LCHS Grad Surveys NFL From Thoughtful Distance

Covering the NFL for the L.A. Times has placed La Cañada High School graduate Sam Farmer in some pretty heady company, whether sitting on a discussion panel with former Dallas quarterback Troy Aikman (above), climbing a mountain with Commissioner Roger Goodell (below) or chatting up Denver quarterback Peyton Manning at practice (right).
Covering the NFL for the L.A. Times has placed La Cañada High School graduate Sam Farmer in some pretty heady company, whether sitting on a discussion panel with former Dallas quarterback Troy Aikman (above), climbing a mountain with Commissioner Roger Goodell (below) or chatting up Denver quarterback Peyton Manning at practice (right).

This was a call he had to take.
It was former Los Angeles Rams running back Eric Dickerson, wanting to know what everyone else did: Were his Rams coming back to L.A.?
“And I thought, ‘This is really a cool moment in my career,’” said Sam Farmer, a 1984 La Cañada High School graduate whose hard work covering the National Football League for the Los Angeles Times was recognized recently by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association, which named him the California Sportswriter of the Year. Continue reading “LCHS Grad Surveys NFL From Thoughtful Distance”

Dupre’s Fascinating Story of Adversity and Triumph

Photo courtesy Alen Barbosa Wood
India Dupre, at the keyboard, is surrounded by adoring students, including Jessica Mazin, Genny Seto, Shelby Kim, Lauren Halley, Tanvi Chawla, Soren Dziak, Bo Oliver, Nitya Chawla and Axel Frame.

Sometimes, when she’s coaching kids in the neighborhood, imparting important technical pointers and, more crucially, being a booster of the confidence that makes those skills sing, the thought strikes India Dupre: “I was only that little.”
In La Cañada Flintridge, Dupre comes highly recommended. For the past 15 years, she’s worked here as a voice and acting teacher for youth, sometimes directing ambitious productions at the La Cañada Junior Theater and often tutoring pupils privately as they prepare for auditions.
Most of those students don’t know much about Dupre’s personal background beyond the fact that she comes with a cool Australian accent.
Heck, as LCF resident Brent Kuszyk put it, he had to “pry” to get Dupre even to talk about her professional accomplishments after his daughter, Ali, began taking voice lessons from her. So clients might not know that Dupre graduated magna cum laude from UCLA’s School of Theater, that she’s appeared on network TV shows and in video games or, soon, that she’ll be making a short film funded largely by the Kevin Spacey Foundation.
This year, the KSF Artists of Choice program awarded Dupre a grant to help transfer her biographical story from her computer hard drive to the screen.
Dupre will direct the seven-minute “Stripped” as a proof of concept for a full-length feature. She’s set out to tell a tale — with help from La Cañada Junior Theater actors Stella Bonstin and Bo Oliver — that will teach viewers a lot about a difficult, despicable chapter in Australian history. And about her. Continue reading “Dupre’s Fascinating Story of Adversity and Triumph”

Mural Provides Comfort During Difficult Time

OUTLOOK photo
Kathleen Meyer stands next to her mural depicting Descanso Gardens.

Lowell Meyer made two trips to the newspaper office in the past five weeks looking for a reporter to write an article about his wife’s art project.
Kathleen Meyer, a veteran art teacher at Immaculate Heart High School in Los Angeles, never would have done such a thing. But Lowell was convinced his wife’s project was newsworthy: After all, had anyone else painted an intricate, 40-foot-long mural of Descano Gardens along her dining room walls?
“It has exact detail,” he said when he pitched the story by phone in December. “It looks exactly like Descanso. And it goes from one end to the other. It’s fantastic.” Continue reading “Mural Provides Comfort During Difficult Time”

LCF Magician Keeps ’Em Guessing

Jackson Ridd

Riddle me this: How did he do that?
Jackson Ridd, a magician, illusionist, moment-maker and 2007 La Cañada High School graduate, warned audience members last week at the Underground Theater in Hollywood that they might take his work home with them.
He even went so far as to offer party favors to encourage delayed reflection following the show titled “Discoverie of Magic.”
“This isn’t going to be the standard magic show,” said Ridd, 25, as he revved his engine on a polished, hourlong set that includes 10 head-scratching segments, each of them reliant on audience participation.
“And I know,” he added, “because I’ve seen a lot of them.” Continue reading “LCF Magician Keeps ’Em Guessing”

A Golden Moment After Dark Days for the Buck Family

The cheer that went up in La Cañada Flintridge on Sunday night was for Chris Buck, the LCF resident and co-director of the Disney smash-hit “Frozen,” which was honored at the 71st Golden Globe Awards as the Best Animated Film.
It was another chapter in an emotional few months for Buck, whose son Ryder was killed in late October after being struck by two cars while walking across the 2 Freeway.
“I have to say, I’ve been fairly schizophrenic the last few months,” Buck said Tuesday. “When my son was killed, I was doing publicity in New York and we flew back for the service and everything. I was there for about two weeks before we kind of had to get rolling again. But I think it was a good distraction.”
At his first Golden Globes ceremony Sunday, Buck took the stage to accept the award with fellow director Jennifer Lee. They thanked those who helped make the film, and Buck added, “And we want to thank all of the fans who have taken ‘Frozen’ into their hearts.” Continue reading “A Golden Moment After Dark Days for the Buck Family”

Cool Head Leads to Escape in Encounter with Gunman

It was a great day to be selling cell phones, and La Cañada Flintridge resident Riley Donaldson was on his game, dealing devices to a steady stream of Black Friday customers.
Then, at around 4 p.m., during a lull in the action, a man with a gun walked into the Verizon store in the La Crescenta shopping center in the 2600 block of Foothill Boulevard.
The man said he had just robbed the nearby Rite-Aid for prescription medication before entering the shop where Donaldson and Michael Arnold were working.
Donaldson, a 20-year-old St. Francis High School graduate, spent the next few minutes talking to the gunman, eventually persuading him to let the two of them leave. (There were no customers in the store at the time.)
Five hours later, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Special Enforcement Bureau deputies entered and found the suspect dead. Continue reading “Cool Head Leads to Escape in Encounter with Gunman”

‘Hangover’ Movie Writer Makes LCF His ‘Wolfpack’

No, Craig Mazin will not let his 11-year-old son watch “Hangover III.”
The movie — which was co-written by Mazin, the incoming president of the La Cañada Flintridge Educational Foundation — opens this week. It’s the final installment in the franchise that includes the highest-grossing R-rated comedy of all time. The wickedly nefarious trilogy follows a quartet of friends on a series of comedic adventures.
“I think I know, as well as anybody, whether or not [he] should see this movie,” said Mazin, who also helped write the second of the “Hangover” films. “And the answer is, ‘No!’”
Lots of people have seen the movies, of course. Including lots of LCF residents.
“I sometimes worry because [this] is a conservative town,” Mazin, 42, said. “But I’ve never received any negative comments, no one’s ever scoffed. I think people understand: It’s a movie. Continue reading “‘Hangover’ Movie Writer Makes LCF His ‘Wolfpack’”

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