Week in science: Donner Party cannibalism in question | JPL satellites eye Iceland volcano chain | Striking images from Saturn


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>>THINK 
  • A bone to pick: Was the Donner Party’s legendary cannibalism just a myth? A new study of the bones found at the Donner’s campsite in California’s Sierra Nevadas suggests the snowbound pioneers may not have eaten each other after all. [DISCOVERY NEWS]
Image: James F. Reed and his wife, Margret W. Keyes Reed, seen in this file photo taken in the 1850s, were survivors of the tragic Donner Party. (AP Photo)

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Photos: L.A. Heritage Day at the Heritage Square Museum


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>>GO 
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The third annual L.A. Heritage Day was held Sunday at the Heritage Square Museum, nestled along the Pasadena Freeway near the Arroyo Seco.
The day was an opportunity to step inside some of the historic structures now located at the museum. Each has been relocated to Heritage Square to be saved from demolition and to be preserved as a record of Southern California’s early development and architecture.

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Photos: New $66 million arts complex at East Los Angeles College nearing completion


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>>LIVE 
At a sneak preview yesterday, officials at East Los Angeles College unveiled the very-nearly-complete, $66 million Performing and Fine Arts Center in Monterey Park. [Full story, Star-News]
The new center, slated to open in July, includes three multi-level buildings to house the Vincent Price Art Gallery, recital hall and drama theater. (The college’s current Vincent Price galleryendowed by the actor and art collector, is the first institutional museum to serve East Los Angeles, and it contains more than 2,000 pieces of art.)


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Quick! Groupon discount on Gamble House tours


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>>GO 

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If your friends haven’t yet turned you on to Groupon, maybe they’re not such great friends.

Groupon is a collective of sorts offering daily deals in various communities, including around Los Angeles and Orange counties.

Today’s deal features the historic Gamble House in Pasadena. Through Groupon, you can now purchase two tickets to a one-hour tour of the Gamble House at Westmoreland Place in Pasadena for only $10, a $25 value. Once you purchase your Groupon, you have until July 7 to redeem. This deal is only good toward the 2 p.m. docent-guided tours, which take place Thursday-Sunday and require a reservation at least one week in advance.

For more details on this deal, log on to the Groupon site and join, if you haven’t already done so.

There’s less than six hours to take advantage of this deal, so get to it and sign up. And don’t forget to spread the word to your true friends.

(Staff file photos)

Model home: Green abode in Pasadena is designer’s playground


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>>LIVE 
The Star-News carried a feature by Juliette Funes this weekend on the home of Kristina Urbana Spencer, who is an interior designer and the owner of Pasadena-based Setting the Stage Interior Design.

The modern home is a model of sustainability, being both eco-friendly and allergen-free:

“For a long time, green was not necessarily beautiful,” Spencer said. “Your choice was hemp, hemp and hemp. With the explosion of truly green products, you have much more variety.”


Let’s take a peek around the house.

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Ambassador College 1969 yearbook

>>INSIDER

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On the heels of news that a 10-acre portion of the old Ambassador College property has been sold to a builder that plans to start constructing town houses there in 2011, Gawker Media’s women’s blog Jezebel shares this gem: Clips from the college’s 1969 yearbook.

The whole gallery of pages from the yearbook, called the ENVOY, is really worth checking out, particularly the entries on science and technology. Quoth the ENVOY:

“NEVER was the world like it is today! Gigantic leaps ahead in technology and certain sciences — men walking and cavorting about on the moon, yes — BUT, unsafe to walk on sidewalks here on earth. …

The principal contribution of Science and Technology has been the production of constantly more terrifying weapons of mass destruction. Pushbutton world? Yes, today either of two men could push a button and destroy two whole continents, probably ending in the extinction of mankind!”

The liberal-arts college was rooted in the evangelical tradition of the Worldwide Church of God. Its founder, Herbert W. Armstrong, preached very non-mainstream beliefs. From a 2003 Star-News article:

Armstrong believed, for instance, that Jesus Christ will return to Earth to assume the throne of England, where he’ll reign in peace and prosperity forever.

He also preached that members earned salvation through their commitment to the Old Testament law. Christ may have died for the sins of the world, he taught, but acceptance of his death wasn’t enough. The believer must also obey Christ. …

Obedience was Armstrong’s key to qualify for God’s grace, and in the former Worldwide Church of God parlance that meant following the rules.

As with Orthodox Jews, members didn’t eat “unclean” things such as pork and shrimp. They observed all the Jewish festivals in the Old Testament and celebrated the Sabbath on Saturdays. Members were discouraged from voting, serving in the military, marrying after a divorce, relying on doctors, using cosmetics, or observing Christmas, Easter or birthdays.

