Meet the Mayor Recap

Thena and I played a set of music before David Sifuentes spoke at the Meet the Mayor event last night. Perhaps this is an elementary observation, but hearing the new mayor speak, I was struck by how much a leader–one that is conscientious, at least–is truly a public servant. You presumably pursue a position of leadership because you simply want to contribute to your community. However, everyone has his own interests and issues that concern him. It is next to impossible to have all the answers to all the questions your constituents have for you, yet you have to put yourself out there on the chopping block regardless. You spend what little free time you have studying an endless array of statistics and facts about the problems of your community. You have to be able to articulate your own beliefs and convictions while being open to listening to other viewpoints.

I wish the new mayor well.


From SouthPasChamber.com:

The Chamber of Commerce has announced the first “Meet the Mayor” Mixer for South Pasadena. On Wednesday, January 28th 2009, Mayor David Sifuentes will meet with community members in a Chamber mixer to discuss his hopes for the year ahead, and to answer questions from the audience.

“Meet the Mayor” is an outgrowth of the Chamber’s efforts to connect citizens and businesses with legislative leadership. Other events have included candidate forums in the Lunch n’ Learn series. Those events brought Assemblymember Anthony Portantino and Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich to the city. “It’s time we hosted a legislator who’s closer to home,” explains Chamber CEO Scott Feldmann. He said the Chamber’s Legislative Affairs Committee has hoped to launch this event for some time, and determined that 2009 was the year to start with because of the launch of a new publication: SouthPas Connections, 2009 Business Directory & Community Guide. The 40-page booklet will be distributed in early February to every household in the city.

“Meet the Mayor” is intended to become an annual event, always the last week in January, and featuring the newly appointed Mayor of South Pasadena. The date is timely because the local municipal election date was changed from March to November to coincide with national elections. The City Council reorganization happens shortly afterward each year, in which one of the five Councilpersons becomes Mayor for a one-year term.

Mayor Sifuentes will be introduced by Gary Pia of G. E. Pia & Company and Chamber Board Chair, who will also update the community on Chamber activities. Then the Mayor is expected to comment on strategic goals for the city, the impact of the recession on the local economy, and his hopes for the year ahead regarding the community. There will be an opportunity for members of the audience to ask questions.

Each attendee will get an advance copy of the new “SouthPas Connections” booklet. The evening will begin with a social hour and feature music & entertainment from local artists Thena Dare and Ted Beam, along with wine and light appetizers.

“Meet the Mayor” is open to the public. There is an admission fee to benefit the Chamber, a non-profit organization. Tickets are $10 per person. “Meet the Mayor” will be in the South Pasadena Library Community Room at 1115 El Centro Street, South Pasadena. Doors open at 7pm and the presentations will end around 9pm. Tickets can be purchased at the door.

“Meet the Mayor” is sponsored by, Shaw, Moses, Mendenhall & Associates, Athens Services, Atlantic Communications, Chamber Trustees and the City of South Pasadena. Food donated by Vecinos de South Pasadena and Nicole’s Gourmet Pantry.

About the South Pasadena Chamber of Commerce
The South Pasadena Chamber of Commerce strives to promote economic success and well-being by connecting business owners and operators with the community and the City in one of the most enduring “Small Town America” environments in Southern California. For more information about the Chamber, call 626-441-2339.

South Pasadena Chamber of Commerce Events and the SoPas Gallery are hosting an opening preview of A Quilt of Collaboration: The Quilts and Collages of Joan Weinzettle and Melanie Ciccone.

A Quilt of Collaboration

February 7, 2009
5 to 8 PM
SoPas Gallery   1121 Mission St., South Pasadena, CA

For additional information, call Thomas Field at (626) 799-8546

Assemblyman Anthony Portantino of La Canada Flintridge has introduced a bill that would require Caltrans to sell the parcels of land that have been reserved for the 710 extension. While I agree with him that this would be a great way to earn $500 million toward the state budget deficit (that figure being debatable due to the current real estate market, as the Star-News points out), it is unlikely that Caltrans would actually sell the properties before the above-ground 710 route is officially dead.


The skies above South Pasadena today were particularly brilliant.

Here are a couple of pictures I took standing outside of WAMU:

And a couple more of the view from Trader Joe’s a little bit later:

It’s nice to see South Pas inheriting some bohemian flavor from a concert series whose home once was Santa Monica:

When: Monday, January 26, 8:00pm
Where: South Pasadena Music Center and Conservatory,1509 Mission Street, 91030
Who: Non Credo, Motoko Honda, Cat Hair Enesmble
Cost: $5.00
More Information: Walter Zooi, 626-403-2300

The innovative and unconventional New Music Monday concert series has found a new home after 13 years. South Pasadena Music Center and Conservatory (SPMCC) will host the New Music Monday series on the last Monday of each month beginning this January 26th.

Organized by Walter Zooi, SPMC’s founder and director, the New Music Monday series will be anchored by a featured artist, who in turn will “curate” and evening of music and additional performers according their individual vision. The first featured artists will be the duo Non Credo with solo pianist Motoko Honda and the Cat Hair Ensemble.

