This liquor store in Pomona (565 Dudley Ave.) could really use a paint job, but the angled roofline, high-society name and neon sign still have flair. As Charles Phoenix describes it in “Cruising the Pomona Valley: 1930 Thru 1970”: “This stylish modern liquor store is dressed in formal attire with its original neon sign.” The store was built in 1959.
Following up on a column from last summer, I have an update on the tree in a historic Pomona neighborhood that was at the center of a dispute with neighbors and City Hall. Police and code enforcement blocked its removal even though the man had a permit. Now, he finally got a new permit and did the deed. The situation is explored in Wednesday’s column.
Sunday’s column begins with a silly item based on objects seen in the Museum of Neon Art gift shop. (Above is the towel; the column shows the almost-identical tablecloth.) Then comes a follow-up about Acquanetta Warren, some Culture Corner items and a Valley Vignette.
I devoted a column in February to reader and blogger John Clifford’s quest to eat at every Garey Avenue food establishment, just as he neared the finish line. Having now wrapped up his Eating Garey Avenue blog, Clifford now launches Dining in Pomona, a new blog of reviews.
For Eating Garey, he ate at every restaurant, or near-restaurant, on that street in sequence, south to north, with one review each week. For Dining in Pomona, he promises to eat wherever he likes on whatever schedule he likes. Ah, freedom. His first post is about Cachanilla. I’ve added a hyperlink to Dining Garey to the blogroll at right.
In reading a memoir about 1940s newspapermen in LA, an anecdote involving Pomona begged to be shared, even though, or maybe because, it’s in such bad taste. That leads off Wednesday’s column, followed by two Culture Corner items and a follow-up to my Salsbury Scooters column.
In its seven decades the Pomona Concert Band has had just two conductors. An anchor point in a changing world, the band kicks off its 70th season Friday. I provide a history in Wednesday’s column. Above, the band performs in the late 1950s at Ganesha Park.
Photo of ’69 Chevelle Gasser courtesy of Super Chevy
“Growing up in the Pomona Valley during the early to mid-’70s meant being around the baddest muscle cars and hot rods in So Cal,” Nick Licata writes in an article for Super Chevy, a magazine for Chevrolet fanatics.
Licata continues: “On just about every block it was common to see an open garage door on a warm summer night with a few young gearheads listening to Led Zeppelin while wrenching away on a hot rod of some sort.”
Early teens like Licata would ride their Schwinn Sting-Rays on Saturday nights to a vacant lot behind a Garey Avenue Taco Bell, where more than 50 muscle cars would be shown off by their owners. They would be treated as local celebrities by the kids.
Reader Ed Tessier, who sent me the story, says he found its take spot-on. He adds that in south Pomona in that era, “low rider culture was a bigger deal on many blocks and the radios were pumping out Mexican pop.” Not everyone was into Zeppelin.
In the local history category, Wednesday’s column recounts the story of Salsbury scooters, a beloved brand that was briefly made in Pomona, in a factory that was highly touted but, sad to say, quickly failed.
By the way, trying to get a photo in which I was not reflected in the glass of the picture Jeff Hodge is holding was tough! This one, in the shade, was fine, and you can see the scooter art, but you can’t see much of the factory building.
A movie to be titled either “Callahan” or “Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot” did some filming in late March in downtown Pomona. Stars are Joaquin Phoenix and Jonah Hill; director is Gus Van Sant. So it’s an actual movie, not one of those no-budget indie things that’s never released. It’s about a real-life cartoonist, John Callahan, who turned to drawing after a car accident at age 21 made him a quadriplegic; the funny title is that of his autobiography.
Assuming Phoenix was in town (*update: I’ve since seen a photo of him downtown), this would be his second time: He filmed an exterior scene for “Inherent Vice” on Second Street in 2013. Two visits? This means Joaquin Phoenix has been to downtown Pomona more often than some people who live in Pomona.
Photographer Ren sent me a few shots. The ones that grabbed me were of the former restaurant at the corner of Main and Third streets, transformed for the filming into a pie shop. Click on the images for a slightly larger view.
Once Chung King, and later Casa Jimenez and El Patrona, the space was turned into a lobster restaurant for the filming of a TV pilot, “White Sheep,” in March 2016. A few would-be customers lined up outside thinking it was real, despite the cameras moving around. Alas, it was no more real than the pie shop. (The series is still listed as being in development.)
The pixie dust is gone now and the restaurant is back to being La Patrona — and closed.
As usual, many singers and bands performing at Coachella next month will also give concerts in Pomona. I’ve got a list. I’ve also got other items from around the valley, a couple of them about music for the older set. That’s all in Friday’s column.