Pearce hits slam to sink Angels

TORONTO – Angels closer Bud Norris gave up a walk-off grand slam to Blue Jays left fielder Steve Pearce in the bottom of the ninth inning, squandering a six-run lead and cementing an 11-10 loss to Toronto on Sunday afternoon at a sold-out Rogers Centre.

For Norris, it was the second time in a week that someone hit a grand slam to win a game against his pitching.Cleveland Indians first baseman did it on Tuesday in the 11th inning of a tie game.

“Can’t sum it up yet,” Norris said when asked how difficult this week has been for him. “It’s humbling. It’s something to really learn from. A lot’s been going on in my head and everything else, but in the heat of the moment, I have to stay focused on what I can control, and that’s one pitch at a time. I made some really good pitches, I made some bad pitches, and the one I didn’t make tonight really got punished.”

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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.

Puppets to invade Santa Monica

Los Angeles Puppet Fest, a celebration of the art and creativity of all things related to puppetry, will culminate in the city by the sea on Sunday, April 28 with a large puppet parade.

The parade is being organized by Million Puppet March, a group that promotes social good through puppetry, and will begin at 11 a.m. A closing ceremony will begin at 12:30 p.m., organizers said.

Courtesy of the Rogue Artists Ensemble, a collective of multi-disciplinary artists, attendees wishing to participate in the parade who do not have a puppet can make their own for free before it begins.

L.A. Puppet Fest offers a variety of events, shows, exhibitions and classes for all ages. This year’s installment is sponsored in part by a grant from the city of Los Angeles,
Department of Cultural Affairs.

For more information, visit the L.A. Puppet Fest website at http://www.lapuppetfest.com. Admission for events ranges from free to $25.

For some runners, life is a marathon

During last year’s Los Angeles Marathon, Charles Delvalle was in a wheelchair, watching the marathon on television while recovering from a coma, unable to participate in the race he had been running since 1995.

On Sunday, he was back on the course dressed as Uncle Fester, a character from the television show “The Addams Family,” as he has over the past few years.

“This is my coming-back-to-life marathon,” Delvalle said.

From elite runners who make a living running marathons, to ordinary people who run for a cause, a charity or for fun, the LA Marathon seemed to bring those who participated together.

Unlike Delvalle, who ran the marathon just for fun, Abigail Gregg had a more personal motivation for making the 26.2 mile trek across Los Angeles.

“I ran the marathon because 30-something years ago, my mother ran it,” she said. “It was sort of one of those things. I was living in Los Angeles for four years. I was carrying on the tradition.”

Sunday’s marathon was Gregg’s first, much like her mother, whose first marathon was in Los Angeles as well.

Julie Weiss, a Santa Monica native, is a mother herself. On Sunday, she ran her 52nd marathon in as many weeks in an attempt to raise awareness for pancreatic cancer, an illness that ended her father’s life in 2010.

“I knew that I needed to do something dramatic, something big, to make a difference, to spread awareness,” said Weiss, who also has a full-time job as an accountant for a commercial real estate company.

Another runner who participated in the race for a cause was Christian Alvarado, a blind 27-year-old who lost his vision due to optic atrophy while in high school. He ran this year’s marathon on behalf of the Fulfillment Fund, a charity that helps high school students do well in school and enter college.

“One of the reasons why I do it is to prove to the community that my blindness is not a disability; it’s just an additional challenge that motivates me to accomplish all my goals,” Alvarado said. “Anything is possible. There is nothing that can stop you except your mind.”

Jeffrey Lemberger is two years sober, after having been addicted to drugs and alcohol for 10 years. He ran the marathon as a part of Team Beit T’Shuvah, a residential treatment center in Los Angeles.

“I’ve gained a sense of spirituality through running marathons,” Lemberger said.

Lemberger said Sunday’s race was his 10th in the past year. His goal is to run 20 by December.

