UNDERWAY IN EARNEST (a pun?) at WVRC on July 10th

Yes, though that IS my name, I seldom get a chance to be a punster, so…
Actually, I felt it was necessary to do something to quiet the apparent groundswell of sentiment about fining me for being inappropriately dressed today. Since the rules are, "Never Explain", I won't - but those who spoke up on this subject should bear in mind that their bias has been recorded. Your turn will come, OK?

Moving right along, President PETER gave us some data on events worth noting that occurred on this very same date. For instance, Nikola Tesla was born in Serbia on this day in 1856. Emigrating to the U.S. in 1884, he sold the patent rights to his system of alternating-current dynamos, transformers and motors to George Westinghouse (whoever the hell HE was). Tesla was credited with over 700 patents, and is best remembered for his invention of the alternating current power distribution that we still use today. Further history shows that the same year JIM COLLINS was WVRC President, Telstar was launched as a joint venture of AT&T and NASA. Not coincidentally, on that same day, live television pictures originating in the US of A were received in France. But be forewarned - NEXT week someone will be asked by President Peter what year that was!

BOB FLICK came forward to lead the Pledge, preceding that by lamenting his infrequent recent opportunities to have a speaking part - but do not fear, BOB - you done good. LENNY FRIEDMAN and PP JIM DOWNIE combined for their usual excellent leadership of God Bless America. CLARK McQUAY (did you know he was a PP at WLA Rotary before joining WVRC?) provided the Invocation, thanking our maker for our many blessings, and asking for his guidance for our national Rotary leaders as well as our new local slate. And speaking of PP's of other clubs, when LEO TSENG was President of the Hollywood Club, Dan Price was invited as a guest by their guest speaker, Buddy Ebsen. Dan was then invited to join Hollywood - the moral of this tale being, the way to increase membership is to INVITE, OK? At this point, PP TED IHNEN rose to introduce a Visiting Rotarian, Paula Byrd, who is in Office Management/Engineering at North Greenville, S.C. - these South Carolinians do stick together! She is also District Chair of the RI International Youth Exchange Program.

RALPH SMITH next introduced his special guest, his son, Jamie Smith, who is a Senior Loan Officer at the Senior Funding Associates Corporation in Woodland Hills. STEW GILMAN brought with him - after a long delayed earlier visit - ED GAULD, our newest member, who is a retired Actuary. PP TED IHNEN was summoned forward, accompanied by the usual clucking of tongues and advance expressions of sympathy for an expected fine. However, President PETER read a Citation from the Rotary International President, awarded to WVRC in recognition of "Loving grass root efforts to Sow the Seeds of Love" - and presented it to PP TED, for his successful effort to bring President Bichai to our Club. Well deserved, and a nice touch, PETER.

There ensued a brief bit of repartee regarding the new location of the Podium. President PETER allowed as how there were several reasons why it was now centered on the stage - to which PP JIM COLLINS immediately rose to point out that that is where it was a mere forty five years ago (Whoops, I'm almost giving away the dates of JIM'S Presidency - see earlier warning above.). Seems to YOE that the President can put the damn thing anywhere he wants, but PETER did have several reasons in support of the move. Taking the long view, it seems doubtful that this particular decision will be sufficient grounds for later impeachment, so we can all relax and concentrate on deciding if Gray Davis should or should not be retained.

CHARLES MAGNUSON, Chair of Vocational Service, spoke about his plans for this year. We will continue past successful programs, including the awards to the three military service branches at UCLA, the Police and Firefighter awards, literacy promotion, and our baseball adventures - PP CHRIS GAYNOR is expected to field a talented team, and since we can have as many players in the outfield as we want, we should certainly be tough defensively, at least. All these options will be discussed at the first meeting of this new year, which will be on July 24th, 11.15, just prior to our regular meeting that day.

RALPH SMITH outlined his ideas for Community Service, leading off with hoped-for sponsorship of the John Tracy Clinic. This was founded by Louise Tracy, wife of Spencer Tracy, in 1942. Their son, John, was born deaf - and you may know that this is considered a bigger handicap than being born blind. The reason is that deafness at birth leaves you unable to communicate - you cannot mimic sounds, or speech. On a 'Small World' note, John Spencer Tracy, grandson of Spencer Tracy, attended and was introduced at our "Chasen's at the Movies" program several years ago! On an even more personal note, RALPH SMITH'S companion, Betty Good, has a deaf child, and can testify to the wonderful work that the Tracy Clinic provides. Basically, they encourage families whose children have hearing loss to adopt their program, with some amazing results. Other programs, which will be settled upon by the Committee, include
Salvation Army support, the Christmas Shopping Program, Meals on Wheels, the Braille Luncheon, Corazon House, PACT and PLLUS. Community Service will meet at 11:15 on the first Thursday of the month - thus, August 7th will be their inaugural.

