Lena Horne Dies

NEW YORK — Lena Horne, the enchanting jazz singer and actress who reviled the bigotry that allowed her to entertain white audiences but not socialize with them, slowing her rise to Broadway superstardom, died Sunday. She was 92

Horne died at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, according to hospital spokeswoman Gloria Chin. Chin would not release any other details.

Horne, whose striking beauty and magnetic sex appeal often overshadowed her sultry voice, was remarkably candid about the underlying reason for her success.

“I was unique in that I was a kind of black that white people could accept,” she once said. “I was their daydream. I had the worst kind of acceptance because it was never for how great I was or what I contributed. It was because of the way I looked.”

In the 1940s, she was one of the first black performers hired to sing with a major white band, the first to play the Copacabana nightclub and among a handful with a Hollywood contract.

In 1943, MGM Studios loaned her to 20th Century-Fox to play the role of Selina Rogers in the all-black movie musical “Stormy Weather.” Her rendition of the title song became a major hit and her signature piece.

On screen, on records and in nightclubs and concert halls, Horne was at home vocally with a wide musical range, from blues and jazz to the sophistication of Rodgers and Hart in songs like “The Lady Is a Tramp” and “Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered.”

In her first big Broadway success, as the star of “Jamaica” in 1957, reviewer Richard Watts Jr. called her “one of the incomparable performers of our time.”

Songwriter Buddy de Sylva dubbed her “the best female singer of songs.”

But Horne was perpetually frustrated with the public humiliation of racism.

“I was always battling the system to try to get to be with my people. Finally, I wouldn’t work for places that kept us out … it was a damn fight everywhere I was, every place I worked, in New York, in Hollywood, all over the world,” she said in Brian Lanker’s book “I Dream a World: Portraits of Black Women Who Changed America.”

While at MGM, she starred in the all-black “Cabin in the Sky,” in 1943, but in most of her other movies, she appeared only in musical numbers that could be cut in the racially insensitive South without affecting the story. These included “I Dood It,” a Red Skelton comedy, “Thousands Cheer” and “Swing Fever,” all in 1943; “Broadway Rhythm” in 1944; and “Ziegfeld Follies” in 1946.

“Metro’s cowardice deprived the musical of one of the great singing actresses,” film historian John Kobal wrote.

Early in her career Horne cultivated an aloof style out of self-preservation, becoming “a woman the audience can’t reach and therefore can’t hurt” she once said.

Later she embraced activism, breaking loose as a voice for civil rights and as an artist. In the last decades of her life, she rode a new wave of popularity as a revered icon of American popular music.

Her 1981 one-woman Broadway show, “Lena Horne: The Lady and Her Music,” won a special Tony Award. In it, the 64-year-old singer used two renditions — one straight and the other gut-wrenching — of “Stormy Weather” to give audiences a glimpse of the spiritual odyssey of her five-decade career.

A sometimes savage critic, John Simon, wrote that she was “ageless. … tempered like steel, baked like clay, annealed like glass; life has chiseled, burnished, refined her.”

When Halle Berry became the first black woman to win the best actress Oscar in 2002, she sobbed: “This moment is for Dorothy Dandridge, Lena Horne, Diahann Carroll. … It’s for every nameless, faceless woman of color who now has a chance because this door tonight has been opened.”

Lena Mary Calhoun Horne, the great-granddaughter of a freed slave, was born in Brooklyn June 30, 1917, to a leading family in the black bourgeoisie. Her daughter, Gail Lumet Buckley, wrote in her 1986 book “The Hornes: An American Family” that among their relatives was a college girlfriend of W.E.B. Du Bois and a black adviser to Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Dropping out of school at 16 to support her ailing mother, Horne joined the chorus line at the Cotton Club, the fabled Harlem night spot where the entertainers were black and the clientele white.

She left the club in 1935 to tour with Noble Sissle’s orchestra, billed as Helena Horne, the name she continued using when she joined Charlie Barnet’s white orchestra in 1940.

A movie offer from MGM came when she headlined a show at the Little Troc nightclub with the Katherine Dunham dancers in 1942.

