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Making Merry at Mid-Spring Night's Party

April 28, 1999|IRENE LACHER

We thought it was the end of April when we set off for Monday's premiere of "William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream." But when we saw the overflow crowd cramming the entrance of the Mann Bruin in Westwood, it looked more like the Ides of March.

OK, so there were no lions roaring in the street. But there was a bunch of cranky paparazzi, who were even more frightening.

At least Fox Searchlight's post-party at the Armand Hammer Museum seemed as if it were touched by fairy dust. There were Hollywood's version of enchanted beings, including stars from the film: Calista Flockhart, Rupert Everett and Christian Bale as well as Faye Dunaway, Kathy Najimy, Alicia Witt, Dana Delaney and Ronnie Spector. No, not that Ronnie Spector, although she is sometimes mistaken for the singer. This one is the makeup artist who designed Michelle Pfeiffer's look as Titania, Queen of the Fairies.

We chatted with director Michael Hoffmann about his shrewd decision to relocate the Shakespearean crowd-pleaser to Tuscany. Oddly enough, the venue for Hoffmann's adaptation of "Dream" came to him in a dream.

"I lived there for a couple of years and in my life it was an enchanted place," he said. "I had this dream of Puck riding on the back of a turtle in the Tuscan countryside, and I just went after that."

Which didn't make it terribly difficult to attract a dream cast.

Bale, who is Demetrius in the movie, played for most of his two months in Tuscany because he worked only 15 days on the ensemble film.

"It was a very low-budget film, and I believe most of us did it for scale. They said to us, 'We'll make up for it by looking after you very well,' which they did. Most of the actors shared a villa up in Tuscany that had cooks and a wine cellar, so there was food and wine around the clock. And what more do you need, really?"

"Calista was definitely working hard because she would fly in, do a day's work, and then fly out again because of 'Ally McBeal.' But certainly Anna [Friel], Dominic [West] and myself had a lot of time to enjoy ourselves."

We're in the wrong business. We're going to become a movie star.

*

This year's black-tie benefit for the Luminaires, Juniors was an eye-opener. Not many of the well-heeled and well-meaning folk raising money for the Doheny Eye Institute at the Playboy Mansion on Saturday had visited Hugh Hefner's party pad before.

"I happened to be here for a spring benefit last year," said Ginny Shelton, president of the Luminaires, Juniors, "and we thought it was a great house for a party. It would be a party that most husbands would want to come to. Husbands do not like to get dressed up too often."

Unless, of course, there are Playboy Playmates, appropriately garbed, waiting to lead tuxedo-sporting husbands on a tour of the mansion grounds. Don't think the group didn't leave its mark, however. The place was utterly transformed from the pleasure palace it had been two weeks earlier for Hef's birthday bash.

"It's a different type of party than they're used to having here," Shelton said. "It's a frumpy party, I guess, or a very conservative party compared to what they usually do."

We prefer the word elegant. The James Bondian theme was "For Your Eyes Only," and the party had all the style of a martini that's shaken, not stirred. A huge tent behind the mansion was illuminated with chandeliers and decorated with arrangements of white lilies and tulips.

The event, which raised more than $125,000, was organized by Michelle Roth and Katie Williamson. Revelers included Will and Libby Doheny, Joanne and Montgomery Fisher, Stephanie and Palmer Murray, Jan and John Thompson, Angela Doheny, Elizabeth and Peter Shoemaker and Sandra and Jeffrey Dritley.

*

Last week, Lenny Kravitz serenaded music industry types and radio contest winners at a dress rehearsal a couple of days before kicking off the second American leg of his world tour at Irvine Meadows. Kravitz-ites lounged on white folding chairs, while waitresses circulated with salmon roll-ups and chocolate strawberries.

Even Kravitz was impressed. "I feel like I'm playing at a bar mitzvah, with all these white chairs," he told the crowd. "Not that it's beyond me."

Good boy. The rocker later prepared for the long haul ahead by partying into the morning at Hollywood's Les Deux Cafes with former collaborator Madonna as well as Stephen Dorff, the Red Hot Chili Peppers' Anthony Kiedis and Billy Zane.

Clarification on April 16's column: Mary Lambert was director of the movie "Clubland."

Irene Lacher's Out & About column column runs Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays on Page 2. She can be reached by e-mail at socalliving@latimes.com.

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