On the Town: Oakmont League is celebrating 75 years; 'Sandcastle Girls' author visits GCC

The ladies of the Oakmont League decided to have fun at their recent dinner meeting. The venue, the Beckham Grill in Pasadena, was only a hop, skip and a jump from Glendale. The group is commemorating 75 years of service in Glendale and the surrounding communities. Each event seems more celebratory than the last one.

This one was strictly entertainment. In her encore appearance, former "Harlettes" star, Frannie McCartney strutted and pranced her way through several musical numbers. She had her audience in the palm of her hand. As a "Harlette," McCartney was a back-up singer for Bette Midler. Twenty feet from stardom, McCartney has also backed up Bob Dylan, Tanya Tucker, Barbra Streisand and others.

Among Glendale residents enjoying the show were Marian and Paul Greene, Liz and Jim Isenman. Isenman was a former Wilson Middle School principal for 18 years, now enjoying retirement. La Crescenta resident Rich Rands came down from the foothills for the show.

Tomorrow, Oakmont League members will be presenting their annual luncheon, fashion show and boutique at the Glendale Hilton. This year their theme is "Bella Italia" for a "day in Italy" with beautiful fashions from Robert Ellis.


Recently English literature students at Glendale Community College were treated to a visit from author Chris Bohjalian at the Glendale Central Library on Harvard Street. Bohjalian's novel, "The Sandcastle Girls," was selected for the reading program One Book/One Glendale. On Thursday, some 200 book lovers enjoyed Bohjalian's discussion of his book in conversation with Glendale City Clerk Ardy Kassakhian.

Bohjalian's novel tells the story of Elizabeth and Armen, Bohjalian's grandparents. The author's themes of love and endurance are set against the background of the Armenian Genocide.

"I'm the grandson of survivors of the Armenian Genocide, so this story is important to me," said Bohjalian, "Writing 'The Sandcastle Girls,' however, helped me to discover the part of my ancestral DNA that is deeply Armenian."

Kassakhian characterized to the novel as having as many "layers" as baklava. Bohjalian described his characters as "taking me by the hand." Referring to his writing career, the author said he received 250 rejections before any of his work was published. In answer to a question on the advice he would give would-be writers, Bohjalian encouraged, "Write often, read tons and don't be intimated by the blank page."

Following the discussion, audience members had the opportunity to buy books and have their books signed by the author. Mother and daughter Glendale Community College students Edita Eganyan and Victoria Eganyan, 20, were first in line to get their books inscribed by Bohjalian.


RUTH SOWBY may be reached at ruthasowby@gmail.com.

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