Loh and behold
KPCC host Sandra Tsing Loh helps make learning fun Saturday at the Earth & Arts Festival
By Carl Kozlowski 04/30/2014
At a time when 40 percent of Americans believe in creationism and a large portions question manmade climate change, events like Pasadena’s Earth & Arts Festival are more important than ever. Yet this year’s event, to be held from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, will also be more entertaining than most events with a message.
That’s because the fest’s emcee will be author, performer and KPCC (89.3 FM) commentator Sandra Tsing Loh, whose daily show “The Loh Down on Science” is syndicated to public radio stations nationwide. Mixing humor with facts, Loh has mastered the art of making science both understandable and entertaining, and she’ll be bringing it to life throughout the day’s festivities.
“I graduated from Caltech because my dad said my math scores were good and I’d have an ability for it, but I decided I didn’t want to be a particle physicist,” says Loh, who is also discussing and signing her new book, “The Madwoman in the Volvo,” at 7 p.m. tonight at All Saints Church in Pasadena. “I didn’t do grad school there, because my GRE (graduate record examination) scores were so bad I simply couldn’t continue without people that any engines I designed would blow up. But Caltech came to me years later to start ‘The Loh Down’ and said we think we want to communicate science to the populace in short 90-second bursts with a funny approach that catches people’s attention and make it stick. That’s the idea behind my stage appearances at the festival as well.”
Throughout the day, the Armory Center for the Arts will offer free hands-on art workshops, while many Pasadena restaurants will sell samples from their menus. The live entertainment kicks off at 11:15 a.m. in Memorial Park with a combination of rock bands, dance troupes and uniquely interactive musical performances.
Meanwhile, an indoor stage at the Armory Center for the Arts kicks off its festivities at 12:30 p.m. with Kan Zaman, a team of volunteer musicians, singers and staff from diverse backgrounds performing a traditional Arabic music. He is followed at 1:30 p.m. by Robert Hilton, who designs, builds and plays unique musical instruments often sculptural in nature, but with music as the ultimate goal.
At 2:30 p.m., Clair Mills offers her interactive music and story time for children, and at 3:30 p.m. the Highland Park-based band Artichoke performs a charming high-energy set for kids and families alike.
Add in information booths from the Pasadena Department of Public Works and its Department of Water and Power and you’ve got a full afternoon of fun and learning in two convenient locations.
“I love the Armory Center for the Arts, and I appreciate it as a mom whose kids are getting great classes there,” says Loh. “It’s local art and culture, plus, with all these eco-green inventions, it’s almost like a small town come to life, and Pasadena has that. My staff and I will do some quiz questions with attendees on the fly, and prizes will be based on what you know and for your green inventions.” n
Pasadena’s Earth & Arts Festival takes place from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday at Memorial Park, 85 E. Holly St., Pasadena and the Armory Center for the Arts, 145 N. Raymond Ave., Pasadena. Admission is free.
Sandra Tsing Loh will also discuss and sign her new book, “The Madwoman in the Volvo,” at 7 p.m. tonight at All Saints Church, 132 N. Euclid Ave., Pasadena. Admission is $27.99 and includes one copy of the book and comp tickets for two. Call (626) 449-5320 or visit vromans.com.