Monday, December 22, 2014

Women’s Club Gives The Gift Of Music And More To Surrounding Neighborhood For The Holidays

By Ingomar Schoenborn, Quilt staff


Music and other sounds of the season will be filling the air throughout the holidays - at least during the evenings (and in most cases, well into the early morning hours) - in the area surrounding the Canoga Park First Wednesday of the Month Women’s Club, according to the club’s Vice President In Charge of Neighborhood Cacophony Doreen Farber.
Doreen Farber. Photo: Fred Farber.

“My my my, we’re pretty much booked solid from now to the end of the year. We’re calling it our Holiday Concert Series,” laughs the feisty octogenarian while thumbing through a thick stack of hundred dollar bills - rental fees paid by those who have recently secured the clubhouse’s facilities for various celebratory affairs. “Pity the poor bastards who live nearby,” she adds with a chuckle.

Unlike professionally-run venues, there will be little or no security at the ‘holiday concert series.’ And while most performance and reception spaces enact various rules and restrictions as terms of their rental, the vice president insists that isn’t the case with her club. “As long as they pay us and re-stack the folding chairs when they’re done, aah, they can do whatever the hell they want,” says Farber as she uses her foot to move a copy of Tom Brokaw’s best-seller ‘The Greatest Generation’ on her coffee table out of the way to more easily spit her chewing tobacco, or chaw, into an empty Big Gulp cup a few feet away.

The clubhouse of the Canoga Park First Wednesday of the Month
Women's Club, or as it's known locally, "Studio 7401." Staff photo.
The local Women’s Club, celebrating its 100th anniversary this year, was originally a traditional service organization but eventually abandoned all but the thinnest shred of such pretense and now operates almost exclusively as a private nightclub, though many in the area surrounding the property have noted that ‘private’ may be a bit misleading: Most of the festivities are indeed quite public due to the use of a magnificently oversized sound system, back doors that - in a marvelously 'welcoming' gesture - remain open throughout even the most boisterous events, and guests and their children who are encouraged to carry on, no matter the time, in the parking lot.

“Fact is,” smiles Farber in her lovely Winnetka home, tobacco juice dribbling down her chin, “we’re not exactly renting to the sort of people who just forgot to reserve the banquet room at the Calabasas Country Club. No, we cater to the local riff-ra-- eh, to the east of Topanga set, let’s say.”

Some miles away in Canoga Park, near the Women’s Club itself, a local resident is unsurprised by news of the impending events at the location in the middle of this residential neighborhood. 

Staff photo.
“Oh, their holiday parties are legendary around here,” notes area neighbor Téodor Pasternak, as he flips through a thick, overflowing file labeled ‘Complaints About Canoga Park Women’s Club, Vol. II’ and pulls out a heavily-notated sheet of paper. “Ah, here’s one: Christmas Eve 2011. That was particularly memorable. The usual open doors, no security anywhere, blasting music, pointless calls made to the LAPD, adults drunk off their asses, oh, and children who were not nestled all snug in their beds as much as running around and screaming on the top of their lungs in the parking lot until, let’s see here, ah yes, 1:53 a.m.” 

Told of Pasternak’s comments, the affable president of the Canoga Park First-Wednesday-of-the-Month Women’s club dismisses them with a good-natured flick of her hand.  “Oh, that asshole again. Well, we've still got over a week left to 2014. Believe me, bub, he ain’t seen nothing yet.”

The Canoga Park First-Wednesday-of-the-Month Women’s Club is located at 7401 Jordan Avenue at the corner of Valerio, in Canoga Park’s otherwise quiet Jordalerio neighborhood. Monies raised by renting the club facilities go “right back into the immediate community” by being put towards upkeep of the clubhouse itself, with leftover funds financing an annual Women’s Club luncheon where members congratulate themselves for giving a $25 savings bond to an underprivileged grandchild.

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