A magazine built for you … out of flowers


So we had this crazy notion to reproduce a digitally-designed Rose Magazine page using flowers and organic material — just the way the real float builders do, in large-scale, every year.

It seemed like a tangible way of translating this year’s Rose Parade theme — “A Cut Above the Rest” — onto paper (or floral foam, as it were).

It was a harebrained idea, thrown out casually one day in the newsroom, but it was fueled on by unexpected community support. Co-workers in other parts of the office started hearing about it, and they offered up encouragement. Some even volunteered to take up a decorating shift or to cut flowers or to bring us coffee.

The coffee ended up being absolutely indispensable to our team. As our editor Pia Abelgas Orense put it in her editor’s note: “It took days of planning, two visits to the flower district in downtown Los Angeles, 15 solid hours of cutting and gluing flowers, several iPod playlists, and moments of intense labor tempered by bouts of giddiness brought on by exhaustion.”

We also learned about the glory of Styrofoam hot-wire cutters; the absurdity of trying to keep in place hundreds of tiny, round onion seeds; and that some of our colleagues could have a second career as dazzling pro florists.

And we learned still more about the blowing of deadlines — something we thought we knew plenty about after many combined years in the newspaper and magazine biz.

At the end of it all, we produced something that seemed worth celebrating; We had breathed life into a concept. There was cheering and jumping and high-fives. It was even hard to say good-bye. The shriveling remains of our once-living Rose Magazine “float” sat for days afterward in the conference room where it had been born.

The process really shocked us into a whole new level of respect for float builders and decorators, particularly the self-built teams that operate with little to no professional assistance.

What you see here is our finished product, photographed and published on Page 12 of our winter issue as part of the magazine’s index. So as to be more readable, our logo and text got a little digital assistance, but this is pretty much exactly as it looked when we wrapped our own Decoration Day.


Rose Magazine special parade issue available now


Rose Magazine’s winter issue is now available around town. In addition to our regular feature stories and departments, you’ll find inside the ultimate guide to the Rose Parade, Rose Bowl and beyond. We also cover the best of local shopping, dining, arts and culture.

Pasadena Star-News subscribers received a copy of the magazine with their Sunday paper.

Additional copies are available in many city centers, including hotels, restaurants, the Convention Center and the Star-News office on Colorado Boulevard.

This commemorative issue will also be sold along the parade route on New Year’s Day.

Got a question about the Rose Parade? Send a text and get an answer


Folks with questions about anything related to the Rose Parade and associated events can get answers via text message, Tournament of Roses officials announced today.

To submit questions, text the word “Roses” followed by a question to 95495. A tournament representative will respond.

The service will be available from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. through Thursday.

The service will not be available on Friday, the day of the Rose Parade and Rose Bowl game.

From wire reports

Pasadena area real-estate and development roundup


We’re playing catch-up around here, since we were working around the clock to get our winter edition of the Rose Magazine to press.

Here’s what’s been happening recently on the Pasadena real-estate scene:


    Private, all-girls Westridge School is expanding with a new science building that will be LEED-certified [pictured / via Brigham Yen]

  • Across the street from the future mixed-use Playhouse Plaza, a bridal shop has moved into the corner of Colorado and El Molino [via Brigham Yen]

  • Brigham Yen scores a closer look at the Westgate Apartments. The first phase opened up last month, with about 29 units ready for move-in [via Brigham Yen and CurbedLA]

  • The new building on Raymond Avenue that will become the future home of KPCC radio is coming along [via Brigham Yen]

Residential real-estate highlights via BlockShopper Los Angeles:

  • Children’s educational materials professional has listed for sale a six-bedroom, seven-bath home in Pasadena for $2.8 million

(Rendering via Brigham Yen)

Where are they now? — Rose Queens edition


From this weekend’s CityBeats column in the Star-News:

“Upscale stores often pride themselves on giving customers the royal treatment.

Maybe the Nordstrom store at Westfield Santa Anita in Arcadia comes closest — the 1960 Rose Queen, Margarethe Bertelson (Knoblock) is a personal shopper there.”

Above and below, former Rose Queens with 2010 Rose Queen Natalie Innocenzi at the Tournament House earlier this month.

The oldest-living Rose Queen is 88-year-old Margaret Main, who took the title in 1940. She’s the one in pink in the photos.

(Getty Images)


Hope floats on the Rose Parade route



Three Rose Parade float sponsors have traditionally invited either patients, survivors or their families to be guests of honor as float riders.

