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Hello Dear Readers! Local weather forecasters are predicting a deluge of rain for the LA/Orange County area this weekend and that surely threatens to impede outdoor fun. We really need the rain but as predictions so often go, it may or may not happen. A few of today’s Pressing Matters are scheduled to take place outside so you may want to take along an umbrella as you head out — I usually find that ensures the lack of precipitation. Here are today’s topics:

When The Swallows Return • LitFest • Literary Fair • Millard Sheets Tour
• Magical History Tour • SIGNin’ • Fanniversary • Club 55

Every year the annual return of the swallows to San Juan Capistrano is big on local news stations and it’s that time again. Monday, March 19th Mission San Juan Capistrano will celebrate the little bird’s return from South America:

The swallows are said to migrate annually to Goya, Argentina in October, and return to their spring and summer home in San Juan Capistrano each March. The Swallows celebration began centuries ago when Mission padres observed that the birds return roughly coincided with St. Joseph's Day on the church calendar, March 19. The celebration has achieved international prominence since then.

Monday’s celebration at Mission San Juan Capistrano takes place  from 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM and includes:

• Ringing of the historic bells • Live mariachi music • Community presentations
• Special Guest Lecture on Cliff Swallows • Mission Parish School performances
• San Juan Elementary performances • History of St. Joseph's Day and Swallows Legend

Cost of General Admission to the event at the mission is: $10 for Adults, $9 for Seniors (60+) and $5 for Children (Ages 4-11), Children 3 and under are free. For more information about Mission San Juan Capistrano’s Return of the Swallows event or to read about the legend of the swallow’s return, visit this link.

The town continues the celebration the following Saturday with the 54th presentation of the Swallows' Day Parade and Mercado:

The Swallows' Day Parade is part of the larger Fiesta de las Golondrinas or Festival of the Swallows. The Fiesta de las Golondrinas is tied to the legendary return of the swallows to the Mission San Juan Capistrano on St. Joseph's Day. The Swallows' Day Parade is the nation's largest non-motorized parade and takes place right in down-town San Juan Capistrano. The Parade and Mercado can be a full day of family fun, celebrating the Old West and the return of the swallows from their winter home in Argentina. Arrive early, as most street closures are in effect by 10:00 AM with the parade beginning promptly at 11 AM.The theme for this year's Swallows' Day Parade is 'How the West was Fun'

The 2012 Swallows' Day Parade will be held on Saturday, March 24th. For more information, visit this link.

There’ll be a celebration of literary pursuits in Pasadena this Saturday. If you’re a fan of reading you may want to don your galoshes and head out to the first annual LitFest:

LitFest plans a celebratory day of readings and panel discussions featuring well-known local and California authors, hands-on activities for young people, good food, better books, and great fun, all aimed at promoting the literary arts. Attendees can look forward to an irreverent and informative festival that incorporates theater, music, poetry, and more. Some of L.A.’s hottest gourmet food trucks, courtesy of Chefs Center, will be located along Raymond Avenue, and public parking is under the Gold Line Del Mar Station directly across the street from Central Park, a comfortable green space between Raymond and Fair Oaks Avenues, just south of the historic Castle Green. A children’s area will feature storytelling, Shakespearean actors, and a Quidditch demonstration! In addition, there will be more than 30 publishers, institutions and vendors at the event with books for sale.

LitFest Pasadena takes place on Saturday, March 17th, from 9:30 AM to 5 PM in Central Park. Central Park is located at 275 S. Raymond Ave in Pasadena between Fair Oaks and Raymond, and (on the north/south side) E. Dayton St. and Del Mar Blvd. It’s just south of Old Pasadena, and across the street from the historical Castle Green. Admission is free.

But what if it should rain? The event’s organizers are prepared:

We are soliciting the sun gods to work with us here, and it being Southern California, we know weather predictions can change hourly, and be unreliable. Exhibit booths will be tented, as well as the stages and children’s area. We are proceeding forward with optimism. If there is excessive rain, we are planning on moving panels to indoor areas, but otherwise, we are a go. Hope to see you there with sunglasses on!

For more information on LitFest Pasadena, visit this link.

For another celebration of books and reading that’s a little closer to Disneyland, head out to the Spring Literacy Fair at the Heritage Museum of Orange County:

Come to the Heritage Museum of Orange County for an afternoon filled with joy, smiles, family, friends, laughter, free books, and free activities! The annual Spring Literacy Fair has something for everyone. Not only does this Fair promote literacy, it also brings together many different organizations and groups that provide assistance to families. There will be activities for children, including a scavenger hunt, face-painting, balloon animals, and a raffle. Hands-on butter-making and demonstrations of the blacksmith’s craft will be presented by Heritage Museum of Orange County and the Orange County Blacksmith Guild. There will also be free tours of the ground floor of the Kellogg House.

