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Friday, August 18, 2017

Looking for Something to Do? Free Events August 19 to 25

Here are free events scheduled Saturday, Aug. 19, to Friday, Aug. 25.

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

The Pasadena Conservatory of Music presents a chamber music recital by guitar students and faculty Saturday, Aug. 19, at 4 p.m. in Barrett Hall. The recital will include works by Bach, Brouwer, Carully, Kleyjnans, Kondo, Pernambuco, Piazzolla, Poulin and Vassiliev.

The Reluctant Apostles featuring Katey Sagal will perform heritage rock Saturday, Aug. 19, at 8 p.m. at the Levitt Pavilion. Bring a lawn chair or blanket and a picnic or purchase dinner at the park. A pre-concert festival will begin at 6:30 p.m.

The Playhouse District Summer Jazz Concert Series presents Kira and the Major 3 Sunday, Aug. 20, from 5 to 7 p.m. in the courtyard adjacent to Vroman's Book Store.

Cambalache will perform Latin jazz Sunday, Aug. 20, at 7 p.m. at the Levitt Pavilion. Bring a lawn chair or blanket and a picnic or purchase dinner at the park. A pre-concert festival will begin at 5:30 p.m.

An LA Opera community educator will guide you through Georges Bizet's dramatic opera "Carmen" Monday, Aug. 21, at 1 p.m. at the Pasadena Senior Center. A seductive gypsy who works at a cigarette factory in Seville captures the heart of a soldier who goes AWOL to pursue her despite her unfaithfulness, culminating in a final showdown outside the bullring. You do not have to be a member of the Pasadena Senior Center to attend.

I scream, you scream...cool off with some delicious Paradis ice cream Tuesday, Aug. 22, beginning at 2 p.m. in the courtyard at One Colorado (while supplies last). 

Grammy-winning Lisa Haley and the Zydekats will play lively Cajun zydeco music with plenty of Louisiana spice Tuesday, Aug. 22, at 6 p.m. at the Gold Shell in Memorial Park for the Pasadena Senior Center's summer concert series for all ages. Bring a lawn chair or blanket and a picnic. You do not have to be a member of the Pasadena Senior Center to attend.

"Harvey" (1950, NR) starring James Stewart and Josephine Hull will be shown Wednesday, Aug. 23, at 1 p.m. in the Donald R. Wright Auditorium at Central Library. The family of a wealthy man with a sunny disposition wants to commit him to an insane asylum when he claims he is accompanied by a mischievous Irish spirit, or pooka, in the form of a six-foot bunny named Harvey.

Mexican artist, art professor and author Roberto Rosique will discuss his new book "Of Those Barren Fields Without Culture: Three Decades of Art in Baja California" and then moderate a panel discussion about Mexican arts and culture with Adolfo Nodal, Susana Smith Bautista, Luis Ituarte and Jorge Conde Thursday, Aug. 24, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. in Studio on 4th (fourth floor) at Central Library. The event is sponsored by COFAC.

Children ages 9 to 12 are invited to a writing workshop with Kristen Kittscher, author of the middle grade mysteries "The Wig in the Window" and "The Tiara on the Terrace," Friday, Aug. 25, from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. in the Children's Story Room at Central Library. Ask her your questions about writing, learn about her writing process and do some fun writing exercises,. Call 626-744-4066, option 4, to sign up.

Rachael Worby, artistic director of MUSE/IQUE, will be joined by some orchestra members for a celebration of Motown in the spirit of American jazz Friday, Aug. 25, at 5 p.m. at the Pasadena Senior Center. While the event is free, reservations are required at the Welcome Desk or by calling 626-795-4331. You do not have to be a member of the Pasadena Senior Center to attend.

In 1977 NASA's twin Voyager spacecrafts embarked on an incredible journey to the outer planets and beyond. After delivering stunning images of Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune, the probes sailed on to study the boundary of our heliosphere, the bubble that encompasses our sun, planets and solar wind, crossing that frontier in 2012 as the first human-made object in interstellar space. On Friday, Aug. 25, at 7 p.m. in the Vosloh Forum (building UU on this map) at Pasadena City College, Dr. Alan Cummings, senior research scientist at Caltech and a Voyager team member for more than 40 years, will present highlights of Voyager journeys and speculate on what lies ahead for the intrepid twins.

Paseo Colorado's Dancing Under the Stars presents the Susie Hansen Latin Band Friday, Aug. 25, from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. in the lower theater court by Starbucks. Come as early as 7 p.m., for a Salsa dance lesson from the Pasadena Ballroom Dance Association, then enjoy the live music -- whether you decide to kick up your heels or not! 



