Adventurers reap the rewards, and those who ventured to the penthouse for the premiere showing of The Tower at 10940 Wilshire, the stunning new building by architect Helmut Jahn in Westwood, saw the 360-degree view of Los Angeles' skyline on a clear night when you could see forever.
It was a Taittinger Champagne night, a multifaceted night, co-hosted by Tower owner/developers (the Prospect Co. and Platt Development Corp.), and it brought Bill Barnes, Prospect's president, and Jim Wilkinson, its second vice president, from Hartford, Conn., and Steve Rothert, regional director-development for Travelers Real Estate Investments, from Walnut Creek, Calif., for personal tours of the kasota limestone, Indian green granite and Brazilian maritaca granite bulwarks.
The evening was a toast to the union of art and architecture, inasmuch as it was also a celebration of California artist Billy Al Bengston's 8.5-foot maquette and the 80-foot, three-dimensional replica (which served as a barricade for the Tower in its early stages of construction) being donated to the Museum of Contemporary Art for its auction gala Feb. 27.
MOCA trustees president Leo Wyler and MOCA director Richard Koshalek toasted in champagne and also revealed an exhibition to be held at MOCA in early spring by architectural students participating in a statewide scholastic competition sponsored by The Tower. Students have been challenged to create an alternative structure for The Tower site, and the winner will intern for a year with Jahn.
It was an eclectic crowd: major art collectors Philip and Bea Gersh, MOCA leader Fred Nicholas, MOCA associate director Sherri Gelden, Jerve and Alice Jones (he's the managing partner of Peck/Jones construction, which built The Tower), Marsha Levine, Barbara Kabot, Joan Quinn, Isadore and Shirley Familian, Helen Bing, Bengston with Cristi Bach, Roz May, Jackie Applebaum, Lois Roslin (moving to New York), Merry Norris, Gordon and Mickey Bodek, Betye Burton.
INTRICATE CUISINE: The illustrious sous chefs who toiled under starched toques to complete the intricate dinner for Los Angeles Planned Parenthood Guild's Men's Dinner IX at Citrus restaurant, will forever be chained by their wives to the kitchen. The Men's Dinner is the annual fund-raiser ($100,000 this year) staged at a restaurant under the guidance of a master chef utilizing the labor of prominent men married to prominent women who support the guild to raise funds for low-cost reproductive education, counseling and medical care.
Chief sous chef Dr. Harlan C. Amstutz, also chief of orthopedic surgery at UCLA for the last 17 years, explained why the men do it: "For the fun of it." Obviously Citrus' Michel Richard, the French-accented master chef who supervised, concurred. "Don't look for another chef next year."
Now, 13 amateur chefs are steeped in culinary secrets: Michael D. Berk, Kendall S. Bishop and Mike Steiniger, lawyers; Gordon S. Bodek, college trustee; Orville J. Golub, chemist; John F. Hotchkis, investor; Thomas R. Howell, ornithologist; Steaven K. Jones Jr., developer; Ken Rogers, investor; Drs. Ewing Seligman and Norman Sprague III; Hugo J. Standing, insurance executive, and Marvin Zeidler, Citrus co-owner.
As the sold-out crowd arrived, guild president Sue Bunzel and her husband Peter were touting the quail eggs in brioche with Osetra caviar and the smoked salmon with flying fish roe. Then dinner chairman Patti Amstutz (in elegant Jacqueline de Ribes black lace) and her committee of Karen Berk, Muriel Goodman, Judy Jones (she and Steaven have a new his-and-hers kitchen, each with a range and sink), Marjorie McVey, Ann Petroni, Janice Rusack, Marva Shearer, Carmela Speroni and Judy Zeidler persuaded guests to sit for more mouth-watering exotica: a rabbit terrine with baby greens and parsley coriander vinaigrette, roasted salmon and tuna in a medley of smoked mushroom and celery root sauces, a veal loin entree with garlic red pepper sauce and two desserts--a rum baba terrine with raisin sauce and a chocolate napoleon with pear sauce. Of course, a different wine, courtesy of Chalone Vineyards and Veauve Clicquot, was served with each course.
Earlier that day in Judy Jones' kitchen the ladies had carved vegetables into flower shapes, directed by Karen Berk of Incredible Edibles. For the finale, Patti Amstutz (she's become a movie producer) proposed a toast to Margaret Sanger, founder of Planned Parenthood of America. And the crowd, including Bob and Beth Lowe and Kee and Paul Flynn and Ted and Eleanor Congdon welcomed Joan Griggs Babbitt, new executive director.
BIG DATES: The Philoptohos Society of St. Sophia Cathedral will host its annual Debutante Presentation Ball at the Beverly Hilton on Feb. 20 with Lucille Kerhulas ball chairman. Debs were honored at a January tea at the home of Dena Oldknow. . . .