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Grown-Ups Rock so Kids Can Enjoy Alvin Ailey Troupe

March 20, 2001|PATT DIROLL | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Los Angeles audiences love dance.

The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater had folks rockin' at an opening-night gala Wednesday sponsored by the Performing Art Center's Blue Ribbon support group and the newly formed Center Dance Assn.

The doings started before sundown with crab cakes, martinis and a jazz band in the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion lobby followed by a Patina-catered dinner of smoked salmon, marinated chicken breast and tropical fruits in the Grand Hall. There, refectory tables were draped in curry-colored silk and topped with masses of aubergine tulips.

Following the performance, which drew a standing ovation and multiple curtain calls, the party continued in the Impresario Room, where gala-goers mingled with Ailey dancers over dessert.

Pauletta and Denzel Washington served as honorary hosts; Liane Weintraub and Patti Skouras co-chaired the event. Proceeds helped to bring more than 18,000 fifth-graders to performances of Ailey's classic "Revelations" at the 31st annual Dorothy B. Chandler Children's Festival last Thursday through Sunday.

"That's the best part," said Performing Arts Center President Joanne Kozberg, who pointed out that there may be another Alvin Ailey among the kids.

*

Newlywed Gloria Steinem was the special guest at the annual Women's History Month program, sponsored by KCET Women's Council and the Music Center's Club 100. Steinem had her new husband David Bale in tow for the luncheon Thursday at Skirball Cultural Center's new Ahmanson Room.

When asked about marriage, the 66-year-old Steinem, who wed for the first time last September, said, "It's like having a person in your corner all the time. I spent a lot of time doing what women aren't supposed to do. So I wouldn't pass myself off as a whole person yet."

The feminist added, "David spent lot of time doing what men aren't supposed to do. He raised three children [including actor Christian Bale] as a single parent . . . you know all those gender differences? Wrong."

But don't think for a moment that the old warrior has been mellowed by connubial bliss. Before parting, she reminded us: "The truth will set you free. But, first, it will [tick] you off."

*

The dashing 26-year-old virtuoso Julian Rachlin was all the buzz at the American Youth Symphony's 36th gala benefit concert at Dorothy Chandler Pavilion last week. The violinist's personal style almost outdid his performance on his 260-year-old violin, which has been on loan to him from an Austrian bank since he was 15. Rachlin, who lives in Vienna, was tres GQ in a long black jacket and narrow trousers of his own design. The son of musicians, Rachlin first picked up a violin when he was 2 1/2. When he was 3, his parents immigrated to Vienna from Lithuania with only $300.

"I'll be grateful to them for the rest of my life," he said. "The day after my Vienna Philharmonic debut, the bank called and asked if I wanted to play a violin made in 1741 by Guarnerius del Gesu. It's a great responsibility, but I don't panic. Now I just treat it like an old friend."

Looking on with pride was Rachlin's pianist mother, Sophie, who was celebrating her 50th birthday. A post-concert gala of more than 500 orchestra supporters in the Grand Hall raised $250,000.

Coming Up

* Members of Friends of the Fulfillment Fund will honor Toby Waldorf and Roy Romer at their annual spring luncheon Wednesday at the Beverly Hills Hotel. Tickets are $100. Call (310) 553-9007.

* The Shakespeare League of Pasadena stages its 55th annual musical, "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying," at San Gabriel Civic Auditorium this weekend to benefit Villa Esperanza Services, Pasadena Senior Center and Edelman Children's Services Court Shelter Care. Tickets are $20-$30. Call (626) 446-1912.

* In celebration of its 75th anniversary, the Junior League of Pasadena is presenting the annual "Center Stage" gala Saturday at the Regal Biltmore Hotel. Tickets are $80 for the luncheon and $140 for the black-tie dinner dance. Call (626) 796-0244.

* Five Acres, the Altadena-based residential treatment center for abused children, hosts its seventh annual "A Night at the Academy Awards" on Sunday at Pasadena's Twin Palms Restaurant. Tickets are $125 per person. Call (626) 844-1430.

* Sandpipers presents its ninth annual fashion luncheon to benefit 60 South Bay area charities Sunday at the Regal Biltmore Hotel. Tickets are $75-$85. Call (310) 374-1748.

*

Patt Diroll's column is published Tuesdays. She can be reached at pattdiroll@earthlink.net.

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