Community Calendar: March 23, 2017- March 29, 2017

March 23, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Saturday, March 25

March 25-7pm to1am–Artist Antonio Pelayo Solo Exhibition & Concert Benefit for Plaza de la Raza School of Performing & Visual Arts in Lincoln Heights.

Entertainment includes: La Sonora Dinamita; Casa de Calacas; DJ Sloe Poke; DJ Gargamel EV Dub; Special Performance by Alien Dance Band; Cat show by the Imperials; bike show by ted Akva. Must be 21 or older to attend. Tickets $20 in advance/$25 at the door. To buy tickets go to For more info, visit

9am-3pm–Free LA County Hazardous & E-Waste Roundup: Lynwood City Streets at Intersection of Butler Ave. & Bellinger (enter on Alameda; and at the El Monte Airport, 4233 N. Santa Anita Ave, El Monte. Safely discard household hazardous waste: antifreeze, old medications, car batteries, used motor oil, paint, pesticides, needles, syringes, lancets, household batteries, fluorescent light bulbs; and e-waste such as TVs, monitors, computers, VCRs, stereos, and cell phones. For more information, call LA County Dept. of Public Works at 1(888) CLEAN LA or go to or call LA County Sanitation Districts at 1 (800) 238-0172 or

10am-12pm–Small Business Start-Up Workshop at East Los Angeles Library Sponsored by LA County Consumer & Business Affair. Get the basics on starting a business, County contracting & resources, licensing from LA County Treasurer, Tax Collector & Business Tax from the LA County Assessor. No Fee, but registration required. Library is located at 4837 E. 3rd St. LA 90022. For more info or to rsvp, call (323) 881-3964 or visit

2-3:30pm–‘Viva Cesar Chavez!’ – Musical Theater at the East Los Angeles Library. Free program explores Chavez’ youth as a migrant worker in California & will feature dialogue, music and dance performance by the Tierra Blanca Arts Center in celebration of Cesar Chavez Week. Library located at 4837 E. 3rd St., LA 90022. For more info, call 323-264-0155.

Tuesday, March 28

2-3pm–CHP- Age Well Drive Smart Workshop at the Montebello Library. Tune up your driving skills & knowledge. Get tips on adjusting to age-related changes, driving alternatives & when to stop driving. All adults welcome. Library located at 1550 W. Beverly Blvd. For more info, call (323) 722-6551.

Wednesday, March 29

4-5pm–Intro to Animation Workshop at the Anthony Quinn Library in East LA. Cal State LA animation professor Sarah Beeby presents a fun starter workshop in experimental animation. Teen will be working on a promotional video for our upcoming Summer Discovery Program. This is the third part in the series.

Wednesday, March 29

4-5pm–Budgeting for Teens Workshop at Chet Holifield Library Montebello. Learn basics of handling money & credit cards at an early age. No charge. Library located at 1060 S. Greenwood Ave. Montebello, 90640. For more info, call (323) 728-0421.

4-5pm–City Terrace Library Family Storytime Honors Civil Rights leader, Cesar Chavez. Followed by “Make a Hand, Lend a Hand” art activity: you will get to decorate your handprint and send it to the Bezos Family Foundation, who have pledged to donate $1.90 per hand to help children in need in Nicaragua and Indonesia. Open to ages 5-11. Library located at 4025 E. City Terrace Dr.

LA 90063. For more info, call (323) 261-0295.


California High-Speed Rail Authority Hosts Community Open House Meetings on the Los Angeles to Anaheim Project March 30-April 8. Public is invited to learn about the proposed project udring a half-hour presentation. First meeting held March 30 at the SoCal Institute of Architecture. Time: 5:30-7:30pm. Location: 960 E. 3rd St. L.A. 90013. For info, call (877) 669-0494.

Anthony Quinn Library Family Storytime March 29 Honors Civil Rights leader, Cesar Chavez. Followed by “Make a Hand, Lend a Hand” art activity: you will get to decorate your handprint and send it to the Bezos Family Foundation, who have pledged to donate $1.90 per hand to help children in need in Nicaragua and Indonesia. Open to ages 5-11. Time: 4-5pm. Library located at 3965 Cesar E. Chavez Ave. LA 90063. For more info, call (323) 264-7715.

llusions by Allen Oshiro April 1 at the Bell Gardens Library. Oshiro will amaze audience with magic tricks & comedy. Live audience participation & incredible levitation! Open to children of all ages & families. Time: 2-3pm. Library located at 7110 S. Garfield Ave. Bell Gardens, 90201. Call (562) 927-1309 for more details.

