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25th Annual Monrovia Custom Car Show recap

September 13, 2015 in Driving, Events, San Gabriel Valley, Transportation

custom ford coupe

Ford Custom Coupe…my personal best of show, click to embiggen

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.

Of course there were all sorts of cars and trucks that defied description and you have to see them in person to grasp their importance.  Or silliness.  to see them you need to make the jump. Read the rest of this entry →

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25th Annual Monrovia Street Rods Forever Car Show Saturday 9/12

September 9, 2015 in Driving, Entertainment, Events, San Gabriel Valley, Transportation

Show to embiggen

Show Poster…click to embiggen

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.

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626 Night Market this weekend for the close of summer

September 3, 2015 in Art, Entertainment, Events, Food & Drink, LA, San Gabriel Valley, Seasonal, Shopping

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

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ICME refugee from the Mad Max set?

August 22, 2015 in Art, Driving, ICME, San Gabriel Valley

click to embiggen and not miss a detail

click to embiggen and not miss a detail

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.

Pic by me with my phone.  Click to embiggen.

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626 Night Market this weekend August 7,8,9

August 6, 2015 in Entertainment, Filmmaking/Filmmakers, Food & Drink, Music, San Gabriel Valley, Seasonal, Shopping

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.

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Always-Patsy Cline and the blogathon soft open

July 31, 2015 in Entertainment, Events, Music, People, Profiles, San Gabriel Valley, Theatre/Stage

Cori Cable Kidder as Patsy and Nikki D'Amico as Louise.  click to embiggen

Cora Kidder Cable as Patsy and Nikki D’Amico as Louise. click to embiggen

Always-Patsy Cline the production kicking off the 2015-2016 season at the Sierra Madre Playhouse officially opens this weekend to a sold out crowd.  SOLD OUT.

As a board member I’m involved in a lot of aspects behind the scene’s.  JozJozJoz,  metblogs/ CEO is an official tweeter for the L.A. Opera and that was the germ of the idea for the blogathon for the soft opening, last rehearsal of Always-Patsy Cline. But more on that a bit later.

This is a wonderful story of an overly zealous fan and the star she adored becoming accidental friends and pen pals. The play itself is about  how Louise Seger, a Houston housewife played by Nikki D’Amico who is best characterized as a spitfire hellcat fun loving divorcee, reminiscing over the night she first heard Pasty Cline on the radio and how she followed her career until they met a club outside Houston.  They became best of friends, Louise and Pasty became penpals and wrote each other until Patsy’s untimely death at the age of 30.  Those letters to Louise ended with the salutation “Always-Patsy Cline”.  That story, and the story of Patsy’s life are intertwined and told through 27 songs by Patsy Cline beautifully recreated by Cori Cable Kidder and backed up by a live band. Read the rest of this entry →

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Monrovia Art Walk Saturday 7/25 7-10PM

July 23, 2015 in Art, Entertainment, Events, People, San Gabriel Valley, Shopping

Santiago Heredia will be among the artists doing live demonstrations at this Saturday’s Art Walk in Monrovia sponsored by the Monrovia Association of Fine Arts. Santiago works in acrylic and cranks out paintings full of character and fun live before his audience.

Also demonstrating at the Art Walk will be Elizabeth Butterfield who will show her torn paper collage techniques.  Monrovia High School Ceramics under the direction of Saul Perez will be demonstrating on the potters wheel.

All told there will be 10 (possibly more in the works still) artists on the 400 and 500 block of South Myrtle Avenue.  These artists will include photographers, painters, jewelry sculptures at the Art Walk.  Last. and not least, the Empty Bowls Monrovia project led by Meaghan McCarthy will be there selling the last of the bowls with 100% of the proceeds going to help the Foothill Unity Center feed the homeless and needy here in the SGV.

Lastly, adding to the festive atmosphere there will be live music.

Might I suggest…make a night of it.  Visit one of the many restaurants in Old Town Monrovia, or take in a movie then hit the Art Walk to round out your night.

