Pasadena Party Season!


Merry Post-Christmas & Happy Pre-New Years, my friends!

Parties…it’s beginning to look A LOT like Christmas!  An increase in partying, and shopping, Christmas tree lightings, etc, are common signs we’re getting closer to Christmas: the day we should actually be celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ.  And after Christmas we still have the biggest party night to look forward to: New Years Eve!

I’m no party animal but you can bet I’m gonna attend a few parties!  Just a few.  Three so far for Christmas with the last coming up tonite to welcome 2015.

The great majority of these party invites result from some affiliation with the party host, usually your employer or some association – you’re kinda expected to party with them! I’ll write about my 2015 party season in 2016.

What follows are just a few photos from one of my favorite Christmas parties, last years (hey, I’ll tell you about 2015 in 2016!) Pasadena Tournament of Roses (PTOR) member appreciation Christmas party.

You heard me correctly. Like everyone else in December, the PTOR holds it’s own Christmas party.  It kinda plays Santa Claus in appreciation of the hard work and sacrifice of its 935 members (white-suiters) and families.  It happens just days before Christmas and New Years. I consider it the last day off besides Christmas that the members will have before the Rose Parade.  Crunch time is definitely this period.


WELCOME to OUR HOME! The 2014 Chairman/President & the 1st Lady of the PTOR are the official hosts/greeters of their special guests at the front door of “their” home – The Wrigley House aka Tournament House.  I’ve met them on several occasions and I can say how fortunate Pasadena and the PTOR were to have them representing us for this 2014 year. It was the 125th anniversary of the parade, 100th Rose Bowl game, and (as I constantly had remind my friends) the 100th anniversary of the Wrigley House/Tournament House HQ of the PTOR since the late 1950s.




FOOD. A mark of a good party, and a requirement in my party book, is Food! Here we are in the Dining room, or as we could’ve called it that evening – the Bakery Café!  Along with me, one of the only two married  Rose Queens looks on approvingly.





MORE FOOD. The Rose Room, largest room in the house, was turned into something more akin to a Vegas buffet.  And outside in the park, more food met the guests, including a special guest from the North Pole! (upper right) The Wrigley House aka Tournament House was filled with people inside and out.




A major draw to get me to attend any event is the availability of Food & Drink.  But with this PTOR party I’ve always left hungry.  My fault. It’s just that I’m capturing memories (photography), chatting with the people I know, and greeting those who I don’t, while munching here & there in between.  Well, at the end of the evening, the people have left, the food is mostly gone, and I’m left…still hungry!  Like I said. I’m to blame.

What’s a major factor to get you to attend an event?


HONOR & ADMIRATION. Back inside the Wrigley House, I caught a couple of the Queen & Royal Court committee members admiring their selection of the beautiful Ana Acosta as Queen of the 2014, and 125th, Tournament of Roses.




The PT0R performs its operations through many committees.  “White-suiters” typically spend a couple of years on a committee and move on to another, and then another, and so on. A lucky, hard-working few get to be the Chairperson & President of the PTOR for a year. Major benefits to counter the supreme responsibilities of such a position is they get to wear the  symbolic “red jacket” of Presidential authority/responsibility, and chose the theme & Grand Marshall of the parade.

You recall Dodger Hall of Fame announcer Vin Scully was 2014 Grand Marshall! I remember congratulating the PTOR President on his GM by saying, “Congratulations on getting Vin Scully as Grand Marshall. Finally!. Darn it!, we finally found a President who could make it happen!!!” We both smiled & laughed. 


HOLIDAY SPIRIT!  Along with food aplenty, what’s a party in December without a Christmas Tree.  And Christmas carolers!   Trust me when I say they could’ve put even a Scrooge into the spirit of the season.




THANKS, HOSTS!  We should always thank the host of a party – the PTOR, in this case.  So, I think I’d give thanks 1st to the Queen & her Royal Court as represented below by Queen Ana & one of her princesses’, Elyssia. (A story detour on the photo below: Whenever I take photos of people I usually ask what kind of background do they want. Usually the subject will leave it up to me, of all people! So we started in the park, but too many around. Then, I thought of going inside. My mind was drawing blanks. Finally, I told the girls, we should just walk around for a minute until we see some “good background”.  When we got to the front of the house and saw the front entry, it became clear to all of us! So, this photo is to the side of the front door. A good position for a host and away from the “crowds.”)



