Race for Boston Marathon victims kicking off in Santa Monica

BOSTON — Hundreds of runners are gearing up for a four-week, coast-to-coast relay race to honor three people killed in the Boston Marathon bombings and raise money for 260 people wounded when twin explosions went off near the finish line of the world’s oldest marathon. Participants in last year's run for Boston Marathon bombing... Read more →

Culture Watch: Big news for the new year

Photo courtesy ©2010 Cirque du Soleil Inc. This is my first chance to welcome you to the new year — and there’s so much to share! First, the big news. The big tent returns as Cirque du Soleil sets up shop on the beach in Santa Monica with its latest spectacular, “Totem.” I’ll attend opening night on Jan. 21 and report back... Read more →

Play Time: The big, bad ‘Wolf of Wall Street’

“The Wolf of Wall Street” is now playing in theaters. (Courtesy Red Granite Pictures) If your idea of entertainment is watching a crowd of mostly naked people indulging in continual sexual orgies, all together at parties and in their offices, popping Quaaludes and sniffing endless lines of coke and freaking out afterwards,... Read more →

Brief: Pittsburgh ballet school looking for talent

As part of a nationwide tour, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School — the official training institution of Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre — will hold auditions for its 2014 Intensive Summer Program at Westside School of Ballet, 1709 Stewart St., on Saturday, Jan. 11. Registration begins at 2 p.m. with the audition following at 2:30... Read more →

Plants wait out the darkest days

Houseplants’ problems are further compounded by windows, which cut sunlight by another 10 percent. No wonder these plants, if they are growing at all, stretch for light this time of year. (Daniel Archuleta daniela@smdp.com) Plants and people can’t help but feel a bit wan this time of year, but things are brightening up already. Every... Read more →

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D.K.’s unveils new ube root donut

Before you swiftly dismiss the idea of donuts in the new year (especially after weeks of holiday excess) just hear me out. Heading east of Santa Monica’s iconic beaches, world famous Santa Monica Pier and touristy Third Street Promenade, down Santa Monica Boulevard, will bring you to the Mid-City neighborhood and to perhaps the greatest... Read more →

Top Big Blue Bus driver retires after 45 years fighting traffic

Ken Johnson (David Mark Simpson dave@smdp.com) STREETS OF SANTA MONICA — It’s 12:31 p.m. and Ken Johnson’s last stop of his 45 year career is right on time. Johnson rolled up to the corner of Sixth Street and Broadway, gathered his things, and stepped off the Big Blue Bus, his hands in the air, looking up at the sky. Johnson,... Read more →

Play Time: Deciphering a domestic disturbance

STARRING ROLES: Tahar Rahim as Samir and Berenice Bejo as Marie in 'The Past.' (Photo courtesy Carole Bethuel/Sony Pictures Classics) Two years ago I had the pleasure of viewing and reviewing an Iranian film written and directed by Asghar Farhadi. The film, “A Separation,” went on to win 70 major awards around the world, including an... Read more →

Plentiful New Year’s Eve options in Santa Monica

CITYWIDE — Santa Monica has been a hot spot for New Year’s Eve parties since at least the 1890s. Back then the fire department held annual masquerade balls that were the talk of the Los Angeles area. In the early 1900s, Santa Monica casinos and the church groups alike held massive late-night feasts. On New Year’s Eve 1932, a... Read more →

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SoCal cracks down on fraud at farmers markets

DOWNTOWN — Ever wonder if something’s rotten at your farmers market? Maybe those pricey “locally grown” mangos are actually commercial imports from South America. Southern California officials have cracked down this past year on vendors who violate state law by selling fruits and vegetables they don’t produce. Violators can be... Read more →