Lyn Jensen's Blog: Manga, Music, and Politics

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Location: Anaheim, California, United States

Experienced professional writer with more than 500 publication credits seeks staff position as reporter or editor in print journalism or related field. Qualifications include community news reporting, writing reviews (book, theater, concert, film, music), creating business correspondence and resumes, editing, travel writing, conducting interviews and research, proofreading, publicity, screenwriting, teaching, and script reading. Resume or e-resume showing my experience upon request, including: Random Lengths (circulation 56,000) in San Pedro, CA, 08/01-present. Wrote Manga column for LA Alternative (circulation 150,000), 11/05-09/06, a unique weekly column. Staff writer, Music Connection (circulation 75,000), 1983-present. Reviews and miscellaneous articles for NY Press, Goldmine, Star Hits, Los Angeles Reader, Los Angeles Times, Long Beach Press Telegram, Blade, BAM, Oakland Tribune, Daily Breeze, LA Weekly and Life After 50. Authored an unpublished book about U2 and several unproduced screenplays. Bachelor of Arts, University of California at Los Angeles, CA. Theater major. Post-graduate work at Chapman University, Orange, CA. Education major.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Review: Parkers' Lighthouse, Long Beach

Random Lengths posted my Arts/Cusine/Entertainment story about Parkers' Lighthouse in Long Beach online.  It can be considered a restaurant review or a business feature:
http://www.randomlengthsnews.com/dine-with-a-queen-in-long-beach/

Since links have a way of going down, here's the text:

Dine With a Queen in Long Beach

By Lyn Jensen

Beachfront dining is an everyday sport here in the South Bay, and 2014 has brought a remarkably summery winter and spring, even by California standards. That means we can enjoy Long Beach’s waterfront before tourist season hits. If you’re visiting the city harbor and looking to get away from chain restaurant menus, you’ll find Parkers’ Lighthouse offers a variety of unique dining experiences.

Having recently added Queensview Steakhouse on its top floor, Parkers’ Lighthouse now offers two restaurants in a single location. The building itself is one of Long Beach’s landmarks, with architecture that slightly resembles San Diego’s world-famous Hotel Coronado. It’s the place across the channel from the Queen Mary, dominating the Shoreline Village complex against a backdrop of the Long Beach downtown skyline.

According to the restaurant’s general manager Michael Cole, “Parkers’ Lighthouse opened in 1983 as part of the concept of Shoreline Village, as an anchor tenant. It’s become an icon in the city, and was most recently renovated in 2011, when the Queensview Steakhouse opened.”

Despite the building’s design, Cole says he doesn’t think it was intentionally built to resemble the Hotel Coronado.

Describing the variety of dining choices, Cole explains, “We’re two restaurants. Parker’s serves primarily seafood. The first and second level are served by the main kitchen. On the third floor we originally had the Seafood Gallery, with another kitchen, and it was more casual. That was 1983 to 2011. Then we looked at the third floor, with its panoramic view of the Queen Mary and downtown. We were not using that room to its full potential. We looked at the competition for steakhouses and there were not too many. So we developed a steakhouse on the third floor, which opened in 2011.”

Cole adds that Queensview is meant to be a more formal dining experience, “similar to Fleming’s or Ruth Chris.” Since the upgrade, he’s seen more visitors from Palos Verdes, San Pedro, Orange County, and Seal Beach.

Both restaurants attract locals, tourists, and conventions, Cole says. He adds the Parkers’ Lighthouse atmosphere is “casual but neat,” and seats 160, plus patio seating. They “get a lot of boaters” from the neighboring marina, and there’s no strict dress code.

A visit to Parkers’ Lighthouse finds every table on all floors offering spectacular oceanfront views. The establishment’s also known for its mesquite grilled fresh seafood and its award-winning wine list. At the seafood restaurant, the specialty is fresh fish grilled on mesquite hardwood. Biggest seller is the Chilean sea bass. The kitchen makes its own French fries.

To get to the third-floor steakhouse, walk the red carpet from the lobby and take the elevator. Here the signature dish is prime Porterhouse for two, cost $95. However, portions are large. One rib eye steak, one big baked potato, and one order of asparagus might be enough for two people, so order accordingly. Touches include bread served with multiple flavored butters, while orange slices in water glasses provide a change from the standard lemon or lime.

Cole says that although Parkers’ Lighthouse is part of a corporation, they’re not part of a chain in the usual sense. The parent company is Select Restaurants based in Cleveland. Parkers’ Lighthouse is the company’s only restaurant in southern California. The others are all in the eastern US. All are unique, all are under different management.

Easter and Mother’s Day are fast approaching, and Parkers’ annually offers special brunches for both holidays. Cole says, “We serve a brunch buffet and our regular dinner menu on these special occasions and the buffets are available at Parkers’ Lighthouse and on the third-floor Queensview.” He adds that, on these holidays, reservations are recommended but not necessary.

