Posts tagged ‘entertainment’

Finding Fun and Cheap Entertainment

free sign by klbusta -

free sign by klbusta

Right now we are all looking for ways to cut back our expenses, and reinvigorate those old values of frugality and thrift.  Some of the recent economic forecasts have predicted that we will not make major gains in employment until 2017!  With over 7 years of a potentially sluggish economy, many of us will be in need of cheap (or free), wholesome ways to enjoy ourselves, spend time with family and friends, and lift our spirits.

First, let’s start with some different strategies you can use to find things to do locally.  You may be familiar with some of these suggestions and some might be new. Set aside a few minutes before your weekend to explore your options and plan an awesome day!

1. Check out the City of Torrance’s City Events Calendar. The calendar is a relatively new feature of the city website and is designed to make locating city-sponsored events easier to find. Events hosted by other agencies may also be included. Library events are listed here!

2. Pick up a copy of your city’s recreation calendar. You can get print copies of the Torrance Seasons at the library or online. To access the recreation services of other cities in the South Bay, sign up for Redondo Beach’s e-zine or see Rancho Palos Verdes website. Recreation guides don’t only feature ongoing classes, but other one-day programs that have been planned in advance.

3. Scour your local print mediathe Daily Breeze, Los Angeles Times, Easy Reader, Palos Verdes Peninsula News. Browse the entertainment and calendar sections of the print and online versions of your favorite paper. Don’t forget the Los Angeles Weekly’s vast entertainment calendar.

4. Browse through Yelp. Yelp is a community review site where you can find information on the best restaurant in your neighborhood, where to fix your shoes, upcoming events, and more. Become a “Yelper” yourself and contribute your opinions. Here are some recent lists created by Yelpers on restaurants and bakeries in the South Bay.

5. Sign up for Yelp’s weekly email. If you are adventurous and like to explore new neighborhoods, Yelp spotlights different parts of town, as well as different themes.

6. Explore Upcoming. This event site is owned by Yahoo so you can log in using your Yahoo id.  Enter your hometown in the search bar and see all the events nearby. You can browse events by type as well – music, family, sports, etc.

7. Word of mouth. Truth be told, most of us discover things to do through people we already know. Reconnect with your family, friends, and co-workers some of the best fun there is.

8. Boomer-specific fun. Last but not least, visit the list we created especially for local Boomers with links to some of the local events you might be interested in.

More ideas, suggestions, and featured events to come, so stay tuned. By the way, many of these sites are good ways to promote your own events!  If you have any additional suggestions or tips, please include them in the comments – we would love to hear from you.

– rs

October 21, 2009 at 11:27 pm Leave a comment

Spare the Rod – Manipulate the Child?

6a0105368f4fef970b0120a58d528f970b-200wiAs a Boomer child growing up in the 50’s, my parents were heavily influenced by one of the best selling authors of all time – Dr. Benjamin Spock (not the Spock of “Live long and prosper!”) Dr. Spock’s seminal work, Baby and Child Care, was filled with practical and radical (for its time) information that helped millions of parents cope with their fears about caring for and raising their children.

Dr. Spock offered a reassuring alternative to the rigid rules and practices fostered by the medical establishment prior to the publication of his manual. His contention was that parents know their children best and could be trusted to make good decisions. In particular, he stressed that providing natural affection and responsiveness to your children, adopting a more permissive and communicative style, and allowing your children to explore and experiment was not going harm them and, in fact, would result in healthy, happy children.

Fast forward some sixty odd years since the penning of Dr. Spock’s masterpiece to the present day confusion of child rearing advice and techniques. While the methodology advocated in her book may not win any prizes from pediatricians and family practice physicians, the Torrance Public Library Foundation is delighted to be presenting “An Evening with Elizabeth Beckwith” this coming Wednesday, October 7 at 7:00 p.m. (Foundation members only are invited to a reception with the author beginning at 6:30 p.m.*) at the Katy Geissert Civic Center Library Community Meeting Room.

Ms. Beckwith
, a stand-up comedienne and author, has appeared on The Late Late Show and was one of seven comics featured in the Time magazine article “Funny: The Next Generation.” She has just written a book entitled Raising the Perfect Child Through Guilt and Manipulation. While the book is a satire of traditional parenting guides, it does have some sage advice mixed in with autobiographical information about the author and her family. Ms. Beckwith will be reading from her book, as well as talking about her experiences raising her children, and will answer questions from the audience.

An Evening with Elizabeth Beckwith is free to the public; however, the Foundation is suggesting a donation of $10.00 to help defray the cost of the program.  Copies of Raising the Perfect Child… will be available for purchase at the event.  And if learning about the real way to effectively raise children inspires you, try checking out one of the hundreds of titles the Library owns on the subject of child rearing.

* Attendees who wish to become members of the Foundation on the night of the program may purchase a membership between the hours of 6:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.