Deets.  MAFA ART WALK, Saturday 7//25/2015, 7PM-10PM. 400/500 Block S Myrtle Avenue, Monrovia CA 91016 MAP HERE


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Thoroughly Modern Milly opens tonight in Monrovia

July 16, 2015 in Entertainment, Music, San Gabriel Valley, Theatre/Stage

TMM PosterCommunity theatre is derided but not always deservedly so.   The theatre group associated with Monrovia High School tackles big plays and does them quite nicely.  Most importantly its a community effort supported by MUSD and gives kids and young adults in the area a chance to spread their wings, experiment and grow.

The play plot is well known.   Young girl goes to New York looking for a rich husband instead of love.  The part of Milly is played by Marjory Zuk who not only sings well, but dances well to bring the character to life.  Theres a large pool of local talent to round out the cast and make for a lively evening.

Full Press release after the jump: Read the rest of this entry →

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Patsy Cline Listening Party at Vromans Hasting Ranch

July 15, 2015 in Entertainment, Music, News, People, San Gabriel Valley

Always - Patsy Cline listening party poster, click to embiggen

Always – Patsy Cline listening party poster, click to embiggen

This is going to be an awesomely fun evening.  Sierra Madre Playhouse and Vroman’s Books in Hasting Ranch have teamed up to bring the cast and crew from their soon to open “Always…Patsy Cline” production down the hill for a listening party.  Listen to such classics as Crazy, Walking After Midnight, and I Fall To Pieces.

Learn about the singing techniques Patsy used to evoke the heartbreak and longing that have made her songs country and pop classics. Presented in tandem with the production of Always… Patsy Cline at The Sierra Madre Playhouse, playing July 31 – September 12, 2015.

I know this shopping center well.  Parking is always tight and you can idle forever waiting for a spot to open.  I’d suggest if you are mass transit enabled take the Gold Line to the Sierra Madre Station and walk the 4 blocks east to Vroman’s or grab an ARTS shuttle or Foothill Transit 187 “murder bus” to the center.  Much easier and less stressful than dealing with tight parking.

Deets: The Patsy Cline Listening Party will take place at Vroman’s Hastings Ranch store at 3729 E. Foothill Blvd., Pasadena, CA 91107 on Friday, July 17, 2015 at 6:00 p.m. Free event. MAP HERE.

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Call to Artists – Opportunity to share and sell your work

July 10, 2015 in Art, Entertainment, San Gabriel Valley, Shopping

Art Walk Post Card. Click to embiggen

Art Walk Post Card. Click to embiggen

Monrovia Association has two opportunities to show and sell your art work.  The fees are nominal and often you far exceed in sales what your display fee was.  Its a cost effective way to promote your work to potential collectors and start a following.  Covering costs is always a good thing.

ART WALK This annual event was condensed to one night of showing and selling excitement on July 25.  The artists are lined up on the 400 block of South Myrtle Avenue in Monrovia.  This is the same block as the theatre and you capture that crowd as well as those from the local restaurant scene.  (Monrovia has quite the large sidewalk cafe scene going which in itself can be a reason to visit).

If interested in the Art Walk please contact the coordinator Bill Hyatt at [email protected] for all the details on this fun event.

CELEBRATE THE ARTS This year marks the 52nd year of this annual event. IT will be held the weekend of September 26-27 in Library Park in historic Old Town Monrovia. Celebrate the Arts is a Juried Fine Art event that doesn’t permit bead stringers and folk arts.  This annual event is well supported  and attended by the community and surrounding area.  There are numerous artists and community organizations that in this show each year.  Adding to the traffic this year is the first ever ChalkFest featuring several chalk street artists competing for prizes.

Celebrate the Arts Poster, click to embiggen

Celebrate the Arts Poster, click to embiggen

For more information on Celebrate the Arts contact the coordinator Christine Geltz at [email protected] for all the details and an application.

Please follow us on twitter and facebook for all the most current news and updates on events.

*disclosure, I’m on the Board of Directors of the Monrovia Association of Fine Arts and serve as Jury Coordinator.


