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On the Town: Bingo night sells out, raises funds for veterans’ programs

So popular was the sixth annual Community Bingo Night at Holy Redeemer Church that it sold out.

On Aug. 18, 250 players packed Healy Hall at the church in Montrose. The event was presented by American Legion Post 288 and Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 1614.

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Andy Gero, chaplain and life member of VFW Post 1614, came up with the idea of a bingo night, the organizations' major fundraiser.

Along with Gero, other chairmen were Lynn McGinnis, Post 288 judge advocate; and Mike Baldwin, Post 288 adjutant and Post 1614 member.

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This wasn't your grandmothers' bingo game; players were young and old, male and female. For a $15 buy-in, each player was looking for that elusive $100 winning bingo card.

First-time players Aurelia Thomasy, 11, and brother Chance Thomasy, 13, joined bingo veteran/grandma Debbie McKinney. The three are from La Crescenta.

The last thing on their friend Melanie Fushi's mind, however, was not bingo. The Sunland resident announced her goal.

"I've come to meet my future husband," she said. Whatever the intention, all shared in the spirit of "funraising."

Maria Gero coordinated kitchen duty. Her crew dished up pizza, sodas and coffee to the standing-room-only crowd.

The night's proceeds will benefit veteran's programs in the local community.

At first glance, the utility box at Central Avenue and Glenoaks Boulevard looked like it was being defaced by some sort of graffiti artist on psychedelic medication.

But the very unmedicated Paige Emery of Echo Park had an entirely different goal in mind. She was painting each side of the box to represent members of the local band "Vinyl Williams."

This was no lark by a would-be fine artist. Emery was selected by the Glendale Arts and Culture Commission to help beautify the city's streetscape.

According to Commissioner Arlene Vidor, each artist used by the commission is given a $750 stipend. Funding is from the Urban Art Program.

Emery planned to take three days to complete painting her utility box-turned-canvas. This was Aug. 19, her first day working on the project.

Hoisting a large, red umbrella, the artist braved heat, the occasional breeze that would upend her umbrella, a thief who stole it, and the curious passerby who wanted to know what was she doing.

This isn't Emery's only gig. During the rest of the week, she teaches children's art classes and is a freelance artist.

As part of the city's "Beyond the Box" mural program, there are 109 painted utility boxes in Glendale. Emery's is the most recent.

Meanwhile, across the city, another form of art was being exhibited, also on Aug. 19. The Adams Hill Neighborhood Assn. hosted a free public reception for an art installation titled "Migrant" by architect and Culver City resident Luke Elton Smith.

The Adams Square Mini Park on Palmer Avenue was the location for art lovers, historians and the merely inquisitive.

"Migrant" is made up of approximately 3,700 tiny human figures suspended in a cloud-like grid. The piece was originally conceived last year as the artist's response to the European Migrant Crisis of 2015, when hundreds of people died crossing the Mediterranean Sea as they tried to reach Europe.

"I wanted to represent what that number would look like," Smith said. He said he encourages viewers to visit the installation in the evening when it is lit and the figures glow.

During the reception, Smith received a certificate of recognition from the California Legislature, represented by Assemblywoman Laura Friedman (D-Glendale). Friedman was not present at the event.

On hand to support the artist was Shant Sahakian, commissioner on the Glendale Art and Culture Commission and Glendale Unified board member.

Accompanying Sahakian were his wife Suzanna and their 9-month son Raffi, a budding art appreciator.

More art aficionados present were Arlene Vidor, also a commissioner on the city's Art and Culture Commission; and Glendale resident Cecelia Walker.

The event was organized by Cathy Hrenda, head of the Adams Hill Neighborhood Assn., and Stephen Meek, the association's vice president.

The art installation is one in a series of site-specific art installations sponsored by the Art and Culture Commission with funding from the city's Urban Art Fund. The installation will be on view through Nov. 17.

RUTH SOWBY RANDS may be reached at ruthasowby@gmail.com.

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