Bob Stane, who everyone knows from all the great music he produces at the Coffee Gallery Backstage and the comedy he set loose at the Ice House for years, is making more than anyone else could out of his “fork in the road” on S. Pasadena Ave. I’m heading there today for a photo myself to catch all the action. Just read on and be amazed. Then give him a hand with food and decor!

Bob Stane Says:  Today, we have two sermons in one.  Double your pleasure, double your fun.
Both have the subtle thread of volunteerism running through them.  Oh, Bob, you have started your novel.  No Chuckie and Chuckette,
I have not.  Wait for it.   Here is the fun part.  As you know, we scored big with THE FORK.  It ran on TV all over the country and was featured in The Chicago Tribune, with color photo.  (Internet Version).  Also The Los Angeles Times featured us with a half page as
did The San Gabriel Tribune.  It went on and on and is still a “happening” event. The door is only slightly ajar. The demons are peeking around the corner.
The conquest of the media world is only a greedy grasp away.  I can almost taste the heady essence of complete power.
Of course with absolute power comes absolute corruption.  Well, I can’t be perfect.  Stay with me on this one.
We are starting The Fork In The Road Gang with everything that goes along with belonging to, and  flaunting,  a snooty and exclusive  organization.  A fraternity  that is much too good for such as I.  But that will be worked out.
You, however, are invited to join.  Can you feel that warm tingle go up and down your spine?  Delicious.
Read the copy about the food drive.  There is a lot more opportunity for future glory in this than you might think.  Then go down to the next item of forkiness  and absorb the hint of evil that goes with ongoing holidays and Pasadena events.        Oh, yes, yes, yes.

THE FOOD DRIVE:  (Good deeds, etc. The Holidays are here)
“Put The Fork In Hunger”  food drive to benefit Union Station Homeless Services.  Largest Food Drive Ever!
This Saturday and Sunday from 8 to 4 P.M.  Bob Stane, Ken Marshall (The Coffee Gallery Backstage) and Philip Coombes( will be launching Pasadena’s largest food drive ever! benefiting Union Station Homeless services.  Union Station Homeless Services  will be feeding more than 5,000 people in the park on Thanksgiving Day and any non-perishables you can drop off at the fork this weekend will be greatly appreciated and much needed.
The food drive will be taking place at The infamous “Fork” located at the “fork in the road” where St. John and Pasadena Ave. meet. (or divide depending if your cup is half full or half empty) This is just South of Huntington Hospital and Bellfontaine.  (From now on, this piece of dirt is dubbed, “Fork  Plaza”). Please look for the volunteers wearing bright Orange shirts.  Simply go slow, roll down your window and give your non-perishable food items to the volunteers with outreach bags.

We are also looking for volunteers (anyone? anyone?) to help on both days of the event, Hint:  students  looking for  service hours.  For further information or to volunteer, please contact Philip Coombes at or call 626 644-3227.  (do not call Bob Stane, phone or e mail Phil.). Adults welcomed and needed. Call now.
Easiest route is from Arroyo (Pasadena Freeway).  Go west on Glen Arm.  Go north on Pasadena Ave.  Admire fork. Volunteer or drop off food.  Go around the corner, park, and gaze. Think about the audacity and the work and imagination that went into this stunt. Now your appetite is whetted.  You are doomed.  However, if Glenda, The Good Witch shows up you may get away with it.
Mapquest. Type in 866 N. Pasadena Ave. Pasadena, CA.  The Fork lives to the left of this address.