Her success led some blacks to accuse Horne of trying to “pass” in a white world with her light complexion. Max Factor even developed an “Egyptian” makeup shade especially for the budding actress while she was at MGM.

But in his book “Gotta Sing Gotta Dance: A Pictorial History of Film Musicals,” Kobal wrote that she refused to go along with the studio’s efforts to portray her as an exotic Latin American.

“I don’t have to be an imitation of a white woman that Hollywood sort of hoped I’d become,” Horne once said. “I’m me, and I’m like nobody else.”

Horne was only 2 when her grandmother, a prominent member of the Urban League and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, enrolled her in the NAACP. But she avoided activism until 1945 when she was entertaining at an Army base and saw German prisoners of war sitting up front while black American soldiers were consigned to the rear.

That pivotal moment channeled her anger into something useful.

She got involved in various social and political organizations and — along with her friendship with Paul Robeson — got her name onto blacklists during the red-hunting McCarthy era.

By the 1960s, Horne was one of the most visible celebrities in the civil rights movement, once throwing a lamp at a customer who made a racial slur in a Beverly Hills restaurant and in 1963 joining 250,000 others in the March on Washington when Martin Luther King Jr. gave his “I Have a Dream” speech. Horne also spoke at a rally that same year with another civil rights leader, Medgar Evers, just days before his assassination.

It was also in the mid-’60s that she put out an autobiography, “Lena,” with author Richard Schickel.

The next decade brought her first to a low point, then to a fresh burst of artistry. She had married MGM music director Lennie Hayton, a white man, in Paris in 1947 after her first overseas engagements in France and England. An earlier marriage to Louis J. Jones had ended in divorce in 1944 after producing daughter Gail and a son, Teddy.

In the 2009 biography “Stormy Weather,” author James Gavin recounts that when Horne was asked by a lover why she’d married a white man, she replied: “To get even with him.”

Her father, her son and her husband, Hayton, all died in 1970-71, and the grief-stricken singer secluded herself, refusing to perform or even see anyone but her closest friends. One of them, comedian Alan King, took months persuading her to return to the stage, with results that surprised her.

“I looked out and saw a family of brothers and sisters,” she said. “It was a long time, but when it came I truly began to live.”

And she discovered that time had mellowed her bitterness.

“I wouldn’t trade my life for anything,” she said, “because being black made me understand

Associated Press

BITCH! that was my money! (Bitter,table for one!)

LOS ANGELES — The big news for KNBC worker Jacki Wells Cisneros broke right inside her own newsroom – she and her husband won the $266 million Mega Millions jackpot.

She told the Los Angeles TV station in an interview Wednesday night that she discovered during her usual routine on the assignment desk very early that morning that the winning ticket had been purchased at the Pico Rivera Hawaiian restaurant.

Cisneros quickly realized that that was where her newly unemployed husband Gilbert Cisneros had bought a lottery ticket.

A quick wakeup call to her husband, then a check of numbers was all it took to determine that they held the winning ticket.

“My hand was shaking the phone, I went to hang up the phone and I was shaking, and my legs felt like they were going to buckle,” said Cisneros, who had remained anonymous for much of the day but led her station’s 11 p.m. newscast with an interview. “I just cried, and laughed.”

Gilbert Cisneros added: “Right now we’re probably too tired for our feet to leave the ground.”

Cisneros has worked as a freelancer for KNBC for about four years, and her husband was laid off two weeks ago, the newsroom’s assignment manager David Reese said.

Reese said the newly minted millionaire called him Wednesday to share her good news and tell him she planned to come to work Thursday.

“She’s usually the most pleasant and nice person to work with even when all hell is breaking loose,” Reese said. “It renews your faith in the universe that something like this can happen to someone who really deserves it.”

Colleague Nicole Stevenson said Cisneros kept asking her husband to repeat the numbers.

“She thought he was kidding, thought he was messing with her,” Stevenson said.

Reese said he saw a photocopy of the ticket showing all six numbers drawn in Tuesday’s multistate game – 9, 21, 31, 36 and 43 with 8 as the Mega number.

The winner has 60 days to tell lottery officials how he or she wants the money. It can be paid in 26 equal payments of $10.2 million or in a lump sum of about $165 million, minus federal taxes, said lottery spokeswoman Cathy Doyle Johnston.

