Pictured: Cherry Blossom Festival flowers in Monterey Park

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Monterey Park’s 14th annual Cherry Blossom Festival on Sunday featured cultural dance and music performances, along with an appearance by a world champion sumo wrestler.
Above, performers from the traditional Japanese dance group Fujima Kansei line up for a portrait during the festival in Barnes Park.
More photos after the jump:

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Parking space as commentary at Art Center’s Hillside Campus

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39794-RBLOG-SEEN-SECTIONHEADER.jpgLiteral street art alert! Leave it to the pavement at Pasadena’s Art Center to get all sassy on us.

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Some faculty and staff parking spots at the Hillside Campus have new, playfully irreverent descriptors attached today. “Cat lady,” “jaunty,” “balding,” “sensible shoes” and “name dropper,” are among the tags.
A post on the school’s Dotted Line blog suggests the display might be part of a mystery student’s project. (Banksy 2.0?)
The open attitude toward creation is refreshing and indicative of an art school with this for a mission statement: “Learn to create. Influence change.” Rather than chastising any “vandal,” the cheeky, maybe-guerilla artwork gets a thumbs up and some public praise.
“It’s pretty fun working at an art and design school,” Lara Warren, Art Center’s editor of online communications, notes in the blog post. Color us jealous.
See the slideshow on Art Center’s Flickr feed.

(Photos courtesy Lara Warren / Art Center College of Design)

Pasadena designers behind Rodarte created scene-setting costumes for ‘Black Swan’

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If you’re paying even a modicum of attention to the Hollywood awards season, you may have heard of a little film called “Black Swan.” Actress Natalie Portman is knee-deep in praise and various honorary statuettes for her lead performance in the movie. 
Pasadena sisters Kate and Laura Mulleavy — the design forces behind Rodarte —  have also received many accolades for producing some of the film’s most notable costume designs.
At left, that’s Kate and Laura Mulleavy with Portman at a “Black Swan” screening in November.
They created 40 different costume pieces for “Black Swan,” from the main character’s featured ensembles down to her knitwear. (The Mulleavys were ineligible for a formal Oscar nod, because they weren’t credited in the film and weren’t members of the Costume Designers Guild at the time.)
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Laura Mulleavy said in an interview with Women’s Wear Daily that one artistic influence was Edgar Degas’ bronze ballerina.
“We always loved the distressed skirt,” she told WWD.
And, Pasadenans can get a firsthand view of the Degas sculpture, “Little Dancer, Aged Fourteen,” 1878-81, on display at the Norton Simon Museum. (Seen at right, in a file photo courtesy of the museum.)
It’s not the first time the sisters have drawn inspiration from local museums and culture. They have before cited such iconic Pasadena institutions as the Norton Simon, The Huntington and even The Raymond as personal favorites.
See some of the Mulleavys’ “Black Swan” sketches after the jump:


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Shop the block: The art of living at Maude Woods

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This home furnishings and decor boutique is a superlative model for how to arrange living spaces and to successfully blend different aesthetics into one glorious array.

For owner Carrie Davich, the passion for mixing contemporary furnishings with vintage pieces ignited when she was decorating her Pasadena home.
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With an extensive background in fashion and a natural eye for design, Davich in 2009 opened Maude Woods, named for her great-grandmother, also an artiste.
At once glamorous and comfortable, the space Davich has fashioned features informal rooms without walls, each displaying a desirable selection of art and objects for living room, dining room and kitchen. The Maude Woods signature is “artful living,” and it is, indeed, enchanting.
55 E. Holly St., Pasadena. Open Tue.-Sat., 11 a.m.-6 p.m. (626) 577-3400, maudewoods.com
More artful photos after the jump:

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Pictured: Muralist paints colorful dreamscape in Old Pasadena alley

 
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Graffiti-style artist Guy Ellis recently put the finishing touches on a 250-foot-long, 20-foot-high mural that’s bringing more than a spot of color to the back of Idealab’s building in Christensen Alley.
The “Dream to Reality” mural, which took about a month to complete, is a collaboration between ArtStorm, tech incubator Idealab and the Pasadena Arts Council’s Emerge program for up-and-coming artists. ArtStorm is an organization that encourages youth to create aerosol art in a legal, non-destructive way.
Star-News reporter Janette Williams will have a story on the mural in Saturday’s paper.
More photos after the jump:

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Make a day of it: 3 visit-worthy exhibitions at the Pasadena Museum of California Art

 
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Gardens and Grandeur: Porcelains and Paintings by Franz A. Bischoff
In the Main Gallery; Runs through March 20, 2011

For his masterful rendering of dynamic flowers, Austria-born painter and porcelain decorator Franz A. Bischoff earned the nickname “King of the Rose Painters.” The Pasadena Museum of California Art will present the most inclusive retrospective of Bischoff’s work to date, with highlights from his early ceramic work and his later practice on canvas. Bischoff immigrated to New York in 1885 and lived in different U.S. cities before settling in Pasadena in 1906. It was in California that the artist turned to landscape paintings and the plein-air style, painting the state’s signature sun-kissed shore and mountain vistas.
[Photos: At top, Bischoff's "Afternoon Idyll, Cambria" c. 1922. At left, Bischoff's "A Tapestry of Roses."]

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‘Beauty and Power’: Rare bronze statuettes on display at Huntington Library

 
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Bronze sculpture is one figurative art form that lends itself most naturally to raw renderings of human emotion. The deep, lustrous metal alloy has a range of surface qualities that, in the hands of a capable sculptor, can be used to express vivid pathos.
Just take a look at these powerful photos of some of the 28 bronze statuettes that comprise “Beauty and Power,” a new exhibition at the Huntington Library.
Visitors to the exhibit are getting a rare look at Renaissance and Baroque bronzes from the private collection of New York architect Peter Marino.
Originating from Italy, France, Germany and the Netherlands, the bronzes date back to between 1500 and the mid-18th century.
The exhibition opened at the Wallace Collection in London in April. Before that, most of the works never had been on public view.
The Huntington is the first venue in the exhibit’s U.S. tour.
On display through Jan. 24, 2011. MaryLou and George Boone Gallery at The Huntington, 1151 Oxford Rd., San Marino. (626) 405-2100, huntington.org
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Examining ‘The Arrangement’ behind the art at One Colorado in Pasadena

 
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When you look at a piece of art, what do you see?

Maybe you stand away from the work and admire its shape and form. Maybe you move closer and focus in on brush strokes or chisel markings, the movements that betray its creation.

But what if the work itself was invisible? When, then, would remain?

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New to The Artist Studio at One Colorado is Carly Steward, who deconstructs “The Arrangement” and puts the unseen elements of an art exhibition under examination.

They are the pieces that hold it all together. (Our staff writer Stacey Wang describes them as “the supporting cast” in the art world.)
“Take away the artwork from a museum exhibit and you’re left with reminders of what was once there — a pedestal, some wood covered in fabric, maybe a metal prong,” Wang writes.

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Jones Coffee Roasters moves to new, bigger location

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Local java institution Jones Coffee Roasters has moved operations to its third location on South Raymond Avenue — now at street number 693.
Jones staff plan to make the new, bigger location a hub of activity for the Pasadena community, with music and arts events, book signings, movies and more.
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The chandelier, at right, is an art piece made out of coffee cups and other glass materials. The installation hangs from mattress box springs.

693 S. Raymond Ave., Pasadena, (626) 564-9291, thebestcoffee.com

(Photos by Walt Mancini / Staff)

Celebrate Shanghai with the summer’s final Fusion Fridays event at Pacific Asia Museum

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The summertime fun of Fusion Fridays is coming to an end in classic Shanghai style.
Get dolled up in cocktail or 1930s attire for the series’ grand finale. It’s a nightlife vibe mixed with fine art — focusing on the exhibit “China Modern: Designing Popular Culture 1910-1970.” Expect gourmet food trucks in the parking lot, open bar, a live DJ in the courtyard and cultural performances.
Tomorrow, Aug. 27, 7:30-10:30 p.m., Pacific Asia Museum, 46 N. Los Robles Ave., Pasadena. $10 members, $15 advanced, $20 at door. Limited capacity. (626) 449-2742, pacificasiamuseum.org
(File photos from “China Modern: Designing Popular Culture”)