A bar on St. Patrick’s Day advised customers of a route home they might wish to avoid unless they wanted to celebrate the traditional wearin’ o’ the ticket. Seen in Claremont by reader John E.
I learned a couple of interesting facts recently about Some Crust, the bakery at 119 Yale Ave. that may be as perfect a summation of Claremont as any business in the Village.
There’s been a bakery at that location since 1916 — I’ll leave it to a Claremont expert to give me some names — with the Some Crust name inaugurated in 1978. The Feemster family bought it in 1997 and continues operating it today.
The door is notable for an aged-looking crossbar promoting Mother’s Bread. (Ray Collins, the Mothers of Invention co-founder and Some Crust regular, was once photographed pointing deadpan to the word Mother.) This isn’t the original door but rather was installed in 1993 when the movie “My Girl 2″ was filmed downtown. “That was one of the things they put here for set decoration,” manager Scott Feemster told me. Could’ve fooled me (and everyone else).
Inside, however, there’s a very old touch that might not be recognized as such. The shelves behind the counter have been there roughly a century, dating to a dry goods store in that storefront prior to conversion to a bakery in 1916, Feemster said.
There’s a little old and a little new at Some Crust, but it can be hard to tell the difference.
Friday’s column is about I Like Pie, a pie shop in Claremont — also the subject of my Restaurant of the Week. Above, owner Annika Corbin examines one of her small creations, baked and served in small cups rather than in traditional wedges.
A bust of Pope Benedict is pictured above in the popular, tongue-in-cheek Pope Room at the Buca di Beppo Italian restaurant in Claremont on New Year’s Eve. The room, a feature at all the chain’s restaurants, is round, has a round table with a lazy Susan and appropriate art in alcoves and on the domed ceiling. (A friend placed his hat atop the cube, where it seems to float above the Pope’s head.)
A for-lease sign has been posted outside of Raku, a gift shop on Claremont’s Yale Avenue, for a year, even with the store in operation, and at one point last year Raku was looking for a new home in the Village. Passing by on Monday, though, I was sad to see the store empty and the above notice on the door.
I was never a big spender there, but I did buy greeting cards and wrap, and occasionally a gift item. The cards were usually quirky and handmade, the items of an off-kilter bent. I’ve been shopping there since moving to Claremont but had no idea the store had been around since the early 1970s. It was a hipper version of Barbara Cheatley or Carkle Sudie, two of the Village’s other gift stores and places no man ever visits except under duress.
(Heirloom Village, a block over on Indian Hill, will be a more than acceptable substitute in this niche, but still.)
Does anyone know any background on Raku or its demise, or just have a memory to share? Please comment if you do. I know that raku is a form of pottery, but what that has to do with the store I don’t know.
If you’ve seen “Lincoln,” you’ve marveled at Thaddeus Stevens, an abolitionist congressman who gets some of the movie’s best lines and who was played by Tommy Lee Jones. Well, I was scanning the letters section of the LA Times last weekend when I saw a letter by Beverly Wilson Palmer regarding the movie, identifying her as 1) a Claremont resident and 2) editor of “The Selected Papers of Thaddeus Stevens.”
And so it was that a couple of days later, I was interviewing her by phone. No time like Oscars week, right? Stevens and Palmer are the subjects of my Friday column.
Sunday’s column is a followup to one from last year about the prank that put Frank Zappa’s name and visage among the rank of great composers on the exterior of Pomona College’s Bridges Auditorium. It had seemed that a commencement speaker last year took belated credit for the 1970s incident, but now two other alums have stepped forward to say it was actually them. Yes, the Zappa incident just keeps getting weirder.
Today’s inauguration ceremonies for the president and vice president begin at 8:30 a.m. PST (after two hours of music), with a special moment for the Inland Valley at 8:35, as a Claremont resident, Myrlie Evers-Williams, gives the invocation.
She was chairwoman of the NAACP from 1995 to 1998 and the widow of civil rights leader Medgar Evers. After his June 12, 1963 slaying, and the second unsuccessful trial of his accused murderer, she and her children moved from Mississippi to Claremont so she could attend Pomona College. She lived here for several years, and I believe some of her children still do. And a couple of years ago, she returned to live part-time at the Mt. San Antonio Gardens retirement home.
Her presence at the ceremony is symbolic due to today also being Martin Luther King Jr. Day and 2013 being considered the 50th anniversary of the civil rights movement.
She is the first woman and the first layperson to give the invocation. How about that! Here’s a Q&A with her from Religion News Service about today.
* A video of her invocation is here.
The bench outside the Village Grille in the Claremont Village was cleared Tuesday of Ray Collins mementos by Collins’ family, but other tributes to the singer and Mothers of Invention co-founder remain in the Village.
Above, Some Crust Bakery (119 Yale Ave.) has a window display to Collins that’s worth a look; the photo shows only a portion of it. The second photo shows one side of a message board outside Espiau’s (109 Yale); click on the thumbnail for a larger view.
Wednesday’s column is about these tributes and, being my third piece on Collins since his Dec. 24 death, is probably my last, other than updates. Of course, to quote Fats Waller, “one never knows, do one?”
Sunday’s tribute to Ray Collins took place in Shelton Park, a favorite hangout of the singer and Village character who died Dec. 24, and it attracted some 200 people. Some spoke in front of the assemblage about their encounters with Collins. Some were fans of the Mothers of Invention, others simply knew him as a friendly face. Above, organizer Tara Tavi addresses the crowd at the start. With no public service scheduled, Sunday’s was the first chance to gather to remember him. There was a real sense of community.
The event ended with chalk being given to anyone interested, with the urging to write a message for Collins somewhere around the Village where he had been seen. I left one myself in Shelton Park by the table where we had our interview.
I walked around the Village on Monday morning and found messages on the pavement around virtually every bench (and who knew there were so many?)(Ray, I guess) and around his favorite sidewalk table outside Some Crust. A sampling:
“Thanks Ray for always saying hi.” — seen outside Pizza N Such
“This is where I met Ray.” — seen outside Bamboo Tea House
“I met Ray here in 1996.” — seen outside Raku
“Ray Collins is here.” — seen outside Pizza N Such
“Thank you for your friendship.” — seen outside the Library
“Ray was here.” — seen outside Some Crust
“Thank you for visiting me at Trader Joe’s.” — seen at Shelton Park
“A day without Ray is a day without Ray.” — ditto
Sadly, every day from now on will be a day without Ray. But for now, it’s enough that so many have him in their thoughts.