Editor’s Note

Editor’s Note

 “Let’s meet at Julienne.” I can’t tell you how often various lunch buddies have uttered those words to me. And with good reason: Julienne is practically the capitol of San Marino.

 

Heavy hitters aplenty dine there regularly, drawn to its charming covered terrace and French-accented menu. Yet the Mission Street eatery is quite welcoming: prices are reasonable and Julienne adheres to an equitable first-come, first-served policy. And when the restaurant closes at 3:30 p.m., fans can still get their fix from the Gourmet Market next door. No wonder Julienne celebrated its 30th anniversary this year, despite the notorious fickleness of the restaurant business. Bettijane Levine spoke to bubbly owner Julie Campoy, daughter of late founder Susan Campoy, to find out how Julienne became the culinary heart of San Marino. 

 

And for DIY foodies, we bring you a guide to organic produce delivery companies that serve Arroyoland. As Noela Hueso reports, the recent trend can be a boon to busy cooks who have the taste but not the time for farmers’ markets. Be sure to check out Muir Ranch, run by Pasadena teachers and students on the grounds of John Muir High School. Its farm box and flowers sales bankroll paid internships for students (and offer a tax deduction to subscribers).

 

Arroyoland native Michael Cervin explores the surprising Pasadena connection to his childhood obsession with See’s Candies, tracing its path from a family business to a gleaming property in Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway portfolio. And for a dessert you’ll never wear on your hips, feast on some delicious poems about food by Red Hen poet Kim Dower, excerpted from her third book, Last Train to the Missing Planet, coming out in the spring. Enjoy! 

Editor’s Note

Editor’s Note

We always look forward to the Fall Arts issue here at Arroyo Monthly, in part because Pasadena’s lively cultural scene virtually guarantees a delightful cover image, and this year’s is no exception. The cover detail from Parade, an acrylic-on-paper work by Walter Askin, is a charming example of the seasoned Pasadena artist’s fanciful view of the human landscape. And at 86, Askin is as busy as ever. He currently has a one-man show — Mainstreaming the Muse, at Cal State LA’s Luckman Gallery through Oct. 24 — and continues to entertain invitations from galleries around the country. Art maven Scarlet Cheng, who teaches art and film history courses at Otis College of Art and Design, visited Askin at his studio in Old Pasadena, where he has been creating colorful work for 47 years.

 

Our other visual art story looks at Constance Mallinson’s fascinating Free Painting project at Pasadena’s Armory Center for the Arts. Artist and novelist Nancy Spiller spoke with Mallinson about her show, which challenges the soaring art market’s stranglehold on determining an artwork’s worth. To do that, she’s giving away her new oil painting, Raft, in a process that will tease out observers’ personal opinions of the work’s value. Find out how you can get in the game on page 40. 

 

This month, we also look at the joys of ballroom and swing dancing, starting with late-blooming first-time novelist Alice Simpson’s Ballroom. The South Pasadena writer and artist talked to Editor-at-Large Bettijane Levine about growing up with her vaudevillian father, Hal Sherman, an eccentric dancer famous in his prime, and her own remarkable journey from young commercial artist to 73-year-old literary novice and painted book creator, whose work is in the collections of New York’s Lincoln Center and London’s Victoria and Albert Museum, among others.

 

For those who’d rather do their own swinging, check out Rebecca Kuzins’ story about Tami and Erin Stevens, the sisters behind the Pasadena Ballroom Dance Association, where people have been experiencing the pure joy of moving to music for more than 30 years.

Editor’s Note

Editor’s Note

To salute Arroyo’s 10th anniversary,

we decided to profi le three

philanthropists whose dedication

says a lot about Pasadena — and

its changing face. Gone is the

city’s monochromatic populace,

much of it descended from the

Los Angeles area’s early settlers

(although they’re still here too

— after all, why leave?). Where

elitism and exclusivity were

once Pasadena’s watchwords,

now diversity and inclusiveness

characterize much of the city’s

movers-and-shakers class

(although a few of its exclusive institutions linger on).

 

As one of our philanthropists, Art Center Trustee Bob Davidson,

told Bettijane Levine, “There was no diversity when we got here [in the

late ‘70s], but it has become much more diverse today and more open.

Relative to other places, it’s light years ahead.”

 

Shanghai-born and Hong Kong–bred philanthropist Kin Hui, who

settled in SoCal long before the recent infl ux of well-heeled Chinese,

actively encourages his peers to embrace their adopted land and

culture rather than limit themselves to their own community. “My

defi nition of ‘rich’ is happiness, how you work with other people,” he told

Rebecca Kuzins.

 

Indeed, one thing all our philanthropists share is a belief in the

importance of donating not just treasure, but also time — something all

of has have, regardless of where we stand on the economic ladder. As

Alyce Williamson, a descendant of pioneers and a major supporter of

L.A.’s arts scene, said to Martin Booe, “Giving of yourself is what really

makes the difference.”

 

This issue also features a special treat, a peek into Pasadenan Robert

Ell’s ongoing exploration of his family’s old photographs. His research

has already turned up some big surprises — colorful relatives who

experienced their own Roaring Twenties, breeding horses for Chinese

warlords, rooming with Myra Loy in the early days of Hollywood, setting

a world archery record and much more. But perhaps most moving is a

revelation that hit closer to home — Robert’s discovery that his father, the

late Victor Ell, chaired the Pasadena Planning Commission in the late ‘70s

and early ‘80s, when it was actively involved in preserving Old Pasadena,

an accomplishment the modest Victor had never even mentioned.

