ThaWilsonBlock Magazine

Friday, December 30, 2016

Why Bungalow Heaven stands as Pasadena's most significant neighborhood

Pasadena, California. A nation leader in historic preservation. Lets forget tha fact that Bungalow
Heaven is home of ThaWilsonBlock, today's source for the city's local music scene. According to the City of Pasadena and a federal registry, Bungalow Heaven stands as arguably tha most significant neighborhood in Pasadena, CA as far as architectural preservation is concerned. Dating back between 1888 - 1929, tha 16-block neighborhood was developed with one and two-story residential homes. Fast forward to the late 1980's, Bungalow Heaven has impressively managed to sustain and uphold it's intrinsic value.

Most bungalows built in Bungalow Heaven were during the Arts & Crafts period of the early 20th century. Because there was growing demand for industrialization during this period, tha individual craftsman had to hone his/her own creative skills. The typical bungalow is one-and-The Gamble House is the most prominent example of Arts & Crafts architecture in Pasadena, homes in Bungalow Heaven reflect the way typical families lived during that time period.
a-half stories high with open floor plans, wide verandas, and sloping roofs. Inside of these prestigious works of art feature many amenities that were built-in to the property like cabinets and shelves.

If you were to ask the Bungalow Heaven Neighborhood Association or anyone down at Pasadena City Hall, chances are that they would confirm the neighborhood's boundaries are roughly bounded by Mentor Avenue to tha West, Orange Grove Boulevard to tha South, Washington Blvd to tha North, and Hill Ave to tha East. Though this may be technically true, today's residents have accepted the entire community from Lake to Hill, Washington to Orange Grove as part of Bungalow Heaven. The neighborhood features McDonald Park which covers approximately 4.9 acres.

But, why are we saying BH is Pasadena's most significant neighborhood? Aside from the fact that they boast a whopping 800+ Craftsman-style homes, it is Pasadena's largest landmark district that is  listed in tha National Register of Historic Places. Although Pasadena has many landmark districts, very few of them have been listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Bungalow Heaven, nestled in the North Central area of the city, is also recognized by the Office of Historic Preservation. To help readers gain a bit more clarity, let's quickly read about these agencies and what it means to be recognized by them.

Landmark District: A landmark district is a grouping of contiguous properties that is united by plan or physical development and represents a specific aspect of the city's history. Residents of a neighborhood begin the process by proposing a district and working  with city staff to define the boundaries of the district and organize a community meeting to inform property owners of the effects of landmark district designation.  The residents then submit an application to the City for designation of a landmark district.  At least 51% of affected property owners must sign the petition in support of the designation.  Public hearings are held before the Historic Preservation Commission,
Planning Commission, and City Council.  The City Council has the final authority to designate an area as a landmark district. For historic buildings, the City is authorized to use the State Historical Building Code, an alternative code that allows limited modifications to current building code standards.  The use of this code can save a property owner money (e.g., a porch railing that does not meet the current standards for height could be kept instead of replaced with a higher railing).  Landmark district designation also makes it possible for property owners to access professional consultation, free of charge, from City staff who have expertise in historic building rehabilitation. In addition, houses in designated landmark districts are eligible for a property tax reduction under the Historic Property Contract (Mills Act) program.
The National Register of Historic Places: The official list of the Nation's historic places worthy of preservation. Authorized by the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, the National Park Service's National Register of Historic Places is part of a national program to coordinate and support public and private efforts to identify, evaluate, and protect America's historic and archeological resources.

Office of Historic Preservation: The idea of an Office of Historic Preservation (OHP) began in 1953 with the establishment of the History Section of the Division of Beaches and Parks (the precursor to today's California State Parks). Eventually, in 1975, the Office of Historic Preservation was officially established within the offices of the Director of California State Parks. The formation of the OHP was an outgrowth of the passage of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, which called for the creation of a state agency to implement provisions of the law, including the preparation of a responsibilities of the OHP have grown to encompass a variety of federal and state preservation laws and agencies.
comprehensive historic preservation plan and a statewide survey of historical resources. Since its inception, the
The cool thing about Pasadena's amazing neighborhoods is that every landmark district has some sort of unique heritage. The Historic Highlands is one of the city's newer formed neighborhood districts, but it's awesome how their community spans into Altadena. Garfield Heights also covers some pretty cool ground. Orange Heights, a very small landmark area, is where Chris Holden is from, a California Assembly member for the SGV region.

