Posted October 4, 2012 in Feature Story


March Field AirFest
The March Field AirFest is one of the best air shows in the country and definitely a sight to see. Anyone from a die-hard aviation fan to a casual enthusiast will be blown away by the spent jet fuel and sky high aerobatics. Not only is it the biggest air show of the year, but it’s free and takes place over the course of two days with the best modern and vintage planes on display. Don’t have time for the big afterburners? There are smaller shows throughout the year for all ages. (K.L.)



Loft Beats Art Shows/Urban Coral Gallery

Founded by artists and musicians, the Pomona-based Loft Beats Art Shows gave the public a forum for people to share their art and have it seen by both the local community and art professionals. The name has since changed to the Urban Coral Gallery, but the mission to preserve and promote local art—drawn from the vibrant Pomona scene—remains strong. (K.L.)

262 W. Second St., Loft #4, Pomona;



Pomona Art Walk

On the second Saturday of every month, there’s no better place to be than the Pomona Art Walk. Starting at 3 p.m., over three-dozen galleries and tons of local businesses roll out their big guns; providing an overwhelming supply of art, culture and food. It is, of course, free to walk . . . but make sure you bring some spending cash because you’ll probably want to buy some of the fantastic art, and that’s not free. (K.L.)



Seville Street Blues

Born during “many jam sessions surrounding the Inland Empire,” Seville Street Blues is a powerful group that is dedicated to the deep and often forlorn genre. Putting the “South” in Southern California, Seville Street Blues is Laura Parmenter on vocals, David Vermillion on guitar, Rick Johnson on drums and Barry Radford on bass. This group pops up in some of the Best Of IE’s bars and venues, so keep your eyes—and ears—open. (K.L.);



Fontana Car Show

This car show has every kind of car you could ask for: classics, muscle cars, hot rods, imports and more. Whether you want to see a blast from the past or just some eye-catching automobiles, the Fontana Car Show has you covered. Running on the last Saturday of every month from March to October, the show offers spectators a chance to get close to the cars they’ve always dreamed of owning. There’s no cruising, but that won’t keep true enthusiasts from getting excited. (K.L.)



Cory & Chad

Cory and Chad have been called “The Smash Brothers” because their acerbic brand of comedy is fast-paced and hard-hitting. They’ve also been called the “Twin Towers of Comedy” because they are, in fact, identical twins. But all nicknames aside, these high-octane brothers will have you laughing any night of the week (especially if there’s a two-drink minimum). They’re not family friendly, but the best comedy never is. (K.L.)



Austin Law

Citing Hank Williams Sr. and Rascal Flatts as influences, there’s no doubt that Austin Law has a unique sound drawn from diverse origins. Its debut Neon Halo may have blasted to the top 40 charts, but the band still plays the Inland Empire regularly. It also takes time out of its busy schedule to play for the troops at Camp Pendleton. These men and women are pure Southern country and charm. (K.L.)



DJ Cre-8

With a million DJs out here trying to make a name for themselves, it can be a challenge to distinguish yourself from the rest of the remix crowd. DJ Cre-8—who’s been the mix master at places like Club Silk at Pechanga Casino & Resort, Club Sevilla in Downtown Riverside and Vive in Pomona—makes himself a standout with his creative approach and arsenal of tunes (“I specialize in Top 40 dance, mainstream radio and many types of electronic music”). “It’s hard to explain, but I always try to think a little outside-the-box with my style, but not too much because I love to stay relevant as well,” he says. “You just need to find that balance.” (M.T.)



Van Buren Drive-In Theater

There was a time in this country when the drive-in theater was king; a time when the picture and sound quality were sacrificed for the thrill of the open air (or the back-seat). Although that time seems to have passed, the Van Buren Drive-In is still going strong and serving up quality food (carne asada!) and affordable entertainment on three screens. People come from miles around for the throwback and, of course, the big-screen excitement. (K.L.)

