Cavalcade of Stars

Cavalcade of Stars

City leaders, business people and the Tournament of Roses lead the Pasadena Way

By André Coleman 10/23/2013

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To paraphrase Sly Stone of Sly and the Family Stone,  it seems everyone in Pasadena really is a star in one way or another, some quite literally in their respective fields of science, business, theater, medicine, film, writing, politics, architecture, painting, religion, photography, design, engineering, culinary arts, athletics … you name it.

Of course, Pasadena and its neighboring communities are chock full of everyday luminaries as well — those unsung, unseen and usually underappreciated individuals who toil in relative obscurity each day to make life better for us all in the worlds of government, education, law enforcement and public service. Many of these folks, some for two or more years, have been deemed by voters in this year’s Best of Pasadena balloting as the best at what they do to make life in Pasadena the storybook experience that it oftentimes is.

And that’s saying something, because people here rarely do things in a small way, with evidence of the truth of that observation on display each New Year with the Rose Parade and the annual Rose Bowl Game, America’s “granddaddy” of all college football competitions, this year voted again as the Greater Pasadena area’s Best Annual Events. The competition is pretty stiff in this category, with Make Music Pasadena and the Doo Dah Parade winning Reader Recommended Awards this year. 
It goes without saying that the Rose Parade and the Rose Bowl football game are what the city is best known for, but Pasadena is also home to several world-renowned scientific, religious and cultural institutions, among them Caltech, JPL, Fuller Theological Seminary, Art Center College of Design, the Pasadena Playhouse, the Norton Simon Museum and the Pacific Asia Museum, to name but a few.

While Caltech, voted the No. 1 college in the world by the London Times, seems to win every contest it enters (including this one), there were a few surprises in this year’s Best of Pasadena balloting, with the ever-popular Make Music festival coming in first place in our Best Cultural Event category. Like years past, Caltech once again won first place in the Best Institute of Higher Learning category, and Pasadena City Hall was voted the Best Historic Landmark, just as the Norton Simon Museum was again voted Best Museum. 

But it was nice to see some fresh faces, such as Make Music, Grill ‘Em All restaurant, which is making its debut this year as the Best New Business in the Greater Pasadena area, and photographer Nicola Borland taking the Best Business Person award for the first time.

City of Pasadena Environmental Programs Manager Gabriel Silva’s recycling efforts have garnered him the Best Public Employee award for a second year straight, and kindergarten teacher Yvonne Davis of Don Benito Fundamental School is another repeat winner, this year’s best teacher, which is not too surprising considering Don Benito was voted the Best Public School for the umpteenth time.

Of course, what would Pasadena be without its Best Public Official, Mayor Bill Bogaard, a multiple Best of Pasadena winner who is currently in his fourth term as the city’s elected leader?

Congratulations to Mayor Bogaard, Mr. Silva, Mrs. Davis and the rest of Pasadena’s galaxy of stars, all of whom possess the qualities, talents and skills to earn Best of Pasadena plaques for 2013.


The Rose Parade and Rose Bowl Game

The first Rose Parade was held in 1890 by the Valley Hunt Club to highlight the mild winter weather in Southern California. Today, thousands of people travel to Pasadena each year to sleep on the street and line Colorado Boulevard to watch the festivities live. The Rose Bowl Game — known as the granddaddy of all college football games — was originally held at Caltech until 1923, when the game was moved to the Rose Bowl.


Reader Recommended

Make Music Pasadena


Doo Dah Parade




The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens

1151 Oxford Road, San Marino

(626) 405-2100 |  

After railroad magnate Henry Huntington moved to Los Angeles from San Francisco in 1913, he began purchasing large chunks of land, including the 500-acre San Marino Ranch. Guided by his wife Arabella’s love of literature and art, Huntington amassed the country’s greatest collection of 18th-century British portraits. In accordance with his will, the collection was opened to the public after Huntington’s death in 1928. Today, 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 |



Art Center College 

of Design

Hillside Campus | 1700 Lida St., Pasadena

South Campus | 950 S. Raymond Ave., Pasadena

(626) 396-2200 |

For more than 80 years, the Art Center College of Design has maintained an international reputation for its rigorous, curriculum, faculty of professionals, strong ties to industry and commitment to socially responsible design. At Art Center, the faculty prepares artists and designers to make a positive impact in their chosen fields — as well as the world.