Larry Rosenblatt chose to run his 22nd marathon to raise funds for a family in need. Through his employer,Synchronoss Technologies, Rosenblatt ran to support the Everett family, whose four children, all under the age of 20, lost their parents during Hurricane Sandy.

“This is a heartfelt tragedy,” he said. “It touches all people.”

For runner Cesar Marquez, the marathon was more than just running a race. He proposed to his girlfriend, Miroslava Rojas, as she crossed the finish line. She said “yes.”

The marathon started early Sunday morning at Dodger Stadium, with the wheelchair participants taking off at 6:55 a.m. Shortly after, the elite women runners began their 26.2-mile run, 18 minutes and 35 seconds ahead of the men.

The race ended on Ocean Avenue in Santa Monica, just blocks away from the Santa Monica Pier. Thousands of people gathered to meet their loved ones and cheered for runners as they crossed the finish line.

In her marathon debut, Aleksandra Duliba of Belarus came in first for the elite women with a time of 2:26:08, leading her to win the gender challenge. Erick Mose of Kenya won the men’s race with a time of 2:09:44.

Merissa Weiland contributed to this report.

Art Walk: Not just for artists

Babak explains the meaning of his art to a potential buyer during the Downtown L.A. Art Walk on Dec 13, 2012 in downtown, Los Angeles.

Babak explains the meaning of his art to a potential buyer during the Downtown L.A. Art Walk on Dec 13, 2012 in downtown, Los Angeles.

On a chilly night in downtown Los Angeles, with a little more commotion than usual, patrons could browse the local stores, restaurants and galleries displaying art from all over the world.

Art Walk has been a monthly staple of Los Angeles for many years, and on Thursday, with nearly 50 different galleries, there was enough to see to satisfy anyone’s inner art lover.

On display were not only traditional paintings, but creations in all types of mediums, including digital art manipulated by a printer, various illustrations and a sculpture of what Taylor Swift would look like if she were a zombie.

One of the most unique pieces was a row of inflated balloons that hung on the ceiling of the GRspace gallery. The balloons changed shape, going from flat to crescent, while also changing colors. The work is called “Rafale” by AK Airways.

“When you look at it, it’s visually stunning,” said Gennie Rim, owner of the GRspace gallery. “It’s so big and immersive that you become part of the performance sculpture.”

Rachel Kassenbrock stated that she liked having something to interact with, and touched on just how special “Rafale” was to her.

“It’s not exactly what you see every Art Walk, so it’s nice,” she said.

The Hive gallery was another sight to see, with an eclectic array of art pieces and photographs, also utilizing various techniques. Among the artists was Preston C., creator of “Twisted Teddys.” His art features teddy bears portrayed in edgy situations, including a crucifixion.

“It was a way to address social issues using the iconic image of the teddy bear, which represents childhood innocence,” the artist said about his craft. “It shows that as we grow up and are exposed to different things, that innocence can be twisted, warped or perverted in many different ways.”

Art Walk is not only a place where enthusiasts can enjoy looking at artwork without having to pay a hefty museum cover charge, but it is also a place where budding artists can showcase and sell art of their own.

Victoria Ying and her husband Mike Yamata work at Disney and Dreamworks respectively doing feature animation. Last year, they started a side business called Extracurricular Activities in an effort to create “more personal work and share it with people.”

They have been selling their artwork at conventions such as Comicon and Comikaze. Thursday was the couple’s first time selling at Art Walk.

“We’re still testing out what kind of shows we do well at,” Ying said.

Fabian Pablo, a local Los Angeles artist, hopes to have his work displayed at Art Walk in the future. In the meantime, he spent his time at Art Walk admiring the work of others.

“I’ve seen really good quality work,” Pablo said. “A lot of artists are really nice, and they explain what their artwork is about and what’s behind it.”

The next installment of Art Walk is Jan. 10. Bring a sweater, a good friend and an open mind.

