Friday, July 20, 2012

Interview: Dustin Lance Black

Academy Award winning screenwriter Dustin Lance Black was in attendance for a staged reading of his play "8" Friday night at The Western Stage. Here is a transcript from a short interview he gave "The Beat" prior to his appearance.

For the record, what was the time frame you lived in and attended school in Salinas?

I was here 88 to 92, maybe the end of 87. Because I was here for junior high a touch, and then I went to high school here. I graduated from NS High School in 1992. I was always in Salinas. We were working in Fort Ord. My step-dad and mom were working at Fort Ord.

I was always on the north side. We started in an apartment that was down by (Northridge) Mall. And we ended on Julia, 945 Julia (Street). On the corner of Alvin and Julia.

Talk to me about what you took from those formative years for you, growing up in Salinas.

Mexican food is better here. There’s no Rositas (Armory Cafe) in Los Angeles. I came away with two different ways of pronouncing Rodeo, or Ro-day-O.

I did spend a lot of time here (gestures to The Western Stage). This was kind of my little oasis. I felt a little isolated and a little different here. Growing up Mormon, it wasn’t that kind of community. I was a closeted gay kid and at the time there was almost no place in the country where that was okay, and I was into the theatre, and that also was like, at least at North High, there wasn’t much of a theater program. So this became home, and it was a place, I learned how to open up, even though I was incredibly shy. They gave me confidence in who I was.

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Monday, July 16, 2012

Ink At The Bay Festival takes place Friday through Sunday in Monterey

The inaugural Ink at The Bay Tattoo Festival is a coming out party for the local tattoo scene.
The event takes place 2-10 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m. - 10 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. - 7 p.m . Sunday at the Monterey County Fairgrounds, 2004 Fairground Road, Monterey.
For information, visit
About 40 artists from Monterey County and abroad, including artists from as far away as Italy, Switzerland, and Brazil, as well as the Bay Area and Las Vegas.
Juan Gonzalez, event organizer and owner of Exclusive Ink tattoo shop in Salinas, said the mainstream acceptance and popularity of tattoo art has opened the door for this type of event locally.
“With the tattoo industry getting bigger on television, before it wasn’t like that,” said Gonzalez, referring to reality TV shows like TLC’s “Miami Ink” and spin-off “LA Ink.” “It’s like more people are into tattoos.
Gonzalez, 30, opened Exclusive Ink about five years ago. He said he has been tattooing professionally for about seven years.
His artistic development began at a young age. His first medium was oil paintings, with a particular interest in portrait paintings.
Gonzalez now specializes in tattoo portraits, creating lifelike images for his clients.
“You can’t erase, obviously,” Gonzalez said of the challenges of the flesh as a canvas. “You’ve got to give your best on every tattoo. These people are going to be walking around with it for the rest of their lives. It’s a little more stressful than painting on a canvas.”
Event organizers are hoping to get between 2,000 to 3,000 attendees for the event.
Gonzalez named a few of the artists he’s looking forward seeing over the weekend.
Daniel Rocha of Las Vegas specializes in tattoo portraits. Los Angeles artists Fernie Andrade is another portrait artist, known for his black and white work.
Italian artists Gianluca Altavela has a reputation for free hand Polynesian artwork, a tribal style that is especially popular in modern tattoo circles.
Gonzalez said organizers modeled “Ink at the Bay” after a few of the industry conferences he’s attended. He’s gone as far as Italy for recent ink festivals.
Organizers also wanted to offer other attractions for casual tattoo fans. For non-tattoo enthusiasts, organizers have scheduled a Saturday evening concert. Vanishing Affair, Cali Nation, Automatic Animal, Hate For State, Dub Dog, Spin Farm, Voodoo Boys Trio, Thirty 9 Fingers and Ill G will perform.
There will also be Aztec Dancers, face and body art demos, DJ’s and a pin-up model contest on Sunday.
It’s all aimed at promoting the local tattoo scene.

 “I’m stoked that there is going to be a convention here,” said Rick Webster, manager of Gold Coast Tattoo in Monterey, which is a sponsor of the event. “Guest artists can come here and tattoo and have a little vacation, too.”

