Friday, September 30, 2011

Heirloom Bakery

It spent a particularly lovely morning at Heirloom Bakery on Wednesday. The air was calm and cool, the coffee was strong and hot, and the food -- the food!!! The food was so fresh and yummy I wanted to order seconds.

When you're gluten-intolerant like I am, you don't usually gravitate to anything with the word bakery in it. Lucky for me, Heirloom also makes simply delicious eggs served with thick slices of bacon and to-die-for roasted potatoes. (And I am pretty sure the sliced tomatoes on the side of my plate were from the Farmers Market.)

For those of you who don't have to avoid bread and pastry, Heirloom sure offers a tempting array of baked goodies. Plus, the cafe is now open for dinner, too.

In case you guys haven't figured it out yet, I'm a big cheerleader when it comes to South Pasadena's small business owners. Locally owned restaurants like Heirloom literally give South Pas its flavor. Get our there and indulge! (Just don't try to steal any potatoes off my plate. Seriously, get your own.)

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Encore, Rialto

Rialto fans, join me in the South Pasadena Library Community Room this Sunday, October 2 at 3:00PM for Encore, Rialto, A Revitalization Symposium on The Rialto Theatre. Wonder how other old movie palaces have successfully reopened and found new life? Come hear an enlightening panel discussion with expert speakers from The Orpheum Theater in Los Angeles, The Alex in Glendale and the Pomona Fox: The program also includes music and a short student film about the history of the Rialto by high schooler Miranda Gontz. Speaking of film, I'll be there with my video camera recording your Rialto memories to include in my column for South Pasadena Patch. How do you think the Rialto can be brought back to her former glory? Join other friends of the Rialto Sunday and join the discussion. (Admission is free!) For my Patch column and historical video about the history of the Rialto, click here. For my Patch column highlighting how other theaters have been restored, as well as Part 1 of my video interview compilation The Rialto: Remembered and Imagined, click here. Update: check out today's post from the fabulous Pasadena Adjacent. It's all about another successful movie palace revitalization: Albuquerque's own KiMo Theater. Be sure to check out the documentary.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

South Pas: Observed

Attention coffee and photography lovers...

This Saturday, October 1, from 4-6PM, the uber-cool Charlie's Coffee House is hosting a reception for my photo exhibit, South Pas: Observed. (Long-time Glimpses readers will recognize many of the photos.)

I must say, it's pretty cool to have so many of my shots hanging in my favorite coffee house. I credit Charlie's fabulous proprietress Kelly with making me a hopeless addict introducing me to Jameson Brown coffee. I've met many a deadline with the help of a large size brew with half and half. (Just don't drink more than one a day. True, you might feel inspired to learn Japanese in a single afternoon but, then again, your head might explode.)

It was hard to choose the shots to include, but I think I've managed to come up with photographs that represent many of the aspects we all love about South Pasadena. Stop by the reception to see them, and to say hi!

Update 9/29/11: See what Patch has to say about it here!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Look Up

I'm stepping into Shanna's territory with this one, but I can't resist sharing. The humidity of late has cooked up some interesting sunset skies.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Twilight: El Centro and Fremont

It's been a while since I prowled around at night with my camera. (Note to self: Prowl around more at night with your camera!)

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Historic Mission Street

South Pasadena's business district boomed between 1906 and 1908. At the time, the South Pasadena Record reported, "Rapidly and surely the march of progress is wending its way from Fair Oaks west and from Meridian east."

The first man to build on Mission Street was Alexander R. Graham, who razed a grove of eucalyptus trees at Mission and Meridian and built this concrete building. (Graham named the building the Alexander Building. Lest we forget who he was, two years later he erected another building right next door and called it the A. R. Graham Building. Now, what was his name again?)

I've raved about it before, and I'll rave again: for the ultimate South Pasadena history, you can't beat Jane Apostol's comprehensive South Pasadena, 1888-1988, A Centennial History, Second Edition with Chronology, 1988-2008. Check it out at the South Pas Public Library. Or better yet, purchase your own copy at the library bookstore.

You can read my former interview with Jane right here.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Coffee Talk

There are a lot of ways to satisfy your coffee jones in South Pasadena. Kaldi is a great option, especially if you have your java outside under the trees on one of these warm autumn days. (Just pop a Benadryl first if you're allergic to fall elm. They're pollinating like crazy right now.)

