PUSD’s school of rock

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These young cats were rocking their mini-Strats Thursday morning onstage in the auditorium of Wilson Middle School, where a totally enviable summer school program sponsored by the nonprofit Pasadena Educational Foundation is in its fifth week. Enviable in the sense that, recalling my own junior high summer school terms — math, and weight training in an effort to bulk up for B football — the rock ‘n’ roll, the robotics and the bat-house crafting woodshop looked like Woodstock in comparison to my old … Altamont. That chart on the right, by the way? “16 chords that changed the world.”

Mr. Poetic

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Mr. Poetic, aka Darnell Davenport, was one of the team members from the Leimert Park-based slam poetry team Brass Knuckles, heading to the national championships soon in Boston (and raising funds to do so: http://www.indiegogo.com/Brass-Knuckles-LA-Slam-Team) who were part of the show Tuesday night at the first anniversary bash for Indelible Ink. The music and spoken word affair, the last Tuesday of each month barring December, moved for the first time this week to Robert Simon’s new AKA Bistro in One Colorado. Drinks, dinner, music, slam poetry, poetry poetry — what’s not to like? Check out www.indelibleink.net for information on the August show.

No country for old horses

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I was in the Texas Panhandle for four days last week, for the annual reunion of my mother’s side of the family. I’ve been back to Amarillo and the Palo Duro Canyon, where this picture was shot, every summer of my life, and I’ve never seen it so dry. In a part of the world where there’s usually a fair amount of spring and summer rain, there hasn’t been a quarter-inch over the last four months. I took a morning run from the tree-shaded family cabins to down by the old boathouse — there is still some water in the muddy lake, though not much — and all the horses that run free out there were huddled in the shade as the thermometer headed for 103 just past 1 in the afternoon. I love the Panhandle. Great people there, people who are truly interested in visiting with you in long, leisurely conversations, in trying to figure you out. We had 81 O’Brien cousins (that includes spouses and significant others) for dinner on Saturday night, with perfect barbecued beef from Bobby Moore and properly prize-winning pies from Emily O’Brien.

The Japanese Garden

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The Japanese Garden at the Huntington Library is still closed for restoration — of the lush plantings in that cool little glade, of the wooden bridge, of the big old Japanese house that’s now back from Japan where it was repaired and of the new Japanese house recently donated by a Buddhist temple in Northwest Pasadena.

This photo, taken Monday, is actually of the fence surrounding the project — or of the illustrated cloth banner covering the fence. The “real” part is the orange rubber fencing showing through that — and the tree visible through the square cut out for construction oglers, on the upper right.

Invisible man

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Fishing on the Upper Owens River just southeast of Mammoth Lakes — if you call 10 miles down a series of dirt roads from 395 “just,” the same secret spot I’ve been meeting former Altadena brothers Mike and Pete Moffat every June for 15 years — I took the admonition to apply lots of sunblock to the extreme. Since I use zinc oxide, the effects are startling. Didn’t seem to scare the browns and rainbows, though.