Archives for October 18, 2021

Scarium of the Pacific returns: Celebrate Halloween at the Aquarium Oct. 30 & 31

Photo credit: Robin Riggs
 

Discover the creatures lurking in the depths at the Aquarium of the Pacific’s twenty-second annual Scarium of the Pacific—a spooktacular educational Halloween event for the whole family. During this event, the Aquarium will host Halloween-themed programs, like the annual children’s costume contest, magic shows, and storytelling. You can even pick up supplies for creepy crafts and coloring sheets to complete at home.

Advance reservations will be required for attendance, as capacity is limited and walk-ups will not be accommodated at this time. Masks are required for entry at the Aquarium of the Pacific for everyone age 2 and older.

WHEN: Saturday and Sunday, October 30 and 31, 2021, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.  

WHERE: In person: Aquarium of the Pacific, 100 Aquarium Way, Long Beach, CA 90802 

COST: Included with general admission: $36.95 per adult (ages 12+), $26.95 per child (ages 3-11), $33.95 per senior (ages 62+), and free for Aquarium members and children under age three 

Advance reservations are required for everyone.

INFO: (562) 590-3100 or visit aquariumofpacific.org/events/info/scarium_of_the_pacific/

SPONSORED BY: 

Credit: The Aquarium of the Pacific.

Aquarium launches 2nd African American Scholar program and invites students to apply

Newton Zachary Hood, a recipient of an award from the program’s first year, visits the Aquarium’s behind-the-scenes abalone lab.
Photo credit: Aquarium of the Pacific

The Aquarium of the Pacific is now accepting applications for its African American Scholar program, which is now in its second year. The program awards funds to support African American students who demonstrate a commitment to studies related to careers in the aquarium field, including ocean education, animal husbandry, water quality, building maintenance or facilities, microbiology, and business management. Through this program, the Aquarium hopes to bring meaningful opportunities in the marine sciences to African American students and to bring diverse minds to solving the issues facing our planet and its inhabitants.

“The Aquarium of the Pacific is committed to creating pathways for African American students to pursue careers in our field, and it has been very gratifying for us to collaborate with the first group of scholars from this program as they engage in the Aquarium’s work. This has included developing new initiatives and serving as a platform for the scholars to connect with other scientists and the next generation of students,” said Anthony Brown, chief financial officer at the Aquarium of the Pacific. “As the African American Scholar program enters its second year, I hope to see an even larger pool of candidates and encourage other zoos and aquariums to undertake similar efforts to diversify our industry.”

In addition to receiving scholarship funds through this program, the recipients are invited to engage in various Aquarium programs. Past recipients have written for the Aquarium’s member magazine and served as judges in an environmental film festival for high school students. At a symposium this fall, the scholars will have more opportunities to meet with Aquarium staff members, hear guest scientists speak about their careers, and connect with high school students from the Long Beach Unified School District.

Applications for the 2022 African American Scholar Program are due by December 31, 2021. Recipients will be notified by February 1, 2022, and awards will be presented to the individuals selected for the program at the Aquarium’s twentieth annual African American Festival on February 27, 2022. For program details and submission guidelines, please visit pacific.to/africanamericanscholar.

This program is possible thanks to funding from individuals and corporate supporters, including Aquarium Board members, staff members, The Boeing Company, and Poms & Associates.

“Poms & Associates is delighted to support the Aquarium of the Pacific’s African American Scholar Program, which not only provides opportunities to African American students committed to the marine sciences, but also encourages diversity in the field,” said David Poms, president of Poms & Associates.

The public is also invited to support the Aquarium’s African American Scholar program. Thanks to an anonymous matching gift, all donations will be matched up to $10,000 dollars. To make a donation, you can visit pacific.to/africanamericanscholarfund.

Credit: The Aquarium of the Pacific.

Santa Monica Place to Host Seasonal Retailer Job Fair Oct. 26

Santa Monica Place to Host Seasonal Retailer Job Fair
October 26 from 11 am – 4 pm


Santa Monica Place will host a center-wide seasonal job fair for job seekers interested in a variety of employment opportunities on October 26 from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. Participating stores and restaurants will have a table displayed at their storefronts to meet candidates, accept applications and conduct interviews as desired. Please visit the Concierge Desk in Center Plaza for a list of participating retailers, where to apply, and for more information regarding Santa Monica Place’s job fair.

