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    Fashion Film Festival outpaces its skeptics as it anticipates a new home
    by MARTIN JONES WESTLIN
    Jul 02, 2015 | 9016 views | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    'Satin Flowers,' Daria Jabenko's illustrated world-premiere piece about love and luxury, takes its place as an entrant in this year's La Jolla International Fashion Film Festival. COURTESY IMAGE
    'Satin Flowers,' Daria Jabenko's illustrated world-premiere piece about love and luxury, takes its place as an entrant in this year's La Jolla International Fashion Film Festival. COURTESY IMAGE
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    Depending on the source, a sobering 50 to a stunning 95 percent of new businesses are said to fail within their first five years. Presumably, the type of service or product weighs heavy into that balance (dehumidifiers have probably never found a sales niche on Mercury, for example) – in any event, there's lots and lots of room for failure, even as the nation's economy sustains at least a pretense of improvement. Then again, everything comes together once in a while, with one La Jolla enterprise licking its chops over the spit-shined Village infrastructure that may soon mark it. You know it as the La Jolla International Fashion Film Festival. And as its staff gears up for year six, its founder knows it as a perfect merger of aesthetic and technology. Year five, he might argue, is already consigned to somebody else's place in time and space. “In the early days,” founder and producer Fred Sweet told Village News (as if inaugural year 2010 was a century ago), “people were really, really skeptical. All my friends thought I was crazy: 'Whaddya talkin' about? Fashion films? Doesn't make any sense!' But it was just a simple vision. I saw something in technology that I thought would resonate in the film industry and its visual culture.” This year's event is set for Friday and Saturday, July 24 and 25, with most of the activity taking place in and around the 500-seat Sherwood Auditorium, 700 Prospect St. Hundreds of fashion filmmakers from around the world are expected to attend, taking in the best of more than 11,000 entries and the awards ceremony to follow. Festival literature touts such films as “The Beautiful Mind,” German director Esther Löwe's first foray into fashion work, in which a prima ballerina is guided on a mysterious journey to discover the secret to dance; Spanish director Albert Moya's “High Tide,” an homage to fashion as an art form and a way to bring about social and cultural reflection; and “How to Fight in Six-Inch Heels,” Vietnamese-American director Ham Tran's look at a neurotic fashion designer who learns her fiancé is having an affair with a model and infiltrates the modeling world to catch him in the act. Invitees will also be treated to a pre-opening reception Thursday, July 23 at the Mangelsen Images of Nature Gallery. San Diego Community Newspaper Group, publisher of Village News, is the sole local print-media sponsor of the event. Fashion is a nearly $300 billion commodity in the U.S., and that figure speaks to the lofty mentalities that drive many of today's niche industries. Still, the term “fashion film” may raise an eyebrow as people seek to connect two colossally important enterprises. Sweet thinks the link is more easily mastered amid a feel for the role the Internet, now a household staple, has played in the festival's evolution. “I'd make a video [inspired] by a designer ad,” Sweet explained, “and I'd show them around to friends, without thinking about a festival or event.” What eventually followed was an inventory of films that ideally give life to clothing and its wearers. The concept has propelled the La Jolla festival to its place as the world's largest event of its kind. Sweet, San Diego Model Management CEO, said that fashion film has quickly become a core means for designers to enter the public dialogue – still, ritzy La Jolla, and the household fashion names that soon will descend on it, might set a tone of exclusivity with a public otherwise inclined to attend. Sweet said the concern is legitimate – but he added that the neighborhood's forward thinking, not its riches, is the prime mover in the festival's growth. “We call ourselves the Cannes of fashion film (referring to the southern French town whose legendary cinema festival was founded in 1946),” Sweet said – “but what's Cannes? It's a city by a bay. A festival of that magnitude had to start somewhere, and Cannes was the place. I think of La Jolla the same way.” But certain business developments on Fay Avenue couldn't be unfolding at a better time, Sweet said. La Jolla Music Society's Conrad Prebys Performing Arts Center, at 7600 Fay, hopes to open in January of 2018, with Boffo Cinemas' seven-screen boutique movie house set to open perhaps later this year. The prospects for some kind of festival tenancy, Sweet said, would fuel an unbelievable future. He noted that the Sherwood, part of the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego's La Jolla campus,“is really, really going to wind down” as the museum reportedly retools the space. “Those two new venues and the festival – the stars would align.” There's a lot of that going around as the world redefines itself and its aesthete. Locally, that translates to an era wherein fashion takes on a character's role in motion pictures. Stranger things have happened, Sweet might say. And La Jolla, he'd add, is wonderfully poised to let the strangeness in. For more information, see ljfff.com.
