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Christmas its a big deal in my corner of L.A

December 4, 2014 in Entertainment, Events, Holidays, San Gabriel Valley, Seasonal

I will be the first to tell you I love my little corner of L.A.  Its big enough to get lost if you want to, but small enough to be able to keep tabs on all that is important.  Plus I can be anywhere in L.A or behind the Orange Curtain in about an hour.  But thats not the real news, tonight is the traditional…been doing it as long as I can remember…the Lighting of the Christmas Tree followed by the Annual Christmas Parade.

  • 6 PM Tree lighting in Libarary Park
  • 7 PM Christmas Parade, Myrtle Avenue starting at Chestnut and ending at Palm (Library Park)

Hot on the heels of that is the Annual touring of Santa Claus escorted by MPD and MFD through the city. It takes 5 nights to cover every nook, cranny and alley in town. This year it starts on the 15th and the last night is the 19th. Details here.

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A Little House Christmas opens at Sierra Madre Playhouse

November 29, 2014 in Entertainment, History, News, People, San Gabriel Valley, Theatre/Stage

The Ingalls family as played by Hanna Victoria Stock, Valerie Lohman, Pamela Daly and Eric Charles Jorgensen.  Click to embiggen

The Ingalls family as played by Hanna Victoria Stock, Valerie Lohman, Pamela Daly and Eric Charles Jorgensen. Click to embiggen

Breaking a decades long tradition and following Creative Director Christian Lebano vision of bringing American plays by American authors,  A Little House Christmas opened to applause last night in Sierra Madre.

A little backstory about the play.  We all know Laura Ingalls Wilder and her stores of growing up in the 1800;s in the big woods or out on the Prarie, It was even a TV show for many years which is how many of us learned of the books.  The play is based on the book and was adapted to stage by James DeVita.  The Little House Heritage House allows little deviation and creative license,  That didn’t stop Directro Emily Chase from working with music curator Lindsey Stand-Polyak and music director Rebecca Lord from getting permission from the trust to incorporate period apporpriate music into the play.  It works. It works really well.  The songs, many of them “new” to this century are a marvelous addition to this simple themed play and adds real depth to the story.  I loved it.

The play takes places in the 1870s on the prairie and spans the course of 1 week with a wicked storm that wreaks havoc on the Ingalls family Christmas.  I won’t give any spoilers on how Christmas was saved, you need to watch the play to see the execution of the play and the heart warming ending.  Suffice it to say, kindness to others previously brought about the happy ending for the Ingalls family.

The Ingalls family as portrayed by Hanna Victoria Stock, Valerie Lohman, Pamela Daly and Eric Charles Jorgensen doesn’t deviate from the books or TV Show.  Added bonus to this is that “Pa Ingalls” in real life can play the fiddle and whips it out at appropriate times in the story to add some real life to  this simple story line. Read the rest of this entry →

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Small Business Saturday support the home grown retailer

November 28, 2014 in San Gabriel Valley, Seasonal, Shopping

Small Business Saturday

Small Business Saturday

Saturday November 29 is Small Business Saturday, the day the small retailer hopes will make their Holiday Season instead of the chain stores at the Mall. Its been going on a few years now, tomorrow is the day. Make it happen for the Home Grown Retailers that support the community they live in. Here is a run down of some of the things I know are going on in and around my corner of L.A.

First up my friend Lisa Barrios owner of the Paint n Play Art Studio and Gallery in Old Town Monrovia is offering up 20% Saturday only for customers who come in and tell her you saw the post here.  The 20% off is on any Holiday Gift item, pottery or ceramics that you chose to do.  The Legacy Hand Prints she does are really special momentos you will treasure for a lifetime.  418 S Myrtle Avenue, Monrovia CA 91016.  They are on Facebook too…remember to tell them fraz sent you!

Hoopla! in Altadena is closed for the day getting ready for Small Business Saturday.  This is a wonderful store full of really unique, often locally sourced artists and writers, gifts.  Hoopla will be donating 15% of their proceeds Saturday to both Light Bringer Project and Room 13 associated with Pasadena’s John Muir High School.