WHEN

Tuesday, October 26

11 a.m. – 4 p.m.

WHERE

Santa Monica Place is located at 395 Santa Monica Place, Santa Monica, at Broadway and Third Street Promenade.

Credit: Santa Monica Place.

Busy school days? Meat District has you covered for no-stress meals for dinner!

Busy school days sometimes mean that it’s best to have easy-to-cook dinners! Luckily, Meat District can help with their selection of burgers, wings, tri-tip, and more! Many of which are preseasoned, Meat District’s selections are tender and bursting with flavor. Perfect after a long day of school and work, you can easily toss these on the grill or in the oven for a barbeque feast for the whole family. 

I had the opportunity to try a few of their delicious products and I was very impressed! My favorite was the Angus Tri-Tip Beef Patties and honestly, I really do not eat beef that often but every once in a while I love to have a burger and these are delicious! Meat District offers butcher-crafted, premium burgers, party wings, tri-tip, sausages, and more. With chef-inspired recipes and premium ingredients, Meat District unlocks more flavorful choices when it comes to your favorite meats. Produced and packaged locally in Los Angeles, Meat District promises all the quality and flavor without hormones or antibiotics. Meat District products can be found at all major retailers and club stores and are distributed nationally on a weekly basis.

They are super easy and fast to cook and tasted so fresh!

Find out more at https://eatmeatdistrict.com/

Self Disclosure: I received free samples to facilitate this post. Photo Credit: SoCal City Kids.

Language Arts * Emotionally Compelling Film With Impeccable Performances And Superb Cinematography

A student project abruptly forces an emotionally stunted high school English teacher to confront his demons–past and present–taking him on a powerful journey of connection and redemption. Based on the novel, starring Ashley Zukerman, Sarah Shahi, Elliott Smith and Lincoln Lambert. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Eshaan M. comments, “An emotionally compelling film, with impeccable performances and superb cinematography, Language Arts provides viewers with a glimpse into the lives of parents of children with disabilities as well as the children themselves.” Kyla C. adds, “Language Arts is an emotional film that covers a wide variety of heavy, yet entertaining topics. This film has talented actors, great sets, relatable storylines, strong characters and fabulous cinematography. The creativity of this film is so cool, although it is sometimes a little bit confusing.” See their full reviews below.

Language Arts

By Eshaan M., KIDS FIRST! Kid Reporter, age 15

An emotionally compelling film, with impeccable performances and superb cinematography, Language Arts provides viewers with a glimpse into the lives of parents of children with disabilities as well as the children themselves.

Language Arts follows a man on his life journey. As a student, he befriends Dana, an autistic boy who is part of a program at his school. Dana is bullied by other students every day and, after an especially horrid incident involving a pen and a pantsing, Dana’s life is in danger. The film fast-forwards and the young man is now an English teacher with an autistic son named Cody and a strained marriage. Over the duration of the film, life comes full circle for him as he reconnects with his past and comes to terms with the struggles he faces through his student’s photography project.

The film’s director, Cornelia “Corrie” Duryée, is part of the disabled community herself, as she suffers from Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, fibromyalgia and severe multiple chemical sensitivity. Her youngest son, who makes a cameo in the film, has ASD. Four actors in the film also have ASD, including Mickey Rowe , who is an incredible actor with great depth of emotion and, evidently, personal experience that fuels his conviction to the role. Lincoln Lambert plays Dana, and his portrayal of an autistic student is very compelling. The cinematography accents the turmoil faced by the characters, with many crisp and evocative close-ups, and music accents every poignant moment. Some of the cuts between years and ages of characters make the film tough to understand at the start, but the story unrolls as it develops in a magnificent fashion.

Language Arts promotes accepting each other for who they are; making friends with those that are different from you; and working together, which can help people overcome what may seem like an insuperable hurdle. The film does contain some profanity, portrayals of fights, and various instances of ableism. There are also some graphic scenes where Dana is violently bullied.

I give Language Arts 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 14 to 18, plus adults. The film will resonate with parents of disabled children. It is available now on VOD.

Language Arts

By Kyla C, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 12

Language Arts is an emotional film that covers a wide variety of heavy, yet entertaining topics. This film has talented actors, great sets, relatable storylines, strong characters and fabulous cinematography. The creativity of this film is so cool, although it is sometimes a little bit confusing.

