“Set the Night on Fire: L.A. in the Sixties,” a new history, includes a 1968 riot in San Bernardino that started at a high school and spilled into the streets. I recount that and also pluck some local history from “Ecology of Fear,” a previous book by the same author, Mike Davis, while also saying farewell to a San Bernardino restaurateur. All this in Friday’s column.
Did you know Wednesday is National Chocolate Day? I visit Laymon Candy, which has been turning out clusters, taffy, fudge and more since 1927 in San Bernardino and Colton. The family-owned business is bringing in its fourth generation. I tour the factory for Wednesday’s column.
San Bernardino’s legendary Mitla Cafe got to Round 4 of the Tortilla Tournament in the corn tortilla bracket before falling to the reigning champion in Costa Mesa, a nice showing for both Mitla and the 909. Anyway, this modest news hook provides a good excuse to write about Mitla, which I do in Sunday’s column.
Mitla (pronounced “Meet-la”) was the subject of a Restaurant of the Week post in 2015 and was overdue for a column now that I’m in the Sun and thus have a San Bernardino-area readership. (And in the Press-Enterprise with a Riverside-area readership, hence last Sunday’s column on Anchos Southwest Grill.)
So it was high time I went there and introduced myself. Because they’re not doing dine-in, I didn’t order food to go, unsure where I would eat it. As I drove away, I saw a shady park less than a block away. D’oh! Well, next time.
Janis Joplin died 50 years ago today. As a fan, I set out to reconstruct what I could of her two known concerts at Swing Auditorium in San Bernardino in 1968 and 1969. As you’ll see, that’s even harder to do than it might seem! But I did my best for Sunday’s column.
I pose the above question to readers concerning her concerts at Swing Auditorium in 1968 and 1970. Also: readers respond pro, con and somewhere in the middle concerning drive-thrus, and a Riverside woman appears on “Jeopardy!” All this in Sunday’s column.
This column, by the way, is more thrown-together than usual. It happens sometimes. I had forgotten that I’d received so many comments on drive-thrus via Twitter and Facebook until looking back at them Thursday afternoon and deciding I might as well make use of them.
Do you know the name and story of Biddy Mason? Not enough people do. She was brought to San Bernardino a slave in 1851, won her freedom in court in 1856 and became a nurse and midwife in downtown Los Angeles, a landowner and a philanthropist. I tell her remarkable story in Sunday’s column. It also answers the question of which historical figure with a connection to San Bernardino led me to take Metrolink last weekend, as hinted in last Wednesday’s column. Some guessed right; others guessed Wyatt Earp or Edith Head.
Responding to Sunday’s column on the KFXM tiger, reader Don J. sent me a blog post about rival KMEN, the San Bernardino station that helped bring the Rolling Stones to the United States (the subject of several columns of mine in the past year, for any latecomers).
Jason Rosenthal’s “The Southern Californian” devoted a 2015 post to KMEN’s four (in his view) claims to distinction, involving the Beach Boys, DJ John Peel, Jimmy Webb’s song “Up, Up and Away” (!) and, yes, the Stones.
I write about a former San Bernardino radio station, and its Riverside tiger, in Sunday’s column. History can be fun!
Two detailed commentaries came in about the 1970 Jimi Hendrix concert at which rioting fans got sprayed with tear gas by police. I might wish they’d come in before my June 21 column on Hendrix rather than afterward, but on the other hand, they made for a most excellent follow-up, which makes up my Sunday column.
Third in a sort-of series, I write about the Rolling Stones’ third (of four) concerts at San Bernardino’s Swing Auditorium in Friday’s column, 55 years to the day of the show itself. I’m a little amazed how much information I was able to find from various sources about one 1960s concert, although I thought that the first two times too. We’ll resume this series in July 2021, the 55th anniversary of the fourth concert.