Donate Life’s float riders are either organ transplant recipients or
families of organ donors; the float also honors loved ones lost through
floragraphs, a wall of names and a memorial garden of roses. (The
upcoming December issue of Rose Magazine will profile some of these

City of Hope, which co-sponsors a float with the city of Duarte, honors some of its patients.


Kaiser Permanente chooses children and teens who have shown exceptional spirit in the face of adversity. Riding on the Kaiser float will be:

  • Andrea Beltran, 16, Hacienda Heights: She had surgery at 5 years old to remove a three-inch cancerous tumor (ovarian teratoma). Today, she is a cross country runner on her high school’s league champion team and an honor student and participates in various charities.
  • Jimmy Daniel, 16, South Los Angeles: As an infant, he was diagnosed with sickle cell anemia. He hopes to become a pharmacist and has already completed classes at a junior college. He is active in student government and school plays, raises money for medical charities and participates on a junior league bowling team.
  • D’rell Gist, 11, San Diego: He started taking six to eight insulin shots a day after he was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes two years ago. He continues to enjoy hiking, sailing, camping and soccer nas has trained himself to be a magician. He participates in the annual “Walk to Cure Diabetes” fundraiser.
  • Morgan Heflin, 18, Los Angeles: She underwent grueling chemotherapy last year after she was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s disease, a cancer of the lymphatic system. While she was being treated, she bonded with the other young patients at the cancer clinic and urged them to keep fighting. She plans to study to become a pediatric oncologic nurse, inspired in large part by the the care she received when was ill.
  • Haley Ishimatsu, 17, Seal Beach: She competed in the 2008 Beijing Olympics diving competition, one of the few (perhaps only) U.S. Olympians with asthma. She and her partner placed fifth in the women’s synchronized 10-meter platform event. She is a straight A student and wants to come a physician.
  • Kirstie Quezada, 14, Corona: She was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia at 3 years old. She is now in remission  and volunteers at American Cancer Society events to help raise funds to fight the disease. Her hero is her father, a police lieutenant, and someday she wants to be a police officer, too, so she can protect others.
  • Monica Trent, 15, Simi Valley: 2009 marks the fifth year that she has been cancer-free. Throughout 26 months of chemotherapy, she maintained a 4.0 average. Now she excels at more activities, including cross country track at school. She and her family have also raised more than $80,000 for the local chapter of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
  • Daniel Udave, 14, Los Angeles: Diagnosed with leukemia in 2007, he continues chemotherapy even though the cancer is no longer detectable. One of his care providers say he takes care of the other children having treatment at the cancer center. He plays on his high school’s varsity water polo team and has been a junior lifeguard for three summers.

UPDATED: Public art in Pasadena: Evaluate or eviscerate?



**UPDATE: Janette Williams will revisit this issue with a story in the Sunday Star-News. Apparently, the Chase Bank is still remodeling its lobby, and there may be no room for the 50-foot Millard Sheets mural. The city is working to find a solution — or a new home for the work of art. More on Sunday.

What in the name of goodness is going on with the threat to murals/public art in Pasadena?

First, Star-News reporter Janette Williams broke the story about the painting over of a 60-foot, city-funded mural on a Northwest Pasadena storefront. The paint had barely dried on the $2,500 work of art before it was gone.

As if that fiasco wasn’t bad enough, now Thal Armathura over at Avenue to the Sky writes that historic Millard Sheets mural panels — inside what is now a Chase Bank at Lake Avenue and Colorado Boulevard — were nearly painted over also:

“We were alerted that Chase Bank at Lake and Colorado, located in what
was Washington Mutual, who inherited art works commissioned by the
Ahmanson Corporation, the owners of Home Savings which was originally
located at this site, were about to do something nefarious to the
Millard Sheets mural panels depicting the Pasadena Tournament of Roses … located on the walls behind the teller area.”

Thankfully, someone tipped off the Cultural Affairs Division:

“Rochelle Branch, of the Pasadena Cultural Affairs Office was alerted to this by an observant Pasadena Library employee, Catherine Haskett-Hany (here from another blogpost: Pasadena Branch @ Lake and Colorado is now being converted to CHASE and they were about to paint over the mural. Stopped by alert Library employee. Cultural Affairs will follow-up to find a new home. Sculpture also).”

Click on over to Avenue to the Sky for more interesting history and links.

