A busy month of June: Brookside, parks, gardens and more

| June 29, 2023 | 0 Comments

About 40 friends and neighbors dragged blankets, pillows, picnic fixings and even their pets to Brookside’s annual Family Movie Night in the Park, June 11, sponsored by the Brookside Homeowners Association. This year’s feature, Disney’s “Encanto,” was chosen through online polling among several offerings. Perched on a grassy corner of Memorial Library Park, families cooked burgers on the grill, relaxed on the plush green winter-watered carpet, and popped popcorn in a good old-fashioned popcorn machine. This was the first movie night since the pandemic interrupted back in 2020.

RESIDENTS Loren Dunsworth and Archie Abramson get into the movie night spirit.

“Brookside is very much about community and neighbors, and we are getting back into the swing of things with our events — which were all but shut down with Covid,” said Brookside board member Loren Dunsworth. “Movie night is a fun way to dive into summer.” Neighbors in attendance included Laura and Adam Abramson with son Archie, Gina Rudnick with daughter Pearl, Danny Gibson, and Vivian Gueler with daughter Nikka.

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One week prior, another Brookside celebration took place at the home of Pat and Heather Houlihan. Immaculate Heart and Loyola high school graduates and their families from around the Larchmont community gathered to celebrate the end of high school and the beginning of the journey beyond.

FRIENDS AND FAMILY celebrate local high school graduates at the home of Pat and Heather Houlihan.

Guests enjoyed a taco cart filled with pork, chicken and beef tacos, homemade guacamole, Caesar salad, chips, pico de gallo and plenty of Champagne, beer and wine. Dessert included cookies and cupcakes, which were quickly gobbled up by the grads before they ran off to another neighborhood party. Typical!

Seen celebrating with the proud grads were Elyse and Gordon Bobb, Roy, Samantha and Merryn Forbes, John and Julie Houlihan and Bridget and Clark Wells.

GRADUATES from Immaculate Heart and Loyola High schools celebrate. From left to right: Natalie Hernandez, Gabby Alfaro, Zoe Houlihan, Chloe Pithie, Maria Andrade, Joseph Drynan, Kellyn Lanza and Natalie Castro-Serpas.

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Alexandria House hosted its annual WomenSpeak luncheon on June 1, welcoming more than 200 supporters to the yearly gathering. The luncheon, which focuses on the transformational power of women’s words, “provides a platform for women of accomplishment and compassion to speak about their work as well as past residents of Alexandria House to describe their journeys.”

A recorded video message from Mayor Karen Bass welcomed everyone to the luncheon and recognized the great work of Alexandria House. Since 1996, Alexandria House has provided transitional housing for women and their children while offering them counseling, job training and resources to pursue careers and build futures of their own.

Guests, including Michaela Burschinger, Erin Garvan, Pashina Siti, Ima Matul, Beverly Brown, Kiel FitzGerald, Dre Guttag, Danielle Reyes, Mary Woodward and more, enjoyed salad with strawberries, candied pecans and Champagne-Dijon vinaigrette; pan-roasted chicken with sun-dried tomato, artichoke and olives in a sherry wine manchego cream; gnocchi and an apple tart with caramel sauce. Speakers included past residents Ima Mattel, Ashly Nufio Mazel and Madisen Williams, while Founding Director Judy Vaughan spoke of the “power of proximity” to those receiving services.

The fundraiser luncheon raised more than $100,000, which will go toward continuing to provide supportive services for residents and families who are moving into the newly purchased and renovated Kenmore Apartments that adjoin the original house on Alexandria Avenue.

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AT Alexandria House: (left to right) Mary Woodward, Beverly Brown, Kiel FitzGerald, Dre Guttag and Danielle Reyes.

The Alexandria House event was part of the kickoff to a very busy weekend — just like the pre-pandemic days of old! That same Thurs., June 1, morning, right at our historic Pan Pacific Park, dignitaries showed up in big numbers for the 8 a.m. ceremony to reopen a park playground facility destroyed by vandalism in the summer of 2022. Mayor Karen Bass joined Councilmember Katy Yaroslavsky in cutting the ribbon with the CEO of $236,000-donor Hackman Capital Partners (developer of TV City), Michael Hackman, retired Los Angeles Parks Foundation Executive Director Carolyn Ramsay and various parks officials and supporters.

TELEVISON CITY’S Michael Hackman speaks at the dedication of a Pan Pacific Park playground replacement funded by Hackman Capital Partners as Mayor Karen Bass and Councilmember Katy Yaroslavsky look on.

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WSHPHS garden tourists included, from left, Anne Loveland, Martha Welborne, Janet Loveland and Sue Carr.

The event-filled weekend included no fewer than four exciting activities that drew people from the neighborhood, starting on Sat., June 3, with the Windsor Square Hancock Park Historical Society (WSHPHS) “Secret Garden Tour” of six lovely local gardens, four in Windsor Square and two in Fremont Place. A large volunteer committee, led by chairs and co-chairs Richard Battaglia, Jane Gilman, Debbie Alpers, June Bilgore and Joanne Osinoff, numbered more than 50 people. Hundreds of visitors supported the event.


GARDEN TOUR VOLUNTEERS including (from left) Connie Richey, Alex Elliott, Jolin Crofts, Juanita Kempe, Marlene Zweig and Grace Kaminski welcome Windsor Square Hancock Park Historical Society guests at the Bilgore home in Windsor Square.

