Dylan’s a-coming

I wrote this short piece for our Inland Living Magazine and am sharing it here in advance of Bob Dylan’s appearance tonight at the Ontario arena.

The phlegmy voice of a generation, Bob Dylan is making his Ontario debut Aug. 19 at Citizens Business Bank Arena.

I think this says more about us than it does about him. Where would he have performed prior to this, Gardiner Spring Auditorium? The Granada? (Not that those wouldn’t be cool shows.)

At 69, Bob Dylan surely needs no introduction. Or does he? Ironically, perhaps it’s the older crowd, the one that doesn’t pay much attention to music anymore, that needs to be brought up to date on the Bobster’s activities.

Yes, he hit his peak as a cultural force in the mid-1960s. After a resurgence in the mid-1970s, he seemed to lose his way.

But in the 1990s, his barnstorming live shows got livelier and attracted a younger crowd hungry for a Grateful Dead-type experience. This attention, and affection, seemed to rejuvenate Dylan’s songwriting and free him from the shackles of audience expectation.
Three acclaimed albums in a row — “Time Out of Mind,” “Love and Theft” and “Modern Times” — bore comparisons to his mid-’60s string, and he also released a volume of memoirs to a rapturous reception.

I’ve seen His Bobness a dozen times, in venues ranging from stadiums to county fairs to intimate clubs. The last time was in 2005 at the Pantages with Merle Haggard.

Driving to Hollywood in rush hour, in the rain, took 2 1/2 hours. (It was worth it.) Now it’ll be nice to see Bob Dylan again — right here at home.

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Vacancy in the Village Expansion


The former Rich’s frozen food plant on West 1st Street in Claremont has been abandoned. City Hall says the plant closed in April. I only noticed its absence last weekend on my way to the Laemmle theater when I noticed the sign on the plant’s Oberlin side was newly gone. That’s the Packing House in the background. Read more about Rich’s in my Friday column.

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Power couple in Pomona

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Tim Saunders, a city councilman, and Dawn Schaller, an active volunteer, wed Saturday night in the second wedding ceremony at the Pomona Fox Theater since its reopening last year.

The couple’s wedding was proclaimed on the marquee, above. Saunders, left, got some help in the lobby with his boutonniere. And after the ceremony, the couple, below, posed for photos on the Fox’s grand staircase with ’70s-clad Jerry Tessier, who presided in Me Decade style. No, it wasn’t your typical wedding, but it was very Pomona. And as Saunders likes to say, “That’s a good thing.”

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Back on track

OK, we’ve got the commenting system working again, with a twist. Now, when you comment, you’ll have to type a letter-and-number series you’ll see into a box. The same system already applies to RC Now and some of our other blogs.

I don’t like those little boxes myself (always seems like there’s one letter or number that’s hard to read), but we’re hoping this will block most of the spam, and with minimal inconvenience to you. If you get a message that your comment didn’t go through because you typed the series wrong, use your back button and try again.

To anyone who left a comment from Friday through Sunday, when the system went haywire, your comment never made it through. Sorry about that. This has been frustrating for me too because your comments are the backbone of this blog. If you’d care to resubmit your thoughts, we’d love to read them.

Thanks as always for reading.

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Technical difficulties

My apologies to anyone who’s been trying to leave a comment and wonders why it didn’t go through or why it hasn’t shown up. We’re having a so-far inexplicable problem.

It started when our IT folks tried an experiment overnight Thursday in requiring registration by commenters. This was an attempt to block the spam comments, sent by overseas computers (!), that have been flooding this blog in recent weeks, far outnumbering legitimate comments.

However, registration doesn’t work as it should with this blogging software. Commenters were told they had to register, but there was no way for anyone to do so! So the registration feature was disabled Friday morning.

End of problem? Everything back to normal? No. For unknown reasons, no comments are getting through, even ones that we’re leaving to test the system. (Well, not entirely true — spam is still getting through. Sigh.)

I’m hoping this is cleared up soon and that any comments you’ve left will emerge from limbo at that time.

* Noon Monday: The blog seems to be accepting comments again. Now we just have to find the ones you’ve left the past few days.

* 4 p.m. Monday: OK, any comments left Friday through Sunday are toast. Sorry. But otherwise we’re back on track. If you tried commenting, feel free to resubmit your thoughts about ONT, Casa Moreno, the July Reading Log or whatever.

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Restaurant of the Week: Casa Moreno

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Casa Moreno, 101 N. Indian Hill Blvd. (at 1st), Claremont

Casa Moreno, which opened in July, fills a prime slot in Claremont’s Village Expansion, facing the public square and cater-corner to the movie theater. It’s a family owned place with one other location, in Covina. The Claremont location has a large dining room with high ceilings, a pleasant color scheme and a neat nook as a waiting area, plus outdoor seating with fire pits for cool evenings.

The restaurant is moderately busy on weeknights and busy on weekends. I had dinner there with a friend on Tuesday before seeing “Inception,” which turned out to be great. The restaurant, however, inspired mixed feelings. The service was friendly but the food didn’t live up to our expectations.

The salsa with the chips was very good. Her margarita ($8) was made from a mix. The chicken mole ($15, pictured), a specialty, was, dare I say it, complex (albeit not as complex as “Inception”), but the chicken was dry. The ceviche ($10) didn’t taste especially fresh. The chiles relleno ($15) were okay. They put cheddar cheese on the refried beans and the tortillas were storebought.

Even small taquerias like Juanita’s or Patty’s make their own tortillas, and a meal there will set you back five bucks. It wouldn’t take much effort to make a margarita from scratch, according to my friend. Seemed to us if you’re going to charge three times more than a taqueria, the food should be better than a taqueria, not the same or worse.

Nevertheless, I wouldn’t be too tough on Casa Moreno. The place just opened, and it’s still in the shakeout period. They’re operating with only a limited menu before rolling out the whole thing. Reviews on Yelp are also mostly underwhelmed. Perhaps management will get the message and can inspire the kitchen and bar staff to kick it up a notch. It’s such a great location, especially for diners wanting a meal or drink before or after a movie, that I would go back regardless — although at this point it wouldn’t be my first choice.

(A lot of Daily Bulletin readers were there Tuesday. I ran into several people I know, and reader Barry Miller, at the next table, introduced himself to us. He was so excited to meet real live newspaper people, he bought our dinner. Thanks, Barry.)

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Ontario airport: the old days

Wednesday’s column (read it on the jump) is about the circumstances in the 1960s that led Ontario to accept a takeover of Ontario International Airport by Los Angeles.

Two airlines operated at that time, Western and Bonanza. The only flights were to San Francisco, Sacramento, Las Vegas, Palm Springs, Phoenix and L.A. That’s service to only three states, including ours! They don’t make international airports like that anymore.

Do you remember the Ontario airport of the 1960s, ’70s or even ’80s? Clue us in — what was it like?
Continue reading “Ontario airport: the old days” »

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