Glendale Arts fights to save Alex Theatre

An organization better start moving if its staff expects to raise $75,000 by the end of the month. But that's what Interim CEO Elissa Glickman of the Glendale Arts and the Alex is determined to do. Without redevelopment funds, the future of the ownership of the Alex Theatre is in question. Glendale Arts supporters want the Alex to be transferred to the city of Glendale.

Glendale Arts' “I Heart Glendale Arts” fundraising campaign began with a soft launch in mid-March. That means it has a mere six weeks to meet its lofty goal. With a little help from its friends on Monday (April 2), a phone bank was set up in the training room of Massage Envy. The idea was for Glendale movers and shakers to man the phones to raise funds from their friends. From 1 to 8 p.m., fueled by a lot of pizza, soft drinks and pastries from Porto's, a frenzy of fundraising took place.

Phone callers included such heavy hitters as Massage Envy owner Helen McDonagh, former Glendale Mayor Eileen Givens, Glendale Unified School Board President Joylene Wagner, Glendale College Foundation Executive Director Lisa Brooks, volunteer extraordinaire Stephen Ropfogel and business execs Patrick Campbell, Jim Wilke and Louie Sadd. Sadd, the son of accountancy mogul John Sadd, is an Alex vendor as head of DataStream. Louie meets all the information and technology needs of Glendale Arts and the Alex. This afternoon he was calling his friends in support of the Alex — ”an easy sell,” said Louie. He had raised about $200 in minutes.

Glickman explained that the Glendale Arts also has an online presence. By navigating to a fundraising page link, supporters can donate money to “teams” like the Glendale Arts team and the Historical Society team. Both organizations will benefit. There are also individual “teams” to which money can be donated for the benefit of Glendale Arts and the Alex. Glickman projected that the phone drive will gross about $14,000.

Glickman believes that financial issues could be resolved with the passage of a “carve-out” amendment that will allow cities to retain public facilities of cultural, historical or artistic value, purchased with redevelopment money, like the Alex Theatre.

For more information about this carve-out option, a briefing memo can be found on the Glendale Arts website at and click on the blog section.

“Hope is Forever” has been a fundraising wing for the City of Hope, well, forever. The Glendale chapter was formed in 1966. Two years ago the local chapter was turned into a foundation, now called the “Hope is Forever” Charitable Foundation. It benefits the City of Hope's pediatrics unit. The Duarte-based comprehensive cancer center accepts donations for its adult patients, as well. But the local group's foundation-status allows the chapter's 89 members to direct their donations to the pediatric unit only.

On Monday (April 2) a luncheon at the Glendale home of President Chick Beneveniste featured Dr. Clarke Anderson, assistant professor of pediatrics at the City of Hope. Anderson described the center's pediatric needs, a portion of which the local chapter plans to fill. Of particular interest to the 50 or so members present was a donation to the pediatrics general fund that, in part, provides craft projects for the young patients. The local chapter is also considering a donation to the “Teenage Room” that needs videos, games and makeup for girls who have lost their hair after undergoing chemotherapy treatments.

After Anderson's remarks, Beneveniste, served a vegetarian lasagna lunch with the help of daughter Karen Spring who drove up from San Diego. Spring calls herself “second vice president and bottle washer.” Glendale residents enjoying lunch included Lynda Burns, a chapter recruit and one of its younger members.

The “Hope is Forever” Glendale chapter has raised more than $1 million for the City of Hope. Currently, its members have $10,000 available to donate to the center's pediatrics unit. The funds were raised in two years from activities such as a trip to Palm Springs for “The Follies.” Chapter Secretary Jeanette Gorham helps organize the group's fundraising activities.

Every year 13,500 children are diagnosed with cancer, considered the No. 1 killer of children.

Glendale writers have a resource in their own backyard that they may not be aware of. The Alameda Writer's Group, headed by producer-director Marc Cushman, meets at the Glendale Central Library at 10 a.m. on the first Saturday of every month. Saturday's (April 7) program attracted several dozen writers who didn't let Easter weekend keep them from learning more about their craft.

Guest speaker-novelist John Vorhaus had the attention of his audience as he answered “How to Stay Working as a Writer.” Vorhaus was a staff writer on the sitcom, “Married with Children.” He recently traveled to Bulgaria to adapt the sitcom into a Bulgarian version.

In his remarks Vorhaus concentrated on the new publishing model from the printed page to Kindle and iPhone formats. “Get your stuff out there,” Vorhaus said. New markets include the social media, Twitter, bloggers and Internet “Meet-up” groups. Writers can market their own work “with no money and little effort,” according to Vorhaus.

The next Alameda Writers Group will meet on May 5.

RUTH SOWBY may be reached at

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