Community involvement & awareness. Newspapers & radio stations such as our local Pasadena Star News (PSN) or Pasadena City College’ KPCC radio station are expected to be involved & aware. And wouldn’t you know it, the PSN wants to do more community building!
Their new Pasadena Star News Lounge, or as I’ll call it – the Star Lounge – is their latest initiative toward that goal. When I first heard about it 4 months ago from the editor – author Francis Girardot – I had trouble grasping what I just heard! “What??” It sounded good, but was that what I really heard or even what he really meant to say?? I asked him to clarify: Yep, that’s what he said, what I heard, and what he meant!
Ok, good. Yet, seeing it is even better. One month, then a second flew by, and I wasn’t noticing any transformation at PSN world headquarters. If this lounge were ever coming to pass it looked to be later not sooner.
Then late one weekend night about 2 mths ago I noticed destructive activity at the PSN building. I even sent editor Girardot a photo of what was going down at his offices while he was away. It must’ve left him speechless cuz his only reply was, “WoW!” My initial response was: 1st Obama was going after the guns/arms and now he was going after the press?! Talk about Big Government disarming We The People!
Then early one weekday at Euro Pane Cafe a PSN writer, and EPC regular, gave me an update: “it’s about done except for…you should go check it out.” Well, I’ve been checking it out, using it, for about 3 weeks now.
Last week I was “lounging” at the PSN when another writer asks, “You’re coming to the lounge grand opening, aren’t you?” I didn’t know what she meant despite the paper announcing they would have it. Still, I wasn’t intending to attend until she also said, “There’s going to be wine & cheeze.” Ahem, “but, I’ll try to drop by if my schedule permits”, I told her.
The clock struck 30 minutes before the end of the PSN lounge grand opening. Maybe I should go check it out, afterall I’m feeling a bit thirsty and wine may be the remedy. I’m anything but a social butterfly, however if someone I happen to know is doing something positive I’ll try to show my support. Otherwise, I’d much rather concentrate on studying food in a cafe or researching some local history.
Upon entering the PSN building I’m met with a mass of people: It’s occupy the Star Lounge. The only people I know at first are PSN Editor Girardot & his writers. I also recognize public editor Larry Wilson, and, if I have my events straight, recovering politician (his term) the wonderful Anthony Portantino.
Oh, and Pasadena Police Chief Sanchez. OMG, what’s he doing here?? ;) He brought along a deputy chief so maybe he felt the need for a body guard while at the PSN. Haha, I’m glad I came afterall!
But, focus…where’s the FOOD & DRINK?? I see NOTHING. A sudden bout of depression visits me, and my stomach. Oh man, that’s what I get for coming close to closing time. Well then, I’ll just check a few blogs on their new computers, then chat with the Chief, then depart.
After surfing the WWW, I notice the Chief is still in conversation with a couple of people. Ok, I’m heading out the door. But I’m met by a woman with a skewer & drink!: “Where’d you’d get that?!” I follow her path and, Eureka!, I have found it!!
I start with water, no Merlot so I skip the wine, take Sake, then restart with coffee.
Raw fruit & veggies for this tough newspaper crowd.
Hummus, Tabouli, sandwiches, etc. I start eating, and, eating.
After I fill up a plate, the PSN’s ex- DooDah Queen writer and I talk. I’ve just told her, “I only know you PSN writers & Police Chief Sanchez”, when I look up and see an LA native/oldtimer – now Pasadenan – who I first met at the LA Times . Nowadays I only see him when he’s in the company of some delicious looking food. Next, I see a candidate from the recent Pasadena elections. We chat between bites.
I’ve had these before but can’t recall their technical name. Nevertheless, I remembered how to eat them.
Between bites I took a look for Chief Sanchez. Still talking – now with PSN editor Girardot! It’s probably just 5 minutes of niceties between friends, then I’ll have my turn. Five minutes came & went and the Chief & the Editor are still going at it. Looks like they’ve turned this party into a serious conversation. Can’t imagine what they were discussing but it couldn’t have been more important than my subject: asking the Chief what he’s discovered about good eating in Pasadena since coming here! Next time. I rather use my mouth to eat anyway.
Skipped these but I think they were like fried falafel chips.
Despite trouble getting face time with Chief Sanchez, at least I haven’t fallen into conversation rather than doing the right thing: Eating. In previous events (as recently as 2 weeks ago) I’ve fallen into the trap of using my mouth more for talking than eating. (In that regard, old-timers may recall the error I made at the So. Pasadena Tournament of Roses party written up here) This day I stayed focused on the task at hand: going back for 2nds and 3rds. Which reminds me…
More fruit and other sweets!, please.
The catering was done by Japon Bistro, and I believe either Burger Continental or Pita Pita. If I missed anything for coming late, I was glad with what I got.
It wasn’t entirely eating & drinking for me. I did meet some new people, like a trio visiting from the corporate/parent company of the PSN. Two of the three were very friendly and interested in what I thought.
BEFORE: The “destructive activity” I mentioned earlier seeing “one late weekend night.”
AFTER: Entering PSN building the 1st thing you may notice in the Star Lounge is the new PSN flag announcing where you’re at.
On the opposite side of the lounge you’ll notice a community table and behind that a large flat-screen TV with the latest breaking news. But I need to shorten this article – you’ll have check into the lounge yourself.
So, all this destruction, reconstruction, and drinking & eating was to announce the new PSN Star Lounge and their interest in how they can better serve you, the community, as they go about exercising their journalistic 1st amendment rights.
Here’s a sample of what that community table & community building can look like: Here is PSN writer & Senior Moments columnist Patricia Bunin & her readers at a Pre-grand opening event for the 4th anniversary of her column Truly, truly, lemme tell y’all: photographs don’t do justice to how beautiful Bunin is in person, inside & out. (Btw, the coffee & sweets were good too!) ;)
In addition to book events with PSN writers, as I said the PSN wants your feedback on how they can better serve their readers. Therefore please fill out this short & easy online PSN Survey. The paper wants to know things as, How would you like to interact with the newspaper?, Would attending workshops or editorial meetings, be of interest to most, etc. So, if you want the newsmedia to hear you out then here’s a chance to give a shout!
Oh, and my talk with the police chief? After another bite I looked again for him. He was finally free, but, literally half way out the door! “Chief, Chief!” A quick “Hi”, shake of the hands with him and his deputy chief, and that was it. Oh well, at least I got to lounge with the community while getting a good taste of the main event.
Geez, I wonder if the newspaper is gonna have this great lounge food & drink everyday? Just some community feedback. ;)
Gotta Write. Stay Thirsty My Friends