 

—Irene Lacher

Editor’s Note

Editor’s Note
With all the changes buffeting society in these days of economic turmoil, you wouldn’t expect something as fundamental as marriage to escape unscathed, would you? Then you’d be right. 
 
Last spring, the U.S. Census Bureau reported that for the first time ever, there are more unmarried adults ages 25 to 34 than married. Analysts differed over whether that also holds true for the country as a whole, but it’s fair to say that the hallowed institution has never been in sorrier shape in this country. Why? 
 
The reasons are as complicated as you might expect, as Bettijane Levine discovered in reporting her story, “Is Marriage Dead?” 
Certainly there has been a massive change in attitude from the buttoned-down ’50s, when single adults were viewed with suspicion. But there’s also a darker cause, as  yet another shoe drops for many of the 99 percent — marriage is simply becoming unaffordable.
On the brighter side, Arroyo tips its hat to Valentine’s Day with portraits of two very happy couples, both married and un: Acclaimed Pasadena author Leon Bing writes about her close live-in relationship with photographer Gareth Seigel in a first-person piece, “The Mister and Me.” And Scarlet Cheng talks to Pasadena’s besotted pair, Sharon Clark and Glenn Gruber, who toast each anniversary on the lawn of the Pasadena Museum of History, where they wed 30 years ago. 
 
Society’s norms may ebb and flow, but marriage or no marriage, love will find a way. And if it doesn’t, you can always check out Bradley Tuck’s tips on places to celebrate V-Day solo. 

Editor’s Note

Editor’s Note
Being able to pay the ever-escalating price of healthcare in this anemic economy is challenging enough, but being able to imagine a time when well-being was frequently unavailable at any price seems virtually impossible.
 
Ignaz Semmelweiss, a Hungarian obstetrician who theorized that hand-washing by doctors could drastically reduce infant mortality, died in a mental institution in 1865, possibly due to the stress of rejection by the medical establishment, which still believed in the chimerical practice of bloodletting. In this country, where the Civil War was raging, the lack of antiseptic care eventually killed vast numbers of soldiers with broken legs, as Dr. Lawrence Dorr of La Caňada Flintridge learned in researching his debut novel, Die Once Live Twice. Dorr explains in a profile that even doctors are mostly unaware of medical history, which the orthopedic surgeon brings to life in his new book. 
 
As we explore the history of medicine in January’s Health issue, special thanks go to Jeannette Bovard of the Pasadena Museum of History for exhuming vintage photographs of the nascent city’s booming business as a health resort. Highlighting our photo essay are early 20th-century images of the La Viña Preventorium for Tuberculosis, which housed nearly 90 boys on a 160-acre vineyard on Lincoln Avenue, where they received the only treatment then available for the potentially fatal disease — fresh air, bed rest and gardening duties to strengthen their muscles.
 
Medical history was more recently made by Pasadena immunologist Dr. Michael Gottlieb, the first doctor to identify a new disease in 1981 which came to be known as HIV/AIDS. Bettijane Levine talks to him about the threat still posed by the virus despite 30 years of progress and what needs to be done about it.
 
Finally, an important cultural milestone in Arroyoland is illuminated by Beth Gates Warren in her new book, Artful Lives: Edward Weston, Margrethe Mather and the Bohemians of Los Angeles. In an excerpt, Warren offers fresh details about the early career of one of the 20th century’s greatest American photographers in a small town known as Tropico, later absorbed by Glendale.

Editor’s Note

Editor’s Note

If one were to take the temperature of Pasadena’s business climate, clearly the patient has seen better  days, like most of the world. Still, Pasadena has something special up its sleeve that may help spur economic growth down the line — Caltech.

Yes, of course, Caltech has been around for more than a century, but its capacity to help incubate new technology for business is greater than ever — and it’s not going unnoticed. Times Higher Education magazine in London last month named the school the world’s top university, edging past Harvard for the first time. What tipped the scales for Caltech this year were “marginally better scores for ‘research — volume, income and reputation,’ research influence and the income it attracts from industry,” according to Phil Baty, editor of the Times Higher Education World University Rankings. “With differentials so slight, a simple factor plays a decisive role in determining rank order: money.”

Oh, that old thing. Caltech has worked hard to attract research funding from business. The university also announced last month that it was launching its Corporate Partners Program with a $10 million gift from the Dow Chemical Company and the Gordon and Betty Moore Matching Program (founded by Intel Corp.’s chairman emeritus  and his wife) to tackle renewable energy and technology. A Caltech spokesperson said the partnership is specifically designed to nurture “the possibility of creating licensable technologies and start-ups.” That may help Pasadena’s own economy keep pace with the quickly evolving 21st century — if the ripple effect doesn’t ripple too far afield.

 In this issue we look at how well Pasadena Inc. is adapting to the winds of change. Noela Hueso talks to Economic Development Manager Eric Duyshart about the state of the city, why Pasadena hasn’t reaped more of Caltech’s start-up windfalls in the past and what the city is doing to attract businesses of tomorrow. Bettijane Levine introduces you to another remarkable fount of innovation here — Idealab and its founder, Bill Gross. Richard Horgan sketches an eclectic group of Pasadena companies embracing goods, services or management styles that weren’t even around a generation ago. And B.J. Lewis profiles a local boutique that uses Internet technology to deliver good old-fashioned personalized service. — Irene Lacher

Editor’s Note

Editor’s Note
Los Angeles’ reputation as a cultural backwater is as passé as Hollywood gossip columnists with the clout to scare the studios. To number MoCA, LACMA, the Getty, the Huntington and L.A. Opera among the world’s top arts institutions is to merely state the obvious. But it’s only in recent years that the city and its satellites — not least among them, Pasadena — have taken that flowering to the next level, where arts organizations talk to each other and share pieces of a larger cultural pie. I’m talking about arts festivals, with multiple venues coordinating shows and events around a single theme, illuminating it with a multi-faceted brilliance unachievable by any single organization.
 
