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Friday, October 28, 2016

Looking for Something to Do? Free Events Oct. 29 to Nov. 4

Here are events scheduled Saturday, Oct. 29, to Friday, Nov. 4.

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

Children will decorate pumpkins with glitter and washable markers Saturday, Oct. 29, from 10 a.m. to noon in the courtyard at One Colorado. Pumpkins and all materials will be provided on a first-come, first-served basis.

Oak trees are iconic symbols of California's natural heritage. A Celebration of Oaks Saturday, Oct. 29, from 10 a.m. to noon at Eaton Canyon Nature Center will include free oak trees to the first 100 to arrive (one per household), a presentation on oak-tree care, discussion with "Pasadena Oaks" author/artist Jennifer Bentson, children's activities and more. Bring lunch for a noon picnic under the oaks. 

Express your thoughts and ideas using paints, pencils, markers, printmaking, face painting and even a knitting machine Saturday, Oct. 29, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at The Big Draw LA in front of John Muir High School sponsored by Muir's Arts Entertainment and Media Academy, Side Street Projects, Light Bringer Project, Armory Center for the Arts, local artists and art providers. People of all ages, including families with children, are welcome.

Can a song change the world? Students in Beijing's Tiananmen Square wore shirts that read "We Shall Overcome" and shipyard workers in Gdansk, Poland, named their movement "Solidarność" ("Solidarity") after the 1915 American labor anthem "Solidarity Forever." Folk singer and music historian Ross Altman will present a lively tribute to the 10 greatest protest songs of the 20th century Saturday, Oct. 29, from 2 to 3 p.m. at Allendale Branch Library.

The Fall Festival at Victory Park Saturday, Oct. 29, from 3 to 7 p.m. will celebrate past eras with live entertainment, teen zone, face painting, crafts, scavenger hunt, all-ages costume contest (including dogs!) and more. Some additional activities will be fee-based. 

Self-guided tours of Day of the Dead / Dia de los Muertos altars continue Saturday, Oct. 29, and Sunday, Oct. 30, at business throughout Old Pasadena during participating business hours. Judges will present awards for the best traditional and contemporary altars. See the list and map of altar locations here

Bring your dog(s) to the Growl-O-Ween costume parade Sunday, Oct. 30, beginning at 10 a.m. at The Dog Bakery, then vie for prizes in a costume contest for dogs and their human companions. 

Quatuor pour la Fin du Temps (Quartet for the End of Time) by French composer Olivier Messiaen will be performed Sunday, Oct. 30, at 2 p.m. in Barrett Hall at the Pasadena Conservatory of Music. Messiaen composed the work when he was a prisoner of war in 1941 at Stalag VIIIA during World War II; it premiered the same year outdoors on a rainy night for about 400 prisoners, guards and German officers.

Calavera face painting, craft activities, Mariachi Tesoro, Tlanextli Tlocopan Aztec Fire Dancers, storyteller Olga Loya and much more fun is in store at the Day of the Dead / Dia de los Muertos Family Fiesta Sunday, Oct. 30, from 2 to 6 p.m. at 100 E. Union St. (walkway between Colorado Boulevard and Holly Street) in Old Pasadena. 

Come dressed in a costume (no masks) and enjoy pumpkin decorating, arts and crafts, sweet treats and more Sunday, Oct. 30, from 3 to 5 p.m. at Paseo Colorado. All ages are welcome.

"The Book of Life" (2014, PG) with the voice talents of Diego Luna and Zoe Saldana will be shown Sunday, Oct. 30, at 7 p.m. in the courtyard at One Colorado. A young man torn between fulfilling the expectations of his family and following his heart embarks on an adventure that spans three fantastic worlds where he must face his greatest fears.

School-aged children are invited to stop by Hastings Branch Library in costume Monday, Oct. 31, from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and receive a free "Goosebumps" book (one per person while supplies last).

Spooky music from Fantasia, Star Wars, Pirates of the Caribbean, Phantom of the Opera and more will be performed by organist Imre Szilas Monday, Oct. 31, at 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. at Westminster Presbyterian Church.

The 1965 Addams Family episode "Halloween Addams Style" and the 1984 film "Gremlins" will be shown Monday, Oct. 31, at 7 p.m. in the courtyard at One Colorado.