The storyline follows Charles Marlow (Ashley Zukerman) as he deals with family issues and connects with differently abled people throughout his life. As some young autistic patients start sparking memories of his childhood, we travel back to those times with him. As we visit his past, we see young Charles Marlow (Elliott Smith) and Dana McGucken (Lincoln Lambert) in elementary school, meeting and marrying Allison Forche-Marlow (Sarah Shahi) and then dealing with his disabled son, Cody Marlow (Kieran Walton). We get even more backstory about young Charles as kid and observe his life with his constantly arguing parents.

Language Arts has many fantastic elements; one of them being the incredibly well-chosen actors. The emotional story leads to deeply developed characters, which requires talented actors to pull off. Each actor portrays their character very well. Some of the best performances are from Elliott Smith as young Charles Marlow and Sarah Shahi as Allison Forche-Marlow. Young Charles Marlow deals with many challenging situations, including distant parents and bullying. Elliott Smith captures his character so well that I believe he is Charles. Sarah Shahi clearly connects with her character, Allison. She shines a light on Allison’s real desires and personality, despite her actions telling a different story. Most importantly, the storyline is relatable and written strong enough to give actors the opportunity to shine. Each character has its own subplot so that every character is important. Learning about the secondary characters’ backgrounds and deepest desires through the subplots adds to the film. The sets are another standout part. I particularly liked the set in the art studio which features beautiful artwork. The camerawork is also outstanding, using a variety of angles to draw you into the scenes. I love the creativity of the film jumping back and forth in time, allowing us to see the characters when they were younger, which helps us understand their current point of view. Yet that gets confusing at times. Sometimes it’s difficult to know if I’m watching something from the past, present or future and that makes the storyline hard to follow. However, once you get accustomed to those time changes, which includes change of wardrobe and period-specific sets, the film is easier to follow.

The message of this film is to treat people with disabilities with the same respect as anyone else. There are other important themes that are shown such as being kind and living life to its fullest. Language Arts does address heavy topics, contains some profanity and is a sad story in many ways.  

I give Language Arts 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 14 to 18, plus adults. You can watch Language Arts now on Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV and Vudu.

Under Wraps * A Spine-Tickling Storyline, With Many Surprises Along The Way

Friends Marshall, Gilbert, and Amy accidentally revive and release a mummy from its sarcophagus in the days leading up to Halloween. At first terrified, they quickly learn that the Mummy who they affectionately name ‘Harold’ is actually very sweet and in dire need of assistance. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Ella M. comments, “Are you ready for a remake of a spook-tacular and adventurous mysterious story? Then you have got to check out Disney Channel’s new Under Wraps movie! It’s got everything – action, friendships, mysteries, and a lovable, friendly mummy! It has a spine-tickling storyline, with many surprises along the way. So, buckle up and get ready for a fun, chilling story that is perfect for the whole family!” See her full review below.

Under Wraps

By Ella M., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 10

Are you ready for a remake of a spook-tacular and adventurous mysterious story? Then you have got to check out Disney Channel’s new Under Wraps movie! It’s got everything – action, friendships, mysteries, and a lovable, friendly mummy! It has a spine-tickling storyline, with many surprises along the way. So, buckle up and get ready for a fun, chilling story that is perfect for the whole family!

This storyline follows three friends, Marshall, Gilbert and Amy, who mysteriously find a mummy in their neighbor’s basement. Accidently bringing it to life, they discover he is a kind mummy. Most films describe mummies as horrid, brain-eating, dead monsters. But this movie is special because, its mummy is not like the others. He is a kindhearted, affectionate and friendly mummy, ready to help his friends with anything that may come next. Upon finding out that their new friend Harold, the mummy, will turn to dust if not put back in his sarcophagus by midnight on Halloween, the three friends do everything to save their new mummy friend.

You’ll love the main characters. Marshall (Malachi Bartoh) is a sci-fi, monster enthusiast. Gilbert (Christian J. Simon) is a scared, yet honest friend. He is always trying to help his friends and embraces people for whom they really are throughout the movie. Amy (Sophia Hammons) wants to solve mysteries and get the inside scoop. She dreams of becoming an investigative journalist. Even though she’s the new kid in town, she is bold and is not afraid to stand up for what is right.  Malachi Barton connects with his character, Marshall, in a believable way. Christian J. Simon’s Gilbert is very funny; Christian is funny in real life as well. He makes giving a solid, amazing, thorough performance look easy.  Sophia Hammons gives a dynamic, well thought out performance and shows the variety of ways she can connect with different emotions while portraying Amy.  The costume for Harold is well thought out, with incredible special effects. He looks and seems like an actual mummy. My favorite character is Amy because she is very brave, incredibly smart and she is not afraid to speak her mind.

