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Sunday, January 20, 2019

Tonight - FREE theatrical reading - How High the Moon by award-winning playwright Barbara Nell Beery.

Please come on out to a theatrical reading of How High the Moon by award-winning playwright Barbara Nell Beery.

Theatre West -3333 Cahuenga Los Angeles 90068.

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Time -7:00 pm

FREE admission.

RSVP to 323-851-7977
Play set on July 4, 1952 in Van Nuys, CA neighboring families fight over love, land and the changing times.

An inter-generational dramatic comedy exploring the sensibilities, values and dertails of the way of life was lived in the evolving San Fernando Valley during the boom years following WWII.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

25 years ago - Where were you when the 1994 Earthquake struck? Tell us all about it

Have you ever heard someone say, "my, how time flies!"

Well, it has been 25 years ago to the day that the earth shook, quite hard in the San Fernando Valley and surrounding counties.

Most reports state on Monday, January 17, 1994 at 4:30:55, a 6.7 quake struck Reseda, CA. Northridge stole the spotlight as the official name, but the epicenter was later determined to be near Wilbur Avenue and Arminta Street, about a mile from the Cal State Northridge campus.

Kaiser Permanente - Northridge - Photo credit: LA Weekly.

My family has lived in Northridge since the mid 1960s. We experienced the 1971 Sylmar earthquake and witnessed those well-built, standard block walls come tumbling down, a portion of the standard brick chimney come tumbling down, cracks in the pool and concrete decking, loss of most of the contents of the plates and glasses and some frayed nerves.

In 1994, in another home in Northridge, my parent's home did not have that much major damage, but the house shook continuously for about 24 hours.  It certainly was a bit spooky without power, the neighborhood was pretty dark (I used the internet to confirm there was 29% visible of the moon that evening).

In 1994, I lived out of state, but I rented out my rent-controlled apartment in Santa Monica. My friend that was living there, my friends in the SFV, in Simi and other areas all said the same thing, "WOW, that was one scary earthquake!"

Two men inspect damage to cars and apartment complex after Northridge earthquake in Canoga Park. Federal inspectors reported that several hundred homes have been condemned and as many as 40,000 will need repairs. (Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images)

I visited later that week, on the Friday and was in the backyard when a 5.x level earthquake shook. I was sitting on the grass in the backyard, heard a dog bark first, then the lemon trees began to shake and then it hit.  It was pretty weird to ride one out in the backyard. It was a bit cool because there was not anything that could fall on me, so I just sat and experienced the quake.

Over the years, so many earthquakes had the rolling feeling as though you were on a boat. If you are one not to panic, the first golden rule of experiencing an earthquake in Los Angeles, you were fine with most of these natural phenomenons. 

 Balboa Blvd. gas line break - just north of Rinaldi street - do you remember this ?Photo credit LA Times.

By almost all accounts, locals stated this one, at least in the very first moments along with large aftershocks was the real deal and shook nerves for days and even weeks.

Here is one account of earthquake statistics - we have found varying figures. The quake killed 57 people, injured more than 9,000, displaced 125,000 residents and damaged or destroyed more than 82,000 buildings in Los Angeles, Ventura, Orange and San Bernardino counties.

Bullock's - Northridge Fashion Center. Photo Credit - The Atlantic.

Here's an excerpt from LA Times article on 1/17/2014 by Marisa Gerber.

Alan Hemsath, left, Jerry Prezioso and Steve Langdon were the last survivors removed from Northridge Meadows. Langdon and Prezioso shared Apartment 106, which used to be on the slab on which they sit. (Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times) More photos

A fresh batch of firefighters finally showed up, and Henry headed back to the station. The search continued into the night, but after Prezioso and his roommate, only one tenant was pulled out alive.

Hemsath, the man in Apartment 110, said a firefighter had found him and dug a hole above him. But getting him out was tricky and took a few hours. They had maneuvered a wood beam off his leg but couldn't lift the electrical box pinning down his left arm. They considered amputation, but eventually decided to wedge an air bag under the box and hoist it up just enough to wiggle him free.

"I was the last guy out of there," Hemsath, now 57, said as he traced his index finger along a scar the length of his left forearm. The general contractor spent a week in an intensive care unit and then several more in the hospital. After his release, he returned to Northridge Meadows and salvaged a mug he had gotten at an Elvis Costello concert. He keeps it on a shelf of his home, where his bedroom is on the second floor.

Things aren't like they once were, he said, where almost everything reminded him of the earthquake that had killed 16 of his neighbors. Now, 20 years later, there are still reminders. But you have to dig for them.