Sierra Madre is rolling out the Red Carpet as a community and will be hosting a “SmART Walk” of local artists within established businesses in town.  Do stop by Sierra Madre Playhouse and get your tickets for the family to attend their production of  A Little House Christmas.  Added bonus is photographer Geoffrey Wade will be exhibiting a few of his backstage images. Read the rest of this entry →

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Little House Christmas comes to Sierra Madre Playhouse

November 17, 2014 in Entertainment, News, San Gabriel Valley, Seasonal, Theatre/Stage

ALittleHouseChristmas
The Sierra Madre Playhouse is breaking tradition and bringing in a new play for the Holidays. “A Little House Christmas” premieres on Friday November 28, 2014 and I don’t want the play to get lost in the holiday busy shuffle.  Carve out some time and bring the fam to what promises to be another marvelous production by the Sierra Madre Playhouse.

The play as you might guess is based on the “Little House” books done by American author Laura Ingalls Wilder.  The book has been adapted for theatre by James DeVita.

The Sierra Madre Playhouse presentation of A Little House Christmas is directed by Emily Chase. Her cast includes (in alphabetical order) Jolie Adamson, Pamela Daly, Jeff Doba, Jim Harnagel, Eric Charles Jorgensen, Fletcher Kamal, Valerie Rose Lohman, Andrew Stock, Hannah Victoria Stock and Amy Tolsky. UCLA musicologist Lyndsey Strand-Polyak is the production’s consultant on music of the ear, which will include vibrant fiddle and guitar playing as well as lively dance.

All the details and ticket ordering can be found on the Sierra Madre Playhouse web site.

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Food Drives highlight the season

November 15, 2014 in News, San Gabriel Valley, Seasonal, Social issues

fork in it
Thanksgiving this year is a bigger challenge than ever according to my friends at the Foothill Unity Center. They feed literally hundreds of families every month, but this Holiday will be their toughest for a variety of reasons. Last year they fed 1,000 families. I won’t dwell on the “why’s” but will give you some ways to help.

First up is the “Put The Fork in Hunger” food drive in Pasadena to benefit the food banks at the Foothill Unity Center.  This food drive is going on NOW and all the details are in the link to their FB Page.  In short bring your non-perishable food items to 200 Bellafontaine Plaza and they will get it to the Foothill Unity Center to include in their packages for needy families.

The Foothill Unity Center needs a ton of help, not just food, but toys for the Christmas party they will hold as well.  This takes thousands of volunteer hours to get ‘er done.  They hneed help sorting food, making family packages and distribution to the families itself.  Sign up to volunteer HERE.

For more info on how you can help the Foothill Unity Center visit their web or call them:MONROVIA: 626- 358-3486 | PASADENA: 626-358-3486

Of course there are worthy food drives all over the city…chime in on the comments with your favorite charity in need of help.

 

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Tickets left for final weekend of 4000 Miles at Sierra Madre Playhouse

November 4, 2014 in Entertainment, People, San Gabriel Valley, Theatre/Stage

I can’t tell you all enough how absolutely marvelous this play and cast presenting it are.  I’ve blogged it twice here.  Go see it the final weekend.  Wrap up your evening at either Lucky Baldwins or the Buccaneer, the latter if you prefer dive bars).

Deets.  4000 Miles Tickets price varies.  Order HERE  87 W Sierra Madre Blvd, Sierra Madre 626-355-4813

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Running of the Clowns…Old Town Pasadena will not be the same

October 27, 2014 in Events, San Gabriel Valley


Ha…my sore feet and aching body tell me two things. I had way too much fun yesterday and I need to get in better shape if I’m gonna continue these sorts of escapades. What did I do you may ask?  Well, I was a runner at the first ever Running of the Clowns in Old Town Pasadena.  This video is the unofficial done by me version.  I have pic from it as well in a flickr album.

The official video is in need of a sound track.  Anyone know of a guitarist who could do a flamenco version of “Send in the Clowns”?  If so drop me a note and I’ll hook you up with the author of the official video.

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La Carrera de los Payas* Sunday 10/26 at 2PM

October 25, 2014 in Entertainment, Events, Mass Transit, San Gabriel Valley

* Running of the Clowns

I’m sorry the uploader doesn’t work for me…if it did I’d have a snazzy pic for you from the GLA Improv facebook page to share with you.  This is going to be a really fun event run through the alleys of Old Town Pasadena.