This month, Pasadena offers the biggest banquet yet of festival offerings — from the Getty Foundation’s SoCal-wide “Pacific Standard Time: Art in L.A. 1945 –1980” to the Pasadena Arts Council’s AxS Festival, bringing together 16 venues to host exhibitions, performances and events exploring the nexus where the arts and sciences intersect, in honor of the city’s institutional leadership in both realms. In this issue of Arroyo, Noela Hueso talks to organizers to peel back the onion of Pasadena’s unusual festival juxtaposing disciplines usually regarded as mutually exclusive. Bettijane Levine takes a closer look at one offering, Picturing the Bomb at Pasadena City College, an exhibition of archival photographs of the Manhattan Project, co-curated by assistant professor of photography Rachel Fermi, granddaughter of atomic-bomb physicist Enrico Fermi.
 
Nancy Spiller explores one of “Pacific Standard Time’s” important  shows, Proof: The Rise of Printmaking in Southern California at the Norton Simon. And Kirk Silsbee looks at artist Wallace Berman’s outsize influence on L.A.’s creative community in honor of the Armory Center for the Arts’ exhibition, Speaking in Tongues: Wallace Berman and Robert Heinecken, 1961–1976.
 
All that is in addition to Pasadena’s  annual October cultural events, falling on the weekend of Oct. 14 through 16 — ArtNight and Pasadena Heritage’s Craftsman Weekend, which celebrates its 20th anniversary. So take a look around. You’re bound to find something intriguing this month.

Editor’s Note

Editor’s Note

 

Quick: What comes to mind when you hear the words “California modernism”? Pierre Koenig’s iconic Case Study House No. 22, seemingly teetering at the edge of a cliff overlooking Los Angeles? Richard Neutra’s fabulous blocky Kauffman House in Palm Springs? John Lautner’s otherworldly Chemosphere off Mulholland Drive?

Certainly those are the usual suspects, about which volumes have been written. But those glass-steel-and-concrete landmarks aren’t the whole story. Much like the state itself, home to many a freethinker, California modernism embraces design that marches to the beat of its own drum, while sharing in the sleek new style sensibility that impacted American artists and designers after World War II.

Indeed, the late legendary woodworker Sam Maloof, while considered a major figure in the California modern arts movement, had no particular interest in prevailing trends, as you can see in The Huntington’s big fall show about his work and his world: “The House that Sam Built: Sam Maloof and Art in the Pomona Valley, 1945–1985.”
Bettijane Levine previews the exhibition and introduces you to one of the finest woodworkers of our time.

Of course, California modernism still beguiles, helping to shape the current generation of designers and artisans. Brenda Rees talks to Pasadena Community College instructor David Johnson of Sidecar Furniture, who tips his hat to Maloof’s strong vision and legacy as he breathes life into chair-weaving techniques once popular among Danish modern designers. And Morris Newman writes about a recent arrival in Pasadena — Better Shelter, a leader of the stylish new breed of house flippers, which utterly transforms its projects with great clean design before putting them back on the market.

And lest we forget, Michael Cervin looks at the legacy of a predecessor of the modernists and one of Pasadena’s most prominent architects — Myron Hunt, whose many iconic public structures, such as the Rose Bowl, have outlived design trends to remain an inextricable part of the city’s landscape.

Editor’s Note

Editor’s Note

Most of life is focused on the prime years of active adulthood, either by preparing for it, retiring from it or being in the midst of it. And Arroyo, for the most part, is geared toward life in that happy middle. So this month, we look at the bookends of adulthood — those critical formative years of childhood and one’s golden retirement, prospects for which have tarnished of late.

The good news is that recent research into young brains is revealing new pathways to learning. Arcadia psychotherapist Tina Payne Bryson, co-author of The Whole-Brain Child (Random House) coming out this fall, is on the cutting edge of translating that research into 21st-century parenting. Ilsa Setziol visits Bryson to find that she practices what she preaches.

A fresh face on the local education front is new Pasadena Unified School District Superintendent Jon Gundry, a 1992 Fulbright Scholar, former Houston schools administrator and until recently, interim superintendent of the Los Angeles County Office of Education. Noela Hueso talks to him about how he plans to bring Pasadena schools into the 21st century and attract families that have turned to private education.  

Of course, planning one’s retirement these days is hardly child’s play, what with the economic assault on IRAs, 401(k)s and pensions and threats to Social Security and Medicare. So boomers’ inheritances are becoming increasingly important to ensuring comfort in their golden years. Bettijane Levine talks to Arroyoland financial experts about what heirs should know before they dash to their closest Maserati dealer.

But then one could always take a tip from the retirement plan of the always delightful Nancy Spiller. Then again, maybe not. See for yourself on page 16.

To View this month’s issue of Arroyo, click here.

