Local artist displays work for community at show benefitting SMMEF

Local artist James Crowley (right), Ed Burke (center) and Diego Vinals talk during a showing of Crowley's work at the Spindle and Canister store at Malibu Country Mart on Saturday, March 7, 2015.

Local artist James Crowley (right), Ed Burke (center) and Diego Vinals talk during a showing of Crowley’s work at the Spindle and Canister store at Malibu Country Mart on Saturday, March 7, 2015.

For local artist James Crowley, a family trip to the Four Corners monument, winning and losing at gambling in Las Vegas, and his father’s death all have one thing in common — they inspire his art.

“Almost every piece has something personally to do with my life,” Crowley said while standing next to a piece called “Heart Luck,” which was inspired by his father’s heart attack.

Crowley’s work was shown at the Spindle & Canister clothing store in Malibu Country Mart on Saturday, March 7.

Crowley, 53, has been showing his art in various ways for 32 years in locations throughout the country and even overseas.
Michelle Geft, who started Art Space Malibu, put together the show at the store after she coincidentally happened upon Crowley’s art.

“When I first saw it, I was drawn to his abstracts immediately,” Geft said. “It just drew me in.”

Geft said the hidden meanings behind Crowley’s pieces are what make them attractive to art lovers.

Crowley uses mixed media for his creations. Using screen printing, oil sticks and acrylics, he puts together colorful pieces that all have a special meaning for him.

Crowley has been an artist since he was old enough to use coloring books, he said. His parents constantly encouraged him to take art classes, leading to the career he is actively engaged in today. His mother was also an artist.

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In order to financially support his passion, Crowley said he photographs professional surfers, does graphic art and produces sculptures.

However, the mere act of creating art is what really matters to Crowley.

“Everyone needs money to create art, but the art is the most important thing,” Crowley said.

Crowley’s art was for sale on Saturday, and a portion of the proceeds from the pieces and the clothing bought at the store that night was donated to the Santa Monica-Malibu Education Foundation, Geft said. Two books of Crowley’s handmade drawings were also on display and the individual works were being sold.

At the showing, dozens of people attended and were treated to wine, cupcakes, and various finger foods.

Crowley said he sits outside and makes his art pieces, and seems to have a positive view on living in Malibu.

“I’m just very grateful to still be a part of the Malibu art community,” Crowley said. “I’ve lived here for three years … and I’m stoked to be here.”

Geft wants to coordinate more art showings from local talent so the community can start paying attention to the art world in Malibu.

“I think it brings arts to the community, which we don’t really have here, which is unfortunate because we have so many artists in Malibu,” Geft said. “So I really want to break that open for our community and show as many artists as possible.”

Permalink: http://www.malibusurfsidenews.com/local-artist-displays-work-community-show-benefitting-smmef

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Middle school actors execute ‘Fiddler on the Roof’ performance with precision

Milo Sposato (foreground) deilvers a monologue as Tevye during Malibu Middle School's performance of "Fiddler on the Roof" on Thursday, Feb. 26, at Malibu High School in Malibu, Calif.

Milo Sposato (foreground) deilvers a monologue as Tevye during Malibu Middle School’s performance of “Fiddler on the Roof” on Thursday, Feb. 26, at Malibu High School in Malibu, Calif.

Students from Malibu Middle School sang and danced their way into the audience’s hearts with their rendition of “Fiddler on the Roof,” which opened on Thursday, Feb. 26, in the Malibu High School amphitheater.

Produced, directed and choreographed by MMS science teacher Mark Larsen, “Fiddler” is a story about Tevye, played by Milo Sposato, and his five daughters as they fall in love with various men with whom their father does not approve.

One by one, Tevye’s daughters get engaged to men of their choosing, which goes against the traditional idea of men asking Tevye for his daughters’ hands in marriage and other Jewish customs. Even though Tevye hesitates at first, he ends up granting his blessing to all but one daughter, who marries a Catholic man against her father’s will.

