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ANN CONWAY

Style Sets the Beat at Wayne Shindig

December 21, 1989|ANN CONWAY

Who needs Dasher and Dancer when you've got dashin' and dancin'?

Pilar Wayne's Christmas bash Saturday night may have been low on holiday decor, but it was high on holiday style.

Partying gents showed up in everything from avant-garde penguin suits (the dashing Ethan Wayne wore his satin-trimmed stunner with a black silk shirt) to snazzy sport ensembles embroidered with silk holly (worn by Supervisor Tom Riley).

And oh, the women. Aissa Wayne knocked 'em dead in an iridescent sequinned zebra print. Her mother, Pilar, appeared first in a full-length cloud of purple chiffon decorated with silver discs, and then in a short number smothered in bugle beads. Marisa--Pilar and John Wayne's youngest daughter--wore a strapless black velvet body-hugger trimmed with a fluff of black fox.

Talk about dancin'. Pilar had cleared her Newport Beach living room of everything but her grand piano and brought in a parquet dance floor the size of most back yards. While a fire roared in a fireplace flanked with gleaming crystal sconces, guests danced to favorites with rock 'n' roll and Latin beats.

"I didn't know mom could dance like that!" said a wide-eyed Marisa, watching her glamorous mum execute a cha-cha.

Among guests was Pilar's new puppy, Thor, a Norwegian elkhound (the pup's toothy playfulness accounted for some scratches--hidden by tiny bandages--on his new mistress's forearms). But Pilar's parrot, Gucci, was kept in a cage in her ruffly master suite. "You never know what Gucci is going to do when other people are around," Pilar said. "I am his alone. When I went to Paris last September, I had to call him every day.

"I would say: 'Hi Gucci! How are you?' and he would say: 'How are you?' He is adorable."

Faces in the crowd: author Joseph Wambaugh and his wife, Dee (Wambaugh's new book, "The Golden Orange"--a thriller about a retired Orange County cop--will be published next spring); Peggy and Bob Goldwater; "Love Boat's" Bernie Kopell with his wife, Yolanda (daughter of the famous dance team Veloz and Yolanda); tennis great Tracy Austin; Lois Aldrin (who, with hubby, Buzz, attended Vice President Dan Quayle's Christmas bash in Washington on Monday night); Gene and JoAnne Mix (in a slinky black dress and a red, wide-brim hat); Vikki Vargas and Mike Nason; Kitty and Jerry Kobrin; Marshall Klein (L.A. Rams owner Georgia Frontiere's right arm, who brought Pilar a terry cloth apron emblazoned with the words: L.A. Rams Locker Room); Judi and Carmelo Manto; Regina McGrath; Claudia Mirkin; Kathy Bryant and Link Mathewson.

The time of their lives: Hundreds of Bill Medley fans brought more than the price of admission to Sunday's Righteous Brothers' concert with Jennifer Warnes on Sunday at The Hop in Fountain Valley. They brought Christmas toys for Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Orange County--stuffed toys, board games, books, hair dryers and perfume.

Seems Medley and Warnes, who became pals after they teamed up to record "The Time of My Life" for the movie "Dirty Dancing," have a soft spot for good causes. A few weeks ago, they sang together to raise funds for victims of the San Francisco-area quake.

Medley took the spotlight first, thrilling the 300-strong crowd with selections from his new album, "The Best of Bill Medley" (which included an anthem to "American Rock and Roll" written by the lanky singer). Then he introduced Warnes, looking demure in a white silk blouse and dark plaid culottes, referring to her as "a dear friend," "a cute girl from Mater Dei (the Santa Ana high school she attended)," and "an artist who sticks to her art."

Calling Orange County "a land of paradox, a place where, if you try hard, you can find some real people at Pup 'n' Taco," Warnes sang two ballads, one about a woman longing to find a mate, the other about a cowgirl's longing to attach meaning to life. You could have heard a pin drop when Warnes finished her soft and soulful ballads, unfamiliar fare in a nightclub that thrives on a diet of blaring rock 'n' roll.

Then came what the crowd had packed into the nightclub for: Medley and Warnes teaming up for "Love Lift Us Up Where We Belong" (the mega-hit she recorded with Joe Cocker) and Medley and Warnes' millions-selling "The Time of My Life."

Afterward, Medley accepted a plaque from his daughter-in-law, Lauren Medley, who does public relations for Big Brothers/Big Sisters. "We were planning a Christmas party for our little brothers and sisters, and we needed toys," said Lauren during the show. "So I called my father-in-law, told him my idea, and he said, 'Absolutely!' " She's hoping it will become an annual affair.

Watching the show from the sidelines was Jo Alexander, executive director of the organization that pairs up single-parent children, ages 6 to 16, with helpmates. "Our volunteers give the children an adult role model," Alexander said. "A friend they can call their own, sometimes for life."

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