LA LIFE: New Plaza, Lobster Fest, Ripe, Book Club, Tomato Poets

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LA LIFE: New Plaza, Lobster Fest, Ripe, Book Club, Tomato Poets

Officially the summer might be over Tomatoes…boo hoo…but now we can enjoy the “New Music Center Plaza” which has breathed new life into our LA culture.  If you’ve got a hankerin’ for lobster, then you’re in luck with the “Lobster Fest” in Long Beach this weekend. A fabulously talented Tomato, Wendy Hammers, is back with her solo show “Ripe”.  This Tomato (Moi) just joined the “LA Book Club” that focuses on stories and storytellers relevant to SoCal and the West and I’m super excited about it. And two of California’s finest poets (both Tomatoes) are doing readings tomorrow night at Beyond Baroque.  Fall is getting off to a great start.


Music Center Plaza Reopened

LA LIFE: New Plaza, Lobster Fest, Ripe, Book Club, Tomato Poets

Last week after 20 long months, another jewel to Downtown LA was added with the unveiling of the $41-million-dollar renovation of the Music Center Plaza. All brand spankin’ new and quite a transformation Tomatoes! The goal of the new design was and is accessibility, inclusion, and a deepening of all residents’ cultural lives. I for one can’t wait to see the highly anticipated “Plaza for All”.

As Tomatoes, we love a makeover. And this makeover included flattening and widening the space doubling the capacity for events. There is a plethora of new features, including glass-covered elevators on both sides of the main staircase off Grand Avenue, a wine bar, a welcome center, a coffee shop, giant LED screens and permanent restrooms. And now, anyone passing by can see it and easily and very safely access the Plaza.  It especially makes it easy for people with physical disabilities to visit and enjoy the full benefits of all the plaza’s features without the price of a theatre ticket. 

It is great for a Tomato to just hang, meet up with a friend for a bite or grab a cup of coffee. And with the $12-million gift from The Ring Foundation to broaden the Music Centers’ reach, we can expect FREE and low-cost public programs, educational initiatives and dancing to be offered. What fab news for all LA residents and LA Tomatoes.  Whoopee!


LA LIFE: New Plaza, Lobster Fest, Ripe, Book Club, Tomato Poets

This week’s podcast features famed astrologer Virginia Bell – author of the book “Midlife is Not a Crisis…Using Astrology for the Second Half of Your Life.” Tune in as she shares how the planets and their positioning have so much to do with each stage of our life. Virginia writes horoscopes for many media outlets as well as gives personal readings to help us understand our lives and why things happen the way they do. Get a SPECIAL DISCOUNT OFFER too. Listen in.


Sept 6-8. Lobster Fest

LA LIFE: New Plaza, Lobster Fest, Ripe, Book Club, Tomato Poets

Lobster alert Tomatoes! Yes, SoCal has Fresh Live Main Lobster prepared to mouth-watering perfection in the World’s Largest Cooker at the Long Beach Original Lobster Festival this weekend.  So, Lobster aficionados here’s your chance indulge to your heart’s desire at the Rainbow Lounge in…you know where…beautiful Long Beach Tomatoes! Yum. Don’t forget your most stylish bib ladies.

Woo hoo! Fresh Lobster is flown in every night from Maine.  In addition, there’ll be lobster rolls, sliders and even lobster on a stick. Yum! If you are worried about the calories you can dance them away to a variety of popular artists throughout the day, enjoy tasty eats in the food court, kick back in the VIP Lounge, take a Free Souvenir E-Photo, check out the Arts & Crafts booths, sip on beer, wine and specialty drinks like their Signature drink “Screaming Lobster”. There is something for everyone, including the kiddoes with an Animal Variety Show, Petting Zoo, Face Painting, Games and Inflatable Bounces. Lots to enjoy Tomatoes.


Sept 8. Ripe

LA LIFE: New Plaza, Lobster Fest, Ripe, Book Club, Tomato Poets

Up for a lively dance Tomatoes? Well, you can have a juicy dance with words from a seasoned woman, Wendy Hammers, in her one woman show “Ripe”. Gotta love the name! It’s a must see. So, hurry to get your tickets  Tomatoes before it’s sold out, Gals!

