Best of Music 2006
Winners of Best Underage Band Sha Shank Redemption.
Ska Shank Redemption -
Lifes tough, wear a
helmet. These are great lyrics to live life by and theyre written by the
best local underage band in the South Bay, Ska Shank Redemption, now known
as The Incredible Machine. The original name must have not had the staying
power these kids from Manhattan do because, by my watch, the top teen talent
is in this 8-member band.
This very entertaining young act must have captured the readers attention as
well because the votes for best under-21ers came in droves. Their popularity
is clearly rising as well for the brass/ska/rock ensemble. The music is
driving and the fans are responding. Go young rude boys!
Runner-up (tie): Mavin Holly and the Sunshine blasters, English Work
Standard Ryan Beachkofski
Mixmaster Rob -
In a tough business to
establish a name or following, Best DJ in the South Bay is a great honor.
Unless youre riding the very cool shirt tales of a big name act or you
dont mind the horrific hours and the heavily imbibed crowds, the work may
seem slightly more rigorous than that of a rock star. However, Mixmaster Rob
has captured more than just the South Bay. This 20-year vet of the
turntables and diamond needles has worked with likes of the Lynch Mob and
Ice Cube. He has turned out more houses than Don the Magic Juan has turned
well, you get the idea.
Never in the same place twice in a row, Mixmaster has gained a legion of
dance hall regulars that book their weekends based on his attendance. Thats
the real accomplishment. Being the best has its rewards.
Runner-up: DJ Element, Patrick Molloys Ryan Beachkofski
Best Ear-Piercing Live Show
Loud Neighbor I thought I had loud parents -
The mom and dad team of
Aris and Joyce Corkos, along with Nic Halikis and Todd Turguand, are
officially the loudest ear-piercing live show in town, as voted by the
readers of the ER. This category was also the official landslide. This white
collar foursome from Palos Verdes can be heard weekly in the South Bay
almost everywhere...literally. Their bookings are as much as six nights a
month, but it may seem like more from the ringing in your ears after you see
Runner-up: Pennywise Ryan Beachkofski
At sunset, theres the sunset. After sunset the best view at Beaches is the
Best Place to Cut A Rug
Whether it is Newtons Law of Gravity or the allure of
the club, you just cant roll a ball downhill in Manhattan Beach without it
ending up on the dance floor at Beaches.
Surrounded by 50 other hot spots in the downtown Manhattan, Beaches has all
perks that come with location. The view of the pier is spectacular, theres
a front row seat for the nightly screening of the finest sunset in Southern
California, the food and drink are exemplary and the dance floor is jumping.
On any given night, Beaches has a room full of beautiful people entwined in
dance, rhythm and song. But on a Friday or Saturday night, there may be no
other place to be in all of LA that is more fun than the dance floor at
Runner-up: Lighthouse Café Ryan Beachkofski
Low res photo, but looks ok on screen, Joes band has it covered.
Best Cover Band
Joes Band -
In a category of quality cover acts, including some
that play in lieu of the originals, Joes Band was the clear frontrunner.
Joe Middler, founder, namesake and talent coordinator extraordinaire, seems
to have a lock on the complete cover scene. He takes the concept of the
tribute band and multiplies it by 30. The hits range from world beat to
Latin groove to rock to reggae, then back around the globe. He puts together
a stage full of professional musicians (I have seen as many as 12 at one
time) who specialize in particular genres, including a spot on Gloria
Estefan and a gal that covers Gloria Gaynor that will make you want change
those stupid locks.
Runner-up: Led Zeppeland -- Ryan Beachkofski
Best Skate and Surf
To live in the South Bay and not sail is like living in the Mammoth so
you can enjoy the view of the snow covered mountains. Photo by Mark
Best sailing lessons
Redondo Sailing Academy -
Like just about every other sport, sailing is best learned
young when the mind is malleable and the body and ego arent so easily
bruised. But for those whose parents didnt own a boat, the City of Redondo
Sailing Academy has private and very small group lessons for all ages.