Photo credits: Pasadena Conservatory of Music, The Reluctant Apostles, Kira and the Major 3, Cambalache, Minnesota Opera, Lisa Haley, Universal International Pictures, Roberto Rosique, MUSE/IQUE, NASA/JPL Susie Hansen Latin Band.




Friday, August 11, 2017

I Was an Early Learner


One of my earliest childhood memories in the early 1950s is sitting in my mother's lap, my head resting against her chest, as she read me "The Story of Babar the Little Elephant" with all those colorful illustrations. It was one of my favorite books at the time. The rocking chair whispered a soft, familiar creak as it went gently back and forth.

I don't know if she was aware of the long-lasting benefit to this little girl of that simple moment and so many others like it.

Well, perhaps she was.

Here she is in 1930 with her mother, my beloved maternal grandma. See anything significant?


When I was growing up, our household was filled with music, literature, board games, family discussions during breakfast and dinner and so many other activities. As my siblings and I grew a little older, I constantly leafed through the Encyclopedia Britannica and the Book of Knowledge that had places of honor among the many crowded bookshelves in our home. We were so fortunate to have parents who instilled in us a lifelong love of learning.


A generation later, I created moments of my own with my first-born daughter Becky and youngest daughter Jessica by reading to them and later with them, beginning with picture books when they were infants, nursery rhymes as toddlers and so many wonderful children's books in their elementary years. 

By the time they were in high school in the 1980s and no longer at home for long hours at a time, we sometimes shared the same book, each of us reading a chapter or two and then passing it on to the other two as they took their turns. No spoilers were allowed, so we continued trading off, little by little, until we each finished the last word in the last chapter of a novel. Only then did we discuss and critique the book in enthusiastic detail (Mario Puzo's "The Sicilian" immediately comes to mind).


As my children's mother, this all came naturally to me, I think, because of the environment in which I was raised and the special traditions my family had when I was growing up.

But not all parents have similar memories and experiences.

This is exactly the purpose an exciting and important new movement I am pleased to be part of: Pasadena as an Early Learning City. It's all about the importance of parents and other caregivers reading, talking, singing and playing with young children from infancy to age 5.

Why? Because study after study over the course of decades has proven the first five years of life are crucial in the development of a child's brain, one of very few organs that is not fully formed at birth. This is the reason young children learn more quickly and retain more information than at any other times in their lives. 

It's why a young child can learn a second language so easily while an adult often struggles with it, why a young child can learn to read so much more easily than a previously non-reading adult in a literacy class and why a young child is so much more imaginative with, say, a couple of blocks than an adult who simply sees an object for what it is. 

Are you connecting the dots yet? 


When parents and other caregivers engage in positive ways with children -- by singing, reading, talking and playing -- beginning at infancy and continuing through age 5 at a minimum, those children develop skills that impact their future ability to learn as well as their social, emotional and physical well-being.

Sounds simple, right?

So why is it that six of 10 children nationwide who enter kindergarten are already behind when they walk in the door their first day of school, leading to a cycle of remedial catch-up that can last for years?

For the answer, let's go back to those parents who are overwhelmed or poorly educated or not aware of the incredible resources for parents and young children in Pasadena.

The Pasadena as an Early Learning City movement will create meaningful, collaborative relationships among all those resources, build awareness of them and create easy access to them. Parents will become empowered to make use of these programs and build their own skills while staying connected to local resources and opportunities.

What can you do?

Come to a very special community event Saturday, Sept. 23, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Brookside Park where there will be children's activities for different age groups, healthy cooking demonstrations by celebrity chefs Jet and Ali Tila, arts and crafts, entertainment, healthy snacks, oodles of information about resources for parents of young children and much more.

This will be the big kick-off but it won't end there. The goal is to make Pasadena renowned as an Early Learning City by 2025. This movement is spearheaded by the City of Pasadena Office of the Young Child. 


Several months ago I was asked to serve on the Pasadena Council for the Young Child, which provides support for the Office of the Young Child. The council, chaired by Dr. Vera Vignes, is a coalition of local experts in early learning, health care, education, social services and other related fields. I have been happy to bring my 40+ years of communications experience to the effort. It is such a pleasure to work with so many people I know well and get to know others better. 
The City of Pasadena Office of the Young Child is led by Lila Guirguis, who formerly was with First 5 LA. You can learn more about this office by clicking on the link two paragraphs up, which will take you to a Facebook page. Once you get there and start poking around, be sure to click on "About" on the left side of the screen to learn how the office was established and why it matters. 

