Faced with overwhelming requests for assistance, the Burbank Temporary Aid Center has seen as much as an 80% increase from last year for some of the services they provide. According to Michael WalbrechtMichael Walbrecht, who serves as the board of directors chairman, continuing to provide services during these difficult economic times has placed increasing pressure on the organization to engage in more aggressive and effective fundraising.

Despite that great need for funding, when former Burbank Leader columnist Will Rogers offered to assist in raising funds by staging a one-man show, Walbrecht and the board were hesitant to accept the offer. OK, they weren’t just hesitant, they were downright horrified, equating an evening with the acerbic Rogers to water-boarding or some other infliction of extreme physical or psychological torture.

When the organization’s Executive Director Barbara Howell heard of the Rogers’ offer, she pleaded with the board not to accept. Finally, Walbrecht caved and reminded his colleagues that Rogers’ last show did in fact raise thousands of dollars to support BTAC’s work with area homeless, the working poor and seniors.

“This in no way excuses the BTAC board’s poor judgment in approving Will’s show as a fundraiser,” Walbrecht said. “But it will give you a good idea of the pressure we’re under.”

Rogers, the vice chairman of the BTAC board who covered Burbank City Hall and its colorful cast of characters for two decades, did take to the stage of the Colony Theatre Thursday with “Will Rogers: Confidential” to raise funds for the organization.

Unlike his last show, Thursday’s performance saw Rogers give local politicians, political appointees and city staff a pass as he opted to dwell on a subject he found far more fascinating — himself. Heentertained with self-deprecating revelations that included stories of his ill-fated careers in the restaurant and retail security business.

Among those in attendance were Rogers’ wife, Nancie, and the couple’s children, Stephen and Sarah. Also on hand were Mayor Gary Bric, council members Dave Golonski, Anja Reinke and Jess Talamantes, former Mayors Mary Lou Howard and Stacey Murphy, Airport Commissioners Don Brown and Charlie Lombardo, and Police Commissioner Nat Rubinfeld and his wife, Alma.

Others who enjoyed the evening that included dinner provided by Crepe Maker and Poquito Mas were Ernie and Angela Burger, Peter Musurlian, Jennifer Ross, Siranoush Tokatlian, Dean and Lynn Shelby, and Darrin Borders. Among those who helped make the event a success were the evening’s opening musical duo, Bryan Miller and Gilmore Rizzo, along with Jennifer Ranney-Magerkurth, Linda Noel, Mark Goena, Seta Javor, Vicki Williams, Ron Sorensen, Susan Borders, Darryl Forbes, Maddy Horne, Nancy Gams Korb and Dan Linegar.

This past week also saw Burbank Internet talk show host Jeff DePaoli present a screening of his one-man show, “My Obsession with TV.” Staged to announce the new season of “The Jeff DePaoli Show,” that can be viewed at JeffShow.com, the reception and screening also provided the star with the opportunity to catch up with many of the talented individuals he has worked with over the years.

Among DePaoli’s friends and colleagues in attendance were Evan Baker, Eddy Hewitt, Derek Manzella, Fed Eguez. Jonathan Weichsel, Evan Richards, Jeff Gaetano, Jeff Victor, Steven Parker, Phyllis Lau, Jeff Gaetano, Jonathan Weichsel and Jeff Victor.

 DAVID LAURELL can be reached at dlaurell@aol.com or (818) 563-1007.

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