The Spring Literacy Fair takes place on Saturday, March 17th, 2012 from 11:00 AM to 2:00 PM at the Heritage Museum of Orange County, located at 3101 West Harvard Street in Santa Ana, CA. Admission to the fair is free. For more information, visit this link.

Regular readers will remember I mentioned the artist Millard Sheets and his mural work on the former Home Savings buildings. This Sunday the LA Conservancy is offering a Millard Sheets tour exploring his work and it sounds pretty interesting:

The LA Conservancy and its Modern Committee are proud to present a special, one-time-only tour exploring the art and architecture of Millard Sheets in Claremont and Pomona. A highly influential artist, designer, and educator, Sheets made an indelible mark on the postwar Southern California landscape. You’ll enjoy a curated look at important examples of his work, including his own former studio, as well as the contributions of his many peers and protégés

Tour sites include:

• Former Millard Sheets Studio (1958): Sheets designed this complex in Claremont for use as his own design and mosaic studio. Now used as a medical office, it remains remarkably intact, inside and out. The exterior of the building features fanciful mosaics of birds and people, and the landscaping is classic mid-century modern. 

• Garrison Theater, Scripps College (1963): Sheets designed the magnificent theater at Scripps College, whose art department he led for nineteen years. The grand entrance to the 700-seat auditorium features monumental mosaics depicting scenes from Shakespeare. The two-story lobby has original tapestries by Jean and Arthur Ames.

• Pomona First Federal, now American Museum of Ceramic Art (circa 1957): This mid-century bank complex now houses the American Museum of Ceramic Art (AMOCA). Now gallery space, the former banking lobby features a nearly 80-foot-long painted mural by Sheets depicting the history of the Pomona Valley.

• Pomona First Federal, now US Bank (1968): Nearly unchanged since it opened, this former branch of Pomona First Federal combines the modernism, neoclassicism, mosaics, and mural art associated with the best of Sheets’ famous Home Savings Bank designs.

• Pomona Mall (1962): Pomona's downtown mall was the first pedestrian mall in America west of the Mississippi. To create the mall, Millard Sheets closed nine blocks of Second Street to traffic and unified the whole by adding planter boxes with shade trees, fountains with mosaics and sculpture, and simplified facades to many of the buildings. Five blocks of the mall have since been reopened to vehicular traffic, yet many historic features remain intact.

• Home Savings Tower, now Chase Bank (1963): From the Pomona Mall, we'll discuss this elegant tower designed by Sheets to anchor the mall. The six-story building was designed for Home Savings, and the lacy design on the exterior was created by weaving the initials “H” and “S” together. The building is currently threatened with demolition, and its upper floors are covered by scaffolding. Yet the tower remains a strong presence in the area, and one of Sheets’ trademark mosaics is visible on the façade. 

The tour is collection of docent-led tours, not a bus tour. You’ll check in at an assigned location, then drive yourself to each site, where you will receive a docent-led tour. Seeing everything will take about 3 hours. You may start at any time, and visit the sites in any order like, though all tours will end promptly at 4:00. Photography may be limited in some interiors. Restrooms will not be available at all locations. The tour takes place on Sunday, March 18th from 11:30 AM to 4:00 PM.

For information on cost and where to meet up, visit this link.

I also want to mention a tour that’ll take place in the future so you can all plan ahead because I know Knott’s Berry Farm fans are going to really want to take part in this one and space is limited. The Orange County Historical Society is hosting its annual dinner at Knott’s and the fete includes what is sure to be a magical tour filled with lots of interesting historical anecdotes — all that and you get to hear Eric Lynxwiler speak. Trust me, nothing could be more entertaining than that. Eric is a wealth of knowledge and he delivers it in the most agreeable fashion:

The history of Knott's Berry Farm will be the theme of the Orange County Historical Society’s 2012 annual dinner, to be held at Mrs. Knott’s Chicken Dinner Restaurant, on Friday, June 15th. Featured speaker, Eric Lynxwiler, co-author of the book, Knott’s Preserved, will share the Farm's colorful history and will debunk a number of myths along the way.

In addition, the Orange County Archives will present never-before-seen film footage from Knott's past. Also, a walking tour of Knott's 1920 and 1930 history will be offered by Orange County historian Phil Brigandi at 5:00 PM for those who are interested (reservations for tour are required and space is limited).