Reader Recommended

Armory Center for the Arts

145 N. Raymond Ave., Pasadena 

(626) 792-5101 |


Mission Renaissance Fine Art Classes

271 Shoppers Lane, Pasadena

(800) 430-4278 |



Nicola Borland

Nicola Borland Photography

1815 El Sereno Ave., Pasadena

(323) 240-4407 |

Borland, a native of Scotland, came West with hopes of becoming a surfing photographer. After several twists and turns, she landed in California and began shooting weddings and portraits. Borland still loves shooting surfers, but people are now her passion. “As my friends know, I am nothing if not honest,” Borland said. “Some photographers might tell you it is all puppies and rainbows, but I’m here to tell you that running your own business is hard work. But if it’s work that you love, which I do, then it’s worth it. And I really do love meeting new people and getting to know them.”



Aveson Charter School 

1919 Pinecrest Drive, Altadena 

(626) 797-1440 |‎

Aveson provides students with opportunities to develop intellectually, physically and socially through the exchange of ideas and experiences. Wisdom and the ability to communicate effectively are rooted in these experiences, thereby fostering responsibility to others, which, in turn creates leaders. Serving more than 600 K-12 students in the Pasadena and Altadena area, Aveson focuses on personalized learning, social leadership and healthy living. Through an academically challenging, project-based program, students are prepared to be successful leaders in the global community. Teachers and staff members support the students by celebrating their individuality. In turn, students master all the necessary skills while building confidence in their ability to learn. 


Reader Recommended

Odyssey Charter School 

725 W. Altadena Drive, Altadena

(626) 229-0993 | 


The Learning Works

88 N Daisy Ave., Pasadena

(626) 564-8762 |



Make Music Pasadena 

Make Music Pasadena provides a lively opportunity to sample the possibilities of being a destination location; a place where live music is a welcome aspect of everyday life. This year’s diverse lineup included a mix of indie rock, electronic, Americana, pop and global artists that included We Are Scientists, the Lonely Wild, indie popsters Youngblood Hawke, sultry songstress Irene Diaz, Torreblanca, Tanlines, Simone White, Eagle Rock Gospel Singers, string-band revivalists Dustbowl Revival, jazz keyboardist Bill Cunliffe, Radar Brothers and Peach Kings. With that much music happening, the festival offers attendees a chance to experience dozens of local, national and international artists. For artists, it’s a terrific way to connect with new listeners.


Reader Recommended

Pasadena Chalk Festival

(626) 795-9100 |


ArtNight Pasadena

(626) 744-7887 | 



Pasadena City Hall

100 N. Garfield Ave., Pasadena

(626) 744-4386 |

If you traveled east along the 210 (Foothill) Freeway, chances are you have probably marveled at the Pasadena City Hall. Designed by architects John Bakewell and Arthur Brown and completed in 1927, the 235-room building is a site to behold. Spanning more than 17,000 square feet, the building was influenced by the Renaissance style of 16th-century Italian architect Andrea Palladio and is frequently featured in films and television programs. It’s also become over the years a favorite place for couples to get married.


Reader Recommended

Gamble House

4 Westmoreland Place, Pasadena 

(626) 793-3334 |


The Rose Bowl

1001 Rose Bowl Drive, Pasadena

(626) 577-3100 |




California Institute 

of Technology

1200 E. California Blvd., Pasadena

(626) 395-6811 |

For the third year in a row, the Caltech has been rated the world’s No. 1 university in the London Times higher education global ranking of the top 200 universities, beating out Harvard, Yale and other prestigious colleges. The school has produced more than 30 Nobel Prize winners and its graduates have gone onto do such diverse things as establish the recommended daily allowance of vitamins and lead the way in brain research. But life at Caltech isn’t all about studying. In 2003, students changed the Hollywood sign to read “Caltech” by covering up certain parts of the letters. In 1984, students famously changed the Rose Bowl scoreboard during a regularly scheduled game to read Caltech 38, MIT 9.


