pring and summer are, for many, the most anticipated seasons of the year. With bated breath and chilled souls, most of the country (especially those that experience a true Winter Solstice) impatiently await the warmer temperatures and the outdoor activities that they allow. So with the first hint of the brightening sun’s rays brushing against recently exposed shoulders, we are more than grateful to be able to finally emerge from our cocoon of forced hibernation; casting off the layers and inactivity of winter.
It's that time of year again: Old Pasadena's Film Festival. This year's line-up (July 9th - August 1st) is really quite impressive. Two of my absolute all-time favorite movies are being screened: 1973's Paper Moon, with Ryan O'Neal, Tatum O'Neal and Madeline Kahn, and 1962's To Kill A Mockingbird with the eternally sophisticated Gregory Peck. And in case you're forgotten, all films are shown for FREE. Just be sure to get there early to reserve a seat, or depending on the screening location, you may have to bring your own chair/blanket... and a jacket. As I look at the list again, I think I may also go see Field of Dreams, Sixteen Candles, West Side Story, Juno, A Room with A View, Tea with Mussolini... oh hell, if you're looking for me, on a Friday and/or Saturday during the month of July, come to Old Town.
A few more outdoor, summer movie locations throughout Southern California include: Cinespia (L.A.), The Americana at Brand (Glendale), Eat See Hear (L.A.)
Serenely nestled at the foot of the picturesque San Gabriel mountains in Arcadia, California, sits The Great Race Place: Santa Anita Park. With neighboring streets with names like Cambridge, Oxford, Stanford, Harvard and Princeton, you should keep in mind that, if not careful, by day's end at this sportsman's paradise, the money potentially lost could very well pay for your child's tuition to any one of the similarly-named august institutions.
While this December (the 25th), will mark the 80th anniversary of this venerable thoroughbred racetrack, which has hosted many champion racehorses and been the backdrop for numerous films, it is tomorrow, Friday, October 31st, and Saturday, November 1st, which are most important to the racing world at large. The Breeder's Cup World Championship With a purse of $5 million, it is touted as being the richest race in America.
With the closure of Hollywood Park last December (after 75 years) and more recently, the Pomona Fairplex, just a few miles east of here, Santa Anita has pulled into the lead as the remaining true champion of West Coast racing. Of course, further south remains San Diego County's Del Mar, which was said to be a favorite of Old-Hollywood's crooner, Bing Crosby, but there's something special about Santa Anita. My late cousin, Barbara, (who celebrated her birthday here on several occasions and who passed away shortly before the ponies returned to Santa Anita last Christmas) loved going from Santa Anita to Hollywood Park to Del Mar and back again. As far as being dedicated to something or someone, she could have easily stood shoulder to shoulder with any diehard Grateful Dead fan.
I've lived in the Pasadena area all my life, and it wasn't until recently that I realized that The Park offers, every Saturday and Sunday during live racing season, a FREE, behind-the-scenes tour of the track's impeccable grounds which covers the saddling paddock, stables, walking room and a few other points of interest. (When you first enter the main gate, I guarantee you'll be instantly reminded of Disneyland's front entrance, both in appearance and cleanliness.)
Our tour guide, Paige, who has worked at Santa Anita for over 30 years (she started at 16), definitely knows the ins and outs of The Park. The Seabiscuit Tram Tour leaves promptly at 8:30 & 9:45 a.m., on both days, and was more than worth the price of admission. (Oh wait, it was FREE! But you get my point.) The tour is about an hour and 15 minutes, after which you can have breakfast at The Clocker's Corner restaurant, just west of the Grandstand, or roam the grounds on your own and wait for the first race of the day at noon. I'm not much of a gambler, so I stayed for only two races, lost about $10 and swiftly left for fear of losing my shirt, as well as, my future child's college fund. Happy betting.
Santa Anita Race Track
285 West Huntington Drive
Arcadia, CA 91007
(Live Racing Resumes December 26, 2014 - June 28, 2015)
Seabiscuit Tram Tours:
(Saturday & Sundays, during live Racing Seasons)
8:30 a.m. & 9:45 a.m.
Thursday: 11:00 – 5:30
Friday: 11:00 – 5:30
Saturday: 10:30 – 5:30
Sunday: 10:30 – 5:30
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"Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening"
Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village, though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.
My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.
He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound's the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.
The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
GIF via The Gifts of Life
Happy 74th birthday to the inimitable Mr. Ralph Lauren.
Polo Ralph Lauren
I was born in the country, but brought up in the big city, with hopes of always maintaining the charm, wit and character of a southern, sophisticated
gentleman. In my goal to live more passionately & purposefully, here are just a few things that I've learned and experienced along the way, making my journey more interesting, and more importantly, easier.