The ugliest snowman

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I don’t know if some intrepid Sierra Madreans went up to Baldy and got a truckload, or if this is the crushed leftover slush from a late night at the Buccaneer, but this old boy at Baldwin and the Boulevard is the sorriest snowman in the San Gabriel Valley, so far as I can tell. Of course, maybe he’s the onliest snowman in the SGV, too. And it’s true that the lime eyes are a nice touch. This morning he was melting away in the wind and picking up all kindsa grit from the air … Merry Christmas anyway!

A Rising Tide when Christmas shopping Old Pas

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That’s Alex Kritselis, left, dean of the arts at PCC, and his wife Joey at the Thursday night opening of his multi-media installation piece “Don’t Blow It / A Rising Tide” at One Colorado. This part’s in the windows of the now-shuttered Gordon Biersch inside the courtyard, but there are also crazy watery slide shows in the shop windows along Fair Oaks north of the J. Crew store and in the alleyway between Patagonia and Il Fornaio. In the consumerist frenzy that is December in Old Pasadena it’s nice to see some art that makes people stop and go, “What’s that?” People who weren’t in on the party were checking it out, shopping bags in hand. Without being overly literal or bombastic, the images are all of oceanic waters coming into contact with higher ground, such as the cliffs in the former brewery windows, and of flotsam and jetsam floating through the rising tides in some future in which the oceans are quite a bit higher than they are today. On view through Jan. 3.

Reading Partners celebrates at Washington School

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Reading Partners, the nonprofit I wrote about last spring that has established a fine foothold at the PUSD’s Washington Elementary — motto, “one tutor. one child. infinite possibilities.” — held a pre-Christmas Reading Recital Tuesday night on campus.

Like a screachy-violin recital for the little ones, except easier to listen to. Most of the 52 students in the program, who are matched up a couple of times a week with volunteer adult tutors who help them one-on-one with reading skills, showed up to show off for their families how their reading skills have improved over the semester.

That’s Carlton above, whose mom was beaming with pride to Erica and Jackie, the RP staffers. “You just can’t believe what a difference it’s made” in Carlton’s reading prowess, she said.

There are still 38 open spots for students in the program, and always room for tutors. Like to get involved, either way? Write erica@readingpartners.org or call (323) 572-3877.

PP decamps to Claremont

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For 50-something years, Peggy Phelps has been one of the most potent forces for good in Pasadena. Since moving here from the East with then-husband Mason, Peggy was instrumental in shoring up or creating the Pasadena Art Museum, the Pasadena Art Alliance, the Armory Center for the Arts and the AIDS Service Center, whose board she chaired. She served on the Vestry at All Saints and on countless other committees and boards. For one small but swell thing — those Walk with the Mayor Wednesday-morning celebrations in the Arroyo — we also have Peggy to thank. She got an idea — Pasadenans are too fat and too out of shape — posed a question: what can we do about it? — bounced it off a bunch of us, formed Up and Moving Pasadena in conjunction with Young & Healthy, figured out that the cheapest and best way to get fit is simply to walk and … there you have it. Peggy recently moved to Claremont, where she is also a mover and shaker, deeply involved with Claremont Graduate University, and the Armory threw her a party, with this banner out front. She’s still going to be Mini-ing west to her beloved Pasa a lot but still … the city will miss this force of nature. Immensely.

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