Downtown LA: Bruce Wayne’s New Batcave

Youngers pose with the Batman statue at the Dark Knight Legend exhibit on the Event Deck of LA Live in Downtown, Los Angeles. Photo by Alex Vejar

Youngers pose with the Batman statue at the Dark Knight Legend exhibit on the Event Deck of LA Live in Downtown, Los Angeles. Photo by Alex Vejar

Adam West. Michael Keaton. Val Kilmer. George Clooney. Christian Bale.

These actors have been in their fair share of movies and TV shows over the past few decades. But they all have one deep, dark secret.

They are all Batman.

On the Event Deck of L.A. Live in downtown Los Angeles, a red carpet welcomes you to the “Dark Knight Legend” exhibit, consisting of three sections that display Batman-related memorabilia.

Music from the latest trilogy of Batman films sets the mood for the first section of the exhibit, which features artwork created by fans of the entire Batman series. The most notable attraction is a statue built with a familiar childhood staple.

“The thing that I noticed right away was the Catwoman made out of Legos,” says Gordon Holmes, who has been a fan of the Batman since 1966.

Two versions of the Batsuit, Bane’s intimidating mask and the Joker’s purple outfit are all accounted for in the second portion of the exhibit. These costumes and others on display were worn by the actors during filming, making them truly authentic.

Adding to the authenticity is the Batmobile showroom, the final and most awe-inspiring part of the exhibit. Cars from every stage of the Caped Crusader’s history are present, including the original 1950s version, which will be auctioned off in January. An eye-opening video about the evolution of the Batmobile helps viewers understand the origins of their favorite vehicles.

Holmes’ favorite Batmobile is the original from the Adam West television series.

“It’s sleek; it’s sharp; it still has the spirit of 50s automobiles,” Holmes said.

Christina Antuna prefers the most recent installment of Bruce Wayne’s alternate mode of transportation, the Tumbler.

“It has the most practical design for what it’s trying to accomplish,” Antuna says.

Rounding out the exhibit are other items related to the last three Batman films, including props, a miniature model of the Batcave and the nuclear reactor from “The Dark Knight Rises.”

Walking through this “Batmuseum” certainly induces feelings of childhood nostalgia, reminding us of the very first time we read a comic, watched a cartoon or experienced an IMAX movie about Batman. It may even help us remember the idea behind the mask.

“It’s good over evil,” Holmes says.

Antuna looks at Batman in more human terms.

“He doesn’t have any superpowers,” Antuna says. “He’s just a man who wanted to help people.”

The Dark Knight Legend Exhibit is open to the public from noon to 9 p.m. through Dec. 14, and is free of charge.

Endeavour’s Final Mission: Home

We believed it could fly, we believed it could touch the sky. It was on the move both night and day. It spread its wings, and crawled its way through the streets of Los Angeles, at two miles per hour at a snails pace for more than 56 hours.

In a massive parade lasting two-and-a-half days, the space shuttle Endeavour traveled 12 miles through the streets of Los Angeles this past weekend, rolling through the communities of Westchester, Inglewood and Baldwin Hills, before finally arriving at the California Science Center Sunday morning.

Endeavour’s historic move began at 10 p.m. on Thursday, as it crept out of a hanger at LAX airport in the chilly night air. The shuttle arrived at its first public viewing on the corner of La Tijera Blvd and Sepulveda Eastway at around 7 a.m. Friday morning, meeting loud cheers and excited onlookers.

Spectators awaited the arrival of Endeavour for several hours. Frank Lazares, a resident of the city of Downey, arrived at his spot along La Tijera at 3 a.m Friday. His reason for being there so early in the morning resulted from a yearlong love of astronomy and the space program, he said.

Richard Stock, a local marriage and family therapist and former professional photographer, was looking to take the perfect shot of Endeavour. “You never know when the shot is going to be there, he said. “You stay as long as you can and hope for the best.”

The next destination of Endeavour was the world-famous Randy’s Donuts in the city of Inglewood. Spectators gathered to see the massive shuttle next to the larger-than-life donut affixed atop Randy’s. While not as iconic as Endeavour, the restaurant is a familiar sight in film and television productions.