If you would like to see these Bungalow Heaven beauties up close & personal, they host an annual home tour event of tha neighborhood to educate people and potential home buyers on the rich heritage and significance that dwells there.

Learn more about Bungalow Heaven and Pasadena's esteemed landmark districts

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Teena Marie's Legacy Lingers in Pasadena's San Rafael Neighborhood

Mistah Wilson locates R&B Legend Teena Marie's Pasadena,CA Residence
 Update: The original article claimed Teena Marie's Pasadena home was located in Linda Vista. Correction: Teena Marie's Pasadena, CA residence was located in the San Rafael area @ 1000 Laguna Road. Pasadena, CA 91105

Although the Ivory Queen of Soul and Rick James protege wasn't born in Pasadena, California, the fact that she lived off Laguna Road right here in Pasadena's San Rafael neighborhood means a lot for the local music scene.

As you think about what Pasadena has been to the County of Los Angeles, you can only imagine the type of things that have transpired on the local music scene with Hollywood being so close. Pasadena has been known as a place Hollywood comes to when they are trying to keep a low profile. Even so, it's also a place Hollywood shoots a lot of their highly esteemed TV Show sitcoms, movies, commercials, and more.

Percy's Portrait Photography
But, let's get back to Teena. It has been no secret that she passed away in her Pasadena home on
December 26th, 2010. Teena was one of the many famous musicians who made some type of establishment for themselves in Pasadena, California. So, what does that mean for the local music scene? Well, let's take a look at who she was and what she accomplished in her career. The classic Motown recording artist followed the footsteps of funk legend Rick James.

Born in Santa Monica, California, Teena Marie was no doubt a one-of-a-kind musician. She began singing in her early childhood at local churches, took piano lessons, and dibbled in musical theater as well. She landed a role in The Beverly Hillbillies, credited as Tina Marie Brockert. After living in San Fernando Valley's Mission Hills, she moved to the Oakwood neighborhood of Venice Beach where she would begin taking the necessary steps to pursuing a career as a musician. She took numerous buses to Hollywood and would walk Sunset Boulevard shopping her music. She put a musical group together, however, when she was granted the rare opportunity to actually meet Berry Gordy, he didn't see the need for a group dynamic with her skill set. So he signed Teena Marie to Motown Records as a solo act.

In the early 1970's, Gordy moved Motown Records from Detroit, Michigan to Los Angeles,
Percy's Portrait Photography
California. For the first few years of Teena being on Motown, she struggled with their producers. Then, already established musician Rick James, who was also signed to Motown, gets wind of Teena's talent and it wasn't long before they collaborated. From that point forward, Rick James and Teena Marie would develop a close relationship on and off the stage.

Teena's debut album Wild & Peaceful scored her first top ten R&B hit with "I'm A Sucker For Your Love", a duet with Rick James. It wasn't long before Marie was credited with being more talented than other African-American Blues singers. Although that qualifies as an opinion, Berry Gordy claims," When I go to see her, (the audience) it's about 70% black." Not to take away from the great Afro-American singers of that time, Teena was just one of those musicians who really had the blow. So much to a point where you listen to it and have no idea she is Caucasian.

Percy's Portrait Photography
When Teena's relationship with James began to take a dive, she wanted to do her own thing. However, when she attempts to go off and do her own thing, she got into a heated legal dispute with  Motown Records that ended in Marie winning. Her win changed the music industry by balancing the power between record labels and their signed artists. The lawsuit resulted in "The Brockert Initiative", which made it illegal for a record company to keep an artist under contract without releasing new material for that artist. It was a huge win. Teena Marie commented on the law in an LA Times article, saying, "It wasn't something I set out to do. I just wanted to get away from Motown and have a good life. But it helped a lot of people, like Luther Vandross and the Mary Jane Girls, and a lot of different artists, to be able to get out of their contracts." She left Motown as the label's most successful white solo act. And that is when she was rumored to have bought her house on Laguna Road in Pasadena, California's prestigious San Rafael neighborhood.

Since then, Teena has had a great career. An electric performer who could satisfy the arena. She's worked with great artists such as Rick James (of course), Faith Evans, Snoop Dogg, Domino, Eve, George Duke, Gerald Levert, & more. "In the studio with Teena was a little intimidating," says Faith Evans who was honored to work with her. 

