Friday, June 26, 2009

Pondering A New Business Coming To OUR Community

If you had trouble noticing the new banner, here is a hint.
Coming not soon enough for many is a bakery at the intersection of Western Avenue and Trudie Drive.
The educated guess is that Amalfitano Bakery will take over the space vacated when Sunken City Skate and Surf Shop left R.P.V. for downtown San Pedro.
A full service bakery seems to be a wonderful idea for Western Avenue and all of us who live in the area.
Even though Terri were full from the one pancake we each had at Rex's, we both spotted the banner placed just this morning as if our bakeryradar was in full working order.
Another bakery in OUR community? Heck yes and why not?
We all lost Ramona's far too soon and it has been gone some time now.
We will never stop loving Polly Ann's and the generations worth of great baked goods from there. Of course we will still visit and purchase great eats for that San Pedro institution.
We all must never forget that we have other local bakeries like Buscemi's, Portofino, Joseph's and other that provide our large family gatherings and small parties with great breads, rolls, and other baked good.
But with a new bakery on this side of OUR community, perhaps we can gather to discuss and debate heavy and light matters involving OUR community while enjoying baked goods in a family oriented environment.
Who could possibly not know the Almalfitano name in OUR community. Real San Pedrans and many who aspire to be Real San Pedran, and even those who never want to be Real San Pedrans know members of that great family.
Yes I know perfectly well that the bakery will not actually be in 'San Pedro' and we in R.P.V. welcome revenue generated by the new bakery.
Having it just five houses away from our kitchen and stomachs may create a bit of a problem for Terri and I. But just the vision of all those wonderful pastries, breads, cakes, deserts, and other baked goods is far too hard to put out of our mind.
It didn't take long for Terri to remember those famous words spoken about a former store's sales. "Open, open open" was heard in the Honda even before we got into the driveway.
Opening a business in these tough economic times is also a gamble and I hope that this venture begins strong and becomes an institution just like Polly Ann's continues to be.
So welcome to Rancho Palos Verdes and the rest of OUR community Amalfitano Bakery. Expect us on your opening day or even before that.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Two Releases To Ponder Concerning Warner On Wednesdays

Below are two press releases concerning the Warner on Wednesdays showing of films at the historic Warner Grand Theatre in San Pedro.

Because I sit in the ticket booth outside the theatre which was opened in 1931 I can attest that the second week of the schedule brought in far more audience members than the first week and hopes are that the crowds will grow larger with every week's film.

Now here is something really unusual about Warner On Wednesdays; paying just $10.00 is better than free!

Here are the details of how that can be.

Regular admission prices for tickets is just $3.00 per ticket. That would be a whole lot more than the hundreds of complementary tickets that have been passed out but even free costs more, if you want popcorn and sodas.

Let's say you and a friend come to the theatre and want two $3.00 tickets. You hand me $6.00 and you get two tickets.

You go to the consession stand and pay $3.50 each for two small popcorns and $2.50 for two small sodas.

Heck, the prices for popcorn and soda beats the stuffing out of regular theatre prices to begin with.

So, you total up the tickets, the popcorn, and the soda. You just spent $18.00 for two tickets, two popcorns, and two small sodas.

Let's say you use two complementary tickets. O.K., that knocks off $6.00 and you still see the movie and enjoy the grub for $12.00.

Think you are smart? How about I sell you a $10.00 special?

That two tickets for the movie, two small popcorns, and two small sodas for just $10.00!

See, that beats free if you want the popcorn and soda.

There are still some complementary tickets roaming around. If you don't want popcorn or sodas, try to find them.

So now here are the two press releases.

Warner Grand Theatre on Wednesdays Proves To Be Popular With the People of San Pedro

Warner On Wednesdays (WOW) a summer film festival - has brought in the crowds and grows in popularity in Downtown San Pedro. 

WOW - Warner On Wednsdays in San Pedro


PRLog (Press Release)Jun 25, 2009 – In researching the genesis of Warner On Wednesdays (W.O.W) we spoke to producer, Ray Buffer who remarked, "in my time in San Pedro I have encountered a number of people who have told me that they had never been to Warner Grand Theatre, which surprised me.  What I learned is that many have had the perception that it is a 'uppity' place where they may not be comfortable - many people were not connecting to the place because the material presented was not known to them, and the price - not attractive." 

