Tag Archives: Entertainment

Burbank Arcade Welcomes All

On Saturday, March 3, the All Amusement Fun Center at Burbank Town Center hosted an event from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. allowing visitors to get their face painted, request balloon animals, and play an unlimited amount of arcade games— all free of charge.

(Photo by Ross A Benson)

After 24 years, owners Jim and Susan Rowton are thankful for the continued influx of customers, especially since the arcade was nearly closed last year in light of the mall’s refurbishments.

Relocated from the first floor to the third floor, the All Amusement Fun Center has taken on a brighter energy and a more inviting ambiance. While many of the arcade’s games come from the previous location, half of the games are brand new. Recent additions include claw machine games, which allow patrons to play until they win a stuffed animal.

“People love that and it’s a beautiful new concept that is part of what’s called a fair play initiative that’s started in the industry and something we embraced immediately,” said Jim Rowton. “We love giving back to people. The more you give them, the more you win their business and the more you win their trust, and that’s what we’re all about.”

Among the arcade’s most popular games, racing games linked online allow patrons to compete against other gamers across the world.

(Photo by Ross A Benson)

Rowton also recognizes the arcade as an opportunity to show hospitality to the disabled and mentally impaired.

“We love the fact that they entrust us and feel comfortable here. It really touches us, that families come here and their kids can have a slice of normalcy and enjoy things that others of us take for granted.”

While some arcades might showcase lackluster prizes for patrons saving up their tickets, Rowton has worked hard to stock the best quality prizes for customers. From stuffed animals to Star Wars themed wallets among other items, the display case has something of interest for gamers of all ages.

“One of the things we’re most proud about is our merchandise. We work hard to shop for the community and be astute and expert buyers so we can put prizes out there that people can win easily,” said Rowton.

(Photo by Ross A Benson)

If a gamer is a few tickets short of the cost of a prize, a claw machine gives them the chance to win 30 to a thousand tickets to meet their goal.

“We try to be very generous about giving back to people. It’s been one of the things that made us successful over the years.”

(Photo by Ross A Benson)

When Los Angeles County’s last mall arcade nearly closed in 2017, the community spoke up and made it known that Rowton’s business holds a special place in their lives. With the help of Lance W. Taylor, director at CAPREF Burbank LLC, who has been overseeing the renovation of the Burbank Town Center, the arcade’s closure was avoided. Instead, the Rowtons collaborated with Taylor so that the All Amusement Fun Center would be relocated and refurbished.

“Special marketing events like this one, with a generational tenant like All Amusement, help connect the community with our tenants, and give them a reason to visit the new Burbank Town Center. We hope their experience gives them a new perspective and makes them want to come back to both All Amusement and the mall,” said Taylor.

The Show Must Go On For Burbank Ballerina

Hannah Hart of Burbank will be performing in the Pacific Ballet Dance Theatre’s “Dance in the USA” tonight.  It is the culmination of over 15 years of dancing for the young ballerina, but it is a performance she almost didn’t get to make.

Hannah Hart

Originally from Cape Cod, Massachusetts, Hannah began taking dance lessons when she was 3 years old.  She moved to Burbank with her mother and sisters in 2006, to pursue an acting career.   She heard about the Media City Dance Company (now Pacific Ballet Dance Theatre) from a friend, and began taking lessons there while attending middle school. Since then she has danced in several of their shows, including the Nutcracker, and Axis Mundi, where she was a demi-soloist.

Although dancing takes up much of her time, Hannah hasn’t neglect her school work.  In her senior year she took Honors English and Advanced Placement Biology, maintaining a 3.95 GPA.  The 18 year-old graduated from John Burroughs High School in May.  She is planning on majoring in Environmental Science in college.

