Pasadena Greek Festival returns to Santa Anita Park

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Leave your bags behind and take a quick trip to Arcadia from Sept. 16 to 18 for a taste of Grecian culture with the return of the Pasadena Greek Festival. 

The weekend will include entertainment from the “Olympians,” visual art, authentic Greek cuisine and pastries, live cooking demonstrations, a live wine chat, Greek folk dancing and lectures about the country’s history and religion, as well as a kid’s fun zone with carnival games, rides and prizes. 
Festival hours are from 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. on Sept. 16; noon to 1 a.m. on Sept. 17; and noon to 10 p.m. on Sept. 18. Admission is $5 and children under 12 years old are free. Parking is $4 per car at the main entrance of Holly and Huntington Drive at Santa Anita Park. 
For more details, call 626-600-1672 or visit www.pasadenagreekfest.org. 

(Photo courtesy by pasadenagreekfest.org)

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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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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Cocktail culture comes east: 1886 bar opens at The Raymond in Pasadena




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Calling all cocktailians: Contemporary bar culture made a late but entirely fashionable entrance this week in Pasadena with the opening of 1886, the new watering hole at The Raymond Restaurant.

The Raymond’s management and owners partnered with mixology masters Marcos Tello and Aidan Demarest of Tello Demarest Liquid Assets to curate the much-anticipated, artisan cocktail bar. Tello’s lengthy CV includes crafting the cocktail selection at The Varnish and The Edison in downtown Los Angeles. Demarest, too, is an Edison alum and also noted for his libations at First & Hope.

Appealing to Pasadenans’ sense of tradition, the drink menu at 1886 incorporates sly nods to local history and lore.

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Pictured: Ecole de Cuisine Pasadena kicks things off with couscous

 
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How do we love our couscous? Let me count the ways: Hand rolled, steamed, or maybe prepared with shellfish and a touch of argan oil drizzled on top, as they do in the Moroccan port city of el Jadida.
This weekend’s Couscous Festival in Pasadena celebrated the traditional North African dish with food lectures, demonstrations and — of course — couscous and tagine samplings. Visitors to the epicurean bazaar got a taste of authentic Berber cuisine and an opportunity to learn expert technique from master chefs.
For the Star-News, Beige Luciano-Adams reports:
(Guests) wound their way through billowing clouds of smoke at outdoor grills, loading their plates with savory Maghrebi street foods.
Inside, a small army of assistants watched over carefully steamed couscous and tagines — the traditional North African clay cooking pots — brimming with spiced, soupy rabbit, seafood and chicken.

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Rose Magazine’s fall arts and culture issue on stands tomorrow

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Our fall arts and culture issue comes out tomorrow, and it’s packed with the best creative happenings of the season. Pick up a copy of the Star-News, and look for the magazine inside.
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Besides our regular shopping, event and book departments, feature stories in the new issue include:
  • Street fashion photography spread, shot on location at One Colorado
  • Coffee as art: An exploration of Pasadena’s top micro-roasters
  • Writer Lian Dolan chats about her first novel “Helen of Pasadena”
  • Gallery guide: Fall for the arts with top-notch exhibitions and events in November and December
If you subscribe to the Star-News, you’ll receive a copy with your regular delivery.

We’ll also post the digital edition here, so check back starting tomorrow for lots of online exclusives like photo galleries and extra content.

(Cover photo by Watchara Phomicinda / Staff)

2 Foothill cities, 2 wine and jazz benefits, this Saturday only

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And there’s no reason to miss either free-flowing, beat-filled soiree.
Organizers of the Pasadena Wine Festival will offer free admission to anyone who shows a ticket for the nearby Sierra Madre Wine and Jazz Walk benefiting City of Hope.
“As far as we’re concerned, the big wine event (this weekend) is in Sierra Madre, because it goes to a great cause,” said Russ Meek, sommelier and managing partner of redwhite+bluezz, which, along with Pasadena Entertainment, produces the Pasadena Wine Festival. “Anyone who goes to that (one) gets into ours for free.”
Meek said he hopes the offer will encourage festival-goers to “cruise around” to both events benefiting deserving causes.

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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)

Pasadena Playhouse emerges from bankruptcy

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Pasadena Playhouse officials said the theater company emerged Wednesday from Chapter 11 bankruptcy, after its financial reorganization plan was approved by a Los Angeles court.
“We are deeply grateful for the collective support that has allowed the Playhouse to expeditiously move through this difficult and sometimes painful process,” said Stephen Eich, executive director of the Playhouse, in a statement.
“Although we will be moving slowly in the future to ensure financial responsibility and stability, we will in fact be back,” Eich said.
As part of an effort to resurrect the historic theater and shed its “unbearable” debts, Playhouse officials also said they received an anonymous matching pledge of $1 million earlier this year, and they hope a continued fundraising campaign will match or exceed the donation.