Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Noir in Pastel

No matter how much this alleyway wants to look tough, it just can't overcome that pistachio ice cream wall...

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Bikes and Roses

I couldn't help but grab this shot outside Barristers Garden Center. Ordinary stuff, true. But so pretty!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Alternate Monday Plans

Some summer days beg to be spent indoors curled up in a sunny window, in front of a fan, near a sleeping cat. (A good book helps.)

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Wild Thing

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...

Saturday, June 26, 2010

At Such Great Distance

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.

--Rainer Maria Rilke

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Kitsch as Kitsch Can...

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...)

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


I'm not sure what it's called. I'm not even sure exactly what it does. But I'm so glad that it's painted all those happy colors...

Monday, June 21, 2010

Black and White in Color

Colorizing classic black and white? Well, in this case it's okay... These wonderful old monochrome apartments look great with technicolor green leaves, purple flowers and blue, blue, blue sky.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day

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.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Sweet Spontaneous

o sweet spontaneous
earth how often have
the doting

fingers of
prurient philosophies pinched
and poked

has the naughty thumb
of science prodded

beauty how
often have religions taken
thee upon their scraggy
knees squeezing and

buffeting thee that thou mightest conceive

to the incomparable
couch of death thy

thou answerest

them only with


--ee cummings

Friday, June 18, 2010

Settings: Part 28

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?

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Storybook Cottage

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.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

With a Cherry on Top

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!)

Sunday, June 13, 2010

June Bloom

It's that time again ... time for the jacaranda trees to shower streets with lavender confetti. What better way to welcome summer?

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Final Touches...

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.

UPDATE: Check out the fabulous old picture of the original building here, at Mister Earl's Musings.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Dwarfed by Trees...

"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!"

--John Muir

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Pass the Benadryl

Wondering why you can't seem to stop sneezing in South Pasadena?

It's that white tree. I'm convinced.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

If Walls Could Talk

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.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Monday, June 7, 2010

Infinite Possibilities

Today, let's all celebrate the birthday of a woman who has always taught me to reach for the sky and never look down. (Well, except when climbing palm trees.) Happy, happy, HAPPY Birthday Dixie Jane!

This is for you, Mom!
And this, too.
(And I couldn't forget this.)

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Brightness and Bloom

"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..."

--Zelda Fitzgerald, Save Me the Waltz

Friday, June 4, 2010

Settings: Part 27

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?

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Quite Contrary (how does your garden grow?)

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.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

By Any Other Name...

The things you find out when you Google information about roses...

Eleanor Roosevelt once had a rose named after her. "I was very flattered," she said. "But I was not pleased to read the description in the catalogue: no good in a bed but fine up against a wall."

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Sign Language

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...

Then again, maybe not.

Be sure to check out all the other wacky signs from around the world. Click here to view thumbnails for all participants