Archive for the ‘Culture’ Category

Cajun Accordian Player

Long Beach’s International Sea Festival kicks off this week with Thursday Night Twighlight Concerts in the Park followed by the three-day Bayou Festival, celebrating the music, food and culture of Louisiana. Featured live music will include Cajun, Zydeco, Bluesand Jazz. There will be plenty of daytime fune plus “N’Orleans at Nite.”

Bring your appetite because the festival will be serving up delicious Cajun, Creole and other cultural foods. Bayou Fest will have a full-on Mardi Gras parade, kids arts & crafts, dance lessons and so much more.

For a full schedule of Bayou Festival events, click here.

Sea Festival Events


  • Sinjin Beach Volleyball Collegiate & Youth Open – (Belmont Shore Beach Courts)  Collegiate -June 23, Youth -June 30
  • 9th Annual Shakespeare Festival – (Long Beach Aquarium front lawn) – Romeo & Juliet – June 23 – July 15.  Free to the public with pre-show festivities at 6:00 P.M. and performance at 6:30. Bring a picnic dinner and a blanket or sand chair.
  • The Great Beach Treasure Hunt – Clues can be found in the pages of the Long Beach Press-Telegram newspaper. The Treasure hunt lasts for 10 days, with the Grand Prize hopefully being found on July 4th.
  • Pier Daze,Seafood & Pirate Festival – June 30 – July 1 – (Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier ) – Sample great seafood and BBQ, live music, a “real” pirate ship “attack” on the pier, and a limited number of Pirate ship rides will be available. Kids will love the treasure hunt, pirate costume contest and beach fun zone. There will also be a car show and much more.
  • Boys & Girls 14’s USTA National Open – (Billy Jean King & El Dorado Park Tennis Centers) – June 30 – July 4 – Nationally ranked junior tennis players from all over the U.S. will play against other up-and-coming juniors.


  • Pacific Open Water Challenge (Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier) July 1 – Features many of the sports that will be part of the Olympic Games in China including, 5K open swim, mile and half-mile swims, 5K run, Aquathon and Kayak/Paddleboard races and the ever popular Canine Splash & Dash (100 yd. swim and 1/2 mile run with your dog.)

Stay tuned for more info……..or go to the Sea Festival’s website for a full schedule of events.


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Food Festival

This weekend, June 27 and June 28, 2007, will be a great time to sample the delicious cuisine of many of Belmont Shore’s popular restaurants. From 5:30 – 9:00 P.M. you can stroll as you dine at Stroll & Savor on 2nd Street between Quincy Ave. and Bayshore.

Ticket books are sold for $10 and can be purchased this week at Caffe La Strada, Archibalds or Mail Boxes Etc. During the event, tickets will be available to purchase in front of Washington Mutual Bank on 2nd. St. You must have tickets for participating in the sampling of Shore restaurant’s wonderful and unique cuisine.

Other events taking place in the Shore this Summer include:

  • Family Fun Fest – Sunday, July 29th from 11:00 A.M. to 3:00 P.M. between Corona and Nieto Aves on 2nd St. $5 will buy a child’s wristband that will allow them to spend the day romping in a bounce house, climbing a giant slide, face painting, sport demonstrations, games and more. Both the police and fire departments will be showcasing their vehicles and some of their special talents. Complimentary hot dogs will be provided by the Long Beach Fire Department.
  • Sidewalk Sale – Friday -Sunday, August 17th from 10:00 A.M. to 6:00 P.M.
  • Another Stroll and Savor – August 22 and 23 from 5:30 to 9:00 P.M.
  • Car Show – September 9, Sunday from 10:00 A.M. to 3:00 P.M. Over 700 pre 1975 classic cars on 2nd St. and 14 other side streets. One of the largest on the west coast!
  • 4th Annual Chili Cook-Off – Sunday, October 21 from 12:00 Noon until 3:00 P.M. – $5 wristbands will be sold in front of Washington Mutual Bank, which will allow you to taste all the chili entries and vote for your favorite. Live music will be performed (also in front of Washington Mutal.)

For more information regarding these events, go to the Belmont Shore Business Association website. 

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Now that my still slightly shy, but adorable canine has become much more socialized, she is a magnet for every dog-loving fanatic that walks by my house. Erika loves to hang out and bask in the sun out front. Half a block from Starbucks and tons of other shops and restaurants on 2nd St., there is a lot of foot traffic past her yard.

