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Social Circuits

The 'Angels' in the Wings

Hillsides honors behind-the-scenes supporters of the 88-year-old residential center for abused and neglected children.

April 18, 2001|PATT DIROLL | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Veteran newsman Jess Marlow, his wife Phyllis, and Judy and Bernard Reiling have been longtime benefactors behind the scenes at Hillsides, the 88-year-old residential center for abused and neglected children. Last Wednesday, Hillsides made them official "angels" at its annual Angels Awards Ceremony in the Keck Center on the 17-acre Pasadena campus.

"The Hillsides annual fund-raiser was a little acorn until the Marlows came along 11 years ago and agreed to be honorary chairmen," said Hillsides board member Margaret Campbell. "The following year, Jess brought the whole KNBC news team, and they've been coming ever since. With Channel 4's Fritz Coleman presiding over the auction every year, the benefit has grown into a mighty oak raising more than $1.8 million." Phyllis Marlow accepted the Community Angel Award on the couple's behalf because Jess, now host of KCET's "Life and Times," had snagged L.A. mayoral-runoff contenders James K. Hahn and Antonio Villaraigosa for a special live broadcast that evening.

The Reilings were introduced to Hillsides when their daughter volunteered as a tutor while in high school. Since then it's been a family affair with Bernard Reiling, president of Zelman Development Co., guiding the planning, construction and renovation of several buildings on campus, and Judy serving on the Hillsides Education Center's board. Also given special recognition for their support were volunteers Marge Zahner and Nancy Bixler, Mattel Children's Foundation and members of Las Candelas of Glendale.

Three young people told of how their bleak futures were changed by aid from Hillsides' satellite family centers. Shaun Federick and David Gonzales are now enrolled in college; Maria Rivera, poised far beyond her 14 years, said, "Hillsides can keep a teenager from messing up. They teach us the consequences. If it weren't for them, I don't know where I'd be right now."

*

If it hadn't been for L.A. Opera's production of Rossini's "La Cenerentola" ("Cinderella") last September, Jo Bufalino Libaw of Pasadena might never have met her cousin, Simone Alaimo, who played Don Magnifico in the Rossini opera.

Now appearing in the title role of Donizetti's "Don Pasquale," Alaimo became well-acquainted with Bufalino Libaw and her husband, Shawn Libaw, and is staying with them during the run of the opera at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. The Libaws were on hand for the opening-night cast party last Wednesday where Jo doubled as translator for the Italian bass-baritone. The Libaws wasted no time in signing up Simone for a concert to benefit the Los Angeles Childrens Chorus on Sunday.

Also spotted at the Italian-style buffet were the opera's co-stars Thomas Allen, Ruth Ann Swenson and Greg Fedderly; director Stephen Lawless; conductor Emmanuel Joel; Lauren B. Leightman; Arthur Levine, Betty and Elwood Buffa; Alicia and Ed Clark; Richard Seaver; Sally and John Thornton; Esther and Abe Zarem; Terry and Dennis Stanfill; Alyce Williamson; Betty and Fred Hayman; Rosemary and Milt Okun; and Helma and Stephen Bloomberg. The buzz overheard at the ravioli station: Richard "Figaro" Bernstein and ballerina Jaimie Krista McPeak will wed in June in Malibu.

Coming Up

* An Italianate mansion in the San Rafael hills is the site of this year's Pasadena Showcase House for the Arts, opening Sunday and continuing through May 20. Tickets are $17-$25. Call (213) 365-3500 or (714) 740-7878.

* Distinguished Mexican writer Carlos Fuentes, the Mark Taper Foundation and Bank of America will be honored at the sixth annual Los Angeles Public Library Awards Dinner on Tuesday at the Central Library. Tickets $750. Call (213) 228-7500.

* The Society of Singers will honor Julie Andrews at the 10th Annual ELLA Award Dinner on April 25 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. Tickets are $400. Call (323) 651-1696.

* Los Angeles Orphanage Guild members will gather at the St. Regis Hotel on April 25 for their annual benefit luncheon, featuring fashions by St. John. Proceeds support Maryvale, a residential haven for abused children. Tickets are $100. Call (310) 202-6915.

* The USC Black Alumni Assn. is hosting the 23rd Annual Alumni Awards and Scholarship Benefit, "Trojans of Ebony Hue: Role Models for All Generations," on April 26 at the Westin Bonaventure Hotel in downtown Los Angeles. Tickets $100 members, $250 nonmembers. Call (213) 740-6342.

* Members of the Luminaires Juniors will host their 25th annual benefit, "Zen and the Art of the Party," to benefit Doheny Eye Institute, at Santa Monica Airport Hangar 8 on April 28. Tickets are $250. Call (323) 442-7111.

Patt Diroll's column is published Wednesdays. She can be reached at pattdiroll@earthlink.net.

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