Tonight’s show at the John Anson Ford Amphitheater in the Cahuenga Pass, has required many hours of practice in recent months. At one of those practice session in early June, Hannah felt something snap in her foot.  She had broken a bone.  The doctor prescribed a splint and crutches for the next six weeks.  It looked like Hannah might miss her final performance. but she is one dedicated dancer. She went to every rehearsal — on crutches.  She didn’t dance, but had to be content just watching others dance.  Not an easy thing for her to do.

“I almost started crying at that first rehearsal because I couldn’t dance,” said Hannah

Near the end of July, she got the doctor’s OK to dance again.  The rigorous schedule of rehearsals five times a week will all come to fruition at 8:30 p.m. tonight, when the curtain comes up for “Dance in the USA.”   It should be an exciting night for the young dancer, but she won’t have time to celebrate.

Early Saturday morning Hannah is leaving for college.  She and her mother, Bridget Barstow, will be driving up to San Francisco, where Hannah is enrolled as a freshman at the University of San Francisco.  Her dorm at the private college has a view of the Golden Gate Bridge.  It will be quite a change from the view she has of the Doughnut Hut on Magnolia Blvd. from her present home on Keystone St., where she lives with her mother, step-father Owen Keenan, and three younger sisters, Molly Hart, and Caroline and Bridget Keenan.

Although she is leaving behind her family, friends, and Pacific Ballet Dance Theatre, as she embarks on her college career, Hannah does plan to take some dance classes while she is in San Francisco. Ballerina, actress, environmental scientist — whichever career, or combination of careers, she chooses, I’m sure we have not heard the last from this talented young lady.

Ballerina Hannah Hart with the Pacific Ballet Dance Theatre will be among the poerformers in "Dance in the USA."


Academy Award Winner Inspires Students at Burbank’s Providencia Elementary

Michael Giacchino answers a question or two from students ( (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Academy Award-Winning Composer and Education Through Music-Los Angeles (ETM-LA) Advisory Board Member Michael Giacchino went back to elementary school, joining a violin class — his first ever!

Giacchino  spent time on January 24, with the 4th and 5th graders at Burbank’s Providencia Elementary School, discussing his career writing music in Hollywood.  He hoped to inspire young music students to follow their dreams whatever they may be.

Best known for his exciting scores for major box office hits and top TV shows like
Mission Impossible IV”, “The Incredibles”,  and “UP” (for which he won an Academy Award in 2009), Giacchino is also a devoted educator. He currently sits on the Advisory Board for Education Through Music-LA, a non-profit program dedicated to promoting the integration of music into the curriculum of Los Angeles-area elementary and middle schools with low-income student poopulations.

Michael Giacchino directs Bobby Shulgold while students at Burbank’s Providencia Elementary School listen intently. ( Photo by Ross A. Benson)


Education Through Music-LA partnered with the VH1 Save the Music Foundation and Burbank Unified Arts for All to provide instrumental music education to students at Providencia Elementary this year.

With the help of clips from his acclaimed Disney/Pixar films “Up” and “Cars 2″, Giacchino playfully shared what it takes to make movie magic happen. On his role as a composer, Giacchino shared how important communication is.

“It’s so important to be clear about what you’re feeling,” said Giacchino,  “Music is a guide for your emotions. I have to tailor my music to fit the scene perfectly.”

He presented two versions of a cue from “Up” and engaged the students in a discussion about which musical arrangement truly expressed the meaning behind the scene. Giacchino also invited studio flutist Bobby Shugold to play cues from “Up” as the students commented on what feelings they experienced when the music was played differently each time.

All Michael Giacchino had to say was tjat he worked with Salena and the girls were all ears at Providencia Elementary School ( Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Students were captivated and inspired, as well as curious, about all aspects of Giacchino’s life. When asked, “Do you hang out with celebrities?”  Giacchino joked, “Yeah…Tom Cruise is waiting in the car. I’ve worked with a lot of people who are probably considered celebrities, but when I’m with them, we’re just people making a movie…we don’t really think of it that way.”

