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David Nelson / Society

HEAD Blackbeard Would Have Fit Right In

July 21, 1988|David Nelson

CORONADO — It's probably all for the best that mirrors, even the higher-grade beveled variety, keep mum when questioned. The best interviews regarding Saturday's "Makua Buccaneers" gala, after all, would have come from the mirrors in front of which the 450 Children's Home Society auxiliary members, husbands and guests primped in order to do full honor to the fund-raiser's swashbuckling theme.

"Makua parties are known for being wild and crazy," remarked Buccaneers co-chair Terri Fleming, who added that, for all the wildness and craziness, the group was "being silly with a very serious cause in mind." Makua, in Hawaiian, means parent.

The serious cause--CHS seeks to place children in qualified adoptive homes--may never have been too far from the guests' collective consciousness, but the manifest mood was a costume-inspired giddiness that turned the pool-side terrace of Le Meridien hotel into a kind of Barbados by the Bay.

Guests were encouraged, urged, cajoled and even chivied to arrive looking as if they had just disembarked from a 17th-Century privateer. Most met call with a good-natured enthusiasm that was all the more appealing for the sense of competitiveness it evidently awakened; costumes ranged from basic Long John Silver a la Wallace Beery to motifs that made fun of the pirate notion.

A prime example of costume as comedy would be one guest's shoulder-mounted, stuffed toy turkey, worn in lieu of parrot as a parody of pirate chic. Judge Fred Link (his wife, Roxi, is a Makua member), normally a paradigm of judicial perspicacity, turned out in black curls that flowed to his shoulders, lace cuffs, satin knee breeches and a Blackbeard expression. And the women guests, despite the women's movements of the past 20 years, did their best to look like so many jades and wenches by painting mascara beauty marks on their cheeks and donning outrageous, jagged-hem black skirts.

An attorney who professed no great affection for costumes but nonetheless wore one, said he had suggested to his wife that he wear a business suit "since some people think that attorneys are pirates, anyway." He was met by a firm matrimonial veto.

The look of the crowd made it evident that the party had entered the planning stage just before Halloween last. Toys R Us was raided for the Makua members' accessories (their tradition demands identical dress), which included coy, piratically punk skeleton earrings and necklaces made of bones. Their hubbies were outfitted in striped jerseys, knee-length trousers, polka dot head rags and eye patches.

Makua member Marie Huff, taking in the scene at a glance, said, "We are not a sedate group."

It is at other times, however. Makua is the Hawaiian word for parent, and many members of this 36-year-old auxiliary to CHS have themselves adopted children.

The group looked a touch more at home by the pool than in the very formal ballroom, scene of the multi-course dinner, raffle and dancing. The buccaneer motif was carried out in the ballroom with table decorations of large pirate ships, and chocolate-filled gold doubloons were scattered across the tables like treasure on a beach.

Co-chair Lynne Gattis and her husband, Rick, presided over a guest list that included Margie and Phil Ward, Eileen and Ted Quigley, Elaine and Doug Butz, Melanie and Dennis O'Dorisio, Jeani and Jerry Burwell, Kay and Jeff Davis, Cathy and Bruce Frost, Dianne and Pat Goddard, Pam and Jim LaMantia, Nora and Will Newbern, Mary and Patrick Rogondino, Alice and Brad Saunders and Sue and Cary Sharp.

LA JOLLA--Pandora, perhaps, was only marginally more surprised by the contents of the box she foolishly opened than were the hundreds of souls who recently received miniature crates mailed by the "Art Quake '88" committee of the La Jolla Museum of Contemporary Art.

Board President Sue Edwards and her co-conspirators on the committee are quite serious about the contents of those clever little crates. Besides invitations to the Aug. 13 gala (a novel twist on the annual A Night in Monte Carlo), the reusable packages contain small vials of paint, spools of wire, scissors and a small metal grid that those who attend Art Quake are expected to decorate and bring to the party. The word is that all these miniature masterpieces will be assembled into one giant, permanent sculpture, over which future generations undoubtedly will ooh and aah.

The unusual nature of Art Quake was explained to major gala backers at a museum reception by Dallas party impresario Wendy Moss, who masterminded February's Hotel del Coronado Centennial Gala and has signed on to produce Art Quake. The party will depart (this is putting it mildly) from the traditional ball format by involving guests in a conceptual work of art in which the entire museum will be a canvas susceptible to the brushes and paints of the imagination.

Tickets range from $125 a person through $250 and $500 categories to $1,000; those in the two upper brackets will be treated to floor shows and dining in the Cafe des Artistes, a nightclub to be built in Sherwood Hall. For information, call the museum.

Every ticket holder can paint the town red at Art Quake, which features a committee composed of past Monte Carlo chairman Heather Metcalf, Carolyn Farris, Carol Randolph, Carol Yorston, Patti Mix, Barbara ZoBell, Liz McCullah and Martha Gafford.

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