Editor’s Note

Editor’s Note
I first discovered that oenophiles had found their match in oil-ophiles for passion and precision when I attended a Spanish olive oil tasting at José Andrés’ much-admired Bazaar restaurant last fall. 
 
An olive oil producer and expert had flown in from Madrid to lead a room of novices through their tasting paces — inviting us to slowly consider small sips of oils made from various olive 
 
varieties and determine whether they could be described as floral, fruity, green or peppery. Just when I thought my palate was scoring A’s at Wine U., here was yet another language I had to master if I was to be a self-respecting sybarite. Not surprisingly, California has leapt ahead of the rest of the country in olive oil production, just as it led the way in wineries. See why in Steve Coulter’s report on what Homer called “liquid gold.” 
 
Speaking of wine, Michael Cervin examines how Arcadia’s Paul Kalemkiarian keeps his nearly 40-year-old Wine of the Month Club humming along, even in this age of easily accessible wired wine reviews and stores. This month’s food issue also takes on pizza, with Dining columnist Bradley Tuck considering the contest between New York–style thin-crust pizza and its gourmet cousins. Bettijane Levine talks to Pasadena’s Andrew Cherng about his vast Panda Express Chinese fast/casual food empire, No. 1 in its field, and his reported plans to bring coals to Newcastle (or perhaps orange chicken to Shanghai) by expanding into China. And Kitchen Confessions columnist Leslie Bilderback surfs the zeitgeist with a look at the 21st century’s new, improved and more expensive versions of the icy summer treats of her childhood.

Editor’s Note

Editor’s Note
You’d think someone would have noticed.
 
Calbraith Perry Rodgers made aviation history a century ago when he piloted a Wright Brothers plane from New York to Pasadena in the first-ever transcontinental flight — years before anyone had even heard of Charles Lindbergh or Amelia Earhart. Does Rodgers’ name ring a bell with you? It didn’t with me or anyone I mentioned him to. Even the City of Pasadena, which reveres history, isn’t taking note of this momentous occasion in its 125th anniversary festivities this month. 
 
A lot of us assume that when important historical milestones are reached, the record will be passed down to posterity. So it was eye-opening for me to learn that this momentous event had occurred — and somehow slipped through the cracks of common consciousness. We offer kudos to the Pasadena Museum of History for filling in the gap with an archive of photos and information on this remarkable event, described in entertaining detail by Bettijane Levine.
 
This issue also includes a nod to Pasadena’s living history in the form of Mandalit del Barco’s interviews with three charming 100-year-old residents — Corrie Harris, Dorothy Mae Vaughn and “Mama Rosa” Johnson — who answered the call when the history museum sought out locals for its Centenarian Project. You can hear the stories of our trio and the rest of the group at the “Happy Birthday, Pasadena” festivities on the museum’s grounds June 11.
 
For this Land and History issue, we also take on the future. Pasadena Realtor and blogger Brigham Yen offers picks for Arroyoland’s next hot neighborhoods. And Noela Hueso considers the pros and cons of the real estate industry’s tempting flavor of the month: short sales.

Editor’s Note

Editor’s Note
My idea of travel has always been to explore exotic new places (although as I got older, the thought of spending my vacations surrendering to the expert hands of a masseuse became increasingly interesting). When I graduated from college, my parents’ gift was a one-way ticket to Hong Kong and enough cash to cover three nights at the Kowloon YWCA. More than two years of adventures followed, which included side trips to Sri Lanka, where I wandered into a Hindu temple during a candle-lit ceremony, and to Indonesia, where I stepped off the first Concorde flight through Asia. 
 
But you don’t have to cross the planet to find new worlds to explore. There are places close to home that remain stuck in time, unspoiled flyover towns between San Francisco and Los Angeles ignored by most tourists. That describes much of the Central Coast, a burgeoning wine-producing region with pockets just beginning to wake up to wine tourism. In Morro Bay, Cayucos and other coastal towns in San Luis Obispo County, you won’t knock elbows with the masses who swarm the wine trails of Napa. But as I discovered, you will find some excellent wineries and pristine reserves for wildlife, like the rookery where northern elephant seals molt and mate, not as performers at an amusement park but in their natural habitat. 
 
Even a famous Central Coast destination like Hearst Castle has secrets to uncover, as Lila Nordstrom learned when a visit there inspired her to unearth the real story of tabloid czar William Randolph Hearst, beneath the somewhat sanitized tale presented by his memorial. 
 
Of course, I don’t have to tell you what can happen to the best-laid plans, but it can help to read about it anyway. The vacation rental home industry is yet another sector hit by the ripple effect of the housing market crash. And Nancy Spiller offers some surprising tales of trips gone awry and tips for successfully grabbing quality family time at a halcyon place with a lake view and four bedrooms that sleep 12. 
 
— Irene Lacher

Editor’s Note

Editor’s Note
It goes without saying (so forgive me for saying it) that design is a key element of Arroyoland’s allure. So it’s no surprise that this year’s edition of Design Pasadena illustrates just how outsize the area’s accomplishments are in comparison to the humble size of its population.
 
David Gadd covers Pasadena’s Moule & Polyzoides Architects & Urbanists, whose partners are co-founders of an influential global movement known as New Urbanism. Bettijane Levine explores the striking new award-winning Pasadena Water & Power Building designed by Gonzalez Goodale Architects here. And Noela Hueso writes about Ten Thousand Villages’ first Pasadena sale of rugs crafted by Pakistani artisans paid fair wages.
 