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Any way you slice it, it was an amazing experience for those that can physically recall that moment and disaster. At the same time, it is also memorable for those who were not in the area, but spoke to  family members and friends who experienced the ordeal.

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Did you experience the earthquake?

      What was your initial thought?

           What happened to the place you were living in?

What do you remember about your other family members, neighbors and friends who also experienced the Northridge earthquake on January 17, 1994?

Send us a comment and tell us about it.

Thank you.

Michel Stevens
The Museum SFV

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

2018 Highlight Pelota Mixteca exhibit - terrific reception; local players and photographer

A key highlight of 2018 was the December 1st Pelota Mixteca reception with photogapher Leopoldo Pena, curator Paula Mota, local players, family members, many invited guests and the general public.

Michel Stevens, President of The Museum SFV welcomed guests and introduced The Museum SFV and Paula Mota, Curator.

Leopoldo Pena primary photographer provided his insight and creativity into the background of many pieces in this exhibit. He did so in English and Spanish.

Paula Mota, a graduate student in the Department of Anthropology at CSUN, spoke, in English and Spanish about the chronology of the exhibit, talked a bit on the equipment.

A few local players, who participate in games in the Hansen Dam area, fielded questions about equipment, playing locally, playing in tournaments and a bit of the history of the game, both in English and Spanish.

Much thanks to Dr. Suzanne Scheld, Chair of the Anthropology department, current Museum board member and several other students that assisted with the build out of the exhibit.

A big thank you to food sponsor Vallarta Markets for their generous donation of delicious food.

If you have not toured this exhibit, please do so as it is scheduled to be at The Museum through the month of January.

Overview of the Pelota Mixteca exhibit

The origins of pelota mixteca are unclear. Some believe references to the game are etched in the 3000 year old walls of Dainzú, a Mixtec archaeological site located in Oaxaca. Others argue the sport was derived from early forms of European tennis that were adopted by the Spanish and imported to Central America several hundreds of years ago. Yet another theory is the sport emerged in Mexico the 1900s.

Pelota Mixteca es un deporte popular en Oaxaca, Mexico, una región asociada con la cultura Mixtecas, una población indígena de Mesoamérica. Pelota Mixteca es también conocida como “Pelota de Hule” (rubber ball) o guante (glove). Este deporte llegó a, el Valle de San Fernando alrededor de 1980 a través de la migración transnacional Mexicana. Hoy en día este deporte se juega en Hansen Dam Recreation Area, un parque público en Lake View, California. Este deporte tiene varias versiones de juego, pero en el Valle de San Fernando se asemeja como un juego de tenis compuesto de 5 jugadores en cada uno de los equipos.

Los orígenes de la Pelota Mixteca son inciertos. Ya que algunos creen que la referencia de juego están situadas en las paredes de Dainzu que tiene aproximadamente 3000 años de antigüedad, es un sitio arqueológico Mixteca situado en Oaxaca. Otros argumentan que el deporte fue derivado de la formas de tenis Europeo, el cual fue adoptado por los Españoles y luego importado a centroamérica hace cientos de años. Además otras teorías destaca que este deporte surgió en México alrededor de 1900.

Happy New Year from The Museum of the San Fernando Valley

We wish our members, donors, advisors, board of directors, valley residents and visitors a healthy and happy new year... and one filled with history, art and culture.

Please plan on visiting YOUR museum often during the year as we will have several new exhibits in 2019, new events and programs too!

Thank you,
Michel (Michael) Stevens


Monday, December 31, 2018

Thanks to outgoing City of Los Angeles Councilman Mitchell Englander - Friend of The Museum SFV

On behalf of the entire current and former Museum of the SFV board of directors and advisors, we say, "Thank you and all the best" in Councilman Englander's next endeavor.

Council District 12, for which The Museum SFV currently resides in has been a partner and supporter for our events throughout Councilman Englander's tenure.

On December 13th, there was an emotional farewell, hosted by PALS (thank you Sue Bruno and staff), with former councilmembers such as Dennis Zine, current and former staff members, City of LA employees, LAPD officers, many supporters from local neighborhood councils, Museum board members, Northridge chamber members and many others whose lives were touched by Councilman Englander.

Councilman Englander's mentor Greig Smith will be taking over the position on an interim position January 15th until an election will occur in June.  Former Councilman Smith (with Michel Stevens) and staff members such as John Bwarie were instrumental in assisting The Museum launch way back in 2005.  

In one of the many memorable moments, current County of Los Angeles 5th District Supervisor Kathryn Barger and Councilman Englander praised one another on their work to support their constituents in the city and county.

Many friends and community members were in attendance.

John Lee, former Chief of Staff and a potential candidate for the council position was on hand to say goodbye to his boss too.

