The 7: Things to do this weekend in Long Beach including… pushing through

It’s been a tough week. Here’s some things to do this weekend.

The 7: Things to do this weekend in Long Beach including… pushing through

If you don't like to read, let Asia Morris and Steve Lowery of the Hi-lo walk you through a few of the great happenings taking place this weekend (and stay for a little magic show, courtesy our publisher David Sommers at :60). For all the events and details, check out "The 7" here: https://bit.ly/2S7HpTJ.

Posted by the Hi-lo on Friday, January 31, 2020

1. A FAREWELL TO MARK DIPIAZZA (Thursday)

Mark and Maralyn Dipiazza. Photo courtesy DiPiazza/Facebook.

After some 30 years, owner Mark DiPiazza is retiring from his post as the proprietor of his restaurant and live music venue, DiPiazza’s. Don’t worry, DiPiazza’s will still be DiPiazza’s (with all the thin-crust pizza, booze and live bands) except carrying the mantle now is Steve Guillen, music fanatic and an all-around nice guy.

Guillen used to operate The Broken Drum, a live music venue in downtown, so he knows a thing or two about what it takes to keep a music venue going and why a space like DiPiazza’s is so valuable to ensure that music in Long Beach thrive. Perhaps the bigger learning curve for Guillen these days involves learning how to toss pizza dough.

To send Mark DiPiazza off is a farewell show at the space. The lineup features six bands, including ska-veterans Chase Long Beach. Inactive since 2012, the ska outfit are picking up their instruments for one night to celebrate a man whose heart and soul went into supporting Long Beach’s greater live music scene. (Cheantay Jensen)

Another great thing: DiPiazza retirement shirts! If you stop by the restaurant you can pick up the special merchandise for $10.

Posted by Steve Guillen on Friday, January 24, 2020

Giving us a moment’s pause: We’re sorry to see him go, too.

A Farewell to Mark DiPiazza show runs from 7 p.m. to 12 a.m. at DiPiazza’s; 5205 E. Pacific Coast Highway. Cover charge is $15. For more information, including the complete lineup, click here.

2. “HE CHEATED, SHE CHEATED, WE CHEATED” BOOK READING/SIGNING (Friday)

Dr. Ebony Utley. Photo by Thomas R. Cordova.

“My husband impregnated a waitress while he was serving as a chaplain in the Air Force.”

This is how Dr. Ebony Utley, who teaches at Cal State Long Beach, begins her most recent book, “He Cheated, She Cheated, We Cheated: Women Speak About Infidelity.” Initially, very personal, the book becomes a wide-ranging exploration of the topic based on more than 50 interviews Utley performed over their years with women of varied backgrounds that had been cheated on, had been the “Other Woman” as well as women who’d been both.

Utley recently made an appearance on “Can You Hear Me, Long Beach” the Hi-lo’s weekly podcast, and though the subject matter can be heavy—her own experience carried a significant toll—she also knows how to bring a lightness and, dare we say, entertaining quality to her presentations on the subject. Part of that comes from her background teaching interpersonal communication, and part of that comes from her knowledge that the subject makes most people uneasy, i.e. suspicion may fall on someone to eager to discuss it, so whether in interviews or discussing her book, Utley has become expert at putting people at ease.

Just know that if you attend the reading/signing at Bel Canto Books, located inside the vintage shop The Hangout on Fourth Street, the good doctor is ultra-approachable to speak to after. (Steve Lowery)

Another great thing: Like any good work of literature, “He Cheated…” offers numerous surprises and unexpected turns through a subject as old as time.

Giving us a moment’s pause: So, who’s He?

Bel Canto Books is located inside The Hangout which is located at 2122 E Fourth St. For more information, click here.

3. “SAY CHEESE” FOR THE YEAR OF THE RAT (Thursday-Sunday)

Photo by Brandon Shigeta. Courtesy Intertrend.

At dusk, follow the blue paw prints stamped on the sidewalk in front of Intertrend Communications, and just around the corner you’ll find a neon mouse enjoying a large block of cheese. Say “cheese” and take a photo in celebration of the Lunar New Year, with 2020 honoring the first animal of the Chinese zodiac’s 12-year animal cycle, the rat.

This is the fifth year the agency has used their Downtown location to their advantage, fabricating a reason for passersby to stop and play. While last year’s giant slot machine was vandalized more than once (can’t Long Beach have nice things?) that didn’t stop Huang’s team from simply modifying the design so it could still be used to celebrate the Year of the Pig.

“Our Lunar New Year installation was always about street level interaction. Each year, we challenge ourselves on how we can make people walking by our building slow down and celebrate with us during this time of the year,” said Julia Huang, Intertrend’s President. “Much like the ubiquitous phrase ‘Say Cheese,’ we hope this installation brings smiles to people’s faces.” (Asia Morris)

Another great thing: This year’s rat signifies reliability, stability and fortune.

Giving us a moment’s pause: Long Beach can maybe have nice things if they’re… out of reach.

The light installation will be on from 5:15 p.m. to midnight daily for the next two months at Intertrend Communications; 228 E. Broadway.

4. GARDEN DOCENT TRAINING (Friday)

Courtesy Facebook/Rancho Los Cerritos.

