* ... FIRST FRIDAY: There's an interesting new art opening for First Friday over at The Foundry on 19th Street. The exhibition by a group of artists will focus on portraits of the legends of the Bakersfield Sound: Merle Haggard, Bill Woods, Red Simpson, Bonnie Owens, Billy Mize, Cousin Herb Henson, Buck Owens, Tommy Collins, Jean Shepard, Wynn Stewart, Fuzzy Owen, Ferlin Husky and Lewis Talley. Meanwhile, next door at The Metro Galleries the work of Tina Bluefield and Moira Fain will be presented in another can't miss show.
* ... BAD FORM: Darlene Platnick witnessed two cases of really bad form during our recent heat wave, and both cases involved small dogs. First, she was in the Costco parking lot on Rosedale Highway when she spotted a small brown dog locked in a white van, "panting profusely and standing up at the window. I didn't know who to call. Then we went to WinCo at Coffee and Hageman and outside was another little black dog, tied up in the sun where there was no shade. I didn't sleep well thinking about those things. People need to be brought up short when they do things like that."
* ... CRIME: Dina Ronquillo, the niece for former Fresno City Councilman Dan Ronquillo, stopped by the ATM off Chester Avenue just north of Brundage Lane to get some cash before heading to work when a woman confronted her and tried to take her money. The would-be robber picked on the wrong person, and a feisty Ronquillo fended off her off. But the incident is a warning to all of us to be aware of our surroundings.
* ... BLACKBOARD: Roger Williams called me to share a few memories of the old Blackboard honky tonk, made famous by the late Buck Owens and others who created the unique Bakersfield Sound. Williams told me the Blackboard was a favorite haunt of the Hells Angeles motorcycle club in the 1950s and 1960s when they would arrive in town for the March Meet drag races out at Famoso Speedway. "There must have been 150 of them at the bar,"he said. He noted that his uncle, Lawrence Williams, also briefly played piano with Buck Owens and his band.
* ... LOCATION: And Anthony Kane writes that he believes the original Blackboard (not the one that was located near the Kern County Museum) was located in the spot where the old Floyd's store occupied.
* ... EAST HIGH: Rick Van Horne is looking for help to solve a mystery over at East High School. Said Rick: "I was contacted by ESPN Magazine writer Steve Wulf because he is doing a piece on Johnny Callison (East High grad) who was the MVP of the 1964 MLB All-Star game. He was wanting to know about a mural at East High of Johnny Callison…. I told him there wasn’t currently a mural of Callison anywhere at the school. What I would like to know from your readers that went to East High, if there ever was a mural of Johnny at the school that has since been painted over or was in a building that is no longer here at East."
Regarding the woman who did not know who to call about a dog locked in a car: in the city limits, call the Bakersfield Police Department, 327-7111. Note the license number; the make, model, color and location of the vehicle; and whether the dog appears to be in distress. I have called BPD several times when I see this cruelty going on. Also, I leave a note on the windshield or in the driver's side window saying Police are on their way if I cannot stay around. I don't know if the Sheriff's Department responds in unincorporated areas. Perhaps this is something you can research, Mr. Beene. And in response to the lady's comments that she did not know who to call . . . Call somebody (anybody) and start asking questions. You are a grown woman with more information at your fingertips than at any other time in the history of the world. God gave you a brain...now use it.
Some funny info about the Blackboard & the Hell's Angels. The band did not like the bikers hanging out because they scared off the women & some of the men. Some of the members thought they came up with a fool-proof way to get them banned by Joe Limi. After a night of playing, drinking & sobering up at the Rancho Coffee Shop, they spray painted things on the side of the building. Unfortunately, they signed them "The Hell's Angles. " It was really hilarious. I was newly married, very young, shy & the group came home with my husband & were laughing & very proud of their prank. Around daylight they took me to view their handiwork. I had a hard time telling these grown men that not one of them could spell correctly. Everyone was sworn to secrecy, but that was in 1965, so I'm sure the ones that are still alive now think it was funny.
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