Friends of Virginia Robinson Gardens Caps Lecture Series with Illuminating Talk on LA

Just as spring was preparing to blossom throughout the region and the seasonal changes were once again repainting Virginia Robinson Gardens’ glorious landscape, the Friends and guests gathered to celebrate the end of their most recent educational lecture series, co-chaired by Clare Wagner, Suz Landay, and Ann Petersen on April 14, 2022. Featuring Tim Street-Porter and Annie Kelly discussing their new book, Los Angeles Today - City of Dreams: Architecture and Design, the 45-minute talk inside the Pool Pavilion highlighted the dynamic changes that continue to engulf Los Angeles. “Tim was really focused on getting the icons of Los Angeles,” Annie told the Friends

Wendy Sue Knecht and Her Years with Pan Am

On March 15, 2022, Wendy Sue Knecht regaled the audience at the Virginia Robinson Gardens with fascinating tales from her years as a Pan Am flight attendant from 1979 to 1991. Education co-chair Clare Wagner introduced Wendy and said she is multi-talented. Since her Pan Am career, she successfully ran an import-export business, designs travel bags and accessories, and is a health care advocate. Elegantly attired in her Adolfo-designed uniform and pearls, Wendy charmed and delighted the guests sitting on the Tennis Court Observation Deck near the beautiful Display Rose Garden. Her first uniform was designed by famed Hollywood designer Edith Head. Wendy enthused, “This is the prettiest setting I’ve ever given a talk in and with the prettiest ladies!”

Mumsey Nemiroff Discusses Fakes, Frauds and Forgeries in the Art World at the Virginia Robinson Gardens

The Virginia Robinson Gardens played host this past month to an intimate salon featuring guest speaker Mumsey Nemiroff. An experienced lecturer, having taught at UCLA for two decades on the subject of art connoisseurship, Mumsey recently spent a particularly gorgeous November morning illuminating just over two dozen Friends and their friends about the art of collecting. “Understand what you’re buying,” she advises. “Buyer beware, always.” In spotting a fake, Mumsey has identified six criteria to help collectors successfully procure genuine art: age, condition, rarity, aesthetic, provenance, and price. “Always beware of the words unique and rare,” she cautions.

George Geary Takes Us on a Tasty Trip down Memory Lane

“When you are in Love’s, the whole world’s delicious!” This famous slogan brought back decades-old memories of my favorite barbecue sauce and wonderful family dinners at the old Pico Boulevard restaurant. It was a full house as George Geary spoke to members of the Friends about his latest book Made in California: The California-Born Diners, Burger Joints, Restaurants & Fast Food that Changed America. Eloquent and dapper as ever, Geary, the former pastry chef and best-selling author, charmed us during his second engagement at the Gardens by helping us to remember those restaurants that formed our first experiences as children and the ones that became our favorite haunts in our adult years.

An Interview with Sunday Taylor, Author of “The Anglophile’s Notebook”

On March 11, 2021, Sunday Taylor, a longtime Friends of Robinson Gardens member, gave a fascinating virtual presentation on Zoom about her new novel, The Anglophile’s Notebook. She was interviewed by our lovely past President Patti Reinstein who said, “Her wonderful book is part history, part mystery, part love story and character study. It is also about the love of the Brontës that comes through in her writing.”

Katie Marsano and the Art of Ikebana

“What a fantastic class!” “Such stunning arrangements,” said many of the attendees at the Friends of Robinson Gardens’ first Education lecture of the season on November 19, 2020 at the Virginia Robinson Gardens. The group was delighted by the lovely Katie Marsano’s inspirational lecture/demonstration of “The Art of Ikebana Floral Arrangement.” The lecture was sold out at the socially-distanced event at the Gardens, but fortunately, it was also shown virtually on Zoom to many members. Education co-chair and past President Ellisa Bregman introduced Katie, a new Friend member. Katie said that her journey started five years ago when she was spending long periods of time in Tokyo and was introduced to an English-speaking Sogetsu Ikebana Master. Originally trained in Western floral arranging, Katie said that she was drawn to the minimalistic style and understated elegance of the Japanese aesthetic of ikebana.

A Big Thank You to VRG’s Outstanding Education Committee

We are so grateful to our remarkable Education Committee. Co-chairs Adrienne Horwitch, Patty Elias and Cindy Fields organized amazing events at the Virginia Robinson Gardens from 2018-2020. The fascinating lectures, dazzling tables, and delicious luncheons made for a memorable experience.  The events were almost always sold out!  The beautiful garden setting and lectures in the romantic Sumner Hunt-designed Pool Pavilion only enhanced the fabulous experience.

Left to right: Patti Elias, Cindy Fields, Adrienne Horwitch

With the help of our extremely talented resident design assistant, Andrey Yun, the themed floral centerpieces on the luncheon tables were always spectacular. Caterer Joe Monteferante** … Read More

Anna Wyckoff: The Alchemy of Costume Design and Fashion – POSTPONED

There is a magical, almost alchemic formula that makes certain cinematic moments unforgettable, and part of that equation involves the costume. Think Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Audrey Hepburn’s Holly Golightly grazes on her breakfast while gazing in Tiffany’s window, sheathed in an austere black column dress and opera gloves, arrayed in a collar of pearls, a tiny tiara, and dark sunglasses dressed by Edith Head and Givenchy. In The Seven Year Itch, Marilyn Monroe relishes the breeze from the subway grate in her pleated white halter designed by costume designer William Travilla. Is this Costume or Fashion?

Costume and fashion are … Read More

Dr. Toni Bowers on Charlie Chaplin in Beverly Hills

Dr. Toni Bowers gave a wonderfully enlightening talk on Charlie Chaplin, focusing on his years in Beverly Hills, that fascinated and delighted the attendees at the Virginia Robinson Gardens on January 14, 2020. Education co-chair Cindy Fields introduced Dr. Bowers. A Professor of English literature at the University of Pennsylvania, she studied at the University of Southern California and Houghton College and received her doctorate from Stanford University. She publishes on and teaches about 17th and 18th century British writings by and about women.

Dr. Bowers related that when Charlie Chaplin came to live in Beverly Hills in 1922 at … Read More

Holiday Fun with Floral Designer Brad Austin

Brad Austin, from Brad Austin Imaginative Florals and his husband Ricky Ramirez, gave a hands-on class on making floral arrangements for the holiday season on December 18, 2019 at the Virginia Robinson Gardens. Brad mixed Noble Fir pine leaves to create a long lasting and versatile plant base that can easily mix with roses, Christmas Holly, ornaments, and orchids to create a reusable Christmas to Hanukkah to New Year’s arrangement.  Brad also demonstrated how to pull apart roses to make them larger and more dramatic looking and created a charming light-up floral arrangement with a Champagne bottle and white roses … Read More

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