Celebrating Jane, holiday revelries continue, Las Madrinas

| January 26, 2023 | 0 Comments

JANE GILMAN holds court (note the tiara) at Tom Bergin’s.

LARCHMONT CHRONICLE’S Pam Rudy addresses Jane Gilman (under balloon, at left) and others gathered at Tom Bergin’s to celebrate Jane’s 90th birthday.

If you’re anything like me, the first thing you do the morning that the Larchmont Chronicle comes out is toss aside your Los Angeles Times, grab a morning beverage and settle in to read your favorite local paper from cover to cover. The person you have to thank for that is none other than its co-founder Jane Gilman, who turned 90 years old on Jan. 13. A very public  (but simultaneously super secret) celebration was teased by Jane’s beloved Windsor Square Hancock Park Historical Society the month before the grand shindig. Anyone from the community who wanted to attend the Jan. 14 event was promised to “learn the secret, undisclosed location for the birthday bash” once they RSVP’d. With a tease like that, it’s no surprise that more than 70 people were at the event, which finally was revealed to take place at none other than Tom Bergin’s on Fairfax Avenue. Jane, who started the paper in 1963 with her good friend and colleague Dawne Goodwin, looked every bit the belle of the ball, holding a festive birthday balloon and adorned with a shimmery sash and a sparkling tiara. Friends shared sonnets, haikus and numerous stories expressing their love and admiration for Jane.

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RESIDENTS enjoy the local Windsor Square carolers.

Though we’re a month removed from the December holiday festivities, it would be a cryin’ shame not to mention two more events that revved up the holiday and New Year’s spirit for Larchmont locals. On Dec. 22, after a two-year Covid-19 absence, one of Windsor Square’s most popular and treasured events came bounding back with a vengeance: the unofficial, informal, highly anticipated and deeply, sorely missed Windsor Square caroling party. The group of 60 gathered on Larchmont Boulevard in front of Le Pain Quotidien to guzzle holiday-themed beverages for the adults and warm cider for the children.

The celebratory crowd then moved along the Boulevard while children scurried among little red wagons, strollers and parents’ legs. Pet dogs accompanied the revelers with giddy exuberance as the moveable gaggle continued through Windsor Square, stopping at the home of Jennifer and Warren Rissier, who provided guests with cocktails and the “shot ski,” a minty gulp of Schnapps to keep the vocal cords warmed and croon-worthy. The buoyant singers then found their way over to Irving Boulevard and First Street, then headed to the home of Frances and David Hoge on Plymouth Boulevard, where they enjoyed warm chili, desserts, more cocktails and faux snow in the backyard.  In years past, this event was attended by hundreds — and I do mean hundreds — of local families which wanted to sing, drink, play and merrily celebrate living life in the middle of the city. Next year, Clare Cohen, one of the organizers, promises to “be back bigger and better with our beloved jazz band, The California Feetwarmers.” Revelers who enjoyed the local festivities included Allison and Mark Meyerson, Aaron and Christine Woertink, Eileen and Matthew Rauchberg with son Max, Heidi Atherton and daughter Isabelle, Jennifer Kim, Erin Daffern and husband Matthew, Jody Rath and Shannon McIntosh, Amy Savagian, Neal and Amy Fraser, and hosts Kevin and Clare Cohen and family, Frances and Dave Hoge and family, and Warren and Jennifer Rissier.

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Fiona Jane Fisher

Marcella Victoria Tracy
Photos by Nick Boswell

Also in December, on the 21st at the Beverly Hilton, 34 families and their daughters were recognized at the 2022 Las Madrinas Ball.

Two debutantes with family connections in our area, Fiona Jane Fisher and Marcella Victoria Tracy, and their families were honored for their dedication to the Southern California community and Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA).

At the onset of the evening, Elizabeth Williams Shoemaker, president of Las Madrinas, thanked the debutantes and their families for supporting Las Madrinas’ mission to advance equity, quality and innovation in pediatric healthcare by supporting the Las Madrinas Diagnostic Innovation Endowment at CHLA. This is the 11th project Las Madrinas has financed for the hospital, raising a total of more than $60 million over the years to directly and positively impact the most vulnerable of children. The organization Las Madrinas (which means “The Godmothers” in Spanish) began supporting Children’s Hospital in 1933.

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As the old year drew to a close and the new year beckoned, Lucerne Boulevard residents Olivia and Steve Kazanjian threw open their doors to welcome friends and neighbors to Olivia’s Annual Friends and Family Home Show. Olivia, a jewelry designer as well as purveyor of one-of-a-kind, hard-to-find vintage baubles, went all-out to make sure her guests were fed and watered. A large ham-carving station accompanied by all the trimmings, cheeses galore and every nut and cracker that could be plucked from the nearby gourmet food store shelves, was displayed in cheerful, “Bring On 2023” fashion!

Guests mingled and browsed with all of the appropriate oooh’ing and ahhh’ing to be expected from the unique and handmade finds. Spotted catching up with Larchmont friends and neighbors, ready to ring in the new year, were Isabel Mayfield, Greg and Donna Econn, Kiel Fitzgerald, Rosie Juda, Anne Mansour and Mark and Dina Waters.

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NGA Members (from left to right) Robin Jameson, NGA Hancock Park President Beverly Brown, Jennifer Kim, Alecia Beckford-Stewart.

Between rainstorms, members of NGA Hancock Park met under the stars in Peggy Davis’ backyard on Jan. 12. The purpose of the gathering was threefold: to collect items for donation to local charitable agencies, to discuss important changes in the year ahead and to learn a bit about living a healthy lifestyle. The members, who had collected toiletries throughout the year, packaged individual bags filled with shampoo, conditioner, lotion, soap, makeup and dental care to be distributed to the homeless through two of their partnerships, Good Shepherd Center and McIntyre House.

NGA Hancock Park President Beverly Brown announced that the organization also would be partnering with another entity, Los Angeles House of Ruth, an organization that serves abused homeless women and their children.

Brown also announced that, because last year’s usual February fundraiser was pushed to May (due to Covid-19), this year the group would forego the annual February gala and instead fundraise through more intimate PartyBook-style gatherings throughout the year. NGA member Dr. Alecia Beckford-Stewart, a former Olympic athlete, then guided the members through a discussion of injury prevention and health.

Chef Michael Beglinger kept the group fed with mini spicy fried chicken sandwiches, blinis with smoked salmon and dill creme, parmesan crisps with pears, mascarpone and prosciutto. Members pitching in their time and energy to organize the event included Marion Plato, Jennifer Kim, Stephanie Sourapas, Robin Jameson and Mary Woodward.

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Category: Entertainment

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