Having come of age in the 1970s, a decade considered by many to be the wild child of the ’60s, I can safely say no one’s  missed much since then, mainly because we are all still living with many of the transformative aspects of this socially, politically, artistically and technologically pivotal decade.

In many ways, perhaps especially from a pop culture perspective, it’s as though the ’70s    what author Tom Wolfe dubbed “The Me Decade” — never really ended. They’ve just been digitized, playing out on an inexhaustible app of songs and images for3 future generations to enjoy, as though we are actually living episodes of “That ’70s Show.”

Much the same can be said about the world of politics. Following the resignation of the only president forced from office in Richard Nixon in 1974, the US pulled out of Vietnam the following year, finally ending that bloody conflict. This was also a time for protecting the planet and curbing pollution with the birth of the EPA. There was also Affirmative Action (extended to federal employees under Nixon, just as the EPA started during his administration), and the birth of the Department of Education (under Jimmy Carter). The first Secretary of Education was Judge Shirley Hufstedler in 1979, the year she left her seat on the US Ninth District Court of Appeals in Pasadena.

This was also an age of open racial discrimination, with Pasadena becoming the first community west of the Mississippi to initiate busing in efforts to further desegregate schools, a practice that continued until 2000.

A few other things have also changed, but, like everything else, not all that rapidly. Two are the Rose Parade, now in its 130th year, and the Rose Bowl College Football Game, celebrating its 105th anniversary, both once again being voted the Best Annual Event(s) in our Best of Pasadena readers’ poll.

They say the Rose Parade is a reflection of the times, and the ’70s started with a blast on New Year’s Day 1970, featuring as grand marshals the Apollo 12 astronauts, having touched down on the moon the previous November. They were followed each successive year by the Rev. Billy Graham, band leader Lawrence Welk, John Wayne (raised in Glendale), Peanuts creator Charles M. Schulz, baseball great Hank Aaron, singer Kate Smith, TV and movie stars Roy Rogers & Dale Evans,  former President Gerald Ford and community activist Lathrop K. Leishman in 1979.

At the Rose Bowl, USC appeared five times throughout the decade, beating Michigan twice and winning two out of three games against Ohio State. UCLA appeared in the bowl once that decade, beating No. 1 Ohio State in the 1976 game.

In the pro ranks in those years, it was the time of basketball greats Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul Jabbar (formerly Lew Alcindor) and Julius Erving. The Pittsburgh Steelers and the Dallas Cowboys ruled pro football, and Arthur Ashe, Jimmy Connors and Billie Jean King dominated the tennis scene. In the Olympics, Mark Spitz (’72) and then Pasadena businessman John Naber  (’76) brought home gold in swimming, and in the Winter Olympics in Innsbruck, Dorothy Hamill, who trained in Pasadena, became the 1976 Olympic champion and that year’s world champion in ladies’ singles.

Although we don’t have a category for athletes, we do have an awful lot of good sports, certainly among the best in their fields and vocations. Among them include Michael Calderon, again winning Best Personality, and City Councilman Tyron Hampton, a repeat winner in the Best Public Official slot.

This year, the award for Best Art Gallery/Collections once again goes to another institution that also never seems to age, the Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens. And as schools for art go, ArtCenter College of Design, which moved from LA to its Hillside Campus in Pasadena, also in 1976, has once again been voted the best there is by PW readers. Much the same thing applies to this year’s perennial Best Museum, Norton Simon Museum.

Although this latter category has seen many repeat winners over the years, there is always room for change with so many terrific arts institutions in town.

But just as winners in many categories did not change this year, others did. In the Best Teacher category, for instance, Eileen Cameron of Alverno Heights Academy replaces multiple-Best of winner Yvonne Davis of Don Benito Elementary.

And some past winners are occupying new areas of the list. For example, this year’s Best Citizen, Pasadena Police Reserve Officer Darrell McKenzie, was last year’s Best Public Employee.

