An exhibit at the Riverside Art Museum is devoted to the city’s black and brown Eastside, with photos by Douglas McCulloh, alongside contributed photos from residents, and essays by Susan Straight. It’s called “More Dreamers of the Golden Dream,” playing off the old Joan Didion essay about the IE, and there’s an accompanying book. The exhibit is in place through Jan. 16. I write about it in my Sunday column.
Also, germane to today’s date but not to the column: Happy Halloween!
Mort Sahl, the comic who died Tuesday, was for a period a familiar sight in Claremont, where he spent two years lecturing at Claremont McKenna College. Also: writer Douglas Wolk will appear in Rancho Cucamonga next week to promote his book about Marvel Comics, and a founder of the folk group We Five, from Claremont, has died. Read all about it in my Friday column.
As cited in a column last spring, many of our communities had a small Chinatown settlement in the late 19th or early 20th century. I’m aware of eight of them, scattered around the Inland Empire, from Pomona to Redlands. I gather up details and share them in my Wednesday column.
Luis J. Rodriguez, author of the memoir “Always Running,” spoke to students Friday at Pomona’s Garey High. I was there to hear one of L.A.’s most revered voices. He’s the subject of my Sunday column.
Back from vacation, I write about one specific aspect of my trip to San Francisco, Berkeley and Oakland: namely, being asked for my vaccination card and ID at multiple businesses. I was fine with it, just to be clear; this was just a step ahead of Southern California, and a place the IE probably won’t go. It’s the topic of my Friday column.
The class has produced directors of opera and ballet, plus a TV news meteorologist. Also, two Inland Empire spots for frozen custard are listed, the Dodger fan base around St. Louis is characterized as “annoyingly large,” a new angle to Rancho Cucamonga’s cityhood is offered, local references in the new movie “The Guilty” are cited, and a rap supergroup is headed to Ontario. All that is in my Wednesday column.
The jazz pianist played piano bar in Riverside before being sent to Europe for World War II. He later returned for a concert at the university. Also, a former Riverside journalist is saluted, an episode of “Mannix” was partly set in Pomona, and an upcoming performance in Claremont will commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Chinatown massacre. Read about ’em in my Sunday column.
I attend a slide show by (Ontario native, LA resident) Charles Phoenix in Brea, present a few bon mots from the late sportswriter Jim Murray, quote a letter from a peripatetic reader that supports the idea of a borderless Inland Empire column, and offer some bittersweet news from Upland, all in my Friday column.
Incidentally, this is the first of three columns penned before the vacation I’m now enjoying; they’re composed of items either written in recent days/weeks and unused, or in items spun from recent reader emails, or in a few cases, like the Charles Phoenix item, of bits that would not have been written had I not needed copy for these columns. (I was just there for fun but did take a photo, and jotted down one bon mot for possible use; writing a long item as I did was not in my plans.)
I’ll be curious to hear the reaction to these columns: Does it seem like I’m reaching or scraping the bottom of the barrel, or are these three low-key columns as enjoyable, or (horrors) more so, than the ones in which I’m out interviewing folks and trying harder? There is no wrong answer.
Phil Burum (and if that last name rings a bell, he’s Jeff’s brother) left housing development to work for Fontana City Hall as deputy city manager in charge of planning and building. That’s an unusual transition, from the private to the public sector. I sit down with him to hear about his background, why he made this leap and what’s envisioned for the city of 220,000. That’s the subject of my Wednesday column.
The Local History Book Fair last Sunday in Riverside was fun, mildly lucrative from a book-selling standpoint and gratifying, in that after 15 months in the P-E, all during a global pandemic (perhaps you’ve heard of it?), I finally got to meet some random readers. And they were appreciative, albeit with one exception. I write about that and, while I’m on the subject, do something I’ve meant to do for a while, which is to take a few paragraphs to reflect on the expansion of my territory the past couple of years and explain again the how and why of it, as a refresher, a clearer explanation or new information. That’s in my Sunday column.