Many events celebrate women

The one-night-only performance of “Beneath the Veil” at the Alex Theatre March 11 was a powerful tribute to the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day. Several hundred theater-goers attended.

Mary Apick, the production’s producer, director and co-writer, was one of Iran’s most popular stars. She brings her considerable talents to the play, which presents vignettes of women who have suffered under Islamic culture in Iran.

“I carry the voices of all these women in my heart and soul, and I will never leave them behind, no matter where I live,” said Apick. After the Iranian revolution, Apick was forced to flee Iran “because of fundamental extremists” and settled in the United States.

“Beneath the Veil” was presented in association with the Armenian American Medical Society’s Ladies Auxiliary. Ramella Markarian was busy behind the scenes as president of the Auxiliary and chairwoman of the “Beneath the Veil” Organizing Committee. Other presenting organizations were Glendale Arts, YWCA of Glendale and the Glendale Commission on the Status of Women. Commission Chairwoman Paula Devine attended with husband Art Devine.

The Honorary Chairwoman of the evening’s presentation was Rebecca Grossman. With her husband, Dr. Peter Grossman of the Grossman Burn Center, she founded The Grossman Burn Foundation. Addressing the audience before the play, Rebecca described “Project Faith,” also started by the Grossmans. The organization offers reconstructive surgery for burn victims from around the world, including many from the Middle East.

VIPs present included state Sen. Carol Liu. Liu also spoke briefly to the audience before the production.

“I join you tonight in discovering the powerful stories of girls and women who face oppression daily in the Middle East,” Liu said.

Glendale VIPs included Glendale Mayor Ara Najarian, councilmembers Frank Quintero, Dave Weaver, Laura Friedman and former mayor Larry Zarian. More VIPs were Dr. Boris Bagdasarian and Karine Bagdasarian, representing the Los Angeles Cancer Network; and Glendale Adventist Medical Center CEO/President Morre Dean and Katrina Dean. Glendale Adventist was also a sponsor of the event.

A portion of the proceeds from the performance will go to the Armenian American Medical Society’s Ladies Auxiliary and the YWCA of Glendale.


Also observing International Women’s Day, as well as Women’s History Month, was UCLA research associate and Glendale resident Rubina Peroomian. Peroomian was a moving speaker at the American Assn. of University Women’s Glendale branch meeting at the Oakmont County Club March 12.

The morning brunch meeting also featured updates on the university women’s activities introduced by President JC Chauvin. Peroomian presented a slide show on Armenian women’s history and current status. The audience learned that Armenia is striving toward democracy in the face of many obstacles against women. Armenia is 88th out of other world countries in granting gender equality, she said. Peroomian also described the plight of Armenians who immigrate to the United States.

Armenian women generally adapt well to their new culture and take on jobs allowing them to learn English more quickly. Many of their husbands, having given up professions well-respected in Armenia, often have more difficulty adapting to a culture in which they are not able to readily continue their professions.

Peroomian’s ancestors lived for centuries in an area of northeast Iran where she was born, which had been a part of ancient Armenia. She moved to the United States in 1978 and earned her doctorate in Near Eastern languages and cultures from UCLA. Peroomian has received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Armenian Education Foundation.


Still another woman who may be considered a part of Women’s History Month is actress Meredith Baxter, best known for her work on the TV sit-com, “Family Ties.” These days she’s written and is now promoting her book, “Untied: A Memoir of Family, Fame and Floundering”. A standing-room-only book signing, held on March 12, attracted dozens of fans to Vroman’s Bookstore in Pasadena.

Baxter read from her memoir and paid tribute to the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous, which supported her in her sobriety. As for the “floundering” part of her book, the actress described her tumultuous personal life of two divorces and her coming out as a lesbian, all of which allowed her “to come into my own.”

Following Baxter’s remarks was a book signing, accommodating each audience member toting a book. A small band of Glendale residents and fans of Baxter, their books in hand, included Richard Sowby, Cecelia Walker, Joseph Dammann and Gregory Simms.

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