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ON VIEW / MARY LOU LOPER

All Get Royal Treatment at Symphony Assn. Benefit

March 17, 1994|MARY LOU LOPER

Yukiyasu (his calling cards say "Call me Yuki") Togo and his wife, Misako, who have been instrumental in forging Japanese-American relationships, took the spotlight at the Regent Beverly Wilshire last week as the Japan America Symphony Assn. honored the couple for a decade of contributions to the community.

Princess Yasuko Konoe, first cousin of the emperor of Japan, flew in from Tokyo to be honorary imperial chairwoman. With her was her husband, Tadateru Konoe, brother of the prime minister. And Eiji Toyoda, chairman emeritus of Toyota Motor Corp. Japan, arrived with his wife, Kazuko, to celebrate.

Togo is the former president and CEO of Toyota Motor Sales USA, and he and his wife have been instrumental players in charitable causes including the Los Angeles Music Center, the Los Angeles Urban League and the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

The invitation from chairman Kenneth Tokita, an oncologist at St. Johns Hospital in Santa Monica, and his wife, Sandie (in a stunning Badgley Mischka gown) said "formal" and numerous ladies among the 640 guests at the affair opted for colorful silk kimonos and obis. Etsuko Price, attending with her husband, Joe (they're donors to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art), was stately in a kimono.

Among those at head tables were Barbara and Marvin Davis; Walter and Speedy Beran; Lodwrick and Carole Cooke; Bill and Keith Kieschnick; Consul Gen. of Japan Seiichiro Noboru and his wife, Yoko; and Maria Hodgson, wife of former U.S. Ambassador to Japan James D. Hodgson.

When Togo received an honorary baton at the podium, he first seemed to reject it. He stepped to center stage and indulged in a few humorous calisthenics. Then he returned for his baton and led orchestra members in Mozart's "Eine kleine Nachtmusik."

Among those applauding was a crowd including Japanese actor Sonna Chiva, Henry and Val Noguchi, Paul and Hisako Terasaki, David and Tina Nishida, Michael and Mimi Mullen, Gary Omura and Masahiko and Mitsuko Oe. The affair raised $250,000.

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'S Wonderful: Gordon Davidson led the kickoff party for Center Theatre Group's Salon Evening III in a specially written serenade of " 'S Wonderful" the other evening at Bottega Veneta in Beverly Hills. The evening was a salute to Salon star Michael Feinstein, who will entertain on stage at the Mark Taper Forum on April 25 in a special musical tribute to Alan Jay Lerner, giant of American musical theater.

Nancy Olsen Livingston, Lerner's wife when he wrote "My Fair Lady," is co-chairing the evening with Phyllis Hennigan, Joan Burns and Patti Skouras. Invitations go out next week. All funds go to CTG, the Mark Taper Forum and the Ahmanson and Doolittle theaters.

Over luncheon at Le Dome, the chairwomen envisioned the evening and Livingston recounted, with tune and lyrics and animation, the night Lerner and Lowe wrote "The Rain in Spain."

"They woke me up in the middle of the night, bundled me up and pushed me in the snow across the road to where they'd been working all night. Then they played both parts--running around like children. Fritz was at the piano . . . Alan takes over . . . Fritz runs over and plays Eliza Doolittle--'The rain in Spain falls mainly on the plain.' Then they ended up laughing hysterically and falling on the sofa. Then they looked at me. 'What do you think?' " Nancy told them it would stop the show. Of course she was right.

The Salon Evening Series is dedicated to the memory of the late producer Nick Vanoff, an ardent CTG supporter.

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Real World: At the Beverly Hilton last weekend, the parking situation was unbelievable. The Junior League of Los Angeles hosted a spirited salute to Nancy Reagan in the Grand Ballroom. And in the International Ballroom, the Merchants Club for City of Hope Regal Ball raised $1 million-plus for gene therapy research while honoring Diane Trauth Randall.

Said hotel owner Merv Griffin, who sat at Reagan's right, "If you think it was bad earlier, wait till you leave." But, the parties broke up at different times, and getting out was easy.

At the league's "Affair to Remember," people cheered as if they were at a political rally as benefit chairwoman Linda Small announced a surprise guest and Nancy Reagan's "roommate," the former President, walked in.

Emily Hsu and Melina Montoya, vice chairwomen of the party, bustled all evening, tending details of the silent auction andlive auction conducted by Jim Hill. League President Ann Zimmerman saluted Nancy Reagan for her "love of a child" campaign and work with "Just Say No."

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