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Saturday, January 24, 2015

Looking for Something to Do? Free Events Jan. 24 to 30


Here are events scheduled Saturday, Jan. 24, to Friday, Jan. 30. 

All events are free, so take a look -- and don't you dare say there's nothing to do in Pasadena!


The Caltech Chamber Ensembles will perform Saturday, Jan. 24, at 8 p.m. in the lounge at Caltech's Dabney Hall (#40 on this map).


Cellist Lars Hoefs, pianist Steven Vanhauwaert and soprano Anita Protich will perform Wednesday, Jan. 28, from 12:10 to 12:40 p.m. for the popular Music at Noon recital series. Feel free to bring a sack lunch.

"Julie & Julia" (2009, PG-13) starring Amy Adams and Meryl Streep will be shown Wednesday, Jan. 28, at 1 p.m. in the Donald R. Wright Auditorium at Pasadena Central Library. Julia Child's story of her start in the cooking profession is intertwined with blogger Julie Powell's challenge to cook every recipe in Child's first book.


Felix Bullock, chair of the Guitar Department at Pasadena Conservatory of Music, will showcase his talented guitar quartet Thursday, Jan. 29, at 4 p.m. at Hill Avenue Branch Library.

Children 6 and older will explore art around the world created within circles and make their own circular paintings during a mandala art workshop Thursday, Jan. 29, at 4 p.m. at Hastings Branch Library.

The documentary film "Rediscovering Pakistan -- The Untold Tale" will be shown Thursday, Jan. 29, at 6 p.m. in the Donald R. Wright Auditorium at Pasadena Central Library. Nine motorcyclists from around the world explore the beautiful northern areas of Pakistan with former cricket player Moin Khan.

"Gigi" (1958, G) starring Leslie Caron, Louis Jourdan and Maurice Chevalier will be shown Friday, Jan. 30, at 1 p.m. in the Scott Pavilion at Pasadena Senior Center. In turn-of-the-century Paris, a wealthy playboy and a courtesan in training enjoy a platonic friendship that may not stay that way for long. You do not have to be a member of the Pasadena Senior Center to attend.


With the theme Our Heritage: The Bridge to the Future, the opening reception for Black History Month in Pasadena Friday, Jan. 30, from 3 to 5 p.m. at Jackie Robinson Center will include a film screening, food and more.


The Pasadena Community Orchestra will perform works composed by Mozart, Handel, Sullivan and Still Friday, Jan. 30, at 8 p.m. at PasNaz.


SAVE THE DATE!


Armory Center for the Arts and Pasadena Museum of California Art will be among 25 Los Angeles area arts and cultural institutions that will participate in SoCal Museums Free-for-All Saturday, Jan. 31.

Rosie Bowl II and Puppy Bowl Party Sunday, Feb. 1, from 3 to 5 p.m. at the Pasadena Humane Society and SPCA is a fun alternative to the Super Bowl! Leave your pets at home.


Many thanks to The Well-Tempered Ear, Now Off We Go, Lars Hoefs, Pbase, Anita Protich, Chin Deep,I-House, Emmetsburg Public Library, Pop History Dig, Pasadena Community Orchestra, SoCal Museums, Animal Planet

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Mystery History -- Solved!


Sonja wins with her 10:06 p.m. Tuesday guess "Pasadena Playhouse was closed by feds." (Sonja, please message me on Facebook or email me at AnnErdmanPR@gmail.com so we can talk about the fabulous prize!)

In this Aug. 28, 1966, photo, federal agents from the Internal Revenue Service attach a special lock system to the door of the Pasadena Playhouse office due to nonpayment of $31,000 in taxes. Locks were also placed on the doors of the main theater and all attached structures.

The Pasadena Playhouse was designed by architect Elmer Grey and the cornerstone was laid in 1924. It was designated the state theater of California in 1937.



The Pasadena Playhouse College of Theatre Arts, known as the "Star Factory" -- the leading theater school in the nation -- was a training ground since the 1920s for actors and others. Bachelor's and master's degrees were bestowed on young talent who would later become famous around the world for their chops --  Dana Andrews, Ernest Borgnine, Charles Bronson, Raymond Burr, Lee J. Cobb, Agnes De Mille, Jamie Farr, Gene Hackman, Dustin Hoffman, William Holden, Kim Hunter, Carolyn Jones, Victor Mature, Elaine May, Leonard Nimoy, Eleanor Parker, Tyrone Power, Robert Preston, Sally Struthers and Gig Young among them.

Here's a 1954 advertisement:

In 1960 founder Gilmore Brown, who had founded the Pasadena Playhouse in 1924, passed away without leaving provisions or instructions in his will for the continuation of theater and school operations. 

Actors taking a break from classes in 1957:

 
Revenues from the famous college had always funded Pasadena Playhouse productions, but this began changing when colleges and universities all over the nation began introducing their own acting schools. Unable to compete, the the college closed in 1967 and the theater went into receivership in 1969.