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Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Chelsie Hill of Pacific Grove introduced on "Push Girls"

Monterey Peninsula native Chelsie Hill was introduced to a national cable audience on Monday night's episode of "Push Girls" on The Sundance Channel.
In her introduction (embedded video above), Hill is greeted on the show by cast member Mia Schaikewitz. They are attending a dance recital by wheelchair-bound dancer Auti Angel.
In a voice-over, Schaikewitz explains that Angel first met Hill and introduced the Pacific Grove native to the cast.
“Now we’ve all taken her under our wings,” Schaikewitz said.
Hill’s story is explained briefly in a snap montage. A photo of Hill prior to her car accident
justapozed with a picture of her in the hospital.
“When I first met the girls, my first reaction was “Oh my gosh, you can be beautiful and be in a wheelchair,” Hill said in an aside.
“When I was in the hospital, I watched video of (Angel) dancing,” Hill explained. “I met (Angel) and then she introduced me to the girls. I’m definitely still learning my body right now. And being with the girls has definitely helped me a lot.”

During Angel's competition scenes, Hill shares some emotional anguish brought.
"I've been dancing since I was three. Going into the ballroom competition and seeing all those dancers brings back that feeling," Hill said,"like if I could just turn off my paralysis for two hours and dance, oh my gosh. I'd be the happiest person ever."
Hill will have a recurring role in the season's second half, according to a show spokesperson.
"Push Girls" airs Monday nights on The Sundance Channel. Check your cable provider's listings for show time.

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Friday, June 08, 2012

Review: "Old Ringers" @ Paper Wing Theatre Co.

The current production of Old Ringers at the Paper Wing Theater in Monterey was written by Joseph Simonelli, directed by Katie Burmaster, and was billed as a Neil Simon style comedy. Thus I arrived at the theater with high expectations.

The set revealed a 1960s style apartment somewhere in New Jersey with Amanda the daughter (Kelly Machado) working on a laptop computer, which was the first of the series of incongruities. Amanda was talking to her mother, Diane (Andrea MacDonald), who was in another room but unfortunately Amanda's voice was low enough to entirely miss her first two or three sentences. 

My first indication that there were philosophical differences between mother and daughter was the subsequent arrival of three of mom’s old friends. While the older women discussed their current financial plight Amanda found spaces in the conversation to lecture them about the evils of drink and sex.

When Diane receives a call requesting phone sex the idea of supplementing their income by providing this obviously needed service took root. All four women, Diane; Verna (Suzanne Alvin) the only one of the group who showed a glimmer of a promiscuous past; Kathy-Anne (Linda Dale) whose struggle to cover up with her raincoat provided the only true comedic moment; and Rose (Kira Gray) participating in providing this service, even including Harry (Richard Mueller), Diane’s current physical interest, whose role consisted of potentially servicing a gay clientele.

The title of the show indicated that all four of these women had, somewhere in their history, worked in burlesque. But the costumes did not match those expectations. There were no feathers, no garish earrings, and no boa in sight. Incoming calls were transferred from a princess phone to cell phones creating even greater confusion as to timelines.

Officer Rumson (Jay DeVine), Amanda's current romantic target, saved the day by collecting all cell phones and offering to find jobs for the would be soiled doves.

The overall comedic aspect was lost in part by the fumbling of lines and a feeling that the show had not received adequate rehearsal time. The constant movement of five or more people on stage at the same time screamed for better blocking and the set called for much greater research. 

Perhaps with a few more shows under their boas and the redefining of the space and electronic props this show will be able to present the easily identifiable comedy intended by the playwright and cast.

-Sam Sebastian

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Review: "One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest"

You’d be crazy to miss The Western Stage’s production of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.

I went into the stage adaptation of Ken Kesey’s novel with no expectations and an open-mind. I’ve not seen the movie or read the novel but both have become such staples in American culture that everyone seems to be familiar with the narrative.

The ensemble cast did a fabulous job creating a believable version of a psychiatric hospital’s dayroom inhabitants.

Nathan Liittschwager, as Billy Bibbit, is vulnerable and displays the anguish one might expect from a person who had recently attempted suicide and has the expected problems with meeting his mother’s expectations

Ron Cacas’ descriptions of his hallucinations as Martini had audience members double-checking themselves to ensure that it was merely his hallucination. Alex Bush’s Ruckley serves as a warning to other dayroom dwellers of what happens to those who buck the system.

John G. Bridges’ portrayal of Charles Cheswick reveals a man who plays by the rules of the institution but finds it difficult to measure up to rules on the outside.

Valerio Biondo’s Scanlon never reveals what caused his stint in the psychiatric institution but one can well imagine with the bit at the beginning of the play.

There are three players who merit special attention, however.

No version of “Cuckoo: would be complete without a stern Nurse Ratched, in this case played with tight control by Dawn Flood Fenton. While I had expected a Nurse Ratched who chewed up the scenery, Ms. Fenton’s portrayal showed far more restraint and calm control – she
may have been too nice, in fact.

