July 31, 2014

LAWT News Service


 The historical Watts Summer Festival (WSF) will celebrate its 48th year on Saturday, Aug. 9, at Ted Watkins Park (next to the tennis courts) from noon until 7:30pm. The community is invited to come out and enjoy culture, continuous music, food, and activities including a petting zoo, Children’s Village and more.  Vendors will offer unique items and social service agencies will provide valuable onsite information of services available to residents of all ages.


The venerable event will open with the pouring of libations in memory of those who lost their lives in the 1965 Watts Revolt, by Tulivu Jadi, vice chair of Organization Us and Alma Jackson, WSF board member. Mpinduzi Kuthaza, WSF board member, will give the history of the Watts Festival and recognize the Festival’s honorary co-chair, Congress member Maxine Waters. The “Tommy Jacquette Legacy Torchbearer Award” will also be presented to a deserving young Watts resident.


On Friday, Aug. 1, the documentary film “WattStax: The Living Word” will be screened with discussion at the Watts Senior Center, 1657 E. Century Blvd., Watts. The 1972 all-star concert was held at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum and organized by Memphis’ Stax Records as a fundraiser for the Watts Summer Festival. Lester Jones, WSF Board Member, will moderate. 1 pm – 4pm.


On Saturday, Aug. 2, the Watts Village Forum “Building a Healthy Community” will be held at Beulah Baptist Church, 1454 E. 100th St., Watts.  A panel of local professionals will discuss three elements of building and maintaining a healthy community, focusing on mental, physical and non-violent solutions. Panelists include Dr. Yoshado Lang, Emmada Psychology Center; Dr. Stan Frencher, Martin Luther King Jr. Community Hospital; and Aquil Basheer, A Better L.A. and PCITI (Professional Community Intervention Training Institute). WSF Board Member, Kathy Williamson, will moderate. 11am - 1pm.


For more information, visit www.WattsFest.org and Watts Summer Festival, Inc. on FaceBook.

Parent Category: Lifestyle
Category: Arts & Culture

July 24, 2014


By E. Willa Simpson


In this insightful new book “On My Brother’s Shoulders: An African American Anthology and Tribute to People of Color,” E. Willa Simpson takes readers on a journey through the African American experience in the United States as retold in poetic terms.  This literary work pays tribute to countless African American leaders who sacrificed their basic freedoms and in many cases even their lives for the longevity of the “human race.”  Through Simpson’s scholarly, thought provoking analysis of the movement and unique critical dialogue as reflected through firsthand interviews with key civil rights leaders including Angela Davis, Michael Eric Dyson, Mamie Till Mobley and Howard Bingham (producer of motion picture film Ali); Simpson’s work promises to leave readers pondering just how deeply African Americans were affected by their shackled enslavement, the psychological impact of lynchings and tumultuous history in the United States.  Simpson senses the worth involved in honoring the lives of those who contributed unselfishly to the struggle for justice and equality.


“On My Brother’s Shoulders” is a significant contribution to African American history as it provides a first hand account of the aftermath of the Emmett Till Lynching of 1955 as retold through Emmett Till’s beloved mother; longtime educator and civil rights advocate Mamie Till Mobley.  Simpson states, “This literary work pays tribute to those who came before us and laid down their lives so that future generations would be able to have better and continue to sing a triumphant song.”  Simpson's book presents a timeless journey through the early civil rights movement as portrayed through the skillful retelling of the brutal lynching of Emmett Till a fourteen year old youth who was accused of having wolf whistled at a white woman.  Through Simpson's thoughtful examination of the ideology behind lynching noted filmmaker, historian and poet; E. Willa Simpson pays tribute to countless African Ameri­can leaders including Angela Davis, Michael Eric Dyson, Medgar Evers, Ida B. Wells, Mamie Till Mobley  and more.  “I am hoping that this book will begin the process of opening up critical dialogue in the African American community as it relates to the many social injustices pervasive during the civil rights movement and thereafter, combined with the impact of post-traumatic slave disorder and brutal assassination of our leaders.  We can only begin the process of healing once we begin to examine the ideologies and social structures that contributed to the racial persecution of Blacks in the United States, openly acknowledge these injustices and seek out specific solutions to existing issues that are still prevalent in the African American community today,”… E. Willa Simpson. 