Volunteers need not have any prior qualifications to take this five-session course at Rancho Los Cerritos, just the willingness to show up for the trainings and give tours to the public one afternoon a month. Since the sessions are on Friday mornings, it’s mostly retirees and students that are available, said Volunteer Coordinator Laura Willbanks, but they’ll welcome anyone who can make it.

Willbanks, who started out as a garden docent before ascending to her current position, said docents-in-training will have the opportunity to learn from horticulturist Marie Barnidge-McIntyre, who has been at the Rancho for almost 30 years. Some botanical highlights will include lessons on the history of the site’s Moreton Bay Fig Tree, planted in 1881 by the Bixby family as well as an Italian cypress that was planted in 1844. (AM)

Another great thing: If your love for historic trees pales in comparison to your reluctance to speak in public, fear not, Willbanks said that’s also a part of the training: learning how to present in front of large groups. She recommends simply letting your passion speak for itself.

Giving us a moment’s pause: “If you feel excited about it, and you like the things that you’re looking at, the people you see are going to be excited about it, too,” said Willbanks. We’ll take your word for it.

Training starts Friday, Jan. 31 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Rancho Los Cerritos; 4600 Virginia Rd. RSVP here.

5. RIVETED, A STORYTELLING SERIES #1 (Friday)

Entrance to Elinor drinkery. Photo by Abel Santana (@eskeleto_22).

This new monthly storytelling series hosted by craft beer and wine bar, Elinor, invites guest speakers to come and share their unique, inspiring stories with the community.

This month’s theme is stories by, for, and about women. The lineup, curated by author Steven Deeble, includes Jamie Sims Coakley, a Los Angeles-based musician, writer and documentary filmmaker. Her first documentary in the works is about the rise and fall of Orange County’s punk rock band, Cadillac Tramps.

You’ll also hear from Melanie Riecke Hiller, activist, writer and radio producer who currently produces radio program ‘Still Life’ for KLBP, Long Beach public radio. Ra Avis, an award-winning blogger, poet, former prison inmate and widow will share stories from her tumultuous past and how she managed to keep an optimist’s outlook. Rebecca Lynn, teacher, musician and Long Beach native will speak too, sharing her bio-centrist views. (CJ)

Another great thing: Any aspiring writer or storyteller will find an event like this worth visiting. Sometimes hearing the process, struggles and triumphs of other fellow creatives is just what you need to kick your own creative flow into high-gear. Plus, part of the event includes a short open-mic session where anyone can come and read, sing or perform.

Giving us a moment’s pause: Is snapping instead of clapping still a thing?

Riveted is from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Elinor; 250 N. Tribute Ct. For more info, click here.

6. BLACK & PINK: WRITING LETTERS TO INCARCERATED QUEER & TRANS PEOPLE (Thursday)

Dominique Morgan, executive director of Black & Pink organization. Photo courtesy Black & Pink/Instagram.

Black and Pink is a nationwide prison abolitionist organization supporting incarcerated LGBTQ and HIV-positive inmates. Their penpal program connects incarcerated trans and queer inmates with people looking to offer support, education and advice to these inmates who are, statistically, more likely to be victimized in the prison system.

The Los Angeles branch of this nonprofit is hosting a free letter-writing event at community space, Flora Y Tierra.

Black and Pink will provide you with all the materials you’ll need to write and send the positive messages to inmates whose birthdays fall in the month of February. If you’re interested, Black and Pink will match you with a long-term penpal. (CJ)

Another great thing: Tea and light snacks will be provided by Flora Y Tierra, but they encourage anyone who’d like to bring something to share to do so.

Giving us a moment’s pause: We’re good.

Black & Pink: Letter Writing to Incarcerated Queer and Trans people starts at 7 p.m. until 9 p.m. Flora Y Tierra is located at 811 E. 7th St. For more information, you can check out the Black and Pink website, here, or find the Facebook event page, here.

7. RUSH BAR, AN EVENING OF RUSH (Thursday)

Drummer Neal Peart was so accomplished at his instrument that stating as such was so obvious, like saying the sun was hot, it became a bit of a joke. But his playing never was. When Peart died on Jan. 7 from brain cancer, he was one of the acknowledged masters in rock history, comfortably set in the pantheon among the likes of John Bonham, Ginger Baker and, his idol, Keith Moon.

Former Police drummer Steward Copeland once said that Peart is “the most air-drummed-to drummer of all time.” There promises to be a lot of that going on at Que Sera, with An Evening of Rush, A Tribute to The Professor. The Professor was Peart’s nickname.

Hosted by Rush tribute DJ Dave Skott, the evening will not only feature the music of Rush but synchronized concert lasers and Rush videos playing on screens.

Skott, who describes himself as a lifelong Rush fan—are there any other kind?—will no doubt be playing lots of stuff that showcases not only Peart’s drumming prowess but his writing as well. What some people might not know is that Peart was the primary lyricist for the band, his lyrics taking on a many times philosophic or highly personal subjects.

Another great thing: While there will no doubt be many feelings of sadness and loss during the evening, know that 100% of the evening’s proceeds will be donated to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

Giving us a moment’s pause: Entry is free and there will be a cash bar. Don’t worry, there’s an ATM on site.

Que Sera is located at 1923 E Seventh St. An Evening of Rush begins at 9 p.m. and runs until 1 a.m. For more information, click here.

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