Sunday, April 26, 2009

Week in Metro Pomona

After last Saturday's Fox First Night and all the buzz the opening generated, you would think that things would slow down in town and people would be catching their breath and resting up for the next big gig. Apparently Pomonans need no such recharging of batteries. Monday saw a lengthy City Council meeting in which topics and debates included serious budget matters to open container drinking ordinances (item was continued for more study). This was followed by the Planning Commission Wednesday evening which also ran long debating such heavy issues as Sakuri Ichi's request to extend operating hours from 10:30 PM to 2:00 AM Friday and Saturday nights (item was continued for more study).

Also on Wednesday evening the Farmers Market saw a crowd of over 400. Moving on to Thursday evening the Downtown Pomona Owner's Association (DPOA) held its monthly board meeting with discussions centering on budget items, antique lamp posts, downtown security, the Fox opening and Amoca's founders event. Also, the Glass House had a sold out crowd with lines stretching around the block.

This brings us to Friday and the openeing of Smogdance. The red carpet was rolled out once again and the balcony of the Fox was full (those are the soft seats). A crowd of 150-200 attended opening night and bids were running high on the silent auction items. The Big Time Gathering, or Pow Wow, kicked off for the weekend in Antique Row's north parking lot. The event was packed with what appeared to be over 1000 participants and vistors.

Saturday brought the First Annual Mac and Chesse Cookoff at the dba256 with judges David Allen, Natalie Rojas, and Larry Egan. There were nine fantastic entries, but alas only one winner. The winner was Cherie Savoie of Savoie's hair salon. Some entries were downright creative using ingredients such as lobster, bacon, tomatoes, black olives, and of course all kinds of chesse. Last Saturday Art Walk kicked in along with Metro Night Out, featuring a street fair and farmers market and a fantastic Pirate band performing at Thomas Plaza. Smogdance opened for its 2nd night with an all new movie list. The Pow Wow continued with even larger crowds, and the Glass House was busy with an event. Downtown was alive with all sorts of people enjoying themselves. Restuarants and watering holes were busy as well. A quick check with the police told us that all was peacful in the downtown. Folks, this is exactly the kind of downtown that city officials, merchants, and property owners have been working so hard to build. It would appear that Downtown Pomona has arrived! (again).

There is more happening on Sunday (today). The wind-down of the Pow Wow, the final night of Smogdance and the conclusion of the silent auction at the Fox.

Next week, more excitiment. The state of the city address, farmers market, and the hustle and bustle of taking down all the art shows and installing new shows for the next 2nd Saturday Art Walk.

So, if you haven't visited downtown Pomona in a while, come on down. We'd love to show you around!

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Monday, April 20, 2009

Fox First Night

For those of you who missed the Fox Gala opening Saturday night, please enjoy these pictures. It was indeed a night to remember!

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Sunday, April 19, 2009

An Evening With Carol Channing

Photo courtesy of REN, Richard Nunez

The photo above is of Carol Channing, and her husband Harry, reading the Fox marquee announcing Smogdance. After reading it Carol asked "What is Smogdance". Yours Truly was happy to explain Smogdance to her. After which Carol Channing smiled that grand smile of hers, and said "Oooh, that's so wonderful"

If you aren't aware, Carol & Harry's full-time job these days and their number one charity is the Arts, more specifically art in California schools. They travel the state meeting with elected officials, school districts, Boards of Education all over, and PTA groups handing out scholarships and raising awareness to the lack of art education in California's public schools. All forms of art, performing as well as traditional. They both feel strongly that if arts are not re-introduced to schools curriculum California will loose an entire generation of kids a mediocre education. Theirs is a wonderful cause.

Ms Channing's day began with her driver collecting her at her home at 1PM and delivering her to the dA gallery in downtown Pomona at 3PM. There she was greeted by a film producer and crew shooting a documentary on Lucile Ball and Desi Arnez and soliciting Carol's input into the many times she performed with Lucy & Desi. Ms Channing was delighted to see the dA, the art, and to learn of the many outreach programs performed at the dA. She was then delivered to the Fox at 6PM where she arrived on the red carpet and met with many well wishers and fans. She graciously participated in 5 separate ribbon cutting ceremonies involving celebrities, City and State officials,Fox supporters, and others.

