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Life and Arts

On the Town: Hawaiian dancers pay homage to goddess of volcanoes

Members of the dance school, Hula Halau Na Mamo O Pana’Ewa perform during the show last May. The nex
Members of the dance school, Hula Halau Na Mamo O Pana’ewa perform during the show last May. The next performance is at 4 p.m. Saturday at Glendale High School’s John Wayne Performing Arts Center.
(Joyce Rudolph / Glendale News-Press)

Didn’t get that dream vacation in Hawaii this summer? Here’s the perfect remedy.

Twice a year, students of a local hula dance school perform what they have learned over the past six months. The school’s name is Hula Halau Na Mamo O Pana’ewa, which translates to “Offspring of Pana’ewa.”

Pana’ewa refers to an area near Hilo on the Big Island of Hawaii, said Keoki Wang, hula teacher and owner of the nonprofit school. He inherited the school from his grandmother, whose family is from that part of Hawaii.

It has been in Glendale for six years. It’s more of a cultural preservation society, he said. Participants not only take classes in hula, but learn the culture and the ancient chants as well as make the costumes and some of the musical instruments.


They compete in — and win — dance competitions and have two public shows a year. The next one will be this Saturday at the John Wayne Performing Arts Center at Glendale High School. Doors will open at 3 p.m. with the show being presented from 4 to 6 p.m. Tickets are $25 and children 6 years old and younger are admitted for free.

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There will be 85 dancers performing who range in age from 4 to 77. The show pays homage to Pele, the goddess of the volcano, and all the volcanic activity erupting on the Big Island over the past year, Wang said.

The graceful movements of dancers’ hands and feet are mesmerizing and the colorful costumes are beautiful. But it’s the 4- and 5-year-olds who steal one’s heart and the show. So, if you didn’t get to the islands this summer, this event will more than make up for it.


Elks getting ready to distribute dictionaries

The Glendale Elks Club recently held its 13th annual fundraising dinner and kick-off event for the “Thanks-4-Giving” dictionary distribution program.

About 150 people attended and gobbled down a turkey dinner with all the fixings.

Attending the Glendale Elks’ dictionary fundraiser are, from left, school board member Jennifer Free
Attending the Glendale Elks' dictionary fundraiser are, from left, school board member Jennifer Freemon, Elks dictionary committee Chair George McCullough, Glendale schools Superintendent Winfred Roberson Jr. and Elks Exalted Ruler John Rieger.
(Courtesy of the Glendale Elks)

Each year, the Elks distribute more than 2,000 dictionaries to third-grade students in all schools in Glendale including public, private and parochial schools, said George McCullough, dictionary committee chair.

Elks members spend more than 120 hours delivering dictionaries to local schools. They also adhere a label in the front of the books where students can write their names.

More than a dictionary, the book includes a list of the U.S. presidents, state capitals and continents.

The organization has distributed more than 28,000 dictionaries since the program started.


Fundraiser combines art with solving homeless issue

Family Promise of the Verdugos, a local nonprofit helping first-time homeless families with children find housing and sustainable employment, will hold its eighth annual Empty Bowl Lunch from noon to 2:30 p.m. on Oct. 21.

The annual event is returning to St. Charles Borromeo Church in North Hollywood, where it was hosted for the first time last year.

Independent potters, arts associations and community groups create handcrafted ceramic bowls and guests purchase a $35 ticket for a meal of soup, bread and dessert donated by area restaurants.

Those purchasing a ticket or sponsorship will take home a bowl made by a local artisan as a reminder of the hunger and uncertainty homeless families face every day. This year’s event will also feature arts and crafts for sale by local artists beginning at 11:30 a.m.

These days, homelessness affects all communities and this is one solution that helps families in Glendale and Burbank, said event chair Jane Winter.

“Family Promise breaks it down to helping local families who find themselves homeless for the very first time,” she said. “With a little help, families can get back on their feet again and return to being independent. Buying a $35 ticket to a lunch is such an easy way to be part of the solution.”

Joyce Rudolph can be reached at