We experienced an evening of musical delight when the Young Musicians Foundation (YMF) held their annual gala at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. The evening was hosted by Merv Griffin and featured a performance by legendary pianist and composer Michel Legrand, along with his wife, renowned harpist Catherine Michel. Legrand, who has been nominated thirteen times and won three Academy-Award Oscars, received this year's "Magic Baton" award. This year's Humanitarian Award was bestowed on Anne and Kirk Douglas for their philanthropy where over 400 school playgrounds throughout the Los Angeles school district are able to serve thousands of children because of their generosity and vision. Kirk was looking fantastic and in high spirits throughout the evening.
|(L-R) Kirk & Anne Douglas and composer John Williams at Young Musicians Foundation|
Norm Crosby, composer John Williams, actors Justin Chambers and Jon Voight were in attendance to listen to the YMF Debut Orchestra, where all of the musicians are under the age of 25. The evening's highlight was an impressive performance by 12-year old violinist Rebekah Willey. The Young Musicians Foundation (www.ymf.org) contributes to the personal, academic and artistic development of youth from all socio-economic and ethnic backgrounds by providing performance opportunities, financial assistance and community outreach programming that inspire creative & individual expression.
|Tango Dancers - Sandor & Parissa with Loreen Arbus and her partner, Stefan|
The Crown Jewels, one of our town's most prominent women's social clubs, held their Ninth Annual Royal Soiree in the Sunset Room of the Beverly Hills Hotel This year, the theme was "An Evening in Buenos Aires", a city known for its vibrant nightlife and exuberant entertainment. Loreen Arbus, daughter of the late Leonard Goldenson, (former President of ABC) is, among things, a world famous Tango Dancer, who spends part of her year in Argentina. Since she was recently "coronated," into the Crown Jewels, ( you may now call her Lorena la Reina del Tango,) offered to perform, along with her partner, Stefan Zawistawski.
|Carrie & Bernie Brillstein with Carriie's Mom, Dorothy|
Needless to say, they were hot - hot - hot - as were Sandor & Parissa, who performed "La Cumparsita" with style and grace. The Ladies of the Royal Court are now preparing for their annual Toy Drive, at the home of President, Gail Dauer of Beverly Hills, (aka Duchess Dauer of Dusseldorf.) Proceeds from this event go to support Coach for Kids at Cedars Sinai Medical Center. And you thought we were just another group of frivolous females!
|Board of Crown Jewels at "An Evening in Buenos Aires"|
Speaking of females with style - it was handbag heaven at the Regent Beverly Wilshire when the Hollywood Bag Ladies presented their annual handbag auction to benefit the Lupus Foundation. Many of the bags were donated by celebs like Liz Taylor, Jennifer Aniston and Charlize Theron, which, of course, increased their value.
|Sharon Stone and her sister, Kelly at Lupus Fundraiser|
Our pal Carrie Brillstein (mate of renowned talent agent/producer Bernie) was honored for her commitment to the cause. Many of Carrie's cohorts, including the still gorgeous Beverly Sassoon, and Marla Paxton (Bill's lovely wife) spoke about her compassion and spirit. Sharon Stone, who donated an entire table of beautiful bags, spoke eloquently about her sister Kelly, who has been stricken with Lupus. Stone, arguably the most successful auctioneer in town, did her thing, and much dough re me was raised to help support Lupus LA.
And last, but not least, you have until December 10th to hurry on down to the Ahmanson Theatre to catch The Light in the Piazza. This musical adaptation of Elizabeth Spencer's 1960 short novel earned six Tony's on Broadway, and is a romantic romp that you won't want to miss. Set amid the sensual city of Florence, Italy, and starring two of the most attractive young performers around, it is a real treat for the ears and eyes. Christine Andreas, who portrays the wealthy Southern woman who travels to Italy with her sweet, but mentally challenged daughter, Clara, is outstanding. Do you recall the screen version of this story, starring Olivia de Havilland in this role? And can you image that George Hamilton portrayed the young Italian lover? Hate to admit it - but we remember it well!
|Elena Shaddow and David Burnham, young lovers of "A Light in the Piazza"|
This is a "feel good" show which is a rarity these days. Although you will not go out of the theatre humming "Il Mondo Era Vuoto", you will have a smile on your face and hold the hand of the person walking beside you on the Hollywood Beat.