As a Runner you don’t have to be in that great of shape.  The furthest we sprint at any given time is a block.  You are to dress as the runners at the Running of the Bulls do…white pants, shirts and shoes with a red bandana.

If you choose a clown you have to be a happy friendly clown.  Not like “It” or “John Wayne Gacy”.  Costume materials are cheap and plentiful at the Dollar Store and 99Cent only stores.

The Mission is simple.  We all meet at the Sierra Madre Villa station of the Gold Line before 2PM.  Load your TAP card or buy RT fare totalling 3.50 for round trip.  At that point we will be briefed and grouped…runners in one car and clowns in another.  Catch a train to the Memorial Park Station by Holly Street and there the fun begins.  Full details on FB.

 

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Better than Gettypede…Running of the Clowns on 10/26

October 6, 2014 in Entertainment, Events, Mass Transit, San Gabriel Valley, Social issues, Transportation


Sunday I met with the agents at GuerilLA Improv for what has the makings of an epic mission.  Its “La Carrera de los Payasos”, literally “Running of the Clowns” a parody of the annual Running of the Bulls in Spain. Cool.

The mission dossier isn’t out yet. They do have a basic FB Page up now. I did walk the route and can tell you it took us less than 30 minutes with a lot of stops to discuss what would happen at each juncture. It will be short stints of running…something even my feeble old knees can handle.

There is a dress code. If you are a clown…you dress in happy clown attire, not scarey attire like “it”. If you are a runner you wear all white like the bull runners with a red bandana, sash or kerchief.  Personally I’d love to see one of the runners in a white wedding dress being chased by the clowns down the street, but do I wish for too much?

If you want in message me so I can get you a full dossier when its ready. Join me for the first running of the clowns.

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4000 Miles premiere at Sierra Madre Playhouse was simply amazing

September 27, 2014 in Entertainment, Events, News, People, San Gabriel Valley, Theatre/Stage

Leo and Vera meet for the first time...

Leo and Vera meet for the first time…

Last night was the opening of 4000 Miles a pulitzer nominated play at the Sierra Madre Playhouse.  The play was so well executed and performed you didn’t neet an intermission.  It ran a full Hour and Forty Five, but the time flew thanks the the simply amazing performances of Mimi Cozen as the grandmother Vera and Christian Prentice as the grandson Leo.

I’ll try not to give too much of the story line away or drop a spoiler.  This is a drama with a lot of comedy included.  Leo is a young man on a literal and metaphoric journey.  Leo left Seattle on a bicycle with a friend who died tragically in an accident along the way.  Leo arrived at his Grandmothers flat in New York at 3AM. The grandmother wasn’t expecting him and the first tiff started.  During the course of this play Leo makes a new and stronger relationship with Vera.  She wisely guides him through his problems and difficulties.  Eventually they face a common sadness and he completes his bond with his grandmother.

Of course the supporting characters deserve mention here too.  Bec, Leo’s girlfriend played by Alexandra Wright does a wonderful job of shedding light into Leo’s problems as well as allows us to learn more of Vera as she attempts to help her see her love for Leo and save that relationship.  Bec in a way winds up being the hero that gives Leo the final push he needs to mend fences and move forward. Read the rest of this entry →

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Final 626 Night Market for the year this weekend 9/12-14

September 11, 2014 in Blogging (in) LA, Entertainment, Events, Food & Drink, Music, San Gabriel Valley

logo for 626 Night Market

logo for 626 Night Market

It’s here the final 626 Night Market, the thing to do in the SGV, is this weekend. Friday night it starts at 4PM and runs Saturday into Sunday too. Food, stuff, music and special guest appearances market this weekend.

Theres still no transit way to make it there.  From the 210 Exit Santa Anita and drive south to Huntington.  Make a right and follow Huntington to the Santa Anita Park.

Parking is free and admission is a measly $3 per person.

Deets.  Santa Anita Park, 285 W Huntington Drive, Arcadia.  MAP HERE  Hours Friday/Saturday 4PM-1AM, Sunday 4PM-10PM

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Fund Raiser at CPK in Pasadena for Sierra Madre Playhouse 9/4/14

September 3, 2014 in Entertainment, Food & Drink, News, San Gabriel Valley, Shopping, Theatre/Stage

Sierra Madre Playhouse and California Pizza Kitchen in Pasadena have teamed up for a fund raiser to benefit the Playhouse and its coming production of “4,000 Miles”  The fund raiser is only at the Pasadena CPK on Los Robles, all day on Thursday September 4, 2014.  When you give your wait person THIS FLYER, 20% of your purchase will go to Sierra Madre Playhouse to fund this production.