The middle school’s rendition of the popular musical was well-executed and well-performed. Sposato as Tevye sang well throughout the show, and delivered his monologues perfectly and with the confidence and stage presence of a seasoned actor.

Claire Anneet, who played Tevye’s wife, Golde, was convincing as a woman who was strict and traditional, and expected her husband to be traditional as well.

Milo Sposato (right) and Claire Anneet act as Tevye and Golde during Malibu Middle School's performance of "Fiddler on the Roof" on Thursday, Feb. 26, at Malibu High School in Malibu, Calif.

Milo Sposato (right) and Claire Anneet act as Tevye and Golde during Malibu Middle School’s performance of “Fiddler on the Roof” on Thursday, Feb. 26, at Malibu High School in Malibu, Calif.

The entire cast of characters gave justice to the music of the show, performing hits such as “Tradition,” If I Were A Rich Man” and “Matchmaker” in key and with precise harmonies.

One unique aspect of the musical was the stage background. Instead of going with traditional set pieces to tell the audience where a scene was located, there was a digital backdrop that was able to be manipulated in real time.

For example, during a scene when Tevye was walking gingerly from stage right, he mimed that he was carrying a heavy wagon behind him. To illustrate that, there was a wagon on the digital background that moved as Tevye pretended to pull it, making it seem like he was actually interacting with the wagon on the screen.

In the instances where the cast danced choreography, they were in rhythm and did not make mistakes. During a scene where four characters were in a wedding reception, they each put a bottle on top of hats they were wearing, and balanced them on their heads while doing their choreography. The crowd erupted in applause after that particular section of the musical.

Overall, the musical is a delight for both the eyes and the ears. For only being in sixth, seventh and eighth grades, the students at MMS conduct themselves with professionalism and know how to entertain.

Malibu Middle School also performed “Fiddler on the Roof” on Feb. 27 and 28 at 7 p.m., and Mar. 1 at 2 p.m.

Students from Malibu Middle School dance to a song during their performance of "Fiddler on the Roof" on Thursday, Feb. 26, at Malibu High School in Malibu, Calif.

Students from Malibu Middle School dance to a song during their performance of “Fiddler on the Roof” on Thursday, Feb. 26, at Malibu High School in Malibu, Calif.

Permalink: http://www.malibusurfsidenews.com/school/middle-schools-actors-execute-‘fiddler-roof’-performance-precision

Pack up the yellow umbrella kids: “How I Met Your Mother” says goodbye

Warning: If you haven’t watched the How I Met Your Mother finale, you probably should. Like now. We’ll wait.

The series finale in two paragraphs. Ready? Go!

The mother dies. She’s been dead for the entire series. There, it’s out there. Oh, and her name was Tracy. Barney and Robin get divorced, and Barney is randomly given a daughter after knocking up one of his floozies, apparently changing him forever.

Ted reveals that “the mother” gets sick, but doesn’t say from what. Then, his daughter suggests that the entire story — and hence, the entire 9-year series — was only told because Ted had the hots for Robin and wanted to ask her out. Ted then goes out, gets that blue french horn HIMYM fans know all too well, and shows up on Robin’s doorstep. The end.

Say it with me, fans: “Um…what?”

From an emotional standpoint, the finale is a definite tear-jerker, especially when Ted announces abruptly that he has to leave Barney and Robin’s wedding reception, leading to one-by-one, heart-wrenching goodbyes with each character. Ted was supposed to be leaving for Chicago in the morning, but when he meets Tracy at the train station, that plan gets abandoned because, well, it’s Ted.

Cute sentiment, but after that, the storyline veers off into a weird territory.

Robin and Barney’s marriage falls apart in three years, fueled by her insane workload and constant traveling. What’s disappointing is that, for many seasons, we saw Barney slowly transform from a disgusting, womanizing person to one who can commit to a relationship. And after all that (plus a vow to Robin saying he’ll never lie to her again), their romance gets derailed by Robin’s profession as an international news reporter?

