Saturday, October 18, 2008

Still Rehearsing

In San Marino, our sunny neighbor to the south, work continues on The Mystery Plays at the Stillspeaking Theatre. At this point the set, like the play, is a work in progress. With its steep rake and different levels, we're having to learn how to walk on it. One actor will even ride a bike on it. Oh yeah.

It may not look difficult but working on a set like this reminds me of why actors have to be in good physical condition. A steep slant is no big deal if you only have to stand on it for a few seconds, but moving about quickly on it is quite another thing. And we're going to be doing some of that in the dark. The point is to give the audience an exciting theatrical experience.

Here, Sara Ceballos and Justin Dew rehearse a scene while Dariean Henderson prepares for his entrance. Right now we're the StillTryingToRememberOurLines Theatre, but that's part of the process. When the show opens November first we'll be oh, so ready.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Altadena's First Water Park

Some of you may remember Case, who first commented on my post about Cinema 21 on Washington Blvd. As a kid, Case lived behind the Cinema in a 1920's bungalow long since torn down. Case shared his story with us on my September 24th post, and many of you asked for pictures of his bungalow.

He didn't have photos of the bungalow, but he did have this one of a different house, which came with another bit of local history:

"This one is the ~Ranchero Modurne~ on Wapello & Tonia in Altadena, where we moved to in 1959. As I have been told, the Pool used to be a Public Pool of sorts, and the house was built about 25 years [after the pool was built]. Being the first owners, the day we moved in, there were 20-30 neighborhood kids & their parents in the pool.... and in the House, and using the bathroom, and making Sandwiches in the Kitchen, and even storing Beer & Sodas in the Fridge, leaving puddles of water everywhere! Of course, the pool you see in the pic is the rebuilt one we put in many years latter. The original pool had rounded corners that sloped gently to the bottom. You could actually run water down the deep end corner when the pool was being filled, and slide down it into the bottom on your bottom with a cool splash. Pasadena's First Water Park! Eventually, the public got it drummed into their heads that the pool was no longer "Open". Especially when we started charging them! Ha Ha... And Yes, that's Snow on the Gabriels!"

Case, thanks for a great story and a fun photo to go with it.

Thursday, October 16, 2008


These roofers told me they had to get their equipment to and from the job via ropes because they didn't have an elevator. I had fun taking pictures of them. They were friendly guys. Resourceful, too, I thought, using ropes to raise and lower their tools. I watched them send down ladders, shovels, brooms and bags to their counterparts at the truck below.

As I post the photo I'm thinking, if the only way to get the equipment up there was with ropes, how did the men get up there? There must have been a stairway. Too much trouble with a ladder, I suppose?

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

In the Shadows of the Rose Bowl

Today is Blog Action Day 2008. This year's theme is poverty.

In a speech he made in July of 2000, Pasadena Mayor Bill Bogaard said, "the vast majority of Pasadena residents cannot afford the median priced home that exists in our community today." And that was before the housing price boom.

Things have certainly changed since then. The most recent statistics I found were cited in an article by Peter Dreier in Pasadena Weekly from September, 2007. At first the numbers make it look like poverty levels are decreasing in Pasadena. But at closer examination, Dreier discovers that there are fewer poor people in Pasadena because they're leaving. They can't afford to live here. Yep, Pasadena is a prosperous community.

I wonder how things will change in the days to come. I wonder, as the world's financial crisis plays out, if we'll need to do more than just write checks to charity to keep our communities afloat. Maybe the crisis will be a crisis by definition: short-lived. Maybe we'll all be fine. Or maybe poverty will hit home. What will we do? Serve food? Build homes? Get our hands dirty? Will someone do that for us if we're in need?

I've heard pundits call it "the American financial crisis." What they fail to understand is that we're part of the world. Our economy is global. Our society is global, too. If society is global, then poverty has already hit home.

What will we do? What will you do? What will I do?

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Every Day is Hump Day

You may have seen speed humps. You may have found them annoying. I used to. But I began to see speed humps from a different point of view when I moved to a residential street that some drivers seemed to think made an ideal speedway.

When our street was presented with the opportunity to get speed humps, a few like-minded neighbors joined us in canvassing the block to get the necessary votes to acquire them. It was hard work and the vote wasn't unanimous. But most of us love our speed humps because they've helped make the street quieter for us stodgy grown-ups and safer for the kids.

(They're not "speed bumps," by the way. Speed bumps are slim and high, like what you find in parking lots. Speed humps are long and low, to slow traffic on residential streets. We learned all the cool traffic pacification lingo.)

So imagine my joy when the other morning I heard John call out, "photo op!" and I ran outside to find Oscar Alvarado, Miguel Rojas and Steven Adams refreshing the paint on our beloved speed humps. It was a quick job, one-two-three.

One: they said, "Sure, you can take pictures!" and placed stencils on the street.

Two: while Mr. Alvarado held the stencil in place, Mr. Rojas sprayed the paint.

Three: while Alvarado and Rojas replaced the stencils on the truck, Mr. Adams sprinkled something on the wet paint. I figured it was something to help make the paint dry. But later, John showed me what Steven Adams had sprinkled. We found a few teeny, tiny glass beads left behind. They stick to the paint to make it glow when headlights shine on it.
We love our speed humps. Now, when I come upon them while driving in town, I know what the residents went through to get them and why. And I slow down and enjoy their quiet street.

These gentlemen were awfully nice to let me take their picture. They were efficient, too. Bonuses all around!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Zen Monday: #20

On Zen Monday you experience the photo and tell me what it's about, rather than me telling you what to experience from viewing it.
There's no right or wrong answer.
The only rule is the truth. If the photo evokes something in you, then that's the answer.

(note to speed hump kings: tomorrow.)

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Pie Night

You don't know a sugar high until you know Pie Night.

John and I first lived together in a rented home in Altadena, where we got married in the back yard. We lived there, across the street from our friends the Schwartz family, for a year and a half before we bought our Van Nuys house and moved away. By the time we moved back to the Pasadena area two years later, Pie Night at the Schwartz home had become an annual fall event. It's casual. Just come--and bring a pie.

Last night it was cold and blustery outside. It's full-on autumn here. Just right for our third Pie Night.

The Schwartzes have been around here for about ten years. Michael's a frisbee artist and JPL scientist (oh I know, isn't everybody?) and Susan's the Executive Director of P.E.N, the Pasadena Education Network. Natalie Rose is a budding ballerina/actress and Molly's not sure about future plans yet, but she can swing from a tree on her rope swing about nineteen different ways.

The guy in the picture is named Dave. He was gonna get him some pie. I got me some, too, let me tell you. Several varieties. And homemade cre-->me brulee.

Took a while to come down.