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    Voice of experience: LaCava kicks off Council bid, assails 'false sense of security'
    by DAVE SCHWAB
    Jun 30, 2015 | 5211 views | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    The greenery at a private Bird Rock home provided color as La Jolla Community Planning Association head Joe LaCava commenced his campaign for San Diego's District 1 City Council seat. LaCava seeks to replace council president Sherri Lightner, who terms out of office next year. PHOTO BY DAVE SCHWAB
    The greenery at a private Bird Rock home provided color as La Jolla Community Planning Association head Joe LaCava commenced his campaign for San Diego's District 1 City Council seat. LaCava seeks to replace council president Sherri Lightner, who terms out of office next year. PHOTO BY DAVE SCHWAB
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    Friends, family and supporters joined La Jolla Community Planning Association president Joe LaCava, who's served on 29 working boards and committees during his public service career, in officially kicking off his campaign June 28 for the First District City Council seat as he seeks to replace council president Sherri Lightner, termed out of office in 2016. The campaign launch took place at a private residence in Bird Rock, where LaCava and his wife Lorene, a public school kindergarten teacher, have lived for 30 years. In introducing the candidate, longtime friend and supporter Leslie Davis, who has worked with LaCava to prevent the La Jolla post office from being moved, described him as “a gentleman of grace and intelligence.” Davis noted LaCava “has filled so many volunteer posts that he has earned the right to run.” LaCava, a native San Diegan, is the son of an Italian immigrant who graduated from San Diego State University and is a practicing civil engineer. He said he decided to run because he feels he’s the right person for the job and because “it was the right thing to do.” During a half-hour speech followed by a question-and-answer session, LaCava promised “not to make any promises” and to “tell people what they really need to know about the condition of our city so they can make informed choices about how we’re going to move forward.” Describing the city’s projection of a $1.7 billion infrastructure deficit as “just a talking number,” LaCava said “our real deficit is probably $2 billion, $3 billion or $4 billion. “Telling you the good news, lulling you into a false sense of security, doesn’t help us,” he said. “Everybody knows where I’ve been, where I stand and what I’ve been willing to fight for,” LaCava said about his candidacy adding, “Because I’m a great collaborator, don’t mistake that for weakness. When our principles and values are challenged, you need to stand up and fight for what you believe in.” Like Lightner, LaCava comes from a grass-roots background politically. He started out becoming active at Bird Rock Elementary and Muirlands Middle School when his two grown daughters were young. He graduated from that to lead the Bird Rock Community Council before moving on to become president of the planning association, which makes land-use recommendations to the city. LaCava is currently chair of the San Diego Community Planners Committee, an umbrella group overseeing the city’s 42 community planning groups. In that role, he’s been instrumental in framing and managing the first citywide neighborhood input process on infrastructure priorities. LaCava pointed out that city council members are “responsible for a $3 billion company that has a lot of things already in the works.” The District 1 candidate said he “builds on the smart ideas of other people taking it to the next level and actually making things happen. “What keeps me energized is being able to help people on a regular basis,” LaCava said, adding he intends to be a voice for neighborhoods. “City Hall,” he noted, “often forgets the impact of what it does on our streets and in our neighborhoods.” Describing himself as a “voice of calmness and reason,” LaCava said, “We don’t need new ideas. We need new ideas that are actually realized.” Discussing his political agenda, LaCava said he would continue the work on establishing a comprehensive water policy, something Lightner has already begun. He noted the city “doesn’t create jobs,” but he added that what the city can do is “create a positive environment for job growth. “I want to make government more inclusive, more accountable and more transparent,” LaCava said. Noting it takes a great deal of money to run for public office, LaCava said of his fundraising campaign, “I’m obviously not a charity. This is an investment in my candidacy for a better district and for a better San Diego.” In closing, LaCava asked his supporters to join him in “our march to June 7, 2016,” the date of the District 1 primary election.
