This past week, Burbank’s Verdugo Mountains shook, rattled and rolled. It wasn’t the type of shaking, rattling and rolling that had Burbakers dropping, covering, holding on, and then checking their phones for the epicenter and magnitude. Instead, it was the type that rocked the hills with the sound of music – specifically the music from the early days of rock ‘n’ roll. While the Starlight Bowl has not hosted an evening of music since August of 2019 due to the pandemic, last week the city allowed the bowl’s parking lot to serve as the venue for a 1950s “drive-in” concert staged as a fundraiser for the Burbank-based Family Promise of the Verdugos, an organization committed to helping local homeless families achieve lasting independence.
On the evening of Aug. 10, 2019, when John Waite performed his 1984 hit “Missing You” as a finale to the Starlight Bowl’s summer concert series, little could anyone have imagined just how prophetic the words of that song would be. In just over six months, Burbank would join the rest of the world in missing everything and everyone by taking shelter from a novel virus. While the “missing” of those who have fallen victim to the virus is the paramount heartbreak, the pandemic has also precipitated missing myriad things, from businesses who couldn’t hang on, social gatherings and classroom schooling, to so many things we love and have taken for granted. Among those things are traveling, visiting museums, dining in restaurants, going to plays and films, and the Starlight Bowl’s 2020 Summer Concert Series.
Although a soup line is traditionally for those in need, this past Sunday the tables were turned as those who lined up in their cars for a bowl of soup at Burbank’s UMe Credit Union were those fulfilling a need. The soup-securing succession was staged in lieu of Family Promise of the Verdugo’s annual Empty Bowl event in which supporters of the nonprofit agency select a hand-crafted artisan ceramic bowl and local restaurants team-up to provide a signature soup for a sit-down luncheon. Close to 200 supporters of the organization, which provides assistance, safe shelter and meals to homeless children and their families, pulled into UMe’s parking lot to receive a take-away container of Guy Fieri’s Kitchen and Bar Express’ chili or tortilla soup. This arrangement was made possible by Steve Mora, president of Metropolitan Culinary Services, who serves as the prime food and beverage provider at Hollywood Burbank Airport.