Forever young

Winning the battle over some of the unwanted consequences of aging

By Justin Chapman, Pasadena Weekly, 1/26/2012

Matt Kramer must have some reputable standing in the medical world, because last week the company he owns, Oh!UBeauty Med Spa in Glendale, acquired a new device called a Cool Sculpting machine that not just anyone can get.
“It’s so coveted that you can’t buy it if you want to,” said Kramer. “You have to have clout and be a good enough doctor if you want to get it.”

The machine, recently approved by the Federal Drug Administration, offers a nonsurgical procedure that freezes fat cells and kills them permanently in order to lose pinchable fat, such as under arms and love handles. It is primarily for older people who want to lose about five to 15 pounds of fat that they can’t otherwise get rid of. It’s not a device that can be compared to liposuction, and it’s not designed for overweight or obese people.

“The machine is not invasive, compared to liposuction or lasers, which can be very invasive, painful and expensive,” Kramer explained.

The Cool Sculpting machine is not the only service that the popular med spa offers. The staff of 18 medical professionals focuses on the aesthetic aspects of medicine. They do injectable procedures, like Botox and dermal fillers, and anything else that gets the job done, besides plastic surgery.

“It’s affordable, quick, easy and you don’t go into the ER or anything,” said Kramer. “It’s very effective, and there’s no down time. I think our customers are happy and keep coming back because our prices are good, our personnel are very experienced and customers leave very satisfied. We’re now one of the largest medical spas in Los Angeles County.”
The med spa’s prices range from $750 to $1,500 per treatment. Currently, there is a big introductory special being offered.

Oh!UBeauty is at 130 N. Brand Blvd., Suite 130, Glendale. Call (818) 551-1682 or visit for more information.

If you’re looking for a med spa that also includes plastic surgery, check out Congress Cosmetic Medical Corporation in Pasadena.

Dr. Marilyn Mehlmauer has been in business at the same location since 1991. Mehlmauer has a highly trained staff of medical professionals that includes three physicians, a licensed esthetician and four staff administrators, two of whom are registered nurses.

Mehlmauer’s business is a dermatology practice, covering skin cancer, surgeries, cosmetic procedures, Botox, plastic surgery, facelifts, neck lifts and liposuction. Like Kramer’s spa, her business has also seen an increase in customers over the past few years.

“I think it’s because we have really talented young physicians. The patients are just very happy with what they’re getting, so they tell their friends,” said the doctor. “Also, the economy is getting a little better. But mostly the customers are very happy with the results they get and also the attention. We are intentionally involved in getting the patient good quality care, and it shows.”

She added that the benefits to her practice generally include healthier skin. They try to fit the treatment to the problem, disease or defect, as well as the patient’s economic situation.

“We try to gear the treatment to the patient’s lifestyle and ability to pay,” she said.

Mehlmauer added that she’s surprised to hear patients telling her how much more expensive other places are than Congress Cosmetic Medical Corporation, which is located at 10 Congress St., Pasadena.  Call (626) 585-9474 or visit for more information.

‘Occupy’ everything

New Occupy group set to hold two protests against corporate personhood and political influence

By Justin Chapman, Pasadena Weekly, 1/19/2012

A new Occupy group that includes some old members of the movement has planned two protests inspired by Move to Amend, a coalition of groups opposed to US Supreme Court rulings allowing unlimited contributions to politicians and granting personhood to corporations.
The group Occupy Democracy-Pasadena is not part of Occupy Pasadena, Occupy the Rose Parade or Occupy LA, but a few main organizers from those groups are participating, including Occupy Pasadena’s Patrick Briggs, Maddie Gavel-Briggs and Karen Berger. Also included is Pete Thottam, who organized Occupy the Rose Parade.
Friday’s protest is called Occupy the Courts, which is part of a national effort by Move to Amend, which includes the American Friends Service Committee, the Alliance for Survival, the Center for Media and Democracy and the National Lawyers Guild among its 15 members.
Demonstrators will gather in front of the Pasadena Central Library, across the street from the Pasadena Superior Courthouse, from 1 to 4 p.m. Friday. They are mainly against the Supreme Court ruling two years ago in Citizens United v. the Federal Elections Commission, which allowed corporations to give unrestricted amounts of money to political campaigns. 
“We the people of the United States of America reject the US Supreme Court ruling on Citizens United and move to amend our Constitution to firmly establish that human beings, not corporations, are persons entitled to constitutional rights,” said Berger.
“Corporations now have almost complete control over the financing mechanism of campaigns,” Thottam said. “All these companies are empowered by Citizens United, and it really is one dollar, one vote. So you’ve got a complete plutocracy now, where the electoral process is controlled by corporate interests. Occupy the Courts is saying ‘Corporate money out of politics.’” 
Saturday’s protest is called Occupy the Corporations. From noon to 3 p.m. protesters will gather in front of the AT&T building, 83 E. Colorado Blvd.

