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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Rose Magazine special parade issue available now

>>INSIDER

Rose Magazine’s winter issue is now available around town. In addition to our regular feature stories and departments, you’ll find inside the ultimate guide to the Rose Parade, Rose Bowl and beyond. We also cover the best of local shopping, dining, arts and culture.

Pasadena Star-News subscribers received a copy of the magazine with their Sunday paper.

Additional copies are available in many city centers, including hotels, restaurants, the Convention Center and the Star-News office on Colorado Boulevard.

This commemorative issue will also be sold along the parade route on New Year’s Day.

Meet the Rose Magazine cover artist: Zack Morrissette

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>>INSIDER

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Theater marquee, below, and comic work, above, by artist Zack Morrissette.


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Los-Angeles based artist and designer Zack Morrissette created the Rose Magazine cover look, based on a photo shoot of Caltech’s John Dabiri, as captured by staff photographer Walt Mancini.

Morrissette has been working in the L.A. art and design scene since 1996 in a variety of mediums and styles — charcoal, watercolor, acrylic, pastel, ink and computer graphics, among them.

He studied at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, New York.

At right, you can see the original photo shot by Mancini and, below that, how Morrissette transformed the image for the cover. The graphic design in the background blends inspiration from both Leonardo da Vinci’s “Vitruvian Man” and Dabiri’s scholarly research on jellyfish.

(Read more about our cover story.)

At bottom right is an alternate watercolor painting version of the cover art, also handcrafted by Morrissette.

The artist specializes in comic design, and some pieces from his portfolio are displayed at the top of this page.

Visit Morrissette’s Web site to see more work by the Rose Magazine cover artist.

Top right photo by Walt Mancini/Staff
All others courtesy Zack Morrissette/Contributor

Rose Magazine fall 2009 issue hits stands tomorrow around Pasadena

>>INSIDER

Hello, world! Meet Rose Magazine’s fall 2009 issue — just in time for the changing seasons, and ripe for the picking tomorrow, Sept. 23. The magazine goes out with regular delivery to Pasadena Star-News subscribers, and is also available for free on many stands around town, including:

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  • Most hotels and motels

Copies will also be available for a nominal fee at the Pasadena Star-News office, 911 E. Colorado Blvd. (Soon, our future issues will be available in bookstores and at traditional magazine stands.)

For queries, send us a message.

And now, back to our regularly scheduled programming

We’re back! This blog and our Twitter feed fell dormant these last few weeks, because — well — we were making a magazine (the real, print edition you can actually hold in your hands).

Now that the fall issue of Rose Mag has been sent to press, we’re excited to be back in action here. We’ll be posting bits and pieces from the upcoming issue (it hits the streets Sept. 23) and all our regular online goodies.