The Valley Line: USC Town & Gown goes to lunch

May 15, 2013|By Jane Napier Neely
  • Carol Mollett, from left, LCF resident and president of Town & Gown of USC, welcomes actress Marlo Thomas, Niki Nikias and C.L. Max Nikias, president of the University of Southern California as honorees at the Town & Gown annual Scholarship Luncheon.
Carol Mollett, from left, LCF resident and president… (Photo courtesy…)

I had a play date with my daughter, Heather, on Mother's Day weekend, a fun escape to San Francisco. On Saturday, the morning fog blanketed the city and the foghorns called out their mournful cry, giving the city such an eerie feeling.

Just as the fog lifted and the sun peeked out, we made our way to beautiful Golden Gate Park and the de Young Museum. Our destination was the exquisite and famed painting, "The Girl with the Pearl Earring" by Johannes Vermeer.

I have loved this painting ever since I first studied it in art history in college. I could hardly contain my excitement that I was actually going to be seeing it in person. The painting, often called "The Dutch Mona Lisa," is one of only 35 known paintings by the masterful Vermeer. The de Young was very fortunate to receive this painting for a short time since its usual resting place is at the Royal Picture Gallery Mauritshuis, The Hague, which is undergoing renovation.


Reproductions of this magnificent artwork do not come close to illustrating how exquisite this small painting is — it is absolutely luminous.

The exhibit at the de Young concludes June 2, so if you want to see this beautiful lady and many prints by Rembrandt, you had better hurry.

After our museum crawl we wandered about the city for a while then ended up in the Castro section of the city for dinner. Our restaurant choice, Poesia, was a recommendation from a friend and it was a delightful place to dine. Poesia, Italian for poem or poetry, was exactly that — culinary poetry— creative and innovative in every way, certainly not the usual Italian fare. We loved the cozy, neighborhood ambience and the fact the meals were moderately priced, as opposed to the fare in many San Francisco eateries. Give it a whirl next time you are in the City by the Bay.


A record crowd of nearly 800 people attended the Town & Gown of USC's annual Scholarship benefit luncheon, held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel.

Carol Mollett, a La Cañada Flintridge resident who is president of Town & Gown, did a superb job of coordinating the many elements that made the event such a success. Vicki McCluggage, also a LCF resident, co-chaired the benefit with Michele Engemann.

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