Steven Bren, the race-car-driving son of Irvine Co. Chairman Donald L. Bren, will celebrate the formal opening of his Newport Auto Center tonight with a gourmet bash at the Newport Beach dealership.
Winner of the last two Long Beach Grand Prix races, the sandy-haired bachelor says there's a good chance he will compete in next year's Indianapolis 500. "To win it is my dream," says Bren, 27, who left a position as assistant vice president with the Bren Co. two years ago to pursue careers in the world of automobiles.
Guests will dine on fare symbolic of the cars that Bren purveys: hamburgers in honor of the Chevrolets; fish and chips in a salute to the Rolls-Royces, and grilled bratwurst for the Porsches and Audis.
On Bren's arm will be former model Thais Baker, 25, whom he met when he lived in Malibu. They have dated for two years.
Bren says there is a good possibility his billionaire father will attend the bash.
On the invitation list: singer Lionel Richie, purchaser two weeks ago of a black Porsche at the dealership.
WE'LL SEE WHAT DEVELOPS: Insiders say there's a Kennedy in developer David F. Stein's life. They say the curly-haired bachelor--president of Stein-Brief, developer of the lush Monarch Beach area in Laguna Niguel--has spent time recently with Mary Kerry Kennedy, 28, daughter of Ethel and the late Robert F. Kennedy. But Stein, 39, a Democratic party activist who has raised funds for Gary Hart and partied with Jack Ford (son of former Republican President Gerald Ford) won't discuss the relationship. "Stein is a private person," says Christopher Townsend, a Stein-Brief spokesman.
RITZY ATTRACTION: Film star Michael Douglas, mega-hot now with "Fatal Attraction" under his celluloid belt, is staying at the marble-portaled Ritz-Carlton hotel in Laguna Niguel.
Also at the Ritz is Robin Leach, guest speaker at the world-class hotel's "World of Wines" festival. Leach says he doesn't know of many famous people living in Orange County, "but there are certainly a lot of rich."
"The secret to becoming rich," Leach deadpans, "is to have a good tan and a freshly pressed tux. Now, if you're poor and want to look rich, go to the neighborhood liquor store, buy expensive empties and put them in your trash can on trash day. On the weekends, buy a case of champagne empties. People will think: 'WOW! They really threw a party!" Other rich and famous spending time recently at the Ritz: Barbra Streisand, Dionne Warwick and Sidney Poitier.
WHAT THEY'RE TALKING ABOUT:
"Light His Fire," a six-week workshop for married and single women by Ellen Kreidman. "It helped me get over the hurt after my divorce," says Newport Beach's Joanne Woolley, whose former husband, Bob, is owner of Embassy Suites hotels. "And, if I'd gone to it while we were married, I probably wouldn't have gotten divorced."
Kreidman, of El Toro, teaches single and married women that "it's the woman who needs to keep the romance going in a long-term relationship," Woolley told friends at the wedding shower she hosted recently for public relations practitioner Gloria Zigner. "Men just won't do it."
CoENZYME Q10, a "life-extender" that behaves like a vitamin. Orange County Republican Party Chairman Thomas Fuentes is reading about it in a book by Dr. G. Bliznakov, a lupus researcher. Orange County Supervisor Harriett M. Wieder and her husband, Irv, are taking it, and Dr. Gerald Brodie, a family practitioner in Orange, is spreading the news. "You need it," Brodie says, "if you have a deficiency of the enzyme in your body."