You know that summer is winding down when we talk about the last concerts of the summer season in Burton Chace Park in the Marina.
Director Frank Fetta has chosen music by Shostakovich and Respighi for the final symphonic concert of the season by the Marina del Rey Summer Symphony Thursday, August 18th.
Local residents have been raving about the Thursday evening symphony concerts — held on four Thursdays this season in July and August.
Next week, on Saturday, August 27th, singer Cleo Laine and the John Dankworth Group will close out a summer season for four pops concerts held on Saturday evenings in July and August.
The free 7 to 9 p.m. outdoor concerts have drawn large crowds of couples, families and lots of kids.
Visitors to the Marina have marveled at the venue — a waterfront corner of Burton Chace Park, where concertgoers can watch boats float by.
Saturday evening we had a great view of the New York Voices and the sun setting behind the apartment complexes of the westside of the Marina.
A half dozen different people made an effort to tell us about the fellow from Florida who had read on the Internet that the New York Voices would be offering a free outdoor concert in the park.
Seems the guy flew out just for the concert. Can’t confirm that but it makes a great story for concert promoters.
Our gym-mate and Peninsula artist Lois Sattler had invited us to join her family in a pre-concert picnic. The weather was perfect and Lois had a great time watching her grandson play on the park grass.
We’re told credit for scheduling the performers in the summer concert series goes to County Beaches and Harbors Department staffer Virginia Bortin.
We are finishing the fifth season of the summer concerts and can say that Virginia really knows how to book in a concert series.
The imaginative variety and the quality of the talent that has been put together for these summer concerts is just amazing.
Of course, we need to thank the sponsors who put up the bucks to make it work.
Arrowhead Mountain Spring Water has a large marketing agreement with the county and gets top billing.
The Ritz-Carlton Marina del Rey certainly contributes by putting up the performers.
Media sponsors include a trio of radio stations — KMZT (105.1 FM) and a pair of their sister stations that go only by positions on the dial, 540AM and 1260AM.
Supervisor Don Knabe is given credit for supporting the concert series, and the Burton Chace Park concessionaire, Cafe Lorelei in the Park, is noted for supplying those who seek and need an intermission hot beverage and dessert.
Actually, Saturday evening, the New York Voices didn’t stop to take an intermission during their 90-minute set.
And so as Frank Sinatra might have swooned, we reach the final curtain. At least for this season.
Symphony director Frank Fetta — in a dashing white ensemble — has led a local orchestra through its paces for many years now.
He always manages to make it work and produce some wonderful sounds, especially when the Marina main channel is his backdrop.
During other months, Frank guides his assembled orchestra through a season in Culver City.
The orchestra may change its name with its venue, but it has continued to provide the local community with some wonderful concerts.
This week should be no exception.
Then it’s on to Cleo Laine, who has performed in many of the world’s most famous venues, including London’s Royal Court Theater, Carnegie Hall, the Hollywood Bowl and the Sydney Opera House.
She has been married since 1958 to John Danworth, whose group will be joining her in Burton Chace Park for the summer concert series finale.
Either one or both of these free outdoor concerts will be a great way to round out the summer before the busy Labor Day weekend begins.
Plan a picnic and bring a chair. The county sets out some chairs that are available for a rental fee.
Parking in lots along Mindanao Way runs $5 or you can take the Marina CoastLink Shuttle for $2 Thursdays from 5 to 11 p.m. Saturdays it runs from 11 a.m. to midnight.
There are six Water Shuttle stops in the Marina:
– Fisherman’s Village, 13755 Fiji Way;
– Burton Chace Park, 13650 Mindanao Way;
– Waterfront Walk East, near the Marina Fire Station dock, 4433 Admiralty Way;
– Dolphin Marina, 13900 Panay Way, Dock Gate C-200; and
– Marina Harbor, 13928 Tahiti Way, Dock Gate A-1000.
GETTING TO KNOW YOU — One of the problems facing the candidates in the special election to succeed former Assemblyman Mike Gordon Tuesday, September 13th, is that most residents in the 53rd Assembly District — at least in our part of the district — have never heard of the candidates that are running.
