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Friday, October 31, 2014

Looking for Something to Do? Free Events Nov. 1 to 7

Here are events scheduled Saturday, Nov. 1, to Friday, Nov. 7.

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

The first Tuesday of every month from 4 to 8 p.m. is free family night at Kidspace Children's Museum. On Tuesday, Nov. 4, you and your children will celebrate California native cultures as you create Chumash-inspired cave paintings, explore native instruments and music and enjoy Native American storytelling.

Celebrate the 120th anniversary of Vroman's Bookstore Tuesday, Nov. 4, at 7 p.m. Chairman of the Board Joel Sheldon and CEO/President Allison Hill will present an entertaining talk on the history of Vroman's from 1894 to modern times. 

"To Have and Have Not" (1944) starring Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall will be shown Wednesday, Nov. 5, at 1 p.m. in the Donald R. Wright Auditorium at Pasadena Central Library. During World War II an American expatriate helps transport a French resistance leader and his wife to Martinique while romancing a lounge singer.

"Life is Beautiful" (1997, PG-13) starring Roberto Benigni and Nicoletta Braschi will be shown Friday, Nov. 7, at 1 p.m. in the Scott Pavilion at the Pasadena Senior Center. A Jewish man has a wonderful romance with the help of his humor but must use that same quality to protect his son in a Nazi death camp. You do not have to be a member of the Pasadena Senior Center to attend. 

The first Friday of every month from noon to 5 p.m. is free admission day at Pasadena Museum of California Art (also the third Thursday from 5 to 8). On Friday, Nov. 7, enjoy the current exhibitions plus everything else PMCA has to offer.

The first Friday of every month from 5 to 8 p.m. is free admission night at Norton Simon Museum. On Friday, Nov. 7, enjoy the current exhibitions Lock, Stock and Barrel: Norton Simon's Purchase of Duveen Brothers Gallery and Home and Away: The Printed Works of Ruth Asawa, plus everything else the museum has to offer.

Photo credits: Kidspace Children's Museum, Pasadena Public Library, IMDB, Miramax, Pasadena Museum of California Art, Norton Simon Museum.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Mysery History -- Solved!

Helen* wins with her 2:46 p.m. Tuesday guess "Building or repairing the dome of City Hall?"

In the 1926 photo above, the dome at Pasadena City Hall is under construction. 

The dome sits above the tower and below the cupola in this 1927 photo when construction of City Hall is near completion.

City Hall was built before union rules, OSHA and other modern safeguards. The workers in 1926 and 1927, most of them local, didn't have hard hats, back support belts, knee pads, steel-toed boots and nail guns; what they did have was a strong ethic for hard, honest work.


There are hundreds of photos in this series shot by photographer Albert Hiller, who was 42 years old and nationally renowned when he was commissioned by the City of Pasadena to document the construction of City Hall. The photos are mostly in albums that are part of the historical collection in the Centennial Room at Pasadena Central Library.  Hiller lived in Pasadena and had a studio at 49 E. Colorado Blvd. He was also a celebrity photographer of sorts, shooting portraits in his studio of Eva Fenyes, Lilly Busch, violinist Henri van Praag and many others.

This 1927 photo is one of my favorites, but the photographer is unknown. A worker stands proudly next to the huge medallion that graces the front of City Hall:

*Helen, please message me on Facebook or email me at so we can schedule our lunch date!

Many thanks to Pasadena Public Library.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Mystery History

Where are we? And what's happening?

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

Remember, leave your brief 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, October 24, 2014

Looking for Something to Do? Free Events Oct. 25 to 31

Here are events scheduled Saturday, Oct 25, to Friday, Oct. 31.

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

Children are invited to decorate pumpkins Saturday, Oct. 25, from 10 a.m. to noon in the courtyard at One Colorado. Pumpkins and all other materials will be provided on a first-come, first-served basis.

The Latino Heritage Parade Saturday, Oct. 25, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. will begin at Los Robles Avenue and Howard Street and end at La Pintoresca Park with a festival that will include art exhibits, historical displays, live entertainment and much more.

