Final Passage for the USS Iowa

USS Iowa

Final voyage of the battleship USS Iowa from Berth 51 to its new home at Berth 87 in San Pedro, Los Angeles, CA where it opened as a museum ship in July 2012.

When the historic battleship USS Iowa was tugged away from Berth 51 in San Pedro to its new permanent home at Berth 87 on Saturday, it carried not only the memory of the thousands of Navy seamen who served aboard the ship, but some of the men themselves. Ninety-two-year-old Bob Dedic was part of the original crew when the ship was commissioned in 1940, and was back again for this final voyage. So were other veterans and active Navy sailors who served on the ship during its 50-year tenure until it was decommissioned in 1990. There were also active Navy and Navy Sea Cadets as young as 14 all spruced up in their dress whites.

USS Iowa Final Voyage

Volunteers with the Pacific Battleship Center reel in the chains for the final voyage of the battleship USS Iowa from Berth 51 to its new home at Berth 87 in San Pedro, Los Angeles, CA

Dignitaries on board included Congresswoman Janice Hahn and Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, both beaming with pride in bringing the future museum ship to Los Angeles. I can tell you they were beaming, because I was on board too, along with a passel of TV crews, journalists and photographers invited to document and share this last hurrah.

Rescued from mothballs where she had been languishing in the Bay Area, the ship made the full 400 mile voyage to San Pedro under the push-pull of a team of tug boats, arriving in Los Angeles on May 30, 2012. She got a bottom scrubbing to remove any potentially invasive species or contaminants before being cleared for the final tow to her new home.

USS Iowa

Tugboats provide power and LA City Fire Boats provide fanfare fountains for the final voyage of the battleship USS Iowa from Berth 51 to its new home at Berth 87 in San Pedro, Los Angeles, CA

The volunteer crew from the Pacific Battleship Center cast off the chains and we set underway for the short journey accompanied by the twin brigantines Exy and Irving Johnson, as well as the tall ship the Spirit, sailing only under one sail to keep her speed down to ours. Two LA City Fire Boats at the bow and stern spouted water streams to martial arrangements of Anchors Away and Oh Shenandoah (an off choice, I thought) creative a festive spirit as we pulled away from land. A few dozen other sail boats, yachts and motorboats joined in the parade.

USS Iowa

Final voyage of the battleship USS Iowa from Berth 51 to its new home at Berth 87 in San Pedro, Los Angeles, CA where it opened as a museum ship in July 2012.

Along our path, close to 1000 people had gathered along the waterfront to welcome the USS Iowa to her new home. Our destination was only a mile away, but to add a little grandeur to the event, as well as better photo opportunities for us and the news ‘copters above, we paraded up the channel under the Vincent Thomas Bridge, where we paused briefly before resuming our tow in the reverse direction.

USS Iowa

Teenage Navy Sea Cadets in the Color Guard for the final voyage of the battleship USS Iowa from Berth 51 to its new home at Berth 87 in San Pedro, Los Angeles, CA where it openwd as a museum ship in July 2012.

Technical difficulties docking meant that we got to enjoy the marching band and cheering crowd that welcomed us from captive positions on the deck while Randy Newman’s I love LA blared from the ship’s speakers. Due to the delay, the young Sea Cadets never got to present the Color Guard during the truncated award ceremonies as proclamations and awards changed hands. They didn’t seem to mind. Having stood their posts proudly as the ship found its new home, they became part of history, documented by TV and news cameras and yours truly for posterity.

USS Iowa Final Voyage

Final voyage of the battleship USS Iowa from Berth 51 to its new home at Berth 87 in San Pedro, Los Angeles, CA where it opened as a museum ship in July 2012.

The USS Iowa is open to the public as a museum ship. For information and tickets, visit

A Taste of Art: A Bite-Size Visit to the Met

story and photos by Kayte Deioma

The Metropolitan Museum of Art is one of the world’s largest and finest museums. Ironically, that’s why I hadn’t visited it in any of my previous trips to New York. I felt that a great art museum like the Louvre, the Prado or the Met deserves a full day to really appreciate its collections, and I’ve never stayed in New York long enough at one time to be willing to devote a whole day to one activity.

The Metropolitan Museum of ArtSince I was in New York this time with my sister and her kids, I decided that it was more important for the kids to get a taste of great art than to worry about not having time to see the whole thing, and thereby miss everything. We didn’t expect the kids to have the patience to stay in a museum more than a couple hours anyway.

I was much more relaxed once I gave myself permission to miss lots of wonderful stuff.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art is located in a massive Gothic-Revival building on Fifth Avenue along the western edge of Central Park. After getting our tickets, we went to the information booth in the center of the Great Hall to find out if there were any family programs scheduled that day. It was a Saturday, and we were in luck with a “Hello, Met!” family introduction to the museum scheduled an hour later.

With just an hour for exploration on our own, we chose to start with the Egyptian exhibit, with the largest collection of Egyptian artifacts outside Cairo.

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Becca takes the audio tour through the Egyptian exhibit at the Met.We rented the audio tour headsets, which I don’t usually do on my own, but it turned out to be great for the kids. It was easier for the younger ones than reading the information panels. As we moved through the colorful sarcophagi, carved limestone monuments and painted hieroglyphics, they really enjoyed punching in the numbers and having control over which descriptions they heard. There wasn’t a child-friendly version of the tour like there is some places, but they seemed to do just fine.

