On the Town: Comedy festival to raise spirits and bring in funds for local organizations


On Thursday, two worthy Glendale nonprofits will benefit from a night of comedy at El Cid in Los Angeles.

Organizers of the 2019 Silver Lake Comedy Festival will donate a percentage of the evening’s profits to Glendale Arts and the Glendale YWCA’s shelter for women and children.

On a hot afternoon at a Glendale Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, producer-comic-emcee Richy Leis described his putting to work the “healing power of laughter,” using a lineup of professional comics to draw an audience that will financially support nine groups that aim to heal body and soul.

Leis, a Glendale resident, does the trick by using his Comic Cure organization. His goal is “to put the right comedian with the right message in front of the right audience” — hence the festival on Thursday night.

Leis, who will be front and center in the lineup, has also added another title to his growing list of accomplishments — teacher.

He has been offering stand-up comedy classes to comic hopefuls in Glendale. His students get a chance to perform their routines in front of a live audience, all in support of comedy, community and charity.

Glendale Centre Theatre’s latest production is not to be missed. “Elvis ’68” is a nostalgic trip through the highs and lows of Presley’s career — mostly the highs.

Actor-singer Casey Marshall is a ringer for the King at his best. He sings 20 of Elvis’ greatest hits. This is a concert in the round, but at $23 an average ticket, it’s a deal compared with most regular concert prices.

The Glendale Centre Theatre has been in operation for 71 years. It remains in family hands and will probably stay that way for the next several years.

Owners Brenda Dietlein, and sons, Travis and Jaymes, are firmly at the controls. Dietlein, a single mom, calls the shots, while Travis, 17, runs the lights and sound, and Jaymes, 13, oversees the concessions.

“Elvis ’68” runs through July 27.

For more information about upcoming performances, visit

A new jewel for Glendale is the return of a farmer’s market on Tuesdays. Foodies by the dozen gather at Monterey Road and Brand Boulevard to sample and buy fruit, vegetables, pastries and various international foods from the outdoor vendors.

Also available are salsas, hot dogs and sausages.

On a recent hot afternoon, lines formed in front of Cuncy’s Fruit stand. The draw was “Aguas Frescas,” tall, cool drinks in a variety of flavors from mango to watermelon.

Enjoying drinks in the sun were Glendale resident Richard Matheson, his daughter and granddaughter Suzette Van Sleeuwen and Kathy Lavee of La Crescenta, another of his granddaughters, Selena Kimura from Tennessee, and Lavee’s mother, Gwen Nichel, visiting from Idaho to attend her daughter’s graduation from Glendale Community College.

Lavee recently received her associate degree for transfer, along with 1,289 other graduates — a record number of students graduating from the college this year.

Congratulations are in order for Glendale resident Velvet Rhodes, founder and executive director of the Glendale International Film Festival, held annually in October.

Last Tuesday, members of the Glendale City Council gave Rhodes a Mayor’s Commendation for the festival, which has a growing audience every year.

“Tonight has been a long time in coming,” Rhodes said. “I appreciate [the volunteer] efforts in making this happen.”

Ruth Sowby Rands may be reached at

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