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On the Town: Alex Theatre supporters celebrate venue’s 93rd anniversary

On the Town: Alex Theatre supporters celebrate venue’s 93rd anniversary
The Commission on the Status of Women is well represented at the Alex by, from left, newest commissioner Susan Broussalian, Chair Lynda Burns and supporter Henry Scholessler. (Ruth Sowby Rands / Glendale News-Press)

The Alex Theatre pulled out all the stops for its 93rd birthday earlier this month.

On Sept. 2, the free-to-the public event drew many fans ready to party. And party they did.

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The colorful, “Art-tini” was the adult beverage of choice.

Generous portions of eats came from Serendipity Cupcakes, Lolli & Pops, and All India Café.

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The cafe’s chicken tikki masala was a favorite. Owner Pawandeep Khinda, who operates the restaurant with her father, said the establishment on Brand Boulevard is new to Glendale.

Its popular counterpart in Pasadena has been going strong for 23 years.

After dinner, there were plenty of activities to enjoy. Self-guided walking tours of the Alex Theatre were offered, as was the opportunity to stop by a giant photo frame on stage — the perfect location to take some selfies.

A silent auction in the lobby provided restaurant gift certificates, show tickets, wine baskets and sports memorabilia — all up for bid. Displayed on easels were four paintings by former police officer-turned-watercolor artist, Vincent Takas.

His works feature old Glendale haunts such as Zinke’s, a former shoe repair shop on California Avenue. One of Takas’ newest works depicts the Hollywood Production Center on South Brand. His paintings ranged in price from $75 to $150.

At 7 p.m., under the Alex spire, community bigwigs spared no superlative in telling the Alex story. Glendale Mayor Vartan Gharpetian and council members Ara Najarian and Paula Devine all lauded last year’s banner year for the Alex. More than 200 shows were attended by 85,000 patrons.

State Assemblywoman Laura Friedman also took the podium. She recalled fond memories of the Alex. Friedman went to the theater within her first week of moving to Glendale in 2000.

Vincent Espinoza Glendale Arts Board Chair, left, is presented with certificates of recognition for the Alex from state Sen. Anthony Portantino and Assemblywoman Laura Friedman.
Vincent Espinoza Glendale Arts Board Chair, left, is presented with certificates of recognition for the Alex from state Sen. Anthony Portantino and Assemblywoman Laura Friedman. (Ruth Sowby Rands / Glendale News-Press)

She saw the film, “Mildred Pierce,” and caught some Glendale landmarks in the movie. There was even a Joan Crawford look-alike contest on the Alex stage. After that first visit to the Alex, “I found my forever home,” Friedman said.

Recalling more tidbits of Alex history was Elissa Glickman, chief executive of Glendale Arts, which manages the theater.

“On this day in 1925, the former vaudeville house-turned-first-run movie theater screened the silent picture “Lightin’ and a neighborhood movie palace was born,” Glickman said. “I’m so lucky to be a part of this theater’s story.”

Others speaking at the event were Vincent Espinoza, chair of the Glendale Arts board, and state Sen. Anthony Portantino.

Alex partygoers chow down in the theatre's courtyard. In the foreground are volunteer server Melanie Carroll-Dulci and supporter Rosa Cruz.
Alex partygoers chow down in the theatre's courtyard. In the foreground are volunteer server Melanie Carroll-Dulci and supporter Rosa Cruz. (Ruth Sowby Rands / Glendale News-Press)

Other VIPs on hand included Lynda Burns, chair of the Commission on the Status of Women, who is mentoring one the newest commission members, Susan Broussalian, a broker at Oakmont Real Estate who has been in that position for 30 years.

Hard working behind the scenes was Nina Crowe, Glendale Arts’ director of community partnerships and development.

Alex “Ambassador” volunteers attending included Melanie Carroll-Dulci, Rosa Cruz and Gail Slater, who has been volunteering at the Alex for 18 years.

Toward the end of the evening, the 93rd person to RSVP for the anniversary party was announced. Ayad Kadhim was the winner of two tickets to an Alex show of his choice. He said he plans to take wife, Fatima. The celebration was her first visit to the Alex. It won’t be her last.

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