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“MY CITY” The Brayley was among the first buildings restored, it is now used for Scientology.

The Old Town Pub, located in a back alley, is the last of the bars from the 1970s.

DIY: Do-It-Yourself The phrase “do-it-yourself” dates back to the home improvement efforts of the Arts & Crafts movement, which reached its peak in Pasadena of the early 1900s. A reaction to the industrial revolution’s sleek and massproduced vision of the future, it sought to reconnect people with hands-on activities and a homemade aesthetic. Under its broad umbrella of selfdetermination and self-reliance, DIY in the 1980s had many flavors and took many forms. At one end of the spectrum, members of the newly forming Pasadena Heritage would meet at the Espresso Bar to strategize preservation efforts.

Mercantile Place Now a pedestrian

transition that also connects to parking.

“slam corner” invited public debate in 1916, a new generation of poets, writers and social critics arrived along with punk rock musicians who believed anyone could start a band. The stage was open to do your own thing.

Film Director Tim Burton

In the mid-1980s, Tim Burton lived in the old Hotel Green and was a regular at The Espresso Bar. Then, as now, his work reflected the DIY aesthetic of the time, his movies having a hand-stitched, patchwork pastiche aesthetic that mirrored the ethos.

By the late 1970s, the Baby Boomers were renovating cheap, old rundown homes and buildings. Their appreciation of the Arts and Crafts Movement fueled the renaissance of this DIY ethos, which often coalesced with their fascination and lament of all that had been lost in the progress of the modern world. Though the DIY movement of the 1980s included a broad range of ages, it was also a movement of youthful thinking. Many were students at Caltech, Occidental College and PCC, bent on taking hold of their own destiny, writing their own story and directing the theater of their own life.

College students, AA meetings and Zine collectives met there as well. And in this same space where a Barack Obama at Occidental’s Library

February 18, 1981: Barack Obama, Resident of Pasadena, Gives His First Speech in a Performance he calls “Street Theater” President Obama was living in Pasadena while attending Occidental College. As part of a campaign to divest from the South African apartheid regime, he participated in a work of “street theater” in which “they started yanking me off the stage, and I was supposed to act like I was trying to break free, except a part of me wasn’t acting, I really wanted to stay up there … I had so much left to say.”





MY CITY 1916




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"My City"  

"My City" tells the story of Pasadena’s City Beautiful Movement and the century that followed, exploring how this proven approach can be rev...

"My City"  

"My City" tells the story of Pasadena’s City Beautiful Movement and the century that followed, exploring how this proven approach can be rev...

Profile for mycityis