This message is to embrace people’s differences and to not judge a book by its cover. When Harold is brought back to life after thousands of years, people seem to fear him – when he’s really trying to help them out. You discover that all Harold wants is a friend and our three friends learn to accept him for who he is on the inside, beyond his wrapped-up-mummy-outside.

I give Under Wraps 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 7 to 18, plus adults. Under Wraps is available now on Disney Channel and Disney plus.  This is a movie you don’t want to miss!

Venom: Let There Be Carnage * Amazing CGI Graphics, Especially When Building Fall And Titans Fight

Eddie Brock struggles to adjust to his new life as the host of the alien symbiote Venom, which grants him super-human abilities in order to be a lethal vigilante. Brock attempts to reignite his career by interviewing serial killer Cletus Kasady, who becomes the host of the symbiote Carnage and escapes prison after a failed execution. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Ethan P. comments, “I like Venom: Let There Be Carnage because it is based on one of my favorite Marvel characters, Venom. I like that Carnage is a product of Venom, so watching these monsters clashing with each other is phenomenal.” Calista B. adds, “There are several things in this film that fall short for me. Its lack of development of Kasady and the way it seems quite biased towards Venom. It’s important to note that I haven’t seen the original Venom, but I had a pretty easy time understanding the characters and the important plot details. As far as I can tell, the first movie didn’t have much of an impact on the story of this film.” Zoe C. adds, “This movie kept me engaged throughout the entire 130 minutes it played on screen. Not only is it concise and to the point, which I love. It is also entertaining throughout the entire thing. I also love the character Venom. I think he is super fascinating and I love the ambiguity of something that is half monster, as well as vulnerable.” See their full reviews below.

Venom: Let There Be Carnage
By Ethan P., KIDS FIRST!, Film Critic, Age 13


I like Venom: Let There Be Carnage because it is based on one of my favorite Marvel characters, Venom. I like that Carnage is a product of Venom, so watching these monsters clashing with each other is phenomenal.

Venom: Let There Be Carnage is about a journalist named Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy) who has a dark black, Spiderman looking devil named Venom that lives inside his body. Most of the movie shows Eddie and Venom not getting along, because Eddie is sick and tired of having Venom inside his body and Venom wants to be free to eat people. Venom is very clumsy and destructive and Eddie is frustrated because his apartment is a mess. An assassin named Cletus Kasady (Woody Harrelson) knows Eddie and asks to speak to him before his death sentence is carried out. Eddie visits Cletus in prison, but Cletus antagonizes Eddie with his past and Venom comes out of Eddie’s body to choke Cletus. Cletus bites Eddie’s hand and tastes Venom’s blood. So guess what happens? You have to watch the film to find out.

This film has amazing CGI graphics. The graphics look so real and the buildings falling apart when Venom climbs between them look real as well. The fighting scenes between these two titans are so incredible that it makes you want to see more. I expected there to be more encounters between Venom and Carnage and was disappointed that there weren’t more. The movie has a good combination of comedy and action. The music is appealing in every scene. My favorite part is, of course, the battle between Venom and Carnage in the church. Carnage is huge compared to Venom and looks more powerful than him because Carnage has multiple extremities which Venom does not have.

The moral of this film is to never underestimate yourself no matter your size or strength. You do not know if you can win the war if you don’t go to battle.

I give Venom: Let There Be Carnage 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18, plus adults. This movie is available in theatres Friday, October 1, 2021. Remember, like all Marvel movies, you have to wait until after the credits for a huge bonus. You have to stay seated for this one!

Venom: Let There Be Carnage
By Calista B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 18

There are several things in this film that fall short for me. Its lack of development of Kasady and the way it seems quite biased towards Venom. It’s important to note that I haven’t seen the original Venom, but I had a pretty easy time understanding the characters and the important plot details. As far as I can tell, the first movie didn’t have much of an impact on the story of this film.

Venom: Let There Be Carnage is the sequel to Venom (2018) and it continues the story of Eddie Brock and the alien symbiote Venom (Tom Hardy). In an attempt to restore his journalism career, Eddie interviews the serial killer Cletus Kasady (Woody Harrelson) right before he receives the death penalty. However, Kasady ends up becoming the host of a new symbiote, named Carnage and escapes. Now Eddie and Venom must stop Kasady and Carnage.

