I use the excuse of the Filippi Winery news of last month to resurrect the story of the Grateful Dead song, “Pride of Cucamonga,” that takes its name from a Filippi product. It could’ve been a paragraph, but since it’s been, gulp, 16 years since I last wrote about this bit of immortality, might as well drag it into the sunlight again for a new generation. Also, more about the old days of wine-tasting in the Inland Valley, a centenarian in Fontana gets the COVID vaccine and a virtual talk will explore Pomona’s LGBTQ history. All of this is in Friday’s column. Now how much would you pay?
While I like researching local angles to subjects I’m not even particularly interested in, like Van Halen, it was a rare treat to research a local angle to a subject about which I’m intensely interested, like Bob Dylan. His Feb. 25, 1964 concert at UC Riverside is the focus of Wednesday’s column.
When a Riverside County reader told me he grew up with rocker Ritchie Valens, and had photos, I thought this sounded promising and made an appointment to meet him. He was definitely worth talking to, a story I tell in Friday’s column. (I’m hoping I’m not testing the patience of those uninterested in Valens. Sometimes when it rains, it pours.)
Items about Frank Zappa and the California Jam festivals, a suddenly timely local theater production and a highly unfortunate vote make up Sunday’s column.
There was such interest in my columns on a recent Baez biography and on a concert she gave at her former high school in Redlands, I decided to devote Friday’s column to her Redlands years to coincide with her birthday Saturday. She lived in the city for five years in her childhood and taught herself to sing during that period by experimenting in the shower.
Don Branker, the emcee and producer of the two California Jam rock festivals in Ontario, died earlier this month. (I happened to see his paid obituary in the LA Times, one reason a print subscription comes in handy.) I also pay tribute to Bob Smith, a Pomona artist and history buff and friend of yours truly, and present two other short items, all in Wednesday’s column.
A new documentary, “Zappa,” explores the life and career of the musician and activist, and his Inland Valley years are not excluded (although it helps if you know what to look for). I draw some fresh tidbits from the movie and write about them in Wednesday’s column, along with a related curio: a book about odds by Zappa’s father.
I gather together some odds and ends for a post-Thanksgiving column (written Monday, revised on Wednesday), mostly about Joan Baez, but with a couple of other topics too. I won’t call it a feast, but dig in anyway.
Would you like to read a column about singer Joan Baez? If so, let me recommend mine.
While I won’t try to do the impossible and track every time Van Halen performed in the 909, I can’t resist a story about them playing a dance at Claremont High School. A school dance! Also: three more items, including one contributed by my mom, all in my Friday column.