A true 'rocker'

A true 'rocker'

When it comes to the SoCal culture, Pasadena says it all for Thomas Moser Furniture

By Joanna Beresford 08/27/2009

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If somebody says “Pasadena Rocker” to me, my first impression or association is Eddie and Alex Van Halen. The brothers were born in the Netherlands, but raised in Pasadena. How much harder can you rock than with the legendary wild boys of the eponymous band?

You say Pasadena rocker, I say bring it on in spandex and smokin’ hot guitar riffs, babes in bikinis, klieg lights, Panamanian hats, familial brawls, lots of sex and (naturally) ear-to-ear grins. And a little mouth cancer and a few divorces, too, because ehhh... nobody’s perfect.

But that’s not the kind of Pasadena rocker I encountered this week. It’s really hard for me to say this, but I have to confess that the Pasadena rocker that seized my attention recently is even cooler than Eddie and Alex, with or without David Lee Roth, another Pasadena native.

This Pasadena rocker is a chair. A rocking chair, one designed by David Moser of Thomas Moser Furniture and included in a line of furniture inspired by the very name and nature of our town — Pasadena. The Pasadena rocker as presented by Moser Furniture is a flawless, time- and space-defying feat of remarkable design. Not that “Hot for Teacher” wasn’t inspired, but there’s something about this chair that eclipses even the concept of a scantily clad eighth-grade science teacher who licks her lips and wields a really long pointer.

Seriously. Give me a chance to explain.

First is the concept of the chair itself. After lengthy investigation (while sitting in a chair) at my desk, huddled over computer and various texts, I have not yet determined when the very first chair appeared in the history of mankind. But it was a long time ago.

“It seems that since humankind first stood up to see over the tall savannah grasses, we’ve been looking for a place to sit back down,” writes someone at RandomHistory.com, in an article called, “From Benches to Barstools.” Great title, by the way; in fact, if the phrase were tweaked slightly to read “From Bed to Barstools,” it would effectively describe my entire college and postgraduate experience — but I think I’ve toppled off my point.

The point is that apparently we’ve been getting our rear ends onto a seat of some sort or another for millennia. “Just lemme take a little weight off my feet,” Tutankhamen must have muttered, for example, before he sank onto his throne, which was buried with him, along with some simple stools for his servants.

The earliest seats were benches and stools, or hunks of stone, really. They enabled men and women to escape from the cold, damp ground, especially after migrating peoples started to settle down and live in one place; that’s when the concept of home and chairs and civilization really begins — when we get up off the dirty floor.

Now the rocking chair comes in a bit more recently. Some historians think that Benjamin Franklin invented the first rocking chair, and who can argue with that. He does have electricity, eyeglasses, the almanac and the US of A to his credit, so he could well have topped all those with a real contribution to mankind like the rocking chair. In any case, it’s been around for several centuries at least.

Thomas Moser abandoned life as an academic in 1972 and started making furniture in an old Grange Hall in Gloucester, Maine. Three decades later, Thomas Moser Furniture is a family run business dedicated to making furniture “that celebrates the natural beauty of wood; is of simple, unadorned, graceful line; and is crafted for a long, useful life.” Still Maine-based, the company now runs eight showrooms from Boston to Korea.

The LA outlet opened in the old Helms Bakery Building in Culver City more than a year ago. Moser’s son David created a new line of furniture in honor of the SoCal culture, geography and history, naming it the Pasadena Collection. After studying the accomplishments of other iconic designers, David wanted to make a rocking chair for the Pasadena Collection.

“In consummate Moser fashion, we again challenged ourselves to coax movement and fluidity from solid wood,” the company explains on its Web site. Hence the Pasadena Rocker, in which I’d like to while away many hours reading the best books, watching my favorite made-for-TV movies and remembering the warmth and heft of my babies in my arms. And maybe humming a little bit of “Runaround” under my breath.

Joanna Dehn Beresford can be reached at truewrite@yahoo.com.

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