By Mary O’KEEFE
At the recent 28th Annual Charlie Awards presented by the Hollywood Arts Council held at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, the organization honored those who help promote live theatre in their community.
Hollywood Arts Council is a grassroots organization that was founded in 1978 to promote the arts and culture of Hollywood. It is the only arts council in the city of Los Angeles and its reach stretches from local theatres to children’s programs like Project S.O.A.R. (Students Overcoming All Risks).
The Charlie Awards is a 30-year-old tradition of recognizing those who have made significant contributions to the arts and cultural life of Hollywood.
“Did you know that for every 10 jobs [in] theatre in Hollywood, we produce nine other jobs in outside businesses?” asked Daniel Henning, vice president, Hollywood Arts Council and the artistic director of The Blank Theatre. “Did you know [for] every dollar that is spent at a theatre, seven additional dollars are spent in the surrounding community [through] restaurants, bars and shopping … We, the arts, put money in your pocket by creating art in your community. It is a win-win situation.”
This year the Music Arts Award was presented to Richard M. Sherman who, with his brother Robert, wrote some of the most memorable music for Disney films including “Mary Poppins” and “Jungle Book.”
The Cinema Arts Award was presented to New Filmmakers Los Angeles; the Media Arts Award was given to George Pennacchio, ABC7’s entertainment reporter; the Theatre Arts Award went to Open Fist Theatre Company; the Preservation Arts Award was presented to Christy McAvoy and the Historical Resources Group; and the Entertainment Arts Award was given to the Hollywood Christmas Parade.
The Inaugural Culinary Arts Award was presented to Pink’s Hot Dogs. Current owners Richard and Gloria Pink and Beverly Pink-Wolfe spoke about how their parents Paul and Betty began selling hot dogs with a pushcart on the corner of La Brea and Melrose avenues in Hollywood in 1939. That pushcart business grew to the now famous Pink’s hotdog stand which is still at that same corner, 709 N. La Brea Ave.
Presenters were also strong supporters of arts and culture and included those from the worlds of government and entertainment. Congressman Adam Schiff, whose district includes Hollywood, Councilmember Tom LaBonge, respected film critic and author Leonard Maltin, music teacher Melissa Berman and actors Joe Mantegna, Jon Huertas and Joe Spano were among the presenters.
But the real stars of the show were the children from Selma Elementary School who performed Disney classics for Richard Sherman written by the Sherman brothers. The montage included, “I Love to Laugh” and Supercalifragilistic-expialidocious.” The performances were perhaps the best visual example of what Hollywood arts and culture mean to the world. The children not only got to sing the classic songs, but they did so in front of the man who, with his brother, made them possible.