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What do with the kidlets in the SGV this summer?

June 17, 2015 in Art, Education, LA, People, San Gabriel Valley, Seasonal, Shopping


Summer Art Lessons to embiggen

Summer Art Lessons flyer…click to embiggen

Paint n Play Art Studio and Gallery in Monrovia has just the thing to keep kids entertained and busy this summer.  Art classes.  Several to choose from and all expert taught by Lisa Barrios and her loving staff.  Real working pros sharing their talents with kids.  Does it get better than that?

From basic ceramics to Parent and Tot classes its a learning experience and freeing little minds to create.  I really love this stuff.  Most is ages 6 and up, though some are as young as 4, and others you need to be at least 8.  Hard core elementary ages that need some structure and learning activities in the summer…that are fun.

Click the flyer to embiggen and get the full deets on the classes they offer.  Call Lisa Barrios the owner of Paint n Play for the details and to get your kidlet signed up.  You won’t regret it and you’ll be a hero to your kid for doing so.

Deets: Paint n Play Art Studio and Gallery, 418 S Myrtle Avenue, Monrovia 91016  626-256-4648

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A night of creating ART and a little libation to loosen you up…

May 21, 2015 in Art, Entertainment, Events, Food & Drink, Media, People, San Gabriel Valley

Adult Art nite 5.20 This is going to be a fun event. Terrific even.  Its about creating art, some adult refreshements (booze) and hors d’oeuvres to nourish your body and loosen up the creative spirit you bottle up daily while chained to your cube.  Its about learning to express yourself in a media other than words.

The teacher this round is Elizabeth Jewell Butterfield, the featured artist at Monrovia Association of Fine Art’s annual Celebrate the Arts held in September.  Elizabeth is an amazing mixed media artist.  She takes bits of material, paper, what have you, tears in itty bitty bits and applies it to a canvas where it suddenly becomes a beautiful painting.  She will teach you do the same in the First class held on May 30

The last time this was done at the Paint n Play Art Studio and Gallery in Monrovia it sold out fast.  The teacher made the class exceptionally fun and everyone walked away with a piece of art to hang in their cube to remind themselves they can do it.  I can’t stress enough…sign up early and don’t miss this fun event.

Deets” May 30, June 20,  and July 18.  Paint n Play Art Studio and Gallery, 418 S Myrtle Avenue, Monrovia CA 91016 626/256-4848 to reserve a spot.

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The Odd Couple is a rip roaring good time at Sierra Madre Playhouse

May 9, 2015 in Entertainment, News, People, San Gabriel Valley, Theatre/Stage

The cast...cick to embiggen

The cast…cick to embiggen

Neil Simon’s “The Odd Couple” opened at the Sierra Madre Playhouse and it was a riotous good time.  The play we know, but Alan Brooks and Artistic Director Christian Lebano twisted it up a notch and made this so much more than the bare words on the script.  I can’t find a fault in the production, and neither could the audience that laughed pretty much non-stop during this examination of interpersonal relationships among friends and differing personalities.

Where to start, by now we all know the story.  Oscar Madison’s wife and kids leave him and move away leaving him to grunge up an 8 room apartment.  Shortly thereafter Felix Unger’s wife boots him and he shows up on Oscar’s doorstep with no place to live.  Jack Sundmacher as Oscar and Brad David Reed as Felix have terrific chemistry and brought their characters to life.  Even in Oscar’s most curmudgeonly moments you felt connected to him and understood him.  Felix is just a nutball basket case and he too wound up capturing your heart.  His sinus-clearing-ear-unplugging bit was hysterical.

As I mentioned in an earlier post the poker table, played by Richard Van Slyke, Joe Langer, Steve Bean and Vince Donvito had chemistry.  It was really as funny as watching a group of guys who’ve been been playing for years, not actors who just recently met.  Funny, caring, wise-cracking and FUNNY.  You couldn’t help but wish you were in their circle at the table playing poker as well.

