April 20, 2000


GEORGE DEA stood up once again, and took the place of YOE last week. I was auditioning to be the Poster Boy for the Diarrhea Association, but as always, GEORGE stepped forward when asked, and saved the day. Thanks, GEORGE - and I think we should all be aware how fortunate we are that he is once again in the lineup for the Chairs. Kudos aside, we moved to the Pledge, ably led by RAY ZICKFELD. A "Floating Threesome" of JACK HARRIS, BILL MAXWELL, and LENNY FRIEDMAN then blended their talents to produce "America". Actually, one of the trio made a public statement beforehand that they would like to both start and end together, and this worthy goal was well accomplished. Next up was new member BOB YOUNKER (who feels pretty 'old shoe' to YOE). BOB gave a thoughtful prayer dealing with the diversity of our beliefs, and giving thanks for our ability to help others less fortunate than ourselves. We are always looking for good new members - and BOB has really waded in, which is nice to see.

There were three visiting Rotarians, according to RUDY ALVAREZ.. They were David Sanchez, an International Financial Advisor from Beverly Hills, and two from Santa Monica, Harmon Sieff in Law - Litigation, and Larry Maher, a CPA. The sun having come out once again in that profession, Prez BOB re-introducted PP CHRIS GAYNOR and PP STEVE DAY to their fellow WVRC members - good to see you guys again.

This in turn allowed PP STEVE to elucidate us (that means instruct) in the intricacies of being a Benefactor. If you make a gift - or provide in your will - for $1,000 or more to Rotary, you join 33 others in the Club who already so qualify. JOHN SANDMAN FELLOWS are those in our Club who have made the same arrangements with WVRC being the Beneficiary, and we now have 43 in that category. As I'm sure you know, JOHN was a Charter Member of WVRC, and his daughter, Virginia Gandy is our Paul Harris Angel. Incidentally, it was good to see VIRGINIA back with us - she has had a spell of illness, but seems fine once again.

More on the health front - BILL BLOOMFIELD is glad to have visitors, but please call in advance. The news on BOB FERGUS is not good - he is back at Country Villa on Overland, but seems to be slipping away. Cards (to home) would be welcome, of course. And one final note - I ran into PP JOHN KUHL the other day. Lynn is still with him, but he has two helpers with her care now. Give him a ring (3l0) 454-485l - and I'm sure he would be available as a visitor to WVRC, so keep that in mind, please.

LENORE MULRYAN next introduced her Westwood Village Ambassadorial Scholarship Interview Committee - and she has some good ones, including DON NELSON, SUSAN ALLEN, PETER MORE, RAY ZICKFELD and our real Renaissance Man, DR RALPH BEASOM. YOE is glad he doesn't have to be gone over by this bunch! And one housekeeping note, please: the Foundation Committee wishes to apologize for grammatical errors in the flyer soliciting attendance for the Foundation dinner this coming October. HOWEVER, they would appreciate your immediate response, please.

PP DAVE MORE gamely stepped forward with the well-nigh-impossible task of pumping up the Rotarian Magazine. He quoted from an article by Cliff Dockerman, R.I. President of a few years ago, outlining what would be decided by the International Convention in 2001 - and it was an impressive list of current and future concerns At this point, you would almost predict that PP ERIC LOBERG would have a comment or two to interject - and of course, he did. ERIC, you are a genuinely funny man, but your target in this instance was not a fair one - you can do better another time, OK?

Prez BOB invited those with birthdays to come forward, first noting that they had no chance of getting any kind of gift - but they were still welcome to be serenaded!

In some sort of sequence, birthdays in April were achieved by ELLIOTT TURNER, BILL MICHAEL, CLARK McQUAY, RON KLEPETAR, DICK ROBINSON, RALEIGH SHAO, ERIC LOBERG, ANN ELKINS and DON PARK - but the topper was JIM GREATHEAD, who turned NINETY just four days ago!

Prez BOB introduced his long time friend and law partner, Barry Sanders. Barry has already had a most distinguished career in public service, including serving on the Los Angeles Olympic Organizing Committee, Co-Chairing the major Rebuild LA project after the riots, and serving in several significant capacities within the music community. He is currently Chair of the Los Angeles Philharmonic - and has already been designated as lead man for the 2012 Los Angeles Olympic Games Bidding Team. But his first love remains music, and thus we could not have had a better representative to describe Disney Hall. He was assisted in his presentation by Kristen Kenyon of the Disney staff.

Designed by Frank Gehry, Disney will seat 2,280 in the main concert hall, thus forming our fourth performing arts center, next to the existing Dorothy Chandler, Ahmanson, and Mark Taper venues. It will be devoted solely to music, and the major donor has always been the Disney family and organization. The entire cost is pegged at $225 million dollars --all privately funded - and when you compare that to the present cost of just one new Boeing 747 at $300 million, it puts the numbers in better perspective.

The Dorothy Chandler seats 3200, and is presently an all-purpose venue, used by the Philharmonic, the Opera, and other tenants. With such a structure, you necessarily have to make compromises and concessions -but this will not be the case with Disney - it is for the Philharmonic, period. (Opera will become the basic tenant at the Chandler).

Starting from scratch, as he did, enabled Gehry to design a classic Concert Hall - that is, a wooden box with the stage surrounded by seats - almost a theatre in the round, you could say. Sound was primary and thus everything is wood - floors, walls, ceiling, and intimacy must be preserved. It contains 230,000 square feet of interior space, on three levels, and will be sheathed in stainless steel. There are five performing areas inside, and two on the Garden Level outside. The Red Cat Theatre for 200 will be devoted to Cal Arts presentations, which is another Disney operation. The stage in the main concert hall will be brought forward, leaving 25% of the space behind, and lots of seats on the side, all designed to bring the audience into closer contact with the musicians. There is of course major new space for rehearsals, and a separate interview room is provided.

Q and A - There are twelve stories of parking directly underground - this has already been completed, and the exterior will be completed in 2001. Once finished inside, the fine-tuning will begin, which is accomplished by having people present, then adjusting screens and fabrics to produce the true sound desired.

Currently there are 87 symphonies annually - Disney will provide 108, plus 20 other orchestral events and 20 recitals, for a new total of 153. Ticket sales provide about 60 to 65% of the running costs of the Philharmonic - the cash shortfall is made up by donations of about nine million dollars annually. As a comparison, the Metropolitan Opera in New York has an annual shortfall of eighty million dollars - so we must be doing something right! Thank you, Barry Sanders - you may not be the famed pro running back, but you sure as hell know your stuff about music, and Disney in detail.

YOE, Ernie Wolfe