Jeff McGrath’s mesmerizing interpretation of Randall McMurphy was reminiscent of Nicholson’s film version, though he made the role his own. He was blustery and conniving, a good time Charlie who found a way out of the workhouse.

But it was Reynald Medrano’s interpretation of Chief Bromden that held the play together.

For most of the play Medrano doesn’t speak while on stage and we listen instead to his thoughts in quiet moments before or after scenes. When he finally does speak it catapults the action into high gear and causes the other men to question their own inevitable shrinkage as a result of their time in the psychiatric hospital.

This performance reminds me that we have wonderful local talent on the central coast and in particular on The Western Stage.

-Lee Ann Ritscher

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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Info for Gentlemen of the Road Festival, Aug. 25 @ Monterey Fairgrounds

Taken from


Monterey, California: “Monterey was not a town to let dishonor come to a literary man.” So wrote Steinbeck in Cannery Row. As literary men ourselves, we thought Monterey would be the perfect place to end our American adventure. Plus, weʼre huge Steinbeck nerds.
The Monterey Fairgrounds have a long history of epochal music events. Itʼs the place where Jimi Hendrix learned to light his guitar on fire (and, presumably, to put it out). The Fairgrounds are part arena, part eclectic campus, part carnival. And then, once night falls, weʼll roll down to Monterey proper: Cannery Row, the Aquarium, and lots of other cool spots.
A very limited quantity of $59 tickets with no additional fees or charges will be available beginning June 1 on a first-come, first-served basis. These tickets will sell out, so please watch the onsale timing and plan accordingly.
All remaining Stopover tickets will be $69, all-in, with no additional fees or charges. Every ticket is also a commemorative passport and includes an exclusive live download compilation featuring performances taken from across the Stopovers.

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Mumford & Sons coming Aug. 25 to Monterey County Fairgrounds

Courtesy of Mac McDonald:

British indie folk stars Mumford & Sons will headline the Gentlemen of the Road Festival Saturday, Aug. 25 at the Monterey County Fairgrounds. Tickets go on sale Friday at 10 a.m. at and Also on the bill: Gogol Bordello, Grouplove, The Very Best, Two Gallants, Apache Relay and Haim. The group was nominated for two Grammy Awards in 2010, including Best New Artist and Best Rock Song ("Little Lion Man"). They garnered four nominations at this year's Grammy Awards.

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Update from Dylan Bird @ first day of 2012 Scripps National Spelling Bee

7:30 a.m. PST: Round one is over! Dylan cannot discuss it with me yet, per his confidentiality agreement. 

We are taking a break from the books for a few minutes. Dylan is trying to kick my butt in gin rummy! I'm not going down without a fight though,lol.

Study after that for about 2 hours. After 3 p.m. approximately, all first round tests should be completed, at which time we can try and figure out how he did. Very unscientific though....out of the 50 words they spelled, only 25 pre-selected words will count toward preliminary score. 

We will not know officially until Free round 3 is completed by all, roughly 5,30 to 6pm. Keep u posted as it goes....N

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Dylan Bird's First day of competition @ the 2012 Scripps National Spelling Bee

Editors Note: Monterey County Spelling Bee champ Dylan Bird is in Washington D.C. for the first day of competition in the 2012 Scripps National Spelling Bee. Dylan's mother, Nichola Bird, is sharing the family's experiences with "The Beat." Below are texts and photos she sent Tuesday morning. Stay tuned for more updates. 

5:18 a.m. PST: Round one test is underway already. (I am) anxiously pacing outside, waiting. I will not be allowed to even ask Dylan about it as he had to sign a confidentiality agreement into all participants have finished the test this afternoon.

Dylan signing in for Round 1

Here's a quick look at The Hall of Champions. Starting in 1925 with Frank Neuhauser with his winning word GLADIOLUS.

2012 contestants in Scripps National Spelling Bee. More appropriate title should be International, as kids hail from all over the world to this prestigious event.

Dylan Bird

Dr Jacques Bailey, 1980's winner, and the famed pronounced of the bee.

Scripps Emblem

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Monday, May 28, 2012

Dylan Bird @ The 2012 Scripps National Spelling Bee

This picture is outside the Maryland Ballroom, where the competition takes place. Outside there is a long hallway, aptly titled "Hall OF Champions."

   Dylan decided to forego the (opening BBQ) and study instead! If we didn't emphasize what an amazing job Scripps do emphatically enough last week, I have to reiterate... there are no questions left unanswered regarding all aspects of competition week. They are so thorough.

Spellers orientation was last night. They run through all info needed verbally before handing out printed agendas for the week.

