dahlia twist; a reminder to listen to 89.3 KPCC's excellent weekly Journalist Roundtable that morning and Kitty Felde's Talk of the City look at the Indian gambling Propositions 68 and 70 in the afternoon; and a tip on an upcoming New York Review of Books-sponsored panel of journalists at Occidental College on "The Media and Iraq: What Went Wrong?" <http://www.laobserved.com/>
The Santa Monica Public Library has added free wireless access at the temporary main library and the three neighborhood branches. To get on line, patrons need their own wi-fi-ready computer or PDA. The library already offers free internet access on some of its own computers at all four locations. The info line is 310-458-8600.
"Life starts. People tell you things. Girls become boys. Facts become thoughts. Is my mother attractive? Is licorice really food? In Stephen Belber's new comedy, Transparency of Val, 'Val' is born. Within minutes, he learns part of the entire history of the world. By then, having finished college, he is faced with the task of actually living. It's not quite the coconut he was taught, what with all the twisted Buddhists, sexually-amorphous mates, and frighteningly friendly Nazis. But Val's a survivor, and like most good people, he'll endure. Unless he goes insane.
"Transparency of Val, no less sweeping in scope than Plato's 'Allegory of the Cave,' tackles the life cycle, sexual politics, race relations, foreign affairs, and modern religion. And it's a comedy! Playwright Stephen Belber, no longer content with the realism that drove his previous dramas like Tape and Finally, chooses a dramatic style which allows him to tackle so many broad issues. Like every good absurdist, he begs a number of fundamental questions without presuming any answers." -- from the program.
The LA Weekly: "Playwright Stephen Belber puts a ‘90s spin on the Candide story....So long as Belber keeps his eye on the satiric ball, his play is lively and funny, but it keeps veering into allegory, fantasy, absurdism and New Age truisms....Director Kelly Ann Ford gives the piece a slick and clever production, well served by a solid cast (including Bob Wilson in several roles), but the play’s warring elements never quite gel."
Backstage West: "...Please keep your hands and arms inside the car at all times.
Dutifully warned, one sits back for a spin on playwright Stephen Belber's philosophically comic roller coaster. Val, a quickly developing newborn played with infectiously wide-eyed wonder by Guy Busick, learns all he needs to know about life within the first 10 minutes of Belber's tautly constructed first act....best are the scenes in which Ford lets the dramatic side run its course naturally. The cast's
handling, Busick's in particular, of Val's parents' separation and his father's eventual death are touching oases in Belber's otherwise fast-moving tale."
West Coast Ensemble, wcensemble.org
522 N. La Brea Ave., Hlywd.;
Tues.-Thurs., 8 p.m.; thru Nov. 11. (323) 525-0022.
And speaking of jazz, guitarist Thom Rotella continues to host a Sunday Jazz Guitar Brunch at La Vecchia Cucina, featuring guest guitarists....
November 7 - Larry Koonse
November 14 - John Pisano
November 21 - Mitch Holder
November 28 - Thom Rotella solo
Carl Saunders is one of the trumpet greats. After high school, joined Stan Kenton's Orchestra, then spent 20 years in Vegas where he played lead in show bands for the likes of Ella Fitzgerald, Tony Bennet and Frank Sinatra (also for Paul Anka and Robert Goulet, but let's not go there). His big band credits include Si Zentner, Harry James, Maynard Ferguson, Benny Goodman and Charlie Barnet.
The Group: Andy Martin(trmb), Jerry Pinter(s), Christian Jacobs(p), Kevin Axt(b), Santo Savino(d).
Friday, November 05, 2004 - 8:00pm to Midnight - $10.00 Cover
Clancy's Jazz at the Crab Shack
219 North Central Avenue
Glendale, CA 91203
(Just off the 134 at Central/Brand Avenue)