‘Warrior’ artist

Controversial and prolific artist Betye Saar comes home

By Justin Chapman, Pasadena Weekly, 1/19/2012

After proving herself as one of the most influential assemblage artists of the past 50 years, Betye Saar is still going strong at age 85. Over the years, the artist’s sometimes controversial works have been shown at prominent museums and art galleries, and today she’s come back to her hometown for a Pacific Standard Time exhibit at the Pasadena Museum of California Art.
Opening Sunday, “LA RAW: Abject Expressionism in Los Angeles 1945-1980, From Rico Lebrun to Paul McCarthy” includes works by Saar and 40 others in a variety of media examining the roles these artists played in the historical context of post-World War II America. 
“My most famous piece is ‘The Liberation of Aunt Jemima,’ which is a figure that was fabricated, actually manufactured, to be a kitchen item to hold a notepad and a pencil and things like that,” Saar explains in a recent interview with the Pasadena Weekly. “So instead of the pencil, I put a rifle in there, and instead of the notepad, I put a photograph in there, so that sort of became an icon. Instead of a servant, I made her a warrior.”
Saar’s family moved to Pasadena in 1932, and although she now lives in Los Angeles, she attended Cleveland and Washington elementary schools as well as Washington Junior High and spent the last two years of high school at Pasadena City College, when it was called Pasadena Junior College. She studied art at UCLA and received her master’s degree from Cal State Long Beach.
After dabbling in fine arts and printmaking, Saar dedicated her talent and energy to assemblage art, or three-dimensional collages. She started gaining respect and admiration in the art world following her controversial works, which recycled derogatory images and figures, such as Aunt Jemima and Little Black Sambo.
Dorothy Garcia, co-founder of the Altadena-based nonprofit Art Aids Art, has known Saar’s mother and family since she was 14, but it wasn’t until seeing one of Saar’s art shows in San Francisco that she realized Saar’s connection with Pasadena and her life.
“For me, Betye is a West Coast artist, a Pasadena artist, and she’s just starting to realize how much she is loved here,” says Garcia. “I would really like to see Pasadena own her. She is a goddess.”
Saar recently received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the California African American Museum for her contribution to the early black arts and women’s movements. But even at age 85, Saar is nowhere near retiring.
“I think my success just comes from continually doing it,” she says. “I can’t give up, because I just have too many ideas, and I’ve got all this stuff to do, so that’s why I think I continue to be an artist. The more you do, the more you can do.”
Saar recalls how she started out, after discovering a trunk that her mother had brought back from Kansas City. The trunk was full of handkerchiefs, gloves, personal letters and other items, such as old photographs of African Americans, which she began using in assemblage art aimed at telling the story of her mixed African, Irish and Native American heritage.
“I like transforming junk into something else,” said Saar. “I go to the PCC flea market, thrift stores, antique stores and yard sales. Those are good places to find materials. I like turning trash into art, which is kind of a California movement.”
The length of time it takes her to finish a piece varies. She’s always writing down ideas and collecting items to use, and sometimes it takes several years until she has gathered enough materials to create a display. Once she is ready, however, putting a piece together usually doesn’t take too long. Her home and art studio is filled with rare and antique items waiting to be turned into three-dimensional works of art.
Although she has only had one solo art installation, Saar enjoys showing her work with other artists. One group show she is particularly proud of consisted of her work along with visual art created by two of her three daughters, Alison and Lezley.
“Betye is the only artist who has had a show with two other women, both her daughters, at the Pasadena Museum of California Art,” said Garcia. “It’s a big deal. If Michelangelo and his son had a show together, we would think it was so hot. The fact that her progeny is having art shows with her, it’s just not usually done.”
Saar, who has been represented by the Michael Rosenfeld Gallery in New York for more than two decades, is ready to bring her work back to the city she grew up in.
“It’s always hard to make it in your own hometown,” said Saar. “It seems like you have to go elsewhere and develop a reputation and then you can be accepted back home. But I’ve always been very fond of Pasadena, and I still go there a lot.” 