Students learn on fun to sail Lido 14s, as well as dryer, more comfortable
Cal 25s and Cal 227s. The South Bays predictable and generally light winds
make the area ideal for beginning sailors. King Harbors light traffic and
quick access to the ocean are also plusses.
The Redondo Beach Sailing academy also offers classes in racing tactics and
navigation for more advanced sailors. Instructor Fred Williams recalls a
college student who went through the program, and upon graduation from
college, bought a boat and sailed to the South Pacific. But a more typical
student, he said, is the widow who took the class and now can be seen with a
big smile just about every weekend sailing out of the harbor on her own Cal
Students sail out of the harbor on their first lesson, and by the third
lesson are skippering the boats.
For more information phone the Redondo Rec department at 318-0610 or visit
Runners-up: Two other great sailing programs are offered in King Harbor, one
for kids and one for adults.
For kids as young as seven, the King Harbor Youth Foundation offers an eight
week Summer Sailing program. Kids learn basic and advanced techniques in
easy to sail sabots. For more information call (310) 376-2459, or visit
Marina Sailing in King Harbor offers beginning sailing classes as well as
ocean sailing, navigation, anchoring, and cruising techniques. People who
complete the class are eligible to rent the clubs sailboats, which range
from an Ericson 26 to a Hunter 376. for more information call (800) 262-7245
or visit marinasailing.com. Kevin Cody
John Knoll's shows off a Toe Beach Halibut. He caught using his kayak in the
weeds on the sand beds near Haggerty's creek, out front of the pool. Local
divers still stick these halibut in about 10 feet of water when there is no
surf and the water is clear enough to see the butts on the bottom
Best Halibut hole
Torrance Beach -
Nestled at the foot of the rolling hills of Palos Verdes,
where the Santa Monica sand meets the volcanic rocks, is a very special
fishing hole known as, Torrance Beach Halilbut hole #1.
The area was once known as Yellowtail alley. However, after the gill netters
killed everything in the bay back in the 60 the only fish left to carry on
was big momma Halibut.
The ole timers say that at low tide you could see, in the once clear waters,
Halibut laying one on top of the other -- six halibut deep and some up to 50
I have seen this in Paddle Board Cove, but never at Toe Beach. Yet, to
this day, the boys down at the fishing pier know Big Momma Halibuts are
still doing their mating thing in the weeds and sand beds of Torrance Beach.
I got pictures to prove it.
Runner-up: Hermosa cable cars Captain Jack
Best surfboard shaper
Phil Becker -
The dean of South Bay shapers is putting down his
Rockwell planer. After half a century of shaping over 100,000 surfboards,
Phil Becker is moving to Hawaii. Hell have a shaping bay at his island
home, but instead of shaping 44 boards a week, as hes done for the past 20
years since he co-founded Becker Surfboards, hes cutting back to a
leisurely by Becker standards -- 20 boards a week.
I want more time to surf before I become too dilapidated, he said.
Becker may be the South Bays last surviving shaper from surfings pioneer
era, marked by the transition from balsa to polyurethane boards. Becker
started shaping in the mid 50s under the tutelage of Dale Velzy and Hap
Jacobs. Velzy, along with Rick Stoner and Dewey Weber are dead. The
remaining great South Bay shapers from that era -- Hap Jacobs, Greg Noll and
Bing Copland -- have licensed their names.
Computer driven planers have taken over much of the work traditionally done
by shapers, and the recent polyurethane blank shortage has given a boost to
machine molded surfboards.
Becker isnt interested in machine shaped or molded surfboards. But he still
thinks like a pioneer.
When foam boards came out, we didnt like them -- until we saw how they
surfed, he said when asked his opinion of the molded epoxy boards.
Surfing is an entrepreneurial business. Someone will come along to meet the
demand. And we need to protect the environment, he said, when asked if he
was fearful that the polyurethane blank shortage would harm the surfing
Like every endeavor where art and commerce must co-exist, the artist must be
strong to survive. Becker is one of the survivors.
Runner-up: Ian Wright, Spyder Surf
L.T. Givot of Manhattan Beach takes what hes learned at the Hermosa Skate
Park to his favorite street skate spot, at 14th and The Strand in Hermosa.