3035 Van Buren Blvd., Riverside, (951) 688-2360;



Jetpacks and Laser Guns

Whether you like ambient intros or danceable beats, Jetpacks and Laser Guns is worth checking out. Playing throughout the IE—The Glass House, the Fox Theatre in Pomona and others—these four gentlemen have drawn their inspiration from video games (“Final Boss”) and strange futurism (“Heart of a Robot”) and melded them into some solid electronic, indie-infected music. (K.L.);



Palm Springs International Film Festival
Ring in the New Year with some of the best upcoming films in a place where early January doesn’t mean punishing snow. The 24th annual Palm Springs International Film Fest will include over 100 films from more than 60 countries and will take place from Jan. 3-14. There are always celebrities, special events, galas and more in this sunny eastern pocket of the IE, so if you get star-struck by the red carpet prepare for the impact. (K.L.)



Nekro G

Nekro G has been going strong for over a decade, releasing records and founding his label (Wikid Funk Records) in Riverside. His prolific output—over 40 mix tapes including collaborations and solo projects since 1998—has made him a beloved staple of the IE’s hip-hop community. He’s working on a new full-length album that will be out by the end of the year, so fans of locally steeped beats and rhymes have something to put on their Christmas lists. (K.L.)



Four on the Floor

Channeling the spirit of Dave Brubeck, Miles Davis, John Scofield and others, Four on the Floor made it its mission to revitalize classic jazz while also exposing its audience to other genres and variations (such as swing, funk, blues and Latin jazz). Together since 2008—and with 50 years of combined musical experience—you can typically find Four on the Floor be-bopping fans at farmers markets, corporate parties and at the Pomona Art Walk. (M.T.)




Though we must first make a serious nod of respect to other great local college stations like CSUSB’s Coyote Radio and KUCR, Pomona College’s “The Space”—as it’s been dubbed over the years—has also been a key player in offering up wonderfully eclectic and original radio programming. Where else can you find shows covering speed metal, children’s songs, retro video game music, polka, reggae and classical movie soundtracks all on one FM station? Stay left-of-the-dial, my friends. (F.L.A.)



The Glass House

This gem has hosted some of the greatest all-ages punk, indie, hip-hop, ska, metal and hardcore shows ever. Everyone who’s anyone—No Doubt, Sonic Youth, the White Stripes, Beck, the Deftones, Weezer, the Pixies, ad infinitum—has played here. And to make the venue that much cooler, there’s The Glass House Record Store within breathing distance so you can pick up some after-concert tunes. The Glass House is all-ages, it’s located in the middle of the vibrant Pomona Arts Colony and books some of the best damn artists. Hmmm . . . let’s see who’s playing there later this month . . . Kendrick Lamar . . . Converge . . . New Found Glory—the prosecution rests! (J.C.)

200 W. Second St., Pomona, (909) 865-3802;




These Uplanders dish out prog metal with some definite intensity, as best witnessed through the live videos available online. There’s serious heaviness found in the band’s sound (influences include Metallica, Anthrax and Fear Factory) but there’s also plenty of melody on tap (which likely hails from other listed faves like System of a Down, Van Halen and Queensrÿche). Yus, Slanderus serves up something for just about every metal head diet. (J.C.)



American Museum of Ceramic Art

When folks traditionally think of art museums, the first thing that pops into one’s mind is a bunch of framed paintings hanging on a wall. But a little zooming out reveals art has many incarnations, including ceramics, which deserve attention. Fortunately, museums like Pomona’s American Museum of Ceramic Art (AMOCA for short)—with its studio, tours and events—serve as reminders that clay can be a wonderful foundation for some of the most visually stunning pieces imaginable. (F.L.A.)

399 N. Garey Ave., Pomona, (909) 865-3146;



Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival

Do we even need to spend our ink and pulp to explain this one? After all, we do spend an entire issue each year giving you the low down on this most excellent of music fests. Oh well, here’s some info that you already know: Coachella is the greatest music festival in the Inland Empire. Or in the state of California. Or in the United States. Or in the world. Or in the galaxy . . . (F.L.A.)



Duane Terkildsen

Some folks dump thousands of dollars into camera equipment only to find out the hard way that better gear doesn’t always mean improved photography skills. This is when you’ve got to leave it to a professional like Rancho Cucamonga’s Duane Terkildsen, whose Mystic Lake Photography studio will snap weddings, portraits, parties, events and many more moments worth capturing. His clients have included the Make-a-Wish Foundation of Orange County and the Inland Empire and Loma Linda Children’s Hospital. (J.C.)