Looking through the other end of the telescope, from a global perspective to the everyday, the 2011 Pasadena Showcase House for the Arts (running from April 17 to May 15) holds a very personal association for one member of Arroyo’s ad sales team — account executive Leslie Lamm. Lamm fondly remembers her 1993 wedding and family celebrations at the Paul Williams estate in La Cañada Flintridge currently undergoing its extreme makeover by Showcase designers. Attending the “empty house party” beforehand “was surreal,” she says. “Going back after spending so many holidays there and seeing it empty was bittersweet.”
 
This issue also marks the launch of our fashion shopping column, Style Spy, by two trend-surfers and recent graduates of the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising: writer Rachel Padilla and photographer Mani O’Brien. Their report on the color that splashed spring 2011 runways is on page 9. 

Editor’s Note

Editor’s Note
Sustainability is all well and good — better than that, actually — but the word can send shivers down the spines of homeowners who envision low-water grounds dotted with spiky cacti and cow skulls. As La Caňada Flintridge’s Jeanie and Terry Kay discovered, the operative landscape to envision and borrow from isn’t Death Valley but the balmy Mediterranean. Cassy Aoyagi, co-founder of FormLA Landscaping and president of The Theodore Payne Foundation for Wildflowers & Native Plants, transformed the gardens surrounding the Kays’ French Provincial home into a colorful, elegant setting fit for a villa in the South of France. Bettijane Levine visited the award-winning garden and filed her report in this issue. 
 
And don’t forget the beauty certain fauna can bring to your flora — namely, the regal butterfly. You don’t have to rely on luck to lure a painted lady or two. They’re as picky about their diet as their human counterparts, and in this issue, Ilsa Setziol serves up menus for attracting your butterfly of choice. Next month, you can see a butterfly garden in action at the Pasadena Showcase House for the Arts, where garden designer David Snow is creating a habitat for monarchs, swallowtails, fritillaries and, yes, painted ladies.
 
Of course, gardening methodology is always undergoing improvement, and over at The Huntington Library, Art Galleries and Botanical Gardens, a new site has sprouted up for experiments in urban agriculture. Noela Hueso checks out The Huntington Ranch and brings back tips for your own victory garden. 
 
Also at The Huntington, sculptor John Frame unveils Three Fragments of a Lost Tale, a stop-motion animated film depicting a world of tarnished antiquity, populated by his curious puppet-like figurines. Lynne Heffley talks with this fascinating SoCal artist and reports back from the arts front. 

Editor’s Note

Editor’s Note
Ah, love. For many people, that’s their favorite four-letter word. (For others, it’s “sale.”) But alas, this most precious commodity can be the proverbial sticky wicket. 
 
It’s no coincidence that Hollywood’s fluffy happily-ever-after films end after the couple crosses the threshold. So with Valentine’s Day upon us, we contemplate the perils that lie on the other side.
 
More often that not, that includes divorce. Think you’ve heard everything on the subject? Think again. In this issue, Bettijane Levine talks to a top marriage expert, Dr. Benjamin Karney of UCLA and the Rand Corporation, about why Americans can’t seem to make any progress on the grim divorce stats. You’d expect the money stresses of the Great Recession to send couples packing, but you might be surprised to learn that there’s another economic trigger that will send the divorce rate even higher. Find out what it is on page 11.
 
And if you’re planning your own quick escape, you might consult the wardrobe suggestions offered by the always delightful Nancy Spiller in her illustrated feature, “Project Runaway.”
 
We also look at another exception to the rule of living happily ever after, which we call “love off the grid.” The siren song of 16th-century Venetian courtesan and poet Veronica Franco has echoed through the centuries to inspire a book, a movie and now, a musical, which is opening at the recently revived Pasadena Playhouse on Feb. 13. Lynne Heffley talks to the creative team and cast of Dangerous Beauty.
 
On the fashion front, Brenda Rees profiles Rafi Balouzian, the designer of Burbank’s distinctive high-end leather-goods line, Cydwoq (pronounced “sidewalk”), a cult brand among fashionistas that’s gaining traction in the world of style. — Irene Lacher

Editor’s Note

Editor’s Note
Ah, January. You’ve drunk pickle juice or buried yourself to the neck in moist river sand or whatever your people do to cure a hangover. And now it’s time for the real headache — fitting into last summer’s jeans. Well, fear not. Arroyoland is full of folks ready and willing to give you a hand.
 
Take Brent Foes, the founder of Foes Racing bikes, which are handmade in Pasadena. Noela Hueso, Arroyo Monthly’s sportif correspondent, sat down with the trim mountain biker to learn how serendipity stepped in to make him an industry innovator and leader. 
 
Brenda Rees, who is fearless in her pursuit of the facts, donned her no-nonsense spandex to sweat through a new generation of Pilates exercises at Glendale’s Equilibrium Pilates Studio. Leading the class was Annabelle Rosemurgy, who demonstrated horse vaulting — performing gymnastics on horseback — at the 1996 Summer Olympics. As Rees discovered, Rosemurgy brings her quest for excellence to her butt-kicking classes. 
 
Of course, you aren’t only what you do — you are what you eat. And if you’re smart, you’ll eat a diet of mostly fruits and vegetables. Rees investigated what plant foods researchers are — and aren’t — currently looking at as possible tools to help lower your cancer risk and boost overall health. She also offers suggestions for learning how to make your own better choices. 
Okay, health, shmealth. How about good old vanity? Kirk Silsbee went under the needle to find out whether so-called acupuncture facelifts, which don’t involve surgery, actually do the job. Thinking about looking and feeling better in 2011 yourself? Start by just turning the page. 