But if the voters don’t know much about the candidates, neither do some of the candidates know much about the district they seek to represent.
That might explain why the Republican Mary Jo Ford campaign has cluttered Santa Monica Boulevard in Santa Monica with “FORD FOR ASSEMBLY” signs.
The trouble is, Santa Monica Boulevard in Santa Monica is not in the 53rd Assembly District, but rather in the 41st Assembly District represented by Democrat Fran Pavley.
Hopefully sometime soon, Ford can at least learn what area is in the 53rd Assembly District and what area isn’t.
MAYOR SHOWS UP — Parishioners at the Westchester United Methodist Church were a bit startled to discover a new attendee at their regular Sunday morning worship service last week.
Popping in to attend services Sunday, August 7th, was none other than Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.
“He stayed for the entire service and then stayed to talk to us,” church member Renate Hild told us.
The mayor reportedly told Hild and others that he is sticking by his nominee for the airport commission, Val Velasco.
POLITICS CONTINUE — The buzz about town is that Velasco’s nomination to the city airport commission has been caught in an ongoing political and personal feud between the mayor and Los Angeles Councilman Tony Cardenas.
Cardenas heads the Los Angeles City Council committee concerned with airports, the Port of Los Angeles and the city Department of Water and Power.
The committee will review airport commission nominees and offer its recommendations — up or down — to the full City Council.
In addition to Cardenas, Councilmembers Janice Hahn and Bill Rosendahl serve on that committee.
Cardenas raised eyebrows when he asked the city attorney if Velasco’s former relationship with ARSAC (the Alliance for a Regional Solution to Airport Congestion) would create a conflict of interest for Velasco inasmuch as ARSAC has sued the city over its proposed Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) master plan.
Velasco has since resigned her presidency of ARSAC.
Adding to the drama is the fact that Cardenas and the full City Council have 45 days in which to approve or deny Velasco and other nominees to city commission positions. If the City Council takes no action within the 45 days, the nominees are automatically approved.
The clock is running and we hear the 45 days will run out about Wednesday, September 7th. There is also a report this week that the players aren’t quite sure when the 45-day clock started running.
Oh, the political brew that Velasco suddenly finds herself in the middle of!
Expect Velasco to be on the short end of a 1-2 vote on the Cardenas committee.
But if the mayor stands by his word to support Velasco, he should be able to overcome the votes of a couple of councilmembers who are still carrying a grudge over the last mayoral campaign.
LINCOLN BLVD. MESS — Mayor Villaraigosa wants city road crews to confine their construction work on city streets to non-commuter hours to help keep traffic moving.
Such a plan would certainly help that current mess on Lincoln Boulevard in the Marina area, where commuter traffic is being shut down to, at times, a single lane.
Alas, the City of Los Angeles has no jurisdiction over Lincoln Boulevard in the Westchester-Marina del Rey-Venice area because Lincoln Boulevard is a state highway.
Blame the state Caltrans, not the city, for all these delays.
Meanwhile, we continue to get angry letters on the subject.
BOATS DEMOLISHED — The county has been working to remove unnavigable boats from the Marina under the county’s harbor ordinance seaworthy and liveaboard compliance section.
This has been an ongoing effort over many years. The effort has stimulated both praise and opposition.
Supporters of the project talk about the need to remove “derelict boats” from the Marina and foes claim their rights are being mauled. Most owners of unnavigable boats have simply removed all markings indicating ownership and left their boats to be hauled away or destroyed.
Some just moved their boats to Santa Monica Bay outside the Marina breakwater and allowed the abandoned boats to run up onto the beach, creating new problems for residents and officials.
Last week, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, which is responsible for enforcement of the county ordinance, reported to the County Small Craft Harbor Commission that to date 175 vessels have been removed from the Marina for disposal. Currently, 16 vessels are ready for disposal and four are awaiting lien sale procedures.
If no one comes forward to “buy” one of the boats, the boats are demolished.
Last week we were also told by Sheriff’s Capt. Mary Campbell, commanding officer of the Marina Sheriff’s Station, that her department will restart its “Dock Walk” program, with deputies walking Marina docks to help Marina boatowners keep the boat docks secure.