And there are those that have been Reader Recommended winners for many years that have moved into the year’s top slot, with ArtWalk taking the Best Cultural Event category.

So you see, much like the ’70s, the theme of this year’s Best of Pasadena edition and party, it seems that things may change, but only not all that much, or all that quickly, at least in the Pasadena Way category.

And the winners are….


The Rose Parade and Rose Bowl Game


The city’s annual festival of flowers celebrates its 130th year on Jan. 1, but it seems like only yesterday that Gerald Ford, John Wayne and Billy Graham were joining in the festivities as grand marshals of the Rose Parade. The floral spectacular is once again sponsored by Honda, just as the Rose Bowl College Football Game, now in its 105th year, will be sponsored by Northwestern Mutual insurance company. For as old as both events are, there’s one thing that these events will have for the first time this year: An African-American Tournament president in Gerald Feeny overseeing the festivities. The Melody of Life is the theme of this year’s event, as chosen by Mr. Feeny.

Reader Recommended



Chalk Festival



Huntington Library, Art Collections, and
Botanical Gardens

1151 Oxford Road, San Marino

(626) 405.2100 | huntington.org

The Huntington, as it’s been called since its inception, is a renowned educational and research institution established by Henry E. Huntington, a pretty big man in the ’70s — the 1870s. Located in San Marino, the estate was formerly the Huntington family’s home, and in addition to the library includes extensive collections of 18th- and 19th-century European art and 17th- to mid-20th-century American art. In recent years, the campus has come to include several new facilities and some 120 acres of specialized botanical landscaped gardens, most notably the Japanese Garden, the Desert Garden, and the Chinese Garden.

Reader Recommended

Armory Center for the Arts

145 N. Raymond Ave., Pasadena

(626) 792-5101 | armoryarts.org

Norton Simon Museum

411 W. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena

(626) 449.6840 | nortonsimon.org


Art Center College of Design

1700 Lida St., Pasadena

870 S. Raymond Ave., Pasadena

950 S. Raymond Ave., Pasadena

1111 S. Arroyo Parkway, Pasadena

(626) 396-2200 | artcenter.edu

Before opening its South Campus on South Raymond Avenue in Pasadena, ArtCenter College of Design had been operating solely from its Hillside Campus in Pasadena since 1976, offering students a new model for art and design education in the 21st century. Major figures in the fields of transportation design, product design, graphic design, illustration, and photography and imaging are members of an impressive alumni list that includes concept artist and industrial designer Syd Mead, Roger Avary, Academy Award-winning co-writer of “Pulp Fiction,” director Michael Bay and cinematographer Don Burgess, to name but a few.

Reader Recommended

Armory Center for the Arts

145 N. Raymond Ave., Pasadena

(626) 792-5101 | armoryarts.org

Eliot Arts Magnet

2184 Lake Ave., Altadena

(626) 396-5680 | pusd.us/eliot


Amara Barroeta

Amara Chocolate & Coffee

55 S. Raymond Ave., Pasadena

(626) 744-1765 | amarachocolate.com

Amara, retired PW dining reviewer Erica Wayne once wrote, means “beloved” in Spanish. Amara Chocolate & Coffee, the coffee, sandwich, snack, pastry and chocolate shop on South Raymond Avenue, Erica wrote, takes its name from owner Amara Barroeta, a Venezuelan beauty pageant contestant with a degree in chemical engineering, a background as a TV host and a penchant for cooking, But in the time it’s been in business, “the enterprise has earned its title independently owing to the quality of the food and beverages it dishes up.”


Aveson Charter Schools

1919 E. Pinecrest Drive, Altadena

(626) 797-1440 | aveson.org

The key to learning at Aveson Charter Schools is the PML, Personalized Mastery Learning. Here “advisors” teach kids the necessary skills and content while building confidence in their ability to learn, thrive intellectually and think independently. The school celebrates student individuality and gives kids the space and time to master their learning. In other words, at Aveson faculty members teach the school’s 800 students children about learning itself.

