Column: Sunny Route 66’s darker side seen in exhibit

The Millard Sheets Art Center at the LA County Fair this year is devoted to “Alt 66,” a counterpoint to the happy and charming Route 66 stuff throughout the Fair. This is a darker, edgier exploration of the highway, including racism, trash and gaudy motels. I write about it for Sunday’s column, as well as gathering up some Culture Corner and other items. And remember, the Fair ends today!

Above, a portion of Doug Pearsall’s “In the Pursuit of Dreams.”

Facebook Twitter Pinterest Plusone Linkedin Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

Shadows on the Y

There’s a big tent-like green tarp over the old YMCA building in Pomona, due to restoration work by new owner Spectra Co. Chris Toovey, an artist who is co-founder of the nearby dA Center for the Arts, has noticed an unexpected benefit. A row of palm trees in front of the building now has a screen on which to cast shadows.

“Every afternoon, weather permitting, beginning around 5:30 p.m., you can watch the projected palm tree shadow grow up on the green scrim that covers the building,” Toovey writes. “My photos were mostly taken at about 6:30 p.m. Kind of a cool performance installation piece. Thanks, Spectra.”

Sometimes throwing shade can be a good thing.

Facebook Twitter Pinterest Plusone Linkedin Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

RIP, quaint directional sign

This sign stood for decades, probably, on North Towne Avenue just above the 10 Freeway, pointing the way north to Claremont and Route 66, and west to La Verne. I liked seeing it and always meant to pull over at the next corner to walk back for a photo, but never did. “Next time,” I would think, even though my fear was that the sign might not be there the next time I drove past. But it always was.

Sometime in 2017, though, the sign was heavily damaged by graffiti. And when I drove by this spring, it was gone.

Reader Jason, thankfully, had taken a photo and sent it to me by Twitter in June 2017. (It’s the photo above. You can see even at that point that the 66 emblem was painted over or faded and that the bottom strip had been patched.) He asked recently what had happened to the sign.

The city of Pomona took it down, Deputy City Manager Mark Gluba told me.

It’s almost certainly a Caltrans sign, Gluba said, as the directions serve a regional rather than a city purpose, but the sign was old enough that Caltrans had no record of it and denied ownership.

“We decided to remove the sign due to the graffiti and the general condition of the sign,” Gluba said. It wasn’t clear whether the sign is in the City Yard or tossed, but it was so badly defaced that to me it didn’t look salvageable.

Is there another sign denoting the way to Route 66 in the Inland Valley? If so, I’m unaware of it, but would like to know about it. I do like the occasional signs on Holt, Foothill or Mission telling the distance to San Bernardino, Riverside or Pomona, which still serve a purpose but also seem like a throwback to the pre-freeway days.

Facebook Twitter Pinterest Plusone Linkedin Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email