What’s next, Bob. Exploit me, take full advantage.  “See World Conquest.”
The Fork In The Road, at Fork Plaza, has only started to infect the community.  So much potential  mischief, so little time.
Get this insight.  “The Fork and Fork Plaza” are new players on the Pasadena scene.  New and shiny. Just right for seasonal exploitation.
The television cameras are waiting for the close up, CB.
We need a Santa hat for the top of the fork.  There will be lights (we hope).  Other wonderful decorations and “inspired” things might happen or appear. The top of the fork is 24 inches wide.  Just right for some sewing genius who can make a hat or ?  A craft project or do you have a huge Santa hat in your garage?  Ideas welcomed.  Ken will install, do not
climb any ladders.
All right, Bob, what do you really want to do?  Spill your guts.  O. K., you got it out of me.  What I really want is to get The Fork featured in The New Year’s Day parade television coverage and as a feature, on TV, during the football game, January 1, both.  That will require ideas.  And a crown on the top if the fork.  See “crafts.”  Want to see your work on TV?  Sure you do.
Now, Bob, how are you going to get it on TV on New Year’s Day? Answer: Remember, The Fork is a new player and the TV commentators have about worn out anything else that might be spectacular in Pasadena.  That leaves The Fork and my festering imagination to supply (safe and sane) visuals.  The Rose Court?  Maybe.  The Cheer leaders of both football teams?  Dancers? Perhaps.
Actually, there is much more but I cannot tell you as I need to reserve much of the ideas to seduce the TV channels.  I have great visuals in store. Can’t give it away. So cool.  You will be proud of me.
Hint:  I may need someone to craft a large pie.  Envision a round wash tub (tin/zinc) cut down (shortened) to pie size.  Then a pie crust (made of?).     Oh, yes, a pie.  That warm tingle is, again, going up the spine.  You will think of better things than I.
Now you can contact Bob Stane.  Think outside the pie:
This is going to be good.  (or as Terry Southern wrote of Guy Grand’s escapades in his book “The Magic Christian,” “it cost him a pretty penny to get out of that one.”).


Bob Stane Says:  If you are in Southern California, turn on your TV and tune to
Channels 2 (CBS), Channel 7 and Channel 5.  Tonight.  Right now for CBS, Channel 2.
It is a great story on a huge gift on my birthday.  A great surprise for me.
It is a fork.  Channel 2 is running a “teaser” on it about every 20 minutes and they have
wished me “Happy Birthday” on screen.
At 5:00 P.M. I will be featured in an interview along with Ken Marshall, who is the tinker who made the fork.
I love forks and Ken made one just for me.  Blessings on you Tiny Ken.
Kudos to Ken.  See the shows for details.
I hope it will be amusing.
This is a leaning moment on “Publicity.”  Repeat:  Publicity.  Take note.
During the 6:00 P.M. news shows Channel 5 and Channel 7 will run their interviews.
I know you thought if I got huge tv news stories it would be something really disgraceful and something
that would land me in prison.  Well, it is not over yet.  Permission and permits did not enter into this “stroke.”
It may, or may not run during the “late news” on all stations if you are still awake.
If you are in the San Gabriel Valley, The Star-News did 3/4 page on me and the Far West
award, and my somewhat colorful life (fortunately the do not know everything).  Definitely
the Star-News have it, and I suspect the entire newspaper chain ran it.  Also, a picture story on “the fork.”
And where is the spoon and the dish?  The mystery deepens.
Bob Stane, The Coffee Gallery Backstage

Here are the celebrities of Xmas Tree Lane, the biggest of whom is the lovely Rosa Johnson, Mrs. Altadena. It’s fitting that this icon of our town is dressed as a Santa, so she is Santa Rosa on Santa Rosa. Also here is avid Xmas Tree Lane supporter Supervisor Mike Antonovich, emcee Meshack Taylor (Designing Women), Linda Lane-White, Maureen Ward, and the choirs from Altadena Baptist Church and Blair High School, plus the Altadena Children’s Choir and John Muir High School Drum Corps. Unfortunately the hot cider and hot chocolate ran out way too early, but the crowd was enthusiastic anyway. So take a drive down the Lane and then head east on Mendocino to get the best view of the Balian Mansion (just east of Allen and Mendocino) as it appears before you like a vision.


PASADENA, Calif.-Giuseppe Attardi, whose work linked degenerative diseases and aging to genetic mutations, died at his home in Altadena on Saturday, April 5. He was 84 years old.

Attardi, the California Institute of Technology’s Steele Professor of Molecular Biology, was among the first scientists to delve into the processes through which DNA’s information is transferred. He identified all the genes of the DNA in human mitochondria–often called the powerhouses of biological cells. He then developed techniques for investigating genetic diseases, including Alzheimer’s, and aging in general, which he discovered is associated with changes in mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA).

Born in 1923 in Vicari, Italy, a town of less than 3,000 people in the Province of Palermo, Attardi earned an MD from the University of Padua in 1947. He remained there for almost 10 years as an assistant professor in the Institute for Histology and General Embryology.
During those years, he also visited the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, as a research fellow in cell research and genetics, and the Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine as a Fulbright Fellow.