Reader Recommended

Pasadena City College

1570 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena

(626) 585-7123 | 

4105 N. Rosemead Blvd., Rosemead


Art Center College of Design

Hillside Campus | 1700 Lida St., Pasadena

South Campus | 950 S. Raymond Ave., Pasadena

(626) 396-2200 | 



Distant Lands

20 S. Raymond Ave., Pasadena

(626) 449-3220 |

As a young boy, Adrian Kalvinskas visited many exotic places with his mother, Louanne, including Morocco and Australia. With those life experiences, it’s no wonder Adrian started Distant Lands in 1989. The bookstore provides travelers with information to make their trips more enjoyable, and it’s not just for adventurers headed for far-off places. Distant Lands can also assist weekend travelers headed to Catalina Island, Santa Barbara or any other local getaway. Stop in before planning your next trip.


Reader Recommended

Pasadena Roving Archers

415 S. Arroyo Blvd., Pasadena 

(626) 577-7252 |



Kidspace Children’s Museum

480 N. Arroyo Blvd., Pasadena

(626) 449-9144 |

Kidspace’s mission is to promote education and enrich the lives of children, families and the community through interactive experiences in science, art and the humanities. The museum provides kids with a chance to learn and have fun at the same time by providing them with hands-on experiences that are relevant and inspiring. From butterflies to bottle rockets, Kidspace provides something for every child. 


Reader Recommended

Pasadena Roving Archers Saturday Morning

P.O. Box 683, Pasadena, 

(626) 577-7252 |


Levitt Pavilion Children’s Series 

Wednesday Nights

85 E. Holly St., Pasadena

(626) 683- 3230 |





(626) 240-4550 |

In 1973, Alice Callaghan and volunteers from All Saints Church opened a storefront hospitality center on Pasadena’s Union Street to serve poor and homeless men. Since then, the nonprofit organization has grown to become the largest agency of its kind in the San Gabriel Valley. Today, Union Station offers the poor and homeless emergency housing, emergency shelter, free meals, career development and job placement programs, medical and mental health services, showers, substance abuse recovery support services and domestic violence counseling. 


Reader Recommended

Pasadena Humane Society

361 S. Raymond Ave.

(626) 792-7151 |


California Philharmonic

1120 Huntington Drive, Arcadia

(626) 300- 8200 |



Pasadena Education 


351 S. Hudson Ave., Pasadena

(626) 396-3625|

The Pasadena Education Foundation’s mission is to ensure every PUSD student receives an excellent education and reaches his or her full academic potential. To do that, the group works hard to enhance and supplement initiatives and priorities of the Pasadena Unified School District. Last year, the PEF sponsored Muir Ranch, a thriving garden at John Muir High School, where students learn engineering, math, business and horticulture. The PEF also launched the App Academy, a four-year high school program focused on computer science. It has also expanded “My Masterpieces: Discovering Art in My Community,” an award- winning arts program that is featured in every elementary school in the district, involving more than 400 teachers and 9,000 students.


Reader Recommended

KRS (Kids Reading to Succeed)

530 S. Lake Ave. Suite 738, Pasadena

(626) 538-5577 |

Pasadena Education Network

3579 E. Foothill Blvd., Pasadena

(866) 216-7334 |


Pasadena Musical Theater Program

3579 E. Foothill Blvd. #464, Pasadena

(323) 250-3150 |



Victor Vener

A Pasadena native, Victor Vener graduated from Pasadena High School and attended USC. After earning a PhD in musical arts, Vener went on to conduct respected orchestras around the world, notably the Mozarteum Orchestra at the Salzburg Festival. After returning home to Pasadena, Vener first founded the Pasadena POPS and then, 15 years ago, the California Philharmonic. Along the way, Vener’s received numerous awards locally and internationally. CalPhil performs about 20 concerts every year, playing jazz, Broadway and opera, with the orchestra presenting more than a dozen world premieres.



