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Black and White Can Be Bright : Center's Monte Carlo Night Fund-Raiser Is No Gamble

March 17, 1988|JAN HOFMANN | Jan Hofmann is a regular contributor to Orange County Life

Nothing is ever as simple as black and white. And it held true Saturday at "A Night In Monte Carlo," the annual casino night sponsored by the Cabaret chapter of the Guilds of the Orange County Performing Arts Center.

While the dress code required black or white attire, the restriction didn't keep the evening from being colorful.

For starters, the gambling tables--blackjack, craps, roulette and baccarat--added a touch of color to the festivities for about 1,000 at South Coast Plaza's Crystal Court.

And there was a handful of die-hard individualists who couldn't bring themselves to go along with the dress requirement. Maria Lindsey, for one, was a knockout in lipstick-red. She had a last-minute change of heart, she said. "But my shoes are black and white."

Most of Cabaret's 150 members are young singles, according to Janniene Keahl-Gallop, communications chairwoman. They join to have fun and support the performing arts, chapter president Julie Polhemus said.

Polhemus got involved in 1981, five years before the center opened. And she expects to remain active for a long time, she said.

"There is no performing arts center in the United States that supports itself entirely on ticket sales," Polhemus said. "The ticket prices would just be too high. Fund-raising is particularly important for our center, because it's operated totally by private funds."

The event was spread over the court's three levels, with food, dancing and auctions on the ground floor, gambling on the second and a VIP party featuring race car driver Dan Gurney--a winner of the Monaco Grand Prix--on the third.

Between turns at the gambling tables, guests took time for dancing and nibbling snacks that included black bean soup in sourdough bread bowls, crepes, Grecian artichokes and roast beef sandwiches .

Guests paid $5 for each $100 of gambling scrip, then traded in winnings for chances on prizes that included beauty make-overs, a wine-tasting course and gourmet meals.

Live auctions throughout the evening also gave them opportunities to bid--with real money--on legal services, chiropractic treatment, tickets to Performing Arts Center events and a puppy.

Judy Chapel chaired the event.

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