Becca was somewhat selective in which pieces she wanted to learn more about, but Sarah could have spent all day “listening to stories” and didn’t appreciate being hurried to keep up.

We hadn’t made it much farther than the maze of corridors through the Tomb of Perneb – a part original, part reconstruction of a 4300 year-old Egyptian burial chamber – when it was time to head downstairs to the family program.

The Hello, Met! Family Program

The "Hello, Met!" family program at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.We met the rest of the families downstairs in the Uris Center for Education. After a brief introduction, our guide, Amir Parsa, took us back upstairs to the Arts of Africa, Oceania and the Americas. We all settled on the floor in front of a glass case lined with carved wooden masks from Mali. After a brief Q and A about the use of masks around the world, we learned more about these Dogon Masks, used in mourning dances several years after the person died.

The "Hello, Met!" family program at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.We moved around the corner to Papua New Guinea to study more masks and spirit boards from the temporary exhibit “Coaxing the Spirits to Dance: Art of the Papuan Gulf.” After studying the intricately carved and painted spirit boards and learning how art and culture go hand in hand, children and parents were given paper and pencils to copy their favorite board designs, or create their own.

Our last stop on the Hello, Met tour was in the Modern Art wing, where our guide used a series of Jacob Lawrence paintings to talk about shapes and colors before distributing colored pencils and letting the budding artists get back to work, either coloring their spirit boards or creating something new.

Becca and Sarah make wishes in the fountain in the Greek and Roman exhibit at the Met.After our hour-long journey into art appreciation, we planned our exit route to take in the new Greek and Roman sculpture exhibit in the sky-lit Leon Levy and Shelby White Court. The atrium, populated with Roman statues from the first century BC to the third century AD, was a great preview for Derick, who would soon be setting off on an excursion to Italy.

The girls took the opportunity to throw a coin in the fountain and make a wish. They wouldn’t reveal their wishes. Maybe, like Trevi, it was a wish that will bring them back to the Met someday.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art
1000 Fifth Avenue at 82nd Street
New York, New York 10028-0198
General Information: 212-535-7710

The Metropolitan Museum of Art is included in the NYC Go Select Pass and the NYC Explorer Pass.

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From Broadway to Blue Men

story by Kayte Deioma

On Broadway

Broadway through Time Square, New York, NYYear’s ago, I took some of my siblings to see Blood Brothers on Broadway during a weekend getaway to the city. They only went along to humor me. There was a universal attitude among them of “What’s the big deal? We’ve seen lots of plays.” After the performance, my sister Ellie looked at me with her eyes still lit up and said, “Now I get why you love Broadway!”

It’s a completely different phenomenon than community and professional theatre across the country. You’ll see it in the caliber of the performances, the size of the venues and the energy that comes from having so much of a good thing all in one place.

Even seeing a Broadway touring company with the original cast is not the same as seeing the show on Broadway. The tours usually perform in massive auditoriums and concert halls with 2,000 to 3,500 seats. Most theatres on Broadway are relatively small in comparison, with 580 to 1000 seats. Even the largest Broadway theatre, the Gershwin, seats a mere 1,900 people. So when you see a show on Broadway, it’s more intimate, and more vibrant, than when you see the same show on the road.

On my recent trip to the Big Apple with Ellie and her three kids, we wanted to find just the right The Lion King on Broadwayproduction to introduce them to the magic of Broadway.

Theatre has become much more accessible for kids with Disney now having half a dozen productions on Broadway. As wonderful as The Lion King may be, I wanted the kids to see a musical that was fresh content, not created from a movie they had seen a dozen times. I was also looking for something that wasn’t based on a bunch of old hit songs. That seems to be the craze of the last decade.

The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling BeeI was looking for something more original, where the story and music would be fresh and new, so we’d have no preconceptions. Ellie and I agreed on the award winning musical “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” playing at the 623-seat Circle in the Square. Even though the age recommendation was 10 and up, we decided the content looked innocuous enough, and our 7 and 9-year olds are relativelyThe 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee sophisticated.

Fortunately, the song My Unfortunate Erection – lamenting why the character Chip was distracted and missed his spelling word – went pretty much over the girls’ heads. It also took a little while for them to realize that they weren’t supposed to understand the crazy spelling words. Nevertheless, they were captivated by this live production, that took place not only on the stage, but had characters roaming among the crowd, and audience members roped into being contestants in the spelling bee. The 16-and-over members of our group found it hilarious.

An Off-Broadway Staple: The Blue Man Group

Blue Man GroupIn addition to the Broadway experience, another New York original production that’s worth a visit, especially when traveling with kids, is the Blue Man Group. This New York spectacle is still better in the 300-seat Astor Place Theatre in the Big Apple than at any of its giant spin-off homes around the world.

If you’re sitting in the first few rows, you may feel the need to don the complimentary rain ponchos to protect yourself from the potential paintBlue Man Groupspattered with the beat of a drum or spit skillfully onto a canvas. They manage to keep most of the mess miraculously on stage, but some flying substance that bore a strong resemblance to macaroni and cheese did manage to reach Becca in the fifth row. She was blissfully clad in plastic, so she was immune to the yuck factor.

The zany rhythmic antics of the mute blue-headed trio of Blue Man Group kept our whole crew mesmerized and laughing with delight from beginning to end.

The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee
Circle in the Square
235 W 50th St/1633 Broadway
New York, NY 10019

Blue Man Group
Astor Place Theatre
434 Lafayette Street
New York, NY
(212) 254-4370 or (212) 307-4100

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