Several dozen friends of the Laguna Art Museum paid $50 each to eat homemade chili Tuesday night at the Linda Isle home of Dolores Milhous and watch Newport's decked-out boats parade through the drizzle.
While a few hardy party-goers ventured onto Milhous' harbor-front porch (talk about chilly), the warm majority strayed no further than the blazing hearth.
Between glasses of wine, beer, Perrier, and bites of chili, corn bread and brownies, guests ventured a few yule wishes.
Museum director Charles Desmarais said he would be thrilled to find his stocking stuffed with "California art from the '20s through the '50s--that period represents the birth of modernism here."
Board member Teri Kennady requested no less than "a vision for the museum's future," while her husband, John, said he would settle for "a very large corporate endowment to go toward the acquisitions fund."
"Unlimited money," said trustee Larry Nelson.
"A higher profile," wished Lynn Kirst, who starts work Jan. 4 as the museum's director of development.
Sherman Silverman asked for Santa to bring Laguna "wonderful art from L.A. artists of long-standing and international repute."
Claudette Shaw, president of the board of trustees, would simply like "for the David Park exhibition to come together."
Sharon Deaton said she wants a sleigh full of "contemporary art, like some Julian Schnabel."
"Less modern art," said Stuart Cumming.
As for the hostess, who blazed from room to room in a forget-me-not bright red ensemble:
"I wish Santa would bring us more people as supportive as this group."