Reader Recommended

Learning Works

90 N. Daisy Ave., Pasadena

(626) 564-8762 | publicworksinc.org

Odyssey Charter School

725 W. Altadena Drive, Altadena

(626) 229-0993 | odysseycharterschool.org


Pasadena Police Reserve Officer Darrell McKenzie

After 32 years on any job, it’s easy to get burned out. Not Pasadena Police Reserve Officer Darrell McKenzie, who joined the Reserve Unit after completing the academy in 1986. While cops around the country are taking heat from several directions, Officer McKenzie is described as a man who would give you the shirt off his back. And he’s apparently done it all in terms of on-the-job duties: patrol, traffic, drunk driving details, even undercover.


Pasadena ArtWalk


Organized by the Pasadena Playhouse District, Pasadena ArtWalk is the city’s largest urban art fair with over 5,000 people attending yearly.  This event is known to highlight some of the best Southern California visual artists showcasing their work in painting, sculpture, watercolor, photography, mixed media, ceramics, jewelry, drawings, and print making.  This year’s walk features a juried art show and sale, a public art walking tour, free and reduced museum admission, hands-on activities, exclusive dinning deals, and live music. And it’s a free event.

Reader Recommended

ArtNight Pasadena


Latino Heritage Parade



Amory Center for
the Arts

Armory Center for the Arts is the Los Angeles region’s leading independent institution for contemporary art exhibitions and community arts education. It’s their belief that an understanding and appreciation for art is essential for a well-rounded human experience and a healthy civic community. Exhibitions at the nonprofit Armory inspire dialogue around visual culture and contemporary life, contribute to global discourses in contemporary art, and introduce contemporary visual art to Pasadena and beyond.

Reader Recommended


20 S. Oakland Ave., Pasadena

(626) 577-7802 | kidsartclasses.com

Rose Bowl Aquatics Center

360 N. Arroyo Blvd., Pasadena

(626) 564-0330 | rosebowlaquatics.com


Pasadena City Hall

100 N. Garfield Ave., Pasadena

(626) 744-4000 | cityofpasadena.net

Even the fittest movie star doesn’t look as good at 91 as Pasadena City Hall. With a seismic retrofit, and gussied up with some fresh plaster and paint, the magnificent six-story, 235-room Spanish Colonial Revival style structure on Garfield Avenue has never looked more regal and been more deserving of its landmark status from the National Register of Historic Places in 1980.

Reader Recommended

Colorado Street Bridge

Rose Bowl

1001 Rose Bowl Drive, Pasadena

(626) 577-3100




1200 E. California Blvd., Pasadena

(626) 395-6811 | caltech.edu

It’s been said many times, but news of success is something that bears repeating, and the California Institute of Technology, Caltech, is about nothing but success, producing 33 Nobel Prize winners and 70 National Medal of Science or Technology winners since opening in 1891. Along with being one of the finest universities in the country, Caltech also manages Jet Propulsion Laboratory for NASA.

Reader Recommended

Fuller Theological Seminary

135 N. Oakland Ave., Pasadena

(626) 584-5200 | fuller.edu

Pasadena City College

1570 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena

(626) 585-7123 | pasadena.edu


Kidspace Children’s

480 N. Arroyo Blvd., Pasadena

(626) 449-9144 | kidspacemuseum.org

Kidspace Children’s Museum was established in 1979 as a hands-on, participatory children’s museum. Today, according to visitpasadena.com, Kidspace has grown to be an industry leader in the field of informal, free-choice education, offering 40 hands-on exhibits, in addition to outdoor spaces, programs and activities designed to encourage a child’s growth and development through exploration of the environment, investigation in science and artistic expression.

