La Mirada Symphony Hosts Morgan Brittany

The La Mirada Symphony Orchestra recently hosted actress Morgan Brittany for a unique presentation of the “Lincoln Portrait” by Aaron Copland. Under the direction of Conductor Robert Frelly, Brittany read narration for the piece, which features excerpts of Abraham Lincoln’s great documents, speeches and letters, including the Gettysburg Address.

“When my friend, Joe Yakovetic, asked if I would be interested in performing the narration,” said Brittany, “I looked it up on YouTube.” The highly patriotic piece has been performed by Henry Fonda and Kathrine Hepburn, among others. “America. Abraham Lincoln. How could I not be involved?”

Brittany, who played Katherine Wentworth on “Dallas,” is politically active and has high hopes for the future of America. As a member of the “Politichicks” alternative news program, she has her finger on the pulse of America. Brittany and the other “Chicks” are currently working on a book entitled “What Women Want.” “The political system can be very confusing,” she stated. “I just want to help women understand it all so they can be more involved.”

“Lincoln Portrait” was originally composed by Copland as part of the World War II patriotic war effort in 1942. Brittany, Frelly and the symphony received a standing ovation from a capacity house at the La Mirada Theatre Performing Arts. The performance is part of Symphony’s “Sunday’s with Music” series.  All performances are free, with a suggested donation of five dollars.


Photo Story of Morgan Brittany

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THE ARTIST ALWAYS KNOWN AS YAKOVETIC

Vizcaya, Miami, Florida

Vizcaya, Miami, Florida

His mother took dictation on small sheets of carefully folded paper.   Two year-old Joe Yakovetic provided the pencil sketches for his first picture book.  Neither of them realized it was the beginning of the young artist’s distinguished career.  From Long Island to Los Angeles, the long and winding road led Yakovetic to create fine art, sculpture, set designs, costumes and theatre designs for the likes of Disney, Honda and Warner Brothers.

“I never really thought about being an artist, it just happened. “ In his youth, Yakovetic used art to embellish school assignments, amuse friends and amaze adults.  At 16, he worked for the Movieland Wax Museum in Buena Park as an artist.  When he joined the trade show circuit, it was a dream come true.  The money was good and according to Yakovetic, “I was young, small of stature and, as a caricaturist, I was fast.  People thought I was a wunderkind.”

“My parents weren’t sure about my having an art career until they saw my first check.  I earned almost as much as my dad did in a month.”  That income stream enabled Yakovetic to put himself through Cal-State Fullerton where he earned a BA in Fine Art with a Theatre Minor.

From the beginning, Yakovetic’s amazing ability to imitate all styles of art was a source of frustration for his professors.  “They kept telling me to develop my own style.”  Fortunately, that skill is the very thing that enables Yakovetic to work as an artist – whatever style of art you want, he can do.

While working as a contract artist/designer for Disney, Yakovetic created a series of still life paintings for the Disneyland Gallery.  Instead of Mickey Mouse, he painted artifacts from the movies.  Yet, there in the shadows of the scene, would be a hidden Mickey, a Tinkerbell or the image of Walt Disney.

“I understand why people are drawn to my Disney art,” mused the artist, “but my other work…there is a spark that draws them into the world I create, into a moment in time, into a space that resonates with God.”

That resonant chord is what draws people to the Yakovetic Fine Art web site.  Yakovetic has a line of licensed fine art paintings from the iconic movies “Gone With The Wind” and “The Wizard of Oz and It’s A Wonderful Life.”

“One of my favorite pieces is “The Stuff Life Is Made Of” featuring Ann Rutherford.”  While Rutherford (Corrinne O’Hara) was making the movie, the sign at Twelve Oaks had a profound impact on her.  It warns not to squander time “for that is the stuff life is made of.”  The quote made such an impression on the young actress that she was never again late for anything.

When asked what he wanted people to see in his work, Yakovetic paused, then his voice broke, “I want them to know that nothing I do on my own is in that painting.  I want people to see God in whatever I have created.  It is God who gets the glory.”

NO MEDAL FOR DOGS

People and dogs are victims of the massive Sochi Olympic gentrification.  Gentrification: renovation of houses/stores in deteriorated urban areas, often displacing low-income families and small businesses.

The Olympic renovation program has a total disregard for the lives it disrupted. Reports indicate Sochi was no Miami Beach before the Olympic $$ nod. Now it sounds even closer to hell. Before Olympic construction, residents had power outages, decaying apartment blocks, no running water, no sewers.  Today, they have all that and sinking homes, stinking air, contaminated water.  All the result of construction dumping.  All in the name of the Olympics.

The stray dogs of Sochi are pets/working dogs abandoned by owners whose homes and farms were leveled for Olympic progress.  People were relocated to apartment complexes – no dogs or only small dogs allowed. Countless dogs are left without the human companionship they knew.

We ignored a South China Morning Post article about the reality behind this Olympic scheme. Is it right to tear down an apartment house outhouse to put in a road?  http://bit.ly/1aMdRCo  The NY Times post poses the question: is it right to murder innocent pets after owners are relocated by the government?  http://nyti.ms/1fVJKHT

If civilized countries truly support the rights of humans & animals, then boycott Olympic games hosted in countries who don’t provide citizens with basic human necessities. The Olympic Committee must amend the charter to prevent countries with poor human rights records from even being considered as hosts.

Beijing and Sochi are now shining examples of what happens to “the little people” when the Games come to town.  Stop trading human dignity for dollars!

ROOM FULL OF STRANGERS

Old Dog – New Tricks…or Thoughts of a 50++ Student

January 13, 2014

As I took a seat in my first class, the Bee Gees’ NIGHTS ON BROADWAY suddenly raced through my mind.

There I was, in a room full of strangers, wishing their eyes couldn’t see me.  For good reason.  As I casually glanced around at the eager faces in Radio and Television 151, I thought, “OMG!  These kids are old enough to be my grandchildren, if I had grandchildren.”

Too late to change my mind, I was registered, paid in full.  I slid my red backpack on the floor under what appeared to be a miniature version of a one-armed desk I remembered from the last time I was in college.  Either the desk was smaller or a I was…I went with smaller desk.

It had been more than 30 years since I attended college.  I had reached a tipping point in my career.  I needed to reinvent myself and up my skill set.  Attending a local college seemed like the perfect solution.  Really.

My initial excitement about returning to academia was replaced by a reality check.  Would I survive swimming in this pool of youth and energy?  Would this Old Dog be able to compete with brain cells having less than a third of the mileage I had on mine?  Would my voice of experience matter in today’s culture?  Was I insane?

I got over myself as soon as the instructor walked in.  C Breit came from pro broadcasting.  He had done radio and TV so it was like watching a great stand-up routine.  Jimmy Fallon could take a lesson.  Breit was enthusiastic, engaging, funny and smart.  This guy knew his stuff!  Breit made everyone feel at ease – including me.

As class progressed, I realized that I knew a great deal of the material we were going to cover.  I should – I had lived it, for heaven’s sake.  It was strange seeing a 16mm projector, discarded at the back of the room, and remembering its sound and the sound of film when it broke.  Even stranger was realizing that none of my fellow students even knew what the machine was!

In that moment, I didn’t feel superior or out of touch.  I felt comfortable knowing that I possessed memories and experiences that could be shared with those around me.  It was nice to know that we were all in a class where we actually wanted to hear about “the good old days” of radio, film, television and the music business that were an integral part of my past.

Yes, I was still relevant.  More important, I was about to learn more exciting things about radio and television – just like the young ones around me.