Start the Presses: Showdown in La Cañada

I noticed the long, tubular box first. Sitting in our living room, spread out among the mail, old newspapers and advertisements for Thai takeout, the brown cardboard looked out of place. Also, I tripped on it.

“What is this, babe?” I yelled to the other room to my wife, raising my voice to be heard over whatever interminable “Seinfield” rerun she was watching. Then again, it could have been an episode of “Hell's Kitchen,” “Intervention,” or any number of shows that the two of us are simultaneously attracted to and repulsed by.

“That's my new Patch banner,” Donna yelled back, muting the neurotic banter of Jerry, George or perhaps a heroin addict. “Remember the Music in the Park thing I'm going to today?”

Ah, yes. The Music in the Park thing.

Back up a moment. The Valley Sun is a major sponsor of the summer-long musical festival in La Cañada Flintridge's Memorial Park, which concluded last week. My wife, Donna, is the local editor for La Cañada Flintridge Patch, part of the nationwide hyperlocal news websites owned and operated by Arianna Huffington, er, AOL.

Click here for Donna Evans' column on Patch. 

Donna's plan is to take her large, bright green vinyl banner to the park, spreading it out on the grass as an invitation for people to come and ask her about the site. Two of our friends, Tom and Linda, are planning to go as well. Tom, a photographer, will be shooting the event for Donna's site.

“You don't have to go if you don't want to,” Donna says sweetly.

Though Donna and I are competitors, it almost never causes problems. Today, though, it's on. After all, this is one of the most important community events the paper does. Not only that, we just launched a new Pasadena paper and a combined Sunday edition.

“I want to put my papers out there too,” I say, and Donna's smile drops into a scowl.

Though we chase the same news, our jobs are quite different. I'm the editor of the Times Community News papers not only La Cañada and Pasadena, but in Glendale and Burbank as well. Outside of this column and running the editorial board, I do very little actual writing for the paper.

Donna, on the other hand, is essentially responsible for all content that appears on her site. Though she does have help from freelancers, she writes two or three stories per day, every day, in addition to the editing, uploading and administrative work that comes with so many journalism jobs.

It's rare to see her without her laptop, fussing with this or that, often on weekends or into the wee hours of the mornings. Patch types seriously put in the hours.

We drive to La Cañada, getting to the park just as the Zydeco band starts to tune up. I help Donna put down the banner, putting down copies of the latest Pasadena and La Cañada papers on the edge. Donna shoots me a look.

“Daniel!” she exclaims, using a voice reserved for bad-husband behavior. But the papers stay.

As twilight begins, so does the music, floating over the crowd. A few people get up and dance, intoxicated by the perfect weather and the music. A woman from the La Cañada Outlook takes Donna's picture, but decides to pass me by. I grin.

We hand out a few business cards, but not many. I'm just enjoying a Sunday evening with my wife and friends. We get to the stage, wiggling to the music and execute a nice little twirl — for us, anyhow. I tell her I love her. Donna smiles.

“You know, this would make a great column,” she says.

Yup. It would. And yes, dear, it was your idea.

DAN EVANS is the editor. When he’s not fighting to push his business card on festival goers, he can be reached at (818) 637-3234 or 

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