Swept Away at the Alex
Anyone who knows me knows that we’ve fallen into a predictable pattern here at the CV Weekly.
Thursday is a day of celebration as the paper is out on the street and – for better or worse – it’s behind me. Thankfully, I usually have little regret as I read the pages that reflect the hard work we’ve invested.
Friday is a day of getting the “business of the business” done – going over numbers, returning phone calls, making meetings.
Then Monday the machine starts to grind again. The CV Weekly team meets for breakfast, goes over plans for that week’s issue and then hits the ground running right through Wednesday night when we put that week’s issue to bed.
Not surprising, I treasure time that I’m able to spend with friends or when I take a night off. That’s what I did last Friday, heading over to the closing concert at the Alex Theatre on Brand in Glendale.
The concert featured jazz great Dave Koz – a favorite of mine – and Monica Mancini, daughter of American composer and arranger Henry Mancini. Both were under the direction of maestro Matt Catingub who also expertly directed the Glendale Pops Orchestra.
I love the Alex. Architecturally, it is beautiful with its signature spire that can be seen for miles. It’s a true icon for the Glendale area where my husband and I had one of our early dates – to see Bill Murray in “Meatballs” in the late ’70s (I married him despite his taste in film). The Alex boasts a rich history that began in 1925 and it actually closed for a while in the early ’80s due to upkeep costs.
Thankfully it enjoyed a resurgence in 1993 when Redevelopment money (remember that?) was invested into the Alex restoring it to its previous grandeur.
I took my boys there when they were little to see “Oliver!’ on the big screen and again to see “A Christmas Story.” In the audience was Darren McGavin who played the dad and Bob Clark who directed the classic film. They have both since passed on.
With warm memories and high expectations, my friend Lisa and I headed over to the Alex. Not surprising, we had a great time.
First off, I felt as if it was “old home” week as I knew so many people in the audience. Vince and Toni Espinoza, Mike and Mercy Velazquez were there from the Glendale Kiwanis. Camille Levee of Glendale Healthy Kids was also there as were community leader Helen McDonagh of Massage Envy with her husband Andrew. And how much fun was it when, early in the evening, conductor Catingub invited Marc Stirdivant onto the stage to conduct a rousing rendition of “Baby Elephant Walk” which was written by Henry Mancini.
The musicians who make up the orchestra are simply amazing and allow the audience to be swept away, caught in a musical tidal wave that on Friday night carried us to the movies.
“Moon River,” from the film “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” and sung by Monica Mancini, and “As Time Goes By” from the classic film “Casablanca” were just two of the numbers that the audience enjoyed.
This was the inaugural season for the Glendale Pops – a bold undertaking in this economy to be sure. Reviewing the roster of performers over the year, the Alex hosted some of the best.
Revisiting the Alex was a pleasure for me – something I plan to do more often, which won’t be difficult if they maintain the high level of entertainment they’ve had in the past – “Meatballs” notwithstanding.