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Video Honors “Mr. Rose Parade”

Published: February 15, 2016

A video produced by a student and a recent graduate from the CSULB Film and Electronic Arts Department honoring “Mr. Rose Parade” is set to be acquired by the Smithsonian Institution’s American History Collection. The video by Rod Velasquez and Zachary Stewart is a tribute to the late Raul R. Rodriguez, a CSULB alumnus and a long-time Tournament of Roses Parade float designer and will be acquired along with other pieces from an exhibit dedicated to Rodriguez.

“Raul Rodriguez had such an incredible influence on float design and I wanted to undertake a project where the facilitation between ideas, impact and artwork were fundamental in the presentation of the video,” said Velasquez, a recent alum of CSULB. “The experience of making the video was amazing. Learning about Raul and his robust accomplishments gave me a new-found appreciation for the creative artwork that goes into the Rose Parade. Learning of Raul’s impact was very inspiring. It made me feel like anything can be possible.”

The video, titled “Mr. Rose Parade,” was recently screened at the “Live on Green” pre-parade exhibits in Pasadena.

“We were asked to create a tribute to Raul that would connect with millennials,” said Stewart, a production management major. “Once I researched Raul, I fell in love with his artwork and spirit and ultimately felt compelled to do him justice. It was an amazing experience about an amazing person.”

Rodriguez, who was often seen with his blue hyacinth macaw, Sebastian, passed away in February 2015. He began his career at the age of 15, when he created his first Rose Parade float and, since then, designed more than 500 floral floats for the parade. He won more awards than any other designer in the history of the parade including the Sweepstakes Trophy, the Tournament of Roses Parade’s highest honor, 23 times. The award recognizes the most beautiful entry in the parade with outstanding floral presentation and design. His final float was in 2014.

Among his many works, he was designer for the opening stage set of the World’s Fair in New Orleans, art director for Philadelphia’s “We the People 200” United States’ Bicentennial Parade and consultant to the Olympic Games in Los Angeles.

Rodriguez’s creations have decorated the Flamingo Hilton, Tropicana, Caesars Palace and Circus Circus hotels. He also has created concepts for Harley-Davidson, as well as worked with the Walt Disney Co., Universal Studios, Landmark Entertainment and Radio City Music Hall. In addition, he created Six Flags’ “Glow in the Park” parade, a nighttime electric parade. Also an illustrator of children’s books, Rodriguez was honored as distinguished alumnus for the College of the Arts at CSULB in 1993.

To view the video, click here and type in the password RAULROD (case sensitive).