On Tuesday night, Cisneros had wanted to order dinner from Kentucky Fried Chicken, but her husband insisted on going to the barbecue joint where he bought the tickets.

Because the winning ticket was sold at L & L Hawaiian BBQ in Pico Rivera, owner Danny He and his family will get $1 million, the cap on lottery bonuses in California, Johnston said.

He said the money will go toward his son’s college education and to pay some debt.

Reese said the winner told him she plans on coming to work Thursday.

A few hours before her graveyard shift was set to begin, her colleagues were speculating on the air on whether she’d really come in to work as she’d claimed she would.

“She said she loves work and she doesn’t want this to change her life that way. She says she needs the routine,” Reese said.

The $266 million jackpot was the eighth-largest in the history of the game, which began in 2002 and is now played in 38 states and the District of Columbia.

The largest Mega Millions jackpot ever was $390 million on March 6, 2007, shared by winners in Dalton, Ga., and New Jersey.

Lottery officials said the odds of matching all six numbers drawn in Tuesday’s multistate game is 1 in 175,711,536.
The Associated Press

Review: Lounge on 20

Lounge on 20, on the bustling corner of 20th and K streets, isn’t as boisterous as its neighbors. The surrounding bars are flashy, with neon signs and video marquees advertising their goods. Tucked into the MARRS building, however, Lounge on 20 sits quietly waiting to be stumbled upon.

With its gauzy white curtains, dark wood tables and spacious front terrace elevated just a few feet from the sidewalk, Lounge on 20 is certainly a stylish enterprise.

One has to ask, what exactly is it doing here? This is a rowdy neighborhood known for its wacky characters. Lounge on 20 neither attracts nor encourages this behavior. This is a subdued and sophisticated club where customers come to relax. The “dressy casual” dress code is pretty strictly enforced – no baseball caps or sneakers here – and the dimmed overhead lighting is augmented by flickering candles placed throughout the building.

Even the layout encourages more sitting, drinking and intimate conversation than dancing or mingling. There are two well-lit, curtained-off conversation pits, and all other seating is situated to promote talking within one’s party.

“Sacramento is up and coming, and I believe people here appreciate the sophistication of our lounge,” said Vy Nguyen, the lounge’s special events coordinator and public relations representative.

From a top-notch wine and liquor selection – well drinks here are made with alcohols other bars would consider top shelf, while the top shelf consists of labels expected at an event crawling with celebrities – to a unique artisanal menu developed by the proprietors and staff, this is more than a place to party. Lounge on 20 is an experience.

“We cater to those who enjoy a beautiful, unique atmosphere,” said Nguyen.

The staff at Lounge on 20 is first-rate. Bartender Renee Fong whipped up a mean gimlet in no time, but not before she verified exactly how her customer wanted it.

“Vodka? Gin? Up or on the rocks?” she asked with a smile.

She was attentive, knowledgeable and friendly, as all the bartenders seem to be here.

The cost of living it up big-city style is surprisingly low at Lounge on 20. While the beers may be a bit steep ($5 to $7 for a bottled import), run-of-the-mill mixed drinks cost only a couple of bucks more than at most of the dive bars about town, and the specialty drinks are far cheaper than one would expect.

Happy hour proffers $5 small plates consisting of dishes of various origins (fried mac ‘n’ cheese with white truffle oil and prosciutto sits right alongside chicken curry spring rolls on this menu) and select $5 martinis, cocktails, champagnes and wine.

As a general rule, Lounge on 20 does not charge a cover for its weekly happenings, such as Thursdays’ Viva Miami Nights, with DJ Alx-T spinning Latin-inspired tunes. That being said, the lounge occasionally hosts a major event that draws a big crowd and carries a hefty price tag. One such event is coming up May 20.

“Michael Jackson’s choreographer Travis Payne and the ‘This Is It’ dancers will be performing live at Lounge,” Nguyen said excitedly.

Tickets will be $40 in advance, $50 at the door, though Nguyen suggests interested parties snap them up sooner rather than later.