“LA RAW: Abject Expressionism in Los Angeles 1945-1980, From Rico Lebrun to Paul McCarthy” opens from noon to 5 p.m. Sunday to May 20 at the Pasadena Museum of California Art, 490 E. Union St., Pasadena. The museum is closed Mondays and Tuesdays. Call (626) 568-3665 or visit for more information.

Think ahead

How to avoid illnesses, even without health insurance

By Justin Chapman, Pasadena Weekly, 1/19/2012

Pasadena is one of only three cities in California that maintains its own independent health department, which was created more than 120 years ago. 
While the scope of the services provided is very broad, the Pasadena Public Health Department also utilizes a Disease Prevention and Control Division that focuses on immunization, lead poisoning and public health clinics specializing in Tuberculosis, prenatal and HIV/AIDS testing and prevention.
According to the department’s Web site, health is broadly defined as “both the absence of disease and the presence of well-being — physical, social, economic, mental and spiritual.”
Everyone knows how important it is to stay healthy. The healthier you are, the better you feel. But how does one make sure he or she does not get a debilitating, or even worse, fatal illness? 
Some ways to avoid catastrophic illnesses are obvious. Quit cigarettes if you smoke; do not start if you are already tobacco free. That can be easier said than done, but it is definitely possible and there are plenty of options out there for those who are ready and willing to put in the effort to quit the habit. 
Drinking alcohol, taking drugs and eating disorders are also ways to develop unwanted stress, disease and illness. Like the old saying goes, everything in moderation. It’s a good rule to live by.
Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) can easily be avoided by practicing safe sex. While condoms are hardly 100 percent guaranteed safeguard against STDs, you are, without question, much better off using them than not. When in doubt, get the morning after pill and/or get tested for HIV and other STDs as soon as possible. 
Officials at Planned Parenthood, located at 1045 N. Lake Ave., are there to help people in those often uncomfortable situations. Don’t put off something so important out of shame or embarrassment. The situation will not go away, and avoiding it will only make things worse.
Detecting and treating diseases can be very costly, but even if you don’t have health insurance, there are local options to turn to. The Community Health Alliance of Pasadena (CHAP) and the city’s public health clinics, for instance, have programs aimed at educating and preventing HIV and other STDs. Health insurance isn’t even required to get tested, which is a very important step in avoiding these types of life-changing illnesses.
CHAP, which provides low- and no-cost services to those who meet income qualifications, has three locations in Pasadena: 1855 N. Fair Oaks Ave., 1800 N. Lake Ave., and 3160 E. Del Mar Blvd. Call (626) 398-6300 to schedule an appointment. No one is turned away due to their inability to pay.
The city’s Disease Prevention and Control Division covers a myriad of activities, such as public health field nursing to investigate cases of communicable disease and to counsel and educate infected individuals; tuberculosis control; sexually transmitted disease counseling and treatment; HIV/AIDS outpatient medical services; public health laboratory testing and analysis; travel immunizations; and childhood lead poisoning prevention and treatment.
No one wants to deal with a catastrophic illness. Take care of your mind and body — you only get one. If you don’t have health insurance, there are free clinics right here in Pasadena that exist to help you live a long, prosperous life. Take advantage of their services. 