Mistah Wilson located Teena Marie's Pasadena residence by finding the coordinates here. Once the here. When he arrived at the address, he spoke with the current owner of the home who was able & willing to give a little more insight into her living conditions that some blame for her seizure.
Percy's Portrait Photography
When the coordinates were found, Mistah Wilson was able to see exactly where Teena lived in Pasadena, California. When Mistah Wilson discovered the address, he decided to pay the home a visit to see if it matches with pictures of her Pasadena home featured here.

The owner informed Mistah Wilson that she strongly believed that many people took advantage of her. We're talking people from Rick James himself to her pool man. The current owner also mentioned that when she moved into the house in 2011, she didn't sleep in Marie's bedroom for 3 years because that was the room she died in. The owner claims that when her house flooded the day after Christmas in 2010, it filled her entire downstairs including her home studio. The current homeowner believes that the flood caused stress that led to her seizure.

"She's still relevant after 30 years because she's good," says Gordy in TVOne's Unsung. It was nice to know that Marie took parenting seriously. She claims that she didn't want to raise her daughter with a nanny so she made some career sacrifices to make a life for Alia Rose, who goes by the stage name Rose Le Beau. "The thing I'm very proud of is my child," says Teena Marie.

According to Wikipedia, In 2004, while Teena Marie was sleeping in a hotel room, a large picture frame fell and struck her on the head. The blow caused a serious concussion that would cause momentary seizures for the rest of her life. On the afternoon of December 26, 2010, Teena Marie was found unresponsive by her daughter, Alia Rose, at Teena Marie's home in Pasadena, California. On December 30, 2010, an autopsy was performed by the Los Angeles County coroner, who found no signs of apparent trauma or a discernible cause of death, and concluded she had died from natural causes. She had suffered a tonic–clonic seizure a month before.

A memorial service was held at Forest Lawn Cemetery on January 10, 2011. Among those in attendance were Smokey Robinson, LisaRaye, Sinbad, Tichina Arnold, Stevie Wonder, Deniece Williams, Shanice Wilson, Queen Latifah, and Berry Gordy, Jr.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

DENA Artists send shout outs @ BringingItTogether November 2016 Free Artist Photo Shoot

Artists and members of the community who attended the #BringingItTogether November 2016 Free "Never Understand" ft. Imani Akil off of his latest project Beautiful Struggle mixtape,
Artist Photo Shoot sends shout outs on video. Like Bing Bing said in
"Now, we bringin' it together, and can't nothin stop us, take pictures in any weatherWhether, tha weather is wetter or better than ever..."

Saturday, December 10, 2016

ThaWilsonBlock Magazine Issue46

ThaWilsonBlock Magazine's 46th Issue features #BringingItTogether November 2016 Free Artist Photo Shoot (Official Photo Album) + 734 Coffee + Exploring the Intersection of Hip Hop & Social Justice + Dave Chappelle + Snoop Dogg + Colin Kaepernick + A Tribe Called Quest + Mos Def + Mark Whalberg + Taffey Champion Exclusive Interview + A Father & Son Explore Latino Culture Through Photography + An Asian Student Society Responds to Racism with a Riveting Photo Series + so much more...

Friday, December 9, 2016

Rain Couldn't Stop DENA Artists from #BringingItTogether in the November 2016 Free Artist Photo Shoot

After the success of the #BringingItTogether October 2016 Free Artist Photo Shoot, Mistah Wilson &
Percy Johnson were excited for next month’s event. This time, they put a little more love into it. With only a couple of weeks to make it happen, they went out to get a photo backdrop with the logos of ThaWilsonBlock Magazine, Percy’s Portrait Photography, and a hashtag of #DENA to represent where the movement is taking place.

Before the October 2016 shoot, the news was forecasting rain on the day of the event. That would be tragic since everyone is meeting up outside in McDonald Park. As the day grew in, it was almost cancelled. Mistah Wilson decided to go along with it and it turned out to be a beautiful sunny day. For the next event, the news forecasted rain. Mistah Wilson decided to call the weather’s bluff. But, this time, the weather was for real.

After much preparation and money spent to put this event together, we were expecting a much bigger turnout than the first one. On the morning of the event, the sun beamed life onto La Pintoresca. But, by 2p at Jefferson Park, the clouds were coming in fast. It was unbelievable because it was such a
sunny day to begin with.