Once inside the Fox a crowd of over 400 were served dinner in the newly renovated theatre and treated to a nostalgic look into the Fox's history. The program ran almost 2 hours over schedule, but no matter. Nobody left and very few complained. Towards the end of the evening Ms Channing took the stage and together with husband Harry spoke eloquently and forcefully on the need for arts in schools. Carol was so motivated by the Fox renovation, you see she met Harry in a Fox Theatre in San Francisco when she was 12 and Harry 13...Pomona's Fox brought back those sweet childhood memories for her, she decided to sing, unrehearsed and unscheduled. Carol sang two songs acapella (or Acapulco as she says). She sang a song written for her by a truck driver from Modesto describing the art crises in California schools, and of course she sang "Hello Dolly". We were all treated to about 30 minutes of Carol Channing talking and singing. Such an inspiring lady, full of vim and vigor at the age of 88. Husband Harry is 90.

As the ceremonies were winding down and guests were readying to climb the ornate staircase to the rooftop patio for dancing and dessert I called for Ms Channing's car and she quietly left through a side door and off into the night. What a grand evening!

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Thursday, April 16, 2009

Student Art Show

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Sunday, April 12, 2009

2nd Saturday Artwalk! 4-11-09

In spite of the weather, it was cloudy and cold, the turnout for last night's Downtown Pomona Art Walk was good, actually very good. Several new faces as well as the "usual suspects" were seen strolling the sidewalks, touring the galleries, dining in the restaurants, attending the farmers market or viewing the classic car and motorcycle show. There were belly dancers at Aladdin Jr., bands on Thomas Street,and a great musical performance in Thomas Plaza by the School of Arts and Enterprise students, who, by the way, practiced all week and gave up their Spring Break to perform. Kudos!

Everyone seemed to have a good time, and the exhibits were outstanding. The Mayor and his family as well as Council members and their families enjoyed the evening as well. To crown the evening, as though it were a beacon of celebration, the Fox sign was proudly lit with its distinctive red and blue neon shining. The Fox marquee displayed announcements of upcoming events; Fox First Night (the gala grand opening) and the return of Smogdance to Pomona. While an accurate count of attendance was not possible, the farmers market reported over 1100 visitors. No matter how many came, it was great to see everyone enjoying themselves.


Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Bagpipes Wanted

Attention all bagpipers! The American Cancer Society is searching for a bagpiper to play at a Luminary Ceremony which is part of the Pomona Relay For Life event taking place April 18 & 19 at Pomona City Hall. At last night's meeting of the Relay For Life committee meeting it was learned that a search for a bagpipe player willing to donate his/her service to honer those who have succumbed to the dreaded disease has come to naught. The ceremony will take place at 9PM, Saturday , April 18. Anyone willing to donate bagpipe services, please contact Lorena Matarrita at (909)469-1121

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Sunday, April 5, 2009

Blog Statistics

Today marks the 91st posting of this blog since its inception in July 2008. The thing about blogs never really know if anyone is watching, or paying attention, or getting any benefit from it. The purpose of this blog, yes there is a purpose, or at least there was a purpose, an objective, when the blog was created,and that is simply to let folks know what is going on in Downtown Pomona and to do it in a positive way.

Recently a discussion of blogs came about with some of our elected City officials, the gist of the conversation had to do with how negative some of the blogs can be and that this blog for the most part carries a positive message. Of course carrying a positive message doesn't always make for interesting reading, but by and large there are more positive happenings in this town than negative. And so we set off to learn who, how many, and where people are logging onto this blog. Somebody must be paying attention because as it turns out we have visitors from all around the world and in fairly large numbers. It was a surprise to learn that the site had more than 200,000 hits last month, it seems to be growing each month. As a blog "novice" this information may not mean that much, but with large numbers like these it certainly looks impressive.

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