Friday, September 30, 2011

Sorry, no more entries this year

If you have not already sent in your entry form or had a conversation with the Entries Committee, we're afraid you'll need to wait until next year to be in the parade.

Groups that arrive at the staging area without having submitted entry forms will be turned away.

You will be more than welcome to support the parade along Los Robles Ave. and Washington Blvd.

Or you can join us at the jamaica from noon to 4 P.M.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Grand Marshal Hector Tobar

"As a Native of the East Hollywood, Hector Tobar grew up reading the Los Angelse Times. He devoured the sports pages, especially, but never thought he'd work at a paper his immigrant father occasionally delivered to make a little extra cash.

A graduate of UC Santa Cruz, Hector has worked at the Times on and off since the late 1980s, working his way up from the The Times' suburban bureaus to is national and foreign desks. Most recently he was The Times mexico City bureau chief. He's fluent in English and Spanish, and can get around in Portuguese. He also knows six words in Arabic and can order a cheese omelet in French.

Hector has a Master in Fine Arts from UC IRvine, has written three books and is the father of three children".

Biography - Courtesy LA Times.
Photo credit -

Art here, art there

This month, and somewhat beyond, there are opportunities to see artwork by local Chicano artists. I drove out to the west side and took in a conversation between Oscar Castillo and Harry Gamboa. The exhibit is at the Fowler Museum at UCLA.

The I went to Los Angeles County Museum of Art to see the truly immense exhibit of work by members of ASCO.

Unfortunately I don't have pictures for either of those exhibits. But you can check out their work at the sites listed.

But here are some images of a bit of artwork at LACMA. Enjoy.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Parade preparations continue...meanwhile at Villa Parke...

This image is blurry but seems totally appropriate. Diane Walker, who oversees both La Pintoresca branch and Villa Parke branch libraries is watching, Derek, while he presents new technologies that read out loud, present English reading and writing lessons, teaches English to those with a different native language and teaches for languages to English speakers. We had a chance to not only hear Japanese spoken, but were able to see the characters as the words were pronounced.

These tools will be available at La Pintoresca, Villa Parke and Central Libraries.
At the moment the picture was taken we were seeing how SARA allows a patron to listen to or read in large print materials that is placed on a device that looks like a tape recorder and sort of works like a scanner. Except that the read out can be in different voices, the images can have different sized font - based on need, and the pace can be set by the user.

Our exceptional library system, continues to embrace future technology and provide excellent service. So good, that 79% of Pasadenans have a library card and the Library Journal has given the system 4 stars for "exceptional response to patrons and superior customer service".

Monday, September 19, 2011

Llena de cultura/Full of Culture

The weekend was full of things to do around Pasadena that were connected to the many
cultures of Pasadena, especially of the Latino persuasion.

Some were filled with opportunities to chum around and taste away with friends like Abel Ramirez and Sandy Burton Greenstein. El Portal's Tequila Tasting was a lot of fun.

Or to wander down the street - in the alley by Zona Rosa where a last summer concert took place, where elegance of the papel picado in the breeze was only rivaled by the elegance of Cava and the music they shared through the night.

Or a chance to spend time looking at cars as old as I am but who have fewer dents and whose paint is all elegance, grace with just the right touch of glitter.

Thanks to Luis Villa, of Nokturnal Car Club, who invited me to the Car Show at the Rose Bowl on Sunday. This stunner belonged to Izzy.

Culture, cultura, however you say it, we live in a place that is almost dripping with opportunities to eat, drink, laugh, or stare in awe, all throughout the town.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Latino Heritage Month, September 15-October 15

Here's our poster for this year's event.

Things are developing at a fine clip. The meeting with the various City of Pasadena departments went off smoothly thanks in part to each of the department's representative and especially thanks to Michelle Bernal of as well the partnership that is becoming stronger with the Human Services and Recreation Department and Rozanne Adanto, Villa Parke Community Center Supervisor.

Revisions will undoubtably take place in the next month - that's sort of the nature of the event beast.

I read a quote today that seems both appropriate for the beginning of Latino Heritage Month and for our preparations for parade & jamaica. It is a quote from "Life in the Time of Cholera" by Garcia Marquez.

"Human beings are not born once and for all on the day their mothers give birth to them, but [rather] life obliges them over and over again to give birth to themselves".

How we define ourselves, by our our roots and by our experiences, is a constantly evolving thing.

Turns out this even holds true for parades.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Celebrating a Culture of Hope and Progress

Announcing a poster competition for Latino Heritage Month - in Los Angeles.

However, this contest is open to all students grades K-12 in Los Angeles County. The details are in the flyer.

Thanks to the sponsors and to Los Angeles Cultural Affairs - especially Rebeca Guerrero for hosting this most meaningful contest.

