Mountain Views News, Combined Edition Saturday, February 10, 2024

Sierra Madre Animal Hospital

MVNews this week:  Page 2

Februar􀀝 is Blach. Histor􀀝 Month: Knou, The Past, Shape the Future!

Mountain View News Saturday, February 10, 2024 

AMERICAN STORY By F. Willis Johnson

Amid the backdrop of an imminent presidential election, geopolitical 
discord and tensions within our democratic republic, I take a moment to 
reflect upon Black History Month’s enduring significance in our modern 
era. A period of remembrance and reflection, Black History Month is 
not a mere historical footnote but a living, breathing testament to the 
Black American story — a narrative as vital now as it was when Carter 
G.Woodson first inaugurated Negro History Week nearly a century ago.

Black History Month is a journey through the annals of time where the
brambles of profound injustice trapped the existence of African Diasporic 
people to the luminous trails forged through unyielding resilience,
intellect and indomitable spirit. The inheritance left by our ancestors
is not merely a record of bygone adversities and victories; it serves as a
cornerstone for comprehending our present and constructing a future
radiant with promise and anchored in equity.

To me, Black History Month is a sort of palms of lament, an appointed 
time of tribute to those forebears who laid down pathways of opportunity 
while shouldering the burdens of systemic inequity. It was an anointed 
time to venerate figures such as Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman, 
whose relentless quest for freedom shone a guiding light for others to 
follow. We celebrate visionaries like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., whose 
dream remains a beacon of hope we continue to pursue, and the myriad 
unsung heroes whose contributions are inscribed in the heart of our 
nation, if not upon its monuments.

In an era where information flows like an unceasing deluge, there is a stark 
absence within the mainstream narrative — a chasm where the history of 
African Americans is either fragmented or altogether absent. This neglect 
becomes starkly apparent when one considers the enduring disparities 
in education, health care, economic opportunity and representation that 
systematically marginalized Black communities.

Black History Month addresses these inequalities by bringing African 
American stories to the forefront, acknowledging the pain, sacrifices 
and remarkable accomplishments that have molded our society. From 
the intelligent sociological insights of W.E.B. Du Bois to the pioneering 
political endeavors of Shirley Chisholm, from Katherine Johnson’s 
mathematical prowess that propelled space exploration to Barack 
Obama’s historic ascent to the presidency. To understand this history is to 
engage not just in remembrance but in active exploration. All Americans 
should immerse themselves in such narratives — not as a perfunctory 
acknowledgment, but in recognition that our collective past, welfare, and 
destinies are intertwined.

Resistance to ethnocultural education and diversity, equity, and inclusive 
instruction derives from the discomfort of confronting the painful truths 
of our past. However, sidestepping these critical topics and realities frays 
the fabric of the nation’s story. Through the lens of our shared history, we 
can gain a deeper understanding of the systemic barriers that continue to 
influence the present. By embracing these educational efforts, we cultivate 
a more informed citizenry equipped with the empathy and knowledge 
necessary to foster a more just and inclusive future. It’s not merely about 
learning dates and names; it’s about instilling a consciousness that 
compels action and cultivates a society where equality and understanding 
are paramount.

February is a powerful reminder that the quest for justice and equality 
remains unfulfilled. As the director of programs for Bridge Alliance and 
as a host fostering dialogues on race within our communities through 
the Collage podcast, I often stress that awareness is the precursor to 
action. The insights gleaned from Black History Month observances can 
cultivate solidarity among all people, promoting a more equitable and 
representative world.

By honoring the existential existence of African Americans and African 
Diaspora — their global connections — we pay homage to their enduring 
living legacy. 

This February, join us in the ongoing work of elevating and amplifying 
all the beautiful, diverse stories and people, for they are the threads of a 
colorfully woven fabric, our shared American experience.

F.Willis Johnson is a United Methodist pastor in Columbus, Ohio, and
the author of ” Holding Up Your Corner: Talking About Race in Your
Community ” (Abingdon Press, 2017) His is program director for the
Bridge Alliance, which houses The Fulcrum, a nonprofit, nonpartisan
news platform covering efforts to fix our governing systems.

CAT’S PAJAMAS! Continued from page 1

“The Bee’s Knees,” the Sierra Madre Playhouse’s Roaring 
20s-inspired gala centennial celebration drew a sold-out crowd 
on February 3, 2024. Guests enjoyed a Harold Lloyd silent 
film double bill at the historic theater as well as a champagne 
dinner and speakeasy at Roe Fusion honoring Suzanne Lloyd, 
Harold Lloyd’s granddaughter and trustee of his extensive 
film library. It was a special tribute to the beloved landmark 
venue, which opened as a silent movie theater in 1924 and 
today offers a range of stellar live performances from jazz and 
classical music to theater, comedy and family programming.

Guests, many dressed in 20s attire, enjoyed two of Harold 
Lloyd’s most memorable comedies – both directed by Frank 
Newmeyer and Sam Taylor – Safety Last! and Hot Water. Live 
piano accompaniment heighted the action.