Buffer continued, "I had been thinking about a way to get more footsteps in the theatre for sometime, and I met with Dave Lynch, owner of Sacred Grounds Coffee House, over lunch.  We discussed the economy, and the infrequent events at Warner Grand Theatre.  We discussed ways to stimulate concession sales even if it meant producing an event ourselves.  We talked about doing a series of 2nd run movies - films that were fairly new, and may just be coming out on DVD.  Why rent the film and watch it at home, when for the same price (or less) you can enjoy it on the big screen watching a 35 MM print?  I spoke with Lee about doing a series of films and what 'day' would be good for the theatre.  We looked at the schedule and saw that Wednesdays and Thursdays were generally available, but Thursdays were less available.  Lee told me that John Delgado, president of Central San Pedro Neighborhood Council had wanted to do a series of films for sometime, but things may have stalled.   So I met with John and shared my reasons for wanting to do a Summer festival:  get people into the theatre for the first time by making it affordable and mainstream and perhaps after the audience gets comfortable, they will come see other events at Warner Grand Theatre.  John's reasons were to offer low cost entertainment to his constituents and perform outreach for Central San Pedro Neighborhood Council - he also wanted to see the Warner become a more popular venue for locals like it was when he was kid.   We also shared the desire to invigorate business in downtown San Pedro on Wednesday nights.  John agreed to work together and approach various councils for funding and I got to work on the film selection, bookings, and marketing.  When we settled upon Wednesdays, I came up with "Warner On Wednesdays" (WOW) for our concept and produced posters and materials.  As additional sponsors came aboard, fully committed, we revised materials to include them." 

Buffer explained, "in May, The PBID and Chamber produced an event tied in with the Mayor's Day of Service called Super Service Saturday.  I assisted them with title concept and marketing and by booking Superman Returns for a 4PM showing at Warner.  This was where we first mentioned Warner On Wednesdays, and Superman Returns was fairly well attended despite a late marketing attempt.  The event showed me that people who had never been to the theatre could be attracted for free.  So in exchange for financial support, our sponsors were provided with "free" tickets that announce their sponsorship of the event and extended free admission to the holder courtesy of the funding organization.  In addition we were selling $3 tickets at the door, and $10 tickets that included admission, sodas and popcorn for 2." 

Buffer expounded, "if the series ultimately proves to be successful, then we would like to continue it either as a Summer Series of 12 films, or as a year round Wednesday event.  Central San Pedro Neighborhood Council has provided 85% of the theatre costs, with Coastal San Pedro Neighborhood Council coming in with 10%, the other 5% of the theatre costs, the film rental, delivery and license fees, and marketing/ticket costs are covered by The Relevant Stage and Sacred Grounds.  Revenue goes to mitigate costs, and any excessive profits go back to perpetuate more 'WOW' in the future." 

When asked about the costs of this Summer film festival, Buffer answered, "one way TRS is attempting to make sure all the costs are paid for WOW, is by selling preshow on-screen advertising.  For $360 (about the cost of a movie license and rental) a business or organization gets their slide shown 3 times or more accompanied by 15 seconds of voice over, before each screening.  That amounts to 72 impressions over the 12 film series, which breaks down to just $5 per ad." 

Buffer credits the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs for working to make sure this community partnership came to fruition, "Lee Sweet, General Manager of the Warner Grand Theatre which is owned by City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs has been invaluable in helping us navigate our way through this first series.  He has dealt with all the movie companies - and it is no small feat to book 12 films from nearly as many film companies all within a fairly compact window of time, and juggle scheduling personnel of the theatre, including a projectionist for something the theatre has not seen regularly in a while: back to back film screenings - especially on a weekday." 

Buffer advised, "the screenings at 6PM and 9PM hopefully allow those who are retired, out of school, and working from 9 to 5, equal opportunities to take in a WOW film, and eat in downtown San Pedro.  We have seen with just the first two films, over 600 people come in to the Warner Grand Theatre on a Wednesday night!" 

Buffer concludes, "we hope that people will seize the opportunity to get engaged with the Warner Grand Theatre through this affordable series.  Movie theatres typically make their money through concession sales, and with Dave Lynch's recently expanded menu of including hotdogs, and the convenience of buying beer and wine, fresh cookies, popcorn, sodas and candies - we hope that audiences who get to see the movie for free or even for only $3, will be inclined to spend more liberally at the concession stand.  Its great to see the community gather in such a beautiful theatre, and use it the way it was intended by its creators".

The Relevant Stage Theatre Company performs in residence at The Warner Grand Theatre in San Pedro, CA. TRS' mission is to challenge hearts, engage minds and expose truths. TRS tells relevant stories about the contemporary world we share.

Warner On Wednesdays (WOW) is produced through a community partnership between TRS, DCA, Sacred Grounds Coffee House, Coastal San Pedro Neighborhood Council, and Central San Pedro Neighborhood Council.


THE WIZ starring Michael Jackson, to be Screened in San Pedro on August 19th as part of Warner On Wednesdays

2009-06-26 06:47:05 - "The Wiz" can be seen Wednesday, August 19 at 6PM and 9PM at Warner Grand Theatre for only $3, or for $10 you can get two drinks, two popcorn and two tickets. See Michael Jackson as the Scarecrow in a big 35MM print just as audiences saw it 31 years ago.

