On the Town: Pink Panther drops by Ark fundraiser

The Pink Panther was found up Chevy Chase Canyon, courtesy of the Ark Family Center and its "First Summer Extravaganza." Joan and Warren Binzley opened their Glendale home and gardens on Saturday to more than 100 members and guests willing to part with their dollars to benefit the Ark Leadership Academy and Youth Mentorship Programs.

The Pink Panther theme was carried out with a giant statue, bearing a strong resemblance to actor Peter Sellers who played Chief Inspector Clouseau in the Pink Panther movies. "Peter Sellers" overlooked guests enjoying appetizers at white linen-covered tables. Silent auction tables laden with baskets of goodies were sprinkled throughout the Binzley's garden.

Guests included Glendale attorney Allen Sarkisian and wife Robina Sarkisian; Paula Devine, pretty in pink with her signature gold hoop earrings, and husband Art Devine. Burbank neighbors Maryam Abrahamian and Nora Shirinian were also a part of the festivities. Shirinian is the mother of Ark member Karen Shirinian and the aunt of Ark member Helen Kalognomos from Sunland.

Ark Educational Director Melina Sardar made sure guests had their every need filled. Sardar is soon to leave for Armenia to teach self-empowerment seminars at the Armenian Women's Center, a partner of the Ark Family Center. Along for the trip will be five Glendale students who regularly attend Ark seminars.

Sardar estimated that "hopefully" the evening's proceeds will total $5,000 to $8,000.

The Pasadena Symphony and Pops and its "Musical Circus" graced the Americana at Brand's central green on Sunday. The orchestra's program opened with an instrument "petting zoo," manned by members of the Pasadena chapter of the National Charity League. Two-year-old Carmine Cordes tried out a violin, but the budding musician seemed more at one with a trombone. Parents Wendy and Darrin Cordes agreed. Four-year-old Glendale resident Arineh Shahbazi was partial toward a trumpet. Helpers were mom Anoosh Shahbazi and Charity League Ticktocker Kendall Khonsari. Four-year-old Jonathan Collier preferred the baritone horn, guided by dad Reggie Collier.

The concert, "New York, New York," followed with popular favorites from the Big Apple. The next Pasadena Pops performance will be on July 17 at the Rose Bowl Adjacent Lawn.

July showers brought wedding and baby showers that blossomed over the weekend. Janel Crane's bridal shower was held at the Glendale home of Judy and Jon Ritchie on Saturday. Crane's family members were front and center, including mom Caroline Crane, sister Cynthia Crane and niece Ariana Crane from Burbank. Sister Melanie Parish and niece Megan Parish dropped by, having recently moved to La Cañada Flintridge. Sister Celia Otis from El Centro also put in a welcome appearance.

Party hostesses with the mostest were Judy Ritchie, Carma Watrous, Kathy Lee and Sara Beth Sheffield. Crane's BFF's from Glendale included Sheffield's mother Linda Sheffield, Melissa Madsen, Nancy Kochi, Lois Frost and Anna Jump — all enjoying the traditional gift opening.

Judy Ritchie went all out with a dining room table filled with sweets and savories. The couple-dozen shower guests went away well-satiated and looking forward to the nuptials in August.

Glendale resident Malia Jones was also treated to a shower Saturday. Her baby shower was held at the North Central Avenue apartment of hostess Noura Christensen. The very pregnant Jones is due to give birth to baby son Kekoa at the end of this month.

Guests bearing blue baby gifts included shower hostess Susan McNeill, Nettie Allison and Heather Phillips, enjoying a little party time away from her own three sons. Guests dropping by from the earlier Crane wedding shower included Lois Frost, Melissa Madsen and yours truly.

After an afternoon of games and refreshments, the dozen guests were anxious to meet Jones' soon-to-arrive bundle of joy.

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