Activists, artists and adventurists abound

This past weekend saw local activists rally against cancer, artists of all disciplines share their work, and adventurists take to their bikes for a magical tour of Magnolia Park merchants.

Have you noticed the purple ribbons adorning the trees of Downtown Burbank and City Hall awash in a nighttime purplish hue? This is all the work of local American Cancer Society activists who are ramping up for this year’s Relay for Life.

The team of Mychelle Aguilar, Heidi and Tom Darrah and Michelle Jacobovitz, under the leadership of Joan Patricia “JP” O’Connor and Kerry McAloon, took to the downtown streets last Saturday with yards of purple ribbon in tow to remind Burbankers that this year’s 24-hour Relay for Life will take place at Johnny Carson Park on May 14 and 15.

To kick off this month-long campaign against cancer, the organization will be staging a comedy fundraiser at Flappers Comedy Club this Tuesday that will showcase the comedic stylings of Peter Berman, Justin Worsham, Tony Baker, Samuel J. Comore, Sarah Taylor and Sean Tweedley. For further information on this and all the events leading up to the Relay for Life, call (818) 416-6215 or visit

While the purpling of downtown was being performed, there were performances, exhibitions and screenings also taking place at the Burbank Senior Arts Colony, which presented its annual EngAGE in Creativity celebration. Under the direction of EngAGE: the Art of Active Aging, last week’s daylong celebration featured singing, music, dance and the screening of short films all provided by colony residents.

While some of the hundreds of residents and guests — including Nancy Goodhart, Melanie Morse and Robin Hart — danced to the music of Clarence Johnston, others sang along with the Colony Chorus under the direction of Betty Vincent, participated in a drum circle and perused the original art and jewelry being offered for sale.

The celebration saw EngAGE’s Founder and Executive Director Tim Carpenter, Chief Operating Officer Maureen Kellen-Taylor and Burbank Programs Manager Chioma Nwosu pay homage to Mayor Anja Reinke and Meta Housing Corp. founder John Huskey. But the highlight was a theatrical performance titled “Talk Story,” directed by Alicia Sedwick, in which residents performed personal stories about their lives and times.

Proceeds from the event will benefit EngAGE’s creativity, educational, wellness and intergenerational programs for seniors.

Rounding out the weekend, hundreds of adventurous bicyclists had a wheelie good time at the fourth annual Magical Magnolia Bicycle Tour, a self-guided retail adventure through the Magnolia Park business district.

Cyclists, including Paul Thiemann and his daughters Gracie and Emma, received a gift and passport filled with special offers and a map that led them to more than 20 shops and eateries offering goodies and discounts including cookies at Cobblestone Gift & Floral Design, candies at The Jelly Bean Factory, ice cream at Urban Eats, and mini cannolis at the Monte Carlo Deli.

Presented by the Magnolia Park Partnership, Burbank Bike — a city-sponsored program aimed at promoting bicycling as an environmentally sustainable transportation alternative — and the Burbank Public Works Recycle Center, this always popular event is staged by Gail Stewart, who manages city activities and events, with the help of her team that included Robin Faulk, Marissa Minor, Nonna Von Sonn and Marika Kazaryan.

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