Arising from a hobby practiced in basements or garages, the craft beer industry continues to thrive nationwide and in California, and Glendale seems to be putting its own stamp on the heavily localized trade. The city’s second brewery opened its doors this past summer, years after the first showed up. More craft-themed taprooms are cropping up, too, after aficionados gathered under one or two roofs for years. And those local fans seem to have rallied this year, despite the pandemic, to send one of the bars close to the top of an annual “best of” ranking, bringing the Glendale name to the readers of a national magazine for enthusiasts.
It was with a different sort of fanfare that the Alex Theatre celebrated its 95th birthday this year. There was no party, per se, no gala or soiree complete with the latest in ballroom fashion, trays of wine or special performances in the historic theater. In fact, since March, there’s been little-to-no action in one of the Jewel City’s greatest, well, jewels in its collection. Save, of course, for the virtual telethon that served as the marathon birthday party for the venue, where its operating body served up $100,000 in donations to help the landmark soldier through the trials and tribulations of the coronavirus pandemic. While historic theaters throughout the nation, including elsewhere in Los Angeles County, face an uncertain future, the venerable Alex is already planning its centennial birthday five years ahead of schedule. “Since COVID,” explained Elissa Glickman, executive director of Glendale Arts and, therefore, the Alex Theatre, “obviously we haven’t been able to do live performances and our effort has been focused on, how do we maintain our staff, maintain our 95-year-old building and how do we remain relevant?” On top of the six-figure fundraiser from the birthday telethon, Glendale Arts has continued to otherwise seek prominent donations and funding. Federal coronavirus assistance and the Small Business Administration provided early loans and grants to help keep staff paid. In terms of relevance, the organization has endeavored to support its artists by launching an artist assistance program. “We significantly ramped up our fundraising efforts,” Glickman said. These efforts position Glendale Arts with the tools that will be necessary if they want to successfully pivot the Alex Theatre’s operations in the post-COVID era.
Ascencia, a homelessness outreach nonprofit with locations in Glendale and Burbank, never gives up. “We have a client that originally was in our shelter and she hit the length of stay,” said Ascencia program director Kiara Payne, citing a case that displayed the agency’s doggedness. “In our shelter we have a 60-day stay, and once they are in the shelter we kind of have to exit them to the street if we’re not able to get them housing.” Although the client was homeless, living on the street, Ascencia continued to explore housing options for her. The efforts were ramped up when the woman was identified as susceptible to COVID-19. With the nonprofit’s help, she was placed in a hotel in March through Project Roomkey — which is run by the state, county and Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority — and in August, Ascencia secured housing for the client. By November, she was homeless no more. Although restrictions due to the pandemic have changed the way Ascencia operates, its goal has remained the same.
For years, Jeff Julian has been one of the best swimming coaches in Southern California. The head swimming coach at the Rose Bowl Aquatics Center has devoted his life to the sport, guiding and mentoring countless athletes and coaching Olympian Jason Lezak prior to his remarkable, multiple-medal-winning performance in the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Julian, 45, has become even more influential after surviving a bout with stage 4 lung cancer in 2015. He became a motivational speaker and has served as a beacon of hope and optimism for athletes and families who know him. His sister, Jaimi Julian Thompson, said he seems to be more of a teacher than a coach, providing “lessons that help people be successful in life.”
The death last week of legendary guitarist Eddie Van Halen conjured up memories from former Glendale Community College students of the band Van Halen, which had a memorable 1975 performance in the school’s quad before attaining superstardom. Eddie Van Halen, who died of throat cancer at age 65, was the master guitarist who teamed with his drummer-brother Alex to create Van Halen, one of the era’s most influential and memorable “hair bands.” Lead singer David Lee Roth and bass player Michael Anthony were other members of the band’s 1970s lineup. (Sammy Hagar replaced Roth as lead singer in the 1980s.) They went on to become one of the biggest rock bands in the world, particularly after the release of their chart-topping album “1984.” The band pumped out hits such as “Panama,” “Jump,” “Jamie’s Cryin’” and “Hot for Teacher.”
On Monday afternoon, the Glendale Fire Foundation received a $600 check from two generous donors. One of whom is 6 years old, and the other, just 2. Sisters Tuesday and Sunny Carroll have spent much of their at-home time during the COVID-19 pandemic painting. They decided to sell their art to raise funds for their local fire department and on Monday, delivered their donation of money as well as three paintings to firefighters at Glendale Fire Station 29. “It’s pretty good here,” said Tuesday, 6, after she and Sunny were given a tour of the station. “I really liked the firetrucks.” Although Tuesday and Sunny might not realize how large the amount of money they raised is, or the impact their actions will have on their local fire station, the firefighters are grateful.
Glendale Unified School District staff recently distributed 107 free backpacks to students across all grade levels. Each backpack was filled with necessary personal protective equipment, educational resources and school supplies for students. The district drive-by distribution was the first of its kind and was funded by the Refugee School Impact Program, which specifically supports students who have been in the country for less than five years. “We are committed to supporting all of our students by ensuring each and every child has the resources they need to succeed during this distance learning experience,” said Glendale Unified Superintendent Vivian Ekchian. “This is another way we are taking steps to accelerate learning and increase pathways for every student.” The initiative to provide essential school supplies was spearheaded by the Glendale Unified School District Categorical Programs Department to better support newcomer students during distance learning. To learn more about the Refugee School Impact Program, visit acf.hhs.gov.
Financial contraction for the city’s government does not appear to have been as severe as anticipated, based on updated numbers on the close of the 2019-20 fiscal year that the City Council reviewed on Tuesday. To be sure, the city did experience revenue loss late in the period as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, which planners and the council adjusted for in the spring. However, the final numbers seem poised to land somewhere between those in the original budget and the revised projections that officials made after the pandemic shut down large parts of the economy.
The coronavirus edition of Brand Associates’ annual fundraising art exhibit at the Brand Library is certainly a conversation starter. What would have been the traditional art opening this weekend — complete with wines, cheese and veggie trays and light music at the iconic library and gallery — will instead take place on computer screens, via Zoom, with any wine and snacks coming self-sourced from our own pantries and fridges. For those ready to partake, the Brand 48 Annual National Juried Exhibition of Works on Paper begins at 2 p.m. today, Sept. 12.
July’s opening day ceremonies and games marked not only the return of Major League Baseball and a semblance of normalcy in a world of COVID-19, but the beginning of Nik Turley’s comeback tour. “That was my first opening day,” said Turley, a journeyman pitcher who earned a spot on the Pittsburgh Pirates’ season-opening roster, a first in the Crescenta Valley Little League product’s career. “With no fans, it was a different experience for an opening day, but it was pretty special for me.” It was especially momentous for Turley, 30, because he had not pitched in the major leagues since 2017 due to a suspension and Tommy John surgery. The Pirates claimed him off waivers from the Minnesota Twins, with whom he made his MLB debut, two years ago and made a place for the left-hander on their 30-man roster.