Along with prizes, Scripps National Spelling Bee Certificates, backpack, t-shirts, sunglasses are all embossed with "SPELLEBRITY, along with a definition of themselves, lol....You know Dylan can't wait to sport that combo! Did I mention that they are day glow orange??? I'm wearing mine.... albeit to sleep in!
When we were done there, we stepped outside to find a festival going on here at the hotel. It's really beautiful, it overlooks the Potomic and yachts are conveniently harbored right there, so as to make a stunning backdrop. 
Adam Lambert in concert
Totally unexpected was the Adam Lambert Concert we were lucky enough to fall into. We found ourselves eating funnel cake, & philly cheesesteak sandwiches just a few feet from the stage. I watched idol, the season Lambert was on, but let me tell you, he can blow, WOW!!! Even Dylan was impressed. 
Just as it was coming to a close, a security officer realized that we were wristband-less and void of all other appropriate entrance materials, you know, like a ticket..Haha. We had the pleasure of hearing and videotaping a vocal extravaganza on an exquisite backdrop, ate some local fare, before the ants descended in armies, heading directly to our funnel cake, and we took our cue to exit. They followed up with a fireworks display from the boats on the water.  We went upstairs to study and being fortunate enough to be on the 15th floor with a side Potomic view we felt those fireworks. We tried to photo, but didn't come out that well. 
We study all day today in Preparation for the early (Tuesday) morning call of the 1st Round - a 50-word computer test. 
It's really special seeing your child here. So proud of him. No matter what. I keep reminding him how he will look back years from now with such pride at this accomplishment... twice, no less.

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Friday, May 25, 2012

Oscar winner Dustin Lance Black comes to The Western Stage in Salinas July 20

The Western Stage and the 2x4 Bash event organizers announced Oscar winner Dustin Lance Black will attend a July 20 staged reading of his play "8" at the Mainstage Theater in Salinas.
The full announcement can be read here and after the jump.

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Friday, April 20, 2012

VIDEO: HARA Motion Picture Conservatory's "A Long Shot" trailer

Here's the trailer for the "A Long Shot," produced by Monterey Peninsula students in the HARA Motion Picture Conservatory.
"A Long Shot" premiers May 11 at the Performing Arts Center in Pacific Grove. For information, visit

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Thursday, April 19, 2012

VIDEO: YUN-GUN "Beautiful Mess"

The 831's own Yun-Gun drops his latest video, "Beautiful Mess." Directed by Yun-Gun himself.

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Monday, April 16, 2012

VIDEO: Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Eminem, 50 Cent & Tupac @ Coachella

The internets are buzzing with reports from Coachella of Dr. Dre & Snoop Dogg's weekend-closing performance. The appearance of 2Pac, via digital hologram, has created the biggest stir.
As my friend Kazzeo pointed out on Facebook, hologram technology is nothing new, so the performance doesn't appear all that ground breaking.
However, I believe there are a few things to take away from this performance.
 Dr. Dre has a track record of putting together elaborate stage productions, and Sunday's set may have been his personal masterpiece. The set worked as a Shady/Aftermath/G-Unit showcase, with 50 Cent, Em and 2Pac being rolled out like a fantasy hip-hop revue come to life.
The Coachella performance is another notch in the good Doctor's belt, and with 2Pac's virtual resurrection, it lends credence to Dre's capabilities as a master showman.
The hologram technology is nothing new, but with the 2Pac performance, they seem to have perfected the projections to eerily realistic levels. Watching the live feed on YouTube last night, I was struck by how defined 2Pac's hologram appeared on my non-HD screen. Everything from his toned frame to the immortal "Thug Life" tattoo were in fine detail. We've seen the hologram trick before, we not quite like this.
The big deal is that it's 2Pac, performing at Los Angeles's premier music festival, appearing in the middle of the desert like some sort of thug messiah. This will go down as a landmark moment in West Coast hip-hop.

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Saturday, April 14, 2012

VIDEO: E! Network promo for "Mrs. Eastwood & Co."

Here's the first official promo for "Mrs. Eastwood & Co.," the upcoming reality show starring Dina Eastwood.
I'm scheduled to talk with Dina and her band, Overtone, on Tuesday. More on that later in the week.

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Thursday, March 22, 2012

Video: The Saurus Vs. Pat Stay

Monterey's rap battle legend The Saurus doing what he does best: eating a Canuck's lunch.

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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Dina Eastwood reality show confirmed. Premiers May 20 on E! Network

Dina Eastwood's new reality show, "Mrs. Eastwood & Co." has been officially announced on the E! Network's program lineup. The series premiers May 20.

