From the Hi-lo, the arts & culture section of the Long Beach Post, Steve Lowery and Asia Morris lead weekly discussions on the latest happenings in Long Beach’s evolving arts & culture scene. Listen in as these local experts and their guests dive into life in Long Beach, things to do and whatever happens to be on their minds this week.
Ep. 37: How to help
On episode #37 of "Can You Hear Me, Long Beach?" Post reporter Stephanie Rivera stops by to talk about the things people can do to help out in these extraordinary times. Though most of the news these days seems to center on what we can't do, Rivera recently wrote an article detailing numerous things you can do to be part of the solution, things that include providing neighborly relief to giving blood to buying gift cards to local restaurants.
Then, Brian Addison calls in to talk about how local restaurants are trying to survive these unprecedented times by offering additional services and deals.
Ep. 36: The mysteries of Catalina and coronavirus' food for thought
On episode #36 of “Can You Hear Me, Long Beach?” we consider islands oabout of mystery.
Asia Morris is like a lot of native Long Beach residents who have seen Catalina Island virtually every day of their lives and yet have never made the trip across the channel. Morris finally did and found folks who felt safe knowing everyone on the island and a bit trapped by everyone on the island knowing them. And there was the zip lining, the abandon pet cemeteries and the liquor stores on every street.
Morris wrote about her experiences (above) and stopped by to lend a bit more perspective and depth—about 4,000-feet of oceans worth.
Next, Cheantay Jensen is a terrific writer who, like a lot of folks in the profession, has to work a second job to make ends meet. Jensen has worked at a rather nice, Newport Beach seafood restaurant for years. She's a vet, who regular customers know by name and who figured she'd seen, and been able to handle, everything the restaurant industry could thrown at her. And then, coronavirus.
She spoke with us about how she and her customers are handling the pandemic, one dish at a time.
Episode 35: Listen to our election roundup, unless you're still standing in line
If you think you found yourself surrounded by a lot of people on Tuesday, you should have seen the mass humanity that showed up in the Post's podcast studio to talk about the election, its results, the winners, losers and those who served by standing in line.
Publisher David Sommers, Managing Editor Melissa joined with columnist Tim Grobaty and reporters Stephanie Rivera and Jason Ruiz to talk about what happened and what might happen eight months from now when a lot of these races finally get decided for good.
Episode 34: Margot Robbie stunt double and Moxi Skates founder Michelle Steilen
On episode #34 of "Can You Hear Me, Long Beach?" Michelle Steilen is back!
Last week, the founder of Moxi Skates joined us to take part in a group discussion of love and breakup songs.
This week, Steilen's all on their own telling the story of thier unlikely journey from Philadelphia to Long Beach to founding Moxie Skates to becoming Margot Robbie's stunt double in "Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey."
Steilen also reveals how Moxi got its name—it’s kind of simple and kind of amazing—if they enjoyed making a movie (they did, very much), the ups and downs of stunt work and what's the state of the Long Beach skate scene.
Also, poet Nancy Lynee Woo came by to talk about her new literary column for the Post “What’s Lit?” as well as the burgeoning storytelling scene in Long Beach.
The poetry of giving love the finger
On Episode #33 of “Can You Hear Me, Long Beach?” We are all over Valentine's Day.
First, in conjunction with the Hi-lo Listens, Love and Heartbreak Valentine's playlist, we assembled a cool ribbon panel of Moxie Skates founder Michelle Steilen—currently appearing as Margot Robbie/Harley Quinn's stunt double—DJ and Post ad exec Atira West and columnist Tim Grobaty to discuss love songs, breakup songs—both sad, angry and busting out windows—and if music can actually put you in the mood.
Then, Steven Smith goes on location to an Anti-Valentine Open Mic and finds the poetry in giving love the finger. Take that love!
Finally, Steven sings. Yes, love hurts.
Episode 32: Why Karen Carpenter matters with Karen Tongson
On Episode #32 of “Can You Hear Me, Long Beach?” Karen Tongson talks about her book, "Why Karen Carpenter Matters." Tongson, a professor of English, American Studies and Ethnicity and Gender and Sexuality Studies at USC, is the child of Filipino musician parents who named her after the pop icon.
Her book interweaves the story of the singer’s rise to fame with Tongon's own trans-Pacific journey between Manila—where imitations of American pop styles flourished—and Karen Carpenter’s home ground of Southern California.
In arranging and producing this episode, which also features a segment with dating columnist June Diaz who swears she's swearing off love, it was surprising to us that, to a younger demographic here in Long Beach, Karen Carpenter's name many times elicits this: "Oh, is she the name on the building?"
The building is the Richard and Karen Carpenter Performing Arts Center at Cal State Long Beach. And yes, that's her name on the building, along with her brother Richard. But the reason her name is on the building is what's important: Karen and Richard formed the Carpenters, a soft-rock, easy listening duo out of Downey that are simply one of the most successful acts in American popular music history.
Karen Tongson. Photo courtesy Karen Tongson/Facebook.During their 14-year career, the Carpenters recorded ten albums, have sold 90 million records, have multiple top-10 and number one hits as well as won multiple Grammys. Their success was driven by Richard's production genius and Karen's sweet, crystalline, yet always plaintive vocals; Paul McCartney called Karen "the best female voice in the world: melodic, tuneful and distinctive."
That's who Karen Carpenter was—the singer passed away on Feb. 4, 1983 from issues related to an eating disorder. Her death shining a light on that subject in much the same way Magic Johnson's HIV announcement brought attention to that.
Of course, you don't need to tell any of this to Tongson.
She spoke about how the Carpenters' chart-topping, seemingly whitewashed musical fantasies of "normal love" now have profound significance for her—as well as for other people of color, LGBT+ communities, and anyone outside the mainstream culture usually associated with Karen Carpenter’s legacy. Her hybrid memoir/biography examining the destructive perfectionism at the root of the Carpenters’ sound, while finding the beauty in the singer's flawed, all too brief life.