Jane Lui (l) and Kari Lee (r) as the Pigeon Sisters, click to embiggen

Jane Lui (l) and Kari Lee (r) as the Pigeon Sisters, click to embiggen

The absolute bit of genius was switching up the roles of the “Pigeon Sisters”, the dating interest and neighbors of Oscar and Felix. Played by Kari Lee and Jane Lui was a piece of sheer casting genius.  The chemistry and infectious zest for living they brought to the stage really brought the play to life. Typically the two rolls are just simply cast to a couple of blonde bimbos and let the chips fall where they may, these two brought the characters of Gwendolyn and Ceciy to hyper animated life.  Between the two of them they capture Felix’s heart and convince him he’s going to be ok.  They even twist Oscar around to see Felix for the friend he is.  Quite a task and brilliantly played by Ms Lee and Ms Lui.

Don’t forget the contest for “my worst roommate” that runs until May 31.  Send the Playhouse your worst roommate story and if chosen you get dinner with this incredible cast!  ENTER HERE, or simply mail your story to [email protected]

The play runs through June 27,  Order tickets HERE.

DEETS: Sierra Madre Playhouse 87 W Sierra Madre Blvd. Sierra Madre CA 91024  MAP HERE  Box Office 626/355-4318

All pics by me.


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“The Odd Couple” opens Friday at Sierra Madre Playhouse

May 4, 2015 in Entertainment, Events, FEATURED, People, San Gabriel Valley, Theatre/Stage


Odd Couple Contest poster, click to embiggen, image by Gina Long

Odd Couple Contest poster, click to embiggen, image by Gina Long

The Odd Couple celebrates its 50th Anniversary this year and the Sierra Madre Playhouse production promises NOT to be your grandparents version of the play.  There are some interestsing twists.  This cast has character and chemistry.  The one rehearsal I sat in I was enthralled and had to keep my attention diverted so I didn’t get so wrapped up I spoiled opening night for myself.

Artistic Director Christian Lebano and Director Alan Brooks bring some fun to the table in their interpretation of “The Odd Couple” that won’t go unnnoticed.  To give it some local flavor the Pigeon Sisters are played by actors Kari Lee and Jane Lui.  The little bit I saw they bring a whole new range of interest and humor to the roles of the love interests of accidental bachelors Oscar and Felix.  Worth a see, trust me.

What is really fun is the contest.  Since this is the story of a mismatched roommate situation, the Sierra Madre Playhouse is running a contest for the worst roommate story.  The stories will be read prior to the play start each week and the winner will be announced at the Sunday matinee on June 12.  Story must be entered by midnight May 31, 2015. You can enter by submitting your story on the Sierra Madre Playhouse Facebook page, or emailing them at [email protected]  As noted in the headline…the best story gets dinner with the director and cast.

Christian Lebano, the Artistic Director at the Playhouse has his own roommate story to share here:

The Odd couple opens May 8 and runs through June 27.  You can order tickets HERE.  Here’s an added surprise and reason to attend opening night…you get to go to the opening night reception and mingle with the cast, directors and board of the Sierra Madre Playhouse.  Location of the reception is announced at the play…so no crashers.

Sierra Madre Playhouse 87 W Sierra Madre Blvd. Sierra Madre CA 91024  MAP HERE  Box Office 626/355-4318

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Concorso de Ferrari 2015 in Pasadena…its a wrap

April 27, 2015 in Driving, Entertainment, Events, San Gabriel Valley, Transportation, Vintage

Yup, this Sunday as promised was the Concorso de Ferrari in Old Town Pasadena. It was a most excellent show. A Ferrari for every budget from 40K fixers for sale to a one of a kind 15M model.  And everything in between.  Making a token appearance to offset the legion of La Ferrari was a Saleen S7.  Even Maserati, the bastard stepchild of Ferrari, was there with new cars under a tent from a local dealer.  Not to be out done, totally non-Italian Aston Martin was present with its own tent as well.  Supercar stars were alligned in Old Town this weekend. Read the rest of this entry →