Saturday, March 3, 2012

Real Irish

apple blossom on the tree in my back yard

Next Friday, for the first time in quite a while, I'll be performing live!

It's not like a Madonna concert exactly. (Actually I don't know that. I've never been to a Madonna concert.) Friday, March 9th, I'll be joining Anne Louise Bannon at Webster's Fine Stationers for "Real Irish," an early lead-in to St. Patrick's Day. (I wanted to call it "Lorica and Scot go to Ireland," but I was outvoted.)

Anne is a renaissance woman, a freelance writer and a wine afficionado. I even buy my handmade soap from her. Plus it turns out she holds a Master's degree in oral interpretation (even more obscure than my Bachelor's in Rhetoric). My qualifications are almost as good: I like to drink wine and I like to talk (okay, I've also had a 30-year acting career and I'm actually paid to talk), so we make a good pair. Anne is even of Irish descent, which makes her green-wearin' legit. (She's Real Irish.)

I'll just admit it right now: I'm a Scot. The family claims Welsh descent as well. None of this qualifies as Irish. (I am Not Real Irish.)

Anne and I figured a wine tasting and some Celtic and Irish literature would make a fun late afternoon/early evening. Starting at 4:30, come to Webster's and have some wine. At 5:30, once your edges are soft, Anne and I will read to you for a little while. In fact, in fewer than 30 minutes, we will run you through a simplified gamut of the entire history of Irish literature. As if that were possible.

Come on by. We'll get you all Irished before you head down the hill for Art Night Pasadena.

Real Irish
Friday, March 9th
4:30 wine tasting
5:30 readings
2450 N. Lake Avenue,
Altadena, CA 91101
(626) 797-1135

Friday, March 2, 2012

Maybe I'll Keep It

Last night my family and I took a walk at Hahamongna as dusk began to infiltrate the park. I decided not to bring a camera but of course I didn't leave my phone behind and Hello, my name is Petrea and I am a photography addict.

I'll soon be trading in my primeval iPhone for a new model. But I kind of like these photos of the women runners from (I assume) Occidental College, with NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab in the background.

As thy sky darkened, the poor old phone camera kept its (digital) shutter open longer. That made the runners more blurry and JPL more glowy.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Theme Day: Electricity

Today when I think of electricity I think of what it would be like not to have it. The Dark Ages, for example, were really, really dark. Imagine having to ride from, say, Oxford to London (Londinium) in 500 A.D. At night. I mean, no street lights. Not one!

(I don't think the Dark Ages were called the Dark Ages in Pasadena, but it was just as dark here.)

To see how other City Daily Photo bloggers have interpreted today's theme, click here. City Daily Photo keeps growing. We're now 1456 blogs strong worldwide. Our newest member is Tallahassee Daily Photos. Stop by and say hello!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Guest Author: Kate Gale

Kate Gale, PhD is Managing Editor of Pasadena's Red Hen Press and
President of American Composers Forum, Los Angeles Chapter. Please welcome her to PDP.

Most Americans do some private writing. We scribble notes on the fridge, “Feed the dog!  No parties!” Sometimes love notes. “I will love you forever,” for the formal, “And I want you to bite your toes, you little love monkey,” for the less formal. 

But bringing some of that writing from private writing to public writing, bringing it into the realm of publication and possibly the creative commons and public discourse, requires working for a level of mastery with craft, plot, structure, setting, language. It requires the willingness to rewrite a piece many times, to throw away work you were sure was finished. It requires staying power.

My libretto, Rio de Sangre, went through dozens of rewrites and hundreds of cuts even as the music was being written. My current project, a memoir, was done,­ I thought, ­having spent ten years and having written literally fifty different versions of the text. My agent thinks differently and I am hard at work to finish ­by spring­ what I hope will be the ultimate draft. But it may not be, there are still more agents, editors, and marketing directors and publicists who doubtless weigh in. And you have to be willing to keep shaping.

I stay in the world of writing and publishing because I love stories. I love feeling them emerge when I write them myself and I love working with other people. The business of publishing isn’t an easy one. The part I hadn’t anticipated was raising money for Red Hen Press. I hadn’t counted on that at all. But I’m learning. I thought it was all going to be working with authors, lines, pages. 

I also hadn’t counted on how difficult many authors would be to deal with.  Poets and Writers current issue talks about writers wanting more attention from their editors. How about we just say writers want more attention. They spend a lot of time alone playing with stories and being god in the privacy of their own room and they’re badly socialized. 

When they emerge, they want a party to start. When you accept their book, they want to know if you’re going to drink champagne with them. (Seriously? We take 20 books a year, do I look like James Bond?) They want to know if you’re taking them to dinner. (How about your boyfriend does that?) And this is my personal favorite--how much time will you spend telling them what you loved about their book. Good god! 

If you need someone to celebrate with, get some friends. If you need someone to talk with, hire a therapist. If you need someone to tell you how amazing you are, hire a cheer leading squad. And if you need someone to think you’re the most amazing person in the world, then what I always say is, your editor is not your mother, your mother is your mother.

But, seriously, I love writers. They’re quirky, creative, brilliant, and definitely not boring.


If you're writing a story, make it a great story.  If there's a horse, add wings.  If there's a woman, put her on the roof, if there's a man, let him emerge from the cellar with dirt in his hair.

Visit Kate's website

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

We Have Weather

We do get weather in Pasadena. I haven't seen snow, although we often see it in the mountains above town and it's been known to happen here in the lowlands.

But hail is common here, at least in my experience. Once a year or so it comes crashing down for a few thrilling minutes. IT SOUNDS LIKE A LOT OF RAIN, if you know what a lot of rain sounds like, and if you don't, it sounds like the gods are on your roof, grindinging their bingo ball churner as fast as it will go.

Yesterday it was cold--for Pasadena. But as John said, it must have been a lot colder up where the gods make their bingo balls in the first place.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Zen Monday: #185

Sometimes I have to look far and wide for our Zen Monday photo. And sometimes, the Zen just calls to me.

Zen Monday is the day you tell us what the photo's about, rather than me telling you.

This shot's for context, in case you'd like to have some.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Helen Lukens Gaut

They've got this great photography exhibit at the Pasadena Museum of History. I'm sorry to spring this on you at the last minute but it's closing, so you have to go today.

Helen Lukens Gaut was a self-taught photographer and journalist who lived in Pasadena and Highland Park in the early 20th Century. Her father, Theodore Parker Lukens, was mayor of Pasadena. Twice. The family's Victorian home still stands on N. El Molino.

Gaut loved Pasadena architecture and photographed a lot of it. She even designed a bungalow and apparently one, or some, of her designs were built in Bungalow Heaven.

I wish there had been a book based on the exhibit so I could take it around with me and compare the then to the now. That's probably too expensive an undertaking for our small and homey museum. The museum shop's book section is impressive, though--they carry books about Pasadena history I had once thought hard to find, including some about the native Tongva, architecture, etc. I bought a book by Ann Scheid called Downtown Pasadena's Early Architecture. That's right up my refurbished, Old Town alley.

I feel a kinship with Helen Lukens Gaut. She was born in Rock Falls, Illinois, not far from where I grew up in DeKalb. She loved to write and take photos (moi aussi), she loved to travel (that's me) and she was interested in architecture (me again). And she died the year I was born. Somehow that doesn't surprise me. It's certainly not reincarnation. I might just call it carrying on.