The Wiz is a 1978 American musical film produced by Motown Productions and Universal Pictures, and released by Universal on October 24, 1978. An urbanized retelling of L. Frank Baum's The Wonderful Wizard of Oz featuring an entirely African-American cast, The Wiz was adapted from the 1975 Broadway musical of the same name. The film follows the adventures of Dorothy, a shy schoolteacher from Harlem, New York who finds herself magically transported to the wonderland of Oz — which resembles a fantasy version of New York City. Befriended by a Scarecrow, a Tin Man, and a Cowardly Lion, Dorothy travels through the world of Oz to seek an audience with the mysterious "Wiz", who they say has the power to take her home.

Produced by Rob Cohen and directed by Sidney Lumet, The Wiz stars Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, Nipsey Russell, Ted Ross, Mabel King, Theresa Merritt, Thelma Carpenter, Lena Horne, and Richard Pryor. The film's story was reworked from William F. Brown's Broadway libretto by Joel Schumacher, and Quincy Jones supervised the adaptation of Charlie Smalls & Luther Vandross' songs for film. A handful of new songs, written by Jones and the songwriting team of Nickolas Ashford & Valerie Simpson, were added for the film version. The film received four Academy Award nominations for Best Art Direction, Best Costume Design, Best Original Music Score and Best Cinematography.

Michael Jackson, a former Motown star who by the start of development on The Wiz in 1977, had left Motown for Epic Records with his brothers The Jacksons, was cast as the Scarecrow. Jackson was dedicated to the role, and watched videotapes of gazelles, cheetahs and panthers in order to learn graceful movements for his part. Critics noted that Jackson possessed "genuine acting talent" and "provided genuinely memorable moments." Of the results of the film, Jackson stated: "I don't think it could have been any better, I really don't." In 1980, Jackson stated that his time working on The Wiz was "my greatest experience so far...I'll never forget that."

Warner On Wednesdays had already scheduled "The Wiz" as part of its Summer Film Festival of affordable for films for families. The selection is made poignant by Jackson's sudden passing. On Wednesday, August 19, There will be two showings of "The Wiz" at 6PM and 9PM at Warner Grand Theatre, 478 W. 6th Street, San Pedro. Come see Michael Jackson's film acting debut, on the big screen for this rare opportunity. Visit: for more details.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Pondering A Very Busy Summer In San Pedro

Summer hasn't officially begun but it is well past time that we ponder on all the activities planned this summer in San Pedro.

The first note to remember is that there are TWO 'calendars' you should probably bookmark or add to your favorites for everything San Pedro. is under the umbrella of and provides three calendars for you to use. run by Ms. Kristina Smith provides more descriptions about upcoming events, meetings, and other things.

Both sites are essentials for learning more about San Pedro and the hectic happenings happening almost every day.

Shakespeare By The Sea has already begun and this weekend is "Love's Labour's Lost".
The Company needs all of our support and they really enjoy seeing the huge crowds attending the shows at Point Fermin Park. is their site.

Little Fish Theatre Company, along with SBTS is offering "Hamlet II" a very comic parody of the cursed Dane's story. You can find information about that production on the same site.

Music By The Sea begins in July. Now THREE music groups will perform in a program extended one-hour longer than in previous years. has the bands and a whole lot of information about other events this summer.

The Golden States Pops Orchestra will offer a free performance at Cabrillo Beach on Independence Day. This is all part of a humongous day and evening long event that is one of the most popular and well attended events on July 4.

July 11-12 finds Fort MacArthur Days at the Fort MacArthur Military Museum, in San Pedro.

Where else can you spot "Abraham Lincoln" conversing with "General Douglas MacArthur" and you might see our own John Olguin as "Capitan Juan Cabrillo.

There will be battles staged, parades conducted and you might see skirmishes between Roman soldiers against Civil War troops with some Redcoats added into the mix.

This is a real San Pedro treat for the whole family and quite the hoot of a good time.

July 17-19 finds the Mary Star of the Sea Fiesta being held. has information about the event.

What is wonderful about great traditions continuing in OUR community abounds during the Fiesta.

For all Real San Pedrans and even those who want to be, you simply cannot miss one of the dinners during the Fiesta and we all must support the Queen of our choice.

August 1-2 is the TWENTIETH annual Taste In San Pedro...has it really been going on that long?

The Web site looks bigger and better and I expect this year's event will match the improvements of the site and even more!

Weekends from August 7-23 finds "The Last Five Years" being presented at The Warner Grand Theater by The Relevant Stage Theatre Company.

A Summer Camp for youth where "High School Musical 2" will be rehearsed and performed four times before live audiences is available through the Theatre Company and information about it can be found via their Web site. Those performances will be held in late July.