Last but not least!, we also gotta thank, of course, the Chairman/President and his wonderful wife the First Lady of the 2014 PTOR.  R. Scott & wife Cindy Jenkins.          IMG_5160


As I mentioned in the beginning, the 2014 PTOR was a milestone year. The Chairman/President, the First Lady, and their Royal Court, were up to the challenge. That’s also one reason why they are my favorites of all Rose Parades I’ve witnessed.


The PTOR is always need of some new members, and a Royal Court, each year. Hopefully this will give you – YOU – a bit of motivation to consider getting involved with the PTOR by applying to be a member, or perhaps you meet the criteria for applying for Royal Court?  It’s work, but there are some benefits as you can see from this article. And one thing I can say if you’re associated with the PTOR: you’re good, giving, caring people!

Now, what about your parties, my readers: How many parties you attended? What makes a great party? Have you been a host?  Or, do you think you’re good “White-Suiter” material?



Taking Off the Rest of the Year! Stay Thirsty My Friends.

Red rose


Who’s the Rose Queen for 2015?

By the time y’all read this article we should all know who was selected to be the Queen of the 2015 Pasadena Tournament of Roses Parade & Rose Bowl (PTOR).  I will give you my guess for Queen later, which I usually Fail.  Who who’s your guess?

But 1st we need a Royal Court to pick from. Here are a few, just a few believe me, of my shots from the media event to announce the new Royal Court earlier this month.  The best shots (relatively speaking!) I save for the Royal Court and their parents.


The set-up or calm before the storm




These announcements are really media events as much as for the girls. In this picture I see Kim Chinen the wife of the current President of the PTOR, Megan Henderson waiting to go live on KTLA-5 (another journalist I’ve met in Pasadena), and Walt Mancini the famous photographer from the Pasadena Star-News.





PTOR 1st Ladies!  Mrs. Chinen (2015) with Mrs. Jenkins (2014). I’ve met & photographed the wonderful 2014 1st Lady before, but never the 2015. I asked Mrs. Jenkins to introduce me & pose together.





The 1st Girl!  Winking smile   2014 Princess Sarah is the 1st beauty (inside & out!) to come down the red carpet. Princess Sarah is now I’m happy to say – Trojan Sarah! – at USC.  Representing the outgoing Royal Court, Sarah along with Princess Kayla & Princess Elyssia  following her will officially welcome & transfer power to the girls named to the new Royal Court. I was viewing all thus from my perch with a “white suiter” (member of the PTOR)  friend & the mother of Princess Elyssia.




The 1st Finalist.  From this years crop of about 800, 31 finalists were picked and are introduced by the Chairperson of the Queen & Royal Court committee, Mark Leavens. From this group, the 7 members of the new Royal Court will be named.  My “white-suiter” friend, Bak, escorts the 1st of the finalists. Members of the Queen & Royal Court committee do the escorting.





“Can you believe this!”  As each girl is named to the court, each displays a sort of, “Gee wiz, can you believe WE of all girls have made it this far!!”, as new Princesses Madison & Bergen seem to display below. Well, seeing is believing, so believe it gals!

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Cutting to the chase.  After calling out the names that made the 2015 Royal Court, PTOR President Richard Chinen takes an admiring 1st look at his Tournament of Roses 2015 Royal Court.  While outer beauty is one criteria, it’s much more the inner beauty of  poise, speaking ability, leadership, academic achievement, and community & school activities which determines the finalists and the Royal Court. (Below: L-R, they’re Princesses Alicia, Veronica, Mackenzie, Gabrielle, Simona, Madison, & Bergen.)  It looks like this year will be more difficult than last for me to guess who will be Queen! 

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With the new 2015 Royal Court selected, the 2014 Princesses may now be thinking, “so now we don’t need to always be ready to strike a pose for photographers, we can relax, right? Yes!, Yes!!”

