Games they play
Social worker opens only inner city gaming center
Theodore J. Brown remembers growing up in Detroit’s inner city and always having to trek out to the suburbs, (more than an hour away), in order to play his favorite video games.
As an adult, those memories led Brown to make a vow that when he was able to open his own business, it would be one where he “wouldn’t have to work a day in his life,” but it would provide a positive outlet for inner city youth like he had been.
In April, Brown and his wife Maribel opened The Coliseum, a pay and play gaming center at 39th Street and Broadway Place in Los Angeles.
“We have 21 gaming stations–Xbox 360, Sony PS3 and Nintendo Wii, and kids can pick any of the games we have on hand and play by the hour,” explained Brown, who is operating his new business while working full time as a social worker.
In addition to offering video gaming opportunities, The Coliseum gets its members and players involved in tournaments internally and externally; allows students to play other games free such as chess and checkers; offers access to the Internet ($3 for 45 minutes); hosts all nighters (the next one is in August); and provides free tutoring every Tuesday from 5:30-7 p.m. for kindergarten through eighth grade students. The facility also sells light snacks.
Brown said his initial idea is to provide young people a place in the inner city where they can just hang out in a safe environment and be with like minded gamers. To make the business stay safe, there are security cameras posted throughout, and he maintains a good relationship with the local police community liaison officer.
Getting the center up an running took an investment of about $30,000, which came from their personal resources, said Brown, adding with a laugh, that he now truly understands why keeping your credit in good shape is so important.
The hi-definition 26-inch television screens ate up about half of the start-up cost, and are what makes Brown think The Coliseum will be such a big draw.
“A lot of people have the systems in their homes . . . but a lot of people don’t have hi-definition. A lot (of) kids come in and say, if they do have hi definition, the screen is smaller, and so they don’t get the full resolution of the game graphics and all that.
“The other thing that is a plus,” continued Brown, “is that we provide the Internet capabilities, so they can play somebody here or compete with people across the country.”
Ultimately, after they perfect the first store, Brown said he and his wife are looking to open a second location that will reflect what they put in their business plan.
“Our business plan was set up as a family fun entertainment center something like Chuck E. Cheese. We’ll have the technology side, and also be able to do parties that will come with (hot) food . . . like pizza and burgers.”
Brown expects to do that in the future—in about two years. Meanwhile, he and his wife are concentrating on growing this first location, nurturing local gamers, and if they get lucky, the Michigan transplant added, “I would love to be able to foster the next millionaire gamer.”
Speaking Wednesday at a press conference at Crenshaw Boulevard near Stocker Street, community activists including Jim Lafferty of the National Lawyers Guild, actor Harry Lennix, (pictured) Rev. Meri Ka Ra of KRST Unity Center of African Spiritual Science, as well as writer and KPFK radio show host Michael Slate, accused the Los Angeles Police Department of utilizing illegal and intimidating tactics to prevent promotion of the premier of the movie “BA Speaks: Revolution-Nothing Less.”
A group called the Coalition to End Sheriff Violence in county jails is calling on the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors to look into the feasibility of permanent civilian oversight of the county jails. A town hall meeting is set for today, March 14, from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at 1006 East 28th St., in Los Angeles. Second District Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas reportedly will be in attendance.
LOS ANGELES, Calif.—For a fifth year in a row, Los Angeles had more energy-saving commercial buildings than anywhere else in the country, according to a ranking released today by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
The buildings carry the “Energy Star” seal, which apply to energy efficient appliances, such as refrigerators and washing machines, but also to buildings such as schools, offices and retailers that typically use 35 percent less energy than a typical building and emit 35 less greenhouse gases.
The Lupus Foundation of America has sent out its Purple Bus to take awareness about one of the world’s more mysterious diseases to the Los Angeles-area public. Starting today, Jan. 10, the bus will be on tour in key locations until Sunday. The public is urged to come out and learn about the disease, which affects women of color primarily.
The space orbiter Endeavour last weekend zigged and zagged its way around trees, light posts, and under power lines before arriving at the California Science Center many hours behind schedule. But some residents were thrilled by the delay, because it gave many more of them time to see the space shuttle up close and personal. The delays did cause a bit of shuffling around in the schedules of planned events such as the dance presentation at Crenshaw and Martin Luther King boulevards created by Debbie Allen and featuring a variety of performers from the community.