Best place to ollie
14th and the Strand -
Skate parks are great for
building skills and confidence. But in recent years, the most extreme
skating has been in the street. Fourteenth St. and The Strand in Hermosa has
all the qualities a street skater wants, but without the traffic. And
because it dead ends on The Strand theres always an appreciative audience.
Runner-up: The parking lot behind the Redondo Fat Burger
Mike Zippi -
Shapers are the celebrity chefs of surfing. And like
celebrity chefs, celebrity shapers only have two hands. So they depend on
underground, or ghost shapers to help them meet demand.
This years top vote getter in the underground or ghost shaping division was
Mike Zippi, who has been shaping under the names of some of the South Bays
most famous shapers for nearly 40 years. Zippi is also one of the areas
busiest surfboard air brushers.
A few years ago, he found himself having so much fun on a vintage fish, that
he decided to shape one for himself. He added a few contemporary flourishes,
including rounder rails, a flatter bottom and broad based fins and called it
Its the only board he shapes that bears his name. Last year he sold over
300 ZippiFish through ET in Hermosa, Duke Kahamoku in El Segundo and other
surf shops up and down the coast.
He attributes their popularity to their speed and ease of paddling.
The typical thruster is meant for fast, steep, open ocean waves. Mainland
waves are slower and flatter, so most of the time a fish works better here,
Runner-up: John Wegener
Best surf spot
El Porto -
A surfers favorite surf spot is often the last place
he caught great a great wave. That may explain why readers picked El Porto
as the South Bays best surf spot. It can be flat in Hermosa and four-foot
in El Porto. If its four-foot in Hermosa and Redondo it will be six-foot in
El Porto. A website devoted to El Porto is appropriately called
Swellmagnet.com. Nothing stokes local surfers more than to be driving along
Highland Ave. and see corduroy sets marching toward El Porto like they are
being channeled, which they are, by marine canyons.
During the summer El Portos a great place to learn to surf. During the
winter its a great place to learn to tow-in surf.
Runner-up: Hermosa pier Kevin Cody
Big, colorful bob art, Part
And to think if it werent for a bunch of nagging preservationists, the
South Bays most recognizable icon would have gone the way of the old
Hotel Redondo. Photo by Yishai Weinstein
Each year Easy Reader
invites its readers to vote on the people, places and events that make the
South Bay the Best Place to Live. Of course, there really is no one Best
Place to Live, anymore than there is a Best Foreign Film, or Best Live
Performance by a Chinese Er-Hu Player Performing Western Classical Music
Under the direction of a Hermosa Beach Jazz Pianist, (though if there were
such an award it would go to Karen Hans performance with the Asia America
Symphony under the direction of Hermosas David Benoit last month at the
Nevertheless, Best Of awards reflect a universal urge to recognized people
whose extra efforts makes life a little bit better than it would be
In a community as opinionated at the South Bay, reaching a consensus on the
Best Of anything is difficult. Last year readers voted for over 50 different
restaurants in the Best Mexican category. Best Breakfast votes were also
scattered among over 50 restaurants.
This year, Easy Reader has decided to focus the voting by presenting four to
six nominees in each of the nearly 100 Best of the Beach categories. The
nominees were chosen by Easy Readers staff.
We know the nomination process isnt perfect, that some people will suspect
we favored regular advertisers (though they will be quick to show thats not
the case), or that our selections reflect a West of Pacific Coast Highway
bias, or a stuck in the 60s bias. Maybe so. But we did our best. And were
grateful to all of our readers who voted for the people, places and things
they think are Best at the Beach. Kevin Cody, editor
Best beach icon
Manhattan Roundhouse -
The pleasingly proportioned
white building with the red tile roof has become the South Bays leading
picture postcard, and the area feature most recognizable throughout greater
In fact, when the true crime TV show City Confidential swept through a few
years ago to put together a story about the murder of a Hermosa woman, they
shot footage of the Manhattan Beach Pier and showed it instead of Hermosas
less telegenic bare plank.
