From the Never-Too-Thin file: The Sports Connection-owned Sports Club L.A.--a posh, $18-million gym--opens in West L.A. in 1986 and will offer one unusual amenity--valet parking (so exercise patrons don't get tired walking from the parking lot). . . . Singer David Lee Roth obviously loves "California Girls," because he frequently can be found in a Venice gym well-known for its female body builders. . . . When the Bev Hills Chamber of Commerce stages its first race for the U.S. Cycling Federation Labor Day, it will be called "The Wheat Thins Mayor's Cup."
GUESS WHO--In the collegiate fund-raising sweepstakes, Pepperdine's a winner--the Malibu school ranking No. 2 among small colleges with $46 million raised in the last three years. (No small feat, since there are 1,200 colleges in that category, places like Vassar, Radcliffe, Swarthmore--and Smith College, which beat out Pepperdine for No. 1.) To complete the university's current $100-million "Wave of Excellence" campaign, $54 million will be raised in the next 3 1/2 years. "Gift opportunities" outlined in a new brochure range from a possible $25 donation for a library book, to a possible $5 million for the building to house the Fine Arts Center. More than 75% of the $46 million cash in hand came from Southern California, but college officials say there is suddenly a lot of interest from national foundations and non-hometown individuals. The local success came from a concerted effort--or, as Michael Adams, the v.p. for university affairs, told us, "When a cultural event, a social event happens in Los Angeles, some major person affiliated with Pepperdine will be there." This tactic has given Pepperdine the highest of profiles. Leonard Straus, chairman of the Thrifty Corp. and one of three people sharing the office of the chairman, said the fund-raising success could be credited to both the school's academic programs as well as its "value system. I believe the country is increasingly in tune with institutions like Pepperdine."
HAPPY BIRTHDAY WHEN? Carol Burnett's next birthday April 26, 1986, will be celebrated by UCLA's Royce Two Seventy with a tribute to Carol and a benefit for the Center for the Arts. Ginny Mancini will announce the details at a birthday party for Carol today. One minor note: Burnett's in N.Y.C., so kick-off party will be held without her. . . . When Maggie Weitzman turns 30 (for the first time, as the invitation reads), she'll be surrounded by a lot of good friends at Spago on Saturday night. Her lawyer-husband, Howard L. Weitzman (lead defense counsel for John DeLorean), has made sure of that by taking over the entire restaurant for the evening. We repeat, a Saturday evening.
WISH-CRAFT--Assistant U.S. Atty. Steve Czuleger is known as El Tigre in the Mexican press for his ardent prosecution of ex-Mexico City Police Chief Arturo Durazo in extradition hearings here. On a recent flight from Mexico City last week, Czuleger's fellow passengers found out he was on board. Throughout the three-hour flight, passengers came up to congratulate him on his efforts to extradite Durazo to Mexico. A woman--self-described as an exotic dancer at a Moroccan nightclub in Mexico City--decided to give Czuleger a hand in his legal efforts. She leaned over his seat from behind and briefly laid her hands upon his shoulders. "For luck," she explained. "I'm a witch." The general commotion distracted El Tigre, and he forgot a small package. In it were seven little Durazo dolls, the product of Mexico City folk artists. One showed the pot-bellied ex-chief in a tiny jail with toothpicks for bars. The cell came complete with a back door and the inscription, "Here today, gone tomorrow."
BERRY GOOD--You might not have heard, but last weekend's California Strawberry Festival in Oxnard picked the two Berry Best Strawberry Blondes, Jeanne Kleine, 24, from Ventura, and Victoria Stegeman, 5, Oxnard. About 130,000 folks celebrated the ubiquitous berry (3,000 acres of them produced on the Oxnard plain), eating delicacies like shortcake, ice cream, and egg rolls with strawberry sauce. Two other areas produce lots of strawberries--Orange County and Watsonville-Santa Cruz. But as Kathy Burris, the city's spokesperson, put it, "When they think of strawberries, we want them to think of Oxnard."