That series of Joffrey Ballet dinners that take place all over town on June 27 is creating a flurry of excitement and the kind of social competitiveness we haven't seen in a long, long time.
Marcia Weisman, for example, has added a mystery guest to her list, which already includes less shy types like Ed Ruscha, William Kraft and Joanna Kirkwood. All Marcia will say about the mysterious guest is that he's a "very wild and funny guy." We assume he's also partial, as is his hostess, to wild and exuberant contemporary art.
Charles Bronson, Richard Chamberlain, Lesley Ann Warren, Cybill Shepherd, Lorne Greene, George Peppard and Christopher Atkins are just a few of the show-biz types who'll be showing up at the Friends of the Joffrey-hosted dinner at the Sheraton Grande Hotel. Donald Livingston, a Carter Hawley Hale veep who majors in politics, plans a lot of political intrigue for the dinner he hosts at Scratch with Peter and Gail DeKrassel. Their guests will include Michelle Isenberg and artists Peter Alexander and Laddie John Dill, all of whom we know will throw themselves wholeheartedly into the subject matter. And it looks as if Michael Newton and Lyn Kienholz will be combining politics and music at their sit-down. Councilwoman Joy Picus is set as the guest of honor and during dinner the Arco Iris band will perform.
Among others you'll see here and there that evening: Ginny and Henry Mancini, Mark Goodson, Mrs. Howard Ahmanson, Mary Carol and Mickey Rudin, Father Maurice Chase, Wallis Annenberg (the Vanity Fair profile on Wallis is a gem), the Burt Sugermans, Mr. and Mrs. Robert Ahmanson, Henry Segerstrom and Eaton Ballard.
When Patty and Tommy Skouras moved down to Hancock Park it was San Francisco's loss and our gain. The Skourases love to entertain and do it with plenty of style. "Tommy wouldn't mind it at all if he came home every evening from the office and found 24 friends here for dinner," said Patty who was greeting her friends dressed in a pink chiffon blouse, long pleated skirt and pearls. "She's right," her husband agreed. "After all, what do I have to do but come home, run upstairs and change my clothes?" His grin was genuine.
This particular evening the first course was caviar (and vodka) served in lemons (the bottom half was scooped out to hold the gray eggs; the top half was for squeezing). Later in the evening everyone switched chairs and began fresh conversations with new dinner partners.
Deedee and Alfred Wilsey flew down via PSA from San Francisco (cheaper than flying his own plane, Wilsey declared). Bettina and Otis Chandler were back from a weekend holiday in a luxury mobile home. (They had a great time.) Theatrical agent Ames Cushing arrived with Christopher Idone, author of "Glorious Foods," who's finished research for his next book, "Glorious American Foods," and is planning to open a New York restaurant at 74th and Madison for "only people I like." The hostess laughed. "Good, you won't have to worry about overcrowding."
Nancy Vreeland, who had caught up with pals like Bill Blass, Oscar de la Renta and her mother-in-law, Diana Vreeland, over the weekend in New York, looked super in Blass' white blazer and gold-and-white jeweled miniskirt. She came alone because husband Tim was working on an architectural project he had to submit the next morning. There was movie talk from Walt Disney president, CEO and alpinist Frank Wells and his wife Luanne; Frank Capra Jr., who'll be filming in North Carolina; American Film Institute head Jean Firstenberg and Ken Scherer who left Georgetown University to join AFI, and Felisa and Nick Vanoff, who among the town's most delightful guests.
Also much in the picture was Howard Leach, who with some partners recently bought the Union Ice Co. and now lives in Pebble Beach; Chris and Katrina Cord (everybody agreed he's a Robert Redford look-alike and that's not bad); Betty Borman, and New World president Robert Rehme and his wife Kay.
Enrico Coveri, the European designer who makes millions creating men's and women's ready-to-wear, had been in town once before, had dined at Morton's and called it the ultimate California experience. So to please Coveri, Florence Grinda, the international socialite, took over the restaurant on a Saturday night (a rare and unusual concession) to host a party for her friend. A lot of pretty people showed up (and some who said they'd come never arrived). "There were so many beautiful women around that Prentis was very happy," said Mrs. Prentis Cobb Hale, who'd flown down from San Francisco.