Benefit for Australia

Local artists gather at St. Andrew Catholic Church Saturday for WWF

In the wake of the Australian wildfires and the devastation to its innocent indigenous animals, Mark Pico,  an LA-based artist, singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, will be hosting a benefit concert at St. Andrew Catholic Church in Pasadena on Saturday, Feb. 29.

Earlier this month, the BBC reported  that 113 animal species are in need of emergency help and almost all species lost 30 percent of their habitat (and may be imperiled) due to the mammoth blazes in south and east Australia. Nearly 1 billion animals may have perished in the fires and some face imminent risk of extinction, the BBC reported.

The two concerts are at 7:30 and 9:30 p.m. at St. Andrew Catholic Church, 311 N. Raymond Ave., Pasadena. Tickets are $10 and available at “Benefit For Australia” on Facebook and Eventbrite.

All proceeds will be donated to the World Wide Fund for Nature — Australia.

To donate, visit Brushfire Emergency.

For tickets, visit and

Along with garnering multiple national honors and awards, Pico has studied under Grammy-winning artists Patrice Rushen and Michael Boddicker, and he’s performed with artists such as Josh Groban and Ozomatli’s Raul Pacheco.

For more information, email

‘Same God’

Documentary about professor fired for wearing hijab set for March 8 at Laemmle Playhouse 7

“Same God,” an award-winning documentary that explores the controversy over an ex-Wheaton College professor who wore a hijab to support Muslims, makes its Pasadena premiere March 8, International Women’s Day, at Laemmle Playhouse 7 theater.

The film, which follows a nationwide premiere across PBS stations in December, tells the story of Dr. Larycia Hawkins, an African-American political science professor at Wheaton College — a prestigious evangelical school outside of Chicago — who wanted to show support for Muslim women.

The situation began in December 2015 when political rhetoric against Muslims was escalating. In response, she posted a photo of herself in a hijab on Facebook.  “I love my Muslim neighbor,” she wrote, “because s/he deserves love by virtue of her/his human dignity….we worship the same God.”

In Pasadena, the screening will be followed by a special Q&A with Linda Midgett, the film’s director and a two-time Emmy-award winner, and Reza Aslan, a No. 1 New York Times bestselling author, producer and professor. 

Laemmle Playhouse 7 is located at 673 E. Colorado Blvd, Pasadena. For more information, call (310) 478-3836 or visit

‘Those Who Serve’

Film focusing on psychologically wounded combat vets facing the criminal justice system screens March 12

The Pasadena International Film Festival, starting March 12 at Laemmle Playhouse 7, showcases over 100 features, shorts, documentaries, music videos, animations and web series.

One film is “Those Who Serve,” a feature-length documentary sharing the personal stories of three psychologically wounded American combat veterans, all of whom committed crimes. The film, directed and produced by Jeff Warner, shows how the veterans struggle to find mercy in the criminal justice system.

The film features the 2014 murder trial of Iraq war veteran Ricardo Javier Tapia, who was represented by former Pasadena Mayor Bill Paparian. Tapia was charged with one count of murder and one count of attempted murder in 2013 death of his neighbor Giam Hoang, 73, and the critical wounding of Hoang’s wife, Hoan Thi Nguyen, 61.

Tapia pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity, as Paparian argued that a veterans hospital inadequately treated his client’s post-traumatic stress disorder, PTSD. The Superior Court judge presiding over the case, Susan Speer, ruled Tapia was legally insane after reviewing reports from three experts.

Tapia is currently receiving treatment at Patton State Hospital, according to Paparian.

The film will screen at 3 p.m. Friday, March 13.

Laemmle Playhouse 7 is located at 673 E. Colorado Blvd, Pasadena. For more information, call (310) 478-3836 or visit n