Winners will receive Blick Premium Art Supplies.

The deadline is this Friday, September 16, 2011 by 6:00 p.m.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Gilbert "Magu" Luján

Artist Gilbert "Magu" Luján's memorial took place today at Belvedere Park, East Los Angeles Civic Center. It was a beautiful day with soft, solid gusts of wind rustling the papel picado that helped to change a blank white wall to a wonderful homage to Magulandia.
The ofrenda overflowed with photos of Magu and loved ones, as well as icons and symbols
of the things that were special to him.

Ave Maria, Los Cuatro Direciones, danzantes, Nahuatl, oral history, and a duck that softly quacked as if on cue, were all a part of the ceremony.
Like Magu the ceremony was creative, complex, colorful.
Lucky we were here with you. Rest in Peace.

Con safos.

El Paseo y El Pasado

In 1781, a mere 10 years after Mision San Gabriel was established, 44 pobladores (townspeople), men, women, and children, arrived at Yangna, an area where the Tongva had lived for generations and generations. Over the next 150 years the descendants of the pobladores and the Tongva saw vast changes in what became known as the city of Los Angeles.

The area, like all of the land in the Southwest, was governed in turn by Spain, Mexico, and the United States. The Avila Adobe, home to Francisco and Encarnacion Avila, is purported to be the oldest house in the City of Los Angeles. Over time the center of the commerce and government moved and the area became dilapidated.

In 1928 as a response to the condemnation note on the Avila Adobe, Christine Sterling and others tirelessly worked to renovate and recreate their interpretation of a Mexican Bazaar. El Paseo de Los Angeles, later known as Olvera Street, was part tourist attraction, part romantic fantasy, and just a bit of genuine Mexican traditions.

For those whose parents and grandparents had come from Mexico, it was a place where you could see the jarabe tapatio, buy maracas, or eat taquitos. It was a place where spoken Spanish was permitted and where you could be proud to be a Mexican American.

It still serves that role - a little bit of fantasy, a little bit of commerce, and place worth noting in our regional history.
We'll have an homage to the Olvera Street at the jamaica.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Fiestas Patrias in Pasadena

In this most difficult time it may be hard to understand a celebration like the Fiestas Patrias, so let me offer my perspective.

Latino Heritage Month is in part defined by the month in which 18 Latin American countries gained their independence.

It is part homage to homeland and to customs that are part of a childhood or a lifetime spent in another country. It is also a way for adults to share with children and youth what it was like to grow up in another country, perhaps in an era filled with turbulence and war. Or a place that was beautifully bucolic.

It is also a time to include history that has all too often been excluded in the classes and lesson plans that are a part of most student's lives.

The meaning of Fiestas Patrias will vary from community to community, from family to family, and from person to person. For most it is not about a desire to go back to where they came from so much as a desire to hold on to the traditions or memories that are precious, to use the Scottish phrase, to kith and kin. You know, your friends and family.
A celebration of the Fiestas Patrias will take place @ Villa Parke on Saturday, September 10, from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m.

Drop by, share some dance, share some music and dance, share some cultura,
share some time with your neighbors.

For details on the event -

Friday, September 9, 2011

Yvonne Chavez Lombardi, 2011 Doña Eulalia Award Recipient

Yesterday I wrote about Doña Eulalia, her connection with Pasadena, and her dedication to her work.

As the parade & jamaica became an annual event, we found we wanted to acknowledge individuals who have dedicated themselves to the work it takes to coordinate and produce an event that has no paid staff. Any of you who have worked on similar projects know what I'm talking about. Raising money, permits, sharing the word, arriving at the park@ 6 a.m. before the lights have gone out on the streets and long before the warmth of the morning graces your back.

And so the Doña Eulalia Award was imagined. Raul Rodriguez, brilliant artist and designer of countless award winning Tournament of Rose floats, was our first recipient. Kevin Bruce, Abelardo de la Peña, Lilia Hernandez, and now Yvonne have received this recognition.
Yvonne's connection began our first year. She worked for the LightbringerProject: the folks who coordinate the Doo Dah Parade. In short time, she became involved with the parade & jamaica and has always been involved, save the years she was out of state.

Yvonne has shared her expertise freely and generously. Whether it was working on the printed program, getting a discount via a friend who gave her in-kind support for the event, coordinating stage of the participants, wearing a costume to help set the atmosphere of the event, or crawling under the stage to help dismantling it, or leading a workshop. If it needed to be done and she wasn't doing something doing something else - there she was ready to tackle it.
Yvonne is currently working at kidspace Children's Museum as the Director of Education and Community Initiatives.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Eulalia Pérez de Guillen de Mariné

Cecilia Rasmussen is responsible for my first learning about Doña Eulalia some 13 years ago. Her LA Times "Then and Now" column was a very brief, but fascinating look at the centegenerian for whom Rancho el Rincon de San Pascual was reserved.

