Here's the most expensive evening in town: Party-goers will have spent more than $100 million to go to the Music Center's Benefactors Ball. Hold on--that's if the tickets were for sale.
But tickets to the Feb. 29 "first quadrennial" gala at the Grand Hall of the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion are not for sale.
The party is a thank you--a thank you to the more than 300 individuals and couples on the invite list whose donations total more than $100 million. (That total includes the extraordinary $50-million gift that came last year from Lillian B. Disney, to the Music Center, to build a new home for the Los Angeles Philharmonic.)
A Hot Guest List
To make it onto the guest list, an individual or a couple would have to have given at least $100,000. Now what kind of a guest list does that give one?
Pretty fabulous, including such major supporters already RSVPed as Peter and Helen Bing, Bram and Elaine Goldsmith, Marion and Rocco Sicillano, Felisa and Nick Vanoff, Edward and Hannah Carter, Dorothy Collins Brown, Frederick Weisman, Music Center Opera patron Tara Colburn, Jackie and Sydney Rosenberg, Timothy and Terri Childs, Joan and John Hotchkis, Dwight and Dona Kendall, Giney Milner, H. Russell and Jeanne Smith, Terry and Dennis Stanfill, and Flora Thornton.
Hosting the event are Lois and Robert Erburu and Mia and Dan Frost.
The event is special in several ways.
"We've never had a thank you to all our major donors," Lois Erburu explained over lunch with Music Center Executive Vice President Esther Wachtell. "We want people to know just how grateful the Music Center is for the support of everyone--and this time we want to honor those who have given the most."
The evening, both agreed, would be "very formal," with ball gowns and certainly everyone's best jewels, the start of an every-four-year tradition of hosting a big bash for big givers on Leap Year's Feb. 29. In this town, an interesting twist is that you just aren't going to see this party on the 11 o'clock news. It is very, very private.
Too bad--because viewers will be missing something special. Dudley Moore (downstairs rehearsing for "The Mikado") will zip up to the Grand Hall along with director Jonathan Miller to be a centerpiece of the evening's entertainment. Philharmonic assistant conductor David Alan Miller and cellist Lynn Harrell will also perform. And, to show off those fancy gowns, guests will be out on the dance floor, encouraged by the sounds of Ron Rubin's Orchestra.
Now, for all of you who haven't given your $100,000, you could get out that checkbook. . . .
NEW TRADITION--It's only the third year, but the annual Maynard Toll Luncheon benefiting the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles is once again a scheduled hit. Set for Feb. 22 at the Biltmore's Crystal Ballroom, this year's luncheon honors retired California Supreme Court Justice Otto Kaus with the "Maynard Toll Award," named for the noted L.A. attorney and longtime supporter of legal aid for the poor.
Again this year, Chief Assistant Atty. Gen. Barbara Y. Johnson has put together a committee that will include every brand-name barrister in town. Speaking at the already sold-out event will be Robert Raven, president-elect of the American Bar Assn. Also set to be honored: Sharon Hartmann of Irell & Manella and Brian Monkarsh of Gibson Dunn & Crutcher, both cited for their pro bono work.
FAVORITE DAUGHTER--You don't have to have gone to UCLA to love Joan Palevsky, the shy and generous giver and activist. But her alma mater (she's a B.A. in French, '47) will honor her Feb. 27 at the UCLA College of Letters and Science Awards dinner. William and Barbara Pagen are the honorary dinner chairs of the event at the Bank of America Tower Executive Dining Room. Sorry, Joan, we know you hate any publicity--but this recognition is really well deserved.
YET ANOTHER FAVORITE DAUGHTER--Linda Ronstadt and her "Canciones de mi Padre--A Romantic Evening in Old Mexico" benefiting the Plaza de la Raza is at the Universal Amphitheatre on Feb. 18. Eddie Albert (his late wife, Margo, was the guiding spirit of Plaza de la Raza) is the board chair, and he tells us that the evening will also include Danny Valdez, the Mariachis Vargas de Tecalitlan and the Ballet Folklorico de La Fonda. The evening includes a post-performance champagne celebration honoring Ronstadt, and is part of Plaza's year-old celebration of its 15th anniversary.