With all the love and affection that abounds in the Belmont Shore neighborhood for “man’s best friend,” comes some pretty hilarious behavior, not so much from the canines, but from their human companions. I am witness to it on almost a daily basis.

It’s no secret that the majority of Belmont Shore residents love dogs. Just take a stroll down 2nd St., night or day, and you’ll find a very diverse group of people with a colorful array of furry friends. Twice a year (Easter and Halloween) the Shore is host to the Haute Dog Parade. Some 300+ pooches are in costume with owners in tow. It’s a real hoot to see, if you’ve never been. The once temporary dog beach between Granada and Roycroft Ave. has been given permanent status and Shore dogs are digging it.

A year ago, I adopted a very freightened, full-bred, 5-6 yr. old Border Collie named Erika. Poor thing had been abused and then abandoned in the desert. She had two litters of pups that were rescued but Erica was too fast to be caught. A very tenacious neighbor was finally able to coax her into his yard and keep her coralled until the wonderful volunteer adoptees could pick her up. Erika was reunited with her latest litter of pups until they were all adopted and then I was the lucky recipient of a wonderful companion, but scared she was!

I learned the meaning of “afraid of your own shadow” on one of my first walks with Erika. She would freak out and try to run away if the sun or moon was casting her’s or my shadow on the pavement in front of her. She didn’t eat for 5 days and was afraid of every noise, person or dog we encountered. Forget about tall men dressed in black!

Little by little Erica came out of her shell and started to trust. First it was me, obviously because I was the one feeding her and walking her. With a lot of socializing and reassurance, Erika now enjoys the dog beach, loves her walks and allows people to pet her when were on our walks. She is tolerant of other dogs, although she seems to be wary of some still. Cats don’t seem to phase her (never did.) It’s really quite amazing how far she’s come in a year.

Erika’s breed is in the “herding” catagory of dogs. She doesn’t bark unless some one she is not sure of is invading her space; usually her favorite spot on the front porch step. Even then she rarely gets vocal about it. As herding dog’s temperaments go, they are usually very high energy dogs, love to play and do very well in agility exercises. They are extremely smart.  True to her breed, Erika has been very easy to train. I taught her how to walk on my right side only and how to shake (paw to hand) in two days, not at the same time. I don’t even have to ask her for her paw now, she puts it up, lightening speed!

Un-be-known to all of Erika’s admirers and advocates, I am sitting at my desk just behind the front security screen door. From the outside, they cannot see through the screen door. I cannot believe the things that these people say and try to do with my dog!

One woman, I now know as Stephanie, has 2-3 minute conversations with Erika almost daily on her way to and  from Starbucks. Yesterday she brought dog biscuits back and tossed them over the fence to Erika, who was staying as close to the door as possible on the top step. After she sent the treats flailing over the fence she said “I hope your mom doesn’t care.” I  moved closer to the door to see what was being thrown at my dog. I decided to let it go, as I’m familiar with Starbuck’s dog biscuits. Erika didn’t make a move for them. Didn’t even flinch. Next comes “What’s the matter? Don’t be afraid. Aren’t you hungry?”

Later, Stephanie returns and I decide to poke my head out the door to let her know that my beloved pet is not left outside all day on her own. (I’m thinking that Stephanie could be the one that I heard a week or so ago, chastising Erika’s owner for not having water outside for her.)

I say “Hi, I just want you to know that I work from home and that my dog is not left outside without water and food all day. She loves to be outside and watch everything that is going on, but she comes in and out several times a day.” The look on Stephanie’s face said it all. Busted! I continued with “The dog bowl that you see overturned is for my upstairs neighbor’s Bull Mastiff , known as Buzz, when he is outside.”

Stephanie then introduced herself; told me that she owns two dogs and is thinking about getting another; said she adores Erika and wanted to know what breed she is. We had a 10 minute conversation and she departed with a new understanding of Erika’s past and present care.

Today when Stephanie came by with a friend, Starbucks cup in hand,  she stopped at the gate and explained Erika’s complete history to her friend. Then in a voice meant only for little children and adored pets, told Erika to “enjoy your day in the outdoors” and “I’ll see you again soon.” Like don’t worry, I’ll be back.