For a divorce between two emotionally unstable, yet completely right-for-each-other people, their end was incredibly anti-climactic.

Marshall and Lily make plans to move into a bigger home now that they are expecting third child, and Marshall gets another call to become a judge, cementing the fact that their story throughout the entire series was the least depressing. This was probably the only part of the finale that made sense, much like their entire relationship over the course of the show.

What’s upsetting is that the entire series, which took millions of viewers on a journey of laughter and borderline emotional turmoil for nearly a decade, was essentially just a ploy to get Robin back. Ted meets the woman of his dreams, has children, and his beautiful wife dies, but he’s still hung up on Robin?

The disaster here is one of “character trueness,” which is a term I just made up five seconds ago: Mosby spent the entire series making us believe that he was a die-hard romantic who would do anything to find the perfect woman. Then he finds her. Then she dies. And after all that, he goes back to another woman who couldn’t keep her own marriage going? This is not the Ted Mosby we’ve all come to know and love.

The writers could have done so much more with the ending. For instance, when it’s revealed that Barney’s going to be a father, it would have been great for the mother to be Robin. And Ted could have been telling the story about their mother to his kids for a sweeter reason, rather than just getting their permission to chase Robin…again.

Make the series finale totally awesome? Seems like it was challenge not accepted.

Permalink: http://sundial.csun.edu/2014/03/pack-up-the-yellow-umbrella-kids-how-i-met-your-mother-says-goodbye/

Not all condoms are created equal

After a romantic dinner and a hand-in-hand walk down the beach, you and your date are back home and things are getting steamy. Right before the moment of truth, you reach into your pocket and pull out your protection: a condom. All systems go.

But for those who either have never used a condom during sex or have never had to buy one themselves, the choice on which type is best can be daunting. Condoms come in enough different shapes, sizes and colors to confuse even the most promiscuous Don Juan.

Here are five kinds of condoms, rated on a scale of 1-5 (Rubber Rating), which could help you make the right choice for you and your partner.

Trojan Classic

There are three words every man wants to hear when it comes to managing his manhood: reliable, comfortable and solid. A classic choice, the garden-variety Trojan is simple, yet effective. It’s sturdy enough not to break and there is minimal slippage. The only gripe about these is they are a little on the thick side, leaving it less pleasurable for the wearer. Opting for the spermicide-coated version could leave your hands smelling pretty funky and partners won’t want that stuff anywhere near their mouths. Still, for those who are looking to make their first condom-buying experience a positive one, you can never go wrong with a classic.

Durability: 4

Pleasure: 2.5

Package opening time: 1-3 seconds

Overall Rubber Rating: 4

Trojan Her Pleasure

The name says it all. These condoms were made for achieving the big O. With two different areas of ribbing, this condom will have your partner wondering when you became such a stud in the sack. When you put it on, it looks like the condom doesn’t fit because there is some extra material in the top-half, but little does your lover know that this is what is going to make their toes curl for the latter half of the night.

Durability: 5

Pleasure: 3

Package opening time: 1-3 seconds

Overall Rubber Rating: 4.5

Lifestyle

You get what you pay for. These babies can be found on the way out of your friendly neighborhood women’s clinic and at our beloved Klotz Health Center on campus — for free.

But don’t let the easy access fool you. This brand of condoms are by far the worst form of “protection” for any couple. They slip off often and break easier than an iPhone screen after a date with the pavement. When you can’t have a decent night of sex without worrying about a trip to Planned Parenthood the next morning for a quick hit of Plan B and penicillin, perhaps it’s time to reevaluate your lifestyle.

Durability: .5

Pleasure: 2

Package opening time: 3-10 seconds

Overall Rubber Rating: 1

Durex

Slightly more durable and just as easy to obtain, these condoms are the slightly hotter cousin of Lifestyles. Much like Trojans, Durex condoms come in different styles and varieties, which makes them more consumer-friendly than the aforementioned red-wrapped disasters. But wearing them is a slippery slope, as they too can come off easily with even the tamest of kinky nights. However, they hardly break.

