Musically, it was more L.A. Festival than L.A. Philharmonic when the orchestra's International Committee support group honored the local consular corps at its annual black-tie dinner Friday at the Regent Beverly Wilshire.
The evening's theme was "Indonesian Fantasies," and an 11-piece Balinese band with two gongs, two chiming bells, one drum and six xylophone-like instruments greeted arriving guests. The band played the Gamelan Gongs Kebyar style of music with its complex, dissonant beat--music that one listener said "is either where Philip Glass got his start or ended up."
At the head of the receiving line near the band were the evening's honored guests, Indonesian Consul General Djunaidi Sutisnawinata and his wife, Kana. The couple said they had developed their taste for Western classical music while stationed in Czechoslovakia.
"At the beginning, it's a little strange," Kana Sutisnawinata said of Mozart and Beethoven, "but by and by I understood it."
As for her two daughters, their musical taste runs toward the inevitable. "It's all Madonna," she said.
There was no Material Girl material played this night, though. The 340 guests danced to Joe Moshay's band, which also performed the American and Indonesian national anthems.
The evening's high point was a performance of Balinese dancing. Sponsored by the Bank Niaga, the two-dozen-strong troupe acted out a traditional story in which "two brothers fight for the beauty of a nymph and then kill each other." There was a bit of cultural dissonance when Moshay's band followed the dancers with a rendition of "Stouthearted Men."
Among those enjoying the evening were ball chair Tamara Masloff Guinkh, co-chair Suzy Cross, organization president Rabab Ashley and Music Center President Esther Wachtell, who called the work of volunteer groups like the International Committee "the energy that has driven our institution forward."
Also on hand were California Secretary of State March Fong Eu and almost two dozen members of the local consular corps. They were led by the dean of the corps, Italy's Alberto Boniver and his wife, Susy. There would have been even more consuls, but some were called off to the World Affairs Council dinner for Lech Walesa.
Dinner was grilled breast of chicken. The table gifts were bottles of Chanel cologne, which one wit said "might end up coming in handy considering the water shortage."