Foundation pledges $5 million for Watts; Council members push to end street vending ban

November 6th marked the 100th anniversary of Exposition Park  (originally Agricultural Park) | Courtesy of the Los Angeles Public Library

November 6th marked the 100th anniversary of Exposition Park (originally Agricultural Park) | Courtesy of the Los Angeles Public Library

A roundup of news stories about South L.A.:

Foundation pledges $5 million for Watts social/ educational programs (LA Times)

Council members push to end street vending ban (LA Times)

New Chicago Cubs manager hails from South Gate, Ca (LA Wave)

Man in custody after standoff in South L.A market (KTLA)

Coliseum deal could go forward today

The California Science Center Board of Directors could vote at its meeting June 5 to approve the latest terms of the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum lease agreement with USC.

If approved by the Board, the agreement would give USC full managing rights at the state historical landmark and guarantee the university 70 percent of the parking spaces in the Science Center’s deck on 25 event days per year (33 if the NFL uses the stadium temporarily). It would also extend USC’s lease from 2054, the expiration date agreed upon in a December 2012 plan, to 2111 — a 98-year deal.

But opponents of the deal spoke out at public forums this week, saying that the loss of parking would take both revenue and visitors away from the California African American Museum , the California Science Center and the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County. [Read more…]

New museum exhibit welcomes Baby T. Rex

imageTeething toddlers can exhaust parents, but a set of chompers on a two-year-old Tyrannosaurus rex that has just arrived to the Natural History Museum may delight parents and children starting July 16. After all, those baby teeth teeth were once capable of reaching the side of a ram’s horn – each.

The ostrich-sized baby T.rex is just one of the new world-class dinosaur specimens to be unveiled to the public as part of a new 14,000 square-foot Dinosaur Hall.

Sunlight piles into the enormous, two-level showroom, which is also home to more than 300 fossils, like eggs, footprints and teeth. Two other T.rex specimens loom over the fledgling dino – one, a 20-foot-tall teenager and the other, a 34-foot-tall adult named “Thomas.” He is one of the largest and most complete T.rex skeletons ever unearthed and now stands with the only T.rex incremental growth series in the world.

“We used to have [a dinosaur hall] a few years back, but it was kind of small,” said Iliana Dominguez, a 17-year old museum volunteer. “Everybody’s been expecting one and now we finally have it. I think a lot of people are going to be coming for that hall.

Dominguez has volunteered since last year and has been trained as an educator for the new dinosaur specimens. She held up a mold of a T.rex brain – the size of a cordless telephone receiver – and explained that the creatures relied more on instinct and brawn than brainpower.

image“This really is a place to learn,” said Dominguez, a New Designs Charter School student who has her eye on an archaeology program at Cornell University. “Most of us who took the dinosaur training have been really excited to study more and learn all the facts we can.”

Volunteers and staff receive regular visits from outside experts who train them as guides in the museum’s exhibits, which range from a gem display room to an Age of Mammals display that chronicles human evolution. Gallery translators trained in details about the exhibits comb the hallways for guests looking for more in-depth knowledge.

When guests enter the Dinosaur Hall, they are first greeted by a Triceratops with a skull that weighs nearly half a ton. As they move past the bulky beast toward more elongated creatures, visitors must crane their necks to follow the 68-foot body length of a long-necked Mamenchisaurus – the museum’s largest specimen.

imageMuseum members and educators received a sneak preview this week and many slowed to a halt in awe upon entering the epic hall.

Four lively children accompanied parents Marcus and Melody Tarver, who visit the museum every few months.

“I get to learn something too, especially the things that I didn’t learn at their age,” said Marcus Tarver, 26, who attended the museum on school field trips while he grew up in nearby Compton. “Now that I’m older I can appreciate it more.”

The museum is expecting huge crowds, so they’re suggesting you reserve your tickets online to avoid long waiting times. Admission is free for members and children under 5. Ticket prices are $5 for ages 5-12, $8 for ages 13-17, $9 for college students and $12 for adults. The free Tuesday program won’t be available in July and August, but will return in September. Hours are 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. daily.

Photos by Lisa Rau

Find fun Mother’s Day activities in South LA

Mother’s Day is fast approaching! If you’re looking for something fun to do with mom in South LA this weekend, we’ve got some suggestions. Have other ideas? Post them in the comments below.

And a big thank you to all the mothers, step-mothers, adopted mothers, aunts, and grandmothers in our lives!

imageBlack Women for Wellness ( is holding its annual fundraiser on Mother’s Day this year. Last year, money raised from the event helped educate more than 500 women on breast and cervical health as well as initiating a “Green Chemistry Tips” project to provide natural, environmentally-friendly alternatives to beauty and household products for the African American community. They’re hoping to have a similarly successful outcome this year.

Tickets can be purchased in advance here.

