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More than 850 volunteers of all ages will gather together on Thanksgiving and Christmas Day to serve at Union Station Homeless Services’ annual Dinner-in-the-Park events. Food is served at noon.For more than 40 years, this beloved tradition has been the staple event for the community during the holiday season. Thousands of volunteers have helped prepare and serve meals – including turkey with stuffing, green bean casserole, mashed potatoes and pie – to all who are hungry at Pasadena’s Central Park on Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.Union Station Homeless Services expects to serve more than 4,000 plates of food this Thanksgiving, November 26th . The event will feed thousands thanks to the help of volunteers, and key community partners, including the Tsutayo Ichioka & Satsuki Nakao Charitable Foundation, Longo Toyota, Chipotle, Whole Foods, Centerplate, Kids Klub, Super King Markets, Pasadena Federal Credit Union, Homestreet Bank, Dove Properties, and more.“The Pasadena Convention Center and Centerplate is thrilled to support Union Station Homeless Services by preparing turkeys for Dinner-in-the-Park,” said Michael Ross, CEO, Pasadena Center Operating Company. “We applaud Union Station’s work to serve thousands of meals to the hungry and homeless during the holiday season and are pleased to participate in such a worthwhile cause.”Dinner-in-the-Park meal recipients include adults and families experiencing homelessness and poverty, senior citizens, and those who are alone at the holidays or unable to afford such holiday fare. Union Station encourages all who have no place to go during the holidays to come enjoy a meal. All who are able to help are invited to donate their time, food items or funds to this valuable holiday outreach program.“Dinner-in-the-Park is truly a community event and simply would not be possible without the help of dedicated volunteers and dozens of businesses who make this event such a success,” said Marv Gross, CEO of Union Station.“The event brings the community together even if it is for one day. Hopefully, one day leads to another and another and so on and so on. Thank you Union Station for all you for the community,” said Ginger Mort, member of the Los Angeles Disney VoluntEAR Leadership Council and a Union Station Dinner-in-the-Park volunteer since 2001.Volunteer registration for Thanksgiving opens on November 1. Union Station Homeless Services is in need of non-perishable food donations. A Wish List of much needed items can be found at http://unionstationhs.org/event/dinner-in-the-park-2015/. The community is invited to drop off these supplies (in the indicated sizes) at 412 S. Raymond.Please Note: Due to Health Department regulations, Union Station Homeless Services is no longer able to accept turkey or prepared food donations at the event.About Union Station Homeless Services: Union Station Homeless Services, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, is committed to helping homeless men, women and children rebuild their lives. Union Station Homeless Services is part of a premier group of human services agencies in Los Angeles County that are leading the way to ending homelessness in our community. Headquartered in Pasadena, we are the San Gabriel Valley’s largest social service agency assisting homeless and very low-income adults and families. We believe every person deserves a life of dignity and a safe place to call home. With over 40 years of experience, we proudly offer a full continuum of nine programs throughout the San Gabriel Valley; services include street outreach, intake/assessment, care coordination and navigation, meals, shelter, housing, employment development, benefits enrollment, and referrals to medical and mental health services. Name (required) Mail (required) (not be published) Website Get our daily Pasadena newspaper in your email box. Free.Get all the latest Pasadena news, more than 10 fresh stories daily, 7 days a week at 7 a.m. 4 recommended0 commentsShareShareTweetSharePin it Pasadena’s ‘626 Day’ Aims to Celebrate City, Boost Local Economy
JERSEY CITY — Christine Goodman, founder of Art House Productions, has been named the new director of cultural affairs for Jersey City.Goodman replaced Elizabeth Cain, who will become the executive director for the newly established Exchange Place Special Improvement district.Goodman emerged on the Jersey City arts scene in 2001 when she started Art House Productions in the loft of Victory Hall on Grand Street. Since then, she has become one of a leader in the art scene hosting special events and doing performances around town, such as Words Against War, which was performed on the steps of City Hall. A one-woman play written by Goodman was the first theatrical piece the organization produced.In 2003, Art House began to tape and broadcast its readings via Comcast public access channels, featuring local talent that might otherwise have gone unnoticed. Over the years, Art House has gone on to host theatrical performances, dance shows, visual art exhibits, and JC Fridays, held at the beginning of each calendar season.Goodman launched the annual Snowball in 2007, a fundraiser as well as a major arts social event in Jersey City. During the last decade and half, Goodman has served as arts commissioner for the city’s arts advisory board and contributed to the Hudson County Arts Master plan.She will be earning about $80,000 per year. ×CAN’T KEEP A GOODMAN DOWN — Christine Goodman seen here at one of her Snowball shows. She has been named new director of Cultural Affairs for Jersey City. CAN’T KEEP A GOODMAN DOWN — Christine Goodman seen here at one of her Snowball shows. She has been named new director of Cultural Affairs for Jersey City.
