April 24, 2024 #1 Local News, Information and Event Source for the Century City/Westwood areas.

Westside News

Tower of Power at the Festival - Photo Courtesy Nina Gordon Public Relations

All That Jazz
Playboy Jazz celebrated 30 years of music June 14-15 at the Hollywood Bowl. Over 35,000 people enjoyed music with perfect weather and the hottest stars of jazz. The Festival welcomed a world-class roster including contemporary jazz artists, swing, salsa, R&B and the hottest Grammy winning artists. Master of Ceremonies Bill Cosby returned for the 27th year and welcomed Herbie Hancock, Al Jarreau, Poncho Sanchez Latin Jazz Band with special guest Eddie Floyd and Tower of Power among others. He brought his own band of veteran and rising stars, “The Cos of Good Music.â€

In addition to good music, a “30th Anniversary Photo Retrospective†delighted attendees with the rich history of the Festival. The Playboy Jazz Festival is ground zero for legendary performers and rising talent. This year marked the debut of Sherrie Maricle and the Diva Jazz Orchestra, a 15-piece, all-female big band. Tower of Power celebrated their 40th anniversary.

Hugh Hefner, founder of Playboy Enterprises, held the first Playboy Jazz Festival in Chicago, Illinois at the Chicago Stadium in 1959. The second festival was not held until 1979 and was moved to the Hollywood Bowl, where it has been ever since. Bill Cosby has been emcee since 1995.

Targeting the Pets of Bel-Air
Last Chance for Animals and Best Friends Animal Society kicked off another protest June 6 at the Pets of Bel Air pet store in Beverly Glen Circle. A similar protest at the Posh Puppy in Beverly Hills closed the store. They are protesting to end the sale of pets they claim are purchased from puppy mills.

Protestors allege that the store’s puppies are bred under inhumane conditions. The store’s owners say that they have never knowingly purchased a pet from a puppy mill. They reiterate that all of their puppies are purchased from licensed breeders.

Puppy mills are facilities where female dogs are bred repeatedly until they are no longer productive. Animals are caged without exercise or socialization; no screening is done for genetic diseases and young puppies are often shipped out of state, allegedly without adequate vet care.
The facilities operate legally under the jurisdiction of the United States Department of Agriculture.

Protesters believe that selling animals at retail outlets make puppy mills profitable. Last Chance for Animals spokesperson Carole Raphaelle Davis, who is also an actress, was quoted at the protest. “We would welcome the opportunity to promote Pets of Bel Air as a humane pet store and help boost their business,†she said. “LCA and Best Friends do not want Pets of Bel Air to go out of business, we only want Pets of Bel Air to stop selling puppy mill puppies and deal only in accessories and pet supplies. We don’t think that anyone has any business breeding, selling or buying dogs until those (shelter) cages are empty, and that’s why we’re here educating shoppers,†she stated, in an interview on CBS news.

Oprah Winfrey is publicizing these protests on her show. Footage of an alleged undercover investigation is on the LCA website and on the website for the Humane Society of the United States.

George Carlin, Comedian, Dies of Heart Failure

George Carlin in a promotional photo for his 2007 HBO special Its Bad for Ya.

Comedian George Carlin, 71, died of heart failure June 22 at St. John’s Health Center in Santa Monica after complaining of chest pains. The comedian had performed in Las Vegas only the week before.

Carlin was known for being edgy and irreverent, and his routine on the “Seven Words You Can’t Say on Television,†which earned him a Supreme Court decision that remains today. He was the hero of the counterculture for jokes that targeted the mainstream’s most sacred norms. Carlin’s career spanned 50 years, in which he produced 23 comedy albums, 14 HBO specials, three books, TV shows, and movies and guest appearances, including 130 on the Tonight Show.

Carlin won four Grammy Awards for best spoken-comedy album. He was nominated for five Emmys. He had just learned that he won the 11th annual Mark Twain Prize for American Humor which will be presented November 10 in Washington D.C. and broadcast on PBS.

Although he did not routinely tour during the summers, he was scheduled to begin touring in July in San Diego and was booked through December.
Carlin was admitted to the hospital on Sunday evening, complaining of chest pains. He died later that evening. Carlin had a history of heart trouble.

The Rabbi and the Pre-School
Palisades Jewish Early Childhood Center needed a new location for their preschool. Their lease at Temescal Gateway Park had run out. So Rabbi Zushe Cunin started looking. He searched until he found a storage building on property belonging to Gene Gladden, a longtime resident. The building was at the base of the property, near Castellammare Drive, the Getty Villa and the Mormon Church.

The Palisades Jewish Early Childhood Education was located in Temescal Gateway Park. The Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy did not renew their lease.

Cunin signed a three-year lease with Gladden. He proceeded with renovations on the building. Access to the building posed a problem, however, and Cunin began to look for options.

In May, Getty Villa lawyers told Chabad that the service road was unsuitable, citing safety concerns. In June the Mormon Church said they did “not want to encumber church property†being used by its own members.

Councilman Bill Rosendahl is working with residents and Chabad to find an agreeable solution. Residents have expressed concern that their neighborhood on Bellino Drive would be impacted by noise and traffic.
Cunin’s attorney, Benjamin Reznik, found a reference to a dedicated public easement in city planning records. The road is no longer visible but they are looking into possibly using it for access. If they are successful, the school will still require a Conditional Use Permit and California Coastal Commission approval.

“The process is very transparent, “ said Rosendahl. The Rabbi will file plans and respect the process that is in place,†he said. “It’s a work in progress.â€

Death Road
Las Flores Canyon Park, normally scenic and peaceful, was transformed June 17 into an investigation sight. A resident found the body of Christopher Quint at 8:30 a.m. Quint had been discovered sleeping by an employee of The Malibu Times the night before at about 4 a.m. after taking a walk with a friend.

A friend of Quint’s said he had been drinking and taking Xanax that night.

The Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office said the cause of death would be known following an autopsy.

Road Kills
Malibu ranks number one in traffic fatalities and injuries as the worst of 104 cities in its population category. The statistics are compiled for calendar year 2005.

Malibu also achieved distinction in victims of alcohol-related vehicle collisions.

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