Dreams of Immortality

Like the Mayans, Pasadenans worship in modern temples of culture, art and politics

By Sara Cardine 10/10/2012

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You awake from a troubled sleep and cannot untangle the realm of the waking from that of dreams. You were just visited by a shaman, a spirit from a lost civilization who traveled from the Otherworld with an important message. You sense it has something to do with the prophecy of 2012, thought to foretell the possible end of all things or the beginning of an entirely new realm on Earth.
  
The shaman was aged, wise beyond years, and magnificently attired to resemble a dragon, or serpent, resplendent in a cape of shimmering feathers. It seemed as though you knew him; maybe some part of you has always known him. He drew a line on the ground, indicating the four cardinal directions as corners with an “X” in the center where he stood beside you. A portal into another world opens up, showing you a plaza of towering Mesoamerican pyramids arranged in the same four corners. You instantly realized you were on a spirit quest, with the shaman as your guide …
 
There is no doubt that Pasadena’s Civic Center is at the heart of a thriving community, much like the Great Plazas built by the Mayans to denote the center of a region or people. From Pasadena’s formation in 1886, master builders and civic leaders worked together to create structures that would indicate the direct center of Pasadena at that time and speak to the wealth and beauty of the area. Their creation, a triumvirate of buildings comprising City Hall, Central Library and the Civic Auditorium, has expanded today into a district that serves thousands of employees and area residents and is a symbol of the city’s greatness. It is within and around our own Great Plaza that many of this year’s favorites — from Best Citizen and Historic Landmark to Best Public Official and Cultural Festival — reside.
 
 

BEST ANNUAL EVENT

The Rose Parade and Rose Bowl Game

www.tournamentofroses.com

The Valley Hunt Club staged the first parade in 1890 to promote the mild climate and agricultural riches of Southern California. The club’s efforts exceeded beyond its expectations, and 122 years later millions of viewers worldwide can watch the Rose Parade on television and marvel at the sunny weather in Pasadena on New Year’s Day. The annual football game following the parade was held at Tournament Park near Caltech until 1923, when the game moved to the Rose Bowl. Today, that arena is one of Pasadena’s most well-known landmarks, and the annual game has been dubbed the “granddaddy” of college football competitions.

 

Reader Recommended

ArtNight Pasadena

www.artnightpasadena.org  

 

Make Music Pasadena

www.makemusicpasadena.org

 

BEST ART GALLERY/COLLECTIONS

The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens

1151 Oxford Road, San Marino

(626) 405-2100 | www.huntington.org  

Railroad magnate Henry E. Huntington was an avid art and book collector, and in 1919, he founded an institution where he could share his collections with the public. Today, those items, and many others, are housed at the site of Huntington’s San Marino estate. Huntington’s former residence displays 18th- and 19th-century French and English artworks, while three other art galleries feature permanent and changing exhibitions. The library’s collection of rare books and manuscripts is an important source of scholarly research, while the botanic gardens and conservatory are a source of enjoyment and beauty.

   

Reader Recommended

Armory Center for the Arts

145 N. Raymond Ave., Pasadena

(626) 792-5101 | www.armoryarts.org

 

BEST BUSINESS PERSON

Wayne Jason

Wayne Jason Jewelry Designs

105 W. California Blvd., Pasadena

(626) 795-9215 | www.wjasondesigns.com 

What qualities distinguish a good businessman? Is it devotion to customers? Fair prices? Quality and consistency? Whichever yardstick you use, Pasadena jewelry designer/craftsman Wayne Jason measures up. Serving locals since 1987, Jason has stayed the course where competitors have faltered, offering customers individualized jewelry pieces that are art today, heirlooms tomorrow. “You have to have the ability to adapt and be creative,” Jason says of his success. “You have to change with the times.” He’s done this by using mostly his own materials — which he gets buying gold, diamonds and jewelry — eliminating costly manufacturers and ensuring pieces worthy of oohs and aahs.

 

BEST CHARTER SCHOOL

Aveson Charter School

1919 Pinecrest Drive, Altadena

(626) 797-1440 | www.aveson.org

A tuition-free charter school, Aveson emphasizes personalized learning, social leadership and healthy living for its students. The Aveson School of Leaders provides instruction for students from kindergarten through fifth-grades while the Aveson Global Leadership Academy offers classes for students from the sixth-through 12th-grades. Students from kindergarten through the sixth-grade can also be taught at home. Multiple grades of students are taught in the same classroom, and each student and his or her teacher creates a personalized learning plan, which integrates real-life skills, like social responsibility and nutrition, into the curriculum.

