The Valley Line: Silver screen theme draws elegantly attired guests to Five Acres benefit

Guests attending the recent gala in support of Five Acres' work in the field of family services took the event's theme, "A Red Carpet Affair," to heart. Many men donned elegant white dinner jackets for the affair and women turned out in lovely gowns or cocktail dresses.

As advertised, attendees entered the June 3 party on a red carpet that led them into to the expansive garden of the Craftsman-style state in South Pasadena owned by Therese and Mario Molina.


The silver screen theme was carried out in the décor where a light-studded "Hollywood" sign was placed in a prominent place on the expansive lawn area.

The evening began with a champagne reception that included not only a glass of the bubbly, but also other refreshing cocktails and passed hors d'oeuvres. Sipping their beverages, guests began bidding on silent auction items, chatted and listened to the great music provided by the Happiness Band. From American Song Book standards to songs from the film "La-La Land," the musicians provided tunes for everyone's enjoyment.


Film and TV actor and writer Mike O'Malley was the evening's consummate emcee. DawnMarie Kotsonis, a benefit auctioneer known as the "Gavel Girl," was the animated and enthusiastic auctioneer who led the live auction to a successful conclusion.

Chairs for this event were Chris Selak, executive vice president of Worldwide Television for Lionsgate Entertainment and Sandy Walia, regional banking area president with Wells Fargo. Natalie Bazarevitsch was opportunity chair and Tami Gittleman was the auction chair.

Dinner prepared by Bistro 45 was a grand affair with a first course of organic oak leaf and butter lettuce salad with jicama, radish, avocado and oregano red wine vinaigrette; the second course was a duo of poached Scottish salmon with sorrel crème and boneless rocky breast of chicken filled with herbs and garlic chimichurri, pickled organic asparagus with citrus zest and potatoes dauphine. The dessert trio was chocolate pot de crème and organic lemon square mini summer berry crème brulee.

Chanel Boutakidis, chief executive for Five Acres, thanked the guests for coming to the gala and said, "Thank you for joining us on this beautiful, starry night and for joining the generations of individuals, companies and foundations who have partnered with us over the years. Your contributions will positively impact the lives of the children and families we serve."

Five Acres is the oldest nonprofit in San Gabriel Valley, promoting safety, well-being and permanency for children and their families.

Proceeds from the Gala support Five Acres' programs that serve over 8,700 children and families in Southern California.

JANE NAPIER NEELY covers the La Cañada Flintridge social scene. Email her at with news of your special event.