You needn’t wait for a holiday to have brunch while watching the waterfront, however. Every Sunday the Queensview offers a three-to-four-course plated brunch, with a “make your own Bloody Mary” bar. Food and the view aren’t only reasons to spend an evening or Sunday at Parkers’ or Queensview, either. Upstairs at the steakhouse, a piano lounge and live music are on the bill Tuesday-Sunday.

Downstairs there’s a jazz band on Friday nights. Cole also notes the Shoreline Village setting attracts visitors as a destination, “We have a lot to do. Being on the waterfront, shops and stores, people make a day of it.”

A visit to Parkers’ Lighthouse and Shoreline Village is about more than just finding a place to eat, so plan your time accordingly. The surroundings are almost like a miniature amusement park, with souvenir shops, boutiques, snack bars, the Rain Dance (selling Native American crafts), a waterfront promenade, and even boat rides and a stagehouse. Parking isn’t free, so remember to get your parking ticket validated as you dine and shop.

Parkers’ Lighthouse is open seven days a week, M-F, lunch 11-3, and dinner 5-10. Sat. 11-3:30, Sunday 4-10. The Queensview Steakhouse is open five nights, Tues-Sat. 5-10, plus Sunday for brunch, 10-2:30. The lounge is open 11-10 Sunday-Thursday and 11-11 Friday-Saturday. Happy Hour happens five nights per week, M-F, 3-5 on the patio and 3-7 in the lounge.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

DVD REVIEW: Mumia

I've offered this review to multiple media outlets without any results, so I'm publishing it here.

Mumia:  Long Distance Revolutionary

DVD Examines Political Prisoner’s Thirty+ Years as a Jailhouse Journalist


by Lyn Jensen

Mumia Abu-Jamal is one of America’s most prominent political prisoners but the facts of his case receive little media attention. Now First Run Features is offering on DVD a 2012 documentary, Mumia:  Long Distance Revolutionary but unfortunately it pays little attention to solving the question of why his case is considered by so many to be a miscarriage of justice. 

In July 1982 a Philadelphia jury found Mumia Abu-Jamal guilty of murder of a policeman, sentenced him to die, and the case has been a political football ever since.  That’s about all we learn here of why he’s in prison in the first place.  Amnesty International complained his trial failed to meet international standards but the film provides no explanation as to why AI reached that conclusion.

Instead the film focuses on Mumia’s life before and after his arrest, trial and conviction.  We spend about half the movie learning about his youth (he was born Wesley Cook) and how he became a militant leftist journalist in the Black Panther party.  The second hour focuses on how, from prison, he’s been able to continue his reporting.  We touch on such issues as his being allowed a spot on NPR in 1994, until Congress pressured NPR to kick him off.

We learn nothing about Mumia’s guilt or innocence, what evidence was or wasn’t presented at his trial, nothing about what the state’s case was against him or what his supporters argue. In some ways this film is a thinly disguised promotion for his books, including Live From Death Row, All Things Censored, and We Want Freedom:  A Life in the Black Panther Party.

 At other times we’re given a regional history of race relations in Philadelphia, with lengthy coverage of the 1985 police bombing of the MOVE organization, a subject only tangentially connected to Abu-Jamal. Where the film is at its best is when it examines the Black Panthers and the FBI’s campaign to destroy them.

In one of this documentary’s more intriguing side stories, the French city of St. Denis named a street after Mumia Abu-Jamal in 2011. Our Congress found that so important to the welfare of our nation that they spent a whole day making speeches denouncing a street name in a small foreign town.  Not one legislator had the courage to ask why so many people continue to maintain this man was wrongfully convicted.  Ironically neither does this movie.

Interviewees in Mumia include Ruben “Hurricane” Carter, Angela Davis, Dave Zirin, Alice Walker, Cornel West, Amy Goodman, and Ramsey Clark, along with various scholars, former Black Panthers, and MOVE members. At the conclusion we learn, “Shortly after this film was completed his death sentence was at last overturned.”  It was changed to life without parole. Already this movie needs updating, as does an earlier film, Mumia Abu-Jamal:  A Case for Reasonable Doubt, released in 1996 and also available as a DVD.

Friday, February 21, 2014

1983 Music Review: Adam and the Ants' "Dirk Wears White Sox" Reissue

ALBUM REVIEW:  DIRK WEARS WHITE SOX, ADAM AND THE ANTS
(Epic/CBS re-issue in 1983 of the 1979 British album)
Code # (CBS 38698)
by Lyn Jensen

In 1979 Adam and the Ants' debut album Dirk Wears White Sox was released in the UK.  After that Adam Ant completely overhauled his musical and visual style into the "New Romantic" mode.  In 1983 Epic/CBS made the album available in the US.  This review was offered to Music Connection, Pulse, Goldmine, and a few regional bar freebies, but never published.

