"I hate coming to these luncheons," businesswoman Lucie Bava kidded at the start of the Women For awards. "Look at these resumes."
A longtime activist with the National Organization for Women, Bava wasn't kidding about the impressiveness of the resumes. Indeed, for the eighth year--starting with a small lunch in somebody's home and now selling out at the Beverly Hills' Crystal Room--Women For has brought together an extraordinary panel of awardees.
"Women don't get celebrated very often," Marilyn Kizziah, Women For coordinator, told a former awardee, back-at-the-ACLU Ramona Ripston (sporting, as many women did, a "Block Bork" button). But the luncheon Wednesday was different.
Allred, Others Honored
Among this year's honorees were attorney Gloria Allred, producer Peg Yorkin, United Friends of the Children president Stacey Winkler, businesswoman Laura Balverde-Sanchez, consumer advocate Sylvia Siegel, actress Susan Clark, KOCE-TV community relations director Jo Caines, Friends of Westwood president Laura Lake and cinematographer Brianne Murphy.
Before the luncheon, Mimi West told friends that the L.A. Free Clinic building fund had raised $2 million of its $2.3-million goal. Marilyn Bergman was telling Annie Gilbar and Judi Davidson that the Hollywood Women's Political Committee was "doing nothing but trying to block Bork, nothing." Among former recipients at this high-power luncheon were attorney Lisa Specht with her mother-in-law Roz Rogers, Joan Palevsky, Children's Services Commission chair Nancy Daly, Aileen Adams, Rape Treatment Center founder Gail Abarbanel (their always sell-out brunch benefit is set for Sept. 27), ABC-TV producer Ilene Berg, Sherrell Allatore and City Councilwoman Ruth Galanter.
Speaking at the luncheon, Peg Yorkin said, quoting former recipient and feminist activist Toni Cabrillo, the award is the "Good Housekeeping seal of approval . . ."
Her audience, after all, was sprinkled with former recipients and crammed with activists of every ilk.
Or perhaps Stacey Winkler put it best. In a moving speech, the child advocacy activist told the audience that they made her feel "very special today and I hope you will help us in our commitment to make every child feel this special--that they have worth, respect, love and that above all, they are not forgotten."
WATCH-OUT--For Neiman-Marcus' splashy debut party for the Omega Art Watch Oct. 27. Those clever N.M. folks like John Martens and Dale Shumate have put together a panel of experts--and will be giving awards to L.A.'s top "minimalist" artists, chefs, et al., at the party. At a planning luncheon this week, panelists like TV producer Doug Cramer, Fashion West editor Barbara Foley, American Cinematheque's Gary Essert and publicist Jackie Applebaum got together to decide who was most in being less--defined by Essert as being not "ungepotchket." Cramer is, of course, the champion at table-chat--and between announcing "Off comes the Cartier, on goes the Omega" he led a "judges revolt" to have TV and film get included as a category. But he was quick to admit that in the fashion category, "Dynasty's" dramatic Nolan Miller was not minimalist.
At this week's N.M. splash at Spago on Wednesday night, celebrating designer Zandra Rhodes were devotee Joan Quinn (straight from the Pope in Dodger Stadium), Larry and Maj Hagman, artist Ed Ruscha, Wallis Annenberg (svelte-looking in an of-course Zandra), Martens and his wife Bridget. It was Zandra's birthday, and Spago's Barbara Lazaroff had a special jeweled cake designed to celebrate.
POST-PAPAL KUDOS--Congratulations to Wally Maguire, director of the papal visit, who managed to keep the massive two-day event on time, and, with an almost strictly volunteer staff in the Coliseum and Dodger Stadium, kept everything flowing smoothly. The volunteers were terrific--one older man, volunteering in the Coliseum press box, brought the papal visit's message home when during the Mass he went from reporter to reporter, giving each a careful handshake of peace . . . Father Maury Chase, an old hand at papal ceremonies (he once celebrated the Mass with the Pope at Castel Gandolfo, the Pope's summer residence), nevertheless was in the hot holding pen at the Sports Arena. The day was unique because of the "excitement of the people, how the people are going to react to the Pope. That's what blows my mind. It would be easier to watch it on TV, but to feel that love of the people, that's why I am here." . . . For those who wondered who was the distinguished gray-haired gentleman in white-tie and tails seated between the bishops and the Pope at Dodger Stadium, it was Daniel J. Donohue. The multi-medaled Donohue is one of only two American laymen named "Gentleman in Waiting to His Holiness."
HAPPY, HAPPY BIRTHDAY--Her friends get together Sunday, and no doubt it will be an activist party, since Gertrude Kern celebrates her 80th birthday only once--but has celebrated a life working for world peace and nuclear disarmament. It is (knowing the honoree and her dedication) a fund-raiser--with the money going to Voters to End the Arms Race. Rita and Ted Williams host the event--and Rep. Tony Beilenson will speak.