Re-carving Pasadena

Separate task forces consider City Council and school board district boundaries

By Justin Chapman, Pasadena Weekly, 1/12/2012

Wednesday night marks one of the last opportunities people will have to review the work of a special task force charged with redrawing the boundaries of Pasadena’s seven City Council districts.
The redistricting effort, which is mandated every decade to include demographic changes reflected in the US Census, has been headed by former Councilman Bill Crowfoot, an Assistant US Attorney and two-term Pasadena councilman who served from 1993 to 2001.
After nine meetings since August, the only thing that appears clear — with another meeting set for Feb. 1 and a tentative final session set for Feb. 15 before the nine-member Redistricting Task Force’s recommendations go to the Council for consideration — is that all seven districts will continue abutting Colorado Boulevard, Pasadena’s main commercial artery.
Meanwhile, the Pasadena Unified School District has commissioned a task force to essentially do much the same thing. PUSD’s nine-member Districting Task Force is reviewing the 1999-2000 City Charter Amendment proposal for sub-geographic district elections of Board of Education members and using 2010 Census data and public input to determine geographic regions for seven school board seats. This means the selection method for PUSD board members would change from current at large elections to district-based elections, similar to how City Council elections are set up. 
The PUSD Districting Task Force, which next meets Saturday morning, has a bigger area to consider than the city’s task force, because PUSD also encompasses the unincorporated community of Altadena and the city of Sierra Madre. PUSD and the City Council appointed three members each to the task force, with one member appointed by the Sierra Madre City Council and two appointed by LA County Supervisor Michael Antonovich, whose supervisorial district includes Altadena.
The task force is also required to ensure compliance with the Voting Rights Act. At its Nov. 15 meeting, members voted unanimously to follow four other criteria for drawing up seven new school district boundaries: socio-economic factors; race, ethnicity and linguistics; natural geographic boundaries; and school attendance zones, including school locations and student attendance patterns.
“I favor it, because it brings a more local democracy,” said PUSD Board member Ramon Miramontes. With districts, he said, “The average person, the average parent can now run. They can walk the district. They don’t have to raise the $50,000-plus. So I think we’re going to have a stronger pool of candidates.” 
Pasadena Unified’s task force has six scheduled public hearings left in order to receive community input on the process, following the first hearing, which took place Jan. 3. A special election set for June 5 will allow voters to decide on a City Charter amendment allowing for the creation of PUSD electoral districts.
It’s still unclear whether Altadena or Sierra Madre will get their own sub-district seats on the school board, though at the joint meeting between the Pasadena City Council and the PUSD Board of Education last January, a few school board members expressed doubt that would be the case.
“I know there’s been some discussion floating around,” said Board member Ed Honowitz. “If we divide [the district] evenly by seven, it’s not going to fall exactly like that. There won’t be a separate city of Sierra Madre representative, for instance.”
John Pappalardo, PUSD’s chief finance officer, told the Weekly that with roughly 206,000 people in the school district, there needs to be about 29,000 people in each sub-district.
“Since Sierra Madre has about 15,000 residents and Altadena has about 42,000 residents, each could be split into part of one or two sub-districts. So it’s going to be up to the community to weigh in and decide how these lines are drawn,” Pappalardo said. 
“Some Altadenans say they want their own seat, but another thought I’ve heard from Altadenans is that they want to be part of multiple sub-districts, so they’ll have more representatives and more access in the school district. Those are issues that will come up during the public hearings,” he said.
“There are a lot of people who do not venture into the political realm at PUSD because it’s at large,” Miramontes said. “For you to run in West Altadena and go all the way to Sierra Madre, imagine the types of communities you’d have to touch bases with. You can’t really win a school board race without tens of thousands of dollars in mailers. Now with districts, you’ve made it viable for the average Joe or Jane to run. Now it would take seven to 10 [thousand dollars], and they could make up for the lack of money by walking and meeting the voters.”
In city redistricting efforts, consultant Douglas Johnson said criteria for that task force included compliance with the Voting Rights Act and ensuring that each district is equal in population. 
Of two sample maps being considered, the second would have the greatest effect on District 5 — Crowfoot’s former district, which is located roughly in the center of northern Pasadena and was carved out of parts of Districts 2 and 3 in the early 1990s to increase voting opportunities for the growing number of Latinos living there.
Although Crowfoot is not Latino, he speaks Spanish fluently. Since Crowfoot left office, the district’s council seat has been occupied by his former field representative, Councilman Victor Gordo.
Between 2000 and 2010, the city’s total population increased by 3,186 residents, or 2.4 percent. Districts 3, 4, 6, and 7 increased in population slightly, while Districts 1, 2, and 5 decreased, with District 5 seeing the largest decline in Latino and African American residents.
“That district’s had the greatest decline in population, so it has to grow and expand somewhat,” said Crowfoot. “It’s interesting, because it illustrates how some areas of our city are stable and people want to continue to be part of the same neighborhoods in which they’ve established good relationships with their neighbors and council representatives, while in other parts of the city new neighborhoods have been created that weren’t around when the last Census was done. This is unusual, he said.

The next meeting of the Pasadena Redistricting Task Force is set for 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at Villa-Parke Community Center, 363 E. Villa St., Pasadena. For more information, call (626) 744-4124. To view the sample maps, visit
The next meeting of the PUSD Districting Task Force is set for10 a.m. Saturday at the Western Justice Center, 55 S. Grand Ave., Pasadena. For more information, call (626) 396-3600 ext. 88159 or visit

