Riverside has a series of six statues on the downtown pedestrian mall that were all produced via grassroots efforts from 1995 to 2013 and form a loose series known variously as the Peace Walk or the Civil Rights Walk. They may be unique in the nation outside Washington, D.C., yet they’re not as well-known as they should be. There’s no signage, for one thing. I visit them, alongside the mayor who was there when they were installed and the current mayor who’d like to highlight them. The result is my Sunday column.
I attend a Riverside council meeting in which that alternately forward-thinking or history-ruining eight-story downtown hotel was debated and approved. After my generally upbeat August column on the project, a few critics emailed. I thought I’d better follow up on the subject, which I do in my Friday column.
Two writers, both former journalists, both Native Americans, spoke Thursday night in Riverside for Native American Heritage Month about writing and cultural representation. I sat in, in part to meet one of them, former P-E columnist Gordon Johnson. A column ensued.
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!
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.
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.
When I drove to Riverside for the Squeeze concert at the Fox, I looked for free parking on the street a couple of blocks north of the theater. I found a curbside spot in a neighborhood of tidy older homes with vintage street lamps. And then spotted a marker in front of a house.
This is the Ernest Day House, built in 1895 at 325 8th St. and relocated to 3894 4th St. in 1911, where it’s resided for 110 years. It’s described as a “vernacular Victorian” and is Cultural Landmark No. 101. I hadn’t even gone to the concert yet and already I was feeling more cultured.
The addition of a gleaming new Main Library to downtown Riverside also serves as counterpoint to its humble neighbor: Tio’s Tacos, whose expansive grounds contain a sculpture garden of folk art, all made by restaurant owner Martin Sanchez. As one reader says: “It’s the Watts Towers of Riverside.” Sanchez is the subject of my Sunday column.
Two dates for self-guided tours of downtown Riverside cultural, civic and historic sites are set: Aug. 28 (that’s Saturday) and Sept. 25. And they’re free. I provide the details, as is my wont, as well as the basics about a silent film classic that screens Saturday night in Pomona with live organ accompaniment. That’s all in my Wednesday column.