Resembling a space ship abandoned by aliens who had recently time-traveled to hang out with Le Corbusier, The Glass House is a portal to rock and dance sounds for music-lovers of all ages. It’s also a cornerstone of downtown Pomona’s close-knit arts district, surrounded by record stores, cafes, and vintage shops. Holiday-themed shows and fundraising concerts join young, on-the-rise bands on the calendar, along with established favorites such as New Found Glory and The Faint.
Greek music reverberates into the open air as the rich smell of roasting lamb entices crowds walking into the annual Pasadena GreekFest in Santa Anita Park. Lined with stalls selling Greek wares and traditional Greek food, the fest celebrates Greek culture with three days of socializing, dancing, and lightening-bolt throwing. When not munching on honey-soaked bites of fried loukoumathes or shish kebabs, families can look at the goods for sale or scale the inflatable equipment in the kids’ fun zone.
Housed in a former lemon warehouse, Casablanca Bar & Grill fills spacious eating areas with the aromas of piquant Mediterranean cuisine. Chefs skewer beef, chicken, shrimp, and lamb kebabs and sauté seafood such as scallops and frog legs. Tender falafel balls can be dunked into tahini sauce or rolled across white tablecloths into the mouth of a dinner companion.
Live entertainment at Casablanca Bar & Grill engages eyes as well as mouths. On Friday nights, belly dancers swivel their hips as they weave through wisps of smoke from flavored hookahs. Paintings in ornate gilt frames keep watch over the festivities, and an outside wooden deck lets diners watch the sky for menu recommendations spelled out in clouds.
Color Me Mine puts paintbrushes and pottery in the mitts of customers old and young. Budding Toyozo Arakawa will follow six easy steps to craft eye-pleasing objects, first choosing a ceramic piece ($10–$75) from Color Me Mine's selection of hundreds of seasonal options, such as plates, mugs, molded animals, and mystically materialized emotions. After charting out the desired design from individual imagination or one of the design center's more than 22,000 images, painters will select an underglaze from dozens of colors, then gently beautify their objets d'art with the focus and ingenuity of a peregrine falcon possessed by Norman Rockwell. Color Me Mine handles all firing work in the kiln, allowing clients to pick up their final products four to seven days after painting. The studio fee of $10 for adults and $6 for children covers all paints, supplies, glazing, and firing. Regardless of age or ability, customers will find Color Me Mine's ceramic painting experience a rewarding dive into the creative process of an art form that dates back to the ziggurat-dwelling days of Mesopotamia.
The bride stood under the photographer’s lights, resplendent in her wedding gown, as her family looked on from a distance. As she and her photographer, M. Chen, prepared for the shoot, she was handed a package—a prewedding gift from her soon-to-be husband. When she lifted the lid, she immediately burst into tears. Inside laid a photo of a great dane puppy—the dog she’d always wanted, which her husband planned to give her on their wedding day. As she ran to hug her mother, Mr. Chen ran after, shooting image after image, capturing the exact moment she fell into her mother’s arms. These quick reflexes have been honed through his nearly 30 years as a sports photographer and professional fly swatter, and he draws on photojournalistic techniques to compose a traditional portrait or snap once-in-a-lifetime, candid moments.
Regardless of specific approaches, he consistently draws from the landscape style of Ansel Adams and the dramatic lighting techniques of Monte Zucker. His work as a photojournalist and private portrait photographer has earned him more than 300 publications in the glossy pages of New York Daily News, Popular Photography, ESPN Magazine, and Professional Photographers of America magazine. When not snapping on-location engagement shoots, family portraits, or boudoir sessions, he passes on his technique through traveling photography seminars, hands-on workshops, and by gently tapping the heads of his students. Though formerly designed only for professional-level photographers, these classes instill confidence and camera basics in beginners. As he frequently finds new class examples and takes feedback from his students, Mr. Chen frequently fine-tunes the curriculum after each seminar.
In its inaugural year, That Dam Mud Run corrals energetic participants onto the sprawling grounds of Santa Fe Dam Recreation Area to test their endurance and determination in a 5K mud run. As they sprint along mud-laden roads, runners are faced with a brigade of professionally built obstacles that they must scale and conquer in the form of dirt mounds, tires, jump walls, and mud pits full of muddy mud people. After crossing the finish line, participants can cleanse themselves in one of the 30 onsite showers before swilling sips of craft brews in the beer garden, grooving along to live music, or perusing the bevy of eco-friendly booths during the Action Sports & Eco Fair. A portion of the proceeds go to the Gavin R. Stevens Foundation, a nonprofit organization that raises awareness and funds for those living with blindness due to Leber’s congenital amaurosis.