Read about the announcement here:

Check back to the blog for updates throughout the day.

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Tuesday, March 06, 2012

CSU Monterey Bay Teen Film Festival scheduled for Sept. 29

The Fourth Annual Teen Film Festival will be held Sept. 29 at CSU Monterey Bay's World Theater.
The deadline to apply for the festival is April 27. Filmmakers between 13 and 19 years old are invited to submit films  and videos up to five minutes in length at
Entries may be in English or Spanish. It is free.
The 2011 festival drew more than 200 entries, with submissions from Afghanistan, South Africa, Venezuela along with local entries.
Sundance Film Festival programmer Mike Plante will curate three festival programs.

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Monterey County Film Commission scholarship deadline extended to April 6

The Monterey County Film Commission's film student scholarship & awards program deadline has been extended to April 6.
One $2,000 scholarship or two $1,000 schoarships will be announced by May 5. Applications can be downloaded For information, call 646-0910 or email
The program provides financial aid to film students and beginning filmmakers residing or attending a community college or university in Monterey County. The Monterey International Pop Festival Foundation added a private donation to this year's award.

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North Salinas & Alisal High School poetry clubs team up for "The Ballad of Martin Ramirez"

The North Salinas High School and Alisal High School poetry clubs are teaming up for a multi-media show titled “The Ballad of Martin Ramirez.”
Directed by Mike Roddy, the play runs March 22 and 23 at the Salinas Performing Arts Center at Salinas High School.
Ramirez was a self-taught Mexican artist who spent most of his adult life institutionalized in California mental hospitals. Following his death in 1963, his drawings and collages became some of the most highly valued examples of ousider art.
In 2007, the American Folk Art Museum in New York City opened the first major retrospective of his work. The exhibit travelled to the San Jose Museum of Art later that year.
Roddy said local students are writing poems that will be inserted throughout the story.

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Thursday, March 01, 2012

Listen to Kazzeo's "Club Wreck" @ 6 p.m. tonight for Bubba G. Scotch Tribute info

DJ Kazzeo will have a special announcement for listeners of tonight's "Club Wreck" show, regarding the Bubba G. Scotch tribute show this weekend.

The tribute takes place at 7 p.m. Saturday at Casa Sorrento in Salinas. Tickets are $20. All proceeds benefit Bubba and his family during his battle with Leukemia.

Kazzeo's announcement will be of special interest for anyone planning on attending the event. Tune in for the scoop.

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VIDEO: Sledge Grits Band perform on BET's 106 & Park

I've watched these girls since the beginning, and it's just an amazing trip to see how far along they've come in their development. They now live in Southern California, and Wednesday they performed on BET's 106 & Park.
Comedian Mike Epps was moved by the performance, proclaiming lead singer Mimi Sledge “a star.” The studio audience clapped along to the groove, and it was just an overall commanding performance.
Much respect to Mama and Papa Bear Sledge. Their sacrifices and continued support of their children's dreams is something any parent can appreciate, myself included. I wish nothing but the best for these young ladies. We'll be watching.

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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

VIDEO: Yun-Gun "Cryin"

My old school homie Yun-Gun drops this ill joint, "Cryin." YG produced the track, wrote the lyrics and directed the visuals. This guy is just dripping with talent. G

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Mic Quin feat. Royalty " Bad Lil Baby" Official Video

My dude Mic Quin dropped this little gem with the one and only Royalty. Filmed on the Peninsula. What do you think?

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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

“Schoolyard Antics 5” Friday, March 2 @ Somos Media

Somos Media hosts its latest artwork/hip-hop showcase, "Schoolyard Antics 5," Friday, March 2 at their downtown Salinas gallery.
Featuring art work by Basic Lee, One DR, Nite Owl, Epic, AG, Cameron Thompson, Mash and Ciire. Live music from Jupiter 7, Pocas Palabras, Cerebral People, Mike360, Ed.Word, Ewok & Iconic. 
The event is free and open to all ages. For information,

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Sunday, February 26, 2012

VIDEO: Amara Miller pre-Oscar dress selection

This is courtesy of the Young Hollywood Network at They shopped with Amara Miller & her stylist, Jessica Paster.