Reader Recommended

Brookside Park

360 N. Arroyo Blvd., Pasadena

(626) 744-7311 | ci.pasadena.ca.us/PublicWorks/brookside_park

Huntington Library, Art
Collections, and Botanical Gardens

1151 Oxford Road, San Marino

(626) 405.2100 | huntington.org


Union Station Homeless Services

825 E. Orange Grove Blvd., Pasadena

(626) 240-4550 | unionstationhs.org

There are a lot of people out there who took their best shots in life and came up short. That’s where Union Station comes in. Did you know that most homeless people we see on the streets are from here? Although the city and county have taken steps over the years to bring down the number of homeless, the problem persists. It’s good to know Union Station has been out there since 1973, getting people off the street, providing shelter, hot meals, good advice and other services.

Reader Recommended

Friends In Deed

444 E. Washington Blvd., Pasadena

(626) 797-2402 | friendsindeedpas.org

Foothill Unity Center

191 N. Oak Ave., Pasadena

(626) 584-7420 | foothillunitycenter.org 

790 W. Chestnut Ave., Monrovia

(626) 358-3486


Autism Speaks Walk

Autism Response Team:
(888) 288-4762

En Español: (888) 772-9050



The world’s largest autism fundraising event of its kind dedicated to improving the lives of people with autism, the Autism Speaks Walk is once again this year’s Best Local Charity. With the slogan,  “Working together, there is no limit to what we can achieve,” parents, grandparents, siblings, friends, relatives and supporters of people with autism gather to raise funds for programs to help loved ones lead the best lives possible.

Reader Recommended

Pasadena Showcase House

(626) 578-8500 | pasadenashowcase.org

Wiggle Waggle Walk



Pasadena Humane Society & SPCA

361 S. Raymond Ave., Pasadena

(626) 792-7151 | pasadenahumane.org

This donor-supported, nonprofit organization provides animal care and services for homeless and owned animals in the Greater Los Angeles Area. Folks at the Humane Society are dedicated to promoting humane treatment and compassion and care for all animals. As their website points out, animals in their care come from 11 animal control contract cities, as well as partner shelters across the Los Angeles area and beyond. The Pasadena Humane Society & SPCA also offers lifesaving programs and services to the community that support the human-animal bond and keep pets in homes.

Reader Recommended

Assistance League of Pasadena

820 E. California Blvd., Pasadena

(626) 449-2068


Ideal Youth

83 E. Orange Grove Blvd., Pasadena

(626) 796-7164 | idealyouth.org

Junior League of Pasadena

149 S. Madison Ave., Pasadena

(626) 796-0244 | jlpasadena.org


Michael Calderon, aka Mr. Pasadena

This is the third year that Michael has won this coveted award. Known to his friends as “Mr. Pasadena,” Michael, according an introduction on his website, is “That guy who always seems to know what is going on in Pasadena, recommending restaurants, places of interest and things to do in Pasadena. He loves Pasadena!” When he eventually does meet up with a new friend, he knows there are always going to be a great group rate and a chance to meet new friends, or even better a chance to catch up with some old friends.


Norton Simon Museum

411 W. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena

(626) 449-6840 | nortonsimon.org

The Norton Simon Museum was once the only modern art museum in Southern California. Today, the museum, located near the corner of Colorado and Orange Grove boulevards, contains one of the most extensive and rarest art collections in the country.

Reader Recommended 

Pasadena Museum of History

470 W. Walnut St., Pasadena

(626) 577-1660 | pasadenahistory.org

USC Pacific Asia Museum

46 N Los Robles Ave, Pasadena

(626) 449-2742



Pasadena Conservatory of Music

100 N. Hill Ave., Pasadena

(626) 683-3355


The nationally accredited conservatory, with the goal of teaching students of all skill levels to play music, offers a comprehensive curriculum for children and adults. Opening in 1984, the conservatory now has more than 1,200 students attending the school annually and over 3,000 students in schools throughout Pasadena benefitting from its extensive outreach programs.

