Fox Theater gala

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I took a few photos at Saturday’s Fox gala and, at the risk of setting back the cause of photojournalism through my fuzzy, poorly composed images, decided to risk sharing ‘em.
Above is the marquee as seen during the dedication ceremony. Wow!

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This is the theater post-dinner. Too dim to give you much of a view, but you get a sense of it.

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This is the view from the mezzanine. Pipe the grand staircase and the ornate carpet.

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The Fox balcony is bigger than a lot of entire theaters these days.

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The rooftop deck overlooking Garey Avenue was a convivial place and provides a new angle on the tower sign.

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At right, the VIP deck, which most of us will likely never tread again. Wonderful while it lasted, though.

Now that you’ve suffered through my attempts at photography, make sure to read my special column in Monday’s (!) newspaper about the event, in which I play to my strengths by using, y’know, words and punctuation and stuff.

You can also find a boatload of photos at REN’s Images of Pomona blog. Scroll down his page to find ‘em all. Your columnist/blogger even pops up in one, in a characteristic pose. They give a good view of the scene outside.

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Jack Smith Walk

There’s an annual walk in Mt. Washington in honor of the Times’ late columnist, Jack Smith, who lived in the L.A. neighborhood. I learned about this via the LAObserved blog. I only bring it up because of a small thrill I got while reading the announcement and clicking on the link for Smith’s name. The link takes you to Smith’s Wikipedia page, which was written by yours truly!

I wrote it in late 2007, surprised that the beloved Smith had no entry, and being a latter-day fan of his work through his books. He’s one of my biggest influences, not that we’re in the same league or that the lessons have been absorbed especially well. The grace and wit of his prose remain a model to which I aspire.

Although I’ll be working Sunday (!) and unable to take part in the walk, I’m pleased to have contributed in a small way to keeping Smith’s legacy alive.

Even if my entry doesn’t entirely meet Wikipedia’s quality standards.

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Fox Theater sign shines again

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Photo: Jennifer Cappuccio Maher, Daily Bulletin

Besides my column today, I also wrote an actual story about the Fox Theater sign’s return to functioning life. You can read it by clicking the link after the photos.

Above is a photo taken Wednesday evening. Beautiful, eh?

Below is a photo of the sign being removed on Aug. 6, 2008 from its perch atop the 81-foot Fox tower. From the street, it’s impossible to tell how large the sign is, but the second photo, as the sign is being reinstalled on Nov. 24, 2008, makes it clear.

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Photo above courtesy Richard E. Nunez; photo below courtesy ForSight Creations

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Continue reading

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Restaurant of the Week: Dino’s Chicken and Burgers

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This week’s restaurant: Dino’s Chicken and Burgers, 770 E. Arrow Hwy. (at Towne), Pomona.

When Dino’s took over a Golden Ox Burgers location a couple of miles from my house in November, the full import of this development eluded me. Stepping inside last weekend, I saw an L.A. Times Magazine blowup on a wall behind the counter. Turns out Dino’s, which until recent years had only one location, is celebrated for its chicken. Alas, I’d already ordered a burger.

Well, the burger was fine, but I knew I had to go back for the chicken before writing something. I did so on Wednesday evening after work, ordering the chicken combo with fries and soda ($6.91 with tax). While I waited I read two more blowup articles newly posted on another wall, one from the Azusa Herald, the other from the L.A. Times food section.

It seems Dino’s was founded by Demetrios Pantazis, who used a Greek recipe for his chicken marinade at his West Pico location. Vinegar, garlic and oregano appear to be involved. The restaurant has since opened a second outpost in Azusa, with Pomona being only the third.

The half-chicken arrived. It’s fiery red, like tandoori chicken, its orange juices dribbling onto the bed of fries. The chicken proves lightly spicy and very, very good. The fries, already well above average, only improve with the addition of juices.

The Dino’s dining room is nothing fancy, beige walls with burgundy booths, but you’ll come here for the food, not the ambience.

Supposedly the carne asada here is also quite good. Dino’s has breakfasts, Mexican food, sandwiches and pork chops. The Dino’s website has photos and more. You can read Jonathan Gold’s entertaining LA Weekly capsule review here.

Welcome to Pomona, Dino’s. You’ve made life in the 909 slightly more bearable.

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Chino Theater

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Photo: Neil Nisperos

If you’ve ever been through Chino (and if not, why not?), you’re sure to have seen one of the city’s most striking buildings, the one-time movie theater on Central Avenue near Riverside Drive.

A tower has the word “Chino” in vertical letters, and according to a story by my colleague Neil Nisperos (he of the accompanying photo), the red neon, long gone, will soon be replaced at city expense.

Using redevelopment funds, the city will pay $15,000 for that work as well as $1,200 a year for electricity and upkeep for 20 years, plus $600 per year to the property owner.

The idea is that the sign will restore some beauty and interest to Chino’s main drag. Well, it can’t hurt.

