Armenian Mirror-Spectator Celebrates 78th with Gala


From left, Joy Kurkjian, Tim Kurkjian and Barbara C. Tellalian

By Alin K. Gregorian
Mirror-Spectator Staff

BOSTON — The Taj Hotel was the scene of a celebration and fundraiser for the Armenian Mirror- Spectator, bringing together about 250 of the newspaper’s longtime supporters, current and former staff and their friends and family for an evening of fun and camaraderie.

The evening, hosted by Kevork and Jacqueline Atinizian and family, raised more than $72,000 for the newspaper. The benefit committee was chaired by Barbara Chrakian Tellalian, who dedicated her efforts to the memory of her late father, the founding editor of the Mirror-Spectator, Elisha Chrakian.

Central to the celebrations were two people who received the Award of Excellence from the newspaper, award-winning ESPN baseball analyst Tim Kurkjian and Improper Bostonian publisher Wendy Semonian-Eppich.

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Stephen Kurkjian, a cousin of Tim Kurkjian, introduced the TV analyst to the audience.

Stephen Kurkjian, left, with Alin Gregorian

The ever-humble and self-effacing Tim Kurkjian needed only about 30 seconds to reduce the audience to uncontrollable laughter as he recited anecdotes about his time as a reporter and as an Armenian- American. He recalled that he was at an event, when a man approached him and said, “I know you, you’re Armenian and you’re on TV.” Flattered, Kurkjian responded in the affirmative. The man turned to his friend and said, “Look, it’s Armen Keteyan.”

Kurkjian said he did not have the heart to disabuse the man of his illusion, adding, “For about 30 seconds, I was Armen Keteyan,” reminding everyone that he is about one full foot shorter than Keteyan.

Keteyan, by the way, was scheduled to participate in the ceremony, but had to leave on a last-minute assignment.

Another story involved James “Jimy” Williams, the storied former manager of several baseball teams, including the Red Sox and the Houston Astros. Kurkjian recalled that he met with Williams, who advised him that if he wanted to make a “double batch of pilaf,” that he should use two pots. He recalled Williams’ advice, “Remember, two batches, two pots.” Apparently, Williams had grown up in Fresno, where he played baseball with many Armenian-Americans and clearly ate (and learned) well at their homes.

Several similar anecdotes followed, which elicited an expression seldom heard at a serious Armenian affair, namely that the audience members — baseball fans or not — wished the keynote speaker would go on longer.

Kurkjian expressed a real love and dedication to the mystique of baseball, suggesting that it was a game where anything was possible. He answered the questions of several eager baseball fans in the audience and spoke briefly about his latest book, Is This a Great Game, or What?, and donated a signed copy to the host of the event, Kevork Atinizian.

Wendy Semonian-Eppich, publisher of the Improper Bostonian

Also speaking was Semonian-Eppich, who has single-handedly raised the profile of the Improper Bostonian to such an extent that it is now a must-read for most of the city’s hip denizens, with a bi- monthly print run of 500,000.

She focused on the theme of family; most of hers were present that night. She praised the Mirror- Spectator for its longevity, remembered when her grandmother used to read it and said she hoped that her young sons would read the paper when they get older.

(For more photos see the PDF of this issue.)

Guests enjoyed a buffet before the speakers and awards ceremony, and a lavish dessert buffet afterwards. The John Baboian Trio performed throughout the evening.