Reader Recommended

Altadena Academy of Music

2235 N. Lake Ave., No. 207, Altadena

(626) 296-0799


Eliot Arts Magnet

2184 Lake Ave., Altadena

(626) 396-5680 | pusd.us/eliot


Lock & Crown Salon

1088 Allen Ave., Pasadena

(626) 639-3697 | lockandcrown.com

It may seem odd that a salon would be quoting Ralph Waldo Emerson, but something he said struck a nerve: “Never lose an opportunity of seeing anything beautiful, for beauty is God’s handwriting,” the poet once said.  Conceived by two stylists, Lock & Crown Salon offers an inviting and chill space for every hair service needed to make you a thing of beauty. Each station provides ample space to give clients individualized attention so their time with a stylist is all about them. Not only will clients leave with a fresh look, but they’ll feel beautiful and relaxed and ready to seize the day.

Reader Recommended

Basecamp Fitness

38 S. El Molino Ave., Pasadena

(626) 714-7600 | basecampfitness.co

Inner Image Lifestyle Solutions

960 E. Green St., No. 105, Pasadena

(626) 243-3908 | innerimage.life


Eaton Canyon


Eaton Canyon Natural Area is a 190-acre zoological, botanical, and geological nature preserve situated at the base of the beautiful San Gabriel Mountains. In short, “It’s a great little hike,” writes one enthusiast on tripadvisor.com. There are several hikes in different canyons, but the most popular is the Eaton Canyon trail to the waterfall. “At the end is the falls,” writes another fan, “that end in a small pool nice for wading if it is hot. I enjoyed it and recommend it to anyone with a spare hour and a half that don’t want to stay inside.”

Reader Recommended

Brookside Park

360 N. Arroyo Blvd., Pasadena

(626) 744-7311 | ci.pasadena.ca.us

Victory Park

2575 Paloma St, Pasadena

(626) 744-7500 | ci.pasadena.ca.us


Lake Avenue Church

393 N. Lake Ave., Pasadena

(626) 844-4700 | lakeave.org

A small band of women formed the Lake Avenue Union Sunday School on Oct. 27, 1895. By the 1920s, meetings were held in a car barn at Lake Avenue and Orange Grove Boulevard. Today, Lake Avenue Church has grown to become one of the largest churches in America and a major force for Christianity throughout the world.

Reader Recommended

All Saints Episcopal Church

132 N. Euclid Ave., Pasadena

(626) 796-1172 | allsaints-pas.org

Friendship Baptist Church

80 W. Dayton St., Pasadena

(626) 793-1062 | pfbchurch.net

St. Andrew Church

311 N. Raymond Ave., Pasadena

(626)-792-4183 | saintandrewpasadena.org


Integrity Lash

350 S. Lake Ave., Pasadena No. 290

626) 437-4000 | integritylash.com

Even though they welcome 200 customers each week, trained workers at Integrity Lash still are able to provide each person with the personal touch. Unlike a nail salon, clients have manicures, facials, lash work and other procedures performed privately in their own room with a closed door. Members of the Integrity Lash’s talented team of lash designers are all state licensed, and the business itself is licensed by the Board of Barbering of Cosmetology, ensuring compliance with state sanitation and safety procedures and regulations.

Reader Recommended


1200 E. California Blvd., Pasadena

(626) 395-6811 | caltech.edu

Jet Propulsion Laboratory

4800 Oak Grove Drive, Pasadena

(818) 354-4321 | jpl.nasa.gov

Kaiser Permanente

3280 E. Foothill Blvd., Pasadena

(800) 954-8000 | healthy.kaiserpermanente.org


St. Edmund’s Nursery School

1175 San Gabriel Blvd., San Marino

(626) 792-7742


St. Edmund’s Nursery School offers young children an outstanding learning environment and an excellent foundation for future academic, social, and spiritual development. They emphasize basic skills, values, manners and an inclusive religious curriculum while nurturing knowledgeable, responsible and caring kids.

