Mountain Views News, Sierra Madre Edition [Pasadena] Saturday, March 18, 2017

MVNews this week:  Page B:2



Mountain Views-News Saturday, March 18, 2017 

On the Marquee: 

Notes from the Sierra MadrePlayhouse




By Artistic Director, Christian Lebano

“This is the best show I have ever seen – and I’ve seen 
a lot,” Third Grader from Sierra Madre Elementary 
School at a student matinee of A Wrinkle in Time.

 We opened Wrinkle and have started our run of 
matinee performances for local students. I attended 
a performance the other morning and was so happy 
to see how excited – no, ecstatically, the students 
were responding to what we had created. In this 
time of amped-up on-line media, the fact that these 
young patrons could get excited by a show that 
demands that they use their imaginations filled me 
with hope for the future of the art form.

 And then I saw the recently announced Federal 
budget proposed by the President. It calls for the 
elimination of the National Endowment for the Arts 
and the National Endowment for the Humanities. 
We have never received grants from either agency 
– we haven’t even applied, though with our recent 
achievements and new prestige it was definitely in 
our plans. 

 This news made me very sad. Sad, because it 
speaks to a lack of appreciation in our culture for 
the Arts and our cultural patrimony. Every other 
developed country supports their arts organizations 
to a greater extent than we do as Americans. I don’t 
understand how this neglect and contempt came 
about. Study after study speaks to the value that 
the Arts bring to children – how quickly they learn 
lessons when they are taught through the arts, how 
test scores go up when an enriched arts curriculum 
is part of their education, the positive effects it has 
youth socially. There are many studies that prove 
that theaters and other arts institutions bring 
economic advantages to their communities, as well, 
but I don’t want to rely on the dollar value to make 
my argument. 

 What constantly surprises me is that the great 
trove of dramatic literature that America has 
created is so rarely seen – we have classic plays 
to rival anything the Europeans or anyone in the 
world has written. There are very few theaters 
doing them, however. I wonder if that is because 
there is so little exposure to these wonderful plays. 
Plays read are not the same as plays seen. A text for 
a play was meant to be performed in front of a group 
of people. Or is it simply because we have not had 
enough exposure? 

 I created the Field Trip Series to bring theater to 
young people and convinced the Board to support 
it. But even though each of the last four plays in 
the series has been wonderful – we have had low 
attendance from families. What I thought would be 
a slam-dunk – providing quality theater for young 
people once a year has proven to be a money-loser 
for SMP.

And that brings me back to the proposed elimination 
of the two agencies through which our government, 
our people, support the arts – to the tune of $1 from 
every person in the country and the fact that it can 
be so easily gotten rid of. Having tried to get grants 
from various sources, I know how hard it is and 
how much competition there is for the small pot of 
money. I am despairing a bit today. We have worked 
so hard over the last few years to make Sierra Madre 
Playhouse a theater that the local community can be 
proud of. I’m wondering if we are trying to provide 
something for which there isn’t a demand? And 
then I think of that kid and I know that I’m wrong. 
Now I just have to convince everyone else.

 The Belle of Amherst opens this weekend and 
will run in rotating repertory with A Wrinkle in 
Time until April 23. I look forward to seeing you 
and the young people in your life (Wrinkle will 
truly captivate them) in the audiences. For tickets 
please call Mary in the box office at 626.355.4318 or 
go to Hope to see you 



When it comes to retirement plans, IRAs and 401(k)
s provide many of the same benefits. But in certain 
situations, an IRA can outperform a 401(k). IRAs aren’t 
right for everyone, so you should become familiar 
with the advantages IRAs have over 401(k)s before you 
transfer funds or set up a new account. To help you do 
this, here are a few benefits you can reap from an IRA 
which are not available in a 401(k).

 1. Qualified Charitable Distributions (QCDs)

IRAs allow you to take QCDs and send them directly to 
the charity without including the distribution amount 
in your taxable income. This often results in a lower tax 
bill. You can also use your QCDs to offset your required 
minimum distribution.

 2. Penalty-Free Distribution for Higher Education

A 401(k) distribution for higher education expenses 
will incur both a tax and a penalty. Taking an early IRA 
distribution to pay for higher education expenses for you 
or certain family members, however, is penalty-free.

 3. Freedom from Distribution Restrictions

Opportunities for early distributions of 401(k)s are 
limited at best. Subject to the plan administrator’s 
rules as well as the tax code, 401(k)s require a 
compelling reason such as a hardship, to receive an 
early distribution. Conversely, IRA distributions are 
restriction free. You can take an IRA distribution at 
any time and do not need an approved reason like you 
would with 401(k)s.

 4. Aggregate Required Minimum Distributions 
(RMD) From Multiple Accounts

If you have multiple IRAs, you can aggregate the RMDs 
for your accounts and then take that amount out of one 
or any combination of your IRAs. Doing this with your 
401(k)s, however, results in steep penalties.

 5. No Withholding

You can opt-out of tax withholding from an IRA 
distribution but not with a 401(k) distribution. This is a 
great benefit for those who end up with little or no tax 
liability at the end of the year.

 6. Self Direction

One of the best parts of having an IRA, instead of a 
401k, is that you have the most flexibility in how your 
IRA assets are invested, whereas with a 401k, your 
investment options are limited to those provided by 
the 401k Administrator. With an IRA, you can move 
your entire retirement account into a self-directed 
IRA account and then invest the money anywhere you 
want, including in real estate and start-ups. Yes, it’s true! 
You get to choose. 

 Deciding whether to maintain your retirement 
account as an IRA or a 401k is an important decision 
and you should understand the benefits and limitations 
of both. 

 Relying on generalized information found online 
is not enough to protect your interests. Guidance from 
your Personal Family Attorney provides personalized, 
legal assistance and empowers you to make the very best 
decisions when planning for retirement and all of life’s 
other big changes.

 Dedicated to empowering your family, building your 
wealth and delivering your legacy,

A local attorney and father, Marc Garlett is on a mission 
to help parents protect what they love most. His office is 
located at 49 S. Baldwin Ave., Ste. G, Sierra Madre, CA 
91024. Schedule an appointment to sit down and talk 
about ensuring a legacy of love and financial security 
for your family by calling 626.587.3058 or visit www.



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Mountain Views News 80 W Sierra Madre Blvd. No. 327 Sierra Madre, Ca. 91024 Office: 626.355.2737