The event started at 12p and it hadn’t yet rained. DJ AJ was holdin’ it down with local, Pasadena music, neo-soul, & funk jams. The photo backdrop was against the sidewall of the restrooms and nobody had any problems coming together for the cause. Soon enough, it starts to rain sideways! The people who came stayed through the rain for the most of the event. I mean, these artists were troopers. But, once it did start raining, we believe it deterred a lot of people from coming out.

“People were pulling up to the event, but kept going once it started to rain,” says an attendee. Although it rained, we were fortunate enough to have a few large trees over everything. They were still able to eat the BBQ & Teriyaki chicken wins, Pizza, Salad, & Cookies.

“We strongly believe that the rain deterred people from coming out to participate in the
#BringingItTogether November 2016 Free Artist Photo Shoot. We’d still like to thank everybody who had interest and wanted to come out. We’d also like to thank all those who came out and those who won raffle prizes. We can’t do this without you,” Mistah Wilson says after the event.

During the event, the backdrop was moved under one of the large trees. Even though it rained, a few people still showed up and participated. It was truly amazing to see these artists battle through the rain to be a part of their community. It still turned out to be a great event with about double the amount of photos taken. While it was going on, it felt like a failure. But, in hindsight, it’s pretty admirable to see artists endure the rain for the cause. That’s a great milestone we achieved together that we can reflect on later to inspire us moving forward.

Close to $1,000 was spent to put this event together only for their parade to be rained on! Mistah
Wilson takes responsibility for the lack of preparation on his part and says the next series of event(s) leading up to the Summer will be held indoors and will be taking place in the evening time. For this event, it wasn’t so much about who they were as individuals, but who they are as individuals coming together.

Mistah Wilson’s vision for this event is slowly taking form. He knew that October & November’s shoot had to be done informally so that he could gain some momentum to brand the event through the Gold Carpet. On Friday December 30th from 8p-12a, Mistah Wilson & ThaWilsonBlock Magazine will be bringing you the #BringingItTogether Open Mic Gold Carpet Photo Shoot & Drum Circle! Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Q&A w/ SoCal artist Khriz-Z about the Advantages of being a Bilingual Rapper

Mistah Wilson: Honored to have you here with us for this exclusive interview with ThaWilsonBlock
Magazine. What you been up to?
Khriz-Z: I've been well. Just focusing on music, work, and family. Everyday I’m one step closer to success.

Mistah Wilson: For our audience reading this, could you give us a quick background on yourself?
Khriz-Z: Well, I was born in Mexico City. I came with my mom, to the U.S.A, when I was 10 years old. Now I’m 22 years old. In between those years, I lived in a couple of cities. Pomona, Corona, Riverside, Colton, and San Bernardino.

Mistah Wilson: You came thru tha #BringingItTogether October 2016 Photo Shoot @ McDonald Park. How was tha experience?
Khriz-Z: I had a good day at the photo shoot. I met new artist and it was a good experience. I enjoy being able to go and expand my work all over the SoCal.

Mistah Wilson: Tell us about what led you to become an artist.. 
Khriz-Z: Since I was 13 years old, I would always be writing lyrics, poems, quotes, etc. I enjoy all music, but I would listen to hip-hop even more. Then I started getting into rapping. When I turned 18 years old. I went to Art Institute, for Audio Engineer. I wanted to know how to mix, what are the best microphones to use, how to use plugins, what's the best software, etc. I just wanted to know everything that had to do with music. I have a mixtape called " El Despegue" which was my very first mixtape. I also, have another mixtape called " Somos Pocos Pero..." which, it was a project with the "r.s. clika" Now I’m promoting my new mixtape " NI DE AQUI... NI DE A.K.A“ Already working on a new project.

Mistah Wilson: Where do you get inspiration to write new music? 
Khriz-Z: From life. everything I've been thru, all the struggle, good times, and bad times. Also, my girlfriend, Jackie Valadez, encourage me every single day to keep doing music and she's always pushing me to do more and not stop. Being a bilingual rapper, what are some of tha advantages you have compared to rappers who speak one language?

Mistah Wilson: Being a bilingual rapper, what are some of tha advantages you have compared to rappers who speak one language? 
Khriz-Z: I feel being a bilingual rapper has opened several doors in the music industry from both sides, speaking Spanish and English. By being bilingual, I have more opportunities to approach to a bigger audience. Also, my music can be listen to, not only in the U.S.A and Mexico, if not all North and South America and hopefully one day in Europe.

Mistah Wilson: Where can people keep up with you online? 
Khriz-Z: My IG is " khriz.z " and my personal email is;