Speaking of coffee, I was listening to the XM Public Radio station yesterday and I caught the last part of a piece about how new words get into the Oxford English Dictionary. Apparently, one of the program hosts was trying to see if she could get the word "flatte" to catch on. That's flatte, pronounced "flah-tay" as in a shortened version of "decaf latte." A local coffee shop even joined in the fun and featured Flatte as their Drink of the Day.

Is it any surprise that not one person ordered a flatte for the entire day? Anyone at Kaldi -- or Charlie's or Busters or Starbucks -- could tell you why. Who in the world wants a DECAF latte?!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Still Life With Dirty Hands

I hadn't noticed Little Bit's fingerprints on the window when I took this photo. Now that I see them, I like the picture even more...

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Scooping out oblong vaults

Long, steel guns,
Pointed from the war ships
In the name of the war god.
Straight, shining, polished guns,
Clambered over with jackies in white blouses,
Glory of tan faces, tousled hair, white teeth,
Laughing lithe jackies in white blouses,
Sitting on the guns singing war songs, war chanties.

Broad, iron shovels,
Scooping out oblong vaults,
Loosening turf and leveling sod.

I ask you
To witness-
The shovel is brother to the gun.

--Carl Sandburg

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Under a Bridge

Did you know these whimsical river rock benches are part of the base of the Oaklawn bridge? Now you do. They aren't the most scenic benches in town (that honor goes to the ones here) but they are wonderful in their blend-right-in Craftsman design. I haven't been able to find out if they are part of the original Greene & Greene bridge plans, or a later addition. At any rate, they're great, aren't they?

Monday, September 19, 2011

Teenage Wasteland

Decorating the inside of your locker was the thing when I was in junior high. There were no computers with graphic design programs and no high speed printers when I started 7th grade in 1977, so my girlfriends and I had to rely on back issues of Tiger Beat, leftover Christmas wrapping paper, brown grocery bags and magic markers we used to doodle our names in the same plump, psychedelic fonts we'd seen on record albums. There was a recurring theme in the decorating style of my fellow pubescent girls: lots of swirly flowers, a few carefully concealed 4-letter words, budding fashionista collages of Cheryl Tiegs and Christie Brinkley, the ever-classic "Hang in there Baby" kitten, some Charlie's Angels poster shots, more than an occasional bible quote. (This was, after all, predominantly Southern Baptist Texas.) And then, there were the photos of boys. Most of us were too young for boyfriends. While a few cheerleaders were already going steady with the jocks they'd break up/make up with all the way through high school, the rest of us made due with altars to those famous boys who paved the way for this generation's Justin Beiber. Shawn Cassidy was well-represented, along with his Hardy Boys co-star Parker Stevenson. All of the popular girls had pictures of Leif Garrett and the Bay City Rollers. The cooler girls featured Peter Frampton and Roger Daltrey. The really bad-ass girls had splashy shots of KISS and Tim Curry. As far as I know, I was the only one with a picture of Che Guevara. In this age of Facebook and smart phones, I'm sure locker decorations have fallen out of style, but the same archetypes are still part of middle school: the popular girls, the cool kids, the misfits. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if there wasn't at least one offbeat girl at South Pas middle school with Che Guevara's picture as wallpaper on her laptop.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

South Pas Adjacent

I chased a beautiful late 60s Corvair all the way down Fremont into Alhambra, where I promptly lost it at the Main Street light.

Oh well. Just look what I stumbled across as a consolation.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Mark Those Calendars

Charlie's -- my favorite coffee house in town -- has been kind enough to invite me to show my photographs there as part of an ongoing series featuring local artists. (Read more about Charlie's in the current issue of The Quarterly. Or better yet, just GO there and taste that heavenly Jameson Brown coffee! It's locally roasted and so addictive you'll either thank me or curse me for the introduction...)

My photo exhibit is called South Pas: Observed. It's going up in the next week, with a reception on October 1st from 4:00-6:00PM. (Long-time blog readers will recognize many of the shots!)

Friday, September 16, 2011

Rumor Has It...

"I know a secret about that water tower," a little girl said. She was walking her dog past the familiar landmark just as I was taking this picture. "So," she said. "Wanna hear it?" "Sure," I said. "But do I have to keep it a secret, or can I tell other people about it?" "Oh, you can tell them," she said. "But they'll never believe it. Nobody does." She lowered her voice to an almost-whisper and opened her eyes wide. "There's a mermaid living in there," she said. "And she can't get back to the ocean because it's too far and she'll dry up. So that water tower is like her aquarium." The girl looked up at the water tower and paused for several seconds. "Sometimes if you listen carefully you can hear her singing," she said. "But it's usually during a full moon or something weird like that. Okay, bye!" The girl walked away with her dog and I stood very still for a moment and listened... Nothing. Oh well. I'll try again during a full moon.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

NOW I get it!

