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Jody Jacobs

Beaux Arts Ball for Robinson Gardens

May 05, 1985|JODY JACOBS

The Friends of Robinson Gardens are turning back the clock to a more stylish era, the year 1927, part of "one of the most exciting decades in history." The transformation will take place around the late Virginia Robinson's home and gardens. And since the house, built in 1911, is considered to be a fine example of Beaux Arts architecture, the gathering Saturday is, understandably, a Beaux Arts Ball. It will be, according to those in charge, a glamorous evocation of the period when Gershwin and Garbo were blooming talents, "vivacious, audacious jazz babies" livened things up considerably, and drinking champagne out of a lady's slipper was considered de rigueur for any gentleman worth his salt. Naturally at the Friends ball the champagne will flow until dawn. But who can say if anyone will attempt switching from champagne flute to slipper?

Friends president Mrs. Anthony Mastor and party co-chairwomen Mrs. Martin J. Wolff and Melinda M. Winston are understandably excited about the prospect. They have Mr. and Mrs. Mervyn LeRoy as honorary chairmen and a committee that includes Mrs. J. C. Agajanian, Mrs. Sheldon Ausman, Mrs. Bob Ray Offenhauser, Mrs. Marco Weiss, Mrs. John Martens and a few more flapper-age experts. Tickets are $150 per person and the dress code is "black tie and pearls" or "fashionable fantasies."

The Friends of Robinson Gardens was established as a support group for the Robinson estate, which is used as a testing ground by the Los Angeles County Arboretum. In two years, the Friends have raised money to replace the roofs of the main residence and guest pavilion, to add to the gardening staff, to restore the hand-painted ceilings and to establish a docent program for guided tours.

"It's just for fun," Arletta Tronstein says of the dinner-dance she and Patsy Moller are co-chairing May 17 as a benefit for SONANCE, the support group for the House Ear Institute's Center for Profoundly Deaf Children. It's a black-tie affair featuring the Step Sisters, and according to Arletta there will be "plenty of surprises." Tickets are $75 per person. The committee, which is working at a feverish pace to pull things together, includes Marion Anderson, Carolyn Garrett and Joyce Hameetman. Cheryl Wengrow is SONANCE president.

The winners of this year's John and Alice Tyler Ecology-Energy Prize will be honored May 25 at a dinner at Chasen's given by Alice Tyler, the Tyler Prize Executive Committee and the University of Southern California. The winners are Bruce N. Ames, professor of biochemistry at the University of California, Berkeley, for developing a rapid test to detect environmental mutagens and carcinogens, and to the Organization for Tropical Studies, a consortium of four Costa Rican and 26 North American institutions of higher learning, which received the award for "20 years of advancing the understanding and protection of threatened tropical ecosystems."

It started simply enough when Frances and Happy Franklin told Merle Kingsley they were hankering for Chinese food. It ended a week or so later with 31 of Merle's friends seated in one of Liu's private dining rooms enjoying the "longevity and good health" menu their hostess had put together.

The Don Sterlings (he owns the Clippers basketball team) joined the group at the restaurant, but the rest met first at Merle's home for drinks and hors d'oeuvres. At the height of the party George Page was laughing over the properties Merle attributed to rhinoceros horn tea, which was for the men. The cobalt blue pot with the chrysanthemum tea was for the ladies because, Merle said, it helped smooth the complexion. Caltech President Mervin Goldberg, who has been to China several times, ordered "hot oil" to spice up some of the dishes. Jean Stone said she was off to China with a new, tiny tape recorder and a wardrobe from Banana Republic. Irving Stone (he has just finished writing the new book he researched for five years) will stay home and take over Jean's classes at UCLA. The group also included Mrs. Goldberg; Lilianne and Francis Revell; Pepperdine Chancellor Charles Runnels and his wife; party planner Clive David, who is off to Europe next week; Bob Meyer; Lolly and Milton Lewis; Belle and Seymour Owens; Jack Hupp and Marie Windsor; Tiffany's Roberta Herbison; Ruth and Hal Gordon, the House Institute's Dr. William House and his wife, and S. J. and Effie Gaido, who've moved here from Houston.

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