Lila will have her hands full with her many duties, not the least of which will be cross-coordinating the many resources in Pasadena that serve our youngest children and their parents -- from city departments to schools to nonprofits -- so they will begin to work collaboratively as the Pasadena as an Early Learning City movement proceeds into the future.

I hope to see you on Sept. 23! 

Looking for Something to Do? Free Events August 12 to 18

Here are events scheduled Saturday, Aug. 12, to Friday, Aug. 18.

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

Everybody loves to meet firefighters and see big, red fire engines up close! Come to an open house Saturday, Aug. 12, from 9 to 11 a.m. at Fire Station 39 (50 Avenue 64) where Pasadena Fire Department personnel will lead tours, showcase fire trucks and special equipment, conduct demonstrations of how they do their life-saving work and more.

Design, architecture, art and history will intersect for BoldPas: An Art Takeover of Old Pasadena Saturday, Aug. 12, from noon to 8 p.m. Experience Old Pasadena with new eyes as you gather with friends, stroll the alleys and side streets, meet artists, snap and share your photos and connect with Pasadena's creative community. There is a $10 fee for guided walking tours; everything else is free.

Dustbowl Revival will perform bluegrass, swing and more Saturday, Aug. 12, at 8 p.m. at the Levitt Pavilion. Bring a lawn chair or blanket and a picnic or purchase dinner at the park. A pre-concert festival will begin at 6:30 p.m.


The South Lake Avenue Rooftop Cinema Series presents "Top Gun" (1986, PG) starring Tom Cruise and Kelly McGillis Saturday, Aug. 12, at 8:15 p.m. on the roof of the parking structure at 251 S. Lake Ave.  A devil-may-care Navy pilot is sent to San Diego for advanced training, romances a civilian consultant and vies with another pilot for the coveted Top Gun award. While the event is free, pre-registration is required. Bring a beach chair (no blankets or tall chairs allowed). Arrive as early as 6 p.m. for DJ music and to claim your best spot. Bring a picnic or purchase dinner on the rooftop.

Classical accordianist Paul Shemet, with soprano Ingrid Helge and pianist Bonnie Shemet, will perform Sunday, Aug. 13, at 2:30 p.m. in the Donald R. Wright Auditorium at Central Library, sponsored by Tuesday Musicale.

The Playhouse District Summer Jazz Concert Series presents Little Brazil Trio Sunday, Aug. 13, from 5 to 7 p.m. in the courtyard adjacent to Vroman's Bookstore.

Mark Lindsay, former frontman for Paul Revere & the Raiders, will perform many of their hits as well as tunes from his solo career Sunday, Aug. 13, at 7 p.m. at the Levitt Pavilion. Bring a lawn chair or blanket and a picnic or purchase dinner at the park. A pre-concert festival will begin at 5:30 p.m.

I scream, you scream...cool off with some delicious Paradis ice cream Tuesday, Aug. 15, beginning at 2 p.m. in the courtyard at One Colorado (while supplies last). 

Theater of Vision Productions presents Cirque di Sarray, a fun and fast-paced carnival show, Tuesday, Aug. 15, at 6 p.m. at the Gold Shell in Memorial Park for the Pasadena Senior Center summer concert series for all ages. Bring a lawn chair or blanket and a picnic. You do not have to be a member of the Pasadena Senior Center to attend.

Trio Dali will perform classical works Wednesday, Aug. 16, from 12:10 to 12:40 p.m. for the popular Music at Noon recital series at Pasadena Presbyterian Church.

"Where the Red Fern Grows" (2003, G) starring Joseph Ashton and Dave Matthews will be shown Wednesday, Aug. 16, at 1 p.m. in the Donald R. Wright Auditorium at Central Library. A 10-year-old boy works hard for two years to save up for a pair of redbone hound puppies, trains them to hunt racoons in the Ozark Mountains and learns the meaning of loyalty, courage and perseverance.

Children are invited to create colorful designs on river rock stepping stones Thursday, Aug. 17, at 3:30 p.m. at Hill Avenue Branch Library. All materials will be provided.

"La La Land" (2016, PG-13) starring Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone will be shown Thursday, Aug. 17, at 6:30 p.m. in the Donald R. Wright Auditorium at Central Library. An aspiring actress and a dedicated jazz musician struggle to make it in Los Angeles. 

"Hidden Figures" (2016, PG) starring Taraji P. Henson and Octavia Spencer will be shown Friday, Aug. 18, at 1 p.m. in the Scott Pavilion at the Pasadena Senior Center. Three female African American mathematicians working for NASA help serve as the brains behind the 1962 launch of astronaut John Glenn into orbit. The film is based on true events.