1050 20th St. #100

(916) 443-6620 www.loungeon20.comwww.facebook.com/loungeon20

Hours: 5-10 p.m. Monday- Wednesday, 5 p.m.-midnight Thursday, 5 p.m.-2 a.m. Friday-Saturday.

The vibe: A little bit Miami, a little bit Los Angeles, this is a place that makes you feel moneyed, but you can still enjoy it even if you don’t happen to be. The crowd tends to be 21-40, but older patrons will feel at home here as well.

Signature drink: “Our most requested cocktail is the Bella Fragola. Strawberries, vodka, simple syrup, lemon juice and basil for garnish,” says Vy Nguyen. At $8, it’s a steal.

Bathroom break: The men’s and women’s facilities have stalls in separate rooms, but they share a communal sink area. The drawback here is that you have to open a door to get to said sinks. It certainly encourages hand-washing, not that you wouldn’t do that anyway.

Who would love it: This place is great for people who want to dress up and have a night on the town with class without waking up the next morning wondering how they’re going to pay rent.

Who would hate it: If you have a hard time parting with your River Cats cap or you just can’t see a point in putting on a collared shirt or some heels, there are plenty of bars in this neighbor- hood for you. Lounge on 20 just isn’t one of them.

Casey Mar: Sacramento Bee: 04/30/2010

Sacramento’s Mayor’s Flip Flop on Immigration- Angers local ex-judge

Hours after he called for economic sanctions against Arizona.  Mayor Johnson changed his mind after receiving a call from the mayor from Phoenix.   Kevin Johnson  was a point guard for the Phoenix Suns.

This flip angered former California District Count  Judge Raul Ramirez.

I guess discrimination is more tolerable when it impacts Mexican Americans as opposed to African-Americans.  What Johnson did insulted me!”     Would Johnson caved if the Arizona law targeted

African Americans?-Raul Ramirez

Kevin Johnson is the first African-American Mayor of Sacramento and in 1980 Raul Ramirez  became the first  US District Court Judge in California of Mexican descent.


Scrap’Iron clunky sequel is mostly sloppy seconds

If the original was a well-oiled fun machine with Robert Downey Jr. as the rare un-anguished superhero who actually reveled in his powers, the overblown “Iron Man 2” finds our hero clanking his way through tedious subplots and a talky script that’s dangerously low on Tony Stark’s trademark quips.

This megabucks sequel will likely reap untold hundreds of millions on the back of its much superior predecessor, which I gave 3 1/2 stars.

But it’s only fitfully entertaining as an all-star indie team led again by director Jon Favreau, who gets swallowed up by the same sort of overproduced overkill as “Spider Man 3.”

As the film opens, Tony Stark, the zillionaire playboy who came out as Iron Man in a press conference at the end of the last movie, is dying from Palladium, the element that powers his Iron Man suit.

As if that weren’t enough of a downer, a senator (Garry Shandling) who doesn’t appreciate that Tony “successfully privatized world peace” (as our hero puts it) wants to nationalize Iron Man.

And Justin Hammer (Sam Rockwell), a rival arms manufacturer, has joined forces with Ivan Vanko (Mickey Rourke), a rogue Russian physicist who has a grudge against Tony and our hero’s late father.

Tony’s own issues with his dead dad (John Slattery of “Mad Men” in flashbacks) are also in the background as our hero starts a bigger version of the old man’s massive technology fair at Flushing Meadows — which he amusingly launches by descending on a stage filled with chorus girls.

Closer to his fabulous cliffside home in Malibu, he’s installed the long-suffering “Pepper” Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) as CEO of Stark Industries.

It isn’t exactly a surprise that her dishy successor as Gal Friday, Natalie Rushman (Scarlett Johnson), is a double agent not only for Hammer but fellow Marvel superhero Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), who continues vamping with a cameo until he gets a blockbuster of his own.

There’s so much clunky exposition in the script attributed to Justin Theroux that it seems forever before the first action sequence, which has surprisingly mediocre special effects.

Vanko, wielding what resembles electric lariats, confronts Tony, who for no good reason has impulsively decided to compete in the Grand Prix de Monte Carlo.

