The late Arabella Huntington, married to both railroad magnate Collis Huntington and later his nephew Henry Huntington, is entombed in the mausoleum with Henry at the Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens in San Marino. Her portrait hangs in the library with Henry's. Her enigmatic past has always fascinated Huntington scholars, including Robert Wark, the art curator.
When Joseph Regan and the under-40 Huntington Society of Junior Fellows got feedback thatmembers wanted a black-tie party, they pondered and concocted an Arabella Ball. After all, Arabella would have been 139 this month.
"Arabella" came out of the balmy night to attend the splendid inaugural affair on the art gallery loggia. Mid-party, Inez Sharp slipped away, donned widow's weeds, sprayed her hair gray and appeared reincarnated as Arabella. Spoofing, she quipped, "We appreciate your support . . . we both usually have a quiet celebration of my birthday in the mausoleum, so this is a treat."
Chairman Tory Howe and her investment banker husband Jonathan giggled. So did the committee including Timothy Alders (escorting Nancy Townsend), Mona and Frank Mapel, Katie and Guy Darnell, Nancy and Daniel Freeberg, Susan and Frank Osen, Cathy and Paul Tosetti and Joe and Kate Regan.
The Fellows' purpose is to instill interest ($500 memberships) among people in their age group in the Huntington. And the age is best illustrated by the fact that two couples canceled reservations because they had babies last week--Kate and Blair Westlake and Natalie and Phil Davis. The crowd of 200 was filled with lots of those Mommy and Me coteries, and Daddys who push the strollers--Janine and Bill Myers, Maritia and Tom Wolper, Wendy and John Siciliano and Debbi Hoffman, who attended alone because husband Randy was opening a new restaurant.
To illustrate the significance of the party, the usually locked Euston Gates (originally at Beddington Park, Surrey, England) were opened for valet parking. Guests wended their way through the blooming prickly pear, cholla, yucca and green grasses.
The Rococo Catering feast began with plump shrimp, ended with Arabella's birthday cake, shaped like a stack of presents. That called for a jovial happy birthday chorus from everyone, including Cynthia and Terry Perucca, Leslie and Nancy Waite, Jeff and Dorothy Klopf, Bradford and Sylvia MacNeil, Bill and Rita Whitney, Jane and John St. John, Anne and Rick Mastain.
PRETTIEST: "Prettiest ever. Prettiest ever." Those were the accolades for the Pasadena Guild of the Childrens Hospital June Ball at the Regent Beverly Wilshire. Why so special? Well, the debs appeared under a natural arch of pink and white peonies and roses (orchestrated by Patty Burschinger) as they were announced by Danford Murrell Baker.
Then, too, applause was animated for the deb parade after debs received their "Strike Up the Band" cue. And, further, the pre-parties had been fun--the father-daughter rehearsal luncheon hosted by Corinne Werdel, Janet Shannon, Cissy Westfall and Jane McAniff; the mother-daughter tea hosted by Susie Gordinier and Eliane Berger, to name two.
It all created beams for guild president Kelsey Hall and her husband, Bradford, for ball chairman Bobbie Guglielmo, debutante chairman Doreen Forsch and assistant ball chairman Nancy Payne.
The debs: Jennifer Allen, Jill Barry, Angelique Berger, Victoria Boas, Joanna Clark, Barbara Coberly, Lynn Crabtree, Caryn Cranston, Courtney Fitzgerald, Katherine Galbraith, Amy Gordinier, Dominique Lacerte, Jamie Lunceford, Kathleen McAniff, Ella Leath McCormick, Elizabeth Pelton, Ann Rahn, Julie Shannon, Anne Sturgeon, Hilary Werdel, Elizabeth Westfall and Lisa Wines.
CHINA TALES: Amanda Zimmerman, 20-year-old University of San Diego junior, and her father, William Zimmerman, Southland entrepreneur who's a trustee for Natural History Museum and Harvey Mudd College, have taken a trip together every year since she was 5. This year was the topper--Bangkok, Hong Kong, Beijing. They arrived in Beijing the Saturday night before the Sunday atrocities in Tian An Men Square. Still, their guide took them to the Great Wall (where there were only four tourists) and the famed Ming Tombs (they were the only tourists).
RED-LETTER DATES: The Greater Los Angeles Zoo Assn. and Kazanjian Brothers Inc. host the premiere of gemstone animal sculptures by Andreas von Zadora-Gerlof on Tuesday at the zoo. Proceeds will benefit the Endangered Species Fund. . . .
The Criminal Justice Legal Foundation expects 400 when it honors Sen. Pete Wilson on Monday at a Beverly Hilton luncheon.
FIFTH: Jackie McMahon and Eleanor LaVove lunched at 7th Street Bistro (after a harrowing experience parking amid the rapid transit construction mess) to talk about the Angels Attic in Santa Monica fifth birthday and wine party held recently. Now, through July 16, "Masterpieces in Miniature," four rooms on loan from Winterthur Museum, will be open to the public Thursday through Sunday, 12:30 to 4:30 p.m..
THE BEST: Starlight Foundation honored Dean M. Willard . . . The Green & White Select Committee of the Angles Girl Scout Council paid tribute to Lilly Lee and Howard White . . . UCLA thanked $1-million donors UC Regent Frank and Dorothy Clark with a black-tie party . . . Rancho Los Amigos Medical Center feted Los Angeles County Supervisor Pete Schabarum at the Beverly Hilton . . . The Maple Center honored Judie and Frank Fenton . . . California Medical Center gave James P. Miscoll its Los Angeles Humanitarian Award) . . . Annette and Jack Needleman were honorees of the American Friends of the Hebrew University.