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Marylouise Oates

MOCA's Kids Are All Right

August 31, 1987|Marylouise Oates

Too bad it was a one-night stand, because the Grand Splash block party outside the Museum of Contemporary Art Saturday brought out the biggest crowd of eligible singles since prom night.

No one wanted to be quoted on the extraordinary availability of eligible men and women, but it was clear that for partygoers of both sexes, the $75 ticket bought a really good time.

"You think I'm here for art. I'm here for the lemon squares," kidded one frequent partygoer who had staked out a spot near the dessert buffet. There was, in addition to prospective dates and lemon squares, an abundance of great food, whipped up by Rococo's Ray Henderson, who managed to give "the kids running this" a terrific spread at a low enough price to make money for MOCA.

And that is, of course, what it's all about, as the mostly second-generation culture buffs who make up the MOCA Contemporaries sold 1,000-plus tickets. "These kids are the real future of MOCA," according to founder-trustee Marcia Weisman. "In some museums, the junior auxiliary is made up of people somewhere near 65."

Kudos went to Orna Amir and Madison Offenhauser, the committee co-chairs; Ellen Grinstein-Perliter and Marc Selwyn, who put together the "15 x 15 Auction"; Mark Eshman, Contemporaries president; and Marc Friedland, Lisa Sapiro, Sari Stabler, Mark Williams, Leslie Meltzer, Richard Angel, Julia O'Grady, Mindi Horwitch, Lynn Smith, Leslie Maisel, Teri Hertz, Diane Shader and Joan Borinstein. Seeing Friedland, who does "wearable art" (he designed the souvenir shirt and the invitations and turned up in a to-die "MOCA" style tux jacket), MOCA trustee Jane Nathanson was quick to ask him, "What can you do for the 'adult' MOCA Gala?"

Nathanson, her husband, Marc, and almost-back-to-college daughter, Nicole, were chatting with Paul and Joan Selwyn, whose son, Marc, was an active Contemporary. "He's 27 and a lawyer at Loeb & Loeb and he's just done a terrific job," explained the mother Selwyn, whose daughter, Laura, laughingly added, "I've never heard my mother gush."

The Contemporaries had asked 15 well-known artists to each recommend a younger artist whose work they find promising. The works were exhibited last week, and were the prizes at a benefit drawing during the party.

One involved big-name artist, Laddie John Dill, whipped past the make-your-own-sundae table and grabbed a cookie on his way out. Even though he found the evening "a little confusing," he said he was delighted to "give some young artists some exposure. It's a tradition in this town to lose our young artists--a tradition that has to stop."

Dill's companion, Valli Lopez, was busy putting together the Nov. 7 benefit for Refugees International. She explained that actor Sam Waterston became interested in R. I. when he was making "The Killing Fields," and that the benefit at the Coronet Theater would involve, behind the scenes and on-stage, such names as Columbia's David Putnam and Kris Kristofferson.

Other benefit news came from Bill Melamed Jr., who's putting together a Sept. 29 fund-raiser for the October March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights. It's a march, he explained, so the benefit will be an auction of celebrity shoes--donated by folks like Liza Minnelli, Whoopi Goldberg, Robert De Niro, Joan Rivers and Pee-wee Herman. And to really camp out, the party will be held in the Kibitz Room at Cantor's Deli on Fairfax. Other items for auction, he said, include individual finger-painted self-portraits of the West Hollywood City Council and a tape of Supervisor Ed Edelman playing the cello.

Does culture in L. A. never stop?

COMING UP--The proceeds go to the Jackie Robinson Foundation, and the date is Thursday. It's the opening night gala for the exhibit "Jackie Robinson: an American Journey" at the California Afro-American Museum in Exposition Park. Hosting are Coca-Cola USA president Edwin R. Bellett, Robinson's widow, Rachel Robinson, Dodgers' president Peter O'Malley and Aurelia Brooks, director of the museum. This is, as all baseball fans know, the 40th anniversary year of Robinson's historic entry in major-league baseball as the first black player. . . .

The invite is elegant, the names impressive for the Sept. 11 tribute to Victoria Principal and her long-time support of the Arthritis Foundation. Jane Wyman will do the presenting honors at the black-tie dinner at the Beverly Hills Hotel. It's got to be an entertaining evening, since Hollywood's favorite, Motion Picture Assn. president Jack Valenti, is set for the speaking honors and the delightful Michael Finestein will play Gershwin. Principal has served as national campaign chair for the Arthritis Foundation from 1983 through 1987. Kirk Calhoun is chairing the dinner. . . .

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