Friday’s column recounts a visit to Claremont last week by novelist Francine Prose, who has penned a work of nonfiction analyzing Anne Frank’s diary as literature. It was a very interesting talk and I hope my summary is of interest.
My Alfred Hitchcock film festival at the Ontario library concludes Thursday with his best-known film, “Psycho,” from 1960. The film’s Wikipedia entry has much useful info. The screening begins at 6:30 p.m. at the library, 215 E. C St. (Hitchcock famously instituted a “no late admission” policy during its theatrical run. We won’t do that, but you won’t want to miss a moment.)
Admission is free. And don’t shriek too loudly — they’re runnin’ a library there.
Wednesday’s column is about my attendance at both a city council meeting in Upland and a Japandroids concert in Pomona the same night. Both were fun in their own way, of course, but I will go way out on a limb and say the concert was more thrilling. There, I’ve said it, and I’m glad.
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.
Tuesday is World Book Night, when you can visit participating stores and pick up a free book. The goal is to put books in the hands of people who don’t or rarely read books.
At Rhino Records in Claremont, the only Inland Valley store that I know is taking part (there doesn’t seem to be a list), you can get Ray Bradbury’s “Fahrenheit 451.” The store will have 20 copies, available for the asking from 4 p.m. until closing time at 9 p.m. If they’re out, a few single copies of other books will be available.
Also, all books at Rhino will be 10 percent off during those same hours. Trying to make up for a dearth of bookstores in Claremont, Rhino has 1,200 books in stock, new and used, from literary fiction and graphic novels to novelty books and music bios.
Sunday’s column is a tribute to Ramon Sanchez, proprietor of Ramon’s Cactus Patch restaurant in Ontario, who died Thursday at age 98.
Golden China, 8851 Central Ave. (at Arrow Highway), Montclair
The sign outside Golden China was glowing as were the paper lantern-shaped lamps outside when a friend and I met here for dinner on a Friday night. I’d never been here but we were drawn by the four-star Yelp rating.
Inside the place is very 1980s, with vinyl booths and mirrored walls. Charmingly old school. (The decor likely originated with Royal China, there from 1987 to 1996; for the record, it was followed by the shortlived Golden Buddha. Golden China opened in 1998. A future incarnation as Royal Buddha would round things out nicely.) There’s a well-stocked bar at which drinks are mixed. You can see the menu here.
We tried two of the specialties, black pepper chicken ($12.55, below) and sizzling rice shrimp ($16, bottom), both as dinners with soup, egg roll, paper-wrapped chicken and rice. The platter of white-meat chicken pieces came with onions and black pepper. My shrimp arrived on a sizzling platter. The dish had a welcome number of large shrimp in a sweet sauce with unusual crisp rice puffs.
My friend and I liked his dish more than we liked mine. When Yelp reviewers rave about the orange chicken, you know you’re not getting cutting-edge food. Ditto when you’re brought a cup of jello to end your meal, as well as the requisite fortune cookie. But the service was efficient and attentive. Not a four-star restaurant, and you can do better, but for Americanized Chinese food, it’s homey.
Ramon Sanchez, the founder and proprietor of Ramon’s Cactus Patch, the oldest restaurant in Ontario, died Wednesday evening at home at age 98, according to his family.
Sanchez on March 30 closed his Mexican restaurant, which he opened in 1938, due to illness. He was suffering from colon cancer. I wrote about that earlier in April.
Services will be private, at Sanchez’ request, and he also told his family he didn’t want an obituary or any fuss. “No fanfare. That was his way,” daughter Claudia said.
That said, I’ll be writing about him anyway. (That’s my way.) His family is fine with that and I’m sure he would be too. In the meantime, farewell to a local institution.
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)!