 

Reader Recommended

Odyssey Charter School

725 W. Altadena Drive, Altadena

(626) 229-0993 | www.odysseycharterschool.org 

 

BEST CITIZEN

Denise Zeilstra

Philanthropist, volunteer and businesswoman Denise Zeilstra has generously sponsored numerous activities that make Pasadena a better place to live. She and her husband, S. Robert Zeilstra, provided funding to enable Andre Vener to create redwhite+bluezz, a jazz club and restaurant and Pasadena Entertainment, producer of the Pasadena Jazz Fest and other events. The couple also was a major donor for the Zeilstra Research and Training Center at Five Acres child and family service agency. A former board member of the California Philharmonic Orchestra, Denise has sponsored many of the orchestra’s programs through her Zeilstra Foundation, and in 2009 she and her husband organized the Freedom Concert to honor members of the military, police and firefighters.

 

BEST CULTURAL FESTIVAL

ArtNight Pasadena

(626) 744-7887 | www.artnightpasadena.org  

Thanks to the city of Pasadena’s Arts and Cultural Commission, local residents can visit museums, performing arts centers and other cultural institutions without paying a cent during ArtNight Pasadena. The event is held twice a year on Friday nights, with the next ArtNight scheduled for October 12 from 6 to 10 p.m.  Free shuttle buses will be available to transport visitors to 16 venues, including the Norton Simon Museum, Armory Center for the Arts and Boston Court Performing Arts Center.

 

Reader Recommended

626 Night Market

www.626nightmarket.com

 

Make Music Pasadena

www.makemusicpasadena.org

 

BEST HISTORIC

LANDMARK

Pasadena City Hall

100 N. Garfield Ave., Pasadena

(626) 744-4386 | www.ci.pasadena.ca.us

Pasadena’s seat of local government could impress even the most ardent anti-government Tea Party activist. The Italian Renaissance-style building was designed by architects John Bakewell and Arthur Brown and completed in 1927. A major seismic upgrade and renovation was completed in 2007, and the old building never looked better. City Hall is commonly featured in films and television programs. But it’s far better to see it in person, either by taking a walk around the facility or getting a glimpse of its signature dome from your car window. 

 

Reader Recommended

Colorado Street Bridge

 

Pasadena Playhouse

39 S. El Molino Ave., Pasadena

(626) 356-7529 | www.pasadenaplayhouse.org

 

The Gamble House

4 Westmoreland Place, Pasadena

(626) 793-3334 | www.gamblehouse.org

 

BEST INSTITUTE OF

HIGHER LEARNING

California Institute of Technology

1200 E. California Blvd., Pasadena

(626) 395-6811 | www.caltech.edu

It’s been host to Albert Einstein, produced more than 30 Nobel Prize winners and pioneered the discovery of antimatter, the foundations of molecular biology and the creation of modern earthquake science, along with major achievements in human nutrition, physics, astronomy and neuropsychology. What more can one say about the California Institute of Technology, one of the nation’s premier institutions for scientific research and education? Caltech provides undergraduate and graduate instruction in 40 concentrations in science, mathematics, engineering, the humanities and social sciences.  

 

Reader Recommended

Art Center College of Design

Hillside Campus | 1700 Lida St., Pasadena

South Campus | 950 S. Raymond Ave., Pasadena

(626) 396-2200 | www.artcenter.edu 

 

Pasadena City College

1570 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena

(626) 585-7123 | www.pasadena.edu 

 

BEST KIDS/FAMILY

FUN SPOT

Kidspace Children's Museum

480 N. Arroyo Blvd., Pasadena

(626) 449-9144 | www.kidspacemuseum.org

Kidspace offers children hands-on learning experiences that combine education with fun. This summer, the museum opened the Robert and Mary Galvin Physics Forest, featuring 13 science-related exhibits. Some of the other exhibits enable kids to learn about the anatomy and feeding of insects, create their own artworks, dig for plant and animal fossils and crawl through an ant colony. Children can also explore a miniature model of Pasadena’s Arroyo Seco, one of several activities available in the outdoor play area.