Meanwhile, Petrea Burchard at Pasadena Daily Photo does some investigating at the Hen’s Teeth Square shopping center at Los Robles Avenue and Woodbury Road. And she finds a mural that hasn’t been painted over. It’s not a Millard Sheets masterpiece, but it is lovely, and thank goodness, it’s still there!

On that post, Armathura comments with some more background on the shopping center:

“Hen’s Teeth Square, 2053 – 2057 North Los Robles, Pasadena, designed by architect Theodore Pietsch is a designated Pasadena landmark and is reputed to be the first corner drive-in market shopping center in the country, built in 1930. … Hen’s Teeth Square is a monument to our car culture and the cornerstone of our local historic district. The name Hen’s Teeth Square is original to the development and does reflect the rarity of the time of a corner drive-in shopping center.”

(Photo via DLZ127’s Flickr photostream)

Snowboarding bulldogs: Slopes not just for bunnies anymore


Cute overload: Queen Natalie and the Rose Princesses got to visit with the Natural Balance snowboarding dogs.

These furry little guys — and one gal, named Rose — will be snowboarding down a slope on the pet-food company’s Rose Parade float as it travels along the parade route. The float is themed “Hot Doggin’ … Going for the Gold.”

The float isn’t going for actual gold though; It’s trying to set a Guinness World Record for longest contiguous float, said Lance Tibbet, parade operations chair for the Tournament of Roses.

Last year, the Natural Balance float had skateboarding bulldogs. Of course.

Civil War: To the victor go the Roses



“Oregon and Oregon State have come a long way since, uh, competing in a
game in 1983 that was so artless it came to be known as the Toilet Bowl.”

So the lede goes in a USA TODAY story written by David Leon Moore on tonight’s Civil War clash between the schools. On the line are a Pacific-10 championship and a spot in the Rose Bowl.

Could make for an exciting game, no? So, for whom to root?

“On Civil War day, Oregonians traditionally dress in Ducks or Beavers
gear. Some can’t make up their mind, or have family ties to both
schools, and mix their garb. They are known as Platypuses.”

A Facebook friend of mine who lives in Oregon posted this about his teacher wife’s work place: “My wife says her school has basically been a Oregon-Oregon St. turf war
for the past week and that the teachers have separate color-coded
rooting sections set up in the break room!”

Above, that’s a Nov. 2008 file photo of Oregon’s quarterback Jeremiah Masoli breaking a tackle from Oregon State’s Bryant Cornell in the second half of an NCAA college football game in Corvallis, Ore.

(Photo: Associated Press)

Historic Cravens Estate will be the 2010 Pasadena Showcase House of Design



The Pasadena Showcase House for the Arts organization announces today that its 2010 design transformation will take place at the historic Cravens Estate on what was once Pasadena’s Millionaire’s Row. [Slide show below]

The nearly 20,000-square-foot estate, built in 1929 and 1930, is headquarters to the San Gabriel Pomona Valley Chapter of the American Red Cross, which is collaborating with the PSHA on the effort.

From April 18 to May 16, 26 interior designers and seven exterior designers will work with a team of experts in historic architecture
and preservation to revitalize the property, benefit chair Beverly Marksbury said in a statement.

“… While
we’re taking the greatest care to respect the estate’s past, our designers will
also make use of cutting edge design technology, trends and creativity,” she said.

Designed for John and Mildred Cravens by renowned San Francisco architect Lewis P. Hobart, the French chateau
mansion took two years to build and was inspired by the grand Chateau Vaux-le-Vicomte
in France.

“What’s interesting is that Mildred Cravens was a Board
member of the American Red Cross,” Marksbury said. “She held many meetings at
the estate and, then, as it turned out, the house was sold by its current
owner, Simon Zervos, to the Red Cross in 1964. But here’s what we didn’t know
until very recently: The Chateau Vaux-le-Vicomte (in France) served as a Red Cross
headquarters during World War I and II.”

The estate is now a popular filming location for movies/television and a rental site for weddings and events.

On Friday, Jan. 22, you can preview the Showcase House before its dramatic transformation takes place. The Empty House Party gives designers a chance to present and explain their design concepts.

And tickets for the Pasadena Showcase House of Design — which
includes not only the house and garden tour, but also the Shops at Showcase, with more than 25 vendors, a restaurant and bar — will go on sale Feb. 15.

(Photo courtesy Pasadena Showcase House of Design; Slideshow from San Gabriel Pomona Valley Chapter of the Red Cross Flickr photostream)


Created with flickr slideshow.