Editor’s Note

Editor’s Note
Compared to its box office–obsessed neighbors to the west, Pasadena is the un-Hollywood. Indeed, rubbing shoulders at finer restaurants here isn’t likely to land anyone a gig directing the next big blockbuster.
 
Which is precisely what a lot of people in the entertainment industry like about it. Certainly the sometimes skewed but always heartfelt sensibility of Pasadena-born writer-director-actor Mike White (Chuck and Buck, School of Rock, The Good Girl) benefited from his youth here, spent relatively far from the belly of the sequel-making beast. 
 
His most recent writing project is Enlightened, HBO’s offbeat new series starring Laura Dern scheduled for release next year. And at 40, his directing career is set to take off, after his 2007 debut (Year of the Dog), with Enlightened’s pilot and the plum job helming the upcoming film adaptation of the bestseller Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. We check in with White in this issue. 
So it shouldn’t be surprising that Pasadena also lays claim to the director of another big upcoming film: Zack Snyder, who soared to prominence with the stylish action movie 300. Snyder, who’s raising four kids here with his wife and producing partner, Deborah, was tagged to direct the relaunch of the Superman franchise. They talk to Noela Hueso about his cresting career and choosing Pasadena. 
 
We also welcome Marvin Hamlisch, the much honored film and stage composer who has taken over the reins of the Pasadena Pops. Hamlisch and Pasadena’s Rob Cutietta, dean of USC’s School of Music, talk about his vision for his debut season. 
Oh, yes. And happy holidays! Even if they’re not always happy, at least they can be amusing, if Nancy Spiller’s delightful “Hellbent 4 the Holidays” spread is any indication. Still checking your list of who has been naughty and nice? Consider one of the gift baskets designed by experts in the sensual arts, compiled by Bradley Tuck. 

Editor’s Note

Editor’s Note
When did kitchens go from being the hidden back room where magic somehow happened to the centerpiece of a life well lived? Perhaps it’s a result of the democratization of style that came about in the late 20th century with the rise of such affordable home stores as Pottery Barn. Or maybe it’s a ripple effect of the parallel rise of American cuisine and the celebrity chef. 
 
Regardless, these days a great kitchen is nearly as important to selling a house as location, location, location. And the cook — more likely than ever to be a foodie him or herself — is the star of the show. Any domestic fantasy is incomplete without a stylish and functional arena for a homeowner to entertain in. Which brings us to the focus of this design issue — the fab contemporary kitchen.
 
While you may choose to start designing your kitchen from the studs, like some of the rooms featured in this issue, it’s not always necessary. New countertops can quickly update your kitchen, and these days, there are many more options beyond the lovely (but ubiquitous) granite. In “Counter Measures,” David Gadd explores some of both the freshest and most time-honored alternatives around. 
 
Homeowners who don’t want to keep up with the Joneses but prefer their own distinctive surroundings might also opt for new cabinets with custom art glass embedded in the doors. Rafael and Janet Calvo of the Altadena design firm Tico Tech tailor their stained-glass creations to their clients’ taste, as they explained to Noela Hueso in “Sheer Beauty.”
 
Not that ambitious? Objects of Desire writer Brenda Rees offers ideas for ordering in a big style splash or simply the perfect countertop accessory to add that je ne sais quoi to your kitchen.

Editor’s Note

Editor’s Note
Much has been written about the housing slump, high unemployment and other economic woes bedeviling the national conversation. Less so about the state of the arts, which have surely taken a beating as well.
 
So it is with awe that we bring you this issue dedicated to the fall arts season and the blossoming of theater in Pasadena. Certainly, theater here has paid a price for the economic turbulence of recent years, most notably the esteemed Pasadena Playhouse, which filed for bankruptcy in May. The playhouse emerged two months later with a court-approved reorganization plan, and it returns this month with Ed Asner’s acclaimed one-man show, FDR, which runs from Oct. 12 through Nov. 7. A week later, Leslie Uggams returns to the playhouse in her musical memoir, Leslie Uggams Uptown Downtown, after a recent run at New York’s Lincoln Center.
 
The playhouse’s 90 years in Pasadena surely earns it the mantle of the bellwether for theater here. And this decade’s additions to the scene are turning the city into a theatergoer’s destination. The Theater @ Boston Court, which Lynne Heffley profiles 
in this issue, has helped forge the art form’s future with its critically acclaimed avant-garde productions. 
 
Also coming to town is another critics’ darling, Glendale’s classical repertory company, A Noise Within, which is moving to Pasadena next year. David Gadd looks at its new theater under construction in East Pasadena, which will house top-tier productions of the past when it opens next fall. Theater even lurks in unexpected corners of this high-tech mecca. As Brenda Rees explains, Brian Brophy puts burgeoning rocket scientists through the production paces as the director of Theater Arts at Caltech (TACIT).
 
Of course, anyone who accuses Pasadena of being predictable does so at his own peril. As Kirk Silsbee notes, where else would you expect to find the first exhibition of the archive of Charles Bukowski, the Poet of Skid Row, than at the stately Huntington Library, where it opens this month? 

Editor’s Note

Editor’s Note
You can consider this our back-to-school issue, but here at Arroyo Monthly, we’re declaring September Parents’ Month. Our hats, if we had them, would be off to Pasadena-area parents steering their kids toward adulthood around the hazardous shoals of family life in 2010 — school budget cuts, rising private tuition costs, ballooning childhood obesity and more. 
 