 

Reader Recommended

Brookside Park

360 N. Arroyo Blvd., Pasadena

(626) 744-7275 | www.cityofpasadena.net

 

Magical Playground

1778 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena

(626) 683-8989 | www.magicalplayground.com

 

The Huntington Library, Art Collections,

and Botanical Gardens

1151 Oxford Road, San Marino

(626) 405-2100 | www.huntington.org  

 

BEST LOCAL CHARITY

Union Station Homeless Services

825 E. Orange Grove Blvd., Pasadena

(626) 240-4550 | www.unionstationhs.org

Union Station seeks to improve the lives of homeless people and families, providing them with the assistance needed to regain self-sufficiency. The nonprofit organization is the largest agency of its kind in the San Gabriel Valley, offering emergency housing and other shelter, free meals, career development, job placement, medical and mental health services, showers, substance abuse recovery support and domestic violence counseling, among other programs.  Check out Union Station’s Web site to learn what you can do to help the agency perform its work.

 

Reader Recommended

Five Acres

760 W. Mountain View St., Altadena

(626) 798-6793 | www.5acres.org

 

Pasadena Humane Society

361 S. Raymond Ave., Pasadena

(626) 792-7151

www.pasadenahumane.org 

 

BEST LOCAL NONPROFIT

Theatre 360

75 N. Marengo Ave., Pasadena

(626) 577-5922 | www.theatre360.org 

At Theatre 360, all the world is a stage for children and teenagers who produce professional-level plays and musicals. Founded in 1999 as the Pasadena Junior Theatre, the organization annually stages three productions in March, the summer and December.  Kids who want to audition for these shows are required to register for one of the classes in acting, dance, singing, or musical theater. The organization also holds a summer performing arts camp and takes kids on a two-week summer trip so they can live and study in New York City’s theater community. 

 

Reader Recommended

Friends of the Pasadena Playhouse

www.friendsofthepasadenaplayhouse.org

 

Pasadena Musical Theatre Program

3579 E. Foothill Blvd. Ste. 464, Pasadena

(323) 250-3150 | www.pasadenamusicaltheatre.org

 

BEST LOCAL

PERSONALITY

Larry Mantle

Not all talk radio hosts are fulminating windbags, badgering listeners into agreeing with their ill-informed and bigoted opinions. On “AirTalk,” host Larry Mantle provides intelligent, non-inflammatory and nonpartisan discussion of news and cultural events. Recent programs have featured discussion of such diverse topics as President Obama’s address to the United Nations, civilian deaths from drone aircraft and the Space Shuttle Endeavour’s flight to Los Angeles. Mantle has hosted his program since 1985, making “Air Talk” the longest continuously running daily talk program in the Los Angeles radio market. The show airs on public radio station KPCC Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.; the Friday program includes Film Week, a one-hour segment in which Mantle and film critics appraise the latest releases.

 

BEST MUSEUM

Norton Simon Museum

411 W. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena

(626) 449-6840 | www.nortonsimon.org  

Pasadena has an embarrassment of cultural riches, not the least of which is a museum housing one of the world’s greatest private art collections. But it’s not just the exhibition of works by Rembrandt, Picasso and van Gogh that makes the Norton Simon a favorite destination.  Many people attend the museum’s regularly scheduled events, including film screenings, lectures, classes, concerts and programs for children and families. The outdoor sculpture garden provides a serene atmosphere where visitors can enjoy food from a nearby café or watch the birds that frequent the pond. Last but not least is the museum’s free admission on the first Friday of each month between 6 and 9 p.m.

 

Reader Recommended

Pacific Asia Museum

46 N. Los Robles Ave., Pasadena

(626) 449-2742 | www.pacificasiamuseum.org 

 

Pasadena Museum of California Art

490 E. Union St., Pasadena

(626) 568-3665 | www.pmcaonline.org

 

BEST NEW BUSINESS

Carnelian Salon

350 S. Lake Ave #116, Pasadena

626-795-5555

After 30 years working at other people’s Pasadena beauty shops, Sandra Labbe says it was “time for me to open my own salon.” Labbe opened Carnelian Salon on May 1 and in the short time since then, the shop has received kudos from satisfied customers. A staff of experienced cosmetologists provides a range of services, including hair and nail care and body waxing. Labbe is a painter as well as a cosmetologist and she has decorated her salon with some of her artworks. 