Throughout all of this attention and admiration, Erika sits on her step and just looks as if she has no interest whatsoever. I’d love to know what she’s thinking!

 My neighbors know my dog better than they know me, as I recently found out while I was holding an open house two houses down from mine. People would tell me they lived in the neighborhood and I’d say “I do too.” Then came trying to explain exactly where I live. It soon became clear that describing my dog was the quickest way to an understanding of where I lived. Only in Belmont Shore!

I would like to get a video camera to record and share all of little Miss Erika’s daily visitors. It’s an ongoing comical interlude to my day when I’m officing from my home. 

Too be continued……..

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What a wonderful opportunity to visit and view so many wonderful galleries and places in the ecclectic East Village Art District in Long Beach, CA. Tour des Artistes talkes place Saturday, June 9 from Noon to 10 P.M. Ticket holders of the Tour have unlimited access to bus transportation for the day on the Passport buses, Georges Greek Cafe’s trolley and of “the Big Red Bus,” an original London double-decker. Parking for the event will be at the city parking lot on 3rd. St. just east of Pine Ave in downtown Long Beach. The $10 ticket price for the Tour des Artistes includes parking for the day. (Tickets are free to all city employees including fire, police, teachers and military with valid ID.)You may also board the Passport bus in Belmont Shore at any of the stops along 2nd St.

This year’s focus of the Tour is to highlight living spaces for creative professionals. Tour des Artistes Committee Chair, Ryan Smoler points out that “… Tour definitely extends behond art; it’s really about how people are creatively using the East Village Arts District in their lives to do what they want.” Several units in the historic Cooper Arms building will be open for viewing, as will units in the Temple Lofts and Courtyard Lofts. Several units in the recently converted Masonic temple will feature a photo exhibit curated by Sarah Vinci of Cal State University of Long Beach’s University Art Museum.

With more than 60 events taking place throughout the day, every part of street life in the area is being shown off. Vin de Pays will have a wine tasting, Broadlind Cafe is offering a free cup of coffee, Basement Lounge has half-off entry and more.

A small sample of the Tour’s activities includes:

  • Entry into the Long Beach Museum of Art and picnic space on the bluffs overlooking the beach
  • Display and auction of the SPIN bicycles sculptures displayed around town during February’s AMGEN tour
  • Art shows in more than 20 galleries
  • Photo exhibits of life in Cuba and Iran as seen through the eyes of Long Beach residents
  • Boys and Girls Club of Long Beach’s Childrens Festival
  • Access to Temple Lofts, Jet Lofts, Courtyard Lofts and more
  • Artist Olympics with prizes for participants of the challenges
  • Wine label making at the La Muse Garde Cafe

Don’t miss this low-cost open house for the arts-related assets that the Long Beach coastal community has to offer. The Tour des Artistes is a great opportunity to check out all the different things that downtown has to offer, so later you can come back to visit all your favorite spots or some of those that you couldn’t fit in. For tickets, Tour maps, driving directions, events and more visit:  http://www.eastvillageartsdistrict.com/#event

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downtown-offshore.jpgI have moved across the country more times than I can count on one hand. I’ve always gravitated back to Long Beach and all that it has to offer. I’ve spent a lot of my adult life here and have decided to share my “Top Ten Reasons to Move to Long Beach.”  There are many reasons, but here is the short list, not in any particular order:

  1.  GREEN SPACE and Lots of It!!! Everyone is talking “green” now, from the Al Gore to Congress and the Sundance Channel’s, Robert Redford. Well, Long Beach has the most recreational park space per capita than any other city in California. The city has more golf courses, nature trails, dog parks, beach parks, open green space than any other city in the state of California! Want to enjoy GREEN? Move to Long Beach!!!
  2. Average Year-Round, Balmy Temperature is a WONDERFUL 77 Degrees!  Who can dispute that it’s pretty pleasant! If you study the coastline of California, Long Beach is tucked inland. The beaches run east and west. This dissimilarity puts us in the high 70’s for an average temperature. Most other beach cities in So Cal are several degrees colder in the winter months .
  3. Diversity is the Name of the Game! With so many diverse activities and events going on at all times in the city of Long Beach, it’s hard to just name a few. Culture is a prized focus of this great city. For openers Long Beach offers the LB Civic Orchestra, Ballet, Opera, the Museum of Latin Art (MOLA,) Long Beach Art Museum and Cafe, just to name a few. On the hipper/cheekier side of things, there is the LB Grand Prix, Sea Festival, LB Aquarium, Haute Dog Parade (Easter and Halloween,) Long Beach Marathon, Belmont Shore Car Show, Chocolate Festival, Chili Cook-off, Taste of Belmont Shore, Vault 350 for great music entertainment, etc…
  4. Great proximity to Freeways and Public Transportation –  You have to have a car to get around the L.A. area.  Long Beach is centrally located to the freeways,  the 405, 605, 710N, 22 E.  Long Beach is also a hub for the Blueline mass transit train that draws people to ride the rails instead of driving cars to Los Angeles. The Blueline connects with the Redline, Goldline and Greenline, all within a few mile in the downtown quarter of Los Angeles.  I’ve taken my kids to Dim Sum in China Town without getting into my car.
  5. SHOPPING! Did we mention the SHOPPING?– Sorry guys! If you’re into shopping then the multitude of shopping districts have it all for you! You can start with the Pine Ave. shopping district that includes Seaport Village shops, The Pike stores to the great used book store on Pine Ave. and everything  in between; boutiques of every kind on 2nd St. in Belmont Shore. (Take the little Red Bus (called the Passport) to the Belmont Shore Area and back, if you’re staying in downtown Long Beach; The Long Beach Towne Center, Marina Pacifica Mall, Bixby Village Shopping District, Los Altos Shopping Center and on and on. Not to mention the fantastic outdoor Farmer’s Market and other wares every Friday downtown and on Sundays at the Marina near 2nd St. and Marina Drive.
  6. Great Neighbors & Communities!– Long Beach has several Historic neighborhoods and many others that are noticeably well cared for and show a wonderful pride of ownership. Many have active community organizations that meet on a regular basis to discuss improvements or concerns.  It’s easy to meet your neighbors because most people spend a good amount of time outdoors and are accessible to engage in friendly conversation.
  7. Schools, Schools, Schools!…..Long Beach schools have a long-standing history of excellence. Long Beach Unified School District has just been awarded recognition for the “Most Improved” school district in the State of CA.
  8. The BEACHES! Kite-boarding, sandcastle-building, volleyball, concerts in the park, a rowing club, sailing club, kayaking, what else? Can’t forget the dog beach in Belmont Shore between Granada and Roycroft where dogs are allowed off-leash. It’s fun to watch the dogs even if you don’t have one.
  9. 5th Largest City in CA- Moving in the right direction…very forward thinking…Tons of re-development projects on the books and in the planning stages, Historic preservation, tourist attractions, and a balance between industry and residential property.
  10. The Last AFFORDABLE Beach City in So Cal – The median price for a home is less than every other beach city in Los Angeles County and Orange County.  That means that there is a distinct opportunity to realise an excellent return on investment as compared to other beach cities in So Cal!  

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2007 Sidewalk Chalk Contest WinnerAs predicted, crowds gathered in Belmont Shore for the Justin Rudd Annual Sidewalk Chalk Drawing Contest this past Sunday. As I was walking my dog in the early hours of the contest, a little rain began to fall. I saw several contestants try to shelter their preliminary work under canopies or eaves of nearby businesses. If Mother Nature would only cooperate! The contestant’s nerves were already on edge as they vied for $500 in total cash prizes.

The top two artists works are available to see at Whiskers, between Park and St. Joseph at 4818 E. 2nd St. in Belmont Shore/Long Beach. Congratulations to Carin Gross of Long Beach! She won “Best in Show” and $250 for her work titled “No substitute for Mother.”  More…….

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sidewalk-drawing-contest.gifUndoubtedly, the sidewalks of Belmont Shore will be drawing crowds on Sunday, April 22,2007, from 9 A.M. to 4 P.M. when aspiring and accomplished artists alike will be competing for $500 in cash prizes. Visual artists, high school and university students from all over will be creating their own masterpieces on the sidewalks using chalk as their medium.

You will find the artists along 2nd St. in the business area of Belmont Shore in Long Beach mainly between Park  and Corona Avenues. A free pizza lunch along with a box of colored chalk will be provided to the first 75 contest entrants.

Judging will commence at 4:00 P.M. in front of the Washington Mutual Bank and prizes awarded at 4:30 P.M. Bring your entire family down to cheer on the artists, as there is no charge for spectators.  more…

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