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One Last, Year-End Look at the Passing Parade of People in the News : Angels on Flight Deck

December 26, 1985|DICK RORABACK

View has revisited some of the people and places it reported on in the last several months. Among them:

--Hollywood's Masquers Club, which because of declining funds sold its building and moved.

--Jimmy and Ricky Sperry, blinded in an accident 11 years ago, who received cornea transplants in August.

--Balu Natarajan, who triumphed over 167 other youngsters to win the National Spelling Bee in June.

It's hard to pin down an angel. Just ask Jacob.

And true to form, Los Angeles' own Heavenly Host is poised for flight once again.

The angels, created by Tony Duquette (or vice versa; who chose whom is still a matter of conjecture), have graced Immanuel Presbyterian Church, 3300 Wilshire Blvd., for a year now. They may be seen--"experienced" is a better word--at the church through February, when they will take wing for wherever it is that angels go once the word has been spread. (Japan is a possibility. So is France. Florida is out. Angels, particularly Los Angeles Angels, do not winter in Miami.)

About 200,000 souls have communed with the angels at Immanuel, bringing the total to 800,000 since their first appearance in Los Angeles (the "celebrational environment" is a "gift of love" from Duquette to the city). The Duquette Foundation has yet to secure a permanent home here, but has not abandoned its efforts. Heaven can wait.

Magical Hours

An adequate description of the angels to those who have yet to see them remains elusive. To call the exhibit a fanciful grouping of statues and tapestries is to call the Taj Mahal a headstone. Seeing is believing, in this case quite literally. Hours--magical hours--are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday; 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday. Donations (for upkeep) are $2; $1 for seniors and children younger than 13. Rewards are personal; to Duquette, it is "the smile on the face of the observer."

Response to the angels during their Immanuel sojourn has been nothing short of profound, according to minister Jack Heinsohn--"overwhelmingly positive, both artistically and spiritually.

"I've often gone into the church during the day, and I've found the the angels' presence is most conducive to conversation. They make people want to talk. After all, an angel is a messenger."

Duquette has preceded his holy cohort out of Los Angeles--like the angels, temporarily. The exuberant artist has purchased an abandoned San Francisco synagogue and is hard at play creating another celebrational environment, this one based on St. Francis' "Canticle of the Sun." Angels for Los Angeles; St. Francis for San Francisco. One speculates in vain over the ecumenical Duquette's plans for Dickens, Neb.; for Devil's Island.

As for the fate of the angels, Duquette maintains a blithe faith. "Yes," he said, "the Japanese have expressed great interest, and the French, and others. The problem, of course, is the expense. But it's not something I'm concerned about. Maybe they'll just fly over on their own. . . ."

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