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    Where's Mary? In La Jolla, you don't have to look far
    by DAVE SCHWAB
    Jun 30, 2015 | 567 views | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    Mary Deering gestures proudly toward some of her handiwork – a spotless stretch of Village turf. PHOTO BY DAVE SCHWAB
    Mary Deering gestures proudly toward some of her handiwork – a spotless stretch of Village turf. PHOTO BY DAVE SCHWAB
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    Where’s Mary? Six days a week, three hours a day, you can find Mary Deering picking up trash with her Marymobile, a four-wheeled cart she wheels around the Village of La Jolla, cleaning it up. It’s all part of the Sparkle & Shine campaign, run under the auspices of the La Jolla Village Merchants Association, the community’s business improvement district. Spearheaded by Nancy Warwick, Warwick's bookstore owner and an association board member, Sparkle & Shine has been a successful fundraiser. Individuals and businesses rent display space promoting themselves on eight-foot-tall banners placed strategically throughout town. The majority of proceeds from the campaign are then used to steam-clean Village sidewalks and do other essential beautification. Who’s Mary? Deering is a Santee resident who’s been employed for years doing custodial service for Warwick’s. After nearly three months on the job, Deering’s got a handle on where all the trash “hot spots” are in town. “There always seems to be more trash in certain areas,” she said, noting her usual route is down Coast Boulevard, which can be extensively trashed especially after weekends, then head back up Cave Street. “There are a couple spots down by Vons in the bushes: It’s pretty bad,” said Deering, noting, “I just keep my head down looking in the gutters and in the weedy areas.” Deering had a ready answer when asked what the most-pervasive trashed item is. “The number one thing I pick up is cigarette butts, more than anything else,” she said. “It’s crazy,” she added, pointing out that there are trash cans on virtually every corner. Gum comes in a close second, sticking to everything, and is a gooey mess to clean up. Deering said she gets lots of reaction from folks when she’s out working. “When they ask me what I’m doing, I tell them, ‘I’m cleaning La Jolla,’ ” she said. “People walk by and say ‘thank you.’ And I say, ‘Thank you for noticing.’ It makes me feel like I’m doing something good.” Besides trash, Deering’s found other problems which she reports when she finds them. “There are drains where water can’t go down because they’re all plugged up,” she said. Deering said picking up trash is a never-ending chore. “I can walk down the street one way, then turn around and come back the other way, and there’s going to be trash there again already,” she said, adding that sometimes that can be helpful. “Sometimes, you see things you didn’t see going the other way,” she said. Deering said her cleanup cart “is quite loud sometimes when you go over a bumpy part of the street.” It also has no brakes. “I’m working on that, though,” she said, adding her utilitarian cart, which doubles as a promotional device, perfectly suits the task at hand. Showing off her cart, Deering produced one of its most utilitarian tools, a long-armed mechanical “grabber” she uses to avoid stooping while picking up trash. “Everything helps,” said Deering on people policing themselves and being respectful and thoughtful about not leaving trash. Picking up trash, as the old saying goes, “is dirty work, but somebody’s got to do it.” In La Jolla, that person is Mary Deering.
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    Fourth show fuses with La Jolla for years to come
    by DAVE SCHWAB
    Jun 30, 2015 | 669 views | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    La Jolla Village Merchants Association has taken on the local Fourth of July fireworks display, which until now was beset with a litany of problems. PHOTO COURTESY PORT OF SAN DIEGO
    La Jolla Village Merchants Association has taken on the local Fourth of July fireworks display, which until now was beset with a litany of problems. PHOTO COURTESY PORT OF SAN DIEGO
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    There’s no question that the 30th annual Fourth of July fireworks show in La Jolla Cove is a go this year. But as you'll recall, that wasn’t true a year ago. Due to funding issues, the community’s 29th annual fireworks display in 2014 was cancelled — then saved — at the eleventh hour. Several lawsuits had been filed in recent years challenging the city's permitting process for events, including those involving fireworks over water. In 2011, an environmental lawyer claimed that debris from the explosives harmed sea life in the La Jolla area. That case has since been settled. Then there was the annual problem with collecting donations, which came dribbling in, to pay for the cost of staging the event. And finally, the job simply became too great for one person. Deborah Marengo has been a one-person show, organizing, promoting and fundraising for the fireworks display the past few years after