On the Town: Glendale Arts downplays anniversary bash as local residents deal with La Tuna fire

Since its 1925 opening, the Alex Theatre's mandate has been to "serve the community."

The Alex continues that mission today. Honoring those who have been worried about their safety and their homes during the La Tuna fire, members of the Glendale Arts board and its staff modified the scope of the Alex's 92nd birthday party on Sept. 3, as the fire was still burning, to be a more modest celebration.


Canceled was a program and raffle.

"We felt it was inappropriate to use the event as the fundraiser we originally intended," said Elissa Glickman, chief executive of Glendale Arts.


The fundraising goal had been $10,000.

"We changed the focus to be more of an open house," said Nina Crowe, director of fund development for Glendale Arts.

Despite the changes, more than 400 people showed up.

The evening still had something for everyone. Free to the public, the Alex party featured Thai Me Upp appetizers, self-guided backstage tours and a scavenger hunt. Most popular was a chance to get your picture taken within a giant photo frame on stage with your choice of colorful backgrounds.

Glendale Councilwoman Paula Devine did just that. She posed with Glickman. Earlier in the day, Devine had visited members of the Red Cross who were taking good care of evacuees at Crescenta Valley High.

As word spread of greater fire containment, freeway reopenings and evacuation orders lifted, party-goers had all the more reason to celebrate.

Glendale residents breathing a little easier were Susan Hunt, Marcia Hanford, Art Devine, Mercy Velazquez, Camille Levee, Monica and Jose Sierra (having just celebrated their 39th wedding anniversary), Marion and Paul Greene and Yvette Vartanian Davis, newest member of the Glendale Community College's board of trustees. Harry Hull, past president of the Glendale Arts board, also attended, looking relieved as he weaved his way through the crowd.

Lisa Yeghiayan, a member of the Glendale Arts board, said she was happy her La Crescenta home was out of danger. Also present was La Crescenta resident Velvet Rhodes, looking forward to her Glendale International Film Festival next month.

State Sen. Anthony Portantino, (D-La Cañada Flintridge) made an appearance. He confirmed the fire's greater containment. "Once again, community response was terrific with an outpouring of generosity," he said.

There was also an online auction, including raffle baskets that were not on display during the party. Items up for grabs can be found at But hurry, the auction ends tomorrow.

Auction and event sponsors were the Downtown Glendale Assn., the Walt Disney Co. and AM870 the Answer.

Cabrini Literary Guild enjoys membership tea

No organization puts on a membership tea like the Cabrini Literary Guild. But this year's tea was surpassed by food, fun and folksiness shared by some 60 members and guests this past Saturday.

This time, the gals cut back on the work and let others do some of the heavy lifting. The room, tables and chairs were provided by St. Bede the Venerable Church in La Cañada Flintridge. Church staff provided a picturesque location and manpower. The large spread of finger sandwiches and sweets were provided by Cabrini woman-power.

In past years, Marie Urrutia, current Cabrini president, has catered the affair. But with an organization to run, she let others do the cooking. Urrutia had plenty of help from her board members. Especially hard working was Rosa Hohman, tea chairwoman.

Other members of the Cabrini board for 2017-18 posed for a bunch of photos. Present were Lilia Maljanian, first vice president; Karen Swan, second vice president; Mary Natalizio, treasurer; Anne Phelps, secretary; Patty Szot, membership director; and Jane MacIver, historian. Moderator was Father Norman Supancheck from St. Didacus Church.

"Let's enjoy each other," he said during the event.

The afternoon's program consisted of introductions of the guild's various departments. One of those is "Busy Fingers," as described by curator Helen Misik. A new project is knitting skullcaps for soldiers with shaven heads who have to wear helmets.

According Sister Regina Palamara, this year marks the 100th anniversary of the death of Mother Cabrini, the group's namesake.

RUTH SOWBY RANDS may be reached at