Microbus’ microburn

A few hundred people gathered Saturday night at Claremont’s Bixby Plaza to watch a replica microbus (made of papier-mache) burn as part of Pomona College’s Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA art show.

The bus was pulled into place, then fireworks began going off at ground level. Recorded sounds of gunfire, breaking glass and shouted Spanish were played, the better to replicate the chaos of drug cartel violence in Mexico. It was eerie and slightly disturbing.

At the end, the “It’s a Small World After All” song played, perhaps to puncture the tension, perhaps to remind us that such scenes take place in our hemisphere, or perhaps to stick that song in our heads and drive us up the wall. (I was still catching myself humming it the next day.)

The bus was largely still intact, which I don’t think was the plan. We were all directed to repair to Frary Dining Hall for refreshments and a look at the “Prometheus” mural. When we left Frary, the bus was down to a skeletal frame. Hmm, what did we miss?

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Restaurant of the Week: Bert and Rocky’s Cream Co.

Bert and Rocky’s Cream Co., 242 Yale Ave. (at Bonita), Claremont; open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily and until 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday

Ice cream and candy shop Bert and Rocky’s started in Upland in 1989 and expanded to Claremont in the late 1990s; the Upland location, by the high school, has closed, leaving the Claremont shop as the mainstay.

It’s a popular spot with a lot of foot traffic, great homemade ice cream and a community-oriented outlook with school fund-raisers and the like.

I’ve gone to Bert and Rocky’s since its Village location opened — not frequently, but probably once a year. It wasn’t until meeting a friend there during October’s heat wave that it occurred to me to make it a Restaurant of the Week.

They’ve got a couple dozen ice cream flavors, plus sorbet and other non-dairy permutations, at any given time, available as cones (their waffle cones are housemade), dishes, sundaes, banana splits, freezes and milkshakes.

I went for Butterfingers and cream in my go-to size, junior scoop ($3.45). Seems plenty big to me.

Bert and Rocky’s also has fudge, bark, caramel apples, chocolate-dipped items, scooped candy and nostalgic packaged candy like Necco wafers. There are a few tables, a bar, some outdoor chairs and, on most afternoons, a crush of customers — but also a friendly and patient staff.

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Column: Psst! Here’s the lowdown on PST: LA/LA shows in the IE

You may be at least marginally aware of the Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA art exhibits scattered around Southern California. I visited the eight shows in our area, in Pomona, Claremont and Riverside, and wrote capsule summaries for Wednesday’s column. This weekend brings free admission (although many venues are free anyway) and special events to the IE-area spots, so it’s timely.

(To be candid, I’m guessing this column will get fewer clicks than normal while requiring more time and mileage out of me than normal. But it seemed worth doing, so I did it anyway.)

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Inside (and outside) the Pomona YMCA

The old Pomona YMCA was part of the Home Tour Nov. 5, and I was there. Here are a few photos. The one above was shot a few days before from inside the American Museum of Ceramic Art, directly across from the Y. Handsome building, isn’t it?

The Y was bought for $2.65 million by the Spectra Co., a Pomona-based builder that specializes in historic preservation, and which plans to give the 1922 building a badly needed renovation before using it as its headquarters. Work has begun and original details that have been long buried are coming to light.

Inside, we were told that this neat white hexagonal tile was revealed in spots where a later layer of flooring was removed.

Above, a view of the basketball court. Note the elevated area on three sides…

That elevated area above the basketball court is a running track with, how fancy, banked turns. This is a view from above of both.

The basement pool is where generations of Pomona kids learned to swim.

Best. Cornerstone. Ever.

Not strictly speaking a historic detail, but this signs in a recreation room are wonderful. Unlike the Village People song, apparently you couldn’t “do whatever you feel.”

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Restaurant of the Week: Donahoo’s Golden Chicken, Rubidoux

Donahoo’s Golden Chicken, 5749 Mission Blvd. (at Riverview), Rubidoux; open daily, 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.; cash only

Only three Donahoo’s chicken locations remain, I believe: Ontario, Pomona and Rubidoux, which is just west of Riverside. The chain’s history isn’t well-documented, which I’ll have to rectify sometime, but there used to be more locations around the state.

I’ve been to Ontario once or twice and to Pomona dozens of times, which is more a reflection of where I am when I want takeout rather than the relative quality. I’d never been to or seen the one in Rubidoux, but it was in my mind to try it one day.

That day came last Saturday, when I drove to Riverside for the afternoon. I ended my day at Donahoo’s, taking Mission west out of town and pulling up to Donahoo’s, in a standalone little building with what must be an original 1950s-’60s sign. It was kind of adorable. There’s only a couple of parking spaces, but the lot next door is good too since you won’t be there long.

It’s takeout only, just like the other Donahoo’s. I got the chicken strips box lunch ($7.55), which came with five pieces, a small salad, a roll and fries. They cook the chicken to order and it was ready in 10 minutes, handed over in a brown cardboard box inside a plastic bag. I got on the 60 Freeway when it met Mission at Valley View, headed home and ate there.

It was a different meal than Pomona: crinkle-cut fries, which they also do in Ontario and which are the original style, rather than the Pomona steak fries; a green salad, rather than slaw or macaroni as in Pomona; and a different, lighter batter for the chicken. It tended to slip off the chicken, which was disconcerting, but the taste was good. I liked the fries and roll; the iceberg salad was meh.

I ate half the meal that night and saved the other half for lunch the next day. Not bad for $7.55.

I would return, but probably won’t, given there are closer Donahoo’s, but I’m glad I went and am glad this one is still around. And yes, like Pomona but unlike Ontario, there’s a rooster on the roof.

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