Last night was the sneak preview blogathon at the Sierra Madre Playhouse for “A Christmas Memory” based on a short story by Truman Capote. This is a musical with live musicians, not canned sound tracks.
I was captured from the get go with this play. The performances by the cast were engaging and brought the story to life. To avoid spoilers I’ll not give away too much of the plot or story line. The setting is a man’s boyhood home and sequences between the now and his boyhood spent in rural Alabama raised by cousins in the depression. The story is about a man returning “home” after being gone a long time for the funeral of a cousin who raised him. Its an interesting story of familial love and bonding, with adventures and making fruitcake.
The latter is central to the story and the song “Fruitcake Weather” is lively and just adds to the story line. Young Buddy (Ian Branch) and Sook (Diane Kelber) have a bond that is magical and plays out well on stage.
The music gets a big round of applause, but one of the best sequences in the production is when the cast breaks out the ukelele’s and busts out into song. Fun, well done and did I mention fun?
To read more about the cast and production team visit their website HERE. The Sierra Madre Playhouse has another hit on its hands here. The play has already sold out for Friday and Saturday night its opening weekend. You can still get tickets for Sunday and the remaining dates (the play closes December 27) via the Playhouse HERE.
Deets Sierra Madre Playhouse, 87 W Sierra Madre Blvd, Sierra Madre CA
No one’s lining up yet, but they will be early Sunday morning to catch the 38th occasional Doo Day Parade. It officially starts at 11:00AM but you’ll see folks as early as 8 staking out a spot with their lawn chair and hot cocoa.
The parade route continues to be in East Pasadena where the gentrifiers haven’t invaded and booted the Doo Dah’ers away like what happened in Old Town. Yet. The route is on Colorado Bvld between Altadena Drive and San Gabriel Blvd. It will start at the midway point at Vinedo Ave on the north side of the median on Colorado Blvd.
Queen this year is Ms Juli Crockett at the Grand Marshall, and Veronika MeowMeowz as the queen. Look for the usual cast of crazies rounding out the parade, Snotty Scotty and the Hankies and new folks as well to march in the parade.
Coming from out of town and don’t want to hassle with driving in? The Hilton Garden Inn is having a special for Doo Dah fans…Contact Jason Casas, Sales Manager,Hilton Garden Inn – Arcadia, CA. 199 N. Second Ave. Arcadia, CA 91006. Phone D: 626.321.4498 | F: 626.574.9910. or on the web
Fruitcake that ubiquitous bundle of fruit and nuts, sometimes soaked in booze that you either abhor or adore. I fall into the latter and think this Friday’s Fruitcake tasting party at the Vroman’s book store in the Hastings Ranch shopping center looks to be a ton of fun. The tasting is a joint venture with the Sierra Madre Playhouse who is opening its holiday play “A Christmas Memory” based on a short story but Truman Capote next week. ‘
There are planned to be over a dozen fruit cakes at this event. They are sourced from bakers all over the country as well as the Los Angeles Area. A sampling…
Sumi Chang and Europane Bakery, Pasadena
Karen Hansen and Copenhagen Pastry, Pasadena
Mike McLellan and Patticakes Desserts, Altadena,
Deets: Friday 11/20 6PM Vroman’s 3729 E Foothill Blvd, Pasadena, CA 91107
If you’re interested in seeing A Christmas Memory you can order tickets HERE. The Sierra Madre Playhouse is located at 87 W Sierra Madre Blvd, Sierra Madre.
Sometimes magic happens on stage. This time around it hit home at Sierra Madre Playhouse with the production of “Always…Patsy Cline”. The cast was magical and I was tickeled beyond belief to been on the sidelines watching the cast grow into their characters and bring this production to life. Some 4000 people from all over the L.A Metro and OC saw the play. You can scroll through for my review from the soft opening.
Actors Cori Cable Kidder (Patsy Cline) and Nikki D’Amico (Louise Seger) gave heartfelt thanks at the end of the show. Artistic Director Christian Lebano and Managing Director, Estelle Campbell also chimed in with their thoughts on the play. Enjoy their closing comments and consider visiting the Sierra Madre Playhouse for their next production opening later this month, A Christmas Memory.