Nicole Bernson, current Chief of Staff and Semee Park, now Director of Operations for Neighborhood Councils were both in attendance.

The councilman singled out Millie Jones, Director of External Affairs who is retiring.

The Museum's long time friends from Wings Over Wendy's were in attendance too. Paul and Howard share a light moment with Michel Stevens, President of The Museum SFV.

For those that missed it, here is Councilman Englander's farewell to constituents from his weekly e-newsletter.

A Fond Farewell...

This final newsletter of 2018 -- my last as your Councilmember -- is more bittersweet than other holiday newsletters of previous years. The decision to leave City Council was one of the most difficult I've had to make in my lifetime. And while I knew saying goodbye would not be easy, in the period since I made this announcement, you, along with the constituents, friends, colleagues, and staff that I have worked with all these years have only made it more so.

Simply put, I've been overwhelmed by the memories and relationships that we have built together in the 15 years that I've served the 12th Council District. Whether as a Chief of Staff or as a Councilmember, service is a privilege unlike any other. Second only to marrying my wife and raising our two daughters, my time serving the 12th District has been my life's proudest achievement.

Never in a million years would I have thought my life would be so blessed. As a child, I was just a punk kid from the Valley who could have easily ended up on the wrong side of life. My family had little in the way of money and, for a time, we didn't even have a place to call home. It is only thanks to the love and support of my mother, brother, sister, uncles, a few kind mentors, and a community that saw more in me than I saw in myself that I was given the opportunity to be more than what my circumstances might have allowed.

This is the life experience that I brought to bear during my time on Council. I devoted myself to ensuring that families across Los Angeles could feel safe in their own communities and that youth who did not have the most support or resources at home could be given an opportunity to succeed. And, because of hard work -- not just my own -- but of staff and colleagues and the community which supported our efforts, we have made progress on every front.

We've founded and expanded the Devonshire PALS Youth Center which every year provides programming and opportunity for thousands of at-risk youth turning kids who might end up in gangs or on drugs into community leaders in their own right. Our partnerships with non-profits such as the North Valley YMCA have raised millions to provide families programming and opportunities to thrive. We grew our police force and equipped them with the modern tools such as on-body cameras that help them build trust and keep communities safe. We transformed our Fire Department into a metric driven agency and reduced response times for emergencies because, when it comes to matters of life and death, seconds matter. We passed legislation that will retrofit and improve tens of thousands of structures so that when the next earthquake strikes, our residents will be safe. We pioneered new park designs to make them accessible to all children regardless of ability, cleaned up and re-opened Chatsworth Park South, funded the reconstruction and repair of our pools, acquired and opened a new park at the historic Oakridge estate, and broke ground on a brand new 50-acre park in Porter Ranch which will serve as the gathering point for visitors and community members alike. We founded Clean Streets-Clean Starts which has expanded from a small, single pilot project in Northridge to a city-wide program that allows individuals experiencing homelessness to work with community beautification teams and do clean-ups of their local neighborhood while receiving job counseling and connection to services that put their lives back on track.

I could go on and on with this list of achievements. However, all of this is to make one point: nothing happens because of one person. Everything we've accomplished has come to pass because we as a community made it happen. The 12th Council District has among the highest rates of volunteerism, engagement, and civic participation of any area in the City of Los Angeles.

It is only because I am confident in the durability of this progress that I am able to make this decision to move on to the next chapter of my life. There will not be a single moment when the 12th District is without representation on the Los Angeles City Council. My staff will remain in place to ensure that we don't miss a beat when it comes to serving the people of our district. What's more, my colleagues on Council have agreed to take the historic step and hold a vote to seat a new Councilmember to serve the 12th district until a special election can be held. The individual nominated is no stranger to the 12th district. Greig Smith was my predecessor on the City Council and was already twice elected by the voters in 2003 and 2007. There is no person who can match his knowledge and experience in serving the communities of the Northwest Valley.

It is thanks to Greig, his wife Christine, and my staff that I leave my position on Council confident that the progress we've made will continue. And while I am proud of all we have achieved, it is not without sadness that I step away from the work and the relationships that have defined and enriched my life for the last 15 years. The experience is something I will always carry with me and treasure.

As we settle in for the holidays and prepare for the New Year, I look forward to spending more time with my family and the new opportunities that life provides. However, though I am moving on to a new chapter, my devotion, love, and gratitude for the community which has given me everything in life will always endure.

However you celebrate, I wish you the best for a holiday season filled with family and friends. May the New Year bring you blessings and joy and, until we meet again, my deepest gratitude for all the love and support you've given me and our community.