In 1970, everything but the physical buildings was auctioned off, from original manuscripts by Eugene O'Neill, Tennessee Williams and other playwrights to the famous Victor Jory bell. Some of the alumni listed above, along with others, banded together and bought as many items as possible at the auction in hopes of returning them to the Pasadena Playhouse when and if it reopened.

The new owner, Bank of America, auctioned the property off in 1975. The high bidder, the City of Pasadena, began leasing the property to the Playhouse's operating company for $1 a year in perpetuity.

A series of fits and starts, negotiations and financial challenges continued to keep the doors closed until 1985 -- 19 years after the feds attached those locks.

Today the Pasadena Playhouse is thriving, thanks to a $1 million donation from Mike Stoller that jump-started a new season in 2010 and kept the theater from closing again. The 2010 season kicked off with Ed Asner in "FDR" (I was there and it was just wonderful). Subscriptions are up, the theater is filled for every performance and the stars have come back to the Pasadena Playhouse stage once again.

Bradley Whitford on the Pasadena Playhouse stage in 2012 in preparation for a revival of the comedy play "Art":



Mayor Bill Bogaard hosted his 2015 State of the City event at the Pasadena Playhouse. You can find that video here.

You'll find more Pasadena Playhouse history here.


Many thanks to Jonnie King, Pasadena Playhouse, Pasadena Museum of History and Los Angeles Times.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Mystery History


Where are we? And what's happening?

The first person to answer both questions correctly will win lunch with me -- I'll buy yours and you'll buy mine.

Remember to leave your best guess as a comment to this blog post but don't try to give the entire back story (that's my job!).

I'll have the full scoop on Thursday.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Change in Command


Today the rain took a break for a few minutes to allow a very special event to take place in Centennial Square in front of Pasadena City Hall.

Many of you are aware of the Pasadena U.S. Marine Reserve Center. It is the headquarters for the 2nd Battalion, 23rd Marine Regiment, a reserve infantry battalion with about 1,000 Marines and Sailors from the western U.S. that has provided -- from World War II to the global war on terror -- trained combat personnel and units to augment and reinforce active duty forces in times of war, national emergencies and at other times as national security requires.

Today's ceremony was for a change in command of the 2/23 as the responsibility was handed over to Lt. Col. Garth Massey from Lt. Col. Sean Day, who has commanded 2/23 for some time.

During the Transfer of the Colors, Lt. Col. Day passed the 2/23 flag to Lt. Col. Massey (left) in front of Sgt. Major Mark Wheeldon. 


Lt. Col. Day and his family received special honors, which was very nice. He, his wife and daughter flew down from San Francisco and his parents and other family members came all the way from Georgia. He received a special medal by order of President Obama and his wife and parents each received special commendations.

Representatives of 2/23 battalions from Pasadena to Salt Lake City, led by the outstanding 2/23 Marching Band, paraded in formation to pay their respects to their outgoing and incoming commanders.


Since being commissioned as a U.S. Marine officer in 1996, Lt. Col. Massey's active duty and reserve career has included service in Iraq, Africa and the U.S. His military specialties are heavy armor, negotiations, operations and tactics. He is a certified operations and tactics instructor, earned executive certification in advanced negotiations from the University of Notre Dame and a master's degree in business administration from Regis University

Lt. Col. Massey lives in La CaƱada-Flintridge with his wife Kathleen and their four children. In his civilian capacity he is the founder of a MLMethods (Military Leadership Methods) and founder and CEO of the nonprofit Veterans for American Business Development that encourages employment of vets. He serves on the boards of directors for L.A. Mayor Gil Garcetti's 10,000 Strong Initiative, the Master of Business for Veterans program at USC's Marshall School of Business and the Devil Pups Youth Program for America.

This is his photo from the printed program for today's ceremony:

 
It was my privilege to meet him today and speak with him for a few minutes. 

Military and civil relations are critical in times of war and peace. I am honored to serve on the Citizens Support Committee for the Pasadena U.S. Marine Reserve Center. 

I wrote a blog post about the Marine Reserve Center in September. You can see that here. You can also find related photos in an album on Facebook.

I'll close this post with one final photo from today's ceremony: Lt. Col. Day and Lt. Col. Massey saluting each other.


Thursday, December 25, 2014

Mystery History -- Solved!


Merry Christmas, everybody!

Daniel wins with his 10:38 a.m. guess "I am thinking it is the original All Saints Church on Euclid Avenue during the Christmas season."

In the 1886 photo above, All Saints Church is decorated for Christmas services.

Here's a more modern look at All Saints at Christmas:


All Saints was founded in 1883, the first Episcopal parish in Pasadena. Members who had begun meeting in a private home three years earlier purchased a site among orange groves at Garfield Avenue and Colorado Boulevard in 1885 and built a small wooden church there. 



