Search This Blog

Friday, January 30, 2015

Looking for Something to Do? Free Events Jan. 31 to Feb. 6

Here are events scheduled Saturday, Jan. 31, to Friday, Feb. 6. 

All events are free, so take a look -- and don't you dare say there's nothing to do in Pasadena!

The commemoration of Fred Korematsu Day Saturday, Jan. 31, from 8 a.m. to noon at Pasadena High School will include exhibits, children’s activities, live music, a documentary and more. Korematsu refused to go along with the Japanese internment order during World War II, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against him and his conviction was finally overturned in 1983.

Armory Center for the Arts and Pasadena Museum of California Art will be among 25 Los Angeles area arts and cultural institutions that will participate in SoCal Museums Free-for-All Saturday, Jan. 31.

Rosie Bowl II and Puppy Bowl Party Sunday, Feb. 1, from 3 to 5 p.m. at the Pasadena Humane Society and SPCA is a fun alternative to the Super Bowl! Leave your pets at home.  

Caltech Chamber Music presents a Super Bowl alternative concert Sunday, Feb. 1, at 3:30 p.m. in the Dabney Lounge at Dabney Hall (#40 on this map). Works by Boismatier, Bozza, Brahms, Cui, Dvorak, Grieg, Kreutzer, Loeillet, Milhaud, Mozart, Saint-Saëns and Schubert will be performed.

Explore the lives of families through African American literature and the civil rights movement at the special Black History Month exhibit at Hastings Branch Library Sunday, Feb. 1, to Saturday, Feb. 28

The Lancer Jazz Big Band will perform their first concert of the season Tuesday, Feb. 3, at noon on the West Patio at Pasadena City College's Center for the Arts (building CA on this map).

The first Tuesday of every month from 4 to 8 p.m. is free family night at Kidspace Children's Museum. On Tuesday, Feb. 3, you and your children will enjoy dance performances featuring flamenco, tango, ballet and belly dancing and create clothespin flamenco dolls and castanet instruments.   

French violinist Etienne Gara will perform Wednesday, Feb. 4, from 12:10 to 12:40 p.m. for the popular Music at Noon recital series. Feel free to bring a sack lunch. 

"Dave" (1993, PG-13) starring Kevin Kline and Sigourney Weaver will be shown Wednesday, Feb. 4, at 1 p.m. on the big screen in the Donald R. Wright Auditorium at Central Library. When the U.S. president goes into a coma, an affable temp agency owner with an uncanny resemblance is put in his place.

Children and their families will enjoy Animal Magic with John Abrams, a blend of magic, comedy, music and live, exotic pets Thursday, Feb. 5, at 3 p.m. at Lamanda Park Branch Library.

The first Friday of every month from noon to 5 p.m. is Free Admission Day at the Pasadena Museum of California Art. On Friday, Feb. 6, enjoy the current exhibitions Armin Hansen: The Artful Voyage, Jim Morphesis: Wounds of Existence, Lars Jan/Quaternary Suite and everything else the museum has to offer.  

"All is Lost" (2013, PG-13) starring Robert Redford will be shown on the big screen in the Scott Pavilion at the Pasadena Senior Center. After a collision at sea, a resourceful sailor finds himself facing his own mortality. You do not have to be a member of the Pasadena Senior Center to attend.

"An Affair to Remember" (1957) starring Cary Grant and Deborah Carr will be shown Friday, Feb. 6, at 2:30 p.m. at Santa Catalina Branch Library. A couple falls in love and agrees to meet in six months at the Empire State Building. But will it happen?

The first Friday of every month from 5 to 8 p.m. is Free Admission Night at the Norton Simon Museum. On Friday, Feb. 6, enjoy the exhibitions Lock, Stock and Barrel: Norton Simon's Purchase of Duveen Brothers Gallery, Manet's "The Railway" on loan from the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., and everything else the museum has to offer.

"Girl on a Bicycle" (2013, R) starring Vincenzo Amato and Louise Lomot will be shown Friday, Feb. 6, at 7 p.m. at the Pasadena Conservatory of Music. An Italian who drives a French tour bus suddenly finds himself with a German fiancée, a French wife, two Australian children and a life turned upside down.

As we adapt to California's drought conditions, plants that require little water have become popular alternatives for home gardeners. Learn more about these options Saturday, Feb. 7, at 10: 30 a.m. at Hill Avenue Branch Library. Malinee Romero with the San Gabriel Valley Cactus and Succulent Society will lead the workshop.