I'm not sure how I would have figured out my take-out if not for these thoughtful instructions.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Classic Beauty

The restored Comerica Bank building is so beautiful, I almost always stop and take pictures of it. (And this time, I didn't even focus on the rosettes!)

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Just Thinking...

Walt Whitman once said that every moment of light and dark is a miracle. I have always read the quote out of context, so I have no idea if he was referring to the blessing of both joy and sorrow, or something esoteric like mankind's dual nature. Maybe he was just musing on just how cool it is to play with matches. (Come to think about it, all those things are pretty amazing.)

It's a lovely thought, really. The miracle of light and dark. In our current Us vs. Them culture, everything from natural disasters to local politics gets rubber stamped as either GOOD or EVIL. Despite our complex HD technology and ability to map most of the human genome, we're still basically a black and white world, willing to paint everything with broad strokes.

Even so, there's an infinite amount of grayscale in there if we just pay attention. And every bit of it is miraculous.

Monday, September 12, 2011


There's a lot of culinary delight packed into South Pasadena's three square miles. I muse about it in my column this week at Patch. (It should post sometime after lunch -- a lunch I plan on having at either Gus's BBQ or Mike and Anne's. Choices, choices...)

Sunday, September 11, 2011

September 11, 2011

"Peace and friendship with all mankind is our wisest policy, and I wish we may be permitted to pursue it."

--Thomas Jefferson

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Today's Thought:

“Some people drink from the fountain of knowledge, others just gargle.”
--Robert Anthony

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Heatwave Noir

"It was one of those hot dry Santa Anas that come down through the mountain passes and curl your hair and make your nerves jump and your skin itch. On nights like that every booze party ends in a fight."

--Raymond Chandler

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Fall Colors

Summer's flashy crape myrtle trees continue to bloom like crazy. Soon, the maples will add their deep, earthy colors and ginkos will upstage every other tree with bright gold...

Monday, September 5, 2011

and the days dwindle down...

We might not have cool weather yet, but the afternoons glow with long, autumnal light.

It's definitely September.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Daily Observation (after daily observation after daily observation...)

I've mentioned it before: You have to be a little crazy to be a daily photoblogger. 7 days a week, 365 days a year, even on Christmas or if you have 103 degree fever!

Maybe we're just inspired.

If you're a San Gabriel Valley local, check your nearest newsstand for the September issue of Pasadena Magazine. You'll find an article featuring fellow daily photobloggers Petrea Burchard, Ben Wideman, Kat Likkel and little ole me. We're all driven to photograph this fascinating part of the world, and the new article helps explain why we do it.

(Because we're crazy! Or maybe just inspired. Or probably a little of both.)

Saturday, September 3, 2011

comfort of open spaces


Oh the sight of a tall shedding tree:
to us it has grown to the limit of the sky
that breaks through its branches.

Filled with summer, almost thoughtful,
its faithful head seemed deep and thick.
But now its bones cross the sky like streets.
And the sky doesn’t know us.

At best, if we tried to warp
like birds through new openings,
we would be denied by the right of space
to consort only with worlds.

Like flags, the waves we feel in our seams
seek the connection and comfort of open spaces—

--Rainer Maria Rilke
translated by James Burnham

Friday, September 2, 2011

Breakfast Musings (#1)

Now that Little Bit is back in school, I've been taking myself out to breakfast. South Pas has a nice array of choices for a morning feast. There have only been 6 school days so far this year, and already I've gained five pounds with the help of Charlie's, Heirloom Bakery & Cafe, Shakers and Carrows.

Wise ones say that we should seize the day. I say, what better way to seize it than fueled by caffeine, eggs and hash browns? Who's with me?

Thursday, September 1, 2011


Today is the first of the month, and that means it's Theme Day for City Daily Photo bloggers. Today's theme is Perspective.

South Pasadena has many of these long, canopied streets. This one is a favorite. As you walk along and look into the distance, the cracked sidewalk seems to stretch into infinity. In the hazy summer light, the vanishing point doesn't vanish as much as shimmer like a little oasis.

A path like this is a great place to play around with photographic perspective. (And an even better
place to walk quietly, think, and possibly gain a little perspective.)

For other perspectives, check out my fellow bloggers from all over the world. Click here to view thumbnails for all participants