Film historian Lara Gabrielle, who curated the film program, 
interviewed Suzanne Lloyd, who offered some interesting 
background on the films and her life growing up with her 
grandfather and grandmother – actress Mildred Davis, who 
was Lloyd’s leading lady in 15 films. They raised Suzanne 
from birth at Greenacres, their fabled Beverly Hills Estate 
because her mother suffered from depression and was unable 
to care for her.

Suzanne shared that Harold had “natural athleticism, a great 
asset for his physical comedy and demanding stunt work.” She 
noted, “Mildred was terrified of heights, which made filming 
the final roof-top scene with her and Harold in Safety Last! so 
challenging for her, it had to be done in a single take.”

Suzanne also described joining the “family business” at 
age 15, when she was given the job of helping to protect 
her grandfather’s films, which were shot on nitrate film, 
notorious for its unstable and flammable properties, by 
rewinding and spooling them in paper. “It was dirty and 
smelly work,” Suzanne explained. “The chemicals on the film 
stained my hands and made them as mess. But I knew it was 
very important because my grandfather told me he would buy 
me as many manicures as I wanted.” It was all the motivation 
she needed.

Harold, she also noted, intended for Mildred, who was nearly 
a decade younger than him, to be the trustee of his films. But 
those plans were upended when she died two years before 
Harold, leaving Suzanne, age 20 at the time, the sole trustee of 
his film and photo library when he passed away in 1971. It has 
since been her life’s passion to preserve her grandfather’s films 
and “keep Harold’s legacy alive.”

Between the feature films, guests enjoyed a buffet dinner at 
Roe Fusion, a restaurant located across the street from the 
landmark theater. Chef Phillip Ozaki designed a 20s-inspired 
menu, an era when refrigeration and canned and basic 
processed foods were novelties, including deviled eggs, Jell-O 
salad, spinach artichoke dip, chicken a la king, cucumber tea 
sandwiches, creamed corn, icebox cake, and Velveeta. The 
event also featured a signature cocktail, “The Safety Last!,” a 
gimlet with lime, vodka, and cardamum.

Sierra Madre Playhouse Artistic and Executive Director 
Matthew Cook welcomed guests and recognized the 
importance of ensuring that the Playhouse continue to 
flourish for the next 100 years.

Sierra Madre City Council member Kristine Lowe, who 
mentioned that her grandparents enjoyed frequenting the 
Sierra Madre Playhouse in the days of yore, presented a 
proclamation honoring the Sierra Madre Playhouse for its 
unique history and vital role in the community over the 
past 100 years. (Pictured on Page 1 L-R Matt Cook - Sierra 
Madre Playhouse Artistic & Executive Director, Sierra Madre 
Councilwoman Kris Lowe, and Berrie Tsang.)

Sierra Madre-based company E. Waldo Ward, established in 
1891 and famed for its marmalade and preserves, also honored 
Sierra Madre Playhouse by producing a special limited-edition 
Champagne Marmalade featuring the Playhouse’s name and 
centennial dates on its label.

Sierra Madre Playhouse Board Chair David Gordon concluded 
the brief presentations with a series of toasts honoring Suzanne 
Lloyd and the Playhouse.

Other Sierra Madre Playhouse Board members 
attending “The Bee’s Knees” included Ward Calaway, 
Frank Costello, Judith Farrar, Grace Shen, and David 
Zeidberg. The gala celebration was part of a two-day 
silent film festival at Sierra Madre Playhouse featuring a 
free community event and five iconic silent films. 

Photos by Robert Velasco 


 Sierra Madre Playhouse, a vibrant Southern California 
cultural hub with a rich history spanning nearly a century, 
energizes audiences and the community with distinctive 
theatrical productions and captivating live performances. 

 As one of San Gabriel Valley’s only performing arts 
center presenting a broad spectrum of performance genres, 
including theater, music, dance, film, comedy, and family-
friendly productions featuring eminent local and national 
professional artists, the treasured artistic beacon draws 
audiences from across the Southland. The intimate 99-seat 
Sierra Madre Playhouse offers an up-close and personal 
connection to performances that resonate deeply, earning 
multiple Ovation Awards, NAACP Awards, and LA Times 
Critics' Choice honors. It is nestled into a historic building 
on the inviting Main Street of Sierra Madre, a charming 
village in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains. 
Retaining its distinctive movie theater façade and instantly 
recognizable marquee, the structure has undergone 
numerous transformations since opening in 1910, from 
furniture emporium to silent movie theatre to the artistic 
institution that now stands as a vibrant embodiment of the 
region’s rich cultural legacy. celebrating the rich tapestry of 
the American experience and the enduring pursuit of shared 

(L-R) Film historian Lara Gabrielle, who curated Sierra Madre Playhouse’s 
silent film festival; Sierra Madre Playhouse President David Gordon; and The 
Bee’s Knee’s honoree Suzanne Lloyd, granddaughter of silent film star Harold 


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