Durability: 3.5

Pleasure: 3

Package Opening time: 3-7 seconds

Overall Rubber Rating: 3

Trojan Ultra Thin

Made to feel like you’re doing the deed without a condom (even though you are), these condoms definitely feel the best for the one wearing a latex hat on his Johnson. The thinner design also means more pleasure for the partner. However, less is not always more. These condoms are so thin that they’re prone to slipping. However, true to the Trojan brand, they are not in danger of regular breakage.

Durability: 3.5

Pleasure. 3.5

Package Opening time: 1-3 seconds

Overall Rubber Rating: 3.5

Remember, lube is your friend

Usually associated with dry nether regions, lube can serve as a useful tool in any couple’s bedroom bonanza. A drop of lube in a condom adds another level of pleasure for men during sex, and adding lube into the mix reduces friction, thus reducing the chance of a broken condom and a ruined evening. Arousing lubes, such as KY’s Warming Jelly or their Yours & Mine Couples jelly, provide a warm zing that can get partners tingling. Desensitizing lube is another option for men who want stay in the game longer than usual.

When choosing a lube, it’s important for couples to know what they want — water, silicone or oil. Water-based lubes tend to be free of chemicals and easy to clean up, but require more applications during sex. They’re also great when paired with toys. If partners are looking for a lube that’s one application only, silicone is their answer. Silicone should  never be used with toys, due to silicone-on-silicone chemical reactions. Due to its sticky base, silicone lubes tend to stay on longer, but are a lot harder to wash off of bedding – so beware of stains, and stay off the couch with this one. Finally, oil based lubes such as vaseline, are thicker and not to be used with condoms, as they break down the latex. This method is best for handsy couples.

It’s important for partners to test the jellies on sensitive areas of the skin in order to avoid an unsexy infection. And as with any sexual act, it’s important to know what your partner wants.

Taylor Villescas wrote section on lube. 

Permalink: http://sundial.csun.edu/2014/02/not-all-condoms-are-created-equally/

Horror film ‘The Purge’ showcases intense maze in downtown

Halloween has become synonymous with stale, not-so-scary walk-through mazes in recent years, often based on themes from popular movies and TV shows like “Evil Dead” and “The Walking Dead.”

But Jason Blum, producer of such acclaimed horror films as “Paranormal Activity” and “Insidious,” created a new maze experience that surpasses the staples already available to horror junkies at Universal Studios’ Halloween Horror Nights and Knott’s Scary Farm.

“The Purge: Fear the Night” is an interactive experience based on the plot of suspense thriller “The Purge” that takes audiences through a complex storyline rather than merely having costumed employees jump out of a corner attempting to make them squeal in fear.

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Photo by Alex Vejar

The attraction starts with visitors viewing a faux television emergency broadcast by “Purge News Network” while waiting in line. They are given the roles of Level 10 government officials which, according to the plot of the film, signifies they can’t be harmed by purgers.

Guests are then led into a pitch-black mini-maze one at a time that will cause some to bump into a wall or two.

After making way through an almost-suffocating hallway in absolute darkness, they’ll find themselves in a large room, listening to actors playing the President and First Lady give speeches about the purge.

Small groups of five or six are taken to see the anchor of “Purge News Network” for a photo op. But the anchor is literally caught with his pants down, seemingly unaware he would have visitors.

Then the shit hits the fan.

The group is taken hostage by “Constitutionalists,” who have murdered everyone in the TV studio, and forced to follow them through six floors of the building. They are often told to “shut up” and will have to take shaky elevator rides, be transported in the back of a truck, and witness hails of gunfire and lots more bloodshed.