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Peninsula girl Amara Miller turns heads on the Academy Awards red carpet

Peninsula girl Amara Miller made a splash on the red carpet at the 2012 Academy Awards. She arrived and immediately turned heads in an original gown from Italian designer Valentino Garavani. @VanityFair observed :“Only at the : The Descendants co-star Amara Miller, age 11, thanks her stylist for finding her white beaded Valentino Couture gown.”E! network personality Giuliana Rancic got the first interview with Miller on the red carpet. Rancic asked Miller about any advice she received from co-star George Clooney."This was the most important thing he gave me, "Wherever you go and whoever you meet, always treat people with kindness and humor," Miller said. Later on the red carpet, Miller was joined by her co-stars Nick Krause, Robert Forster and Matthew Lillard to chat with Ryan Seacrest.
Seacrest said to Miller "This has to got to be incredible for a young lady like yourself, Amara...""It's so exciting to be here and I'm so grateful to be on a project that's gotten this far,” said Miller. 
"The Descendants" lost out on the night's top prize, best picture, to the silent film "The Artist." The film's screenwriters won for best adapted screenplay. 

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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Bang Data perform Saturday @ El Callejon in Salinas

Exciting Bay Area Latino duo Bang Data perform Saturday at El Callejon in Salinas. Show starts at 9 p.m.
Consisting of MC Deuce Eclipse (Zion I crew) and producer Juan Manuel Caipo, the group has been making noise on the Bay Area Latin Alternative scene for a few years. Their eponymous single has been a popular draw on YouTube.
Full press release after the break.

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Thursday, February 02, 2012

Screening of local doc "Derby" by Dominic Parisi Feb. 14 @ The Alternative Cafe

derby from Dominic Parisi on Vimeo.

Local film maker Dominic Parisi presents his  documentary Derby,  as part of a Valentine's Day edition of the Cinema Speakeasy series at The Alternative Cafe.

The short film, which can be viewed above, will be shown before a screening of the roller derby film "Whip It" at 8 p.m. Feb. 15 at the Alternative Cafe in Seaside. The event is free. Details below.

The Alternative Cafe presents: “Cinema Speakeasy - Totally Indie Always Free”
"Whip It"
8pm to 10pm Tuesday February 14th Free!
The Alternative Cafe
1230 Fremont blvd Seaside, CA 93955

"Whip It"

In a town near Austin, Bliss Cavendar's strong-willed mom believes Bliss, at 17, can win pageants - the key to a happy life. Bliss isn't the beauty pageant type: she's shy, quiet, and has just one friend, Pash, her fellow waitress at a diner. Things change for Bliss when she discovers a women's roller derby league in Austin, tries out, proves to be whip fast, and makes a team. Now she needs to become someone tough on the rink, keep her parents from finding out where she goes twice a week, and do something about a first crush, on a musician she meets at the derby. Meanwhile, mom still sees Bliss as Miss Bluebonnet. Things are on a collision course; will everyone get banged up?

Drama | Sport, 2009, Color.

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11-year-old Luke Herzog hosts book signing Feb. 22 @ Pacific Grove Library

Luke Herzog, the 11-year-old son of local author Brad Herzog, will host a book-signing for his debut fantasy novel "Dragon Valley" Feb. 22 in Pacific Grove.

The event takes place at 6 p.m. Feb. 22 at the Pacific Grove Library. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to the library.

Luke Herzog's book is 203 pages and is being published through Why Not Books, which was formed by his parents Brad and Amy Herzog.

The back-page summary reads : In the year 2043, a renowned inventor unveils his master creation -- five scientifically spawned baby dragons. He leads them to a home, schools them in survival skills and hints at the magic that surrounds them. But can any creator retain total control over his creation? DRAGON VALLEY is an epic tale covering 1,000 years in the evolution of the dragons and their magical valley.

The book is for 8 to 12 year olds, and it is available for purchase at In addition, Luke has created a website:

WHO: 11-year-old Luke Herzog discussing and signing his debut fantasy novel, DRAGON VALLEY

WHERE: Pacific Grove Public Library (half of the proceeds will be donated to the library)

WHEN: Wednesday, February 22 at 6 pm. 

CONTACT: Brad and Amy Herzog,

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Monday, January 30, 2012

Monterey Pop Foundation adds $1,000 to MoCo Film Commission scholarship award

The Monterey County Film Commission's film student scholarship has been increased to $2,000 this year, thanks to a donation from the Monterey Pop Festival.
The commission's annual scholarship award money has doubled from its original $1,000. Applications can be downloaded at Applications are being accepted until Feb. 17.
The Monterey International Pop Festival Foundation, headed by festival founder Lou Adler, said the donation was made in the spirit of the festival.
“The Monterey International Pop Festival Foundation cannot think of a more ideal place to support than where the festival was born and where it continues to live,” Adler said in a statement.  “An additional incentive for our involvement is the fact that the Monterey County Film Commission is proactively marketing Monterey County as a destination for the motion picture, television and related industries, for the purpose of stimulating economic development, creating jobs, and providing and supporting educational opportunities in these areas.”
You can read the full press release after the break.