It’s a fun comedy but goes deep and serves as a wakeup call to embrace your own magnificent life as a woman.  9/11, the loss of a close friend to cancer, the end of a 14-year marriage, her own battle with pancreatic cancer and beating it, shined a huge light on the fleeting nature of life and put Wendy on a journey to rebuild and reinvent to celebrate the gorgeous life she has right now.  “Ripe” tells that story. Deborah Vankin from the LA Times says, “Part stand up confessional; part booty shakin’ biography, ripe is an examination of life re-invented midstream, and a reminder that the time to celebrate our bodies…and our lives…is right now.”

And Emmy Award Winning Actress, Camryn Manheim, also loved “Ripe.  “In your journey of self-acceptance, you give other women permission to liberate themselves as well.

Any women struggling with loving their bodies should see it. So that means every woman we know. And girl…you can dance!” Sounds like this play by Wendy Hammers will resonate with you and inspire all Tomatoes!


Sept 10.  LA Times Book Club Event

LA LIFE: New Plaza, Lobster Fest, Ripe, Book Club, Tomato Poets

The LA Times is taking their newspaper and the Festival of Books a wonderful step further with the “LA Times Book Club”.  They recommend a book monthly, invite you to read and join in the conversation and host an event with the book’s author. Next up, George Takei discussing his memoir “They Called Us Enemy”.  Sounds like the ultimate book club Tomatoes. 

Tomatoes can join actor & author George Takei Sept 10 as he discusses his graphic memoir “They Called Us Enemy” (what the Book Club) is currently reading) at the Montalban with LA Times reporter Teresa Wattanabe about his  childhood years during World War II when his family was forced from their Los Angeles home and held in Japanese-American internment camps.

This event is the icing on the top when you join the LA Times Book Club and take part in reading their new monthly featured book every month culminating in a live event with the featured book’s author. They also share stories and notes from the LA book scene and more. I just found out about the LA Book Club and think it is pretty darn cool Tomatoes. So, since I’m an avid reader and always looking for reading suggestions, I signed up.  It can’t hurt.


Sept 7. Poetry Readings

LA LIFE: New Plaza, Lobster Fest, Ripe, Book Club, Tomato Poets

I love Beyond Baroque, especially when they host storytelling or poetry readings.  So of course, I’ve got to mention it when two Tomatoes, who happen to be considered two of the finest poets California has to offer, will be reading from their newly published books at Beyond Baroque.  Poetry is cool Tomatoes and so are these gals, Lynne Thompson and Susan Terris.

We simply have to support and celebrate accomplished and talented Tomatoes, don’t we?  Lynne Thompson is the author of three poetry chapbooks as well as the full-length collections Start with a Small Guitar, Beg No Pardon, winner of the Perugia Book Award and the Great Lakes Colleges New Writers Award, and Fretwork, selected by Jane Hirshfield for the Marsh Hawk Poetry Prize and published in 2019. Thompson was awarded an individual artist’s fellowship from the City of Los Angeles for 2015-16. Her recent work appears or is forthcoming in Black Renaissance Noire, Ploughshares, Poetry Northwest, Pleiades, Colorado Review, and Poetry. Thompson is Reviews and Essays Editor for the journal, Spillway.

Susan Terris’ recent books are Familiar Tense (Marsh Hawk) 2019; Take Two: Film Studies (Omnidawn) 2017, Memos (Omnidawn) 2015; and Ghost of Yesterday: New & Selected Poems (Marsh Hawk) 2012. She’s the author of 6 books of poetry, 16 chapbooks, 3 artist’s books, and one play. Journals include The Southern Review, Georgia Review, and Ploughshares. A poem of hers appeared in Pushcart Prize XXXI. A poem from Memos was in Best American Poetry 2015. Ms. Terris is editor emerita of Spillway Magazine and a poetry editor at Pedestal.

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