Thursday, March 15, 2012

New York writer revels in the eccentricities of Bakersfield and looking back at the 1952 great earthquake

* ...  COUNTRY MUSIC: If you missed it, The New York Times ran a nice feature on Bakersfield and the famous "Bakersfield Sound" recently, highlighting the late Buck Owens, Merle Haggard and of course our Basque eateries. The writer stayed in The Padre Hotel, ate at the Arizona Cafe, went to Trout's and the Crystal Palace and stopped by Ethel's Old Corral Cafe. His other recommendations: Noriega's, Los Tacos de Huicho and the Kern County Museum. Writer Ethan Hauser noted "the Bakersfield sound grew out of a reaction to the polished and lifeless tunes coming out of Nashville. Thus the country music born here in the 50s and 60s, wafting from the honky-tonks and recording studios, was more stripped down, a little louder, abetted by the punch of electric guitars, the lurch and sway of rockabilly."

* ... REUNION: Coldwell Banker Realtor Dutch Toews dropped me a note to tell me about the 50 year reunion of the Delano High School class of 1962. It is set for Saturday, October 13 and will feature "the same band that played for us in 1962, Al Garcia and The Rhythm Kings. Three of the original seven members are still playing." It will also celebrate the school's 100-yeark anniversary and all classes from 1959 through 1965 are invited. It will be held at the DoubleTree in Bakersfield and the cost is $50 per person. Contact Dutch at (661) 616-3424 or Tom and Donna Roberts at (661) 821-4226.

* ... EARTHQUAKE: In 1952, Bakersfield and Tehachapi were hit by a series of earthquakes and aftershocks that changed the face of those cities forever. In the 60th anniversary year, Kern County Library will present an historical retrospective with photo displays, archival materials, and documents.  On May 5 the Beale Library will offer a program showcasing the earthquakes visual and written history.  However, one more element is needed at the program - the oral histories and human stories. If you want to add your voice to the May 5 program, call Andie Apple, head of Public Services, at (661) 868-0723. (photos courtesy of the Kern County Museum,)

 * ... TRAINS: Correspondent Bill Deaver weighed in on the miniature train that used to ferry children around Hart Park. Said Bill: "I was born at Mercy Hospital in 1935, and my maternal grandfather, Henry Mack, was a Santa Fe official in Bakersfield. One of the highlights of growing up in those days was riding that little train in Hart Park. That, and riding trains between Bakersfield and Madera where we lived during the war sparked a life-long love of trains that eventually led to an appointment as a special assistant to the Federal Railroad Administrator in Washington during the early days of the Reagan Administration, which led to other jobs in that fascinating city during the Reagan and George Bush administration."

 * ... NEW BUSINESS: It's always good to hear of a new business opening locally, and the latest is Music Together, a downtown-based center that will offer early childhood music and movement programs during a 10-week semester. Pyper Von Normann, who used to be a massage therapist, is the new director of the Yellow House Music Together program. The classes involve both children and parents in singing, chanting, moving, listening and other activities. The "yellow house" is at 1905 17th Street. Call Pyper with questions at (661) 979-0157.

 * ... THEATER: The Bakersfield Music Theater will hold its second annual wine tasting fundraiser at the Stars Theatre Restaurant on Chester Avenue. The event is set for March 25 from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. The cost is $60 per person or $120 a couple. Call (661) 325-6100 for tickets.

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