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Swifty, Shutterbugs and the Hug Thing


Eager paparazzi are routinely shut out of Irving (Swifty) Lazar's legendary Oscar bash at Spago, but the diminutive agent did allow some notable shutterbugs in to his party this year. Social Climes noticed two dueling photographers of note: Dafydd Jones, shooting for Vanity Fair, and Richard Avedon, shooting for the New Yorker.

We were fascinated by Avedon's m.o.: His assistant carries a flash unit and stays so close to Avedon he looks glued on. Also at the photographer's hip was the New Yorker's L. A. bureau chief, Caroline Graham, who helped Avedon identify likely targets.

They maneuvered around the room, Graham pointing, the assistant pulling out the flash, and Avedon popping up the camera and shooting. But it didn't stop there. Often Avedon knew his subject, so he'd have to stop and do the hug thing.

We hope he at least got to have some pizza.

Double Dipping

Not much gets by us here at Social Climes. Just the other day we noticed a Singer's Salute to the Songwriter benefit concert on April 20, and then another one May 12, both raising money for the Betty Clooney Foundation for Persons With Brain Injury, and both at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion.

On close inspection we realized that the first was honoring Irving Berlin, Leslie Bricusse, Edward Eliscu and Neil Sedaka, while the second was a salute to country music songwriters Johnny Cash, Hank Cochran, Harlan Howard, Buck Owens and Roger Miller.

"Hey--what gives?" we asked the show's creator and producer, Allen Sviridoff.

"We always wanted to have a country writer involved in our Singer's Salute," he explained, "but when we looked at the vast amount of country writers we wanted to honor, we decided they deserved a show of their own." Also, Sviridoff figured the time was right, considering country is way hot right now.

But why in such close proximity to one another? Aren't the events cannibalizing each other?

"We don't feel there is any crossover competition," Sviridoff said, adding that the country salute will offer tickets to the public, while the other is by invitation only.

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