 

Reader Recommended

Big Daddy's Fire Grill

2122 E. Foothill Blvd., Pasadena

(626) 796-1266

 

little junebugs

27 S. El Molino Ave., Pasadena

(626) 440-7300 | www.littlejunebugs.com   

 

BEST PARK/OUTDOOR RECREATION SPOT

Brookside Park/Rose Bowl

360 N. Arroyo Blvd., Pasadena

(626) 744-7275 | cityofpasadena.net/PublicWorks/Brookside_Park1

One hundred years ago, Mrs. Everett Wellington Brooks donated a public swimming pool and plunge basin to be located in the Upper Arroyo Seco. In 1913, the city began developing a park in the Arroyo, which it eventually named in Brooks’ honor. Today, the 62-acre park, home to the Rose Bowl and Brookside Golf Course, remains one of the city’s most popular recreation areas, with numerous amenities including fitness trails, tennis courts, soccer fields, baseball diamonds, a kids’ playground and an aquatics center.

 

Reader Recommended

Arlington Gardens 

275 Arlington Drive, Pasadena

(626) 441-4478

www.arlingtongardeninpasadena.org 

 

Eaton Canyon Park 

1750 N. Altadena Drive, Pasadena

(626) 398-5420 | www.ecnca.org

 

BEST PLACE

OF WORSHIP

All Saints Church

132 N. Euclid Ave., Pasadena

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

Few local churches are as community-minded or as socially conscious as All Saints, the first Episcopal church built in Pasadena. According to its Web site, All Saints seeks to make the “love of God tangible through spirituality, community, and peace and justice.” It works to attain this goal by sponsoring numerous programs and services that aim to eliminate racism and homophobia, support veterans, educate the parish and community about the plight of immigrants, abolish the death penalty, protect the environment and assist the area’s poor and homeless.    

 

Reader Recommended

Lake Avenue Church

393 N. Lake Ave., Pasadena

(626) 844-4700 | www.lakeave.org 

 

Saint Andrew Church 

311 N. Raymond Ave., Pasadena

(626) 792-4183 | www.saintandrewpasadena.org

 

BEST PLACE TO WORK

RateSpecial Interactive

234 E. Colorado Blvd, Ste. 600, Pasadena

(626) 376-4702 | www.ratespecial.com

The employees at RateSpecial Interactive are among those rare people who actually enjoy going to work. Perhaps that’s because this online advertising agency has been rapidly expanding at a time when many other businesses are tanking. In 2011, the Los Angeles Business Journal designated RateSpecial the fastest-growing company in Los Angeles County. RateSpecial has helped pioneer the emerging field of online advertising, devising strategies for marketing its clients’ products and acquiring the most appropriate Web sites on which to place its clients’ ads.

 

Reader Recommended

California Institute of Technology

1200 E. California Blvd., Pasadena

(626) 395-6811 | www.caltech.edu

 

Jet Propulsion Laboratory

4800 Oak Grove Drive, LaCañada/Flintridge

(818) 354-4321 |  www.jpl.nasa.gov

 

BEST PRESCHOOL (TIE)

Cottage Co-Op Nursery School

169 Arlington Drive, Pasadena

(626) 799-0387 | www.cottagecoop.org

This nonprofit cooperative nursery school founded in 1972 accepts only 62 students aged 2 through kindergarten in order to provide individual attention to each youngster. Cottage Co-op boasts that its adult-child ratio is no higher than 1:4. The school offers play-directed, hands-on learning for kids, as well as a supportive environment in which adults can learn and grow as parents. .    

 

Lake Avenue Preschool

981 N. Lake Ave., Pasadena

(626) 798-2151 | www.lakeavepreschool.com

Lake Avenue Preschool is open to youngsters between the ages of 18 months and kindergarten. The teachers have a background in early childhood education, and they use various techniques to provide instruction in academic, artistic, computer and social skills. Parents can choose to send their kids to school on either full or half days, and between three and five days a week, or have their children attend during evening hours.   