So we’d like to offer a hand to families braving the new millennium. As Scarlet Cheng explains, Pasadena-area kids grappling with school budget cuts for music have a symphony of after-school and weekend options for a finely tuned education. There’s no reason to limit your children’s schooling to the ABC’s when the Pasadena Conservatory of Music is happy to introduce them to G clef and other pleasures of the musically literate. And many music organizations offer financial aid for families in need.
 
That’s true of area private schools as well. Brenda Rees, whose own children’s school raffled off a year of free tuition, spoke to local principals and headmasters to find out what parents can do if the grim economy threatens their plans. 
Of course, one of our favorite clichés – the best things in life are free – is still hanging in there. Mother Nature has plenty to offer SoCal families willing to put on their walking or biking shoes, and environmental reporter Ilsa Setziol has a myriad of suggestions for terrific excursions that come child-approved by her son, Mateo. 
 
Hitting the great outdoors has the added bonus of fending off that other dreaded trend, childhood obesity. Noela Hueso offers additional tips for parents who want to pack a healthy lunch that keeps kids interested — and away from fatty and sugary snack foods.
 
And lest we forget, not all parents need stress about looming college tuition bills and other charms of family life. Some can kiss their four-legged brood on the head as they plan their Christmas in Italy. Nancy Spiller, who has parented both kinds of offspring — two-legged and four- — considers their respective pros and cons in her delightful illustrated musings, “Kids vs. Pets.” 

Editor’s Note

Editor’s Note
Okay, I admit it. This is really just a mash note. 
The entire issue is — it’s one long love letter to one of the coolest small cities I know. When I was a young pup, I used to fantasize about working in what I considered the three loveliest towns in America — San Francisco, New Orleans and Boston (except it has those damn blizzards, so scratch that one). With age comes wisdom, and now I know that there’s a fourth — Pasadena. 
 
As Arroyo’s editor in chief, I’ve been fortunate enough to consider the Pasadena area my beat for the past three years. During that time, the magazine has explored the remarkable array of offerings here in the arts, sciences, sports, food, architecture and design — we’ve even investigated a cryptic meme or two along the way. Here at Southland, we’re celebrating Arroyo’s fifth anniversary, so we thought this would be the perfect time to honor five cultural visionaries we’ve met in our travels, people who are changing the game and improving life for people in Pasadena and beyond. We call them the Arroyo 5, and we’re delighted to introduce them to you on page 10. 
 
Arroyoland, as I like to call our territory, seems to incubate big thinkers — and its smart population pledges its fealty in return. When I was looking for terrific writers who are longtime residents to share the experiences that have made them fervent fans of their hometown, they weren’t hard to find. I really hope you enjoy seeing Pasadena anew through the eyes of authors Léon Bing, Colleen Dunn Bates and Miles Corwin. 
 
Certainly Pasadena photographer Gareth Seigel’s black-and-white portfolio of signs in this issue will give you a fresh perspective on your own backyard. Which only goes to show that the more things stay the same, the more they change.

Editor’s Note

Editor’s Note
Who knew that ice — one of life’s simplest pleasures — needed to be fixed?
 
Artisan bartender Michel Dozois did, noting that conventional ice melts so fast it dilutes your expensive drink (well, yes) and can be enhanced with the addition of flavors, fruits and flowers (okay, sure). Bradley Tuck spoke to the owner of Névé Luxury Ice, which services a couple of discriminating Pasadena establishments, to find out why “luxury ice” isn’t an oxymoron. And he reports on the frozen substance’s fascinating history, looking back at the days when it really was “natural,” a costly treasure that took winter weather and back-breaking labor to produce. 
 
That attention to detail is what makes the Pasadena area such an interesting restaurant town. As the peripatetic Nancy Spiller notes, the selection here is so culturally eclectic she can sample delicacies and menu staples from Lebanon, Vietnam, France and Mexico without stepping on a plane. Spiller offers her picks for global dining around town. 
 
To make a vibrant dining landscape, it takes a village. Noela Hueso introduces you to one of the dynamos behind Pasadena’s — Jack Huang, a former rocket scientist who found his calling in creating restaurants like Bar Celona, Villa Sorriso and Ixtapa, which help keep Colorado Boulevard crawling with locals and visitors on any given night.
 
This month also brings pleasures of a more cerebral sort. The California Design Biennial returns to the Pasadena Museum of California Art. And as B.J. Lorenzo discovered, innovators in the fields of fashion, graphic design, architecture, industrial design and transportation are borrowing from the best of the past to help forge a better future for all of us. 

Editor’s Note

Editor’s Note
So summer in Southern California isn’t quite as dramatic as it is in the Northeast, where young women gaze with longing at their bikinis as early as frosty February. Pasadena’s projected July high of 89 degrees isn’t really that much higher than the typical 82 of June — but it could be just enough to put an afternoon at the pool at the top of one’s to-do list.
 
That goes double for kids home from school whose only aim in life is to stay out of their parents’ hair. Okay, so maybe that’s your goal for them. Arroyo is here to help you out. When your child tells you she’s bored, just point her in the direction of the nearest Mandarin Chinese class or horseback-riding ring. South Pasadena mom Noela Hueso combed the area’s wealth of offerings to write our summer guide for kids.
 