Yuri’s Night Kids–Free Space Festival April 8 at Columbia Memorial Space Center in Downey. Exciting activities for kids age 3 through high school. Learn about space; build a rocket; meet rocket scientists; talk to young rocket engineers & space techs about industry careers & more. Time: 10am-4pm. Space Center is located at 12400 Columbia Way in Downey. For full schedule and to register, go to .

‘Meatless Monday’ With Eastside Flavor

December 3, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

The smell of tacos and chili filled the air at the East Los Angeles Library Monday where library patrons put down their books only to be surprised that some of their favorite dishes did not contain a popular ingredient.

“Who here has heard of Meatless Mondays,” asked Radical Cooks Chef Nina Zippay as she cooked a bowl of chili non-carne, a spin on the common chili stew.

Less than a handful of the 40 or so eastside residents at the cooking demonstration raised their hands.

Reducing the risk to chronic diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and obesity, is behind the growing trend to remove meat from one’s diet on Mondays, explained Zippay.

“It is generally healthier and more economical to eat more plant based food,” she said.

Research suggests that higher consumption of red and processed meat increases the risk of Type 2 diabetes. Diets high in fruits and vegetables may reduce cancer risk, lower blood pressure, reduce risk of heart diseases and stoke, according to a Harvard Study.

As she cut the peppers, diced the onions and added butternut squash to the small pot Zippay explained that substituting meat with tofu would ensure the dishes contain similar grams of protein and help preserve some of the traditional taste.

“When people hear it doesn’t have meat they are afraid the vegetables will not be enough flavor,” Zippay said.

She added that meat requires chewing, “that’s why we need to create texture.”

 East Los Angeles Library patrons enjouy a meatless chili bowl during a cooking demonstration Monday. (EGP photo by Nancy Martinez)

East Los Angeles Library patrons enjouy a meatless chili bowl during a cooking demonstration Monday. (EGP photo by Nancy Martinez)

Zippay added vegetable stock and a can of black beans to her meatless creation before inviting her audience to take a taste test.

“It’s pretty good,” said 22-year-old Anthony Hernandez. “Can I take some home,” he joked.

Hernandez told EGP he attended the demonstration because his girlfriend’s mother is prone to diabetes and wanted to learn about meals that were tasty and healthy.

“We plan on taking the challenge of Meatless Mondays,” said Maria Martinez.

Zippay said Meatless Mondays could even be combined with Taco Tuesdays.

“Meatless Mondays can be as simple as bean tacos,” she explained as her pan sizzled with beans – a protein – and sweet potatoes.

She mixed-in diced onions, minced garlic, cumin and paprika before placing some of the mixture on a corn tortilla and topping it with red cabbage and cilantro, and just like that, the colorful dish was ready for its taste test.

Once again, thumbs up all around.

“The label of meatless may turnoff some, but today we all had a vegan meal and many may not have realized it,” Zippay told EGP.

Chef Nina Zippay shares some meatless recipes during a cooking demonstration at the East Los Angeles Library Monday. (EGP photo by Nancy Martinez)

Chef Nina Zippay shares some meatless recipes during a cooking demonstration at the East Los Angeles Library Monday. (EGP photo by Nancy Martinez)

Arturo Fernandez says he was surprised with how savory vegetables can be without any meat.

He said his father had diabetes before he passed. At 54, Fernandez has yet to have a physical because he fears he too may be diabetic.

“I’m going to start changing the way I eat and hope that going meatless will help,” he said.

The recipes were easy to replicate, expressed some participants.

“At home we eat a lot of hamburgers, hot dogs, carne asada,” said Andrea Silva. “But these are easy [to cook].”

Alicia Ayala and her 11-year-old daughter Elizabeth attended the meeting to learn what it takes to cook a meatless dish. She was surprised to find out it was easier than she thought.

“I already cook most of this food,” she said in Spanish before sharing her favorite dishes with beans and tomatoes. “All I have to do now is remove the meat.”

Ayala said she feared it would not taste good, but says she is now confident her children may enjoy it.

“We already don’t eat a lot of meat, but I learned eating more vegetables is good for your health,” said Elizabeth.

The hard part is getting the family to go along with cutting meat, especially during the holidays, remarked Blanca Chavez.

“Changes in our diet make a huge difference in the health of our family,” encouraged Zippay.  “We can start with Mondays.”


Aspiring Writers Hone Skills With ‘Conchas y Cafe’

November 12, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Pens in hand and notepads at the ready, the budding group of writers at the East Los Angeles Library listened intently as their instructor gave them tips on how to breathe life into their stories not yet written.

The ten adults are taking part in “Conchas y Cafe,” a 10-week adult writer’s workshop where they jot down their thoughts, experiences and observations, then work on ways to improve what they’ve written.

