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RSVP / THE SOCIAL CITY

Breaking Bread With Famous Authors

September 14, 1997|MARY LOU LOPER | TIMES STAFF WRITER

The Los Angeles Public Library has recruited 77 hosts for its series of private dinners celebrating the institution's 125th anniversary Nov. 17.

This makes Joni Smith, president of the Council of the Library Foundation and event chairman, very happy, because the numbers translate into more funds to support technology in the Central Library and its 68 branches. Nancy Vreeland is co-chairwoman.

Each dinner will be attended by 12 to 30 people who have a chance to spend an evening with an author.

Veronique and Gregory Peck host the dinner at Central Library honoring the authors, celebrities, dinner hosts, and civic and corporate sponsors.

Authors on tap include Mary Higgins Clark, Barbara Taylor Bradford, Ray Bradbury, James Ellroy, Elizabeth George, George Plimpton, Gay Talese and Gloria Vanderbilt.

Society and civic leaders hosting dinners include Pamela Mullin and Mayor Richard Riordan, John and Martha Welborne, Hal and Eunice David, John and Joan Hotchkis, Stuart and Carrie Ketchum, Steven and Judith Krantz, and Alan and Nancy Livingston. How could one possibly choose. The consuls general of Britain, Canada, France and Japan as well as the New Yorker magazine will also give parties.

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Grandiose: Everything in Los Angeles seems bigger and better than anywhere else. In Beverly Hills on Sept. 21, "A Tribute to Style: 25 Years of Fashion on Rodeo Drive" is expected to raise more than $1 million. The gala, sponsored by Visa USA, Conde Nast Publications and its GQ, Vanity Fair and Vogue magazines, will merge cocktails, a sit-down dinner and a multimedia fashion presentation staged along a one-block runway on Rodeo Drive.

Funds will be split between the California State Summer School for the Arts, the Museum of Contemporary Art and Teach for America.

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New Meaning: Carol Anne Econn of Pasadena lost her husband, Richard, to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig's disease), but she has translated her grief into service for the ALS Assn., Greater Los Angeles chapter, which provides vital services including in-home and telephone consultations and loans of medical equipment for those who have the illness.

Now the chapter is initiating the "Annual Western Gala" Sept. 27 at the Petersen Automotive Museum. Benjamin F. "Bud" Grier, a Los Angeles insurance executive, and Dean Rasmussen, president of a construction / engineering firm, co-chair.

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Jumping: Christopher Reeve is expected to join Joan Irvine Smith today for "A Day at the Oaks International" at the Oaks Rancho Mission Viejo Riding Park in San Juan Capistrano. Funds will benefit the Reeve-Irvine Research Center at UC Irvine. Highlights will be the $10,000 Oak Leaf Junior / Amateur-Owner Grand Prix at 8 a.m., the Oaks International Grand Prix Luncheon at noon, the Christopher Reeve Research Medal Presentation at 1:30 p.m. and the $50,000 Oaks International Grand Prix at 2 p.m. In addition, Irvine will stage the tented Irvine Museum Exhibition of Plein Air art and nature photography.

At sunset the evening before, Reeve and Smith will preside over the Oaks Thoroughbred Spread Barbecue and Calcutta in the Oak Grove at the Oaks.

National Art: The Fine Art Dealers Assn. (a national organization of galleries) stages its third annual art exposition Friday through Sept. 21 at the UCLA John Wooden Center with 38 major U.S. galleries participating. The Friday night opening will benefit CaP CURE, which supports research for prostate and other cancer cures.

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Home Sweet Home: Design houses are in the spotlight. The Assistance League of California opens its home and garden tour Oct. 1 on the original Al Jolson estate at 17321 Rancho St., Encino. The house will showcase 22 designers and run through Nov. 2 as a benefit for Assistance League of Southern California's services to 71,000 children and families.

The Wellness Community Valley / Ventura chose Villa Montagna, on a three-acre estate in the North Ranch section of Westlake Village, for its Design House. Forty-two designers are participating, led by James Blakeley III.

The public showing runs through Oct. 12 as a fund-raiser for services to adult cancer patients.

Homeowners Frank and Alisa Barbarino vacated the house, put their furniture in storage and agreed to spend four months in a small rented condo so that designers could add those artistic touches.

Windsor Square-Hancock Park Historical Society stages its 20th annual homes tour Sept. 21. The 1 to 5 p.m. event is titled "The Merry Homes of Windsor in Olde Windsor Square" and features a walking tour of five stately houses built between 1914 and 1923. One is the mansion built for the Van Nuys family, another the residence of Academy Award-winning composer Dmitri Tiomkin. Tickets are $25, $12.50 for full-time students.

Elsewhere on the Social Circuit

Kent Kresa has been elected chairman of the Los Angeles World Affairs Council; former Secretary of State Warren Christopher has rejoined the board.

* The English-Speaking Union saluted Merrick Baker-Bates, British consul general, and his wife, Crystal, on Sept. 5. The next day, the Baker-Bateses in turn hosted a reception at their Hancock Park home honoring the Salvation Army. The couple is coming to the end of five years' service in Los Angeles.

* David Foster and his wife, Linda Thompson Foster, host the Pepperdine University Center for the Arts Guild party Saturday at their Malibu estate. . . . The Boys and Girls Clubs of Pasadena reap the proceeds from $125 tickets for a dinner auction Thursday at the Pasadena Ritz-Carlton. . . .

* The life and work of David E. Kelley will be celebrated Tuesday at the Center for Law in the Public Interest 25th anniversary dinner at the Beverly Wilshire. California Supreme Court Justice Stanley Mosk makes the presentation.

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