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Sex and Shopping, All in the Name of Arts Philanthropy--Really

May 16, 2000|PATT DIROLL | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

What's a nice Jewish girl like Judith Krantz doing in a place like Chanel? Buying, bubbeleh . . . and with all those bestsellers to her name, not on sale either. Krantz always wears Chanel . . . probably to bed, for all I know.

Krantz's 10 novels have kept her in Coco's logo, starting with her No. 1 bestseller "Scruples," which came out in 1978. Now the Material Girl of the nip-and-tuck set is telling all in her autobiography, "Sex and Shopping: The Confessions of a Nice Jewish Girl."

Krantz--in pale blue Chanel--settled into a sofa at the Chanel boutique on Rodeo Drive last week to sign the book for the well-tended members of the Blue Ribbon, which contributes more than $2 million annually to the Performing Arts Center of Los Angeles County.

Krantz wasn't the only one to sport a Chanel ensemble with a five-figure price tag. Blue Ribbon President Joni Smith wore a crystal-studded suit from the current collection, while others had obviously raided the back of their closets.

I asked Krantz how a well-bred matron writes such steamy scenarios at 72. "I've done it all!" Krantz said. "Every last detail in every sex scene. . . . Yes, I researched everything. Consider me a premature 'hottie.' "

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It's been 100 years since someone first pushed a piano into a movie theater, said Mickey Rooney, as he introduced a program featuring music from the movies to help conductor Paul Salamunovich celebrate the end of the Los Angeles Master Chorale's 36th season. Veteran film composer J.A.C. Redford doggedly sifted through film scores to come up with a cavalcade of choral works for the May 7 gala, including Sergei Prokofiev's music for the 1938 masterpiece "Alexander Nevsky," David Raksin's familiar "Laura" (1944) and Alfred Newman's theme for "How the West Was Won" (featuring a young Salamunovich on the soundtrack in the chorus).

Stars from the featured films were among the presenters. They included Raksin, Rooney, Michael York, John de Lancie, Michael Ansara, Rhonda Fleming Mann, Dean Jones, Suzanne Krull, Dee Wallace Stone, Jeffrey Jones, William Campbell, Brock Peters and arranger Gene Puerling. Looking on with pride from the audience were Newman's family and widow, Martha Newman Ragland, and Janice Wagner, daughter of the chorale's late founder, Roger Wagner.

The Dorothy Chandler Pavilion concert was followed by a dinner-dance in the pavilion's Grand Hall. Co-chairwomen Dona Schultz, a former chorale member, and Christine Kuyper took their inspiration from Tinseltown's golden age with silver and pewter tones on the tables, '50s fare (meatloaf and mashed potatoes) and music by the Swing Kings. The evening's showstopper was the chorale's traditional and awesome "surround sing." The singers encircled the guests and sang "Shenandoah" and "America the Beautiful."

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Members of the Professional Associates of Big Sisters of Los Angeles lauded seven remarkable women with Leadership Awards at the 10th annual "Making Friends" Dinner on May 9 at the Beverly Hilton. Melba Saunders and Lauren Weissman co-chaired the evening, which raised more than $400,000.

The honorees included Dallas P. Price, vice president of American Golf Corp. and a major philanthropist and art patron in the Southland; Kathy Turner, a Korn Ferry International executive who heads the board of Goodwill Industries; Donna Brown Guillaume, executive producer of HBO's "Happily Ever After: Fairy Tales for Every Child"; fashion entrepreneurs Judy Knapp and her daughter, Julie; Vicki Martin, the founder of Professional Associates; and "Sweet" Alice Harris, who changed the world around her in 1983 by launching Parents of Watts.

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