Artists step out for Pasadena Arts Weekend
Posted Oct. 19, 2007

Giselle Campbell
Staff Writer

Last weekend the latest in art, music and fashion were presented in Pasadena for free. That’s right, free.

The Pasadena Arts Weekend is a cross-community arts festival held in Old Town Pasadena. Sponsored by the Pasadena Arts and Culture Commission, the event is held every October and March.

The Arts Weekend is a chance for art students from local colleges like Pasadena City College and Art Center College of Design to showcase their works and sell to the community.

“People here are buying a lot. People are very nice, just enjoying the afternoon and doing some early Christmas shopping,” said Joey Chou, a recent Art Center graduate and art vendor.

Held from Oct. 12-14, each day of the festival was centered around a certain theme or performance.

Friday evening was Art Night in which Pasadena’s many museums opened their doors for free to the public. A fun option for the daring was the Art Night Ride bike tour; a chance to get all your cardio and culture in one shot. The festival continued Saturday with the Latino History Parade, which showcased Latino culture, and featured live theater performances.

Sunday’s event was called Art Performance. Hosted by local National Public Ratio station KCRW, the day saw a number of free live performances by acclaimed and up-and-coming artists alike. The main performances took place at One Colorado, located on Colorado Boulevard, in the alleys between Delacey and Fair Oaks Avenue.

Improvised stages were scattered throughout Old Town Pasadena for non-headlining bands. Some lucky listeners took in performances over their late afternoon lattés, as one small stage was outside an Old Town coffee shop.

The music started at 11 a.m. with Sara Lov of the Devics, then continued with Culver City Dub Collective, Dengue Fever, Bastida and Tijuanos, finishing out with Jessie Baylin at 5 p.m. The musical range between artists was vast as each band had different cultural origins.

Tijuanos, for instance, was a catchy Pan-South American group consisting of band members from Mexico, with a Brazilian singer delivering in Portuguese. The adorable Jessie Baylin was next with her band, whose style is best described as alternative-country pop music.
These variations between artists simply added to the rich flavors of the festival itself, and drew in a diverse crowd.

Hearing so many beautiful accents and languages from around the world in one place, it was easy to forget this was the outskirts of Los Angeles.

“Where I come from (France) they have events like this mostly in the summer,” said Franck De Girolami, a festival attendee. “Pasadena is a great place for this because they have lots of alleys and plazas for only pedestrians. Most cities don’t have that.”

Located in the cobblestoned alleys around One Colorado, Sunday also held Pasadena’s Art Market, a sprawling fine arts market consisting exclusively of work done by students and faculty of the Art Design Center and PCC.

It was here that the creativity fueling the festival was really visible. Artists, young and old, displayed their latest works. Many were selling, others simply showcasing their designs for exposure and feedback.

Joey Chou was displaying gallery work and promoting a book he wrote and illustrated called, “Mental Problems from A to Z.” Chou uses his quirky cartoon-like illustrations to comically depict each disorder.

Alternatively, fellow Art Center student Jamonn Roberts was showing his work to expose his ideas to the public.

“I get my inspiration from life, kids and music,” Roberts said.

Roberts’ art was centered on taking gallery photography and digital media to the next level.

He passionately described how he intends to incorporate sculpture and motion sensitive projectors into his work; making the art interact with the viewer.

And though the Art Weekend has come and gone, we can all look forward to the innovative installations and performances Pasadena will host the next time around.

“These sort of festivals make you feel the city is providing for its inhabitants – that they care,” De Girolami said.

Giselle Campbell can be reached at

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