You can read her oral history, articles about her in places like Wikipedia, and many snippets in local early historians like J.W. Wood or Hiram Reid. Her son-in-law Miguel Blanco/Michael White devotes a chapter to her in his oral history.

According to family lore she was literate. Beyond this was a confidence that is apparent in her oral history and seems reflected in the lives of the women who were a part of her circle.

It is a profoundly proud woman who begins her oral history, "I, Eulalia Pérez..." It is a woman who was familiar to those who spoke English and those who spoke Spanish. In part because of her age and in part due to her amazing life, and her dedication to her work.

Eulalia Pérez de Guillén de Mariné died on June 8, 1878 four years after members of the Orange Grove Association moved to the land that had been known as Rancho El Rincon de San Pascual and eight years before much of the rancho was incorporated as the City of Pasadena.

Rasmussen -érez_de_Guillén_Mariné

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Dr. Juan Francisco Lara, 2011 Community Grand Marshal

Juan Francisco Lara is a second generation Mexican American San Franciscan and a Pasadena resident since 1972. His wife Joanne was a Sister of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and a PUSD Teacher. They have a son, Ankarino, a daughter, Kiela, and three grandchildren Leotei, Kalyxtomar and Eisling. Lara’s career began in 1965. It's been one of teaching, mentoring, scholarship program development, curriculum and teacher professional development, public educational and community service, and the pursuit of access and equity to higher education for underrepresented racial and ethnic minority students.

He taught, coached baseball and theatre at De La Salle and taught at Cathedral HS when he was a Christian Brother. He also taught at Compton, East LA and Pasadena CC’s, the UCLA and Claremont Graduate Schools of Education and the UCI School of Social Science.

Lara received a Ph.D. from UCLA, an MAT from Occidental College, and a BA in English from St. Mary’s College. He was a CORO and National Council of La Raza Fellow and a Tomas Rivera Center Scholar.

For 35 years he served the University of California. At UCLA, he held positions of Dean; Assistant Professor and Assistant Dean for the UCLA Graduate School of Education; Assistant Provost, College of Letters and Science; EOP and Academic Advancement Program Director and Associate Director of Undergraduate Admissions, and he created a Center for Academic Programs that provided academic professional development for K-12 and community college teachers.

He is Assistant Vice Chancellor Emeritus, Enrollment Services at UC Irvine and founding executive director of the UCI Center for Educational Partnerships. He served on the Compton, Santa Ana and Pasadena CC Foundation Boards, and was Chair of the OC United Way Education Impact Council. Locally he has served on the Boards for the Brigden Ranch Neighbors Assn, Five Acres, Journey House, Project Day-Juvenile Diversion Project, the PCC Foundation, Pasadena Scholarship Committee and the City of Pasadena Charter Commission and Resource Allocation Board.
Beyond all this, Dr. Lara is always willing to lend a hand to those who might benefit from his stentorian voice, his academic or administrative knowledge, or a kind gesture that comes from his grand heart. Many have benefitted from his generous gifts of dedication and wisdom.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

2011 Community Grand Marshal

So you can easily see he is handsome, perhaps one might even call him debonair, but who is this person and why do you think he was chosen to be our Community Grand Marshal?

Answers tomorrow...

In the meantime here is a quote from him regarding Community Grand Marshal.

"The Community Grand Marshall is a symbol of the Latino contribution to Pasadena. California Native Americans, Mexican people, and later, new immigrants, tilled the soil and built our City. We walk in their footsteps. They planted the trees under whose branches we rest and they decorated our historic buildings. We honor their memory through our achievement in education, business, excellence in Arts and Culture, civic and community leadership and service. We stand upon our ancestor’s shoulders! I proudly honor our past, celebrate our present, and lift our future onto my own shoulders!

“Si Se Puede!”

Monday, September 5, 2011

Art in Our Part of the City - al fin

We now have public art in Northwest Pasadena!
This piece is on the corner of Sunset and Mountain - enjoyed it, had to share it.
Hope you'll go and enjoy it, too.

"Handstand" Daniel Stern 2011
City of Pasadena
Rotating Public Art Exhibition Program

Thursday, September 1, 2011

September's here

Spent some time with the students in the Visual Arts and Design Academy at Pasadena High School today. Shared some information about our theme - Epoca de oro - and about our focus on the time 1946-1955. Not quite sure when I'll be at Muir, but I'm waiting for their invitation.

They're going to look over notes that were taken by the teacher Mr. Schultz and will use the facts to brainstorm what they might bring to the parade this year. Project based learning at its best. I can barely wait to see what they'll do this year.

VADA, Latino Heritage parade & jamaica 2009