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BEASTLY BALL treats included El Cholo Green Corn Tamales served by Koah Arellanes and Alma Corona.

That same evening, lots of locals headed to Griffith Park and the Los Angeles Zoo for the Beastly Ball 2023. Always one of the town’s most-anticipated annual fundraising events, whether you dress in a safari outfit or not, guests enjoy wonderful access to habitats and curators who answer questions and sometimes share an up-close encounter with one of the animals. Entertainment abounds throughout the grounds, and eateries from around the southland, including local favorites such as Pink’s Hot Dogs, El Cholo and Milk Jar Cookies, share samples of their victuals.A big feature of this year’s Beastly Ball was its posthumous honor to our former councilmember, the late Tom LaBonge, who was recognized as the Betty White Conservation Hero. Like the late Betty White, LaBonge was a long-time loyal supporter of the Zoo.

HONOREE TOM LaBONGE’S family and friends at the Beastly Ball included (from left) Kathleen Maguire, Debra and Charles Lovatelli, Charles LaBonge, Mary-Cate LaBonge, Brigid LaBonge and Ian Guerra.

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AT 94-Years-Young, Nancy Olson Livingston signs her new book.

The WSHPHS leaders hardly had time to catch their collective breaths when, the day after the garden tour, they gathered a group at the Hollywood Heritage Museum (nearby at the Hollywood Bowl) — in the circa-1895 Lasky-DeMille Barn — on Sun., June 4. (This newspaper’s “On Preservation” columnist, Brian Curran, is the president of Hollywood Heritage.) The reason for the gathering was to be thoroughly entertained and informed by the vivacious (still, at age 94) Nancy Olson Livingston, who discussed her life since starring as an ingénue actress in 1950’s classic “Sunset Boulevard.” She also signed copies of her fascinating life tale, “A Front Row Seat.”

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SUPPORTING the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra at the home of Robert Ronus were (from left) Jim and Daryl Twerdahl, Carl Anderson, Susana Funsten and Betsy Anderson.

Several hours following the Livingston talk, another cultural institution, the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra (LACO), was the beneficiary of the hospitality of Hancock Park’s Robert Ronus. As host of a “LACO House Party,” he and about 30 friends, many from the neighborhood, enjoyed music by Mozart and others, presented by three LACO musicians who played clarinet, bassoon and cello. What a busy weekend!

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TARFEST 2023 in Pan Pacific Park featured music and art.

The following week saw hundreds of people attending the 20th anniversary rendition of Tarfest, held in Pan Pacific Park instead of its regular home in the grassy fields adjacent to the La Brea Tar Pits — this year coping with next-door construction activity by both Metro and the County Art Museum. But there was lots of wide open space at Pan Pacific, and Tarfest impresario James Panozzo was everywhere, overseeing musical performances, art installations and creative activities for people of all ages — and all free. Among those exhibiting on the lawn was Television City, explaining its TVC 2050 project with charts and illustrations. The proposed expansion of TV City is right next to Pan Pacific Park.

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SUPPORTERS of Meals On Wheels attending the party included Kathy and Mike Gless of Windsor Square.

And finally, to wrap up the merry month of June, dresses sparkled, shoes glittered, and stylish shirts and ties were the unofficial dress code as supporters showed up en masse to celebrate the second annual “Hollywood Under the Stars” fundraiser for St. Vincent Meals On Wheels (SVMOW) on the Paramount Studios lot on Sat., June 24. The sold-out event kicked off with a glamorous Veuve Clicquot VIP reception in the Paramount Theatre. Then, the chic Old Hollywood-styled guests segued to tables in front of the famous Bronson Gate arch to eat, drink and enjoy musical notes from the de Bois All Stars, a 10-piece live band whose music filled the summer air.

SVMOW HONORARY HOST Rick Llanos (right) shares a light moment with Martin Sheen, recipient of the evening’s “Vincent’s Heart” Award.

Nearly a dozen top chefs from all over the city, including Chef Gino Angelini of nearby Angelini Osteria, dished out a wide variety of specialty dinner items for the guests. “Host Angel Chef” Isais Peña, Caruso Regional Executive Chef of Hanks and Qué Padre, served as the event’s first-ever culinary ambassador. Co-hosts actor Doug Savant and newscaster Susan Hirasuna introduced guests and presented a video describing the impact that SVMOW continues to have on the lives of the elderly in Los Angeles.

The Daughters of Charity, whose order established St. Vincent Meals On Wheels in 1977, presented its “Vincent’s Heart” Award to actor Martin Sheen for his “standing in solidarity with those who have been forgotten and discounted.”

MELROSE area resident Catherine Mann Roseme with actor and Meals On Wheels party co-host Doug Savant.

Longtime Meals On Wheels supporter and Windsor Square resident Rick Llanos was designated the event’s Honorary Host, and he told the guests about the original mission of the late Sister Alice Marie and her colleagues, saying, “I don’t think they ever, in their wildest dreams, would have thought that their project back in the 1970s would grow to be what it is today — a program that’s delivering to seniors over 100,000 nutritious meals a month. It’s quite amazing what this group has done, and it’s all thanks to people like yourselves, who have come out here tonight to help support this cause.”

The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, celebrating 100 years of the iconic Hollywood Sign, collaborated in presenting the event.

And now you’re in the Larchmont know!

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