Making a flap at fundraiser

In the spirit of the Roaring Twenties, men and women young and old took to the Center Club on Friday for an evening of food, dance, a silent auction and a little bit of luck in the faux casino.

The event was "The Gatsby Affair," a benefit for the Costa Mesa Senior Center that officials said was the center's first fundraiser in eight years. More than 190 were expected to attend the event at the Center Club, the private South Coast Metro venue next to the Segerstrom Center for the Arts.

Silent auction items included a guitar signed by members of U2, various gift baskets, boxing gloves signed by Muhammad Ali and tickets to the Magic Castle nightclub in Hollywood.

When asked about the night's fundraising goal, the center's executive director of 13 years, Aviva Goelman, replied with a smile and a laugh: "A lot!"

Like many attendees, she came in her best 1920s garb. Previous fundraisers were at Orange Coast College, Goelman said, but low attendance at the last one led to the event's hiatus.

"This year, we decided it's time to get our name out there — and a good one," she said. "So we decided on this big event."

Darryl Kim, the center's program director, said it took about 10 months to plan "The Gatsby Affair."

Orange County restaurateur Zov Karamardian received the senior center's first-ever Philanthropy Award. Karamardian, who chaired the event, has been helping the center for about 15 years.

"I was very honored, very humbled, not expecting it at all," she said of receiving the award. "We're very much involved in all community work. We support everyone in the community. I think that it's a great thing they're doing for seniors. It's so nice to see them so happy; they have a place to go."

Senior center board member Ernie Feeney said the money raised from "The Gatsby Affair" will be "a lifesaver."

"We really, really do need this fundraiser," she said. "We're getting such positive feedback that I think this will be an annual thing."

Event sponsors included the Mesa Water District and Hoag Hospital Foundation. Among the attendees were Costa Mesa City Councilwoman Sandy Genis, Mesa Water District Director James Atkinson and Hermosa Beach City Councilman Howard Fishman.

The senior center, 695 W. 19th St., serves an estimated 300 to 400 seniors a day. Its $800,000 annual budget is aided by some city funds, but it otherwise relies on grants and donations.

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