Out & About, Westways Magazine, July/August 2014


Opening Scene
Friendship Ring
When it’s ringing, the Korean Bell of Friendship in San Pedro’s Angels Gate Park can move people to tears. Even when silent, the majestic 17-ton bell and its intricately designed pavilion overlooking the Pacific Ocean invoke nobility and splendor. Both are shining brighter these days, following a restoration that was completed last January. In 1976, South Korea gifted the bell to the United States to honor the U.S. bicentennial and veterans of the Korean War. Over time, the bell suffered the effects of rust, salt spray, roosting birds, and graffiti and for years did not ring. Last year, Chai Dong-hey, a South Korean protégé of one of the project’s original bell masters, Kim Chul-ho, oversaw the restoration, which included hand-chiseling out some of the damage as well as subjecting the bell to an elaborate tuning process. Hear the bell ring on the Fourth of July and on Korean Liberation Day (August 15) and revel in the ancient sound that signifies friendship and a celebration of cultures. Entrance to Angels Gate Park is free. (310) 548-7705. —Brenda Rees

Theme Park News
Make Way for Wizards
Fire up the broomsticks, Muggles. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter expands this summer with a straight-out-of-the-movies experience that’s so big it spans two Florida theme parks.

Universal Orlando turned its former Jaws attraction into a fully actualized wizards’ London, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter: Diagon Alley, which opens this summer. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter: Hogsmeade, Universal’s original Harry Potter attraction, is located in the separate but adjacent Universal’s Islands of Adventure (a dual-park pass is required). To get from Diagon Alley to Hogsmeade, you begin as Harry did: at King’s Cross Station, where you run through a brick wall (no joke) to enter Platform 9¾. Muggles then board a full-scale Hogwarts Express, complete with authentic steam and whistle.

During the seven-minute train ride through the British countryside, watch for Hagrid on his motorbike, the Weasley twins on brooms, and Buckbeak the hippogriff. The return trip to King’s Cross presents different scenes.

In the new attraction, visitors pass through another brick wall to explore the themed shops in Diagon Alley and its dark-side counterpart, Knockturn Alley. See how wands choose their wizards at Ollivanders, pick out novelty items at the three-story-tall Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes, and browse among the Death Eater masks and skulls at Borgin and Burkes. At Gringotts Bank, a high-speed thrill ride whisks riders through jaw-dropping passageways deep inside the goblins’ vaults.

Restaurants in the new attraction add to the fun: The Leaky Cauldron serves fish and chips, while Florean Fortescue’s Ice-Cream Parlour scoops unusual flavors, including a strawberry-and–peanut-butter mixture. (407) 363-8000. —B.R.

“Dogs of All Faiths” at the Cathedral, The Tidings, July 2014

Franciscan Sister Christine Bowman was handing out two types of medals to dog owners at Dog Day Afternoon July 9 at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels.

“They are getting St. Francis of Assisi, of course, but they are also getting St. Anthony,” said the director of cathedral relations. “Because we know how easy it is for some dogs to get lost.”

Luckily, there were no lost dogs at this year’s “sniff and mingle” annual event that drew about 1,000 dogs and 1,300 owners, most who live in downtown Los Angeles. Guests on two and four legs were invited to hang out on the Cathedral Plaza on this warm summer evening for visiting, music and a light meal (Dodger dogs were on the menu as well as doggie treat samples.

Hosted by the Cathedral and the Downtown Center Business Improvement District (DCBID), the event has become a beloved date for many downtown residents. “I have been to almost all of them and I look forward to this every year,” said Cathedral parishioner Jean Gonsoulin who brought her dog Cowboy. “I am Catholic and I lovethat the Cathedral does this. The courtyard comes alive!”

Many dogs — and some owners — were dressed up in costumes, including a “Flying Nun” pomeranian (a la Sally Field), a tuxedo-clad terrier, and a sunglasses-wearing chihuahua “driving” a car.

Elsewhere, a big Irish wolfhound towered over a dwarf chihuahua, bassett hounds rolled in the grassy shade, and bulldogs snorted and panted in and out of their owner’s legs.

“We have two-and-a-half acres of plaza and tonight we are sharing it with our canine companions that give us so much,” explained Msgr. Kevin Kostelnik, Cathedral pastor, who was introducing his dog Joaquin to the crowds. Msgr. Kostelnik credits Hal Bastian of the DCBID (and his dog Scooter) as partners in creating the canine-centric event.

“That first year we probably had 50 dogs,” he said. “Now look at it. We like to say that ‘dogs of all faiths’ are welcomed here, but we also mean their owners, too. We are a cathedral of the people.”

Among the adoption booths and vendor and resource tables, the Cathedral was represented by Sister Bowman who, in addition to handing out saint medals and blessing dogs and people, also reached out to the community to Catholics and non-Catholics alike. “We have been signing folks up to be parishioners,” she said.

This was Sister Bowman’s second Dog Day Afternoon. “Seeing all the different shapes and sizes and kinds of dogs reminds us of how unique each of us is to God,” she said as poodles, dachshunds and mixed breeds frolicked nearby.

“Dogs also are a reflection of God’s unconditional love for us,” she added. “We have a lot to learn from them.”

(All photos by Brenda Rees)


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