YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections


A Blues Tinge to Boogie Night

June 25, 1996|KATHRYN BOLD

An overflow crowd of 1,000 blues lovers packed the courtyard of South Coast Plaza Village in Santa Ana on Thursday to enjoy Hot Blues on a Cool Summer Night, a hip and high-energy fund-raiser for the Orange County Performing Arts Center.

Center 500, one of the Costa Mesa center's seven support groups, invited guests and prospective members to dine alfresco and boogie to the bluesy sounds of Rod Piazza and the Mighty Flyers. The $30-per-person event ($20 for members) was expected to net about $20,000 for the center.

Swing Time

Most center fund-raisers call for black-tie attire and a formal dinner-dance in a hotel ballroom. This benefit took place outdoors, with a boisterous, mostly young crowd of thirty- to fiftysomething professionals in cool summer clothes.

Some sat on fold-out chairs, clapping their hands and swaying to the music. Others boogied in the aisles or anywhere they could find the space.

"It's starting to feel good under these trees," Piazza told the audience. "One thing about blues--we have to have good boogie-woogie."

Ten local restaurants dished out their specialties at food stations throughout the courtyard. The stations were swamped with long lines of guests, who quickly figured out that the best way to keep from going hungry was to eat one entree while waiting in line for another.

Among the offerings were chinois chicken salad from Wolfgang Puck Cafe, chicken tikka Marsala from Gandhi, beef shish kebabs from Darya Fine Persian Cuisine, crab cakes from Birraporetti's, pizza and penne from Antonello Ristorante, filet mignon sandwiches from Morton's of Chicago and brownies from Planet Hollywood.

The Baby Boomers Club

Since the first Hot Blues four years ago, the blues event has become Center 500's largest fund-raiser.

"People can't get enough of this event. Nobody leaves early," said Richard Ward, president of Center 500, who attended with his wife, Linda.

Center 500 has about 200 members who pay $250 in annual dues.

"They're mostly young business and community leaders," Ward said.

Among the group's activities: Informally Yours, a series of intimate recitals by center performers; a day at the races in Del Mar; and a summer concert and picnic at Irvine Meadows.

"It's a good way to get started supporting the arts," said Michael McCann, event co-chairman.

Other faces in the crowd were Dennis Potts, event co-chairman; Ted and Joo Carrier; Else Olovsson; Mary O'Toole; Joleen Parham; Jim and Kathy Meader; Jackie Petrovic; Richard Hamill; Marty Zajic; Steve and Elaine Cohen; Patti Parillo; Caryl Sherpa; Keith Dean; Jennifer Frey; Dale Noriyuki; Jan Dennis-Rounds; Wayne and Susanne Evert; Gina Mead; and Sheila Tierney.

Los Angeles Times Articles