Each room the visitors enter plays out much like a scene from a play as they are all acted out live. The unique aspect of this experience is the audience is given tasks — like finding a key card or helping to deliver a baby — in order to move on the next part of the story.

Blum, who has a background producing theater, wanted to combine his passions of stage and screen into one unique experience.

“I love theater and I love live events and I make horror movies,” Blum said during a press meet-and-greet event. “This is my version of doing a live event and kind of getting back to my roots.”

Josh Randall, director of the attraction, said “Fear the Night” was only similar to other Los Angeles mazes because its attendees walk through it, and the similarities end when people involve themselves by performing tasks to advance in the maze.

“I think the big [differences] are that this is a real-life scenario; this isn’t about monsters, so nobody dripping in blood in vampire fangs is going to jump at you and say ‘I want to eat your brains,’” Randall said. “We wanted to create an environment that was completely immersive, that you felt like you were part of it.”

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Photo by Alex Vejar

“The Purge: Fear the Night” is open on Thursdays through Saturdays until November 2. There are eight total periods of entry every 15 minutes starting at 7:15 p.m. to 8 p.m., then beginning again at 10 p.m. to 10:45 p.m.

Admission is around $40 dollars, and compared to the lofty price tags of Universal Studios and Knott’s, this attraction is worth the money and more.

Art for a cause

The seventh annual ART for CLARE event will be held at Bergamot Station on Sunday, June 2, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

The charity event will include an art action with works by Ed Ruscha, Kim McCarty and actor Anthony Hopkins; a silent auction with items ranging from luxury vacations to sports memorabilia; live music and food from some of the area’s best eateries, including Lemonade and El Cholo.

Bergamot Station is located at 2525 Michigan Ave. Advance tickets are $25, and general admission is $30 at the door.

CLARE is a Westside-based recovery center that focus- es on addiction. For more information, visit http://www.clare- foundation.org/

Art department showcases students

From afar, it looked like a garden-variety dress on a mannequin.

But upon closer inspection, the real message of the art piece comes through. Words like “trafficking,” “victimization” and “violence” were written on cards showing seemingly-malnoursished children, depicting the horrors of the fashion-making industry

The Santa Monica College art department had the opening reception for its annual student exhibit at the Pete and Susan Barrett Gallery at the SMC Performing Arts Center last Friday.

Various art techniques, such as paintings, sculptures and prints, were displayed at the exhibition.

“It’s not just one medium, it’s all the classes in the department,” said Mirian Winsryg, the gallery director who has been teaching at SMC since 1987.

Winsryg said that it is important for students to have their work shown for others to see.

“In the art world, you want to have that experience,” she said. “It’s part of the experience of being an artist that you actually show your work. Otherwise, why do you make it?”

The faculty from the department choose at least two works from students in their classes to show at the exhibit.

For the last three years, the art in the showcase follows a specific theme. This year, it was Poverty & Wealth, Want & Waste: The Unevenness of Globalization.

Students who had work showcased in the gallery were present at the opening reception, and had lots to say of what it felt like to be a part of the exhibition.

“It’s kind of surreal just cuz I’ve never had my work showcased in a legit gallery before,” said SMC student Michelle Rhee. “It’s nice to be a part of the SMC art community.”

Brandon Otani, SMC student since 2006, has shown at the student art show before as a part of the Art Mentor program.

“It’s cool to be on display again,” Otani said.

Tara Gruchalski, 20, has been an art student at SMC for three years. She feels the art program on campus has helped her in a lot of ways.

“It really helped me kind of try to hone in on what I was good at, what my strengths were, what I needed to work on and what school I wanted to go to,” said Gruchalski, whose work was on display last Friday. “It’s been a really holistic experience.”

Art department chair Ronn Davis said the program’s objective is to prepare students to transfer to four-year colleges, as well as developing the skills of young artists.

“Our goal is to put you in a place where creativity is now an integral part of your everyday life,” Davis said.

The next showing of student art will be the exhibition for the Art Mentor Program this June.