Downtown Pomona now has its own trolley bus, the subject of Friday’s column. Above, Larry Egan of the Downtown Pomona Owners Association and the trolley; photo by yours truly. Middle, a view of the old-fashioned interior, and below, I climb aboard; photos by Liset Marquez.
I’d only heard of the Japandroids, rather than having heard them, but knowing they were coming to Pomona, I bought their “Celebration Rock” CD last weekend to study up. The chance to see an acclaimed indie band on their way up, without having to drive more than a few miles from home, is too good to pass up.
It’s just two guys, but they make a mighty racket. Since January they’ve performed in England, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, North Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, both weekends of the Coachella festival and, in between, Oakland. Pomona was their last date for a month.
“Your enthusiasm is basically the only thing keeping us alive and playing at this point,” singer-guitarist Brian King said a couple of songs in.
He asked the audience to sing along during “Nights of Wine and Roses”: “If you can help us sing, it would be much appreciated. Our throats are full of Coachella dust.” As the song had been playing in my head all day, it was particularly satisfying to hear it live.
The audience loved them, and there was a lot of bumping going on near the stage. I was back along the wall or, toward the end, up on the mezzanine. It was a relatively short set, just under an hour, and with no encore. But they seemed to be giving everything they had, or everything they had left, both of them flailing away, and with King even climbing onto David Prowse’s drum kit during “The House That Heaven Built,” the closer. A fun night.
The English pop band the xx performed a sold-out show Wednesday at the Fox Theater in Pomona between dates at the Coachella festival. Above are bassist Oliver Sim, foreground, and guitarist Romy Madley-Croft, left, the band’s principals.
Very moody and atmospheric stuff, as the lighting hints at, and the audience ate it up. There were screams as if we were watching the Beatles. I was curious to see them because several of my friends are big fans, and critics love them too, but I haven’t connected, at least not yet. They did put on a good show and seemed genuinely touched by the rapturous response: “Again and again and again, thank you so much,” Sim said earnestly toward the end.
On the floor, it seemed like half the fans had cell phones or cameras to take photos or record videos, as the picture below indicates. In front of me, both halves of a couple viewed the show almost exclusively through tiny screens. What, can’t they share a single video later? Try to coexist (to quote the title of the band’s latest album)!
Something’s coming soon to the old Arby’s in Pomona, but it’s not a restaurant. Rather, a Boost Mobile store will occupy the Conestoga wagon-shaped building at 2250 N. Garey Ave. Arby’s opened in 1970 and closed in May 2012, taking its charming ten-gallon hat-shaped neon sign with it.
Richard Nichols, who alerted me to the sign, joked: “For $55 a month you get unlimited everything, including Horsey Sauce.”
Above are Jenny Lewis and Ben Gibbard of the pop group Postal Service, performing at the Fox Pomona on Monday night. Excellent show and my new favorite band. Is it possible to say that about a lineup that released its one and only album 10 years ago? It was reissued with bonus tracks last week, and purchased by yours truly, who had never heard of them until recently. The band has reunited for a spring tour and Coachella festival appearance, but probably not for new recordings. Well, I love them anyway.
They performed every song off their album (how could they not have?) but in arrangements that were more urgent and guitar-driven. Beautiful stuff.
Below, fans congregate outside the Fox afterward. Third Street is blocked off at Garey and Thomas streets, allowing fans to take photos of the blazing marquee without fear of traffic. A nice touch.
Pomona’s Glass House and Fox Theater music venues have hosted acts playing at Coachella for years now, but this year sees the most “Localchella” shows yet. Sunday’s column gives you the details and notes the effect on downtown Pomona of thousands of visitors, night after night.
Sunday’s “King Kong” screening in Pomona drew some 400 people, making it one of the better-attended movie screenings at the Fox since its 2009 reopening. Below is one of the lobby displays, a Kong figure made by a 1970s animator named David Allen. Heh. Above is a Daily Bulletin on Vacation-styled photo with a Kong arm that was likewise on display in the lobby. Kong had climbed with me to the top of the Fox tower, beat his chest, taken a swipe at the Pomona Police Department helicopter and then put me back down gently in the lobby, but alas, no cameras were present for the earlier feats.
As mentioned here already, the crowd in that 1933 King Kong photo presented here and in the newspaper the other day was pasted on from another scene entirely, way back when (sigh). Sunday’s column explains more and also offers the fate of that King Kong head. I also recount a dual-trip Metrolink weekend of mine and serve up a few valley vignettes.
For its engagement at the Fox Pomona Theater in May 1933, “King Kong” was accompanied by an amazing prop: a life-sized prop from the movie of Kong’s head, shoulders and chest. (Thanks to Friends of the Pomona Fox for the great photos.)
He’s really being mobbed in the scene above. Don’t people know King Kong doesn’t like to be crowded?
* Update: Evidently the crowd was superimposed or Photoshopped atop the original photo before it got to me. More information when I get it. The Kong head really was there, as the photo below makes clear.
In making the movie, Kong was mostly an 18-inch puppet, but this prop, a hand and a foot were all made at full scale for certain scenes in which closeups and human interaction were necessary.
Note in the photos that the Fox has its original marquee (the current one was installed in the 1950s) and that whoever put up the letters forgot the “i before e except after c” rule. Click on the photos for a larger view.
After the jump is an advertisement from the May 27, 1933 Prog and a story from same day’s issue, both taken from microfilm.
“King Kong” returns to the Fox at 2 p.m. Sunday for an 80th anniversary screening. They won’t have the giant head, but they will have a modern version of a giant arm and hand, in which you can have your photo taken. Details are here. Look for more in my Wednesday column.