Tony wins that round, but his increasingly self-destructive behavior — he all but levels his mansion while on a bender at his birthday party — persuades his former pal Lt. “Rhody” Rhodes (Don Cheadle, replacing Terrence Howard from the first film) to steal one of Tony’s suits on the military’s behalf.

That Rhody is surprised the suit is turned over to Hammer by his superiors is one of many things that make little sense in this sequel.

Tony finally starts having some fun — and making some quips — toward the end of the movie, a huge showdown in Flushing Meadows that ends rather anticlimactically.

Rourke is a nutty villain in a largely non-speaking role, and Paltrow is reduced to mothering our hero.

Johannson has little to do put pout when she isn’t maiming bad guys. She’s given exactly one decent line — asking Tony “dirty enough for you?” when she hands him a martini.

Even Christiane Amanpour and Bill O’Reilly have more to say in their cameos.

“Iron Man 2” doesn’t match, let alone surpass, the heavy metal standard set by its predecessor.

While it has its moments, there are times when I found myself agreeing when the ADHD-addled Tony complains he finds something “boring, boring.”


Read more: http://www.nypost.com/p/entertainment/movies/scrap_iron_KMAYEzeu4UElgKr4nc2dyN#ixzz0n3cfshcK

Grandma sent to jail for slapping 18 year old grandaughter

Theresa Collier, a 73-year-old grandmother, found her self behind bars in Florida for slapping her granddaughter when the young girl swore at her.

Collier, a church going Irish Catholic, has never been in trouble with the law in her life.

She broke down in tears as she said “My heart’s going like this. I just thought I was going to die. I wanted to crawl in a hole.”

The 18-year-old granddaughter in question, Felicia Collier, had come over to her grandmother’s house to use the computer. Since being expelled from Catholic school in Massachusetts Felicia has been finishing up the school year online.

Collier explained the reason for Felicia’s expulsion. “She said F-off to a nun! I would just crawl into a hole, said Collier, obviously embarrassed by her granddaughter’s behavior.

While she was meant to be working on school assignments at Collier’s house Felicia’s bad language continued.

“She kept repeating the F-word to me, about the whole family. She just went on and on and I just got so upset, I got up and slapped her across the face,” said Collier. “She grabbed my wrists and I couldn’t get out of it and she let one go and she punched me in the cheek.”

The situation quickly escalated when Felicia called the police. What happened next shocked them both.

Collier said “The two officers came to each side of me and before I know it, they have my arms and they said, ‘You’re under arrest,’ and they cuffed me.”

Filled with remorse, Felicia tried to stop the police but she could not convince the officers and her grandmother was taken into custody.

Collier spent the next 24 hours in jail. She said they were the worst hours of her life.

Walter Collier, her husband said “My wife of 52 years went to Catholic Parochial school, went to church, she’s a good strong Catholic and raised four kids and no one ever spoke to her like that.”

“I think it’s ridiculous. We’re hurt so bad, I’m so scared she’s going to have a heart attack or a stroke over this. She doesn’t sleep, she bursts into tears and I’m almost doing it now.”

Though Collier’s arrest might seem quite harsh the state of Florida has a mandatory arrest policy for domestic violence calls. She has been charged with battery.

Lt. Mike Loux, with the Largo Police Department said “If an officer on scene finds probable cause to arrest a person, because they’ve committed domestic battery, then our policy is a mandatory arrest of that person.

“The discretion does not come because the victim does not want to prosecute. It doesn’t come because the victim has remorse for calling police.”

Collier’s first day in court was last Wednesday. Her granddaughter was present and attempted to sign documentation which would allow her to cancel the prosecution. This will not change her elderly grandmother’s charges.

Theresa and Walter Collier have not spoken to their granddaughter since the incident.

To further complicate things, the Colliers only live part time in Florida. The couple had planned to head home to New Hampshire next week.

Now they are unsure if this is a good idea as Theresa does not have her next date for court. Clearly a tough lady she said “What are they going to do? Send me back in.”

