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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Pictured: Dickens Village holiday festival lights up Sierra Madre

 
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Sierra Madre held its annual Dickens Village holiday festival on Saturday in the city’s charming downtown shopping district.
In Kersting Court, a Christmas tree lighting ceremony was followed by the arrival of the Jolly Old Elf himself.
Is there a town better suited to the glow of holiday cheer? Unlikely, we say.
For unique holiday gifting in Sierra Madre, visit the boutiques we featured in our February Shop the Block spread: Attitude! and La Bella Rouge, for women’s clothing and accessories; B.la, for stationery and stocking stuffers; and Savor the Flavor, for gourmet goodies.
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Photos: Pasadena’s Aids Service Center holds annual Big Night Out fundraiser gala


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Pasadena’s Aids Service Center, which provides HIV-related services and advocacy to individuals and families throughout Los Angeles County, held its annual Big Night Out fundraiser on Saturday.

Guests gathered first at a Mediterranean home on Lombardy Road in Pasadena for a gala reception with auctions, hors-d’oeuvres and hosted bars. Photographer Eric Reed was there to capture the early evening festivities during the reception.

After the reception, guests journeyed in groups to one of 20 privately themed dinner parties around town, including a Spanish-style in Los Feliz, a billiards night in a historic loft, a garden menagerie in a beautiful Victorian and an English pub themed evening.


More photos after the jump.

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Photos: Scenes from the 2010 Pasadena Showcase House of Design

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Staff photographer Walt Mancini captured these images from the now-open-to-the-public Showcase House in a series of visits, just before and just after the design overhaul was completed.

The Showcase House runs through May 16. Advance tickets strongly recommended. Purchase tickets online, or by phone, (714) 442-3872. On April 24 and May 15, park at the Parsons Corporation, 100 W. Walnut. All other days, parking and shuttle from Pasadena Rose Bowl, Lot I, 360 North Arroyo Blvd. pasadenashowcase.org
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Women in space: Two astronauts have ties to Pasadena area

>>INSIDER 
There are a record-setting four women currently in space — two of them with ties to the Pasadena and San Gabriel Valley area — and we wanted to know more about these trailblazing astronauts.

As the Associated Press reported, Tracy Caldwell Dyson, a native of Arcadia, was aboard a Russian rocket last week when it blasted off with two Russian cosmonauts en route to the International Space Station.


And Stephanie D. Wilson, formerly of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La Caada Flintridge, was aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery as it launched on Monday.

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Photo gallery: Arcadia’s Mirai Nagasu on the ice in Vancouver


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>>INSIDER 
“I eat, sleep and drink ice skating. Then, I do my homework,” 16-year-old Mirai Nagasu of Arcadia told our staff reporter Stacey Wang.
On Tuesday, members of the Pasadena Figure Skating Club gathered in Arcadia to watch their friend and peer perform in the women’s figure skating competition at the Vancouver 2010 Olympics.
Here she is on the ice in Vancouver, during her short program performance Tuesday and, further below, during a training session on Sunday.
Nagasu’s race for a medal is becoming a stretch — but definitely not out of reach. In order to medal, Nagasu will need not only a near-perfect long program Thursday, but also one of the front-runners will need to fall behind, the Associated Press reports.

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Letters from New York: Rodarte at the Cooper-Hewitt


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>>GO 
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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Deeper state of play: Pasadena Hoop Group

>>PLAY 
Hooping is a lot of things. It’s a tool for exercise and meditation. It’s a skill that looks harder than it actually is. (Translate: You can really pick this up without too much practice.) And it’s a socially acceptable way for adults to play with fun toys.
For Stacey Wang’s story, above, on hooping in the February issue of Rose Magazine, we had a photo shoot with Pasadena Hoop Group founder Sharleen Liu.
The shoot was at the Sierra Madre Community Nursery School, which is a beautiful, organic learning environment for children and the parents who keep it running.

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Scenes from the LA Street Food Fest in downtown


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>>EAT 
Photographer Watchara Phomicinda captured these scrumptious images from the LA Street Food Fest this weekend.
Were you among the thousands that swooped in upon downtown L.A. on Saturday for a morsel of food-truck goodness?
The lines were outrageously, crushingly long. But if you previously had trouble tracking down the individual trucks as they cavort about town, it was a way to kill about 30 birds with one stone — provided you had good company for the queuing.

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