Archive for June 8th, 2013

Book Club: The Russian Concubine by Kate Furnivall

June 8th, 2013 Comments off

200px-The_Russian_Concubine_(Kate_Furnivall_novel)_cover_artThe 500+ page book held my attention from start to finish.  If you like big epic stories, exciting and fast paced, about a culture unknown to most of us, then you might enjoy this as much as I did.

 It is a debut novel published in 2007, written brilliantly be Kate Furnivall. It brings to life the war-torn China of the 1920’s.  On the opposite sides of a political and social divide, an exiled Russian girl and a Chinese Communist boy find love; a mother must face what she would rather forget; and an idealist realizes his greatest enemies might be his own kind.

“The wonderfully drawn and all-too-human characters struggle to survive in a world of danger and bewildering change . . . caught between cultures, ideologies-and the growing realization that only the frail reed of love is strong enough to withstand the destroying winds of time.”  Diana Gabaldon


Marina del Rey

June 8th, 2013 Comments off

Marina del Rey

Prior to its development as a small craft harbor, the land occupied by Marina del Rey was a salt-marsh fed by freshwater from the Ballona Creek, frequented by duck hunters and few others. Burton W. Chace, a member of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, referred to the area as mud flats, though today the area would more properly be referred to as wetlands.

In the mid-19th century, M.C. Wicks thought of turning this Playa del Rey estuary into a commercial port. He formed the Ballona Development Company in 1888 to develop the area, but three years later the company went bankrupt.

In 1916, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers revisited the idea of a commercial harbor, but declared it economically impractical. In 1936 the U.S. Congress ordered a re-evaluation of that determination, and the Army Corps of Engineers returned with a more favorable determination; however, the Marina del Rey harbor concept lost out to San Pedro as a commercial harbor and development funding went to the Port of Los Angeles instead.

In 1953, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors authorized a $2 million loan to fund construction of the marina. Since the loan only covered about half the cost, the U.S. Congress passed and President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed Public Law 780 making construction possible. Ground breaking began shortly after.

With construction almost complete, the marina was put in danger in 1962–1963 due to a winter storm. The storm caused millions of dollars in damage to both the marina and the few small boats anchored there. A plan was put into effect to build a breakwater at the mouth of the marina, and the L.A. County Board of Supervisors appropriated $2.1 million to build it. On April 10, 1965 Marina del Rey was formally dedicated. The total cost of the marina was $36.25 million for land, construction, and initial operation.

The marina was made famous in country musician George Strait‘s 1982 hit song “Marina del Rey“.


Alvin Ailey American Dancer Theater

June 8th, 2013 Comments off

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater

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