Sunday, May 8, 2011, 2-5 pm, Community Build Garden
4305 Degnan Boulevard
Leimert Park, Los Angeles, CA 90008

Take a class at Crenshaw Yoga and Dance

Share something with mom that everyone can love—good health and peace of mind. Crenshaw Yoga and Dance offers all levels yoga classes that embrace beginners and experienced yogis alike. The studio is even owned by mother-daughter team, KarLee and Melissa Young.

5426 Crenshaw Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90043

Smell the roses at the Exposition Park Rose Garden

Anyone can send mom a bouquet, but how about spending a day checking out flowers still on the vine? This urban oasis is a great place for a Sunday stroll.

Exposition Park Rose Garden
Open daily from 9:00 am – sunset
701 State Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90037

Get a massage at Lotus on the Nile

Moms work hard, and what better way to offer a reward than a soothing massage at the Lotus on the Nile Wellness Center in Leimert Park. In addition to several styles of massages, the wellness center also offers yoga and acupuncture.

4307 Crenshaw Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90008

Shop for fresh food at the Wellington Square Farmers Market

If you’re thinking about cooking dinner for your mom, how about taking her to help pick out ingredients at the Wellington Square Farmers Market in the historic West Adams neighborhood? The market accepts EBT and all fruits and vegetables sold at the market are grown without the use of pesticides.

Open every Sunday, 9am-1pm
W Washington Blvd & Wellington Rd
Los Angeles, CA 90016

Enjoy tea and history at the Dominguez Rancho Adobe Museum

The Dominguez Rancho Adobe Museum hosts an annual Mother’s Day Tea where tea sandwiches and pastries are presented in a beautiful and historic setting. There will be guitar music and a dance performance as well.

Reservations are required, and can be made by calling or emailing the museum.

May 7, 2011
11:00am -1:00pm

18127 S. Alameda St.
Rancho Dominguez, CA 90220
(310) 603-0088

Dinner and dancing at the Mother’s Day Slam & Jam Love-In

If you’re looking for a fun way to spend the evening, check out this fundraiser to benefit Mother’s Day Radio and the Youth Media Symposium & Concert. Dinner will be served, followed by poetry and music. Admission is free and all ages are welcome.

Sunday, May 8
7:00pm – 11:00pm
Angel’s Piano Bar & Supper Club
2460 Wilshire Blvd.




Celebrate Valentine’s Day in South L.A.

imageValentine’s Day is a day of love, of long-stemmed roses and, unfortunately, of over-priced restaurants and fixed menus.

Reclaim the romance with these V-Day date ideas, all conveniently located in or around South Los Angeles.

Wining and Dining at Bacaro LA

This cozy wine bar is nestled into the block of storefronts on South Union Avenue, just south of the 10 Freeway. Intimate and understated, the restaurant seats a mere 40 diners. But what it lacks in space, it makes up in cuisine. Bacaro LA boasts an fairly extensive list of “small plate” entrees (at $7 each), ranging from cauliflower doused in a chipotle aioli to a signature burger and a selection of grilled pizzas. The wine list features bottles from Italy, France and, of course, California. On Mondays, all glasses of wine are half off. But Valentines Day daters beware, Bacaro LA fills up quickly and waits can exceed an hour. It’s best to go early and enjoy the happy hour specials (all small plates are reduced to $5).

‘Sweet Old Song[s]’ of Love

The Craft and Folk Art Museum is celebrating the day of love by screening a film about love and art. Sweet Old Song centers on the intertwined tales of artists Howard “Louie Bluie” Armstrong and Barbara Ward. Filmmaker Leah Mahan explores the two-decade love affair between Armstrong and Ward and the effect that love had on their work. The film “plays like one of the ballads that flow effortlessly from the funny and irrepressible Armstrong,” according to Folk Art Everywhere’s website. The Craft and Folk Art Museum (located at 5814 Wilshire Boulevard) is offering light refreshments and music beginning at 6:30 p.m. followed by the free screening at 7 p.m.

Bright City Lights

The Museum of Neon Art (MONA) takes lovers on a romantic bus ride around Los Angeles for some quality neon sign-gazing. MONA’s annual Sweetheart Neon Cruise takes riders throughout Downtown L.A., Chinatown and Hollywood on a double-decker bus, giving them a glimpse of some of the best neon signs and marquees the city has to offer. Included in the $65 per person price are glasses of champagne and chocolates. The Sweetheart Neon Cruise leaves MONA at 8 p.m. and returns at 11 p.m. Reserve seats at

A Walk in the Park

Exposition Park is the home of some of the best museums in Los Angeles. Make a Valentine’s Day of it and take a stroll through the California Science Center, the Natural History Museum or the California African American Museum. The environmentally-inclined should consider visiting the new Ecosystems exhibit at the California Science Center or seeing “Under the Sea” at the museum’s IMAX theater. Admission to all exhibits is free. Unfortunately, the most romantic spot in Exposition Park, the historic rose garden, is closed for pruning until March 15.

More stories about Valentine’s Day:

Protestors give Herb Wesson a hand-delivered Valentine

What do you look for in a Valentine?