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"Bordertown" film producer visits CSUMB on Feb. 22

Filmmaker and activist Barbara Martinez Jitner visits CSU Monterey Feb. 22 to talk about the women's crisis in Juarez, Mexico.
Jitner will talk at 7 p.m. at the World Theater. The event is free. Reservations and more information is available at 
Jitner's topic, “Femicide at our Border: To be a Woman in Juarez is a Death Sentence,” will examine reports of more than 400 women who have been found raped, mutilated and murdered in the border town.
The film “Bordertown,” starring Jennifer Lopez, addressed the issue. Jitner was a producer on the film.
Full press release can be read after the jump.

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“Don't Fence Me In” Americana music tribute Feb. 29 at CSU Monterey Bay's World Theater

Wylie & The Wild West, Los Texmaniacs, The Quebe Sisters, North Bear, and Paul Zarzyski are among the performers scheduled for “Don't Fence Me In” Feb. 29 at CSU Monterey Bay's University Center.
The concert is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Feb. 29. Tickets are $10-$50 and can be purchased at or by calling the box office at 582-4580
The concert features a variety of music, poetry, high plains yodeling, western swing fiddle and vocal harmonies, all inspired by the country western experience.
Full press release is available after the jump.

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"Body of a Dancer" author D'Aoust visits Big Sur Library

Author Renee D'Aoust visits Big Sur Library Feb. 18. 
D'Aoust will read excerpts from her book “Body of a Dancer.” The book has been praised for its honest depictions of life as a modern dancer in New York City. D'Aoust writes about her experiences training at prestigious dance schools and clawing her way through the competitive world of professional dance. 
This program is free to the public. Refreshments will be served. Seating is first come, first served. Call the library at 667-2537 or stop by the library desk for more information.
Full press release is available after the jump.

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Friday, January 27, 2012

Today is last day to donate to HARA Motion Picture Conservatory's Indie GoGo campaign

Hara Motion Picture Conservatory, based at Access Monterey Peninsula in Monterey, is making one last push to raise funds for their next student film project. 
The details of the project, along with links to donate, can be viewed here: 
The group has raised just over $4,000 toward their goal of $7,935. Donors have until midnight to contribute. The group will receive the total amount of donations made toward their goal. 

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Thursday, January 26, 2012

Country Star Alan Jackson performs July 21 at California Rodeo in Salinas

Country Star Alan Jackson will perform at the 2012 California Rodeo in Salinas.
The concert is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. July 21 at Salinas Municipal Stadium.
Tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. Feb. 8 at the Salinas Sports Complex Box Office at 1034 N. Main St., Salinas, or by visiting Tickets are $35 general, $75 VIP.
Jackson has sold nearly 60-million records and is one of the biggest selling-artists of the modern recording era. He has written 24 No. 1 hit singles, placing him in rarified company with Paul McCartney and John Lennon.
 Jackson's Salinas performance is part of a national tour to promote an upcoming album. The first single, “So You Don't Have to Love Me Anymore,” is currently making the rounds on country radio and video outlets.
For more information, visit 

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Lujan & The Yard Stylee Allstars - Make A Change

Lujan & The Yard Stylee All Stars performing "Make A Change" @ Moe's Alley last week. Some Salinas irie vibes to get you going on this sunny Thursday morning!

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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Video: The Saurus vs. Defron (filmed in Australia)

Monterey's finest The Saurus battles his biggest Stan, Defron, in a touching struggle between father and son (that joke will make more sense after you watch the battle).

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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Monterey to Big Sur re-booked for Jan. 28-29 at Lighthouse Cinemas

Filmmaker John Harris's “Monterey To Big Sur” has been re-booked for another weekend of screenings in Pacific Grove.
The film screens at 1 & 5 p.m. Jan. 28-29 at Lighthouse Cinemas, 525 Lighthouse Avenue in Pacific Grove.
The film captures the Monterey Peninsula in rich high definition that pops off the screen.
Tickets are $10 general admission. For information, call 375-7534 or visit 

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Paper Wing Theatre Presents "Sweet-Tarts Valentine Burlesque!"

“Sweet-Tarts Valentine Burlesque” is the latest naughty but nice offering from The Paper Wing Theater.
A tart-y toss up of dancing, singing and sexy performance, the performance is the theater company's Valentine gift to the community.
Tickets are $20 general, $17 seniors, students and military. Visit or call 905-5684 for more information. The theater is located at 320 Hoffman Avenue, Monterey.