its originator, restaurateur George Hauer, stepped down from that role. But that’s all in the rear-view mirror now as La Jolla Village Merchants Association, the community’s business improvement district, took on the special event in 2015. And a local resident has stepped forward and helped lay the financial groundwork for the event to successfully continue long into the future. “David Marino of Hughes Marino, a La Jollan who’s been a supporter for years, stepped in and helped me get annual commitments, around $45,000 or $46,000, to cover costs,” said Marengo. “Now, any extra money raised for the fireworks will be rolled over into the next year.” Supporting sponsors for the La Jolla Cove Fireworks Display are Hughes Marino, George's at the Cove, La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club, La Jolla Cove Suites, La Valencia Hotel, Willis Allen, Leo Loves Fireworks, J. Todd Figi, John Barbey and Steven Black. The 25-minute Cove fireworks display will begin at 9 p.m. San Diego beaches are overrun with people on the three key summer holiday weekends — Memorial Day, the Fourth of July and Labor Day — July Fourth is typically the busiest of all, with nearly one million people expected to hit city beaches. But after a day of fun in the sun, once the waves have been conquered and the barbecues have been devoured, it’s time for pyrotechnics, at which time coastal residents and guests can please their patriotic palates by heading south to Ocean Beach, north to La Jolla, or opting for a third somewhat less conventional choice: SeaWorld San Diego, at 500 Sea World Drive. The ever-popular marine mammal park has nightly fireworks on numerous evenings throughout the summer. But July Fourth is special, as SeaWorld hosts its Independence Day Fireworks Spectacular, offering an extended pyrotechnic display set to patriotic music commencing at 10:10 p.m. Fireworks will start at 10:30 p.m. and last approximately 17 minutes. The park is open until 11 p.m. on July Fourth. Ocean Beach’s spectacular fireworks display is the community’s official kick-off to summer. Free parking is offered at the main beach and pier parking lots. Spend the day picnicking with family and friends, swimming, walking and playing in the sand and shopping along Newport Avenue. Then bundle up as the sun sets and pull up a blanket for a really spectacular fireworks show from the OB Pier. And don't forget your radio so you can hear the fireworks soundtrack being broadcast simultaneously during the show. Gone from OB fourth fireworks in 2015 is the unregulated tradition of the “marshmallow war,” fought after the fireworks show on the beach and streets, which heretofore left the community a sticky mess. In 2014, OB Town Council, answering an overwhelming call from OB residents and merchants, responded with its successful “Mallow Out” campaign, discouraging the marshmallow war, which led to a 90 percent reduction in the goo. A few other choices for fireworks on Independence Day: • Old Town San Diego State Historic Park is hosting a free, old-fashioned Fourth of July celebration from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.. Guests are encouraged to participate in the parade around the plaza, reminiscent of the July Fourth parades of early San Diego, with music, animals, banners and people in historical costumes. There will be crafts, games, contests and informational demonstrations that represent the activities enjoyed in the 1800s. The stage will be filled with free entertainment, such as historic dancing and early American music. Pie-eating contests begin at 3 p.m. The event will end with a boom, literally! All the museums will be open and, as always, free to the public. • What better place to spend Independence Day than at The San Diego County Fair, at 2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd. in Del Mar? Highlighting the day will be the traditional fireworks display at 9 p.m., visible throughout the Fairgrounds. The schedule: 9:30 a.m., patriotic opening ceremony outside O’Brian Gate; 6:45 p.m., World Memorial Tribute to 9/11; 7 p.m., Hometown Heroes Parade; 7:30 p.m., Navy Band Southwest; and 9 p.m. fireworks. At 9:30 p.m., Dana Carvey performs on the Grandstand Stage. • Another prime spot again this year will be the Maritime Museum of San Diego. The observation deck of the museum’s historic 1898 steam ferry Berkeley provides a spectacular view of the fireworks show over San Diego Bay. A barbecue dinner will be provided at two seatings from 5 to 6:30 p.m. and 7 to 8:30 p.m. Fireworks viewings are included with museum admission. For more information and reservations, call (619) 234-9153, ext. 101 or visit sdmaritime.org. • The annual Big Bay Boom launches fireworks from four barges and can be seen from multiple locations along San Diego Bay, including Harbor Island, Shelter Island, the Embarcadero area and the Seaport Village/Coronado landing, starting at 9 p.m. • Oscar- and Emmy Award-winning conductor Bill Conti will lead the Star Spangled Pops in a San Diego Symphony concert of all-American hits, followed by a military tribute and a fireworks display at Embarcadero Marina Park South,
 starting at 7:30 p.m.