The third annual TriArt Festival will take place on September 12 and 13. provides great information about this ever growing and improving event that all should attend.

Ongoing every Saturday night at Midnight is the long-running "Rocky Horror Picture Show" at the Warner Grand Theater.

A $9.00 ticket provides you with both a movie and live-action with skits and pre-show happenings younger folks seem to enjoy.

There is an ongoing Fright Night on Fridays at the Warner Grand, too. has the information you may want.
_____________________________________ is the place to learn about events at The Warner Grand Theater and Grand Annex.

The Warner Grand Vision Organization is doing great things as far as providing entertainment and education in OUR community.

Stop by Angel's Gate Cultural Center during the summer and look up the activities and showings going on at the former Upper Reservation of Fort MacArthur.

Tired yet?

We have the largest fountain in the State of California you need to visit.

We still have the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium. We have the Marine Mammal Recovery Center.

Out on the coast there is the Point Vincente Interpretive Center, Trump National that has public walkways, and then there is.......

Terranea. Yes it is in San Pedro's neighboring city of Rancho Palos Verdes but it is a must-see for all of us.

Oh the opulence. Oh the pricyness. Oh the views. Did I mention the pricyness?

Get a good look soon because none of us know if it will be around in six months.


Being San Pedro, we have probably the best Italian restaurants this side of Rome. 

Our local restaurants can cook fish, beef, and other meat dishes that cannot be uneaten.

We just about every continent covered as far as types of foods offered in OUR community.

Have you eaten at Think Prime yet? Or should the real question be, can you afford to eat at Think Prime?

I always like to put a shout out to Admiral Risty's at the Golden Cove Shopping Center on P.V. Drive West.

Need a nap or a picnic?

Thanks again to the very late Mr. George Peck for starting something that is truly great about OUR community.

We have parks. Lots of them. You can be hot and sticky at Eastview Park and Peck Park or you can get much cooler at Point Fermin Park.

When the waterworks are fixed at Averill Park, you can lounge or fish for crawdads or just get a big block of ice, a towel or piece of cardboard and slide down the grassy hills with your tummy on the block of ice.

There is so much more I haven't listed that you can do in OUR community. 

The great folks at Beacon House will be putting on their street fair for the community and so many of them help at just about every event mentioned on this post.


Monday, June 1, 2009

Pondering The Truth Of Where I Really Grew Up

As far back as I can remember, my parents kept informing me that the tract of homes I grew up in was the original "Eastview". Well, they and I were not correct. In fact, we were 180 degrees off!

The first photo was taken in 1950 and shows my home and about 214 others in what was the first tract of homes built on the west side of Western Avenue.

The second photo is from Google Earth and you can sure tell times and things have changed.

An Article from The News Pilot dated May 4, 1950:

Harbor Area Project Includes 215 Houses

Two Hundred and fifteen new homes are being erected in county territory above Peck Park as the harbor area continues its residential building boom.

The dwellings, known as Western View Homes, are being constructed by Shinn-Worzburger Building Corp. of Los Angeles.

Two Hundred of the structures are two-bedroom homes with attached garages, while the other 15 are three-bedroom houses with detached two-car garages.

The Price range of the smaller structures is $7200 to $7650. The three-bedroom houses are being offered for $8950.

Forty of the dwellings have been completed and several families already have moved into the project. Pioneer families in the area include those of M.O. O'Brion, James J. Prendergast, R. A. Marcoux and F.T. Veazey.

Three new streets have been created by the project-Highmore Ave., Jaybrook Dr. and Homeworth Dr.

The Shinn-Wurzburger firm built 55 new houses in Walteria in 1948 and has also done large-scale housing construction at Hawthorne, Monrovia, Arcadia and Fontana and in the San Fernando Valley.

The Western View project was started last December. One hundred homes are expected to be completed before the end of this month.

My dad told me he signed papers for his home while it was still only a foundation with wood framing on top.

When the house was finished, he and my grandmother moved into the brand new home with my mother joining them when my parents married.

Our home and yards look quite different now. Our house is pictured as the fifth house above Western Avenue on the left side of Trudie. The first house above Western has a Highmore address.

Our house has sort of a gray shading on its side and the two poles behind it basically define the area of our back yard.

No retaining walls, fences, or patio structure exist in the photo.

Thanks to Mr. Fred Crawford for supplying me with the photo and article.

Now for what the area looks like today, see the photo below.

As you can see, there are quite a few more vehicles visible along Western Avenue.
Long gone is the Channel Heights housing project with its apartments and market in the foreground of the older photo.
Of the 215 original homes first purchased at Western View Homes, only the home of Mr. and Mrs Graham has original buyers, to the best of my knowledge. Boy, they have seen a whole lot of change!