Teens will learn to draw with special 3D pens Saturday, Feb. 7, at 3 p.m. at Central Library. The pens extrude heated plastic filament that cools almost instantly into a solid, stable structure.

Now through May 30 when you take a book from the stacks at Central Library, you may just walk out with a piece of art. Four regional artists have selected 100 books in which to place images of their works, which will be yours to take home and enjoy. The project is Shelved Art: Real Art in Real Books for Real Library Lovers.

Many thanks to Pics & Photos, SoCal Museums, Animal Planet, New York Concert Review, James Ransome, Kidspace Children's Museum, Simplistic Reviews, John Abrams, Pasadena Museum of California Art, Sqwabb, Ktismatics, Norton Simon Museum, IMDB, Debra Lee Baldwin, B3d, Newtown Arts

Monday, January 26, 2015

Clara Who?

For two weeks from Jan. 12 to 23 my home away from home was the 17-story criminal courts building in downtown Los Angeles. Notable trials here have included the murder trial of O.J. Simpson, the murder trial of Phil Spector and the trial of Dr. Conrad Murray for the death of Michael Jackson, among hundreds and hundreds of others.

Technically, the building is called the Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center. 

But who was Clara Shortridge Foltz? 

Before 1869, all attorneys in the U.S. were male. Yep, every single one.

Then along came a troublemaker named Arabella "Belle" Mansfield  (1846-1911) who took law courses, passed the Iowa state bar exam with flying colors and then had to sue the State of Iowa over its statute that said only males could practice law.

Next this rebel, Myra Colby Bradwell (1831-1894), ruffled feathers because Illinois was happy to admit a woman to the bar -- but not a married woman. She sued the State of Illinois and won.

And then along came Clara Shortridge Foltz (1839-1934), the first female attorney on the Pacific coast. Growing up in Indiana, her nose was usually in her father's law books.

She married, settled in San Jose, raised five children and eventually divorced her husband.

California prohibited women from practicing law. With the help of a state senator she wrote Senate Bill 66, known as the Woman's Law Bill, and lobbied tirelessly with legislators. In 1878 the senate and the assembly passed the bill, but Governor William Irwin threatened a veto. Refusing to take "no" for an answer, she pushed her way into his office and wore him down, er, persuaded him, until he signed it just minutes before the midnight deadline.

Clara's trailblazing work was just beginning. Women could now practice law in California but they couldn't study it at law school. After she and her friend Laura deForce Gordon applied to the University of California's Hastings School of Law and were denied because of their gender, she sued successfully for admittance of women on the same terms as men. Hastings appealed and the case went to the California Supreme Court, which upheld the lower court's decision.

All this took time, and in the interim she studied law in the offices of a few judges. On Sept. 4, 1878, she was the first woman admitted to the California bar.

But wait...there's more!

Defendants who could not afford their own attorneys went unrepresented in court. Clara founded the movement that led to the appointment of public defenders -- the blueprint for the system that remains in place today.
They called me the lady lawyer, a dainty sobriquet that enabled me to maintain a dainty manner as I browbeat my way through the marshes of ignorance and prejudice.
Her name is associated with a number of firsts in California: 
  • First woman admitted to the California Bar
  • First woman to serve as a legislative counsel
  • First woman to prosecute a murder case 
  • First woman to serve as a deputy district attorney 
  • First woman to serve as a district attorney
  • First woman to hold statewide office
After moving to Los Angeles, she devoted most of her time to women's suffrage with the full strength of her law practice. 

What many people don't realize is that women couldn't vote for their own right to vote. It was up to male voters to approve it, and that would take some doing. Under the guidance of Clara Shortridge Foltz and so many other determined women leaders, a huge campaign unfolded to get the attention of male voters in California. 

This was the social media of the day:

By a very narrow margin, California became the sixth state in the nation to approve women's right to vote.

Clara passed away in Los Angeles on Sept. 4, 1934. The pallbearers for her funeral included California Governor Frank Merriam and several prominent state and federal judges. 

Hers is the story of inspiration and hope, courage and tenacity, promise and possibility.

So the next time you serve on a jury, remember Clara Shortridge Foltz if the defense attorney or prosecutor is a female or if the defendant is represented by a public defender.

And give Clara a little shout-out whenever you pass that tall, rectangular box of a building. Her name is written all over it.

Many thanks to Snipview, History of Iowa, Chicago Historical Society, Online Archive of California, California Bar Journal, Authentic History, International Museum of Women.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Looking for Something to Do? Free Events Jan. 24 to 30

Here are events scheduled Saturday, Jan. 24, to Friday, Jan. 30. 

