On the Town: Comedy event puts Glendale Arts in fundraising spotlight

Susan Hunt, Mercy Velazquez and Toni and Vince Espinoza are ready to keep laughing at a stand-up comedy event presented by and benefiting Glendale Arts.
(Ruth Sowby Rands)

On Giving Tuesday last week, the stand-up comedy night at the new Greyhound Bar & Grill in Glendale added thousands of dollars to Glendale Arts’ coffers.

An audience of about 50 people bellied up to the bar, sat in booths and on stools. A $30 ticket got you a stool or space at the bar. A $75 ticket reserved a booth and a free ticket to the Studio Movie Grill.

The lineup of comedians included host Richy Leis, whose Comic Cure organization co-presented the show with Glendale Arts.

The emcee was Kelly Spillman, Glendale Arts’ own food and beverage manager.

The headliner was Drew Lynch, runner-up on “America’s Got Talent.” Other comics on the bill were Karen Rontowski, Chris Fairbanks and Mary Basmadjian, known as the “Funny Armenian Girl.”

Glendale Arts VIPs Elissa Glickman, chief executive, and Nina Crowe, development director, laughed the hardest, egging on the comics.

Audience members who popped for the expensive seats included Glendale residents Susan Hunt, Mercy and Michael Velazquez, and Toni and Vince Espinoza, who is chairman of Glendale Arts.

More Glendale residents included Lisa Yeghiayan, Stephen and Pam Ropfogel and Miryam and Lou Finkleberg.

Kudos to bartender and server Wade Dunham, who went the extra mile.

Glendale Arts’ goal was to raise $7,500 from the evening’s ticket sales and the Greyhound Bar’s 15% donation from food and beverage sales.

That goal was surpassed by $500 for a grand total of $8,000.

Proceeds will support access to arts in the community and the preservation of the Alex Theatre, located at 216 N. Brand Blvd, Glendale.

Last Wednesday, hundreds of customers braved the rain to get first crack at the half-price bargains at Thrift Alley, which is run by Assistance League of Glendale and located on Harvard Street.

Christmas items were the cheapest. They went for pennies on the dollar. Holiday wrapping paper, ribbon, bows and plush Santas went out the door first.

Hundreds of holiday shoppers took advantage of the sale over the next two days.

Vicki Carlson, chairwoman of Thrift Alley, supervised her staff, even when one of two cash registers broke down. That didn’t deter the long line of shoppers. They had others hold their places while they did more shopping.

Customers looking over the gently worn clothes and shoes included Nene Rubio and Carmen Shapiro, both from Glendale.

Yvee Guevara, who lives right round the corner from Thrift Alley, considered a bright red corset, a steal at $3.50.

Guevara said she frequently “hunts for treasures” and loves the “vintage” items from the thrift shop.

Thrift Alley has recently been named by Best of Glendale as “Best Thrift Shop,” “Best Collectibles” and “Best Antiques.”

Proceeds from the three-day event help support the league’s Operation School Bell clothes giveaway, Authors & Illustrators Day at local schools, Senior Neighborhood Fellowship Luncheons, vocational training for adults and scholarships for local high school students.

Las Candelas is also celebrating this season of giving.

Recently, the group’s president, JC Byer, headed the organization’s last meeting of the year at the Oakmont Country Club. Financial gifts were presented to Tara Peterson, executive director of the Glendale YWCA; Laura Duncan, executive director of Ascencia; Rahneesha Lewis, grant director of Hillsides, and Dr. Patrick Kelly and Martha Basmadjian of Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services.

The mission of Las Candelas is to give volunteer service and financial assistance to improve the lives of children and youth in vulnerable situations and to support awareness of their mental-health needs.

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