The Lincoln Village Festival  Saturday, Oct. 25, from noon to 4 p.m. will celebrate the re-emergence of this neighborhood commercial area with live music, teen zone, children's activities, sports contests, community resources and more.

Canadian singer Andrew Allen will perform pop and beachy, acoustic grooves Saturday, Oct. 25, from 8 to 9:30 p.m. in the courtyard at One Colorado.

The opening reception for the solo exhibitions Echiko Ohira: Red and Quinton Bemiller: Recent Work is Sunday, Oct. 26, from 2 to 5 p.m. at Offramp Gallery. Ohira's Red features large-scale paper sculptures that take their cues from the natural world; Bemiller's Recent Work includes paintings with depth and atmosphere contrasted by flat shapes and design.

The Los Angeles Children's Chorus will perform a program of secular and sacred music with the German boys choir Windsbacher Knabenchor Sunday, Oct. 26, at 7 p.m. at Pasadena Presbyterian Church

School-aged children will enjoy a Halloween show with Buster Balloon, a character with a contagious smile and silly sense of humor, Monday, Oct. 27, at 4 p.m. at Hastings Branch Library; Tuesday, Oct. 28, at 3:30 p.m. at Santa Catalina Branch Library; and Thursday, Oct. 30, at 3:30 p.m. at Lamanda Park Branch Library

Pasadena Media invites people of all ages to Trick or Treat TV Monday, Oct. 27, from 6 to 9 p.m. Don your costume, share a favorite scary story on camera, carve pumpkins and enjoy sweet treats at this family-oriented event. 

Flights of Fantasy Story Theatre will present a rollicking Halloween extravaganza for children blending folk tales, fables and rhymes into a frothy brew Thursday, Oct. 30, at 10:30 a.m. at Linda Vista Branch Library. Costumes are welcome.

The Fall Festival at Victory Park Friday, Oct. 31, from 5 to 8:30 p.m. will include live entertainment, teen zone, face painting, all-ages costume contest and more. Some additional activities will be fee-based.

Teens are invited to explore the dark corners of Central Library -- after it closes! -- during a spooky whodunit dinner party Friday, Oct. 31, from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Search for clues, then use deductive skills to determine who did it, how and where. Costumes are welcome. Call 626-744-4246 to register.

"Mad Monster Party" (1967) with the voices of Boris Karloff and Phyllis Diller will be shown Friday, Oct. 31, at 7:30 p.m. in the courtyard at One Colorado. When Dr. Frankenstein decides to retire from the monster-making business, he calls an international roster of monsters to a convention to elect his successor.

Photo credits: PRWeb, Latino Heritage, JazzZone, One Colorado, Offramp Gallery, Los Angeles Children's Chorus, Windsbacher Knabenchor, Acme Balloon Company, Pasadena Media, Northern Virginia Magazine, Daily Mail, The Black Apple.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Looking for Something to Do? Free Events Oct. 18 to 24

Here are events scheduled Saturday, Oct 18, to Friday, Oct. 24.

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

Bring a picnic to Pasadena Community Gardens Saturday, Oct. 18, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Enjoy live music, children's activities, garden tours and more. Yvonne Savio will be honored for her continued support of community gardens throughout L.A. County.

L.A. electronic indie group Say Say will perform Saturday, Oct. 18, from 8 to 9:30 p.m. in the courtyard at One Colorado

If you've never been to the elegant headquarters of the Carnegie Observatories -- and even if you have -- don't miss the annual open house Sunday, Oct. 19, from 2 to 5 p,m. Meet the astronomers, learn about exciting discoveries underway, view the sun through a solar telescope, visit the machine shop to see how instruments are built for the Carnegie telescopes, enjoy the beautiful courtyard with refreshments and live music, and much more.

Photographer Robert Dawson will discuss his experiences documenting libraries throughout the nation and present photos from his collection Monday, Oct. 20, at 3 p.m. in the Donald R. Wright Auditorium at Central Library.

Francesca Lia Block, the 2014 writer in residence at Pasadena City College, will lead writing workshops Tuesday, Oct. 21, at noon at PCC and Wednesday, Oct. 22, at 6 p.m. at the Pasadena Senior Center. The workshops will provide focused instruction and practice in the craft of storytelling, from basic writing concepts to character and conflict development. These events are open to the public; you do not have to be a student at PCC or a member of the Pasadena Senior Center to attend.