Adam Ant took the responsibility of re-packaging and re-releasing this so-called "classic" British album for American audiences, which is unusual when an artist has changed styles and personnel.  Usually such material gets re-released by a record company over the artist's dead body. 

Dirk Wears White Sox chronicles some Ant history that's unfamiliar to some American fans--it's almost the only product of his beginning punk period, before he and the Ants became the "New Romantic" Kings of the Wild Frontier.  It also features the original Ants--the musicians that shortly thereafter left Adam for a female vocalist and were turned into Bow Wow Wow. 

As such this isn't really a record, it's an artifact.  It sheds light on a major star's early period but can't stand on musical merit alone.  I'm a staunch punk-loving Ant fan but there's not one track here I care to hear again. 

The biggest problem is the music rarely fits the lyrics, which fit perfectly into the punk-poetry school we've already heard from artists as diverse as Exene, Patti Smith, and Jim Carroll.  Reading the lyric sheet is the most interesting thing about this album.  The words fit perfectly into all the standard punk themes of alienation, despair, and decadence.  The tunes drag on, however, while the lyrics cry for an upbeat approach.  The music needs to contrast with the depression and tension of the modern world, not add to it.

Ant people, however, will be intrigued because the raw material--the Ant voice, both in vocals and words--is there.  Shortly after this Adam teamed up with Marco Pirroni, who probably was the man who had better musical sense to when fitting tunes to lyrics.  Also came along the "New Romantic" image that's served Adam the Ant so well since.  It's not often outsiders get such insights into the complex processes that go into making a star.
 

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Reviews: Hell's Kitchen, Spring 2013

I posted some reviews of the spring 2013 season of Hell's Kitchen on the www.realitytvfans.com site.  Here are the links.  If you can't open them, then you may copy and paste them in your browser:

http://www.realitytvfans.com/2013/07/24/flashback-hells-kitchen-5713.html

http://www.realitytvfans.com/2013/07/25/flashback-hells-kitchen-41613.html

http://www.realitytvfans.com/2013/07/24/flashback-hells-kitchen-4913.html

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Reviews of TAR Season 23

I reviewed all episodes of The Amazing Race Season 23 on the www.realitytvfans.com site.  Here are the links in order from the premiere to the finale:

http://www.realitytvfans.com/2013/10/04/amazing-race-season-23-premiere.html
http://www.realitytvfans.com/2013/10/08/amazing-race-recap-oct-7-2013-chile.html
http://www.realitytvfans.com/2013/10/22/the-amazing-race-third-leg-101313.html
http://www.realitytvfans.com/2013/10/23/the-amazing-race-norway-102013.html
http://www.realitytvfans.com/2013/11/02/the-amazing-race-102713-poland.html
http://www.realitytvfans.com/2013/11/08/the-amazing-race-vienna-11313.html
http://www.realitytvfans.com/2013/11/14/the-amazing-race-season-23-middle-east-111013.html
http://www.realitytvfans.com/2013/11/22/the-amazing-race-season-23-united-arab-emirates-111713.html
http://www.realitytvfans.com/2013/11/28/the-amazing-race-season-23-indonesia-112413.html#more-26819
http://www.realitytvfans.com/2013/12/04/the-amazing-race-java-12113.html
http://www.realitytvfans.com/2013/12/14/the-amazing-race-final-4-japan-12813.html
http://www.realitytvfans.com/2013/12/14/the-amazing-race-final-3-alaska-12813.html

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Guide to FM Stations in Los Angeles Broadcast Area


As a companion to my previous post on AM radio in the Los Angeles broadcast area, here's my guide to FM radio in the Los Angeles market.  This list isn't exhaustive (I've excluded several Christian, Spanish, and Black stations, as I have no personal interest in them) but what's here should offer sufficient variety for the average listener:
 
88.1—KKJZ (“K-jazz” or “smooth jazz”) www.jazzandblues.org

89.3—KPCC, a National Public Radio station in Pasadena (at Pasadena College?) www.scpr.org is the Web site. Patt Morrison works there.  Southern California Public Radio, 474 S. Raymond Avenue, Pasadena, CA 91105, (626) 583-5100

89.9--KCRW, a National Public Radio Station at Santa Monica College, www.kcrw.com is their Web site.  Their address:  1900 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica, CA 90405.  Phone:  (310) 450-5183.
 
90.7—KPFK, a National Public Radio station, Pacifica Radio
3729 Cahuenga Blvd. West - N. Hollywood, CA 91604
Main phone: (818) 985-2711 - Fax: (818) 763-7526 - Studio phone: (818) 985-5735

91.5—KUSC (classical) a member of National Public Radio and a service of USC.  Go to www.kusc.org for more info.