This book was written in hopes of getting older generations talking and sharing with younger generations about their experiences during the early civil rights movement and with being Black in America; as well as to create a general interest among youth to study their history beyond the walls of the traditional public school system and academia.  Simpson states “We must change the course of history through the intentional inclusion of our stories in history books as retold by African Americans and further legitimized by the educational system, however in the meantime we must diligently pursue the truth of our experience in this country (including post-traumatic slave disorder) for ourselves.  The lynching of Emmett Louis Till was one of the most talked about lynchings in the history of the United States and a necessary part of our understanding of race relations that should be included in educational texts throughout the country.”  As Angela Davis stated in this anthology of interviews, “The case of Emmett Till marked a moment of “extreme de conscience,” a moment of coming to consciousness in a very intense way about the need to bring about social change.”  And it is this imperative need to re-envision history as portrayed through the eyes of key civil rights leaders that is still relevant to social issues existing today.  “On My Brother’s Shoulders: An African American Anthology and Tribute to People of Color” is available for purchase now at Barnes and Noble, Amazon.com, Books a Million, Kobo Books, and other Major Retailers.  You may follow the author at her website located at www.ewillasimpson.com.                                           


E. Willa Simpson is a longtime advocate for civil rights and justice; formerly residing on the local advisory committee of the “Tavis Smiley” Foundation.  Simpson’s many accomplishments include film and television production, in addition to several publishing credits receiving national acclaim.  Simp­son made her directorial debut with a documentary entitled “The Lynching Tree” featuring political activist Angela Davis; and is currently working on several upcoming literary and theatrical projects. Contact Media Relations (562) 607-9533, Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Parent Category: Lifestyle
Category: Arts & Culture

July 24, 2014


Aries Mar 21 - Apr 19


This is a mixed week in which Uranus enters its retrograde phase, possibly bringing out the rebel in you. This, along with the Sun's move into Leo, encourages risk taking and a desire for adventure. However deeper currents show up as Mars moves into Scorpio on Friday. If financial matters have been rather slow to improve, progress can now be made. A strong determination to overcome challenges in this area will encourage you to put 100 percent into solving problems for good.




Taurus Apr 20 – May 20


There's an accent on communication, although a cautious approach might best on Tuesday, when edgy influences could encourage arguments. If you want to stay friends with someone, it's best not to rock the boat. However, Thursday can be excellent for detailed work, planning, and organization. You can make great strides if you put your mind to it. Relationships could become a lot more passionate when Mars jogs into Scorpio on Friday. However, control battles might also be a problem unless you work to keep the peace.




Gemini May 21 - Jun 20


The Sun joins Jupiter in Leo on Tuesday, spotlighting communication and interaction. This can be a great time to showcase your abilities or advertise your goods and services. However, you could also make a lot of money promoting and selling other people's products. The movement of Mars into Scorpio on Friday enlivens your zone of work and health. If you've been feeling under the weather, you might want to consider a short detox as a way to cleanse and refresh your body.




Cancer Jun 21 - Jul 22


Finances look set to improve with Jupiter now in your money sector, and this week's move of the Sun into Leo adds emphasis to this area. Opportunities to increase your earnings may become more plentiful, especially if you're willing to work hard to find them. This is a time when the more effort you put in, the more you'll get out. The move of Mars into Scorpio brings passion to your romance sector. If you're a writer or artist, your creations may have a rich, deep intensity.




Leo Jul 23 - Aug 22


With Jupiter now boosting your energy and enlivening your creativity, you're truly in your element. Hang on to your hat, as the next twelve months may be a real roller-coaster ride. You'll be a beacon of warmth and natural charisma as the Sun eases into your sign on Tuesday. Yet home and family matters may be stirred up when Mars moves into Scorpio on Friday, with a focus on transformation in this area. The New Moon in your sign on Saturday is perfect for making a fresh start.




Virgo Aug 23 - Sep 22


A powerful focus on your spiritual sector shows up as the Sun joins Jupiter in Leo. You're in a natural phase when exploring your dreams, paying attention to your intuitive impulses, and becoming acquainted with your deeper purpose is very much in the fore. As a result, you may want to take time out to reflect, meditate, and tune in. However, you'll also be diving in deep as Mars moves into your communication sector. With detective-like ferocity, you may leave no stone unturned in your quest for knowledge.




Libra Sep 23 - Oct 22


The "fun meter" is set on high, with a delightful focus on dating, socializing, and romance. You'll be in your element when the Sun joins Jupiter, organizing events, matchmaking, and generally bringing folks together. Thursday could be particularly delightful for romance or even a first date, as a warm and cozy atmosphere encourages intimacy. Financial matters get a lively bump as Mars enters Scorpio on Friday. Perhaps you'll be more determined to sort out debt - and increase your earnings while you're at it.




