On The Town:

The Glendale Educational Foundation’s Dancing with Diamonds should have been called dancing with rain. More than 300 intrepid party-goers in formal attire shook off the drops to enjoy an early Valentine’s Day celebration dinner Friday at the Hilton Glendale.

An added bonus was diamonds! For the price of the $100 dinner and a $50 souvenir champagne glass, two guests could each go home with an unset half carat diamond. The glasses holding the diamonds were a surprise.

A reception, at which the souvenir glasses were sold, was in the small lobby to the right of the hotel’s entrance. The usual suspects who contribute to educational charities were there, including foundation President Mia Lee with husband Jake Lee.

Members of the foundation board of directors present included Glendale Unified School District Supt. Michael Escalante, Board of Education President Mary Boger with husband Donald Boger, board member Joylene Wagner, Tony Tartaglia, who also moonlights as a trustee for Glendale Community College, Harry Hall and Steve Ropfogel with wife Pam Ropfogel.

Manning the registration desk were foundation Vice President Laurel Patric and board member Susan Hunt, who is the district’s coordinator of instructional support services, as well. Glendale Community College Trustee Anita Quinonez Gabrielian also put in a welcome appearance. Studying his notes for emcee duties was Hoover High School Principal Kevin Welsh, retiring in June after 28 years at Hoover and 40 years with the district.

Dancing to the romantic strains of the seven-piece band Bob’s Yer Uncle followed the reception and dinner. Spotted dancing cheek to cheek were the Bogers, ready to celebrate their 30th wedding anniversary later this month.

Expected proceeds of close to $70,000 will enhance the district’s arts, health and science, and technology programs.

Another education-based group, the Philanthropic Educational Organization, had its Founders’ Day also on the rainy weekend. Burbank’s Pickwick Gardens Terrace Room sheltered more than 200 members and guests from the inclement weather Saturday. Members are celebrating their 141st year since their founding.

Guest of honor and speaker was Barbara Andes, past president of the California state chapter and past president of the international chapter. A total of $190 million in scholarship funds has gone to women encouraged by P.E.O. chapters since the organization’s 1869 founding, Andes said.

VIPs from Glendale included Donna Ziel, member of Glendale Chapter GD and past president of the California state chapter; and Judy Ritchie, Founders’ Day Committee chairwoman and Glendale CJ Chapter vice president.

More Glendale members attending were Joylene Wagner, Carol Ann Burton, Glady Kabateck, Mary Margaret Smith, Debbie Hinckley and Doris McKentley, celebrating her 54th year in P.E.O.

P.E.O. represents 250,000 women in 6,000 chapters in the United States and Canada.

Associate Director of Glendale Arts Elissa Glickman was the speaker at Glendale Beautiful’s monthly luncheon Feb. 2 in the Joe Bridges Clubhouse. She was welcomed by Glendale Beautiful President Kathy Van Houten. Vice President Doris Twedt introduced Glickman to the 25 members and guests present.

Glickman informed her audience that arts activity has generated 350 jobs and $625,000 in tax revenue for Glendale. She also estimated that $30 per person is spent at restaurants and retail outlets for every arts-oriented activity.

“Art is an economic driver for local businesses,” Glickman said.

The Alex Theatre, alone, served 130,000 patrons in the past year and will undergo a complete renovation of its courtyard, courtesy of Redevelopment Agency funds.

Glendale Beautiful is planning its 60th Arbor Day on March 2.

President Abraham Lincoln, portrayed by the versatile J.P. Wammack, visited the Young in Spirit Seniors for a bring-your-own-lunch in the Incarnation Church school auditorium Feb. 3. Coffee and desert were provided to the 97 Glendale seniors present.

Young in Spirit President Louie Botticella introduced “Honest Abe.” This lively group learned from Wammack that Lincoln’s nickname came from the hundreds of customers who were paid back by Lincoln after his general store in Illinois was forced to close. Other proprietors at the time defaulted on their customers, but Lincoln took 10 years to pay back every penny.

Lincoln’s birthday, which is Friday, will be celebrated on Presidents Day, which is Monday.

It was standing-room-only for the Sunday matinee performance of “Camelot” at the 684-seat Pasadena Playhouse. After the evening performance, the theater will close as its leaders try to financially reorganize. In the courtyard, before the matinee, playgoers were taking photos to preserve their memories of the 93-year-old landmark.

Glendale residents Pat Erstad and Laura Keen were present as the curtain went down.

“We wanted to see our last show here,” Keen said.

Just as “Camelot” represents the passing of an era of knights and round tables, the closing of the Pasadena Playhouse represents the passing of its own storied history.


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