Bob Herman was a Claremont man who loved L.A. (and Claremont too, of course). He wrote the guidebook “Downtown Los Angeles: A Walking Guide.” In 1999 he and I took Metrolink for a five-hour walking tour of downtown, a journey that made a deep impression on me. He died in April at 92. I write about him and about our outing in Sunday’s column.
I write about one of Claremont’s most renowned and even polarizing figures, the man who runs Everett’s Shoe Shop, the cobbler shop that’s been in the Village since 1926, in Sunday’s longer-than-usual (but worth it?) column.
Ellen Harper, whose parents established the Folk Music Center in Claremont in 1958, who manages the store and whose son Ben owns it, has published a memoir, “Always a Song,” about her and her family’s musical and political lineage. I read an advance copy — it’s good — and interviewed her (and took photos) for my Wednesday column.
Ben Harper contributed a song taped in Claremont to the Biden-Harris pre-inaugural virtual concert “We the People,” news that leads off Wednesday’s column, followed by items about the winds in Fontana and a piece of recognition for a famous Claremonter.
The Pilgrim Festival this month was canceled, but donations and an Etsy shop (!) have helped make up the shortfall for the nonprofit Pilgrim Place, a retirement village in Claremont for retired clergy and social activists. The village is on a voluntary lockdown to protect its seniors. I write about it for Wednesday’s pre-Thanksgiving column.
In the middle of a pandemic, Lucky’s Coffee Roasters in downtown Upland tries its luck at a former Starbucks location in Claremont (665 E. Foothill Blvd.) that closed in March. The popular shop has done well in Upland despite coronavirus. I wrote about the Starbucks, now I write about Lucky’s in Friday’s column.
Jo Ann Banks has been posting messages in her kitchen window throughout coronavirus, sometimes hopeful, sometimes frustrated. She was writing them for herself, but then “people walking by would introduce themselves …then I thought, this isn’t just for me.” I write her light box messages in my Friday column — one that you could say has been in the works for six months. Also, I could walk to this interview (for a story I found while out walking) and it’s not often I’ve been able to do that.
The venerable Claremont Club shut its doors Friday. Of course its doors were already shut due to coronavirus, which was the problem. With no revenue coming in, owners decided to shutter for good and sell the 19-acre property. I write about that in Sunday’s column.
You might like knowing that I’d written a draft of a column about “The Twilight Zone” Thursday afternoon, intending to finish that on Friday. But news had broken about the club’s closing, the Courier had a short story online, and I thought I might as well drop by the club Friday morning on my way into work and see if I could snag enough people to turn a column around quickly. Sure enough, I spoke to a couple of people in the parking lot and the club’s CEO let me in for an interview and photos.
Sorry, “TZ” fans, but your day will come, maybe next Sunday. In the meantime, it was kind of fun to report and write a column from scratch, and take photos, all in a few hours.
Local angles to football movies starring the Marx Brothers and Red Grange and an episode of Columbo, plus a man’s website tribute to Grauman’s Chinese Theatre grows more elaborate, and a survey of young people regarding John Wayne and Elton John has dismaying (but not unexpected) results, all in Wednesday’s column.
This is all Inland Valley-focused research done earlier this year, largely in March and April, but not compiled or written up until now. Figured I oughta get it all cleared out while my new Press-Enterprise readers are more forgiving.
The latest around Claremont’s independent movie house is that, closed during coronavirus, it’s also on the market. As a fan of the theater, the only consistent place to see indie and foreign films in the 909, I write about the possibility of its being sold for Friday’s column.