In neighboring Hermosa people insist on pooh-poohing anything Manhattan, but
at least one Hermosa councilman has expressed pier envy when it comes to the
Restaurants on the Manhattan Beach Pier have come and gone, and a bait shop
with fishing-tackle rentals sprouted up and in time went away. But the
roundhouse has endured, housing a popular aquarium that entertains casual
visitors and educates school kids about the life aquatic.
Runner-up: Tim Kelly Surfer Statue, Hermosa Robb Fulcher
Best community event
MB Hometown fair -
The Manhattan Beach Old
Hometown Fair has it all food, drinks, vendors, crafts and music.
The fair typically begins on the first Saturday in October and is kicked off
with the annual Manhattan Beach 10k run and the Mira Costa marching band.
Then more than 200 arts and crafts booths set up on the fair grounds and
sell everything from glass, metal, and wood to art, jewelry, and clothing.
The Joslyn Center has continuous entertainment starting at 10 a.m. and the
annual Battle of the Bands takes place on the Dorsey Field and showcases
local amateur talent.
The food court offers a seemingly never-ending supply of hot dogs, corn
dogs, hamburgers, fish tacos, pizza, BBQ, sandwiches, funnel cakes, nachos,
Kettle Korn and chicken on a stick. Sales benefit local charities. A diaper
derby and toddler trot races are just two of many, many games offered during
the weekend fair.
And last, but definitely not least, there is the ever-popular Beer and Wine
Runner-up: Fiesta Hermosa. Cynthia Dizikes
Big, colorful bob art, Part
Best Park with a view
Redondos Veterans Park -
Located at Catalina Avenue
and Torrance Boulevard just south of the Redondo Beach Pier, the 6.3 acre
grass and tree park is known for its picnicking and offers a panoramic view
of the ocean and pier.
The beautiful Veterans Park Community Center, which housed the citys
library for many years, is available for weddings, parties and banquets.
For more information about the park, call 318-0610. To book an event,
contact Spectrum Catering, 937-6844.
Runner-up: Parque Culiacan in Manhattan Beach Randy Angel
Best Park for kids
Hermosas Valley Park -
Tucked away on Valley Drive and Gould Avenue, Valley Park is
a favorite among kids and parents alike. The recent million dollar make-over
has provided clean new restrooms, multiple drinking fountains, six barbecue
pits and numerous tables and benches. Valley Park also contains an
amphitheater for live performances.
Valley Park has a killer playground and the coolest sand area, said Akisha
Davis, who works for the Hermosa Beach Parks and Recreation Department and
frequents the park with her four-year-old son Jelani.
If youre planning to reserve an area for a party, plan early. Weekends are
already booked through July.
Runner-up: Manhattan Beachs Polliwog Park
This is a big, scenic park with a pond thats a stopover for migrating water
fowl, the citys historical museum and a new disc golf course. Randy Angel
Best Speed Trap
190th Street at PCH & Anza -
Rolling hills and the steep
incline between Flagler and Beryl make this a tempting stretch of road to
speed on. With numerous advantageous hiding spots, the Redondo Beach Police
Department has issued 147 citations this year on 190th, between from PCH to
One of the most common excuses we hear is Its a hill. What am I supposed
to do? Sgt. Mike Adye of the RBPDs Traffic Unit said. Our answer: Use
We have no specific time or place when we set up for speeding violations,
Adye said. We respond to reports from our Traffic Hotline and set up where
we feel it is needed most. Recently, one of those spots has been Manhattan
Beach Boulevard between Inglewood and Aviation, along with school zones,
particularly Prospect Avenue near Parras Middle School. Although the city
does make revenue from citations, if our visibility prevents an accident
and/or injury, then were doing our job.
The four motorcycle officers of the RBPD, which plans to add two within the
next two months, have what Adye says is one of the most dangerous jobs on
Every time one of our motorcycle officers has to quickly merge into
traffic, it poses a hazardous situation. If a vehicle is speeding at 50
miles-per-hour, the officer might need to go 80 to catch up.
Runner-up: South on Sepulveda Blvd, Manhattan Beach Randy Angel