Friday, July 22, 2016

Experience Willard Simms' musical The Wizard and the Foolish Man at Valley Cultural Center in Woodland Hills

Past board member of The Museum of the San Fernando Valley and playwright Willard Simms is continuing to educate youth and adults about our precious resource: Water

He is offering a musical on water conservation for kids on Saturday, July 23rd during the citywide CURRENT:LA Water Public Art Biennial at the Valley Cultural Center in Woodland Hills.
His “Water Plays In Warner Park – The Wizard and the Foolish Man” will appear at 7:30 p.m. each Saturday through August before the free at the Valley Cultural Center Movies on the Green at Warner Center Park.
The 40-minute musical has been seen since 2009 educated tens of thousands of Los Angeles school kids, thanks to grants from the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power.
Councilman Bob Blumenfield and the Department of Cultural Affairs are further supporting children with this water-saving cultural and educational information event.
In “The Wizard and the Foolish Man” a beautiful Water Wizard guides an interactive audience from the source of water in the Sierra to millions of homes across Los Angeles. A Foolish Man, a climate denier and water wastrel, falls in love with the wizard and then sees the light.

To contact and learn more about the Valley Cultural Center, they can be reached at 21550 Oxnard St #470, Woodland Hills, CA 91367, 818-704-1358 or visit 

Contributed by Michel (Michael) Stevens.

Garry Marshall - writer, director, actor, theatre owner - dies at age of 81

Garry Marshall, a true pioneer and visionary of film and television director and writer died in Burbank at the age of 81.
He pleased and humored millions over the years with TV hits such as Happy Days, Laverne & Shirley and Mork & Mindy.
His movie credits are well known with ones such as Nothing in Common, (’86) with Tom Hanks and Jackie Gleason; Overboard (‘87) starring Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell; Beaches (‘88) with Bette Midler and Barbara Hershey; Pretty Woman (‘90) and Dear God (‘96) with Greg Kinnear and Laurie Metcalf.

(photo credit: Universal Pictures)
Richard Gere, who starred opposite Julia Roberts in “Pretty Woman,” said in a statement that “everyone loved Garry. He was a mentor and a cheerleader and one of the funniest men who ever lived. He had a heart of the purest gold and a soul full of mischief. He was Garry.”

The Gere-Roberts pairing that helped make “Pretty Woman” a smash hit as well as the sequel in ’99, Runaway Bride. The Princess Diaries in ‘01 was another successful movie.
Henry Winkler, who starred as Fonzie on Happy Days, saluted Marshall in a tweet as “larger than life, funnier than most, wise and the definition of friend.”
He grew up in the Bronx, New York, earned a degree in journalism from Northwestern University and worked at the New York Daily News. His entertainment career began in the 1960s selling jokes to comedians, then moved to writing sketches for “The Tonight Show” with Jack Paar in New York. Joey Bishop brought him to Los Angeles to write for his show, The Joey Bishop Show.
He and then-writing partner Jerry Belson turned out scripts for popular comedies of the ‘60s, including The Lucy Show, The Danny Thomas Show and The Dick Van Dyke Show.
In 1970, they turned Neil Simon’s Broadway hit, “The Odd Couple,” into a sitcom starring Jack Klugman and Tony Randall and produced by Marshall. It ran for five seasons and was quite successful.

In January 1979, Marshall had three of the top five comedies on the air with Happy Days, which ran from 1974-84; Laverne & Shirley” (1976-83), which starred his sister Penny Marshall and Cindy Williams, and Mork & Mindy (1978-82) with launched the TV side of Robin Williams.
He also created the Falcon Theatre in Burbank with adult and children’s programming.

Marshall is survived by his wife, Barbara, and the couple’s three children, Lori, Kathleen and Scott.
Contributed by Michel (Michael) Stevens.

Devonshire PALS - making a difference in the lives of valley youth

The Museum of the San Fernando Valley fully supports and appreciates all the time and effort to operate the PALS facility in Northridge.

