News And Politics

5 things you missed if you didn't go to Newton's National Night Out

Aug. 8, 2012, 1:04 a.m.

The PAL booth was busy all night with a constant flow of kids who colored and drew. (Rachel Garcia/OnCentral)

South L.A. residents and members of the LAPD's Newton Division came together Tuesday night at event featuring low-rider cars, free food and scantily-clad wrestlers.

It was all part of Newton's National Night Out, which this year was a "Lucha Libre and Low Rider Spectacular." OnCentral has the top five things you missed if you didn't attend:

1. President Barack LowBama

The Eastside Up Car Club president, who prefers to go by the name Barack LowBama, drove his candy apple-red Chevrolet Malibu to the event. He and other club members showed off their spruced up, hydraulic-operated lowrider cars, which tilted back and forth and bounced up and down.

LowBama described the unique style he adds to his cars as his own "stank."

"You don't want your car looking like everybody else's," LowBama said.

The car club meets on Sundays to hang out, barbecue and, sometimes, see who can hop the highest.

2. Lucha libre wrestlers

Professional wrestlers Terra Calaway and Kitana Vera took to the ring, mixing body slams, chokeholds and a little slapping here and there.

"'I'm six foot so I do a lot of 'big girl' moves," said Calaway, who won the match, along with bragging rights. "I like lifting people and slamming them down, stuff like that."

3. “29 Live” jazz band

The band, comprised of 16- to 22-year-olds, performed popular jazz standards at the event. The 29 Live band is sponsored by A Place Called Home, a community center located on Central Avenue and 29th Street.

"I’ve been playing since I was yea high, since I was nine years old,” said guitarist Reynaldo Cartagena, who had a guitar pick placed strategically behind his right ear.

29 Live opened for Diana Ross at the Nokia Theater a while back, according to Cartagena. They played a 15-minute set before the songstress took the stage.

4. Police Activities League (PAL)

Photo by Rachel Garcia.

Officer Lizet Triana stood in the Police Activities League (PAL) booth, passing out crayons and encouraging the kids crowding around the table to try their best.

"We are having the kids draw and color police-related (things)," she said. "A police hat, a badge, a policeman."

PAL is an after-school program that provides activities ranging from tutoring to boxing for local youth. Triana is one of four officers working with the PAL program, which about 230 kids attend regularly.

"A lot of kids in this area tend to fear the police, and we want the kids to know us on a different level," she said.

5. Free food

An hour before the event, officers started cooking 500 hamburgers and hot dogs for the crowd on a trailer equipped with three gas-powered grills.

The grill was made by the owner of the Newton Division's tow yard, according to Officer Tony Saenz.

Emily Chu contributed to this story. All photos and video by Emily Chu, unless otherwise noted.

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