Pasadena Conservatory 

of Music

100 N. Hill Ave., Pasadena

(626) 683-3355 |

The Pasadena Conservatory of Music provides a comprehensive curriculum of musical study with something for everyone. The novice has a place in the program, as do emerging artists, children and senior citizens. The PCOM believes in Music for Life and provides lessons and classes that are for those who want to learn how to create music, expand their knowledge of the field and enhance their enjoyment of the art.


Reader Recommended

Modern Music School

2982 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena

(626) 578-9242 |


Los Angeles Music Academy

370 S. Fair Oaks Ave., Pasadena

(626) 568-8850 |



Norton Simon Museum

411 W. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena

(626) 449-6840 |  

Over a 30-year period, Norton Simon amassed an astonishing collection of European art dating from the Renaissance to the 20th century, as well as an equally amazing collection of South and Southeast Asian art spanning 2,000 years. In 1974, Simon assumed control of the Pasadena Art Museum, taking up management of its building and incorporating its collection of 20th-century European and American art with the collections of Simon’s foundations. Since that time, the museum has grown to not only include the works of Picasso and Rembrandt, but also now regularly holds film screenings, lectures, classes and programs for children.


Reader Recommended

Pasadena Museum of California Art 

490 E. Union St., Pasadena

(626) 568-3665 |


Pacific Asia Museum

46 N. Los Robles Ave., Pasadena

(626) 449-2742 | 




Grill ‘Em All

19 E. Main St., Alhambra

(626) 284-2874 |

Grill ‘Em All, a gourmet restaurant that mixes heavy metal music with great burgers, produces one of the biggest burgers in Southern California, the Behemoth, a half-pound burger with two grilled cheese sandwiches as buns, bacon, mosh pit barbecue sauce, grilled onions, house-made pickles and cheddar cheese. Stop by and enjoy the music and the food.



Reader Recommended


59 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena

(310) 424-5559 |


Blaze Pizza

667 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena

(626) 440-7358 |


Copa Vida

70 S. Raymond Ave., Pasadena 

(626) 213-3952 |




Brookside Park/Rose Bowl

360 N. Arroyo Blvd., Pasadena

(626) 744-7275 |

In 1912, the city purchased 30 acres of land known as Sheep Corral Springs, named after the many sheep that had grazed in the area, and opened it to the public as Arroyo Springs Park. Two years later, Mrs. Everett Wellington Brooks donated a public swimming pool and the park’s name was 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

Eaton Canyon Park  

1750 N. Altadena Drive, Pasadena 

(626) 398-5420 |


Victory Park

2575 Paloma St., Pasadena

(626) 744-7500 |



All Saints Church

132 N. Euclid Ave., Pasadena

(626) 796-1172 |

In November 1882, 11 people gathered in a local home for church services that became so popular they outgrew the living room and forced the group to buy a building on Colorado Boulevard and Garfield Avenue; the church was named All Saints. Four years later, the church outgrew that building and moved to its current home at 132 N. Euclid Ave. In 1923, the church outgrew that 600-seat structure and built a new one. Today, All Saints remains one of the few socially conscious local churches, sponsoring numerous programs and services that aim to eliminate racism and homophobia, support veterans, educate the 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 | 


Saint Andrew Church  

311 N. Raymond Ave., Pasadena 

(626) 792-4183 |



RateSpecial Interactive

234 E. Colorado Blvd, Suite 600, Pasadena

(626) 376-4702 |

RateSpecial Interactive is one of the fastest growing companies in the country. For the second consecutive year, the company has been featured in Inc. Magazine’s 500|5000 issue. RateSpecial Interactive has grown by 469 percent in three years as one of the top frontrunners in online advertising, marketing plans its clients’ products and acquiring the most appropriate Web sites on which to place its clients’ ads.


