Did you ever believe you would see Marilyn Monroe performing a pole dance at the Opera? And to add to that, imagine that she possesses the most glorious voice you have ever heard? This is one of the "special effects" you will witness if you are fortunate enough to obtain tickets to Massenet's Manon at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. Gorgeous Russian Diva Anna Netrebko stars in the title role, as the innocent but frivolous country bumpkin, who segues from the Convent into High Society. Her singing partner is the astounding Mexican Tenor Rolando Villazon, who matches her note for note. We last saw this sizzling couple in the L.A. Opera's production of Romeo and Juliet, and they again provide an combo that is hard to beat The bedroom scene where the young lovers are minimally attired, is naughty but nice; and the scene where Manon tempts Villazon ( who has decided to become a priest) is the most sensuous we have ever witnessed at the Opera.

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Anna Netrebko pole dancing at the Opera

Placido Domingo conducted the orchestra with his usual fervor and passion, and leaped up on stage after the opening night performance to accept his share of the ten minute standing ovation. The Los Angeles Opera has proven we have now officially become an Opera force to be reckoned with.

This Saturday, October 14, 2006 at 6:30 p.m., the nonprofit Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach will be hosting its third annual fall fundraiser, Sea Fare. The event features a taste of Long Beach with local restaurant chefs serving their fabulous cuisine along with wine, beer, an open bar during the cocktail reception, live music, and other entertainment. Auction items include several impressive European vacation spots and entertainment items which include: Castaway DVD and poster signed by Tom Hanks, Titanic DVD and poster signed by Leonardo diCaprio, Shrek 2 DVD signed by Cameron Diaz, and a chance to have your own red-carpet moment with you and up to 120 guests at the Aquarium of the Pacific's Honda Theatre for the yet-to-be released romantic comedy American Fusion, including director Q&A after the screening. Tickets are $125 per person (includes all beverages and food). For information on tickets, call (562) 590-3100 ext. 0 or visit www.aquariumofpacific.org. All proceeds from Sea Fare fund the Aquarium's education and conservation programs. The Aquarium of the Pacific, a nonprofit institution, is home to more than 12,500 animals and features: hands-on discovery labs; the new Dangerous Venomous Creatures exhibition; an interactive Shark Lagoon.

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Rolando Villazon and Anna Netrebko, stars of Manon

This Sunday, October 15, 2006 from 11am-4pm at 6:30 p.m., the Canyon Charter School in Santa Monica will be hosting its annual music festival fundraiser, "Jammin' in the Canyon". Academy Award nominated actor Don Cheadle will be the master of ceremonies with special guests. This year's lineup of musical talent is quite impressive with a dual-headlining act of both the 1980's Ska sensation, The English Beat and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, Jackson Browne. This year's Jammin' in the Canyon will return to the grassy field at Canyon Charter School (421 Entrada Drive, Santa Monica, 90402) in Santa Monica Canyon, so bring blankets and picnic baskets and enjoy this afternoon of music on the lawn. Proceeds benefit music, art, and enrichment programs at Canyon Charter School, a small, yet dynamic LAUSD public school. Tickets are $40; $10 Youth 12-17yrs; $5 Children 5-11yrs; Under 5 FREE. To purchase tickets or for more information, go to www.jammininthecanyon.org/ or call the Hot Line 310.285.8196.

On Saturday, October 28 at 6:30pm in Beverly Hills, the Ronald McDonald House will be hosting a fun and unique charity festivity. In a twist of the usual wine-paring event, a sommelier will pair fine wine with some of our favorite fast foods. General tickets to the one of a kind "Fries and Wine" event are $100/person and will include a silent auction, music, open bar and eclectic array of wine and food. Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter Michael Buble will perform live at the event! A special $1,000/person Grand Cru Ticket will provide, among other incentives, a private champagne tasting reception with the sommelier. Proceeds will benefit the Los Angeles Ronald McDonald House which provides a "home away from home" that reduces the stress of seriously ill children in treatment and their families. For more information about the "Fries and Wine" event, call 323-644-3082 or visit www.friesandwine.kintera.org/ or download the invitation here ... and keep in mind that when you supersize your burger, fries and Cab(ernet) combo, it becomes the ultimate McDonald's happy meal for adults :)

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Patricia Arquette at L.A. Opera opening of Manon

Our dear friend, Carrie Brillstein, wife of famed Hollywood Manager, Bernie Brillstein, has become a bag lady! But not to worry folks, this predicament will only last one day, when Carrie will receive the "Woman of Achievement" award at the annual "Hollywood Bag Ladies" Lupus luncheon to be held at the Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel on October 26th. Good Day LA's Steve Edwards will bring his wit and charm as MC, and Noah Alexander, Beverly Sassoon and Kelly Stone (Sharon's adorable sibling) are among the event chairs.

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Susan Samueli, Patrick Wayne, Ilene Eisenberg, and actresses Ali Landry and Susan Sullivan at John Wayne Cancer Luncheon

The handbag silent auction is the unique signature of the event, and features hundreds of newly and gently used handbags from such celebs as Jennifer Aniston, Chalize Theron and Julia Roberts. Here's your opportunity to purchase a handbag from such designers as Escada and Burberry at a fraction of their cost, and know that the funds will go towards helping cure this dread disease. You'll probably run into such celebs as Connie Stevens and Vanna White perusing the bags for sale. For tickets and further info, please contact Grant Associates at 323-904-4400.

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Super Manager Bernie Brillstein with his wife, Carrie

Speaking of lovely luncheons, we attended the John Wayne Cancer Institute Auxiliary's Membership Luncheon at the Beverly Hills Hotel where actress Susan Sullivan served as special guest host. Event Co-Chairs Jackie Banchik and Judy Litvack welcomed more than 500 guests, who were there to honor Sister Maureen Craig, who received their "Angel" Award. Sister Maureen is Chaplain for the Center's Foundation, and is an award winning poet and writer. She was honored for her ongoing commitment and dedication to Saint John's patients and families. As the Good Sister stated, "Let's be companions in our compassion." Not a bad way to end this week's report on the Hollywood Beat.