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Page 2 / IDEAS, TRENDS, STYLE AND BUZZ | SoCal Confidential

'Much Ado' to Benefit Arts Programs for At-Risk Students

November 15, 2000|BOOTH MOORE

Fund-raisers at hotel ballrooms are a dime a dozen in this town. So, staging one at a private house is a refreshing break in the party-going monotony. John Paul and Eloise Dejoria, owners of Paul Mitchell Hair Systems, opened up their Italian villa-like house in the Malibu hills to raise funds for City Hearts, a nonprofit that provides classes in the arts to youths at risk.

"Much Ado About City Hearts" on Sunday was like an afternoon in Verona. In the ivy-covered courtyard, high school-age City Hearts drama students, dressed in period costumes, performed scenes from Shakespeare plays. During one fight scene, the action in the audience threatened to upstage the actors. One elderly guest turned white with fear after being charged by a sword-wielding lad.

"Before I was in City Hearts, I never had any idea what was going on in Shakespeare's plays. I saw Leo DiCaprio's movie, 'Romeo & Juliet,' and I fell asleep because I didn't know what they were saying," said one of the actors, John Sandoval, who began taking City Hearts drama classes six years ago. He added, "Now I know what they mean when they say 'wilt' and 'thus.' It has life to me now."

Honorary City Hearts chairwoman Jane Seymour, who has been involved with the organization for more than 10 years, said self-esteem is the most important lesson these at-risk children can take away from classes in dance, drama, music, photography and more.

"Somewhere along the way when I was growing up, someone told me I was good, I was special, I was different. That's what I hope City Hearts brings to these kids."

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Nicole Miller will be the first woman designer to be honored by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation. Miller, who has a boutique at Sunset Plaza, will join past honorees, who have included Adrian, Bob Mackie, Calvin Klein, Isaac Mizrahi, Gianni Versace and Todd Oldham.

The Nov. 29 gala, called the California Fashion Industry Friends of AIDS Healthcare Foundation, will be held at the Beverly Regent Hotel. Highlights will include a fashion show and silent auction. Tickets are $200 to $350. Info: (310) 278-6276.

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CaliforniaMart, L.A.'s downtown wholesale apparel center, is reinstating its Designer of the Year Award. The award, one of the highest honors for fashion designers on the West Coast, was not given out this year because of the change in ownership of the CalMart. The Hertz Investment Group bought CalMart in May from Equitable Life Assurance Co. for a reported $90 million. The plan is to hold a gala benefit in April to announce the winner of the Designer of the Year Award.

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SoCal Confidential runs Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Booth Moore can be reached at booth.moore@latimes.com.

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