Photo credits: Ann Erdman, Old Pasadena Management District, Dustbowl Revival, Canalfilmesegames, Shutterstock, Little Brazil Trio, RaiderRooter1967, Ramp62, Clipart Library, Crusader Entertainment, SoFire Creations, The Sixth Ward

Friday, August 4, 2017

Looking for Something to Do? Free Events August 5 to 11


Here are events scheduled Saturday, Aug. 5, to Friday, Aug. 11.

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


California Assemblyman (and former Pasadena City Councilman) Chris Holden's annual summer block party on his street Saturday, Aug. 5, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. will feature live music, classic car show, free hot dogs and lemonade, children's activities, resource fair and more.


Joel Rafael with John Trudell's Bad Dog will perform original folk music with Native American influences Saturday, Aug. 5, at 8 p.m. at the Levitt Pavilion. Bring a lawn chair or blanket and a picnic or purchase dinner at the park. A pre-concert festival will begin at 6:30 p.m.   


Pasadena Museum of History's Family Free Day presents Chalk-ful of Fun Sunday, Aug. 6, from 1 to 4 p.m. Veteran Pasadena Chalk Festival muralists will create lizards, snakes and squirrels along "art alley" -- the longest collaborative mural you've ever seen -- and you can add your own chalk creatures to the masterpiece! You'll also be invited to make your own ice cream sundae, play good old-fashioned games such as marbles, pick-up sticks and jacks and see the museum's current exhibitions.


The Playhouse District Association Summer Jazz Concert Series presents Tony Inzalaco Sunday, Aug. 6, from 5 to 7 p.m. in the courtyard adjacent to Vroman's Book Store.


Teresa James and the Rhythm Tramps will perform blues Sunday, Aug. 6, at 7  p.m. at the Levitt Pavilion. Bring a lawn chair or blanket and a picnic or purchase dinner at the park. A pre-concert festival will begin at 5:30 p.m.

"No Man's Land," a play by Harold Pinter, will be read by resident actors at A Noise Within Monday, Aug. 7, at 7 p.m. as part of the Words Within series. While admission is free, reservations are required.

I scream, you scream...cool off with some delicious Paradis ice cream Tuesday, Aug. 8, beginning 2 p.m. in the courtyard at One Colorado (while supplies last). A pop-up will be in the courtyard every Tuesday in August at 2 p.m., compliments of One Colorado.

Paddy's Pig will perform timeless Irish pub songs and contemporary Irish rock Tuesday, Aug. 8, at 6 p.m. at the Gold Shell in Memorial Park for the Pasadena Senior Center's summer concert series for all ages. Bring a lawn chair or blanket and a picnic. You do not have to be a senior or a member of the Pasadena Senior Center to attend.

Paseo Colorado's Moonlight Movies presents "Beauty and the Beast" (2017, PG) starring Emma Watson and Dan Stevens Wednesday, Aug. 9, at 8 p.m. Belle, a bright and independent young woman, is taken prisoner by a beast in his castle only to discover, despite her fears, that there is a kind heart and the soul of a true prince underneath his exterior. Arrive as early as 6:30 p.m. for seating on a first-come, first-served basis. The first 100 children under 15 will receive a free gift.

Children will learn about Asian arts and cultures through storytelling and crafts Thursday, Aug. 10, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. in the Donald R. Wright Auditorium at Central Library, presented by educators from the USC Pacific Asia Museum.


Grammy-winning Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band will perform interactive bilingual music for children (and everyone) Thursday, Aug. 10, at 7 p.m. at the Levitt Pavilion. Bring a lawn chair or blanket and a picnic or purchase dinner at the park. A pre-concert festival will begin at 5:30 p.m.

"A Street Cat Named Bob" (2016, NR) starring Luke Treadaway and Bob the Cat will be shown Friday, Aug. 11, at 1 p.m. in the Scott Pavilion at the Pasadena Senior Center. A homeless, recovering drug addict on the streets of London is given a second chance through an unlikely friendship with an injured stray cat that helps the man heal his own life. You do not have to be a member of the Pasadena Senior Center to attend.

Paseo Colorado's Dancing Under the Stars presents Orquestra Charangoa performing Salsa Friday, Aug. 11, from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. Come as early as 7 p.m. for a Salsa dance lesson from the Pasadena Ballroom Dance Association, then enjoy the live music -- whether you decide to kick up your heels or not!


Photo credits: Pasadena Now, Ann Erdman, Chris Holden, Joel Rafael, Jessica Edelstein, Innovative Percussion, Ramp62, A Noise Within, Karen Y., Damon Pipitone, Lucky Diaz, Walt Disney Pictures, Chris Sholl, Orquestra Charangoa