Your Best Wishes for Future? Share Them at the Alex

Photos by Zane Hill / Glendale News-Press
In employing the Alex Theatre’s gate as the Wishing Wall, Glendale Arts officials say they want to give residents and fans of the venue a chance to hope for a better 2021.

In need of a small outlet to unload your hope on the world as a largely interminable 2020 hurtles to an end?
The Alex Theatre has you covered. Or rather, it is inviting people to cover its front gate with their hopes, dreams and well wishes for 2021 — the start of which, many believe, signals the beginning of the end for the coronavirus pandemic that upended virtually all plans for this year. Passersby can take a paper tag from the bunch in front of the theater, scribble out their message and tie it alongside others on the metal gate — the Wishing Wall. People also may submit messages so that Glendale Arts staffers can post them on their behalf.

“The Alex has symbolized so many positive things for the community, and it’s done so for 95 years,” said Maria Sakahian, a managing director of Glendale Arts, which operates the theater. “Since we’re not able to open those gates and invite the public inside, we thought, ‘Why don’t we find a way for the physical structure to have that effect and nurture that feeling for the community, when people need it more than ever?’”
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Alex Theatre: City’s Jewel Still Shines, Even While Dark

Photo courtesy Glendale Arts
The Alex Theatre, which is celebrating its 95th year, is the home to multiple resident companies. Above is a performance by the Los Angeles Ballet at the Alex in 2016.

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.

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Kiwanis Club’s Incredible Duck Splash Going Virtual

By Cathy Keen
Special to the News-Press

Photo courtesy Glendale Kiwanis
Glendale Kiwanis past Presidents (from left) Stacey Nishi, Patricia Larrigan and Cathy Keen, Vice President Kim Guard, and incoming President Monica Sierra attended a previous year’s Kiwanis Duck Splash. This year’s virtual fundraiser will be held Saturday, Oct. 24.

If you have lived in Glendale any length of time, you are probably familiar with the family event held each fall at Verdugo Park, the Kiwanis Incredible Duck Splash.
Sponsored banners promoting the fundraiser will line the streets of Glendale and Montrose for 30 days before the splashdown of about 20,000 rubber ducks. Along with the ducks, racing the Kiwanians provides fun, games and food for the hundreds of people who attend. It’s been happening for 15 years and hundreds of thousands of dollars in proceeds have been directed to stocking food pantries, serving meals to the clients at Ascencia, Glendale Arts, the Glendale Police Foundation, Bringing Up Grades program in elementary schools, scholarships to graduating seniors, CV’s Prom Plus, Book Boxes around the city, the YWCA domestic violence shelters, the YWCA’s Camp Rosie, Glendale Parks and Recreation, and more.

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