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Songs for the Ages

Social Circuits

July 14, 2002|ANN CONWAY

Not only was Tom Rothman honored for his philanthropic leadership at a benefit for the Los Angeles Jewish Home for the Aging, he was serenaded by pianist-crooner Harry Connick Jr. and ribbed by comedian Ray Romano.

"I'm going to play two of your favorite songs," Connick told Rothman, co-chairman of Fox Filmed Entertainment, and his wife, Jessica, at the home's 90th anniversary gala Tuesday at the Ballroom at Hollywood & Highland.

Backed by a polished jazz ensemble, Connick launched into dreamy renditions of "The Way You Look Tonight" and "Our Love Is Here to Stay."

Taking the spotlight after more than 900 guests had dined on roast beef and chocolate cake, Romano reminded Rothman that he'd given Romano permission to "make fun of the home."

"But nahhhhhh, I'm not going to do that," the comedian promised. And then, a beat later: "The home has made over a million tonight, but what people don't know is $900,000 of that goes straight to ointment," Romano deadpanned. "So, keep on giving. They need more!"

The "Reflections" gala, which grossed $1.2 million for the upkeep of the home and the care of its 800 residents, also recognized game show host Monty Hall and his wife, Marilyn. The couple head the home's Marilyn and Monty Hall Statesman's Club, which, since it was founded in 1987, has helped raise more than $30 million.

During the festivities, Rothman took time to reflect on how his parents, Donald and Elizabeth Rothman, who were also guests, have influenced his life: Their support and unconditional love have made the difference, he said. In turn, those gifts have inspired the positive development of his daughters, Elizabeth and Nora. "That is something even more lasting and particularly relevant to the spirit of this evening."

On the scene: gala co-chairs Steven Bickel and Barbara Miller-Fox; outgoing home chairman Meyer Gottlieb; incoming chairman Earl Greinetz; Richard Hall; Joanna Gleason; Sharon Hall Kessler; Molly Forrest; Joyce Eisenberg-Keefer; Sylvia and Sherman Grancell; Paul Goldenberg; Peggy and Peter Goldwyn; and Jim Gianopulos.

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Arts Festival Party

Against a backdrop of his hand-painted silk scarves, artist James Nussbaum dispensed flutes of fizzing Veuve Cliquot to visitors at the preview party for the Festival of the Arts in Laguna Beach. Pointing to an oversize scarf embellished with a Persian-inspired motif, he said, "When I created this I thought, instead of always concentrating on the tragedy [of the Middle East], why not celebrate its beauty?"

Thousands of art lovers attended the 70-year-old nonprofit festival's preview July 3. Besides ogling sculpture, paintings, jewelry and photography, guests sipped fine wines and cruised food stations featuring the culinary specialties of local restaurants.

"Laguna is about art, and this is the art party of the year," said guest Al Roberts. "People come to shop and hear the buzz." Most guests snubbed the black-tie option--the preferred atire being aloha shirts and summer dresses.

The work of 140 artists is featured at the juried festival. Among the pieces being shown were fashion-inspired canvases by Brenda K. Bredvik of Laguna Beach (wearing an ivory silk gown that belonged to her grandmother), who had created colorful portrayals of a Louis Vuitton bowling bag, and rose-accented shoes and handbag designed by Kate Spade. "I enjoy doing shoes and bags because they are so sculptural," said Bredvik.

The subjects in the paintings of mixed-media artist Sandra Jones Campbell seemed to be staring back at party-goers. She splashes her large canvases with "social sightings"--people caught in social situations, some interacting, some not. "You are looking at them and they are looking back at you," she said.

The festival, at 650 Laguna Canyon Road, continues until Sept. 1 and is open daily from 10 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. For information, call (949) 494-1145.

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Coming Up:

* AIDS Services Foundation Orange County presents "Paint the Party" on Thursday for donors of $1,000 or more. Dinner at Mark's restaurant in Laguna Beach features artist Sandra Jones Campbell capturing the event on a canvas that will be auctioned at the organization's "World's Fair: Paris" benefit Sept. 14. Call (949) 809-5700.

* Bet Tzedek Legal Services presents the Justice Ball on Saturday at the Park Plaza Hotel to raise funds for providing free legal assistance to low-income Los Angeles residents. Tickets $75. Call (323) 656-9069.

* Restaurateur Charlie Palmer opens new Astra West restaurant at the Pacific Design Center on July 25, with a benefit party for Voices in Harmony, a mentoring organization that uses theater and film to work with at-risk teens. Tickets $50. Call (310) 839-1772.

* A dinner benefit for classical guitarist Eric Henderson will be July 25 at Seven Degrees event center in Laguna Beach. Entertainment by bands Common Sense and the Missiles of October. Tickets are $35. Call (949) 494-5669.

* American Heart Assn. sponsors the inaugural American Heart Awards "Paint the Town Red Gala" on July 27 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, featuring music by actor-musician Billy Bob Thornton. A heart-healthy menu will be provided by chef Leeann Chin, with a live auction featuring Robin Leach. Tickets $300. Call (213) 202-5029.

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Information for Social Circuits can be directed to Ann Conway at ann.conway@latimes.com or by calling (800) LATimes, Ext. 65952.

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