When the imagination swirls, reality escapes. It was sort of like that at "The Imperial Vacation Retreat--Hacienda Sonora" (the Sonora Cafe) for the Diadames dinner gala in the lavish image of the court of Maximilian and Carlota, the late 19th century emperor and empress of Mexico.
The Diadames are gourmets, and chose to dwell on food in the spirit of Maximilian, who introduced pink champagne, the rage of Europe, and fricassee, flan and veal stew to Mexico. Mexico sent chocolate to Europeans, who promptly ended each meal with the delicacy.
All this with medals, huge paper flowers and programs adorned with glitter made the dinner planned by Sandra Ausman, Constance Gavin, Coco de Viault, Mary Skouras, Marilyn McDaniel and Phyllis Hennigan unforgettable. Diadames president Joni Smith wore a black lace mantilla. The wines chosen by the Comite de Caballeros headed by Glen McDaniel flowed endlessly.
Good Scouts: John E. Anderson, 79, can recite the Scout Law--"A Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent"--faster than lightning.
A lawyer, he owns more than 34 companies--insurance, banking, beverage distribution--and he attributes his business ethics to Scouting. The Anderson family, including his wife, Marion, and four children, was given the Boy Scouts of America Los Angeles Area Council Scout Family Award at a black-tie dinner headed by Peter K. Barker and John T. Cardis.
The Scout Oath was quoted more than once. "On my honor I will do my best. . . ." Best, said Anderson, is the goal: "There's nothing like succeeding."
John Cushman and Frank Ulf helped emcee the evening. Said Cushman, "Scouting is alive and well--4 million in Scouting today and 93 million who have been through the movement."
Surrounding friends included Stuart Ketchum, Dan Baker, Jane Eisner, Nancy Daly and Nancy Munger--all of whom are on the Metropolitan YMCA board Anderson chairs.
Second Annual: The Art Center College of Design Scholarship Fund will benefit from the opening night of the Fine Art Dealers Assn. Art Exposition, Friday through Nov. 24 at the Pasadena Center. Sixteen participating galleries will offer works by 19th and 20th century artists representational of the Hudson River School, American Impressionists, California Plein Air painting and the early Taos and Santa Fe schools. Also on view will be paintings by artists who exhibited at the Paris Salon and Royal Academy from 1870 through 1926.
Alyce Williamson heads the opening night for the Art Center 100. The exposition opens to the public Saturday.
Boutique Happy: Tuesday, Van Cleef & Arpels will pour champagne to view the Diamonds International Awards Collection and to toast authors Penny Proddow and Marion Fasel . . . Los Angeles Spinsters previewed the new spring / summer collection at Celine Boutique . . . Alfred Dunhill on Rodeo will host Viscount Linley with his new book, "Extraordinary Furniture," Monday evening . . . Pam Konkal headed the CHIPS (Colleagues Helpers in Philanthropic Service) cocktail party celebrating the opening of Bulgari's new Rodeo Drive boutique . . . Mary S. Swanby, vice president, Tiffany & Co., invited Friends of French Art for cocktails and the Jean Schlumberger jewel viewing.
Red Letter Dates: The Claremont Institute board and officers will host their annual Winston S. Churchill Dinner on Saturday evening, honoring House Majority Leader Dick Armey with the Statesmanship Award. Thomas Phillips is chairman . . . The pop-up invitations from Michelle Pfeiffer and David E. Kelley and Gov. and Mrs. Pete Wilson are delightful for today's "Children at Play" benefiting women and children in Los Angeles' battered women's shelters. Art for the event at Will Rogers Park is created by children living in shelters. Escada Sport will show fashions.
Elsewhere on the Social Circuit
Past Perfect: Alexandra Stoddard, author of books on living beautifully, addressing the Los Angeles Junior League at the Jonathan Club . . . Laurie Mack and Matthew Rohrbach's wedding reception at the Caltech Antheneum and the pinata-breaking . . . Kimberly Ellis and Rainer Josch's black-tie wedding reception at Los Angeles Country Club, the living room turned into a lush and elegant landscape of greens and white flowers. (They'll live in Tanzania) . . . Lord and Lady Ridley-Tree hosting the black-tie dinner at their Villa del Sol in Montecito for the Santa Barbara Museum of Art's highest level member group, the President's Century Council.
* Donna and John Crean provided the gift enabling Opera Pacific to present "Die Fledermaus" at the Orange County Performing Arts Center . . . Chandler School celebrated its newly renovated library technology center . . . St. Vincent Medical Center Auxiliary and Foundation dedicated the center's Historical Conservancy and praised its Donor Circle of Friends.
* Correction: It was Sotheby's, not Christie's, that conducted the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis sale.
* Princeton Club of Southern California has 500 gathering this weekend at Universal Hilton for Princeton's 250th anniversary. Among those involved--Mayor Richard Riordan, Princeton President Harold Shapiro and Frank Biondi . . . Leonard Green and Peter Hemmings, general director, L.A. Opera, hosted the cast party for "Tosca" at the California Club. . . . The Circle of Huntington Hospital presented "The Sights & Sounds of Broadway" at Pinot at the Chronicle.
* Mary Lou Loper's column is published Sundays.