For some, the Tuesday night class comes after a long day at work, school or in the kitchen. Others are retired or homebound caretakers who find the class a welcome night.

Lea este artículo en Español: Aspirantes a Escritores Refuerzan Sus Habilidades con ‘Conchas y Café’

Luis Antonio Pichardo, one of the course instructors, says many of the participants stepped away from writing for a time but are pursuing it again now that they are older.

He said the workshop’s name, “Conchas y Cafe” – Spanish for coffee and the name of a Mexican pastry – is meant to reflect the casual, but intimate setting they give the writers.

“The goal is to promote literacy in the community,” he said, adding that most “people end up writing about their community, personal experiences and family.”

Sixty-eight-year-old Susy Chavez lives in Montebello. She’s retired and enjoys spending her days with her children and grandchildren, but on Tuesday nights, it’s all about being a writer.

“It’s been my heart’s desire to complete a children’s book,” she told EGP. She said it’s a dream she put off for years but has revived with help from the writing group.

“I was working in isolation, without getting any feedback,” she explained. “I realized I needed character development and the words to really hold an audience.”

For the last six weeks Chavez and her fellow aspiring writers have been working on a variety of writing prompts and assignments aimed at building their creative writing skills. There are four weeks to go in the workshop, which will culminate with the group producing a 20-page collaborative book.

“I just wanted to write and I’ll write wherever they will let me!” says office worker Sarah Alvarado. “I don’t get to be creative at work but this workshop has created a second life for me,” she said about her workshop experience. She said it’s changed her outlook about her part-time hobby, and no longer calls herself a “wannabe-writer.”

“People get sheepish about calling themselves writers,” she explained. “We think there’s an ego in that, but this group has helped me grow out of it,”

Alvarado is not yet comfortable telling people about the blog where she writes about things like her visit to the Natural History Museum or the time she went ghost hunting, or the “hair guru” who changed her view on life.

“I don’t care if anybody reads my stuff,” she said. “I’ve learned I just need to write.”

“Eastside Johnny” told EGP he joined the group after his wife passed away. He said his wife had encouraged him to get on with projects he had put off for years. After she died, “I realized if I don’t do it now it might not happen.”

But by mid-December, Eastside Johnny and the group’s other members will all be published authors. Each will have at least one story in “Conchas y Cafe,” the first in a series of books produced by writers in the workshop with the same name. Stories will be typed on a vintage Smith Corona typewriter and the book sold at the library’s bookstore.

Co-instructor Jennifer Fuentes, pictured right, goes over an assignment with a writer at the East Los Angeles Library. (EGP photo by Nancy Martinez)

Co-instructor Jennifer Fuentes, pictured right, goes over an assignment with a writer at the East Los Angeles Library. (EGP photo by Nancy Martinez)

Yet, exciting as it may be to be a published author, it’s not why Maria Ticas, 53, signed up for the workshop. She told EGP writing is a tool to help her better communicate with her autistic son.

“He doesn’t talk too much but he likes reading my stories,” she said proudly. “I use what I write to teach him,” she said.

Ticas says she leaves her stories on her young son’s pillow to read. Sometimes the stories are about her life growing up in El Salvador where she was a teacher for 10 years, or they could be about something she’s having trouble explaining to her son.

She told EGP that she couldn’t stop her son from continuously hitting his head, so she wrote about a monster who lost his head after doing the same thing. “My son read the story and said he would stop because he didn’t want to end up like him,” Ticas said in Spanish. She says she appreciates having a course close to home where she can learn about story telling and the proper way to write.

East L.A. resident Fabiola Manriquez, 51, works part-time and says she wanted something affordable. A free, 10-week course was definitely within her budget.

“I wanted to become a better writer, but if I had to pay for this workshop I probably wouldn’t be able to afford it,” she said.

By day, she oversees the kitchen at a day car facility, but on Tuesday nights she cranks out story after story about her past. She described herself as very private when she first started the workshop, but says she is now open to writing about her life.

“I’ve come to terms with a lot of things, because when you write you do a lot of self reflection.”

Each week the group is given writing prompts, or topics to write about. One of the exercises involved writing something about freedom, justice, liberty, education or morality to share with the class. Manriquez decided to use a technique she’d picked up in the class: saying more with fewer words.

“Without education one cannot defend freedom, justice or morality,” she read aloud during last week’s class.

The fear of not being good enough is what keeps most people from writing, Manriquez told EGP. It’s a fear she knows first hand, but says she’s overcoming with help from Conchas y Cafe.

The next workshop cycle begins Dec. 15. For more information, call  the library for details at (323) 264-0155.

Twitter @nancyreporting

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