SEAN McMILLAN made a really significant announcement regarding his offer of a few weeks ago in support of research on medulloblastoma. This malignant brain cancer
is the most common cause of cancer death in children up to age 15, and the second most common cause of cancer death in adults to age 35. The particular research he is supporting will cost an estimated $50,000 to $75,000, and he has offered to match any gifts up to a total of $25,000. He would like to present this support gift within the next couple of weeks to the UCLA Neuro-Oncology Program - you will recall a recent presentation by Timothy Cloughesy, M.D. on this subject. Several members have stepped forward to help, and SEAN is now asking for all checks, large and small, to be sent to him right away, please. If questions, his cell is (310) 614-1470.

Gloria Gerace of the UCLA Hammer Museum was our Speaker, and she was introduced by MICHAEL GINTZ. Ms Gerace joined the Hammer Museum in November of 2001, as Deputy Director. Her responsibilities include Strategic Planning, and overseeing the day-to-day operation of the Hammer, plus being the main interface with UCLA. She worked earlier as a Consultant to Hammer, and finds that working there full time is most pleasant - the Village and surroundings are wonderful.

The Museum opened in November of 1990 - three weeks after Armand Hammer died. The original Director was Edmund Barnes, and the structure itself was largely built by Occidental Oil Company, of which Mr. Hammer was Chairman. UCLA became its partner in April of 1994. Their mission is to provide several areas of cooperation with the University and the Community, and to encourage and showcase the many young artists who now live in the LA area. A recent NY Times article stated that young artists today mostly are gathered here - which is quite an admission for a New York publication.

They are aware of their role, which is quite different from the many other museums in LA. There are three major divisions - the Armand Hammer Collection of old masters, the Armand Hammer Contemporary Collection, and their Gruenwald Graphic Arts Collection, numbering over forty thousand drawings, photographs and other visual material. They also feature changing exhibitions which travel. Research is considered primary, and their function is to introduce new art and techniques to the LA community.
Hammer Projects feature a series of exhibits of emerging artists, some of which can be seen both from the lobby and from the sidewalk outside! A regular feature is a 15-minute Art Talk each Wednesday at 12:30.

BILL EDWARDS asked about their plans to remodel. They are working on such plans, since the main auditorium is still just a shell, and the galleries need to be expanded. This is expected to close the Hammer for up to ten months, but will not commence until the major funding has been completed. PP MIKE NEWMAN asked about the status of the Summer Symphonies. They are not being given this summer, but will be resumed. DAN PRICE asked about Mr. Hammer's known Russian Connection - do they have any of his Faberge eggs, for instance. No. A series of small but excellent slides were shown, vividly illustrating many interiors of the Hammer. They have a number of Rembrandts, a major work of John Singer Sergeant, and a number of impressionists. The World From Here is a collection from twenty two local libraries, which has been very well received. There are Shaker drawings, and a Milton Avery exhibit from the early 1900's. In response to a question, Ms Gerace explained that they do not purchase most of their temporary exhibits - they simply pay the artist a small fee which his work is displayed.

Q&A - CHARLES MAGNUSON, How does your selection process work? Jamie Elaine is the Curator, and he travels widely visiting new artists. They particularly seek artists who have not been shown widely, who they feel are under-represented. TONY MARRONE, How many visitors do you have? About 60,000 a year, which doesn't include some of the UCLA programs they sponsor. TONY again, are you looking to increase that number? Yes, that's part of my job. And, some of us would be embarrassed to admit this next question, but who else but DON NELSON would suggest they would be more successful if they had more nude options…The reply indicated that that, plus parking, were their two major concerns! Admission on Thursday, by the way, is free all day. As an attendance comparison, MOCA gets about 500,000 annual visitors - but they cater to a much broader audience. Final question, from MICHAEL GINTZ - What is available to the community at the Hammer? We serve lunch, at tables with clothes, and several of their spaces are available for rental.

Apropos of nothing, but nonetheless important - sold our first Parking Package at LAX today, to PP CHRIS GAYNOR. That's fifty bucks for the Foundation - and I'm hoping it will be the first of many such purchases.

YOE, Ernie Wolfe