Sierra Madre Playhouse was chosen over many other theaters in Los Angeles for the Los Angeles premiere of “4,000 Miles”  That play from what I’ve heard is an interesting look at transgenerational values and the exchange between a young man and his estranged grandmother.  The play opens September 26 and runs through November 8.  More details here.

Deets: California Pizza Kitchen, September 4, 2014 11AM-10PM.  99 Los Robles Ave (at Union Street), Pasadena CA.  MAP HERE.  Flyer HERE

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Sierra Madre Playhouse presents “6 rms riv vu”

August 25, 2014 in Entertainment, San Gabriel Valley, Theatre/Stage

SM6roomsConfused?  You should be, its New Yorkese for “6 rooms, river view” for a rent controlled apartment in the city.  The play is much more than that, its a look at the generation gap between the baby boomers and the generation that immediately preceeded them.  It about the shift in attitude of the 30 somethings in 1972 surrounded by the new ideas of the teenagers behind them and how they were raised.  Its questioning moral values and right and wrong.

The play itself is well written and I’ll try not to give any spoilers, the play focuses on 3 couples, two who actually get trapped in the vacant apartment and discover they have friends in common.. There is sexual tension that escalates and is discussed in great detail by Anne Miller played by Lena Bouton and Paul Friedman played by Jeremy Guskin.  These two actors deserve a standing ovation for their energetic performance.  They really carried this show with their beautifully executed dialog.

The show is worth seeing and making the trek to Sierra Madre.  The Playhouse is a small intimate setting without a bad seat in the house.  Its been spruced up since I was there last and it really is a nice venue.  Added bonus is that the actors all mingle with the crowd after the show is over out front.  Many wind up at Luck Baldwins for a night cap after that.

There are a few performances left before the show closes on September 6.  Full information on the cast , director and support team on the Sierra Madre website HERE.   Seats are available and can be bought on line HERE.

Details. Sierra Madre Playhouse, 87 W Sierra Madred Blvd, Sierra Madre 91024  MAP HERE 626-355-4318

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626 Night Market this Friday and Saturday 7/18-19

July 16, 2014 in Entertainment, Food & Drink, San Gabriel Valley, Seasonal, Shopping


I’ve been waiting for what seems an eternity for this to get here, but the 626  Night Market at Santa Anita Park is this weekend.  Great food, great people, fun chotskies and awesome food.  Yes, I was redundant, but the food is really the star at this event.

As a local I’d suggest skipping the Baldwin exist off the 210 as its been sketchy due to Gold Line rail connstruction the last several days.  Exit Santa Anita Ave and head south, make a right at Huntingon Drive and follow it to the main entrance for Santa Anita Park.  Next year, the Gold Line will be a fait accomplait and will give you instructions on how to get there from the Arcadia Gold Line Station, until then its freeway baby.

Parking is free, Admission is $3 per person.  Such a deal.

Deets: 626 Night Market 4PM-1AM Friday July 18 and July 19.  285 W Huntington Drive, Arcadia CA91007  MAP HERE

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Summer Art Walks start this weekend in the SGV

June 27, 2014 in Art, Entertainment, San Gabriel Valley, Seasonal, Shopping

Art Walk Postcard...click to embiggen

Man, dusting off my password and sharing one of my favorite fun things to do in the summer.  Wander about Myrtle Ave in Old Town Monrovia, hit a few of the night spots and enjoy some terrific art along the way.

Yup, its time for the Annual Summer Art Walks presented by the Monrovia Assocation of Fine Arts.  Now in its 10th year its a fine example of local art produced in my little corner of L.A.

Several of the local Art Galleries will be open, there will be live music as well as the usual Old Town attractions to keep you busy and entertained. The event will be held the last 3 Saturdays of June, July and August centered in the 400 Block of South Myrtle Avenue.  It will be held from 7-10PM on each of those nights.

If you are an artist that would like to exhibit and sell your work hit me up for the details.  [email protected]