The emphasis on obedience was apparent in some of the headlines from the church’s newsletter.

“HOW YOU DRESS FOR CHURCH Could it keep you out of the KINGDOM?”

“OUR LIGHT IS SHINING! and not the cosmetics on our faces.”

After Armstrong’s death in 1986, the church dropped the controversial teachings.

A report by Janette Williams in tomorrow’s Star-News will have more details of the sale and building plans, which revived what had seemed to be an interminably delayed real-estate development.

(Photo via Jezebel)

Shop the block: The Sofa Company, 100 W. Green St.

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>>SHOP

The Sofa Company‘s Pasadena showroom is housed in the historical framework of the old Friend Paper Company building.

The mid-century modern design — with accordion-pleated roof and huge walls of glass — feels like an open invitation to plop down and put your feet up for a while.

And, if you like the seating arrangements enough, you can bring one home with you.

While you’re furniture shopping, pop into the Pappa Rich Korean pastry shop and cafe, new to the historic 1960s building. (It fills the vacancy left by the Daily Grind coffeehouse.)

100 W. Green St., 10 a.m.-8 p.m., 888-778-7632, thesofaco.com

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(Photos by Walt Mancini / Staff)

Historic Herkimer Arms is split in two, ready for move to new home on Raymond Ave.

>>LIVE

From Brigham Yen’s Pasadena real estate blog, the historic Herkimer Arms — the only apartment building ever designed by Greene & Greene — has been cut in half in preparation for its move to 407 N. Raymond Ave.

There, Heritage Housing Partners will convert the two-story structure from its current configuration of eight apartment units into two large, full-floor units. Architectural features like the exterior Gunite finish, terra-cotta tiles, built-ins, corner cabinets and
original doors will be preserved.

You can see some of those details here, in interior shots captured by staff photographer Keith Birmingham in August 2007.

A full story and more photos will be in the Star-News tomorrow.

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Behind the scenes: Rose Magazine’s photo shoot with the Rose Queen and Royal Court

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>>INSIDER

Here’s a quick glimpse inside our photo shoot yesterday with the seven lucky ladies of the Tournament of Roses 2010 Royal Court. We are super excited about this year’s editorial fashion spread and working with photographer Watchara Phomicinda.

Q. Can you guess the location of our shoot? (Answer, and more, below.)

The Court — with their stylist and Tournament of Roses escorts — gathers on the patio
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Princess Kinsey Stuart in the stacks
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Cramming the equipment into the small spaces between shelves was a challenge
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Princess Katherine Hernandez in front of the Peter Pan Fireplace
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That’s a pop-up “Nancy Drew” book from the children’s wing
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Queen Natalie Innocenzi in the reference section.
(A. Yes, the shoot took place in the historic Pasadena Central Library.)
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Our hot lights were Diva Lite brand, which is sort of fitting, no?
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Mood lighting in a stairwell with Princess Michelle Van Wyk
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Huge thanks to the library administration and staff — and especially the unsuspecting patrons — for allowing us to invade for a couple of whirlwind hours.

Frank Lloyd Wright’s famed ‘La Miniatura’ house still on the market and coming down in price

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>>INSIDER

CurbedLA notes a price change on Frank Lloyd Wright’s historic “La Miniatura” house, built in 1923 into a ravine above the Arroyo Seco.

It’s been on the market for more than a year, starting back then with a selling price of $7.733 million. Now the listing is down to $5.59 million, CurbedLA reports.

The home’s owner David Zander (that’s him at top) talked to the Star-News in July 2008, following a multimillion-dollar restoration and just after he first put the property up for sale. From the archives, reporter Janette Williams wrote:

… it’s not for everyone.

Lloyd Wright’s buildings are known for being less than watertight, and the building materials and techniques don’t always
stand up well to climatic wear and tear.

The architect pushed the design technology and materials beyond his time, Zander said.

“That’s why many of his houses leak. I think that the house will leak forever – it just wants to, but it varies from
time to time and place to place. The house has a mind of its own.”

The restoration has put “La Miniatura” in very good condition, (Wim) de Wit, (architectural curator of the J. Paul
Getty Research Center) said, but agreed it will always need a lot of upkeep.

“It needs someone who appreciates architecture and will have patience,
who enjoys the spatial quality relating architecture
and nature,” he said. “It really needs to be lived in … not to be a
museum.”

(Below are some photos from a July 2008 photo shoot by photographer Walt Mancini.)

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