All events are free, so take a look -- and don't you dare say there's nothing to do in Pasadena!

The Caltech Chamber Ensembles will perform Saturday, Jan. 24, at 8 p.m. in the lounge at Caltech's Dabney Hall (#40 on this map).

Cellist Lars Hoefs, pianist Steven Vanhauwaert and soprano Anita Protich will perform Wednesday, Jan. 28, from 12:10 to 12:40 p.m. for the popular Music at Noon recital series. Feel free to bring a sack lunch.

"Julie & Julia" (2009, PG-13) starring Amy Adams and Meryl Streep will be shown Wednesday, Jan. 28, at 1 p.m. in the Donald R. Wright Auditorium at Pasadena Central Library. Julia Child's story of her start in the cooking profession is intertwined with blogger Julie Powell's challenge to cook every recipe in Child's first book.

Felix Bullock, chair of the Guitar Department at Pasadena Conservatory of Music, will showcase his talented guitar quartet Thursday, Jan. 29, at 4 p.m. at Hill Avenue Branch Library.

Children 6 and older will explore art around the world created within circles and make their own circular paintings during a mandala art workshop Thursday, Jan. 29, at 4 p.m. at Hastings Branch Library.

The documentary film "Rediscovering Pakistan -- The Untold Tale" will be shown Thursday, Jan. 29, at 6 p.m. in the Donald R. Wright Auditorium at Pasadena Central Library. Nine motorcyclists from around the world explore the beautiful northern areas of Pakistan with former cricket player Moin Khan.

"Gigi" (1958, G) starring Leslie Caron, Louis Jourdan and Maurice Chevalier will be shown Friday, Jan. 30, at 1 p.m. in the Scott Pavilion at Pasadena Senior Center. In turn-of-the-century Paris, a wealthy playboy and a courtesan in training enjoy a platonic friendship that may not stay that way for long. You do not have to be a member of the Pasadena Senior Center to attend.

With the theme Our Heritage: The Bridge to the Future, the opening reception for Black History Month in Pasadena Friday, Jan. 30, from 3 to 5 p.m. at Jackie Robinson Center will include a film screening, food and more.

The Pasadena Community Orchestra will perform works composed by Mozart, Handel, Sullivan and Still Friday, Jan. 30, at 8 p.m. at PasNaz.


Armory Center for the Arts and Pasadena Museum of California Art will be among 25 Los Angeles area arts and cultural institutions that will participate in SoCal Museums Free-for-All Saturday, Jan. 31.

Rosie Bowl II and Puppy Bowl Party Sunday, Feb. 1, from 3 to 5 p.m. at the Pasadena Humane Society and SPCA is a fun alternative to the Super Bowl! Leave your pets at home.

Many thanks to The Well-Tempered Ear, Now Off We Go, Lars Hoefs, Pbase, Anita Protich, Chin Deep,I-House, Emmetsburg Public Library, Pop History Dig, Pasadena Community Orchestra, SoCal Museums, Animal Planet

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Mystery History -- Solved!

Sonja wins with her 10:06 p.m. Tuesday guess "Pasadena Playhouse was closed by feds." (Sonja, please message me on Facebook or email me at so we can talk about the fabulous prize!)

In this Aug. 28, 1966, photo, federal agents from the Internal Revenue Service attach a special lock system to the door of the Pasadena Playhouse office due to nonpayment of $31,000 in taxes. Locks were also placed on the doors of the main theater and all attached structures.

The Pasadena Playhouse was designed by architect Elmer Grey and the cornerstone was laid in 1924. It was designated the state theater of California in 1937.

The Pasadena Playhouse College of Theatre Arts, known as the "Star Factory" -- the leading theater school in the nation -- was a training ground since the 1920s for actors and others. Bachelor's and master's degrees were bestowed on young talent who would later become famous around the world for their chops --  Dana Andrews, Ernest Borgnine, Charles Bronson, Raymond Burr, Lee J. Cobb, Agnes De Mille, Jamie Farr, Gene Hackman, Dustin Hoffman, William Holden, Kim Hunter, Carolyn Jones, Victor Mature, Elaine May, Leonard Nimoy, Eleanor Parker, Tyrone Power, Robert Preston, Sally Struthers and Gig Young among them.

Here's a 1954 advertisement:

In 1960 founder Gilmore Brown, who had founded the Pasadena Playhouse in 1924, passed away without leaving provisions or instructions in his will for the continuation of theater and school operations. 

