For some East Los Angeles toddlers, there's a new "somewhere" and it's not over the rainbow. It's real and it's right on the corner of Broadway and Mission Road. The Florence Crittenton Center opened a new facility last week, the Century-Crittenton Village Learning Center, to provide child care for preschoolers of low-income families.
The grand opening was celebrated last Tuesday with a "Land of Oz" party featuring the "Wizard" himself, Mayor Richard Riordan, who rolled up in a ruby SUV.
Riordan inquired if any of the kids wanted to be president. When only one hand went up, he asked, "Will you make me ambassador to England?"
When I asked him about that, Hizzoner said with a wink, "What does a good Irishman want? Revenge." (Well, there goes the Court of St. James.
On a serious note, Riordan said he intends to stay involved in education. "I've been thinking about a charter school . . . I'd love to be a principal." Let's hope the mayor does start that school. Living well is, after all, the best revenge.
There are 57 varieties on the bill o' fare for "Art of the Palate," the biennial fund-raiser for the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, scheduled for Sept. 21-23. This year's co-chairwomen, Connie Fishbach and Nancy Rosenbloom, previewed the dinners to be held in unique venues from the Palisades to Pasadena at a lavish reception hosted by Donanne and Ali Kasikci at the Peninsula Hotel on Thursday. This year, the evenings are tailored for high- and low-calorie wallets. For dinner at the home of LACMA board chairman Willie Weisman and his wife, Sheila, plus a private family photo shoot by guest of honor Annie Liebovitz, the tab is $25,000. (But better hustle, it's limited to 15 couples.) An alfresco evening at the late Tony Duquette's Shangri-La is only $1,000 a person. And for the young and groovy, $100 will admit you to the Broad Art Foundation for cocktails with LACMA curator Howard Fox. Museum trustee Sandy Terner reminds us that they're on for three nights so you can attend as many as you wish.
Still waiting for that big break? Then you should have spent $300 hobnobbing at Paramount Studios on Saturday night. The back lot was jammed with more than 2,500 show-biz folks for the Take Me Out to the Block Party, the 26th annual cancer research benefit staged by Concern Foundation. The group honored Jack L. Gilardi, executive vice president of ICM. The mega-agent's grown children Gina, Jacky and Jason (their mother, his ex, is Annette Funicello) were honorary chairs of the event, which raised more than $1.2 million.
The party, set as a New York street scene, had a baseball theme in tribute to Gilardi's favorite pastime.
The cast of bartenders at this bash including CBS Channel 2's consumer reporter Mike "Bogey" Boguslawski (he'd like you to know he's single, girls), Ron Masak, Mike Connors, James Darren and Kristy McNichol.
Concern co-founder Joyce Powell said the group was founded in 1968 as "a kind of loving-hands-at-home fund-raiser" and has raised more than $23 million since.