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ANN CONWAY

Reveling Incognito in Fishbowl Windows

November 06, 1987|ANN CONWAY

How does the in-crowd attempt to party privately?

Well, at Bubbles Balboa Club on Monday night they partied incognito, exchanging black ties and designer gowns for custom-made poodle skirts and lettermen's sweaters. But they forgot about the fishbowl windows at Newport's bubbliest nightclub. Passers-by were so curious they steamed up the windows with their pressed noses.

Seems Mardy Svendsen (who counts actress Elizabeth Taylor among her chums) and her home-building husband Art, along with Jean and Ted Robinson (a shopping center developer) and Ruth and Roger Miller (of Roger Miller Honda), won a performance by the Don Miller band at a benefit. So, they decided to make it the centerpiece of a '50s blast for around 70 nears and dears.

Guests such as Clement Hirsch, president of Oak Tree Racing Assn. at Santa Anita, and wife, Lynn, spent the cocktail hour blowing bubble gum bubbles, sucking on Sen-Sen and licking Sugar Daddy suckers while they listened to rock 'n' roll. (Hirsch, by the way, launched Kal Kan dog food by selling horse meat door to door.)

Gourmet fare, taken at bistro tables topped with "rear-view-mirror dice" and Mylar confetti, included Holy Cows (so named because the spicy slices of filet mignon cause diners to gush the phrase) and caramel-banana sundaes.

Among those who rocked till they dropped: home builder Al Baldwin with wife, Deeann; lawyer Timothy Strader with wife, Susan; real estate developer Jim Rodgers with wife, Jackie; developer Bob Grant with wife, Bobbie; stockbroker Kae Ewing with wife, Louise; lawyer Tony Vitti with wife, Jan, and lawyer Alex Bowie with wife, Barbara.

Overheard: "Is there a woman here with a ring under three carats?" (from a wide-eyed Bubbles' employee). . . .

Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, the New Zealand nightingale who sang at the wedding of Prince Charles six years ago, says rumors of a royal rift are "rubbish. They are getting along," says Kanawa, whose performance Saturday night at the Orange County Performing Arts Center was part of the Orange County Philharmonic season. "If I had to put my marriage on the line the way Prince Charles and Princess Di do daily, I'd have been divorced three times by now." . . .

"It's not patchable," says Maurice Allard of his resignation two weeks ago as musical director of the Orange County Master Chorale. While chorale members were so upset by Allard's resignation that they almost lost their collective voice, they couldn't have known it had happened before. Allard tendered a resignation in August. But, after promises that he would regain artistic control and get a salary increase, he was encouraged to give the chorale another try. "But the artistic differences were never resolved," Allard says. Allard is going low profile for a while, he says, to pen a book on voice production, which he hopes to publish in February. But, you can catch him emceeing "Spotlight on the Arts," a cable TV show out of Costa Mesa. Meanwhile, William Hall, a music professor at Chapman College, will conduct the chorale when it performs its Christmas concert at the Orange County Performing Arts Center on Dec. 20.

Hugh who?

When Hugh Bancroft III of Newport Beach was listed by Forbes Magazine as one of America's 400 richest men, the local gentry was caught off guard.

Social mavens, politicos, charity gurus, private club owners and single women--especially single women--wanted to know how a 38-year-old man with an estimated $225-million fortune could thrive in their midst without making a ripple, much less a society splash.

And they wondered:

Is he married? Yes. To a former model.

What's the name of his yacht? (WINNAJOY, a sentimental juxtaposition of the first letters of his nickname, "Wink," and those of daughter, Natalie, and wife, Joyce).

Where does he live? On Collins Isle, an elite Newport Bay enclave that permits foot traffic only.

But don't look for Bancroft padding around the island much, or at Bancroft Motorsports Inc., his Costa Mesa-based corporation that is developing an automobile prototype. Bancroft spends much of his time in glittering Monaco, cruising the cobalt blue Mediterranean.

And don't look for Bancroft in one of those antique car replicas he designs and builds. He cruises around town in a red Toyota truck.

However, if you bump into Orange County's youngest megamillionaire and want to make a blue chip impression, hand him a chocolate chip cookie, one of his favorite things. . . .

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