Community News

LBMA Exhibition

The Long Beach Museum of Art (LBMA) presents “We All Exist Right Now,” the first solo museum exhibition by the young Long Beach painter Alex Gardner. In recent years, Gardner has gained widespread attention for his bold painting style. This debut exhibition presents a selection of Gardner’s most recent work, along with new pieces commissioned for LBMA.

Identity is a central theme for the artist. Gardner’s characters are ageless, faceless, and genderless and embody everyone as much as no one. He uses body language from his subjects to evoke tension and the vibrant, yet softly colored backgrounds ease the drama to engage a dual narrative for the viewer to decipher. Gardner applies casual titles to his work, such as “Daddy Sam Don’t Care” and “Leaving Summer in Separate Cars” to bring the day-to-day moments that inform the work to the forefront. Gardner composes his artworks in acrylics on either linen or wood panels, which is a new development in recent paintings.

Alex Gardner lives and works in Long Beach. He holds a BFA from California State University Long Beach, which he completed in 2011. Since then, he has shown in Copenhagen, Mexico, Miami, Chicago and Los Angeles and New York with solo exhibitions at The Hole in New York, New Image Art Gallery in Los Angeles, and the Konig Gallery in Berlin.

For more information on the Long Beach Museum of Art: www.lbma.org.

Tribute to Charlie Brown

On Saturday, Dec. 18 at 8 p.m., the Carpenter Center continues a beloved holiday tradition: David Benoit’s “Christmas Tribute to Charlie Brown” featuring Courtney Fortune. Last year’s tribute was a virtual event, but this year’s concert will be back on stage, celebrating the music from the TV classic, including Benoit’s own favorites in addition to the Vince Guaraldi classics.

One of the founding fathers of contemporary jazz, David Benoit’s love for the music from the 1965 Peanuts classic runs deep, he took over as music composer for new Charlie Brown Christmas TV specials more than a decade ago. After celebrating the music of Vince Guaraldi last year in a virtual concert, David Benoit returns to our stage to continue the holiday tradition, joined this year by vocalist Courtney Fortune, named “America’s next big jazz singer” by Genlux magazine.

Tickets: https://www.tix.com/ticket-sales/carpenterarts/6773/event/1239162.

Return Performance

The last concert the Long Beach Youth Chorus held in public was a winter concert in December 2019. Now, ten virtual videos and two years later, the chorus and Artistic Director Stevie Hirner are returning to perform as part of the Music at the Point Concert Series at Grace First on Dec. 18 and St. Matthew Catholic Church on Dec. 19.

The concert, entitled “Cultures and Commissions” will feature the chorus singing music in five different languages and premiering two works that were commissioned by the chorus. The first is Touchstones to Heaven by Amy Gordon, a local composer who graduated with a master’s degree in composition from California State Long Beach.

The second is a work that is an homage to the rich culture of Long Beach’s Cambodian-American community. Commissioned with a grant from the California Arts Council, A Rab Pi Ya is a Cambodian folk song arranged by Long Beach resident and musician, Soup Pha, and composer Danny Stimac. It is believed to be one of the first works commissioned for children’s chorus in the Khmer language, says LBYC Executive Director Stan DeWitt.

For more information, contact Stan DeWitt at (562) 972-3324 or stan.gracefirst@gmail.com.

Holiday Concert

The Long Beach Chorale and Chamber Orchestra (LBCCO) invites the community to don their festive wear and join them for a holiday concert and sing-along on Sunday, Dec. 19, 4 p.m. at Grace First Presbyterian Church. “A-Caroling We Go” will have something for everyone to herald in this yuletide season, from traditional holiday standards to poetry set to music.

Conducted by the LBCCO’s Interim Artistic Director Matthew Martinez, with piano accompaniment provided by renowned Southern California musician David York, the festive program features an array of cherished favorites and a selection of lesser known but equally stirring carols. Audience members will hear “Sleigh Ride,” the hopeful “Somewhere in My Memory” from the popular film “Home Alone,” along with some musical surprises, all topped off with a rousing audience sing-along with a selection of seasonal classics such as “Silent Night” and “Deck the Hall.”

There is a suggested donation of $20 for tickets and they can be purchased at the Chorale website www.longbeachchorale.org. More information can be found on the website or by contacting the Chorale at (562) 427-1931.

Collaborative Series

The Long Beach Playhouse announces the return of its collaborative series. The collaborative is one of the ways the Playhouse supports local performance artists and theater groups by offering its upstairs Studio Theatre, to mount their own shows. There is a nominal cost and tickets sales are split between the presenters and the Playhouse. The runs vary from one night to two weekends. This year’s season offers comedy, drama, dance, and the annual New Works Festival.

Also included in this year’s season are popular offerings from the Playhouse including staged readings of the winning plays from its New Works Festival, it’s annual “Staff and Friends Cabaret,” and its 24-hour marathon, “Plays in Day” in which authors are given 12 hours to write a mini play and the actors and directors have the next 12 hours to get it ready for an audience.

The 11-show season opened on Dec. 10 and closes on March 26. Tickets can be purchased on the website, www.lbplayhouse.org.

African American Scholar

The Aquarium of the Pacific is accepting applications for its African American Scholar program until Dec. 31. The program, now in its second year, awards funds to support African American students who demonstrate a commitment to studies related to careers in the aquarium field, including ocean education, animal husbandry, water quality, building maintenance or facilities, microbiology, and business management.

Through this program, the aquarium hopes to bring meaningful opportunities in the marine sciences to African American students and to bring diverse minds to solving the issues facing our planet and its inhabitants.

For the 2022 scholar program, recipients will be notified by Feb. 1, 2022 and awards will be presented to the individuals selected at the aquarium’s 20th annual African American Festival on Feb. 27, 2022. For program details and submission guidelines, visit pacific.to/africanamericanscholar.

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