One summer tradition we heartily support is getting the heck out of town. As Gary Dretzka explains in “Plugged-In Travel,” that’s easier than ever with the rise of the Internet, which has changed the travel game by putting research resources at your fingertips and enabling you to swap inside tips with other travelers around the globe and keep in instantaneous touch with the folks back home. But you don’t have to crank up your computer to find some great travel deals this season, thanks to John Seeley’s compendium, “Travel Dispatches.” If you don’t have a grand tour of Europe in your budget this year, you might want to check out a couple of cool cultural destinations I explored that are just a weekend away in the desert — Las Vegas’ towering new CityCenter and Desert Hot Springs’ spiritually satisfying Miracle Hill. 
 
But you might want to stick around Pasadena for this month’s appearance of one of the great vocalists whose music has passed the veritable test of time — Dionne Warwick, who talks to Kirk Silsbee about her legendary career in this issue. 

Editor’s Note

Editor’s Note
It’s hard to remember another time when real estate was as compelling a topic of news and conversation as it is right now. Of course, that’s only one of many ripples left behind by the tsunami in the housing market caused by Wall Street’s subprime mortgage fiasco. 
 
But fear not—there’s some good news for Arroyoland beyond the fact that what goes down must come up. The Pasadena area, rich with historic, architecturally significant homes, has been less buffeted by the ill winds of the housing industry than other regions, as Noela Hueso discovered in her story about vintage homes. After all, they’re not making any more new old houses. Hueso offers advice to such fortunate property owners on how to maximize the market value of their distinctive residences.
 
Pasadena Realtor and real estate blogger Brigham Yen looks toward the future in his piece on the revival of the urban core. With the rise of 20 mixed-use development projects here and the prospect of still more, Yen sees a burgeoning community of Pasadenans who walk (yes, walk!) to shops, restaurants, public transportation and into the city’s heart. Yen also offers up some of his Pasadena real estate expertise in 10 tips for home buyers competing in this busy market.
 
So what’s out there, you ask? A little voyeurism never hurt anybody. B.J. Lorenzo opens the doors to some metro Pasadena homes on the market, ranging in price from $500,000 to $15 million. You might want to get your checkbooks ready.
 
On a different note, Scarlet Cheng talks to one of the area’s most honored contemporary novelists, Michelle Huneven, whose latest book, Blame, has garnered a bouquet of acclaim.

Editor’s Note

Editor’s Note
With a deep bow to classic décor, we still delight in the fact that many aspects of home design just keep getting better and better. The rise of such retail temples as Pottery Barn and Target during the late 20th century brought a vast increase in good design that’s accessible and affordable. 
 
At the dawn of this millennium, you’re seeing more and more fabulous spaces for outdoor living. That trend that couldn’t be more at home anywhere than it is in mild Southern California, the notch on the Sun Belt least reliant on air-conditioning for comfort. Since we can spend the entire year outdoors, why not do it in luxury as well?
 
After all, who wouldn’t want to entertain guests in a sculptural poolside pavilion with disappearing walls and a stunning panoramic view? In this issue, Pasadena architect Stephen Hans Nuetzel takes B.J. Lorenzo on a tour of just such a fabulous space, commissioned by fortunate homeowners Linda and Rick McKnight. 
 
Vanessa Kogevinas speaks to Studio City designer and outdoor room enthusiast Karen Tandy, who recently unveiled an elegant Glendale arbor that provides protection against an overabundance of sun for her clients and their guests. 
 
For the 2010 Pasadena Showcase House of Design, which opens to the public on April 18, five design firms reimagined the outdoor spaces at the Cravens Estate, which gets this year’s extreme makeover. Kogevinas speaks to all of them about their tips for creating great outdoor rooms and discovers how Jan Ledgard designed an outdoor kitchen that is as kind to Mother Nature as it is beholden to her for ambience. And Karen Apostolina scours stores and websites for ideas about colorful and sustainable accessories for your outdoor space.
 
On the public space front, Morris Newman examines a high-profile project designed by Pasadena’s Gonzalez Goodale Architects — the new Robert F. Kennedy public school complex built on the site of L.A.’s storied old Ambassador Hotel. 

Editor’s Note

Editor’s Note
Ah, the great outdoors. That’s why we’re here, isn’t it? Southern California is one of the few places — perhaps the only place? — in the country where one can live outdoors year-round. (Compare that to my former stomping ground in subtropical Miami, where we had to retreat to an air-conditioned cocoon 10 months out of the year.) 
 
No wonder so many Southern Californians are such whizzes at creating beautiful gardens. Of course, Pasadena has its own peccadilloes when it comes to plants — much of the terrain is rocky and hilly, which can be a gardener’s nightmare. Interior designer Cynthia Bennett grappled with just that problem when she bought her patch of paradise, so she brought in Altadena-born landscape designer Margie Grace, who was well acquainted with the territory. B.J. Lorenzo spoke to both women about the challenges involved in designing a designer’s garden. And Grace offers tips on successful interaction with the area’s flora and fauna. 
 
Ilsa Setziol also gathered expert opinions on our idiosyncratic terrain for her piece on the Los Angeles County Arboretum’s Top 10 list of plants for local gardens. John Seeley scours stores for suggestions of shopping list items for sunny gardeners. And Kitchen Confessions columnist Leslie Bilderback offers a cornucopia of recipes for infusing oils and vinegars with herbs from your own garden — or local store, if you lack a green thumb.  
 
— Irene Lacher

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