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Showing posts from October, 2015

Passion Party #553: Down — But Not Out — In Los Angeles

HOW A JAZZ BAND IS HELPING SOLVE THE HOMELESS CRISIS IN HOLLYWOOD(also published on  AllAboutJazz.com) -->
There is a housing crisis in Los Angeles. Some people call it a homeless crisis — I think of it as a housing crisis. You see it in Downtown: As the gentrification picks up speed, the old “flop house” hotels get converted to hip apartments and the condos start selling at $550,000. You see it in West Los Angeles: Now starter homes are selling for $800,000 and being torn down by developers to make million-dollar houses. You see it on the beach in Venice, when the police chase the homeless across the border into Santa Monica; you see it again a month later when the Santa Monica police chase the homeless across the border into Venice. You see it on the street level at many a freeway overpass.You see it near the Veterans Hospital in West LA, you see it next to the 110 as you drive to Pasadena, and you see it in the San Fernando Valley.People are homeless: they need help, they…

Passion Party #552 - End Of A (B)erra

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I was born in New York City in 1952, and although we lived in the suburbs I have very fond memories of my dad taking me to Yankee Stadium while I was growing up. Maybe one or two games a year.  Not a lot, but enough to give a lasting impression.

This was the time of the most powerful Yankee team: Mickey Mantle, Phil Rizzuto, Whitey Ford, Roger Marris, and Yogi Berra (the catcher).  By the time I went to my first game when I was 7 years old, Yogi was already a hero, and he was already becoming famous for his Yogi-isms, wacky public utterances spoken with complete sincerity.

Yogi died September 22, 2015, at the age of 90.  He came from a simpler time in our world and a much simpler time in the world of professional sports.  He knew by the age of 14 that he was destined to play in the big leagues, and his belief propelled him into the American Legion Junior League where he was nicknamed "Yogi" because of his habit of sitting cross-legged on the ground with his arm…