The Orange County Historical Society’s Annual Dinner costs $30.00 for members and $35.00 for Nonmembers which includes tax and tip. Western attire is encouraged but not required. Reservations are a must, so please RSVP by June 5, 2012. Walk-ins will not be accepted. (Note that although the tour is free, you will need to sign-up for the tour when you purchase your dinner tickets.) For more information or to purchase tickets, visit this link.

Now let’s move on to some Disney events. This weekend, Downtown Disney Anaheim will host SIGNin’ in the Street:

SIGNin' in the Street, an event celebrating creativity in the Deaf community, will come alive on March 17th & 18th at the Downtown Disney District. There are a lot of great activities planned throughout the weekend plus there will be SIGNin' in the Street merchandise, DVD's, books and more available to purchase at a kiosk near ESPN Zone. Artist appearance and signings will take place adjacent to ESPN Zone. Academy Award® Winning Actress and Author Marlee Matlin will be joining in to sign copies of her memoir, I'll Scream Later. Other Marlee Matlin books available to purchase include Deaf Child Crossing ($5.99), Nobody's Perfect ($5.99) and Leading Ladies ($16.99). Marlee will be signing books on March 18th from approximately 1:45 -2:15 PM.  

For more information, visit this link.

D23 Members — a reminder! Members in varying cities around the US will be able to experience D23’s Fanniversary. For more information visit their site.

We’ll wrap it up today with an interesting email I received from a MiceAge reader who wishes to remain anonymous and who has donated a very special item to Walt Disney’s pet project, California Institute of the Arts, or, as it’s more commonly known, CalArts. CalArts is located in Valencia,  California, just north of Los Angeles and was incorporated in 1961 as the first degree-granting institution of higher learning in the United States, created specifically for students of both the visual and the performing arts. You may have heard of some of the school’s graduates; Tim Burton, Sofia Coppola, Henry Selick, Brad Bird, Pete Docter, Andrew Stanton, and John Lasseter just to name a few. If you’d like to learn more about CalArts, you’ll find the history of the school here at this link.

Most Disney fans know about Club 33, but there was a much more exclusive club at Disneyland with a similar sounding name. It was called Club 55, and said very generous MiceAge Reader has donated a copy of the book, Club 55: The Pioneers to the CalArts library so that interested people will be able to enjoy it.

It’s a very rare book, you see, an internal publication for the original Disneyland cast members. Club 55 was started as a way to celebrate employees who began working at Disneyland in 1955 or earlier. In 1975, Disney published the book, Club 55: The Pioneers for the 25th anniversary of the park. Not to be redundant, but again what makes the book so rare and so special is that it was for Club 55 members only and never made available to the public. The book contains some terrific information about the early days of Disneyland as told through the anecdotes of the Club 55 members and who better to tell the story than those who were there at the start? I know I loved hearing Jack Lindquist relate his tales of Disneyland’s early days when I interviewed him at the publication of his book, In Service To The Mouse. I’d like to hear other folks stories too, wouldn’t you?

The Disney Parks blog has a video (watch above) and a few pages about Club 55.

Anyone interested in Disneyland history or in theme park design is going to want to want to peruse the pages of Club 55: The Pioneers and soak up all that Disney history. The donation of the book to the CalArts Library makes this possible without having to constantly search eBay in the hopes that a copy will turn up. Club 55: The Pioneers is located in the library’s Special Collections section. To access it, present the book’s call number to staff at the Circulation Desk and they will then retrieve the book for you. Be advised that the book can only be used in the Library under supervision of Circulation staff and with the use of protective gloves.

Club 55: The Pioneers’ library information and call number can be found here at this link. Do note that Special Collections materials are available Monday-Friday, 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM. California Institute of the Arts is located at 24700 McBean Parkway in Valencia, CA, and CalArts’ Library Circulation Desk can be reached at: (661) 253—7889.

That’s it for another week of Pressing Matters, thanks for stopping by. I’ve got some reading to do so I’ll leave you and say good-bye till next week. In the meantime, if you want to know what I’m up to, you need to follow Pressing Matters on Twitter. You never know what you’ll find there — food, museums, shopping, Disneyland, Books! Follow along as I search for the all the latest Pressing Matters & tweet about what I find:


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FTC-Mandated Disclosure: As of December 2009, bloggers are required by the Federal Trade Commission to disclose payments and freebies. Sue Kruse and Al Lutz did not receive any payments, free items, or free services from any of the parties discussed in this article. They pay for their own admission to theme parks and their associated events, unless otherwise explicitly noted.

© 2012 Sue Kruse