In 1889 a newer, temporary church opened at 123 N. Euclid Avenue. As the congregation grew, additional space became a priority. In 1923 the architectural firm Johnson, Kaufman and Coate was commissioned to design a new building. 

The beautiful new church, designed in a Gothic Revival style, was dedicated in 1924, three years before Pasadena City Hall was built.

Here's a photo of City Hall under construction with All Saints in the background.


Constructed of stone quarried from Bouquet Canyon in the Santa Clarita Valley and roofed with Vermont slate, the church houses a large display of decorative arts in the style popular in the early years of the 20th century, from the Ernest Batchelder floor tiles to windows created by Tiffany and Judson Studios.

All Saints Church is listed in the National Register of Historic Places as part of the Civic Center Historic District.





Many thanks to Pasadena Public Library, All Saints Church, Walk N Ride LA and Michael Locke.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Mystery History


Where are we? And what's happening?
The first person to answer both questions correctly will win lunch with me -- I'll buy yours and you'll buy mine. 

Remember, leave your best guess as a comment on this blog post but don't try to give the entire back story (that's my job). 

I'll have the full scoop on Thursday.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Looking for Something to Do? Free Events Dec. 20 to 26


Here are events scheduled Saturday, Dec. 20, to Friday, Dec. 26. 

All events are free, so take a look -- and don't you dare say there's nothing to do in Pasadena!

Children's and adult choirs perform songs of the season daily now through Wednesday, Dec. 24, at 8 p.m. in the courtyard at One Colorado.
 
The Festival of Lights is commemorated for eight days beginning Dec. 17. Enjoy special displays celebrating Hanukkah now through Dec. 31 at Central Library, La Pintoresca Branch Library and Linda Vista Branch Library during regular hours.  

The annual Holiday Light Up in Upper Hastings Ranch is in full swing and will remain in all its glory now through Jan. 1.  Any evening after dark, just drive to East Sierra Madre Boulevard and head north on any street between Riviera and Cynthia. Each street in UHR has a unique theme.
 
Santa will make his way from the North Pole to Paseo Colorado Saturday, Dec. 20, from 1 to 4 p.m. to visit with children and provide special treats. 

The Old Pasadena Farmers Market now has dedicated children's activities Sundays from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. organized by community partners including Kidspace Children's Museum, Farm Style Cooking for Kids and Armory Center for the Arts. The next OPFM is scheduled Sunday, Dec. 21.

Teens are invited to make snowglobes Monday, Dec. 22, at 2 p.m. on the fourth floor at Central Library to personalize for themselves or give as gifts. Miniatures, slogans, glitter and jars will be provided.  

Children ages 5 to 12 are invited to read books to gentle, well-trained dogs at Barks and Books Monday, Dec. 22, at 3 p.m. at La Pintoresca Branch Library.

"Miracle on 34th Street" (1947) starring Edmund Gwenn, Maureen O'Hara and Natalie Wood will be shown on the big screen in the Scott Pavilion at the Pasadena Senior Center Friday, Dec. 26, at 1 p.m.  You do not have to be a member of the Senior Center to attend.



Photo credits: CNN, The Art Spot, imgkid, One Colorado, Patrick Murfin, Pasadena Humane Society & SPCA, IMDB, Los Angeles Love Affair,

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Mystery History -- Solved!


Barbara wins with her11:38 Tuesday guess "Elks Lodge after the 1987 Whittier Narrows quake; the chimney has collapsed. It's October, and that's how we know it wasn't the reindeer"

In the 1987 photo above, a portion of the stately Elks Lodge at 400 W. Colorado Boulevard, including the roof and chimney, has been severely damaged by the Whittier Narrows earthquake. There was damage to other parts of the building as well.

Here is the Elks Lodge today:


And a side-by-side comparison with the top photo:


The Elks Lodge, at the southeast corner of Colorado and Orange Grove boulevards, was designed by Myron Hunt and built in 1911. To this day it has an active membership. The property is perhaps best known by non-members as everybody's favorite parking spot for the Colorado Street Bridge Party and "media corner" during the Rose Parade.

The 5.9 Whittier Narrows quake killed eight people on Oct. 1, 1987, and caused widespread damage, especially in the San Gabriel Valley and East Los Angeles. Property damage estimates throughout the affected areas totaled $358 million. The quake was felt throughout Southern California and southern Nevada.

This article in the New York Times gives a good account of the widespread damage. Most of the buildings that collapsed had been constructed with unreinforced masonry.  

Most unreinforced masonry buildings were built before 1933, predating modern earthquake-resistant design. Bricks were not strengthened with embedded steel bars.

