Grand Performances offers a diverse mix of music all summer long

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Dive into a pool of beats and rhythms from all around the globe at this summer’s Grand Performances at the California Plaza. This series of free outdoor concerts features sights and sounds from Peruvian electronic music to African Ethio-jazz to edgy alternative beats from East LA. There’s a show for all ages to enjoy and discover their next favorite artist, music, dance, or beat.

If you want to enjoy an energetic jolt during your lunch hour, Grand Performances hosts a Lunchbox Series, providing a weekly line-up of free indie, folk, and pop concerts at noon each Friday from July 6 to August 24.

The first performance took place today and it was easy getting there from the Metro Red Line Pershing Square Station. From there, hop on the Angels Flight to watch an energetic bi-lingual performance from Las Cafeteras. Hailing from East Los Angeles, this band fuses Afro-Mexican music with hip-hop and alternative styles.

Not a single seat was open for the first Lunchbox concert and everyone in the audience ranged from local businessmen to summer music campers to German tourists. Las Cafeteras proved to be a crowd favorite and by the end, brought the audience off their feet to dance onstage to the rhythm of their #1 hit “La Bamba Rebelde.”

Concerts are commonly scheduled for Friday at noon and Friday and Saturday evenings, and there’s a Kids Series on Sunday afternoons. Make sure to bring a lawn chair or blanket along with a picnic because seating goes fast! The complete calendar with the lineup of events can be found here.

To plan your route to a Grand Performance concert, use the Metro Trip Planner.

Expo Line Phase 2 construction update community meetings

Two community meetings have been scheduled for July by the Exposition Construction Authority to provide information on upcoming construction activities and timelines on Expo Phase 2.

Santa Monica Construction Update
Wednesday, July 24, 2013                           
6:30 p.m.
New Roads School
Capshaw-Spielberg Center, 2nd Floor
3131 Olympic Boulevard
Santa Monica, CA 90404
Parking available on campus (off Olympic Boulevard)

Los Angeles Construction Update
Tuesday, July 30, 2013                                6:30 p.m.
Vista Del Mar Child and Family Services
3200 Motor Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90034
Parking available on campus

Planned Agenda for Community Meetings
6:30 – 7:00 p.m.: Formal Presentation
7:00 – 8:00 p.m.: Open House Session

ADA Language Accommodation: If you require an interpreter, including sign language services, or other accommodations at these community meetings, please contact Expo at least five business days prior to the meeting date at 213-243-5534.

For more information about the Expo Line project, visit or call 213-922-EXPO (3976).

Pam O’Connor new chair of Expo Line Construction Authority

Metro Board Member and Santa Monica Mayor Pam O’Connor yesterday became new chair of the Exposition Metro Line Construction Authority Board of Directors, AKA Expo Line. As all transit watchers know, the Construction Authority is currently building Phase 2 of the light-rail line between Culver City and Santa Monica. (Phase 1 between downtown L.A. and Culver City opened last spring.) Once completed, Phase 2 will be turned over to Metro for operation and we’ll finally have light-rail to the sea! The new Construction Authority vice chair will be recently elected L.A. City Council Member Mike Bonin.

Metro Board Chair Diane DuBois also has announced the following appointments to the Metro Board of Directors: L.A. County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas will chair the Finance, Budget and Audit Committee; John Fasana will chair the Ad Hoc Congestion Pricing Committee; L.A. County Supervisor Michael Antonovich will chair the System Safety and Operations Committee; L.A. County Supervisor Don Knabe will chair the Construction Committee; DuBois will chair the Executive Management Committee and O’Connor will chair the Planning and Programming Committee and retain her position as chair of the Ad Hoc Sustainability Committee. These folks are particularly important since they help plot the course of mobility for L.A. and oversee the projects that are moving us in that direction.

Transportation headlines, Friday, July 12

Here is a look at some of the transportation headlines gathered by us and the Metro Library. The full list of headlines is posted on the Library’s Transportation Headlines online newspaper, which you can also access via email subscription (visit the newspaper site) or RSS feed.

Long Beach project will close major traffic route tonight (Los Angeles Times)

A major artery between Long Beach and San Pedro will be closed this weekend, as major construction gets underway to replace the aging Gerald Desmond Bridge in Long Beach.  A 1.5-mile stretch of Ocean Boulevard between West Shoreline Drive and the Terminal Island Freeway will be closed in both directions starting tonight (7/12) at 10 p.m., port officials said.

Could ride sharing be the death of public transportation? (The Atlantic Cities)

One of the most notable outcomes of the recent BART strike was a surge of interest in ride-sharing services. Sidecar — the on-demand ride sharing service that connects riders and drivers via smartphone app — lifted its cut of transactions to encourage wider use. Same story with Lyft, a similar service. Both experienced significant upticks in service. But now that BART is back, will riders revert to public transit? Does it matter if some of them don’t? Isn’t the point to create mobility by making it easier for people to live without having  cars? What do you think?

Keep Southern California’s new-era cabs rolling (Pasadena Star-News)

In fact, the Pasadena Star-News ran an editorial, earlier this week, in support of Sidecar, Lyft and Uber as alternate modes of transport for L.A.