Reader Recommended 

Wells Fargo

82 S. Lake Ave., Pasadena

(626) 449-8611 |

350 W. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena

(626) 449-3661 |

1739 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena

(626) 578-7820 |

3701 E. foothill Blvd., Pasadena

(626) 351-4960 |


Kaiser Permanente

3280 E. Foothill Blvd., Pasadena

(626) 583-2200 |

100 S. Los Robles Ave., Pasadena

(661) 328-9831 |

393 E. Walnut St., Pasadena

(877) 608-0044 |



Cottage Co-Op Nursery School

169 Arlington Drive, Pasadena 

(626) 799-0387 |

An intimate community of families and teachers that embraces child-directed creative play and nourishes curiosity and creativity, the nonprofit nursery school was founded in 1972 and helps teach kids by keeping class sizes small and student to teacher ratio low. The school also provides parent education through guest speakers, coffees with the director and teachers and meetings that focus on promoting books on parenting.


Reader Recommended

Goodman Family Day Care & Preschool

1090 El Campo Drive, Pasadena,

(626) 578-1815 | GOODMANDAYCARE.COM



Polytechnic School

1030 E. California Blvd., Pasadena

(626) 396-6300 |

Polytechnic descends from the same educational family tree as Caltech. The two schools each started as the Throop Polytechnic Institute, both founded by Amos G. Throop. In 1907, the institute closed the grammar school and began focusing solely on the college level. After the grammar school closed, 13 donors spent a combined $162,500 to purchase the current site and open Polytechnic Elementary School. Today, the school educates more than 940 K-12 students, offering a broad curriculum, which includes out-of-classroom learning experiences, such as athletics, outdoor education, community service and visual and performing arts.  Notable alumni include former Los Angeles Times Publisher Otis Chandler and chef Julia Child.


Reader Recommended

Westridge School for Girls

324 Madeline Drive, Pasadena

(626) 799-1153 | 


Chandler School

1005 Armada Drive, Pasadena

(626) 795-9314 |



Gabriel Silva

City of Pasadena Environmental 

Programs Manager

This marks the second year in  row that this award has gone to Silva, who leads the city’s environmental programs, including the city’s recycling programs which now include residential curbside, green waste, used oil and other hazardous materials, large venue/special events, compact fluorescent light bulb/battery, and sharp items, including needles and syringes. Silva has 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 and his wife Wendy live in Altadena with their children Elias, 5, and Esther, 2.  



Pasadena Mayor Bill Bogaard

It’s difficult to find many people who have complaints about Mayor Bogaard. He returns every phone call and always has time for his constituents. Bogaard was first elected in 1999, winning reelection three times. In 2011 he ran unopposed for a fourth term as mayor. In September, Bogaard was elected president of the board of directors of the League of California Cities. A member of the Gold Line Foothill Construction Authority, Bogaard also chairs the Pasadena Bioscience Collaborative, a technology enterprise incubator, and the city’s Emergency Services Council.



Don Benito Fundamental School

3700 Denair St., Pasadena

(626) 396-5870 |

For many years, Don Benito has been the school of choice in the Pasadena Unified School District during its annual open enrollment period. There’s a good reason for the popularity. Last year, Don Benito was one of 300 schools named a California Distinguished School for programs that narrow the gap between low- and high-achieving students. The school’s 640 students are selected in a lottery and come from Pasadena, Sierra Madre and Altadena. “It deserves the honor. They have dedicated parents and a hands-on staff,” said Board of Education President Renatta Cooper. “It is a choice school.” 


Reader Recommended

Pasadena High School

2925 E. Sierra Madre Blvd., Pasadena

(626) 798-8901 |  


Marshall Fundamental Secondary School

990 N. Allen Ave., Pasadena

(626) 396-5810 | 



Yvonne Davis

Don Benito Fundamental School

Yvonne Davis usually has won over parents of students before they enter her kindergarten class at Don Benito because she’s met them already at school tours, welcome events and summer activities. Mrs. Davis cares and is involved with her students and the school and is always willing to go the extra mile. She has served as the PTA-Faculty Liaison for five years, but that title simply formalized the role she already held. When the school community needs ideas, answers, or enthusiasm, it turns to Mrs. Davis — and she always comes through. 



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