Kudos to Sue Bruno, Executive Director, her board, staff, volunteers and sponsors in supporting valley children with after-school programs in areas such as computer access, after-school tutoring, homework help, reading and science classes. 

On July 18th, the LAPD Devonshire Police Activity League Supporters, (PALS), had its annual golf tournament fundraiser at Porter Valley Country Club in Northridge. This event raises money to support weekday and weekend programming to allow kids to be in a safe environment, learning, playing and having fun. The goal of PALS is to build on the idea that young people, reached early, can develop positive attitudes toward police officers by spending time with them in a recreational or educational setting.

The PALS program has chapters at community police stations throughout L.A. and in other cities around the U.S. 

Devonshire PALS president Paul Marks presented scholarships to three outstanding young people in the youth programs supported by the PALS. Sponsors of the scholarships included Northridge Toyota, Rickey Gelb and family, and retired L.A. Superior Court Judge Michael S. Luros as well as other anonymous donors.

Greg Baker was honored with an award for his role in the creation of Devonshire PALS and for his decades of support. 

PALS also offers sports clinics and competitions, cheerleading classes, martial arts instruction, art classes and teen leadership training.

PALS programs at the Greig Smith LAPD Devonshire Youth Center in Northridge are offered Monday through Thursday from 1:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., including holidays and summer vacation. It is open to all kids ages 7 to 17.  

Please support your local PALS facility.  Devonshire PALS can be reached at: 8721 Wilbur Ave, Northridge, CA 91324 and (818) 885-6433 and

Contributed by Michel (Michael) Stevens.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Melvin Durslag, longtime L.A. Herald Examiner and L.A. Times sports columnist dies

Melvin Durslag, longtime Los Angeles sportswriter and columnist, dies at 95.

The Herald Examiner, rival to the Los Angeles times, with those sports betting lines, had a loyal following. 

Durslag, a  sports columnist who began covering Los Angeles in 1939, died on July 17, 2016 at a convalescent home in Santa Monica.

Durslag was born in Chicago on April 29, 1921. His father was a clothing salesman and his mother worked in a sandwich shop. 

He attended Los Angeles High School and joined the Los Angeles Examiner’s staff while still a freshman at USC.

He served in the Air Force during World War II and began writing sports columns for Hearst papers in the 1950s, penning seven columns a week for national syndication, according to Doug Krikorian, a former colleague. 

(photo credit: FreeRepublic)

In 1960, Otis Chandler took over as publisher of the Los Angeles Times and according to former sports editor Bill Dwyre, was told to hire a great sports columnist and it came down to Jim Murray and Durslag. The Times selected Murray in 1961 and the two spent years facing off and telling stories for rival newspapers.

Durslag wrote in support of the referendum making it possible to build Dodger Stadium in Chavez Ravine, and of the move to relocate the Raiders to L.A.

After the Herald Examiner closed, Durslag joined the L.A. Times in 1989 and wrote his last column for this paper in May 1991 after 51 years on the job.

Contributed by Michel (Michael) Stevens.

Longtime USC Sportscaster Tom Kelly Dies

Longtime USC Sportscaster Tom Kelly died on June 27 2016.

For all Angelenos and valley residents and guests, if you were a USC football and basketball fan and were around in the 1960s, 1970s and beyond, hearing his uplifting Tom Kelly's voice got you pumped up to listen to a game from the Coliseum and Sports Arena or from an away venue.

(Tom Kelly and former USC Football coach John McKay)

The "Voice of the Trojans," Tom Kelly died at his in Encino after a long battle with cancer.  His death was two days before his 89th birthday.  He stayed in the booth calling games until 2003.  

Kelly was inducted into the USC Athletic Hall of Fame in 2001 and the Southern California Sports Broadcasters Hall of Fame in 2005.

Contributed by Michel (Michael) Stevens.