Stix Billiards

With nearly 30 tables to choose from, Rancho Cucamonga-based Stix is the definite spot for those who take their pool cues with them to bed. If you’re calling corner pockets in your sleep, this place offers tournaments and events to let you prove your skills to the masses. There’s food available to keep fans fueled up and beers on tap . . . to keep players fueled up, too! (F.L.A.)

7985 Vineyard Ave., Rancho Cucamonga, (909) 989-5020;



Mirage Groove

Does it shock us that Mirage Groove is back in these Best Of pages as the winner of the R&B category? Not at all, as this previous winner even has a caveat on its website, warning newbie listeners that “a party will erupt with Mirage Groove in the house!” If you desire a quiet, sedentary lifestyle, that’s fine—but this band’s best suited for those who require beats to bump and shake their rumps. (J.C.)



Natural Heights

The Inland Empire’s not entirely known for being a hotbed of reggae music, but if you do a little digging, you’ll realize that an affinity for the Jamaican-bred tuneage does exist in these parts through numerous local shows and the bands that bring those feel-good vibes. One of them is Natural Heights, whose hybrid of reggae and rock styles has local audiences finding a Kingston groove, even if they’re a few thousand miles away. (F.L.A.)



Sound Preservation Society

On paper, this Riverside rock act seems to be invading coveted ground by merging its love for ’70s classic rock with the energy and spunk of punk from the same decade. Yet, in practice, Sound Preservation Society really seems to live up to its name of preserving the best attributes from the music of years’ past. Catch a YouTube clip and within seconds you’ll be bobbing up and down in your computer chair, too! (F.L.A.)



Stay Cool Forever

With recent scorching temps in our neck of the woods, it seems near impossible to stay cool for even a few seconds, let alone forever. That’s when we turn to the synth-driven, Pomona pop outfit Stay Cool Forever, which composes some cuts to chill to. It’s got a supremely rhythmic, upbeat number called “I Love Money Island,” and if anyone knows where in the heck an island full of money is, please, hook us up! (J.C.)



Craic Haus

Was it Will Smith who once sang the rap hit “Parents Just Don’t Understand” in the late ’80s? Well, Smith’s tale of the generation gap—and subsequent gaps in understanding—doesn’t prove to be quite the fit with Craic Haus, a punk/rockabilly/Irish music trio that features the father-son pairing of Danny and Dylan Oberbeck. Look, when your dad’s the drummer in the same “Shamrockabilly” band you’re in, I’d say that some parents definitely do understand. (F.L.A.)



The Wild Reeds

Comprised of Natalie Nicoles, Sharon Silva and Kinsey Lee, plucky Claremont-reared trio The Wild Reeds have been showcasing its harmonies and rootsy vintage leanings since December 2009. With a live approach that involves band members trading off between guitars, harmonium, banjo, auto harp and mandolin, the band has endeared itself to lovers of folk-rock. But if you missed The Wild Reeds’ homecoming show at The Folk Music Center this past August, well, you lost major cool points with the Saddle Creek crowd. (M.T.)



MainStreet Theater Company

Got kids that spend too much time watching TV or playing video games? Put the controllers or remote control down and offer a break from attaining high scores and skipping commercials with a trip to see live theater. A fixture in the wonderful Lewis Family Playhouse at Victoria Gardens in Rancho Cucamonga, MainStreet’s productions are entertaining, family-friendly affairs (Pinkalicious the Musical and The Phantom Tollbooth, anyone?) designed with children in mind. (J.C.)

12505 Cultural Center Dr., Rancho Cucamonga, (909) 477-2752;



Mystic Reign

Cover bands are a dime a dozen—so what makes Mystic Reign a rock cover act that doesn’t fall into such anonymous turf? A female vocalist who can easily belt out the tunes crafted by some of rock’s most legendary male vocalists. Wanna hear a fave originally recorded by Robert Plant? No problem. What about one made famous by AC/DC vocalist Brian Johnson? Don’t worry—the Reign will keep you shakin‘ all night long. (F.L.A.)



Chelsea Burdick

From commissioned posters and fliers for upcoming concerts to gorgeous watercolors and pen drawings, one thing is crystal clear—Chelsea Burdick’s interpretation of the world around her is most certainly expressed on a vibrant, visual level. It’s no surprise that Burdick holds a degree in graphic design, as a quick flip through her online portfolio reveals an impressive artist with versatility and variety to boot. (J.C.)



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