Still on the Fulbright Fellowship, Attardi arrived at Caltech in 1959. He was appointed associate professor of molecular biology four years later. It was at Caltech that Attardi turned his interests to mitochondria, establishing that mtDNA is an active, working genome.
This spurred research into the organelle’s genetic machinery.

David Chan, an associate professor of biology and Attardi’s colleague and friend, credits Attardi with being a leading figure in identifying the products and functions of the mitochondrial genome.
Attardi and a student developed a technique in which they replaced the mtDNA of a human cell line with the mtDNA from diseased cells.
This allowed them to distinguish the roles of mtDNA and the genome of the nucleus–where the rest of a cell’s DNA resides–in causing the disease. With this technique, they could also examine the relationship between changes in mtDNA and changes in cell function caused by the disease. “Many labs have used his approach to understand how mutations in mtDNA diseases affect mitochondrial function,” Chan says.

“Giuseppe was one of the founders of what is now a central and still-expanding area of molecular cell biology,” adds Attardi’s colleague and friend Gottfried Schatz, emeritus professor of biochemistry at the University of Basel’s Biozentrum, in Switzerland.
“His unique insights bore magnificent fruits with the landmark description of the transcription map of mammalian mtDNA, as well as the precise characterization of the mechanism of mitochondrial diseases and the dynamics of human mitochondrial genomes.”

In recent years, researchers in Attardi’s lab at Caltech have focused on how mtDNA replicates, and on detecting mutations that result from aging, and what affects those mutations have. The team discovered that older people carry a significantly greater number of genetic defects in a specific region of their mtDNA, suggesting that cell aging begins in the mitochondria.

“He has been a central figure in mitochondrial research for several decades. One of the things I will always remember about him is his constant excitement for all types of biological questions,” Chan says. “I think his intense curiosity is one reason he accomplished so much as a scientist.”

Schatz adds, “To him, science was everything and he never tired of discussing the latest experiments. Yet he also embodied a vanishing breed of scientists whom I would define as ‘gentlemen intellectuals.’
He had a superb grasp of European history and world culture, had mastered French and German at a very high level of proficiency, and even in his most spirited discussions refrained from personal invective or overt aggression. To me, he was an example of how science can keep us young in spirit, and ennoble us.”

During his career, Attardi garnered several distinctions. They include two Guggenheim Fellowships; election to the National Academy of Sciences; the Antonio Feltrinelli International Prize for Medicine from the Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei; a degree of doctor honoris causa from the University of Zaragoza, Spain; the Passano Foundation Award in 2000; and the Gairdner Foundation International Prize.

Attardi is survived by his wife and fellow researcher, Anne Chomyn, a senior research fellow, emeritus, at Caltech; a son, Luigi Attardi, of Rome; a daughter, Laura Attardi, of Palo Alto, who is a professor of cancer biology at Stanford University; and a grandson, Marcello Attardi, of Palo Alto.

Visit the Caltech Media Relations website at

Elisabeth Nadin, science writer
Caltech Media Relations

marninixon2_small.jpgHeard on NPR today that Marni Nixon, an Altadena native, is joining the touring company of My Fair Lady in Chicago. It’s full circle for Nixon, who sang for Audrey Hepburn in the film version of My Fair Lady when Hepburn got the role over Julie Andrews, who had played the roll on Broadway. In this production, Nixon will play Mrs. Higgins, mother of the insufferable Henry, taking over for Sally Ann Howes who completes her run at Lincoln Center today.

The show will open at the Ahmanson in April, and in Orange County in June. Most people aren’t aware that Marni grew up here in Altadena, on Maiden Lane. I interviewed her when she played  in James Joyce’s The Dead in 2000. (Did you know I reviewed theatre for 15 years — writing for The Daily Breeze, Outlook, Dramalogue, LA Times Calendar Live and Also served time on the LA Drama Critics Circle as VP for three years and president for two — so my theatre experience is long… In fact, I spent so much time in theatre seats I can’t stand to my put arms on armrests anymore!)

Just what else is Marni known for? Singing for Deborah Kerr in The King and I and Natalie Wood in West Side Story. If I can find my story on her, I’ll get it posted in her honor. Liane Hansen’s NPR story can be found at And you can read the story in Playbill at

While you’re there, you can order the This I Believe Journal.

And you can read Marni’s bio at, at IMDB and at Wiki at