Mezzo soprano Nancy Sensenbach will perform three modern arias; pianist Agatha Hou will perform works by Liszt, Rachmaninoff and Medtner; soprano Carol Lande, clarinetist Trudi Anderson and pianist Geraldine Keating will perform a trio by Schubert; and violinist Svetlana Oganesion, violist Roberta Wilcox and pianist Shushan Hakobyan will play a trio by Ignaz Lachner Tuesday, Nov. 1, at 12:30 p.m. in the Donald R. Wright Auditorium at Central Library. Sponsored by Tuesday Musicale of Pasadena.

The first Tuesday of every month is Free Family Night at Kidspace Children's Museum. On Tuesday, Nov. 1, from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. celebrate festive Day of the Dead / Dia de los Muertos traditions with plenty of activities for children and families, from calavera face-painting stations to a special cultural performance at 6 p.m. 

Celebrate Dia de los Muertos / Day of the Dead at Villa-Parke Community Center Tuesday, Nov. 1, from 5 to 8 p.m. with entertainment by Aztec Dance Yankuititl and Ballet Folklorico Nahuatze, calavera face painting, children's activities, altars decorated by local agency partners and much more.

Preschool-aged children are invited to Sunny Tales: Giving Thanks Wednesday, Nov. 2, from 11 a.m. to noon at the Finnish Folk Art Museum on the grounds of the Pasadena Museum of History. Each child will create a fun Thanksgiving-themed craft to take home after the stories.

"Iron Jawed Angels" (2004, NR) starring Hilary Swank and Anjelica Huston will be shown Wednesday, Nov. 2, at 1 p.m. in the Donald R. Wright Auditorium at Central Library. Defiant activists take the women's suffrage movement by storm, putting their lives at risk to help American women win the right to vote.

Children will be amazed when John Abrams performs an animal magic show with his exotic pets Thursday, Nov. 3, at 3:30 p.m. at Lamanda Park Branch Library

The next supply of garden-ready mulch from Pasadena Public Works Department street tree trimmings will be available Friday, Nov. 4, at the southeast corner of the parking lot at Victory Park. Bring your own shovel, container and gloves between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. The mulch supply is replenished once a month from February to November and is available to Pasadena residents only. 

The first Friday (and third Thursday) of every month is Free Admission Day at the Pasadena Museum of California Art. On Friday, Nov. 4, from noon to 5 p.m. enjoy the current exhibitions and everything else the museum has to offer.

"Café Society" (2016, PG-13) starring Jesse Eisenberg and Kristen Stewart will be shown Friday, Nov. 4, at 1 p.m. in the Scott Pavilion at the Pasadena Senior Center. A young Bronx native moves to Hollywood in the 1930s and falls in love with the secretary of his powerful uncle, an agent to the stars, then returns to New York where he gets swept up in the vibrant world of high society. You do not have to be a member of the Pasadena Senior Center to attend.

The first Friday of every month is Free Admission Day at Norton Simon Museum. On Friday, Nov. 4, from 5 to 8 p.m. enjoy the current exhibitions and everything else the museum has to offer.

Learn how to prepare for the Great American Solar Eclipse of 2017 during a special presentation Friday, Nov. 4, at 7 p.m. at Caltech's Cahill Center for Astronomy and Astrophysics (south side of California Boulevard -- #17 on this map) and then stargaze through powerful telescopes. 

Photo credits: Gardens, One Oak Grower's Blog, BTV, NPR, City of Pasadena, Memphis Brooks Museum of Art, Cover My Tunes, Spanglish Baby, Paseo Colorado, Twentieth Century Fox, Preschool of Rock, Filmways Television, Amblin Entertainment, Red Bubble, Mommy Poppins, Parenting, HBO, John Abrams, City Watch, Pasadena Museum of California Art, FilmNation Entertainment, Norton Simon Museum, NASA.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Looking for Something to Do? Free Events Oct. 22 to 28

Here are events scheduled Saturday, Oct. 22, to Friday, Oct. 28.

All events are free, so take a look -- and don't you dare say there's nothing to do in Pasadena!
Some of Southern California's best visual artists will showcase their works in a juried art festival during Pasadena ARTWalk Saturday, Oct. 22, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Playhouse District. ARTWalk also includes live entertainment, an Instagram scavenger hunt for prizes, craft-making for all ages, free admission to the Pasadena Museum of California Art and much more.