Reader Recommended

Goodman Family Daycare & Preschool

1090 El Campo Drive, Pasadena

(626) 578-1815 | goodmandaycare.com

Mentor Avenue Preschool

308 N. Mentor Ave., Pasadena

(626) 396-7008 | mentoravenuepreschool.com


Polytechnic School

1030 E. California Blvd., Pasadena

(626) 396-6300 | polytechnic.org

Founded in 1907, the mission of Polytechnic School is to develop the intellect, talents and character of each student in a community of learning dedicated to principles of academic excellence that values the uniqueness and dignity of each member and fosters personal responsibility and service to others. This college-preparatory school is dedicated to the education of students from kindergarten through 12th grade.

Reader Recommended

High Point Academy

1720 Kinneloa Canyon Road,


(626) 798-8989 | highpointacademy.org

Judson International School

1610 E. Elizabeth St., Pasadena

(626) 398-2476 | judsonschool.org

Westridge School for Girls

324 Madeline Drive, Pasadena

(626) 799-1153 | westridge.org


Cushon Bell

Bell, who currently serves as Councilman Tyron Hampton’s field representative, worked as a teacher in the Los Angeles Unified School District for 18 years. In 2011, she decided to enter the race for a school board seat in the Pasadena Unified School District. She lost that election, but that didn’t stop her from staying involved. She also served as one of the 51 delegates to Parenting Magazine’s Moms Congress in Washington, selected from essays expressing their ideas for improving schools.


Pasadena City
Tyron Hampton

Born and raised in Pasadena, Councilman Hampton has been involved in his family’s construction business since childhood, playing a pivotal role in the company’s growth over the past decade. Five years ago, Hampton won a seat on the Pasadena Board of Education. Two years later, he ran for the District 1 seat on the City Council. Since his election, Hampton has worked at ensuring equal access to opportunities for every family in his district. He feels passionately about ensuring the city is playing a role in public education and supporting economic growth in Northwest Pasadena.


Jackson STEM Dual Language Magnet Academy

593 W. Woodbury Road, Altadena

(626) 396-5700 | pusd.us/Domain/1

Jackson STEM Dual Language Magnet Academy offers an innovative academic program that nurtures the communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and creative skills necessary to be successful in the 21st century. Teachers also place a strong emphasis on science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). At Jackson, another option is available to learn to read, write, and speak in both English and Spanish, and that is through participation in the school’s Dual Language Immersion Program (DLIP). 

Reader Recommended

Don Benito Fundamental School

3700 Denair St., Pasadena

(626) 396-5870


John Muir High School

1905 Lincoln Ave., Pasadena

(626) 396-5600 | pusd.us/muir


Eileen Cameron

Alverno Heights Academy

One of the best ways to tell whether a teacher is reaching their students is to listen to what the kids have to say. “Ms. Cameron,” said one student on an online review, “has been one of the best English teachers I’ve had throughout my years at Alverno. She can be intimidating at first, but once you both get to know each other more, she will really teach you the art of the English language. I love her!” Apparently this student is not alone. “When comparing Eileen Cameron’s ratings to other teachers in the state of California,” states the school’s website, “(her) ratings are above the average of 4.34 stars. Additionally, the average teacher rating at Alverno High School is 3.99 stars.”


Jason Jamerson

(626) 720-1155


For almost 20 years Jason Jamerson has been tutoring high school and college students in math and science. Jamerson says he uses an engaging and nurturing approach for those who are stuck on tough problems. He’s learned that pressure and anxiety only make any problem much worse. According to Jamerson, tutoring is all about utilizing people skills to bring out the best in students.

Reader Recommended


Test Prep Tutoring

845 Cordova St., Pasadena

(626) 639-8810 | merieducation.com.

Tutor Doctor

261 E. Colorado Blvd., No. 218, Pasadena

(626) 551-4341 | tutordoctor.com