 

Reader Recommended

Goodman Family Day Care Preschool

1090 El Campo Drive, Pasadena

(626) 578-1815

 

BEST PRIVATE SCHOOL

Polytechnic School

1030 E. California Blvd., Pasadena

(626) 396-6300 | www.polytechnic.org

When it opened in 1907, Polytechnic School was the first nonprofit independent school in Southern California. It has since expanded from a kindergarten-through-eighth-grade institution and now educates more than 940 students in kindergarten through the 12th grade. The school initially provided both academic instruction and manual training, and it has retained this breadth of curriculum by offering students a range of out-of-classroom learning experiences, such as athletics, outdoor education, community service, and visual and performing arts.

 

Reader Recommended

La Salle High School

3880 E. Sierra Madre Blvd., Pasadena

(626) 351-8951 | www.lasallehs.org 

 

Westridge School for Girls

324 Madeline Drive, Pasadena

(626) 799-1153 | www.westridge.org 

 

BEST PUBLIC EMPLOYEE

GABRIEL SILVA

City of Pasadena Environmental Programs Manager

An employee of the Public Works Department since 2007, Gabriel Silva is in charge of Pasadena’s environmental programs, including the recycling of everything from hazardous waste to trash from large-venue events. He procured the supplies and equipment needed to clean up the fallen trees and other debris resulting from last year’s windstorm. Silva also helped develop the Zero Waste Strategic Plan, which aims to recycle 90 percent of the city’s trash by 2040, diverting this refuse from landfills. He recently began a pilot program designed to remove abandoned shopping carts from city streets. And he is partnering with the Pasadena Unified School District on Green Curriculum, an environmental program for second-graders. Silva earned a master’s degree in environmental engineering from Stanford University. He and his wife Wendy live in Altadena with their children Elias, 4, and Esther, 1. 

 

BEST PUBLIC OFFICIAL

Pasadena Mayor Bill Bogaard

It’s hard for many of us to remember a time when Bill Bogaard was not the mayor of Pasadena, and the majority of Pasadenans have few, if any, complaints about the man who has held that office longer than any previous occupant. That may explain why Bogaard was unopposed in his 2011 bid for a fourth four-year term. In September, he was elected president of the board of directors of the League of California Cities. Bogaard also chairs the Pasadena Bioscience Collaborative, a technology enterprise incubator and the city’s Emergency Services Counci. In addition, he’s a member of the Gold Line Foothill Construction Authority. If all that is not enough, the mayor also leads citizens on monthly walks around the Rose Bowl.

 

BEST PUBLIC SCHOOL

Don Benito Fundamental School

3700 Denair St., Pasadena

(626) 396-5870 | www.donbenito.pasadenausd.org

Don Benito was named a California Distinguished School for the 2012-2013 academic year in recognition of its programs that narrow the gap between low- and high-achieving students. Principal Julie Reynoso attributes this honor to the school’s “seasoned and well-adapted faculty and staff” and the participation of its parents. “We have 85 percent attendance from parents at school events,” she says. “For families, this school is a destination to go to.” The school’s 640 kindergarten through fifth-grade students are selected in a lottery and come from Pasadena, Sierra Madre and Altadena.

 

Reader Recommended

Marshall Fundamental Secondary School

990 N. Allen Ave.,Pasadena

(626) 396-5810 | marshallfundamental.org

 

Pasadena High School

2925 E. Sierra Madre Blvd., Pasadena

(626) 798-8901 | www.pasadenahigh.org  

 

BEST TEACHER (TIE)

Jill Ellison

Don Benito Fundamental School

Jill Ellison has taught third- and fifth-grade at Don Benito Fundamental School, but this year she is teaching first-graders. Her boss, Principal Julie Reynoso, describes Ellison as “the type of teacher who approaches every learner with an open mind. She finds an entry way to make learning accessible and is patient and calm. Her students really adore her.” With kudos like this, it’s no wonder Ellison was voted Best Teacher of the Year.

 

Yvonne Davis

Don Benito Fundamental School

Ellison shares Best Teacher honors with her colleague, Yvonne Davis, one of the kindergarten teachers at Don Benito Fundamental School. According to Principal Julie Reynoso, Davis is “a strong voice” in school activities, who is popular, enthusiastic and adored by her students. In addition to her teaching duties, Davis represents the school’s teachers at PTA meetings and helps Reynoso lead monthly tours for parents of prospective students. ­

 

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