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French Bred

Bastille Day Celebration at Newport Beach Hotel Brings Out Crowd, Wine and Even a Mime

July 16, 1999

The evening got underway with the playing of two national anthems, American and French.

It was a complementary mix, considering the event. A few hundred people gathered around the pool at the Sutton Place Hotel in Newport Beach on Wednesday night in honor of Bastille Day, which celebrates French independence.

Many of the women--and a few of the men--wore outfits in the familiar red, white and blue colors of the French flag.

Berets were everywhere, as were French accents, some authentic, others questionable.

And there was more than a little indulging in one of France's more welcome exports--good Bordeaux, burgundy and, of course, champagne. The food was also decidedly French, from the baguettes to the saucy appetizers.

There was also a mime, calling himself "Abbit the Average," who was busily doing his Marcel Marceau thing. Abbit sidled up to tables and did what all mimes do, pull a silent act and hope for the best. Of course, when some people think of mimes they think of annoying. But there were a few fans Wednesday.

"He had me there," a giggling woman said to a friend after Abbit handed her a rose, then quietly walked off with the bud as she held the bare stem. "He's just so cute, isn't he?"

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