The Valley Line

It is hearts and flowers day on Saturday — Happy Valentine’s Day!

It seems that we are going to catch up with our rainfall numbers. The rain certainly has been falling and falling. On Monday afternoon it hailed like crazy at my house. Lola, my little dog, had just gone outside to take a stroll when she was being pelted by the little balls of ice. She couldn’t quite figure out what it was and came running pell-mell into the house again with a very frightened look on her face. Needless to say she wasn’t anxious to go back outside on her own. Later on I had topick her up and take her outside. My goodness, we have wimpy dogs in California.

Even though it is chilly outside, the social and theater season is heating up here in the L.A. basin.

Last Friday night was the world premiere of the new musical comedy, “Minsky’s” at the Ahmanson Theatre — hopefully it is Broadway bound.

I went to be entertained and indeed I was. This fast-paced show rolled on without a hitch. It was full of big production numbers that were absolutely breathtaking. I truly hated to see the show end. This production held true to the premise of Billy Minsky, who developed the original Minsky’s Burlesque at the Winter Garden in New York City in the 1930s. He believed that what sold tickets were girls, gags and music. This production has all those requirements — it is rollicking good fun.

As I waited in the lobby for the production to begin, I noticed a little white-haired lady who seemed to take command of the room just by the way she walked. Photographers were taking her photo and a TV station sent their commentator over to say hello and to interview her. After her television spot, I too went over to say hello. This lovely lady was Dixie Evans, a for real Minsky girl who danced at many of the Minsky theaters during burlesque’s heyday. She was thrilled to be in the audience and the evening brought back so many wonderful memories of her time in the spotlight.

The Oakmont League held its annual fund-raiser, “Mardi Gras Madness” at the Castaway Restaurant in Burbank.

It was a festive evening of fine dining, good companionship and dancing. The dining tables were covered in white cloths and draped with organza in violet, green, burgundy, aqua and gold. The centerpieces were two-foot tall vases filled with mardi gras beads, sequined masks in purple green and gold with matching feathers.

The auction tables were decorated with colorful ribbons and beads and held many valuable silent auction items to bid on.

Joe Mendacina led the live auction portion of the evening. Some very excited winners of an Alaskan cruise were June and Doug Alexander, former residents of the foothills who now live in Georgia.

Winner of a 50/50 raffle was won by La Cañada resident Marilyn Peroni.

Chairladies of the fund-raiser for club philanthropies were Linda Malmquist and Geri Benton. The committee included Nina Ratliff, Barbara McCullough, Esther Bowen, Monica Sierra, Eveline Siracuse, Allison Weir, Martha Feutz, Natalie Graw, Pam Spiszman, Ann Chadney and Gail Gilhooley.

Some of the La Cañada residents as guests that evening were Nina and Larry Ratliff, Roberta Raffaelli, Monica and Jose Sierra, Peggy and Jim Phillips, Rosalie and Ron Youra, Rita and Vincent Dundee, Pamela and Bud Carney, Fr. Gregory Dongkore from St. Bede Church, Marilyn Peroni and Jeb Long, Cheryl and Brent Rider, Daisy and Patrick Sheedy, Joe and Beverly Stevens and Lee Young and Lou DeVita.

JANE NAPIER NEELY has been covering the La Cañada social scene for over 26 years. She can be reached at

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