Flowers and a candle were placed on a ledge outside Claremont’s Rhino Records by a fan to accompany the poster in the window, turning the whole thing into a makeshift, and touching, memorial. The singer (and so much more) died April 21. That day, the Prince bin quickly emptied as people snatched up the CDs in stock. Fans filled the space in the P section with flowers, another sweet touch. The interest was even greater than when David Bowie died in January.
Friday’s column begins with the oddball news that the owner of a Claremont clothing store was interviewed by Morgan Freeman for his “Story of God” miniseries, seeking his views on Zoroastrianism. After that, I’ve got a bunch of Culture Corner items, most about events on Saturday, and a Valley Vignette.
An author in Claremont (who’s a former Brit) has distilled decades of research into a tome on the Jack the Ripper killings. Friday’s column tells his story. Above, Simon Wood in his study.
Sunday’s column is about Barbara Cheatley, who’s had a shop (Barbara Cheatley’s) in the Claremont Village since October 1975 — and is still going strong.
Wednesday’s column begins with an item on Sunset magazine’s feature on Claremont, continues with four Chino items and Valley Vignettes from Ontario, Diamond Bar and Pomona, and ends with an encounter in Upland.
One thing leads to another sometimes, as seen in Sunday’s column, where a sign in a window about Pigale Optical Shop’s closing was just the start of a series of interviews.
On Christmas Eve, KPCC-FM’s Patt Morrison interviewed me, the artist and the pastor about the Claremont United Methodist Church’s decision not to install a Nativity this year that would have commented on gun violence. This had been the subject of my column the previous day. You can listen to the segment here. It was a small thrill being quizzed by Morrison, and the segment (17 minutes long) was generous in letting people talk. I’m in it twice, starting about halfway through.
Remember the controversial Nativity scenes at a Claremont church in recent years, the subject of columns here the past two years? This year’s didn’t happen, a fate that became the subject of my Wednesday column — with a rendering of the startling scene the artist proposed. I can see the pastor’s point as well as the artist’s. Where do your sympathies lie?
Did Frank Zappa ever attend Claremont High School? No official record has ever surfaced, and he’s not considered an alumnus. But Zappa once listed Claremont among the four schools he attended (his family moved frequently), and many 1950s classmates say they remember him. And have they got stories. My Sunday column explains.
Wednesday’s column is about the twice-annual Gypsy Sisters craft fair in Claremont, a staple since the mid-1990s. The event got its name from a jab in a letter of the editor in a newspaper (not ours!). The founders are a crackup.