The silence of late summer nights in South Pas is often broken by coyote song from the nearby hills and Arroyo. Usually the sound is disembodied. Yesterday, next to Brookside Golf Course at the Rose Bowl, one of those late night singers materialized for an afternoon jog...
Already my gaze is upon the hill, the sunny one, at the end of the path which I've only just begun. So we are grasped, by that which we could not grasp, at such great distance, so fully manifest— and it changes us, even when we do not reach it, into something that, hardly sensing it, we already are; a sign appears, echoing our own sign... But what we sense is the falling winds.
It might not be as charming as this or as historic as this or this, but the weird 70s gazebo outside of Rite Aid is definitely an iconic South Pas structure. And this post is for the readers who emailed me asking if it was still there. Yup! Love it or hate it, it's certainly part of the downtown landscape. (Sometimes, it even makes a fairly decent artist's model...)
I couldn't help but smile when I saw this dad reaching out for his giggling daughter at last month's Fun Fair. Here's to all the fathers out there, with a special shout-out to our blogger pal Ben over at the sky is big in pasadena, celebrating his very first father's day as a new dad.
You know I can't resist my favorite game. I'm thinking something from the bourbon-soaked pages of James M. Cain or Raymond Chandler. But you tell me, clever readers, if this were the setting for a scene in a movie, what would happen here?
South Pasadena's classic California Craftsman houses get most of the attention, but sprinkled among them are cozy little gems like this. I don't know if this classifies as true Storybook design, but it sure looks like happily ever after to me.
I've raved about Fair Oaks Pharmacy before, but allow me to repeat myself. On a hot summer day there is nothing quite like bellying up to the counter of an old fashioned soda fountain for a cherry coke or -- better yet -- a caramel-slathered chocolate sundae. (Get The Raymond. It has both hot fudge and caramel. Yeah, baby!)
I couldn't resist a sneak peak of the gloriously restored (and newly dubbed) Comerica bank building. The columns have been painstakingly recreated! The rosettes are back! That man in the picture painted a gold numbers on the window and stained the trim a deep cherrywood brown!
I can say without qualification, even though I know nothing about the interest rates or corporate policies, that I love Comerica Bank. Any company willing to put this kind of care (not to mention capital) into refurbishing one of South Pasadena's historic buildings -- and during a major economic crisis, no less -- is a company I want to do business with.
When I moved to South Pasadena a few years ago, this structure was hidden under a campy aqua exterior. I liked it. It was retro and odd. But I had no idea what it concealed. When the 60s facade came down and the original 1920s building was revealed the entire community took a collective gasp. A hidden treasure had been unearthed! And here it is, almost finished, after months of loving care and thoughtful restoration. Okay, so I'm not crazy about the blue sign but I can overlook it. It's the least I can do after how much Comerica Bank has invested in South Pasadena.
I will post again when the project is complete, and I promise to have more information about the history of the building.
"I never saw a discontented tree. They grip the ground as though they liked it, and though fast rooted they travel about as far as we do. They go wandering forth in all directions with every wind, going and coming like ourselves, traveling with us around the sun two million miles a day, and through space heaven knows how fast and far!"
Check out the wall of the back room at Gus's BBQ! I don't know if this is an original advertising mural from the old Ritz Theater or just an artistic nod to the past, but it makes for a wonderful mealtime backdrop. (If you're curious about The Kid From Brooklyn, you can see a clip right here.)
The Ritz was built around 1916 in the spot that is now Gus's parking lot. When it opened, it was known as The Colonial Theater. Both it and the Rialto were operated by Circle Theaters until the mid 1930s when they were taken over by Fox West Coast. On December 13, 1936, the LA Times mentioned a robbery at the Ritz: "An armed bandit escaped with $53.10. Cashier Ruth Shroder and the doorman were threatened with a revolver." (Maybe that's why Circle Theaters lost interest in the theater's operations...)
The Ritz was demolished in 1961, but thankfully the Rialto stands. For now.
"There is a brightness and bloom over things; she inspects life proudly, as if she walked in a garden forced by herself to grow in the least hospitable of soils. She is already contemptuous of ordered planting, believing in the possibility of a wizard cultivator to bring forth sweet-smelling blossoms from the hardest of rocks, and night-blooming vines from barren wastes, to plant the breath of twilight and to shop with marigolds. She wants life to be easy and full of pleasant reminiscences..."
With all the film crews shooting around South Pas this week I just can't resist another round of my favorite game. So tell me, my aspiring Hitchcocks, Weirs and Fassbinders, if this were the setting for a scene in a movie ... what would happen here?
Sure, we can all appreciate a lavish, artfully manicured jardin filled with heirloom flowers, koi ponds and European sculpture. (That's what The Huntington is for.) But I really love all the groovy little South Pas gardens tucked into flower beds, side yards and window boxes. (Remember this scarecrow? I felt a personal sense of loss when it was recently taken down!)
Here, a hipster sun blows a raspberry over a lawn full of tangled vines. I love this town.
Today is the first of the month, and that means it's Theme Day for participating City Daily Photo bloggers. This month's theme is Funny Signs.
I always smile when I see this happy-go-lucky warning sign at the Kaldi counter toaster. It makes me think of how a similar approach might be applied for other warnings: an animated electric eel on the High Voltage sign, a smiling skull and crossbones on the rat poison, a blue-faced cartoon kid on the plastic dry cleaning bag...
In December of 2007, after many years on the west side of Los Angeles (and at least a third of those years spent stuck in traffic on Pico Boulevard) my family settled into a happy little house in South Pasadena. This daily blog covered over 4 year as I put down roots in my new home town.
My New Blog Launching 2013
Check out my multimedia column archive: Views from the Front Porch
Published at Patch.
Find Me Elsewhere...
Thank you Charlie's Coffee House for hosting my recent photo exhibit, South Pas: Observed. From October 2011 through January 2012 my pictures graced the walls of the best place in town to get a cup of coffee!
Read the nifty story on photo bloggers Petrea Burchard, Ben Wideman, Kat Likkel and little old me featured in the September, 2011 issue of Pasadena Magazine.
For over 4 years, I presented a picture a day from South Pasadena, California -- an incorporated city within the greater Los Angeles metropolitan area. All photos up to November, 2008 were taken with a Fujifilm Finepix E900 camera. I added a Fujifilm Finepix S2000HD megazoom in December 2008, a Nikon D3100 in 2010 and a Lumix DMC-DS8 in 2011. I shot with them all. In August 2010 I joined the iPhone camera craze and sometimes included pictures captured by my phone. I regularly cropped images and used basic editing software to adjust the brightness, intensify the contrast, and increase color saturation. Other than that, all images came straight from the camera with minimal alteration. (If I couldn't have done it in a darkroom, I wouldn't do it with a computer.)
The bigger picture:
Consider it a love letter to the place I call home.
You can click on any picture to see a larger version.
All photos and prose on this blog copyright Laurie Allee. Reproduction without written permission is prohibited. (Plus, it's really uncool.)
Run, don't walk to the nearest bookseller and pick up a copy of Margaret Finnegan's delightful debut novel, The Goddess Lounge -- undoubtedly the kookiest, most wonderful riff on Homer's Odyssey ever written. Margaret never ceases to inspire and make us laugh at her blog Finnegan Begin Again. Her book is magical, silly, smart and a wonderful love letter to the all the goddesses among us.
Kevin McCollister of East of West LA blows our minds with haunting images of Los Angeles. But since we can't put his blog on our coffee table, we can buy his fantastic book. I believe Kevin's images truly capture the quixotic and often heartbreaking soul of LA. Don't take my word for it, see what The LA Times had to say.