Old Curiosity Shop
By Bob Davis dnry122@yahoo.com

Looking at Y2K+XX

We usually look at our January issue as a place to look back and then forward.  Last year wasn’t all that eventful; we did see the closed Orchard Supply building in South Pasadena become an Ace Hardware store, and the one in Monrovia is now a Lowe’s Outlet, specializing in marked down home appliances.  No common hardware, but plenty of washers, driers, and kitchen machinery.  Didn’t go on any extended trips-- In September I headed northward, planning to attend San Francisco Municipal Railway Heritage weekend, but DN 123 (the Honda CRV) was having trouble with the front end when I slowed down from highway speed, and, after spending the night in San Luis Obispo and not sleeping too well, I decided to abort the mission and return to base.  A few days later, I took the CRV to Sierra Honda, where the front brake rotors were machined back to normal.

The musical year started with (as it often does) Art Fein’s Elvis Birthday Bash, and this edition featured several of my favorite ladies of song, which I covered in the February OCS.  Next up was a February 17 brunch program with Evie Sands at the Federal in North Hollywood just south of the Metro Red Line terminal and the restored Pacific Electric station.  A new event was the Harry Nilsson tribute show at Molly Malone’s on Fairfax Ave. in LA, which I learned about from Teresa Cowles.  She, Evie, Anny Celsi and Jason Berk were all in the show, along with other interesting performers.  This was on June 20, and on June 21, it was show time for me, as I presented a virtual slide show at the Electric Railway Historical Assn./Pacific Railroad Soc. meeting.  Then in October, I did an encore presentation from my February 2001 trip to Melbourne, Australia.

Looking forward to 2020, latest on the Elvis Birthday Bash is that there may not be one.  Some of the people who helped Art put the shindig together have moved away, and it’s more than one person can handle.  Not sure about Terry Okey’s Second Sunday Sessions at the pack station-- we were down to just two in 2019, and there’s a new “station chief” tending the mules and burros.   But just a few days before what would have been Elvis’ 85th b’day, one of the stars of last year’s show, Heather Lomax, will be part of the “City Girls - Country Music” show in Hollywood.  Heather and three other lovely ladies of song will be performing, and I already have my ticket.  Covering my other area of interest, the show will be less than half a mile from the Metro Vine St. station, so I will be able to make the scene on electric railways.

Further on up the road (sounds like a line from an old Blues song), in April, we expect the new album from Evie Sands, "Scandal du Jour," to appear on Record Store Day, which is scheduled for Saturday, April 18, 2020.  This should include the studio version of Don’t Look Back (Don’t Look Down) and many Sandsongs that we have enjoyed at live performances but haven’t been able to hear at home or in our cars.   And Evie isn’t the only artist with a record in the works-- Heather Lomax, whom I first encountered at an Elvis Birthday Bash some years ago is also busy, and some of her new songs will be inspired by The King.

Here’s Evie reminding us of Johnny Cash’s comment, “It’s like she has electricity in those fingers…”  or one of her bandmates saying “Evie has more soul in her little finger than most people have in their whole selves.”

I’ve seen Heather Lomax as several musical events over the last four years or so.  This photo is from Jan. 2019, part of the Elvis Birthday Bash at Joe’s in Burbank.  She did two of the 1950s R&B numbers that Elvis covered and just blew me away.

Another event that will be happening this year is the US Census, which is done every ten years, in years ending in “0.”  The idea is to count the population of the US as of April 1, 2020, which brings up a family “oral tradition”.  For the 1940 Census, my mother’s younger sister, Jane was hired as an “enumerator,” the official term for a census taker.  Although I was born on April 2, my Aunt Jane had me included in the total, so as a wee babe, I did my part to make sure California was properly represented in the US House of Representatives.

Looking further into the future, LA Metro is working on connecting the Gold Line to the rest of the system through the Downtown Regional Connector.  Not that I will be traveling on it often, but the Crenshaw Line is nearing completion, and the subterranean crews are building the subway tunnels along Wilshire Blvd.  Maybe someday I will be able to take the Purple Line to Molly Malone’s on Fairfax for musical events.

To all who visit our virtual Old Curiosity Shop, Happy New Year.  Live Long and Prosper.

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