There's much ado about the dinner Nov. 11 at the Beverly Hilton hosted by the American Ireland Fund. It honors Merv Griffin, who grandly qualifies because of his Irish heritage--Clonmel in County Tipperary. The party will be one of the first when the new Hilton ballroom opens. Restaurateur Jimmy Murphy is chairman. He notes the motto for the fund is "peace, culture and charity." Colm Wilkerson from Dublin, star of "Les Miserables" when it opened in London and on Broadway, will be there. Tickets are $500.
Lots of prominent Angelenos are involved, including Jimmy's wife, Anne; Peter and Pam Mullin; Dick Ferry; Marvin Davis; Kerk Kerkorian; Frey Hayman; Claudia Merkin; Gloria and Glen Holden; Richard Riordan; Tom McCarthy; Peter Dailey, former ambassador to Ireland; and John Gavin, former ambassador to Mexico, and his wife, Connie.
ON THE GO: The Fellows of Contemporary Art are never idle. Recently, they were in Barry and Nancy Sanders' Beverly Hills gardens for an evening fiesta honoring 20 new members. Aug. 17, they will make a weekend gala of their sojourn south for the opening of the Jud Fine exhibition at the La Jolla Museum of Contemporary Art. They will host an opening night preview party for the artist and lenders, then tour major private art collections Saturday and Sunday.
In September, certain members will seek out contemporary art in Spain, visiting studios and private collections in Madrid and Barcelona. Board member Suzanne Paulson, who has planned the trip, also was responsible for the Fellows' lively art-collecting trip to Seattle and Vancouver last spring. Before they leave, members will hear Lucinda Barnes, curator of exhibitions at Cal State Long Beach, lecture on art in Spain since 1950.
Hancock Park member Louise Brinsley planned the Beverly Hills party, bringing Annette and Dym Smith from Palos Verdes (their daughter's a rising SoHo painter); art collectors Elly and Frank Person from Long Beach; and Ann and Olin Barrett, Clark and Carolyn Price Dyer (just back from the Soviet Union), and Roberta and Sandy Huntley (the Southwest Museum's director), all from Pasadena.
Gordon F. Hampton, Museum Of Contemporary Art trustee and the Fellows' founding chairman, brought along his guest, Ziaopo Huang from the National Press Club in Beijing. And Fellows chairman George Epstin welcomed new members, including Togo and Dorothy Hazard, who journeyed from La Jolla, and Ann Summers, from Laguna.
Among new members joining the Fellows (unaffiliated with any museum but a group supporting mid-career artists and one underwriting shows) are Susan and Tom Hollingsworth of San Marino, Clinton and Donna Mills of Long Beach, Dallas and David Price of Santa Monica, Standish and Audree Penton of Los Angeles and Diane and Bill Bedford of Pasadena.
REAL PLAUDITS: Everyone knows that Henry Y. Hwang, chairman and president, Far East National Bank, and his wife, Dorothy, are thrilled about the success of their son, David Henry Hwang, playwright and author of "M Butterfly," the 1988 Tony Award Winner. That is why they tossed a belated, little party for the visiting David and his wife, Ophelia, in the Hwangs' Pasadena home. Natch, the invitations had a gleaming silver butterfly on the front.
KUDOS: The Los Angeles County Museum of Art has reached its initial goal of $80 million in gifts and pledges from more than 13,000 donors in its Capital Campaign inaugurated in 1980. Daniel N. Belin, president of the board, says: "The capital program (to finance building expansion) has been one of the most successful in American museum history."
Under the leadership of Edward W. Carter, chairman of the capital campaign steering committee, and Camilla Frost, chairman of the major gifts committee, the museum received more than 800 commitments of $10,000 or more, including $5 million from the Joe Prices, $4.5 from the Ahmanson Foundation, $4 million from Japanese sources through the Keidanren (the Japanese Federation of Economic Organizations), $3.6 million from the Atlantic Richfield Co., $3 million from the J. Paul Getty Trust, $2.1 million from the Frances and Armand Hammer Foundation, $2 million from the Times Mirror Foundation and a $1 million new pledge from Robert O. Anderson, which put the campaign over the top.
IT'S OFFICIAL: The Pasadena Philharmonic Committee takes over the wine project launched three years ago by the Philharmonic Affiliates. Elloree Findley will mastermind the job. New president Marilyn Brown called upon Paddy Grant to spell out the details at a gathering in the Caltech Athenaeum.