Organizations trying to ensure that African Americans get work on Crenshaw/LAX  (Our Weekly)

Two local organizations — the Black Workers Center and Young Black Contractors — are working to ensure that African American construction workers are included in the Crenshaw/LAX Transit Corridor project.


Transportation headlines, Thursday, July 11

Here is a look at some of the transportation headlines gathered by us and the Metro Library. The full list of headlines is posted on the Library’s Transportation Headlines online newspaper, which you can also access via email subscription (visit the newspaper site) or RSS feed.

High Desert Corridor concepts unveiled (L.A. Daily News)

Transportation officials unveiled Wednesday various concepts for a proposed High Desert Corridor from the Antelope Valley to San Bernardino County that would allow travelers to bypass some of the busiest freeways in Los Angeles County and potentially link with the California High Speed Rail project to Las Vegas.

Alhambra hosts 710 Day (Glendale News Press)

While anti-freeway activists have dominated the dialogue over efforts to extend the Long Beach (710) Freeway northward, the city of Alhambra launched the first salvo on Wednesday in its campaign to drum up support for the extension.

San Bernardino County officials say bus rapid-transit system nearly completed (San Bernardino Sun)

As Metro works on a BRT down massively jammed Wilshire Boulevard, others are doing likewise. Construction of a $192 million rapid-transit bus system through 15 miles from  San Bernardino to Loma Linda may be completed in a couple months, with service beginning in 2014. Metro’s Wilshire Boulevard BRT will stretch from Valencia Street to Centinela Avenue. The first 1.8-mile segment of peak hour bus lanes on Wilshire opened June 5.

Rail link to Ontario airport studied (Press Enterprise)

San Bernardino County transportation officials agreed Wednesday to spend nearly $600,000 on a study of potential ways to provide rail access to the LA/Ontario International Airport. As most readers know, Ontario has suffered a significant downturn in airline traffic — something a rail link would quite likely positively influence. 

Transportation headlines, Tuesday, July 9

Here is a look at some of the transportation headlines gathered by us and the Metro Library. The full list of headlines is posted on the Library’s Transportation Headlines online newspaper, which you can also access via email subscription (visit the newspaper site) or RSS feed.

Mayor Garcetti on Red line in May. Photo: Eric Garcetti for Mayor

Mayor Garcetti on Red line in May. Photo: Eric Garcetti for Mayor

How Mayor Garcetti can keep L.A. County transportation on track (CityWatchLA)

There are a bunch of good suggestions here for our new mayor to consider, as he gets down to the business of continuing to grow L.A. into the 21st century region it needs to be to complete financially and provide a comfortable lifestyle for residents. A few of the suggestions don’t ring particularly true but maybe you think differently. What’s your take?

In Europe, greener transit on existing infrastructure (New York Times)

Now that Metro is venturing into the world of electric buses (see Source post), it’s interesting to note how other cities are approaching the problem of re-charging so that buses with long routes can get from beginning to end and back to the charging station again. Here’s how Vienna is approaching the issue. (Let me be the first to volunteer to check it out.)

Mapping the untold stories of Leimert Park (KCET)

As Metro prepares for construction of the Crenshaw/LAX line, KCET is gearing up to produce a story on Leimert Park — a hub of African American arts and culture — and is asking viewers to send in their stories and ideas about the area. If you want to contribute, fill out the form here. Sounds like fun.

Metro, Caltrans to Hold Public Meetings on High Desert Corridor (HDC) Project


Here’s the press release from Metro:

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) and Caltrans is holding a series of four public meetings to provide information and seek comment on a proposed new transportation corridor linking Palmdale and Victorville.

The project, called High Desert Corridor (HDC), is a 63-mile-long proposal that may include a highway, energy production and/or transmission facilities for green energy, a bikeway and a high speed rail feeder service line connecting State Route 14 in Los AngelesCounty and State Route 18 in San BernardinoCounty.

“The High Desert Corridor project aims to improve mobility and access for people and goods in the rapidly growing Antelope, Victor and Apple Valleys,” said Doug Failing, Metro’s executive director of highway project delivery. “The focus of the meetings is to provide a project update, share highlights of key findings from the Rail Alternative Analysis, review the refined Purpose and Need statement for the project and discuss next steps in the process,” he added.

Schedule of meetings:

Monday, July 15, 2013 6-8 p.m. at the LakeLos AngelesElementary School, 16310 E. Avenue Q, Palmdale, Calif., 93591

Tuesday, July 16, 2013 6-8 p.m. at the Stater Bros. Stadium, Mavericks Conference Room, 12000 Stadium Way, Adelanto, Calif., 92301.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013 6-8 p.m. at the EndeavourSchool of Exploration, 12403 Ridgecrest Rd., Victorville, Calif., 92395.

Monday, July 22, 2013 6-8 p.m. at the Larry Chimbole Cultural Center, Joshua Room, 38350 Sierra Hwy., Palmdale, Calif., 93350.

The meetings on July 17 and July 22 will be webcast live at

Special accommodations and information in alternative formats are available to the public. All requests for reasonable accommodations must be made three working days (72) hours in advance of the scheduled meeting date. Contact the project hotline at 888.252.7433 or call the California Relay Service at 711. Para información en español llame al 888.252.7433.