93.1—It’s “Jack,” although its call letters are the austere KCBS, run by the same guy that runs KROQ but with a broader playlist and less DJ talk.  93.3 used to be Arrow but Arrow is now Jack.

93.5—KDAY (“The Beat”), sounds and looks like rap and hip-hop

94.7—KTWV (“The Wave”), jazz and R&B format. Web site is http://947thewave.cbslocal.com/ and the phones are 1-800-520-WAVE (studio) and (323) 937-WAVE (business)

95.1—KFRG, (“K-FROG”), the Inland Empire’s country station (based in Colton) but picks up in the LA area.  Web address:  http://kfrog.cbslocal.com/

95.5—KLOS, “Classic Rock That Really Rocks,” www.955klos.com  is the Web site, and phone numbers are (310)840-9400 (business) and 1-800-955-KLOS (on-air).

97.1—KAMP (“K-AMP,” formerly KLSX) Carson Daly is this station’s top-billed on-air personality but the format often leans more to rap and hiphop than a mainstream contemporary pop sound. Web address:  http://amp.cbslocal.com/

98.7—KYSR (“K-STAR”), “Rockaholic” alternative rock.  http://www.987fm.com/main.html

99.5—KKLA, “The Spirit of Los Angeles,” a religious/Christian station.

99.9—KOLA, rock station in the Inland Empire (Redlands/Riverside/San Bernardino area) but picks up in Los Angeles.  “All Classics, All the Time,” is its slogan.  Phone:  (909) 793-3554.
Web site:  www.kolafm.com

100.3—KSWD (“The Sound”), “Album Rock, True Variety” is the slogan and  www.thesoundla.com is the Web address.  They have a no-repeat Tuesday.  Phone is (323) 634-1800.

101.1—KRTH, oldies format.  Web site:  http://kearth101.cbslocal.com/

102.3—KJLH, urban contemporary format.  Contact:  kjlhradio.com and (310) 330-2200.  Owned by Stevie Wonder, and the call letters stand for “Kindness, Joy, Love, and Happiness.”

102.7—KIIS, “L.A.'s #1 Hit Music Station featuring CHR/pop radio live,” the Web site is www.kissfm.com and Ryan Seacrest is the top-billed on-air personality.

103.5—KOST, “So Cal’s Favorite Soft Rock” has www.kost1035.com as its Web site.

104.3—KBIG (“My FM”) and www.1043myfm.com is the Web site.  Format is “hot, modern” and “nineties ‘til now.” 

105.1—KKGO (“Go Country”) country format.  Web:  www.gocountry105.com

105.9—KPWR (“K-POWER” or “Power 105”) “where hip hop lives.”

106.7—KROQ, “World Famous” alternate rock.  Web site:  kroq.com

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

AM STATIONS IN LOS ANGELES COVERAGE AREA

When my MySpace blogs vanished into cyberspace, I was particularly sorry to lose my guides to Los Angeles radio stations.  I can't find anything like them online so I keep them for every time I need or want to re-program my car radio.  Since others may also find such information helpful, I'm posting my guide to AM stations below.  My guide to FM stations will come later:


570—KLAC, sports talk, mostly Fox Sports.  Dodgers, football, and Petros Papadakis.  Phone may be 1-866-967-2970 (local) or 1-877-99-ON-FOX (national). 
Web site:  www.am570radio.com or phone (818) 559-2252 for business.

640—KFI, mostly right-wing nutcase talk so I prefer to avoid it.

710--KSPN, ESPN Radio in Los Angeles (although other sports stations often have ESPN programming, too).  Sometimes has baseball or football not available on other stations.  Web site:  http://espn.go.com/los-angeles/radio/index

790—KABC, mostly right-wing nutcase talk but sometimes has sports programming.  Web site:  www.kabc.com

830—KLAA, sports talk and Angels, owned by Arte Moreno.  Web site:  www.am830klaa.com
On-air phone:  1-877-883-0830.

980—KFWB, “News Talk,” and kfwbam.com is the Web site.  Used to be “all news,” now the news is only between 5-9 and 4-7 weekdays.

1070—KNX, and its slogan is “all news, all the time.”  http://losangeles.cbslocal.com/station/knx-1070/

1110—KDSN (“Radio Disney”) if you like Disney’s stable of music artists.

1150—KTLK, was Air America in the Bush II era, now Stephanie Miller in the morning and Randi Rhodes in the afternoon are the only true left-wing talk show hosts (hostesses) left.  David Cruz does a local-news-and-commentary talk show in the afternoon, and sometimes you can find Johnny Wendell in a morning or weekend slot.  Web site:  www.ktlkam1150.com
Phones:  (818) 566-6476 (programming) and (818) 559-2252 (main).