*Running of the Clowns to you who don’t know how to use google translate. Its today. 3PM in the streets and alleys of Old Town Pasadena. Its a parody of the running of the bulls in Spain, only with Clowns so no animals are hurt. I’m not running this year…I’ll be photo and videoing it.
What I can share is that if you want to run be at the Memorial Park Station on the Gold Line prior to 3 PM. Dress all in white with a big red sash just like the bull runners do. When the bull horn sounds prepare to run with the others followed by seriously silly and happy clowns. There are breaks where you’ll walk to catch your breath and safely cross streets. The mile or so loop will end with you buying your own pizza and beer at 800 Degrees Pizza at Colorado and Fair Oaks.
If you just want to witness the fun and silliness just be on Colorado Blvd, between Fair Oaks and Delacy St sometime around 3PM and wait for the runner and clowns to come by and cheer them on.
I can tell you its a ton of fun. I did it as a runner last year along with my daughter. Ending at the now defunct Jake’s basement bar. ITs really a lot of silliness and comraderie…how bad can that be?
What…Truman Capote at the center of a story for Christmas? Yes, in short this is a loosely based story of his childhood in the foster system and the family that contemplated saving him by sending him to a military school for more structure and balance. There’s your synopsis, the real story lies in the casting and direction of turning this short story in to a musical complete with ukelele. Starring a former “harlette” from Better Midler’s cast of talented crazies this play will be directed by Alison Kalmus, a real treasure and supporter of the Sierra Madre Playhouse.
This isn’t her directing debut with the Playhouse, that was 2004 with A Christmas Carol Story, no this will be her 5th play directed for the Playhouse. She brings a creative vision that ties music and the story line together in what is hoped to be a magical evening. Alison is a huge supporter of the Sierra Madre Playhouse and helps to bring their mission of American Plays by American authors in historical context. I can’t wait to see this play.
And I don’t have to wait for the grand opening as I’ll be hosting another soft opening blogathon at the Playhouse for this play the evening of November 25, 2015, Care to be one of the first to get a sneak peak, a little look see and tweet and instagram it for posterity? Message me at [email protected] with your twitter handle and instagram and I’ll get back to you with details. I can promise you a most outstanding theatre experience, booze and of course my famous Browned Butter Brownies to keep you satiated during the intermission and before hand.
It seems like only yesterday I wrote about this amazing play and shared the back story of a blogathon soft opening that opened at Sierra Madre Playhouse. This play has exceeded everyones wildest expectations. Between Nikki D’Amico and Cori Cable Kidder, backed up by a live band you get the story of Patsy Cline and her biggest fan in a lively if not outright energetic play. Always…Patsy Cline has received numerous nominations from the local theatre community. Cori herself has received phenomenal reviews and nominations for an Ovation Award from the L.A. Stage Alliance.
Always…Patsy Cline has been extended twice due to demand…selling out every weekend since it opened in July. There are only 10 performances left before the curtains close the final time on October 30, 2015.
Make a night of it. Dinner out at one of the few restaurants in Sierra Madre or kick back a beer at Lucky Baldwin’s in honor of Louise’s Schlitz she pounds down during the play. Order your tickets here. Order fast as they sell out quickly.
Deets: Sierra Madre Playhouse, 87 W Sierra Madre Blvd, Sierra Madre MAP HERE 626-355-4318
This weekend was a terrifc weekend, if you forget the blazing heat and attended the Monrovia Association of Fine Arts 52nd Annual Celebrate the Arts and first ever ChalkFest.
Celebrate the Arts incorporated several first as I outlined the other day. What makes these events fun isn’t so much the terrific art, but the ability to see artists working on their art, demonstrating their technique. There year there were several artists doing just that. Glass blower Joshua Smilth wowed folks with his tecnhique. Metal sculpturist Bill Hyatt continued working on his horse head sculpture a painstaking process of welding dot by dot to build up the face and texture of the horse.