War is delicious

Pasadena merchants vie for customers looking to celebrate some old favorites

By Justin Chapman and Kevin Uhrich, Pasadena Weekly, 1/12/2012

The fighting is apparently not over for the winners of The Food Channel’s “Cupcake Wars,” who are opening a shop in Old Pasadena at the same time the city Chamber of Commerce is celebrating the birth of the cheeseburger, which records show occurred here in the mid-1920s.
But never let it be said there isn’t enough room in Pasadena for two great tastes that don’t necessarily go together, or, more importantly, with the diets of anyone serious about watching what they eat. 
Chamber President and CEO Paul Little, who came up with the idea to promote cheeseburgers as part of California Restaurant Month, said there should be no conflicts over customer loyalty to owners of businesses selling either of these delicious foodstuffs.  
What has some restaurants worried — and foodies across the country salivating — is National Pizza Week, which runs through Sunday. 
How much that will bite into local cheeseburger and cupcake sales is unknown. With several restaurants across the city participating in these different overlapping events and offering discount meals, more people are expected to go out and celebrate some old favorites. But is there room for both pizza and cheeseburgers in the stomachs of greater Pasadena, perhaps with cupcakes for dessert?
“Honestly, I think the more attention that is given to dining experiences in Pasadena of all kinds the better for everybody,” said Little. “What people will remember is that there are a whole lot of options in Pasadena, no matter what your taste.”
Anthony Valerio and his aunt Vandy Altounian, winners of “Cupcake Wars,” are gearing up for the grand opening of their store, Wonderland Custom Cakes, Saturday. Free cupcakes and other surprises will be given to attendees. After the grand opening, Wonderland will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Sundays. The store is at 107 S. Fair Oaks Ave., Pasadena, across the street from Castle Green.
Pasadena Cheeseburger Week runs from Sunday through Jan. 20. CREPEstudio, Beckham Grill and Crown Pub, Lovebirds Café, Soleil at the Sheraton, Jersey Mike’s, Noir Food and Wine and Kings Row Gastropub will join Pie ‘n Burger, a/k/a: an American bistro, The Counter, Burger Continental, Clearman’s Gallery, Toro Sushi, Magnolia Lounge, Vertical Wine Bistro, El Portal and M Local Mediterranean Grill in offering a cheeseburger or cheeseburger alternative. Visit for special menus, deals and to vote for your favorite.
In 1924 a teenage Lionel Sternberger apparently began the popular marriage of meat and cheese in his father’s hamburger joint on West Colorado Boulevard.
“Since the cheeseburger was invented here, we figured the city as a whole should be aware of that and figure out a way to celebrate it,” said Little.
With pizza doing battle with cheeseburgers and cupcakes, only one thing is certain — this week will be delicious.

A few slightly original works by Carl Kozlowski


Ode to the Cheeseburger


Cheeseburger, Cheeseburger …

How I love you so


Cheeseburger, Cheeseburger …

More than you will ever know


Cheeseburger, Cheeseburger …

Favorite of my youth

Cheeseburger, Cheeseburger …

That’s the sad, unfortunate truth


Cheeseburger, Cheeseburger …

Must you taunt me so?

Cheeseburger, Cheeseburger …

Everywhere I go


Battle Hymn of the Cupcake

(Set to “Battle Hymn of the Republic”)


My stomach’s filled with growling

‘Cause there is a cupcake war

You can hear me yowling

Because my boss won’t let me out the door


The paper’s put me on a diet

That they won’t let me ignore

And the sweets are marching on


Glory, glory Hallelujah

So moist they’ll pass right through ya

Whether chocolate or coconut

They’ll give you a great big butt

So I must pass them on …

Paean to the Pizza

(Set to “Scenes from an Italian Restaurant” by Billy Joel)


Sauces of white, sauces of red

Perhaps some puttanesca instead.

I used to have a table near the street

But now I can’t go to that place
Where I used to stuff my face – mmm mmm

Sauces of red, sauces of white

I always had an appetite

You could find me any time you want

In that Italian restaurant


Things aren’t going go great these days
My boss ordered a diet, put me in a haze
Said I’ll never find a wife, or have a decent life
Without a new waistline


I lost touch with the menu long ago

Gotta lose weight so I could not go

Man it’d be nice to sneak off for a slice

But an expanding waistline would be the ultimate price


Do you remember those days hanging at Tarantino’s on Green?

Stuffing the booth, tight pants busting out at the seams

Slip 5 bucks to the chef he’ll give you the slice of your dreams

Cold beer, hot slice, my aromatic pizza nights, ooh ooh

Oh, oh, oh
Sauces of red, sauces of white,
I’ll eat whatever’s on my plate tonight
I’ll meet you away from the front
In our Italian Restaurant.