Actors taking a break from classes in 1957:

Revenues from the famous college had always funded Pasadena Playhouse productions, but this began changing when colleges and universities all over the nation began introducing their own acting schools. Unable to compete, the the college closed in 1967 and the theater went into receivership in 1969.

In 1970, everything but the physical buildings was auctioned off, from original manuscripts by Eugene O'Neill, Tennessee Williams and other playwrights to the famous Victor Jory bell. Some of the alumni listed above, along with others, banded together and bought as many items as possible at the auction in hopes of returning them to the Pasadena Playhouse when and if it reopened.

The new owner, Bank of America, auctioned the property off in 1975. The high bidder, the City of Pasadena, began leasing the property to the Playhouse's operating company for $1 a year in perpetuity.

A series of fits and starts, negotiations and financial challenges continued to keep the doors closed until 1985 -- 19 years after the feds attached those locks.

Today the Pasadena Playhouse is thriving, thanks to a $1 million donation from Mike Stoller that jump-started a new season in 2010 and kept the theater from closing again. The 2010 season kicked off with Ed Asner in "FDR" (I was there and it was just wonderful). Subscriptions are up, the theater is filled for every performance and the stars have come back to the Pasadena Playhouse stage once again.

Bradley Whitford on the Pasadena Playhouse stage in 2012 in preparation for a revival of the comedy play "Art":

Mayor Bill Bogaard hosted his 2015 State of the City event at the Pasadena Playhouse. You can find that video here.

You'll find more Pasadena Playhouse history here.

Many thanks to Jonnie King, Pasadena Playhouse, Pasadena Museum of History and Los Angeles Times.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Mystery History

Where are we? And what's happening?

The first person to answer both questions correctly will win lunch with me -- I'll buy yours and you'll buy mine.

Remember to leave your best guess as a comment to this blog post but don't try to give the entire back story (that's my job!).

I'll have the full scoop on Thursday.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Change in Command

Today the rain took a break for a few minutes to allow a very special event to take place in Centennial Square in front of Pasadena City Hall.

Many of you are aware of the Pasadena U.S. Marine Reserve Center. It is the headquarters for the 2nd Battalion, 23rd Marine Regiment, a reserve infantry battalion with about 1,000 Marines and Sailors from the western U.S. that has provided -- from World War II to the global war on terror -- trained combat personnel and units to augment and reinforce active duty forces in times of war, national emergencies and at other times as national security requires.

Today's ceremony was for a change in command of the 2/23 as the responsibility was handed over to Lt. Col. Garth Massey from Lt. Col. Sean Day, who has commanded 2/23 for some time.

During the Transfer of the Colors, Lt. Col. Day passed the 2/23 flag to Lt. Col. Massey (left) in front of Sgt. Major Mark Wheeldon. 

Lt. Col. Day and his family received special honors, which was very nice. He, his wife and daughter flew down from San Francisco and his parents and other family members came all the way from Georgia. He received a special medal by order of President Obama and his wife and parents each received special commendations.

Representatives of 2/23 battalions from Pasadena to Salt Lake City, led by the outstanding 2/23 Marching Band, paraded in formation to pay their respects to their outgoing and incoming commanders.

Since being commissioned as a U.S. Marine officer in 1996, Lt. Col. Massey's active duty and reserve career has included service in Iraq, Africa and the U.S. His military specialties are heavy armor, negotiations, operations and tactics. He is a certified operations and tactics instructor, earned executive certification in advanced negotiations from the University of Notre Dame and a master's degree in business administration from Regis University

Lt. Col. Massey lives in La Cañada-Flintridge with his wife Kathleen and their four children. In his civilian capacity he is the founder of a MLMethods (Military Leadership Methods) and founder and CEO of the nonprofit Veterans for American Business Development that encourages employment of vets. He serves on the boards of directors for L.A. Mayor Gil Garcetti's 10,000 Strong Initiative, the Master of Business for Veterans program at USC's Marshall School of Business and the Devil Pups Youth Program for America.

This is his photo from the printed program for today's ceremony:

It was my privilege to meet him today and speak with him for a few minutes. 

Military and civil relations are critical in times of war and peace. I am honored to serve on the Citizens Support Committee for the Pasadena U.S. Marine Reserve Center. 

I wrote a blog post about the Marine Reserve Center in September. You can see that here. You can also find related photos in an album on Facebook.

I'll close this post with one final photo from today's ceremony: Lt. Col. Day and Lt. Col. Massey saluting each other.