That special Los Angeles shtick, recreational philanthrophy, hit new depths Tuesday night as culture mongers were forced to pay twice to support the Dance Gallery and see "Tango Argentino." One payment was the $125-for-founders and $300-for-regulars that supporters forked over. That didn't seem high, considering the standing ovation that the opening night performance brought at the Pantages. But wait--supporters still had to pay more--only this time it cost them patience and lost sleep.
When the performance ended around 10:15, the theatergoers streamed out into the lobby. Then the several hundred Dance Gallery supporters were separated out from departing opening nighters. Those who had paid high prices for benefit tickets--like Wallis Annenberg, Dr. Hal and Rosalind Milstone, couple-around-town Chuck Fries and Ava Ostern, the ubiquitous Henry and Ginny Mancini, Contessa Cohn, Patricia Kennedy with Robert Joffrey and Gerald Arpino and Fred and Joan Nicholas with Marcia Weisman--were then herded back into the theater. Waiters moved among then bearing plastic glasses of a reddish frothy liquid with the Latin-sounding name, "Cointreau Caramba." (Cointreau apparently paid for the cocktails and the favors.) The elegantly dressed folks sat. And sat. And sat. Finally speeches, including a lengthy one from the Dance Gallery's Bella Lewitzky. The Dance Gallery Guild had donated $25,000--a donation marked by dancer-choreographer Lucas Hoving and Lenny Steinberg, the guild's co-chairmen, putting their feet in the cement blocks that designate big-buck givers. At the concrete, at 11:35 (on a school night) the program was finished. So were some of the more important guests, who skittered out of the theater, never sitting down to the tasty dinner from Rococo at the black-and-white tables set up by Regal Rents. The pros did a terrific job of transforming the Pantages lobby and steps--but why bother at that hour? The non-professional dancing began somewhere after midnight--for those who do not keep regular hours.
SERENDIPITY--At the "Tango Argentino" performance was Dudley Moore with his now-steady Brogan Lane. They announced they were off Saturday night to the Queen Mary, celebrating their one-year anniversary of togetherness. What--you think our reporting on Dudley's doings shows him to be cruising around? No way. They met back at Ma Maison, when for several nights last year, Moore insisted on playing piano far into the night. And what about the girl he was reported kissing at Trumps several months ago? Why, it's the one-and-the-same. Happy anniversary, Dudley and Brogan.
KUDOS--To our favorite song-and-dance philantrophist--Danny Kaye, who was set to pick up the National Fellowship Award in Philadelphia on Thursday night. The award is given annually by the Philadelphia Fellowship Commission to individuals "who have distinguished themselves in the area of human rights and human relations." Among previous recipients were Robert F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr. . . . And congrats to NutraSweet Co. and Equal for underwriting a series of celebrity sports benefits across the country, all for the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation. Set for Los Angeles on June 23 at the Industry Hills Golf and Tennis Center, the day supports JDF's goal of raising funds to find the cause, cure, treatment and prevention of diabetes and its complications.
THE KING AT PRINCESS GALA--The Princess Grace Foundation--U.S.A.'s Gala (this year's Oct. 18 party is Dallas) will be headlined by Frank Sinatra. Sinatra and his wife have been involved since the inception of the foundation, conceived by Princess Grace of Monaco to aid students and professionals in American theater, dance and film. A statement issued by a spokesperson for the legendary crooner contains what could become a legendary quote from Sinatra, who appeared with the then-Grace Kelly in the film "High Society": "Grace was a princess the moment she was born."
STAR SIGHTING--Probably the best place for paparazzi Tuesday night will be outside the Hollywood Palladium. Inside, Nina Blanchard, who has been the agent for "some of the most beautiful people in the world," will celebrate her 25th aniversary in the biz. Expected are Shari Belafonte-Harper, Catherine Oxenberg, Burt Reynolds, Cheryl Tiegs and Merv Griffin (OK, not beautiful, but wonderful).