The Valley Line: Bits, bows and bites from around town

“Old Glory” was flying high and so beautiful, adorning many yards in our city. It was a great Fourth of July celebration for many people I’ve talked with.

I had a lovely time with friends who live in the La Vinia neighborhood. We dined al fresco and as the last of the beautiful sunset faded, we watched brilliant fireworks from several nearby cities.

Hope that you had a fun Fourth.


This is a good time to gather tidbits from here and there so you will know what is happening around the community.

I recently went to see the new production of “Les Miserables” at the Ahmanson Theatre which runs through July 31.

If my memory serves me right, I saw it during its first tour from Broadway years ago at the Schubert Theatre in West Los Angeles. I thought it was a “wow” then, and after seeing it last week, it is even more so.

Mark McVey, who made his Broadway debut as the main character of Jean Valjean, sings the role as if it were his first time, even though he is approaching his 3,000th performance of the role. Oh my, his heart-wrenching song, “Bring Him Home,” still brings me to tears.

The pre-opening hype promised that this production has been “re-imagined.” Indeed, it is excitingly so. The cast in this production is utterly amazing — what voices! The costumes are so well done and range from tatters to opulent ball gowns.

The sets are breathtaking and inspired by Victor Hugo’s paintings. What makes the sets so dynamic are the incredible projected images that in one place makes you feel like you, too, are crawling through the sewers of Paris while the revolution rages above in the streets.


The penthouse and rooftop of the historic Green Hotel in Pasadena was the setting for the surprise announcement that Maestra Rachael Worby will be conducting a new orchestra on July 30 at Caltech’s Beckman Mall in an outdoor setting. As you might remember, Worby was music director and conducted The Pasadena Pops for 10 years.

The whimsical name for Worby’s new orchestra is “MUSE/IQUE.” The July 30 concert will feature five-time Grammy-Award winning soprano Jesse Norman. The program will include music from Duke Ellington, Leonard Bernstein and George Gershwin. The inaugural concert will carry on with additional events scheduled for this fall.

Tom Leddy, a longtime La Cañadan and president of the board of MUSE/IQUE said, “We look forward to the freshness and vibrancy of Rachael’s concerts, and to the educational and social contribution of MUSE/IQUE’s youth programming.”

LCF residents Phil and Shelley Miles were also at the Green Hotel for the announcement. They are looking forward to beautiful music among the olive trees at Caltech this month.

For more information about the July concert, call (818) 732-1712 or visit the website at


Thomas Keller, the famed chef and owner of The French Laundry in Napa and Bouchon Bistro in Beverly Hills and Las Vegas, greeted guests at the door of his trendy Beverly Hills restaurant when more than 300 people gathered to celebrate KCET, the nation's largest independent public media company. The party was called “Uncorked.”

Al Jerome, president and CEO of KCET, was on hand to welcome guests. Also there to meet and greet was LCF resident Mary Mazur, KCET's chief operating officer.

The afternoon soiree was a great culinary experience as guests experienced a gastronomic feast at various food stations, including the kitchens. They sampled savory specialties as well as traditional French bistro fare created by Bouchon's Chef de Cuisine Rory Hermann.

In the bistro's expansive kitchens guests watched cooking demonstrations by Bouchon's top chefs. They could also take part in making the restaurant's signature epi baguettes in the bakery. At the end of the party most guests left with a warm baguette tucked under their arms — such a wonderful French look!

When not sampling the foods and wines, guests could bid on one-of-a-kind silent auction items that offered fine wines, deluxe travel packages and gift certificates to top restaurants.

In a formal presentation, Jerome said, “We are pleased to provide such a great culinary experience with our partner Bouchon Bistro and our KCET sponsors.”

“Uncorked was critical to helping us herald a new beginning for KCET after we took a bold and innovative step forward and became independent. Without our viewers' generosity we wouldn't be able to fully realize this freedom and deliver timely and relevant programs to a growing multi-cultural audience.”

Reflecting on the party, chef Keller said, “I don't know who had more fun — our team or our esteemed KCET guests. This was a unique and memorable event and a great way to raise funds for such an important cause.”

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