Pictured: Moment in the sun at the Norton Simon Museum

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Aristide Maillol sculptures lounge perpetually in the garden at the Norton Simon Museum.
The sculpture garden is one of the museum’s most popular features, and is the centerpiece of the several events, like drawing classes, spotlight art talks and outdoor music performances.
(Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz / Staff)

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


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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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Letters from New York: Rodarte at the Cooper-Hewitt


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If you’re planning a trip to New York between now and mid-March, there’s a new exhibit at the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum that focuses on Pasadena residents Kate and Laura Mulleavy — they of the acclaimed U.S. fashion label Rodarte.
The exhibit delves into the Mulleavys’ unique process of creation; The sisters execute complex manipulation of materials and meticulous techniques, first deconstructing and then rebuilding the elements into high fashion.
As an example, from January’s lengthy New Yorker profile by Amanda Fortini:
“They often speak of ‘building’ a dress. To create their garments, which tend to include a multitude of textiles (and finicky ones, like tulle, organza, leather, and lace), adornments (crystals, feathers, rosettes), and techniques (draping, pleating, dyeing), the Mulleavys work with a team of three seamstresses, a pattern-maker, a dyer, a leather worker, and three knitters. One mid-length yellow chiffon dress from the 2006 fall collection took a hundred and fifty hours to complete.”

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At this Pasadena museum, bunnies are serious business

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Things you will find at the Bunny Museum:

  • Bunnies, numbering 24,000, arranged by theme
  • Practical bunnies: salt-and-pepper shakers, bookends, shampoo bottles, tables, table settings, shower curtains
  • Playful bunnies: plush bunnies, Elvis bunnies, M&Ms dressed like bunnies
  • Living bunnies
  • A cactus that looks vaguely like bunny ears

Things you won’t find at the Bunny Museum:

  • Playboy bunnies
  • Mean bunnies, vile bunnies or vulgar bunnies. “It has to be cute,” Candace Frazee, owner of the home-slash-museum, says.

1933 Jefferson Drive, Pasadena, call the bunny phone to make an appointment, 626-798-8848, thebunnymuseum.com

Click into the magazine to read the full story and scroll down for more photos.


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(Photos by Walt Mancini / Staff)

Arcadia’s WWII history and the Santa Anita Assembly Center

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There’s a new exhibit at the Ruth and Charles Gilb Arcadia Historical Museum that offers up a dark and lesser-known side of the city’s past for examination.

In the 1940s, Arcadia’s Santa Anita Park was the location of a temporary assembly center for Japanese and Japanese Americans, before they were sent to live in internment camps throughout the United States during World War II.

Museum curator Dana Dunn told the Star-News: “You’d be surprised at how many people have no idea that this happened.” From the report by Michelle J. Mills:

Dunn read and was told in interviews that the camp was a clean, organized and a strict place to live. People were told to bring a coat and were allowed few possessions.

“They had the guards up in the towers with guns and barbed wire all around you. You can’t leave and you’re there in the summertime and there’s no insulation in the building,” Dunn said. …

“The one story I hear a lot is about the guards in the tower at night. If you wanted to get up and go to the bathroom, you could do that but the spotlight would hit you, and they’d follow you with the spotlight all the way to the bathroom. You’d go in the bathroom, and when you came out the spotlight was there, and they followed you all the way back,” Dunn said.

There was also an assembly center at Pomona’s Fairplex.

In the photo at top, a child arrives at the Santa Anita Assembly Center in Arcadia. More photos below.

An opening reception for the exhibit will be held tomorrow at 11 a.m. Osamu Miyamoto, Akkiko Nomura and other guests will speak on the Santa Anita Assembly Center.

“Only What We Could Carry: The Santa Anita Assembly Center” runs through Jan. 16. 10 a.m.-4 p.m Tuesday-Saturday. Closed on holidays. Open 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Dec. 24 and 31. 380 W. Huntington Drive in Arcadia. Admission is free.

Japanese Americans read a poster ordering them to prepare
to be sent to assembly centers across the United States.
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A train leaves the Santa Anita Assembly Center in Arcadia,
headed for one of the relocation centers in the United States.
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(Photos courtesy the Arcadia Historical Museum)

Fashion weekend: Sinking ships and Betsy Bloomingdale

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The Sidney D. Gamble Lecture Series opens its 2009-2010 season tomorrow with two fashion-oriented engagements.

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    At 10 a.m., Kevin Jones — curator of the museum at downtown’s Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising — will speak at Art Center College of Design on “adDRESSING Titanic: Appearance and Identity in 1912.”

The lecture explores the four categories of passengers on the ill-fated ship: first class, second class, steerage and crew. The Titanic is known to have carried some of the day’s illustrious figures of fashion, from those in high society to industry trade to journalists.

Like their wearers, some garments survived the journey, while others were recovered from the site of the wreckage.

  • Jones will also lead a 1 p.m. tour at the FIDM Museum of an exhibit he curated: “High Style: Betsy Bloomingdale and the Haute Couture.”

Fashion icon and socialite Betsy Bloomingdale, widow of Alfred P. Bloomingdale — heir to Bloomingdale’s department stores and founder of Diners Club credit cards — donated 125 haute couture garments to the museum over 30 years.

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Her French couture wardrobe, purchased from 1961 to 1996, includes designs by Marc Bohan and Gianfranco Ferr for Christian Dior, Hubert de Givenchy, Pierre Balmain, Yves Saint Laurent and Andr Courrges, along with ready-to-wear by James Galanos, Adolfo Sardina, Oscar de la Renta and Valentino Garavani.

Sixty ensembles are on display, showcasing Bloomingdale’s favorite designers, her personal style and life. Colored sketches, fabric swatches, contemporary photographs and magazine layouts accompany the garments.

Forget cotton; This is the fabric of a life. (Stunning photo gallery of just a handful of gowns below)

Titanic lecture: 10 a.m., Art Center, Ahmanson Auditorium, 1700 Lida St., Pasadena. Tickets.

Bloomingdale tour: 1 p.m., suggested donation: $35 general admission, FIDM Museum & Galleries, Grand Hope Park, 1st Level, 919 S. Grand Avenue, Los Angeles.

Red evening gown of silk crpe and organza adorned with flowers.
Autumn/Winter 1989-90. Gianfranco Ferr for Dior.
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Silk gazar, dramatic bow-evening gown.
Spring/Summer 1983. Marc Bohan for Dior.
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Gown of polka dot, printed silk charmeuse with black cotton lace and snakeskin trim.
Spring/Summer 1982. Marc Bohan for Dior.
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Black iridescent coq feathers and silk chiffon crepe dress.
1985. Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel.
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(Photos courtesy Brian Sanderson, FIDM Photography; and Friends of The Gamble House)