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)

Is ‘Top Chef’ Michael Voltaggio leaving The Langham in Pasadena?

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Rumors are building in the blogosphere that Michael Voltaggio is leaving the restaurant at The Langham Huntington Hotel & Spa, Eater LA reported earlier today.

The L.A. Times travel blog says the departure has been confirmed by Langham spokeswoman Elsa Schelin.
I have a line into Schelin asking for more details.
It was less than a month ago when I sat down with Voltaggio in The Dining Room and talked about plans to reinvent the restaurant. He was still very much at the center of the project, working with hotel officials and Bill Johnson of the architecture firm The Johnson Studio to bring the design of the space into alignment with his cutting-edge cuisine.

If true, Voltaggio’s exit from The Langham would change a lot of things, including parts of our latest cover story that focus on the chef.
Stay tuned for updates.
In the meantime, here’s a video we put together from that recent interview and photo shoot with the celebrity chef.

The making of a Rose Magazine ‘float’

>>INSIDER

So you’ve seen the finished product. Here’s how we made our Rose Magazine page-o-flowers happen:

Here’s Stacey Wang working on the tiny rosebuds that comprised our logo.
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Here, Claudia Palma wrangles with the onion seeds we used for black text. We learned later from the pro builders that ground onion seed is a lot easier to work with.
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We purchased all our flowers in downtown L.A.’s flower district.
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The plan of action, like the sunlight, quickly faded into general guidelines.
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These purple orchids were my favorite flowers used in the design.
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SGVN Metro reporters Ryan and James graciously pitched in to finish off the thick band of yellow flowers.
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I think this is the point where we began to see the light. It was finally coming together (nevermind the letters scattered here and there).
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Spelling it out for the Rose Bowl teams.
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The green pom-pom flowers were really difficult to work with, but they had that dramatic pop of color that we ended up loving.
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That’s SGVN Night City Editor Kate Kealey, in red, finishing up the second yellow band.
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And the carnations — those huge swaths of white and red — were a wee bit difficult. They have ridiculously thick stems below each flower bud.
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Claudia finessing the last details before the late-night photo shoot. We wanted to capture the flowers on film before they started to wilt.
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A little hairspray makes the petals glitter under the hot lamps.
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(Photos by Evelyn Barge / Staff)

A magazine built for you … out of flowers

>>PARADE

So we had this crazy notion to reproduce a digitally-designed Rose Magazine page using flowers and organic material — just the way the real float builders do, in large-scale, every year.

It seemed like a tangible way of translating this year’s Rose Parade theme — “A Cut Above the Rest” — onto paper (or floral foam, as it were).

It was a harebrained idea, thrown out casually one day in the newsroom, but it was fueled on by unexpected community support. Co-workers in other parts of the office started hearing about it, and they offered up encouragement. Some even volunteered to take up a decorating shift or to cut flowers or to bring us coffee.

The coffee ended up being absolutely indispensable to our team. As our editor Pia Abelgas Orense put it in her editor’s note: “It took days of planning, two visits to the flower district in downtown Los Angeles, 15 solid hours of cutting and gluing flowers, several iPod playlists, and moments of intense labor tempered by bouts of giddiness brought on by exhaustion.”

We also learned about the glory of Styrofoam hot-wire cutters; the absurdity of trying to keep in place hundreds of tiny, round onion seeds; and that some of our colleagues could have a second career as dazzling pro florists.

And we learned still more about the blowing of deadlines — something we thought we knew plenty about after many combined years in the newspaper and magazine biz.

At the end of it all, we produced something that seemed worth celebrating; We had breathed life into a concept. There was cheering and jumping and high-fives. It was even hard to say good-bye. The shriveling remains of our once-living Rose Magazine “float” sat for days afterward in the conference room where it had been born.

The process really shocked us into a whole new level of respect for float builders and decorators, particularly the self-built teams that operate with little to no professional assistance.

What you see here is our finished product, photographed and published on Page 12 of our winter issue as part of the magazine’s index. So as to be more readable, our logo and text got a little digital assistance, but this is pretty much exactly as it looked when we wrapped our own Decoration Day.

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