October 4, 2009 at 1:07 am Leave a comment

Faces of the Harp and Memories of Music

wildcat-383x308Many Boomers had the good fortune to attend school when budgets were better and the arts were considered a necessary element of a child’s education. Growing up in LA and being a product of LA City schools, I took several music appreciation classes, and that was before I attended college. In those good old days, all students learned a bit of musical notation, were introduced to musical forms (symphony, concerto, opera, etc.) and the structure of the orchestra, listened to and were able to identify musical instruments by ear and sight, and were given an overview of classical music history including exposure to the great composers. I can still remember one of my favorite records from my youth, Said the Piano to the Harpsichord, written by Douglas Stuart Moore, featuring an amazing duel between a harpsichord and a piano during which they squared off about which was better, couplers or keys! I also learned who Bach, Brahms, and Beethoven were and read biographies of several of my favorite composers including Mozart, Haydn, and Beethoven.

In addition to learning about classical music in the classroom, many children had the opportunity to see an orchestral concert and/or view an entire opera as part of their school curriculum. Students traveled by bus to venues such as the Shrine Auditorium in downtown Los Angeles to see works such as Engelbert Humperdinck’s opera, Hansel and Gretel or Rossini’s Barber of Seville. After learning about classical music, seeing it performed live greatly enhanced the experience and certainly gave me an appreciation that has stayed with me all these many years.

In the past, the Library rarely offered musical concerts, as until recently the acoustics and space in the Katy Geissert Civic Center Library Meeting Room did not afford a good listening experience. However, the Meeting Room has recently been refurbished and staff has arranged for a highly acclaimed musician to perform this coming Wednesday evening, August 26, at 7:00 p.m. Dr. Vanessa Sheldon, a teacher and classically trained harpist will perform a diverse array of musical works that will demonstrate the range of her very special instrument, the harp. While the program is not recommended for small children, older youth able to sit quietly and listen to music for a 60-minute period, would be most welcome. Attending an intimate concert such as this may provide special memories for you and your family. And all adults who love classical music and/or are interested in learning about, listening to, and watching a master play should take advantage of this unique opportunity!

August 25, 2009 at 8:25 am 2 comments

The Devil Made Him Do It

DamnYankees2If you’re looking for a fun afternoon or evening, you might want to consider getting tickets to see the Torrance Theater Company’s upcoming summer musical, Damn Yankees playing from August 1-15 at the James Armstrong Theatre. It’s one of the few musicals I can think of that appeals to both males and females and it’s set in the heart of the Boomer era. For those unfamiliar with the story, a middle-aged baseball fanatic, Joe Boyd, trades his soul to the Devil (the charming but devious Mr. Applegate) for a chance to lead his favorite team to victory in the pennant race against the New York Yankees.

The play was first performed on Broadway in 1955 and while I never got to New York to see the production (I was rather young and living in California), I did watch the 1958 movie starring Tab Hunter, Gwen Verdon, and Ray Walston numerous times. The songs were clever and tuneful and the story sweet and nostalgic even back then.

Click here to listen to a selection of a favorite song that my friends and I sang along with.

The Katy Geissert Civic Center Library owns a copy of Damn Yankees in videocassette format if you want to familiarize yourself with the story before you go see the play. The Library also owns several other great baseball films on DVD and/or videocassette:
The Natural
A League of Their Own
Field of Dreams
Pride of the Yankees
Major League
Bang the Drum Slowly
Bad News Bears
Bull Durham
Eight Men Out

Do you have a favorite baseball film or story? Please add a comment and let us know.

July 24, 2009 at 5:42 am Leave a comment

Reinventing Date Night for Boomers and Others

CB106693Reading about and watching all the coverage of President Obama’s date night – a trip to New York City to see a Broadway play – reminded me of an article I read in the New York Times several months ago. The article, entitled “Reinventing Date Night for Long-Married Couples,” talks about how to make “date night” – a regular evening out with friends or at a favorite restaurant – more meaningful and fulfilling.

The article’s author, Tara Parker-Pope, offers a summary of research conducted by Dr. Arthur Aron, professor of social psychology at the State University of New York at Stony Brook. Dr. Aron believes that couples need to design their date nights around new and different activities and not the old and familiar. The goal is to find ways of adding novelty into existing relationships.

Over the past several years, Dr. Aron and his colleagues have tested the novelty theory. In one experiment, couples were told to spend 90 minutes per week doing pleasant and familiar activities, like going to a movie or out to dinner. Couples in a second group were asked to spend 90 minutes a week doing “exciting” activities that appealed to both the husband and wife, but were not things they typically did – for example, attending concerts or plays, hiking, skiing, or dancing. A third group was not assigned to do any particular type of activity. After 10 weeks, the couples were tested about the quality of their relationships. Interestingly, those in the “exciting” date night group showed a significantly greater increase in marital satisfaction than the “pleasant” date night group.

As with many experiments, there were a number of variables that could have affected the final results, but it makes sense that experiencing fun and vibrant activities with someone you care about would result in a greater sense of satisfaction and excitement about being with that person.

So next time you and your long-time companion think about your standard Friday night dinner at (fill in your regular haunt), try something new, unusual, or adventuresome! And don’t forget to consult the City of Torrance Events Calendar – you may find a great inexpensive or free activity close by to rekindle your sweetie’s affections.

Have any great ideas for novel places in the South Bay or its environs that you’d recommend for date night? We’d love to hear your suggestions.

June 7, 2009 at 6:34 am Leave a comment

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