It was a tiny plastic coin purse that launched an empire. Four decades ago, a Japanese dry goods company began putting colorful decorations on its humdrum products in an effort to appeal to preteen girls. That company, Sanrio, experimented with several images to see what best grabbed young consumers — a flower, a strawberry — but it was a stylized white kitten with a red bow and no mouth that hit pay dirt.Kitty White, better known to generations of her fans around the world as Hello Kitty, is a global marketing phenomenon that generates a reported $5 billion a year and is among the most recognized corporate logos in the world. The ubiquitous Sanrio mascot, designed to convey a message of happiness and friendship, turns 40 Nov. 1.“The question that everyone asks is: ‘Why is she so popular?’” said Christine Yano, the Edwin O. Reischauer Visiting Professor of Japanese Studies at Harvard and a professor of anthropology at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, who has studied Hello Kitty for the past 16 years. “I think it starts with a very clever, aesthetically pleasing design, which a lot can be read into.”The character’s elegant and essentially unchanging appearance over the years, taking on only slight variations to reflect changing fashions, is a deliberate corporate strategy that adds to Kitty’s universal appeal. “This notion of always being the same but always being different allows her, in my mind, to travel not only across oceans, but within somewhere like the United States to different populations,” said Yano.Next Tuesday, Yano will discuss her 2013 book, “Pink Globalization: Hello Kitty’s Trek Across the Pacific,” with Susan Pharr, the Edwin O. Reischauer Professor of Japanese Politics and director of the Weatherhead Center For International Affairs Program on U.S.-Japan Relations. The talk is co-sponsored by the Edwin O. Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies.Yano recently curated “Hello! Exploring the Supercute World of Hello Kitty,” an exhibit on the pop icon’s history that opened earlier this month at the Japanese American Natural Museum in Los Angeles. While promoting the show last August, Yano started a brief Internet sensation when she told a Los Angeles Times reporter that, to Sanrio, Hello Kitty is not a cat but rather “a girl or friend.”This week, Yano will be a featured panelist at “Kitty Con,” the first convention dedicated to all things Hello Kitty, a sold-out event organized by Sanrio to commemorate the 40th anniversary at the Geffen Contemporary at MOCA in Los Angeles.Yano became immersed in the curious world of Hello Kitty super-fandom in 1998 while teaching a course on Japanese pop culture at the University of Hawaii that briefly referenced the character. After learning of its popularity among the anthropology department’s middle-aged, Japanese, female staffers, and its elaborately crafted backstory, Yano said she had an epiphany of sorts.“What I found was the richness of the narrative was pretty incredible,” she said. “But the other wow moment for me as an anthropologist” was the combination of Sanrio’s unusually “rich, fictive world” with the “very human element of the fandom. I thought, now that’s something worth studying.”She has since interviewed Sanrio employees and executives, as well as hundreds of fans, to better understand Hello Kitty’s popularity. “What I found for a lot of the fans was they like this particular cute because it comes with a kind of quirkiness. It’s the cute that can become cool.”Yano places Hello Kitty in the continuum of kawaii, or Japanese cute culture, that grew out of the rise of girls as a powerful consumer and cultural force in Japan in the 1970s and ’80s, one that later spawned a distinctive street culture. The aesthetic embraced cuteness and spunkiness, but played with notions of female sweetness or demureness, often in an ironic or subversive manner — although at times not ironically.“There’s a Japanese concept of play, asobi, which I think is important for us to keep in mind. There’s a willingness to play with image, to throw things together in what might even be considered almost a postmodern aesthetic,” said Yano.Not everyone thinks Hello Kitty is so likable or benign. Some critics despise the shameless commercial ubiquity of the image, while a common Western and Japanese feminist critique centers on the character’s female identity and her absent mouth as an implicit statement of submissiveness, not a chameleon-like blank slate.“That’s one of the first things that a lot of the critics will say, and logically so, if the idea of having a mouth means having a voice, [which] means having agency. In the West, we put those equivalences together, so having no mouth means having no agency,” said Yano. “It’s interesting to me how you will have the fans and the critics looking at the same thing, but just coming down on different sides of the fence.”Unlike the familiar criticisms of sexually or violently themed toys like Barbie or BB guns, “Cute stuff kind of goes under the radar of the normal Western critique,” said Yano. “I think that was part of my impulse in looking at Hello Kitty. I thought cute was in some ways under-theorized, under-researched, and maybe — even from a critical stance in terms of children and what might or might not be appropriate — really forgotten.”