This week's free movie in the Donald R. Wright Auditorium at Central Library is "Ghost Town" (2008, PG-13) Wednesday, Oct. 22, at 1 p.m. starring Ricky Gervais and Greg Kinnear. A man who dies suddenly and then is revived wakes up to discover he has the annoying ability to see ghosts.

Admission to USC Pacific Asia Museum is free the fourth Friday of every month. On Friday, Oct. 24, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. enjoy the current exhibitions "A New Way Forward: Japanese Hanga of the 20th Century," "Insight: The Path of Bodhidharma" and everything else the museum has to offer.

Celebrate healthy living with fun and informative activities at Pasadena Public Health Department's Food Day Festival in the parking lot adjacent to the building Friday, Oct. 24, from noon to 4 p.m. Enjoy live music, games, prizes, food demonstrations. healthy eating, fun physical activities, a community health forum and more.

If you've always wanted to witness a presidential inauguration, now's your chance! In this case it's incoming Caltech President Thomas F. Rosenbaum,, who will be the ninth leader of the institution. The ceremony will take place Friday, Oct. 24, at 2 p.m. at Beckman Auditorium. (building 91 on this map).


The Latino Heritage Parade Saturday, Oct. 25, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. will begin at Los Robles Avenue and Howard Street and end at La Pintoresca Park with a festival that will include art exhibits, historical displays, entertainment and much more.

Photo Credits: Prudential Texas Properties, Say Say, Carnegie Observatories, Robert Dawson, IMDB, Pasadena City College, Pasadena Public Health Department, Caltech, Latino Heritage.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Mystery History -- Solved!

Liz wins with her 10:07 a.m. Tuesday guess "Building that overland bike path that went through Pasadena?"

In the 1899 photo above, wealthy Pasadena resident Horace Dobbins (in dark suit at right) watches over construction of the elevated wooden bicycle highway that would soon be named after him. At the time Dobbins was a member of the Board of City Directors (known today as the City Council).

In Pasadena and throughout the nation, bicycling had become wildly popular before the turn of the century.

Here are photos of the Pasadena Bicycle Club taking a break during one of their rides in 1887, Arthur P. Smith (front) on a tandem with a friend and Dr. Hiram Reid (an early Pasadena pioneer) and his wife Rachael cycling to church with their grandchildren in 1895.

With about 30,000 bicyclists in the L.A. area, Dobbins had an early vision for a tollway -- 10¢ one way and 15¢ round trip -- that would begin in Pasadena, go past South Pasadena and Highland Park and end in downtown Los Angeles at the Plaza on Olvera Street. He and former California Gov. Henry Markham, a Pasadena resident, incorporated the California Cycleway Company in 1897 and construction began two years later. 

The first mile and a quarter of the Dobbins Bikeway, from near the Hotel Green to Raymond Hill, opened on Jan. 1, 1900.

Dobbins would become chairman (now known as mayor) of the Board of City Directors that same year. Here is his photo from the Hall of Mayors:

Here are a couple of additional photos. Note the toll booth at the lower end of the first photo.

The reason the bikeway was elevated was to provide a flat, fast and scenic route for bicyclists so they could avoid obstacles such as creeks, railroad tracks and roads rutted by wagon wheels. 

Here is a portion of the bikeway in 1900 at Bellevue and Raymond behind the Pasadena Grand Opera House:

Unfortunately the completed bikeway never made its way to downtown Los Angeles. In fact, the only portion that was completed went from the Hotel Green in Pasadena to the Raymond Hotel in South Pasadena.  

A new invention -- the horseless carriage -- caused the demise of the bikeway.

Dobbins used the bikeway as a backdrop as he posed on his new-fangled Oldsmobile -- a photo opp he may have lived to regret!

Pasadena has been a bicycle-friendly city for well over 100 years. You can learn more about current City of Pasadena bicycle programs here

Many thanks to Pasadena Museum of History, Pasadena Public Library, Los Angeles Public Library, Highland Park Blog and U.S. Department of Transportation/Federal Highway Administration.