This is a biggy for me. Something that I, as a board member, have been all but consumed with the last several weeks. Celebrate the Arts is in its 52nd year and its going to have quite a few firsts on top of the already terrific fine artists populating the park with their art.
Celebrate the Arts is held in Monrovia’s Library Park from 10AM – 6PM both Saturday and Sunday this weekend. There will be a lot of firsts at this show that we are really excited about on top of our usual host of Food Trucks, live music, extremely talented artists. Among our firsts this event:
ChalkFest – a competitive street art event with Lori Escalera as our celebrity judge.
Children’s Chalk Experience -designed for the 12 and under set to experiment with chalk
Featured Artist Elizabeth Butterfield…her collage work is simply stunning
There are a few hundred classic cars expected to line South Pasadena’s historic Mission Street for their 10th Annual Cruz’n for Roses classic car show. Car owners pay a fee to enter their cars and the proceeds go towards the cities Rose Parade float.
Also for the day the South Pas Fire and Police department will be hosting an open house if you want to check out their latest gear, cars and of course fire trucks. The open house will take place at their station located at 1422 S Mission from 10AM-3PM
Yesterday was the 25th annual Monrovia Car Show and it wasn’t a disappointment. No sirree. It was side by side both sides of the street and some side streets in Old Town Monrovia jam packed with more old cars in every stage of repair and customization you could imagine. Focused primarily on domestics, there were the few odd imports…a Pantera here, an Anglia there, an Austin Healy there…you get the idea. A car show.
The cars start lining up at 8AM and by 10AM South Myrtle Avenue in Monrovia from Palm to Olive is a massive sea of cars. MASSIVE. As in hundreds of classic cars in every state of restoration, customization or just in need of some TLC and stock original. Its limited to pre-malaise era cars so pretty much anything prior to 1980 is there.
With Myrtle Avenue blocked I’d suggest getting off at Myrtle Ave and head north from the 210. At that point turn right at Huntington Drive and then left at Ivy and park in a free city parking lot off Ivy. Or…turn left then right up Primrose and park in one of the free lots off that street.
Arrive early and do dress for heat. Crowds peak around the lunch hour and if its too hard to see the cars, well pop into Jakes Roadhouse or one of the many other restaurants in Old Town Monrovia, grab a bite and wait for the crowds to die down.
You don’t have to take my word for it that this is a not to be missed classic car show. Check my flickr albums from 2013 and 2014 from the event as a good teaser and prep of what to expect.
For the final edition of 626 Night Market there as a few new tricks to keep it fun and fresh. First up is Saturday Nights open Mike with the kids from ABC’s “Fresh Off the Boat” and then there is the dancing competiton. Full details HERE Even if the new stuff doesn’t entice, the old standbys…incredible food, street vendors and music should keep you entertained and satiated.
Having been a few times, its easy access just a few blocks south of the 210 in Arcadia. You can enter from the gates on Baldwin, but traffic is bad there with the mall. The other and better option is to exit Santa Anita, head south to Hungtington Dr and turn right (west) on to Huntington and enter in the massive gates there.
Deets Friday 9/4, Saturday 9/5 and Sunday 9/6 4PM to 1AM. Santa Anita Park, 285 W Huntington Drive, Arcadia CA MAP HERE
I see the most amazing stuff when I meander off the beaten path. This refugee from the Mad Max set, an art car gone mad if you will, was spotted in an alley just off Myrtle/Lime in Old Town Monrovia. Too bizarre for words.
Last year was awesome fun. This year promises more of the same at the 626 Night Market held at the Santa Anita Park in Arcadia. Its one of the biggest events of the year in the SGV…second to maybe the Rose Parade thingy, but that has no food, bands or stuff. This, the 626 Night Market has tons, TONS of food, live bands and all sorts of stuff you didn’t know you needed for sale. Cheap.
Friday August 7,4PM-1AM, Saturday August 8, 4PM-1AM, Sunday August 9, 4PM-11PM
Santa Anita Park, 285 W Huntington Drive, Arcadia. MAP HERE.