Making Memories at Starlight Bowl Summer Concerts

Photo by David Laurell / Burbank Leader
Led Zeppelin tribute band Led Zapagain brought back memories from the 1960s and ’70s during Saturday’s Starlight Bowl season opener.

In the moment, a summer evening at Burbank’s hillside Starlight Bowl is one for family, friends and couples to enjoy a picnic dinner and a variety of live music performances. But moving past the moment, it is the thousands of memories that are made during each performance that is the true magic of the Starlight Bowl.  

In the wake of a missed season due to the pandemic, the bowl once again opened for its 2021 slate of concerts with the music of Led Zeppelin tribute band Led Zapagain last Saturday. It was an evening in which the alchemy of turning moments into memories pulsated as strongly as the opening riff of Zep’s “The Song Remains the Same.”   

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Foundation Helps Loving Animals — and Their Owners

Linda Venegas and her dog Ottie getting pampered by groomer Deborah Stevens. Photo by David Laurell / Burbank Leader

In the aftermath of 2005’s Hurricane Katrina, Dr. Gary Michelson, a renowned spine surgeon and prolific medical inventor, founded a nonprofit organization he called Found Animals. 

Beginning with the establishment of the first free pet microchip registry, today the Michelson Found Animals Foundation has gone on to create the Better Neighbor Project, which delivers pet food and wellness services to pet owners in need.

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BTAC Drive-Thru Event Helps Those In Need

Photo by David Laurell / Burbank Leader
Volunteers filled the trunks of 59 cars with food during BTAC’s drive-thru event.

For the first time in its 47-year history, the Burbank Temporary Aid Center staged a drive-thru food distribution event open to anyone in need this past Saturday morning.

“Having never done anything like this, we really didn’t know what to expect,” said Barbara Howell, who serves as the nonprofit organization’s chief executive officer. “But we were fully prepared for whatever needed to be done.”

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Local Woman Makes a Difference — at Home and Abroad

Photo by David Laurell
Lusine Simonyan in 2019 launched Burbank-based Miray Collections, which represents more than 40 Armenian artists.

Every community is blessed with residents that are exceptional by virtue of their commitment to giving back. With their dedication to make life better for others, they are the shining stars in the constellation that make up a community.

Since its incorporation as a city, Burbank has been fortunate to have many such shining stars, including a vibrant young woman named Lusine Simonyan.

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Warner Bros. Shows Appreciation for Providence Saint Joseph

Photos by David Laurell / Burbank Leader
Tom Ascheim presented Kelly Linden with one of the original artwork creations that the studio has donated to Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center.

As of this past week, the walls of Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center are adorned with the images of DC Comics superheroes Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman and Warner Bros. icon Bugs Bunny. They all have been specifically created to thank local physicians, caregivers, and non-clinical staff by Warner Media artists.
The unveiling of the artwork, which took place in the medical center’s Healing Gardens, was led by Tom Ascheim, who serves as the president of Global Kids, Young Adults and Classics at Warner Bros., this past Wednesday morning. Employees from numerous departments attended the ceremony.
Revealing to the assemblage that he is a bit of a “black sheep” for having gone into the entertainment industry instead of the medical profession like many of his family members, Ascheim said that on behalf of everyone at Warner Bros. he wanted the caregivers and staff at Saint Joseph’s to know how much they are appreciated.
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Saint Finbar Church’s ‘Fiesta’ Aided by Firefighters’ Support

Former Mayor Michael Hastings and volunteer Alyssa Ziegler flank Erik Johnson, Paul Konzen and Jen Hoffman of the Burbank Fire Department, who came out for a barbecue lunch to benefit Saint Finbar Parish School.

As traditional as the celebrations of Cinco de Mayo and the honoring of our moms, the month of May in Burbank has also been the time the Catholic community of Saint Finbar Church has staged their annual fiesta.
In what has become a local harbinger that summer is just around the corner, the Saint Finbar Fiesta is a three-day event which raises funds for the parish’s school by offering an array of games, entertainment, dancing, American barbecue, street tacos, sausage and pepper sandwiches, specialty dishes from the church’s Vietnamese community, and treats of all kinds to satisfy those with a sweet tooth.
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Road Kings Show Appreciation For Police, Fire Departments

Over hot dogs loaded with whatever one’s palette desired, it was a day to see and catch up with friends, many for the first time in over a year. It was a day to share memories, provide updates, and express hope that the near future will bring more such gatherings. But, most importantly, it was a day for the Road Kings of Burbank to show their thanks and appreciation to the men and women of the city’s police and fire departments.
With a caravan of close to 100 vintage vehicles, the local car enthusiasts staged a caravan that weaved its way through the city as a rolling drive-by car show, stopping by Burbank fire stations from the hillside down to the city’s western border last Saturday.
“Because we weren’t able to do our annual car show fundraiser at Johnny Carson Park, we wanted to do something, and we felt it was appropriate to do an event that would let our safety service personnel know how we feel — how appreciative we are that they are always there for us,” said longtime Road Kings member Don Baldaseroni. “We wanted to do something to honor them, and it made us feel great to see them outside of their stations, waving, giving us the thumbs up sign and a salute with their sirens as we drove by.”
Road Kings President Bruce Borst said he was thrilled to be able to put on an event like this during his watch.

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Burbank YMCA, Conundrum Theatre Partner For Fundraiser

Jackie Brenneman, Bryan Snodgrass, Daniel Segura, Lisa Sedares and Jess Jani were among the cast members who performed at last week’s concert. | Photo by David Laurell

As the gradual reopening of schools, churches, restaurants, recreational and community facilities begins to bring life-as-we-once-knew-it back to Burbank, one organization of the local artistic community has already made its return to the stage.

This past week, the Burbank-based Conundrum Theatre Company joined forces with the Burbank Community YMCA to stage a drive-in concert fundraiser to support the Y’s new Social Impact Center.

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Family Promise ‘Rattles’ in Fundraiser at Starlight Bowl

Photos by David Laurell
Family Promise bestowed their 2021 Impact Award upon Charles “Chuck” Cusumano, who was joined by family members including his wife Tracy, and sister-in-law and brother Evelyn and Roger Cusumano.

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.

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‘Egg-Stravaganza’ Shows Spring Has Arrived, Mayor Says

Photos by David Laurell
The Easter Bunny, flanked by park staff member Bria Wade with Burbank Youth Board members Justin Cano, Dominic Millunzi, Yogini Vazirani, Zachary Ching, Paige Huleis, Rose Ilangesyan and Dinnavia Petrulis.

If you’re feeling a bit like you’ve stepped through Lewis Carroll’s looking glass, where up is down and right is left, there’s not a soul who would blame you.
With the memories of Passover and Easter celebrations still fresh in our minds, Friday night football is taking place featuring the high school teams from Burbank and Burroughs.
What Burbanker would have ever imagined that a time would come when the local gridirons would be seeing action at the same time the city’s Parks and Recreation Department is staging its annual Spring Egg-Stravaganza?

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