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Evening Blackout Electrifies Gala Benefit

March 19, 1992|MARY LOU LOPER

"OK," said co-chair Lucy Hromadka, "we'll just have Caesar salad."

The electricity was out. That was Saturday night, when she and co-chair Mary Milner of the Luminaires Juniors arrived in the unfinished upper regions of the Water Garden office development in Santa Monica to prep for the 300 guests expected momentarily for their "Future Vision" benefit for Doheny Eye Institute.

The small amount of voltage available went to caterer Richard Chesterfield of Malibu for cooking up hors d'oeuvres. Nevertheless, with the cocktail area dimmed to an ambience that would have prevented anyone from passing an eye test, the atmosphere became quite electric as the "Future Fizzes" (passion fruit juice, vodka, lime juice, sugar and a dash of soda) took effect.

But no one had to dance all night with only salad for sustenance. At about 8:15, suddenly, there was light--and electricity for the stoves so that the planned dinner, including shrimp curry, chicken Dijonaise and vegetables, went on as planned. The rest of the night was hot as the Wayne Foster orchestra enticed everyone to the dance floor.

Strapless was the fashion code for the lively women in this romantic crowd--Jenny Rutt in a banded cotton, Emily Gardener in a two-tiered flowered pique, Luminaires President Judy Hewson in polka-dots, Callie Irvin in red chiffon, Rayleen Meyer in red and black, Kathie Smith in sequined polka-dots (a dress she bought to share with her daughter, who wanted to wear it for the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity prom).

Bunches came from Newport Beach: Angela Doheny and husband Michael (one of the many Dohenys in the crowd), Trina and Mac Shattuck, John and Merry Hagestad, Lynn and Dave Pyle, Kathy and Patrick Smith. More came from Pasadena: Debbi Hoffman, Ann Taylor, John and Tory Howe, Cathy and Paul Tosetti.

And many had just flown in from somewhere. Doug Avery, with wife Diane, who is expecting their third child, had just overseen the planting of palm trees at their place in Cabo San Lucas. Bill and Sue Keck had been in New Orleans for Mardi Gras. Kathleen and Fred Allen were back from Singapore. John and Ann Milner flew in from Bozeman, Mont., to join Reece and Mary Milner.

W. Randall Jones, CEO of the new Worth magazine, and his wife, Connie, were in from New York. They had lunched earlier with Betsy Bloomingdale, who is writing a cookbook. (She served crab she had brought home on the plane from Leonard's on Lexington in New York.)

More in the crowd: Carrie and Peter Tilton, Jane and Howard Smith, Barbara and Bill Aldrich, Tripp and Teresa Power, Peter and Kacey McCoy, Tom and Debbie Tellefsen, Dody and Otis Booth, Nancy and Jim Birdwell, Robin and Kenny Morgan and Claire and Peter Eichler.

GOOD NEWS: Cynthia Callen Baise, retiring president of Las Madrinas, has announced that $589,055 was raised in 1991 for Childrens Hospital of Los Angeles by the organization's debutante ball and donations. Of this, $563,776 has been allocated to the Las Madrinas Program of Molecular Pathology. Only 18% of the group's $3-million pledge to endow the program remains to be raised.

SMOKE TREE: Hoyt Leisure, new president of Smoke Tree Ranch in Palm Springs, and his wife, Jackie, invited Smoke Tree homeowners and guests for cocktails to honor retiring president Tom Moore and his wife, Claire. Leisure is shepherding the rebuilding of the Ranch House, which burned in December. Resident John Welborn says it should be finished by November.

PLAUDITS: To Henry Salvatori, Philanthropic Award recipient at the Good Shepherd Center for Homeless Women auxiliary luncheon. . . .

To Charles and Harriet Luckman, who gave $257,500 to UCLA for distinguished teaching awards.

GARDEN LOVERS: The late Florence Yoch designed the landscape surrounding Tara in "Gone With the Wind." An exhibit of her work, "Personal Edens: The Gardens and Film Sets of Florence Yoch," at the Huntington Library's Virginia Steele Scott Gallery brought a crowd to hear Eric Haskell discuss the landscape gardener's techniques. Janie Messler brought a coterie of friends--Kay Paschall, Toni Niven, Gwen Cheesewright, Gloria Meeker, Georgia Ridder among them--and hosted a luncheon later at The Town Club in Pasadena.

PAST PERFECT: Donna and John Crean are great philanthropists. With their gifts and those of friends, the Regal Ball this year raised $2.85 million for City of Hope. The black-tie affair marked the 59th anniversary of the Merchants Club, a fashion industry support group. The Creans received the first Norm Crosby Goodwill Ambassador Award. Crosby and his wife, Joan, presented it.

KEEPING UP: Costume Council Patrons of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, led by Patrons Chairwoman Carlotta Keely and Council Chairwoman Kathy Offenhauser, attended the Escada tea at the Beverly Wilshire to meet Kalus Kahle, Escada's director of fabrics . . . .

USC President Steven B. and Kathryn Sample hosted a dinner at the Seeley G. Mudd estate in San Marino to fete two new USC trustees who are also publishers--Monica Lozano-Centanino, editor/associate publisher of La Opinion, and Linda John Rice, president and CEO of Johnson Publishing Company. . . .

Feather boas, fox stoles, bangles and beads were in abundance for "Luck Be a Lady!" as members of ARCS (Achievement Rewards for College Scientists) Foundation, Los Angeles Auxiliary, tripped aboard the newly refurbished Hornblower Dining Yacht for a night of dancing and games of chance. Edwina Broderick and Nancy Lindgren are hoping for a net of more than $100,000 for local scholarships.

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