The city championship at Brookside

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It was so hot Sunday, the final day of the Pasadena City Golf Championship at Brookside, that I swear you could see the algae bloom on the big lake just below Washington Boulevard — pictured at left — grow before your eyes. The course was looking its best, and algae likes all that fertilizer in the run-off.

I walked down just after noon and followed the first threesome in the Championship Flight — all guys with handicaps under 4, so all unbelievably good golfers — for two holes. They’re not used to a gallery except for family, and I didn’t want to break the spell if they were in the zone, so I didn’t ask for names and just clapped at good shots and walked alongside the group. But the fellow ahead on course No. 1′s hole No. 4, the medium-long dogleg right just above Washington at the far west of the Arroyo Seco, hit this second shot from about 125 yards stiff to the flag and sunk his 2-foot putt for birdie.

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The middle of the month

Some images from the last few weeks:

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That flying spaniel/woman by my old friend Marnie Weber, former bassist in the greatest downtown art band L.A. has ever known, the Party Boys, is on view at the Armory Center for the Arts’ Good Doll Bad Doll show, through June 1.

Remember the ice-block sculpture in Memorial Park across the street from the Armory I was worried would melt much sooner than the three-day life span it was predicted to have? Yep — melted the very same night it was put up. That late-April hot spell was almost as hot as this one. We went by after the movies that Friday night and “Fluids,” a recreation of Allan Kaprow’s original Happening, was already almost fluid:

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A decidedly different form of art is championed by Elaine and Peter Adams, on the right below at a recent preview at the Pasadena Museum of California Art, of the California Art Club. Plein aire and representational works are favored in the juried show, now on view at the PMCA:

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As I mentioned in my column, the good people of Pasadena’s sister city Ludwigshafen came from Germany this month to celebrate 60 years of being siblings, and the Sister Cities Committee hung this banner in the Athenaeum:

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Pasadena Rotary met in the new dressing rooms at the Rose Bowl to hear L.A. Times columnist and former Sports Editor Bill Dwyre describe the newspaper business: “It’s changing. It’s different. It sucks! … There are times we make only 9 percent on (our owners’) money! Terrible, huh? I’m sure you all would be so upset if your businesses only made 9 percent, huh? I’m tired of it. I want to start thinking inside the box.” Leaving the room, listeners found the motto the UCLA Bruins will see every time they leave that locker room for their home field this season. Good luck on that one, guys:

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Gorgeous model, track champion, Georgetown Foreign Service grad, double amputee Aimee Mullins brought many of her prosthetics to the stage with her toward the end of Friday’s session of the Serious Play conference hosted by Art Center College of Design, told funny stories about how her boyfriend is flummoxed when she decides to be 6’1″ instead of her usual 5’8″, and how when she was in elementary school her classmates would goad her on when they had a substitute to swivel her plastic feet 180 degrees, which she could easily do: “One fainted!” she laughed:

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These are the legs that make her tower: toes based, she said, on Elle Macpherson’s:

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Serious Play

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If you’ve noticed a rise in the general IQ level and the number of MacArthur winners wandering the streets in these parts in the last few days, chalk it up to another of Art Center’s biennial design conferences, this year themed “Serious Play,” at the South Raymond Avenue campus.

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Hundreds of designers and big thinkers from all over the world are there through Friday evening, and it’s not only smart as a tack — it’s fun. Jump-roping and juggling kicked it off Thursday night, along with martinis and oysters, and before the keynote by Tim Brown, everyone found a rubber-band powered finger rocket that can fly 100 feet taped under their chairs and catapulted them toward the stage at once.

Today it’s been JPL Director Charles Elachi updating us on Mars, with Berkeley physicist George Smoot, who won his Nobel in 2006 by proving the Big Bang. As the leading mapper of the universe , he took us places none of us had ever remotely dreamed of going before. Host is NPR’s John Hockenberry, broadcasting his new morning show “The Takeaway” from Pasadena this week..

At play in the fields of Pasadena

8385-koshalek and maynes 002.jpg Art Center College of Design President Richard Koshalek, left, himself trained as an architect before he came west as the founding boss of MOCA, hosted a Mi Piace lunch a couple of Saturdays ago for Thom Mayne, the star-power architect and Morphosis principal who will be redefining the new South Campus addition to the college at the old power plant on Glenarm. Mayne, below, with Art Center’s Gloria Kondrup, had just given the spring commencement address on the Lida Street campus.

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This week I’ll be blogging from Art Center’s latest international biennial get-together of design-world major players, this time themed “Serious Play.” It’s growing into Pasadena’s version of George Soros’ Davos conference in Switzerland — the place to be for really big ideas from the best in the business. Participants include NPR’s John Hockenberry, Google’s Director of User Experience Irene Au, JPL Director Charles Elachi and double-amputee Aimee Mullins, the springy-legged holder of the world record in the 100-yard dash.

“Serious Play” kicks off Wednesday night and continues through Thursday and Friday.

At the L.A. Garden Show

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Thursday at the Arboretum I followed through on my I Can Garden project of a month or two ago by checking in on it at the preview for the Arboretum’s prestigious, fun L.A. Garden Show, which displayed all things green and gorgeous over the weekend at Arcadia’s temple to flora.

Altadena sculptors and landscapers Karen Bonfigli and Andreas Hessing, below, created a great field of indigenous plants watered by pottery placed in the ground:

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Rose Queen Dusty Gibbs did, natch, roses in her piece:

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And my wildly drough-resistant can of cactus, copper and succulents looked very … minimalist among the other corrugated examples:

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Kinda big

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The waves were kinda big — waist- to head-high — at San Onofre this weekend. It was a beautiful, clear, summery day on Saturday. Sunday was a bit victory at sea-ish. But we had our fun, sitting on top of the world in the daytime, camping where the bad ju-ju toll road would go through on Saturday night. My surfing compadres below are James Duck of Mt. Washington, Pete Moffat of Palo Alto and Rick Gough of Pasadena.

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