Miraculously, two people inside Fair Oaks Automotive at 101 S. Fair Oaks Ave. in Pasadena survived when the unreinforced masonry building collapsed as a result of the quake:


The north wall of the building fell over onto parked cars, which were flattened:


This is what the building (the yellow one) looked like before the quake:


If you're interested in what Building Code regulations say about unreinforced masonry structures, click here.


Many thanks to Chris and Kevin and the Los Angeles Herald-Examiner,

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Mystery History


Where are we? And what's happening?

The first person to answer both questions correctly will win lunch with me -- I'll buy yours and you'll buy mine. 

Remember, leave your best guess as a comment on this blog post but don't try to give the entire back story (that's my job). 

I'll have the full scoop on Thursday.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Looking for Something to Do? Free Events Dec. 6 to 12


Here are events scheduled Saturday, Dec. 6, to Friday, Dec. 12. 

All events are free, so take a look -- and don't you dare say there's nothing to do in Pasadena! 

The Festival of Lights is commemorated for eight days beginning Dec. 17. Enjoy special displays celebrating Hanukkah now through Dec. 31 at Central Library, La Pintoresca Branch Library and Linda Vista Branch Library during regular hours.


The Playhouse District's Merry, Merry Movie event Saturday, Dec. 6, beginning at 10 a.m., will include a free screening of "Arthur Christmas" (2011, PG) at the Laemmle Theater (popcorn included!) plus children's activities and photos with Santa. Be sure to click on the link for important details and instructions.

Festivities at South Lake's Holidayfest Saturday, Dec. 6, from noon to 5 p.m. will include carolers, live music, children's crafts, carriage rides, a scavenger hunt and more.  

Traditional and original music of the season by Los Angeles area songwriters will be performed Saturday, Dec. 6, from 1 to 5 p.m. in the Donald R Wright Auditorium at Central Library.
 
Celebrate the 10th anniversary of the film "The Polar Express" (2004, G) with the voices of Tom Hanks and Steven Tyler. See the movie plus enjoy a special Christmas train show Saturday, Dec. 6, at 2 p.m. at Santa Catalina Branch Library.

The holiday literary festival and Christmas tree lighting at Allendale Branch Library Saturday, Dec. 6, from 4 to 6 p.m. will include refreshments and a stellar roster of poets and authors who will explore the true meanings of the holidays in works ranging from irreverent to spiritual.

Enjoy the harmonies of indie folk rock group The Wild Reeds Saturday, Dec. 6, from 6 to 8 p.m. in the courtyard at One Colorado.There will be yummy treats and Santa will pop in for some impromptu photo opps.

Children can come for a visit with Santa and special treats Sunday, Dec. 7, from 1 to 4 p.m. at Paseo Colorado


This week's film on the big screen in the Donald R. Wright Auditorium at Central Library is "The Christmas Candle" (2013, PG) starring Hans Matheson and Samantha Barks Wednesday, Dec. 10, at 1 p.m. In an enchanting English village, legend has it that every 25 years an angel visits the village candlemaker and touches a single candle that creates a Christmas Eve miracle for whoever lights it.


Enjoy Random Acts of Music performed by a Pasadena Symphony string duo Wednesday, Dec. 10, from 3:30 to 5 p.m. at Hill Avenue Branch Library. Everyone is invited to make requests and converse with the musicians. 


See up and coming comedians perform in rapid fire (four minutes each) on open mic night at The Ice House Comedy Club Wednesday, Dec. 10, at 6 p.m. There will be no cover charge.

Enjoy a staged reading of an adaptation of "A Christmas Carol" by Charles Dickens Wednesday, Dec. 10, at 7 p.m. at Pasadena Museum of History followed by a Q&A.

Mayor Bill Bogaard and the United Nations Association Pasadena Chapter will host a community event in honor of International Human Rights Day Wednesday, Dec. 10, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. in the Donald R. Wright Auditorium at Central Library. International Day of Light and Light-based Technologies is the theme.

Help decorate the Christmas tree at Lamanda Park Branch Library Thursday, Dec. 11, at 3:30 p.m. and enjoy treats and family fun.


"The Red Shoes" (1948) starring Moira Shearer and Anton Walbrook will be shown on the big screen in the Scott Pavilion at Pasadena Senior Center Friday, Dec. 12, at 1 p.m. A young ballet dancer is torn between the man she loves and her pursuit to become a prima ballerina. You do not have to be a member of the Pasadena Senior Center to attend.

The Christmas tree lighting event at La Pintoresca Branch Library and La Pintoresca Park will include crafts, caroling, refreshments and a visit from Santa Friday, Dec. 12, from 4 to 5:30 p.m.  Festivities at Hastings Branch Library will be on the same day at the same time.


Photo credits: Time and Date, Freedown Wallpaper, South Lake Business Association, The Wild Reeds, IMDB, News 9, Noel Noel Noel, Crafts for Kids, WKVI.