My biggest issue with this film is its pacing. The film is 90 minutes long, and it feels like it ends before the climax really starts. If I could make a suggestion, I would have preferred that they spent more time developing Kasady, as well as his childhood love interest, Shriek (Naomie Harris). We see small glimpses of their history with each other, but we never really learn why they’re so attached. Considering that Kasady’s main motive is to be with Shriek, she definitely should have been more developed; she doesn’t really feel like a character her, she feels more like a plot device. Another thing that bothered me about this movie is the way it treats Eddie and Venom. Venom is an interesting character, because he starts as a villain and morphs into an antihero over time, and the movie hints at this duality. However, the movie seems very biased towards Venom. When Eddie calls out Venom for causing problems for the both of them, Eddie later has to apologize to Venom. Meanwhile, Venom is never held accountable for the fact that he does cause a lot of problems. Eddie was completely in the right in that situation. The film wants us to believe Venom is super funny and edgy, but he acts like a spoiled child for most of the film and I felt bad for Eddie the entire time.

The message of this film is that it’s important for people to work together and communicate, so they can come to an understanding. I also would like to warn people that it is quite a violent and loud movie with a lot of action scenes.

I give Venom: Let There Be Carnage 2 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 14 to 18. It releases in theaters October 1, 2021.

Venom: Let there be Carnage
By Zoe C., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13

Kudos to Andy Serkis, Tom Hardy and Woody Harrelson, because they absolutely carried Venom: Let There Be Carnage. The original Venom came out around in 2018 when I was 10 years old and I never really got a chance to see it, therefore I wasn’t exactly familiar with the storyline. But Venom: Let There Be Carnage definitely makes perfect sense without seeing the original. I will definitely not be comparing the two films in this review, so I can’t exactly say that you’re going to like this one more than the original, but I can say I am definitely a huge fan now. I love this film!

The story is basically about when serial killer Cletus Kasady proposes a threat to humanity and Eddie Brock tries to resolve conflicts in his life and tries to rebuild relationships specifically with his ex and with Venom. Everything collides and you experience the Carnage and you’re just in this huge experience which is action-packed, funny and a hero vs villain.

This movie kept me engaged throughout the entire 130 minutes it played on screen. Not only is it concise and to the point, which I love. It is also entertaining throughout the entire thing. I also love the character Venom. I think he is super fascinating and I love the ambiguity of something that is half monster, as well as vulnerable. His character is, first of all, hilarious and I also love his incredible relationship with his vessel, or host, Eddie. I think Tom Hardy performance as Eddie Brock and his relationship with Venom together beautifully.  Fun fact – Hardy is a producer and co-writer of this film and you really see how the deep level of connection he has with his character resonates with the audience. You can definitely feel the level of intensity and the heart that he puts into his performance in the film. Next we have Woody Harrelson who plays Cletus Kasady; he’s perfect for this role. I cannot see anyone else playing him. He is wicked and brilliant at the same time. That leads me to my next topic, which is about the relationships and couples, because first we’ve got Venom and Eddie and their bromance is spectacular. First of all, they’re hilarious together and make a really good team. We’ve got Eddie and Anne who, despite the fact that they’re not, you know, still together and in a relationship. But, they’re still there for each other, which is vital for this film. Finally we have Francis and Claire – they are madly in love with each other and, honestly, their relationship is something I loved. Seeing them be evil, but together, was amazing

One of my favorite parts of this film is when Anne is looking for Eddie and they run into a musician and she completely steals the show. I also love that this film is not pretentious; it is a dark kind of humorous, comic-book type of vibe, with crisp humor and absurd, but very well narrated storyline. I love that this film fulfills its main mission, which is to entertain. We have got to give it to Andy Swerkis for that. He blew it out of the water with this one. He definitely knows how to tame his creatures and how to really deliver his assertive storytelling. If you have seen the trailer or the first Venom you already know that the CGI special effects are on point and the cinematography by Robert Richardson leaves his imprint on this film.

Venom: Let There Be Carnage is fun and has strong language and images that may disturb some people.

I give Venom: Let There Be Carnage 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 13 to 18, plus adults. This movie is available in theatres Friday, October 1, 2021.