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Hold on. Not so fast!!  I never forget my past Queens & Princesses…2014 Rose Princess Elyssia & Mom. I took one of Eyssia with her Dad last year so I’m glad I got her Mom.  Elyssia was at San Marino High when on court .   I was watching it all with her Mom who, if I recall correctly, said her daughter is now a communications major at Pepperdine University. Eyssia has a very pretty smile and eyes and I’m glad she got to experience this past year.  I always feel a bit guilty to ask these girls to “sit” for another  photo knowing the countless times they’ve had to be ready to strike a pose for photographers these past months – including myself!  Yet, every time I wanted a photo they’ve  immediately & patiently agreed, and smiled, as I took yet another shot. The 2014 girls may be my favorite Royal Court.




One of my favorite “white-suit” friends, a great guy who loves to eat, and member of the Queen & Royal Court committee – almost always with his camera. Hey, Bak!  Where you aiming?? The girls are behind you!  Open-mouthed smile 




2015 Princess Gabrielle Ann Current.  If there was a Miss Photogenic, she’d probably get it.  (Yes, she does have a pair of good looking parents)  When she saw me with camera, she came toward me, we chatted a second, and then she struck some camera ready poses. I can see easily why she made the Royal Court.  My photo skills-non don’t capture her natural beauty.

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One thing I said to Princess Gabrielle, “You should take a photo with your “groupies” (Flintridge Sacred Heart school mates!).  Before long, that’s where she was headed.




With the “Mother Superior” of Flintridge Sacred Heart, her Princess,  another finalist who didn’t make the court this year, and her Senior class.  While all schools come out to support their Royal Court candidates, FSH usually comes in divine force to support theirs!.




The media was also out in force, of course. Here is Jose Hernandez, videographer for NBC-LA.  He has a twin and I hope I didn’t mix their names up here!  Sad smile  Jose was doing double duty this day: videotaping as usual, and, interviewing.  Last I checked, Jose and his twin brother also do a weekly radio show on the side. When I first meet journalists it’s almost always in Pasadena.




Getting on the PTOR Royal Court to riding down Colorado Blvd and then in the center of 100,000 Rose Bowl fans is a relatively quick but long road. These young ladies go from obscurity to world notice.  Then, when the 2016 Royal Court is named, back to “normal”…with a few more friends who will last a lifetime.






This is where I came in. Think I’ll cut it off here since I need to cut out to the 2015 coronation – before all the food is gone!  Maybe I’ll come back to do any needed editing. 




Oh, my prediction for Rose Queen?  Unlike last year, and since I’m very bad at picking the Queen, I’m simply going with my male intuition.  No analysis. While at this years Royal Court announcement, the 1st girl I thought for Queen was Princess Madison.  But then as I learned more about each of the Princesses it became clear this decision was going to be more challenging to predict than last year!  Therefore, lemme say the Queen will either be Princess Gabrielle or Princess Veronica.  What do ya think? Who’s your choice for Queen??



Gotta Run!! Stay Thirsty My Friends

Red rose

Yesterday & Today: A Pasadena Christmas.


Merry Christmas my friends! I hope y’all have/will receive(d) the free gift of, and know the true reason for, the Christmas season: to commemorate & celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.  Don’t be misled to think it’s another reason to shop until you drop, or go into debt, or reason to eat/drink, as much as we all love that. But it is a national holiday, and if you hate the materiality of holidays, as y’all celebrate and gather together, remember the real reason for our celebration.


Colorado Boulevard


A 1960-ish Pasadena Christmas. 


(I seem to recall the original source of the above was the Pasadena Star-News)


A December 25th 2012 Pasadena Christmas



A December 25th 2013 Pasadena Christmas




These photos were taken on the part of Colorado Boulevard located in the Pasadena Playhouse District just west of Lake Avenue.  Colorado boulevard is also known as the famous main drag for our Tournament of Roses Parade to welcome the New Year.  

Observations?  Besides the fact these were taken at different times of the day, just one is how obviously the Christmas spirit on the street appears to have suffered significantly in the past half-century.  The city seems less willing to show its Christmas spirit on its street as displayed by its ornaments.  One could also be led to believe that the use of mass transit in Pasadena (buses, train/rail) and bicycles has had a demonstrated effect on traffic! 


What are your observations – particularly if you were around when Target was called Robinson’s?


Gotta Be Productive!  Stay Thirsty My Friends & Merry Christmas

Univ of Colorado Blvd