The Pasadena Astronomy Festival is Saturday, Oct. 22, from 2 to 8 p.m. at the Pasadena Convention Center. Visit an unusual planetarium, look through a special telescope designed for daytime and nighttime use, meet professional astronomers and learn more about the universe. It's part of Astronomy Week!

Create your own T-shirt with materials provided by Remainders Creative Reuse Sunday, Oct. 23, from noon to 3 p.m. in the courtyard at One Colorado. Shirts, a printing press and upcycled materials from buttons and beads to ribbons and fabric paints and much more will be provided. All ages are welcome.

Violinist David Lee Ruest and classical guitarist Taro Wayama will perform Wednesday, Oct. 26, from 12:10 to 12:40 p.m. for the popular Music at Noon recital series at Pasadena Presbyterian Church.

"The Last Seduction" (1994, R) starring Linda Fiorentino and Bill Pullman will be shown Wednesday, Oct, 26, at 1 p.m. in the Donald R. Wright Auditorium at Central Library. A woman steals her husband's drug money and hides out in a small town where she meets the perfect dupe for her next scheme.

Children and families are invited to the Hilarious Halloween Haunt Thursday, Oct. 27, at 4 p.m. at Hastings Branch Library. This variety show featuring the Franklin Haynes Marionettes is sure to be loads of scary fun for all ages. 

Teens are invited to a Mad Hatter Tea Party Friday, Oct. 28, from 5:30 to 8 p.m. at Central Library, But beware: Something sinister lurks in Wonderland! It's a land of stories, but who's telling the real tale and who murdered the Prince of Hearts? All the key characters are suspect, and it's up to you to solve the mystery by hunting for clues, questioning suspects and apprehending the culprit. Dinner will be provided and Alice in Wonderland-themed costumes are encouraged. To sign up email or call 626-744-4246.

Take a self-guided tour of Day of the Dead / Dia de los Muertos altars at businesses throughout Old Pasadena Friday, Oct. 28, to Sunday, Oct. 30, during participating business hours. Judges will present awards for the best traditional and contemporary altars. A PDF of the tour of altars will be available on the website Oct. 24.


Celebration of Oaks is Saturday, Oct. 29, at Eaton Canyon Nature Center.

The Fall Festival at Victory Park is Saturday, Oct. 29.

Photo credits: Playhouse District Association, NASA, Boston Handmade, Guitar Salon International, Incorporated Television Company, The Gothtober Blog, Tea Tree Gully Library, Breck Create, 

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Wait, Wait -- Follow the What to Where?

I snapped this photo on June 16 of this year. It's a lonesome dirt road on a 171-acre farm in rural north-central Kentucky. 

For years I have known about the private Easley Cemetery on this farm. It includes the graves of my third great-grandfather Joseph Easley Sr. (1764-1849) who established the farm, my second great-grandfather Joseph Easley Jr. (1805-1883), their respective wives and many of their offspring.

I wrote a little more about them in this blog post last week.

These are photos of Joseph Easley Jr. and his wife, my second great-grandmother Elizabeth McWilliams Easley (1818-1894). I love the spectacles resting on her forehead.

My bucket list has included a visit to the cemetery if I ever got an opportunity to travel to Kentucky. That opportunity presented itself at last during my Freedom Tour last summer.

I found driving directions to the Easley Cemetery on the Church and Cemetery Locator online:

"Go to Harrisonville. Just before entering the town from the west turn right into the farm owned by Thomas Lewis. Follow gravel farm road for 600 ft.  Cemetery is in a grove of trees about 30 ft. south of this point." 

I looked on Google Maps and saw that Highway 395/Waddy Road, in the middle of nowhere, leads to Harrisonville from the west. Off I went! So far, so good.

But then everything changed.

"Just before entering the town": As it turns out, there is no town anymore. It hasn't been an incorporated community since 1908. There is just a smattering of houses, farms and a church. No businesses. No Main Street. 

Just the little backwoods Highway 395/Waddy Road.

So which gravel road was I supposed to look for? And on which side of Waddy Road? And which farm belongs to Thomas Lewis? I drove up and down...and up and down...and up and down Highway 395/Waddy Road. Finding this needle in a haystack was impossible.

I did find the church I knew my Kentucky Easley ancestors attended. Joseph Easley Sr. was among a council of elders that on March 12, 1825, founded the Pigeon Fork Baptist Church, which is still in operation to this day. 