KATE HICKEY/Irish Central 5-4-10


5:41 AM,  a very young child (less than a year) has walked through the lobby carrying a small plastic bag of cheerios  and is heading towards the first set of  electric double doors and then outside.  .     The desk clerk, looked around for an adult, and didnt see any nearby,  hey, baby, hey baby,  ( hoping to get the attention of a parent) the child slowed down, but kept walking.

The Child  stood between the electric doors and suddenly the doors close on him, knocking him down.  The desk clerk ran from behind he desk and picked  up the frighten and now crying child, cheerios spilled to the floor.   A women ran out of the breakfast area and took the child from him without saying a word.

Yes, thank you, thank you for caring for my child, the desk clerk said to himself.   The desk clerk walked into the breakfast area , expecting to see several children,  nope, just the two of them.   Hmmm, still no thank you ,the desk clerk said to himself.    He asked the women how old her son was,  10 months she said, how many children do you have, just him-she said in a tiny voice.  His father is out packing the car.     As the desk clerk walked away, he said to himself, one, that is all you need …..   ONE!!!!

Whacked out women slashes her way through an West Hollywood Target Store

A woman with a butcher knife in one hand and a steak knife in the other stabbed four people at a Target store in Los Angeles before an off-duty sheriff’s deputy pulled out his gun and ordered her to the ground.

The wounded include a woman stabbed in the neck as she was holding her infant. The baby wasn’t hurt and all four victims are expected to survive, though one is in critical condition, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The attack took place Monday afternoon at a Target store on the second floor of a shopping center in West Hollywood. Authorities have identified the suspect as 34-year-old Layla Trawick from Antioch, Calif., and described her as suffering from mental illness.

She was yelling ‘I’m bipolar! There’s no witness protection program,'” said Allison McNamara, an entertainment journalist who was shopping in the store. She told the Times about how she felt helpless as she watched the woman plunge her knife into the upper back and shoulder of a fellow shopper.
You could see where the knife was going into his back. The knife had ridges and a tag on it. She was going as fast and strong as she could. Four to six inches were covered in blood. She looked like she was going to stab everyone there,” McNamara was quoted as saying.

McNamara bolted out of the store to safety, along with other customers and some staff.

Deputy Clay Grant Jr., who stopped into Target to buy some paper towels on his day off work, heard screams from a nearby aisle. He grabbed his Beretta handgun, identified himself as a sheriff’s deputy and ordered the woman to drop the knives, he told reporters at a news conference afterward. She ran from aisle to aisle before surrendering.

“She finally dropped her knife, and I was able to place handcuffs on her,” said Grant, 26, whose comments were carried by several news agencies.

Grant said he decided not to shoot at the woman because he didn’t feel his life was in jeopardy. “Her facial expression was someone who was lost, confused, didn’t know exactly where they were,” he said.

The attacker was arrested with the help of private security guards. Investigators are trying to determine whether she got the knives from the store, or whether she brought them in with her.

Trawick is being held on $1 million bond on suspicion of attempted murder, authorities said.

The Sheriff’s Department received numerous calls after one of the victims, who was still bleeding, ran out of the store and people saw the deputy in his civilian clothes with a gun.

“There was a panic in the store,” Mankini said, noting witnesses outside the store initially believed there had been a shooting. “Everyone and their brother was calling 911.”

Sources: AOL News/ Andrew Blankstein LA Times

The Empire Strikes Back

Cue the elevator music………………………

If you live in a dozen or so cities in the state Alameda, Santa Clara and community’s located in the Sacramento Region, your  experience with your utility district is fairly pleasant, your bills are usually lower than your friends in neighboring communities.

There are just a few publicly or community owned utilities in California

Cut elevator music……..






Re-cue the elevator music ( I have a request, the Girl from Ipanema)

In 1923, the citizens of Sacramento County voted to create a power district.  At the moment the last ballot was counted, the privately held PG&E took SMUD to court and fought SMUD for over twenty years, the courts eventually sided with SMUD and in 1946 SMUD began providing power.

round 2

The City of Folsom voted to  join SMUD in 1983, PG&E fought and lost in the courts.

round 3

In 2006, through a ballot measure PG&E spending $11 million dollars successfully convinced voters of the Yolo county cities of Davis, West Sacramento and Woodland to stay with the Empire.

The Empire Strikes Back



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