Scorpio Oct 23 - Nov 21


The spotlight beckons this week as the Sun joins Jupiter in Leo to make you the star of the show. Now more than ever it's time to prioritize your goals and focus on those that matter most. Success may become even more of a possibility as Mars moves into your sign on Friday. After what may have seemed like months of treading water, you'll be in the thick of the action. Along with this you'll be motivated to overcome challenges and explore new pathways to greater happiness.




Sagittarius Nov 22 - Dec 21


New adventures open up for you as a focus on exploration coincides with a restless need to travel. You might also be motivated to study, perhaps to gain a certification, or try lecturing, teaching, or getting published. Yet deeper currents of energy might draw your attention to inner impulses and feelings or to events that may have caused trauma at one time or another. Mars moves into Scorpio, which indicates the weeks ahead may bring an opportunity for healing and rebirth.




Capricorn Dec 22 - Jan 19


The current lineup can be helpful if you're an entrepreneur or businessperson with ambition. As the Sun joins Jupiter in Leo and your zone of shared resources, your optimism and willingness to take risks may ratchet up a notch or two. Being practical and down to earth, it helps to make a plan before you get started. Your social life perks up as Mars moves into Scorpio, enlivening relationships with friends and associates and connecting you to people with power and influence.




Aquarius Jan 20 - Feb 18


You're in a phase when relationships are at an all-time high, especially since Jupiter moved into Leo. This week the Sun moves in, too, spotlighting interactions with others and bringing sunshine, warmth, and energy to business or romantic partnerships. Your social life may get busier and busier, which you might quite enjoy. However, career matters also get a boost as Mars moves into Scorpio on Friday. As it's here for a few months, the energy and determination to overcome challenges may be very pronounced.




Pisces Feb 19 - Mar 20


A feeling of vitality and radiance could give you a boost that not only enhances energy levels but also gives you that feel-good factor. With Jupiter and the Sun in Leo it's very possible you'll get a promotion, if not now, then at some point in the future. Romantic opportunities may coincide with intense exchanges, where control battles and a desire for power could unleash sexual desire. You might be trying hard - and failing - to resist someone's advances. Passion may win out in the end.


Parent Category: Lifestyle
Category: Arts & Culture

July 17, 2014




Tower’s musical odyssey actually began in 1968 when Emilio Castillo met Stephen “Doc” Kupka in July of that year. When Doc auditioned during a band rehearsal at Emilio's house, Emilio’s father called him into the kitchen and offered the following advice: “Hire that guy, he’s got something.” Doc and his signature baritone sax sound were now in the band, and on August 13, 1968, Tower of Power, as we know them today, began playing gigs, and soon became very well known in the area.


Many other bands came out of the San Francisco Bay area in the late 60’s. Bands like The Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, Santana, Big Brother, Journey, Cold Blood and others all helped to define the “San Francisco Sound.” Tower of Power has always claimed Oakland, California as their hometown. Playing area venues and making a name for themselves, Tower of Power’s big break was just around the corner.


After playing at a Tuesday night audition at the Fillmore in 1970, Tower was signed to Bill Graham’s San Francisco records and their first album, East Bay Grease, was recorded. All of the compositions were original tunes written by Castillo and Kupka. Their next album, “Bump City,” was recorded on the Warner Brothers label, and this led to a string of hits and memorable albums that include many of the songs that TOP fans come out in force to hear, even to this day. Over the years, the Tower of Power Horns have recorded with hundreds of artists as diverse as Aerosmith, Elton John, Little Feat, Phish, Santana, Heart, and many others, forever infusing the radio airwaves with Tower’s musical DNA.


Since the beginning, Tower of Power has never stopped touring and recording. Always in demand, the band never fails to entertain and amaze their fans. Tower is truly blessed to have a dedicated following that often travels to see the band, and in many cases fans will plan their vacation or work schedule around an appearance of TOP.


Tower celebrated their 40th anniversary in 2008 at a very special reunion show at the Fillmore Auditorium in San Francisco. In addition to the ten current members of the band, another 20 musicians and vocalists that at one time held a position with the band appeared with them. The show was filmed and is available on DVD. Of the ten current members, Emilio Castillo, Rocco Prestia, Stephen Kupka, and David Garibaldi are four of the band’s founding members. Their dedication to the music, their creative writing, and their original vision still guides Tower of Power.


Each year Tower of Power tours the United States, Japan and Europe, playing to sold out crowds all over the world. Recent releases include Great American Soulbook, a collection of classic soul tunes, and the 40th Anniversary CD/DVD. Tower has never been busier or more in demand. New generations of fans come to see the band perform as their timeless music continues to excite fans of all ages. We hope you enjoy this website, which will be growing and evolving continually to include more band history, information on alumni members, and regular updates on Tower of Power.

Parent Category: Lifestyle
Category: Arts & Culture

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