Another student inquired, “How do you come up with all that music?” Giacchino laughed, “They made me! The trick is, always make sure the job you take is something that will inspire you.”

Every student at Providencia Elementary School receives weekly music education throughout the school year through the ETM-LA program. “This type of program would not be possible in this fiscal climate without incredible partners”, said Burbank Unified School Distict Arts Coordinator Peggy Flynn. Providencia principal Jennifer Culbertson added, “The entire Providencia community is so grateful to Burbank Arts For All, VH1 Save the Music Foundation, and Education Through Music-LA, for this amazing music program.  Our students will not soon forget the time they spent with Mr. Giacchino — and neither will I.”

Clips from some of Michael Giacchino movie work had the full attention of 4th and 5th graders at Providencia Elementary School. ( Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Giacchino has long been an advocate for the importance of music in a child’s education. Executive Director of ETM-LA, Victoria Lanier shared, “We are grateful to Michael for championing our mission. All kids out there deserve to have music be a real and lasting part of their development and lives.” On a recent Good Morning America interview, Giacchinol asserted, “Music and art aren’t these frivolous extras that you get by going to school. They’re a necessity. They’re actually as big a part of learning as math and science.” From the smiles and joy on the kids’ faces, Giacchino’s visit was an inspiration to the kids at Providencia. Mission accomplished.

Michael Giacchino, Academy Award-Winning Composer, poses with future award winners at Burbank’s Providencia Elementary School ( Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Live at Saint Rocke!

By: Brittney Victoria Edwards

Gorgeous Got A Gun opening the night of music at Saint Rocke in Hermosa Beach, CA on June 24, 2011 (Photo By Steven J. Lynch)

This past Friday, Saint Rocke at 142 Pacific Coast Hwy in Hermosa Beach opened its doors to the public to come be entertained by three remarkable bands; Gorgeous Got a Gun, Back Pocket Memory, and Goodnight Noises. The Saint Rocke to many southern Californians has gone unnoticed and deserves some huge credit for its magnificence. This venue has been voted the “Number One live music venue for the South Bay” for the past three years. According to their website, it is the only live music venue in the USA to be streaming LIVE VIDEO in high-def and on the Internet.

One of the several nooks and lounge areas surrounding the main floor of Saint Rocke (Photo By Steven J. Lynch)

This way no matter where a person was in the large venue they could watch the show. I will attest to this statement, by saying how awed I was at the flat screen televisions spread throughout the place. If you didn’t want to watch the show from the front of the stage, it was perfectly easy to watch it clearly from one of the flat screens in the several fireplace nooks around the venue.

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Burbank Author Releases New Book

Improve service, increase profits, and keep customers happy through author Eden Rosen’s captivating book How to Improve Service, Increase Profits, & Keep Customers Happy. Eden’s book will help you achieve better quality service and gain more customers.
How to Improve Service, Increase Profits, & Keep Customers Happy covers customer service issues in many different areas. It will help you improve quality of service through its examples of positive and negative customer service experiences. Quality service starts with positive employer/employee relations, but it doesn’t end there. This guide will clearly explain what constitutes quality customer service in establishments such as banks, stores, companies, retailers, government agencies, and more.
“Eden Rosen’s book will help you understand the pain and cost of poor service. A must read for those who want to improve customer service.”—John Tschohl, President and Founder of Service Quality Institute, Customer Service Guru and Strategist, and Author of five best sellers including Achieving Excellence Through Customer Service
Get a copy now at your nearest book retailer or online at Xlibris.com and learn How to Improve Service, Increase Profits, & Keep Customers Happy!

Cavalia Horses Arrive At Burbank Venue

Photo By Ross A. Benson

The horses that create the Cavalia Spectacular Show arrived on Thursday and their handlers couldn’t be more happy to see their partners. The horses will now get use to the arenas and get ready for the Cavalia’s Big White Top Tent with shows starting next week.

Photo By Ross A. Benson