The movie theater opened in 1947, around the same era as Upland’s Grove, which has a similar scale and look. By the early 1960s, the theater had become a bowling alley, and since 1992 it’s been the T-Shirt Mart.

That’s like a capsule history of the American economy!

I’d like to know more. Anyone want to share their memories of this building?

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Record Store Day

Indie music stores are banding together for the second annual Record Store Day, a national sales promotion and celebration of why we love record shops. (Assuming we do love them. But we do, don’t we?)

Claremont’s Rhino Records is participating and the store has plenty of fun stuff planned for the event this Saturday.

Singer-songwrriter Frank Fairfield and tongue-in-cheek band The Eagles of Death Metal will perform live in the store. Lots of special new releases, including vinyl LPs and 45s by Cold War Kids, Iron & Wine, Flight of the Conchords, Jenny Lewis, Springsteen and other acts, and a new 45 by Jack White’s new band Dread Weather, will be available.

And the store will give you 10 percent off on all purchases that day.

Rhino is at 235 Yale Ave., Claremont. Visit its website for a rundown on the special releases and other goodies.

Also participating is Dr. Strange Records in Alta Loma (their website doesn’t offer details), Mad Platter in Riverside and Groovetime Music Brokers in San Bernardino.

Want more info? Visit the Record Store Day website.

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Reading log: March 2009

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Books bought this month: “Soon I Will Be Invincible,” Austin Grossman; “A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius,” Dave Eggers; “Here is New York,” E.B. White; “The Norton Anthology of American Literature” (five volumes); “Tales From the ‘White Hart,’” Arthur C. Clarke; “The Postman Always Rings Twice,” James M. Cain; “The Tummy Trilogy,” Calvin Trillin.

Books read this month: “Let’s All Kill Constance,” Ray Bradbury; “More Than Human,” Theodore Sturgeon; “Pirates of Venus,” Edgar Rice Burroughs; “Bloch and Bradbury,” Robert Bloch/Ray Bradbury.

This is the third one of these reading logs I’ve done, following recaps of January and February. Buying-wise, this was clearly an unrestrained month, although I have excuses: The first three were birthday gifts, the final three were bought used on vacation and the Norton anthologies, found in the bargain section of the Montclair Borders, cost a combined $15.95. If I can’t find $15.95 in value out of 5,600 pages of American lit, I should quit.

As for the month’s reading, for the third straight month the total is four books finished. If nothing else, I’m impressing myself.

The Bradbury novel, published in 2003, is the third in his pseudo-autobiographical pseudo-mystery trilogy, and the lesser of the three, I’m afraid. The Bloch-Bradbury book collects early short stories by the two, writing individually. The four Bradbury obscurities were worthwhile, the Bloch stories mostly excellent. “Psycho” was based on one of his works, btw.

Incidentally, I’m devoting much of my reading time this year to catching up on Bradbury books of the past couple of decades. He was a childhood favorite and, while I’ve kept buying his books, I haven’t been so good at reading them. And he’s very prolific. I think I’ve read five since last fall and expect to read a bunch more this year. Even though a lot of his later work is for devotees only, I suppose I qualify at this point.

“More Than Human” is a classic SF novel. “Human” is about six personalities who excel in certain ways (mind-reading, teleporting, etc.) but otherwise couldn’t make it among regular folks; together, working as a unit, they could be the next step in human evolution. Technically Sturgeon’s book is much better written than van Vogt’s “Slan,” which I read the previous month, but the overall concept wasn’t really to my liking.

“Pirates of Venus” was my first exposure to ERB (as he’s known) since reading “Tarzan” as a boy. Burroughs’ Venus series of four books is considered lesser after the ape man and John Carter of Mars, but it was a lively read. And the hero attended Pomona College! At some point I’ll be writing more about that, believe me.

Anyone read Burroughs, Bradbury, Bloch or Sturgeon?

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Fox Theater seats went AWOL, came back (updated)

Apparently I jumped the gun with my earlier post (which I’ve taken down) about the Fox seats. The tale apparently grew in the telling before it got to me.

All the auditorium seats appear to have been reclaimed from the contractor by the Fox developers — although in some cases they had to pay back rent on the storage facility to get the seats before they went to auction. A close call.

The auditorium seats, thus, are back — not missing, not stolen, but not repaired either. It’s unclear when they’ll be done, or even if they’ll be done before June’s (currently unscheduled) grand opening. Until then, look for banquet-style seating or rented seating.

And my apologies for inadvertently misleading anyone with my earlier post.

* However, the situation isn’t rosy, Cathy Tessier told me this morning. The Fox essentially has a big stash of seats and seat parts. The simplest-to-fix seats are being installed in the balcony and loge, which seat 780. That should be done by the end of this week.

“We’re unsure of the status of the remaining ones,” Tessier said. They’re focusing on the lights, sound and projection systems, all very complicated, and will turn their attention to the seats in a few weeks. “We have our hands full right now,” she said.

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