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Benjamin Epstein

300 Ship Out for Pacific Symphony Benefit


Sunday at the Four Seasons Hotel in Newport Beach, almost 300 Pacific Symphony supporters donned their cruise wear for "An Evening Aboard the Sea Goddess."

The land-locked party was named for the luxury 340-foot yacht of Norwegian registry, which at that moment was somewhere off the coast of Alaska.

Guests enjoyed a fashion show coordinated by Kitty Leslie in and around the hotel pool, complete with water ballet, gaming for prizes, including a $10,000 cruise aboard the Sea Goddess, and a buffet dinner-dance in the ballroom. Symphony supporters rocked out to such tunes as Jerry Lee Lewis' "Whole Lot of Shakin' Going On," as interpreted by the Lynn Willis orchestra.

Between hands of blackjack, conductor Keith Clark reiterated the big news at the Pacific Symphony: "Forty-one concerts during the opening season of the Orange County Performing Arts Center." (The center is scheduled to open Sept. 29.)

Symphony president Michael Gilano, who won big at the crap table, lent some credence to rumors concerning a possible merger of the Pacific Symphony and the Orange County Philharmonic Society, which has been presenting fine music in the county for 32 years.

"It's been talked about for a while," Gilano said, tipping his navy blue nautical cap, "but now we're talking a bit more seriously. It's important to emphasize, of course, that we don't know that it will take place for sure." He said there would be advantages "economically, politically and socially"; most important, he said, "we could share the same staff and the same executive director."

Among the guests were 60 members of the as-yet-unofficial Sea Goddess Yacht Club; anyone who's been on a cruise aboard the ship qualifies. Waltah Clarke, whose men's stores in Palm Springs and Hawaii bear his name, said he's taken Sea Goddess cruises three times.

"I came up with the idea of the Yacht Club," said Clarke, who wore a blazer dotted with ship's wheels and anchors--from Waltah Clarke's, of course. "I'm trying to get Ron Kurtz to officially recognize me as its first honorary commodore." Kurtz is president of Sea Goddess Cruises Limited; he and hotel general manager Klaus Tenter were party hosts.

"My wife tried to get me to go on cruises for 20, 25 years," Clarke recalled. "I never liked cruises. Then she found the Sea Goddess. One look at the brochure, in 10 seconds I said I would go.

"Not long after, I sold my own yacht. I figured it cost me $35,000 a year to run the darn thing, and all for 22 days in Catalina. Not to mention that when the kids left home, we no longer had a crew. Anyway, for $35,000, we get 35 days on the Sea Goddess. And my wife doesn't have to cook."

Honorary chairmen for the event were consuls general Joan Winser of Canada--the Four Seasons is a Canadian-owned hotel--and Knut Ivar Halvorsen of Norway. Also there were symphony board chairman Ray Ikola and symphony supporter Mary Homi, who handles public relations for both the Orient Express and the Sea Goddess.

Helen and Wes Hylen, on separate tickets, won the man's and woman's Gucci watches. The grand prize cruise aboard the Sea Goddess was won by Denise Bouche of Laguna Beach. According to event chairman Warren Johnson, $10,000 was raised.

They make their living putting out fires, yet they seem to make women's temperatures rise.

Sunday at the new Alicante Princess Hotel in Garden Grove, the 12 male pinups who will "tastefully" grace the pages of the 1987 FireFoxes Calendar were chosen from a field of 33 Orange County firefighters.

Proceeds of $10,000 from the third annual calendar competition will benefit the FireFox Burn Survivor Fund, according to fund chairman and competition emcee Ronald LaMar. Four-hundred showed up to watch the selection process.

The men were judged on stage presence, personality and physical appearance. Though three separate judging segments were based on the last category--tuxedo, bathing suit and "personality," or self-created outfits--LaMar stressed that looks weren't everything.

"These guys will make a lot of public appearances on behalf of the Burn Survivor Fund through the year, so there are a lot of other factors to consider," LaMar said. "Physique is important--they've got to be good-looking enough that people will want to look at them for 30 days--but we can't ignore the ability to communicate with the public."

Winners were Daniel Espinoza (Buena Park Fire Department), Glen Evans and Steve Magliocco (Anaheim), Brad Barnette (Santa Ana), Steve Foster (Orange), Patrick McIntosh (Orange County), Corey Hollis (Fountain Valley), Russell Lacy and Jeff Wilkins (Garden Grove), John Kuhn (Westminster) and Ed Wick and Mike Ybarra (Newport Beach).

The 23rd annual Las Campanas Debutante Ball took place Saturday night at the Anaheim Marriott Hotel. According to ball co-chairman Marilyn Halamandaris, more than 650 attended and more than $35,000 was raised for the Orange County Opera Company--which brings opera programs to 200 county schools--and for the Orange County Youth Symphony.

"There was an especially warm feeling to the ball this year," said Halamandaris, "with lots of returning debs. Two new debutantes are granddaughters of Carl Karcher, Michele Willard and Kimberly Karcher. Michele's mother was one of our early debs. Nancy McCoy of Fullerton was the fifth daughter in her family to become a Las Campanas debutante."

Also bowing from Fullerton were Laura Armstrong, Robyn Bedell, Michelle Cummins, Elizabeth Davis, Marcella Demman, Amy de Riszner, Maria Eadington, Nancy Kwon, Kim Rosso, Jacqueline Stoddard and Carie Thomas.

Debs from Villa Park included Julianne DeMarco, Elizabeth Drobish, Erin Flynn, Cheryl Gubler, Adrienne Parker and Lara Steensland. From Santa Ana came Stephanie Guard, Melissa Housley, Carolyn Kelly, Catherine Knobbe, Sara Layton, Kathryn Ramseyer, Pamela Renfree and Janet Salsbury. Pamela Butcher lives in Orange, Shannon Angros in Anaheim.

Halamandaris' co-chairman was Jan Collier. Charlene Immell is Las Campanas president.

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