Throughout most of the 1990’s the New Music Monday concert series drew a large and diverse audience of adventurous music fans to its home at the Alligator Lounge in Santa Monica. Primarily the brainchild of Wilco guitarist Nels Cline, the series presented artists as diverse as Mike Watt, Vinny Golia, Wadada Leo Smith, Alex Cline, Jeff Gauthier and Greg Bendian. Most evenings were concluded by the Nels Cline Trio. When the Alligator closed in the late 1990’s, the series was unable to find a new home.

“Most of the artists who performed in the original New Music Monday series are still very active, and there are a lot of new artists are emerging as well” explained Walter Zooi, “we have a wonderful performance space in our new facility and I’m glad that we able to resurrect the New Monday Series and provide a home for this vital and important music.” The line for February’s New Music Monday on the 23rd includes percussionist Brad Dutz and multi-instrumentalist and composer Vinny Golia.

Performer’s biographic information follows:

Headlining performers Non Credo is the duo of Kira Vman and Joseph Berardi. She sings, he drums, but their musical palette extends well beyond the scope of their primary instruments. Clarinets, marimbas, accordions, cellos, broken down keyboards, cheap electronics, altered childrens toys and anything else that falls into their path are utilized. Their sound, with its quick-witted arrangements and Teutonic expressionism balanced by a whimsical attitude, falls solidly into the RIO (Rock In Opposition) camp. Non Credo has had a long history in the new music scene. Their debut LP, Reluctant Hosts, was released in 1988 by No Mans Land, the German affiliate of Recommended Records, and re-released on CD in 2000. In 1995 they released Happy Wretched Family on the noted Canadian label, Les Disques Victo. They have also appeared on several CD compilations in Europe and the USA, and have composed music for film, radio, dance and performance pieces. Their powerful live performances, which mix song with improvisation, have been presented in galleries, theatres, museums and rock dives, as well as New Music festivals in USA, Canada (Musique Actuelle) and Europe. Kira Vollman has been involved in several musical projects and bands in her hometown of Los Angeles. She was a member of the improvising chamber ensemble Fat And F***ed Up, and toured and recorded with Kid Congo Powers band Congo Norvell, performed frequently with musical scavengers Stay Home, recorded with slop-rockers Thelonious Monster and sang with micro-tonalist Kraig Grady. She is active in the LA improv scene, having worked with violinist Jeff Gauthier and her vocal duet with Kaoru, Punishment Cookies.

Joe Berardi first came to prominence as a member of the ground-breaking avant-pop band The Fibonaccis. Since then, he has been involved in a wide assortment of projects and bands. As a drummer, his unique style and use of miscellaneous percussive objects and found sounds within the traditional drum kit have made him a fixture on the Los Angeles music scene. He is a member of surf-spy experimentalists Double Naught Spy Car, the metal/found objects percussion group The Obliteration Quartet, the bent blues band The Mentones, Megan Mullally’s Supreme Music Program and plays keyboards with Weill/Eisler worshipers the Eastside Sinfonietta. Berardi has been the drummer/percussionist of choice for a diverse group of performers, including recordings, tours and collaborations with such notables as: Stan Ridgway, Rufus Wainwright, Ann Magnuson, Lydia Lunch, James White and the Blacks, Congo Norvell, Donovan, Pixies Frank Black & Joey Santiago, Algerian vocalist Rimitti (with Robert Fripp & Flea), Kristian Hoffman, Stew, The Velvet Hammer Burlesque, Motor Totemist Guild, Nels Cline and microtonalist Kraig Grady.

Pianist Motoko Honda is a native of Japan, where she received numerous awards and won numerous competitions including the prestigious JPTA national competition. She moved to Kansas in 1995 to study psychology and percussion/drums with Dean Kranzler. During this time she worked as college accompanist and was active as a soloist and as a chamber musician, traveling to Europe to perform in the Cattedorale di Pienza,Montecatini Terme, Duomo and the Academia Dei Rozzi/Sala Degli Specchi in Siena, Italy.

In 1999 Motoko received graduate teaching assistantship in California Institute of the Arts. She studied in multi-piano performance program with Dr.Vicki Ray, Bryan Pezzone, and Dr. Peter Miyamoto. Accepted into Composer/Performer program with mentor Wadada Leo Smith in 2001, she expanded her horizons as a performer composer utilizing electronic devices, world music, and extended piano techniques. Motoko now performs as a multi-media artist, composer, performer, classical and contemporary pianist at Festivals and venues throughout the United States and Europe.

The Cat Hair Ensemble features Roderick Cumming – accordion, guitar, tenor banjo; Andrew Duncan – trumpet, percussion; Clint Heidorn – guitar, tenor banjo; Michael Ibarra – bass; Grant Lovelace – pedal steel guitar; Spencer Savage – drums, percussion; Joseph Tepperman – bass trombone. Their musical influences include Tom Waits, Tetes Raides, Kurt Weill, Django Reinhardt, Georges Brassens, Scott Walker, Tin Hat Trio. Their music is difficult to categorize and has been variously described as “Melodies that cough and choke as much as they croon,” “dance tunes for three-legged dancers” and “nervous tangos, club-footed waltzes, gallow’s swing.”

Here are a few stories about the soil studies to begin along hypothetical 710 tunnel routes: