UPCOMING--The announcement of a new organization that will ally business, religious and community forces, all aimed at battling the disastrous problem of homelessness in Los Angeles County. Supporters are primo heavy-hitters. . . . Look for at least $1 million in research grants to be announced by the American Foundation for AIDS Research later this month. Elizabeth Taylor is the chair of the less-than-a-year-old foundation, with Dr. Mathilde Krim in New York and Dr. Michael Gottlieb of UCLA as co-chairs.
GOP FOR CRANSTON?--While the multicandidate race for the GOP Senate nomination goes on, the incumbent senator, Democrat Alan Cranston, has picked up a few top-flight Republican supporters himself. Among Republicans who already have contributed to the Cranston re-election effort, according to his campaign, are Reaganite Ray Watt, Ernest Gallo, developer Richard Traweek, Levi Strauss chairman Peter E. Haas, Gap Stores Inc. president Donald G. Fisher, The Capitol Group chairman Robert Egelston, and San Diego Padres president Ballard Smith. And, of course, Kitchen Cabineteer Leonard Firestone and Howard Allen, chairman and CEO of Southern California Edison, signed on early.
BACK AT THE TRACK--Those Hollywood Park regulars Cary and Barbara Grant were busy Saturday both picking winners and instructing Marvin and Barbara Davis in the fine art of betting. More help came from the Davis' best buddies, Candy and Aaron Spelling. Songwriter Carole Bayer Sager showed off a picture of her and Burt Bacharach's baby, Christian--the babe was wearing earphones, since "he picks all our hits"--to trade with Victoria and Ed McMahon. "We've got one for you, too," said McMahon, the proud papa of Catherine Mary. Merv Griffin, the ultimately yummy Neil Diamond with wife Marcia, and Walter and Carol Matthau pumped up the celebrity quotient, even though now-avid horsewoman La Liz was in New York to be honored.
LA CAGE AU HELPERS--Mariette Hartley is doing her new one-woman show in San Francisco, but she'll be back here May 15 for a special benefit at the La Cage Aux Folles nightclub. The beneficiary is the Children's Institute International, a nonprofit organization to help victims of child abuse. (The institute got very well known because of the McMartin Pre-School case.) By telephone, Hartley said her volunteer effort started when, two years ago, someone asked her, " 'Why don't you go over and see it?' And I went over and was very, very impressed." Gypsy and the whole La Cage Aux Folles group, Hartley said, offered their services for the fund-raiser.
ANOTHER OPENING--Restaurants seem to open every day in L.A. No comments on the food (not our department), but the opening of Rebecca's on Monday night looked like a movie party scene. Bruce and Rebecca Marder along with big backers, like Werner Scharff (he owns lots of Venice), greeted the overflow crowd in the Venice eatery across the street from their West Beach Cafe. Lots of artsy-craftsy types (the multimillion-dollar restaurant designed by Frank Gehry has one art piece after another) gathered under large silver crocodiles and in banquettes with tuck-and-roll upholstery (the aqua color of a '65 Thunderbird) to eat multitudinous empanadas and oysters. Among beach-side famous: actress Teri Garr, producer Sarah Pillsbury and her handsome writer-husband Richard Kletter, and Bambi Breakstone, who put together the clothes and look for "Miami Vice." (She related how she had almost all of Don Johnson's pants custom-made). Prince of parkers Chuck Pick sneaked across the street just long enough for dinner with wine maven Steve Wallace and Zen Bakery muffin queen Sissy McDonald, Acacia Winery's Jerry Goldstein with Rita Garabedian and Norman Lefkovits and designer Martha Bodman. Now we know what those in-the-know about wine and food really do--they eat.
YET ANOTHER USO--Bob Hope has devoted decades to the USO. Next Wednesday, the indefatigable Hope performs at a black-tie benefit for the Friends of the Israeli Defense Forces. Henry G. Plitt is the dinner chairman (he also holds the title of brigadier general and national commander of the FIDF. Funds from the Century Plaza event go to the construction of the Bob Hope Family Center, located at an Israeli air force base. The FIDF functions similarly to the USO.
MOVIE-BENEFIT BUCKS--The premiere of "Jo Jo Dancer, Your Life Is Calling," the Richard Pryor epic, brought out stars like the movie's Billy Eckstine, Carmen McRae, Scoey Mitchlll and watchers like Eddie Murphy, Vanity, Irene Cara, Robert Loggia, Catherine Bach and Pryor's buddy Stevie Wonder. It raised more than $30,000, split between the CareUnit at Cedars-Sinai and the Bridge Back Inc. drug-abuse rehab programs.
TOO BAD--If you didn't get your tickets for the May 16 Gala Gala at the Museum of Contemporary Art or the May 17 SHARE Boomtown party, you're out of luck. They are both mucho sold out. But if you are desperate to go to a big party that weekend, there is Dr. Armand Hammer's birthday party and the Concern Rodeo Drive Block Party, both on May 18.