by Tess Hernandez Cano
Many former El Sereno residents can tell you stories about the American Legion Hall on Eastern Avenue. Local bands that still play around town, relate stories about ending their performance too early due to disturbances out of their control. Other friends have shared with me that they can recall actually seeing films at the hall.
I recall vividly when the marquee changed to read, “Mazatlan” and more festive events seemed to occur every weekend. Quinceaňeras and wedding receptions seemed to monopolize the weekend and a good time was had by all.
However, once the recession hit our neighborhood, using a hall to celebrate became a luxury. And sadly, the Mazatlan finally closed its’ doors.
But there is a new girl in town and her name is EAVA, which stands for Edward, Alla, Victoria and Arthur. Her parents, Alla and Edward Kalaydjian are a couple focused on serving our neighborhood. I spent a brief hour with Alla to find out more about their hopes and dreams for El Sereno.
Alla arrived from the Ukraine in 1989, when the politics allowed religious asylum for refugees. She shared with me that she studied choreography in Kiev, Leningrad. “Dance was my passion, my parents didn’t understand, but I didn’t care.”
“When I finally arrived in the United States by way of Italy, I went to school to learn medical billing. That’s actually where I met my future husband Edward, he was one of our patients! Even though I was engaged to someone else back home, my mother encouraged me to date him, and that was that!
Edward has many interests including art, and has worked in stained glass. He created the window at The Flamingo hotel in Las Vegas and also at an Armenian church in Glendale. Edward also has an electrical engineering degree from Cal State LA and owns Armenia TV 24/7-part of Armenian Media Group of America. But he’s also interested in investments like real estate and was looking through real estate ads when he found this theater. There was a tremendous amount of renovation that needed to be done and we worked together to create our vision”.
And what a vision it is! A modern sectional greets you as you enter the lounge area. Appointments in chrome, bright pop colors of red, tangerine, even lime are tastefully placed throughout the hall. Upstairs has a balcony to be claimed as a VIP lounge for events. All new light sconces continue the modern trend with various filters to create a rave environment if you so desire. Renovations to the bathrooms, stage, dance floor and walls combine to make one feel welcomed, but never stuffy or outdated.
Alla and Edward are very excited to open their doors to El Sereno. “Besides renting the hall for Quinceaňeras, weddings and other celebrations, we’re interested in having workshops here to provide entertainment and education for the children after school hours. As a mother of two wonderful children, Victoria and Arthur, I want parents to feel comfortable about picking up their kids here in case they have to work late”.
“I have a very clear idea of providing the very best to our customers, this includes our linens, tables and chairs”. She will be working with a wedding planner for further assistance and plans to provide entertainment for children when family events take place.
I, along with a few choice guests were invited to a soft opening of EAVA last Friday. Our very own jazz band from El Sereno Middle School played while delicious refreshments were offered.
An upcoming formal opening is slated for Sunday, June 5, 2016 from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 pm. It will feature a live jazz band, a violinist and a ballroom dancing exhibition. I encourage all and everyone to attend. Both Alla and Edward are a very welcome breath of fresh air to our neighborhood and I guarantee you will be beyond pleasantly surprised by our new venue.
EAVA is located on 3355 Eastern Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90032. Parking is available on the street and more will be allotted per reserved event. Contact Alla via firstname.lastname@example.org for more information and to reserve the hall.