If you're going to give yourself a party, give yourself a million-dollar one.
"Can you believe it?" the Hotel del Coronado's Larry Lawrence asked, only somewhat rhetorically. Even when details are known about the three-day weekend--which should bring in more than $1 million for the charities of the guests' choices--it is mildly mind-boggling.
Lawrence and his wife, Jeanne, are importing Dallas party maven Wendy Moss to construct a labyrinthine weekend that comes to life Feb. 19. Lawrence is quick to point out that it is nothing less than his San Diego hotel deserves on its 100th birthday, since it now has the same historical designation as the Washington Monument and this year, he said, "We will have more visitors than Yosemite. They run 2.6 million, while we run 2.8 (million). Not guests. Just people coming by to gawk."
Wendy Moss--her favorite adjectives are fun and exciting in describing what she estimated as a weekend costing $1 million--said the weekend will open with a Friday evening parade, ending at the hotel, where a fantasy time capsule will have been constructed: "There will be a giant fantasy key, and huge fantasy doors and Jeanne and Larry unlock the door and enter a time tunnel back into 1888."
Guests follow the Lawrences into the hotel, along a "lighted pathway through time," and get to party in 10 different partying sites, each designated for a decade of operation.
There is a 1920s speak-easy, "with all black entertainment, singers and dancers, just like it was in the '20s in the wonderful Cotton-Club type dives," and there is a 1940s "Del Morocco" nightclub with zebra banquettes, a '50s drive-in, a '60s diner.
Even if a person isn't one of the lucky who will pay $5,000-a-couple for the weekend, there are some $1,000-a-couple tickets just for the Friday night extravaganza, which also lets one into the Victorian celebrity tennis tournament the next day (that's right, Victorian) and other goodies, like rides around San Diego Harbor on Dennis Conner's Stars and Stripes. The "gambling for prizes" that starts Friday night in the "Some Like It Hot" speak-easy will continue all day.
Saturday night, it's a turn-of-the-century ball, with 100-plus special celebrity guests and friends of the Lawrences', and 250 couples getting to come since they have paid the $5,000 price tag for the weekend. For that, Moss said, they "get announced in the old formal fashion, announced by trumpeters" as they come into the Crown Room, "where Lindberg had his celebration."
This party has been talked about for a while, including a public mention last summer that Operation California would be a prime beneficiary of the event. OC's Richard Walden said his international relief agency, supported strongly by brand-name stars from Hollywood, was asked to secure specific stars for the weekend, in return for being one of the designated charities. Walden said the five stars on the Del's list, including Liza Minnelli, Julio Iglesias and Bette Midler, "weren't people we knew."
"A lot of those things that happened before we came on board never really happened," Moss said. "We came on board, we started to recreate this thing." And that re-creation, Moss said, will even include a Victorian brunch on Sunday--"You can sit on the beach or sit in the air conditioning."
And then, real mementos get put into a real time capsule--or, as Moss explained it enthusiastically--"We will create something that will be neat to be opened in the next hundred years."
ONCE MORE, WITH GREAT FEELING--Goldie Hawn presents the Commitment to Life Award to AIDS activist Mathilde Krim at the third annual AIDS Project L.A. celebration Nov. 1. Among stars appearing in the George Schlatter-produced spectacular are Billy Crystal, Lily Tomlin, Tracey Ullman and Patti LaBelle. Onstage doing emceeing honors are stars like Madonna, Linda Ronstadt and Steve Martin. Producer Barry Krost is again chairing the event--which last year netted more than $750,000 to assist people with AIDS.
This year, Whoopi Goldberg will receive the Entertainment Buddy of the Year Award, both for her performing (which she will be doing) and, Krost said, for the private dedication she has shown to people with AIDS. Special thanks, Krost said, had to go to Peggy Pollock, the wife of MCA executive Tom Pollock, who he said had spent the past several weeks working full time selling tickets (which go from $100 to $1,000).