And this church that was abandoned long ago (click on it to see the cool windows):

I never found a gravel road based on the driving directions to the Easley Cemetery so I did the next best thing: I followed my amateur genealogist's nose to the Shelby County Public Library in Shelbyville, about 20 miles northwest of here.

It's a stately, historic building constructed in 1903 with a $10,000 grant from philanthropist Andrew Carnegie.

I had a nice conversation with J.D. Stucker, a professional genealogist who volunteers in the local history section, and with Shana Schack, the librarian in charge of Reference Services. 

Sure enough, J.D. was familiar with some local Easley family history and showed me some files, and Shana pulled a 1939 reference book for me that has details about every cemetery in Shelby County. 

The book included directions to the Easley Cemetery!

"Go to Harrisonville. Just before entering the town from the west turn right into the farm owned by Thomas Lewis. Follow gravel farm road for 600 ft.  Cemetery is in a grove of trees about 30 ft. south of this point." 

Yep, they were the same, clear-as-mud directions I had found online.

Neither J.D. nor Shana had any idea where the farm is, and Thomas Lewis's name didn't appear in local history books. 

So my next stop was the Shelby County Courthouse in the hopes of learning who owns the farm now and what the actual property address is.

Stewart Shirley is the deputy administrator in the Property Valuation Office. I told him this was my last best shot and I didn't know where else to turn.

He kindly took me to his office and began a search of county property records in a database that required a lot of work on his part since the only ways to search are by (1) property address, (2) parcel number and (3) current owner's name -- none of which I had, and the database doesn't include historical property records. 

I couldn't provide him with a thing except the 77-year-old driving directions. 

He finally started pulling up aerial images of farms on Highway 395/Waddy Road, looking for anything that might even remotely fit the description in the driving directions. After about half an hour he was sure he had a hit! He had me look at his screen, and I, too, decided this had to be the one. 

He gave me a printout with everything I needed to know for finding the farm and then some.

The next morning, after I returned to the middle of nowhere from my hotel in Louisville 45 miles away, I entered 7651 Waddy Rd. into the GPS on my phone and drove along slowly until the magic voice on the satellite said, "Your destination is on the right."

There was a farm, all right, but there wasn't a gravel road in sight. In fact, there was no entrance of any kind in sight, A property of 171 acres is vast. So I drove farther, slowly, down Highway 395/Waddy Road, looking for a mailbox on the right side of the street or anything else that would indicate an entrance of any kind to 7651 Waddy Rd.

And then I saw it: The mailbox is on the opposite side of the street from the farm, and more than half a mile from where the GPS lady's voice told me I had arrived.  

And it was right across from a narrow, private road that starts out as asphalt and then becomes dirt -- not a speck of gravel anywhere.

I turned in and followed the dirt road (I was on that road when I snapped the photo at the top of this post). I followed it quite a long way until it curved to the left. 

And there, on the right, set back in a grove of trees, were headstones surrounded by fencing. 

There wasn't a single living soul in sight. I drove past the cemetery and continued down the dirt road in hopes of finding a farmhouse where I could ask permission to visit the cemetery. I finally backed the car up and set about exploring this incredible family treasure.

Joseph Easley Sr. and Catey Deatherage Easley's (my third great-grandmother, 1767-1850) graves are marked simply with rough-hewn stones. I suppose at one time there may have been discernable markings on them.

Joseph Easley Jr.'s is more elaborate (click on it to see detail).

The inscription reads:

Joseph Easley Jr.
Born Mar. 18, 1805
Died Feb. 28, 1883
Not lost, blessed thought.
But gone before
Where we shall meet
To part no more.

I'll leave you with this one: Col. Merideth Hieatt (1785-1868), one of Joseph Jr. and Elizabeth's sons-in-law. 

The cemetery is just a short walk across a field from the narrow dirt road (that's my car). I stayed outside the fence the entire time.

Kenneth and Linda Pratt, the current owners of the farm, are not related to the Easley family. After I returned home to Pasadena from my Freedom Tour I wrote them a note thanking them for maintaining the Easley Cemetery so beautifully. 

As the current keepers of this hallowed ground, I appreciate their dedication to this Easley family treasure. I was sorry I didn't find their house.

May the Easley Cemetery continue to be honored and respected for many generations to come.

All photos were shot by yours truly.