January 23, 2022

Sages Holiday Social Rocks!


On Sunday, December 5, the Community House once again rocked with holiday cheer as 75 or so of Topanga’s older generation sipped pink punch and tippled wine at the Sages Holiday Supper Social. Doug and Louise Thomas schmoozed with Evelyn and Russ Jensen. Kenny Douphner chatted up Yedvart Tchakerian. Gail and Nelson Yardley noshed on hors d’oeuvres that included all the shrimp you could eat. The tables were beautifully set with gift card favors crafted by Topanga Gallery artist Linda Bolhuis.


Sages Holiday Social Rocks!

The annual Sages Holiday Supper Social was held at the Community House on Sunday, December 5. Photos from left: Dianne Porchia serves festive punch to (L-R) Dan Kirby, Roberta Kirby and Nelson Yardley.

Long before the Canyon Sages, there was the Senior Dinner. Karla Morrison, the distaff half of Morrison Heating & Air, ran the dinner for years. She remembers, “Ione Kennedy said to Linda Hinrichs, ‘We should have a senior dinner here.’” Ione had been living in the Canyon since the fifties with her husband Gordon, and her words resonated.

As a result, some 15 years ago, Linda, who was then Topanga Community Club president, made it happen. She soon brought the tireless Lisa Villasenor on board, who enticed Karla, who eventually pulled in current head of the dinner, realtor Karen Dannenbaum. Karen continues the tradition under the Sages banner with the financial and moral support of the Topanga Town Council and the Topanga Community Club.

Sages Holiday Social Rocks!

Volunteers worked tirelessly all day to create the scrumptious feast. (L-R) Cookie Boyer, Lynn Dickoff, Jayson Mitchell, Lisa and Frank Villasenor.

Lisa Villasenor, known for her prodigious cooking skills, was commander-in-chief of Sunday’s Social. She led a crew of 20 or so volunteers, who worked from early morning till the 4 p.m. start time to produce an amazing traditional feast. Lisa’s husband, Frank, and 18-year-old son, Lawrence, helped carve the five huge turkeys.

Linda said the blessing, which included a nod to long-time dinner guest and Canyon favorite, Wild Bill Speer, who passed away just before Thanksgiving. There was a written tribute to Wild Bill above the fire in the massive fireplace that he had so faithfully tended over the years.

Before the food was served, Dr. Doug Roy and his Howling Coyotes took the stage, cheering the crowd with Holiday tunes.

Sages Holiday Social Rocks!

Musicians play holiday songs before dinner. (L-R) Bert Gleicher, Doug Roy, Russ Landau, Wayne Hoard and Eric Lynn.

Dr. Roy led out on the trumpet, supported by Bert Gleicher on sax, Wayne Hoard on tuba, Russ Landau on flugelhorn and Eric Lynn on piano. Linda Hinrich’s spouse, Randy Just, wiggling his elf ears, joined them with jingle bells for the final tune of — wait for it — “Jingle Bells.”

After the feast and pie, Karen Dannenbaum read off the raffle winners. Kay Dewberry took the grand prize, a bracelet donated by glass artist Penny Chavez.

Most inspiring, the dinner brought a welcome solidarity to the Community House, as present and former TCC presidents, including Lisa, Linda and Randy, Rebecca Andrews, the outgoing TCC president Adrian Wright and incoming Mark Nygard joined together with other TCC stalwarts, Lee Kelly and Andrea Makshanoff, to celebrate. Many also stuck around to clean up the House, as did Town Council president Stacy Sledge. That showed real holiday spirit.

Sages Holiday Social Rocks!

A crowd of diners is anxious to be served the feast.

Sages can look forward to the New Year when Activities Chair Gabrielle Lamirand will roll out a new season of classes and events. Sages Socials will continue on the first Friday of the month, starting with hors d’oeuvres and conversation at 3:30 p.m., with dinner to follow. Yoga and Tai Chi at Ribbit Nursery will continue for $2 per class and a sit-down yoga class will soon be added. The weekly Walking Club and monthly Book Club will be joined soon by a Piano Bar without the bar Sing-along Club. (Gotta work on that title).

Also new will be a Bingo night and a popular free Wednesday series will feature a three-part digital camera workshop led by local professional photographer Katie Dalsemer. Not every time and place is set yet, so anyone over 55 should be sure to join the

Sages Holiday Social Rocks!

Everyone’s favorite elf, Randy Just, loves to dress-up in his holiday attire for the dinner. He led the room in a rousing rendition of “Jingle Bells.”

Sages, at no cost, to receive e-mail, mail and phone updates as plans firm up. Go to www.topangatowncouncil.org and check the Sages web pages to sign up and keep current, or call Michele Johnson at (310) 455-1319 for more information and join the fun.