Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

SOCIAL CLIMES

The Year in Toasts, Boasts and Roasts

December 29, 1996

Oh, how we partied. But as the year comes to a close once again, your Social Climes writers hang up our tuxes and leopard print mini-dresses. We contemplate what we have seen much too much of in recent months: the bodyguards, the martinis, the peekaboo belly buttons. We swear off herb-crusted roast beef and horseradish mashed potatoes catered by pricey restaurants and served in tents with chandeliers. We become lost in reminiscence. Here are some of the highlights--and lowlights--of the year gone by.

*

Most Awesome Crasher: When Hollywood Pictures premiered "The Rock" in June at the prison on Alcatraz Island, startled party-goers watched the Park Service apprehend a man clad in a wet suit over a tuxedo who had windsurfed into the scene. The man, who gave his name as Willie Brown in apparent tribute to San Francisco's new mayor, was cited for illegal landing and disturbing the wildlife; he was taken away by a Coast Guard cutter. Then the 500 invited guests got on with their tour of the grim cellblock, where smiling waiters offered white wine from trays.

*

For Love of Jackie: All we could afford to buy at the auction of the century in March was the tasteful, $90 catalog with the plain white cover. Still, let's not forget that the sale of the estate of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis marked the time Sotheby's realized that New York is not the only center of the universe. For the first time in its 250-year history, the international auction house initiated an open audio link from New York to Los Angeles and Chicago for the event.

"I said at a meeting, 'Look, there's a lot of interest in the Kennedys in L.A. too. Don't leave us out,' " Sotheby's Andrea Van de Kamp said at the time. "I've had people stop me and say, 'Andrea, I will pay anything to own something she owned.' " Boy, was she right on the money.

*

About Venues: For most wonderful / terrible event decor, we couldn't decide between the real Alcatraz and the faux scene at the party for "Twister" in May. An amazing amount of effort, including sound effects, went into making the courtyard of the UCLA Armand Hammer Museum resemble a Midwest town hit by a tornado. Street lamps and bicycles hung from trees, broken neon signs blinked from the bushes, and askew Coca-Cola machines, smashed hair dryers and other rubble filled the floor. It was, said actor Hank Azaria, "the creative use of debris."

*

And One More Venue: How to describe it? Actor Taylor Negron did that for us. The March 5 premiere of "The Birdcage" in Westwood was "like something from the last season of 'The Love Boat,' " he said. A hangar-size tent done by Party Planners West in a Miami / South Beach-style riot of pink and turquoise featured an 1,800-square-foot beach with 5 tons of sand, a Caribbean salsa band, a small orchard of fake palm trees, parrots, fortune tellers and a 40-by-60-foot swimming pool with bikini-clad drag queens dancing on submerged Plexiglas platforms.

*

The Art of the Entrance: At the American Civil Liberties Union's Torch of Liberty dinner in March at the Century Plaza, Warren Beatty and Annette Bening made their conspicuously inconspicuous power couple entrance at 8:45 p.m., well after the dinner hour, looking like members of the Armani National Guard, so austere and morosely fashionable were they.

*

Best Freebies: Guests depart many charity benefits with a small shiny paper bag with the name of a cosmetics manufacturer on it. But after an evening of stargazing and general lavishness, the 1,300 guests lucky enough to get tickets to Marvin and Barbara Davis' Carousel of Hope in October left the Beverly Hilton with three soft canvas suitcases stuffed with loot. It's safe to say that few of the recipients are accustomed to carrying their own luggage. (The gifts, along with everything else for the ball-dinner-auction-stage show were donated, and the event raised $6 million for children's diabetes charities.)

*

The Freebie We Left Behind: Each year, inexplicably, at least one party gives out construction worker hard hats as gifts. This year, it was the American Cinematheque's Moving Picture Ball. Few guests realized that the plastic helmets were symbols of the organization's new facility being under construction. Jackie Collins said it was a welcome shield from "ego fallout." An industry wit guessed it was for "protection from falling grosses."

*

When the Drama Is Backstage: At the MTV Movie Awards in June, we bemusedly watched an impostor in a headband who claimed to be fashion designer Isaac Mizrahi. With a film crew in tow, he greeted guests, air-kissed celebrities (Faye Dunaway was thrilled to see him) and pulled off the deception--until he got to Whitney Houston. She embraced him, suddenly realized it was a con and definitely was not amused. Neither was her bodyguard with attitude. In lieu of having his head unzipped, "Isaac" handed over his videotape and slunk away.

*

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|