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Ed Dickinson back on the air at KYAA 1200 AM

Popular radio personality Ed Dickinson is back on the air  on radio station KYAA 1200 AM on the dial.
His "Way Back Now" show airs from 8 a.m. to noon Saturday and Sundays on KYAA.
Dickinson suffered a broken hip late last year that kept sidelined for an extended period. He returned at the end of 2012 and is going strong. His show "Way Back Now" features music from the big band era.
Dickinson has a Facebook fan page here. 

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St. Olaf Band performs in Salinas Feb. 1

The nationally renown St. Olaf Band performs a special concert with the Youth Orchestra of the Salinas Valley (YOSAL) Feb. 1 at the Steinbeck Institute for Arts and Culture in Salinas.

Founded in 1891, the St. Olaf Band is an ensemble noted for superb musicianship.

Timothy Mahr, St. Olaf Band conductor and professor of music at St. Olaf College, is a nationally recognized composer with more than 60 works to his credit, including “The Soaring Hawk,” for which he received the ABA/Ostwald Award.

The St. Olaf Band is the oldest music organization at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota, a campus internationally renowned for its high caliber of musical ensembles.

The concert is free for students, $10 adults. Tickets canb e purchased at, or by calling 1-800-363-5487. 

View the full press release below

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Monday, January 23, 2012

Chuck D of Public Enemy visits CSU Monterey Bay Feb. 7

Chuck D of Public Enemy
Public Enemy frontman Chuck D will speak on "Rap, Race, Reality and Digital Music" Feb. 7 at CSU Monterey Bay to help celebrate Black History Month.

The event takes place at 7 p.m. in the University Center on Sixth Avenue. Tickets are $5 and can be purchased at the door. 

Chuck D founded the influential hip-hop group Public Enemy. With albums like "It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back" and "Fear of a Black Planet," the group helped define politically edged music in the early 1990s. Artists ranging from Rage Against the Machine to Ben Harper to M.I.A. In 2009, VH1 named their single "Fight The Power" the number one hip-hop song of all-time. 

Chuck D has been a staunch supporter of digital media and file sharing since the late '90s. 

Read the full press release after the jump.

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Langston Hughes tribute scheduled Feb. 13 @ CSU Monterey Bay

The Ron McCurdy Quartet performs "The Langston Hughes Project - Ask Your Mama" Feb. 13 at The World Theater on the CSU Monterey Bay campus. 

McCurdy, a USC music professor, wrote the composition to accompany the Hughes poem "Ask Your Mama," an ode to the Civil Rights Movement and the Freedom Riders who were heading south. 

Tickets are $5 and can be purchased online at or by calling the World Theater box office 582-4580.

The event is sponsored by Student Activities and Leadership Development, Associated Students, College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences and the World Theater.

For more information, call Tim Bills at 582-4645.

A full press release can be read after the jump.

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Live Music is Alive (Once Again) at Plaza Linda in Carmel Valley

Just got an email from Kiki Wow, talent booker at Plaza Linda restaurant y cantina in Carmel Valley. The restaurant recently was forced to shut down live music at the venue after receiving a complaint.

Last week, Kiki was told she did not have to cancel any shows. The decision was made official this week. 

Live music is back on for good this week. Kiki sent out an email alert informing people of this week's schedule. She also sent this message.




Congrats to Kiki and Plaza Linda for getting live music back in Carmel Valley.

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Monterey County Film Commission announces "No Show" Academy Awards campaign for 25th anniversary celebration

Bypassing its annual Oscar Night gala event, the Monterey County Film Commission is asking its supporters to help the cause by not showing up this year.

Instead, the commission is asking attendees to donate $100 to $250, the regular cost of dress, dinner and transportation to the event, directly towards the commission.

In a statement, the film commission wrote “The film commission’s main annual fundraiser for the past 21 years has been a glamorous gala in a ballroom, celebrating the Academy Awards® presentations with a big-screen live telecast. This year the commission is doing a different fundraising appeal, inviting local residents to be “No Shows” on going out, and instead tune into the Feb. 26 broadcast on their televisions in the comfort of their own homes.”

Contributors will be entered into a benefit drawing for a movie themed prize basket.

 “To be most effective (film commission), we need stronger funding support to leverage the county’s contribution and be more proactive in marketing and reaching film decision-makers,” said Karen Nordstrand, commission marketing director, “and be more available to assist them when they consider filming here.”

For more information on the “No Show” fundraising campaign and to donate to the Monterey County Film Commission, contact the office at 831-646-0910 or email

The full press release can be read after the jump

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