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Pacific Asia Museum Holds 10th Moon Festival

September 29, 1987|TIA GINDICK

Like the Chinese festival for which it is named, the Pacific Asia Museum's 10th annual Festival of the Autumn Moon on Sunday was a gently romantic gathering. Even as guests milled around the small tree-studded museum courtyard, drinks in hand, laughing, chatting and bidding on items in the silent auction, it was somehow possible to withdraw--to sit by the pond, contemplating the koi while soft zither-like sounds of a koto played in the background.

Actually, this was the festival open house. For $25 per person, there was Trader Joe's wine, Culinary Council hors d'oeuvres and 300 auction items plus a chance to wander through the galleries and peek at the fine-art pieces which will be sold at the $150-per-person Festival of the Autumn Moon auction and dinner at the museum Oct. 10.

The benefit dinner will be black-tie. The open house was definitely more casual: Pasadena, Westside and Valley folks mixing in blazers and summer silks, jeans, new-for-fall knits and, for those who happened to have something--anything--purchased in the Orient, well, this was their chance.

A Jeweled Butterfly

Clothes, after all, make for conversation. Pat Diroll, wearing a Carol Lane wearable art pantsuit in green and blue Thai silk covered with applique butterflies and clouds (entitled Flanders Field), was approached by antique dealer John Mortensen, resplendent in a gold brocade hip-length kimono over a black turtleneck and red slacks. Until this moment complete strangers, he offered the stunned Diroll a jeweled butterfly to complete her ensemble.

This was a party where people really did mingle, very easily what with the tables filled with items for bidding and the deliberate efforts by benefit chairman Jeanine Wilson and her committee to provoke competition. Every table was represented by a bell or a gong, and every time the bid was upped on an item, the bell at that table would ring. Two-minute warnings were given when a table was closing its bidding, but the number of the table closing was kept secret. So, benefitgoers had to be on their toes, even a little cutthroat.

Ann Barrett stood directly in front of a Haitian crane garden sculpture, upping the bid by $5 every time somebody else mustered the nerve to write their name down. Vietnam experts John and Mae Esterline, who had donated signed copies of their most recent books to the auction, raced off in mid-conversation with museum director David Kamansky--the three are trying to arrange the first exhibit of Vietnamese art here--to check their bid on a pair of 19th-Century baked clay Fo dogs.

If the bidding was a little slow on an item, there was actress Kim Miyori, portable microphone in hand, hawking it. "If you can't use it," she said, "buy it anyway, maybe for a friend, or your husband."

Museum officials said Monday that the party cleared nearly $20,000. The Fo dogs, an antique opium pipe and a pair of antique prints were the hottest auction items. The Esterlines, however, drove home to Claremont empty-handed.

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