Not only was the showing at Randy’s another opportunity for the public to witness the shuttle, but it also the site of an upcoming Toyota commercial where a Tundra pickup towed Endeavour across a bridge over the 405 freeway. Uproarious cheers and chants of “USA, USA!” filled the air during the three-minute moment that had to be seen to be believed.

While waiting for the shuttle to be towed, Santa Clarita native Paul Cardey expressed his feelings on the significance of Endeavour’s stroll through the city streets.

“The people paid for this,” Cardey said. “I have paid thousands every year in tax money to wherever it goes. So I think it’s great to put it out for the people to go view it.”

NASA astronaut Mike Fincke, Commander of the International Space Station who flew on Endeavour, shares Cardey’s thoughts on the shuttle’s potential lasting impact on the city of Los Angeles.

“I think people are going to be inspired. Not just the little ones, but even older people.  It’s going to bring to their minds a little more about science, technology and exploration,” Fincke said.

For the remainder of its journey, Endeavour was met with various unexpected delays.  Slated to arrive at the Baldwin Hills mall at 2 p.m. on Saturday, the shuttle did not arrive until five hours later.

On numerous occasions, the shuttle was stopped completely in order for city workers and engineers to trim tree branches, disassemble streetlights, and to fix a hydraulic malfunction.

Endeavour’s original arrival time at the California Science Center was estimated to be 9 p.m. on Saturday.  Most people who were waiting for the shuttle to arrive went home upon hearing the arrival time had been pushed back to 6 a.m. the next day.

However, Robert Haymond, who arrived at the museum on Saturday afternoon, did not follow the crowd. Instead, Haymond waited overnight for the shuttle’s arrival the following day.

“This is kind of a big deal,” he said.  “I think it’s worth waiting it out and seeing it show up to the Science Center.”

At 10:40 a.m. on Sunday, Endeavour made its final turn onto Bill Robertson Lane, breaking through caution tape, symbolizing the end of a slow but steady race to its new home. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, President of the California Science Center Jeff Rudolph, and others present at its arrival welcomed the shuttle.

Obtaining the space shuttle Endeavour was no simple feat for the California Science Center. The process was a one-year, national competition that saw the center competing with 29 other institutions vying for the opportunity to adopt the shuttle.

Rudolph reflected on the events leading up to the beginning of Endeavour’s final mission.

“Every step of the way, it’s still hard to believe. When we first got the announcement from NASA 18 months ago, it was amazing. When it landed at LAX, it was another amazing feeling,” he said. “And then, when we left the hangar, emotionally it’s like ‘Wow, this is real. We’re on the way, our last journey,”

Dr. Ken Phillips, Curator for Aerospace Sciences at the California Science Center, hopes that Endeavour will positively influence young students’ education.

“If we do our homework right, if we do our job right, we can use this vehicle not only to inspire some real science learning, but to empower kids; to actually help them do some real critical thinking and problem solving,” Dr. Phillips said.

Such a monumental task could not be completed without some casualties. Many local businesses closed their doors on the days Endeavour crept by, resulting in lost revenue.

Candance Blankenship, owner of Delian Music in Inglewood, stated she would take “a huge loss” on the day the shuttle was supposed to pass by her store. “It’s great for the community, but for business, not so good,” she added.

Loretta Gordon, owner of a beauty salon named A Style Of Your Own on Martin Luther King Blvd., was so upset about the closing of the streets that she did not want to participate in viewing the shuttle.

“I’m pretty sure I can watch it on TV,” she said. “I don’t want to be in all that crowd.”

Endeavour’s transport through Los Angeles was part of the $200 million budget to improve the CSC, which also includes the construction of the new Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center.

But even with a delay stretching Endeavour’s journey by 17 hours, Mayor Villaraigosa was proud of the events that unfolded, calling Endeavour’s journey “a resounding success.”

“Mission 26, mission accomplished,” Villaraigosa said.

Endeavour will go on display at the Samuel Oschin Display Pavilion, open to the public on Oct. 30th.