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    Pacific Beach may say adeus to Brazilian Day
    by DAVE SCHWAB
    Jun 29, 2015 | 7941 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    The eighth annual Brazil Day in Pacific Beach scheduled for Sunday, Sept. 13 was nixed this year by the PB Special Events Committee.
    The eighth annual Brazil Day in Pacific Beach scheduled for Sunday, Sept. 13 was nixed this year by the PB Special Events Committee.
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    Nearly turned down a year ago because of problems with size, noise and accountability, the eighth annual Brazilian Day Festival in Pacific Beach scheduled for Sunday, Sept. 13 was nixed this year by the PB Special Events Committee. That decision has been appealed to the city, which will have the final say on whether or not the carnival-style parade with vibrant floats, extravagant costumes and energetic music, will be a go in PB or not this year. The popular four-hour Sunday festival features non-stop entertainment on two stages, including musical bands, dance ensembles, a food court, a vendor’s exhibition and a kids’ zone. “The Pacific Beach Special Events Committee is solely an advisory group,” noted committee chair Debbie Conca.  “Groups wanting to have an event in Pacific Beach are asked by the city to come to this group and present the logistics and details. This group denied the Brazilian Day Festival 5-2. The city can still approve or deny a permit with or without the endorsement of the Pacific Beach Special Events Committee.”    Brazilian Day spokesman Paulo Batuta was taken aback by the special events committee’s denial of the event, insisting his group has played by the rules and taken the community’s concerns about noise and other issues to heart. “We have documentation that shows we’ve addressed all issues and fixed pretty much everything,” Batuta said, noting parade organizers, in a partnership with PB Middle School, have also secured use of the school’s huge parking lot to handle event parking needs. Batuta said concerns about noise from live bands on stage was addressed by “pointing speakers down and turning them toward the street” to muffle noise. Previously, residents near the event had complained there was no one available to contact to register concerns that could be addressed on event day. “This time we have two phone numbers available to them,” Batuta said, adding private security, as well as police, will be on hand for crowd control. “We didn’t get any phone calls last year,” Batuta said. “Nobody complained about the noise.” Batuta said a survey was sent out recently that showed 25 percent of those attending Brazilian Day live in PB. “PB is our community, our little Brazil, we are home,” Batuta said. “That’s why it’s held in PB.” Pointing out Brazilian Day is alcohol-free and family friendly, Batuta argued that the event serves the community by “bringing business to PB, not just on this one day but all year.” “We’re part of this community,” said Batuta. “So there’s no reason to kick us out.” PB Special Events Committee member Michael Wagner noted several reasons why Brazil Day was not supported this year: • It’s grown in size from 5,000 to 50,000-plus and their website notes 60,000 are expected this year, even though at the committee meeting it was stated that “30,000” were expected. • The noise/bands have been a sore point for many years. Although they allege they have a "complaint phone number,” it has either no one to answer or no one to actually follow up on the complaints. • Streets for several blocks on each side of Garnet Avenue are packed and everything from churches to businesses have complained about parking. • Several businesses have alleged trash is left everywhere in front of their stores, people have blocked the businesses, and the event has more than 100 vendors, none of which are from PB. Several bars have complained that the day of the event is the first day of football, and they expect people coming into their places, but the event takes up the sidewalk and parking. • The committee expects some profit returned to the community. This event supports some group that has its office outside of PB and gives the proceeds to Brazilian groups outside of PB. No PB school/community group is in the parade or has a spot in the event. PB is not benefiting in anyway. Eve Anderson of the Pacific Beach Planning Group, noted the community has been having problems with events, like Brazilian Day, outgrowing the capacity of the community to deal with noise, parking and other problems associated with them. She said it dates back to the old PB “block party,” which simply got to be too big and unwieldy to cope with any longer. “A lot of us live here, a lot of us support businesses all over PB – but we all don’t take over the street,” Anderson said, noting the event itself, “if it were half the size and put on by a group affiliated with PB, then it might be OK.” But she noted the Brazilian group has been reluctant to move it off Garnet Avenue (the heart of town) or to a non-warm weather time of year (to reduce crowds). “It’s just time for it (Brazilian Day) to move,” Anderson concluded.
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