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Alumni Come Together at Emerson Los Angeles for An Evening on Sunset

crowd on terrace
Alumni mingle on the fifth-floor terrace of Emerson Los Angeles on Wednesday, August 28. Photo/Kenchy Ragsdale ’99
By Joe Turner ‘19

One hundred and fifty-two Emersonians gathered to build connections and catch up with friends at An Evening on Sunset on Wednesday, August 28, at Emerson Los Angeles.

Guests enjoyed an array of appetizers and drinks on Emerson LA’s fifth-floor terrace with the sounds of Sunset Boulevard drifting upwards and the Hollywood sign peeking out in the distance. Among the attendees that night were Trustee Ira Goldstone ’71 and Chris Romano ‘01, co-creator of the popular TV show Blue Mountain State.

“I was blown away, coming up to the terrace and seeing so many people … socializing in the music and lights,” said Paul Morra ‘95, a member of the Alumni Board and an executive producer at Swift River Productions. “I’ve never seen the campus as colorful and vibrant as it was tonight.”

galligani listening
Gia Galligani ’98 chats with fellow alumni at An Evening on Sunset. Photo/Kenchy Ragsdale ’99

Morra, who mentors students through ELA’s Career Advisory Network program, expressed joy that so many alumni could come together to enjoy each other’s company, adding that he had even reconnected with a classmate he hadn’t seen since graduation.

Tours were offered to alumni, many of whom lauded the technological advancements of the facility, such as the acting studios and audio post production room.

“It feels like they’ve brought everything you need into one space. No matter what it is you’re studying, this is the place to learn about it,” said Jennifer Kilburn ‘98, who originally attended the Los Angeles program when it was based in the Oakwood Apartments in Burbank.

For comedian Malcolm Kelner ‘16, the event was a chance to plug an upcoming show at The Comedy Store and get notes on his new pilot.

“It’s always great to connect with other Emersonians who are as passionate about making careers for ourselves in Hollywood,” he said.

chatting with woman
Catching up at An Evening on Sunset. Photo/Kenchy Ragsdale ’99

Kelner said he had developed the pilot through the Emerson LA PitchFest in 2017, an annual event in which students and alumni compete by pitching screenplays, TV pilots, or digital series to a panel of industry professionals.

For many alumni, such as recent graduate Allison Reid, MFA ‘19, the event was an opportunity to reconnect with friends and make new ones.

“I’m here to see some of my friends from the writing program and mingle with other alumni” said Reid, a screenwriter and former development executive. “Events like this really bring people together and make us feel like we’re a part of the Emerson Mafia.”


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